Asheville, NC

IMG_1256I recently traveled to Asheville with one of my dearest friends that’s more like a sister for a girls’ getaway over the long Memorial Day weekend. Even though the trip was relatively quick, we packed a lot of fun in, thanks to some amazing recommendations from friends. We stayed in the sweetest Bed & Breakfast and the highlight of the trip for us (history nerds, unite!) was the day spent at The Biltmore. Whether you’re planning your next girls’ trip or romantic getaway, here are a few must-do’s you might want to add to your list:

STAY

The Applewood Manor – One of the oldest B&B’s in Asheville, this place offered Southern charm with plenty of modern elegance. The innkeepers were so welcoming and the three-course culinary delight of a breakfast each morning was worth the stay.

SEE & DO

The Biltmore – If you love history and impeccable beauty, this is a must-see. We took our time with a guided tour around the house & grounds, a carriage ride, and of course plenty of shopping.

The Grove Arcade – Rich with history and full of unique shopping spots.

Wake Foot Sanctuary – This was the perfect way to relax before we headed home and the lavender soak was oh so good. The massage took it over the top! I cannot recommend this enough.

EAT

Tupelo Honey Cafe – The original, this place was perfect for a late night dinner and made all the more fun by sitting at the chef’s bar.

Village Social – Located in the Biltmore’s Antler Hill Village, this farm-to-table eatery had great ambience at sunset and an even better burger.

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Summer To-Do List

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Every year I make a list of things that I’d like to accomplish before Labor Day. They aren’t complicated in the slightest, instead carefree and full of fun little indulgences to help savor the warmest months of the year. Here are a few I’d like to check off my list before Labor Day…actually before Baby Annie makes her grand arrival. What do you hope to do this summer? xo

Find the perfect watermelon (and make this)

Catch a double feature at the drive-in

Work on our herb garden and tidy up our backyard (i.e. find my green thumb)

Start a monthly supper club

Take long walks at sunset when we’re home

Spend an afternoon piddling around downtown Franklin with Tay and eat dinner at our favorite spot

Throw an Olympics viewing party (complete with themed snacks and drinks)

Visit the Nashville Zoo

Take advantage of as many hang sessions with my girlfriends as possible

Read some chick lit – hello, Emily Giffin’s latest, First Comes Love

Take a mini road trip with Tay

Complete and order those fun Shutterfly books I’ve been working on for months

Make ice cream from scratch – lots of ice cream

Monthly Pregnancy Update: 29 Weeks

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Hello, third trimester! I feel like the past few months have flown by and it’s hard to believe we’re nearing the finish line. Our little Annie is one active baby, which is reassuring for this new mama, and she especially goes wild when Taylor talks to her. It’s the sweetest thing. We are all set to start childbirth classes at the end of the month and I’m eager to see what that’s all about – all I have in my brain are those ridiculous scenes from rom-coms & Saved By the Bell with the “hee hee hee hoo” breathing. Ha! My girlfriends who have done this pregnancy thing before are a constant source of wisdom and encouragement – so thankful to have them beside me every step of the way. After all, girls do run the world. xo

Baby’s size: An acorn squash

I’m feeling: Great and so incredibly humbled that God chose us to be parents. I’m so thankful that my worst pregnancy symptom so far has been leg cramps, which have *fingers crossed* now ceased thanks to my new one-banana-before-bed routine. I’m also drinking more water than I ever thought possible which keeps me feeling good.

Foods I could eat forever: Veggie fajitas, any and all fruit, peanut butter, and nutella (which I was never a fan of until pregnancy).

Foods I cannot imagine eating: Anything spicy or scallops. Yuck.

Currently wearing: Sundresses and jean shorts (I found the perfect maternity pair finally!).

Pros of June: Counting those sweet kicks and punches – Annie loves to move!

Cons of June: THIS HEAT.

Looking forward to: Our kitchen being completely ready by the end of the month and getting started on the nursery. #nesting

Favorite scripture at the moment: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” [ Ephesians 3:20 ]

Links I’m Loving

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  1. Can’t decide what you should read next? Let this guy pick for you (bookseer.com).
  2. The life-changing magic of tidying up – the one tip you need to hear (today.com).
  3. Attention Gilmore Girls fans – 13 important cooking lessons from Sookie (real simple.com)
  4. The 20 best small towns to visit this year (countryliving.com).
  5. “The Father of the Bride” house is for sale – Franck not included (curbed.com).
  6. I need this baby Airstream for our summer road trips (insidehook.com)
  7. A letter to my son about bad guys (emilyley.com).

Summer Chicken Nachos

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This is the perfect recipe for a summer night when the last thing you want to do is slave over a hot stove. Or in our case, this is perfect if you don’t yet have a stove because Lowe’s is late delivering your appliances to your new house. All credit to this recipe goes to the crockpot, a cooking vessel I typically reserve for soup season or the occasional Sunday pot roast but this recipe changed the game for me. There are several different versions of this recipe on Pinterest so I looked over a few and created my own:

You’ll need:

2-3 chicken breasts

1 can of corn

1 can of black beans

1 can of rotel

Taco seasoning (I like to make my own using this recipe but if you’re short on time just grab one of those seasoning packs and call it a day)

Your trusty crockpot

Aluminum foil

Super simple instructions to make yummy nachos:

Line the crockpot with foil for easier clean-up. Dump the rotel in first, then place chicken breasts on top. Add in the corn, black beans, and taco seasoning. Stir. Place lid on crockpot and set to high for 3.5 hours.

