Goin’ Back to Tally

So, as a New Englander, this literally makes no sense to me, but Tallahassee is cool as hell. It is…so much cooler than Boston? It’s in the panhandle/Northern Florida. It’s not even by the ocean. Why is this place perfect?

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I’ve now been down here four times (I’m writing this from Catalina!) and I’m honestly tryna move. It’s February and I’m wearing sandals and a light jean jacket…Heaven.

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This trip we drove down St. Petersburg for some beach action and stopped in Manatee Springs to attempt to see manatees (we were brutally rebuffed).

I already posted a Tallahassee appreciation post a few years back, but I’ve discovered a few new places and wanted to share!

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we are fucking adorable

Tallahassee

Eats

El Cocinero

Definitively the best tacos on planet earth. Since last time I was here, they added a caramelized pineapple and pickled cactus option. YOU HEARD ME CORRECTLY. Other classics are the mushroom taco—it’s utterly, stupidly good. It has some sort of pesto—cilantro, maybe?—with toasted chickpeas and cotija. Sarah’s fave is the fried avocado taco—need I even elaborate? Also, their sangria is legit. It…actually tastes like red wine and isn’t sweet. They do a salsa of the day, and it’s always bomb. Their beans! I have to stop talking about Cocinero, or I’ll end up getting tacos a third time.

The BARK

The BARK is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in a super cool part of town—the building’s entire exterior is painted with Keith Haring-style murals. They have a limited menu but LITERALLY EVERY OPTION is delicious. Last time I had a Sloppy Jose (a barbecue beans sammie), and this time I had a buffalo tofu sandwich with vegan ranch. Did I mention they bake their own bread?? BARK stands for Bread and Roses Kitchen, after all. I got sautéed garlic kale as a side order and I swear it almost made me believe in God.

SoDOUGH Baking Co.

Donuts. Epic goddamn donuts. Also, their sandwiches are next level. The decadent grilled cheese has tomato jam on it, which almost sounds gross, but is actually amazing! Next time I’m down in FL, I definitely want to hang out here and write in their outdoor seating!

Centrale Pizza, Parm, & Bar

We had such a gorgeous brunch here when I came out in May 2018! Centrale has incredible décor, and is located in a really great part of town. Definitely worth checking out.

Kool Beanz Cafe

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This was another place we hit up when I came out last May. Super cool—they have random dog murals on the walls?—and their menu changes seasonally, which I love. Not a ton of veggie options, but what we did end up getting was delicious.

Taco Republik

Are you sensing that I love tacos? Everything in Tallahassee, inexplicably, has veggie options. We ate here during my May 2018 trip, and we calorie-splurged on queso. So worth it.

Drinks

Warhorse

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I’ve already written about Warhorse but it is my favorite place ever. We did trivia here on my 2nd to last night and it was seriously the most fun! It was audio/visual trivia and one of the rounds was trying to figure out rap lyrics when run through a text-to-speech program in a Scottish accent. No joke. When you’re here, order a New York Sour.

Grasslands Brewing Co.

I’m actually sitting right outside Grasslands right now. At Grasslands, we played Boggle while we drank beer. Truly iconic.

Proof

I’ve talked about Proof before, but they have a new location and it’s epic!

The Edison

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Sarah lives right next to this place. We didn’t make it this trip, but we had cocktails here in May. The décor is out of this world!

Entertainment

The Moon

serving lewks at neko case

WE SAW NEKO CASE, BITCHES! The Moon is honestly one of my favorite venues. It has standing room and tables you can reserve. We were like two feet away from Neko, who was, somehow, even better than you could possibly imagine her being.

Euphoria Tattoo

 

I don’t know if getting tattoos is technically “entertainment,” but I find it entertaining! We got tattooed by Luis—follow him on Instagram!

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beachin’ in st. pete—got so burnt

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When I went down South last May, we took little day trips to Apalachicola & Thomasville, GA. If you’re ever down that way, check these places out!

