Posts Tagged With: Dallas

Smoke Restaurant

Barbecue, Upscale, Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ fries, Dallas, Food

This place is worth the visit!

Since moving back to America, Matt and I have been trying to expand our taste buds and try out the best food Dallas has to offer. We’ve hit some oldies (but goodies!) and are trying new haunts to test our palettes. I’ve had a hankering for barbecue lately, which Matt satisfied by taking me to a restaurant called Smoke on the southwest side of Dallas.

It wasn’t Matt’s first visit to Smoke and he raved that I would love it. He can be kind of a picky eater, so if he raves about cuisine, it must be good. Located in the Bishop Arts area of Dallas, my first impression of Smoke hit me as we opened the door and the most amazing and woody aromas wafted my way.

However, the atmosphere was not what I expected – an upscale barbecue and smoked meat joint, the inside provided a mix of dark woods and chic decor. Antique-looking chairs and couches surrounded a smoldering fireplace and adorable animal designs in blues and pinks adorned the menus and china.

As for the food…oh my melt in your mouth! I ordered the All Natural Pulled Whole Hog, NC Style with Red Vinegar, Mustard & Blue Cheese Cole Slaw. I was told that it came with a salad, which I was fine with at first, but then Matt let me know that their BBQ fries are insane, so I asked for a side of those as well. I absolutely loved the way they put together my sandwich…piled high with cole slaw! And the pulled pork was full of flavor, meaning it wasn’t smothered by the intense serving of cole slaw. A win in my book.

Barbecue, Upscale, Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ fries, Dallas, Food

My pulled pork sandwich and slaw. Yum!

Matt ordered the Chopped Coffee Cured Beef Brisket with Bread & Butter Pickles, which he let me have a taste of, and I’ll tell you what – the smoky flavor of the brisket mixed with the sour pickle and smooth BBQ sauce made for the perfect flavor combination. And those BBQ fries he recommended? I refused to dip them in ketchup or add more BBQ sauce because they were perfectly seasoned and fried to a crispy golden brown.

The BBQ sauce they offer is a treat in itself. After setting down our sandwiches, our very friendly and attentive server went through the four sauces he brought to the table. Unfortunately, I can’t remember them exactly and they aren’t listed on the website. What I can tell you, though, is that there was a traditional Texas sauce, a spicy sauce, one with a mustard base and a tomatillo (roasted tomato) sauce. I put together a combination of the traditional Texas BBQ and the spicy sauce, because I LOVE spice.

While enjoying our lunch, I took a look around and saw someone at another table enjoying a traditional plate of barbecue – we’re talking sliced brisket with what looked like their Cheese Grits & Hominy Casserole and their BBQ Beans. I also noticed that their wide, U-shaped bar looked cozy and comfortable for an evening drink.

I can’t say enough about my first experience at Smoke. The inviting atmosphere, warm ambience and delicious food provided a great way for us to beat the winter weather. Don’t just take my word for it…check out their website where they have videos about their restaurant and reviews from publications. And next time you have a hankering for some good, Texas barbecue, DO take my word for it and stop by Smoke Restaurant!

Smoke – Dallas
Address: 901 Fort Worth Ave, Dallas, TX 75208
Phone: (214) 393-4141

Barbecue, Upscale, Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ fries, Dallas, Food

Matt’s brisket sandwich with pickles.

That awesome bar I was telling you about...

That awesome bar I was telling you about…

Barbecue, Upscale, Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ fries, Dallas, Food

The adorable table settings and menus.

Barbecue, Upscale, Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ fries, Dallas, Food

A look at my complete lunch, with those perfectly seasoned french fries.

Barbecue, Upscale, Pulled Pork, Brisket, BBQ fries, Dallas, Food

That surprisingly chic and southern decor.

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Happy Holidays

Christmas, Holiday Season, Dallas, Family, Festive

Our very own little Christmas angel!

I love the holiday season because of precious time spent with family and friends. Both Matt and I have our families in the Dallas area (for the first time in years, we all live in the same city!), which makes for days filled with celebration.

