9 posts categorized "Travel"

April 18, 2012

Road Trippin'

Last weekend I went to Memphis. It looked a lot like this:

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  1. Hit the Cards season opener before I left town. Awesome.
  2. Contacted college bestie and laid out some plans.
  3. Brewed some seriously strong coffee gifted from a friend & drove South.
  4. Caught the ARRG All Star bout then caught up over bourbon in a pirate themed bar.
  5. Eclectic brunch with Cuban coffee and fancy lattes.

Some friends are entwined so deep in your soul that even after 6yrs of not seeing each other you both still have the same "creepy dude in a kiddie pool" print hanging up in your respective bathrooms. Hey, Soul Sister!

P.S. Special thanks to those of you who have kept religiously checking back for updates and super extra thanks to those that sent messages checking up on me or sought me out on other social media sites. Your actions did not go unnoticed and I love you all! More posts ahead! Frealz.

October 28, 2011

Happy Returns & Thank Yous

I just got back from an AMAZING vacation on the East coast. I had been feeling really burnt out and anxious and I think this was just what I needed to get back on track. I feel completely rejuvenated! Two friends joined me for the trip and we spent the majority of our time being lost, giggling and visiting family and old friends. I can't wait to start posting snippets of the trip and I REALLY can't believe that Halloween is this Monday! Where did October go?!?

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This is a pic I snapped as we drove from Brooklyn to the Hampton's to visit some friends. I love taking road-trips while the leaves are changing. It's so beautiful! I promise more pics are coming!

Before I sign out I wanted to thank everyone that continued to check in during the lull and all of the new readers that I picked up while I was gone. I am forever awed by the fact that anyone is interested in seeing or reading about what I'm doing and so very thankful for each and every one of you!

Completely not related final note: What are you going to be for Halloween? My costume plan fell through and I was having mini panic attacks until this morning. I think I have it worked out now - I just need to find a flannel, but having spent so much time thinking about it, I'm obsessed now! Tell me about your costumes!

October 08, 2011

Favorite Places: Eckerts Orchards

I'm lucky enough to live close to an incredible orchard/farm. Eckert's is family owned and operated and grows everything from berries to pumpkins. Each season offers it's own selection of crops for you to go out and pick on your own. With it being fall, I of course went out to pick apples. Twenty pounds of apples to be specific, all of them Jonathan or Golden delicious.

Golden Delicious Apples

Golden Delicious Apples

Birds Nest

In addition to the orchards Eckert's also has a full grocery store, restaurant, ice cream stand, garden center and petting zoo. The grocery store features a huge selection of locally made sauces, jams, picked vegetables and bakery items. While I was there they were hand dipping caramel apples!

Reeses Caramel Apples

Reeses Caramel Apples

Reeses Caramel Apples

The apples looked really good, but after picking twenty pounds of them and knowing that I would be eating them for a while I opted for a pumpkin pie concrete over a caramel apple. Easily my favorite fall treat! It was over 80 degrees outside that day so you have to forgive the melty image and just believe me when I say that it was heaven in a cup. Come on - a slice of fresh pumpkin pie blended into homemade frozen custard - yes please!

Pumpkin Pie Concrete

I picked up all of the little pumpkins pictured to start decorating for Halloween. I'm hoping to make some serious progress on that this afternoon. Are you doing anything fun today?

September 11, 2011

My Renegade Chicago Trip

Chicago's renegade craft fair was this weekend. I had seriously considered going but talked myself out of it to save funds for an upcoming trip to New York. When I found out that one of my favorite bands from my youth was playing a free show the same weekend just blocks away from renegade all bets were off. I threw a few items (most notable: cookies, propel and an embarrassing amount of nail polish) into a bag, loaded some audio books onto the ipad and headed out the door.

Everyone has a band or a collection of songs that brings back strong fond memories. For me, The Get Up Kids fall under this category. There are a hand full of their albums that were the sound track to some of the happiest periods of my life. I will ALWAYS love them. I can't hear some of their songs without laughing or grinning like a maniac. I clearly remember the day their break up was announced. It was devastating. As much as I loved them I hadn't ever made it to a live show due one silly reason or another. It was crushing to think that I wouldn't ever see them live.

When I found out they'd reformed they instantly went onto my bucket list. I had to see them before I died. None of us were getting any younger so my opportunities were feeling slimmer. Saturday's show was amazing. I headed straight to the front of the stage with the rest of the die hard super fans where we jumped and danced and sang along to every word. They played a few tracks off of the new album, but there were a lot of songs from the old albums, my two favorites among them. Truly awesome show!

