the best thing i ate in new york - and other tales from the city

Y'all, I am struggling. I am having "Post Fun Trip Depression". PFTD. It's a thing. 

Don't you hate that? You have such a nice break from laundry and grocery lists, from work, from making your bed or cleaning the kitchen, from putting gas in your car; a break from all of life's responsibilities in the real world. Then you come back home and it all hits you like a sack of bricks. 

PFTD is ESPECIALLY common when you have taken the long vacation for your birthday (as I did). Not only is it a break from the real world, but also people buy you drinks and food and tell you nice things for the whole extent of your trip. Ugh. So you can see why I am struggling here. But it's worth it. 

My flight out was super early Wednesday morning so I had to wake up around 5am. LUCKILY for me, my pre flying anxiety kicked in extra early and I woke up at 1:30am and never fell back asleep. Woohoo! By the time I got to the airport and the special magic pill I take to help with my horrible flying anxiety kicked in, I was in total zombie mode. If you read my post about England, you know a little about my flying anxiety. I don't fear the plane crashing, but it's something about being in a space I can't get out of. After a 10 hour flight back from a England, however, a flight less than 2 hours was definitely a lot easier. My arrival to New York started with a very long nap. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with my family in New York, I'll give you a quick run down. My sister, Liz, moved to Manhattan on a whim five years ago with no job, no idea what living in New York would be like, and hardly any money. She got a job, kept working her way up and now lives with her fiance, Steve, in Brooklyn with their precious pup, Tuna. She's kind of a badass but I may be biased. 

Anywayzz, Wednesday night after getting TRAPPED on the subway for about 30 minutes (just one of my biggest fears NBD), we went to one of her work events for wine, cheese, olives, and got to pick out a choker of our choice. Free wine, snacks, and things?! I could used to that for sure. We ended the night ordering in late night food, because you can literally order anything you want at pretty much any time. 

The next morning was MY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYY! We all know that birthdays get less and less exciting after 21, but I started doing something in the past couple years to assure that every birthday is great.

Step one: treat yo self.
Step two: do it by yo self.

The older I get, the more control freak I become. I admit it, I like to plan things and I like things to go a certain way. Sometimes, I'm a total pain in the ass about it. Sometimes, I get stressed out if the plans don't go as planned (I'm working on that one mk?). "Birthday Treat Yo Self" makes me feel incredibly happy and relaxed, and doing it alone means no one can mess it up! Plus I crave alone time on that reg. Is that a little crazy? Fine, I'm a little crazy. But I can be whatever I want to be on my birthday amiright?

Treat Yo Self step 1 was a massage at The Plaza, the Caudalie Spa. I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the absolute best massage I have ever had in my life. As an assistant I have my phone on me at all times. Having it put away for a full hour of extreme relaxation....good gawd I can't even describe how amazing this was.

Treat Yo Self step 2 was getting my hair blown out at Dry Bar in Tribeca. This was my first time ever walking around Tribeca and 5th Avenue. It was pretty nuts....the sidewalks were completely packed on a Thursday at 2pm. I had this thought of "where in the HELL are all of these people going? I know they aren't all on their lunch breaks....they aren't all tourists...why are there so many of them?" Which, is the same thought I have every day in Atlanta traffic. In New York the majority of that is just street traffic. It's a whole different ball game. Kind of intimidating, but also incredibly thrilling at the same time.

Treat Yo Self step 3: lobster and champagne. I stopped into this tiny placed called Ed's Lobster Bar (I saw it on Million Dollar Listing and had been dying to go).

Seriously, this was the most delicious lobster of my life. I'm drooling.

Treat Yo Self step 4: getting a makeover at Sephora. I am not usually one to post my selfies unless someone else is in them with me, but I had to show what a great job this girl did. Plus, if you had seen me right before this makeover you would agree she worked absolute MAGIC. I have had my makeup done before but Johannah did the most incredible job, best one I've had so far. Also, she was so freakin' sweet, we instantly became friends and when I go back to New York I'll probably track her down to hang.

Treat Yo Self was completed just in time to meet up with Liz after work. We met at a sailboat bar for drinks called Grand Banks. Yeppp. A SAILBOAT BAR. You literally sit on a boat at a bar with the most insane view right on the water....I would go every day. I just would not recommend having more than a couple drinks there at the risk of falling down. Or in. 

Following sailboat drinks we met up with Liz's friends Megan and Elah at a restaurant called Catch. We had so much incredible food, I don't even know where to start. The lighting was too dark for pictures, which is probably for the best because I would go on OVERLOAD. But to give you an idea....lobster mac n cheese, crunchy rice cakes, crispy shrimp, spicy crunchy hand roll, and Wagyu on a rock which is when they bring out 5 pieces of raw meat and you cook it yourself on a hot rock. IT WAS INSANE. Oh, and s'more pizza for dessert. 

Birthday night ended with singing Karaoke at a Korean Bar, because why not? *I recommend not attempting to sing Lady Gaga standing on a table, the manager will not approve*

The rest of the trip was pretty much Liz, Steve and I eating and drinking our way through Brooklyn. Some of the best food I have ever had. I'm starting from the bottom (which is still really freakin' good) and working my way up.

Chicken and melted cheese on English muffin from Friend of a Farmer.

Brussel Sprout Quiche from Friend of a Farmer.

Gramercy Park Salad with pears, blue cheese, walnuts, and beets from Friend of a Farmer.

Also from Friend of a Farmer we had legit some of the BEST BACON I have ever had in my life. And that is a very bold statement coming from me.

Oysters from Wallabout, always a classic.

Scallops with chorizo, sun chokes, apple cider sauce and roe from Wallabout. This. Was. RIDIC.

Now since I did not take any pictures of the brisket hash, potato latkes, egg salad, fried salami sandwich or pickled vegetables from the most amazing Jewish Delicatessen called Mile End in Liz's neighborhood, the best thing I ate was:

Ostrich Carpaccio with farm cheese, olive oil, and microgreens from Madiba. A really good South African restaurant. If any of your mouths are not watering at this point, we probably aren't friends.

After 4 straight days of eating, walking, drinking, and more eating I was exhausted. My last day in Brooklyn was spent cuddled up with two favorites while Steve made us the most amazing dinner (yes, more food). 

New York, I love you. My lease is up in April....I wonder how Finn would do in the big city? :)

 

 

 

fried green tomatoes with basil and goat cheese over jalapeno grits

Hello hello, it has been far too long! I hate that I have lately been putting my blogging on the back burner a little bit. But with work, furniture, working out, AND now studying for my real estate license (woo!) I haven't been able to find enough time in my day. I am trying to organize my time better to fit everything in.

I also have a lot of exciting things coming up...lots of fun things going on in Atlanta this weekend and then next week, NEW YORK for my birthday! I haven't been up to see my sasster since Mother's Day of lasssttt yearrr....way way too long. So much eating in my near future. 

Anyway, I have been dying to share this recipe for a while because Fried Green Tomatoes are one of my favorites. Also, one of my favorite movies.

If you haven't seen this, do yourself a favor and rent it when you have a chance. 

Sweet Ruth and Idgie the Bee Charmer. UGH just one of my all time favorites. A classic. I could watch this movie over and over again and never get tired of it. Such a great story about friendship and empowering women. Towanda amiright? If you know, then you know. Buy it here.

I had seen this movie as a kid but really fell in love with it while I was in college. After about the 40th time watching, it inspired me to make my own fried green tomatoes. 

I tried to make them a couple times. I followed different recipes I had found, coating them only in bread crumbs and cooking them in vegetable oil or olive oil. They were...ok. But not great. Finally, I discovered the TRUE secret to delicious fried green tomatoes. And that secret is....

Yeeeep. That's right. Bacon. Bacon grease to be specific. Not only the key to happiness in life but the key to MAKING this recipe. (If you know me at all, you know that bacon is actually one of favorite things in the entire world. I once considered a pescatarian lifestlye but...bacon). 

The other secret I discovered is not only using bread crumbs for coating, but also corn meal. It clings much better and gives them a really good crunch. 

Start off with the grits since they take about 45-1hr. Now I've said it before and I will say it again. Use. Stoneground. Grits. Just take my word on this one, mkay?

I do have a confession though. I, Paige Johnson, ayellowpeach, grit connoisseur, have never made white grits. It's true. I have only made the yellow stoneground grits. Maybe because white just reminds me of instant? And I just cannot do instant. Cain't. Won't. 

Two key things I always make sure to have in my grits: jalapenos, and cream (in this case, I cut out the heavy whipping cream and went for the half and half). 2 cups cream to 1/2 cup grits. With stone ground grits you need to first put them in a cup or a bowl and cover with water to skim off the chaff that floats up (parts of the corn). Also, with stoneground you need to make sure and freeze the bag of grits after opening. I dice up the jalapeno and add in the cream. After it boils. add the grits and cook uncovered on low. Stir a lot. Like, all the time.

Continually season with salt and taste as you go so it doesn't get too salty. Usually, I add cheese to my grits. In this case, I am topping them later with cheese so I opted out. 

Now back to the bacon. While the grits are cooking, cook the bacon on the stove until ready. Remove the bacon and set aside. The grease will be used to cook the tomaters. 

Thinly slice the tomatoes.

Get your setup ready. One: flour. Two: 2 eggs whisked with milk. Three: mixture of bread crumbs, corn meal, salt, pepper, and cayenne. 

Turn your bacon grease back on until it sizzles if you flick water on it. Coat each slice in that order: flour, egg mix, crumbley mix. Cook on each side for 3 minutes or until crispy and brown.

