It's that time again - Fashion Friday! This is our new series showcasing our style and we hope it inspires your weekend outfit.
Fellow winos - listen up because this is an event you won't want to miss!
Uncorked Wine Festivals is a chance to try a some delicious wines, dance the night away with live music or a DJ, snap a pic at the photo booth and chow down at a scrumptious food truck. Plus, they host these events all over the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, New York, and more.
Recently, they had an event in Kansas City so my husband and I had to check it out. We attended the afternoon session on a Saturday from 1-5pm. Yes, four hours of tasting wine.
The event was at Union Station in downtown Kansas City. I love this venue because it is so historic and the Grand Hall is just gorgeous. Union Station was built in 1914 and was of course, a train station, accommodating thousands of passengers a day. It was then renovated in 1999 and is a staple of our city's skyline.
At Uncorked: KC there were over 100 wines from across the globe all with a rating of 90 points or higher. It was great to have the opportunity to taste a lot of different wines and find some of our favorites. We spoke with the vendors of each company and they explained the wine's history, the taste and the best foods to pair with it. It was a nice chance to try wines we'd never heard of before and explore different regions.
Most of the wines available were between $15 - $30, so if we wanted to purchase our favorites afterwards they were very affordable. However, I was hoping to indulge in some more expensive wines that I don't normally buy - i.e. Silver Oak or Duck Horn that are in the $60 - $80 range. But we were impressed with the selection and happy to try some wines we will now buy often.
From 1-2pm was the VIP session so we had the chance to try some specialty wines and then 2-5pm was general admission. Some of our favorites were...
- Vina Robles - $24
- Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon - $22
- Niner - $40
- Thomas Goss - $15
- Summers - $34
After trying A LOT of wine, over a four hour period, we had to stop by one of the many food trucks right outside and grab some grub. There were plenty of options lining the street and it all smelled fantastic. We got some chicken fried rice and it definitely hit the spot!
Overall, I would highly recommend this event. We tried some fabulous wines, met some new friends and had a wonderful afternoon!
Dobry Den! Translation - "Hello! Good day!" in Czech.
Kick off your shoes and sit for a few minutes with me cause we’re about to cover a lot of ground in Prague.
After 3 beautiful days in Paris, my husband Blake and I headed over to Prague. We arrived mid-day and went directly to our Airbnb located near Old Town Prague. Bonus points to our very kind host who had Czech beer waiting for us in the fridge! I highly recommend staying at an Airbnb for a couple of reasons. We have found it to be less expensive than hotel stays, the location is typically better, and it gives you more space than an average hotel room would.
After checking in, we ran out to grab lunch at Lokál Dlouhááá. It’s a traditional sit down restaurant featuring classic homemade Czech cuisine. They pride themselves on using “only fresh ingredients and spices that are sourced from renowned local suppliers”. Czech food consists of lots of meat and potatoes, not my favorite, but the meal was delicious. And, of course, we ordered two pints of beer with our meal, which is basically what Prague is known for. Beer is cheaper than water in Prague. I repeat, beer is CHEAPER than water! As you can imagine, my beer-loving hubby was pretty excited about this and ordered a beer with every meal.
We enjoyed quite a bit of free time the next day, before our friends from Nashville joined us, so we decided to take the plunge and join a free walking tour. Because the tour was free, my expectations were pretty low, but our tour guide was hilarious and shared a wealth of information. Side note – the tour is free, but the guides work for tips, so please tip in accordance to your experience. We learned SO much about Prague and its history that I couldn’t help but fall in love with the city. The majority of the buildings in Old Town Prague date back to the 10th century!!! It was amazing to walk around the city and marvel at the beauty of these old buildings that were rich in details and incredibly unique. It truly did not look real and pictures do not do it justice.
Later that evening, our friends arrived just in time to head out to the local clubs! We first hit up Roxy, a larger club with a killer lounge on top. We stopped at the lounge to get some drinks before heading down to dance. The dance floor was huge and each night they have a guest DJ. It was fun to hear the European tunes. After Roxy, we headed over to M1 Lounge Bar and Club, which was walking distance from Roxy. M1 was more of an R&B club (definitely more my style) and was a smaller venue than Roxy. After dancing for hours (seriously, I could dance all night and be happy), we headed to a Burrito Loco. If you ever find yourself in Prague, do yourself a favor and go here after a night out. Who would have thought Prague would have amazing TexMex?
