Another Day At the Arboretum

Michael and I went to the Arboretum last year closer to Christmas time.  Somehow, through some amazing connection Michael has, we got two free tickets to go again this year.  And this time, we were able to go with another couple who we have grown pretty close to this year.

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But the best part of the whole trip was that the other couple, our friends Steven and Lizzi, got engaged!  They have a connection with waterfalls in their relationship, so he proposed right in front of the waterfall there at the Arboretum.  But we didn’t just go as witnesses to this event, Michael brought his DSLR camera and took pictures!

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This picture was actually taken at the beginning of our visit, and the proposal happened as we were leaving, but it was at the same waterfall.  Michael was so nervous about taking the pictures, but he did such a great job.  He said he probably wouldn’t do something like this professionally.  It was too stressful!

Afterward, we had brunch at this place near the Arboretum called Another Broken Egg.20170916_105055.jpg20170916_110052.jpg

That’s me with the bride to be!

The food was amazing.  It had a bit of a New Orleans flare, which being from New Orleans made me so excited.  I had the Floridian Omelet, which had crabmeat and cream cheese, along with grits and an English muffin.  And, since I saw it on the menu, I had to order a half order of beignets, which I ended up having one and taking the rest home.  They weren’t like Cafe Du Monde, but they were pretty good. The omelet was amazing.  I enjoyed every single bite.  Everything was perfectly cooked.  I highly recommend this place and hope to go back sometime!

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Food aversions haven’t really kicked in yet, and I hope they don’t.  Although in the past, seafood has always been okay for me.  It’s usually chicken that I don’t like or cooking meat.  Morning sickness has arrived, though, but it’s been manageable thus far.  Although I’m still pretty early, so I don’t want to assume anything yet!

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Weekend Date Nights

Hello, Everyone!

So, not much has been going on in the Vendetti household except, of course, the big news we shared on Friday.  To say that I’m a ball of anxiety is a bit of an understatement.  It’s been a regular, daily, sometimes hourly, talk with God to calm my nerves.  My husband has been very, very sweet which has made the whole waiting game that much better.  Still, I’m ready for an ultrasound already!

In the meantime, I came across these gift cards in a box in my closet, and I thought, why not take advantage of these so we get out of the house and spend some time just the two of us?

So, the night I found out I was pregnant, we chose to go to Chili’s Grill & Bar.  We don’t usually go to the more franchise-type places since there are so many options to eat in the DFW metroplex, but since we had the gift card, why not?

 

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I chose the 6 oz Honey-Chipotle Shrimp & Sirloin because I liked the vegetables that went with it, and I love both shrimp and steak.  It was on the spicy side, but the vegetables were good (I got the potatoes without bacon, due to my pork allergy).

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The steak was thin but cooked through.  The shrimp and the asparagus were probably the best part.  There were large hunks of garlic underneath the steak, which I thought was weird.

Then, last Saturday, we decided to do the stereotypical thing and go to Olive Garden.  I can’t remember the last time we have been to this restaurant.  It was still hopping busy, so they must still be doing really well.

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I got the Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo because it had steak (iron) and spinach (folic acid).  I literally made my choices based on my pregnancy.  The lighting was not as good in the Olive Garden, so this was the best picture.

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Honestly, it took a while for the food to get there, and I had their version of chicken and dumpling soup beforehand as well as a bread stick.  So most of this went home, and I enjoyed it the next day.  If I ever go back, I probably will just get the soup and salad.  The steak was thin (which makes it funny when they asked me how I wanted it cooked.  I couldn’t imagine they could do anything less than medium to medium well for these.  Of course, I chose medium well both times).  The spinach was swimming in the Alfredo which I could have done without.  It was good for Olive Garden, though.

Surprisingly, we still have several gift cards left, but we will probably hang on to them for some time later down the road when I can’t cook or when Michael needs to just pick something up.  I forgot how heavy these meals can be.  I definitely prefer cooking at home now or eating at local restaurants, even though we received good service both times.  Still, it was a wonderful treat.  We had a great time!

