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Why I am Glad I Gained the Freshman Fifteen

Disclaimer: I wrote this article with no revisions, therefore it is in its purest, rawest form. I felt that to be authentic, I should keep it this way. So, if you stumble across multiple errors just know that I intended for it to be imperfect, because I, a perfectionist, need to learn to be imperfect too.


Hello, I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, but every time I got close to doing so, something made me hesitate. It is hard for me to be open and vulnerable. I find it hard to ever let anyone fully in. The first photo was taken 4 days ago, and the others were taken periodically through the year, all the way until my first day at OU. (I take pictures of my OOTDs for my mom) Tonight, I am here to tell you why I am glad I gained the freshman fifteen.


Yes, for real. I have struggled with food for basically my entire life. A lot of things make me extremely sick after eating, and it is annoying, to say the least. Anyways, I got my gallbladder taken out in December 2018, in an effort to help these issues. After this surgery, it is common to gain intolerance to certain foods for a while since you don’t have a gallbladder to filter all that stuff.

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recent photo of me at a healthy weight

I got to where I couldn’t eat meat, so I stopped. I really got into vegan/vegetarian cooking with all the different creations you could make from vegetables. It was so cool, and I fell in love with cooking, but I didn’t realize that this type of diet just doesn’t work for my body. I also started doing Crossfit and my lack of protein and lack of calories by accident did not go well. I lost weight rapidly. I already am pretty self-conscious and think about what I eat a lot, so it just kept getting worse. I didn’t know how to stop losing weight, and I really didn’t know why I was in the first place. I got to 92 lbs and for me being 5’ 4” that wasn’t good. I went to the doctor, and I was nervous about being accused of being anorexic because I felt like no one else really understood what I was going through.

We live in a culture of always wanting to lose weight, and here I was, extremely skinny, the “ideal” body and I was still being reprimanded for my size. I was accused of not only being anorexic but also bulimic. I felt ashamed, and I didn’t even have these very serious conditions. I was also told that there was no way I could have kids. My body was way out of whack, and it was really becoming a serious problem. I didn’t even know what to do, and I was in shock.

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august 2018, 92 lbs

So, when I got to OU I sought out a dietician to help me go on this weight gain journey. Something that is almost unheard of in today’s world. I also found solace in @cleaneatsbytay because she happened to be going through the same thing as me. It felt so good to have another person to talk to that really understood it. She helped me a lot. With my dietician, I was able to finally get to a healthy BMI with about 5 months of some freaking hard work.

It wasn’t easy seeing myself gain weight and certain clothes I had bought when I was 92 not fit anymore. I knew it was for the better, but it was hard. Some days it is still hard, I am not perfect, but I feel better. I feel freer.



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october 2018, this skirt doesn’t fit me anymore, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I feel like not everyone is staring at me because of my size. I am stronger than ever in my physical and mental sense. Maybe people think I looked better when I was 92 lbs, but I am here to tell you that I am HAPPIER at being a good, healthy weight. Being healthy is so much more about having a tiny waist and eating whatever food, and all of that. It is about more mental state too. If you or someone you know is going through this, I would be more than happy to try and help. I know it really helped me. If you did read all of this, thanks for reading my story. It was hard for me to even now to press “post,” but I am glad I did it.

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me current day, at a healthy weight, living my best life

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The Green Dress Mishap and the Holidays Were Actually About Giving to Others and Not Myself

Well, I made it through the holidays and now halfway through January without buying myself one thing! Score! Believe me it wasn’t easy. I really had no idea how much I bought myself when I was supposed to be buying for others. Ouch! That one stings a little bit. I mean, Christmas is supposed to be the givingest sesason of the year and here I am buying for myself. I am proud to say that it came to a screeching halt this year! I really only had one time that I nearly caved and that was a Price tree farm I was running in to grab a few things for dinner and lo and behold this little beauty was sitting there waiting for me. I immediately fell in love with this little Christmas tree farm to go with my Christmas village. After all, it was on sale for $7.79, unique and I deserved it, right?! In the past, I would have been able to justify all of the above. It was hard and I even requested that Santa put it in my stocking, but I guess Santa knew that would be a cop out, so I didn’t even get it in my stocking!

