Best Chicken Dishes in Houston

3.15.2017

Last night, I made William my mom's famous Chicken Crescent Squares for the first time, and it went over very, very well. In keeping with the theme, my first installment of Food Finds Houston features chicken dishes. This short list only scratches the surface of what's out there, but I figure it's just as good a place to start as any.

top left: Ding's crispy chicken sandwich / top right: Mamma Mandola's Sicialian Soup / bottom left: Chicken Vincent / bottom right: Barnaby's Chinese Salad


chicken entrée :: Chicken Vincent -Pronto 
notes: Get a side of green beans. 

chicken noodle soup :: Mamma Mandola's Sicilian Chicken Soup -Carrabba's 
notes: This is exclusive to the original locations on Voss and Kirby. 

chicken pita :: Island Grill 
notes: Faysal, the founder of this neighborhood favorite, is opening his fourth location in Rice Village.

chicken salad :: The Salad Plate -The French House 
notes: I'm almost certain the dressing that comes on the side is the secret sweetening agent for the salad.

chicken sandwich :: Ding's Crispy Chicken Sandwich -Houston's 
notes: Start with the spinach artichoke dip, and prepare to be stuffed silly. 

chicken tenders :: Basket Appetizer -Pappy's Café
notes: Cut the gravy. Add extra honey mustard; it's Houston's best. 

chicken wings :: Buffalo Wings -Pappas Burger
notes: This opinion is WD's. 

chinese chicken salad :: Barnaby's 
notes: Enough for two or lunch and dinner. 

Dig in, and let me know what you think!


My Final Focus Word for 2017: Commitment

3.01.2017

The final word I've chosen to focus on in 2017 is commitment, and Ash Wednesday is the perfect occasion to tell you all about it.

I kind of "floundered" through my first year out of college. I couldn't put my finger on why I felt so funny, so off, but when someone used that word, it fit the mold perfectly. The worst side effect of this feeling was my severe indecisiveness. Never quite sure what to do with decisions both big and small, I often wound up living in limbo-land, a very stagnant place that left me feeling restless and anxious. Since my second year, I'm happy to say I have found my way and with that, I feel as though I'm able to commit to what matters to me and make my life the most meaningful it can be at 24-years-old. Here are five ways I hope to do so:

Commit to causes I care about.

I joined the Boys & Girls Clubs first-ever young professional's organization last year, but I didn't do much beyond the required board activities. I want to make a monthly effort to visit the clubs to better understand why I chose this non-profit and gain perspective from its most important people, the kids.

Commit to a schedule I enjoy.
A pretzel & a Pliny's at Anvil is the perfect midweek treat.
Did you know I make Wednesdays a mini-weekend? I work, of course, but I don't put pressure on myself to make it to the gym, and I treat myself to a mid-week glass of wine. It makes me more disciplined to wake up for that workout class and avoid that bottle of wine those other four days.

Commit to the people that matter most.
A little boy peers through the gate to watch William catch for his youngest brother, Michael, at the Little League fields.


My dad retired recently, so I want to spend more one-on-one time with him since growing up, my mom and I naturally had more time to do things together. This starts tonight when he will join me in the stands while William coaches his little league team.

Commit to a book and a TV show.
I snacked on a creamy cup of tomato basil soup from Cowgirl Creamery while browsing the books at Book Passage in the Ferry Building on my rainy Sunday spent in San Francisco. {image via alexinwanderland}

We just finished The Night Manager (loved), and I just read the last pages of Big Little Lies. I'll be tuning into it on HBO now and starting My Paris Dream, which I bought at the San Francisco Ferry Building book store.

Commit to journaling. 
{image via serendipitous wanderings}

Lately, my journal entries have had no theme or consistency. As part of my Lenten practices, I'll start logging a way to describe my day, a person I'm grateful for and a moment worth remembering.

Have a wonderful rest of the week!





Knowledge: My Second Focus Word for 2017

1.23.2017

photo via Camille Styles
Behind my Blogger browser lies a looming goals sheet listing focus areas (spiritual, financial, and fitness for example) with a column for related goals and then, an action plan. It's empty as of now, but I know my second 2017 focus word, knowledge, will play a big part in all of these aspects of my life. I'm using it to guide my post today. In turn, I hope it motivates you to know yourself better, too.

Installing Honey into your browser helps you find online promo codes you may not have known about. Photo via Camille Styles.

money :: Know where my money is going and what it's doing for me. Most of it feeds, houses and clothes me. What about the rest?
  • I broke down a budget for the year already, but I'll regularly check into my Mint account to maintain it.
  • I'll pay attention to worthwhile reward systems: Snap Kitchen, CVS and Honey help you seriously save.
photo via Garance Doré
hygiene :: Know my best self, inside and out. This circles back to my 'care' initiative; read last week's post!
  • Maintain a make-up regimen I love as much as my skin does by focusing on one product every month.
  • Experiment with adding and subtracting certain food groups until I find my body's favorites. 
photo via Garance Doré
career :: Know my strengths and weakness, the ways I work best, and people in related industries.
  • I started keeping a log of 'Lessons Learned' at work. I'll keep it up, adding one by the end of every day.
  • Continue tuning into podcasts like 'Pardon My French' to gain wisdom from creative professionals.
Check back for my third and final focus word, commitment. Coming soon!





Three Focus Words for 2017 | Part 1: Care

1.17.2017

image c/o The Welle Journal

To piggyback last week's post on the three words that summed up 2016, I'm writing about the three that I am focusing on in 2017. They are care, knowledge and commitment. Big, loaded words--I know. So, I'm breaking them down into smaller goals, like this!

