A COLLECTION OF LIFE-LATELY-FAVORITES.
PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS ON OUR MINDS
...AND IN OUR VIRTUAL SHOPPING CART.
I have not really been a sneaker gal since high school when I played every sport and bought a new pair of sneakers about every season, I think I avoided them for a long time...but I am joining the bandwagon and pretty excited to add my new Nike Air Huarache in white to my line up!
Was on vacation in Miami recently and had the best tacos ever. I've had soooo many tacos my whole life from so many places and these might beat my mom's home-cooked ones (sorry mom). Their menu is super small and only offers tacos but thats all you need. The chicken one is the greatest thing ever. Also if you ever go you need to try their chips, I've never tasted anything sooo good.
AND MORE FROM BABE WE LOVE, Katie Parker, Nomadic Thirty Something
Roaming North America In A Van
One look at #vanlife and I was hooked. After picking up a 1990 white Ford van from the south side of Des Moines, my husband got to work on building our home on wheels. Last July, after selling our house, cars, and 90% of what we owned, we set out in pursuit of National Parks and breweries in the U.S. and Canada. We’ve been on the road for over 9 months and have driven over 20,000 miles together. It’s been exhilarating, exhausting, and every emotion in between. To help keep myself grounded I began journaling every day. It’s such a therapeutic way to reflect on all we’ve been able to see. We keep friends and family updated with our blog at www.michelvangelo.com.
For capturing the adventure, a beginner camera that I would recommend is the Sony a6000 it’s smaller than most DSLR cameras which is helpful when I’m trekking it around on 10 mile hikes. For a funky camera strap, check this one out.
Finding a place to sleep for the night can be a bit tricky unless you're on the West Coast. We use the HipCamp app. I consider it the "Airbnb of camping." This app has been a life saver on the East Coast, blessing us with a tiny cabin in Pennsylvania on an Alpaca Farm for only $35 a night! It is a fun way to find not only tent campsites, but also cabins, yurts and other unique things people have to offer.
Cooking on the road can be a bit of a challenge. A great resource is Fresh Off the Grid. They have innovative recipe ideas, including many gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free and vegan options. This chickpea breakfast hash with summer veggies is so good, while also being healthy!
Road Food: Our bible for finding all the hidden food gems in each state. This book makes a great gift for anyone who travels.
Living in a van, my “closet space” is about the size of two dresser drawers. Bandanas are my go-to accessory for any of my outfits. They’re great to wear on hikes and dip in a stream to cool off, they spruce up a great pair of overalls, and they’ve been fun to find all over during my travels.
It took a long time to find the perfect travel pants that are comfortable enough to sit in during long drives, durable enough for long hikes, stylish enough to wear out and about, yet can withstand not being washed very often… #vanlife. I have a pair of these gems in every single color (peppercorn color, which is my absolute favorite, will be back in stock this spring according to their website)! I would recommend going down a size.
Sweet surprises on the road:
Meow Wolf: This interactive art exhibit made by numerous local artists is unreal! From the outside it looks like an old K-Mart building and then you walk inside into an actual house. There is an entire story that you can follow, but we opted just to take it all in this time around. You can walk through the refrigerator into another world, step through an ice box into a room full of mirrors, slide through a washing machine, the list goes on. This place is family friendly, but some of the rooms might be a bit scary for younger ones. Meow Wolf is a must see when in Santa Fe, and two more are being built in Denver and Las Vegas (we I wait)!
Savannah, GA: Treylor Park is an unconventional restaurant and cocktail bar. The PB&J chicken wings are a must!
Chattanooga, TN: Aretha Frankensteins is a tiny restaurant that is worth the wait for their gigantic, fluffy pancakes and you can also buy a box of mix to take with you!
Tofino, BC: We ferried our van, #MichelVangelo, to Vancouver Island. The town of Tofino is home to the food truck Tacofino where I waited in the pouring rain to be blessed with the best fish tacos of my entire life. I still have dreams about them!
San Antonio, TX: We spent the day riding bikes around and stumbled on The Friendly Spot an outdoor space to enjoy over 300 cans/bottles of beer, 76 taps, food, and sports. Plus it’s dog and kid friendly!
Truth or Consequences, NM: This tiny town of less than 6,000 people has 10 hot springs! This town sits on a fault, which has allowed for this pristine mineral water to soak into this town. We chose to do a private (clothing optional) soak session at River Bend Hot Springs. The private soak rooms overlook the Rio Grande river, for a truly beautiful view as you soak in all the natural benefits. A 50 min session was only $30 for the two of us. If you stay at their lodge you get a 33% discount on all of their spa services. I would love to go back and have a relaxing girls’ weekend!
Tillamook, OR: Cheese is something I could never live without, so when we were in Oregon we made a stop at the Tillamook Creamery. This place is my Disney World, with its free cheese samples, mouthwatering cheese curds (along with an entire menu of other cheesy dishes), and the best damn ice cream I’ve ever had. Seriously, you need to go to this cheese mecca.
New Orleans, LA: Bacchanal a restaurant off of the French Quarter. It looks like an old house from the outside, when you walk in you are immersed in wine and cheese. Pick out a few cheeses ( the staff will put together a cheese plate for you) while you grab a bottle of wine. There is an entire menu of phenomenal food so definitely check that out. Find a spot in the back yard to enjoy live jazz all night long!
Dirt Farm Brewing in Bluemont, VA. Great beer with the best views of Virginia countryside.
Sawtooth Public House in Ketchum, ID. This fun ski town is worth a stop!
Crux Fermentation Project in Bend, OR. Fun outdoor space with solid beers.
Truth or Consequences Brewing Co. in Truth or Consequences, NM. Seriously, this little town was an unexpected surprise. The beer didn’t disappoint.
Cloudcroft Brewing Company in Cloudcroft, NM. Their motto is “Beer tastes better in the mountains.” I couldn’t agree more and I recommend pairing a pizza with a pint (or two).
Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. in Franklin, NC. This brewery is off of the Appalachian Trail, so you’re bound to see AT hikers stopping in for their delicious beer.
Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. They know how to push the boundaries when it comes to brewing, these bold beers pack a lot of flavor.
My fave U.S. National Parks:
Traveling the U.S. reaffirms my love for Des Moines, specifically the smaller city feel and the “Iowa Nice” attitude. My travel motto: Don't plan too much, the unexpected finds are always the best.