Wandering Wednesday: The Ringling

Happy Wandering Wednesday everyone! I am so beyond excited to share this post with you today! Last week Jackson and I both had Friday off so we decided to take a day trip! I have to say that since we both started working full-time it has been difficult to get the same day off, so we took advantage of it! We thought about going to St.Augustine, but we have already been there 3 or 4 times. We love it, but it’s not new. After much thinking and Googling we found The Ringling Museum in Sarasota. It was only an hour away from us, which was perfect! On Friday we headed to the museum!

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The museum pass includes the Ringling Art Museum, Circus Museum, and a first floor self-guided tour of John and Mable Ringling’s Venetian Gothic mansion, Ca’ D’Zan. We got to the museum around 2:00 and we weren’t able to get in the mansion until 4, so we decided to go through the Circus Museum first! It was so stinking cool! I have this bizarre fascination with the circus and carnivals, so I was beyond excited!

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They have actual costumes, banners, equipment and old photographs from different famous circus performers and circuses! They even have certain acts you can try and take photographs doing, like walking the high wire or trying to fit in a tiny car!

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After you are done with the main room, you have to go in the Howard Brothers Circus section. Inside is the largest model circus in the entire world. It is so amazing! It’s hard to describe how cool this thing is, so I’m just going to tell you it’s a must-see!

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After we finished up at the circus museum, we still had a little time before we had to be at the house for the tour, so we walked over to the art museum to look around for a bit! And let me tell you, it felt like we weren’t in America. I felt like we had been transported to somewhere romantic like Italy. The building is made up of several sections, some had modern art, some had Renaissance art, there was even an Ancient China exhibit going on. There was so much to look at!

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The building makes a U-shape, so we did one side before we made it into the central courtyard. And let me tell you, I about died when I saw the courtyard. Perfectly manicured gardens, statuary, and an incredible view of the building were just some of the many reasons this place is stunning.

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The classical art sections were definitely my favorite. It’s an incredible feeling to be right up next to massive paintings. Painting is one of the talents that I wish I were good at, so I tend to find them particularly interesting!

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After we made it to the courtyard it was time for us to take a tour of the house. We walked under the banyan tree covered paths, and made it to Ca’ D’Zan (“House of John” in Venetian dialect).

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The house was built in  Venetian Gothic style because the Ringlings had spent many vacations in Italy and had fallen in love with Italian architecture. The mansion was used as their winter home. While going through the mansion you can just imagine 1920s flappers hobnobbing on the terrace. It’s so Gatsby, and I was loving every second. The tour takes you through some of the incredible rooms and allows you to go onto the terrace which overlooks Sarasota Bay. It’s not hard to see why the Ringling’s picked such an incredible location!

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The Ringling was so incredibly wonderful. I definitely suggest getting there sooner than we did, however. Three hours was hardly enough time to see everything and take in the beauty. If you liked this blog post, go check out my super awesome husbands’ vlog about our day trip here. I hope that one day you take the opportunity to take a short drive from Tampa and check out The Ringling!

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❤ Abbie

Wandering Wednesday: St. Petersburg, Fl

Happy Wandering Wednesday everyone! Today we are going to take a nice trip to beautiful St. Petersburg, Fl! There’s no snow here, just a nice cool breeze and sunshine! So let’s get exploring!

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St. Pete is a beautiful ocean-side city with a blossoming arts district! There are murals all over the city and it makes for a fun time to just walk around and see how many you can spot!

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There are also lots of yummy places to eat and it gets a little hard to choose where to go! Today my bff Grace and I decided to eat at King’s Street Food Counter.

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This place is amazing with its adorable diner inside and a cool lounge area outside!

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And the food is delicious!! King’s is known for their hot dogs and grilled cheeses! Grace got the Sleepy Dog which is maple apple chicken sausage, bacon, sunny-side up egg, and american cheese goodness!

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I got the Pear-fect Grilled Cheese which is made up of gorgonzola, pear, carmelized onions, and bacon! They were both incredible. King’s should definitely be your first stop on the St. Pete food list!

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Make sure you stop and check out some of the adorable little boutiques and shops! Art Pool is one of our faves! It’s a cute vintage clothes and homemade goods shop!

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They also have a phenomenal record collection!

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You should also check out Plain Jane, an adorable clothing boutique! They are sure to have lots of cute little trinkets to take home!

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Finally, no trip to St. Pete would be complete without checking out the awesome Dali Museum! It showcases the incredible artwork of Salvador Dali! It’s a definite must-see!

