Living & Learning While Wedding Planning


I'm sure I'll be chocked full of wisdom after the wedding is said and done, but I felt compelled to share some nuggets of knowledge as I'm knee deep in the process. Here are five major realizations I've had to date.

1. Things will change.

Our date did, then our entire venue did. It's unsettling to think that nothing is really set in stone until the day arrives, but I've found it to be true more than once already. To cast a better light on this truth, I will say that these big changes have certainly been for the best. You learn as you go, so it's important to remain flexible so you can feel confident that your choices fit the bigger picture as you move forward.

2. There is no guidebook.

The amount of checklists and said "bride guides" out there are enough to give anyone planning paralysis. While there is helpful information to heed, no two weddings are alike, therefore no universal instruction manual exists. Its unique nature is actually the inherent beauty of a couple's wedding weekend, so I'm trying to embrace this mindset throughout our engagement.

3. It's a timestamp on your life.

My best friend (and now matron-of-honor) gave me this piece of advice with respect to the guest list, but I think it holds true for all aspects of planning. Some of your decisions will inevitably feel dated when you look back, but that's the way it's supposed to be. Recognize this is a timestamp on your life, and you will love reliving every detail--from the dress to the guests you chose--when years have passed.

4. Put yourselves in guests' shoes.

We've been to our fair share of weddings (especially as of late), so whenever I felt stuck on a decision, I tried to recall my sentiments as a guest. This helped me realize that while daylight is nice at a reception, a dance floor really gets going once night falls. I was also reminded that with a clutch in one hand and a cocktail in another, I rarely have the opportunity to reach for hors doeuvres, so it may be best to prioritize a great bar and buffet. 

5. Enjoy it while it lasts.

As I've seen with several significant stages of my life, your engagement season flies by. Enjoy it while it lasts! Marriage is forever, and of course, each season is different and wonderful, but there is nothing quite like this bridge between dating and marriage. You're literally showered with love and can finally visualize your future together.

For all my brides-to-be, I wish you the very, very best! I'll get into more nitty-gritty planning tips once the day unfolds and details of #MollyMadeASlamDunc are revealed :)

NY, I Still Love Ya


John Derian's Art & Objects shop was the last stop this trip
It's no secret for long time readers that I love New York. I've been lucky to visit several times and every trip stands out for its own reasons. This week, I went to the city for work at NY Now, a market trip much like the one to Atlanta mentioned here.

the bar at Gemma, the restaurant at the bottom of the Bowery Hotel

We managed to fit in some really great play that I documented on my Instagram stories, so I wanted to elaborate on everything here! Here are some highlights if you're heading that way any time soon.

no beer in sight at this Super Bowl bash
Spending Super Bowl Sunday sipping cocktails at Bemelmans jazz bar.

Taylor, my Cali girl turned New Yorker is soon-to-be a Londonite!
A wine bar in SoHo we stumbled upon in a convivial little space on a SoHo corner.

these treats warmed my insides in freezing February temps

A five o'clock flat white and cookie fix at maman, a bakery I've fangirled on Instagram for awhile for its branding.

the bread was accompanied with what i can only describe as tasting like homemade whipped Boursin cheese
Din at Dirty French, where the classic French cuisine is met by quintessential SoHo funk vibes.

A delicious send-off brunch of hot tea and greens at Gemma.

Taking cover from the cold in the coolest outdoor dining area at the NoMo hotel.

Abbey, much like her mom, is a baking queen and cookie connoisseur, so walking to the UWS for these was a must.
A trip to the well-known Levain Bakery in the Upper West Side for their famous chocolate chip cookies.

What's not pictured is my visit with two besties, Katie and Nico, in their West Village pad. I hope to return to visit them soon and explore more treasures in this city that I'll always adore.

Wedding Update: 1 Date, 2 Trips, 3 Registries


Our engagement timeframe will total ten months when it's all said and done. We got over the hump, so to speak, this month, so here are some planning highlights since my last update post.

Dates have been saved. 

In a digital era, paper goods have lost their luster to many, but that's what makes mail kind of magical to me. A save-the-date sends the first message to your guests on what they can expect for the wedding.

I worked with my sister Erin on the calligraphy and Alex Schwenke on the crest, design and printing. 
I wanted our crest to communicate a spirit of whimsy and fun for the evening as opposed to serious and stuffy. I wanted the bright colors to inspire festive, colorful wardrobe choices amongst the guests. I wanted the florals to allude to the outdoor garden setting of our reception.

Bachelorette has been booked.
a photo of the Mills House from my work trip to Charleston last September

Before I know it, my besties and I will be Charleston-bound for my bachelorette. I chose this charming city for the obvious reasons that it's girly, got great food and is just ripe for visitors in spring. With my maid-of-honor in DC, one friend in North Carolina and three in NYC, it made somewhat geographic sense, too.

view from the patio of our rental with historical homes lining our street
We rented a house so everyone could easily interact and get better acquainted before the wedding weekend. It's located in the heart of downtown so we can walk most everywhere. To my surprise, most of my friends were yearning to go for their first time ever or in awhile, so it was the perfect excuse to gather my girl troops!

Honeymoon destination is decided.
Positano c/o What Katie Ate

We're going to Italy! Upon realizing we both have never been, this decision was a no-brainer. From the beautiful sea views on the Amalfi Coast to the breathtaking countryside in Tuscany, we can't wait to retreat to this romantic country, wining and dining from one destination to the next. Any and all recommendations are welcome!

