Changing Your Mind: It’s Okay!

Have you ever made a choice but afterward felt as though you made the wrong one? This is one habit I excel at…which, I know isn’t the best; However, I’m pretty sure it’s saved me from making bigger mistakes in life. Okay, okay, I’m getting ahead of myself!

When I was younger, I always said I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up. I knew I wanted to help others and be a caregiver, and that was what I thought would fulfill me. It’s what everyone always said I would be good at, and its “what I should do with my life”. So, that’s what I always told people I wanted to be, and everyone was very impressed and proud. That made me feel good like I was doing the right thing. Deep down though, I knew that something was off…I just couldn’t place my finger on it. Once I went off to college, the goal was to become an RN and be a career pediatric nurse. As time, semesters, and classes flew by, I started to realize the most horrifying thing I could have ever imagined: I don’t want this job. I don’t like what it entails. I’m not okay with this. I. Hate. This. CRAP. What now?!

The next few days involved lots of wine, praying, and crying over (what I thought was) wasted time, and money. Little did I know that this seemingly bad situation would lead me to not only deciding what I wanted to do, but it would also lead to a beautiful friendship. God knew what he was doing. I just wasn’t trusting that He knew what was best, silly me. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I learned that I had been gunning for the wrong dream. I was going for what everyone had told me I’d be good at…not what I actually wanted. Somehow I had been blind to it up until that point. So I started exploring my options, and finally made the choice of ST. Not only that, but I realized I was closer to a second degree as well: Science.

Having realized my actual passion, I jumped at every chance I got to take classes I needed. Coincidentally, those same classes went toward my Associate’s in Science as well! BAM! So changing my mind, heeding that “feeling in the pit of my stomach”, paid off. Let’s be real though: It was all God. I think He was basically like, “Okay kid, I love you, but you are going the COMPLETE opposite direction you’re supposed to be going, let me give you a nudge.” And that’s just what He did. Here I am today, going into the spring semester before applying! Woo!

I mentioned making a friend earlier, geez she’s great. I met her in my horrible BIO class, and we ended up being lab partners. (Went through the torture of our awful lab instructor together. It really bonded us I think.) It was so cool how much we had in common and how close we’ve gotten since that first day. 

My point in all this rambling is this: Changing your mind isn’t always a sign of indecisiveness. Sometimes, I think it actually is the smarter thing to do. It shows you’re double checking yourself and the path you’re taking. And that is never ever going to be a bad thing. In looking back, you may make that friend, or realize a dream you hadn’t before. Change shouldn’t cause fear or nervousness in your heart, rather excitement and anticipation of what amazing things are to come if those changes. If you run into change whether it be in academia or anything else for that matter…take a deep breath, have a glass of wine and pray for clarity. It will come, and you’ll be better for it in the end. 

Xo Tori 

(Soon to be Tori S.T.) 

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Roasted Potatoes with Garlic Aioli

I made these for Christmas Eve dinner at our house and we couldn’t stop eating them!!! SO GOOD!!! And SO easy! I was blown away!

Ingredients: 

1 lb bag of potatoes, washed and chopped into smaller cubes

1 onion, minced

1 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons of oregano (Dominican is the best ūüėČ )

3 tablespoons of garlic powder

1-2 tablespoons of sea salt

(Honestly, if you think it needs more or less garlic/ oregano, adjust it to your taste! I love heavier seasoning, so this reflects it!)

Prep:

Wash and cube potatoes and place in a gallon Ziploc bag; set aside.

Mince onion; set aside.

Gather all seasonings and olive oil; get a smaller bowl and mix oil, seasonings, and minced onion together.

Pour aioli over potatoes and seal Ziploc; all potatoes should be coated with the aioli (add extra seasoning if needed) Shake the bag if necessary to spread.

Place in refrigerator overnight. (This step can be skipped, but the potatoes do taste best when they have time to soak in the flavor) 

Cooking: 

Preheat oven to 375.

Place foil on your favorite cookie sheet and pour the potatoes and aioli onto the sheet.

Place the potatoes in the oven for approx. 20 minutes.

