Praha 🇺🇸

I went to Prague for an ITF tournament about 4-6 years ago, (this girl has minimal memory), and I remember taking public transport into the city center and being so impressed with all of the European architecture, the Vltava, and of course the Charles Bridge. Unfortunately I didn’t see as much as I would have liked, so to have another shot at Prague is so exciting for me!

Stephen and I had an easy flight across the Atlantic. My personal recipe for a good flight is to eat the money equivalent in food that the ticket cost and sleep as much as possible. And that is exactly what I did! We arrived to our (absolutely beautiful) hotel around 330pm so we decided to take a little stroll to the Charles Bridge and Old Town while we had the time. Once Fed Cup week begins there is a lot happening so any down time we may have is usually spent resting our bodies and preparing for our matches… so we took the opportunity and ran with it.

first stop (naturally)- traditional Czech dessert called “trdelnik.” I just call it “cinnamon pastry cone with ice cream and Nutella.”💁🏼‍♀️

first sunset, no filter 😍
Entrance to the Charles Bridge

Our first couple of days went super fast and have been a lot of fun. I have known and been friends with Niki the longest out of all of the girls on the team, but have quickly become friends with Danielle and Sonya after spending time with them at tournaments. They all work hard and have great personalities which makes our days a good time. I also admire the year they all have had on the tennis court and I know they are all waiting to get this tie underway!

Captain Kathy organized a scavenger hunt around the city for us and this was before we knew what we were getting into😂Also side note: Captain Kathy and Cocaptain Lisa Raymond are truly amazing. They are best friends themselves and if you hear them laugh together you can’t help but join in. It’s contagious!
The scavenger hunt gave extra points for “creativity,” hence Captains idea for a dog pile in front of the Opera House
Team USA in Prague’s city center

Tonight is the official dinner and it is apparently a boat ride along the Vltava so photos will follow!

Off to do my hair

Ali🇺🇸GO USA

Advertisements

Fed Cup Final🇺🇸

One thing that I really love about my job is that I get to represent America every single week that I compete around the world. I take so much pride in our country and our people and I never take what we have for granted.

With that being said, some of my favorite moments during my career happen when I get chosen to play Fed Cup. I have played a few times in my career and each tie has been an experience that I will always remember. Last year I was a part of my first Fed Cup final in Belarus. While I did not get to play, I still shared in every moment with my awesome team and acted like a psycho tennis fan on the sidelines, donning some face paint and shouting obnoxiously. (I will definitely be THAT tennis mom).

I am ecstatic to play in another (!!!) Fed Cup final under Captain Kathy Rinaldi in a few short days when we take on the Czech Republic. I will be the veteran, (how did that ever happen?!), on the team along with three rookies so I look forward to putting them through the paces.😉

I hope you can watch and cheer us on Nov. 10 & 11. I will be the one that cries during the national anthem and is shamelessly decked out in red, white, and blue!🇺🇸 I also have grand plans of posting a couple times while in Prague so that you can experience Fed Cup alongside Team USA!

Some photos from last year in Belarus with these amazing ladies…

Captain Kathy, Coco, Sloan, Shelby and Me!

Jennifer and I getting ready to cheer on USA
Stephen and me at the official dinner😍
FED CUP CHAMPS!

Sweet Somethins

A friend, (Blaire, where ya at?!), introduced me to BabyCakes NYC a few years ago while I was playing in the Usopen. We both have a soft spot for gluten free goodies and she demanded that I try Babycakes, located in Lower Manhattan. Erin Mckenna is the founder and she has since opened bakeries under her name in Orlando and LA. Needless to say, I quickly became a part of the Babycakes “cult.”

Post-Wimbledon, I found myself in Orlando for just a couple days and I obviously took that opportunity to visit Erin Mckenna’s Bakery in Disney Springs. I was not disappointed- not even a little bit. A chocolate brownie cupcake with vanilla vegan frosting & a slice of their chocolate chip banana bread later, I left a very happy girl. They also tempted me with a sample of their recently introduced vegan ice-cream and if I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was regular soft serve- instead it was made from coconut milk.

image

The part that I love the most about EM’s is that their desserts taste like “normal.” They are dense, moist (hate that word but it WAS moist!) and full of flavor. It is not easy to find GF baked goods that you actually crave!

Whether you are GF or not, you will find something that makes you smile at EM’s🍪🍩🍰

Happy Saturday

Ali

High Tea for Two

I have always enjoyed the IDEA of tea time- bone china plates and tea cups, fine silverware, tea sandwiches, cakes and cookies, and I guess… tea. I think this is why I collect one tea cup from every new country that I visit- because tea time sounds so nice. I doubt I will ever sip tea from any of them, but hopefully my children can appreciate the collection one day.🤔

With all of that being said, my beyond wonderful boyfriend arranged for us to have high tea at Claridge’s in London following my Wimbledon loss… yes, he is the best. High tea came to be when Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope, started to become HANGRY after lunch time, but did not want to eat too big of a meal before dinner that would spoil her appetite. THUS, the creation of afternoon tea- usually anywhere from 3-5pm, consisting of little sandwiches, small desserts and of course, tea. I am pretty sure if I was living in that era, I would have been the creator because 3 meals a day just ain’t enough grub.

