Louisville, Kentucky y’all!

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I used to tell myself that I had no business in the South. That is, until I realized I live in Ohio and well, it’s slim pickings! Now, I’ve realized how wrong my perception of the South was. I imagined all of the most terrible stereotypes: hillbillies, racist people, small towns. But the more I travel, the wider my perception of that area of America gets.

This past weekend we drove for about 3 hours from Columbus, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky.

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During my weekend trip, I’ve decided that Louisville is a.l.l.t.h.a.t. The only downside was that we didn’t have more time to explore!

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Our first stop after dropping our bags off at our Airbnb was Blue Dog Cafe on Frankfort Avenue. All I remember about the name of this dessert was it did not sound the way it spelled (French, probably). It was basically a sweet crescent muffin with sugar glaze in the inside (spoken by a true foodie). I also got a Raspberry tea (not pictured). The cashier gave us some advice on where to go next (keep reading!)

After enjoying our pastries, we walked up Frankfort Avenue and checked out some of the cute shops. Some of them were so picturesque —

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Look closely, it’s not a ghost, it is I

I’m a sucker for DIY looking stores with home decor. I am not a country girl, but I do love the “rusic chic” theme for houses.

As I mentioned above, the cashier told us we HAD to check out two places, which we did. The first one was Cherokee Park, and the second was the Walking Bridge.

Thoughts on Cherokee Park: meh

Thoughts on the Walking Bridge: 1000% recommend to anyone going to Louisville! We got there at about 8:55 pm. The best and sweetest part about this evening was making our way up the bridge, and seeing a group full of people standing in red shirts that read: WILL YOU MARRY ME? (Have you ever seen a proposal IRL? I was about to start crying and I don’t even know these people. Life if precious!) I didn’t get that great of a shot of the proposal, but there they are with their sparklers!

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The bridge and the view was so, so beautiful at night. I still can’t get over how nice that night was.

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This may have been one of the more successful night shots I’ve had (night photography is not my strong suit).

The next morning, we got coffee at Please & Thank You. And seriously, how cute is this place?

We shopped some more. There is nothing really interesting to say about that except for a realization I had. For the past few months I have been living downtown. I have loved every single second of it, although living next to a lot of homeless people has not been the best thing for me. As someone who studied social work and poverty, I take a particular interest in those people. And, well, let’s just say I need to stop running my mouth because they so clearly don’t want to hear advice from a random girl carrying 8 bags. I’ve just heard the same rehearsed story several times now, and I know it’s not true and I want them to get the help they need. Calling their bluff to recommend places to go for help has not been super helpful, but rather, offensive (I have learned my lesson, and will just give them the dollar next time). While shopping, a man approached us and said “Hey, I’m just getting off work. Do you have a dollar to spare?” I gave my last dollar to a man who yelled at me for not believing his story, so I did not, but my travel partner did. He was so thankful, and I was also impressed by his honesty.

Before heading home, we checked out Big Rock Park. This park was SO much cooler than Cherokee Park and I wish we skipped Cherokee Park for this one instead.

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This is the big rock!

From a distance we saw a waterfall, and got to see it up close:

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I’m also a sucker for water. Any kind. Beach, waterfall, clean showers without giant spiders….

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I still have some catching up to do with travels, but here ya go ❤

-A

 

-A

 

 

December 22nd, 2016: Ratchaburi, Thailand

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Although Bangfig3kok was our home base, we began a week long adventure south, with the first stop in Ratchaburi. To be completely honest, I am not sure how I stumbled upon this town; however, I do remember why it stuck out to me so much. Ratchaburi has a rich history with pottery. I read someone’s blog about watching artists hand make beautiful works of art, and that was that! We arrived in the town early evening. It was quiet, and we had a hard time finding a restaurant. We checked into our adorable hotel, and then head out (sweat and all from a long train ride) down the street to the nearest restaurant we could find.

I ordered chicken, and french fries. And I dIMG_0641 (2)on’t know what the significance was, but the french fries came inside of an apple! I did not eat the apple, but I DID feel healthier eating my fries! The chicken was honestly kind of Western seeming, but the sauce they put on it was AMAZING. There were peppercorns, it was kind of spicy (typical Thai). One more thing I remember was how out of place we looked. We hadn’t eaten for hours, it was dark out, and we entered this suburban feeling town, with all of these well dressed Thai people and, well… This is how I looked: IMG_8085Messy bun, you can almost see the sweat on my shirt, and just be thankful you can’t see my face. People kept staring at us, which also may have been because we were speaking English, and looked foreign. In the two days that we were here, we honestly didn’t see any other tourists. Later on at a cafe, someone told us that they see most tourists up north in December, and in the Spring they start to see more tourists in Ratchaburi.

The Hotel: Space 59

We honestly loved this hotel. It was so modern. The pictured I took truly don’t do it any justice. The only bad thing was that it was almost TOO modern. The stairs were so sleek and slippery. I was walking down at a fairly quick pace (I was excited!) and I fell to my butt and hit about 15 steps down along the way. The staff came running out, speaking to me quickly in Thai and I kept saying “I’m okay!” EXCEPT that I just wanted to cry on the inside!! I was sore on my leg, butt and arm the next few days, but I lived.