Apalachicola

Oyster City Brewing Company

Oystercatcher

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Thomasville

The Farmer’s Daughter

La Robe Boutique

Signature Clothing Lounge

The Bookshelf

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The more I travel, the more I fall head-over-heels in love with the South. Maybe one day I’ll get to move down there and actually be warm!

xoxo,

chels

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Excuse my French, but I’m in France

I’m just sayin’.

So, I finally got to Paris. I wrote about it here, and our itinerary is posted here. I’ll write more about it later, but in the meantime, please enjoy these snaps. Bucket list item, checked.

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Chelsea’s Adventures in Oxfordland

originally posted on notreallyoxfordwomen!

We packed a lot into our first week. I’m still waiting until it calms down so I can do wild things like sleep or buy a curling iron. Exciting stuff! Here’s just a tiny overview of a few faves from the last week. Loads more to come!

Oxford

Pubs & Food

Saturday was the quarter finals of the World Cup and (spoiler alert from several days ago) England trounced Sweden! It’s the first time England’s gone so far in the cup in ages, so the city was abuzz with excitement! We had an impossible time finding a pub at which to watch the match—everywhere was stuffed to the gills with people spilling outside and watching through the windows. They’re playing again Wednesday (against Croatia) and we’re camping out at St. Aldate’s nice and early to watch!

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The Covered Market is so, so cool. It’s like a tiny version of Farmer’s Market in L.A.

Pro tip about (at least this area of) England: every. bloody. place. has. vegetarian options. It’s absolutely incredible. Even the morning English Breakfast buffet could please a vegan. Just note that it’s soya milk, not soy! Also, figure out what the hell Pimm’s is before you come here.

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Other pubs/restaurants that we’re falling in love with every day: The King’s Arms, The Crown, The White Horse, Turf Tavern, The Old Tom, The Varsity Club, George Street Social, The Lamb & Flag

Still to try: The Wig & Pen, The Eagle & Child, O’Neills, The Bear Inn, The Oxford Retreat, The Trout

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Shops

You can’t go to England without making a pilgrimage to Boots. It’s like a Sephora-meets-CVS, and it’s the nearest chemist to school. We’ve been getting our groceries at Tesco & Sainsbury’s. I got a tattoo at Oxford Tattoo and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. 10/10 would recommend. And Blackwell’s! What can I possibly say about Blackwell’s that hasn’t already been said. You remember the song “Almost Paradise“? It started playing in my heart when I walked in. It’s 3 floors of wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor books, and I’m moving in there ASAP.

Sights

Holywell Cemetary was spooky af. Go at dusk! Here’s a list of graves. The Martyrs’ Memorial should make your list. The Bodleian Libraries are so gorgeous it’s unfair. The Radcliffe Camera is an extreme photo op. And well, everything here is perfect, so just walk around and ogle the buildings!

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Wales

Tintern Abbey, Chepstow Castle, Raglan Castle

Cymru for life. These ruined medieval relics are stunning beyond belief. Granted it was about 4,000 degrees Celsius, seeing these living legends was an unmissable experience. Get thee to the land of the dragon!

Abergavenny

The Hen & Chickens pub is clearly the local watering hole, and we were so lucky to have stopped in here. We met an Irish ex-pat named Collin and a mysterious vest-wearing Welshman who went by the name of Reality Jones. There is no way to really capture how magical our Wales experience was…suffice it to say that I’m definitely going back, and I’m probably getting a Reality Jones tattoo. P.S. Welsh cheddar and cole slaw sandwich. Iconic.

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In my next post, I’ll go off about coffee and food in Oxford (hint: it’s very good).

Only 16 more days! It’s going by way too quickly!

-chels

Sunday Kind of Love: UK Edition

We leave for England in 4 days! I’m so excited and grateful for this opportunity. I’ve never taken a Transatlantic flight (I’ve only left the country five times, to Quebec and Cancun), so this is a major bucket-list item checked off! As I may have mentioned before, Annie and I will be living and studying at Wadham College at Oxford, but we have plenty of excursions planned (including day trips to Paris and Brussels!)

