I don’t know about y’all, but I have really been lovin’ this spring weather lately. After several years of living in almost continuous gray weather, coming back south where everything starts blooming the first week of April has been quite the upgrade. Charlie boy and I spent the Easter weekend in Savannah, where we explored historic houses, ate way too many carbs, and of course, whiled away an afternoon reading on the sun-dappled grass of Forsyth Park.
Because I’m a typical “type A” kind of girl, I love setting goals. I recently watched a TED talk about a blogger who read a book from every country in the world in one year. ONE YEAR, people. That’s almost 200 books. Color me impressed. And also inspired. How can a self-proclaimed travel addict and bibliophile like myself have lived nearly three decades without reading or visiting the majority of the world?!? Unacceptable.
Now, due to my current full-time work schedule (ugh, cavities, what a drag) and life, reading that many books in a year is more than a little overwhelming. Besides, I have a hard time limiting myself to a specific list of books and not having room for new release titles or advanced copies I’m given from publishers that I want to binge on immediately.
So instead, I decided to go all patriotic on y’all and limit my list to America the Beautiful.
If you’re like me, scrolling through your Instagram on a Saturday morning, chances are you’re going to come across at least half a dozen French-inspired snapshots. There’s usually some variant of the millenial “blush pink” color featured in the girl’s clothes or accessories, and a background of a boulangerie, cafe or even, for the less subtle ‘grams, the Eiffel Tower.
Sometimes there’s a bit of backlash over these wannabe Parisian’s, scoffing at our bougie fascination with Chanel and macarons. Other American tourists bemoan the French snobbery and unfriendliness. My response: get over yourself. Paris is perfect, has been for centuries, and you’re just jealous. Also, stop being so loud and obnoxious with your deafening whines about having to walk everywhere and how America is the greatest country on Earth (manners much?), your insistence on wearing neon shorts and flip flops, and your staunch insistence on ordering super-sized hamburgers when you’re in the culinary capital OF THE WORLD, and maybe the Parisians will be nicer to you. Just a thought.
My love for le Francaise began early, when my parents came home from their own trip to France and brought back both a French and English copy of the original Madeline. At the time I was so young I couldn’t read either copy, but the illustrations of the twelve little girls strolling by the Eiffel Tower and the tiger in the zoo are still seared into my memory. The pages of the books became worn over the dozens and dozens of times I poured through the books at the kitchen table.
Sometimes, life gets too chaotic for reading…ok, who am I kidding? I always make time for reading, even during last week’s dental conference in Miami (I flew through Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in preparation for the HBO series coming out, and it did not disappoint! Will have to write a review later this month). I also got to reunite with one of my best friends from dental school, who gave me the grand tour of Miami and made both me and Charlie boy fall in love with this vibrant city.
We ate delicious Cuban and Jamaican food, explored the intricately graffitied arts district, sipped mojitos along the beach, and fell asleep to the sound of salsa music and ocean waves with our open balcony door. Couldn’t have asked for a better mini-vacation.
Check it out!
(PS this is mostly just going to be a picture post, because my original draft got deleted when my laptop finally decided to collapse after nine years of devotion. RIP, MacBook. I’m quickly cobbling together a post on my iPhone of all things, but I’ll be back with some more legit blogging once I find a new laptop).
As a well-trained Southerner, I always maintained the habit of saying yes ma’am or sir to my dental school faculty and patients. Instead of the reaction I was used to back home (which was no reaction at all, since saying ma’am or sir anywhere south of Maryland is about as automatic as saying “hello,”), I would often receive a confused and borderline offended glance and a high-pitched “What did you just say to me?!”
Last month, Charles let me tag along on a work-related road trip to Kentucky. As usual when I’m about to head to a new city, I spent hours researching and planning all the adventures I would have while Charlie boy was stuck in meetings. I maybe had even let my OCD self go wild by creating an hour-by-hour itinerary based on site locations. I wanted to make sure I had time to tour the Derby Museum, the 21c Museum hotel, and walk along Waterfront Park.
…none of these things happened.
The trip coincided with the “snow storm” that hit the South this January, and although Kentucky didn’t actually get hit with a lot of snowfall, it was absolutely frigid there. With the windchill, it was -9 degrees, and since I would be without a car and would need to walk (or Uber) everywhere, some of the outdoor and out-of-the-way tourist sites had to be nixed from my list. Plus, I seemed to have developed some sort of sinus congestion/cold virus that week; nothing that was serious enough that I could make a legit excuse to lay in bed all day, but enough to make me feel like that’s all I wanted to do.
And you know what, reader? That’s (basically) what I did.
Charles and I spent the weekend at The Brown Hotel, a gorgeous historical Louisville mainstay dating back to the 1920’s. It houses a well-known lobby bar and three restaurants which all serve the infamous Hot Brown (more on that later).
So while Charlie boy spent the day getting #lawyered, I spent a delightful morning curled up in our hotel room sofa, reading and snacking on room service. Eventually I ventured out of my room for a small work out and then explored the hotel, taking way too many photos of the gorgeous lobby area while the bar pianist played jazz music. I felt like I had stepped back in time and half-expected Zelda Fitzgerald to pop up at any moment like in Midnight In Paris.
That night, Charles and I had a ramen dinner at Milkwood (absolutely delish, by the way) and then returned to the hotel bar, where we tried bourbon Manhattan’s and, at the end of the night, the famous Hot Brown. This is a dish created by the original chefs of The Brown Hotel restaurant, and it was often ordered as a late-night menu after a night of dancing at a wedding or party. The dish is basically toast in a creamy sauce and covered with turkey, bacon, tomato, tons of Romano cheese, and a thick gravy. In other words,prepare yourself and wear your elastic waistband pants when you order this monstrosity. It’s just as delicious (and dangerous) as I imagined, and if you’re willing to risk the potential heart attack, it’s worth it. You can also make the dish at home using this recipe.
The next day, Charles and I did actually manage to venture out together in the cold to work off some of that Hot Brown (though not for long). As on any trip, I am a brat and demanded we find the best independent bookstore in town, so we stopped by Carmichael’s bookstore to explore the shelves. I picked up a copy of The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan. As it is set in Kentucky and is, to some extent, about horse racing, I figured this would kinda-sorta-not really make up for the fact that I did nothing cultural in Louisville. I’m in the middle of this book as we speak and thus far no regrets for forking out the $25 for this book.
So, I definitely loved our trip to Louisville, even if it wasn’t my typical action-packed road trip weekend! The hotel was a kind of historical site in and of itself, so we weren’t COMPLETELY lame. Plus, sometimes it’s fun to just have a lazy weekend in a fancy hotel! 😉
We do want to make another trip to Louisville in the future, when we can ACTUALLY explore the city – what should be on our cant-miss list? What should we skip? Let us know in the comments below!
HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY, everyone! Hopefully all of y’all know about Galentine’s Day by now, but in case you’ve been living under a rock…