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9 of the Best Road Trip Snacks with Land of Pleasant Eating

Companies I Love, Food & Drink, On The Road By October 16, 2017 Tags: , , No Comments

As I was preparing to head out on #ourendlessroadtrip, one of the items top of mind for me was obviously road trip snacks! I came across this topic when I was having coffee with Anastasia of Land of Pleasant Eating and I figured I would get her take. Anastasia is a restaurant owner in Baltimore, but she also has an awesome food Instagram and blog in her free time (for all small business owners, yes, I laughed when I typed “free time”). She’s a huge supporter of all small and local businesses, so I knew I would be getting some good recommendations, but I’ll let her speak to it:

anastasia-keramidas-land-of-pleasant-eating

I don’t know what it is about long car rides that make my snacking go from 0 to 100 REAL QUICK – but I’ve perfected my snacking ability due to biannual 24-hour road trips with my family from Baltimore to Key West. Here are my favorite, useful and wholesome road tripping snacks! Some require slight refrigeration to last a long time, but most will be okay in room temperature for a couple days.

Blueberry Quinoa Bars, captured by Anastasia Keramidas, Land of Pleasant Eating

1.

Blueberry Quinoa Bars – Why: Quinoa has many benefits, for example it has twice as much fiber as most other grains, contains lysine, and it is one of the most protein rich foods you can eat! Also, these bars are delicious, nutritious, GF, dairy free AND travel well in slight refrigeration for up to 7 days!

Cherry-Granola-Land-of-Pleasant-Eating

2.

Orange Spiced Granola – Why: Granola is a staple for long car rides, so just dive right into this wholesome, no refined sugar, crunchy goodness! No snacking guilt here.

3.

Trader Joe’s Popcorn – Why: IT IS SO DELICIOUS. Also, popcorn is such a lightweight snack, full of tasty flavors that will satisfy your bored eating.

4.

Gunpowder Bison Snack Sticks – Why: Contains lean proteins, energizing B vitamins, Zinc and Iron! Trust me, this isn’t your average gas station jerky, this stuff is smokey, textured, local and farm raised in Maryland!

Also, Becky’s new favorite is Ayoba-Yo, which can be purchased at Whole Foods or Diamondback Brewing in Baltimore.

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5.

Unsalted Almonds with Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. Why: Contain vitamin E, copper, magnesium, high-quality proteins and healthy unsaturated fatty acids! It’s a 2 ingredient trail mix because let’s be real, when you’re adventuring on the open road, there is no better time to embrace your childish roots! Fav Brands for almonds: Vitacost and Woodstock

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6.

Tangerines/Clementines. Why: Contains high amounts of calcium, Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous! They smell great & give you some vitamins for those long days when you’re feeling groggy and fatigued.

Photo from @madeinnature

7.

Dried Fruits – Why: Dried figs are my favorite – they contain high amounts of beta carotene, vitamin E, niacin, Iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium! Fav Brands Include: Nature’s All Foods, Equal Exchange, Made in Nature, and Woodstock.

Justins-Land-of-Pleasant-Eating-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore

8.

Nut Butter & Fruit Slices! Why: Who doesn’t love peanut butter or almond butter with apple slices? Fav Brands Include: Wild Friends, Trader Joe’s, and Justin’s.

Health-Ade-Land-of-Pleasant-Eating-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore-31

9.

We can’t forget the beverages:

  • Chameleon Cold Brew EspressoWhy: for those long hauls without a local coffee shop around
  • KombuchaWhy: Detoxification, Digestion, Energy! Helps to keep your digestive system happy (sitting down isn’t the BEST position for your gut) AND it gives you a little pep in your step (or wheels). Fav brands: Health-Ade, Baltimore Wild, or any local Kombucha in the areas you’re driving through!

Do you have any favorites road trip snacks we are missing?

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9 Ways to Tap Into Sedona’s Energy

City Adventures, Destinations, Travel By September 18, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Houndmouth’s song about Sedona has long made me want to visit the town for my own Saturday night kind of pink from the glow of the Red Rock canyons. Beyond the physical beauty, I quickly learned that this community was very into the energy surrounding Sedona. Spiritual seekers, New-Agers, and healers have long been making the journey to this town. It has become a hub for spiritual healing, along with shopping, outdoor adventures and more.

“It is said that whatever you hold in your consciousness will be magnified and multiplied while in Sedona.”

My week following Sedona was going to be filled with hiking galore, so I figured I might as well tap into Sedona’s energy, when in Rome.. or Sedona, whatever. Here are 9 ways you can do the same:

Sedona-Vortex-Hike-Airport-Mesa

Airport Mesa Vortex

1

Visit a Vortex – All of Sedona is believed to be a vortex, which are said to be areas of nature that have concentrated or heightened swirling energy coming in and out of the Earth. Some physically feel the energy. Others believe the swirling energy causes twisted trees, seen at many vortexes. Guided vortex tours are available, but you could also easily visit some of the top ones on your own: Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Airport Mesa.

