All Posts By

Ashley

Food & Wine

The Liquor Store: A Fun New Diner

Last weekend we did something out of the ordinary. We stayed in our house WITHOUT kids. It’s actually never happened. So we took the opportunity to scope out a new restaurant in Memphis off of Broad Ave for an early dinner. The Liquor Store boasts thirst-quenching cocktails, nightly specials, homemade sweets and breakfast is served all day.

We grabbed one of the tropical tables and admired the decor complete with a diner feel amidst the long counter lined with retro-inspired bar stools.

The intriguing list of cocktails were hard to choose from, but I settled for the Pisco and it did not disappoint.

The menu is quite eclectic, complete with a Cuban sandwich, burgers and salads. I opted for the blue burger with plantain chips and my husband ordered the Salisbury steak. Both were pretty amazing.

The location is in an up-and-coming neighborhood that has been attracting many new restaurants and shops to the area, although there’s nothing quite like this one off of the Broad strip. The menu at the Liquor Store is entirely unique of any other restaurant I have been to in Memphis.

We enjoyed it for dinner but we’d love to go back when we’re feeling up for breakfast food. It would also be a great place to stop in just for drinks and dessert. (Photo credit below: yelper Luis T.)

That evening we ended up making it home early, built a fire and roasted a few marshmallows.

And our daughter (and son) enjoyed an overnight stay with their favorite babysitter squeezing this poor cat all evening.

Where have you been adventuring in your city lately?

(Photo credit featured image: Yelper Anthony C.)

Family, Food & Wine

If Fall Weekends Could Only Last Longer

We are getting pretty good at soaking up sunshine over the weekend. I think we might be trying to squeeze the last little bit out before we hit the dreary mid-South winter months. Here’s a look at some fun things we’ve been doing around town in Memphis.

We scheduled a date during the day which is rare for us. We headed to brunch at the Shelby Farms Kitchen restaurant and then parked ourselves in these bright orange chairs with mimosas in hand and gazed out at the water for a bit before we took a little walk around the lake. I just love dates with this guy. We even got in a little Christmas shopping.

 

The whole morning was relaxing and delightful and the food was perfect. It was just what we needed.

Later we scooped up the kids and decided to head back outside to the same park, but near the other end of the property. The fall foliage was on point and we got to catch the sunset at the end of our visit so it turned out to be just the perfect day.

Three cheers for lazy Sundays! We attended evening church Saturday so we could do this on Sunday morning.  Sometimes we just need a late start to our Sunday.

We read one of our favorite books… we just love it. It’s about a little girl that embraces her differences by “standing tall”.

And guess what, we hit up another park Sunday! We played hard and just appreciated the crunchy leaves and the people watching and being active in the fall weather. We just love all of our local parks so much. And my son loves tree stumps! They are nature’s best playground.

I don’t know why he didn’t want to sit in this hammock longer. I could’ve sat there all day!

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then we continued playing at a different spot, Railgarten. They have food and cocktails for adults and a playground and fun games out back for kids. Our littlest one just couldn’t time her eyes open in sync with the flash in this picture.

How do you get outside with kids? Even us adults played hard this past weekend. We must have needed the fresh air and sunshine. Have a fun week!

 

Family, Uncategorized

Life Lately {11.13.17}

Well hello. We have been keeping busy lately. October was a good month for us and we were sad to see it go. Here are a few ways we made sure to enjoy the month and the weather.

We started out October with Disney on Ice. I really wasn’t sure if these kids would sit still long enough, but we took a chance and I’m so glad we did because they LOVED it!

We did a little car shopping and well it isn’t always roses with these two. We were chatting with the salesman and we turned around to find these two wrestling on the floor. Sigh.

We finished soccer season with a bang. These two friends just love to hang out!

The weather cooled down and we found this fun hat at our Bass Pro Shop.

I did a little meal prepping with the cutest little assistant.

We attended school Halloween parties….

This Halloween party had a fun crafting station. What a fun idea!

We attended my son’s school Peace Day celebration complete with a dove release. The best part was watching this kid play on his school playground.

We celebrated this guy’s birthday!

We tried a new restaurant.

