Thursday, September 5, 2019

Hurricane Dorian


By now Hurricane Dorian has come and gone from Florida (thank goodness). But of course being born and raised in Florida, certain things are a given when it comes to an impending hurricane. And this year I realized in talking to friends not from Florida, that hurricane preparation is almost like an art. 

So welcome to the inside of hurricane preparation from a native Floridian. 

The first thing we love (and really one of the only good things about a hurricane, minus the days off) are the memes. And there are a LOT. 
Since this last one, Dorian was scheduled for the Labor Day weekend the above meme was perfection. 
I also came to realize that not everyone knows who Jim Cantore (above) is. He is the most feared man in Florida. If the Weather Channel says he's coming to your town for the hurricane- you evacuate. And trust me, we don't evacuate typically. There are also the spaghetti models that have no basis expect to scare the living daylights out of you (although meteorologists claim they help show a possible path for the storm (along with 100 other possible paths)).  

We also love the hurricane themed food. Because anything to get a laugh (and sweets) is a plus. Our local bakery made these amazing donuts and our grocery store (Publix) made hurricane cakes (that yes, look like hurricanes). Then of course a local donut shop made hurricane mini donuts that had liquor (because another thing we Floridans do for hurricanes is party). 

So while most people are listening to the meteorologists who try and instill fear with an ever growing what if list and buy out every water bottle a store may have, the rest of us fill up on liquor (or food). 
Although this go around, we waited so long for the storm to actually hit that we had to make several food runs.  Im pretty sure I gained at least 10 pounds from this waiting around. 

On a more serious and somber note, while we were extremely lucky with this storm (no damage at all) the islands, especially the Bahamas were not as fortunate. I know this and while I may light of hurricanes, some of it is finding humor instead of being fearful. And some of it is not letting others put fear into you. I've been through enough hurricanes to know how quickly they can change and how to wait them out, when to evacuate and what to do if we stay (i.e. fill the bathtub with water- for the toilet should the power turn off; do NOT put tape on windows- it literally does nothing; and run if Jim Cantore comes to town). Did I mention him already? 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Weekly wrinkle// vol 1

Wrinkles in the brain are caused by higher cognitive processes - like memories and languages. So essentially when you learn something new, another wrinkle (or fold) is created in your brain. Thanks to my scientific husband for teaching me this, I decided it needed to be the new title for what I hope will be a new blog series- new things I learn each week. It’s gonna be awesome!

Wrinkle #2: Cocoa-cola (my favorite soft drink) gets its flavoring from vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus, and other flavors.

Wrinkle #3: A large group of flamingos is called a flamboyance. A large group of rhinos is a crash. And a large group of giraffes are called a tower.

Until next time fellow nerds. 😘🤓

Monday, August 26, 2019

dark day 18

In the stages of grief, loss of memories isn’t mentioned. Which sometimes makes me feel like I’m the only one there.

After a loss, a common phrase that gets thrown around is “time heals all wounds”. But what they don’t tell you is that in that sadness you still have memories to cling to. Time not only took away the pain, but it seems to have stolen my memories too. After 18 years, there just seems to be a large, gaping hole.

Whenever the death of my dad comes up, especially when I tell the story to people that have never heard it, most apologize for having to make me relive it. But what is hard to explain (mainly because I don’t want to sound like a psychopath) is that it doesn’t make me sad to tell it anymore. After 18 years, I feel like I’m a narrator telling someone’s else’s story.

So either because I a masochist or just tired of not remembering and not feeling sad, I decided to borrow home movies (which yes require a VCR that I totally still have!!!) Although I’m still trying to find all the cords...

So in the meantime, I am flipping through a memory book I made several years ago (which I am so thankful I created).  I started to fear that I was beginning to forget him already, so I created a book writing down whatI did remember of him- his favorite things, what our Sundays (the only day we saw each other after the divorce) looked like, and what I remembered about him personally. Then it slowly evolved into letter writing to him. It became the only time I could say "daddy" anymore and I treasured it. It also helped in my grieving and missing him, because it was a way to tell him all I wish I could if he were still here.

Friday, August 2, 2019

a Florida girl in New Orleans

A few weekends ago Austin and I went to NOLA to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. Even though it was in the heat of summer, it was still an amazing time and an adventure since neither of us have ever been. 
It was also a pretty short trip since neither one of us could get away for too long and it is an 8 hour drive for us to get to the BIG EASY.  But totally worth it.


