Travel TBT: 48 Hours in Paris

I traveled to Paris in the summer of 2013 with my mom, aunt, and cousin after visiting family in Croatia. Paris was a bit of a last minute idea so we only had a couple days to spend there, but traveling within Europe is so easy and inexpensive so we said why not! It didn’t take much for me to fall in love with the City of Light, and I can’t wait to go back one day to experience all that I missed on my short trip. For now, here is a quick list of all the spots I hit in my 48 hours in Paris!

Crowne Plaza Paris République – We stayed at this hotel located near the center of the city and had a great experience. The building itself is quite old, but the hotel was very beautiful and clean. The rooms were a great size in comparison to typical European hotel rooms, and the location was fantastic. We were within walking distance to tons of great restaurants, cafes, major sites, and public transportation. The convenience alone is enough reason to stay here. Not to mention, the hotel’s restaurant has one of the best Croque Monsieurs I’ve ever had!

Rèves De Paris République – We never had a bad meal while in Paris (obviously), but the only place I remember the name of is Rèves De Paris République, a cafe around the corner from our hotel. We came here for coffee and pastries every morning, which was my favorite part of every day because their croissants are TO.DIE.FOR. Five years later and I’m still dreaming about those beautiful, flaky, buttery vessels of love and tastiness. I’m sure you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the best croissant of your life in Paris, but I promise this cafe will give all other Parisian pastries a run for their money.


Sites – I am very much one of those travelers that is adamant about seeing the major sites in the cities I visit. I am a huge history nerd and for that reason I absolutely had to spend my short time in Paris dragging my family around from monument to monument. Here are some of my favorites:

Eiffel Tower: I mean, do I even have to mention this? The Eiffel Tower is literally why people go to Paris in the first place. It truly is just as spectacular in person, and serves as an amazing backdrop for a picnic consisting of champagne, cheese, and a baguette at the park behind it. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a beautiful summer day.

Louvre: The most iconic museum of art in the world. You don’t have to have ever taken an Art History class to appreciate this magical place. Some of the most famous pieces of art in history are housed here…making it an absolute must on anyone’s trip to Paris.

Notre Dame: The famous French Gothic cathedral is another must see. The architecture is stunning and if you feel up to climbing the 387 steps of the tower, the views of the city at the top are even better. One of my favorite parts of Notre Dame was lighting a candle inside the church.

Arc de Triomphe: The “most monumental of all triumphal arches.” If you’re like me, you may or may not have a running count of all the arches you’ve been to in the world (I think I’m at 5?), but the Arc de Triomphe truly is the most beautiful and impressive. Afterwards you can take the two second stroll to the famous Champs-Élysées.

Champs-Élysées: The famous avenue is located in the 8th arrondissement and is often referred to as “the world’s most beautiful avenue.” This is where you’ll find some of the city’s best shopping, dining, and entertainment. If you’re a shopper, remember to bring your credit card with the biggest limit because the flagship stores of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and other well known luxury brands are located on Champs-Élysées.

 

There’s so much to see and do in Paris that I barely even made a dent on my trip in 2013. I made the best of the time I had and I truly would not have changed a thing. I cannot wait for the day I get to go back and this time it will definitely be longer than 48 hours! If you have any questions, or better yet – tips for my next trip – please send them my way!

Au Revoir!

xo, Ashley

 

Travel TBT: Bachelorette in Tulum!

Tulum has been on my bucket list for a while now, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to be able to go there for my Bachelorette party with my three best friends (Truett included! Duh!) last weekend. Travel has always been such an important part of my life, so I’ve always known I didn’t want to have your typical Vegas bachelorette with a group of drunk girls walking barefoot down the strip while I’m forcibly wearing some type of bright pink “Last Hoorah” sash over my too tight/too short minidress. More power to the girls who are down for that, but I just can’t hang anymore…which is why Tulum was perfect for me.

