everyday inspiration

Happiness

Discover NWA: Staycation at 21c + Chihuly

For our 6th anniversary, we decided to do a staycation at 21c. Since we’re going to Italy very soon, we didn’t want to travel far or spend too much. We’ve also talked about staying at 21c since it opened, so we decided to go for it. And I am SO glad we did. It was exactly what we needed for a little one-night getaway. Luckily, we also got invited to the special opening of the new Chihuly exhibit at Crystal Bridges and it was absolutely incredible. (Thank you, Denise!)

[beautiful, super cozy room – and my sweet coworkers surprised us with champagne!]

[a few photos from the night below – though I HIGHLY encourage you to check it out yourself!]


[chihuly in the forest – there was even a wine tent out there!
wonderful night with these fun friends]

[chihuly in the gallery – and husband’s favorite picture of the night]

[late night snack back at our hotel – sweet + spicy fries that are just amaaaazing]

[sunday brunch at the hive – that buttermilk fried chicken was out of this world]

[post-brunch stroll on the trails – a perfect end to a perfect anniversary getaway]

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Discover NWA: Mod, Modern Ozark Dining

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life lately

{rockin’ out to this || blink 182 concert}

{making this || amazing pasta from chrissy teigen’s cookbook}

{obsessing over this || “I’d rather be watching Gilmore Girls” sweatshirt}

{enjoying this || rooftop bars + a week in NYC for work}

{eating this || crawfish on crawfish on crawfish}

{drinking this in || fayetteville foamfest – our favorite event of the year}

{celebrating this || our amazing mothers on mother’s day + every day}

xo xo


happy thoughts

A few simple, happy thoughts for anyone having a tough week
or for anyone who likes happy thoughts.

*It’s 75 degrees in February. Let me repeat, it’s 75 degrees in February. Let porch season begin.

*I spoke to the absolute sweetest old lady on the phone today (who I didn’t know). She started the conversation by telling me her grandmother’s name was Mille and she was the best person she’d ever met. We talked for 20 minutes about names and strong grandmothers and having kids and travel and true love, and it totally made my day. And she ended the conversation by saying it made hers too, because it made her reminisce about her grandmother.

*I’ve seen two amazing, deserving couples get an answered prayer of adoption this week. Their posts warmed my heart and made me praise our truly incredible God.

*This Is Us has been renewed for 2 seasons. Yes, every episode makes me cry, but ultimately this makes me very happy.

*I may be extra busy with work lately, but I still have time to spend with my amazing husband, delicious food to eat and a warm bed to crawl into at night.

*When your mom knows exactly what prayer to send after a rough day –

Feel your panic. Feel your frustration. But keep your eyes and heart open. There’s a part of us, our heart, that knows where we’re going, knows what we need, knows what the next step is. Our heart will lead us on. And God will move us forward.

Oh, and it’s National Margarita Day.
Happy thoughts, indeed.

xo xo


2016: my year in pictures

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screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-9-58-06-amJ A N U A R Y 
bought a new car + celebrated my birthday at downstream casino #BettingOnAMILLEon

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screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-08-30-amF E B R U A R Y
first of (several) work trips to NYC + got pulled on stage during spamalot on our valentine’s day date at the rogers little theatre

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-14-36-amM A R C H
a work conference with some pretty decent views

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13076982_3227904129492_6973742797472645262_nA P R I L
welcomed becky to america with the best party ever + celebrated a beautiful bride at mount magazine

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13166027_10153649304001915_6114007446513469655_n
13220885_3251620762393_7107240867260238179_nM A Y
(best month ever)
bentonville film festival, fayetteville foam fest + 5-year anniversary in St. Lucia

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screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-27-24-amJ U N E
sister-in-law got married + traipsed around california with these people

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-31-05-amJ U L Y
celebrated husband’s birthday in denver

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-33-28-am
screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-33-41-amA U G U S T 
mother daughter weekend in NYC + too much fun at a wedding #travkeg2k16

