Fort Worth, TX Recap!

Hey Ya’ll! Long time no chat! I am so behind on these posts, comments, everyyything- so I apologize but I will get caught up very soon 🙂 I have so many good memories to record and share. I am taking us wayyy back in time to December 15th when I arrived in Fort Worth, Texas. My mom and step dad, Pete, live there and my sister, Halston, flew in as well. DJ had to stay in Cali for work! I already recapped San Antonio, which was a weekend trip, so this post is the bookends of that weekend!

Thursday (12/15)

I woke up in the morning sick as a dog. I definitely caught whatever had been going around. DJ took me to the airport, and we realized this would be the longest we would be apart since we got married. Anyway, I comically lugged my three suitcases through the airport, unable to keep them stacked in a way that I could physically move them in unison. I’d go five steps then *flop* the one would topple over, another five steps then *flop*- I continued dropping the luggage every few feet and certainly was someone’s entertainment for the day. I honestly didn’t care, I just wanted to get through security to my darn gate. I handed off my checked luggage and was finally free from the luggage juggling circus act. Once through security, I started craving soup more than I can ever remember in my whole life. The chills were pretty bad. I walked through the airport strip and had about given up on finding soup and instead started hunting down my gate. When I was close to my gate I saw the San Francisco Soup Company and was never so ecstatic to see a soup place in all my years.


I ordered their summer corn chowder and it hit.the. spot. It took that achy chill out of my bones and made the rest of the wait bearable!


On the flight I read the latest issue of the American Journal of Nursing, wrote some Christmas cards, and used the tray table as a pillow. What do you guys do on flights?

After I landed, my family and I exchanged hugs and “Ah! I don’t want to get you sick”(s) and “I don’t care!”(s), then hit the road to head to Keller (a suburb of Fort Worth). On the way we stopped by the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. My sister’s boyfriend, Kevin, was there for one more night and we said he couldn’t leave without seeing this place. It’s quite the spectacle! It’s one large hotel, but they deck it all out for Christmas. You know the saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas”? I’m pretty sure that originated with this hotel. It’s worth a quick walk through if you are ever in the area!


Cuties!!!! (I was out of commission for pictures; I basically looked like a walking zombie).


They have an imitation San Antonio Riverwalk on the lower level. It’s even completed with Mexican restaurants all around it. How cool is that!??!


Once home, I was greeted by my puppy, Jade, that I haven’t seen in so long.


On Friday (12/16) Kevin left (sad day!), and I had my hair did (insert hand flip emoji) at a Lemongrass Salon by Aveda while my mom and sister shopped. I accidentally missed my appointment that I had scheduled in California (I thought it was 1 but it was 11), so my mom graciously helped me schedule this one. I still was not feeling 100%, so it was a good day to knock this out. Getting your head massaged and roots covered is a sure fire way to make a girl feel better 😉 I swear by Aveda salons for a good blonde!


Friday night mama Jill whipped up a delicious dinner!!! It was cauliflower Arancini via GreenChef, and we loved it! However, we both agree after using both services that Blue Apron is still the better of the two.


I liked using the leftover cauliflower bites to dip in hummus. They were even better the next day.

That night we went to the movies. I LOVE the movie theaters with the Cafe and Bar areas. We watched Collateral Beauty. I thought it was just OK, but the rest of my family loved it. Either way it was great family time and sparked good conversation. I won’t give a full synopsis- but if anyone has seen it I would love to hear your thoughts!


Saturday morning (12/17) We left first thing in the morning for San Antonio!!!!!!!! You can read all about our Saturday morning to Sunday evening here.

Monday (12/18) was a chilllllllll day filled with sleeping in, a workout at the local recreation center with my mama, baking Christmas cookies, and sushi for dinner. A perfect day if there ever was any! The last couple times we have been in Fort Worth have been pretty tourist packed, so we decided to take it easy this round and just relax- a word that isn’t really in my vocab too often.

At breakfast, the little stinker put on her sweet begging face. Sorry, Charlie, I like my toast too doggone much to share.


Christmas Bakin’! I wish I could take credit for any of this, but Mama Jill was the baking wizard all the way. Her coconut macaroons are the BOMB (they are the white morsels). And there is truly something about homemade rice krispy treats!


Tons of sushi from Kroger with seaweed salad and asian thai salad was on the agenda for dinner. (I know grocery store sushi may not sound super appealing, but I have never been disappointed!).


