Recipe for a Perfect Friends’ Weekend Getaway!

Here’s the thing…

It is perfectly possible to have a great friends’ getaway weekend! I’m going to help you figure
out how in a minute. Sit tight and don’t fret friend!img_2822

img_2976And that’s a big ‘ol but… it is also perfectly easy to get it all wrong in the same breath! Ack!  I mean, I don’t mean to be a cynic, but the wrong mix and it could go up in flames *snaps finger* like that! Or there is always the boring as all get-out option…img_2996 img_3054 img_3048

Let’s start to find that middle ground then, shall we?? That perfect mix of fun, sassy, outgoing, chill that meshes the weekend into that perfect extended friend hangout!



You can have a good, solid plan, but still keep it super chill! Sounds sort of like an oxymoron for sure.  A lot of people are afraid of structure because they think it will kill the chill vibes. While this can totally be true, if it’s done right, it works! Trust me, I am the epitome of “Type-A”, so chill is an art form that I’m so desperately trying to attain! I’ve been working and working to find that fine line that is good structure for everyone, yet doesn’t squelch fun right out of the room.

You, too, men!
But of course it always helps to have something for them too…

So, what sort of plan do you need to have in place you ask?? 

Here goes! And I promise it’s totally doable…

  • Make sure everyone is on the same page!

This can includes what type of trip everyone wants to have, if people are wanting to spend money or would rather be as frugal as possible {how many dollar signs they want to see on the restaurant reviews on Yelp (i.e. $ or $$$)}, if they want to wake up at the butt crack of dawn and go all day, or sleep in and relax,img_2827

**REMEMBER, it’s ok, also, to break away from the group sometimes if you want!

  • At least put a little thought into what activities, if any, you would like to do while there!

For example, when we went to Fredericksburg, we knew we wanted to go to at least one winery, and climb Enchanted Rock. Other than that, it was play it by ear. And everyone was great with that plan. img_2776 img_2796

  • Create a food plan before you head out!

A little structure goes a loooong way, y’all! We had 3 couples and  5 meals to be made. Each couple was in charge of planning and preparing for 1 meal. Then, the girls did the same for a meal and the men prepared one meal. We then just charged the food on one card, and split it three ways (Venmo has made life so easy for splitting costs!!). We went out to eat once. But remember, our plan for the weekend was super chill, yours might be different. Maybe you only eat twice at the house and eat a lot out…you, obviously, can adjust it to your trip!

We took advantage of the fresh produce stands on the side of the highway!


Where to Stay?

This is simple…

Just make sure you choose a place that is cohesive its your attitude towards the trip. For us, like I’ve been repeating, it was chill. So we found an incredible deal split three ways on a perfect ranch house with the traditional Texas flair, complete with livestock!

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And this country girl is not above hopping fencing to reach the animals!

img_3134img_3133 I feel like I’m constantly talking about AirBnB, but time after time, it never fails, we always find amazing places, like this  ranch house, to stay for incredible deals! If you have never used it, but want to try AirBnB for the first time, using this link will save you $35 on your first stay!  















I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Friend’s Get-Aways! What are some “musts” for you??


A Blogger’s/Travelers/Adventurer’s Dream Bag!



For, literally, the past few years, I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect bag. But I had some very high standards and very specific qualifications that would issue that “perfect bag” title.  It needed to be sturdy, leather {preferably}, have that Mary Poppins effect where you can fit everything but the kitchen sink in it but not be too bulky {yes, I know Mary Poppins is fictional and therefore, in reality, these are two contradicting attributes}… It needed to be sophisticated, but versatile to match my ever-changing outfits and style preference of a low-attention span toddler. And to add to that my ever-changing travels…fullsizerender-25

*When I went in to Anthropology with my bag, a woman stopped me and gave me the biggest compliment and said she needed the bag, too!
*When I went in to Anthropology with my bag, a woman stopped me and gave me the biggest compliment and said she needed the bag, too!


My travels are all over the board to say the least…and that’s how I like it!

