Tag Archives: vacation

mid-week round-up

What have you lovely lot been up to? Chet and I went to an aquarium (in Chattanooga) last weekend, which is our favorite way to celebrate his birthday. And tomorrow I’m flying to Kentucky to hang out with my mom for the weekend. Summer – SLOW DOWN! Hope you’re having a great Wednesday, and here are a few interesting internet offerings…

“How Pixar’s open sexism ruined my dream job.”

The forgotten story of The Radium Girls, whose deaths saved thousands of workers’ lives.

An advertising campaign that highlights the remarkable.

Dealing dead people’s things.

Looking into reading options for when I’m done binge watching E.R.

How science is saving ballet dancers.

A summer reading list curated by Ann Friedman and readers of her weekly newsletter.

The arrest of a Russian belly dancer exposed simmering tensions in Cairo’s belly-dancing scene.

Great sale if you love OXO products. (*raises hand*)

The rise and fall of the family-vacation road trip.

This documentary looks NUTS!

Sign up HERE to be a rapid response volunteer for immigrant parents and their children.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Book Review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and 18 Movies to Watch When You’re Hibernating (because sometimes summertime heat is cause for hibernating in the A.C.).

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Is there such a thing as the perfect vacation?

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

It’s mid-April as I write this, and for lots of us, now is the time to start thinking about an annual summer vacation. Yippee! It’s certainly an exciting prospect, with downtime from work, and the opportunity for some much needed R & R (either alone or with loved ones in tow). HOWEVER… for many, summer vacations induce anxiety. All manner of things can go wrong, and the idea of a “perfect” vacation is a lot to live up to.

Prep and plan as you might, your vacation may not go the way you expect it to…

  • The weather – torrential rain, wind, cold snaps – where was the sunshine you were hoping for?
  • Grumpy companions – you have taken them away for their holidays, but why do they insist on complaining all of the time?
  • Transportation  – missed or cancelled flights, car breakdowns, other people getting in your way…if only there was an easier way to transport yourself around the world.
  • Sickness – you really should have learned the lingo before choosing from the menu!

Sound familiar? Don’t worry; these problems are common to all of us. So, while it is difficult to attain absolute perfection, there are things you can do to improve your chances:

  • Do your research before travelling. Find out what the weather is going to be like at certain times of the year in your preferred location, and make sure you read reviews online about airlines, hotels, food places, etc. The better informed you are, the more likely you are to enjoy each aspect of your getaway.

 

  • Choose a destination you will all enjoy. Assuming you aren’t travelling alone, consider the needs of those travelling with you. While you won’t please everybody all of the time, you can still make compromises so that everyone has a good time. 

 

  • Read my top airport tipsI know, I know…Nothing irks me like that random dude in the security line who thinks because he flies twice a month for business he can start bossing everyone around. Everyone’s an expert, right? But if you’re planning on boarding a plane this year, give these tips a read!

 

  • Stick to your price range. You aren’t going to have a good time if you suddenly run out of money and find yourself with nothing to do, so budget carefully before jetting off somewhere. I think it helps to set a “before-you-go budget” (for flights, lodging, etc.) and a “spending budget” (your allowance while you’re there). 

 

  • Think about your accommodation. Whether you choose a luxury hotel like the Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel or a youth hostel off the beaten track like Hostal El Momento in Granada, make this a priority. It has to be within your budget, appropriate to your needs, and within reach of the sights you want to see while you’re away. Double-check that you’re booked in before arrival as well, just in case of a mix-up!

 

  • Don’t try and do everything while you’re away. With so many things to see and do, you will burn yourself out if you try and tick off everything on your itinerary. So, plan for downtime, only visit the places you are desperate to see and leave the remainder for your next holiday. 

 

  • Forget perfection. The higher your expectation, the more disappointment you will feel if something goes wrong. If you can go with the flow and enjoy the time you have, no matter the mishaps, the more enjoyable your holiday will be. I promise!

What do you think? Have I missed anything? Have you achieved the perfect vacation? TELL US YOUR SECRETS! 

P.S. A mini vacay to Delray Beach! 