After sushi, we went over some family friends’. I met them last spring when I was in town and had a ball with them. I couldn’t wait to hang out again. Their house is the most festively decorated home I have ever seen. I think the said they have eighteen Christmas trees total? Each one is decorated with a specific ornament theme. For example, they have a Christmas tree with only shoe ornaments, another with only wine bottle ornaments, another with only santa ornaments, etc.; it was an actual winter wonderland.


She has no idea I snapped this, but I snuck a picture of this classy lady!

Also we had carolers stop by, and they were the most precious two little girls in the world.

Tuesday (12/20)

This was lounge day round two! We watched Netflix, home videos, Hulu, and grazed all day long.


My family hasn’t let me live this clip down for years. This is Halston and I. I was NOT a nice big sister!!! Sorry, Hal!!! Thanks for not holding this against me. Love u!

Here is a picture of my mama’s homemade guac that I mentioned in the San Antonio post!


For dinner she made roasted onion, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and cranberries with a maple glaze. YUM!


Every single night us three girls hot-tubbed, chatted, and sipped on wine. It was perfection. Pete was so sweet to encourage us to have our girl time.


The neighbors next-door just had a baby, so we dog-sat a couple times in the evenings for them to lighten their load. This video makes me belly laugh every time I watch it. It is of one of the dogs (the most lovable Pitbull in the world) thoroughly enjoying a tummy rub. Yes- that is a dog making that noise. My mom at the end of the video goes, “Why are you crying, Buster?!” *That’s the dog’s name 😉

Wednesday (12/21)

Halston, my mom, and I woke up and did Insanity in the living room. All ya’ gotta do is move a few couches out of the way and you’ve got a nice gym!!


Followed by shenanigans.


Jadey baby didn’t feel up for the workout. Also- what a stinking diva. She literally has her bed on the bed. Spoiled pup, I tell ya what.


After our big family workout, we went to brunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe per my stepdad’s suggestion. I think I thanked him at least ten times for suggesting this place, because it was one of the BEST brunchy places ever. Ugh, I say that every time, but I do mean it!


They had such a uniquely delicious selection of food, and their coffee was served in handcrafted stone mugs. Doesn’t get much better than that.


My mom and Pete said we needed to try the Beignet doughnuts. These are like the best-donuts-you’ve-ever-had and then some. SO. GOOOD. And they are served with a honey marmalade. I donut know how I have gone my whole life without them. And I donut know how I have gone so long without making an awful pun. You’re welcome.


Us girlies tried the skinny omelette which had herbed egg whites with blanched asparagus, roasted red peppers, green onions, goat cheese and roasted garlic cloves with an english muffin and a fruit dish. They seasoned it with the most palatable herbs!!!! My mom and I placed our bets on what they were, and we actually nailed it! Thyme, rosemary, and parsley. If you’ve never tried that on an omelette, DO IT! It’s extraordinary, or shall I say “Egg-straordinary”! Ok, ok, I’m done now 😉


Pete chose the lemon ricotta pancakes. He graciously offered us all a bite, and obviously I graciously accepted a big ole’ one. My sister gets mad because she says when I “try” something, I end up eating half of it. But, hey, tomat-oh, tomah-toe. You say “try”, I hear “sample half the plate”. Anyways, these were lemony ricotta-ey pancakey perfection.


Wednesday night we had the Candlelight celebration at church. It worked out perfectly because this was our “faux” Christmas Eve. Although we couldn’t celebrate actual Christmas day all together, the fact that we could go to this candlelight service definitely made it feel like a true Christmas Eve celebration. It was moving, and I love seeing the sanctuary lit up by candlelight.



When we came home we had apps while we finished up cooking dinner! The cheese was a mix of vegan and regular. I truly could not tell the difference between which one was vegan and which one was not. Usually good vegan cheeses are hard to come by, but this stuff was a facsimile; it blew my mind! We could not get enough!

Fun tip: If you need a fancy, yet incredibly easy, appetizer- try doing pita crackers + hummus + roasted red pepper + roasted onion + a drizzle of balsamic glaze.


Although DJ wasn’t able to actually be with us, we still hung his stocking!!!


It was nice to sit around and enjoy our apps around the gorgeous tree. It’s these moments that define the word “content” for me.


Dinner started with goat cheese “croutons” atop a salad with pears, pecans, and mixed greens. THIS. This is going to be a tradition.


Momma made ribs for Pete… yes, that whole thing was for Pete considering none of us eat meat. LOL. The girls had a sesame crusted tuna. I forgot to take a picture because I was a bit ravenous!


Dessert followed with my mom’s marveeeeelous Christmas cookies and my step dad’s famous pumpkin crunch which I am beyond bummed that I don’t have a picture of. We gobbled that thing up so quick! It’s one of our favorite parts of Christmas. It’s truly something I look forward to year round.