I went to Airport Mesa twice. The first time, it was packed and I had to wait for one of the few parking spots. While there were a lot of people, I took a moment for some meditation, definitely felt a release of emotion. Whether that was triggered by the vortex or just because I am a highly sensitive person, one may never know. When my friend, Carolyn, came to town, I thought it would be a great and easily accessible spot to come back for sunrise before we hit the road, which was quite lovely (if only the clouds had cooperated a little better). Others were respectful of the quiet in the morning, quietly meditating or enjoying the morning with a loved one.

“Some say Sedona’s vortex energy is so powerful that you can actually feel it and that it is powerful enough to help people take giant leaps with their spiritual development.” – Visit Sedona

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My Red Aura Photograph

2

Get Your Aura Photographed – Since aura photography is having a moment right now, I couldn’t resist. Many places to do this in Sedona (unlike most of the US), so I did a little research and made an appointment at the Center for the New Age. After perusing their store, I headed into a small dark room, pressed my hands lightly onto two electric boxes with metal plates on top, and awaited further instruction from my aura reader, Jamie. Jamie has been on The Bachelorette and Good Morning America, so I figured she must be an expert in this field I know nothing about. Jamie informed me that your aura is an invisible (to most) field of energy that surrounds a person. Auras are not like mood rings, they do not change daily or weekly. While significant life changes (like the death of a loved one, a new job, or even intense workshops) can change aspects, people typically have the same color aura for a lifetime.

I could go more into how this is photographed, but I won’t do it justice, so just google it. People have been doing it for a long time and I can be easily swayed into putting meaning behind anything, but I tried my best to be a little skeptical, not providing her any information about myself beforehand, which meant she could only draw conclusions from my physical appearance and my aura reading. And just like that, she told me things about myself that I knew and things I was just beginning to learn myself, bringing me to tears a little (surprise surprise). It was quite self-validating as I have been making changes in my life over the past year and continue to make plans for my future.

Since my friend, Carolyn, came to town a day later, we couldn’t get her an appointment at the same place, but found another spot for her. After talking to the aura reader there, I jumped at the chance to do it again, just to see, ya know? She had a slightly different camera set up, not as vintage and charming, but she captured the same aura color for me as the day prior, but then dove into a whole different reading, which was still, all very accurate. Carolyn is open minded, but is slightly more of a skeptic than me, so it was very interesting to see how accurate she found hers to be as well. Both aura readers recommended we record the session so that we can go back and listen to it, which was great. At the end of the day, Carolyn and I listened to them again, discussed how we aren’t going to live and die by these readings, but that they are an interesting tool to explore ourselves. We thought through the aura reader’s observations together, drew our own conclusions, and then made our own plans to be true to our own auras.

3

Learn About Crystals, Stones & Gems – Apparently, when Carolyn and I grew up, we both separately loved collecting crystals, stones & gems. We have no idea where they are now or if they were at all valuable, but we were fascinated with them and at the very least, they were pretty and we realized we are the right amount of nerd for each other. That being said, we easily became fascinated again by all the stores selling them in Sedona. We spent some time in the Crystal Sound Healing Center, learning about chakras, the benefits of various stones, and getting a little taste of a Chakra energy reading. We were told that sometimes the crystals just speak to you and you know what you need. Unfortunately, only the really expensive ones were speaking to me, so I had to pass this time.

4

Enjoy Some Bodywork – Take your vacation massage to the next level and check out some signature bodywork massages that combine physical and emotional benefits. I didn’t have time for it this time, but would love to in the future. 

5

Get a Psychic Reading – A good psychic is not hard to find in Sedona. Spin in a circle and walk in a direction, you will find one.

6

Take a Class at the Sedona Meditation Center – From guided meditation to yoga classes to in-depth workshops, the Sedona Meditation Center wants to help you discover who you really are. Sedona-Amitabha-Stupa-Peace-Garden

7

Visit the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Garden – Stupas are a Buddhist commemorative monument that house sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other saintly persons. This one contains millions of prayers, holy texts, and sacred objects, a physical embodiment of all the Buddhas’ wisdom and compassion. People come from all over to pray, to recite mantras, and to simply sit near it. It is believed to be beneficial to circumambulate the Stupa, walking in a clockwise direction, at least three times, while reciting a mantra or heartfelt prayer. The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Garden was quite lovely to go to right at sunset, a quick little walk through a path covered in peace flags, ultimately bringing you up to the peaceful location of the Stupa.

8

Get Your Float On – You can see my full description of floating and my review of a different float tank in Nashville here. I’d highly recommend the experience to anyone looking to disconnect and dive into meditation. True Rest is the Float Spa located in Sedona. 

