Fredericksburg, TX Wine Country

Y’all, this post is long, long, LONG overdue.  In December 2018, I celebrated my 35th birthday with a wine weekend in Fredericksburg, TX.  Yes, you read that correctly – 2018. Better late than never, right?  Also, now I’m 36. HAHA.

I love having a birthday in December, but they are hard to plan for, & quite frankly after a certain age I don’t think birthdays really need to be celebrated with a party.  Dinners are always accepteable!  So, way back in 2018 my birthday, December 14th, fell on a weekend.  I out sent out a “feelers” email to my friends & family, in October, asking if they would be interested in a girl’s weekend in the “Texas Wine Country,” as I know with the holidays it can be tricky to make plans.  I wasn’t going to do anything if no one was interested, but true to form we all wanted to booze it up!

We stayed the weekend in Hye, TX at my friend Katy’s ranch.  Thank you Katy, Bob, and Beth!  Hye is a blink-and-miss-it kind of town between Fredericksburg & Johnson City.

In early November, I sent out an evite so people had plenty of time to RSVP & plan accordingly.

This was such a great group of women!  It was a combo of work friends, non-work friends, my mom, my aunt, & a few cousins, & Katy’s parents.  I think Bob enjoyed being the only dude.  HA!  For their privacy, I’m not posting any pictures of the ranch itself; however, I will post our itinerary for the weekend.  As per ushe, I was very specific but this time it strictly for reservations & so the gals could make sure they brought cash to cover the cost of their tastings.  We did have transportation all day, so no driving for us drunky-poos. 8939EFB3-B74D-477D-AED5-3494E6F77C62

This was the itinerary, & we pretty much stuck to it until the end. 70C0297D-EC85-43F6-AFDD-ED2CD01166F2

So, everyone arrived at the ranch between 2-4pm.  Around 4 we headed over to Narrow Path since it was our neighbor!  Quick & easy.  PS – this was a rare cold AF weekend in Texas.

About half of us went to dinner at East Main Grill in downtown Johnson City.  Their honey pecan fried chicken was delicious!  After dinner, my cousin, Kimberly & I were the only ones brave enough to face the cold to look at the amazing Christmas Lights at the Perdernales Electric Company.  I have no words to describe their beauty, & the pictures do not do them justice.  I linked the company’s website so you can look at other better photos.

Saturday was kind of fluid in that a couple of friends met us at the ranch early.  A couple of people also left early.  My mom & aunt skipped the last winery & went to the local flea market (Trade Days) instead.  We specifically went to the place farthest from the ranch first, and then worked our way back.  I know, I know, I’m such a genius…modest too.

We started with Lost Draw Cellars, and I was most excited about this place because I had never been there.  I had tried one of their rosés at Hye Market on a previous trip.  This place is a block or two off the Main Street in Fredericksburg where all the shops are.  What I specifically loved about LDC, is that our wine guide noticed that my mom & aunt (who were sitting on opposite ends of the table) weren’t really drinking much of the wines.  He discretely asked Mama J if there was a problem; when she said they only like sweet wines (gross) he brought them two of their sweetest wines so they would have something to drink & enjoy the experience.  I LOVED that! 3660A20A-E665-4DE0-BCB6-B7D2915083AF

Next we headed over to Signor Vineyards.  This place is gorgeous, but I have no pictures of the grounds – check out their website.  The facilities were designed by Magnolia, you know Chip & Joanna.  Just imagine crisp, clean white & black finishes with a Spanish influence.

I loved that at Signor, you can customize your tasting by selecting 5 wines out of 8 options. BB609852-968B-4539-B2EA-9658A58EA0B9

Okay, by this point I was nicely buzzed and did not take any more pictures.

We ended the day at William Chris Vineyards.  Instead of moving on to Perdernales Cellars after, we just hung out at William Chris until they closed.  Katy’s parents know the owners of William Chris and are frequent patrons.  We had to behave for a bit here because TABC (Texas Alcohol & Beverage Commission) was there making a surprise inspection.

We did a full tasting, had an awesome cheese board, & then finished with a couple bottle of wines after.

Side note, I got stung by a wasp twice here.  It hurt like a b****!  I had no idea that wasps could sting more than once, unlike bees.

To round out the day, we continued drinking at the ranch, had my famous minestrone soup for dinner, & had cake (Mama J made me a spice cake!).  The night was very low key; pretty sure I was in bed by 9:30p.

Sunday morning we were all on the road by noon.

Some notes for your trip:

  1. Get a driver, so worth it!
  2. If you are from central Texas, this could easily be a day trip.  If you are from Houston, Dallas, or farther you will probably want to overnight.  There are quite a few really cute B&Bs all around Fredericksburg.
  3. There is plenty for dudes to do too.  In addition to the explosion of wineries, there has been an influx of breweries & distilleries as well.
  4. In the last 15 years, the wine has vastly improved! Can we get a hallelujah!
  5. If you have a group of 5+, I would make reservations where possible.
  6. There is great shopping in Fredericksburg, so be sure to check it out.
  7. Trade Days (flea market) is every 3rd weekend.  I always find something to take home.

Do y’all have any favorite wineries in the area?  If you’ve never been, give Texas Wine Country a taste!

Kiss Hug,

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My First Solo(ish) Vacation!

Hi friends!  It’s been a day, give or take 80, since I last posted.  I know, I know, I always promise to be better about writing more frequently, but to be honest the last thing I wanted do after a long day at work was come home & look at a computer screen again.  I’m sure many of you can relate.

However, in the last few months a lot has changed.  Yes, I’m still boycotting The Bachelor, so no recaps.  Yes, I’m still watching Hallmark movies, but I thought the 2019 Christmas ones were terrible, except for Christmas at the Plaza.  But, I did watch 90% of them.  I also watched many of the Lifetime Christmas movies, and maybe I liked them better?  There was more diversity, the female lead was allowed to have straight hair, they typically got to the kiss much earlier in the movie, & I saw alcohol.

