Flour Power Cookies

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ImageBefore: Unbaked Cookie Dough

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During: Fully Baked Cookies

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After: The Finished Product!

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If there is one cookie that my mom asks for when I’m home, it’s these shortbread cookies covered in white chocolate and sprinkles. When I make these cookies, everyone knows to stay away from them. These are her absolute favorites and she doesn’t like to share. Thank goodness the recipe makes more than three dozen so if my dad, brother, and I steal one, she won’t notice…hopefully. Ha!

Here’s the simple recipe:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted for topping
  • Sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the butter has come to room temperature, beat the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment in an electric mixer on high speed for 90 seconds or until light and fluffy. Next, add the salt and vanilla and mix until combined. Finally, add the 3 and 1/2 cups of flour. Be careful not to have the flour get all over you when you mix it! Things could get a little messy! After the flour has all mixed in, put the batter into the refrigerator and allow to chill for 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the dough to harden up and allows for easier rolling and shaping later.

After what seems like the longest thirty minutes ever, the dough is almost ready to go into the oven. Take the dough out and put in on a floured surface. Roll it out to about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a cute cookie cutter, cut the dough and then put the shape onto an ungreased cookie sheet. I always use my flower shaped cookie cutter…giving reason to why I call them my flour power cookies. Get it? Get it? Punny, I know.

Allow the cookies to bake in the oven for 13 minutes. These cookies do not brown around the edges. They are done when they are no longer doughy in the middle. Let them cool for 10 minutes and then they are ready for their dip in white chocolate. The batch makes around 40 cookies depending on the size of the cookie cutter, just so you know.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in thirty second increments or until fully melted. Dip the cookies halfway into the white chocolate and set them on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle some sprinkles on those suckers and you’ve got yourself a delicious cookie!!! You can let the chocolate harden or you can dive right in and eat eat eat.

I made some of these for my mom while she was at work and she was so surprised to see them when she came home! Baked goods are always a winner in my house. Go bake and have some fun! Xx.

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Kings and Cupcakes

So many things going on in the world in the past two days: (1) The latest edition to the royal family: Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, future King of England and (2) Sprinkles Cupcakes is doing big things in Dallas.

ImagePrince George’s First Royal Wave…already a pro

What, what? Hey royal baby heyyyy. Welcome to the world George, everyone is in love with you and your parents. I mean, George, we might have a 20 year age difference, but I just know we can be best friends. Hit me up when you come to Dallas…

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Princess Kate and Princess Diana rockin’ the Polka Dots

Named George Alexander Louis, he will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Talk about regal, his name is lovely. Presented with his Mommy and Daddy, he was the image of perfection. And Princess Kate looked stunning as well. Her polka dotted blue dress (as an homage to Princess Diana) looked beautiful and radiant with her hair flowing in the wind and a smile no one could take from her. Prince William beamed with happiness as well. Such proud parents, but who could blame them. Such a happy day for everyone. Congrats, Wills and K-Middy!

Okay, on to the next important thing: Sprinkles Cupcakes is going crazy in Dallas. Not only did they just open up a Sprinkles ATM, a Sprinkles Ice Cream is scheduled to open on August 16, and Sprinkles is releasing a bacon flavored cupcake on September 6!

ImageOkay, Sprinkles ATM is up first. My mom and brother went to try it out the other day and love it. It’s just fun and allows you to get a delicious cupcake at all hours of the day…even when the main bakery isn’t open! Now how cool is that? Pretty cool.

ImageAnd even bigger news, a Sprinkles Ice Cream will be opening up on August 16! Ever since I tried Sprinkles Ice Cream in Beverly Hills this past spring break, I’ve been hoping that one would come to Dallas and my dreams have come true! Woohoo I’m so excited. Sprinkles Ice Cream is so tasty. And you can get a sprinkles sundae which is the bottom of the cupcake, a scoop of ice cream, and then the frosted top. OMG. It’s the best thing ever.

ImageFinally, Sprinkles is releasing a new flavor this September: The Bacon Cupcake. Described as “Thick, smoky, rich, buttery, and maple”, this cupcake is sure to be a pleaser, especially to lots of the guys out there. I just know my dad and brother will love this cupcake. I’m truly interested to try this savory cupcake…it will sure be an interesting experience. But hey, looking forward to it!

