Travel

Gatlinburg // [Thanksgiving & Black Friday]

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My husband, James, and I go on a road trip vacation every thanksgiving. I am a teacher and he is a farmer, giving us enough free time this time of year to get away for 3 or 4 nights. This year, we visited  Gatlinburg, TN. Everyone anywhere close to Tennessee should visit this town at least once in their lives. It is a small mountain town with all the attractions of a small town and a huge attraction beach town put into one.

However, to start our journey, we set out on our adventure by black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving night. We made our way to Winston-Salem, NC (about an hour and a half along our route to Gatlinburg. We stopped at Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Macy’s. I really wanted to get one of the Google Home Mini’s at Target on sale for $29 plus you got a $10 gift card. However, as one could have guessed, the line was wrapped up and down aisle to the other end of the store…and me, being the impatient person that I am, said screw that. However, fun fact, I just bought the Google Home Mini online at Target at the same price minus the gift card yesterday, so another win for my online shopping addiction. Actually, that’s pretty much what I did while James drove for the whole trip. I completed (basically) all of our Christmas shopping for each other and everyone else, online, on my phone, on black Friday.

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Our usual routine is to stop at wineries along our route. However, we have been to all the ones on the way to Asheville, and then once you pass Asheville, we only saw one (which we stopped at of course). Pigeon River Winery was a cute, hole in the wall winery right on the outskirts of the Gatlinburg area.

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Once in Gatlinburg, we checked into our hotel, which had a view to die for. We had balconies overlooking the river. Our hotel was downtown, so we pretty much parked the car the entire weekend and walked everywhere. Actually, we walked about 10 miles everyday according to my Apple watch (so fitness was put in there some, right?).

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After checking-in, we drove to visit some wineries in Gatlinburg, actually, they were in Pigeon Forge. This was not the best idea considering it was Black Friday… and for those who aren’t familiar with Pigeon Forge, it’s basically like all the huge Myrtle Beach attractions, including Tanger Outlets (on Black Friday), smashed in one small little strip of a town. I had no idea it was laid out how it was, so it took us about 40 minutes to go 2 miles away. We visited two wineries, Apple Barn and Hillside Winery. This brings me to my only complaint about the Gatlinburg area….basically all their wines are sweet. Plus, he few dry wines that some places offer, are not crafted well. I guess they put all of their focus on their sweet wines? So if you love sweet wine, this is the wine country for you!

Once we finally made it back to our hotel that evening, we had dinner at a local steak house style restaurant called The Peddler. The entire downtown Gatlinburg area was packed and when we walked in the door they told us it would be a 2 hour and 45 minute wait. However, we walked back to the bar area and two people were getting up from the “seat yourself bar tables”. I am still proud of this move. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of salad bar, grilled chicken and rice, and stuffed shrimp. We then made our way back to our room and enjoyed a night on the balcony with a bottle of wine.

Day 1

On morning #1, we set out to find a breakfast house and found FlapJacks. We both got breakfast skillets with eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes (which I am obsessed with) and pancakes.

We then started exploring the downtown area. We went in several downtown shops. We stumbled upon a Craft show and a Christmas Tree Festival in the downtown Convention Center.  All kinds of local businesses had created a Christmas Tree to enter into the festival. People could buy the Christmas Trees and the Money went to The Boys and Girls Club. This was a great cause and a beautiful sight to see. It helped us to start getting into the Christmas Spirit.

And then we soon started going in the “moonshine” tasting places. There are 3 or 4 different places downtown that you can go in an pay $5 to do a tasting, but then you get your $5 back if you buy something in the shop. We went to several different ones. Sugarland Distillery was our favorite, the people working in there were HILARIOUS. They also get tips if you leave them a good trip advisor review, so make sure you do that, especially if you don’t have cash to tip while you are there.

After doing that a while, we decided it would be fun to go ziplining! We walked over to Anakeesta, which is located downtown. You ride a chairlift up to the top of the mountain, where they have shops, food, and the zip lining. I wish I had brought my go pro (still salty about that) but I forgot. So I don’t have any picture of that. But I have a ton of pictures from the chairlift. Their ziplining was inexpensive, but it was a little shorter than I wish it would have been, but it was still a blast.. and had a beautiful view!

We had dinner at Mellow Mushroom, cause you know, pizza is life. It was absolutely DELICIOUS. Afterwards, we walked over to the downtown Space Needle where we acted like kids and played some arcade games (I am a sucker for a game of ski-ball). We rode the elevator up to the top and saw the whole city lit up at night. It is probably the easiest place to get a great place of the city.

We went back down to the bottom and saw a magic/mind reading/mentalist show. It was located in the Iris Theater at the bottom of the Space needle. The show was called Illusions. I got a Groupon, so I saved 50% on our tickets, but we were planning on going even before I found that deal! Sign up for Groupon and download the Groupon app through my link. The show was really cool. It was a little bit interactive, so he could show off the mind reading skills, but its not overly invasive if you’re not into that. Ignore my blurry photo, but that is the best picture I took of the space needle. (whoops)

Day 2

We got up on the second day and walked down to Ober Gatlinburg. They have a downtown location, where you can get on the Ariel tramway and ride it all the way up the mountain to their mountain top location. They have the longest ariel tramway ride in the world (so they told us). Riding this is worth the trip, even if you don’t do any activities at the top.

Ober has ice skating, snow tubing, skiing, games, shops, a wild life attraction, kids rides, and more. I had already scheduled us to go snow tubing at 11 am. This was an awesome time and a first for both of us. It wad 60 degrees outside so it wasn’t freezing. Therefore, obviously, they had man-made snow. It worked great, the tubes went really fast down the hill. They had lanes already made, so you didn’t have to worry about hitting other people. Plus, they had a conveyer belt that took you back to the top of the hill (so no hill climbing. yes!). We did this for about an hour and a half and then headed off to find lunch.

After snow tubing, we grabbed a bite of lunch at a restaurant in Ober. We walked around and went in a few shops. I bought a Christmas ornament. I am trying to start collecting them from all of the places that we travel to. We also went and walked around the Wildlife Exhibit. They do not have a ton of animals, but that is something that we always enjoy checking out. Afterwards, we rode the Ariel tramway back down the mountain to continue our adventure!

We continued to walk around and explore the downtown area. We went in a few more moonshine tasting places, got some ice cream from the famous Kilwin’s, and then landed in Landshark Bar and Grill to have a drink. We made friends with the other people in the bar, because the place was pretty much completely empty. I am all for making bar friends, especially when they buy you drinks :).

Afterwards, we tried out an escape game at Captured! (located at the bottom of the space needle). I have always wanted to do one of these cause I am all about crime shows and figuring out “who done it” type of things. However, we should not have started with the hardest one after having a few drinks LOL. I know the people were just sitting back behind the camera in the other room laughing at us. BUT, it was fun and I would do another one.

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We had dinner at Calhoun’s and they had some of the best ribs I have ever eaten! I definitely recommend eating here in Gatlinburg!

We went home, packed up, and headed home the next morning. We did A TON of stuff on this trip and it was so much fun! The two of us were in desperate need of some fun together and we definitely got experienced it in Gatlinburg! I would love to come back here one day! It was about a 5 and a half hour dive back home to VA, but it didn’t feel bad at all.

Rent the perfect vacation home at Homeaway.com

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Like my awesome shades?? Save 20% by using code katiechur20 and get your own Blender’s Eyewear! Join me in repping this awesome company!

Let me know if you have any questions or are going here in the near future!

Much Love,

Katie

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fabfitfun · Fashion/Beauty · Product Reviews

Fall Fab Fit Fun Box

IMG_2827The fall box is FULL of awesome products!! I am in love with basically all of them! Opening your very own FabFitFun box is like Christmas morning! Sign up and get your own at FabFitFun and save $10 with code PUMPKINSPICE!

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1.$35 dp HUE Applie cider vinegar hair rinse: I received a travel sized sample of this product through Ulta beauty one time, so I already knew that I loved this product. This is great to cleanse your hair and get rid of build up from daily products. This can be used as a shampoo or a conditioner replacement once a week. It is safe for colored hair, it actually claims to help lock in color.

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2. $28 treStique matte color + balm lip crayon: I love this product because it has two in one. One end is a matte color lip crayon and the other end is a lightly colored lip balm. I have very dry lips and need a balm at all times, so I love this feature! The color is a great fall pink color!

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3. $12.50 Deco cuticle oil: I cannot stand to have dry nails. This product is to die for. It’s pretty, smells good, and feels AMAZING on your fingers. I paint it all over my finger nails when I start to feel dry and rub it around my whole nail. It can be used on plain nails or painted nails.

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4.(extra promotion) Cottonelle Fresh care wipes: this is pretty self-explanatory. This was a small free add on promotion with this box.

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5. $48 Whish mud mask: Not gonna lie, I have not had time to use this yet. But I am all about face masks and this is a great brand so I am sure that its great 😉

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6.  $33 IMM wire jewelry holder: This is small but very handy. I have needed something small like this for a long time. I have it sitting on my vanity so I can lay or hang the jewelry that I constantly wear on it. It looks better than just having loose jewelry laying on the counter of the vanity.

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7. $98 Mersea wrap scarf: This is a thick, wide scarf that is can be used as a wrap or a travel blanket. It feels SO GOOD. It is a beautiful color and looks good on. My only complaint is that the fuzzy pieces come off onto your clothes a little bit.

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8. $59 Private party gym bag: This is a light-weight tote bag that can be used for travel or the gym. It folds up small and compact but it actually holds a lot. The only reason I am not more excited about this is because I already have a bag that is almost exactly like this.

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9. (not pictured) $15 hot and cold pack: This is so cute. It can be heated or frozen to help aches and pains. I keep mine in the freezer because I have several heating pads I can use. It folds in the middle so it easily wraps around your leg or arm or wherever you need to use it.

10. $55 Below the Belt leather belt: I am not a huge belt fan, so this is probably my least favorite item in the box. However, it is a nice belt that can be used to wrap around sweaters in the fall.

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The fall box is absolutely amazing! Treat yourself with this awesome box of goodies! Shop through my link at FabFitFun and save $10 with code PUMPKINSPICE!

 

Much love,

Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel

Nashville

 

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This was my first (adult) trip to Nashville; and let me tell you, it was a blast. It was exhausting, so much that I gave myself a cold when I got home (LOL), but it was worth it. The reason for going was for my “brother-in-law’s” 40th birthday. Except, he only stayed two nights, and me and my “sisters” stayed 5 nights (LOL again). I say “sisters” because one is my “sister-in-law” and one is my best friend. However, we decided it would be easier to tell everyone we met that we were all sisters and that me and Olivia were twins… and pretty much everyone believed us. The three of us stayed in an airbnb in east Nashville, which I recommend because it is a close, cheap uber to downtown, but not a ridiculous $500 a night like hotels downtown cost.

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We flew from Raleigh; it was a quick hour long flight and the way the time changes from VA to TN, we left at 8 and got there at 8, so that was nice. We got a little excited the first night and stayed out way to late, but we went out and had an absolute blast. Every bar/restaurant/ corner has live music. Most days we just sat in different places, drinking water, listening to the bands. All of them are amazing! Just remember to tip the bar staff and the bands, no matter what you are doing inside (water or not).

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We were in Nashville Wed night – Monday; and I quickly found that I prefer weeknights to weekend nights. More business people/locals will come out during the week, so it’s a more inviting, friendly, chill atmosphere. On the weekends, you can barely move, get a seat, get a drink, or anything.

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Many bars/restaurants have a rooftop area; I prefer those, especially when it is super crowded, because at least I can breathe (LOL). The music on the rooftops are usually more modern as well. However, no matter your taste, you can find music that you like somewhere. I don’t usually listen to country music, but when you are in Nashville, it just feels right.

Pictured below is the rooftop of the world famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. We found out when we got home that Kid Rock had a pop up performance the day after we left. (of course)

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One day we visited the Parthenon; its a replica of the real Parthenon on the outside and an art museum on the inside. It is inexpensive to get into and neat to spend some time.

