Our First Christmas

Our first Christmas as a party of 3 in our new home!

We decked the halls and our stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
CD9A8085 CD9A8106 CD9A8109 CD9A8121 CD9A8124 CD9A8126 CD9A8128 CD9A7934 CD9A7937 CD9A7939 CD9A7943CD9A8129CD9A8133CD9A8145CD9A8134CD9A8130On Christmas Eve we listened to Christmas music, read Christmas books, and stayed in our festive clothes all day long until it was time to go to David’s Aunt and Uncle’s house. Dave got in extra Christmas spirit when Cousin Eddie made an appearance. IMG_2180 We always feast over there with the best food such as pheasant, ham, salmon, cocktails and this… Homemade Crawfish Bisque. The crawfish shells are stuffed with dressing and it took Aunt Sherry 6 hours to make the shells.

It was AHH-MAAAZING!!!IMG_2181 Once we arrived home, these two enjoyed a silent night. I read A Night Before Christmas and The Grinch and apparently put them straight to sleep. It was definitely a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night around here.IMG_2187The next morning was that much more fun as we had big family time. We played music, made breakfast and opened gifts. Dixon enjoyed watching everything go on in his cute first Christmas jammies.
CD9A8164CD9A8166CD9A8178I love a good open mouth baby kiss.CD9A8184CD9A8189CD9A8198CD9A8200CD9A8204These two melt me every. single. time.CD9A8206CD9A8212CD9A8214CD9A8216CD9A8218CD9A8221CD9A8223CD9A8226After we enjoyed our Christmas morning, we had the Davidge Family over for lunch. Our very first dinner officially at our house. It went great and the company was even better. We made a duck and ate at our festive table! I officially feel like an adult, I think.CD9A8096CD9A8093CD9A8088Then we headed to Minden to see my family where we had the 2nd Annual Tolar Turkey Bowl.CD9A8376I finally got my grandfather to hold his great grandson who he claims is way too small to be held, but he managed perfectly. CD9A8309CD9A8313The game was a little more intense this year. Everyone seemed to have their game face on unlike last year when it seemed to be a big joke. Muscles were sore.CD9A8344CD9A8302CD9A8289CD9A8248CD9A8365I am coming with vengeance next year after this c section heals.

We ended the game with some sweaty family pictures.CD9A8420CD9A8443CD9A8451CD9A8451aIt was a special Christmas with everyone. A lot of first happened for us, and I know the holidays will get sweeter and sweeter as Dixon gets bigger. I however love it just the way it is.

Welcome to the World Shower

IMG_1135We couldn’t welcome Dixon to the world without a shower in South Louisiana, and my new Davidge Family really went above and beyond to make it extra special! My brother-in-law made the invitations, my mother-in-law and Aunt Sherry helped add their special touches, and my sister-in-law and mom-in-law-in-law decorated the shower to a tee and had shower food that I will keep craving.
CD9A0823My sweet sister-in-law, Sarah, who can cook and bake like no other, put on a shower fit for an adventurer. I am in love with all of it! CD9A0716CD9A0717CD9A0713CD9A0711CD9A0710CD9A0708CD9A0706CD9A0705CD9A0698CD9A0696CD9A0694CD9A0693CD9A0692CD9A0691Then there was this. CD9A0690Sarah outdid herself once again with a naked, adventure cake!CD9A0686Cake by: Sarah Davidge
CD9A0745When in South Louisiana…CD9A0738CD9A0737A mimosa bar.CD9A0736And a bloody mary bar.CD9A0735CD9A0734CD9A0733CD9A0732CD9A0731CD9A0729She even thought about alcohol free me with this Rose!CD9A0817CD9A0726CD9A0725CD9A0724CD9A0723And what’s a shower without adventure cookies?CD9A0818Cookies by: Michelle’s Custom Cookies
CD9A0750CD9A0771CD9A0762CD9A0761CD9A0759CD9A0757CD9A0756CD9A0755CD9A0753CD9A0751Dixon got spoiled once again!
CD9A0808It is still crazy to me that there will be a baby here before Christmas! One of my favorite gifts was Dixon’s first Christmas tree filled with ornaments all pertaining to him and his uncle and dad. Such a thoughtful gift from Aunt Sarah!CD9A0815CD9A0812So much family was able to make it. My gorgeous sister came all the way from San Antonio.
IMG_1147These two (my stepmom and dad) came from Houston and have been spoiling Dixon since day one.IMG_1148My Dad and I had a comparison of bumps. IMG_1149We weren’t quite sure who won..IMG_1150But I think I’ve got him beat!IMG_1151My precious Mother-in-law.CD9A0800My lovely Mom.CD9A0796My sweet Moms.CD9A0793My Best Friend, Elizabeth, and her precious Mom who has put up with me for way too long. CD9A0788This one though is my favorite!CD9A0785CD9A0782And the best host, Sarah, my sis-in-law.

