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Friday Five | Happy Easter

April 14, 2017

My mom’s favorite holiday is Easter, and it’s hard to blame her. With winter behind us and the sunshiney seasons ahead, it seems like the best of 2017 is still to come. Here are some good reads while you unwind with your family over the long holiday weekend:

What’s Gaby Cooking x Williams Sonoma is a collaboration to end all collaborations. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try this line of salsas and the guac stater.

Really feelin’ the plant vibes in Alex Thomsens eclectic crib.

Snagged these DVF cocktail heels with both silver and gold to get me through the next round of cocktail parties.

For last minute Sunday brunch recipe ideas, Smart in the Kitchen has you covered.

I just started following House of Hackney and have fallen head over heels for their tropical wallpapers.

Happy Easter!

Coffee Talk, Eats, Fashion, Featured, Friday Five, Interiors, Lifestyle

Friday Five | Present & Future

March 10, 2017
http://theneotrad.com/2017/03/06/aquazzura-de-gournay-collaboration/

photo via The Neo Trad

Quotes considered cliché likely have grains of truth for all of us. “Be present” is one we hear often, but I find it difficult to apply as a future-focused 24-year-old. But then this morning, I read someone write about it as their mantra, explaining the importance of their present moments in paving their future.  This article teaches that lesson: what you do today will make for a better tomorrow. Below are four other fun links to read this weekend!

I live in a pair of cotton drawstring pants I got from a street vendor in Paris, so I’m eyeing this chambray version.

This Aquazzura meets de Gournay collaboration has me pining for spring.

Healthy eaters weigh in on their habits. My favorite: the Frenchies.

I put my blogging bestie‘s “perfect fudge” brownie recipe to the test, and it’s exactly that.

Have a great weekend!

Around {H} Town + Travel, Eats, Featured

how to pull off the ultimate cheese board

February 15, 2017

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Hey y’all! If you haven’t had enough decadence in your life post-Valentine’s, allow us to add a little more. Today, we’re stoked to collaborate with one of my favorite Houston chefs, Marcia Smart. Marcia is a food writer and cooking instructor who also works full time as a mother of three. She’s written recipes for Cooking Light and has also done freelance writing for Robb Report and Parenting Travel magazine. She recently started her own cooking website, Smart in the Kitchen, which focuses on helping busy moms menu plan with new crowd pleasing recipes for the entire family. I’m a huge fan of Marcia’s and am stoked that she’ll be joining L. Avenue from time to time with recipes, busy mom menu prep and entertaining tips.

Here’s what Marcia has to say about pulling off the ultimate cheese board….

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How To Pull Off the Ultimate Cheese Board

There’s nothing easier than unwrapping some cheese and sticking a knife in it, but let’s show some effort, shall we? A well-appointed cheese board, with all the sweet and savory nibbles and condiments to accompany it, can sustain a chatty cocktail crowd for hours. Book club? Check! Cocktail party? Check! Retro cheese and chocolate course after a dinner party? Super double check! The key to keeping things both interesting and delicious? Mix it up…

Variety is the Spice of Life

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Start by choosing a variety of cheeses from different milks (cow, sheep and goat). And be sure to vary the textures, some should be creamy and runny and others firm and grainy. And even if you’re not a fan of veiny bleu cheese, there’s nothing like a wedge of creamy gorgonzola dolce and a glistening square of honey comb to get your appetite stirring (which are delicious eaten together, by the way).

The Goods

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If you’re shopping at a good gourmet grocer, look for Humboldt Fog goat cheese, Laura Chenel chevre, St. Andre triple cream cow’s milk brie and Mimolette (an aged raw cow’s milk cheese), aged gouda, Manchego or Pecorino Toscano. If you’re shopping at Trader Joe’s, most of the cheeses are packaged under their brand. A good mix would be their 1,000 Day Gouda, mini Basque, Manchego Anejo, Blue Stilton or any of their Toscano cheeses. I also like to “mess up” the cheeses a little, so people aren’t afraid to jump in. Hard cheeses, like gouda, can be pre-sliced with a sharp knife and fanned out on the board to make them more manageable.

