Happy Sunday friends! I’ve had a whirlwind of a few weeks; just returned from Panama City for a week for my best friend’s wedding. It was just too sweet – we danced in the rain (actually we danced all week long) and jumped in the ocean in our bridesmaids dresses, ate a lot of seafood and got to spend much needed time with friends. The week before was a packed week in Lex Eats world – made it to OBC Kitchen and Pasta Garage for Lexington Eats Week, plus a work event with Blanton’s, a photo shoot for something fun I’ll tell you about soon, and a massive work project. You could say I definitely needed this week at the beach.
Highs & Lows
High: Ooooooobviously watching my best friend get married!
Low: I’ve been running myself ragged and I am mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. It’s been a tough few weeks all around, but a little getaway got me restored in no time.
Links I Love
This restaurant is giving diners Instagram kits to capture their meals. Crazy or genius?
I manage several social media accounts between work and my blog and have encountered a few internet trolls over the past week. I’m not going to give them the validation of explaining the full story, but I’ve been amazed at what people would say to strangers on the internet, whether that be a real person or a business account. I cannot fathom showing that kind of blind cruelty to someone. I realize that I’ve been given a platform and influence with this blog. While my reach may not be very wide, I hope to use it to spread love and kindness. I hope you’ll join me in showing some love on the internet this week! Love y’all!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen an over-the-top brunch I attended a while back at The Barn at Springhouse. A group of bloggers came together to plan the most extra brunch I’ve ever attended. We’re talking a full-out Pinterest set-up; pallet tables, mimosa bar, flower crown-making station and all.
Each blogger contributed a brunch dish or part of the beautiful set-up. And our spread was insane! So many yummy dishes. I made Watermelon & Feta Bites, which you can find the recipe for here and a Summer Brunch Salad filled with peaches, heirloom tomatoes, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella cheese and pine nuts. I figured we would have a lot of your traditional brunch dishes, so I wanted to bring a lighter option that showed off summer produce.
There were so many delicious options, I had to try them all! Sarah of Space, Place & Southern Grace made brunch sliders with avocado and bacon that I’m dying to recreate at home. Lisa of Candor and Rose made a mushroom tart that I have seriously craved ever since. Anna of Hartley Social made the cutest nutella pancake skewers. So much goodness! If you’re interested in my salad recipe, check it out below!
Add all ingredients for dressing into a mason jar and shake well.
When ready to serve, pour roughly 1/2 cup of vinaigrette over salad to taste.
Ugh, these photos are making me seriously miss this day! I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve built with fellow Lexington bloggers and the opportunities that has granted me. Please go check out my cool friends and their blogs, which I’ve listed below!
Howdy, friends! Hope it was another great week. Mine was packed, per usual. I got to try a few new restaurants in Lexington. First up was The Simple Greek, which is a fast-casual Greek chain. The gyro was literally the size of my head and they had a Greek yogurt bar with all sorts of tasty toppings!
Saturday night I went to a preview of Fika Vegan Cantina, which is opening in Granola Culture yoga studio on North Lime. Y’all know I eat plenty of bacon, but I actually do enjoy vegan food from time to time! I would say if I’m cooking at home, 75% of the time it’s vegetarian. We got to try a couple of Fika’s dishes like jackfruit tacos, empanadas and lasagna. I was so impresed by all of them! The lasagna seriously tasted like it had real cheese. They open next Saturday – be sure to check it out.
Now I’m off to lunch at Harry’s with the bridesmaids for my best friend’s wedding. Which also means I leave for a week at the beach on Saturday for her wedding!
Highs & Lows
High: I had nothing to do Saturday morning for the first time in weeks and got to sleep in. It was bliss!
Low: Drove all the way to the DMV only to find it was closed :I
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galations 6:2. I started a devotional on hospitality and this verse rang true for me this morning. I’m trying to let my people in and love them better! I’m in a bit of a funk with some personal life things and it brings me comfort knowing that we’re all in this life together. I’m not the greatest at sharing or saying the hard things, but I’m trying to do better. I hope whatever you may be walking through, you know you are not alone in that! Sending you love 🙂
Happy Thursday! I’m sharing an easy recipe that makes a great summer appetizer. I made these watermelon and feta bites for a brunch this past weekend. They are crazy simple to put together, but look impressive! And a great way to highlight summer produce with juicy watermelon and fresh basil.
I love a sweet and savory combination, especially for an appetizer because people don’t expect it. Feta is nice and salty, so it holds up well with the sweet watermelon. If you’re a fan of feta, make sure to check out my Avocado Feta Dip recipe here. You could also turn this recipe into a salad instead of using toothpicks, just serve on individual plates!
