Well it has certainly been a minute and SO MUCH has happened. Here is a quick and dirty update on everything that has gone on around here in the last few months.
We've been married for two years now (look how precious) and we've moved to a new apartment, praise the Lord (and look how decked out for fall)! My sister graduated and is living in Columbus so dreams do come true, we went to Disney (it was as magical as I knew it would be), and we went back to Virginia Beach (and stayed in this darling beach house). My girlfriends and I went to Nashville and met my favorite person on this planet (Annie F. Downs!!!!), I moved to Olentangy to teach music and I love it with all my heart, and I started grad school at OSU that is kicking my butt and one of the best parts of my life. I went to El Salvador on a mission trip that changed everything for me, and here we are in fall, on our way toward the holidays and taking stock of how very much there is to be thankful for. SO as soon as you get through this little photo album collecting down here we'll get started on my favorite new things of fall 2017!
1. Apples apples apples
The neighbor closest to my parents' house is about a quarter mile down the road and has a whole front yard full of apple trees. When we all went on a walk after dinner the other night he stopped us at the end of his driveway with grocery sacks and asked us to take as many apples as we could carry. So ever since, both drawers of my fridge and my whole fruit basket have been overflowing with apples. I've been using them in my decorating to try and find some use for them all. So finally, I cracked out my crock pot and make some homemade apple butter! I've been canning it and bringing some extra cans with cute labels as housewarming gifts all fall! Here is the link to the recipe I used, and can I just say that I think it's probably the best.
2. Pumpkin Patch Photo Shoots
Last weekend we gathered each of my siblings and a mess of our friends together for a big fall themed weekend, and the highlight was (and always is) our annual trip to the pumpkin patch for a photo shoot. Every family needs to get on this! It's free, it's adorable, and your adult children keep on coming back for it because apparently everyone can get behind posing for cute pictures when there are pumpkins in the background.
3. This Album is Everything
Ben and I are coming up on one whole year married! Because our summer schedules are crazy, we decided to celebrate early and spent last weekend exploring Nashville!
After what we felt was the perfect trip and having fallen completely in love with the city (as in liked it so much we briefly considered actually moving) we have a few favorites to share.
We woke up stupid early on Saturday morning with a looong list of places we hoped to visit in just one day. To get our coffee fix we headed straight for Crema, a super hipster third wave coffee shop in the SoBro neighborhood. Ben had a drip coffee and I tried their latte and both were amazing. Unfortunately it rained literally the entire day so we couldn’t enjoy the patio with a stunning view of the city - so that’s definitely on our list for next time.
After coffee we drove to 12 South to try a world famous 5 Daughters donut. I don’t have enough words for how charming the decor was and how mind-blowing the vanilla buttercream stuffed maple glazed donut was. You absolutely cannot miss this one.
So about 12 South - we were chatting with friends to get recommendations and they suggested that we stick to 12 South for shopping because it’s less touristy and I’m SO thankful we got that advice! The neighborhood is absolutely enchanting and Ben and I squeezed in a walk through some of the residential neighborhood to marvel at the gorgeous homes before it started pouring on us. To get out of the rain we ducked inside The Frothy Monkey. They had an adorable spiral staircase and a Caramel Coconut Latte that looked incredible so even though they were way too packed with people avoiding the storm this time, we are definitely stopping here for coffee on our next visit.
To wrap up our time in 12 South I almost gave Ben a heartattack when I literally jumped for joy over unexpectedly finding a Draper James (Reese Witherspoon's to-die-for Southern clothing store) and a Sprinkles ATM! I carried around a free sweet tea and dreamed about decorating our new apartment with floor to ceiling Draper James and Ben agonized over his cupcake decision before settling on the Salted Caramel (which of course he loved).
After dropping by the Farmer’s Market and doing some quick shopping downtown, we took a 30 minute drive out to Franklin, TN. We had heard it had a busy and precious downtown and that was the understatement of the century. The down was the perfect vision of a tight knit small community and the bustling local shops were chock full of one a kind finds. We found a store packed with all the southern brands that Ben loves to wear and we spent way too much money on t-shirts from Southern Shirt and Patagonia. We stumbled upon a shop called Imago Dei (in the image of God) that touched my heart in every way. The sweet poster below was posted on their wall.
