healthy hacks, nature

Porch Sittin’

It was a whirlwind trip to the city. A cozy AirBnB row house was my home away from home. Newly renovated to match today’s modern luxuries inside, but with the charm of the old city neighborhood outside. Street parking was required or you had to park in the alley if you got in too late. I made sure to get the street spot as I wasn’t a  fan of alleys at night.

This is evening there were fireworks scheduled for 930pm. An air show began in the afternoon but lasted to the early evening. There was a lot goign on this weekend. Roads were closed. Weather was perfect for outdoor activities. people were enjoying life outside today. The night was calm. The temps were high 70s. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather for porch sittin’ in between activity.

I was motivated by a woman I saw on her stoop earlier in the day. Not sure how long she stayed out porch sittin’ but when I return home she had a friend. They were giggling, catching up on life and just hanging out: life seemed so simple in that moment. It also gave me time to pause myself and think about how I too enjoyed porch sitting with my nana and aunts in my childhood.

Off I went to grab a book to read a little while there was still daylight. I heard a few jets still passing in the distance from the air show. I heard those passing by on bicycles. I saw a group with motorized razor scooters. A jeep. A motorcycle. Some walkers. Just a couple cars. In between pages I’d pause to listen to the birds chirp. I might have swatted a few bugs too. 

As night came, I flipped the flashlight on phone for a few extra minutes of light to read the last couple pages. The quiet time was good. The environment was very welcoming. The street seemed like and intersection of hope and expectation. The street, the name, the words all crossed my path in different ways in the last 24 hours which was a weird coincidence as I sit on the porch.

Some days we go through life checking off boxes and doing what is expected of us hoping for different results. On rare occasions, we choose to explore or wander. It’s this times when growth happens. It’s not hoping for change that gets you a new result it’s changing yourself or environment that’s yeilds a result. My expectation of myself is simple. I expect to change, often. I expect to grow, as much as possible. 

My porch sittin’ was amazing today. If you haven’t been porch sittin’ in the city take a trip. Find an Airbnb not a hotel. Blend into the community. Eat where the locals eat. Shop where the locals shop. I bet it will be a trip to remember.

adventure

Sin City

I took a trip to sin city with my mom recently. It was a trip for the memory books for sure. Seeing the city and how it’s changed through her eyes was amazing. I can’t include all the highlights as there were too many but I can jot down a few of my favorites. The photo below looks like a postcard. However it’s just a shot from the parking lot we parked in on our first night. 

Let’s start with what’s that smell? From the constant aroma of marijuana in the streets to what seemed like raw sewage seeping through the ground at times on the strip. Then there was the clouds of smoke that casted smells of cigars or cigarettes of all kinds when moving throughout the casinos. I even think she noted the smell of burnt toast each morning going to our condo elevator. However there was a pleasing scent of gingerbread and pine needles in the Bellagio hotel while immersed in their holiday display. Clever use of the HVAC system I’d assume. Too bad the nice smells can’t overpower the gross ones. Oh, the smells that created giggles galore.

We took a trip to old Vegas or Fremont Street which had changed so much since her last visit. This area was revitalized. She was mesmerized with the laser show above her head set to today’s hit music. See photo below. In a corner she also enjoyed a DJ playing upbeat music while dancing and entertaining the crowd with her fancy hula hoop moves. 

Of course there were other sights she wasn’t as fond of, like the barely-dressed young girls dressed with feather plumes bearing their butt cheeks. Some had whips but all were looking for men she said. To hear her recount this was hilarious. She also saw the rougher side of life gone bad. The homelessness of the city. From those asking for money when you left a restaurant to those sleeping in the streets with signs looking for beer money. Very sad to see. I would drift off thinking about what got each person into the state of homelessness.

There is another side to sin city many may not ever visit. Maybe it’s a short car ride to see Seven Magic Mountains. Maybe it’s a unique visit to the Container Park. For this blog I will talk about the day we took a trip to Valley of Fire State Park. The history and experience was impressive. The rock formations were amazing. The colors of the rocks tied in so well with the sky. Pictures are great memories but somehow don’t do the experience justice. We also got a glimpse of some cool wildlife as an added bonus. 

