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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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The Sprint Diaries: How to Dress for Winter Running

from Shutterstock


Jess is participating in the Little Rock Half Marathon and is scared out of her mind. She's never done anything like this, but is chronicling the whole process, blisters and breakthroughs, right here on Little Rock Soirée. See the rest of the series here.  

There’s no denying it. One look at the frozen windshields, the deserted parks, the blue tint of your subzero fingers and toes and you know: We’re in the throes of winter. 

While the northern states sit back and laugh at us (and rightly so), I’m still freezing my little frigid digits off over here. It makes getting outside for a run feel nearly impossible, especially when I’m content to spend my time as close to the fireplace as I can get. 

Step away from the ashes, Cinderella. 

All you need is to dress in the right gear and you’re good to go. I learned all about it when I stopped to talk to Go! Running’s Erin Taylor. To continue the metaphor, imagine she put me in some glass shoes and threw me in a pumpkin.

Well, not exactly, but she did give me some great pointers.

Upper Body:

A good rule of thumb for runners is the 20 Degree Rule: Dress as you would to walk around if it was 20 degrees warmer outside. For a 30 degree day, you’d probably wear something like a thin thermal shirt and a light jacket. This varies a bit from person to person, so if you’re a cold natured person, maybe stick with a 10 degree difference instead.

You might be cursing my name when you first start out, but you’ll heat up soon enough. Just remind yourself that it’s better than getting overheated and sweating through your layers. Then You’ll be super cold and super sick.

Look for fabrics that breathe, especially ones that have little mesh vents around your neck, back and underarms. Make sure your clothing allows good movability (vests are great for this) and is high-visibility if you run in the dark.

But whatever you do, don’t wear cotton. It soaks up sweat and will make you colder, wetter and more chafe-y. 

Lower Body:

Revisit the 20 Degree Rule. Would you walk around in 50 degree weather in shorts? If yes, then wear them on your 30 degree run. 

Fleece-lined athletic tights are straight from heaven, but if it’s really cold, put on a pair of wind-breaking running pants over your spandex.


No, it’s not just an old wive’s tale. You have to keep your head warm. Choose hats that are made from lightweight fabrics that will wick away sweat. They even exist with holes for your ponytail. Go for thermal headbands or ear warmers if you just really hate hats.

A great versatile product is Buff Headwear, which you can wear around your ears, head or even as an active face mask to help battle the cold air. 

By the way, it seems harder to breathe because it is. While the lack of humidity might be great for your hair, your burning trachea is not a fan.


Cold hands are the worst. Find gloves made out of technical fabrics to keep your palms dry and your fingers warm. You can even find gloves with stowaway layers that convert to mittens, kind of like those weird zip-off pants, except way better.


I take that back; cold feet are the worst. Look for running socks that are made from Merino wool. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry without sliding around and causing blisters at the same time. My favorites are from Feetures and I may or may not be wearing a pair right now. 

Ok, yeah, so it’s cold.

The bottom line is this: Always make sure your running attire is breathable, functional, visible and (the best one) comfortable. It might take a minute or two to plan your outfits in the winter, but channel your inner Russell Crowe and Beautiful Mind your way through that outerwear equation.

Merino wool2 ± 20°÷ cozy √(it’s still so cold)

But however cold it gets, just remember: It’s hot in the summer and that’s way worse. 

It’s all about positive thinking, guys.

Last Chance to See Stoney Lamar Exhibit

Image by Wil Chandler


This Sunday is your last day to see the Arkansas Arts Center exhibit A Sense of Balance: The Sculpture of Stoney Lamar.

The story goes like this: Lamar got pretty bored with all the traditional turned wood vessels (think bowls and vases) he kept seeing everywhere. To remedy this, he went on a quest to learn all about woodworking and turners. 

The result is this exhibit, nearly 30 years of artwork. Lamar’s avant-garde work showcases everything from multi-axial turning to steel additions and distressed surfaces.

If you haven’t had the chance, stop by and experience not only art, but an artist’s deep respect for his medium.

This exhibit was organized by the Asheville Art Museum and guest curated by Andrew Glasgow.

The AAC is open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Sunday. Visit the museum website for more information. 