Dixon is soooo lucky to have you as his Aunt, and I will tell him everyday!CD9A0780CD9A0778But lastly we had a party crasher, the man, the myth, the legend behind the bump…CD9A0804My husband.CD9A0806CD9A0805I can’t believe my showers are over. I have been looking forward to them for what feels like a year. They came so fast and both my families and friends have really done more than we could ever wanted to prepare us for baby. We cannot thank y’all enough for all the love that’s been shown for our boy. Next up on the list is moving into our house and getting the nest ready. I cannot wait to put his nursery together. I have been planning this room since Trip walked the plank, and we knew it was a boy. There are so many first happening this year (the move, house, baby), and I am doing my best to enjoy each of them. All of it wouldn’t be possible without the unconditional love shown from so many. My heart is full, and it is about be even more filled with love come this November.

Dress by: Jessica Simpson

A Baby Sprinkle

My very 1st baby shower for Dixon in North Louisiana.
IMG_0486CD9A9100CD9A9097CD9A9093One of my biggest cravings since I have been pregnant is anything and everything dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles. So, Ashley, my mom, and my sweet hostesses made sure it was just that, and they even made sure to sprinkle Dixon with all sorts of goodies to make sure he’s taken care of when he makes his grand arrival.CD9A8953

Cake by: Lori’s Cake TherapyCD9A8972 CD9A8973 CD9A8975 CD9A8980 CD9A8981 CD9A8982

Cookies by: Sweet Em’s GemsCD9A8983 CD9A8985 CD9A8986 CD9A8987 CD9A8988 CD9A8990 CD9A8991 CD9A8993 CD9A8994 CD9A8995 CD9A8996 CD9A8997 CD9A8998 CD9A8999 CD9A9000 CD9A9001 CD9A9002 CD9A9003 CD9A9004 CD9A9005 CD9A9006 CD9A9008 CD9A9010 CD9A9014 CD9A9016 CD9A9017 CD9A9018 CD9A9019 CD9A9020 CD9A9021 CD9A9024 CD9A9025 CD9A9028 CD9A9031 CD9A9035 CD9A9038 CD9A9041 CD9A9042 CD9A9043 CD9A9044 CD9A9045 CD9A9047 CD9A9054 CD9A9062 CD9A9065 CD9A9068 CD9A9072CD9A9071CD9A9073 CD9A9074 CD9A9075 CD9A9082 CD9A9084 CD9A9085 CD9A9087 CD9A9090 CD9A9093 CD9A9105 IMG_1043 IMG_1044 IMG_1045 IMG_1047 IMG_1050 IMG_1053

