South Dakota

November 18th, 2015 - 

An interesting video was recently shared by a few people I follow on Facebook, highlighting the glories of my home state.

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I was equally enticed by the crazy still image that accompanied the post (above) and the headline “If You’re From South Dakota, This Will Be The Most Jaw Dropping Thing You See All Day. Guaranteed.” What could it even mean? I honestly assumed Bigfoots.

Instead, the video features a bunch of aerial footage of Western South Dakota. Telling a story of our our state I never really knew and kind of always believed to be sentimental BS. I don’t know anybody living this wide open plains, cowboy lifestyle. It’s part of South Dakota’s identity, somehow, but I’ve never met anyone who really fits the narrative. Most people live in South Dakota’s major cities, which are gross, and don’t really drive into the badlands or go outdoors a lot.

Here are some photos that summarize my South Dakota:

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Nearly identical blonde girls, getting married/drunk

Video lottery in bars catering to sad people

Video lottery in bars catering to sad people

Houses that look like this, owned by everyone

Houses that look like this, owned by everyone

Brown and lifeless landscpaes

Brown and lifeless landscapes



Elaborate displays for Jesus

Elaborate displays for Jesus


Strip malls, everywhere

Not photographed:

  • Terrible traffic on city streets
  • Long, boring drives on the highway
  • People you recognize from high school, mutually avoiding you, everywhere you go

babies are fun

November 16th, 2015 - 

Things I have read in my pregnancy app…


I wonder how many times, as a fetus, I licked a placenta or gnawed on my umbilical cord? Was there a twin I absorbed? So many questions I’ll never have answered.

I wonder what my baby will look like?

A photo posted by Sarah Hansen (@smorean) on

The last time I saw her, she was pretty cute, I think. First she was a little duck the size of a gummy bear and then she was a smiley person with a button nose. They tend to limit ultrasounds though, for everyone’s health, so I just have to assume she’s been progressing normally for the last 15 weeks.

I hope all of her works. I am mostly afraid that she might be deaf, because I don’t notice her responding to noise. Of course, I’m not around a lot of sudden weird noises either, and actually like things pretty quiet, so hopefully I’m just worrying for nothing. I just want her to have a good life with all possibilities before her. And is it too much to ask that I really want her to have the lead in a musical someday? Because I love musicals, I’m sure she’ll have a beautiful voice, and it would warm my heart.

Dog Update: This morning when Ripley might have gotten mad at Minnie for being under the covers first, I just petted her and told her she was a good girl for not growling and then I moved her into spooning position so she was on the other side of me from Minnie, and she seemed more relaxed. Maybe we can figure out this dog thing with a little coaching. And later they were playing like good girls, so that’s always a comfort.

Lazy AF

November 16th, 2015 - 


I have entered a new phase of my pregnancy which is Lazy AF. Most of the heavy lifting was done before November, intentionally, to give us ample time before our due date to a) enjoy each other one last time b) enjoy relative peace one last time c) welcome the baby early, if that is what it’s into.

Yet to do:

  • Prepare the guest room (Dad’s coming in a few weeks)
  • Pack the delivery bag
  • Install the car seat
  • Receive the glider and get that in place (it’s been purchased, just no idea when it’s arriving)
  • General clean up of house
  • Open/inspect/clean used baby stuff (pack and play, car seat, baby tub, some toys, stroller)
  • Sanitize baby chew toys (is it okay that I call them this?)
  • Sew the curtains (found some IKEA curtains that work for our track system but they need to be sewn together to work, and hemmed…ANNOYING)
  • Name the baby (THIS IS A WHOLE THING)
  • Remove Halloween decorations from yard
  • Rake (UGH yah right)

Doing instead:

  • Napping with dogs
  • Playing Civilization (board game, and on the iPad)
  • Catching up with favorite sitcoms
  • Driving to Wisconsin for BBQ

Baby is engaged at zero, and has been for a few weeks. Her back is facing my left side and her little legs and arms are facing my right side. When she has the hiccups, it is the worst thing I have ever felt inside of me. When she kicks, it’s kind of cute and I can watch my belly move and that’s cool. I am convinced she is going to be born this week, but that’s just because now is when it would be most convenient for me and I’m sick of watching my stretch marks grow.

A photo posted by Sarah Hansen (@smorean) on

Lately our dogs have been very naughty. It started with Ripley being aggressive during meals and trying to eat Minnie’s food. So we had to watch them. Then Ripley and Minnie both started wolfing down their food too fast, to protect their share, and barfing from it, so we had to buy them special bowls. Ripley still gets into Minnie’s space sometimes, but it’s a lot better.

The worst is that, in the past few weeks, Ripley has been very angry with Minnie if she catches her snuggling with one of us. After breakfast, both dogs hop back into bed with me for a bit and Adam goes to work, but Ripley likes to nose around the house a bit, looking for trouble, whereas Minnie just likes to come straight to bed and start napping. This has started to drive Ripley’s jealousy and she starts fighting with Minnie when she gets to bed, slightly more than play fighting, and with little respect for me. This makes Minnie very defensive and a little uneasy, and it’s making me nervous too. We remembered our puppy play time training recently, and have started to pull them apart and keep Ripley on her side until she calms down. But today on the couch while trying to pull them apart I got a bit of Ripley’s bite on my arm, which left a mark. Kind of concerning, in any case, but particularly concerning when we’re about to bring a baby home.

I read about it and it’s possibly my fault, too, which is annoying. I obviously want to have my baby and I realize I may have been preferring Minnie a bit because of it, since she is adorable and pint-sized. I took her to work with me one day and Ripley’s outbursts really started happening after that. SO. I guess I wasn’t respecting their hierarchy and we’re trying to correct that now. Adam’s going to start taking Ripley on some special walks and we’ve both been trying to engage her more. Still, *kind of* worried about bringing baby home, being exhausted, etc. And we really haven’t really committed to how we’re going to sleep them, either. If we can keep them in the bed or need to find another solution. This is chief among things I totally don’t want to think about right now. :/

I also have laundry the dryer I don’t want to fold, and dishes in the washer I don’t want to put away, and I wanted water for at least an hour but waited for Adam to come home and bring it to me from the kitchen. I am full on Lazy AF.

Perhaps partially impacted by the fact I had a huge itching spell on Friday night and a little bit on Saturday, and my baby is low and all movement is challenging or slightly painful, so I don’t want to push myself too far. Keeping my legs shaved and wearing cotton seems to help the itching, but basically I don’t want to stress myself out over anything right now, just in case, so I am committing to not thinking about things, for better or worse. Surely I did enough worrying and prepping for the last 9 months I can coast a little bit now…?…?…?

