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Inspiration

30 Before 30: Q1 Progress Update

As I’ve shared previously, I’m working towards completing a list of 30 things before I turn 30. I’m already 3 months into the challenge, so thought it was time to share an update. Unfortunately I’ve only checked off 3 things so far … but have made progress on several others! 

I’ll plan to do this every quarter so I can hold myself accountable!!

  1.  Start a new adventure. I’ve worked for Walmart for 6.5 years, as my first job out of college. I’ve officially accepted a position at Clorox, and couldn’t be more excited/anxious/thrilled to start this new adventure. 
  2. Make a complex meal 100% from scratch.
  3. Hike Pinnacle Mountain + eat a Hubcap burger at Cotham’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat at Cotham’s since the original location burned down last year. However, I did hike Pinnacle – and it was a doozy! The challenge was worth it, as the views were stunning, and we’re already planning another hike up in the Fall.
  4. Successfully do a one-armed push-up.
  5. See a critically acclaimed show.
  6. Volunteer 30 hours. (4 hours complete!)
  7. Buy all my friends a round, randomly.
  8. Play video games with husband for a night, complete with pizza + beer.
  9. Intentionally choose to stay by myself one night in a hotel. Obviously I’ve stayed by myself before, but for work or when husband was away – not intentionally.
  10. Learn a song on the guitar.
  11. Be in a play.
  12. Learn to play blackjack.
  13. Make a signature cocktail.
  14. Make a YouTube video that gets over 1k views.
  15. Start my book. This is one husband has been pushing me to do for years.
  16. Win at least 1 trivia night. This one was totally out of the blue, but glad it happened the way it did. We won the poolside Hollywood Trivia on our family vacation in Mexico. Go Team Guacamole!
  17. Write 30 handwritten letters. (14 complete!)
  18. Take a dance class.
  19. Go to a movie solo.
  20. Run 30 miles. This one I’ve actually decided to update. We got a Peloton, so I’m now focused on riding instead of running. New goal: Ride 300 miles. (70 complete!)
  21. Dye my hair pink. Again, something I’ve always wanted to do. It could just be a few strands, and it could wash out after a day. Either way, I think 29 is the best time to do it. 
  22. Do 5 things that truly scare me. (1 complete – Ride a snowmobile) I really was truly terrified to do this, but so glad I did it!
  23. Give an amount of money that is significant to me and is significant to someone in need, but do it in such a way no one would ever know it was me who gave it and expect nothing in return.
  24. Travel to a state I’ve never been to.
  25. Take a personal day, for no reason at all.
  26. Challenge myself with a new hobby.
  27. See someone in concert I’ve been dying to see.
  28. Find an artist whose perspective of the world I appreciate and buy a piece of his or her work.
  29. Take a spontaneous trip.
  30. Plan a huge 30th birthday bash.

BONUS: Read 30 books. (8 complete!)

Next quarterly update: Aug. 1 – I better start checking things off the list!

xo xo


30 Before 30

As I head into the last year of my 20s, I decided to create a list of things to do before I turn 30 in January. Thanks to literally everyone for helping me come up with this list. I think it’s realistic to accomplish in a year, yet will be challenging. I’ll provide a few updates throughout the year as I check things off. Starting with #1 …

[husband’s 30th]

    1. Start a new adventure. I’ve worked for Walmart for 6.5 years, as my first job out of college. I’ve officially accepted a position at Clorox, and couldn’t be more excited/anxious/thrilled to start this new adventure. 
    2. Make a complex meal 100% from scratch.
    3. Hike Pinnacle Mountain + eat a Hubcap burger at Cotham’s. This one stems back to my Arkansas Bucket List from a few years ago, and is one thing I really wanted to do that I never got to check off my list. This is the year!
    4. Successfully do a one-armed push-up.
    5. See a critically acclaimed show.
    6. Volunteer 30 hours.
    7. Buy all my friends a round, randomly.
    8. Play video games with husband for a night, complete with pizza + beer.
    9. Intentionally choose to stay by myself one night in a hotel. Obviously I’ve stayed by myself before, but for work or when husband was away – not intentionally.
    10. Learn a song on the guitar.
    11. Be in a play.
    12. Learn to play blackjack.
    13. Make a signature cocktail.
    14. Make a YouTube video that gets over 1k views.
    15. Start my book. This is one husband has been pushing me to do for years.
    16. Win at least 1 trivia night.
    17. Write 30 handwritten letters.
    18. Take a dance class.
    19. Go to a movie solo.
    20. Run 30 miles. I’m not a runner. So, no judgment please on “only 30?!”
    21. Dye my hair pink. Again, something I’ve always wanted to do. It could just be a few strands, and it could wash out after a day. Either way, I think 29 is the best time to do it. 
    22. Do 5 things that truly scare me.
    23. Give an amount of money that is significant to me and is significant to someone in need, but do it in such a way no one would ever know it was me who gave it and expect nothing in return.
    24. Travel to state I’ve never been to.
    25. Take a personal day, for no reason at all.
    26. Challenge myself with a new hobby.
    27. See someone in concert I’ve been dying to see.
    28. Find an artist whose perspective of the world I appreciate and buy a piece of his or her work.
    29. Take a spontaneous trip.
    30. Plan a huge 30th birthday bash.

