My 6 Favorite Dallas Spots 3 Months In

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Three months in Dallas? Hi? How? But also I feel like I’ve been here forever! I Three months seemed pivotal enough to document some of my favorite spots thus far. There are a couple repeats from this and this post that I wrote just one and two weeks in. Now three months later, many more places visited, still some of the same faves and still so many places to keep exploring.

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Louie’s
If you live in Dallas, this probably wasn’t the first place you’d think would be on my list, but on the flipside, if you’ve been to Louie’s then you understand. Louie’s is a complete hole in the wall on Henderson known for their pizza and martinis. They are more than just a pizza place, with salmon, a burger, sandwiches, and a filet on the menu, but word from the wise don’t stray from the thin crust build-your-own pizza, big salads, meatballs and crab claws to start! As for the martini’s, they were so hyped up and I thought they would convert me, but even dirty I just can’t sip on gin and pretend like I like it. Louie’s has been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so I’ll just leave you with that. Post-September Whole 30, I’m coming for ya Louie’s!

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Central Market
One of my favorite past times is wandering the aisles at a grocery store. No really. If I need to kill some time or if I’m bored, or if I should be doing a million other things, I’ll often find a reason to end up at the grocery store. I love to do my big shopping on Sundays, but about mid-week I need a pick-me-up and will go stroll down aisles to pick up a little something-something. This is a long way of saying now that Central Market is in my life, this grocery store meandering has heightened. I still love TJ’s, Whole Foods and Sprouts, but Central Market has s a m p l e s. And I mean samples. The bakery section is 100% my weakness and just gosh awful temptation while on Whole30 right now. They have bread of plenty to sample with this whipped butter that should just be sued it’s so good.

My Central Market faves are their fresh verde salsa, homemade tortillas, these crispbreads, the crazy selection of bulk bin items and winding through their maze of a produce section.

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Bishop Arts District
Bishop Arts is tucked away west of downtown and coins the phrase “the most independent neighborhood.” It is quint and has this little mountain town feel to it, reminds me of Colorado. Cute shops (hi All Good Things), and new restaurants are popping up left and right. I got to go to Paradiso last night and everything about it from the design, to the menu to the atmosphere was on point. Some other BA faves and places on my list are Melt Ice Cream, Tribal All Day Cafe, Serve, Lucia, Eno’s Pizza, Coco’s, Botanist and Good Companions. If you have a free Saturday or Sunday, spend it wandering around Bishop Arts!

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photo via Katy Trail

Katy Trail Ice House
I know Katy Trail is a little cliche Dallas, but it truly is my favorite spot in the city. I already wrote about it here! It’s great in the evening, its great during the day on the weekends, fun for watching games, great drinks (Summer Beer) and good food. It’s all outdoors, but you’ll see people in workout clothes just coming off running the Katy Trail, people with their dogs, people dressed up having come straight for work. It’s really great for any time of day or event.

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Honor Bar
Another cliche Dallas spot that I’ve mentioned before, but it’s just flat out good. The vibes, the food, the experiences I’ve had there have all been great. It’s in this corner spot of Highland Park Village with a patio that expands out a bit. It’s always crowded, but for good reason. The ahi tuna, the macho salad and their version of a ranch water make me drool just thinking about them. Props to the Hillstone restaurant group for finding what they are good at and sticking to it. Being in restaurants makes you really appreciate how others do it.

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Royal Blue Grocery
No one should be surprised that two grocery stores made it on this list. Royal Blue is the most charming little grocery and specialty food store, one location in Highland Park Village and one downtown. If you didn’t know, my end goal in life is to open something similar. Think Barefoot Contessa or the bakery Meryl Streep owns in It’s Complicated. Catch me in my 40s or 50s and hopefully that’s where you will find me.

Royal Blue is my current fix to fill my daydreams. Their groceries are wildly overpriced, well everything in there is, but since it’s not my everyday spot (unlike the yuppie Highland Park moms) I feel ok treating myself to a Royal Blue visit every once and a while. My recent Royal Blue crush is their turmeric latte. Just turmeric, ginger, cinnamon (hold the honey #whole30) and steamed almond milk! They also have a vegan cookie butter gelato that is, well, I think you can imagine how amazing it is.

