New York- Part 1

Andrew and I just wrapped up an absolutely incredible week and a half in the city that never sleeps! New York is truly magical- from the twinkling Manhattan lights to the homey feel of the Brooklyn borough- we never wanted to leave.

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We were fortunate to proceed a business trip with a mini vacation and I think this may be one of the best decisions we have ever made!

We arrived early in the morning on New Year’s Day and hit the ground running- or rather walking a lot!

We explored the city, allowing ourselves to get lost among the skyscrapers, stumbling upon landmarks such as Radio City, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and eventually strolling into Central Park.

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IMG_2827Central Park is massive! I believe one could live in the city their whole life and still never experience all the park has to offer- around each and every turn there is a beautiful statue, landmark, or garden (and it is a runner’s paradise with trails traversing the whole park).

After Central Park we found our new home at the Plaza Hotel. The experience and drinks were one of a kind. Although the Plaza is probably the most luxurious place we have ever stepped foot in, Andrew was served a rum cocktail in a ceramic tiki man- it was too cute!

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We continued to explore until our tootsies were yelping after our early wake up and we made our way to dinner. Our first true culinary experience in New York was a recommendation by Andrew’s sweet sister.

Eataly is a dream. That is that best way to describe it. A delicious, Italian dream. It’s a little village of restaurants in the Flatiron District- lots and lots of wine, gelato, paninis, meats, the most magnificent cheese boards, handmade pasta, and Neapolitan pizzas- best of all- everything is fresh!

Our second day began at a quaint coffee shop where we ordered cappuccinos and to our pleasure they had hearts drawn in the foam!


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We spent a lot of our second day exploring again- who knew we were such explorers? Andrew’s mom gave us the wonderful gift of hop-on, hop-off bus tickets! When we were finished exploring Manhattan for the morning we hopped on the bus with our giant cupcakes from Crumbs (if you love cupcakes, we definitely recommend Crumbs!) which I am embarrassed to say were big enough for a meal, but if you know Andrew and I, you know we enjoyed every last crumb of our sweet treats!

We took the tour bus from Uptown through the Flatiron District, SoHo, and Greenwich Village, all the way to the World Trade Center and Wall Street. It was very important to us to spend some time remembering the innocent who lost their lives on that sad day 14 years ago. The World Trade Center Memorial is beautiful, but viewing it was a challenging experience because of the sheer magnitude of the tragic situation. Seeing all of the names etched in the rims of the fountains brought tears to my eyes.

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Adjacent to the memorials stands Freedom Tower- a 1776 foot tall building- serving as a constant reminder of the year we gained our freedom.

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Wall Street was quite different than I imagined, the streets outside of the NYSE are actually quite quaint and seasonally adorned with wreaths and Christmas trees. In fact, the oldest church in the entire city resides in the Wall Street District- Trinity Church. My grandma told us we had to see this church and it did not disappoint- the Gothic Revival architecture is beautiful!

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After Wall Street we further enjoyed the dry- humor of our New York Mets loving (Andrew was very happy) tour guide and took the tour bus to Rockefeller Center where we ascended to the top of one of New York’s iconic landmarks for a panoramic view of the skyline. We made it to the top just after sunset and the view was, in all honesty, absolutely breathtaking. I will remember that view forever!

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After our incredible experience at the top of the Rock, we hurried to my second cousin Patty’s home for a home-cooked Italian meal. Patty is an incredible professional chef and it is truly evident that she has found her calling in life- her flourless chocolate cake was unlike anything I have ever tasted! It was wonderful to connect with Patty and some other family members who I hadn’t seen in years and Andrew had previously never met! After an evening of laughter, wine, and storytelling we headed over to Greenwich Village to do nothing other than- explore! We found a bar we liked and settled in for a while to warm up and enjoy some cocktails.

Day three was ripe with potential before we even stepped foot out the door- we were going to Brooklyn! For those of you who do not know, my family is from Brooklyn so this was extra special to me. Our tour passes included a ferry ride so we made our way to the pier and hopped on the ferry in the freezing cold and made our way to Brooklyn. The views were well worth the cold- we caught some amazing glimpses of Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, the list goes on, because let’s face it New York is gorgeous!

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To say we were frozen when we arrived in Brooklyn was a vast understatement and we were on a mission to get inside. Andrew couldn’t have planned what happened next any better- a Shake Shack came into view- it was as if the heavens were opening and beckoning Andrew to come inside. We scurried in and I immediately smiled at the sight of a fireplace as Andrew ordered the burger he has always dreamt of, as well as a shake and the most unbelievably delicious, dark chocolate, salted caramel hot chocolate 🙂

We truly enjoyed perusing the trendy shops of Brooklyn and even did some non-touristy shopping. We walked the streets of Brooklyn, taking in the sights of downtown Dumbo until snow began to fall. I absolutely love snow- the real kind- not the Texas kind, but the kind that is powdery and soft and gently coats your eyelashes- it was at this moment that I truly felt at home in New York.