As I have mentioned, I am not a big shopper, but what I have noticed is that when I am having a bad day, I will look for a reason to go to Target or somewhere “cheap”. Oh you know, I justify the visit with buying cat food…I mean after all the cats have got to eat. They do out number the humans in the house and could take us down if they wanted to or they can pass out from hunger like Pumpkin. pumpkinThe problem is not the cat food, it’s being sucked in by the “dollar” section, which in all reality it’s the $3 or $5 section, but I still call it the dollar section, huh?! Great marketing on their part.

Speaking of marketing, has anyone ever noticed the amount of emails that are trying to take your money? I’m not talking about scammers, I’m talking about all the honest businesses that are having a sale for this or that…like literally for every holiday. I thought it would be over after Christmas, but no they have sales for literally every day of the week. If I acted upon every sale that was sent my way, I would go broke “saving” money.

Oh, I almost forgot my little “incident” with a dress. This green dress to be exact. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset You see, I was really wanting a new dress for our holiday dinner celebrating Grayson coming home after her first semester at college, but you know I couldn’t do that, so I did the next best thing and raided Ashton’s closet. I found that cute little green number, except I didn’t notice the trim was missing when I put it on. When do I notice? Mass, of course! So I did what any self-respecting Southern woman would do…I left my coat on during Mass and nearly died of a heat stroke. By the time Mass was over, I had decided that I would rip the trim off the other sleeve before dinner. Grayson took it upon herself to take a ittle extra care than that, but we got it done and it’s good as new!

I will have to admit, it does feel a bit liberating knowing that I am taking control of spending and actually sticking to a shopping list. Now, I just buy the cat food, not the cat food plus a cute Valentine coffee mug or a new swimsuit while I’m at it.

okc marathon entryWell, I am happy to say that I am officially signed up for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and I am in week 5 of training. So far so good. I feel strong and better than ever. That’s mostly due to Kris Pickle and her morning strength training class! Yippee! My goal is to average a 12 minute mile for the whole marathon. I know many people can blow that out of the water, but that is my goal. I tend to start off well for a marathon and then fall apart and never finish strong. This year is going to be different! I’m looking for a strong finish.



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My new year of gratitude, minimizing and marathoning started a few weeks ago on my birthday. At first, it didn’t feel much different, but as the days and weeks started clicking by I have become more mindful of things and people to be grateful for and I’m really starting to realize the full effects of what it means to not buy anything unnecessary. Now don’t misunderstand, I am nowhere near where I need to be, but I am seeing a glimmery of progress.

Here goes…in the first few days of my gratitude challenge, I didn’t suddenly wake up feeling like it was a new year, new me kind of thing. If you want the truth, I still just wanted to be mad at the world, but that’s not healthy for anyone and it actually reminds me of the quote: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I believe the very first person that deserves a token of gratitude is my husband. He has been the unfortunate one to take the brunt of my moodiness and lack of joy without saying a word. He just puts up with it and supports me.

Ok, I’ve had two minimalist challenges arise. The first was a $4.88 t-shirt from Walmart. You see we went to the Big 12 Championship and my daughter made a super cute Lincoln Riley shirt, so I thought, “hey, I’ll have her make me one too!” I went so far as to find my size and put it in the cart and then I suddenly realized that it was an unnecessary purchase, so I put it back. In the past, I would have spent the five bucks and never thought twice about it. WIN!


big 12


The next challenge was not so easy. You see, my husband and I attended one of the biggest and bougiest events of the year in our area and I needed a dress. This was so hard for me to not find a justifiable reason to buy a new dress, but I just couldn’t, so I opted for my 17 year-old $100 JCPenney dress. Yet another person to be grateful for, my gym coach, Kris Pickle, because it actually still fits! We had a wonderful time, even in my 17-year-old, $100 JCPenney dress. It was actually kind of liberating to have averted the need to buy a new dress.couple jcp dress

Marathon training hasn’t begun yet, but I’ve been working out regularly at the gym preparing for week 1 in at the end of the month.

