Style For Any Age: Longline Leopard Cardigan

I came together with a couple other local bloggers to try something new!

We all purchased one article of clothing and each of us styled it differently. It sounds simple, right? In actuality, we forget how our size, age and seasons of life affect what we wear and how we wear it. For example, I went pretty low-key with my version. I mean, as much as I’d love to regularly be incorporating heels, dresses and chunky jewelry into my wardrobe, my everyday life makes any of those options difficult. So, I went what I call “boyfriend maternity chic” with this one.

Check out the look below.



Here are the details on how I styled this look.

  1. Angashion Long Sleeve Leopard Print Cardigan // This cute, longline cardigan can be dressed up or dressed down and flatters all body types.

  2. Urban Outfitters Brushed Woven Blanket Scarf in Tan // The perfect neutral third piece to layer over anything.

  3. Kelly & Katie Miralla Oxford from DSW // Kelly & Katie is well known in my home as being both extremely comfortable and well priced. It’s no surprise their oxfords are rated well.

  4. Fresh Cosmetics Sugar Nude Tinted Lip Treatment // My holy grail product. It keeps my lips tinted, well hydrated and protected from the sun with SPF 15.

  5. Simplicity on a Sunday Tunic by Modcloth // The hill I will die on: this is the best all around long t-shirt you will be able to find. It comes in a variety of colors and ranges from XXS to 4X.

  6. Old Navy Maternity Premium Raw Edge Rockstar Jeans // Insanely comfortable and fashionable while that bump grows.

Sitting Made Simple: Fort Worth Launch

Sitting Made Simple (SMS) is coming to Fort Worth and I’m all kinds of excited about it! I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the founder, and the owners of both the Dallas and the new Fort Worth branch to find out what all of this means.

Sitting Made Simple is exactly what it says it is. They do the work for you in regards to getting you a sitter. What they do is recruit, interview and screen potential sitters. Let’s be clear, their interviews are not chill. They go above and beyond simply checking references. We’re talking background checks, CPR certification, looking into driving records and the interviews are always in person. So, after someone completely checks out, they go into their system. Then, someone like myself goes in and realizes I need a sitter for an upcoming night out. Instead of shooting out five(ish) texts to the sitters I have in my phone, I can simply go to their site and make a sort of sitter reservation. It really is that simple.

The owner of SMS Fort Worth, Melissa Wolfe, had been using the Dallas service for about a year and a half before she decided that we needed something like this here, too! The site tries to pair you with a sitter who is relatively nearby so that they aren’t driving more than 30 minutes to get to you. She’s a mom of two and understands exactly what goes into looking for a sitter and the importance of trusting who you leave your little ones with. After getting to spend some time with her, I was inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit and her ambitions to bring something like this to our area, but also I genuinely enjoyed being around her.

I’m looking forward to what the future holds for Sitting Made Simple Fort Worth! To celebrate their launch, I’m giving away 3 months of trustworthy babysitting reservations free over on Instagram. Head here to enter now!


Rise Soufflé and Their Cheese Selection

I recently was invited to attend a brunch at Rise to try out their menu and get to know the restaurant a little more. If you’re unfamiliar with Rise, it’s a fun spot here in Fort Worth that specializes in soufflés.

It was a delight to be a part of this not just because of the great food! Rise has a noticeably different ambience than other hot spots around town. The dining experience usually lasts a minimum of around an hour and a half. Here, instead of getting the bill and feeling like the wait staff is ready for you to leave, you’re meant to sit back and enjoy, and, everything from the menu to the decor matches that sentiment.

We were treated to a beautiful arrangement of foods, not limited to their signature soufflés. I tasted a bit from the main table and then enjoyed some of their classic Marshmallow Soup as a starter. The soup is a tomato bisque with small goat cheese soufflés in it and topped with a zesty pesto sauce. It may seem like it’s a rainy-day type of treat but trust me, this works with any weather. For the entree, I chose the Duck a’lOrange soufflé which was a dream. I described it as “Thanksgiving in a bowl” and an absolute delight in regards to a savory soufflé. For dessert I went with the raspberry soufflé which again was perfect. Because it had a tart flavor and texture, it wasn’t heavy. It was the perfect addition to both the soup and the Duck a’lOrange.


All of this was wonderful and I think it’s absolutely worth your time to stop by and try it, however, it was their cheese selection that left a lasting impression on me.

Before the soup, we were brought a hefty cheese board holding 12 hand-selected cheeses from around the world and given a brief explanation about each of them. Two cheeses were featured on their signature girolle, which is a device to help shave the cheese. I went with the Rosey Goat, (Spain), Cahill’s Porter (Ireland), and Boschetto al Tartufo (Italy). They were all insanely good. I was pleased with my choices, but the Boschetto al Tartufo may be one of the best cheeses I’ve ever had. It’s a fresh, semi-soft cheese made from a combination of a cow's and sheep's milk and infused with shavings of rare white truffles.