When the grits are done, put into a bowl and top with a fried tomato, bacon, basil, and goat cheese. MMMMMM. I recommend trying to get basil into every bite you take. It brings all of the flavors together. 

Grits Ingredients:
-2 cups half n half
-1/2 cup white stone ground grits
-1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced
-salt and pepper, to taste

Fried Green Tomatoes Ingredients:
-3-4 slices bacon
-3 green tomatoes
-1 cup flour
-2 eggs, whisked
-3/4 cup milk
-1/2 cup bread crumbs
-1/2 cup corn meal
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-few dashes cayenne

Other Additions:
-crumbled goat cheese
-basil

If you end up making more FGT's than you can eat, save them! I almost always make too much food because my eyes are much bigger than my stomach. There are so many other recipes you can make with the leftovers.

Using the same ingredients, make an appetizer! Top the FGT with goat cheese, basil and bacon for a yummy finger food snack. I thought about afterwards how good a drizzle of balsamic vinegar would be. 

Another idea for breakfast: Fried Green Tomato Egg's benedict! Top the FGT with avocado, a poached egg, goat cheese, and chopped parsley. A yummy sauce could be made for this too.

Even more uses: Fried Green Tomato BLT, add a FGT to your burger, eat them plain and make a chipotle ranch sauce to dip them in, add it into a grilled cheese sandwich, the possibilities are endlesssssss. 

I haven't posted as much music lately so I'm trying to get back to that. One thing I luuuuuv about Spotify is the weekly playlist they put together for me "Discover Weekly". This one song came up called "All for You" by Fairground Saints and I kid you not, I have had it on repeat for 3 days. 

Listen here

fried tofu with sesame almond dipping sauce

Ermagerdddd. As I started writing the title, I realized that I never wrote down how I made this sesame peanut dipping sauce. Jeeeeez. I'll have to reach deep in my chaotic memory to pull that one out so hopefully it comes out the same.....

You may have noticed that I have a fairly large handful of recipes involving tofu. I want to clarify why this is. I am not a vegan, or a vegetarian, or a meat hater. I actually LOVE all sources of fish and meat. Shrimp, steak, chicken, any fish ever, you name it and I'll eat it. BUT....I am also just like a lot of you other mid 20's something (kind of) who are living life on their own in a new job and don't have all their shit together. And to be honest witcha tofu is just a million times easier, cheaper, and more convenient majority of the time. Plus, if you cook it right then it tastes amazing and provides protein! Win win in my book. 

If you are a vegetarian, this recipe is perfect for you. If you are a vegan, it's a no go. Eggs and flour involved. 

Seriously, I have had this cutting board for far too long and have NEVER noticed that the bottom left says Joyce Chen. Huh. I literally just had to go check it to make sure I wasn't going crazy. Anyway, start by wrapping how ever much tofu you are using (I used about half a block) in a paper towel to let the liquid out. Then cut into squares. Or strips or cubes or whatever you want.

Alrighty now let's see if I can remember how I did this sauce :) I'm pretty sure I used:

-2 tblsp almond butter
-2 tblsp tamari
-1 tsp rice vinegar
-1 tblsp sesame oil
-1 dash agave nectar
-1 tblsp chopped cilantro (you can use stems too)
-a little bit of warm water (to mix easier)

I popped all of this into a food processor to blend. If it's still a little thick you can add more water. Top with chopped cilantro and toasted black sesame seeds. And don't worry, all of these flavors are so yummy. If it isn't exactly how I made it originally it's hopefully just as tasty. 

Flour, whipped egg, and panko bread crumbs. So simple. I mixed 1 tsp paprika, a few dashes of cayenne, and 1 tsp chili powder into the flour for some extra flavor.

Start about 3-4 tblsp of oil in a pan. I used grape seed oil because it's good for frying, or so I hear. Dip each piece of tofu first in flour, then the egg, then completely coat in panko bread crumbs and add to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes on each side or until brown and crunchy looking. 

Top with extra cilantro because why not?

MMMM crunchy and tasty. Just the way I like it.

paint it beautiful - fusion mineral paint vanity

PLEASE FORGIVE ME as I have not blogged in long time. I'm sure you all know how it is getting caught up with things in life like work, family in town, more work, a flea infestation in the home, going out of town, 4th of July festivities, aaaand more more work. Why can't we all just quit our jobs and sneak off to a private island and drink yummy drinks out a coconut under an umbrella? UGH. Seems so unfair.

The good part about work is that my job allows me to have the freedom to also work on furniture, and that makes me incredibly happy. I have heard a lot recently about metallic paint and I've been dying to try it out. I used a tutorial by Melanie at Lost and Found, you can find her page here

Her step by step instructions are AMAZING and turned out perfectly. I did change just a couple things. To begin, she degreases her piece and also Ultra Grip, a primer. This piece was an older one and the wood was fairly porous so I did not use either of those.

So here is the vanity before. Well, kind of before. You can see in the bottom right corner that I already started...I do that ALL the time and forget to take a picture beforehand. Oops :) 

I started off by painting the whole piece in bronze (on the left). Melanie describes that the real key to using metallic paint is layering to give it more depth, and she has a point. Plain metallic can look a little cheesy. This paint is very different from chalk paint, the consistency is super thin and flicks all over the place so make sure to use a tarp.

All gold errwhere, baby. 

After the gold has dried, you dry brush black over the piece. Now here's the thing, I am not the biggest fan of dry brushing. It never seems to turn out the way that I want it to. So what I ended up doing instead is treating this paint almost like dark wax in a sense. I had my steel wool in one hand and brush in the other. Paint, rub in. Paint, rub in. Etc.

So whether you dry brush or just kind of rub the paint it, the point is just to get some darkness in certain areas for added depth.

Next step, cover the piece with the silver (on the right). On a sample piece I made to practice, I actually covered up the entire piece. Which covered all the cool dark areas I had created and the bronze. So you almost want to kind of dry brush (or whatever method you prefer) the silver on the piece as well. 

Last but not least, clear top coat. I loooove trying out new finishing products so this was super exciting. It's an interesting consistency...almost like a really wet glue. It even dries on your skin like glue and gets flakey on your fingers. So if you're one of those that is weirded out by that I would suggest wearing gloves. I'm used to using clear wax and buffing it in. This was pretty easy, you just rub it in with a clean rag!

And Voila, this is the final result! Yasss.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaas.

Can I say it a third time? Cause I will. Yas. 

I cannot wait to try out these products again. You can purchase Fusion Mineral Paint here. And make sure to check out Melanie's page as well, she has a lot of great stuff on there!

 

it's all good - fish roasted in salt, thai style

Y'all. It is HOT. Hotlanta is for real. I'm not kidding you, when I first got in my car earlier today it said 112 degrees. 

My car also does this really cute thing where if it is in a standstill spot for too long and it is hot outside, it starts to overheat and the AC just shuts off. So that means that when I'm sitting in traffic (which is all the time in Atlanta) or at a light for too long, and it's 98 freakin' degrees out, my AC shuts off. So I have to roll down the windows and just sit there to sweat and try not to pass out and await my inevitable perish. SO fun.

To beat the heat I recommend a few things:

-drink lots of water
-drink lots of wine and/or other adult beverages in air conditioned rooms
-don't leave your house
-don't drive or ride in my car
-stay away from any form of heat like grills or the oven

This recipe I tried out broke a couple of these rules...there was some grilling and oven work involved. But it is SO insanely yummy and refreshing it will be worth it. 

I got the "It's All Good" cookbook a couple years ago and to be totally honest, I haven't made anything out of it yet. I really LOVE and enjoy collecting cookbooks and then every recipe I make comes off the internet. Does anyone else have that problem? I blame Pinterest.

Thank you once again, Instagram for being helpful in my search of how long ago I purchased this cookbook. 120 weeks. That is 27 months. Two years and 3 months ago I got this cookbook, and I have finally completed the main recipe I had been DYING to try.

"Fish Roasted in Salt, Thai Style" 

Another cookbook confession: I tend to only try recipes that come with a picture. Visual learner issues, I supposed. The images of this recipe is really what drew me to it. It looked beautiful, challenging and absolutely delicious. She suggests pairing it with "Asian Greens with Garlic, Ginger, and Fish Sauce" and "Grilled Eggplant" but I subbed out the eggplant for the "Grilled Asparagus and Portobellos with Shallot and Soy Dressing". 

These black sesame seeds are awesome and I'm already looking up more things to try with them.

MMM yass. After grilling the veggies you toss them in a shallot dressing and vinegars. I told myself I was going to follow this recipe to a T, but I could not find xylitol. I'm sure that Gwyneth uses this because it is Gwyneth Paltrow after all, and she uses a fancy sugar alcohol. I, however, just tossed in a little brown sugar instead :) As far as the Ume Plum vinegar she uses, I'm not sure if I got the same brand/kind she was referring to. I went to my favorite farmer's market and walked down the Japanese aisle looking for this. Every single product was in Japanese. I miraculously found one that had the word "plum" on the back and just went with it.  

Lemme yell ya somethin'....Bok Choy is my jam. Especially baby Bok Choy. It is so easy to cook and always delicious. The recipe in this cookbook also has an amazzzing sauce it cooks in.

Fresh ginger, garlic, and fish sauce. Yes.

Alright, so let's get down to the main star of this meal. I have never ever dealt with a whole fish so this was intimidating. Also a whole different ball game when the meal you are about to eat has a face...they are pretty cute after all. Sorry fishies. I got these from Buford Farmer's Market (my obsession). The fish market is my favorite part. It's crowded, loud, chaotic, overwhelming, smelly, and I love every second of it.

