Fall Recap | What’s New With You

For the link-up today I’m recapping some of my fall adventures! I didn’t share about my trip to Daufuskie Island in October or our Halloween party at the start of November or our most recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg. So today I am 🙂

This is gonna be a long one…

Daufuskie Island, SC

Aubrey wanted to vacation with Kayla & me at the end of October, but her girlfriend Megan was offered a free stay at an island condo that same week. We urged Aub to GO on that vacation and take advantage of the opportunity. And then Megan invited us to secretly come along!

The island was small & adorable. It was too cold to swim in late October, but we spent lots of time outside in shorts and sweatshirts. We stayed from Thursday morning to Sunday morning.

You access the island by boat. There’s a slow moving ferry (runs on a schedule/takes an hour to cross) and then there are water taxis. Megan kindly arranged for our crossing on a taxi. The ride was cold and awesome and quick- about 25 minutes- and the two different captains we had both had dogs onboard.

The island had a very small general store (a few necessities but mostly souvenir-like items), a school, a fire station, and some small businesses. We visited the rum distillery, the two little wineries, the wood shop, & Lucy Bell’s Cafe. There was also a golf course and coffee shop on the island but we never found them.

That goat tried very hard to eat my lunch.

We used a golf cart to get around the island. Might I recommend a gas powered cart over an electric one? Ours died twice. We charged it at the fire station and bummed a ride home from a fireman the first time. The second time it happened we left it at the station and walked the 2+ miles home.

We might’ve trespassed at a rundown abandoned hotel.

Aubrey is a chef & she cooked for us most of the week. (She relaxes by cooking- no one forced her.) Our food was SO GOOD all weekend. Aub even sent us home with breakfast sandwiches when we left on Sunday morning.

Our final night & the Sunday boat taxi.

It was a really nice trip. Almost everyone was friendly and helpful, we got to explore and nap, and I only came home with 56 mosquito bites. (I think I got them on the last night while collecting firewood.) I’m so glad Megan invited us along!

2018 Annual Halloween Party

I know everyone is in Christmas World and long past Halloween, but I wanted to share pictures of the party. 🎃 We throw one every year, and I love seeing the costumes and visiting with our friends and family!

I sucked at taking pictures this year. Food included the puking pumpkin, a veggie tray, dead man’s toes (smokies wrapped in bacon baked with brown sugar), buffalo chicken dip, & pizza.

Those dragon toes (the grapes) were a new addition. SUPER easy and a huge hit.

Soak a whole bunch of grapes in vodka for at least an hour (in the fridge).
Remove grapes and dry them. Prick them with the toothpick and partially dip them in heated caramel and roll them in crushed peanuts. Refrigerate so they firm up & serve ’em.

I made some mummy & witch cupcakes, too.

The guests that came in costume were ah.may.zing. Our friends did a duo lamp theme- she was the leg lamp (above) and he was the PIXAR lamp. We also had a bearded friend come as Paul Bunyan, complete with Babe the blue ox. We had a Bob Ross (plus his wife as a tree and newborn daughter as a happy little cloud) and a kitty and a butterfly. These were our costumes:

(HINT: )

I won’t lie. My absolutely favorite costumes were my brother-in-law and his wife. I freakin’ screamed when they walked in the door…

(You can check out our past years here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014..)

*In between the Halloween party & Williamsburg we threw my mother-in-law a surprise birthday party. We also traveled to Indianapolis for five days on business. And I was also sick- BLEH.*

Williamsburg

My brother lives two hours south of us so my mom LIVES for holidays and family vacations. This year she combined the two and whisked us all away to Virginia.

…can you tell how tired we are? We had two days in between trips.

This was my second trip to Colonial Williamsburg. Back in April K and I visited Gettysburg for our anniversary. I really love historical sites- there’s something eerie and whimsical and humbling about them.

