Six Smiles

6.29.2015


Kühl packaging from NOLA's Krewe.


Supporting a bestie's beau front row at Alex's Friday evening gig.







Personalized pies for a pair.



Snapchats from my sunburnt niece after a week in Seaside--makes me miss this!


Business lunch with my foodie bro fueled with Vietnamese spring rolls at this BYOB spot.


Saturday afternoon spent at a sold out 'Stros game.

(not pictured): an impromptu shopping trip with sis // the miracle timesaver that is this dry shampoo // following Catherine's foreign adventures in Shanghai // blogger bestie perfects the green smoothie for us all // an education in menswear while adding to W's work wardrobe // al fresco dinner with Alexandra // a belated bday gift à la Liv

Have a great week!

Six Smiles

6.19.2015

Friday fuel
In college, the line between work and play was blurry. I'm quickly adapting to my nine-to-five routine, and a big part of that is rejoicing for the weekends.

my other sis Erin (who also has a bump!) handcrafted this monogrammed gift bag
Kirby, Max's mama by end of summer, was all smiles as she was showered with love and loot last Saturday.

Molly McCann's beautiful bridal cake - yes, we've been mixed up more than once!
As wedding bells continue to chime throughout the summer, I thought this piece was timely. It opens up the case on whether weddings have leapt too far from a simple celebration to a competitive craze.


As a new grad, this introductory line in this Wall Street Journal article resonated:
"To a 22-year-old excited by the prospect of frequenting bars that seemed kegs and kegs away from the beer-and-shot-soaked college spots...left behind just a month prior; [the gin and tonic] was an exotic beverage. Not vodka; gin. Not soda; tonic. This, friends, was a drink for grown-ups." 
It also inspired my Pliny's Tonic order from Anvil's list of classic cocktails during happy hour (or hours, rather!) with Mollie.

two spicy gin cocktails for two grown-up girlfriends
Concocted with Citadelle dry gin, lime, cucumber, mint and habanero, that final ingredient put a Texas twist on my favorite drink from France last summer.  


My new raincoat purchase (encouraged by my sister Amy from new Houston boutique Monkee's) was my way of preparing for Tropical Storm Bill.

I hope more sunshine (and smiles!) are to come in this weekend's forecast.

Oh My Oxheart

6.17.2015

on the corner of Nance and William Street in Houston's Warehouse District downtown

I have driven downtown more times since moving home three weeks ago than all my previous years combined. Both work and play are bringing me to these parts. The EY offices are east, conveniently adjacent to the park at Discovery Green. Remember this? It's ideal for an al fresco lunch when I need to escape the AC.












As for play, this past weekend William and I enjoyed the novelty of not one, not two but three bars downtown with friends. 
This came as somewhat of a surprise seeing that Houston's downtown has never been known for its nightlife--particularly relative to its "big city" counterparts like New York, LA and Chicago.  



But ask executive chef Justin Yu of Oxheart--what I'll soon argue is the most exquisite eating establishment downtown--and he'll tell you otherwise. "My favorite neighborhood is my neighborhood: downtown. It's great to have that big city feel in a city that generally rejects the big city feel." 


I found that Yu and Oxheart reject a lot of norms when we dined there earlier this month. What ultimately sets it apart is, if you pay attention, it affords a rich experience for all of the senses--not just taste. 

The space is unassuming considering the fine foods. 


The plating is gorgeous, making one thankful to sit under the stark lighting that showcases the presentation on the custom pottery. And above all, the food is fantastic. I figured there was a fascinating story underlining this foodie haven.

See all of the "friends" Yu found when foraging all of the key ingredients to make Oxheart his own. 

So, I sought to find out more. What impressed me most was Yu's diligent search for local artisans to bring this creative culinary concept to life. Details like the the server's aprons designed by a local leatherworker attest to this. 

I got to visit with Yu when I returned to take photographs minutes before they opened on Monday. With Topo Chico in hand, he tasted each dish to ensure each bite was nothing short of excellent.

The exotic ingredients will delight those with elevated taste buds and pleasantly surprise those simply seeking something good to eat with an added element of adventure. What we found for sure was a refreshing change in pace from picking and plate envy with the set spring prix fixe menu. 

Yu doesn't feast on sorrel, wild boar and sunchokes all the time. He loves a good burger and "big pattied, done up burgers with a whole bunch of mess on top" do not fit the billHe's "an unapologetic advocate of thin patties, overcooked, but still juicy." 

