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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.

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?

 

Family, Food & Wine

Friday Favorites {8.11.17}

Hello and welcome to Friday! So Friday is always the day that I think things will start slowing down for the weekend, but it ends up being one of the busiest days of the week for me each and every week. It’s like everything I haven’t had a chance to wrap up all comes together on Friday and there’s an energy to complete all the things.

This Friday I thought I’d share a few favorites I’m loving for fall season (I know say it isn’t so!), a few fun things we love to do as a family, and food I thought was worth mentioning. I hope you’re settled in for a great weekend, how are you spending your Saturday and Sunday? We are running the Elvis 5K that I talked about in this post– wish us luck! We’re also headed to an adoption meeting our church- more on that journey (if you’re just tuning in) here. I also just posted about the baby shower my mom and I threw for my sister if you’re interested to see how we planned it.

If you’re new and want to read more feel free to click around and/or follow along: FacebookInstagram

And now, on to the favorites…

Family Fun

Earlier in the week I posted about one of our city adventures, a visit to Crosstown Concourse, located in Memphis, TN. Here’s a snapshot of some of the fun we had. Be sure to take a look at the full post.

I also loved this origami décor in one section of the lobby.

We are die-hard fans of our city so you will be seeing more content on how we explore and get out into our town.

Our family also partied hard at a friend’s birthday last weekend and this shot is one of my favorites. I mean that little girl of mine sure knows how to have a good time!

 

Beautiful Things

I have been scanning Etsy and look at these finds! I ordered this wall hang below. I posted it outside on my brick for better lighting so you can see all the colors, but I’ll be displaying it inside on a more neutral, tan wall.

I found this simple fall wreath on Etsy and I’m contemplating buying it…

And at Dinner Club we visited a fun new Colombian place; I just loved their décor. It makes me want to go visit Colombia wearing all of the below.

Eats

Finally, I am loving this zucchini “pasta” salad recipe I found on another Memphis blogger’s site…

And I’m snacking on these bars for a healthier option when I’m on the go and I’m forced to have a late lunches.

In other news, my sweet neighbor dropped by all these tomatoes because she was leaving town and couldn’t possibly eat them all.

And that brings my short list of favorites to a close…

(Sorry, this song is on a constant loop in my head- eek!)

I’m so happy you stopped by. Thanks for letting me share all the favorites I’m loving these days. I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

~Ashley

Linking up with Erika | Friday Favorites, and Katie | High Five for Friday

Family, Food & Wine

A Summer Shower- Baby Shower!

This summer, my sister will be having her first baby, making me an aunt. Actually, any day now, so I thought maybe I should update you all on how we showered her earlier this summer.

The celebration was in my hometown, Pensacola, Florida. The weather was expected to be incredibly hot and my mom’s sweet friend opened her new home for the festivities; it was the perfect space to celebrate.

Planning a shower from another city requires a bit of conscience coordinating. It’s also not easy co-planning with a highly engaged, and highly active partner, ahem, my mother. So, I’ll share the pics, but I do have to confess, I turned over the reigns to her early on regarding the intricate details for most of the decorations because well, she loves this stuff. And frankly interfering in her vision is like waving a red cape at an active bull in an open field. Kidding. Kind of. Eeek!

I’d love to share some of the plans with you if you’d like to see, but most of the credit goes to my mom!

Party planners selfie!

We knew we wanted the shower to be women only and my sister requested that it be a forum for celebration and a way for her to converse with her friends and allow her time to connect with the tribe of women who support her most in life.

To collaborate with that mission our main staples were food, champagne, and these mini petifores from J’s Bakery (love them so much)! My mom got the little bottles to scatter on top. We also had a white cake version with pink frosting for variety. My mom already had these cake stands- aren’t they lovely!

We had a hard time settling on food. In the end we chose catering from Moe’s Grill because I wasn’t sure when I was going to arrive to town and I didn’t want my mom handling the burden of cooking or heading to multiple places for pick-up on her own. They deliver for a small fee and do the complete set-up. Overall I was really thankful we decided to use them. Guests made a variety of entrees using the ingredients including tacos, nachos, and burritos.

My brother made a fun drink for this drink pitcher and we popped champagne to extend a welcome glass to each guest as they arrived. This is something simple that I’ve done at some work events for customers. Greeting people with a drink helps make them feel part of the party faster and people are generally pleasantly surprised to be welcomed this way. We also walked around to fill up drinks so people could continue mingling without putting a hault to their conversations.

My brother made this homemade salsa below- so sweet! Especially since he didn’t get to stay for the shower.

