Lauren Conrad Tea Pot & Earl Gray Tea

So my birthday was just over a week ago and I’ve basically been celebrating a whole bunch. Because birthdays only happen once a year and I’m in an okay place right now, which is awesome. Anyway, so my best friend, who happens to share my love of horrible reality TV and Lauren Conrad, quite possibly sent me the best gift I’ve received in a while.

If you’ve been living under a rock lately and haven’t heard, Lauren Conrad of The Hills fame has her own fair trade line called The Little Market. And all products sold are made fair trade by local female artisans around the world. It’s awesome stuff and all the products are insanely adorable. I love any product that is functional, appealing, and gives back in some way.

So when my bestie said she was mailing me something, I knew it was going to be good. I just didn’t know it was going to be this good.

The tea is organic fair trade earl gray and I’m obsessed. It’s not super fruity but its definitely caffeinated, which I love. And I haven’t had a chance to use to the tea pot, I’m waiting for a morning where I have some time to just sit and enjoy it while overlooking the trees by my apartment. But if you have a chance, check out the Little Market and pick up some goodies for yourself! I promise you won’t regret any purchase. Plus, you’ll feel good doing it too!

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‘The Year of Yes’ by Shonda Rimes

Now, if you watch any form of TV – whether it’s Hulu, Netflix, and/or cable – you’ve probs heard of Shonda Rimes. She’s the brains and writer behind fan favourite shows Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and, my personal favourite, How to Get Away with Murder. If you haven’t, you’re probably living under a rock. Because her shows are rich in story telling, diverse backgrounds, and the best/worst cliff hangers you’ve ever witnessed on a show. Holy wow, those cliff hangers. If you watch How to Get Away with Murder, you know cliff hangers. That mid season finale? Oh my god.

Anyway, back to the point. I recently picked up her book The Year of Yes because it came highly recommended by a friend of mine and i love Shonda. I want to be friends with her and know how on Earth she could put my heart through the ringer every week without thinking twice. Whatever, anyway.

This book is lovely. It’s a little slow to start but it picks up. And it’s great insight. It follows her journey into the year of yes, inspired by something her sister said during Thanksgiving in 2013 or 2014. And her goal was to say yes to basically everything for an entire year. SHe couldn’t say no. Now, Im sure this excluded anything that was illegal, vastly immoral, or other caveats I’m not thinking of right now because I ordered Chinese delivery for the first time in forever.

The Year of Yes is filled with great side notes about your favourite shows as well as her journey of saying yes to everything and then some. You learn how she mustered up the courage to speak at the Human Rights Campaign awards show, take on Jimmy Kimmel, and change her own narrative into something motivatingly fantastic. You learn about her insecurities as well as her triumphs and how saying yes for a year turned into a lifelong habit.

This book, at times, is cheesy but you feel as though Rimes is encouraging you along the way, when you haven’t the words to do so yourself. It’s an easy read, perfect if you just finished an intense book or you need something that doesn’t take much brain cells to follow along. It’s funny, darling, and everything I needed right now.

It’s inspired me to do my own year of yes and take on my fears head on. It’s a self help book that doesn’t feel like one at all. ANd if you like Shonda’s shows, just wait until you read her book. It’s wonderful. Pick it up wherever books are sold and you’ll be in for a ride you weren’t expecting.

Favourite quote: No one is meaner than a pack of human beings faced with someone who is different.

Crooked Tree Coffeehouse

I went to this spot a few weeks ago after running errands with the boyfriend. Luckily, he loves discovering new spots with me, all in the name of research & caffeine. I mean, seriously. Could I have gotten any luckier? Anyway.

This spot is actually located in an old home and is super adorable. They have a plain list to choose from but the coffee is amazing. I got a simple soy vanilla latte and my boyfriend got an americano. The layout is adorable and feels really cozy. Plus, there’s a great but small outdoor area to sit and would be perfect for a fall day.

I could definitely see myself doing work here and getting lost in people watching as well. The seating arrangements are interesting but just contribute overall to the cozy astethic and like you’re actually in a treehouse. Or at least, somewhere surrounded by nature.

If you’re in the uptown area of Dallas and are looking for a coffee shop slightly off the beaten path, check this place out. It’s cute, the baristas are nice, and it’s worth a second trip. Or at the very least, a second cup of caffeine

Method Coffee

Recently, a friend recommended this spot over in East Dallas and I decided to take a chance. Their Yelp page looked fantastic, seemed to have the perfect blend of hipster and modern, and their coffee selection looked fantastic. So this morning, since I’m finally over a gnarly cold that had me waking up coughing (gross, I know), I decided to treat myself to a new coffee shop in a part of town I hadn’t really explored yet. Plus, there was a really cute dog in a planter that greeted me when I walked on the patio to go through the front door. Score!

I ordered a 2% lavender latte, a seemingly new go to order for me, and a cinnamon roll. Not the best for starting a healthier lifestyle, but hey. I’ve been better this week so sometimes you just need to treat yourself, right? Hopefully  your answer’s the same as mine – an enthusiastic yes!

What I really enjoyed about this spot is that it quickly became apparent that it’s a great place to work. Free wi-fi, ample table space, and enough places to sit where you dont feel too bad about comandeering one for a bit one morning. These are definitely some of the perks I look for in a coffee shop when I’m planning on spending at least a couple hours in to work on the blog, do some research, or even get out of the apartment for a bit. But i think my favourite aesthetic part of the coffee shop is the exposed brick wall they have by the barista bar. I’m a sucker for brick walls with wood accents. call me a secret hipster or the next fixer-upper star, I don’t care. But I love it. Feels super rustic, warm, welcoming, and very homey to me. Maybe it reminds me of my childhood or something, I don’t know.

But if you’re in the Dallas area, specifically just north of deep ellum, you should definitely check out this spot. It’s adorable, decent coffee, and an adorable aesthetic. I promise you won’t regret it.

4.5/5 

Sip Stir Café

This place is freaking adorable. So fresh & so clean, if you know what I mean…..except I don’t so that’s counterintuitive. Anyway. Stip Stir Cafe over in Uptown and West Village is a surprising find. If you know the area, West Village can seem a little….uppity. There’s lots of nice shops, great macaroons (yummmm), and a lot of high end apartments that I can’t afford just yet. But it’s clean, it’s nice, and all deserving of a great coffee shop like Sip Stir.

I’ve been sick recently so I just stuck with an old classic, earl gray tea. Not hard to guess, huh? Moving on. The presentation at this place is fantastic. It fits in perfectly in its respective neck of the woods with a classic interior design that’s both fresh, clean, and modern with nodes to that of an independent coffee shop you’d expect to find in a grungier part of town. But the tea was on par, perhaps some of the most cathartic i’ve found in town yet. I’m not sure what kind they use but I’m assuming it was probably fair trade organic as that seems pretty par for the course nowadays.

But it may be become my go to as I prefer the local shops over chains like Starbucks (Coffee Bean being the exception, as I’m obsessed and it seems to only be found in California). And if I’m in West Village doing some shopping, Sip Stir may have made me a customer to ever keep returning.

Plus, I stuck around to work on a few things and the barista even delivered my tea to the table I was sitting at. Talk about great customer service!

4.5/5