Dress by: Free People

Breck Because

I live for our girls weekends. We haven’t all been together since January when we romped around New Orleans. (Click here to see that fabulous trip.) It was time for another get together, ok! We have been on the streets of Vegas twice, floated the river in Gruene, explored the concrete jungle of Dallas, and got our fill of the enchanting (and delicous) French Quarter. We needed a change of scenery. The view we wanted was the mountains, but more importantly the cooler weather. It was 107 degrees when we boarded the plane to Denver, Colorado. Emily and Mary would be flying in from Dallas, and Elizabeth and I would be headed from New Orleans. We had it planned perfectly. Ok, so Emily had planned it perfectly. She was our Colorado travel guide who made our trip better than ever. Our flights were 15 minutes apart, and we landed late Thursday night. Side note: Never allow Emily and Mary to travel to the cult-like, Illumnati headquarters that is the Denver Airport by themselves. Alarms happen.  After arriving, we headed straight to a delicious dinner at Steuben’s. I think we were so happy to see each other that no pictures were taken. Minus a few snaps of Steubey snacks. The next morning we needed a sugar high for our road trip to Breckenridge, our ultimate weekend destination.

This called for… Voodoo Doughnuts.
IMG_0628 After serious menu anxiety and buying at least a dozen donuts between the four of us, we were on our way.IMG_0636We like to take our donuts with a view.
IMG_0571IMG_0629IMG_0637IMG_0631I have the cutest friends in the whole wide world!
breckMight I add we family styled our donuts. With a donut in each hand, we had a bite of a bite of each donut. It really is the only way. IMG_6982Breck was right around the corner and only an hour and a half drive from Denver. Who knew it was that close? Oh, that’s right- Emily. Upon arrival (and much ooh-ing and ahh-ing), we headed straight for Downtown Breck,  which was only a block from our lovely condo.
IMG_0638IMG_0634IMG_0642Mary was fascinated by the blue trees every time we saw them. Apparently an artist from Austrailia does this to inspire awareness and discussion about global deforestation. It will definitely catch your eye.IMG_0650The next venture was to Fatty’s Pizzeria, which had food as good as its atmosphere. Emily had her eye on it the whole time as a must-eat spot.IMG_0643Our next downtown venture was to Mary’s Mountain Cookies. We would like to think Mary knows all these delicious recipes…IMG_0576IMG_0645And then I became a cookie momster.IMG_0577After a day downtown we checked into our condo, reserved activities for the next day, and got ready for the Breck nightlife. We started our evening at Apres with flights of beer and set to conquer the world one jenga block at a time.
IMG_0648I ordered a delicious American Whiskey with a splash of water. Hold the whiskey.
IMG_0579IMG_0657We really like to eat if you haven’t noticed. It was time for dinner after all the water/beer intake at The Motherloaded Tavern.IMG_0653Dessert was s’mores tableside. Need I say more?
IMG_0660We ended the night with a “wed wine” and beer run before heading to our condo to play heads up. I think we all cried from laughing so hard. For the record, I killed it in the category Animals, Elizabeth knows her 90’s like no other, Mary now knows who Heather Locklear is, and Emily nailed it.

The next morning we were prepped for the great outdoors. Fueling up on coffee, coke and water, we were ready!
IMG_0640IMG_0646Mountain biking was first on our list. I was 25 weeks pregnant, and I am not going to lie- I was a little nervous. Being the only one in the group without prior experience, I had no idea what to expect. Thankfully they took it really easy on me, and we finished unscathed. Barely. IMG_0663Next, we headed to a green, which after it was all said and done seemed to be the exact same as a blue but shorter in length.
IMG_0673

I am so happy I have such adventurous, fun-loving friends! They were all in beast mode at mountain biking, especially Emily. I was truly impressed with their skills. Don’t worry I didn’t stay too far behind them. IMG_0666IMG_0672We enjoyed all the views.
11870677_10104897943963065_985153580786497665_nIMG_0670After a four hour ride we pounded some waters.IMG_0659And some truffle fries mountain side at TBar.IMG_0589Next thrill of the day was the Alpine Slide. The guy behind us said a girl was thrown off of it the day before and hurt pretty bad. I got nervous once again, but the rest of my crew hit high speeds.IMG_0676

This poor girl behind me had no idea a turtle, a pregnant turtle at that, was in front of her. I’m pretty sure I ruined her vacation. IMG_0597

She definitely caught up to me about halfway down the slide. Opps!

