Take me out to the ballpark ... we're getting closer and closer to baseball season and I say hooray for warmer temps, hotdogs, and the Kansas City Royals!
This past weekend they hosted Royals FanFest, a fun-filled couple of days for fans to gear up for baseball season, at Bartle Hall inside the Kansas City Convention Center.
Things kicked off on Friday afternoon and fans were excited to get in the doors to meet the players, snag an autograph or two, show off their skills in the batting cages, and purchase merchandise and memorabilia. And for the first time, fans were treated to a Royals Fashion Show featuring players, KCrew and children walking the runway! Toby Cook, Royals VP of Publicity, and I hosted the new event and it was a very entertaining evening.
But before my emceeing duties began, I visited the incredibly talented Ashley Tribble - oh my goodness, she worked wonders! Not only is she an incredibly talented artist, she's super sweet, always wears a big smile, and has great style. If you ever have a special occasion, want a makeup lesson, or just want to feel like a princess, Ashley is your girl!
Toby and I were dressed for the occasion in our black-tie wardrobe. Of course, he sported a tuxedo with a Royals logo on his bow tie, and I wore a royal blue dress from Lulu's. It fit wonderfully, the fabric draped beautifully and I was pleasantly comfortable in it for hours. Now that's my kind of dress!
It was so much fun watching the kids confidently strut their stuff down the runway, followed by the sweet KCrew ladies and then the much anticipated players. It was no surprise that the crowd went wild, but especially when Salvador Perez made his entrance, Drew Butera modeled the Royals onesie and during the finale when the round stage rotated and the players threw t-shirts into the crowd!
It was an honor to host the first ever Royals Fashion Show alongside Toby. And, a huge shout out to Don Costante and his crew behind the scene that made it all happen and go off without a hitch! Thank you!
On Saturday, in addition to games, prizes, and autographs, fans also got a chance to hear from Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, learn how to throw from the Royals pitching coaches, and meet the newest members of the team.
Another successful Royals Fanfest is in the book and I'm looking forward to March! How about you? Let's go Royals!
Do you ever think about where the food you're served at a restaurant comes from? Do you know where they source their produce and meats? Farm to table restaurants are my favorite and when I find one, I'm a regular. The food is fresher, you're supporting local farms, and it just tastes better!
So I was excited for another chance to visit The Old School restaurant. Their made from scratch menu is seasonal and relies on the availability of fresh ingredients that are procured daily. The restaurant sits on a 9 acre site that is also home to The Old School Farm, a beer garden, an event barn, a music room, and a dance floor and all just a few minutes from downtown Nashville in Bells Bend.
The farm is a "unique non-profit dedicated to producing quality farm-to-table food while providing employment for individuals of all abilities. Old School Farm was founded in 2013 on the belief that creating a sustainable farm can also produce sustainable jobs while giving back to the community at large."
Everything about this place just soothes the soul! Plus, it's an amazing venue for events. My company used their outdoor event center to host our Vision Day for 2018 and it was awesome. I wish I had had my rehearsal dinner here! Everyone is so nice, the cocktails are great and the food...nutritious and delicious.
We took our best friends along for dinner on Friday night and we loved it. One of my favorite things was that we were no sooner seated than they had a tray of light snacks - mini breadsticks, maple pecans, nuts and fruit - available for us. It was perfect to snack on before our cocktails came!
My cocktail was perfect. It was a spin off of an Old Fashioned, just a little sweeter. We also ordered their Cheese Board which was full of, again, local cheeses and meat. The jam (pictured on the left below) was unlike anything I've ever tasted. Again, so light and so fresh, not too sweet, it was just right!
For our entrees, we each tried something different. The guys ordered the burger and the roast, my friend, Rachel (not my sister), ordered the chicken and I ordered the Vegetable Bolognese. Everyone raved about their choice, but I'm convinced mine was the BEST. It tasted just like a bolognese sauce, but even better.
This place is a must if you are in the Middle Tennessee area. We love it and have never been disappointed. The best thing to me will always be how fresh everything is and supporting local businesses and all of the farmers that partner with this company is a bonus. What are your favorite farm to table restaurants?
Happy Friday! We are so happy it's the weekend because this week has been crazy busy! But busy is always good, right? Enjoy our picks for Fashion Friday and have a wonderful weekend!
