Smoky Mountains: Day Two

This post was written about June 29th, 2016.


Locations: Murfreesboro, TN -> Smokey Mountain National Park -> Bryson City, NC

We had great intentions to start the day off bright and early since we lost an hour somewhere in Tennessee. The alarm blared at 6:15 A.M. (not P.M. sadly), and I was not ready for the rude awakening. Breakfast was bacon, potatoes, yogurt, toast, pineapple, and coffee. My coffee cup also understood my language because it’s cozy had a camera on it.


All good intentions aside we left around 9 with a pit-stop to Walmart and a couple of other pit-stops before we got to Smokey Mountain National Park. On the way there I worked my way through Instagram, and colored in my Enchanted Forest Coloring book. I am well aware that the picture I am coloring is fall like but I LOVE fall.


If you followed along last years series: New York you may know about how we got a free drink a Dunkin’ Donuts It was 4th of July and we wanted some warm drinks to accompany us to watch the fireworks. I ordered a latte and the guy who made it also recommended the vanilla chai tea latte. “I’ll have to try it sometime,” I said. He then gave me my latte and a free chai tea latte. My dad tried it and he was hooked. So naturally he wanted to make this a tradition and get one this year! We also got doughnut holes and a star doughnut that was SUPER DUPER sweet.


Our destination was Cade’s Cove in Smokey Mountain National Park. Cade’s Cove is actually a loop that is 11 miles long and it takes you around to see cabins and mills that were built there in the 1800’s. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and sadly we didn’t get to hike.



We stopped for lunch on the loop, sort of like a picnic lunch. We had tuna with salsa and chips. I also forgot to mention that the loop is one way so it takes a little way to make your way out if there’s traffic.


It was back to the road again for about 3 1/2 hours, and I spent most of it trying not to throw up because of how curvy the road was. We took a pit-stop at the Tennessee and North Carolina border to get some fresh air and snap a few pictures. Let me tell you, that cool air is nothing compared to Oklahoma’s hot breeze in the summer!


Before our final destination we passed through the town of Cherokee, NC. Cherokee is a town on the reservation home of the Eastern Band of Cherokees. I snapped a few pictures of some painted bears that were scattered throughout the town. I loved the bear with the eagle face and all the detail it showed.


Hallelujah might have been the words I spoke on the inside when we finally arrived in Bryson City. I was STARVING and we ate at Anthony’s where I got Bruschetta with prosciutto and everyone else got HUGE calzones that were shaped like footballs. One was Italian Sausage and the other was Spinach.


Before leaving to find our house we took some obligatory pictures in front of a railcar. For your viewing pleasure only.


Back up the mountain we went to get to our house. The inside decor was cute and I was especially fond of the fake moose mount. We then proceeded to watch the sunset and gawk at how wonderful our God really is.


Stay tuned to my series Smoky Mountains! Much love, Brianna

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Smoky Mountains: Day One

This post was written about June 28th, 2016.

Location(s): OK -> AR -> Memphis, TN -> Murfreesboro, TN


While I’m well aware that Memphis is not apart of the Smoky Mountains  I couldn’t figure out what to title my series for this vacation so here you have it! (I may be running on fumes).

I started my day off bright and early getting up to exercise around 6:30. We hit the road around 8:30 after saying goodbye to my beloved Lady. (Also known as, Layds).

Sitting in the car for 5+ hours is never any fun, but let me tell you I’ve experienced worst. We COULD talk about the 22 I think it was? hour car ride to Washington D.C. but I’ll spare you the pain. The important thing is to find things to do that will keep you entertained or productive. You choose the latter. I decided to do a watercolor piece, something simple and fun. I wouldn’t however, recommend this for it can get super messy and you wouldn’t want to stain your white shirt….(which I may or may have not done).


A couple of other things that keep me busy are listing in my 52 lists project book I got for Christmas this past year, catching up on current TV shows through Dish Anywhere, or watching 100,000 episodes on Netflix(that could definitely cure your boredom depending on the show. I would either choose Glee, Friends, or One Tree Hill).


