the murder mystery company

When it comes to date night, Eric and I are always down to hit up one of our favorite spots, but we’re also big on changing it up and trying something totally new.

That was definitely the case when we attended a dinner and show in town by The Murder Mystery Company!

Neither of us had ever attended a murder mystery show before, so I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant when the Murder Mystery Co. reached out with the opportunity to attend since I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. That being said, you know E and I are always down adventure and we figured this would be fun to check out!

We were totally right.

At The Murder Mystery Co., the theatre troupe serves up a three course meal, along with two hours of interactive, Clue style mystery and intrigue. From the moment we arrived, there was mixing and mingling with interesting characters and fellow attendees turned suspects.

the murder mystery company

Our show was titled ‘Til Death Do Us Part – focused on a wedding day nightmare in which a member of the wedding party was murdered. With a bridezilla, unenthused groom, and slew of mix matched wedding guests (some of which were selected audience members), the plot unfolded as the search began to discover the killer.

We enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner at Salvatore’s in Lincoln Park, where the show took place. This real-life wedding venue turned murder mystery setting for the night has an antique feel, complete with pretty chandeliers, huge mirrors, and a wooden bar with character.

As we enjoyed our food, the actors engaged audience members in brief interrogations, including E! I thought he might get arrested for sneaking in some poison and I’d be headed home without him. Thankfully, he was cleared.

Throughout the show, audience members have opportunities to engage with suspects, gather clues, and work with our dinner table of team members to crack the case. In the end, the killer was revealed and awards were given to the night’s best audience actors.

If you are outgoing, engaging, and down to go with the flow, then an experience with the Murder Mystery Company is one you’d enjoy! It also seems like a popular choice for larger parties celebrating birthdays. Couples who are down to try something new and have a fun loving, easy going attitude will also have a great time.

the murder mystery company

Thanks again to the wonderful cast for having us! If you’re interested in a show by The Murder Mystery Company, learn more here!

how to help after harvey

My heart has been heavy this past week. Watching family, friends, the rest of the Houston community, and neighboring areas suffer from Chicago has been difficult.

My heart has also swelled with Texas pride as I’ve watched people and organizations across the state stand strong and rush to help each other. Seeing the country rally together to provide support and relief has also been a sweet note of hope.

Those who know me know as much as I love traveling, home is always near and dear to my heart. Granted, there are of course some things about Texas that need changing, but I’ve learned that’s the case with most places. The love for my home state will never fade. It’s home.

As we’ve watched the devestation Hurricane Harvey has brought unfold in the media, we are feeling especially far. Eric and I, along with our fellow Houstonians up north, have been hurting for our communities and looking for opportunities to help.

How to Help After Harvey

That being said, I’ve rounded up a list of goods that give back 100% of their proceeds to Harvey relief efforts, as well as organizations that you can donate to and help after Harvey.

Goods That Give Back

how to help after harvey

Texas Forever shirt from Magnolia Market

how to help after harvey

Don’t Mess with Texas candle (and this Howdy Y’all one) from The Burlap Bag

how to help after harvey

Texas Print Art (digital download) from Polish and Plume

how to help after harvey

Texas Isaiah 43:2 tee (or this Texas Strong one) from Sweet Southern Love

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Texas Strong Pet Bandana from Asher & Gray (Note: 50% of proceeds donated)

Organizations Doing Good

NPR put together this awesome, comprehensive list of organizations you can contribute to. I’ve pulled out a handful below I was interested in when researching, and have linked directly to the Harvey efforts on their site.

General Relief: GlobalGiving, JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund

General Relief/Donating Blood: The Red Cross

Food: Feeding Texas, Houston Food Bank

Animals: SPCA of TexasAustin Pets Alive!

Lastly, thank you to all who have reached out regarding my family in the area. They are safe and dry in our pocket of town. We are beyond thankful and ready to serve.

how to help after harvey

Source: Chron.com

The sun came out this week, and the rain has stopped for now. While the road to recovery may be long, for this sweet reminder of God’s presence and hope, I am thankful.

“When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you…” – Isaiah 43:2

Squeeze your loved ones, friends!

xo dayna

 

Texas Wildflower title image sourced here.

stripes

Happy Friday, friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m beyond ready for the weekend after what has been a crazzyyyy week. Eric’s parents are in town, and I’m really looking forward to some fun and relaxation around the city.

I can’t believe we’re over half way through August. I’ve been soaking up the sun as much as possible…people in Chicago keep saying summer is almost over, and I’m going to keep avoiding that thought for as long as I can…

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So speaking of sun, summer, and lots of other warm things far from Chicago winter, a few weeks ago E and I explored the neighborhood of Logan Square. I knew this striped dress from Gap would be perfect for our afternoon date, it’s been a major go-to in my closet this season!

To step up the bold, I added a bright pink head wrap and red lips. I loved how when it all came together, I was kind of feelin’ some vintage fashion vibes.

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Dress | Bag | Sandals

How precious is this bow detail? The button up, sans collar, was also a big win in my book!