Until next time and wishing you a very merry and meaningful Christmas!

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A Year of Gratitude, Minimizing, and Marathoning

It has been a while since we have updated our blog. Since the last time we posted, my mom unexpectedly passed away and it has been one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced in my life. I can easily say this has been the worst year of my life. I know I am not the only person that has lost someone this year, there have been far, far too many and I know they are hurting just as much as I am. I have always been the type of person that can find the good in any situation, but this one I have yet to find anything good. I know it is there, but I am too wrapped up in my own grief to look for it. My family has seen the effects as I am more irritable and just not my old self. Maybe I won’t ever be my old self and maybe that is how it is supposed to be because there is a new and better version of me in there somewhere. Only time will tell. I do know that I have felt the insatiable need to make some changes in my life.

reasons to be happy

First of all, I know that I have many, many things to be thankful for. For instance, I have a great new job that I absolutely love and wow did it ever come at a good time. We are all healthy. I have had the privilege to see some pretty amazing places in my lifetime and the list could go on and on. 02AA80CA-4984-40AE-B8D1-69803401F2B7.JPGLast weekend I was in Norman in a cute shop called, Postscripts, and happened upon a little box with the words, A Year of Gratitude – A Kit to Inspire 52 Weeks of Giving Thanks. It is filled with a little book to help you find things to be thankful for and thank you cards. I was very drawn to this box, so I bought it. My 48th birthday is Tuesday and I thought what better way to celebrate than by beginning my Year of Gratitude. My sweet Gracie bought me the little black book that she used a burning tool to engrave the word “gratitude” on the front. She also wrote me a special message inside. It made my heart melt when I opened it.


My next big change is basically the story of stuff. Lately, I have felt the need to try to minimize things in my life. For instance, the other day I was looking for a pair of tights to wear to work, I dug around in my drawers, my closet, everywhere to find these tights, but to no avail, they were nowhere to be found. I literally sat in my closet looking at all the needless things I have and it was absolutely ridiculous. This Year of Gratitude is also calling me to be a minimalist and to stop buying something every time I think I need or want it. My goal is to not buy anything unnecessary for the next year. That includes clothes and all those little things in the dollar section at Target and everything in between. I wouldn’t say that I am a super big shopper. We don’t plan trips to specifically go shopping, but if I’m out and about and find a cute top or something for my house that fits into my budget, I will typically buy it without even giving it a second thought. This one will be difficult for me, but I feel like I need this challenge mentally. It is kind of like when we give up something during Lent. Every time I want to buy something unnecessary, it will take willpower and focus, but in the end, it will make me a stronger person.


Lastly, I have not been able to commit myself to run another marathon since my mom’s passing, but I really want to get back at it and I think it would be good for me both physically and mentally. I plan to make the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon my comeback marathon. It was my first one so I could not think of a better one for my comeback year. If you ever have the opportunity to at the minimum attend this race, you need to put it on your bucket list. The energy and atmosphere are second to none. It will literally bring you to your knees.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, for a couple of reasons, I know there are people out there hurting just as much or more than I am. I want them to know that they aren’t alone and maybe this will spark some sort of something in them and help them find some kind of healing. The next one, my longtime print readers have been through many things with me in my life and now my newfound online readers, who better to share this journey with. I want you to keep me accountable. I am ever so grateful for you and look forward to seeing where this coming year takes me.


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Prom is Bomb!

Oh my, oh MY! Let’s talk about prom! We are in the midst of the oh-so fun prom season. I don’t know about you, but I just love seeing everyone get dressed up, and it’s so fun how each girl’s outfit perfectly describes their style and personality.

My senior prom was this past weekend, and I swear on my life that everyone look jaw-dropping gorgeous! My friends and I danced all night and ate some dang good food (Benson’s > everything). It was the perfect way to start our oh-so-sought-after end to senior year. Today, I just wanted to talk about what I wore to prom. After all, this is a fashion post, so… I say we go from top to bottom, starting with hair and makeup!