I did take the dogs to get their holiday photos taken today, rewarded them with a little dog park time, stopped at Walgreen’s for some delivery bag supplies (which remain unpacked with everything else but at least I have it!) and got some dinner. So, little victories. But mostly I just want to lay around and watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine for infinity.

If it’s true what they say about nesting, I’ll know when the baby’s about to be born because I’ll have a sudden urge to do…anything.

Driving an Electric Car

November 12th, 2015 - 

A recent email from the Union of Concerned Scientists reminded me of something…

I drive an electric car! Here’s why and how and what I think about it.

With a baby on the way, and Adam’s car payments ending soon, it seemed like a good time for our household to have a second car that I could drive.

Kind of a big deal considering I haven’t had my own car in 9 years.

I had one for awhile that was mine, then I shared it with my boyfriend (which really just meant he drove my car). When we broke up, I had no car, because he had already traded mine in for something else, which he kept. (That story includes more details than I’m listing here, things that still really make me mad, but it’s not worth getting into.) Anyway, when I started dating Adam, he had a car but I never really drove it.

So, I’ve been car-adjacent, but not really an owner or frequent driver for a very long time.

Another interesting fact is that I had never paid more than $2000 for a car before making this purchase. I didn’t really understand the idea of car payments and feared I wouldn’t be able to afford one over the long-term. The fact that we already had a car payment built into our budget, for Adam’s car (which was getting paid off in January) made the decision to go with a newer vehicle much easier.

Once we sold the Airstream, we used some of the money to pay off his car completely and use as a down payment for my electric car, a 2012 Nissan Leaf.

I never would have thought to buy an electric car, but some friends of ours had their car break down at the time I was looking for something and they mentioned a used 2012 Nissan Leaf was going for $11k. People around the table remarked that it seemed like quite a deal, so I took a look. They couldn’t get one in the end because they didn’t have a way to charge at their apartment. We had an outlet perfectly placed in our garage, and it all just seemed to fall into place. Now, having driven the car for 2 months, I feel like I have some decent insight into the EV driver experience.

A photo posted by Sarah Hansen (@smorean) on


  1. NO GAS :: One of the things I hate about cars is putting gas in them. Especially in the winter. I DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT NOW! Ever!
  2. TRAFFIC :: Highways are a power-suck but not in slight traffic! It’s so good for my mileage when traffic is moving under 40mph that I don’t even mind it. I relish it.
  3. SEAT WARMER :: My seat warmer seems to use no power at all. I love my seat warmer, so this is good news for me.
  4. FREE CHARGING :: There are a few free charging stations on campus and I love making use of them. Unfortunately, they’re in paid parking spots, so I’m still paying for something, but it’s nice to recharge my battery a little bit if I know I’ll be traveling quite a bit
  5. ACCESS TO THE TWIN CITIES :: I went to IKEA last weekend and back and made a few other stops along the way. I can’t drive all over the cities like crazy, but taking one big trip a day is totally doable, and it’s been heaven for running errands before baby.
  6. ELECTRIC ON A BUDGET :: I didn’t know how much additional power I would draw to run the car, and worried it would be as much as gas ($60 or more per month). But, at least for now, it’s really not bad at all because we’re on a budget plan with our electric company. Maybe our rates will rise slightly next year, but it’s “basically free” right now, which is awesome! Most days I just drive to work and back, which takes about 3-4 hours to charge. So I really only expect our bill to go up $20, max, per month once the billing is reset.
  7. THE NOISE :: I don’t really notice the “lack” of noise until I’m in another car, but EVs are very quiet. They don’t rattle or vroom. They do kind of buzz. It’s a nice, clean sound. I like it.
  8. CHARGING AT HOME :: I thought for some reason that I would have to buy a stand-alone charging station that would cost like $1k to install, but the car actually just came with a cord that plugs into the car and a totally normal grounded outlet. Very easy. People even pack up their cords and will plug them into “free” light poles and stuff, usually in big parking lots. I haven’t done this, I’m afraid someone will steal my cord and it’s annoying to pack up and move regularly, but in a pinch I might (or for peace of mind).
  9. MY DAUGHTER :: I guess I kind of think it’s cool that she’ll grow up with an EV? I hope she’ll be proud of us for transitioning to EVs early on. Adam wants his next car to be a Tesla, there’s some model coming out down the road he’s very interested in, but my car has to get paid off first, so it’s not like an immediate thing. But it’s nice knowing the whole family is into it.


  1. FORGETTING TO PLUG IN :: This has only happened to me once, where I totally drove down the battery at night then tried to take it out to work the next morning (for a big work event, mind you, of course) and found I didn’t have enough projected mileage to get to campus. Had to stay home an extra hour and that still only gets you about 3 miles more.
  2. ANYONE ELSE DRIVING MY CAR :: It’s “normal” to accelerate until you break. But when you do that in an electric car…you’re not being very economical with your power if you’re slamming the breaks all the time. It’s about “the sip” and it takes a little time to learn how to coast well, gauge traffic patterns, and even recharge your battery while you drive so you use the least amount of power to get from Point A to Point B.
  3. MILEAGE MEANS NOTHING :: Projected mileage really means nothing. I can drive 7 miles and use only 4. I can drive 18 miles and actually use 30. It just depends on how fast you’re going.
  4. HEAT AND FOG :: We’re just entering winter so I’m only starting to learn the ropes here. Basically, any time I have the heat on, my windows fog up pretty badly. When I use the defrost it seems to use a lot of power and take too much heat off my feet. I still don’t know how to negotiate this one. Basically, getting the heat right is a button mashing game.