They had fun games including a Moana board game complete with character figures.

They have a yummy butternut squash soup!

And we enjoyed the cool fall weather riding bicycles and climbing trees and swinging on tire swings.

We visited the most fun farm near Huntsville and picked out pumpkins, rode on hayrides and swam in corn.

We visited family and my sister-in-law broke out their school mascot “The Buck” for the kids. My daughter was not much of a fan- eek! His eyebrows are kind of angry! Fun fact: My sister-in-law LOVES mascots. She filled in as the school mascot when she was in high school. She’s just the perfect size to play the part of a school mascot!

And finally our trip ended with a lot of outdoor time, gator rides, kite flying, a homemade playground (out of chopped tree stumps) and some swinging.

 

Also, our kids dressed in these costumes about 4.2 million times (or maybe just five times- it felt like they wore them all month).

We were sad to see October go and can’t wait to celebrate again next year. These kids are just so fun.

Family

Funny Things These Kids Say

These kids of ours say the darnedest things. And the days go by so quickly that I’m always trying to jot down funny moments in my phone notes so that I won’t forget. Our 4-year-old-son is a regular comedian. He’s been rotating between his favorite fireman and Toy Story Woody hat since he was two and he’s been practicing his comedy act here lately with terms like “I was just joshing you” and “I was kidding you”. He’s got a cackle, belly, witch laugh for jokes he thinks are especially funny. What I love the most is how excited he is about Halloween and how he thinks all of the scary decorations are hilarious- he loves being scared! He thinks it’s laughable. Here’s a few of his latest phrases.

Long Distance Calls

Me when I was on a trip calling Graham: Hey I can’t wait to see you! I miss you!

Graham: I’ll let you see me mommy!

 

On sibling stuff.

Graham to his little sister Haddie: Don’t even look at me. Don’t even think about it. Mooooommmm she’s looking at ME!!!

(PS: This is when I started having childhood flashbacks to life with two siblings).

 

Party Time

Graham: I want my Valentine’s party.

Me: It’s not until Friday, today is Wednesday.

Graham starts singing: Today is Friday today is Friday…

 

On flying a kite.

Graham: Daddy we need to fly my kite.

Daddy: Well it’s not windy.

Graham: Yes it is, look my balloon is flying.

Daddy: Well yes that has helium. It’s not windy buddy. Hey, I’ll be back (walking outside).

Graham: Okay see ya. Be careful it’s windy out there!

*He is OBSESSED with flying a kite. He asks about it at least once a day.

On eating cake.

Sitting by himself.

Graham: Oh I love this chocolate and icing on this cake so much.

He’s just so appreciative in the moment. It stops my heart every time. After meeting a newborn baby the other day he also tells me, Mommy I just love that little baby so much!

Shenanigans

Graham: Mommy did you get that thing I left on top of the car?

Me (while I’m driving): What thing?

Graham: I left my hat on top of the car.

Me: Well I hope you didn’t because it probably fell off.

Graham: Oh mommy, I was just joshing you! Wasn’t that a good joke?

What’s in a Name

He give the best “nicknames”. He’s been calling my brother Chad, his uncle, Uncle Jad for years. He also recently started calling our friend Mr. Jeremy, Journey!

 

On Video Games

Graham (as soon as we pick him up from school): Can I play my video game?

Me: No, we are going home, but we are not playing video games tonight.

Graham: Okay, we’ll talk about it later.

 

What fun things are the toddlers in your life talking about? I love this sweet stage we’re living right now.

 

Family, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {10.12.17}

HELLO Friday! Ah, after six days of being out on vacation and then for a work conference last week it sure is good to be home. I missed my kiddos so much.

We had a little bit of a crazy week THIS week. My daughter’s school had a sewage mishap, caused by the water company. Well the entire place was backed up with sewage overnight, flowing for a good six hours before anyone made it out. So what they have is a good 4 inches of poo poo (literally) all throughout the building. We have been coping with a pieced-together-plan of working from home and a fantastic borrowed nanny that stepped in to support us for a few days. The most amazing contingency has come about as a result of the contaminated building and we are crossing our fingers that the school will relocate to another promising facility next week! The school is having to replace EVERYTHING since items are all deemed contaminated, so parents and teachers are all coming together to outfit the temporary location. This is crazy town!

