Travel

Ariana & Dan’s Road Trip of Love – Next Stop, Nashville!

Nashville, Tennessee surprised me more than any other city on our road trip. Obviously, I love the south – the BIG hair and the cowboys food… but Nashville was just such a cool unique place, even for people who don’t like country music and drinking (Crazy people – because country music is awesome!). Nashville was visually beautiful and delightfully southern. The food is great, the hotels are excellent, the people are lovely and bars are awesome. Every. Single. Bar has a band playing every single night (even on schools nights) it is overwhelmingly intoxicating and a lot to take in. It was Vegas away from Vegas, just a little more hick-ish.

All of everything worth seeing is located in what is known as ‘The District’ and we really didn’t leave the area. From bars, to restaurants, to about 30 stores selling cowboy boots – everything a good tourist needs is right there. Puckett’s is the place for breakfast (INCREDIBLE sweet potato pancakes) and Savannah Candy Kitchen (the craziest candy/caramel/toffee apples) is the most amazing candy store I’ve ever seen.

Franklin, Tennessee is about 45 minutes away and also absolutely stunning. I wish I had known more about it sooner, because when we arrived one afternoon, I quickly realised Bret Michaels, love of my life, was playing at the theatre there THAT NIGHT but it had already sold out. I was gutted. Devastated. Broken. Nonetheless, Franklin was beautiful.

I’d always heard mixed things about Nashville, but I think if you’re a human being with a heartbeat, there is no possible way you wouldn’t like it.

Where? Nashville, Tennessee
Stay? The Indigo (great US Military discounts offered)
Eat? Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant
Drink? The Tequila Cowboy
Candy? Savannah Candy Kitchen

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Events, food, Hawaii, Travel

Halloween | Eat The Street – Día de Los Muertos

We spent Halloween night at Eat The Street’s Día De Los Muertos party.

Eat The Street is Hawaii’s largest street food rally and they hold an event in Honolulu on the last Friday of every month with music, art, entertainment and a BUNCH of different food trucks (which are all amazing!). There’s BBQ, Yaya Thai, Mexican, Uncle’s North Shore Ice-Cream Sandwiches (which are INCREDIBLE), cupcakes, donuts, macaroons, crepes, the legendary Wow Wow Lemonade, a fully stocked bar area and there’s new stuff popping up every single time we go.

If you live in Hawaii, Eat The Street is a monthly necessity (in my opinion) – I feel a total sense emptiness if we miss a month. The best thing about it is entry is totally FREE and the food is very reasonably priced. There’s absolutely no commitment to buy – so you can just go and listen to the music or browse the art if the food doesn’t interest you – which is absurd, but the option is there.

For the month of November, Eat The Street is having a focus on bacon!!! – and there will be a competition for the best bacon dish as well as all the usual food trucks – I’M ALREADY EXCITED!!!

What? Eat The Street
Where? 555 South Street, Honolulu.
When? The last Friday of every month
How Much? Free as a bird!

Photos below….

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Events, food, Travel

Ariana & Dan’s Road Trip of Love – Walking in Memphis

I’ve travelled a lot in 24 years – all over the world, actually! But, since a very young age the legend of Route 66 has intrigued and fascinated me. I love desert landscapes, I love kitsch, I love diner food and I love Americana, so I knew one day I would make a point of driving The Mother Road.

In early August, my husband and I decided we wanted to take a second honeymoon in September since we only had a short 8 days right after our wedding back in March. We decided on an American road trip which we dubbed, ‘Ariana and Dan’s Road Trip of Love’ (corny, we know!). We really only had a couple of weeks to plan flights to the mainland, a rental car (which was crazy expensive) and a timeline of where we were going to stop and for how long.

Well, we didn’t end up planning anything. We just knew we wanted to see parts of Tennessee, New Orleans, Texas and then pick up Route 66 in Oklahoma and drive to California stopping wherever we wanted. We didn’t book any accommodation, we didn’t even look at hotels or prices, we just booked our flights and car a week beforehand and off we went. It was probably the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done (that didn’t involve alcohol).

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                                                                              Bye, Hawaii!

We decided to start Ariana & Dan’s Road Trip of Love in Memphis, Tennessee and I’m so glad that we did. After a scandalous amount of time getting emotionally, physically and spiritually screwed over by American Airlines (which I can’t even talk about because I’m scared my head will actually blow off) we finally made it to the land of the Delta Blues, which is still one of my favourite places that we visited. Memphis isn’t a raging metropolis, just a really quaint and nostalgic place.

