Thanksgiving in the South

Thanksgiving in the South

I have a strong love for the south. My entire family, besides my parents, reside in the south ranging from Texas to Florida. This year I had the pleasure of spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family in Georgia! My Aunt and Uncle live in a small town outside of Atlanta called Roswell, Georgia and I am absolutely head over heels in love with it. It was about a four-hour direct flight from Phoenix, and an hour train ride into Roswell. The train I took goes from the airport and makes multiple stops all over the city and suburbs of Atlanta. It is called MARTA, and it is soooo helpful especially during the holiday season when the airport is  congested. Australia made me grow to love public transportation and since I have yet to experience a lot of it yet in the United States this was a nice change.

Atlanta in the fall is gorgeous. Unlike Colorado, where I was about a month ago, it is still full of vibrant colors adorning the tree branches, mild temperatures, and sunny skies. For Colorado the leaves had all fallen by mid-October, so you could say I was pleasantly surprised by this difference. I loved that I got to experience the hustle and bustle of the city while also being able to escape to the suburbs in Roswell. It made it feel very holiday like, but not to the point where it was being thrown in my face.

Besides the normal Thanksgiving eating and football watching, we had a couple of other fun activities we did while there for the week. We went down to Canton Street, which has to be my favorite place in Georgia because I am a huge shopper and I love the vibe of the area. Canton Street is essential a street full of restaurants and small businesses. It’s got an old timey feel that I love while being very authentic and unique. I shopped at a different couple places that all had great small gifts for Christmas and my mom went crazy for all of her work friends there. They were all moderately priced and all high-quality gifts down on Canton Street.

 

We also went to the Georgia State and Georgia Tech football game. My cousin is a senior at Georgia Tech on the football team and I have yet to have to opportunity to watch him, so this was an incredible treat to get to watch his team play. I got to watch his final home game and really be a part of the whole friends and family cheering on a loved one experience.

Besides those two activities and a lot of relaxation, we went to the local movie theater and saw Wonder which was such a cute and uplifting family movie.

Now on to the good stuff… food! We are a pretty ordinary family when it comes to our Thanksgiving food, but I will let you in on what we had this year that was a little bit different. Before we had Thanksgiving dinner we had Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It was absolutely delicious, and not too filling that it ruins your dinner. We had it around three in the afternoon and our dinner at six.

Our nontraditional dessert was Oreo Balls. I spent the entire weekend eating these bad boys like popcorn, and they are so easy to make. I will include some good recipes below for both, and my favorite pie recipes.

It was a great holiday with friends and family and I absolutely loved wandering around the streets of Atlanta in my Ranch Bucket, don’t you worry Georgia I will be back!

Xx

Gabi

Oreo Balls

Pumpkin Pie

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ranch Bucket Hats

Continuation of Sydney

Continuation of Sydney

By popular demand today we have more on… SYDNEY one of my favorite of places! Last time I really only talked about my experience in Bondi, but it was not the only place I spent my time. Today I want to touch on the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Opera House, The Rocks Markets, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are like a dream out of your favorite Disney princess movie. When we were walking through, there happened to be a wedding going on, adding to the magical delight of it all. I was just awestruck at the beauty within the gardens. They were in full bloom while we were there, which was in September. This time of month is pretty much their spring, so it was not necessarily warm, but everything was creeping into the new growth stage. It was relaxing and de-stressing to just stroll through the gardens, and there was more than enough to look at. I felt like I was a part of the fairy tale as I explored around. I wish I had more time to explore the area, and maybe even picnic in the park.

No architecture compares to The Sydney Opera House. It is just unparalleled to anything else I have ever seen. Being here was one of the most surreal moments of my Australia journey purely because it is one of those places we all grew up knowing existed, seeing pictures of, and wanting to visit. It could not have been any more unique. It was interesting to go inside and read all the signs explaining the history behind the monument, and although I did not do a tour due to time constraints, I feel like I got a lot out of the visit. The location of it was perfectly ideal to explore other parts of Sydney. One of my favorite things is to listen to music, and I am a sucker for street artist. This area has no shortage of them. We ate at a restaurant across from The Opera House while listening to street music, and what a surreal view that was. I will say the day we went was very windy, my friend Kate even had to chase her sunnies down the stairs of The Opera House, so pick a low wind day to visit!

