Special Announcement

In spite of the dumpster fire that is 2020, I have some good news…

We’re expecting our first child in November – a little girl! I’m 23 weeks along with this little babe and it’s the best silver lining I could’ve asked for.

Because I haven’t shared about this on the blog since we found out in March (!!!) I wanted to share a little recap about how the first trimester fared.

dress from Old Navy | Kendrick’s hat is one I picked out long before we were married and saved for the day I would tell him I was pregnant – almost 3 years ago!

Pregnancy in the middle of a pandemic has been… interesting, to say the least. We found out we were expecting just a few days after my 28th birthday (coincidentally the day Florida imposed a stay at home order) and a day after my brother and sister-in-law’s baby shower (I now have a nephew, too)!

To be honest, that stay at home order couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Just a week after we found out we were expecting, the morning sickness hit with a vengeance. If you’ve been pregnant, you know morning sickness is an all day occurrence and it’s definitely not for the weak – which I’ve decided I am!

I absolutely hate being sick and as someone who suffers from motion sickness, nausea is my mortal enemy. Add in a daily dose of headaches, growing pains and heartburn, and you have a combination that would force you to stay home even without a state mandate. Unfortunately, this also meant I didn’t stay as active as I would have hoped for the first three months and put on a little extra cushion for babe to cuddle.

Now that we’re six months into pregnancy and firmly in the second trimester, I’m feeling much better and have started taking 1-1 pilates sessions to tone and prepare for babe’s arrival. I’d say the biggest downside to being pregnant in a pandemic is that Kendrick has only been allowed to attend one doctor’s appointment with me. We’re not sure what delivery will look like, but we’re going in with very little expectations – just praying for a healthy momma and baby.

I got by on my pre-pregnancy clothes up until 22 weeks, but now I’ve officially transitioned to maternity wear and will be sharing some of my favorites, along with how we told grandparents, my must-haves for pregnancy, and how to plan a virtual baby shower in the coming weeks.

I would love to hear if you guys have any more questions or if there is anything else you’d want me to fill you in on. Please leave any questions below in the comments!

Thank you for being part of this exciting time for us. This baby was not a surprise, it was what we were hoping for in 2020 and are so overwhelmed with gratitude that we get to raise this bundle of joy.

Love y’all! XO

Kait

Valentine’s Day Movies: Julia Style

julia-for-blog

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Ah, romance. It might surprise you that this true crime loving feminist is a sucker for a good chick flick but, alas, I’m multifaceted. Growing up I lived for the in depth story lines I’d create for my Barbie dolls and doodled my crushes’ names in my notebook at school. I have a running list of names I’d like to name my children (I should be more embarrassed than I am to admit it’s three pages long), and I’m a big fan of how Kait and Ken sound together.

When my momma shared her love of Julia Roberts with me, something inside me just related with her characters. She was quirky, beautiful, quick witted and introspective. As a young woman, her films bridged the gap of romance between Beauty and the Beast to Sleeping with the Enemy. Maybe that’s why all these years later I never tire of watching the same Julia movies over and over – especially in February.

I know Valentine’s Day is a holiday created by Hallmark but hear me out: what’s wrong with taking an extra day to make sure the people you love are celebrated? Whether you’re celebrating with your lover, your girlfriends, or your family, a Julia Roberts movie is the perfect flick to bring your night full circle. To prove my point she’s the universal choice for movie night: even my husband loves Eat Pray Love!

What are your favorite movies to watch on Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear your recs!

xo – Kait

Spotlight: Brick City Food Tours

I started a business!

Brick City Food Tours is an idea that was born out of a search on Airbnb on a weekday afternoon. I was feeling uninspired and dreaming of the day I found *the* thing that would light my fire.

I searched Airbnb Experiences, curious about what adventures or classes were offered in Ocala. It honestly surprised me when I saw there wasn’t much available. That’s when it hit me; my husband, Kendrick, and I went on a food tour in Chicago before we moved back to Ocala and absolutely loved it.

Why couldn’t there be one in Ocala? The economy is growing, families are moving here and there are new restaurants popping up all over downtown. Residents and guests are excited about seeing Ocala gain businesses similar to other Florida hubs like Orlando or Tampa. In short, there’s never been a better time to start.

