Browsing Tag

food

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

Our Visit to Farm and Fries

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Family, Food & Wine

Life Lately- What Happened to July? {7.25.17}

Happy last full week of July- can you believe it? This month has flown by but we have been enjoying every minute of it. Soon it’ll be stricter school schedules and cold weather, but for now, we’re all about finding ways to keep cool and that usually means squeezing in all the water activities and family time we can!

First, before I get down to business, be sure to check out two fun interviews that went up this month. The first is with Brian, titled Why Limit Happy to an Hour and the second one is with Nicole, titled Hola and Hey Mon! Both interviews are unique and genuine and I just love all the inspiring chiclets of information in these great stories.

Well like I mentioned we sure sought out the best ways to stay cool.

My daughter showed us all how to live the summer dream- eating Doritos poolside in a bathing suit. I mean, I hope she’s always confident enough to indulge while she’s hanging out in her bathing suit.We dusted off our water table and brought it out for an entire evening of fun complete with ice cream on the porch! We threw every bath toy we own in there just in case you’re wondering!A snow cone truck visited my son’s school; I pulled up to this!My husband and I squeezed in a date night. Somehow the only picture I took was of this monstrous margarita- yum! It’s from Frida’s Mexican Restaurante.We dressed up as princesses and ate more cold food items.We also squeezed in a couple of game nights with my oldest. We also found ourselves searching high and low for potted plants.And I made it to a girl’s night at Loflin Yard for Dinner Club. Isn’t this drink (titled Battle of the Greensward) and this cheese plate so pretty! All the cocktails have funny or local names! The food menu is pictured below in case you’re local and want a sneak peak. We had the street corn and the chicken wings in addition to that cheese plate- so yummy!

We rounded out July with a stay-cation in downtown Memphis where we rode the hotel escalator 20.5 million times (complete with serious bedhead), made important phone calls and visited two of our favorite eateries, Rendezvous (for dinner) a famous Memphis BBQ institution and The Arcade (for breakfast) where we sat in the Elvis booth (Elvis was a regular at one time; people kept coming over to the booth while we were eating to get a glimpse). My daughter had her first biscuit and jelly and I think it’s safe to say she was in heaven.

Finally, after church one night, my son and I visited the field of Sunflowers. They’re huge and the sun was setting over them when we arrived.

And that wraps up our July! I hope you’re having a wonderful month. If you’re looking to get organized, be sure to check out this post! And stay tuned for What’s Up Wednesday and Friday Favorites this week.

Uncategorized

Friday Favorites {6.23.17}

Today I’m sharing Friday favorites! I’d love to hear your favorites too so be sure to share in the comments.

We just arrived back from a weekend trip to the beach to visit family and attend my sister’s baby shower.

 

Just two weeks prior we were in the same spot for vacation. Being back to a routine means I’m taking full advantage of getting back in shape, focusing on a healthy diet and scheduling adequate time for relaxing from our busy schedule.

First up on my favorites list is date night!

1. Date Night

We try to schedule a regular date night once a month. It has to be at LEAST once a month. We’d sure love to do it more, but right now that’s our cadence. This weekend is our date time and I’m so excited. It really is important that we get out without our kiddos and have adult conversation; this down time is important for our health and sanity and really does make us better parents. Think of it like getting an oil change for your marriage. Although, you don’t have to have kids to have a date night- we used to have them before kids! Here are some things we are sure to apply for our time together.

 

 

  1. Something fun for the kids: I try to be sure to get a new movie or pull out a toy the kids haven’t played with for a while. Sometimes it’s homemade pizza or making a gingerbread house during the holidays. Whatever it is, I try to make our date night away fun for our kids too.
  2. A clean house is a happy house: I love to clean our house before date night, that way when we come home from our evening it’s to a clean home where the kids are asleep and we can continue relaxing at home the rest of the evening.
  3. Date night doesn’t have to be at night. We have gone horseback riding, we rode our bikes to the park once and had lunch, and even went restaurant hopping via Uber trying out different spots our city has to offer for drinks, dinner and dessert. Whatever you do, be sure to make reservations if your spot is expected to be busy so that you aren’t spending your date waiting in line.

2. Health Revamp

Post-vacation is always the best time for me to focus on my health. I’m rejuvenated from my time away and I’ve rid myself of some of my habits already since we’ve been out of routine. For example, I usually don’t eat the same stuff on vacation that I eat at home; it’s a chance to evaluate those routine things with fresh eyes to gain a different perspective and be intentional about what I want diet and exercise to look like. I also seem to be more adventurous after vacation, making it easier to try new fitness routines or food.

    1. New eating plan. I tried Whole 30 before and it was extremely difficult. And then someone told me that they tried it the first time with the mindset that they’d do every part of it possible, but if they slipped up they’d just continue again and keep trying. I quit after I had one bad day because I felt like I had to start over. It’s amazing how a change in perspective can set you on track. I’m trying it again and doing my best to complete it even if I have slip-ups.

     

    1. New recipes. I researched tons of new recipes and I’m excited to build them into my weekly meal planning. Here are a few below that I’m trying.

     

    Lettuce Wraps
    Spinach-stuffed artichoke potatoes
    Kale Caesar Salad

     

    1. New exercise plan. My new plan is to walk like it’s my job. This makes exercise possible with or without kids. I’m taking breaks from my desk and walking at work and we’re taking the kids walking at night. I’m also trying to walk some mornings before work. I’ve also blocked off time on my calendar for my regular exercise plan (running, weights, etc.) so that I’m intentional about how many times I can get a workout in a week. These shoes my sister gave me make me smile and get me to the gym.