As we all spend time together, I so enjoy the Christmas music and movies, late nights enjoying a glass of wine and playing games, the fantastic food, and the excitement as presents are opened and you hope you’ve gotten everyone just what they want.

I also love that so many of our friends are here during this time – so far we’ve been able to see quite a few of them for some festive celebrations. From Christmas sweater parties to dinner out with longtime friends in downtown McKinney, it has been such a wonderful time for everyone to come together.

Matt and I have many family and friends in other states and abroad that we won’t get to see this holiday season. Therefore, we want to extend our warmest wishes in hopes that everyone has a joyous, safe and Merry Christmas, and a very happy new year!

Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taverna – A Personal Favorite

Restaurant Review, Food, Italian, Dallas, Pasta, Risotto, Tortellini

A view from our table into the quaint restaurant.

My love of Italian food doesn’t really work well with my waistline, but there is just no way I’ll ever give up pasta and pizza for the sake of a thinner frame. NO WAY.

One of my favorite Italian restaurants in Dallas is called Taverna. My obsession with Taverna started years ago when my friends and I would go for Sunday brunch almost every weekend. They offered $5 bottomless mimosas, which is a great pull for a young crowd! Coupled with their fabulous eggs Benedict, Taverna carved out a small hole in my pocket once every couple of weeks.

Another interesting fact about Taverna – Matt and I had our very first dinner date there. We enjoyed a scrumptious meal followed by ice cream at Paciugo. Matt’s also been a fan ever since!

After the angst of the missing kitten came to a close, Matt and I decided that we needed to unwind and enjoy a night out together. All of those hours at home, worrying about the General and searching the neighborhood, Taverna was just the ticket to kick the icy temps and for a much needed romantic evening.

Restaurant Review, Food, Italian, Dallas, Pasta, Risotto, Tortellini

My tortellini – I wish it wasn’t just a special!

Since moving abroad, Taverna moved locations from the little cottage on Armstrong to a larger space on Knox. Located just next to Toulouse (same owners) by the Katy Trail, Taverna’s popularity is evident by its much larger patio and more spacious interior. Though they’ve opened up and made more room, they certainly have not killed the cozy atmosphere. The decor is very much the same and the ambience is very intimate – low lighting, glowing candles, etc.

The only downside to the space, one that hasn’t changed from the original location to the new, is the area left between tables. At times, Taverna can feel slightly claustrophobic, especially for a large guy like Matt. When they went to seat us the other evening, we asked to be moved to the heated patio because we noticed there was slightly more room. However, Matt and I spent quite a bit of time in Italy, and this setting certainly matches the Italian feel – limited space included!

You know what makes up for the space, though? The food. Matt stuck to his tried and true Fiocchi al Gorgonzola e Pera, which is gorgonzola & pear filled pasta with walnuts, arugula & a dolce latte cream sauce. Matt always enjoys it and our date night was no different. I decided to stray away from my favorite (Paglia e Fieno, green & white tagliolini with chicken, wild mushrooms, truffle oil & cream) and try one of their specials. Boy was it special! My meal consisted of tortellini stuffed with a ricotta and porcini mushroom filling, and was served in a white wine marinara with Italian sausage and peas. The combination of flavors were spot on – the spiciness of the sausage, the delicate sauce and rich filling all worked perfectly together.

To celebrate our evening out and the return of our kitten, we enjoyed a champagne apéritif and with dinner I went with an Italian chianti. Our spirits were so high after the stressful weekend and the food was so delicious that it truly made for a perfect evening out. I’ve recommended Taverna to many friends and family, and can assure you that I will be back; the service is always impeccable and the food on point. Whether it be pasta, pizza, seafood, risotto or the chef’s focaccia, if you are ever able to make it to Taverna, I hope your meal is fabulous!

Taverna – Dallas
Address: 3312 Knox Street, Dallas, TX 75205
Phone: (214) 520-9933
Reservations for 6 or more

Restaurant Review, Food, Italian, Dallas, Pasta, Risotto, Tortellini

A truly Italian feel.

Restaurant Review, Food, Italian, Dallas, Pasta, Risotto, Tortellini

It’s dark, but here is a closer look at my delicious meal.

