The trailer I made for The 505 West! It’s an absolutely astounding AirBnb located in Princeton, just 30 minutes from where we live.
See, this whole thing started when I found out Matt had created this gorgeous space above his restaurant, Horseradish. I was already obsessed with the restaurant and became equally as enamored with the rental.
It is really and truly one of my favorite places to eat and spend time in the area. It reminds me of any number of trendy places in Chicago or Greenville, without the “trying so hard” feeling I often got in those cities. There’s just a comfort to be found sitting on a stool in the restaurant, looking into the open kitchen or perusing the shelves near the front door. I spend a decent amount of time there (though not enough, IMO). Seth and I go on dates there, I had my bridal shower there, it’s a lovely place for a quick lunch. Originally, we’d tossed around the idea of doing food photography work, as I’ve been making headway in that department (see here and here). But, truly, Matt doesn’t need me. He takes lovely photos on his own. And on his phone! Much to my frustration.
So, it morphed into this. A night in the suite and a day in
the kitchen. All documented and (somewhat) perfected and presented. (Although
if I’m being honest about it being perfected – this is the second time I’ve
uploaded the video. The first time was missing the audio transition and I was
so mortified I took it down!)
Matt was so kind to open his doors to us. He introduced us to his friends, Elsah and Roger, owners of a local catering company. They have experience and advice and stories I gobbled up faster than the food they made. We laughed, drank Jack Rabbits, and made marshmallows. I took video of it all, that you’ll see at a later date.
I also took a ton of pictures. Just like I did of these
Those beads right there? Smacked me in the face during a Mardis Gras parade. If you were following along on IG then you already knew that, and if you weren’t, then you missed out!
Because I also met the Pen Pals! Ryan and I shouted “Saga!” as they went by on their float (it’s an inside thing, so you’ll have to just listen to the show). Then we ended up having a drink and chatting with them and it was truly a magical night. Only surpassed by the magic of the first live episode. This felt like a once in a lifetime experience – we were there! I’m still grinning.
More social media stuff: I’ve turned off the notifications for all my apps and let me tell you – it’s been at once both liberating and illuminating. Even without notifications going off I’m still super addicted to checking my phone. Hello, time suck. I’m truly hoping to get better at that (while also still being engaged and growing my audience so that’s a fun catch 22). Does anyone else did with this? How do you combat the siren call of the screen when you’ve got work to do on these platforms?
Even though Seth and I have only been married for 1 month (OMG), we’ve been bombarded with questions (and suggestions…) about when we’re having kids. This article from Julie pretty much sums up how I feel about that. Thank you, next.
Finally started reading “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” and I’m in love. I haven’t been this engrossed by a book in ages.
This weekend I’ll be officially moving in with Seth! About time, right? After all of the moving I’ve done in the last three years (including three moves in less than a year), I had kind of been dreading uprooting my happy home but I know that we’re going to be creating a happier home. So everything will be ok.
I swear, I tried. I really did. I hauled my camera all the way to SC with every intention of being that annoying person in a restaurant setting up shots and climbing on chairs. But, that didn’t happen. I was too busy enjoying my time with Seth and too self-conscious to really commit to the full “foodie” (ugh, hate that title) obnoxiousness.
So, my iphone photos will just have to do. Here’s a partial list of the places we went and the foods we ate on our trip. Mostly in Greenville, and a few fantastic places along the way. After today, I’m officially back to work and things will return to normal around here. For better or for worse.
Obviously. We got lunch here on our first full day in town and then had an amazing dinner our second to last night (all courses specially prepared by Alex, god bless him). The burger is a must (get a side of burger sauce to go with your fries) and dinner is exceptional – especially dessert! Jen took over the duties when I left and she’s doing a better job than I ever could. We stopped by the morning before we left and she gifted me lemon pound cake with fresh strawberry ice cream.
The Village Grind
Right across the street from GB&D (and owned by the Alex’s sister), we stopped here every morning for a jolt. The space is gorgeous and the friendly faces are even moreso. Plus, they put up with my tedious request of things being “half-caff” (I’m the worst).
Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery
Another place I used to work! Purveyors of local produce and some of the best scones around. Seth was a huge fan of their stecca (a sort of freeform, Italian baguette). We stocked up on local honey and kombucha before hitting the road. Plus, my former employer, Mary, took this lovely shot of Seth and I <3
Technically in Travelers Rest, this is one of my absolute favorite breakfast places in all the land! Sweet and savory crepes that are just the ticket after a bottle and a half of wine the night before. Or so I’ve heard.
Oh, Pita House, how do I love thee? There’s no better place to get lunch. It’s both affordable and flavorful and the staff are some of the friendliest around. Plus, they make a tahini salad that makes me forget I don’t really like tahini. I’ll say one last thing: BAKLAVA.
The Kennedy, Spartanburg SC
My cousin Maria has started working here recently and while I can’t attest to anything but the deliciousness of their burnt chocolate spoon bread (omg) and the intricacies of their cocktails, the ambiance and décor alone make me want to return!
12 Bones Smokehouse
We were only spending one afternoon in Asheville and I knew we had to lunch here! It had been over two years since I’d had their ribs and truly, they were better than I remembered. I got a half rack of blueberry bbq basted and a half rack of Cheerwine bbq basted. With mac n cheese and a big ol’ slice of cornbread on the side, naturally.