The Homemade Touch

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Even if you just choose a couple different cheeses — say a Manchego and a soft goat cheese — you can add a homemade touch by drizzling garlic- and rosemary-scented olive oil on the chèvre (recipe here) For warm, delicious olives, rinse off the brine your olives are packaged in and warm them in good quality olive oil (look for a cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil that’s a rich green color) with red pepper flakes, lemon rind and a bay leaf (recipe here).

Here’s a cheat sheet to help you keep your eyes on the prize. Choose your cheese and 2-3 “extras”:

  • 3-5 cheeses (3 is absolutely fine, unless you have a crowd)
  • Charcuterie (prosciutto, hard salami or French ham torn in to thin, uneven pieces)
  • Crackers and flat bread (Sardinian flat bread, sliced baguette, seeded crackers, as well as rice crackers or endive spears for gluten-free friends)
  • Dried or fresh fruit (blackberries, fresh figs, dried cherries, dried apricots or dried wild blueberries)
  • Nuts (toasted pecans, pistachios or Marcona almonds)
  • Condiments (fig jam, quince paste, and mustards for meats, if serving)
  • Cornichons and olives
  • Dark chocolate broken up in bite-size chunks

 

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photos by Miroma Photography

Around {H} Town + Travel, Coffee Talk, Eats, Fashion, Featured, LAvenue, Lifestyle, Travel

Houston Hot Spots City Guide

February 1, 2017

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Living in Houston has me waaaay excited for this year’s Super Bowl. I have to admit, most years I tune into the big game strictly for the nachos and commercials. But this year, we’re hosting in mine and Molly‘s (the face behind the Friday Five) hometown, so we actually know the teams playing. Even more, we’re pumped for the festivities leading up to this Sunday’s main event. In case you’re in town for the Super Bowl, here is a quick comprehensive BEST of Houston guide. Enjoy!

EAT & DRINK

BRUNCH/LUNCH

photo source

image source

Tiny Boxwoods :: Escape the Upper Kirby hustle and bustle here. Cookies are their claim to fame, but our favorite part is overlooking the pristine lawn from the patio with a latté.

image via

image source

Hopdoddy :: Be first in line for these gourmet burgers in River Oaks District. Pick your poison between cold craft beers or decadent milkshakes while watching the TVs for game day coverage.

image via Hurried Hostess

image via Hurried Hostess

The Dunlavy :: A family friendly brunch spot with the best views in town of our Buffalo Bayou. Bike it before or walk it afterwards: it starts on the border of historic River Oaks and extends all the way into downtown.

Brassiere 19 :: Veuve Clicquot is priced at market, and Beyonce is rumored to have a boozy brunch here Sunday morning. Say no more. We’ll see you there!

DINNER

photo via bb butchers

photo via bb butchers

B&B Butchers :: Of all of the dinner spots in town, my money is on this spot being the best celeb sighting scene. This upscale steak house is perched just outside of downtown and the dinner menu is to die for. If you’re lucky enough to snag a ressie, go big or go home and get the Chef Tommy’s Bacon. You’ll thank me for one of the most delicious dishes I’ve tasted. Ever. Post dinner, head to Social 51 next door, an upscale pop-up bar created just for SuperBowl.

Uchi :: More than dinner, this sushi spot originally of Austin is a dining experience. Dubbed one of the top eight sushi spots in the country, you’d be sad to miss it.

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photo via Yelp

Armando’s :: Mexican restaurants are on every corner, but this one stands apart from the rest. The amazing ahi tuna tartare tacos were served at A Couture Cause, and they were a hit.

image via Wallpaper

image via Wallpaper

State of Grace :: Pull up a seat in the pearly oyster bar for cocktails and coastal fare or dive into the dining room where beautiful leather booths lie beneath the impressive deer mounts for true Texas decor.

photo via Zagat

photo via Zagat

Underbelly :: At minimum, visit the wine bar at this Montrose establishment or find brews at Hay Merchant next door. Stay for supper served by star chef Chris Shepherd. The goat dumplings are his original creation and out of this world.

COFFEE

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image source

Common Bond :: The two of us first met here, discussing our mutual love for blogging and having breakfast here. Come in for a cup coffee, and don’t leave without a box of pastries.

