The romantic anniversary post

Just like every anniversary trip, Christopher and I took some time to renew our vows. It was a little less formal this year. We went out to the beach late at night on our anniversary and sat under the stars together. We snuggled and took time to tell each other how much we loved each other and why. And to remind each other that we will continue to choose each other every day forever. It was a pretty awesome moment. But no cameras this year since it was so dark. Definitely no majestic gorgeous moment like our vow renewal last year. Still beautiful in it’s own way, though. However, because we’re us – we naturally still took adorable photos on the beach together earlier that day! So here are some of my favorites!

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rach and chris4

rach and chris3

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I will never have enough words to describe how full my heart is. Christopher is a good man and I am so thankful that I get to live life with him. :) Happy six years, my love!

Love Rach

So. Much. Good. Food.

Christopher grew up going to Destin on vacation every summer and this past trip was our third time to go together so obviously we love it. While we were there we started talking about how cool it would be if we had a place that we took our kids back to every summer just because Christopher has so many great memories there. Destin is pretty high on that list right now, haha! Of course, while we’re both darker complected, there’s no guarantee what our kiddos will look like. Of our four parents, three of them are very fair skinned. So yeah, when I birth a blue-eyed, red-headed, fair skinned kid I’m not sure what we’re going to do. I guess coat them with sunscreen, put them in a wet suit and giant hat, and put them under an umbrella. ;) But I’m getting ahead of myself…

rach and christopher

Since we’ve been to Destin so often we have a pretty good idea of the best places to eat. This year instead of trying a bunch of new places we decided to stick with our favorites. :)

fisherman's wharf2Christopher grew up eating at Fisherman’s Wharf every summer and we’ve eaten here every time we’ve visited together as well. Their food is SO delicious! I love their mahi mahi and fish tacos and their loaded baked potatoes and their mac & cheese. It’s all so good! This is definitely our favorite spot for seafood in Destin!
Fisherman's Wharf on Urbanspoon

fat clemenza'sFat Clemenza’s is our favorite Italian spot in Destin. Their garlic knots are ah-mazing! And their bolognese is one of my favorites! I’d say it’s tied with Maggiano’s as my favorite bolognese I’ve eaten in the States which is saying a lot because you guys know how much I love bolognese! So yummy! And it’s so much food that I can take half of it back to the condo to eat later! Love having it twice this past weekend! :D Christopher tried the seafood pasta for the first time this time around and it was pretty good. But to us it wasn’t worth the price tag. Next time Christopher will just get the tried and true pizza (which I’ve blogged about before here).
Fat Clemenza's on Urbanspoon

fujiWe did stop at one new place. Mostly for lunches we just ate snacks on the beach, but one day I was really craving sushi so we drove to the closest spot to get some sushi to go. We were expecting just mediocre because we didn’t do any research on this place, but it was DELICIOUS! I even got some noodles and a little sweet & sour chicken which were also great. We will definitely be back to Fuji’s the next time we’re in Destin!
Fuji Sushi & Seafood Buffet on Urbanspoon

mcguires2We hit up McGuires twice while we were in Destin because we love it so much! We had Tyina as our server the first night and she was literally the nicest server we’ve ever had. Ever. She was just so genuinely kind and sweet. For those of you who have never been to McGuires, it’s such a fun spot. There is over a million dollars in dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceilings all over the restaurant. And the mens & women’s restrooms can be a little confusing if you don’t read carefully (look at the pics above). It’s such a fun spot, though!

mcguiresTheir bread is like a taste of heaven. I can’t even describe how good it is. And just completely covered in honey butter. You guys, so good. Their potato skins were to-die-for. Definitely the best ones I’ve ever had! They are like an entire meal in of themselves! Their nachos were ENORMOUS (this photo doesn’t do them justice). We barely even made it through half of them. I loved the nachos, but they weren’t Christopher’s favorite (he didn’t like the mess they made because they were piled so high). And their Senate Bean Soup is still just 18 cents because that’s what they first charged for it when the restaurant opened 1977. It’s super tasty. I would order every single one of these items again!

steaks from mcguiresBoth nights that we were there we split a steak. The first night we ordered their highest rated, priciest prime steak. And the second night we ordered the least expensive “choice” steak. Christopher enjoyed them both and to tell you the truth… I actually really liked the “choice” (aka “cheaper”) steak way more than the pricey one! I’m not sure what that says about my taste quality, haha! But really all their food is SO good!
McGuire's Irish Pub of Destin on Urbanspoon

rachChristopher snapped this shot of me watching the beginning of the sunset from our balcony one night before we headed to dinner. :) 

Did you grow up going to the same vacation spots?
Do you prefer to return to favorite restaurants to to try new places?
Love Rach

