Wednesday, December 30, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 4

Here we are at the end of 2020 and my final post in this series. When the year started I never dreamed I would have the time/desire/drive to read 53 books this year (I initially set a goal of 15!) but here we are! So without further ado here are the 15 books I read this quarter to end 2020. 

Majesty  4/5 - Fun and frivolous read! I enjoyed it more than the first one and hope there's a third; you do need to read American Royals first though. 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  4/5 - I like to reread a Harry Potter every year at Halloween and this happened to be the one immediately available at my library. I forgot how many more details there are in the book than in the movie, especially in the Department of Mysteries

The Finishing Touches  4/5 - This one took a few chapters to get into, but then finished strong. Reminded me of an Emily Giffin book and I think would make a cute Netflix movie 

Sex and Vanity  3/5 - In the end I wanted to like this one so much more than I really did; overall it felt rushed and could have benefited from an additional 50 pages or so

Where the Crawdads Sing  3/5 - Better than I expected, but probably not something I'd recommend very often. The descriptions of nature and poetry throughout just weren't my thing.

The Unhoneymooners  4/5 - Cute and predicable in all the best ways 

The Proposal  3/5 - Loved that this one was about my favorite character from the Wedding Date! The story was fun and made a quick read, but a lot of the middle felt unneeded

An American Marriage 3/5 - This was a well written story about a difficult subject. I probably never would have picked this one up, but it was a book club pick, but ultimately I was glad to read it. 

I Owe You One  4/5 - One of my favorite Sophie Kinsella books. Cute and predictable without being too unrealistic

The Wedding Party  3/5 - Fun and quick read, but not the best of this series 

You Lucky Dog  2/5 - This had such strong potential but ended up just falling really flat and felt rushed at the end. 

The Jettsetters  2/5 - Don't let the cover fool you, this is not the happy feel good beach read I was expecting. I should have better read the other reviews

10 Blind Dates  4/5 - This one was a fun and quirky story that Netflix needs to pick up and turn into a movie. It's Christmasy in the same way The Holiday is, which is to say it's appropriate for all times of year 

Royal Holiday  5/5 - This was probably my favorite read of the year; delightfully ridiculous is the best way to describe this book. I loved reading a story where the two main characters instantly clicked and there was no major scandal or blow up that lead to them breaking up

Circe  2/5 - This isn't my style of book, but with that said overall it was well written and enjoyable. If you like fantasy or mythology I'd highly recommend

What did you read this quarter? What was your favorite read of 2020? 

PS: Be sure to turn in next week when I share my 2021 reading challenge picks! 

PPS : Be sure to check out my Quarter 1, Quarter 2, and Quarter 3 reads too! 

Monday, December 7, 2020

My 2020 Favorites Gift Guide

Today I'm pretending to be Oprah and I'm sharing my favorite things! These are items that I've used and loved all year and think would make great gifts for someone. 

Disney + Subscription - Being able to watch so many Disney movies has brought me so much joy this year! I know there are a bunch of different streaming services out there, but Disney+ has been my favorite.  One thing to note if you're planning to gift this, you can only buy a gift card for a new subscriber, so if you're wanting to "gift" this to someone with a subscription already you'll want to give them money ($69.99 for a year) and a nice card that explains it is for a subscription. 

Amazon Fire Tablet - My husband convinced me to buy one of these last year and in 2020 I'm so so glad he did! I originally purchased this because I wanted one device that I could use to both watch and read when I travel. But honestly even without travel, I've used this so much in 2020. I love to use my tablet to borrow e-books from my library; something that has made reading so many books possible this year. 

Target Pajamas - Target makes my absolute favorite pajamas! They're affordable, breathable, and wash well. I have this set in pink and they're so soft; you really can't go wrong with any of this brand. 

Favorite Nail Polish - OPI Edinburgh-er & Tatties is my favorite neutral nail polish color. Doing my own nails this year has taught me the importance of having a favorite neutral color because it's more forgiving. Add this top and base coat duo and you've got a great self-care gift! 

Instantpot Duo - I've talked about how much we love this combo air fryer and pressure cooker before, but I couldn't post my favorite things without mentioning it again! One device that makes cooking at home easy and fun; you really can't beat it. 

What are your 2020 favorites that would make a great gift? 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

My Wishlist Gift Guide

There is truly nothing I need this year, but my husband (my most valued reader) requested this gift guide, so here it is. I normally would ask for an experience, but in the time of Covid that isn't an option. So instead here are some things I would enjoy finding under the tree this year. 

Restaurant Gift Cards - If I'm being honest the best gift would be to not have to cook/clean the kitchen. One thing I've learned this year is I enjoy cooking, but I really, really dislike the cleaning. I'd gladly accept gift cards to my favorite Mexican restaurant or our new favorite burger spot

Earrings - I'm very into pretty and versatile stud earrings lately. Putting on a pair makes me feel more put together even if I'm just wearing loungewear while sitting around the house. These Silver Studs Gold StudsPearl Studs, and Brass Studs are some that I'm loving. 

Bookmark - I have done a lot of reading in 2020! I've mostly read ebooks, but sometimes I get off the library wait list faster for the physical ones. When that happens I'm grabbing anything I can find for a bookmark. This Taylor Swift bookmark, this Great Gatsby bookmark or this Little Woman bookmark are some fun ones. 

Nativity Set - When I was putting up my Christmas decorations this year I realized I don't own a nativity set. Growing up we had an extensive nativity village; like it took up a whole room and we'd joke that there would have been plenty of room for Jesus in our village. While I don't need something nearly as extensive I'd love a set of my own to help remember the reason for the season. This colorful tin set, wooden doll version, and this hand carved wooden set are ones I love. 

Donations - As I mentioned, I really don't need anything this year. I've been extremely lucky that my husband and I have kept our jobs during the pandemic, but so so many have not been so fortunate. I love the idea of spreading the holiday spirit to those who may not have the money to spend this year. A few organizations that I believe in are Junior League of Richardson, Dallas CASA, and my church Angel Tree

Ideas from past gift guides - I tend to share items that I'd enjoy in my gift guides. A few items from recent guides I'm especially lusting after are these napkins, this coffee mug, and this ornament.  

What's on your gift guide this year? 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Small Business Holiday Gift Guide

The last few years I've tried to make it a priority to shop small and made in the USA for holidays, and this year it's now more important than ever. That's why I'm excited to share my small business holiday gift guide on the busiest shopping day of the year! 

