Travel Diary: Copenhagen

I’ve been stateside for over a week but I’m still missing that Copenhagen life …

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& the cooler temps.

& the food.

& all the beautiful people.              

If you follow along on Instagram, then you probably saw that I recently took a trip to Copenhagen and Berlin. While the trip was planned months ago, the destinations were picked rather randomly. My best friend and forever travel companion, Morgan, sent me a list of destinations with cheap tickets and we decided on Copenhagen. Adding a leg in Berlin for good measure. 😉

Neither of us really knew what to expect with either destination. But I don’t think there was ever a moment where we were not eating, drinking, or laughing hysterically. Copenhagen was an absolute dream and Berlin was a blast.

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I’ll be publishing my recap on Berlin later this week, but first wanted to share some snap shots from our time spent in Copenhagen, along with a day x day breakdown. Hope these photos inspire a little bit of wanderlust!

Scroll to the bottom for a full list of the restaurants, museums and sites we visited.

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Day 1 // Arrives in København…

3:00pm: Deplanes at CPH and is immediately hit with a smell of something delicious (sausage, hotdogs?).

4:00pm: Meets host at our Airbnb. Morgan asks about cool neighborhoods we should check out. I inquire about those “hotdogs” we smelt at the airport.

After, trying to describe the food (“long pork links” – I use hand motions) and explaining that in America, we call them hotdogs. Søren, our sweet Danish host, confirms that they too, call them hotdogs (or pølse). I feel like a moron.

4:30pm: We settle in, unpack and freshen up. Ready to go explore and find a dinner spot.

6:00pm: We stumble upon Fleisch and are happily seated at the bar.

6:08pm: Our waiter looks like Olympian Tom Daly and the menu is meat focused. 5 stars.

8:15pm: Walks back to our apartment. Both of us are unsure of what time or day it is and fall asleep almost instantly.    

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Copenhagen

Day 2 // Goes on a gastronomic journey…

9:00am: Wake up feeling like it’s Christmas morning! We’re eating at Geranium for lunch.

9:15am: Morgan and I apply eye masks. We decide to skip breakfast because we’re about to dine on 16 courses. Casual.

9:22am: I plug in my straightener. Zap! Straightener dies. Reality sets in that I’m just going to have bad hair for the rest of the trip. But I don’t care.

9:35am: Contemplating what one wears to a noon reservation at the 19th best restaurant in the world. Decides on all black.

10:00am: Leaves apartment, giving ourselves 2 hours to make our reservation – plenty of time. Right?

10:30am: Clearly, we’re new here because the nicest gentleman offers us help with buying our metro tickets after he sees us struggling. Did I mention, that everyone is extremely nice (and ridiculously good looking)?

10:45am: We make it on the train. The station, platform and train car are all spotless, this seems to be a trend here in CPH. I like it. 

11:15am: Gets off at Nordhavn. Begins our “short” stroll towards the restaurant.  

11:45am: This walk is absolutely beautiful but I hope we’re getting close because that 2-hour time frame is closing in.

11:58pm: Arrives at Geranium 2 minutes early. Do we pace outside the elevator? Do we touch up our wind-blown hair? Do we just go in? All of the above, in that order.

***Saving our Geranium experience for a separate blog post because it was magical.***  

3:00pm: We begrudgingly leave Geranium, I think we could have lingered all day just watching the kitchen do their thing. 

3:45pm: Back in the city center, we take a beer break at a pub. This is the first of many “øl/bier” breaks we take during our trip. Not mad about it.

5:00pm: Head towards Nyhavn because I need an Instagram of the canals.

I should note that there are random public restrooms all throughout the city. They are such a blessing, I can’t even begin to tell you. And they’re clean! Seriously – Copenhagen, what’s your deal? Why are your restrooms so clean and your streets so tidy! I love you.

8:00pm: We choose a small Shawarma spot for dinner. Still not used their currency and we’re spending Kroners like it’s monopoly money – cheap dinner FTW.

10:00pm: Back at the apartment. Are we lame for not staying out? No, we’re grandmothers mature adults who are jetlagged.

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Day 3 // A day of exploration…

10:00am: Stops by Joe & The Juice for breakfast – the millennial pink logo is too enticing.

10:22am: Morgan and I are both convinced they put ice cream in our smoothies.

Note to self: need to Google ingredients of vanille mælk.

11:00am: Double fisting an iced coffee and avocado smoothie, we board the train to Humlebæk.

We also purchased a Copenhagen Card (highly recommend) so we’re feeling pretty unstoppable.

12:00pm: Walking through the most beautiful “suburb.” Daydreams about raising a family in OTP Copenhagen.

12:25pm: Arrives at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Immediately feels more cultured.

12:40pm: You guys, Marina Abramović is a strange bird. Talented, provocative, intelligent but strange as hell.

1:43pm: Heads back into the city.

2:30pm: Takes the long route to Rosenborg Castle (aka I lead us toward the wrong direction, takes us about 5 minutes to realize).

2:46pm: Quick stroll through The Botanical Gardens.

