Tips on Toasting

12.28.2016

If you kept up with my weekend whereabouts this fall, you know WD & I kept busy on the wedding circuit.

Todd Events out of Dallas does floral decor the biggest and best I've ever seen.  Follow his Insta, and prepare to be floored.

One of his best friend's older sister got married on October 1st, and the ballroom was breathtaking.

had my bestie and my boy by my side for bananas foster and dancing at Brennan's of Houston
Later that month, my high school bestie, Julianne, exchanged vows with Justin in a true-to-her ceremony and reception--both simple and stunning--here in Houston as well.

McConn Marry Christmas card circa 2016!
Fast forward to December, when my brother Jimmy and his bride Laura said 'I do' on the 3rd.

a daddy daughter moment
And last but not least, Olivia and Matt got married the weekend before Christmas.

All six of my siblings are with spouse now, so I've been to my fair share of rehearsal dinners. It's always my favorite night of the weekend: close friends and family gather to gab about how much they love the bride and groom. Growing up, I was much too shy to stand up and give a speech for my sisters and by the time my brothers tied the knot, I decided to say only a few words before introducing the couple's "through the years" slideshow I had made. But when my college best friend Olivia got engaged, I knew it was time to stand up and give a toast. In preparing, I recalled all the rehearsal dinners to make it the most memorable and meaningful to the couple.

Below are five tips on how to be the toasters with the mostest: 

1 :: Partner up if it's fitting.
Oftentimes, the speech portion of the evening is lengthy, so teaming up gets two done in one turn. 

ex: Nicole and I lived with Olivia our senior year at Texas, so we shared many memories and our friendship felt the same in a lot of ways, so it made sense to join forces at the mic that night.

2 :: List it out.
Organizing your thoughts and feelings about one of your closest friends can be tough, so putting it in a list format provides a framework to guide you through the process. 

ex: Nicole and I went back and forth listing things we loved learning about Liv while living with her since Matt would soon be her roommate for life!

3 :: Tell stories.
In lieu of vague and maybe obvious descriptions about the bride and/or groom, tell stories about your time spent together. Everyone knows this person is kind or silly, so tell them something they don't know. 

ex: I'll never forget climbing countertops to kill cockroaches with Nicole's GMAT prep books in me and Olivia's bathroom. I let Matt know killing crawling creatures under their roof was up to him.

4 :: Acknowledge the significant other as much as possible.
Sometimes you've only met the significant other at a shower or two, but chances are, the person you're close to has told you all the things about them. Don't sit down before recognizing how delighted you are they have found them and maybe a reason why. 

ex: Having lived with Olivia the year leading up to Matt's Christmas proposal, we witnessed how much she missed him and loved visiting him. Alluding to that helped the audience relive part of their love story.

5 :: Write it down if you miss your turn.
Most likely, you'll prepare your words ahead of time, so if you don't make it up to the mic, put your thoughts on pen and paper and give it to the newlyweds when they return from their honeymoon. 

ex: This happened to me at brother Andy's, and I've since been told they treasure holding onto the written words. This way, you can say exactly what you intended to and make it more personal.


Here's to a happy 2017 filled with just as many celebrations of love!

The Makings of a Merry Christmas

12.26.2016


image c/o Biscuit Home
It's December 26th, and when I was a kid, this was by and large the saddest day of the year. Christmas was 364 sleeps away, and school assignments, studying and other to-dos stood between the last season and the next.


I hate to sound Scroogey, but at 23 going on 24, I feel the opposite: a wave of relief hit me this morning when I realized I had a day in front of me with no plans, primping or meal-prepping. 

wedding eve: WD & I leaving Jimmy & Laura's rehearsal dinner downtown (dress here)

Today's day of rest created a feeling that resembles the kind when you return from an incredible vacation or a Sunday after a solid, celebratory weekend. Your time and energy was well spent with the most significant people in your life. You loved it, and given the chance, you wouldn't do it any differently the second time.

That's how this Christmas season was; here's what made it so very merry for me:

dessert: Dulce de Leche Cremeux with Sopapilla Chips, Spiced Pecan Streusel, Horchata Foam & Colored Meringues
My company party, which included a performance and a beautiful dinner in my boss's backyard.

let it be known: Lupe lived up to the Houston hype according to him
Date night with WD, a first-time fajita eater at legendary Lupe Tortilla's, followed by a neighborhood light tour.

left to right: Kirby, Amy, Carolyn, Erin, Molly, Lindsay and Mimi, the matriarch

A very, merry McConn wedding when #JimmyWentWholeHogg

Nico, KK & me

and a winter white one, too, when lovely Livy said I do to Mr. Skidmore. 


And of course, being home for Christmas and staying here in Houston for the New Year.

I'll be off all week (blessed!) and posting aplenty. Stay tuned!



MM: Thankful for Ty

11.14.2016


My walking buddy when the weather was 'wondey.'

A week ago this morning, my littlest guy Ty, left our family to live happily ever after in dog heaven. As the day went on and I shared the news, everyone's reactions only reminded me how loved he was, like all dogs are.

