On the Horizon: Upcoming Trips

Transitioning back to the workweek after a family staycation and a fun birthday weekend is a challenge- as Nutritionella pointed out, ever feel like you need a vacation to recover from vacation?

I thought it would help to remind myself of the fun trips I have on the horizon for the rest of summer and the beginning of fall.

Back to Hollymead

Work & fun trip to DC

Bachelorette party at undisclosed location

First time in Nashville

First time in San Francisco

Thank goodness I have generous family, friends, family friends, and friend’s family in cool places! We’ll be driving to most of these places, so the gas split between multiple people won’t be too expensive. For the other places, I/we have managed to find great deals by browsing Southwest’s fall sales and planning trips around the cheapest dates {hooray for workplace flexibility!}.

Where are you headed this summer/fall? What tips do you have for affordable travel? 

P.S. For more travel inspiration, check out Linnie’s Summer Travel Series!


recap: a taste of georgetown

My friends knew they wouldn’t be able to spend my birthday with me in July, so they planned a birthday surprise for this past weekend. I knew it involved food but I wasn’t sure exactly what it would be until we grabbed iced coffees from Dean and Deluca, turned the corner, and saw Taste of Georgetown, which is an annual festival with food samples, wine and beer tastings, and live jazz. Seriously? An outdoor festival where I get to eat, drink, listen to music, and hang out my friends?! Best present ever.

My friends got a deal for five food tastings and six drink samples! It doesn’t sound like a lot, but we were stuffed- we had to leave, digest, and come back to finish!

By the way, if you follow my blog for gluten-free inspiration, turn away now. I’m about to really disappoint. But I couldn’t say no to all the amazing offerings!

First up- wine at approximately 10:45am. Our first sample was SkinnyGirl wine, because we love Bethenny!

Next up: my friends each got a different crepe from Cafe Bonaparte and I of course stole a bite of each. The caramelized apple one was my favorite by far.
The next sample was our favorite sample of the day: Belmont Charcuterie {handcrafted cured meat}, Pesto Aioli, and Pickles on Grilled Ciabatta and a little cup of gazpacho on the side from Degrees Bistro {located in the Georgetown Ritz Carlton}.
My first ever Lobster Roll from Georgetown Catering! Probably my second favorite item of the day- it ran out really early in the day, so we were happy we went so early.
I was most excited about the dish from Mie N Yu- Hisho Miso Cold Duck Noodles with House Made Duck Pastrami, Buckwheat Soba Noodles, Toasted Sesame, Japanese Greens, Yuzu Kosho, Aromatic Akamiso Duck Broth, Pickled Daikon, and Crispy Garlic. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as great as it sounded, so we were a bit disappointed.
Next up, we all sampled Filomena’s Ravioli Alla Matrimonia: Roasted Meatballs on Baked Cheese Ravioli. Soo delicious!
Dessert was not one, but two Georgetown Cupcakes- molten lava and salted caramel! We loved the salted caramel but I could only manage a tiny bite of the molten lava’s cream cheese frosting.

After a few hours of lounging by the waterfront, we went back for more. The longest line we waited in was for paella from Bodega.
We couldn’t waste our tickets! Here we have Paella and Jamon Serrano, both from Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge. I loved the jamon but wasn’t blown away by the paella.
Lastly {thank goodness} we had Veggie Pad Thai from Bangkok Joe’s. Good but not amazing {maybe it was because I was so full}.

Crazy amount of food, huh? I felt a bit gluttonous! We had to digest {part two}, so we found a shady spot on the lawn outside a Georgetown church who openend their gates for the festival.  I ended up giving my drink tickets to my friends, because I couldn’t bear to put anything else into my stomach! I loved this angle:

Thank you for the amazing present, Lindsay and Karrie!

see you in a few hours, dc!

Photo credit

This morning I read one of Kaileen Elise’s Creative Weekend To Do Lists and felt inspired to write my own!

I’m headed up to DC around lunchtime today. Here’s what’s in store {subject to change based on the whims of three twenty-something girls!}:

  • Solo road trip with Boyfriend, Give Your Heart a Break, and Back in Time. And probably Ridin’ Solo, since it’s fitting
  • Pit stops for coffee and bubble gum {gotta have bubble gum on road trips!}
  • Jazz in the Garden with sangria
  • A night out at the Bottom Line, one of our favorite college bars
  • Brunch, most likely with bottomless mimosas
  • Tons of picture taking- with my SLR and Instagram
  • Dressing up in my city clothes 🙂
  • Wandering through different DC neighborhoods
  • Nostalgic reminiscing about our amazing DC college days
  • Catching up for hours with two of my best friends

