Say whhhaaatttt!!! This past Thursday night was the night of dreeaaammmmss! I can’t even describe how emotionally exhausted I was at the end of the whole shabang (at a whopping 9:04 PM, thank you). Jon Boy surprised me with tickets to Pioneer Woman’s book signing for her new cookbook, Come and Get It! The whole day he kept dropping hints until I finally beat it out of him (gently… with words and threats).

I can’t say enough about how absolutely genuine, sweet, gorgeous, and hilarious that Pioneer Woman (Ree, aka my BFF) is in person. She and her husband are hard-working, everyday people that happen to own a gorgeous cattle ranch and know how to cook the dickens off your socks.

meeting pioneer woman

Right before this picture, I was on the verge of tears – #FanGirlMoment. I couldn’t believe I was about to meet her! Touch her! Take a picture with her! Talk to her! Agh! After the picture, she told me I was beautiful and that she loved my top. I told her she inspired it because of the flowers. She said, “Flowers are always a good choice!” OMG. We’re basically soul sisters now.

Pioneer Woman: Come and Get It!


Okay, so I have to admit. I’ve already lied to my BFF. I totes didn’t know we were going to see her when I picked this outfit. Jon Boy told me to wear something as if I were going to meet a celebrity, but to still be comfy. To which I replied, “So, do I dress like we’re meeting Thor – Chris Hemsworth?” He said, “Yes…” without batting an eyelash. I knew immediately that this was big. Maybe not Thor big, but big nonetheless.

Here’s what I wore for Thor… I mean… P-Dub.

Socialite Foldover Cold Shoulder Top | Vigoss Chelsea High Waist Crop Skinny Jeans | Nine West Fifth Pointy Toe Pumps

outfit


The only control I had over the evening was the grub (shocker, I know). Dish Society was in the area that Jon Boy told me to choose from, so I knew that’s what we’d be hitting up for dinner! It’s been on my list of Restaurants to Try since we’ve moved here. Lemme tell ya, it needs to be on YOUR list, too, if you haven’t gone yet.

 dish society

It was still happy hour when we got there, so we ordered a couple of yummy cocktails. Jon Boy got a beer (I drink Miller Lite, so I don’t know the kind), and I had the Red Basil cocktail. Holy Yummo. Both were $6 each and so muah!

Red Basil: Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka + Basil + Grapefruit Juice + Lime + Cane Sugar + Splash of Soda

dish society

We also decided to take advantage of the $5 ‘Social Hour’ apps. We were trying to be healthy, so we chose the Pretzels & Smoked Gouda Queso

dish society

and the Pimento Cheese with Crackers.

dish society

[that was sarcasm, folks – carbs + cheese means I’ll be hittin’ that gym hard for about 7 weeks]

Jon Boy had the Shrimp Tacos.

dish society

This dainty lady had the Brisket Stuffed Sweet Potato.

dish society

And to add a little more to our healthy evening, we shared the Truffle Mac ‘N’ Cheese.

dish society

We will definitely be grubbin’ at Dish Society soon! All of that I just listed plus two more drinks was only $57! No lies, y’all. It’s fantastic. Plus it’s perfect for families!


Don’t let that smile fool you – I was FREAKING OUT! I was mere minutes away from walking into a book shop to meet my idol. I couldn’t even handle. Jon Boy kept asking, “What are you going to say? What are you going to do? How is she going to sign your book?” HELLLOOOOOO! I’m trying not to pee in my pants, bud!

This book shop was the cutest! It reminded me of the book shop from You’ve Got Mail… I can’t wait to go back and do some Christmas shopping! They had not only great books, but also some perfectly unique gifts for kids that don’t involve technology or Elmo. Sorry, Elmo. I love you, but Mama needs a break.

Blue Willow Books

  

[Freaking Out]

I took pictures of book as we meandered through the store in the waiting line. So many gorgeous covers and titles. I could’ve stayed in there forever.