The health and wellness aspect of Tulum is what initially drew me in. It’s always been my dream to move to a beach town for a season to teach Pilates, eat acai bowls, and bum around for a few months, and after experiencing Tulum firsthand my dream has only grown bigger (for reasons you’ll soon find out)! Just as appealing is the pure beauty of the town, beaches, and turquoise blue waters. The absence of any gimmicks and all inclusive resorts literally speaks to my soul. When I think of a tropical vacation, I don’t think of high rise resorts…I think of boutique hotels and beach bungalows. And that is EXACTLY what Tulum is.

There are tons of things to see and do and incredible food to eat, so the below itinerary is just a glimpse of the many amazing options available in beautiful Tulum. But I promise you will not be disappointed if you choose to replicate our trip!

Day One – Thursday 

This day was mostly a travel day, but we made it to Tulum by early evening so we still had a few hours to take advantage of.

AirBNB – We chose to stay in an AirBNB rather than a hotel so we didn’t have to be on top of each other with all of our suitcases and Bachelorette-y party favors (i.e. penis balloons). Our particular AirBNB was about a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the beach in an area called Aldea Zama. Our condo was super cute and modern and included all upgraded finishes. The host was great with their communication, and despite a few hiccups, we really enjoyed our stay here. If you have a smaller group or are just with a significant other, I would recommend staying at a hotel as they are all located on the beach and that’s where you will be spending most of your time.

Rosa Negra – After checking into our condo and freshening up, we took a taxi to the beach and stumbled upon Rosa Negra. A combination of our ravenous appetites and the restaurant’s beautiful decor made our decision for us and it’s a decision we did not regret! We all ordered an array of salads, tacos, empanadas, and ceviche and were in absolute Heaven. Everything was so fresh and delicious, I’m salivating even thinking about it now. 10/10 would recommend!

Day Two – Friday

Sanara Tulum – Per my future sister in law’s recommendation, we started our day off with yoga at Sanara and breakfast at The Real Coconut. I cannot think of a better way to start my day or a more beautiful setting to do so. The yoga studio is situated right on the beach and the retractable walls were all open so we could hear the sound of the waves crashing while we flowed through our practice. After building up an appetite we made the short walk over to The Real Coconut – the most adorable, made for Instagram cafe – where I had probably the healthiest meal of my life. In keeping up with the theme in Tulum, everything was incredibly fresh and delicious. We definitely left with happy bellies!

 

Gran Cenote – After breakfast we made our way to Gran Cenote, an amazing cavern/swimming hole. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, if not THE highlight. The water is a stunningly clear blue and it literally looked fake in some parts. We had a blast swimming and exploring the multiple caves and looking up at the bats flying around. At one point there was a torrential downpour and it was absolutely surreal. Any trip to Tulum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Gran Cenote, and when planning your visit make sure to go early to avoid the crowds!

Hartwood – Every person I know that has been to Tulum told me to go to Hartwood for dinner. We made reservations a few weeks in advance and were blown away by how fantastic the food was. Everyone in our group has slightly different palettes (one of which being vegan) so it was really cool to see how the different restaurants in Tulum were able to accommodate our different tastes. Hartwood was no exception as we all slowly died over our meals. One of the most memorable for all of us was the side sweet potato I ordered. It is unlike anything we’ve ever eaten…slowly cooked over a wood stove with honey butter and cacao (?!?!?!). TO.DIE.FOR.

Mur Mur – After dinner we strolled through town and stopped at a few boutiques and bars, but we ended up planting ourselves at the cute little bar at Mur Mur and had a great night. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t drink and have been drunk only once in my life (off two glasses of wine in my old apartment with my fiancé). Considering it was my Bachelorette party, I figured I should let loose a little bit. Two glasses of rose and two shots of tequila later…I was SMASHED. My friends thought it was the most hilarious thing they’ve ever seen. “Our necks should support our heads better.” – Me

Day Three – Saturday

Ahau Tulum – We came to Ahau for breakfast on the beach and I swear to you I had the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life. I used to live in San Diego so that’s saying A LOT.

Beach Day – One of my biggest priorities on the trip was having a day to relax on the beach. Donning the matching bathing suits my besties got for us, we found a public beach next to Azulik and rented lounge chairs for 300 pesos per person (to go toward food and drinks). After living on the freezing East Coast for the past few months this was exactly what I needed.