The next morning we headed over to Maso A Kobliha, an adorable cafe near our Airbnb. The food was fresh and light, the service was amazing, and all the pretty little details left me inspired. We ordered fresh donuts, a light and refreshing salmon tartine (a fancy open-faced sandwich), and Scotch eggs. A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, lathered in bread crumbs and baked. This is a staple in Prague. It is very heavy, but delicious, so you can easily split one.
We were glad to have a beautiful 40 minute walk afterwards to Prague Castle and it was completely worth it. The castle has beautiful gardens surrounding it that, in my opinion, would make for the perfect picnic spot overlooking Prague. The castle is out of this world and the view from the top....I'll just let you look at the pictures to see for yourself.
Later that day, we headed over to a Prague Beer Tour and it was so much fun! It was a small group of tourists from all over the world and two tour guides. Our guides were precious and took us to some of the coolest hole-in-the-wall pubs. It was such an unforgettable experience to be able to learn more about Prague from a local's perspective. We stopped at five different pubs and sampled a variety of beers. By the time we stopped at the last one, we were wiped out! Did I mention that in Europe you walk...a lot?! And thank goodness for that, because we ate and drank everything and anything we wanted. I'm thinking I would be much happier living in Europe and being able to eat what I want in exchange for walking a few extra miles a day. ;)
Prague is simply magical. I was charmed by the rich history and as well as its people. Prague will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope I’ve inspired you to add it to your bucket list of must see places.
It's Friday! We made it to the weekend! Hopefully you have a fun weekend planned and get a break from work to kick back and relax, or get dolled up and paint the town red.
Today, we're starting a new series - Fashion Friday. We want to share with you some of our very own outfits and we hope it inspires your weekend wardrobe.
Here are two different looks to give you some ideas for your Friday night out! Whether it's a nice steak dinner with a hot date, or an outdoor concert with some girlfriends, we think these looks will serve you well.
Top: The Loft - similar find
Necklace: The Loft
Skirt: T.J. Maxx - similar find
Purse: Nine West - similar find
Heels: Nine West
Do you remember this dress? It went viral a couple of years ago after a meteorologist shared her amazing bargain find on a Facebook group page and soon after it was being snapped up at an alarming rate. Another meteorologist created a collage of over 50 women wearing “the dress”, in various colors on-air to show just how popular this figure flattering purchase became.
Surprisingly, building an on-camera wardrobe that is both appropriate and reasonably priced is a real test of shopping skills. Just off the top of my head, here are a few things to look for …
1. Conservative, stylish and tailored dresses
2. Figure flattering because the camera really does add weight
3. Variety, quantity, and quality because the audience notices everything … trust me, they do!
4. Solid colors or small patterns are less distracting on-air
5. No green because it makes you appear invisible on the green screen wall
And the list goes on (feel free to chime in on-camera ladies!), but all to say - it can be very challenging.
When I made the switch from sports to news, my closet needed a complete overhaul. The atmosphere in the sports world was much more casual and comfort was key because you're constantly running around. I was typically bundled up reporting from the sidelines of a football field or inside an arena on the basketball court.
Now I'm in a studio and on-camera every morning for 4 ½ hours and I need attractive, no-pattern, bold-colored, figure flattering, easy to care for dresses (and lots of them!).
I quickly googled, "viral dress meteorologists wore." From there, I found the brand, went to Amazon and ordered that dress, along with at least 10 other Homeyee dresses. Yes, my secret is Amazon. :) And no, unfortunately, they aren't paying me to say that.
Amazon is a fantastic solution for this “I hate shopping” gal (Grace, on the other hand, loves it!). I don't like traipsing from store to store and the whole process of trying on a bazillion different outfits drives me crazy! So I am now an avid online shopper. Often times, people will ask me where I’ve purchased a dress they’ve seen me wear on the show and are shocked to find out it is as simple as a quick click on the Amazon website.
Side note - For shoes, Nine West has some of the best heel options and are also available on Amazon. Woohoo!
I have also found lots of my favorite pieces at The Loft (i.e. the skirt and top pictured below) and, once in a great while, I stop in one of their stores for a quick peek at their latest styles. But because I have found my perfect size there, it's simple to just hop online and purchase a cute outfit without ever leaving home. If you sign up to receive their emails, they will alert you to sales and often send coupon codes too, which is always a bonus.