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Hope you get to check out St. Petersburg, FL sometime soon!! It’s a fantastic day trip!

❤ Abbie

Wandering Wednesday: Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

Happy Wandering Wednesday y’all!! Sorry that it has been forever and a day since I’ve posted anything, but I have been working a lot. The Holiday season is always crazy for us retail workers!! So today’s post is going to be super chill and we are going to visit the coolest restaurant/ bookstore/ coffee shop that I have been to! Enter Oxford Exchange! This beautiful place is in downtown Tampa, FL across from the stunning University of Tampa (which we will wander at a later date). So let’s get started!

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Oxford Exchange is in the building that used to be the stables for the old Tampa Bay Hotel (which is now University of Tampa). The building itself was built in 1891, but it didn’t become Oxford Exchange until 2012. The owner of O.E. got inspiration for the restaurant/ bookstore/ coffee shop when touring around England! After falling in love with the architecture and design of many of England’s famous buildings, he traveled back to dear old Tampa, and created a place that looks like it should be in England!

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When you walk in you are immediately immersed in beautiful black and white checkered floors and dark bookshelves lined with books! There’s a long hallway that leads to the coffee shop and seating areas. O.E. proudly serves Buddy Brew coffee and amazing teas!

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After you enter the coffee shop area, you can pass through a doorway into a little shop with gifts like adorable handmade necklaces and beautiful serving plates!

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You enter the restaurant through the gift shop. They have two dining areas, one is surrounded by painted brick walls and the other is in a courtyard with a beautiful glass ceiling! I definitely suggest you eat at O.E! Some of our favorite dishes include the Black and Bleu Burger (or any burger for that matter), the O.E. Grilled Cheese (pear and bacon jam, need I say more?), and the Chicken Burger! I also suggest getting tea to go along with your meal! The menu does change up often and their brunch is phenomenal if you ever go at that time!

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If you ever get the chance to visit Tampa, I highly suggest you add Oxford Exchange to the top of your “places to eat” list! You will never be disappointed!! Happy Wandering Wednesday everyone!!

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Ps. It also helps if you take someone handsome with you. 🙂

Wandering Wednesday: 30A, Florida

Hello everyone and happy Wandering Wednesday! I don’t know about you, but I am so glad it’s November! Time to chill and spend time with family! Also, it’s fall!! Which, as I have mentioned before, is my favorite time of year! Now, I live in Florida and that means I don’t get to see fall. Currently it is 90 degrees and I’m hating every second of it. However, lately my dad has been sending me pictures of fall and all of the beautiful leaves that have changed in Ohio. With every picture I die a little on the inside. So today I am going to give you the opposite of fall and show you the prettiest place in Florida, in hopes that I make you a little envious of our current summer-like conditions. Welcome to Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, Florida, otherwise known as 30A. These two picture perfect beach towns are nestled in on Scenic Highway 30A. Their better known other half is Seaside, FL. Today we are going to visit some of the best places in Alys and Rosemary Beach, FL!

The very first thing you’re going to want to do is rent a bicycle. It’s $15 a day for a bike, or you can rent weekly. We suggest renting from Peddlers in Rosemary beach. You get a cute bike that comes with an even cuter basket. Rosemary and Alys beach are so close together you can bike between places. Also, the architecture is ahhhmazing  and you’ll want to bike around, but more on that later!

Make sure that while you’re there you get up early and head over to Charlie’s Donut Truck in Alys Beach. They have fun flavors like red velvet cake and sour cream cake, or they have the regulars like glazed and raspberry filled.

Either way, you’ll want to get there early before they are all gone because they are yummy!

Since you’re already in Alys Beach, ride around and look at all the different houses. Just warning you your jaw will be dropped the whole time and you will have an unshakeable feeling that you have left America. Are you ready?!

Oh, did I not mention that it was modeled after Santorini, Greece? Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

Each house is immaculately white and architecturally unique. It is a goal of ours to rent a house there for a few days. You’re right by the beach and within biking distance of anything you could need. But with houses like these, who would ever want to leave?

I’m just going to flood this page with some of my favorite pictures of Alys.

After you have biked around Alys, you’re probably getting pretty hungry. Bike on over to George’s for lunch! The hamburger is amazing and I got an arugula flatbread that was insanely delicious! You can also eat there for dinner for a romantic getaway! They light it up with string lights and it really is beautiful!

Next, hit the beach for a bit! White sand and crystal blue water are calling your name! Ooohh, do you hear it?! Dolphins are seen on a regular basis and if you look real hard you can even see little crabs scurrying around in the water!