Claridge’s was absolute perfection. It is one of the nicest hotels in London and naturally offers one of the best high tea experiences, too. It epitomized everything that tea time should be: elegant, delicious, and captivating. Our tea included sandwiches, with the salmon and cream cheese being my favorite.

imageFollowed by a tray of desserts…

image

Although the above were delicious, the biscuits with clotted cream and jam were my FAVORITE part.

Thank you, Claridge’s!

image

Cheers!

Ali (and Stephen!)

GoMacro

I am very excited about this post! Eeee! I first discovered GoMacro bars while at a tournament a few weeks ago. I enjoyed them so much that I emailed the brands sport and wellness manager to personally thank her for supplying product to the tournament and for ultimately introducing me to GoMacro’s wholesome yumminess. Major upsides of these bars are that they are pretty low in sugar, preservative free, as well as dairy and gluten free. Annnnd organic. Get in mah belly.

img_0151

The company story is very intriguing and I recommend taking a look here. I think that with one bite you will find yourself one step closer to natural happiness!💖If you would like to try any of their goodies, you may use code GoThrive20 for 20% off your first online order when you follow this link: http://bit.ly/1NlsKiv.

I am super excited to be an ambassador for this brand now, but I can assure you that I would be spreading the word regardless. If you try something from GoMacro, let me know what you think! My favorite flavor is almond butter + carob and the granola + coconut is a close second!

Epilogue:

So what is a macrobiotic diet? FYI I do not follow this type of diet wholly, but I can appreciate it. Here is a very quick summary: it is based on a yin (alkaline) & yang (acidic) approach and finding a balance between these two. It is mostly an organic diet with low intakes of meat, fish and sugar. You are primarily eating plants/veggies and whole grain options. The diet also requires you to use specific cookware, like wood or glass, to eliminate toxins.

#gomacro

Ali

Winning at Wynwood

Hello, it’s me. I am back! I have definitely been to a few cities since the last time I posted: Indian Wells, San Antonio, Miami, Charleston, and…Pittsburgh. Each one had something, (a restaurant), that I really enjoyed, but today’s post will be featuring The Wynwood Yard in Miami. This area is home to Art Basel and it is such a funky, boho-chic, downright fun place. The Wynwood Yard is literally a plot of land full of gourmet food trucks (ahhhhmen) that are centered around an open bar area. Lights are strewn from pole to pole, creating a chill vibe while you nosh.

 
My boyfriend, being the kick@** date planner he is, took me to Myumi- a sushi must. There are only 6 seats available at this truck and reservations are needed. You must download the RESY app to make a “resy” here. We both settled on ordering the 10 piece omakase, aka the chef makes the calls and you just eat whatever he serves! We ended up loving every piece of sushi he created for us, but our meal ended and our bellies wanted more. Soooo, naturally, we strolled to the next closest food truck, Dim Ssäm á gogo, korean bbq. Now, I am 90 percent a meat girl and 10 percent a sushi girl so this place struck a cord with my tastebuds and I will forever be thinking of their korean fried chicken wings. Top 5 list of best things I have ever eaten.

  
Annnnnd with a quick closing game of cornhole, we called it a date.

The Wynwood Yard is the perfect place to spend a Miami evening outdoors and you will definitely have a unique dining experience that few other places can offer.

Ps. I guess you can tell I am more of a foodie than a blogger because my food is gone before I can remember to take a photo of it… Oops. 

Until lata gatas,

Ali

Shah Jahan, What A Legend

It would be some sort of injustice to visit India without seeing the Taj Mahal, so we made our way north before leaving the country. The drive from New Delhi airport to Agra is about 3 hours of vast land full of hand-built huts and wild animals. With one pit stop for a bathroom break and some chicken tikka masala at a rest stop (I figured it couldnt be spicier than the south… And it wasnt! Alleluia!), we were on our way to see another wonder of the world!

 

Our visit to Agra was short, but certainly sweet. We hired a driver and a tour guide for our couple days there which were worth every penny. It made things feel safe and easy.

 

Naturally, the Taj was stop numero uno. It is probably cliche to say, but words really cannot do it justice. Absolutely magnificent. The detail on the entire mausoleum was dumbfounding. It is amazing what 20,000 workers can get done! They say that the Taj is one of the most romantic places on earth because Shah Jahan built it for his deceased “favorite wife,” Mumtaz Mahal. Rumor has it that Shah was planning to build himself an identical Taj across the river, but made out of black marble instead. He died before that was ever put into action.
img_9472

img_9481
it’s all in the details. The stones that make up the colorful flowers were brought in from different countries around the world. They were then individually shaven to form the design.

 

We had every intention of touring Agra Fort but by the time we had swung around it was closed. Parts of it are closed to the public anyways because the Indian army uses it as a training site these days. Also, the amount of monkeys that have taken over Agra Fort is pretty impressive- they were everywhere. It was still amazing to see how massive it was and crazy to think it dated back to the 1500’s. Shah Jahan’s grandfather, Akbar, built the fort to defend the city.

We finished our day with a mocktail at the Oberoi Hotel while watching the sunset on the Taj Mahal. If you would have told me when I was younger that I would string that sentence together one day, I would have said “BS!”

the sun setting at The Oberoi
img_9542
the Taj in the background is the main focal point here. And Stephen!

 

India, thank you for being extraordinary.

And, a special thank you to my boyfriend, Stephen, who is a man that wears many hats and can put together adventures better than anyone I have ever known!
Until another adventure
Ali