A Perfect Saturday Morning in the Magic City

There is no denying I love Birmingham. It’s booming with movers, makers, dreamers, creators and designers. The choices are endless for things to do and see in our Magic City. But my one of my favorites is Pepper Place Market.

If you follow me on Instagram you know I have a love affair with Pepper Place Market and farmer’s markets in general. Hip hip hooray! Saturday is the first outdoor market of the year for Pepper Place which ranks in my top two in the world, Venice, Italy being the second.

Wake up early and head to Pepper Place Farmer’s Market.  I like to get there early around 715 to beat the heat and the crowds. The Outdoor Market at Pepper Place will run every Saturday April 14 through December, 7 am to noon, rain or shine.

I love the small town feel you find here. The same talented vendors, some who have even become friends themselves so to say. Grab breakfast here with some friends.

I always allow space for adventures and new discoveries. I usually case the place once before making any purchases. My favorites include boudin or breakfast burritos from Homewood Gourmet. Grab some iced tea from Piper & Leaf to go with your breakfast. Visit the best candy makers in the Ham at Birmingham Candy Co. Owls Hollow Farm has most veggies all year long since they use hydroponic systems for growing. Marble Creek has some great meat and eggs. Hezibah Farms and Stone Hollow Farmstead have the best flowers.

You can find everything from veggies, ice cream, jewelry, plants, pastries, tea, coffee, soap, candles, flower, meat and eggs. The variety is plentiful. There’s also free WiFi outdoors this season!

I love watching these locals start out at the farmers market and grow into a real store front. Don’t forget to continue to visit them!

A Weekend Escape to Beaufort, SC

This past weekend Ryan and I escaped for some relaxing time in the Lowcountry. The weather was a little chilly especially since when I was in Savannah just a week and a few days before it was a balmy 80 degrees. Since Ryan’s foot is still in a boot, we did not do anything major. Just relaxed, ate good food, spent some time driving around to different areas, and chased the sunsets.

My usual beach days start with beach sunrise walks. It really was colder than I expected this week so I did not walk much. Usually, I grab breakfast from Palm and Moon bagel to enjoy by the waterfront. It was closed this week for some constructions. I grabbed a biscuit at Common Grounds. The next mornings I just made my way back to bed for a nap before Ryan (the habitual late sleeper) woke up.

We grabbed lunch and then drove around, spent sometime on the beach or at the waterfront before dinner.  We tried a few new places while we were in town. Sea Eagle, Boundary Street Cafe, Bella Luna, The Upper Crust and Blackstone’s.

Sea Eagle was your generic seafood but the smell of the seafood market in the same building was too much. I prefer Shrimp Basket

Boundary Street Cafe was delicious and we will definitely go back. Ryan had the french toast. I had a panini with pimento cheese and bacon and a side of tomato soup. It reminded me of the tomato soup at Joe’s in Alabaster if you have ever been there. We split a She Crab Soup which has come closest to being similar to our favorite soup which from Panini’s on the Waterfront.

We also just ordered soup from Bella Luna. It was different. We couldn’t quite figure out how maybe added veggies?

The Upper Crust is a local pizza joint. We ordered it to go and enjoyed it at the park at sunset. We will eat there again. The upper crust pizza has an upper crust as well. It reminded me of a calzone. I want to try their Frogmore special which has shrimp and sausage on it.

Blackstone’s is located on a side street a few steps from Bay Street. They have breakfast and sandwiches. Ryan ordered the shrimp and grits, I had the crab cakes Benedict, and we shared a walnut cinnamon roll. The cinnamon roll was sweet and soft. I particularly like the different nautical and school flags they used to decorate.

We also tried out Stellar Ice Cream on Lady’s Island. Yummy with interesting flavors such as ricotta honey.

We also saw a double feature at the HWY 21 Drive In Friday night. The line up could have not been more perfect. A Wrinkle in Time and Black Panther. Both phenomenal. We caught a little of Peter Rabbit before our movies started and it’s on my too watch list. We usually go to the cheaper theater in BHM that shows movies on a later timeline. Normally this is cost effective and perfectly fine with me. So this felt like a real treat.

We left later than we really planned on Sunday because Daylight Savings (oh how I loathe thee) and brunch at Blackstone’s took longer than anticipated.  The drive home which is about 6 hours and 20 minutes seemed to take forever! I had real re-entry dread/anxiety Sunday afternoon and evening. I took some time on the drive home to look at my calendar and intentionally plan some workouts and to do list time. I also made myself completely unpack which I have a bad habit of drawing it out. All that to say I am looking for some tips and tricks to make travel and the subsequent transition back into everyday life smoother. As much as we travel you think I would have this down but I do not. Any suggestions or tips?

A Weekend Away in Savannah, GA

We recently had a girls only weekend in Savannah for my cousin’s birthday. Ryan convinced me to leave Thursday night so I could spend some time Friday in Beaufort. My aunt, two cousins and their friend also spent some time Friday in Beaufort. My mom and sister joined us in Savannah later Friday night. My sister’s name twin friend lives in Savannah so she joined us on some adventures as well. I am so glad we all were able to go. The older we get the harder it proves to be to have everyone together at the same time.