After we had enjoyed our cheese along with their tasty accompaniments, the cheese presenter casually mentioned that you can buy any of the cheeses here in the restaurant.

I’m sorry. WHAT?!

This kind of floored me. I’m someone who strolls into high end stores and picks out cheese like most people do wine, by how pretty the label is compared with the price. Like wine, sometimes you nail it and find a favorite. Other times you’re less than impressed. This happens regularly with me and to be fair, I don’t seek out an employee nearby for answers or really expect them to have the knowledge to point me towards some great cheeses.

I even asked as clearly as possible because I couldn’t really believe this option was available from Rise. “So, instead of heading into the super market or a similar option, I can just come here and buy these cheeses?” The answer is yes. You can come by the restaurant and get a brief explanation of the cheeses that are available and then purchase a couple to take home. If you’re looking for a full cheese board, they can even build it for you for pick up. Personally, I’m rarely someone who needs to have it made for me, but I almost always need some hand holding during the actual cheese selection.

When family comes into town, for the upcoming holidays, or even just because, I now know that I can get a few quality options for a cheeseboard with very little effort. I had no idea that this service was available and whether it be for entertaining or simply a calm night in, I’m already figuring out when I can next stop by and bring home some of that Tartufo!

Fort Worth Favorite: Brunch at Cane Rosso

Cane Rosso is known for their Neapolitan style pizzas, which, if you didn't know, are my jam. The restaurant has a large, laid back space on Magnolia and features a huge wood-burning oven. Neapolitan pizzas are cooked for a little over a minute in a very hot wood-burning oven. They are traditionally thin crust and are eaten using forks and knives. Neapolitan pizza is my favorite. They have a secret menu that's worth ordering off of, too! I've had the The Honey Bastard which comes topped with spicy soppressata salami, mozzarella, bacon marmalade and habanero-infused honey. The Heimy Bastard (still off menu, here) is similar to the Honey Bastard Pizza except for one big difference. The Heimy Bastard includes all of that goodness and then adds on Heim Barbecue's burnt ends. The Heimy is only available on Tuesdays, though, so plan accordingly.  

Cane Rosso isn't exactly what you think of when considering brunch options. So, lured by the bacon marmalade and the $1 mimosas, I got a couple friends together and put it to the test.

Turns out, it's awesome. We ordered a side of fried artichokes, the Breakfast Panini, the Wafflebird and the Mother Cluckin' Bastard. The portions were large and the mimosas were really good. For $1 we were fully expecting to be less than impressed. We shared a little of each of our meals and it was a wonderful, laid back brunch with friends. My only critique was for a little sauce other than the bacon marmalade (which is worth a trip there on it's own) on my Mother Cluckin' Bastard. I know everyone loves the simplicity of a chicken biscuit, but if we're already having some fun with it, let's go next level and add a sauce in there too. At the end of the meal, we decided to split the check 3 ways and with splitting a starter, each a full entree and two drinks, we left paying just under $20. 

Every time I come by Cane Rosso, I have the thought "I should really come here more often." I'm excited to now throw it on the list of fun, easy going and affordable brunch spots. 


Why You Should Date Your Friends

Sometimes friendships just happen and it can be a really beautiful moment when they do. It's as if all the stars aligned just to allow you two to meet, laugh together and make a quick connection. But what happens next? How about someone who is going through a difficult time and needs a friend to step up? What about a friendship you see potential in but only get to see or talk to them in passing? 

If we're lucky, we'll have a couple of those magical connections in our lifetime. For the most part though, maintaining friendships can be difficult. We all have a lot going on in our lives, so how do you go about creating an intentional atmosphere for diving deeper within a friendship?

Ah, yes. There's that word I love so much. Intentional. I'm a big fan of intentional friendships, and as I get older and after moving around a bit, I realize there are two important things I've learned about them.

1) We need them.

2) It's really unlikely that you'll develop deep relationships in an organic way.

Sure, these probably sound like no brainers, but sometimes we need a gentle reminder. Friendships aren't as easy to develop with spouses, kids, and work schedules. To maintain deep and meaningful relationships, we have to put effort into them which also means leaning into the discomfort of putting yourself out there. These relationships don't fall into your lap anymore (and if you really think they do, we may need to address your friendship expectations). You both have to work at them. Both of you will have to make a minimal amount of investment of your time, your energy and your concern in order to move outside of a shallow friendship.

However, it's scary to put yourself out there. It can be forward and get a little uncomfortable that you're intentionally going against the norm of dropping a line like "let's get together soon" and then just letting that opportunity fade away. Sometimes it takes people by surprise that I'm willing to put something on the calendar for a month or two out. But hey, if that's when you're available, I want to be penciled in. Personally, having the opportunity to get to know someone on a deeper level is worth the risk of being considered too forward, pushy or aggressive.