Travel Inspiration: Rural England

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

When you think of England, what do you imagine?

Do you imagine the busy, bustling, metropolitan streets of London?

Or do you imagine beautiful lush green hills and glorious countryside?

Where you fall on the above largely depends on your exposure to England as a whole. While I’ve explored a bit of England in my younger years, I’ve only ever been in London as an adult. There’s no doubt that London has its upsides, and is a worthy travel destination in and of itself, but today I thought we’d focus on the other side of the spectrum. 

Away from the bustle of London lies some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Rural England is a wonder that has inspired thousands of writers, artists, and poets. And it is still proving inspirational. Lately, I’ve been seeing lots of blog posts and YouTube videos from my favorite UK content creators about their excursions into the countryside. And you know what? Rural England is now pretty high on my Travel Bucket List! Below are a few options I’ve researched that I want to check out. Come along, let’s begin our computer screen vacay…

The Peak District

The Peak District is, as the name suggests, a mountain range. The “Peaks” (as they are locally known) are a collection of hills, mountains, and rugged terrain in the county of Derbyshire, in the East Midlands.

The Peaks are a true natural wonder, and are mostly unspoiled thanks to their protected status. I could walk, hike, cycle, go boating, or just explore the adorably quaint villages and towns that are dotted through the area. Tourism is common here, so I wouldn’t be out of place, and I’d never run out of glorious views to delight over. 

The Home Counties

The Home Counties are a collection of counties that lie just outside of London, so I could easily fly into the capital and then take a road trip to the countryside. The counties included in the “Home Counties” description include Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Kent. (Say those out loud and you’ll sound like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, lol!)

It seems I won’t struggle for things to do in the countryside. As well as delightful local events and displays, the Home Counties are also home to some of the most beloved royal palaces that would be well worth a day-trip in my opinion: Windsor Castle, Hever Castle, and Oxford Castle (pictured above) are all found in the Home Counties. And I’m nothing if not very interested in the British Monarchy. 

The Jurassic Coast

Finally, if I fancied seeing rural England by the seaside, then the Jurassic Coast surely won’t disappoint. The “Jurassic” description comes from the many ancient fossils that have been discovered in the area; who knows, I might even stumble across a specimen or two for myself! (When I was little I wanted to be an archaeologist for a time so this is right up my street.)

The Jurassic Coast is shared by the counties of Devon and Dorset, so there’s plenty to see and do when not exploring the stunning coastline. As well as the cities of Bournemouth and Weymouth, I could also head into the nearby Cranborne Chase Area of Natural Beauty and delight in exploring the verdant terrain.

Have you ever ventured outside of London to explore rural England and all it has to offer? Which of the three areas above has you itching to plan a trip? I’d love to hear! I’m ready to pack my bags. 🙂 

P.S. Fancy some more wanderlust? Check out another computer screen vacation.

Photo Diary: Wedding in Savannah, GA

Here’s a look back in pictures of my recent trip to Savannah, GA for my brother’s nuptials. The ceremony was so sweet and lovely in a small courtyard complete with blooming flowers and a gurgling fountain (plus a porch-swing!). I was honored to do a reading from Wendell Berry and my sister sang a Neutral Milk Hotel song. I loved hearing my brother and his new wife, Dawn, exchange vows. Such love! Savannah itself is absolutely gorgeous — all Spanish Moss and cobblestones under a mystic haze of Southern, coastal town humidity — and I highly recommend you give it a visit if you haven’t already.

Much like memories, which are more a feeling than a narrative, these photos are in no particular order. They simply showcase some of my favorite things about our trip!savannah 1

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Thank you to Chet and Katie for helping me capture these images

but mostly for being such good comrades in memory-making. 

Cajun vacay: Lafayette and Breaux Bridge

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As I mentioned before, I recently journeyed down South for a Cajun vacation with my boyfriend, Chet. Since he is back in school, he is currently living and working in Lafayette, LA. But his Fall break (and MY BIRTHDAY!!!) gave me a perfect excuse to fly down for some much needed adventuring with my favorite adventure-partner. I had the most amazing week and the best birthday a girl could ask for! Here are some photos, if you’d like to see…

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As soon as I got into town it was time for my birthday present (even though my birthday fell at the END of the trip lol). This gorgeous camera is now MINE and I can hardly believe it!!! And getting it at the beginning meant I was able to document all our Cajun adventures. : ) Bonus, how adorable is that wrapping job? Admittedly, I am horrendous at wrapping presents so I was super impressed.