Go do something fun and forget about the amazingness cooking in your kitchen. If you’re feeling really domestic stir everything around at the halfway mark.

When the time is up shred the chicken right there in the crockpot, give everything a big stir, and you’re ready to plate it up! We used tortilla chips and lettuce as our base, adding the chicken/corn/bean goodness over that, then topping it all off with some shredded cheese, sour cream (for me, Tay hates the stuff) and some fresh avocado. Cilantro and salsa would also be excellent toppings.

The verdict:

So so good. We both went back for seconds and total clean-up time was about 30 seconds. I call that a WIN. xo

Things You Should Never Say To a Pregnant Woman

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We pregnant women constantly receive well wishes and positive remarks about the new chapter in our lives – which is incredible, thank you – but unfortunately we also find ourselves the recipients of some unflattering comments. Some real zingers. Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure these comments are not meant to be insensitive or inappropriate, but they can easily come across the wrong way to a woman who is busy growing a human while doing a million other things to keep this world in motion. Simply put, there are some things that should absolutely remain unsaid when speaking to a pregnant woman. As I enter my third trimester I feel the need to address this issue now for the love of pregnant women everywhere.

Here are some unbelievable comments said to pregnant women (myself and friends included) and what could be said instead.

“Was it planned?”

What to say instead: “Congrats! So thrilled for you.”

“Wow, you’re barely showing, are you sure you’re pregnant?”

What to say instead: “You look amazing!”

“Wow, you’re huge, are you sure your due date is right?”

What to say instead: “You look amazing!”

“I can tell you’re having a girl because she’s stealing your beauty.”

What to say instead: “You’re glowing!”

“Oh I see that big belly on you.”

What to say instead: “Wow! You look great!”or ask “How are you feeling?”

“You’ll do great in labor because of your wide birthing hips.”

What to say instead: NOTHING.

“You don’t have to stick your bump out we see you’re pregnant.”

What to say instead: “I love the baby bump.”

“I almost died when I was in labor. But I bet you’ll be fine.”

What to say instead: “I had a rough experience but for a lot of women it’s a breeze.” or SAY NOTHING. Why even go there?

“There has to be more than one baby in there.”

What to say instead: “Do you know what you’re having?” or the always popular “You look great!”

“You’re taking advantage of eating for two aren’t you?”

What to say instead: “Have you been craving anything?”

“Enjoy ______ now because once the baby comes you can kiss it goodbye!”

What to say instead: “Parenting changes everything but it’s so worth it.”

“Watch out…wide load coming through!”

What to say instead: “Let me get the door for you.” or simply smile.

“You look exhausted/tired/pale.”

What to say instead: “You look beautiful!”

“Oh look, you have (insert random pregnancy ailment).”

What to say instead: “You look beautiful!”

“Oh I would have never done that/ate that/worn that when I was pregnant.”

What to say instead: “Every pregnancy is different – do what works for you.”

*Ladies, any others you would like to add to this list? Let’s hear em’! xo

Newlywed Life: A Running List

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I like to start my day alone, well Buddy is usually in my lap, with a glass of lemon water, my Bible, and whatever devotional I’m reading because sometimes I just need a minute to get my day going right. Currently I’m working my way through Waiting in Wonder, a pregnancy devotional/journal hybrid that tackles a new topic every day with scripture and encouraging words. This morning’s devo was all about the importance of building a strong marriage, especially before and when children come into to the picture since everything changes (or so I hear). The author tied in my favorite passage of all time, I Corinthians 13 aka “the love chapter” and pointed out how “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

My husband has taught me so much about what it means to love someone with your whole heart and as he says, despite. Despite all my flaws and mess-ups and less than glamorous moments he loves me unconditionally. He has taught me how to forgive annoyances and move forward with the kind of optimism only found in love.

If you love somebody, you don’t keep score of times they hurt your feelings or when they didn’t pick up their dirty clothes from the bathroom floor. You don’t remind them of the times they royally messed up and put their foot in their mouth or were short with you while hungry and tired. You don’t keep a record of wrongs to bring out whenever you feel like it because that’s not what love’s about.

Love is about keeping track of the good stuff – all the times they get it right and remind you of the million reasons you love them. So I keep a running list of all the times he makes me laugh until I’m crying. The way he holds my hand in his when we pray together. The look he gives me when I’m being ridiculous or overreacting. The hilarious sounds he makes when he eats something he really likes. The way he takes care of me and leads our family.

TIME magazine recently featured an article simply titled “How to Stay Married” in which they shared insight from 500+ couples who had been married 40+ years. Each couple polled agreed on two things: 1.) Marriage is hard 2.) It’s more than worth it. One couple went on to say the best thing they learned early in marriage was to communicate and not hold grudges. Such fantastic advice not only for marriage but for all relationships, right?

Love keeps no record of wrongs and I choose love. xo