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Je taime ring

A friend recommended we check out the poppin’ patio at Park and Field, and it was easy to see why. This spot has the theme of a vintage sports club, complete with fire pits and bocce ball courts. I loved all of the whites and woods, it had such a clean and beautiful feel.

Plus, they were serving up frosé, so you know I was all about it.

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Benavides Photography

Another sign we’ll keep this place on our list of favorites? They have a pop-up taco shop every Friday and Saturday – all of this deliciousness for $10. That elote was sooooo good, y’all. Throw in the a Ruby Red and you know we’re sold.

Tacos and Shiner – two things a couple of Texans are always happy to see!

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We had such a great afternoon laughing away and seeing a new part of the city. Always thankful for new adventures with this sweet – and majorly talented I might add – husband of mine.

E took all these gorgeous photos, you can see more of his stuff here! If you’re in Chicago and in need of a photographer, he’s your guy.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

reception

It’s here, it’s here…and wayyy overdue! I’ve finally finished blogging the final part of our wedding. Re-reading the details of this sweet day makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

We left off in Part III, where Eric and I + the best wedding party ever ventured into the peaceful field on our venue’s property for some of the dreamiest sunset photos in existence. (Want to catch up further back? I got you – Part I and Part II here.)

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You may remember I ended Part III with a little trivia regarding the 90s movie theme song we entered into the reception with, per the wedding party’s vote!

Hint was that a famous Chicago Bulls basketball player starred in the film…

Any guesses? Let’s dive into this party – find out below!

*****

We had of course spent too much time giggling and snapping photos in the field, so by the time we lined up outside the big wooden reception hall doors to be announced, our coordinators had to wrangle up our group of blissfully happy and silly friends.

I sometimes think the announcement of the wedding party, and everyone dancing in 2 by 2 can be awkward, but definitely not when your people are a pack of fun and weird humans.

Everyone paired up and coordinated their dance moves, the doors were propped open, and SPACE JAM boomed from the speakers. *cue excited cheers and childhood nostalgia*

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E and I may have decided to chest bump. We definitely did.

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I loved the way we had the reception house decorated. I wanted to weave in the blush and deep wine throughout, but keep an overall clean and natural feel by incorporating woods and metals throughout the space.

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We tried to incorporate unique spins on some of the classic wedding components too. Our guest book was actually a large black and white canvas of one of our engagement photos in downtown Austin. We had loved ones sign with a gold sharpie and this is probably our favorite piece of art hanging in our apartment!

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The seating chart was an old antique frame that we stapled chicken wire to (thanks sir at Home Depot for help us!). This is another cool piece we had shipped back to Chicago that we now have pictures displayed on.

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Our favors were heart shaped Mexican cinnamon sugar cookies. I grew up eating them in the Rio Grande Valley with my grandparents, so this was a really special little piece of south Texas for us. Koozies were also a solid last minute addition!

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We walked straight into our first dance to The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra. I’m not one who ever really thought about my wedding or planned it out growing up, but the one thing I did dream of for years was doing a first dance to this sweet song. Luckily, E is a Sinatra fan too, so it worked out nicely!

One of our favorite things to do is dance, so this was a really special moment to share together, singing along and laughing and twirling.

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Afterwards, my dad and I danced to I Loved Her First by Heartland, followed by E and his mama’s dance to You’ll Be in My Heart by Phil Collins. Gah, SO CUTE, right?!

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Then it was tacoooo time. We had a fajita buffet with all the fixings for our dinner because Tex-Mex is life. I remember people telling us you don’t usually get to eat at your own wedding, but we made it a priority. It wasn’t a full meal, but we weren’t going to order those tasty tacos and not get some of the goods!

So future brides, you totally can and should eat yours too. 🙂

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No one panic though, E and I literally ate a full tray of fajitas, rice, and beans at the end of the night that our incredible Memory Lane coordinators packed up for us. Honeymoon suite livin’ at it’s finest.

E and I cut our cakes next! I’ve learned that having a Groom’s cake is largely a southern tradition? Not until I started talking about ours, did I find myself explaining that back home it’s common to have a classic wedding cake, or the Bride’s cake, and a Groom’s cake that usually has a fun theme close to heart for the couple!

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For those that know my husband, it should come at know surprise the Groom’s cake was inspired by his love for our alma mater, The University of Texas. It was delicious dark chocolate cake with layers of fresh strawberries. The Bride’s cake was a tasty French vanilla with vanilla mousse filling. A huge thanks to Classic Cakes by Lori for these beauties!

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A funny little thing most guests probably never knew was that we had an extra French vanilla sheet cake in the reception kitchen that never made it to the floor. So we’re actually super sorry if you didn’t get a piece of cake haha, the venue crew never realized it was there!

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The good news? My family ate cake for days after. We even got some after the honeymoon, and there is still some for us to eat for our first anniversary since we hadn’t planned on saving any.

Speeches by our Maid of Honor and Best Man were next. My sister teared up during what was the sweetest and funniest toast I’ll ever hear. Eric’s brother killed the speech game too! I loved hearing their stories (some details may have been fabricated, *cough cough*, lookin’ at you P!) and jokes.