Categories: Food, Nightlife | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Longest Two Days

Ice, Snowstorm, Dallas, Lost Kitty, Pets

What, Mom?! It was fun!

As many of you know, Matt and I adopted a kitten when we were living in Spain. His name is General McFluffybutt and he has been the topic of many blog posts. He’s quite the traveler, making his way with me across the Atlantic Ocean to our new home in America. He’s adapted so well and travels amazingly.

While in Spain, he spent many days outdoors. Since he started his life as a street cat, I decided it was only fair to let him venture out and explore. The forlorn looks he would give me as he sat at our large windows was enough to make me cave. At first, his visits were supervised, and then over time, I knew I could trust him to stay close to the house and he always came back at the end of the day, ready for dinner.

Just this past weekend, Dallas experienced an ice storm that many have dubbed “Icemageddon.” Rain accompanied freezing temperatures, turning the trees and streets into a not-so winter wonderland. Something like 260,000 homes lost power due to falling trees taking down the power lines. My parents were without power for three whole days.

Ice, Snowstorm, Dallas, Lost Kitty, Pets

The end of Icemageddon…

Our plight had nothing to do with the loss of power, however. On the morning that Icemageddon was set to roll in, the General slipped out the door, was promptly spooked by gardeners when they started their leaf blowers, and took off. Matt searched all day for him, thinking he’d come home, to no avail. When I returned from work, our little man was still nowhere to be seen, and as the weather started to take a turn for the worse, I started to panic. While everyone assured me that cats are smart and that his fur would keep him warm, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander to less desirable scenarios.

That first evening, I slept down in the den by the sliding doors leading to the back porch. If he wandered back and meowed, I was going to be down there to hear it. Alas, morning came without power and without kitty. Day two of the ice storm was stressful, because without power, we were unable to make “lost kitten” fliers. I felt like everything was working against me.

It was also difficult to go out looking for him – we slipped and slid our way around the neighborhood checking every nook and cranny we could find. When we eventually got our power back (we were one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to wait too long), we printed small fliers and went door to door chatting with the neighbors. Late in the afternoon, Matt’s brother and his wife came over to help with the search, but as darkness descended on us, we were forced to come back in and hope he’d find his way home alone.

Lost Cat, Pets, Dallas, Ice, Snowstorm

Our little flier that went out to the neighbors.

I’ll tell you, we went for every trick in the book to help our little bugger find his way back. I put his litter box on the porch, we put little salmon pods out around the yard…I even put out a single candle on the deck after reading that the glowing light helps bring curious cats home. Matt and I stayed up quite late that second night, because the General sleeps all day and is quite nocturnal. If he was going to make his way back, it was going to be in the dead of night.

As Matt helped me prepare my bed on the couch in the den for another night downstairs, I asked if he would whistle one more time. It was after that “one last time” that he heard what we’d been waiting to hear for two days – little meows from the porch steps. The General was home! Matt immediately called out, “Em, he’s home” and I popped up from my makeshift bed to see the little fluffybutt looking at us with his big eyes.

I cannot put into words the feeling of relief I felt when I saw him; I immediately burst into tears and the minute he was in the door, I had him up in my arms. I could swear he walked around the house smugly that night and since he’s been back, he’s picked up a few new habits, almost like his adventure made him more courageous.

Even though it was exhausting and emotional, this doesn’t mean that he will never be allowed to go out again. He is born to explore and after this experience, I feel more prepared for that inevitable time when he doesn’t come home as promptly as we’d like. We will, however, wait for the cold front to move out and I’ll be supervising his first trips outdoors come spring!

Ice, Snowstorm, Dallas, Lost Kitty, Pets

We suspect that he may have been under this deck the whole time.

Ice, Snowstorm, Dallas, Lost Kitty, Pets

Home safely and soundly, cuddling with me in bed. 🙂

Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Final Fling Before the Ring x 2

Spain, Estepona, PuroBeach, Laguna Village, Bachelorette, Marriage

A Spanish celebration before finally becoming a Mrs.!