Posada Margherita – Most likely owned and operated by the creators of Pinterest. This Italian restaurant is one of, if not THE cutest places I have ever been to. We ate right on the beach (as in toes in the sand) during sunset and were basically on one big honeymoon because it was perfect. The pasta is made fresh and was some of the best I’ve had anywhere in the world. Something to note is that Posada does not take reservations and gets really busy during the late dinner hours so if you want to avoid waiting you may want to consider coming early.

Papaya Playa Project – Other than small bars along the main road, Tulum is fairly quiet in terms of nightlife. The one night the town really comes to life is on Saturdays at Papaya Playa Project. This beach bar turned nightclub is right on the water and has multiple levels with various bars scattered throughout. We had planned for this to be the one big night of the trip, but were unfortunately disappointed with how it turned out. The potential this place has is huge, but the whole vibe really fell flat to us. Maybe we were just unlucky, but the DJ on that particular night played nothing but lounge music and it felt like you had to be on drugs to really enjoy it. We put in a solid effort but after a couple hours we decided to head back to our AirBNB, where we ended up having an awesome time drinking and played Heads Up. LOL

Day Four – Sunday

This day was another travel day as we prepared to head home, but we managed to take advantage of our last few hours by using the bikes provided by our AirBNB to explore Tulum Town on our way to breakfast.

DelCielo – Another Instagram worthy cafe located in Tulum Town. Truett literally ordered Huevos Rancheros every day and she said her favorite was at DelCielo, which means A LOT coming from her! I had an acai bowl with a croissant on the side. 🙂

 

Three and a half days in Tulum definitely was not enough when considering all this dream of a beach town has to offer, but I was SO happy with how my Bachelorette trip turned out and I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. A special thank you goes to my best friends who gave me the trip of a lifetime. I can’t wait to return the favor on your future Bachelorettes!

If you have any questions or favorites from your past trips to Tulum you think we should know, please send us a note because we will definitely be back!

xo,

Ashley

Mat Pilates Workout

Before I moved to Virginia, Pilates completely ruled my life. I was either teaching or playing around on reformers, cadillacs, chairs, and ladder barrels every day of the week and I loved it. Now that I’m here I’ve barely even touched Pilates equipment. And I kid you not most people in Virginia don’t even know what a reformer is. Insane right?! Because of this, the only real Pilates I’ve had in my life has been on the mat. I used to get really bored with mat Pilates because there aren’t nearly as many exercises or variations you can do with it, but since I haven’t had much of a choice lately I’ve been working on new mat workouts…and if I’m being honest I’ve really enjoyed it. I love being challenged, and in order for me to be the strongest teacher and student possible I need to pay just as much attention to my mat as I did to the apparatuses. Here is one of the flows I’ve been playing around with. Have fun with it and keep in mind the video is sped up x2!

START

Abs

Rollover x10

Double Arm Lift x10

Single Leg Kicks x10 per leg

Teaser + Double Arm Lift x10

Glutes

Bridge x10 + 10 pulses

Single Leg Bridge

Halfway Lift x10

Knee Extensions x10

Leg Lift x10

Repeat on other leg

Abs

Double Leg Stretch x10

Single Leg Stretch x10 per leg

Hamstring Pull x10

Leg Lift & Lower x10

Core

Rolling Like a Ball x5

Quads & Arms

Thigh Stretch + Bicep Curl x10

Thigh Stretch + Shoulder Lift x10

Thigh Stretch + Lateral Raise x10

*if you don’t have weights, skip the arms and just do the thigh stretch. Add a few extra sets of pushups to get your artwork in!