I’ve lived in Ocala for half a decade and through my work with nonprofits and artists have come to appreciate the downtown food scene, as well as the history that surrounds it. I’m passionate about sharing the unique cuisines, crafted by talented local chefs, that make Ocala’s downtown eateries worth exploring.

What is Brick City Food Tours?

Uncover a vast spectrum of cooking styles in Ocala’s historic downtown. Your guided Brick City Food Tour visits 5 sit down tasting locations in the downtown neighborhood. Between samples, your informative guides (Kendrick and I) will share their experience of local customs, historic stories and specialty shops. This walking tour is ideal for Ocala residents and travelers eager to discover the culinary secrets and traditions that compose the horse capitol of the world. Whether you’re vacationing in Ocala for the first time or a long-time resident, you’re sure to walk away with a greater understanding of the geographic history and culinary techniques of the city.

Where You’ll Be

We’ll most likely visit Sayulita Taqueria (Mexican street food), Ivy on the Square (southern delicacies), Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections (the finest European chocolate), Pi on Broadway (gourmet pizzas and tapas), and Feta Mediterranean Cuisine (generational Greek tapas). However, we could do a slightly different version of this tour, depending on the weather and availability of the restaurant.

What Are People Saying?

  • “I cannot recommend this tour enough! It really showed off the diverse cuisine options all in walking distance in downtown Ocala. There really is something for everybody! Even as a local, I got to taste items off the menus I hadn’t had before that were so delicious I plan on going back and ordering again. I also enjoyed learning more about Ocala from the awesome tour guides. This was a great way to spend an afternoon, and my husband & I left full and happy!” – Brittany
  • “The Brick City Food Tour was a great experience. The food selections were great and the tour/learning about some of the history of downtown Ocala made the experience worthwhile. Enjoyed being able to connect and get to know the other members of the tour group. Thanks Brick City Food Tour for a great experience. Would highly recommend to others and will definitely make it a point to do it again!” – Justin
  • “I loved the day and enjoyed the experience! Was introduced to several places that I had not dined in before but will make a trip back to in the future.” – Michele

How Can You Support Us?

Book a tour here! With a maximum of 10 people per tour, it’s the perfect way to experience downtown Ocala and hopefully make a few friends along the way. The tours run from 2 PM – 5 PM, so it’s great for a fun afternoon adventure or a unique way to show out of town guests your city. We even do private tours for birthdays or corporate outings!

If you aren’t a foodie, you can still support us! Please share with your friends and family, spreading the word about our passion. Thank you in advance for supporting us, Ocala!

-Kait

Healthy Hurricane Foods

I hate all foods that are not served at their proper temperature: pizza should be served hot, salad served cold and I will not touch a Vienna Sausage with a ten foot pole.

That being said, hurricanes are a STRUGGLE for me. Everyone is running around yelling, “HUNKER DOWN! STOCK UP ON WATER AND NONPERISHABLES!”

Do you know what they mean by non-perishables? Non-edible food. They’re talking canned tuna, uncooked black beans and peanut butter sandwiches. I’m allergic to peanut butter, so the only edible option is now ruled out.

I would make myself a tasty salad, but once the seal on the refrigerator is broken, my once prized sauces and veggies are turned to smelly mush.

This leaves me with a dilemma. Do I starve or gag while eating? Thankfully, I’ve thought up some healthy options that don’t make me want to run out into the storm.

My Healthy Hurricane Shopping List

Rice Crisps

Think the crispy part of an apple crisp. These babies pack a flavorful punch without all the calories. Beware: portion control, because I have been known to eat an entire bag in one sitting.

Rice Cakes

Full disclosure I haven’t tried these yet. They spoke to me in the chips aisle and white cheddar has never let me down. Will report back.

Larabar

These come in a ton of great flavors and they’ve never let me down. Larabar is known for having limited ingredients so you know what you’re putting in your body.

Apples

Need I say more? Golden Delicious apples are from God and last on the shelf long enough for a hurricane to pass.

