COVID-19: Don’t Panic, Be Proactive!

Hi friends!  I know what you’re thinking “Oh god, not another thing about Coronavirus!” But guys, I hate to say it but COVID-19 is here & will be for a few months yet.  So, let’s get into it shall we?

Look, I know there is a lot of misinformation, anger, frustration, & panic surrounding Coronavirus.  Normally, I’m not one to wade into the fray, but I have been seeing so much vitriol & ignorance online that I felt compelled to say something.

Has Coronavirus directly affected me?

No, not that I know of.

Do I know anyone directly affected by COVID-19?

Again, not that I know of.  We are in the exponential growth phase of this pandemic. Cases will double every 4 – 7 days, meaning US cases will be well into 2,000 by next week.  You can get real time updates of how many confirmed cases are your area here.

How contagious is Coronavirus?

The contagious life cycle of this virus is not just 14 days.  It is from 8 to 37 days and the severe cases are actually more prevalent in the 14-49 age group. And then add in all the factors that contribute into making you more of a risk – age, underlying health issues, auto-immune diseases, obesity, heart conditions, & so on.  So, if Person A is told to stay put for 2 weeks because they may just have mild symptoms and then goes out, and exposes people from days 15-37 of their virus life cycle.  Most people, realistically, aren’t going to stay home for months making it a very tough thing to navigate.

Is Coronavirus destroying the economy?

This is a partial truth.  It is effecting the economy somewhat, especially the Hospitality industry; we most likely won’t know the full effects for a few weeks or months.  The Coronavirus is related to the stock market dips; however, the temper tantrums being thrown by Russia & Saudi Arabia regarding oil prices, is probably a bigger concern to the economy.  In this week’s episode of Pod Save the World, Tommy & Ben (the hosts) spell this out very clearly.  It’s a great listen.

Should I panic & stock up on everything?

I am not one of these people panicking.  I haven’t been to Costco, and I love Costco, to stock up on toilet paper & hand sanitizer.  In fact, I have been living my life as I always have…with more precaution.  But, now I frequently ask myself “Did that person wash their nasty hands?” or “I wonder if they have it & don’t know it” or “Man, would I thrive in a quarantine!”

How to stay calm:

This is from Dr. Samantha Boardman via @jessicayellin on IG.  “Your anxiety is understandable.  Unanswerable questions coupled with conflicting information, especially from government officials & experts, further fuels fear.  One moment, you’re told it’s no big deal and the next, schools are shutting down.  Mixed messages are confusing & amplify uncertainty.  It’s no wonder people are panicking.  Facts not fear.  Clean hands.  Open hearts.  Our children will thank us for it.”

Why are all my plans getting cancelled?

I get it.  It sucks when a concert we want to go to gets cancelled.  But, I really don’t understand the outrage & fury over big events getting cancelled, like SXSW & the Houston Rodeo, Coachella getting postponed, etc.  I get it, the Hospitality industry is losing out on tons of revenue; I truly get it.  This is the perfect time to start tipping service industry people; tip more than you normally would.  But, stop complaining about it – public safety is what is most important.  The good of the whole is far better than the good of a few.

What is social distancing?

I’m sure every introvert loves this term.  At this point the WHO has officially declared a global pandemic, so social distancing is the best way to slow down the spread of COVID-19.  Let us also not forget that just because you have no symptoms does not mean that you are not contagious.  Yes, I know that more people have died from the flu & cold this year, but quite frankly I don’t want you to pass around the flu either – that’s just common sense.

Also, limiting the spread helps hospitals actually treat those that are ill.  Hospitals in the US are at 68% capacity on a normal day, now we’ve added a pandemic & a certain level of hysteria – our flawed medical system & infrastructure can’t handle the uptick.  The goal is to treat people in phases, instead of all at once.  Thus, social distancing.  You’ll also hear about “flattening the curve” – this is the treatment of those infected in phases.

Don’t believe me, here are some facts from legit sources, the CDC & Vox.A4115F74-F209-4DFE-910C-D2A61B5126A7_1_201_a0957CCFA-1766-4C69-BBE0-96CB55719AFE_1_201_a

Okay, so what should I do?

It is all of our responsibility to be proactive, even if you think this is not a big deal.  So, here’s some practical advice:

  • Don’t panic, but be proactive.
  • Telling someone to “calm down,” does not make anyone clam down.
  • Avoid places where there will be crowds of more than 250 people.
  • Work from home if you can – I’ve never been so happy to have a job where I work from home.
  • If you’re sick – STAY HOME.
  • Use virtual care/apps/hotlines first (not the ER) if you can
  • Avoid touching your face – this is personally hard for me, my face has never had so many itches!
  • Remember, don’t panic and don’t become selfish in the midst of a potential crisis.  Buying all the Clorox wipes may help a smidge, but do you really need ALL of them?  Toilet paper & water is not the first line of defense int his case.
  • Order groceries online & do curbside pickup or have them delivered.
  • Also, wash your nasty hands!  Think about how many germs you come into contact with during the day.  Coronavirus can live on surfaces for 9 days.  Let me say that again.  NINE DAYS.
  • This is my personal favorite “Wash your hands song.” 5894F8F9-A0AD-4053-96FB-44546F8E2C53

Here are some helpful links:

World Health Organization

John Hopkins Medicine

The Guardian

The Atlantic

Now that our beloved Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson have COVID-19, it has gone A-list! All of this to say, keep calm & be proactive.