I love to spend time with my toddler at home, but working from home with a toddler for multiple days is no joke. I know she’s ready to get out of the house and play with her friends and go back to her regular routine.

We also heard a bit of news about our adoption journey. We originally planned to adopt internationally, but due to my preexisting medical condition and our birth order plan, coupled with a few other details, we found that we did not have a risk-averse country that would accept us, so we have decided to switch to domestic adoption. Basically, we could have wrapped up our adoption application for a country, gone down a long road of waiting, paid up to $20,000 in country fees, all to have the country come back to us with a “no”. I don’t have any more info on our new plan other than that for now, because we ourselves are in the dark, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated on our journey here.

So here we are again, where I recap my Friday Favorites with you and share a little bit about what’s been going on.

First, one of my favorites was visiting my new baby niece. I wrote about my trip here. Isn’t she just so precious? I remember that newborn stage being so fun but so exhausting!

I headed to a conference in San Antonio for work. Our speaker, Mel Robbins had fun words of wisdom for us. She wrote a book about the Five Second Rule. Her method motivates her to get “out of her own way” by counting down from five every time she hesitates to do something. She equates it to a rocket launch, and says that it triggers blockers in the brain that keep humans in a procrastination state. She uses it to get out of bed, boost confidence, network, start projects, etc. Basically anything that she hesitates moving forward on. I’ve used it multiple times since I arrived home.

I finally finished Crazy Rich Asians on my trip. I highly recommend it for a fun, light read. And I picked ups JoJo Moyes, Paris for One in the airport. So far, it doesn’t disappoint!

 

This resort in San Antonio was beautiful. I didn’t get to lounge around much, but I did grab a margarita and while I enjoyed the view. It has a water slide, which I definitely didn’t get a chance to take advantage of, a spa, a gym and a TPC golf course along with several restaurants.

This was the view outside my balcony.

Isn’t San Antonio so pretty at night?

I had a little bit of time to grab a manicure on the vacation portion of my trip. Isn’t this green nail color a great transition to fall? A guy asked me at the airport “what is green your favorite color?” I was in such a zone that I did not even realize he was referring to my nails!

Right before I left for travel, we had our Fall Dinner Club. We had our annual scarf exchange and had dinner in this sweet little town square in Collierville (at this little place). Isn’t this town cute? Every single scarf we exchanged was beautiful. We all left with a fun new fall accessory!

My daughter had a fun birthday party a few weeks ago to celebrate 2! Our nephews came up to visit us with their parents and they just had so much fun with my son. They gave him a whole lot of attention. Here he is with our youngest nephew goofing around.

And last week, right after I arrived back from my trip, we headed to Disney on Ice as a family. We don’t spend the money on tickets for these type of events very often- my kids just don’t sit still at this age- but they absolutely loved it!

So that’s a wrap. It’s been a packed few weeks and I can’t wait to catch up with my husband and kiddos this weekend. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Family, Food & Wine, Health

Weekend Baby Fix & Fun Pensacola, FL Hot Spots

This weekend I took a little trip to visit my sister and her new baby. She has to be the most beautiful infant you ever did see, but hey I might be partial.

Little Sloane turned a month old about a week ago and I was just so excited to meet her. We won’t be bringing my kiddos around to see her until November. I guess we’ll let her get a little more durable before these toddler kids  of mine try to start handling her. I know both my kids can hardly wait, and when I told my son I was going to see baby Sloane he told me, “But I NEEEED to see her!” I just think we all can’t wait for our little munchkins to hang out together.

We FaceTimed my kiddos one morning and little Sloane had a lot to say.

She’s just the most laid back baby. Here are a few pictures of my visit if you’d like to see.

Every morning I had a lovely decaf coffee. Most mornings my mom brought it to me in this beautiful guest room of hers that I stayed in. Doesn’t that sound amazing? My mom spoils me!

My mom also made me smoothies almost every day (which I saved for the afternoons) with a concoction of all of these little goodies.

On Saturday we made a trip to the Farmer’s Market (pit stop at this downtown coffee spot) and then the Pensacola Wine Bar for lunch for $3 mimosas.