9

When in Doubt, Hike – Sedona is surrounded by red-rocks, steep canyon walls and pine forests, providing easy access to Red Rock State Park. Get outside!

If you are already planning a trip to Sedona, hopefully this helps to guide you to a few spots. If you aren’t, what are you waiting for?

Sending positive vibes your way,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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Big Sur is Open for Your Next Road Trip

Destinations, Outdoor Adventures, Travel By September 7, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Big Sur is known as one of the most breathtaking regions on the California coast, with its winding roads, rocky coastline, dramatic cliffs, and magnificent seaside views, you quickly realize why it is often featured in movies, TV shows, and photographs. It was an obvious must for our cross-country road trip.

Unfortunately the region underwent a severe winter that included multiple mudslides, fallen boulders, and a collapsed bridge, resulting in a portion of the iconic Highway 1 being closed. When I heard this, I was heartbroken for those who live and run businesses in the area and was selfishly sad that we were not going to be able to visit one of my #1 spots on the road trip bucket list.

As the trip got closer though, I was happy to hear that they were slowly opening portions and many businesses were still open. I was doing research every week to see what else had been opened and where we could visit. Here are some tips from our recent trip:

  • Adjust Your Route – While there is still a portion closed, you can head into the region from the south and north quite a bit. We personally were coming from the North and we were able to follow the coast all the way to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where the road is closed just south of it.

  • Stay in One of the Open Parks or Hotels – We were able to find a campsite at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It is typically difficult to get campsites up and down the California coast during peak summer season, so take advantage of many not knowing these spots are open. There was also the Big Sur Lodge right there at the park and next time we come back, I want to stay at the Big Sur River Inn, complete with a restaurant, store, pool, the world’s cutest gas station (yep, that’s a thing), and the best part being that you can…

  • Have a Drink in the River – Grab a drink from the Big Sur River Inn bar and head down to their adirondack chairs that are in the river, not next to, but in the river. Dip your toes in the water and sit back. Why isn’t this a thing in more places?

  • Stop at Bixby Bridge – while the Pfieffer Canyon Bridge is being rebuilt, the iconic Bixby Bridge is stunning as always. I would recommend being ready to pull off on the right or left before you drive across it. Go slow because it can be quite busy, but this is where you’ll find get beautiful views easily for your photographs.

  • Stretch Your Legs – while many trails are also recovering from the winter and fires, we headed over to Andrew Molera State Park for a hike to the beach. It was all flat, led you through some trees and opened up to a spectacular beach. It felt a big majestic as you looked around to see dozens of driftwood structures built by those who had previously been there.

  • Shuttle Further South – The Pfeiffer Canyon Bypass Trail was created by residents and opened to the public in July. You can use this trail to access the southern side of Big Sur and can board a shuttle at Andrew Molera State Park to get there. We were hoping to do this to go have lunch or dinner at Nepenthe, but unfortunately ran out of time.

While we wanted to explore and stay longer, the road trip must go on! We were obviously not able to continue to drive south on Highway 1, but in a similar amount of time it would take, we went north (yay, one more trip over Bixby and Carmel) and took a detour to Highway 68, through Salinas Valley, to Highway 101, down through San Luis Obispo (a town that Oprah claims to be the happiest city in America) and then we continued south to Santa Barbara.

To learn more and stay up to date on openings and closures, head over to See Monterey’s website.

Happy Travels,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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11 Reasons to go on a Summer Road Trip NOW

On The Road, Travel By September 2, 2017 Tags: , , 1 Comment

If you looked at your calendar today, you might have realized it is officially September, say what? If not, you may have seen the hoards of people claiming it to be the last weekend of summer on social media, but I’m here to tell you that they are all liars and then give you 11 reasons why you should go on a summer road trip now!

big-sur-summer-road-trip-adventure

1.

Because the Autumn equinox is not until September 22nd, so that gives you 21 more days of summer. Yes, I love leaves, hoodies, and pumpkin spice lattes as much as the next basic chick, but summer is not over yet. I repeat, it is still summer.

2.

I get that for many, school is starting up for them and/or their kids, which leads them to think summer is over, but last I checked, I don’t have kids, I am not a teacher, and I haven’t been in school for over 9 years (yikes). So that puts me into this little opportunity bubble of September, kid-free, budget-friendly travel. It’s cheaper, it’s quieter, what more can I say?  

point-reyes-trees-california-road-trip

3.

Well, that being said, you’re running out of time. I know, it is an emotional roller coaster over here, but put on your seatbelt. If you’re like me, you’re wondering where on earth August went… and July… wait, what about June? Shit. The days are flying by and you still haven’t taken that summer adventure you were dreaming about posting on Instagram about. If you were waiting for the right time, guess what? It’s right NOW. Literally, put down your cellular device, go grab a bag and throw some clothes in it!