Next, go bike around Rosemary Beach for a bit! They have an adorable little candy shop that serves ice cream called Sugar Shak! Get you a scoop… or two (I won’t tell. You’re on vacation.) and stroll down the streets of Rosemary! Go in the adorable little shops!

For dinner, head over to The Hub on 30A! It is honestly one of the cooler places I have been to eat! They have about 5 different restaurants all set up in one main area. There is a large screen that plays football games and they have a stage where they occasionally hold concerts! It’s a great place to take picky eaters because they have a little bit of everything, but it’s all fantastic.

These are just a few of the many things you can do in Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach. I hope that one day you will venture down and take the trip. It is honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to!! I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite shots of the wedding we photographed while we were there!

Happy Wandering Wednesday!

❤ Abbie

Ybor City, Florida

For today’s wander, I present Ybor City, Florida.

 Ybor City was at it’s heyday in the 1800’s, as the Cigar Capitol of the world. Ybor was also a melting pot for many different cultures with immigrants coming from Cuba, Italy, Germany, and Spain. The artists from the many different cultures helped make this city into what it is today. There are art galleries, amazing  restaurants, and music venues lining the streets.

So today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite places to visit in Ybor City in no particular order!

#1 The Ritz

The Ritz is an amazing special event and music venue. The  Ritz was built in 1917 as the Rizoli theater. It underwent a $2 million renovation and reopened as a special events/music venue in 2008. The inside of the Ritz is amazing. It has beautiful chandeliers and original checkered floors. Jackson and I went and saw the band Sleigh Bells there a few years ago and the venue was small enough for the concert to feel like a private show. One day if you’re walking down there and you see someone in the ticket box, ask to see if they will give you a tour of the inside! And on that tour, ask about their ghosts!

#2 La France

I can’t even begin to describe my love for this store. You need a cute cloche hat? Go here. You need an authentic 1920’s flapper dress? Go HERE!  I’m telling you, this store will take care of all your vintage clothing and accessory needs!

   

You walk in to walls stocked full of vintage pieces for men and women, glass cases with antique pocket watches, and brightly colored crinoline slips dangling from the ceiling.

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 Everywhere you look there is something adorably vintage! And, if you don’t need any of the aforementioned things, which is insane because every girl needs something vintage in her life, you can go in and play with their adorable dog that helps manage the store. What else could you ever need?

#3 Stone Soup Company

This place is becoming somewhat of a regular for us when we go to Ybor because the food never disappoints. The Stone Soup Company not only has amazing soups and sandwiches, but they are also geared to make you feel good too! They make many of their dishes with air-cooking and use mostly locally based produce, which makes for a healthier eating experience! They have won awards for their Cuban sandwiches,which is saying a lot because many places in Tampa claim they have the best cubans, but these guys can prove it!  However, our favorite thing on the menu has a bit of a more Mediterranean feel!  I absolutely love the Souvlaki, which is more or less a chicken gyro. Jackson’s favorite is the Mediterranean Flatbread with gyro meat. Both have awesome flavors and definitely keep us coming back for more!

The restaurant also has an amazing atmosphere and feels really laid-back. They have fantastic classic rock songs playing in the background that helps set the tone.

We wholeheartedly recommend The Stone Soup Company.

#4 The Blind Tiger

Jackson and I just found this place today, but after the experience we had we will definitely  be visiting more often. The Blind Tiger opened it’s doors to Ybor City about 6 months ago, and I get the feeling that it’s a well-kept secret. They serve Buddy Brew coffee and TeBella tea. They have yummy looking pastries for sale and even have an oatmeal bar where you can make your own oatmeal mixes. Jackson indulged in their nitro-tapped coffee, which is basically black coffee that is chilled with a nitrous tank and served out of a tap.

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While I enjoyed a fresh Blueberry Pomegranate Green Tea.

The decor of the shop was lovely. The giant chalkboard wall displaying the menu was perfect.

The staff was adorably dressed in button-down shirts and bow-ties. They were so friendly and very knowledgeable about their menu.

The atmosphere was everything you could have wanted out of a coffee shop and more. Soft jazz music played in the background, and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and read a book while I downed some freshly brewed tea.

If you are looking for a nice place  to study and drink some amazing coffee, this is your place.

There are many other wonderful places to visit in Ybor, and one day I will do a part two to this post. But these are my go-to places when I think of visiting Ybor! I hope this post has inspired you to want to visit Ybor City, FL!