3:08pm: Stops at the café outside of the castle for a quick snack (we forgot to eat lunch). Once again, my math isn’t quick enough to convert Kroners to USD. I spend roughly $11 on a bag of chips crisps and can of San Pellegrino. Oops. Copenhagen is expensive (maybe that’s why it’s so clean?).

3:30pm: Castle closes in 30 minutes so we run to the top floor to check out the oriental rugs, throne and impressive China collection and then jet down to the basement to see the crown jewels.

4:00pm: Wanders around the royal grounds contemplating our next move. Decides to head towards Strömma for a canal tour.

4:26pm: Pit stop for hot dogs pølse. They didn’t disappoint!

4:45pm: We pick up our tickets (free with the Copenhagen Card!). We’re told that there isn’t an open container law in Copenhagen. (We had noticed people openly drinking but it didn’t really occur to us that us tourists could partake in the fun!)

4:46pm: Purchases 4 Carlsberg beers for the ride. 😉

5:00pm: Canal tour is very informative until out tour guide is switched out and the new lady speaks in a soft whisper and doesn’t use the microphone to her advantage. Morgan begins mentally crafting the review she plans to leave on TripAdvisor. We have beer so all is well.

6:00pm: Tour is done, beers are gone. Public restrooms come to the rescue again.

6:45pm: Arrives at an inconspicuous bar, known for their craft cocktails. Couldn’t be happier.

7:02pm: We both develop a crush on the bartender.

8:00pm: Leaves perfect bar to find dinner.

8:15pm: Cute French bistro on the corner – yes, please!

9:20pm: Heads back towards the apartment but not before stopping for churros.

After all of the exploring from today, I’ve officially fallen in love with Copenhagen. The history, the architecture, the kind people, their suspiciously clean restrooms and (it goes without saying) their restaurant scene – this city has it all.

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Day 4 // Our last full day…

11:28am: We got a late start but we’re well rested. Headed to Carlsberg Brewery.

11:44am: Embarks on a self-guided tour through the exhibit that oddly feels like a haunted house with weird lighting and questionable sound effects. 

12:20pm: Settles in at the bar for brunch and a beer tasting.

Around this time, we found out about the Las Vegas shootings. With it being 6am East Coast time, the news was just breaking. Morgan and I sat in silence for a long time, just refreshing our CNN app in pure disbelief. Our hearts were absolutely broken. There is such a sense of guilt being on vacation while so many are suffering back home. We tried not to let the tragedy affect our trip but there was definitely a lingering somberness over the next week.

3:35pm: We head back towards the city center to rent bikes, with no destination in mind.

3:40pm: Pit stop at Taffelbay for pastries and cappuccino.

3:55pm: The bikes are equipped with GPS (& have motors!?).

Makes mental note to bike more in Atlanta. I love the bike!

3:59pm: We head toward Copenhagen Contemporary on Paper Island, a place we saw while on our canal tour the day prior.

4:26pm: Arrives at CC, the museum is closed but there are these “wishing trees” littered with handwritten notes in all languages. I snap a few pics of my favorites and write my own wish.  

4:30pm: We walk over to the warehouse next door, Papirøen. It’s a giant food hall! I immediately spot a gin & tonic menu and order a strawberry + black pepper G&T with Mikkeller gin. #Bliss

5:46pm: Heading back into the city, it starts to rain. Still buzzing from the G&T and couldn’t be happier with our bike situation so the rain is a non-issue.

6:24pm: Duck into a wine bar for dinner. It’s cute, quaint and full of locals. We can tell because the 3-member staff knows everyone by name and is asking about their family. My heart goes pitter patter. Morgan and both develop a crush on our server. A man that talks wine? Swoon.

6:35pm: We order the “staff meal” which is a duck & risotto dish.

Every Monday, the chef cooks a hearty meal for the staff. Guests can order by the bowl for only a 100DKK (~$15 USD) and if you love it (& there is extra) you can ask for a second serving.  

10:30pm: We’re back at our apartment, packing our stuff. Tomorrow we head to Berlin!

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Day 5 // Berlin bound…

9:00am: Heads to the airport. Praying my luggage scale doesn’t fail me and my bag isn’t overweight.

11:10am: Plane takes off for Berlin and I quietly shed a few tears because I miss Copenhagen.

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Where We Ate

Fleisch

Geranium

Victoria Pub

Joe and The Juice

The Garden Café ApS

Døp

Ruby

Mon Amour

Rajissimo

Jacobsen Brewhouse & Bar

Taffelbay

Papirøen Copenhagen Street Food

Ved Stranden 10 – Vinhandel & Bar

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Where We Explored

Fælledparken

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Rosenborg Castle

Strömma Canal Tours

Indre By (neighborhood)

Carlsberg Brewery

Paper Island

Where We Stayed

Airbnb in the Vesterbro neighborhood

 

 

 

Packing Like a Pro

Raise your hand if you’re an over packer.

over packer

*Raises two hands*

I prefer the phrase well-prepared but if I’m being honest, I’m just a product junkie who over packs. For most trips, I embrace it and fill my car up with all the things I don’t need. But when I’m flying, I try and consolidate. Fact: I have a real fear of having to lift my carry-on into an overhead bin and it falling on top of me. 