That one time we could have died…

As many of you know from Instagram and Facebook, Christopher and I had quite the wake up call on our last night in Destin. A little before 3:45am Christopher woke up to the smell of smoke. Thinking someone nearby must be cooking, he tried to shrug it off and go back to sleep. But then he kept thinking “what if it’s something serious?” so he got up to walk around the condo to see what was going on. Noticing that the condo seemed foggy, but still in a foggy state himself (again, remember that this is the middle of the night and he didn’t have his contacts in), he walks out to our balcony to see if he notices anything out there. Realizing that the smell is definitely in the condo and not coming from outside, he realizes that something serious is happening. However, the detector on the ceiling of the hallway isn’t going off. Unsure if it’s a fire detector or smoke detector, he continues to walk around the condo looking for the source of the smoke.

Meanwhile, I woke up to the smell of what I thought was someone smoking outside our door. I kept trying to go back to sleep, but the smell kept me awake. So finally I got up and walked out of the room to find Christopher at the other end of the condo with an equally confused look on his face. I flipped on a light switch and we both immediately see that the condo is full of smoke (like not just a little smokey, but more than I’ve ever see before). You could see through it, but it was really hazy. I say, “Is that smoke?” and Christopher who has been awake and processing longer than I have says, “Yes, definitely!” Since we see no flames, we called security first (again, we are still thinking that this smoke is coming from somewhere outside our condo even though we don’t smell it outside the condo) and walked into the hallway (so we could BREATHE – it was awful in that condo). Security came up and when he saw the condo full of smoke, he immediately called the fire department. 

fire truck

The fire chief said it smelled like an electrical fire {the theory is that there was an electrical fire, but it burned out before we woke up – we don’t like to think about what would have happened if we hadn’t woken up and kept breathing in that smoke}. After the condo aired out a bit, they allowed us back in to retrieve our belongings. They flipped off the breaker and evacuated us to another condo. By the time we were in the new condo it was nearly 5am. Since we were planning to wake up early to see the sunrise anyway, we decided to just stay up until it was time to walk out to the beach. We both had headaches, queasy tummies and I had a cough, but over all we were fine. No lasting damage. :)  

beach1

Watching the sun rise that morning was a special moment. It signified another day of life that we have together. Because truthfully, we are never promised tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong – we are Christians and we believe in heaven and I am unbelievably excited to see God face to face someday. But I think sometimes I just assume that I will live a full life and see all my grandchildren get married and have children of their own. But sometimes life doesn’t work out like that. It’s scary sometimes when you realize how much trust you put in the things of this world. We trust that if there is danger in the middle of the night, an alarm is going to go off to wake us up so we can get to safety. We trust that if there is a car wreck, the airbag will deploy. We trust seat belts and harnesses and fire alarms. But these things fail sometimes. Or we think they are present when in reality they aren’t. We put our trust in these things, but life happens. We are never promised tomorrow. God is truly the only One we can trust in the end. He is the only One Who will never fail us. 

jetty east

By the way, we stayed at Jetty East. It was our third time to stay here and the first time we’ve had any sort of negative experience (the rest of our weekend here was wonderful as was every time we’ve been here before). They apologized profusely and comped our entire stay. This incident will not keep us from staying there again. It really is a great spot (with a great stretch of beach!!) and we appreciate how they handled this situation in the aftermath. But I can tell you right now, we’ll be bringing our own smoke detector with us when we travel anywhere from now on. Not in a paranoid way, but just in a better-safe-than-sorry sort of way. ;) 

Have you ever had an experience similar to this? 
Any possible near-death experiences?
Love Rach

Dear Beach, I love you.

Late last night Christopher and I got home from a four day beach trip to Destin, Florida. It was exactly what we needed and just so wonderful. Well, except for the part where we could’ve died on the last morning, but I’ll get to that in another post later this week. For today I want to share with you how much we love the beach. We were practically made for it. We spent every day just lounging around on the beach and playing in the water. Every day we asked ourselves why we don’t live there. Until we came home to Memphis last night and remembered all the things we love about our home too. :) Thankfully Destin is only an 8 hour drive away so it’s not difficult to visit!

beachDear God, thank You for beauty of each sunrise You paint.

beachDear sunshine, I love you.

beachDear beach, I love you just as much as I love the sunshine. The sand, the ocean… you are just wonderful.

rachDear hat and sunglasses, thanks for protecting my eyes and face so I can enjoy the beach with squinting all day. I’ll even forgive you for the awkward tan lines you leave on my face. ;)

rachDear beach chair & umbrella, I love the way you make my visit to the beach even better. The shade you offer makes it easy peasy to lounge around on the beach all. day. long. And I love you for it.

rach floatieDear floatie, thank you for the hours you kept me afloat this weekend as I drifted about in the ocean. You are practically my new BFF.

christopher and rachDear husband, I love you even more than everything on this list. Which is saying A LOT because we all know how much I love those things! :) There is no one else that I’d rather play at the beach with… or just live life with in general. You are the best! :)

Are you a beach person?
Love Rach

6 years :)

Tomorrow is mine and Christopher’s 6 year anniversary.

