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  • Hello There!

    I'm Sarajane, a blogger, workshop facilitator, and career consultant based out of Asheville, NC.

    I believe chasing your dreams shouldn't be so hard and I dedicate my energy to helping others to take large and small steps in their career while maintaining creative inspiration.

    This is my space to create whatever comes from my heart. It's not marketable, it's not always good, but it's honest. It's not uncommon to find stories from my experience, portrait projects, my thoughts on the world, and tips for how to make the most out of life.

    Grab a cup of coffee (or bourbon) and make yourself at home!

    If you're interested in a workshop or a 1 on 1 consultation get in touch through the consultation tab at the top of this site!

    with love,
    Sj

Planning a Big Trip.

Ok, I realize that you are all probably tired of hearing about this trip to Panama by now. But, I promise that this is more than likely the last that you’ll hear of it. If you’ve not been anywhere near this blog or our facebooks in the last week in a half then you should know that Kyle and I went to Panama last week. We had a great time and we’re so excited to share of course. The deal is this: Kyle and I committed to taking one BIG trip every year when we got married. So far we’ve done it and I don’t foresee us stopping anytime soon. The thing that we get asked the most is how do you do that? We also hear a lot of people say, “I wish I could do something like that.” The thing is, you can! We’ve made traveling our priority. That means that we do without a lot of other things to make that work! It’s not that we are rolling in money – quite the contrary. It’s also a common misconception that we’re able to do this because I work for myself. Yes, that’s incredibly helfpul, however, Kyle had to take off of work for this last trip. It’s also sometimes harder to take off when you own your own business because there’s no one at home doing the work for you. So, no excuses!!

I thought I’d take a minute to share my top 10 tips for planning YOUR big trip!!

1. The Money

This is the number one reason that most people think they can’t travel. The truth is, it’s expensive. But, there are a ton of ways to work around it. Kyle and I don’t make much money. Honestly, if you were to look at the books you’d be surprised we’re eating and all that. But, we don’t have a ton of needs, so we don’t feel like we’re deprived of anything. Figure out what you can REALISTICALLY give up. I’ve attempted to give up getting coffee out a million times. But, it’s never going to happen. But, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve gone shoe shopping. That was a realistic sacrifice for me. Here’s how I suggest saving:

-Figure out how much money you can put away every month by cutting something out. Ex. If I were cutting out coffee {*cough never *cough} I could reasonably save $20/wk. That’s $80 a month! That’s $960 a year! {don’t judge me.} If Kyle were to cut out buying soda’s everyday at work, that’s $5/wk and $240/year. What if we cut out going out to eat once a week? That’s easily $1,900 for us! What if we went one step further and cut out $25 from our grocery budget every two weeks? That’s $600 a year. After 4 simple cut backs we’ve saved $3,700!!! That’s more than the trip to Panama cost for both of us!!

-Raising money is another good option. I’m a photographer, so I often designate specific deals and specials that I run to our travels. If you ever attend one of my ‘Line up with Love’ events: those originated while Kyle and I were on a 6-month roadtrip to all of the 48 continental states. It was our sole source of income. Once when I was in college and raising money for a trip to Poland, 2 friends and I went around town offering to crack eggs on our heads for a dollar! It was weird. But, we raised a good bit of money in one afternoon! Use whatever skills you have and dedicate time and energy towards raising money for your trip!

-Budget. Figure out how much money you can reasonably save in one year. Set your goals for the month and then budget your trip around that! Don’t plan your trip and then try to scramble and make money. This year Kyle and I calculated that we could save up about $2000 for our travels. So, we made a point to find somewhere within that budget!