  1. CHARGEPOINT :: I did not understand how this worked at first, it was very confusing. I thought maybe I had to pay money for a service? Chargepoint “owns” a lot of stations, and you need their card to use them. These are the free ones around campus, for the most part, and you can’t access the plug until you swipe your card or download the app and create an account. Supposedly the first time I use a paid station, I’ll be charged $40(?) which will go on the card, and be available for use after that like a pre-paid gift card or something, but that hasn’t happened yet.
  2. MAINTENANCE :: I haven’t had to deal with anything maintenance-wise yet. Evidently replacing a battery is like replacing your transmission, kind of pricey, but I shouldn’t need to do that for a few years. Overall, EV owners can expect to pay less in maintenance, is my understanding.
  3. DRIVING AN ELECTRIC CAR :: I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being someone who drove an electric car. I felt *kind of* cool when I first bought the car and was able to finally attend some maternity yoga classes. It felt like playing yuppie. And I like seeing other Leafs, though I do sense some slight competition with them if I’m in an area with a charging station. One time I was parking and the guy next to me gave me a card to join a TC EV driver Facebook group, and I felt a little uneasy, but then I thought it was cool? I haven’t joined yet, I lost the card, but it’s neat there’s a little community out there if I had questions. IDK. I like it, and it works for my lifestyle, but anyone who would be embarrassed to drive an EV (is that even a thing?) would be kind of dumb.
  4. CAN’T LEAVE TOWN :: It’s a little risky to drive too far out of town, but we’ve pushed the boundaries a little when possible. We’ve driven as far as Bayport BBQ and that was a stretch. Made it home with barely a few miles left. Would not do again. But overall, it’s not a big deal at all that we can’t road trip in this thing, and it’s done surprisingly well just around the big metro area.
  5. GLOBAL WARMING :: This is a dumb thing to feel “neutral” about but I didn’t know where else to address this. I don’t do a lot to halt global warming but buying this car has made me think about it more. It honestly wasn’t a political or environmental statement to buy the Leaf. It was very economical and practical for me and when I hear things like “we need to expand EV ownership in the next several years for the technology to have a real impact on oil consumption,” I do feel like my choices were validated in other ways as well. I can’t be too haughty because I don’t really know how all the energy that makes it to our house is produced, but I did learn that through our provider CenterPoint I can elect “blocks” of our energy to come from renewable sources as well as choosing to go 100% renewable. But it is an opt-in process. I changed us to one block so far, just because I don’t yet understand what that means or how it will affect our pricing, but it feels good knowing I’m more engaged in this conversation than I was before going with an EV.

Would I recommend an electric vehicle? Hell yes. If you can do it, do it!!! Ownership of an EV is a very positive experience, that’s what I learned from blogs I read when I was doing my research, and it’s what I’ve found as an owner.

Maybe I’ll give a little update at the end of winter, too, when I have more experience driving the EV in bad weather or with a baby in the backseat. Stay Tuned.

Being Donald Duck (a real man)

November 3rd, 2015 - 


Being pregnant on Halloween presented a welcome sartorial challenge. I spent some time researching options and decided I wasn’t crazy about anything that had been done before. I settled pretty early on Donald Duck but wasn’t sure I could pull it together until just last week, so I was also considering Ursula or Miss Piggy. I just kept coming back to Donald Duck though, so I’m glad I went with it and had some success.

A few months ago I was thinking about my new body shape and what to do for Halloween. I had just listened to the first Brad Hammerstone appearance on Comedy Bang Bang (where Brad and all his “real man” friends like to waddle around, eat bread, and wear sailor suits…they are ducks) and it really made me laugh to think about dressing as this character, especially since Donald Duck has a fat bottom just like my pregnant body would.

I was just a *little* disappointed to be pregnant this year because I really wanted to be the tightrope walker from Haunted Mansion for my next costume, but hopefully I can do that another year. Would love to actually dress as the tightrope walker for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween sometime, but we’ll see.

Anyway, I thought about the best approach for being Donald Duck and couldn’t get it going. I thought I’d do a weird hoop skirt or paper mache bottom worn kind of like a barrel with suspenders, but it was just overwhelming to get started and I wasn’t sure I could sit in something like that or be comfortable for a whole night.

In the end I went all fabric with nothing to shape the clothes but me (which seemed to be enough!) by cobbling together a bunch of already existing patterns. Pretty pleased with the results!

Here’s what happened from top to bottom.


I cut fabric for the hat after I’d already cut the shirt, and didn’t think I have enough. I made as much of a circle as I could, then gathered the edges. I measured my head where I wanted the hat to go and cut a 2.5″ band of black fabric to roughly that length (23″). I sewed that into a circle, doubled it over, and serged the gathered edges from the blue fabric along the open fold of the black fabric. I then cut two identical pieces of black fabric into a forked tail shape, for the top of the hat, and sewed it along its edge. Then I flipped it right-side out and ironed it flat. I found a button that would work to accompany the little tail, and sewed that on top to connect the tail. I decided to wear my hair in a high bun and put the hat around it, cinching it to my head as much as possible. I think it gives the hat a nice lift like cartoon Donald has, and it managed to stay on my head all night, which was a miracle.


I bought this from Amazon. It’s a whistle that looks like a duck bill. It’s very like the official ones you’d get at Disneyland but much cheaper. I kind of wish I’d gotten something that was always on the face instead of this one, which needs to be held in the mouth, even though the shape was very realistic for the character.



The main body came from McCall’s 6793, a loose-fitting top with no bust marks. I made this last year, grading from a L at the top to an XL at the bottom (I think?) and found it was WAY too large to be flattering. It sort of fits now that I’m pregnant, but I still graded the front bodice out at least an inch at the waist since the broadcloth I used for the top had no stretch. I kept the pattern pieces the same length (just didn’t add the peplum), lengthened the arms, and shaved about .5″ off from the sleeve cuff, since it had been gathered in the pattern. I think I could have added 1″ more length to the sleeves and maybe lengthened the front pattern piece a little bit to help cover my belly a bit more, but it’s fine.

I took the sailor cape from McCall’s 7141 and made adjustments to it and the body fabric inspired by this tutorial. Rather than inset the yellow stripe on the cape, I just bound the edge in yellow, to save on time. I did inset and top stitch the yellow stripe on the sleeve cuffs, however. I used a blue and yellow broadcloth for the top and hat. This was my first time making binding tape. I probably could have bought some pre-made, but I liked the golden color of this broadcloth, it seemed more authentic than what I found in the store. (The black fabric used on the hat was just leftover from some other project, I can’t even remember what I bought it for specifically, but it was also used on my pilgrim dress.)

Again, as a time-saver, I just used my hem roller to finish the sleeves and bottom of the top. This went much smoother with the stiff broadcloth than it has with my other more silky projects!


I used an old timey bloomer pattern from Simplicity 2777 for the duck bottoms. I went with view E, in the largest size, and dropped the crotch by several inches. I thought this would leave enough fabric to cover my belly, but I was wrong! I should have added a few inches to the top front of the shorts.

I made a channel at the bottom of each of the legs and inserted some 1/4″ elastic. Then I gathered the top of the shorts and took a 1″ band of white elastic cut and sewn into a circle to the length I wanted, and sewed it to the gathered top of the shorts.

I noticed the top and shorts gaped a bit at the belly, so I did decide to add some big yellow buttons to the front. I sewed them to the shorts and made button hole openings on the shirt, so once they were both on, I could button them together and hopefully keep everything in line.

I decided not to add a tail to the rump. I just wasn’t sure how I’d want that to look, and thought it might add too much weight and make the duck bottoms less fluffy.