Another idea I love is giving a gift card for a favorite local restaurant. Since March most restaurants have started to offer gift certificates that you can purchase online or over the phone, making it so easy to support local! I always say I think experiences make the best gifts and local takeout is the best/safest experience this year. 

Do you have a small business you love? I'd love to check it out!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Holiday Happiness

Popping in today to share some small holiday happiness!  These are all under $25 and are perfect to help you or someone else get into the holiday spirit. I know it's still technically before Thanksgiving, but we've got our tree up at home and I'm feeling all kinds of holly and jolly. The holiday season feels like the big shiny finish line of 2020 and I for one am SO excited we are finally here! 

Hand Painted Dog Ornament Christmas Acrylic Stir Sticks / Chinese Takeout Ornament 

Nutcracker Earrings / Christmas BookMini Pink Tree

Christmas Tree Salt & Pepper Shakers  / Peppermint Bark / Nutcracker Napkin Rings

Falala MugGlitter Daschund Ornament 

My mom bought me that mug and I can attest it is even more darling in person; perfect for a home made peppermint mocha! I think that take out container ornament is the perfect way to remember 2020 in a fun way. And it's not holiday season without peppermint bark and my favorite Christmas read

What small holiday happy are you loving this year? I feel like there are so many good ones out this year! 

Monday, October 5, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 3

I read 16 books during quarter 3 of 2020. If you would have told me back in January that I'd read 16 books in just 3 months I'd have thought you were crazy. But honestly I wouldn't have believed anything you'd told me about the last 6 months. I'm 84% to my new 2020 reading goal of 45 books and according to goodreads currently 4 books ahead of schedule! 

The Golden Hour 3/5 - I was expecting more of story about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Edward and Wallis Simpson) serving as governor of the Bahamas during WW2. While they were more of background characters than the main story this one was overall enjoyable. 

The Accidental Beauty Queen 4/5 - I really enjoyed this one! Fun and easy read that made me thankful for my sisters. 

Tweet Cute 3/5 - This was overall a cute story that I could see being made into a successful Netflix movie. I think I would have found it more believable/relatable if they hadn't been high schoolers 

All the Light We Cannot See 3/5 - Really beautiful story that I didn't fully enjoy until it was over. I enjoy stories with a narrator, but switching between the two main characters stories did make it a quick read. 

The Boyfriend Project 4/5 - I really enjoyed this one! I was expecting something similar to that movie The Other Women with Carmen Diaz, but what I got was much better. All the characters that are supposed to be likable were likable; something that I find is really rare lately 

The Gatecrasher 3/5 - Cute enough story, but I wanted certain characters to be developed more. 

Code Name Helene 5/5 - I loved that this was based on a real woman and not just inspired by a group. I cannot recommend this enough for anyone looking for a good WW2 book 

The Grace Kelly Dress 4/5 - I wish this had been 3 times as long because I wanted to know so much more about each of the three main characters

Before We Were Yours 5/5 - This 100% lives up to the hype and may be the best book I've read this year. I think part of what made it so good is the believable  happy ending 

The Nightingale 3/5 - Enjoyable but didn't live up the hype. There are so many other books out there about females during WW2, this one isn't especially memorable 

The Hamilton Affair  3/5 - I read this one for my book club and full disclosure probably only finished it because of that. If you've watched the musical you really don't need to read this one. The best part were the parts told from Eliza's point of view

The Worst Best Man 2/5 - Fun story and likable characters. If you like romance novels you'll probably really like this one, but I could have done without the sex scenes 

The Wedding Date 4/5 - It was so nice/refreshing to read a love story that didn't begin with the couple hating each other. 

The Vanishing Half 4/5 - This was an easy read about a not easy subject. I think I'd enjoy it more if I had a book club to discuss it with because most of the topics are things I have no experience with. I'd recommend this to everyone to read about something outside of your normal world experience 

28 Summers 4/5 - The only thing keeping this from a 5 star review is how crummy I felt after reading this and realizing the "bad guy" that I was cheering against was the married woman who's husband is cheating on her

Beach Read 3/5 - This started so promising but in the end kinda fell flat. I did really enjoy the insight into what authors do for inspiration when writing books 

Looking for more book recommendations? Be sure to check out my Q1 and Q2 reads! Want these reviews in more real time? I post 15 second book reviews on my TikTok  @salsatheblog 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

fall 2020 bucket list

To say I've been anxiously awaiting fall is an extreme understatement. This summer has honestly kinda sucked and the promise of crisp fall days sounds so much better. With fall officially starting this week I wanted to share my fall 2020 bucket list. 

  • Re-read one Harry Potter book - these just scream fall to me 
  • Make an at home "tailgate" for an Ole Miss or Dallas Cowboys football game - the best part of at home football means you can drink without having to worry about a DD 
  • Vote in the 2020 elections! - Seriously this should be on everyone's list 
  • Make homemade chili from scratch - the perfect fall meal 
  • Celebrate my 1 year wedding anniversary - if you have gift ideas let me know! 
  • Bake a pumpkin pie - my favorite fall treat! 
  • Decorate for Christmas - because Christmas starts as soon as you finish Thanksgiving turkey 

What's on your fall 2020 bucket list? 

Monday, September 21, 2020

current favorite content creators

Today I wanted to give little shoutouts to some of my favorite content creators. These are people that bring me joy and I hope they'll do the same for you! Kindness and encouragement costs nothing; I want to get better about promoting those I enjoy. There is room for everyone at the top! 

the_pastaqueen on TikTok- All her dishes look delicious! She makes fancy pasta seem really easy to make on TikTok - When I'm having a bad day nothing cheers me up faster than these videos. Tatum is a talking dog who loves watermelon and chicken nuggets 

coachcurtis88 on TikTok- He's a high school US history teacher and makes fun and informative TikToks with historical facts 

stephgrassodietitian on TikTok - healthy living tips from someone actually qualified to give that information, crazy! She's a clinical dietitian nutritionist so I feel confident in her advice, plus she doesn't push crazy fad diets  

scheckeats on Instagram - Jeremy writes a food blog aimed at college students, so while all the recipes seem fancy they're actually pretty easy. 

ali_gracemorsell on Instagram - I originally found Ali Grace from TikTok but love her Instagram more because she posts more content, including her precious little boy. She posts lots of fun recipes and what she packs her husband for lunch each day 

dcgirlinpearls on Instagram- Lauren is a long time follow; honestly I think she was one of the original blogs I started reading. She's also one of the few bloggers I've consistently followed because she posts relatable content without being annoying 

elizaenneagram on Instagram- I'm currently obsessed with enneagrams and I love how she colorfully and creatively illustrates them. For anyone wondering I'm a type two. 