 

2. Choosing your Destination! 

I realize that we all have the top things we want to do in the world and the top places we want to go. For me it was always to backpack Europe and to see all 50 states, also to visit Paris & Rome! If you can reasonably do those things on your first trip out then go for it! {I was lucky enough to see Paris and Rome while backpacking Europe the year before I traveled to almost all 50 states (we still have hawaii and alaska) } But, if you’re in a situation where you can’t save up quite enough for your dream trip then set your dream trip aside and pick somewhere you can go now with the budget you do have! I recommend starting with flight costs! When Kyle and I were looking at this trip we didn’t have a location in mind. We just knew we wanted to spend around $800 for both of us to fly. So, one night while Kyle was at work I wrote down a list of the cheapest flights in November. I used FareCompare.com to search for flights by categories and our budget. The top two destinations that we wanted were Ireland and Panama. Ireland sounded to cold for November so Panama it was. We ended up getting the flight for $600 for both of us!

 

3. Figure out What Kind of Traveler You are! 

Are you someone who prefers to get up at sunrise and go-go-go until dark? Are you someone who likes to take it easy and do things slowly? Do you like to meet strangers or stay alone? Do you like to eat your way around the country or focus on outdoor adventures? Take sometime to really think it out because you’re going to base your entire trip around these principals! Your answers may surprise you, often times they are opposite from your everyday way of life! Here are the top questions I would ask myself before planning:

-Would I rather see more or relax more?
-Do I want to see more historical sites or meet more people?
-Do I want to eat local cuisine at every meal or eat whatever and spend money on outdoor activities?
-Do I prefer to go to the ‘sites you have to see’ or spend time with the locals?
-Would I rather be comfortable or adventurous?

Once you’ve answered those questions  you can move onto the next steps.

 

4. Pick your Priorities and Make Sacrifices! 

You only have so much time at your destination and most of us only have so much money. You’re going to have to think about what is most important to you and then let the other things go! This is where knowing what kind of traveler you are is important. I’m more of the kind of traveler that likes to spend time with the locals, I like to eat local cuisine, go to the normal grocery store, basically just act like I live there. Other people feel the need to visit all of the history in a destination or see all of the sites to be seen. That’s fine! There’s no wrong way. Just know what is important to you and let the other things fall away if you don’t have time or money for them. If you are a traveler like me you’re probably going to want to spend time in pubs, coffee shops, the markets, parks, and eating good food! If you’re a traveler like Kyle you’re probably going to want to see the historical sites, visit the museums, and spend time seeing all the things you HAVE to see before you go! This is also important when people are telling you what you HAVE to do while you’re traveling. Everywhere you go, there’s someone who has been there before. It’s exciting to listen to their opinions and take them into consideration. But, at the end of the day if you are being told to spend $50 on dinner at this AMAZING restaurant but you know that you’d rather spend that money on a kayaking trip, you have to stick with what is meaningful to YOU! Everyone’s experiences and travel preferences are different. Knowing yours beforehand is essential to  not being morphed into someone else’s that you wouldn’t enjoy! Bottom line: be ok with not doing EVERYTHING! Yes, you are more than likely not going to be back at at this particular place for a while. But, you want to savor the things you do! You don’t want to look back at your time and it be a blur of lack-luster experiences!

 

5. Research! 

Read and search the web before you go! The main four things I look up are: culture, weather, tourist season, food, and things to do. I want to know what language they speak, if possible, I want to learn a little bit of it before I go. {that’s just respectful guys, at least try!} I want to know if I’m going into a crazy weather pattern or if the town is going to be pack full of other Americans. I also want to know the best time of year to visit certain places and the worst time of year for the weather. The websites I typically use are lonelyplanet.com and traveltips.usatoday.com!

 

6. Plan what to Do! 

Using those same websites and google I then go through and plan out what I’m going to do. This isn’t a set in stone plan, it’s more of a basic guideline. I write out all of the days and I like to break it up by breakfast-activity-lunch-activity-dinner-activity. I make a point to research specific things with every trip. What are the places I HAVE to eat at? Are there any free activities? Are there any great parks? Is there anywhere nearby that would make a good day trip? What are the top sites and activities to see? Are there any great markets? And, of course, where’s the good coffee? Coffee is my number one hobby, think about what your top interests are and see if there’s anything related where you’re heading! This not only keeps  you from going there and not seeing what you’d like to have seen or doing anything. But, it also allows you to get a general budget laid out for your trip!