Our 2017 Labor Day

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Since last week was a rough one for us, we intentionally decided to not make plans for Labor Day.  In holidays past, we would visit family or have friends over, but this year, we just wanted to have a day in.

One of the unique things (at least to me) of living in Texas is from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are flags at the entrances of all the neighborhoods.  I took advantage of the beautiful day by walking around the neighborhoods and trails near our house.20170904_114215

And then, in the evening, Michael grilled out with hamburgers.  While I hung out with the pups in the backyard.

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So, we had a laid-back, chill evening just with our little family.  Hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day!

Beautiful Day For A Wedding

This past weekend, one of Michael’s coworkers got married.  And it was incredibly beautiful.  We realized that it’s been a while since we have attended a wedding, as most of our friends are now parents, so this was a real treat to get all dressed up.20170813_163342.jpg

The venue was gorgeous.  It was The Room on Main in Dallas.  It just looked like a simple building on the outside, but when we got to the sixth floor and walked through the doors, the room was absolutely breathtaking.

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Incredibly high, cove ceilings with large, original windows overlooking the downtown area.

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The bride’s dress was a beautiful mermaid cut with a long train.  And the bridesmaids wore elegantly draped dresses.  This was the only picture I took of the wedding because I didn’t want to interfere with the photographers.  At one point, there were a lot of phones out, and it just made me think of all those articles written by wedding photographers, begging for people not to ruin those pictures.

Then, the curtains lifted to reveal the reception area, identical to the first side with windows all the way around.  At each table setting, there was this beautiful little note coming from the bride and groom.

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The food was delicious.  There was cake and dancing and laughter.  It was perfect.  And the view from the windows was spectacular.

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We were so blessed to be witnesses to this event.  We wish all the best to the bride and groom!

 

The Dark Tower: A Review

I haven’t read this book series by Stephen King, and truthfully, when I walked into the theater, I had forgotten the series was by Stephen King.  I probably would have skipped it if I had known (I won’t even watch the IT trailer.  That thing scarred my childhood).  But I’m glad I didn’t.

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We went to the first showing at our favorite theater.  They were serving brunch and it was delicious.  It was also cheaper, as most first showings of the day usually are.  And it wasn’t that crowded either.

But the movie, itself, was phenomenal.  Talking to Michael afterward, we both agreed that if the Marvel and DC blockbusters didn’t play this summer, this would have easily been our favorite of the season.

The story follows this boy who is being haunted by these dreams of a dark tower, and a series of scenes that involve a man in black and a gunslinger.  Everyone thinks that they are just a reaction to trauma and loss in his own life.  But when the dreams become a reality, he goes on an adventure to another world in order to save his own.

It is not a scary movie, despite being based on a series of a very popular horror/thriller author.  To me, it was a straightforward, good vs bad adventure.  The plot was simple.  There were some graphic-ish scenes of violence, but not gory at all.  I’m thinking of one character who dies and you can see the hole on the forehead.  But no blood or guts.  The bad guy mostly killed by telling the person to stop breathing or by setting them on fire.  But you don’t see them on fire.

Idris Alba and Matthew McConaughey were amazing.  McConaughey wasn’t playing the kind of role I’m used to seeing from him, but he did really well.  It made me want to know more about the man in black, where he came from and why he was so bent on destroying the tower.  But perhaps that’s the point.  To get people to read the book series.

This was our last movie of the summer season, and I feel like we ended on a high note. On our way home in the car, we listed our favorites. It came in after Spider-man: Homecoming and Wonder Woman as a strong number three.  Definitely, a recommendation in the theaters or for a night at home.

Going to Downtown McKinney

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I’ve talked about Downtown McKinney before in my blog.  It’s probably my favorite place in the DFW area.  I like the food here, the people.  It’s just a great place all around.  It’s also a great place to take pictures, and just down the road, they have a wonderful farmer’s market.

But recently, I headed to this area to check out their home decor.