I’ll be sure to take Prince George to Sprinkles when he comes to see me in Dallas. Ha! They even have some special cupcakes in honor of his birth! Check it out:

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So, keep calm and carry on. The baby is here and Sprinkles is still yummy. Xx.

Brinkley

July Favorites

Another month has almost gone by and it has gone by way too fast at that. Seriously, summer needs to slow down.

But a month doesn’t go by without me finding some new things I just love. Particular to this month: Converse, Crystalline Hair Ties, and Grey’s Anatomy.

First off, low top white converse. You can wear these shoes with anything. Put it with a fun day dress or a t-shirt and jeans, they go will always give the look a bit of edge and are always so comfortable. While I went for the typical white, they come in so many colors and patterns that it makes my head spin. The question is, which ones am I going to get next? Image

Next up are these Crystalline Hair Ties from Anthropologie. My best friend, Julie (Hi Jules!), has worn these hair ties for the longest time now and they’re great. They dress up just an average pony tail. At Anthro, they sale them in packs of three for $24 in a variety of different patterns. They are made if the material that doesn’t leave creases in your hair and look just as cute on your wrist as a bracelet when not in use. So to me, it’s a win win situation.

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My final favorite thing of July has got to be Grey’s Anatomy. I started watching the first season during Christmas break last year on Netflix and have been overwhelmingly hooked ever since. I don’y know why I didn’t start watching this show earlier. I’m all about good TV and Grey’s Anatomy is the perfect mix of reality, drama, emotional, and fun. I am almost finished with Season 8 and can’t wait to start season 9. If you’re looking for your next show to watch because you just finished Gossip Girl or Friday Night Lights on Netflix, Grey’s Anatomy is it. You’ll get sucked in, I promise.

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Well, those are a few of my favorite things. More to come next month! Off to watch an episode of Grey’s! Xx.

Brinkley

10 Things to Love About Texas, the grand finale

I’m back and y’all are officially ready to find out 5 more reasons why I love Texas. Let’s jump right into it…

6. QUESO

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Chuy’s Mouthwatering Queso and Salsa

You know what I like? Cheese. You know how I like it? Melted. Well, fine I like cheese anyway but when you melt it down and mix it with spices, onions, meat, and rotel…you, my friend, have got a winner. Queso is possibly one of my favorite foods. I judge a Mexican restaurant based on their queso. My favorite queso is from Chuy’s. During their happy hour where they give our free chips, salsa, and queso, I can’t seem to get enough of it. Tex-Mex restaurants have got it down and queso is a food group down here.

7. FOOTBALL

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Be it the Friday night lights during high school season, college football games on Saturday, or NFL games on Sunday and Monday, us Texans love love love football. And I for one look forward to football season every year. Texas Football games are so much fun. Austin is packed, everyone is wearing burnt orange, all your friends are together, tailgating is a way of life, and everyone fills DKR (Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium) to the brim. Football season is the best time of year…it gets no better.

8. Y’ALL

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Y’all. Y’all. Y’all. Being a Texan born and raised, it is a word I use a lot. Not only is this “southern slang”, it is firmly embedded into my everyday vocabulary. And everywhere I go, it’s a dead giveaway that I’m from the south. But hey, Texas pride all the way, y’all.

9. THE PEOPLE

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The people in Texas are just so freaking nice. Be it a “Howdy” when walking down the street or a sweet smile when passing someone in the grocery store, the people of Texas are generally so friendly and polite. The men always open the doors for women (talk about southern hospitality right there yea yea) and saying hello to a perfect stranger when out and about is quite normal. I love that about Texas.

10. BLUEBONNETS

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They might not smell as good as roses, it might be illegal to pick them from the highway, and it might be so cliché that I’m writing about bluebonnets, our state flower. But when you pass them growing on the side of the road or in a big field, you can’t help but admire them. It’s so hard to resist. The blue and white colors are gorgeous and scream beauty.

Well, those are five more reason why I love Texas oh so much. Hope y’all enjoy and maybe appreciate Texas a little bit more. Hope y’all have a wonderful day! Xx.

Brinkley

P.S. What is your favorite thing about Texas? Or the state you live in, for that matter? I’d love to hear. Comment below!