4.

So what are you waiting for? Many of us are fortunate enough to have a car. If not, maybe a friend with a car who can be coerced into a spontaneous adventure? A relative that can be easily guilt-tripped? A guy you met on Tinder who “loves to travel”? At the very least, maybe you can go rent one. I believe in you. 

carmel-by-the-sea-vintage-car-road-trip

5.

And just like that, you’ve happened upon reason #4, roadtrips = freedom. The freedom to stop and go as you please. If you see something cool? Check it out. If you need to pee, stop. Want to stretch your legs? You might get the point by now, but yes, no one is stopping you. You are on your own schedule, unlike traveling via plane or train where you are being told where to be and when to be somewhere. We know how I feel about being told what to do (hint hint: I hate it).

6.

Speaking of, those methods of transportation can get pretty pricey, especially last minute on a holiday weekend. Lucky for you, CNN reports that gas prices are at a 7 year low. Even with a small car gas tanks, you can put in 12 gallons of gas at a current average price of $2.52 per gallon according to AAA. I’m not great at math, but the Washington Post tells me that the average car gets 23.6 miles per gallon and my iPhone calculator tells me that should get you 283.2 miles for only $30.24. Someone check my math, but shit, if you have a Prius, imagine the possibilities! 

big-sur-american-road-trip

7.

Driving is also one of my favorite ways to discover a new area. You can get a quick feel for a place without wandering too aimlessly in a bad direction, then you can get out and bike, run, or walk around your fav spots. Or you can be a creeper like me and drive through all the gorgeous neighborhoods, pretending in another life you live there, so much more fun than an overcrowded tourist attraction. Just me? Oh okay, this just got weird.

8.

You can also set your own soundtrack. Music = key. It sets the tone and mood of the trip immediately. So much better than that crying baby on the plane or the dude snoring next to you on the train. I use Spotify to discover new songs and create my own playlists. I even made an #ourendlessroadtrip playlist for you to check out. It includes some of my fav road trip songs, from very literal interpretations (yes, Life is Highway is on there) to anything that just feels right to drive to. Any good ones I am missing? Let me know! 

9.

Besides music, food is clutch. No road trip is complete without snacks. In the car, you don’t have to buy an overpriced dry deli sandwich from the food court inside security or abide by any 3 oz checked bag rule. You can bring your own food and drinks, you can indulge in your gas station guilty snack pleasures, or you can find your new favorite roadside diner. You could even tailor an entire road trip around places to eat. You do you! I’ll have some of Land of Pleasant Living’s favorite road trip snacks hitting the blog soon, stay tuned!

10.

Road trips are the perfect example of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s or whoever-that-person-on-Instagram-who-posts-quotes-too-much claimed said “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” If you disagree, please refer to reason #4, you can stop wherever you want! For instance, if you see a 49 foot Paul Bunyon, you can stop. I suggest you do.

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11.

Then, once you get to said destination, you can make what you want of it. You can tow a camper like us! You can camp out of your car for all I care. Rent a treehouse on Airbnb. Splurge on a baller ass hotel room. Or just turn around and go home to sleep in your own bed. Day trips are better than no trips.

vintage-camper-road-trip-california

And just like that, I’m at 11 reasons. I could go on all day about why you should go on a summer road trip right now, but Google tells me that odd number lists perform better than even numbers, so I’mma stop right here. You’re welcome. Hope to see you (or at least your Instagram stories) on the road.

Drive on,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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6 Photographers Solar Eclipse Experiences in the Path of Totality

Outdoor Adventures, Travel By August 22, 2017 Tags: , No Comments

It was truly serendipitous that we ended up in the Path of Totality in Oregon during the solar eclipse. I have had this 2 month road trip across the United States planned for almost a year now. A couple months ago, a friend asked what my plans were for the solar eclipse. I had looked up where I would be and was delighted to learn I was in the Path of Totality, which ended up being a 70-mile wide path that ran across the United States, starting in Oregon and continuing across to South Carolina. After some momentary freak-outs about where we would stay because there were campsites going for over $500, we found a spot on a family vineyard, the Hauer of the Dauen winery, on Hipcamp, complete with wine tastings and a German breakfast. It was perfect!

While it was really exciting to see every phase of the eclipse happen, watching the light change so weirdly and eerily around us, I can’t lie, seeing the total eclipse was one of the most incredible parts. I had planned on spending the full 2 minutes taking it all in, not worrying about an elaborate camera set up or rushing for the perfect shot during it. Naturally though, I couldn’t help but grab my camera after a few minutes of it happening.

solar-eclipse-2016-path-totality

Later in the day, as I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I found it interesting not only seeing other’s visual perspectives of the eclipse, but also their experiences. While I could explain what I felt further, I also thought it would be neat if I reached out to a few people who took some of the images that grabbed my eye and asked them to describe their experience.

