It is becoming increasingly apparently that my foremost skill in life is starting these posts prior to Sunday, forgetting about them, and then on the following Saturday, cobbling together an end so that I can schedule them to come out when they’re supposed to. I’m really consistent! I think I can officially stop wondering why no one in their right mind would pay me to write.
This week’s round-up is very on brand for me—media-heavy and a bit too late to be relevant. But I mean, if you’d only just given yourself the gift of listening to Demi Adejuyigbe talk about pop songs for an hour and a half at a time, you’d probably brag about it too.
I just read Shrillbecause I watched Shrill and Lindy and Aidy are perfect and everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
I joined Bumble BFF and I have no regrets. I felt like a complete loser about it but we all deserve a rich social life that shouldn’t have to die just because we move or graduate.
I really tried with Pen15, but I can’t get into it. It’s too authentic. The writing and acting are so convincingly tween. If you’re into nostalgia (the girls on the show are almost the exact age I was back in the early ’00s), you’ll love it. 12-year-olds just make me cringe. Note: I will still probably watch the entire series.
A Quiet Place is on Hulu now and I might have to break my no-horror-movies-ever rule to watch it.
WERS (the local cool radio station, from Emerson College) keeps advertising a music festival in Reykjavik and it’s making me want to visit Iceland so bad! It’s such a stunningly gorgeous country, and it will be a great way to kick off seeing Scandinavia!
I finally started listening to Punch Up The Jam and it’s my new favorite podcast. I highly recommend starting with the “Wannabe” episode. This week is Shania Twain!
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?
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.
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).
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I’ve talked about Proof before, but they have a new location and it’s epic!
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!
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.
I don’t know if getting tattoos is technically “entertainment,” but I find it entertaining! We got tattooed by Luis—follow him on Instagram!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Still to try: The Wig & Pen, The Eagle & Child, O’Neills, The Bear Inn, The Oxford Retreat, The Trout
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.
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!
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.
In my next post, I’ll go off about coffee and food in Oxford (hint: it’s very good).
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!)
This is a(partial) list of what we’ll be up to on the island:
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?
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
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!
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!
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!