Friday, August 30, 2013

Five on Friday

I'm linking up with April for Five on Friday again!

This weekend is my last weekend out of town for a while and I'm so happy about that. Tonight I'm making the six and a half hour drive to Hot Springs, AR with my parents and two of my brothers. My mom's dad and stepmom live in Hot Springs so once a year some version of a family trip is made to visit them. I'm looking forward to seeing the grandparents, some hiking and a generally relaxing weekend. Now for some really old pictures of me and my youngest brother in AR:

I'm looking forward to joining in on Jenni's September blog challenge: Blogtember (see what she did there)! The challenge is to blog daily Monday through Friday all month and she has a list of topics in this post. She will have a link up on her blog each day so feel free to join in and link up. I will most likely still do my own thing on some days but I'm looking forward to challenging myself most of the month. Let me know if you plan to give it a try!

When I'm back from Arkansas I'll finally have time to get serious about working out again. I won't be going out of town again for a while so things should slow down a little and I'm kind of looking forward to that. I'll have weekends free for working out, which should help keep me motivated. Something about being forced to get in all of my work outs M-F makes the whole thing feel like a chore.

I've been thinking about signing up for a photography class and have been looking around recently. I've seen a few e-courses but I'm more interested in a physical class. I think I've found an option, but let me know if you're aware of anything in the Houston area!

I scored a pair of Joe's Jeans on the cheap at TJ Maxx this week and I'm super excited to style them! They almost lean towards a boyfriend feel, without looking hideous on me (I totally can't pull that look off). Maybe I'll have something pulled together for an outfit post next week ;)

Whelp, there's my five. Let me know if you're in on the link up too!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Instagram Catchup

Yep, it's that time of the month! Time to share little bits of August as seen on my Instagram account. This month flew by so I don't have too much to share, but here we go:

I hadn't been to P.Terry's in forever so while I was in Austin at the beginning of the month I made sure to remedy that (technically twice, but that's neither here nor there).

I got a pretty new camera lens for my birthday! I was using a kit lens before so I've enjoyed working with something new and becoming a little more adventurous with photography.

Earlier this month I declared I would be eating healthier and giving up dairy. Welllll that hasn't been going too well for myriad reasons, a) all of this chocolate at my disposal (I just need to eat it quicker so it's gone, right?) and b) I've been traveling way too much this month.

Just a few more photos from Florida. Hmmm, can I go back to the beach already?

Sarah the cat helped me unpack from Florida.

I first saw In Defense of Food mentioned on Delightfully Tacky and started reading it on the beach. I'm enjoying it and it's super informative but I've been so busy since returning from Florida that I have yet to finish. I should have some down time this weekend so I'm hoping to finish soon!

I was going through old photos the other day and found this gem of me and my best friend, Heather, from a couple years ago. No worries, we're definitely still this weird.

Taboo is always a crowd-pleaser and for good reason. Did you know a ladybug can also be referred to as a "domed creature?" And never say the word "kudos" again, instead you can karate chop ;)

Cohen bear being sweet! The second he sat down next to me he decided we were BFFs and got cuddly.

My ankles and feet started swelling up while in Dallas and were massive by the time I arrived home Sunday. I still have no clue why it happened but the cankles are gone now so all's well that ends well.

I ordered these Minnetonka booties recently and I'm in love with them! Last year I wasn't really into booties but this year I've found quite a few I like. I feel like sometimes I worry too much about what other people will think of the things I wear but I'm trying to let that go. These booties are way different than anything else I own, but that's part of their charm!

There's my month in a teeny tiny nutshell! What have you had going on? Anything big or exciting?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Restaurant Review: Velvet Taco

In my last post I promised a more in depth review about Velvet Taco so here it is! Velvet Taco is definitely one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas. If I sat down and categorized a list of Dallas eats, VT would be number one in the "grab a bite with friends" category.

Diana introduced me to VT about a year and a half ago and the quirky little fusion taco stand became a fast favorite. The restaurant is located at the intersection of Highway 75 and Knox-Henderson, just a couple exits north of downtown Dallas. The area has lots of shops and bars too so VT is excellent for an afternoon bite or dinner before going out. Diana and I were early adaptors and it's been fun to watch the restaurant grow and establish itself.

There's usually a line when you get there, but that just means quality people watching and plenty of time to check out the menu. I was in good company so I didn't mind :)

The menu is up on the wall for easy perusing. There's still a good amount of room between this area and the register so I've never felt rushed when trying to decide what I want. That being said, I'm a creature of habit and generally stick with what I like.

See that little "margarita me" sign? Listen to it! Their margs are delicious and the perfect compliment to any one of their tacos.

