Spoooooky Arkansas Adventures

We are less than 24 hours away from Halloween! Let the fun begin!

So in celebration of Halloween weekend, I thought I'd have a little fun with the post today. I'm not really a believer in ghosts, but I think it would be oh-so-fun to take a girls' weekend and try some of these things:

The Crescent Hotel is more famous for its ghosts than its accomodations. They even offer a nightly ghost tour for both hotel guests and anyone who just wants to swing by. If you're brave, stay in Room 419, "Miss Theodora's Room", where many strange events have been reported!

This is a must-see, history-filled place to visit if you're ever in Little Rock. It's designated as a national landmark and is now a museum. It was also the site of the famous "Wilson-Anthony Knife Fight" of 1837. Apparently the ghost of the late J.J. Anthony still likes to roam the halls!

Built in 1905, this hotel boasts some of the best ghost stories in Arkansas. You and a guest can take advantage of several "ghost" packages that they offer. Like the "Boo at the Basin" deal, which includes 1 night stay in a premium room, 2 tickets to the Ghost Tour, and 2 FREE Starbucks coffees at the War Eagle Outpost. So grab some friends and call it a night!

I'm anxious to know, do you guys have any "haunted" famous places in your state or town? Do share!!
P.S.- Here are some stories from a few other readers!
Sarah over at Strength of Faith had a really creepy story about a run-in with a ghost in college. She says:

"Here's my spooky story ...

I went to college at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA. It's a small, liberal arts college in southeastern PA, but has grown considerably in the last couple of years. When they ran out of housing on the main campus, the college bought out all of the houses along Main Street across the street and converted them into dorm-type housing for the school. These houses are easily 200 years old and many of them came with stories. The house I lived in - known on campus as "Hobson" supposedly had two ghosts living in it. The first was the ghost of a sorority girl from only a couple of decades ago. She apparently died suddenly of some strange flu and was known to hover around the third (top) floor of the house and study. The other ghost was the ghost of a little boy who was the son of one of the servants that lived in the house a long time ago. He apparently ran out into the street and was struck and killed by a car. He haunted - supposedly - the house and you knew he was there because he would leave dimes around.

Needless to say - when I was a sophomore and started living in the house I didn't buy into any of these stories. I lived there my sophomore, junior and senior years of college. The first semester of my senior year, I was studying really late one night - I think it was around 2:30/3 in the morning and I was in the downstairs common room (the library closed at 2 and my roommate was asleep) on the couch. For some reason I started to get a little freaked out - the room had huge windows that faced the empty street and I figured I was just psyching myself out - so I decided to call it a night. As I stood up, I heard something fall to the floor. I knelt down to see what it was - it was dime. It had literally appeared out of nowhere.

When I told my mom about this she said it must have fallen out of my pocket but I was wearing sweatpants - no pockets - and a tshirt.

I totally freaked out and RAN upstairs to my room.

And I never studied down there alone at night again."
Butterbean over at The Bees Knees also had a story in her blog last week about her own trouble with ghosts. Click here to read it!
Several southern readers reminded me of the Gurdon Light, a famous Arkansas place that is known for a mysterious light. You can read someone's personal account here!


Cravings Corner - Halloween Edition

Wow, it feels like darn near forever since I've done a Cravings Corner! But this week it was a must. With Halloween a mere 2 days away, I've officially gone into "Must do everything Halloween-oriented NOW!" mode.

This week, I'm craving:

A big ole' slice (or 5) of this ...

Pumpkin Cheesecake! If you've never had a pumpkin cheesecake, please do so at some point in your life. You'll gain 50 pounds from 1 piece, but it's the tastiest weight you'll ever put on : ) You can find the recipe here.

I'm craving a food project...
Maybe I'll make these Caramel Popcorn balls for the kids at church!

I'm always craving Johnny Depp. Oh Johnny, leave that sickly-looking model girlfriend of yours and please come find me...

...or I could just settle for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". A scary movie with Mr. Depp....what's not to love?

Sorta Halloween/Gothic-period inspired... ...this chandelier is the shizzle. When I buy my first house, I want to have a French themed office. This would be PERFECT.

And this has positively nothing to do with Halloween...

...but I want, no, NEED this new Fall Hobo bag. She's called the Maranda bag...isn't she pretty?

Time for you to leave a comment and tell your fellow Blonde Ambitioners what you're craving! Maybe a caramel latte, a new Coach bag or Ryan Reynolds? :-)


Trend Watch Wednesday - At the Ballet

Only 3 days til Halloween! I'm going to take a little break from the Halloween posts in honor of Trend Watch Wednesday.

I'm noticing a definite trend of ballet-inspired fashion lately and I love it! I was a serious dancer from the time I was 4 and well into my college years, so there's no wonder this is my favorite trend to emerge this fall (and that's saying ALOT!)