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am not the biggest fan of wearing makeup. It’s just not my thing, you know? But, I did make an exception for prom. Yeah. It’s kind of a big deal for me.

My dear sister, Ashton, is responsible for giving me the most incredible Bridget Bardot inspired hair (seriously obsessed with her) and doing my makeup! Boom. Yes. Ashton is obviously the best sister.

Now, let’s talk jewelry and accessories! So, my mom and I were in Norman the day before prom, and I still needed some earrings to really pull it altogether. My mom ended up finding the perfect pair at a boutique on Campus Corner called “Stella Rae’s.” Just look at these! They perfectly complement the neckline and simplicity of the dress. I think they add a little flair, and I am all about that!

I also got a hard-shell clutch that had a sort of marbled, gemstone look to it. I got it in one of my all-time favorite colors, sage green. It’s such a pretty clutch, I just love love love it! I’m sorry to say I didn’t get a picture of it, but we can thank my trusty pal TJ Maxx for providing me with the best bag!

My last accessory for the night was the classic corsage. My mom was once a florist, and she is just so dang talented with stuff like this, so obviously she needed to be the one to make it! She used a beautiful white rose and little succulents all throughout the corsage. I’m a less is more kind of gal when it comes to fashion, and she did a perfect job. The pink tulle in it actually came from my dress (I’ll be sure to explain that next), so it matched wonderfully! Thank you mom, once again for being so awesome.

Okay guys, drum roll please… the dress! Oh yes, the best part, the dress!! I must say, I am in love with it. I bought it online from BCBGMaxazria, and it actually fit beyond perfectly! I can’t help myself, it’s just so dang pretty. Like seriously, the prettiest dress I’ve ever owned. It’s a glorious color combination of the best shades of blush and beige. The top is just magnificent, it has partially exposed boning and a mesh-like fabric that kind of, sort of shows my midriff. The bottom is a tiered tulle wonderland. We did have to cut the very bottom a smidge because I didn’t want to risk stepping on and ripping the dress! Ashton did all the cutting, and let’s just say…it was nerve-racking at first. All ended well and we even got some tulle for my corsage!

Well, that’s all, my dear friends! I hope you enjoyed my prom look and if you are going to prom, let us see your pictures!! Tag us on Instagram, or use #livingwiselytimesthree for us to see!

Have a good one,

Grayson E. Wise

A special note to the talented Madelyn Eveld for all photography in this post.

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Soul of A Nation

A couple of weekends ago, we ran The Hogeye Half Marathon. After the half, we went to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art to see the Soul of a Nation; Art in the Age of Black Power exhibit. It was fantastic! If you don’t have the opportunity to go see it in person, you should at least read about it. It is such an important part of our history as a nation. This exhibit includes paintings, street photography, murals, sculptures and many more items. These works were often the only way feelings about what was going on in our country could be expressed. These works are described as “era-defining”. I would have to agree with that. It was quite powerful to see and hard to imagine the things that these people experienced in this country that claimed to be “home of the free.”


Self by Martin Puryer

Towards the end of the exhibit I came across a large sculpture by Martin Puryear simply entitled Self. When one first glances at this sculpture, it looks like a large black mass. It kind of resembled a whale halfway out of the water to me, but after really studying it, there was so much more to it than that. It was quite intriguing. The description stated the artist “created Self from horizontal and vertical sheets and mahogany and red cedar, stained black. The sculpture appears solid, but is hollow. It has no image or declared identity, and its shape is ambiguous – resisting any specific meaning. ‘It’s meant to be a visual notion of the self, rather than any particular self,’ Puryear said. ‘The self as a secret entity, as a secret, hidden place.’” Wow! Let that sink in for a minute. That is one of the reasons I love art, because the interpretation can be different for everyone.

ic church stained glass

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Art is such an important way to identify and tell a historical story. Just think about Michelangelo, for example. What a shame it would be for this world to not have his art. Being Catholic, art and relics are very important to our church. Every time I enter our church, I am in awe of the stained glass which was donated by parishioners in the 1800s. What a gift they gave and it keeps giving even over a century later.