Tuna Infusions

Hear me out on these. I know I said canned tuna is disgusting and I stand by that statement. These, however, come pre-flavored and have very little smell to them. They even have a little spoon in the lid so you don’t have to dirty a fork!

Sunflower Butter

My husband picked up whole grain bread for the weekend, but I’m definitely allergic to peanut butter. This sunflower butter tastes just as good and doesn’t make me break out while a storm is raging outside.

5 True Crime Podcasts To Binge This Fall

If you know anything about me you know this: I love true crime. The maid of honor at my wedding even brought it up during her speech – and reminded my new husband of my extensive detective knowledge.

In recent years I’ve narrowed the scope of my consumption to something easier to devour: podcasts. From the grandfather of true crime podcasts i.e., Serial, to chilling cases like COLD, if you can name it I’ve probably listened to it.

These are what I consider the greatest hits of true crime podcasts, perfect for getting in a spine-chilling mood this fall:

My Favorite Murder

mfm

By far my favorite podcast OF ALL TIME. MFM (My Favorite Murder) was my gateway drug into true crime podcasts. What I love most about MFM are the hosts, Karen and Georgia, who every week tell each other about a murder that interests them. Listening to them gives me the same feeling I get when I call my best friend to divulge the details of a gruesome case I just read about in the paper – might not have all the details or pronunciations correct, but it sure as hell is going to be entertaining.

I love these ladies so much I made a trip to Atlanta for a live show at the Fox Theatre and am a proud member of their fan cult. I even wear a Murderino shirt around town and don’t pay any attention to the strange looks I’m given. I guess you could say we’re going steady.

Favorite Episode: Episode 18 – Investigateighteen Discovery

Up and Vanished: Season 1 

upandvanished

The Tara Grinstead case is fascinating and deeply disturbing. Tara was a beauty queen, teacher and small town girl – not unlike a lot of women from my hometown. The idea that she went missing without a trace and her killer went free for more than 10 years speaks to the investigation done on this case prior to Payne Lindsey’s (podcast host) examination.

What sets this podcast apart is the ending: they break the case wide open.

Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia

Remember the Black Dahlia case? Of course you do. Everyone does. This podcast explores the family dynamics of the suspected Black Dahlia murderer and it left me thinking this is definitely the guy.

Warning: if you’re queasy beware. This podcast goes deep into the details of the murder and autopsy, including the torture that was inflicted upon Elizabeth Short.

Root of Evil, paired with its tv counterpart, I Am The Night, delves into the man behind one of the most infamous murder cases in US history. Both are good, but I’d recommend listening to the podcast before watching the show (if you haven’t seen it already). Directed by Patty Jenkins (director of Wonder Woman) and starring Chris Pine, it’s an eerie piece of television that lends itself more to creative direction.

The Last Podcast On The Left

Let’s sit crooked and talk straight: this podcast is raw and raunchy. Marcus Parks is SO GREAT at researching cases and all the guys riff constantly. Their multi-part series are what keep me coming back despite the vulgar humor which is comparable to a Will Ferrell movie and sometimes causes me to shift uncomfortably (especially the Albert Fish series).

That being said, this podcast provides very detailed information with a solid foundation of humor. Their Jonestown series BLEW MY MIND and included recordings from Jim Jones himself. These guys are my fillers when I’m waiting on new MFM episodes and I don’t regret it one bit.

Favorite Series: Episode 300-304 – Jonestown

Bear Brook

You know what I love? Cold Cases. You know what I love more? Cold Cases that are cracked by a librarian turned internet sleuth.

Bear Brook tells the untold story of barrels filled with bodies found in the Bear Brook woods. More than 30 years later, the case takes a surprising turn and is finally solved using familial genealogy. I never saw this ending coming and that’s why it rounds out my podcast greatest hits.

What are your podcast greatest hits and which do you think I should add to my list? Tell me in the comments!

Wedding Party Proposal Boxes

Wedding season is right around the corner and with engagements come wedding party proposals!

When it comes to wedding party proposals – whether it be bridesmaid proposals or groomsman proposals (yes, it’s a thing and my husband was VERY into it), a customized box is the way to go.