My favorite way to dive deeper is to have what I call a "friend date." It's similar to a traditional date in that it's a gesture that essentially says "you're is worth putting myself together and I'm willing to invest both some time and money into the opportunity to get to know you better." Again, it's very similar to a regular relationship in that a friend date basically says you're worth the effort. It's an opportunity to ask intentional questions to get to know each other in an attempt to move a relationship forward. 

So what do these dates look like? 

For me, they usually involve going out, one-on-one, for food. Notice how I didn't specify a meal. Coffee, brunch, or drinks are my go-to choices for friend dates because they are relatively vague when it comes to a time frame. I prefer to go with small plates over a full meal, because sometimes you end up in that awkward situation where the food comes out fast and now you have the bill, but you're nowhere near done talking. There is some intentionality with choosing to go out over staying in or meeting up at each other's home. Having friends over is awesome, but there are still distractions that come with that. Especially in my house where Kyle also has his office and there's usually a toddler running around (and likely screaming, too). A lot of my friends now have kids, pets and spouses so going out on a casual date allows for the ability to dive deeper but also minimizes distractions. Not to say you should always go out. I understand there is value in being home in that you're saving money on both ends plus hospitality definitely builds the relationship on both sides. It's just that I prefer getting out to minimize my own distractions. This one is more of a personal preference rather than a general rule. 

Being in a one-on-one setting is a rule, though. Having double dates or friends over for game nights is a blast, but that's different from a friend date. The answers to questions about how you're handling a tough situation, how your relationship is with your parents or what goals you have for the next couple of years are going to have a much different vibe being asked in front of Kyle, their partner and whoever else is present versus in a one-on-one setting. To be clear, I'm not saying that you should always hang out by yourselves. I'm just stating that it needs to be done on occasion in order to move forward with a relationship. You can't only hang out in groups. 

I'm personally pushing myself to be more purposeful with my friendships over this summer. James is easier to handle during both weekends and weeknights, so I'm able to slip out more often. The days are longer and my involvement with youth ministry calms down during the summer meaning I'm also seeing some friends less than I normally would. So, I'm making a personal goal of trying to make friend dates a more regular thing.

Take a moment and think about the friends you have. Think about those friends who you're wanting to get to know better, deeper and in a more intentional way. I encourage you to push through that discomfort of putting yourself out there and ask them on a date. Shoot them a quick text asking about their schedule, whether it be within the next couple weeks or possibly even a couple months out. It'll be worth it. 




Fort Worth Favorite: LMK Jewels

Landri Massey has been operating her new company LMK Jewels for 7 months now in only her spare time.  What makes this business stand out to me, though, is that she has had the vision and drive to develop this business in between classes, extracurriculars, and sifting through university applications.  That's right: Landri is a 17-year-old high school student.

To celebrate one of her recent family vacations, Landri made her mother, sister, and herself matching necklaces. When she had materials left over, she asked around if anyone would be interested in some jewelry she made. The answer was a resounding yes. All of a sudden she found herself filling orders for family members and friends, and she eventually began to develop a business out of it. The original necklace, The Austin Choker is now a staple. 

Her website has been live now for only a couple months,  and it has taken off surprisingly well.  

In between homework, she fills orders for people all over the country. It's not just her artwork that is admirable, though. The genuine love that she has for her peers and her customers is something really remarkable. Teenagers can be incredibly inspiring and a big dose of inspiration is just what I got while listening to her talk about the satisfaction she gets, not from a purchase, but from the hope that through her jewelry, she can promote confidence, self worth and kindness. Sure, the creative outlet is a wonderful benefit, but the true heart of this artist is to help bring out someone's personality and make them feel beautiful, whether it be paired with a t-shirt or a prom dress.

She plans to continue her education, majoring somewhere in the Marketing field. Her goal is to grow the business throughout college and sort of evolve her product line as her consumer base matures, which are her peers. She regularly spots her work on students passing her in the hallways of her school and, no doubt, will eventually be spotting it all over Fort Worth.

Landri's creativity and true passion for making a difference in someone's perception of their self worth are beautiful and inspiring. Her entrepreneurial spirit is something that help to make our city special and I'm excited to see what the future holds for her.

Check out her site, and follow along on Facebook and Instagram




Fort Worth Favorite: Swiss Pastry Shop's Black Forest Cake

We've heard talk of this holy grail of a cake around town for a while: Black Forest Cake. Swiss Pastry Shop has been open for almost 50 years and is part of a Fort Worth Family legacy, so, if you've been around this town for a while, you've probably heard of it. Over the weekend, we finally got to experience it ourselves and I immediately knew it would be my feature for this month's Fort Worth Favorite! 

What makes this cake special? 

It's not a traditional black forest cake, with the chocolate sponge and cherry filling. Swiss Pasty Shop actually refers to this masterpiece as the "uncake". The ingredients are simple (and gluten free): egg white, pure cane sugar and crushed almonds which are then made into layers of meringue. Between the meringue layers is thick, sweetened whipped cream and topped with chocolate shavings. 