Read on to hear about 6 other Instagrammer’s Path of Totality experiences:

Solar-Eclipse-2016-Path-Totality-Shunsuke-Imura

Photo Captured by @shnsks_

“The total solar eclipse was a completely surreal experience. A few minutes before totality, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The sunlight turned to an almost-white color, casting a double shadow. As the moon completely overlapped the sun, daytime suddenly turned to night and the sky turned dark. And yet everything was still evenly lit by the same white light from the outer edges of the sun, creating a day-night fusion. For a brief moment, I was standing in a different realm.” See more of Shunsuke Imura’s photographs on Instagram.

 

Solar-Eclipse-2016-Path-Totality-Sam-Negan

Photo Captured by @samnegan

“I was on a ridge below Fred’s Mountain near Grand Targhee Ski Resort and when the eclipse hit. Everyone on the ridge just started whooping and hollering because it was truly epic. You could hear people from all across the mountain range which was one of my favorite parts. I also felt kind of disorientated in a good way after like some internal clock or instinct was kind of thrown off too. It was by far the most incredible experience of my life.” See more of Sam Negan’s photography on Instagram.

 

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Photo Captured by @horohophoto

“The chance of seeing the eclipse in it’s totality was only part of the entire experience. Knowing that I was participating in something the entire United States was experiencing all at the same moment in time was something special.” See more of Brandon Horobo’s photography on Instagram.

 

Solar-Eclipse-2016-Path-Totality-Bryan-Minear

Photo Captured by @bryanminear


“My friends and I planned for weeks. After a 9 hour drive, multiple days of scouting the area. We picked our location on the little Tennessee river and posted up immediately following sunrise. We waited out the 91 degree heat and at the very last moment, it seemed like the clouds were going to ruin the entire view. The temperature began to drop, and the light began to dim and it was one of the most amazing sights that I have ever experienced. We were all absolutely reeling from the adrenaline and anticipation. It was the quickest 2 minutes and 23 seconds of my life, gone in and instant, but the memory will last forever.” See more of Bryan Minear’s photography on Instagram.

solar-eclipse-2016-path-totality-erik-sanders

Photo Captured by @rangerrikk

“Today was the first time I have had the “I got the shot” moment. I had planned a fashion shoot for today during the eclipse. Posing, walking and twirling were in order to highlight the clothing and my girlfriend who was modeling. I did not however expect to be so baffled by the sight of totality. It was utterly beautiful and magical. My girlfriend decided to put her hand up as if to touch the sun and I just instinctually decided to snap a photo. Turns out that was the one I was the most happy with the entire morning, and also made the 2 hour traffic commute home worth it.” See more of Erik Sanders’ photography on Instagram.

total-eclipse-2017

Photo Captured by @kili_warrior

“D-Day had finally arrived. Anticipation and excitement were off the charts. Indescribable, eerie, surreal. Truly once in a lifetime experience!  How often can one get in the shadow of the moon?” See more of Vina’s photography on Instagram.

After reading about these experiences, I hope you are ready for the next total eclipse in North America! It will be happening in April 2024. Perhaps we can meet in Mexico? Or Austin? The Finger Lakes? Maine? Toronto? Decisions, decisions.

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Terra’s Kitchen on the Road & Giveaway

Companies I Love, Food & Drink, On The Road By August 14, 2017 Tags: , , , No Comments

Hello from Port Townsend, Washington! 3,777 miles, 12 states, 3 time zones and too many smores later, I was ready for some downtime in this adorable historic town. After a day of exploring the Victorian houses and maritime setting, I was pretty thrilled to see a Terra’s Kitchen vessel sitting on the doorstep of my Airbnb. Terra’s Kitchen is a healthy food delivery service with fresh, pre-chopped ingredients, based out of my hometown of Baltimore, but shipping to customers all over the US. Read on for your chance to win $75 in Terra’s Kitchen credit. 

Terra's Kitchen Baltimore Meal Delivery

Traveling is an amazing way to try new foods, but it can also be tough. I find that I am either absorbing myself into a new city, sometimes overindulging in restaurants or I am eating quick and easy meals on-the-go or at my campsite, which often is just hot dogs and baked beans. This can be delicious, but after 2 weeks, it can take a toll and at the very least, makes me crave some fresh veggies.

Terras-Kitchen-Meal-Delivery

Terra’s Kitchen is my fav new way to eat when I’m on the road. I was able to schedule a delivery to my Airbnb address, not having to worry about looking up recipes, finding a grocery store, or even chopping the ingredients. Not only that, the meals are all simple enough, that I could even cook it in my tiny Airbnb kitchen. All of this would have been taken away from my exploring and I still ended up with a delicious meal. Leaving me the time to simply enjoy the Buddha Bowl and share my memories on some postcards to home.

