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Eat, Play, Shop, Live, Visit, Work. Your daily stop for the latest on all things Arkansas, including your comments. Send blog tips and feedback to Associate Editor Lauren James here.
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Top 5 Planners to Get Your 2015 in Check

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Are you a world-class organizer? Do you beam at the thought of a detailed schedule or a tranquil decluttering? Or are you wincing right now just thinking about it?

Whether you’re squealing or squirming, there’s no denying that planning your wedding is definitely the time to get your ducks in a row. Writing information down is an easy way to help remember key dates, special notes and important details. 

Here's a quick roundup of the best, brightest and bride-friendliest planners we're positively drooling over right now. Check out these lovelies from our friends at Shindig Paperie


1. 2015 Kate Spade Black Stripe Academic Agenda | 2. 2015 Mint & Gold Confetti Planner | 3. 2015 Paper Source Gold Foil Confetti Weekly Planner | 4. 2015 Paper Source Academic Booklet Gold Foil Calendar | 5. 2015 Kate Spade Gold Dots Academic Agenda

Now grab your favorite pack of sparkly gel pens and block off some time to get things in order. Your future self will thank you!

Photos via

MarketPlace Grill Coming to Little Rock

Image by MarketPlace Grill

MarketPlace Grill is coming to Little Rock!

The Springdale-based restaurant announced recently it will be moving in at 11600 Pleasant Ridge Road, the former home of Carino's Italian Grill, near the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.

Dave Godwin, a managing partner of the restaurant, said the location is currently under remodel and should be open by early fall.

"Little Rock is a market we've had an eye on for quite some time," Godwin said. "It was just a matter of finding the right place at the right time."

Godwin said the space in Little Rock, 6,700-SF, is a bit smaller than the restaurant's other locations, but said the layout was a plus, which included an open kitchen and wood-burning oven. The restaurant is expected to seat about 250 patrons.

MarketPlace has applied for a liquor license to serve beer and wine. Godwin says the restaurant will have a bar.

MarketPlace offers soups, salads, pizza, burgers and sandwiches, pasta and steaks, in addition to signature starters like the flaming Queso and signature desserts like the Chocolate Mess. For a full look at the menu, click here.

This will be the fourth MarketPlace Grill to open in Arkansas with other locations in Springdale, Fort Smith and Conway. In addition, the restaurant has a MarketPlace Express in Fayetteville.

EJ's Opening for Sunday Brunch!

The same hustle-and-bustle you see at EJ's Eats & Drinks every day for lunch is sure to be seen soon on Sundays.

The restaurant, located at the corner of 6th and Center streets in downtown Little Rock, says it's adding a Sunday brunch service! The menu will feature a wide variety of breakfast options, weekly specials and some of the more popular soups, salads and sandwiches that patrons have grown to love and expect during the week.

"While we have several of our lunch favorites on the brunch menu, we wanted to introduce EJ's own version of some traditional brunch dishes, like Eggs Benedict and Biscuits and Gravy," Glynda Tarpley, EJ's co-owner said in a news release. 

To check out the brunch menu, click here.

EJ's owners say the hope to eventually be open all weekend as Main Street continues to develop.

"We are excited about the growth in downtown and have been looking forward to an opportunity to be open on the weekends," Jim Miners, co-owner, said in the release. 

EJ's, known for its homemade chips, fresh soups and signature sandwiches, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and now 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, as well! For more information, check out the Facebook page.

Instagram Fridays: This Week in Pictures


The line began to form for @eleighsboutique huge tent sale bright and early this morning. Here's an action shot of shoppers on a mission! 


We see progress is being made on the new HomeGoods store at @chenalpromenade this week! Cannot wait! 


Our friends at @littlerockcvb unveiled its new sign a few weeks ago! We thought we'd share!  


@eggshells giving us a lovely weekend greeting. 

For a peek at what's happening behind-the-scenes, give us a follow @LittleRockSoiree.

3 Arkansas Festivals This Weekend: Grapes, Peaches and Cardboard Boats

Image by World Championship Cardboard Boat Races

Take a road trip around the state this weekend (July 25-27) and hit one or more of these free festivals! Peaches will reign in Clarksville, grapes are the main event in Altus and Heber Springs hosts the world championships for cardboard boat racing!

75th Annual Johnson County Peach Festival in Clarksville: Plan to stay all day Friday to attend events, such as a diaper derby, helicopter tours, bicycle obstacle course, the Kids' Zone with inflatables and skateboard contest, as well as a peach cobbler, jam and jelly bake-off, and a peach pie eating contest. Live entertainment begins at 7 p.m. followed by the free street dance featuring "On The Verge." The 4-mile run kicks off Saturday activities followed by various events including a fishing derby, greased pig chase, frog jump, terrapin derby, peach eating contest, and cardboard boat regatta. The parade begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a concert featuring The Diplomats and a street dance featuring a local D.J. On Sunday there will be a Horseshoe tournament. The festival takes place July 24-26. For info, click here or visit the festival Facebook page here. FREE!

