Happy Holidays from Shaker Village

December 16, 2015

I can’t believe that Christmas is next week; where did fall go? I love the holiday season for many reasons: comfort food, festive decor, and spending time with friends and family. Deep in the hills of the Bluegrass State, I experienced all of these (and then some) on a recent visit to Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill with one of my dearest friends.


illuminated evenings | em's on the road



Holiday Gift Guide

December 11, 2015



Christmas is 15 days away! If you’re a last minute shopper (like me) check out a few of my favorite finds to help you finish off your list.  READ MORE

A Visit to Muir Woods and Giving Tuesday

December 1, 2015

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir

Muir was so right, at least I think so. I love the built environment, wandering through city streets, eating street food and photographing mansard roofs and fanlights. Escaping to the woods however is also oh so necessary for me.

With three major sale days after Thanksgiving (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday), Giving Tuesday was created to celebrate generosity and serve as a day of giving. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Muir Woods in northern California, a truly great gift that was given to the United States in 1908.


Muir Woods

Photo: Ryan Hines

I’d heard of John Muir but hadn’t studied his work prior to graduate school. I read My First Summer in the Sierras for the first time while taking a Wilderness Management class. It is a beautiful read; a little flowery at times but the emotion and passion Muir had for the wilderness is understood with each word. Many westward pilgrimages were imagined and embarked upon because of Muir and his powerful prose.

Back in the 1800s much of the Northern redwood forests were spared from logging due to their precarious location. In 1905, a wealthy congressman and his wife, William and Elizabeth Kent, purchased 611 acres of forest to be protected. In 1908, they donated the land to the federal government. After which Teddy Roosevelt declared it a National Monument, the first created from land donated by a private individual, and was named for renowned conservationist John Muir.

When the Golden Gate bridge was completed in 1937, visitors to the Muir Woods tripled and today it remains one of the most popular National Monuments in the US. Even with high visitor numbers, the majority of people seem to just walk to the gift shop and turn around. Keep going… Take one of the many loop trails and enjoy the quiet. You may even see a banana slug.

Muir Woods

Photo: Ryan Hines

With so much development today in technology and the built environment, it is extraordinary to have a wild sanctuary like this available for anyone to enjoy.

Giving Tuesday will come and go but in the spirit of the holiday season, I hope you’ll think about causes and organizations that are important to you and your community and give a little. Not everyone can donate millions of dollars, but we can all provide a little time and help make a difference.

Happy Holidays!

Links to organizations I love:

National Trust for Historic Preservation


Humane Society

Girls Inc

St. Simons Land Trust



Muir Woods National Monument






Haight Ashbury Revisited

November 23, 2015

No visit to San Francisco is complete without exploring Haight Ashbury.


haight ashbury


After the Gold Rush, wealthy San Franciscans made their home in the Upper Haight building ornate Victorian homes in the hills. The neighborhood went into decline during the Great Depression and continued through the World Wars. In the 1950s the California Division of Highways had planned to extend freeways across San Francisco destroying many neighborhoods including Haight Ashbury. Due to extreme opposition these plans were squashed which ultimately saved many of the cities’ historic neighborhoods. READ MORE

Beer Heaven: Tornado

November 18, 2015

tornado san francisco

A few years ago on my first trip to San Francisco, my sister and I explored Haight Ashbury thoroughly. This time around Ryan and I really only had one place on our agenda to visit in the Lower Haight – Tornado. After a delicious brunch at Zazie, we meandered down Haight Street trying to walk off our french toast to make room for beer.

We managed.

tornado san francisco

Modern Times Fruitlands – Sour Cherry Gose


tornado san francisco


tornado san francisco

Russian River Damnation


If you like beer, this place is a must.  Russian River brews on tap are reason enough to come check out this place but the people watching in a place like this is top notch. Suits, students, townies, and vagabonds… all are welcome – just make sure get have cash (ATM in the back). Don’t forget to check out the bottle list too.

My only regret was not being hungry enough to get a sausage from the Rosamaunde Sausage Grill next door. Everyone around us hand one and they looked amazing.

Do you have a favorite beer bar in San Francisco? Lemme know in the comments!