over packer

I never have a problem editing down my wardrobe but definitely have trouble downsizing my accessories (ie: toiletries, hair products, makeup, my Buttercup). Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned my packing list and relied on three “tricks” to help keep my well-preparedness in check:

over packer

  1. Always keep your favorite toiletries in stock.

Should I ever need to flee my apartment in a hurry, I find comfort in knowing that my toiletry case is always packed. I keep a supply of travel-size shampoo, skincare samples, contacts & solution, a mini electric toothbrush, etc. on hand, always. I have a designated drawer to collect extra items while also keeping the essentials stored in my toiletry bag for quick packing. When I return from a trip, I make a list of items to replenish and go ahead and stock up so I’ll be ready for my next getaway.                                              

  1. Knowing when to donate or keep those free samples.

Whether items are from a “gift with purchase” promo or cashed-in points at Sephora – I’m a sucker for miniature/travel-size anything (as discussed in Tuesday’s post). But it’s important to keep your stash stocked with only things you will actually use. I make a point to donate or give away samples and travel-sized items that I know I won’t use.    

  1. Pack, assess, edit.

Though I tend to over pack initially, I always go back and edit my suitcase and toiletry bag. Usually after weighing them and realizing I’ve exceeded the 50lb limit but that’s neither here nor there. Once I’ve packed everything I think I need, I reassess and remove items that I could probably live without. It’s hard to do at first, but you’ll pat yourself on the back later. I usually make it a game – remove 5 unnecessary items and I reward myself with a drink. 😉

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And because I love reading about/seeing what other people keep in their bags (read: I’m nosy!), I thought I would share some of my favorite travel-friendly beauty products that I’ve packed for my trip…

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In the hair care category – I need all the help I can get to extend my blowout. So I a few dry shampoo options, good shampoo + conditioner, and duck clips are musts.

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For skincare – I like to continue my at-home (pretty basic) routine while on the road. Face wash, toner, and makeup remover – I can’t go without. I especially love Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser – the bottle isn’t huge so it makes it perfect for travel but it lasts a long time. The formula is so gentle (yay for no burning eyes!) and passes the white towel test every time. Not pictured is the moisturizer stashed in my carry-on. 😉

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I would love to know if you have any go-to products for travel or any tips and tricks for packing! Read up on my carry-on essentials in this post

| shop today’s post here | 

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over packer

Inflight Cocktails

Today’s post combines two of my favorite things – cocktails minuatures.

Inflight Cocktails

I’m getting ready for a trip abroad and while I’m procrastinating packing my suitcase, I’ve started brainstorming what cocktails I plan to enjoy mid-flight.

Totally normal, right?

While we all have our own pre-flight “rituals,” I think it’s important to consider each trip as a treat. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of your fellow rushed passengers. So next time you’re heading out on a trip – pack a few airplane bottles, indulge in a drink, close your computer (those emails can wait!) and start your vacation before you reach your destination.  

Here are a few of my favorite travel-friendly combinations that will add a little party to your next flight…

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini gin and mini Chambord. Snag a lemon wedge and sugar packet from the food court. Order a club soda and 2 cups – 1 with ice. // Pour gin, a heavy splash of Chambord, sugar into a cup over ice. Pour beverage back in forth between cups to mix well. Add a squeeze of lemon and top with club soda.

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini vodka, a mini bottle of hot sauce and mini celery bitters. Snag some salt & pepper packets and lemon wedge from the food court. Order a can of tomato juice and cup of ice. // Pour vodka and tomato in a cup over ice. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and add 5-6 dashes of hot sauce and celery bitters. Stir, sip and tweak to taste.

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini tequila. Snag a lime wedge and sugar packet from the food court. Order a club soda and 2 cups – 1 with ice. // Pour tequila over ice. Add a squeeze of lime and sprinkle in sugar. Pour beverage back in forth between cups to mix well. Top with club soda.

Inflight Cocktails

Pack a mini bottle of Baileys. Snag a sugar packet. Order a coffee. // Pour sugar packet in hot coffee and stir. Add a healthy splash of Baileys and sip away.

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While these libations are delicious don’t forget to drink lots of H2O during your flight. Sip the cocktails, chug the water – I say!

Sisters Weekend at The Spectator

It may have taken 27 years to have our first sisters weekend but I think we started a new tradition!

SistersTakeCharleston

Charleston was the perfect locale for our weekend getaway.

No kids or husband left us with a weekend full of doing whatever the hell we wanted. I’m pretty accustomed to these types of vacations (perks of being childless and single), however, my sister (the most self-less person I know) is used to coordinating plans around her pre/teenagers and husband. Not to say she didn’t miss them – there was a lot of Facetiming – but it was a nice break for the both of us. 

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From the minute we checked in – greeted with complimentary cocktails – I knew I would love our weekend home away from home. After being shown to our room, we helped ourselves to (more complimentary) snacks and freshened up before heading to dinner. The rooms were spacious, clean and gorgeous – the perfect mix of southern charm and 1920s art deco. I won’t bore you with details on how beautiful the bathroom was, but it’s worth a peek at their photo gallery.