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On our first afternoon we ventured over to a local farmer’s market to pick up supplies for dinner–one of my favorite ways to dine! How gorgeous is that local lettuce?! We had salads, plums (Chet’s first) and sandwiches stuffed with secret recipe sausage from Chet’s family store.

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We, of course, strapped on our hiking shoes and hit a trail. The landscape was magical down in this forested wetland but…I probably was being bitten by 32 mosquitoes at the time this picture was taken. Not to mention 3-5 spiders were most likely taking up residence in my hair. Not for the faint of heart!

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A true highlight was Vermilionville, a living history museum and folklife park that preserves and represents the cultural resources of the Acadian, Native American, and Creole cultures–from 1765 to 1890. The park sits on a 23-acre site on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion and features seven restored original homes as well as a quaint schoolhouse and a beautiful church. I fell head-over-heels for the Acadian-style homes and sun-soaked Spanish moss.

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True urban explorers that we are, we also spent some time at a local cemetery. I know it sounds morbid but I love cemeteries (and the grounds of local churches in general) as a great, free way to spend some time. Especially if you have a brand new camera to play with!!! We opted for St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery and poked inside the church, too, as Chet’s parent’s were married there!

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Between a show at local bar Blue Moon Saloon and Festivals Acadiens, we watched performances by some pretty rad Cajun bands. Including Feu Follet and Lost Bayou Ramblers.

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folk art

festival signs

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Festivals Acadiens was celebrating it’s 40th anniversary and along with lots of music, featured a jam tent, craft fair, fantastic people watching and a crawfish etoufee stuffed baked potato that I’m still dreaming about.

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beignets

On my actual birthday, we wandered around downtown Breaux Bridge and brunched at Cafe des Amis, where they will bring you a plate of hot out of the fryer beignets as an appetizer (AN APPETIZER!).

An amazing vacation and phenomenal birthday full of food, music, and this one right here? Perfection!

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Have y’all ever been to Lafayette? Do you live there? We certainly found some gems! Lafayette, (and Chet ; ) I miss you already! xoxo

mid-week round-up

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Happy Wednesday! What are y’all up to? I’m spending the week with Chet in Lafayette, LA and we have all sorts of fun things planned! Farmers market, hiking, a festival and eating my weight in Cajun food. I’ll try to post some updates and pictures of our adventures as they’re happening but if there’s some radio silence you’ll know I’m just enjoying my vacation and I’ll be back real soon. ; ) Sending you lots of love from down south…now on to the links!!!…

This movie is perfect because of it’s imperfections…and still holds up today!

Cardboard stories.

Student kicked out of class because of what her mother does.

And speaking of…Michelle Obama on being a working mom.

Sleeping your way to the top! (Chet has a cougar crush on her!)

So all those fake birthday songs on TV shows have been in vain?!?

This child is my spirit animal.

Anyone interested in some Autumn exploration?

This made me laugh. (Wink to a tee!)

I hate that this is true.

Homesteading supplies you can buy for cheap at the dollar store.

Just nailing it all over the place…and at 72 no less!

and congrats to my little sister, Katie, who won the Theatre Tampa Bay award for outstanding actress in a musical!!! ❤

Computer Screen Vacay: Adelaide Edition

adelaide computer screen vacay

I’ve had about enough of this never-ending winter. It’s been a doozy, don’t you think? So let’s pop “down under” for a holiday in a more suitable locale. Because I’ve been staring at gray snow clumps for what feels like a year and a half and Adelaide always looks gorgeous in pitctures. Let’s go!

