Trip to Toronto Part 1

March 2017

When Colt came to me some months ago about spending the weekend in Toronto I was an immediate, without a doubt, YES. Canada has always been on the good ol’ bucket list and Colt was going to be flying out there for a case competition with school. Since Colt was going to be busy most of the time with his competition and school stuff, we invited my sister, Angel, to go fly out with me so I wouldn’t have to travel alone. For the past few months, we’ve been counting down to this trip… it did not disappoint.

We flew out on Friday. I didn’t take the day off from work thinking it would be a breeze to leisurely leave right after school and jet on over to the airport. I was wrong. The whole day was a whirlwind. Deadlines needed to be met before I left work, substitute plans had to be made & set out, there was some drama with a few of my students and a parent called wanting to talk to me before I left. I finally left work only to be met with horrific traffic the entire way to the airport. By this time I was sweating buckets. I was set to board at 5:45 PM and I wasn’t quite sure I was going to make it! I still had to park my car and take the shuttle to my gate! Alas, I made it just fine and all was well. My sister and I grabbed a bite to eat and then boarded our plane. I could finally take a deep breath and leave all my worries behind. Canada, here we come!

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We landed in Toronto close to 11 PM and we had to get through customs and call an uber. For as long a day as it was, I wasn’t too exhausted. I was excited to be in this vivacious metropolis and couldn’t wait to start exploring!

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Since Colt flew in the day before, he and his friend met us at the hotel where we changed and went out to this cute little place across from our hotel where we enjoyed a few night caps. We didn’t stay out too late though because we wanted to get an early start the following morning!

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to downtown Toronto. The view from our balcony was breathtaking. The weather was a little dreary, it was windy, cold but we were ready to go out and see the sights and the soaring skyscrapers. We had heard that Toronto was the “clean version of New York City” and I definitely agree that it was!

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Saturday we walked the downtown strip, went shopping, had lunch at the Hard Rock and ate some delicious Poutine, watched some talent shows in the main square, did more shopping at Toronto’s largest mall, Toronto Eaton Centre and enjoyed the crisp, cold weather. By evening we were exhausted and ready for a mid evening nap! We headed back to the hotel, met up with Colt and took a luxurious nap. We woke up starving and headed over to this quaint Japanese place for ramen.

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After ramen we ubered over to Madison Avenue Pub. This place was the coolest! There are 6 British style like pubs inside these 3 connected Victorian Mansions! Complete with dance floors, patios and a piano bar! Little did we know that this is also the popular spot for the local undergrads to hangout. It was overly crowded with early 20 something year olds and you literally could not get through the crowds, but still so fun. We were easily the oldest people there. I’m pretty sure I was at least 10 years these people’s senior, but we didn’t let that stop us. We stayed until 2 AM closing time, where we crowded around the piano with the fellow Canadians and belted out Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”. It wasn’t until everyone was leaving and walking down the street trying to catch their ubers when we realized we were located on “Greek Row”. Hah! The cherry on top was the snow fall we got to see right before we left. What an epic night!

Sunday morning we were up fairly early and dressed to make the 10 minute walk to church. We visited St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica. It’s one of Toronto’s oldest churches and the church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. Mass was lovely and the cathedral and its architecture was absolutely stunning.

After Mass, we walked back on this beautiful, sunny, but cold, Sunday to meet up with Colt’s buddies at the hotel and pick up our rental car. There was no time to waste. Next up on our agenda… Niagara Falls! First we headed to “PATH” which is Toronto’s famous “underground city”. There are tunnels, subways, shops, food and entertainment underground. This was basically built to help pedestrians stay warm and safe from the harsh conditions of the winter cold and snow. How neat is that?! We picked up the rental car and headed off on our hour and a half journey to Niagara. Unfortunately, this also happened to be the coldest day of our trip!!!

After stopped traffic and a stop at Tim Horton’s for the world’s worst meal, we arrived at our destination. We were greeted with ice cold winds and dropping temps but we were eager to see The Falls! We walked for what seemed like forever before finally catching a glimpse of the waterfalls. By the time we made it up to the falls, I could no longer feel my legs nor my face. That didn’t keep us from enjoying the views and taking a ridiculous amount of pictures. #americantourists

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Tesla! 

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After the photo op we headed inside for coffee, hot chocolate and to defrost while waiting for the sun to go down so we could see Niagara at night. It was so worth it. At night, the falls light up with all different colors. It was beautiful. How incredible are these natural wonders???

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The Canadian Flag!

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The walk back down to our car didn’t feel nearly as bitterly cold as it had been earlier. Still, we couldn’t wait to get in the car and put the heat on full blast and turn on the seat heaters! I fell asleep instantly once we got on the road. Before I knew it, we were back at the hotel picking up another of Colt’s buddies and onward to our next adventure!

If you made it this far, kudos to you & thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed following along! Part 2 of our Toronto trip will be up on the blog soon.

Stay tuned!

