Thursday, December 29, 2011


As I prepared to write this post about the past year, I went back and read my blog entry about 2010. All I can say is WOW, 2010 was full of so many major life changes! While 2011 certainly saw some ups and downs, I can fortunately say that it was a more consistant year! I feel like I spent 2011 growing more comfortably into the roles that I took on by the end of 2010-- working girl, long-distance girlfriend, and TCU alum, just to name the big ones.

I rang in 2011 at the Stones' home (Doug Stone was Alex's college roommate, and Alex and I have been blessed through his friendship and his wonderful family and girlfriend), and then kicked off the year with TCU's Rose Bowl win on New Year's Day--a good start to 2011 indeed! After watching my team fight its way from a "nobody" school to being one of the top teams in the nation, that was such a sweet victory.

After spending the holidays together, Alex went back to Los Angeles and I went back to work. Throughout 2011, I started to take on some new responsibilities at work, such as supervising our interns, which I love, doing some writing, and even taking on more social media. I even got a raise, for which I am very thankful! I continue to love what I am doing, which is more than many people can say!

February brought the "Snowpacolypse" to Dallas, meaning I had an unexpected four days off of work! I was able to spend the weekend before Valentine's Day in LA with Alex. He was an excellent tour guide and took me to one of my now-favorite places...Angel's Knoll, where scenes from the movie (500) Days of Summer were filmed. I visited my good friend, Morgan, in Houston and welcomed a new great-grandlittle, Meridith, into my Tau Beta Sigma family from college.

Alex came home for spring break, which was lovely, and then I stayed very busy until May getting ready for the first-ever Kentucky Derby party for the young professionals group I coordinate, as well as making a scrapbook for my Little, Ashley. Ash loved her scrapbook, and the party was a major success. That was my first huge event to help plan and execute, so it was really exciting to watch my hard work come to fruition and know that I am in the career path that's right for me.

This summer was filled with fun-- Alex was home for all of it, and we slowly crossed items off of our Bucket List. We didn't finish them all, but we have added some items and decided to call it our "Life Bucket List." I visited Ashley in Kansas, went to three weddings and hung out with many wonderful friends, and enjoyed having my little sister home from college.

You may remember that in a post earlier in 2011, I realized that I had become a bit complacent with my faith and wanted to focus more on it and stir up my heart. Well, I did just that, and in ways I didn't even dream of at the time...that just shows that God was at work without me knowing it! In addition to attending weekly services at Alex's church, where everyone has been so welcoming, and attending a Sunday evening Bible study with some people from the church, I also started a women's group/Bible study with some of my girl friends and even their friends. I had felt that there was something missing in my life, and so the idea of starting a group of young women to do Bible study, hang out, and just support each other in general was born. We are all around the same age and facing similar challenges in life, and we spent this semester discussing "No Other Gods," which discusses all the idols we have in our lives. It was eye-opening and so rewarding to hang out with these girls every week...I feel like I now see my friends more than ever, and I have made new friends, too! We are going to continue the group in 2012 and I feel blessed to have these ladies.

This fall was spent working, attending both Bible studies, relaxing with my parents, cheering on my Frogs, enjoying nights out in Dallas and new dining experiences with Marissa, and having fun with friends whenever possible. One of my good friends moved to Thailand in September, and I miss her and love reading about her adventures via her blog. My former roomie, Caroline, moved out to LA in October and is thriving. It is crazy how we are all growing up and pursuing our dreams, wherever they take us!My Little, Ashley, came in town for Homecoming, and I realized I am finally feeling like an alum and enjoying the time I get to spend at TCU and with the friends I made there. I also took an entire week off work for the first time and visited Alex in California. We had an incredible week together and I was able to attend a childhood friend's wedding, which was so special.

Before I knew it, the holidays arrived. We spent Thanksgiving at home and had my extended family over, and then went to my aunt's house in Dallas for Christmas. I had my second annual tacky Christmas sweater party with my friends, and have loved being reunited with so many great people while everyone is in town for the holidays.

I am continually reminded that God is good, all the time. The year may have seen a few challenges and times where I felt discouraged, but it was filled with wonderful memories and so many great people. I am thankful for each and every one of you and wish you good health and happiness in 2012!

And, just as I posted last year, here is a picture from each month in 2011:

JANUARY- TCU wins the Rose Bowl!

FEBRUARY-Angel's Knoll for Valentine's Weekend in Los Angeles

MARCH- St. Patrick's Day party with my half-Irish man

APRIL- My friend Allison turns 21!

MAY- Okay, I cheated. Two photos for this month-- first ever Derby Dallas party and Mica's wedding...the first for our pledge class!

JUNE-Dinner with some of my faves!

JULY- Okay, two for this month again! July was a big month and I had a hard enough time narrowing it down to two! Concert at the Glass Cactus with Maris and Bree, and my high school friend Liz gets married!

AUGUST- I'm not in this one, but this was a renion dinner with good friends from high school. I love getting together with these people when we are all home.

SEPTEMBER- Dodgers game during my week visit to LA!

OCTOBER- TCU Homecoming and roomie time before Care moved to LA.

NOVEMBER- Thanksgiving with my sister

DECEMBER- Part of my women's group celebrating Christmas together

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dallas Dining: Tillman's Roadhouse

My good friend Marissa and I share a love for trying new food and exploring new restuarants, so early this year we decided to pick a different Dallas restaurant each month to visit. Most of these restaurants are higher-end and therefore a little pricey, so once a month is easy on our wallets and also gives us something to look forward to! It's fun to get a little dressed up and have a girls' night out with a delicious meal!