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The best surprise ever was when the two of them legit broke out into rehearsed song and dance. You guys. It was AMAZING. They wrote they’re own lyrics for a mashup of rap and pop jams, ending with my favorite Crazy in Love by Queen B, to which we all strutted across the dance floor – a tribute to a story my sister shared in her speech from our childhood.

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My parents shared a few sweet words and then it was time to get this dance floor going, y’all! I mentioned E and I are dancers, and the same goes for our family and friends!

Our wedding vendors actually told us afterwards they were so amazed that once everyone started, it never stopped. That usually there’s a moment when it’s a bit slower, but that our guests were just going the whole night. DJ Brian rocked.

Haha I truly wouldn’t have expected anything less, our people made us proud!

I remember for awhile Eric and I kept getting pulled in different directions to talk to others or take photos, as expected and of course we were so appreciative that we could see everyone, but at one point I turned to him and said “Ok, after this one, we have to go to the dance floor! We should be dancing!”

He immediately took me there, confirming what I already knew – that my husband rocks. Marry someone who pulls you onto dance floors, people.

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At one point, Crazy in Love came on again and everyone chanted so I would strut again. So there I went, strutting around to Beyonce with all my favorite people. It was definitely one of my top life moments ever because duh.

A personal touch for the dance floor was playing Go Cubs Go! in honor of the World Series win we had just a few days before we got married, and the UT fight song of course!

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We did the classic bouquet and garter tosses, and perhaps my favorite reception touch – had an open air photo booth in the corner printing out classic strips! I was beyond happy we had one, I just couldn’t go without it and loved how much fun everyone had in there.

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With our amazing photographers, Kelsey and Talon of Feather & Twine!

The whole night was amazing. E and I were blissfully happy. It truly was the best day ever. All we could’ve ever hoped for and more!

Sadly, the dancing had to eventually end. We had the happiest, brightest exit with sparklers though! It was like our personal fireworks send off, and it made for some pretty gorgeous photos.

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Our venue housing us + our wedding party for the night meant the party continued. I was really thankful for this time together since we knew it would be awhile before we saw some of these friends again!

So in summary, tacos + dance floor + photo booth + E = truly the best celebration ever! The whole night was all we could’ve ever hoped for and more. I’ll cherish these photos and details forever.

I love you, E. // 11.06.16

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*****

The next morning, we were up and at ’em early for an 8:00 am flight to Jamaica! Our honeymoon is a whole other adventure I’ve already written about here and here. If you’re looking for a beach getaway, cannot recommend Couples Swept Away enough!

Wow, my first post in quite awhile. It’s been a packed summer and I’ve missed blogging, friends. Capturing memories and sharing stories with our words is one of life’s simplest, yet sweetest, things – don’t ya think?

Stay tuned for some fun posts I’m working on! Happy Monday!

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perú

Eeek, you guys, E and I leave in less than ONE week for our trip to South America. Back in February, I announced our big international adventure for 2017 was going to be a trip to Perú to hike Machu Picchu, and now I can’t believe it’s almost here!

It is no secret that I strongly dislike packing, like very much dislike it. Packing is my enemy.

Poor E usually has to deal with my incredible indecisiveness and dance party breaks into the wee hours of the night before we leave for a trip, but I’m determined to be ready wayyy ahead of schedule this time.

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Me to my responsibilities as a packing llama: New phone, who dis? 

We fly out next Thursday, but I’m going to aim to have a majority of my packing done this weekend. *claps for self*

We’ll see. Wish me luck.

Regardless of what happens, I think I deserve brownie points, because we’re packing everything up in our Kelty Redwing 44 backpacks.

I looove this bag! Highly recommend it if you’re traveling abroad and want something that’s compact enough for international airlines (we had no problems using them as carry-ons), but spacious enough to fit all you’ll need.

After E and I graduated, we took these babies on a month long trip across Europe. I repeat, 30 DAYS – and they worked like a gem.

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They’re such good quality, and available for a solid price online right now. We just bought one as a gift for my sister. It’s truly a symbol of adventure to me.

All that being said, these bags bring back all sorts of happy memories (did you know we got engaged on that Europe trip??), and I’m excited to break them out again!

Two little items I’m excited to be packing this time…my new stackable wedding bands from Qalo! These flexible, fun alternatives have been perfect to wear when staying active on the beach or at the gym.

I love that they’ll be perfect for our hike – no worry of banging up my real bands or anything happening to it while traveling. E got one too!

kelty

My last piece of news to share is that there are a ridiculous amount of adorable llama pics on the internet, FYI. Would you guys believe that when we were booking our hike with Alpaca Expeditions, I live chatted them to confirm we’d see llamas/alpacas on our trek because our hike description didn’t mention them, while others did…?

The answer was of course, yes. Hehe. I’m sure the person replying to me super enjoyed that. But hey, this is going to be my Emperor’s New Groove childhood dream come true!!

via Buzzfeed

Well, time I go back to googling packing lists in between my animal photo searches. Happy weekend, friends!

If you’ve got any Perú packing tips, comment away!

Days By Day