XO

 

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Planes & Pancakes

November 2016

Good morning, friends! Breakfast on Saturdays is our “thing”. When we were first married, Saturday morning tradition consisted of making homemade breakfast together or going out to breakfast together. It’s our way of not only enjoying each other’s company, but also a way to reconnect after a busy week. With Colt in school full time and us being on 2 different schedules, we don’t always get time to talk and catch up throughout the week. Saturday mornings and food is our way to do just that.

For awhile now, we have heard from many friends and family members about this little cafe tucked away in a private airfield. We have heard nothing but positive reviews about the atmosphere and most importantly, the food. Colt and I have been wanting to try it for so long and yesterday our wish came true! We woke up starving and no one felt like cooking anything up. Just when we were about to give up and head to Waffle House, the idea came to me to try something new! We excitedly hopped out of bed, got dressed in record time and off we headed to Beacon Cafe.

This little cafe is a short drive from our house. When we first drove up, we immediately saw airplane hangers, airplanes and the airfield. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

We pulled into the parking lot and walked up to the cute little cafe. It was a short 10-12 minute wait. Which wasn’t too bad for a Saturday.

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We were seated inside the cafe, which was great for us considering how chilly it was outside. The waitress handed us a menu but we said “no thanks…”. We were there for the All You Can Eat Weekend Brunch Bar!  Oh man, was it worth it! The aroma of pancakes and omelettes cooking up made to order made our taste buds dance. Omelettes, pancakes, hashbrown casserole, biscuits and gravy, sausage patties, bacon, tamales… everything southern cooking is made of! I was told to try the pineapple upside down pancakes but I went with the blueberry. Omg. The amount of butter they use in those pancakes makes the pancakes melt in your mouth. Seriously, butter makes everything taste better.

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I filled my plate up because I wanted to try a little of everything. The food and service did NOT disappoint. The servers were so attentive and the food was nothing short of delicious. We ate to our heart’s content and our bellies were full and happy.

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Don’t let the looks of the inside of this place fool you. What I love about small towns is the fact that little cafe’s like this one are diamonds in the rough. On the inside were all different types of maps, photographs and plane memorabilia. I loved how you could watch and hear the planes taking off as well. It made the atmosphere even more enjoyable.

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When we realized we could no longer eat another bite, we asked for the check and headed out to take another look at the grounds. We walked around for a few & checked out the planes. Has anyone seen the show “Airplane Repo”?! I’m pretty sure a few planes have been repoed from here!

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One of my favorite things to do is explore and find new gems in our hometown. This was definitely a fun find this weekend! Thank you to everyone for all the recommendations! If you don’t mind a drive, you must try this place out! Totally worth it. I was wondering if this place has been on the show “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” because if not, it should be! I know Colt & I can’t wait to return and try some different pancake flavors. We also look forward to bringing family and friends here on weekends. 

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If you and your loved ones are interested in checking this place out, it’s located off Business Hwy 287 at Hicks Airfield. Once you try it, let us know what you think… or better yet, invite us! We’d love to join you!

We love you all!

Keeping It Real 24/7

October 2016

Recently, I received a comment on social media that sparked the idea for this post. I posted a picture of dinner. (Take out from Central Market)

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The comment read, “Do you leave the take out containers out? When did it become socially acceptable to be so real with our husbands?” I responded with, “when I work a full time job, I’m in the middle of parent-teacher conferences, my schedule is full and let’s face it… I.Am.Exhausted.” When I get home from a ridiculously long day, the last thing I want to do is cook!  Not to mention, it’s almost the year 2017! I was just proud that take out was grilled chicken and veggies from Central Market instead of the usual Taco Casa…

Although I know it was a joke and she was kidding around, it made me wonder what happened to women along the way that led us to believe that we have to be “perfect”…  or even give the impression that we are? Why should we be judged for eating take out instead of eating a home cooked meal. Who said we have to keep a perfect, clean house, cook healthy home cooked meals every single day, decorate our houses as seen on Fixer Upper, work full time jobs, keep a super fit body, grocery shop, run errands and do all this while trying to take care of ourselves and our families. We can do anything, but we can’t do everything

Don’t worry. This isn’t a post about women’s lib or women’s rights. This is post to say that in this day and age, in the age of social media… where my Facebook newsfeed blows up with pretty, seemingly perfect pictures of: people, their families, cute kids,  adorable selfies, delicious food, new cars, big houses, snagging the perfect job, incredible vacations & fun experiences, it becomes easy to compare.  I think we are only human and it happens sometimes. Once in awhile, as you’re scrolling for miles through your newsfeed on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, you start comparing your life to others. We only get a snapshot of someone’s life on social media. A small glimpse into their world. The perception we give off or the view we have of someone else’s life doesn’t necessarily mean their life or ours is perfect. At least, mine isn’t! Let’s be honest, we pick & choose what we want to share with others and what we want the world to see. Most of the time, we choose the “picture perfect” moments like these:

Now don’t get me wrong. I love sharing pretty, perfect pictures with the world. I am the first to snap pictures and to post them. I love pretty pictures just like the next girl. But I hope through my pictures, you’ll see the real me.