I am by no means a food critic, but I want to start posting about my Dallas Dining experiences and let you in on all of my favorite spots! My favorite thus far is still the very first restaurant we went to, Nosh, but for my first post in this series I will start with our most recent adventure-- Tillman's Roadhouse.

There is also a Tillman's in Fort Worth, but Marissa and I went to the one in the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff. The Bishop Arts District itself is adorable, and even though you have to go through a slightly unsavory area when you exit the highway, it wasn't too bad. I definitely want to explore more of the Bishop Arts District during future visits!

We made a reservation for a Saturday night and only had to wait a few minutes. One thing to keep in mind if you visit Tillman's--there's a little shortage of convenient parking. If you want to keep it simple, pay the $5 for valet. Otherwise, there is a lot at the end of the street and a few smaller lots around the area. After losing the battle for a spot in the big lot, Marissa and I got lucky and found a spot near the restaurant.

Tillman's decor was very unique. The best way I can describe it is "rustic meets elegant." I've posted a few pictures below from their website, but the inside basically included fake animal heads and other items that made it live up to its roadhouse name, combined with huge chandeliers in the center to up the elegance of the restaurant. They had a movie projected on the wall of the bar area, which was neat. The whole restaurant is very open, and we were seated close to the couple next to us. They also had Christmas music blasting so it was almost difficult to maintain conversation at some points. This restaurant wouldn't be ideal for an intimate, private dinner experience, but if you are looking for an upbeat atmosphere or an energetic group dinner setting, Tillman's is the place for you!

Now, the most important part...the food. Tillman's serves Southern comfort food that fills you up and satisifies you, but it is taken up a notch from what you expect of your traditional chicken fried steak. They start you off with a little bowl of kettle-cooked popcorn, which was the perfect pre-dinner snack. With many restaurants that serve a basket of bread, you fill up before you even order your dinner, so little bite-sized popcorn pieces were an excellent snack to take the edge off of our hunger. Marissa and I ordered our classic favorite cocktail, prosecco, and debated about our entree selections. Tillman's has many delicious-sounding options, so I would love to go back and sample something else!

I went with the coffee-crusted prime rib and my only regret was that I didn't have more room in my stomach! The prime rib itself was delicious, just a huge slab of meat that I had no chance of finishing! The wild mushroom ragout and asparagus it came with were also tender and delicious. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, so I am a tough critic! Horseradish cream was served on the side and made a cool, flavorful dipping sauce for the meat. They don't have a picture of my entree on their website, so here is one I took on my phone.

Marissa ordered the chicken fried steak, served with garlic roasted mashed potatoes and poblano cream gravy. I sampled a bite of hers and it was also delicious and a more manageable portion!

Although they charge a small fee for splitting plates, I recommend it so that you can save room for dessert! We were too full to try any, but the couple next to us had the huge slab of red velvet cake, and they also have tableside s'more that I would love to try!

My rating system-- I will rate each restaurant on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being a terrible experience and 5 being an excellent experience that I recommend to all of you.

My rating for Tillman's Roadhouse: 4 out of 5

I definitely recommend this restaurant if you are looking for a satisfying meal in a unique area--great for groups of friends or an energetic date night!

Tips to remember if you dine at Tillman's: Come with cash for valet or be prepared to walk a little, share entrees or come very hungry, and don't plan on an intimate dining atmosphere!

Tillman's Roadhouse – Dallas
Bishop Arts District
324 West 7th Street
Dallas, Texas 75208

Monday, December 12, 2011

Where did November go? And, um, half of December...

I have been a very bad blogger lately! I feel like November flew by (I guess I just stayed really really busy), and we all know how crazy December is!

I am currently sitting on my bed, next to my boyfriend who is home in Texas for an entire month (!!!), and we decided we had neglected our blogs for far too long! So check out his blog ( and then read below to hear a little about what I've been up to!

A majority of my time has, of course, been occupied by work. This is a good thing, however, because I really enjoy what I am doing and (most of the time) it doesn't even feel like work. As I've mentioned in my previous posts, part of my job involves coordinting the Center's young professionals' group, the Think Ahead Group, and at the beginning of November we celebrated two years for TAG! Alex was able to be there and see me in action/finally understand this organization that I am always talking about! The event was both of a time of celebration and a time of sadness, because the mother of three siblings who were part of TAG's founders passed away from primary progressive aphasia, a type of frontemporal dementia, the day before the party. Their mom was a huge inspiration for the creation of TAG and has left behind such a legacy.

Having Alex home for a few days in November was wonderful....and now have having him here for a month is a dream come true! Hopefully we will have lots of good pictures and memories by the time he has to return to Los Angeles for the last semester of his master's degree.

Thanksgiving was spent with my lovely family! As is tradition, the Carter sisters took a Thanksgiving photoshoot. The last one is going to be our Christmas card picture!

And, of course, I have been spending time with my sweet friends! Sometimes we are bad at taking pictures, but these hit a couple of the high points--last TCU home game of the season with Jenna, and my Women's Group Christmas Party! Looking forward to even more fun in 2012 with these ladies!

Oh, and somewhere in the middle of all of this, I turned 24! I don't feel that old, but somehow I am! My wonderful co-workers surprised me for my birthday, complete with pink and purple cupcakes, and after work I had delicious sushi with Marissa and Jenna!

Stay tuned for my next post...I hope that the topic is going to become part of a regular series for me! (If I can remember to update this thing!)

I hope you are all doing well this Christmas season and filled with joy from our many blessings as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. I know I have much to rejoice in!