We ended up spending a LOT of time at Rattanakosin, the pottery company. It took us about 14 minutes on a Tuk Tuk to get there… which is actually pretty far! The Tuk Tuk drivers in Ratchaburi don’t rip you off as much as the ones in Bangkok do. It was HUGE inside. We watched aIMG_8164rtists at work with their dogs sitting next to them. We posed next to the beautiful scraps like hipsters. We bought pottery that would fit inside my backpack (and I carried for the remainder of our stay in Thailand D: so heavy).
<– I bought a vase that looked like one of these, except it was red.

When it was time to leave, we started to walk before realizing it would probably take hours before getting back to town. We asked the staff the best way to get back, and she called a ride for us and helped us get the Thai discount! She had someone finagle the price and ensure that we would pay 50 Baht total for the both of us (the cheaFullSizeRender (3)pest we had ever paid!)

It was so uncomfortable sitting on the motorcycle like this, but this is how
all the girls in Thailand do it!!

DISCLAIMER: I really did like Ratchaburi. It was cute, the people were so nice. There was one thing I really DID NOT like about it though… the wild dogs!!!! We were chased several times by packs of dogs. Every time we turned a corner, a group of dogs were barking at us, with their blood shot eyes. They got close, they growled at us…. my heart pounded in my chest until I could feel it in my throat. I closed my eyes and listened as my travel buddy said “don’t run. They’ll chase us.” I tried my best to keep my calm, but this really upset me for several hours. When we were alone, the dogs chased us up and down the streets. When a native was around, they left us alone. They must have known we were foreign.

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We spent 2 nights in Ratchaburi before hopping back on the train for a new city! Stay tuned!

❤ A

Bangkok, December 16, 2016

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Instead of walking at my graduation, I thought it would be more meaningful for me to begin my traveling journey (with my best friend by my side).

We arrived early on December 15th after almost 30 hours on the plane. My initial reaction was terrified: my parents were not supportive of this trip, and they didn’t say goodbye to me before I left. I thought, “maybe this is an omen. Maybe something bad will happen.” And can you blame me?! This was the view from our hotel room:

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iSanook Residence, Bangkok

I imaged Bangkok to be chic, and modern. And, I soon learned that it was…in certain spots, but I am also really glad our hotel was here. It felt very local. The surrounding neighborhood included people who had small businesses in front of their homes selling food, smoothies, fruit, and store goods. We were about a 20 minute walk from the train station– Hua Lamphong, maybe a 40 minute walk from the biggest shopping center I’ve ever seen (it was a dream!).

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Toast Bar, Bangkok

After walking around China Town and getting lost, exploring some temples and meeting some friendly people who seemed excited to practice their English, we found a tiny cute snack restaurant selling toast. Toast is huge in Thailand (and SE Asia in general) and I love them for that. I got waffles this first time we went here (oh yeah we came more than once!). There were two staff people, and one them spoke pretty good English. She had a shaved head, and explained that she just got ordained to be a monk. I’ve never met anyone who’s Buddhist before, and it was just so cool to be immersed in a culture unlike my own and to learn from people like her. She also assumed we never had Thai Iced Coffee before and made us some to try (she was right and it was delicious!)

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Wat Traimit Withhayaram Wora Wiharn, Bangkok

After this TukTuk driver asked to show me a map, circled some touristy places in Bangkok, and tried to convince us that we needed him to drive us (nice try, mister. the pamphlet the hotel gave us warned us about people like you!) we stumbled across this temple where the Golden Buddha is inside. It was perhaps the only touristy thing we did in Bangkok. It was so crowded. I couldn’t get a good shot of the Buddha, and people kept posing for selfies with him and I just couldn’t handle it! I much preferred the less populous places after going here.

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As many people know, I am an animal lover. More specifically, a bird lover. This lady had all these wild birds cooped up in these cages. I bent down to look at them and to feel sorry for them, and next thing I know, she demanding 100 baht, shoving the cage into Nick’s hand and lifted up on the door so the birds could fly free…and I couldn’t even get a good shot because I didn’t have time to adjust the settings on my camera (total rookie move).

Nick says if we were going to pick a name for our trip, it should be: “Wait, let me adjust the settings on my camera.”

I am still learning, and Thailand was the perfect place for me to practice photography.

This was just day 2 of my trip…. stay tuned, it gets WAY better ❤

-A

DIY Natural Body Butter!!

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Between classes, work, student teaching and endless homework, I’ve been so busy. I decided to treat myself to some much needed relaxing craft time (and you should too!!) I’ve been experimenting with some DIY Body Butter.

Here is one recipe and my thoughts on it:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • 1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
  • 5 drops of lemon essential oil

Some cool discoveries: cocoa butter is solid! coconut oil is squishy! cocoa butter smells amazing on it’s own, and smells nice with lemon too!

Steps to make the body butter:

  1. Melt coconut oil, and cocoa butter in a saucepan on medium heat. This took me maybe 60 seconds.
  2. Add a tablespoon of sweet almond oil and stir.
  3. Remove from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a glass bowl and stick in the freezer for about 10 minutes until it starts to look cloudy. This is when I added my lemon drops.
  5. Use your mom’s good electric mixer (it’s all natural and can be cleaned!) and whip for about 2/3 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a glass jar – I use a mini  mason jar.

My thoughts: basically, coconut oil is very greasy. If you let it soak in your skin for about 5-10 minutes your skin will feel amazing. I’m experimenting with recipes that soak in faster and will share once I’m successful! I wanted to bring my body butter with me and it melted in my car, I don’t recommend doing that. When it comes in contact with skin, it melts.

-Aisha