 

7. Be OK with Inconveniences and Changes in Plans! 

This is probably the most difficult and the most rewarding part of traveling! You are never going to stick to your exact plan and that’s OK!! Hopefully you will meet someone who tells you about something amazing that you’d rather do then that 5 hour mystery tour you’d originally written down. Or maybe your flight will be delayed or your hotel won’t be as nice as it seemed on the internet. I’m very much a planner and the kind of person who likes for things to stay as planned. I’m always early and I’m rarely ok with things not working out. However, I have two methods for dealing with this in life and when I travel. 1. I figure out how to make it enjoyable for myself and 2. I tell myself it’s part of the adventure. For example: Kyle and I took a boat out to an island one afternoon. The boat arrived at 9am and no other boat left the island until 5pm. 8 hours on the island. I had expected there to be a little cafe where I could sit and write and maybe they’d have wifi for my phone. I also expected some shady spots that I could lounge by the water with nice clean seats. I wore a cute dress without sunscreen and no bathing suit. Yes, this was unrealistic. When we arrived it was basically only a beach and one restaurant to eat at. Being the fair skinned ginger that I am, there’s no way I could spend 8 hours on the beach without dying probably. So, I was freaked out. But, I had to take a minute and ask myself what would make that time more fun for me. Kyle and I both decided that the time would pass faster if we made friends. Not only did we make friends, but, we met people from Asheville! We spent the rest of the time drinking and laughing with them and the time flew, because we were having fun! Another reason that the island ended up being one of my favorite days was because these little mishaps and misunderstandings are part of the greater experience! They ARE the adventure. If everything went according to planned, well, the trip would be a whole lot less memorable that’s for sure!

 

8. Make Friends! 

This goes back to what I was talking about in the previous section. But, meet as many people as you can. IF, that’s what you are comfortable with. The more people you meet while you are there, the more opportunities you have to find out about some local secret that will make your trip that much more fun! Also, people are just great in the world, I feel like every person that I’ve met has taught me something about being better and more loving. The more people we meet the more we grow as individuals! If you’re not like me, the kind of person that will make friends with a tree stump, that’s fine! Just push yourself to meet one person a day! You don’t have to be best friends by the time it’s over, just ask them a question. People love to talk about where they leave. Usually, we’re proud of the location we call home! If you ask one person a day what you should do or where you should eat they will more than likely spill over with pride!

We met this group of people our first night in town! They asked us how we were doing and after a few seconds of chatting invited us up for drinks. We ended up talking for hours and in turn we learned some new spanish phrases and made valuable contacts for our time in the city!

 

This is Milton our taxi driver. I waived at him one afternoon while he was driving by. He later picked us up remembering that we’d waived to each other before. On the way home, in spotty spanish, I asked him where we should eat and where the best coffee is, turns out, that coffee was at a place we were already considering going, it was a great confirmation that we should eat there. Because we like each other so much we had Milton pick us up the next morning to take us to our ferry. On the way to the ferry he remembered that I’d asked about coffee and made a point to stop for me to get some! He also picked us up from our resort at the end of the week and took us to the airport. By the end of the week we were good friends! Being friends with him helped me to learn spanish, helped us to find good places for food and coffee, and he even told us things about the city as we drove around!

 

 

9. Have Something You can Always Do for Free!! 

I know this is a specific one, but, when you’re traveling there are going to be times where you just don’t have money to do anything. You also are going to have times where you are possibly a little bit bored. Kyle and I play an on-going game of rummy. We stole the idea from some friends of ours and it’s been so helpful! We started playing on our roadtrip last year and it’s continued since. It’s a nice thing for us to do because we can do it anywhere. We’ve played rummy on the steps of the lincoln memorial, in the airport, in countless pubs, and in city squares. It gives us something to do that doesn’t cost money and allows us to just enjoy being where we are.

Here we are playing rummy in the square outside of one of the oldest churches in the Americas.

 

Here we are playing rummy in our favorite pub in Panama during a black out!