The coffee bar (with my sister in front) had these beautiful mini cheesecakes (below)- I ordered a cashew caramel coconut cheesecake to split (AMAZING) and a yummy decaf honey latte with almond milk (I’m still craving another one).

My sister is indulging me in a photo, but doesn’t she look amazing postpartum???

The Farmer’s Market boasted BBQ Sauce, flavored popcorn, meats, produce, and even homemade crepes.

The Pensacola Wine Bar is one of my favorite stops when I make it to town. They have wine (of course), but very economical food, a huge variety, and an indoor and outdoor space (in a brick alley) that makes for the perfect lounging atmosphere. Plus, $3 mimosas!!! And this is the avocado toast- YUM!

On Saturday night, Sloane had her fist sleepover with me and my mom (her Gigi). We had to steal her away, and had the best time taking her out for dinner to this family and kid-friendly restaurant and rocking her in her favorite chair. But her soft velvety hair though!

We made a trip to the most talked about George’s for brunch on Sunday and squeezed in a visit with my grandmother, Sloane’s great grandmother. My sister and I took Sloane for a long walk in the afternoon on their walking path by the beach to CB. There was a cross-fit competition going on in the main section of the beach and we had fun eyeing all the ultra-fit competitors.

Snuggles with Great Grams!

 

Doesn’t my brother-in-law’s “coffee Sunday” from George’s look amazing. They also have Popsicle champagne sparklers.

And on Monday I indulged in some much needed relaxation, headed for a run, enjoyed a book. Finally the girls took sweet Sloane out shopping at one of our favorite stores- TJ Maxx! Pensacola has one of the nicest stores I have ever seen (even compared to Miami and Memphis).

It was a sweet and short trip and I’ll be missing my family, especially our newest member sweet little Sloane. So long Pensacola!

Here’s a recap of all the restaurants and places I visited (and recommend) in case you’re in the area.

Red Fish Blue Fish

Fosko’s Coffee Barre

George’s Artisan Bakery and Bistro

Wine Bar on Palafox

Casino Beach Bar overlooking the beach (they also have brunch!)

Rotolo’s

Palafox Market (Farmer’s Market)

TJ Maxx in Pensacola

Pensacola Beach Walking and Biking Trail

 

~Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family, Food & Wine

Favorites {9.30.17}

This weekend is a fun one. I am traveling to hit up a few fun cities over the next week. I’ll be sure to post my adventures on Instagram.

It’s been about a year since I’ve traveled by plane and  I’m all about allocating all my travel free time to books and just relaxing a little. Lately it’s been tough to stay awake long enough to crack open a fun read.

My favorites are a little all over the place this week, but I’m excited to share some oldies and fun fall picks to boost your spirits. Enjoy.

This Cutting Board

 

First up, this favorite is perfect as we approach the holiday season. It would be pretty for entertaining and displaying cheese plus how joyful would you feel cutting on this while prepping a holiday feast. This would also be a fun gift!

This cheese plate from Living with Landyn would be the perfect vision for placing cheese and snacks on this cutting board!

These Marshmallows!

These candy corn fall marshmallows are so yummy! My son has been begging for them ever since we bought them to decorate my daughter’s birthday cake this month. I also packaged them up in baggies with some Halloween stickers to give to all the kids as party favors (I wish they made individual bags of these, they would be great for trick-or-treaters).

This Art

These painted boards are just so fun and I particularly love this one- it’s a Llama. My daughter loves the Llama Llama books. Wouldn’t this be fun to use in a kids room?

This Snack Plate

I always have trouble with lunch during the week. I get hungry for a snack mid-morning, but then if I over snack, I’m full by lunch. Here’s one of my snack plates from last week. The two pieces of candy aren’t so healthy, but the pistachios are already shelled (made for easy snacking) and the wasabi peas give me a little kick which I love.

These Booties

These or these booties are perfect for transitioning to fall, especially if you live in a city that is still stuck in a summer heat wave. I love the side ankle cut, and I bought a size and a half up. I usually wear an 8 and I bought a 9 ½.

