Wanderlust Wednesday – Michigan with Theresa Lanno

Beer • Football • Camaraderie 

Those are the 3 words that describe Michigan and it’s pretty awesome to feel a part of it. It is ranked #5 for the most breweries in the nation. I went to one called Olde Peninsula and had a flight.
From left to right:

  
Sierra Rose Raspberry out of Grand Rapids

Monks Sour Ale 

Cider Boys Draft

Obren Wheat Ale

All Local! My favorite was the Raspberry. 

    
Tacos from Old Burdick’s Bar and Grill

BEEF TACOS: Barbacoa beef, queso fresco, lettuce, pico de gallo, creamy chipotle sauce. 

   
 
The BEST fried pickles I have ever had at Olde Peninsula Brewpub in Kalamazoo. On Saturday and Sunday they have brunch specials till 2pm. I ordered the Irish Dubler.

 

Michigan goes from suburbs to city life within 10 minutes. My boyfriend’s mom lives on the most beautiful peaceful lake in Battle Creek, called Lake Pine. Simply Gorgeous! 

  
  

  
15 Minutes up the street, I was sitting on a rooftop in Kalamazoo looking over the most beautiful city ever. A college town,  but classy fun and unexpectedly inexpensive! The Wild Bull was my favorite bar by far. If you’re in your early 20s you will love Grotto or AFB (Another Fucking Bar).

  

They do something a “shotski” Everyone takes a shot at the same time off of a ski! It was entertaining and really messy, but a must try. Duh! 

  
If you live in Michigan, you love Michigan and you most likely love football! It’s very endearing. The camaraderie is nothing like I have ever seen! It just is was it is! I’m learning little by little but the big rivalry seems to be State or Michigan and they take it SERIOUSLY! Oh, and if you like Ohio state don’t tell anyone! Oh yeah, ask for “pop” not “soda.”  Everyone  loves Mountain Dew and everyone will take out their hand to show you were they live. 

  
  
My trip to Michigan was the best of both worlds, I loved it! Awesome nightlife, peaceful lakes, and great people. Everyone is so nice. I had 4 girls come up to me to say that they like my hair or that I was pretty! That doesn’t happen in Florida ever. After dinner, at my boyfriend’s mother’s house, her neighbor brought us a fresh raspberry pie right from her garden! She told me she brings her stuff every week. I would do nothing but eat here. All the food was amazing! 

  

So yes, I’ve become “a little smitten with the mitten.” 

  

Wanderlust Wednesday: Brooklyn Love

I have to admit, Brooklyn was not an area I visited often when I lived in NY. Though, in theory, it was a short trip from where I lived, the truth is the traffic was normally a nightmare, and mass transit wasn’t appealing to a person who likes to get in the car and go. So when my sister announced she was getting married in her neighborhood in Brooklyn I decided to take my vacation time to be with family and we booked a night at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge the night before the wedding.

Marriot at the Brooklyn Bridge Brooklyn, much like NYC,  is an area in that is growing and evolving. Truth is, when we drove in, I was stunned by the amount of development that had happened since I was last there.  The Barclay Center, which debut was in 2012 , has created an epicenter for new construction, businesses and entertainment. Built where Fort Greene, Prospect Park and park Slope neighborhoods join, I heard many locals grumble that as the neighborhood has expanded, so has the cost of living, pushing out many of the same people that has made Brooklyn the eclectic and artisan haven so many flock to.image

Though I was intrigued by a lot of the great restaurants, it was Friday night. People just getting out of work or coming to the area to start their weekend flocked to the area so we settled on roaming into a Shake Shack that was, by far, the best burgers and fries I’ve had in a while (not to mention the shakes) Even though it was a fast food joint, the urban decor with its reclaimed wood accents and huge windows opening up to the busy streets, added to the “hey, I’m in Brooklyn” experience.

Shake Shack

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After finishing the night drinking a couple of Berry Mojitos at the hotel bar we called it a night. The wedding was taking place at 9am at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and a trolley would be picking us up at 8:15am (have mercy!)

Being a hairstylist, there was no way I wasn’t going to do the bridal party’s hair so I recruited my dearest friend and partner-in-crime, Ramon Montalvo.

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Thank God he made himself available (and was my date for the affair) because not only is he a brilliant hairstylist but a perfectionist that was quick to dive in and adjust my sister’s hair throughout the event, leaving me to marinate in the joy of the event.