And this is where I leave you- Part 1 of our recollection of New York is complete. Stay tuned! Part 2 is to come soon!

Love,

AH

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Our Wedding Highlight

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I truly have so much to be thankful for this year- marriage, a new puppy, a wonderful family and friends, a Lord who loves us, the list can go on and on 🙂

We were surprised over the Thanksgiving holiday with one additional gift to be thankful for- our wedding highlight! We are beyond grateful for the amazing team at Turquoise Video.

Here is the short version of our wedding highlight! We hope y’all enjoy reliving our special day as much as we do.

Love,

AH

Happy Fall Y’all!

Pumpkins are aplenty, the temperatures have dropped, and it is time to decorate!

Truthfully, I am itching to decorate for Christmas- the ribbons, stockings, lights, I could go on and on- it doesn’t get any better, but fall and all of its pumpkin spice deserve some love too.

Things have really started to pick up at work, which I suppose is a good problem to have, but it has semi hindered my opportunities to decorate for fall.

However, we did manage to sneak in some fun and festive pieces before we bring out the main event- the Christmas decorations!

When you live in a small space, whether it is an apartment or a starter home, it is important to have key pieces to really ground your space. For us, our coffee table does just that- after all it is where everyone gathers! To add some fall flair I adorned it with a pumpkin village featuring an assortment of unique pumpkins from Central Market, mercury glass and gold votives to add warmth, vintage vases, and beautiful sunflowers from the hubs. In the past I have painted pumpkins with acrylic paint, but these pretties are so unique that I didn’t feel it was necessary.

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I am a chronic clearance section shopper- I love a good deal more than anyone and on one of my recent patrols through the dollar section at target I stumbled upon this adorable Halloween bunting. I have a deep love for burlap so I scooped it up.

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Next we have the silly little window clings- they may be silly, but they just make us smile and I think these are cuter than the average clings- pumpkins, spiders, and festive sentiments!

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We love to carve pumpkins, especially when a puppy template is involved! A few years ago we carved a pumpkin to look like Tuck which still makes us smile to this very day. Unfortunately, our carving of Ellie did not turn out as well- the template was a little too ambitious for us. I highly recommend these pumpkin carving templates by Better Homes and Gardens- your pup will be so proud of you.

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Lastly, we have our wreath. I did not make a wreath of pumpkins and leaves, rather I made a wreath depicting what we feel is the epitome of fall- Horned Frog football!!

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It may not be much, but our homey, little apartment is nice and cozy for fall. I am so excited to show y’all our Christmas wonderland which will be coming very soon 🙂

What are y’alls favorite festive touches? I would love to hear!

Love,

AH

If the Walls Could Talk

If the walls could talk they would describe a young man and a young woman deeply in love. The couple is bound by faith and a promise to love each other with an unyielding passion all the days of their lives. A little tan puppy runs the home as she trots from room to room with her pink ball, eventually settling onto the sofa right between her mom and dad. Joy envelops the small space as the family reunites each eve after a long day of work.

Years of memories have been shared in countless spaces, but this one is different. This one is ours.

If two walls in particular could talk they would describe not just what they see, but what they hold.

The walls hold tangible representations of some of our most cherished times.

Above our living room sofa we chose to hang a special piece from our wedding- the old screen door I found in my hometown served as an escort piece- welcoming guests to their seats at our big celebration. Hung horizontally above our sofa, adorned with black and white images strung on jute string, the piece is a constant reminder of the most perfect day. We felt it would be unique and extra special to incorporate a physical element of the wedding into our home.

Here are photos of the door at our wedding…

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And here is the door now…

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For years I have oohed and ahhed at the gallery walls gracing the pages of magazines and overwhelming my Pinterest feed. I knew as soon we had the appropriate space, I would jump at the opportunity to create a wall filled with both art and photographs that held special meaning to us.

An assortment of pieces, crowned in white frames serve as the focal point and our favorite aspect of the bedroom.

Over the past few years Andrew purchased these prints for me, which feature some of my favorite sayings, and I knew there was no better place to display them than on this wall. Perhaps the most special piece hanging in our gallery  is the guestbook from our wedding- silhouettes of a bride and groom and their little puppy holding a giant bunch of balloons signed by those they love the most.

Of course most of the photos are from our wedding, honeymoon, and engagement session, but the beautiful thing about this form of art is that it can be easily changed as more memories are made. Here is a shot of our gallery-IMG_2403

I am so in love with these spaces- they are so uniquely us- places where so many memories will be forever captured.

What is your favorite place in your home?

Have a great weekend and go frogs!

