Cheap Thrill No. 1: Find a Theme


I'm laughing on the inside because what inspired this post was thrilling but by no means cheap. There's really no excuse for that because William and I went to Whole Foods to grab the ingredients for our dinner only hours after watching a comedian rag on the most scamming supermarket of them all.

Receipts aside, the real point is, we didn't go to a restaurant. So, what I'd like to share with you, is the first of three cheap thrills I suggest to those of you looking to put a new spin on things.

cheap thrill no. one :: Have a theme inspire your day, evening or weekend. 

read the recipe in BB's Insta link // main ingredients include sausage, corn, Pecorino cheese and plenty of white wine

How I did it: Pasta is pretty much a mandatory meal during the week for us, so this Saturday, we made our own inspired by this Instagram post. First things first, we went to Fabio's Fresh Pasta and fell in love with the Sicilian shop owner's charm as he encouraged us to indulge in good music and better wine with the linguini he sold us. "Gratsi," I told him as we headed to the grocery store to stock up for the sauce.

As we made our way through the aisles, we enjoyed continuing our "night in Italy." We grabbed Italian greens, a spicy Italian sausage, Pinot Grigio and gelato. I'm set on eating caprese salad in Capri and having spaghetti in Sicily, but this was a much more cost-effective route for us to make a mental trip in the meantime.

a year ago since we toured Chicago and the holy Notre Dame grounds in Indiana
How you can too: Our next weekend will be back-to-college themed with barges and bar tabs for the UT ND Labor Day game in Austin.

  • time-travel :: Watch a marathon of a beloved teen sitcom while flipping through your yearbook and breaking for an afternoon spent playing your high school sport. 
a cured salmon galette with mozzarella & an over-easy egg
My girlfriends and I started a Saturday with brunch at Bistro Menil and then explored the small museum. 

I wish we'd seen this at Rice University too. 
  • cultural immersion :: Immerse yourself in the cultural offerings of your city through its art, food or a combination of the two. 
Nico convinced me to sign up for a Greek cooking class at Sur la Table late last summer.
My mom is the ultimate handywoman, be it a sewing kit, a tool kit, a garden or a grill. 

Hibiscus Linens came to Biscuit to teach us how to hand embroider beautiful linens

I loved learning to embroider and recalled how therapeutic it is to put our hands to use on something other than our phones. 
  • get handy :: Book a cooking class or buy Blue Apron meals--first two are free! Rearrange the furniture, a bookshelf or the bar. Frame a photograph. Write a note and seal it an envelope. 
Cheap thrills two and three coming to you shortly--ciao for now!

Friday Five | Bridget's Own Photo Diary


My Friday Five on L. Avenue features all the latest and greatest sale links for summer and fall styles, so hop on over there to shop! But here at BOD, we're complementing my purely wordy post from Wednesday with a photo diary:

relax yo'self
William's best friend (slash my second cousin) celebrated his 25th at El Patio last night. My best friend (and former roomie, Nico) celebrates her 23rd at Armando's.

It  should be no surprise, then, that we wound up at Tacombi for tacos when in the Hamptons last weekend catching up with college friends. Cocktails were tasty, but no bueno!

i spy a spike!
Here was the lovely home tucked in the woods of Amagansett Beach we stayed in. Drive down the windy road and you'll find yourself at the...

i'm on my tippie toes
Montauk beach, beach, where we got away.

I returned to take care of Ty, who loved doing his business at Biscuit

while my parents toured Paris, roamed through Monet's Garden and cruised through Normandy. Literally. 

They return from their bon voyage this weekend, and I think we're all happy to be home in Houston for a weekend. Have a good one!

WW: On Livin' Solo


I failed to go three for three on my Monday musings series, so I'm going with Wednesday words instead this week. It happens to be fitting, as I had decided to discuss living without roommates and haven't a single photo of the space.

Studio B, I call her, situated right on the border of Upper Kirby and the Museum District. It's tucked behind a two-bedroom house with a yard and sits above a garage (and a pool and hot tub!). What I initially thought was something temporary had evolved into something more permanent. And something really pretty perfect.

I wrote about the major changes I made last spring; it was admittedly--and understandably-- overwhelming at the time. As for the move, I made the decision on a Thursday, called movers on a Monday, packed my stuff on a Tuesday and was there by Wednesday. I quit my job that Friday.

New spaces, new workplaces. Part of the draw of the new job was a shift in lifestyle--a four instead of 45 minute commute, for example. Plus, I could walk to favorite restaurants like Local Foods, my Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and my church, Saint Anne's.