Don't fresh herbs just make you happy? Just another reason I was drawn to this recipe. The fish is stuffed with basil, Italian parsley, cilantro, lime and red chilies (I couldn't find red chilies, I used a red chili sauce I had).

Next you mix basically an entire 3lb box of coarse sea salt with water to make almost like a salt paste. Gwyneth explains that the consistency should be "sand-castle worthy". After a little lime juice and soy on top, you completely cover the fish in this salt mix. 

My attempt of being just like Gwyneth. Taken by my extremely lovely and talented roommate, Brooke.

Now here is where things get interesting. I've said this before and I will say it again. COOKING IS NOT ALWAYS PRETTY. When the fish comes out, you clean off the salt, peel of the skin, and fillet the fish. Which, I will tell you, is NOT the easiest task having never filleted a fish before.

This is real life, people. This is what you're left with. A yummy yummy mess. Brooke and I had a pretty good laugh about what my fish looked like in comparison to Gwyneth's. 

Pretty or not pretty, this fish was SO flavorful. Sometimes the messiest meals leave the best taste in your mouth.

Thank goodness I have Brooke to be my guinea pig for meals (and help to take amazing photos).

As much as I would love to give you a step by step of these recipes, I highly encourage you to get this cookbook. It's packed full of meals made with fresh ingredients that help beat this summer heat. Buy it here.

Be safe out there in the pits of Hell. Please hope that I don't pass out in my car. 

 

a yellow peach mini dinner party

It is already THURSDAY! Only one more day left in this work week. You gotta love a Monday off. I hope you all had a safe and fun Memorial Weekend. I was on Tybee Island for a bachelorette party with 8 of my closest, drop dead gorgeous, loud, rowdy, charming, dramatic, hysterical best friends. I swear I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in forever. I would love to entertain you with all of the dumb shit that went down but you know what they say. What happens on Tybee stays on Tybee, amiright? 

I will entertain you, however, with the art of entertaining! I had my very first mini dinner party the other night. It isn’t technically my first of course, but it is the first time I’ve had one on my own, in my own house, etc. 

I fell in love with entertaining through my parents. They always had the neighbors over or would have dinner parties growing up. I loved when my mom had all sorts of appetizers out, the nice candles lit, the lights dimmed, flowers cut, and drinks prepared. The smell of whatever was on the menu was always fantastic. I think a lot of things my mother did are forever engrained in me now. The two of us are always in charge of Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas morning and sometimes there’s even some bickering when the two of us get together in the kitchen. Although if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have learned what I know now so I guess I can put up with our occasional bickering :) 

I started noticing my own knack for entertaining in college when we would have friends from other schools come stay in our tiny apartment (that I lived in with THREE other girls). Everyone would be in the living room talking about the night before and wondering where I was. Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen preparing mimosas and a full on breakfast buffet. 

Anyway, here is my play by play of the other night.

Step one: invite the guests. My guest list was short and sweet. My dad and step mom, and my sweet next door neighbors, Tom and Cece. Easy Peasy.

Step two: make your house look & smell nice.

Cleaning your house for your guests is pretty obvious.  Now I know that most of you ladies reading this take your bra off after work on the couch because it’s a been a long freakin day and you just can’t wait any longer. Then three days later you notice the bra is still there. I get it. But maybe put the bra back in your room before the guests get there mk? (Is this just me….?)

Beyond that though, go for ambiance. Light some nice candles and have some fresh cut flowers.

These bad boys actually came out of my backyard. I couldn't believe it.

Step three: plan the appetizers.

Cheese OBVIOUSLY. Gouda on da right, some kinda cheddar that I can't remember on da left. 

Sriracha carrot hummus, assorted olives and crackers for dipping. I went pretty simple here. If you want to get really fancy with your apps, Pinterest has about a million cool and creative appetizer recipes.

Step four: plan the main menu.

My neighbor, Tom, is a vegetarian so I made a Creamy Shiitake Mushroom Pasta from AllRecipes check it out here. Few changes I made:

-I doubled the recipe (and glad I did, just enough for 5 people)
-I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
-I used half and half instead of heavy whipping cream
-In addition to shiitake mushrooms I also used a package of crimini mushrooms
-I used basil instead of parsley

For the salad: super simple. Arugula, sliced almonds, thinly sliced cucumber. And of course, my fave go-to lemon dijon dressing:

-Juice of half a lemon
-3 tblsp olive oil
-1 tblsp rice vinegar
-1 tsp dijon mustard
-dash salt and pepper

I sometimes will add garlic, but there was enough in the pasta already. 

The absolute YUMMIEST brussel sprout recipe. I promise you, even those who say they hate brussels will love these. It will forever change the way you thought of them.

Cut them in half (keep the lose leafs they crisp up nicely), lay on a baking sheet and coat with some olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on 450F for 30 minutes, stirring once in between. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar when finished. Seriously, thank me later. 

The sign of a yummy meal is the empty plate club going on in the background.

Step five: plan the cocktails.

In addition to wine and beer, I like to put my bartender skills to work every once in a while. 

-1 1/2 oz vodka (or gin if you like)
-one wedge lemon
-one handful diced cucumber
-dash agave nectar or simple syrup
-basil for garnish
-handful ice
-soda water or Prosecco

Muddle the cucumber and lemon with agave or simple syrup in your tin. Add the vodka and ice and shake!

Top with soda water or prosecco (or anything bubbly) and garnish with cucumber and basil. So refreshing :)

Step six: plan the playlist. I found this one on Spotify (my obsession). I'm a sucker for jazz standards and blues, so this was perfect. Plus, watching my neighbor Cece twist in my kitchen to songs she listened to when she was a kid was definitely priceless.

Find the playlist here.

If you're anything like me, then planning & entertaining is your performance and the kitchen & your home is your stage. Cheers!

resetting your year - salmon quinoa salad

Happy Thursday friends!

If any of you read my last post, then you know that last week wassss not the best. Luckily, this week has been much better.

There was like ONE shitty thing that happened this week. Not so much bad as just absolutely terrifying…

Most days I work from home, and since the weather has been nice I keep our back door open sometimes so Finnigan can go out and chill on the patio (he looooves his patio). Finn is not the quickest of cats, all I’ve really seen him catch is a lizard. So I’m working at my kitchen table, and I hear this flapping noise. And the flapping noise keeps getting closer. And then there’s chirping. And the next thing I know, Finnigan is right next to me with A FREAKIN’ ALIVE BIRD that he’s trying to catch. Just flappin’ around the house nbd!

Now I don’t know how y’all feel about birds, but they really terrify me. Or maybe it’s just having an uninvited animal in your home. Either way, the results were not cute.

This is ACTUAL footage of me. Thank God he chased the bird back out or else I probably would have had to move.

Anyway…this past Sunday I woke up in a total weird mood. I didn’t feel like myself. Have any of you woken up in that kind of funk? I feel like this is usually about the time of year when I realize that my New Year’s resolutions have slowly but surely faded away. I was on such a high the beginning of this year and especially during and after England and I realized that I’ve come far from that girl.

It’s understandable, we get so caught up in other things. I was so stressed out by finding a house, then moving while also starting a new job that I got completely sidetracked of my goals. I haven’t had a day like that in a while where I was like “what just happened?” So this week, I decided to do a little “mini cleanse” to clear my head and get back on track.  Let’s call it “a yellow peach” cleanse.

**Please note, I am not in any way a fitness/health/beauty blogger. I’m still planning on sharing with you my Fried Green Tomatoes cooked in bacon grease one day so don’t think I’m going total health freak on you here. For all I know, my advice could make you fat and unhappy so just keep that in mind, mk?

Step one: Treat yo self. If you have not seen this Parks and Rec episode, do yourself a favor and watch it now. I did little things to treat myself that make me happy. I got a pedicure. I set up an appointment to get a massage and get my hair done. I got the whole Cerave skin care line that I’m super excited about. And the coolest thing I think I did all week was take a voice lesson. I haven’t taken lessons since high school but I used to LOVE them. I met with this really cool jazz musician named Kermit and I sang some blues and jazz standards. Do things you used to do when you were young…you’d be surprised how much fun it still is.

Step two: Get back on track with fitness. I’ve never been an athletic person. I used to always say if you see me running, call the police because something is seriously wrong. I’ve changed a lot since then and I know what workouts are best for me so I’m starting back up. I’ve made it a point to do something active every day, even if it’s just for a brief walk/jog around the neighborhood.

And to top it off, for 3 days don't have:

-alcohol
-dairy
-meat (except fish)
-bread/pasta
-any processed food

I also didn’t wear makeup for three days to give my skin a break and drank a TON of water. A track coach once told me that you should be drinking so much water that your pee should be clear and in copious amounts at all times. This same track coach also told me that I run incorrectly…but that’s not the point here.

As one of my good friends said, sometimes you just need to hit the reset button of life. Reset emotionally, physically, and mentally, and get your shit back together. On that note, I’m sharing this REALLY DELICIOUS Salmon Quinoa Salad recipe that is packed full of healthy stuff and will make your mini cleanse even better. 

Quinoa is insanely nutritious. Although sometimes it can be pretty bland, so I'll sometimes use vegetable broth instead of water. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions and set in fridge to cool. Should make 4 servings.

