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Ireland Travel

April Recap

 

This is me being a diligent blogger for once in my life and actually starting on a post on time! You can thank the fact that I needed to deep condition my hair, which means I actually am very productive around the house for those few hours a month. Settle in because this is going to be a long one and it’s not even covering the full month 🙂

I wanted April to be different than March or February. I was going to proactively do things around Ireland even if it meant doing them alone. First step: get a piercing. Right after that I think the surrounding pedestrians noticed my realized confidence and someone asked me for directions #localstatus

My high school friend, Ruthie, was coming to visit so I had that to look forward to, but when I went to pick her up from the airport she surprised me and brought along our other friend from high school, Alicia – FROM ALASKA! I was very surprised (it was also 6AM on a Sunday) so I’m not really sure what my reaction looked like other than confused lol. I don’t get surprised like that very often and I was only half-awake so I think I just hugged everyone and then got back into the car. We immediately left Dublin for the Cliffs of Moher.

I had already been (if you’ve been reading since the origination of my blog then you already know this), but this was the first time in Ireland for both Ruthie and Alicia and that is one of the #1 sites to see so off we went. Because we had such an early start we managed to beat most of the tour busses/tourists to the Cliffs. It was a GORGEOUS day as you will be able to tell from the pictures below. They have updated the visitor center since the last time I went and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. I will probably end up doing another photo post at the end of the trip with updated pictures since everyone else took a bunch and haven’t uploaded them yet.

After the Cliffs, we went to Galway for a bit for some lunch. The drive between the Cliffs and Galway is so beautiful and green. It was staying a nice day, which was awesome since I had to drive on some very tiny roads! We hung out in Galway for a few hours and then made our way to Limerick for the night.

I had the next day off of work so we visited King John’s Castle before heading back to Dublin. I showed them a little bit of Dublin and found out their plans for the week. Ruthie had originally just given me some basic plans because she didn’t want to let on that Alicia was also coming. Alicia also is super handy and helped me air up my tires because I’m basically helpless with car issues.

 

Alicia’s dad is originally from Ireland and was adopted as a young child. The rest of the family is very interested in learning more about his heritage, but since most of the records from that time were only recently released, you generally have to actually come to Ireland to learn anything. The girls spent two days doing some of that research and were actually able to come away with a lot more information than I thought that they would. They also went to the Book of Kells at Trinity College, did a walking tour of North Dublin, and had high tea at a hotel. It was a short visit, but they made the most of their time.

On their last night we went to Murray’s over on O’Connell Street where they have Traditional (Trad) music and Irish dancing. They pulled Alicia up on stage to dance and she was presented with a certificate that we made the bartender sign. He also shared with me that you can add Black Currant juice to Guinness and now I can finally finish a whole pint. #proudmoment  

In between the guests I needed to attend to my roots. At home I generally go see Sydney, my hairdresser, every 6-10 weeks (depending upon upcoming events). Three months without at least one touch up was not going to cut it for me. It took us a long time to get my hair to where we are and I was really nervous about anyone else touching it. Fortunately I found a salon really close to my apartment that uses Olaplex (if you don’t know what it is SEE the magic) and seemed to really know their way around blonde hair so I felt like I was in good hands. Five hours later I am pleased to say that my hair is still a gloriously silver blonde through and through. If you are ever in Dublin and need a salon I can now highly recommend Angels and Cowboys in City Centre.

(not a sponsored post)

The next day was still lovely so I finally made the trip out to Howth. I was supposed to go multiple times on different occasions, but plans always fell apart. You need nice weather when you go too and you never know when that is going to be so make the most of it! #carpediem.

I really enjoyed seeing a part of Dublin that I hadn’t visited yet and am now totally contemplating getting a vacation home in Howth when I am rich and famous. Howth is a small, seaside town with a Marina and hiking trails. I visited Howth Castle then made my way down the road to the coast. I indulged in some fresh seafood, walked around the town and the little market, then took a hike on Howth Head. I managed to get out of there before it started raining again, but I am hoping to go back once more before leaving.

 

A few days later Melissa and Brian came to visit. They have frequently been featured in the blog and always have a couch for me to crash on at home so now I get to return the favor. They were staying for a whole week and I took a day off of work so we shoved as much into those days as humanly possible.

