For the past two years, my little family and our friends’ family have gotten together to watch the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco for “Monaco and Mimosas,” a celebration of all things bubbly and delicious. We like to make a fun brunch […]
Month: May 2018
On days like today, I have a million and one things to do and just zero time to complete them all. I have to take my dog to the vet for a minor procedure, ship a huge package at the UPS store, go grocery […]
I haven’t done a travel post in FOREVER! I really like compiling all my travel memories to a blog post so I can look back at them in the future. It’s such a fun way to relive a great vacation.
Last week, my husband, son, and I drove to Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Walmart. We weren’t there to visit the Walmart world headquarters though! We were there for the mountain biking.
I guess Walmart has been trying to attract millennials to their company by building things that attract millennials: coffee roasters and shops, microbreweries, sustainable clothing boutiques, and, you guessed it, mountain bike trails. My husband’s two best friends live around the country (one in Indianapolis, one in Denver) so the guys thought it would be fun to split the difference and meet somewhere they could get their mountain bikes dirty. My son and I were just along for the ride!
One of the wives decided to tag along, and we had such a fun time together! We’ve always gotten along well so I was happy to spend more time with her. She’s a really chill traveller, which is great when you’re with a one-year-old. I promised her reality tv, shops and cafes, chardonnay, and sunshine. I think I delivered on my promise!
A few nights of our trip, we were able to sneak away and have some girl time shopping and happy hour-ing. I’m grateful for that! It was nice to relax and laugh with a friend I only see about once a year.
I wanted to share a few recommendations if you’re considering visiting northwest Arkansas anytime soon. We didn’t even go as far as Fayetteville (home of the University of Arkansas), which is supposed to be much more exciting. It seems like this part of the country has more than I had initially thought when my husband said “Let’s go visit Arkansas!” and my response was, “huh? Why?” Even if you’re just driving through, I think it’s worth a nice overnight visit! I was hugely, pleasantly surprised by all northwest Arkansas had to offer.
Our first stop was the townhouse we rented through airbnb. Airbnb has been such a great travel resource for us domestically and internationally. (Check out our airbnb experience in Iceland! It was perfect.) Especially now that we have a little guy, I love having a more comfortable home-like environment with a kitchen and laundry room. We stayed at the Townhouse on B in the Downtown Arts District. This area is full of new, contemporary housing and gorgeous restorations of old Victorians and bungalows. We were within easy walking distance of the town square with shops and restaurants.
All Townhouse Images: Townhouse on B and airbnb
The inside of this townhouse was jaw-droppingly nice! I knew we had sprung for a nicer townhouse close to everything, but this was gorgeous! Huge living spaces, great kitchen, pretty front porch, spacious back patio, gorgeous beds and baths, even white bathrobes! And with five adults and a baby, we couldn’t have been happier with all the extra bedding, sheets, and space.
We were greeted with chocolate chip cookies and freshly ground coffee from a local coffee roaster. Yum! After we set down our belongings, the guys trekked to Bike Rack Brewing to start off the weekend on the right foot. This was a super cute brewery with a big outdoor patio, twinkle lights, and delicious beers. It was also an easy five minute walk from the townhouse.
Image: Bike Rack Brewing
While the guys were mountain biking during the day, my friend and I were pushing around a stroller and checking out downtown Bentonville.
We especially loved Onyx coffee right off the town square. The lavender latte I had was delicious and the vibes were chill and much more urban and upscale than I had expected in Arkansas (sorry, Arkansas! I was wrong!): lots of well-dressed young executives and comfy Bible college students. Seeing cascara lattes next to Bibles really made it feel like home! That’s my usual coffee shop vibe.
My son is unimpressed with Bentonville hipsters…
Another coffee shop we loved in town was Heroes Coffee roasters. It was our morning go-to for delicious coffee and lattes.
Image: Heroes Coffee
About a million times over our trip, my friend and I visited the Walmart Neighborhood Market. This is a new small-concept Walmart grocery store that was totally adorable! It helped that the employees were a heartbeat away from corporate headquarters. They were the VERY BEST Walmart employees I have ever encountered. And the store was spotless! This Neighborhood Market had everything I needed and the selection was great. I loved popping into the air conditioning for baby snacks and supplies and fresh groceries for lunches during our visits.
Most days, we were out back on the patio of the townhouse, chilling, and enjoying the sunshine. My friend would read her book and I was busy making sure my son didn’t eat rocks. He got close to that a few times…
Image: Rollie Pollie
To keep him busy, I used toys from the travel play tray I created for the trip out. We also stopped into Rollie Pollie toy store a few times to pick up some cute toys like this adorable xylophone. This store had so many specialty items and toys to entertain my little guy and feed his imagination. I knew I was in the right place when the first product I spotted was Bavarian Gnome Natural Beeswax Crayons! Totally my cup of tea.
Images: Remedy Road
On one night, the guys took over childcare duties, and we ladies were able to escape for shopping and happy hour. We stumbled on Remedy Road, which is a sustainable and charitable boutique that only carries brands that give back. The clothing, accessories, and goods were Pinterest-worthy and so adorable. Lots of handmade leather handbags and wallets, sustainable fabric clothing, handcrafted wooden jewelry items, and the like. I wanted to buy everything in the store! I ended up with a pair of Spiritual Gangster $90 sweatpants for $20. I was very excited to snag that deal! The girl working the counter was very helpful and enthusiastic about all the amazing products in the store.