Everywhere you look, ballet-inspired pieces like body skimming dresses, leggings and ballet flats seem to appear. I've featured a few of my fave items from Francesca's Collections and Urban Outfitters:

Don't you love these T-Strap shoes? These are called "skimmers" and come from UO. Available in 3 nifty colors, they are the perfect shoes for those days when heels just aren't an option.

This crimson-colored dress from UO is just plain pretty, don't you think? It would also be flattering on many different body shapes.

Pictured clockwise: T-Strap skimmer in teal, the gold sequin ballet flat, the black criss-cross ballet flat and the grey ankle skimmer. Those gray shoes really remind me of a toe shoe, which dancers use to dance "en pointe".
The perfect black wrap sweater and this purple leotard-inspired dress both hail from Francesca's!
A closer view of the criss cross black ballet skimmers and a fall staple, leggings.

Gray wrap sweater from Francesca's and the appropriately titled "Choreographer Dress" - Loves It!!
So there you have it....ballet-inpired trends to satisfy your inner dancer : )


Mesmer-Eye-zing Lashes

Welcome to Day Three of A Blonde Ambition's Halloween Countdown! Today, I thought I'd take a break from food and feature something a little more, um, wearable. Like these oh-so-fabulous faux eyelashes.

These blue lashes from Illamasqua, (featured above), are part of the 1920's Berlin collection. I'm loving them, what do ya'll think?
Now, for an all-out crazy look, these puppies are the way to go! Warning: You may need someone else to act as your seeing eye dog since these will likely obstruct your vision.

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus, these brown feather lashes are made by Shu Uemura. They are a bit more expensive at $25, (yikes!) , but if you're looking for the perfect lashes to up your style quotient this Halloween, these are just the ticket!And finally, I saved the best for last. At only $6, My Diva's Closet offers these beauties. If you're going as a cheetah, peacock or rockstar, these could totally make your look!

So ladies, don't be shy about dressing up your eyes for Halloween! Make-up is meant to be playful, so have fun with it!


Savory Soups

It's the 2nd official day of A Blonde Ambition's Halloween Countdown! The weather is cooling off, which means the food is heating up! Creamy, filling soups are the edibles of choice for many of us this time of year. My mom usually made a big pot of chili on Halloween night when I was little, so I thought I'd share some soup/chili recipes with you from my favorite southern cook, Paula Deen!

Just click on the link below the ingredients to get directions, estimated servings and difficulty level!

Chef Jack's Corn Chowder

3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups white corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small celery stalk, diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Click here to get the full recipe and instructions!

Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Note: This soup is both fiber-filled and heart healthy, so you can go back for seconds and avoid feelings of guilt later : )

2 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1 3/4 pound)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots (about 3 small)
2 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (about 2 medium)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth
Grated Parmesan, (optional)

For directions and details, click here!

Jamie's Chili

Shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)
Sour cream (for garnish)
Chopped green onions (for garnish)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
2 cups chopped celery
Chili powder
1 package chili seasoning mix
1 small can tomato paste
1 can chili beans
2 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb mixed ground beef and sausage, browned and drained

Click here for the full recipe!

So what is your favorite cold-weather comfort food? Do you have a traditional meal you prepare the day of Halloween?


Outrageous Caramel Apples

Hey everyone! Hope all of you have enjoyed a great, relaxing weekend, wherever you are.

Today marks the start of A Blonde Ambition's Halloween Week Countdown! So instead of dreading the work week ahead, enjoy all the festivities and fun of Halloween! It only happens once a year, so let's do it up right!

First, to start our week off right, we'll make some of Paula Deen's Outrageous Caramel Apples...please hold your applause until the end : )

These treats are SO sweet, your dentist definitely won't approve, (sorry Dr. Wilson!!), but what is Halloween without a caramel apple?

Outrageous Caramel Apples


2 cans B. Lloyds Sweet and Salty Glazed and roasted Pecan Pieces

5 Granny Smith Apples, stems removed

1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped

2 tablespoon milk

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

5 craft sticks


Line a baking tray with wax paper and set aside. Pour nuts into a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Place a craft stick into the top of each apple.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat caramels and milk for 4 minutes. Stir and heat again for 1 minute. Allow to cool slightly. Roll each apple in the caramel sauce until well coated. Dip end of each apple in nuts and place on wax lined tray. Allow to cool completely.

While apples are cooling. Place semi sweet chocolate chips in a zip lock bag and microwave until melted. Place white chocolate chips in a zip lock bag and microwave until melted. Snip the ends off each bag and drizzle apples with each chocolate. Refrigerate until set.

P.S.- You've probably noticed that my button looks a little different...I gave it a makeover today, so feel free to grab it or, if you already have, replace the old one!


