Tag Archives: travel

Duck Donuts

On our recent trip to North Carolina, Andy and I discovered a wonderful new place to procure donuts when visiting his parents. Well…”discovered” might not be accurate, we actually learned about the chain from my brother in law; he and his wife had first encountered the chain when they were visiting the Outer Banks, and while we were all trying to find somewhere to go to dinner, he realized there were not one but two locations with in easy driving distance from our hotel. Donuts and adorable water fowl? I was definitely game for a trip.


I will admit I was a tiny bit trepidatious when we walked into this little shop. I know donuts are sugary and insipid, but this place was so damn pink and cheery. I’ve become a bit of a snob in my ripe old age, and I like my bakeries/restaurants a little more “small town local” and just this side of hipster-y. But we were already there and I was so tired at this point, so I figured “why the hell not”.
To give the place a fair shake, we ordered two of their pre-designed donuts (cinnamon sugar and blueberry pancake) and did two build your own (lemon blackberry & chocolate peanut butter). At this point, I got a little…well…pissy watching the two highschoolers haphazardly dumping toppings on our order and slapping our box together willy-nilly (I sound like such a grumpy old lady!), so by the time we got our order, I wasn’t even interested in trying the donuts and I put them in the back of our car so we could enjoy them as a road snack later… aka when I was in a better mood.
After all that, I’ll be damned if those donuts weren’t pretty freakin’ awesome. 5 out of 5 stars, would go again, highly recommend. We both liked the blueberry pancake the best, closely followed by the lemon blackberry. I am actually sad that this place is a 10 hour drive away. Oh well, holidays in the NC just got that much better. 

The take away from this: I’m a mean old grumpy pants when I’m sleep deprived and under the weather, and I should always trust my brother in law when it comes to awesome places to eat.


Julie Vs. The Tiny House: Part 2

My first experience with a tiny house, was well… fun, but not something I felt would work long term for people as tall as Andy and myself. The second tiny house we tried was about twice the size of the first: still tiny, but with enough space to leave me thinking “yeah, I could absolutely do this!”

 Another Air BnB find, the Crooked Lake Tiny House, was such a wonderful place to stay. So nice in fact, that I have the listing bookmarked and saved in my Air BnB account for future use.   Interestingly enough, this place is located on the same lake as the neighborhood I grew up in, the opposite side, but theoretically I could look across the lake with a pair of binoculars, on a clear day, and see the edge of it.   Very clean in and modern in decor, Andy was absolutely in love. I think this is exactly what his home would look like if he didn’t have me throwing color and bits of this and that all over the place.  One of the most thoughtful hosts I’ve ever had. Our little welcome package basket had soap she had made herself, eggs from her chickens, and beverages to make sure we were hydrated after our long car ride and late arrival. She even set out solar lights to make sure we’d be able to see the turn for the tiny house and find the parking area in the dark.  I didn’t get a good picture of the loft (the listing has some if you want to check it out), but Andy and I quite enjoyed our “fort,” and although my mom did make the climb up the ladder once, she was more than happy to leave the space to us and claim the downstairs bedroom.  The kitchen was fantastic and had suprising amount of storage. We easily made both breakfast and late night snacks during our stay. The other thing that really set this place apart was the outdoor spaces. There was a fire pit, a really nice hammock for lounging, and a gorgeous little garden with fish pond. Our host even left us fish food so we could go out and give the fishes a bit of a snack when we felt like it. 

Not pictured is the turtle we saw walk up from the lake and lay her eggs in a hole under one of the lounge chairs. An amazing highlight to what was not the most enjoyable trip. I am really, really hoping to be able to come back someday when I have more time to spend. Also, I’d like to make some sketches because Andy and I are very much thinking of building ourselves a place like this somewhere down the road.


Back From Chicago or Chi-town as I Insist on Calling It

Hey guys! I’m back! Technically, I have been back since Tuesday afternoon, but Andy and I had to hit the ground running to play catch up so things like unpacking and going through pictures were put off until this weekend. There are some specific things I can’t wait to do posts about, but I figured I’d kick things off with a general trip overview.