hollymead memories

Photo credit: Sue
  • Playing a G rated Never Have I Ever during lunch on the patio
  • Larry jokingly saying “How many hussies does it take to load a dishwasher?” when we all insisted on helping out in the kitchen
  • Learning the expression “Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?” (it’s like “Is the Queen English?”)
  • I coyly commented that it was rare for a group of twenty-somethings to befriend a group of thirty-somethings. Larry replied “We have a phrase in the business world. Don’t bullshit a bullshitter!”
  • Singing “Sue and Larry had a farm” with multiple verses
  • Seeing the wine making room
  • Joking about hiding their special bottle of wine and pretending like we drank it!
  • Naming our group The Real Hussies of Hollymead
  • Teaching current lingo like #winning, legitimately, literally, and epic 
Also, this is what Larry’s status said after we left: 

Just had a great weekend with the “four hussies” we met on the Bahamas cruise this past February. Wonderful young women with wit, wisdom and big hearts. Look forward to having them back after [our foreign exchange student] arrives so she can see the art of the possible in America’s youth.

our last day at hollymead farm

Sunday was a bittersweet day at the farm because we knew we had to return to real life shortly.

My sister and I woke up at 6:15am to catch the sunrise, which didn’t pan out very well because we missed most of it! But I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the patio:

And I snapped a picture once the sun was up:

Sue and Larry took us to a local diner for breakfast (but we insisted on paying!), where we proceeded to die laughing for most of the time…but we all got a bit sentimental. At one point, there were four pairs of teary eyes around the table! We felt like we had learned so much from them on appreciating the little things in life; staying close to family; staying young at heart; and maintaining a great marriage.

Once the waterworks dried up, we headed to their son’s house (which he’s building by hand!) to meet day old baby goats! What an incredible experience- they are precious! The ones that were two days old were bounding around awkwardly and searching for their mom 🙂 Here I am holding Heart:

And here I am giving kisses to Steve the Goat. He kept licking his lips haha!

And all the girls with Heart (of course I’m holding a coffee cup on a farm!):

What trip to a farm would be complete without a donkey ride? Thank you to Aubrie for being such a great driver!

Clearly I’m not very photogenic but these pictures are too cute to not show!

When we got back to the house, we wanted to get a picture of the six of us. Sue or Larry ended up getting this completely candid shot, which I think looks like the Beatles Abbey Road cover!

Near the end of the weekend, I told Larry it was like the end of an era. He replied, “Nope- just the end of a weekend.” They invited us back (Sue reminded me that I had to make matzo ball soup next time!), so we are planning a trip for the fall. Imagine this view in fall colors:

So so so many thanks to our amazing new(ish) friends for welcoming us into their home and making us feel like family! The Real Hussies of Hollymead Farm thank you 🙂

the rest of day two at hollymead farm

For all my posts on our trip to Hollymead Farm, see my “Hollymead Farm” tag.

After flipping manure for a few hours, the three of us headed back up to the house to shower and get ready for our pool party! I had promised Sue that I would help in the kitchen, but unfortunately the farm work took too long- #farmgirlproblems. Erica and I did have a few spare minutes, so we headed down to the herb garden to collect some cilantro to garnish the chicken fajitas.

The evening was a blast- a ton of our friends from the cruise came by to see us hang out in the pool and hot tub. We had amazing dips, including a delicious artery-clogging buffalo chicken dip (recipe to come)! I think approximately 12 million batches of margaritas were made in the sturdy Margaritaville machine:

I Instagrammed a picture of a ton of tequila shots with the caption “This was not my idea.” I promise I wasn’t being coy; it really wasn’t my idea.  This was the brainchild of Troublemaker Chip:

We made sure to don our buttons for the pool party. We received tons of compliments on them:

We had a blast catching up with everyone, hearing about their kids, playing with a few adorable dogs, taking a shot or three, lounging in the hot tub, and looking at the stars (Colette and I invented a game called “Star, Airplane, or Firefly” where we had to identify which of the three spots of light were haha).

The whole group that attended was so fun-loving and inspired me to stay young at heart (like Frank Sinatra says).

part of day two at hollymead farm

On Saturday morning, we slept in and padded downstairs to find fresh baked zucchini and banana bread waiting for us! We all popped K Cups into the coffee machine and ate a long, luxurious breakfast outside on the patio overlooking the pool.

Then Larry took us through the hilly trails by the house on the Kabota, which is a kind of ATV/tractor. He went super fast, which resulted in tons of screaming from the girls! We dubbed it the Taylorsville Safari, but it felt more like a rollercoaster. Here I am driving the Kabota like a champ:

We then went to Walmart to stock up on supplies for the pool party later in the day. The best part of the trip: a little chihuahua was running around Walmart with no leash or owner in sight! We planned to start a website called DogsOfWalmart.com (don’t steal it!).