The textures come together beautifully and for such simple ingredients, the "uncake" is surprisingly flavorful. As someone who does not consider themselves "a cake person" and who will almost always choose pie if given the option, this feels like a perfect medium between the two desserts.


It absolutely lived up to the hype and we will definitely be ordering this for any family get together (or really any excuse to have a cake)! 

Check out the video below that features the shop and shows how the cake is made! 

Fort Worth Favorite: Laura Bacigalupo Art

I met Laura Bacigalupo a couple years ago through our church, just a few weeks after arriving in Fort Worth. I was instantly drawn to her because she was so open about her love of art and because of her ability to clearly define goals for herself in regards to her dream of being an artist. As someone who personally struggles with finding motivation or even a clear way to channel creative energy, I was so impressed with her creative goals. It just felt so appropriate that I would highlight her for this month's Fort Worth Favorites. 

Within the last couple years, she's now made a career out of her art. She sets up booths at local festivals, and her work primarily sells through word of mouth. Her days are often spent in her Riverside Arts District studio where you can see that she also brings her son in to experiment with his artistic abilities too! Every few months, she hosts beginner-friendly abstract painting workshops that focus on embracing the playfulness, humor and forgiveness of the painting process while also embracing the imperfections that come with abstract painting.

When talking about her process, she said that any of her canvases have anywhere from 1 to 100 layers of paint on them. Her works are abstract, inspiring, and colorful. The use of bright colors is somehow able to give you a sense of ease and comfort while still being fun and playful. I'm no art critic, but I can definitely say that I love what she creates!

You can find more of her work on Facebook and Instagram.


Fort Worth Favorite: CraftWork Coffee Co.

This month, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite local businesses, Craftwork Coffee Co. Sure, I get that it's a little cliche to be a toddler mom that is attracted to coffee shops like a moth to a flame, but I swear this spot is special. I've mentioned it on my Instagram here and there, but it occurred to me while in conversation with friends that a lot of people don't know about this gem. 

If I'm off to Craftwork, I usually end up at the Magnolia location. The space is open, stroller friendly, it's easy to park nearby, and conveniently right across the street from the Magnolia Micro-Park. I'm able to bring James in, hang for a little bit, and when he gets a little too crazy (because he's almost 2, so it will undoubtedly happen), we can head across the street to let him burn off some energy.  Being on Magnolia, the coffee shop is one of the first places open on weekdays (6:30am), which is perfect for an 8 or 9am coffee date or before heading to the zoo.

Did you catch all that? That's right. I bring James. 

Besides the coffee, I love this place because of how welcoming they are of families.  I never fully understood how daunting it can feel to push a stroller into a coffee shop, cafe, or any small business who doesn't primarily fall under the umbrella of "family friendly." I love that not only have I never felt intimidated by the atmosphere or the patrons, but the staff makes me feel almost empowered to be the kind of mom who walks into a coffee shop with a toddler. They interact with both me and James in such an authentic way. Instead of rolling their eyes, they seem to find a little bit of joy in watching him climb up their very block-like bench. They talk to us in a way that doesn't feel like a sort of "autopilot small talk" but in a way that feels like they are actually wanting to get to know us. Sure, this is probably just a reflection of their excellent staff and realistically, this is what every business should strive for. However, for a mom with a ticking time bomb of a child (because, let's get real, that's what every kid is), it feels so nice to be greeted with a genuinely welcoming response to the presence of my little time bomb. 

I know it's common for moms to shy away from hitting up Magnolia thinking that it isn't kid friendly or to have concerns about being so close to a busy city street, but I've been numerous times and have never felt unsafe. Magnolia's vibe is unique in Fort Worth and Craftwork fits in so well there. I would encourage all the moms around to give the Craftwork/Micro-Park combo a shot one morning. 


Scottsdale Weekend Getaway

A couple months ago I was feeling a little overwhelmed with life and I shot a quick text to my best friend, Kyla. 


Haven't met Kyla? Well, that's a bummer because you would probably love her - most people do. She doesn't really love having her picture taken, she would rather not take risks with her food, she's friendly to (literally) everyone who crosses her path, and is one of the most self-sacrificial, compassionate people I've ever met. She isn't necessarily the opposite of me, but maybe pretty close. We've known each other since the 3rd grade, and even when I lived in Canada, we somehow found a way to see each other a couple times a year. Now that we live closer though, we're able to get together every couple months. 


People would ask me what I was planning on doing on this trip, and my answers were usually along the lines of "I don't know, not have to be back home by naptime? Enjoy not changing any diapers and not worrying about making dinner?" Well, guess what?! That's exactly what we did! We soaked up the lifestyle of walking everywhere since we had an Airbnb near the main square. We ate wonderfully, hit up the spa, saw a couple movies and enjoyed just being together for a couple days. Overall, it was just what I wanted, but a few things stood out from the rest. 

The view of Camelback from our door

The view of Camelback from our door

This is a living art exhibit that picks up and moves with the wind. 

This is a living art exhibit that picks up and moves with the wind. 


