Date Night Idea: Making Ravioli at Garnish Kitchen

garnish kitchen

Happy Hump Day friends! This summer has totally flown by! David and I have been so busy with work and planning our wedding that we rarely take time out for ourselves. BUT last week, David and I went out with several of his coworkers and their significant others to make ravioli from scratch at Garnish Kitchen! It was such a great night and we got to relax and just enjoy each other’s company. I was that annoying person taking photos of everything but I wanted to share it with all of you!

making ravioli

Garnish Kitchen’s chef and owner walked us through the delicate steps of making pasta dough and stretching it out to the perfect size for ravioli. There’s so much that goes into making pasta but its incredibly relaxing! They gave everyone a nice glass of wine and had Louis Armstrong playing in the background. It felt like I was a gourmet cook living in France! The whole experience was so special!

garnish kitchen

garnish kitchen class

The finished product was absolutely amazing. I never knew I could cook like that (even though I had a little help!) They taught us how to make delicious sauces and how to stuff our raviolis and what pairs well with what. It was a trip for the senses. David and I will definitely be going back for another class and date night!


Blooming Tea on a Rare Rainy Day in Texas

Since moving to Texas a few years ago, I’ve come to appreciate the rare rainy day we have! In Maryland, when it rained, it would rain for weeks on end. I definitely prefer the abundant sunshine Dallas has but every once in awhile its nice to curl up in bed with a cup of tea and just relax. Knowing my love of tea, Tea Bloom sent me a set of their flowering teas to steep!

If you haven’t seen a flowering tea before, you take one of the little buds out of the packaging and drop it in a tea pot and then pour hot water over it. After a few minutes, it starts to unfold and “bloom” into a flower. I unfortunately didn’t have a big enough tea pot (mine’s a cute little one from Anthropologie David’s sister gave me) so my flower didn’t quite bloom the way they normally do. You could tell the poor thing was trying to pop up all the way but without the extra water needed it had a hard time. Nonetheless, it was really neat to watch and definitely makes for a gorgeous presentation if you’re having company! Hint: Use a clear tea pot to get the full effect! 

The flavor was great too. It’s green tea but other flavor hints make their way through without being overwhelming. Tea is honestly one of the best things you can drink for your health. I find myself sipping it after I’ve eaten a large meal (or a cookie!) and need a little digestive help.

Be sure to check out Tea Bloom’s assortment of teas! They make for a great gift and with the holidays coming, I’ll be gifting this to all my tea-loving friends! Enjoy!

*Product was sent complimentary. All opinions are my own.

The Battle of Anxiety: A Personal Update

Hi everyone! Every so often I share a little update on my personal mental health in hopes that it will help other people to open up and share their experiences! As many of you know, I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression off and on my entire life. Unfortunately, it came to a head last year when I started a high stress job. Luckily, I left that job and started a new one in a much healthier environment. However, sometimes anxiety comes back. Here’s how I’m dealing with it and my tips and suggestions for other people that struggle.

Life Circumstances are Changing

Usually for me what brings on anxiety is a major change in life. If you saw my post announcing my engagement, you’ll know that I’m over the moon excited about getting to marry David. However, planning a wedding and preparing for such a big change has brought on some anxiety.

I’m nervous about planning and more importantly, paying for a wedding. I’m also nervous about getting in shape and dress shopping! You don’t realize how body conscious you are until you know everyone will be looking at you on your wedding day. Yikes! So yeah, life is changing for the better, but its still anxiety inducing.

How I’m Coping with Anxiety

I’ve learned that anxiety is something you have to manage all the time, regardless of how good or bad it is. I have two coping strategies: the first is seeing a therapist twice a month. The second is writing about it and sharing it with you. My therapist is amazing and if you’re worried about being able to afford it, many places have junior therapists that are still getting all of their counseling hours in and are being supervised by a therapist with several years of experience.

When it comes to writing about anxiety, it makes me feel better knowing that I can share openly about my experience so others don’t feel alone in it. Witty n Pretty started as a fashion blog and I still do blog about fashion, but I don’t have a passion for it like I used to. Writing about mental health and mixing in fun topics like style and beauty is slowly what Witty n Pretty is becoming.

How You Can Cope

Everyone’s coping mechanism is totally different. What works for me might not work for you. The first thing I would suggest however, is to do something for yourself everyday. We get so wrapped up in taking care of others that we neglect ourselves. Whether you go do some yoga, read in a lawn chair, take a hot shower, or even write a blog- take time for YOU.

I would also suggest routinely talking to a trusted friend or professional that can listen to your concerns and either provide a shoulder to cry on or advice. Its amazing how much better you feel after you just brain dump on someone else. Its like a load is off your shoulders and you can breathe again!

Reach Out to Me

If you have no one to talk to, reach out to me! I’m more than happy to talk with you and just listen if you prefer. Life’s hard but its better with a friend.

