Monthly Archives: March 2016

Home Sweet Home: Favorite Things to do in Dallas, Texas

I always love trips back to my hometown. I grew up in a Dallas suburb, but spent plenty of time all over the metroplex. I honestly always thought I’d graduate college and move back. Funny how life works, huh? I have a few favorite spots that I’m always sure to visit or eat at while I’m home. While Fayetteville is known for it’s local attractions and small businesses, you still miss out on the great shopping and restaurant scene in this big city.

Clayton and I packed our bags and headed to Dallas for Easter this past weekend and had such a fun time. I thought I’d share a little bit about our weekend and share my favorite spots for the next time you’re in the heart of Texas.

First things first: clear your schedule to make time with hometown-friends. Let’s be honest, this is always a priority when I am in Dallas. Growing up, this group of guys and girls were my family (and still are!). We all grew up in youth together and have stayed friends ever since. Seriously, we have a group text that has been going strong for the past 6 years. Through life changes, moves to different states for college, marriage, and new seasons, we’ve all stayed so close. It’s always one of my favorite parts of the weekend getting to spend time with my people.

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Brunch, always. Let’s kill two birds with one stone here, right? For our day together, we decided to kick it off with an amazing brunch at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts District. We love any chance we have to get out in that area. We shared laughs, meals, and coffee. Highly, highly recommend their brunch! Dallas has a handful of amazing brunch spots. Don’t miss these:

  • Oddfellows
  • Bread Winners
  • Cafe Brazil
  • Ida Claire
  • Public School 2014

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Bishop Arts District is seated right in Oak Cliff and is home to a handful of fun restaurants, shops and coffee spots. I would say it’s one of the best spots in Dallas. We spent the rest of our day walking around in the beautiful spring weather and exploring new areas! Be sure to check out my favorite shops:

  • Set + Co
  • DIRT Flowers
  • Dude, Chocolate
  • Society Candles

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Coffee Shops are always a fun way to explore a new city. While Dallas is more known for their overload of Starbucks, you can still find some fun coffee shops if you’re willing to drive around a little more. We found a great coffee shop in Bishop Arts called Wild Detective. It’s located in an old house right off the main strip. They had a beautiful back patio area too! Some of my other favorites are:

  • Ascention Coffee
  • Houndstooth
  • Crooked Tree
  • The Joule Hotel
  • Davis St. Coffee (pictured below)

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What’s for dinner? That’s a pretty common question in my family. We really enjoy dining out, especially for a special weekend like Easter. Clayton and I had some great family time this past weekend. We spent our Friday night on a double date with my dad and his fiance (and my step-mom-to-be) in downtown Mckinney. We ate at a new restaurant called Sugar Bacon and let me tell you I have been dreaming about that place ever since. It was delicious. And not to mention, downtown McKinney gives you that small-town-feel that made it seem like I was back in Fayetteville. Still hungry? Here are some other fun restaurants/ areas to dine:

  • Sugar Bacon in Mckinney Square
  • Square Burger in Mckinney Square (Clayton and Dad had a little date here!)
  • Whiskey Cake (you. must. try. the. whiskey. cake.)
  • Cane Rosso
  • Artins in Shops at Legacy – Shops at Legacy is an upscale area filled with restaurants ranging from $ to $$$$. It’s a great place to walk around when the weather is nice, as well!
  • In-in-out….get it while you can!

The rest of the weekend was spent with family, celebrating Jesus and all he did for you and me. He’s good and I’m thankful. This weekend was one for the books, for sure. Are you planning a trip to Dallas? Here are a few more of my favorite things to do while home: 

  • Head to the DMA! It’s an amazing FREE art museum!
  • Steel City Pops – ummm…popsicles anyone? Yum!
  • Klyde Warren Park is great for walks on a beautiful day. They’ve got food trucks if you get hungry, as well!
  • Northpark Mall – pretty much every store you could imagine.
  • Walk around, eat, and shop at the Shops at Legacy.
  • See a movie at iPic or Studio Movie Grill! Who doesn’t love eating dinner while they enjoy a movie?!
  • If you’re in town during the summer, you can’t miss the Snowcone Lady in Frisco. She’s been around as long as I can remember and is quite the legend.