 Our trip to Chicago was interesting to say the least. The initial trip to JAX was uneventful and our flight, while packed, was fairly smooth until week got to Chicago. There was a horrendous storm over the city (think lightning and hail) and O’hare wasn’t letting anybody in our out. They had our flight circle Gary, Indiana until we ran out of fuel and then diverted us to Indianapolis. This was the point in the trip where we found out that I have panic attacks. While trying to set our plane down, we hit some pretty intense turbulence and the plane dropped dramatically not once, but twice and that ended with me shaking, short of breath, and crying uncontrollably (albeit quietly). Fun stuff. After all of that, United still wasn’t sure if we’d be flying into Chicago or not that evening, so Andy and I  let the gate attendant know we weren’t going to be getting a back onto the plane and rented a car to take us the last 3 hours to Chicago. Of course that couldn’t be the end of it, we hit horrible traffic and the drive that should have taken 3ish hours took closer to six. But we made it safely and in time to watch the sunset amidst the skyscrapers.  The rest of the family arrived on Friday so the day was spent doing a little sightseeing and catching up with everyone as they arrived. It was a little over cast, but that just made for some wonderfully cool weather, which was much needed after the oppressive humidity of our home state.   You can’t see it in this picture, but someone had left an entire hotdog in the foo dog’s mouth. For some reason it was really funny at the time. Also, I saw so many beautiful neighborhoods as we walked around and I now feel like I need to own my very own ivy covered townhouse. Not usually a city girl, but this place really stole my heart.   The happy couple tied the knot at this beautiful location above. A little further down their were people sitting on the rocks reading and sketching. Two things I could absolutely see myself doing if I lived down the road from this place. As it was, the only reason I didn’t try it was because I was 90% certain that if I tried I’d end up wet or somehow destroying my dress.   My brother-in-law and his fiance had, what I think, is one of the coolest rehearsal dinners I’ve ever been to. They rented out the party room at George’s Ice Cream, kicked things off with amazing Mediterranean food from one of their favorite local spots and then finished with build your own sundaes. The entire shop smelled incredible, like vanilla and their house made waffle cones. If I could have bottled the scent, I would wear it every day. The ice cream itself was some of the best I’ve ever had and I am sitting here regretting that I didn’t eat more when I had that chance.   Since the bride and groom postponed their honeymoon until the spring, we were lucky enough to get to spend some extra time with them before heading home. On Sunday night, we all went on an architecture boat tour. It was a perfect blend of fun and informative and had the added bonus of getting to watch the sunset from the river and the whole city light up.   There will be a whole post on this later, but one of the most interesting things we did on this trip was go to Lincoln Park. Not only do they have gorgeous green space they have a conservatory and a zoo which are all free to the public. Free. F-R-E-E. Which blew my mind because they were so extensive and well kept. I would definitely play a little more in local taxes if it meant creating resources like this in Tallahassee. Just saying. 

Before boarding our entirely uneventful flight home(thank God), Andy and I took one more stroll down Miracle Mile and I visited the Cloud Gate(silver bean) in Millennium Park for the obligatory Instagram photo. All in all, an excellent trip, and I am already bugging Andy about when we can go back.


Savannah Weekend

Hello, friends! I am back from Savannah, and coming down off of what was a pretty incredible weekend has been a tiny bit rough. It was so much fun spending time in once of my favorite cities with one of my favorite people.

 Savannah was gracious and perfect, as always, and, even though it’s only February, they are already descending to the sultry summer weather that the south is so very famous for. Fortunately, it hadn’t gone too far; the thermostat topped out in the low 80’s, and there was a breeze coming off the river so walking around was still very enjoyable.  I got to introduce Rebecca to some of my favorite shops and places in Savannah (Paris Market) and discover a bunch of new places that make me love this place even more (Lulu’s Chocolate Bar and Mate Factor).  We definitely indulged in the touristy part of Savannah more than I ever had before. We did a trolley tour with Old Town Trolley and had an incredible time with our guide Scott who managed to impart a lot of history while keeping us all very entertained. I am already planning on taking my mom on the same tour the next chance I get. The trip wasn’t nearly long enough, and I am already trying to come up with a reason to head back. I keep crossing my fingers that some day the stars will align and I’ll be able to call this beautiful place my home, but until then, I can look back on these pictures and daydream.


Weekend Recap

Alas, this weekend was not a three day weekend for me, but I did get to spend plenty of time with some of my favorite people, so it was still a pretty great weekend. Since we only had Ben and Karen here for two days, the bulk of our time was spent hanging out and visiting with my other brother in law and his wife at their place. We did manage to make it out for brunch both days and take a walk around Cascades Park located downtown.

Saturday morning we went to one of my all time favorite local spots, a vegan place called Sweet Pea Cafe. They had my favorite green tea sugar cookies and my new favorite cookie, red bean filled green tea sugar cookies. I wanted to get a few extra to go, but they were sold out. We actually made it up and out of the house pretty early on Sunday, so after grabbing breakfast at Canopy Road Cafe (another local favorite), we made our way to Cascade. The early hour meant we had the place pretty much to ourselves.   Cascade has a cool kids area, so Karen and I spent some time squishing around barefoot in the sand. The boys decided to keep their shoes on, but they did join in when it came to playing with the old school water pump and jumping around on the play logs.  Since the park is located downtown, one side runs up against the railroad tracks. We did get to see an empty freight train later on in our visit, but I forgot to take a picture, distracted by the elaborate tags is boasted. It may be illegal, but I think graffiti artists are doing them a favor by sprucing up the old cars.  Even though we’d already had breakfast we decided to stop in at The Edison for a drink (and key lime pie). The restaurant is housed in an old building that used to be owned by the electric company, and the owners have given a playful nod to its origins when it comes to decor.
Like I said, it was a really great weekend and far too short. Hopefully we’ll all be seeing each other in Chicago later this year. It’ll be my first trip to the Windy City, and there is already a mile long list of all the places I want to see.