We did a lot of walking (because parking in French Quarter is insane) and I loved it. Sometimes I really dislike living in a city where you have to drive to get anywhere. 


For the first day/night there we mainly wandered around.  Our hotel was not even a block off of Bourbon street (which was amazing!)! 
When we first arrived our hotel wasn't quite ready and we got stuck in a massive rain shower.  We spent the next couple of hours trying to explore, but without being able to have my phone out for navigation and being completely soaked, I was not a happy camper. I was more than a little overwhelmed and my anxiety kicked in to overdrive. But once we were able to drop off our bags at the hotel and I knew where we were and where we wanted to go, I settled in and my nerves settled (the Hurricanes didn't hurt either).  
We decided for our first night to take a Haunted History Tour (which is a bit different from the ones I've gone on in Savannah and St. Augustine.  A guy that is a part of the Tour company followed the groups around with a cooler of water and beer (amazing).  And on our half way point stop we were able to visit the longest running bar of NOLA (or get a po-boy ice cream sandwich). The fact that the city does not sleep, but continuously party helped around 11 when we wanted dinner. By the way, BEST PO-BOY of my life. 



























We also stopped into BB King's Blues Club for a drink and some good blues music.  I love that Austin took the time to introduce me to the amazingness that is Blues and Jazz.

























During the day to escape the heat (and because we both love learning about WWII) we walked to the WWII Museum. First of all, it is enormous! We were there all afternoon and still didn't feel like we got to see everything. They've done an amazing job with that place.

On our last day, we also stopped at Cafe Du Monde (which I've grown up hearing about).  Their beignets and frozen cafe au lait was absolutely delicious. I wish I could go back for more right now.




For our actual anniversary night we went to the NOLA Ruth's Chris, which was nothing short of fantastic. Another perk to being with Austin, he has taught me more about delicious food that I probably would not have tried without him.  




This sign is from where we got brunch one day, Ruby Slippers (wow, their biscuits!) 

While there is so much about NOLA I loved, I think their architecture is one of my favorite aspects of the city. It's so different and gorgeous. I could stare at it all day. Weird? Maybe, but oh well.
Before we left,  I had to stop by NCIS New Orleans Headquarters (aka a parking lot that filming makes seem like is home to the NOLA Headquarters). I heard that they began filming the next season while we were there, but sadly I didn't run into anyone from the show. Major bummer. 

Ha. Austin thinks its odd that I posted this photo above, but honestly I was so exhausted.  It was our first night in NOLA and it was a long one. 


So all in all, a great trip. I can't wait to go back (Halloween maybe?)

xo,
kel

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

to dad, happy birthday

I woke up from the sweetest text message from my aunt with this photo of my dad and their youngest sister today. It was a perfect way to begin his birthday. 

It's interesting how his birthdays affect me. Sometimes I feel an overwhelming sadness, but today I was just happy for the memories I do have. 

So happy birthday in heaven daddy. Thank you for teaching my how to dance, while I stood on your feet. Thank you for introducing me to Fleetwood Mac and NASCAR (even though I still don't see how it's a sport). Thanks for loving me and being proud of me. Thank you for teaching me about God. Thank you for being in my life, even for the short amount of time that you were. 

forever, 
your kel

Monday, July 22, 2019

3 years married

Three years! It seems like it has flown by. 
We decided in the beginning that for our anniversaries we’d travel instead of give gifts (because for us it’s the ultimate gift really). So this year we drove over to New Orleans (NOLA, the Big Easy, home of the ragin Cajuns). It was amazing. 

Last year we went to Disney (Season Passholders!!! But only for a few more months-boo).

Then of course our first anniversary trip was Chattanooga, TN. Such a great time in Ruby Falls and all around the city. 

I can't believe it's been THREE years. 

Thanks for putting up with me, loving me, being my travel buddy, my shoulder to cry on, my meal ticket, my confidant, my everything. 

-kel





Thursday, July 11, 2019

a Florida girl in NYC


I'll just go ahead and tell you know that this is one of my all time favorite cities in the entire world (like so many other people, I know). 

I really needed this girls trip for the weekend, more than I even knew. We spent the 4th of July weekend doing some touristy things, but mainly trying to find the best spots loved by locals. And as it turns out, just about everyone leaves the city for the holiday weekend (minus tourists) which totally worked in our favor, because traffic was better (still not great albeit) and for a lot of places we didn't have a wait (although I would still recommend making reservations for any place you go to). 