After baking for 20 minutes, turn the oven to Broil.

Leave potatoes broiling until they are golden brown and crispy. ( I left mine broiling for 15 minutes)

Take them out and enjoy!

For some extra flavor, you can sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese over the top!

 

New Year’s Goals

“What are your goals going to be in the New Year?” Gosh if I had a dollar for everytime someone asked me that…

Goals. Everyone has them. My question is why do we wait for the new year to roll around to make them? Yes, the coming of a¬†new year is a special time, but why not set more goals throughout the year? So as not to put off those goals, and perhaps actually accomplish them. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have set goals for the new year, they last maybe a month. Then I slack, and eventually just don’t end up finishing them. Anyone else?? I think if we’re being honest, a lot more people are like that. It’s hard to keep with these new years resolutions! It’s like stopping a habit cold turkey; It usually only lasts for a short period of time and we then revert back to that habit.

Ever since I was little, I made new year’s resolutions that I always ended up breaking. Why? Well, everyone else did it, so I followed. However, everyone else also broke their resolutions…so I grew to realize that these so-called “resolutions” were just empty promises people made to make themselves feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. I did it for YEARS. I remember feeling so bad about myself when I noticed I had stopped doing whatever resolution I had made. Stress and anxiety are two words that came along with resolutions for me.

As I got older, I thought it was dumb to make those promises when I knew all they really did was make me feel anxious and bad about myself in the end. So I asked myself the same question over and over: Why do I set these goals when I KNOW deep down they aren’t actually going to be completed? There could be a number of reasons: It feels good to set goals, it gives hope for the coming year, its what everyone else is doing and I want to fit in, maybe I fool myself into thinking THIS is the year I’ll keep the resolutions? You¬†can insert any reason, but I’ve found that the ones above are the most common. I also have noticed that people choose resolutions that seem unattainable, which I’d bet, hurts them more in the long run. Just think about it: “My new year’s resolution is to get that raise and work a ton more so I can save more money!” Sounds great at first right? Sure! But let’s pick it apart:

  1. What do you have to do in order to “get that raise”? Could this be a resolution all on its own? Sounds like it could mean an awful lot of work!
  2. “Work a ton more”…That does not sound like an enjoyable goal. I bet you already work hard, why push even harder?? Maybe try to give your work your all while you’re there, instead of just giving more hours?
  3. “Save more money”…Okay, that’s a good goal! But do you HAVE to work a ton more, and get a raise to save more money? Absolutely NOT! Maybe take what you make now and try to budget it out so you can save some money from each paycheck instead of relying on a raise or more hours for that extra cash? (Enjoy that extra if you have it! Treat yo self!)

Yeah, so maybe that was a silly example, but do you follow me? Try not to give yourself overloaded resolutions if you’re going to make them. Try making them simple and don’t be too hard on yourself! Also, don’t get me wrong,¬†if you want to make huge resolutions, you go for it! I’ll cheer you on! I just think it might be easier to break them down into smaller, more manageable¬†goals! Over this past year, I decided to take a different approach. I made myself a list. A list of things I wanted to get done, and goals I wanted to meet, but I decided to pick only one ( eating healthier) and focus on that for a month. At the end of the month, I saw my progress, and felt great about continuing it over the next month! At the end of every month, I would see how I’d done, and contemplate whether or not to continue. I could also add on other goals at the end of each month, which always made me feel good! Honestly, what helped me was that there was a tangible¬†end in sight. That really is what made each task less daunting. I’ve gotten so used to the system, that I can’t imagine doing it any other way. What’s super great about this method, is that it allows you to make that list of crazy things you want to do, but also allows you to actually accomplish them! (At a relaxed pace even!) So this new year I’ll make another one of my lists and start off January with only one thing.¬† It’s worked super well for me so far, and I am excited to carry it over into 2018.

If you have any fun systems, feel free to comment them below! I’d love to hear all about them!

Happy New Year everyone!

