Gulf Shores 2015

Even though June is the half-way point during the year, I always feel like the July 4th holiday feels more like half-way. Even though the summer temperatures stick around for a while, kids are getting ready to go back to school and fall enters my brain.

This year, we spent the 4th at Gulf Shores with my parents and close family friends. Lucky for them, they were able to stay the whole week but due to our works schedules, Chris and I went down on Wednesday and returned on Sunday. Even though it was a shorter trip than we would prefer, it was still great to get away!

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We drove down late Wednesday so Thursday we had the entire day on the beach. Everyone except Chris and me decided to rent jet skis for the day. We stayed on the beach and I had a chance to catch up on my reading. I The Andy Cohen Diaries for my birthday and have still not been able to finish. As bad as I hate to say it, I think his first book was SO much better!

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So proud of his float!

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Thursday night we ate at Live Bait. I got the steamed shrimp but after trying a bite of Lori’s shrimp and grits I have decided that will be what I order next time.

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Most of Friday was spent like this. Chris got burned Thursday so he only stayed on the beach about half the day.

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Friday night we ate at Doc’s. I think they have some of the best fried shrimp around! After dinner, we picked up a piece of fried cheesecake from King Neptunes. So worth every calorie!

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Saturday we woke up to our last full day on the beach. I have never seen so many American Flag bathing suits in my life!

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I wish this picture did justice of how big the red fold up chair was. It was HUGE. I’m almost positive me, Kelton, and Chris could have all fit in it comfortably.

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We spent all day on the beach and decided to just walk to dinner at Sea-n-Suds since it was next to our condo and we wouldn’t have to get out in the 4th traffic.

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Chris and I had found these awesome shirts at Martins for 2/$12 and knew they would be perfect for the 4th. Kelton and Daniel’s shirts are both Walmart specials 😉

Sunday, we got up and made the 6 hour trip home.

I think we are all counting down the days until our next vacation!

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Weekending in Chattanooga

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Last week, Chris was on travel in Keensaw, GA for work so we decided it would be the perfect opportunity to meet in Chattanooga for a little weekend getaway.

Chris’s training class ended at 10am Friday so he worked out, grabbed lunch, returned his rental car, and checked into the hotel while waiting on me to arrive. I worked until noon and made it to Chattanooga by about 2pm.

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We stayed at The Chattanoogan Hotel which was within walking distance to all of downtown. This is the hotel that Chris stays at when he is on work trips to Chattanooga so he knew the area very well. Once we loaded my stuff in, he took me on a tour of the grounds. They have a great outdoor area that includes a rooftop patio and outdoor fire pits.

After we walked around the hotel, we freshened up and took advantage of the Happy Hour that the hotel bar, The Foundry, offered. 4 drinks and an appetizer later, we were ready for dinner.

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We chose Urban Stack for dinner. It was withing viewing distance from our hotel so we walked over. Since his last trip, Chris had been raving about their burgers so I knew that I definitely wanted to try one out. Needless to say, they didn’t disappoint. IMG_1266

I chose the “Fried Green Tomato” while Chris went with the “Good Morning Sunshine”. Both were delicious. I’m wishing now that we would have stopped back by for lunch Sunday on our way home!

Ok, here is where the trip went off course.. We finished dinner by 7:30pm and Chris wanted to go back to the room to use the restroom. (ugh men!) Anyway, while he was taking his precious time, I decided to take a cat nap…. Well that turned into a 1.5 hour nap that resulted in both of us getting into our pajamas and waking up to catch the Bruce Jenner interview.

For the record, I was ready to go back out and explore the nightlife by 10pm but my other half refused. I guess it worked out well because we were up and ready to go early on Saturday.

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I have one word for you…PANCAKES! Holy moly, what a wonderful breakfast we had on Saturday. Chris found Bluegrass Grill on Urban Spoon and once he read the menu out, I knew it sounded right up our alley. Upon entering the restaurant, we learned that it is first come, first serve for seating. I imagine that this could get a little hectic when they are extremely busy but luckily for us, we only had to wait about 30 minutes and I promise, the wait was worth every single second.IMG_1268

We both chose the small stack of honey wheat pancakes, one egg, and a meat. I ordered bacon which was cooked to perfection. It tasted as though it may have been cooked in a touch of brown sugar. The pancakes were our favorite. In fact, on our way home, we were ranking our meals in order and Chris said that the pancakes were #1 in his book!

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As you can see, he was still drooling over them two days later!