Wash your hands,

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Trader Joe’s Haul

Hi friends!  I don’t know about you, but I love when other people post their Trader Joe’s hauls.  All Trader Joe’s are not created equal – mine for example is one of the smaller ones.  Sad face.  With that said, I always still find plenty to fill my cart no matter the season.

This what I bought on a quick sashay through on my way to dog sit for Spring Break. 84929492-3D1E-48B5-B82D-D7A2430DBC8B

Shopping List from the refrigerated section:

  • ready-made lasagna (not pictured because I already cooked it & had it for dinner)
  • carnitas with salsa verde burrito
  • peanut & crispy noodle salad kit (I LOVE an Asian salad)
  • veggies & greens salad kit
  • crunchy slaw ready-made salad
  • lemon chicken & arugula ready-made salad (my favorite)
  • garlic hummus snack packs
  • arugula & parmigiano reggiano ravioli
  • Italian sausage & 4 cheese ravioli (so good!)

Shopping List from the freezer section:

  • orange chicken bowl
  • riced cauliflower stir fry
  • beef & broccoli
  • cheese & tomato pizza

Shopping List from the shelves:

  • chocolate glazed donuts (not pictured as I hid them from the dogs)
  • thumb print cookies
  • pancake bread (breakfast or dessert?)
  • spaghetti squash
  • salsa verde
  • TJ’s marinara sauce
  • corn & poblano chowder
  • white cheddar puffs
  • elote corn chip dippers (run don’t walk for these!)

I went shopping on Friday, it’s now Monday, & I’ve gone through three quarters of the bag of the elote chips.  Y’all, they taste exactly like street corn or Mexi-Corn Dip (if you’re Southern, you know what this dip is).  I ate these with guacamole & pretty much found Mecca.7065EEBB-A1F7-430B-ACC3-C863524A2442For those of you who can’t handle the heat, you will think these chips are kinda spicy as they do have a kick.  I’ll be stock piling these for Corona Virus…that’s the one thing we need right?

Now, for all the sweets…  I don’t typically buy sweets, and when I do they are usually sour straws or something not too sweet like shortbread; however, 2020 has been the year of chocolate craving so far.  Great.  I kinda did a lot of impulse shopping in Trader Joe’s this time…I’m lying, every time.  Every.  Single.  Time.  To be honest, I only had shortbread cookies on my list, but I think it was a Fall/Winter item as they were nowhere to be found.  Oh, the devastation.

What are some of your favorite things from Trader Joe’s?  Leave a comment with your recs.  About 2/3 of my list were things I have never tried.  Anyone else go grocery shopping & then decide you’re too tired to cook after that strenuous hour in the store? Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, I hope y’all have a great week, & make sure to was your hands often!  Until Friday…

Kiss Hug,

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Friday Five: Kind Collective

Happy Friday!  I hope you’re ready for another round of my favorites from the week.

One: Copper Corners

A few months ago I was introduced to Copper Corners Art from Katie (@WhatKateFinds) and Deema (@prettyonfridays) through Instagram.  I finally bought two prints from Mary Catheryn’s floral collection to add to the gallery wall in my office. C9F0FD2E-4BE8-44F9-A29F-F6C47BFE1583

I’m still waiting on the picture frames I ordered before adding these beauties to my gallery wall.

Two: Art Gallery Wall

Speaking of my gallery wall, I am obsessed with it.

You may recognize art from Melissa Remmers, Andrew Johnson, Erin Hanson, & Clare Elsaesser.

Three: My New Glasses

Y’all, I found some new glasses that I love.  They are made from recycled glass, which I found at a cute little boutique, Kind Collective (@kindcollectivehou on IG), down in the Heights in Houston.

Aren’t they pretty?

Cost: $26 for a set of 6

Four: Eye Patches

If you are into beauty, you are probably already following Kathleen Jennings on IG.  However, if you’ve never heard of her, she is a beauty blogger that does a face mask everyday.  Every.  Single.  Day.

Kathleen has been singing the praises of the Pixi eye patches, granted I’ve only been following her for two weeks.  She sleeps in her eye patches, so naturally I had to try it as well.

I’m currently using the BeautifEYE patches to target my dark circles.  It has only been a week, so too soon to tell if they’re helping.  I will keep you posted.  Side note, the patches have a lot of gel on them, & I scrape some of it off so they stay put better.

Cost: $24 at Target

Five: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Have you seen the new show on NBC, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist?  I LOVE it! BF67081C-4DA4-4CEF-892C-C687D68A36AA

It stars Jane Levy (loved her in Suburbia), Skylar Astin (from Pitch Perfect), Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen!), and Mary Steenburgen, & Lauren Graham (Lorelai Gilmore!).

