Life, Blog, Travel

Weekend Trip: Philadelphia

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to present a poster at the Society for Research in Child Development Special Topics Meeting held in Philadelphia. Although I accidentally printed my poster with the wrong title (WHOOPS! and SOO embarrassed!), I still learned so much from the conference and made some great connections. We first visited Philly last year when we won tickets to the Army Navy game and did all of the tourist stuff then. This time, we were able to venture out and check out all of the cool local favorites.

Thursday night we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Cleaver’s. It’s a small bar that serves great cheesesteaks. Last time we were in Philly we overdid it on the cheesesteaks, so this time we told ourselves that we would only have one.

For lunch on Friday we went to Monk’s Cafe, a restaurant/bar that has been open for more than 20 years and prides itself on serving world-class beers. We did some reading and all signs pointed to Monk’s! We tried the Monk’s mussels which were divine. They were steamed in beer, garlic, and parsley. These were the basic recipe, and we hope to go back and try the others. Also, the fries were ridiculously delicious! My absolute favorite was the Gaffel Kolsch beer. If you are able to buy this anywhere I highly recommend it!

Friday night we went to see a string quartet and before we stopped at Mac Mart. This restaurant started off as a food truck and due to its popularity they decided to open a flagship store. Let me tell you all…this place was TOPS. The mac and cheese here is probably the best I have ever had and definitely will make you super happy! We got the “In the Buff” which was their classic mac topped with buffalo chicken chunks, potato chip panko crunch, and Pam Pam’s Buttermilk Ranch. If you have a chance and need a quick bite to eat, I HIGHLY recommend stopping here!

Saturday morning we ventured over to Drexel University’s campus to grab breakfast at Sabrina’s Cafe. Several people recommended going here on my Instagram and on Reddit, so we knew we had to check it out. We got the Stuffed Challah French Toast (hands down the BEST french toast I have ever had) and Eggscellent Mexi Special. We left there happy and full. We could have easily taken a nap after eating here, but we had a full day of exploring ahead of us.

My favorite thing we did was walk over to University of Pennsylvania’s campus. It was SO gorgeous! The buildings were so pretty and the campus was lovely! Afterwards we took a train to Chestnut Hill because there was a Witches and Wizards festival happening. It was so fun to see all of the kids and everyone dressed up in Harry Potter costumes. The neighborhood of Chestnut Hill was SO charming and I could totally see ourselves living there one day.

To cap off our day, we headed over near Fish Town to check out The Philadelphia Brewing Company and Tired Hands Brewing Company. Both of these places had great beer and a great atmosphere! I highly recommend checking out these local businesses!

We seriously cannot wait to head back to Philly to check out more neighborhoods and local shops. If you have any recommendations for our next trip, let me know!

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, Travel

Visiting Magnolia Market

The weekend that we arrived in Dallas, It just so happened that Mike’s parents were also visiting family in Texas. Halfway between where his family lives and Dallas is Waco, the home of Magnolia Market. For those who don’t know what the Magnolia Market is, perhaps you’re more familiar with the show Fixer Upper on HGTV–Magnolia Market is owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, the personalities on the show. What’s so neat about this place is that rather than tearing old buildings down and/or building a new building, it is built around a historic grain barn, and the silos give It so much character. Also, It has driven a lot of business to the city (or town I should say) of Waco. We arrived around 9 AM and the parking lot was already full! Also, parking is FREE and so is admission!

Magnolia Market is a shopping complex complete with a shop where you can buy items that Joanna uses to decorate, food trucks with picnic tables, and a lawn area. We really wanted to go to Silos Baking Co., but the line was so long! You also have to stand in line to get into the store, too. My favorite part about Magnolia Market is the garden which has a smaller shop called Magnolia Seed Supply. The beds were filled with flowers and seasonal produce. The garden shop has gardening tools, growing kits, and really neat pots and vessels to use for planting.

If you want to visit downtown Waco (there really wasn’t much to It, but I can see that It’s growing!), there is a free trolley that you can hop on. I highly recommend going to Hey Sugar which is a really cute candy store. They have all sorts of candy, ice cream, different flavors of popcorn (I really loved the dill pickle!), and in the back is a wide assortment of sodas!

We went on a Saturday, so that’s probably why It was sooo busy and crowded. It was incredibly crowded in the store (and I tend to get a bit claustrophobic in big crowds), so I wasn’t really able to check out all of the neat home items in the store. So I would suggest that, if possible, try going on a weekday. There are also a lot of cute photo ops, but It was really hard with so many people around! We had such a blast! I encourage everyone to check It out!

