Friday Favorites (68)

Friday Favorites | Freckled Italian

Happy Friday! This week has been such a weird one as we've been unpacking and getting to know our new neighborhood a bit. Yesterday my friend Alli was in the area from San Francisco and stopped by for an hour--I didn't realize how much I needed to see a familiar face until she was sitting in my living room with me. 

This weekend we're going to try to finish most of our unpacking and then do a little shopping. We also want to find a dog park for Ender to play, since he had to give up his backyard to move here! If any of you South Bay friends have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

Before I dive into more clothes and kitchen stuff, I wanted to share this list of links I put together:


I'm hoping to get back to a more regular posting schedule now that my book is out and we're finally all moved in! It's been a crazy few months, but I don't know if I'd have it any other way. Thanks for sticking with me, you guys! It really means the world to me.


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Our Cross-Country Road Trip: Part 2

Colorado | Freckled Italian

Hi again! So sorry for the delay. I thought I'd be up and running yesterday but we didn't get Internet at our new house until late last night! 

Day Three, Continued

After walking around the Garden District of New Orleans a bit, we headed back to the hotel, packed up our stuff, and got in the car. Ender had been traveling in his crate until this point but when we opened the back door he completely froze and refused to get in, which broke our hearts. I opened the front door and he hopped right in! He wasn't against traveling, he just wanted to be with us; so we let him sit in the front with whoever was in the passenger seat. It took a little getting used to and I was uneasy with it since he wasn't really secured in any way, but we brought some pillows forward and he would curl up on our lap and sleep (he's 53 pounds--not a lap dog).

Cross-Country Road Trip | Freckled Italian

This third day was pretty uneventful and was really just spent in the car--we planned to stop in Dallas but somehow didn't realize that Dallas to Denver was 12 hours, so we pulled a late night and an early morning swinging through Oklahoma City and then finally getting to Denver around 5 or 6 the next day. 

Day Four

Denver: We had never been to Denver before and totally forgot that they have a city and county-wide ban on pit bulls. We remembered as soon as we got there and were leashing Ender up to take a long walk around a cute little lake with a walking path. Apparently your dog can be confiscated and subjected to a breed assessment before they let you keep them or make you get rid of them. We were only there for one night so I don't think it applied to us too much, but we skipped the walk and kept Ender cooped up in our hotel room all night, which sucked. Something to consider if you have a pit or a pit mix and are driving through Colorado.

Once we got him settled in the room, we headed to Linger to have dinner and drinks on the roof. It was gorgeous and the food was great. The drinks were delicious too--we actually ordered from the self-serve food truck on the roof because getting a table would have taken 20-30 minutes and it was already kind of late. After dinner we grabbed an Uber to Great Divide Brewery to try a few beers.

The next morning we drove over to Little Owl Coffee, which was recommended to us by our friends at Hex Coffee in Charlotte. Rob stayed in the car with Ender and I ran in to get two cappuccinos to go. (The pit bull ban really threw a wrench in our Denver plans, but at least we got to eat some good food and drink some good coffee.)

Driving through Colorado was absolutely breathtaking, and we stopped at a little lake to walk around and enjoy the cooler weather.

Colorado | Freckled Italian

Grand Junction: We stopped in Grand Junction, Colorado on our way to Salt Lake City. It was about halfway and Rob's brother Dan was actually there with his girlfriend on vacation, so it worked out really well. We had a late lunch at 626 on Rood, which was a great place that took such great care of us--Lindsay called ahead to make sure we could have a dog (I was surprised by how many breweries and patios in Colorado didn't allow animals! I think Charlotte spoiled us.), and they said we were welcome to bring Ender to the back patio. The server brought Ender dog treats and cucumbers and stopped to pet him every time he came out, which was so nice after having him cooped up in Denver. It worked out so well that we ended up spending a lot of time in Grand Junction, which got us to Salt Lake City pretty late.

Day Five

We woke up early in Salt Lake City and headed downtown for coffee and breakfast after walking Ender around a bit. We had done such quick mornings in every other city that it was nice to take our time in Utah. I've been twice before but never really explored because I was always at a conference.

La Barba Coffee in SLC | Freckled Italian

We got coffee at La Barba and then walked to The Rose Establishment for some food (and more coffee, woops). I got a Yerba mate latte that was so good and reminded me so much of my childhood that I actually cried a little. The gorgeous breakfast bowl I ordered didn't help. I'd go back here in a minute.

The Rose Establishment | Freckled Italian

After breakfast I took Rob to The Grand America, which is where Alt Summit used to be every winter. We walked around and then headed back to the hotel to pack up and get Ender so we could explore Temple Square a bit. I'm not Mormon or even that religious but there's something about seeing the temple in Salt Lake City that always touches me. It's pretty magnificent.