My brother and my mom settled on the name, the “skinny stork” for this special drink.

In order to stick to our original objective, we decided (with my sister’s blessing) not to have her open gifts at the shower. We also avoided planning a lot of games; we organized just one fun activity to join everyone together, a “gift pass around game” with cute little sayings regarding which direction to pass the gift- it ended up being the perfect game! The person it landed on in the end got to keep the gift. We also gave gifts away as favors for the mom with the oldest child, mom with the youngest child and mom with the youngest girl, since my sister’s having a sweet baby girl. It did take a while to gather the troops to pull people away from conversations and join together for the game and gift give-away. We entrusted one of the guests with the largest personality, and voice, to demand attention!

I’m orchestrating the directions to the fun game!

Here are some other fun photos and little details from the shower if you’d like to see…

The guest book was a children’s book; each guest left little notes throughout the white space of the pages.

These sweet friends all came together to celebrate this new little girl that we are all patiently waiting for! We were so thankful for their company and the sweet gifts that are preparing my sister and her husband for their new little bundle. This wagon though- I can’t wait until my niece is old enough to ride in it and she’s not even born yet!

At the end of the shower, my son stopped by with my brother and my brother-in-law to enjoy one of those fun little cakes. It wasn’t until the afternoon when we all compared notes that we realized none of us had fed my son lunch- ooops! His entire day consisted of jelly beans, donuts, fruit loops, and cake- he had enough sugar for one whole entire month! #minorparentingfail

I got increasingly sick and ended up having to lay down after the shower and my brother, his girlfriend, and my mom and brother-in-law all rallied together to break everything down- throwing this shower required a true mini village. And then after he helped clean everything up, my sweet brother brought me medicine and made me take it- love him!

I sure was so glad to have been able to bring my little side kick along to town to attend this shower though. We had a bash together that weekend playing at the beach and getting in some extra family time.

Thanks for hanging in there to see all the little details of our gathering for this new baby girl we are so excited to meet. At the end of the shower I advertised my mom’s services for anyone looking for a good party planner!

~Ashley

 

Food & Wine

Exploring Our City {#1}

This weekend we made it out to one of the most anticipated builds in Memphis, Crosstown Concourse.

It’s a historical building re-imaged into a mixed-use space accommodating living environments such as apartments, medical and fitness businesses, retail, restaurants, entertainment, education facilities (like an entire school will be inside there), a FedEx Office, a YMCA, banking services and even a nail bar (coming soon) to name a few. Basically you could essentially live and work in the structure without ever having to leave. The architecture is modern, mixed with historical materials including open brick and concrete, exposed beams, and lots of natural light.

Although we won’t be moving in anytime soon (believe me I’ve tried to convince the husband it would be a great plan for us to move in for a year) we do live close and the businesses add an extra element of convenience to our surrounding neighborhood. The building is also supplying new jobs to surrounding residents. Here are a few pictures of the space if you’d like to see.

I was especially drawn to the openness, and the sprinkled greenery throughout.

This center section had to be cut out to provide the open atrium look.

I loved the shared open library where books from residents were scattered about.

My kids appreciated the library mostly for the large platforms, perfect for climbing…

Old carts, originally found in the building prior to the renovation, decorate the hallways throughout.

The onsite grocery, named Curb Market, provides cheese, grocery, produce, a local craft beer section, a large dessert display and butcher services along with a small salad bar (among other regular staples).

I’ll be coming back to buy some of this to pair with wine, cheese and crackers!

And I’ll be sure to scoop up some of this on my next visit- local-made Memphis ice cream- look at that beautiful Nutella blend!

This space even features a recording studio and a lounge-worthy coffee spot (also serving a wide variety of local craft beers on tap).

You can see posters throughout the space announcing upcoming gatherings planned for residents of the community including diabetes meet-ups and crafts which really energized me most about this place- the promotion of gathering people. They even had a pop-up shop planned for later that morning featuring local merchandise (Memphis mugs, t-shirts, and other fun 901 goodies).

This gathering space in the lobby area showcased a container and streamer of colorful origami!

We sure enjoyed our visit and we’ll be back to take part in this mixed-use space.  The architecture and details along with the touches of local flair sure make it place we were immediately drawn to.

I hope you enjoyed our mini tour of our adventure in Memphis this past weekend. I’ll be sure to feature more of our local adventures in the upcoming months; I hope it inspires you to get out and find out more about your city. If you live close-by I recommend a visit to Crosstown Concourse. They’re having an official grand opening on 8/19! Here’s a quick guide map to get you acclimated to the space.