& it’s a BOY!!!!!! we’re expecting our first little baby later this year! oct. 1 to be precise but with my birthday on sept. 28 and with my luck i will turn 33 and go into labor all in one day, ha!

we’ve been trying to get pregnant since our trip to bali last may. i’ll never forget the afternoon we decided it was time to start our family. we had been talking about when would be the “right time” and all of a sudden it hit us…we were sitting in a cafe in seminyak called ‘the fat turtle‘ and we were casually having brunch and an austrailian couple about our age next to us had the cutest kids, one about 2 or 3 and one in a stroller sleeping and i had an out-of-body experience where i envisioned our future life like that was us with our two kids still traveling the world & we started talking about how having kids should not stop us from adventuring or traveling, just enrich our lives and bring us joy, so it was that day i stopped taking my birth control pills. i’d been taking them daily since high school so wasn’t sure how long it would take for them to wash out of my system and my ovulation cycle to normalize back out, but here we are not even a year later and i’m growing a life inside of me! it still is so crazy saying that & thinking there’s a heartbeat in my belly that’s beyond mine.

baby boy gender reveal party

baby boy gender reveal party family photo

baby boy gender reveal

this journey so far has been a rollercoaster. i was in shock and disbelief at first. i’ll never forget taking a pregnancy test because my period was late and seeing two pink lines, the test clearly says that if you see two lines (even if the second line is faint it means positive) but i took another two tests, ya know…. just to be sure. after feeling confident in my tests i ran into the kitchen and told dek who squeezed me and then i snapped this pic to my sister:

positive pregnancy test

i wasn’t feeling any symptoms when i found out i was pregnant, i think because i found out so early, i was literally a few days late for my first missed period so i was probably only about 5 weeks preggers at this point. we went to dinner with my mom that weekend and i told her by giving her a card that said “baby” on the front and i wrote “in the oven” on the inside and even though i told her not to tell anyone, she was so excited she told the waitress at dinner! debbie was (& still is!) so full of excitement and joy, it’s hard to get mad at her. i love my mom so much! at around 7 weeks was when i started to feel nauseous all the time, especially when i would first wake up in the morning and it would last until mid-afternoon. when i saw my doctor a week later she recommended eating more small meals throughout the day and keeping things like crackers by the bed so i could nibble before even getting up. i found things like gatorade, goldfish & fruit helped me, but really all i was “craving” were carbs and sweets. i wanted nothing to do with healthy food and some things (& smells!) like eggs were such a turnoff. i wasn’t sure how to go about telling my friends and especially work, but i knew i wanted to wait at least until i saw a doctor to quadruple confirm and also hear that all was good with the little baby & i’m glad i did because seeing a sonogram with a little baby bump growing inside me made it so, so real.

baby first sonogram

after my first doctor visit at around 8 weeks, i invited my closet girlfriends & sister over for a mimosa brunch because i wanted to tell them in person and hug their necks, which is exactly how it went down. my bestie molly knew before coming over because she guessed! she’s a mind-reader and when i said i wanted to host a brunch she texted me “are you pregnant?” and i was like “how the hell does she even know?!?!” but it worked out because she was able to secretly film everyone’s reaction, which i still tear up at watching & am thankful it’s on video.

girls brunch and pregnancy reveal to friends

steins petit fores pregnancy reveal to best friends

sister love pregnancy reveal

i’m now at the 15-week mark and have passed the nausea phase and am feeling more energized and good! we found out and revealed the gender to our work and family & friends, so it’s all becoming even more real than before if that’s even possible. thinking of what’s in me as a boy is crazy. i have to admit that i was disappointed to find out it’s a boy as i really wanted a girl. i somehow envisioned myself with a girl and felt like that was what i was growing, but i was wrong! that feeling of disappointment has since passed, i really just want a healthy baby, but it was like a small dream was crushed when we got the bloodwork results from week 12 doctor visit and opened it together at our kitchen island & scrolled down to find “male.” i know i will love this baby unconditionally, but i’m just being honest. i’ve now formed a small belly pooch which to me is this awkward in-between of baby bump and food baby, but dekel kisses it every morning and my friends at work touch my belly and get excited for me and this compounds the joy inside. i’m happy to have shared my secret and now that it’s out in the open i’m excited to connect and learn from other moms and future-moms. this is just a whole new chapter in the book of life we have turned and it’s really exciting, scary, thrilling, crazy, emotional and fun at the same time.

thanks for reading!

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happy monday friends! hope you had a wonderful weekend & got to relax, have some fun, catch up on your shows, get outside, etc. i did all of the above!

it started on friday night with a scavenger hunt on lower greenville avenue hosted by lowest greenville collective where we went around to different participating restaurants and retailers in search of a hidden token, once you found the 2-inch laminated “G” (for greenville) you would tell the staff and they would stamp your card and if you made it to all places, checked all the boxes and shared on social you were entered to win tickets to a comedy show at the new four-day weekend venue on greenville. i didn’t end up winning, but it was still fun to walk around with dek and visit some places we had never been to before.

on saturday dek & i went to the apple store on knox so he could replace his 2-year old iphone battery. we made a brunch date out of it and headed to taverna (where sean lowe was eating at the table next to us!!!!) while they fixed it. i wore this buffalo exchange dress as a skirt & got so many compliments on it! it has no label so i’ll never know where it came, but i know it’s a piece i’ll wear over & over. it’s the perfect length and what drew me to it originally was the emerald green color and fun pattern, not to mention the price…it was like $18! it was a little chilly that morning (i’m such a wuss) at 65 degrees so i wore it as a skirt with my trusty ‘ol h&m jean jacket buttoned up over it. i felt very “me” in this outfit and was so inspired by it that i made another trip to buffalo exchange after brunch to load up on some more special ‘one-of-a-kind’ finds. it was the first day in a while where it was actually warm in the afternoon & got up to 80 degrees here in dallas so after solo-shopping i met up with my sister & we took our dogs to breckenridge park to walk for a bit and then after got a sweet icy treat of bahama bucks. i got watermelon & coconut with their sour sand sprinkled on top & it was sooooo good!

then on sunday we did yoga with dogs at mutts cantina. it was nuts, completely chaotic but so much fun and so entertaining. i went with my mom (her dog ollie), my sister (her pup tucker) & we met our friend lauren there (with her pup finn). kaiser was in heaven! he was worn out by the end of it all but probably could have stayed to play for hours. he’s still a puppy & we’re still training him to obey, not pull on the leash, etc. so he was wild running around & giving unsolicited kisses. we all got so dirty that baths were mandatory once we got home. kaiser doesn’t really like being bathed but he’ll do anything for treats so that’s how i lured him in 😉 see our pic from doggie yoga here.

brunch on knox in buffalo exchange dress

dress- buffalo exchange (last seen here), jean jacket- h&m (oldie but a goodie), tan booties- target (last worn on the blog here), fringe purse- found while vintage shopping in LA when i went last year for my birthday with mom & sister

brunch on knox in buffalo exchange dress

brunch on knox in buffalo exchange dress

brunch on knox in buffalo exchange dress

target booties knox henderson

my ‘eggs any style’ breakfast at taverna with scrambled & extra crispy bacon

brunch at taverna on knox

of course after brunch i  haaaddd to have a chocolate shake from the highland park soda fountain, they have the best shakes in town!

highland park soda fountain knox henderson

post-yoga pic with our pups at mutts cantina

yoga with dogs at mutts cantina

have a wonderful week!

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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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