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

Each night when we would return from dinner, our bed would be turned down, robes laid out and a delicious night cap would be brought up from their in-house mixologist. I’d also like to think our stay at The Spectator temporarily made me a morning person – waking up to (again, complimentary!) room service was such a treat.

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

The team at The Spectator made sure we had everything we needed without being bothersome – truly an art in the hospitality. We felt so spoiled and loved every minute of it. My only regrets are not grabbing a drink downstairs in the library and taking advantage of their onsite bicycles. All the more reason to visit again soon!

As for food – we totally over indulged. Being my sister’s first time in Charleston, I took her to some of my favorite spots but tried some new places too. Also, our cocktail game was strong, as seen below…

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

SistersTakeCharleston

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SistersTakeCharleston

Where We Stayed

The Spectator

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Where We Ate

The Darling

Butcher & Bee

The Macintosh

Poogan’s Porch

The Vendue Rooftop

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Love you, Sissy! 

SistersTakeCharleston

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For more of my Charleston travels – see here, here & here.

This post is not sponsored, I’m just that obsessed with this boutique Charleston hotel. 😉

Quick Trip to Nashville

I was tempted to name this blog post, “28 hours in Nashville and 28,000 Calories Consumed…”

But it seemed a little long (& dramatic).

Over the weekend, Caroline and I took a quick trip to Nashville to visit some friends. The main reasons for our trip was to attend a housewarming party for our friend Lindsay and to visit Stacey who had moved up about 3 months ago. While we did go to Lindsay’s party and we did catch up with Stace, we also managed to eat some really, really delicious meals. So if you’re headed to Music City any time soon and want to avoid the crowds on Broadway – here are 4 can’t-miss spots for breakfast, brunch, dinner and donuts.    

Located a little outside of downtown Nashville, The Old School is a farm-to-table spot where the farm is like very close to the table. The restaurant is housed in an 80 year old restored schoolhouse with a beautiful outdoor space surrounded by flowers, gardens and strung lights. From the building itself to the parking lot with old, rusted basketball hoops still intact – the whole place brings a since of nostalgia that makes you feel like a carefree kid (who just consumed a pitcher of mimosas and some really good food). Their delightfully southern menu is full of options that make it really hard to choose only one. Which is always a good problem to have in my opinion.   

Don’t leave without ordering … THE POP TARTS.

For dinner, we chose a neighborhood restaurant in Germantown. Rolf & Daughters is industrial but cozy, small but not terribly loud. Their menu was full of sharable plates that you may not want to share because each dish is so good. We started with a shared salad and then ordered three dishes of pasta. Things escalated quickly but I didn’t regret a single bite. Their homemade pasta makes you never want to eat zucchini noodles again.

Don’t leave without ordering … Garganelli verde with heritage pork ragout and sarvecchio. (Their menu changes often but this dish is longstanding.)  

Our last meal was just as indulgent as the first two. We opted for a French brasserie in Midtown – Le Sel – where all your plush, pink booth and striped umbrella dreams come true. The menu consisted of traditional French fare with a few more modern dishes sprinkled in.  I chose a Croque Madame and Frites – fries and cheese are always a solid choice, albeit a heavy one.

Don’t leave without ordering … Crêpe with Bear Creek Farms sausage, sunnyside egg, tomato and fromage blanc.

 

 

And because we just weren’t ready to stop treating ourselves, Caroline and I swung by Five Daughters Bakery on the way out. I may regret that croissant/donut hybrid next week when I’m at the beach but at that very moment it was an excellent decision!           

Don’t leave without ordering … King Kong (a bacon topped donut, enough said.)

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Happy housewarming to Lindsay and shout out to Stacey for being the best host! You guided us to some really delicious eats. xx

Bachelorettes Do Nashville

This Thursday I’m throwing it back to Allison’s bachelorette weekend in Nashville….

…because today is her wedding day!

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Allison and Brandon are currently eloping atop Sunset Rock in Highland, North Carolina and I’m over here just impatiently waiting for them to return to Atlanta so we can all celebrate on Saturday. Until then, let’s recap her last fling as a single lady.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Per usual, Nashville did not disappoint. Our weekend was a leisure one, kicking off with a taco dinner and lingerie party at our Airbnb Friday night. We spent Saturday day drinking on the rooftop at Acme and just soaking up each other’s company.

 

Something that made the weekend even more special was a thoughtful surprise planned by our sweet and talented friend Sarah. Sarah is an Atlanta-based photographer and was able to connect with Nashville local, Rachel of Brasspenny Photography, to host a photoshoot for us. Since Allison is eloping and wouldn’t have the traditional bridesmaid pictures, we thought it would be a treat to plan a photoshoot to commemorate the weekend.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

*PS – the confetti tossed above is biodegradable, something I said multiple times, out loud, so that strangers knew we weren’t trying to litter the beautiful pedestrian bridge. 😉 

I must admit, trekking around 12South with a herd of 13 women followed by a photographer felt a little obnoxious and awkward – but the pictures turned out beautiful, making the weird glances and snickers from strangers well worth it. Rachel was an absolute gem and was a pro at corralling us to get some good shots.