After visiting NYC a couple of times over the year, I seriously needed something classic but functional. Oh, hey! A leather backpack would be handy right now! I absolutely love messenger bags, but when I’m in a crowded place, walking non-stop, and brushing up against people incessantly, I could use something strapped down tight and not swinging with every out of rhythm step dodging the next New Yorker not looking where their walking…(I still love you New Yorker friends!)


Like I said, all over the board. This summer alone I was at a Young Life camp for 3 weeks in the Smoky Mountains, at three separate beaches along the east and gulf coast, and walking around several different towns and cities in the south, not to mention coming back home and starting a business from scratch.

*My husband snapped this while I was shooting for an event I was hosting in August.
*My husband snapped this while I was shooting for an event I hosted in August.


I want it, I need it, I got ta have it! 

At the beginning of the summer, I stumbled upon Urban Southern, a.k.a, the bag miracle workers. It was like they heard my wishes and POOF! there it was. Like I said, I actually do love messenger bags! It’s a perfect set up when you need to scramble through your bag at your side while holding a camera, a baby, a drink, a whatever! You’ll never guess what I came across.

A Messenger Backpack!




fullsizerender-13I’m sorry…a what?! Yep, it’s a convertible! Shut the front door! It’s genuine leather, sturdy, rustic, girly, sophisticated, and…VERSATILE! The straps convert to either backpack or messenger.

And let me tell you…

That Mary Poppins feature we were chatting about earlier?? It does exist! I can fit all my current reads, my lap-top, charger, phone, make-up, pens, and wallet in this baby.

Check out what I’m currently withholding in my beautiful

US Messenger Backpack below.

Current Reads:

  • “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldridge. Oh, friend. Do yourself a sweet favor and pick up this book!
  • “Entrusted” study by Beth Moore. Yep, me and Beth go all the way back to college. Picking up one of her’s like having coffee with an old friend. And, oh, all that truth she speaks! Yasss.fullsizerender-27

Basic Necessities:

  • Well, duh. There’s the Mac. Because, life…
  • Mac Charger, because life needs charging
  • Felt tip pens…no explanation neededfullsizerender-28

Other Goodies:

  • Make-up bag
  • wallet
  • Eos
  • Journal
  • Blog notebookfullsizerender-29

But you should really not just take my word for it! Check Urban Southern out for yourself and follow them on Social Media for sure! They do some stellar giveaways and you won’t want to miss them!

Urban Southern on Social Media

Pinterest    Instagram     Facebook ~

Do you already use an Urban Southern bag??? If so, which one, and what do you think? If not, which one would you choose from their collection? They have so many styles to choose from! 



So, I have this super fab friend that is near and dear to my heart…

She is all things wonderful and just, well…gets me. She is my blonde sister who I love sharing awkward moments with…

She’s craaaaaaazy good at hair, lives in Colorado, but is Fayetteville funky fresh and I miss her so…

She is also an amazing adventurer, writer, friend, and…yep, blogger….

Claire and her husband, Gray, recently trekked all over Roma and she documented each city they traveled through.

If you want to read more of Claire’s blog, visit Undone 21 Blog!


RrrrRrRRrrrOMA. I learned to roll my r’s while in Rome and overused it a lot.

So we flew into and out of Rome, it was the first and last place we spent time in Italy. The day of our arrival was rough. Okay, it was terrible. The worst part of our trip no doubt. A combination of our phones not working, our cards not working, and being generally confused and lost led to 4 hours of wandering before we finally found our Airbnb. Thankfully our hosts were very gracious and patient with us! Our first place we stayed in was perfect- everything we needed in a great location. We were right next to the Tiber river and Campo de Fiori which turned out to be where we spent most of our evenings.

We loved walking over to Fiori for dinner and watching the street performers. One night we watched a clown for at least half an hour make fun of unsuspecting tourists. I loved how such a mixed group of nationalities could all laugh at stupid slapstick comedy! During the day this square turned into a huge market stocked with flowers, produce and handmade pastas.

The Colosseum was crazy. People used to have to fight giraffes.

