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Travel

10 Things I Learned in Italy

  1. Never, ever, ever, hold a wine glass by the top, only by the stem. Or get seriously called out by a sommelier.
  2. Italians only drink with food. They don’t go out for a drink at happy hour without something to snack on, and they certainly don’t just sit on their couch binge-watching tv shows with wine. Hmm…..
  3. Ciao is hello, not goodbye. Americans incorrectly turned it into goodbye. (According to our very opinionated bar tour host)
  4. Under no circumstances should you get off of a train, unless you want to stay off of that train. Not to smoke a cigarette, and certainly not to get a taxi.
  5. I CAN get sick of pasta + pizza. (Actually surprising) But I can NOT get sick of good wine. (Not really that surprising.)
  6. And I DO like seafood when it’s extra fresh – like mussels and scampi and anchovies and scallops and swordfish
  7. Spontaneous tears of joy are a real thing.
  8. A meal or even just a cappuccino is not something to be rushed through or as “take-away”, but to be enjoyed leisurely. The 3-hour dinner was a common and wonderful occurrence.
  9. Air conditioning is non-negotiable. Especially when you’re walking 10 miles/day in 90+ degree humid heat.
  10. Travel can make or break a friendship. Luckily, ours was the former and only made us even closer.

Picturebook posts of our amazing Italian vacation to come soon!

xo xo

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Weekend Picturebook: A Little Rock Wedding

S A T U R D A Y 

[a beautiful day for margaritas, guac + tacos at The Fold]

[and for sunning with a few beers at Rebel Kettle Brewing]

[wedding time! gorgeous wedding for cousin Olivia + Sam at Trapnall Hall]

[love my handsome dates!]

[and the southern food was ridiculously on point – fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, crawfish + mashed potatoes and a mini mason jar layered with collard greens, beans + corn bread]

[the only pic with the bride + other cousin Blair at the end of the night, which reminded me of another pic 10 years earlier …]

[girls trip to NYC – can’t believe this was 10 YEARS AGO!]

S U N D A Y   B R U N C H 

Before we headed home, we had one more stop – brunch + beer.

Y’all. Lost Forty Brunch was the best brunch we have ever had in our entire lives. I can’t even begin to describe how incredible every single thing was. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, and let you do the drooling.

[our brunch “appetizer” – fried green tomatoes (yes, again) with jalapeño pimento cheese + skillet cinnamon roll. I’m not a huge cinnamon roll fan, but this was out of this world]

[my dish – biscuits + gravy, which again, were the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had. next time I will get a dozen of these biscuits and bring them home with me]

[husband’s dish – a skillet with all kinds of delicious goodness inside]

[WE LOVE YOU LOST FORTY! and yes, of course we got a growler to take home]

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Weekend Picturebook: Chicago, Weekend Picturebook: Hermann, Missouri


Food Picturebook: NYC + Houston

[N Y C] 

B R O W N ‘ S   B A G E L S 

Bagel is obviously a must in the city. I only got one, but could have eaten here every day. It was a cute little bakery with amazing coffee.

M A S S O N I 
at Arlo Nomad

Unfortunately I started feeling sick about halfway through the trip – cold, allergies, probably both – so one night I grabbed a pizza in the restaurant in my hotel and ate it in bed. How could you not, with these views?? The pizza was not traditional thin crust new york pizza, but it was incredible – pepperoni, jalapeños and honey. Wowww.

L E V A I N  B A K E R Y 

If you know me at all, you know I have to fit Levain in to any NYC trip. I’m drooling again just thinking about how amazing this cookie was from just last week.

E A T A L Y 

Snagged one more pizza before leaving the city in one of my favorite spots – and all I could think about was how I’ll be eating REAL Italian pizza in a MONTH!

A I R P O R T   F O O D 

Yes, you read that right – airport food. This was basically cheese toast with prosciutto and arugula on top. Did I mention I was stuck in the airport for 7 hours? I should have ordered another one, because this is some of the best airport food I’ve ever had.

[H O U S T O N]

G U R U   B U R G E R S  +  C R E P E S 

With a name like that of course we had to get a burger and a crepe! (and shared both!) Burger was delicious, crepe was okay, but beautiful.

N I N F A ‘ S 

Okay if you’re ever in Houston this is the MUST-GO place. It is super authentic and absolutely delicious. You see (and smell) them making the tortillas as you walk in. I got Tacos Al Pastor with fresh grilled pineapple and it was the best thing ever.

T O R C H Y ‘ S   T A C O S 

Does this look familiar from my Austin Food Picturebook? Ha – Torchy’s is officially a favorite! This time I got the Trailer Park “trashy” again and tried The Independent loaded with veggies. Both were amazing as usual, and so was the queso, as usual. Who can I petition to get a Torchy’s in NWA?!

xo xo

You might also enjoy: Food Picturebook: Austin, Food Picturebook: LA


Food Picturebook: Austin

Introducing a new blog series – Food Picturebook. Because I love traveling, I love food, and I love taking pictures of food.

You can see the first food picturebook here when I went to LA a few months ago and ate amaaazing food, and I knew Austin would be just as amazing, if not better. And it was. And I may have a few extra pounds to show for it.

Enjoy the photos, try not to drool and add these restaurants to your must-eat list!

P E R L A ‘ S 

To be honest, at first I was a little disappointed that my first meal in Austin was not BBQ or Tacos, but the second I tasted this Shrimp & Grits it was all over. It was some of the best I’ve ever had – and that’s saying something because I’ve had a lot of amazing Shrimp & Grits! It had a cajun kick to it that made it just a little more special than usual and absolutely amazing. Isn’t it also pretty??

