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travel

Family, Food & Wine, Health

Weekend Baby Fix & Fun Pensacola, FL Hot Spots

This weekend I took a little trip to visit my sister and her new baby. She has to be the most beautiful infant you ever did see, but hey I might be partial.

Little Sloane turned a month old about a week ago and I was just so excited to meet her. We won’t be bringing my kiddos around to see her until November. I guess we’ll let her get a little more durable before these toddler kids  of mine try to start handling her. I know both my kids can hardly wait, and when I told my son I was going to see baby Sloane he told me, “But I NEEEED to see her!” I just think we all can’t wait for our little munchkins to hang out together.

We FaceTimed my kiddos one morning and little Sloane had a lot to say.

She’s just the most laid back baby. Here are a few pictures of my visit if you’d like to see.

Every morning I had a lovely decaf coffee. Most mornings my mom brought it to me in this beautiful guest room of hers that I stayed in. Doesn’t that sound amazing? My mom spoils me!

My mom also made me smoothies almost every day (which I saved for the afternoons) with a concoction of all of these little goodies.

On Saturday we made a trip to the Farmer’s Market (pit stop at this downtown coffee spot) and then the Pensacola Wine Bar for lunch for $3 mimosas.

The coffee bar (with my sister in front) had these beautiful mini cheesecakes (below)- I ordered a cashew caramel coconut cheesecake to split (AMAZING) and a yummy decaf honey latte with almond milk (I’m still craving another one).

My sister is indulging me in a photo, but doesn’t she look amazing postpartum???

The Farmer’s Market boasted BBQ Sauce, flavored popcorn, meats, produce, and even homemade crepes.

The Pensacola Wine Bar is one of my favorite stops when I make it to town. They have wine (of course), but very economical food, a huge variety, and an indoor and outdoor space (in a brick alley) that makes for the perfect lounging atmosphere. Plus, $3 mimosas!!! And this is the avocado toast- YUM!

On Saturday night, Sloane had her fist sleepover with me and my mom (her Gigi). We had to steal her away, and had the best time taking her out for dinner to this family and kid-friendly restaurant and rocking her in her favorite chair. But her soft velvety hair though!

We made a trip to the most talked about George’s for brunch on Sunday and squeezed in a visit with my grandmother, Sloane’s great grandmother. My sister and I took Sloane for a long walk in the afternoon on their walking path by the beach to CB. There was a cross-fit competition going on in the main section of the beach and we had fun eyeing all the ultra-fit competitors.

Snuggles with Great Grams!

 

Doesn’t my brother-in-law’s “coffee Sunday” from George’s look amazing. They also have Popsicle champagne sparklers.

And on Monday I indulged in some much needed relaxation, headed for a run, enjoyed a book. Finally the girls took sweet Sloane out shopping at one of our favorite stores- TJ Maxx! Pensacola has one of the nicest stores I have ever seen (even compared to Miami and Memphis).

It was a sweet and short trip and I’ll be missing my family, especially our newest member sweet little Sloane. So long Pensacola!

Here’s a recap of all the restaurants and places I visited (and recommend) in case you’re in the area.

Red Fish Blue Fish

Fosko’s Coffee Barre

George’s Artisan Bakery and Bistro

Wine Bar on Palafox

Casino Beach Bar overlooking the beach (they also have brunch!)

Rotolo’s

Palafox Market (Farmer’s Market)

TJ Maxx in Pensacola

Pensacola Beach Walking and Biking Trail

 

~Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

5 Positive Things

It’s Monday and I’m back from a LONG vacation. I am happy to have had the week off to break up my routine and spend time with my kids and family, but it was a very eventful vacation and we have the entire summer ahead of us. This Monday, I’d love to share with you 5 things I’m loving right now. Take a look and be sure to comment on fun things you’re loving right now.


1. Spa Sundays

This is something I read about a while back and I’ve been trying to do it every.single.Sunday. I put the kids to bed a little earlier (like 15 minutes earlier, don’t worry, they go to bed late almost every single weekend day of their life) and I use whatever spa-type treatment I have in my house (sometimes I add one small thing to my grocery list that week) and I enjoy time for me. I make sure to prep our clothes and lunches for the week before I begin and then after spa time I try to head to bed a little earlier so that Monday doesn’t hit us so abruptly. Right now,spa favorites are bath bombs, sugar bath scrub, face masks and everything Josie Maran (and a little tea or champagne).

 

 2. Roasted Brussel Sprouts

These are so easy to make and I have been including them in our dinner line-up nearly every week. I cut the brussel sprouts up a little thinner than this recipe to make them a bit crispier and instead of fresh ginger (let’s face it, that is time consuming) I use ginger paste and put a bit of garlic paste in the mix. Sometimes I also add diced onions and top it with crushed bacon or diced almonds.

 

eatinmykitchen.meikepeters.com

3. Dream/Plan Your Next Vacation

So I started doing this a while ago because there are so many places I want to visit across the globe, but so little time and money. How do I choose? I started searching all of the countries I’m debating on Instagram and follow the ones I’d love to visit. We have a budget started and we’ll choose our first destination soon so we can start planning. Here are a few that I love so far: @switzerland.vacations @wonderlust.amsterdam @norwegianfjords  and @visit_chile

I also follow @theglobewanderer and @buckelisters which feature beautiful places all over the world like the one in this picture.