Glutes

4 Point Kneeling

Donkey Kick x15 + 10 pulses

Crossover x15 + 10 pulses

Straight leg kick x15 + 10 pulses

Abs

Bird Dog x5 per side

Knee to Elbow x5

Repeat on other side

Back

Baby Cobra x5

Supermans x10 + Swimming 10 seconds

Dolphin Kicks x10 + 5 second hold

Arms & Abs

Pushups x10

High Plank 30 seconds

Low Plank 30 seconds

Glutes & Abs

Side Lying Glutes

Marching x10

Cycling x10

Cycling reverse direction x10

High Kicks x10

Bottom Leg Lifts x10

Double Leg Lifts x10

Circles x10

Circles reverse direction x10

Upward pulses x10

Side Plank + Thread the Needle x15

Repeat on other side

Abs

The Hundred

Leg Swims x10 for 3 rounds

Leg Criss Cross x10 for 3 rounds

Arm & Leg Pulse x10

 

DONE!

xo, Ashley

Baked Tilapia

Mealprep: Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce with Baked Tilapia

As you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve recently developed some sort of dairy aversion. This has been very hard for me, as I am a cheese addict. I am still indulging in cheese on special occasions, but otherwise I am trying to stay dairy-free. So, when I found some amazing looking cauliflower at the farmer’s market, I decided to try a recipe I saved on Pinterest a while back: Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. I doubled the recipe to use a full head of cauliflower and I was thrilled that I did because it is delicious!

I baked a piece of tilapia with my leftovers each day for 15 minutes at 450, with nothing but a little Artichoke Hummus spread on top. I proceeded to eat this meal 5 days in a row without being tired of it. Let me know how you like it!

Cheers,
Truett

Ashley’s Upper Body Burn

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new workout, and I’ve been feeling incredibly guilty. If you read my recent #TravelTBT post, you know I just recently moved to the east coast. Between driving across the country, moving into and renovating our new home, Christmas, and New Years, I pretty much gave two shits about my body. For the first time in my almost 29 years of life, I stopped working out and was eating some of the worst food this country has to offer (for almost two straight months)(I had McDonalds breakfast twice in one week…kill me). I honestly didn’t recognize myself when I looked in the mirror, and was admittedly pretty scared of what it was going to take to get my body back to what it was pre-AshleyApocalypse.

Lucky for me, I have probably the biggest motivation known to womankind to get my ass back into shape. MY WEDDING. On January 1st, along with the rest of the world’s population, I went full on psycho mode and got my mind right for what I needed to do to get ready to marry my man (in an XS, ultra tight wedding gown) on June 8th at 5pm on the dot.

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite workouts to tone and strengthen your upper body. My dress is sleeveless so you better believe I am going to focusing on my arms like a crazy person over the next 4+ months.

What You’ll Need:

5-10lb dumbbells…pick a weight you can maintain throughout the entire workout!

This series works in a progression. It may seem super repetitive, but I promise you won’t be able to use your arms when you’re done. The below video is an example of pace & form as well as the easier & harder versions of pushups!

Let’s Go!

12 Bicep Curls

12 Slow Bicep Curls (3 counts up, 3 counts down)

12 Bicep Pulses

12 Pectoral Pushups (arms slightly wider than shoulder width)

10 Bicep Curls

10 Slow Bicep Curls (3 counts up, 3 counts down)

10 Bicep Pulses

10 Pectoral Pushups

8 Bicep Curls

8 Slow Bicep Curls (3 counts up, 3 counts down)

8 Bicep Pulses

8 Pectoral Pushups

Quick Break

12 Shoulder Press

12 Slow Shoulder Press

12 Shoulder Press Pulses

12 Tricep Pushups (hands together, elbows tight to your sides. I’ve included the easier option on your knees in the above video)

10 Shoulder Press

10 Slow Shoulder Press

10 Shoulder Press Pulses

10 Tricep Pushups

8 Shoulder Press

8 Slow Shoulder Press

8 Shoulder Press Pulses

8 Tricep Pushups

 

Now try raising your arms over head! 😉

xo,

Ashley

 

Weekend of Workouts in NYC

I visited Truett in New York over the long MLK weekend and we literally did nothing but workout the entire time…which is obviously my kind of weekend! I haven’t had very much Pilates in my life since moving to Virginia, and my body was CRAVING it. Where better to satisfy my craving than the Pilates capital of the world?! Truett was super cute and planned an entire workout itinerary for us and took me to all of her favorite studios. Let me tell you…they did not disappoint. Here is a quick breakdown of the six workouts we did in the four days I was there:

Friday PM

Soul Cycle West Village – this was completely unplanned, but once my flight landed I needed to sweat, so we walked from Truett’s apartment to get our cardio fix from MB.