We ended the night with a dip in the hot-tub per usual.


On Thursday (11/22) we had our “faux” Christmas Day!!!!! It was a magical morning followed by a breakfast of eggs, toast, and BEER JELLY! I found these on UncommonGoods for Pete. We had fun sampling all of them! Uncommon Goods is an AMAZING site for unique gifts for the family. I find most of my gifts here each year!



Annnnnd my stocking, as well as Halston’s, was stocked with five gum, NO COW bars (lemon meringue- the best), and Quest bars. We may have a bit of an obsession to say the least…


After opening gifts and having breakfast, I went for a nice long run. Unfortunately, the sun didn’t want to peak through too much, but it was still enjoyable. I lived in Texas in the Summer of 2015 before traveling to India, so the familiarity feels like home, even down to the running trails.


In the afternoon I ran a couple errands with Mama Jill

You know you are in Texas when…


That afternoon we had apps round two!


For our “Christmas day” dinner, we started with pear salads with goat cheese, toasted almonds, cranberries, and mixed greens. I made my cauliflower mashed potatoes! I promise I will post those at some point! They were a big hit.


We also had stuffed vegan acorn squash with fresh cranberries!



My mom also made regular meatballs for Pete


And we cannot forget my most favorite dish of the season: Sweet potato praline . YUHHHHMMM.


And what is any holiday meal without green bean casserole? She made it healthier too by substituting the cream of mushroom for light and low sodium. We could not even tell the difference!


This perfect Christmas dinner was followed by more hot tub & wine!


Friday (11/23) I woke up early to go to the local recreation center in Keller to get a workout in before getting ready to head to the airport. My sister had a different flight than me (a much earlier one), so she was landing in Ohio as I was taking off. This is how I caught up on reading everyone else’s blogs from the week! People probably think I’m such a crazy ellipticallyng (spelling?) with a laptop, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!


When my mom got back from the airport, I finished packing up and then we decided we had time for one last lunch before heading out. She recommended a favorite of her’s and Pete’s in town, Devivo Bros. Eatery. It is considered rustic comfort food, but has an Italian flare! So essentially all the good things..


We split the Kale salad with fresh kale, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, crispy tortilla strips and candied almonds tossed in a jalapeño ranch dressing as well as the white bean tomato basil soup.


It all hit the spot perfectly, and I was so thankful for this small chunk of time we could treasure before my flight.


Isn’t she darling?!

Time to head back to OH-IO.

I will recap that soon! Since DJ couldn’t join us on our fort worth adventures this year I figured why not include a few from last year?!? 🙂


This is from when we visited the Fort Worth Stockyards. Such a fun place if you ever get the chance! Next time I go back to Fort Worth I am going to do a travel post about them.


And a trip wouldn’t have been complete without absurd amounts of sushi.


Thanks for hanging in there with me through this crazy long post!

I will do a quick holiday post recap once I am back 🙂 DJ and I have are currently waiting for our 6 am flight and have been up since 3 am! EEEK!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year,

xo <3


60 thoughts on “Fort Worth, TX Recap!

  1. Merry Christmas- one more time- and Happy New Year! Wishing you, DJ and your family a wonderful 2017 filled with an abundance of love and joy…and sushi, hot tubs, wine, goat cheese…

    1. Thank you so much, Jena!!!!!!! It was so good to see you by the way 🙂 I am looking forward to opening a certain bottle of wine tonight! 😉 YUM! Wishing you sooo many blessings in this new year! Also- I am itching for the third book!!!!

    1. Hahah I am just terrible about making short posts throughout the week like I should so they end up being sooo long 😂😂😂 I just LOVE the Gaylord Texan!!! Have you ever stayed there? It’s on my bucket list to actually stay there sometime!

      1. Never stayed there as I live about 5 minutes away lol but love to go around the holidays when they have the ice exhibit and also for brunch etc! So fun and so much to do at the resort with family and friends. Glad you were able to go!

      2. I knew you lived in Texas but that is SOOOO close!!!!!! How fun!!!!!! We heard the ice exhibit was awesome, but never made it. Maybe next year! Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s, Chelsea!