They also took advantage of this service I had discovered on my last trip: Flytographer. Basically, the idea is that pictures are one of your best mementos from a trip, but either you’re traveling alone and relying on the compassion of other travelers to capture that moment for you or you are a couple and can never be in the same picture together. Flytographer has photographers based in cities all over the world who are there to capture that trip for you in a photo session. Melissa’s birthday happened while she was here and it was also their 10 year dating anniversary (they have been married for three). The day after they got here they had a photo session with Vanessa and absolutely loved it. By the time they left their pictures were ready so I was able to see them and account for their awesomeness. I am now super jealous that I didn’t also book a session for myself, but there will hopefully be more trips in the year to come. #fingerscrossed 

After their photography session, we went for Melissa’s birthday dinner at the hotel where I stayed last time, The Shelbourne, at The Saddle Room. It was delicious, but because we were not guests of the hotel and it was Good Friday, we were not allowed to drink. Randomly, Ireland takes Good Friday VERY seriously and no pubs or restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol (so a lot of places are closed). Hotels can, but only to their residents. Curiously though, on actual Easter you are allowed to drink and most business are open. I had prepared by buying some wine before they arrived so we partook once back at the apartment and there was rejoicing in the land!

The next day we went to Kilkenny and Waterford. We left Dublin super early in the morning on the train (which was a new experience for me in Ireland). We stopped first in Kilkenny, which is apparently a big party town that I will need to re-vist next time I come. The town had a huge castle that we toured and had tons of cute, little shops and very friendly people. We discovered that Brian had an inner-photographer in him that had been lying dormant until this moment. Once they upload all of their pictures I’ll nab some for my photo recap post once my trip is over.

After Kilkenny, we hopped back on the train and headed to Waterford for some lunch (shoutout to Brian for overcoming his salmon allergy before eating ALL the seafood chowder in Ireland) and then we visited the Waterford Crystal Factory. I don’t know why, but I have been obsessed with seeing the factory ever since I found out it was in Ireland. It was honestly really cool, but it was totally different in my mind (as was Waterford). I wanted to buy everything, per usual, but settled on a package of 4 wine goblets that are currently being shipped back to my house. I’ve got my eye on a peacock carved crystal bowl though (also available at Macy’s) in case anyone wanted to get me a birthday present (on the 25th!).

 

 

We were supposed to take the train from Waterford all the way back to Dublin, but something was going on with the line we had to use so we took the train as far as we could go then they put us on a bus for an hour to get back to Dublin. While at the train station in Waterford, Melissa discovered that she had lost her phone… which was also holding her credit card and driver’s license.

Fortunately it was safely in the cab we had just left that was still nearby and we were able to avoid disaster once retrieved! The rest of the group we were with consistently asked her at each of the next stops if she had her phone as did Brian and I the rest of the trip. She will never live that down 😉

The next day was another early one as we set off for Blarney and Cork. On the way to Blarney we stopped at the Rock of Cashel. I had never heard of it, but honestly it was really beautiful and I would love to do a photoshoot here. Melissa and I just kept marveling over how Dublin always seems to have the best lighting for pictures (i.e. overcast). The Rock of Cashel is an ancient church in ruins complete with a graveyard. I was really impressed with this seemingly commonplace ruin (there are just so many of them).

After that little stop we hopped back on the bus and were soon in Blarney to visit the very famous Blarney Stone. Our tour guide warned us that if that was our major goal for the day then we needed to hop to it before the rest of the tourists did. I didn’t think we were that excited initially by it, but Melissa and Brian took off RUNNING for it so I followed. We did manage to beat most people to the stone and as I am always competitive that did give me a sense of accomplishment. We got our pictures with the stone (I fake kissed it since I heard rumor that drunk teenagers sneak up there to pee on it) and headed back down to enjoy the grounds.

Clearly, I had not done enough research because I totally didn’t realize that there was an actual castle and grounds in Blarney. We spent several hours wandering through the forest, taking about a billion pictures (Brian), and enjoying the beautiful day. We finished the site with some Irish coffees to-go and headed back to the bus to visit Cork.

