Four Life Lessons From Waco, Texas

I've been officially moved out for over two weeks. And that feels real strange. Yet as I sit here in my living room in Cusco with a little time to myself, I am beyond thankful for what my last home taught me. Waco is where I became my own person, and it's where I found my people. 

I moved to Waco in February 2014 to get some healing and space with a people and church I trusted and to work with Chip and Joanna Gaines before the HGTV show even aired. I lived with the sweetest family of 7 and eased myself back into normal life one day at a time. I look back at that time as one of the most formative seasons in my life. 

I am thankful for those who took a chance to take me in and became like family to me. I am thankful for the friends who stood by me and those who became new friends in the process. Each of you helped shape me into who I am today. 

As I reflect on my last few years in the sweetest little town and community, a couple life lessons come to mind. Who knew one place could teach me so much as I navigated life in my early - mid 20's. #wacotown, you've been good to me. 

1. It's ok to fail; there will always be people to help pick you back up again. 

I'm so thankful for the ways God let me fail so that I'd learn not to depend on my own strength or abilities (easier said than done). I've failed many times, but my most noteworthy season of failure occurred just after I graduated college. I couldn't find a job, I was in several messy relationships, and I felt as though everything I tried to jump to next suddenly disappeared and I was left empty handed yet again. But the people around me carried and loved me in ways I can't seem to find words for. Some were expected, others were not, but the friends and family God placed in my corner shaped me in so many ways. 

2. When small people gather around a great vision, big things can happen. Team work makes the dream work, people. 

When I first moved to Waco, I stared working at a tiny bistro table in the shop window of what would eventually become Magnolia Market. I was tasked with launching and setting up the retail store and soon realized I was in wayyyyyyyy over my head. I still think it's a miracle they even trusted me with their vision - such an incredible honor. 

By beginning of July, the business was bursting at the seams, but our little team worked around the clock to turn dream to reality. Chip, especially, challenged our team to eliminate the word "impossible" from our vocabulary, trusting things could get done if we tried hard enough and committed to a vision bigger than ourselves. And it worked. I learned a valuable lesson about hard work and positivity and realized I could do a lot more than I thought I could. 

3. Your 20's are for trying, and it's ok not to get it right on the first try. 

Oftentimes I feel guilty when I think about all the different jobs and positions I've tried in the last 4 years. I don't want to be perceived as an uncommitted millennial who can't make her mind to save her life. But a friend told me once that your 20's are for trying - no one expects you to get right on the first try. This truth set me free as I realized this is the time in my life to try new things, fail, try again, and then work to find the best fit!

4. Building history with people is more valuable than building your resume. 

I've been challenged to view success differently, recently. And rather than seeing it as a black and white concept, I'm starting to think success encompasses much more than we think. To me, it's not about building the best LinkedIn profile or perfect resume. Instead, I think it's about embracing life and stepping forward confidently and wholeheartedly, tending to our own hearts and staying committed to others around us. I've heard it said that relationships make people rich, and if that's the case, that's the kind of success I want to pursue. 

Waco, you've changed me, and I never thought I'd grow to like you as much as I do now. Thanks for the mems. I'll be back soon. 

A Light-Filled Weekend in Fredericksburg

A few weeks ago a dear friend and I took a weekend road trip through Texas Hill Country to Fredericksburg. This little town had been on my bucket list for a long time, and since I'm moving in a few weeks (cue the tears), we made it happen! One of the best ways I get refreshed is by exploring new places - especially when time is free and there's no agenda or to-do list. 

We jumped in the car without much direction and hit the jackpot in local gems! Below are some of our favorite spots and maybe by the end of this post, you'll be convinced to give Fredericksburg a try. :) It's the perfect little girls' weekend vacay. 

Grape Creek Vineyard

There are so many wineries along the highway heading into Fredericksburg - wish we could have stopped at all of them! From the road, this one looked classy and the parking lot was full, so we knew it'd be a win. 

The grounds are beautiful - you could spend hours walking around and enjoying wine on the patio. There was a sweet little shop inside and both Laura and I tried a glass of wine and purchased some cheese, sausage and crackers to snack on, too. I tried the Cabernet/Syrah and was definitely pleased. 

Wildseed Farms

This place was magical! The poppies and wildflowers on the property are beautiful and there's lots of pathways you can take to walk the grounds. The selection of plants is also impressive and there's even a biergarten and winery on site, as well! 

Magnolia Pearl

If you make one stop on your way into town, this needs to be it. This hidden gem contains a beautiful, light-filled showroom and shop with high-end clothing made with vintage fabric. The prices were definitely steep, but the space was unreal. The shop girl told us the owner constructed the barn from the ground up and told us a little bit of history about the brand. I could have stayed for hours just looking around and taking it all in - even the bathrooms were gorgeous!

Otto's German Bistro

We knew we wanted to try something German on our first night in town and Otto's did not disappoint. We both ordered cocktails and split the rest of our meal. There's a full service bar and the cocktail and First we ordered Brot und Butter, which sounds simple, but the beet jam was amazing. We also split the Flammkuchen off the appetizer menu, which is a really yummy flatbread with gorgonzola cheese, caramelized onions and lots of veggies. Lastly, our waiter gave such a great rec for the Ricotta Gnocchi that we had to try it as well; it was delicious. Highly recommend this quaint little dinner spot, especially if you can snag a table outside!

Carol Hicks Bolton Antiques

This spot was recommended to us by Magnolia Pearl and it was another highlight! I'm not much of an antique shopper, to be honest, but this space is stunning and there are so many pieces to see. It's pretty big, so you could spend a few hours here. There's also an added room to the right when you walk in full of nuetral shades and natural light - it's amazing. Allow yourself plenty of time to peruse and shop. 

Woerner Warehouse & Cafe

Hop on over next door to the Woerner Warehouse to see more beautiful antiques and sit down for lunch! We were so pleased to find this little cafe next door - not only is it beautiful inside, but the food was very good as well. I ordered a salad / sandwich combo with the BLAT sandwich and the house special salad with sun dried pears and candied pecans - you can't go wrong with that kind of combo. The service was a bit slow, but the environment made up for it, to be sure. 

Das Peach Haus

Das Peach Haus was such a happy little stop! We had no expectations going in, but it was one of my favorite spots we found! When you walk inside they have little tasty treats to try and sample - we nearly consumed a second lunch. :) The jams and jellies were incredible and we even tried a complementary sample of their peach wine. There's a little patio outside with a pond out back and there's a kitchen space behind where you can take cooking classes. If I come back to Fredericksburg, this will definitely be on my list! 

They are also opening a tasting room next month and you can sign up online for live cooking demonstrations. The staff was also incredibly kind and friendly - all around win!

Jack's 1742

We stopped here on our way out of town to get our caffeine fix. I tried the vanilla tea and the sweet barista made me an almond milk vanilla tea latte. The macarons were also a sweet treat to take on the road. I'd recommend the Earl Grey flavor. 

One of my favorite parts of the trip was our little cottage rental home. I found the listing on AirBnB and the host was so helpful and accommodating. Upon walking in, it felt like we were entering a storybook. It's beautiful and clean and the space was perfect for two guests. Warm, peaceful, lots of light - can't go wrong, here. There's even a little private patio out back and little kitchenette inside. Next time, though, I'd like to try the little cabin on the property - it looked beautiful and had a hot tub in the back! 

Overall, we enjoyed our stay so much and loved hunting for the best little local spots. Other things worth mentioning include walking down Main Street, Vaudeville (shopping and bistro) downtown, and I wish we had had the chance to take advantage of the hiking trails in the area and explore Enchanted Rock! I suppose there's always a next time.