I turned 27 yesterday! My day was spent with my family and Ryan having afternoon tea and cake, followed by some downtime and reading my newest book. We wound down the day with dinner at The Floridian, a free birthday pop at The Hyppo, and drinks at The Ice Plant; then, we finished the day by watching Bridget Jones' Diary with some microwave popcorn, my favorite :) It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday and I'm so thankful my little family and how special they all made me feel. I love you all, thank you for making yesterday so wonderful! 

^A few of the lovely gifts I received! Some new plants I've been wanting called string of pearls, the new Floret Farm book from my friend, Katie (it's so beautiful!), a new letter board from my friend, Britni, and an Iris Apfel brooch from my mom (we saw her documentary together at the Tampa Theatre a few years back!) 

Charleston Day 2

The next morning, we woke up bright and early and walked up to Butcher & Bee for breakfast. Easily, Ryan and I would say this was probably our favorite meal of the entire trip. I know they serve breakfast and lunch but I believe that they just recently moved locations since visiting and are now open for dinner. We cannot wait to go back again next time we are in town. We'd probably eat all three meals their and be okay with it ;) I also believe they have a Nashville location as well! It was a casual restaurant where you order at the counter and take a seat wherever you'd like while they prep your food. I believe it's BYOB as well considering the couple next to us whipped out a bottle of champagne and orange juice from her bag. I tried the shakshuka and Ryan ordered a house made breakfast biscuit with egg, pimento cheese and bacon. I've never had shakshuka before and holy cow, where has it been all of my life? It was amazing! It was just a dish of tomatoes and spices cooked down in a cast iron skillet with cracked eggs on top and served with freshly made split pita bread. It's nothing super fancy or ground breaking but it's so simple and delicious. I'm currently opening a second google tab to look for recipes as I type...see found recipe here

^^hahaha. totally caught red handed sneaking a photo 

We picked up an iced coffee to go from The Daily which is a coffee and quick service market style restaurant owned by Butcher & Bee. Their coffees are all delicious and they serve made to order dishes and also have a full refrigerated section with grab and go items such as cheeses, salads, sandwiches, fruits and veggies and speciality beverages. 


A little VW bus posted right outside from Butcher & Bee! He must have known it was my birthday and wanted me to have an extra special day ;) 

From breakfast, we ventured on down to shop where the locals do. First up was a little vintage inspired accessories store called Candy Shop Vintage. They sell an array of vintage jewelry, a lot of their vintage pieces are seen below, as well as vintage inspired jewelry designed by the owner of the shop. They had some beautiful pieces that I haven't seen before. If you are into that kind of style and looking for someone who has a great eye when picking out vintage pieces, check this place out! 

Next up was Mac & Murphy-one of my most looked forward to shops in Charleston! Mac & Murphy is a locally owned stationery shop with cards, desk accessories, prints, and other papers galore. Although I work at Paper Source, it was VERY easy to purchase a large collection of cards that we don't sell in our store. Not to mention, the staff was so incredibly sweet. We met Ms. Lacey, the brains behind the blog "A Bit of Charleston." Lacey uses the blog as a way to connect with Charleston locals and tourists alike. She keeps readers up to date on new restaurants, entertainment and happenings in the city. If you are planning on visiting Charleston, she has a little survey on her website that you can fill out with all of your food and entertainment preferences and she will reviews your selections and plan a personal travel guide for you! You can also follow along with all of her Charleston adventures here on her instagram

We quickly swung into Flowershop on Spring Street to pick up a little birthday treat. They had the most beautiful wraps and dried flower crowns and boutonnieres. I spent quite some time staring at all of the arrangements trying to decided which one to pick. I finally thought it would be best to go with one of the dried boutonnieres that was tied with the daintiest coral velvet ribbon. I have no clue when I will wear it, but I thought it was so beautiful and special and I wish everyone wore one on their lapel no matter what the celebratory occasion.  

After Flowershop, Ryan surprised me with a big 'ole hummingbird birthday cake from Sugar Bakeshop. It smelled heavenly in there and if he hadn't ordered a cake I may have ordered one of everything. By the way, if you're in town you MUST go here. The hummingbird cake was one of the best I have had, possibly even better than Wright's and I have never said that before! Not to mention taste completely unrelated, all of their cakes were so minimally and beautifully done. They wrapped it up in a little white box with twine to go and I felt so special grinning ear to ear walking home carrying that cake. 

A few photos from some other shops we stopped into but didn't purchase anything: Blue Bicycle BooksWorthwhile clothing and Candlefish

*We also shopped at Indigo and Cotton and Proud Mary; both of which Ryan and I really loved. We even had a chance to talk to the owner of Proud Mary and if you are ever in Charleston you must go! She designs amazing pieces of clothing and accessories that are handmade by skilled artisans from Latin America and Africa. They practice fair trade ethics and works diligently to promote craft preservation. I wanted to take one of everything home with me seeing as it was all made with such delicacy and care that you knew you were purchasing an heirloom piece that would last for years to come. 

