lake ouachita II


A couple years ago some pals and I jumped on a plane to Hot Springs, Arkansas where we spent several days dipping our toes in the water and sipping on cold beers. We didn’t get our things together enough to go last year, but when my friend made the offer this year, we had to take it.

observant nomad | lake ouachita

observant nomad | lake ouachita

This time wasn’t too different. We spent our days riding the speedboat out to our own ‘private’ island and running into town for the necessary supplies; beer, bbq, and of course my favorite – dill potato chips. The highlight of the day was soaking up the sun and floating around in the open cool lake. The water is so clean and clear. I am always amazed how Lake Ouachita doesn’t have any lake-y smells or trash. It’s such a well maintained piece of paradise.

observant nomad | lake ouachita

observant nomad | lake ouachita

observant nomad | lake ouachita

observant nomad | lake ouachita

The whole time we were there the sunsets were spectacular! The colors ranged from bright burnt orange to deep sapphire blues. It was so gorgeous and visually stunning. The nights were warm and not too humid which we felt extremely lucky to experience.

Before the sun went down we would prepare a fire and play some yard games, which I was definitely ready for. Then once the sun set we’d hop back on the speed boat and cruise on home to crash and do it all over again.

observant nomad | lake ouachita

observant nomad | lake ouachita

observant nomad | lake ouachita

I hope you had a great 4th of july weekend too! I’ve been super slammed at work so I’ve been a little MIA from the blog these days, but I’m hoping that will resolve itself very soon ;)


life lately


Life Lately | Observant Nomad

Life lately has been a blur (what else is new?) Besides working my tuchus off I’ve been trying to get outside and enjoy summer as much as possible – when I can. Concert at Red Rocks with my college gal pal, sunday’s in a tepee with gin + tonics, adventuring around town, and jumping in volleyball games after work. I would love to get more out of the summer season and plan on it!

The next best thing about summer is the produce. I love me some fresh berries, corn, tomatoes and more. If you’re looking for a new summer dish to try, this one is my favorite right now - mini roasted poblano risotto cakes with grilled corn salsa. Also I’ve been inhaling these non-dairy Outshine Coconut Water popsicles. They are so light and refreshing, I also can eat a couple and won’t feel guilty at all. My favorite is the one with pineapples!

I’ve also just started reading #Girlboss and love it so far, it’s full of motivation and great quotes – I’ve been writing them down as I go! Annnd shopping. Donating so much of my closet has left me feeling a bit naked (ha!) so I needed to get some shopping done. I’ve finished the t-shirts and now it’ll be time for the button-downs and bottoms. Can’t wait to get more put together.


playing / photo by observant nomad / cucumber, mint & lime gin and tonics by bread & butter
eating / outshine coconut waters with pineapple popsicles  /  mini roasted poblano risotto cakes with grilled corn salsa via how sweet eats
reading / #girlboss by sophia amoruso / lips in red lippy project via topshop / #girlboss gold iphone 5 case via nasty gal
shopping / photo by observant nomad / vintage cotton v-neck t by j crew / strappy cami by zara (similar)


destination dinner + movie


destination dinner and a movie / observant nomad

Last weekend I saw the new movie, Chef by Jon Favreau, and it was great! Chef is a feel-good movie centered around delicious food, family, and culture. The setting and killer soundtrack of the movie completely transported me to Little Havana, Miami.

It got me thinking, some movies are crafted in such a way that takes you somewhere new and exotic. So why not round-up my favorite destination films that inspire me to get out and travel the world. I even set each movie up as a date night so you can really transport yourself while still on your own couch.

destination dinner and a movie / observant nomad

I had to start with the movie, Chef. It’s a great little film about a chef who struggles working for a restaurant owner and loses his creative spark. So after a meltdown he goes back to Miami where it all started to pursue his food truck dream. The soulful latin music topped with some drool-inducing food shots will transport you straight to little havana. So make your own cuban sandwiches and after dinner keep the grooves going and try some salsa moves.

destination dinner and a movie / observant nomad

The shooting in The Darjeeling Limited always makes me want to hop on a flight to India. The rich colors, portrayal of the brothers, and Indian culture make this a vibrant movie. For dinner whip up green chickpea chicken coconut curry and pair with some Indian beer. Afterwords relax with sandalwood or flowery oils and massages.

destination dinner and a movie / observant nomad

Any movie set in Paris almost automatically whisks me off to Europe, doesn’t matter. I picked Midnight in Paris because I’m a sucker for this film’s dry witty dialogue centered around the city’s magic across time. Get lost with your own parisian picnic on the floor and plenty of red wine, naturally. Then after the movie take turns writing silly stories, or making lists of what you’re thankful for about each other and your lives – just how they are.

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effortless chic media kit


observant nomad | effortless chic media kit

Even though I’m busy working with some current freelance clients (and they are awesome!), I realized that I haven’t shared my work here in a while. So here’s something old and new.

Jen Pinkston, from The Effortless Chic, wanted a media kit put together for her sponsors and partners so that she could build her brand – very smart lady! We worked on this kit at the end of last year after we had already redesigned her website. Here are a few pages from the final piece…

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summer parties / yard games


I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a great summer parties. Doesn’t matter if it’s a luau, memorial day bbq, or drinks in the park with friends, I truly enjoy them all. Lately I’ve been hankering for a good old summer party of yard games. It’s a great way to kick-off the summer.

Yard games are a great way to get different guests to interact and break the ice. They’re casual, easy to learn, and portable. So why not throw a party with your favorite games and invite a big mix of people.

observant nomad | summer parties yard games

When I invite larger groups I make sure to give a couple weeks notice before hand so I can count on how many people will actually be attending. I also like to ask people to BYOB and something to share if they’re inclined. I always provide some beers and maybe a signature cocktail (like these ginger beer-garitas) as well as a couple platters of food. Nothing over the top, maybe a fruit platter from the store and a few appetizers. In this case I would love to grill up some pineapple, spicy chipotle shrimp skewers and these mexican grilled corn crostinis.

If you’re like me and yard-less, make sure to gather some items that are portable like this folding portable charcoal grill (nothing like charcoal), and a utensil caddy for all your grilling necessities and spices. I also love to bring these paper food boxes instead of plates; they’re disposable, won’t make a mess when you eat from them, and can be covered to take home or to put away if someone calls you in for a game.

If you’re not sure what yard games you might like, our favorites are cornhole toss, bocce ball, and polish horseshoe. Rusty made a set of polish horseshoes one afternoon last year, and it didn’t take long since the hardware guy can cut the tubes. It’s probably the cheapest investment among our favorites.

I’d love to make a diy set of cornhole this summer. Something simple, geometric. and stained like the ones above. It’s not too difficult to make your own set, but if you’d rather purchase them, there are plenty of people who can make them for you. And you can buy custom or unique cornhole bags through several places on etsy.

Well I’m off to research wood for our set, let me know your favorite yard games in the comments!


clockwise | spicy chipotle shrimp skewers by simply scratch | grilled corn with crema mexicana & cilantro crostini via bon appetit | walnut serving boards arrow on a sunny afternoon | ginger beer-garitas by how sweet eats | foldable portable charcoal grill on crate & barrel | white wood caddy on crate & barrel | paper food boxes on crate & barrel | bocce ball on copper hewitt | cornhole toss diy on HGTV | summer shandy by leinenkugal | red picnic cooler on crate & barrel