Still, I pressed pause on decorating the space, in fear I'd find an alternative with friends sooner or later and the effort would be all for nought. It's nearly fall, and I'm still sitting pretty in Studio B, so I think the time has come to make my little abode look like my very own.

Here's three ways I'm making it happen:

I'm taking a hint from Camille Styles contributor Cristina Cleveland and hanging art on the walls, starting with my hat headboard from my parent's Houston home. It's an ode to my childhood and my love for fashion and France.

Across from that, a gallery wall will hang with my European mount, Polaroids and other prints.

Next is some low-key window treatments, nothing fancy but I can't help myself when I spend my days pulling Pierre Frey fabrics samples.

Finally, I'll invest in something. These stools? An ottoman? Open to suggestions! Let's make Studio B a real beaut, shall we?!

...of Studio B

Friday Five | Fashion Bug


wishing I could have brought this Gray Malin to the check-out
My shopping habits ebb and flow, and this month, I swear I've been bitten by a fashion bug. I'm stocking up at the end-of-summer sales while making space for fall items. Like the suede shift I found for football season in NYC while shopping with my friend, MK, last September. We meet again this weekend in Montauk, this time with our guys by our side. I'm currently en route from island to island; here's my links for the week!

Find out what kind of shopper you are; I closely identify with the "true creative" type.

Makes sense as I like to dress my desk as much as myself. This fig leaf mouse pad matches a fabric I just ordered for the designer I work for.

ZoeReport hit the nail on the head with 13 black sandals to replace your old ones
Apparently, I'm not the only one because my fringe favorites sold out fast. Any other finds?
yellow bikini dreams come true
William found a pot of Peter Millar, Bonobos and Patagonia gold when we went to Saint Bernard on Saturday. I snagged a couple swimsuits on sale: one's packed for this weekend and saving the other for a lakeside Labor Day.

I bought a waterproof disposable camera and brought it to several waterfronts this summer. 

The prints turned out less than super, so I'm going old school digital with this guy.

Follow my Instagram, @bridgetsowndiary, for Polaroid poolside shots from the East Coast.

This was originally posted as a contribution post for L. Avenue blog. 

MM: Relax, Take it Easy


I take a work break at Biscuit to help Amy & her daughter, Ana, design her digs in their new home.
The school year is right around the corner, taking my mind on trips down memory lane. Way back when, in pre-school, I was adamant that I not participate in nap time; I had zero interest in feigning sleep on a felt carpet inches away from my friends in a dimly lit classroom. As I got into middle and high school, however, part of my homework habits was none other than nap time.

our Wimberley coral bedding, part of the newest season of Biscuit bedding
Working at Biscuit, born as a bedding company (but has matured into so much more!), we remind our online shoppers that, "A third of your life is spent in bed." Or at least it should be; sacrificing any of that time only hinders the other two-thirds.

breakfast snack of Biscuit champions - RX bars (blueberry's the best), Swell filled with chilled H20 & High Brew coffee cans
I make sure to stop consuming caffeine at 1 p.m. or else I'll still feel it at 11 p.m. When I feel like I need a fix, my new ideology is to give my body and mind what it's really craving: rest.

When Casper called to say "let's celebrate Relaxation Day next Monday," I found out the nap is a (free!) resource we don't utilize nearly enough. And our mattress matters. Here's several reasons why:

Last week, I put a 20-minute cat nap on my calendar the same way I do with a meeting, dinner date or workout class. It's just as important and makes me alert for the meeting, alive for the date and energized for the class.

Add a nap to your cal this week, and let the habit forming begin. Happy National Relaxation Day!

Friday Five :: The Little Things


mid-week mass at Saint Anne's with a gorgeous view
As I added a coffee date with Lyndsey this morning to my calendar, I noted the charming 'event name' example text Google provides: "Breakfast At Tiffany's." It's the little things that can make a big difference during your week. So, here's some little links and things that made mine. Hopefully, yours too.

on-point design :: I'm heading to The Hamptons next weekend to put the ultimate exclamation mark on my summer. And I'm. So. Excited! While I plan to spend most of my time outdoors, I hope to scope out the modern interior of this hotel in Montauk.

future fantasizing :: My brother and soon-to-be sis-in-law are going to New Zealand for their honeymoon; my bestie are her fiancé are also crossing the Pacific to Thailand. Here, several bloggers dish it out on their chosen destinations.

but also being present :: I'm nearly done with Bread & Wine and can't wait to start Present Over Perfect with a Bible study group. For all you moms about to enter the fall frenzy of back-to-school, packing lunches and pretending to be sane, this read might be for you too.