Real Northwest Arkansas Wedding: Lucy Nguyen & Paul Nguyen of Fayetteville

Gallery by Miles Witt Boyer Photography

Lucy Nguyen & Paul Nguyen May 31, 2014 • Fayetteville St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church & Fayetteville Town Center


Lucy Nguyen & Paul Nguyen
May 31, 2014 • Fayetteville
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church & Fayetteville Town Center

Photography by Miles Witt Boyer Photography

Chalk one up for fate. Lucy Nguyen from Rogers and Paul Nguyen of Barling hit it off instantly when her sister and his friend set them up on a blind date in Fayetteville. The couple powered through a long-distance relationship with late night phone calls and weekend visits, and it didn’t take them long to figure out it was right. At a graduation party Paul threw for Lucy after finishing pharmacy school at UAMS, he got up to thank everyone for coming, or so she thought. Before she knew what was happening, Paul was on one knee and Lucy was in tears, getting to share the moment with family and friends.


The Inspiration

Lucy and Paul went for romance and glamour on their big day. Bright corals and shimmering gold set the mood for the Nguyen wedding, making it classic and beautiful, just like Lucy dreamed.







The Details

The couple had fun with a photo booth and silly props, as well as offering personalized cocktails: Groom’s Crush and Bride’s Blush. A creative touch was the puzzle piece guestbook that reminded them of the special times they spent putting puzzles together early in their love story. They also added elements of their Vietnamese heritage. Lucy even wore an “áo dài,” a traditional Vietnamese bridal gown, while she and her father danced to a native song.







  Photographer & Photobooth Miles Witt Boyer Photography
  Videographer SS Pictures in Bentonville
  Event Designer, Day-of Coordinator& Florist Bartus Taylor of Buzz Events in Fayetteville
  Rentals Eventures in Fayetteville
  Lighting Lightworks in Fayetteville
  Cakes Shelby Lynn’s Cake Shoppe in Springdale
  Caterer & Drinks The Main Event in Lowell
  DJ Dancenhance Entertainment in Fayetteville
Ceremony Music Fayetteville String Quartet
Wedding Gown & Bridesmaids Dresses Danielle’s Bridal in Clarksville
Groom & Groomsmen Attire Mr. Tux in Fayetteville
  Jeweler Newton’s Jewelers in Fort Smith
  Hair & Makeup Thai Le of John David’s Salon & Spa in Rogers
  Transportation Dynasty Transportation in Springdale
Wedding Vendor We Love


Arkansas Engagement: Allison Smith & Jason Peoples

Gallery by Erika Dotson Photography


Allison Smith and Jason Peoples are engaged! Well... They're married, too, but we''ll get to that part in a minute. The Sherwood couple will exchange vows (again) on Saturday, June 13, at Anthony Chapel at the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs.

Their story begins at a party for airmen who had returned from Kuwait in January of 2012. Fast forward to 2014 and the two decided to get married before he left for his next deployment. Allison is now excitedly awaiting Jason's return so they can celebrate their marriage at their wedding in June!

Check out this sweet couple's engagement session by Erika Dotson. We wish you all the best!




5 Cool Ways To Balance Family & Exercise

Tia Stone and her oldest daughter running together in a local 10k.

You want to invest in your health, but you’re wondering, “how do I fit it all in?” We’ve been there and so has Tia Stone, a competitive runner and the blogger behind Arkansas Runner Mom ( Tia wrote this month’s Family Chatter on her love of running and also shared five things that have helped her balance family and exercise.


  • Family support is most important. I would not be able to run at a competitive level without the support of my family, especially my husband. He encourages me to pursue this sport that I love. However, it’s not all about me. His health is just as important and we help each other by making sure we each have the time we need to exercise.
  • Have a plan. Whatever your sport, have a plan you follow. In my case, I have a running schedule with an end goal—a race.
  • Be flexible. Life happens and adjustments need to be made. Kids get sick, things come up and plans change. I know that on any given day I may need to rearrange things and that is ok.
  • Preparation is crucial. The night before an early run I like to have all the kids’ clothes laid out and lunches packed and ready to go in the refrigerator. I know that things will be busy in the morning and having this done is less work. I also make sure my running apparel is out and ready to go. I want to be able to wake up and have all my gear in one place so I can get ready quickly.
  • Be realistic. There have been times when I knew I needed rest and recovery (particularly the first few months after having a new baby), so training took a backseat.

Did You Know?

60 minutes  is the amount of physical activity children and adolescents need each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( Physical Activity should include aerobic activity, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening. Check back later this week for ideas on how you can exercise as a family.