 

We were in Cork just long enough to finish a pint before heading back to the bus to get back to Dublin. The wonderful thing about tours is that even though most things are several hours away YOU don’t have to drive! You are free to nap, read, write, daydream, eat some snick-snacks, do whatever you please. I have generally had great experiences with using tour guide services and still continue to recommend them. They are generally incredibly knowledgeable about the locations and sometimes even have their own funny stories.

As we were leaving Dublin that morning our bus driver/tour guide drove us by this huge open field that Braveheart had used when filming. Apparently back in the day, when they were filming it cause a lot of traffic issues for the people living in the area. To alleviate some of the grievances the movie crew told the village that they could all be extras in the movie and would even get paid. If you have seen the movie (which I have not…. yet) then you may remember a scene where several men lift up their kilts and moon some people. My bus driver was proudly one of the mooners and remembers that time fondly. #culture

I had that next day off so we slept in a bit and then tried to go see Bram Stoker’s grave at Christchurch Cathedral right by my apartment. It was like 6 euro to go in and we didn’t really feel like it at the time so we skipped out and bought some carrots to feed the deer. We drove over the park and fortunately found a small group of the deer fairly quickly. They LOVED the carrots and let us pet them before the park ranger came over to break up the party. We then walked closer to the front of the park to see this huge statue then left to go visit the Tullamore Dew Distillery.

Brian’s #1 request for the trip was to visit the distillery. This is a fairly small one and no tours leave from Dublin to see it. Fortunately, I have a car this time so I was able to accommodate this request fairly easily. What I didn’t realize was that to get here you have to get on the M50 Motorway and pay a toll, but not at the tollbooth. For whatever reason you have to remember to call or visit a website to pay you toll by 8pm the next day…. guess who forgot and paid it a few days later. I’ll have to update you when my rental car gets turned in about the outcome of that delay.

The distillery is actually really cool. It was recently updated in 2014 after being out of commission for a long period of time and all of the floors are original. We got there pretty early so we ate lunch in their restaurant and started peeking at the gift shop. The legal limit in Ireland is .01 as opposed to America’s .08 so I was not going to be imbibing. They gave me a little take home bottle as compensation for my abstinence. I was also REALLY tired so I found a comfy seat and promptly slept through the entire tasting session so it turned out to be a win-win. We bought way too much at the gift stop (I’m an enabler – what can I say?) then headed back to Dublin for a Skype session with some of our friends in Africa.

We got dinner at Boxty and it was delicious per usual and Melissa even got some of the Boxty mix to bring back home. I may have to pick some up as well before I leave. We did some souvenir shopping and then got one last drink for the night at a pub just outside of Temple Bar.

I had to go back to work, but Melissa and Brian ended up going to Giant’s Causeway and The Cliffs of Moher the next two days so I would meet them back in Dublin at night for dinner to hear about their adventures. We also visited the oldest bar in Dublin – The Brazen Head. It was a good way to end their trip and I was really sad to see them go. I always have a great time with them and am very fortunate to call them friends. 🙂

Side story: My friend Blair is super into finding flight deals and had made plans for our friend group to take an adventure in September. He was going to look in May for something and we would knowingly only have a small window of oppotunity to say yes before the deal closed. I happened to get a text from him in April the day of the United Airlines catastrophe about a deal at the end of September for Belize. I’ve never been to South America and I trust his trip-planning skills so I whipped out my credit card and confirmed my excitement for yet another adventure! I’ve only heard good things from several other Irish people who’ve gone and I am looking forward to a beach vacation SO BAD. I also discovered that there are sharks there so I’ll be diligent about my water activities since I think that a shark attack is probably one of the worst ways to die/have to live the rest of your life remembering. Even if the sharks don’t get me I’ll be on the lookout since I’m flying United now 😉

April isn’t over, but this post is getting ridiculously long and we haven’t even hit my birthday yet so I’ll just make the next post at least for the end of April or potentially combine it with part of May. Stay tuned and see what happens 🙂

Happy Reading

-Savvy

Dallas Denton Personal

Fall Activities 2016

After coming back from Ireland I was immediately thrown back into the swing of parties, weddings, and dinners. I got back a Thursday, had Friday off, went to a birthday party on Saturday, and had a wedding shower on Sunday. Never a dull moment!