My sister is getting married and I could not be more excited for her as she walks thru this beautiful season of life with her groom. Shortly after she got engaged, she blessed me with her request that I stand by her side on that very important day and serve as her Matron of Honor. Of course, I said yes! I have dreamed of this special day my entire life and to get to spoil my sister, who always spoils me, is a true joy. We decided a girls' weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas (wine country) would be the perfect place for a bachelorette weekend. My sister is pretty easy going, so as I started planning, I wanted to balance a mix of relaxation with fun outings.
My first task was finding the perfect home to stay in while we were in Fredericksburg. We had 18 girls (crazy, I know!) commit to the weekend, so finding a house that was both affordable AND big enough would be a huge undertaking. BUT, thankfully I found THE perfect house. The owner was super easy to work with, the beds were incredibly comfortable, the decor was adorable and the location was spot on. I hit the jackpot!
Even better, we were also able to rent the cutest little cottage located behind the main farmhouse. The main house had beds for 14 guests and the cottage was very comfortable for the additional 4 guests. Both are just a couple hundred feet from each other and beautifully decorated. When I say it was perfect, I mean it. I could not have asked for a better opportunity to fall into my lap. If you are interested in renting these out for a trip to Fredericksburg, the VRBO homes are French Country Farmhouse and Charming Carriage House. You will not be disappointed!
I arrived on Friday night and had planned a pretty relaxing evening since everyone was arriving at different times. After the first few arrived, we headed over to Jennie's Smoked Burgers and Tornado Fries. One of my sisters (I have 3) had raved about how good this place was and we were anxious to give it a try. From the outside, the restaurant doesn't look like much, but don't let that fool you. It was one of the best burgers I have EVER had. The tornado fries are kind of like potato chips but are cooked to perfection and come on a stick. There were no complaints from this bunch and it was the perfect way to end a day of traveling. Five star recommendation from me, for sure.
We headed back to the house, continued to welcome the late arrivals, and had tons of fun playing lots of games. My abs got an intense workout from all the laughing! Best of all though, my heart was full seeing my sister surrounded by a group of women that love and care for her.
Saturday morning started with a huge brunch and mimosas before we headed out to two vineyard tastings. We went to 4.0 Cellars and Messina Hof. Both were incredible! The tastings are very affordable ($10-$15/person) and you get to try a variety of wines. They also have great outdoor seating to be able to snack and sip on wine after you select your bottle of choice from the tastings. The weather was fairly nice for January and it was surprisingly packed at both tastings! I'm so glad we only did two because we were really able to take our time and enjoy the wine, not rush through each tasting.
After the tastings, we headed back to the house. A little free time before dinner was the much appreciated by all. Some of us took an afternoon nap, while others explored downtown or went for a walk.
For dinner, a friend had recommended the Farm Haus Bistro at Fredericksburg Herb Farms. The farm is a quaint bed and breakfast with several adorable, woodsy cottages that surround the bistro. The Farm Haus is farm to table service and the menu offers a seasonal array of appetizers, entrees and oh-so-delicious desserts. Everything was melt in your mouth wonderful! The 230 year old farmhouse has 3 unique dining rooms and we were charmed by a sweet lady that came by and shared the history of this establishment with us. It was fascinating and we discovered the history in Fredericksburg is rich.
I was very pleased with the dinner, the service and the ambiance, and highly recommend you give it a try the next time you are in Fredericksburg! You will be glad you did.
The night would not be complete without a little lingerie shower for the bride. This is always my favorite part of bachelorette parties! It's so fun to name the lingerie, giggle about the gifts the bride received, and, of course, share special memories we have with the bride. It was a great time to affirm my sister and show her how loved she is.
I'm so glad we chose Fredericksburg and this beautiful home as our destination for this gathering because it was perfect. We ate, we drank, we explored, we laughed and we loved showering the beautiful bride with hugs, gifts and a weekend full of wonderful memories.
Have you been to Fredericksburg? If so, what is your favorite spot? Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Are there ever enough hours in the day?! Between work, time at the gym, laundry, errands, making dinner, preparing for the next day and whatever else is on your to-do list, there's often too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Meal prepping for the week is one of the ways I gain a little extra time each evening. It's also a great way to stick to those healthy eating resolutions we all made just a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it takes a little planning, time and effort, but it's so worth it when lunches for the week are all packed up and neatly stacked in the fridge! An hour or two invested today, saves lots of time during the week - that's a win for me!
Here's my quick and easy lunches for the week- salad, sweet & spicy sweet potatoes, hard boiled eggs and jasmine rice. I also throw in some apple sauce and a lara bar.