Aussie wellness expert Elle sits down with my French favorite {image c/o Garance Doré}
I want to take proper care of my body inside and out. I loved this quote from Elle McPherson's podcast interview with Garance Doré (on my new fave, Pardon My French). She says,
"When a woman smiles, she's more beautiful and that comes from the inside. When her skin is good, because she's eating well, that comes from the inside and it shows. When you're a person who is happy in your life and motivated and inspired, it really shows on the outside."
So, starting on the inside, I want to seek and find what works best for me nutritionally. God made a wonder of the human body, but in the same way our physical appearances are stunningly different, I believe our insides behave differently, too. We crave different things, have vastly different taste buds.

a classic Whole30 snackboard lunch via Take a Bite

There's no universal diet: blogger bestie Annie, for instance, is halfway through January Whole30 and just isn't feeling it. So, I'll experiment on my own, which will require more home cooking and more reading. And if all else fails, I'm letting this lady intervene.

image c/o The Beauty Wanderer

Once my insides are in a good flow, I'll switch gears to the outside. I turn 24 next month and by the time I hit the big 2-5, I want to have a full-proof make-up routine that's healthy for my skin. I'm starting with primer, a product I didn't even use until last year. When I run out of this one (I'm typically loyal to Laura), I'll be getting this immediately.

In the meantime, I'd love to know the absolute must-haves in your make-up bag you think I should try in the coming months to master my own.

Sneak peek of the next post? See here!


A Letter to My College Self

1.11.2017


I spent last weekend with my best high school friend, Caroline. Remember this? Scroll for my favorite father/daughter photo. Our homecoming queen is as humble as when she was crowned, and now, she's the bride-to-be, soon to be wedded to her high school sweetheart Brad in February.


I spent last weekend with she and all her besties for her bachelorette. When my sisters were getting married (back in the day!), bachelorettes were no big deal. Today, it's almost expected that it be an all weekend getaway. I don't hate the new standards as I still suffer from some separation anxiety from my college friends.

loved being back with all my longhorn ladies

Besides job titles and a few engagement rings, the friendships felt the exact same when we reunited. I feel so fortunate to have friends like these and a college experience I'll cherish forever. I've found I have a good following from younger girls, so I'm writing a letter to my college self in hopes that you too walk with your cap and gown feeling the same way I did and do this day:

To my college self, 
Freshman year, have fun. 
Overdose on it. Everyone older will tell you that college flies, and it does. Enjoy the freedoms that college affords you (living with friends, no curfew, only 15-hour school weeks), and spend that time making friendships to last a lifetime. These happen during Thursday night's out, theme parties, late nights studying in, football games and date functions.  
Sophomore year, step it up. 
I had all the friends and did all the things freshman year; I knew that four years of that routine wouldn't be fulfilling for me by the time it was 2015. I was more interested in my studies, so I devoted more time to them while still maintaining a really active social life. This was particularly true when I served as recruitment chair for my sorority. My role required me to go out and develop relationships, and this gave me the similar sense of purpose I thrived on from being involved in high school.  
Junior year, make plans. 
At the halfway point, graduation is in sight, so make plans for study abroad so the opportunity doesn't pass you by. I opted for a summer though I always dreamed of a semester, and it was the perfect ten-week getaway. Also plan for any internships and how to spread out your hours so you graduate on time.  
Senior year, develop lifestyle habits. 
By the time senior year rolled around, I wanted to develop the healthy lifestyle I wanted to have once I was working. I knew I'd be much more strapped for time and energy with a full-time job, so I started working on healthy habits so I'd be motivated to maintain them. I worked out daily, cooked for myself and used a planner to schedule all my to-dos and events before I said my goodbyes at graduation. 
I'm a huge believer in using your time wisely, and college is no different. Enjoy it, but know that when it's all said and done, the best is still yet to come!




2016 in Three Words

I always reflect before resolving at the turn of a new year. I look back on memories made on vacations, prayers answered and resolutions successfully seen through. I tackled three out of three this year with putting on weight, establishing an exercise regimen I enjoy and being more funny. I've summed up my 2016 in three words that define it best, starting with...

bringing in the new year with friends (& no heels!) at the Belle Notte ball
comedy :: Yes, I resolved to be funnier in the new year. The idea was William's, and we thought we could feed off each other. We judged each other at the year's end and declared us funnier people than we were in 2015. 

spontaneity :: I moved out and switched jobs within a two-week time period when opportunities presented themselves I couldn't pass up. April was a whirlwind, and in the moment, I was overwhelmed by a kind of spontaneous behavior much outside my comfort zone. In retrospect, though, I'm so glad I took a leap of faith because it's by far the best thing I did all year.   

novelty :: With a new gig and hood, I had fresh lenses to look at my world through. I made every effort to explore the area around me as I'm wedged between Houston's most exciting neighborhoods. Of course, my day-to-day at work is wildly different than before, and I feel so fortunate to see all the intricate details involved in interior design and the behind-the-scenes of making a brick-and-mortar shop come to life beautifully online.  

Coming into January, I feel like I'm in a groove, and I really like my routine. I'm not ready to start fresh really; I'm ready embrace three new words that should set 2017 up to be the best one yet ;)

It Is What It Is.

1.03.2017

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the Heavens."

I have given a lot of thought to a reflective post on 2016 and a resolution one for 2017, but I am in no rush. Instead, I found this passage from Ecclesiastes to say exactly what I wanted to hear at the end of one year and the start of the next. I hope it resonates with all of you, too:

2016 :: "what now is has already been...
2017 :: ...what is to be, already is

...and God restores what otherwise would be displaced. So, recognize that there is nothing better than to be glad and do well in life." -Ecclesiastes 3:1-16

May you be glad and well yesterday, today and every day.