Wednesday, June 26, 2013

East to West: Day Two Recap

Day One Recap Here

One of these days, I will have all of the days recapped and can then properly document my other little side adventures in Portland like the ridiculous amounts of farmer's markets and some of the cool little neighborhoods in the area.

Day Two went like this:
7:00 AM Leave Tupelo, MS and head to Gibson's Donuts in Memphis, TN
8:30 AM Eat 1-2 donuts and head to Graceland
9:00-11:30 AM Take the full Graceland tour and then make serious time to Little Rock, AR
3:00 PM Meet family for (slightly late and very quick) lunch at Whole Hog Cafe
Drive through Little Rock to see the State House and head to Dallas, TX
8:00 PM Meet friend for dinner at Spiral Diner (amazingly delicious) 
11:00 PM Drive to north Dallas to crash at another friend's house for the night

Four states this day as well (three if you don't count MS that I was already in!). This day was rough because I fell behind in my schedule which meant that I wasn't able to visit with my family in Arkansas as much and I also had to push dinner and arriving at my friend's house for the night back further than I would have liked.

And I know you are all waiting for donut pics, right?
(L-R) Maple Bacon, Red Velvet, Orange Juice, Buttermilk Drop, Raspberry Filled, Cinnamon Sugar
And to be clear, I did not eat all of these! I grabbed bites off of each one throughout the day and only actually ate all of the orange juice and red velvet. These were delicious! I wish I would have gotten a picture of the sign outside because it was old school, nothing fancy--just how a donut place should be.

A little note before I launch into the Graceland pictures: I am not an Elvis fan per say. I think he was a rock and roll idol and pioneer in his day but I never really got into the music, movies, or legend. That being said, I figured that since I was in the area, I had to visit Graceland. It was about $35 for admission which included the tour of Graceland itself, various museums and the airplane tours and a coupon for the cafe. I heard so many different languages here and saw several school groups as well which was so strange since I can't imagine a bunch of 3-5th graders being excited about Mr. Presley, no matter how attractive he was.

First up: Graceland! 


So, this may sound strange, but this could totally be my dream house/property. Elvis bought this when he was just 22 years old and for $40,000.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quotes of the Day: Groovy Smooth Lyrics

If you want it
Come and get it
Crying out loud
The love that I was
Giving you was
Never in doubt
Let go your heart
Let go your head
And feel it now
Babylon, Babylon

--David Grey, Babylon

 Like the legend of the phoenix
All ends with beginnings
What keeps the planet spinning (uh)
The force of love beginning
We've come too far to give up who we are
 So let's raise the bar and our cups to the stars

--Daft Punk, Get Lucky

Friday, June 21, 2013

Movie, Movie, Movie

It is the summer time (officially) which means some awesome movies are coming out! Just in the last week I saw:

Man of Steel
I think that Henry Cavill is an amazing human specimen. This man is so perfectly built that it can be incredibly distracting. Despite that, I thought the movie was pretty well done. I am a Marvel comics girl myself but had to go see this to know what everyone else was talking about. Great storyline that really explains everything so well that you feel an real connection with Clark. I thought the fighting scenes were a bit too long and unnecessary but it goes with the territory.

This is the End
How could I not see this movie? Tons of guest stars, a ridiculous premise, and based in one of my new favorite towns, Los Angeles, this was exactly what it appears to be: ridiculous and amazing. I have new love for all of the main characters as they are essentially playing parodies of themselves. Even better is that I didn't find James Franco nearly as creepy as I did in Oz. Everyone should see this for the sheer hilarity.

Now You See Me
I've been waiting to see this since I first saw the preview. Amazing actors and a really cool idea about magicians being crooks but all for a good reason. I think Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg are the best characters, making you both love and hate them, and I didn't like Mark Ruffalo nearly as much as I normally do. Great movie, really well done.


Bonus is that the local Regal theater near me has $5 Tuesday and since I have a rewards card, I also get $2 popcorn that day. Such a great deal! I splurged today by going to a matinee and buying popcorn but it was my reward for making progress on my job searches and also surviving whatever crazy ass bug I have been infected with for the past two weeks.

Other movies that I am so, so excited to see in the next few months:

Much Ado About Nothing (Two words: Joss Whedon)

Monsters University (Finally!)

Red 2  (Bruce Willis! Helen Mirren!)

Despicable Me 2

The Wolverine


The Butler (Seriously amazing cast)

Any movies y'all are excited to see?

