Summer 2018 Dallas Bucket List

I’m so happy that summer is almost *officially* here (even though it has felt like summer for a while now in Dallas)! It always goes by SO fast, with working and traveling and more traveling – it always seems like the summer is over and I realize that I didn’t do nearly as many fun things as I had set out to at the beginning of the season. I really want to make a conscious effort to make more fun memories in Dallas this year, so this is going to be my attempt to do so! (I’m all about planned fun, haha, and maybe this will remind me to go do fun things instead of watching Parenthood again on Netflix because yes that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week.)

Summer 2018 Dallas Bucket List

Try a new fitness class. There are so many great ones to try and I want to find a fun one and give it a go! There are so many “fitness events” around Dallas where you try a class at a cool location and there’s snacks after, so I’ll be on the lookout for one of those. I keep being out of town for all the ones I’ve previously wanted to go to!

Explore flea markets. Not that I really need anything, but I do enjoy looking around a good flea market! I haven’t been to that many in Dallas, so this is the perfect opportunity to find some and see what treasures they have inside!

Visit a new museum. I’ve done a pretty good job over the last 3 years of visiting a lot of the “touristy” spots and museums, but there are still a few that I need to check out. I love fun facts and trivia and this is a great way to learn more.

Try some fun desserts. It seems like there are fun new desserts places popping up ALL THE TIME in Dallas, and I haven’t tried ANY of them! I need to get on that!

See the murals around town. There are so many great murals around town and I have seen like, none of them up close!

Hear live music. Nothing says summer like sitting outside on a patio with a cool drink while listening to some live music. I’m thinking this will need to happen at Truck Yard or the Rustic. Yes.

Try a new brunch spot. There are so many that keep opening up and I’m falling behind!!

Find a “go-to” coffee shop. And not Starbucks. I want to find a place I can go do some work and have a delicious drink at the same time. Not too loud, not too quiet… just right.

Walk the trails close to me. There are so many nature trails up in north Dallas and I want to try them! But not at night. And not alone. And not in the middle of the hot summer days. So… this one will be tricky, but I can do it!

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Five for Friday #42

Hello from Kansas City!!! Well technically hello from Olathe, Kansas. I’m in town for a really good friend’s wedding tomorrow and I can’t wait to see her as a gorgeous bride! I just saw her and all our friends less than 2 weeks ago for her bachelorette party weekend, but I am so excited for more fun friend time. And cake. And I’m told there will be mini pies, so obviously I’m excited for those, too. It’s a bummer I couldn’t fit my workout shoes in my carry-on because I’m going to be eating ALL the food this weekend and will need to burn some calories! I head straight to San Diego for a work trip after the wedding, and I plan on doing a lot of walking there, so that will help. Except I’ll be eating more yummy food in San Diego…. it’ll be fine.

I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks doing the reading for my bible study for next week and waiting for my gal pals to get to town and realized I hadn’t posted yet today! And it’s a Five for Friday which is my FAVORITE, so here we go!

One || Have you heard of the enneagram before? It’s a kind of personality-type system and it’s the topic of my current bible study series and it’s ALSO the basis behind a series of songs from one of my favorite singers, Sleeping at Last! He is creating a song for each of the 9 enneagram types, and they’re all just SO good and SO on point and SO beautiful. The song for number 5 came out TODAY and you need to listen!! I’ll leave the song for 2 below, because right now it’s my favorite.

Two || Look at these adorable gingham donuts!! While I’m not a donut maker (YET!), I definitely want to try and decorate some of my sugar cookies with this gingham style… I think they’ll be adorable!

Three || I’m obsessing over these adorable little journals! Do I need more cute journals in my life? Nope. Do I still want to have them in my life? Yup! Rifle Paper Co. can do no wrong in my book. I’m still drooling over their little flagship store that I got to visit while in Winter Park, FL!

Four || I need to do some serious de-cluttering in my apartment (and my life if I’m being brutally honest) and this might just be the online inspiration I need, courtesy of Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Five || LOOK AT THIS DRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am absolutely in love with it! I bought it to wear to Brook’s wedding tomorrow and I just want to wear it all the time. It fits so well and is SO flattering on me, which was a real gamble since it was only available online and I couldn’t try it on at the store and I had no idea what size to get. Yes I did order 3 sizes because you just never know. One fit PERFECTLY and the other two will go back!

 

That’s all from me for now – I’ve got some more reading to do before all the exciting stuff starts this weekend! I hope y’all have a wonderful and safe weekend and also get to eat some mini pies! 🙂

Desktop Backgrounds for Summer

Hi there! I’m here with another installment of some of my favorite desktop backgrounds! I’m trying to keep my work desktop looking bright and fun during the summer, and these will definitely help me do that.

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Since I change my desktop background every week on Monday (I don’t get people who have had the same one for years – crazy!), I’ve used my fair share of fun images over the past few years. Check out other desktop backgrounds I’ve loved and shared here, here, here, and here!

 

The ONLY Sugar Cookie Recipe You Need

Just trust me on this one – this is the BEST sugar cookie recipe I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a LOT of them! It makes a ton, it tastes delicious (both baked and raw because you know I eat at least 2 cookies-worth of dough and so do you), and it HOLDS ITS SHAPE while baking which if you’ve ever made cut-out sugar cookies, you know that is the dream right there!

