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Friday Favorites {5.4.18}

Hey hey it’s Friday! And this weekend it’s Cinco de Mayo so what could be better than an excuse to eat tacos and drink margs? We’re having friends over for dinner and I’m praying the weather is magical. Here are some fun/interesting things around the web that I’m currently loving. I hope that wherever you are, your weekend plans are just as magical.

Since it’s Cinco de Mayo I thought I’d share two of my favorite recipes. These margaritas and these barbacoa tacos are helping me live my best life.

Just in case you were wondering: Do hats cause baldness?

What??? They are banning sunscreen in Hawaii!

Memphis, TN (our hometown) made the list, amoungst other spots, of top places to visit in May!

We have been watching Planet Earth on Netflix with the kids- my daughter asks 1.5 million questions about all the animals. She also narrates the entire show. (now the monkey is climbing, oh wait, now he is jumping- hehe).

Also, I cannot stop watching Narcos. Can’t stop! I was mildly obsessed with Pablo Escobar’s life before the show, but now I can’t stop googling him. (No one else googles moderate to extreme psycho killers and kidnappers when they can’t sleep? Just me then?)

I’m also reading this book.

Memphis debuted it’s first food hall a few months ago. Do you have one in your hometown? Think Eataly in New York. Here are a few new ones that opened over the last few years- 17 Most Anticipated Food Halls.

A food hall is “a far cry from the suburban shopping mall food courts that hit their stride in the 1970s and are now falling into decline, these multi-faceted, typically indoor markets showcasing a variety of local food vendors and artisans have long been a tradition in Europe — and they’re finally hitting it big in America.”– Eater online magazine.

 

I had my first nutella cookie this week- honestly I don’t know how life was worth living before that moment. Here’s a fun nutella cookie recipe I’ll be trying.

And here’s a little bit of life lately that I shared earlier this week.

Have a lovely weekend.

~Ashley

 

 

Family, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Get Your Farm On

We are exploring vacations and I stumbled upon this site: www.farmstayus.com

A few years ago we actually stayed on a bee farm in Big Sur, California and it was one of the greatest vacations we’ve ever booked.

Every morning we woke up to peek outside and watch the bee workers outside in their large white, head-to-toe, beekeeper attire, tending to their early morning duties. Each evening we watched the sun set while we overlooked the Pacific Ocean from our elevated deck chairs just off the side deck of our living area. And during the day we spent our time hiking, and exploring and hoping into eco-friendly restaurants and delicious hometown bakeries.

We received fresh eggs and honey, composted our waste for the chickens, picked fresh lemons, limes and oranges, and walked the redwood forest trail on the property, a path the owners had cleared themselves. Perched on the claw foot tub, was a homemade bar of lavender soap that filled the entire cottage with an unforgettable, invigorating, aroma.I’m not so sure our experience will be the same at another farm, but we’re anxious to experience nature, let the kids interact with animals, and help educate them on some of the practices that help bring food to our table.

Would you farm on your next vacation? Where would you go?

Career & Resources, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Someone Ate the Only Good Thing Going on in My Life

When I was in college I waited tables at a restaurant in my hometown at the beach. The people I worked with were fun and we all went out after work together. Today work seems so much different. When I waited tables our biggest crisis seemed to be which side work we drew each night and who had to fill the ketchups.

The restaurant I worked at was on the third floor of a three-story building and directly below us there was a market. It carried bare minimum essentials for island residents, but they had this homemade banana pudding that they stocked that was AMAZING. Obviously I imagined someone’s grandmother made it and it had to take no less than 24 hours to cook it (honestly I have no idea, but that’s how good it tasted). It was the perfect post-server-shift indulgence. The market closed at 8 pm, so if you wanted to get this sought-after-pudding you had to get to your shift early and stop at the market on your way into the restaurant. Several my fellow restaurant staffers knew this and we took measures to stake our claim on one of the limited supply banana pudding containers on the way up the three flights of stairs. We’d take our pudding, label it with our names with a permanent sharpie marker and stock it in the restaurant kitchen cooler, ready for our retrieval at our evening break.

One night, ready for my break, I went to grab my pudding and it was gone. I was perplexed, we had never had a food theft problem. I started desperately digging through the cooler, sure that someone pushed it to the back during service. And then, I ever so slightly caught a glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, of the assistant manager standing just off to the side of the cooler. He was shoveling banana pudding into his mouth with a grin.

Me: “Did you buy that banana pudding.”

Manager: “No I found it in the fridge.”

Me (steam coming out of my ears): “So you took banana pudding with someone’s name on it out of the fridge.”

Manager: “Don’t be mad. I was hungry.”

Me: (ANGER. Dispair. Steam. Speechlessness.)