You can check out my previous Beaufort post for more information on what to do in the Beaufort area. We savored some favorites, The Shrimp Shack, the beach, grabbed some peach mint tea and The Chocolate Tree, before heading to Savannah.

We settled into our lovely Air B&B in the historic district. It was a beautiful house full of history within walking distance to Forsyth Park.  For dinner we inhaled some guac and tacos at Bull Street Taco. I loved the street corn here, well basically I love street corn in general. We grabbed some drinks and snacks from a near by Kroger. Then chatted most of the night away.

Saturday morning my sister and I walked down to the Famer’s Market in Forsyth Park. We grabbed some cheese, bread, strawberries and carrots for breakfast. Afterwards we headed out for some shopping and walking before lunch.

We stopped at many Savannah favorites including, Salacia Salts, Shop SCAD here I purchased a leather tassel and a bracelt that reads, Fortune Favors the Brave (oh hose I needs some braveness within my soul) and One Fish Two Fish where I fell in love with a furniture piece there. It took everything I had not to bring it home with me.  We admired the beautiful houses and squares as we meandered down to The Olde Pink House for lunch. We loved the cheese straws and shrimp and grits.

After a scrumptious meal we decided to cancel our dinner reservations at Local Ten 11 in favor of locating some good seafood. We continued to wander about and shop at local favorites The Paris Market, Savannah Bee Company, as well as Kendra Scott and Lulu Lemon. I grabbed a chai tea latte and macaron at The Paris Market and some honey and hand soap at Savannah Bee.

Half of the group took a Lyft home. The other half waited around then prices surged so we had the birthday girl come pick us up on a corner. We enjoyed Savage’s bakery birthday cake on the porch.

After a small respite and changing clothes we headed out via Lyft to the Riverwalk for our ghost tour. We went on the Old Towne Trolley Tour. Now I must say ghost tours are not my thing. I honestly was a bit disappointed this did not involve a little more history. River Street Sweets pralines were next on our list and close to the end of the trolley tour. We grabbed dinner at the Savannah Seafood Shack. Fried shrimp cones, Lowcountry Boil and Diet Coke for everyone.

I went back to the house with Mama and Aunt Amy, I mean somebody had to make sure they were safe aka I am lame and like bed and quiet time. The girls made it home shortly after a few drinks and dances out on the town.

Sunday morning we packed up, mama and sister when to visit her friend and the rest of us went to brunch. We attempted to go to Collins Quarter but the wait was long and we were anxious to get on the road home. So we opted for a picnic brunch from Gallery Expresso in Chippewa Square. We said our good byes and parted ways for now.

I can not wait to see where our next adventure takes us. Alyssa votes for Bora Bora with a new tradition that we rotate traveling for birthdays and who ever we are celebrating everyone else pays for their trip.

The Barefoot Mermaid Travels to New Bern, NC

The first weekend of 2018 was spent in New Bern, NC for Ryan’s best friend’s wedding. Our trip was a bit hampered by Ryan’s broken foot, snow and ice in the area but we still aimed to have a good time. As a side note I was absolutely crushed we could not dance, as dancing is one of my favorite things ever. We also had wedding things to attend so did not have as much downtime for exploring since everything takes ten times longer with a broken foot. Continue reading “The Barefoot Mermaid Travels to New Bern, NC”

2018 Goals

There is something fresh and new about the New Year. One tends to reflect, dream and hope. One of my favorite goal master minds, Lara Casey swears there is nothing special about starting on January 1st and while that is true you definitely do not need to wait til January 1, 2019 to make some of your goals happen if you missed the boat this New Year’s Day, I do think there is something almost magical about a new year and a fresh start. Today I am going to share with you my goals for 2018 and a sneak peak into my Powersheets. Continue reading “2018 Goals”

The Barefoot Mermaid’s Guide to Nashville, TN

Nashville is about a 2.5 hour drive from Birmingham. The drive time makes it a great day trip or weekend getaway. We have been a few times over the last several years for birthdays, concerts and to meet my cousin there. This is in no way a comprehensive list. Just things we have chosen to do and would recommend.

Stay:

Hotels are outrageous in Nashville in my opinion. We generally stay in Brentwood or Franklin area as the hotels are cheaper than downtown. With the amount of events and people in the area hotels are always in high demand. We usually can find an decent price on a discount site such as Priceline, but they are in no way a steal. On our most recent trip we stayed further out and more east, it was not as inconvenient as I had imagined.

Eats:

Gojo Ethiopian Cafe is a stop we make every time we are in Nashville. Out of Ethiopian we have tried in Orlando, Chapel Hill, Atlanta , Birmingham and Houston, this my favorite. If you like Ethiopian or trying new things I highly suggest Gojo. Must eat.

Blue Sky located in East Nashville we tried this per a friend’s recommendation and now go here when we are in town. Delicious breakfast/brunch. There usually is a wait but its manageable and a nice neighborhood to walk around while you wait. Must eat.