It's not called Velvet Taco for nothing! The red velvet cake is to die for. If I'm being totally honest, I've only ever had it once but that's because I usually fill up on tacos and margaritas. Try it if you've got room after your meal!

I opted for the Crisp Tikka Chicken taco (#3) with a side of rotisserie corn and a margarita (duh). I tried that taco the last time I went to VT in April and I've been craving it ever since! The chicken is super crispy and tossed in a spicy pepper sauce that goes perfect with the cilantro basmati rice that it sits on. Their tacos tend to get pretty messy but this one, not so much. The corn is "elote-style" and sooo creamy and delicious. I normally get a side of their potatoes but I'm so glad I opted for the corn this time; I've been missing out!

Diana ordered her usual favorite, the Grilled Flank Steak & Egg taco (#21) with a side of potatoes. I've never tried that one, but since it's Di's standard order, I'm guessing it's pretty good. Those potatoes, though? Yes. Just yes. They're roasted with lemon, garlic, crema and parsley and it just works. I really want to try to come up with a copycat recipe because they're way too good not to eat on a regular basis!

Jody had already eaten so she just got a margarita. You can't go wrong with that!

One of my favorite things about VT is the backdoor bird. For $20 cash money you get a whole rotisserie chicken, two sides of elote-style corn, six corn tortillas, roasted corn pico de gallo and Korean BBQ sauce. All you do is walk up to the back door, knock, hand them your cash then wait for them to bring you the goods. My friends and I took advantage of the backdoor bird a few times for girls nights and we were never disappointed. Plus, $20 for all that is cheap!

In case you can't tell, I'm pretty obsessed with Velvet Taco and miss eating there on the regular. I did read that VT is expanding to Fort Worth, Chicago and Los Angeles soon and I'm crossing my fingers that Houston will be next on the list! For now I'll just have to stay content with a trip every couple months when I go to Dallas. If you've been to Velvet Taco, what's your favorite taco?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Emily Does Dallas

I know, I know, but I couldn't resist that title! I had so much fun in Dallas this weekend, I wasn't quite ready to come home on Sunday. I got in a lot of friend time though and was happy to squeeze in quite a bit throughout the weekend.

I stayed at Diana and Mark's new house and I loved the chance to finally see it in person since I've been following their progress on her blog. Here are some snapshots from around the house:

After a wild and crazy game night on Friday night, Diana and I dragged ourselves out of bed the next morning for free manicures at the Aveda Institute. Our friend Jody is currently attending Aveda. She and a classmate needed hand models, so Di and I happily jumped at the opportunity. We then took our freshly manicured hands to one of my favorite Dallas restaurants, Velvet Taco.

Velvet Taco is so amazing that it deserves a post all its keep an eye out ;) Diana and I ventured around Henderson Street to walk off the VT after eating, then headed back to her house to get ready for a housewarming party in Arlington. The housewarming was fun with lots of delicious finger foods and outdoor games.

Some of us grownups played a few rounds of beanbags, while the kids (Diana's adorable niece Audrey and sweet nephew Noah) preferred playing catch and "sliding" down the beanbag board (look at that happy little face!). It should be noted that my beanbag skills are unreliable and my team lost both rounds that I played. Good thing I'm not competitive! After the party Mark, Diana and I headed back home and turned in for the night. I know, party animals, right? We were all okay with it though! Sunday I hung around for a bit then made the 10-minute drive over to Heather's for some more BFF time. We went to one of our favorite pizza places, Grimaldi's, and, of course, got our favorite pizza. When we'd had our fill at Grimaldi's we wandered around the stores in Park Lane and discovered the greatness that is the Bloomingdale's Outlet. I think that will definitely be incorporated into my next trip up :)

Heather and I said our goodbyes and I continued to head south down 75 to West Village for another lunch (linner?) with the three girlfriends that I made while working at Fossil: Jenna, Caitlin and Angelica. We all started out in the same department together and became almost inseparable at work. Now two of us are gone and two are still working there, although in different departments, but I'm so glad we've managed to keep up with each other! Some of my best memories of my time in Dallas happened with these three ladies and we always manage to pick up right where we left off when we get together.

Caitlin's son Cohen joined us for lunch as well, and he was such a little charmer! He ended up sitting next to me and had me wrapped around his finger by the time we left :)

I was so nostalgic the entire time I was in Dallas and tried my best to just soak it all in and enjoy myself. I guess I hadn't realized how much I'd missed my friends up there until seeing them all. Luckily I'm planning another trip next month for the Texas State Fair, which isn't to be missed! I'm already dreaming of all the insane fried food options...hmmm fried pumpkin pie has got to be my favorite yet. Do you have any fall traditions that you look forward to each year? Or any places or things that make you totally nostalgic?