Main salad ingredients include:

-1/2 red bell pepper diced
-1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
-1/2 green bell pepper diced
-1/2 cucumber diced
(this is super similar to my last recipe ingredients if any of you are having deja vu)
-about a handful of cut cherry tomatoes
-cooked salmon

I used leftover salmon from the previous night, if you haven't cooked your salmon yet I suggest baking it at 450F for 12-15 minutes.

Mix these ingredients together and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mmmm so pretty.

Dressing ingredients:

-juice of half of a lemon
-3 tblsp olive oil
-1 tblsp rice vinegar
-1 small clove minced garlic
-1 tsp dijon mustard
-dash salt and pepper

Whisk together in a bowl.

Prepare your garnishes:

-basil
-shredded carrots
-avocado

If you skip or replace anything on this recipe, please don't let it be the basil. Seriously, it MAKES it.

Mix the quinoa with the salad ingredients and toss with the dressing. Top with your garnishes and enjoy cold :) 

When I was in England in the middle of a giant, random, gorgeous field and I had that moment of "Oh my God, I actually did this"...this song was playing through my headphones. The context of the song isn't as important to me as just how much I remember that moment. Cheesy...I know. Judge me. Check it out here.

 

 

summer veggie gazpacho

"Things happen, and you either roll with it or collapse under it. I choose to roll with it.”
-Gregg Allman

I love this quote, Gregg says this in “The Big Interview” with Dan Rather that I admittedly watched three, maybe four times. If you haven’t seen it, you should. 

I realized recently that I haven’t talked about anything that personal in my blog posts since England. I also realized that in my last few posts if I do talk about anything personal it all seems pretty hunky dory. House is great, job is great, blah blah blah. And they are great! But things aren’t always super duper fantastico because that just isn’t the way life works. And if it were, it would be a pretty boring life.

Because sometimes, your house IS great, but your bathroom sink breaks or a cockroach crawls across your arm. Sometimes your job is going well but you’re worried you aren’t learning everything quick enough. Sometimes you make real connections with people that don’t always pan out in the way you had hoped. Sometimes you spill a pint of paint in your car. Sometimes your loved ones have to go through surgery (thoughts and prayers appreciated). Sometimes a bird shits on your car in such a large amount that it ACTUALLY looks like the shape of an even larger bird. Sometimes you’re running late for a yoga class and park anywhere you can find, just to come out to find a boot on your car. This pretty much sums up my week. 

The good news is that even after that kind of week, your life is still beautiful. It's just keepin' you on your toes. So if any of you are going through these fun and natural motions of life, just know I’m rollin’ along right there with ya. But also remember that sometimes, you need to crack open a watermelon beer and make this AMAZING GAZPACHO.

The ingredients to this are so insanely simple it will blow your mind hole. 

Seriously it's so easy that if you don't make it I'm judging you.

Honestly, that's pretty much it. 

Ingredients:

-half of one green bell pepper, diced
-half of one red bell pepper, diced
-half of one yellow bell pepper, diced
-one cucumber, diced
-3 large tomatoes, cut as you please
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-3 tblsp olive oil
-2 tblsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
-1 tsp salt
-sliced avocado (optional)

Set aside 1/4 cup of each bell pepper and the cucumber and set aside. You'll add this back in later.

Put everything into blender or nutribullet and blend until smooth! Transfer to a bowl and add back in your set aside veggies. 

Serve cold and top with sliced avocado, if you like. I suggest pairing this with Hell or High Watermelon beer. I'm not a big beer drinker honestly, but it is so so yummy. 

Now put your favorite song on full blast in your car (for me that is anything sung by Susan Tedeschi but what else is new), sing at the top of your lungs with your windows down and don't give an F who sees you, and just roll with it.

a yellow peach tries milk paint

I have not blogged in so. freaking. long. I am ashamed. I am sorry. Recap: new job is great, new house is perfect, I saw Beyonce, boiled peanuts are back in season, the weather is amazing, and Finn is still a batshit crazy cat. Pretty much sums it up. Anyway...

I finally tried something I have always wanted to try but been too nervous: Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint. Milk paint has the ability to distress certain parts of the furniture on its own, which as a control freak is slightly overwhelming. Let's start by talking about exactly how long ago I first bought milk paint.

Thanks Instagram. 92 WEEKS AGO. That is going on two years. Almost two years I have had this paint. Ok I did try it out once on a small ladder, but the wood was so porous that it didn't distress in any way. 

So I got this table from my mama. It's pretty as it is, and in nice shape. But I had to get my hands on it. 

I've really been wanting to do a piece with a sanded top and painted body. I've done one before, but not just with a raw wood top.

Let me tell you, some pieces are a real pain in the butt to sand. Especially if they are really old, previously painted, or have water damage. This bad boy was easy peasy, and plus using tools is always pretty fun.

Mix 1/4 cup milk paint with 1/4 cup water and stir until it's a fairly thick consistency, but not too thick. You also don't want it too watery. Somewhere right in the middle. It slides on to the wood really nicely, not as thick as chalk paint.

I applied two coats, waiting about 4 hours in between. I was literally just staring at it for a while thinking, "are you going to distress? ARE YOU??"

The answer is yes. I noticed after the second coat was dry that pieces of paint were bubbling up. Once I went over it with sandpaper it just came right off. I LOVE this look. 

After I sanded, I did two coats of Miss Mustard Seed's hemp oil (waiting 3 hours in between). Warning: when you seal with hemp oil it looks very very greasy, almost a little scary at first. But once it has set in for a few hours and you buff with a rag it looks really beautiful. 

For the top, I used another product I have been DYING to use. When I was in England, Liddy (who I worked with the first couple days at the shop) finished her raw wood pieces with this and I've been wanting to try it out ever since. It really is a dead flat finish, it doesn't even look very different after but you know that the wood is protected. I put on two coats and let it dry. Seriously, it's awesome. Buy it here.

Eh Voila!

I think I'll be doing more pieces like this, I love the contrast.

Home sweet home, table :) 

pulled pork tacos with pico de gallo and midnight margaritas

It's Taco Tuesday and....

I HAVE OFFICIALLY MOVED IN!!!! Moving day(s) came and went last week and I am now sitting in my lovely dining room that I share with one of my best friends, Brooke. We have THE sweetest neighbors you've ever met in your life, a view of the city (once we trim some bushes) and a kickass patio. 

Only one word comes to mind to celebrate finally being in this house: TEQUILA.

Ok two words: tequila and tacos. 

Mmmmm yeah, that's right. Gonna start this post off with a big ole hunk of raw meat. Pork tenderloinnnnn, baby. I originally got the idea for this recipe from a friend of mine and my mother's (that's right Candy, I'm talkin' to you). She had us over for dinner recently and we had this amazing pulled pork that she had let sit in the crockpot for hours, only with a can of William Sonoma Verde Sauce. I went from there and mixed it up a little bit. Start by browning both sides of this hunk of meat in a little bit of olive oil in a dutch oven, season lightly with salt, and add to crockpot. 

For the crockpot:

-pork tenderloin (obviously)
-juice of one lime
-one jar of Herdez Tomatillo verde (or any salsa verde)
-2 tblsp TEQUILA (I feel like it should always be in caps, no?)

I turned the crockpot on low and left it for 3 hours, but I realized it wouldn't be where I needed it to be before we were ready to eat, so I bumped it up to high for the last hour/hour and a half. It should be to the point where you can very easily and gently pull it apart with a fork, like so.

While the pork is slow cookin' you can get together the pico de gallo:

-5 diced roma tomatoes
-1 large diced sweet onion
-1 diced jalapeno
-1 cut up handful of cilantro
-juice of half of a lime
-salt (keep salting and tasting until tastes right)
-**Not pictured because I forgot it until the last minute** one clove minced garlic

Mix together in a bowl and ATTEMPT to not eat all of it with chips before the pork is ready. 

OK so your pork is almost finished, pico de gallo is made and you're snacking, what's next? Margaritas. 

I'm about to share with you a service industry secret. Not going to name any names here...but I used to work at a bar where the specialties were tacos and margaritas. This is the exact recipe as far as basic ingredients and measurements (used different brands), and I'm going to be honest with you...these are really damn good margaritas. 

You'll need:

-1 1/2 oz tequila (I used El Jimador because I'm El Cheapo)
-2 oz of orange liqueur (I used Agavero)
-1 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
-dash of agave

Add ingredients into your shaker, shake hard with ice for 15-20 seconds and strain over a glass of ice.

This doesn't even do it justice of how tasty it is. You're just going to have to take my word for it and make it yourself.

TACO SET UP! For the tacos:

-corn tortillas
-pico de gallo
-pulled pork
-sliced avocados
-cilantro for garnish
-limes for garnish
-margies

It's a fiesta in your mouth.

Brooke and I had one of our girlfriends over and ate tacos, drank margaritas, and chatted all about life on our patio. Life is good mis amigos.

And of course, we listened to my favorite playlist I made for occasions just like these..Midnight Margaritas. I've shared this before and I will share it again. Listen here.

 

 

 

orzo summer veggie salad with lemon dijon dressing

Happy Sunday!

This week has been a whirlwind. Work was super busy, weddings all over the place, sister was in town, and OH YEAH I'm moving into a new house this week. 

My move in date was actually yesterday...but that didn't happen. Moving is a gradual process....right?

Anyway, we all know how it is when we get busy and have a lot going on, sometimes working out and eating healthy goes on the back burner. I've kind of had that sitting on the back burner for a little bit too long now to be honest. BUTTT what I'm about to show you is like the yummiest salad packed full of veggies, plus doesn't take too long. Orzo Summer Veggie Salad with a Lemon Dijon Dressing. Gawd yes please. 

