Anchors “Aweigh”

 

Matthew and I went on our first date, August 31, 2002 and our second, two days later. I didn’t know one thing about him, but as we sat on our second date, he told me all about the plans he had for his life, the baseball life. I remember telling him that night that I couldn’t marry a baseball player. I had plans for my life too and being a trophy wife wasn’t part of those plans. I mean, me on a red carpet…

“Who are you wearing?”

Me: Mossimo

Even though our future plans for life differed dramatically, I think we both knew on that second date that we would be married. Nine months later, we were Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Rollins and heading for the baseball life. The Lord had a bigger plan for us and for years we couldn’t see the reason but Tuesday night, it was so clear that what The Lord had planned all along was so much more beautiful than anything we could’ve dreamed. Like a parent dedicates a child to The Lord, to raise that child in a way that would honor and glorify Him, Tuesday night, we dedicated Anchor Bat Company to Him.

Three years ago, as we set out to make a dream in to a reality, many people thought that we had lost our minds; that we were crazy. They were right. We were just crazy enough to believe that if we trusted The Lord and were faithful in using this business for His glory, that with His help, we could actually pull this thing off. We have the greatest friends in the world and we are so blessed with their support throughout this journey. Tuesday, our closest friends and family gathered around and prayed specifically for the company, the wood, the young men who would hold an Anchor in their hands, that lives are transformed and that The Lord receives all glory and honor for it all. It was amazing, hearing two of the greatest men I know share our story and lead us in this night of dedication.

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Photo Cred: Alex Reynolds

I’m so incredibly proud of my guy, and I know you haven’t heard me say it enough. *wink, wink*. Not only am I proud of my love but also my father-in-law, who is the hardest working man I’ve ever known and my sweet, sweet mother-in-law for joining in on this crazy adventure. Thank you for everything. And to my momma, who would be so incredibly proud of her son-in-law. As he told her on her last day with us, “It’s not how you begin that counts, it’s how well you finish.”

View More: http://janacandlerphoto.pass.us/anchor-bat-launch-party

Photo cred: Jana Candler

We couldn’t have even made it this far without our Anchor crew: Eddie, Adam, Sean, Alex, and Miles.

I’m beyond excited to see what The Lord will do through Anchor Bat Company. Thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown us.

V E N U E : The Davenport, Greer, SC
F O O D : Hungry Drover, Taylors, SC
S P E A K E R S : Doug Mize + John Alexander
M U S I C I A N S : Scott Norman + Dan Walker (and they let me sing with them :)
S O N G S : Never Once / Come and See – Matt Redman + Good Good Father – 10,000 Fathers

Winter Wonderland

When you hear the meteorologist say the word, “snow,” do you roll your eyes in disbelief? Head out for milk and bread? Maybe you start looking for those snow bibs? I’ll tell you what I do, I make our snow day essentials list and I’m at the grocery store before they can say the word “accumulation!” Even if not one flake falls, we have enough junk food to last a month so either way, it’s a win.

Winter Storm Jonas dropped more inches of snow at our house than the brothers dropped hit songs…six inches of snow to be exact. It is beautiful and I may or may not have squealed like a kid in a candy store when the flakes started falling. There are so many reasons why Greenville, South Carolina is the greatest place to live but one of my favorites is that we get a good snow a year, we get to look at the beauty, have a day or two off from school and then it goes away and doesn’t come back for a year.  Perfect!

So, back to that list of Snow Day Essentials…

*Things we can’t live without on a snow day:

