Nashville Trip With Free People + A Magical Backyard Dinner

Nashville Trip With Free People + A Magical Backyard Dinner - offbeat + inspired

So I went to Nashville again! There was a #FPme shoot with Free People, a backyard dinner at my sweet friend Ruthie‘s, and of course, lots of catching up, laughing, dancing, friend-making and photographing — basically the norm on my Tennessee adventures! If you haven’t heard of #FPme, it’s Free People‘s own little social hub where girls from all over the world can upload style pics of themselves, tag the outfits with whatever FP goodies they have on and share it in their gallery. (Here’s a link to mine.) It’s great for outfit inspiration and I love that you can click a photo and it brings you directly to the item listing (because, you know…anything to fill that cart as fast as humanly possible). You can also search the hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to find all kinds of boho style ideas. (I’ve been posting a ton on my Instagram lately!) Anyway! Free People was heading to Nashville and reached out to a few local #FPme contributors about doing a shoot downtown. I’m clearly not a Nashville local, but Dee, the darling gal I’ve been in contact with about FP styling, knew Lexington was nearby and asked if I’d join in for the day. Um, that’s a huge yes! Ruthie had told me Free People was coming down for a dinner at her place, so I was already attending that which made hopping in on the #FPme shoot even more of a no brainer.

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Lexington Love | National Provisions Beer Hall

Lexington Love | National Provisions Beer Hall - offbeat + inspired

Krim Boughalem, Andrea Sims, and the rest of their crazy talented crew have outdone themselves yet again. National Provisions launched with the Boulangerie, and now there’s a Beer Hall. In typical Krim & Andrea fashion, the place is flawless. The industrial-style interior is wide open with a ton of natural light. Basically, a photographer’s dream. It has a front room with bright picnic tables, an inner room with a giant community table and of course, all the beer you could possibly imagine — both bottled and on tap. The lunch menu has moved from the Boulangerie over to the Beer Hall, so for bread, pastries, coffee and tea, you’ll still want to use the bakery entrance on Walton — but for soups, sandwiches, salads, beer and other deliciousness, enter on National. I’ll let the new menu speak for itself…(you have got to try that Reuben Tartine):

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Lexington Love | Adventuring With Ruthie

Lexington Love | Adventuring With Ruthie - offbeat + inspired

This is the most exciting time of year for me. Especially this year. I’m settled in to the downtown apartment — a gorgeous, old 3-story building on North Limestone. Our little nook is on the third floor above Le Deauville French Bistro, across the street from a blooming school courtyard. The city is popping with color now, which means it’s time to break out the list of springtime shenanigans and start hacking away. One of them was to have my dear friend Ruthie Lindsey come up from Nashville for a visit! If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love this girl. Goofing, laughing, heart-to-hearts, dance parties, music listening and exploring — all part of the typical, wonderful craziness.

When she pulled into town, we only had a vague idea of what the next 3 days were going to look like, but knew we were going to spend one of them shooting everything we possibly could. Ruthie’s personal style is just one of the hugely inspiring things about her, so we decided to show a few of her favorite looks in a few of my favorite Lexington locales. The rest of this post will serve as a photo journal of that day with outfit and location credits. I just love showing off this little city, especially alongside one of my favorite gals!

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DIY Rustic “Table” Photography Background

DIY Rustic “Table” Photography Background Pistachios 1 - offbeat + inspired

As I’ve been perusing the works of some of my favorite food photographers, one element I’m drawn to is the backdrop. I absolutely love the look of food composed on a rustic farm table. The natural look enhances homey, comfort recipes, contrasts formal dishes to make them really pop and showcases the beauty of simple ingredients.

I haven’t yet found my dream barn wood table that perfectly complements the recipes I’m working on (I know it’s out there somewhere!). Even if I did have that perfect table, the best natural light in my house comes from a particular spot near my family room window. It’s not at all a convenient place to store a table and I’d hate to have to move large furniture to that area every time I want to shoot.

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Lexington Love | National Boulangerie & Patisserie

Lexington Love | National Boulangerie & Patisserie - offbeat + inspired

There’s a new cafe in town! National Boulangerie & Patisserie opened their doors on the corner of National and Walton yesterday, just outside downtown Lexington (KY). I’ve been very eagerly awaiting this opening for months because the owners, Krim Boughalem and Andrea Sims, also own/owned two of my absolute favorite local food spots: Wine + Market (now owned by Renee and Seth Brewer, who also own the wine and tapas bar, Enoteca) and Table 310. Table 310 has been a frequent stop for me with their outstanding seasonal menus, weekend brunches, killer cocktails and delicious French-inspired coffee bowls. The atmosphere and service consistently match the exceptional quality of the food and drink. And I have to say, National is going to continue Krim and Andrea’s tradition of knocking it out of the park with their must-visit Lexington eateries.

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Scotch, Sugar + Beer

Scotch, Sugar + Beer - offbeat + inspired

We love learning. It’s why we started blogging. I wanted to make my own soap, which led to late nights on Google, sit-ins at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks with a latte and piles of soapmaking books, and a whole lot of recipe testing until I finally achieved my first successful batch. Once I had it down, the first thing I wanted to do was share what I learned. All of our recipes, DIYs and styling posts are examples of this learning/sharing merry-go-round. We’re not content to broaden our own horizons and leave it at that. We want to help you broaden yours, and be inspired by you to broaden ours even more.

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Orchard Style: Flannel + Plaid and a Giveaway with Duluth Trading Co.

Orchard Style: Flannel + Plaid [Featuring Duluth Trading Co.] - offbeat + inspired

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with flannel for a long time. I’ve always loved the rustic and cozy look you can pull together on a moment’s notice with a soft plaid button-up, a good pair of jeans and some leather boots. I’ve always hated that so many of the flannels I’ve tried over the years were either too flimsy, a poor fit, or just completely uncomfortable.

Duluth to the rescue…again. As I mentioned recently in my camera bag post, I met the lovely folks from Duluth Trading Company at this year’s Haven Conference. They had a booth set up with some fabulous leather goods and outerwear for my touching and drooling pleasure. I fell in love with their leather bags instantly, but was more reserved when it came to the flannels and jackets (as I’ve been hurt before…). I assumed that because Duluth’s focus is durability and comfort, the apparel may be lacking in style and fit. I figured the shirts would be boxy, the jackets would be shapeless, and while the materials would be of the highest quality, I expected them to fall flat as part of an outfit intended for going out rather than wood chopping or deer hunting. WRONG.

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Adventuring | Tucson, Arizona

I’ve always lived in the northern half of the country, either Illinois or New Jersey, but I absolutely love traveling. Last week my work took me to the Tucson area and my team’s schedule allowed for a bit of site-seeing.

First on the agenda was a hike through the Sonoran Desert. Compared to the fall foliage of Illinois, the desert initially appeared monotone and bare - but I couldn’t have been more wrong. As we soaked in the views of the mountains and studied the cacti, rocks, plants and animals, the colors came alive.

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In My Camera Bag [Featuring Duluth Trading Co.]

In My Camera Bag [Featuring Duluth Trading Co.] - offbeat + inspired

First, the bag. I’ve been on the hunt for a solid camera bag for a while now. I have the official Canon Backpack, which works great for storing all my gear — but when I’m planning a day of shooting where I’ll only need my DSLR body, 2-3 lenses and a few spare batteries/memory cards, I don’t want to be carting a 30 lb. pack all over town. I needed something light, simple and durable. Enter the Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger bag from Duluth Trading Co.

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