Since I haven’t done enough traveling these past few weeks, I thought a quick trip to Birmingham this past Thursday and Friday sounded like just the thing! :) All jokes aside, I had a fantastic time with the Southern Living team, and am so excited to share more about my time there!
I also had a fun “Latest & Greatest” post all ready to go, but with the 6am wakeup call on Friday morning, coupled with the 10pm return flight home, I never got around to hitting “publish.” Then, the best weekend ever happened, so here we are! A fresh, new week, and finally a chance to share a bit more about everything that’s been going on.
That’s why today, I thought it might be fun to do two posts… first, a little weekend recap! Then, check my latest post for the fun new finds I tracked down last week!
In order to get the full picture for this past weekend, we should really start on Thursday morning. That’s when I boarded another plane… this time to Birmingham! Southern Living, only one of my favorite publications of all time, invited me along with 12 other incredible women to spend Friday with them as their 2020 Tastemakers group. Jetlag and all, I couldn’t say no!
the suitcase story
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The weekend got off to quite the start. In order to fly into Birmingham, I had a connection it Atlanta. Fun fact about planes that fly in and out of Gainesville… they are usually so small that carry on bags get placed under the plane. So, once I de-boarded, I waited for my pink little suitcase to appear, then off to find Bojangles I went!
About 45 minutes into my layover, I was scrolling through DMs and came across one that stopped me in my tracks. “Hi! I was just on your flight and I think we accidentally switched bags…”
Turns out, I’m not the only pink suitcase owner out there! Meet the adorable Erin, and get ready for the craziest story ever. Apparently, she had seen me in the Gainesville airport, pink suitcase and all. Turns out, she was carrying the same one, which… and get this… she purchased after she saw me post about it a year or two ago!
So, when she deboarded in Atlanta and realized she had the wrong pink suitcase, she had a feeling I had been the one she’d switched with! A DM, phone number swap and a few hours later, we, and our matching bags, were reunited in Birmingham. How crazy that she had seen me in Gainesville, how crazy that I had decided to randomly check my DMs in Atlanta, and how crazy that we were both flying to Birmingham?!
This picture will always make me smile. Stories like these are the ones I cherish, and make me especially thankful for this random, fun, crazy job I have! And for the sweetest followers in the WORLD, like Erin!
the best meal of 2020 (already calling it)
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Thursday night, the Southern Living team invited the 13 tastemakers to dinner at Automatic Seafood & Oysters. Friends, I truly mean this… it was one of the very best meals I’ve had in my entire life! Everything from the drool-worthy rolls (I had two, mind you) to the side-vegetables accompanying the main courses was absolutely divine. If you’re ever in Birmingham, you must check this spot out! Amazing ambiance, too!
I put this outfit together last minute, but love how it turned out! I layered this houndstooth coat (sold out) with a new houndstooth skirt… fondly naming the combination “houndsteeth” in my Instagram Stories. (Have y’all heard of Storets? I came across the brand via an Instagram ad and ordered a few pieces. Really fresh, unique styles. I’m a fan thus far!) To top it off? My favorite velvet headband, a slimming black bodysuit and my favorite shoes for a polished, put-together look!
southern tastemakers gathering
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To circle back on why I was in Birmingham in the first place… a few months ago, I received an invitation from Southern Living magazine to attend their “Southern Tastemakers” gathering. This is the second time the publication has held this special day, bringing together thirteen women from different backgrounds/professions/stories across the south, and I feel more than honored to have been included! You can read more about the first Tastemakers class here.
We started the day with an early-morning photoshoot, which will be in the September issue of Southern Living! Pinch me!!! (Also, I thought I had posing down for blog purposes, but I’m pretty sure I looked like a bump on a log in front of all of those lights, photographers and makeup artists. Haha! Can’t wait to see the finished product!)
After we wrapped up the shoot, we spent the rest of the day touring the amazing Southern Living facility (the test kitchens… oh my word!), hearing from some of the amazing editors (still pinching myself I got to meet the Editor in Chief, Sid Evans) and share our stories in an intimate, round-table setting.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this whirlwind trip, but I left feeling so inspired by the amazing stories I heard. There’s a special intangible quality in each Southern woman. What a treat to see that special something shine through in each, beautiful story!
A huge thank you to Southern Living for including me in this day. I can’t wait to share more when the issue comes out!
the best weekend
After all the craziness of the past week, I can’t tell you how amazing it was to wake up in my own bed on Saturday morning… with a full weekend with Andrew ahead! I honestly don’t remember the last time we had a weekend together, between the holidays, his call schedule and my traveling. The weather was perfect, and we were determined to make the most of every second!
We started out with a bloody mary on the porch enjoying the sunny (and surprisingly non-humid) weather! Ever since the bloody mary bar we had on our honeymoon in St. Lucia, Andrew has been determined to become an expert on the cocktail. This critic gives his most recent recipe 5 stars… delish!
A little bit later, we headed to the opening of the new UF Ophthalmology Clinic! It’s no secret I’m endlessly proud of Andrew and all he’s doing and learning in this first year of residency, but something about seeing the amazing new facility he’ll be working in had me bursting at the seams. It was amazing!
After an afternoon birthday party for the precious little girl of one of Andrew’s fellow residents, we headed to dinner at our favorite Thai spot, If It Is, and then to the Baylor vs. Florida basketball game! Not going to lie, it felt a little intimidating being one of the few Baylor fans in a sea of Gators, but it was equally as thrilling! So fun to come away with a win. (Even as a reluctant fan. :)
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Sunday morning, Andrew’s sister came to visit! We started with the most divine donuts in all of Florida, Halo Potato, before a wonderful church service and relaxing afternoon. The best way to chase away those Sunday scaries!
After a big, transformative, busy, atypical January, I am feeling so at peace and thankful this morning. I’m still processing all that the Lord has shown me this month, and instead of feeling the urge to figure it all out right away, I’ve decided to do my best to rest, return to the normal swing of things, and watch and wait as my heart continues to process all of it.
I’ve also decided to give myself a bit of grace in terms of “getting back into the normal swing of things,” as I referenced above. You may remember me mentioning how I realized my desire for “routine” had become an idol in my life. (See the video here.) Now that I’m aware of that leaning in my heart, I’m determined to embrace this month for all it’s been, the travel, the jetlag, the loss-of-routine, etc, instead of fretting over it.
While January usually denotes a “fresh start” for the new year, I’ve found that it’s instead been a puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to quite fit between 2019 and 2020. So these next few days, I’m rounding out January with a thankful heart and open hands… letting go of expectations, and looking forward to the fresh start February opens with happiness and hope.
Wow… I did not mean for this weekend update to turn into a heart-to-heart by any means, haha! But you know me. When something’s on my heart, I share it! So no matter how January has shaped up to be for you, I hope you’re finding contentment right where you’re at, and thankfulness for what this first month of 2020 has brought!
Love from the Sunshine State,