We split our time between Williamsburg (Th/F) and Jamestown (Sat). It was in the 40s and awfully chilly, but the holiday cheer kept us warm.

My favorite building in Williamsburg is the Governor’s Palace. I feel instantly transported back in time when I walk through that structure (above). Both Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry called the palace their home post-colonial era. And the gardens out back freakin’ give me life. I love walking through them (below).

We arrived on Thursday and explored a little, then had our Thanksgiving dinner at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern. We spent Friday morning touring the (colonial) public hospital, which specialized in mental health and chronic illness- the first of its kind in North America-, and The Art Museum of Colonial Williamsburg.


K and I love to sit in museums and talk sh*t about people in paintings. Like, honestly, who gave the creepy baby a dead pigeon to play with?!

We had the pleasure of listening to a crazed right-wing “christian” shout about how we’re all sinners while we waited for lunch. I honestly though my dad (a republican), my brother (a devout Christian), and K (just a take-no-sh*t kind of guy) were going to drag his ass behind ye old courthouse and beat some sense into him… LOL. We took a selfie instead.

If you’re thinking, “Can her brother GET more hipster?”- the answer is no.

Then we were off to explore the book bindery and the printing house.

On Saturday we ventured to Jamestown but it was p.o.u.r.i.n.g. They had a really really nice museum with a special exhibit on the women of Colonial Jamestown, though. We probably spent almost 3 hours in the museum. We skipped the outside village, though 😦 Cold and wet would NOT have been a good look on any of us.

The first picture is an incredibly accurate depiction of my family.

We ended Saturday with some outlet mall shopping and an evening screening of The Grinch (which was SO cute). Then we hit the road Sunday morning and headed home.

And with that I can now officially close the door on fall.

I’m sooo looking forward to this month. It’s a somewhat lazy month with lots of holiday parties. We’ve got no travel planned (so far… that can always change). It’s the calm before the 2019 storm. I’m very excited about it and ready for it 🎄

Tell me about your fall adventures! Is December a slow or crazy month for you?

Linking up with Kristen!

Storming Gettysburg | What’s New With You?

In linking up with Kristen today for What’s New With You, I figured I’d share about our Gettysburg anniversary trip.

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I really enjoy celebrating things. I constantly have friends and family over for parties or plan a special trip out for birthdays & holidays. When it comes to our anniversary, we always try to do something special. The last time we travel-celebrated was in 2015 when we went to Niagara Falls for our 2nd anniversary. Originally I wanted to do something BIG this year for #5 like a cruise or an all-inclusive resort, but after being sick at the start of April and traveling +3 weeks already for work this year, I was a little burnt out and in need of a nearby quick trip. We’d never been to Gettysburg and we’re big history lovers, so it was the perfect choice!

I married a work-aholic and I know that. His job stresses him out but he loves it, so I try to be respectful of that when I plan trips. As such, our Wednesday morning started at work. We finally left town a little after 10am.

Gettysburg

We checked into the Gettysburg Hotel a little after 4 pm, dropped our bags in the room, and set out on foot for some dinner. It was sprinkling slightly but we didn’t have to venture far. We crossed the street and found The Pub & Restaurant. It was welcoming and quaint and very unoccupied.

After nomming on some Maryland Crab Bisque, Spicy Chicken (for me), and Meatloaf (for K) we took a short walk around the square. The rain was only spitting here and there, and the sun was shining so we hardly noticed.

We got some milkshakes from the Cannonball Olde Tyme Malt Shop and then we compromised. K wanted to watch the Cavs game so we pushed our movie date to the next night.

We scheduled a guided tour at 9 am on Thursday morning so we were up for breakfast bright and early! We had Bananas Foster French Toast (K) and Texas Toast Egg Sandwich (me) at our hotel’s restaurant, One Lincoln. It was so yummy and our server was super friendly.

Then we were off to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center.