Getting hungry we pulled off into Conway, AR planning to eat at a Cracker Barrel (it’s kind of tradition). However we missed the first exit to get to town so we took the second which led us downtown where my dad spotted a place called ‘Tacos4Life‘. Also, being Taco Tuesday it was obvious we HAD to eat there. I LOVED the atmosphere and interior but most of all the TACOS. I got a Fried Chicken Taco and a Corn + Roasted Poblano Taco. Let me tell you about that Fried Chicken one though….sweet and spicy? Plus the cheese and it’s in a taco shell. I mean where can you go wrong? (the answer is nowhere).


We hit the road again for about 3 hours I think it was (I’m not good at keeping time). After those 3 hours we arrived in Memphis, Tennessee. If you’ve ever drove by Memphis you might’ve seen a really big silver pyramid. You wouldn’t guess this but it’s actually a Bass Pro! They also have lodging and a restaurant inside. You can go up to the top of the pyramid and look out and see Memphis at a bird’s-eye view. I thought I would freak out once I got to the top but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (HALLELJUIAH).


I was actually very excited to check out Memphis since I planned out what we were to do! We hit up Beale Street to see the Elvis Presley Statue. While there we saw a Elvis impersonator singing and dancing just like Elvis! It was pretty funny to see.


Originally we had planned to just go to the Civil Rights Museum but they are closed on Tuesdays, and only Tuesdays (our luck!!). We did though get to see the outside of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. They have preserved the hotel and the two Cadillacs sitting outside are from the same day he was shot.


The ‘I Am A Man’  Mural was a must after I saw a friend most a picture on Facebook. Obviously me being me, it was right up my alley.


Dinner was next, and I also picked out the spot! Cozy Corner was featured on an episode of Diner, Drive-Ins, and Dives and you can’t go to Memphis and leave without eating BBQ! I got a Cornish Hen with Coleslaw and BBQ beans. The Coleslaw was different from any other I’ve ever had. I wish I had the recipe to make it at home!


We hit the road again, and continued our trek to Murfreesboro, TN where we stayed the night. It was pretty late when we got in but with a full day of travel and a little exploring we were exhausted and it was lights out!


Make sure to stay tuned to my series; Smoky Mountains! I will be blogging about our adventures through the mountains! Much love, Brianna.

Vegan Week


So this last week I went vegan and it was quite a venture! While I enjoyed trying all the new foods I really missed my chicken and cheese. I never truly realized how many things had animal products in them. 

Monday 6/13-

Breakfast: Loaded Blueberry Muffins (so good! tasted like regular muffins!) 


Lunch: Loaded Baked Potato with Salsa, Tomatoes, Corn, Black Beans, and Cilantro.


Snack: Airpopped Popcorn with “Cheese”


Dinner: Vegan Mac & Cheese (the texture was almost that of a baked mac and cheese but was very tasty!) 


Dessert: Yolos (like a rolo but with dates…remember when YOLO was cool?!)

Tuesday 6/14-

Breakfast: Good Greens Mint Chocolate Bar (if you’ve ever had thin mints it taste pretty much like that)


Lunch: Mac & Cheese (I spiced it up and added cherry tomatoes and black beans!)


Dinner- Corn Chowder (this was the best I’ve had in awhile)


Wednesday 6/15-

Breakfast: Ocho Bar (pretty much like a mounds bar)


Lunch: Burrito with refried beans, tomatoes, vegan cheese, and cilantro 


Dinner: Buffalo Chickpea Pizza (I wasn’t expecting this to turn out but it was actually really good!)

Thursday 6/16-

Breakfast: Banana Cinnamon Rolls (these were amazing!! made them Wednesday and enjoyed them way to much on Thursday)


Lunch: Banana Split Smoothie (I am well aware this techinally isn’t lunch but it was SO GOOD)


Dinner: Chickpea Sandwhich (not pictured; Chick-fil-a waffle fries and a whole bag of gummy bears)

Friday 6/17-

Breakfast: Coconut Pancakes


Lunch: Mac & Cheese with Buffalo Sauce 


Dinner: Mushroom and Leek Risotto (this was my favorite by far!!) 

I also went vegan Saturday but I didn’t document my eats. I didn’t go vegan because I’m against eating animals, I thought it’d be fun to try new foods and see how different your body works without animal products! I felt good but am so glad to be eating my chicken again. Would you go vegan for a week? Much love, Brianna. 