savoring the season :: I had aaall of the summer things last night with almost aaall of my sisters: a watermelon cocktail, a peach burrata salad and an eggplant entrée. It was szechuan at State of Grace and totally insane. Here's some other delicious ways to serve eggplant.

yet another gorgeous view while William and I enjoying our hometown

planning ahead :: I'm also putting my white ensembles on heavy rotation before Labor Day hits, especially last weekend at White Linen Night in the Heights. But, my eyes are peeled for the winter ahead and having borrowed my mom's black coat all last year, I figured it was time to invest in my own. Here she is, shipping to my doorstep soon! Maybe got these beauty booties, too!

May your weekend be chocked full of little (and big) wonderful things.

*This content was originally published as a contribution post for L. Avenue

MM: Like Mother // Like Daughter


Last week, I shared a sentiment my mom said about our 21st century eating habits. Like it or not, what our parents say and do makes an impression on us. And as I mature, I am grateful for these little tid bits she's taught me.

I'll never forget the summer after my freshman year at UT. I stayed put in Austin to see what rush was all about on the other side. She visited, and we ended our Saturday night at the Four Seasons bar.

That excursion taught me that hotels are the best place to go in lieu of a noisy bar when seeking a nightcap cocktail. The people watching is always plentiful; they're open late; and the service is never subpar.

two things I miss about living with mom & dad: the WSJ subscription and the well-stocked bar

I was still underage and only versed in vodka soda on 6th Street ordering at this point. She got a gin and tonic, confessing it was her go-to summer drink. I followed suit. And now, it's mine too.

WJC & Nico // Mieks & Kev // MB & WD

This Friday, I ordered what's currently my favorite craft cocktail at Julep, where gin meets ginger beer. The Waltzing Mathilda starts with London Dry Gin and ends with ginger beer. White wine, lemon & passion fruit lie in between.

This post is part of a new series I'm starting, 'Monday Musings', something short and sweet to kickstart your week. Feel free to offer suggestions for future topics!

See you for the Friday Five.

Friday Five | Look, Feel & Be Good


The buzz in the blog world seems to be all about balance.

behind-the-scenes of me BODding
Work and play. Drink your coffee and cocktails but plenty of water, too. Spend time with those you love; spend quality time with yourself. So, I approach this week's edition of the Friday Five with an attempt to provide you equal measures of advice on everything from beauty to fashion, food and fitness.

i. Looking forward to a fall full of both casual football games and formal weddings. And I want this LBD for the latter.

ii. The Olympics (starting tonight!) draw attention from around the world, sports lovers and non alike. See a stunning list of statistics before you see the athletes march into Rio tonight.

iii. Speaking of sports, tennis is my current game and fly fishing is up next after flipping through William's photos from Alaska. When I read this from the Fresh Exchange on Monday, I was sold:
I've always thought fly fishing was both beautiful in form and peaceful in method. On a great day you can bring home a fresh trout, on the worst days you bring nothing home but got to spend the day on a peaceful river. Not bad, right?
iv. I just ran out of tinted moisturizer and was bummed I restocked before Lyndsey posted about Juice Beauty Products. I would have gotten this, but now I'll spring for this instead.

v. I admired this article's real definition of health. Hint: it's "so not a sphere of kale and sweat."

May you have a well-balanced weekend!

*This content was originally published as a contribution post for L. Avenue

Everything's coming up roses.


My mom often remarks that we eat like the kings and queens of centuries past. I think she's right: we're straight up spoiled. William and I had our first gourmet Greek experience at Helen last month, and we were in heaven. I scoured the Houston Restaurant Weeks menu yesterday and noticed I had been to many of the places listed.

Helen in Rice Village has received high praise from Houstonians, including these two.
The point being, I've had my fair share of fabulous meals for my age. Remember this series? Austin was no exception. I think I've decided, though, that my all-time favorite is in DC: cue Rose's Luxury

wish you were with us? be there with my Boomerang!
When I tacked on a Monday evening to the tail end of my trip, I wanted to make sure we ended with an exclamation mark. Annie made it seem like Rose's was my only option, and Merl agreed. You have to be in line by 5 for any chance at a table, so I figured the food was good but had no idea the décor would be to die for.

The front facade is unassuming -- a flickering fluorescent green light displays the signage, simply reading Rose's. A small patio graces the sidewalk which the eager diners surround as they wait in line to snag their reservations.

As one nears the entry, they can peer at the menu of the day, a list of small plates--categorized by hot and cold--and a smaller selection of large family style plates.