Most of the time we had a rough idea of where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do, but for the most part we spent our time exploring the city and seeing where our feet took us. 

Even though I have been to Central Park before, I've never really experienced it like I did this time. We started out on the Upper East Side and walked all the way through to Strawberry Fields.  As a major Beatles fan, this was pretty amazing for me.  The John Lennon Imagine Memorial is also right by The Dakota, where he lived and was shot outside of. 

Of course we also saw a proposal and a newly married couple taking photos. 
Man I love this city.....





The bars in New York are pretty epic as well. They go all out for their themes and every place we went had the most amazing decor or history. 

One of our favorite places was the Oscar Wilde Bar (which sadly we only found our last night). Definitely getting Afternoon Tea there next time during the day. Their Victorian English/writer theme was incredible- this may have been my favorite find/place of this trip. 


But the food, y'all! THE FOOD. 
I've heard a lot of people say that it's due to the water that the food in the city is so amazing (and seeing as how our water in JAX is the absolute worst) I'll take that explanation. I didn't have a single bad meal there. 
We of course had to have pizza (which I had two nights, because it's an all time favorite food- especially the NYC kind)!! Lombardi's in Chelsea was a great recommendation.

Being a major Gossip-Girl fan I was more than ecstatic running into this hotel, the Hotel Empire. (Chuck + Blair forever). 

We also explored the High Line, which was a first for me. Although, walking it in the heat of the summer wasn't the greatest, the sites and garden views still made it pretty memorable, 

This view of the Empire State Building was from on our way back to our hotel. I loved seeing it lit up at night and it was especially epic seeing it surrounded by fog.

Another site we just so happened to stumble upon was the Hotel Chelsea. Known for its Sid and Nancy past it was something I had always heard about, but had never actually seen. 
Ps. If I were going to give my own NYC Music Tour, this would definitely be on there. 

The second night we met up with a friend, who is a local at this amazing place- The Old Rose restaurant, which is also a part of the Jane Hotel was fabulous (and has great pizza).  It's also apparently haunted, as it was where surviving crew and passengers of the Titanic stayed after their horrifying experience. While the elevator didn't move on its on while we were aboard, it did take us to the top where there is a rooftop bar with a breath taking view. The bellhops from the Jane Hotel are also dressed like Tower of Terror cast members, which is pretty awesome and definitely added to the atmosphere of dinner where we all told ghost stories. 



Another must do (at least for me) was to FINALLY see the Carrie Bradshaw brownstone doorstop. I also had us make a quick pit stop at the Magnolia Bakery (which has my favorite cupcakes of all time). I can't get enough of these things!! 

Speaking of sweets, a friend recommended this macaron store, which definitely did not disappoint. Laduree was one of the best things we did/ate for the whole trip. I even had one in ice cream (because when in Rome.....er...NYC). 


We also couldn't go to SOHO without stopping by Harney and Sons Tea shop. This is the only brand of tea we serve in our tea room at the shop and it's also the one that made me discover how much I truly love tea (in fact I'm drinking it right now as I type this). 
The kind below is called Indigo Punch and tastes like Fruit Loops. I ended up bringing some home with me (along with a bunch of other flavors). 



Another great restaurant was the Jones Wood Foundry in the Upper East Side where we watched the FIFA, Women's Soccer become WORLD CHAMPIONS! So of course, this English Pub was pretty epic in my opinion.




The very first night we headed over to Eataly near the Flat Iron Building. That place is beyond cool. It's something I feel like only NYC could carry off. Market place + tons of restaurants, we waited the extra hour to sit on the Serra Fiorita rooftop (pictured below). And trust me, it was worth every hot, sticky minute of waiting. 







A few other places that I didn't take photos of, but want to include in my NYC list (because WHEN I go back, I need to revisit them):

The Smile- an incredible brunch place. 

The Smith- an epic Vanilla Bean French Toast (while trying to get cool in the ac here, my phone was dying, so I asked the server if he could help- I got a claim ticket and he took it to the host stand to charge it. Maybe this is no big deal- but there's no way this would happen where I live!!) 

Ess-a-bagel- The ABSOLUTE BEST BAGEL I've ever had in my life. 

The White Horse Tavern- The city's second oldest bar and known for the famous writers that infamously hung out writing there. 

Until next time,
xoxo
kel