  1. Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows  – number one on our list at The Rollins house is most definitely hot chocolate! Even if I forgot everything else on the list, at least we would have the most important snow day staple, hot chocolate. When I say hot chocolate, I don’t mean just any hot chocolate, I mean Williams and Sonoma Hot Chocolate, which by the way is on clearance right now so you better go snag some before it’s all gone!!! When it comes to marshmallows, all three of us are different, Matthew likes just a couple of the standard size mallows in his but I find that extremely boring, MC likes one Peep depending on the occasion, and I like the jumbo campfire mallow that covers the entire mug. Williams and Sonoma has some awesome marshmallows too so while you’re loading up on their clearance chocolate, snag some of the mallows too (also on clearance)!IMG_0494
  2. White Chicken Chili – in a world of bazillions of chili recipes, this is by far number one in our book. You can find the recipe here and you should go ahead and double that recipe and even that won’t be nearly enough.IMG_0496
  3. Belgian Waffles – if you don’t have a Belgian waffle maker, this recipe may not be helpful but if you do, this is amazing! If you don’t own a waffle maker, pancakes on a snow day are always a good alternative…or cinnamon rolls, or homemade biscuits, ok, I will stop now.
  4. Snacks – my momma’s “doughnuts” are one the favorites at this house. They are so easy and so good.FullSizeRender
    • My Momma’s “Doughnuts”:
    • Ingredients –
      • 1 can of pillsbury biscuits
      • oil
      • sugar
    • Directions –
      • Cut center out of biscuits with a hole cutter. Heat oil on high, put biscuits in oil then immediately turn oil down to medium. Keep turning the biscuits until golden in color on both sides. Drain on rack then toss in sugar. Done.
  5. Movies – Movies are a must because snow days in the south means that you’ll be stuck indoors for a few days. There is no place on Earth that I would rather be than home, we are all three homebodies. Even though we travel so often, we always look forward to being home together.  Just like the marshmallows, our taste in movies is also wildly different. Now, you know that I could watch Mr. Darcy win the heart of Miss Elizabeth any day of the week, but for some reason Matthew doesn’t enjoy watching Pride and Prejudice seven days a week or even one for that matter. Rude! So, we compiled our snow day family favorites and Harry Potter always tops our list. When Matthew and I were first married, we lived in the lofts downtown and one year a crazy ice storm came through and we could not get out for a week, it was insane. Thankfully we didn’t lose power so we watched a ton of television. The Christmas before Matthew was gifted the Harry Potter DVD series and I remember him opening it and thinking that he would never watch it. We got them out that day and back to back, for hours and hours, we watched the entire series and it was the best day. So, Harry Potter is our go-to Snow Day favorite. Others that are included in our list: Chronicles of Narnia, Despicable Me, Frozen (obvi), Cool Runnings and The Holiday (for when MC falls asleep).
  6. Blankets – a lot of you have asked about the blush colored throw that was used in our hot chocolate pic. I purchased it a year or two ago and it’s made by Lauren Conrad (who else) and originally sold at Kohls. It isn’t sold in stores anymore but I did find it online here.  If you want something warmer, let me tell you about the greatest throw blanket ever created and perfect for a snow day. Picture this, throw blanket size, and HEATED! We purchased two of these for Christmas gifts for family this year and I really want one for myself. You can find all of the deets here.IMG_0374
  7. Snow Clothes – Ok, South Carolina doesn’t have a huge selection of snow clothes for obvious reasons, but as long as you have a good coat, stocking cap, waterproof boots and gloves, you’ll be set. I love all things Jillian Harris and when she posted these boots that were on sale, I had to have them. This was the first snow day that I ever had waterproof boots to wear and it was such a different experience. Once my feet get wet, it’s time for me to go inside. I was out with my people today for hours and my feet were completely dry when I went in. I purchased mine from Urban Outfitters on mega sale before Christmas and you should also note that you will need to order a whole size larger than you typically wear because they run super small! Highly recommend these for women and MC’s boots came from Gap Kids a year ago and they are no longer sold online but I’ll bet if you do some digging, you can find some similar.IMG_0501
  8. Sled – If you used your sled for a Christmas decoration and then you store it away with the other decorations and realize it AFTER the snow has already fallen, you make do with what you have. Today, it was a drop cord and an inflatable dolphin pool float. Redneck but awesome!

Wow, what a couple of days we’ve had!!! I’d love to hear how you spent yours so do share in the comments below.

 

 

 

F A C E P A I N T I N G

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I would be ashamed to tell you how many hours I’ve spent on Youtube lately watching makeup tutorials. I am obsessed! I literally cannot stop myself. I find myself even watching the really weird ones that no one in their right mind would wear outside of their front door but I’m completely mesmerized. Here’s the problem with watching makeup tutorials online, they make you want everything in the tutorial. Can I just tell you now that you can purchase every single thing they use in the tutorial, watch step by step so closely and you will still not end up looking like them. I don’t know how it happens? My friend sent me this the other day and this is legit me after watching a tutorial on contouring.

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I should’ve started this post off by stating that I am NOT a professional and you may find my opinions useless and that is totally cool, most of the time I find my thoughts useless too. Honestly, I’ve never really been a diva in the cosmetic area of my life, other areas, absolutely, but not makeup. I’ve been purchasing the majority of my cosmetics, outside of foundation, from the Target dollar spot for years. I cannot believe that I just confessed that. Real life, I think makeup is so overpriced and until now, really didn’t think that there was that much of a difference between good ole cheapies and professional products. I’m going to be straight up right now and let you know that there is a huge difference between cheap makeup and professional cosmetics. Since my obsession with Youtube tutorials began a few weeks ago, I have splurged and purchased some of what I’ve found to be the “must haves” for your cosmetic bag.

First things first, I have to pay homage to the best of the best. If you know me at all, you know my love for coconut oil and that still remains, it will always and forever be my first love. I use coconut oil for everything!

  • S K I N : I have the skin of an alligator, dry and scaly. I keep coconut oil in our shower and use it on the daily. While skin is still damp, apply coconut oil liberally and air dry. That may be a little TMI but it’s the best way for the oil to moisturize.
  • H A I R : My hair is even more dry than my skin if you can imagine. My hairstylist and one of the best of friends told me once that she could blow on it and it may fall off. Isn’t she sweet? I apply to dry hair, I mean a ton of the oil, just slather that junk on, cover with a shower cap, then, go to sleep and dream of the moisturized hair you’ll have in the morning. If you don’t want to sleep in it, you could just let it sit for 20 minutes then shampoo out twice and condition as usual.