The biggest news of all though, is that I got a new job!  It happened very quickly & unexpectedly, but now I work from home!  Y’all, I’m saving 1.5 hours of drive time.  I also haven’t filled my gas tank in 14 days!  This is a miracle in & of itself.

Anyway, I felt it was high time I got on here & wrote about my 8 day trip to Connecticut, Cape Cod, & Nantucket last September.  The first five days of the trip were solo, then my friend Katy joined me in Nantucket.

Y’all are going to laugh at me & think I’m a super nerd, but my favorite show of all time is Gilmore Girls.  With that said, the first three days of this trip was me road tripping around Connecticut to all the little towns that inspired Stars Hollow.  Could there be a cuter name for a town?

Okay, grab a cup of coffee (Dunkin’ in you’re in the northeast) & settle in…

This was my itinerary: 0C07418B-8980-4734-A64D-B0AAA4813D7C_1_201_a

The way I like to plan trips is to create a calendar with the dates I plan to travel.  Then I like to research what’s happening in the places I want to visit & just write down anything that looks interesting, including restaurants, shopping, museums, etc.  This also allows for you to purposefully avoid certain things and to budget accordingly.  For example, while I was in Nantucket there was a Gilmore Girls Fan Fest in CT, so I purposely avoided Connecticut during that weekend & did my personal GG tour the weekend before.  As much as I love GG, I’m not into herds of people.  Once I see what’s going on then I layout the order of towns I want to go to & book hotels accordingly.  I filter out activities once I’m there in the moment.  Oh, in New England I try to stay at B&B’s or inns exclusively.

Saturday, September 21:

I departed Houston bright & early and arrived in Boston by lunch time.  I hopped in my rental car & purposefully took the scenic route from Boston to Litchfield, CT.  A note for the rest of this post, I always choose the scenic route & plan for longer drive times.  The drive from Farmington to Litchfield, specifically, is a must do!  Y’all, I’d move to Farmington or Litchfield tomorrow if I thought I could make a sustainable living.  So cute!

I stayed at the Litchfield Inn, which is supposedly what the Independence Inn (GG) was based on.  I totally see it.D0FBF113-2B53-420A-951D-EAD17917046C

If I’m being completely honest, I probably would not stay here again.  The staff was lovely, but the building was very old & had original walls with little to no sound proofing…and there was a very raucous wedding reception going on until close to midnight.  Call me old fashioned, or just call me old, but I was tired & couldn’t sleep due to the loud music and wedding guests running through the halls.  Had I known about the wedding before hand, I would have stayed somewhere else.

On a funny note, the room decor was wild…or wildly bright! Reds, teals, faux brick, wood paneling, wall paper – you name it, this room had it.

That night I had dinner at a cute (but packed!) restaurant down on the main street, called At The Corner.  You guessed it, it was on the corner!  Litchfield doesn’t have a town square, at least not that I saw, but it had a street that most shops & restaurants were on.  I sat at the bar & made friends with my neighbors (Tom & Lori), while enjoying a beer flight of IPAs (I let the bartender choose) & enjoyed the primadonna salad.  Picture Tom as Fred Armisen & George Clooney’s love child, & picture Lori as Sarah Jessica Parker.

Sunday, September 22:

I woke up early & headed to breakfast at some diner Tom (from the night before) recommended.  Didn’t take pictures, nor was the biscuits & gravy any good.

Moving it along, I quickly got on the road to Kent, CT to see the Cornwall Inn – it was also supposed to have inspired the Independence Inn.  I didn’t see the resemblance.  This town was super cute, but since it was a Sunday nothing much was open, except for a coffee shop.   Whomp, whomp.

I will say this entire route was very scenic even though I was on a highway, albeit a 2 lane highway.  The leaves were just starting to turn for “Leaf Peepin’ Season.”  Can we rethink this name?  Another funny thing I noticed was the complete lack of cohesiveness in terms of how close the houses were to the road…which again was a 2 lane highway.  Some houses were literally on the edge of the road, their neighbor was maybe an olympic swimming pool length away from the road, & the next neighbor was maybe a car length away from the road.  Half way through the day, it finally (FINALLY!) dawned on me that the houses were most likely there before the road was, you know because they were built in 1723 or something.

I quickly headed to New Milford, CT, which was where “Luke’s Diner’ & the town gazebo were.  This town was freakin’ adorable.  Lots of churches.  I didn’t think the gazebo really  looked like GG, so didn’t get a pic.  Theo’s Diner (aka Luke’s) had a great BLT.  Across from Theo’s was a little art gallery in the old train station, how cute is that.  The proprietors told me that there was an awesome flea market in town (maybe called The White Elephant?), but I didn’t have time to stop by.

Movin’ on down the road, my next stop was Washington, CT, some call it Washington Depot – I’ve seen it called both.  This was THEE inspiration.  Here I found Doose’s (aka Washington Food Market), the Dragonfly Inn (aka Mayflower Inn), & the church (aka Town Hall).  I saw so much of Stars Hollow in this town, & I loved every bit of it.  Word to the wise, if you blink you miss this town.

On my way to the next town, Guilford, CT, I had to pull over for a firetruck.  And, low & behold look what I stopped in front of. A6E7D613-B558-4BA3-8F7E-10191FD966F3

Stars Hollow High – said in the monotone of those same 3 kids for every Stars Hollow production.

Unfortunately, I arrived in Guilford near closing time, but I did manage to stop by The Village Chocolatier, a book store, & a spice shop.  This town was super cute, & had a proper town square.

Rounding out the day, I stopped in Mystic, CT for the night.  Mystic has nothing to do with GG, but I didn’t get to spend much time here on my last girl’s trip with Jessica & Brigitte so I made a point to come back.