When I started researching places to eat (because that's what I usually start with when it comes to vacation planning), I ran across Diego Pops all over Instagram and knew we would need to try it out. Every corner of this place is an Instagrammer's dream - the decor was so fun. Plus, the food was awesome! We sat by the fireplace outside, had a good round of watermelon mint margaritas and enjoyed the atmosphere, people and food. This place was all about tacos, and they were great, but the real winner at this place were the Brussels Sprouts Nachos. With corn, all kinds of queso, chilis, pickled onion (which you know I love), and topped with a roasted garlic beet cream sauce and a fried egg, it was an absolute work of art. 


The second highlight was the first place we went to after landing, Berdenas Cafe. We got coffee on our first visit, which was very much needed since we got up at 4am to head out for our flight. The next time we stopped by, we had to try their "Smashed" Avocado Toast which won the title of Best Avocado Toast in Phoenix in 2017 by the Phoenix New Times. Turns out, the title fits. It was so good. It seems relatively simple enough that I think i could try to replicate it at home. I didn't expect to see it topped with cold-pressed olive oil. That's definitely a little avocado toast secret I took home with me! Anyway, we stopped by to try this out along with a couple cute lattes and the "Banana Breadosaurus" which, even though we clearly only got it because it was adorable, tasted fantastic. Berdenas delivered good coffee, good food, a friendly staff and the environment was spot on! 


When I started asking for suggestions on where to go when we were here, I had a huge number of people all say the same place: The Mission. I feel pretty confident that I can speak for both me and Kyla in that this was the best meal we had while in town. It's a very dimly lit restaurant which was made more apparent by the guy next to us using his phone's flashlight to read the menu. The decor isn't my thing, but since it was so dark and the food was fantastic, I was easily willing to overlook the number of borderline kitschy chandeliers that were hanging from the ceiling. That night was a real win because I was also able to push Kyla out of her comfort zone a bit and try some new foods.

We started off with the Duck Carnitas Empanada appetizer which consisted of a duck confit, foie gras, orange habanero glaze, oregano, mushroom & queso Oaxaca. Kyla and I both agreed that this was definitely the best part of the vacation. 

The margaritas were fantastic. I stuck with their signature margarita, "The Mission" for the night. It had tequila, lime, OJ, agave nectar, egg white and a little splash of Grand Marnier. It was fabulous. For entrees, I went with the Chorizo Porchetta and Kyla had the Marinated Jidori Chicken. Both were phenomenal, but honestly, after the appetizer, it was just a bonus. Oh, and I can't forget when they surprised us with a massive pink Himalayan salt block which held our extra tortillas. We ended up sharing the Pumpkin Bread Pudding topped with pomegranate seeds for dessert. I make mention of the pomegranate because it isn't a pairing I would have considered, but goodness, it somehow came together beautifully. Overall, this restaurant was every bit deserving of the hype around it and I'm now one of those people who will make sure to suggest it to anyone who heads that way!

The big salt block! When they brought it out, we were told to be very careful because it was hot. Of course, the moment their back was turned, we each tested that out. It was indeed, very hot.

The big salt block! When they brought it out, we were told to be very careful because it was hot. Of course, the moment their back was turned, we each tested that out. It was indeed, very hot.


Ok, ok, I promise we did more than just eat while we were there. Scottsdale is known for their spas, and it was difficult to choose which one we would end up at. We eventually chose to spend our afternoon at The Sanctuary on Camelback Spa, part of the stunningly beautiful and luxurious Sanctuary Resort. It was such a wonderful experience and that unwinding was a huge part of what we came to town for. After our treatments, we wandered the grounds and soaked up the views for a bit. The only thing that could have made it better would be if the weather had been warm enough to swim! 


On our last day there, we got up extra early to hit up The Desert Botanical Garden. I can't really express how excited I was for this. The sun hadn't fully come up yet, so we were bundled up in the 38-40F weather. Every bit of this was so fun and stunningly beautiful. We learned about all kinds of cacti that we didn't know even existed, got to learn a little bit more about agave plants when one of the guides offered up some fun facts, and stumbled on the rosemary bush of my dreams. We walked the garden as long as we could before we had to head out for the day but we could have stayed there all day.

My rosemary dreams coming true

My rosemary dreams coming true

We left with some candy made from cacti like these! 

We left with some candy made from cacti like these! 

The last thing that we did may not seem like anything that exciting, but it was pretty huge to us. We went and saw two movies - definitely something I can't do with a toddler. We saw I, Tonya which was was great, but I wanted to love it more. We also saw Call Me By Your Name which is one of the best movies I've seen in recent history. I just can't get over what a beautiful experience it was. If you're able to catch me, I'd love to talk more in detail about each movie, but I wont spend the last bit of my blog about a weekend away doing a film review. 