10 Things to Love About Texas

There is so much to love about Texas. Seriously, it’s the best state ever in the history of ever. How much do I love Texas? So so so so much. And here are ten reasons, in no particular order, why you should love Texas too…

1. BLUE BELL ICE CREAM

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What is it about Blue Bell Ice Cream that makes it so special? Is it the delicious flavors? Is it the fact that you can drive to Brenham, Texas and visit where all the magic is made at the headquarters? Is it because I’ve been growing up on it since day one? It’s not one of those things…it’s all of them. When you scream and I scream for ice cream, it has to be Blue Bell. It is second to none.

2. NORTHPARK MALL

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Here’s where my “diva wannabe” comes out. NorthPark rocks. I love shopping at fun boutiques and all but NorthPark has got it going on with all my favorite stores in one place! I mean, come on, Kate Spade, Anthropologie, Neimans, JCrew, Nordstrom, and so many more of my favorite places all within a short walk of each other…helloooo can you say shop ’til you drop? I know I can.

3. THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

ImageHere’s a pic of Texas Soccer and I in front of the tower celebrating Texas Volleyball’s 2013 National Championship! 

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If this isn’t self-explanatory, I don’t know what is. When I’m driving in from Dallas, it is such a welcome site to see The Tower in the distance and then finally making it to campus and seeing it in all its glory is an awesome feeling. Not only is UT the best school in Texas (actually the world…**cough cough**), Austin is such a fun city. There is always something new to do, see, and eat in this city. And The University of Texas is right in the middle of it all. And let’s talk about how lovely the color burnt orange is…amazing. So iconic and unlike any other school. Hook ‘Em Horns. Texas Fight. Yay Bevo.

4. MY DOGS

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Tex

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 “Look at me and my toy, guys!” -Tex

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 Rosie and Mama!

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 Mom and Dad lost their spot in their bed, I guess… Haha!

Good ‘ol Dallas, Texas is home to my two precious golden retrievers, Tex and Rosie. Tex and Rosie are brother and sister and are the cutest doggies alive. Big Tex is the most playful and loyal dog alive. When you come home, he is always there waiting at the back door with a toy (or two) in his mouth. Rosie, on the other hand, is the kindest and sweetest pup. She loves to snuggle and cuddle with you and has the softest fur. We call her Princess Rosie Belle because she is a diva princess at heart.

5. TEXAS PRIDE

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What other state has shorts with their flag on them? Huh huh? I don’t think any person has as much pride for their state as much as a Texan does. Have you ever met a Texan that isn’t proud to be from Texas…bet not. Us Texans love our state, y’all. And our Texas Pledge. Well, probably memorized that before the US Pledge…sorry not sorry. There’s not much more to it. We have the best people, the best food, a rich history, and awesome everything. Boom.

Well, I feel like this is a lot to take in for you non-Texans reading this so I’m going to finish with the five more tomorrow. For the Texans reading this, I could go on for days with this post about how much I love Texas but you’ll just have to come back tomorrow to read some more! Xx.

Y’all come back now and God Bless Texas,

Brinks

Sunnies

It seems quite ironic that I am writing a blog about sunglasses when today in Austin it is rainy and overcast. Quite the anomaly considering it’s summer and the sun normally shining brightly all day. However, it’s quite nice to have a break from the heat. And I for one love the rain.

But never mind the weather, I must talk about one of my favorite things: sunglasses, aka sunnies, sun-specs, or shades. Whatever you call them, I love it. I practically live in them during the summertime. Be it at a soccer camp coaching, the lake, or just jaunting around town, you’ll see me in my Ray-Bans.

To my next point, Ray-Bans are fantastic. Classic. Iconic. Timeless. I mean, ask your parents if they had Ray-Bans as a kid (and probably are still wearing the brand to this day) and 9 times out of 10 they’ll say yes. They were great then and they are even better now.

I have two pairs that are essential to the classic look: wayfarers and aviators. You can’t go wrong with either one.

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For my wayfarers, I have the classic turtle shell with the green lens. I have had those since sophomore  year of high school and am surprised good of shape they have stayed in. I can put them with any outfit and they’ll go perfectly. Oh, and please note, my brother and I bought same new wayfarers at the same time so we seem to match sometime…but hey, the heart wants what the heart wants and our heart was being called by the same sunglasses. As seen in the picture below…

ImageThis was me and my brother during Spring Break in San Diego!