So, as I’ve said. P-Dub and I are now BFF’s. See – I have proof:

Just chattin’ it up with Marlboro Man (PW’s husband). NBD. He told us about the drive down from Oklahoma (he drove their car, just the two of them), their son’s football game the next day, and basically just exuded hunky cowboy vibes. Sorry, Jon Boy. Actually, I think Jon Boy would agree with me.

Nicest guy! Oh, and Marlboro Man was great, too.

This definitely tops our Date Nights thus far. Although, I have to admit I’m not the greatest with surprises. I had a little anxiety not knowing exactly what to expect. Way to go, OCD. Either way – it was a fantastic night! I’m still recovering emotionally!

On Wednesday, this ole gal turned 21!

Okay, o]]>

Jon Boy and I went to a ridiculously wonderful dinner at The Refuge Steakhouse + Bourbon Bar. We were way too into date night and the yummy food, so I didn’t get many pictures at all. BUT! I can say that the drinks were phenomenal and the food was absolutely scrumptious. We each had cocktails + the crab cake at the bar. Then we moved to the dining room for dinner.

refuge steakhouse and bourbon bar

I had a perfect glass of white wine with the Fried Green Tomato appetizer and a great cab with my steak. I forgot the names, and the wines by the glass aren’t listed online! I’m so bummed. I’ll have to go back to see which ones they were. They both were smooth but full-bodied in flavor.

fundamentally music class

I also found this great Russian River Chardonnay called River Road at Total Wine & More the other day. It’s got a great crisp flavor and pairs very well with Goldfish. I mean… caviar. It pairs really good with caviar. What 31 year old eats Goldfish with their wine. That would be weird…

river road chardonnay

Speaking of wine. I needed it after little home boy decided to chomp the top off of his BRAND NEW marker the other evening. I spent $8 on this awesome marker set at Target (Crayola must make a killing off of moms like me at Target…) and this fool BITES THEM! Good thing is (I guess) that he didn’t eat the tip. He spit it across the room. Holy biscuits. Pour me another.

toddler

My sweet sister-in-law gave me these friggin’ adorable wine glasses from Magpie’s Gifts in Cypress. Gotta love a good stemless glass!

texas wine glass

On my birthday, I also got to take Big Man to his music class! He loved shaking the jingle bells…

fundamentally music class

And shaking the scarves… (I think I had just taken one in the eye before I attempted this selfie)…

fundamentally music class

And drumming with the sticks…

fundamentally music class

And of COURSE! The stamp on the belly…

Music class is an awesome activity if you’re looking for something to do with your little one. Ours is only about $200 for the semester, and we even did it last year before Corey was one.

fundamentally music class

I got my nails all did up purty for my birthday! We’re also going to the A&M game this weekend in Dallas, so I had to tie in the Aggie Maroon + fall. I’m still loving getting a dip manicure (versus gel or powder). I feel like it keeps my real nails healthier than any other option plus the paint doesn’t chip or peel off like the others.

dip nail manicure

If you haven’t listened to Leon Bridges yet, please do. His song, “River,” is my absolute fave right now.

leon bridges river

Jon Boy went all out and bought me an amazing birthday (and Christmas and Valentine’s and Easter) present: a new Nikon camera. It’s got an amazing Bluetooth feature so it automatically pairs with my iPhone. I can upload a picture to Instagram or Facebook within seconds of snapping it on my Nikon! Pretty amazing. Now if only I knew how to work this thing… (any tips are greatly welcomed).

nikon camera

This is the first pic I took with the new camera. Good thing my model looks good naturally… my skills need work.

This isn’t the most “fun” note for Friday, but I just have to say that if you’ve stopped praying (or meditating or thinking or sending good vibes) for/to Harvey victims, please pick it up again. Just the other day, I was driving back from dropped Corey off at school. It’s a less than 20 minute drive, and on the way back I decided to go a different way home (may or not have been going to Chick-fil-A, but I digress…). I saw house after house after house whose entire belongings and memories were just sitting on the curb.

Ruined. Rotting. It was horrific.