This show kinda seems like a more adult version of Glee.  I have yet to make it through an episode without crying thanks to Peter Gallagher’s character.

Dear Lord, please don’t let this show get cancelled anytime soon.  Amen.

What are y’all obsessed with this week?

Until next week…

Kiss Hug,

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The Bachelorette: Clare Crawley

Y’all, ABC just announced that Clare Crawley will be the next Bachelorette!96C3C46D-DCF6-4EE1-8BAB-677D443C4B83

Some of you may remember Clare from Juan Pablo’s season, as his runner up.  You may remember her from Bachelor in Paradise, twice, talking to raccoons.  Or, you may remember her from Bachelor Winter Games.

I find Clare to be endearing because she stands up for herself & doesn’t take a lot sh*t; however, she always falls for the wrong guy initially.  Always.  We have all done this.  Also, Clare is 38!  Cue the gasps!!!  I truly hope ABC provides age appropriate men for Clare to seriously consider.  I hope her season will bring the Bachelor franchise back to the good old days when we actually believed everyone was there to fine love, as opposed to selling “flat tummy tea” on Instagram.  This is the most exciting pick since Brad Womack’s second season, & Rachel being chosen as the first only black Lead.

I have staunchly boycotted The Bachelor/Bachelorette since they did Becca so dirty with Arie dumping her for his reject…with a split screen.  Gross.  I also have been really disgusted with how young the cast has gotten.  I mean most of their brains are not yet fully developed…that’s not an insult, it is literally science.

As a reminder, Andrew Firestone will always be my GOAT of the franchise.  But, I’m happy to watch in the hopes that the current season will top his…hasn’t happened yet.

Since, I am fully onboard with Clare, I will be back to recapping each episode!  Yea!!!

What about you?  Do think ABC made the right choice?  Does her age bother you?

Until the season starts…

Kiss Hug,

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Friday Five: Watermelon Sugar High

Hi friends!  I’ve set a new goal for myself…  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have posted three new posts in the last 3 weeks.  Yea me!  So, to keep that momentum going I have decided to do a new post every Friday of my five favorite things from the week.  They can range from products, clothing, podcasts, recipes, etc.

So without further ado, here are my favorite things from February 22 – 28.

One: Cuticle Serum

I was introduced to Olive & June a few months ago by Katie from @WhateKateFinds (a must follow on IG).  Y’all, I am in LOVE with the Cuticle Serum!7DC442A4-2863-4D8E-B1A6-A6AC38BA026D_1_201_aI use it at least twice a day (morning & night); my hang nails are virtually gone & my manicures seem to last so much longer.2C6299A0-0CE9-4955-B058-96A09602F726This Manicure is going strong on day 11, and I am hard on my nails.  I pretty much keep a serum on my nightstand, one on my desk, & one in my purse.  I’ve lost one, so I plan to buy a new one today & a couple of the new Spring nail polishes, which I also love.

Cost: $30 – I know it is a little pricey, but totally worth it.

Two: Sea Marie Designs

I recently discovered a new accessories online boutique, Sea Marie Designs.  Casey (great name!) from @Case.Rutherford on IG posted one of Chelsea’s headbands and I was hooked.  It took me a while to get on board with this trend, but I’m here!  Chelsea has been a dream to work with, her customer service & timeliness is amazing.  The price point for everything I’ve purchased has been under $20 each – 3 headbands, a pair of earrings, a bracelet, & a necklace…so far. :).

She came out with Spring headbands this week…looks like I’ll be placing another order soon. 

Three: HBH Pasta Recipe

So, my New Year’s resolution for 2020 is to make recipes out of my cookbooks instead of printing them from Pinterest, blogs, etc.  I’ve been making two recipes a week out of a cookbook.  That said, I did cheat & make one recipe I got in an email from Half Baked Harvest, but I have both of Tieghan’s cookbooks so I don’t feel too bad about it.

On Monday I made her Roaster Red Pepper Alla Vodka Pasta with Cheesy Oregano Breadcrumbs.  Y’all, do not sleep on this recipe!9C95A46B-CA30-4316-AF57-7E6512031865  It was so good & can feed a small crowd; I froze some of the leftovers.  If you do “Meatless Mondays” or are trying to cut down on your meat in take, this could be a great option for you.  VanderPump Rules lied to us, it is about the pasta. 😉355F86DE-EE26-42DF-8C77-599A13E9BA8E

Four: Harry Styles

Y’all, I’m unexpectedly in love with Harry Styles’ newest album, Fine Line.  I bought the album after I saw Harry on SNL.  The first time I listened to it I thought that he was hungry because Harry mentions food in just about every song.  My favorite song on the album is “Adore You” but “Watermelon Sugar” is an instant dance party for me.

Five: Schitt’s Creek ADA5364D-8418-4363-BB7B-0317665420D0

Ew, David.  Y’all, I realize that I may be the last one on the Schitt’s Creek train, but I am OBSESSED.  I have perfected my Alexis impression, ummm you’re welcome.  When I tried to explain this show to Mama J, I told her that it is the opposite of the Beverly Hillbillies.  Instead of poor folks becoming rich, it is rich people becoming poor & the chaos that ensues is this magical show. She started the season this week!  I’m currently on Season 5, and still have Season 6 to go but I think I’m trying to prolong my love affair.