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography | 

| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |  

| Clearly, we get extremely excited when champagne is popped! |  

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Where We Stayed

The Best AirBnB in 12South (which is sadly no longer listed!)

Where We Played

SOUTH

The Stage

 

Where We Ate

Acme

Moto

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| Photo: Brasspenny Photography |

Cheers to you, Mrs. Allison James. Your bride tribe loves you a lot!

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For more bachelorette inspiration, see our trips to Miami, Charleston I, Charleston II, and the North Georgia Mountains.

Hello from Highland, North Carolina

Cheers to another girls weekend in the books!

If you can’t already tell from previous trips I’ve posted about, my friend group is made mostly of very organized planners. We send out “save-the-weekend” emails months in advance, meal plan, research restaurants and make reservations – I guess you could say we’re professional vacationers at this point. 😉 Even with some planning involved, our weekend in Highlands was super low-maintenance, with athleisure and pajamas being our primary uniform. We even canceled our Saturday night dinner reservation to watch football and eat pizza – it was wonderful!

One of our best tricks for keeping the weekends fuss free and easy going is divvying up the meals. I volunteered to make an appetizer and cocktail for Friday. I’d been itching to test out a recipe from my new cookbook (thanks, Sissy!) and thought our mountain weekend would be the perfect opportunity. Naturally, I chose something bacon-based.

I put together a platter of crostinis with whiskey bacon jam, Brie cheese and pear. Talk about a crowd-pleaser. I made the jam the day before, stored in a mason jar and packed all the fixings to whip up the crostinis Friday evening. Scroll down for the recipe! 

For the cocktail, I mixed up an herbal + citrus rendition of a Moscow mule – unofficially coining it The Highland Mule. I combined all the ingredients in a pitcher, set out some rosemary and sliced grapefruit for garnish, and kept ginger beer close by in the fridge to top everything off. Both treats were delicious and more importantly, easy to travel with. 

Whiskey Bacon Jam
spreadable bacon is the new kale
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lbs thick cut, peppered bacon
  2. 3 medium shallots
  3. 3 gloves of garlic
  4. 3/4 cup brewed coffee
  5. 1/3 cup whiskey
  6. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  7. 4.5 Tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Chop bacon into 1-inch pieces and cook completely in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, stir occasionally.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Pour out all but 1 Tbsp of bacon grease and add chopped shallots and mince garlic.
  4. Saute shallots and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly pour in the brewed coffee, whiskey, light brown sugar and maple syrup. Stir well.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn heat to low, simmering for about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
  7. Once the mixture has thickened and is almost glazelike, remove the pan from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. Combine mixture and cooked bacon in a food processor or blender.
  9. Pulse until the mixture is a spreadable consistency, with visible bits of bacon.
  10. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
  11. For the crostini - spread jam on to toasted rounds of a French loaf. Top with slices of Brie cheese and pear.
  12. **This recipe yields about 7 oz. of jam.
Notes
  1. The jam is good in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Adapted from Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook
Adapted from Ultimate Appetizer Ideabook
Gin & Jewels http://www.ginandjewels.com/

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The most special part of the weekend was hiking to Sunset Rock, where our dear Allison is getting married this April (this was her first time seeing the ‘venue’!). We poured champagne, Alli made a toast and tears may or may not have been shed.  It seems the older we get, the more sentimental we become. I think we all cherish these weekends because we know in a few short years it will be husbands and children occupying most of our time and girls trips will be few and far between. So until then, we’ll load down the car with cases of wine and pimento cheese and trek to any city, cabin, condo we can!

Check out our first girls trip to Highlands, NC here and last year’s staycation here!

P.S. Don’t forget to check back this afternoon (3 pm EST) for an exciting giveaway! 

Asheville

Eat well, travel often they say!

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The week before Christmas, Stacey, Morgan and I took a short trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We stayed in the cutest cabin in Black Mountain (compliments of Morgan’s family friend – thank you, Ms. Lisa!), ate a lot of delicious food and drank an excessive amount of craft beer. When in Asheville, amiright?

I love a mountain town (much preferred over a beach) and instantly fell in love the “San Fran of the South.” Here’s a little photo diary of how we (quite literally) ate our way through Asheville in 36 hours.

 

Not to sound dramatic, but our meal at Cúrate (coo-rah-tay) was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. If you find yourself in Asheville, I highly recommend making a dinner reservation. Our server guided us through their vast, yet thoughtful, tapas menu and made suggestions on what to order and when. Who knew fried eggplant (berenjenas la taberna) pairs perfectly with rosemary ice cream? Our waiter knew, that’s who – God bless him. They have an extensive wine list but I set my sights on a gin + tonic … naturally. They serve you a generous pour of gin over ice with a cucumber slice and juniper berries then give you a Fevertree Tonic to add to your liking.