I went to a bachelorette weekend over the long Memorial Day weekend and decided to bring some cookies along with me. I used this tried and true recipe and y’all… they turned out AWESOME! Yes the icing is the best part, but the cookie just tastes so good, too. There were even some “professional” decorated sugar cookies at the bridal shower that weekend, and I dare say that mine tasted WAY better. (The other girls said the same thing, so just trust me and make this recipe ASAP!)

Big Batch Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups butter, room-temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
6 cups flour

Instructions:
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix together.
Mix dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture, mix well.
Chill for 1 hour.
Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to cool completely on wire racks.

Some notes on the recipe!!

I usually end up baking them for about 8 minutes and 30 seconds. You don’t want then to bake for too long or they’ll get to crunchy. When you take them out of the oven, they might look like they still need some cooking time but trust me, they’ll be perfect once they cool.

Make sure you chill the dough for at least the full hour! It makes the dough easier to roll out and helps the dough keep its shape while baking.

Try REALLY hard to get the dough rolled out evenly and to the right height. Too thin and the cookie will be too crispy, too thick and it will be too soft.

Bake the cookies on parchment paper! I just find it to be helpful.

Each time I make these cookies it seems to be a little different, but add the last cup of flour VERY SLOWLY. Sometimes I need the full 6 cups, sometimes the dough seems perfect at 5 3/4 cups. Just keep mixing until all the dough is incorporated and there aren’t any dry bits at the bottom.

Because you chilled the dough FOR THE FULL HOUR, the cookies won’t really spread when baking, so you don’t need to spread them out too far on the baking sheet.

I’ve actually shared this recipe before, but it’s just so good that it demanded to be shared AGAIN!!! The previous post also had a recipe for glaze, but don’t use that one because I’ve updated how I make it and how I use it and I plan on making another, more detailed post about that in the next few weeks or so.

 

Recent Reads – May 2018

Ok so first, let me start out by saying that I can’t believe that May is already over. This is nuts and I refuse to believe it. It has completely flown by, but at the same time it’s felt like the looooooooongest month ever (maybe because I’ve had 2 car accidents and my parents came to visit and I went out of town all in 1 month- that’s a lot of stuff going on!) But the fact that it was a super long month meant that I actually got some good reading done for once!

The unfortunate thing, though, is that I wasn’t wow-ed by any of the books I read this month. One I would deem as pretty good, one I would say was ok, and one I just didn’t really enjoy at all. So let’s get into it, shall we?!?

Sweetbitter

“The story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of New York’s most elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and high-adrenaline world of the food industry and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift.”

So here’s the thing… I didn’t really know anything about this book before I started it except “set in restaurant” and “going to be a TV show.” I used to work in a restaurant, so I wanted to give it a go! I thought oh maybe it will be about a girl who finds herself, and love, while working in a restaurant! and ummm no I was 100% wrong. Just so wrong. I don’t want to give anything away, but there was SO MUCH DRUG USE. And the main character was just so self-destructive, and I found it very annoying and frustrating. I honestly don’t know why SO MANY PEOPLE loved this book so much, and I have no desire to watch the TV show. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right head space to enjoy a book about somebody just making the worst life choices, maybe I missed the point, but just… sorry no.

The After Party

“Joan Fortier is the epitome of Texas glamour and the center of the 1950s Houston social scene. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and strong, she dominates the room and the gossip columns. Every man wants her; every woman wants to be her. Devoted to Joan since childhood, Cece Buchanan is either her chaperone or her partner in crime, depending on whom you ask. But when Joan’s radical behavior escalates the summer they are twenty-five, Cece considers it her responsibility to bring her back to the fold, ultimately forcing one provocative choice to appear the only one there is.”

I am all about books set in the 50’s, especially if it’s about fancy ladies in the 50’s. So this one set in TEXAS with fancy ladies in the 50’s?!?! I was SO READY for it! And it… was pretty ok… it did seem a bit repetitive at some points (yes, Cece, we get it, you are being torn between being a good friend and being her babysitter). The story seemed a bit one-sided since we really only see things from Cece’s point of view, but the settings were wonderful and that helped me stay interested in the story. I definitely related to the narrator – I’ve felt responsible for explaining away the behavior of a friend when really I should have just ended the friendship. It’s hard to determine when to keep trying to help someone (when they might not even want to be helped) and when to just cut and run, and I feel like the author could have displayed those feelings a little bit better in the book.

Fitness Junkie

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding gown company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin–the delicious love child of a brioche and a muffin–her best friend and business partner gives her an ultimatum: lose thirty pounds or lose your job. … As Janey eschews carbs, pays thousands of dollars to wellness gurus, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place?

This was definitely my favorite out of the three I read in May. It was on the list of books I wanted to read this summer so I was really excited to get it started! I LOVED another book by the same authors (The Knockoff) and while I didn’t think this one was as good, I still enjoyed it a lot! The story had a lot of ups and downs and things going on which kept it interesting but it wasn’t too hard to keep track of, which was good. This book made me laugh out loud a few times and I definitely recommend it if you want a fun, easy read for your flight or for the pool!

I already have a few books picked out to read during the month of June, and I can’t wait to start them! Have you read any of these 3 books already? What did you think?!?