May 1, 2015

Mullet Toss Birthday Weekend at the Flora-Bama!

I have to say, I get pretty lucky every year when it comes to birthday weekends.  In Virginia, my birthday always fell on Foxfield weekend and for the last two years it has fallen on Mullet Toss weekend in Florida.  Birthdays are always exciting but it's even more exciting when they coincide with a huge tailgate party!  When my brother was in Pensacola, he went to Mullet Toss and kept raving about how much fun it was.  Last year, Rob and I went while living in Pensacola and, like Sean, told everyone we knew about how amazing it was and how much we loved it.  Needless to say, going back this year was an obvious. 
Carmen Pensacola
where to stay for mullet toss
On Friday, I drove down from Meridian and picked up Erin from the airport who flew in from San Diego.  Erin and I had lunch at Carmen downtown and ran a few errands before checking into the condo.  A couple months ago, we were looking at places to stay for Mullet Toss and lucked into an awesome place in Phoenix IX--right on the beach, two buildings away from Flora-Bama.  The place did not disappoint and the location was PERFECT!  Traffic is crazy on Mullet Toss weekend so being able to walk everywhere was amazing.  We were able to check in early so we unpacked and headed straight for Flora-Bama to walk around and check things out while waiting for everyone else to arrive.  When Rob and Danielle made it, we headed downtown for dinner (Nom) and drinks (Old Hickory).
mullet toss at the flora bama
Flora-Bama Mullet Toss
Saturday morning we woke up and had belgian waffles and mimosas on the porch before packing up the party and taking it down to the beach.  After a little tent drama ($50 tent fee? Really?!), we got settled in.  If you have never been to or heard of Mullet Toss, it is a big event held each year at the Flora-Bama, a bar on the state line between Florida and Alabama.  It is pretty much a three day beach party where people throw a mullet (the fish not the hairstyle!) over the state line from Florida to Alabama.  People take it very seriously and tailgates are set up with everything from huge DJ systems to blow up hot tubs.  It is a blast!  We spent the day bopping around from tent to tent and met up with friends from Meridian.
Review of Mullet Toss
Phoenix IX for Mullet Toss
We went back upstairs around 4pm for a late lunch and it was perfect timing because in true beach fashion a MASSIVE 15 minute storm blew in, flipping furniture and taking out tons of tents - including ours!  As quickly as it blew in, it blew back out so we were back down without missing a beat.  Saturday night we showered and headed to Flora-Bama for some live music.  Flora-bama was packed and people were in rare form ;)
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Crowded Flora-bama on Mullet Toss Weekend
On Sunday, we headed to The Gulf for brunch before Danielle had to head home.  The weather was gorgeous so after brunch we headed straight to the beach for Mullet Toss round 2.  Rob and I threw the mullet last year so we convinced Erin that she had to do it.  She did great and it was funny to watch people toss.  After a weekend of drinks and sunshine, we were exhausted so we made food at the condo and had a lazy night.
how to toss a mullet
Brunch at The Gulf Orange Beach AL
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Monday morning Rob woke up early to drive back to Meridian in time for work and Erin and I slept in and checked out.  Unfortunately, we turned the place upside down but it looked like somehow throughout the weekend I lost my purse.  I was super bummed (especially because I'm the girl who never carries cash but happened to have over $200 of birthday money in my purse) but didn't want to put a damper on the weekend so just decided to focus on the positives, like that I didn't lose my car keys with the purse ha ha!  We grabbed lunch at George's before dropping Erin off at the airport and heading back to Meridian.  Yesterday, I was reminded that there are truly good people out there.  The lady from Phoenix IX called me to let me know a housekeeper had found and turned in my purse.  Not only my purse but every penny of the $240 cash inside!  I am so lucky and thankful.
George's in Pensacola
I had such a fun time and if this weekend was any indication of how 26 is going to be, I can't wait! :)

Apr 14, 2015

Sweet Potato Walnut Mason Jar Salad

Mason jar salads are my go-to for quick and easy prepped lunches.  I'm obsessed with how fresh the keep everything and it's so easy to customize them to never get bored.  This week, I made sweet potato walnut jar salads and they turned out delicious.  I used mega mason jars (thank goodness for Irish Wake glasses!) to make big salads and they were super satisfying for lunch.
Mason Jar Salads
Making homemade dressing takes two extra minutes of work but really makes the salad.  Plus you aren't getting all the sugar and chemical additive junk that comes that regular dressing.  The recipe makes enough for four large jar salads so prep them for the week or share them with loved ones.
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Can't beat greens fresh from the garden!
21 Day Fix Mason Jar Salad
Sweet Potato Walnut Mason Jar Salad
Ingredients:
1 Large Roasted Sweet Potato, cubed
2 Apples, cut into matchsticks
4 Cups Kale, Lettuce, Spinach Mix
1 Cup Toasted Walnuts
Honey Mustard Dressing (see recipe below)
Directions:
Blend dressing and pour evenly into the bottom of four large mason jars.
Add walnuts to each jar.
Add apples and sweet potatoes.
Add lettuce, kale, and spinach.
Seal with lid and place in fridge.
Shake well and enjoy!
Sweet Potato Walnut Salad
Honey Mustard Dressing
Ingredients:

2 T Honey
2 T Mustard

2 T Chopped Onion
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Directions:
Add honey, mustard, onion, vinegar, salt and pepper to blender and blend until smooth.
Turn to low and slowly add olive oil until emulsified.