10. Find a Balance! 

What we loved the most about this particular trip was the perfect balance of it all. We are both very torn between the desire to have adventures and the desire to have a vacation. For us, and most of you, this is our one week out of the year that we get off. So, we wanted to return feeling rested. But, we also didn’t want to miss out on any of the adventure. So, we spent the first half of our trip going-going-going in Panama City. We went to Isla Taboga, visited Panama Viejo, toured the Canal, and more. By the end of our time there we felt like we’d seen everything we wanted to see and done everything we wanted to do. Then, for the second half of our trip we transferred to a resort where we just sat by the pool and drank. I splurged on a spa day and Kyle took some time Kayaking. But, we RESTED! That way, when it was time to come home we’d felt like we had our adventure, but, also like we’d been on vacation! Best of both worlds!

 

11. Be a Regular! 

Ok, I know that I said only 10 things, but, I thought of this at the end. For me, it is so important to be a regular at at least one or two places while traveling. I like to go to the same bar more than once or the same coffee shop or snow cone guy. That not only gives me a person I can ask questions to, but, it also shows them that I enjoyed their place enough to return. It’s also just nice to have something familiar to return to. Some of my favorite are in my favorite cafe’ in Paris. I went there everyday that we were in the city, I made friends with Patrick the barista, and drank cappuccino’s with the owner. They told me the things I needed to know about the city, and even wrote down coffee shops for me to visit in London! Those personal connections that you can make from being a regular are great! The snow cone man in Casco Viejo even gave us a discount on our second visit!

 

 

With all of that said and done, there’s no wrong way to travel! These are just tips from my experiences that I hope can help you to take a leap and go somewhere new and maybe have a better experience while you’re there!!

Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share? Any of these resonate with you? Let us know in the comments!!!
with love,
Sarajane.

How I Dress for a Flight.

You may know by now that Kyle and I will be hopping on a flight to Panama Saturday. I’m the kind of person who has a system for everything. I like to plan in advance and be prepared for the unexpected. The theory I’ve adapted is if I plan enough than the more free spirited I can be. Makes sense right?

Those neurotic tendencies have spilled over into my travel attire. I strategically choose what to wear when I fly. I decided to go ahead and break it down for you.

Typically, I choose between a dress or leggings. For this post and what I’ll be wearing this weekend, I’m going with leggings. I’m choosing between these two for the obvious reason that they’re comfortable and easy to stay in for hours.

Our flight on Saturday is 2 hours, a 10 hour lay over, and then 3 more hours. That’s 15 hours of travel time. I’m definitely trying to wear something comfortable!

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The other thing I always try to remember is to look nice. I know it’s tempting to wear your jammies on a flight. I get that. However, we’re not in high school anymore. I for one have a business to represent. You never know when someone you meet could be a future client. Everything I do is a reflection of my work. I want to maintain a professional appearance as well as I can. Also, in 2007 I was taking my first flight alone. So, I did all of this research for things to know when you fly. The thing I remember most from that article is that you are more likely to be upgraded to first class if you dress nicely. Noted!

The other reason I always try to dress nice is because this one time, I wore basketball shorts and a hoodie on a flight to NYC. It was my first trip there and I had these dreams of feeling like Carrie Bradshaw, twirling in dresses, and eating at the best restaurants. However, we arrived around 9am and couldn’t check into our hotel until 3pm. That means my first 5 hours in New York City were spent in basketball shorts and a hoodie. My dreams of Carrie-dum were seriously looking glim.

Now, I always try to wear something that is both comfortable and nice at the same time.

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I add the cardigan because it’s usually cold on a flight. But, the layers allow me to adjust to temperature changes. The belt is added for an extra dimension. Making it a bit dressier and creating some shape in the outfit.

I also typically wear my hair in a top knot. This is the best for me because I can rest my head back without it digging into my head. I think the earrings give it a dressier feel even though I’m wearing glorified yoga pants.

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The shoes are a big deal. I make sure to always wear something comfortable enough to walk in all day. But, also easy to slip off while going through security. No one wants to be ‘that person’ who wore lace up boots and didn’t think to start taking them off until they got to the front of the line.