S K I N C A R E : I’ve used tons of expensive skin care but I love my $4 face wash and coconut oil better than anything I’ve tried. I use Purpose face wash and then I apply a small amount of coconut oil while my face is still damp. P.S. – I cannot afford R + F so no need to send info.

Like I mentioned earlier, my skin is extremely dry so the same products that I use may not be the best products for you but if you have dry skin, you will want to read the next part.

*What you can find in my cosmetic bag:

  1. Primer – every beauty vlogger that I have watched lately swears by Nivea Men’s Post Shave Balm for Sensitive Skin as a primer. The reason being that the second ingredient listed on the ingredients label is glycerin. On freshly washed and dried face, rub the Nivea Men’s Post Shave Balm in a circular motion all over the face until it becomes “tacky” to touch.
  2. Foundation – I make a little “foundation cocktail” on the back of my hand, mixing:
  3. ConcealerUrban Decay Naked Skin Concealer aka the greatest concealer ever created! Apply after foundation under eyes, eye lids, lower part of the forehead, corners of the nose, and the cupids bow. Blend with a beauty blender.
  4. Translucent Powder – use the translucent powder over the areas where you applied concealer to avoid creasing.
  5. Brow pencil – with any brow pencil of your choice, outline and fill in brows, always.
  6. Blush – any blush of your choice. I recently purchased a professional blush after using cheap blush for years and I can tell a HUGE difference! The pigment in professional blush is unbelievable.
  7. Highlighting Powder – if I could, I would use the Becca highlighting powder but it was limited edition and I didn’t get it in time. I use MAC Mineralize Skinfinsh – Soft and Gentle and it works well too. I apply a small amount of the powder to the cheek bone right under the eyes and right above the brow bone. This gives the luminous and dewy look to the skin.
  8. Eye Shadow – ok, I was sitting across the table enjoying a coffee with that same sweet friend and hairstylist one day and noticed how amazing her eyes looked. She told me about the new MAC Burgundy x 9 palette. I didn’t get it immediately because if you shop at MAC often, you know that you have to sell a kidney to purchase a palette. A few months later I asked her to use it on me to see if it would look good on my eyes and I fell in love. I will say this about the price, you are getting 9 shadows, so there is that. I’m loving the warm burgundy tones for this time of year. Anyone else feel like a 10 year old when they walk up to the MAC counter? The people that work there are so intimidating to me. Don’t even ask about application because I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to shadow application and it’s never ever the same twice. You’d never know that I went to school for this!!!
  9. Eye Liner – no other liner exists in my life other than the Urban Decay Perversion liner. Hate the name but love the liner. I use a small flat eye liner brush to soften the look of the liner because it is a little too dramatic for me without it.
  10. Eye Lash Primer – I went in to Sephora one day and when the girl asked me what I needed help with I told her that I wanted to look like I was wearing false lashes without having to wear false lashes. I have the smallest, shortest and lightest lashes ever…sometimes I cry about it. Ok, I don’t cry but I do long for gorgeous lashes! The girl suggested that I use a primer so I that’s what I did. I purchased the Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer and it is amazing! I don’t know what it does and I don’t care what it does as long as it keeps making me look like I finally have lashes!
  11. Mascara – I have used every drug store mascara ever created but I finally splurged after reading a bazillion reviews. I ended up going with the Too Faced…I can’t even type the name without blushing so I will let you just click on the link to see what it’s called. I LOVE THIS MASCARA! This is the first mascara I’ve ever noticed a difference with. It really is great.
  12. Lips – my favorite nude lip is a gloss by Revlon in shade 215 and my favorite color this season is Mac’s Rebel.
  13. Setting Spray – there are so many types of setting sprays but if you want a dewy skin look, go for the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist. This is the very last step in your makeup process, spray over the entire face.

You are not going to want to run out and purchase all of this at one time, I mean, unless you won that 1.5 billion in last week’s lottery drawing. Wowza at the money we spend on painting our faces. The craziest thing is that Matthew always says that he likes it better when I’m not wearing makeup. What?!? I’ve accidentally looked in the mirror without makeup and caught a glimpse of myself and it was terrifying! When I don’t wear makeup out in public and I happen to see people I know, I’m always asked if I’m feeling well. I’m not even making this up, happens every time!

If you decide to try a product or two off of this list, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. I love hearing from you guys.

 

 

 

Leaving on a jet plane…

 

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Right this moment, well, I guess not the moment that you’re reading this but the moment that this post is being typed, I am 34,986.9 ft in the air. Have I ever told you before that I don’t enjoy flying? If I haven’t, allow me to inform you now that I don’t enjoy flying.   I began flying alone at a very early age to spend summers in Jersey with my sister and I loved it. It was so exciting, navigating my way through the airport, crossing my fingers that no one was sitting beside me so that I could put my feet in the seats next to me, and seeing the familiar faces greeting me as I walked off the plane. Now, none of this is fun…navigating my way through the airport is an absolute nightmare, the seats in the airplanes these days are so small that even if the entire row of passengers failed to show up, my legs would hang off at the knee, and there are no more smiling faces greeting me after new regulations were put in place for our safety. But, I really stopped loving to fly on May 19, 2008, it was the day that I held my baby girl in my arms for the first time. Something happened inside of me when I became a mom that I cannot explain and I suddenly became cautious. Before May 19, 2008, you couldn’t keep me from adventure: cliff diving, bungee jumping off bridges, rollercoasters, you name it, I would be the first in line…not these days. These days, you’ll find me, pulling that seatbelt a little tighter, lathering on SPF 1.2 million and profiling every person that comes near.

