One Year Later…


Has it REALLY been a year? An entire year since we packed up Stella and hit the road for one of the most epic road trips and experiences of our lives?

It has.
It really has.

There isn’t a day that has gone by this past year we haven’t thought about or reminisced on our 94 days on the road; driving from one side of this beautiful country to the other – and, then, back.

We are celebrating today (although, sadly not together); reflecting back on the days of quickly made sandwiches in parking lots, not knowing where we would be sleeping in 5 hours, pulling over every few miles for photo ops, crying over sunsets, conversations with gentlemen standing next to us at the coffee shop, and knowing that these were some of the best moments of our lives.

While we haven’t posted in quite some time, we thought today was the perfect opportunity to say hello and let each and every one of you know we are thinking about you today. Each of you in Illinois, Nebraska, Montana, Washington, California, Texas, South Carolina and everywhere in between.

Although we are still in touch with so many of you, we wanted to give you a little update on our lives, one year later.

Where in the world are Cate and Michelle? Those two far from normal girls…

After spending the holidays with our families and catching up with friends, we rang in the new year with some of our dearest in New York City.

For Michelle, the new year brought time to reflect on the next chapter of her life and where that would be taking her. She enjoyed some downtime in Jackson, NC with her family and galavanting around the East Coast visiting and catching up with friends. From NYC to Asheville to Miami. The year was off to a busy start.

In March, Michelle made the “official” move to Charlotte, NC which is where she now calls home. Settled into her own cozy apartment, Michelle has been busy exploring her new town and rediscovering her love for ethnic cuisines. Michelle is working for a recruiting company specializing in technology placements.

Bitten by the travel bug and the want and need for exploration, she continues to plan her next adventure. Where? Anyone’s guess!

As for Cate, the new year brought another stamp to her passport. New Zealand.

While on the road, Cate was presented with an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. She spent the first four months of 2014 living in Tauranga, NZ (North Island in the Bay of Plenty) nannying for her, now, extended family. While she spent most of her time in the North Island of the spectacularly stunning and breathtaking country, a month of her time was spent traveling through the South Island dreaming of a life living amongst  the Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in Marlborough. A girl can dream, can’t she?

She returned back to the States at the end of May, just when the temperatures started to warm up again!

Cate is now back where it all started in Maryland. Not having been in one country, town, abode for more than four months in the last two years, she is enjoying being settled – at least for now. She is nannying for several families in the area and loves teaching the kids about where she has been and the adventures she has had these last two years.

If all goes according to plan, a move to the West Coast will be happening in the beginning of 2015…

Oh, and Stella. How could we leave her out? Stella is stupendous. As of this afternoon, she was clocking in at 122,011 miles (24,472 more than this day last year). After having a little work done this summer, she has a new lease on life. Cate has taken over her ownership and enjoys sharing Stella’s history and adventures with everyone that jumps in her car. She misses being out on the open road just as much as us.

And, what was she doing today to celebrate? She got her oil changed at Jiffy Lube. How else would she be celebrating?

We would love to hear from you, if you wish to reach out to us, our email is still up and running:

We send you all deep love and warm wishes for a cozy fun and festive fall. After all, it is one of the best times of year…punkin’ ale and decorative gourd season.

Till next time.

Cate and Michelle
and Stella


Hello and Thank You, Farmer City!

To all our new friends in Farmer City,

We have been humbled and amazed at the outpour of emails and messages over the last few days. What started as Cate’s curiosity of the wedding dress in the window at the Farmer City Genealogical and Historical Society in October has reached you. So many of you! You have sent us countless beautiful messages. Some of you knew Keith and Jessie personally, some of you are family members, some of you are local community members, some of you are part of the church their family belongs to, some of you have no connection to Keith and Jessie but have deep roots in Farmer City, Illinois. You have expressed interested in the history of the wedding dress and this remarkable couple – Keith and Jessie. You have told us your stories and we are in awe with all you have shared with us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We are sifting through and reading every word you have written us. You have lit a fire in our bellies and a spark in our hearts. We will be reaching out to every one of you in the coming week, stay tuned!
For those of you curious what this post is all about….
Back in October, Cate wrote a piece on the wedding dress she had photographed in a window as we passed through Farmer City, Illinois. She didn’t know the photo existed until a few weeks later when she was editing her photos. Curiosity got the Cat, err, Cate. I spent hours researching and trying to learn more about Keith and Jessie and their love for each other. You can read the full blog post here:
Just this week, by luck, Elizabeth Foulks of the Farmer City Genealogical and Historical Society came across our blog and was moved and interested by what she read. She shared our blog, our Facebook page, our stories with those in Farmer City and thus begun an outpour of emails and messages. You can read some of them following the original blog post (if you scroll down).
If you have any interest in reaching out to us about Farmer City, your experience, or if you knew Keith and Jessie – please send us an email, we look forward to reading your messages. You can reach us at:
We will be in touch again soon!