signetsealed on Instagram - Sarah is an artist that I've included in some past gift roundup posts. She started by drawing city themed prints, but has expanded into television series coloring pages, Bachelor/Bachelorette weekly recaps, and fun themed bingos. She also has an adorable rescue greyhound named Moose who is reason enough to give her a follow 

She's Probably Busy on apple podcasts - This is a fairly new podcast that I learned about because one of the hosts is actually my sorority sister! Two 20 something girls living in LA (working for Disney!) talking about life. They're so enjoyable and relatable to listen to 

The Sunday Scaries on apple podcasts - I've been a long time listener of this podcasts and think it's the perfect way to start my Monday. New episodes drop each Sunday morning and they're the literal definition of "chill" 

Who are your current favorite content creators? 

Monday, July 27, 2020

What I'm Watching

We've entered the part of summer where it's too hot for me to even pretend like I want to leave the house. The heat index has been over 100 every day for the last week here in DFW. That means in addition to all the reading I've been doing also I'm watching a lot more tv. Here's what I've currently been streaming

Hamilton on Disney+ - Do I even need to include this, because duh obviously I've watched this! We were really lucky to see the musical in person when it came to Dallas last year, but getting to rewatch it (especially with the facial close ups) is still really cool.

Tangled the series on Disney+ - We put this one on randomly one night as we were folding laundry before bed and got hooked. It picks up after the end of the movie

My Spy on Prime - We watched this one for at home date night and thought it was really cute. It reminded me of something that the Rock would be in; kinda cheesy and endearing

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on HBOMax - This is the story behind the book of the same name. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who died of cancer in the 1950s, without her or her family's permission doctors took her cells and those cells (HeLa) have led to all kinds of medical break throughs.

QueerEye on Netflix -  Oh how I LOVE this show! In my opinion this is the perfect feel good show and this new season did not disappoint

Eurovision Song Contest : The Story of Fire Saga on Netflix - Maybe I just had really low expectations, but this was one of the best things I've seen this year. Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as small town Icelandic sings with dreams of winning Eurovision is exactly what we need at this time.

Sweet Magnolias on Netflix - At first I wasn't a big fan of this one; I literally fell asleep the first time I watched it. But it grew on me around episode 3 and turned out to be pretty entertaining

Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix - I randomly found this one night when I was looking for something new to watch and it is so great! Phil was a tv producer so he knows how to make an interesting program. My favorite part is at the end of every episode he video chats with his parents from whatever location he's in while they're back home.

Below Deck on Bravo on Demand - My husband and I are obsessed with this one! Having worked in luxury hospitality it's fun to watch and very relatable

What are you currently watching?

Friday, July 24, 2020

4 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in July

Tomorrow is July 25, Christmas in July day! Christmas is my favorite holiday so I'll gladly take any excuse to celebrate it, even 5 months early. I can't think of anything we need more in 2020 than a little extra holly jolly feelings. Today I'm sharing 4 ways to celebrate Christmas in July.

1. Watch a Christmas movie - I think this is my favorite part of Christmas and in my opinion the key to celebrating Christmas in July! I shared this list of holiday movies to stream back in December and a few of them are still available to stream now. My personal choice would be to watch Elf (currently on Netflix) because I think it's the perfect movie.

2. Listen to a Christmas playlist - Don't want to go full out for Christmas in July? Put on a Christmas playlist to help lift your spirits while you're doing house chores or cooking. I put together this playlist a few years ago of my favorite holiday songs.

3. Eat a favorite Christmas treat - My very favorite holiday treat is peppermint bark so I think it'd be the perfect Christmas in July treat! Other good treats are hot chocolate or Christmas cookies or whatever dessert screams Christmas to you!

4. Enjoy a favorite Christmas tradition - I bet you have a tradition that you do every Christmas; my Christmas tradition is eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve. I know a lot of people always play certain boardgames or maybe call all their family they're not with. Doing something as simple as that can really help Christmas in July feel holly and jolly!

How do you plan to celebrate Christmas in July?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How I'm really feeling

I thought it was time to do a quick real life check-in with everybody. We're about 4 months into quarantine which is about 3 months more than I ever thought this would last. It's so crazy to think back to early March and how different everything was then. I spent the first week of March in Vegas for a work trip; at that point we were only sorta starting to think Covid could become a thing in the United States. People were jokingly bumping elbows instead of shaking hands and I went to the Strip like things were totally normal. My flight back home to Dallas was half empty, which looking back on should have been a wake-up call that things were about to get serious.

I spent the rest of March in denial that things were going to get so bad. I stayed home and listened to all the recommendations, but I mistakenly thought everyone else was doing the same thing and it'd be over soon. We only left the house to grocery shop and have take-out put in our back seat before taking it home for "date night." At that point I was honestly loving staying home and being excited about having time to do more cooking and the quality time I was spending with my husband and Rebel. The denial of March quickly turned to darkness in April. I shared before that my grandmother passed away from Covid in April; I carried this dark cloud all month. I only took 1 day of bereavement because I felt silly taking more when we weren't traveling for a funeral, but I cried almost every day that month. Every time my phone rang I had a sinking feeling in my stomach because I was sure it was either my boss calling to tell me I was being laid-off or my mom telling me another family member has tested positive. I was trying to put on a positive face, but I was not in a good place. I was living in crippling fear; I couldn't even leave the house to go grocery shopping.
I regressed back to denial in May and was convinced everything would be fine for me to go on a trip to Florida in June. I was looking at the rising numbers in Florida and around the country, but still kept telling myself everything would be fine. I finally canceled my flight June 1 (thanks for the full refund Southwest!) and I think that's when I finally hit the point of acceptance. I realized none of the trips we were planning for 2020 were going to happen. I started thinking about how I could realistically make 2020 special because it wasn't going to be with the Disneyland or Europe trips I was planning. 

Now as we're closing out July I'm doing better. I still have moments of extreme anxiety, but I'm learning to pause and just breathe. I can't predict the future so I have to accept to just take it a day at a time. Planning too far ahead will only set me up for disappointment. Before I do anything I think about how it is going to impact others, and while I wish everyone would think this way all I can control is myself.

How are you really doing?