Now, the real secret to this post is in my scarf. It’s an airplane blanket.

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I bought it 3 years ago on the way to our honeymoon. I was so cold in the airport and it saved the day. Now, I always wear it as a scarf both on flights and to the movies.

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Sarajane.

Local Love: Top 10 Asheville Lunches Under $10.

You all know that Asheville is known for it’s culinary prowess. It’s emerged a strong competitor for larger cities and is still growing as I type! To pick the top ten places to eat here is impossible. The attempts at narrowing it down to lunch under $10 made it a bit more bearable, but, let’s be honest, there are going to be some places that we all LOVE that won’t make the list. With a plethora of culinary adventures, Asheville is impossible to rank. However, I’ve compiled my list of favorite lunches in Asheville for under $10. These are my favorites. It’s not a be-all-end-all list. By all means, please, share yours with us in the comments below!!

I’ve also chosen to go with specific meals, not just restaurants. Because, I want you all to try every single of these dishes. You won’t regret it!

**In no particular order**

Coconut Curry Rice Bowl {$6.99-$9.99}
Green Sage Cafe’
Downtown: 5 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC 28801 – 828.252.4450 – Open: 7am-6pm
Southe: 1800 Hendersonville Rd. Asheville, NC 28803 – 828-274-4450 – Open: 7am-8pm

This rice bowl is a medley of goodness. With your choice of roasted chicken, tempeh, or ground beef on a bed of brown rice, black beans, stir fry napa cabbage, carrots, peppers, kale, cashews, raisins, cilantro, and coconut curry sauce! It’s one of the most filling meals I’ve ever had. Get the small bowl for $6.99 and leave satisfied or get the large bowl for $9.99 and take some home for later!

Build your own Crepe or Chien Chaud {$5.00}
Creperie Bouchon
Downtown:

Creperie Bouchon is nestled behind the shops and bustle of Lexington Ave. It’s hidden away giving it a ‘secret garden’ kind of feel. The best time to go is when there’s a crisp in the air and you want to feel like you’ve stepped out of Asheville into some small European village.  I couldn’t choose between these two at Creperie Bouchon. Either build your own crepe’ or Chien Chaud for me! Building your own crepe’ starts at $5 and goes up from there as you add ingredients. You can add things like arugula, beets, bacon, goat cheese, and even duck confit. It’s the perfect fit to the classy courtyard atmosphere of this little Creperie. However, Chien Chaud is a magnificent buy. It’s a baguette with a hotdog and mustard, it also comes with frites {fancy french fries} and their delicious dipping sauce. All of that for $5. I just don’t understand it. You could get that and a dessert crepe’ and still only go over the $10 budget by $1! Just saying.

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buttermilk Fried Chicken {$8.00-$9.50}
Homegrown
North Asheville: 371 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28801 – 828.232.4340

Homegrown’s slogan is “Slow Food Right Quick.” There couldn’t be a better way to describe this little eatery on the Northside of downtown. It’s been formed inside of a non-descript house with little sign that you’re at a restaurant besides the heavenly scents wafting from the inside. Their giant blackboard menu changes every-single-day with new finds from local farms. But, the one constant is their Buttermilk Fried Chicken and mushroom gravy. It’s boneless, but, you’d never know with how incredibly juicy it is. For $8 you can enjoy this with one side and for $9.50 go ahead and grab a second side. For your sides I’d urge you to try the cheese grits and brussel sprouts!

