I have been a pretty bad blogger later and am quite behind on sharing projects, photos, and life updates! So I’m back in the game this week and catching up — and I’m so happy to finally be able to post some of the picture from our trip to Marfa, the last leg of our West Texas Adventure after a few days in Austin and a stay in Big Bend National Park. This was by far my favorite part of the trip, partly because there was so much anticipation in planning it. For those of you that haven’t heard about Marfa, let me explain a little bit about this town: it’s a quirky little community in the middle of nowhere known for its minimalist art, bohemian vibe, and eclectic food.
When we decided to add Marfa to our itinerary, I knew exactly where I wanted to stay: El Cosmico for some glamping! We stayed in a restored vintage lime green camper, complete with a cute little front porch, air conditioning (yay!) and amazing outdoor shower. The whole El Cosmico site is a feast for the eyes, I had so much fun taking pictures of all of the vintage trailers, teepees, and yurts that make up the complex. The communal spaces at the site were also a highlight, after the sun went down we joined other guests for cocktails in the hammock grove where a visiting band played live music under strung lights and the stars. I mean, does that sound magical or what?
Another must-see that we tackled on our exploration of Marfa was checking out the art installation, Prada Marfa. Having admired Gray Malin’s photos of the site, I was so excited to see it in person — and it surpassed my expectations upon arriving. I think one of the most interesting things about the site, is that it genuinely confuses people that don’t know the context and story of the installation. When we were standing across the highway from the store, a passerby in a pickup truck slowed down as he drove past it, and ended up turning around to get out of the car and take a look. He looked at my husband and I and said “well that’s something else, isn’t it?” — I think he was right, it really was something else!
It turns out that we arrived in Marfa on a Tuesday, and most shops and restaurants close down mid-week as it’s a weekend-tourist destination. So while we didn’t get to hit up a few of the spots on my list (like Garza Marfa and Cast + Crew), we did enjoy a few of the local favorites. We stopped for lunch at Comida Futura (owned by the same folks that run Food Shark — made famous by Beyonce’s tumblr), and the food was amazing. I had the brisket plate with a baked bean and corn bread pudding and it was out of this world. For dinner we visited Jett’s Grill on the patio of the famous Hotel Paisano.
I kept saying as we left Marfa that it was such a magical place, I think I used the word magic approximately 8 times on the drive back to Austin — and frankly, the drive it self was also magical — we left super early in the morning and saw the sunrise over West Texas as we drove out of town. The perfect end to a perfect trip!
Part two of our West Texas adventure took us to Big Bend National Park. When planning this trip I took on most of the Austin leg, meticulously curating reservations at all of the must-visit restaurants. My husband on the other hand did the research for this part of our vacation — you know, things like ensuring we had the right supplies to survive in the desert. My contribution was rolling out of bed and into the car early one morning in Austin and waking up several hours later in the middle of nowhere — which was precisely our destination! Big Bend is one of the most remote National Parks — the nearest city (and city is a loose term) is 100 miles away. I was a little hesitant about this — I’m not much of an outdoorsy type — but I’m so glad we visited. The only way to describe the landscape is breathtaking, which sounds super cliché, but it really was just that. I was quite surprised by how different the terrain was as we moved through the park; parts looked like barren desert, other parts were rocky and mountainous, and we even moved through some swamp-like areas when we got close to the Rio Grande and Mexican border (at one point we could literally see just across the river into Mexico, which was pretty cool). We closed out our stay in Big Bend with a stop in Terlingua, a ghost town on the edge of the park, where we ate dinner at the Starlight Theater — an old-fashioned saloon! We put a little wild west in our West Texas adventure.
I have a fun little announcement today… I’d love for you to join me on the evening of Thursday, September 25th for a hands-on DIY class at Farm & Fable in the South End! In the class you’ll work to paint, design and decorate wooden recipe boxes. At the end of the class you’ll leave with the perfect place to store Grandma’s secret recipes, and a few Farm and Fable recipe cards to start recipe traditions of your own. Visit Farm & Fable’s website to find more information and purchase tickets — hope to see you there!
I have been digging through the photos that I took on our West Texas vacation and can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since we got back. Because I just can’t narrow it down, this recap is likely going to be a multi-part blog post — I need to share the detail of every.single.bite. I ate and lots of fun pictures too. First up: Austin! Austin, despite being about 100 degrees, was totally and completely awesome. We fell in love with the cute little house bars on Rainey Street, browsed through the vintage shops in the South Congress area, and tried many, many tacos to try and nail down a favorite (barbacoa tacos at Torchy’s were the winner!). A few more favorites from our Austin stay were…. Elizabeth Street Cafe. When I was doing research for our trip, I happened upon Elizabeth Street Cafe through Mackenzie’s Austin recommendations and decided to check it out for ourselves! I love the super bright space with quirky little teapots and floral wallpaper, and the outside had a bright pink and turquoise paint scheme that was so cheery and cute. We had the pork belly buns and spicy pork meatball bahn mi — and I couldn’t pass up the macarons in the pastry case when we were leaving — they were delicious!