Tori xo

 

Exhaustion (Self Reflection)

It’s a word we all probably know pretty well. Only very recently have I been really understanding its effects. I am a student at a community college here in Charlottesville, working toward a profession in Surgical Technology. (Which is a switch from my previous track in nursing…but that’s another story) I just finished up my semester on the 18th, and honestly didn’t realize how drained I really was. Waking up has been ten times harder, I have felt like my head is in a fog, and just altogether off. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need me time. Something I rarely allow myself to have. Mostly because I work as a nanny 30-40 hours a week, am taking college classes, have a husband, and a home to try to keep up with… it’s HARD. I’m finding that I’m taking care of myself less, and just not caring whether I look put together or not. (If you know me, that isn’t normal. I don’t claim to always use eyeliner, but my outfits are at least usually decent haha!) My husband helps as much as he is able, geez, what a sweet guy! But there are still so many times I feel frazzled. I stress myself out WAY too much (Again, if you know me, I stress myself out way too much…its so bad.) I’m crashing and burning.

Why do I do this?? What’s my problem??

Well, looking back on these past few months, I’ve done so much…but never took a time-out, a break…nothing! Never took time to do the small things I love: naps, Netflix, painting, devotionals, yoga, all these potentially stress-relieving activities, and I didn’t do them?! My excuse for self-stress? “Life is just too busy!” Aren’t I the one doing the scheduling? I have been packing my life so full that I have forgotten how to BREATHE. To just relax and take time do and enjoy the little things that I have been missing so dearly! I’ve forgotten how to just be still.

In today’s culture, the normal speed of life is fast and it’s non-stop.¬†It’s a vicious cycle that we’ve created. One that feels almost impossible to stop, but deep down, we all know we can, we just don’t. It blows my mind that not so long ago, family dinners every night were actually a thing!!! There was built in family time and personal time. We’ve progressively gotten worse at taking personal time and being still. To be still in my mind means that you take a moment, freeze it, and breathe. Trying to let all the stress and anxiety of the day go…and just enjoy the fact that you are even alive and functioning. It sounds crazy, I know, but it works. (At least for me it has!) If you’re anything like me, you’re packing your life full of stuff that really isn’t all that important. Do yourself a favor: Stop. Breathe. Go take a relaxing bath or shower, drink a glass of wine, and put your¬†worn out self to bed early.

I’m going to try to challenge myself by taking 30 minutes each day, to just breathe, and do some of those little things that I love. You should try it too! Or any variation of it! You want to try an hour? Do it! I applaud you!! Whatever you decide, just remember: Everyone needs a little time to themselves now and again, or they will go crazy. Don’t go crazy, go eat some chocolate or something.

I’m going to sleep, peace out guys!

Tori xo

Growing Up Dominican: Christmas Time!

Its nearly Christmas, and that means many people have their trees up and have their houses are decked out for the holidays! Everyone has their own special traditions they follow (if you have any, feel free to comment below and share them! I’d love to hear all about them!) at this time of year, we are no different! My family specifically had a few “normal” ones too, so I’ll list those along with the usual Dominican¬†traditions ūüėÄ

  • ¬†The house was ALWAYS thoroughly cleaned (I mean top to bottom) around this time of year! Mostly in preparation for¬†all of the incoming guests, you may be expecting!
  • This deserves its own bullet: General fact: Cleanliness is next to godliness. Seriously. But its especially important when the holidays roll around because other people will be in your home! You’ll be JUDGED. Okay, not really, but that’s what the parents want us to think. Watch this to get an idea of how intense it could get: (No, this person is not Dominican, but they sure are acting like it!!)¬†Example of Dominican style cleaning
  • Along with cleaning the house, decorating for the season is important too. Lights, cute little wooden (or really any material)/ painted trees around the house, ugly home-made children’s decor (So I made an¬†elf out of a Quaker oats can when I was little…Darn thing sits next to the Christmas tree every year and causes me nightmares.) candles, and anything cinnamon smelling. (Wait..that last bit is just my dad…would recommend though!!)
  • Coquito, Coquito, COQUITO!!!!! It’s really important that you realize how delish this drink is. It’s¬†there for you every major holiday too! YUM. (I’ll put the recipe at the bottom of the post)
  • Shooting off fireworks in the streets is a normal occurrence in the DR. Unfortunately, the US is no fun and has banned fireworks in loads of places. BOO.
  • Christmas (Eve usually) dinner is VERY important. You dress nice, family comes, the table is heaped with enough fantastic food to feed an army…you get the idea.
  • In the days leading up to Christmas, we (I think this may have been my family specifically) had advent calendars with dulces¬†or sweets in them for each day!
  • I should also mention that the DR is primarily Roman Catholic, so La Misa del Gall or Midnight Mass is a typical family outing!
  • Around Christmas, its normal to spend time with family, but if you’re blessed to be apart of a Dominican family, there is NO excuse. Christmas= Intense amounts of family time. Uninterrupted¬†family time at that. (Not saying its a bad thing, but most people I don’t think get that family time in this culture is SUPER important)
  • The good news is, during this intense family time, there are games, LOTS of dancing and music, and food. Always food.
  • My dad always read the Christmas Story from the bible every Christmas morning before we opened presents!
  • We ALWAYS open one present on Christmas Eve before going to bed. However, I must confess that I always knew they would be PJ’s…(Thanks, mom ūüėõ )