Aloha Summer! Part 2


If you missed my last post you may be slightly confused. If you haven’t read Aloha Summer! Part 1 go check it out so you’ll be all caught up on my adventures on day one of my road trip to OKC. For all reading: This post was written about June 5th and June 6th 2016.

June 5th- Breakfast was Blueberry Lemon Bread with Hot Chocolate. My grandma made the bread and it was oh so good! We left for church at Memorial Road Church of Christ after breakfast and enjoyed a phenomenal service and lesson about how our best future comes from our deepest conviction.


The service started at 8:15 and ended around 9:20 so we had the rest of the day to ourselves. We decided to go to the Oklahoma City Zoo. The weather was perfect because it was early day with a slight breeze but nice and sunny. I hadn’t been to the zoo in quite some time. I’d say 5 to 6 years have passed since I’ve been. I enjoyed seeing all the different kinds of animals. I especially got a kick out of a rhinoceros who was banging his head against the door to where he goes in and out of. I think he might of been just a little ready to get outside…(read that sentence with sarcasm).


We spent about 2 1/2 hours at the zoo and half of that was walking around in the same places we had already been. I think I’m directionally challenged. 

Hungry, we traveled to Arcadia where Pops is. If you don’t know what Pops is let me inform you. Pops is built pretty much in the middle of no where on Route 66. They have over 700 different kinds of sodas to choose from such as: Bacon Cream Soda, Butterscotch Root beer, and Peach Soda. It’s also a restaurant and a gas station. On the outside there is a HUGE pop bottle and at night it lights up into different colors! I enjoyed their Arcadia Burger which had bleu cheese, bacon, chiplote mayo, and I subbed turkey for beef.

 Just down the road from Pops is a big red round barn. It was built-in 1898 and was just something fun to go see. Going up to the top story however was a little daunting. The ceiling felt like a hundred stories tall!


Gradually we started running out of things to do (or things we knew to do), but we decided to stop in at the Paseo Arts District. Most of the shops were closed but they had a few art gallery’s open. The art inside was absolutely breathtaking and made me wish I could paint like the artists who did the paintings.


If you live in Oklahoma you might be aware of the different types of statues located in each town. In Muskogee there are painted guitars placed in various places. Tulsa has penguins (I have no idea why penguins…we don’t live in Antarctica). Oklahoma City has painted buffalos. So we set out on a quest to find as many as we could. We weren’t as successful as we hoped but we did find a few and I thought it was cool that each one had a different meaning behind it. I looked up the “Buffalo Project” for the locations but sadly they weren’t as accurate as I thought they would be. Nevertheless I enjoyed snapping some pictures of the ones we did find!


Being pretty tiried we decided to pick up dinner downtown at a place called Guyutes. Their little slogan is something along the lines of: fancied up street food. I got a salad which had roasted chickpeas, cranberries, feta cheese, and a house vinaigrette dressing. We had planned on watching the sunset at Lake Hefner but felt WAY to tired to stick it out. Back at my grandparents house we ate dinner and swam and then of course went to sleep instantly!


June 6th-

Last day of our trip *insert sad face here*. Sleeping in was the best decision we made, and so was eating at Big Truck Tacos for breakfast before we hit the road. When I saw the name “Big Truck Tacos” I thought it would be a food truck. What we pulled up to almost looked like and old sonic redone. There were places to eat on the inside and the food was delicious! I got the Big Truck Burrito Bowl which had: eggs, potatoes, chorizo, and spices! Defienetly recommend going if you’re ever in the area.


Hitting some more landmarks on Route 66 we stopped to see the Golden Driller in Tulsa which was built 50 years ago! The Blue Whale of Catoosa was another stop. The Blue Whale was a gift built by a man for his wife as an anniversary present. It was built-in a pond and took over 2 years to do. There were slides with running water down them and a diving board off the top. Back in the day they hauled in sand and it was a popular family destination. Now it’s more of just a landmark however you can still fish at the pond.


Last stop: lunch of course. Nothing special really just some Panera Bread and funny conversations about being half out of it.


