This morning, I awoke in the moody dawn light to a strong rain pounding on our metal roof.
I’d gratefully awaited this rain that wasn’t expected until next week, and new the morning would be especially lovely. I was not disappointed, and it was as if in the few minutes before the rain tapered off and I dressed to run outside that new flowers sprouted in my impromptu ‘garden.’
Read one for a detailed exploration of my unruly wild natives patch!
Last July, I moved from my hometown of St Petersburg, FL to Oak Ridge, TN. I embarked on this new adventure with excitement, trepidation, and an open mind. While I expected to miss friends and the routine of my previous life, I didn't intend to miss this small but meaningful tradition. Read about one of my favorite gems in Tampa, FL and get a mini-travel guide for your next visit!
For the first time in years, I happened to be in a pie and cake shop on Pi Day! My first time at Magpies bakery was a resounding success - everything was delicious and the atmosphere was delectable. Read about my experience + see delicious photos of their treats inside!
Tucked away from the busy Market Square on the side street Union Ave is Wild Lavender Spa.
You'll often find the shop open but the overhead lights off, a calm mood settling in the space. Sage green walls with original floor tile exposed, wood furniture and a concise color palette envelope you in that sense of calmness. The first time I walked by, it was evening and the shop was closed. I could see through the large picture window that this place was special - it wasn't kitsch, contrived, or adhering to a generic trend. Standing outside, I could tell this place was different.
Read more from my experience at Wild Lavender Spa, including my first facial (ever) and sitting down to chat with the young founder, Hannah Easterly.
A trip to Asheville this time last year completely changed my life. The mountain air, the yoga retreat, the city itself; I came home and jumped into the unknown that brought me all the way to where I am today. Since that time, I've been drawn back to explore with an urgency that brings it up in conversation more often than I care to admit. On Friday, I tagged along with my friend Sophia's already-planned Asheville. In the seven hours we had, this is where we went.
South America hadn't been on my 'list'. That bucket list I write down over and over, things to do, places to go, what to try, who to be. South America just didn't make that list. Scary, dangerous, language barrier, climate, whatever the news was feeding me at the time. It wasn't on my list, but the opportunity arose and I took it.
I'm grateful I did.
This post isn't about the trip. It isn't a travel guide; it certainly isn't about the Olympics, which was happening at the time and which I did attend; it isn't about food or neighborhoods or anything like that. It isn't even about people, truly, though the trip (and Rio by nature) was full of them, touching my life and changing my perspective.
It's about 6 rolls of film that sat on my shelf for a year.
Arriving at Stone Barns, the clouds looming overhead threatened to burst. We debated umbrellas, decided on only one and layered up against the wind. The tour was set for 90 minutes, the longest and most in-depth they offered, and would cover the entire grounds.
It promptly began to pour.
Our group started closer to ten, and without spoiling the ending for you, we finished with four. Our fearless leader Rene, the Director of Education, wore a rain jacket, no gloves, and braced herself to take the brunt of the storm to her front while we huddled with our backs to the wind. Her voice never wavered and her smile never diminished. I couldn't help but shiver, being a lowly Floridian so far out of her element wearing another man's boots and already soaked in her skinny jeans to the bone. Mari leans over to me,
After I booked my trip to NYC, Lindsey posted a graphic to her superb Instagram: @lostincheeseland the dates of her upcoming book signings. One happened to be at the famed Rizzoli Bookstore the weekend I'd be in NYC! Mari, being an even more avid literary-lover than myself, agreed to accompany me (and happened to be a great paparazzi for the whole event!).
Lindsey was spectacular.
The event was moderated by Esquire Food & Wine Editor Jeff Gordinierand the main discussion topics of the night were on the first section of the book, the new and developing food scene in Paris. Lindsey talks about how young entrepreneurs, fresh chefs, and individuals with mixed backgrounds are remixing the Parisian food scene, which had devolved to some degree in the past couple decades.
Before venturing into Maplewood, NJ for to meet a friend for breakfast, we briefly explored downtown Morristown, about 15 minutes from where I was staying with Mari. There, we found stunning blossoming trees, neighborhoods fully rebuilt since the hurricane, and a few hidden gems I photographed below.
The Artist Baker & Colly Flowers were connected, both micro-small but seemingly full with tables and communal space I could've enjoyed all day if we didn't have plans. Mari and I mused over how the multiple-concepts business idea is a dream of each of ours. A cafe - florist - bookstore or a coffee shop - stationary - local goods compendium were among our favorite ideas.
When I learned that Sara Bareilles would be starring Waitress, her broadway musical writing debut, I booked my ticket to NYC. The culmination of being a musical theatre nerd circa my teen-hood, a Sara Bareilles fan as long as iPods have been around, and having never seen a Broadway show before set the stage (ha) for my best trip to New York yet.
In this post, I also share details about my arrival to my friend Mari's lovely home, our journey into NYC, and the slow evening that awaited me at home.
New York is my favorite place to go alone. To be completely anonymous, not just in a foreign place but among so many strangers who respect your space in response to you respecting theirs. Moving fluidly from metro stop to destination, one neighborhood to the next, a new world opening up before me as I climb the stairs from underground.
In this post, I detail how I plan for my trip, the details I've arranged, and some special events I'm excited about.