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The Headington Shark, image via flickr

This is a(partial) list of what we’ll be up to on the island:

Wales

Tintern Abbey

Chepstow Castle

Raglan Castle

Abergavenny

England

Travel tattoos at Oxford Tattoo

Hamlet at The Globe

Stratford-Upon-Avon

The Bodleian Library

The Roman Baths in Bath

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Tate Modern

Kensington Palace

Blenheim Palace

Afternoon tea at the Barbican

Cuban Night at the Windsor Racecourse

Join the Oxford Alcademics at Raoul’s

I’m sure we’ll check out at least some of these 15 Things to do in Oxford

See you stateside in August!

A Weekend in Midtown Atlanta


It’s been 8 months since my long-weekend trip to Atlanta and I can’t believe I haven’t written about it yet! Atlanta is one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited and I can’t wait to go back. Here’s a field guide from a total ATL rookie!

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport & MARTA


The Atlanta airport is a Delta hub, so the running joke is that if the devil himself had to fly back to Hell, he’d connect in Atlanta. The airport is massive, so big that it necessitates a “plane train” to take passengers between terminals. H-J also has the lovely tendency of switching arrival gates, often to different terminals, which can be a bit stressful.

I, of course, was actually flying to Atlanta, though, so I had a great experience navigating the airport. It’s best feature is that, when it spits you out at baggage claim, there’s a MARTA station right there that can get you anywhere in the city!

MARTA is Atlanta’s answer to the T or Metro, but possibly way better. The trains run frequently, are super clean (as public transit goes) and the lines are super simplified so it’s easy for a newbie to navigate the system. The only downsides are that the trains pretty much only converge at Five Points, so that station is, I’m sure, a nightmare, and that you have to tap your Breeze Card on exit as well as entry, just like BART. MARTA reminds me a lot of the Montreal Metro, just way less confusing.

The W Atlanta-Midtown


The W Hotel in Midtown is conveniently located between the Midtown and Arts Center stops on MARTA. I hopped off MARTA at Midtown, grabbed a cup from Dancing Goats, and booked it to the hotel to relieve myself of the two stuffed totes I was schlepping. I knew the W was a nice hotel, but holy smokes was it swanky! Easily the nicest place I’ve ever stayed, so big ups to my friend, who treated us!


I know the field of working in a hotel is actually called Hospitality, but the staff at the W went above and beyond to be helpful and kind.


They also had a really nice lobby bar, where I finally got to try a Pisco Sour. So delicious–might be my new go-to.

The High Museum


Going to the High Museum was my #1 Atlanta priority and it did not disappoint! Designed by Richard Meier, the iconic AF architect who designed the Getty Center in LA, the High is a bright beautiful building filled with a stunning array of artworks, American, European, and African. I can’t wait to go back—there was an entire wing we didn’t have time to see!



The Margaret Mitchell House

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The Margaret Mitchell House was a must-do on my Atlanta list. My best friend (who accompanied me on the trip) and I had a movie-watching club with her dad when we were kids (because we were super cool), and Gone With the Wind was one of the stand-outs. I read the book in high school (so…eleven or twelve years ago….) and similarly adored it. There’s some controversy about the book glamorizing the antebellum period, but, in my extremely optimistic view, it’s a story of a strong woman doing what it takes to survive. Also, Margaret Mitchell was a badass journalist and proto-feminist who died in a car crash, so who doesn’t want to hear about that drama?

Café Intermezzo

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Cafe Intermezzo

We did brunch at Cafe Intermezzo on our last day in ATL, and I have exactly 2 words: savory. crepes. Intermezzo, as the name suggests, has super Italian vibes—there was an Italian movie playing while we were there (I heard it over the speakers in the bathroom, and the female lead sounded exactly like Isabella Rossellini). The food and cappuccinos were to die for, the staff was super nice, and the atmosphere was very European (or so I imagine, as someone who has never left North America).
Dancing Goats Coffee Bar

Dancing Goats was located right across from the Midtown MARTA stop, so I popped in on my way in and out of Atlanta. Since I didn’t spend much time here, I don’t have a ton to say, but the cold brew was good, they had bomb green iced tea, and the décor was sparse and right up my alley. More coffee shops need to adopt the minimalist menu trend! I don’t need the calorie count and every flavor under the sun listed. Just tell me lattes are $4 so I can get on with my life!

