Quick Update

Hey guys, last week I mentioned some health issues I’ve been dealing with lately, and the fact that I was waiting for some test results to see what’s actually going on. It turns out I don’t have a benign brain tumor (!!!) or a junky thyroid, so it must be PCOS. I’m so thankful it’s not a brain tumor because my youngest brother has had two brain surgeries in the past, so that option really had me freaked out.

 

As far as the diet changes go, so far sticking to (some) whole grains and avoiding processed sugars as much as possible seems to be working for me, so as long as it works, I think we’ll go with it. I think the baking will have to wait for parties/ having people over, which I’m mostly ok with as long as I can have some chocolate every now and then. (I offered to make cake for anyone who visits me in Houston over on Twitter, and I’m 100% serious. If you’re coming to town, hit me up!)

 

I think that’s everything. Thank you so much for listening, friends! Your thoughts and comments seriously mean the world to me, and I appreciate them so much!
Also, if you’re wondering how I justified going to Franklin Barbecue when I’m supposed to be eating healthy… let’s just say that was my cheat day.

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Favorite Places: Franklin Barbecue

 

Franklin Barbecue (Before)

 

Last weekend I went to Austin to try Franklin Barbecue, which is arguably the best barbecue in Texas. Which is a HUGE deal because if Texas is known for anything, it’s for cooking ridiculous amounts of brisket. Luckily our friend from Austin had been there before so he knew what to expect. But in case you’re in Austin and would like to try it out, here’s what you need to know:

 

  • Going to Franklin Barbecue is definitely an experience. It opens at 11 AM Tuesday-Sunday and closes after they’ve sold out of all of the meat they’ve smoked for the day. BUT it’s such a cult favorite in Austin that people start lining up at 7 or 8 in the morning — we got there at 8:15 on Sunday and the line was already into the parking lot. So if you like to spontaneously decide to pick up some barbecue, this isn’t the place to do it. (Luckily there are lots of other really good barbecue places in Austin to fulfill any sudden barbecue cravings.)

 

  • Come in a group. Since the lines are so long, it makes the experience much more fun if you go with friends. Plus, that way you can send one or two people to go pick up some Starbucks and breakfast tacos to tide you over until lunch.
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Weekend Thoughts / 16

Storm Clouds

 

This photo is from a huge thunderstorm from last weekend — it’s probably one of my favorite cloud pictures I’ve ever taken (and I take a bunch). The weather is supposed to be sunny this weekend up until Sunday. I’m crossing my fingers that the thunderstorms hold off until Sunday afternoon, because we’ll be waiting in line for four hours for Franklin’s barbecue, and that would be miserable if it started raining!

 

Thank you so much for your thoughts this week! It was kind of scary to talk about health stuff on the blog, but all the comments were really sweet. It means so so much to me!

 

Here are my favorite reads from this week:

 

Lifestyle:

 

I love this nursery — sweet and girly, but still simple and not overdone. (For the record, I’m not pregnant. Just thought I’d put that out there.)

 

I’ve always loved peeking at the baby clothes section of Target, so I love Joy’s Dressing the Babe series — especially this one full of floral prints and neon pink! So cute!

 

In the Kitchen:

 

Teddy is OBSESSED with gummy candy, so I think we’ll have to try this recipe . (Plus he’s been so sweet about cutting back on sugar with me, so I think he deserves some special candy.)

 

This Buttery + Salty Marshmallow Crunch Popcorn sounds perfect for a chick-flick marathon with girlfriends! It’s probably good this wasn’t around when I was in college, because we would have made it a lot.

 

Writing:

 

Did you know you could use a Kindle to edit your novel? I’m definitely filing this idea away for later!

 

I love this quote about using social media as a platform to bring other people into your studio/ process.

 

I LOVED Danielle’s post  about This is Sadie. The book is absolutely adorable, and her interview with the author, Sara O’Leary, was so interesting! A must-read for sure.

 

What are your plans for this weekend? If you’re going to have a busy weekend (I know I will!) I hope you have at least a little time to curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book (or movie)!

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That Time I Cried About Cake + Other News

My Favorite Cookie Cutters

 

The past two weeks have been such a whirlwind! Teddy and I applied and were approved for a new apartment, which we’re so so SO excited about! And we have fun traveling plans coming up soon — a weekend trip to Austin to try Franklin Barbecue for the first time and a long weekend on the East coast for a friend’s wedding in June.

