Keeping It In The Family

Let’s catch you all up to date: we have been on a hiking adventure with our dads, New Orleans with our mommas, and now this weekend we spent it with our siblings! We are keeping it in the family! Our family is our biggest supporters and we love having them along on our adventures. They have raised us, shaped us, provided for us, and gave us just enough dysfunction to make us funny.

To start the weekend off Riley, Rachel’s sister, hitched a ride with Rachel to Hilary’s house! This is where the weekend began. We had big plans of a night out on the town which very quickly turned into a girls night in! Riley was full steam ahead seeing it was her Spring Break week from college, but we working girls were running on fumes at this point. So after some much needed catching up we found ourselves nestled quietly in the comfort of Hilary’s king sized bed! The three girls love their sleep!

The next morning Riley was off to bigger and better things since she had to return to school, but we couldn’t leave Heath, Hilary’s brother, out of the sibling weekend. We packed up our things and headed to Hartselle, Alabama. We had a big day of hiking ahead of us.

Hilary had planned a day and night tour of the Dismals Canyons in Franklin County, Alabama. We stopped first to pick up the sibling cargo. Heath and his wife Jessie were going to spend the day with us and they so kindly let us stay the night with them! We began our day of hiking by eating lunch. Everyone knows you need to be all fueled up for your adventures. Also, we like to eat and don’t need an excuse to find good food! Heath and Jessie suggested we go to Cardinal’s! It is a cute retro styled drive in with the best burgers in town! We all ordered and then shared all of our food… family style of course! There were chicken fingers and burgers and onion rings and milkshakes galore. After a little bit of gluttony we headed on our way to the canyons.

We arrived around 3:30 pm and committed to the day time self guided tour. Hilary had called the week before and reserved our spot for the night time tour. The combo day/night tour is $18. A special note: the day time tour can be purchased on site the day of your hike, however; the night time tours book up quick! We will tell you why shortly!

The day time hike was amazing. Moss covered boulders made for a breathtaking site! It was almost as if there was a little leprechaun waiting to jump out from behind the little rainbow. Also, rest assured there was no pot of gold at the end because we looked long and hard!

There were so many waterfalls and trickling springs and run offs everywhere! It was cool down underneath all of them. We shimmied and crawled around on them like kids on a playground. There was fun little bridges to cross and stepping stones that tested our balance… and our bravery.

Also, you should know Hilary is not afraid to jump on the swinging bridge while you’re trying to cross it!

We spent almost three hours exploring the canyons before we decided to hike back out for a break before the night tour. We ate dinner there at the Dismals Canyon lodge and spent the better part of an hour just hanging out and taking in the views.

Now it was time for the night tour! The night tour is special here because it gives you the opportunity to see a tiny little creature that are only native to this one spot in THE ENTIRE WORLD! There are similar species located in New Zealand and Australia but you will only get your chance to see these GLOW WORMS right here in North Alabama! Known as Dismalites, these tiny little fly larva are famous because they have a very unique feature. THEY GLOW IN THE DARK! This is why you will have to book the night tour in advance!

You will need to pack a flashlight along for this hike in the dark! Once you enter the cave the tour guide will teach you how to train your eyes to adjust to the dark and then you’ll begin to see the cave walls light up! It was fun to get to experience something so rare and located right in our very own backyard. Check out the website for more information, and note the best times of the year to visit is May/June and September/ October.

We had a great time catching up with our siblings this weekend, but the weekend went by so fast! Typically we would be saying that with a frown, but not this week!

The countdown is on to JAMAICA!!!!! This week is what we call “Hell Week”. It will be spent packing, list making, reservation booking, and WAITING! The week before a big trip is always a little bit stressful. We want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible and that we have everything we need! Becky and Hilary will be flying out of Nashville on Saturday, and Rachel and Susie will be catching up with them on Sunday when they leave from Atlanta.

We cannot wait to have our toes in the sand! But with the countdown approaching, here is our to do list!

1.Pack the carry ons

2. Book transportation from the airport to the condo

3. Secure the passports and all travel information

4. Inform the bank and credit cards of out of the country travel

5. Set up international calling – NO ROAMING CHARGES

6. Don’t lose our minds  

The Big Easy

Last week we told you all how we went chasing waterfalls with our dads. There are some things we should note that is common for us. We have made a habit of riding along on the coattails of our parent’s travels. It was Spring Break of last year when our mothers and crazy and loving Aunt Suzanne were headed down to New Orleans for the weekend. We did not want to miss out on this or chasing waterfalls, so we were wanting to tag along!

We pride ourselves being spur of the moment travelers always packing light and being on the go in a moments notice. It was Friday morning when the leading women in our lives were set to leave that afternoon headed to New Orleans for the first leg of their road trip. Rachel was with her sister, Riley, running around town just doing a few errands when she got the text from Hilary.

“Hey wanna go with our Moms to New Orleans this wknd?”

Rachel immediately with no hesitation picked up the phone to call Hilary. Upon answering after one ring, Rachel wasted no time getting to the heart of the matter!

“What time are we leaving? You better not be joking?!”

Hilary assured Rachel she was not kidding. Rachel turned the car around to go home and pack.

It was just about three hours later that we were in the car, packed, and headed south the the BIG EASY, BABY!

For some, it may not seem that it is this easy, but traveling has always just came natural to us. Becky, Hilary’s mom, immediately booked us a room at the hotel they were staying at that weekend, and it was like the trip literally fell into our lap. Our parents definitely support our love of travel, and for that we are forever grateful.

