it was dek’s birthday yesterday so we went out to celebrate! mirelle found this cool-looking place called the royale via a food blogger she follows on instagram and since one of dek’s favorite foods is burgers & beer we knew he would love it…and it did not disappoint! they also had extravagant milkshakes that we wanted to try. win win.

majorly drool-worthy grub that tasted as good as it looks.

celebrating dek's bday at burger royale plano

hers: $3 brunch mimosa, his: mosaic IPA

menu at royale burger plano

celebrating husband’s birthday with great company, good food and fun times

with the birthday boy at the royale plano texas

avocado toast with poached egg, salsa verde and pecorino cheese on toast, mom’s dish

avocado toast at the royale burger

texas truffle burger, which me and mel split
3-cheese macaroni, house-cured bacon, a giant onion ring and truffle aioli

texas truffle burger the royale burger plano

the peanut butter cup shake: cap n/ crunch ice cream, peanut butter nutella swirls, whipped peanut butter and reece’s pieces candy

the peanut butter cup shake

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the last “experience” that we did as a family this holiday season (i.e the month of december) was planned by my momma! she surprised us & took us to lunch at little greek where they are BYOB, which we love. we brought in like 3 different kinds of beer and a bottle of champagne & they were so sweet and brought us glasses to toast with which made it feel elevated and special. after a delicious lunch, we walked next door for a sweet treat at gigi’s cupcakes and then we went for a pamper session at mapleshade spa. the spa place was like in an old historic home, the downstairs was a boutique area where they sold jewelry, bath bombs, lotions, candles, etc. and then there were staircases on each side of the house that you go up to individual bedrooms-turned-massage-rooms to get a facial or a massage. this house was like an old mansion, the floors were kind of creaky and ceilings high, it was a pretty cool setup and the facial was really great. i got an anti-aging facial and she infused my skin with vitamin C and steam for hydration. i don’t remember much else because i passed out it was so good, ha! scroll on for a few more pics from the day:

lunch & BYOB @littlegreek in richardson…two thumbs up!

little greek richardson texas

@gigiscupcakesrichardso

i got carrot cake, mel got chocolate chip cookie dough and my mom got white midnight magic – check out the rest of the mouth-watering menu here

gigis cupcakes richardson texas

instagrammable opp

gigis cupcakes richardson texas

headed to mapleshade spa

mapleshade spa dallas texas

one little section of the boutique downstairs with lots of little goodies

mapleshade spa dallas texas

one of the massage rooms with a heated bed and a fireplace. it was so cozy and with the soft music playing…i passed the F out!

mapleshade spa dallas texas

we all had so much fun planning and gifting “experiences” to each other versus worrying about if we got each other enough things. i hope it was fun to read about and you got some ideas for family activities, too 🙂 going to make this a family tradition we carry on forever.

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hiiiii! hope you had a wonderful christmas! i always forget how nostalgic this time of year feels until it’s christmas eve and elf or and home alone 2 are playing in the background and the soundtracks just bring sooooo many memories back. it’s a day and time of the year especially where i really miss my grandfather. for christmas this year, we were all at my aunt carol’s house & i was soaking up time with loved ones, being comfortable and happy.

while christmas has technically passed for the year, i wanted to continue sharing the family “holiday” experiences we did last week, this one was dekel’s idea. he took us to escape room in plano. we’ve actually been before, we literally were there the same day last year  – it’s a really fun during-christmas-break activity, or any day really! it’s fun to get locked up and be challenged to think outside the box & work together to “escape.” if you’ve never been before, it’s kinda like a giant puzzle that you are working against the clock to figure out. you’re blindfolded/handcuffed and led into a room where you listen to a recording explaining the “situation” you are in and then it’s up to your group to work together to solve the clues and get to the end, which is the door that will let you out. there is a “game master” who you can talk to if you get stuck, which we did a few times, but we alllmooooosstttt made it out! we were on the last clue to break out and it was translating morse code, which we sucked at. the whole game is such an adrenaline rush and the hour goes by so quickly. last time we did “hostage,” this time we did “kidnapping” and the “operation: casino” looks cool, too- we will be back for sure.