Saturday

Wundabar Soho – Truett was most excited to bring me to Wundabar…a mix of Pilates & Barre on their very own patented Wundaformer. I was a little out of a my element at first considering I’m trained on formal Pilates equipment, but once we got going I had so much fun! Our instructor, Cate, delivered a kick ass workout. Definitely recommend her! Best part of all, your first class is only $10 and Wundabar donates 100% to Robin Hood Foundation.

New York Pilates – A few hours after our first workout of the day, we headed to New York Pilates (aka Mecca). I think every Pilates instructor in the country has heard of this studio, and just like everyone else I was dying to take a class. As soon as I walked into their Soho location it was like I died and went to Heaven. The design and even the SMELL were both enough to make me want to move into and live in the studio. But I digress…NYP has an awesome new client special that gives you 3 classes for $90 (1 class is normally $40), which I obviously purchased because I was OBVIOUSLY going to come back every day I was in town. Saturday’s class was Burnout with Kai-Ting. Talk about a b-u-r-n-o-u-t. So good.

Sunday

New York Pilates – On this day we took Advanced Technique with Meg Broome. Her exercises were super creative and I definitely got my butt kicked. Probably my favorite Pilates class all weekend.

Monday

Monstr Cycle – After four workouts in three days you can probably imagine how exhausted our bodies were. That didn’t stop us from getting to the Beyonce themed class at Monstr Cycle’s Limelight location though! The studio is located in an old church and music videos serve as the background in every class. You can bet your ass we woke right up as soon as Beyonce started to serve our Monday morning cup of inspo. So fierce. So fun. So sweaty. **First class is $15!**

New York Pilates – We had signed up for Mariusz’s Advanced Technique class, which hilariously enough ended up being taught as a beginner class. He made a mistake and didn’t realize it until the class was already over. Truett and I were both super confused the entire time because we thought our bodies would have given up on us by then, but everything in class was crazy easy so we were like “ummm are we just that strong?” Yes and no. LOL. NYP graciously added a class back to our account so I have one to use the next time I visit! A+ on the customer service!

 

I’m probably a freak for saying this, but our weekend workout trip was what fitness dreams are made of. Every instructor at every studio delivered like no one else could, and I am still trying to figure out how to make a commute from Virginia Beach to Manhattan work because they were THAT GOOD. If you’ve never been to any of the above mentioned classes, do yourself and your body a massive favor and sign up!

xo,

Ashley

Travel TBT: Ashley’s Cross Country Road Trip

My life has been NUTS lately. I moved back to the Bay Area from San Diego last April, and then in December I found out I was moving to Virginia Beach. My fiancé and I immediately bought a house since they’re so affordable in Virginia, and then my brother, my doggy Atlas, and I set off on a cross country road trip to get me to my new home. Neither of us have ever driven across the country, so we wanted to make the most of our trip. If you’re a psycho, you can technically make the trip from California to Virginia in a little less than two days, but we took the most scenic of all scenic routes and took six days. We wanted to be able to see the main things in each city we stopped at, but also didn’t want to take too much time away from driving, so there are a few cities I’d love to go back and explore more in the future. Here is a breakdown of our route:

Day One: San Jose, California -> Grand Canyon, Arizona

This was one of our longest driving days. We wanted to rip the bandaid off and get the long drive over with while we were still fresh. The drive normally takes a little over 11 hours, but we were towing a little five foot trailer behind my Jeep, so between the speed limit and food/restroom stops it took a little over 12 for us to get there.

**Note: When road tripping with a trailer, make sure to look up the trailer speed limits in each state because they vary. California seems to have the strictest/slowest limits, whereas states like Texas are literally 70MPH which is both insane and awesome.

Red Feather Lodge – Because we had Atlas, we had to make sure to find pet friendly hotels along our route. Red Feather Lodge is a no frills hotel/motel combo that is only about seven miles away from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim entrance. Our room was clean and the staff didn’t freak out when they saw my 100lb dog walk in, so that’s always a good sign (a lot of hotels have weight limits on pets so make sure to do your research!).