Happy Friday

It’s very bittersweet to know this is our last Friday blog post.

Tomorrow marks the end of our incredible three month journey. We aren’t ready to come to terms with the reality of it all just yet, so, let us live in denial one more day.

As you know we decided at the very last minute last week to drive from Nashville to Miami. The plan was to spend 4 days there and then keep on moving. Well, 4 days turned into 5 into 6…..we stayed a week. It was absolutely beautiful weather, relaxing, calm and just what we were looking for.

The days were spent at the pool, nights were spent cooking (Cate was so happy to be back in the kitchen cooking creative meals) and a few nights were spent out on the town listening to live music and dancing the night away.

Lucky for us too, we were fortunate enough to stay at Cate’s moms apartment in Miami. We had a few nights on our own and she was back in town Monday. It’s been three months since Cate had seen her mom. We had two nights together laughing, catching up, telling stories and making cookies. Nothing like mama time.

Why leave paradise if you don’t have to?

Well, we finally had to leave yesterday…

We got into Charleston last night and had a fabulous girls night out in Avondale. Thank you Kristen! More on that later.

We are looking forward to walking around and exploring Charleston today, and spending our last night “on the road” tonight in Charleston.

More updates later.


Here are some of our favorite shots from Miami:












Tuesday 12/10-Thursday 12/12:

We met Becca about 10 years ago, at, you guessed it, a Pat McGee concert. We would see her at almost every concert, catch up on life and share another great night of music.

We made this video of one of our favorite PMB songs. Rebecca, on our way to see our girl:

Becca had a killer internship in NYC several years ago and spent a few months living with Cate (that could be a whole different blog post!).

Becca is one of the most talented photographers we know and we have been keeping an eye on her work from the internet. She has taken Nashville by storm and basically has become IT’S photographer, capturing numerous events, musicians and artists (famous and up and coming). Ever heard of Miranda Lambert? Yah we thought so. She is her tour photographer. No big deal.

Becca has been begging us to come to Nashville for several years. The timing never right, we cannot believe our cards finally aligned and we are ACTUALLY here. This is happening.

Becca lives right in the heart of it all, cutest little apartment right on Broadway within walking distance of anything and everything you need.

We had so much fun meeting all her friends (whom we felt like we already knew through her website and social media sites). Here it is, plain and simple: Becca is Miss Nashville. She knows everyone. Everyone. Everywhere we went people were rushing up to her to talk to her and catch up. Everyone. Girl, you are doing something right!


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Thank you for showing us an amazing time in Nashville and treating us to some amazing live music as well.

Check out these videos:

Also, Adley Stump from The Voice showed up and sang a little diddy:

We love you girl!!


Also, how cute are her amazing little puggies, Clementine and Winston!

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Also, we loved this sign:

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Walking (freezing) in Memphis…

Sunday, 12/8 – Tuesday 12/10:

From New Orleans, we are off to Memphis to spend a few days with Cate’s family – Uncle Dave, Aunt Amy and her cousins Leah and Maddie. Sadly, because of distance it has been a few years since Cate has seen them.

We pulled into Memphis right around dinner time on Sunday night. We knew it was the house immediately, as it was the only house on the street uberly decorated for Christmas. You can’t be in this family if you don’t decorate your house for Christmas, simple as that. Lights. Lots of lights.

We had the most spectacular two days withe the Memphis Cluck’s. Sunday night dinner all together around the dinner table with fabulous pasta and so many laughs.

