Hot as Hades

I seem to only go to Texas for weddings. What’s up with that? As a Pacific NW girl, I’d never been to the Lone Star State and in the last 10 months I’ve been there three times. Not that I’m complaining by any means–I was happy to celebrate my cousin’s wedding and this time I was happy to be included in Michael’s sister’s wedding. We flew down to Dallas the day before the festivities were supposed to take place.

We arrived in Dallas and stayed with Michael’s family for a few days leading up to the wedding. Michael’s stepmom made her cheesy grits that I love so much and I ate that for days. It’s so good! I have the recipe and want to make it at home—will share soon. Below is breakfast on a small salad plate with one slice of bacon and tons of fruit salad.

Friday morning I planned on getting up early to workout but somehow slept through my phone alarm. It turned out to not be an issue, though, and clearly my body needed sleep. Michael’s stepmom dropped me off at the local YMCA. The plan was to use the elliptical for 30 minutes, then hit the pool. Of course by the time I was ready to swim, the one open lap lane was packed.  So I stuck with the elliptical and then finished with weights and kettlebell exercises. It was a good workout and I was happy I could fit it in before the chaos of WEDDING stuff!

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:24
Calories Burned:  651

The “wedding stuff” was a lot of “hurry up and wait.” But Michael and I were just kind of along for the ride, so it wasn’t a big deal. And it kind of forced me to relax on vacation and I rarely do that. Friday evening was the rehearsal at the church and then the rehearsal dinner.

The dinner was at a downtown Dallas restaurant called St. Martin’s Bistro. It was a  beautiful, romantic restaurant. The menu was fixed. They brought out some piping hot bread for us to munch on while everyone arrived. The small ballroom in the back had about 8 round tables set up for the guests.

The first course – It was a bowl of champagne brie soup. Sounds odd, right? It wasn’t. It was probably the best soup I’ve ever had in my life. It was creamy and I was sad when it was gone.

The second course – I chose the Roasted Beef Tenderloin Au Poivre with mashed potatoes and veggies instead of the fish or chicken (why would I go to Texas and eat fish?!). The meat was tender and soft, the mashed potatoes were creamy.

Dessert – We could choose either the Godiva white chocolate cheesecake or the Chocolate Terrine (flourless chocolate cake). I ordered the cheesecake and Michael got the chocolate and we shared. Smart move!

The rehearsal dinner was by far the best meal we had in Dallas. The favorite of the meal was the soup that I got. Michael got the Caesar salad, which was good, but he wished he’d gotten the soup!

For the first two days, I had a splitting headache in Dallas. I think it was the heat. I tried to drink a ton of water, more than usual, but I still ached.

Saturday – Wedding Day!

The day of the wedding. Everyone was out getting ready, Michael went golfing with his dad, and I slept in and then went for a run.  I had a pre-workout snack of a whole wheat English muffin and some fruit salad, filled my water bottle up and then headed out. It was 10 a.m. and 85 degrees. It felt hotter, though.

I set out on the neighborhood streets, running fairly slowly because I wasn’t quite used to the heat yet. I also hadn’t run outside since last Fall! Treadmill running is not quite the same. But my legs got their act together and I enjoyed my run. I got a bit faster, felt strong and confident in my body’s abilities.

Nice scenery to run by, huh? I tried to stay on the streets that had trees for shade. The heat was tolerable in the shade, but as soon as I was in the full sun, the burning heat beat down on my body and made me feel lethargic. The sound of the June Bugs in the trees were deafening.

I ran 2.75 miles and was out of water, so I headed back to the house for a re-load on water and sunscreen. I went back out and ran another mile or so before calling it quits.

Run Stats: 3.93 miles
Time: 52 minutes
Calories Burned: 537

I was so hot! My face was bright red. I just wanted to cool off, so I got in their pool and cooled off. I just swam for about a half hour until I felt cool and comfortable and then cleaned up and got dressed for the wedding.

We got to the church early. It was the church that Michael’s grandfather was the priest at and it was a beautiful location. Poor Michael was wearing a wool suit! It was 100 degrees in Dallas that day.

