Friday Five: Vinyl

April 18, 2014

With Record Store Day this weekend, I’m sharing five of my favorite records from our vinyl collection.

5. The Beatles - Abbey Road

4. Rolling Stones - Some Girls

Most any Stones album will do but I’ve been listening to this one a lot lately.

3. Willie and the Family Live – no description necessary

2.  The Band - The Last Waltz

 

1. Allman Brothers- Live at the Fillmore East 1971

One of the best live albums…ever. Fun fact: this photo was taken in an alley in Macon, Georgia

My husband and I inherited quite the collection from our parents and have added to it over the years. Most Sunday afternoons you’ll find us at home relaxing and blaring tunes on our hammy-down yet super loud stereo. We might even be louder than the college kids that live next door.

This Saturday is Record Store Day! Never heard of it?

“Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1000 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally.This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store—the staff, the customers, and the artists—to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.” 

Even if you don’t have a record player, you can support your local indie music store by buying a CD (remember those), tshirt, poster, etc. Most stores have special deals, free gifts, or live music so check out the website to see participating record stores and find out what’s happening in your area.

 

 

Bloomington Craft Beer Fest

April 16, 2014

It has been a crazy few weeks here in Bloomington. I have been frantically working on everything Southern C Summit and accepted a new job at the local newspaper here in town. With my new schedule I’m going to try and give y’all one post a week. Hooray! Now that I’ve settled in (sort of) to my new job, over the weekend I was able to experience one of Btown’s favorite festivals – Bloomington Craft Beer Fest.

50 breweries, 3,000 people, a pretzel necklace and a couple of hours to sample some tasty beer…

Bloomington

 

As most know, Ryan and I tend to run late so after a frantic bike ride down the BLine to the Woolery Mill we checked our bikes grabbed our glasses and hit the ground running.

bloomington craft beer fest

The place was packed with tasters and craft breweries from all over Indiana and some from Illinois. With breweries popping up throughout the Midwest, craft beer is a growing business. Word is we’re getting a few new ones in Bloomington very soon (yay)! I’m still learning about the beer culture up here but I was blown away by the number of breweries just in Indiana.

bloomington craft beer fest

I frequent the Bloomington breweries regularly so at the fest I tried to focus on breweries new to me.  Note – arrive on time so you don’t miss out on all the sour beers and 3 Floyds (they go fast).

A few of my favorites:

The people watching was also excellent.

craft beer fest

 

Can’t wait ’til next year! Cheers!  bloomington craft beer fest

Friday Five: No Stress Travel Tips

April 4, 2014

explore the world

With spring here and summer on the way, it’s time to talk travel planning. Planning and traveling can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be.  April is stress awareness month so I’m sharing some of my tips for to ensure your trip has little to no stress.

5. Map out your route: Spontaneous trips are great but it helps if you know a little bit before you head to the airport or jump in the car. Not everything has to be mapped out but you may want to at least have a destination and route planned. Love roadtrips? Make sure you check out the road conditions before heading out on an adventure, as some stretches of road may be closed seasonally or pit stops may be sparse. You don’t want to be stranded on a highway in the desert with no gas station in sight. I speak from experience having tried to cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway a while back in the winter realizing it was closed midway through. Not an easy turn around to make.

4. Activities for kids: To ensure you have a mostly whine-free excursion, have some sort of entertainment for the short attention spans of younger travelers. Ideas: I Spy, road trip bingo, books, mad libs, coloring books, audio books. If all else fails maybe a movie. I have fond memories of trekking to Destin, Florida in the way way back of my mother’s volvo wagon playing road trip bingo with my siblings.

3. Food: Hungry people are grumpy. Couple hunger with a long trip…disaster. My favorites- carrot/celery sticks with nut butter, PB&J, granola bars (I love LaraBars, Kind, Cliff),  and popcorn (homemade or Pirates Booty). These snacks are perfect for road trips or an airplane.