Dominican households around the holidays are lively ones, which is something I love and cherish! The fact that I get to come home to a family who just embraces their child-like side, and celebrates the birth of Christ is so great! There is never a dull moment. I’m pretty excited that this is my FIRST year being a married woman! So, no more sleepovers with my sister (where we secretly stayed up trying to guess what we had gotten) or tip-toeing down the creaky steps to sneak a peek at all the presents before we violently¬†woke our parents up, I am really going to miss it…

But I am looking forward to carrying on traditions in my little family! Will totally not be forgetting the one present on Christmas Eve! (Except no PJ’s) After this Christmas, I’ll have to post an update if we come up with our own traditions or use the ones I listed above or any combination of those ūüėÄ

Coquito Recipe

PS: Watch this. LeJuan is my spirit animal. Enjoy ‚̧

Feliz Navidad friends! I hope your holidays are blessed and safe!

Tori xo

Growing Up Dominican: Mannerisms

(If you missed the first of this series, check it out here: Growing Up Dominican)

I may or may not be about to poke some fun at a few things we Dominicans do! But hey! All in good fun ūüėČ (I’m sorry Dad for the things I am about to say.)

As you are probably well aware, every culture has its own customs and traditions, but have you ever thought about mannerisms? Have you ever noticed that a specific group of people use their hands more when they speak? Or anything like that? It’s something that I find super fascinating (don’t ask me why, because I have NO clue!) Well, one thing many Americans (and a bunch of other cultures, I’m sure) tend to do is point at things with their fingers. Well, something that many Dominicans (and Hispanics in general) do more often than not, is motion to things with their¬†lips/chins!

Yes. Their lips. I know it sounds stupid, but its just…a thing that we do. Basically, give yourself some duck lips and motion with your face to thing item you want cousin generic name #4 to get for you. That simple. Maybe one day I’ll post a tutorial…

Another technical mannerism that is true of almost all Dominicans is their hospitality! (Okay, so I had to google whether or not hospitality was a mannerism. SORRY.) We’re experts. I would even say that we rival “southern hospitality”. (I know, CRAZY…not.*rolls eyes*) When people come into our homes, we usually go overboard and completely overwhelm them with extra things. Stuff you usually see in hotels, but for some reason, we feel like we owe it to these guests! Sweets on the pillows, small toiletry packages for everyone who stays overnight, we cook deluxe breakfasts, offer to wash their laundry, you get the idea. It’s a bit ridiculous, but it feels right. When people come to my place, I absolutely hate it when they try to help in ANY way. (Unless it’s my sister. Fool get yo own plate. Love you!!) They are guests and should therefore NOT do ANYTHING. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to show how much I care. When the food is ready, I usually announce it, which is also a Dominican trait. No one starts eating before I give the okay! Guests are always served first, and always have first dibs on seconds. (Okay, I want to be a guest in my own home…not fair)