Apr 13, 2015

Go Green Meridian

While having lunch with my sweet friend Caitlin last week, she mentioned getting involved with Go Green Meridian.  It seemed like fate when a few days later we met Craig from Go Green at the farmer's market who told us to come check out the working hours on Wednesday.
Go Green Meridian Mississippi
Go Green Meridian is a club that "gather to talk about the ongoing sustainability initiatives in Meridian and how we can better serve our community."  More specifically, they are the organization that founded Love and Peas Community Garden, located behind Cater's Market.  The community garden is designed to support the local community in a couple of ways.  First, it is run by volunteers -avid gardeners to clueless but interested people like us - and encourages people to embrace the idea of "growing your own".  Second, a major portion of the produce grown in the community garden is donated to LOVE's Kitchen, providing local, fresh produce to the community in need.  Finally, schools and organizations bring their kids to the garden to learn about living sustainably and eating locally.Love and Peas Community Garden Meridian MS
Rob and I showed up on Wednesday, not sure at all what to expect.  We were put right to work - picking collard greens and bagging them for LOVE's kitchen.  We ended up sending two giant bags full of collard greens to the kitchen.  Next up was a little weeding to prepare for the next session of planting.  We ended our working session with planting some tomatoes.  I'm excited to see how these grow throughout the season (and how they compare to our tomato plants at home!)  It was fun to get involved in the community, get our hands dirty, and learn a little more about gardening.
Volunteer Community Garden Meridian MS
Whole Foods Meridian MS
Working hours from the Love and Peas Community Garden are 4-5 on Wednesday evenings and 9:30-10:30 on Saturday mornings.  Everyone is welcome, simply show up with a positive attitude and a willingness to work!  I am so excited to make it back to more working sessions and see how the garden progresses in the summer!
Eat Local Meridian MS

Apr 10, 2015

Friday Favorites

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"Treat Yo Self!" is the name of the game!  Sometimes you just need a little extrinsic motivation and hot pink sneakers and the polar fitness watch I've been eyeing were just the push I needed for my next challenge.....

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The Tone It Up Bikini Series!  I'm super excited to mix this challenge into my usual routine.  I have been a part of the Tone It Up Community for about two years and their philosophies on food, exercise, and life are very closely related to mine (now if only my abs could look like theirs! haha).  I plan to incorporate some parts of this challenge (the bombshell spells, the bootycall workouts, the daily challenges) with my normal 21 Day Fix routine (the meal plan, the workouts, etc).  I plan to post most of my check-ins here so come follow along!

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Shutterfly books are a labor of love but when I see that bright orange package in the mail, it makes it all completely worthwhile!  I wish I could say I am one of those people who can just upload the photos and hit "complete" but we all know I am a little too much of a perfectionist for that!  Trying to sort through 14,000 photos and narrow down to 20 pages worth is also a struggle!  BUT looking through the pages of our yearly books makes me so nostalgic and grateful for this beautiful life we've created.  I make a book for each year and our 2014 book finally arrived in the mail this week.  It's been so much fun looking at all of our books and reminiscing over our favorite places and memories.

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In an effort to pre-plan on a crazy busy weekday, I threw this super simple white turkey chili in the crockpot and it really saved the day!  It made enough for two big servings that night, and then two mason jars full to put in the freezer for "dinner in a pinch".  To make it, I browned some ground turkey (maybe like 2lbs?) and threw it in the crockpot with a can of salsa verde (I used this one), a mason jar of bone broth (beef broth would work fine too!), a chopped onion, a chopped green pepper, some cumin and some chili powder.  I let it cook all day long and then topped it with greek yogurt and fresh mozzarella for dinner.

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Last night we went to Harvest Grill to celebrate Blair's birthday and everything was delicious!  I had pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes, grilled brussel sprouts, and bacon and completely cleared my plate!  And the bread pudding that they brought out for dessert?  Amazing!

Apr 6, 2015

Earth's Bounty Meridian Farmers Market + Easter Weekend Recap

April 4th has been circled in my planner for months!  Not because of Easter weekend or any out of town visitors but because April 4th was the day the Farmer's Market re-opened for the season in Meridian!  Not only that, but it was supposed to be a BIG event downtown called Earth's Bounty to kick off farmers market season.  Rob and I loved going to the Palafox Market on Saturday mornings while we lived in Pensacola so I had my fingers crossed that we could continue that tradition here in Meridian.
Mimosas in Meridian, MS
 earth's bounty farmers market meridian
The Meridian farmer's market was not huge but, as usual, made up for what it lacked in size in extremely friendly vendors.  It was a cool morning but we grabbed mimosas/bloodys from a street vendor (only in Mississippi lol) and walked up and down, checking out all of the booths.  Everyone from the sausage guys to Denise with her sweet treats were more than happy to strike up a friendly conversation.  There is nothing I love more than friendly, welcoming people!  We left with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, sausages, and gluten free cinnamon crumb cakes.
farmers market in meridian ms
Meridian Farmers Market
On the way home, we managed to snag a couple of pallet and immediately headed back to town to Lowe's to get supplies for a little project.  It's still a work in progress but I will report back with the final results when we finish!
pallet projects
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We had a low key but wonderfully relaxing Easter at home in Meridian.  I made an Easter feast and we spent most of the day relaxing together before a busy week.
easter feast for two
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