These Cheese Sticks

For all my Memphis readers, this favorite is for you. We tried these cheese sticks at Old Venice this month and my husband proclaimed them to be the best cheese sticks he’s ever had. Ever. I don’t know why we’ve never ordered them before. Last week he also mentioned that he can’t stop thinking about them. So I had to tell all of the local Memphis readers how fantastic they are so you can snatch them up and try them for yourself.

These Car Kit Essentials

I try to stock my car with essential items that really get me through the week. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the things I am sure to keep handy. I try to drive through a car wash every Friday after I pick up the kids to dump all the junk from the school week and wipe down the dash. Our car wash also boasts free vacuums, so I’m always sure to get in a good cleaning. I also keep a spray bottle with water and lavender oil and a brush handy (not shown) because I’m forever forgetting to brush my son’s hair until we arrive in the parking lot of school. The wipes and brush and spray help me keeping these kiddos looking a little more polished, even if I’m the mom wiping faces and brushing hair in the school parking lot.

Well friends, that wraps up my favorites lately. This weekend I’ll be missing my kiddos like crazy while I’m traveling, but I’m also looking forward to sleeping in past five! I sure am hoping to get in some much needed exercise and relax a bit. Have the best weekend! Be sure to comment below to let me know your favorites, what are you loving lately.

Family

Friday Favorites {9.22.17}

Well it’s Friday! We were enjoying some fall weather here in Memphis, until it creeped back into the 90’s. It was 100 degrees yesterday! Our social calendar has definitely picked up with kids sports and lots of fun outdoor activities and festivals. Last week also marked my daughter’s 2nd birthday! We celebrated last Friday with Mexican food, balloons and chocolate cake with chocolate icing! She will be having a little party this weekend with with some of her closest friends (for as close as toddlers can be).

Our little baby girl is becoming such a grown little toddler with a spunky little spirit and a mind of her own. The two-year birthday is such a fun milestone because she knows a little bit more about what’s going on than any other birthday to date.

And speaking of Mexican food, I have a favorite that will pair nicely with our dinner.


This Margarita Mix

We love to do Mexican and Margs at our house and usually we make them from scratch, but on a Friday night after work sometimes doing it by scratch is unattainable. My husband found this margarita mix with even the alcohol included. All you have to do is pour it over ice or blend it it up with some cubes. It’s not too much alcohol, but it’s easy and refreshing- we approve!

 


This Shirt 

This cacti shirt just reminds me of the West. I feel like it could carry me through winter with positive vibes? What do you think? To cacti or to not?

 


Go Ape!

Ok, so my husband went on this ropes course for work as a team building. Go Ape has locations all over the country. Anyhow, I made reservations for our date day and it was amazing! I had so much fun! I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to do it again. We packed our phones away for most of the duration (except to catch a few zipline shots- there were a total of 6 ziplines!) and just enjoyed being outside and teasing each other about who was more out of shape.

 


How to Make Dry Shampoo

This blogger writes about her recipe for dry shampoo, which includes a special version for people with darker hair. I’m intrigued. Would you try it?


This Jewelry

This jewelry originates from a small business owner who collects trash from a beach in Hawaii and turns it into something beautiful. She shapes and sands it and makes it look like stone.


This Pumpkin Mug!

Isn’t it so cute? I love love fall and this mug makes me smile.


 

NASA

The nerd in me is loving the NASA Instagram account. Just recently it reported the end of a mission where they intentionally plunged their Cassini spacecraft (after two decades) into the planet Saturn after capturing some final images upon its decent, while also sampling Saturn’s atmosphere, sending back information about its composition until all contact was lost. I am loving all the information and images they are posting. (Click the image to follow too!)

And here are a few other favorites: this podcast about the psychology of parenting (great for even those that aren’t parents), Ellen had Luis Fonsi, singer of hit song Despacito on her show to perform ( where he also explains the meaning of the song), Dave Ramsey explains more about the Equifax leak and why you need identity theft insurance. I’m also loving this quote.

Well friends that’s my Friday Favorites list. I’d love to know your favorites.

Tomorrow we’re off to cheer for our favorite soccer player (my son) while we snack away on our blanket in the shade.

