Thursday, November 10, 2016

I'm so glad...

...I live in a world where there are Octobers. :) Whew! What a month. So many fun and exciting things happened this October.

For months I have been patiently counting down to 3 things happening this fall:

#1: BeautyCounter's partnership with Target/ launch of the limited edition collection. (It did not disappoint!)
#2: To receive my copy of The Magnolia Story and learn about the humble beginnings of the Magnolia empire (Thanks for the gift Cindy!)
 #3: For the Gilmore Girls revival series to air on Netflix (coming late November)
Even though I am still waiting on the last one, they did have a Luke's Diner Day on October 4th across the U.S. at various local coffee shops. I tried to go to one a block or two from my office, but the line was wrapped around the building! So instead of getting a coffee I settled for just a photo of the sign. :)

Allie had Fall Break early in the month which she spent visiting family in Alabama. I passed the time by making Allie a ginormous batch of gluten free breakfast biscuits (her fav)
and getting some quality time with the Z-man. I truly treasure the small, quiet moments we can spend together doing simple things like walking in the park.
The following week, Zach and I headed to Nashville for work. I am so thankful I was able to coordinate my business trip with his so we could be in one of our favorite cities together. Finally! Zach has come to Nashville a ton over the past few months, but I haven't been able to join due to work and needing to be home for Allie. This was the very, very rare exception and only possible because my MIL is the best and always willing to jump in and help us out any way she can.

We drove up to Tennessee late Wednesday evening and crashed at an Airbnb in downtown Franklin.
 Before heading into the city the next morning, Zach showed me around Westhaven, a very Disneyish, Leave-it-to-Beaver type development and introduced me to High Brow Brew, a great local coffee shop in the heart of this little village.
Our humble abode for the next few nights in Nashville was called the Hawk's Nest.
This Airbnb rental is not only brand new, but so so charming and cozy and the perfect amount of space for a weekend getaway. We totally loved it and will stay here again.
 Quirky artwork
Given how I am eating these days, I love the fact it has a full kitchen.
 Adorable bathroom. I love all the bronzey fixtures.
After a full day of work, Zach and I returned to Franklin to grab dinner with some old friends. Thanks Powells for taking the time to hang! Afterwards, I had Zach take me to Jeni's for my first sweet treat in many weeks, sorbet!
Although I am really suppose to limit my sugar intake, I seriously enjoyed every bite of this Riesling Poached Pear sorbet.
The next day, Zach and I zoomed down to 12South (our favorite neighborhood in the city) for lunch and so I could lay eyes on Amelia's Flower Truck. I have been following Amelia's on Instagram for quite some time and I am just so taken with this business/ concept/ brand... just everything. I love it and was ecstatic to visit it in person!

 I also was able to visit Draper James (Reece Witherspoon's clothing company) for the first time and it too was so unique and charming.
 My big lunch treat was Bar Taco, one of my favorite restaurants. This was also a splurge for me since I had a few non AIP items like corn and peppers.

My super cute lunch date. I had this guy across the table from me, Amelia's was parked right out the window to my left, and I was eating Bar Taco. Who could ask for anything more?! :)
 The lunch spread.
 I am obsessed with the Bar Taco salad. It's the citrusy dressing that does it for me. SO SO GOOD. I could eat this all day, evry' day.

After lunch I went back to work and to my utter surprise, Zach secretly went back to Amelia's to buy my flowers. When we were there earlier we were crunched for time and it was starting to rain so we didn't stay long enough to get any. I had no idea he went back - in the rain no less! until we walked into the apartment and he handed me this adorable arrangement. I was floored. He's so good to me.
 That night Zach was playing his first songwriter showcase at The Listening Room Cafe, a famous venue in the heart of Nashville.

Ready to go support my favorite singer/songwriter! :)

He did so so awesome!
 Backstage :)
After the show we picked up dinner at Burger Up (boring kale salad for me while Zach got the good stuff) and ran by the Turnip Truck for some additional provisions. We spent the rest of the evening in our cozy apartment, eating dinner and watching the Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids documentary on Netflix. :)
Before heading home the next morning, we stopped by Crema for Zach to get his snobby coffee fix. Since I don't drink coffee, I just enjoy the ambiance of great coffee places. 
 Beautiful views on the drive home as we listen to the new Johnny Swim album Georgica Pond.
The following week my company hosted an event for designers called Cookie University. My co-worker Sam is not only great at her regular job, but I am pretty sure she can create anything she puts her mind to and do it on a professional level. For years she has had a cookie business on the side making custom sugar cookies and they are adorable. Now, she is sharing her expertise through Cookie University and teaching others all her tips and tricks.

These events are so fun for me because I get to create/brand so many components- everything from invitations to recipe cards, agendas, aprons, packaging, gifts, and crafting the complete hospitality experience.

