Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Second Sunday Brunch Bunch: SMOKE

This Sunday, we hit up SMOKE for our monthly Brunch Bunch (we had to postpone it a week due to our crazy schedules).

The restaurant is located in the Belmont Hotel (technically, it is right next door), and is such a cool place. According to D Magazine, "the restaurant has an easy-going Austin vibe that draws both families and hipsters on the weekends." I didn't see many hipsters, but there was a weird dude taking pictures of everyone. And I totally got the Austin vibe...which of course, I loved. 

They don't take reservations for brunch, and the place was packed! But luckily, the weather was gorgeous, and we were able to enjoy our cocktails on the patio while we waited.


{Sarah, Lolly, and Laura.}


{Natalie (Sarah's co-worker who joined us this week), me, and Jill.}

Sarah ordered the Bloody Mary, which she said was "very good, not a premade mix, and cured her hangover." We also may or may not have made comments about the phallic nature of the jalepeño/carrot topper.

The rest of us ordered the mimosas, which were good, strong, and bottomless....can't really go wrong with that.


 I loved the restaurant and table decor. For example, each of our place settings included cute plates with different animals on them. Mine was a pig plate. 


And the tables also had adorable mini-cacti.


My favorite part was the lovely wall behind Lolly. The classic family photos add such a fun, kitchy touch.


{And yes, Lolly is fanning herself with one of the plates. She was having some hot flashes. I think it was the guy behind her rocking the awesome mustache.}

Anyway, on to the food. It was all really, really, really good.

Jill ordered the "Pulled Whole Hog BBQ Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Potato Cakes." She loved it. According to Jill, the pulled pork was great, and the sauce was nice and spicy. 


Laura and I both ordered the "Farm Eggs Cooked Your Way." With this dish, you get to pick one side, one bread, and one meat. Below is my plate...I got my eggs scrambled with cheese grits, a biscuit, and bacon. It was all simple food, but really well done. The cheese grits had a little kick to them, the biscuit was nice and flaky, and I loved the addition of the grilled asparagus and tomato. 

The bacon was also excellent. As Natalie put it, "the bacon was so good I even ate the fatty parts." I totally agree with her, because I normally don't like bacon unless it is super crispy and not fatty. 

I didn't manage to take a picture of it, but I also really loved the homemade strawberry and rosemary jam they served with the biscuits. That stuff would be good on almost anything. 


Lolly and Natalie both ordered the "Heavy Handed Blueberry & House Made Ricotta Cheese Pancakes with Vanilla Poached Apricots and Cream." Lolly also got a side of "Artisanal Style Pork Ham" and Natalie ordered the "Thick Cut Pork Belly Bacon." 



Sarah had the "Omelet with Salad & The Things Inside." She really liked it, but wished she had ordered the pancakes. 


And I have to agree with her. We all got a taste of the pancakes, and Lolly and Natalie totally won the ordering game. They were ridiculously good. 

This is what the plates looked like by the end of the meal. 


Next time...and there will definitely be a next time...I'm getting the pancakes and a side of bacon. And some cheese grits :). 



Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's 2013

In addition to tackling a craft this year, Ava also really enjoyed the Valentine's gifts she received, including...

A "da" card from Grammie and Papa. 


A Valentine's bow from her daycare teacher, and a sweet teddy bear from Grampsie and Nana. 




Her Bunny also came in town on Saturday to hang out with Ava, which also meant Josh and I could enjoy a fun date night. 

Complete with these lovely cocktails...


As well as a ridiculously delicious meal at Hattie's. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so good! 

Josh also did pretty well with these beautiful flowers :). 



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Park Playdate

With this fabulous weather in the middle of February, we had to take advantage today at the park. Ava was able to partake in her favorite park activities, including stick/leaf/bark collecting. 






Luckily, the Arnolds were able to join us as well. These dear friends are moving to Austin in a few weeks, and even though they won't be that far away, we will miss them so much!




Ava and Henry had so much fun hanging out at the park. 









I love leg hugs!



Practicing her yoga poses.



Henry is such a cutie!


"Are you trying to steal the truck or my man? Either way...not cool!"


"I found a leaf for you, Henry."

All that playing made Ava hungry, and she found some kind strangers with snacks to share. 


"Did you say Cheddar Bunnies?"



"Woohooo!"




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Crafting

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there!