Our favorite area was the neighborhood of Trastevere. Smaller streets and tons of cafe’s for cheaper prices than near the center of Rome. We ate a couple of times at a spot called Carlo Menta and I got “cacio e pepe” both times. Spaghetti with cheese and pepper. So simple, so delicious. It was here that we first saw how much a liter of wine really is. It’s a lot.

When we stayed in Rome for a second time at the end of our trip, we were so exhausted we barely left the airbnb but to see the Vatican. This second place in Rome that we stayed was by far the most modern apartment we had seen- so clean and everything was white and it was HUGE. We were soooo impressed with this place. Though the location wasn’t as ideal, it was the perfect place to rest and prepare for our flight home.


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FREE Guide to Katy FALL Markets

TOMORROW is the first day of FALL!

Can everyone say it with me?! YASSSSSSSS! And I’m not even going to complain about this 100+ degree weather outside. It can’t bring me down! I have bought a couple cans of pumpkin already, ingredients for my homemade hot cocoa, and have placed pumpkins sporadicly throughout the homestead. I know what you’re thinking…of course, a pumpkin-spiced latté is on my list, you think I’m a crazy lady?? So, basically I’m set.

One more thing, though…

It is not fall without some market action, y’all! If I could make a living out of attending, coordinating, participating-in, shopping at, or consulting markets, I’d be one happy lady. I’m talking ALL markets…farmer’s markets, floral markets, craft markets, vendor’s markets, holiday markets…fullsizerender-3

So, I thought I would take it upon myself, out of the goodness of my heart, to gather and compile a spectacular list of fall markets in my area. It’s getting close to Christmas and every other reason to surprise people you love with treasures, so markets, full of local goods, seem to be the best way to go to me!

I live in Katy on the far west edge of Houston, where not much goes on…however, I’m finding there are hidden treasures all over our giant suburb, and these fabulous markets are one of them!fullsizerender-2

**Note, most, if not all, of these markets are in Katy. I want to highlight what the city has to offer!

Here goes!


25th-Family Fun Expo-No Label Brewery


15th- Pick-A-Dilly Craft Fair-St. Peter’s United Methodist Church

15th-Katy Market Day-Old Katy

22nd-Sip ‘N Stroll-Agavé Road

29th-The Wonderland Gift Market Katy Cinco Ranch High School


18th-19th Home For the Holidays Gift Market Katy-Merrell Center

17th-Ladies Night by Katy Market Days

19th-Katy Market Day-Old Katy


2nd-3rd A Vintage Celebration Gift Market-Great Southwest Equestrian Center

3rd-Katy Old Fashioned Christmas Festival-Old Katy

**And for some really GOOD NEWS…

fullsizerender-6There is an amazing farmer’s market, Farmer’s Market on Grandparkway is open every Saturday morning in the parking lot of Church of the Holy Apostles between the Kingsland and Highland Knolls’ exit. They have fresh produce, farm-fresh eggs, local coffees, and tons of all-natural products. I’m all about my local goods!

And if you live closer to the Fulshear side of Katy, they have a great farmer’s market for you, too! It is located right off 1093 and Bois D’Arc and happens every Saturday morning until 1:00pm.


Personally, I’m super excited to be participating in a few of these markets for the first time ever! I can’t wait to experience this other side of the markets.

Have a blast exploring these great treasure troves, and I hope you find lots of gems! Maybe I’ll see your face at one of them!

GUEST POST: A Fijian Honeymoon

anaMy dear friend, Ana Craft, from Loving Clairefully was just married about a month ago and went on the adventure of a lifetime spending days on the Fijian islands being immersed in the local’s culture, eating what they eat, learning from them, and loving everything about the people from their big smiles to their daily activities and way of life.  I asked Ana to share about their first married adventure. I would also highly suggest you head over to her blog and follow her her life adventure! Food for the soul, y’all! a-fijian-honeymoon

As the island faded in the distance, the twin motors of our cabin cruiser whisked us through waters glowing of green turquoise.  Our destination was a reef off the shores of Qamea known to locals as Cabbage Patch.  We slipped on our gear and dropped into a world of vivid colored underwater wonder.  Schools of skipjack tuna darted by while we explored the coral and countless tropical fish.  We repeated the adventure throughout the day stopping at various snorkel sites before wrapping up with a beachside barbeque consisting of the morning’s catch (that we caught!).