All my paper goods
The set up. Just waiting for all our guests!
Super cute sprinkles

Thank you/ to-go box for finished, decorated cookies.
Thank you gifts - Silpats, mixing spoons, and kitchen towel sets.
I love putting together pretty cheese plates!
And sweet treats too, of course. :)
Meanwhile, back at home, things were really ramping up for Allie. In one week she finally got her permit!!!!, took the PSAT, and participated in all the Homecoming festivities at Mount Pisgah. This included dressing up each day during the week, going to the Homecoming game on Friday night, and going to the Homecoming Dance on Saturday night.

With the Art Club from school, Allie did face-painting during the tailgate party prior to the game.
The high school life. :)
That night was FREEZING. I definitely did not dress warmly enough, but I enjoyed snuggling with this guy to try and stay alive. Ha!
Al with her friends in the student section.
Mount Pisgah touchdowns = confetti poppers, cow bells, and a sea of clapping thundersticks.
Naturally at the Homecoming game they featured Homecoming Court and announced the Homecoming Queen. This is the first time I have seen the court presented in convertibles. :)
All in all we had a good time rooting on our school in the freezing cold and being a part of the Mount Pisgah family.

On Saturday I took Allie into the city to get her hair cut and styled by our favorite stylist. Lisa has been cutting my hair for 10 years now and I don't know what I would do without her.
Al's finished look before the big dance. I mean, isn't she STUNNING?! We must have looked at 30 dresses and I am so thrilled she picked this gorgeous, classy, almost 20s look.

Allie and her sweet school friends. It is an answer to prayer to see her building friendships and finding great girls to be around at school and church.
After pictures at a friend's house, we all headed over to Horseshoe Bend Country Club for more pics and the group dinner.
I love this shot. :)
Full group before heading into dinner at the club.
Girls being girls. :)
The theme of the dance was Mardi Gras so everything was purple/green/gold-ed out. 

LED dance floor. 
Having a blast!
After the dance Allie finished off the night/next morning with a sleepover at a friend's house and had such a wonderful time. This was really her first Homecoming experience and I am so so happy it was such a good one. Thank you Mount Pisgah!

The following week, just days prior to Halloween, Allie had a costume party at youth group. She wore a Bob Ross painting as her costume. HAHA
We introduced her to Bob Ross via Netflix reruns a few months back and she absolutely loved it. She is now a huge fan and this was the perfect costume choice for her.  It's so hilarious because it hangs in the size of an actual canvas. Thanks mom for getting this for her!
The next weekend, Allie celebrated her friend Madison's 16th birthday. This celebration involved roller skating, Waffle House, and a sleepover, basically all things Allie loves. Ha!
(Thanks Madison for sharing the pics!)

And if that weren't enough partying, the following Sunday Allie had a pumpkin-painting, chili-eating, fall party with her small group from church. It was a beautiful night and again, I am just so thankful Allie is getting to have so many of these experiences with wonderful friends and mentors. God has provided so much for her and I am so blown away by the life he has made for her here. In a lot of ways I feel time slipping by, but in others, I am just so excited she has 2.5 more years of this! 2.5 more years to invest in these relationships, to grow in every way, to experience so many new things. It is a huge blessing.

Halloween for us this year was pretty low-key. We dressed up to go to Chipotle to get $3 burrito bowls. Zach and I threw together costumes from a prior party - he was Sherlock and I wore the Queen of England mask, which surprisingly was the big hit at Chipotle. Ha!
I know, I know... it's super creepy, but it's just so ridiculously funny.

In other news... while Allie has been having the time of her life, Zach has been building out a home gym. Due to how crazy busy his schedule is right now, he can't make it to his CrossFit gym so he's brought the gym home. He is really excited to bring Allie and I into the CrossFit fold now that we have the gear at home. We will see. :)

 And me? Well of course I'm in the kitchen!

As previously mentioned, I enjoyed Chipotle for the first time in MONTHS! I love Chipotle so this was a welcomed re-introduction into my diet. Even though it is (usually) only rice, carnitas, guac, and lettuce, it is still such a treat.
While in Nashville I discovered these amazing "Merry Bites" and they are now my go-to, AIP sweet treat. I pretty much keep them stocked in the fridge at all times. :)
New dishes this month include a lot of fall comfort food such as creamy scalloped sweet potatoes (SO GOOD, making this at Thanksgiving), cilantro shrimp with cauliflower fried rice, non-alcoholic Moscow mule, creamy butternut-carrot-ginger soup (another favorite), skilled cinnamon apples, maple bacon brussel sprouts (yet another awesome one), coconut chai, apple avocado chicken salad, and pumpkin sweet potato custard with coconut cream.
I really have loved everything. This month I also received my copy of Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations cookbook and I could not be more excited to try out some new things this holiday season!
And speaking of celebrations, we have one big one coming up next month - Allie's 16th birthday! I've been party planning like a crazy person for weeks and I can't wait to share with you the details. Stay tuned!