travel | africa

Back in January, we bit the bullet and booked a trip to Africa. It’s been on our bucket list for some time and we realized that it was only going to get more difficult to take this kind of trip. We worked with a close friend’s mom from Adventure to Africa to put this once in a lifetime trip together.

Our adventure began with a quick three hour drive up to Baltimore on Friday morning to drop the pup off with her doting grandparents. Around 9pm that evening, we started the long 36 hour journey to Africa.

By Sunday afternoon, we finally arrived in the South African bush and made our way out to our lodge which was on the Timbavati Nature Reserve (connected without a fence to Kruger National Park). We decided to stay at Shindzela Tented Safari Camp for a few reasons. The “glamping” atmosphere seemed a little more doable to us (vs. straight camping) but we also didn’t want to go for the “full glam” experience of a 5-star resort in the middle of the bush. This was a happy medium and we loved it. It’s incredibly affordable which is another bonus. Some highlights include private cabins/tents that are cozy, clean, and warm. Additionally, the lodge is not fenced in and the animals can (and do!) roam right through the camp. We regularly spotted lion tracks just outside our door in the morning.

Each morning around 6am we would head out for the morning game drive which was so cozy and exciting. We’d make a quick stop in the bush for coffee or cocoa and then be on our way spotting animals again. In the evening, we’d head out around 3:30pm and do the same. The whole experience was literally WILD. It’s hard to put into words how magnificent it is to see these kinds of animals just basically LIVING in their natural habitat. We saw all of the Big Five with hours of being in Africa. A seriously unforgettable experience. A zillion more animal photos here.

After four nights in South Africa, we moved on to a nice, relaxing beach town in Mozambique. We stayed at Bahia Mar Club which we truly enjoyed (so cheap for Americans!). The scenery was stunning but the poverty is a shocking. There is definitely a “them vs. us” feel staying at a resort like this in a community that depends on tourism as it’s #1 industry. We were very conscious of that.

Overall it was an unforgettable trip and I’m so glad we were able to make it happen. If you can handle 2 days of travel on either end of your trip then put Africa at the top of your list!

              

saving dinnertime with hello fresh

I’ve tried other meal services like this in the past and wasn’t very impressed. There was so much packaging, it wasn’t very organized, and the recipes involved too many steps and didn’t end up being very delicious.

It’s been a couple years since I last tried it and I was intrigued by a newer company, Hello Fresh. Their meals looked delicious, healthy, and like something I would normally eat during the week. I also had a coupon for $40 off so I figured I would give it a try.

We’ve now been using Hello Fresh for three weeks and have really enjoyed it. We get our delivery on Saturday and we order 3 meals. We usually make a meal Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday and then either eat out or from the freezer on Thursday/Friday. This schedule has worked out really well for us and make the beginning of the week so easy. We just make a quick grocery store run for some breakfast and lunch staples.

So far we have loved 90% of the meals we’ve ordered. The ingredients are freshly packed, one box per meal, which makes organizing the ingredients so easy. Most meals take less than 45min to cook and they are recipes that I would definitely consider making again. Additionally, there is no waste which is usually my main complaint when making a complex recipe during the week. The portions are generous for two people.

I would definitely recommend giving it a try. I also have a coupon that will get you $40 off your first box which means you’ll only spend $20 on dinners for three nights! Use this code: U4P23G when you checkout.

travel | Santa Fe, NM

We took a quick little trip over President’s Day weekend to get together with friends in Santa Fe, NM. I’ve never really spent much time in the southwest and I was excited to spend some quality time with our couple friends from business school. We stayed at a family house and made some breakfasts and dinners at the house but I’ll share all the other foodie things and activities below.

 

 

maternity photos | julia + baby

I had such a blast taking these photos of Julia and her husband (and their little one on the way!). Julia lives below us in our little house in Cville and she is just the sweetest. I’ll be forever thankful that we got such amazing neighbors when we moved here and I’m thrilled to call Julia a dear friend.