It was just another perfect day of the seven spent on our honeymoon at Qamea Resort and Spa in Fiji.  The resort offered endless opportunities for adventure, exquisite cuisine, and non-stop smiles from one of the friendliest societies on Earth.  It was the perfect beginning to our married life!

Activities at the Qamea Resort and Spa:

Cooking classes – We learned how to make one of their signature dishes, the unique, crunch almond and English cabbage Qamea Sumi Salad. (Yum!)

Basket Weaving – One of the staff members, Bubba, taught us how to weave baskets out of coconut leaves, which was pretty hard to do. I had to have him help me most of the time.gopr2334 img_2204

Qamea Volleyball Game – Every night at 4:30pm there would be a game of volleyball. The staff team would play against the resort guests and things would get heated! Physically and emotionally, but everyone was still a friend in the end.img_2089

Afternoon Tea – The perfect time of the day to relax, have a cup of tea, and fresh made cake that you most likely would end up grabbing a second helping!

Massages at the Jungle Spa – When I say Jungle Spa I mean a literal spa in the Jungle. It was like walking into the perfect dream of deep relaxation while the sounds of the island hummed you to sleep.img_1872 img_1988

Waterfall Hike – We were able to explore the Bouma Heritage Park with an awesome guide named Edmond. Here we swam under two spectacular waterfalls and hiked through a lush green rainforest.


Scuba Diving – This was the main reason a lot of the guests were at the resort! The scuba diving in Fiji is well known and they even offered beginner classes so you can get certified on the island. Brian and I were able to take a discover course and dived down to 40ft!


Village Tour – We had an amazing opportunity to see first hand how the Fijians lived and observe their culture. They were hospitable and welcoming as they greeted us with songs and big smiles!


Fun Fijian Phrases:

Vaka levu (Vaka-ley-vuh) means Plenty

Au Domoni Iko (ahh- ooh doh-mow-knee e-kow) means I Love You

Kerekere means Please

Ni Sa Yadra (knee- sar- yarn-dra) means Good Morning



An Alabaman Bed and Breakfast: Smith-Byrd House

Smith-ByrdHouseFullSizeRender 10

When we were heading for the Smoky’s this summer, Joel and I wanted to go off the beaten path (even more so) and find a charming bed and breakfast for the night.  We had stayed in one before, actually by accident, and had the best experience! I’m going to be honest, I definitely was pretty skeptical about staying at these places with people I had never met and sharing a breakfast table with strangers. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

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I searched many places to stay in a rather large vicinity in Alabama and Smith-Bird House caught my eye.  This bed and breakfast was one of very few in the area, and the only one of it’s historical kind! It’s found in Prattville, Alabama just north of Montgomery and full of charm and welcome!

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My favorite thing about finding any new small busines is getting to know the people who run it. The home and bed and breakfast is owned by a couple, David and Beth Melling, and two of the most hospitable and kind people I’ve known. They care deeply for their business and every guest that knocks on their door, as well as, the beautiful town they live in.  They take such care in everything from the way they set up the dining room to the food they serve and the rooms they keep. We got to the bed and breakfast in the evening and decided to explore Prattville and grab dinner. When we returned Beth had tea and a variety of homemade cookies ready for us, which were delicious!

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The bedroom we stayed in was absolutely gorgeous, clean, and welcoming, everything we want when we travel and are tired from being in the car or plane all dayFullSizeRender 4



Beth is an amazing cook! She grew up in the Georgia/Alabama area .andknows how to make some mean southern dishes! However, she and David lived in Northern California for many years and has an incredible, refreshing spin to the traditionally heavy southern foods. We joined them and another guest for breakfast the next morning with a beautiful, warm spread on the table complete with juice, coffee, and more tea.

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Let’s talk about that tea for a second. Y’all, I take my tea seriously. And I’m not FullSizeRender 7talking Earl Grey out of the bag from your local grocer (which I totally don’t have anything against!), we’re talking gourmet combinations that make my nostrils swoon. Okay, maybe I take my tea a little too seriously. I know some of you are thinking about stopping reading. But if you are trying to imagine what flavors you hope you has, then this place if for you. Beth runs a very busy tea house offering basically every tea imaginable. So, enjoy!