Terras-Kitchen-Buddha-Bowl-Meal-Delivery

Not only that, the Terra’s Kitchen’s folks filled up my vessel with a ton of easy grab-n-go items, like Revolution Food bento boxes, pre-made salads, fruit, cheese and crackers. We are all ready to hit the road down the coast now! I might even attempt to cook a Seared Tuna Poke Bowl in a Tipi on the coast of Oregon. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Terras-Kitchen-Meal-Delivery

Now for the fun giveaway part – the kind folks at Terra’s Kitchen and I want to share the food love with YOU. Enter below for your chance to win $75 in Terra’s Kitchen credit! You can also comment on my Facebook and Instagram posts for more chances to win. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, 8/18. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Made the odds be ever in your favor!

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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Celebrating #OurEndlessRoadTrip with Ice Cream Cake!

Companies I Love, Food & Drink By July 31, 2017 Tags: , , No Comments

Helloooo from the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Stop #1 on a 10 week road trip across the United
States of America. Why Southwestern Pennsylvania? Because Chris and I got married here 4 years ago at
the Barn at Fallingwater. For architecture nerds, yes, it is on the property of THE Fallingwater,
designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. For my outdoorsy folks, it is a great destination for a weekend of hiking, biking, and white water rafting.

Fallingwater Frank Lloyd Wright With Love & Embers

Throwback to our wedding! Photo Credit: With Love & Embers

When the folks over at I Love Ice Cream Cakes asked if I wanted to celebrate the kickoff of
#ourendlessroadtrip with an ice cream cake, I couldn’t say no. Literally, I think Chris would be very, very
upset if I turned down ice cream, especially when in cake format. Or worse, disappointed in me.

Oreo I Love Ice Cream Cake
While we found ourselves coming across challenge after challenge to get Cleo the Camper on the road
(tour coming soon!), it was super easy to use the product locator to find the nearest ice cream
cake. We swung by Martin’s Food Market in Connellsville, PA and picked up an Oreo® Ice Cream Cake
on the way to our campsite at Yough Lake Campground. If you’re back home in the Baltimore area, you can
find these ice cream cakes at Safeway, Giant, Harris Teeter, Target and many others.

While I went for the Oreo® because I am a sucker for anything with that cookie involved, next
time I want to try out their new Carvel® Ice Cream Cookie Cake, a dream combo if I say so myself. You
can discover their other flavors, read party tips, or sign up to be a part of their Crunchie Club for coupons and other info.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake
We loved how our Oreo® Ice Cream Cake made it easy to celebrate big moments, like a 10 week
road trip, or the little ones, like #cleothecamper surviving her first flash flood (okay, maybe that wasn’t
so little). Don’t forget to head over to my Facebook page for the chance to win
vouchers for $50 worth of I Love Ice Cream Cakes. I wanna know, what would you celebrate?

Oreo Ice Cream Cake
*Sponsored by I Love Ice Cream Cakes. As always though, all thoughts are my own.*

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Favorite Street Art & Murals in Nashville

Art, City Adventures, Destinations, Travel By June 19, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

My husband, Chris, has been traveling to Nashville for work for almost three years now, which has given me the pleasure of visiting the city with him many times. It has grown to be one of my favorite places and literally his home away from home. While everyone knows Nashville for it’s music scene, they also have a strong street art and murals scene, which is big in my book. It has been crazy to witness the amount of growth the city has seen over the past few years and I love seeing colorful walls be added with it. From small businesses to developers to non-profits, everyone can quickly see what a little color and creativity can bring to a neighborhood. Here are a few of my favorite mural walls I have seen over the years.

It’s a bear party over on the side of East Side Bicycles, painted by artist Leah Tumerman

 

I Believe in Nashville (left) located at Mitchell Deli, 1306 McGavock; East Nashville mural (right) located on the side of the Joyner and Hogan building at 600 Main St

 

Local Nashville artists Nathan Brown and Chris Zidek painted this mural at the corner of Overton and Mansion Street, across from Barista Parlor (which you should totally go grab a coffee from after checking this out!)

 

A huge green mural brightens a parking lot in the Gulch, along 11th Ave South, by artist Ian Ross

 

And directly next to it is a mural by Jason Woodside

 

A few thought provoking murals are found on the backside of the Treehouse Restaurant in East Nashville (left) and while not made of paint, it is a reminder that art can be living (right), location in East Nashville forgotten, sorry!

 

Found myself a patch of flowers in 12 South, on the wall on the right side of Green Pea Salon

 

And just do a 180 spin in that parking lot to see this one!

 

Go find some peace at the Performing Artists Co-op at 5 Points

This does not capture nearly the amount of murals out there. I am excited to get back to Nashville to explore more. If you are looking for more, check out the Nashville Walls Project, complete with a map!

 

Stay colorful,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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Float Therapy Review | Are Sensory Deprivation Tanks For You?