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With the temperature a cool 75 degrees, the guests walked through the beautiful gardens and marveled at the  breath-taking venue. There was a feeling that we were the only ones roaming about even though it’s in the heart of Brooklyn.

imageTheir ceremony and vows perfectly reflected their union.  Heartfelt, refreshingly unique and enough quirky elements that made you feel like you were on an adventure. How many weddings have all that?

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After the ceremony we all boarded a trolley, passing local landmarks like the Brooklyn Flea (oh, if I only had more time!) and arrived at a lovely French cafe, Chez Oskar.

As we entered, the string quartet played Bittersweet Symphony by Verve, my ALL TIME favorite song.
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The food, the music, the great conversation and the bustling neighborhood made for a brilliant morning.

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Though we had to quickly depart after the reception was over (had to pick up my son), rumor has it the bride and groom walked home in their bridal attire to change for their honeymoon. As they walked through the streets, locals clapped and cheered the newly weds and the bride, realizing she never threw her bouquet, threw it into a crowded sidewalk cafe as onlookers cheered on.

….and they lived happily ever after.

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Wanderlust Wednesday – Brevard Birds Eye View 

 I am fortunate enough to have great friends and awesome connections. I got to fly in an airplane above the ocean and most of Brevard county. It was breathtaking. I am itching to go again! 
Cocoa Village and 520 view  

 
The Atlantic Ocean

   
Above the sea

 
Dave, the lovely pilot and tour guide. 

   
Taking off!

 
Cocoa, Florida water tower

  

Wanderlust Wednesday: Washington D.C. In a One Day

When the opportunity to go to D.C. for an afternoon while visiting Virginia came up I was a little hesitant. With the traffic and parking it seemed like a lot of work for little reward but I haven’t visited since I was 13. Hey, life’s all about adventure, right?
We arrived on Sunday morning and found street parking on Constitution Avenue right away. We were pretty far from the Mall but if we walked towards it we would be able to passively visit the monuments without actually going inside them.

image imageIt was about 90 degrees out and we were determined to get to air conditioned museums. Truthfully the walk became much of the adventure. We passed the White House (from a distance), the Washington Monument, the World War II memorial, and was able to see the Capitol Building (is it just me, or is it ALWAYS under construction?) The actual museum structures were a sight to be seen as well. The African American Museum which is still under construction was covered in a metal lace work that was stunning.

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Small but elaborate gardens seemed to be everywhere. At first we past right by them but then we realized many of them were filled with modern art sculptures. Some had gloriously refreshing fountains that many tourists sat and cooled their feet in.

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The museums opened at 10am and though the line to get in went down the palatial staircase, the bag check was a quick and efficient 5 minute wait. Besides, I can deal with a small wait for a free museum. We felt no pressure to linger for hours in each museum. We strolled through, hitting what interested us most, participating in some of the interactive exhibits with virtually no wait time and left to see the highlights of the neighboring free museum.

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We were able to stop by the Air and Space Museum, the American Indian Museum, and the Smithsonian Museum of History with a break for lunch in between.
Best tips:
1) Bring a good picnic lunch to eat on the Mall. If you are a people watcher this is the place to be. From foreign visitors, Segway riding tourists to peaceful protesters and football games, it was an interesting mixed bag. My son actually said it was one of his favorite parts of the trip. So many people from different cultures in a beautiful setting….amazing.
2) Water, water, water! Just consider D.C. The intellect’s version of Disneyland. Lots of places to visit and $3.95 water bottles. LOL!
3) Street parking is available in some areas on the weekend. Go early (9am) and stroll a bit before the museums open.
4) try to visit for 2 days. I’m already planning my next visit and what to hit. The Art Museums, the monuments, more gardens….it could take a few days

Wanderlust Wednesday – Chicago 

Day 1: Up bright and early to head to the Orlando International Airport on about 2 hours of sleep. Being a raging insomniac and a morning person is no joke! Anyway, I do my usual headphones and sunglasses to portray the “I don’t feel like chatting” vibe. It is all I do all day, everyday. Traveling is so peaceful to me because of the music in my ears and speeding through the airport hallways blurs the rest of the world. Zoning out of the airplane window let’s my mind wander, like dancing in a large field with an endless horizon, whereas at home it feels more like a whirlwind of unorganized thoughts. I dream when I am up in the air and feel like a bird that was just released from it’s cage.  
I fell in love with this cat sculpture at my layover in Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

  

  


Day 2: Thank the gods for coffee and gatorade! I am at the Pivot Point outside of Chicago. We learned about everything from history and chemistry to culture and just learning about each other. Everything was very intimate as well as informative. 