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We headed out this morning for brunch before hitting the craft fair. I somehow always forget how warm it is at Renegade every year. For some reason I always think I should be chilly and dress too warmly. This year was no exception and I walked around melting in a sweater and scarf. Maybe next year I'll learn.

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The booths this year were incredible! I was super excited to see Shawn and Jen of Shawnimals again. As well as a number of my favorite screen printers and fellow crafters from my days working with Chicago's Dep-Art-Ment sales. I also really loved getting the chance to meet Elsie, Rachel and Emma from Red Velvet. I always get a little tongue tied when meeting new people that I admire. Hopefully I wasn't too awkward!

Since I really am supposed to be saving money for my New York trip I strictly limited how much I was allowed to spend at renegade and managed to only walk away with one small print and a couple of stickers. I really love the print though, I couldn't pass it by.

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A little Twin Peaks reference. I love Agent Cooper. <3

There really were so many inspiring things there. Next year I'll be sure to plan my trip a little better so I can bring some more of it home. I might even register for a booth!

August 24, 2011

Favorite Places: Bodega

It's the long awaited Bodega post! I've been saying for months that I would show you around a mexican grocery store. Today is the day! I LOVE bodegas! When I was little my Ita would take me shopping with her and while she did shop at traditional American grocery stores, we would always make an extra stop at a bodega on the way home. There are a lot of things you just can't get anywhere else. Here are some of my favorites from my local bodega:

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At my local store the first thing you run into is a giant shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe. To most Americans this might seem odd. It is huge, it is gaudy, it is covered in tacky silk flowers and candles with images of saints on them. To me this is home.

My Ita was fashionable. She was always dressed to the nines in an outfit following the latest trends with her hair and makeup perfect. She also carried a special place in her heart for kitsch. Her house was decorated with classic mid-century furniture nestled atop thick red plush carpet. It was peppered throughout with an incredible assortment of knick-knacks and mementos collected over the years. They ranged everywhere from elegant crystal and jade sculptures to chinese lanterns and sequined sombreros. I may have missed out on perfect hair and make up, but the kitsch lives strong within me. I keep a tiny Dia De Los Muertos shrine in my apartment now. It just looks right.

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Were you looking to create a tiny shrine of your own? Look no further friend, everything you need is right here! The selection of candles in my local bodega is staggering.

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I actually own these ones. :)

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Moving into the food category. You are bound to encounter a wide array of dried chilies. They vary immensely so it's best to head into the store with a recipe and Chile name in hand rather than try to blindly select one from the masses.

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I primarily use Chile Anchos. They are rich in flavor and color and mild in heat. I use them to make enchiladas, but they can be used in hundreds of sauces and soups.

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I addition to a meat and dairy counter my store features a fruit carving counter! How awesome is that? You can buy fresh sliced tropical fruits - On a Stick! So amazingly good.

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The back half of my store leaves the groceries behind and becomes a super store. It's pretty incredible. They carry all kinds of clothing from soccer shirts and baby clothes to quinceanera dresses and boys tuxedos. There are CD's, DVD's wedding decorations, lawn ornaments and intricately inlaid wooden tables like the one pictured above. Crazy right?!?

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Remember my embroidery find? I got it at the Bodega!

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My favorite part of the bodega is the massive pastry case as you head for the checkout. Word of warning: Mexican pastries are beautiful hands down, but they are nothing like the pastries you would find at your corner bistro. The first two pastries pictured are conchas the last are elotito. There are some noticeable differences between these pastries and the ones you're probably used to.

The first is sugar. They may be sweet rolls but they are surprisingly low in sugar. My Ita didn't like them for this reason. They look like they would be almost donut like when in reality, they're only slightly sweetened. The other most notable difference is texture. I'm not entirely sure why because I've never seen them made, but they are really dry. Even fresh out of the oven. They are not at all buttery or chewy.

I know I probably just painted a horrible picture of them but I wasn't trying to, promise! I am seriously addicted to these things! They are the perfect accompaniment to a morning cup of coffee. The perfect snack to pair with a mug of hot chocolate!  If you ever find yourself in need of a good sturdy bread to use in a bread pudding - yeah, best bread pudding I've had in my life. On your way out of the store go ahead and pick one out. You will hopefully be pleasantly surprised!

Next time I'll take pics of my staple purchases.

June 30, 2011

Thrifting Detour (Part 3)

We decided to take our time driving home and stopped a few more places on the way. The first was a huge ranch style building. It was owned by the sweetest lady. She reminded me so much of my Grandma. She followed us around the store sharing her favorite items with us and insisting that even though not everything was for sale, if we saw something we liked we might be able to make a deal. So cute!