I had the perfect amount of time to peek around the place (and snap a few pics) as I waited for Merl to meet me from work. I was stunned with what they were able to do with the space. CPR instruction posters from the 70s hung on the same rusty red brick walls as sketches of South Texas wild life.

I thought to myself exactly what the white neon sign read across the way from the exposed kitchen: this is "awesome."

Beyond that, the ceilings extend and twinkle lights dance between the ivy above the diners. There lies the garden bar, where Merl and I spent our evening.

Their drink menu, like their dinner, is not too overwhelming and includes an option for everyone--the whiskey enthusiast, the gin drinker (that's me! and Merl), the bourbon bad ass.

The bartender greeted the man behind us. "Hey, chef!," he said. We looked to see if the chef himself had escaped the heat of the kitchen for a cocktail before his nightly performance. Turns out, it was the chef's brother, who was an equal wealth of knowledge on how to navigate the menu. Merl and I picked his brain for our virgin experience at his sibling's famed foodie establishment.

The sweet potato bread tided us over until our plates arrived one by one. First the lychee salad which the waiter encourages you to play with as you whip the foam into all the other chilled ingredients.

Then came the warm, grilled romaine heart with duck egg, crispy potato, herbs and buttermilk, which I'd eat for breakfast...lunch...and dinner. The confit goat with barbecue sea island red peas, rice and garlic breadcrumbs was next followed by the fresh pasta: bucatini with sungold tomato sauce. The plates were as pretty as the food.

We elected to not order dessert only to find two scoops of Cinnamon Toast Crunch ice cream presented in front of us moments later, compliments of the bartender. Words to the wise: supposedly, if you're torn between two dishes, express your panic to the waiter. They'll bring out both!

If was this kind of gracious hospitality, the gorgeous surroundings and the food, of course, that made for a memorable final night with my best friend. It has a way of making you feel fabulous without any fuss.

Some were there to celebrate; some were there to experience life's goodness. We were there for both.

And we'll be back for more.

(& ME!)

A very HBD in DC


I'll never forget surprising Merl with the news that I'd be joining she and the rest of our summer abroad crew in London for her 21st birthday weekend.

The next summer, she had just packed her belongings and headed to DC, so I sent her this as a framed reminder of our friendship. This year, I finally made the trip to visit for her birthday.

While part of me wishes I had kept my promise to be her first visitor, good things come to those who wait. By this point, she's settled, knows her way around, found the perfect roommates and a perfect guy for her named Parker.

Here's a recap of what went down during my weekend in DC:

gold glasses from Salt + Sundry

I took a tour of their three bedroom home right off of hip and happening 14th Street. Anna made us cocktails in her new gold rimmed glasses that made a gorgeous addition to their vintage bar cart.

We headed to Barcelona Wine Bar and enjoyed the wait as we filled it with catch up conversation, a comped cheese plate and plenty of cocktails.

me, Merl, Ashley and Anna
We eyed a table on the patio that looked like the perfect size for our party of four and found ourselves seated there moments later.

We shared tapas and more good conversation before ending the night at 2 birds 1 stone, a hidden gem of a craft cocktail bar tucked inside a basement.

I love DC for its true seasons: cherry blossoms sprout for spring and leaves change color for fall. That being said, their summer is true, too, which we experienced with the heat on our walk to and through the national mall.

Needless to say, we worked up an appetite for a French brunch at Le Diplomate. Rosé was poured; pommes frites were passed, and it was the perfect way to pass time on a Saturday.

Later, we visited our college friend, Spence's house, where I finally got to meet Parker. Mollie and Annie joined us too as Moll makes her mark as a first year law student interning in the city for the summer.

Happy to have no reservation to report to, we spent the rest of the evening in Georgetown.

Sunday we slept in and snuck out of the house only once for the love of Smucker's iced coffee. We had homemade breakfast tacos to reminisce our college weekend ritual of Taco Deli and/or Torchy's.

I went to mass at the basilica and then met Mollie for late afternoon goodies at Baked & Wired. I brought back a bag of Hippie Crack, which came highly recommended by Annie along with many of the other places I went,

like Cava, a Chipotle-style restaurant with a Mediterranean twist. It happens to be one of Merl's favorites too, so we went there with her third roomie, Julie, for a low-key Sunday meal.

Monday's meal was anything but low-key as I met Merl at the famous Rose's Luxury. This, my friends, is the place I now proclaim my my favorite restaurant of all-time. And because of that, it deserves a post all on its own.

So, that's up next. Love!