everyday inspiration

Inspiration

so long, sweet summer.

Oh sweet labor day,
your weekend signals the close of summer and the nudge to pack away the white pants.

But, for many, myself included, you also cue the thrill of something new. The best season of all is peeking around the corner (if we’re lucky). True, I’ve already planned my 3rd Annual Fall Party and I’m currently burning a pumpkin spice candle as I write this, BUT I’m actually trying to hold on to the sunshine just a little bit longer this year.

It’s been an extraordinary summer. Did we go on any huge trips? No. Did we have any life-altering events happen? Not really. But sometimes isn’t that the best summer of all? Little bits of joy coupled together to create a beautiful summer of memories.

S U M M E R   O F   2 0 1 8 
[in photographs]


And yet,
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

xo xo


30 Before 30: Q2 Progress Update

As I’ve shared previously, I’m working towards completing a list of 30 things before I turn 30.

I can’t believe I’m already halfway through the challenge – which means I’m halfway through my 29th year! Eek! I’m definitely making progress, but need to start seriously checking things off the list in Q3 … if anyone wants to help with any let me know!

  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. This one makes me so happy because I’ve been dying to see this show and Mom got me tickets for my 29th birthday for our trip to Chicago. It was AMAZING. Absolutely go see it if you get the chance. 
  6. Volunteer 30 hours. (13 hours complete!) This quarter included great, hot, sweaty, challenging Habitat work. 
  7. Buy all my friends a round, randomly.
  8. Play video games with Husband for a night, complete with pizza + beer. This was so fun! We played Mario Kart (he schooled me), tennis (both won) and a fighting game (which we also both won, to Husband’s chagrin). I definitely need to get in Husband’s world and do this more often! 
  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. (22 complete!)
  18. Take a dance class.
  19. Go to a movie solo. Does it count that I tried to do this? I went to Mamma Mia 2, bought my ticket, got my popcorn and then partially into the movie it stopped working and they gave us our money back … 
  20. Ride 300 miles. Maybe this one didn’t take as along as anticipated, but it’s still checked off the list and I’m proud!
  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 scare me. (1. Leave my comfort zone job of 6.5 years. Trust me – it’s scary. 2. Ride a snowmobile) 
  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. I didn’t realize it at first, but this is totally the Peloton! Since I didn’t grow up in sports or really sticking with an exercise routine, riding consistently has been a huge challenge for me and totally feels like a new hobby! We even chose to ride while on vacation – something I never thought I’d do, ha!
  27. See someone in concert I’ve been dying to see. Taylor Swift – check. Taking Back Sunday (our favorite band from high school) – check AND Beyonce/Jay-Z coming up next month. I think I can officially check this one off the list. 
  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. Someone could probably fight me on this, but it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want – our NYC trip was totally spontaneous for me. No, it wasn’t a pick-up-and-go trip, but our friend Mark called, said he was having his 30th birthday party in NYC and did we want to go? I never turn down a trip to New York, so we said yes, but not planning something like that several months out is my kind of spontaneity!! 
  30. Plan a huge 30th birthday bash.
  31. BONUS: Read 30 books. (16 complete!)

xo xo

Next quarterly update: Nov. 1 !


favorites.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, but here are a few things I love and want to share with you, so you can love them too. ❤

BOOK OF THE MONTH: Y’all know I’m an avid reader, and I’m seriously obsessed with this service!  Here’s why –
1. The books are new titles with different genres to choose from
2. If you want to skip a month you can
3. It’s $14.99/month (cheaper than buying the book new from B&N or Amazon) and you can add another book into your box for just $9.99!
4. It’s been pushing me to read more because I want to finish my book(s) before the next month’s selection arrives

If you’re interested, use this link to sign up for Book of the Month – you’ll get a free book and I’ll get a free book! https://www.mybotm.com/sbucdim3rc
(I promise you won’t regret it!!)