Tagged > Tia Stone

Registration Open for Night to Shine Special Needs Prom at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church

Image by Shutterstock

Time to put on those boogie shoes! Geyer Springs First Baptist Church is excited to host the Night to Shine prom for individuals with special needs on Friday, Feb. 13.

The church is one of 50 host sites in cities across the country that were chosen the Tim Tebow Foundation, the sponsor of Night to Shine. The foundation provides financial support, as well as a planning packet and promo kit to help the host sites put on the local events.

The goal of the event is to provide a full prom night experience for individuals with special needs, ages 16 and older. Geyer Springs FBC's Night to Shine event will be held at The Center at Bishop Park (6401 Boone Road, Bryant). Every participant will be given the red carpet treatment, including limo rides, as well as hair and makeup! In addition to dancing, there will be food, a photo booth and professional prom photos. Plus, there are plans to have a sensory room for prom attendees who need a quiet space away from the party atmosphere.

Registration is open to all individuals with a disability or special need; there will be space for 500 prom attendees! To register, visit

Interested in volunteering at the event? Let them know you can help out by registering here.

Taste of Tuesday: Black Apple Mule Recipe from Kristie Jones

Image by Kristie Jones


Last October, Kristie Jones posted a photo of a Moscow Mule she made, something many of us are guilty of, but this time it paid off. She soon received an invitation from Smirnoff Vodka and Shiftgig, a career site for the service and hospitality industry, to compete in their Moscow Mule Challenge.

The goal was simple enough: Put a regional twist on the classic drink. After hundreds of applicants, Jones was chosen as the South Central winner with her Black Apple Mule recipe. 

“After seeking uniquely Arkansas ingredients at the River Market, I enlisted the use of some bar tendering expertise from Michael Peace of Maduro and now 109 & Co.,” Jones said. “Michael instructed me on muddling, ice crushing technique and the dry shake. With some Arkansas Black Apples and a dash of black walnut bitters, the Black Apple Mule was born.”

Jones and the four other regional winners were whisked away to Chicago where they were treated at the historic Coq d’Or Restaurant and Lounge at the Drake Hotel, did some sightseeing and even had meals created as pairings for each of the mule recipes. 

“It was exciting to represent our great state and meet the other regional winners. It was an wonderful time to be in the city. It was adorned with holiday decorations, and I even caught a glimpse of snow,” Jones said.

And because she’s so awesome, she decided to share her award-winning recipe with you, you lucky dogs. 

Thanks, Kristie!


Black Apple Mule


1½ oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka

½ cup diced medium black or red apple

½ lime

2 dashes black walnut bitters

2 oz. ginger beer

1 sprig of fresh mint



Muddle diced apple with lime juice and bitters. Dry shake mixture. Add vodka to shaker and shake additionally. Strain mixture into a copper mug mounded with finely crushed ice. Top off with ginger beer and garnish with an apple slice and mint.


From Jones’s blog, Love on Main St.:

The Arkansas Black Apple originated in Benton County during 1870. It’s considered to be among the oldest growing apples in the South. Black apples are available across the country now, but the roots of this sweet and tart apple with floral notes began in The Natural State. Black walnut trees are plentiful in Arkansas and pair well with apple to create a unique twist on the traditional Moscow Mule.

Breaking in the copper mug. It's Moscow Mule time! #moscowmule #cockandbull #coppermug Christmas Eve Eve

A photo posted by Kristie Jones (@loveonmainst) on

Shop at Whole Foods Today, Benefit Easter Seals


Despite whatever horrid restrictions you’ve put on your diet for the new year, you still gotta eat. And while you’re at it, you might as well do some good for the community.

Today, when you shop at Whole Foods, 5 percent of sales will benefit Easter Seals Arkansas. This will take place at the current Whole Foods location in on North Rodney Parham; their new store doesn't open until February.

Easter Seals Disability Services is a center that works with people of all ages who have special needs, providing them with opportunities to work, play, live and learn.

So stop by and pick up some essentials or load up the cart up with to-go meals. Either way, you’re helping support some really incredible programs. 

For information on how to get involved with Easter Seals, visit their website

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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.
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For this special Reader's Choice edition, we wanted to put a fun little spin on the traditional Editor Favorites feature. Instead of simply showcasing the editorial team's favorite bridal portraits and couple shots, we added décor, ideas and more into this mix. We hope these inspire you to create something fresh, unique or simply gorgeous for your weddings.

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