I scheduled a two hour driving tour with one of the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefields Guides. They give you the option to hand over the keys and be chauffeured around the park while they explain the battles, landmarks, important people, and scenery. It was an awesome tour.

cannons / view from peach orchard (day 2 battle) / little round top (day 3 battle)

Our guide, George Maturi, gave use the basic rundown of each day. Gettysburg was a three day battle and for the first 2/3 it really looked like the south was going to win. Thanks to hubris, luck, and a little talent, the north pulled out a win and the south didn’t win the war. (If they’d won Gettysburg the south was convinced that they would’ve won the Civil War.) Of course, victory didn’t happen without sacrifice- thousands upon thousands of lives were lost each day of fighting.

view from little round top (day 3 battle)

After our tour we decided to peruse the museum, get some Starbucks, and drive ourselves around the park, stopping at whatever caught our interest during the tour. We had a gorgeous day to cruise around. A little windy, but sunny and clear.

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

We had a late lunch at food 101 and I ordered a Salmon Avocado Sandwich that has forever set the bar for sandwiches. Seriously. It was IN.CRE.DI.BLE. I don’t even know what K was eating because I had such a moment with my food…

After lunch we popped into the hotel so K could nap while I journaled. We went to see Isle of Dogs at the theater just around the corner (Majestic Theater) at 4:15 pm, then ordered dinner in and relaxed all evening. I love that we went to see that movie because Wes Anderson is one of my favorites and it just felt so perfect that his new movie was in theaters over our anniversary date.

We said goodbye to our hotel on Friday morning, picked up some coffee for moi, and headed back home so K could check in on the office before the weekend truly started.


If you decide to explore Gettysburg I would say it’s a 2 or 2 1/2 day adventure. We skipped Jennie Wade’s house, the David Wills House, and the Eisenhower Farm, but they each would’ve taken two hours or less. I would HIGHLY suggest the guided in-car tour. You can opt for longer than 2 hours AND you can ask them to focus on specific things if you want to (i.e. certain days or battles, specific regiments, etc.). I’m very glad we had a guide!

So tell me, have you ever been to Gettysburg? (I can’t believe both K and my 8th grade D.C. trips skipped this National Park!) Have you seen Isle of Dogs? How do you typical celebrate anniversaries?

Our Ohio Bucket List

One Saturday afternoon K and I were watching our weekend staple- Aerial America- and we came across the episode featuring Ohio. We were excited to recognize almost all the landmarks, but it got us thinking about the place we’ve never been in this great state. I suggested an Ohio bucket list for us to work on over the course of our lives (because let’s be real- we’ll probably live here forever) and K agreed! A while back I shared some Midwest weekending ideas so you’ll see them show up here, too.

(I want to note that K and I have different definitions of “fun” so we probably won’t go to all these places together. He doesn’t like amusements parks or caves like I do so some of these will be explored with friends or family!)

Alright, here is our list of must-visit Ohio landmarks, museums, festivals, and tourist traps!

American Sign Museum (Cincinnati, OH)

Ashtabula County Bridges drive in the corvette

Belamere Suites Hotel [stay]

Brandywine Falls in the fall

Cedar Point

The Cleveland Arcade/Hyatt [stay]

Cleveland Cavaliers at the Q

Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field

Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Cleveland Orchestra outside at Blossom Music Center

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

COSI

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Franklin Park Conservatory

German Village (Columbus)

Gervasi Vineyard [stay]

Great Serpent Mound (Adams County)

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Hocking Hills State Park

Hot Air Balloon Festival (Jackson Twp. or Marysville)

Kings Island

Lakeside

Marblehead Lighthouse

Melt [eat]

Mohican Treehouses

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Ohio Caverns (West Liberty)

Ohio State Reformatory

Pine Tree Barn [eat]

Play: Cle

Put-in-Bay

Ravenwood Castle [stay]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Stockport Mill Inn [stay]

Sweet Carrot (Columbus) [eat]

Taste of Belgium (Cincinnati) [eat]