After breakfast, we explored the city for a few hours until lunch time.

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For lunch, we stumbled upon The Social. The Social is the bar portion of Public House. From what I understand, they both serve the same menu for lunch. When the waiter greeted us, she told us of the $10 Mimosa pitcher promotion so of course we had to partake. I sent this picture to some of my girlfriends to let them know that Chris was taking their Mimosa drinking spot for the day.

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For our meal, I chose the Portabella and Goat Cheese grilled cheese. Chris selected the Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, and side salad. My sandwich was wonderful but I think his mashed potatoes were the true star of the table. Yum!

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On top of the great food, The Social’s atmosphere was awesome. I am obsessed with exposed brick and it seemed like every place we went had it so I was basically in heaven. I could have sat here and drank $10 pitchers all day long!

We walked around a little more after lunch and rode the free tram down to the aquarium area. Its an inexpensive way to see the entire downtown area.

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Later, we went back to the hotel and enjoyed a few cocktails on the rooftop patio. We then showered and got ready for dinner.

While we were out and about we tried getting reservations at Alleia for dinner but they were full. We were bummed but will definitely be trying it out in the future.

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We chose The Terminal for dinner. It was bar food but really good bar food. I highly suggest the pizza!

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We started off with the Pot Roast Nachos and then split the “Big Italian Meat”. Yum!

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After dinner, we strolled down to the Flying Squirrel Bar for a few drinks. It was a happening place with good music, great atmosphere, and even better drinks. Chris and I chose from their craft beer selection but I couldn’t tell you how many women I heard order a “Mrs. Beauregarde” or “Mrs. B” for short. Its on my list to try on our next trip back! Their website describes it as a cucumber infused gin, creme de violette, lemon, and lavender syrup. Yep, I have got to try that!

Sunday, we hit the road and were home by 11am. Weekends away are my favorite. I’m already looking forward to another weekend in Chattanooga hopefully in May!

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Weekend Get-Away

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Last Thursday, I met Chris when I got off and we headed south to meet his family at the gulf. They had all left earlier Thursday and beat us down there by several hours. With one quick stop in Prattville for gas and Chick-fil-a, we finally made it there at about 11:15pm.

Friday morning, we awoke to a slight drizzle and temps in the 40’s. We were so excited to see Miss Bonnie and the rest of the family. Some spent the morning trying to feed birds while others failed at trying to take selfies.

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Rainy, cold days make for the best movie days so the women headed to the Wharf to see The Boy Next Door.

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 After the movie, we went back to the condo to freshen up and then headed to Nolan’s for dinner.

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We started our meal with an appetizer of Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. I selected the Grilled Shrimp as my entree while Chris chose the Grilled Ahi Tuna.

Nolans has an area in the back of the restaurant that they call they call their Lounge. After dinner, we moved back into that area for some live music. Bonnie got her groove on with her G-Daddy and we all split a piece of cheesecake and creme brulee for dessert.

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Saturday morning the weather was gorgeous! Chris and I sat on the balcony for a while and he even complained about being hot. We decided to put our toes in the sand again and joined everyone on the beach.

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Chris had done got hot so decided to show off some skin 😉

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Bonnie missed all of the group pics because she was having too much fun to pause.

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After our time on the beach, it was the mens turn for a movie. They chose Taken 3. While they were gone, Angela and Bonnie napped and Trish and I decided to do a little shopping.

Later that evening, we all met back up at Cosmo’s for dinner.

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After dinner, we hit the outlets up for a couple of hours where I scored some great deals, as in the most I paid for anything was $13.50, at the Ann Taylor outlet!

We packed up and left out early Sunday morning.

Even though it was such a short trip, we enjoyed getting away and are already looking forward the next chance we have to take a mini vacation.

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New Years in Gatlinburg

Happy 2-0-1-5 to everyone! After a busy few weeks, we are finally settling back into some type of normalcy. Over the Christmas holidays I was battling a severe sinus infection which made resulted in only 3 pictures the entire week. Yikes. Luckily, I started feeling better a day or two later and was back to 100% for our trip to Gatlinburg.

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We left bright and early Sunday morning. After 5 hours of being squished between these two, I was happy to be able to stretch my legs once we arrived at the hotel.

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We stayed at The Bearskin Lodge in downtown Gatlinburg. The lobby was filled with cozy Christmas decor, as well as a few animals who were mounted to the walls. We were greeted with warm cookies and hot apple cider which we consumed around their crackling fireplace. It was so cozy!