Saturday was spent hopping from brewery to brewery. I was pleasantly surprised on how affordable beer flights were. Asheville is definitely one of the more cost-friendly destinations I’ve visited lately. (Looking at you, San Francisco…breaking my bank!) First stop was Wicked Weed, then Green Man, and lastly Burial Beer Co. Not sure if it was a blessing or a curse that my phone died before our last stop. 😉 

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Where We Ate

La Guinguette

Nightbell

Cúrate

Well-Bred Bakery & Cafe

The Corner Kitchen

Rhubarb

 

Where We Drank

Wicked Weed Brewing

Burial Beer Co.

Green Man Brewery

Have you been to Asheville? Would love to know your favorite spots! 

Two Girls Take the Golden City

Fact: the West Coast knows sure does know their weather, restaurants and wine.  

sanfran-14

A few weeks ago, I jetted off to San Francisco to meet my best friend Morgan for a weekend trip to the Golden City. It was my first time visiting the West Coast (besides a layover in Seattle) so naturally we had long list of sites to see and places to eat.  

Here’s a little photo recap on how we spent 72 hours in San Francisco…

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Day 1 // Walking + People Watching

We arrived on Thursday and immediately began trekking around the city, heading from Union Square where our hotel was to Fishman’s Wharf. The hills are real y’all. After falling in love with a dock covered in seals, we stopped for a mid-day cocktail and snack. From there, we headed to Dolores Park and soaked up the warm California weather sans humidity – it was glorious. (Note to self: visit Piedmont Park more often) Next we ventured to The Mission and found ourselves at the coolest cocktail bar – Trick Dog. After downing some well-crafted cocktails (I ordered A Thousand Points of Light, Morgan had I Like Ike) we headed back to our hotel in Union Square to freshen up for dinner in the Tenderloin (what a weird name) district.

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Day 2 // Biking + More Biking

Friday started with a cruffin and a morning walk to pick up our bikes. Our plan was to spend the day biking around the city and to the Golden Gate Bridge. Admittingly, I was pretty nervous about riding a bike all day. Besides a stationary spin bike, I can’t tell you the last time I was a 2-wheeled mode of transportation. I opted out of getting a helmet and immediately regretted it when I realized the only thing separating the bike lane and car lane was a painted green line. I just knew I was going to run smack dab into an open car door and fall into oncoming traffic. I was visualizing the headlines – Atlanta Tourist Dies On 27th Birthday Because She Forgot How To Ride A Bike. After about the first 20 minutes, my adrenaline overrode my worries and by the end of the day, I didn’t want to give the bike back. I felt like a Lance Armstrong in-training. We biked along the waterfront, over the bridge and in to a the most precious town, Sausalito. I made lots of mental notes to check Zillow later because the real estate was a dream. After ferrying back to the city, we got ready for pre-dinner drinks at hidden speakeasy-ish lounge and then dinner in The Mission.

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Day 3 // Roadtripping + Wine-Touring

Saturday was Sonoma-day and I woke up feeling like it was Christmas morn. Our day started early picking up our rental car and driving to Berkeley for breakfast. The drive to Sonoma was gorgeous. Morgan and I’s first stop was Gloria Ferrar Winery – every morning should start with sparking whites overlooking a rolling vineyard. Next was the Larson Family Winery, which just so happened to be my favorite. Not sure if it was the fact they had 3 Labradors that wandered around the property or that Bob the wine expert charmed me into joining their wine club after only 3 pours. It honestly could have been the delicious mustards that were sampling and the fact that Morgan and I couldn’t leave without purchasing two jars each. When in Rome Sonoma, amiright? We ended the day at Viansa, where we enjoyed more wine and more importantly a Cuban sandwich – can’t forget the sustenance. On the drive back to San Fran, we made a pit stop at Battery Spencer for a different view of the bridge … because if you followed me on Snapchat, you know I couldn’t get enough photos of that dang bridge. Dinner that night was in SoMa and I had the best burger of my life.

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Where We Stayed

The Cartwright Hotel

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Where We Ate

Fog Harbor Fish House

Black Cat

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

The Trident (Sausalito)

Foreign Cinema

Venus Restaurant (Berkeley)

Marlowe

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Where We Played (& Wined)

Dolores Park

Trick Dog

PCH

Parkwide Bike Rentals & Tours

Barrel House Tavern (Sausalito)

Marianne’s

Gloria Ferrer (Sonoma)

Larson Family Winery (Sonoma)

Viansa Sonoma (Sonoma)

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Celebrating my birthday on the other side of the country was such a [San Francisco] treat (couldn’t help myself there). Special thanks to my BFF Morgan for planning everything, remaining patient with my biking skills and not missing a beat with our dining itinerary!  

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xo Bree

Candlefish

If I could be a store, I would be Candlefish

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And if I could be a city, I would be Charleston. 

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A few weeks ago, Stacey, Abbye and I enjoyed a little weekend getaway to Charleston. It started out as an excuse to go see The Lumineers live (even though they were scheduled to be in Atlanta that same weekend) but we quickly filled our itinerary with dinner reservations, sight seeing and a candle making class.

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With plans to attend the 10am Saturday class, we decided to start off our morning with a nice walk to the studio. To set the scene –  Saturday is my favorite day, I was with two of my best friends, and candles are probably in the top 5 of my favorite things (coming in right between dogs and bar carts). Needless to say, I was super pepped to start my day. The universe had other plans. My shoe broke 5 minutes into the 20 minute walk, it was more humid than I planned for and Starbucks made us late. So by the time we got to Wentworth and King, I was flustered and slightly irritated with my disheveled appearance. But as soon as I walked in Candlefish I became zen AF. 