Show Us Your Life- Fall Decorations

This week's edition of "Show Us Your Life" (brought to you by Kelly's Korner) is all about fall decorations! I'm so excited to hop around to all the blogs that participated and check out everyone's fabulous decor!
I've already shown off some of these in former posts, but it never hurts to recap!

This straw pumpkin was bought at Target. Since this photo, I've woven some clear lights in it and will plug it in on my balcony the week before Halloween (assuming it doesn't rain : )

I'm kind of proud for putting together this whole tablescape for less than $20! The plates were a gift, the wooden bowl and straw balls came from Wal-Mart, and the amber colored goblets were $3 a pop! Good deal? I think so!

This wreath came from Target for $29.99. I love it because I can keep it up after Halloween is over, so I'll get tons of use out of it.

I purchased 3 of these lanterns from Pottery Barn and they arrived day before yesterday! This photo obviously comes from PB's site, but I'll take some pics this weekend and show ya'll next week!

And finally, the 2-tiered copper server from Target. It was about $30 and I've already used it to take some cookies to work. Everyone kept commenting that the cookies looked really fancy displayed on the server, so mission accomplished!

If you've never participated in a blog hop, here's your chance. Run on over to Kelly's Korner and show off your fall decorations!


Show Us Your City- Fayetteville, AR

Hey ya'll! Jax over at "The Roaring Twenties" is doing a "Show Us Your City" blog hop today and I just couldn't resist adding my hometown to the list!

I actually live about 15 minutes outside of Fayetteville now, but since it was the first place I lived when I moved to Northwest Arkansas, I still consider it home!
With that said, I'd like to introduce you to Fayetteville, AR:

First stop, naturally, is Razorback Stadium. Many a game has been won here, (and a few losses, but we won't go there) and it really is the quintessential Fayetteville landmark. GO, HOGS, GO!

And here's the money shot of Old Main of the University of Arkansas campus.

Next we'll mosey on over to Dickson Street where we'll check out George's Majestic Lounge. This lounge has been around for many years and still hosts famous singers and bands even today. It's also one of the few places where you can still see a great show without breaking the bank!

Next stop, right off of Dickson Street is the Wine Cellar. It's such a mellow, dare I say sexy, place to go. They feature so many different kinds of wine and the dim lighting, friendly waiters and hipster atmosphere easily make it one of my favorite places to enjoy a glass of vino.

On the weekends, I like to visit the Fayetteville Farmer's Market. Local vendors and farmers bring out their finest goods for the public to buy. I think it's so important to support local markets, like this one.

I love to eat and recently had the opportunity to go to James At the Mill, one of the best restaurants in Arkansas. People literally fly in to eat here, and the Mill has hosted some very notable folks over the years.

Let's hop on over to College Avenue where we'll dine at the best Italian restaurant in Fayetteville. Housed in a broken down motel, Pesto Cafe has served up more plates of their famous fettucini for years. Best to get there early though because on Saturday nights, you can't get a toe in the door.
We all know a girl has got to shop. And Mason's is just the place to do that. With two locations in Fayetteville, Mason's features the latest in clothing and accessories. Easily one of the best places to get the perfect outfit!

So there you have it...a whirlwind tour of Fayetteville, Arkansas, a little town I like to call home!


Trend Watch Wednesday: Skirt Alert

It's my favorite day of the blogging week...Trend Watch Wednesday!

This week is all about key pieces for fall, all courtesy of Urban Outfitters. The best part about the trends that are featured today is that they are flattering on women of every shape and size. One thing's for sure, wearing any of these pieces will ensure that you don't wind up on What Not to Wear : )

Let's get started with skirts. Ultra-low waisted jeans and skirts are a thing of the past. It's all about medium-to-high waisted pieces, which work double-time to disguise a tummy (not that any of us have a tummy, but if we did...)

Hawks by Geren Ford Pocket Poof Skirt- $68.00

Silence and Noise Solid Straight Sweater Skirt- $58

Ecote Peplum Skirt- $48.00

Repeat after me: "I (insert name), promise not to raid my husband's/boyfriend's closet for a blazer." Ladies, you MUST buy a women's blazer. Men's clothing is designed to fit, well, men. Meaning it's boxier, more square and wider cut. Urban Outfitters has done it right.

(left to right) Silence and Noise Open Front blazer- $78, Kimchi Blue Uptown Jacket- $58

Silence and Noise Blazer- $49.99

Military Jacket- $29.99

And finally, let's not forget one accessory that is always a key element of any outfit: your hair. It doesn't matter if you have short or long, curly or straight hair, anyone can wear a headband. And these are great for upping the style quotient of any ensemble.

Braided Headbands- (left to right) $18 and $16

Feather Headband- $9.99

Question of the Day: Have you ever been guilty of raiding a boy's closet for clothing you intended to wear? Be honest ladies, I know we've all committed our fashion crimes!