xo xo

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Aldermans Go Global: Italy, Part 1 (Rome + Tuscany)

R O M E

Day 1

[First stop in Italy – pistachio gelato – amazing, of course]

[Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and a lot of walking around cute streets]

[Incredible first meal at Cul de Sac – voted best lasagna + proscuitto and melon on the trip]

[Stumbled upon the famous Giolitti … so of course we had to have gelato, round 2. Successful first day in Italy!]

Day 2 


[A great morning of walking and sightseeing – Ancient Rome was incredible. We definitely needed more time to explore!]

[Lunch stop pre-Vatican: Bonci Pizzarium – highly recommend this place. Tons of unique pizzas to choose from by the slice!]
[Pictures of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica don’t even do it justice – wow! Unfortunately couldn’t take pictures of the Sistine Chapel, but it was breathtaking – if only there weren’t so many sweaty people crammed into one place!]

[This wine + cheese pairing class was seriously the best – definitely our highlight of Rome. We learned a lot, drank some unique wines, ate some amazing cheeses and even got to see the thousand year old wine cellar, and Handi the sommelier was incredible! If you’re going to Rome you must make time for Vino Roma.]

[Final night in Rome: somehow found Husband’s dad and stepmom at the Spanish Steps, ate some delicious cacio e pepe and went to the best pub in the world (not really … but we did get this awesome picture from a stranger, ha!)]

ROME: we actually really enjoyed this city! For some reason, none of us had very high expectations, but we were all pleasantly surprised. It was very walkable, fun, safe and great food. There is so much history here that we did not get the time to really explore so I could definitely go back.

T U S C A N Y
Our home base was Siena, which we ADORED, then we traveled around a bit from there.

Day 1
[Our first view as we walked into the city after a long day of traveling – how could we not immediately fall in love?!]

[The best pizza I’ve ever had – everything was so incredibly fresh, including the burrata on top. Il Pomodorino was one of our favorite spots with the best views. We actually ate there twice!]

[Drank wine at Bar Il Palio on the Piazza and people watched (including these two cute people above) – exactly as Rick Steves recommended, and it was perfect]

Day 2

[Spent the day exploring Siena – pictured is the Duomo and the crypt below, which was so creepy and so cool]

[Husband and I then walked up 131 tiny, winding steps to see this view. We got some incredible panoramic photos we will definitely print and frame – it was challenging, but so worth it!]

[Our favorite meal of the entire trip! This place was so amazing and romantic. My risotto with FRESHLY GRATED truffles was literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. Truly a remarkable evening.]

Day 3
Day trip to Florence


[Very cool market we stopped in for breakfast – bottom floor was fresh meats, cheeses, veggies and fruits like a farmer’s market; top floor was cafes and restaurants – this cappucino and ham + brie croissant was delicious.]

[David, David, David, you truly are a masterpiece. I cannot get over how surreal and amazing it was to see this work of art. I’m so glad we went to Florence if only for this!][And this! Birth of Venus by Botticelli was amazing.]
[Uffizi gallery with these views was fantastic – though by the end of the day, we were so ready to get back home to Siena …][and we did eventually make it home, but with a crazy story to tell (best told in person). This was us cheers-ing to Josh making it back alive.]

FLORENCE: in full transparency, we really did not like Florence very much. It was crazy packed with tourists everywhere you turned. Maybe we didn’t go to the right places and should have spent more than a day and done more than just the touristy things, but we were not impressed. (Except for David!)

Day 4
Wine tour to Montalcino + surrounding wineries 
[Montalcino was an adorable little town! We only got 30 minutes in town before heading to the wineries, but could have spent several hours wandering around. Of course, even in those 30 minutes husband found a pair of leather shoes to buy!]

[First winery was a small family-run production – the wine was delicious, we met two adorable dogs and we tried grappa (definitely not for me…)]

[Second stop had the best views by far and incredible lunch + wine in a gorgeous home. I could seriously move there tomorrow!]

[Final stop was definitely the most unique and produced our favorite (albeit most expensive) wine – this winery is super modern, entirely biodynamic, and started by the very wealthy brother of Illy coffee (who we happened to see leaving for holiday in his Porsche while we were there)][Finally back home at Hotel La Villa for our final night in Siena – we did not want to leave!]