Monday, July 6, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 2

If I'm being honest I'm glad to see 2020 Q2 finished; these last 3 months have been rough. Texas started reopening in early May, but I'm still mostly staying inside and only going out when I need to. This means I've have lots of reading time! Here's what I read in 2020 quarter 2

The Orphan's Tale - 4/5  This was a rare book where I enjoyed both the narrators

The Engagements - 4/5  This one took a while to get into, but I really liked how everything tied together at the end

We Were the Lucky Ones - 5/5  Hands down one of the best books I've read, ever

Limelight - 4/5   This was a fun story that was easy to picture; it'd make a cute Netflix movie

Bringing Down the Duke - 3/5    Not bad, but not great either

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - 5/5  The story really grabs you and keeps you interested right from the start. I could easily see this being made into a movie or HBO mini series

My Oxford Year - 2/5    Spoiler Alert! This felt like two totally separate books. The first half is your typical chick lit, goes to the UK and falls for her professor who also happens to be terribly wealthy and have a reputation as a playboy. Then halfway through we're hit with the bombshell that he has terminal illness? No thank you. That is not the book I signed up to read.

My Not So Perfect Life - 4/5   Exactly what you expect in a Sophie Kinsella book; a few laughs and a happy ending

The Man of my Dreams - 2/5     I wanted to like this book so badly, but ultimately just couldn't. It all came down to the main character just not being likable

Match Making for Beginners - 3/5    This sounds like a spoiler, but it really isn't : everything gets better after Blix dies. This one starts so slow but picks up in the middle and held my interest to the end

American Princess - 3/5   Interesting read that got better as it went. I really liked that you could tell the author did extensive research and included so many real people and events.  

The Bromance Book Club - 3/5  Fun and different story line that's great for the beach or pool

Check out my 2020 Quarter 1 reads here. Have any books I need to read next? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Monday, June 29, 2020

birthday wish list

My birthday is just over a month away and to say I'm a little bummed is an understatement. When 2020 started I thought I'd be ringing in 29 with a dole whip while riding Jungle Cruise in Disneyland. Obviously that won't be happening this year. Instead I'm hoping to spend the day quietly at home starting with a donut and then some reading and finishing the day with takeout from my favorite Mexican restaurant. Aside from that queso there really isn't much I want for my birthday, but my sweet husband has requested I publish a birthday wish list, so here we are.

coffee sticks - These are technically for cocktails, but I think they'd bring me extra joy in my morning coffee. I especially love the Big Tex, party flamingo, and piƱata ones.

headband - Specifically this one in rainbow stripe bright. One day we'll go back out in public and this headband would go with so much

leggings - People swear these are as good as the lululemon ones, but at a fraction of the price. I practically live in leggings so I'd be excited to try these out

kitchenwares - Anything from my kitchenwares wishlist post would be appreciated

t-shirt quilt - I have way too many shirts from college that I don't wear anymore, yet can't bare to part with. A t-shirt quilt seems like the perfect solution

gardening - Since we moved into our house a year ago I've been saying I want to do some landscaping out front, but haven't yet

Friday, June 12, 2020

kitchenware wishlist

I mentioned the other week that I've been spending more time in the kitchen lately. We have everything (and more) we need for regular cooking, but now that I'm trying to expand my skills I sometimes find myself passing up a recipe because I don't have a specific item. I've been putting together a bit of a kitchenware wishlist.

round cake pan - One thing I want to start doing is making pretty cakes, specifically layer cakes. I realized I can't really do not if I don't have two identical sized pans

bundt cake pan - As I mentioned before I really want to start making "pretty cakes" and a bundt cake is instantly pretty. I really like this one because it comes with a cover to keep the cake fresh

french onion soup mugs - A while ago Chrissy Tiegan posted an Instagram story making French Onion soup and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since

oxo pop containers - I have a few of these, but as I'm buying more pantry ingredients I need more!

brown sugar keeper -

veggie grill basket - We love using our grill to make burgers and chicken, but I'd love to be able to make some grilled veggies too

pizza stone - I keep seeing recipes for grilled pizzas that I'm dying to try

egg ring - My husband eats a frozen breakfast sandwich almost every morning for breakfast. I'd love to be able to shape my own scrambled eggs to make some homemade sandwiches

batter dispenser - We love making waffles so this would make everything less messy

popsicle mold - Every summer I say I'm going to make my own popsicles, but then never do

What's your favorite kitchen tool I need to add to my kitchenware wishlist?

Friday, May 22, 2020

7 recipes I want to try and 1 we love

We've reached the point of this pandemic when I'm looking to expand my cooking skills. My husband is allergic to bananas so sadly I won't be baking any banana bread and needed to look for inspiration elsewhere. I've been hunting Pinterest and some of my favorite cook books for new recipes I want to try! Here are a few I have my eye on

Pesto Chicken Sliders - I think these would also be really good swapping in goat cheese too!

Instant Pot Hibachi Steak and Vegetables - I make stir fry in my wok often so this looks like a fun alternative

Classic Fresh Strawberry Pie - It counts as healthy because it has fruit, right?

Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti - This was one of my favorite meals when I lived in my sorority house, so I'm excited to try it myself

Philly Cheesesteak Cheesy Bread - I want to try this now so it's perfected by the time sports are back

Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken - This looks like such a great summer dish

Low Country Shrimp Boil - Am I crazy or does your mouth water when you think about eating this too?

Bonus! We made these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last weekend and I can't recommend them enough! I baked about a dozen and then rolled the rest of the dough for the freezer and I'm happy to report they're still delicious using the frozen dough

Monday, May 11, 2020


Watching - Last month we got cable again after not having it for a year and I am taking full advantage of it! I cannot get enough FoodNetwork or HGTV even when that means watching 5 episodes of Chopped in a day. I always tell myself I'm going to watch something else, but before long I end up back on one of these two stations.

Listening - The other day I was listening to the Broadway station on Pandora and a song came on that I'd never heard. After a little research I learned it was from the musical SIX, which is the story of King Henry the Eighth's six ex-wives. I have since become obsessed with the soundtrack!

Buying - I finally caved and ordered this dress from Target that I've wanted since March. I snagged it during their recent 30% off sale and also snagged this other adorable spring dress. This weekend I used a gift card to buy a few books when it was announced that the city of Dallas is furloughing the librarians until July 31 and I realized I'm not getting that book I'm next on the waitlist for anytime soon. These are the only purchases (other than food/bills) I've made in 2 months! One positive of this pandemic is it has caused me to have a "no spend" month without even realizing it.