        

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Burger and Tots {$8.00}
Universal Joint
West Asheville: 784 Haywood Rd. Asheville, NC 28806 – 828.505.7262 – Open: m-th – 11:30am-1am fri-sat – 11:30am-2:00am sun- 12pm-12am

I may get some flack for this since Universal Joint started in Decatur, GA. However, it’s one of the best places to grab a bite when you are trying to choose with a large group. There’s always something for everyone. Also, being built into an old Pure station gives it a cool vibe and the outdoor patios are perfect for a nice afternoon lunch. Did I mention they have a great beer selection? When I go to UJ I either get the fish tacos, the veggie burger, or the chili-garlic shrimp salad. But, for the purpose of this post I’m going to advocate the veggie burger and tots. The patties are made in-house and have a delicious greek yogurt sauce on top. The tots are great, but, what makes them special, is that I order the sunset dip on the side! {Sunset dip is their queso that they serve as an appetizer, but, the waiters are usual awesome enough to give it to you with your tots.} The prices aren’t up on their website and I don’t have the best memory, but, I’m 90% sure there’s nothing there over $10.

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beef Burger with Worx Sauce {$6.00}
Burger Worx
Downtown: 1 Page Ave. Suite 270 Asheville, NC – 828.253.2333 – Open: 11am-9pm

Burger Worx is located inside the Grove Arcade. It’s particularly nice if you are looking for something cheap and easy. Just walk in, fill out your order on one of their forms and get out of their with all of your food in a paper bag. Yes, it’s a greasy spot. The atmosphere may be trendy, but, the food is not hip. It’s burgers and fries at their finest. However, with burgers starting at just $4 and a ‘small’ fry for only $1.99 you are set! Make sure you get the worx sauce on your burger, it’s kind of magical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulled Pork Sandwich {$6.50}
WALK
West Asheville: 401 Haywood Rd. Asheville, NC 28806 – 828.505.7929 – OPEN: 11:30am-1am

WALK is kind of a new comer in town. With their completely open front end and awesome bar selection, they’ve quickly become a favorite. To be honest, I’ve eaten tacos every time I’ve gone there. However, the other day Kyle ordered the pork sandwich and I took a bite. It was rockin’! It’s not your typical barbeque sandwich. It’s pulled pork topped with chipotle slaw that will blow your mind. I’d get either sweet potato tots or sauteed kale for my side. You can even add chips and salsa as an appetizer without going over your $10 limit! Another great option for this spot is TACO TUESDAYS! You heard me, a day dedicated to tacos! Each taco is only $1.50 and you can mix and match however you’d like!! I’d recommend hitting that up by getting 3 tacos at $4.50 and adding chips and queso for $4.00! Still topping you out at only $8.50!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fried Pork Sandwich {$10}
Table
Downtown: 48 College Street Asheville, NC – 828.254.8980 – OPEN: 11:30am-2pm also 5:30pm-10:00pm

Table is known for being one of the best restaurants in town. It’s also known for being one of the priciest. So, I can imagine your surprise when you see on my list of places to eat for less than $10. However, their lunch menu has a myriad of options every day under that amount! woot woot! However, their menu does change every single day. The best thing I’ve ever eaten there is a friend pork sandwich with a side of greens. Simple enough, but, it blew my mind. So many complex flavors! Hitting right at $10 you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Lunch Buffet {$8.95}
Mela
Downtown: 70 North Lexington Ave. Asheville, NC – 828-225-8880 – OPEN: 11:30-2:30pm also 5:30pm-9:30pm

Mela is hands down my favorite restaurant in town. It’s nice and airy with large open windows, it’s comfortable and classy at the same time, and the food is delightful. Did I mention that you can get their lunch buffet for only $8.95? It changes everyday and always has enough options to please everyone. I’m also a fan that they serve incredible iced chai. If you want to get a chai, soda, or beer with your lunch buffet, it bumps it up to just $11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TAP Burger {$10}
The Asheville Public
River Arts District: 175 Clingman Ave. Asheville, NC – 828.505.1720 – OPEN: lunch served from 11:30-2:30pm

The Asheville Public is one of our newest gems. The atmosphere is ‘soo Asheville’ and the food is solid. You could try the curry meatloaf, the reuben, or the mind-blowing turkey sandwich. But, this is just a solid burger. Juicy, thick, and cooked to perfection. Served with fries and large enough to share. I’d encourage you to attempt a visit when they have the $10 burger and beer special. That’s where it’s at!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lump Crab, Thai Peanut Chicken, and Bangkok Shrimp Tacos!
White Duck Taco Shop
River Arts District: 1 Roberts St. Suite 101 Asheville, NC – 828-258-1660 – OPEN: 11:30-9pm