My friend Blake was turning 26 and his girlfriend Kyla suggested we all go to The Deep Ellum Brewing Company to celebrate! They have this really cool deal on Saturdays: they close down the brew house and host tours. You pay $15 and get a souvenir glass and three beers of your choice. Pretty good deal and I don’t even like beer!

I had actually never been on a brewery tour so this was pretty exciting. I do prefer winery tours, but learning new things whilst drinking with your friends is usually a good time. The weather was really nice, the company ideal, and it was essentially just an enjoyable afternoon.

The next day I went to a wedding shower for my friend, Becca. Sadly, the only downside to my Europe trip was that I had to miss her Bachelorette Party 🙁 Her shower was a ton of fun. Her Maid-of-Honor and my friend Melissa’s mom makes cakes and certainly delivered for the shower! She also made her wedding cake a few weeks later and of course I devoured my piece in mere seconds (but that is for another post).

Halloween was slightly less than enthusiastic this year, but we still had fun nonetheless. I was Ginger Spice/Baby Spice and Karma was a Beer frau. Basically, we were Europe. If I had been thinking about it more then I could have been #Brexit. Tara was Sailor Moon and we went to this little block party in Denton for about five seconds before leaving to get Thai and go home.

As per tradition, my friend, Danielle, hosted Friendsgiving 2016 in her new apartment. I made Macaroni with a Beer Cheese sauce in the crockpot. Easy and delicious! There was wayyy too much food, a mannequin challenge, and free flowing wine.

Ignore the fact that the video doesn’t have Black Beetles playing. The struggle was real to just upload it.

 

On November 23rd I finally made one of my personal dreams come true……

I MET GOOD CHARLOTTE!!!!

Not only did I get to see them at Edgefest 2016 (RIP 102.1), but I also got to meet them IN THE FLESH because your girl shelled out for VIPPPPPP! I HAD to! I met each and every one of them, gushed a little bit, gave them thank you notes, and basically fan-girled. To make the long story very short, I was running REALLY late to their concert and thought I would miss the Meet and Greet before the show. I happened to get there just in the nick of time and was the last person to see them before the Meet and Greet was over. Did that give me the chance to leave a lasting impression? I sure as heck hope so! They liked my outfit and my cat shoes. I basically dressed exactly like I did in 8th grade and it worked out. I am now blonde and decided to add glitter roots, but other than that it was basically the same. They had 3 openers, which I considered excessive and helped solidify the reality that I am in fact too old to be in the pit for punk shows. #dontpushmebro 

They finally took the stage before my stamina and bladder gave out and you know I was in the front row singing along with all of their songs, crying my little eyes out. My friends were a little drunk and FaceTimed me right when they were singing Hold On. It was perfection.

The next day was Thanksgiving. We weren’t meeting up with the fam until later so my sister and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather to take Christmas pictures with Karma. There is a little park down the street from my house. We were hoping to be able to put her in a baby swing, but this park didn’t have a swing set. It did have a baby slide so that became the next best thing. Karma’s face is priceless in these next few pictures.

Disclaimer: she wasn’t hurt in the taking of these pictures. It was a baby slide and Tara was waiting at the bottom to catch her.

Whew! That was a lot of activity for basically just one month. I’ll leave December to it’s own devices.

Sneak peak into what’s next: two weddings, a car adventure, birthday parties, company Christmas party, friends, food, Christmas, Hanukkah, and probably New Year’s Eve. It looks like it’s going to be another exciting month!

-Savvy

 

Dallas Personal

2015 Recap

Happy New Year, Readers! 

I hope your 2015 was amazing and everything you wanted it to be.

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Here is a recap of a few exciting things that happened in 2015:

  • Went to IrelandIowa, San Francisco, and Austin
  • Bridesmaid in Lauren’s wedding in May
  • Took two cooking classes
  • Saw several of my friends get engaged
  • Created new friendships, let some old ones go
  • Ran a 5k
  • Lost 30 pounds
  • Explored more of Dallas, Denton, and Ft. Worth (plus surrounding areas)
  • Started this blog!
  • Had some professional victories
  • Saw Maroon 5 in concert
  • Celebrated Galentine’s!
  • Went to a Murder Mystery Dinner
  • Celebrated many friend’s birthdays as well as my 24th birthday

There were so many highs and lows to this year, but I can definitely say I learned a TON and hopefully will be taking some new habits into 2016.