For big events, black tie functions, red carpet events or cocktail parties, I've recently starting using Rent the Runway. I had heard about it from friends and browsed their site, but not until a few weeks ago did I take the plunge and try it out. It was so easy and convenient, plus my dress was phenomenal! There are tons of reviews and photos for most of the dresses so you have a good idea what you're getting before you order. They also let you chose two different sizes just in case one ends up being too snug, too big, or just a bad fit. It is a four day rental and they provide the shipping label and the bag to return the item. Since I just ordered from Rent the Runway, if you CLICK HERE you can receive $30 off your first order.
These are some of my favorite shopping secrets, ladies. Do you have any other suggestions or secrets to share with the rest of us? Let’s hear ‘em and thanks in advance for sharing.
Paris is unique, elegant, artistic and rich with history. The city is gorgeous, the food is to die for, the fashion is unreal, and the people are charming. After doing some research though, we discovered that Reims, France, famous for holding some of the most incredible champagne cellars in France, was just a 40 minute train ride away. We quickly decided a day trip to Champagne Country was a must. We were pleasantly surprised to learn the rail service in Europe is very efficient and makes visiting other towns and cities a breeze. The train from Paris to Reims was spotless, the seats reclined, and the view was beautiful!
Our first champagne tour of the day was at G.H. Mumm & Co. Our guide shared her excellent knowledge of the history of this champagne company and of champagne production. She took us down to the cellars and walked us through each phase of the process, which was fascinating! Keep in mind, you descend 10 meters at a time and it gets rather chilly. I made the mistake of not bringing a jacket and definitely wished I had. But the 60 minute tour was so engaging, the time passed quickly and it was well worth the shivering – especially since the tour ended with champagne tastings. I tried the Rose Champagne and my husband, Blake, tasted the Classic G.H. Mumm Champagne. I was pleasantly surprised that in the end I preferred the Classic. It was smooth, light and very refreshing.
Afterward, we strolled through the city of Reims and visited the famous Cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims. This architectural wonder is absolutely breathtaking and we were amazed at its impressive size. We spent over an hour admiring the magnificent sculptures, the to die for stained glass and tons of intricate details. It boggles my mind to think about how they were able to construct such a magnificent structure without modern day tools and technology. Before we left, we took a few minutes in a beautiful, quiet area to just sit and pray. And, bonus, admittance is free.
We wrapped up our day with a 40 minute tour at Taittinger. The tour guide was wonderful, knowledgeable and friendly and the caves are impressive. We learned a lot about the history of the vineyard and, I think, we both have a greater appreciation for the process and why champagne is soooooo expensive! Our tour ended with a champagne tasting that was delightful and you have several options to choose from when picking your tastings. We tasted a variety of champagnes, but my favorite was the Classic. Are you noticing a trend??
Overall, it was a lovely day in Reims. Between the two tours, I’d say G.H. Mumm and Co. was the better one … it covered every question you could probably think of and I found it more interesting. But if I had to choose the best champagne, I would have to pick Taittinger. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these tours.
If you ever get to Paris and have a thirst for champagne, I highly recommend a visit to Reims. It’s a perfect little day trip if you love quaint, beautiful towns and, of course, a little bubbly ;)
Keep an eye out for my next post featuring Prague! You won't be disappointed!
Post Author: Rachel
I'm sure you can agree - life is always busy. With my crazy TV schedule, I’m always on the run, and combined with my hubby’s all over the map NFL schedule, it is a rarity for us to get a long weekend together. So when we do, we are out and about exploring something somewhere.
For Labor Day weekend, we snagged an inexpensive Southwest flight, some friends and headed out to the Windy City!
With so much to see and do, Chicago is a great place to spend a weekend. Plus, their transit system is affordable and super easy to navigate through the city. Once we landed, we hopped on the "L" and headed downtown. Luckily for us, my cousin and his wife live in Chicago and they graciously opened their home to us for the weekend. They live right in the heart of the city and you couldn’t ask for a more spectacular view!
I love how the city lights up and shows off it's beauty at night too. Stunning!
Entertainment, festivals and sports are never in short supply in Chicago. Being the sports enthusiasts that we are, there was no question we had to catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field – and not just once but twice! We scored some unbelievable tickets and rooted for the home team all weekend.
And of course, a ballpark experience isn't complete without a hot dog and a cold one. So first things first, we hopped in line and ordered a Chicago dog. YUM! I got a few pickles on the side and loaded it with ketchup, mustard, tomatoes and a strange colored relish. Initially, I was a bit concerned about this lime green relish, but quickly found out it is a staple at this ballpark and a must on your dog. And, it’s surprisingly delicious. Now, I know it's not the Chicagoan way to put ketchup on your dog, but I love ketchup. I think it's great on just about anything.