I stayed at the Whaler’s Inn, which is the perfect place to stay.  It’s in the middle of town and you can walk everywhere.  They also just completed a renovation, but don’t worry it is still charming, historic, & has sound proofing!

I had dinner at the Engine Room, & their hush puppies are to die for.  Seriously, I still think about them…

Monday, September 23:

The next morning, I ate breakfast at Grass & Bone with the voucher I got at checkin at The Whaler’s Inn.  My breakfast taco was tiny, but delicious. 6CE68131-A447-46FC-AE22-21F9B9F080D7

After breakfast I spent a leisurely morning going in & out of shops all over town.  It was quite nice after the pace of Sunday.  Mystic has a great bookstore (think it was called Banks Square Books) & I’m kinda kicking myself for not buying anything there…does this mean I need another trip?

By lunch time I was on the road to Cape Cod!  I have been dying to go to the Cape (do I sound like a local?) for years.  Cape Cod is divided into several areas, Upper Cape, Lower Cape, Outer Cape, Mid Cape, & probably some other Capes too.  I stayed in Mid Cape so that everything I wanted to do wouldn’t be more than 20-30 minutes away.

Before checking in to my inn, I stopped in Sandwich first.  I went to the Green Briar Jam Kitchen to pickup some jams for Mama J; some TSA agent got to enjoy those in Boston instead.

Next I headed to the Sandwich Glass Museum.  I loved it!  I got to watch glass being blown, a short film about the history of the town of Sandwich, & lots of dioramas!  I love a good diorama.

I chose to stay at the Winstead Inn in Harwich, MA.  It was a good choice because it was centrally located to everything I wanted to do.  My room had a little kitchenette, which came in handy because by this point I was kinda tired of eating out by myself.

The Winstead had a great breakfast, & I highly recommend this place.  The staff was fantastic.

On a side note, isn’t it so pretty how the bright summer hydrangeas fade to these beautiful fall colors? C071AB92-97B2-4837-9685-40DF54567317

Tuesday, September 24:

This was my day to explore the Lower & Outer Capes.  My first stop was the Atwood House Museum, which turned out to be a total bust.  The museum hours had changed due to Daylight Savings Time.  I made the best of the situation and drove around Chatham for a bit.  When you close your eyes & picture your idea of Cape Cod – you are picturing Chatham.  It is quintessential Cape Cod, not to mention a very picturesque fall.

Side note, when I saw this lighthouse I could not stop singing “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon.  I’m pretty sure I sang that song in choir at some point because I new all the words.

This little jaunt gave me several questions, maybe you can answer them.  None of the locals satisfied my curiosity.

  1. Why do people name their houses, where do the names come from?  Is it a seafarer’s house, or a captain?
  2. What is with the pumpkins above the doors?  So many houses had this, & I think is a really cute, but dangerous?
  3. So many houses had the shingles on one side of the house & then siding on the other sides.  Is this an aesthetic thing?  Is it a money saving thing?  Does it have to do with wind coming off the ocean?  WHY? CA3BE3C4-768D-4BC6-8F4D-44520DE9592F

Next up on my agenda was wine tasting at Truro Vineyards.  It was super fun; however, all the wines were too sweet for my taste.  The experience was really fun though & you should go there.  Tastings were $10 for six wines.

After wine tasting I headed down to Provincetown (aka P-town).  Y’all, I know everyone loves Provincetown, but the parking situation ruined my P-town experience.  Also, if you’ve ever been to Venice Beach in LA, then you’ve been to Provincetown.  There.  I said it.

Wednesday, September 25:

I stuck to Mid Cape & the Brewster area.  This was the best day ever because I found Dr Pepper at the Brewster General Store!!!  I heard angels singing in that store.  Haha.  This store was so cute.  Old men come every morning & sit on the benches out front to “shoot the breeze.”

Look at those corbels!  So dreamy.

While in Brewster, you should stop by the Lemon Tree Village for some shopping.

I somehow landed at the Edward Gorey House Museum.  Y’all, do not sleep on this museum.  It’s weird, quirky, & delightful.  For those, like me, who don’t know who Edward Gorey is – he was an illustrator most well known for Dracula.  Seriously, check out his Wikipedia page.  We had a character of a museum guide, he was perfect for the quirkiness of Edward himself.

I made a quick stop at the Cape Cod Chip Factory – they are my favorite.  This place will take you 10 minutes tops to go through. 26127154-3F08-4355-B6B0-968D782E3670

Around the corner, I stopped by Cape Cod Beer, for my beer flight.  Unsurprisingly, I liked the IPAs.

A few final thoughts about Cape Cod…  I would love to spend an entire summer there & really immerse myself & get to know all the little towns.  It didn’t look like I thought it would, meaning that I thought it would be more “beachy.”  There was so much forest, I was truly shocked.  Good for MA for preserving land like that.  Also, if you love old cemeteries (I think they are pretty), then you will love the Cape…all of New England really.

Thursday, September 26:

Off to Hyannis, I went to meet my friend Katy at the Steamship Authority to catch the ferry to Nantucket!  Funny story, we both had rental cars to drop off at the Barnstable Airport in Hyannis so we took an Uber from the airport to the ferry.  Our Uber driver dropped us off at Hy-Line Cruises, not Steamship Authority.  Luckily the guys taking luggage let us know we were at the wrong place.  We had to hoof it over to the Steamship dragging our luggage through the gravel paths.  Guess we got an unintentional workout in.

A note about ferry options.  The Steamship Authority cost $69 round trip and had ferries every 3-ish hours.  The Hy-Line Cruise was $77 round trip & had ferries every 1.5 – 2 hours.  It just so happened that the Steamship times worked better for what we wanted to do, & was $8 dollars cheaper.