Summit Coffee Co.
Literally 100 yards from 12 Bones, Seth and I found this amazing coffee shop filled with local artwork and fresh brewed drip coffee that gave us enough energy to finish the final leg of our journey. (Truly, the amount of coffee we consumed on this trip was astounding.)
And the rest
Stock & Barrel, Knoxville TN
We made it a point to stop at local, non-fast food places while driving and I’m glad we did! We pulled into Knox jonesing for a burger and ended up finding a really good one here. There happened to be a Vols game at the same time so downtown was packed. But, we were blessed with a parking spot and snagged the last table on the patio. Sure, we had to keep our coats and hats on and my red wine was inadvertently served chilled, but any place I can get onion strings on a burger is good in my book.
Munster Donuts, Munster IN
Open 24/7, this place is slinging doonies left, right, and center. The flavors are simple staples but done oh-so-well. And all less than $1 each!
Quills Coffee, Indianapolis IN
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Quills from Em over at Today’s Letters so I was over the moon when I found out there was a location within walking distance from our AirBnb. We got there right when it opened and once again the barista put up with my difficulty/decaf nonsense. Plus, they had whole bean decaf for me to take home and an adorable astronaut cat mural across the alleyway.
Garden Table, Indianapolis IN
When I worked at a place that did brunch, I was always envious of people who got to have brunch. We more than made up for it on our way back home at Garden Table. Local fare, the freshest (and softest) bread, super quick and friendly service, cold-pressed juices. This place had it all! And it was all presented in the hippest/chicest/trendiest setting. Plus, I had my first oat milk latte and it was a treat! I’m a convert!
Until the next time we travel (which will be Europe in March, omg)!
Look at this delightful little Jedi Master! He actually won’t let me take the costume off and has been Yoda since yesterday morning.
Crazy to think that in just four days Seth and I will be eating our way through Greenville! I’ve got a list of about a dozen places we absolutely have to go to. (Plus, it’ll also be amazing to have an entire 10 days off work – omg.)
Last weekend, we went to IKEA with some friends and spent four.hours.there. We got a lot of cool design ideas for the house and made mental notes and took photos of what we like, but other than getting some new props for photos we didn’t get anything that requires assembly. Praise be!
Now that Halloween is dunzo we can get to the main event – CHRISTMASTIME!!! This is me.
I’m working on putting more graphics into my posts and really like how this one came out!
I can’t believe it – I went to the store today and didn’t buy any clearance Valentine’s Day candy. Who am I?
Meat in your red sauce or nah? I used to be firmly in camp No-Meat, but my momma puts meat in her sauce and I’m into it.
Mandy and I went to some of the best places in Nashville this weekend! She took me to a fabulous coffee shop that happened to be right smack dab in between Five Daughter’s Bakery (omg) and a Jeni’s Ice Cream (omg). Then across the street we had some banging Mexican food. Can life get better?
We also ate at Henrietta Red (fiiiiiiiiiiinally) and it was even better than I’d hoped for. One of those meals that got the gears turning and my mind buzzing with excitement and ideas. Then there was a trip to Skull’s Rainbow Room where I had the most perfectly cooked scallops I’ve had in the last seven years. No joke. I remember the last time I had them (Chicago Restaurant Week, 2011, Prosecco).
If you follow my IG and look at my stories (highly recommend), then you’ll know that a little girl came up to me at Jeni’s (as I was putting ice cream in between a Five Daughter’s doughnut) and whispered to me “Hufflepuffs rule!” and it was the sweetest, most precious thing ever.
She must have been spurred to say that by the Hufflepuff pin I have proudly displayed on my denim jacket. I also have a pin that says “Dog Mom” and a turkey sandwich one and whole host of other pins and patches. I love the collection I’m curating.
It wouldn’t be Thursday Things if I didn’t make a music recommendation that nobody asked for! BTVS did a musical for their hundredth episode and the soundtrack is so fabulous! I’d forgotten how many songs I still remembered!
If you’re not into Buffy or musicals – a flaw I can look past, I guess – then check out Kaleo! Their stuff single-handedly kept me awake through Indiana and Kentucky this weekend.
If home is where the heart is then I’ve got homes scattered across the country.
One of those homes is Chicago. Now that I’ve moved back to the Midwest I’m taking full advantage of being within driving distance of the city, friends, and food that are so near and dear to me.
I’ve been home for a little over two months and have made two pilgrimages back to Chicago, once for a concert (more about that on Friday) and again this past weekend to celebrate both Elise’s birthday and NU’s homecoming.
There are places and people I’ve always made time for when I’d been in town over the last three years – must sees and must eats. Now, there are people and places that are more accessible to me, ones I haven’t seen in years or have never been to at all. I’m getting to delve deeper into this city – which at once feels familiar and foreign and reconnect with friends that bolster and buoy me.
I’m so thankful for that. Thankful for solo rides on the El. For running through the rain after a football game. For parking spots right around the corner from apartments. For cups of coffee direct from Colombia. For breakfasts that turn into walks that turn into long car rides together. For being able to come back home after all this time.