I wanted to go big, but knowing my budget, needed a way to keep the costs low. I was inspired by this post to do something more elaborate than a greeting card, but less elaborate than a candy butterfly that melts to reveal the invitation (yes it exists, no I could not justify it).

I started with a memory box from Michael’s, which regularly go on sale. They were being shipped all over the US, so I purchased butcher paper and paper shreds to line the bottom of the boxes and keep the items from moving in transit.

I designed the actual invite in InDesign, detailing the date, location and some more information. Kendrick and his friends are really into How I Met Your Mother, so I designed his boxes to fit that theme. If design isn’t your thing, you can also use Canva (it’s a free design website that provides easy to use templates).

Groomsman Proposal Boxes

What You’ll Need:

  • Memory Box
  • Paper Shreds
  • Miniature Liquor Bottle (custom to what each groomsman prefers)
  • Cigar
  • Mason Jar
  • Invitation
  • Glue Stick
  • Calligraphy Pen

Kendrick’s friends are your typical Georgia fraternity guys. When I showed him my Pinterest ideas, he wanted a mix of a couple options. We visited a local smoke shop to choose cigars that fit the wedding color scheme and chose to include each man’s liquor of choice. He also loved the idea of keeping it southern, so we added in a Mason jar for good measure.

After we had all the supplies, assembly was simple. I used a glue stick to adhere the invitation to the inside of the box and wrote each groomsman’s name on the top in a calligraphy style.

Bridesmaid Proposal Boxes

What You’ll Need:

  • Memory Box
  • Paper Shreds
  • Candle
  • Hair Ties
  • Robe
  • Nail Polish
  • Invitation
  • Glue Stick
  • Calligraphy Pen

I was much more detailed with the bridesmaid boxes, because I’ve only been dreaming about getting married since forever. Really, I’m the girl who had a Pinterest wedding board in college when I didn’t have any idea who the groom would be. 

For the ladies, I visited Ocala’s local farmer’s market to pick up my favorite soy candles. They’re so fragrant and last forever, plus everyone loves candles. I visited Ulta to find a nail color (Essie gel) that fit our color scheme and included it to give the box a pop of color. 

I knew I wanted to include wedding day robes, so I researched texture, color and style. They’re surprisingly pretty expensive, but I found beautiful robes on Etsy that fit the vibe perfectly. (Word to the wise these robes have a blue hue in their photos but actually look more grey in person.)

Finally, I saw a really cute hair tie idea on Pinterest that I replicated for a much lower cost. Rather than spend extra money on a design I didn’t love, I designed my own “To Have And To Hold Your Hair Back” cards and ordered a bulk order of hair tie material on ebay to tie around them.

I assembled them similarly to the groomsman, with the exception of a different design on the inside lid. 

That’s it! It wasn’t a difficult project, and I love how we customized each box. How did you propose to your ladies?

Spotlight: Ocala Downtown Market

The Ocala Downtown Market is the only reason I’ll wake up early on a weekend. With fresh coffee, peach muffins (complete with a crumble top) and pups at every turn, what’s not to love?

The Ocala Downtown Market is one of my favorite spots in Ocala. Every Saturday I make my way to the farmers market to choose fresh produce for my meal prep and support local businesses.

I’ve been craving zipper peas for months and I finally arrived early enough to snag a bag before the sold out – seriously, they are a hot commodity at the market! While there I also bought fresh alligator meat and fried it up for a true southern meal that made my husband glad he wifed me up.

The Ocala Downtown Market doesn’t just have ingredients though, vendors also sell home goods, live plants, pet treats and my favorite mango salsa that is to die for!

This local farmers market has opened me up to so many unique flavors. For example, when my husband’s friend was visiting we tried a raspberry vinegar paired with strawberries and WOW! Our friends poked fun of us for being bougie with this treat at game night but with flavors this amazing, we’re the real winners here.

If you haven’t visited the Ocala Downtown Market I highly suggest you check it out this weekend! It’s open every Saturday 9 AM – 2 PM rain or shine and if you come early it’s likely I’ll see you there.

Have you checked out our local farmers market? What unique finds did you discover?