One of my favorite salads is a semi copycat version of the oh-so-delicious Grilled Market Salad from Chick-fil-A.
GRILLED MARKET SALAD:
Avocado Ranch Dressing
My mom actually introduced me to this one. She likes to add some blue cheese crumbles and chopped nuts too.
SWEET & SPICY SWEET POTATOES
I've shared this recipe before (here).
I absolutely love it! We have this very often in our home.
Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
Red Crushed Pepper
This week I made two Grilled Market Salads and two Taco Ranch Chicken salads. Two of my favorites. Yum!
Some people can eat the same thing every day and never get bored. I am not one of those people. I have to change it up just a bit. So for my Thursday and Friday meals this week, its more of a Mexican salad.
Lots of veggies topped with an easy peasy Taco Ranch Chicken that's made in the crockpot and is super simple.
TACO RANCH CHICKEN
1.5 lb Chicken Breast
1 cup salsa
1 packet Ranch Seasoning
1 packet taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1. Place all ingredients in the crockpot.
2. Set on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
3. Shred chicken and place back in the crockpot for 30 minutes.
Voila! Easy at that.
TACO RANCH SALAD
Red Bell Peppers
Shredded Taco Ranch Chicken
Spicy Ranch Dressing
Lunches are now ready to grab and go each morning. This is a big time saver for me and if you give it a try, you might just find it is for you too.
Also, be sure to make meals you will enjoy eating and I suggest mixing it up from time to time. Be creative, try to copy your favorite restaurant meals, and have fun trying new combinations. Most of the time, the meals I make don't come from a cookbook. I just try a little of this and a little of that - Pinterest ideas, some family favorites, and others that just seem like they might be tasty. If it's great, awesome! If it stinks, oh well, better luck next time.
If you meal prep, please share your go to favorites. I'm always looking for good ideas!
Grace shared her cute bachelorette party outfit, alongside the soon-to-be bride. On the left, her sister Katherine, is rocking a gorgeous white jumpsuit, while Grace wore a slim and sexy little black dress.
White Jumpsuit: Lulus (Only $50 and amazing quality!)
Black Dress: Urban Outfitters - Similar style here
Nude Heels: Lulus
Pink Heels: Lulus
It's cold in Kansas City, so Rachel sported a sweater dress on-air this week with some black tights and tall black boots. Unfortunately, this dress is already sold out! She tried to find a few similar options for you though. Also, this photo was taken in the studio, so disregard the mic pack on her leg. :)
Year after year my husband and I faced the same dilemma and would spend hours racking our brains for what to get his mom for Christmas. She'd tell us she has every thing she needs and really what makes her heart happy is quality time together. So we try to give her that when we can. This year was extra special!
She knew we were driving in from Tennessee to be with extended family for Christmas, but we convinced her that when we arrived in Texas we wouldn't be able to connect before she was scheduled to head out of town for the holiday. But my hubs loves planning surprises (I've been blessed many times by his sweet surprises, but that's a story for another time) and we came up with a plan to arrive extra early by driving thru the the night.
I don't know if it was more fun for my MIL to be surprised by our unexpected early arrival or for me, my husband and FIL to plan the surprise. Either way, we were thrilled to be able to spend a few hours together and so we did what we do best - we talked, we laughed, we drank and we enjoyed beautiful Christmas decor all while indulging in a terrific meal at one of her favorite restaurants, Shoal Creek Tavern. It was delicious and a great spot in the DFW area.
The lunch menu has a wide variety of amazing choices and, I noticed, their weekend brunch menu offers a variety of unique items as well. The atmosphere is great and the enclosed patio area was very comfortable even though the temps outside weren’t.
The soup and salad combo was perfect and just the right size for me. The lobster bisque is absolutely to die for! The salad was light and refreshing with the tastiest croutons. Of course, we always order mimosas any time we are out for lunch with Momma Santschi. They're her favorite and these were delicious!
The men each ordered Kobe Steak Burgers and cleaned their plates! They gave it 5 stars and, I'm not gonna lie, I was a little jealous watching them eat those yummy burgers!
Momma Santschi decided to go with the Vaquero Tenderloin Salad. It was the perfect size and the tenderloin was incredibly juicy and cooked to perfection.
I love that my in-laws appreciate the gift of quality time - giving it and receiving it - and knowing that this little bit of extra time together blessed Momma Santschi's heart in a big way, made driving thru the night worth it. Surprising her was pure joy! I'm incredibly blessed and truly enjoy spending time with my mother-in-law.
