Category Archives: I love Memphis

Another Lately Post

Thankfully several of you have mentioned that you really like the Lately posts and I’m glad for that because I have another one for you today. 🙂 So let’s pretend we’re having a coffee date and I’ll fill you in on things lately.

oreo.jpg

I was surprised in my last post how many of my newer readers mentioned that they hadn’t seen Oreo before or recently. I take so many pictures of him that I guess I just assume that I must be sharing most of them (let’s be real, I totally text them to people all the time, ha!). But I guess I’m not putting as many on here or Instagram as I thought. So here’s a beauty for ya today. 🙂

rach and ada

It’s summer time which means our small group from church is now meeting pool side on Sunday evenings. This is sweet Miss Ada Grace who you guys met in February. She loved her first pool experience! She did not, however, love looking at the camera. 😉

fix it and finish it (2)

Re-runs of the Fix It & Finish It episode that we were on in 2014 will come on TV from time to time and without fail we will get a text or call from someone (or usually several someones) freaking out over seeing us on TV. Sometimes it’s someone who has known us a long time and already knows about it, but every now and then it will be someone we’ve met more recently who didn’t know about this happening. This past week the episode was playing again and we got texts from family and friends about it. Such a sweet reminder of a precious gift that was given to us! You better believe I am still so thankful every time I walk into that room. 🙂

editing photos

Busy season is still in full swing for another couple of weeks before the real heat of summer hits. I photographed a senior yesterday and tomorrow’s session is with an 18 month old. And of course, I’m still working on editing previous sessions (for most sessions I try to have photos back to clients within 2-3 weeks so I don’t give myself an opportunity to be too backlogged). I’m busy, but I’m loving every minute of it! 🙂

You guys know that I love Memphis so I just have to share this video with you. For those who don’t know, Justin Timberlake is from Memphis. And trust me, everyone and their brother here in Memphis either knows him or knows one of his family members or knows someone who knows the family – there is a lot of pride over the fact that he’s from here. Anyway, Memphis made a video for JT’s song Can’t Stop the Feeling and it’s pretty awesome. Here’s a taste of Memphis (some iconic sights & foods & good dancing) for you!

Love it. 🙂

And last, but not least (actually I put this last so it would stay fresh in your minds as you leave this post), I wanted to share with you guys that my friend, Julia, started a fashion blog called The Trendy Pharmacist about a month and a half ago and it is awesome! She shares fashionable clothes you can wear to work that are still comfortable. So go check it out!

Love Rach

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The 1,000th Post {Giveaway}

Well, my friends, WordPress has let me know that this post is my one thousandth post on this blog. I actually started my very first blog on June 9th, 2003 over at Xanga. Nearly 13 years ago! Anyone remember Xanga? That was back in the days of MySpace and AOL chat. I’m officially dating myself now, ha! It has been nearly 13 years since I started blogging and it has been such a fun journey. I’ve had a couple of blogs over the years, but I started this one on WordPress back in 2010 with a post about poop (it was a rough day 😉 ). And today this blog officially reaches 1,000 blog posts. So it’s clearly time to celebrate!

And how do we celebrate?? PRESENTS! 🙂

You guys know I love Memphis. This city is all heart. Grit & grind. We have awesome food and so many people who are passionate about caring for each other. It’s a rough city in some ways, but it’s also an incredible place to live. It’s also a great place to come and visit, but I know many of you are far, far away. So today I’m offering one lucky winner a little taste of Memphis! 🙂

memphis giveaway.jpg

All the goodies! None of this is a sponsored post – I purchased each of these items as a way to say “thank you” to you guys for sticking with me through one thousand blog posts and for encouraging me along the way! I just wish I had a little care package to send to each of you, but at least we can go with the luck of the draw on this! 🙂

bbq seasoning.jpg

So first up is the BBQ seasoning! Memphis is famous for her BBQ and while you have to come here to really enjoy the secrets of the perfectly smoked meat, you can have a taste of it at home by using these seasonings! 🙂 I’ve blogged about how much I love both Corky’s BBQ Ribs and Rendezvous’ BBQ Nachos. If only 3 Little Pigs, home of my favorite pulled pork sandwich, had seasonings to sell. But you will just have to come visit Memphis for that particular joy! 🙂

