Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Montgomery County Fair

I love fairs. Growing up in Texas, the state fair was a big deal. We even got a day off school and free tickets every year! I love the fried foods, farm animals, and festive atmosphere. The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair isn't quite the Texas State Fair, but it is still a lot of fun. This year I had an awesome girls' day out with my friend Katie, her daughter Paige, and Zahara.

We ate our way through it! We had funnel cake, lemonade, ice cream, and roasted corn! Everything was amazing, except the corn. It was actually so salty that we returned it and got our money back. I LOVE elote, but this was terrible. The lemonade was like crack though. We split it between all of us, and even got one refill. It wasn't enough.


Zahara and Paige loved the animals. They got to pet a giant rabbit, see the huge pigs, watch sheep being judged, and even ride a pony!

We also ran into one of Zahara's classmates. I always love seeing her interact with her friends. Also note her outfit that she picked out: doctor princess. I love it!

It was a gorgeous day to be outside and I'm so grateful I was able to spend it with those wonderful girls. Thanks Katie! Let's do it again next year!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September Thoughts by Z

New season, new gems from our little girl:

Thought 1:
Upon hearing a cricket making lots of noise outside:
Z: Aww, he's looking for a girl.

Thought 2:
Z: Quick! There's an emergency! There's a volcano about to erupt in Brooklyn!

Thought 3:
Z: What are you doing?
Dan: Exercising. It's good for your heart.
Z: And it's good for your tushy!

Thought 4:
Dan teaching Zahara to sweep:
Z: I'm 4 years old. I know how to do it. Give it to me. I'm on it!

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 13 Months

Dear Asher,

Happy 13 month birthday, little guy! This month has been a whirlwind of packing and getting our house ready to move, and you've shown that you are one adaptable fellow. You are happy whether you're playing with a pile of toys, or a pile of cardboard boxes.

Teething has been hard on you this month. You've already got eight teeth, and we can see at least four more coming through. Hopefully this round will be it for a while and you can relax again.

You're cruising like a boss! You can move all around, even going up the stairs. But you don't seem to have any interest in walking. You're not standing on your own yet. You clearly can do it--and have done it at least a couple of times, but you're just not bothered. That's fine though. Everything it its own time.

This month you got your first pair of shoes--at least ones that actually fit you. They are Stride Rite size 4.5 wide. You look adorable in them. Especially with your new haircut. That's haircut number two for you so far. This one wasn't nearly as successful as the last time, but you did well and you look handsome--though we still call you our furry chicken. Sorry.

You're so interactive and love playing games with your sister. Your favorite is when we start in the living room and you crawl as fast as you can to the stairs. Zahara and I will chase you and "catch" you at the bottom of the stairs and carry you back in to the living room. All three of us will squeal with laughter and start the whole thing over again. So fun!

We love you and can't wait to spend all of your next birthdays in our new house!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stitch Fix Update

I told you a while back about this new thing I was trying out called Stitch Fix, a clothing delivery service. Since then I've gotten three more deliveries and I'm back with a review.

First Box:
I reviewed my first box here. I thought they did a great job getting my style right off the bat. I kept two of the pieces--the skinny jeans and the knit top. I still wear those all the time and really love them. The jeans especially are great quality and I'm really happy with them. The shirt though, was not the best quality. I actually wrote back to Stitch Fix to complain because after the first wash it was already pilling. They were great, and immediately credited me back the money.

Second Box:
My second box wasn't nearly as good. I didn't take pictures of all of the items (blogger fail), but I was struggling to keep even one of the pieces. I reluctantly kept a cross-over sleeveless shirt just so I wouldn't lose my credit. Turns out though, I LOVE it now! It's my number one go-to shirt this summer. It's so light and fits me well. I should have given my stylist more credit.

Third Box:
The third box was my favorite so far. I asked for clothes for my upcoming cruise, and they totally nailed it. I actually kept all five items! That earned me a 25% discount, so all five items ended up being only around $200. Not too bad.

I also got a great pair of white skinny jeans and a beautiful bright orange top. I don't have great pictures of them though. I really love all of these items and have worn them a ton this summer.

Fourth Box:
After my high of getting all five items in my last box, this one was a disappointment. I really didn't love any of the items. I again ended up keeping one just so I wouldn't lose my credit, and I do actually like it. I've worn it a few times since then and it's a great date night dress.

The jean jacket they sent was fantastic, and normally I would have kept that, however my mom just bought me a great jacket for my birthday. I don't need two denim jackets.

The other items just weren't my style and didn't fit well. The shoes were fun, but too big. The flower dress was way outside my comfort zone, but I was willing to give it a shot. It was just too big in the waist and not figure flattering. The maxi dress just looked cheap (but wasn't!).

I wrote all my reviews on the Stitch Fix site as I always do. This time, customer service reached out to me to apologize for my box and waived my styling fee for my next box. I appreciate that they are always trying to make things right.