It was a six hour drive on the road with Susie, Rachel’s mom, Becky, and Aunt Suzanne following behind us in their vehicle. New Orleans had no idea what was about to strike!

We arrived at our beautiful hotel, The Royal Sonesta, located on Bourbon Street! It was about 11 o’clock that night and the valet man was such a beautiful, helpful specimen.

We were up in our rooms in no time. We unloaded our suitcases and got all dolled up with hair and makeup and the cutest little outfits! We walked just down the hallway to inform our mothers we were going EXPLORING! Already in their pajamas, they gave us worried speeches about safety and robbers and killers and voodoo. Our Aunt Suzanne reassured our mothers that we were grown adults with level heads on our shoulders who could make responsible decisions as she walked out the door with us! It was a night on Bourbon for us three girls!

It was a bit past three o’clock in the morning when our heads hit the pillow! By the way, the breakfast served at the restaurant downstairs is a good way to, ya know… soothe the stomach.

The next day was packed full and we hit the city streets early that morning! If you have never been to New Orleans, you should know that the square is full of life! There are boutiques, art, music, and food on every corner lining up the streets. Without spending a dime one could just enjoy the atmosphere.

We rode a horse and carriage, toured a local market, and enjoyed the views of the Mississippi River. It was a great day with great weather and great people. It was late afternoon and we all retired back to the hotel for a nap before going out to dinner!

We ate like the queens we are that night! We had reservations at Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Streak. The food was out of this world! We had a late reservation and when dinner was over we walked out onto Bourbon St. where everything had already began to fire up! It was funny to see our Moms, whom have never been party girls themselves, see what night life really looked like.

After we walked about a block, angelic Becky frantically screamed, “This looks like the streets of hell!” The rest of us could not muffle our bursts of laughs. We almost peed ourselves, although no one would have noticed with the normal stench  that lingers around Bourbon Street. The scantily clad girls, drinks, and beads were not exactly ideal for the goody girls. Our mothers and our Aunt Suzanne once again retired to the hotel. However, it was just the beginning of part two for us!

The trip was very meaningful for us in many ways. While we loved spending time with our Moms and Aunt we really did some soul searching on this trip. This was really the first time we did everything we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted. We appreciate our mothers letting us be ourselves. It was for the first time we felt we were real adults on a real weekend getaway.This is actually where our story kinda all gets started, if we are honest… and we will fill you in more later down the road how this trip really changed our lives. We aren’t sure  we are ready to spill all the gory details of this trip… Let us just say, we NEVER have to go back to New Orleans. In fact, I am not sure they would let us!

Let’s carry on….Now we fast forward almost exactly one year later… and our mothers have been Jamacian us crazy!!! Oh wait? Did we say that right?? YES, WE DID!

Spring Break trip 2.0 for the mother daughter duos! This time it is gonna be bigger and better and longer!!! We are spending a week in Jamaica for this spring break! We cannot wait! We are super excited to get to spend some quality time doing what we love most with our mothers! We have lots on our agenda and we are excited to get to share this with you! We are going to be letting you know how we planned our trip, where we are staying, and what all we are packing, soon! We want your advice and tips and tricks for this laid back country, so leave us some love in the comments! Check in next week for all the preplanning stuff! As always, pack light and carry on!

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

We have been told by TLC countless times, “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls”, but if you tell us not to… well, we can almost guarantee that we will. This little impromptu weekend adventure was brought on by record setting rainfall here in northeast Alabama! Over the last few weeks, the weather has resembled that of Seattle, Washington much more than the deep south. The ground had soaked up as much water as it could. This meant that the water was running over the edges, cliffs, and runoffs all over our area.

We can definitely say that we come by our desire to travel honestly. Our dad’s had planned a day of chasing waterfalls and we invited ourselves along. We jumped at the opportunity to go exploring with them!

The chance of rain was at a minimum for the first time in over two weeks. Cabin fever had set in and we needed to stretch our legs.

Our first destination was not far. Tucked in the corner of Geraldine, Alabama lies a locally known hot spot called High Falls Park. The park is home to a set of falls that plunge about 35 feet down. There is also a rock formation that has been eroded into a picturesque arch with a walking bridge, as well. It can be very dangerous here, so swimming and diving are at the visitor’s own risk. However, today no one in their right mind would have even attempted such activities. The water was rushing over the falls in enormous volumes. It was beautiful and humbling how powerful nature can present itself.

There are pavilions here for spending the day grilling and a playground for the little adventurers, also. Now, many of you know we aren’t so little, but that will never stop us from acting like children! Travel Pro Tip: When you see a merry go round, you demand that your dad spin you around!

After a wobbly restart we left the park headed for another falls, just about fifteen minutes down the road! The next falls are known as Griffin Falls, located in Collinsville, Alabama. An important note is that this waterfall is located on private land. The owner is awfully sweet to let adventurers on his land, so please remember to be respectful. This fall can be found on a good old dirt road just off of Highway 68. After just a short drive down the road, there is an obvious pull off where the trail begins. It is quite a steep trek to the top. There are lots of rocks that can be slippery when wet (Right, Hilary?).

Rachel’s dad and Hilary’s dad where the first to lead the way. Hilary’s mom was also along for the trip and up the side of the mountain we went.