Tornado: 547 Haight San Francisco, CA 94117

Click here for more

An Afternoon at Sutro Baths

November 16, 2015

Most of my travels are driven by food and drink but I do like giving my wallet a break and taking some time to enjoy the outdoors wherever I am. Before our west coast trip, I got a tip from an Instagram friend to visit the Sutro Bath ruins (thanks Caroline!). We lucked out with a sunny Saturday so we  decided to hit the Lands End trail and end at the ruins.

lands end hike

View from the top


The original baths were a feat of engineering and incredibly beautiful. I wish I could take a trip back in time to see this. READ MORE

The Little Shamrock: San Francisco

November 9, 2015

I’m finally feel like I’m back in the swing of things after a much needed vacation to the West Coast. Ryan and I started our trip in San Francisco visiting some old friends we hadn’t seen in years. It went by way too fast, as good trips always do, but we had a blast just catching up and checking out some of their favorite bars and restaurants.

We’re notorious procrastinators so it wasn’t too surprising to anyone that we barely slept before our 5am flight because we were up all night packing and getting things ready for our gracious dog sitter. We landed in the early afternoon we headed straight to Arezmendi for a few slices of their daily pizza, then to their apartment for a quick nap. BTW – If you’ve never been to this employee owned bakery in the Inner Sunset – you must go! It is out of this world.

san francisco botanical gardens

The Botanical Gardens are the perfect escape in the middle of the city.

Still groggy from the trip we decided to explore Golden Gate Park and spent the afternoon meandering around the Botanical Gardens. Everything in the park closed around 5pm so we made our way to a neighborhood bar for a few beers and waited for our friends. Walking out of the park I saw signs for the Little Shamrock, a pub with a sign saying it was 120 years old… We had to go in. READ MORE

Local’s Guide to GA FL Weekend

October 29, 2015

uga barn

Every Halloween weekend, thousands of football fans descend on the Golden Isles for the anticipated brawl between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and University of Florida Gators.  This match-up has been going on since 1915 and has been hosted in Jacksonville, Florida since 1933.  Being in such close proximity to Jacksonville, many UGA fans, alums, and students congregate in St. Simons Island for the festivities.  UGA’s fall break coincides with this event causing a circus-like caravan of antsy co-eds sitting in traffic along Hwy 15 heading for the coast after classes starting on Wednesday.

I am a proud UGA alum, but football has never really been my thing.  I enjoy socializing and going to parties but if the bulldogs lose…it’s not gonna ruin my day (unlike some).  If you find yourself in this boat and want to brave the Golden Isles for a mini beach vacay- don’t worry- there is plenty to do in SSI for those not as concerned with the game’s outcome.  READ MORE

Indy’s Chicest Boutique Hotel

October 12, 2015

Indianapolis is just an hour away from Bloomington making it a great weekend getaway destination. I was immediately drawn to The Alexander Hotel downtown because of their art collection throughout the hotel. The location is ideal; close to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium, Monument Circle, not to mention walking distance to my favorite brunch at Milktooth.

indys chicest boutique hotel: the alexander READ MORE

Brunch at Southport Grocery

October 5, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend with my sister Madeline in her Southport neighborhood. We didn’t have an agenda at all – just relax, window shop and eat (of course). We accomplished all of those things but with a longish drive ahead of me, we decided Sunday brunch was a must. Walking around Southport we came across this cute spot…

southport grocery chicago


emily hines

Southport Grocery and Cafe is a quaint local spot located in the hub of the Southport neighborhood near Wrigley Field. They serve up breakfast and lunch daily for hungry Chicagoans; this Sunday was particularly crowded in large part due to a Cubs game that afternoon.  We waited a few minutes for a table outside in the sunshine staring at the gorgeous Anthropologie window displays next door.

Starved, we started off with the “grown-up pop tart” and some coffee. How could we resist? This warm, doughy pastry was stuffed with local preserves, vanilla walnuts, marscapone cheese, then griddled to perfection.

grown up pop tart at southport grocery

They’re famous for their bread pudding pancakes but we decided savory entrees would be a good follow up to the pop tart starter. The Ham & Grits caught my eye with country ham and red-eye gravy and Mad went with their signature hash topped with a fried egg. Both were spot on.

southport grocery hash


After brunch we perused the aisles of preserves, dressings, and other goodies. They also have a cooler of prepared foods and I was happy to snatch the last club sandwich for my road trip home.

southport grocery preserves



southport grocery takeout

For a a leisurely brunch or superb take out for the office, Southport Grocery is just THE place.


Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie