Dallas with New Eyes

So one of my favorite intentional friendships is with my friend Mandy. It is purposeful and just so rich. This week I took her to my favorite places in Dallas. The problem…she has not had a good experience in Dallas. SO it was time for me to remedy that by going to my favorite places starting with Bishop Arts!

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Odfellows is the BOMB. We both had never tried Chemex or Pour Over so for the heck of it we got one of each and tried two different beans that were just heavenly. I think we spent two hours here without even ordering ay food, and I swear they thought we were probably crazy for not getting any food at all. IMG_8889IMG_8905

Mandy is getting married this summer, so in order to get her ready to get bridals taken, we had an impromptu shoot. Once she was warmed up we got some fun shots! We’ll keep working though.

I was truly moved by the shot below. This mural went up sometime last summer when I was in Washington D.C. and when we stumbled on it, there was something just stunning about the way Mandy approached this mural. She was so respectful and reflective in her approach. Paired with the crumbling foundation and the juxtaposition of the color this shot feels just so hopeful.

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Of course we could not pass the opportunity to buy a piece of pie 😉

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After Bishop Arts we moved to a driving tour of downtown that took us to Royal Blue Grocers and Highland Park Village.

This wall of vines was perfect for some shots, so we decided to take some updated shots for our linkedin’s ha.

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Of course the architecture of the window was so gorgeous I could not pass up some shots of it alone.

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All in all the day was fun and it was so refreshing to see Dallas with new eyes again going to all my favorite places, but this time with a friend to share the memories with.

A garden like no other

One of my bucket list items is to visit the tulip festival in Holland. Tulips are not necessarily my favorite flower, but there is something just incredible about seeing a field full of colorful tulips sprouting from the ground.

Well I got one step closer to experiencing that with a recent visit to Texas Tulips. It is about a 30 minute drive North of Dallas, and totally worth it.

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Flowers are my love language for sure.

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The range of colors are gorgeous, and look at those leaves! They leaves themselves are gorgeous in itself.

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Each stem is $3 and you get to pick them straight from the ground and feel like you are Eliza Doolittle and her basket of flowers.

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I am definitely coming back. Why not make the casual tulip you could buy at the grocer store more of an exciting experience.

 

Be Spontaneous

I preach intentionality. It prevents the pain of casual interactions. So I like to plan dinners with friends to catch up spend time with someone one on one. That was what was supposed to happen Tuesday night. Nice dinner with some good conversation. Instead this is what happened:

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Spontaneous trip to Common Grounds in Waco to see Colony House! And am I ever so happy this happened.

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One of the most hyped and best concerts I’ve been to. It ranks up there with Mumford & Sons and Johnnyswim – both times. There is something about small venues that create these incredible concert experiences. Of course, it helps when you go with a bunch of friends too.

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So this is Claire. Honestly, she is just an awesome human being and I feel so filled after spending time with her, which is why we were going to get dinner. But getting to have a car ride, concert, and another car ride to spend time catching up and talking about all sorts of things was perfect. I mean let’s be real, you can’t just do something like this with anyone. You have to be secure in your friendship if you are going to spend this much time and late car rides together.

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I’m seriously so thankful for this friend of mine and this Tuesday spontaneity.

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P.S. Go check out Colony House’s music, you will be so thankful you did.

 

March update

So I have been using my Passion Planner for two months now and I have made discoveries and breakthroughs.

I think it is easy to set all of these goals, but when it comes to carrying goals out, there is no one golden formula that makes it easy for everyone. Some people need hard set dates, others don’t, some need it broken down into steps, so need a general guidance.

I had the opportunity to write about my life plan and how I am approaching not only the next five years but also my life goals. While spending time looking both backwards and forwards I saw why certain goals have stuck and why some have not. The ones that I approach with freedom to be flexible are the ones that work. The difference is grace.

When I give myself room for grace I am not looking up at a treasure on a pedestal instead I am looking down a winding road that has wonderful joy along the way. There are times to wander of the main road and times for a sprint straight for my goal. The thing is that we are human, we change every second, we are not the same person as we were yesterday and as we will be tomorrow, so why set goals for ourselves that don’t allow those changes.

So I set a focus for each month and work on that. I attempt to make improvements not finishing goals, but that from day 1 to day 31 I have grown in some way. So here I am, working out 3x a week and not just wimpy workouts, I sweat, I WERK. I meal prep on weeks I am stressed and have now easily limited my eating out to social functions. I read books and limit TV intake.

This doesn’t mean I will ever fall off course, and never did in the last two months. I did. But I found the discipline in me to get back up. It all started by setting a foundation of routine in my life of getting up and praying. If I have discipline to seek God and put Him as  the bedrock to my life, then discipline in any other area is nothing!

Good luck to all of you as you seek to meander your way to a goal along with me!

 

 

Party Time

I promise I’m alive, and here with the final installment for throwing a surprise party!

So to start, with the party itself, you should be talking with the birthday boy or girl, several weeks out laying foundation work so you can manipulate/verify timing. I suggest saying

“hey I got reservations at your favorite restaurant for this time” and then on the day of you can drive to the party location and say “oh I just have to drop something off here…etc”

Basically help be in charge and say oh I’ll invite everyone etc and take care of RSVPs.

Then the night of have a group that you were going to meet up with have everything decorated and set up so when you walk in there’s someone to take pictures!

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{cake}

Welcome back to our focus on throwing a surprise party! Today is all about the cake. This was extra difficult to plan when I was going to make this seeing as I lived with the guest of honor, but also helpful since I know her schedule pretty well. I knew I had a 3 hour block of time to bake the cakes, so I bought all my supplies, borrowed some extra pans (that I hid in my room), and waited. As soon as she was gone I got straight to work.

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First tip: Cut a paper towel to fit in the bottom of the pan. After you oil the pan, put the paper towel in and this will make the cake come out easier, cool faster, AND when you peel the paper towel off you don’t loose chunks of cake!

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So funny story. This was supposed to be a three layer cake, not six…but I had two links open on my laptop. One was for inspiration for design, the other was for the actual recipe. Well guess what, I followed the wrong recipe, and before I knew it I was elbow deep in flower and batter that I hadn’t prepared for so the following picture will remind you:

  • It’s never too safe to have an extra big bowl

&

  • Read the recipe…

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That batter was good enough to eat by itself, and since there were not eggs added yet I went ahead and indulged myself in some post mixing licking of beaters. Who can blame a girl when it looks so good?

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Look at those colors! And below so cleanly came off the paper towel. Now we were at an hour until Mal came home, so once each layer was cool enough I wrapped them in saran wrap & then in aluminum foil, and into the freezer they all went!  JUST IN TIME!

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Then a week later I had prepped the icing while she working and let the layers warm up to almost room temp. With this buttercream and a mug of warm water I used the edge of a knife to slowly layer on the icing.

Voila! Rainbow cake! Now I used a natural pigment for coloring and I could have toned down the orange and green layer, but it tasted freaking incredible!

Next time I will try a different icing recipe and maybe less layers, but when you are constricted to time and secrecy I think it turned out pretty dang well!

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Come back again later for the surprise itself!

oh what a surprise!

I have a love hate relationship with surprise parties. I think they are so fun to plan, but they are also such a PAIN to plan – especially when you live with the guest of honor. So to kick things off on this how to guide to surprise parties we are starting with the invitation. I sent this out about three and a half weeks out to give people enough time to plan, but not too far out to get forgotten.

Paperless Post is my go to for invitations. The invitation is all online and way more sophisticated than just a facebook event – which are easily looked over because someone doesn’t get on facebook (ha I am the worst at doing that). There are a lot of free designs and you can even upload your own designs if you don’t see anything you want to use.

 

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Besides being easy to design and send, as a recipient it is easy to respond. You get the invite sent directly to your email and just click will or will not attend, and you can still send messages to the sender if need be. Even imputing all the emails is easy if you connect it to your email account or if you have a spreadsheet of all the emails, those can be imported.

For me it was great tracking device, because I could do a quick tally of how many people responded as well as send a mass message to those who have not replied asking for their RSVP. The interface is just so clean, beautiful, and easy to use.

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*P.S. Name and Email will show up, just had to blur out my friends info, because I am sure they would like to keep their privacy*

If you want to you can add notes, have a comment wall for guests, and give invites with the option to bring +1 or others. This flexible platform makes it easy to customize for your party needs. We added a note to park around the corner and timing details so we could coordinate for the surprise.

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What’s awesome is that if details change you can go in and change it after, and send a message out that there is an update to info – you can’t do that with a paper invite!

Next time you need to send out invites for an event or even just schedule a girls night out, this is classy, cute, and a great way to communicate!

Tomorrow we will talk cake – my favorite food group.