Since we had barely eaten the whole trip, we needed fresh fruit. So crepes. IMG_0595We had Strawberry Shortcake with angel food crumbles and nutella, Cheesecake filled with strawberries, graham cracker crumbles, and cinnamon, and Peaches Foster with caramelized local peaches and chantilly cream.
IMG_0679After some good, quality Saturday reflections we headed back to the condo with a bottle of wine and hot tubbing to relax those muscles. I am pretty sure we ran a couple off in the hot tub after deep girl talk discussions. If you ever want to make strangers feel uncomfortable, we know just the right topics. Message me for details.IMG_0680Sunday sadly came, but we had a big day ahead of us before we boarded the plane to head home that evening. This cute, little coffee shop served us breakfast and caffeine both mornings we were there.IMG_0683IMG_0686IMG_0688We took in our last downtown views before heading to one last adventure.IMG_0689IMG_0718IMG_0705IMG_0701IMG_0600IMG_0693IMG_0691

Paddle boarding on Lake Dillon.
IMG_0706It. Is. A. MustIMG_0708IMG_0606IMG_0712IMG_0721They even went SUP on a Sunday.
IMG_0716IMG_0715This sums it up pretty well.
IMG_0713IMG_0723I leave these trips feeling like a brand new person every single time. Each of these ladies are amazing in their own ways. We each bring so much out in one another. We are easy to travel with even down to the way we eat. They make me laugh harder than anyone else and clearly take great pictures. I didn’t pull my camera out one time the entire trip.  They see things the same and differently, and we are overly open about all the thoughts and feelings. There isn’t one thing I don’t know about each of them. I am kind of glad our shuttle made us say our goodbyes so fast before boarding the plane. I about lost it in a matter of 10 seconds. I am the first of our group, squad, tribe, cartel to have a baby and not knowing the next time we will have a weekend together makes me so sad. I know for a fact our trips will never end, but if I ever lost the time I get to spend with them I would be heartbroken. It amazes me every time how much joy these three ladies are in my life. I simply adore them and who they are. I am very lucky to have lifelong best friends to make each other a priority in our lives after 27 years of friendship. The mountains in the summer are purely magical and sharing it with them made it a trip worth having.

Until next time, I will be craving the blueberry streusel crepe and the brownie boat…

 #redliptrip

A Lovely Baby Shower

Want to throw the most gorgeous gender neutral baby shower??? Look no further!IMG_0087

(Invitation by: Katiedid Designs)

My sister-in-law, Ashley, throws the best parties, her Aunt Vicki can decorate like no other, then you throw in 5 other wonderful women to host and it’s a feast to behold. CD9A4389 CD9A4390 CD9A4391 CD9A4392 CD9A4393 CD9A4396 CD9A4397 CD9A4399 CD9A4401 CD9A4402 CD9A4403 CD9A4405 CD9A4406

My sister, Kelly, has no idea the gender of their sweet baby due in May. So, she incorporated both boy and girl decor.CD9A4407 CD9A4409 CD9A4410 CD9A4411 CD9A4412 CD9A4413 CD9A4415 CD9A4416 CD9A4417 CD9A4419 CD9A4421 CD9A4422 CD9A4423 CD9A4426 CD9A4427 CD9A4429 CD9A4430 CD9A4431CD9A4433

IMG_0014 IMG_0023

I just love her and her adorable bump! IMG_0015

After the shower was over, I got the pleasure of shooting this smoking hot mama!

Isn’t she a glowing little thing?!?!?

CD9A4680Kelly, we cannot wait to meet Baby Martin! He or SHE (I’m almost positive it’s a girl) is already spoiled rotten and loved beyond means!