Franklin Juice Co. has locations in 12 South and the Franklin Factory. We tried this on our last trip. You know my love for smoothie bowls. It was nice to split one on our way to brunch which we knew would have a wait.

Loveless Cafe is a Southern institution. Ryan and I ordered food to go and ate it at a near by park. If you have a large party or even just a party of four I would try dining in family style. I am glad we went but now that we have been I am not sure we will go back for a while as there are so many other places in Nashville we have not tried yet.

Urban Grub located in 12 south. We ate here one time for my sister’s birthday. Reservations are a must. We had reservations and still waited almost an hour to be seated. Again, yummy food but with so many places to eat in Nashville I am not sure we will circle back until we have crossed some other places off our list.

DeSano Pizza is a delicious treat. Similar to Atlanta’s Antico. We usually eat here every time as it is quick and crowd pleasing while also tasty.

The Pharmacy located in East Nashville serves up burgers, beer and house made sodas. we have eaten here plenty of times. A good place to grab lunch when you first arrive in Nashville.

Coco’s Italian Market and Restaurant is somewhere new we tried on our most recent trip. It was delicious and fun to look around the market since we have recently been to Italy. They have a ricotta stuff mozzarella ball that was drool worthy. We will definitely be back.

No Baked Cookie Dough is opening up a store front this Fall. We grabbed some from the pop up in front of the new store. We tried all the classic flavors. I was hoping to grab some Pumpkin Spice but they did not have any that day.

Mas Tacos located across from The Pharmacy. We have been wanting to try this place for a while and finally did in September. It was good, cheap and we will be back. Try the avocado taco and elote. Must Eat.

Olive & Sinclair Chocolate. You can eat, tour and shop here. The duck fat caramels are my favorite.

Play:

Ryman Auditorium we took a tour a few years ago. The tour was self guided with some video education along the way. I really want to see an actual show one day, especially after listening to current Nashville resident, Annie Downs book Looking for Lovely. She wrote a chapter about the Mother Church while sitting in the Mother Church that brought me to tears.

Grand Ole Opry offers guided tours. We did this recently, I can not recommend it enough. You actually get to walk back stage, into some dressing rooms, and into the circle. Highly informative and fun. Must do.

Bridgestone Arena catch a concert or a hockey game. We try to catch the Blackhawks when they are in town since its closer and cheaper than Chicago.

Parthenon was originally built for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, now serves as an art museum. We have never been inside but we have walked around the outside and park.

Nashville Murals. We have not done them all but a fun stop if you are close by.

Shop:

Franklin Farmer’s Market open every Saturday year round. Located next to the Factory at Franklin. Cross both off your list one Saturday Morning. We often pick up breakfast here. Must do.

The Factory at Franklin is home to many good stores and bites. Wonder around one morning after you have visited the Farmer’s Market.

The Mall at Green Hills. Nordstrom.  Need I say more? Ok, Lilly, Lush, Athleta, and Absolution.

Parnassus Books an independent bookstore located across from Green Hills mall. One of my favorites ever.

The Shine Project has opened a store in Nashville. I love Ashley (ok I don’t actually know her) and her work. There are many cute small shops located in the same area. Worth a look.

Thistle Farms located close to Coco’s Italian, in fact that is how we stumbled upon the Italian restaurant. Ryan’s parents gave me some bath products they bought in a shop in Rome, Ga. When I read they shop was located in Nashville and employed women survivors of human trafficking, addiction and prostitution I knew I had to visit the store and support them. I may have picked up some Christmas gifts.

Amelia’s Flower Truck. A flower truck can life get any cuter?

White’s Mercantile has a little something for everyone. Located in 12 South a wonderful stop if you are strolling the area.

Draper James is also located in 12South. Reese Witherspoon’s Brand based off her Grandparent’s name. A fun stop. I am going to buy a piece one day but which one they are all too cute. Their kitchen/household things are adorable too.

Ex Voto Vintage has beautiful one of a kind jewelry. I have not actually been to the Nashville location but I have been to the Birmingham location.

To Do List:

Country Music Hall of Fame. We have never been but on our list.

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

Biscuit Love

Belle Meade Plantation

Johnny Cash Museum

Do you have any must do, favorite that I missed? Send them over so I can add them to our list. So many things to do, see and eat.

The Barefoot Mermaid’s Guide to Aiken, SC

My Mama grew up in Aiken so I have found childhood memories of Magnolia trees, cousin twins, the Secret Garden, family, Ginkgo leaf bouquets, walks and bike rides, parks, rose pine cones, and Red Lobster. The past few years we have made a few stops in Aiken and it is thriving. I love to see the Downtown coming back to life. It seems like the happening place to live these days, it sure is nice for a visit. Continue reading “The Barefoot Mermaid’s Guide to Aiken, SC”

Disney World Resorts

Places to Stay

Disney’s Resorts have unparalleled theming and service. One of my favorite things about some of the Disney Resorts is there smell. Yes you read that right for example the lobby of Disney’s Beach Club smells like the beach. No lie. If you have the money to afford to stay on property do it. We prefer to stay off property to be able to afford to go more. But for big special trips we will stay on property. Continue reading “Disney World Resorts”

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