2. Audio: Having plenty of music to listen to will ease tension on any trip. Load up your ipod with the classics or make a Spotify playlist. Check out my latest “Road Trip” playlist here. Audio books are also excellent for traveling because they are entertaining and last for hours. My audio book picks: any of the “Classics” because they’re usually free. I’ve enjoyed listening to the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series too – both are action packed and will hold your attention.

1. Go with the flow: Sometimes the plan is that the plan will change. I like to plan my trips in advance, but sometimes things do not go accordingly. The best way to avoid extra stress when plans go awry is to take a step back a just try and go with the flow. If this is hard for you to do… I suggest packing a lavender infused eye pillow and head phones. Drown out your surroundings and breathe in the soothing smell of fresh herbs and you’ll be placidly sailing along. Inflight and stressed? Do the above and perhaps an inflight cocktail.

Longwood Plantation: Natchez, Mississippi

April 3, 2014

Built in 1861, Longwood Plantation is the largest octagonal house in America, and one of the best remaining examples of Moorish Revival style architecture. This six-story, 30,000 square foot mansion was designed by Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia for wealthy planter Haller Nutt and his wife, Julia Williams Nutt. As the home neared completion, the Civil War broke out and construction halted. Haller nut died in 1864, and his wife Julia, and their eight children, continued to live in the finished first floor of the home for several years.  

Longwood remained in the Nutt family until 1968. After a brief ownership of the McAdams family in Austin, Texas, the plantation and its 94 acres were donated to Pilgrimage Garden Club of Natchez in 1970. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1969, tours of Longwood are given daily every 30 minutes. Beginning on the finished first floor, guides share the Nutt family history as well as pieces from the permanent collection. The tour then moves to the upper levels where visitors can explore the “bones” of this architectural gem.

The completed house was to have had 32 rooms, 26 fireplaces, 115 doors, 96 columns, and a total of 30,000 square feet of living space, but only nine of the 32 rooms were finished. In the unfinished rooms you can see all the layers of construction, tools left behind by workmen, even luggage trunks that arrived for the family are still there just waiting to be opened. You can even see the framework of the sixteen-sided onion dome cupola inside. 

A system of mirrors had been designed to reflect sunlight to the many rooms of Longwood from the windows in the sixteen-sided tower atop the house. The chimney-like shape of the house was intended to funnel warm air up toward the top of the cupola, creating an updraft that escaped through windows high in the building, thus drawing fresh air into the lower floors.

Showing off unfinished and deteriorating architecture, Longwood Plantation is not your typical house museum. In this case, seeing Longwood in its entirety, helps tell the story of the Nutt family and serves as a unique metaphor for the “rise and fall of the Old South.” After touring the mansion, make sure you allow plenty of time to stroll the grounds and get lost under the oaks.

Photo: James Butters on April 14, 1936 for the Library of Congresses’ Historic American Buildings Survey
 

My good friend Claire Cothren, a natchezian and fellow blogger, introduced myself and a few other preservationists to Longwood Plantation several years ago and it is one of my favorite house museums to date. Spring and fall are ideal times to visit and enjoy perfect weather and pilgrimage season. Both spring and fall pilgrimage are month long celebrations of Natchez history with the crown jewels being the dozens of mostly private antebellum homes on tour for visitors.  If you love architecture and history, a visit to Longwood and Natchez is a must.

Sources: The New Southern View, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, and National Historic Landmarks Program

Rainbow Bakery

March 25, 2014

rainbow bakery The new (to me) vegan bakery in Bloomington, Rainbow Bakery, is full of color, mid-century mod fun, and pastries. I’m not a vegan by any means but I am a fan of baked goods. It doesn’t hurt that this new kid on the block is located in a cool historic building downtown.

The building, now called I FELL, was built in 1930 by Isaac Fell. What was originally an Auburn Cord Duesenberg car dealership, is now home to the Rainbow Bakery, the Bloomington Clay Studio, The Collective Press and several other artist studios. More on the I Fell building next week.