On the island, ACK as the locals call it (also the airport code), we stayed at the CUTEST hotel.  76 Main was historic, beautiful, & classy AF.  Our room was the size of a postage stamp, but we were hardly ever there.

The great thing about 76 Main, is that you can walk to pretty much anywhere in town.  However, beware of the huge cobblestones…we had trouble in flats.

We quickly dropped our stuff off in our room & headed to lunch at Lemon Press.  Y’all we ordered a bottle of wine & it was a half bottle…we got duped.  Lunch was delicious though and the decor was lovely.

After lunch we decided to check out the Whaling Museum, cost is $20.  More dioramas! Then we got ice cream at Juice Bar (no lines in September!) & continued to walk around town.  Below are some of my favorite architectural details.

76 Main provides all the fixings for happy hour aside from the alcohol; with this in mind, Katy & I stopped at the liquor store to get wine.  Back at the hotel, we drank our wine & made friends with the other guests.  We socialized until about midnight with a couple of pilots that Katy kept referring to as the guys from Wings.  HAHAHA.  We basically drank our dinner & ate some popcorn.  Y’all we thought this was the best popcorn we’d ever had…could’ve been the booze talkin’ though.

Friday, September 27:

We got up bright & early & headed to breakfast at Black Eyed Susan, where my step sisters Amanda & Samm met us for the day!  They deserve all the accolades because they woke up at some ungodly hour & drove from Leominster, MA to catch the first ferry to Nantucket.  Black Eyed Susan is teeny tiny, you have to wait outside on the sidewalk for a table to open up.  There is literally only room for the tables inside.  After breakfast we had some time to kill before the shuttle could take us to Cisco Brewers, so we walked down the street to Hospital Thrift Shop.  Y’all, I got two paintings for a dollar.  They are hanging up in my office now.  I believe all the proceeds go to the local hospital.

We caught the 11am shuttle to Cisco Brewers & basically camped out there the rest of the day.  This is the trifecta of places to go because it is Cisco Brewery, Triple Eight Distillery, & Nantucket Vineyard all in one.  They have food trucks, people bring their dogs, there is live music – fun to be had all around.  We took the tour & got to try a little of everything before we settled in for wine flights.

We rounded out the day at Brotherhood of Thieves for dinner before Amanda & Samm had to catch the last ferry home.  I think they were awake for 21-ish hours.  Bless it.

Saturday, September 28:

We basically raced to the ferry & raced back to Boston to catch our flight home.  I was home by 6pm, & had all of Sunday to decompress.

I think the next time I go to Nantucket, because I will be back, I would stay 2+ days longer.

That’s all she wrote, folks!  It was a great trip!

Let me know where you think I should go next…

Kiss Hug,

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Hallmark Summer Movies

So, if you know me at all, you know that Summer is my least favorite season.  Living in Texas might factor into my hatred of heat.  That said, the Hallmark Summer series also happens to be my least favorite catalog of movies every year.  In order from favorite to least, I like Christmas (duh!), Fall, Winter, Spring, Valentines, & finally summer.

However, doing the Lord’s work I did watch most of the Summer movies.  Let’s do a little dissection shall we?

Starting with the Countdown to Summer movies: Countdown to Summer

  1. Love in the Sand: Didn’t watch & had no interest.
  2. From Friend to Fiance: I thought this one was pretty cute.  This was my first introduction to Jocelyn Hudon (she’s so cute!), & I usually always like Ryan Paevey movies.
  3. Sailing into Love: I liked this one more than I thought I would.  I’m not typically a Chris McNally fan, but I really like Leah Renee.
  4. A Feeling of Home: I had zero interest in this movie & didn’t watch.

My favorite from Countdown to Summer was…Paris, Wine, & Romance!  Paris, Wine & Romance

I always love a Jen Lilley movie, & this was not a let down.  Cute guy – check.  Pinot Noir – check.  Paris – check.  Jen Lilley – check.  Doesn’t take much to make me watch a Hallmark movie, but this checked all the nonexistent boxes.

Moving on to June Weddings: June Weddings

  1. Sister of the Bride: I love Becca Tobin, but I thought this movie was just ehhh.  Getting married in Palm Springs over July 4th sounds like a nightmare.
  2. The Last Bridesmaid: I loved this one!  It had my girl Rachel Boston in it, ya’ll know she is my favorite!  I also really like Paul Campbell, but always forget about him.
  3. Love, Take Two: It was okay…I was kinda bored throughout.
  4. Wedding at Graceland: Probably the cheesiest of them all.
  5. My Boyfriend’s Back: Wedding: I really like Cindy Busby, but I am not a fan of the Jack Wagner/Josie Bisset movies.  Not really sure why, but I find them so annoying.  I was bored during this one.My Boyfriend's Back

Next up, we had the Summer Nights series:

Out of these 5 movies, I loved 3 of them, liked 1 okay, & totally did not like 1 at all.

  1. My One & Only: The was very Bachelor adjacent & I loved it!  Sam Page & Pascale Hutton can do no wrong together.
  2. All Summer Long: I hated this movie.   I’d rather have watched an episode of Below Deck on Bravo.
  3. A Summer Romance: I loved this one!  Another Ryan Paevey movie, so it had good chances.  Erin Krakow can sometimes annoy me, I can’t put my finger on what it is about her, but luckily I loved this movie!
  4. Love & Sunshine: This was unexpectedly my favorite!  I can go either way on Danica McKellar, but this movie unexpectedly made my heart smile so much.
  5. Taste of Summer: These two leads are married in real life I believe.  I liked this one, but I also did other things while it was on, so take that for what you will.

I believe Forever in my Heart will close out the Summer movies next week, & then we get into Fall!  Forever in My Heart

I quite enjoy Merritt Patterson, but I haven’t seen any previews for this yet.  Looks like we’ll get a prince falling for the beautiful commoner.