Green moss lines the trails and makes for lush views. The 40 foot waterfall was a beautiful sight; however, you had to navigate just past the first boulder to get the full view. The higher we climbed, the prettier the view! If one is brave enough you can navigate behind the waterfalls into an open cave to get an ethereal view from behind the water.

There are lots of flowers oddly planted along the cave wall. These were planted and left by a local religious group that meets periodically here behind the water. It was a serene feeling standing behind the falls feeling the mist and splashes of water against us.

Navigating the wet rocks on the way up was a bit unsettling, but as everyone knows…what goes up must come back down. Hilary just came down at a quicker velocity than she expected during one little section of the trek to the bottom.

We all had a good laugh. As you might remember, Rachel took a very similar fall a couple weeks back! The mud never scared us, and then on to the next stop!

The hiking had made us hungry, so we stopped downtown Fort Payne at a local burger joint known as The Strand! Home of the delicious Bonanza Burger and some of the best onion rings around. The service here is unbeatable and the antique decor is all for sale! Be sure and ask for a slice of the homemade desserts, as well. We all shared a peach cheesecake that was divine!

We traveled to the overlook at Little River Canyon. It was foggy atop Lookout Mountain, but that didn’t stop us or the other adventurers from using their Saturday to see the water! After a quick stop there, we were onto Rome, Georgia! Gregg (Rachel’s Dad) and Paul and Becky (Hilary’s Parents) where all up for some antique shopping. There was an Italian place we were wanting to eat for dinner later in the evening. Rome was about an hour drive away. For Hilary and Rachel that meant time for more laughs and more ideas… One of which will probably get us into some trouble……You know what they say…. “When in Rome!!”

Our parents are notoriously always looking for a good deal and love thrifting. However, that isn’t really our “thing”, but knowing Italian was on the menu for dinner we traveled along for the trip in our own car. We figured we could find something to do while we waited for our parents to go shopping, right?

Well about twenty minutes from splitting with our parents we found ourselves in a little corner shop. Gotta do something to pass the time! We paid tribute to our love of travel and our rebellious nature all in one place!

Follow us on Instagram @carryoncousins to see what our tattoos look like!

We were excited to go to dinner with our new secret hidden by our hiking leggings! Rachel said to Hilary as we met up with our parents “Are we going to tell Aunt Becky?” Hilary quickly replied with a sharp “No!?” … deal. We mutually decided we would keep a secret.

We waltzed into the best Italian restaurant called Provino’s with a giddy and sneaky smile.

Hilary’s first words to her mom and me was “Come to the bathroom.” Rachel knew to follow. As we swung open the door to the lady’s room, Hilary peels up her leggings to reveal our not so secret surprise! Rachel just simply followed along and raised her leggings to show hers, too! Hilary just really doesn’t enjoy having a plan as much as Rachel does!   

Our dads didn’t need to know just yet… and, well, this will be a test to see if they actually read our blog!

This wild, crazy, spur of the moment decision embodies how we want to live our life. A notion we coined “The Carry-On Mindset” means living a life for the moment. Valuing what is now. Valuing the moment you are in right this second. We know that tomorrow is a thing, that there is a future, and plans are important to have. However, we do not want to live for tomorrow because we know it may never come. Hilary’s Motto:Plans are made to be broken. Rachel’s Motto:Don’t tempt me with a good time!

When we had the “Best Idea Ever” to create a blog that documented our travels, it began as a travel journal for ourselves simply to let our friends and family in on our adventures. We both had experienced some adversities in our life that had pushed us to make some really hard decisions. The notion of “deciding to be happy” is easier said than done. We often sit back in awe at how our lives where intertwined so closely because we began to make the same decisions at the same time in our lives, and that is what brought us so close together.

We leaned on each other for support when things were not going so great. When we were scared of what the future held, or when we were lonely at all the wee hours of the morning, it always seemed that the other had just experienced the same thing and was able to help talk the other one down off that steep ledge.

We quickly realized that we both had similar coping skills. When we were upset, sad, lonely, or mad as all hell, it really helped us to change our scenery. We would get up and get going on a quick whim to force our brains to process new information so we could step away from the negativity we could not seem to shake sitting at home. We both struggle with not being able to stop thinking about it. Traveling and going on adventures is a way we could force our brains to stop picking apart the one thing that was bothering us and focus on what really matters; being happy with ourselves. What makes us inspired? What makes our heart beat outside our chests? What makes us stand there in awe?

We will never forget the first real trip we ever took together. It was right before we would both take a huge leap of faith. We were both stuck at a place in our lives where we were sacrificing every bit of our happiness to please others. It’s not like we are two selfless, caring, nurturing sweet girls who just get trampled on. If you knew us, you would say right the opposite. We both STRUGGLE with letting people down, and in order to do what we needed to do to be young, wild, and free…. Or young, dumb, and broke more like it…. we inevitably knew that we would hurt a lot of people in our lives.

This post itself may pain a few people because of our decisions made on this very day, but we want everyone to know that the best way to handle life and all of its struggles is to pack light and carry on. You might regret getting a tattoo, but you will never regret travelling! 🙂

No For Sure… It Was Memphis

We know last week ended with a cliffhanger, and you have patiently waited to know what happened in Memphis for the second half of our trip! We appreciate your nail-biting and slightly psychotic rocking on the edge of your seat!