To finish off, I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of my weekend. I just wish I could take everyone I love and move ’em up here with me!

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Grapefruit & Rosemary Cocktail

Hello, friends! Spring is officially here and it’s made me so excited to play around with new cocktail ideas! I always love making a new cocktail or mocktail at home with dinners on the weekend. It’s a fun activity to do with your girlfriends or your significant other! Particularly, this season I’ve been craving grapefruit! Luckily, I had one just sitting pretty in the fridge, so I decided to whip up one of my favorite cocktails!

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My favorite part about this cocktail is that it’s guilt-free. I am using all natural sweeteners (honey or agave), fruits, and fresh herbs! To add more flavor and bubbly goodness, I added in my favorite flavor of La Croix to make this drink even more flavorful!

So, in honor of the weekend coming sooner than usual this week, here’s my easy, quick, guilt-free Grapefruit + Rosemary Cocktail!

ingredientsGrapefruitCocktail2

serves 2
1 tbs honey or agave
1 tbs grated ginger
2 oz gin
1/4 cup grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
1 cup coconut La Croix
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 cubes ice

*If you’re making in bulk, it may be easier to grab some organic, bottled grape juice at the store. Just make sure there are no added sweeteners! For all my mocktail lovers, feel free to cut the gin. It’s just as good with or without!

instructions

-Grab a cocktail shaker. Add in all ingredients, including ice.
-Shake, shake, shake! 15-20 seconds.
-Pour drink through the shaker’s filter (so none of the rosemary or ginger pieces get in your cocktail) and do a little taste test. Sometimes I like to add a little more ginger or honey, but it’s really up to your preference. Add what you need and shake again.
-Divide up your drink into two pretty glasses and garnish with a sprig of rosemary and slice of grapefruit.
Enjoy!

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grapefruit
Not only is grapefruit tasty and refreshing in the warmer months, but it also has some amazing benefits for you:
-It’s a superfood!
-Grapefruit kick-starts your metabolism. Woo hoo!
-Vitamin C boosts your immune system.
-It’s a natural fat burner!
-High levels of antioxidants which means clear skin and a healthy body!

Okay, if the pretty presentation, clean ingredients, and health benefits didn’t get ya, I don’t know what will! Make this cocktail after work tonight or for your guests this weekend, I promise, it won’t disappoint!

Easy Paleo Blueberry Muffins

Guys, I am so excited because today my roommate of three years, Lindsey Strong, is sharing one of her amazing paleo recipes here on the Colour Journal. Linds has been living a paleo, grain-free, dairy-free life for the past four years. I’m constantly inspired by her dedication and love for real food and health. Let me tell ya, it’s way easier to live this lifestyle with a roomie like her. I love coming home to the smell of warm paleo banana bread or her famous blueberry muffins. It was that intoxicating smell (and taste) that initially gave us the idea of featuring some of her amazing recipes here on the blog. So, to kick off her first of many recipe features here on the Colour Journal, today Linds will be sharing her recipe for Paleo Blueberry Muffins! Enjoy!


 

Easter Sunday is coming up, and for many of us, that means family brunch! Maybe your whole family eats Paleo, but mine certainly does not! It can be a little difficult to get my parents and siblings on board with my alternative eating habits, and I really don’t want to make two separate brunch menus to appease everyone.

Fear not, friends! Now there is a solution to separate menus and added hours in the kitchen. These blueberry muffins will have EVERYONE loving a healthy brunch, from your processed sugar, dairy-loving brother to the blueberry muffin, connoisseur father and everyone in between! Now let’s get cooking!