If you are ever in the DFW area, check out Shoal Creek Tavern and make some special memories of your own. They have a beautiful fire place, several big screens to catch the latest game, a gorgeous bar area and, of course, delicious food!
Oh, the crockpot! It is easily one of my favorite appliances in the kitchen. It makes preparing meals so simple, just set it and forget it. I especially love using it in the winter when soups and stews are often what’s for dinner. Plus I really love walking in the house to the aroma of good food, hot and ready to eat. So yummy!
Recently, I posted about this meal on my Instagram and had a number of people reach out asking for the recipe. So here it is - an easy, healthy, simple recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.
I've perused Pinterest for the best recipe and have combined a few of them to make it my own. Feel free to do the same! This recipe, to me, is super easy, and tastes wonderful.
14.5 oz low-sodium chicken broth
14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15.25 oz can corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Place the chicken breasts in crockpot and pour chicken broth and diced tomatoes on top. Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir, cover with lid and cook on low heat 6 hours or high heat for 4 hours.
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from crockpot and shred. It should be tender enough to pull apart using two forks.
Place chicken back in the crockpot and add black beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice. Stir and cook for at least another 30 minutes.
I like to top this soup with avocado, tortilla strips, more cilantro, and shredded cheese when serving.
Today, I'd like to introduce you to one of my friends and her boutique in Downtown Franklin. If you haven't been to this area yet, it is a must see! This part of town is full of adorable shops, quaint coffee cafes, delicious restaurants, and even an old school theater. It is something straight out of a movie, or an old book, and it's the perfect place to spend a Saturday.
Meet Sarah Tucker, owner of Imago Dei Boutique. The name, Imago Dei, essentially means "image of God". Sarah loves Jesus and loves people. Her boutique just happens to be a beautiful way to share the gospel and her love for fashion. It is two-stories high and is right smack-dab in the middle of Main Street. She sells everything from clothes to candles to jewelry and home decor.
Now, this is my favorite part of the store. One, because it means I've found some cute clothes to try on, and two, do you see the words on the wall facing those fitting rooms? How amazing to walk out and see these encouraging words, especially on a day when you may be questioning or doubting your worth.
I love reading these quotes and thinking to myself how God views me. He says you are beautiful, chosen, blameless, complete, forgiven, seen, etc. You are made in the image of God.
So next time you are in Downtown Franklin check out this adorable shop and tell Sarah hello for me! If you aren't local to Nashville, you can follow Imago Dei on Instagram at @shopimagodei.
Happy Friday! We hope you had a fabulous week! Grace is sharing her NYE Outfit!
It's 2018! We did it and we all deserve a pat on the back for making it through another year. 2017 was full of change, good and bad, but, I can honestly say, I am incredibly thankful at the end of the year and I am filled with gratitude for all of the opportunities of growth God gave me.
Speaking of growth, I believe the things that we absorb and put into our minds in turn reflects the kind of growth we experience and, therefore, I try to commit to reading several books a year that make me think more deeply or teach me something new. Like you, I have a limited amount of free time, so being selective when I'm choosing how to spend it, is important -- but who doesn't enjoy a good book? So for 2018, I have chosen 3 must read books for you to consider!
1. Saint Augustine's Confessions
I'm super excited to dive into this book because it details Saint Augustine's life from youth to his conversion to Christianity. Saint Augustine was one of the most influential theologians and philosophers so it feels like a gift to be able to read one of his works. I'll be reading it with a group of friends so I'm exited to see what I learn from it!
2. The Road Back to You
Guys, I have been meaning to read this book for the past year and this year I HAVE to read it. I have heard such great reviews and, to be quite honest, I love anything dealing with personality and why we do what we do. I've heard nothing but great things about it, so I'm definitely recommending it for you too!
3. Rich Dad Poor Dad
This one was recommended to me by my husband. One of my goals for 2018 is to become more financially aware. My husband handles all of our finances because he truly enjoys it, but, I believe, it has become a crutch for me and I'm slowly working toward changing that. Again, I have heard great reviews and, according to my hubby, it played a big role in shaping the way that we handle our finances. So I'm committed to reading it cover to cover (which means I'll probably be asking him lots of questions about our finances along the way), but I'll also be increasing my financial understanding and awareness!
What books are you planning to read in 2018? Do you have any recommendations I need to add to my list? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below and I'll keep you posted on my progress. Happy reading!