Weeks after that damn Harvey hit, and these folks are still having to stare at a reminder of the whole awful event. And now you add in Irma, Maria, and the earthquake in Mexico. Lotsa prayers all around. I guarantee you it’s made me think twice about recycling more, driving less, and using less electricity to reduce my carbon footprint. You may or may not believe in climate change, but doing something positive has to make you feel good, right?

Anywho… I’m just grateful when this sweet pup can sunbathe and play bubbles. Rain, rain, go away… at least for now.

Happy Friday, y’all!

Jon Boy and I FINALLY got a date night “in town” after a YEAR of living here in Houston. WHEW! Every single time we’ve scheduled a date night that involved coming in town to a new, trendy restaurant, something terrible would happen. Someone was sick, our dog was dying, someone died in the family, work ran way too late [not that terrible, but still], you get the idea. So we FINALLY DID IT, y’all! We only had one somewhat major mishap… more to come on that later.

We saw this on the drive in, and I had to snap a picture. It’s been tough watching those recovering from Harvey’s impact (and knowing Irma is wreaking havoc at this exact moment). Houston has remained strong, but we’ve got to keep up that momentum if we’re going to come out stronger on the other side.

Ritual Houston

We decided to try Ritual in the Heights area of Houston. It’s a New American restaurant that features delicious steaks + a little Creole flair + some southern comfort foods. The cocktails (and bartender – shout out to Cody) were amazing! We had a couple at the bar and snacked on a yummy appetizer before going to our table.

Ritual Houston

I had the Reconciliation cocktail: Aperol + Elderflower + Gin + Lemon Juice + Sparkling Rose

It was perfectly light, citrusy, and bubbly with just a hint of sweet. YUM! Jon Boy had a traditional Old Fashioned, and it was pretty fantastic, too. Our bartender – shout out again to Cody – made us a couple of drinks based on what we said we liked. They’re not on the menu, but trust me when I say they were spot on!

Ritual Houston

 Boudin Corn Dogs

[our appetizer – sooooo good and not too filling]

Ritual Houston

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but this is the beer board. It’s in the same style as a train station ticker menu. It was so cool to look at!

Ritual Houston

The decor was absolutely awesome in every detail (minus one – I’ll get there in a second). Even the bar had old school southern props like a bartender’s comb holder that now houses olives. It reminds me of an old Speakeasy that also made scrumptious food. I loved the exposed wood + brick combos they had throughout the restaurant, too.

Ritual Houston

Before I get in to the food, I have to tell you about my one AWFUL moment in the restaurant. After we had our cocktails, the hostess sat us at a table for two near the front. I was wearing my white skinny jeans, cute cold shoulder top, and new black strappy heels. I felt sexy and so happy that we finally got to come “out on the town” for date night. Then I sat in the chair. And the chair BROKE. Like straight up – legs flying out everywhere (the chair’s and mine), people gasping and staring, and me falling on my white-jeaned booty onto the black floor. Needless to say, we moved tables and the manager comped us to make up for the mishap. All that said, I’d still go back to eat here any day – so that should tell you how good the food is!

Here’s what we ate:

Gulf Seafood Gravy

Ritual Houston

We shared the 14 oz. ribeye (not pictured, we’d already eaten too much by the time I remembered to snap one) + red beans and rice + creamed corn

Ritual Houston

Oh… and also these cheesy scalloped potatoes. Hey – judge all you want, but it was worth every dang calorie.

Ritual Houston


On Saturday, the weather was so fantastic that we immediately decided over coffee that we had to grill outside for dinner. Jon Boy requested an oldie but a goodie: Citrus Balsamic Marinade

. You can do this with pork tenderloin or chicken. It’s tangy, a little sweet, and a little savory and only needs 5 ingredients.

Citrus Balsamic Marinade


Citrus Balsamic Marinade

1/3 cup lemon juice (juice of 2 really good lemons)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless pork tenderloin

Combine the first five ingredients in small bowl. Place the meat in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Marinate at least 4 and up to 24 hours in the fridge. Grill as usual, discarding marinade.