On an airplane, I’m all, “Excuse me mam, does the engine sound funny to you? The engine sounds a little funny, don’t you think? No? That’s normal? Oh ok.” **flight attendant smiles politely** “Excuse me again, did you see that guy two rows up? The one with the beard? If you don’t mind, will you run go check the Official U.S. Watchlist for his name? Thank you. Oh, he is just a Duck Dynasty fan? Thank you for checking.” **flight attendant rolls her eyes as she walks away and I give a nervous laugh** “Excuse me Robin (because we are now on a first name basis), I noticed that you have a nervous look on your face, is one of the wings on fire? No? Oh, ok. I‘ve just been watching you through the turbulence and you looked a little nervous to me. Sorry to bother you Robin.” **Robin now whispers to the other flight attendants while pointing at me and I wave thinking we’re friends.** “Excuse me Ro…” ** Robin must have earbuds in because she can’t hear me anymore, that’s weird.**

Can we talk about flight delays for a moment? Why does it seem like every flight is as late as my husband is everywhere we go? Why don’t they just go ahead and give themselves the 50 extra minutes they always seem to need and if they do show up on time, they could say, “surprise, we’re early, we’ll just sit here and wait on you for 50 minutes for a change.”

To finish this blog post off, I’m sharing with you what I like to call “tips,” for your next trip.

 *Delecta’s Somewhat Decent Tips on Flying:

  1. Don’t fly if you don’t have to. My go-to method of travel is by car…      Matthew behind the wheel, Spotify playlist on shuffle, and my phone on with the sweetest three letters I know, LTE, at the top. No turbulence and no profiling. Don’t gasp, unfortunately, we have to think about these things these days people.
  2. Smile, smiling’s my favorite. When I arrive at the gate, I always do a “once over,” you know to check all of my fellow passengers out. If any of them have “the look,” I give them a really sweet smile, in the event, a little kindness might change their mind if they are planning anything stupid. Did you just roll your eyes like Robin? Ok, a smile is most likely not going to change much, but I still give it a go.
  3. Pack light. If you travel with Matthew Rollins, you don’t get to check bags. It’s true, we carry on, always! Once, we flew to London for 10 days and took only a carry on bag each. Can you believe that? Yeah, I can’t either, but we did it. The pros actually do outweigh the cons when it comes to traveling with just a carry-on bag. Do you want the pros or cons first? Ok, let’s go with cons so we can finish on a good note.
    • My personal “Carry-on Cons” :
      • My shampoo and conditioner is the biggest challenge, this white hair will fall out if I use some hotel shampoo that is good for “all hair types.” You’ve got to be kidding me, “all hair types,” even the hair that is hanging on for dear life due to excessive bleaching? Now, I know that you’re all shocked to find out that I’m not a natural blonde, cough cough but it’s true. And, I know that someone reading this is going to leave a comment below to mention that they have travel containers meant for shampoo and conditioner but let me stop you right there, I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t leak. Maybe, some kind reader will invent the first travel container that doesn’t leak for me?
      • Another “carry-on con” is all the looks that you get when you smack every person in the face with your bags as you walk down an aisle designed for a toddler all the way to the last seats on the plane, which is where we always seem to end up, which I whole heartedly blame on Robin.
      • Also a huge challenge for me is trying to stuff enough outfits in a carry-on bag that will give me enough outfit options based on my mood that day. For example, what if I pack jeans but I wake up and I just cant fathom the idea of all of the sweating it will take to get those jeans on or what if there is a cute graffiti wall that needs to be instagrammed but I only have tops that clash? It’s a real struggle people!
      • Your luggage never gets lost! Now, I know you’re thinking, “why is this not on the pros list?” Well, it is, it’s on both. Did you know if a carrier loses your luggage and it isn’t returned to you within 24 hours, they have to give you money for the lost contents? NEW CLOTHES PEOPLE!!! Sure you may have to wear the same clothes for a day or two until you’re reimbursed and yes, you may have to sit by the door praying that they don’t find your luggage on hour 23 but just think about the shopping spree you could potentially be on tomorrow!
    • My personal “Carry-on Pros” :
      • Your luggage doesn’t get lost! There it is again, she is lovely on the “pros” list too isn’t she? So, not much to say here except you have your clothes and toothbrush for the night…I’m starting to feel like this fits better on the cons list.
      • You can actually eat on your trip because you save on luggage fees. I cannot believe how airlines have started charging $50/bag. This is outrageous! You could easily pay more for luggage than your actual ticket which is just plain rude if you ask me. I mean, the luggage has to pay that much money to board the plane but they don’t get priority boarding, they don’t get to choose their seat number, in fact, they don’t even get a seat, they get carelessly thrown on to the bottom of the plane by Steve who is just ready to get home for the day. Steve doesn’t give a flying flip that those bags paid more to be on that flight that the guy in seat 21E.
      • You never have to go down to baggage claim for an extra hour to wonder if your luggage is going to be on the roundabout or not. You can just walk out bumping those same people down the aisle on the way out. JK, if you’re like us, you will be the last ones off the plane because you’re in the last seat in the back.
      • You get to purchase a super cute carry-on bag because your husband wants you to carry on so that justifies the purchase. Check out these cuties from Target!

