Michael’s family

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?

Filled With Irony

If I told you that Michael and I liked Texas so much we went back the weekend after our trip to Austin, would you buy it? Well, we did go back to Texas. This time, Dallas. It wasn’t ideal–Texas two weekends in a row. But Michael’s family had an event that we’d planned on going to all year long. Then my cousin got engaged and set the date for her wedding in Austin. We kept hoping the dates would line up perfectly so we could make one trip to Texas.

Well it didn’t line up that way. Neither of us wanted to spend 12 days in Texas in order to save airfare and we couldn’t take that much time off work. Two trips it is!

We flew from Portland on Saturday morning and arrived in Dallas after lunch. It’s funny. I’ve NEVER been to Texas in my entire life and then I go twice in one month. 😛 Laugh away. We arrived in Dallas in time to unpack and relax a bit at his dad’s house before changing for dinner.



It wasn’t just a normal dinner, it was also the 90th birthday of Michael’s cousin. It was a pleasure to meet her! She was a feisty firecracker of a woman. She was so interesting too. She lost her first husband when she was 23 years old–he was killed in Japan by a suicide bomber. What an amazing story.


Did I also mention that it was stormy and rainy when we arrived in Dallas? We LEFT the rain in Oregon, hoping for sunny skies and warm weather. Instead it was stormy: pouring rain, lightning! Apparently it was the first rain they’d had in six months! Figures.



For dinner we went to Michael’s cousin’s favorite Mexican restaurant — Joe T. Garcias. What a crazy place. It was at least a whole city block big–with four huge parking lots for the restaurant. The place was humongous. Words cannot describe how big. The waitress guided us through a massive banquet room–which was completely full–outside through a large patio into another massive building. (When we left after our dinner the place had a line a mile long, outside into the rain to get in!)


The other funny thing about Joe T. Garcias restaurant is that there are only two entrees: fajitas or enchiladas. That’s it. There’s no menu. You can’t order anything else there. It’s also served family style. They brought nachos to the table for everyone to share (I had one) and then the entrees came out with tacos for everyone to share.

I got the cheese enchiladas (they were small, thankfully) and the beans, rice and guacamole were all served “family style.” Michael got the beef fajitas. I had a few bites.


It was such a fun and unique experience! I’ve never been to a place like that. The food was pretty good, too. The only complaint: it was INSANELY loud there. It was hard to talk to everyone. So after the musicians sang happy birthday to the birthday girl, we headed out.


We went to a nearby fancy hotel that had a nice, quiet bar where we could all talk and actually hear each other. We went to the Whiskey & Rye in the OMNI Hotel.


It was a cute place, dimly lit. Everyone on the bar was glued to the football on the TV. That’s something that’s very common in Texas. Sports, sports, sports. If they aren’t watching sports, they’re talking about sports. If there isn’t a game on, they’ll talk about old games, or ones coming up–including plans to travel to the stadiums. I’m not a sports fan. This pride and fervor that they all seem to have is very foreign to me.


We had a nice time chatting. I had one glass of red wine with dinner and one at the hotel bar. It was funny, when we were at the restaurant I asked for a wine list and the waiter looked at me like I was a weirdo. It was either red or white. 😛 Another difference between Oregon and Texas!


We headed home to Michael’s dad’s house in the pouring rain. It was literally like Portland’s rain–big, constant raindrops. Everyone thanked us for bringing the rain with us. Hmmm not exactly what I wanted! I wanted sunshine! I changed into my PJs and melted into the bed. I was asleep immediately and didn’t wake up once the entire night. That bed was heavenly.

QUESTION: Have you ever been to a restaurant like that that only had a few things to order? Have you ever had back-to-back trips?