Shoo, y’all, I’m pooped! Sunday Reading is coming on a Monday because I just couldn’t last night. I had a jam-packed (fun!) week. On top of it being Lexington Burger Week, some local restaurants have joined together to host Lexington Eats Week, so I had a crazy week at work. And I ate too many burgers.
This weekend was full of activities. Saturday morning Visit Horse Country hosted fellow bloggers Sarah, Ella and me for a tour at Taylor Made Farm. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Kentucky for most of my life and had never been on a tour of a horse farm before! I fell in love with a few grey horses. It was cool to see behind-the-scenes of a horse farm and so so beautiful!
Saturday night I hosted a Stock the Bar shower for my best friend whose wedding is in two weeks – ah! I made a Champagne punch that was pretty tasty – think I’ll share the recipe with y’all soon.
No rest for wicked – Sunday morning was a Blogger Brunch at the Barn at Springhouse. A group of local bloggers collaborated to host the most extra brunch ever.. and I mean extra in a great way. There was a mimosa bar, flower crown making station and too much food. I hope you caught it on my insta-stories, but no worries if not because I’ll be sharing photos soon! I made watermelon-feta bites and a summer salad, which I will also share recipes for.
Highs & Lows
High: Blogger brunch was just so amazing! I love meeting new creatives and am always so inspired by the amazing things Lexingt.nians are doing!
Low: I have been so busy recently I haven’t worked out in I think two weeks. Feeling gross and need to get back into a routine!
I’ve heard a lot about intermittent fasting recently.. I’m not sure what I think. Have y’all done any research?
Quote of the Week
Wander often, wonder always. This is really ringing true for me lately – I’ve spent the last three weekends out of town and am deciding to enjoy the adventure instead of stressing about everything that slips through the cracks with a hectic schedule.
Told y’all I had the itch for another trip.. I just got back from a long weekend in Denver and had the best time! I traveled with friends this time (but check out my post on solo travel here.) My best friend moved to Denver in January and we went to visit her for the Fourth of July weekend. I’ve been to Denver once before, so it was nice to revisit places and also discover new ones with a Denver resident’s help! I’m definitely no expert, but have done my fair-share of exploring Denver, so I’m sharing my finds with you! Check out my guide for Denver below:
Pizza… I don’t feel quite qualified to make this call for you, but I had several tasty pies while in Denver. Choose your own adventure on this one.. but make sure to try dipping your crust in honey! It’s a Colorado specialty and so good!
Go to a concert at Red Rocks: Not ground-breaking advice, but a must while you’re in Denver. Even if you hate the band, the experience will be well worth it. I saw James Taylor there a couple years ago and it was one of my favorite concerts to date! You can also just go to Red Rocks during the day and walk around – the view is amazing.
Explore Larimer Square: This was my favorite part of downtown Denver. There are string lights criss-crossing the street, which is lined with cute shops and restaurants. It’s pretty much the definition of ideal. I recommend sticking to this area and avoiding the more touristy 16th Street Mall.
Ride bikes in downtown Denver: You can rent bikes from stations around the city and return them to any station you come across. I recommend starting at Cherry Creek and riding through the park before taking to the streets of Denver.
Go to a Rockies game: Another kind of touristy activity, but still fun! I am the farthest thing from a baseball fan, but I still enjoyed myself.
Explore Tennyson Street: While downtown Denver is pretty cool, I always like to get to lesser known areas of town. With plenty of local shops and trendy restaurants, the Tennyson/Berkeley area is perfect for an afternoon of wandering.
Take a day trip to Boulder. It’s an easy drive from Denver with great views and such a cute town! Walk down Pearl Street and stop by a brewery (or two).
You are in the mountains and all. I’m not the biggest outdoorsman, but enjoy the occasional hike. These are a few hikes I recommend that aren’t too hard core:
I know this is not a fully-inclusive list, and I’m definitely hoping to get back to Denver soon to try so many places that we didn’t have time to hit. Have you ever been? If so, let me know what I’m missing!
I am personally a big fan of solo travel, but it’s definitely not for everyone. For my 25th birthday I took a trip to Thailand by myself, and I’ll be honest, after telling people my plans I was often met with: “Why?” / “Aren’t you afraid to go by yourself?” / “What do your parents think about this?” / “But who will you talk to?” / “You’re gonna get taken!” / “Are you crazy???”