 

IG: @bucketlisters

4. These Yoga Workouts

I started following @lizettepompayoga on Instagram and just watching her tutorials makes my back pain go away. Would you try it? She also has workout videos on YouTube

 

IG: @lizettepompayoga

5. A Book to Pass the Time

I almost forgot about these books. We used to travel with them in the car  when I was little and my 4-year-old son has all his attention on them. We use it to pass the time while we’re at restaurants and during our last road trip. My son keeps making funny comments like, “where is that guy?” and “I can’t find that little boy!”

Hope your Monday is beautiful and full of lovely, positive things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career & Resources

Renting your Home Online: One Homeowner’s Experience

A few weekends ago my family and I met in Birmingham, AL for a few days. It’s the perfect meeting place halfway between Memphis and Pensacola. I was especially excited to pick out our AirBnb house.  I chose the “Cozy House on the Bluff”, a house described to be located in Bluff Park, atop a more mountainous area, perfect for six people, and not far from a popular mall with lots of shopping and restaurants. The weather was giving us a spring tease and the picture of a porch overlooking a large-sized backyard caught my attention and I knew I had to scoop it off the market for our fun weekend away.

We had a chance to enjoy the yard before we left.

We had a convenient check-in and once we were all settled, and noticed the especially well-kept cabinets and organized drawers, we couldn’t help but wonder more about the rental process for someone who resides in home when it’s not rented. Erica, owner of the “Cozy House on the Bluff” and native of Birmingham, AL, was kind enough to share her experience with me.


Q: What made you decide to start renting your house through AirBnb?

I try to travel frequently and often use AirBnb, Inc. myself, so I decided to start hosting to help me save for an upcoming trip to Thailand. Once I got into it, I realized I’d have the money saved in no time & could also start planning some home renovations.

Q: How long have you been renting out your home?

Not long at all! I’ve been hosting since December 2016.

Q: How often do you rent your home?

When I started to host I figured I would wait to see if it was even worth doing. Once I got the first booking they just kept coming in! Who knew a Birmingham suburb would be so popular? I rent at least every other week, but lately it’s been almost every weekend. I even have some week-long bookings coming up.

My son enjoying the hammock in the backyard.

Q: Where do you go when your place is rented out?

One of the reasons I knew I would be able to host is because I have several homing options when I have guests. I usually stay a few minutes away with family, and in some instances I have been out of town myself.

Q: What do your friends and family think about you renting out your home?

Most people I talk to think it’s a great idea. My brother-in-law is even considering renting out a room in his house to enjoy a little extra income.

Q: What are some of the strangest things people have left after their stay?

Luckily, no one has left anything strange. All I have come across so far are socks and food left in the fridge.

Q: What are some of the strangest questions people have asked or requests people have made?

I haven’t had any super strange requests, yet. Most of my guests have come to the area to see family. I do have a pending request from someone to barter services. The proposal came from photographers and they are offering pictures in exchange for two nights- I’m still undecided!

Erica’s cozy porch

Q: Have you met any interesting people through this experience? Have you ever kept in touch with any of them?

I’ve had all kinds of different guests, everyone has been very respectful, but no one I’ve kept in touch with.

Q: Are there any hidden perks to renting through AirBnb (besides the rental money) that someone may not have considered?

There are some tax write offs available (mostly items you buy for guests). I’ve had a few guests leave me gifts too!

Q: What’s the thing that worried you (or still worries you) the most about renting out your home?

There are lots of things that make me a little nervous to rent out my house. For starters, I live in a family-friendly neighborhood, so I’m always worried that guests will not be respectful of the neighborhood. My neighbors are aware that I rent out my house, so at least I’ll know if something happens. I also get worried that I’ll come home and my house will be ruined, thank god for insurance! It does bother me a bit that people sleep in my bed and I thought that might be a deal breaker, but I’ve been ok so far! It helps that I use different linens and comforters than those I provide for my guests.

My son snuggled up like a bug in the “Cozy House on the Bluff” bed.

Q: What surprised you the most about renting your home through AirBnb that you may not have known or thought about before you started?

I was surprised how easy it is. AirBnb handles all the financial components & really all the host does is accept inquiries and get the house ready. The biggest issue when I come home is doing laundry. I hate folding laundry and making beds!

Q: What you would tell someone that is interested in participating in AirBnb?

I would recommend double checking your insurance policy. I had to add a policy for short-term rentals so that guests would be covered. Also, be sure to look into tax information for your state. Alabama already takes out occupancy taxes, so I don’t have to worry about that, but that’s not always the case. I would also tell them to leave their house the way they’d expect a rental to look. I want to go somewhere that is comfortable! And somewhere that has coffee, because I don’t want to go straight to the store when I travel.

My husband and I enjoying a little coffee on the front porch.

Erica has a dog and she encourages her guests to bring their furry friends with them by making her home dog-friendly with dog toys and a backyard a dog could dream about.

Thank you Erica! I want all the drawers in my home to be as neat and tidy as the ones at her place. 

Have you used AirBnb? Would you ever consider renting out your home?