I tried very hard to find a pair of tights I could dye or wear that would fit my pregnant belly and be yellow. It was basically impossible, so I made a pair of tights using McCall’s 6173.

I made a muslin of these leggings ages ago and figured they would work. I made them long enough to cover my feet, then did a little bit of adjusting to get them to fit more snugly around the foot. Still pretty loose, but not bad.

This is my last big project before the baby comes, glad it’s over! It was fun to wear and piece together, but I’m ready for a break.


October 26th, 2015 - 

The hardest part of the pregnancy so far has been deciding on a name.

I’m 35 weeks right now and we’re not entirely on the same page when it comes to naming our daughter.

I obsess about it daily. I want her to have a good name!

Today is our two year anniversary. We don’t remember how we spent the day on our first anniversary, but we did take a trip to LA in early October that year to celebrate, and that was totally memorable! Loved that trip. Tonight we’re going to Manny’s for steaks right after our appointment with the midwife, where we’ll get to hear the baby’s heartbeat again. What a difference two years make! Can’t believe how changed our lives already are, and how much they’ll change even more very soon.

This morning we woke up in bed with our two little dogs, in our house. We just celebrated the one year anniversary of adopting Minnie and next year we’ll have a nearly one year old daughter. It’s so amazing. I’m so excited and lucky and happy.


October 21st, 2015 - 

These are some milestones in life that I am looking forward to:

  • Meeting my daughter
  • Paying off my house
  • Celebrating a major anniversary with my husband
  • Retiring
  • Returning to Disneyland

I think about paying off my house a lot, like that’s the golden ticket to Happy Town. Sometimes I think if we hadn’t gotten pregnant this year I would have liked working a second job for the holidays to make “mortgage money” specifically to pay off the house as quickly as possible. The thought of making mortgage payments until we’re 60 sounds like a sad trombone. We don’t even have the world’s biggest mortgage payment, but I still only feel comfortable making small additional payments each month because we have so many outstanding house projects we need to save for (roof, fence, tree removal) so at this rate we’re only saving ourselves 4 months of payments down the road. It’s not nothing, but I’d love to do better!

I think the major goal is to get our monthly costs low enough that one or both of us can work part-time. Wish we could achieve that while we’re still raising kids!

One month to go before she could literally be born any minute…AH!

Sewing Maternity

October 14th, 2015 - 

I had big goals coming into my pregnancy that I would make a lot of my maternity clothes. It kind of happened? I’m definitely still wearing handmade clothes, just not as many as I’d planned for!

My projects got waylaid recently due to a necessary serger repair that took my machine out of commission for 3 weeks, but I’ve also been incredibly busy. We had guests, two baby showers, classes, house and baby room preparations, and appointments filling most of my sewing hours anyway, so it wasn’t the worst time to put sewing on hold.

Still, Halloween is coming up, as is my anniversary and a wedding, so it’s time to get back on track.

I’d just like to say: Shopping for maternity clothing is the worst. Like most mass produced clothing, the quality isn’t that great and clothing starts to shrink or look faded before it should. There are Very Few options for nice clothing or special occasions unless you’re able to shop online, and I fall into a size range that is difficult to shop for, so I’m really grateful I sew!

I’ll give an update on my dress clothes and Halloween outfit once they’re done, but here are some of the patterns that seemed to work the best for me:


Kwik Sew 3611

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I made this in view A and graded from a Medium at the shoulders to a Large at the waist. I also raised the neckline by a few inches for better coverage (recommended if you’ve got boobs to cover). The fabric has some stretch to it and I’ve been able to wear it comfortably throughout my pregnancy. 5 stars!


Vogue 8755

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I’ve made this dress before and noted it had a high waist, so I just remade it with a few adjustments. I graded the center bodice piece to get a little larger at the tummy (maybe an inch?), and I added two inches of fabric to the center seam of the front skirt piece, which just made deeper pleats and allowed more room for baby.


Simplicity 1419

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I made this dress before I got pregnant and made some of my usual adjustments, including raising the waist. Well, I raised it so high I always kind of thought it looked maternity anyway, and it works! The pleating in front is definitely enough for your bump and raising the waist (I think I went an inch?) means you can wear this when your belly is high, too.

I’m 33 weeks pregnant now, and I think I have enough everyday clothing to last me through the end.

Here are some special things I still plan to make:

Here are some things I made but don’t necessarily recommend:

  • I actually made a dress I love using Simplicity 2365 but it required some pattern hacking that I’m not sure I got right (and wouldn’t know how to explain) plus that pattern is out of print so it seems rude to recommend it
  • I made a coat that is just fine using McCall’s 6255. The shoulders are pretty narrow so I should have made a size up (made a Medium should have gone Large?), but the arms are also kind of short, even though I lengthened them, and the sleeves are quite narrow so layering is a challenge, not great for a transitional fall coat! So, with some edits, it’s serviceable, but not ideal
  • I made a shift dress using Simplicity 1609 that I get compliments on all the time, but I still feel like kind of a boat in it. I removed the center seam and just graded out from the center, I also cut the back to fit more closely to my shoulders/waist so it still has *some* shape

Things I would still recommend buying:

  • Maternity leggings
    • I wear these a lot now that it’s fall! I have 4 pairs and wish I had more but I’m getting by
  • Maternity jeans
    • I’m not much of a jeans person, but I bought one pair that I wear occasionally
  • Maternity athletic pants
    • Going to prenatal yoga class has been really great!
  • Maternity tank top and t-shirt
    • I got one of each for yoga, sleep, whatever. But I’m not much of a t-shirt person at all so I didn’t need much
  • Cardigans
    • I got some bigger cardigans that would transition back to “normal bod” with me

If you’re someone who wears a lot of t-shirts and casual clothing, buying for maternity is going to be easy. I just really struggled with work and special occasion clothing, which I end up wearing most of the time. Also, workout clothing if you’re planning to stay somewhat active.

Tennessee Trip

October 5th, 2015 - 

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Adam and I just got back from our babymoon trip to Tennessee in August. It was pretty fun and I wanted to document it.

I know a lot of people babymoon by the ocean, but that didn’t make a lot of sense for us. Adam can’t swim and I can’t drink right now. What’s the point of tropical weather without a tropical cocktail? Instead, we chose to knock on our “BBQ to-do list” and eat our way through the south.

Our adventure began after work last Wednesday and ended on Tuesday night. We really missed our dogs, but lucky a friend was able to house sit for us and text us some photo pupdates (as we call them) so we knew they were happy and in good hands.