Day Two: Grand Canyon -> Amarillo, Texas

Since Day One was strictly a travel day, we designated Day Two as our day to explore the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had ever been before and we were dying to see the beauty of the canyon for ourselves. We went to the South Rim because it’s the only part of the park that allows pets. Dogs are allowed on several trails as long as they are paved. My advice to you is to check the weather forecast before you go because the South Rim can get very windy. We were a bit unlucky and had a wind chill factor of like one million and froze our butts off, but the views of the Grand Canyon were 100% worth it. Don’t leave your cameras at home!

**Note: The South Rim has an entrance fee of $25

After exploring the canyon, we got back in the car for an 11ish hour drive to Amarillo, Texas. Amarillo was strictly a pit stop for us, although I’m sure there were spots we could have explored if we had time (ie. Cadillac Ranch – totes could’ve gotten good photos for the ‘gram, but we had other priorities).

Days Inn Amarillo East – We booked our hotels day by day when we decided where we wanted to stop each night. And because we were both on a budget and just needed places to sleep, we went with a “no frills” theme for our accommodations. Cue Days Inn Amarillo East. This hotel was pet friendly, clean, and incredibly cheap. We paid all of $45 for one night and it was great for what we needed.

Day Three: Amarillo -> Waco -> Austin, Texas

This is where our detour began. If we had any time restrictions we would have made a straight shot across the country from Amarillo, but we chose to go the southern route instead.

Waco – If you’re like me and are a huge Fixer Upper fan, you HAVE to stop at Magnolia Market at the Silos. I cannot rave about this place enough…it’s like adult Disneyland. My brother had never heard of Fixer Upper and even he was impressed. The entire property is incredibly well done and thought out, and every single employee I encountered was genuinely the nicest person I had ever met. Atlas was basically a celebrity himself there because all the employees couldn’t get enough of him (and also had doggy treats on hand!).

Most of the property is pet friendly other than the turf area and bakery, so we were able to take Atlas inside the market…which was unbelievable. I wish I could have taken everything home with me. It even smelled amazing. But I do have to say the prices were crazy expensive. Even unreasonable in some cases. But Chip & Jo have created their own little tourist destination in a town no one would ever have considered stopping in before (unless you’re a Baylor fan of course), so I can see how they can get away with the prices.

For lunch we had a selection of food trucks to choose from outside, and we went with Cheddar Box. My brother and I both had The Boss – bacon, gouda, and basil on sourdough bread….which was soo good! We obviously needed dessert as well, so we hit the Silos Baking Co before getting back on the road. We got chocolate chip cookies for our lunch dessert (massive and delicious) and chocolate cupcakes for dinner dessert (so tasty and so moist). 10/10 would recommend!

 

Austin – After exploring all The Silos had to offer, we made the 1.5ish hour drive to Austin, our final stop of the day. I had always heard great things about Austin and was super excited to get there. We didn’t have a whole lot of time, but we wanted to at least see a few of the main sites.

Unfortunately for us, most of the BBQ spots recommended by friends (see Truett’s Austin guide here) were closed by the time we got there (I mean we got in town at 6pm, which isn’t late…ugh), but we were still able to get down on some mean BBQ at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. My brother got beef ribs and I got pork, both of which were fantastic. Definitely make sure to get a side of mac and cheese!

The next morning we made our way to the other side of town to get breakfast at Jo’s, home to the notorious “I Love You So Much” wall. What would a trip to Austin be without a basic ass photo in front of it, am I right? Lucky for us Jo’s had outdoor seating because we had Atlas, so my brother and I both ordered and loved the breakfast tacos. He also really enjoyed his flat white coffee (I can’t vouch for it because I don’t drink coffee, but take his word for it!)

After walking around town a bit we hopped back in the Jeep for the next leg of our trip.

Day Four: Austin -> New Orleans, Louisiana 

New Orleans was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Neither of us had ever been and after eating shitty fast food almost every day, we were excited to get our hands on some good quality, world renowned food.