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We went to a few places in east Nashville. This is where mostly locals hangout. This is also where you can find the iconic “I believe in Nashville” mural.

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As stated before, more of our family joined us in the middle of our stay. It was a lot of fun to have everyone there together enjoying life. I am very thankful for fun life-loving people to surround myself around.

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Some of my favorite places to go downtown include:

George Jones Museum – (Pictured below) – This is the rooftop of the George Jones Museum/Bar/Restaurant. This is one of my favorite day time areas to sit, eat, and enjoy the day.

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Layla’s – (sadly no pictures) – where we saw the most incredible fiddle player I have ever seen.

Bootleggers – (sadly no pictures) – We spent time in Bootleggers during the day. They had several great bands that we sat and listened to for hours.

Legends- (pictured below) where we first went when we got there Wed. night and met a ton of fun people.

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Crazytown (roof top pictured below) – this place has three floors and you get a different style of music on each floor.. so its nice to be able to hear different things based on your mood. This is also where some drunk guy decided it would be funny to throw my drink off the roof. (Not cool, don’t be that guy).

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Nudies – also had three stories and was similar in set up to Crazytown, as in, different themes going on at night.

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On our last two days we visited two different plantation styled mansions. Due to our luck, both mansions were closed when we visited. However, both had wineries; so we were good. One was Fontanel and the other was Belle Meade Plantation.

Pictured below is the Fontanel Winery; they also have a distillery, restaurant, and cute shop on site.

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We also have a hysterical story about chickens from this trip; but I don’t feel that it is appropriate to write about it here LOL. Ask me if you see me and are curious.

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On the way home our flight was originally late in the evening to begin with, but then it got delayed two or three times. We took advantage of the airport massage bar and happy hour. I always say “I love to travel, but I hate traveling”, but the Nashville airport did have some pretty good amenities. We cheers’ed to a great trip and great friends and said goodbye see you later, Nashville.

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This was a long week. I was exhausted, and still am a week later, which is why it took me so long to post this blog. However, it is a great and magical city. Everyone should visit at least once in their life. I am sure there is tons that I did not write about. If you have any questions about my trip or my experience in the city let me know!

Much love,

Katie

Fashion/Beauty · Product Reviews

Product Reviews // Influenster Luxe Box

I write reviews for a website called Inflenster. I answer their “snap” questions and write reviews on products that I use, and in return, they send me boxes of free goodies to try, keep, and review. This box was called the Luxe Box; it contained Amika Texture Hairspray, Amika Nourishing Hair Mask, Grande Lips Plumper, Dr. Brant Eye De-puffing Gel, and Aquis Hair Towel.

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  1. Amika Texture Spray: This is a light holding hair spray that adds texture and volume to any hairstyle. This spray smells good and the packaging is beautiful. I will most certainly be using all of this product.

2. Amika Nourishing Hair Mask: This can act as a regular hair conditioner OR a conditioning mask that you leave on for a few minutes and wash out. I used it as a hair mask and left it on for about 3 minutes then rinsed it out. It did not weigh my hair down or make it oily. It felt very smooth when I had it in and it smells great!

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3. Grande Lips Plumper: This is an okay product. I do think it slightly plumped my lips. However, this is not something I am concerned about adding to my beauty routine. It is a nice clear gloss. However, I had a lot of problems trying to get the product out to even use it. Also, it makes your lips tingle.

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4. Dr. Brant Eye De-puffing Gel: I don’t know how much “de-puffing” this product truly does over a long period. However, it does feel refreshing and makes my skin feel tighter when I apply it. It is an orange color, which could help in covering up dark spots for some people. I plan on using the rest of the product and giving it a try.

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5. Aquis Hair Towel: I love this product!! I am all about hair towels. I almost always air dry my hair and these really do help absorb water quickly, aiding in the drying process. Also, the texture of this towel helps hair to not frizz and tangle. The packaging is really nice and the towel is large.

Overall, I am very pleased with all of the products I received in this box. I will get a lot of use out of most of them! Thanks to Influenster for letting my test these products for free.

Much love,

Katie