I don’t think any of you are surprise to see this on here. White Duck has possibly the best tacos in town and some of the most interesting tacos I’ve ever had. With flavors ranging from lump grab to Duck with mole sauce, there’s something there you will like. There’s also something there you will want to experiment with. For only $3.25 each I’d say try one of both! Get the chips and queso to share for $3 and still come in under our $10 limit. The only thing missing from our favorite taco shop is margaritas! I keep hoping that they’re coming. But, they do a good job of making up for it with their house-made sangria that has everyone raving.


City Love: Atlanta, GA.

It’s not uncommon for people in the southeast to avoid Atlanta all together. It’s not known for being hip or easy to navigate. It’s also-in my opinion-a bit underrated. I travel to Atlanta quite often for work and have been able to find some really great places to frequent. Having friends who live there sharing their hot spots with me has been wonderful. I spent a few days their last week for a photography conference and found myself really looking forward to hitting up my favorite spots! I decided I had to share them with you, that way – next time you’re in town – you can at least eat, drink, and sleep well!

 

 

Where I Eat: 

Taqueria Del Sol

There are four locations for this taco shop that stole my heart. My cousin was the first person to take me here and then another friend took me there as well. I’m so glad they did! It’s become a staple in every single trip I take to the Atlanta area. If you know me, then you know that I’m not a huge fan of mexican food. However, this place opened my eyes to the beauty that is a taco and good margarita. Everything is so fresh and made in house. The menu is simple {which I love} and the margaritas are amazing! I always get the fish taco, the carnita taco, and the veggie taco. Paired with a house margarita for only $5. This place has spoiled me when it comes to taco shops. It can’t be beat.

There is just about always a line. But, it’s well worth the wait. Also, if it’s just you or if you’re just a group of two you can skip the line and sit at the bar!

Flip Burger Boutique

Flip is the baby of chef Richard Blais {winner of season 8 top chef}. It’s a unique blend between upscale dining and a burger joint. Every dish is a unique take on a classic diner food. There are three locations: 2 in Atlanta and 1 in Birmingham. If you’re in either of those cities, get yourself to a flip burger now. You will not be disappointed in either the atmosphere or the quality of the food you ingest. I’m a personal fan of the turkey burger: monterey cheese, crushed avocado, pomegranate ketchup, and sprouts. I also recommend the adult root beer float and the brussel sprouts are to die for!

Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles

Owned by Gladys Knight, Ron Winans, and Shanga Hankerson this sweet spot of southern tradition has never let me down. It’s perfect if you’re looking to try something new or re-visit some of your favorite southern foods. The atmosphere is cozy and the food makes you feel like you’re visiting your grandmother. The hot wings are a personal favorite, along with-of course-the chicken and waffles. I recommend getting both and splitting them with a friend. You can get both of those for $19.00. This may not be the place that you can eat on a regular basis {I’m not trying to raise your cholesterol over here}, but, it’s a great spot to hit every once and a while!

Where I Drink: 

Octane Coffee Bar

Home of the world barista competition in 2009, this place is legit. The baristas are incredibly skilled and friendly on top of that. There are three locations one on the westside, one in the Bank of America plaza, and one in Grant Park. Every single one has provided excellent service and a stand up cup of coffee. I love the Grant Park location when I want a nice calm place to sit and read, I recommend the Westside location if you’re looking for somewhere to plug-in and work for a bit, the bank of america locations {the pocket bar} is great for a grab and go. Wherever you are, I recommend selecting a single-origin coffee and having a pour over. They are also some of the top barista’s in the world, so you can’t go wrong with a latte, macchiato, or any other espresso based beverage.

If you are familiar with the difficulty of latte art, you know that the smaller the cup the more tricky the pour. This guy poured this {see photo below}  into my macchiato- that’s a 3.5 oz cup! Impressive! On top of that, he remembered my name and I live 3 hours away!!! If that hasn’t sold you, I don’t know what will. O yeah-they serve beer and wine too!