Are you drooling yet?

Now?

NOW???

For the salad:

-one diced tomato
-2 diced small cucumbers, or half of a large one
-four diced baby zucchini (are those not adorable? trader joes)
-handful crumbled feta
-2-3 sliced hearts of palm
-handful sliced kalamata olives
-3/4 cup cooked orzo
-mixed greens (not pictured)

For the dressing:

-juice of one lemon
-2 tblsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp dijon mustard
-dash salt

Cook the orzo according to the package instructions. While that's cooking, mix everything else together in a bowl and top with the dressing.

Add the orzo and mix again.

This salad is especially nice when the weather is nice. If so, I recommend eating outside. Pretty weather and fresh ingredients go together so nicely don't you think?

Next step: join barre studio again. Has anyone ever tried class pass? 

I've really been getting back into Tedeschi Trucks Band (not that I ever got out of it) but I've had them on repeat for days now. Susan is Queen. Listen here.

 

 

tofu lettuce wraps with honey soy dipping sauce

Ok ok, I know what you're thinking. Third food post in a row that is Asian inspired now. I'm sorry but I'M NOT SORRY. 

In honor of one of my absolute best friends getting married this weekend I am sharing a recipe that we used to make in college together all the time. 

Look at those baby faces! I'm pretty sure I took this picture with my blackberry. Wow. And can we talk about how it's yet another phenomenal hair day in the books for me? 

Carly and I met in one of the intro classes for Graphic Design at Georgia Southern our sophomore year, and we were instant friends. Attached even. We signed up for all of the same classes, studied together, worked on projects together, pool time together, dinner, etc. People in the art building knew if you saw of one of us, the other was probably lurking around somewhere nearby. I'm not sure how I would have gotten through the stress of Graphic Design without Carly.

The funny part is we couldn't be more different in so many ways. She was always put together for class, I was usually running late and hadn't brushed my hair. She can draw straight lines, I have to use a ruler or it looks like a five year old attempted it. She's practical and I'm just...well kinda crazy. But our yin and yang has always worked out and I'm so happy to be a part of her big day this Saturday.

ANYWAY let's move past the mush and onto the food. This was a really easy recipe that Carly and I would make while we listened to music and worked on our school work. We used to make them with chicken but today I am making them with tofu. Tofu is always really convenient to have around when you don't have any real plans for meals throughout the week. It's just there if you need it!

Ingredients for this recipe:

-Iceberg lettuce
-half a block of extra firm tofu
-tbslp coconut oil
-dash salt
-one can of drained and rinsed water chestnuts
-honey soy sauce (recipe to follow)
-cut up carrots (for garnish)
-cut up cucumbers (for garnish)
-cilantro (for garnish)
-green onions (for garnish)

Cut up the tofu into small cubes and start it in a pan with a little bit of coconut oil. Sprinkle the tofu with just a little bit of salt and let brown. Add in the water chestnuts and cook together for 3-4 minutes.

While the tofu/water chestnuts are cooking you can whip up the sauce.

Honey Soy Sauce:

-1/4 cup tamari (you can use soy sauce if you like)
-2 tblsp honey
-2 tsp ginger
-a couple dashes of sriracha
-1 tsp sesame seed oil

Add in the sauce (save a little bit for dipping) and reduce heat to medium low. Let this cook for about 7-8 minutes to absorb the sauce.

While that sits on low for a bit you can get your garnishes ready. Mmmmm.

Scoop the tofu and water chestnut mixture into lettuce, top with garnishes and dip in honey sauce sauce. *WARNING*: These bad boys are messy. Just a heads up. And there you have it!

Thursday I hit the road to my favorite city, Savannah. Next week I'll post some exciting wedding pictures. I still remember Carly calling me after her very first date with Bailey. Cannot wait to see my girl marry the man of her dreams this Saturday! 

a sideboard before and after

Where has this year gone?? I cannot believe it's already coming up on April. I swear to God it was New Years Day like...yesterday. March has really flown by. St. Patrick's day has come and gone...my first time not being in Savannah for St. Patty's in over five years. I really can't even talk about how this makes me feel. My FOMO was so severe I pretty much avoided all social media the whole weekend. (For those of you who may not know, FOMO=fear of missing out and my case of this is SEVERE).

I think time especially flies by when you stay busy, which if you read my last blog post you know I'm really taking on a lot right now. I like staying busy though and I've accomplished some really fun things in the past couple weeks. 

I've been working on furniture out in Smyrna for Mia, a friend of my mom's. Mia and I immediately clicked and we get along so well. Her house is absolutely beautiful and our styles are very similar so I was thrilled to start working on some pieces for her. There's a store right near her house, "The Bird and The Bee", that sells Annie Sloan chalk paint and waxes, which is awesome because there are not many retailers in the Atlanta area. So we picked out the color and I got started.

When I went back a couple days later to wax, I realized my wax brush had been packed away in the move. Ugh. So I drove by the nearby store but the sign said closed. Panic started to set it. Then I saw someone walking into the store from the back studio and I stuck my head out my window looking like a pyscho "Can I please come get a wax brush??" She kindly invited me in and let me pick out what I needed. WOO CRISIS AVERTED. The woman who let me in is the owner, Betsy. We started talking about my obsession with the store and the back studio (which is a little yellow house) and I shared with her the information about my blog and furniture work. She then invited me to a Blogger's Chalk paint workshop that was taking place at the store the very next day! Funny how timing works out sometimes. 

I meeeaaannn......right? Stupid cute.

Any place that has food and wine is cool in my book.

There were 6 of us who attended the workshop, and they really did such an amazing job setting up everything for us. My favorite thing about this event was being surrounded by other bloggers, which means being surrounded by other people who are also taking pictures of EVERYTHING. At one point I think all 6 of us had our cameras out. 

Betsy and a couple of the girls she works with taught us so many cool techniques that I didn't know about, I cannot WAIT to try them out and share them. They also sent us home with some presents :) Such an awesome experience. 

But ok. Back to Mia's furniture. 

So Mia had bought this sideboard from Macy's yeeeears ago.

Look at those fancy details there oooooh yeah. Let's change it.

Mid process: two coats of Annie Sloan's "French Linen". After this was fully dry, I completely covered the piece with clear wax and buffed that out. I then followed the whole piece with dark wax and buffed that as well.

I then lightly went over all the edges with MY FAVORITE TOY: Gilding wax. Please ignore my painfully awkward hand. Gilding wax is so much fun. The first time I used it, I completely covered the outline of the side table with a paint brush. This time, I went straight in with my hands. This is so much more exciting because there are no rules to where or how you apply this.

Instead of picking out new hardware, I painted those with gilding wax as well. They look completely different!

A whole new sideboard! Just takes a little yellow peach lovin'. Mia is thrilled with it which is always the best feeling. She's got other pieces she wants me to refinish as well and I cannot wait. Maybe I'll try out some of the new things I learned :) 

 

 

the easiest fried rice

Holy craziness of life. Being back from England has been a complete whirlwind of getting back into work, house hunting for a good place in East Atlanta, meeting for a couple interviews for a new big girl job (which yours truly got and accepted), jumping on board/designing for a friend's marketing company, all while trying to keep my social life and read a new book and workout. Ok, that last one hasn't started yet. I'm thinkin' tomorrow. NOW do you see why I drink so much coffee?

Anyway, I feel like I haven't been cooking/crafting/blogging as much as I would like, but sometimes life throws you a lot of things at once and you have to juggle the best you can amiright?

On that note, I realize this is my second Asian-inspired food post in a row, but as well as being stressed out by life's lovely hustle and bustle I also have one more slight problem. YA GIRL IS BROKE.

This is something that I used to make in college all the time when I was low on money. Not only is it convenient because you can use things you usually have lying around, but it is also DELICIOUS. 

I am about to show you how to make the easiest FRIED RICE you've ever had. Start by cooking the rice.

I prefer Jasmine rice, follow the easy peasy package instructions. After it's done, let it sit in the fridge to cool down while you get everything else together. Next comes the egg.

I whipped up two eggs with a whisk. Get some coconut oil going in a large pan until it's super hot. When you sprinkle some water on the pan it should sizzle. 

Scramble and fry those bad boys until they're a little bit browned. Break up with a spatula and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Set aside.

Dice one onion, one red pepper, one clove garlic, and shred one carrot. You can add all sorts of veggies here. Snow peas, green beans, kale, squash, etc. There are no fried rice rules! Get a little more coconut oil going and saute these ingredients until soft, about 5-6 minutes. 

While the veggies are cooking, you can throw together the sauce. I featured this in my Ramen Noodle Makeover post. It's pretty much the same ingredients depending on what I have around, and I use it for just about every Asian recipe or marinade ever. It's so good. I need a name for it...any suggestions? A Yellow Peach Yummy Sauce perhaps?

Ingredients:

- 2 tblsp tamari (soy sauce is fine too, but I prefer the taste of tamari)
-1 tsp chili paste
-1 tsp ground lemongrass (before I had used ginger - again just whatever I have around)
-1 tsp peanut sauce
- however much sriracha you think can handle (I use a few squirts, about a teaspoon) 
-a few dashes of fish sauce

OOOOH yeah, buddy. 

When the veggies are ready, add back the egg and the rice. Mix everything together with A Yellow Peach Yummy Sauce (patent pending). 

Garnish with a squeeze of lime and cilantro and enjoy the easy, affordable goodness. 