Mandatory dinner at Prairie Moon in Evanston, Illinois. My brain is very full! Goodnight!

   

We met the publisher of Modern Salon! So much amazing information to soak in!

   

  

Day 3: 

So busy! Class is from 8:30am-6:00pm then mandatory karaoke at Trader Todd’s from 8:00pm-12am.   

   
 

Day 4:  Peter Coppola went to the Supreme Court in 1972 to fight for lifting the ban of men’s cuts in beauty salons. The next day, the term “unisex” was coined. What I love about this company is that we all come from different backgrounds and different cultures, ethnicities, genders, and we all have out own brand of crazy. The product line is not the reason we are here. It is genuine and unisex and simple. The products are amazing. They make our jobs in this industry more sufficient and effective. 

The name, the brand, is a culture. We want to inspire the industry with simplicity, safety and versatility. We are all equals. We are here to galvanize the beauty industry with something real and to unite our industry with inspiration, education and support. Humility is the secret to success. Mastery takes a lifetime. 

  
At the end of all of this, I found that I have found a family and others that I can relate to. It felt more like a spiritual journey for all of us. We all caught the feels. I cannot wait to see what happens next and where this journey will take me. 

  

Wanderlust Wednesday – Hanson’s Shoe Repair

  
Hanson’s Shoe Repair is the latest craze for a hand crafted cocktail. It is a small and hidden prohibition style bar that requires proper attire and a password to get in. Located in downtown Orlando, you will pass through an artsy bar to find a door upstairs.  You cannot come in and order a rum and coke or a vodka and Redbull. Instead, you are going to try something new and special that fits the speakeasy vibe. The lights are dim and the atmosphere feels like you stepped into a time capsule or are in NYC for the evening. 

For thirteen years, the sale and manufacturing of alcohol was prohibited starting in 1919. During this time, people got very creative in finding ways around this new law, thus inspiring  the “Speakeasy.”  

  

I tried the Au Revoir Ete which is made with St. Augustine Gin, Salers Aperitif, orchard peach, lemon, honey, and rosemary. Very strong and uniquely flavored. It was perfect. 

 

27 E. Pine Street in Orlando, Florida

Call 407-476-9446 to get the password! 

   
   
If you love bourbon as much as I do, try Through The Looking Glass. 

Wanderlust Wednesday: The Hunt For Local Organic Farm Fresh Goods

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Cocoa Green Market and 12 Palms Farm
4880 Coconut Avenue,
Cocoa, FL 32926
Hours:
Tuesday 12-3
Friday 10-5
Saturday 10-2

I am enamored with living a simple way of life.
Fresh fruit and veggies from the farm…
Milk from happy cows…
Eggs that are produced by healthy hens that rule the roost…Clean Wholesome Simplicity.

Full Disclosure: I am typing this on my iPhone while scarfing down a brown sugar PopTart and a Diet Coke.

This is my lifelong inner turmoil. An acute, bone-deep longing for a sane way of living and the lure of Pop Tarts. Add in the fact that in an urban setting it’s unusual to find a place that offers these “luxuries”.

Yes! Natural wholesome food and goods are officially a luxury! Crazy, right?

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About 2 months ago, I stumbled across a video of a Cocoa, Florida farmer lovingly feeding homemade sourdough bread to her rooster, Elvis. I watched this beautiful bird peck the morsel from her hand, take a few steps away, and leave his bounty on the ground for his “lady” hen.
Charming and endearingly sweet… especially after viewing the atrocities on the documentary,Food Inc., with my boys a few days before. I was determined to go there even though their business hours typically coincided with mine.

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What I expected was a farm that had a table set up with some vegetables. What I discovered was a bevy of creative people living the dream.
Well…MY dream anyway.

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The property is sectioned off with different pens for goats, pigs, ducks, a horse and a llama. The hens, however, were not confined. Everywhere you went little hens roamed the property, undisturbed by the comings and goings of visitors.

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Uncertain which building to enter, we followed a brood of hens (we are pretty sure they were escorting us) towards a lovely archway. We were delightfully surprised by a garden bordered with upended wine bottles and adorned with polka dotted boots and brightly painted chair frames.