Forkville Supper Club


Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the first event by the Forkville Super Club. Put together by our friends, Monte and Melanie Davis and held within their own home, it was a fun night of extravagant eating! Having it in their own home added a cozy vibe, plus we had the added benefit of watching Monte do his thing within his own kitchen and his element. Half of the fun was watching what he did next and how he prepared the food. 

It took me a little longer than I would have liked to get this on the blog because as some of you know, I was out of commission for most of last month because I got sick and didn't listen to my body enough to rest when I needed to. I had no voice at this party, as in, none. Even though I couldn't really join in on conversations in the way I wanted to, I found myself surrounded by such a fun, eclectic and friendly crowd! We drank an assortment of beer and wine, some provided by Silver Ghost Cellars and we all sort of instantly became friends. 

I found myself, even in my state, to be one of the last guests hanging around. Then, as we headed out, Monte surprised all the guests with a package of his homemade bacon! 

The menu was out of this world. Check it out and let me know what your favorite would be! Keep scrolling to see what was my favorite dish was! 


Cold Dishes:

Tuna Tartare with Wasabi-Avocado Aioli and Sesame Seeds in a Wonton Cup

Spicy Crab Salad with Sriracha Mayonnaise in a Fried Wonton

Shrimp Tostada with a Spanish Coleslaw, Cilantro-Lime Crema on a Fried Tortilla

Duck Prosciutto with Mustard Melons

Hummus and Grilled Pita with Spiced Olives


Hot Dishes:

Fried Arancini Balls with a Spicy Marinara

Baked Brie and Cranberry Sauce Wrapped in a Puff Pastry

Bacon Wrapped Jalepenos with Cream Cheese and Chorizo



Truffle Chicken Liver Mousse with Sherry and Caramelized Onions

Peppered Beef Tenderloin with Horshradish Sour Cream

Goat Cheese Mousse with Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar



Seared Scallop with Creamed Corn and Chorizo

Sauteed Shrimp with Cheddar Grits and Andouille Tomato Sauce

Seared Foie Gras with Maciere Potato, Aged Cheddarand Duck Jus



Wondering what my favorite bit from the evening was? All of it was great, but my favorite was without a doubt the Foie Gras that we ended the night with. Granted, Foie Gras is something that you either love or hate. In this case, I absolutely loved it. You can see above, Monte posing proudly with the Foie Gras he made, and he had every right to be proud of it! 

If you're interested in jumping in on their next party or having a private event with Forkville Cuisine, you can find them on Facebook or email them at to get on their email list for the next event! Their next party is in a couple weeks and they're already added a second date and are still running out of room, so make sure you get in the know ASAP on when they will be hosting! 

Fort Worth Fav: Handmade Cleanser/Moisturizer from Little Bits for You

I'm rolling out my Fort Worth Favs! Each month, I'll be highlighting a local place, product or small business that I love in an effort to focus on shopping small and local. I'm kicking it off just in time for any last minute Christmas orders! 

The owner of Little Bits For You, Jennifer gave me this little jar of all-in-one everything to try out and I felt like it was more than deserving to be the first of my Fort Worth Favs. It's listed as a cleanser and moisturizer, but this stuff can be used for pretty much everything. Since my skin has become unusually sensitive over the past year, I used it in place of my shaving cream and really loved it (which is a big deal). 

I've also found myself dabbing a little here and there on my knuckles since the cooler weather has made them a little dry. The fact that I can use this in so many ways really makes it stand out among my skincare products. I have the unscented version, but you can get a scented one here.  

At a whoppin' $8, this is a fun and affordable idea. So, if you're on the hunt for a last minute "little something" or a stocking stuffer, this is definitely something to consider. Plus, it's always nice to know that you're supporting a small and local business. The last day to order is for local delivery is the 23rd! You can contact her and order the product through her Etsy shop! 


Holiday Review: JORD Watches

I received this beautiful JORD watch in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 


Every year around this time, I’m stuck going through gift guide after gift guide, trying to find something for Kyle. I’m a big gift giver. It’s something I actually enjoy. But after almost 7 years of marriage, I feel like I'm running out of ideas. This year, JORD watches came to my rescue. JORD makes hand-crafted, wooden watches that make the perfect gift! 

Kyle is rocking a custom fitted watch from the Hyde series. Crafted with Olive wood stacked on top of Sandalwood, it’s a beautiful accessory to tie any of his looks together. Yes, I’m even including his computer programmer “work uniform” of jeans and a sweatshirt. Also, can we just take a minute and appreciate the fact that these wood watches are splash proof? This makes it all kinds of perfect for any parent who is constantly dealing with a child who seems to have a sort of magnetic pull towards puddles and spills. I really love that I can give Kyle a quality gift that is not only stylish but also practical. 

The unique watches come beautifully packaged and will be perfect under any tree this Christmas! You can also get the backplate of the watch and the cedar watch box engraved with a personal message. I’m seriously considering getting one for myself and just having “you made it through the holidays” on the back. 

If you're feeling a little stuck this year or looking for something that stands out from the usual gifts, check out what JORD has to offer. Make sure to use this link to recieve 25% off your purchase!