Monday was a down day for us. A day to sleep, catch up on emails, blogs, photos and to relax our minds. We have been on the go nonstop the last two weeks and just needed this day to catch up. I cannot think of a better house to do this in. Cozy inside (a blistering 28 degrees outside), so much good food and not getting out of our jammies all day.

Oh, and to get in the Griswold Christmas spirit, there seems to have been a cousin Eddie sighting….


Video (A MUST WATCH!):

Monday night is taco night at the Cluck’s. From reading our blog, you now know we couldn’t have been more excited. Mexican again? Yes, please.

The last time I was in Memphis was right after Leah was born (16 years ago!). I had just gotten my license (I was 16 at the time) and I was allowed to drive my older cousin Miles to the grocery store. It was a cousin “rite of passage” in a way. Lucky for me, Leah got to bestow that on me when I was there and took me for a ride in her car. She is such an awesome and cautious driver. Congrats Leah! Next up is when Maddie turns 16…luckily that is not for a little while.

Mexican night started in the kitchen with the Feliz Navidad Pandora station, all 6 of us dancing around. What a dance party that was! I brought my specialty guac to the table (literally) and thankfully it was as much a hit in Memphis as it is on the East Coast.


Maddie, my 6 year old cousin, one of the most bravest boldest sweetest little ladies I have ever known had some serious dance moves that were the hit of the night. Maddie was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes just last year, although, you would never know. Her outlook and understanding of her illness, her bravery and positivity testing herself 6-8 times a day, it is awe inspiring and really struck a chord with us. This little bright light only sees the good, only sees the positive in life. Her laughter and smile will brighten any room. You are my brave little warrior princess sweet girl. I am inspired by you and the joy and happiness you bring to your friend and family.

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One of the hardest parts about growing up, or, I think life in general, is being far away (distance wise) from your family and friends. You get little snippets, little moments, just a few days here and there. But, they leave you wanting, craving, needing more. More moments, more laughs, more days.

That is exactly how I felt saying goodbye to the Cluck clan. I would be lying to say I didn’t cry the moment they walked out the door to head to school and work. I would be lying if we didn’t think about staying another night and another and another.


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Thank you for rejuvinating our energy and filling us with love and laughter. And, a lot of good food.

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We spent Tuesday out and about in Memphis exploring the sights. Our first stop was to Graceland. Unfortunately for us, it was closed. Apparently one Tuesday a month, they shut it down to do a power cleaning. Just our luck it was that Tuesday. We still got to walk around the grounds and take some photos despite not being able to go inside.

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It was very surreal visiting the Lorraine Motel, such a pivotal and monunmental place in our history, in civil rights, in equality, the day that Nelson Mandela was laid to rest halfway across the world. It was so beautiful to be there, to have a moment of silence for Nelson Mandela, for Martin Luther King Jr. and the thousands of individuals that fight tirelessly for equality and human rights.

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Our Memphis tour ended with a trip down Beale Street – which for the time of day was pretty quiet. But, just like Bourbon Street in New Orleans, you can see how it gets rowdy and packed at night.

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Ravenous and not wanting to leave Memphis without having some good ‘ole Memphis BBQ, we stopped into Central BBQ for lunch. Holy delicious meat. Amazing pulled pork complete with sides of mac and cheese, coleslaw, beans.

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Full bellies, full hearts, these happy girls are off to Nashville to see our friend Becca!

New Orleans!

Thursday, 12/5 – Sunday, 12/8:

There was a huge ice and snow storm quickly approaching Dallas (well, most of Texas) and we needed to keep moving or we would be spending the next five days in Dallas. Not that we wouldn’t have enjoyed that, we are just quickly running out of days. And, still so much to see!

When we woke up Thursday morning the car, the thermometer read 31 degrees, just the day before we were walking around in t-shirts in the 78 degree weather. What a difference a day makes (we love Al Roker!).

The drive to New Orleans from Dallas was pretty uneventful and long. We got into New Orleans late Thursday night and headed straight to one of Cate’s favorite places for dinner – Camellia Grill.

This would mark Cate’s fourth trip to New Orleans, this was Michelle’s first time. Cate’s four visits have all been for different reasons and have been over the last 13 years, pre and post Katrina. But, each and every visit has included a trip to Camellia Grill. This old school, take you back in time dinner is not to be missed. You sit at the counter watching it all happen in front of you. The waiters have incredible energy and fist pump you post meal. Some of the best burgers and shakes this side of the Mississippi.