Some goals for 2016:

  • Run another 5k (and potentially a half marathon)
  • Lose 50 more pounds
  • Pay off my couch and eliminate unnecessary spending
  • Spend more time with my dog and my friends
  • Focus more on my blog and professional goals
  • Travel to Ireland and Italy, hopefully Virginia and Colorado, potentially some other places
  • Celebrate my 25th Birthday!
  • Get back into reading at least one book a month
  • Start the MBA process
  • Take better care of my skin {even though that might mean no more tanning ;(}
  • Cook more (since I got new pots and pans for Hanukkah!)

I am sure there are other things that I would like to accomplish for 2016, but honestly I think this list will cover the whole year and then some. I am already trying to figure out how to prioritize my life for these next 12 months.

Holiday Recap

I had a great Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. There was so much going on in such a short time frame, so sorry for the lack of updates (because I know everyone cares so much lol). I blogged a little bit about Hanukkah already so I won’t bother your with more of that.

Christmas went well. My sister came back to town and will be here for a whole month so we’ve been hanging out. She made me these really cute little embroideries for my travel wall in my house so my best friend came over and helped me hang them along with some other house stuff. I will have to post a house tour on here in a few weeks when I FINALLY finish my Travel Wall in my living room/dining room. I’ve only lived there for almost a year and a half….. no big deal. 😉 We went to my Grandma’s house and I hung out with my little second cousin, Liesel. She is seriously the cutest/happiest baby ever. I’m in love.

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We have so many people in such a small house so my sister ended up getting the special chair in the Annexed part of the house next to an extra table.

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We were tired of having the same food for Thanksgiving and then just a few weeks later for Christmas so we decided to add some Mexican flair since a good portion of my family is Hispanic.

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For New Year’s Eve I was supposed to go out in Uptown with some of my friends. Unfortunately I got kinda sick the day before and it has lasted several days. So last night I ended up just going down the street to Julia’s house and playing games with her, her family, and some significant others, which was exactly what I needed. We had a really great time and I got to see some of her siblings that I don’t normally see. This morning my dad made New Year’s Day brunch since I decided to spend the night.

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Karma and I tried to get it together in time to make a Christmas card this year, but it’s going to end up being more like a New Year’s card (if I even hand them out) (probably not, let’s be honest).

We both wish all of you happiness for the New Year! Let’s make 2016 the best yet!

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Dallas Personal

Weekend Warriors

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Sorry for the long pause. I’ve just been so busy lately with life, but that also means that I have plenty to blog about!

As you can see by my title, I attended another cooking class this weekend. Instead of Central Market, this time I wanted to try out the newly opened Sur La Table (pronounced Sur La Taab) location in Southlake.

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This was in celebration of my friend Becky’s birthday. We have been friends since the middle of 8th grade when she came to my junior high. She was smart and I was weird, so clearly we were bound for life. She has a penchant for cooking just like me and we have been wanting to do one forever so this was the perfect opportunity.

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Instead of enchiladas, this class was brunch themed. We are good little twenty-somethings so of course we love brunch and everything that goes along with it. Also, my shirt says GOAL DIGGER and is from here.

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The menu for the day:

  • Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins
  • Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Frittata
  • Breakfast Sausage
  • Gingerbread Waffles with Carmel Bourbon sauce

Such a good lineup, right? Our class was just under two hours so we had a lot of work to get down to. We had 9 people in our class, but I think the instructor said that the class could hold 14. We had a very good group and fortunately one strong guy to grind the pork shoulder for the sausages. We all decided that we would just get our sausage pre-ground when making this recipe in the future at home. I can’t say that that is one of the attachments that I would like for my Kitchenaid.

See below for some pictures from the afternoon! 

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I also got invited to the Mavericks game with my friend, Jenn on Saturday night. We are also both Jewish and try to see each other at least once during Hanukkah.

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This past week was one of my holiday parties for the year and I happened to also get a cocktail ring stuck on the middle finger on my left hand. I had to go to a jewelry store to get them to break it off of my finger.