After breakfast, Jon headed to Katy to help a co-worker whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. He called in complete horror as he was driving through the neighborhood. He said it looked like a war zone with all the trash on the streets (washers + dryers, furniture, clothes, kitchen appliances). Folks had to rip out all their flooring, sheet rock, insulation, etc. in order to keep the houses as mold-free as possible. Jon and his company were there to help with the disinfecting and cleaning of as much of the house as they could possibly salvage. It was terrible to hear about and gave us both a very guilty feeling – almost like survivor’s guilt.

While Jon was helping out, Corey and I ventured to Downtown Tomball to go to the Farmer’s Market there. We got a huge bag of organic veggies for just $17! It took less than 10 minutes to shop, so I decided to take Corey and look around our new little area. It was a stark contrast to what Jon was experiencing.

If I weren’t already married, I’d be praying that someone would propose to me in this freaking adorable gazebo.

Downtown Tomball Texas

I saw this Bar + Grill that looks promising: Brautigams Bar-N-Grill.

Downton Tomball Texas

Corey’s name for my mom is Noni (n-oh-nee), so I had to send her a pic of this cute cafe that’s got her name (kind of)!

Downton Tomball Texas

Mr. Cool here made many, many friends on our little stroll.

Corey Douglas

And of course, this CHOO-CHOO TWAAAYYYN was a big hit with the big guy. It looked like they do some kind of activity the 2nd Saturday every month (which would’ve been this Saturday), but I couldn’t figure out what that was. We’ll have to come back and catch it another time!

Downtown Tomball Texas

This weekend was a great change of pace for us. Things have been a little hairy these days with work stress and the like. You know – life. No biggie. We still had a great time with friends and family.

Big Man and I took a trip to our]]>

Okay, the big bear did freak me out. OMG the germs. Gahhhhhh.

weekend recap

But look at that face…

weekend recap

There’s great big books for kiddos. Corey’s favorite.

weekend recap

Tons of sensory puzzles – of course, Mickey Mouse was a hit.

weekend recap

We got to try a new restaurant – Peli Peli in Vintage Park – with some great friends. Oh to the Em Gee. Y’all. If you live anywhere near Vintage Park in Houston, you HAVE to go to Peli Peli. We ate off the Restaurant Week menu, and it was divine. Genuinely the best dinner we’ve had in Houston since we’ve moved here. It’s a unique place because it’s South African cuisine. That means it’s basically a melting pot of a whole bunch of different cultures and foods. There’s Brazilian + Indian  + African + a ton of others.

If this scares you off, please don’t let it! Just look at the yummy pictures below!

FYI – their Happy Hour is BOMB! It lasts until 7 at the bar, and you can get some amazing cocktails + appetizers for a really, really good price. We took advantage of the great deals, I assure you.

Breede River Tonic

Indian summer gin + pamplemousse rose + lemon + elderflower tonic + lemon lavender mist

peli peli vintage

Cape Town Cucumber

cucumber vodka + mint + lemon + peri spice rim

peli peli vintage

Like I said, we did the RW menu. This means we got an [amazing] appetizer + entree + dessert for $45. Plus some of the proceeds goes to the Houston Food Bank. Definitely a WIN, WIN, WIN!

Stuffed Mushrooms

peli peli vintage

Bobotie

(basically a South African Shepherd’s Pie – holy. yummo. mcgummo.)

peli peli vintage

Y’all. I can’t even. Lemme talk about this. If you’ve been to a Brazilian steakhouse, you get the idea of meat on a skewer. This is taking it to the next level. Think: tender beef medallions… on a piping hot skewer… with garlic butter dripping down the skewer the entire time you’re eating. Shut your mouth. No seriously. You’re drooling.