So, there you have it, doesn’t this make you want to go purchase a ticket for a bazillion bucks just to be terrified until those wheels hit the runway? You’re welcome.

 

Saddle up…

If you aren’t quite ready for the Big Apple holiday but you just need to get out of town, I have the place for you. Grab your boots because we’re heading to the Nashville, Tennessee area.

Baseball Winter Meetings were held in Nashville again this year and I wasn’t complaining one bit. MC and I decided to tag along at the very last minute so we hopped in the car whether Matthew wanted us to or not.  The Nashville area has so much to offer, entertainment, great food, and amazing places to stay.  Let me share how this little quick trip went down…

  • W H E R E   W E   S T A Y E D : the meetings were held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conventions Center but they were completely booked for night one so we logged on to our ever so faithful Priceline website.
    • NIGHT ONE: We ended up with the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in the heart of Nashville…stunning! The people were super friendly and because they weren’t crazy busy, they allowed us to have late checkout at no charge.
    • NIGHT TWO:  Hold on to your seats…we stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort using Expedia. She was all dolled up for Christmas and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Have you ever seen this place? How can I explain her size? Some might use the word, GIGANTUOUS?  This place is beautiful year round but at Christmas, it’s indescribable. Our room was located in Delta Island and had an atrium view right across from Santa’s station so we could sit our on our balcony and watch Santa. I don’t have too many negative things to say about the resort but I will say that you’re paying a pretty penny to stay but the majority of the staff won’t go out of their way to be kind. What I’m trying to say is, don’t go thinking you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside, they won’t make you feel that way.  There are exceptions, one of the security staff members was so kind to MC and acted like they were old friends and then there was the concierge who should have received a raise after all that she did for us. Things that you’ll want to know about the resort: you have two options for parking, valet $32 + tax/day or self-parking for $24+tax/day.  If you just want to visit the resort but you aren’t staying overnight, parking is the same amount which I find a little outrageous but some say that you can park at the neighboring mall parking lot and take a short walk over to the resort for free but that’s just the word on the street. I’ll get in to the resort food and activities in the next few sections.

  • W H E R E   W E   A T E : other than the Krispy Kreme that MC and I snuck off to in Nashville, we did all of our eating in Franklin, TN. If Greenville, SC and Nashville, TN had a baby, it would be Franklin, and she is such a cute baby. Don’t get me wrong, Nashville has a crazy amount of restaurant options but we wanted to explore a little further out and had some recommendations from locals that we had to try.
    • 55 South – We were told that we couldn’t go to Nashville without trying “Nashville Hot Chicken,” the area’s iconic food. Get your big boy/girl britches on because this chicken is packing some heat. So delicious! They served the sandwich with homemade potato chips that were also a win in my food book. Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 9.29.36 AM
    • Puckett’s – I honestly don’t know where to begin. Just blogging about it makes me hungry. I ordered the Piggy Mac, are you ready for this? …Cherry wood smoked pulled pork in an iron skillet, topped with smoked Gouda Mac ‘n Cheese. I cannot forget to mention the Cajun Corn Cake that topped my dish off. I die, I just die, thinking about this.  I feel like the waiter may have thought that I hadn’t ever been out in public before after watching me chow down. As hard as it will be for you to believe, Matthew’s fried chicken was even better than the Piggy Mac. Unbelievable. I don’t even have to tell you what MC thought about their homemade salad dressing, just take a look for yourself.  Also, they had a stage for live picking…give that girl a stage and watch out.
    • Kilwins Franklin – If you know me at all, you know that I cannot pass up Kilwilns. Oh, it’s December? So what? We believe that it’s never too cold for Kilwins ice cream.  Don’t even get me started on their salted caramel. IMG_8520.JPG
    • Le Sel – when we visit again without baby girl, I am most definitely visiting Le Sel, if for nothing else, the pink velvet booths.  I didn’t feel that it was kid friendly after reading over the menu so we decided on a rain check. Found out about this pretty pretty from Mary Ellen, whom you will want to follow on Insta because she is fabulous and as a local, knows all of the Nashville goods.
    • Hog Heaven BBQ – Don’t judge the book by it’s cover, this tiny hole in the wall is most definitely a hog heaven. Gotta try their smoked chicken with their signature white sauce!  Bless your heart if you don’t go. Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.24.30 PM.png
    • Opryland Restaurants – The resort houses a ton of restaurant options and we did eat at a couple on this trip out of sheer convenience but none were good to enough to write home about and they are ridiculously overpriced so get out and take a drive and eat good food because isn’t that why we came?
  • W H A T   W E   D I D :  
    • Window shopping in Franklin is the best because of the little boutiques and the cutest little Anthropologie I’ve ever seen. We didn’t buy anything but it was fun to dream. Taking a walk to explore is our favorite.IMG_9708
    • Take a drive around the city then keep going to see the country. There are so many interesting places around Nashville. Keep going past Nashville, past Franklin and you run in to charming Lieper’s Fork. I have never seen so many deer during the day just walking around the fields as I did in Lieper’s Fork. MC decided that she wanted to take a pic in a field for some reason, so we did that. We just enjoy wandering and if you enjoy the same, just drive. IMG_9709
    • Opryland Resort had so many incredible things to do, some out of our price range, and some not. You do not have to stay there to enjoy the activities.
      • Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt – SO MUCH FUN! They provided a book of clues and we had to follow the clues to find the 10 elves around the resort and then figure out each of their names with the additional clues. It took us about 2 hours but we’re slow and we took our time just to take it all in. Seriously, this was a blast and cost $12 total. At the end, you turn your information in to receive a prize (an Elf on the Shelf coloring book + crayons). Definitely worth the $12. IMG_9712
      • Nativity tour – learn about the birth of Christ on the front lawn with a gorgeous narrated Nativity scene. FREE
      • Light/Water Show – set to music, this light/water display is simply beautiful. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also FREE!
      • ICE! – an indoor winter wonderland kept at a chilly 9 degrees housing 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, four ice slides (yes, you read that correctly, SLIDES made out of ice), six individual rooms depicting the story of The Nutcracker, a live carving zone, and a full Nativity from crystal clear ice. We opted out of this activity because it was $40/person but if we were rich, we totally would have.
      • other activities that are offered right inside the Opryland Resort include: Arctic ice skating/snow tubing, gingerbread decorating, Nutcracker Character Breakfast, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Musical, and so much more.

