The Irish love a bit of good craic! Craic (Krak) is an Irish term for good times, gossip & fun

#borninireland, travel

Ireland, my happy place


In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share my love of Ireland with you. It’s a place that holds most of my fondest and special memories.

When I was a little girl, we used to spend a month in Ireland every few years. Staying with my grandparents, Frank and Eileen, we would wake up every morning with excitement to get our penny sweet money. My sister Joedy and I would walk to the corner store and spend ages in the sweet shop, deciding how to spend our 50 cents. Do we get penny sweets? An ice cream? Or stickers to bring home to the US and trade with our friends?

Another sweet memory and most recent, was my wedding with my husband Mike. Our closest friends and family came from all over the world to spend a few magical days with us in a castle in Ireland. It was the dreamiest reality I’ve ever experienced.

Besides having such great memories, trips to Ireland are necessary for my health! With traveling back and forth from LA to NY and everywhere in between, the immediate sense of relief and relaxation I feel in Ireland is unmatched. There is no experience like New York City or Los Angeles or San Francisco in Ireland. Ireland has one major city and the rest is beautiful greenery, small towns and sheep! The energy is completely different in Ireland than it is in the US. You naturally want to unwind, slow down, and unplug (just for a little!).

When my sister and I were little girls, we used to tell everyone that we were moving to Ireland when we turn 18. It was always our fantasy to live there when we grew up. Of course, once we grew up, we understood how lucky we were that our parents came to the United States and what the US has to offer. But it is still always a dream of mine to someday spend part of my time every year in Ireland! Its good to have dreams!

Maybe someday! In the meantime, Ireland, I will love you and love you!

  • Cheers!
  • Audrey


Mark & Joni Pratte, est. 1983

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  • Mark
  • & Joni
  • est. 1983


With Valentine’s Day approaching in 2 days, we couldn’t think of a better time to write about our second #shareyourlovestory! This story is extra special since Joni & Mark’s daughter is Danielle, the Director of Almost Everything at Frank & Eileen. For that we owe them some extra love and gratitude! We’ve known this story for quite some time, but we asked Joni to tell it in her own words, through her own eyes. You may want to grab a box of tissues before continuing!!

“So here I am at 18 years old working as a server in a restaurant. One day I went to put in an order for the kitchen and there was a piece of paper folded in half with my name on it. Inside it said “you have nice legs – from your secret admirer”. Having no idea who it could be from, I asked around and got virtually nowhere. Each night for the next week I received a note with a compliment. Naturally, it was starting to freak me out! We had this new Regional kitchen manager, but I thought surely it couldn’t be him. He was cute, 6’3″, long hair, built like a football running back, but not my type. After a few more days I finally got a note that asked if I would meet him for dinner. Still unsure of whom I would be meeting, I decided I would take the risk, promising I would leave if it was not the new guy. I walked in the restaurant and standing there was our new Regional kitchen manager “Sparky” Pratte, holding a dozen roses. We had a fun dinner, which consisted of me doing mostly all the talking. I talked a lot! He was so shy and so tall, we sat at a table under this silly cuckoo clock that would not shut up!

The next week the same company sent me to help open a new restaurant in Sacramento training the new staff. When I told Sparky the news, he didn’t seem to care, so I thought it was over between us. Wow, was I wrong! Without fail, he sent me flowers every week and called me everyday for the next 3 weeks. I still did all the talking. He was then sent to the same restaurant to train the Regional kitchen manager. As you can imagine, there were strict policies about not dating other trainers or staff. Needless to say, we very quietly broke the rules. We went on to open 5 more restaurants together all over the US over the next 6 months. While we were in Florida, I had a minor freak out and decided we shouldn’t date anymore, but he was persistent. Of course, on the night we broke up he brought me roses and Champagne. After 3 months apart and being quite miserable it was time to give in and realize I loved him! Being young or the fact that getting married wasn’t in my plan didn’t matter. We were together traveling and working together once again and HAPPY!!

One day, he asked me to marry him over the phone. I said yes. We took a short vacation together and talked about what we wanted for our future and how important family was to us both. We agreed if we were going to get married it was a 50 year deal, no less! While planning the wedding and deciding on a date, I remember asking him what he wanted for his birthday. He said all he wanted was me. So we got married on his birthday – September 8, 1983.

I am so lucky he is my Sparky, my best friend, my pain in the tush, the father of my amazing daughters, my rock, my everything! Thank goodness he is persistent! I am happy to say we have been married 31 years and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. My Sparky, my love!

P.S. the cuckoo clock from our first date now hangs in our bedroom — we bought it when the restaurant closed.

Have a great Valentine’s Day weekend everyone! Share it with someone you love! Puppies count!
Share your story of love with us! Email us at


  • xxoo,
  • your friends at Frank & Eileen