And I just laughed them off. I realize that it may seem undesirable to a lot of people, but solo travel makes so much sense to me. I love being able to do exactly what I want to do, eat exactly what I want to eat (let’s be honest, this is most important) and follow just my own schedule. The thing about traveling abroad, or even domestically, is that your time is precious. You probably spent good money to get somewhere and only have a limited amount of time to spend in that place. Do you really want to spend three hours of it in an obscure museum you’re not interested in? Or get stuck eating Kentucky Fried Chicken in Amsterdam? Unfortunately speaking from experience on that last one – don’t judge, it’s a long story!!
Traveling in a group certainly has its benefits – it’s nice to have someone to share dinner with! I’ve traveled abroad both with friends and on my own multiple times, and thoroughly enjoyed both types of experiences. The idea of traveling solo is daunting and freaked me out a bit at first, too. Truthfully, it’s not for everyone, so I’ve put together a list of questions you should ask before embarking on a solo journey.
1: Have you ever eaten dinner alone?
If you can’t dine alone in a restaurant, then solo travel just probably isn’t for you. You’ve got to be able to enjoy your own company 🙂 I would spend dinners planning out my next day, studying the language of the country I was in or reading a book. Try sitting at the bar and making friends with other solo diners. Or sit outside and just take in the scenery and hustle and bustle of a foreign city.
2: Does walking alone at night freak you out?
Traveling alone, especially as a woman, can be scary. I never had any negative experiences being alone, but I did get nervous sometimes being by myself at night. I don’t drink a ton, so I never stayed out too late on my own. On trips where I traveled alone, going out bar-hopping wasn’t on my agenda, so I didn’t have to worry about that. If you want to experience nightlife, I would recommend staying at a hostel with a younger scene (check reviews on TripAdvisor or Hostelworld) and making friends to go out with. Some of my most fun nights in Europe were with friends I made at hostels! Or look for ticketed late-night bar crawls or tours. My outlook is that bad things happen to people all over the world. I could get attacked walking to my car late at night in Lexington, KY, just as likely as walking the streets in Paris. I personally don’t let fear rule my life, but I know that not everyone shares my attitude. Know yourself and if traveling alone is something you’re not comfortable with, then there are other ways for you to see the world!
3: Can you read a map?
This one is kinda important… traveling alone means that you are solely dependent on being able to get yourself around a strange place and communicate in a foreign language; and that’s not always easy! You have to be resourceful. Study maps and transit systems prior to arriving to your destination. See if you can download offline Google maps, because you usually can’t depend on data while traveling. I would usually look up a route while on wifi, and then screenshot it on my phone to refer to after I lost connection. While I was in Europe, the first thing I did when I got to a new city was pick up a paper map. And you best believe I was often that girl standing on the corner of the street looking lost into a map! Which is actually a great way to get approached to ask if you need help with directions, by the way 😉
Speaking of… Don’t be afraid to ask for help! While many people abroad have a good grasp of English, you should still learn the basic phrases of the native language. I would save the basic phrases in my phone so I could easily refer to them or you can usually find free apps for most major languages.
4: Can you strike up conversation with a stranger?
It will get pretty lonely if not. I look for a good balance of doing things on my own, and putting myself in situations where I can interact with others. Group tours, cooking classes and outdoor activities are all ways to meet people while traveling. I’m the type of person who enjoys doing things on my own, so I can go a whole day without having a full conversation with someone and not get stir crazy. But if you’re the type of person that likes to have a buddy to run errands/go to the gym, then you may not enjoy solo travel.
5: How badly do you want to see the world?
When it comes down to it, if you want to see the world, you’ll find a way to see the world. I have this uncontrollable desire to see new places, and I’ll get there anyway I can. The likelihood of me finding a friend who had the time and resources to drop everything and go to Thailand was very slim, so I decided I was going to go when I had the chance to go. If you don’t think you can manage traveling by yourself, there are tour companies that organize group travel. I had an awesome experience with Intrepidsailing in Thailand, and have heard great things about Contiki. Us wanderlusters have a common bond, so you’re sure to make friends quick!
I hope I’ve convinced you that you need to take a trip by yourself! I’ve had such meaningful, and honestly life-changing experiences while traveling on my own. You’re forced to spend time with yourself and end up discovering things about yourself you may have never known. I always return from a trip feeling fulfilled and inspired. Please feel free to ask me any questions about solo travel if you’re thinking about taking the plunge! Is anyone taking a fun trip for the upcoming holiday weekend? I’m headed to Denver, this time with friends, and am so excited! Have a great one, friends!
So this isn’t a ground-breaking kind of recipe. I realize guacamole is pretty popular and one recipe doesn’t vary too much from the other. That being said, I’m pretty proud of my guacamole recipe. I’ve perfected it over the years and through a happy accident, found the trick to making the creamiest guac.