What Summer movies did you like?  Did I miss any good ones?

With the Fall movies, I’ll recap them each week instead of doing a long list like this.  Maybe I’ll do a list at the end of the season too…thoughts?

Kiss Hug,

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Hallmark Movie Favorites

Hi friends!  I’ve decided to try something new here…Hallmark movie recaps!  I mean, I’m watching them every weekend anyway, right?  Right.

First things first, I don’t know about you but I definitely have favorite Hallmark stars, some that I could take or leave, & some that I will not watch the movie if they are in it.  Let’s dive in a little deeper, shall we?

My Favorites are: Favorites

If any of these folks are in the movie, I am watching it with my full attention.  Most likely it will be on my list of favorites for the season as well.

Rachel Boston is my absolute favorite!  Emilie Ullerup & Brendan Penny are not far behind.  I love all of their movies.

My Take It or Leave Its are: Take It or Leave It

So with these leading ladies, chances are I’ll watch the movie but also be scrolling on Instagram or something.

Autumn Reeser should only be allowed to do the Fall movies because her eye & hair color are perfectly suited for Fall foliage…and her name is Autumn.  I know Danica McKellar & Lacey Chabert are fan favorites, & I like them too, but I’m a little tired of them.

My Nopes are: Nope

Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these women.  I just personally don’t enjoy most of their movies.  Candace Cameron Bure seems to own Hallmark or something, & quite frankly I’m ready to relegate her to her mystery channel permanently.

My Honorable Mentions are: Honorable Mentions

I wish Hallmark would cast these ladies more; I’ve really enjoyed all of their movies.  I’m pretty sure at least half have been in movies with Luke Macfarlane from my Favorites List.  Your move Hallmark.

Who are your hallmark favorites?  Who did I forget?

Kiss Hug,

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RHOD – My Thoughts on the Cast

Okay y’all, I’m resurrecting my recaps for this season of Real Housewives of Dallas.  Season 4 starts tonight!  Cast photo

Let me first start by saying I do not know anything about the new cast member, not even her name, so she will be left out of this post.  I also hear that Cary asked to be a “friend of” this season to concentrate on her new show.  I’m not sure if this one will be Bravo affiliated.

Let me also preface this by letting you know that I do not know anything of these ladies outside of the Bravosphere, & don’t follow any of them on socials.  My opinions are strictly based on editing the show.

Let’s start with Brandi Redmond.  Brandi Redmond

I kinda like Brandi, though most days I could go either way with her.  I think she’s funny, a bit conniving but in a ‘give LeeAnne a run for her money’ kind of way.  The baby voice has got to go.

Next up is LeeAnne Locken. leeanne-lockena

Okay, I know I’ll get skewered for this, but I can’t stand LeeAnne.  To be fair, I hate her “role” in every city of the franchise.  You know the woman who treats people exceptionally bad, then apologizes “if she hurt your feelings,” with her fingers crossed behind her back.  Then in her next confessional she is explaining how she didn’t mean a word of it, & it was all the other person’s fault.  That’s LeeAnne.  It’s also Vicki, Vanderpump, Nene, Karen Huger, Teresa Gudice, & Ramona.  I can’t stand any of them!

Stephanie Hollman is sweet as apple pie y’all.  Her husband is awful, but over all she is your typical good time gal.  I like her a lot, I feel like she is actually a good person in real life.  Stephanie Hollman

Okay, we are to my least favorite HW in Dallas…Kameron Wescott.  Kameron Prescott

First off, I hate the way she spells her name; I blame her parents for that.  Kam is basically a robot, but not the AI robot that’s going to take over your job at Amazon.  She is more like the cardboard robot I built in 4th grade for a school project.  Kameron wants to be Elle Woods (she has literally compared herself to my beloved Reese), and she might be smart-ish enough to be Elle Woods, but she will never be clever enough.  At most Kameron is a Stepford Wife, with a side of bitchy. Stepford Wife

Last up is D’Andra Simmons. D'Andra Simmons

I know LeeAnne’s fan club hate D’Andra, & I have heard that she has questionable political affiliations, but like I said above I know nothing of these women outside of the show.  I kinda have a love/hate relationship with D’Andra.  I think she is a tragic product of her environment from Mama Dee.  Her relationship with her mom is hard to watch & cringe worthy most of the time, in the Dynasty/Knots Landing kind of way.  I like the friendship she formed with Brandi last season, & I hear that she & LeeAnne fail try to mend their friendship this season.  We shall see…

What do you think of the cast?  Who’s your favorite?

My recap of the first episode will be up by the end of the week.

Kiss Hug,

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My First #OOTD

Hi friends!  Long time, no post.  I have decided to created a blog series dedicated to Outfits Of The Day (#OOTD).  Yes, I am aware there are already tons of these on all the socials; however, I am feeling under-represented as a petite plus sized woman.

First off – I’m 5’4″ tall, it seems to me that the market is geared more towards tall, curvy women – hey, they need cute clothes too!

Secondly – more often than not, I can wear a top from the Women’s section, not plus size.  Obviously, this means I’m not well-endowed with the boobs.  Lucky me…

Third – I have a fat ass & thighs for days, thus making me VERY pear shaped.

I want all the extra fat on my body to fall of & turn into cash! HAHA!

Okay, so my first #OOTD is a “casual Friday” look I wore to the office last week.  I usually keep my accessories somewhat minimal at the office, mostly due to annoying jangles & bangles while typing at my computer.  Ahem, bracelets…sometimes rings.  08.16.19

Spotted Mixed Media Sweater from Loft – $54.50 (wait for a sale)

Wit & Wisdom Jeans from Nordstrom – $88.00 (an inch too long, but not bothersome)

Velma Slip On Mules from Target – $22.99 (go up a half size)

Olivia Burton Watch from Nordtrom – $145.00 (in silver & rose gold)

Madewell Droplet Post Earrings from Nordstrom – $28.00 (vintage gold)

Going forward I’ll probably be doing a mix of me in the outfit & also like the picture above.  Please give me feedback & let me know if this is a YEA! series or a NAY 😦 series.