Living in Europe and planning a wedding in America (and not even in my home city of Dallas!) was definitely a challenge, but with the challenges, there were also perks. With friends in both places, I was beyond lucky to get to celebrate my bachelorette party not once, but twice! My great friend Joannah planned my “European bachelorette” party during the summer in Spain and my maid-of-honor and sister, Melissa, planned a Dallas party following my move back to Dallas.

If you are ever wanting to plan a bachelorette party in Spain, on the beach, in the middle of the summer, talk to my friend Jo, because she did it up right! A bunch of my girlfriends from Gibraltar and my bridesmaid Lauren, who you’ve seen many times in my “visiting Dublin” posts, came out for a day of sunning and massages, followed by a fantastic dinner on the beach. Does it get any better than that?

Gibraltar, Spain, Dallas, Wedding, Marriage, Bachelorette, Estepona, PuroBeach

With my wonderful hostess, Jo!

We started the day at Laguna Village at the swanky PuroBeach Club. Jo reserved a cabana next to the pool that came complete with a bottle of rosé cava, mojitos, and a sushi lunch. Jo also booked us all either a facial or a massage – both were poolside, and I opted for the massage. We spent the day sipping cava and mojitos, dipping in and out of the pool, and soaking up the Spanish sun.

That evening we made our way back to PuroBeach for dinner next to the Mediterranean. The food was fantastic, the wine was never empty, and Jo prepared a fun questionnaire that kept us entertained throughout dinner. In true Spanish style, we enjoyed a long dinner and our festivities led us into the wee hours of the morning, at which time we wandered back down the beach to our hotel (the Kempinski Hotel Bahía) for some late night (early morning?) antics and room service (that €30 club sandwich was worth it!).

Dallas, Bachelorette, Wedding, Marriage, Spain, Estepona, Gibraltar

I wore this sweet gift while getting ready on my wedding day!

Now, the Dallas party could not have been more different, but was equally as fabulous! Melissa planned a girls night out complete with a hotel suite at The Nylo in Dallas, dinner at The Cedars Social and then dancing at Winstons Supperclub with a performance by the Far East Movement. I may or may not have gotten on the stage during their performance…

No detail was missed by Melissa for the Dallas bash! The Nylo is a really neat hotel and the suite was perfect for us group of girls. We had pre-dinner drinks, a lingerie shower, and my friends and family were able to get to know each other before venturing out. I highly recommend dinner at The Cedars Social (in fact, I’ll most likely go back and take pictures for a nightlife piece) – the food was American-style tapas which were so delicious; think tapas-style mac-n-cheese, pork belly tacos, Parmesan fries, etc. And of course, if I got myself on stage at Winstons, then I definitely had a great time there! The final detail? Melissa arranged a party bus to take us from one spot to the next!

I am really so blessed to have such wonderful friends that celebrated my last single night in both countries. There were friends and family that even traveled to be there, which made both weekends so special. Both my hostesses should be professional bachelorette party planners, because these will be memories that I will always cherish!

Wedding, Marriage, Bachelorette, Dallas, Spain, Estepona, PuroBeach

My bridesmaid Lauren flew in from Dublin to help me celebrate!

Wedding, Marriage, Dallas, Nylo Hotel, The Cedars Social, Winstons Supper Club

With all of the girls at the Dallas bachelorette party.

Spain, Estepona, Bachelorette, Laguna Village, PuroBeach, Wedding

This is the closest thing I have to a full group picture at the Spanish party.

Categories: Nightlife, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ve Been Everywhere Man

Texas, Arizona, Sedona, New York, Belmont, Detroit, Michigan

Me and my good friend Em out and about one of my first days in Dallas!

A month has come and gone since my last post, and for that, I’m very sorry. I find that when I’m doing a hefty amount of traveling, I can’t seem to settle down long enough to post anything of worth. That being said, the obvious reason for my disappearance was that I’ve spent the better part of the last thirty days traveling. At this point, I’m sure you’re imagining me in exotic locals, like the colorful markets of Morocco or the storybook streets of Germany. Yet, I was somewhere much more special: with family and friends in the United States of America.