Whether you head to Nashville to enjoy the live music, the bright lights, the food or the shops, you will certainly have a great time.  If you head to Nashville any time soon, let me know and I will start packing. Questions? Go ahead and ask away in the comments below.

 

…it’s Christmastime in the city.

I’ve always dreamt of visiting NYC at Christmas. In my mind, it was so magical. So many movies further ignited my love for Christmas in the city,  Serendipity, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2, Elf, and don’t forget Elouise. I just had to see it for myself!

Growing up, holidays were made so special by the traditions that my mom created with us. My memories of every birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, always included her doing what she did best, hosting.  My mom suddenly passed away this year and I remember immediately thinking about the holidays. I decided to skip them, all of them, starting with Thanksgiving. I informed Matthew that we would be going away for Thanksgiving this year and pretending that it didn’t even happen…no turkey, no dressing, no parade, no smiling, it was going to be loads of fun. As November grew closer and closer, I think he realized that I was serious and suggested that we not skip Thanksgiving and maybe see New York at Christmas.  I suddenly decided that maybe a little turkey, some dressing, and a few smiles might not be impossible to get through if it meant seeing the city all dressed up for Christmas. So, we started planning.

We decided that we would go the first week of December, right after the lighting of the tree and we would ice skate at Rockefeller, and see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City, and drink frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity, and dance in all of the snow…yeah, most of that didn’t happen.  For one, we didn’t end up going the first week of December because the hotel prices were just plain mean.  We waited and the prices started to drop as December went on and we ended up on the week of Christmas which was even more magical! Also, can we talk about the snow, wow El Nino, way to ruin some of the magic with your 60 degree NYC weather in December. So, the snow was marked off the list after much much much prayer that God would somehow change the temps. But, if you’ll keep reading, you can see what we did get to mark off of the list.

– P L A N N I N G   Y O U R   T R I P   T O   N Y C:

* GETTING THERE: First things first, how will you get there?  Car, plane, train?  We enjoy driving, most of the time it is less expensive for a family of three and you get to enjoy seeing more along the way and it’s only a 12 hour drive for us.  …but driving isn’t for everyone! Sometimes, you can get  a really great deal on airfare, and sometimes you have a child that doesn’t ride well, and sometimes you live a little too far to justify driving.  Other things you have to consider when driving are gas and tolls.  The car you drive makes a huge difference when considering the amount of money you will spend on the trip. Does it get good gas mileage?  The route you take to the city is extremely important, we have travelled there before without knowing and spent $100 in tolls, ONE WAY!  This time, we went about 45 minutes out of the way and paid around $10.