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I’ve also shared with you guys here on the blog how much I love Bartlett Soap Company and their products! I love that their products are plant based and all organic, not to mention absolutely luxurious! My favorite is the Good Morning Sunshine soap which is included in this giveaway. It smells so delightful and it is super moisturizing.

j brooks coffee.jpg

J. Brooks is Christopher’s favorite local coffee (not to mention several of our friends’ favorite as well). It is roasted right here in Memphis! We have a lot of overlap with this company including the fact that my old boss was a big financial part of the J. Brooks start up. Which meant that when they were just starting out, they would roast their coffee in the same building where I worked. Let me tell you, it smelled incredible! Randomly, Christopher also happens to play basketball with one of the owners of this company and they’ve become friends through that. So I know we sound biased, but it’s not just us! Lots of Memphians love this coffee! I chose the Gallant blend because it’s Christopher’s favorite. It’s stout, deep, with teasing shades of chocolate. Winner, eh? 😉

ekata necklace.jpg

And finally, Ekata Designs is a company that offers employment, income, and training to refugees in Memphis. You can see more of their jewelry here on their website as well as read more about them and their mission on their about page. For this giveaway I picked out the Dreamer necklace (the chain is 24″ long for a visual) because I thought it was so pretty! 🙂

To enter the giveaway just leave a comment below letting me know which item you are most excited to receive if you win! The giveaway will be open until midnight on April 24th after which a winner will be randomly chosen and announced! 🙂

Love Rach

Visiting Graceland during Elvis Week

We’re only on day 3 of 30, but it has been AWESOME so far! I know I said on Monday that we were planning a low key night in, but halfway through the day we realized that it’s currently Elvis week and we’ve never been to Graceland for it before. So we had a quick dinner at home and then we were off to Graceland!

graceland{us at Graceland in 2006}

We’ve been to Graceland once before. It was before we moved to Memphis. This shot was taken in 2006 when we were still college students. We had come to Memphis for Christmas with my extended family and my mom snapped this shot of us outside the front gates of Graceland. Check out how young we look. And how classy we are in our sweats & hoodies aka traveling clothes. 😉 Little did those youngsters know that in two short years we’d be married and living in Memphis!

us at graceland 2015

There we are this week in front of Graceland! This photo was taken by our newest friends from the UK. Flo and Linda. They live 90 minutes apart in England and yet they met here in Memphis. Flo has been to Graceland for Elvis week 8 times and Linda has been here for Elvis week 15 times. This is Linda’s first trip without her husband who just passed away this year, but she said that it as sad as it is to be here without him, it feels like coming home to family. We were blown away by the community of people we discovered who gather together every year in our city.

us graceland2

When Linda and Flo heard that we lived here in Memphis, they told us how jealous they are. It cost Linda and her family $10k this year to come here for this. They couldn’t believe that we live in Memphis and that this is only our second time to ever come to Graceland. We didn’t dare tell them that we’ve never even been inside (We’ll make it happen one of these days)! Plus, we’ve been to Graceland Too and that’s just as awesome. 😉 You guys should’ve heard them in their adorable British accents, “Live ‘ere in Memphis and never come to Graceland?! Can you believe it?” They cracked us up! I’m pretty sure it’d be how I’d feel if I heard someone living in Rome had only gone to the Colosseum once. And never even bothered to pay to go in. Just sounds ludicrous.

elvis' grave

Linda and Flo were just the tip of the iceberg with people who make the trek to Memphis to honor Elvis during the week of the anniversary of his death. Tens of thousands come every year during this week alone (I heard on the news that it was 35,000 in 2013, I’m not sure how many this year). There were so many different languages being spoken. We saw a woman weeping at his grave and many others sitting around in reverent quiet. It’s humbling in a way to see people who have come from across the world to visit the place I call home. Elvis has had such an incredible impact on music and generations of people.

elvis is forever

It wasn’t the low key night we had originally planned, but it was way way better. We had such fun and really loved getting to meet Flo & Linda. A night well spent! We had more of a low key night last night (grilling out and packing). And tonight there will be more adventures! 🙂

Have you been to Graceland before?