I have long felt called to Australia as a vacation destination. I would love to travel on the Indian Pacific Rail from Perth to Sydney or stay in the television set turned B&B McLeod farm house. (Oh, you haven’t watched all 7 seasons of McLeod’s Daughters on Netflix? The hit Aussie drama that chronicles the lives of girl farmers on an all girl-run farm? Get on it!) Not everyone shares my passion for trains and agro-soap-operas though, so let’s explore a computer screen vacay in Adelaide, South Australia.

Where should we stay?

I think for this visit we want a quiet place to relax and really feel like locals. So let’s skip the normal hotel route and stay away from the city centre. Adelaide has lovely historic cottages and they love a good outdoor space (porches, verandas, courtyards). We definitely want to be able to have brekky and a cuppa outside in a sunbeam and perhaps toast the twinkling stars at days end.

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This cottage looks traditional on the outside while sleek and modern on the inside. I love the white walls throughout–makes everything looks so light and airy. You can almost feel a cool breeze flowing through. And what about that little outdoor area right off the bathroom? Perfection.

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Here’s another cottage option–a little smaller, a little quainter and a little more historic. Basically I DIE for this cottage. I would be in danger of spending my whole vacay on that terraced courtyard with all the lovely plants and sunshine! And would that be so bad? Bonus: yellow walls, fireplace, big tub and stained glass in the bathroom (??!!).

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This apartment option offers breathtaking high ceilings that bathe the whole dang place in natural light. A sliding door off the main room leads to a sweet little brick porch and the furnishings are simple. This looks like the kind of place where after a week’s vacay you think, “I could just move here, as is, no need to return and get all my other crap, this is fine….DON’T MAKE ME GO HOME!” 

What should we do?

The majority of our time can be spent exploring outdoors; the city centre, the green space, random neighborhoods. Super cost-effective fun! Here are a few more specific ideas.

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The city of Adelaide is encircled by a huge green space known as Adelaide Park Lands. The Park Lands are comprised of 29 individual parks which house everything from Japanese gardens to cricket pitches to prime sun-worshiping real estate. This area would be a perfect place to explore with little to no cost involved. The official website is super informational and basically gives a trillion ideas for ways to spend the day in the park. I would love to rent a bike and go on the Bike Art Trail. And of course picnic, see native flora and maybe catch some cricket or play a little croquet.

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I’m all for learning about new cultures, even on vacay, so I’d love to check out the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. We can browse the art gallery, watch performances by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and maybe even take a guided tour. Maybe we’ll feel compelled to purchase a didgeridoo to take home as carry-on. Who’s to say?

Coopers

And what’s a real holiday without some sort of a booze tour? I would love to take a Coopers Brewery tour through the brewhouse, bottling hall and history museum, accompanied by some samples, of course. Most of their brews are carbon neutral and the brewery itself has a huge focus on sustainability and best environmental practices. How cool is that?

What should we eat?

I’m very in favor of grocery shopping and making ones own meals and picnicking on vacations. Obviously for budget purposes this is super helpful, plus that’s how my mama raised me. But, we gotta check out Adelaide’s culinary landscape for a few choice dining experiences!

thestore

The Store. Burgers, pastas, risottos and a bangin’ wine list in a bistro-style setting? I’m in. Their brunch menu is nothing to sneeze at either. Straight drooling over the food porn on their website, y’all. This is my kinda food.

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Vilis specializes in a more traditional Australian comfort food fare. Think: meat pies, pancakes and sausage rolls. Lots of gravy! They even have something on the menu called a Pie Floater, a meat pie floating in a sea of pea soup and topped with mashed potatoes and gravy–which sounds equal parts disgusting and alluring. I’d give it a go. It’s probably delicious.

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Lucia’s offers Italian food and even bottles their world-famous pasta sauce. I love me some pizza so this one is a no brainer. They also boast super delish coffee and a focus on seasonal ingredients! Their dishes sound so legit (and I’ve read Heat so I’m basically an Italian food expert now).

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Well, I think I’m sold on a trip to Adelaide! Who’s in? Perhaps I should start tucking away some money in a mason jar labelled “Adelaide Funds”? What wanderlust-y fantasies helped YOU get through this winter? I’d love to hear. : )

(Rental photos via Airbnb, Park Lands photo via this ABC News article,  Vilis food photo via Urbanspoon)