Revelator Coffee Company

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the revelator location in ponce city market

I’m dreaming….of a Revelator cold brew…

Revelator is so nice, I went there twice! Once on the Georgia Tech campus and once at Ponce. They have a super stripped down menu—no frappuccinos up in here! I also heard a rumor that they bought Wired Puppy in Boston, so I’ll catch y’all soon!

TAP: A Gastropub

TAP is so, so good. We went for Sunday brunch and it was (fortunately for us) deserted, so we got to enjoy our mimosas and breakfast quesadillas in peace. Also, we got loaded tater tots, because, let’s face it, when in Rome.  Can’t wait to go back and sample the rest of the menu!

South City Kitchen (Midtown)

Brunch goals, elevated. South City Kitchen was arguably the *most* Southern thing we did during our stay. I had grits, y’all.

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The Nook

We went to The Nook on our first night in ATL. It was right around the corner from our hotel, across from Piedmont Park, and it was the perfect low-key location to get the vacay started. I tried the “Atalanta” plum beer by Orpheus Brewing Company and it was amazing. Also, buffalo tater tot nachos. TOTCHOS.

Tamarind Seed

After 2 days of eating nothing but tater tots and cheese, my body was screaming for vegetables, so we decided on Thai for dinner. Midtown is (apparently) super quiet on Sunday nights, so we had a very peaceful meal on the patio of Tamarind Seed, which, unfortunately, is closed now. I will say, the food was excellent! I hope their renovations go smoothly and that they’re able to reopen!

Bar Margot


This place was the dreamiest. It’s located inside the Four Seasons hotel, and it’s probably the swankiest place we went during our stay.

I don’t know that it’s named after The Royal Tenenbaums, but if it isn’t, what a missed opportunity. The cocktails were inspired, the decor was gorgeous,

5Church


This bar was around the corner from The W, and it ended up being one of the best spots we hit during our stay. We went after our dinner at Tamarind Seed for dessert, drinks, and the Celtics game. The Verde cocktail was the dreamiest–it had Hendricks, lime, cilantro, and chili pepper–and the Vanilla Bavarian dessert was like key lime pie on steroids. Not to mention that the decor was stunning and modern, and the service was outstanding (although I am highly biased towards people who compliment my glasses). We just intended to pop in for a few minutes, but ended up staying because the TV was playing basketball (which I have never watched or cared about), but as a Boston native herself, my friend was really invested in the Celtics winning (which they did spectacularly in the last few seconds)!

P.S. 5Church contacted me on Instagram and asked to repost this shot, so hit them up on Insta and you might see a familiar handle!

The Establishment 

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This bar was located next to our hotel, so we decided to give it a try Saturday night around 11, to prove to ourselves that we weren’t 80-year-old women. (We are.)

This is a very cool spot, admittedly, but that was kind of the problem. It was packed, loud, and super dark. I think there was actually a wedding after-party happening while we were there. We were fighting to stay awake after our long day, but we gave our version of “going out to da club” a try, and I have to say the drinks were fab. I got a Negroni, because they were referenced on Master of None, and I actually love the borderline gross bitterness of Campari.

The decor at The Establishment was Old West-inspired–lots of burlap, rope, and barrels. Even the glassware was heavy and ornate, a very nice vintage nod. If I ever make it back to ATL, I’ll stop into this bar during the early evening so that I can actually hear my companion’s conversation.

Luckily, as we were finishing our drinks, the bar TVs started playing SNL, so after the cold open, we rushed back to the hotel to bid farewell to Bobby, Vanessa, and Sasheer.

Orpheus Brewing 

On our first night in Atlanta, at The Nook, we discovered local brewer, Orpheus Brewing, and their incomparable Atalanta Tart Plum Saison. It was so amazing that even I, who never drinks beer, couldn’t help but order one. A quick Google search let us know that the brewery itself was just across the park from where we were staying, so we set out on Sunday to take one of their tours and enjoy samples of all their varietals. (Can you say varietals about beer, or is that just a wine term?)

Unfortunately, after walking all the way across Piedmont Park to get to the brewery, they were closed for a private event, so we didn’t get to do the brewery tour. Super bummed! This is a must-do activity on my next trip down South!