Until next time…

Kiss Hug,

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Park City, UT Vacation – Summer 2018

Hey friends!  So, this post has been a long time coming, but not near as long as some other vacation posts.  Ahem…ahem…my 2017 East Coast Road Trip post.  SMH.

This last summer, I was invited to visit my friends – the Ackermans – at their home in Deer Valley.  A chance to get out of Houston in August?  SIGN. ME. UP.  Maureen, Jeff, Jadyn, & Hudson spend their summers in Deer Valley, & then visit a few other times a year.  Lucky them, right!  Our plan was for me to fly up to SLC, spend a week vacationing, & then drive back to Houston with Maureen while Jeff was in Europe for work.

Day One

I arrived around lunchtime in Salt Lake City, UT, Maureen picked me up & we headed up the mountain to her home in Deer Valley.  We dropped off my stuff, grabbed Jeff, & headed back down to Park City (proper) to pick up Jadyn from Drama Camp.  Park City was setting up for the annual Kimball Arts Festival, so we walked around & grabbed a snack & a beer.

Day Two

Maureen, Jadyn, & I headed to Mona, UT to the Young Living Lavender Farm!  This was the one thing I asked Maureen to do.  At this point I was about 3 months in to my YL journey, so I was super excited to go here.  The drive was stunning through Midway, UT.

Funnily enough, when we made it to the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, UT Maureen said she’d seen this place several times and always wanted to stop.  We are so simpatico that we both wanted to go to the same place & didn’t know it!

We got to take a tour of the distillery to see how the oils are made; Young Living is known for their Seed to Seal practice.  I didn’t take any pictures of this part, I was too busy learning.  However, after the distillery tour were we able to go on a self guided tour of the grounds.  They hold a few events here throughout the year, so it was more than what I thought a lavender farm would be…

Sunflowers will be a theme throughout this trip.

I wish I had taken a picture of the YL gift shop.  For you oily lovers out there, it is all the praise hands & fist bump emojis.  This farm convinced Maureen to sign up for her Premium Starter Kit!  Now she’s almost as obsessed as me!

We got back to Deer Valley mid afternoon.  Full disclosure, we were pretty shaken up when we got home.  En route back to Deer Valley we witnessed a really scary car accident.  We did call 911, but we quickly learned that lots of people had called it in.  Just thinking about it now still gives me the heebie jeebies.

We rested for a bit & then headed to Deer Valley Ampitheater to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy!  If you like big band music or jazz, they are a must!  This was such a blast!

Day Three

The next day was the last day of the Kimball Arts Festival, so we headed back into town.  You know we had to do & see all the things.  We all bought a couple pieces.

Another day, another sunflower…

Later that afternoon, we met up with one of Maureen’s long time friend, also named Casey, & her family.  It’s a good name.  They took us out on the Jordanelle Reservoir for some tubing.  I happily waved the flag when someone fell off the tube.

Day Four

We took a day to relax.  Jeff taught me how to make Matzo Ball Soup!  He makes the. best. soup.  I tried to make this when I got home & it was terrible.  Sad face.

This was our view while cooking. view

If only I could have this view all the time!

Day Five

While Jadyn was at Drama Camp, Maureen & I want on a chill 3.8 mile hike up the mountain.  No biggie.  Y’all, I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful this place is.

Our view from the top was spectacular.  The photos are a bit hazy because of the wildfires around SLC & the smoke blowing in from the California wildfires.

We rewarded ourselves by taking the chairlift back down the mountain, and with a beer, herb & Parmesan fries, & street corn guacamole at Royal Street Cafe.  Don’t mind if I do. hike 19

Day Six

The next day was another low key day.  We spent our time toodling around town while Jadyn was at Camp.  We stopped by the Farmer’s Market & a few other shops.

Can you guess my favorite flower?

Hudson enjoyed a day sunbathing. hudson

That evening we hung out with Maureen’s amazing neighbors, Rida & Sterling!

Day Seven

The next morning Maureen & I dropped Jadyn off at camp & headed to Ulinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest for a beautiful hike.  We were on a mission – To. See. A. Moose.  Y’all know that I am OBSESSED with moose.  Saying I love them is an understatement.

What do I spy in the distance…moose

I’m getting closer…moose 7

The park ranger informed us that this was Martha, the grandma moose of the Moose Family that lives in the park.  Y’all, Martha was a boss.  She swam across the lake & walked along the path with all the people, Northern Exposure style.

This was the best day EVER!

And, it only got better!  That night we headed back to Deer Valley Ampitheater to see Phil Phillips & Gavin DeGraw.  I was totally unfamiliar with Phil, but he did a great cover of Wicked Game.  Gavin DeGraw was awesome!  Jeff is a huge fan of Gavin’s, so he got there early to reserve us the best spot on the hillside!  After the concert, I took Jadyn up to the stage & she got a picture with Gavin DeGraw.  She’s 12, so I thought it was time she learned how to “meet the band.”  I basically shoved her through space, where light shown through, to get closer to the front.  He sang all his classics, my personal favorites are Follow Through and In Love With a Girl.

Day Eight

We spent the majority of Friday morning packing up the house.  Around lunch time we headed to Jadyn’s play, what she had been working towards all week!  There were several scenes from several plays, with kiddos of all ages.  Jadyn’s showcase, Peter Pan, was obviously the best – she is such a great singer.  One group of kids made Hamlet hilarious.  How Hamlet is funny I don’t know, but we were dying. Jadyn got an award for her hard work for the week!  Way to go Jadyn!