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My Dad and I did our usual tradition of weekend Hanukkah brunch at our favorite Jewish deli in Dallas, Deli News off Preston Road. They have the best breakfast/lunch/brunch menu. Of course since we made it early enough for breakfast we had to get some sandwiches to go for lunch since we live kinda far away.

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On Friday night I had gone over to Melissa’s house and she made Tikka Masala from scratch! Go visit her blog over at Champagne Meets Whiskey, but here is a picture of what she made (I did help with the mise en place)

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I hope you enjoyed this update! I’m hoping these next few holiday weeks are lovely for everyone out there in blog world! I have the week after Christmas off and I am definitely looking forward to a little vacation. This girl needs some more sleep and puppy cuddle time.

Another fun addition: my friends DT and Andrea want to move to Dallas!! They happened to be in town last weekend so I took them around to show some houses and fun things to do in the area.

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Happy Reading! 

-Savvy 

Dallas

Mexican Cooking Class

I am doing so well at blogging! Three posts in one week?? Who am I?

Anywho, 

My dad’s birthday is next week and he is always super hard to buy for. I generally stick to the same few things: wine, food, cigars. It’s also hard having a birthday so close to Thanksgiving AND Christmas. However, I keep hearing about the novel idea of giving “experiences” instead of physical gifts for presents. I really like this idea so I ran with it for Marc’s birthday. He loves cooking and used to work in his dad’s pizza joint back in the day; what better gift than a cooking class? I wanted to pick something that we don’t make often, but I knew he would like. I almost chose a sushi class, but the times weren’t good so Mexican it was! We never make traditional enchiladas at home (honestly I thought I signed up for a tamale class until I got there and found out it was enchiladas).

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I signed us up for one at Central Market in Southlake, Texas. Central Market, if you don’t already know, is my FAVORITE high-end grocery store. It is owned by HEB, which is another chain of grocery stores here in Texas. CM has literally everything under the sun stocked all of the time. Frog legs? Got ’em. That hard to find wine you drank that one time? They’ve got your back. It’s amazinggggg

I have been dying to take a cooking class, especially from CM for a long time and this was just the push I needed to sign us up. Marc is such a ham (I get it from him). He had made friends with the whole class by the end of the night and everyone sang him Happy Birthday. He also micro-managed the other wanna-be-chefs. He was showing people how to chop and turn off the stove aka doing the most.

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Our instructors were awesome. They were super nice and knowledgeable about everything in the kitchen. They were the ones who created the recipes and they made us nice little booklets with all of our recipes and a few others to take home with us.

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We ended up making three types of enchiladas: chicken, brisket, and shrimp. I think the brisket ended up being my favorite, but they were all delicious. Our instructors also made borracho beans and rice beforehand so we got to nibble on those with our chips and salsa too. We also got two pours of wine and I discovered a chardonnay that I liked! Usually they are too oak-y, but this one was totally different. It’s called Butternut and it is made in Napa, CA.

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The class lasted about 2 hours and was very interactive. About half of our class was from a local finance firm and they were doing a team building outing so they were very talkative, but they were open to talking to more people than just their group, which made it that much more fun. I will definitely be back.

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Disclosure: I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I hope I’ve inspired you all to try something new (like a cooking class) in the next few weeks!

Happy Reading!

-Savvy

Dallas

Puppy Pawty! Oktoberfest! Food Trucks!

Good Evening, Gentle Readers…

Several of you may know how much I love my dog. Karma is the light of my life and my greatest sadness is that I haven’t had the job of being her human her entire life. I adopted her 2 years ago through one of my friends and she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am NOT an animal person, but she is the best ever. I had to celebrate her adoptive birthday in a special way this year.

PetCo had a puppy party (pawty) package you can buy with all of the things you could ever need to celebrate your pup’s life. Hats, streamers, bowls, invitation, and a banner all for $10. What could be better?

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The birthday pup!

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Puppy Pawty!

For her birthday present I got her a Halloween Costume!

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Karma is Yoda!

 

Since this is more of a life update here are some things I have been up to lately:

 

Oktoberfest in Southlake with Julia for her Birthday

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Seeing Ruthie for a few hours while she was in Dallas

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Food Truck night in Denton a few weeks ago with Julia

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In the next few weeks hopefully there will be many other activities to document!

Until then,

-Savvy