Is there something your city that tourists flock to?

Love Rach

A home away from home

I love Memphis for so many reasons, but I have to say that St. Jude is near the top of that list. For those who don’t know, St. Jude is a research hospital here in Memphis that welcomes families from around the world who have children suffering from cancer and other diseases. No family pays a penny for treatment, travel, housing, or food because St Jude believes that the only thing the family should have to worry about is helping their child live.

Did you catch that? Not a penny on treatment, travel, housing, or food. That’s incredible.  

I’ve known and loved this about St. Jude for years. But today I learned more about the free housing they offer to families. This morning I was invited for a tour of the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis. And oh my heart, you guys, what a special place.

welcome

Floor to ceiling, the RMH is full of color and life. It’s clear that it’s designed for children and their families from the minute you walk in the door. There are play areas are around every corner of the campus and gathering areas all throughout. It reminded me of college life… but much classier. Individual rooms for each family (similar to a hotel), but then with so many common areas for eating and visiting and playing. The idea is to bring together these families who are facing such similar things to give them community. This short 2 minute video from the families’ perspectives explains it much better than I can:

Oh my gracious, those precious babies fighting for their lives. RMH houses children from birth to 19 years old who are being treated at St. Jude (along with their families). At no cost to the families. Just like St. Jude. Oh, I loved this place. So much so that I started asking about volunteer opportunities (as you guys know, we’re looking for new possibilities for this fall). I struck up a conversation with the volunteer sitting at the front desk and she shared with me the joy and fulfillment of volunteering at Ronald McDonald House.

ms kay

I’d like you guys to meet Ms. Kay. She has been volunteering at RMH for 3 years now. I loved how her eyes lit up when she talked about how much she loves getting to be a part of helping here. I can only imagine the blessing her smile has been to so many hurting families over those years. She is one of over 1,000 RMH of Memphis volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering here, please check out the volunteer opportunities listed on their website. Or if you’d like to give financially, they have several ways for you to do that. And if you live in a city that hosts your own Ronald McDonald House, consider looking into how you can get involved.

socks

John Parie, the Communications Coordinator, gave me a tour of the campus and answered all my many questions (I love being a blogger, by the way – people actually like when I’m curious and ask questions, ha!). As a thank you he gave me these awesome socks so I can show my support of the Ronald McDonald House. If you’d like your own pair of socks, you can purchase them by visiting the front desk of the RMH of Memphis. Or you can check your local chapter for availability. 🙂

Thanks, Ronald McDonald House of Memphis for having me out today and thank you especially for all you do. You guys are just one more reason to love Memphis. 🙂

Love Rach

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland…

Sunday night we got our annual icepocalypse. So naturally Monday morning the city of Memphis shut down. There are many reasons I love living in the South, but the fact that 2 inches of ice shuts down the city makes me all kinds of happy. We get to stay home and snuggle and be grateful we don’t live in Boston. 😉

Of course it’s only ever the first day. Today is just as icy as yesterday and yet parts of Memphis are back up and running (not schools, but most people are returning to work today). The low tomorrow is 1 degree (yes, DEGREE. Not degrees. Because it’s just ONE. Brrr!) which means that the ice definitely won’t be melting any time soon and the roads will continue to be a bit treacherous. But kids will return to school and the city will come back to life.

So there is just something so magical about that very first winter storm day every year. Because we always get to stay home and play. 🙂

usThe Starbucks by our house was open for a few hours yesterday morning so naturally we started our day with hot steaming coffee!

us1We were using a remote & tripod to take these photos and Christopher was in charge of the remote. He kept saying silly things to make me laugh and this was one of those random shots where he caught a genuine smile (you can see it in my eyes).

us2Fake drinking our coffee because it seemed like a good idea at the time (we kept laughing while trying to take this shot because we felt kind of ridiculous). But it’s cute! So I’m sharing!

us3This guy. Oh how I love him. Sometimes my heart can’t contain all the love and it just overflows. I am so grateful that I get to live life with him.

us4Yeah, he’s pretty much my most favorite. 🙂

us5Telling Oreo that he’s about to go outside into the cold with us!