ImageNext up, my aviators. These were my most recent purchase and boy am I happy with them. Not your typical aviators with the green lenses and gold rims, these are a bit of a twist on the classic. Ray-Ban just recently came out with the rimless aviators and I find them perfect. They are very lightweight and just like the wayfarers, provide the perfect accessory to any outfit.

Now I am pretty biased towards Ray-Bans, because, like I said, I find them fantastic. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my eye on some other sunnies that I might just need one day…! For example, these Tory Burch cat eyes are just too much fun. And these Kate Spade sunnies with the camel tortoise frames are a wonderful twist to the classic tortoise shell.

Now go put those fashionable sunglasses on and strut around like the moviestar that lives inside of you. For we all know that all the superstars where sunglasses everywhere…even indoors which seem a bit weird to me, but oh well! Work it! Xx.

Brinkley

Dark Chocolate Haystacks

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4 ingredients. Chinese noodles, 12 ounces of salted peanuts, 1 package of butterscotch chips, and 1 package of dark chocolate chips. That’s all this recipe takes make 50 or so of these chocolate haystack cookies. These are one of Babop’s favorite things to make so I always make sure to make enough time to make a batch of these delicious treats!

These dark chocolate haystacks are so simple to make and can be made in no time. All you have to do is combine the peanuts and Chinese noodles in big bowl. In a double boiler, melt the butterscotch and dark chocolate boiler. (Tip: the butterscotch takes longer to melt so put those chips in first for a bit and then add the dark chocolate.) Once completely melted, add the hot mixture to the Chinese noodles and peanuts. Mix thoroughly so everything is fully coated with the chocolate mixture.

Next thing you have to do is just scoop them out onto a cookie sheet and let the haystacks harden to your liking! Babop uses a small ice cream scoop to scoop the treats on the cookie sheet and make them about the same size.

These dark chocolate haystacks are so easy to make and so hard to resist. Ask anyone is my family…I make them and then they are almost gone by the next day!

Enjoy! Xx.

Brinkley

Washington DC, continued

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Model of Amerlia Earhart’s Plane at Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum

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 Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Gown at the Smithsonian Museum of American History

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Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

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Library of Congress with Nanny and Babop

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US Capitol

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The Lucky Knot – Preppy Boutique on King’s Street

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Speaking of preppy…Davis is a walking advertisement for Southern Tide

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Arlington Cemetery

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My sweet Mommy among Black-Eyed Susan’s (…please note my mom’s name is Susan!)

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Look its “the brinks”!

These past three days have gone by so fast! My family and I walked up, down, and around DC until our feet hurt…literally.

On Tuesday, we went to the Smithsonian! We hit up the Museum of Natural History, American History, American Indian, and Air and Space! So much to see in so little time.

My favorite exhibit was “The First Ladies” exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. Lots of the first lady’s inaugural gowns were displayed beautifully with the shoes, purses, and jewelry they wore on there husbands special day in history. I love fashion and it was crazy looking at gowns from the 1920’s to present. I love seeing how the dresses have evolved and changed over time.

On Wednesday, we went to The Capitol, The Supreme Court, The Library of Congress, and The National Archives. It was crazy seeing the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and The Bill of Rights in person. Really, really cool.

We stayed in Old Town-Alexandria and walked down King’s Street to go to the Potomac Bay area. King’s Street has the cutest little shops and boutiques. We lucked upon this place called The Lucky Knot. This shop sells the cutest clothes and accessories of all the essential preppy brands including Kiel James Patrick, Southern Tide, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, and so many more. Needless to say, my brother and I were in heaven.

Today was our last day in Washington DC before we had to head back to Virginia. Considering we did most of DC tourist attractions, all we had left was to go to Arlington Cemetery. We took the metro there this morning and saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was quite impressive.

Washington DC is great. I really do love this city. There’s so much hustle and bustle and there’s always something going on. I truly enjoyed myself. But we’re flying back to Texas on Saturday and have to go back to reality…but I’m going to enjoy what time I have left on vacation!

Until next time. Xx.