Thirdly, being fashionably late is a real thing. One I intentionally do NOT follow. Probably due to my mom’s affinity for being on time! (Thanks, Mom!) But being 15 to 30 minutes late is considered polite. If you show up on time, its okay, but kind of strange, you know? Like they will answer the door, and be happy to see you, but inwardly, they will be wondering if they gave you the wrong time, or they may wonder if you even actually know them. Storytime: On my mom’s wedding day, my dad’s sisters were trying to get her to be fashionably late, and she was not okay with it! (I find it hilarious, picturing my mom in a puffy white dress with huge hair fighting to be on time in her oh-so-cute flustered way) They succeeded and I think she was 15 minutes late! So, yeah. I don’t do this thing. Nope, nope, no. Ask my husband. He DOES embrace this horribly annoying trait. (Grr…)

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into the fun mannerisms of this cool culture! Now go point at things with your lips and see how people react! (It’s hilarious, trust me!)¬†I could probably keep rambling about all of the adorable things Dominicans do, but I’ll save it for next time ūüėČ

Adiós friends!

Tori xo

 

Hardywood Pilot Brewery & Taproom

A couple of weekends ago, my husband and I went to Hardywood to celebrate the release of the Gingerbread Stout (my husband’s favorite). I am not a beer¬†girl, but was pleasantly surprised by Hardywood! The beer was pretty good, and the atmosphere was top notch!

Atmosphere: 4/5

The mood is really chill. It’s a semi-quiet¬†taproom, so a great place to go have a chat with your mates, but no dancing on tables, or any such nonsense here! (Singing might be acceptable, however) Music was good, seating area was fabulous, they had games you could play, and the bartenders were playing hangman on napkins with people. Can it get any better?

Dress code: Casual

Staff: 5/5 

I had never been to Hardywood before this, and one of the beers I chose in my flight, I ended up being repulsed by. The super awesome bartender was understanding and let me replace it free of charge! They are also really friendly and help guide your beer choices to cater to your tastes. (Very important for first-timers, such as myself!)

Flight price: $12 

Growler prices: $20

Brews: I got the three flagships (Singel, Vipa, and Pils) and the seasonal favorite, the Gingerbread Stout. (GBS)

Out of the three flagships, my favorite was the Singel, least favorite was the Vipa. The Singel was a light beer, that, to me at least, felt smooth going down, and had a nice finish to it. The other two flagships seemed average at best, but Hardywood really shines when it comes to its darker beers and seasonal options. (Rasberry Stout. Everyone go have some. OMG!)  Let me start this by saying: I do NOT drink dark beers. Ever. I DO, however, drink the GBS! I thought I would hate it, but it was fantastic! It was rich and flavorful without being overly sweet or gimmicky.

***Pregnant women! They have non-alcoholic drinks too! YAY! 

Overall, it was a good time. It was relaxing, and I felt like I could have probably gone up to the bartenders and asked an array of stupid questions and would not have been judged for being a beer virgin. This is my husband’s favorite brewery, so he’ll vouch for it every time! Go check them out! They have a great location right on Main St. in Charlottesville!

Website: Hardywood

Address: 1000 W Main St a, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Nashville, Tennessee

Have you ever just had an itch to get up and go? That’s basically what this trip was for Davey (the husband) and me. I had bought him tickets for his birthday to see a favorite band of his that never comes to the U.S.! (Theocracy! Woo!) It was in Nashville, in December. His birthday was in September! You’d think we would have planned out the trip and had everything down before we went, right? WRONG. Not what happened. We didn’t book our Airbnb until 2 weeks beforehand. We also decided it was a great idea to go see Lighting of the Lawn (happens every year at UVA…SO FUN) the night before we were leaving at 5:00am the next day. Welp, we stayed up until 2:00am. So a grand total of 3 hours of sleep right before a road trip. Perfect. We woke up exhausted and grumpy, but said our sad farewells to Fiyero (the cat) and left. Grabbed breakfast on the way out of town and we were off! Honestly, the drive wasn’t too bad! I took first shift and was surprisingly able to stay awake! (If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that getting in a car is like rocking me to sleep. I ALWAYS fall asleep. Every. Single. Time.)