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This week’s kitchen playlist: Brunch Cooking
Find me on Spotify (Lindsey Michelle Strong) to get the tunes behind the recipe!

ingredientsIMG_8864

Wet
1 room temp egg
½ tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil

Dry
1 shake of the salt shaker
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp coconut flour
5 tbsp tapioca flour
1 cup almond flour
½ cup of blueberries

instructions

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl with a whisk
  • Heat the coconut oil and the honey together in the microwave for 30 seconds or until both are smooth
  • Add in the vanilla and room temperature egg and whisk until smooth
  • Next, add in the dry ingredients. Starting with the smaller ingredients will allow them to be more thoroughly mixed in before adding in the flours
  • Whisk one shake of the salt shaker, baking soda, and cinnamon
  • Next add in the 3 flours and whisk until combined
  • Finally, fold in the blueberries. Feel free to add in more or less depending on your level of blueberry love. But do be careful not to add too many. Too many blueberries are likely to cause the muffins to crumble more easily
  • Fill your muffin tin with the batter. I like to use paper baking cups as they help the muffins to cook more evenly.

Let those babies cook! The muffins need to cook for approximately 20-23 minutes. However, as often happens with Paleo food, the top may cook faster than the insides. I recommend checking the muffins at 18 minutes. If you notice this happening, create a little foil tent for your muffins to encourage baking through without roasting the tops!

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quicktips

Don’t skip the tips! These may make your baking time a titch easier!

  • Run your measuring cup under hot water before you scoop out the coconut oil. This will keep the oil from sticking and make the cup easier to clean
  • Room temperature eggs keep the coconut oil from clumping. Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees, so contact with cold ingredients can cause clumping
  • Fill empty muffin slots with water. This helps the other muffins to cook more evenly.

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Thanks for stepping into my kitchen today!

Happy Easter and another fabulous day on your Paleo journey.

Linds

10 Tips for Planning Your Trip to Europe

If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you have an incredible trip to Europe coming up. I must admit, I’m a little envious. My month-long trip to Europe with my besties last summer was seriously one of the highlights of my life. I wish I could do a trip like that every year. I truly think about the memories we made every day! So, world-traveler, it’s time to get EXCITED and start PLANNING!

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Are you the planning type? Let’s be honest, planning a trip to Europe can seem pretty daunting if you aren’t type A. Luckily, I am, and planning this huge trip was, yes stressful, but also so much fun. We went to 5 different countries, 8+ cities, had to figure out the maze of transportation, and were working on a TIGHT budget. But hey, we did it and did it well. So friends, if you’re about to sit down and nail out your own trip, let me offer some advice to ease the stress. Here are some tips I learned after planning our own trip to Europe last year.

  1. Grab a friend and make some lists:
    Whether your traveling with your significant other or traveling with a group, put your heads together and brainstorm all the places you may want to visit on your trip. When we started planning, the first thing we did was browse Pinterest and see what countries really sparked our interest. It’s important to consider everyone’s contribution and make sure you hit places everyone wants to see. We crossed off places, added new ones, and finally had a concrete list that worked with our time frame. We opted for spending more time in less places. I highly recommend this. We had more time to experience the culture of each place, plus, it really cut down on our travel costs.
  2. Plan out your ‘musts’:
    As fun as it is leaving room to explore in each city (more about that on number 8), it’s so important to nail down the things you really want to see while in each city and country. For me, a day at the Vatican was a priority. Even though we only had 3 days there, we made sure to do all our research about this place we knew we wanted to see. It was a good thing we did, because we realized we were able to buy tickets online which saved us literally hours and hours of waiting time.hbkspain-38
  3. Figure out your budget – This is probably the hardest part of planning out a Europe trip – figuring out the budget. Depending on where you are in life, you may have a really luxurious trip, or a really budget-friendly trip like we did. Our budget for four weeks in Europe after purchasing our plane tickets was $2500 for four weeks. We had to sacrifice a little here and there, but overall this budget is completely do-able. We worked our butts off saving enough to do this trip and a trip like this was hands-down the best way to spend your money. You wont regret a penny.It’s important to know in advance where your money will be going. That’s a huge reason we decided to book the majority of transportation and stay before. That way, we already knew what we were spending and could better budget out our days accordingly.

    We mostly ate breakfast at home in the mornings, cooked dinner at home some nights (Shopping at local markets is an experience in and of itself. It really makes you feel like a local), shared plates at restaurants, and left a little wiggle room for nicer dinners. It’s completely do-able, you just have to get a little more creative when on a smaller budget. On average, we budgeted about 30 euro a day per person on food. Some days we spent more, some days we spent less, but it’s always nice to overestimate than underestimate.