I went to several of the shops, and if I’m honest, a lot of them were repetitive.  And a lot of them were like walking through an Etsy shop, but like the same one over and over again.  Halloween decor was starting to show up on the shelves, and this pillow was in at least two, maybe three of the stores – for the same 12 dollar price.12915

Of course, I love the pillow and the reference, just disappointed about the lack of variety in a lot of these stores.  But I did find some stores that stood out from the rest.

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The Antique Company Mall felt a lot like a mercantile or a flea market where the sellers own booths to sell their stuff.  A lot of it didn’t really seem antique, more trendy antique, if that makes sense.

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I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to really search through this particular store, but I’m hopeful that you might find one of a kind finds buried somewhere in this place.  There was a first edition or signed books section in the very back, though none of the books really stood out to me, personally.  It was still a cool place to peruse.

Another store I enjoyed walking through was My Favorite Room.  The name of the store, again, pulled me in, but I enjoyed this store more than most of the ones I had visited that day.

It was gorgeous, with grays and creams outfitting most of the decor.  There were linens in the back and these sewing mannequins everywhere in various states of decorative disrepair.  The only downside, like a lot of these stores, was that it was way too expensive.  I suppose one of the reasons that everything is priced high-end is because the rent for these spaces is expensive as well.  But I was afraid to touch anything in this store.

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This sign pulled me into the store because I love a lot of European decors, especially French or Italian influence, and this store did not disappoint. There were a lot of big pieces but none of it seemed like the other stores.  There were survey maps of England in the back.  And the store smelled amazing (they sell the candles that you smell).  The downside is that the amount of stock seems limited and high priced, but there were a lot of great finds.  The only picture I took was of the French pots in the window because I plan to go back for a few of them to put on my herb garden on my windowsill.

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And I plan to go back soon, anyway, because as I was walking through the stores, I came across Eclair Bistro that has a jazz club inside!  I’ve never been to one, so I’m hoping to convince Michael to take me soon.

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Despite the overpriced items and the repetitive products, I still thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Downtown Mckinney.  Every store I walked into, I was greeted by the people who work there.  They really seem to have a passion for their stores and the things that they sell.  I hope to visit other downtown areas in DFW in the near future, but this is still one of my happy places!

We Escaped!

One fabulous thing we did this weekend was participating in an escape room puzzle game at Escape The Room in Dallas for a friend’s birthday.  For those of you familiar with this particular franchise, we did The Apartment.  It was so much fun.

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Of course, I can’t tell you anything about the game, itself.  I don’t want to spoil it for people because it is quite satisfying to get out before the sixty minutes are up, but I can tell you the basic rules.

You don’t need to use brute force to pry anything up.  Anything nailed down is supposed to be nailed down.  Nothing needs to be hotwired.  I thought that rule was hilarious.  I can’t imagine a number of people who have tried to hotwire a piece of electronics in the room.

Also, of course, no pictures inside the room.  Even the most innocent picture may unintentionally reveal something about the room.

Also, every now and then, the person who is watching in another room will send clues through the TVs or will play applause noises when we get close to figuring out a puzzle.  Paying attention to those cues really helped us.

My own advice is this.  Don’t overthink the puzzles.  It’s not like the impossible quizzes online.  These are pretty straightforward for the most part.

The one thing I will say about our specific experience was that one of the clues or puzzles wasn’t working right, and when we kept trying to solve it, the clue master finally came on the speakers and said that it wasn’t working.  And that it would be better to just focus on the next clue on the TV.  I feel like we might have had a better score if we didn’t have that hiccup, but we still got out before the end of time so I can’t really complain.

The staff was really awesome.  Our clue master was great.  One from our group accidentally hit the panic button that automatically ends the game, but he let us continue since he saw it was an accident.  I’m so glad we had such an understanding staff member looking out for us.

I want to do it again, as soon as possible.  We had another group with us, and it was so fun working together with them.  I would highly recommend the location in Dallas, but I’m sure they are all a lot of fun!

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