I don’t know about y’all, but fall makes me giddy, and we are so close to that crispy cool feeling. Well, if you live in Houston we are a little further away from that feeling, but I like to pretend.  Take a weekend trip and take a chance on one of these cozy, homey stays.  And if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Smith-Byrd, you are one lucky human!

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Deep South Tour: Prattville, Alabama

quarterly report

SO excited to start my tour off with this adorable little picture worthy town! It was actually by total coincidence that we stumbled upon this sweet treasure. I have a serious love for small towns, being a small-town girl myself, and this bit of heaven is the definition of quaint, southern, small town! I really wanted to share with you our <24 hours we spent in Prattville, Alabama.

Prattville is about 15 minutes northwest of Montgomery where the hills begin to roll and anything you see out the car window is gorgeous simply because its bring and luscious green.

We weren’t there for long, but, honestly, I could have spent days and days just enjoying the scenery and southern culture! Prattville had so much to offer, whether you are looking for a small town get away from the city, passing through the area, or even maybe looking to relocate.

Lets start first with it’s incredible downtown! Holy. Cow! It was not what I was expecting, but what I got was a whole lot of scenery from each and every angle of its downtown. DSC_0136 The tiny city is full of history! You can see it all around as you walk the curvy downtown roads or lookout over the dam sitting next to the original and first Alabama cotton gin factory built in the early 1800’s by Daniel Pratt, the town’s namesake.



There is a garden-edged, lantern-lit greenbelt that leads to the riverside.  It’s such a fabulous place! When we went, there were couples taking walks, families taking their small children down to the river so they could put their feet in, people fishing; it was perfect!


Ignore my lack of modeling skills, but this red brick wall!!!DSC_0126


We got their just in time for dinner and snagged a spot at the ultra-busy Uncle Mick’s downtown, just one of the great restaurant options in town.  It was fantastic!! I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a recommendation given to us by a local couple (local recs are our fave!) I was completely impressed.

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Uncle Mick’s brought amazing cajun food to northern Alabama, and it was the boo-uuuhmb! All the food is hot and fresh, home-cooked, and MICK serves it himself. You have to be careful though, it’s small town y’all…get there before everything closes!

We stayed at the most charming bed and breakfast in town.  We found they are few and far between in the immediate area, so we were grateful to find such a great and hospitable place! You will definitely have to check out my feature in the next week for Smith-Byrd House Bed and Breakfast!

Over all, I was in love with this historical piece of heaven! If you are into getting away from the chaos of the city, or looking for a hillcountry weekend in a cutesy downtown, Prattville is just about as good as it gets! You will want to look for their sweet special events calendar before you go.

Enjoy Alabama!









Dear Houston, SUMMER IS NOT OVER!! Houston: A Stay-cation

HoustoN_A Staycation

About this time every summer, I’m thinking “I can’t believe summer is over! Why does it have to end?!”, and then I usually start pouting about it “being all over!”

But I’m here to tell you, after coming to this realization myself, it’s NOT!!!

SUMMER IS NOT OVER! Go! Now! It’s around this time when most families have taken their major vacays and are winding down, preparing for the school year to start back up.  But that doesn’t mean that the kids have to sit around bored to tears while you pull out your hair.  Or, more importantly, that you can’t squeeze in some last minute, face-to-face time with your kiddos.  Or, if you’re the single/don’t have kids, yet/empty nester, that you can’t go have a new adventure!

I am finding more and more that there are so many adventures to be had in Houston, with and without kids, for free or fairly inexpensive.  And most of these things, even if you could afford much more, will still sound extremely appealing!

So, here we go! 8 free or low-cost things to do IN Houston, so you won’t break the bank but can venture out and explore the city in a different way!