Minneapolis, Minnesota > Cedar Rapids, Iowa

WHAT WE DID: Adam went to work and I took a photography class (for work). I just bought myself a new Canon T6i and this class was very helpful in learning to use the equipment before going on our trip. I got a lot of use of it and definitely felt more comfortable troubleshooting issues as they came up. Still not a master photographer, but it really did help. I definitely don’t think I’ll embarrass myself next time I’m asked to photograph something for my job. YAY.

We share a car, so between dropping Adam off for work and the start of my class, I had a little time to drive north to the Sven clog outlet (my first visit) and get myself some new shoes for the trip. A delayed birthday present for me!

WHERE WE ATE: On the way, we stopped at a place called Dugan’s in Floyd, Iowa. Their welcoming “EAT” sign greeted traffic coming from the south, but they were a little hard to find coming off the road from the north. They had a soup and salad bar and a pretty traditional menu. I had been craving shrimp, so I got fried shrimp, and I think Adam got a patty melt. Our server might have worked there for 40 years and she was really sweet. She asked where we were headed and when we said Tennessee she got excited and told us about a horse video her granddaughter had just sent her from Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Unfortunately we weren’t headed for Dollywood, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind for next time.

WHERE WE STAYED: We figured we could drive as far as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and slept for cheap at a Motel 6 that was kind of scary. Adam taught me how to check the mattress for bed bugs and I continued to check every mattress we slept in for the rest of our trip, just to be safe.



Cedar Rapids, Iowa > St. Louis, Missouri > Nashville, Tennessee

21249318864_19167be673_zWHAT WE DID: We barely spent any time in Cedar Rapids and only had a few hours to kill in St. Louis so we went to Laclede’s Landing, a historic part of town. We checked out a costume shop and the wax museum — which had two floors of horror stuff, some religious stuff, some celebrity stuff, and some science fiction stuff. It was a little low rent and kind of creepy. Glad we went. We also ate at Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis and kind of peeked at the arch from afar. I also read a lot on Wikipedia about John Hamm and the other celebrities who had trained in St. Louis while we tried to find our destinations. I didn’t get a great sense for the city since we saw so little of it, but I imagined it must not be that great if actors are just kind of passing through. I know Minneapolis’ theater scene is a bit harder to leave, because quality of life is pretty nice in Minnesota. We did see a bunch of signs for the St. Louis Bread Company (AKA Panera Bread) and I told Adam about Mother Bread, the eternal lump of sourdough that goes into every Panera product, but Adam didn’t believe me, so I googled it, and couldn’t find any information. Maybe it’s just hearsay after all.

When we got into Nashville we checked into our hotel and headed straight for the honky-tonks on Broadway. It was a Thursday night and there were a surprising number of bachelorette parties. A lot of bars weren’t playing music we’d be into, so we just went into the shops and only sat in a few bars. Robert’s Western World was best of the bunch and they had a real hillbilly band playing.


We found another bar with rockabilly music but the rest fell into that “Blueshammer” category of rock/country/pop that isn’t really anything special. We payed $25 for parking and I think we’ll always regret that. Then we drove around the neighborhood just to see what was there. By the next day, we knew the area pretty well. There was a lot of stuff worth seeing in one place, and many more pockets of interesting shops all over town.

WHERE WE ATE: Heading out of Cedar Rapids we stopped at a local coffee shop that seemed to be just opening at 9am. They didn’t have a lot of their food out, but I ordered a croissant and asked for jelly and that seemed to be a big ordeal. Adam sensed her confusion early on and decided not to order anything even though he was hungry. Then we went across the street for gas and got snacks for the road. I have family in town and it would have been fun to see them, but we didn’t really have time to set something up since we were getting in so late and our time was limited. Never did run into anyone by chance.

21881732791_f5a11f300a_zPappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis was our first BBQ of the trip — Adam would go on to say it was his favorite. I got sliced brisket, chopped pork, sweet potato fries, and beans. All great. He got ribs, brisket, pork, sweet potato fries, and their famous corn. It was all pretty outstanding and it was the only BBQ place on the trip that 1) offered sweet potato fries (MY FAVORITE) 2) had several sauces to choose from. We also got bottled sodas and his root beer was a helluva lot better than my blackberry soda, which was gross.

We got into Nashville too late for dinner but we did share a fried bologna sandwich at Robert’s Western World in Nashville and it was amazing.

WHERE WE STAYED: We stayed two nights at a Country Inn & Suites in Nashville and that was just fine. We never took advantage of the free breakfast, but I did snag a free cookie after checking in.





WHAT WE DID: After breakfast we went to the Parthenon. Because evidently in 1890, whoever ran Nashville thought it needed a full-scale replica of the Parthenon. We weren’t sure what to expect, so we just went there and walked around. Then we found out it’s a museum. Didn’t feel like paying for admission so we left. It’s surrounded by a pretty park and it’s kind of impressive to have that sort of structure in town, it was fun to explore from the outside. They also had some nice swing/benches that we enjoyed and just kind of looked at the trees and the building and the little people going into and out of the building. Kind of a nice way to start out our first full non-travel day of the trip.


Next we went to Jack White’s label/shop Third Man Records and I had the BEST time. I got to make a recording straight to vinyl and we got to hear limited edition presses in their listening booth. We bought a Neil Hamburger record and an Elvira single. Excited to hear it all on our record player at home. Haven’t done that yet.


Then we went to Grimey’s Records and tried to eat at Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. Which we couldn’t finish, and after that had to go back to the hotel to recover, where we took a nap.

We got up for a dinner/drink adventure out of town at Nashville’s only known “tiki bar” — but then we didn’t know what to do and decided to check out Michael Ian Black playing at Zanies comedy club. I love watching comedy in other cities and I’m glad we did it. I’m so used to Acme but I love seeing how other clubs look and who they book. The first two comedians were from the south and then Michael Ian Black was just totally his own thing, mostly telling absurd stories. Before comedy, we killed a little time at Two Old Hippies, which was not a vintage store as I assumed, it was a pretty upscale boutique. I bought us a candle to remember Nashville by and then we poked around the Urban Outfitters next door.

There were so many interesting pockets in Nashville, we discovered. Before we found this Uptown-like section of Nashville looking for Two Old Hippies, I would have never guessed we’d find anything like it in town. Broadway was totally its own thing, with lots of touristy bars and live music in one spot, and The Garage (another venue that was recommended to us) was just in the basement of Grimey’s, not far from Third Man, which wasn’t that far from Bolton’s Hot Chicken and Las Paletas. It was just interesting.

21685243139_35326d2c07_zWHAT WE ATE: We got in line for breakfast at Pancake Pantry and waited at least an hour to get in. Adam ran across the street and got us coffees for the wait. A guy was playing cover songs on a banjo at the front of the line and his string broke just as soon as we turned the corner so we didn’t have to hear too many repeats of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy.” The pancakes ruled. I got the orange walnut pancakes and Adam got the banana bread pancakes with cinnamon cream sauce. We shared some Tennessee country ham. It was pretty great.