     

    1. New coffee order. They say, if you drink or eat something habitually, changing that item in your diet can make a big impact over time. I removed sugar from my coffee and added cinnamon.


3. Celebrating Happy Things

I am trying to take time to squeeze in things for me that make me a better mom, a better wife and a better employee. Here’s 3 things that made me happy this week.

  • I love my necklace from Destiny Ray Jewelry. I actually got it at Beautiful Soul Boutique in Germantown, TN but she also sells her jewelry through her Instagram page and it makes me happy to celebrate her beautiful art every time I wear my necklace or look at her latest posts of her new creations. Here are some similar.

  • Nail time! I broke away at lunchtime to get a quick fix in the nail department and it was worth the 30 minutes. I usually go with some shade of pink.

  • I get compliments on my coffee travel mug all the time. It makes me happy to celebrate with my coffee and comes in different colors. It’s dishwasher safe and keeps my coffee hot; it also has a built in coaster pad.

That’s all for this Friday. I hope you can find something fun in the post this Friday. Also be sure to comment below on what you’re celebrating.

Food & Wine

Quick Tips to Starting a Dinner Club

About four years ago my husband and I moved from sunny Miami to season-filled Memphis and so the search for new friends began. Miami’s culture-filled, energetic, cocktail-sharing environment had welcomed us with open arms with martini happy hours, Venezuelan weddings and Colombian surprise birthday parties … sigh.

We felt a little bit out of our element in Memphis.  Meeting people as an adult requires a person to be so energetic and seemingly interesting and persistent and brave, and… listen, it all starts to seem like a whole lot of work. And isn’t this process supposed to be fun and social and energizing?

That’s when I had an epiphany: it’s so easy to get behind an invitation that involves food and drinks and sitting around a table. When I started talking to local Memphians about all the restaurants I wanted to try, their faces lit up.

Enter the birth of Dinner Club.

It’s been about three years and I’m here to tell you I’ve learned so much about my new town and how to be fearless in my quest to meet new people. If you’re intrigued, I’d love to share more about how you can start your own Dinner Club.


Find your people.

I try to remember not everyone I befriend needs to be just like me (duh). But I did narrow my group down to women only and consider personalities for the initial invite list to take into account conversation and common interests. DO encourage the people you invite to invite their people too.

Brunch Dinner Club

Just pick a place!

I know this sounds obvious, but in the beginning I wavered so much on whether or not people would show up based on the place. I polled people, I researched the newest restaurants in the area, and I over-analyzed the location. The thing is, people will migrate towards the food, drinks, people and conversation. Just be sure the place accommodates your group size and the price point doesn’t break the bank for the majority of the group. Most of the girls that come to our dinner club don’t have a difficult time sharing ideas on where to head next. Although we have met at some of the girls houses in special instances, the majority of the time we get out and try new places, which means cleaning and cooking doesn’t have to be a requirement.

Celtic Crossing, Veggie Omelet

 

Dinner Club doesn’t have to be JUST dinner.

Our dinner club has done brunch, a barn party with chili and games, and we’ve even got a coffee meetup and a park pot-luck on the books. We’ve organized exchanges for some of our meet-ups too including books, nail polish, scarves, alcohol, and beauty products, which makes for fund conversation. If your goal is to meet new people and try new places, then almost anything is game. Plus, mixing up the times and days of the week gives everyone a chance to join.

Bonfire Party, (left) Nikkole, (right) Kate

Be adventurous.

Try new things.  Share your food and encourage others to do the same. The beauty of forming a group around food is that people are inspired to try new things, plus bringing the cost down per person by sharing plates makes people want to cartwheel to the cash register.

Be realistic.

If you truly want to meet new people and get a group of individuals together that make for good conversation, then you have to consider you’ll be catering to a wide range of ages, career types, marital and child status’. What I am saying is, interesting people are busy, so consider putting something on the books every 2-3 months  IN ADVANCE and go from there. It does seem to be hard to get our group together once a month, but every 2-3 months is a more reasonable time frame.

Now I’m going to say something to all of you neurotic schedule planners that are appalled that a person would possibly cancel last minute (me, me, me!) – GET OVER IT, things come up. The more understanding you are to cancellations, the more comfortable people feel about being a part of your group.

Stoney River, Blondie Dessert

Be a concierge.

We tried rotating the organization of each meet up (each member scheduling a different restaurant) and it failed miserably. Just assume the role (with input from the group of course) and move on.

Being a concierge can become second nature with these tools and ideas.

  • Google Doodle can provide date options you can send out to the group which makes selecting the most popular date pain-free.
  • Check out Open Table or Yelp to take on the burden of making a reservation
  • Research things like whether there is a corkage fee and share important information you’d want to know like the link to the menu, location address, and parking whenever possible. I say whenever possible because you may be attending these restaurants for the first time too!
  • Start a Facebook group to invite members, set up events, reminders, and privately share pictures with your club. It also allows members the functionality to invite other people. We started with an email chain, but the Facebook group works much better.
  • Be the photographer.
  • Know the general area where your members live. Take this into consideration as much as you can when you set up your meet-ups  and recommend carpooling options for further locations.
  • Make it your own.

Catherine & Mary’s Restaurant, Drink: Sweet Melissa

 

I’ve had so much fun making Memphis home one meal-at-a-time with these crazy, amazing, interesting women I get to meet up with and talk with over food on a regular basis. There are many more fun ideas we’ve yet to plan.

What kind of groups do you participate in with your friends; I’d love to hear!

PS: Check out my Yelp account to see some of the places we’ve visited, pictures of some of our meals, and my reviews.

Barn Party, Bonfire S’mores (left) Ashley, (right) Carrie