Ingredients for this recipe:

-2 eggs
-Jasmine rice
-one red bell pepper, diced
-one onion, diced
-one large carrot, shredded
-one clove garlic, minced
-2 tblsp coconut oil
- 2 tblsp tamari
-1 tsp chili paste
-1 tsp ground lemongrass
-1 tsp peanut sauce
- however much sriracha you think can handle
-a few dashes of fish sauce
-cilantro and lime, for garnish

Do yourself a favor and checkkkkk these guys out. Specifically "Brooklyn Streets". Has me feelin' all sorts of ways for spring. Listen here

 

roll ya own sushi

Is anyone as obsessed with sushi as I am? I'm going to guess that's a big fat yes from majority of the people reading this. And if you answered no to that question then I don't understand anything about you.

I used to be able to eat so much more sushi than I do now. Seriously when I was a teenager I was a freakin' sushi eating machine. I just would never get full and didn't gain a pound. Now I can eat like 15 rolls max and I get too full and still gain weight....sigh. Adult metabolism problems. 

Since I crave sushi daily, that can get fairly pricey. So I decided instead to just make my own! It's surprisingly easy and also pretty fun. I started off by going to my FOOD HEAVEN: Buford Farmer's Market. It puts every grocery store to shame. 

Things you need for sushi making:

-sheets of roasted seaweed
-bamboo roller (not pictured)
-sushi rice (sticky rice)
-cucumber
-carrots
-avocado
-fresh raw salmon (this is where the farmer's market really comes in handy, if you aren't able to get fresh raw fish then I suggest using something cooked)
-Masago (fish eggs for the top) 
-whatever else you want to put in there! There are no sushi rules!

Cut your cucumber, carrot and avocado into little twiggy sticks like so.

SUSHI SET UP! Make sure you have a bowl of water to dip your fingers into before dealing with the sticky rice or your hands will actually be covered in rice.

I did sushi two different ways, the way you see above is with the rice on the inside and nori (seaweed) on the outside. I use a piece of plastic wrap to help with the rolling and the bamboo as well. The second way is with the rice on the outside, and this is also where the plastic wrap comes in handy for the rice to stick to. Get a good grip on the outside and roll everything up very tight. After the first tight roll with the bamboo sheet and plastic wrap, you can pull that off and roll with your hands. 

Make sure to use a very sharp knife to cut through these, or else all the yummy inside goodness will fall out. 

Cut into thin slices and top with masago. And if you like, pair with soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi. So easy and SO yummy!

Tunes while I'm rollin:

Lany "ILYSB" (the stripped version) is absolutely addicting. Check it out here and happy rolling :)

live your life, not a fake one: a final farewell to England

"Live your life, not a fake one."

I saw that written in graffiti on a stone wall on the train to Bath and I can't stop thinking about it. 

I cannot believe my three weeks in England are already up. It's such a weird feeling. On one hand I feel like I was there for a year, and on the other I feel like it was just yesterday that I was packing my suitcase. Traveling is like one giant time continuum vortex. Every time I say that I just think of the BEST episode of Boy Meets World of all time (see here).

My last few days in Axminster I spent with the family; working for Debbie, walking around town, and eating amazing food that isn't always easy to get in the states. We went to my final yoga class Thursday with Barbara while the sun was shining bright through the big windows. I seriously wish I could have packed Barbara in my suitcase and brought her here to be my yoga instructor in Atlanta. I absolutely loved her classes and her practice. I tried to soak in everything I could my last few days.

Stopped by the Axminster market one more time for a fish pie. So so yummy.

Had some wonderful last working days and dinners with Debbie (and Ted). I really loved watching Debbie interact with her animals. She cuddles with her cats by the fire in the morning and calls the oldest, "old friend" and the dogs her "skunks". She really has such a big heart.

Took the dogs on a final walk in the fields, where Ben found his biggest stick yet! He was such a proud pup.

Had a final dinner with the family at the Indian restaurant down the street where we took cute but cheesy mirror pics and had far too much wine. Side note: curry in England is freaking RIDICULOUS. 

Said goodbye to this AMAZING view.

And this one.

And this one. OK seriously, why did I leave?

And, of course, said goodbye to the sweet & cozy caravan.

I cannot thank Debbie, her husband, and her family enough. They truly made me feel like a part of their family and I already miss them. But it was time to take on London for the weekend and head back home. 

I took the train to London on Friday and booked an Airbnb for the night. And I'm not going to lie to you friends, as much as I loved the caravan it was really nice to have a giant bed and giant TV and giant shower. I can only glamp for so long (glamorous camping). I met up with my friend Sara who lives in Camden (PS: this is also the town that Amy Winehouse is from...call it what you will but I call it fate).

Sara used to work with my sister in the US and she moved to London with her now wife, Marie. I had only hung out with Sara a couple of times with my sister but never spent much time with her one on one. Luckily, she is one of those people that immediately makes you feel like her best friend. It seemed like we had already been friends for years. She's one of those really naturally beautiful people with a great personality and the best (and LOUDEST) laugh that I've only heard one other time in my life (yes Brooke, I'm talking to you).

Friday night Sara made risotto for me, Marie, and her friend Sophia. Sophia is adorable and informed us that Americans always throw in extra words that are unnecessary like instead of "riding" we say "horse back riding" or "tuna" is "tuna fish" and "glasses" are "eye glasses". Never noticed that before!

Saturday morning I had a chocolate croissant, and drank tea in bed while I watched TV. Pretty lovely actually. I headed over to Sara and Marie's and we got ready to DO THE DAY. In the rain. And cold. Shocking. 

So off we went into the rain with Sara's GIANT umbrella that she kept running into everything with. Our first stop: Borough Market. This market was kind of similar to the Axminster market. If the Axminster market WAS ON CRACK AND ADDERALL AND DRANK 6 RED BULL. I was basically about to pass out from the excitement of all of it. I'm talkin' cheeses, 12 different kinds of mustards, soaps, veggies, juices, bags, lotions, fruits, food stands, wine stands, IT GOES ON AND ON. 

Marie almost immediately targeted the stand with cheese. Marie is French and from what I know of French women she definitely fits the profile. Beautiful, confident, and a huge lover of meat, cheese, and wine. I was starting to get hangry and very indecisively decided on what to eat. A huge market full of amazing food on my last day? How would anyone decide ever? 

I finally chose the duck confit salad and I have zero regrets. 

We walked around for a while, occasionally stopping somewhere for a drink or a snack and to escape the cold.

Westminster Abbey....swoon. 

Westminster Abbey....swoon. 

And my favorite part of London.....

The London Eye. From far away it looks like any other ferris wheel, but the closer you get you realize how INSANELY huge it is. It also takes about an hour to get through the whole thing. Sounds cool, but only if I had wine in there amiright?

We had dinner at this amazing restaurant in Camden. By the end of Saturday we were soaked from rain, cold, exhausted, full of wine and food, and content. The four of us spent the night talking and laughing in Sara and Marie's upstairs loft until we tired ourselves out. 

The next morning I carried my stupidly large and heavy luggage to the tube, hopped on the plane and headed home.

I can honestly say that this trip was more I could have asked for. I faced one of my biggest fears, I met people from different backgrounds and cultures that I never would have met before, I experienced a whole new country all on my own where I had a lot of time to really think about what I want to do and where I want to go in life. I'm feeling incredibly lucky and full of ideas and goals and plans and I can't wait to share every single one of them with all of you.

So for now, it's back to your regular scheduled programming of food and cocktails and furniture, but I think I'll continue to throw in some personal posts as well.

England, I love you.

 

 

England adventures: part three

“Come my friends. ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down…it may be we shall touch the Happy Isles….Yet, our purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset”.

-Ulysses 

I saw this quote inside of an old book store in Lyme Regis that I went to on Saturday. Ahhhhhh Lyme Regis. Saturday was the day to discover the beautiful Jurassic Coast at Lyme Regis! It was finally here! It was a day without work! It was a day to explore on my own!! Aaaand it was 100% chance of rain…with winds up to 60mph. Awesome. 

The winds had come from storm Imogen and they were EXTREME. I’m talkin’ like waking me up at 4am extreme, especially in the caravan. I seriously had a Wizard of Oz moment where I thought the winds were going to pick the caravan up and take it somewhere else. So Saturday was horrible weather, so what? I was determined to make the best of it. 

I suited up in my wool socks, thick sweater, gloves, scarf, and giant poofy jacket and headed to the bus stop. The bus stop is maybe five minutes away, and I was already pretty cold and wet when I got on.

The bus dropped me off right in the center of town and I could see the ocean further down and immediately started smiling. Something about being by the water that makes cold rain and brutal winds all worth it. Once I actually hit the coast, it was like the winds multiplied by 100. I gave up even trying to look somewhat decent after about 30 seconds of standing in front of the water. 

I attempted to take a picture but this is the absolute best I could get. You can see how rocky the waves are out there. 

Alright, so I’m in an amazing beachy seaside town and its rainy, cold, and windy. What did I do? TREAT YO SELF. I decided to treat myself to some shopping and food indulging. Because what else do you do in crappy weather? That’s right, my mama taught me well. 

Started the day off right with a chocolate filled croissant and pretty cappucino.

There are a ton of cute shops on the main street, though I had to be careful what I bought and stick to small purchases (my suitcase was already pretty full on my way here).

A simple bracelet, handmade candle (smells amazeballs btw), the autobiography of Edith Piaf (one of my favorites), and a couple pieces of old sheet music that seemed fitting. 