Toledo Museum of Art

Troy Strawberry Festival

West Side Market (Cleveland)

The Wilds [stay]

Zoar Village (near Bolivar, OH)

(And Surrounding Areas…)

Fallingwater (PA)

Mammoth National Park (KY)

Mackinac Island (MI)

National Corvette Museum (KY)

If you pop over to the new OHIO tab on the blog you can see which ones we’ve already been to! I opted to leave this list unmarked in case you wanted to snag it for your next Buckeye State adventure! I have a feeling that we will alter and add to this list as cool things cross our radar. Also, when we have kids I imagine our list was expand. 🙂

Tell me, have you ever been to these places? Where would you go first??

Currently

Happy Thursday! And happy belated Valentine’s Day, friends! 💗

What are you currently doing/feeling/looking forward to? Here’s what’s going on with me!

Reading… to distract myself. When we fly I engross myself in books to distract me from my anxiety. I finished Girl Waits With Gun on our last flight. I’m still working on Dead Wake. I’m about to start Three Dark Crowns.

Eating… out very often. Trade show season drops us in new hotels and cities so we get to check out the local cuisine. This week it’s guacamole and steak and so many good veggies!

Drinking… mixed drinks. And also coffee. And tons of water. #TradeShowSeason

Feeling… proud of myself. After lots of prayer and some serious self-talk, I managed to get on a plane and fly without totally freaking out. My palms got sweaty, but I didn’t death-grip K’s leg and my stomach stayed out of my throat. Haha.

Wishing for… a new president, a world without school shootings, no homeless dogs.

Thankful for… our fabulous dog sitter/house sitter. I feel so good knowing Ly and E are being loved on when we leave.

Planning… a vacation. It kind of sucks because by the end of spring we are sooo traveled-out, but our five year anniversary is in April and K has agreed to go on vacation. (Whew!) I’m trying to find some place interesting but relaxing. Bonus points if we can find a direct flight 😉

Loving… Kyle. We didn’t really do anything for Valentine’s Day, but we were together all day. We’re together all day, every day. I couldn’t spend this much time with anyone else. He’s the best (and the most annoying sometimes, lol).

Praying… for God to take my worries and for our travels to be safe and uneventful. Also praying for those hurting from tragedy, sickness, financial struggles, etc. I can’t stand these shootings. Every week, guys. Multiple times a week, in fact. WTF. (In addition to praying I’m also voting, donating, volunteering, etc. I think you should pray for the guidance and opportunity to help and remedy the pain people feel- not just hope it gets better for them.)

Excited about… K’s birthday (nothing planned), being home for a few weeks (nothing planned), the *hopeful* slowness of March (nothing planned), & a food and wine night in Cleveland with my favorite gals next Friday.

Ok, your turn! Tell me what’s new with you! What are you excited about?

Random December Thoughts

I haven’t post a collection of random thoughts in a quick minute so …

Well let’s kick this off with a weird one.
Sometimes, while sitting in the bathroom, I think to myself how fortunate females are because we sit down to do our business. I mean, anything we go to the bathroom to accomplish (besides throwing up), can be done in the same position. Meanwhile, if a guy steps into the bathroom to go #1 and he finds that his bowels have other plans, he has to turn around and sit quickly OR shuffle from the urinal to the toilet.
*I asked K if he’s ever had a bathroom experience were a guy at the neighboring urinal quickly changed his mind and stepped into a stall. He says never in his life. I’m skeptical.

I’m unnaturally happy about the newest royal engagement. I feel warm and fuzzy when I think about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I don’t know them, I don’t keep close tabs on the family, I don’t have a crazy crush on the prince- I just love that they look so happy and healthy.

Do you say “bless me” when you sneeze? Because I do and it makes K crazy. He says you can say excuse me (for yourself) or bless you (for others), but bless me is just self-centered. We had a drawn out argument over this at work a few weeks ago… Looking for real feedback here.