Wanting - Ever since we moved into our house a year ago I've wanted to change the light above the kitchen table. Now that I sit under it for 8 hours a day working I really want to change the light. I'd describe my style as industrial farmhouse and have my eye on something like this or this or something very traditional like this. It's just so hard to know which I'll prefer without seeing them in the person.

Eating - We've been in a really good routine lately where we grab takeout from a favorite restaurant once on the weekend and once or twice during the week, cooking all our other meals at home. I haven't made anything too crazy yet, but I have my eyes on a few recipes I want to try for a fancy weekend date night at home.

Hoping - That all of this is over in the next month or so. I have a trip to Florida planned for mid June that I haven't pulled the plug on yet. Realistically I know the chances of it happening are very very slim, but I'm just not ready to accept it won't happen. Luckily I was going with family so I only booked a flight myself and only have to worry about canceling that.

Accepting - That 2020 is not the year I go to Europe. For years I planned and saved to go for my 25th birthday, but then I was in the middle of my first summer in Vail and had approximately 2 days of PTO so that didn't happen. Then last year I'd hoped to go for our honeymoon, but this time my husband didn't have enough PTO time to go so we did a long weekend trip to DC instead. We'd been planning to go for our first anniversary this fall, but with the state of things I just don't see that happening. Even if we can go, it may not be safe to go, plus I'm not feeling enough job security to drop that much cash on flights that we'd only get refunded in the form of credits. We were also planning to add a couple days onto the back of a work trip this summer and spend my birthday in Disney Land, but that's also not happening now. This is a major bummer because we hope to have a baby in 2021, so we won't be planning any major trips next year.

Monday, May 4, 2020


My grandmother passed away two weeks ago. She was 89 and healthy except for bad knees that caused a fall in mid March. That fall meant she needed surgery and then time spent in a rehab center; it was here that she was exposed to Covid-19. The first week of April she was moved from the rehab center back to the hospital, moved to a Covid ICU floor and intubated. On Monday April 20th my mom called to let me know the hospital was letting her and my aunt and uncle in to say goodbye. Around 9:30pm that evening I got the call I'd been dreading for over a month. The doctors tell us she went immediately and peacefully in the end; a small comfort. She was laid to rest 5 days later with a private funeral of only 8 family members present. My husband and I did not attend because it's not safe or responsible to travel to New Orleans right now.

My Mimi loved to read and all things sports. When we were little she'd take us for walks and then feed us ice cream. We grew up a hour away and she was really the only babysitter my parents trusted so I have so many memories with her. She made delicious white beans and rice and fried pork chops. She was smart, stubborn, and spirited. She fiercely loved us and we loved her. We miss her deeply.

so thankful the last memory I have with Mimi is from my wedding

I'm not sharing this story today for pity. Pity and sympathy won't bring Mimi back. I share her story to remind you that as updated numbers are reported each day these are not just "cases" these are loved ones. Every life taken from Covid-19 is not just a statistic, but a person deeply missed. I am so thankful for every memory I have of her, but am completely heartbroken knowing she won't be here for more.

As more and more states move to "reopen the economy" remember to use good sense. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and take advantage of to-go or curbside pickup when available. If not for yourself, for someone else's Mimi.

Monday, April 20, 2020

5 things to do with your stimulus check

Last week the majority of the stimulus checks started hitting bank accounts. No matter your opinion on these checks, if you get one you have to figure out what to do with your stimulus check. The thing about $1200 is if you haven't been financially impacted, its a lot of money to just be given to you. I think during this time of national crisis we all have a responsibility to really think about what to do with your stimulus check. Today I'm sharing ideas for 5 things to do with your stimulus check.

1. Saving - This is what my husband and I are doing with ours, and my number 1 recommendation for anyone financially impacted. I shared before that I feel very little job security at the moment, while my husband and I do still have jobs I've taken a pay cut and a good portion of his is based on reaching sales goals. We've decided to put our stimulus check in savings until the end of the summer; by that time hopefully we feel better about this whole thing and can use it for something fun.

2. Investing - Stock prices are starting to rise but are still below where they were a month ago. If you've ever been interested in the stock market I think now is a good time to invest if you can leave the money for the long run. This is for sure not a get rich quick plan! Another way to invest is to "invest" in yourself and put your stimulus check toward paying off debt. PS: Has anyone used Robinhood for this? I'd be really interested in your experience.

3. Eating - This is the more responsible way to spend your stimulus check. Use it to get takeout from your favorite local restaurants once a week. Or maybe tip extra when you get delivery. I read something recently that said since the contactless deliveries have started the average tip has actually gone down because people don't feel the need to tip someone they don't see.

4. Shopping - The key to this one is to support made in America products and small shops. Sure you could shop the big department stores and luxury brands, but that's kinda defeating the point of this stimulus check. If you want to shop hit up local boutiques (most are still taking online orders and doing curbside pickup or front porch drop off) or etsy shops and support someone instead of a large corporation.

5. Donating - Maybe this has made you appreciate your blessings and you're feeling generous. Local food banks domestic violence shelters are being hit especially hard right now and would appreciate the extra funds to restock. Other good ideas would be animal shelters/rescues, churches, or non-profits that have probably seen a decline in their usual donations.

What are you planning to do with your stimulus check?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Go-to DFW restaurants

Back in January I shared 20 DFW restaurants I want to try this year. I'm happy to report that before this virus outbreak we'd actually crossed a couple of those off the list! But today I wanted to share our go-to DFW restaurants. These are the places we keep finding ourselves going back and back to during the last two years that I've called Dallas home. My husband grew up in Dallas and some of these are places he's been going with his family since childhood! If you're in DFW and looking for a local restaurant to support right now, you can't go wrong with any of these!

Mariano's - The Best Mexican food in DFW, hands down, no contest. My regular order : frozen margarita (they were invented here!), queso, and the chicken tortilla soup

Burger House - My husband grew up down the street from here and would ride his bike to grab a cheeseburger. He's now 30 and the workers still know him by name. These are everything a classic burger should be! My regular order : single cheese burger with mayo, lettuce, pickle and a cheese fry to share

Yolk - This breakfast spot is really close to our church so we would stop for (non-alcholic) brunch after Sunday service. My regular order : iced coffee with the green eggs and ham (scrambled eggs with pesto, swiss cheese and ham) with cheesy grits and an english muffin. If you want something healthy, the South Beach is also really good!

