My Favorites in San Francisco


Having planned our San Francisco trip several months out, I spent a lot of time imagining how it would be. We purposefully planned it so we could "escape the city" on Saturday and hide away in the wine country. I pictured us picnicking in Presidio Park on Sunday to relieve ourselves from another restaurant bill. 

at the bottom of historic Lombard Street

I should have known that nothing goes quite according to plan when traveling is involved. Still, given the right company and attitude, it can easily turn out better than anything you could've imagined. 

Here are five of the happiest moments from last month's trip: 

Taking cover in Leo's Oyster Bar, like a tropical island retreat, after biking through the stormy city all morning. 

photo via

A Sunday stroll through the Ferry Building where I found a grilled cheese with tomato soup to warm my insides and a book for the flight the next day. 

Laszlo, the bar next door, welcomes those waiting to be seated at Foreign Cinema. photo via

The fact that the food outdid the amazing ambiance at Foreign Cinema, where you sit below strung lights and in front of an old-fashioned, projected film.

Victorian homes neighboring the most modern to make for an eclectic mix and more exciting walks.

Our family style menu at Ad Hoc featured Thomas Keller's famous short ribs with truffle mac and cheese. photo via

Yountville by night, the most charming little village that more closely met my escape expectations than the crowds, traffic and tourist masses at the wineries themselves.

Notable mention include take-out from Souvla, shopping in the charming Hayes district, a build-your-own almond butter fro-yo bar and the best souvenir, a bottle from Silver Oak. 'Til next time, San Fran!

Best Chicken Dishes in Houston


Last night, I made William my mom's famous Chicken Crescent Squares for the first time, and it went over very, very well. In keeping with the theme, my first installment of Food Finds Houston features chicken dishes. This short list only scratches the surface of what's out there, but I figure it's just as good a place to start as any.

top left: Ding's crispy chicken sandwich / top right: Mamma Mandola's Sicialian Soup / bottom left: Chicken Vincent / bottom right: Barnaby's Chinese Salad

chicken entrée :: Chicken Vincent -Pronto 
notes: Get a side of green beans. 

chicken noodle soup :: Mamma Mandola's Sicilian Chicken Soup -Carrabba's 
notes: This is exclusive to the original locations on Voss and Kirby. 

chicken pita :: Island Grill 
notes: Faysal, the founder of this neighborhood favorite, is opening his fourth location in Rice Village.

chicken salad :: The Salad Plate -The French House 
notes: I'm almost certain the dressing that comes on the side is the secret sweetening agent for the salad.

chicken sandwich :: Ding's Crispy Chicken Sandwich -Houston's 
notes: Start with the spinach artichoke dip, and prepare to be stuffed silly. 

chicken tenders :: Basket Appetizer -Pappy's Café
notes: Cut the gravy. Add extra honey mustard; it's Houston's best. 

chicken wings :: Buffalo Wings -Pappas Burger
notes: This opinion is WD's. 

chinese chicken salad :: Barnaby's 
notes: Enough for two or lunch and dinner. 

Dig in, and let me know what you think!

My Final Focus Word for 2017: Commitment


The final word I've chosen to focus on in 2017 is commitment, and Ash Wednesday is the perfect occasion to tell you all about it.

I kind of "floundered" through my first year out of college. I couldn't put my finger on why I felt so funny, so off, but when someone used that word, it fit the mold perfectly. The worst side effect of this feeling was my severe indecisiveness. Never quite sure what to do with decisions both big and small, I often wound up living in limbo-land, a very stagnant place that left me feeling restless and anxious. Since my second year, I'm happy to say I have found my way and with that, I feel as though I'm able to commit to what matters to me and make my life the most meaningful it can be at 24-years-old. Here are five ways I hope to do so:

Commit to causes I care about.

I joined the Boys & Girls Clubs first-ever young professional's organization last year, but I didn't do much beyond the required board activities. I want to make a monthly effort to visit the clubs to better understand why I chose this non-profit and gain perspective from its most important people, the kids.

Commit to a schedule I enjoy.
A pretzel & a Pliny's at Anvil is the perfect midweek treat.
Did you know I make Wednesdays a mini-weekend? I work, of course, but I don't put pressure on myself to make it to the gym, and I treat myself to a mid-week glass of wine. It makes me more disciplined to wake up for that workout class and avoid that bottle of wine those other four days.

Commit to the people that matter most.
A little boy peers through the gate to watch William catch for his youngest brother, Michael, at the Little League fields.

My dad retired recently, so I want to spend more one-on-one time with him since growing up, my mom and I naturally had more time to do things together. This starts tonight when he will join me in the stands while William coaches his little league team.

Commit to a book and a TV show.
I snacked on a creamy cup of tomato basil soup from Cowgirl Creamery while browsing the books at Book Passage in the Ferry Building on my rainy Sunday spent in San Francisco. {image via alexinwanderland}

We just finished The Night Manager (loved), and I just read the last pages of Big Little Lies. I'll be tuning into it on HBO now and starting My Paris Dream, which I bought at the San Francisco Ferry Building book store.

Commit to journaling. 
{image via serendipitous wanderings}

Lately, my journal entries have had no theme or consistency. As part of my Lenten practices, I'll start logging a way to describe my day, a person I'm grateful for and a moment worth remembering.

Have a wonderful rest of the week!