(Photos by: Southern Shutter Photography)

The Heavenly Fremont Diner

Ashley googled the best breakfast in Napa, and the number one spot according to Zagat is the Fremont Diner. She read the description to my brother, and he said, “We are absolutely NOT going there, because it sounds uppity.” He continued with,”I’m going to find somewhere to eat that’s much better and not so pricey.” (Even though Ashley insisted it wasn’t either of those)

1423340159018

Driving away from Napa, twenty minutes later he says, ” THIS is where we are eating! Looks great.” It was a country farm place with a cool truck in the front. Grown up flowers all around. Ashley asked him,”Please look at the sign…” It was only the best breakfast in Napa. Nick managed to pull into the same place Ashley attempted to go twenty minutes ago! Oh the memories we made on this trip.. CD9A9826If you are ever in Napa, I would highly recommend eating here. The decor, food, and employees make it one great experience. It’s so good that I am dedicating a whole blog post to it.

CD9A9812CD9A9813CD9A9816CD9A9814CD9A9815   CD9A9818CD9A9817CD9A9819

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK
Niman Ranch Top Sirloin w/sausage gravy & buttermilk biscuitCD9A9820CHILAQUILES
Ranchero sauce, smoked niman pork, chips, sour cream, diner beans, avocado, & scrambled eggs

CD9A9821

CHICKEN & WAFFLE
Half fried chicken, corn & sorghum yeasted waffle, log cabin, & Clover butterCD9A9822

BLACK PEPPER BRISKET HASH
House smoked brisket, collards, potatoes, sage, & caramelized onions with sunny eggCD9A9823CD9A9825

A Day in Dallas with my Mom

Since I was little the ladies of my family (meaning my grandmother, her two sisters, their daughters, my grandmother’s best friend, Ms. Sarah, my mom and I) would plan a weekend trip to Dallas to shop once, sometimes twice a year. It has been a tradition of ours. Everytime we would eat at the same places, shop at the same stores, and always stay at the Embassy Suites by Dallas Market. Sadly, we haven’t gone since our last trip which was 4 years ago. It was a month before we lost my precious grandmother, but it was probably the best trip to date. I am telling you this, because 4 years later I took my Mom back to Dallas to take in the traditions which we have always had.

IMG_9293

This was a special trip for us though. My Mom’s birthday was over the weekend, and I could not have thought of a more perfect way to celebrate. It felt as if my grandmother was there in spirit the entire time.

We woke up early on Saturday morning and made the drive into Big D. I will always have butterflies, excitement every time I see this skyline.

IMG_9258

Our first stop was The Shops at Highland Village, so I could drool over shoes. Hatcher (1 of 10) IMG_9267FullSizeRender

I hated leaving, but there was much shopping to be done! Hatcher (2 of 10)

I am a huge fan of Anthropologie, and I think after this trip my Mom is too. They gave us a dressing room together, and my mom tried on at least 10 garments. Playing dress up and being a stylist to her is one of my favorite things. She always buys what I like, hates it until she wears it, and then thanks me for telling her to wear it later. It’s a constant battle, but we accept it. IMG_9279

I’m loving her spirit fingers! She was excited.

After a morning of shopping it was lunch time. The only request the birthday girl had was to eat at Mi Cocina, known for its “TexMex” and Mambo Taxi Margarita or as my mother called it that cab drink. IMG_9273IMG_9276

Our next stop was Northpark Center. Its high fashion and luxury shopping will catch your eye and your wallet, but I especially love the decor throughout the mall.IMG_9282

I had a little selfie action in the fitting room. I love my top too much not to share. Lace and ruffles win me over every time. Plus, I’m a rule breaker. I wear white all year long! IMG_9281

Our next spot on our itinerary was birthday pie for my birthday girl, and thanks to one of my friend’s Emily who lives right outside of Dallas in McKinney (she was introduced in my post from New Orleans), I knew the perfect spot, Emporium Pies!Hatcher (3 of 10)Picking which pie is the hardest part ,but we decided on a slice of Cloud Nine, a three layer creme pie with caramel, butterscotch, and brown sugar meringue and the Smooth Operator, french silk chocolate with a pretzel crust, and a big glass of cold milk.
IMG_9289IMG_9292IMG_9296After shopping and pie, it was time to check into our hotel. My other great friend, Mary Catherine lives in downtown Dallas. (She was also introduced in my New Orleans post) Mary was very kind to let us stay at her gorgeous chateau. I give you the ever so modern style, chic Hotel Mary!
Hatcher (5 of 10)

She even had us a welcome surprise and a….
Hatcher (4 of 10)

The fire place was going!

