travel diary: hong kong + bangkok

We leave for Thailand in just a few short days! I’m excited to have the opportunity to revisit the country and bring J along for the ride. When I went overseas last year I didn’t have a blog up and running, so I figured now is as good of a time as any to share some images.

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the kinfolk table: thoughts on family, food, and the importance of gathering

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It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the quarterly publication Kinfolk. My love for seasonal eating and food photography has flourished in part because of their beautifully curated pages. Each issue is developed with such care and I treasure my volumes because I can feel that care with every turned page and recipe shared.

This past Sunday (and almost every Sunday) J and I gather at his parents home to enjoy a big meal together. Everyone who’s in town joins us. Bottles of wine are passed around, a game of spades is usually being played, and our local radio station blasts everything from Muse to David Bowie to Lord Huron and it is magical. Warm and familiar feelings creep into my heart and I’m instantly transported back to my childhood. Until our sport schedule took over, we were able to dine together as a family almost every night.  I wish I appreciated the togetherness more as a child (I wasn’t exactly a fan of setting the table), but today I know the lasting impact of what happens at the dinner table.

Food is community, it’s togetherness. It’s meant to nourish our bodies, but I believe it nourishes our heart and relationships more than anything. The tantalizing aroma of my dads homemade spaghetti sauce brings back memories of cold dry winter days, the time we got our new (beautiful) nude couches, and the excitement my sisters felt when “daddy was making his daddy  sauce”. My mom made an organic chicken noodle soup once with spinach and tortellini and if I close my eyes I can imagine how tasty it was when I was home sick with pneumonia. I’ll never forget how she cared for me that day, and how incredible the soup was. The first time J glazed a thick Chilean sea bass with tart miso paste I felt my heart melt and got weak in the knees when he proudly pulled it off the grill. I like to think he secured my heart that evening.

I fear the generation where the value of a family made meal, whether it’s once a day or month, is forgotten entirely. The Kinfolk Table shows that there are many who still hold those values dear, and I’m so thankful for that.

I’ll definitely be sharing some family inspired dishes in the future. In the meantime, you can purchase The Kinfolk Table here.

scary chic: easy classy costumes

I’m slightly bummed that J and I will be in Thailand during Halloween this year. Ever since we went to a friends 20s themed birthday party back in February, I’ve been dying for another reason to dress up. I’ve had a slew of ideas written down for some time now, and since I won’t be able to take advantage of these chic (and easy) costumes I’m passing them along to you dear reader.

WHITE QUEEN

WHITE GHOST QUEEN: a lot of white face paint, blood red lips, and heavy black eyes. pair with an all white flowy ensemble and general apathy towards everyone.

gangnam

PSY:  basic wardrobe pieces combined with killer dance moves.

CLOCKWORK ORANGE

ALEX from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE: this would have been my costume of choice this year. there’s always the next right?

LADY MERICA

KARLIE KLOSS STATUE OF LIBERTY: if you’ve got a slate blue dress and eight mile long legs all you need is the crown of seven spikes. easy and adorable if it’s warm where you are.

What are you planning on dressing up as this year? I’d love to know.

family session: ballard vibes

While enjoying the great farm stand opening of Lake Forest Farms  I got to spend some time with some darling friends and their tiny little man. Wes and Cristina Ballard are two incredible human beings, exceptional parents, and super super super talented vocalists. Cristina is a trained opera singer from Mexico and Wes basically plays whatever instrument he feels like and can croon with the best acoustic singers out there. Together they make beautiful music so ethereal you’d mistake it for angels casually harmonizing on gold foiled clouds filled with crème fraîche (I’m not exaggerating!). They’re amazing. They’re also so amazing that when I asked to take a couple of photos of their triumvirate of beauty, they turned into instant models.

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Can’t wait to see more of this gorgeous family and their music! Side note: I’ve heard them cover Set Fire To The Third Bar by Snow Patrol + Martha Wainwright several times and it never fails to give me goosebumps and teary eyes. The moment they have a video of this, I will be sharing it with you all. Whoever and wherever you are. Have I thanked you for stopping by? Thank you.

a local gem: lake forest farms

So it’s really hard to keep exciting things a secret, but I am committed to shooting a gorgeous farm to table dinner hosted by McKinney’s very own Lake Forest Farm in November. (I know. I know. GIRL SCREAM!) Today was the grand opening of their new Farm Stand, where you can purchase the best of our local fruits, veggies, flowers, etc. I am so excited to be a part of such an incredible addition of culinary greatness to our little big-little town. The organic and health scene is steadily gaining popularity in Texas and we seem to be surrounded by numerous produce stands, farmers markets, and restaurants who source the majority of their food locally.

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happy chickens roaming about the farm

IMG_5624-1my dear friend and talented musician Wesley Ballard just killing it.

IMG_5676-1earth on tap is uh-mazing. i tried their orange + mint + ginger + grapefuit juice. yum!

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lovely little greenhouse filled with aquaponics.

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onions so fragrant they made you consider taking a bite.

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gorgeous wooden boxes and colorful baskets filled the stand.

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and of course they had flawless arrangements.

Le sigh. What an amazing place. What a great night. And we still have so much to look forward to!

being okay with being alone

Alone time. As I grow older I notice more and more that people don’t have much of this, and don’t desire much of this. The concept of not taking time for oneself baffles me. Time set aside to reflect, relax, and breathe is one of my most cherished activities and something I would miss terribly if it wasn’t within reach. I’m always reminded of the benefits long after my alone time is complete. I feel more rested, yet productive, effective and thoughtful. Sometimes I even feel more tolerant towards others, a desire to be kinder, more compassionate. In a society that’s ridden with codependency and the fear of alienation, there’s a bevy of bona fide reasons to give yourself the gift of being alone, psychological and otherwise.  As you finish out this week, take an hour, three hours, or however many you can allot and enjoy the comfort of being with you. You owe it to yourself.

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My alone time was spent…

repeating: peasants by houses

snacking: brie + pear + mustard seed panini (recipe soon!)

admiring: the art of alison cooley. swoon.

watching: the great gatsby! for the fourth time.

napping: often.

wishing: this cool weather would stick around for a while.