Beef Espetada

peli peli vintage peli peli vintage

Short Rib Surf + Turf

peli peli vintage

Gah! I’m so mad. I didn’t wear this dress I got from the Nord Anniversary Sale. It’s gorgeous, but I couldn’t find good shoes to match. It was perfect for this kind of dinner because it gives a lot in the tummy (I mean, did you see those pictures) but it’s also still sassy + sexy. I’m looking for some black shoes just like the ones I’m wearing in the pic. If you know of or see any, please hit me UP!

charles henry nordstrom off the shoulder dress

On Saturday, we got to hang with these two crazies. Their bond is so beautiful. I can’t get enough of their snuggles, but also their quirky way of communicating like the real brother and sister that they are. They love and hate e/o just like any other sibling couple. They do, however, love to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Mommy + Daddy’s bed.

weekend recap

I also got to get my nails did up real purty like. If you haven’t tried the “dip” that everyone is talking about, please do! It lasts way longer than gel and is better for your nails. I got mine done for $45 with tip! Not too shabby.

weekend recap

Also, these jeans are everything plus a side of butter. If you’re looking for comfy + still cute jeans, you need these in your life. Perfect for doing mom things or school things or eating brunch things.

Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Ankle Slimmer Jeans

wit wisdom ab solution ankle skimmer jeans

And to all my teacher + librarian friends out there:

time to remember

We got such a great surprise this week! Our “Aunt Mo” [my bestie] came to visit on a whim! We got to hang out with her Thursday night, then we headed out to shop on Friday morning. Corey’s kind of in love with her… [also notice those two skinned knees – hello all boy!]

corey douglas

For lunch, we went to a great local place called The Frio Grill. We LOVE coming here. The food is fantastic, the drinks are refreshing, and there’s a great space for kids to run around.

We had the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich – holy yum.

the frio grille

And we had the Smoked Chicken + Bacon Quesadilla with Santa Fe Beans. So delicious! [Also pictured – Corey’s yummy slider.]

the frio grille

Home boy was a trooper! He was super tired, but hung in there the whole time through shopping and lunch. In this picture, he was pretending to go “Nigh-Nigh”. This kid is too much… swoon.

corey douglas

It’s so great to have Aunt Mo [Muh-Moot as Corey would say] in town with us! She’s such a blessing as a friend to us + Godmommy to Corey.

corey douglas

For dinner*, we went to Vintage Park to Mia Bella and had a super yummy, filling dinner!

 *We actually decided that drinks + apps would be safer with Mr. Corey. He ate his dinner [best french fries btw] while we nibbled and sipped our cocktails.

The Mia Bella was refreshing, delicious, not sweet at all (which is what I need in a cocktail), and it came in this friggin’ adorable cup. I really, really wanted it to accidentally end up in my purse. Just sayin’.

The Goat Cheese Puttanesca was phenom! We did have to order more baguette pieces to soak up all that yumminess. Definitely a great appetizer!

The Wild Mushroom Strudel was insane. The puff pastry balanced well with the salty, mushroomy filling. The sauce really put it over the top, too! When we left, we were stuffed. We actually just ordered our entrees to go, and it took us a good hour before we were ready to eat any of them. We had the gnocchi (super delicious, but very, very filling/heavy) and Jon made his own fettuccini pasta that was delicious.

Mr. Charmer

Corey’s favorite part about Vintage Park: the POUNTAAAAAIIIINNNNS [translation: fountains].

On Saturday, we made homemade waffles, drank coffee, watched Sesame Street [which, if you haven’t seen one lately, you have to watch – they’re hilarious – especially Cookie Monster’s spoofs on movies like Harry Potter and Hunger Games – is it sad I find that so entertaining? Oh well…], and then finally decided to venture to our neighborhood pool. After little man was tired and taking a Happy Nappy, Morgan and I snuck away for a kid-free lunch + pedicures. I love getting to catch up with my sweet friend while enjoying yummy food + relaxing. We hit up Jaxton’s Bistro, and the food was great as always. The service could sometimes use a little more of a smile if you know what I mean, but overall, we enjoy coming here.

jaxton's

I can’t wait until Maa-Moot comes to visit us again! Happy Monday, y’all!

monday meme