Before I knew it, we were rolling into Nashville! We couldn’t go straight to our Airbnb because it wasn’t check-in time yet, so we decided to visit Centennial Park. YOU GUYS. They have a freaking FULL-SCALE MODEL of the Parthenon!!! (I’m a huge history buff…so things of this nature excite me lol) They have a small museum inside, explaining how the building was made, and they even have some castings of parts of the original Parthenon! It was SO cool! The best part, however, had to be the 12.8m (40 ft) tall statue of the Greek goddess, Athena they have on display! It’s covered in gold leaf and is incredibly intricate. I mean, these sculptors went all out on this one. If you ever find yourself in Nashville, do yourself a favor and go see this place! It was super chill, and so awesome!

4:00pm hit, and we were able to go to our Airbnb! We got there and completely crashed for about an hour. We then (like the insane people we are) got ready for a night out on the town! We drove around the downtown area and ended up eating at Hard Rock Cafe, which was pretty delish. After dinner, we decided it would be fun to go to a bar, and just relax a bit after a full day of travels. We thought we would be able to find a bar fairly easily. But guys…we couldn’t. Now that’s not because there weren’t any, which, I’m sure is what you’re thinking; Its because there were SO MANY BARS. I can’t even begin to describe how overwhelming those few blocks were! Some bars were three stories tall! And those three stories were jam-packed with drunk humans!!! Basically, every building you passed was a bar that had live music going on, so the entire atmosphere was loud and charged to the max! Everyone was partying, dancing on tables, singing horribly, and trying to squeeze into the popular bars (I believe those were called Honky Tonks?).

Naturally, we walked away from all that noise and down by the river. We found a cool rooftop bar that had a great view of the city! (It was the Famous Saloon bar for anyone that’s interested!) It was quiet and really relaxing after the long day we’d had. After we had a few drinks, we waited awhile before driving back to the Airbnb. Got back, crashed yet again, only to wake up the next morning to pack our bags since check-out was at 11:00am. That’s right folks. We only stayed one night.

Okay, okay, so it was MY fault we only stayed one night. I had a huge test I had to get back home to study for (Biology, anyone?). We left at 11:00am, got lunch, and spent the day visiting President Jackson’s home, The Hermitage. The restorations they have done to that place are astounding. It looks so good! They have so many of Jackson’s personal items still in the house, a lot of the wall decorations are original, it was pretty darn impressive. From there, we left and went straight back downtown, where we parked, grabbed dinner, and walked to the concert venue. After waiting in line for a bit, We got inside, and Davey got to meet the bands! (I had gotten VIP tickets) I felt like a really good wife if I’m being honest guys. He had wanted to see this band live since high school! I was pretty proud I had scored those tickets! As the night was winding down, I decided to buy a few raffle tickets, not thinking I’d win anything, because that has NEVER happened before. EVER. But…I won a signed, and toured electric guitar! *mind blown* So going to watch/listen to bands that your husband loves (and you don’t love as much…) pays off ladies! He’s happy, and you might just win a guitar! It was on that high note, that we left Nashville. To drive overnight back to Charlottesville.

We. Are. INSANE. Worst idea ever. Don’t do it unless you have too! The drive started out okay, but man, 2:00am hit and we were losing our minds. I ended up having to sleep for a bit, (well, so did Davey) but for the most part, we made it home with only a few hours between the two of us. I was both impressed and horrified we were that stupid. I guess you’re only young once, right?? We got back home to find our sweet (and annoying, lazy, entitled) cat meowing at us through the crack under the door. We walked inside, and, yep, you guessed it: crashed. (Noticing a theme here?) Woke up 5 hours later feeling stiff and (maybe) a little drool on my pillow. I rushed to get ready to go study in the Bio lab, went, came back home to find my husband still in PJs. I was so jealous. But I’m getting off topic here! Nashville! It was grand even though we were only there for a total of maybe 48 hours? I really want to go back. The nightlife was to die for, the scenery is gorgeous, and the people are super chill, and down to earth. It’s a great trip to take if you don’t want to break the bank, but want to do some exploring! 10/10 would recommend! Just don’t try to do it all in 48 hours ūüėČ

Until next time,

Tori xo

Quebec City, Quebec

If you’re anything like me, then you love to travel, and travel often! Unfortunately, my wallet doesn’t always agree, but Davey (my husband) and I, always seem to find a way to explore new places cheaply! If you want some amazing travel tips, go check out my friend Zette’s blog, Broke On A Plane! I follow basically all her tips! They are all FANTASTIC. (Love you Zette!!!)