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image via Coffee Compass

Catalina :: This spot is East on Washington on your way downtown, so grab a coffee on your way to Discovery Green.

image source

image source

Blacksmith :: A quaint hipster coffee shop, get the best biscuit this side of the Mississippi here. The Benton’s bacon, egg and cheese croissant is the bomb.com.

COCKTAILS

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image via cnn

Bayou & Bottle :: Killer cocktails, killer atmosphere in the newly renovated Four Seasons hotel, this chic bourbon concept is not to be missed.

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image source

Anvil :: The menu at this Montrose staple is Texas-sized, but every drink is as delicious as it is sophisticated. If you’re me, you order Pliny’s and a pretzel to share.

The Pastry War :: Texas is known for mean margaritas, but tequila drinks of all kinds can be found at this downtown bar.

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image via eater

Julep :: Their namesake is their signature drink, but they’ve got plenty more where that came from. A stone’s throw from downtown on Washington, my favorite to sip on is the Whispering Mathilda since gin is my spirit of choice.

SHOPPING & BEAUTY

SHOPPING

Tootsies :: A Houston establishment, the chicest Houstonians shop at Tootsies. Carrying a beautifully curated collection of both contemporary and designer styles, this boutique is a must-shop.

photo by Molly Bridget McConn

photo by Molly Bridget McConn at Alice + Olivia

River Oaks District :: Houston’s newest luxury shopping destination, favorite stores include Alice + Olivia, Intermix, Joie, Roberta Roller Rabbit, and Bonpoint and locally owned BAANOU carries everything you’ll need for a night out in H-town.

photo via Biscuit Home

photo via Biscuit Home

Biscuit :: I’m biased, but this shop is a hop, skip and a jump from several of our other hot spots and is home to a Houston designer’s original bedding line and great gifts for your Houston hostess for the weekend.

photo via cloudinary

photo via cloudinary

Whim :: Houston’s newest contemporary boutique located a block away from Tiny Boxwoods. Brunch and shopping sounds like the perfect Houston Saturday game plan.

BEAUTY

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Full Blown :: This boutique blow dry bar has a full cocktail bar and couture fashion show coverage on a big screen. They sell R & Co. products, and you’ll be in walking distance from Brasserie 19 when you’re done.

Dry Bar River Oaks

Dripped Nail Salon located in the heart of Montrose, just a few miles from Downtown

Paloma Nails Houston’s newest nail salon in the heart of Uptown

We hope you enjoyed the tour of our hometown, H-town!

LAVEhouston3v3

 

 

 

Around {H} Town + Travel, Coffee Talk, Eats, Fashion, Featured, Friday Five, Interiors, Lifestyle, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Friday Five | Hello, Eloise!

January 27, 2017

More big baby news for L. Avenue! My brother and sister welcomed a little girl into the world this Wednesday. We love Eloise Jane already, and I can’t wait to watch her grow up with her big brother, Max. Here’s five links for reading this weekend:

Decorate :: Eloise will have a Palm Springs inspired nursery with this crib sheet. Seeing this girl’s room makes my imagination go wild for all the magical ways her room can evolve with this theme and color scheme.

Go :: I’m already salivating for a boozy brunch at Leo’s Oyster Bar on the San Francisco Bay for my birthday, but my next stop may be this whimsical café on the other side of the world.

Browse :: I feel as though I’ve found my British kindred spirit in Louise Roe, budding lifestyle blogger who happens to reside in the same city as my top two faves, Garance Doré and Emily Schuman. May have to pay a visit to LA!

Eat :: I recently discovered acclaimed Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s curated list of his favorite spots around town. WD and I tried London Sizzler, and it satisfied my saag paneer craving big time.

Shop :: I love the feminine edge of this biker jacket, and for the price, I wouldn’t feel bad for only wearing it on occasion in the mild Houston weather.

Looking forward to volunteering at tonight’s A Couture Cause and meeting some of you. Don’t be shy, and please say hi!

-Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary

Coffee Talk, Eats, Featured, Friday Five, Lifestyle

Friday Five | Get Well Soon

October 21, 2016
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rainbow brunch at Houston’s Pondicheri :: beet pancakes and fresh squeezed OJ all day

At work, we’ve started a wellness challenge to put our best foot forward before we press rewind as we fa-la-la-la-la through the holiday festivities. So, today, the Friday Five is broken down into the five categories we’re competing with each other (and mostly ourselves) on daily:

Step It Up :: Reach 10,000 steps.

Never have I ever had a FitBit, so I’m finding out the hard way how difficult it is to hit the recommended ten thousand steps a day. These 13 tips should help, starting with shopping a little more and parking farther from the store!

Heartbeat High :: Increase your heart rate for 20 minutes.

My personal goal is to go to a workout class three times a week. I’ve found my favorite instructor at my gym, which I’ve found to be a game-changer in motivating me to show up. If you don’t have a gym membership, here’s ways to shake up your exercise routine.

Waterlogged :: Drink a gallon of water.

What I’m finding even harder is to guzzle a gallon of water a day. Read this honest testament about how more water makes for more energy and fewer face blemishes.

0% Alcohol :: Consume zero alcohol. 

What helps increase my water intake is decreasing my alcohol consumption. But, when I need a change of pace, I reach for things like prickly pear Kombucha at Local Foods. Its fuchsia color few me to the fermented drink, so here’s why we should all indulge in the most colorful foods.

How Sweet Homecookin’ :: No eating out allowed. 

No UberEatsing or Favoring fast food for us; we’re prepping all our meals at home, people. Here’s how the girls at Cupcakes + Cashmere make their favorite restaurant meals at home. I can’t wait to try to copy the Sway Thai‘s Tom Kha Gai now that it’s cold outside.

Join us if you’re so inclined, but keep in mind, we push the pause button for Friday and Saturday. We’ll reset Sunday, so treat yourself. It’s the weekend!

-Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary

Around {H} Town + Travel, Coffee Talk, Eats, Interiors, Lifestyle, Travel

Friday Five | The Little Things

August 12, 2016
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little things, like looking up, can change your perspective on your week

As I added a coffee date with Lyndsey this morning to my calendar, I noted the charming ‘event name’ example text Google provides: “Breakfast At Tiffany’s.” It’s the little things that can make a big difference during your week. So, here’s some little links and things that made mine. Hopefully, yours too.

on-point design :: I’m heading to The Hamptons next weekend to put the ultimate exclamation mark on my summer. And I’m. So. Excited! While I plan to spend most of my time outdoors, I hope to scope out the modern interior of this hotel in Montauk.

future fantasizing :: My brother and soon-to-be sis-in-law are going to New Zealand for their honeymoon; my bestie and her fiancé are also crossing the Pacific to Thailand. Here several bloggers dish it out on their chosen destinations.

but also being present :: I’m nearly done with Bread & Wine and can’t wait to start Present Over Perfect with a Bible study group. For all you moms about to enter the fall frenzy of back-to-school, packing lunches and pretending to be sane, this read might be for you too.

savoring the season :: I had aaaall of the summer things last night with almost aaall of my sisters: a watermelon cocktail, a peach burrata salad and an eggplant entrée. It was szechuan at State of Graceand and totally insane. Here’s some other delicious ways to serve eggplant.

planning ahead :: I’m also putting my white ensembles on heavy rotation before Labor Day hits, especially last weekend at White Linen Night in the Heights. But, my eyes are peeled for the winter ahead and having borrowed my mom’s black coat all last year, I figured it was time to invest in my own. Here she is, shipping to my doorstep soon! Maybe got these beauty booties too.

But since we’re clearly still in the midst of summer, get your hands on the bag of the season. Rest assured, it’ll carry you through next spring and summer, too. Or you’ll carry it, rather 🙂

Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary

Beauty, Coffee Talk, Eats, Fashion, Featured, Friday Five, Lifestyle, Sale, Uncategorized

Friday Five | Feel, Look & Be Good

August 5, 2016

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The buzz in the blog world seems to be all about balance. Work and play. Drink your coffee and cocktails, but drink plenty of water, too. Spend time with those you love; spend quality time with yourself. So, I approach this week’s edition of the Friday Five with an attempt to provide you equal measures of advice on everything from beauty to fashion, food and fitness.