 

But while we have some really fun things going on, there’s been one big question mark that’s been hanging around in the background. I’ve been dealing with irregular periods for a few years now, but when it had been over 3 months since my last period, I knew there was something wrong. Now, countless calls to the doctor’s office, two appointments, and two blood tests later, I know that my hormone levels are seriously off, and that it’s probably PCOS. But it could be a thyroid condition. Or a benign brain tumor.

 

We’re waiting for the results of my last blood test, but for now we’re operating on the assumption that it’s PCOS. And since PCOS is a vicious cycle — weight gain messes with your hormones, which leads to irregular periods, and makes it harder to lose weight — I’ve had to make some big changes to how I cook and eat.

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Paper Trails: My Writing Process, Currently

Family home(s)

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

 

I love talking about writing. But since I’ve recently started working on my first novel, I feel like it’d be weird for me to give writing advice, because I’m still figuring it out as I go! So I thought I’d give you a snapshot of my process as it is right now, and I can give new updates the further along I get. I’m thinking it might turn into a fun series, and I’m excited to be able to look back at the process. And I’m always excited to hear about other people’s creative processes, so I’d love to hear about yours — whether you’re an artist, a musician, a baker, a crafter — whatever medium you use, I’m all ears!

 

What I’m working on:

 

A fantasy/ alternative history novel set in 17th centruy France. Expect lots of elves fighting over the throne with some humans who get caught up in the craziness. (You can read a little bit more about it here and here.)

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Weekend Thoughts / 15

Portland Dreaming

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

 

I have a serious case of the travel bug lately, and Portland is high on my list of places to visit. Especially since I follow Kelly Purkey and Michelle  from Hummingbird High on Instagram. They post the coolest photos of Portland, and I’ve been dying over how beautiful Portland is in spring. (Apparently flowering trees are few and far between in Houston, and it’s the thing I miss most about spring on the East Coast.)

 

Here are some fun things I’ve read on the internet this week:

 

Lifestyle:

 

Our first anniversary is coming up soon, so reading about Emily’s three-year anniversary has me all excited, even if we’re not quite that far along yet.

 

I love Elsie’s wallpaper picks, especially the swan wallpaper that’s removable?! Maybe I can convince Teddy to put it up in the bathroom?

 

In the Kitchen:

 

I love these DIY Spring Recipe Cards, and they got me thinking about how my favorite recipes are so disorganized — some in cookbooks, some in notebooks, some on Pinterest! Maybe I should just sit down and write them out on recipe cards? How do you organize your recipes?

 

Writing + Blogging:

 

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a creative rut recently, so if you’re in a similar spot, Trina’s experience with blogging (over 7 years!) is a really encouraging read.

 

Would you go on a DIY Writing Retreat? I think this sounds so fun!

 

An abandoned briefcase in Germany filled with photos and paraphernalia from an office affair  appears in a gallery exhibit 45 years later. Doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a mystery novel?

 

It might be weird, but I always like when designers/ stylists/ artists come up with an imaginary girl as the inspiration for their collection or design project. It’s actually not that different from creating a character. I totally want to steal Garance Dore’s Dream Girl’s Upstate outfit.

 

This week was really overwhelming, so I’m looking forward to a long, relaxing Sunday. I hope you have a fun Sunday so you can wake up swinging on Monday!

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Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

 

I had Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich as my laptop background for years, and I set this Instagram photo from my trip to LA as my phone background a few weeks ago. And today when I was unlocking my phone I thought, “Hey, this kind of looks like that painting!” I always think it’s so funny what random connections your brain makes.

 

I love projects inspired by famous art, like these flower arrangements inspired by famous paintings and this Dutch Masters Wedding Inspiration. I’m not an art historian by any stretch, but I love flipping through art books (even if I don’t always get all of the symbolism behind a painting). Now I’m feeling inspired to pick up some new books and keep an eye out for more art/ Instagram crossovers. Who knows, maybe I’ll have to turn this into a series. We’ll see!

 

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Game of Thrones + Writing the Book You Want to Read

Plot Inspiration

 Sources: Row 1: a / b / c — Row 2: a / b / c — Row 3: a / b / c

 

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably been told to write the book you want to read about a million times. I always assumed it meant that you should write the kind of book you like to read. If there was a gap between what I wanted to read and what existed, I never really considered writing the book myself.