We snacked as Las Paletas (WHICH WAS AMAZING). I got the pineapple blueberry fruit paleta and Adam got a Mexican caramel cream paleta. I could have eaten 8 in a row. It was so good. I would like to eat there every day. In fact, I have been looking for locally made paletas in Minneapolis since we got home and I can’t find anything even remotely like it and it’s the saddest thing. Nashville has a real treasure with Las Paletas. I am jealous of them!

For lunch we tried to eat at Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish. They do a dry rub type of hot chicken and when Adam went to order his spice level the nice old man working there went to the back, brought back a toothpick with shmear of hot spice on it, and it basically wiped Adam out. He ordered a lower level of heat on his chicken, but never quite got over it. I got my chicken with no spice and it was still spicy. They only had a few bottles of soda left that we could buy, but after that, we had to go next door for bottles of water. We went through two huge bottles. Mostly Adam alone, poor guy. They had spaghetti as a side option, which Adam said was a southern BBQ thing, and he got it and some mac and cheese with his quarter chicken. I thought spaghetti sounded gross so I got fries and mac and cheese with my tenders. We couldn’t finish and had to go back to the hotel to rest/recover. It was bananas. Food should not destroy you like that.

We didn’t have dinner plans and weren’t really that hungry, so I looked online to see if there was a tiki bar nearby. Usually there’s a non-alcoholic fruity drink I can drink and I love the atmosphere.


We found something ~25 minutes out of town called Omni Hut, which was described as a polyasian restaurant with some kitsch. They didn’t serve liquor but the did have an amazing non-alcoholic drink served in a beautiful tiki glass that they refilled like soda. It had a blend of tropical fruit juices mixed with decaf tea. (A pregnant girl’s dream!) I loved it. We also ordered the pu pu platter, which included some meats, fried wontons, bacon-wrapped pineapple, and eggrolls. We split that and an order of chicken fried rice. It wasn’t *very* good, but it was fun for sure. And the women wore mumus and the decor was low rent kitsch and I’m into that.

WHERE WE STAYED: Same old Country Inn and Suites.



Nashville, Tennessee > misc. roadside attractions > Memphis, Tennessee

WHERE WE ATE: Before heading out of town, we went to Hot & Cold for coffee and…more Las Paletas! I got the honeydew fruit paleta and Adam got the banana cream paleta. Would love to live on paletas.

Between Nashville and Memphis, we stopped at Loveless Cafe. They’re known for their biscuits, which makes a lot of sense. You sit down, they bring you biscuits. You run out of biscuits, they offer you more biscuits. Served with blackberry, strawberry, and apricot jam. I ate most of the biscuits… The breakfast was great too. Adam had the pit cooked BBQ and two eggs (which came with a surprise corn pancake) and I got the Loveless country ham with two eggs and red eye gravy. We each got the hashbrown casserole for our side. So good! At first we were told the wait would be almost two hours, but there’s stuff to do on the property and we filled up our car with gas and sat around on our phones for awhile when all of a sudden the beeper went off. We only had to wait about 45 minutes, which felt like magic. I was starving, there were no other options nearby — plus I really wanted those biscuits. I’m so glad everything worked out. And our server and the manager gave us great tips on what to do once we got to Memphis, which was really nice. Glad to have tried red eye gravy too, it was pretty incredible (served decaf, here) and I saw it on a few menus in the south later on so I’m glad I knew what it was.

21872096385_00aa7a3d3d_zWhen we got to Memphis we rushed to Payne’s BBQ, but it closed at least 40 minutes earlier than their posted hours, so we went to Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous downtown instead. On the way there we stopped for more paletas at La Michoacana and I got a pistachio cream paleta dipped in chocolate and coconut. Adam got a butter pecan cream paleta and we split a grape cream paleta — it had a cream core with grape on the outside, like a dreamsicle. It was a lot of richness at that point, for me, but so so good. WOULD EAT PALETAS EVERY DAY. HAVE I SAID THAT?

There was a slight wait at Rendezvous so we had drinks (I had a NA beer, la-dee-dah) and waited in their huge waiting room, which was as big as most restaurants. When we got to our table, I ordered brisket and he got ribs. Their sauce was pretty good, but their beans were maybe the best I’ve ever had and their coleslaw was incredible. We ordered some potato salad (good, I liked it more than Adam), a side of pickles (dill spears, just fine), and bread (basic rolls). Adam loved his ribs. They use a dry rub here and the ribs are charcoal-smoked.

WHAT WE DID: Before leaving Nashville we stopped at a fabric store, which was having a moving sale. I bought a child’s coat pattern and lovely burnt orange corduroy so that someday I can remember this trip when I make it for our daughter. Then we made a few stops between Nashville and Memphis. Starting with the Loveless Cafe, where we checked out their shop (totally cute) and mostly sat around on our phones and ate free samples of popcorn.


Our next stop was a detour through Jackson, Tennessee, to visit the TV and Movie Car Museum. It was SO AWESOME! Highlights include the car from Deathproof, the Wayne’s World Car, the Mystery Machine, a few cars from Fast and the Furious, the Dukes of Hazard car, and a bunch of others. The owner gave us a short tour before we went loose on our own, and he says he has way more cars in storage that he’s working on at all times, too. It was definitely worth the stop. They were very nice there and it was such a trip to see that stuff.

On our way out of town we saw a fabric shop that looked promising, so we stopped (just upholstery fabric though, so no good for me), and we also checked out a shop called Nerdvana. They had used games and new board games, plus snacks, and a few tables for people to play games in-store. It’s always fun seeing nerds in other states, glad we stopped there. I even bought Epic Mickey for Wii for like $6.

Next we drove through Brownsville, Tennessee, to see Billy Tripp’s Mindfield. Not really worth it, in hindsight. You couldn’t walk around the base of it and just had to look at it from your car. Very cool if you just stumbled onto it, but if you go out of your way to spend a little time there, it kind of disappoints.

When we got to Memphis we mostly ate, but driving around to all the different places was really eye-opening. I saw probably one open building to every ten that were boarded up or totally lifeless. Even then, I’d see a house I was sure must be vacant with someone just sitting on the porch. Everything seemed destitute. No grocery stores, no businesses. Very few restaurants or bars or even corner stores. It was just depressed through and through. I got the sense people had just stopped caring and it was so widespread over so many areas we drove, it was incredibly surprising and really weighed on us. I didn’t expect to see that, so widespread, in a major American city.