On our first day, after the Cubs won and we all sang "Go! Cubs! Go!," we headed down Clark Street, which is lined with bars and restaurants. Two great stops we discovered are Sluggers World Class Sports Bar and Old Crow Smokehouse. Both had fantastic atmospheres, drink specials and great food.
The next morning we grabbed some coffee and walked to Grant Park. We enjoyed seeing the spectacular water show at Buckingham Fountain and walking along the water front admiring the many sailboats that line Lake Michigan. Helpful hint – mornings can be a little chilly near the water, so don’t forget to bring a light jacket.
For lunch, our taste buds were craving some made from scratch deep dish pizza. We have already had Giordano's once before, so we wanted to try something new and strolled on over to Lou Malnati's. It typically takes about 30-35 minutes for them to prepare a pizza and there is always a long line to get a table … about 45 minutes the day we visited. Let me assure you though, it’s well worth the wait! Fortunately, they also have a great system in place where customers are able to place orders at the counter while waiting for a table. The timing is just about perfect too – when your table is ready, so is your pizza. They have a nice little patio area, so after ordering, we grabbed a drink and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.
We ordered "The Lou," which the menu describes as "A pizza so good we gave it his name! Spinach mix, mushrooms and sliced roma tomatoes covered with blend of mozzarella, romano and cheddar cheese on garlic Buttercrust." It was amazing!
With deep dish pizza, all the ingredients are placed on backwards from a regular thin crust pizza. So even though the pizza looks like it's just cheese and tomatoes, the inside holds all the delicious veggies and meats. And the garlic buttercrust - phenomenal.
When traveling, I always love learning about the city, and Chicago is rich with history and boasts some incredible architecture. Luckily, this city also has some amazing tours to offer. We booked an early morning tour on Chicago's First Lady and hopped on a double decker boat for 90 minutes on a fun and educational river cruise. It was fascinating and our guide was friendly and full of insightful stories about the architecture and the design of the many buildings. I would highly recommend this!
Now, back to food. After Chicago dogs and deep dish pizza, next up - Italian Beef. Walking into Portillo's feels like going back in time to the 1960's when the restaurant was founded. It is a charming atmosphere and the food, or course, does not disappoint. The Big Beef with extra gravy and oven-roasted sweet and spicy peppers ...WOW! Safe to say, we split this huge gravy covered meat sandwich and then wanted to take a nap.
No time for sleep though, it was off to round two of watching the 2016 World Series Champs at Wrigley! We met up with a friend who now works for the team and got a sneak peek into the Cubbies offices and they are pretty impressive (photos in slideshow below).
Before leaving, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to stop by and say hello to the Commissioner's Trophy, an absolute must-see and located right next to the stadium inside of Jostens Jewelry store.
It was a quick, but wonderful trip to Chicago and with so much to do and see and not enough time, we’ll definitely be returning to the Windy City for more food and fun!
Bonjour! I’m back! My husband and I just returned from one of my top travel bucket list trips. We spent just over 2 weeks traveling through Europe and, to say it was the experience of a lifetime is an understatement. It was fantastic! If you haven't been to Europe, go. Every minute of our time spent planning, paid off in a big way – this trip far exceeded our expectations.
I plan on writing a series of posts covering each city that we visited. I will be sure to include where we stayed, ate, adventured and explored, plus some helpful tips along the way! I hope that you will find this useful and entertaining!
Our first stop was Paris, France. Y'all....I LOVE Paris. I visited this city 10 years ago with my mom and my love for Paris has only grown. It is just as magical as I remember and absolutely breathtaking. I could be content just walking around the city all day and admiring all the pretty architecture. It is fascinating, intricate and charming.
We were unbelievably blessed to be able to stay at an apartment right next to the Eiffel Tower. Talk about an extraordinary view and it’s even more beautiful at night. Breathtaking! It lights up every couple of hours in the evening and the twinkling lights create the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening. I suggest grabbing a picnic basket, a bottle of wine and a cozy blanket, find a spot on the lawn and enjoy the amazing sight.
If you are planning on taking the Eiffel Tower tour, be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time and get there early in the morning because the lines are long. The view from the top is out of this world, so even with a wait, it is well worth it!
One of our first stops on Day 1 in Paris was Ladurée, a French luxury bakery. And, oh, what a bakery! The interior is dazzling with gilding galore and beautiful patterned wallpaper. The bakery is most famous for its macaroons… they sell 15,000 macaroons a DAY! Yes, they are that good. You can order lunch, tea, espresso, or just snack on the melt in your mouth macaroons. We ordered espresso and tried a couple of different flavors of macaroons. I didn't take a photo because I was too excited to taste these special treats!