 All in all it was a great road trip. We saw it all, made lots of fun memories, and ate our way through Oklahoma. Much love, Brianna.

Aloha Summer! Part 1


While this title may lead you to think I have vacationed to Hawaii you would be very mistaken. Sadly I did not vacation to Hawaii however, I did take a road trip to Oklahoma City. Doesn’t sound very exciting? Well it was, and the best part was I got to go with one of my best friends. I can easily say we say almost everything you could see. Let’s break it down.

5:20 A.M. June 4th. The alarm sounds and I am definitely not awake. At 6 o’clock I hit the road with my first stop to pick up the best friend. Around 8:30 we made it to our first destination, Cafe Kacao. Now let me tell you about this cafe. They are a Guatemalan breakfast/lunch resturant. Now I can only tell you about the french toast since that’s the only thing I’ve ever eaten there. But OMGOODNESS it is so good. The best french toast ever. We split the french toast and I got a Lavender Lodon Fog. Basically it was a tea latte. It was different but good!


If you don’t live in Oklahoma you probably don’t know about the LARGE Milk Bottle a top of an old grocery building. The bottle was built to bring the grocery more business. It’s just a classic and fun little landmark.


 

We then visted the OKC Bombing Memorial. For those of you who don’t know there was a bombing in 1995 at the Murrah Building. There are times; 9:01 and 9:03. 9:01 represents the innocence before the bombing and 9:03 represents the time when healing began. There is a reflection pool inbetween and out the the right side there are chairs commermorating those who died. The small chairs stand for the children and the taller ones stand for the adults. Their alligned in nine rows because of how many stories there were in the building. To the left there is the “Survivor Tree” it represents the strength of the city and how they worked to rebuild. It was really humbling to see the memorial and remember those who lost their lifes.


Bricktown was next and honestly, I was a little let down by it. It’s mainly resturants, I guess I was expecting cute little shops and such. We walked pretty much everywhere. However we did stop in a cute little shop where I bought Root Beer Cotton Candy!


Wanting to see more of downtown we headed towards the Botinaical Gardens. The outside grounds were gorgeous as well the inside. We walked around towards Cheaseapeake Energy Center where the OKC Thunder play. It was funny to see the players blown up onto the building across the street. I also took a picture with Steven Adams who I wanted to be Stache bros with but sadly I don’t have a stache and I’m not a bro.


For lunch we weren’t exactly hungry so we had “lunch” at The Marble Slab back in Bricktown. I’d never been to a Marble Slab before and it was pretty yummy and cool to experience. I picked cheescake ice cream and my toppings were: strawberries, graham crackers, and caramel. They put your ice cream on a marble slab obviously and they fold in all your toppings and put it back in the cup. It was pretty amazing to be honest.


Being pretty tired we headed to my grandparents house and chilled for awhile. We ate brickoven pizza for dinner and swam. Then it was lights out! We really packed it all in but had fun every minute. 


I’ll be sharing part 2 this Thursday so stay tuned! Much love, Brianna.

 

No-Churn Salted Caramel and Frito Ice Cream

GUYS! I have the best recipe to share with you today. It’s so easy it’s not even funny. With only 4 ingredients (unless you make your own caramel) you can whip this up in just under thirty minutes. The hard part is waiting overnight for it to freeze!


Have you heard of the saying don’t judge a book by it’s cover? Well….don’t judge this title by it’s cover. The sweetness of the caramel and the saltiness of the fritos goes perfectly. All you need is heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensded milk, salted caramel, and fritos. Healthy right? Who am I kidding, so unhealthy but so good.

No-Churn Salted Caramel and Frito Ice Cream

Prep time: 15 minutes    Cook time: 8 hours or Overnight

  • 1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 14oz can Sweetend Condensed Milk
  • 3 C crushed Fritos
  • 1 C Salted Caramel
  1. Pour whipping cream into a bowl with a wire whisk. Best until it forms stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.
  2. Use a spatula and fold in sweetened condensed milk, caramel, and Fritos.
  3. Pour into a casserole dish deep enough. Freeze for 8 hours. For best results freeze overnight!
  4. Scoop into bowls and top with salted caramel and Fritos if you choose. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Much love, Brianna.