Larry then took Colette and I down to the horse stable to turn manure (it has to be flipped periodically so that it decomposes properly). Good house guests always help with chores! But I didn’t think of it as a chore because I had a BLAST on the John Deere Tractor. They could barely get me off it! Larry made fun of me because I would raise the bucket and then accidentally flip it the wrong way so the manure dumped toward me instead of away! Luckily, I didn’t get any on me…

The stable is at the bottom of the hill and you can look past the horse pastures to the house. Such a shabby view, right? (Kidding!).

While Colette had her turn on the tractor, I snapped a few pictures:

This was the largest red hickory tree in North Carolina and the second largest in the country before a tornado hit it
Sue has a horse cart under there!
Horse stable
There were gorgeous flowers everywhere

This used to be a house but now it’s a little storage shed for the horse trailer. It’s over 100 years old, if I remember correctly

Stay tuned for the rest of Day #2 and all of Day #3!

recap: day one at hollymead farm

Good morning! I’m sitting in the office with a soy misto rehashing the weekend in my head. We all agreed that magical is the first word that comes to mind.

In case you don’t remember, I traveled with the cruise girls {my sister and our friends Colette and Erica} to western North Carolina to visit our Rotary Club cruise friends. We all agreed that no one will truly understand what an incredible trip it was, so this post is partly commemorative, partly important inspirational, and partly to provoke jealousy (kidding!).

Do you ever feel like your heart is literally swelling with happiness? Imagine a weekend filled with that feeling. Within approximately 12 seconds of walking through the door, we felt at home and at ease. Any idea that the trip might be filled with any awkwardness vanished almost immediately.

You know the kind of people who are so quick to laugh at anything? Around the right people, that’s how I consider myself. Sue and Larry are undoubtedly cut from the same fabric as us- they have the ability to laugh hysterically one moment but have a meaningful conversation the next. But I’m getting ahead of myself!

We hopped in the car at 5pm and proceeded to sing to “Call Me Maybe” and “Scream” by Usher. We stopped for food within the first 20 minutes and ended up chatting with one of the cashiers. On our way out he shouted across the restaurant, “Have fun at the farm, girls!” We were cracking up knowing that we had already had a mini-adventure and our trip had barely started! The first two hours flew by because we didn’t stop talking at all! The last hour went by even more quickly because we were so excited. As we drove up the driveway of the farm, it was just a repeated chorus of “Oh my gosh!” We were so overwhelmed by the picturesqueness of the farm- imagine huge rolling pastures, white picket fences, a long gravel driveway, a beautiful stable, grape vines planted by the side of the driveway, and huge beds of hydrangeas. And that wasn’t even taking into account the house and the patio!

Sue and Larry met us at the door and welcomed us with huge hugs. Within minutes, we were ushered out to the beautiful patio that overlooked the pastures and most of the county. Giant glasses of wine were forced upon us 🙂 Over wine and later, a delicious meal of chicken salad, we laughed hysterically, talked about our lives, and tried to remember all of the funny quotes…and there may or may not have been a mock wedding toast given by yours truly. Hands down the funniest part of the evening was Larry plomping down four homemade buttons for us. They read “Neither hussy nor bimbo am I,” which is an inside joke since one of the couples on the cruise said that we were hussies {I assure you- we’re not!}.

After many hours, we retired to our quaint guest bedrooms, which had super comfy queen-sized beds and even little bottles of water to keep us hydrated! We tried to get a good night’s sleep to prep for our big day on Saturday!

i see us on the beach down in wilmington

You know how you have those good weekends and then those “amazing, I can’t stop rehashing and cracking up” weekends? Mine was the latter.

Friday consisted of a happy hour with some new friends followed by an adventurous rickshaw drive and being in the filming of a music video. Just a normal Friday night!

On Saturday, the girls and I woke up at the crack of dawn and took off to the beach. We rocked out to my awesome playlist, chugged coffee, and acted like 12-year-olds. Since it was too early to check into our {free!} hotel right away, we hit downtown Wilmington for lunch and a stroll.

We hit an awesome thrift store but the fun promptly ended when we realized we weren’t allowed to play dress up or take funny pictures

Key wall in Wilmington

Most hilarious thing ever. We spent about five minutes determining if this wizard was real or fake. As we crept closer, he jumped at us! The plastic hands really throw you off!

We ate brunch at a cute place on the main street called Caffe Phoenix. We jokingly told our waiter that we were going to leave him a tip on Foursquare instead of a real tip 🙂 We also strolled through the farmers’ market and sampled muscadine grape smoothies at Port City Java!

Time for margaritas by the pool!

P.S. I’m obsessed with the Bo.B. song So Good. The real words to the song are “I see us on the beach down in Mexico,” hence the blog post title 🙂