Houstonians, take note: he says "Sam's Deli Diner on the West side does a great old school burger, and...Becks Prime is a great example of a simple burger cooked over fire, done well."

Like the fresh ingredients in all of his dishes, Yu is local--a Houston boy through and through who is happy--like the rest of us--to see all three of our major sports teams doing "generally pretty well." A fan of all three (the Astros, Texans and Rockets), he claims that as a Texan, football will always come first.

Though his roots are in Houston, he's excited about what's in store for the food scene across the entire state. "I'm really excited to visit San Antonio. There's a whole mess of restaurants and bars I'd like to try like Hot JoyMixtli, and The Granary."


As far as future projects go, he is open to any and all ideas that get Taylor Swift through the door. Pop stars or not, we can promise that Houston patrons will continue to flock to Oxheart on a Friday night. It is just dinner, but Yu and his staff find more ways than one to make it more than that. 


As for what's the next menu will include, Yu is enthusiastic that okra season is upon u; he loves to show how versatile and delicious this Southern veggie is to unabashed haters. As an unabashed lover, this is exciting news.


When asked for three items always stocked in his fridge, he could only come up with two: beer and water. 



Thanks for letting me and my readers feast their eyes. 
























My hope is, at the very least, it inspires you to satisfy more than your taste buds the next time your dinner is served.




A Series: Six Smiles

6.12.2015

Since studying abroad, I have seen very little of my SLR camera. iPhones make for an easy cop-out when needing to snap a quick shot-- see my Instagram! I was flattered and inspired by a recent compliment to my camera skills, especially coming from one of my most architecturally and artistically inclined friends, Mary Kate.

So, like last year, I'll use this diary to show rather than tell what I'm doing with six shots worth smiling about--now a regular summer series here on BOD.



blooming jasmine lining every inch of Houston's home goods haven, Kuhl-Linscomb

a cord taco (courtesy of Sugar & Cloth) to organize my on-the-go office life with EY. matches my business card holder to a tee, Kirbs!


open skies kissing wide open spaces an hour outside of town during a rejuvenating overnight escape to Bellville

colorfully curated displays in RBTL, a shop down the street from my downtown Dallas offices. I popped in during lunch to (successfully!) search for a dad's day card.



royally celebrating National Donut Day--had my first and far from last Cronut from this local (but def not organic!) shop


a stylish mom and sister's closet to shop in (thanks again for this midi dress, Ames!) and the girl with the pearls reinvented with my new necklace I received as a grad gift from a favorite family 


Tune in next week for a full-blown photo shoot inspired by my recent Houston dining experience at Oxheart. The chef tells all and the photos show all the details of the stunning space, beautiful plating and delicious dishes!

Happy weekend 'til then!




What's Next

6.08.2015


I felt torn between two job opportunities as graduation neared.

I'm blessed to have six older siblings (plus five spouses) who have been there done that, so to speak, whenever I hit one of life's major milestones. Making career choices is one of those, especially your first. I consulted my close friends, too, who were just as helpful as they sorted through these decisions for themselves.


Nicole (a bestie, and roomie at the time) shared a piece of advice that really stuck. In so many words, she encouraged me to narrow the time frame I was thinking in. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the very fuzzy future of five years from now, I found clarity and comfort in thinking in terms of tomorrow and next year. 

So, I approach this last installment of this post-grad mini-series with that in mind. At this point, what's next is pretty unpredictable. For 22 years, this wasn't so: high school followed middle school; college came next. But now, school no longer structures my days or my life. Some see this as an ugly truth, but it really excites me. Two weeks in at EY and so far, so great. 

Believe it or not, I planned on sort of parting ways with BOD with this post. I thought I better feel out this full-time job thing before deciding that was an appropriate move to make. Turns out, that little time changed my mind. This was and will always be my little creative refuge, no matter how often I'm able to make the escape.


It seemed all the more unnatural after I considered my internship with Camille and recent sources of inspiration, like visiting the studio space pictured above. It's home to Sugar + Cloth, a sparkly blog housed in Houston.

I'd be lying if I said BOD 2.0 wasn't always on the back of my mind. As it becomes top of mind, you'll be first to know, but for now, BOD will be what it was always meant to be: my very own diary.