A Holiday (Walking) in Memphis

It’s already mid-January and the holidays seem like they were long long ago, in a galaxy far far away. 
(We all saw Star Wars over the holidays, right?) 
Well, I’ve finally found a moment or two to go through all of the photos that I happened to snap over the break & round them up in a somewhat organized fashion – a la blog post. 
Spoiler alert: there is a whole lot of Elvis (& a legitimate tornado) involved! 

This Christmas “break” Patrick and I both had four days off to adventure home to visit our families.  We spent two days in Mississippi with his family and two days in Tennessee with mine.  It was a whirlwind long weekend – but we wouldn’t have it any other way! 
For some reason I only managed to really pull out my camera during the latter half of the trip, while in Tennessee. Our two (undocumented) days in Mississippi were absolutely wonderful, oh so relaxing & pure perfection. It was my first Christmas Eve/Day to actually spend with Patrick’s family and it felt like I’d been celebrating the holiday with them all along! 
We relaxed with Christmas movies, lots & lots of food, sweet treats & presents. 
Christmas Day, Patrick & I then drove up to Memphis to spend the rest of the weekend with my family.  
After a 6.5 hour drive from Houston to Jackson – the 3 hour trip up to Memphis felt like nothing! 

We were greeted Christmas evening by my parents, cousins, uncle & brothers.  Lots of goofy photos later, this photo above couldn’t not be shared.

I still have NO idea what is going on here.

My family is probably what you would call a “rock n roll” family.  My brother is in a band, my dad writes music, my uncle plays the piano, I could go on & on with everyone’s unique & various roles/skills.

Anywho! Christmas Day my brother’s band, The Sheiks, were playing at a local venue & my uncle of all people was their opening act.  It was truly a family affair!

Michael Donahue Playing Christmas Carols

My musically gifted uncle is a writer for Memphis’ own Commercial Appeal & really a local Memphis celebrity if I do say so myself. (Proof here if you feel inclined for some further reading.) He is such a character & treated holiday party-goers to a selection of the merriest of Christmas carols during his opening act.

As a little kid, my uncle would play Christmas carols for us on the family piano all holiday season long.  So having him play at a real venue for so many people (on Christmas Day no less) was so crazy! It was like inviting strangers into “our holiday tradition.”

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s too much fun of a tradition not to share!

Naturally I had to snapchat the whole thing because such an occurrence like this simply had to be documented! 
PS: are you following me on snapchat yet!? @AliceKsnaps yall! 

The Sheiks and Jack Oblivion
Frank, my older bro, is the one in the red shirt on the left. His band is called The Sheiks & they are so rad! That night they played back up to a Memphis musician Jack Oblivian. (Guy in hat.) 
Every time we visit Memphis, these guys have some sort of show going on – which always makes for a very fun hometown reunion! 

After two Christmases and one very late night, I have NO idea how Patrick and I found the energy to wake up early and visit Graceland. 
But nonetheless, we pulled ourselves together and headed to the home of the King of Rock N’ Roll. 
With a purse, a camera & an iPad & headphones for touring – I had never felt more touristy in my life! In my hometown, ironically too! 
Graceland, Elvis Presley, Elvis's House at Christmas, Graceland at Christmas, Christmas at Graceland 2016

But people play tourist from ALL over the globe when visiting Elvis Presley’s home of Graceland.

It truly was an awe-inspiring experience, seeing such a legend’s home.

If you aren’t able to make it to Memphis anytime soon to see it for yourself, not to worry. Sit back & relax for a peek into the King’s palace at Graceland.

Graceland, Elvis Presley, Elvis's House at Christmas, Graceland at Christmas, Christmas at Graceland 2016, Elvis' Living room decorated for chirstmas
Elvis’ living room was all decorated for Christmas. The iPad let us know that all of the Christmas decorations were actually Elvis’ original holiday decor. (Apart from the living plants & such – duh!) 
It was so much fun to see Graceland all decorated for the holidays!  
Having grown up in Memphis & visiting a few times before, I would definitely recommend coming this time of year if you can! 

Elvis’ dining room.  Not pictured is the television set in the corner. 🙂 He really liked to watch TV! There was one in the kitchen too!

And an entire room downstairs dedicated to televisions.  

Another room was dedicated to pool.  Seriously these photos do NOT do it justice! The walls & ceiling of this room were draped in the most ornate cinched fabric. 
I’m pretty sure my grandmother would be very proud of this blog post.  My Memphis born & bred grandmother probably considered herself his #1 fan. 🙂 

This was Patrick’s first visit to Graceland.  I think he has now become a dedicated Elvis fan … especially after listening to him on spotify pretty much the whole car ride back to Texas. 
Plus any grown man who can get away with wearing THESE OUTFITS deserves all the is dedication. 🙂 
At the conclusion of the tour of Graceland, guests make their way to Elvis’ graveside on the property. 
His grave and that of his immediate families’ were all moved to Graceland after fear that vandals would destroy it at the local cemetery. 

Not going to lie, I was pretty moved at Elvis graveside. 
So were many of the other tourists.  Patrick saw someone meditating nearby and I’m pretty sure I saw a girl behind me on the verge of tears. 
The King of Rock N Roll sure touched a whole lot of people, even to this day! 

He also had a very big collection of grown up “toys” – colorful cars & airplanes!

When visiting Graceland, you can add on a tour of Elvis’ car museum & a tour of his TWO airplanes.

Of course we had to add to do it. 

See the TCB and the lightening bolt? 
Stands for “Taking Care of Business In a Flash.” 
Elvis had this logo anywhere & everywhere! 

Elvis’ massive airplane (a Boeing 707 named after his daughter Lisa Mari) features a living room, dining room, bar, seating area, bedroom, guest bedroom & two bathrooms with real gold fixtures. 
Patrick and I were exhausted after all the opulence we saw during our tour of Graceland. With our belly’s starting to growl – there was one place I had to visit during our short trip to Memphis. 
Huey's Memphis, Cheese Fries, Huey's Cheese Fries in Memphis


If you live, have lived, know someone who lives in/lived in Memphis – then you’ve heard of Huey’s. There is one in almost every neighborhood in the city.

Their burgers (and especially loaded cheese fries) can’t be beat!

The last bit of the trip was spent catching up with family and fitting in time to see my old college & high school friends.

Breakfast at The Arcade (the oldest cafe in Memphis) was a must!

This little diner serves American cuisine & the decor hasn’t changed (hardly) since it first opened in 1919.
I highly recommend the chili & grilled cheese! 

Okay now this part of our trip is where things get interesting!
{Also – Hello & thank you if you’re still reading.  Longest blog post EVA!}

So, Patrick and I were headed back to Houston the Sunday after Christmas. We knew the weather was going to be on the bad side, thunderstorms and what not.
What we did NOT know was that we were literally driving right into a tornado. 

See Prescott, above? That’s where we were sitting in standstill traffic on the road when the tornado sirens stared going off.  Scariest. moment. of. my. life. 
We eventually moved a little bit and made it to Hope, Arkansas and decided to seek shelter.  
No better place than a town named “hope” to seek shelter from a tornado, right?

With one look at the radar, we knew we couldn’t risk heading all the way back to Houston that night.
So …. 

A hotel party with two big dogs it was!  
Staying in a hotel with dogs is quite quite quite eventful. 🙂 

Skies were blue as can be the next day on our drive home.  
We sure packed a lot into our four day trip and I am so glad we got to spend time with both of our families, see old friends, have a lot of fun and get some culture in there too! 
I hope you all had a great holiday too!  Thanks for stopping by the blog today and letting me share a peek into my Christmas with you!