Of course, most of us can’t afford to have a Picasso hanging in our homes, but we can display our own art and items we’ve collected from memorable occasions. I’ve mentioned in the past, that we always buy something while traveling. Some of my favorite items in my home are things we’ve obtained on various trips. These items never cost much money, but to us they are priceless. For example, the painting below has a funny story that goes with it. The girls and I thought for sure the hubs was kidnapped and thrown in a box truck while going with the man to pay for the painting. Needless, to say an hour later, he returned….unharmed. So now everytime we look at this painting, it reminds us of that and our amazing vacation. Oh, this was also the vacation that we go to do a fun Amazing Cozumel Race adventure!

Mexico painting

Canvas painting we purchased from a local artist while vacationing in Mexico.

Art is everywhere around us and it’s different for everyone. Maybe you love music or an old hymn reminds you of a loved one. Why not frame the sheet music? Art is what you interpret as art. Teach your kids to appreciate art and all that it has to offer.

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On a scale of 1-10 I’m a 13.1

Howdy friends! So, one week and one day ago as a family we participated in the Hogeye Marathon in Springdale, AR — it’s kind of a pig deal.. maybe you’ve heard of it? Anyways this race was SUPER important because it was my first half and my sister Grayson’s as well. I didn’t want to rush writing this post because I wanted to take a week and really reflect on how it felt to accomplish the task of 13.1 miles. So let’s begin.

I previously have written about my struggle with injury while training for big events, but I knew that I was going to accomplish this no matter what — so I did. My training started off strong and steady with just a few speed bumps along the way, but that’s life. It wasn’t until about 2 weeks before that the stress of the race really set in I had come down with some kind of plague like sickness (okay maybe not that bad) and we had a death in the family. I wasn’t going to let this stop me, so I decided I would listen to my body but still do one longer-ish run leading up to race day. I wasn’t feeling entirely confident but good enough.

Moving onto race week. It’s the day before the race and we have packet pickup and a nice little race expo to attend, but of course nothing is ever that easy. I am a television news producer so when duty calls there is no escaping it. Just about 3:30pm that afternoon we started getting some severe weather in the area, but then things really took a turn — we had 11 tornadoes total across the state of Arkansas. Which means I’m stuck in the production booth making sure we are keeping people informed. So, I finally am able to leave work and make it to the race expo with minutes to spare. (leaving me feeling incredibly stressed about the big day just hours away!)

RACE DAY! The big day had finally arrived and I was a basket case.. literally running around stressing out about the weirdest things. It ended up being a cold and very windy day, but I knew what I came there for and some wind wasn’t going to stop me. We were standing at the starting line and I was almost in tears thinking I couldn’t do it, but mom got me together. The gun fired and we were off and it felt like a herd of cattle I was just following the pack of people not even really worrying about my usual running pace and before I knew it the miles literally started flying by — the best advice I can give to any of you that my mom gave to me is to take it one mile at a time. There were times along my 13.1 mile journey that I sure felt like it would never end but all I could think about was how sweet that finish was going to taste. The wind was brutal and entirely too cold but I think that just made the finish even better. When I made my last turn and saw the 13 mile marker I felt like a million bucks.. like literally nothing could stop me. But then I could hear the music and crowd at the finish and I couldn’t control my emotions I was flooded with so many thoughts and feelings. I saw my family at the corner and my dad ran with me the last .1 of mile and I was crying the entire way across the finish. I wasn’t crying because I was in pain, but I was crying because I have never felt so accomplished. Yes, graduating college was amazing but this was different and almost indescribable.

I think that if there is one thing that I want all of you to takeaway from this extremely long post about my feelings is that if you haven’t done a half marathon then I am challenging you to complete one in the near future. It’s the most rewarding experience and really helps structure your life with the regimented training schedule. So get to running and tag us in your training pictures!

Until the next run,

Ashton Nicole

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Don’t Tump on a Stump!