So, what do I think about Stitch Fix now that I've done four boxes? I still really like it. It's fun to get items that are picked just for me. I like that the stylists refer to my notes and my Pinterest page for inspiration. I like getting things that are outside my comfort zone--things that force me to update my style. And, who doesn't like getting packages in the mail?

I'm getting my next box on Friday. I'll let you know how it goes!

And if you're interested in Stitch Fix, would you consider using my referral code? It doesn't cost you extra and I get small commission.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Things I Love: Halo Top

I'm probably pretty late to this party, but have you guys tried Halo Top ice cream? It is so good! My parents introduced it to me when they were here a couple of weeks ago, and I'm officially hooked.

Here's the deal: it's low-calorie ice cream that is packed with protein. Is it healthy? No, probably not. I mean, it's not like you're eating a carrot stick. But, if you have a huge sweet tooth like me (see: Sweet Tooth Traveler), and you're going to indulge anyway, why not do it with something that isn't quite so bad for you.

So far, we've tried the pistachio, chocolate almond crunch, and mint chip flavors. I'm not a huge mint chip fan (shocking! I know!), but Dan said it was really good. The other two flavors were really, really good. The pistachio is a little sweet, but I like it. It has a nice, nutty flavor. The chocolate almond crunch has yummy crunchy bits that kind of reminded me of a rocky road.

Next up on my list to try: chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cup, s'mores, black cherry, chocolate covered banana, and candy bar. I mean, right?! How good do these sound?


Have you tried Halo Top Creamery? What do you think?

This isn't a sponsored post, I just really, really like this ice cream!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Asher's Cake Smash

The best part about a baby turning one is the smash cake tradition. We didn't have a big party for Asher like we did for Zahara (#secondkid), but we still wanted to mark this occasion with a low-key celebration. My in-laws were in town, so we bought a small cake and let Asher have his way with it. It didn't take him long to figure out that sweets are delicious!

Zahara couldn't resist getting in to the act as well. Luckily, Asher was a good sport about it.

Here's to many sweet years ahead, Asher!

Read about Zahara's First Birthday Party here.

Also, did you notice that adorable onsie Asher is wearing? That's courtesy of my very talented sister-in-law Amy. She's got a shop full of great designs. Check it out here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Thoughts by Z

She's still on a roll. Here's some more thoughts from our little girl.

Thought 1:
Z to me: You're just too beautiful. We need to give you away.

Thought 2:
Z: You know what happens if we eat a watermelon seed? Nothing. We just aren't supposed to.

Thought 3:
After taking my orange crayon when we were coloring together:
Me: I need that crayon to color my carrot picture.
Z: Well, you can use the black crayon and color a moldy carrot instead.

Thought 4:
Z: When I grow up I want to be a doctor who drinks beer.

Bonus Thought by Omri (her school friend):
Omri: Whenever Zahara talks, I listen to what she says because everything she says is beautiful.

See previous Thoughts by Z here

Monday, July 31, 2017

We Have Walls!

Last time I updated you on the house, we had just broken ground. It's amazing how quickly a house can come together because now, just a couple of months later, we have walls!

We've been heading to the site every couple of weeks to check on the progress. I am just in awe of this whole process. About a month ago the house looked like this, with just the beginnings of the foundation.

Then, a couple of weeks later we had the frame of the house up. One of my favorite moments so far has been making the house our own by marking our rooms. Asher is too young to do it himself, but Zahara did a great job writing her name on her new closet. I love the idea that years from now, even though it will be hidden beneath layers of paint, drywall, and insulation, our names will be sealed inside the house forever.

Things are progressing rapidly now. Our closing date is September 5, but the house will be ready for inspection on August 30. That means just one more month to go! They've started tiling the bathrooms, installing the cabinets, painting the trim, and hanging the doors.

They also hung the siding and bricks.

Pretty soon they will move on to installing the light fixtures, finishing the cabinets, and installing the flooring. It's down to the finishing touches!

I am getting so excited to move, but there's still a ton of things to do on this end. I'm getting a bit anxious over that to-do list, which includes very minor things like PACK UP MY ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD OF FOUR PEOPLE AND TWO CATS. Oh, and find a renter who wants to live here for the next few years. You know, no big deal.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dear Asher: 12 Months

Happy birthday sweet Asher! You are one year old today! It's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my little baby is a toddler now. What a strange feeling knowing that I don't, and won't, have any more babies.

Asher, I can't even explain to you the effect you have on people. You are just the sweetest, happiest baby. Your chubby little cheeks are magnets for people's pinching fingers. They can't help themselves. Your stick straight, wispy hair always makes people chuckle--especially when it looks like you've stuck your fingers in an electrical outlet.

You are constantly on the go now. You love cruising around furniture and exploring your surroundings. You're not a fan of having to sit still--especially for diaper changes. You haven't taken any steps yet, but you're just starting to stand on your own a little bit. I've only seen you do it once so far, but it was pretty exciting.