They did a bunch of photos before, and then the wedding began. It was a lovely, and short, service and everything went beautifully.

The reception was held at The Warwick Melrose hotel downtown. It was an old-world type of hotel. Our room was beautiful! The bathroom itself was to-die for.

The reception was held in their ballroom. It was a huge room with gorgeous decorations, pillars and breathtaking chandeliers. There was a long table for the wedding party and a stage with a dance floor.

Look at that cake!! It was gorgeous! And the groom’s cake was great, too.  The reception dinner was a smooth-oiled machine. The first course came out nearly immediately. It was a spinach salad with blue cheese, strawberries and candied walnuts. The waiters spooned the salad dressing for all of the guests (fancy!).

The salad was fantastic (and probably the last salad I ate in Texas LOL). The main course came out and it was chicken breast with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The entrée was really good too. The mashed potatoes were creamy and flavorful, the asparagus crisp.

The usual wedding stuff went on – speeches, dancing, cake cutting, etc. The cake was a white cake with coconut (a tad dry but tasty) and the groom’s cake was AMAZING chocolate—moist and fantastic. Luckily, all of the serving sizes for both fancy meals were fairly small so I never felt like I ate too much.

It was a beautiful wedding. The bride was glowing, the groom was happy, everything was beautiful!

And Michael and I danced many songs, which was fun because he’s not really a dancer. We had a blast!

QUESTION: What is the fanciest wedding you’ve ever been to?

A Nation’s Heartbreak

After my run on Sunday we had brunch and then headed to Dallas for sightseeing. The original plan was canceled due to rain (pouring rain!) so we did Plan B.

First stop was to the JFK Memorial. It was a fascinating museum documenting JFK, his fateful trip to Dallas, his assassination and the investigation. I love history and I love museums, so I was happy to go to the museums for the day to avoid the rain.

The photographs were chilling. It was so weird to see how happy John and Jackie were on that day. The Zapruder film stills were haunting.

I wasn’t alive when this happened but I still get emotional when I see footage of it. It’s hard to comprehend what something so massive and devastating was like to experience. I suppose 9/11 was similar in scale with the nation’s group mourning. The old news footage was absolutely haunting to watch. They had the videos of Walter Conkrite announcing the death of the President. Heart-breaking.

It was also strange to be in the actual building where the shooter was, too. We saw the street below and the Grassy Knoll. I posted the photos on Facebook and friends I have that were alive when this happened commented that they recognized that street scene immediately. I imagine it’s forever ingrained in people’s minds.

After that we went to the old courthouse that’s now a museum about Dallas. It was a cool old building.

We’d skipped lunch and instead saw where the rich half of Dallas lives. These houses were nuts!! They were huge, sprawling mansions with manicured lawns.

I guess we were in the area where celebs live–George W.Bush, Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones to name a few.  I can see why. These houses were amazing.

Not only do I love art and museums, I love old architecture too. I studied Art History in college and flirted with the idea of that being my major. We headed home to get dressed up for a fancy dinner out!

Dinner was at Al Biernat’s. It was a fancy steakhouse. I really wish my photos had turned out better but I did not want to use the flash in such a nice place. I guess this a hotspot for celebrities in Dallas, but I didn’t see any this visit.


Funny, I ordered a glass of wine from Washington–Chauteau Ste Michelle. 🙂 Maybe I was a little homesick. Who knows. But the wine was superb, as always. It went perfectly with my dinner.

I ordered the petite filet mignon (8 ounces!). It came with a sweet potato purée and a sauce made with cognac, peppercorn and I think mushroom puree. The sauce was outstanding.

The side dishes were family style so we all shared. I ate 3 asparagus spears and 1 onion ring. Michael had a “wet New York Strip” steak. He said his was fantastic too. I’d assume that Texas knows how to do their meat! We all split one dessert (thank goodness because I was stuffed). It was a key lime pie with a scoop of raspberry sorbet. It was tangy and tart and to die for. So glad we shared!

It was such a nice evening. I enjoyed dressing up and going to their favorite restaurant. The food was excellent too.

QUESTION: Do you like museums? What’s your favorite museum or favorite exhibit you’ve seen?