Rainbow Bakery has only been open since August 2013, but they seem like a seasoned pros, cranking out a variety of muffins, breads, cupcakes, and donuts each day as well as your coffee bar favorites. Decked in mid-century finds, Rainbow Bakery captures the fun of baking. The decor and logo are just as cheery as their baked goodies.  Retro formica kitchen tables line the cafe and funky globe and paper lanterns hang throughout the space. One of my favorite repurposed pieces is  the 50s stove turned sugar and creamer station.  The bakery nods to America’s kitschy past while their food is an updated version of all your favorite treats. There is something for everyone each day:  jumbo cinnamon rolls, vanilla lavender cupcakes, gluten free mushroom and sage scones, green tea donuts, the list goes on and on. Follow them on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.

rainbow bakery

German Village: Columbus, Ohio

March 17, 2014

Just south of downtown Columbus, Ohio lies German Village. This urban neighborhood filled with manicured gardens, beautiful homes, unique shops, and restaurants is an incredible example of how grassroots historic preservation efforts can save a neighborhood.

German Village

German Village was developed primarily between 1840-1914 and become home to a largely German population (hence the name) by the end of the 1950s. People spoke German in schools, stores, church and most professionals spent their leisure time in the neighborhoods various bier gartens. This village was a little slice of Germany for many immigrants.

A manufacturing zoning ordinance and two world wars had left the once thriving and solidly built neighborhood a slum. In the 1959, the entire village faced wholesale demolition, but a group of like-minded citizens under the direction of Frank Fetch,  joined together to form the German Village Society.  With preservation and rehabilitation as their main goals, the German Village Society were able to achieve both by changing the zoning ordinance, and ensured the neighborhoods protection by creating a local historic district. German Village was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Ironically, the same characteristics that urban renewal studies of Columbus used to describe “blight” are the very attributes that give German Village its unique and appreciated character today: small lots, narrow streets and the absence of new development.

german village

“The German Village Society presently has nearly 1,000 preservationist-minded members who are dedicated to maintaining the historic quality of the buildings and neighborhood. As a result, German Village is currently considered one of the most desirable areas to live in the city, if not the premiere place in Columbus to live.  More than 1,600 buildings have been restored since 1960, and it is credited as one of the most premiere restoration districts in the world. Today, German Village is a model of urban neighborhood preservation and revitalization - a nationally recognized success story. The average home price in the neighborhood is $377,450 and several are well over $1 million. The Village is mostly a residential neighborhood of sturdy, red-brick homes with wrought iron fences along tree-lined, brick-paved streets.”

Charming homes and gardens aren’t the only reason to explore German Village. This neighborhood is also home to a variety of locally owned businesses and restaurants. A couple of my favorites… Pistachia Vera and Hausfrau Haven. It doesn’t get much better than pastries and wine.

German Village

 

Sources: German Village SocietyGerman Village CVB 

Friday Five: Spring Events

March 14, 2014

It’s about to get busy…  Here are five events I’m looking forward to this spring.

photo (1)

5. The Combine- Bloomington, Indiana

Tech conference in Bloomington with names like Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Sarah Ware of Markerly, and Mike Bridavsky with Lil Bub.

4. The Morel Festival- Brown Co. Indiana

Live music, camping, and morel mushrooms.

3. IU Little 500- Bloomington, Indiana

The Little 500 is the largest collegiate bike race in the United States. Modeled after the Indianapolis 500, riders compete in four-person teams around a quarter-mile cinder track at Bill Armstrong Stadium. If it’s anything like Athens Twilight- I’m in.

2. Bloomington Craft Beer Week & Fest: Bloomington, Indiana

150 different types of craft beer from Indiana and across the Midwest in the historic Woolery Mill. Sign me up.