Love,

AH

P.S.- the really cute print TCU to the right of the TV is by Rachel Lewis and her husband, Bryan- the owners of Tread Studios. Be sure to check out their wonderful shop where they are creating “Art with a Mission”!

Wedding photos provided by Tracy Autem Photography.

Grapevine’s Annual Grapefest

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Grapevine’s Annual Grapefest with two of my favorite people- the handsome hubs and my sweet best friend and maid of honor, Sarah.

I am so thankful Sarah came to North Texas for the weekend! We have been sharing some of life’s best memories together for ten years (I can’t believe it has been that long!) and this weekend was no different.

From what I gather, the annual festival is a celebration of our quaint community, the beauty of the changing seasons, and an opportunity to rejoice in and enjoy what Grapevine is best known for- wine!

Andrew and I have dreamed of frequenting this festival since we moved to town a few months ago. Per usual, my optimism was high and I had grand expectations for this day!

Let me just say, that we were not disappointed.

From the moment we walked in and smelled the smelly smell smell of funnel cakes we knew it was going to be a good day.

Funnel cakes and wine- life was complete.

Main Street Grapevine was lined with wine and craft beer booths, carnival rides, local vendors and craftsmen, and funnel cakes (as well as other yummy snacks) :D.

As expected in our little town, the volunteers were as sweet as could be and we were efficiently ushered through the gates thanks to our electronic tickets.

Within a few minutes we were on a mission to find the divine nectar which we all adore.

We were momentarily distracted when we saw the sign for grape stomping. Sarah and I quickly jumped at this opportunity and Team Raisin Makers was soon signed up for battle.

We then returned to our search for wine. We purchased some tickets which allow festival goers to buy wine, beer, food, and funnel cakes. However, we decided it was in our best interest to start at the Italian Wine Experience.

The Italian Wine Experience was nothing less than divine ;).  For just $14 each we were given a commemorative wine glass and a card with a variety of Italian wines and their descriptions. We were directed to pick 6 wines from the list for tastings and much to our elation, we received a full glass on the last tasting! The selection was wonderful. Sarah recently returned from a trip to Italy so she enjoyed having the opportunity to embrace those distinct blends and Andrew and I enjoyed trying new varieties.

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After the wine experience, we used our coupons to fuel up for the grape stomp with none other than wine.

We scouted out the grape stomp competition and crafted our strategy while sipping on our glasses.

The day flew by and as soon as we knew it Team Raisin Makers was called to their posts!

With our grand cheering section of 1, Andrew, we stomped like we were the biggest hot shots in the festival! I stomped my half first, then Sarah went behind and pushed all of our juice through the hole in the barrel and into the glass I was holding.

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Being the intense competitors we are- we were giddy with excitement as they called out the results. It was close… but we lost by a few ounces.

We are proud to say that although we may not have won the coveted foot-shaped trophy we still came in second and we had a blast doing it. And after all that stomping we treated ourselves to a funnel cake- duh!

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We are proud of second place and wine-stained smiles

Scratch that off of our bucket list.

We finished the day cheering our horned frogs to victory at a burger joint on Main Street. It truly doesn’t get much better than that 🙂

Grapefest was everything I hoped it would be and more. If you have the opportunity to go next year I would highly recommend it! Let us know and we will grape stomp against you 😀

Have any of y’all ever been to Grapefest? What was your favorite part?

Happy weekend! I will be rooting my Texans to a 3 and 0 start!

Love,

AH

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Ellie got to have a special treat this weekend as well- her favorite puppacino from Starbucks.!

Foodie Friday featuring the Fabulous Frittata

The much needed long weekend is finally here and what better way to kick it off than with a recipe perfectly suited for holiday brunch? This recipe puts one of my all-time favorite ingredients at center stage, as it should be- the incredible, edible egg!

For as long as I can remember eggs have been a staple in my diet and not just for breakfast- no, no, no. Eggs make the perfect, breakfast, brunch, dinner, you name it! Their warm, fluffy texture makes my belly smile just thinking about them.

Most recently, I have been craving the more mature and cultured form of eggs- the quiche- thanks to the remarkably delicious Quiche Florentine from Main Street Bistro and Bakery in Grapevine, Texas.  The homemade, wonderfully flaky crust of the Quiche Florentine is adorned with layers of spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, asiago, and eggs of course!

As is typically the case with me, I couldn’t take the craving any longer and I decided I wanted to make my own quiche 🙂

Well, wait, where does the frittata come in your might ask? Here were go-

On a weeknight it’s just not practical to make a pie crust from scratch- exercising on top of laundry, on top of taking care of the bear, there’s just not enough time so I went in search of a healthy pie crust. Unfortunately, our local, big chain, normal run of the mill grocery store only carries frozen pie crusts ridden with “bad ingredients,” like hydrogenated oils and bleached flours. “Oh no, no, no this is not going to work” I thought to myself as the myriads of weekend shoppers paraded around me searching for the perfect bag of frozen green beans and Uncrustable sandwiches (which are delicious, I cannot lie).