On a totally different note, Real Housewives of NY is coming back April 2.  Should I start recapping episodes again?

Until next Friday…

Kiss Hug,

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Fredericksburg, TX Wine Country

Y’all, this post is long, long, LONG overdue.  In December 2018, I celebrated my 35th birthday with a wine weekend in Fredericksburg, TX.  Yes, you read that correctly – 2018. Better late than never, right?  Also, now I’m 36. HAHA.

I love having a birthday in December, but they are hard to plan for, & quite frankly after a certain age I don’t think birthdays really need to be celebrated with a party.  Dinners are always accepteable!  So, way back in 2018 my birthday, December 14th, fell on a weekend.  I out sent out a “feelers” email to my friends & family, in October, asking if they would be interested in a girl’s weekend in the “Texas Wine Country,” as I know with the holidays it can be tricky to make plans.  I wasn’t going to do anything if no one was interested, but true to form we all wanted to booze it up!

We stayed the weekend in Hye, TX at my friend Katy’s ranch.  Thank you Katy, Bob, and Beth!  Hye is a blink-and-miss-it kind of town between Fredericksburg & Johnson City.

In early November, I sent out an evite so people had plenty of time to RSVP & plan accordingly.

This was such a great group of women!  It was a combo of work friends, non-work friends, my mom, my aunt, & a few cousins, & Katy’s parents.  I think Bob enjoyed being the only dude.  HA!  For their privacy, I’m not posting any pictures of the ranch itself; however, I will post our itinerary for the weekend.  As per ushe, I was very specific but this time it strictly for reservations & so the gals could make sure they brought cash to cover the cost of their tastings.  We did have transportation all day, so no driving for us drunky-poos. 8939EFB3-B74D-477D-AED5-3494E6F77C62

This was the itinerary, & we pretty much stuck to it until the end. 70C0297D-EC85-43F6-AFDD-ED2CD01166F2

So, everyone arrived at the ranch between 2-4pm.  Around 4 we headed over to Narrow Path since it was our neighbor!  Quick & easy.  PS – this was a rare cold AF weekend in Texas.

About half of us went to dinner at East Main Grill in downtown Johnson City.  Their honey pecan fried chicken was delicious!  After dinner, my cousin, Kimberly & I were the only ones brave enough to face the cold to look at the amazing Christmas Lights at the Perdernales Electric Company.  I have no words to describe their beauty, & the pictures do not do them justice.  I linked the company’s website so you can look at other better photos.

Saturday was kind of fluid in that a couple of friends met us at the ranch early.  A couple of people also left early.  My mom & aunt skipped the last winery & went to the local flea market (Trade Days) instead.  We specifically went to the place farthest from the ranch first, and then worked our way back.  I know, I know, I’m such a genius…modest too.

We started with Lost Draw Cellars, and I was most excited about this place because I had never been there.  I had tried one of their rosés at Hye Market on a previous trip.  This place is a block or two off the Main Street in Fredericksburg where all the shops are.  What I specifically loved about LDC, is that our wine guide noticed that my mom & aunt (who were sitting on opposite ends of the table) weren’t really drinking much of the wines.  He discretely asked Mama J if there was a problem; when she said they only like sweet wines (gross) he brought them two of their sweetest wines so they would have something to drink & enjoy the experience.  I LOVED that! 3660A20A-E665-4DE0-BCB6-B7D2915083AF

Next we headed over to Signor Vineyards.  This place is gorgeous, but I have no pictures of the grounds – check out their website.  The facilities were designed by Magnolia, you know Chip & Joanna.  Just imagine crisp, clean white & black finishes with a Spanish influence.

I loved that at Signor, you can customize your tasting by selecting 5 wines out of 8 options. BB609852-968B-4539-B2EA-9658A58EA0B9

Okay, by this point I was nicely buzzed and did not take any more pictures.

We ended the day at William Chris Vineyards.  Instead of moving on to Perdernales Cellars after, we just hung out at William Chris until they closed.  Katy’s parents know the owners of William Chris and are frequent patrons.  We had to behave for a bit here because TABC (Texas Alcohol & Beverage Commission) was there making a surprise inspection.

We did a full tasting, had an awesome cheese board, & then finished with a couple bottle of wines after.

Side note, I got stung by a wasp twice here.  It hurt like a b****!  I had no idea that wasps could sting more than once, unlike bees.

To round out the day, we continued drinking at the ranch, had my famous minestrone soup for dinner, & had cake (Mama J made me a spice cake!).  The night was very low key; pretty sure I was in bed by 9:30p.

Sunday morning we were all on the road by noon.