To bring us all up to speed, it had been an amazing fun-filled day of museums, barbeque, celebrity spotting, and sightseeing. We attempted the walking bridge, but couldn’t take the 33 degree weather any longer. Rachel, being the planner she is, knew that after waking up early and having a full day, a nap would be needed. So, onto the Airbnb we go for some much needed R&R before we hit up Memphis nightlife. We had just taken the ramp onto Interstate 55 toward Coldwater, Mississippi, and had calculated that we had about three hours to nap, get glammed up, and head back into town. Then all of a sudden… like a blur in the window… Hilary spotted what Rachel already knew was there. Hilary gasped…. Hilary pointed…. Rachel knew….

Two short exits down, Rachel was getting off the interstate about six miles before their intended exit of Clearwater.

We HAD to turn around.

We could NOT just drive past it and NOT stop.

It was our duty as traveling women.

Ten short minutes later we arrived…. At the TANGER OUTLETS!

Located right off of Interstate 55 in Southaven, Mississippi you can find the shopping mecca that will provide you with all of your shopping desires! The full list of stores can be found here if you’re planning your trip soon!

We know life is all about choices and on this day we chose shopping over sleep like any woman would do. We had fun trying on all the clothes and giving each other nods of approval and stank faces of disapproval for the hour we had dedicated to getting some zzz’s.

With an arm full of shopping bags, Hilary met Rachel in the car (Rachel tapped out about twenty minutes before Hilary) and THEN we headed on to the Airbnb.

Upon arriving at the picturesque Wynnewood Cottage, we were met promptly by our amazing host! Aaron made sure our arrival was smooth and accommodating. He had given us the code to enter AND generously ushered us into our home for the night. The cottage was decorated to feel like a southern traditional home with all the comforts and amenities! Hilary and Aaron shared tales of antiques and decor while Rachel marveled over the swing in the front yard!

Once we were settled in, Aaron was on his way. Admittedly, we would have been happy if he had stayed around and hung out with us longer! Preface: the bed slept like a cloud!!!

If you would like up to $55 dollars off your first stay with AirBnb you can use this link! We recommend AirBnb to most anyone wanting to travel comfortably and keep a tight budget.

We stood there with our carry on luggage unfolded and outfits laid out, staring at each other, knowing we so desperately wanted to go to sleep, and let us just say how important self awareness is as a traveler. We knew in the pits of our bellies that if we so much as closed our eyes while in a horizontal manner, we would not get back up.

Off to the shower Hilary went because she takes longer to get ready (self awareness). After Rachel showered the hair and makeup marathon commenced! We had these really cute outfits for the night out, but both of us opted for something a little more casual. You know it’s not a girls trip if you don’t change outfits at least three times in one day.

We settled in on final touches for the comfy outfits, adorned in our sneakers and sweaters, and pointed the car toward the Historic Beale Street. Now, this is an important note for all you Memphis goers, parking is pretty readily available anywhere. However, you do need to prepare to dish out a couple of dollars every time you relocate your car. Altogether for the weekend we spent about $40 dollars on parking. This is one small downside to not staying in town and calling an UBER. We figured the budget for parking or calling an UBER would be about as wide as it is long.

Upon turning onto Beale Street, there is no mistaking where the party is! The neon lights work as a beacon calling in the good times! We knew we wanted to hit up the famous B.B. King’s Blues Club. It is conveniently located on the corner next to a parking garage. Instant and easy decisions were made there.

Walking into the place we knew it would be great because there was a line. That’s how you know where the good stuff is! We waited behind the velvet rope to pay our $7 cover and made our way to the bar. The first round was down, and the early night band was exiting off the stage. Hilary made the best decision when she went and got us a table on the second story! We were perfectly overlooking a little balcony down onto the stage.

To be as crowded as it was, the service was super speedy. Apparently, they’d done this before. We decided to split the entree and dessert as we weren’t exactly starving (noted: a rare occasion). Let us just tell you though, the Chicken Fried Chicken is a double whammy of redundant goodness!! The sides perfectly paired. I mean who doesn’t love some mac and cheese?! The roasted vegetables cleanse the palate and made way for the White Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding with ice cream!!! (Sorry, we devoured it before the thought of a picture ever occured. Live in the moment right?)

Over dinner, we chatted with an adorable couple from Wisconsin who was on their way to New Orleans for her birthday! Sharing our funny accents over conversation was nice, and it’s a part of traveling that we love so much! Meeting new people make life just a little bit better!

We had just taken our last bite and paid the waiter when the house band fired up! When we say we RAN down the stairs we are not exaggerating. Like shamelessly “should have worn a different bra kinda ran down the stairs”.The rhythmic blues filled the air with a sweet southern voice laying perfectly atop some of the best music we have EVER heard. Let us just say the B.B. King All-star Band can have our $7 cover charge any day of the week and then some!!!  

Never batting an eye at the fuddy duds in their seats, we made a beeline out onto the dance floor. We understand this isn’t shocking to any of you who know us. Our strong advice: DANCE! You will find that mob behavior is real. It is never longer than a verse of the song before others will use you as an inspiring excuse to get up and dance, too! We spent the next couple of hours there soaking in the atmosphere and dancing our hearts out with the mob that so quickly followed in our two steps.

After a while of two-stepping to the beat, we both decided to get out of there and see what the rest of what Beale had to offer. There was a dueling piano bar just down the way, and since it had started to drizzle we quickly stepped inside. As we stepped over the threshold, a beautiful melody rang out across the piano keys.

Hilary stopped dead in her tracks. The singer let it ring out “ Blame it all on my roots…”

She turned around to death stare at Rachel who finished with “I SHOWED UP IN BOOTS!”