 

That all changed when I realized I had an imaginary version of Game of Thrones. I haven’t read GOT, even though it has some of my “shut up and take my money” plot points: fantasy, political intrigue, and royal families squabbling over the line of succession. Yes please! But the gore and sexualized violence have always made me hesitant to pick it up. The thing is, I know enough about the plot from Tumblr and friends who have read it to know that I really like Sansa, and Margaery Tyrell, and that Joffrey is a total tool bench, and so sometimes I start to wonder, “Should I read it?” But then I hear about something gruesome that keeps me away.

 

I was catching up with a friend earlier this month (and commiserating about our novel-writing woes), and since neither of us has been able to get into GOT, I joked that I was writing the Game of Thrones that I would want to read. My story has elf royal families fighting over who’s going to be the royal family in 17th century France — so basically, the political intrigue between the different houses in GOT, but without the blood and gore and creepy plot points.

 

If you remember my post about imposter syndrome from back in March, the idea of writing the book you want to read really helps with those writing doubts. I love the idea that writing is a form of collage.

 

What do you think of Game of Thrones? Are there any stories that you want to like but just can’t get into? Maybe they can give some inspiration in what you’re writing/ making right now!

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Weekend Thoughts / 14

Teddy + the Enormous Cinnamon Roll
Yes, that is bacon on top of the cinnamon roll. And it was DELICIOUS!

 

Was it just me, or was it really hard getting back in the swing of things after the three-day Easter weekend? It might not have helped that I ate a quarter of the biggest cinnamon roll ever at brunch on Sunday… and then ate some Reese’s eggs after dinner. Let’s just say I’ve had a lot less sugar this past week…

 

What are you up to this weekend? It’ll be stormy here in Houston, so Teddy and I are going to the Fabergé exhibit at the Museum of Natural Science. Visiting jewelry exhibits is one of my new favorite things — I love the history and stories behind the pieces. I also married into a family that goes mineral collecting every summer, so I have a whole new appreciation for gemstones. Plus it doesn’t hurt that they’re pretty!

 

Here are some of my favorite links from the internets this week:

 

In the Kitchen:

 

This cucumber salad and this couscous salad have been on repeat lately, so I’m excited to try this broccoli salad and this avocado cucumber salad.

 

Who knew that just seeing a photo of a coconut cupcake could give me such a serious coconut cake craving? Please send help (in the form of cupcakes).

 

This Strawberry Rhubarb Soda Syrup reminds me of the Shirley Temples that I would drink whenever we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant while I was growing up. (I have no idea what Shirley Temples have to do with Chinese food either, but they were delicious and seemed super grown up.) So pretty!

 

Blogging + Writing:

 

This post about saving your energy for your creative calling from Ashley Brooks is a breath of fresh air. If you don’t follow her blog or subscribe to her newsletter you should change that now. It’s that good.

 

Style:

 

I love Caroline’s outfit, plus she’s moving to Seattle for 6 months! How cool is that?

 

One of my bridesmaids is getting married this summer, and I’m already on the hunt for dresses to wear. (Can you tell I’m excited?!) After reading this round-up of dresses for wedding guests, I’m totally inspired to do some online window shopping this weekend.

 

I hope you guys have a great weekend full of lazy mornings, coffee, and a good book!

 

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Mussels and Linguini with a White Wine Herb Sauce

I’m not the biggest seafood person. My Mom cooked it pretty frequently growing up, but somehow now that I’m an adult I rarely eat it. It’s not that I don’t like fish — I just usually forget about it. Teddy will sometimes suggest fish for dinner, but I’m always too excited about the new recipe I want to try to pay much attention.
So imagine Teddy’s surprise when I suggested mussels for dinner one night. I’m sure it seems weird to have mussels as the first seafood I’ve cooked all by myself, but I was inspired by Deb Perelman. If she can get over her fish hang ups with mussels, maybe I could too.
And can I say, this mussels with linguini and white wine herb sauce is delicious! I whipped this up on a whim, and Teddy and I loved it so much that I wrote down the recipe so we could have it again. This is a really fun date night meal — there’s extra wine, it’s a little messy, and it’s so fun to eat! And while this recipe is for 2, mussels are so inexpensive ($6 for a pound at my grocery store!) that it can easily be scaled up for a quick meal with friends. I think it’d be a great light meal for a summer dinner party with friends. Teddy and I might have some summer plans lined up.
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