Cafe Intermezzo

With their first location opening in 1979 Cafe Intermezzo has become a signature for the city of Atlanta. It’s one of those places that makes you want to create. Being there is inspiring and reminds you of the great writers and artists that came before you. They do serve a meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, however, they also have an extensive drink list. I prefer to just grab a coffee and enjoy a good book and a bit of people watching. This spot is also open fairly late on weeknights and weekends. With locations closing anywhere between 1am-3am every night of the week!

Where I Sleep:

Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown

The hotel is not only nice in atmosphere, location, and comfort, but the staff is overly friendly and accommodating. I loved my stay here and I can’t imagine ever staying anywhere else in Atlanta. From the front desk worker Stanley who not only remembered where my conference was, but, asked me if I needed directions printed as I walked out the door that morning. To Michael the bartender who remembered my name and kept the bar open 4 extra hours for just me and my friend! {even though we didn’t ask him to} On top of that, the hotel is in a great location-close to everything and walking distance to a few bars and restaurants. However, you don’t even have to leave the hotel if you don’t want to. With amazing food and drinks right there! I can’t help but brag on this place every chance I get. If you go to Atlanta, this is def. the place for you to stay. If you mention this write up to Michael at the bar, maybe he’ll even make you one of his special drinks!

{Our room}


{The Lobby}

{view from the room}

Hopefully, at this point I’ve given you some ideas of places to go!

Do any of you have places you love to frequent in the Atlanta area? Write about it in the comment box, I’d love to hear from you!

until next time-eat, drink, and sleep well,

Sarajane.

 

Top 5 Lattes in the United States.

Ok, I often refer to our trip as a coffee shop tour of the United States. So, it goes without saying that I enjoyed my fair share of  latte’s. I have to share my top 5 with you! Please, if you go to any of the cities listed, please, please, please, check out these coffee shops! They sincerely deserve your business!

1. Hope and Union | Charleston, SC

The lovely Tess Rogers took us here when we were visiting Charleston at the very beginning of our trip. Among a ton of other great qualities, Tess apparently has great taste in coffee! I loved this place because they served both Stumptown and Intelligentsia beans {great roasters} and it was in an old house only to be noticed as a coffee shop because of a tiny sign saying, “coffee” out front.  It also was decorated very simply and clean. On top of all of that, the latte’ was to die for!

2. Octane | Atlanta, GA

This isn’t a new place to me, but, we did do a Line up With Love there and I can’t deny the award winning latte’s from this place on my list. Seriously, they win awards all the time!

3. Coffee Bar | San Francsico, CA

The atmosphere in this place wasn’t awesome. They weren’t super welcoming if you weren’t eating a meal which I found strange since their name is “Coffee Bar.” They even had the majority of their tables marked as meal only tables. So, if you were just getting coffee there was hardly anywhere to sit, I actually saw employees ask people to stand if they were sitting in one of the MANY available meal only seats even though there wasn’t anywhere for them to go. That rubbed me wrong. However, they do coffee right! It’s serious quality here. To be honest, I’d much rather be recommending “Philz” to you for coffee in San Fran. But, they don’t serve latte’s and this was one of my top five of the trip for sure.

4. Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry | Portland, OR

Ok, yes, Stumptown has great great coffee. However, all of the ones we visited came off seriously pretentious. But, Woodlawn, where our friend Josh Casper works, they serve Stumptown beans and with a much better attitude! I was only able to visit once. But, the latte’ I received was near perfect, not to mention, the sweet home-like vibe of the shop itself. A definite recommendation if you’re in the Portland area!

5. Intelligentsia | Chicago, IL

Hands down the best latte’ I’v e ever had! Honestly, I kind of figured it would be. I could have spent days in this shop, actually, I did. It was so inviting and absolutely delicious. There’s a reason they’re so famous for what they do, that’s for sure!

with love and caffeine,

Sarajane.

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