Taking the scenic route always adds value to any trip. The photo ops. The time together. The soaking in of all nature has to offer. These are the priceless moments.
We can’t end this post without a good damn story. Thus we close with the damn experience. The Hoover Dam that is. A short drive from Vegas. You will start in Nevada but end up in Arizona after a short walk. A great little way to say you visited both states. The walking bridge was a hit for us this trip as it was constructed after my mom visited many years ago. She had a new viewpoint. A new experience. It was fun to hear her reminisce on what it looked like before for travelers. For one there wasn’t a security checkpoint similar to the airport or military installation. That was the first wow moment upon arrival. Nonetheless the beauty of the area didn’t disappoint.

Signing off from sin city.

family

First Fall Trip

it was an early rise day trip. 80 degrees was the high but it wasn’t 55 yet early in the morning. I opted for layers this day. Had the snacks and drinks packed and ready the night before. Off we went.

We caught a before sunrise glimpse in the distance off the glistening water of Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. Not really planned but much enjoyed beauty. It was a mostly quiet ride in the car being as it was early in the morning and nobody had coffee.
I planned for a long bike ride around the campus of Clemson University to kill time however my bike had other plans for me. My air pump didn’t work and my rear tire just wasn’t feeling like it had enough air to lift my load on this day. A let down of sorts but off to do other things I suppose.

A little fitness adventure course caught my eye on campus. I gave that a go for a little bit. I wasn’t great at anything but I gave this new piece of equipment a try in its various fitness activities. From the monkey bars to pull-up bars to ab workout. It was all interesting, compact and free for anyone who wanted to give it a go. I thought that was pretty cool.

After that mini sweat session I strolled around a bit. Watched some games going on. There was plenty of orange color everywhere. Circled into town. Grabbed some souvenirs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much orange in one place before even at a pumpkin patch. It was interesting to say the least.

Had a nice lunch in town. Checked out the sights. Saw some graffiti art. I stopped at a cute bagel shop and I ordered the Mr. T. Who could resist a turkey and cheese bagel sandwich named after the one and only Mr. T from the A-team. What a flash back to childhood.

Today represents the first of many road trips as I enter the college touring circuit with my youngest. Mixed emotions but definitely looking forward to the travel adventures to see what her future journey may look like. Many new roads ahead. Making the memories that will be cherished for years to come. Capturing and documenting every bit of story along the way.

Sometimes my readers will have a front seat with me. Other times I may just enjoy the solo ride. Either way this one one of many first for us as a duo. The road to college is interesting.

dare to be different

Crepe Adventures

I got a last minute invite to a breakfast spot I had never been to. I thought of why I shouldn’t go but then said I’ve never been so just go and check it out. I’m glad I made that decision.

It was fabulous! The table of girls did a share order so we could sample and to my surprise I loved all of it. Not just one, but three amazing and oh so different crepes.
First one was a sweet one. Big mounds of Chantilly (whip cream), fresh strawberries, and just a little drizzle of other sweetness. Great presentation and such a delicious delight that seemed so light. Maybe it felt light as we shared. No photo as it was gone fast.

Next one was eggs, chicken, and brie cheese. I wasn’t sure if I would like the chicken but it was flavored so well. Paired with the eggs and cheese was just right. It was not long until it was all gone. Every item on the crepe was just right. The seasoning. The presentation. The flavors. A repeat order for sure.

Number three was mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and strips of fancy bacon. A little crunch. A little munch. A lot of goo from the cheese. Oh was it tasty. Another one down the hatch. There were a lot of mushrooms but they tasted good and were sliced just right. I could see the care of presentation in this dish.

This little place was a great find. We all had so much fun we invited a few friends to go back the next day. Guess we needed to try some more crepe flavor combinations. So many to choose from. I am so glad I took a chance on a new place.

I almost forgot to mention I grabbed a coffee to go. It has a twist I couldn’t resist. Ice cream, caramel, espresso and Chantilly. Yes more whip cream. It tasted so good on my drive home. Sneaking a peek under the lid was confirmation of the goodness.