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Honorable Mentions: Oishii, The Pilates Barre, Sachet, Parkhouse, Up On Knox, Javier’s, Highland Park Presbyterian, Eatzi’s, and Terelli’s.

It’s been a stellar 3 months in Dally. Here’s to the next however many months. ILY big D!

Annie

My Top 5

The go-to conversation starter in my inner circle as of late is what are your top 5. Top 5 movies first, which then leads into TV Shows. But, I also love to find out peoples generic top 5 things in life.  Here are mine.

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Movies: 
1.  Father of the Bride Part II (The part 2 part is very important. I love the first one but the second one reigns supreme)
2.  It’s Complicated
3.  You’ve Got Mail
4.  That Thing You Do
5.  Remember the Titans

TV Shows:
1.  Gilmore Girls
2.  Barefoot Contessa
3.  The Hills/Laguna Beach
4.  Parenthood
5.  Friday Night Lights

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In General: 
1.  Mornings (I sleep with my blinds open because I love being woken up by the sun. I’ve been an early riser my whole life. I used to get annoyed I couldn’t sleep in and now I love it. I love mornings so much I even wrote whole posts on them you can read here and here.
2.  Washington D.C.  My love for this city will never die. 
3.  Watching Food Network (especially on Saturday mornings in bed with a cup of coffee or tea)
4.  Cooking/Baking (duh)
5.  That feeling when you slip between the covers and lay your head on your pillow after a long day. 

Your turn. Let me here it in the comments below! 

Annie

What's In My Bag?

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I've always loved those articles in magazines "what's in their bag," that give you a peak inside what a celebrity carries in their purse. Maybe it's creepy that I enjoy knowing what somewhere totes around all day, but I'm also the weirdo that loves knowing what's in someone's fridge. It says a lot about a person.

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Purse: Who What Wear Mini Shopper

Snacks: RX Kids bar, these are the best purse size snack. I try to always have a bar or baggy of nuts in my car or purse. #alwayspacksnack I also often have tea bags in my purse and work bag. It's an easy way to cure the mid-day slump and cure my issue of always being cold. 

Brush: Conair mini brush. The one thing that is ALWAYS in my purse, and always gets transferred from day to evening bag too. A quick brush through your hair can really make you feel better.

Sunglasses: Cheaper than cheap from Forever 21. Despite the fact that I have a really good track record with sunglasses, I still can't bring myself to spend money on them. These were $3. 

Meds: Epi-pen, inhaler, Benadryl, allergies are fun! 

Gum: Extra Spearmint, each piece eaten in 1/3s cause I'm a freak. But hey, it makes a pack last almost 3 weeks, but the amount of gum wrappers I accumulate are uncanny. 

Lips: e.l.f Aqua Beauty Lip Stain in Dewy Berry and Rouge Radiance (creates this watercolor type lip stain that I love), Glossier coconut balm dotcom, MAC lipstick in twig, and Dior Addict Lip Glow (the coolest lip stain that enhances your natural lip color). 

Wallet: Mine is a discontinued style from SCOUT bags, but I love their stuff so much, find similar options here

This post idea originated back in the fall of 2014 when I was a senior in college. See my first "what's in my bag" here. Honestly not much has changed, at all. Same gum, similar wallet, cheap sunglasses, bright blue purse, and the same pink snakeskin hair brush is still going strong 4 years later. Is that gross?

What's in your bag?

Annie

Annie's Favorite Things Gift Guide

Raise your hand if you used to anxiously tune in to the Oprah Winfrey Show everyday near the end of November in anticipation of it being the "Oprah's Favorite Things" episode. You never knew what day it would air, and neither would the guests in the crowd, until Oprah and her elves would announce it was OPRAH'S. FAVORITE. THINGS!!!! Cue the crowd going wild because they knew they were about to rake in loads of presents that made it on Oprah's Favorite's list. I remember being in middle school turning the TV on at 4PM and going crazy when it would be this special episode. 

Oprah makes a list of her favorite things and then gives everyone in the audience one of each of those things. Ranging in price anywhere from $30 to $3,000+! RIP the Oprah Winfrey Show and long live the year when she gave everyone their very own VW Bug. "You get a car! You get a car!" 

I wanted to curate a gift guide for the blog this year. Inspired by Oprah, I bring you, Annie's Favorite Things! These are all things I own and love and want you to know about. They range in price and genre, fitting for stocking stuffers to nicer gifts.