The space was filled with to the brim with mementos she'd been collecting over a lifetime. At some point in time she must have bought out a clothing manufacturing company. One room held an entire wall of fabric and notions along with a collection of at least 8 vintage industrial sewing machines each with it's own pull out cutting table and built in measuring guides.

Antique Industrial Sewing Machines

I almost died. They all needed some special attention and weren't at all practical for me, but UGH, they were so amazing! I left with a few tiny matryoshkas and a couple of milk glass vases  - only 75¢ each! I did not get the vintage barbie station wagon (in mint condition) below. *pats self on back*

Barbie Parking Lot

Or final stop was at a salvage yard. We almost missed it, the sign was just visible through the trees. It was quite the collection. Favorite pieces:

Tin Plated Letters

Headboard Graveyard

Antique Light Fixtures

Decorative Bricks

The best of the best:

BRAINS! - 25¢

BRAINS!!!

June 28, 2011

Thrifting Detour (Part 2)

After we finished breakfast we wandered in and out of most of the antique and thrift shops on the street. We would have visited all of them but two of them were closed for lunch. Completely adorable. I instantly just picture Andy Griffith heading home for a sandwich and a slice of peach pie. (And now I'm hungry for peach pie - Thanks me!)

Here's a collection of some of the things we found:

Wooden Sailor

1. Wooden Sailor

Star Trek Mugs!

2. Star Trek Mugs

Wall of Buttons

3. A wall of vintage buttons - all sorted and labeled.

OCD Buttons

4. Did you catch that? They were all sorted and labeled. Then they were stored in a large collection of bottles and jars each wrapped with a small piece of red twine and then sealed with packing tape and another label. If my collecting ever reaches this level of OCD please, in the name of all that is good, get me out of the house! That being said - I bought two jars. You knew it was coming.

Fred

5. A large collection of National Enquirer magazines from the 60's and 70's. Jaclyn Smith's husband totally looked like Fred from Scooby Do. Somebody needed to say it.

Aside from the two jars of buttons I only bought one thing. I'm still working on reducing the number of things that I own so new items need to be really practical for me to even consider bringing them home. The other item that we got is a cushioned bench that we found to sit at the end of our bed. It could use some new upholstery, but it's solidly built and the dogs can use it as a ladder to get up on the bed. No more late night elevator service for drinks of water! I'll try to post a picture of it later. It was a good find, but the best is yet to come! Third installment coming soon...

June 27, 2011

Thrifting Detour (Part 1)

Remember when we went camping a few weeks ago? We stayed near a small town at the base of the Ozarks called Steelville. It is within a few miles of three different rivers so, while it may not draw huge crowds on it's own, it does get a lot of through traffic from people traveling to the rivers for float trips.

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It's obvious that the main street through town has received some renovations in recent years, but thankfully not enough to steal from it's small town charm. We drove into town for breakfast one morning and were guided to a small restaurant not much larger than my living room filled with locals that the waitresses all knew by name. There were family rodeo photos lining the front of an antique pie case that looked like it hadn't held pie in at least 40 years.

Every cup of coffee was served in it's own unique mug collected over the years, no doubt, from a thrift store, garage sale or regular patron. I LOVE it when diners do this. It is so much fun to look around at all of the other tables to get a more complete view of the collection. All of the mugs were silently being guarded by an ancient taxidermy squirrel positioned on a shelf high on the wall above them. Somewhere in his past he must have lost the acorn he was holding in the presence of a well intentioned soul, as it is now roughly being held on by a gnarly length of floral wire. :/

I wanted so desperately to take pictures in this place, but it was so busy and sooo tiny that if I'd moved even slightly in my chair I would have either taken out a waitress or moved into someone else's personal space. Hopefully next time it's less crowded so I can snap a few pics. I couldn't stop staring at the squirrel. Seriously.

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This is the bank located just down the street from the diner we were at. It's so cute! The rest of the street was lined with small locally owned shops ranging from a soda fountain to a bait shop and peppered throughout were antique shops. Awesome. I'll show you what we found in part 2!

Hope you're easing into the work week comfortably! - Kali

June 25, 2011

On the Road Again

Peanut Butter Cup Shake!

This was taken during our Memorial day road trip. Breakfast at a diner is my favorite!

Today we are driving south for a few days to wonder around, do a little antiquing and visit some friends. I'm looking forward to a break and maybe some pool time. Holy long week Batman!

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?