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Repurposed Pop Art ….in the middle of a farm.

The little vegetable stand that I expected, gave way to an outdoor room with refrigerators smartly painted with chalkboard paint filled with quality farm fresh meats, woven baskets filled with brightly colored produce and a hen who made herself comfortable in a basket in the corner.

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When I stepped inside their air conditioned retail space I was warmly greeted by the owner, Judith McKenna. When asked, she spoke of the farm and the participants of the cooperative with both pride and affection. She was keen to point out that they were not a farmers market. This was a group of small farms and businesses that have a shared vision of healthy living, humane practices and of being good stewards of the enviroment. This is evident by their approval from The Animal Welfare Institute.
“Animal Welfare Approved has the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare currently in use by any United States organization. Its
standards were developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers, and farmers across the globe to maximize practicable, high-welfare farm management. Animal Welfare Approved’s standards incorporate best practices and recent research and have been adopted only after rigorous review.” (see full statement about accreditation on their webpage)

Have I mentioned the happy animals?

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My boys begged for some of their homemade ice cream, which they devoured while I perused their wide variety of crafts and goods. I want to give proper credit and description of all the products but there was so much I will surely forget someone. Freshly baked goods, hand sewn bags cleverly made from recycled materials, beautiful soaps and lotions, loose tea in glass jars…It makes a girl think its REALLY possible to live this way. It’s so accessible!

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Wendy, one of the artisans that make the clever bags, was kind enough to take my boys outside and introduce them to Tony the llama while I made my purchases. Most items were comparable to regular supermarket prices. Some items I was pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive.

 

A carton of eggs, unpasteurized milk, homemade yogurt in a mason jar, local wildflower honey and a promise to return weekly.

If you haven’t yet, subscribe to their facebook page to see some great videos and pictures and go visit!

 

 

  Wanderlust Wednesday-Kelly Park Rock Springs

   

There are so many gorgeous springs all over Florida and being conveniently located near the ocean can sometimes make us forget. I hopped in the car last week and headed to Rock Springs. The springs are typically a clear and cool 70 degrees. 
  
I googled Rock Springs and let my smart phone direct me there. When I arrived to the destination I was at a closed gate that had no water access. I parked my car and went to the website and got the correct address on the other side, about 12 miles around. I passed a Rock Springs Bar and Grill where you rent the tubes and paid $5 to get in. They do not rent tubes in the park or allow reentry. 

That being said, I highly recommend you bring your own or stop at the bar and grill to rent tubes because there is a perfect float stream. I also highly suggest to arrive no later than 10am because they close at a certain capacity. When we left at 1pm the park was still closed.   
  

It was a little brisk at first but after sitting in the sun it felt refreshing. It was very much worth the hour and a half drive and great to see my feet in the water. So clean!  

Check out their website for the correct address and any other tips I may have missed! 

Rock Springs Kelly Park

Wanderlust Wednesday-Not all those who wander are lost

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DSC_1190 NinaMBD

Everyone decides they want to leave their hometown one day and do bigger and better things. For me, I have had many hometowns. I was born in California and remember chasing chickens on my grandmother’s farm and ducking under tables when the earth shook. I also have memories of my first snowball fight in Portland, Oregon. I lost my neighborhood in a tornado in Clever, Missouri and lived in a house without power for a month during the 2004 hurricanes in Central Florida. My parents always had the itch to take off and start over somewhere new, where I was always forced to be the shy new kid in school. I had fantasies of being someone different in each new town, but always froze when stepping foot in a new school when I was walked into my classroom to interrupted the lesson and be introduced to all the quiet eyes peering into my soul.

I can safely say that I have worked or lived in Cocoa Village for over a decade now, which is something I never thought I would do: settle down somewhere. I always found myself wondering where my home is. What I have learned is that everywhere you go is a small town but with different people and new scenery. Cocoa Village is my home. I may wander off here and there in search of mountains and cute accents but I will always drift back. I have fallen in love with my morning routine of grabbing an iced caramel macchiato at Ossorio’s and walking to work to start my day. I love the historical detail in the buildings and the breeze from the river. So, yeah, I can finally say I found my home.

Model: Nina Justine

Hair and Makeup: Danni Gess & Misti Blu

Location: Jaded Emerald in Cocoa Village

Dress: Bobbi’s at Parkside

Necklace & Photography: Misti Blu Day

Motorcycle: Hard Luck’s Rootbeer Flake