To my absolute delight, we arrived on the final night of the Tennessee Delta Fair! (I actually squealed when I saw the sign for it). It was the best fair/carnival I have ever been to – EVEN better than the Perth Royal Show (I’m a traitor, I know). The food was amazing and it was the biggest fair I’ve ever seen. We also spent the evening on Beale Street and went to Graceland. Graceland is where you pay lot of money to touch things that Elvis used to touch (yes, I loved it) but it’s so cheesy and shiny that you feel ok about doing it. Other than the fact the entire tour is electronic and run off iPads, and they let way too many people in at once it is pretty cool.

If you’re ever visiting Tennessee:

  • DO NOT skip Memphis just because it isn’t as big as Nashville
  • MUST have a cocktail at BB King’s (I recommend a ‘Love on the Delta’).
  • The Blue Plate Café has the best peanut butter pancakes (and breakfasts in general).
  • ALWAYS time your trip to when the Delta Fair is on because that funnel cake will remain in your heart for the rest of your life!

Where: Memphis, Tennessee
What: Delta Fair, Beale Street & Graceland.
When: 7th – 8th September 2014
Drinks: Anywhere on Beale Street (be a tourist, it’s fun)
Food: Blue Plate Café (get the pancakes)

Photos are below…..

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Events, Hawaii

A Pumpkin Patch Festival

Coming from Australia, Halloween meant/means absolutely nothing to me. My mum and dad would never have let me go to stranger’s houses and accept food from them, nor would they have let me roam the streets at night dressed in a costume (though photos from my clubbing days may reflect otherwise).

In America, Halloween is OFF. THE. CHAIN! It comes with the autumn season, which means cooler weather (ew!) Starbucks (EW!!!), the list goes on. Americans seem to love the ‘fall’ time and they LOVE Halloween. I’m seriously shocked at the way people in our neighbourhood have been decking out their homes since mid-SEPTEMBER! The money and the time they’re spending decorating is crazy (well to me it is). While Hawaii may be the 50th State, there is definitely no sign of autumn weather, but that has not stopped folks from getting in the Halloween spirit, and you know what? I’m not here to judge, so I’m gettin’ on board!

When I saw signs for a Halloween Pumpkin Patch Festival, I was skeptical, but upon hearing from my husband that there would be food-trucks there, I was OBVIOUSLY keen to go. Food could lead me anywhere… Even to a dusty field in Hawaii where pumpkins allegedly grow.

I have to say, my first Pumpkin Patch Festival was very nice. Americans definitely know what good food-trucks are all about; GREASE. BUTTER. SALT. DEEP FRYING! We didn’t buy a pumpkin, because the thought of putting a raw carved pumpkin on our front doorstep in minimum 30-degree heat and 90% humidity (day and night) and it slowly rotting just does not appeal to me – but the food did appeal to me, and it was great! The only downside, WAY too many kids… It probably had something to do with all the carnival rides, petting zoo, candy, ice-creams, and ponies.

If you live in Hawaii, go! Get the potato on a stick… Actually, get two!

Photos below….

What: Halloween Pumpkin Patch Festival
Where: Aloun Farms, Kapolei
When: Every Weekend in October
How Much? $3.00

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Events, Hawaii, Military

239th United States Navy Birthday Ball

The United States Navy does a lot of celebrating, but the biggest party of the year is the Birthday Ball which is celebrated in every Naval station around the world. This year, in Hawaii, despite Hurricane Ana tearing up the Islands (and my hair), the Navy’s 239th Birthday Ball was celebrated ocean-side in what is usually the beautiful Waikiki. We don’t always attend military functions, as my husband is somewhat averse to ‘working on weekends’, however, this year he decided (because I nagged) that we would clean ourselves up and party!

It’s always nice hearing the Navy Band play during the toasts and listening to guest speakers (this year was Army National Guard Veteran, Tulsi Gabbard), who was also the youngest legislator ever elected in the history of Hawaii and the youngest woman elected to state office in the nation (unfortunately, a Democrat – but still great!). It’s also SUCH a treat to see the service members dressed up, and always… interesting, to see what all the guests are wearing, too (Hey, I’m just saying!!! It’s a little shocking to see what some people consider, ‘ball attire’).

Events like this make you feel very proud to be even just a small part of the global force for good. I hope everyone in duty stations around the world enjoyed celebrating just as much as we did – Happy 239th Birthday to the world’s most elite Navy!

What: United States Navy 239th Birthday Ball, Hawaii.
When: Saturday, 18th October 2014
Where:  The Sheraton Waikiki
Dress: Caché

The Navy provided a photographer, who also directing the posing.

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