This past weekend was filled with great family memories, lots of laughs, and some hilarious new hiking phrases (hence the title of this post: “Don’t Tump on a Stump!”). Getting to spend some time in the great outdoors with my family is just what I needed. We stayed in our coach (who doesn’t love glamping, am I right?) at the Buffalo Outdoor Center Campground and hiked around Goat’s Bluff and Whitaker Point, otherwise known as Hawksbill Crag.IMG_9490

In this post, I just want to give an overview of some of the really cool places we got to experience this spring break, and a few tips if you’re really new to the hiking business! Maybe this post will even inspire you to go out and breathe that glorious fresh mountain air.  Let me tell you if you have never gone hiking, you totally should. It has to be one of the greatest feelings when you look at the gorgeous view and think, “Wow, nature is so flipping awesome!”

Okay, let us begin! So, the first day of our mini vacation was mostly filled with driving to the Buffalo Outdoor Center. We arrived around 3:00PM and decided we would take a leisure hike to Whitaker Point, which is about three miles round trip. Now, my mom has been dying to go here, and I was pretty excited myself! Oh, and guys, it did not disappoint. It was pretty breathtaking to see the hazy mountains surrounding us and the beautiful valley below. You better believe I was snapping pictures left and right to try and capture such a beauty! To be completely honest, the photos don’t even show how beautiful it really is.DSC_0639.JPG

Tip #1: If you go hiking later in the day when it is very cloudy like we did, I suggest bringing a light thermal jacket, pullover, or sweatshirt. It can get quite chilly the higher up you go, (not to mention very windy!!) and it is wise to have another layer you can quickly throw on.

Now the real fun begins… Day Two consisted of an all-day hike that was, in one word, incredible! It was a fairly strenuous hike so I would definitely recommend investing in a quality pair of hiking boots so you don’t worry about slipping, twisting, or stumping on the trail. It happens a lot, so to have a good layer of protection between the rocks and your toes is a heck of an advantage. I bought mine from here.



We started on a very steep and rocky trail that was about three miles one way to go to the incredible Goat’s Bluff! As you peered over the ledge, you could see the Buffalo River below, and it was outstanding! Once we reached this destination on our journey, we decided that it was the picture perfect spot to have lunch! I was starved by this point, and I never thought a peanut butter wrap tasted so good. I love bringing these energy-inducing peanut butter wraps when I hike. They are the perfect fuel to get you through a long hike. They are filling, easy to transport, and downright delicious! I personally love the combination of apple and pear slices with a few raisins on either a pita or flatbread tortilla with natural peanut butter slathered on, but I think peanut butter banana would be an equally wonderful option.




Tip #2: When hiking long lengths, bring an easily packable lunch in your backpack, and don’t forget to bring plenty of water!  We like to reuse plastic takeout containers to keep our lunch contained. It’s the perfect way to save some waste and keep your hiking backpack super organized! Also, protein balls are a great snack to keep your energy pumping!




After Goat’s Bluff, we ventured on down to what we thought was going to be Hemmed in Hollow, but ended up taking a wrong trail somewhere and ended up somewhere completely different. That’s the beauty of hiking, sometimes you get on the wrong path, but no matter what, you see some really wicked and beautiful sights. Instead of a waterfall, we saw the clearest water ever and the age-old Henderson’s Cabin!


It was a great day, filled with a 10.5-mile hike and gorgeous sights. At the end of the day, my feet may have been tired as heck, but I would do it all again! Hiking has to be one of my favorite ways to stay healthy and active while getting explore nature. I’ll say it again and again, hiking is something everyone should experience. You’ll never know if you’ll like it until you try it (I’m willing to bet money the views you get will make it all worth the rocky trails). So, my dear readers, I invite you to take an adventure and go hike, even if it is only a few miles! Nature is crazy cool and in the words of Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation, “It’s a real beaut Clark.”


Until next time,


Grayson E. Wise

P.S. If you love my shirt, click here to buy one of your own (they come in almost every color too!!)

follow @livingwiselytimesthree for updates and more!