After dinner we went to Beale Street, which is where most of the nightlife seems to be. It was a Saturday night so they were checking IDs and even wanding people before they could walk down the street. I overheard someone say there’d been an incident awhile ago and now they just do this on Friday and Saturday nights for safety.

We went to a shop called Tater Red’s which was partly a head shop partly a tourist shop, but was kind of a let down. We went to the Coyote Ugly bar and it was kind of empty and depressing so we decided to come back later. They had yards of slush alcohol, which we love, but since I couldn’t have any Adam didn’t feel right getting one. He did eventually when we got to Silky O’Sullivan’s (I had to beg him). I got a NA beer and he got his weird slush drink and we sat by the goats. It was cute watching Adam get drunk, he’s been sober with me through the whole pregnancy, but he had a few drinks that night, and was letting me know all about how cities should be ranked. Tiers of cities across America, based on population and hub-bub. I think he put Memphis at a tier 2 and Minneapolis at a tier 3. Anyway, it was fun.


Beale Street was definitely a party center, and maybe that’s why it seemed kind of sad — just because it didn’t feel natural somehow. Kind of like Broadway in Nashville, but skanky, with less people, and more stuff you’d find at a fairground.

WHERE WE STAYED: We spent one night at a motel-style Super 8. After checking in, the girl working chased us down and had to switch us to another room. She forgot they were doing work in the room where she had originally put us. (We assumed blood stains on the carpet and hoped for the best in our new space.) The new room was fine, and overlooked the pool, which was comfortingly full of families, and yet creepily overlooking a huge abandoned military facility and what might have been a metal museum at one time.



Memphis, Tennessee


21685215639_60fcc1af18_zWHAT WE ATE: We started the day with reservations at the Beauty Shop, a cute little restaurant built into an old beauty parlor. The decor was really nice. I liked the creamy gold color palette. The food was pretty great too. I loved our order of bread with ricotta, peaches, honey, and mint, but my meal was a little disappointing. I got the egg pizette — which said it came with black beans but barely had a visible schmear of black bean paste and the eggs were really overwhelming. It was mostly eggs, actually (probably my least favorite breakfast item at a restaurant). Adam got the chilequiles-migas which were very good though.

It was just nice at that point in our visit to Nashville to go somewhere that had taken one of those old buildings and done something interesting with it, where people seemed to enjoy visiting. I was starting to feel very sad about Memphis, and my opinion started to perk up after this brunch thankfully.

We got ice cream at Graceland after we toured the house and saw the cars. They didn’t have great options for ice cream, but I tried Superman flavor for the first time and it was kind of nice.

21881682651_2c20244c65_zWe made it to Interstate BBQ for lunch and that was probably my least favorite of the trip. The waitress was super nice and they had strawberry soda (a favorite of mine) but I didn’t care for the sauce. I thought it was too sweet, and it was kind of all over everything. I had chopped pork with potato salad and fries and Adam got an assorted meat plate with pork and beef ribs and I forget what else. He also had coleslaw, fries, and BBQ spaghetti. He didn’t have anything bad to say about it, but I had that sauce taste in my mouth for at least a day and wasn’t liking it.

We weren’t very hungry for dinner so we skipped our plans to eat at Gus’ and just ate a snack at the hotel. Weirdly, I really wanted cake, and they had a ton of it in the Peabody’s deli and desserts cafe.


I also ordered room service and ate a whole tray of jellies and rolls while we watched TV. #noregrets


WHAT WE DID: After brunch we went to Graceland! The tour was guided via iPad narrated by John Stamos and it was all really interesting. I loved Elvis’ old house. He made a lot of interesting choices, and the layout of the home was nice. Not very airy, but lots of conveniences all around.


My favorite room was the jungle room — which had green carpet on the floor and ceiling and staircase — but really they were all pretty amazing. The blue TV room and bar was great, and the billiards room with the fabric walls and ceiling was pretty amazing too. The kind of textures and details you really need an expert cleaning crew to manage so I will never have it.


We dipped out of part of the tour and just did Graceland and the cars and checked out the shops.

21685193499_f1fe92a528_zThen we went to the Stax Museum which was pretty great. I didn’t know anything about this label beforehand and the museum was really modern and professional, which I wasn’t expecting. It started with a video and then a self-guided tour that started with the gospel tradition and got into the evolution of the kind of funk and soul that was made here. I thought it was really weird that one of my favorite albums was put out by Stax, Big Star’s Number 1 Record. It didn’t seem to be in line with the rest of their stuff — but they were a Memphis band so this is where they recorded to start. Just kind of weird learning about this recording studio as a magnet for the area — in some ways, that being more important than the type of sound they were creating. I still don’t really understand how the music business works, I guess.

All the music stories we heard in Memphis were so sad: Elvis, Stax, Sun Records. Big talent, coming from a place of real sadness and poverty, that wasn’t always managed well. I feel like that really summarized the city for me.



Then we checked into the Peabody and pretty much didn’t leave. We checked in just as the ducks were heading back to their rooftop home and seeing that was pretty special. I convinced Adam to head to the pool with me and he used the hot tub and I swam around. It’s a gorgeous dimly-lit pool in the basement and it was so incredibly relaxing to float around. We got it mostly to ourselves for awhile too, before families showed up and we left. Just really pretty and serene.

We had a nice break in the lobby — I really wanted cake, but it was late. Adam remembered a cafe downstairs and we had a bit of time yet to get there and order something. They had a variety of delicious looking cakes and ice creams, so I got a little cup of something hazelnut and some decaf coffee and I forget what Adam ate. And we just sat in the lobby eating while a pianist played old standards and it was very relaxing.

We did head out that evening for a short while. There was an Elvis tribute show happening down the street and when we paid our admission we were assured it was going on for at least another hour. We only got to see a few performers and seating was awful (and the people were rude) and the drinks were expensive and it was kind of just a weird experience. Even with that, I’m glad we did it. Would have been a wasted opportunity to come during Elvis week and *not* get to see some impersonators.

WHERE WE STAYED: We slept modestly for a few nights on the road so we could splurge here at the Peabody Hotel AND IT WAS WORTH IT. They were running some kind of summer special, so our room was about $200 (no idea if that’s typical) and we decided to make the most of it. We spent basically all night at the Peabody and only strayed out for a few hours to investigate a false rumor of a tiki bar across the street (now under new management and the theme changed years ago) and spend a semi-lousy hour at the Elvis tribute show down the street. The Peabody was lovely though. A nice lobby to hang out in and lots of amenities on-site. Really loved the pool.



Memphis, Tennessee > Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri

WHAT WE DID: After breakfast in Memphis we watched the Peabody ducks descend down the elevator to jump in the fountain. It was magical even though the music wasn’t working.