1.) Bingo in the Heights

Y’all, this is probably one of the best, most favorite, fun, different, bang-for your-buck things to do in Houston! AND it’s literally for anyone and everyone and all different combinations of people. Date night for the young and not-so-young, family outing, single group, double date…the list goes on.  They have a snack bar with drinks, beer, snacks, hamburgers, and hotdogs.  But you also can bring in your own food, have a DIY picnic with the fam, and you can bring in particular beverages (but see the website or call, because there are a few restrictions!) There is plenty of parking, but people will still end up parking on the streets because the place is a packed house during the summer while college students are still in town. So come EARLY and bring a game to get a good seat and parking spot.  Bingo is held at Lodge 88 in the Heights, and is usually a packed event. **If you don’t get there and they are at capacity, they WILL lock you out! So, get there and make a night of it! Cards are only five bucks, blotters are one, eat before you go, at home or out, or order a pizza! The possibilities are endless!

2) Houston Zoo

Hey college students in Houston! The zoo will give you free entry if you just show them your college I.D. Families, there are all sorts of discounts, big and small, on the website, including military discounts and a discount for simply buying them before you go! Check it out here.

3) Miller Outdoor Theater

This is such a fun summer outing! I have great memories of hitting up the Miller Outdoor theater and getting caught in a rainstorm during a Motown tribute one year. The best thing to do is just roll with it, right?? Miller outdoor theater is great for a date-night or bringing out the kids to run around on the hill while enjoying a picnic and a play in the park. (I’m a huge fan of alliteration!) They have all sorts of performances, from live children’s shows to full professional plays. They also show movies on their big screen. Did I mention it’s FREE??!! Parking is also free! You can get your tickets at the box office only to reserve one of the covered seats.  If you don’t make it in time to snag a seat or just want to, bring a blanket and maybe even dinner to picnic on the grassy hill. To plan you day or night at Miller, you can take a look at their calendar of events.

4) FREE entry into Houston Museums

We have some awesome museums in Houston covering a broad spectrum of topics! There are a handful to pick from that the kiddos are sure to get a kick out of, too.  ALL FOR FREE if you can fit their free admission times into your schedule! There are also quite a few that always have free admission!

5) Sam Houston Boat Tour

How fun is this, y’all?! You can take the family on a 90 minute boat tour of the Port of Houston! The kids will have so much fun on the deck spotting the giant ships coming in and out of the port, while mom and dad sit in the air-conditioned cabin. This super fun, and quite different outing is also FREE, but you will have to reserve your tickets in advance because the boat only has a capacity of 100.

6) Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

The Arboretum sits right next to Memorial Park in Houston.  It’s a great place to get away from the chaos of the big city for as long as you want.  They have 5 miles of trails and wild life for you to enjoy including several different trails to choice from.  You can also check the website to view a checklist of things to check out while on the trails so you can give yourself and your family a tour.  You can even take the family pooch on the trail, as long as it’s on a leash! The kids can experience the Discovery Room at the Nature Center and ask any questions about what they saw or will see on their walk, see live creatures close up, and solve mysteries or explore!

7) Water Wall

Definitely notable among Houston’s favorite things to do/see is the Water Wall right by the Galleria off 610.  Talk about Romantic! Take a picnic, take photos, and enjoy a day date!

8) Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market

Y’all, let me just tell you how huge of a Farmer’s Market fan I am! I canNOT get enough of them! I am currently staying in the middle of nowhere in the Smoky Mountains in Georgia and have already hit up two local, small town farmer’s markets. Don’t worry, more are on my list before I go back home in 3 weeks.  It’s seriously a win, win, win situation! You get to get out of the house, with your fam, your friends, you boyfriend or husband, or (sometimes one of my personal faves) alone, and walk around seeing all the amazing products, produce, and more that the people of your city have to offer.  Buying produce from the farmer’s market means you know exactly where you are getting your goods. From farm to table is for real, y’all! And it’s such a beneficial thing for everyone involved! You get great, fresh food, you also get to support local farmers! Bless!

There you have it! Those are just a few of my favorite things to do around Houston on the cheap, y’all! I know there are many more, though, so when you come across your favorites, let me know! Or if you hit up any of these places, or know of any tips, comment below to share. Houston is such a great city, and has so many things to offer its residents! I can’t wait to explore more of it.