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Click through the gallery below to shop the items on my list!

A little background: my Le Cruset makes me feel like Ina Garten (and yes mine is pink), these coil hair ties are everything and give you the perfect perky pony, I love my mini SCOUT wallet, it's perfect for going day to night (disclosure this isn't the exact one I have but they don't sell mine anymore).

The CocoKind Matcha stick is a magic dry skin healer/under eye de-puffer, this MAC lipstick in TWIG is my everyday/every night color. I love changing my Cinema Lightbox for the holidays or with different sayings, these Dolce Vita boots are maybe my most worn thing I've ever bought, the My Little Steamer is a must for every girl, peppermint essential oil gets doused over my forehead when I have a head ache, all over my tummy when I'm bloated and goes into my smoothies for a seasonal boost.

Rails plaid shirts are the softest shirts ever. I proudly own two and I'm flipping out over these pajamas they have this year. The Nutri Ninja is my most used kitchen gadget and makes perfect single size smoothies and protein shakes, these gray sneaks from Target are my best kept secret, the Healthy Human tumblers are a chic version of a Yeti and what I drink my water and smoothies and tea from errrrryday, keeps them ice cold or piping hot. Lastly this is the best (and cheapest) dry shampoo ever just make sure you get it in the "fresh" scent.

You get a Rails shirt, you get a Dolce Vita Over the Knee boot, you get a My Little Steamer!

Happy Holidays!
Annie

Easy Holiday Cheese Board

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So I was annoyingly stressed out these past two weeks thinking about all the holiday events coming up and all the things going on at work to get prepared for the holiday season that I didn't even want to do Friendsgiving. GASP! Friendsgiving is one of my favorite traditions of the past couple years. First headache was gone when my sweet friend Lexy said she would host. Second headache was gone when I decided to bring the easiest cheese board thanks to Hickory Farms

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Quick story time. Me and Hickory Farms go way back. Every year growing up, one of my dad's co-workers would gift his fellow employees with a Hickory Farms gift box. My sister's and I would anxiously await the evening when my dad would come home with the coveted Hickory Farms gift box. We would rip open the box, fight over who got to eat the little strawberry hard candies and then start sampling every meat, cheese and spicy mustard, completely ruining our dinner. 

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I'm often asked what my favorite food is, and struggle to muster up an answer. I could never answer that question with just one thing, but recently I've really been trying to nail down at least my top five favorite foods. So far chili has been put on my list, and after making this epic holiday meat and cheese board for Friendsgiving, it became apparent that cheese boards are also in my top five favorite foods. 

Not only do I love eating meat and cheese boards, I also love making them. But, I will admit going to the store and wandering the cheese aisle can be super daunting. With a million options, textures, colors, names etc. it's overwhelming deciding what cheese and meats to pair. With Hickory Farms Signature Party Planning Gift Box  the stress is gone. Cue the "easy" part of this holiday cheese board.

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Hickory Farms perfectly curates their boxes to make for a perfect holiday cheese board. The Signature Party Planning box consists of four cheeses, three meats and assorted mixed nuts. Exactly what I would purchase if going at it by myself at the store. These amounts will serve about 12 people. Or 10 hungry 20-something girls at Friendsgiving...oops!

My cheese board assembly tips:
-Cut each cheese a different way. Cubes, triangles, slices, crumbles...
-Bring in different textures such as mixed nuts, fruit, crackers, olives or pickles
-Be colorful. Use cheese and meats of different color to keep it visually pleasing.
-Get your greens in. Some kind of fresh herb to contrast all the orange and cream. I used bay leaves because they were on hand. 
-Include some kind of mustard, jam or spread

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Take a slight bit of the holiday stress off buy purchasing a Hickory Farms gift box for your next holiday gathering. Wow your friends and fam with this easy (and epic) cheese board when you show up for Thanksgiving. P.S. If you are last minute and don't have time to order something, and you are local to the OKC area, I know for a fact there is a Hickory Farms kiosk set up right now in Penn Square Mall. It is stocked with tons of meats, cheeses, mustards and pre-selected gift boxes. Cough Thanksgiving is in less than a week cough cough.

Happy holidays from my easy cheese board to yours!

Annie

Thank you to Hickory Farms for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.