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Each hotel room had its own balcony which looked over a running creek, as well as, a whirlpool tub and an indoor fireplace. The rooms and location were all perfect for us.

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By the time we all unpacked and freshened up, we were all starving so we headed to the closest restaurant to us, Texas Roadhouse. Their steak kabobs are my favorite! After dinner, we walked around the little shops downtown. One of my favorite girls was in town also, so of course we had to meet up with her too! Since it was Sunday, many of the shops closed early so we headed back to the room and called it a night.

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Monday, the crew headed out for lunch and a show at the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge. Chris and I had both already seen the show in previous years so we stayed behind. We enjoyed muffins and orange juice on the patio before we got ready to head back downtown to a few of the shops that had already closed the night before. For lunch we stopped in at Blaines Bar and Grill where I had a delicious bloody mary and cheeseburger. Chris opted for an IPA and a taco salad.

After lunch, we met back up with Whitney and headed to the moonshine tasting at Ole Smokey Mountain Moonshine. Yikes! I suffered through and only gagged twice. That’s an accomplishment for me! The flavors we tasted were blueberry, eggnog, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and peach. I wasn’t as brave as Chris. He tried all of the flavors and admitted that there were a couple that even made him want to gag!

For dinner we all met up at the Smoky Mountain Brewery. Chris and I shared hot wings and while the wings were delicious the beer was far from it. Unfortunately, we both agreed that it seemed a bit weak and watery. Dad and Kelton split a pizza while the others had sandwiches. Everyone agreed that the food was worth going back for.

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Tuesday, the girls headed back out to Pigeon Forge for shopping at the Old Mill shops. The little gourmet food shop they have is an absolute must for us! From soup to maple crystals to appetizer mixes, they have you covered. I came home with a cornbread mix, several appetizer mixes, a jar of chow-chow, three soup mixes, and one dessert mix. Also from that shopping area, I got the cutest monogrammed sweatshirt. After the shopping excursion, I met up with Dad and Chris for drinks and and an appetizer back at Blaine’s while Mom and Kelt went to lunch at the Apple Barn. They were in pursuit for apple fritters as well.

Dinner Wednesday night was my favorite. Mom, Dad, Kelton, Chris, and I all dined at The Peddler Steakhouse. The food was the best we had all week. Mom and Dad ordered ribeyes, Kelton and I both had stuffed shrimp, and Chris chose the grilled chicken. The shrimp were great but I think I will go with the ribeye next time.

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It was raining after dinner which resulted in a battle of Spades. Daniel and Kelton beat us….if you ask me, they got lucky. If you ask Chris, I am the reason we lost.. Its still up for debate.

Wednesday, we started off with breakfast at Crocketts Breakfast Camp. If you are in Gatlinburg, go! Their breakfast will rival any breakfast that I have ever had. I had the bacon waffles and two eggs while Chris went festive and had the candied apple pancakes with sausage and eggs. WONDERFUL!

After breakfast, some of our group headed to the Titanic museum, some went skiing at Ober Gatlinburg, and the rest of us went out on a shopping excursion.

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For lunch, Corey, Lori, Mom, and I stopped in at Dicks Last Resort for drinks and appetizers. This was all of our first time eating at this chain. As our server put it to us, they “get paid to be dicks.” The entire wait staff was rude but you could tell they were joking. It was weird and something that I was still not sure of even by the time we left.

One thing they are known for is writing ridiculous sayings on hats and making you wear them. We got some good laughs out of ours.

  • Mom’s said “I’m ready for a denture adventure”
  • Lori’s said “Town Hall Booty Call”
  • Corey’s said “I use to be a man”
  • Mine read “You can take me out of Dicks but you cant take Dicks out of me”

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After our lunch, we headed back to the room to freshen up and lounge. With it being New Years, we had an early dinner at Calhouns and then were off to see the Guy Michaels Hypnotist show. I volunteered to get hypnotized but ultimately wasn’t chosen to be in the final act. THANK GOODNESS! He had a mom of two believing she was the twerk champion. I am pretty sure my family would have been mortified if that would have been me up on stage dancing ha!

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By the time we got out of the show, it was almost 11pm. Gatlinburg has its own ball drop from the space needle. The town closes the roads and it a major scaled down version of NYC. Unfortunately, you cant even see the ball in my picture below. My photography skills were not on point that night apparently.

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We rang in 2015 and then headed for bed since we were leaving early Thursday. I am so looking forward to what this next year  has in store for all of us. Happy 2015!!!

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