*STAYING THERE:  There are two bazillion hotels in NYC, so you definitely have choices. We’ve stayed in several different areas on the city before in several different hotels but this trip was definitely our favorite. We initially thought we wanted to stay at The Plaza because well, Kevin from Home Alone stayed there and Elouise obviously lives there so it had to be spectacular.  You want to know what else is spectacular about the The Plaza? The price! It was well over $900/night for a standard room in December. No thank you.  We use Priceline, Expedia, and Trip Advisor ALOT when traveling. If you use it the right way, you can get unbelievable deals on your stay.  This trip, Priceline won and we ended up staying at Loews Regency NYC on Park Avenue across from Central Park, a five star hotel for VERY little! The people were unbelievable, so accommodating, so friendly, and our room was stunning. Sometimes you have to give up some of the niceties as a Priceline guest of the hotel, for instance, you will most likely be next to the elevator or have a handicap accessible bathroom or have a beautiful view of the parking lot. …and have you ever seen the hotel rooms in NYC? Micro, teeny, tiny, itty bitty, however you say it, they small! …but Loews Regency showed out by giving us a Park Avenue view, huge (for NY) room that was absolutely beautiful. They even provided umbrellas for us and it was a good thing they did because my weave in the rain…yikes! Needless to say, we will be booking Loews Regency for future NYC visits.IMG_9330 4.JPG

*WHAT TO EAT:
Food is always a challenge for us when traveling to NYC because of the astronomical prices. They value their food! This time, I did some research and found some hidden gems thanks to some adorable IG users that live in the city. Our favorites?

  1. Dominique Ansel Bakery:  let me just say two words, cookie + shot!  This gem was a dream! DREAM! If you walk, it’s a haul, but so worth it. Can I just explain what the cookie shot is? It’s like you’re getting high-fives from Heaven, thats what it’s like! Close your eyes and imagine a chocolate chip cookie that is better than your imagination will allow in the form of a shot glass…WARM! Then imagine it is lined with chocolate and then imagine them pouring cold milk in the center. Heavenly high-fives!!! I just wish that I could explain it. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.  Hurry up, drink the milk, because that warm cookie is about to soak it all up.  *Things you should note about the bakery: they start serving the cookie shots after 3 PM but their other creations are divine as well, i.e. the frozen s’more, (black truffle ice cream covered in chocolate feuilletine and honey marshmallow, torched to order and served on a smoked willow branch, fresh to order warm madeleines, and the Cronut (cross between croissant and donut). Don’t be in a hurry, you WILL wait in line…for a long while! The DAB people are so friendly, seriously, they all were kind to us even though they were so incredibly busy. You just have to go! You have to! Seriously, go!12391054_845892688216_4500238167307239758_n
  2. Tompkins Square Bagels: allow me to inform you that they have sprinkles in their cream cheese. I could stop at that sentence and it would be enough to make any human dart off to NYC just for a bagel, but there’s more! They make their bagels fresh every hour!!! Obviously, I knew that I would get the birthday cake cream cheese on plain bagel but Matthew wasn’t feeling rainbow sprinkles for some reason. My suggestions, ask the TSB people and they will create you something special. They made Matthew a Bacon Egg and Cheese with chive cream cheese on a fresh everything bagel.  Delicious! Did I tell you about how kind everyone was in this place? I mean, we basically became BFF with the owner and almost convinced him to move to Greenville. I’m telling you, this is a place that you cannot pass up on your NYC visit. Things you should know: you WILL wait in line but that just means it’s that good! Also, you WILL walk a ton to get here if you don’t take a cab, also worth the walk. You get to see so much more of the city, parts of the city that you’d never see if you don’t take the cab and you save a ton of money.

  3. Tacombi on Bleecker Street: get ready for the CUTEST little authentic mexican joint you ever did see.  This little piece of cuteness will be so kind to your wallet too, the Crispy Fish taco is just $4.49 and might I suggest adding the Panucho De Lechon taco, a great suggestion from our waiter. Also, you’ll want to wash those tacos down with fresh Horchata made right there on the spot.  The atmosphere was perfection and the food was right there with it. Everything about this place has us wanting more.

  4. The Lobster Place at Chelsea Market: Whether you want fresh lobster, shrimp, delicious chowder or sushi, this is your place. It won’t empty your wallet and the CM atmosphere is one of our favorites. We ended up with three different chowders (lobster was the family favorite), fried shrimp and chips, and a lobster roll…all delicious, not life changing, but delicious. On your way out, walk across the hall to Amy’s Bread for dessert.

  5. Amy’s Bread: Raise your hand if you love carbs! *hand raised over here! This is where all of the cool carbs hang out and you want to hang out with the cool carbs. You have to get a piece of her Yellow Cake with Pink Frosting, thats actually what it’s called and that’s actually what it is. You just gotta get it!

  6. Serendipity3: If you want reservations for next December, go ahead and call this week. The shop is small and you will be waiting forever to enjoy a frozen hot chocolate. We ended up having to leave the line because the wait was so long and I did shed one tear on my left cheek like in the soap operas but I still survived and vowed to go back on our next visit.

You may think to yourself, “did they just eat sweets the whole trip?” I’m not ashamed to say, yes, we ate sweets the whole time. Food is FUN…until it hits those buns.

*WHERE TO VISIT: When people ask me what we did while we were there, I have to think, “what in the world did we do?” We did a whole lotta lookin’ and a whole lotta walking’!