Now, feast your eyes on all of this beauty!

monday musings | 122

Pippin Hill Vineyard
>> A whole bunch of smaller, lifestyle bloggers that I follow have recently closed their doors. Something about that has been making me feel uneasy because I, too, did the same thing around this time last year. I made the blog private and decided I didn’t want so much of my life to live on the internet. I also struggle with “the need to post” but then get frustrated when I feel like I can’t write a post because I’ve been silent for too long. Basically, I feel like the blog is stagnating and I don’t know which direction to go. I either need to invest more time (try to monetize, get ads/sponsorships, post more regularly) or I feel like I need to shut it down. I’m just not sure an in between option exists. What do you think??


>> We’ve been having some really solid weekends really soaking up the beautiful weather and taking advantage of all things fall. We made some trips out to the country to sample wine and cider as well as spending some quality time outside with the pup.

>> I scooped up a bunch of treasures during the Sephora VIB sale and decided to deem the whole order “totally acceptable because I will just have C put all these things in my stocking”. Done and done. Would you want to see a round up of what I got?

>> We have been getting much more strategic with Christmas shopping lately. We’ll be out somewhere and we’ll pick up a gift WAY in advance of the holiday and then soon enough, we have a whole bunch of loot stashed away in a closet saved up for Christmas gifts. It’s really ideal but can become tricky when you start forgetting what you’ve purchased. What is the BEST holiday gift you ever gave (or received!)?

>> I made my annual batch of party mix on Saturday and it made the whole house smell like heaven. I have already eaten my weight in the stuff but calories don’t count when you’re eating holiday food right?

>> I’m SO excited to head to Baltimore later this week for Thanksgiving with C’s family. It is always such a treat to kick back and spend some quality time with them. We also always see the friend group (and all the kiddos!) which is never boring. I’m already counting down the minutes. We’re also going to have some pictures taken with the pup!


monday musings | 121

>> We took advantage of the beautiful weather on Sunday to make a stop at Carter Mountain Orchard to pick up some apples, apple cider donuts, and hot apple cider. It’s so pretty up there and there were still changing leaves! I took home our bounty with plans to make apple butter in the crockpot. It’s really so easy. Here’s what I did:

Apple Butter (in the slow cooker)

  • Add chopped apples to slow cooker (you can leave the skins on) and add brown sugar (to your liking), cinnamon, clove, vanilla, pinch of salt, and some lemon juice. 
  • Cook on low for 8-12 hours depending on how many apples you have (you really can’t over cook – I did this overnight).
  • Blend apples with an immersion blender or traditional blender until very smooth. 
  • To make thicker, cook for another hour on low with the lid ajar. 
It came out so delicious!! No need to buy it ever again and you can flavor it however you like. It’s great on toast, waffles, oatmeal, ice cream, or even with a spoon!

>> Haven woke up with this horrible cough on Sunday that we thought might be kennel cough. After a trip to the vet though, she got a clean bill of health! She’ll be headed back in a few weeks for “the big operation”.

>> Pop over to my instagram if you want to see my new lavender highlights!

>> My first ThredUp bag was sold and I made $65! I already have another one on the way in now that I’m transitioning to a capsule wardrobe.

>> Speaking of capsule wardrobes, I’m really excited about this. I’ve always wanted to try it but felt like it was previously too complicated. Now that I work from home, I felt like this was the perfect time to simplify. My wardrobe for the next 3 months now consists of about 20 sweaters and tees, 5 pairs of pants, 5 pairs of shoes, and two jackets. Interested in seeing a full post on this? Let me know!

>> I’m really excited that after a brief hiatus in the kitchen, I’m back at it again and feeling re-inspried to get out my cookbooks and plan for the week. This weekend I made Jessica’s Turkey & White Bean enchiladas and they were SO delicious. Just as good as leftovers as well!

>> Along with cleaning out clothes, I have been seriously streamlining my makeup. I have a thing for hoarding lip products but I finally tossed a whole bunch that I don’t love or were past their prime. I had an old tube of Clinique’s Black Honey from SEVERAL years ago that had to go but I loved the color. As a replacement, I picked up a tube of W3LL People’s color balm in Fig and it is total perfection.