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austin: take heart shop

I stumbled into Take Heart with no idea or expectation of what would be inside. The sign outside said “modern, handmade, vintage” which are obviously three of the buzziest buzz words for crafty hipsters like me. Well, it turned out to be one of the cutest little shops I’ve ever been in Austin, or anywhere really.

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You can find an assortment of lovely items in this shop, from beauty products to decor, stationary, art and more… the creative energy in this place is like a magnet for lovers of beautifully crafted objects (like me). The space was open and airy, with tons of sunlight flooding in.

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austin: blue dahlia bistro

I’m sure you would agree that a day started with breakfast at a quaint little bistro is going to be a good day. The same is true even in the heart of Texas, where we found the perfect little patio at Blue Dahlia Bistro.

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The back patio at the East Austin location is unbelievably enchanting. Under a wooden canopy draped in greenery, it feels a little bit like a secret garden… which just happens to have tables and chairs and servers. Though it was a cloudy day when we went, it still felt a bit magical. In a place as beautiful as that, it almost doesn’t even matter what they serve me.

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Our table’s order was varied; frittata, crepes, waffles, charcuterie, oatmeal. All the traditional fixins of a wonderful breakfast spread. The photos, as you can see are ridiculous. Everything looked picture-perfect. 

stlou: cool stuff really cheep

I forgot to share this one last piece of St. Louis! Cool Stuff Really Cheep is a lovely little boutique full of curated vintage finds and antiques. Around every nook and cranny, there was another treasure to behold.

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I was so intrigued by the mosaic piece above; I’ve never really seen anything like it. Timeless and well-crafted, I’m kind of sad I didn’t snag it. Also was obsessed with the bar cart below. I tend to swoon over almost any bar cart I come across, but I found this particular configuration of shapes and lines so uniquely elegant and sleek.

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And here is where I received my stunning statement necklace and bracelet set. Absolutely in love! If you’re ever in the 314, be sure to make a pit stop at this place. I’m pretty sure you will find something you can’t live without!

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stlou: olio

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As if these ridiculously tempting pictures were not enough, I have to tell you that Olio served up one of the best lunches I’ve ever had. Sitting in their carefully converted oil service station, listening to Nancy Sinatra spin on their record player, I knew I was about to experience something special.

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Though we only selected a few side plates to share, it was enough to convince me that these guys know exactly what they are doing. We began our stay with a bottle of Bordatto “Basa Jaun”, a cider unlike any other I’ve ever had. It had the satisfying carbonated crisp I crave, along with a lingering smoky finish that I didn’t know could exist in a cider. Filling my mouth with a sense of the forest, it set a lovely stage for all the lovely fresh ingredients I was about to nibble on.

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Just thinking about it is making me want to go back! It’s so difficult for me to accurately describe how delicious it is. Well-balanced, but always peppered with a little surprise, their plates felt as exotic as they were comforting. I didn’t take pictures of every single plate (since I didn’t want to be a dick), but I guarantee you they were all worth remembering.

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stlou: blueprint coffee

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Coffee can be quite a mystery to me sometimes, and I bet you feel some degree of the same. Much like wine or chocolate, there are mounds and mounds of knowledge that I seem to not have access to, but am very curious about. I worship at the altar of this addictive dark liquid and wonder if my life might be different had my college courses been more focused on roasting beans instead of playing with colors. Here, at Blueprint Coffee, I felt right at home. Well, not home home… more like coffee heaven home.

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nassau, bahamas

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I recently took a Carnival cruise to Nassau, Bahamas. While the cruise ship itself wasn’t that spectacular, it did take us to a place of bright beauty, fun colors, and ocean all around me. I was only sorry that we couldn’t stay longer and see more of the local life!

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view from chattanooga: part two

As if the beautiful vistas weren’t enough, Chattanooga holds all those delightful little wonders typically entwined with old Southern culture. Like your random tchotchke shop on the side of the road. The “quilts, fudge, moccasins” sign was all we needed to hit the brakes!

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amicalola falls

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When you live inside of screens and lenses, you can start to forget the beauty that exists in your own backyard. Within just a short drive of the southern metropolis I call home, there are wondrous views and unforgettable experiences. All you have to do is be willing to explore; thankfully my family always wants to do just that.

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delicatessen with love

It’s pretty evident that I love photography, food, and art (I mean, duh). When the three converge, whether it be through a unique dining experience or a styled shoot, it’s pretty much heaven. Gabriele Galimberti‘s photography project entitled Delicatessen With Love pays homage to the original essence and purpose of a meal – providing nourishment.

Indian Chicken Vindaloo, Delicatessen With Love | tide & bloom

Though a simple premise, these humble portraits are mesmerizing in their sincerity and faithfulness to tradition. These matriarchs present their signature dishes, a physical manifestation of the care they provide for their families. The dishes themselves also act as portraits, imbued with love, pride, and a connection to cultural heritage.

Italian Swiss Chard Ricotta Ravioli, Delicatessen With Love | tide & bloom

Haitian Lambi in Creole Sauce, Delicatessen With Love | tide & bloom