New Orleans Courtyard Hotel – We knew we were going to have to spend more on a hotel in New Orleans than we had been so far on our trip, but we didn’t want to go too out of our budget so we chose the New Orleans Courtyard Hotel. The hotel itself is really pretty and has a lot of the charm you look for in old New Orleans’ architecture, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the location. It’s situated right on the outskirts of the French Quarter and is technically in a safe neighborhood, but it was a little close to some sketchy areas so that’s something to take into consideration. We were completely safe and so was our trailer parked behind the hotel, but instead of walking anywhere we chose to uber instead. The next time I go back to New Orleans, however, I will definitely be staying within the heart of the French Quarter.

Cochon – There are practically millions of good restaurants in New Orleans, so it was really hard to pick which one we should try on our one and only night in the city. Per google’s recommendation, we went with Cochon. The restaurant itself has a great casual vibe and the food is fantastic. We both ordered the braised short ribs and they were sooooo yummy and tender. I think my brother’s favorite part about dinner was the bread they brought to the table…he literally could not stop talking about it lol.

Bourbon Street – No trip to The Big Easy would be complete without a visit to Bourbon Street. Neither my brother nor I drink so we had no intentions of getting on the same level everyone else was on, but we HAD to experience the famous debauchery of Bourbon Street. It wasn’t super crazy because it was pretty cold outside, but I can only imagine what it looks like during the warmer months or Mardi Gras. In case you’re wondering, yes Bourbon Street is gross. Unless you’re completely hammered, there isn’t much appeal (other than amazing people watching), but we did find an awesome jazz bar that we were able to listen/watch live music at. A lot of the locals recommended we go to Frenchmen Street instead, which apparently is the “new Bourbon Street.” We didn’t have enough time to check it out, but I definitely plan to on my next trip.

Day Five: New Orleans -> Atlanta, Georgia

We had planned to start Day Five off by exploring the French Quarter, but a freak storm had started to hit the South and we unfortunately had to change our plans and get on the road. But not before a quick trip to the famous Cafe Du Monde! Let me tell you…IT IS WORTH THE HYPE. I mean, wow. I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet and the beignets are just DIVINE. I had three to myself, and they are not small. We went to the original French Market location on Decatur Street because 1. we wanted the full experience, and 2. I had read online that they allow dogs on their patio. I was really disappointed when they refused to let us sit down with Atlas, so instead of enjoying our beignets and coffee there, we had to trek back to our car in a rain/hail storm.

After our powdered sugar breakfast, we made what was supposed to be a seven hour drive to Atlanta. The hail in New Orleans eventually turned to snow and it did not stop until we got to Virginia the following day, so the drive ended up taking almost two hours longer than it should have. Apparently most of the south is not equipped for big snow storms, so by the time we got to Atlanta the entire city was shut down. Even fast food and gas stations! We were starving, tired, and sick of being in the car after five straight days…so of course the front desk agent at The Extended Stay we made reservations at took one look at Atlas and said they had a weight limit on pets. This was not listed on their website, and they were unwilling to make an exception considering the massive storm. So at 9pm in the middle of what was basically a deserted island, we had to drive around and find a hotel that would allow a large dog. We eventually found Baymont Inn & Suites in Marietta. The hotel was nothing special in any way, but we were grateful to have a place to shower and sleep. Once we settled in and remembered how starving we were, we drove around to find any sign of life/food. We found Marietta Diner, which I had surprisingly enough seen on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. Needless to say, our bellies were happy and we were able to end our chaotic day on a good note.

Day Six: Atlanta -> Virginia Beach, Virginia

I’m sure you can imagine how badly we wanted to get the hell out of Atlanta. Luckily we weren’t missing anything by leaving town early because both of us had been there before. Atlanta is great and I definitely recommend checking it out…just don’t go during a freaking blizzard.

The drive from Atlanta to Virginia Beach takes about nine-ish hours, and by that point in our road trip we were just ready to get to our destination. Because the snow hadn’t yet stopped, there was barely anyone on the roads. This actually worked out in our favor though because Sean can drive in the snow blindfolded while towing a semi truck without flinching, so although we were tired, the last leg of our trip was pretty seamless.