We had very little time to spare so we ran to Sun Studio for the tour and that was great. It’s a really small space and the studio itself is pretty bare bones. Really cool to think about all the people who made important music at that time having a place to come together and record. Adam bought a patch.

Most of the day was spent driving but when we got to Kansas City we had just enough time to stop at our hotel before driving to the Alamo Drafthouse to watch the latest Mission Impossible movie. While we were waiting for our seating to start, a special screening let out for something really nerdy and a bunch of nerds piled out of the theater and stuck around in the lobby to talk about it and it was nice — kind of like Fantastic Fest. It made us nostalgic.

WHERE WE STAYED: We stayed at a Super 8 in Kansas City, on the Missouri side. It was totally fine but a little outside the city. We worried it might be a bit far to drive there and into the city during our visit, but everything was about 20 minutes apart anywhere so it hardly mattered.

WHAT WE ATE: Before leaving Memphis we decided to get chicken and waffles nearby. Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe on Beale Street which was recommended by the Internet. I thought the waffles were on par with what you’d make yourself at a free breakfast buffet — kind of crusty, thin, and flavorless — and the eggs were pretty greasy and gross. The chicken was sort of dry and the biscuits were fine. The potatoes were also fine. It was just sub-par greasy diner food in a restaurant that felt really un-cared for with a slightly sticky residue on everything.

We stopped for lunch at Steak and Shake in Springfield and it gave me a bit of a tummy ache. I had better memories of Steak and Shake and was a little disappointed. I got a Nutella milkshake, cheeseburger, and fries. It all tasted pretty alright, though greasy, but it definitely made me feel a little sick afterwards. Adam got some hot dogs and I forget what milkshake. Probably something with bananas and chocolate.

I got dinner at the Alamo Drafthouse — a pizza with goat cheese and onions. It was not great, but I got to eat it at the Drafthouse, my happy place, so I still loved it.



Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri > Minneapolis, Minnesota

WHAT WE DID: After breakfast at Kolache Factory we visited some stores and coffee shops that sounded interesting. We went to Thou Mayest for coffee and sat outside. It had a real Sioux Falls vibe to it and everyone there seemed very smug. I didn’t like their coffee — it reminded me of Dogwood which is always to silty for me.

21250988853_54c557d209_zThen we went to Retro Inferno and pet a poodle who hangs out at the store. We just came to stare, but everything was really awesome.

We tried going to some vintage shops but we ended up in a warehouse district full of antique stores that only open once a month. It was bizarre. Who can afford to be open once a month? LOTS OF BUSINESSES APPARENTLY. This really captivated me about Kansas City. They seem to have a lot of hidden treasure there.

We ate the best BBQ of the trip (now 2nd in my mind to Franklin) before driving all the way home. Keep reading!

WHAT WE ATE: We ate at the Kolache Factory for breakfast and it was AMAZING. Wish we had one of these in the Twin Cities, I would eat there all the time.

We had our first kolaches a few years back in Texas and loved them. I found one recipe online and have made them for us a few times, but at the Kolache Factory we really got schooled on what a kolache can be. I had the ham, egg, and cheese kolache and it was outstanding. Super cheap too.

We had coffee at Thou Mayest and I didn’t love it but Adam thought it was fine.


We went to LC’s for lunch and it was AMAZING. Delicious smokey smell from outside the small restaurant. You can see the big smoker behind the cashier as you enter and when they opened it to put in a brisket it was magical.

I got pulled pork and brisket and Adam got rib tips (which he loved). They put a normal, manageable amount of BBQ sauce on their meat and it was great. We also ordered bread, fried okra (THE BEST, not too greasy but crunchy and so good) and thick cut fries which I cut and ate with a fork. They also had strawberry soda, self-served. The staff was super nice and everyone who ate there was nice too. Adam ended up offering some of his leftovers to a construction worker who was waiting for his friends on our way out and he said this place is the best and he tries to come here often.

Thankfully no lines, even though we went for lunch, and the food was just outstanding. Great flavor, loved the atmosphere, and everything was cooked to perfection. TEN STARS!

WHERE WE STAYED: Home! With our dogs, who were missed. xo

***T H E  E N D***




August 4th, 2015 - 

D23 is happening next week and they’ll start to announce upcoming plans for the Disney parks, which is totally exciting to me, because I love the parks. Love love love.

A lot of things have been closing in Hollywood Studios this year and it seems like that could bring some excitement as new things are announced to open. I’d love to see a fully-transformed Hollywood Studios (or whatever its new name is!) in my lifetime. I’ve been reading about a possible name change for that park and hopes for more Star Wars. But I also keep reading about Avatar Land, at Animal Kingdom, which is already in development. And — yuck. Really? I just feel so bummed out about this I try not to think about it at all.

First of all, I love Animal Kingdom. It’s got a great vibe and so much going on. I had so much more fun than expected there. You can drink, the boat ride rules, it’s pretty, I LOVED the dinosaur ride and the yeti ride ruled too! Plus the tree is so pretty and the safari is fun. I just think Avatar Land is a tacky addition to what is a pretty cool and successful concept.

I guess the through line between Avatar and Animal Kingdom is resource conservation but I just still fail to see the appeal of walking into Pandora.

My expectations for Avatar Land are very low. On the surface, it sounds totally stupid and I’m hesitant to like it at all. The movie was fine, and the world they built was magical and pretty, but it just seems so dated and un-fun already. Also bummed it’s taking the “mythical and legendary creature” spot in that park, which I think opened the door for a lot more creativity than one pre-made fantasy (even though there didn’t seem to be any production on that vague concept at all…the very idea had potential, right?).

I just don’t expect to be thrilled to enter the world of Avatar, like I am with Harry Potter, the Simpsons, or Star Wars. Pandora is a place I have spent literally zero time thinking about, and it’s riding on the strength of ONE movie so far. The fandom for Avatar isn’t very visible (to me, at least) and I’m just totally confused by the decision to cater to this movie. The only person I’ve ever heard say that Avatar was their favorite movie was the “evil” entrepreneur behind Kingdom of the Little People in the Vice documentary Dwarves Kingdom. Cool demographic, bro.

I can’t even tell you how disappointing it’s going to be to see a Na’vi character greeting. Just this huge blue person, huh? It just totally bums me out for some reason!!

Maybe because it’s not something beloved from my childhood, or anyone’s childhood, to my knowledge. And it would have ruled to see a Pete’s Dragon meet and greet or a Fantasia ride. Mermaids? Hello. Would you like to make a million dollars? MERMAIDS. CENTAURS. CRAZY EVIL BEASTS. BOOM.

Could keep ranting. Should stop now!