You can also check out my book reviews here – quite a few from BOTM!

LIVING PROOF DRY SHAMPOO: I’ve tried so many dry shampoos – affordable and expensive, and this is hands down the best one I’ve tried. It’s a little more on the expensive side, but it feels like it actually cleans my hair and doesn’t leave white residue. I buy it in the big bottle for home and the small bottles to take with me when I travel!
Sephora full size: $23, mini: $13

ALLBIRDS: Husband was the first to join this bandwagon and to be honest, I was skeptical. But now, we both have two pairs each and are totally in love. They’re the perfect shoe for running errands or traveling, they’re so cute, so comfortable and you can just throw them in the wash if they get dirty. I have them in black and pink.
AllBirds $95

BURT’S BEES PEACH BLUSH: Since working on Burt’s Bees, I’ve been trying a lot of their products and loving a lot of them, but one of my current favorites is the blush. I love it in Bare Peach, but it comes in three shades. It’s 100% natural, lightweight and the coloring is perfect.
Walmart $9.49

BLOW-UP POOL: If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve undoubtedly seen this pool and how much I’ve been using it this summer. In this high 90s, high humidity Arkansas weather it’s been a lifesaver! It fits 2-3 adults, has a seat and cup holders. I’d say it’s the perfect “adult kiddie pool”!

Amazon
So when we bought it it was $30, but now I can’t seem to find it for less than $52 on Amazon, but definitely keep looking if you’re interested – it’s worth it!

xo xo


Do it for you.

I made a commitment to myself.
I made a commitment to myself to ride the Peloton 10 days in a row.

Here’s why I decided to do it, and how I stuck with it.

I’ve already blogged my praise of the book, Girl Wash Your Face. But there’s one chapter that has really stuck with me the last month – “I’ll Start Tomorrow.”

Can we take a moment and be real with ourselves … how many times have we said that?! I’ll start tomorrow!! I seriously can’t even count.

As Rachel Hollis says in her book, “We talk about the things we’d like to do, be, try and accomplish, but once we get to the moment of actually doing it, we fold faster than a card table after bunco night.”

I try so hard to keep my word and my commitments to other people, but I easily cancel on myself without even a second thought. I’ll skip my workout when I told myself I was going to do it after work. I’ll eat another piece of cake when I said I wouldn’t. I’ll listen to music on my way to work when I told myself I was going to use that time to pray.

I know I have the self-discipline, but I’m choosing not to use it. Why? I decided to try harder to stop breaking promises to myself.

So I started with something small. We have a constant supply of peanut butter M&Ms downstairs in our office, and it’s a huge issue. (Did I mention they are PEANUT BUTTER M&Ms?!) Grab a handful here and a handful there. No harm in that right? Uggggh. Well, I told myself I wouldn’t grab any handfuls all week, and guess what – I did it!

Okay, next commitment – ride 10 days in a row on the Peloton, culminating in a mother-daughter trip to Chicago to see Taylor Swift.

Y’all – I’m 9 days in, and I’m so proud of myself! I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard, because there were several days I was so close to quitting. Like that day over Memorial Day weekend when we’d been out in the sun all day and I was drained and it was 5pm and I still hadn’t ridden. I almost broke down. I almost canceled on myself, but I didn’t.

The other thing I’ve been teaching myself through this is – this commitment is for me. No one else. You might be reading this thinking, “10 days? That’s nothing.” And maybe for you, it’s not, but for me it is a challenge. Husband rode 30 days in a row and has already done a 60 min ride. I’ve done 9 days in a row and just did my first 45 min. But guess what, that’s okay! And not only is it okay, but I should be happy for his accomplishments and he should be happy for mine even though they’re completely different.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

My current favorite quote, and one we should all remind ourselves of daily.

So, I’ve got 1 more ride before my early flight to Chicago tomorrow, and I’m not canceling on myself now.
And then, it’s time for a mimosa.

xo xo


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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