Day Nine

We packed up the car and Maureen, Jadyn, Hudson, & I drove back to Texas.  Meanwhile, Jeff jetted off to The Netherlands.

It did get a little scary between Salt Lake City and Moab; there was a lot of smoke and warnings about the wildfires.  For long stretches, we were the only car going South…it made us nervous.  But, we made it to Moab. wilson arch

We stopped for lunch & did a little shopping.  Hudson especially liked the shopping.

After driving through beautiful Moab, rain, & really ugly parts of Colorado & New Mexico, we made it to Albuquerque, NM where we spent the night in a converted hospital.  Not to worry, if our room was haunted we slept through it.

The next day, we had a quick breakfast, loaded up the car, & headed off to Texas.  It was a long drive of not much to look at.

We determined that if we kept following the railroad tracks, we’d never get lost.  Once in Texas, it pretty much rained on us the whole way home.  We were so wishing that rain would make it’s way West to help out the wildfires.  We pulled into my driveway at midnight.  You forget how big Texas is, until you have to drive across it.  Needless to say, I went into work around 10a, instead of my usual 7a.

I can’t wait to get back to Park City!  My next goal is to go during a different season – I hear that the Fall foliage is stunning.  Maureen – maybe we go for your birthday this year???  Thanks so much for a fantastic trip!

Have any of you been to Park City?

Until next time…  traveling

Kiss Hug,

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There’s Thieves Among Us…

Hi Friends!  Can you finish the lyric in the title of this blog?  Bonus points if you can!

Okay, so I wanted to do a quick post about Young Living essential oils & illnesses.  Obviously, oils do not replace all medicine, but I do think they help a multitude of things that medicine cannot.

Any hoo, same as 2017, I woke up the day after Christmas in 2018 feeling under the weather.  I attribute this to traveling for the holidays, being around friends & family that I don’t see often, & being exposed to different germs elements.  I also think that things slow down at work around this time of year, & my body just breaks down; maybe it’s exhaustion, maybe it’s catching up to me, who really knows.  And, y’all, I made the biggest mistake ever…I forgot my diffuser at home when I went to Mama J’s house.  Thank God for the Thieves spray that I leave in my toiletry kit.

So, Wednesday, December 26th I woke up with a tickle in my throat & a side of stuffy nose.  I still had to go into the office, & since I didn’t have a fever, I grabbed my oils & headed in.  Raven & Thieves were my go to daytime diffuser blend.  illness blend

Let me tell you about these oils.  Thieves has been around since the 15th century, & grave robbers used to douse themselves in this oil so they wouldn’t catch the diseases of the deceased that they were robbing.  Obviously good for immunity, right?  Thieves is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, & rosemary oils.  thievesbekillingit3

Raven is a blend of ravinstara, lemon, wintergreen, peppermint, & eucalyptus.  Raven is a particularly great oil for coughs, chest congestion, nasal congestion, sore throat, allergies, & asthma.

I truly feel, that because I have religiously been using Thieves each night before bed & each morning before leaving the house for the last year, the tickle in my throat never progressed beyond that.  If this had been 2017, I would have been deep in the throws of the worst flu I’ve ever had.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Texas (specifically Austin – where I was) is notorious for super-awful allergies.  I didn’t realize this until a few years ago, but if allergies go untreated they can progress into colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, the flu, etc.

Luckily for me, and because of Young Living, I haven’t been truly sick since 2017!  Can you imagine not being sick or getting allergies?

For good measure, at night I’ve been diffusing my favorite allergy blend: lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, & peppermint. allergy blend

If you are experiencing anything like this, or are interested in learning more about oils, please reach out to me.

essential oils

Kiss Hug,

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My So-Called Oily Life

For the last couple years I’ve been dabbling in essential oils, but went hardcore into Young Living after being introduced to Thieves (my gateway drug) last winter by my friend Keely. Thieves 2

When I lived in Austin, pretty much the majority of my life, I suffered every fall & spring with allergies, so much so that I would get steroid shots in my tush to knock the allergies out of my system.  Austin is a great outdoor lifestyle city, but it is a huge hub for allergies.  Ugh.  About seven years ago I moved to the Houston area, & low and behold, my allergies disappeared!  Y’all, I thought I won the lottery…until about two years ago.  I was lucky enough (eyes rolling all the way back inside my head) to develop new allergies. allergies

So, while babysitting Keely’s boys I had the sniffles, but told her not worry that it was just allergies.  She quickly suggested diffusing a concoction of oils while I sleep to help get rid of them.  I just as quickly thanked her & promptly blew her off…until I stopped being able to sleep due to said allergies.

I ordered an oil diffuser from Amazon & some essential oils.  The oils I ordered were not anything special and helped maybe only slightly.  I was also “guilty” of buying oils from the grocery store.  cheap oilsAt this point I was not fully onboard with the whole essential oil trend, but ordered Young Living lavender & peppermint from Keely.  Side note: with quality oils, lavender + peppermint + lemon + eucalyptus is the magic blend for allergy sufferers.  I encourage everyone with generic lavender to get a bottle of YL lavender & just smell the difference…it is a game changer.

Last winter I got really sick with the flu, like I was down for two weeks.  I had chills, aches, the fever tears (you know when your eyes leak hot tears).  Keely came by my house & dropped off a 3-pack of Thieves spray – it is THE oil to use for immunity.  At this point, I was already too sick for anything but antibiotics to help me.  Yes, you read that right, medicine still has it’s time & place.  Once I was better, I used Thieves every night on the bottoms of my feet.  Y’all, I haven’t even had drainage, a cough, a sniffle, nothing since New Years.  We are now at November 20th, let that sink in.