And this is our poor pup attempting to walk on the ice in our backyard. 😉

We had a delightful day yesterday. Christopher is in busy season at work so he ended up having to work from home for part of the day, but it was just still so nice to have him sitting 10 feet away. And we had fun snuggling together inside where it’s warm while watching the sleet/ice/snow fall. 🙂

How much snow/ice does it take to shut down the city where you live?
Love Rach

The Beautiful Mosaic that is Memphis

There are so many reasons I love the city of Memphis, but I was reminded of one of them last night when going through some old pictures from last year. In March of 2013, members of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in Memphis to protest the changing of the names of three city parks. The names were being changed from ones honoring the Confederate troops to names that were more racially sensitive. I didn’t love that there were members of the KKK hanging out in my city propagating racial division, but I loved my city’s response to them. This was a two page spread in our local paper during the weekend that they were here:

memphis' response to kkk rally

That weekend Memphis threw a huge party on the other side of town full of fun games for the family, live music, and lots of food. The Memphis Mayor, A.C. Wharton had this to say after the weekend, “We in Memphis and Shelby County and in this region took what could have been the worst of times and turned it into the best of times, in terms of showing that we can tolerate dissent even when the voices are voices that we’re not pleased with.”

Our diversity really is what makes up the beautiful mosaic that is Memphis. 🙂

iheartmemphis

True story. I really do heart Memphis. 🙂

Do you now or have you ever lived in a city you love?
Love Rach

Choose 901

There is an organization here in Memphis called Choose 901. Their mission is to help you fall in love with the city of Memphis. (901 is our area code). As you guys know, Christopher and I volunteer with a group of teens and this past weekend Choose 901 hosted our JR highers. And as you also know, we love Memphis. So we were pretty pumped about the weekend!

memphis jonesFriday night our weekend kicked off with a performance/history lesson by Memphis Jones. You guys, I could’ve listened to him talk all night. He knows so much about music history and Memphis history and how those two intertwine so perfectly. He is passionate about his love for Memphis and just listening to him talk made me fall even more in love with Memphis. It’s amazing how much Memphis has influenced music world-wide (and not just because of Elvis)!

 And to give you guys an idea of what he sounded like… here he is singing “Burning Love” by Elvis. At 29 seconds when he looks over at where I’m filming and you see him chuckle as he’s singing… that’s because he caught a glimpse of Lyndal and I sitting side by side singing and dancing back to him. 😉

The next morning we split up into teams and went around Memphis taking photos of places that make us love our city. Christopher and I got paired with three 6th grade boys and let me tell you, spending the day with them was oh-so-different than being with 11th & 12th grade girls (the age of the girls I mentor). But it was a lot of fun! The boys were sweet and thought that we were SO cool. This is why I love 6th & 7th grade kids. They think we’re the bomb dot com. 😉

christopher jack grady graysonGrady, Christopher, Grayson, and Jack standing on the ledge in Downtown Memphis (don’t worry, this particular ledge was only 5 feet off the ground – we were on top of a parking garage, haha!).

 And as a bonus for you… here are the boys (and Christopher) singing and dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell. Everywhere we drove we had the music blasting and lots of car dancing. I loved that these kids were having so much fun! 🙂

mississippi queen bwNext we went on a prayer walk around downtown Memphis. I snagged this picture of the Queen of the Mississippi Riverboat as we walked by. Did you know you can take cruises down the Mississippi river? You definitely can. I loved how this one turned out in black and white. It looks like such a classic shot with the bridge in the background and everything.

me avery audrey courtneyAnd then it was lunch time! We went to Central BBQ (which I will blog about later this week). This shot was taken just outside the restaurant. Audrey, Avery, and Courtney are some of my favorite 8th graders. They are SO sweet. And they also still think I’m cool. 😉

rick trotterAfter lunch Rick Trotter aka The Voice of the Grizzlies (our NBA team here in Memphis) spoke to us about his love for this city. And naturally we asked that he use his announcer voice at least once which resulted in:

Okay so that was as poorly mashed up video of two separate moments, but I wanted you guys to hear him AND see our kids cheering, haha! But anyway, Rick was pretty cool.

rachtopher choose901True story: I love living life in Memphis with this man. We choose 901. 🙂

Love Rach