5 Things to Love About Dallas

flower gals mobile dallas
The Flower Gals have the cutest little mobile flower shop around Dallas!

I’ve been living in Texas for two years now and it’s been quite the culture shock for me. Every single state I visit or have lived has had its own unique style, tastes, and feel. Texas is no different, in fact, the culture here is even more prevalent than say the understated culture of the midwest. Needless to say, living here as a Maryland native has left me scratching my head at times and wanting to pack my bags and run home to familiarity. BUT there are some things I’ve discovered that I like about Texas and here are my top 5!

You’ll Never Run Out of Restaurants

My Lord. There are so many places to eat in DFW its not even funny! I’m pretty sure its impossible to go to every single place in your lifetime. The Mexican food here is delicious (although my San Antonio born and raised husband to be says its better down there) and I’ll never get tired of all the chips and salsa! So yummy!

Shopping is Cardio

I read somewhere that “Paris knows how to design fashion. New York knows how to wear fashion. And Dallas knows how to buy fashion.” I think that’s the truest thing I’ve ever read! There’s more money here than I ever thought there would be and the shopping possibilities are endless. Whether you’re a “thousandaire” or a millionaire, on the weekends you’re buying something pricey.

Flights are Pretty Cheap

When you want to leave Dallas, usually in July when its unbearably hot, a flight to another part of the country is rarely more than $300 roundtrip. Dallas is centrally located and a hub for Southwest airlines. Even getting to Mexico is cheap(ish).

Job Opportunities are Endless

As a college graduate with a fair amount of debt, a city with job possibilities is important. Dallas really can’t be beat when it comes to that. I always thought I’d end up in Washington DC but the cost of living vs the pay just wouldn’t cut it. So much industry is moving to Dallas, making it a job seeker’s paradise.

Neighborhoods Have Distinct Vibes

A quick Google Street View search of Deep Ellum will make you realize that hipsters and artists can be found in this area while Uptown is full of uppity 20-somethings. I like the distinct styles and atmospheres of all the little areas around Dallas- gives it some uniqueness!

So in short, even though Texas has been hard to adjust to, I’m adjusting by finding the things I like and ignoring things I don’t (the heat and lack of ocean, just sayin’.)

Wedding Planning: Who Knew it was so Crazy? 

klyde warren park engagement

David and I have been engaged for a little over two weeks now and yes- I’m still ecstatic! (Read our engagement story here!) Our initial plan (ok my plan) was to wait a few months before we really start wedding planning. But all it took was me downloading the Wedding Wire app and browsing venues to throw me into planning mode! Having just begun this process, I don’t know much but what I do know is that it’s crazy. Here’s why.

The Pressure from Venues

I know venue coordinators are in the business of booking events and making a sale. Totally get that. But I really feel the pressure when they’re telling me that the month we’re hoping to get married is already booking up a year and a half in advance. Of course they might just be saying that to get us to make a decision quickly but I don’t know that for sure! So yeah, the pressure is on!

Coordinating Dress Shopping Dates

My family and most of my friends live in Maryland and I live in Dallas. David’s family lives in San Antonio. So where do I go dress shopping and when? I could go home and do it but then there’s the ordeal of getting the dress back to Dallas and finding a seamstress. Dallas just seems like the obvious choice because I live here, but then my mom and maid of honor will have to fly down here and David’s mom and sisters will have to drive up to Dallas. And then when do I even dress shop? In a few months? I have no idea!

Finding a Dress

So maybe this isn’t so much craziness in wedding planning but the anxiety finding a dress gives me. I’ve always had a vision of the perfect dress for me- ball gown with a tulle skirt, neckline that goes to my collar bone with thin straps that slope down over my shoulders into a low back dress. Not too crazy, right? But my overly anxious mind is like “what if you look fat in that or what if you can’t find any dress?!” Realistically, I know something will work eventually, but until then I’m just going to sit and worry about it.

The Costs of a Wedding

Our budget isn’t small but we’re also not looking to spend our entire yearly salaries on our wedding either. Browsing vendor pricing for everything, I was so surprised at how much something as simple as table and chair rentals cost. You want how much for a crappy plastic folding chair?! Apparently these prices are standard but I mean, really?

In the end, I think every couple gets over the sticker shock of everything and learns to coordinate a wedding as best as they can.  As a total control freak though, this might be the biggest challenge ever.

Our Engagement Story!

dallas engagements

Guess what?! I’m engaged! I can’t believe it either! David, my FIANCÉ, surprised me with such a gorgeous proposal! I’ve been wracking my brain all day trying to figure out how I was going to write a blog post about the proposal that did it justice. So I think I’m just going to go full speed ahead and tell it!

David and I have been dating for almost 3 years. We met in April 2015 in Fairfax, VA working together. I went and visited him in Texas that June and we’ve been together ever since! I knew he planned to propose sometime before then but other than that, it was up a mystery. I started getting my nails done regularly a few weeks ago just in case- ugly nails were not an option!