SIENA: hands down our favorite city. We seriously discussed finding a property to turn into an AirBnB so we could go visit whenever we want. It was charming and beautiful and just felt magical. I could spend so much more time here, using Siena as a home base then traveling to differing wineries and small towns nearby.

Hopefully you enjoyed the first round of pictures! This was only a tiny taste of what we saw, did, ate and drank.

Watch for Part 2 (Cinque Terre + Venice) in the next week!

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Alderman’s Go Global: St. LuciaLondon, Paris, Munich

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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


Just rest. And drink wine.

November 1 comes with a myriad of emotions. Joy and childlike excitement for the holidays. Subtle, but ever-present melancholiness for those no longer with us. And often times, stress and anxiety with the overwhelming amount of so much to do, to buy, to see.

We’ve been so busy the last few months, and the next two will be even busier. I love all the things we’re doing and all the people we’re spending time with, but it’s so important to rest – something very hard for me to do sometimes.

A couple of months ago, I had the foresight to book a weekend getaway just me and husband for some pure relaxation together. A weekend of solace in wine country … in Missouri! We heard about this little town called Hermann, Missouri with wineries, breweries and adorable B&Bs. {More on this later – you know there will be a dedicated blog post with pictures and reviews.}

My hope for this weekend is that we can turn off the noise, enjoy each other’s company and re-center ourselves. This way we can go into the holiday season with thankful hearts, a positive attitude and the reminder to sometimes say no to (good) things, and just rest.

Oh, and did I mention I’m staying off social media for the weekend? No facebook, no insta and no snaps … just wine and my husband. Just the way I like it.

xo xo


A Mother’s Advice

It has been a rough couple of weeks. Everything has just been so busy and insane and I just feel like I’m going to burst.

It seems like everyone is feeling this way. Maybe it’s the pre-summer busyness (is that a thing?) or we’re just getting older and we live busy lives. I don’t know, but it was really getting me, until I took my mom’s age-old advice to heart –

“Take things day by day.”

She has always told me that – in high school, when I had play practice every night and AP homework and was stressed to tears; in college, when I had books to read and papers due (in classes I could care less about) and was stressed to tears; now, when I work all day and dream about work all night and have a busy social life and am stressed to tears.

And when I really stop and heed her advice to take things slow, day by day, sometimes minute by minute, it really helps.

It also helps to remember all of the things I have to be thankful for. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Yes, work has been super busy and stressful, but I really really do enjoy my job. How many people can say that? In the last two weeks I’ve had meetings with Snapchat, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Pandora, Refinery 29 and more … how cool is that?!

I have amazing friends and we go to trivia night and events at Crystal Bridges and make surprise Snapchat filters for parties and try to solve clues to get out of an escape room and send silly text messages.

I have a loving family and a house to care for and food to eat and new clothes to wear, and generally want for nothing.

Life can be crazy. I’m not downplaying that at all. But when it gets so crazy you feel like you’re going to lose your mind, here’s my advice – stop. breathe. remember all the things you have to be thankful for. and remember my mom’s advice, to take things day by day.

It’s all we can do, and the day is all we have.

xo xo

 


You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine

My dear friend Erica Keller passed away this morning.

And it’s hard. It’s so hard. Death will always be hard.

But I am rejoicing and celebrating in the life she had because it was truly incredible. Erica was dealt a difficult hand early on, diagnosed with cancer at 14 months. Her parents were told she probably wouldn’t make it to age 2. Today, she passed away at 34 years old.

IMG_1217[Me + E at the Memphis Zoo]

She lived 30+ years longer than the doctors thought possible. But here’s the thing, she didn’t just live. She LIVED. Whether you knew her for a minute, a day or a year – she could put a smile on your face, and she had the most infectious laugh. I’m seriously laughing now just thinking about it, and about how many times we got into giggle fits because of it.

IMG_1218[Me + E during one of her annual summer visits]

She taught everyone around her not to take life for granted and to live life to its fullest. What’s there to be sad about? What’s there to complain about? To her, there wasn’t anything. She was a beaming ray of sunshine on even the cloudiest of days.

I’ve always known E was a special person, but looking back on it now, I truly think she was an angel on earth. Every single person who knew her is better because of it, and they would tell you that. She taught me so much and brought so much joy to my life throughout the years – with our summer sleepovers, endless dance parties and days wasted at Locomotion with Pops.

IMG_9960[Me, E + Husband during an annual summer visit]

We will all miss her so very much, and it still doesn’t make this easy, but it is so amazing to know she is in a better place. She has no more pain. She’s laughing. She’s running. She’s talking my dad’s ear off.

She’s our angel, looking down on us all.

xo xo