Some notes for your trip:

  1. Get a driver, so worth it!
  2. If you are from central Texas, this could easily be a day trip.  If you are from Houston, Dallas, or farther you will probably want to overnight.  There are quite a few really cute B&Bs all around Fredericksburg.
  3. There is plenty for dudes to do too.  In addition to the explosion of wineries, there has been an influx of breweries & distilleries as well.
  4. In the last 15 years, the wine has vastly improved! Can we get a hallelujah!
  5. If you have a group of 5+, I would make reservations where possible.
  6. There is great shopping in Fredericksburg, so be sure to check it out.
  7. Trade Days (flea market) is every 3rd weekend.  I always find something to take home.

Do y’all have any favorite wineries in the area?  If you’ve never been, give Texas Wine Country a taste!

Kiss Hug,

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My First Solo(ish) Vacation!

Hi friends!  It’s been a day, give or take 80, since I last posted.  I know, I know, I always promise to be better about writing more frequently, but to be honest the last thing I wanted do after a long day at work was come home & look at a computer screen again.  I’m sure many of you can relate.

However, in the last few months a lot has changed.  Yes, I’m still boycotting The Bachelor, so no recaps.  Yes, I’m still watching Hallmark movies, but I thought the 2019 Christmas ones were terrible, except for Christmas at the Plaza.  But, I did watch 90% of them.  I also watched many of the Lifetime Christmas movies, and maybe I liked them better?  There was more diversity, the female lead was allowed to have straight hair, they typically got to the kiss much earlier in the movie, & I saw alcohol.

The biggest news of all though, is that I got a new job!  It happened very quickly & unexpectedly, but now I work from home!  Y’all, I’m saving 1.5 hours of drive time.  I also haven’t filled my gas tank in 14 days!  This is a miracle in & of itself.

Anyway, I felt it was high time I got on here & wrote about my 8 day trip to Connecticut, Cape Cod, & Nantucket last September.  The first five days of the trip were solo, then my friend Katy joined me in Nantucket.

Y’all are going to laugh at me & think I’m a super nerd, but my favorite show of all time is Gilmore Girls.  With that said, the first three days of this trip was me road tripping around Connecticut to all the little towns that inspired Stars Hollow.  Could there be a cuter name for a town?

Okay, grab a cup of coffee (Dunkin’ in you’re in the northeast) & settle in…

This was my itinerary: 0C07418B-8980-4734-A64D-B0AAA4813D7C_1_201_a

The way I like to plan trips is to create a calendar with the dates I plan to travel.  Then I like to research what’s happening in the places I want to visit & just write down anything that looks interesting, including restaurants, shopping, museums, etc.  This also allows for you to purposefully avoid certain things and to budget accordingly.  For example, while I was in Nantucket there was a Gilmore Girls Fan Fest in CT, so I purposely avoided Connecticut during that weekend & did my personal GG tour the weekend before.  As much as I love GG, I’m not into herds of people.  Once I see what’s going on then I layout the order of towns I want to go to & book hotels accordingly.  I filter out activities once I’m there in the moment.  Oh, in New England I try to stay at B&B’s or inns exclusively.

Saturday, September 21:

I departed Houston bright & early and arrived in Boston by lunch time.  I hopped in my rental car & purposefully took the scenic route from Boston to Litchfield, CT.  A note for the rest of this post, I always choose the scenic route & plan for longer drive times.  The drive from Farmington to Litchfield, specifically, is a must do!  Y’all, I’d move to Farmington or Litchfield tomorrow if I thought I could make a sustainable living.  So cute!

I stayed at the Litchfield Inn, which is supposedly what the Independence Inn (GG) was based on.  I totally see it.D0FBF113-2B53-420A-951D-EAD17917046C

If I’m being completely honest, I probably would not stay here again.  The staff was lovely, but the building was very old & had original walls with little to no sound proofing…and there was a very raucous wedding reception going on until close to midnight.  Call me old fashioned, or just call me old, but I was tired & couldn’t sleep due to the loud music and wedding guests running through the halls.  Had I known about the wedding before hand, I would have stayed somewhere else.

On a funny note, the room decor was wild…or wildly bright! Reds, teals, faux brick, wood paneling, wall paper – you name it, this room had it.

That night I had dinner at a cute (but packed!) restaurant down on the main street, called At The Corner.  You guessed it, it was on the corner!  Litchfield doesn’t have a town square, at least not that I saw, but it had a street that most shops & restaurants were on.  I sat at the bar & made friends with my neighbors (Tom & Lori), while enjoying a beer flight of IPAs (I let the bartender choose) & enjoyed the primadonna salad.  Picture Tom as Fred Armisen & George Clooney’s love child, & picture Lori as Sarah Jessica Parker.

Sunday, September 22:

I woke up early & headed to breakfast at some diner Tom (from the night before) recommended.  Didn’t take pictures, nor was the biscuits & gravy any good.

Moving it along, I quickly got on the road to Kent, CT to see the Cornwall Inn – it was also supposed to have inspired the Independence Inn.  I didn’t see the resemblance.  This town was super cute, but since it was a Sunday nothing much was open, except for a coffee shop.   Whomp, whomp.