Hillside Farmacy. I’d seen pictures of the Hillside Farmacy on Instagram and knew we had to go here. The striped awnings and bright green facade reminded me of our wedding color scheme, so I was sold even before we walked in. We ate here for brunch and I was prepared to go for eggs or pancakes, but then I saw a piping hot skillet of the mac and cheese walk by our table and I had to order some of my own. I am quite glad it did — it was super rich and delightfully tasty (and I washed it down with a wasabi bloody mary, yum!).
Barton Springs. This place was amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it! Given that the temperatures were creeping up into the hundreds during out trip, a little respite from the heat was very welcome. It was part pool, part lake, one-hundred-percent refreshing once we jumped in.
Josephine House. Our meal at Josephine House was phenomenal and the restaurant design was nothing but impeccable. We got there just as the light was fading and I didn’t get any pictures of the interior, but trust me when I say it was gorgeous — take a look at some of the gorgeous pictures on their website. The best part of the meal was dessert: a honey panna cotta with Texas figs and ginger-oat streusel — heavenly. It was just the treat we needed before heading off on the next leg of our trip!
A few weeks back I surprised my husband with a brewing session at Hopsters in Newton for his birthday. I wouldn’t consider myself a big beer drinker, but ended up having so much fun just going through the whole process of brewing and bottling it. We picked a recipe (crystal wheat beer) and the brewers at Hopsters helped us measure our ingredients and work through the brewing process. Then we went back after the beer fermented for a few weeks and got to bottle it — which I found to be the best part (look at those American flag caps!). You can even design your own label, and my husband came up with a very clever name — don’t you think?
I am absolutely terrible at packing my lunch for work — I try to bring leftovers every once in a while, but I tend to prefer heading out for lunch to get something fresh. When a copy of Mason Jar Salads and More showed up in my mailbox though, I figured it was good motivation to make something tasty to bring along with me to work this week. The book has lots of good tips for layering salads and meal ingredients in mason jars to keep them fresh and crisp (dressing on the bottom, and pack down ingredients over it to keep other ingredients from getting soggy!). I took inspiration from the book’s caprese pasta recipe and made my own version: spinach tortellini with pesto, mozzarella, grape tomatoes, red onions, grilled corn, and more tortellini on top — the flavors melded together great!
Boston Bloggers had the pleasure of hosting a preview of the Fall bridal collection at BHLDN in the Chestnut Hill Anthropologie this month. Even with our wedding already behind us, I can still appreciate the gorgeous dress selection at the BHLDN boutique — the good news is that the bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and accessories are all still in my sights to wear as a wedding guest! And the decor items are just so cute, they’re perfect for parties and the home too. The Anthropologie team pulled out all of the stops for our group — sweet treats, Mumm Napa champagne, gorgeous florals by Ladies of Foret, and darling little paper flowers in gold leaf vases for guests to take home at the end of the night! (A special thanks to Katie Noble Photography, who captured images of the event shown here).
All images via Katie Noble Photography
A few weeks back I was super lucky to be invited to a little ladies getaway adventure up in the Catskill Mountains, NY. The ever-talented Lauren of Lauren Wells Events schemed up the Creative Overnight as a way for a bunch of creative ladies — photographers, designers, writers, florists — to take a few days off and recharge over pool-time and cocktails and fun at the Graham and Co in Phoenicia (this hotel was to-die-for-cuteness). It was a total blast, we lounged by the pool (despite some grey weather!), made flower crowns at the direction of Krissy of Pollen Floral Design, and ended the night with several trips to the taco truck that visited our hotel along with a group viewing of a Wes Anderson movie. It was so nice to have the time to chat with lots of local creatives and meet a few new faces too — here’s hoping this becomes an annual event!
On a recent trip to the farmer’s market, I spotted the cutest little mini eggplants (I learned they’re called fairy tale eggplants) and had to scoop some up to experiment with. Given the warm weather recently, I decided to use them in a summer-temperature-friendly appetizer — eggplant caprese bites. I washed the eggplants and sliced them into thin, 1/4 rounds, then dunked them in a whisked egg batter and dredged them lightly in Italian bread crumbs. Using a large skillet, I browned the eggplant in olive oil, and then let them come up to room temperature while resting on a clean paper towel to remove some of the oil. Then comes assembly time — on a toothpick I stacked up tomatoes, eggplant rounds, halves of mini-mozzarella balls, and fresh basil leaves. Right before I served them I sprinkled the bites with sea salt for a little extra flavor. Aren’t they so bright and cheery?