To this day, my nightly routine is:

  1. Wash face, put on glow serum (made from oils).
  2. Diffuse lavender + cedarwood + frankincense – best combo to sleep like the dead.
  3. Spray Thieves on the bottom of my feet.
  4. Lights out, sweet dreams.

Okay, let me tell you a little about what oils are, etc. YL

What are they?
Essential Oils are the aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from plants.  The oil can be obtained from the roots, seeds, shrub, flowers, leaves, & trees and bring health & healing to the body.  The chemistry is extremely complex & may consist of hundreds of different & unique chemical compounds.  They are able to reach every part of our bodies on a cellular level.

Ways to use them:
Topically: apply to your skin or use a carrier oil.
Aromatically: diffuse using a Young Living ultrasonic diffuser or inhale directly from the bottle.
Internally: place oils in a vegetable capsule, fill with a carrier oil, & take like a supplement, add oils to food or drinks, or place directly in your mouth.

Fun facts:
Oils reach the brain within 22 seconds.
Within 2 minutes, they are found in your bloodstream.
And within 20 minutes, they will affect every cell in the body.

Are essential Oils safe?
Essential oils have been used to support our bodies for thousands of years across the world; therefore, we have thousands of years of history & research behind what they can do.  Although is may that essential oils are trendy, rest assured that they have been used for a long time.  In the spirit of the Holiday Season, two of the three Wisemen brought  Frankincense & Myrrh to the manger.

With that said, it’s important to get your oils from the right place to ensure you are only getting the pure oil & no other additives such as fragrance & fillers.  Unfortunately, there is no FDA regulation for essential oils; so many companies are claiming to have pure, therapeutic grade oils but testing shows they are not.  These can actually be dangerous, & many times when you hear stories about pets or people being harmed, it’s usually not the oil, but the additive.  how to

Scary Information About Everyday Products:
There is no federal regulation on chemicals in household products.  In terms of household cleaners, neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market.

The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, per environmental experts.  We’re exposed to the routinely, from the phthalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners.  Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption, & neurotoxicity.  Chronic exposure adds to the body’s “toxic burden,” the number of chemicals stored in its issues at a given time.

Words to Know:
Found in: many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper.  Because of proprietary laws, companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their scents, so you won’t find phthalates on a label.  If you see “fragrance” on a label, there’s a good chance phthalates are present.

Found in: Dry-cleaning solutions, stain removers, & carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Health risks: Perc is a neurotoxin, according to the chief scientist of environmental protection for New York Attorney General’s office.  And, the EPA classifies Perc as a “possible carcinogen” as well.

Found in: Most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”

Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.  Other studies have now found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers & streams, where it is toxic to algae.  the EPA is currently investigating whether triclosan may also disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function.  It is a probable carcinogen.

Quats (Quarternary Ammonium Compounds):
Found in: Fabric softener liquids & sheets, most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”  Quats are another type of antimicrobial, & thus pose the same problem as triclosan by helping breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

They’re also a skin irritant & are suspected as a culprit for respiratory disorders.

Found in: Window, kitchen, & multipurpose cleaners.

Health risks: 2-Butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in many window cleaners & gives them their characteristic sweet smell.  It belongs in the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents that don’t mess around.  Law does not require 2-Butoxyethanol to be listed on a product’s label.  According to the EPA’s website, in addition to causing sore throats when inhaled, at high levels glycol ethers can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, & severe liver & kidney damage.

Found in: Polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks, & jewelry; also in glass cleaner.  Because ammonia evaporates & doesn’t leave streaks, it’s another common ingredient in commercial window cleaners.  Ammonia is very dangerous to elderly people with lung issues & breathing problems & people who get a lot of ammonia exposure, like housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis & asthma.  Ammoinia can also create poisonous gas if it’s mixed with bleach.

Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene & toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens).  In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. safe

So, why did I choose Young Living?

  1. It is the only company that has FDA approved oils for ingestion.  That’s right, you can cook with these oils, or spray Thieves in the back of your throat to suppress a cold.
  2. Over the next 5 years, YL will take their global operations to zero waste status.  I love this so much!
  3. I am now basically my own apothecary.  I’ve made the following so far: glow serum for my face, body butter, “soft scrub,” household cleaner, hair detangler, bug spray, spider spray for the house, under eye serum…that’s all I can recall at the moment.

Some of my Young Living favorites:
NingXia Red: NingXia provides natural energy support, promotes glowing skin, powerful antioxidant, supports healthy blood sugar levels, contributes to overall wellness, & provides an immune boost.

One serving of NingXia Red has the antioxidant equivalent of: 73 strawberries, 100 oranges, 85 pounds of spinach, 22 carrots, 34 onions, 59 heads of broccoli, 93 apples, 33 pounds of almonds, & 814 blueberries.

Super B vitamins: B vitamins are the only vitamins that the body doesn’t naturally reproduce, so we have to replenish them daily.  Two of these a day gets the job done!  Full disclosure, take them with food or a flavored beverage if you are sensitive to smell.

Thieves household cleaner, foaming hand soap (I hated foaming soap before), & laundry detergent.  I’m trying to use up all my dishwasher detergent & dish soap before switching to Thieves.

Pretty much everything else I make with the oils I get.  My next endeavor will be in the laundry room: stain remover & EO “bleach.”  I also have some fun treats coming up for the gals coming to my birthday wine weekend in December!

I’ve thrown out all of my candles & now exclusively use my diffuser.  I’m not crazy, or a hippie – this is an investment.  It is not inexpensive.  I recommend slowly easing your way into getting rid of the toxins in your home.  replace the bad with the good.  Figure out what your gateway drug will be.

If you are interested in Young Living or ahve any questions, you are welcome to get in touch with me.  If you get nothing else out of this, I hope you now have some food oils for thought…

Kiss Hug,

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