Looking forward to a fall full of casual football games and formal weddings. And I want this sale LBD for the latter. Check out all of L. Avenue’s Shopbop summer sale picks here.

The Olympics draw attention from around the world, sports lovers and non alike. See a stunning list of statistics.

Speaking of sports, tennis is my current game and fly fishing is up next after flipping through William’s photos from Alaska. When I read this (and saw these photos) from the Fresh Exchange on Monday, I was sold:

 I’ve always thought fly fishing was both beautiful in form and peaceful in method. On a great day you can bring home a fresh trout, on the worst days you bring nothing home but got to spend the day on a peaceful river. Not bad right?

I just ran out of tinted moisturizer and was so bummed I restocked before Lyndsey posted about Juice Beauty Products. I would have gotten this, but I think I’ll spring for this instead.

I loved this article’s real definition of health; hint: it’s “so not a sphere of kale and sweat.”

May you have a well-balanced weekend!

Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary 

Coffee Talk, Eats, Featured, Friday Five, Lifestyle, Travel

This & That, Here & There

July 29, 2016
Tryst Friday Five

Tryst coffee shop in D.C. – LZ’s old stomping grounds!

I am so thankful I took a full four-day weekend to visit my very best friend. Supposedly, it takes a minimum of that many days to truly unwind from work. She’s even better than how I remembered, and I feel rejuvenated until we meet again (here in Houston!) in October.

These strangers unwind and relax sans a vaca.

This year’s presidential election have your political compass out of whack? See where you really stand. 

These shrimp tacos are on the menu to cook with my mom tonight.  We’re savoring summer’s best ingredients while we still can; next up’s okra and fresh Fredericksburg peaches are soon to follow.

I tried SoulCycle for the first time in D.C. when I spotted a studio a stone’s throw away from Merl’s house on 14th. I dug it and experienced some of this, but I’m not an addict…yet.

As I continue to fine tune my photography skills, I’m struck by professionals who’ve found their signature style. Like Irene Suchocki who makes all cities look magical when peering through her lens.

‘Til next time,

Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary

Coffee Talk, Eats, Featured, Friday Five, Give Back, Lifestyle, Travel, Uncategorized

Friday Five | Over & Out

July 22, 2016

Lyndsey and I are both up, up and away this weekend: she to the California coast while I head East to D.C. So, today’s edition of the Friday Five is a travel guide in disguise.

staycation in Houston last weekend involved brunch at the beautifully decorated, delicious and nutritious Dunlavy

staycation in Houston last weekend involved brunch at the beautifully decorated, delicious and nutritious Dunlavy

what to wear :: Lyndsey rounded up the cream of the crop for this year’s Nordstrom Anniversanory Sale. I can vouch for these slip-ons  as the best stylish sneaker to pack for any pedestrian city. In dire need of some more work out gear but aiming to avoid paying Lulu prices, I scored these leggings and this lightweight jacket.

what to eat :: I’m prepping my parents for their upcoming trip to Paris and can’t help but be nostalgic about my summer abroad. I’ll get a taste of it this weekend at Le Diplomate for a late déjeuner. Pass the pommes frites, please!

what to do while getting there :: My plan is to sit back, relax (read!) and enjoy the plane ride, but knowing me (and Lyndsey), I’ll likely not be able to resist getting a little personal productivity done during my PTO. Here’s ways you can give back, educate yourself and even exercise when you find yourself playing the waiting game.

what to plan next :: Visiting the city hosting the summer Olympics is high on my bucket list. I’m not Brazil bound, but I’ll be glued to the TV to watch gymnast Simone Biles. If you don’t know her inspirational story, you should.

current colorful palette of my posts make it obvious summer's in full swing

current colorful palette of my posts make it obvious summer’s in full swing

what to capture :: Seventeen Instastars show you the secrets to their success. Achieve celebrity status with these tips. I’ve made a mental note to create a cohesive feed and know my signature color palettes. Round of applause to LZ for mastering these two.

Have wonderful weekends where you are!

-Molly Bridget of Bridget’s Own Diary