The first stop on my American road trip was Detroit, Michigan to visit my sister, Melissa. I’d never been to Detroit, so having this handy tour guide was a must. Melissa lives in an area called Birmingham that is so full of charm and suburban wonder that the Detroit stereotype seems much more imagined than reality. The reality is that Detroit is a struggling city, but areas like Birmingham make up for it. While I was there, my cousin Dan came in town to visit, I met Melissa’s boyfriend, and I just relaxed as much as possible. We had a great time introducing me to true Detroit culture.

While in Detroit, I made the short trip to Saline to see my Aunt Jen, Uncle Phil, and my cousins Maggie and Jack. They only live about an hour from Melissa, so she’s lucky enough to get to spend loads of time with them on a regular basis. It had been at least two years since I’d seen them, so I went out to catch Maggie and Jack’s soccer games and to hang out at their house for a visit. Melissa joined us for most of the day, during which time we spent most of the time playing Taboo outside on the deck. The next day, my Aunt Jen took me to Ann Arbor to see the University of Michigan and to have lunch. It was really special to get to spend some extra time with all of them, even if I would be seeing them again later in the week. After two days in Saline, though, it was back to Detroit to spend a couple more days with Mel before the next leg of our journey.

Michigan, Dallas, Texas, Sedona, Arizona, New York, Belmont

With my sissy in Detroit.

From Detroit, Melissa and I traveled to Arizona to see my cousin Katie get married. And we weren’t just spectators – we were bridesmaids! Katie’s immediate family lived in Dallas when we did, and all of the kids are close in age. So we spent many weekends getting into trouble with our awesome cousins. Fast forward to the present day, one of us getting married, and all of us there to take part. The wedding was held in Sedona at an amazing resort called L’Auberge. From breakfasts outside along the creek bed, to the stunning backdrop during the ceremony itself, this was a wedding not to be forgotten anytime soon. Every single detail was planned to perfection and by the time she walked down the aisle, Katie looked as stunning as any bride could get. There was a great amount of joy and love in the air, from sentimental and hilarious speeches to time well spent with family. My favorite moment during the weekend? A moment that lasted a few hours – getting ready with all of the girls. And I mean ALL of the girls. Katie invited all of the women to stop by during the day, so aunts and cousins and grandmothers and friends flooded the room, creating such wonderful memories all day.

Arizona, Dallas, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, Belmont, New York

With my Papa at the wedding reception.

After a whirlwind weekend, I was off to Dallas. I wanted to extend my trip to visit with my immediate family a little longer and to see my Dallas friends. I may go months without seeing some of these people, but when we do get together, it’s like nothing has changed. For instance, while playing Catch Phrase with a group of about fifteen friends at a Mexican brunch on Sunday at the end of the weekend, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia. I can’t count how many times in college that my friends and I would slowly wake on a weekend, gather together, and find food to replenish our energy, whether it be at Pei Wei or The Diner or some other greasy joint. There is also nothing like hanging around the house with my parents during the summer, swimming in our backyard pool, and popping down to the McKinney Square for a burger or bowl of pasta. That is what home should feel like: familiar and comfortable.

Texas, Arizona, Sedona, Detroit, Michigan, New York, Belmont

Nothing like a week with your family and best friends!

Alas, my time in Texas came to a close and the last leg of the journey was upon me. As excited as I was to continue my travels and see Matt after three weeks, I was overwhelmed with sadness to leave. Yet the show must go on, and the final leg of the trip was New York City. This wasn’t originally part of the plan, but when I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness, Matt was adamant that we travel to the Belmont to see the Triple Crown race. While Triple Crown hopes disappeared with the sudden injury of I’ll Have Another (and I must say, this made for a very upset boyfriend), we made the best of the weekend and enjoyed New York and the Belmont for what they had to offer. We saw Times Square and strolled through Central Park. I took a ride on the merry-go-round and we had a beer while watching the motorized boats on the lake. We walked down Madison Avenue and did a bit of window-shopping, ate some pretty incredible food both evenings, had lunch in Battery Park and went to the 9/11 Memorial. This last activity took my breath away and was quite sobering, especially when we came across a family mourning the loss of a victim. One cannot truly put into words the feeling of being at Ground Zero.