For dinner, my one request was that I wanted a lobster roll. I had researched a few places that had them and everyone said that without a doubt go to 167 Raw. Every last person that recommended it and wrote a review about it online was right, it was delicious. We went pretty early too figuring it was a Saturday and would be crowded and sure enough we had about a 30 minute wait before being seated up at the bar. The inside and is very, very small with seating along the oyster bar, the bar where the chef cooks and I believe there may have been 2-3 smaller high top tables. We sat right in front of the guy who was shucking all of the oysters which was entertaining to watch as well. We ordered the chips and guacamole to start with, followed by one lobster roll, one shrimp po' boy, one shrimp taco and one fish taco. We kind of went all out and just cut everything in half to share it, which is the best way to do it when you want to try practically everything on their menu! The lobster roll was one of the best ones that I have had in quite some time, but honestly I think the shrimp po'boy and taco were my favorite. They were both similar in toppings, but the best part was a beet remoulade that was on top. 

After dinner we walked around the Battery and downtown near Rainbow Row before calling it an early night for birthday cake at the hotel. We walked pretty much all over from sun up to sun down and it was the perfect way to spend the day celebrating my birthday.

Thank you to my adventure co-pilot, Ryan for always going with the flow and helping to make each adventure even more special than the last! 


New York Trip: Days 2 & 3

We kicked into the rest of our New York weekend with a trip to Tipsy Parson. We all had coffee and breakfast before heading over to the Javit's Center for NY Now. We walked around the handmade portion of the show for a bit and then decided it was time for a coffee break at Blue Bottle inside of Gotham City Market. We stopped into the photo booth at the Market and took a few photo strips to add to our little collection. We then hopped in a cab and drove over to China Town for mine and Ryan's first taste of dim sum. Britni and Bobby's favorite dim sum restaurant is The Golden Unicorn, amazing name, and the restaurant itself is several stories tall. We were sent to the fourth floor and seated at a table where we were eagerly greeted with ladies making their way throughout the tables with carts full of various flavors of dim sum. We picked up several different types from each cart that went by, some were sweet while others were your traditional savories. The table favorite was easily the little piggy sweet buns featured below. I have zero idea what was in them, maybe some sort of taro paste? but it was delicious none the less. 

On our last day in town it was Ryan's birthday, and there's no better way to kick off a birthday than with a bunch of donuts. Britni and Bobby took us to a tiny donut shop located inside of a car wash. I loved the fun combination of the two, being able to watch the cars go through the wash while you wait in line for donuts. They have a small variety of flavors, maybe 5 or 6, and we each picked out a few to try. The best was the car wash special which is glazed and is topped with colored stripes that look like the soap stripes used when you have your car washed. 

After breakfast we went back to NY Now to walk the upstairs section. Below I took just a few photos of some of my favorite booths. I loved being exposed to brands that I had never heard of and I loved seeing brands booths that I was already familiar with. My favorite of all the booths was Loopy Mango, which specializes and knitted wool sweaters, hats, scarves and blankets. I've never seen anything like it and the colors and knits were so beautiful! Those knitting needles were almost as large as I was! 

One of Ryan's friends was working the Tattly booth and was sweet enough to give us a few sample tattoos for his birthday. The pizza neck tattoo was clearly pretty amazing- so many people asked him if it were real and were sadly disappointed when they discovered it was only fake. 

Of course I had to stop by the Rifle Paper Co. booth to see which new products they have arriving in stores soon. It was heart eyes all around for their new calendars and planners. 

After NY Now, we took the car over into Brooklyn to have lunch at Court Street Grocer's. Brit and Bobby had taken me previously and I absolutely loved their broccoli reuben. We took Ryan their for lunch and it was just as delicious as it had been the last time. I wish we had more places like it at home. 

After lunch we went to the Brooklyn Flea, followed by a few games of shuffle board at the Brooklyn Shuffle Board Club. Ryan and I played against Brit and Bobby and my horrible game play cost us two ice cream cones next door at Ample Hill Creamery. Too much talk of biscuits and keeping out of the kitchen for me! I wasn't the best but it still was a lot of fun and I would love to play again sometime. 

To end Ryan's birthday celebrations, we went to his requested Shake Shack for dinner. Only the shops in NY have their new fried chicken sandwich and Ryan had his usual burger with a side of chicken sandwich on the walk back to the car. I didn't try it, but it looked delicious. One of Ryan's favorite movies is The Royal Tenenbaums and it was filmed at a house up in Harlem. We took the drive up that way and jumped out of the car for a few photos. 