A few weekends ago I went to Hocking Hills in southern Ohio with two of my best friends, Enzo, and Kayla’s dog Ernie. We hot tub-ed, hiked, drank too much wine, and just had a really fun time. If you can, take a girls’ trip 🙂 The cabin was only 2 or 3 hours from all of us (we all live in different cities in OH) and we found a weekend to just go. Your trip doesn’t have to be miles and miles away!

My brother and sister-in-law pay attention to my blog and they asked for a Christmas list. So I’m randomly throwing in some things that fall under the “want” category this Christmas…

  • Chunky knit blanket (example)… I don’t care where it comes from. I just like ’em.
  • This book preordered. It doesn’t release until the end of January.
  • A make-up holder and a brush cleaner.
  • A watch. (I don’t know what I want… smallish and minimalist, but quirky.)
  • This mug. This sweatshirt and this sweatshirt. And either this doormat or this one.
  • This poster. I really want the artwork with Leo’s story from TWW, but I can’t find one I like on etsy 😦

Is that enough stuff, Fred? 😉

Share a random thought with me. (Also, do you say “bless me”???)

Ten Midwest Weekending Adventures

I call Ohio home and have for almost 27 years (a.k.a. my life). We do a roadtrip at least once a year, but there are millions of places I haven’t been. Today I’m sharing some places in my neck of the woods that still remain on my bucket list. For me, these places are only 1.5 to 6 hours away.

No one is paying me to write this, but if companies would like to give me a free stay/visit in exchange for a blog post I’d happily oblige 😉

(1) Treehouses at The Mohican | Glenmont, OH
This is a popular place for romantic weekends, fall trips, and bachelorette party get-aways. My brother and his wife spent a weekend here once & loved it. These just think they look awesome! Can you imagine this place in the fall??

(2) Ohio State Reformatory | Mansfield, OH
I’ve been here twice- once on a 4th grade field trip & once on a classic car tour. Shawshank Redemption was filmed here! This remains on my list because I’ve never been during Halloween… They offer a pretty insane haunted prison experience. K isn’t into haunted things so I’d have to gather a group of friends. 100% NOT going alone 😉

(3) Mammoth Cave National Park | Kentucky
I’ve been her as a kid, but I really want to go back! I’m dying to explore the caves and maybe go spelunking! (Again, K isn’t quite as excited about this… ha.)

(4) Chicago
I know that’s vague, but Chicago is about six and a half hours from us and I’d love to visit as an adult- especially around Christmas time!

(5) Lakeside | Lakeside, Ohio
This cute little destination along Lake Erie is actually a little Christian community. (I think I almost applied for a job in the area in college.) From what I can tell it has that small town Stars Hollow kind of feel. Adorable!

(6) Upper Peninsula/Mackinac Island | Michigan
This is one of those rare places that K has been and I have not. Fortunately, he thinks it’s a gorgeous place and he really wants to visit again! I’m thinking this is a spring or summer trip!

(7) The Old Vermilion Jailhouse | Vermilion, Ohio
I think this unique little bed & breakfast looks so neat! It really is a historic jail.

(8) National Corvette Museum | Bowling Green, Kentucky
This is K’s contribution to the list- he’s been talking about this museum forever. The museum actually experienced a sinkhole a few years ago. Right now they’re adding on to the manufacturing facility next door & K says we need to wait to go so we can tour both places.

(9) Ravenwood Castle | New Plymouth, Ohio
Remember that time I was obsessed with The Tudors? Yeah, I’d love to spend the night in a castle!

(10) Any NASCAR tracks nearby that I haven’t been to…
There are so many race tracks within hours of us that I haven’t visited: Martinsville, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Indianapolis, Kentucky, Pocono, & Richmond.

I’m linking up with the amazing Emma at The Adventures of a London Kiwi as well as her friends Polly (Follow Your Sunshine) & Angie (SilverSpoon London) & Erin (Erin Out and About) for the Travel Link-Up!