He was the only blonde in his big litter of black cockapoo puppies.
I rummaged through old photos and remembered how happy I was to bring him home,


how handsome he was,

So much for my mom's "no couch" rule.
and how often he and Coco cuddled, like in this classic scene from Christmas morning circa 2007.

luckily, my many nieces and nephews loved their "grandog"
Over the years, my attention shifted from doting on Ty to tending to my schoolwork, cheerleading and my social life.

Caro & I took her dogs along with Ty and William's Gus to the dog park they built along the bayou.
I don't regret that, but I'm so grateful for the time I got to reconnect with him when I moved home after college graduation.


More recently, I got to dogsit and take him to work and William's. And dress him up for one last Halloween!


With that, I hope to continue to have a thankful heart and mind this month for all my many blessings.

Love,

Sense Appeal XXXIV: Wedding Edition

11.09.2016

I spent last weekend with Laura, my brother Jimmy's fiancée, for her bachelorette weekend in Austin. Getting to know her sister, cousin and best friends with my sisters by my side was the best, so today's sense appeal is a celebration of them and their big day coming up in December.

In true soon-to-be sister fashion, I copied Laura's cappuccino order at Houndstooth, a haven for an espresso lover.








for the eyes: All smiles for the future Mrs. McConn.









for the mindCome learn calligraphy with me, so we can be as cool and talented as my sister Erin, who kills it every time someone in the family says 'I do.'

for the ears:

Coffee or Tea from Molly McConn on Vimeo.
A sneak peek at Jimmy's Q&A sesh we watched with wine and Thai take-out on Saturday night.



fashion for feel: Subtly matching black and white prints, I still love this snakeskin jumpsuit I bought off the streets in Sevilla, Spain.

William and I went here this past winter for a tasting; he loves their Vermentino for a light white vino.




for taste: We spent Saturday at Duchman Family Winery in south Austin. We snagged a picnic table to sip reds and rosés and eat antipasto.

Looking forward to a weekend spent at home as we head toward holiday season! Have a wonderful one.


Happy Holidays

11.02.2016

I like to think the single thing I don't have in common with my favorite blogger is a full-blown Halloween fetish. Growing up, I enjoyed dressing up as Esmerelda and Dorothy then stuffing my pillow case with Skittles bags and Snickers bars, but as I've gotten older, I look forward to Fourth of July, Easter and Thanksgiving much more.

clothed in Halloween colors at Jimmy & Laura's couples' shower
I suppose that may fluctuate when I have kids of my own, but I can also foresee October becoming stressful as it seems like a social media competition these days as the kids swarm the streets to say "trick or treat."

WD's with me as far as his holiday favorites list goes, but we decided to give Halloween more of a chance this year. Here's how:

Okay, not my porch. Montrose Shop, you make fall fireplace dreams come true.
I set pumpkins on my porch after spotting the patch in the Trader Joe's parking lot.

I discovered a costume shop full of treasures thanks to my boss who sent me on a hat mission for her epic family costume inspired by Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.

I'm ready for my masquerade moment thanks to Southern Importers, located in Midtown.
I went back days later to get an accessory for me and William to wear in Austin.

And there, we enjoyed people watching mermaids sipping martinis and finding Waldo at Lucille's on Rainey Street.

Driving home, we listened to this This American Life, only Scooby Doo scary on the spook scale.

Craving more and something sweet, we put on Alfred Hitchcok's Rear Window while eating gummy candy and kettle corn.

Okay, Boston, you win. But, Buffalo Bayou's lookin' pretty good.
On actual Halloween, the weather wound up being gorgeous, so I decided to get my steps in like all the trick-or-treaters do. Lo and behold, leaves were turning in the beautified Buffalo Bayou.

WD and I then channeled our childhood by watching an old Disney Channel Original "scary" movie: Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire. So bad it was good.

It was a very happy holiday, and I look forward to a thankful, merry ending to this year.


Sense Appeal XXXIII

10.28.2016

for the eyes: If you're going to subject yourself to staring at screens all day, may as well make 'em as pretty as possible. My desktop at work is adorned with deers for fall's hunting season:



And my iPhone has Halloween hues of orange, emerald green and periwinkle c/o Penelope Dullaghan for Design*Sponge:



for the mind:
After a homily on humility a few Sundays ago, someone told me they saw that quality in me. I was both flattered and struck as I sometimes find myself being self-absorbed in this stage of life when I feel like I'm only looking out for me, myself and I. But, when my sister sent this article, defining the descriptor as "thinking of yourself less" rather than "thinking less of yourself," I understood it in a new light. Read it to see how social media often isn't helping us on that front.

for the ears: I discovered Phoebe Ryan from my favorite Define instructor, Iva, who played her song "We Won't" for the finale of our barre workout.  Now, she's teamed up with the Chainsmoker's for what I think will be their next hit: "All We Know." The acoustic version might be even better.

fashion for feel:
image c/o sequinsandthings

I love both of my flat booties: my brown pair are perfectly worn in and the black bring me back to Paris, where I bought them on a whim while studying in the summer in their winter-like temperatures.

imago c/o somewherelately

In Texas, I much prefer a bootie to a tall boot or a flat, so I'm constantly switching back and forth between the black an brown. So, this season, I'm going for grey, and with the rave reviews on these guys, I think I'll have to go for it.

for taste:

My brother and his fiancée are having their couples shower tonight. WD is giving them a whiskey to add to my brother's collection; I'll bring along this book to get their creative cocktail juices (and drinks) flowing.

the green guy is the Missionary's Downfall: white rum, peach brandy, honey, pineapple and mint
I'm studying it before handing it over as I'm eager to learn about spirits and mixology methods. Watching the experts at work helps, which I did at Lei Low, a tiki bar hiding in the Heights. One tip: blending pineapple into any drink makes for a frothy consistency. See back for evidence caught on camera.