I am a big art fan. I even took art classes from age six to seventeen, so I was not going to pass up the opportunity to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. It is located right across the bay from The Opera House. There is a multitude of sections and floors to look at with a wide range of mediums. I have a strong respect for modern art due to the variety it brings along with it, there are no rules. With no rules comes uniqueness, and sometimes some weirdness. One of the select things I was not as interested in was a video that was playing. It was a video of people just laughing to no end, and not in that cute infectious way but in a creepy way. The cool thing about it though, is even though that is not my cup of tea when it comes to art, I am sure someone out there enjoyed that or was at least entertained by its weirdness.

One of my greatest hobbies and greatest skills I might add, is shopping. I am never one to turn down a street fair or some good markets, and The Rocks Markets did not disappoint. There were tons of cute little vendors, a really good food selection, and a perfect location of across the bay from The Opera House. I got the cutest handmade coasters there for my mom as a gift made from limestone. If they are up and running when you are visiting, drop in and I am more than sure you will find a couple deals there.

 

Xx

Gabi

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Ranch Buckets

Maximizing the Faith

Maximizing the Faith

Lately I have been focusing on maximizing my faith. My faith in myself, and my faith in the ability to do all of this traveling on my own. Traveling takes a lot of faith. The amount is actually unfathomable. It is by sheer willpower and desire that we blindly stumble into the unknown future on our own. We leave behind the things we know and just leap, venturing into the world. We must trust we will be safe and okay throughout our travels. No one goes into a trip thinking, I may get sick, I may get lost, what happens if I get hurt. Somehow, we just blindly choose to go without thinking of those things, numb to all the terrible evils of the world and bad possibilities that could be lurking around the corner.

We have to trust we will always have our life essentials. Food, water, a place to stay, so imperative yet we leave with a little bit of money in our pockets and no thought about those essentials.

With little regard, we trust strangers. We do not know who these people are. They could be a kind soul offering assistance with no desire for reward, or they can be manipulative beings, taking advantage of this trust that traveling bestows upon them.

We experience new cultures. Sharing in something our minds and our bodies are not used to, and only the bravest of us fully submerge in the novelty of it all.

Simply, in my opinion, there is nothing that requires more faith than traveling. It can change your life, it can be your worst experience or your best, but I guarantee you will learn from it. Traveling maximizes every aspect of our survival skills and brings out the best and worst in our personalities. Our true being. I am a big reader, and a good friend of mine recommended a book called The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer. I really resonate with a portion of the book that talks about how we do not truly know ourselves until we tell our inner voice and our past experiences to frankly, shut up. Once we learn how to do this we get to know who we really are. I feel that a lot of time, travel can help us with this. When thrusted into a new environment, we throw away that inner voice and past experiences because they cannot help us in something we have never known before. It is just you and the new experience, and you get to live it as yourself with no person from the past blocking you and no outlook to rely on. You get to remain present in the moment. Travel in life to be lost, and to find yourself. This is the best way to test how strong your faith is.

 

Xx

Gabi

 

The Untethered Soul

My Weekend Call To Action

My Weekend Call To Action

I think one of the most difficult things in the world sometimes is to be the first to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I have yet to figure out what is so difficult about this task, but it is undeniably a challenge sometimes. As human beings we are made to communicate and connect with one another, but yet, many of us find it so daunting to ask strangers simple questions. Social media can sometimes be a road block for this as well. It enables us to hide behind a screen, say more with less emotion behind it, and takes away the key social interaction.

Traveling on my own has done many things for me, but one of the greatest was forcing me to self-advocate since no one else was present to do so for me. The more I HAD to ask strangers questions for my own survival, the easier it got to just talk to strangers. Like all things, practice makes perfect. So, as we all head into our weekend adventures I want to challenge y’all to ask a stranger about their day. Why, well because I think it is time to bring back some good ole’ social interaction.

I promise you won’t regret trying it. Everyone has a story, and everyone has something interesting to say. When you are out relaxing on the beach this weekend, or climbing that beautiful Colorado fourteener, find someone new to meet. Sometimes targeting the people we so often peg as “off the beaten path” or the quietest people have the most incredible stories or the most intriguing secret lives they are leading.

Be open to listening to everyone, if you are going to ask a stranger about their day, care about the answers you are going to receive. If you do this, you not only will make someone’s day, but you will leave the conversation feeling like a better person than who you were when you entered into the day.