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  4. Grab your type a friend and get ready to get detailed – As I mentioned above, I was the type A friend of the group, and I highly recommend that if you aren’t type A, to bring in someone who is. There are so many little details that need to be planned, so it really helps to have another person there who is a little more naturally inclined to notice them and help plan them out.Do your research on each city, noting different neighborhoods and places to go, researching if there’s anything you need to buy in advance. Getting an idea of what you’d like to do will really help you estimate how much you will be spending. A great source for me was pinterest. There are a ton of blogs that have laid out travel tips and expenses. See what I’ve pinned here, it may be of help to you!

    When researching transportation to and from each city, pay attention to every possible route. Sometimes, it may be cheaper to fly from Paris to Rome than from Rome to Paris. Seeing these difference will help you identify the best route for your trip. Additionally, be sure to check on prices every day. They regularly fluctuate.

  5. Pick one person to make most bookings and transactions – This was something that really worked well for us. I was usually the person to make the bookings for travel and stay because I was a big part of the planning process. It made things a lot easier, because instead of there being a lot of loose ends between travelers, everything is concise with one person. After the bookings (pre-trip), I just totaled up what I had spent and divided it by three. We used the square cash app to pay each other back.italy-39
  6. Book your stay – Everyone travels differently. I heard from some people that fine details like hostels and hotels can be booked on the fly, giving you flexibility while you’re there. Through my experience, I completely disagree. There was SO much stress and worry and time saved on our trip by having our stay pre-booked. We had one instance in which we didn’t know where we would stay for the night. Figuring out where we would stay in peak-season took so much time and energy, wasting time we could have been exploring the city! That being said, I recommend booking your stay (or as much of it as you can) before you hop on your plan to Europe. This is where setting your dates in step 4 comes in handy.Instead of hostels, like most of our fellow travelers did, we opted for airbnb’s. For some, hostels are a great way to meet new people, but for this trip, we really wanted quality time with each other, which a private apartment provided. This was seriously the best decision we could have made. It was so nice to have our own space to come home to, privacy and security for our belongings, and gave us the true cultural experience. In peak season, most of the time, staying in a hostel was equal-priced or more expensive than splitting an airbnb 3 ways.

    Sometimes, though, airbnb’s weren’t always so easy to book. When we just needed a place, Hotwire was an incredible resource. On hotwire, you put in where you are wanting to stay, and it gives you a list of hotels in the region without their names. The downside is that you don’t quite know what the hotel is called until you book it, but the upside is that you get a WAY cheaper price this way. It’s not like you’re booking in the dark though, when picking the place, it gives you the neighborhood it’s located in, price, and customer reviews. We had great experiences with it!

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  7. Book your transportation – For the same reasons I recommend booking your stay before your trip, I also recommend booking your transportation. Let me say this first: Figuring out trains in Europe was probably one of the hardest things to manuver. So, if you’re wanting to pull your hair out, you aren’t alone. It was definitely confusing. While planes were definitely a more comfortable route, traveling by train is so much fun.
    By train: For our train transportation, we ordered a Eurail pass. This pass MUST be ordered before your trip. The site can be pretty confusing, so really allow yourself time to sift through it and see what is the best option for you. Since we were going to less places for more time, an unlimited pass didn’t make sense for us. Instead, we did a select pass that allowed 4 trips. For the rest of the transportation we needed, we went by plane.
    By plane: Traveling by plane was definitely, for the most part, a more comfortable option since it was familiar. We did a lot of our flights through Ryanair. We heard some negative things about flying with them, but our trips with them were actually a great experience!
  8. Leave your days open for adventure – As much as I recommend planning ahead on the big things, be sure to leave each day open to adventure. Sure, there will be a few things in each city that are a must-see, but wandering around, adventuring, and exploring are half the fun! Savor each moment.hbkspain-30
  9. Make copies of your documents – Travel tip 101, be sure to make copies of all your documents or take a photo of them on your phone. Passport and credit card are important things to have copies of. Send pictures of these copies to relatives so that if you loose your phone, you have a backup!
  10. Take a deep breath – Planning a trip to Europe can be overwhelming and stressful,  I know firsthand. But this is going to be a trip you will remember forever. Take a deep breath and just know that regardless of if you have every wrinkle ironed out, this is going to be a trip for the books. Enjoy the process and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

I hope these tips helped you in your planning process! Now grab a cup of coffee, read through your favorite travel blogs, and get excited because you’re going to Europe!

