One at a Time


I've said it before and I'll say it again: You can do a lot in one day.

I was reminded of that this weekend when I spent time in Texas's three big cities: Austin then Dallas then Houston.

Same sort of thing yesterday as I took my task list one at a time. I've committed to this 30-Day Minimalism Challenge and am uncovering habits and ways to improve my daily life along the way. I took on number 17 yesterday and practiced single-tasking.

I read, review, edit and write job descriptions here at the agency; multi-tasking is often listed as a "desired competency." I've mastered this craft--responding to a text message, opening an email, skimming a blog post and checking off a planner note all in under a minute. Productive as it may be, I fell asleep last night feeling more accomplished than ever.

I wake up early to make time for personal items, devotional reading and a relaxed breakfast (cross off No. 6 while I'm at it!). It gets me in the right mindset for the rest of my morning as I've found that a rushed start often begets a rather rushed day.

Today, personal items included putting up laundry. Instead of sorting through piles, I grabbed pieces one-by-one, folding and stowing it in its proper container or hanging it back on its home on the rod.

I made just enough time to give Merl a hug and good day wishes before making my way to GSD&M.

There, I opened each email and performed the task at hand before diving too deep in my Inbox.

I used my 30-minute commute time to grab lunch and enjoyed it sans a screen as soon as I got to Camille's.

There, I took some words of wisdom I just recently received to heart: work against the project, not the clock. Accustomed to working by the hour, this mindset creates work in both more quantity and better quality.

Arriving home feeling charged instead of drained, I took my energy to a target toning workout class.

With barely enough time to rinse off, I halfway dried my hair before tossing it in a braid.

I met my Austinite sister and cousin at Hillside Farmacy for dinner. Duck and dumplings warmed my tummy; the familial company warmed my heart.

Can't say I had much left in me as the clock struck 10 (yes, still in college...) but I did manage to bring my laptop to bed with me and watch an episode of House of Cards. With everyone buzzing about the season three release this Friday, I have to see what the hype's all about. So far, it's better than the Bachelor which is generating equal buzz...

Best part of it all was I felt as though I earned it. Needless to say, I'm enjoying this baby step transition period into post-grad life, and I'm taking it one day at a time.

PS - Today, I'm clearing out my junk drawer. YAY.

Toasting 22


I'm constantly scouring for small joys in simple, everyday things (like shortbread cookies for breakfast courtesy of my co-worker, Jessi). Since your birthday isn't every day, you could say I felt extra special for the past week or so. 

Much in part thanks to these two who have already made my life full of laughter and love. I suspect my besties will serve me just the same for year 22 and beyond.

In semi-grown up fashion, my besties, roomies, MK and I went to Lenoir's wine garden for happy hour.

Tucked behind the quaint restaurant facing South Lamar (voted best in Austin in 2014), the garden was the perfect place to toast an early birthday with rich conversation and Pinots.

The gelato shop next door, Dolce Neve, proved to be a more than adequate substitute for cake.

 I found the cacti along the window sills a fresh, unexpected Texan twist from the two Italian shop owners.

MK and I typically split shared plates when we dine out, so it was no surprise when we had identical orders: dark chocolate with Maldon salt + fromage blanc with apricot. Both salty'n'sweet!

Not unlike this Valentine that, Chanel, another co-worker, gave me before I headed for Houston.

Inspired by such clever craftiness and this post, I felt compelled to make something with my own two hands. With my affection for words, a classic (& miniature!) message-in-a-bottle seemed most fitting. 

I unwrapped my gift from Merl, this mug--inspired by this post perhaps?! And our recent conversation about our shared--and borderline unhealthy--fetish for home goods.

I spared my mom the search for a birthday gift and instead opted for a shopping trip together where we'd find a goodie or two along the way. We did! But, I saved the best celebration for last; William, my fellow oyster feen and number one fan, took me to Liberty Kitchen.

We devoured a dozen oysters, something from the land and the sea, and I blew out a candle resting in caramelized raspberry bread pudding. After that, a low-key Valentine's Saturday night felt in order, so he cooked this lamb while I accompanied it with this veggie and supposedly sexy side.

Sunday was relaxed as it should be. Scattered showers came and went at the Rice baseball stadium, but we walked away with a Longhorn win in our Houston hometown. 

photo via @chaneldror
And then it was Monday and work was to be done. Now, it's Thursday, which shall be celebrated in its own rite!

Valentine's Sense Appeal


When I turned 20, I blabbed all about my mixed feelings toward my birthday rubbing necks with Valentine's Day. Click here, and you'll find I was rather blasé about it all.

I've since outgrown that attitude and would go so far to say that there's actually a whole lot I love about the holiday now. It looks pretty, tastes decadent and feels oh so good...cue the Sense Appeal Valentine's Day edition!

for the eyes:

For the crafty folk, jump here for a special DIY post on Camille's (special ingredient: TP rolls) as well as a roundup of 15 best homemade Valentines.

for the mind: 

for the ears:
Every song tells a love story in some way or another, but Love You Crazy by Mikky Ekko (on Spotify only) tries to make sense of being madly in love.

fashion for feel:

I've been more experimental this year with beauty products--mixing and matching different brands and products per the recommendation of other bloggers.

After running into the new Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue line all over the web, I was excited when I got to take home a tube for myself and see what the hype was about. I'll let A Piece of Toast, who does a great job of breaking it down, take it away.

for taste:

Staying warm in every way bundled in my favorite sweater with a bowl of black currant oatmeal.
Time is on my side this year with a whole weekend off to celebrate! What's not to love?

That's What It's All About


Grey is my favorite color, but where weather is concerned, I like my skies clear and blue. This favorable forecast last Wednesday led me to the Whole Foods roof on my lunch break with arguably the best cookie in Austin. 

Stamping envelopes was made easier last Thursday on a tabletop made of marble and a weekend on my mind. 

Friday morning,  I mixed business with pleasure on a shoot with Camille. One of our stops was ROAR salon just south of Rainey Street. The demure wallpaper makes getting dolled up dangerously tempting.

When it comes to our cravings that come and go, none are as strong as sushi for me and William. A co-worker had recommended Sushi Junai, just a stone's throw away from my house, so we gave it a try on Saturday night. Five rolls and two Sapporos later, all cravings were very satisfied.

Sunday was spent how every single one should--sitting back and relaxing. I watched the Superbowl outdoors with my friends and a fire by my side.

Monday morning, another post with Camille Styles went live. We threw a lavish, ladylike pop-up party with the feminine fashions of Flora Nuit. Check out all the frilly details!

I'm growing impatient for spring (no thanks to you, groundhog!) as evidenced by my all white work ensemble Tuesday and keeping warm in my favorite white blazer on my Saturday night sushi date. 

Last night my week came full circle when my two best friends and I Favored that favorite chocolate chip cookie and caught up at my house. Supposedly, the sun will greet us again tomorrow. I look forward to that and the weekend!