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Prestonrose Farm and Brewing A Lucky Find

This past St. Patrick’s Day my hubby and I decided to take it a little slower than in years past…think, St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas. While that is more fun that any one person should have in one day and I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list, we wanted something a little lower key this year and our schedules didn’t really permit a full weekend away. We invited a few of our friends and off we went on our hour and a half excursion to Prestonrose Farm and Brewing in Paris, Arkansas. To some an hour and half might seem like a bit too far, but it was worth the drive. It was actually kind of nice after a busy work week.

preston rose table

Picture coutesy of Preston Rose Farm and Brewing Facebook page

pr coasterAccording to my friend, Mary Pat, Liz and Mike Preston own the farm. Liz is a microbiologist. Her new job at Nuclear One at London harkened the move to Arkansas from California. The name of the farm and brewery is a combination of their last name and the Rose family that originally settled the property. I love how they blended the old and new to make something great.

There is a nice selection of beer. My favorite is the Citrawit and Donnie’s is Heritage Pal. There are many more selections than the two I mentioned, but honestly, I had no interest in trying them after tasting that fabulousness in my glass.

green cheese

Green Cheese with Sourdough

The food menu is ever changing as it is all either grown on their farm or from local farmers. I love that! I opted to forgo the vegan lifestyle for the “green cheese” which was the most magnificent goat cheese topped with pesto and served with a fantastic sourdough bread. The hubby had the traditional St. Paddy’s Day fair of corn beef and cabbage.

There is more than meets the eye to this little farm. The Prestons “strive to use as many local ingredients” and are working to bring barley farming and malting back to Arkansas. Their website states their goal is to produce a 100% estate beer.

pr group

Sharon, Carol, Joe, Mary Pat, me and Donnie

If you want a fun, relaxing day take the turn onto St. Louis Valley Rd, just past Subiaco Academy, follow the dirt road and look for Prestonrose’s sign. If you don’t live close enough to venture to Prestonrose, search out small organic farm to table restaurants and breweries in your area. You won’t be disappointed. Support local!

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Go On a Thrifting Adventure

A few weeks ago, the girls and I had a free Saturday together while Donnie was cycling somewhere in Timbuktu. We decided to go to a few of our favorite spots—resale shops and Goodwill.

christmas presentsFor us, shopping at thrift stores is like Christmas morning. You never know what surprises are waiting. I love going to these places, because the pieces are unique and I can get a lot for my money.

We do not typically go with a plan for a specific item, because that is just stress waiting to happen. We just sort of peruse about and see what jumps out at us and what could be a nice addition to the home.  We do, however, have a general idea of things we prefer to purchase at thrift stores. They are:

picture frame

  • Picture frames– Don’t worry that the colors don’t match. There is nothing a can of spray paint or chalk paint can’t fix. Also, think outside the standard 5×7 or 8×10. Don’t’ be afraid to purchase a large framed picture. You can take the picture out and just use the frame. I have used large frames to frame other frames and I have used large frames to make my own decorative chalkboards for a fraction of the retail cost.
  • Mirrors – Mirrors can be so expensive to buy in the store and though they are pretty, they are kind of cookie cutter. Personally, I prefer older looking mirrors. It is almost as if they have some kind of story to tell. Obviously, I like older mirrors; I believe I have mentioned a couple of times that I purchased two from Traci Barnes in the past year! If I had put anything but the round vintage mirror above the piano, it just would not have looked the same.


  • Vases, jars, bottles and containers – These are probably some of my favorite items to buy in a thrift store. I also think these types of things can really pull a look together. For example, if you have an old tray you want to use, bottles and vases grouped on it will give it that designer look.
  • Dishes and platters – I adore silver serving platters and I don’t think you can have too many. Of course, these are useful during the holidays, but they also give your summer barbeques a nice little spiffy surprise when serving food. It is amazing how much a silver platter can jazz up hot dog buns! You can also use them for decorative purposes by filling with candles or a few small vases of fresh flowers.

The best thing about thrifting is that it is like a little adventure. There are surprises around every corner and you never know what you mind find. I set a small budget, most of the time it is around $20, and then we like to see what we can get for that amount. You would be amazed at what you can find! Give it a try some time. Go on a thrifting adventure!