We are spending the next few days with Cate’s friend Terry and her family. Cate’s first visit to New Orleans was in 2000 to visit a friend of hers that was in school at Tulane. Little did Cate know, Terry and her family live with in a stones throw of the Tulane campus. Funny to think she’s been so close to Terry’s house without even knowing it!

Our days in New Orleans were spent exploring the vibrant and colorful city. French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, popping into various bars, restaurants and little shops and art galleries. It is pretty incredible that you can hear any type of music at ANY hour in New Orleans.




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No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a meal at the famous Acme Oyster House. When we arrived, a line out the door (per usual), we decided to take two of the three open seats at the bar. Oysters ordered, wine in hand (when in New Orleans, right?), shrimp po boys on the way, we were happy little oysters.


Little to our surprise, Tony sat down right next to us – the only other open seat at the bar. Tony, from Pittsburgh, was in town for the American Hematology Society Conference (ASH). Apparently, this is the largest conference to come through New Orleans annually, and coincidentally, the weekend we were in town. Doctors everywhere!

It wasn’t until halfway through the conversation with Tony that a light bulb went off in Michelle’s head. A quick trip back down history lane for a moment. Michelle’s first job in NYC was assisting Dr. Hamlin at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He took a chance on her, he taught her life lessons as well as professional lessons and has been a huge influence on her life and a mentor.

“Wait, we used to send Dr. Hamlin and several of the other doctors to this conference when I was working for him. I wonder if he is here?”

Michelle sent off a quick email and within minutes Dr. Hamlin wrote back. Not only was he in New Orleans, we was literally 2 blocks away from where we were. How crazy is that!

He came over to Acme to join us for a catch up, and for some more oysters. Cate had heard about Dr. Hamlin for years and years, but never had the opportunity to meet him. He and Michelle had such a great time catching up on life, their co-workers and old patients. He shared photos and stories with updates on some of the patients that were in treatment when Michelle was working there. Brought tears to Michelle’s eyes knowing so many were doing well and now healthy.


Also, how many of you have heard the story of the doctor taking Michelle into the bone marrow aspiration surgery? And, in turn, Michelle almost fainting. It’s a good story. Ask her about it if you haven’t heard it. But, Dr. Hamlin is the doctor that took her in to witness the procedure.

Oh and half way through our meal the Georgia State basketball team walks on in. You forget how tall basketball players are until you are standing right next to them. We ended up having a little chat with them, wishing them well in their game against Tulane and took this snazzy photo:


Friday night we were lucky enough to have tour guide Luke at our services. He isn’t really a tour guide, but seriously Luke, you should think about quitting your day job and just take visitors out at night and show them the town. Ok, scratch that, don’t quit your day job cause you are pretty amazing at what you do. Maybe it is just that you are awesome at everything?

Cate and Luke know each other through work and it was fun to be reunited and spend some time hanging “off the clock.” Luke’s friend Emily and his cousin Rachel joined in the festivities. You girls are so fun!

The night began at Jacques-Imo’s Cafe. I know we keep saying “you have to go to this restaurant and you have to go to that restaurant and it’s really the best we have eaten,” but the food just keeps getting better and better. You can’t blame us for eating well on this trip, that is for darn sure. The food was out of this world and so southern (Michelle felt right at home). There have been a few times in the last few days we have thoughT about turning the car back around again for that alligator cheesecake. Yes, alligator cheesecake. Heavenly.

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Our first (or second if you count dinner) stop of the night was at d.b.a to check out the band Rebirth. Holy horns. These guys are insanely talented and put on quite the show. The room was packed, everyone moving around and dancing! The musicians were so into it. One of the best set of horns we have seen in a long long time. Check them out folks.




Next up on the tour was Jean Lafittes Blacksmith shop. This cozy little bar, lit dimly with candles, dark wood exposed has this sexy little feel to it. Tucked deep in the back of the room is this grandiose black piano covered in more candles. A man behind the piano singing and playing away. We sat in the stools around the bar, listening to his amazing voice and singing along. About 45 minutes had passed before we turned around and saw about 40 to 50 people had gathered behind us listening to him. Magical.