Until next time. Take a detour. Try a new place for a change. You might be surprised what you find.

adventure

Hello Philly

Just a 24 hour pit stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1 full day is what I had but I planned to see and do a ton.

The first stop was to feed my belly of course. A quick stop for cheese steak at the famous corner in Philadelphia where you will find Geno’s and Pat’s. Which would I choose? I opted for Pat’s. I had to learn how to order which was harder than it needed to be. Then off to find a seat to enjoy the foodie treat. My belly was full. Steak, provolone cheese, onions, and peppers were loaded to the max on big hoagie bun.  Maybe not my favorite meal of my trip but overall I can said I had a Philly cheese steak from one of favorite local hot spots. 

Time for the sweet tooth spot. Insomnia cookies for the win. A sampling of sugar, snickerdoodle, macadamia nut, double chocolate, blueberry and chocolate chip cookies went In the box. Nobody needed the cookies, but we all opted to spurge and get the cookies. We all nibbled at each. Sugar was my favorite. Surely we were going to have a sugar overload at any moment after this stop.

On to the city we went, twisting and turning on a million one way streets. Looking up at the magnificent buildings and their architecture on the way to the hotel. Parking in the parking garage was an experience. Super low ceiling, limited turning radius, and very narrow pathways. 
The next adventure after parking was exploring the area by foot and stopping in on the shops that were open late. An Italian dinner in the city streets. Interesting setups by each restaurant to accommodate outdoor seating. An interesting sight to see including the various designs and creativity involved. This was a side of the pandemic I had not yet experienced. I observed the financial cost to set up power outside for lights. Shelter to be built. Weather proofing elements. And one can’t forget the curbside appeal to make people want to stop. Some had fancy chairs while others had old ones that I’d assume wouldn’t matter if they got weathered or stolen. Interesting walk to say the least.

A good night’s sleep nestled high in the sky on the 16th floor was a great experience. The view was amazing and the location was perfect. Early rise to walk to the Liberty Bell. Photo op one was in the books. A walk in the other direction took us to Love park for a photo op. This was slightly disappointing but also sad. Many homeless people were nestled in this park in the morning as they rose. From young to old. Made me wonder about their stories. 

A shift down the road with all the worldly flags was a beautiful sight. It led to the Rocky steps and statue. The one and only Rocky Balboa steps. Of course I ran them multiple times. I took photos. I FaceTimed those who couldn’t be there with me. We even had a virtual run. That was a first for me. But so much fun. We toured ourselves but ran into the walking tour many times thus we felt we did a good job planning our stops.

A little further down the road was boat house row. A picturesque water side view of the row of boat houses and their boats. I enjoyed the waterside view more than the street view but it was a new experience nonetheless. This area was a great place to run, walk or ride a bike. The weather was perfect on this day to tackle a nice flat surface for some light exercise. 

As we circled back many miles and hours later we hit the Reading Market. An interesting place full of vendors. Mostly food options. I grabbed a coffee and some sweets. Not a smart choice of fuel for the body but more a celebration of the city’s offerings. We nibbled on:

A colossal cinnamon bun 

A chunky slice of white cake

A creamy pumpkin roll slice

An enormous crumb cake 

All were full on sugar rushes! All were amazingly good. None of them were finished. All of them were tasted. We tried not to be wasteful but we did opt not to finish our plates. Time to load and go. Off to the airport. One last stop we shall have.

In the last of the 24 hours we hit Chickie’s & Pete’s, a local spot near the airport close to the sporting venue. A massive dining space. An interesting menu. For me it was the lobster roll for my meal. An overstuffed bun toasted to perfection. Slivers of celery, onions and just the right amount of seasoning. A nice treat for the end of a whirlwind 24 hours.

My belly is full as I sit on my flight writing. My heart swells from the memories made. My smile is big daydreaming of my next 24 hours of adventures. Where will I go? What will I see? Who will I meet? Who will I travel with? It’s all a mystery for now. Maybe a story will follow. Maybe it won’t.

I hope you enjoyed my 24 hour summary of Philadelphia. Maybe you will get there one day and choose the same route or travel new route. For now this city is off my list of tourist stops.