Off to Austin on Saturday the game, and I've already scheduled a pit stop at the new Fresa's on First on our way out Sunday.

Have a spooky Halloween!


Grand People

10.20.2016


2016 didn't get off to the best start. WD's family spends the week between Christmas and New Years hunting at their ranch. They enjoy spending time together in the wide open spaces South Texas offers. En route to join them, I got a call that my mom's mom passed. Weeks later, my uncle joined her in Heaven after a long battle with cancer.


Since that wave of tragedy, the tides have turned. Jimmy proposed! I got a new job I love! Andy and Kirby are having another baby...a girl baby! And yesterday, we all gathered to celebrate our Marmie turning 88 years young.


Now in an assisted living home, she's handed down various heirlooms to us. I inherited this Herend owl which rests on my coffee table, but he was the perfect styling piece in my boss's One King's Lane shoot at her farmhouse.


More recently, I snagged a crystal decanter to decorate this gold bar cart I dug up at the Catholic Charity Guild.

Mayor Jim McConn to most // Bobo to all of us
She and her husband, Jim, entertained often when he was in office. After mass at Saint Theresa in Memorial Park, William and I walked to the ball field dedicated in his name. And speaking of politics...

vote MB for 2016




My mom's dad is in Dallas, so over Texas OU weekend, William and I toured the George W. Bush Presidential Library with him. I asked him who was president while he was growing up; he listed FDR, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Dubya was ours, and we were reminded of how trying his terms were.

So, as we get together with family and friends this fall for all the holiday festivities, let's remember that this is the season to be jolly.

MM: Let Me Entertain You

10.03.2016


William was in Dallas for a work conference last week, which meant I unwound with a rom-com, an indulgence I usually* spare him when we spend time together. My selection was seasonally inspired--Autumn in New York starring Winona Ryder and Richard Gere. 

Having just seen Winona's more recent work in Stranger Things, I was impressed by her talent in such different roles. It reminded me of watching Little Women when I was, well, little. At the time, I didn't realize what an all-star cast it had with the likes of Christian Bale, Kirsten Dunst (*more on her below) and Homeland's Claire Danes. This was one of the few movies I had on a heavy rotation. 


My point is, I think I overdoes on screen time and by the time I hit the teenage stage, I sat in front of a TV sparingly. Now, with a boyfriend and a full-time job, I've found my time in front of a TV screen to be a sweet escape. So, allow me to entertain you with what's entertaining me...


What I'm reading :: My book club met Wednesday night to discuss You'll Grow Out of It, a comedic memoir by Jessi Klein, who covers the gamut of girly guilty pleasures like Anthropologie and The Bachelor. Next up is The Thousandth Floor, authored by Katharine McGee (now Field!), my good friend's sister who got married this weekend. So, I'd read it regardless of the fact that it made the New York Times bestseller list. And even more noteworthy...theSkimm

TV I'm tuning into :: WD and I just finished HBO's The Night Of. We were wary of the ending as more than a few friends said it was unsatisfying. Turns out, I love it start to finish and highly recommend it.


Who I'm following :: This past weekend started our wedding storm which won't calm until mid-February. I'm excited to see how my friends and family style their festivities, taking mental notes and plenty of picture reconnaissance for my own. Like the floor-to-ceiling florals at #KatiesFieldDay and rosé fountain at former co-worker, Chanel's, fabulous French soirée. Follow @chaneldror or #jetaimetarlo to sneak a peek inside their chateau celebration for aaaall the amour feels. 

What I'm listening to :: I've had Tove Lo's Say It on repeat ever since it was the anthem of The Hamptons. Loving this too.

HBD, KT! And thanks for hosting us, JE!

Movies I'm watching :: The oldies -- crossed Casablanca off my list (inspired by this Insta), then fast-forwarded to Say Anything, an 80s coming-of-age flick. 

Have a great week. 




*Sweet boy offered to watch Wimbeldon with me on Friday when we returned. Having never seen it and eager for my fall tennis lessons (starting this Wednesday), I said "sure! press play." I was sorely disappointed to find it was a D- film despite the fact it came from the same makers of Bridget Jones's Diary and Notting Hill. Things starting looking up the rest of the weekend when we tuned into The Choice 2016 on PBS which divulges all the details on our two presidential candidates. And then Zootopia, worthy of the five-star rating its received on Netflix.