Olivia Sue’s Nursery Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

For 9 long months we waited for little Olivia Sue Chamberlain to make her way into this world, and she finally arrived on January 19th, 2016. Olivia is Clayton’s new niece, and we have loved having a new little baby to love on and watch grow.

It was no surprise that her trend-setting parents went all out for her precious new nursery. They brought feminine and modern together in an effortless combination, and gave miss Olivia a room we’d all be pretty happy calling our own. Take a look:

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That gorgeous white mid-century modern changing table was actually a dresser from local shop 410 Vintage! They took a one-of-a-kind piece and made it their own.

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How sweet are these book shelves? Olivia’s parents, Bobby + Rachel, mixed in their old baby photos with various children’s books.

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This gorgeous floral wallpaper is the focus of the room, bringing in a modern, feminine feel for a new baby girl.

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We love you baby Olivia! Just let us know if you’re wanting a roommate because both you and your room are just too cute to pass up.

5 Podcasts for Your Work Week

Are you a fan of podcasts? I have never really been one to listen to podcasts regularly until this past year. I have found that podcasts are an amazing way to learn and be entertained while in the office. If you’re like me, working on the computer all week, it can sometimes get old to listen to that same playlist over and over. I’ve found that podcasts have expanded my knowledge on cultural and social issues, as well as brought inspiration and motivation to my daily life.

You can find podcasts on just about any subject, but one of my favorite things to listen to are interviews with people in the working world who have made an impact in some significant way. I love hearing about how people have gotten to where they are, the struggles they faced, and how they overcame.

I have a handful of podcasts that are on repeat during my work day, and I wanted to share them with you! Here are my top five favorite podcasts right now:

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1. Girlboss Radio: Did you guys read this book? Sophia Amoruso wrote about her journey to founding Nasty Gal, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world. I absolutely loved this book when I read it last year, and I was thrilled to find out she has now started a #girlboss podcast. On the show, Sophia interviews different women who are leading their own companies, starting brands, and more. I am constantly inspired by these woman who are truly paving the way for generations to come. My favorite podcast, currently!

IMG_82642. Stuff Mom Never Told You: This podcast is just that, stuff you wish your mom had told you that somehow you have to figure out on your own. That’s where this podcast comes in handy. The two hosts, Cristen and Caroline, decode all the random questions you may have about us ladies and gents. To give you a sample, recent topics include:
“Knitting”
“Dad Bods”
“Women Who Vape”
Laughing while learning is always a good method.

IMG_82743. After the Jump: Design blogger Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge hosts the podcast After the Jump. She conducts a series of interviews with creatives in a handful of industries, chatting about topics relevant today. Topics include:
“The Future of Print Magazines”
“Changing Pay Rates for Creatives”
“Change the World Through Design”
Unfortunately, the series ended in 2014 but there are over 100 episodes to sift through with a long list of interesting topics for creatives!

IMG_82724. Hillsong Sisterhood: I absolutely love this podcast. Maybe it’s not as much of a podcast as it is a compilation of sermons by Bobbie Houston, Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church and head of Sisterhood, the women’s ministry. Hands-down, this is my favorite go-to when I need a good dose of truth and biblical encouragement. She’s got the cutest personality and the funniest stories.

IMG_82675. This American Life – This American Life is a podcast I’m sure many of you are familiar with. I first heard about it through their addicting series ‘Serial,’ but soon came to find out, this is no new podcast. This weekly show is a journalistic program, featuring various memoirs, informational topics, and social issues. It’s a great source to learn more about a handful of topics that are going on in our world today. 

You can subscribe to any of the above podcasts through iTunes for free! Do you have any great podcasts to add to the list? I would love to add more to my library! Be sure to comment your favorites below!

*PS, excuse the blog right now. There are some errors happening with a few of my graphic elements on the side bar. Working to fix this week!