My last request… Message me about your weekend adventure and the new friend you make. Include a picture of you in your Ranch Bucket Hat and you might have a chance to be featured on our blog or on our instagram! Happy adventuring!

Xx

Gabi

Ranch Bucket: How it Fits

Our Website

My Favorite Fall Hat

Continued Review Bali

Continued Review Bali

Today I thought I would do a more in-depth review of specific things in Bali. I had many requests about a more detailed review on restaurants and activities I liked in Bali, so I created a list of all the best places I would recommend on your trip to Bali.

RESTAURANTS

Sisterfields: This is a great place for brunch. They have an excellent menu with pristine presentation for those of you who are interested in aesthetically pleasing, Instagram-worthy food. I recommend getting a juice; they were delicious, homemade, and came in the cutest little bottles. Sisterfields is located in the heart of Seminyak, so right after you eat you can head out on the town and shop.

http://sisterfields.com/

Motel Mexicola: We went to this eccentric restaurant for dinner on our last night. The environment is unparalleled to any other place I have been. There is a bar area, dance floors, and an upstairs. There is always music playing and you just want to get up and dance the whole time you are there. This is the place you want to go when you need a fun night out. The menu is similar to most Mexican restaurants you probably have already been to, but for me Mexicola was all about the experience not necessarily the food.

http://www.motelmexicolabali.com/

 

Lacalaca: Another Mexican restaurant that I attended my first night in Bali. It was only a short walk from our place and was a more low-key version of Motel Mexicola. I would advise going here on a night you want Mexican food but less of a crowd to deal with during your meal.

https://www.lacalongtime.com/lacalaca-cantina-mexicana

 

SPAS

All of the spas I looked into were extremely booked up and most did not take walk in appointments. I would highly suggest booking these before you even make your way to Bali, since it was a pain attempting to call and contact them as well since my number was not Balinese.

The Prana: The spa I did get to attend was The Prana and it was breathtaking. The architecture was so unique and made you feel like you were royalty. I did a body scrub and a flower bath – a flower bath had been on my bucket list for a while. They exceeded my expectations, and they had the best lemon ginger tea. I would book there again given the chance and maybe try out some different treatments.

Most of the massages and treatments I had done during this trip were by people who came to our Airbnb through a service provided. It was always cheap and they did such a good job, so I would recommend looking into the services offered where you are staying.

ACTIVITIES

 

Monkey Forest: This is in Ubud, which was relatively far away from where I was staying in Seminyak. It was hands down the coolest experience I have had and well worth the drive. Contrary to rumors, the monkeys are not dangerous and do not carry diseases that cause fatalities. Although there will always be freak accidents and exceptions to this, the forest is popular and known to be safe. Bananas are cheap to buy and the monkeys are friendly. Make sure all of your belongings that are important to you are put away safety or left in the car because we had one monkey UNZIP my friends backpack. They are such smart creatures.

https://www.monkeyforestubud.com/

Hanging Gardens: This is actually a hotel/spa outside Ubud. We thought you could just go there and check out the grounds, but you cannot. If you use the spa services for the day though you get full access. We opted to eat lunch there and look over the property which was absolutely stunning and well worth the money spent even though we could not get into the pool or go too far into the property.

https://hanginggardensofbali.com/

Potato Head: This is a beach club resort. It has free entry and pool access that also leads down to the beach. It has a cool location and is a fun place to hang with friends. I loved the pool, but I was not obsessed with the location of the beach.

https://www.ptthead.com/beach-club-in-bali/

 

TEMPLES

Tanah Lot: This temple was so unique, it stands alone in the water and you can only walk to it through water at low tides. There are tons of cool things surrounding it to do including markets and food shops. It all is just enthralling to look at and the temple itself is mesmerizing. I loved the flowers they gave out and the location is just absolutely breathtaking.

http://www.tanahlot.net/home/

 

WHAT I WISH I HAD DONE

Lake Batur: I have heard so many good things about this place, from the hiking, the nature, and the lake itself. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the volcanic activity I was unable to get over there because of safety concerns.

http://www.greenerbali.com/batur.html

 

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple: This temple was also closed due to Mount Agung and it’s sensitive volcanic activity to my dismay.

http://www.baligoldentour.com/ulun-danu-temple.php