wonderfully made: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

travel diaries : Palestine, Texas part 2

Kelly and Kyle provided a nice list of things to do while in Palestine, but since we didn't have much time before I was supposed to report for duty, we decided to just do a little 'organic exploring' on our own. In other words, we wandered. 

We didn't sleep in much on Saturday and woke up around 8am. We had some time to relax and then went downstairs for a delicious breakfast at 9am. From there, we grabbed my camera and started the short walk into downtown Palestine. 

As mentioned, this old Methodist church was across the street from the B&B. It was a beautiful, albeit humid day. 

Palestine is packed with historic markers and old houses. It's one of the oldest towns in Texas. I loved seeing the history, but it was surprising the small amount of homes that had been remodeled and restored compared to the huge restoration that has happened in Dallas. My guess is population drives growth. Genius, right?

We happened upon a train just starting out so we got to hear and see the steady departure. It was LOUD! So cool to see against the old town backdrop, though.

Many of the store fronts were empty, which made Mark and I start the discussion on how that happens, and what it would have been like in the 1950's or even earlier. Our major thought when walking around was how this was just the epitome of 'small town America'. It was refreshing! 

We stopped at this antique shop/sandwich shop/coffee shop that seemed to be the main hangout in downtown. The lady behind the counter was the nicest person EVER.  She had the slightest East Texas accent that lured you in, it was bizarre! She told us how she worked as a teacher for 19 years but now she was "retired" even though her son made her work in the shop. Mark told her that he had 6 hours to spare without me before the wedding and she invited him back for lunch and free wifi. She was so nice!

The town was eerily quiet for a Saturday morning.

We enjoyed walking around and popping into the few antique and specialty shops. It's amazing that they stay in business in such a sleepy town, but they seemed to have a steady stream of customers whom the shop owners recognized and called by name.

We came across another train on the way back to the B&B, this time loaded down with cars. Our walk downtown was so pleasant and helped us appreciate small town Palestine even more than before. 

One more post coming on Kelly and Kyle's wedding!

Monday, June 23, 2014

travel diaries: Palestine, Texas part 1

After a whirlwind weekend, it's safe to say I could use another day (or two) to unwind, but I'm thinking that will have to wait another 5 days, thanks to this grown-up job I have! 

Mark and I had a great weekend celebrating my friend Kelly at her wedding on Saturday. Kelly and I go WAY back, starting when she took flute lessons from my mom in 6th grade. I was the obnoxious kid that waved at her across the band hall when she went to her lessons. From then, we were friends! We had a joint high school graduation party (that I forgot about until recently), toured SFA together, went to SFA together (for my first year and a half), and lived together in Dallas after college. Kelly stood by my side at my wedding day and I was honored to get to do the same for her! 

We jetted out of Dallas after lunch on Friday and drove down to Palestine, Texas. Population 18,000. Kelly decided to have a semi-destination wedding because a lot of their family members would be coming in from out of town regardless of the location, so she chose the venue and place she liked best. 

I can't believe it, but I'm going to have to break these posts up because I took so many pictures! We were there from Friday at 3pm - Saturday at 10pm and I have enough pictures to warrant multiple posts. Unbelievable! 

Anyway, after trying out the B&B scene in New Orleans, Mark and I opted to go the same route for this wedding in Palestine. We have found that you can typically pay the same rate as a hotel but get amped service, cozy lodging, and a good breakfast at a B&B. This one did NOT disappoint!

We opted for the best reviewed B&B in town: Magnolia Street Inn. The house was built in 1874 and of course, it's been updated with all of the modern comforts of 2014. It was gorgeous!

The grounds were well kept and flourishing with flowers and plants. The innkeeper does her own garden and not only do they not have any water restrictions, but she said she hasn't watered all year!!! Considering it was a muggy 90 degrees while we were there, that is amazing!

I think it's a given that all B&B's require a cat, and this one just happened to come with Mark's idea of a perfect dog. Seriously, he got all giddy when he saw Buddy for the first (and second and third) time. Buddy is a blue heeler mixed with possibly a shepherd (? says the innkeeper) and he had all of the characteristics that Mark wanted in a dog. Spotty, ears that stand up, calm mannered, stocky, and long tail. The innkeeper told us about 5 times that "you can have him!" but we adamantly answered that we do NOT need another dog. 

...and then this happened when I left Mark alone for 6 hours before the wedding:

 No worries, Mark didn't disobey and we returned home to just ONE dog. 

Anyway, the house was gorgeous and provided lots of photo ops. I just couldn't stop!

We stayed on the second floor in the Dogwood Room, behind that bay window up there.

Once I walked in, my voice got really high and I flipped out over the bathroom. It was so spacious, airy, feminine, and just AHHHHHH! Loved it. 

There was a little foyer area as well where we could drop our keys and cameras and it was a nice entry into the room.

Here's Mark doing what he does best...and also the majority of the room. it was hard to get a picture of but it was nice and comfortable!

We looked out over Magnolia Street and I thought this view of the church through the shades was just so pretty and picturesque!

We really enjoyed our stay at this B&B and wished we would have had more time to relax there, but it was the perfect trip. Breakfast was delicious and we were within walking distance of downtown, which I'm sharing next on the blog!

One more thing...after our last B&B stay, I figured we should start a collection/tradition of taking a picture of me on the porch of the house to commemorate our trip. Admittedly, it was super humid the whole time (thanks, East Texas) and my camera lens was fogging up, but it could be solved with a simple wipe on the shirt. Regardless, this is the best Mark could do:

Notice the fog on the edges? When I asked him about it, he said he thought it was just on the viewer and wouldn't show up on the pictures.......sigh.

We had a great weekend in Palestine and it was a welcome breath of fresh country air. Be back for more travel pics later!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I've been hit with some serious writer's block as well as a DIY lull, but I wanted to pop in to blog land here to share what we've been up to.

Currently watching: 

"Orange is the New Black" (I'm a bit ashamed of this because it's super vulgar but I watch it quickly and get it out of my mind! Same with House of Cards...for shame!)
"The Bachelorette" (Sort of. I watch in between Pinterest scrolling)
"The Americans" (Mark and I started watching this together and it's really good!)

Currently reading:

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (I've read this before and just picked it up again as a summer read. I am a big fan of nonfiction and I really like his books!)
I picked up another book at Target to read by the pool and ended up leaving it at my parents. I'm not too far in yet but it is pretty good so far. Once I get it back I'll fill you in!

Currently listening:

Country on the radio in the car
James Taylor Pandora at work

These are both pretty standard!

Currently making:

I'm about 95% done making two wreaths for my friend Kelly's wedding this weekend. Can't wait to share them! 

Currently feeling:

Busy, but good! Excited about where we are in life right now. 

Currently planning:

Small scale - California trip
Large scale - our lives! We are on our way to being debt free after crunching some numbers and figuring out we could pay it off quickly if we really bear down. It's so funny how excited I'm getting about making loan payments, but it's easy when the relief is just around the corner!

Currently loving:

Summer! I am a summer girl and I love the sun. Texas has been kind to us so far this year (and last) but I'm loving the warmer temperatures, green grass, late sunsets, and the pool!