31st Annual Altus Grape Festival in Altus City Park: Celebrate the grape in the Arkansas Wine Capital. On Friday evening, enjoy a street dance until 11 p.m. Visitors can witness a public grape stomp competition both days of the festival. Saturday features an amateur wine competition, grape pie-eating contest, kids' water balloon toss, live music, and lots of grape-related games. 5-11 p.m. July 25, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. July 26. For info: Admission FREE!

28th Annual World Championship Cardboard Boat Races in Heber Springs: Cardboard boats of all shapes and sizes compete for speed and design at Sandy Beach in Heber Springs! The race begins at 10 a.m. and various awards are given to competing teams. The Captain's Award is given to the most creative team and boat, and engineering marvels compete for the Pride of the Fleet Award. There is even a Titanic Award for the Most Dramatic Sinking. Visitors will also enjoy food vendors, a watermelon eating contest (11 a.m.), and a treasure dig for kids (10 a.m.). 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 26. For info: Race day registration $50 for 1-2 people, $55 per team; parking $5; spectators FREE!

For more weekend events, browse our full online calendar here.

8 Events for Weekend Family Fun: Baseball, Books and Insects!

Families can enjoy Breakfast with the Big Cats at the Little Rock Zoo this weekend.

Families can enjoy Breakfast with the Big Cats at the Little Rock Zoo this weekend.

Enjoy the last weekend in July at one of these family-friendly events! Kids can take part in a free, on-field baseball clinic taught by the Arkansas Travelers this weekend. Or, expand your home library with finds from the the CALS Used Book Sale. Or, learn about nature at Pinnacle Mountain and the Little Rock Zoo. Here are our top 8 events for families in central Arkansas for the weekend of July 25-27.

1. Arkansas Travelers vs. Tulsa Drillers at Dickey-Stephens Park: Enjoy this four-day series from July 24-27 at Dickey Stephens as the Travs take on the Drillers. Don't miss the first ever Clunker Boat Night on July 25; guests can win a boat, which will float! On July 26, arrive early to get an autograph from two Travelers players. The players will hang out with fans from 10 minutes after the gates open to 25 minutes before the start of the game. And, on Sunday, July 27, kids can take part in a free, on-field baseball clinic taught by Travs players and coaches. The workshop begins an hour and 40 minutes before the game. Sunday is also $10 Family Sunday, and families can enter the ballpark for just $10 when they bring a church bulletin to the box office. Game tickets are $4-12. For info: (501) 664-1555,

2. FOCAL Used Book Sale at CALS Main Library: It's time for another used book sales at the Central Arkansas Library System's main branch in downtown. The book sale, which will include $1 hardbacks and $0.50 paperbacks, includes fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, children's, cookbooks, sports, travel, and many more. Teachers and librarians with an organizational ID will get an extra 25 percent off purchases in the basement. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 25-26, 1-4 p.m. July 27. For info: (501) 918-3000,

3. 53rd Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition at Arkansas Arts Center: This weekend is your last chance to see this annual children's art exhibition, showcasing artwork by Arkansas students in grades K-12. In 2013, teachers from 127 schools across Arkansas submitted 508 works for consideration. Of those, 102 works were selected for inclusion in the exhibition. On view through July 27. For info: (501) 372-4000, FREE!

4. Breakfast with Big Cats or Rhinos at Little Rock Zoo: Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet in Cafe Africa and a unique keeper chat. This weekend, families can choose to learn about rhinos or big cats. Ticket price includes admission for the day. $21.95, children $16.95; members $16.95, member children $12.95. 8-9:30 a.m. July 26. For info: (501) 661-7218,

5. Inspect an Insect Weekend at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Ninety-five percent of all living creatures are insects! Spend the weekend learning about the different types of insects in the park, including water bugs, honeybees and dragonflies. Visit park website for full list of events. July 26-27. For info: (501) 868-5806, FREE!

6. Saturday Workshop: Shark Attack! at Arkansas Arts Center: Students ages 10-14 will study sharks in their natural habitat and create their own original shark scene watercolor painting. $55, members $44. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 26. For info: (501) 372-4000,

7. Back to School Bash at Agape Church Family Life Center: Celebrate back to school with free backpacks and school supplies for the first 150 children! Kids can also bounce in a giant inflatable house, snack on hot dogs and more. 6-7:30 p.m. July 27. For info: (501) 225-0612, FREE!

