Thursday, October 27, 2016

A few weeks ago Justin and I took the little ones to Northwest Arkansas for a weekend family trip. I'd been to Rogers when I was younger for Taekwon-do tournaments, but never explored the area outside of the convention center, so I was really excited to dig deeper and adventure with the family. We were impressed with how nice the area is and truly loved Northwest Arkansas - so much, that if we owned a store up there, we'd maybe (seriously) consider moving! It's truly a special place with a sense of busy-ness, but also of a tight-knit community. Everywhere we looked there were people out walking their pups, and beautiful manicured areas filled with flowers(mine and Em's favorite!). I think my favorite part of the trip was the Farmer's Market, Crystal Bridges, and Savoy Tea! The first night we explored The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, walked around downtown Bentonville, and then went to Cabela's just to mosey around looking at animals without spending much. win-win. Grayson somehow managed to eat an entire pack of gum so you can imagine how the rest of the night went for us! haha! Motherhood, I tell you! Let's just say I've learned to pack multiple changes of clothes not only for him, but for me as well! 
Anyhow, back to beautiful downtown Bentonville. I love old homes, old cars, old buildings, so I really was in heaven with all of the architecture and charm. Of course, Emery and I had to stop and admire the plants-the fiddle leaf fig trees and rubber trees in particular!! LOVE! (I can feel my family rolling their eyes at me through the computer screen right now!ha!) While downtown we parked at the 21c HOTEL/MUSEUM located about a block from Bentonville's Courthouse Square. The museum was super modern with curiosities scattered throughout. We stopped to have dinner at The Hive located in the museum but ended up leaving once we sat down with the kiddos. I'm sure it would have been totally fine for the kids, but we just felt really out of place. Grayson resembles something of a bull in a china shop if i'm being honest. We needed something more laid back. like a food truck. and we ended up eating at both of the food trucks located directly across the street from the 21c Museum on Sunday- but that's a different story we will get to in just a bit. 
On Saturday, we braved the Farmer's Market, Savoy TeaThe Amazeum, and then drove around scoping out all of the old, historic homes downtown. Have I mentioned how much i adore old homes? Needless to say, we fell asleep as soon our heads hit the pillows that night! Savoy Tea was Emery's favorite and I can't blame her one bit. She might be little, but the girl has style! While at Savoy Tea, Emery (and Grayson) were brought tea in delicate china tea cups and a tea pot for pouring. Seriously a dream. She loved it so much I may buy her a saucer and tea cup for Christmas from their online store. Grayson needed a little more guidance and instruction on how to properly pour tea from a teapot. Bull in a china shop.
On Sunday, we walked around Crystal Bridges (and accidentally stumbled upon the food trucks located near the 21c Museum in Downtown Bentonville like mentioned previously) before heading back home. Emery and I tried our first ever crepe while at the food trucks. Although not bad, it was different than I had imagined.This trip was relaxing yet invigorating and We are chomping at the bit to visit NWA again soon! 

Happy Thursday, friends! Hope you all have a great weekend! -xo Amanda 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's insane to think that on this exact day last year, I published my first ever blog post. I halfway cringe while looking at it,  but use it as a marker for how far this blog has come in the last year! with perfectionism abandoned, I took the leap and am so happy I did. I love blogging and have no intentions of stopping anytime soon :) Watching this little blog of mine grow is a favorite, and I cannot thank each one of you enough for following along! Seriously, thank you!! Anyhow, off to celebrate with some icecream and netflix! 
                                                                                               xoxo- Amanda

p.s. happy first day of autumn!! 


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Earlier this month, we had the chance to go on a cruise to Cozumel with the family for our annual vacation.  We've had so much going on over here- as usual- so the moment just the two of us got in our car and headed to Hot Springs, I felt such a huge relief. Don't get me wrong, life is wonderful and I love staying home with the kiddos, but I know my limits and I was pushing them up to this point. I knew a vacation would be the reset button for me and it felt so nice. Traveling always makes me feel so small and brings my purpose back into focus. Refines things so to speak. Then,  I start missing home with a renewed thankfulness for our family, our home, our friends, our lives. and THAT is the best feeling ever. 
Anyhow, back to Cozumel. We arrived at The Olivier House Hotel in New Orleans the night before depart around 9:00. Restlessness was replaced with excitement as we explored NOLA and found us some food. While we did find NOLA to be entertaining (music, dancing, crazy characters,  partying everywhere) it was a little outside our comfort zone. I have to admit the New Orleans is nothing like I had imagined. While rich in history, it was so run down and incredibly dark! There was very little light the entire time we were there, and the rain didn't help. I was expecting something similar to Bathhouse Row just with less bathhouses and more cajun food. haha. That being said, we really enjoyed walking through the streets admiring all the southern charm, plant filled balconies, and little alleys. If we were to go back I'd want to stay a few days and really explore The French Quarter more. I wouldn't mind trying out the donuts, hurricanes, maybe even Bacchanal Wine.
Once we got on the ship, everything felt sort of foreign-metaphorically and literally speaking. Most of the carnival employees were foreigners and I loved that you could meet a lot of different people from different countries and different walks of life. so cool. I also liked that we had access to food at all times basically and everyone we met was so incredibly sweet. We even watched a guy that had one too many drinks get sick all over the security guard who just shrugged it off and smiled like it was no big deal. I was thoroughly impressed....and disgusted. haha! I also really enjoyed getting to chill and have a couple of drinks.sitting at the large round tables with white linens, and wine glasses at dinner always reminded me of the Titanic. so neat and well thought out. We didn't like that it always felt super cold and we also had trouble with sleepy passengers from the rocking of the boat. so relaxing. I would have loved to have stayed in  Cozumel longer. 8 hours just wasn't enough. Everything was just beautiful there. Touristy obviously, but beautiful. While in Cozumel, we swam with the dolphins, snorkeled, ate, and shopped all before boarding the boat to head back home. We did the four day cruise, so we had the one excursion. While swimming with the dolphins we actually discovered Justin's allergic! It's gotta be the oil in their skin or something! I felt bad for him. He had to take a shower complete with body wash in the rinse off showers to get cleaned up and stop breaking out. All in all we enjoyed this vacation but probably won't go on another cruise anytime soon. It just wasn't cost effective at all (everywhere you turn, you've gotta cough up money) costing twice as much money we typically spend on vacation for only half the vacation time. I think a 7 day cruise might be better, but i'm no expert. I could see a cruise for a honeymoon being a blast!

Have you ever been on a cruise? Did you love it? where'd you go? 

Happy Hump Day, friends!! xo- Amanda

P.S. Isn't my sister, Cara , the cutest little thing ever? 

*picture #24 taken by my sister, katie miramontes.

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