Monday night David and I went back to our old apartment to do a few final things before heading to our dinner reservations that evening. When we left to go to dinner, he wanted to walk to the restaurant, which I thought was odd given that it was about 92 degrees out and we were going to roast. I like the sunshine though so I didn’t protest. When we were waiting for a crosswalk sign to turn I put on my sunglasses and he promptly plucked them off my face and tucked them in his pocket. I started getting a little suspicious.

The restaurant was about a mile away and winding through city streets was part of the walk. We chatted about how work went that day and what appetizer we wanted for dinner. Then we came to a stop right across from Klyde Warren Park to wait for another light to change. I thought David would want to walk around the park and not through it. I was surprised when he guided us toward these lovely arches with greenery hanging over them.

He then held onto my hand and I saw him fumbling around in his jacket pocket. It was then that I knew what was going on. He made a joke that I could download our bank account app again (we have combined accounts and I deleted my bank app so I wouldn’t know if he bought a ring!) I looked at him and asked why. Then he got down on one knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring ever, and said “Liz, will you marry me?”

I said yes, shaking uncontrollably the entire time! I was so surprised and so happy! I just kept staring at my gorgeous ring and then staring back at David. Then I heard a soft clicking sound behind me. I turned around and there were my favorite photographers Luisa and her husband Douglas! Yes, David even had hidden photographers snapping pictures the entire time! Seriously, I was blown away that he did that. How incredibly thoughtful!

klyde warren park engagement

engagement at klyde warren park

We then snapped a bunch of photos in the park surrounded by flowers and the setting sun. It was honestly the best night of my life. Luisa and Douglas gave us our first “Mr and Mrs” item- champagne flutes! (Read our engagement story from her perspective on her blog!)

Shortly after our engagement we called my parents who were in on the secret. David called them several weeks ago to ask for their blessing and told them how he planned to propose. We called David’s family who also knew what he planned on doing. I was the last to know!

We spent the rest of the evening calling friends and enjoying a decadent meal at Stampede 66. The entire time I literally couldn’t stop smiling. And I don’t plan to stop anytime soon! I’m so excited to share our wedding planning journey with you over the next however many months (no date set yet!) Check back for updates! PS my  dress you can find here via my affiliate link!

Feeling Better: How Life Circumstances Made a Big Difference

flower gals mobile dallas

You don’t always realize how your inner health (mental and physical) can change the your outward beauty, but it totally can! I never noticed how sad and sick I looked a few months ago until someone commented on a recent photo of mine and said “wow, you look so much happier and healthier now!” I was caught off guard in a good way by that comment. I did look, feel, and sound better! So what changed? My entire life.

I Changed Jobs

I’ve said in previous blogs how my last job was just a nightmare for my entire being. Late nights, weekends, a boss that liked to yell at me for every little thing, and then more work and stress than you can imagine. A living hell for me. After 9 months of enduring it, I have my two week’s notice with no job lined up. 4 days later a miracle happened and I was offered a new job that paid a lot more money and promised less stress. I accepted immediately and haven’t regretted it once.

I feel about 100 times better in mind, body, and spirit! I had no idea how miserable I was before. I totally lost all of my joy. Now, my stress is pretty much gone and I can live my life again!

I Started Taking a Probiotic

Ahhh the wonders of a probiotic. I never paid any attention to gut health or vitamins or supplements. I always thought that stuff wasn’t for me. Then my coworker introduced me to RenewLife probiotics. Literally, a life changer! I’ve always had bloated belly problems, gross right? It didn’t matter what I ate, even a salad could make my stomach blow up like a balloon. It got to a point where I wouldn’t wear anything remotely tight or form fitting because I knew I’d like huge in it.

Enter probiotic supplements. The bacteria in your digestive tract can sometimes be a little lacking and a probiotic will help replenish it. I just take a vitamin in the morning and the bloating stays away all day. If you have the same problem, I highly recommend you get the probiotic I use (talk with your doctor first though!)

I Finally Saw a Doctor

Lord what it takes to get me to go to a doctor is crazy. I avoid them like the Black Death. But I finally went. I had been having bad anxiety and depression for awhile and had been trying to cope without medication and I simply couldn’t anymore. My hip was also causing me a ton of pain! The doctor sat down with me and spent tons of time answering questions and going over symptoms. She recommended a low dosage of anxiety medication as well as anti inflammatory medication for my hip.

Boom. Just like that I feel a ton better! Usually anxiety medication takes awhile to really have an impact but I already feel ten times better! My hip is also improving but will need an x Ray. Fun stuff. I’m so excited to get back in the gym and workout again though! It’s amazing what a doctor who listens can do for you.

So yay! I’m feeling better! These little and big changes made a massive difference in my quality of life!

Bonus: I’m wearing cute clothes again! My top is on sale for $19 at J Crew and my shorts are a steal at Target for $16!

*affiliate links present