Belmont, Dallas, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, Sedona, Arizona

Reconstruction at Ground Zero

As for the Belmont itself, the crowd was still rather large considering it was no longer a Triple Crown race. We bet the races leading up to the big event, and Matt (the horse racing guru) won a lot. The big race was exciting nonetheless, with a last-second victory by Union Rags. The weather was perfect – just slightly overcast so that there was a continuous breeze, keeping the temperatures down and the enjoyment up. On Sunday, Matt flew back to London, followed by me on Monday, and together we finished the journey to Gibraltar on Tuesday.

While I’m happy to be back with Matt and at work again, there’s really nothing quite like going home again. When you move abroad you make new friends, create a home for yourself, and do everything possible to create a normal world in which you can feel happy living. However, new experiences and new places do not replace the friends and family back home, rather they add to your happiness. The same could be said after I left Ireland and the friends and “family” I created there. I try not to think of it as leaving behind anymore, but instead, making anew. That being said, I don’t forget where I come from or the people that have impacted my life along the way, so going home – whether it be Dublin, Dallas, Cincinnati, Norman, Indianapolis, etc. – means reconnecting with those that I love and the country I’m proud to be from.

New York, Dallas, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, Sedona, Arizona

Belmont, Dallas, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, Sedona, Arizona

Belmont, Dallas, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, Sedona, Arizona

Arizona, Dallas, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, New York, Belmont

Arizona, Dallas, Texas, Detroit, Michigan, New York, Belmont

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Life These Days

First night home in Texas. Me and Em at Paul's show at the Patio Grill!

Dallas for Memorial Day weekend, Melissa’s birthday, North Carolina for my cousin’s wedding – how can I possibly sum up one long and fantastic vacation in a single blog post? I plan on doing it with many pictures and a whole lot of enthusiasm. I do realize I have a lot of time to make up for, but I’m ready to dive right back in!

I’ve known for awhile that I would be planning a trip to the States for my cousin, Brian’s, wedding. The location was Lake Lure in North Carolina, but I decided to add a little time to my trip and head to Dallas first. This gave me more time to see some friends back home, celebrate my sister’s birthday, and get in extra family time. I spent a lot of time by our pool in the sun, something I’ve been missing greatly. In fact, I spent almost every day of my vacation by the pool/lake at some point. I’ve now got A TON of freckles back on my face – I missed those little guys.

Melissa and Kristen at her birthday dinner - she loved that tambourine!

Melissa’s 24th birthday was Saturday, May 28, so the Friday night before we gathered with some of her closest friends and danced our way to her big day. We started at Monica Aca y Alla’s, a Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum that serves up strong margaritas, fantastic food, live music, and an hourly conga line. Once Melissa got a hold of the tambourine the show was on! Now, everyone that knows me knows how much I love chips and queso, so choosing this spot for her birthday was just as great for me! On Saturday, we laid by the pool soaking up the sun and then went to dinner at Patrizio’s with our parents. Good food two nights in a row and I really felt like I was home.

Waterskiing for the first time! I'm loving the picturesque view of Lake Lure in the background.

On Wednesday I flew with my family to North Carolina to begin the wedding festivities previously mentioned. Lake Lure is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to and I knew I was in store for a fun-filled weekend. I spent all of Thursday on the lake and learned how to waterski for the very first time! Yes, 25 years and it was my first time to try. I fell my first time, but on the second I popped right up. By the third go on the skis I felt comfortable and learned what is so enjoyable about the sport – well, minus the complete and utter soreness radiating throughout my body the next day.

Husband and wife for the first time!

What can I say about the rest of the wedding weekend? It was magical. Brian’s fiance (and now wife :-)), Maggie, looked absolutely radiant the entire weekend – from the initial gathering at her family’s home on Thursday, to the rehearsal dinner, and topping it off with the wedding itself. We had a great time getting to know Maggie’s family; they were so much fun and extremely generous all weekend. I saw the majority of my large and lovable family (my Dad has 4 brothers and a sister, so I have tons of cousins), enjoying every second we spent catching up. The wedding was beautiful, followed by a stunning reception on Lake Lure. The food was great, the speeches were incredibly sweet, and the music enticed just about everyone to the dance floor. There is nothing quite like being with all of your family celebrating a special occasion.