8. Open House at North Little Rock City Hall: On Sunday, history lovers can tour the North Little Rock City Hall in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the laying of the building's cornerstone. Learn about plans for the building, which was completed and opened to the public in 1915. Visitors will be able to visit with city officials and historians, and see a new photo exhibit in City Hall. Refreshments will be provided by members of the North Little Rock Woman's Club. 3-5 p.m. July 27. For info: (501) 975-8617. FREE!

For more weekend events, browse our full online calendar here.

8 Places to Celebrate National Tequila Day!

Who doesn't love a good reason to enjoy Thirsty Thursday? With the celebration of National Tequila Day, today offers an even better reason than most weeks.

With an ample amount of bars and restaurants in the metro area, you should have plenty of options to quench your thirst! We've compiled a list of just a few places that are partaking in the festivities. 

Happy National Tequila Day, everyone! Stay safe!

Cantina Laredo, 207 N. University Ave., Suite 130, Little Rock: This modern Mexican restaurant will offer $5 shots of Patrón all day long! In addition, the restaurant will have trivia contests on Facebook and Twitter with the awards being a free guacamole and free dessert. For more on the restaurant, click here.

On The Border, 11721 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock: If house margaritas are your thing, be sure and stop by On The Border today! From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the restaurant will be offering $2 house margaritas, and $2 shots of Lunazul Reposado Tequila. Participating locations include the one on Chenal Parkway, in addition to Hot Springs and Sherwood.

South on Main, 1304 S. Main St., Little Rock: The folks at South on Main are ringing in the special tequila holiday with a $6 Paloma special. The drink is made with tequila, fresh grapefruit, Mountain Valley Sparkling Lime and a pinch of salt. For more information on the restaurant, click here.

Colonial Wine & Spirits, 11200 W. Markham, Little Rock: Colonial Wine & Spirits is getting in on National Tequila Day with 10 percent off its tequila selection Thursday! They'll also have a Tanteo Spicy Margarita available at the tasting bar. The drink features 2 ounces Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila, 1 ounce fresh lime juice and 3/4 ounce Agave Nectar. One more special if you'd like to continue the tequila celebration at home, Colonial will have its Don Julio Silver Tequila available for $39.99, which is usually $47.99. For more information, click here.

Red Door & Loca Luna, 3701 Old Cantrell Road & 3519 Old Cantrell Road, Little Rock: Over at Red Door and Loca Luna, enjoy $5 margaritas, either frozen or rocks! For more on the restaurants, click here or here.

Big Orange & Local Lime, 17809 Chenal Parkway, Suite G-101 & 207 N. University Ave., Suite 100, and 17809 Chenal Parkway, Suite F-105, Little Rock: Yellow Rocket Concepts will not be left out of the celebration. Over at Local Lime, located at 17809 Chenal Parkway, Suite F-105, you can enjoy $5 house margaritas all day long, either rocks or frozen. The margarita includes Reposado Tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and Stirrings Triple Sec. At Big Orange, which has two locations at 17809 Chenal Parkway, Suite G-101 and 207 N. University Ave., Suite 100, you can enjoy $5 El Diablo cocktails all day long. The drink includes Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila, Clear Creek Cassis, lime juice and Barritt's Ginger Beer. Local Lime will also offer any of its $2 flavor add-ins for free! The add-ins include Aperol, Fernet, Root and Violette.

Last Chance to See These Plays in the Metro This Weekend

This weekend is the last to see a couple of award-winning musicals at the Community Theatre of Little Rock and The Weekend Theater.

Over at the Community Theatre, you have four more opportunities to see "RENT." The musical, which is a Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prize winner, follows a group of young, impoverished artists in New York City's Lower East Side. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for students and $8 for kids between 4-9. To purchase them, click here.

At The Weekend Theater, check out another Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, "Next To Normal," which follows a mother with bipolar disorder and the effects it has on her family. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $16 for seniors and students. To purchase them, click here

If that's not enough performing arts for you, head over to the Argenta Community Theater to see its version of "Fiddler on the Roof." The musical has showtimes at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $50 for table seating. To purchase, click here. For more information on the play, check out our preview story.

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About The Author
What’s new in shopping, the arts, music, travel, fun parties and delicious food in Arkansas? Let Lauren James of be your guide. An avid shopper, traveler and lover of everything-arts-related, she will show you the best of what Arkansas has to offer. Make your go-to spot every day to learn the latest in entertainment, dining, attractions, activities and more.
Featured Post
MarketPlace Grill is coming to Little Rock! The Springdale-based restaurant announced recently it will be moving in at 11600 Pleasant Ridge Road, the former home of Carino's Italian Grill, near the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.

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