I needed to make guacamole for a party, but my avocados weren’t ripe enough yet. I couldn’t mash them with a spoon, so I tried using an electric hand mixer and found that it created the creamiest texture! It also made the whole process so much easier; you can mix up a batch of guac in about 3 minutes. My recipe isn’t super traditional – I skip the cilantro and use lemon juice instead of lime. Check it out below!
6-8 grape tomatoes or one small roma tomato, diced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
Add all ingredients to bowl.
Use hand mixer to combine until you get a creamy consistency. You can also use a spoon to mash avocado and stir to combine.
Serve immediately. If you're waiting to serve, add avocado pit to guacamole, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. The pit will keep the guac from turning brown before you're ready to serve.
Happy Father’s Day! I hope you got to celebrate the Dads in your life today. If this day is hard for you, please know I’m sending you love. I said that I was going to be healthier this week, and was semi-successful at that, but still managed to eat out a few times. It just seems that so much of my social/work life revolves around eating! And I will not complain about that 😉
My week was busy again. As my blog grows so do the networking opportunities – which is great – but I’m going to have to learn how to consolidate my calendar a little bit better! Or just actually use my weekends to be productive instead of spending several hours on the couch watching Game of Thrones like I’m currently doing… Oh well. I got to meet with several new and old blogger pals this week. Coffee with Loud Girl Big World, lunch with Eat Kentucky and a Vinaigrette date with Basically Bronwyn, Bright on a Budget, Girl Meets Lex and Kentucky Girl Ramblings. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, #communityovercompetition is everything. Meeting with other bloggers gives me the best inspiration and it’s been so helpful to have people to turn to for advice/troubleshooting.
This weekend was pretty laid back. I made it out on the Kentucky River on Saturday, ate dinner on the water and caught a beautiful sunset. It was one of those days that makes me love Kentucky so much! Apparently today is National Brunch Day, so my roommate and I celebrated at Alfalfa’s and now I’m off to celebrate Father’s Day with my fam!
Highs and Lows
High: Being out on the water is just one of my favorite things about summer. There’s nothing better than sitting at the front of the boat with the wind blowing in your hair!
Low: I’ve had something to do every week night for no joke, two weeks straight. Hoping to get a night off this week!
Dad’s day is right around the corner! I’m sharing my picks for the Kentucky Dad. Mostly local picks, so you still have time to do your shopping. Check ’em out!
The perfect Father’s Day gifts for any Kentucky Dad:
Malone’s Prime Steaks: I’m sure y’all know by now that I work for Bluegrass Hospitality Group (home of Malone’s steakhouse) but I bet you didn’t know you can buy Malone’s USDA Prime steaks to cook at home! This is the perfect gift for the foodie Dad. Pick them up from Malone’s Lansdowne or order online here.
Clayton & Crume Coasters:I gave my Dad some of these handmade leather coasters for Christmas and he loved them! They are such great quality and made right in Louisville. They make great Kentucky-themed designs, such as our state outline, UK and Louisville logos, and bourbon coasters. Buy online here.
Shop Local KY T-Shirt: Funny story – I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Dad wear a printed t-shirt. He only likes solid colors.. weird I know! I’m pretty sure most dads love a good t-shirt, though. These “Rad Kentucky Dad” and “Kentucky’s okay-est Dad” shirts are a riot! Snag one from the Shop Local KY shop in Lexington on Woodland Ave or online here.
A bottle ‘o bourbon: I think this one is a no-brainer! I suggest finding something a little more rare, such as a single-barrel or limited release.
Kentucky Bar Glasses:He’s gonna need something to put that bourbon in! These glasses are the perfect addition to Dad’s bar. Available at Peggy’s Gifts on Clay Ave or online here.
Bottled in Bond Tour:Speaking of bourbon.. if Dad is a fan, how about a bourbon tour? Bottled in Bond is a local tour company offering full-day tours including transportation, breakfast, lunch, distillery tastings and admissions. My coworker Nate founded the company and he really knows his stuff! He is so passionate about bourbon, you’re sure to not only have a great time, but learn a lot too!Book here.
Keeneland Polo:Keeneland is such a special part of Kentucky’s culture, I’m sure Dad would love this polo shirt with their logo embroidered on it! Available here.
Bourbon Book: Shhhh, don’t tell my Dad, but this is what he’s getting! I think I’m safe since the last time I checked, he didn’t even know how to subscribe to my blog. This book on the history of American whiskey was called one of the best books written about food in 2016. And it’s available on Amazon Prime – helloooo two day shipping! Buy here.
If you’re still looking for a present, I hope that gives you some ideas! What are your Father’s Day plans?
Biscuits & blessings,
PS: If you’re without a Dad this Father’s Day, please know I’m sending you all my love ♥