  2. I loved reading about your visit with your family! Such a wonderful time. It would have been nice if DJ was with you ( I think you missed him lots) Loved the added pics at the end. You guys are sweet! Your Mama is adorable. Love all the special food and fun she planned for you. The Christmas tree and Christmas dinner looked so lovely. And…sushi and wine and hot tub every night..sound simply wonderful and relaxing! ENJOY the rest of 2016 <3

    1. Hehe I did miss DJ quite a bit!!! Could you tell?!? 😉 It was so strange being away from him for that long (although it was really only a little over a week!). We always say that my mom’s house is the ultimate vacation because it’s one of the only places I feel I can 100% relax (Plus all the good food & dessert isn’t a bad bonus, of course! ) We are so thankful that we could have that time together. And thank you, Anna! Enjoy yours too big time!!!!!!!! <3 I can't wait to catch up on your posts so soon!!

    1. Aww ! Did you used to live there?!?! It was a wonderful time. It’s hard not to have a good time in Texas, right?!? I hope you have an absolutely wonderful New Years Eve, Jess!!!!

      1. Thanks, yes. I lived all over Texas all my life until just the past couple of years. It’s hard to have to raise my children somewhere else, but that’s how life works. 😉 Yay, for new adventures, though.

      2. Yes- that is a great perspective! I just realized you have a personal blog- I am so excited to follow along with that tooo! Here’s to New Adventures in 2017!

  3. My eyes are sooo full after taking in all that FOOD! Girl, you know how to eat!!!! But it all makes sense now because NOW I know how Chef Mack started, it’s in your blood!!!! I have to ask, what’s that white layer you’re putting on your toast? Yogurt? Whatever it is, it looks SO good and I plan on leaving work, heading to the grocery store- buying whatever that is, and strawberries to make it lol Anddd what a brilliant idea adding sprinkles to rice crispy treats…IDK why I never thought to do that considering I dub myself the sprinkle princess 😉 Now I need to move onto your hair! It is so on point, such a perfect little blondie, and did they blow it out too because it looks AMAZING in those photos- all that volumeee, its so luscious!!!!! Your family look like such sweet people, again, now I know how you got to be the sweetest girl…it just runs in the family! Also I love how you posted past photos of you and DJ on the holidays, definitely cannot leave him out 🙂 So glad you had a great holiday and got to spend it with your family!

    xo, JJ

    1. Hey Hey girlfran! When I was making this post I realized it was like 85% food once again. Hahaha. And you are toooo kind! I only aspire to be as good of a chef as she is, but you can imagine the many many many phone calls she receives —“Mom, can I put this ____ in the oven?” “Mom, how do you know when pork is done cooking”.. etc. etc. She’s my personal Google for cooking. And ohhhh my goodness you have got to try this toast— It’s Ezekiel bread (I like the cinnamon one) with Siggi’s on top (Fage works or just plain Greek yogurt too), then top with granola, fresh or dried fruit of choice, and a sprinkle of Stevia or sugar. It’s my go to every single day. It’s amazing with coffee too.

      And with the hair—- I was soooo excited, I have such orangy-tones that it is SUPER hard for me to get a good blonde that doesn’t look brassy, so I was pumped! She did style it at the end but just by a blow dryer (Is that considered a blow out?! Haha shows what I know!). But thanks so much for getting excited about that with me 🙂 I only wish I could make my hair work like that on the daily.

      I am SOOO behind on reading your posts, and I’m having anxiety about it, haha. I need to know what is happening and I love the schedule you posted for this week! I’m so excited!

      I hope you have the BESTTTTTT New Year’s Eve tomorrow, JJ!!!!! Can’t wait to hear about it! xoxoxoxo <3

      1. YASS, I’m FOR SURE trying that toast concoction; I love siggi’s or Oikos so which ever one I have in the fridge for the week I’ll have to give it a try! Getting rid of brassy is literally the hardest thing in hair world lol I struggle with keeping the nice ashy blonde in mine too- But you can’t even tell there’s any orange-y tones in your hair it looks like a nice soft blonde! Whats your natural color though? And yeah, that’s a blow out….I think (shows how much I know too LOL) I just think its when they blow dry/style it at the same time. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and DJ xoxox

      2. Let me know how you like it!!!!! And I still am so excited to see your hair revolution post! UGH I promise I will get theree! haha. And thank you! My natural is a dark blonde (it turns pretty dirty blonde in the summer, and more of a brown in the winter naturally). Happy New Year, lovely!!!!!! xoxoxoxo

  4. Reading your lovely post made me smile, my recent holiday was also filled with delicious sushi, dark red wine and breakfasts out! I’m so glad you had such a good time and wish you all the best in the coming new year.