After the rain caught up with us in Franklin we drove back to Nashville and into the neighborhood of East Nashville. We stopped for a bourbon at Holland House while we dried off and waited for our table at The Pharmacy next door. We waited over an hour for our table at Pharmacy and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I don’t say this kind of thing lightly. This was the BEST burger I have ever had. It lived up to the hype and then some. I had The Cheeseburger with a turkey burger and caramelized onions with sweet potato fries. It was such a filling lunch that we never got around to getting dinner!
After lunch we were feeling pretty exhausted and drove back downtown to check out Pinewood Social. This is one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited and I would LOVE to see something like this here in Columbus! It’s a pool/bowling alley/bar/restaurant/lounge that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, snacks, coffee, and cocktails. It is a little bit of everything done so well. I got a scrumptious mocha and Ben had a citrus coffee soda that was surprisingly not gross! This was the most relaxing stop! I definitely recommend it!
Finally we drove into Hillsboro to visit Parnassus Books! This adorable bookstore is owned by Ann Patchett! She is a brilliant novelist and owns a bookstore chock full of beautiful books and literature. The shop is guarded by the sweetest little patrol puppies that make the whole experience that much better. After dropping by the iconic lobby of the Hermitage Hotel pictured below we popped by our hotel for a nap and a change of clothes before getting ready to go back out for the night!
When we headed back out for downtown that night it was around 1am and we went straight for 1920’s speakeasy: The Patterson House, where the cocktails are crafted by mixologists right in front of your table and cost an arm and a leg. The decor was so classic and luxurious and the atmosphere made you feel like you were sitting in a movie scene, but after spending $13 each on two tiny cocktails we were very ready to get back into the live music scene and save our money!
We dropped by Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge intending to hop from bar to bar but the band playing on the 2nd floor was so good and the dancing so fun that we ended up settling in for the rest of the night listening to Old Crow Medicine Show and making new friends.
Ben had a meeting back home around 6 so we knew we would only have time on Sunday for a quick breakfast. We were so stressed out over all the good choices but we finally settled on The Pancake Pantry and were SO happy we did!
I had sweet potato pancakes with maple cream syrup with the dark chocolate chip pancakes and thought they were just perfect. Ben had the Farmer’s Breakfast and called it the very best breakfast he has ever had. We are pretty obsessed with getting a brunch in every weekend so that is high praise.
I hope this quick and dirty runthrough of our favorite stops in our whirlwind tour of Nashville inspires you to spend your weekend getting to know this beautiful and welcoming city. On our next trip we are hoping to catch a show at The Bluebird Cafe, a concert at the Ryman, visit the Grand Ole Opry Land Hotel, and take a tour of the Belle Meade Plantation. Do you have any favorites that didn’t show up on our list? Comment below to give us your recommendations!
Our family Spring Break road trip was perfect. Just the right amount of touristy stops and trying to feel like a local. Plus we all got to have a hand in fulfilling my sweet grandmas lifelong dream of seeing Elvis's home, Graceland. Here's what we think you just can't miss.
1. Beale Street
This street is literally a party 24/7. We came here as soon as we dropped our bags in the hotel and now we're full of inside jokes from all the craziness. There is live music coming from every door and you will run into every single kind of person, We plopped down on a patio and listened to possibly the worst and best show I've ever heard from "Cowboy Neal the Real Deal." If this is definitely a must see.
2. National Civil Right Museum
Wow did we not schedule enough time. The museum is so big and so emotionally draining that you definitely need to give it between three and four hours minimum. At the end of the tour you stand inside the room in the Lorraine Motel that MLK stayed in the night before he was assassinated. It's powerful and important.
3. Soda Fountain
Also on Beale Street is A. Schawb's Old Fashioned Soda Fountain. There are phosphate sodas, milkshakes, and handmade waffle cones. It's just like the movies and sitting at the bar with my family was wonderful. My grandma loves her a root beer float and she said these are the hands down best.