Finally when we arrived home we wrapped up the day with a chocolate, chocolate birthday cake- Magnolia Bakery sure does make a delicious cake. Funny story, I had forgotten to bring candles so I ran to the corner CVS and they legitimately only had the numbers 5, 0, and 6 and all of the 5's were broken right in half. I turned the corner, and the only other candles they had spelled out the word "congratulations," I took my bets on it and figured we could spell out something using the letters, but the only thing we could come up with was RDT, Ryan's initials- haha. Also, month's ago, I had picked up gold mylar balloons that spelled happy birthday. I brought it with me to the city so we could hang it up for his birthday. While Britni and I blew up all of the letters I realized that something wasn't looking quite right. There was only one H in the entire package...so it either spelled out "Appy Birthday" or "Happy Birtday." Such a theme, I could not stop laughing...between that and the candles. We ended up just using the birthday portion of the letters...as you can see. Good thing Ryan has a great sense of humor and it ended up being the best way to end such a fun weekend. 

83 Years Young!

We recently celebrated my grandmother's 83rd birthday with a family dinner and the tallest chocolate cake I've seen in a while. She's a chocoholic and specifically requested chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and we threw in a few chocolate chips on top for good measure. I think I know where I get my sweet tooth from ;) 

My grandmother truly is the sweetest person I know, and will bend over backwards to lend a helping hand in any way she possibly can. I'm lucky to have her in my life and to have her and my grandfather live so close by. Besides a cake bigger than my grandmother herself, we celebrated with number sparklers, because it's always the most fun every birthday (in my opinion.)

She really is just the cutest. Here's to hoping your 83rd year is one of the best yet, Grandma! To the stars and back, I love you so! 

Birthday Happenings

A few weeks ago I celebrated my 25th birthday with family, wonderful friends, little adventures, and lots of delicious food. On the morning of my birthday, I packed up the car and headed to meet Ryan in Gainesville to test out Satchel's Pizza. Neither of us had ever been before, but after discovering this eclectic pizza joint via social media, I knew we had to go. We arrived at lunch time and we were seated inside the restaurant's vintage blue VW bus (I think I died and went to Heaven.) We ordered a large cheese and pineapple pizza annnd it was so delicious I think we could have ordered another one!! Post pizza, we made our way downtown to visit one of Gainesville's Hyppo Pop locations. We met up with one of Ryan's friends and enjoyed our pops while walking through the downtown area.

Mid-afternoon, we headed back to St. Augustine and made a pit stop at a little antique store called Finders Keepers in Palatka. They had lots of unique little treasures such as old type writers, sewing machines, and eclectic kitchen accessories. The only thing that I purchased was a tiny binocular brooch that reminded me of Suzy from Moonrise Kingdom. It was a dollar and I would have been silly to not pick it up!

One of the activities on our St. Augustine bucket list has been to go play bingo at the Elks Lodge in town. Since my birthday fell on a Thursday, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to test it out. Little did we know just how intense bingo could actually be! We walked in and were a little overwhelmed at the site we saw: lots of cute elderly people, piles of good luck trinkets and too many bingo cards to even wrap my head around. Each game was color coded and played by a different set of rules. Thankfully, the two ladies next to us were gracious enough to explain all of the bingo terms such as small kite, X, T, four corners, stamps, and so many more. They filled us in on all of the "official and unofficial rules." Unofficial meaning that there were several social rules set in place by avid bingo goers. If you broke those rules, you instantly received dirty looks and silent head shakes of disapproval. Despite bringing my good luck penguin and miniature VW bus, neither of us won, Ryan was pretty close several times though! Although we walked away with empty holes in our pockets, we had the best time and will definitely be back! 

Later that weekend, I headed back to Tampa to partake in a few more festivities with my family. Saturday, Michael and I took our hot air balloon ride that I posted about earlier this week.  Sunday afternoon, my mom and I went to Oxford Exchange for a cup of tea before a matinee movie. Tampa Theatre is currently running a family fun series which plays a different movie each Sunday for the next month and a half. The opener for the family series was Matilda, one of my personal favorites! Tampa Theatre is one of the most special places in town and if you've never been, add it to your list immediately! The theatre is incredibly beautiful and has even been listed as one of the top fifteen most spectacular movie theaters in the world. If you go, make sure you arrive early to experience the pre-show organ concert. Also, if you attend one of the family fun movies, keep your ticket stub and take it to Duckweed Urban Market, post show, for a free Whatever Pop popsicle! That evening, we met up with my grandparents at Cappy's Pizza in Seminole Heights for dinner. In my opinion, they have the best pizza and greek salad in town. Plus, they have the sweetest workers you'll ever come across! 

We headed back to our house after dinner to cap off the weekend with several XL slices of birthday cake. The entire weekend was such a wonderful way to kick off the start of my 25th year. More so than all of the fun activities, I feel incredibly thankful to be surrounded by such magnificent people in my life. It's my family, friends, and the memories that we create together that make the passing of each year that much more special. I am the luckiest.