Registries are complete. 
Gien Toscana everyday dinnerware

William and I had our fun with the scanner gun scanning sku after sku of the spatulas and spoons we wanted stocked in our kitchen. We went with a scalloped everyday set with different colored borders along with more decorative accent pieces all by Gien.

setting my table setting goals high with my Herend china
I knew I loved Herend's Chinese Bouquet for china, so color was the only thing in question. Green seemed like a safe bet as it would suit the Christmas season just as easily as spring or summertime. To balance out these traditional choices, I registered for some more contemporary items on my favorite, Food52.

The website is live!
I'm very glad we ended up shooting engagement photos with our photographer, Joe Cogliandro

If you made it all the way here, maybe you really are interested in all things #MollyMadeASlamDunc, so I'll direct you to our website:

Stay tuned for more and pray that I maintain the sanity I have up until this point! It's quite fun, and I encourage all brides-to-be to try their best to discover the bliss in it all.

PS - For a relevant laugh, see here and here.

For My Foodies


happy face from my Husk hamburger during a work trip to Charleston last fall
I made my first trip to Atlanta last week with work for their AmericasMart. We enjoyed delicious dinners both nights at restaurants owned by the same Houston native, Ford Fry. The Optimist's menu was seafood focused while JCT Kitchen served more Southern inspired fare. Both were fantastic, and it reminded me how fortunate I am to live in Houston, a city with such a well-rounded restaurant list. I've mentioned some favorites in posts like this, this and this, but thought I was overdue for more for my fellow foodie followers, of which there seem to be many!

the perfect side to split with one of their gigantic salads. my go-to is the Sausalito Crunch.
William and I recently came to the conclusion that the sweet potato fries Barnaby's serves up are the best in town. They're the ideal fry consistency and thickness, seasoned just enough and completely shareable. They come with a good barbecue sauce, but I usually prefer dipping mine in good ol' fashion ketchup.

coffee bar circa 2013 when I blogged about the "new" Revival Market

Lexi and I met for lunch at Revival Market, and I was reminded just how good it is. It has evolved a lot since it was the part butcher, part market, part restaurant concept I posted about here. The former marketplace hosts more tabletops, and it's no wonder they needed room for more diners with their sister spots being the popular bar, Eight Row Flint, and my next restaurant...

coltivare is well worth the inevitable wait.

Coltivare. It's Houston's crowd pleaser and with good reason. Their food is prepared fresh from the vegetables and herbs they grow in the gardens that surround their patio seating. I'm not a "pizza person" per se, but I love theirs. I am, however, a gin and tonic person, and their "classic" version (with grapefruit and mint) is everything.

I've mentioned Roost's famed cauliflower, but their bread service is maybe the best way to satisfy a carb craving. The warm slow dough pretzel with the pimento cheese will solve all your day's problems. Both of these items are menu staples while the rest of it changes slightly with the seasons.

Giacomo's is like Roost in that I feel that it's oddly remained under the radar as it sits in a perfectly visible location on Westheimer where Montrose and Upper Kirby kiss. I can rarely resist ordering the orecchiette giorgione. With the greens and just olive oil coating the pasta, the dollop of goat cheese adds just enough decadence to the dish.

A dangerous couple blocks away from work, the most unique, satisfying dish being served in Houston is Underbelly's goat dumplings. Go to acclaimed chef Chris Shepherd's restaurant for these alone; they're served at both lunch and dinner.

Vinoteca Poscol is Dolce Vita's sister spot just a block down the road.
There's no denying that Dolce Vita will deliver a good date, girl's or guy's night. Rarely do I come across a restaurant that accommodates all of these occasions, but this repurposed old house serves pizza, pasta and wine to please all parties. PS - new happy hour from 5-7 on weekdays.

The setting is what brings people in in droves to The Dunlavy. Tucked inside the Buffalo Bayou trail, it's a natural choice for weekend brunchers. I usually opt for one of their bowls. Both make for a perfectly balanced meal and a good departure from the usual breakfast menu suspects.

Up next on my list of must-tries are Nancy's Hustle in EaDo and Night Heron, another addition to the Coltivare/Revival group opening in the Museum District next month.

More on these soon, fellow foodies! Have a great week.

The Best Is Yet to Come


'Commitment' was my final focus word for 2017, and boy was it fitting. I made the biggest and best commitment of all my 25 years of life in saying yes to marrying William.

In fitting fashion, we'll ring in the new year at a wedding tonight. I am looking forward to being with some of my favorite friends as we celebrate another year in the books.

Here are some of my favorite memories from the past twelve months.

Moving in with a roommate whose constant joy is contagious and who I can always count on.

Seeing several parts of the country for the first time: San Fran, Jackson Hole and the Carolinas.

My biggest work project to date completed: the new Biscuit storefront, sitting pretty at 1614 Westheimer.

Feeling the love in the air with family and friends at lots and lots of weddings.

Watching the little ones get bigger, walk, talk and even become teens.

Witnessing my blonde bestie become a Strake and getting a call last night that my brunette one is engaged!

An Astros World Series victory when our city needed its spirits lifted the most.

Spending time with my sisters and five future brothers.

It's hard to believe the best is yet to come in 2018, but I'm counting down the minutes! May the end of your 2017 and beginning to your 2018 be full of bliss.