1. The Southern C Summit- Charleston, South Carolina

A creative gathering of bloggers, small business owners, and brands complete with fabulous food, cocktails, and seeing old friends…. the first summit of 2014 is heading to Charleston, South Carolina! I haven’t been to Charleston in a few years and there are so many places on my list to try! The countdown to my southern pilgrimage starts now.

Friday Five: Around town

March 7, 2014

A few favorite spots around Bloomington, Indiana.

5. Lake Monroe

lake monroe

Even frozen, the lake is a cool place to explore.

4. BluBoy Chocolate and Cakery

BluBoy Chocolate

This place continues to taunt me with goodies via instagram. I give in too often.

3. Rainbow Bakery

Rainbow Bakery

Finally made it down to this vegan bakery! Tasty donuts…

2. Bloomington Antique Mall

antique baby cup

Could spend an entire day meandering through the booths. My latest find: baby cup for some, espresso cup for me!

1. City Bakery

city bakery

I can’t believe this place is on our street and I’m just now going. Shameful I know.

Have a great weekend!

Cumberland Island, Georgia

March 3, 2014

Cumberland Island, Georgia
With the spring thaw on its way, I can’t but help but think of a warm days spent on the coast. One of my favorite places to getaway and recharge is Cumberland Island, Georgia.

A ferry ride and a world away from the hustle of the resorts in the Golden Isles, Cumberland entices its visitors to “un-plug.” Get lost cruising down the down dirt roads swathed in spanish moss and towering oaks, while exploring one of America’s National Seashores. READ MORE

Friday Five: Travel Apps

February 28, 2014

Whether you’re trekking to the mountains, cruising to the beach, or sightseeing in the city this spring, these apps will make the journey a little more fun.

5. Bring Fido

Lab Puppies

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll see lots of pics of my two black lab pups, Junebug and Lula( blondie is their friend Buddy). Junebug and Lula travel with Ryan and I a lot and the Bring Fido app has been so helpful when it comes to planning our route. Bring Fido is a world-wide pet friendly hotel and travel directory with info on dog-friendly hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, off-leash parks, reviews, and more. If you like to travel with pets- this app is a must.

4. Afar – Mobile App

Afar Travel Magazine

This app is perfect when visiting an unfamiliar city because it offers unique places of interest provided by locals and seasoned travelers for that area. Last fall I visited San Francisco for the first time, and with the Afar app I shopped and ate my way through San Fran’s different neighborhoods with ease.

3. Roaming Hunger

Roaming Hunger

Scribble Food Truck: Indianapolis, Indiana 

Download Roaming Hunger for free to find a food trucks near you. It’s great to have a sit down meal when traveling but sometimes you just want to grab a tasty quick bite and keep exploring.  I found the Scribble Food Truck using Roaming Hunger while visiting Indianapolis. Local farm to table food for under $10 in about 10 minutes- hard to beat.

2. Spotify

Spotify

The digital mix cd… I’m sure most everyone has discovered Spotify by now but it is too awesome not to share. Check out my latest road trip playlist here. You simply can’t go on a road trip without tunes.

1. Roadtrippers

roadtrippers app

The ultimate digi road trip planner. For someone who tries to stay away from chain stores and restaurants the Roadtripper app is perfect. I will absolutely be using their trip planner this spring and summer! Their description says it all…

“Driving down long stretches of asphalt, pulling over at a local diner for some grub, and discovering the most incredible roadside wonders. Co-founders James Fisher and Tatiana Parent suffer from an incurable case of wanderlust. So, they decided to design a web and mobile platform that streamlines discovery, planning, booking and navigation into one engaging road trip planner. Powered by a fleet of local experts and travel writers Roadtrippers features a seemingly infinite database of amazing places (actually 100,000+ to be slightly more exact). We do the hard part, so you can have the adventure of a lifetime. At its core, Roadtrippers aims to inspire and promote awareness for local, offbeat and culturally stimulating experiences. After all, as Emerson’s taught us, it’s all about the journey.”

Technology is awesome but don’t forget to pack the trusty Atlas… just in case.

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