Bubba's - This is another spot my husband grew up going with his family that we've adopted as one of our go-to spots. My regular order : grilled tenders with green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy. PS : the roll with honey butter is 100% worth the calories

iFratelli's - This is our favorite pizza delivery both at home and at my office. They have a few locations across the metroplex, so if you're in DFW chances are you have a location near by. My regular order : at home we love just a classic pepperoni, but at work we love the staff special with grilled chicken, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts

Wang's - The best Chinese takeout in DFW! I was super skeptical the first time my husband brought me here because there was literally nobody eating inside, but as we were waiting for our order I quickly realized nobody eats in, but tons of people order takeout. My regular order : Garlic chicken, egg rolls, and crab puffs. If we're wanting a lot of leftovers we'll also order pork lo mein.

Sammy's BBQ - This holds a special place in my heart because my husband took me here the first time he brought me home to meet his family and it's where we had our rehearsal dinner. They're only open for lunch as they close once they sell out. My regular order : sausage and potato casserole are a must get every time and then I'll switch out my second meat and side depending on what I'm in the mood for

New York Subs - Another of my husband's childhood favorites; they'd get these for bus rides to away football games in high school. These are simple classic sub sandwiches but are so so good! My regular order : Half a # 3 (ham and cheese) with mayo, lettuce, and the special sauce and a bag of creole onion Zapps

Truck Yard - This is one of our favorite casual date night spots. There's an inside part for hot nights, but the real fun is sitting outside by the different food trucks that rotate out each day. My regular order : inside they always have philly cheesesteak and they're so good! I go with steak, provolone, onions, and peppers with the spicy ranch! Oh and the twisted mule on tap

Tasty Tails - As someone who grew up with a boat docked at my house, I'm very picky about seafood, especially seafood claiming to be "New Orleans style". But eating here reminds me of eating back in my hometown. My regular order : small shrimp Po'boy with tartar sauce and cajun fries

Rosa's - If we're in the mood for fast, but good mexican food this is where we go. One Tuesdays they do a $5 taco plate! My regular order : crunchy beef tacos, and yes, you do also need to eat the soft tortillas that come with your order because they are worth the carbs

Monday, April 6, 2020

tips to help manage stress

I think its safe to say we're collectively all under an elevated amount of stress at the moment. No matter where you live or what you do for work this virus is impacting your life. Every day I wake up wondering if this will be the day I lose my job; it's hard to justify paying meeting planners when you can't put on any meetings. I'm not so worried that I'll catch it and die, but I am worried about my grandmother and in-laws that fall in the high risk age range, not to mention my family members that work in health care.

Hopefully you're not feeling the same anxiety I am on a daily basis, but if you are I wanted to share a few tips to help manage stress. I want to stress that I am in no way an expert and these are just small things that work for me. If you're really having a hard time I recommend talking with an expert.

1. Don't look at your phone once you go to bed - This has made the biggest impact on me and managing my stress during this time. I found myself scrolling twitter and reading all the depressing news stories each night which then caused me to not be able to fall asleep. Once I get in bed I only touch my phone to make sure my alarm is set for the next morning.

2. Watch a favorite movie - There are some movies that just instantly make me feel better Elf, Moana, Sweet Home Alabama. Watching one of these instantly helps melt my stress. If you're not a big movie fan put on your favorite television series or open a good book. The idea is to transport yourself somewhere else to forget about real life.

3. Make a daily to-do list - Each night before I go to bed I try to think of 3 things I'm going to do the next day. These are usually easy things like drink 3 of my yeti's of water or set the table for dinner or take the dog for a walk. This way I have an easy set of activities to redirect my attention when I start feeling stressed. This also helps because part of what's causing the stress is that everything is out of my control, so this is allowing me to control something.

4. Look for the silver lining - I start each day thinking about either 3 positives or 3 things I'm thankful for. Then whenever I start to feel anxious or stressed I just remind myself of these. Some examples are spending more time at home with my husband and dog, saving money on gas, or all the movies available on Disney+

5. Indulge in some self-care - Paint you nails, light a candle, turn on a calming playlist and drink some wine, put on a face mask. Do whatever little thing feels indulgent and calms you. You deserve it!

6. Let it out - Sometimes the only way to feel better is to let it all out. Have a good shower cry or post a rant on Facebook. Letting all the negativity escape is sometimes the only way to get rid of it.

What are your tips to help manage stress?

Friday, April 3, 2020

6 Easter Basket Ideas for Adults

I originally planned to publish a post about Easter dresses today, but with the state of current affairs that seemed wrong. Our bishop closed all churches about 3 weeks ago and at least until the end of the month which means no Easter Sunday service. As a person of faith this has been hard. I know it's for the best to keep them closed so we don't have mass gatherings, but not having this peaceful space during such a stressful time is hard.

But Easter is a time of hope so I wanted to still publish something fun today. I fully believe that having these silly fun posts are essential to our health and mental well-being right now. So today I'm sharing 6 Easter Basket Ideas for Adults. These are all things you can buy online and have delivered to your home or pick up curbside.

1. Something to Keep Busy - A coloring book or board game are great ideas to help you pass the time. Looking for a great read to gift someone? I bet you can find something that sounds interesting in my 2020 reading list review. I also love the idea of a gift card for a month of Audible if you're trying to have less stuff in your home.

2. Something Trendy - This is more female Easter basket specific. But this is the perfect time to throw in something trendy, yet inexpensive! These earrings from Amazon and these from Target are perfect picks for something to include. Another good idea would be a headband, floppy sun hat, or rattan clutch.

3. Reusable Straw - You can find these lots of places, but I especially love this mini travel set. It seems silly to buy something "travel" specific right now, but I think it's important to think long term right now and remember one day we will be leaving our houses regularly again.

4. Self Care Items - Nail Polish (OPI I Eat Mainely Lobster is my favorite for spring) or a body scrub are perfect additions for a female basket. For your guy you could grab his favorite after shave balm or a fun new soap. I always talk about my favorite Burt's Bees at holiday gift guide time, but these would be a great item for an Easter basket as well!

5. Practical Basics - Underwear and socks usually aren't the most exciting gifts, but I love the idea of throwing in a fun practical item. MeUndies carries lots of fun prints that I think are well worth the price tag.

6. Candy - Is it really an Easter basket without candy? My personal favorite are Reese's Eggs, because they just taste better than the regular Reeses and Starburst jelly beans.