Perhaps if we shared more real moments we would realize that we are all in this together. We are all just doing our best to make it in this world. Sometimes, we are just doing our best to make it through the day!

I pride myself on “keeping it real” with my husband. Now, I’m here, “keeping it real” with you, friends! I thought I’d share a few fun facts  about all the things that I’m not perfect at. Things I’m actually…really, really bad at…

Numero Uno…  Washing Tupperware in the dishwasher. Call me lazy. But I don’t care. This  is one that pushes Colt’s buttons. I know if he unloads the dishwasher and sees Tupperware in there, I’m going to have to hear one of his speeches on why you should never put Tupperware in the dishwasher or how another Tupperware lid got melted & destroyed because once again I put it in the dishwasher. Whatevs, bro.

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Dos. Cooking dinner on the reg. Who has time for that? My favorite thing to do when I get home from work is grab a snack, lay on the couch and scroll through my phone while watching tv. So what. (In my defense, I am in charge of 19 little lives daily. That should count for something!)

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I love one pan dinner meals! So quick! So easy! 

Which brings me to #3. I’m really bad at watching a ridiculous amount of tv. I watch it for hours and hours. There is so much recorded on my DVR. My brain is turning to mush. And I don’t mind.

4. I’m bad at being on my phone. Yes, yes, I know I need to enjoy the moment. I’m the first to admit I’m addicted to my phone. Laying on the couch? On my phone. Out to eat? On my phone. Stopped at a red light? On my phone. Sitting on the toilet… most likely I’m on my phone. Hey…. I’m working on it!!!!!!!!!

5. So you’d think since my phone is pretty much glued to my hands that I’d respond quickly to text messages. Nope. WRONG. Answering text messages is not a strength of mine. Actually. Answering group texts is even worse. I don’t do it. Have you seen the meme that says “I’ve never been to jail but I’ve been stuck in a group text”? That’s my life. I don’t know what it is about group texts but I probably won’t respond in a jiffy. Sorry not sorry.

6. I need to work on my bedtime. I know how important it is to get a good night’s rest. I hardly go to bed at a decent time. Considering my first alarm goes off at 5:05 every morning, you’d think I’d be in bed early. Nahhh. Someone tell me, what does 8 hours of sleep feel like? Will I ever learn? Probably not.

7. Drinking Dr. Pepper is another bad habit. Yes I know it’s bad for me. Yes I know how many calories it has. Yes I know it’s full of high fructose corn syrup. Yuummmm. High fructose corn syrup tastes delicious. Maybe Lent 2017 will be the end of Dr. Pepper. Probably not though. It’s okay to have dreams…

Ocho. Working out. It’s the worst. We have a love hate relationship. I always feel better after working out. It’s just the getting there that’s the problem. I’m always too tired. Too lazy. Too unmotivated. If I make it to workout once a week I call that a win. If only working out was as easy as eating…

9. I know more lyrics to inappropriate rap songs than I know bible verses. Jesus, forgive me.

10. Another thing I’m bad at. Biting my nails. I’ve had this habit since I was a wee tot. It’s the worst. Colt hates hearing my crunching of nails. Speaking of… my nails look so ratchet right now. Ugh.

11. Having a green thumb. I don’t have one. I tried decorating my front porch with a festive fall wreath, pumpkins, gourds and mums. Let’s put it this way, 2 mums have fried and died. The whole remembering to water it every day is a prob.

12. I’m bad at eating my veggies every day. Colt and my sisters will tell you. I’m a small child. Who wants to eat veggies?! Not me. Every day I pack up veggies and have goals of consuming them at lunch. Every day my veggies come back home in my lunchbox. One time, I packed up this delicious salad with spinach, spring mix, olives, walnuts, avocado & all the works. I dumped it in the trash when lunch time rolled around. I literally took one look at it and thought to myself “gross”.

13. Depth perception. Once I pulled into my garage after work. I thought I pulled in far enough until I heard the screeching of the garage door on the top of my car and then the smashing of my bumper. Classy.

So enough about that. I also have some things that I am good at!

  1. Eating an entire bag of these in one sitting. Hashtag organic. img_6281
  2. I’m great at not finishing books for my book club.
  3. Washing my hair once a week.
  4. Arriving late everywhere I go.

So there you have it. The next time you see a perfect picture of mine, you won’t have an unrealistic expectation of what my life is like or what your life should look like. Instead, you will know that I am perfectly imperfect. That I probably am laying on the couch eating take out.. the unhealthy kind. All these bad habits are what make me, ME. I am a work in progress.

After writing this, I have realized I need to be on my phone less, in the moment more, eat healthier foods, drink more water and remind myself that we are all in this together.

Cut yourself a break. Don’t beat yourself up. Adulting is hard work!

Always keeping it real. And real classy.

Love you all!