4. Pizza and Coffee
I've come to believe that you get to know the heart of a new city through their coffee shops so my sister Ella I and hunted some down and our favorites were Blufftown Coffee next to the Civil Rights Museum and Cafe Keough downtown. Blufftown is more neighborhood coffee shop and Keough is more of a transplanted European cafe. Both are a must stop.
Of all the food we had, and yes sadly even the ribs, this pizza was what we are all still talking about. In the newly renovated section of the downtown you can watch the trolly cars pass and sit on the patio of Aldo's Pizza to eat the most scrumptious Six Mushroom Truffle Pizza you will ever eat.
Also in case you were curious this is Elvis's mansion and the happiest little lady Graceland's probably ever seen.
I don’t care how much snow falls between now and May, it’s officially Spring in our house. I’m checking my weather app three times a day looking for the next sunshiney weekend day and Ben and I are taking every chance to get outside - freezing the whole time because we refuse to wear our heavy winter coats anymore. So since the rain is pouring and I’m going to have to focus on bringing the springtime spirit inside this week, here are some discoveries and new loves that are kicking off my March!
I heard about this as the Awesome of the Week on the Sorta Awesome podcast and I LOVE it. When I’m working, I need to be surrounded by productive sound. Here’s what I mean by that: if there is someone chatting with me, or a song with gorgeous lyrics in my earbuds, I can’t focus and the sound makes my work unproductive. But silence is hugely draining to me so I have been known to waste an hour driving to and from my favorite coffee shop because I know I’ll be surrounded with the ambient noise that helps me stay focused while appeasing my extroverted self. This habit though, has become pretty time consuming.
But then in comes Brain.fm! These geniuses formulate music that will be the perfect motivator for whatever you're trying to accomplish, whether that’s deep work, falling quickly to sleep, or meditating well. I definitely recommend that you try it out! But if more traditional music is your thing and electronic sounds don’t sound beautiful to you - look up Tsh Oxenrider’s Schoolhouse playlists on Spotify! All of that magic is linked below.
2. Blackberry Coffee Syrup
I could do a whole other post on Ashley Brooke’s Design’s overall aesthetic that I am just obsessed with, but I could actually rave even harder about her blog! Just a few days ago she shared a recipe from her sister for blackberry coffee syrup that was SUPER fun to make and SUPER delicious. We bottled it up in this pretty jar from the Target Spot and now it literally brightens up my morning coffee with pinky spring color and a welcome yummy change to my go to Thin Mint creamer routine.
3. Designing Your Life + Journaling
I got the most inspiring email ever from Taste of Beauty based out of Columbus with advice on a little journaling session to help you design your day as a strategy for designing your life. I made myself sit down and run through the exercise wholeheartedly. I mapped out every detail of the perfect (normal) day and it was so enlightening to notice the places my priorities have shifted since college and in which places they are as consistent as ever. I was inspired to pick up Bill Burnett’s Design Your Life to do a deep dive on how intentional long term goal setting looks. If you get any energy from planning, this is for you.
Flowers & Bread
This one is local to Columbus. Flowers & Bread just opened up on North High street and is as simple and perfect as it sounds with all the white marble, unfinished wood, and gold accents you could ever want plus stunning flower arrangements everywhere, to-die-for lattes, and freshly baked mini loaves of the tastiest bread. I would happily just move right in if they would have me. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you have to add this one to your list.
Quotable truths: “You can’t have quality output without quality input.”
I heard this one on Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour, and I’ve been mulling it over ever since. I love input. I believe you have to be a good listener to be listened to. You have to watch the perfect lesson to improve yours. You have to be prayed over to pray well and unselfconsciously. You have to input wisdom to output quality content. I’m living by this as I choose the TV, books, and apps that are getting to be part of my input this year.
Welcome! I'm a brand new wife, first year music teacher, Jesus follower, and am chronically curious about just about everything. Join me as I start off a whole new life.
"I am the Vine, you are the Branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."