Blog, Travel

Macarons of Dallas

Everywhere we travel, I am always on the hunt for macarons. Ladurée still holds the title for best macarons, but It’s hard to even compete with its macaron perfection. I have thought about attempting to make my own macarons, but It seems like an intimidating process and that the stars and moon have to be perfectly aligned to get them to have the right consistency and look. Ladurée was my very first macaron and I’m not a picky eater, but their macarons spoiled me and I now hold all macarons up to their standard.

So what makes a perfect macaron? The cookie-to-filling ration should be 1:1 and 2:1. I hate biting into a macaron that has a glob of filling in It that squishes out of the side. Also, the texture and surface of the cookie should be smooth, and the crust should be thin. The texture of the crust should be just a little chewy. And the flavor and sweetness needs to be balanced and not overly sugary.

While in Dallas I searched for their top macarons. I still haven’t gone to all of the locations listed in a very helpful article that ranked all of the macarons in Dallas (Check It out here!), but I did manage to go to top 3 listed on Google: JOY Macarons, Haute Sweets Patisserie, and Chelles Macarons.

First, we went to JOY (@joymacarons) in Lower Greenville (1927 Greenville Ave.). Several people had mentioned this place so I had to check It out. The store was little and so fun! They had several flavors and I got a (super cute) box of 6 for $12 I believe. I always get a pistachio for Mike and vanilla for myself for a true test. This time I got French Vanilla, Pistachio, Lavender, Salted Caramel, Lemon, and Raspberry. Now, I was most excited to try Raspberry because It is my favorite at Ladurée, but I must say the jam was a bit too tart. The others had great flavor, but the cookies were all hollow. Also, they were all different sizes (which seemed weird to me).

Next, we went to Haute Sweets Patisserie (@hautesweetspatisserie) (10230 Northwest Highway). This shop actually won Best if the Big D 2016 for Best Bakery. The customer service was incredible and everyone was so nice! They really nailed the flavors and the consistencies were really nice! They have some pretty great chefs and some have been featured on Food Network and TLC! I would definitely recommend going here!

Finally, we checked out Chelles Macarons (@chellesmacarons) in the Dallas Farmer’s Market (920 South Harwood Street), and we unknowingly saved the best for last. They were out of the cute boxes, so we only got 2 (Pistachio & Earl Grey). Let me just say that Chelles NAILED It. The flavor, consistency, and texture were perfect. These honestly are ranked after Ladurée on my list now. The Earl Grey was absolute perfection–they were thin and light, and the flavor hit the mark! I highly recommend checking Chelles out. I believe they have another location, but if you go to this one then you can also spend several hours at the awesome Dallas Farmer’s Market!

I still need to check out the rest of the bakeries in Dallas, but It seems like Chelles takes the trophy for being the best macaron bakery in Dallas!

Blog, Travel

Weekend Trip: Dallas

This weekend we drove 12 and a half hours from Tallahassee, FL to Dallas, TX, and boy was It a LONG drive. Mike has an internship in Dallas this summer, so I decided to go with him to help him move in. It was Memorial Day weekend so we had Friday-Monday to explore the city and get familiar with It. Being from the south we are used to the heat, but WOW, Dallas was SOO hot! So if you visit in the summer, be sure to pack accordingly!

I’m just going to tell you about the highlights of our weekend, and then in later blog posts I’ll go more in depth about certain places, eats, and experiences! Our first mission was to go to visit Dealey Plaza to see the spot were JFK was assassinated, and to pay our respects. It’s definitely worth seeing and it’s in downtown Dallas. Downtown Dallas is really neat, but it shuts down after 5. We visited the Woolworth, which used to be an actual Woolworth story, and the Mitchell, which is a smaller bar but was SO pretty inside! But if you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out the Eyeball! It’s so cool! Dallas is about an hour and a half from Waco, TX where the Magnolia Market is, which is run by Joanna and Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper. We met up with Mike’s family who was also visiting! When we got back to Dallas, we checked out Deep Ellum which is an art district with tons or really cool wall art and restaurants.

Deep Ellum wasn’t really our style, but we came across a really nice pocket of town called Lower Greenville which is FILLED with a lot of bars and restaurants. There is a Trader Joe’s there, JOY macarons (which I’ll talk about in a later post), the Truck Yard (our favorite!), and best of all the area is super dog friendly. Mike wanted to bring our rescue dog, Sutton, with him for the summer, and Sutton got lots of attention everywhere we went. (Sutton was also able to handle the long car drive like a champ!!) We also drove up to Highland Park to check out the high-end shopping. I was mostly interested in visiting Draper James to try on some things from the new line. There were several other incredible shops, but the houses in that area were incredibly immaculate–that’s probably because they were the homes to Jerry Jones, George W. Bush, etc.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting the Dallas Farmer’s Market (I’ll talk about this in a later post!). It looks like they’re adding more to It, so I am excited to go back when I visit again. We walked around a massive, gorgeous nursery called Ruibal’s Plants of Texas and were able to take some pretty cool pics. In the Farmer’s Market are several awesome bars and restaurants, and my (now) favorite place to get macarons in Dallas, Chelles Macarons (I’ll talk about this in a later post!).