T O R C H Y ‘ S   T A C O S 

This place was exactly like the picture says – DAMN GOOD. This was a quick-serve restaurant, but still had way better tacos than any restaurant we have in NWA. I got The Democrat and The Trailer Park “trashy” – the latter was my favorite of the two. That’s a fried chicken strip in there! Also a must-get is the queso and quac. I can’t wait to go back and try more of the taco’s. And get more queso.

A B O   Y O U S S E F 

We know Austin is known for their food trucks, but this one seemed a little too authentic at first and was in a random part of town. But, I had heard great reviews from a friend and everyone on Yelp so I decided to try something different. The grilled chicken, rice, tabbouleh and hummus was incredible – perfectly authentic. Definitely not what I expected from Austin, but I’m glad I tried it!

B U R R O 

Food truck #2 was a huge success. How can you go wrong with a grilled cheese truck? Specifically when you order the mac and cheese grilled cheese?? This picture does not do it justice at all, but it was so freaking delicious I can even still taste it …

C O O P E R ‘ S   B B Q 

So this BBQ joint was actually not on the original list of recommendations we received, but, as we checked several of them out (Franklin’s has an 8+ hour wait, Salt Like was a bit of a drive out of town) we needed something different. Luckily, our “Uber” driver gave us this recommendation, and after validating it with a local friend, it was decided. The patio was amazing and the food was just as incredible as I anticipated. Pictured: Brisket, Beef Rib and Jalapeño Mac and Cheese. I may or may not have eaten my cold leftovers before boarding the plane the next morning ….

What’s your favorite restaurant in Austin? I’m already planning my next trip – all about the food!

xo xo


Weekend Picturebook: Chicago

S A T U R D A Y 

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img_2652[lunch at portillo’s + catching up with my favorite walmartian-arkansan-chicagoans!]

img_2649[contemporary art museum]

img_2659[pre-dinner drinks at Pop’s Champagne (not pictured) then pizza at the famous Lou Malnati’s! it was amaaaazing]

img_2675[post-dinner walk along the beach with beautiful views of the skyline]

img_2679[the drake! my beautiful, old hotel in a perfect location]

S U N D A Y 

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img_2758[early morning walk on the beach – it was cold, but totally worth it]

img_2776[after the cold, long walk, I deserved this, right?? vanilla bean + chocolate old fashioned from glazed and infused]

img_2780[art institute of chicago was incredible – saw some of my favorites from renoir + monet. I could have spent all day in here!]

img_2797[cliche bean picture + walk through millennium park – then more walking, eating, and shopping before …]

img_2819[the big event – oscars war room! we were certainly exhausted by the end of it, but very proud of a successful campaign]

If you didn’t see the Oscars and are interested in learning more about how we played a part in the night, check out these videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLs6zAwIMDe3MCfYpFAi2PYe9TtUJC3Ig9 

xo xo


2016: my year in pictures

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-9-57-44-am
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

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-10-41-18-am
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


Picturebook: Christmas in DC

C H R I S T M A S   D A Y 

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{Woke up (suuuuper) early and hopped on a plane to Baltimore to spend Christmas with Husband’s dad, stepmom, sister and her husband. We hadn’t spent Christmas with them in a very, very long time so it was extra special. We ate, drank, played ridiculous games and stayed up laughing until 4am.}

M O N D A Y 

img_1541{Woke up (suuuuper) late (did I mention we stayed up until 4am…which means we had been awake for 24 hours…) then shopped and explored Georgetown, which of course was adorable}

T U E S D A Y
[first day in DC]

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img_0311{We had so much fun walking around the National Mall and exploring the monuments. My favorite was the Washington Monument behind us. How great is this candid picture?!}

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img_1623{Stopped for lunch at the famous Old Ebbitts Grill – seriously one of the best reubens I’ve ever had}

img_1717{Quick stop at Arlington Cemetery on our way out of the city – it was absolutely gorgeous and I would love to go back and spend more time walking around}

img_1723{The boys and their cigars after an amazing fondue dinner at home}

W E D N E S D A Y
[second day in DC]

img_1734 {The perfect start to the day – Mari’s famous huevos rancheros! We seriously talk about these all the time because they’re so delicious.}

img_1743{Holocaust Museum – the museum and this quote in particular were very moving and convicting, a must-see museum in DC}

img_1759{Smithsonian Museum of American History – very packed, but very cool. We even saw the Hope Diamond!}

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{STRANGER THINGS BAR! You would not believe the line to get in to this place, but it was totally worth it!}

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{Dinner at Founding Farmers was incredible! Pictured: Shrimp & Grits with andouille and bacon (more like gumbo), Not Pictured: the best cornbread and fried green tomatoes I’ve ever had, and husband’s chicken and waffles he claimed were the best he’s ever had}

T H U R S D A Y 

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img_1846{Visited the new MGM Grand Casino – played slots, lost money, drank beer, oh and ran into Sarah Jessica Parker selling shoes – no big deal!!!!!}

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img_1985{Spent the evening exploring Annapolis, which was seriously the cutest town ever. Then stopped in a wine bar and had the most fresh crab tostadas with tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lime juice. It was so good we had to order another round!}

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{We then stumbled upon this cute little underground gastropub for our last supper – not pictured, but seriously delicious … pig wings!!}

What a trip! I’m not sure how we got so lucky with such amazing family on both sides, but we sure are thankful. It will be a Christmas we never forget!

xo xo