 

My favorite shop that I went inside was “The Mermaid Shop”. The artist, Linzi West, was so sweet and all of her work is incredible. She’s basically living out my dream, owning a store/open studio/bnb by the ocean with her cat roaming around. Can't. 

I'm completely obsessed with my new mermaid pillowcase I purchased from her. Made through Linotype. I was worried that the pillow wouldn't fit in suitcase but she kindly sold it to me without the inside pillow. You can see more of her work here. 

I ended my Lyme visit with the one thing I had really been wanting all day: fish n’ chips. They were really good, though I have to say there was a little too much batter for my taste.

Overall it ended up being a really nice day, rough weather and all. The end there got really rough, it was dark, pouring rain, and seriously freezing. By the time I got on the bus back, the rain had actually soaked through my giant poofy coat and boots. My socks and giant sweater were also soaked. Nothing a hot shower, glass of wine, and watching Harry Potter in the warm caravan couldn’t fix. 

The next day I slept in a little bit, and IMMEDIATELY jumped out of bed when I saw that the sun had come out. I met up with a friend I had met in Bridport, Alex. He drove us to Seaton, another seaside town not too far from Axminster. We got brunch at "The Galley" which is this cute spot with a view of the water. He and I have a lot in common such as our love for eating food, talking about food, taking pictures of food, and trying new food (although he couldn't quite sell me on ordering the black pudding after he said it's made with pig's blood). We also both enjoy our amateur photography. I'm sure we looked pretty nerdy both taking about a million pictures of the coast, but when the sun is out you gotta take advantage.

I actually think he took majority of those photos so I guess I should give him credit for that :)

Our brief visit ended with me buying Biscoff spread at the store (dangerous) and Alex explaining to me why the roads are SO curvy around here (has to do with Roman times and making it harder for armies coming through). It was a really nice Sunday.

Later on, when the sun was gone yet again, I met up with the Germans (Arne and Lea) and we scoped out a few of the pubs in town. I really enjoy their company. I'm hoping I can convince them to come visit me in Atlanta.

Last night I cooked dinner for the whole family. 8 people (not including myself). And it was TACOOO NIGHHHTTTT! This is mildly hilarious, because Mexican food really isn't a big thing here. Daisy (Debbie's step daughter) asked me "what is a taco? Is it like a wrap?" Hmmm what is a taco? How do you describe a taco to someone who has never had a taco? It's like trying to explain a rainbow to a blind person. They had also never heard of guacamole and seemed a little concerned about eating the guac and Pico de Gallo before the meal. I had to explain to them that that's the point of Mexican food! You get really full on chips and salsa and guac until you're too full to actually enjoy your meal. I also introduced Margaritas to the bunch which was not loved by all (pretty strong ones I should add). There was also a fairly heated discussion over the pronunciation of the word, whether it was tah-co or tack-o. I honestly just love these people.

On the taco menu was Pico de Gallo, guac, rice, beans, fish tacos with cilantro slaw and radishes and tacos al pastor with grilled pineapple and avocado cream. YUM. I explained to everyone how to set up the tacos on their tortillas (which they kept referring to as "frisbees" or "flappy things") and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed them. I'm kicking myself for not getting more pictures of the meal but I was too distracted, I've never cooked for that many people! I can also blame the margaritas. 

We laughed pretty hard about the amount of checkered shirts going here.

After dinner we drank tea and coffee. This isn't the whole family, but the best I could do! We cracked up about how close up Daisy (left) and Astrid (right) are, and of course Debbie's bright pink socks. This family has made me feel so incredibly welcome in their home, I'm really going to miss them.

And I'm REALLY going to miss this sweet, sweet puppy love. 

Only two nights left in my comfy caravan and then I'm off to London for the weekend and back to the U S of A. Stay tuned :) 

 

 

England: part two

Dear Diary,
It's day 11 on this island. Which the natives have dubbed, "England".
So far, they have welcomed me and given me a rare glimpse into their interesting way of life.
Words here are said differently, such as chips being called "crisps" and cookies being called "biscuits".
I'm starting to think biscuits don't actually exist here.
Nor does Mexican food.
In their lairs, they often don a primitive shroud called a "jumper". 
Tea is had up to 6 times a day.
They're trying to make me one of them diary. And I'm beginning to fear...I may like it.

OK but for real if you don't understand what I'm referencing here PLEASE start watching How I Met Your Mother. I can't find a YouTube link for this diary scene but just watch every one until you get to Season 7 Episode 18 and thank me later. 

England has been really amazing. Or as Debbie would say, "amazeballs". To remind you, Debbie is who I have been staying with. In the house is her husband Andrew, her daughter Lily, her son Finlay, Andrew's daughter Daisy, two dogs, and three cats. Andrew also has 3 kids who do not live in the house (totaling in SIX kids, my friends). The entire family has been better than I could ask for, but let's first start with Bath.

As I had mentioned before, Debbie has a friend Daisy who is opening a BnB and has many workawayers from all over the world staying with her to work. I went with three of them to Bath on Saturday. Two of them are from Italy (Leo and Alessandra) and one from Brazil (Tiago). They all speak English fairly well, but there was definitely a bit of a language barrier at times. Lots of "how do you say..." and "I don't know how you explain this in your country but..." from all of us. For example, when we stopped for lunch there was an entree on the menu called "Asparagus and Pea Shaped Girasole Ravioli". I asked Leo what Girasole was and he said "how do you say...flower following the sun?" Ohhh, sunflower! Ok. Actually, it is a sunchoke but close enough. "Site seeing" is "seeing the sites" and "Roller Coasters" are "Russian Mountains". Things like that. 

So here we have Leo on the left (pronounced Lay-o) and Alessandra on the right. They are around my age, about a year or two older, and have been together for ELEVEN years. They've got really great "Italian hands" when they discuss things and claim there isn't enough bread in England, and say that usual Italian meals consist of five separate meals served individually. Seriously, these tiny Italians can REALLY eat. 

Starting off in Bath we walked through what was like a HUGE market, mainly retail. A lot of American retailers like Urban Outfitters and Tommy Hilfiger. Randomly there would be flower shops, musicians playing, chocolate bars, and the MOST beautiful architecture. I'll try limit my pictures...but it's near impossible. 

The inside of Bath Abbey. Swoon.

The inside of Bath Abbey. Swoon.

We walked around for a while, had a DEEEELISH lunch at Patisserie Valerie. Goat cheese tartines and a winter pie full of steak and pancetta? Yes please. Our final tourist attraction was the Roman Baths. *ART HISTORY NERD ALERT* It was insane. Beautiful. Magical. I'm running out of adjectives. I was immediately infatuated. It was crazy to be inside of something that's over 2000 years old and kept in such good condition. 

My favorite part of the Roman Baths was learning about Minerva, The Roman goddess of wisdom. A bath surrounded by all male authority statues and then one bad ass bitch they all worship. 

"Minerva is patron goddess...in her temple the eternal flames never whiten into ash." Yas, Queen. 

Leo, Alessandra, yours truly, and Tiago (pronounced Chago). Great hair day for me, amiright? Not. At the end of the tour through the Roman Baths we found a pit of water where visitors will throw in a coin and make a wish. So the four of us, with our backs toward the water, each threw a coin in behind our head and made a wish together. I would tell you what I wished for...but it might not come true. Though I think it already is :) 

We ended our visit at a cocktail bar by the train station. This place would be any girls dream. TRUST ME LADIES. A red glow, five or six good looking tatted up or bearded male bartenders, and an unlimited supply of cocktails. As a craft cocktail bartender, I was curious to know how many cocktails they had in their massive menu, and they informed me there is over 300. Crazy. Check it out here.

Tiago and Leo playing an intense game of Hangman on the train back. Tiago left yesterday back to his hometown, Belo Horizonte in Brazil. I'm going to miss him! He told me great stories about the weather in Brazil and the partying in Rio, that sounded like way too much fun and also sounded kind of frightening.

And that is Bath in a very small, funny little nutshell. Sunday night, we all had dinner at Daisy's future BnB, which is this INSANE mansion I'm obsessed with. By all, I mean Debbie's family, myself, young Daisy's friend Astrid, the other Daisy, her boyfriend James, and all of Daisy's workawayers (totalling in 16 people for dinner). 

We had a traditional Brazilian meal with three different types of meats, rice, beans, greens, a Brazilian fish stew (not pictured) and plenty of wine, followed by a berry crumble and a game of Articulate. For those who don't know, it's a game of two teams and you have to describe words on cards without saying what it is in a certain amount of time. Which got to be very interesting playing with 16 people (7 of which use English as their second language). 

Absolutely gorgeous table setting mixed with Daisy and James' twisted sense of humor.

Absolutely gorgeous table setting mixed with Daisy and James' twisted sense of humor.

Since Sunday, things have been pretty low key. During the day I work with Debbie on her business. She sells furniture, vintage items, antiques, beautiful clothes and hand crafted items from Morocco, books, French pieces etc. We sit in her quaint English style kitchen at a pine table by a big window and click away on our computers, talking about all sorts of things from family to religion to me teaching her how to efficiently use Pinterest and Instagram. She's very grateful for the work I've done on her website, business cards and Etsy account, but it's really been a two way street. I've already taken away so much from what she has to say about her business and it's very inspiring to see how devoted and hard working she is. She and her whole family have been so kind and welcoming. 

Tuesday night I went to have dinner with the workawayers and got to know more about the two from Germany who had just arrived. Lea and her boyfriend Arne are definitely my kind of people. We clicked immediately. They informed me that Germany is just how we all think it is, with just as much beer but less leather pants, and less sausages but just as much sauerkraut. They told us all their great love story that took place in their German village called "St. Peter-Ording" (which may need to be my next visit). 