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, Travel

Weekend Trip: Pensacola

After every semester I’m given about a week of “vacation” time–with vacation time meaning “time to catch up on busy work” time–but I usually try to make the best of my “time off”. My husband is from Pensacola, and as soon as he finished his law school finals we headed to his hometown.

Mike always reminds me how much history is in Pensacola. It was actually the first settlement in the US but was wiped out by a hurricane, and now “St. Augustine gets all of the glory”. Most people think of the beaches when they hear Pensacola, and while It has beautiful, white sand beaches, downtown Pensacola is really where the fun and food is at!

Our favorite place downtown Pensacola is Global Grill. It’s an AMAZING tapas bar, so don’t mess up and order a big entree. The tuna cubes are to DIE for, and so is the charcuterie board. Always be sure to ask for the specials because they switch them out often! We did, of course, go to the beach because I absolutely love being near the water when possible. So, if you are near Orange Beach, AL, avoid going to the tourist traps and the Flora-Bama (although going to the Flora-Bama on Sunday is pretty fun!), and go to Cobalt. It’s an awesome restaurant on the water that has amazing Apalachicola oysters, food, and drinks. Also, I’m always on the hunt for macarons and I found this bakery called Adonnas that had some. They were definitely tasty, but there was too much filling. However, a local talked me into getting the earl grey flavor and It was absolutely delicious! I will definitely be on the lookout for those in the future!

I was absolutely excited to take pictures in my new Kiel James Patrick Summering dress. I really wanted the yellow, but you can never go wrong with classic blue pinstripes. The detail on this dress is perfect, from the ruffled collar to the white contrast sleeve cuffs. It’s perfectly light and airy, and can be dressed up or down! And best of all….IT HAS POCKETS!!!

Blog, Travel

Weekend Trip: Raleigh, NC

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Mike and I love to take weekend trips. Right now with both of us in school, it’s really hard to take big trips. But, we decided that we are going to try and take weekend trips as often as we can to satisfy our desire for wanderlust. This past weekend we traveled to Raleigh, NC to visit my sister to shop for her wedding dress and to check out the city.

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Right now, Mike and I are scheduled to graduate at the same time, which means we will both go on the job market at the same time. We have to find a place that has both a university for me and a good legal market for Mike. We know that we want to stay in the southeast (but are willing to try other places!), and have always been interested in Raleigh. You see, the area of Raleigh is known as the “Research Triangle” which consists of Duke University, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University–pretty much the holy grail for me! So, we jumped on a good opportunity to visit Raleigh to see if its the place for us.

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Our main purpose for traveling? FOOD and DRINKS! We love finding the best local spots where we are visiting, and, oh boy, Raleigh did NOT disappoint! We grabbed oysters and dinner with my sister the night that we got in town, and then bar hopped and explored on Saturday. There are so many breweries and bars in Raleigh, and each one is unique! I must say my absolute favorite quality about Raleigh is that there are SO many local businesses, and they all support each other. Although common corporate businesses were there, their presence was not apparent and in your face.

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On Saturday I set out on a search for macarons. My sister mentioned lucette grace, so we decided to check it out, but before then we went to brunch at Clouds Brewing. The food was so amazing, but I thought it was really neat that they had a wall of local beers that was self-serve! Afterwards we barhopped into downtown, but not before we grabbed coffee and macarons at lucette grace. Although I am completely spoiled by the always delicious macarons from Laduree in NYC and nothing could ever compete with them, these were very tasty and great! But, my favorite menu item was the coffee! Like, WOW! The coffee was amazing! My sister says that they have amazing pastries there, so next time I will have to check those out.

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It was a bit chilly in Raleigh at the time we went, so I was so happy that I had my classic navy peacoat by Calvin Klein to keep me warm. But what I loved most was my sweater from Kiel James Patrick. I loved showing it off (and semi-twinning with Mike all day) everywhere I went. I have been wanting one, and I am so happy that I finally bought one. It’s absolute perfection in a sweater. It’s not too heavy or bulky, but it is incredibly cozy and keeps you so warm! I highly recommend buying one!

Our experience in Raleigh was certainly a strong and lasting one. Raleigh has such a laid-back, local feel, and also offers all of the resources and shopping of a big city without the heavy traffic!! Before leaving, we said to each other that this is the place for us and that we are going to work hard to make sure that we end up in Raleigh!

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Peacoat: Calvin Klein | Sweater: Kiel James Patrick | Pants: Southern Tide