14203313_10153922899241915_9128922253108058608_nS E P T E M B E R 
best labor day weekend ever #tracytrap

14900570_10103890278223222_8474944676224192731_nO C T O B E R 
squad goals at a stranger halloween

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screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-41-41-amN O V E M B E R 
an amazing weekend getaway in missouri + a fun week in LA

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 D E C E M B E R
birthday celebrations with the sistahs + christmas in DC

[a catalog – my year in pictures] 201520142013201220112010


For the love of food

“Food and music have the ability to bring back memories long forgotten.

I’ll take a double order of both.”

-Krayl Funch

 

I love food.

I can never understand people who eat purely for calories/nourishment and not for the pure joy of eating.

Yes, gluttony is a sin, and I’m working on not overeating and eating healthier the majority of the time. But food just makes me so happy, and usually that food is not a salad.

As I was reading Bread & Wine (read my review! then go buy the book!) I started thinking about some of my fondest memories with food. You know, those special memories in special places with that food that makes you drool just thinking about it, or that brings back such a wonderful memory associated with it.

I wanted to share a recent food memory with you, partly so I don’t forget it and partly to get you thinking about your fond food memories. I truly think we’re the most happy when we’re sharing good food and good drink with good people.

P A R I S

On a whim, we decided to spend one of our Parisian nights at the Moulin Rouge. I went as a child and thought it was SO scandalous, but several years later fell in love with the movie of the same name and decided I had to go back as an adult. As a serious trip planner, this was a very spontaneous decision. We literally printed out our tickets in our Paris hotel that day … what?!

I went on Yelp and found the restaurant with the best reviews within walking distance of the venue. When we got out of the cab and walked the block from the Moulin Rouge to the cafe I was starting to doubt my decision. It was literally a hole-in-the-wall cafe that couldn’t have held more than 20 people. We sat cramped next to the window as a brusque waitress took our drink order. “This was the top rated place on Yelp?” Husband asked curiously, as scantily clad women walked the streets steering tourists in to their cabarets.

You guys. I will never forget that place. Not just for the location, but for the best duck I’ve ever had in my entire life. It was so flavorful and cooked perfectly and came with pomme frites, and I was seriously in heaven. It was literally the best thing we ate in Paris, and possibly the entire trip. And I just love that it was on a shady block in Montmartre before going to the Moulin Rouge. (Which by the way, we loved. Where we drank champagne, and got in trouble for taking pictures, and met two sisters from England who couldn’t believe we were taking only 2 weeks for a vacation! Isn’t it funny the things you remember?)

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Other fond food/memories –

Little Debbies will always make me think of my grandfather Pops. Wasabi of my Dad in Florida (when he thought it was guacamole). Pimento cheese + oyster crackers of my grandmother’s house. Poppyseed chicken of my college roommate and best friend. Oysters of Mom and NYC. Jerked Shrimp of Husband and St. Lucia. Powdered coffee of camping in Botswana. Saddlebock Farmhouse of the Summer of 2014. And on, and on, and on.

There are so many other memories I could tell you about that revolved around a great meal and great company. What is your fondest food memory?

Cheers!

xo xo

 


Sunday nights.

As of late, I have been loving Sunday nights.

They’ve been following the same pattern for a few months, and the type A in me loves it.

Sunday nights mean comfort, and warmth, and family, and communication.

I love Fridays and Saturdays and the memories they bring – fun and friends and busy and irregular. But Sunday evenings are something special.

As we prepare for the week ahead, we clean and meal plan and grocery shop. (Not exactly my favorite things.)

But at 5pm, the cork comes out and the music comes on. We put a new record on the player, pour some wine and start cooking dinner together. Husband grilling steaks. Me prepping veggies and salad. Puppy moving from one of us to the other, dying to be in the middle of all the action. We talk about the week behind and the week ahead and the things we’re looking forward to.