Have you ever stayed in a super unusually hotel or B&B? What are some day-trips you’d like to take?

(Any local resorts want to offer me a free stay? 😉 lol)

Let’s Go to the Beach, Beach…

Last week (during my blog hiatus) I vacationed to Sunset Beach, NC with my family. Kyle and I, my mom and dad, and my little brother Fred and his wife Christina all stayed in a 4 bedroom beachfront house along the east coast.

It was kind of odd to be back in a house with my parents and brother- especially with the addition of our spouses. We all have different personalities and habits, but I think the week went really well.

K and I were almost always the first ones awake. We also made almost all the homemade meals. We were I was also the planner of the days/excursions.

Fred and Christina were much more laid back. They went on walks when they wanted to, woke up naturally and slowly, and often went with whatever flow I suggested. (Our older sibling/younger sibling personalities come out in full force when we’re together…)

My parents are familiar with Fred’s and my differing personalities so they just mediated and provided some form of structure. There were no outburst last week, though, so my parents had a pretty easy job.

Like most beach vacations we had a nice mix of shore time, restaurant dining, mini-golfing, and adventuring. We wandered up to Wilmington, NC one day to tour the USS North Carolina and grab some lunch. Another day was spent down in North Myrtle Beach at the outlet malls.

Funny enough, K’s family was vacationing in MB the same week we were down there. We spent the 4th of July having dinner at their beach house and visiting with relatives that we only see once a year. (They had 15 people living in their house… 😳)

As I mentioned on Tuesday, my parents’ 14 year old shepherd-lab mix passed away from old age while we were gone. We all hated that we weren’t with Heidi for those last few days. She was a loyal, sweet, stubborn, protective, loving soul. My parents’ dog-sitter Jen was devastated to find that Heidi had died in her sleep- we all felt terrible for her. Obviously it wasn’t Jennifer’s fault and she had nothing to do with Heidi’s passing, but what a crappy thing to discover…

The heartwarming thing was that a handful of my parents’ friends called or texted to offer their condolences and some even offered to drive out to my parents’ house and bury her. My grandma had saved a steak bone from their supper for Heidi the night before and was heartbroken to hear she’d died. I honestly can’t explain how good it feels to be a part of a community that loves our family- including all our dogs.

So overall, even with the loss of Heidi, our vacation was a nice one. K and I are super happy to be home with our fur babes and it’s nice to be back in the midst of our company (running a company from the road is stressful but necessary). That said, the week-long break was 100% necessary.

This was my first time at Sunset Beach! It was much quieter and less commercialized than Myrtle. I’d recommend the island to anyone. Specifically, if you’re in the area, check these out!

Crabby Oddwaters (restaurant in Sunset Beach, NC)
Sooooo good. The staff was super friendly, the atmosphere was beachy and slightly bayou-y, and we had an amazing meal! We also saw an alligator (…crocodile?) in the water outside the window!


USS North Carolina (navy boat and museum in Wilmington, NC)
Last year when K and I went to Myrtle we almost wandered up the coast to tour this ship, but we decided not to. I’m so glad we went this time around! I love history and walking through the cabins and rooms of a once-active warship gave me goosebumps. It was hotter than Hell but I loved experiencing this piece of history!


Bummz Beach Cafe (restaurant in Myrtle Beach, SC)
We had the steamed shrimp as an appetizer and it was so. dang. good. I swear I’ve thought about that shrimp at least once a day since we left Bummz. I think you’d definitely drive right past this place if you were cruising N. Ocean Boulevard for some dinner, but I’m telling you right now you need to pull over and give this place a shot! (Also, it kind of cracked me up that my grandma sent us to this restaurant… I mean, it’s named after butts… hahaha!)

Have you been to Sunset Beach, NC? Where is your summer vacation spot this year?