I will say this entire route was very scenic even though I was on a highway, albeit a 2 lane highway.  The leaves were just starting to turn for “Leaf Peepin’ Season.”  Can we rethink this name?  Another funny thing I noticed was the complete lack of cohesiveness in terms of how close the houses were to the road…which again was a 2 lane highway.  Some houses were literally on the edge of the road, their neighbor was maybe an olympic swimming pool length away from the road, & the next neighbor was maybe a car length away from the road.  Half way through the day, it finally (FINALLY!) dawned on me that the houses were most likely there before the road was, you know because they were built in 1723 or something.

I quickly headed to New Milford, CT, which was where “Luke’s Diner’ & the town gazebo were.  This town was freakin’ adorable.  Lots of churches.  I didn’t think the gazebo really  looked like GG, so didn’t get a pic.  Theo’s Diner (aka Luke’s) had a great BLT.  Across from Theo’s was a little art gallery in the old train station, how cute is that.  The proprietors told me that there was an awesome flea market in town (maybe called The White Elephant?), but I didn’t have time to stop by.

Movin’ on down the road, my next stop was Washington, CT, some call it Washington Depot – I’ve seen it called both.  This was THEE inspiration.  Here I found Doose’s (aka Washington Food Market), the Dragonfly Inn (aka Mayflower Inn), & the church (aka Town Hall).  I saw so much of Stars Hollow in this town, & I loved every bit of it.  Word to the wise, if you blink you miss this town.

On my way to the next town, Guilford, CT, I had to pull over for a firetruck.  And, low & behold look what I stopped in front of. A6E7D613-B558-4BA3-8F7E-10191FD966F3

Stars Hollow High – said in the monotone of those same 3 kids for every Stars Hollow production.

Unfortunately, I arrived in Guilford near closing time, but I did manage to stop by The Village Chocolatier, a book store, & a spice shop.  This town was super cute, & had a proper town square.

Rounding out the day, I stopped in Mystic, CT for the night.  Mystic has nothing to do with GG, but I didn’t get to spend much time here on my last girl’s trip with Jessica & Brigitte so I made a point to come back.

I stayed at the Whaler’s Inn, which is the perfect place to stay.  It’s in the middle of town and you can walk everywhere.  They also just completed a renovation, but don’t worry it is still charming, historic, & has sound proofing!

I had dinner at the Engine Room, & their hush puppies are to die for.  Seriously, I still think about them…

Monday, September 23:

The next morning, I ate breakfast at Grass & Bone with the voucher I got at checkin at The Whaler’s Inn.  My breakfast taco was tiny, but delicious. 6CE68131-A447-46FC-AE22-21F9B9F080D7

After breakfast I spent a leisurely morning going in & out of shops all over town.  It was quite nice after the pace of Sunday.  Mystic has a great bookstore (think it was called Banks Square Books) & I’m kinda kicking myself for not buying anything there…does this mean I need another trip?

By lunch time I was on the road to Cape Cod!  I have been dying to go to the Cape (do I sound like a local?) for years.  Cape Cod is divided into several areas, Upper Cape, Lower Cape, Outer Cape, Mid Cape, & probably some other Capes too.  I stayed in Mid Cape so that everything I wanted to do wouldn’t be more than 20-30 minutes away.

Before checking in to my inn, I stopped in Sandwich first.  I went to the Green Briar Jam Kitchen to pickup some jams for Mama J; some TSA agent got to enjoy those in Boston instead.

Next I headed to the Sandwich Glass Museum.  I loved it!  I got to watch glass being blown, a short film about the history of the town of Sandwich, & lots of dioramas!  I love a good diorama.

I chose to stay at the Winstead Inn in Harwich, MA.  It was a good choice because it was centrally located to everything I wanted to do.  My room had a little kitchenette, which came in handy because by this point I was kinda tired of eating out by myself.

The Winstead had a great breakfast, & I highly recommend this place.  The staff was fantastic.

On a side note, isn’t it so pretty how the bright summer hydrangeas fade to these beautiful fall colors? C071AB92-97B2-4837-9685-40DF54567317

Tuesday, September 24:

This was my day to explore the Lower & Outer Capes.  My first stop was the Atwood House Museum, which turned out to be a total bust.  The museum hours had changed due to Daylight Savings Time.  I made the best of the situation and drove around Chatham for a bit.  When you close your eyes & picture your idea of Cape Cod – you are picturing Chatham.  It is quintessential Cape Cod, not to mention a very picturesque fall.

Side note, when I saw this lighthouse I could not stop singing “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon.  I’m pretty sure I sang that song in choir at some point because I new all the words.

This little jaunt gave me several questions, maybe you can answer them.  None of the locals satisfied my curiosity.

  1. Why do people name their houses, where do the names come from?  Is it a seafarer’s house, or a captain?
  2. What is with the pumpkins above the doors?  So many houses had this, & I think is a really cute, but dangerous?
  3. So many houses had the shingles on one side of the house & then siding on the other sides.  Is this an aesthetic thing?  Is it a money saving thing?  Does it have to do with wind coming off the ocean?  WHY? CA3BE3C4-768D-4BC6-8F4D-44520DE9592F

Next up on my agenda was wine tasting at Truro Vineyards.  It was super fun; however, all the wines were too sweet for my taste.  The experience was really fun though & you should go there.  Tastings were $10 for six wines.