So overall, it's been really incredible so far. I'm learning about people and cultures that I never thought I would have the opportunity to interact with. Not to mention, some really incredible views here. I'll end this super lengthy post with my favorite spot that I have found so far here. Next to the house is a gate that leads to a giant field where they walk the dogs. I went first by myself, and have since taken the dogs a couple of times. It is, hands down, one of the most amazing views I've ever seen. *Mushy moment* I had this really crazy moment of looking out over this field and thinking "I did this. I am actually here right now." And no, I did not tear up. There was just something in both of my eyes...

And last but certainly not least, these precious helpers cooling off in their pond after leading me through the fields...

OK, OK, I promise I'm done. For now.

 

 

 

caravan chicken soup

Today, I show how you how I took on the ITTY BITTY CARAVAN KITCHEN!  I have a hard enough time cooking in a regular sized kitchen to be honest with all the bowls and utensils I use. So this was a challenge; and I never turn down a cooking challenge.

Let me start by introducing you to the inside of the caravan. 

The outside you've seen. Freaking adorable. 

Here is my bed, which is surprisingly comfortable! If you take the sheets off, this will fold into a couch. Although, I can barely make my bed in the morning...taking apart and putting back together a bed every night and morning? N'thanks. 

View from my bed. Teeny TV and plug-in kettle (been drinking a LOT more tea here by the way). 

Shower. Yep. Enough said.

The kitchen. That's literally all the space I have right there to put together a whole soup. CAN'T WAIT! First, I went to Debbie's garden and grabbed some Rosemary and Thyme.

On the way to the garden, here's a view of their house. Gorgeous isn't it?

Mildly obsessed with this door.

Mmmm yes, fresh herbs acquired. 

I started with about half of a diced onion, one carrot shredded and cut, and two stalks of cut celery in some butter (didn't have olive oil). Seasoned this with salt and pepper and let it cook down until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Then I added about half of a box of sliced mushrooms and mixed everything together. I threw in one clove of minced garlic right before I added the kale. *Side note: the caravan is fully stocked with utensils which is awesome but the knife is the most dull knife I think I've ever used sooooo that was fun.

I will never end my life long love affair with kale. 

I added in the kale and seasoned with salt and pepper, then added about 1/4 cup of water right away to let it cook down a little bit. 

I added in the rice right after the kale. I would have killed for some non-instant wild rice or quinoa, but I couldn't find anything that wasn't instant unless it was white rice which I just wasn't feelin' for this soup.

Now, let me stop right here for a minute and tell you this chicken broth IS A LIE. It's not chicken broth at all! It's chicken soup! That's right. Full of carrots, potatoes, celery, etc. Bollocks. So I ended up having to strain the broth out of the soup can, though a few carrots slipped in. I filled the rest of the pot with water and added in the herbs. 

Do we have American flags on our chicken?? I'm pretty sure we don't...but now I can't remember..

Bring the soup to a boil, add in the chicken, reduce heat and let simmer covered for 25-30 minutes.

When the time is up, carefully pull out the chicken and shred with a fork and add back to the pot. 

Now throw on your jumper, get the heater in the caravan warmed up, and let this warm soup protect you from any kind of wind and cold weather. 

While I was making this soup, I still didn't have any wifi inside the caravan. Which means I couldn't use my Spotify while I got real campy makin' this soup. If you know me at all, you know this is a HUGE problem due to my Spotify obsession. So instead, I went through my iTunes music and stumbled across an album I was really into a few years ago and was reminded how creative and awesome it is. 

Luckily, I got the wifi working so I can share the link to this album. Check him out here :) 

hello, from England: part one.

Hello from England, mates!

It’s day five, and I’m going to start from the very beginning so bear with me.

My flight out was Sunday at 5:45pm. There were many complications that day due to feeling like absolute crap from food poisoning the night before (SO MUCH FUN) and Delta confusing my flight with another flight and trying to tell me there was no room for me on the flight (which is really hilarious because there absolutely was, to the point that no one was beside me and I was able to completely lay down on the plane and sleep). As I’ve said before, I do not fly well. All went well though.

The flight was 8 hours so I landed at 2am our time, 7am in the UK. Got through customs, a shuttle to a train, and then took a train that was like the Subway in New York at 8am (this includes me being completely swarmed by people running as fast as they can to the train as I struggle to get on the escalator with all my bags looking like a complete f*!&ing idiot). This train took me to the Waterloo train station that was actually really nice and full of very kind people (unlike Heathrow) who helped me out with train directions. I was told not to sleep on the train because the Gypsies would rob me blind…but the train was pretty empty and I couldn’t help it. I slept the whole time. I called Debbie (my host mom) and was told her step-daughter and husband would be picking me up.

I arrived in Axminster and was greeted by Daisy (step-daughter) and Andrew (husband). Daisy is a really lovely girl. 18 years old, tall, blonde, sweet and confident. Carries herself very well. Poor Andrew had an incident with a shovel that did not end well for his face so his cheek looked like there was a golf ball inside, but he was extremely friendly.  

Off we went, on the left side of the road, to Bridport where I would be staying the first two nights. I’ll keep Bridport brief as I was only there a couple of days. It’s a very quaint, adorable town. I had an amazing two bedroom/one bath apartment (“flat” as they call it) right in the middle of town.

I worked at Debbie’s mom’s store called Lilliput’s that is basically like an authentic TJ Maxx/department store. It literally has everything that you could think of. Kitchen equipment, pillows, lamp shades, rugs, cleaning supplies, couches, towels, frames, toilet lids, pictures, hand painted furniture, etc. 

I spent my two days at the store painting with a lady named Liddy. I absolutely adored Liddy. She’s a total boy/dog mom with such a big heart and great personality. She laughs like Adele and told me great stories like her dog eating the steak pies off the counter or her boy getting in trouble at school when he was running to the bathroom for a “widdle”. She gave me a lot of good tips with furniture that I can’t wait to try out. You can check out her work here at Liddy’s Locker.

While the apartment was really nice (massage chair….HELLO), I felt exactly like I knew I would feel the first couple nights which was extremely homesick. Lilly was an excellent host my first couple days but there was just little social interaction and I was still jet lagged without knowing anyone, and it really got to me for a minute. The second night I woke up in the middle of the night thinking, “what the HELL have I done? Can I get a sooner flight home? Why am I here?” I was being a huge baby due to anxiety and I knew that. Luckily, that was the last of it. The next day I worked at the store and then Lilly drove me to Debbie’s house, where I would be staying the remainder of the time. This is where things get really good, because this is where I meet the caravan. 

The caravan. I really love the caravan. It’s absolutely tiny, my suitcase takes up almost the entire space. There an airplane toilet, a small heater, a small TV, a small fridge, a small stove, a small oven, a small bathroom, and a MINUSCULE standup shower. Also the wifi doesn’t work. And the wind makes it sound like it will blow over. But I’m completely infatuated by it. (Except for the shower. And not because it's so small, but only because the hot water doesn't last long at all). 

The next morning, Debbie and I went to an early morning yoga class. Barbara teaches the class. She’s a beautiful Italian woman with a tiny frame, ankle tattoos, and unshaved armpits. The great thing about yoga is that all the yoga poses are the same words in English, so everything was familiar. However, at the end we sat in a circle with the left hand on our heart and right hand on the person’s knee next to us, and ended the class with three “oms”. Definitely a first for me, though I surprisingly really enjoyed it. 

After class we went to a nearby market, which had all sorts of food and junk for sale, basically MY HEAVEN. I’m talkin’ cheese, olives, curry, meats, fruit, pastries, bread, pies, sweaters, records, shoes, etc etc etc. I was obsessed.

The best part about that picture is Debbie's PHENOMENAL yoga leggings.

After the market, we went to a nearby furniture warehouse where Debbie was checking out some chairs she was thinking of purchasing to resell. This warehouse was two floors, completely full of BRILLIANT pieces of furniture and some really silly junk (I guess that’s every antique market). Their auction is on Monday and I’m hoping to go. The pest piece was a 1936 car. Dave (the owner) informed us that there’s only a handful left of these cars and it’s in extremely good condition.

We got back to the house and ate some of our market pastries with some tea and then I made some delicious vegan carrot cake muffins.

Later that night we went to Bingo at a local town center. It’s absolutely great because it’s set up like a town hall kind of thing or like a small YMCA; a small meeting room with fold up tables and auditorium chairs, except there’s a bar that sells beer and wine. And behind the glass is a large carpeted court for games of “ball” or maybe it was “roll”, I can’t remember. So with our glasses of cheap wine and cider we played Bingo, which is very different from American Bingo. I did win one round, making a straight line, I won 3 whole pounds! Winner winner chicken dinner. There, I met Debbie’s friend Daisy (another Daisy, funny), who has 5 workawayers with her now (workaway is the site I used to find my host family). Two of them are from Mexico, two from Italy, and one from Brazil. They speak English fairly well. Saturday I am traveling with them by train to Bath, which is about an hour and a half away by train and I can't wait. 

My favorite part about the house in Axminster is all of the animals. Two sheep dogs: Ted and Ben. Three cats: Tigger, Jack, and Small Cat. There's something about having animals around while being far away from home that is very comforting. 

Sweet Ted distracting me from blogging in the most adorable way possible. 

That's all for now. Stay tuned for stories from Bath with my fellow workawayers AND how I made “Caravan Chicken Soup” with little to no space or my regular utensils.