Temple Square SLC | Freckled Italian

Day 6

I kind of stopped taking pictures after this point--we were so ready to be done driving. Going through Utah was really beautiful, though.

Cross-Country Road Trip | Freckled Italian

Lake Tahoe: We decided to go to Lake Tahoe instead of Reno and I'm really glad we did. Once again we got in late, but when we woke up we discovered a walking/bike trail right behind our hotel, so we took Ender for a nice long walk and found a coffee shop along the way, which we ended up visiting again that same hour for breakfast sandwiches.

We left Tahoe and headed to Sonoma so Rob could get a growler of Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewery (it's so good). We were in the home stretch! We got lunch at an In-N-Out and finally made it to Mountain View, where we checked in to a hotel until our stuff arrived a few days later.

Now we're home and slowly unpacking. It takes so long to get settled and I know it's going to take even longer before the Bay Area feels like home, but that's another post for some other time. Until then I'm just glad we made it safely and created some incredible memories along the way.

Our Cross-Country Road Trip: Part 1

Nashville, Tennessee | Freckled Italian

Hello from California! We finally arrived early Saturday evening and have been exploring our new neighborhood ever since. After a full summer of Rob traveling, it was a little surreal to go to bed on Sunday night knowing we were together again for a "regular" week (what even is regular anymore, though, you know?).

The movers will be here today and I'm so excited to see all of our stuff in our new place! Moving is rough in so many ways but I always love unpacking and getting settled. But until then, and because we obviously succeeded in driving across the country, I thought I'd do a quick recap while it's still on my mind. 

Day One

We left Charlotte around 10:30 on Sunday morning and headed for Nashville, Tennessee. We knew ahead of time that we wanted to stop in Asheville, North Carolina because we had only been once before. Looking back this was definitely the easiest day of driving, even though Ender didn't really know what was going on.

AshevilleHigh Five Coffee for two cappuccinos to go. I walked Ender around the neighborhood while Rob ordered and waited. We thought we might go to lunch at Wicked Weed Brewing but it was Sunday afternoon and really crowded (Ender's nightmare, or I guess I should say our nightmare with Ender). This is the first time we realize traveling with a dog comes with challenges, and we're not even three hours in.

Nashville: Right away we go to Centennial Dog Park, and I'm so glad we did. Ender usually starts playing right away when he sees other dogs but this time he hesitantly followed other pups around and then would run away like a shy little kid at a playground. After a while he made a couple friends and got good and muddy in a wrestling match with a black lab and a golden retriever.

After checking into our hotel we met our friend Daniel for drinks and a late dinner at Silo. I had a great glass of rosΓ© and Rob and I split a bunch of small plates that were super delicious.

Day Two

The next morning we walked to Crema for iced coffees with Ender and then packed up the car and grabbed donuts at Five Daughters Bakery. They have a small but impressive selection of Paleo donuts so I got the orange honey pistachio and Rob got some regular ones (except they weren't regular at all, more like a cronut) that were seriously amazing. We later agreed that the salted chocolate was the best donut either of us have ever eaten.

Five Daughters Bakery | Freckled Italian

After we'd stuffed ourselves with donuts, we got back in the car and made our way to New Orleans. I'm really glad we made time for this stop because neither of us had ever been, but driving this far south kind of messed with us, because we were very literally going completely out of our way for it.

We stopped in Tuscaloosa to walk Ender around the University of Alabama. The Riverwalk provided a nice, traffic-free path to stretch our legs and take in some beautiful views.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama | Freckled Italian

We had made tentative dinner plans in New Orleans, but when we finally arrived we were so wiped out that we just stayed in and called it a night early.

Day Three

New Orleans: We woke up early and walked Ender around the Garden District, which is where our hotel was. There were so many gorgeous houses and everyone we encountered was super friendly. New Orleans really feels like a different world--it's old and dreamy in a way that's almost spooky. We went to District for a breakfast taco and a croque-madame served on--you guessed it--a donut. It was so good. I ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee and was pretty much on a sugar high all morning. 

Croque-Madame Donut | Freckled Italian

A quick note about our hotels: We pretty much stuck to Best Western, Motel 6, and Ramadas for this trip. Finding dog-friendly spots wasn't as difficult as we thought it would be, and getting garden-style (ie with our own door that opened to the parking lot or street instead of an inside hallway) made it so much easier to have a dog. 

The hotel we booked in New Orleans allowed dogs but definitely wasn't dog-friendly--it was a high-rise building and we had a room on the 4th floor. It was the second full day of travel and Ender was anxious and we ended up feeling so stressed about taking him out that we ended up getting room service instead of exploring that night. 


Okay, this post is getting long and I'm only halfway done, so I'm going to cut it short and finish the rest in another post tomorrow! Thanks so much for reading--if you've done a big road trip like this before I'd love to hear where you stopped!