    1. Aww, thank you, Kimberlee!!!!!! It makes me so happy when I know that these posts can put a smile on someone’s face 🙂 And it sounds like you had the best kind of holiday too!!!!! I wish you so many blessings in this year to come! <3

    1. Thank you! It was SUCH a great Christmas, and only the beginning! I am a bit behind but will be doing part 2 of the holiday soon 🙂 So glad you liked the foodie pics- hopefully you were able to find something tasty after reading it, hehe. Wishing you so many blessings in this New Year! xo

    1. Hehe- my mom gets ALL the credit! She was feeding us so well. Thanks for reading, Barbara! This was a loooong one! I hope you have such a great New Year filled with so much love, creativity, and joy!!!!! <3

    1. Hehe- we certainly ate our fill!!! If I had been blogging during the last few times we were there in years past it would have showed that we literally ate our way through Texas! And oh my goodness, I am so glad you relate to the suitcase thing. Hahahah. I am imaging that someone probably recorded it on their snap story or something, but I was so sick I couldn’t have cared less at the moment! Have such a great new year, lovely! I know that there are some awesome adventures in your future! xo

  5. Very nice photos as usual, Mack! All of the food you ate looks SO good! Everything is always bigger in Texas! 😉 You and your man look SO perfect together! Happy New Year! 🍾🍷🍸

    1. Thank you, Lisa!!!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Texas. Every time I go there I love it more! I definitely think there is a high chance DJ and I end up living there at some point. HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this next year is going to be the BEST one for you, with the struggles of 2016 turning into nothing but blessings <3

      1. 🙂 Really?? Would you move close to your mom? It’s less expensive than California. I love Cali but it’s so expensive! Part of my heart is still in San Francisco. Lol.

      2. Cali is INSANELY expensive– I estimate we only stay out here a couple more years until DJ finishes up his MBA. When we went back to Ohio last week, the size of the houses seemed foreign to us considering how tiny and compact the homes/apartments are here. For Texas, it would be so ideal to live close to her, but a lot of it would depend on where DJ’s job takes him (at least with nursing there is a lot of mobility!). And yesss San Fran will forever hold a piece of my heart too!! At least you can ALWAYS visit 🙂

      3. Yes, you’ll always have a job wherever you go! I’d love to go back to San Francisco! If I ever win the lottery, I’ll move there. 😂

    1. Hahaha- you know I LOVEEE a good pun, I am SOOOO glad you got a kick out of that. And that’s HILARIOUS that your dog does the same thing! What a riot! I had no idea dogs were even capable of making that sound. Lol. Happy HAPPY New Year to you!!!!!!

  6. As usual I love love love reading your blog! We so loved having you and DJ home and just seems like you should be sitting here with me at the kitchen counter reading this with me. I am still chuckling over the circus balancing act of you and all of your suitcases, at least you had DJ to help on the way home. I want to go see Jill and Pete now, not only to see their wonderful selves, but your mom is such a good cook! Oh my goodness I could devour that sweet potato casserole right now! And did she get a special cup to hang over the wine glass to hold the cocktail sauce? Looked so graceful that way to display the shrimp. Miss you so much already but so very thankful for these amazing blogs as I feel in a way you are still chatting with me in my kitchen!

    1. Awww, thanks Mom! We loveddddd being home so much. It just was not enough time!!!! They would LOVEEEE to have you! We should all make a big trip down to Dallas sometime! And with the cocktail sauce, it just happened to be the perfect size to balance on the rim as the wine glass. Miss you tonssss too!!!!! <3

  7. Good food, family, hot tubs, and wine…can I come next year?! 😀 Sounds like a great time with family!

    1. Thanks, Kristy 🙂 ! It was a blast!!! It went by all too quickly. The cookies were amaaazing! I wish I could share them with ya! I hope you have an incredible start to this beautiful New Year!!!!!!!

  8. Lol! Your post made me laugh several times, as well as wink and grin about how “relax isn’t part of your vocabulary.” 😉

    Looking forward to your Cleveland recap. I had SUCH a nice time with you and DJ! I liked having a full house. 🙂

    1. Awwww I’m so glad it made you laugh 🙂 That makes my day! And yes, you know me alllll too well about relaxing ! We had SOOOO much fun with you! I miss you too much already though!

  9. Aww, I’m so sorry you were sick! How sweet that your family was like “I don’t care!” when they hugged you! I just love that!

    Oh, and isn’t leaving your husband the hardest?! I went to Savannah in June with my mom and left my husband for around 5 days and it was tough! It’s always the best to come back, though! 🙂

    1. Haha, right?! They thought they didn’t care in the moment…. until two out of the three got sick! WHOOPS! It is SO tough! Especially because we haven’t spent that much time apart since we were married, but the week also flew by so that helped! Hope you have an AMAZIIIING week, dear! Stay warm <3

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