Needless to say, we didn’t stay there long. Country music just isn’t Hilary’s thing. We stayed just long enough to pee and let Hilary ask the security guard where the next best place was to finish out the night!

We found ourselves in a white girl dancing club, showed ‘em how it’s done there, but was quickly ready to call it a night. The “no nap” had caught up to us. We left and as we were walking by B.B. Kings, we could still hear the band firing it up.

We didn’t ask each other. We didn’t even look in each others direction. We just waltzed right back in there. We flashed our stamped hands at the security guards and hopped the velvet rope like we were “regulars”. Again, there wasn’t a soul to be found on the dance floor, and just like the time before, we walked right past the fuddy duds and onto the stage where Hilary and the lead singer shared eyes and matching dance moves until the wee hours of the morning!

We safely made it back to our home for the night, ecstatic with our new adventures. Ecstatic that our “Best Idea Ever” was really feeling like we thought it would. As we tossed our carry-ons onto the floor and our bodies onto the bed, we knew we right where we wanted to be.

The next morning, we traveled to the Blue Plate Cafe located downtown on S Court Street, and ate until we were MISERABLE! Miserable, let us tell ya! All the pancakes and french toast and eggs and sausage and honey biscuits that two people’s hearts and stomach could devour right there in downtown Memphis! Some sins scare us, but gluttony ain’t one of them.

We wobbled our way back to the car and pointed it toward home. Walking in Memphis was a song Hilary was tired of Rachel singing, but it was the best weekend trip we could have done to kick off this blog!

Maybe It Was Memphis

This is the first trip that we took just for the purpose of helping you, our loyal readers, to become travelers as well. With that, this post presented itself as a real challenge to us. We decided that Memphis was the place to visit because it was a new city for both of us. It was also doable in a weekend’s time, and better yet, we spent LESS than $200 for the whole entire trip! We are gonna show you how you can do it, too!  

Memphis was new territory for both of us. Unsure of what to expect, we set out to find as much information we could in just a few days time. We asked around to our friends, family, and coworkers for advice on what to do while we were there. We are going to be explicitly honest with y’all. We were given crime rate statistics, warnings, and advice on how unsafe the city could be. We don’t want to be the type of people who judge a book by its cover, but this did persuade us to book a quiet airbnb about thirty minutes outside of the city to ensure that our sleeping quarters would be safe for the night. (The airbnb went above and beyond our expectations. More on the details of the cottage later) However, despite all of the the information paraded around us about being safe, we never once felt like we ever in harm’s way.

The night before we discussed our plans and concerns. In order to cool both of our anxieties about the city we laughingly joked… you have never seen a big ol’ gal who has gone missing, much less two of them. So, we reminded ourselves to put on our big girl panties and go live our big girl life. We made smart decisions by never separating from each other, watching our drinks when we were on Beale Street, and staying in the well lit areas of the street and parking garages.

We started our trip early on Saturday morning around 6:30, and was out the door around 7:30. It would have been sooner, but first…. Lemme get an egg sammich. Hilary is an egg sammich making machine!!! This is just one way we saved ourselves $6-$8 on eating breakfast on the go. We had our carry-ons loaded down in the car along with a small little cooler bag with drinks and snacks. Again, cutting down cost on gas station snacks and fast food is a great way to save money on weekend trips. The money adds up quick resulting in a savings of around fifty bucks or more by the end of the weekend.

We had about a three and a half hour drive between where we are in North Alabama and Memphis. We were headed straight into the city to explore before heading to our Airbnb. Our check in was not until 3:00 that afternoon. Also, if you are headed from North Alabama to Memphis, the directions are really easy. Go to Decatur, turn right, and keep going until you see the Old Muddy Water Mississippi RIVER! We felt as if we became delirious because we stayed on the same road for so F$@%^#$^ long!

After lots of music, laughs, discussions, phone calls to jealous friends and family, and all the packed snacks we arrived at our first stop: The Lorraine Motel and The National Civil Rights Museum. This is where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Located at 450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103. It was absolutely the highlight of the trip. Tickets where only $16 and gave us access to two buildings. Honestly, it probably deserves its own post because it is so much more than a museum.

It is an experience that every American should partake in. WARNING: We UGLY cried more than once. If you do one thing in Memphis, DO THIS.  We had arrived at the museum around 11:00. We finished everything the Museum had to offer around 12:45. We allotted ourselves two hours here and it was perfect. If you had a larger group or smaller children we would recommend a little bit longer. Also, by the time we were leaving the crowd had grown significantly.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paved a way as a martyr for the Civil Rights movement here in America. To even begin to write about him in this post is quite the honor, and a great task.

We had the opportunity to travel to Memphis, Tennessee just before MLK’s birthday. What we saw here while we were on our little weekend trip was life changing. We don’t mean it was interesting, or inspiring, or great, but in so many ways it absolutely changed our lives, our mindset, and our beliefs.

We want to note that before we continue to write about our experience and thoughts here, we want you all to know that we understand there is still unjust and unfair treatment in the world today. Right in our very own cities and towns, we see things that are unfair. People mistreating other people due to their race, sex, or beliefs. In the true spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we want to approach this topic with love, empathy, and respect for everyone.

The quick planning of the trip lead us to the National Civil Rights Museum for many reasons. The Civil Rights movement is associated with the 60’s but we feel like the movement has continued on into a part of our generation, as well. In our society today, we still see police brutality and unjust treatment of people of a different race or ethnicity.