What are you hoping to find in your Easter basket this year?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What I've read in 2020 - Quarter 1

Earlier this year I made the decision to be more intentional with my time. Part of that goal was so that I could devote more time to reading instead of mindlessly scrolling social media. I've now read 10 books in 2020, only 2 less than I read in all of 2019, so obviously this goal is working. Today I wanted to share some reviews of what I've read in 2020 in case you're looking for a new book to read.

The Diplomat's Daughter - 5/5  This one was very interesting because it told a WW2 story from a perspective I've never considered. It tells the story of a Japanese diplomat's daughter stationed in America at the outbreak, a first generation American of German heritage, and an Austrian Jewish boy.

The Huntress - 5/5  I know it's early but I'm calling this my best read of 2020. It was slightly predictable, but the writing kept me interested and wanting to keep reading. Its about the hunt for a female nazi, nicknamed the huntress, after the end of the war.

Campaign Widows -  4/5   This was a fun frivolous read, especially during a campaign year! You don't really need to know anything about politics to enjoy this one, but if you do you'll probably pick up some extra funny bits. It follows a candidate's wife, former speechwriter, digital media editor, Georgetown "It" woman, and morning talkshow producer as they navigate election season.

The List - 4/5  The only reason this didn't get a full 5 stars is because I thought the ending was rushed after such a great buildup. I will say I was a journalism major and political science minor so that might have something to do why I enjoyed this one so much. Adrienne returns to her old stomping grounds of DC to work at the hottest news site in town as a style writer when she stumbles upon a story that is too big to not pursue.

Rush - 3/5   I wanted to love this one so much more than I did. Maybe I was just critical because I was a sorority girl at Ole Miss and found the over explanations of Oxford and Ole Miss student life to be exhausting? This story revolves around sorority rush at Ole Miss and tells the story from the point of view of a long time house staff member, a new house advisor, and a girl from a small town going through the process.

Bond Girl - 4/5   I may have been a little generous with this rating, but overall it was enjoyable. If you know anything about working in finance (I don't) you may have different feelings, but because I know nothing it was interesting to have a little peak into that world. This tells the story of a new graduate as she navigates life working on wall street leading up to the financial crisis of 2008.

The Last Train to London - 5/5   This was a very well written account of a part of WW2 I knew nothing about. After finishing this one I did some googling to see how much was real and it was heartwarming to find this true story of goodness during a time of such evil. This book is about the Kindertransport that brought thousands of Jewish children safely out of Germany at the beginning of WW2.

Playing with Matches - 3/5  This was so good until the end. I'll just say I didn't see the end coming and wasn't too happy about it. This is a fun light read about a girl who's first job out of college is as a matchmaker for a paid dating site.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows - 2/5   So the story of this one was really really good, but I was NOT prepared for there to be actual erotic stories included. Had those been excluded this probably would have been a 4 or even 5 star read. The story centers around a girl who takes a job in what she thinks is to teach a creative writing workshop at the community center for Punjabi women. She quickly learns they are not able to read or write English, but they have a gift for story telling that others in the community do not know about.

The Lost Girls of Paris - 4/5   A story of female spies during WW2. It reminded me of The Alice Network, but not as good. A good quick read for someone wanting a historical fiction read.

What have you read so far in 2020?

PS : I've linked everything to Amazon because I think it's the easiest shipping/availably situation, but if able I encourage you to shop your favorite small local bookstore. My favorite is Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi - for now they are currently shipping!

Monday, March 30, 2020

spring 2020 playlist

Happy Monday friends! I'm coming to you today with my current playlist. Even before the virus I was working from home a few days a week so I've been perfecting this one for a little bit. I always say the key to making a great playlist is a mix of old and new songs and I think this one does exactly that!

What songs are you loving right now?

Monday, March 23, 2020

6 easy meals to make now

Starting at midnight Dallas County is under a shelter in place ordnance which means the only outings for the foreseeable future are to the grocery store. We've been really lucky and haven't had any issues finding groceries so far, even being able to buy our usual brands. I hope you're having the same luck where you are.

Today I wanted to share a few easy meals to make now. These are all recipes that either require very few ingredients or are flexible in what ingredients you do use. I think that's the key to cooking at home when you're under stress. I'd love to cook elaborate meals, but even if I could find the ingredients I'm too stressed to prepare anything elaborate. If you have any easy meals, I'd love you to share them below!

1. Breakfast for Dinner - Eggs may be a little difficult to find right now, but you can probably easily find pancake mix, breakfast meat, and fruit. For a little extra protein you can put some peanut butter on your pancakes when they're hot and it melts like syrup.

2. Ranch PorkChops - Pork seems to be the easiest meat to find right now and this is the perfect recipe for them! All you need are pork chops, ranch seasoning, butter and a crockpot or instantpot. Any side veggie or starch you have works well with this for a complete meal

3. Frozen Pizza and Salad - Is this the most exciting meal? No way, but it is easy and probably something you can find in your grocery store. You can also keep eating different variations of this depending on what flavors are in stock in your store.

4. One Pan Sausage and Vegetables - This is one of our favorite meals no matter what is going on in the world. You can use whatever produce you can find; potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, etc. To make it a little more filling I'll serve it over rice or with a salad on the side.

5. Ravioli Bake - I've never tried this recipe personally but it looks super simple and yummy. You could also leave out the meat to make this an easy vegetarian meal and I bet the leftovers are delicious. Plus it's a little fancier than regular spaghetti.

6. Snack Plate - This is one of my favorite meals, especially for a day spent watching tv. The best part about this meal is you literally can't mess it up and it's a great way to use whatever you already have on hand. Some great items to include are cheeses, lunch meat, boiled eggs, pickles, crackers, olives, dips or spreads, sliced raw veggies, and nuts.

Stay Safe and Wash Your Hands!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Publish that Post

Last night as I was scrolling Instagram I came across a poll from Annaliese asking if bloggers were still planning to post with everything that's going on in the world. I quickly responded that I hoped so because blog posts and instagram stories are a welcome reprieve from what's really going on in the world.

I keep separate twitter and instagram accounts for my blog where I follow only fellow bloggers. In the last few days I've found myself wanting to exclusively keep looking at those profiles over my personal ones because reading about frivolous things is more fun than reading the news. Reading about spring fashion trends is better for my mental health than reading about how many people are quarantined in Italy. Yes, I think we all need to be smart and follow the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and our local governments and doctors, but I don't think we need to get that information from bloggers. The best content I've seen shared by a blogger about coronavirus was from Kait when she reminded us of the importance of supporting small local businesses. She created and shared a graphic on Instagram stories where you could tag some of your favorite local businesses and has been sharing ones she's been tagged in for different cities.