  1. The ginormous window displays and sidewalks around the city are reason enough to walk, they are too unbelievable to even explain, some of them are even interactive. You have to see them for yourself. Macy’s honored the anniversary of Charlie Brown and created window displays that could hold your attention for hours.Just walk around with no place else to be, that’s the best part. No itinerary in the city that never sleeps! FREE!8761_845893331926_8390590336446131240_n
  2. The light show at Saks Fifth Avenue was something to behold. You can hear and see from miles away that something spectacular is going on. There are thousands of people crowded to watch, its like the entire city stops while it’s going on so if you are like me and not great in crowds, prepare yourself and stand a little further away to experience the splendor! FREE!saks-fifth-avenue
  3. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular was one of my favorite things we did. It was spectacular indeed. We didn’t purchase tickets prior to our visit like most planners would naturally do and I am really glad that we didn’t.  We spoke the Concierge at Loews Regency and he suggested that we go to the Radio City Ticket Office for the best prices.  We went up expecting to sit in the last row of the third mezzanine for $80/person but the kind soul behind the glass gave us Row 12, orchestra, in front of the stage and he will forever be in my heart for it. The show was breathtaking and they even had a live nativity which made me a little “teary.” Don’t even get me started about when it started snowing in the place! Finally got the snow I prayed for. It was a beautiful show that I will definitely go to again.10155736_845892523546_3077689505502997253_n
  4. Ice Skating: ok, here’s where I become heartbroken all over again. Ice skating is so expensive in NYC, no matter where you go. Several people suggested that we skate in Central Par or Bryant Park but if I was going to skate, it was going to be in front of that gold statue at Rockefeller. It was $200 so we opted out of the ice skating for this year. You will see a pic of us in front of that gold statue next year though!1238_845893117356_5381975591535480748_n.jpg
  5. Chelsea Market is one of our favorite places to visit. With it’s old brick exposed walls, pretty string lights in the archway, and adorable little pop up shops and restaurants, it’s a must! While you’re there, eat a little something from the list above. You will not be disappointed.1653467_845893616356_2359600006316481210_n
  6. The Today Show: if you can drag yourself out of bed after all of the eating and walking, you have to visit The Today Show. I can’t say for sure about the other anchors, but Willie Geist was one of the nicest people we’ve met. He carried on conversations with everyone without acting like he was busy or in a hurry and took pics with us, talked to MC and told us about his daughter that is the same age. If you want a good spot, you’ll need to get there around 6:30 AM. We didn’t, but still enjoyed being there. If you want to make it on camera, take a cute baby with you, they love cute babies!1936882_845892842906_3870814143636169236_n.jpg
  7. Santa – there are many Santas in NYC and they say that the Macy’s still houses the “real Santa.” I’m sorry, but the real Santa you will find at The Plaza Hotel.  The Macy’s Santa setup looks like Gatlinburg, TN and while I love visiting Gatlinburg, it isn’t something you’d expect from NYC. It just wasn’t at all what I imagined and really doesn’t fit with the vibe Macy’s puts off at Christmas which is amazing. So, we found the real Santa at The Plaza and he was so kind and we walked right up, no line and he immediately took baby girl by the hand and they chatted about all things Christmas. He told her all about Jimmy coming to him each night to tell him how good she had been and they talked about the new toys he had made. It was truly magical.10458438_845893187216_243457503073602909_n
  8. Stroll through Central Park…during the day! Or, get proposed to near the bridge. FREE!12391409_845893062466_8885424193046016274_n
  9. Dylan’s Candy Store – Every child’s dream and every parent’s nightmare, a three story candy store!  The floor is even made from candy, it’s insane. I’m talking, modern day Willy Wonka Factory folks that you have to see for yourself!M

We had so much fun on our trip and we crashed when we got home…already planning another trip for next December. Maybe we’ll find a few new spots, but we’ll definitely return to our favorite spots for sure.  Y’all pack your bags and let’s just all go together next year! Deal?  If you happen to go before our group trip next year, be sure to post your pics in the comments, I’d love to pretend that I was with you. …and you have any questions, feel free to ask.

 

 

 

 

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Hello, my name is…

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If you’ve stubbled upon this blog and don’t have a clue what is going on, allow me to introduce myself. Hi. I’m Delecta…I love Jesus, my cute family, great food, good coffee, pretty things that sparkle, crafting, traveling, and the list goes on.  A little over three years ago, I got a call from my husband who was on his way to work informing me that he was quitting his job. He decided to make his dream a reality and start a company of his own called, Anchor Bat Company. We basically sold everything we had, became a one car family, and started eating at home more. It wasn’t a blast, but I am proud to say that we now make wooden baseball bats. How cool is that? It hasn’t been easy but it’s so inspiring to watch him make it happen.

We get to travel a lot with the business and I am a firm believer that every trip should be built around the best food in that area. …that’s exactly how this blog came about, great food! I will be sharing tips from my personal experiences of traveling, where to visit, where to stay when you get there and definitely the food that you cannot pass up on your stay.  We do travel a ton but it’s always nice finding our way back home to Greenville, SC. Here, you can find all of the things mentioned above, the best places to stay, and the foods that no human should ever pass up so I will be sharing my thoughts on the hidden gems of my area too.

To be honest, this blog will be used to document our day to day life for personal use too but if you find it interesting, we welcome you to join in on the ride.  Buckle up…

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