6 years, you guys.

6 years of marriage.

6 years of choosing each other every day.

6 years. :)

christopher and me

I’ll be back after a few days at the beach with my lover. :)

Love Rach

Mallory

As you guys know, the little boy I nanny started kindergarten this week. So this is mine and Mallory’s first week without him. You guys, it was the most pitiful thing after we dropped him off at school. She kept asking “Where Will?” and everywhere we went she kept calling out for him and looking for him. Pitiful, I tell you. In her worldview, she can’t remember a time when he wasn’t there. He’s always been her playmate and bestie. 

rach and mallorySo yesterday we wore matching braids and we did whatever she asked to do. :) Which included listening to a lot of Frozen in the car, haha! But I wanted to make her day a little better. :) 

rach and malloryShe loves “cheesing” for the camera so we even did a little mini photo shoot yesterday. :)

rach and malloryUh oh! She’s sneaking up on me! This can only mean trouble! ;) 

rach and malloryGiving kisses! There were lots and lots of those yesterday! :) 

rach and malloryI sure do love this little girl! We miss William while he’s in school, but I am excited to spend more time one-on-one with her. When she was a newborn, William and I spent lots of time together while she slept all the time. Now that he’s in school, Mallory and I have that one-on-one time. And it’s going to be a great year! :) 

Did you grow up with siblings/cousins/friends close in age that were always playmates for you? 
Love Rach

Commissary

So I want to love Commissary. I want it to be my favorite. It looks like a shack from outside, smells great from down the street, and just about always has a line out the door. I like that it’s just across the border of Memphis and is actually in Germantown so it’s a little further away from all the traditional favorites. I wanted to have my very own gem of a BBQ restaurant that not just everyone is willing to make the trek for.

commissary (1)

I’ve had Commissary’s BBQ a couple of times and I’ve always liked it, but now the stakes are a little higher. Christopher and I are on this quest to find THE BEST BBQ in Memphis. That means the best BBQ nachos, the best BBQ sandwich, and the best ribs. So I’m not just asking myself if the food is good, but if it’s BETTER than all the places we’ve tried already. This is the same problem I ran into with Central BBQ a couple of months ago. It’s tasty, but it’s just not the best in my opinion.

commissary (7)The ribs were probably the biggest disappointment. At $16 for this half plate (the least expensive way to order ribs here) we were expecting something amazing. They were okay. Not bad by any means, but certainly not as good as Corky’s (which currently holds our favorite BBQ ribs title in Memphis). They lacked the smokey flavor that we’ve come to love in Memphis BBQ. The baked beans, however, were excellent! They had a tangy-mustard taste to them that was definitely unique and delicious.

commissary (5)The BBQ nachos were good. But when comparing them to Rendezvous (our current favorite BBQ nachos), they just don’t make the cut. The meat was a little mushy and the cheese had that slight chemical taste. Do you know what I mean? A lot of nacho cheeses have that chemically flavor to me. This unfortunately was one of them. But don’t get me wrong – I still ate half of it here and the rest for dinner the next day. It may not be the best in Memphis, but it was still good!

commissary (6)

The onion rings were hands-down the best thing we ate at Commissary. They were fresh and piping hot and absolutely delicious! They are definitely the best onion rings we’ve had in the city of Memphis! YUM!

commissary (3)

We’ve heard rave reviews about their sauce and BBQ seasoning, but we didn’t find either to be spectacular. Tasty yes, but not the best. It was a sweeter sauce, but lacked the depth of Corky’s & 3 Little Pigs or the tang of Rendezvous & Showboat.

So yes, Commissary is good. They have yummy food and a faithful following (who wait, lined up, in the hot summer heat outside). But they aren’t our favorite. The onion rings and baked beans were excellent, but I wouldn’t stand outside and wait for them. If I get a craving for onion rings I’ll probably just put in an order to go and swing by to pick them up (we saw several people doing that which I definitely think is the way to go if you are local and don’t want to stand in the line)! :)

Germantown Commissary on Urbanspoon

Have you had this experience where you think a restaurant is good, but it’s not AS good as your favorite? I’m not normally so nitpicky, but we are really trying to find the best of the best in our opinion. :) 
Love Rach