California Love Brunch

California themed party invitations

California themed party

R Love Floral Dallas

Gold letter balloons Etsy

Peter Millar water resistant quilted jacket

California love brunch Brooke du jour

Giant gold letter balloons

Bistro 31 Dallas

DIY colorful succulents

California themed party inspiration

Halogen blush velvet booties Nordstrom

Dallas brunch

Succulent table arrangement

Boho California flower crowns

Anthropologie celestial halter gown

Photography by Stephanie Drenka and Holden Hostetler

Event design and styling by Brooke du jour, Stephanie Drenka, Courtney Bier & Mary Liz Tuttle

Venue: Bistro 31 | Invitations: Mooseberry Paper Co. | Cali balloons: Lovely Party Studio | Flower crowns: R Love Floral | Succulent arrangement: Brooke du jour and Mary Liz Tuttle | Place cards and thank you tags: Carrie and Seash | Party favors: Compartes | California drink stirrers: Jenna and Jules Designs

My outfit: Anthropologie dress, Joie jacket, Vintage scarf, Halogen booties, An Old Soul jewelry

Find your tribe, love them hard.

This post is basically a huge giant thank you to my Dallas family for throwing the most beautiful brunch to send me off to California! So many people and so much love went into making this incredible day but there are several big thank yous in order. When I told my best friends/work wives/soul sisters Stephanie and Courtney that I was planning to move to LA at the end of the year, they right away offered to throw me a going away brunch. Of course they knew it couldn’t be just any other brunch. It had to be a Brooke du jour brunch. The planning process ensued and they acted like they weren’t annoyed when I sent them Excel spreadsheets full of ridiculous ideas about California-shaped pink drink stirrers in the middle of a perfectly good night’s sleep. I memorized Stephanie’s address from the amount of boxes I had shipped to her house for the party. I woke up the morning of my “California Love” brunch and it was 19 degrees in Dallas. Only in Dallas can it go from like 70 degrees one day to 19 degrees the next day. I was in the middle of a complete panic wondering how we could change the theme at the literal last minute to “Frozen” when I arrived at the venue and saw that Courtney, Stephanie and Stephanie’s husband Holden had already taken care of everything and it was perfect. Heaters were placed on the patio, Courtney was straddling a bench to set up the Cali balloons, Stephanie was taking test shots. Everything was perfect. Find your tribe, love them hard.

I also need to majorly thank my succulent arrangement master and partner in crime, Mary Liz. When she moved back to Dallas over the summer, I threw her a fabulous pineapple-themed welcome home party. As soon as Mary Liz heard I was having this brunch, she immediately offered to help out, which is exactly who she is. Mary Liz has helped and shaped my life in so many ways since we were roommates our freshman year of college. She has incredibly thoughtful and wonderful parents so I’m sure that’s where she gets it from. Anyways I told Mary Liz I wanted a colorful succulent arrangement as the centerpiece for this brunch and showed her some inspiration on Pinterest and she just totally went for it with her creative, crafty mind. A friend who will spend her entire Saturday separating teeny tiny pink rocks from a giant mixed bag of pink and purple rocks to keep with your brunch’s color scheme is a true friend. Find your tribe, love them hard.

I also of course need to thank my boyfriend, Michael. This was not his first Brooke du jour brunch. The man knows how to prep a party favor like a seasoned event pro by now, lol! I decided fairly early into our relationship that I was moving to LA. If we’re being totally honest here, if the situation had been reversed and Michael had told me he was going to move across the country to follow his dreams, I probably would have told him to F off. But Michael has been so incredibly supportive and calm and steady about my move and my blog and it makes me love him and value him so much. I know a long-distance relationship is not exactly ideal. When we told our friends our plans, some of them had this concerned expression on their faces like, “Oh shit. They have no idea what they are getting themselves into.” We didn’t know what we were initially going to do but the turning point for me was Michael’s birthday dinner at the end of October. I asked him what he wanted to accomplish this year and he started listing all these things like get into grad school, travel to Europe, etc. and I suddenly felt this massive realization that I didn’t want him to do any of these things without me. So here we are. Find your tribe, love them hard.

Two days after this brunch, I landed at LAX. I had done a really great job of holding everything together until the flight attendant said, “Welcome to LAX!” and I just burst into tears. I couldn’t stop crying all throughout the plane taxiing and while I waited at baggage claim for the insane amount of luggage I brought. I’m sure the other travelers thought I was having some kind of mental breakdown or something. I think all of that was because I had experienced so much support, connection and fierce love in Dallas – especially my last few weeks there—and I’m just hoping and praying to be lucky enough to find a similar feeling in LA. Of course I have my family’s love, which I am so grateful for, but there’s something different about meeting friends who become your family. The kind of friends who hold you when you ugly-cry over your first big breakup. The kind of friends who bring you pink champagne and Oreos when you quit your job. The kind of friends who are such smart, kind and beautiful human beings that you are just in complete awe of them and their fabulousness. My magic makers. My girl gang. My warriors.

Find your tribe, love them hard.

My Favorite Restaurants in Dallas

Best restaurants in Dallas

Where to eat in Dallas

Bistro 31 Dallas review

Best brunch places in Dallas

Best happy hours in Dallas

Highland Park Village restaurants

Best patios in Dallas

Photos by Stephanie Drenka

Outfit: Wayf top (only $69!), Articles of Society jeans

Accessories: Chanel purse, J.Crew flats

Makeup: Chanel lipgloss in 119 Wild Rose

There are so many things about Dallas that I love, but the restaurant scene is at the top of the list! When I first moved to Dallas, I thought Dallas restaurants would have nothing on LA restaurants but I was 100% wrong. I am a disaster in my own kitchen, so I eat out a lot. I could go on and on about all of my favorite spots in Dallas, but here are my top 10 that I absolutely love. Email me if you want more suggestions!