City Adventures, Lifestyle, On The Road By May 31, 2017 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment
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Image From Pure Sweat + Float Studio Website

I first heard about “floating” from some co-workers a couple years ago. During our conversation, there were a couple of people who had done it before and spoke highly of it. On the other hand, there were quite a few people who had never done it and thought it sounded weird. That quickly intrigued me, but I didn’t get around to trying it until this past week. Read on to hear what floating is, why you should do it, and my experience! I’ll let you know if I plan on trying it again.

What is Float Therapy?

Float therapy is when a you occupy a tank or pod that is designed for short term sensory deprivation. The tank of water is heated to body-temperature and filled with thousands of pounds epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) in order to make you completely buoyant. It is often combined with a light-less and sound-free atmosphere for an ultimate sensory-free experience.

These tanks were originally created in the 1950s by neuropsychologists, gaining popularity in the 1970s, and with a more mainstream resurgence recently. Float tanks are also known as Isolation Tanks or Sensory Deprivation Tanks. Although, the not so friendly thoughts around the words “isolation” and “deprivation” have led to a rebranding as “floating” or REST, which stands for “restricted environment stimulation technique.”

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Why Should You Float?

Sounds pretty crazy, huh? Perhaps, but it definitely caught my attention. These tanks can create a powerful environment to force the brain to take a break from endless thoughts and technology. I have heard that it can be comparable to (if not better than) meditation, yoga, and even drugs.

Float therapy has been connected with a number of benefits for the brain and body. It has been said that the sensory deprivation can slow brain waves until they reach the theta state, which is similar to the state attained during meditation.

With my, what some may call, “monkey brain” jumping around from idea to idea, topped off with a layer of anxiety, and occasional bout of insomnia for good measure, I am always ready to try new ways to slow down and enjoy life. Not to mention, many have seen spikes in creativity after sessions, perhaps from giving your brain some much needed time to reboot and refresh. I have even heard of creativity being compared to a deer, if you become very still and quiet, it is more likely to show its face. You officially have my attention, float therapy.

Potential Benefits from Float Therapy

  • Induce deep relaxation and alleviate anxiety
  • Reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels
  • Relieve pain on the back, joints, and sore muscles, manage chronic pain
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase hair and skin health
  • Alleviate insomnia

My Float Tank Experience

As I mentioned, it took me two years from first learning about floating to actually pull the trigger. A few things that held me back: the idea of getting in a small tank filled with water for a long period of time, discovering that my slightly possible claustrophobia is actually real after paying a good chunk of change, and the lack of options in the Baltimore area. But I often hear that all the fun is outside our comfort zones, so hey, I went for it.

I had some extra time when I was in Nashville and had come across Pure Sweat + Float Studio in an article. They just opened a few months ago and the photos looked quite nice, a lovely mix of boho and spa. Not too fancy, but reputable, so I made an appointment online. For first time floaters, it is $75, so at least it was a little less for my first experience.

As I was approaching the new location in Belle Meade (the super swanky, old money side of town), I passed 2 wine bars, 2 juice bars, a yoga studio, and a few high-end boutiques. I was on my way to try something new and while I like all of those things, I was quickly feeling out of place. Spoiler alert: I’m not very swanky or luxury-seeking. Also, hello to the very anxiety I was there to reduce.

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My worries were quickly put to ease though when I walked into Pure Sweat + Float Studio. It is a very welcoming serene environment and I was greeted by some friendly faces. I was taken back to one of the float rooms and had the full process explained to me. I was to pop in some earplugs and rinse off in the private shower prior to getting into the pod, which was about 5 feet wide, 8 feet long, and a few feet deep.

The state-of-the-art Evolution Float Pods at Pure Sweat + Float Studio offered some customizable settings based on my personal preferences. I had the option of keeping the lid open, dimming the lights, and playing some music, or I could lower the lid for a more sensory-free experience. I went for the latter. I figured if I was going to do it, I was going to fully do it. The lid intentionally does not fully close or latch, plus it has a bit of height even when closed, which eased my potential claustrophobia.

I don’t know what I expected, but with the amount of epsom salt, you truly float right up to the surface. It was really cool gravity-free feeling. They had a little floating plastic ring I could put my head in to ensure my face stayed above the surface, which made my neck ache at first as I adjusted my posture forced by my buoyancy, but that passed. I had a dry towel on hand just in case any water got close to my eyes and I quickly took myself through some meditations to help jump into relaxation.