Once we got to VA Beach we were down for the count, but we had SO much fun on our trip. I have to admit, before we set off I was worried about how the trip was going to go with Sean. He is hands down one of the coolest people on earth…anyone will tell you that, but six days in a car with anyone can possibly make you go insane. I wasn’t even sure what the hell we would talk about for that long, but all of those worries were silly because we had such a great time. Not only did we get to see some of the coolest sites/cities this country has to offer, but we made quality memories together that we will never forget. Most impressively, we didn’t fight once…not even in Atlanta when our hangry levels were at all time highs.

When planning a road trip, make sure to choose your copilot wisely…and most importantly, have fun and be safe!

xo, Ashley

 

If you’re in need of a good laugh, check out this video of what happens when an antsy 100lb dog is sick of sitting in the back seat.

Warm Winter Salad

Mealprep: Warm Winter Salad with Miso Dressing

New year, new me! Just kidding. New year, same salad meal prepping life.

It has been RECORD level cold in New York City lately, so the idea of a cold lunch makes me want to never leave bed. I decided to make some spicy tofu and veggies to put over greens. This recipe made me 3 lunches.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 14oz Package of Tofu (I prefer Extra Firm)
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus, ends removed and chopped into thirds
  • 1 8oz Package of Mushrooms
  • 2 tbs Tahini
  • 2 tbs Miso Paste
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Sriracha, Soy Sauce
  • Mixed Greens
  • Coconut Oil Spray (or oil of your choice)

COOK:

Pat your tofu dry with paper towels: the more dry it is, the more crispy it will get! Chop your tofu into small squares. Heat a spray of coconut oil on your pan over medium high heat. Add tofu to the pan, then cover in sriracha and soy sauce to taste. I love spicy, so I feel my measurements here are not normal. Overall, just ensure some sauce gets on each piece of tofu. Cook on one side approx 3 mins, then flip and cook on the other side 3 mins or to your preferred level of crisp. Set aside.

Add another spray of coconut oil to the same pan. Add your asparagus and mushrooms. Add a dash of soy sauce. Cook until tender (approx 6 minutes, but taste an asparagus!). Put into tupperware with your tofu.

For the dressing: stir miso paste in 2tbs of very hot water until it dissolves. Mix in the tahini paste until fully dissolved. Squeeze the lemon in. Mix it a little extra for good measure. Store to pack for work or put right on your salad!

When you’re ready to eat the salad, divide a third of your mushroom, asparagus and tofu mix and heat it up in a microwave for 1 minute. Layer the warm mix over a generous handful of mixed greens. Add dressing, enjoy!

Enjoy!
Truett

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bowl

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Bowl

If loving pumpkin is betchy, then call me a betch. I absolutely love pumpkin and not just during Fall. This bowl was one of my favorites this season when Chobani created a Pumpkin Spice seasonal flavor. However, I’ve found recently that dairy makes my skin break out in rashes (curse you aging hormones!) and have been avoiding it. If you have suggestions for dairy-free yogurts, please leave them in the comments!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4oz Fage Plain yogurt
  • 4oz Chobani Pumpkin Spice Yogurt (it’s seasonal, so can be replaced with regular yogurt + pumpkin spice or canned pumpkin)
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 tbs Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbs Maca Energy Powder

COOK:

Combine the above in a bowl!

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Mealprep: Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Beyoncé probably wouldn’t eat these sandwiches (especially not with a side of chips and french onion dip), but I had them 4 days in a row… They were really good.

This recipe is more of a guideline, because people like different flavors within their tuna salad. Personally, I’m a mustard addict, so my tuna salad ends up yellow. My best advice is to add your mustard, yogurt and seasoning slowly, so taste as you go!

I made 4 sandwiches from this batch.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cans tuna (I use tuna in water)
  • 1/4 cup red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives (cut in halves)
  • 2 spoonfuls plain greek yogurt (to taste)
  • 2 spoonfuls plain yellow mustard (to taste)
  • 2 spoonfuls pickle relish (optional)
  • salt/pepper
  • Thick bread (I used wheat sour dough)
  • Romaine lettuce

COOK:

Drain your tuna, then combine everything to taste! Stir well. Keep in a tupperware. Serve with lettuce and toasted bread.

 

Enjoy!
Truett