Friday, June 14, 2013

East to West: Day One Recap

I know that a Day One recap seems a little silly since what can really happen in one day? (Here is the initial check-in)

Well, this was the itinerary for my first day:
Leave Columbia, SC at 5:30am
Stop at Sublime Doughnuts at 8:30am
Go to World of Coca-Cola at 9:00am
Leave WCC at 10:00am and head to Birmingham, AL
Stop at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and take the tour
Drive from Birmingham to Tupelo, MS
Stay the night in Tupelo

That would be four states in one day, two of which were brand new to me. Remember from this post that I first track out my route and then try to find things that are of interest and not too far off the asphalt path.I had to be selective in what I stopped to see because this trip was a lot longer in mileage than my first trip across the country and I was also on a budget. I decided on World of Coca-Cola because it was only $16 and seemed like something fun to break-up the long drive. It also just happened to be not too far from the very popular Sublime Doughnuts that I saw on Food Network and in "Best Doughnut" listings. Who could pass up that opportunity? Not this girl.

 Sublime Doughnuts

World of Coca-Cola 

The tour was great! There were a ton of school groups which could be annoying but really, seeing the kids excited over all of the characters and the chance to taste an unlimited amount of soda is really fun to watch. This could have easily taken several hours to get through if you wanted to really take your time. I was on a schedule so took about an hour from start to finish including shopping in the huge store at the end of the tour.

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute 

This was a gorgeous exhibit and really broke down what the emotions are surrounding the civil rights movement and the progress we have made as a country but also how far we still have to go. They do not allow pictures to be taken within the institute but I cannot express how well done everything is. To start the tour, you watch a short video and then the screen lifts to allow you into the actual museum. There are videos, art, examples of white vs. black living conditions, and also timelines of what was happening in the world versus events at home. There is also a great gift shop with books, videos, and memorabilia to continue your own education.

Tupelo, Mississippi

Lastly, Mississippi! I actually was incredibly excited to get to MS since it meant that I was close to my first stop for the trip. The hotel I booked, Courtyard Tupelo, was gorgeous and far exceeded my expectations. I also made sure to order Chinese delivery since that is what I have historically done at least once on every road trip. Bonus: MS has a beautiful visitor's center!

The next day: more doughnuts! the King! family sighting!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quotes of the Day: Rethink

I've been sick this week but I have several road trip posts ready and waiting to be updated! It has almost been a month since I left South Carolina and I am definitely still adjusting to the "summer" weather (rain) and not having a job (boo). Here are some quotes to make you rethink things and perhaps gain some perspective.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” 
John Lennon

“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.” 
George Bernard Shaw

“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”
 Anthony Robbins

“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before.” 
C. JoyBell C. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fast Forward Friday

I feel like time is just moving too fast! And, I also feel like I say that pretty much every blog post. I have yet to fully accept that it is actually summer despite the 70 and 80 degree weather that we here in the Pacific NW have been having. My world right now consists of keeping myself busy, working out, and applying to jobs while enjoying free refills at Starbucks. Not having a schedule every day is making me lose my mind a little but I am trying to enjoy Portland on a low-to-nil budget and I have good ideas for the week ahead.

A few things from this week:

Best Food Cart Discovery: Native Bowl

This place is SO freakin' tasty! I would love to bottle that peanut sauce and put it on everything. The bowls come in a cute little take out container which means you can save some for later. I enjoyed the "Broadway" bowl which had tofu, cabbage, scallions, black and white sesame seeds, jasmine rice, and the aforementioned peanut sauce. I was so full that I didn't have to eat until after my little First Thursday adventure.

Best First Thursday Event: Urban Adventure Runs through Fit Right Northwest

My friend, Brittney, and I went a few years ago and I was so SO excited to be back in the area to do this again. Last night's attendance was around 700 people! The mission is to run around to these specified businesses and grab raffle tickets. You can go as far out as you want but you must be back to the starting line by 7pm (starts at 6pm) to enter your raffle tickets to win these amazing prizes. They gave away Garmins, race entries, free shoes and other running gear. They also give our random free stuff like t-shirts, socks, and food products and BEER form Lompoc Brewing.

And....I won a free pair of Brooks running shoes! I haven't gotten new shoes for three years (eep!) and so this was perfect timing. I plan to be one of the cool kids and pick out some neon kicks.

Best New Summer Treat: Starbucks Lemon Cake Pop

Seriously, I love lemon. I love it all the time but during the summer, there is something about the freshness and lightness is that is really appealing. The bonus of the cake pops are that they are usually around 150 calories, 7 grams of fat and just the perfect 2-3 bite treat.

Favorite Park in Portland for a Weekday Chill Session: Laurelhurst Park

I really forgot about this place until I was heading to dinner on Wednesday night and went right up Burnside. The area is gorgeous already but the park is truly this getaway within the city. There is a small lake and plenty of picnic benches to hang out at. I grabbed some nibbles from New Seasons and ate lunch here while catching up on my reading and it was a much needed sunshine fix.

Most Excited For: Portland Farmer's Market

I think I may be addicted to farmer's markets. I find that everything just looks so much more fresh and exciting than in an artificially lit grocery store which means I want to be more creative in my cooking and try things I would not normally even consider like pattypan squash or kohlrabi or fiddleheads.