For my first time, I think I was a little distracted by the experience to get into a deep meditative state that I know I can reach, but I can see the potential there and would love to try again now that I know the drill. At some point, with the heat, it felt a bit stuffy, but I easily cracked the lid without taking away from my relaxation. Despite it being very exploratory, I still found myself forgetting about my worries and to-do’s. I tried my best to not let my brain go down the road of all the reasons why I should open a float studio in Baltimore. Before I knew it, the 60 minutes was up, the lights were automatically easing back on and a relaxing voice recording was telling me to exit and rinse off. I left feeling very refreshed and seriously ready to sleep (even though I had to head to the airport to fly home and was greeted with a 2 hour delay, hello reality).

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First Timer Suggestions

  • Show up early for the paperwork and a walk through, ask for a rundown if they don’t readily explain the process to you.
  • Be prepared to shower on location before (to remove the oils) and after (to rinse off the salt), typically places have shampoo, conditioner and towels, but bring a brush.
  • Don’t shave the day of, especially if you have sensitive skin. It will burn.
  • Wear loose clothing and sandals/flip flops to easily hop in and out comfortably.

Overall, I would suggest going into the session with a low expectations. Don’t seek a life-changing experience your first time because like meditation and yoga, it takes time and practice to reach that. However, do give yourself the opportunity to rest and recover and see what benefits it can bring you personally! While I am not going to add this into my weekly routine, I think I will try it every few months to help press the reset button. Now to convince Pure Sweat + Float studio to open a Baltimore location!

Please note: I am not a doctor of any sort (surprise, surprise). If you want more medically proven information, I would recommend doing what we all do: google it. Also, this is not a sponsored post. As always, thoughts and opinions are all my own.

 

Float On,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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24 Hours in Denver | How Brittany Makes the Most of Business Travel

Art, City Adventures, Destinations, Food & Drink, Portraits, Travel By May 10, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments
I first met Brittany quite a few years ago when I was organizing a charity bar crawl in Baltimore. My good friend, Kelly, said she was going to to invite her co-worker who “just wanted to explore new places and dance.” That description alone made me want to be friends with Brittany and luckily that came true. Soon there after, Brittany hit it off with my other good friend from college and more recently I had the honor of capturing their wedding photos this past September. When Brittany was in need of some updated headshots, we knew we had to go wander around one of our favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore, Fells Point.
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Besides being super friendly and silly, Brittany is also really good at finding unique and interesting things to do, always making the most of her time anywhere. I can always count on her to be down for a new adventure. Sometimes she might have up to 5 different activities planned for a Saturday, I don’t know how she does it, but she does. And at the end of the day, she always finds time to read on her deck with a glass of wine, taking in some sunshine and tending to her plants. It’s simply rude impressive.
Brittany is also lucky enough to travel for work a few times a year, most often to Denver. She says she is usually short on time between traveling and work, but as mentioned, she always tries to pack a ton in.
“I consider time spent in my hotel room and not out exploring to be wasted.”

8 Things to do in Denver

That being said, I thought she would be the perfect person to ask for recommendations if you were looking to make the most of 24 hours in Denver. Here’s what Brittany would do:

1. First things first, breakfast! I love Mod Market (900 16th St.). It’s healthy, fresh and delicious.

Denver Colorado Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

2. Before checking out the Denver beer scene, take in some culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art (1485 Delgany St). It’s a smaller museum and very manageable in an hour or so. After you’ve had your art fill, check out the rooftop cafe for coffee with a view.

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Bridge to the Highland Neighborhood | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

3. After the museum, head out of downtown across the Platte River to the Highland neighborhood, one of my favorite areas. It’s a pretty walk across the bridge, and on the way you can check out the flagship REI store.

4. Fuel up at Postino (2715 17th St.) with the best bruschetta ever. Seriously, I still think about it. I can also recommend the salami with pesto and the prosciutto with figs and mascarpone, but you can’t go wrong.

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Denver Beer Co. | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

5. First beer stop: Denver Beer Co. (1696 Platte St.). This place is great with tons of indoor and outdoor seating.

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Linger | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

6. Continue the afternoon at Linger, a former mortuary turned restaurant/bar (2030 W. 30th Ave). Head up to the rooftop and grab a drink out of their Airstream bar and take in the views.

7. Now, it’s time to head back toward downtown, where I often stay for work. It’s hard to go wrong with a Colorado brewery, but one of my favorites is Great Divide. They have food trucks everyday, so check them out for dinner!

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The Colorado State Capitol Building | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

8. Round out the night in Capitol Hill, a quick ride from downtown. You’ll see the beautiful state capitol building as you make your way along Colfax Avenue, what Playboy once called the “longest, wickedest street in America.” I’d recommend two stops here – Lost Highway Brewing Company and Alpine Dog Brewery. Alpine Dog has delicious beer and great merch – I bought one of my favorite pint glasses there.

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Alpine Dog | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

Most importantly, one last tip from Brittany: drink more water than you think is necessary. The beers may go down easy, but the altitude will dehydrate real quick!

 Do you have any favorite spots in Denver? Share them in the comments below or let me know over on Instagram!
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