~Ashley

Family, Food & Wine

Exploring Our City {#2}

Last week we made it out to a new restaurant in Germantown, TN, Farm and Fries.

It’s a restaurant in the heart of Germantown and it’s renovation had us wondering just whether or not the food matched the airy and chic décor it’s been boasting from the curb. I pass it almost every day on my way to work, so when we were in the area, almost happening to pass it again, we figured it was time to head over for lunch.

The restaurant is order at the counter and take a number style of wait service. The menu is displayed when you walk in so it’s easy to start checking out the selections while you’re waiting in line.

Seating options include inside (which is where they were playing football on 3 televisions) and outside, along with a side screened- in porch with fans.

We each ordered a burger, which is what the majority of the menu boasts, and for the kids we ordered one of each of the kids options (hot dog and chicken tenders) and split them between both kids. They have healthy sides, like apples, or your more traditional French fry side for kids meals, although adult sides are an additional cost (they have 3 adult-size options of French fries). The French fries tasted a little bit like In and Out (the famous burger chain). The burgers were delicious, but not really photo op material.

 You can also find local beer on tap, which we were sure to order to go along with our view of the Memphis/UCLA football game.

PS: My burger was the Brussels burger- why in the world have I never considered putting Brussels sprouts with bacon on a burger- it was fantastic!

My son gave this place a solid smile and my daughter hit the hay the second we made it into the car. The only downfall of Farm and Fries was that they did not have a changing table for kids in the restroom.

I hope you enjoyed our quick trip to the new Farm and Fries restaurant. I do recommend giving it a try, especially if you’re in the Germantown area.  I hope our trip inspires you to get out and try new places in your city (even if it means brining kiddos along for the ride).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food & Wine, Health

Why My Second Cup of Coffee Is Decaf

This month I had this major health bummer. I have been waking up with a tight and painful jaw. I have been in so much pain and been scratching my head trying to figure out why. And why now? What exactly changed over the last month that has made me clench so hard. My jaw was doing an ultimate work-out regimen that was enough to make my face muscles sore every single morning.

I started drinking tea at night before bed, reached for the Calm Down potion that I talked about here, and vowed to go to bed early and grab some extra rest. Nothing worked. Nothing.

So I did what all the smart people do when they have a health question, I headed to the ‘ole internet for advice and counsel.  And the internet said all the things I already knew. Stress causes jaw clenching, let go of negative thoughts, consider wearing a night guard (eek)… but none of it helped. Other tips included: stop chewing gum, write a journal to relieve stress, increase physical activity and water intake. Low and behold I found this article with some of these common causes and tips, but it also said to avoid certain beverages: caffeine and alcohol.

So while I’m not cutting out all of the caffeine (what do you think I am some kind of maniac?) I did start limiting myself to one cup, and now I switch to decaf when I’m craving a second one. And it worked! I have been sleeping better and my jaw is back to normal.

While you may not have the whole jaw clenching problem, it could be beneficial to check out some of the research on decaf coffee I discovered on my path to self-diagnosis.

Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30, and certified sports nutritionist, has made several statements about her deviation from caffeine. In this interview with Root and Revel, she explains why. “I drink decaf Americanos (I don’t drink caffeine, ever), and a huge variety of herbal teas. I switched to decaf only about seven years ago. I’m really sensitive to caffeine, and after a few Whole30-ish eliminations and re-introductions, decided my energy, sleep, mood, and general happiness would be better if I successfully gave it up. The transition was tough, but now I’m really happy I did it, and my energy and sleep have never been better.”

Livestrong.com also boasts benefit for drinking decaf, including reduced chances of getting Gout, Cardiovascular disease and even Type 2 Diabetes.

Healthline breaks down decaf coffee benefits in their explanation. “One cup of brewed decaf coffee provides 2.4% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 4.8% of potassium and 2.5% of niacin, or vitamin B3. This may not seem like a lot of nutrients, but the amounts add up quickly if you drink 2-3 (or more) cups of coffee a day.”

So there you go, decaf is on the upward trend for getting your coffee fix, sustaining jaw grinding, preventing disease, and filling up on magnesium, potassium and vitamin B3!

Do you drink decaf?