breakout games dallas

listening to the rules and about to get blindfolded

waiting in line for breakout room plano

kidnapping game at breakout room plano

so close…

breakout room plano

next up: the holiday experience my mom planned

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in my last post, you read about our family holiday experience that i planned…next up was mirelle’s turn.

she planned for us to DIY string art!! she gathered the supplies like the wood pallets that were already sanded and came with a wall hook from target, the nails from home depot and the string from hobby lobby. she ended up telling us what it was going to be because she needed to know what designs to print for us and what color string we wanted to use. the day before we were going to do the activity i stained my wood, since i’ll want to incorporate it into my “to-be-built” gallery wall (hopefully getting that done in the next few weeks!) and the dark stain would match the other woods in my house better than the original light wood. we gathered around my 8-foot dining table and got our craft on. the project was so fun, a lot louder than any of us anticipated, but a fun activity to do altogether. you take a print-out of a design you want to mimic and lay that design on top of the wood and hammer the thin nails directly on it (or you can just use it as a guide) and then you just remove the paper and use the colored string to bring your design to life. it was kind of tricky getting the nails to line up perfectly (i.e. the top of texas), but i would totally do this again now that i have the hang of it! the whole thing took us about an hour and we had lots of laughs and mess-ups along the way, but i think we “nailed it.” 🙂

DIY crafting string art project

DIY crafting string art project

string art project

string art project

dekel took a different approach and used a staple gun!

DIY crafting string art project

dek’s finished product: beer glass 

beer string art project

my finished product: texas with a heart in it

texas DIY string art project

next family holiday experience “hosted” by dekel coming up soon!

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this year, instead of buying christmas gifts for each other, my family & i decided to do “experiences” together. it could range from a picnic in the park, a groupon activity, volunteering together, going to a brewery for an afternoon, etc. and we didn’t tell each other what we planned. it was up to each of us to plan and schedule something for the month of december and my experience was the first one we did. it was a “paint your pet” session by pipe & palatte! i sneakishly printed photos of all our pets and brought them in with us when taking my family to downtown plano. there were two artists that guided us through scaling the image to the canvas and how to create depth & shadows to bring each photo to life. it was so fun to do this together since we’re all crazy about our pups 🙂 we shared a pitcher of dallas blonde beer and had a blast while giving back, loved that some of the proceeds went to second chance spca of plano. we all did preeetttty good if i don’t say so myself, but we most definitely got help from raul when it came to the life-like details like the eyes.

dek & i hung our paintings up on the wall by where the boys eat in “their area” of the living room.

scroll down to see!

paint your pet downtown plano
paint your pet with pipe and palette downtown plano
paint your pet with pipe and palette downtown plano
kaizer dog in paint your pet
peanut dog in paint your pet
ollie dog in paint your pet
tucker dog in paint your pet

paint your pet pipe and palette downtown plano

pipe and palatte paint your pet artwork

stay tuned as i will be posting the next “experience” we do in a few days!

it’s mirelle’s turn to host & i know what it is…gunna be a good one!

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this past friday i returned home from a 2-day work trip to kansas city where i went with the whole marketing team that i am on to meet with a new agency partner of ours. there were like 12 of us traveling together and while the trip was short it felt like it lasted a lot longer than it did!  those 12-hour days are no joke, plus the freezing weather didn’t help. it was fun but intense, so when i landed friday i drove straight home, changed into “comfy clothes” & spent the evening doing nothing but chillin’ with dek, cuddling on the couch sipping champagne.

on saturday, i toggeled between being a hermit crab, staying in & doing nothing again or putting on my face and facing the world to be social. i went with the latter. it started with mirelle’s text at 8 am wanting to hang out, then molly’s phone call (greenville ave. was where she was headed & wanted us to come with her), then i texted my friend jules who i knew was in town from fort worth and who i have been wanting to see, then my mom texted us, then lauren texted. it was funny how it snowballed into a random day of fun with great people and good laughs! we met up at greenville ave. pizza company & were hungry so, duh! we had some delicious pizza. i always go for the same thing, green olives + feta, but when molly said she was ordering the pesto schiutto, i was all in. it’s pesto sauce, prosciutto, roma tomatoes, arugula, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, pizza crack (their homemade seasoning that is addicting as crack!) and parmesan. everything i love, but on a pizza. it was sooooooo good!