Ponce City Market


I’d venture to call this the Faneuil Hall of Atlanta. It’s an outdoor mall (think lululemon and Madewell) and an indoor food hall with every type of cuisine imaginable. If I were a local, I anticipate that I’d find myself here a lot. I grabbed a Lyft down to Ponce on my last day to kill some time before my flight, and I’m really glad I checked it out. I ended up having a burrito and a margarita (because I’m predictable) while listening to Throwing Shade, a recent podcast obsession. Unfortunately, it was raining and generally crappy out all Monday, so apart from the umbrella I bought, I wasn’t able to do much shopping.

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All in all, Atlanta was a total blast! It’s definitely true that we only saw a teeny tiny slice of what the city has to offer, but that’s just a reason to go back!

Bucket List: Paris

One thing that has remained consistent in my life for the past 20 years, truly the only thing, has been my passionate desire to visit Paris. My father encouraged my brother and me to learn French as children (which worked on me but flopped big time with my brother) by reading us bilingual picture books, and ever since, I have been fascinated by French language, history, and culture. And croissants. Who doesn’t love croissants?

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ugh, I know I’m not supposed to like Kanye anymore, but c’mon (image source)

I started taking French in school when I was ten and continued through college. I even took a French film course sophomore year! Jules et Jim, La Femme Nikita—all the classics! I’m pretty sure that my basic existence inspired Childish to rap “I’mma be on these tracks like indie girls on Amélie“. I read (and loved) the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. Trust me, though, Francophilia is hardly a sympathetic condition. Revealing that you speak French at a party is like revealing that you have whooping cough—no one wants to be around you after that. So I’ve been quietly biding my time, waiting for my moment to finally hop the pond and visit la Ville Lumière.

But what’s the biggest obstacle to any dream? Money, honey. International travel is expensive af (or at least it has been presented to me that way), and until a few months ago, I was a broke college student working a retail job. I mean, now I’m a broke prospective grad student working a retail job, so, not much better, but we’ve got that wedding nest egg squirreled away and my credit score is on the rise! #tmi

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i’m drooling. i’m swooning. chateau versailles (image via pinterest)

So, why bring this up now? After 20 years of futile dreaming, why put a Paris trip back on the table? Well…my parents. Let me explain. My mother’s husband has family in Germany, so they recently appended a few days onto their trip to visit Paris. That’s correct—a woman who know zero French words and has no interest in coffee, wine, or fattening food has been to Paris. That was a bit of a dagger in the back, but she deserves to travel, right? She works hard! Then, my dad revealed that this year, he wants to turn 50 in Paris. It has also been his lifelong dream to go there (apple, tree), so he’s in the early stages of planning a trip for his birthday. 50 is a big occasion!

Since I’m the tech-savvy one in the fam (which is a sad, sad reality), I’ve started browsing for flights and AirBnbs in order to help him get a realistic picture of the expense of the trip, and what I’ve found has shocked and delighted me. A trip. To Paris! Is totally doable! You can get round-trip flights for under $600 if you don’t mind stopping in Iceland! AirBnbs go for as cheap as $50/night! I haven’t even begun to factor in the cost of meals, nor have I converted Euros to dollars (the exchange rate is super close right now), but still: with each Internet search I become increasingly hopeful about my chances of making my dreams a reality.

Turns out, the touristy stuff that one simply must do is all super affordable!

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are you goddamn kidding me with this beauty? jardin des tuileries, paris, fr (image source)

There are so many more free or inexpensive things to do in Paris, which is super inspiring to the broke among us! The money saved on attractions can go towards food! According to Pinterest, eating vegetarian/vegan should be a breeze there—for all of my Francophilia, classic French cuisine just doesn’t do it for me!

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notre-dame cathedral (image source)

 

So, when are we going, guys? Tomorrow? All I ask is that I see Paris before I die, so let’s pack our freaking bags! That might be the most stressful thing of all—how to dress in the world’s most fashionable city. My wardrobe is not worthy!

À bientôt, mes chèrs!

—DellaBites