You are learning how to wave, clap, and blow kisses. It's absolutely adorable watching you put your chubby little hand to your mouth and try and blow. You also try and imitate anything that your sister does. So when she's pretending to be a cat (yes, that's a thing), you also come crawl to my lap and demand to be pet.

You've got a mouth full of teeth! You have eight, with a couple more on the way. These last few have been pretty rough for you. As usual, you've been a champ, but we can tell that you're not loving it. Hopefully you'll be feeling better soon.

You're going through a picky phase with food. You still LOVE food, just like the rest of your family, but you're showing clear preferences and dislikes. Lately, your favorites are cheerios, veggie straws, any fruit, and meat. You lose your mind over bananas, and you throw anything green on the ground.

You and your sister still get along great (and it melts my heart when she comes over to give you a kiss), but you're starting to act like a traditional little brother--namely, by annoying her. She'll be coloring at her art desk and you can't help but come up to see what she's doing. Despite her numerous warnings to leave her alone, you just keep crawling back and pulling up to see her.

Other quick facts about you: your favorite thing in the world is the TV remote. You're going through a bit of separation anxiety and only want to be with me. You are still sleeping through the night (thank you!!). You weigh 24 pounds. You love baths and pools.

Asher, we love you to the moon and back. Happiest of happy birthdays!

Read about Zahara at this age:
Dear Zahara: 12 Months

Monday, July 24, 2017

Minibar and Barmini: Part 2

Have I left you hungry for more after the first part of my Minibar recap? I hope so, because there's plenty more to discuss. Let's get right to it.
  • Broccoli and Cheddar Gnocchi
    • These "gnocchi" were filled with broccoli and cheese purees barely encased in a gel. They completely melted in my mouth, and I couldn't get enough of the cheddar sauce. I could have kept eating this one all night.
  • Montana Trout Rack and Lemon Yolks
    • Such a fun preparation! Looked like rack of lamb. The lemon yolks and brown butter sauce were phenomenal. 
  • Pesto Fusilli
    • These pasta were a true labor of love. The chef used a corkscrew as a mold and individually twisted each shell off the mold, then used a syringe to fill the pasta with incredibly fresh pesto. The egg yolks were perfectly runny. This dish replaced the snail caviar that the other diners ate.

  • Kumquat Ceviche
    • This was a miss for both me and Dan. It was a weird mix of fruit, fish, and ice. 
  • Thai Eggplant
    • We were right back on track with this dish. When I ate the peanut air and berries together, it tasted like a yummy PB&J sandwich. But then when I ate it all together with the eggplant, it tasted like an authentic Thai dish. So good!
  • Mojito Surprise
    • YUM! The lime was a shooter filled with a jelly sparkling mojito! Such a fun surprise. Everyone at the table was sad there wasn't more of this one.

  • Gorgonzola Dolce
    • This freeze-dried piece of Gorgonzola with apple is an acquired taste, but I loved it. 
  • Fried Donut
    • The chef individually fried each ice cream-filled donut and served it to us immediately. It tasted like being at the state fair!
  • Minibar
    • Shocking, but I didn't actually love this tiny chocolate bar. It was too much raspberry for me. This dish replaced the bacon chocolate (served on a ceramic pig!).

  • Chalk
    • We were given a box and told to take it next door to Barmini for the rest of our meal. There we played games of tic-tac-toe with our coconut, banana, raspberry and beet meringue chalk. I love playing with my food.
  • Dragon's Breath
    • This was so fun! The chef had a bowl of liquid nitrogen and froze individual mango tarts. He instructed us to eat them quickly, with our mouths closed, and then blow out through our noses. Watch Dan follow the instructions and look like a dragon here.

Let me take a second to tell you about Barmini. The bar is tiny but adorable. Everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. Even the bathroom is so weird and fun!

Dan got a drink while we waited for the next, and final course. Their drink menu is as whimsical (and  as long) and their food menu. Choosing one was difficult, but Dan settled one that came in a fun copper pineapple.

  • Dinosaur Dessert Platter
    • Our final "official" course was this adorable platter. It included:
      • Liquid Bourbon Peanut--delicious and boozy! Loved this!
      • Key Lime Bon Bon--not very memorable.
      • Coriander Abanico--the crunchy shell was good, but I didn't love it.
      • White Chocolate Shiso Leaf--interesting. Never had anything like it.
  • Cotton Candy
    • They brought out this Pina Colada flavored cotton candy in honor of Dan's birthday! So yummy!
  • Golden Egg
    • We paid for our meal in advance, but the bill for the wine and drink came encased in this delicious chocolate egg, along with the cutest Lego chef. 

It's this kind of attention to detail--having our own check inside a sealed chocolate egg--that made this experience so special. I loved absolutely everything about this meal. Even the courses that weren't hits flavor-wise were still so interesting and worthy of discussion. I can honestly say this was one of the best, and most memorable meals of my life. I would HIGHLY recommend Minibar to anyone who loves food and whimsy as much as we do.  

Read Part 1 of this dinner here.