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For the next 2 hours, we sniffed, poured, and shopped to our hearts content. The class was educational (I learned you’re suppose to smell your inner elbow to cleanse the palette between smelling scents) and the staff was so warm and welcoming. At risk of sounding like an old lady, I had an absolute blast pouring wax and watching candles cure. Seriously, I kept looking at Stacey and Abbye saying, “this is the best. day. ever.”

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| bloggers gotta blog

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If you’re headed to Charleston* soon, I highly recommend visiting the beautiful people at Candlefish. Even if not for a class but just to browse. Their store is stunning – housing a library of 100 scents and filled with all of my favorite things.

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Special shout out to Gabriel who introduced every scent by giving a them a guy’s personality. i.e.: This candle smells like a guy who slept over but never texted you back. OR This one smells like a guy who still lives with his mother. OR my personal fave – This candle smells like a guy who is attractive and established. Looking to buy a home in the ‘burbs. Has a dog , but like a clean dog that you won’t mind letting sit in your lap. (I want that guy …er…I mean candle.)

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For more details on Candlefish classes, check out their schedule

*Currently, Charleston is their only location. However, they hinted that they are expanding and let’s just say, I’m keeping all my fingers crossed in hopes they come to Atlanta. 

xo Bree

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See more of my Charleston adventures here and here

Bachelorettes Do Charleston: Part II

Charleston is always a good idea and a prime destination for bachelorette trips. 

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Warning: this post may induce deja vu & wanderlust…   

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Even though it seems like I just posted about Caroline’s bachelorette trip in Charleston, I was so excited to be back in my favorite southern city to celebrate Meredyth’s last few weeks as a single woman. Our itinerary was totally different and I loved exploring new spots and trying a few different restaurants.  At this rate, I’ll have a City Guide to Charleston before Atlanta!

Here are a few snap shots from the weekend…

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| How cute was our Snapchat filter?! |

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Where We Stayed

VRBO – Suite Z

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Where We Played

Stars

Republic Garden & Lounge

Trio

Sullivan’s Island

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Where We Ate

Husk

O-Ku

Poogan’s Porch

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| See you in September, girls! | 

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Special thanks to the MOH’s Allie and Michelle for planning such a fun weekend and spoiling us with so many pineapple treats! And a huge thank you to Meredyth’s Mom and Grammy for stocking our apartment with all the snacks and alcohol – ya’ll were the best time!

For more bachelorette fun, check out last year’s trip to Miami here and here, and Charleston here!

xo Bree

 

Adult Spring Break

Monday (& August) totally snuck up on me. Time needs to s l o w down.

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Getting back into the work week after long, super fun weekend is always a struggle. After such a great girls weekend in Panama City the Monday blues hit hard. So while I’m procrastinating facing reality, I thought I would share a few photos from our girls weekend… 

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We jokingly referred to our trip as an Adult Spring Break, in reality there was so much more adulting than spring breaking. We cooked in more than we ate out, most of us woke up early for coffee and to check work emails and our coolers were stocked with craft beers and turkey wraps. If it were 2008, we would have been eating at Pineapple Willy’s, sleeping in until noon and drinking all the Natural Light. Needless to say, hangovers hit harder in 2016 than they did 8 years ago. 😉 

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Where We Stayed

Edgewater

Where We Played

Club La Vela*

Tootsies 

Where We Ate

Firefly 

Runaway Island

*(only 2/9 of us actually made it out on Friday)

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xo Bree

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Special thank you to Abbye’s family for letting us over take their condo for the weekend!

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Beach, Please!

One is never too old for an adult spring break.

The girls and I are taking tomorrow off and heading to the panhandle. For no reason other than we are trying to stay young by living like we’re still in college. In preparation for our trip, I sent out a very urgent, high priority email asking them to share their beach trip must-haves. (The results reminded me why we’re all friends.) After filtering through the inappropriate comments, I was able to put together a pretty solid packing list…

Beach Weekend Packing List

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“I’m a pretty practical beach packer. I always pack OGX Sea Salt Spray, my Beats Pill, and I love my Mimi & Muff tote.” – Abbye

“I always carry a good writing pen in my purse (especially when I go on trips) because you never know when you need to give someone your number on a napkin … could be your future boss, investor, business partner, etc. I also pack coconut oil for after a day in the sun and for glossy legs going out!” – Allison

“My Jack Roger Georgica sandals have been with me for 3 summers, I think I have a sentimental attachment to their jelly-like material. Gotta have a good towel to protect you from the disgusting sand and sun protection for your lips!” – Bree

“Poo Pouri – because it’s just polite.” – Jamie Lee

“…advil for my old lady hangovers and band aids because it’s too hot for sticky boobs at the beach.” – Kelsey

“..urinary track infection medicine and an extra pair of contacts for sure!” – Molly (she’s a nurse, y’all)

“Mardi Gras beads and dolla dolla bills for when we ride the STRIP!!!” – Nola

“Matches – I literally do not travel anywhere without them. Beach or no beach, you never know when they could ‘strikingly’ come in handy! 😉 Also, Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm works wonders on turning a burn into a tan.” – Samantha

“Everyone needs to protect their skin – naturally tan or not – I’m not, so SPH 50 is my must-have. And I couldn’t leave for the beach without my favorite swimsuit!” – Stacey

 
 

xo Bree

 

Tianjin Travels

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I recently made the trek over to China for a business trip and let me tell you – traveling to the other side of the world is exhausting (even when you’re not the one driving). But my excitement overrode the exhaustion and I had an absolute blast touring Tianjin!