A walk down crazy Bourbon street popping in and out of bars to hear different musicians and live bands. We ended the night at the Gold Mine for a serious serious dance party. What a night it was.

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Luke, we really cannot thank you enough for showing us the best of the best in town. You have some serious dancing shoes and we cannot wait for more fun times. Rachel, loved hanging with you girl, hearing your stories and singing the night away with you. It was indeed a night we won’t forget.

As you should, we ate our way through most of New Orleans. We stumbled upon this gorgeous little restaurant, Kingfish Kitchen on Chartres Street. Beautifully decorated, reminded us a lot of one of our favorite old stomping grounds in New York – Parlor Restaurant. The food was out of this world and the drink menu would make you want to stay there for days to taste and try every single one.

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Dinner on Saturday night was at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen Uptown. We were exhausted from walking around all day, starving and just wanted something comforting, warm and tasty. At Luke’s suggestion, we popped in. We both decided on the butternut squash ravioli’s. The best decision we made was to not share dinner – we both stuffed our faces. Some of the most tasty butternut squash ravioli we have ever had. The highlight though was spending some time talking with Thom, our waiter and manager of LPK. Thom was intrigued by our travels, shared stories of his own travels, his decision to move to New Orleans years ago and why he never left. We absolutely loved spending some time with you Thom and so look forward to coming back again soon to share some delicious food – and more conversation. Thank you for your generosity and for the cool bag and hot pads we got to take home with us! A little piece of New Orleans in our new homes (wherever and whenever that may be!)


Terry, where do we even start to tell you how we feel about you or how to thank you. Simply: you made us feel so at home and so welcome. Part of the family and part of the typical morning coffee and eggs routine in the kitchen. I know Michelle is your favorite, but I love you just as much. Your love for New Orleans is infectious. Your heart is bigger than we can describe. You listen with the open ears and an open heart. You make us laugh like no other. You filled our hearts with energy and love and joy. We simply adore you and your family. Brad, we loved talking football (go Georgia!) and Bogey, sweet Bogey. We cannot wait to get back to snuggle with you again soon.

New Orleans, you stole our hearts and charmed the pants off of us. Your energy is infectious. Your music is thrilling. Your charisma is endearing. You are a city unlike any other. We are so lucky to have spent a few days with you and with your finest – Terry, Brad, Reese, Luke, Rachel, Emily (and Bogey!).


See you again soon New Orleans!


Here are some more shots:

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Oh, and did you really think we would leave without a stop at Cafe Du Monde?

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Two of our very best friends from New York (Elena and Steve) travel to Dallas for work frequently. From the beginning of our trip we had hoped that our schedules would align to meet up with either of them when we were there.  Little did we know, we would be lucky enough that they would BOTH be there at the very same time.

We arrived in Dallas on Sunday 12/1. Our first night was spent with Dr. Ward. Dr. Ward is a friend of Michelle’s old co-worker/friend, Janie. Dr. Ward’s best friend from college is Brown, Janie’s husband. Got all that? Ok, good. We arrived after dinner time and Dr. Ward was excitedly awaiting our arrival (or so we like to think). Our planning was all a bit last minute and we are so grateful to Dr. Ward for having us. Dr. Ward’s house deserves a blog post, or a magazine cover, all in and of itself. He bought the house about 10 years ago and has spent years renovating and personalizing it. Cate was really intrigued by all the pieces of art and nicknacks Dr. Ward has collected over the years from his travels, all on display. Really really cool to meet fellow travelers who have the same passion of collecting and gathering items from their travels for their homes. We had a fantastic time talking to Dr. Ward, learning more about his years in Texas, about his travels and his decision to become a doctor later in life. He is such an inspiration to us, reinforcing once again, that you can do anything on your own time and schedule. You don’t need to follow a pattern, follow the noise. Dr. Ward is also a musician (he and Brown played in a band together in college) and lucky for us he has the most gorgeous piano in his living room. We had a blast sitting around his piano listening to him play as we all sang along to some of our favorite songs.

Check out these awesome videos:

Dr. Ward, thank you so much for welcoming us, all so last minute, and so graciously. We loved our time with you and look forward to seeing you again soon. And, thank you for the most cozy comfortable scrubs. We have been wearing them on the road!