When we arrived to the museum we were excited with anticipation of getting to get out and stretch our legs after being in the car for over three hours.  We knew the museum would be great because of the reviews we had scanned over on the way there. However, neither of us had an inkling of what we would experience on the other side of those doors.

The time is always right to do what it is right. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Upon walking into the exhibit, we both felt a swarm of shame, embarrassment, and even guilt. The first exhibit we encountered was the depiction of the “Middle Passage”. The slave trade was where it all began. To know that human beings had to endure such cruelty and filth was unimaginable. To read about it in school or to even study it in college, as Rachel did, it still was not as real as seeing it before in your own eyes.

We made our way throughout the rest of the museum almost in silence while reading and watching different clips and seeing the harsh reality that was our nation’s history. The stories of lynchings, bombings, protest and murders left us without words and in moments, without breath. There were replicas of the busses, of the sit ins, and of the peaceful protest. All bringing and pulling tears to the surface of our eyes. It was toward the end that there was a short documentary playing on a loop that pulled the tears past the surface and streaming down our faces.

The documentary told of the famous Mountain Top Speech.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the speech to the congregation at the Mason Temple in Memphis. The night of April 3rd, MLK did not believe there would be many people to turn out for the rally due to the weather; however, he was mistaken. After receiving a phone call that the house was packed, he went to deliver a speech he had not written.

Unbeknownst to the world, this would be his last speech. Yet, if you listen to him speak, he may have known this would be the last time he would ever speak to the public again. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed just a day later around 6 pm on April 4th.

In his speech, he is quoted saying how he wished that he could live a long and prosperous life, but if he didn’t get to he was at peace with it all. He quoted death more in this speech than any other he had delivered. It was if he knew his own fate was quickly approaching.

After watching the documentary and sitting in utter silence with tears streaming down our face, the reality of his fate was lying just on the other side of the door we had entered. We got to see the hotel room, just as it was the day MLK was assassinated; the blankets on the bed lie unmade, the ashtray still filled with crushed cigarettes, the newspaper lying on the table. Looking out the window where a wreath marked the spot that he became a martyr.

The impact of his death was felt far and wide. The stress of the incident even caused the owner of the Lorraine Motel, Loree Bailey, to lapse into a coma. She died five days later.

As we looked out across the street at where James Earl Ray shot and killed MLK, it was weary and sorrowful. An experience we will never forget. It felt like just standing in the walkways we could hear MLK calling us into action. Calling us to speak out, and give a damn about the injustice that so many people still face today. We are not sure that we can stand up and cause a movement as large as he did, but we know without a shadow of a doubt we can make a difference, even if it is just by being nice and showing love to everyone we meet.  

Located just across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum was Central BBQ. Important Note: There was a line here… out the door kinda line. Long lines typically mean good food. We both were not feeling too hungry after what we had just witnessed at the museum. Jointly, we decided to cross off a few more things before shooting for a late lunch. We were hoping the pig lovers would have eaten and gotten out our way way by two or three o’clock. Hilary and I are a lot of things, but patient isn’t really one of them. This is one way we are very much alike.

We traveled just about two miles down the road to Sun Studios. You can find the studio nestled on 706 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103.

It is rumored by Marc Cohn  that you can see the ghost of Elvis somewhere on this road. Rachel was so excited to get there, and was looking at all the scenery that she blew a red light (Sorry Mom and Dad that I left out this detail when we talked later). Thankfully no one was harmed in the making of this road trip or blog. The Sun Studio has FREE PARKING located at the back of the building. We didn’t know until after we parked two blocks away. However, it was free street parking, so we are not complaining about anything but walking in the cold.

The Sun Studio is the recording studio famous for hosting people like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and many more. The tickets were only $14 dollars a piece for a tour that was set to start in just 15 minutes. We opted out of the tour and just explored the lounge, snapped some pics, and fingered through all the merch they had for sale before moving on. We recommend this spot 10/10 stars for instagrammable pics!

Less than a mile down the road is the Peabody Hotel, located on 149 Union Ave. Here we paid $8 for parking just a block from the famous hotel. There were several options to eat down the little side street, from Subway to a fancy Italian Steakhouse, and even a Mexican restaurant. The Hotel was so elegant and would be a wonderful place to sit for a bit if you needed some time to fill. There was ample spots for people….  And DUCK… watching. The hotel is notorious for the famous duckies. At 11 am in the morning, they are ushered down the red carpet to the fountain where you can view them all day until later than night. It gets really crowded when they are ushered on the red carpet, so we opted to view them a little later in the day to avoid the large crowd. If you got some kiddos with you, this might be something you’d want to do. However, heed the warning and get there early for a good spot!

After the duck viewing, THE TIME HAD COME… WE. WERE. HUNGRY! So, we took the two mile drive back to the Central BBQ joint…or as Hilary called it, “The Big Beautiful Blue Building” The alliteration almost brought a proud tear to Rachel’s English teacher’s heart.

Here, Rachel had the rib plate. When in Memphis right? The meal cost $19.93, which is a fair price for good ribs, also the year Rachel was born. A coincidence? We think not. Rachel ordered them half dry rub, and half wet. We sampled both sides and as the amateur food critics we are, we deemed the wet side as the best side (In Rachel and Hilary’s best “Remember the Titans” voice, “WET SIDE!!!…… STRONNNG SIDE!!!!) Hilary had the pulled pork sammich with some bomb baked beans! Afterwards, she ordered the meat and cheese appetizer to go. It was a great to snack on in the evening.