1 Year of Homeownership - Before and After Shots

We did it guys! As of today, we've officially been homeowners for one year! To celebrate, I wanted to show off some of the changes we made. Not every room is shown in these before/after shots, but each room had a bit of a transformation. Almost every surface in the house was painted, some new light fixtures installed and we started making it into our home!


Living Room





Dining Room





We opted to turn what was the formal dining room into a colorful play room. Worth mentioning is that between the carpet and concrete, there is a layer of foam tiles so that the floor is a little safer for bouncing around. The carpet is by FLOR. We're long time fans of FLOR, and love that each of the triangles is a separate tile, so that when spills happen, we wont have to replace the entire carpet. Instead, we can just get a replacement tile. 







Master Bed & Bath





The Nursery





Our NYC Food Tour

When we realized we would be exploring NYC on a toddler's schedule, we figured that meant most museums, large crowds and late nights were out. However, food is a must, regardless. So, why not eat well while exploring?  The city is beautiful, eccentric, quirky and rooted in so much rich history and diversity. All of that bleeds over into the culture surrounding food and I was so excited to be able to jump into it for a short time. One of our good friends, Jaselle, lives there and we were lucky enough to have her as our local guide during her free time. I'm fully aware that we didn't even scratch the surface of all that was available, but here's what all we ate and what we thought of it. 

Pizza at Parkside Brooklyn

When we got into town, we were starving. 

We walked a few blocks to Parkside Brooklyn, a bar and brick oven pizza place. Thin crust is my jam, so I was on board immediately. Pictured is a lamb sausage pizza with mozzarella, onions and mint. It was seriously the best way to start the trip. We also got an order of the veal meatballs which were again, so so good.

I loved this spot. I wish I had been in a better mindset (not exhausted from dealing with tiny human temper tantrums 30,000 feet in the air) so that I could fully enjoy it. The staff didn't blink an eye and handled James perfectly who was essentially a ticking time bomb at this point. The menu was small, simple and didn't feel overwhelming which was what had us ordering some meatballs along with the pizza. Quality was fantastic, vibe was exactly what we needed and the drinks were jussssst stiff enough.

Lape Rating: A+

Cookie Dough at DŌ

The next day was pretty open, as most of our days were. We walked around SOHO past all kinds of bakeries knowing what I was headed for: . They scoop cookie dough like ice cream, and it's kind of genius. I've heard from friends who planned on visiting this spot that they had to skip it due to wait lines that were around 4 hours. We didn't wait 4 hours, but we did wait around 45 minutes. There was a baby/toddler  park right across the street (where the line was) so it was the perfect opportunity to keep James cool with waiting. It's located in an adorable area that makes waiting a lot more fun than some other places in Manhattan. 

DO is definitely quirky, fun, and original! The main reason it doesn't get an A is really just because, as great as it sounds, there's really no time where eating a heavy-handed scoop of cookie dough settles well. It's not a light snack, hard to walk with and not very cold, which, again isn't a fault of the business but more a fault of the food item they've centered the business around. Kyle and Sharon weren't huge fans of their cookie dough choices and everyone agreed that my "unicorn sugar cookie" flavor was the best by a landslide. Although it was tasty, it was also super rich (as expected, I guess). I ate a couple bites, even posed for pictures with tourists (who weren't willing to wait the 45 min to an hour ), then immediately got a to-go box, guzzled my entire water bottle and put it away until later in the evening. 

Lape Rating: B+

Avocaderia Avocado Bar

Sunday morning, we were relatively well rested and had our hearts set on some avocado. We stopped by "the world's first avocado bar," Avocaderia, to check it out! Jaselle and I went with the "Avoburger", which uses two halves of avocado as the buns on a burger of smoked salmon, herb yogurt, watermelon radish, arugula, black sesame seeds and lime "citronette." We also each picked up some cold pressed juice to sort of detox from the cookie dough extravaganza we had finished the night before.

It was really good! To be fair, I ate the avoburger like an actual burger once for a photo and then continued eating it as a salad. Kyle got a beautiful spread of avocado toast with smoked salmon which didn't even make it into a photo. The food was great, the service was friendly and it was just out there enough to get me to drop by. Kyle also asked that I specify that the coffee was much better than he was expecting. 

Lape Rating: A+

The Rainbow Bagel

Jaselle and I hopped up early the next day to head out without Kyle and James to pick up what I was probably most excited about for the trip . . . the rainbow bagel from The Bagel Store. Sure enough, they had a bagel combo that pretty much screamed "I'm here from out of town ready to join in on the rainbow bagel hype!" The store was smaller than I expected but going on a Monday morning was an awesome decision because there was no line. It seemed to genuinely shock Jaselle to see no one waiting. The staff seemed nice and it was hard to hide my excitement when they brought out a freshly made batch of rainbow bagels. I got the "Rainbow Bagel Supreme" which was a "rainbow bagel with generous amounts of rainbowfetti cream cheese, topped with cotton candy and fairy dust." Sure, it all kind of clogged up the image of the bagel itself but goodness was it so good. We got two savory bagel sandwiches (still on the signature rainbow bagels) and one that had the rainbowfetti cream cheese without the cotton candy or sprinkles. 