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| Our hotel was insanely gorgeous! |

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My favorite part about traveling (specifically internationally) is living and eating like the locals do. I ate fried rice for breakfast 4 days in row, consumed a few too many dumplings and I’m still dreaming about the Pad Thai and coconut soup I had at YY Beer House. Talk about carb overload.

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My second favorite thing about traveling is the shopping preparation beforehand. I was absolutely one of those kids who loved every minute of shopping for school supplies at the beginning of August and that excitement has only transformed to getting giddy over loading up on toiletries before a trip.

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So per usual, I over packed and over prepared. Days leading up to my departure, I was making impulse purchases left and right. I probably went to Target four times in two days buying lord knows what. Let’s just say my carry-on to China was much heavier than my carry-on back.

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I ordered the Large Metro tote from MZ Wallace the week before I left and I couldn’t be more satisfied with my purchase. It fits everything – laptop, a box of tissues, bag of caramel popcorn – everything. My favorite feature – three detachable, multi-sized zipper pouches for easy organization, along with pockets lining the inside.

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Though I don’t regret any of my purchases, I definitely lightened up my bag before catching the flight back home. Once I realized I’m not going to read my heavy hardcover (watched like 7 movies instead), nor do I need an entire pharmacy of allergy pills, it was easy to make cuts to my packing list. So in hopes of helping you trim down your baggage, here are my must-pack travel essentials:

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 Yes To Grapefruit Makeup Remover Wipes | Ainsworth Glasses | Silk Eye Mask | Facial Moisturizer | Hydrating Cream | Lotus Eye Mask | Mini Electric Toothbrush & Toothpaste

The flight from Atlanta to Seattle was only 5 hours, but the flight from Seattle to Beijing was 11. Ya’ll, 16 hours airborne is not a good look for me. Which is why a mid-flight refresh was a must. After dinner service (and The Martian), I removed my make-up, took out my contacts, brushed my teeth and applied an under eye mask. (I was #blessed on the way to China with not having anyone seated next to me but I definitely felt a little awkward borderline bathing while a sweet older gentleman sat 4 inches to my right on the way back.)

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*Not pictured: my laptop, large stash of Lara Bars & beef jerky, phone charger and sleeping pills – all of which I would be miserable without.

For any of my light-packing friends, please teach me your ways. For my friends, who love to over-pack, let’s get together and go shopping before our next trip! 😉

xo Bree

 

 

 

 

Bachelorettes Do Charleston

There couldn’t be a more perfect spot to celebrate our sweet Caroline than Charleston, South Carolina.

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From the colorful architecture, to the incredible restaurant scene – Charleston is my favorite southern city. Can someone please buy me a single house in the French Quarter so I can sip cocktails on the piazza?!

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| Caroline reacting the best scene from  Bridesmaid. |

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Rolling 9 deep, we had an absolute ball exploring, eating, and drinking our way down King Street and beyond. The weekend was the perfect mix of relaxation and activity, which I think is crucial for a successful bachelorette.  Here are few snap shots from the trip, including what Stacey, Alexis and I packed in the treat totes…

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| Pineapple Totes, Matching Tees, Flamingo Drink Holder, DIY Tassel Keychains, Mini Bottle of Champs, Pineapple Cookies, Koozie, Advil, Sunblock |

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| Thanks to AFY Events for the cute personalized buttons! |

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| Another huge thank you to David for making our tees – they were perfect! He’s an Atlanta local and does a fantastic job if any of you are looking for custom t-shirts. |

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| Cocktails prepared and ready for a pre-dinner lingerie shower. |

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Where We Stayed

DoubleTree on Church Street*

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Where We Played

Historic Charleston City Market

Palmetto Carriage Tours

Prohibition

Mynt

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Where We Ate

O-Ku

Kitchen 208

82 Queen

Low Country Bistro

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*Editor’s Note – The folks at the DoubleTree couldn’t have been more accommodating. They were amazing! (I don’t think they knew what they were getting into when they offered complimentary cookies and bottled water.  Stacey requested 10 bottles every time we passed the front desk, and they never seemed annoyed. It was almost as if they were impressed by our commitment to staying hydrated.) Our rooms were spacious and clean. The valet did a way better job at unpacking and repacking our car than I ever would have and the location was perfection. I highly recommend staying here on your next trip to Chuck Town!

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For more bachelorette week inspiration, check out last year’s trip to Miami here and here!

xo Bree