Brinks

Cupcake Showdown

GEORGETOWN CUPCAKES
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SPRINKLES CUPCAKES
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It was a cupcake showdown today in DC: Georgetown Cupcakes vs. Sprinkles. This could get intense.

I love cupcakes. Ever since I had my first red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles when it first opened in 2009, I’ve been hooked on the cupcake fad that has seemed to take over America. Cupcake bakeries are popping up everywhere.

Sprinkles claims to be the first cupcake bakery in the states and opened up in Beverly Hills and has since opened bakeries around the country. Now, Georgetown Cupcakes became famous because of the television show “DC Cupcakes” that premiered on TLC in 2010 that follows the lives of the two sisters who own the bakery and the craziness that goes on behind the colorful counter of cupcakes.

After a long, fun day of going to the Smithsonian Museums, we made our way over to the cupcakeries in Georgetown.

We went to Georgetown Cupcakes first. We got vanilla&chocolate, red velvet, and vanilla birthday cake. The cakes were light and fluffy and each has a huge glob of icing on top. Can you say yummy? And on top of it all, the cupcakes were so cute. Instead of circle fondant shapes like Sprinkles, they had cute fondant flowers, hearts, and other fun shapes.

We then made our way down the street and got some cupcakes to go from Sprinkles so we could eat them after dinner. From Sprinkles, we got vanilla, salted caramel, orange, and red velvet. Sprinkles cupcakes are much bigger than Georgetown Cupcakes and the cake is denser. The icing is also much richer and there sure is lots of it on the cake.

My verdict: Sprinkles all the way. Georgetown Cupcakes were delicious; I won’t deny it. But Sprinkles Cupcakes just have that special place in my heart that other cupcakes can’t overcome. Sprinkles Cupcakes are well…posh. I feel like Sprinkles Cupcakes are little celebrities that originally came from Beverly Hills and are now showing their cupcake diva-ness all over the good ol’ USA.

But Georgetown Cupcakes do have a little something that Sprinkles does not: a pink crystal bedazzled KitchenAid Mixer displayed among all the pink delivery boxes in the shop. I dream one day of owning that mixer in my own bakery one day. I love it. Love, love, love it.
Here’s a picture of this beautiful kitchen appliance:

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Overall, cupcakes are amazing and both cupcakeries were fabulous but Sprinkles won this time.

Until the next cupcake showoff…

Brinkley

Washington DC

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Washington Monument

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Babop, Nanny, Davis, and I in front of the Washington Monument

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My mommy and her mommy and daddy!

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World War II Memorial

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Thomas Jefferson Memorial

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White House

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TJ Memorial

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Survived Day One!

Day One: Monuments, memorials, and more monuments.

What’s up Abe? We started out with a bang and went to the Lincoln Memorial first. That was honestly (get it, Honest Abe…I crack myself up) one of my favorite memorials. He’s HUGE and it was so awesome to finally see him in person after seeing him in history books since I was in elementary school!

Next, we headed to the Korean War Memorial. We made it there to the memorial and then “it” happened. IT STARTED TO POUR DOWN RAIN. Rain, rain, rain and more rain. With only some trees as coverage, we got soaked. OMG, and my hair. Lets not even talk about it…it instantly went up in a bun on the top of my head. My mom calls it the “Pebbles Top Knot” because I look like Pebbles from The Flintstones.

Well, we decided to go back to Lincoln to find shelter from the rain and of course when we get there, the rain decided to stop. Typical.

After drying off a bit, we then visited the Vietnam, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, World War II, Roosevelt, and George Mason Memorial. In total, that was eight memorials. Needless to say, we did tons of walking. And we wore our grandparents out. I’m talking, tired with a capital T. They were soooo happy to get back to the hotel and have a glass of wine and relax. Let’s just say, they deserved it…they were troopers.

All the monuments and memorials were so awesome. The Abraham Lincoln Memorial and Korean War Memorial were by far my favorites. Tomorrow, we’re going to hit up the Smithsonian. Can’t wait! Off to watch The Bachelorette! Xx.

OHHHHHH, we also went by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! Hey white house, hey! We did so much today! It’s beautiful! And because it had rained earlier in the day, the grass looked so green and the flowers pretty. Now, for real this time, I’m off to watch The Bachelorette with my Nanny and Mommy.

With much love,

Brinkley