I obviously have a sweet tooth so while others may shake their head and dry heave, I loved it. Super fun, original, sweet and my new standard for a bagel. Plus, it's really cool to know how much work goes into each bagel. These people really care about the craft. Sure, the rainbow supreme bagel is a little gimmicky, but the rainbow bagel as a whole isn't. 

Lape Rating: A+ 


The Unicorn Latte

When the Starbucks Unicorn Frappe frenzy hit, I was holding out for this Unicorn Latte from The End Brooklyn. We picked up 3 lattes all labeled under "Healing Lattes" on the menu which immediately had me intrigued. We went with the Unicorn, Merbabe and Purple Amethyst Latte having no clue which one would be the cutest or the best tasting. 

Turns out the Purple Amethyst (top right) was the best tasting. It was really cool to try and I loved knowing that all of the ingredients would actually do my body good, unlike pretty much anything else I consumed on the trip. Regardless, they weren't the tastiest drinks in the world and although the place was cool, it felt like we went through a lot of effort to get there with not much of a payoff. 

Lape Rating: A-

Traditional Khachapuri

Dinner rolled around and off we headed to the traditional Georgian restaurant in the East Village, Oda House. While researching NYC food spots, khachapuri quickly hopped towards the top of our list. It's essentially a hand made bread boat with really good cheese. The video below describes it in better detail, but one of the cool things about it is that before it is served, and egg and a slab of butter are put into the cheese boat o' awesomeness and then mixed together before eating. We started off with some Georgian wine and khinkali, oversized, hand-rolled lamb and herb dumplings. They were so good. Insanely good. The main attraction is obviously the khachapuri so it was a great treat to see that we were starting off with another dish that was so great. After dumplings and the khachapuri, we ordered satsivi and chanakhi. The satsivi was organic, grass-fed chicken cooked in walnut sauce and Georgian spices and served cold alongside ghomi, Georgian grits topped with sulguni cheese. We loved it! The chanakhi (seared organic, grass-fed lamb baked in a clay pot with grilled eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and garlic) really wasn't our favorite, but operating under a sort of tourist's vow, we didn't regret trying it out. 

Had James not been up late and clearly not thrilled about it, we would have stayed longer and tried some sulguni cheeses as a dessert, but we'll leave that for next time, because we will definitely be back to this spot. 

Lape Rating: A+

Israeli Hummus at Chelsea Market


One of our last stops was Chelsea Market where we planned to casually stroll through, but after getting there, we quickly realized we were reaching some serious hangry levels. We stopped at a spot known for Israeli street food, Dizengoff

There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of options to choose from in the market. It felt good to stop and grab something that was healthy and good quality. 

Lape Rating: A+

Mashmallow Ice Cream at Ample Hills

Last but not least, we had to hit up Ample Hills Creamery. Being just a couple stops over from where we were staying, it felt like a no brainer. Jaselle was insistent that we try it and let's get real, as if you have to twist our arms to try ice cream. 

Immediately when you walk in, it feels cozy. The names of each ice cream are clever and hand drawn, some with a little cartoon beside it. My personal favorite would have to be "Churned This Way" with a parade of happy animals dancing and waving the pride flag. I went with Snap Mallow Pop, the famous marshmallow ice cream and loved every bite. Also, for the record, I ordered a small, so, as you can see from the photo below, they are heavy-handed with the scoops.

The ice cream was great, the service was great, but our favorite part had to be the children's play area towards the back of the building. With only a couple tables and bar seating, they could have easily chosen to use this space for anything but I really loved that they chose this. It gave James an opportunity to get out of the stroller and play! Sure, we brought some toys with us, but nothing like this. It was such a great end to the day being able to relax and watch him play, all while enjoying some seriously tasty ice cream.

Lape Rating: A+

Honorable Mention

  • Eataly: We knew this famous spot was a must. It's just that we didn't realize they opened a new location. Jaselle was meeting us and although we were all at Eataly, we got our wires crossed and ended up at different locations. She came to us since we had James. We may have missed out on the vibe, variety and experience from the original location, but it was a wonderful view as we ate across the street from the Freedom Tower and memorial. I was still pretty tired from traveling and our first big day on the town, and didn't take many pictures. I did get a sweet tote bag though.

Magnolia Bakery: Obviously we had to stop here. At the time, we weren't loving the crowded area around NBC studios but I happened to spot Magnolia and insisted I get something. I went with a simple vanilla cupcake. I saw the famous banana pudding and I guess I can blame it on being flustered by the crowd, or just not in the mood for banana pudding, but I passed it up for the cupcake. In retrospect, I regret it a little, but the cupcake was still fabulous! I wish I had gotten more!