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We spent our Monday and Tuesday exploring Dallas and all its different neighborhoods. Monday’s lunch was one for the record books. If you find yourself in Dallas, head to Oddfellows on W. 7th Street. They proclaim to have the best coffee in all of Dallas. While we didn’t try all of the coffee in all of Dallas, we have had a lot of coffee on this trip. Oddfellows coffee is no joke. It took everything we had not to want to go there every day. Cate had the most delicious fried green tomato BLT and tomato soup and Michelle opted for her favorite huevos rancheros. We can see why there is a line around the block for a table on the weekends. Great little find.

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Also, we did some “window shopping” (we swear we didn’t buy anything!) and popped into the Free People store to find the cutest little idea ever. This is a wish tree. Everyone that comes into the store writes their wish on a small decorative piece of paper and gets to place it on the tree in the store. We just absolutely loved this idea. This is something you can do in your own homes or offices, etc. A great idea for a holiday party too – to have all your guests write their wishes. We spent almost an hour gazing at the tree and reading everyones wishes. Here were some of our favorites:photo copy 3photo copy 6           photo copy 5photo copy 2    photo 1 copy   photo copy 4photo 3    photo 2 copy   photo 1photo 2          photo copy 7

Monday and Tuesday night were spent at Cate’s friend Alyson and her family’s house. Cate and Alyson have known each other for almost three years, but it had been about 2 since they had last seen each other. Alyson decided we had to hit one of her favorite spots for dinner Monday night, Mi Cocina. Now listen, we love mexican food. If there is one cuisine we have eaten the most on this trip, it would probably be mexican. Mi Cocina was hands down one of the best mexican meals we have had. And, let’s not even get started on those Mambo Margarita’s. Mi Cocina is in Highland Park Village. If you are near there, go. Or, if you aren’t, get on a plane and go. You will thank us later.

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They aren’t kidding when they say that everything is bigger in Dallas. Everything including people’s display of Christmas cheer and lighting displays. Alyson took us on a driving tour of all the Clark Griswold’s of Dallas. We could not believe our eyes. I say this with the most sincerity I can find, some of these houses put Clark W. Griswold to shame. We couldn’t believe our eyes! We were in awe. Not just lights (colored and clear), but life size reindeer hauling Santa in his sleigh in front yards, life sized snowmen all over the lawns, Christmas carols that play and when they do, the lights twinkle in unison. We wish we had our better camera with us and had video taped some of these works of art.

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Alyson had planned on taking us down to McKinney Blvd. for dinner. Although Elena and Steve were town Tuesday night, the plan was to all go out to dinner Wednesday night. Or, so we thought. Turns out Elena was having dinner at the restaurant directly next to where Alyson was planning to take us.

We decided to change our plans and walk in to surprise Elena and her co-worker Andrew. So wish we had a photo of Elena’s face when we walked in. Steve joined us shortly after for some drinks and snacks.

Another great find, Nickle & Rye. They have only been up about 4 months but this is a restaurant/bar that will be around for a good while. It has everything you could possibly want in an establishment: beautifully decorated, delicious food with healthy options, unbelievable cocktail and wine list, huge TVs for the avid sports fan and just the perfect touch of class to make you feel as if you aren’t at some average sports bar. Love this place. Tony, you have done a genius job with the place. We look forward to coming back again soon.

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It’s amazing how months can go by, life continues on, and yet, when you are reunited with your friends, you pick up exactly where you left off. We had the most amazing night catching up with Elena and Steve, telling decade old jokes that are still funny after all these years, eating and drinking the night away.


Oh, and Andrew. We had never met Andrew before this trip, but had heard about him and his amazing wife from Elena. Andrew, what can we say, you rock! We had so much fun with you, laughing and learning. You jumped right in to laugh at our jokes and throw one back in our face. You got us all, it was as if you have been part of our crazy wild ride of this friendship all these years. We cannot wait to hang with you again soon. This time, let’s just leave the chili cheese fries out it. Ok?



Alyson, we absolutely loved our time with you and were craving more of you and your gorgeous family when we left. We shared life conversations, we shared delicious food, Christmas decorating and you embraced us with love. You are one incredible mama and we are in awe and inspired by all that you are and all that you do. More fun times again soon!