With this being said, the idea to make a crustless egg pie (my eloquent description) or a frittata was born. I weaved my way in and out of those wild, weekend shoppers like the champion of a dodge ball game and darted into the baking aisle where I grabbed two aluminum pans- why make one frittata when you can have two and enjoy leftover eggs all week 🙂 ?

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Ingredients I used to create our frittatas:

  • 10 eggs (5 per frittata)
  • ½ a cup of milk (1/4 cup per frittata. Any kind of milk will do- I used 2% because that is what we had.)
  • 3 cups of spinach (about 1 ½ cups pre-steamed per frittata)
  • 2 tomatoes on the vine (1 per frittata)
  • Ground turkey (I used about ¾ of a pound total)
  • ½ a zucchini (1/4 per frittata)
  • Fat free feta cheese
  • Sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the ground turkey in a skillet with the garlic powder and dried basil until the meet is browned.
  3. Drain the turkey on a plate covered in paper towels.
  4. Sautee the spinach until wilted. Drain on a plate with paper towels as well.
  5. Slice the zucchini and tomatoes to your desired thickness.
  6. Crack 5 eggs into a bowl with ¼ cup of milk. Stir until the yolks are well combined.
  7. Layer slices of zucchini along the bottom of the pan.
  8. Place the cooked spinach on top of the zucchini slices.
  9. Place slices of tomato on top of the spinach.
  10. Then layer the feta and cheddar cheese on top of the veggies.
  11. Sprinkle the ground turkey on top.
  12. Pour the egg mixture on top.
  13. Cook the frittata until the center of the eggs is set, about 55 minutes.
  14. Places slices of avocado on top as a tasty garnish.
  15. Allow the frittata to settle for 10 minutes, then cut yourself a little piece of heaven!

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We of course enjoyed our frittata with slices of backed sweet potatoes- our favorite!

What is your favorite brunch recipe? I would love to hear! I hope you enjoy this tasty and nutritious anytime meal.

PS- post frittata making I found a gluten free, organic frozen pie crust at Central Market. Hooray!

I am trying to work on my photos- I promise they will soon be shadow free!

Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!

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Love,

AH

What I’ve Learned in our First Two Months of Marriage

Marriage has been everything I hoped it would be and so much more. There is nothing quite like waking up next to your best friend and knowing that at the end of a long day he will be right there to greet you with the biggest, warmest bear hug.

It hasn’t been all puppies and gummy bears, but we knew that going into it. What it has been is an adventure- a constant lesson in patience, trust, camaraderie, and earnest, unyielding, beautiful love.

Like most things in life, the downs make the ups that much more amazing. I am extremely grateful that in two months we have only experienced one down- about a month after the wedding we encountered a tremendous setback with the furriest and cuddliest member of our family. Thank goodness everything has taken a turn for the better and our little family unit couldn’t be happier. Our setback with Ellie resulted in the most stressful and upsetting night and day which Andrew and I have endured as a couple, but through this experience we learned a few things- we are definitely stronger together, destruction and upset bellies are only temporary, and love (even be it with a four-legged friend) can overcome even the most challenging obstacles.

Most of our days have truly been filled with happiness. I know it is cheesy- of course they have been because we’re newlyweds, right?? But, there is no reason to be unhappy when you get to share life with your favorite person 🙂

A few other fun tidbits I have learned are:

  • Accidentally shedding my pieces of my hair on the sink and bathroom floor are a no-no.
  • Andrew is very particular about me using his t-shirts as “sleep shirts”- even though I have told him he can wear my shirts (which would be far too small for him) – to this he of course had a clever response that his shirts don’t fit me either (they are far too big)… I was left speechless.
  • When men are hungry… they are hungry.
  • Beer and baseball seem to wash the worries of the day away.
  • Even though the trash can is two feet from the bar, it appears to be a stretch for the Mr. to properly dispose of garbage.
  • Wakeup alarms are extra frustrating when you are snuggling with a big bear and a little bear.
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies taste better when made together.
  • Andrew is secretly a mixologist- boy oh boy can he whip up some tasty drinks.
  • No matter how unglamorous it may be, takeout, sweatpants, a glass of wine, and watching a movie on the sofa will always be the best date night.
  • Each day is a series of precious memories which I hope are etched in my mind forever.

Reflecting on the past two months it is clear that we have A LOT of learning to do- we’re not quite marriage pros.

The amount of love I felt standing at the altar two months ago seemed unsurmountable, but I have found the truth is that each and every day I fall more in love with Andrew.

I’m so very thankful we get to do life together forever.

What are some funny or special things you have learned from your significant other?

Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend!

Love,

AH

Here is our most recent family photo 🙂

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