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life lately

[watching this || PLL SERIES FINALE #HalebForever]

[rocking out to this || silversun pickups + third eye blind on a super fun wednesday night]

[dying over this || a ROOFTOP bar in little ol’ bentonville!]

[loving this || a beautiful saturday with beautiful people]

[eating this || the best tacos ever]

[celebrating/crying over this || our best friends moving to Kansas City this weekend. we are so sad, yet so happy for their new adventures … and of course, we will visit all the time!! #Hotarmans4Ever]

xo xo

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Aldermans Go Global: Italy, Part 2 (Cinque Terre + Venice)

C I N Q U E   T E R R E
[First night on the water – delicious dinner of fresh pasta with prawns + refreshing wine]

[Two amazing, relaxing days on the beach – exactly what we needed at this point in the trip!]

[Monterosso – adorable winding streets with beautiful street art]
[The pictures that follow are from our favorite night of the trip, on Angelo’s Sunset Boat Tour. Boat + guide Sammy pictured above. Seriously, if you are ever here, this is absolutely worth every penny!]


[Boat views of the towns = all the praise hands] [Stopped for tapas in Vernazza – these mussels + anchovies were TDF … and I don’t eat mussels or anchovies!] [And this is right before we saw the dolphins and I cried. But for real, this night was so surreal and felt like a dream.]

[Final night in Cinque Terre – Vernazza Wine Experience with sweeping views that I failed to capture, except for the views of the wine + food]

CINQUE TERRE: We love love loved these adorable coastal towns. This was a very close second behind Siena for our favorite place. We actually stayed in a little town called Levanto (not one of the main touristy towns) and it was wonderful. Less touristy, yet still beachy and charming. We also had some super fun, not pictured, patio nights with Limoncello, Despacito + strange Asian men.

V E N I C E  [Our cute Hotel Flora that took us forever to find, until we finally found it hidden on one of the streets behind Burberry, Ferragamo, Gucci …. ]

[Piazza at night + another delicious dinner – look at those shrimp!!]
[Peggy Guggenheim Museum was phenomenal. We were so excited to see some Modern art at this point after all the Renaissance art. Love this picture of Husband taking a picture of the water with a Jackson Pollock right behind him!]

[SO much fun on our Venetian Pub Tour – we drank so much wine, went to hole-in-the-wall pubs and learned a lot (that we didn’t totally agree with) from our tour guide] [Day trip to the islands of Burano and Murano were totally worth it. Look how beautiful these colored buildings are! I took the second for my Mom – because I know if she were there, she’d totally be taking an art class like this!]

[Accidentally found this amazing, highly-rated B&B in Murano. My swordfish + tiramisu coffee ice cream were outstanding. I would totally come back and stay here!]

[Perfect final night in Venice with these beautiful people, and very fitting my last meal would be with more TRUFFLE!]

[We loved the bar across from our hotel! We made it a habit to end there every night. They played American Pop hits and served the “best” pina coladas + the best prosecco.]

VENICE: I had a love/hate relationship with Venice. I’m so glad we went, because it is so unique and incredible that there are no cars and the only transportation is by water taxi. (We even got to the airport by water taxi – how cool is that!) However, I’m not sure I’d go back – it was expensive, pigeons were everywhere, and I got eaten alive by mosquitos.

Hope you enjoyed re-living our trip through photos! I certainly did! Now, who’s ready to go back!?

Alderman’s Go Global: Italy, Part 1 (Rome + Tuscany)

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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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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life lately

[celebrating this || a cousin’s wedding]

[eating this || amazing food at wednesday over water]

[loving this || chihuly exhibit + anniversary weekend]

[enjoying this || patio time with the sistahs]

[cuddling with this || adorable little girl for a morning!]

[saying this || CIAO, AMERICA!

because now we’re headed to Italy! follow our travels on #AldermansGoGlobal]

xo xo

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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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favorites, round 7. [walmart edition]

Things I love and want to share with you, so you can love them too.
[And yes, I do work for Walmart, so I especially want you to know about these awesome Walmart finds too!]

BIG BUDDHA: Did you know Walmart carries Big Buddha shoes and bags?! Until recently I had no clue, and now I own 3 pairs of shoes. Okay let me tell you about them – the sandals in the top left picture are so stinkin’ adorable and comfortable. I’ve seen a ton of these look-alike sandals in different retailers, but these are the most affordable at $13.

And I’m obsessed with the heels in the bottom right corner. A coworker started the trend and of course, now we all wear them on the same day all the time (case in point above). You can’t see the heel, but it’s short and chunky and totally in style. I bought them in black and tan, obviously, because they’re only $11.

The bag, pictured above the heels, is also Big Buddha and sent by my sis this morning! I love to send my family my WM finds and she sent us this one. I’ve literally almost bought this bag multiple times, but not sure why I haven’t. They have multiple colors/styles in-store.

CACTUS PLATES + BOWLS: Top right are these adorable cactus plates I found in-store for $1.50. I immediately bought two, then went back a few days later and bought two more. They’re plastic so very lightweight, but perfect for a Summer get-together, yeah?? Also worth mentioning are the amazing Better Homes and Gardens melamine plates. These are heavier and very nice. I buy their new Summer styles every year and always get compliments on them.

AVIA TANKS: Aren’t these tanks great? I’m sure you’re starting to see a trend here … when I find something I like that’s affordable, I buy in multiples. Since I’ve started exercising more it’s more fun to buy workout clothes and these are perfect. They are breathable, come in multiple colors and are just $7 each.

FADED GLORY DRESS: Okay so this is not a great picture of the dress, but I wear it ALL THE TIME. It’s sleeveless and so comfortable. It’s long enough for work, but cute enough for weekend. I just purchased another one in black. You will see me in these allllll Summer and definitely in Italy. Unfortunately they are out of most sizes in-store and online, but search your store just in case! It will be worth it, especially for only $7 each!!

OZARK TRAILS: Oh, Ozark Trails, how I love thee. (pictured top left with the sandals) We all know the Yeti trend, and yes we jumped on the bandwagon at first too. Until we found Ozark Trails at Walmart. It is EXACTLY the same as Yeti. I mean exactly. And I can say that for certain since we have both. We now have 3 coozie cans (pictured), 4 tumblers and most recently the cooler. It keeps my beer extra cold and my coffee extra hot, and I am a happy camper.

What is your favorite Walmart find?

xo xo