I think very few of us started blogging because everything was going perfect in life. I certainly started for very different reasons. Back in 2013 I started writing and reading blogs because I wanted an escape, so I don't see why it would be any different in 2020. In the words of the Brits "keep calm and carry on." and publish that post.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Lessons from my First Fantasy Football Experience

This football season I decided it was finally time to see what all the hype was about and join a fantasy football league. Because I never believe in doing anything halfway, I joined two leagues. I had a team in a work league and one is a blogger league hosted by Sarah. Now that football season is over I'm ready to share my thoughts on the experience.

The first lesson I learned was that having two teams was a little ambitious. Luckily some of my players overlapped, but for the most part they did not. That meant having to pay a lot more attention to all the games every week. I needed to keep better track of bye weeks and injuries across the league vs being able to focus on just a few professional teams. Having two teams you'd think my odds of winning would increase, but that wasn't the case. It seemed I had the exact opposite result. At the beginning of the season my two quarterbacks were Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger; if you remember these two men both went out with injuries in the same week.

The next lesson I learned is that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. When it was draft day nothing went like expected. I'd spent all this time researching best strategies for people drafting in my position but when it was my turn the players left standing looked nothing like expected. People were drafting from all over the place, selecting personal favorites over high ranks. It made the whole process very stressful, especially for someone with a limited NFL knowledge/favorites.

The final lesson I learned is that you have to remember it's all just a game. As I mentioned above I had one week when both my starting quarterbacks went out. I had another week where the league's high scoring player was sitting on my bench. Another when my opponent had no quarterback or defense on their starting roster and still lost. Obviously I would have preferred to avoid all these situations, at the end of the day none of it really mattered because it was just a game for fun.

Playing fantasy football was an item from my 100 in 1001 list that was I glad to mark off. Overall I'd say my first fantasy experience was positive and I plan to pay again next year!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Spring Fashion I'm Loving

Now that Valentine's Day has come and gone I feel like we can start talking about spring. I know we're still technically about a month away from the start of spring, but hey the ground hog did predict an early spring! I'm trying not to make any fashion purchases this month, but here are a few things I've got my eye on once the month ends!

I also have my eyes on these new Rothy's but I can't decide if I think them more than the regular pointed toe ones. And this Target dress has been getting a lot of love from other bloggers recently, but I can't decide which color I like best.

What spring fashion do you have your eyes on?

Monday, February 10, 2020

What I'm Currently Watching

The weather here in Dallas is supposed to be gross and rainy all week. Gross and rainy weather makes me want to sit home and binge watch tv, and I have a feeling I'm not the only one who feels that same way! Even though I've made it a goal to be more intentional with my time this year and not sit around endlessly watching tv, I still have my fair share of recommendations for you!

1. Cheer - I never did cheer ( I can't even do a cartwheel lol) but I think the big picture message of this docu-series is one that everyone can get behind. This is getting so much hype already I'm sure you've watched, but if you've yet to pull the trigger I'll say the hype is totally worth it.

2. Grace and Frankie - The final season dropped on Netflix about a month ago and while I'm sad the series is over I think it ended in the perfect way. If you're looking for a funny series to bing in it's entirety I'd highly recommend this one.

3. Disney+ Classics - One of my favorite parts of Disney+ so far has been the old live action movies. It's been fairly easy to catch the classic animated ones on other streaming services or tv in the last few years, but nobody has played the live action ones. Some of my favorites are Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, The Ugly Dachshund, and Blackbeard's Ghost

4. Encore! - speaking of Disney+, this is my favorite of their original programming. The idea is that they go back years later and re-do a high school musical with the original cast. Some of the casts are only about 10 years out of high school, but some of them are closer to 30 years. It's so funny because there's usually at least one person in each cast who has a big personality and tries to bring back the old high school drama.

5. Troop Zero - This Amazon movie was so well done I think it could have been released in theaters. I was never a girl scout, but again the big picture message is one that resonates with anyone. Plus there are some big names in the cast.

6. 911 Lone Star - This was my husband's pick, but it's one that I really enjoy too! It's not as intense as the other 911 show and how can you not love something with Rob Lowe as the main character.

7. Miss Americana - My love of Taylor Swift has been well documented here, so you know I'm biased, but this was so so good. I literally cried three times watching it. I have a whole new respect for Taylor the person after watching this one.

What are you currently watching?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wedding Wednesday : My Bachelorette Weekend

When it came time to plan my bachelorette weekend I was really stumped as to what to do. I only had my two sisters as bridesmaids, neither of which are your typical Las Vegas bachelorette type of girls. I decided what I really wanted was a chill weekend with my mom and two sisters. After lots of thinking my mom had the great idea of going to a cooking school!

I flew home to Mississippi and then we drove up to Greenwood. Greenwood is a small town (well large for the area) in the Mississippi Delta. Fun fact, they actually shot a lot of scenes from the movie The Help in Greenwood! Greenwood is also home to the Viking Cooking School.

In the middle of downtown is a cute little street with some local shops, the cooking school, and The Alluvian Hotel. The Alluvian is a cute boutique hotel with a spa and restaurant. We had dinner at the on-site restaurant, Giardina's, our first night and I'd highly recommend it. The restaurant is set up as separate little private booths so your meal feels very intimate and private. The hotel also serves breakfast on the top floor each morning. It's a great Southern style breakfast with eggs, biscuits, grits; all the yummy things you need to start the day!

The cooking school itself was such a fun experience! We selected a class where we made Southern favorites inspired by the movie The Help. We started with some sweet tea and deviled eggs while we learned the correct way to dice an onion and peel garlic. We then learned to make fried chicken, skillet corn bread, mac&cheese, greens, and buttermilk biscuits. We finished the class with a slice of chocolate pie! The class was perfect because not only were the instructions easy to follow, but all the ingredients were already measured out (my least favorite part of cooking) and there were two instructors to help if you got confused. Oh and you didn't have to do any dishes when it was all done!

I came home with a Viking apron, packet of receipts, and feeling like I was ready to be a real Southern housewife! I would recommend the Viking Cooking School to anyone wanting a relaxing bachelorette weekend or just a fun, low-key girls getaway.