cheers at Greenville Avenue Pizza company

the “wall paper” in the restaurants is not paper at all, its a hand-painted work of art!! along with their storefront signs. look closely next time you are in, it’s amazing. also, they just opened a new location at 1145 peavy rd in east dallas, if that’s your ‘hood you’re in luck!

wallpaper at Greenville Avenue Pizza company

greenville avenue pizza company storefront

the pesto schiutto – check out the rest of GAPC’s menu here

pesto schiutto pizza at greenville avenue pizza company

we also ordered a slice (which is the equivalent of like 3) of margarita & 5-cheese which were insane, per usual

margarita pizza and five cheese pizza at greenville avenue pizza company

stacked pizza boxes by the beverage station

piled pizza boxes at greenville avenue pizza company

#ootd

greenville avenue pizza company

after lunch, we we went walking around and into this super cute shop right across the street from bullzerk called the merchant. they have great giftables, coffee table books, tea towels, candles and beautiful i-want-to-touch-and-smell-and-pick-everything-up merchandising displays. definitely check them out if you are in the area!

the merchant store greenville avenue dallas texas

the merchant store on greenville avenue

miller hat shop sign at the merchant on greenville avenue

another pit stop we made was to joy macaroons, it’s the perfect place to grab a sweet treat post-lunch. the others in my group didn’t get anything but i got butter pecan and pistachio and ate them both…in under 1 minute. the pistachio was surprisingly my favorite of the two but there are so many flavors to choose from – you can even get a macaroon ice cream sandwich, which we often do in the summer.

joy macaroons greenville avenue dallas texas

strollin’ around greenville avenue

walking down greenville avenue

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every year a few of my best friends & i meet up to celebrate the holidays and have some of those belly-wrenching laughs. this year we gathered at my house and everyone brought something to eat or drink along with a surprise for a gift exchange. the potluck was amazing, we had a variety of dishes and wines and you know the best nights are when everyone is huddled in the kitchen around the island. there were about five crock pots lined up at one point and all of the food was so delicious! there were meatballs, brisket (i followed this recipe again), pineapple ham, mac & cheese, chick-fil-a minis, artichoke dip, caesar salad, cranberry puff pastries, pigs in a blanket, whoopie pies and yum yum cake. i’ve come to learn that hosting means you get to keep the leftovers…perks!

there were games, good laughs and memories made. can’t wait to see what next year brings for all of us.

i snapped a few photos of the party, scroll down for more if you’d like to see…

girls christmas extravaganza partygathered around the food at the girls christmas partyrosé, anyone?rose wine lovercustomized napkins that say “the benita’s” that were gifted to me last holiday seasoncustom napkins with my last namea 3-D wall décor idea i got from this postdiy festive holiday 3D wall decor ideacharcuterie board by marli, she whipped this up in under 5 minutes & it was gone just as fast!holiday party meat and cheese boardabout to exchange giftsgirls christmas party gift exchangemirelle, my love, the ringleader girls christmas party gift exchangeso many good gifts under the tree & molly actually brought a legit gift this year (ha!)girls holiday party gift exchange#socialsabotage – it was like “cards against humanity” but with things you would have to do on social media or through text message and then it was up to the person whether they would post/do whatever it was

girls christmas party photos from past years, in order from most recent:

2016- matchbox american kitchen

2015- marli’s house

2014- dallas beer kitchen

2013- bryan street tavern

2018- TBD!!!!

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i’m thankful for so many things and yesterday was an opportunity to actually say what i am thankful for OUT LOUD, i don’t do that enough and i am going to start trying harder.

at the moment, here are the top 3 things i am thank for:

1. dek & our relationship. i truly have a lover, a friend and partner in life with him and i’m so happy with where we are today. we’re stronger than ever and have a deeper connection than when we first got together. we just “announced” to our family that we are trying to get pregnant. we’re ready to grow this family of ours!!!

2. family. don’t know where i would be without the guidance of my mom, dad, sister and brother. i have unique relationships with each of them that i am so thankful for.