After dinner, we catch up on our shared TV shows or watch an 80s movie from our list, then turn in early to read and rest up for the week.

Even as we’ve been traveling a lot lately, we’ve been home by midday Sunday and able to keep our cherished tradition. Or as I’ve been returning from work trips, Husband has meal-prepped ahead of time with wine ready so we can just enjoy each other after time apart.

It’s perfectly boring, perfectly an old married couple evening, and I’m perfectly content with it.

xo xo

 


Aldermans Go Global: St. Lucia

D A Y  1 

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IMG_1626{The first views of the hotel were amazing – Calabash Cove Resort & Spa. I’ll never forget husband’s face when he stepped out of the car and saw our hotel for the first time.}

IMG_1174{We got to our room just in time to watch the breathtaking sunset}

D A Y  2

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{Of course it rained our entire first full day. Not just rained, down poured, even though it’s the dry season on the island.}

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{We still found ways to pass the time and relax, with good food (prosciutto grilled cheese with mango salsa), good drinks (pina colada) and good books.}

D A Y  3 

IMG_1290{We laid in bed and listened to more rain (ugh!), but then it stopped … and we went on the balcony… and saw this. Oh my gosh I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never seen two sides of the rainbow and this was more gorgeous than I could have ever imagined.}

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{It still rained off and on all day, but we couldn’t wait any longer for the pool. Note the swim-up pool bar, that we frequented often where they made us fancy drinks ….}

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IMG_1314{Cue fancy drinks – this one was called the Bob Marley and our favorite drink made by Chris aka Mr. Fabulous}

D A Y  4 

IMG_1328{I woke up really early, so walked down to the beach with my book (check out my vacation book reviews here)}

IMG_1338{And then came back to our balcony for breakfast. We loved having breakfast delivered to our balcony every morning. How could you not, with these views?? (and french press coffee and fresh local fruit!)}

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{Another day, another drink, another amazing day in the Caribbean}

IMG_1408{An end to an amazing day}

D A Y  5

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{Our Catamaran for the day, leaving from the beautiful Marigot Bay}

IMG_1434{We met these two ladies from Missouri celebrating their 55th birthdays and decided to boat together}

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IMG_1589{Amazing day on the water traveling from Marigot Bay to the Pitons and snorkeling (for the first time!). It was the highlight of our trip!}

D A Y  6

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{Started the day off with an amazing couples massage in the gazebo – seriously, the best massage I’ve ever had}

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IMG_1681{Then headed to our private beach for some paddle boarding (didn’t work out so well, ask me about the story) and some two-person kayaking (which was a lot of fun)}

IMG_1668{And back to the pool for our last round of drinks at the swim-up bar}

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{Last night on the island – sipping champagne, watching the sunset and talking about our next trip to St. Lucia – for our 10-year anniversary!}

D A Y  7

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IMG_1710{Before heading to the airport we had just enough time to drink one more Piton beer, walk the grounds again and take a final picture}

We had such an amazing time celebrating our 5-year anniversary in St. Lucia and at Calabash Cove. We would highly recommend this resort to anyone traveling to the island. It was small and quiet, but with everything you could possibly need. We felt like we were the only ones at the resort, with the pool and beach practically to ourselves.

Not to mention the food … wow!! Chef specials every night made it so hard to choose what to eat.  A few of our dishes included: Oven Roasted Whole Duck (the best duck I’ve ever had), Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa, Red Snapper Filet with Chorizo Risotto, Indian Lamb Curry (this was amaaaazing), Jerked Shrimp (that we ate every single night as an appetizer), Banana Flambe, Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Pistachio Ice Cream … the list goes on and on. We were all-inclusive, so every night we shared a different bottle of wine, appetizers, main course and desserts. Needless to say, we gained a few pounds and are now on the post-vacation diet, but it was oh so worth it.

Here’s to our next 5 years together!

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Alderman’s Go Global: London, Paris, Munich