After wine tasting I headed down to Provincetown (aka P-town).  Y’all, I know everyone loves Provincetown, but the parking situation ruined my P-town experience.  Also, if you’ve ever been to Venice Beach in LA, then you’ve been to Provincetown.  There.  I said it.

Wednesday, September 25:

I stuck to Mid Cape & the Brewster area.  This was the best day ever because I found Dr Pepper at the Brewster General Store!!!  I heard angels singing in that store.  Haha.  This store was so cute.  Old men come every morning & sit on the benches out front to “shoot the breeze.”

Look at those corbels!  So dreamy.

While in Brewster, you should stop by the Lemon Tree Village for some shopping.

I somehow landed at the Edward Gorey House Museum.  Y’all, do not sleep on this museum.  It’s weird, quirky, & delightful.  For those, like me, who don’t know who Edward Gorey is – he was an illustrator most well known for Dracula.  Seriously, check out his Wikipedia page.  We had a character of a museum guide, he was perfect for the quirkiness of Edward himself.

I made a quick stop at the Cape Cod Chip Factory – they are my favorite.  This place will take you 10 minutes tops to go through. 26127154-3F08-4355-B6B0-968D782E3670

Around the corner, I stopped by Cape Cod Beer, for my beer flight.  Unsurprisingly, I liked the IPAs.

A few final thoughts about Cape Cod…  I would love to spend an entire summer there & really immerse myself & get to know all the little towns.  It didn’t look like I thought it would, meaning that I thought it would be more “beachy.”  There was so much forest, I was truly shocked.  Good for MA for preserving land like that.  Also, if you love old cemeteries (I think they are pretty), then you will love the Cape…all of New England really.

Thursday, September 26:

Off to Hyannis, I went to meet my friend Katy at the Steamship Authority to catch the ferry to Nantucket!  Funny story, we both had rental cars to drop off at the Barnstable Airport in Hyannis so we took an Uber from the airport to the ferry.  Our Uber driver dropped us off at Hy-Line Cruises, not Steamship Authority.  Luckily the guys taking luggage let us know we were at the wrong place.  We had to hoof it over to the Steamship dragging our luggage through the gravel paths.  Guess we got an unintentional workout in.

A note about ferry options.  The Steamship Authority cost $69 round trip and had ferries every 3-ish hours.  The Hy-Line Cruise was $77 round trip & had ferries every 1.5 – 2 hours.  It just so happened that the Steamship times worked better for what we wanted to do, & was $8 dollars cheaper.

On the island, ACK as the locals call it (also the airport code), we stayed at the CUTEST hotel.  76 Main was historic, beautiful, & classy AF.  Our room was the size of a postage stamp, but we were hardly ever there.

The great thing about 76 Main, is that you can walk to pretty much anywhere in town.  However, beware of the huge cobblestones…we had trouble in flats.

We quickly dropped our stuff off in our room & headed to lunch at Lemon Press.  Y’all we ordered a bottle of wine & it was a half bottle…we got duped.  Lunch was delicious though and the decor was lovely.

After lunch we decided to check out the Whaling Museum, cost is $20.  More dioramas! Then we got ice cream at Juice Bar (no lines in September!) & continued to walk around town.  Below are some of my favorite architectural details.

76 Main provides all the fixings for happy hour aside from the alcohol; with this in mind, Katy & I stopped at the liquor store to get wine.  Back at the hotel, we drank our wine & made friends with the other guests.  We socialized until about midnight with a couple of pilots that Katy kept referring to as the guys from Wings.  HAHAHA.  We basically drank our dinner & ate some popcorn.  Y’all we thought this was the best popcorn we’d ever had…could’ve been the booze talkin’ though.

Friday, September 27:

We got up bright & early & headed to breakfast at Black Eyed Susan, where my step sisters Amanda & Samm met us for the day!  They deserve all the accolades because they woke up at some ungodly hour & drove from Leominster, MA to catch the first ferry to Nantucket.  Black Eyed Susan is teeny tiny, you have to wait outside on the sidewalk for a table to open up.  There is literally only room for the tables inside.  After breakfast we had some time to kill before the shuttle could take us to Cisco Brewers, so we walked down the street to Hospital Thrift Shop.  Y’all, I got two paintings for a dollar.  They are hanging up in my office now.  I believe all the proceeds go to the local hospital.

We caught the 11am shuttle to Cisco Brewers & basically camped out there the rest of the day.  This is the trifecta of places to go because it is Cisco Brewery, Triple Eight Distillery, & Nantucket Vineyard all in one.  They have food trucks, people bring their dogs, there is live music – fun to be had all around.  We took the tour & got to try a little of everything before we settled in for wine flights.

We rounded out the day at Brotherhood of Thieves for dinner before Amanda & Samm had to catch the last ferry home.  I think they were awake for 21-ish hours.  Bless it.

Saturday, September 28:

We basically raced to the ferry & raced back to Boston to catch our flight home.  I was home by 6pm, & had all of Sunday to decompress.

I think the next time I go to Nantucket, because I will be back, I would stay 2+ days longer.