Also, speaking of food critics, guess who popped into Central while we were eating there???? Joe and Kendall from Bachelor in Paradise!!!!! Rachel was caught off guard by Hilary’s jaw dropped expression, and pretended she knew who they were. Hilary watches every episode of the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, and every other spinoff. To say she had a small meltdown was an understatement.

After eating all the bbq, all the sides, and drinking all the soda, we were feeling a little guilty about our gluttony. We made our way to the Mississippi River Walking Bridge.

It was a good idea in theory. A terrible idea in implementation. It was freezing balls cold outside, but we wanted to give you, the reader, the real experience. It was so cold that we were hurting. We were going to rent and ride bicycles across the bridge, but the snazzy phone app was complicated. It hurt too much to have our hands out of our pockets, BUT, being the badasses  that we are, we still had to walk on it just to prove we did it. We made it, maybe… and that is a hard maybe. A tenth of a mile onto the bridge we snapped a couple of “for proof” pics and walked a brisk and winey walk back to the car. Unless you’re looking for an actual workout, save yourself the walk and just drive over the damn bridge. Nothing to see here, folks; keep moving!

The walking bridge extravaganza pushed us to our breaking point for the morning and we were ready to scadoodle on to our airbnb for a scheduled nap. Around 4:00, we put our gps on the airbnb address and pointed our car in that direction. We could not wait to get in a solid nap before going out to experiencing more of Memphis’s nightlife later.

I mean, honestly, even after two blog post, do you think driving to our airbnb and taking a nap is what happend? Make your predictions of what happens next in our comments section! Then stay tuned for next week’s post on how you can finish out the Memphis trip in under $200!

Compatible Carry-Ons

“First things first [y’all] the realest!” – Iggy Azalae.

We set a goal for 100 views on our blog in a week! Y’all managed to give us that in just two hours of our website going live! We want to say thank you so much!

Now, onto what this blog is about! A wise woman once told us “If you think you love someone, carry them on vacation with you!” It is so easy to think you would get along with someone for extended amounts of time if you see them on a regular basis. However, this just is not the case. By the end of the week, you are ready to ship your bestie, boyfriend, coworker, or whoever you brought with you back to where the hell they came from. It is so important to find someone you are compatible with! This does not mean someone who is just like you. Compatibility means despite your differences you still get along and work well under stressful situations together. Traveling is so fun and often times very relaxing, but it can be hectic at times when flights get delayed or the hotel room will not be ready for another three hours. One thing that is great about us is that we are VERY different and also VERY compatible. We are the CRAZY to the other one’s SANE! We have found that we are complementary in all kinds of situations. We often joke that we have the best of both worlds. Rachel a brunette. Hilary a blonde. Rachel an old soul. Hilary a free spirit. The list goes on and on.

Now being the “Carry On Cousins” that we are, we wanted to give you a little insight as to how we are SO different. When it comes to traveling there are only two things you need to make your trip happen: a carry-on, of course, and MUSIC! Whether you are traveling by bus, plane, train, or car, music is the key to those long stretches of time between you and your destination.

The packing strategies we use differ entirely! Hilary is a fly by the seat of her yoga pants kind of girl. She firmly believes in the idea that plans are meant to be broken. Approaching the night before a travel day, you can find her elbow deep in the closet pulling from her extensive collection of girly blouses, colorful camis, and extensive array of flirty dresses. She shamelessly throws options in that are bold and stylish. She ain’t scared to mix patterns or textures. She is a last minute packer who can stay calm while the clock ticks away. Rachel, on the other hand, is always on the go with her carry on packed and loaded in the car ready when the horn sounds. She lives her life as an organized mess. You may not can find her favorite sneakers but she knows without looking one of them is under her passenger seat and the other is at the bottom of her carry on. Her time spent as a girl scout has taught her to always be prepared. When the time comes to pack she was ready to leave ten minutes ago. Not to mention, she is shaking and trembling scared to death she is going to be late while Hilary is casually looking for her `purse` chapstick.

So without further adieu, here are the top five things we MUST have in our carry on for a successful trip!  

5 things Hilary Has to Have in Her Carry On

  1. Travel Size (we like to call it “baby”) Vaseline – I have to have this with me because I need to keep my feet baby soft with absolutely NO blisters. Honestly, I get sore bruised heels from being on my feet all day at my job. Healthcare ain’t for the faint of heart… or feet.
  2. Chapstick(s) at least two – Moisturization is KEY!
  3. Tweezers – The closer you get to thirty the fewer candles you are blowing and the more chin hairs you are plucking! Protip: pluck in the sunlight for optimal plucking pleasure.
  4. Headphones – I ALWAYS have to have my music playing. I love setting up a playlist for travel days. DJ HILLY in the house!  
  5. Yoga Pants – The most versatile clothing item ever! You can dress them down with a sports bra or dress them up with a blazer.