After we got our macaroon fill, we walked around the city exploring major sites such as the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc is also known for it's incredible view of the city, and it is gorgeous, but personally I favor the the Eiffel Tower view.
Next, we hopped over to Champs-Élysées, a major shopping area in Paris that you've likely seen in the movies. Every store and restaurant is absolutely beautiful and unique. I highly recommend taking a stroll down Champs-Élysées and, I promise, it will not disappoint and it’s just 1.2 miles from end to end.
For dinner on our first night we went to Cafe Constant. Our waiters were adorable at Cafe Constant and helped us learn necessary French phrases to help make our trip a little easier. The majority of people there, at least who we spoke to, speak or understand English. However, do not assume everyone does. Do your best to greet in French and then ask if they speak English. And always remember to say "please" and "thank you," you'll make friends with the French in no time if you practice simple manners.
Okay, back to Cafe Constant - the food was to die for! We ordered the tart of grilled shrimps served with citronella sauce. This was so creamy and delicious! A perfect, light appetizer. For our entree we ordered the Blonde Aquitaine steak with shallots and homemade mashed potatoes. Another winner! We split both the appetizer and entree, to guarantee we’d be able to squeeze in a sweet treat afterwards. The waiters surprised us with the restaurant's famous homemade profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce. No kidding, it was heavenly. I'm drooling just thinking about how incredible this meal was.
I would recommend making a reservation for just about anywhere you eat dinner in Paris. The restaurants (the good ones at least), are typically small and have limited seating. The great thing about this is that you receive amazing service, as the staff is able to give each customer more attention.
We capped off the night with a relaxed walk down to the Seine River. It's a nice stroll which is perfect after a big meal. We were also able to watch the Eiffel Tower light up as we walked...dreamy!
Stay tuned for my next post on our Europe vacation! I'll be featuring Reims, also known as the Champagne Country of France. Until then...Au Revoir!
Mmmmmmm, sweet potatoes! They are super delicious and always a guaranteed winning side dish at my house. As a bonus, there’s a multitude of ways to prepare them - baking, roasting, steaming – dress them up, eat them plain, or make them into fries.
Apparently though, not everyone is as convinced as I am that these orange spuds are worth the love … my husband was one of those. My mission – make a sweet tater lover out of him, and, lo and behold, I have with these two super fantastic recipes! If you aren't convinced about sweet potatoes or you need a great recipe for your next potluck, you’ve got to try these. They are scrumptious.
In the comments below, please let me know which is your favorite and if you have a recipe to share!
Caramelized Sweet Potato
First up, the sweet sweet potato.
Normally, with all potatoes, it takes forever to cook them in the oven. This recipe - just 35 minutes. I originally found this recipe on Pinterest and absolutely loved it. So, here are the step-by-step instructions and video form the original post by Kristin Marr.
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Drizzle the potatoes with the oil, and then rub the oil on the flesh of each potato. Sprinkle each potato with just a pinch of salt.
4. Flip the potatoes over, flesh-side down on the baking sheet. Some oil will spill over on the sheet pan--that's normal and okay.
5. Bake the sweet potatoes, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until the skins begin to look shriveled and soft. Remove the potatoes from the oven.
6. The baked sweet potatoes should be slightly brown and caramelized on the top of the flesh and soft throughout the potato. Enjoy the potatoes warm, or place them in an air-tight container in the fridge to enjoy later in the week.
These are so delicious and the olive oil caramelizes the top of the potato making it even sweeter.
Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
Okay, now let's talk about the spicy sweet potato.
These are absolutely addicting and make my mouth water just thinking about them! I've made these a million times it seems -- for family, friends or to take along to a cookout. They are always a crowd pleaser.
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Peel two or three sweet potatoes, and then cut into bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl.
3. Drizzle 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes and mix.
4. Add chopped onions (I use about half of an onion), 1 tablespoon each of chili powder, garlic powder and southwest chipotle seasoning.
5. Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. If you want to add a little more zing, throw in some crushed red pepper as well.
Bake the sweet potatoes, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip potatoes by mixing them around and place back in oven for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
I prefer to cut bigger chunks and I like them crispy, so I bake for a total of 40 minutes, but you can remove them earlier if prefer a softer potato.
How do you like your sweet potatoes? Share in comments below!