That’s all she wrote, folks!  It was a great trip!

Let me know where you think I should go next…

Kiss Hug,

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Hallmark Summer Movies

So, if you know me at all, you know that Summer is my least favorite season.  Living in Texas might factor into my hatred of heat.  That said, the Hallmark Summer series also happens to be my least favorite catalog of movies every year.  In order from favorite to least, I like Christmas (duh!), Fall, Winter, Spring, Valentines, & finally summer.

However, doing the Lord’s work I did watch most of the Summer movies.  Let’s do a little dissection shall we?

Starting with the Countdown to Summer movies: Countdown to Summer

  1. Love in the Sand: Didn’t watch & had no interest.
  2. From Friend to Fiance: I thought this one was pretty cute.  This was my first introduction to Jocelyn Hudon (she’s so cute!), & I usually always like Ryan Paevey movies.
  3. Sailing into Love: I liked this one more than I thought I would.  I’m not typically a Chris McNally fan, but I really like Leah Renee.
  4. A Feeling of Home: I had zero interest in this movie & didn’t watch.

My favorite from Countdown to Summer was…Paris, Wine, & Romance!  Paris, Wine & Romance

I always love a Jen Lilley movie, & this was not a let down.  Cute guy – check.  Pinot Noir – check.  Paris – check.  Jen Lilley – check.  Doesn’t take much to make me watch a Hallmark movie, but this checked all the nonexistent boxes.

Moving on to June Weddings: June Weddings

  1. Sister of the Bride: I love Becca Tobin, but I thought this movie was just ehhh.  Getting married in Palm Springs over July 4th sounds like a nightmare.
  2. The Last Bridesmaid: I loved this one!  It had my girl Rachel Boston in it, ya’ll know she is my favorite!  I also really like Paul Campbell, but always forget about him.
  3. Love, Take Two: It was okay…I was kinda bored throughout.
  4. Wedding at Graceland: Probably the cheesiest of them all.
  5. My Boyfriend’s Back: Wedding: I really like Cindy Busby, but I am not a fan of the Jack Wagner/Josie Bisset movies.  Not really sure why, but I find them so annoying.  I was bored during this one.My Boyfriend's Back

Next up, we had the Summer Nights series:

Out of these 5 movies, I loved 3 of them, liked 1 okay, & totally did not like 1 at all.

  1. My One & Only: The was very Bachelor adjacent & I loved it!  Sam Page & Pascale Hutton can do no wrong together.
  2. All Summer Long: I hated this movie.   I’d rather have watched an episode of Below Deck on Bravo.
  3. A Summer Romance: I loved this one!  Another Ryan Paevey movie, so it had good chances.  Erin Krakow can sometimes annoy me, I can’t put my finger on what it is about her, but luckily I loved this movie!
  4. Love & Sunshine: This was unexpectedly my favorite!  I can go either way on Danica McKellar, but this movie unexpectedly made my heart smile so much.
  5. Taste of Summer: These two leads are married in real life I believe.  I liked this one, but I also did other things while it was on, so take that for what you will.

I believe Forever in my Heart will close out the Summer movies next week, & then we get into Fall!  Forever in My Heart

I quite enjoy Merritt Patterson, but I haven’t seen any previews for this yet.  Looks like we’ll get a prince falling for the beautiful commoner.

What Summer movies did you like?  Did I miss any good ones?

With the Fall movies, I’ll recap them each week instead of doing a long list like this.  Maybe I’ll do a list at the end of the season too…thoughts?

Kiss Hug,

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Hallmark Movie Favorites

Hi friends!  I’ve decided to try something new here…Hallmark movie recaps!  I mean, I’m watching them every weekend anyway, right?  Right.

First things first, I don’t know about you but I definitely have favorite Hallmark stars, some that I could take or leave, & some that I will not watch the movie if they are in it.  Let’s dive in a little deeper, shall we?

My Favorites are: Favorites

If any of these folks are in the movie, I am watching it with my full attention.  Most likely it will be on my list of favorites for the season as well.

Rachel Boston is my absolute favorite!  Emilie Ullerup & Brendan Penny are not far behind.  I love all of their movies.

My Take It or Leave Its are: Take It or Leave It

So with these leading ladies, chances are I’ll watch the movie but also be scrolling on Instagram or something.

Autumn Reeser should only be allowed to do the Fall movies because her eye & hair color are perfectly suited for Fall foliage…and her name is Autumn.  I know Danica McKellar & Lacey Chabert are fan favorites, & I like them too, but I’m a little tired of them.

My Nopes are: Nope

Now don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these women.  I just personally don’t enjoy most of their movies.  Candace Cameron Bure seems to own Hallmark or something, & quite frankly I’m ready to relegate her to her mystery channel permanently.

My Honorable Mentions are: Honorable Mentions

I wish Hallmark would cast these ladies more; I’ve really enjoyed all of their movies.  I’m pretty sure at least half have been in movies with Luke Macfarlane from my Favorites List.  Your move Hallmark.

Who are your hallmark favorites?  Who did I forget?

Kiss Hug,

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