5 Things Rachel Has to Have in Her Carry On

  1. Snacks – Snacks are life. IDK why this ain’t on Hilary’s list
  2. Something to read – I am tired of reading about the new airline credit card pamphlet tucked in the back of the airplane seats… When I get bored, the world is in imminent danger so I need some form of entertainment with me.  
  3. Tide2Go Pen – Snacks can get messy… Also, see post “Best Idea Ever” I might fall down in the mud.
  4. Bluetooth Speaker – While Hilary has her headphones for the plane, once we get in the room we need some jams to pump our tires up while getting ready for the night out on the town! This is where my UE Roll comes in handy!
  5. Scrunchy- My hair is everywhere! (My favorite are the Dewedit Scrunchies which you can get here )

Now as previously mentioned, music is so important when you travel. It is the soundtrack to your life. You want to have the best background music at all times. Admittedly, this is probably where we disagree the most. Hilary has the best eclectic taste. She is almost always the DJ on the road trips with a playlist for every occasion. Rachel, on the other hand, often just clicks on the radio and lets the station control what is going to be played. Which means if she turns on the radio in Alabama, it is going to be country music. Hilary HATES country music. (Besides like 90’s country, which we can all agree is a genre all its own)

SO…. We have completed a list of songs for you all that we both love, and songs that we hate.

Songs we both like

Hilary’s songs that she loves, but that Rachel hates

Rachel’s Songs that she loves, but that Hilary hates

Finding your compatible traveling partner is so important. Honestly, it does not matter where you go, it is who you are with that makes the trip a memory that lasts a lifetime. There are weekends that we have spent lying around on the couch not doing a single thing but breathing, and it was the best rejuvenating weekend ever. We both encourage you to find your person and make the most out of your everyday lives. Life is about experiences, adventures, and most of all memories. Around these parts, we like to say “Make memories, not plans”. Don’t sit around waiting for life to come to you, go chase after all the things that make you happy!

The Best Idea Ever

Today we set off in our backyard… well not really. We travelled just a ways up the road to Desoto State Park located atop Lookout Mountain. The past week had freezing temperatures of 18 degrees! However, today, the second of February, it was a whopping 65 degrees in north Alabama. With cabin fever settling in just a day before, we both needed the vitamin D brought by the big ball of fire in the sky. We headed to the dusty trail. Just kidding.There were parts that were soaking wet (Rachel will have more details on that in the video we post).

The trail started at a pretty steep decline of dry brown leaves and quickly became a scenery of lush green as we neared the falls. The water that begins in Desoto State Park leads its way into Little River Canyon. There are so many little trickles of waterfalls both big and small. As we treaded down the small narrow paths we spent time catching up on the week past. Hilary was just back from a work trip to San Diego, and Rachel had spent the first part of the week enjoying time off because of the snow days! The previous weekend we had spent together in Nashville, Tennessee! There were lots of reminiscing about our wild night on Broadway and tales of new experiences in San Diego.

After a short walk across an adorable little bridge, we came to an overlook. Now, something you should know about us is that we both love to live our lives on the edge, so this is exactly what we did. We climbed onto the overhang to let our legs drift in the air over a fifty foot drop! We were sure to keep our booties firmly planted so we couldn’t fall off. Shout out to our mommas for what they gave us! They would not be happy with our ideas to hang our legs off the cliff, but they do love how our relationship has grown so much over the past couple of years. Also, pro tip: always bring snacks! We were feeling earthy, so we shared gummy worms. It just felt right.

At this point we were only about halfway to our destination. We packed up all of our snacks like good hikers do, and saddled up for the rest of the hike. We followed the trail that lead to some marshy like conditions. It would not be until we returned on our way back that Rachel would find herself on a slippery slope. When we finally took the last hop onto the smooth rocks, the rushing water from the falls were revealed. The sun was shining brightly without a cloud in sight, an extreme contrast to just 48 hours ago. We slipped off our shoes like the little Indian girls we are. Feeling the earth below our feet helped center our minds and our bodies. We spent the next hour laying on the rocks, snapping gorgeous pictures of the scenery, and enjoying the serenity of the water rushing along the river bed.

The sun was drawing closer to the tree lines and unfortunately the temperature was dropping. We packed up once again and began on our hike back to our car. Rachel, the calculated confident thing she is, decided to comment on how well she was avoiding the marshy and wet parts of the trail. Shortly after, Karma felt it was necessary to bring her back to the reality in the worse way. One wet rock and down she went.  Hilary, the sarcastic empathetic thing she is, laughed and tried to ask if Rachel needed a hand. We had to take a moment to document about how wet Rachel’s momma given booty was after the fall. The wet shorts and shirt did NOT stop us from stopping by the local ice cream shop on our way home, though. We highly recommend that if you ever find yourself close to Desoto State Park you stop in and see Mildred, the sweetest woman you will ever know, at the Parkway Ice Cream Shop!

As we were sitting outside at the picnic table, lapping up our ice cream cones (Rachel had classic chocolate and Hilary made the solid choice of cookies-n-cream) we began talking about all of our fun times and sparked together this great idea: A BLOG! It is a running joke that Hilary does not have the best memory, and Rachel’s brainspace can only hold so much. We needed a place to store our adventures, so here we are!. This blog will act as our memory! Providing us with flashbacks to our favorite moments in our life. While we do love to travel, we want to encompass all of our favorite parts of our life as well.

We are not alike in many ways. We bring to the table different perspectives, different clothing styles, different talents, and many different preferences across the board. We believe that is what makes us so unique. We are so different, but we get along and work so well together in all kinds of situations… and we do mean ALL KINDS. Our ability to do so comes from our fundamental similarities. For example, we both are either flaming hot or ice cold. We are passionate about the matter with all of our being or express no interest at all. We give ourselves to our hobbies, relationships, and goals 100%, This allows us to chase after our adventures wholeheartedly. So watch out world, we have our carry on packed and we are ready to see the world through all new lenses!