Quebec! What a beautiful place! Davey and I went there for our honeymoon, 10/10 would recommend going to the Old City and staying there! It is gorgeous, and you get a small taste of France without flying across¬†the ocean! For starters, we drove to Quebec (I know, we are insane), but the drive wasn’t too¬†horrible, just very straight and flat! So if you decide to go that route, bring some audio books or something of that nature with you! Also, please don’t make the same mistake we did; Do not drive into a new country where you don’t speak the language AT NIGHT. It’s an awful idea. All that will happen is you’ll get lost, all the signs will be in French, your GPS¬†won’t work, everything will be closed, AND you won’t be able to find a bathroom. (Yes, sadly it’s a true story. I almost peed my pants that night) We eventually made it though! I darted into the hotel,¬†asked in broken French where the bathroom was, and practically danced when the woman at the front desk said to turn around and it was right there!

We stayed at a beautiful boutique hotel called¬†H√ītel Champlain. The interior is gorgeous, the breakfast is to die for, and GUYS. They have a WINE ON TAP. I now realize that’s more common, but it still blows my mind. Literally the best way to wine taste! Fun fact: The last night Davey and I were there, we realized we hadn’t used ANY of the free credits at the wine bar. So, obviously, we decided to use the whole $100 credit in one night. Let’s just say the next morning was…rough. So totally worth it though!

Throughout the city, there were cobblestone streets and tons of bakeries! We ate WAY too many croissants. The food there was incredible! Everything was fresh, from the food at McDonald’s to Chez Jules, the fanciest restaurant¬†I think I’ve ever been in. (they had a crushed ice vodka lime palette cleanser. YUM) We found some fantastic coffeehouses and fun little hole in the wall places! One such place was La Pizz! It was probably the cutest pizza place ever. There was only one man working and it was fantastic. The best part about the food in Quebec? It’s SO affordable! We were able to buy so many baguettes and croissants!!! (I may have a slight obsession with bread, but who doesn’t?) Things there aren’t very expensive in general, which was wonderful for a newly married, broke couple! So vacationing there is a great bargain¬†if you go at the right times.

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Aside from the food, the shopping in the area is on point. They have gorgeous streets lined with hundreds of unique, locally owned shops! One thing I noticed that all of the shops do is they decorate their storefronts and doorways with wreaths, but they use their wares to decorate it. So if you went past the wood carving store, you’d see a huge wreath decorated with cute little hand-carved animals. I think the best was a hardware store. They got really creative and put tools together to look like weird little robots climbing the wreath.

 

 

 

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The glorious Funiculaire!

 

 

 

Totally forgot to mention the Funiculaire! I had no clue what it was until we visited!here! Since the old city was built on a cliff for protection, there are plenty of hills and they are incredibly steep. It’s one of two ways to get to the lower part of the city if you are a pedestrian. The first option you have is stairs. Loads of steep stairs. (Yes I fell) So, the Canadiens built this beautiful and adorable little cable car esk thing to ease the pedestrians sufferings.¬†It’s super cheap to ride and beats all the stairs! We used it so much…

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View from the Upper Old City

If you’re looking to go somewhere that feels worlds away, but don’t want to spend that type of money, Old Quebec and the surrounding areas are totally for you. Hotels are gorgeous, cheaper and most offer package deals (ours did, that’s how we got into that fancy restaurant and at a 5-course dinner FOR FREE)! Take the leap! Go to Quebec City! The people are wonderful, the food will make you gain at least 5 pounds, and the views are simply breathtaking. Enjoy some pictures of that lovely scenery below, courtesy of my wonderful husband!

 

Until next time!

Tori xo

 

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