3. ambition. to work, to travel, to explore. i’m thankful this spark is alive in me and in my mind. i will never stop dreaming and doing things that i love and i’ll never stop reaching for the endless possibilities that i can and will creating something amazing in this life.

i’m also thankful YOU are here reading this post on my site. if you didn’t notice already, it’s gotten a little bit of a makeover (post coming soon about that!), hopefully you will find the site more visually appealing. feel free to share the top 3 things you’re currently thankful for in the comments below, i’d love to hear!

anyways, back to thanksgiving and the good stuff, the food! it was my second time hosting this holiday and probably won’t be my last, i love doing it! everyone offered to bring a dish which helped alleviate the pressure. i made a simple, but tasty brisket in the crock pot, following this recipe. it’s super easy – you just throw everything in the night before and wake up to garlic aroma filling the house and tender brisket with mushrooms marinating – everyone was drooling over it – it was insaaaannnne! i also made this white bean dip that i snagged from cupcakes & cashmere’s site, which was light and oh, so snack-able. dek made oven-baked chicken from his mom’s recipe book and we had a simple green salad with tomatoes, feta, pine nuts and pecans with lemon-garlic dressing. my mom brought smashed potatoes & gravy and pumpkin bread (dekel’s favorite!) and my sister brought an intense marbled chocolate and peanut butter reese’s cheesecake and champagne for mimosas. my aunt brought bread rolls and grandmother brought a pickle tray with olives and cranberries. it was SO nice to enjoy a casual lunch with the fam & a delicious meal gathered around a tablescape i was pretty proud of. i definitely indulged in one too many helpings of smashed potatoes & reeses cake with vanilla ice cream but it was soooo worth it!

after lunch we played some table games, our favorites are spoons and mexican train, then we migrated over to the living room to lounge on the couches and have some blonde roast coffee & pumpkin bread. we sifted through the endless pile of black friday ads and mirelle made a list of “doorbusters” we wanted to go check out that evening. after watching a painful first half of the cowboys game, i gave in and went shopping with my mom & sister. we headed out to poke around in jc penny’s, kohls, old navy and target. i scored some great pieces that i am sharing on the blog tomorrow, so be sure to check back.

my tablescape – created with garland from at home stores with pine cones and candles layered in (mandarin currant scent) & vases with eucalyptus from hobby lobby for height. mix-matched napkins are from world market and the gratitude cards are from my mom, tied with white pom-pom string.

bar cart vibes + a festive DIY (inspiration from this post)

Festive Bar Cart

white bean dip

white bean dip appetizer with veggies and pita chips

marbled reese’s cheesecake made by my sister, mirelle

Reeses cheese cake

sister pic, post lunch

post-Thanksgiving meal sister photo

2nd annual family thanksgiving selfie stick pic, 1st annual pic here

Thanksgiving family photo

hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving, enjoy the weekend!

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i went with my girlfriends this weekend to nearby cedar creek lake for an overnight getaway to celebrate #friendsgiving. with it only being an hour away, we caravaned it down saturday morning-ish, stopping at cedar creek brewery on the way for a beer and lunch and then on to chels’ lakehouse….where we get together to take our makeup bras off, snack all night and make memories & inside jokes that we will bring up for years to come. we called this trip #GirlsTripPlusTy because some of my friends have kiddos and we were allll girls, plus tyler 🙂  we each brought a dish for a homemade meal and the icing on the cake was literally the best cake i’ve ever had – it’s called yum yum cake and if you like pecans you would die! here is a similar recipe & there is a photo below, get ready to drool.

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let’s go cowboyssssss!

it’s sunday & the ‘boys are playing as i type. i’m standing up at my kitchen island and dek’s lounging on the couch with peanut on his chest. we were over at my grandmother’s house grilling burgers with family earlier today & then i went to see my friend’s new kitten, gray. he was the cutest, smallest little creature & he stole my heart. (pic of him below!) my girlfriends were making fun of me for wanting to be home by 3:30 to watch the game, but i’m all about it this season, so naturally, my #ootd was representin’ that navy. plus, it gives me an excuse to sit down and yell and paint my nails at the same time. this little comfy dress is kind of see-through in the daylight and a slip was not working, so i tied one of my grandfather’s flannel shirts around my waist and kept it casual with easy sandals. now, it really is 90 in november…..

shirt_dress_1

<dress- derek heart, flannel shirt- my grandfather’s, shoes- marshall’s, sunnies- uptown chepskate>

shirt_dress_2

shirt_dress_3

shirt_dress_4

and here’s the cute kitten:

kitten

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