Look: I had a lot to learn back then about controlling my short fuse. Today I feel like my kids steal my food on a more regular basis and I’ve never reacted to them the same way I stared that guy down with the deadliest and most disgusted eyes that I hoped would laser puncture his bullheaded noggin. I climbed three flights of stairs for that pudding, paid for it with my measly server tips, I had sore feet from working my shift and someone with entitlement and disrespect claimed it. It was JUST LIKE the Friends episode where someone steals Ross’ sandwich- “Someone ate the only good thing going on in my life!” (clip here)

So here’s my question. What ticks you off? A friend at work laughs at me because I get so worked up when people run unorganized meetings and I get irked when friends habitually cancel plans without a good excuse (I feel like I am managing these scenarios well without having to engage a therapist) plus add food theft to my list of annoyances (I mean what are you an animal?) I can be a little intense. So what’s got you seeking anger management intervention? What goes against your grain? What’s your banana pudding?

 

Family, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {4.20.18}

It’s Friday! If only every day could be as happy as a fist-full of cotton candy on a spring day! My hopes are that your Friday is at least as happy as this picture. Today I’ll be celebrating Earth Day with my son at his school at lunchtime. The huge celebration is packed with 901rock decorating, crafts, reading time (Earth Day books of course!) and music- I love that they put so much effort into celebrating this special day. My son will also be playing his first baseball game coached by my husband- I’m snack mom this week and we’re bringing oranges and Pirates Booty at the request of my son (every 5-year-olds’ dream!)

We also have lots of other fun things planned this weekend- I am stoked it’s Friday!

Here are some things to ponder around the web.

Some states are now raising the bar on restaurant labor laws– a step up from my $2.13 an hour server days.

We have been binge watching this Netflix show.

Self-care– are we all doing it wrong?

This hopeful prayer

My friend had on Rothy shoes and gave me a demo on my porch- ha! Makes me want to buy some! They’re washable and bendable and made out of recycled material.

AND I have this ‘ole ab workout video on repeat #summergoals

What are you up to this weekend? We’re hoping the weather pans out! Have a lovely two days.

Family, Food & Wine, Uncategorized

Sunday’s Are For Sending Winter Away- Our Trip to Sweet Noshings

This Sunday we had enough. We took a stand to the injustice that is otherwise known as the never ending winter and we had ice cream- gasp!

First we headed to one of our favorite parks and played away most of our winter blues. And then I didn’t want it to end so I suggested ice cream. My family started walking over to the ice cream truck and I steered them over to the car- “we are not eating ice cream there, get in the car!”

We headed over to Sweet Noshings, a candy, fudge, popcorn, coffee, ice cream shop (they have pretty much everything amazing in life on their menu) and we picked out our ice cream flavors. By the way, I still need to educate my kids that, brown, white and pink are not flavors, but colors, but I let all that slide today. I guess I was also feeling melancholy about the weather because I splurged on a pack of pop rocks and white cheese popcorn.

Here are some pictures of our delightful afternoon if you’d like to see.

After all that sugar, and the dancing to celebrate the sugar, both kids finished out the evening watching their new favorite show, Clifford the Big Red Dog!

What are you doing to shove winter out the back door? 

PS: If you’re in the Memphis area and haven’t been to Sweet Noshings, check them out. All four of our ice cream flavors were on point and their popcorn was amazing!

~Ashley

Family, Food & Wine, Health, Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {2.8.18}

Happy Friday- Whoop whoop! Work has been insanely busy and I couldn’t be more ready for the weekend! We are still surviving winter in a big way over here- I am particularly over it and we sure are ready for some warmer weather- however it’s projected to be cold and gloomy again this weekend so our plans will be something indoors. We might head to the movie in theatres now- The Greatest Showman- and we’re scoping out a hands-on, interactive, dinosaur show at the Agricenter this weekend.

I haven’t posted favorites in a while but here’s a little bit of what I’m loving.

I discovered these two recipes during my Whole30 journey and they’re on weekly repeat at our house now! If you’re doing Whole30 too just minus beans and rice on the second recipe.

Click here

and here

My new go-to workout is Pure Barre! My back was really killing me due to sitting at work all day. I was going to the chiropractor every month but I have not been back in 3 months due to Pure Barre! It’s a lot of planking, core work and stretching that I think was missing from my life. This workout can get expensive but they always have a special going on that makes it a little more economical. It’s been worth it for me, and my back, to have a stronger core!

My kids are real comedians at this age and I’ve been blogging a lot lately about our life, and our humor.

Click here to read about my son’s 3 medals and here to read all about how my daughter is asking everyone she encounters all about their age!

If you’re looking to create a collection, here are some details to consider.

Plus if you’re interested- I give you permission to nap!

I found these Brazi bites at my local Fresh Market and I’m in love- they had me at cheese and bread. It’s been about 6 years since I’ve visited Brazil, but as far as I can tell these little bits of heaven aren’t too far off the mark from the originals. You can find them in the freezer section. They’d be great appetizers if you’re needing to bring a side for a potluck.

I hosted our dinner club last weekend at my house- apps and game night was the theme. It was so much fun! Everyone brought and app and a game and the food spread we ended up with was something I just would never have accomplished on my own! One of the crowd favorites were these Parmesan cheese bites! One of my friends described them as “little bites of heaven”.

Other than that I’m also loving these two pictures, but I’m partial!

I hope you’re having a great week so far. Be sure to comment all about what you’re loving right now!

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, 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.