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travel journal

siesta key / travel journal

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siesta key, florida

Wow. What a beautiful week I had down in Siesta Key, Florida. The family vacations down there every year and has been going for twenty years or so, and my aunt’s ashes were scattered there after her passing. It’s their home away from home, and this year, I was finally lucky enough to be able to visit along with them. To say it was incredible would be an understatement. The clear water, the sugar sand, the dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles I got to see every morning as I walked along the beach – it honestly felt like a dream, or like something that I’d never see in my life.

Siesta Key Beach is south of Sarasota, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, an island just over a narrow passage of water between it and the mainland. Lots of great shops and activities – we even did a fun run with the kids on the beach sponsored by the local Parks & Rec department, which they do every Tuesday and Wednesday night throughout the summer. I missed out on morning yoga (by the ocean, Wednesdays and Saturdays,) but I did have a great time out on the sailboat with my brothers.

Our condo was on the beach, and my room was just steps from the ocean. In the morning, I’d sit on the patio to work (and melt in the sweltering 91 degree heat, which I love.) Afternoons were spent on the beach, cooking in the sun, enjoying some beverages and building sandcastles. It’s no surprise that it’s been consistently voted the #1 beach in the country for years and years. I can’t wait for next year, as I can’t imagine not returning with them.

Here’s a brief photo gallery of my trip (you can check out the sunset appreciation post of its own, as well)!

June 29, 2015

For Boston / travel journal

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boston travel journal

I just got back from Boston, where I had the BEST time. We definitely packed a lot in in just a few days, and I’m already mapping out my next trip to visit.

The first place we hit on Thursday evening was Max Brenner near the Boston Marathon finish line and I don’t think I have been in such a vat of sin in my entire life. It was all chocolate everything – even the waffle fries (which we are still dreaming about) were covered in cocoa powder, and the sandwiches we split (I highly recommend the burger and the cheesesteak waffle sandwich) had hints of chocolate baked in. We could have eaten there every day and I would have been happy. After dinner (which was capped, of course, by a dessert pizza) we walked around the Copley Square and Boylston area before heading home to start watching Orphan Black.


On Friday, we were apprehensive about the weather – reports said it was supposed to rain and be cloudy throughout the day, but it was sunny and beautiful all morning, so we decided to take our chances and head to the beach. I could have laid there all weekend, the weather was completely perfect. (And we saw a dead jellyfish!) We packed up and had dinner with her friend Natalie at State Park, which totally reminded me of a cabin in the UP of Michigan, before heading to Natalie’s Improv Boston show. Dani and I had never seen improv live before, and it was really great! After the early show, we took the bus over to Lawn On D, which was showing Jaws. Since Dani is scared of sharks and I don’t care about 80’s movies, we just stuck around long enough to have a cocktail, but it seemed like there were a lot of activities and food trucks to make it a fun night. We headed back home to order pizza and continue on our Orphan Black quest.



“Is that a jellyfish?” “It looks like an implant”


Saturday was still beautiful and sunny, so we took advantage of spending some more time outside. We ate at a little cafe near her place before jumping on the bus to the JFK Library and Museum. We thought there would have been more about his death, but I did really like the recreations of the Oval Office and how they focused on the media coverage that the Kennedys brought to government, from the presidential debates to the White House tours. From there we went over to Faneuil Hall, got some gelato, and then spent some time on the Harbor Walk. I could just live my whole life on a boat… if I knew someone who owned one. After walking through Little Italy, we decided to cook dinner at home, and… you guessed it, watch Orphan Black. We love TV so we decided to try to make it as far through a new show as we could – I can’t lie, we did a lot of damage! Since I had to work on Sunday, we watched it for eight hours straight over computers and coffee. It was still warm and sunny, so we decided to head out on a sunset cruise up the Charles River around Harvard and Boston University. It was a really great way to cap the weekend!



As I was standing and waiting to get the bus to meet Dani for lunch on Monday before hitting the airport, the skies of course opened, but I’m so happy that the weather held off until then (and was even more glad when I landed safely in Baltimore after what was easily the most turbulent plane ride of my entire life!)

What do I need to check out on my next trip to Boston?

June 16, 2015

constructive summer / out and about

Posted in Living, Travel by


Do you ever feel like you have those weekends that are so packed of life and activities, you can hardly believe it lasted only 48 hours? That’s what my whole month is shaping up to look like, and I could not be happier. From a quick Ohio getaway, to a surprise visit from a college friend, the first week of June is proving to be setting a great tone for the summer!

I popped up to Cincinnati for a quick getaway to hide away from the city for a few days to try to get some work done, and had a great few days with my family. Between soccer scrimmages, softball practices, and afternoon massages, we always pack a ton in. In the midst of finding a new place in Nashville, I had a panic attack and looked at places in Cincinnati out of frustration, and every time I visit, I think more and more about moving there.

That trip was supposed to be much longer, but last Monday, one of my best friends from college texted me to let me know she was coming to Nashville to surprise someone at their bachelorette party! I haven’t seen her since graduation in 2011, so I came back to town early to see her. I picked her up from the airport and we spent the day together, including a mini-reunion with a bunch of other college friends as well for a night of margaritas and karaoke!




Friday night, I managed to score tickets for the Brantley Gilbert and Lynyrd Skynyrd taping of Crossroads for CMT. I’m not a huge fan of either artist, but it was a really great time, and I hope to make it to even more of these special events in the future. Every time I consider leaving Nashville, these opportunities come up that I would never get to have in another city, and it makes it so hard to consider leaving.




Saturday night I worked a double show, and relaxed after such a busy week in my great new BANGS Shoes with this view of the city. Summer is so good to me.


Finally, I spent Sunday afternoon poolside at one of the greatest Nashille hangs, Pinewood Social, for cocktails before my friend left for the airport again. There is just something about umbrella drinks and retro decor that makes me feel home.


How was your weekend?

I was provided a complimentary product for review from Bangs Shoes, but all opinions are my own.

June 8, 2015

on top of old smoky / travel journal

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While mom was here, we took a girl’s getaway over to the Smoky Mountains. My family has made that our kind of annual family vacation, and we really enjoy spending time exploring all together. This time it was just the two of us, and we stayed closer to the touristy spots (and moonshine distilleries :)) than we typically do.

It should come as little surprise that I love wine, so one of the first things we do as soon as we get off the exit, we make a stop at the first winery, Eagle Springs. This is my favorite winery in the smokies (and also the sweetest, if you’re into sweet wines) and they’re known for their honey and fruit wines.


We continued along the wine trail hitting Hillside Winery (another favorite – I’ve raved about their Cantina Bianca before), Apple Barn Winery (if you go, you have to try the apple fritters!), then finishing the first night at Mountain Valley where we picked up some cheese and crackers to nibble on in the hotel room.

The next morning we woke up to load up on Starbucks since the hotel coffee left MUCH to be desired, and did a little shopping at the Sevierville outlet malls before heading into Gatlinburg to finish the wine trail at Sugarland Cellars and get started on the distilleries.


There were three new distilleries from the last time I was in town, and the first new one we went to was Doc Collier. I really enjoyed this one, and our pourer was great. We didn’t make it back here, but I wish I would have grabbed a bottle of their watermelon moonshine. After Doc Collier’s, we also hit Ole Smoky Distillery, Davy Crockett’s (another new-to-me place) and Sugarland Shine.


East Tennessee is such a beautiful and relaxing place and if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend checking it out for a night or two. There’s a lot to do (beyond just sampling the local flavors) and it’s a great place to unwind!

Have you ever gone on a wine trail or moonshine tour? What’s your favorite flavor?

May 12, 2015