Probably our favorite stop was Pressroom for happy hour food and drinks. We sat at a gorgeous marble bar and ordered almost everything from the happy hour menu: roasted beets, smoked salmon dip, cartelized Brussels sprouts, sparkling rose, craft beer, and a delicious oak-y Chardonnay (just like I promised). The food was great, the company was better, and we even shared a lot of dad jokes with the bartender. I wish we had gone there a few more times over our stay!
Image: Guild Winery
The sparkling rose from Willamette Valley I enjoyed had me missing my trip to Oregon a few years ago. I really want to go back! To Pressroom AND Oregon.
Image: Thai Kitchen
We also loved Thai Kitchen where I had maybe the best panang curry in my life. It was so much fun laughing, sharing food, and having lots of girl talk.
On our last night in Arkansas, we decided to pop into Oklahoma to check that state off our list! (I only have 7 states left!) The closest town is Siloam Springs in Arkansas and West Siloam Springs in Oklahoma. We were hoping to grab some dinner and/or ice cream in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, this was the best entertainment we could find in Oklahoma… I might try again in the future before writing off Oklahoma entirely, but it wasn’t encouraging…
Image: 28 Springs
Siloam Springs, Arkansas was a real find though! It was the cutest little tourist town! We found a great restaurant called 28 Springs. The menu was amazing, the service was great, and I was really surprised at how upscale and fashionable the whole place was. Who knew?! I had a delicious salmon with fingerling potatoes and asparagus. I also had some amazing blue corn muffins with raw honey butter. Yum!
After poking around in the town, checking out a bluegrass band in a gazebo, and checking out some beautiful fountains and parks, we found Pure Joy Ice Cream, the CUTEST little ice cream shop. They had lots of fun toppings and creative flavors. I decided to try their chamomile honey ice cream with cacao nib “gravel” on top. So delicious! It was so much fun sitting outside, enjoying the nice weather, and eating tasty ice cream with friends.
I was super impressed with this part of the country and it’s totally worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood. We had a great time, and look forward to another mountain biking trip with this crew in the future.
I guess it’s recipe week here on microliving! I just made this recipe this morning and had to share. My little guy loved them, and I think they’re tasty and filling too. I was talking to a friend yesterday about some of […]
I told you last week that I would lighten things up around here and give everyone a break from my pretty long-winded posts of late. What better way to keep my word than by sharing a short and sweet recipe? I hope you enjoy it!
On of my very favorite recipes is Japanese Omurice (named by combining the words omelette and rice). It’s one of my favorite comfort foods and always hits the spot if it’s late at night, I’m not feeling well, or just want a taste of “home.” It’s comforting, easy to make, and is a good recipe to have on hand for picky toddlers. What’s not to love about rice, eggs, and lots and lots of ketchup? It’s also really budget friendly, especially if you’re using leftovers in this recipe.
The recipe I’m included below is one way to make Omurice by scratch. I’ve adapted the recipe to make this version vegetarian. If you would like to add rotisserie chicken or ham pieces to the rice mixture, that also makes for a really satisfying dish.
:: Japanese Omurice ::
Makes 2 Servings
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
4-6 small button mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3-4 tablespoons frozen green peas, thawed
Salt & Pepper
2 cups cooked Japanese short grain rice (or whatever white rice you have on hand)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons ketchup
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons water
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
For the tomato sauce, combine ketchup, tomato paste, and water in a small saucepan and mix together. Heat to combine and set aside.
For the fried rice, clean mushrooms and slice them. Dice the onion into small pieces. In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and add the onion. Sauté until translucent. Add frozen green peas and mushrooms. Season with salt and black pepper and sauté until mushrooms begin to turn golden.
Add the cooked rice and break into pieces to combine with the ingredients in the pan. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the tomato sauce and mix together. Save some of the tomato sauce for later. Stir fry the rice for a few minutes until some pieces are browned and toasty. Separate into two portions and put aside. Clean out non-stick pan with a dry paper towel.
Crack 2 eggs in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon milk and a pinch of salt. Whisk until combined. In the non-stick pan, add 1 tablespoon butter and melt. Gently add the beaten egg mixture to the pan. When the edges of the omelette start to pull away from the side of the pan and the middle begins to bubble slightly, add one portion of the ketchup rice to the middle of the omelette. Wrap one end of the omelette over the ketchup rice. Transfer to a plate by flipping the omelette onto the plate with the rice side down. Repeat each step with the second omelette.
Serve with a drizzle of the hot tomato sauce and enjoy!
* If you really want to shortcut this recipe, use day-old fried rice leftovers from a restaurant as the base of the dish. This is probably what I do most often. I hate wasting food, and it’s a fun way to recycle some leftovers.
** Another easy shortcut is to use only store bought ketchup for both the filling and the topping. It’s not as authentic or tasty, but works well in a pinch.
Even though this recipe might seem strange to our American tastebuds, it’s seriously so delicious and satisfying. I recommend serving this at brunch, lunch, or dinner. It’s especially good after going out late on a Friday or Saturday night. Hangover food at its finest!
Do you have any favorite simple recipes that are comfort food for you? Let me know in the comments below!