Mercat Bistro– Hands down the best restaurant in Dallas. Everyone will tell you it’s a piece of Paris (aka heaven) in Dallas. The mismatched vintage china is my favorite part. The restaurant sources beautiful antiques from all over the world. Go for either brunch or drinks and apps with your girlfriends. They have a really fun drink called the Peche Mignon, which is a frozen ball of fruit + champagne. Order several rounds with your girlfriends at any time of the year.

Bistro 31– You know the last scene in “Bring It On” when Kristen Dunst says that finishing second feels like first place? That’s how I feel about Bistro 31. It’s so close to being my favorite restaurant that it’s basically my favorite. It has the most charming French décor and most photogenic stairs ever. Go for brunch or dinner. If you go for dinner, get the lobster pasta and you will profusely thank me later. I hosted a big welcome home party for my bestie Mary Liz at Bistro 31 over the summer and their staff could not have been nicer or more helpful. A fab spot for parties!

Le Bilboquet– Omgosh I could talk about the Cajun Chicken at Le Bilboquet for hours. It’s so good it’s unreal. Clearly I have a thing for French restaurants because Le Bilboquet is also French. I think this is a cry for help that someone needs to take me to Paris for my 25th birthday?

Saint Ann– Saint Ann has the best patio in Dallas. There I said it. Grab your best girlfriends and enjoy Saint Ann’s awesome happy hour on their patio. Did someone say half off wine bottles on Monday?! Saint Ann is located right next door to Mercat and owned by the same family, so you know it’s good.

Little Katana– I love sushi. I am probably going to get mercury poisoning from the amount of sushi I consume. I bet when I get pregnant, I will miss sushi more than I will miss wine (and that’s saying a lot). I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten at every sushi restaurant in Dallas, and I can confidently say that Little Katana is my favorite. Order the Charming Roll (crabmeat, salmon and avocado wrapped in soy paper and topped with a slice of tuna and spicy mayo- YUM).

Toulouse– Toulouse was one of the first restaurants I ever went to Dallas and the first one I fell in love with. I have had so many heart to hearts with girlfriends over a Toulouse cheese plate. It’s such a good neighborhood spot.

The Porch– Fun fact: I had my first legal drink at The Porch (I think the drink was called the Strawberry Crush if you were dying to know). I ate at The Porch countless times in college and it has remained a heavy contender in my restaurant rotation. I get the grilled cheese and tomato soup every single time. I’ve heard the buttermilk fried chicken cobb salad is also very good, but I always stick with the grilled cheese. It’s made with three different kinds of fancy cheeses- swoon.

Sissy’s Southern Kitchen– You feel like you’re walking into a fabulous old Southern mansion when you walk through Sissy’s bright yellow door. Order a Mint Julep and tell your date to order a Sissy’s Old Fashioned. (Am I the only one who’s bossy on dates?)

Del Frisco’s Grille– Steakhouse salad. Enough said.

The T Room– The T Room is one of my favorite lunch places in Dallas. My office used to be right down the street from The T Room and it’s almost ridiculous how many French paninis + Diet Cokes I consumed there. The French panini is brie, dried cranberries and candied pecans on the most delicious bread, and it’s as good as it sounds. The T Room is located inside Forty Five Ten, which is a very chic Dallas boutique, so it’s fun to do a little window-shopping while you’re there. A must for the “ladies who lunch” crowd.

Did I miss anything?! What are your go-to restaurants in Dallas?

Festive Fall Picnic

Dallas apple picking

How to make apple cider

Fall picnic ideas

Target gold silverware

Apple cider recipes

Easy apple recipes

What to wear to a fall picnic

Celebrity Cafe and Bakery fall picnic

Anthropologie Suite One Studio plates

Pecan pie

Easy apple cider recipe

Fall picnic food ideas

Anthropologie fall sweater

Fall party ideas

What to make with apples

Madison Katlin Photography

My outfit: Anthropologie sweater, Articles of Society jeans, Tory Burch ankle boots (similar), MAC lipstick in Brave Red

Other products: SheIn plaid blanket scarf (similar), Crate and Barrel picnic basket, Michaels wooden crates, Anthropologie pitcher, Anthropologie glasses (similar), Anthropologie little plates, Target gold forks, Anthropologie pie cutter

Stephanie, Jaclyn, Courtney and I really wanted to go apple picking this fall. We had a date set and our Hunter boots ready, but sadly when I called the only apple orchard near Dallas, the voicemail simply stated that they were out of apples! Apparently prime apple picking season is in September : ( When I have an idea in mind, I am always determined to see it through so I decided to just buy the apples from Krogers instead and have a fabulous fall picnic anyways, lol!

My family has always been obsessed with Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider. It was such a fun treat when we were kids, so I used it to make the cider for this picnic. I also just chopped up some apples and threw in some cinnamon sticks. Multiple sources have confirmed that it was delicious! I would like to pretend I made the gorgeous pecan pie as well, but I’m not that good of an actress or baker. I left that up to Celebrity Bakery and as per usual, they did not disappoint.

Since our picnic, I’ve had a lot of extra apples on my hands—about 60 in fact. I searched Pinterest for easy apple recipes and so far we’ve made an apple crisp, baked brie with apples and apple bread. Any suggestions for other apple treats? I still have so many apples left over!

I definitely suggest grabbing your girlfriends and throwing a fun fall picnic before it gets too cold. If you’re the type to spike your cider- please invite me as well!