It was so homey.

I love her! Hatcher (9 of 10)Hatcher (6 of 10) And I admire her taste in home decor.Hatcher (7 of 10)Seriously..How cute is this remote holder?!

Hatcher (10 of 10)

We even left her a little surprise for showing us such amazing southern hospitality, but look at that rug!
Hatcher (8 of 10)  I’ll try not to obsess too much.

Back to our day…We had a little down time before our dinner reservations and someone shopped till she dropped.IMG_9297  Nevertheless, we made it to Stampede 66 for dinner. (Another recommendation from Emily, she knows her food if you haven’t noticed yet)

It’s as Texan as can be and everything is made to perfection.

IMG_9304

My Mom ordered a Bloody Maria with mixes of men in black tequila, sangrita, serranos, and salt.IMG_9301IMG_9312

I ordered the pan seared gulf catch of the day with jumbo lump crab meat, grapefruit butter, and avocado fries.

IMG_9310And she ordered….grilled quail, spiced sweet potatoes, and crispy spinach. Both were extremely tasty.

IMG_9311With our bellies full and our wallets empty it was time to go home. I believe we did pretty good!   IMG_9323  We had one last stop on the way home for lunch. This is the one tradition with my grandmother that I kept. We always stopped at the “World Famous” Dairy Palace in Canton.

IMG_9326

Only the best for my birthday girl!!IMG_9327

First Boil of the Season

What happens when you have your first crawfish boil of the season on Super Bowl Sunday? A Super Boil, and this guy was super happy about it.CD9A7676

It was our first weekend down south, and we started it in true tradition with boilin’ and a little booze. You can’t eat crawfish without beer to wash it down. The combination is delightful.

Here’s what you need to have one successful boil:

1. Good Beer.

Abita Brewery is located about 30 minutes from here. Everything is local and extra delicious .

CD9A7681

2. White “Shrimp boots” are a must (I hear), but also fill your pot with water.CD9A76793. Add these ingredients to your water for the perfect seasoning.

CD9A76804. Clean your crawfish. They aren’t called “mudbugs” for nothin’.

CD9A7678CD9A7691

5. Don’t let your dog play with the crawfish.

Trip, our golden retriever, got pinched twice, but he did manage to make a fashion statement.CD9A7683CD9A7689

6. Vegetables can be added for more goodness. We not only cook crawfish. We add lemons, garlic, onion, mushrooms, potatoes, and corn. CD9A7692

7. Rinse off your crawfish. Again.
CD9A7723

Don’t let them get away. I was told the correct saying is, “Get back in der”.CD9A7690

8. Add more seasoning always.
CD9A7729CD9A7734CD9A7735

9. We boil our vegetables and meats first. This time we added sausage and boudin to our boil. CD9A7738It’s fun to throw anything in there, because it always taste incredible.

CD9A7742

10. Boiling Crawfish.. We let them boil for about 5 minutes and then let them sit in the water for about 20 minutes. CD9A7750

One stirring ninja later…

CD9A7760

The ruby reds are ready to be devoured.CD9A7757

CD9A7758CD9A7767CD9A7773We invited our family over, turned on some zydeco music, and enjoyed a full afternoon in fellowship and food. My kind of “get together”.

CD9A7741CD9A7775CD9A7739

Experiencing this culture is like no other. The Cajun’s pleasure-loving nature tends to express itself in food. Cajuns are known for their “joie de vivre” (joy of living), and to add excitement to their food they experiment with spices and ingredients to create some of the most flavorful dishes shared with the ones you love.CD9A7746

If you’re lucky enough it might be Mardi Gras season, and you can end your boil with a King Cake for dessert.CD9A7778It’s icing on top of the cake!