Ava was only 11 days old last Valentine's, so making/sending cards was not on the top of my to-do list at the time. This year, however, I was determined to make some adorable cards to send to Ava's grandparents. 

So I busted out some construction paper and white paint to make a few handprint cards. Luckily, the weather was nice enough last weekend to allow us to use the paint outside. 

(Please excuse both of our outfits...they were just-in-case-the-paint-is-not-as-washable-as-it-claims-to-be clothes.)


First, we got down the (very messy) handprints...


Then I let them dry...


While Ava ran around collecting leaves...


Then, I cut around her adorable handprints in a heart shape using scalloped scissors...


And glued them onto more construction paper along with a "Happy Valentine's" greeting. 



 Considering this was my first attempt at crafting with Ava, I am pretty happy with how they turned out. 

And I think her grandparents were quite pleased as well :). On that note, I apologize to all of Ava's aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents...a one-year-old attention span means that we only had time to get three sets of handprints, and thus, only grandparents got cards this year. 



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weekend Adventures + Pinkeye Strikes Again

I am still working on a (very long) post about Ava's first birthday party, but in the meantime, here is a little bit about our fun weekend and not-so-fun beginning of the week. 

Our weekend adventures began with Ava's first trip to Taco Joint. Per her doctor's suggestion, we waited until Ava turned one to try certain foods that are more likely to cause allergic reactions. With tomatoes, strawberries, and milk already crossed off the list, egg whites were up next. And what better way to try eggs for the first time than in breakfast taco form...especially from Taco Joint. 

I broke up the taco into pieces, and she dug in. 


Nom, nom, nom. Get in my belly. 


To say that she thoroughly enjoyed it was an understatement. But the sweet girl still offered me some. 


 We continued the egg-stravaganza on Sunday with our first trip to Mecca. The food was what you would expect for a diner-type restaurant, not great but pretty decent (note that we didn't order their famous cinnamon roll, which may have altered my assessment). 

Ava loved our table location, because it allowed for her to great everyone that passed by.


She also discovered the awesomeness of crayons.  


After lunch, we rounded out our fun Sunday with Valentine's crafts (more to come on that tomorrow) and a trip to the park. 

This girl loves her some swinging!


However, after all that fun, Ava woke up on Monday with a runny nose and cough as well as a lovely case of pinkeye. Since this is a complete daycare no-go, I stayed home with her on Monday and Tuesday. 

This is fourth time in the past year Ava has had pinkeye, so you would think that I would be a pro at the whole eye drop situation by now. However, trying to put drops in a toddler's eyes may be one of the most difficult tasks I have ever attempted. She shuts those baby blues so tight that it is almost comical. The fact that I was able to get anything in there was a miracle. 

I also had to wipe her poor little nose so much that she eventually got the hang of it and wanted to wipe mine as well :). 


And on top of all that, I realized that Ava's top left molar was coming in. As a result of either the tooth or the eye infection, the poor thing started running a fever. 

She barely had enough energy to play. Pobrecita. 


And she spent most of Monday afternoon like this...


Ava was so pitiful, and I hate when she feels bad. But I'm not going to lie...the snuggles were pretty wonderful. 


Luckily, she was feeling much better yesterday, and her eyes were all cleared up today...so off to daycare and work we went. 

Fingers crossed that I don't get it next! 




About Me

My name is Catherine, but most of my friends call me Cat. I was born and raised in Austin, went to TCU, and ended up in Dallas for law school (where Josh and I met). I decided that being an attorney was not my cup of tea and pursued a career in legal marketing instead. I am now a mother of two attempting to balance family with a full-time job, which is always an adventure. I love: my sweet babies, handsome husband, very large family, and fabulous friends; trying new restaurants; wine; TCU football; holidays; cooking; pajamas; La Croix; reading; coffee; podcasts; Central Market; carbs; the beach; mani/pedis; Anthropologie; binge-worthy TV shows; trivia; French 75s; Pinterest; cheese boards; The Ticket; dancing; Sprinkles cupcakes; The Texas Rangers; fresh flowers; thunderstorms; naps; Tex-Mex; the Texas Hill Country; porch-sitting; ranch dressing; throwing parties; and my job. I hate: working-mom guilt; snakes; heights; waking up early; ignorant people; stomach bugs; paper cuts; green fruit; bad hair days; snoring; the sound of people eating (Misophonia); Miracle Whip; scary movies; bad drivers; pulpy OJ; trimming baby fingernails; and working out. I think that sums it up.

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