I am officially back in Dublin now much tanner, but quite tired. I guess I need a vacation from my vacation. 😉 Matt and I have a lot in store for our lives soon, so be sure to stay posted!

Lake Lure, North Carolina

What a cutie! Melissa opted for kayaking instead of waterskiing.

Lake Lure, North Carolina

Some of the gang! Cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends all gathered together after the rehearsal dinner.

Lake Lure, North Carolina

With my cousins Dan and Brian - best man on the left, groom on the right!

Lake Lure, North Carolina

My Dad with my cousin Molly - so cute. 🙂

Lake Lure, North Carolina

Sisterly love at the rehearsal dinner!

I took so many pictures on this trip, it’s just not possible to post them all! I tried to throw in some highlights. 🙂

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Emily En America

Christmas Eve in Dallas and we are sure happy to be home!

Well, the big day has passed and I am tired. I feel like I’ve been going non-stop since I got home; add jet-lag to the equation and whew! It’s been a good busy, though, because it means that I’ve already had the chance to see a lot of people, get in a good amount of visiting with my family, and make the most of my time at home.

After our long trip over, Wednesday was a chance to re-group and rest up. The only problem was that I hadn’t finished my Christmas shopping, and waiting any longer would mean getting stuck at the mall with all of the other last minute shoppers (you know who you are). I decided to fight the fatigue and push through the day. Besides, I have heard that forcing yourself out and about after a long journey is a great way to kick the jet-lag. So, I partnered up with my Dad and we went out to get last minute things for my Mom, sister, and Matt. It was a nice time just the two of us, catching up and cracking jokes. It was definitely better than wasting time on the couch.

The next day, Thursday, I used my time to finally relax. That night, I took the opportunity to see high school friends, since they were all home for Christmas. Matt came up and we went to dinner with Kaitlyn and Chris, who you may remember from the wedding in August; I was pumped to see the couple for the first time since the wedding. We went to Square Burger in Downtown McKinney, a trendy burger restaurant with over 60 beers on tap. Definitely a great addition to the McKinney Square. From there we met up with my high school friends Ashley, Callie, and pretty much the rest of the 2004 McKinney graduating class.

Who doesn't want to play with an adorable puppy during the holidays?!

On Friday, Christmas Eve, we were supposed to go to Christmas Mass, but the rain, excessive amount of people, and lack of parking caused our decision to go Christmas morning. I left for Dallas early to spend the evening with Matt’s family at his future sister-in-law’s home. Anna’s family prepared a Mexican feast last year on Christmas Eve, which I attended, and did the same this year. The food is AMAZING, with guacamole, stuffed jalapenos, tamales, etc. I’ve really enjoyed the occasion both years, this year especially since it’s been so long since I’ve had great Mexican food! Back at his parent’s home, we watched the bowl game and played with his brother’s adorable new puppy.

Yesterday, our decision to push back Christmas Mass was rewarded, because it was comfortable and not over-crowded. Our Christmas breakfast consisted of Belgian waffels, followed by gift exchange and a nap. Matt came up to spend the evening with my family, where we played games of backgammon, Mario Kart on Wii, and watched football on t.v. My Mom made a turkey since we don’t get it often in Ireland, with cheesy potatoes, stuffing, cream spinach, rutabaga, and corn. We didn’t even touch the pie after dinner, due to the onset of a food coma! Matt had a cigar with my Dad and we all just relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Here we are now, the day after Christmas, and I’ve finally slowed down. Brunch was eaten, naps were had, Wii was played, and the house has been picked up. I only get a small chance to breathe, though, because tonight we will have Christmas dinner part 2 thanks to all of the leftovers, followed by an evening out with college girlfriends to celebrate a birthday. Ahead of me, we have the arrival of Matt’s grandparents, Matt’s birthday, New Year’s Eve, you catch my drift. But I’m loving every second of it, because it wouldn’t make any sense to come home and hide out, now would it? 😉

Categories: Musings, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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