My heart is so full right now. Being back home in Iowa and surrounded by my family was exactly what I needed. I’m still recovering from laughing so hard and crying so much. Even though my trip was short, we fit so much in. I had to break the trip into two parts. Today, I’ll be sharing my journey to Iowa, some fun activities we fit in, and my cousin’s beautiful wedding. Part two will be when we headed to my hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa. I shared part one’s travel vlog last night, so if you want this blog post to come to life, check that out. You can see for yourself why I had so much fun with my family.
Kyle and I got lucky because our good friends agreed to stay at my house with the dogs for the weekend. I’m not going to lie, our dogs are kind of needy and a pain in the butt sometimes. I’m also a big baby and don’t have the heart to board them or send them off to a stranger’s house. My parents usually watch them when we are out of town, but since they headed off to Iowa as well, that option was out.
I was up at 5 am so I could walk the dogs, work on my blog a bit, and have coffee before heading to the airport. I need a couple of hours to wake up. We finally headed to the airport around 7:30 and took off a couple of hours later.
I hardly get the chance to read because I always feel like I need to be on my computer working, or I opt for television because it gives my brain a rest. I need to be better about deciding to read instead of watching trash television. I finally got the chance to read my favorite Author’s new book. She sent me the book and wrote a sweet letter, which makes it even more special. I love her books because it doesn’t take several chapters to get hooked. After the first page, I wanted more and more! I got around to finishing the book today, and just like her other books, I highly recommend it. I was waiting to break my raw vegan diet challenge until later on, so I had a half of this pumpkin Go Raw bar on the plane. It was terrible. The only way I could eat another one was if it had peanut butter on top. These bars are still super healthy and filled with nutrients and healthy fats, so if that’s what you’re going for, then you might like them. And if you are going to try it, make sure you have a jar of peanut butter close.
I started researching cafes and cute lunch spots online before heading to Des Moines. I hate the “where should we eat” conversation that never gets resolved. Plus, I was driving, so no one had a choice 😂 I’m just kidding, they were all on board with this place as well. If you’re ever in the Des Moines area, make sure to stop into St. Kilda. They had a vast variety menu that suited everyone’s needs. The atmosphere was cool. I love exposed brick and cafes with character.
But first, coffee!
I ordered an almond milk cappuccino and a green smoothie to start with first. I knew everyone would split the smoothie with me, so I didn’t hesitate to order it. It was called the “Green Dream Smoothie” I had them omit the honey and add ginger. It also had spinach, avocado, carrot juice, and aloe water.
I ordered the avocado toast on gluten-free bread with poached egg and the harvest grain bowl without the grains. I just had them add extra arugula. I would have added the grains, but farro was mixed in. The bowl had cherry tomatoes, pickled fennel, candied pepitas, maple balsamic vinaigrette, fried egg, chicken, and the tastiest roasted squash! Kyle was still full from our Whole Food’s excursion, so I ordered extra food to bring back to the room for later if one of us got hungry.
The whole fam together again!
Kyle had no idea what he was getting himself into! I was so excited for him to meet my whole family. To be honest, it had been almost ten years since I’ve seen a lot of my family, so I was excited to be able to spend time with them. This trip just made me realize how important it is to take the time to visit home, and I’m going to do it more.
We all decided to take a drive to the Riverside Casino!
-My dad puts $100 into a slot machine and turns it into $170.
-My brother puts $20 in and turns it into $80
-My mom puts $100 into a slot and turns it into $250
-Kyle puts in $20 bucks and turns it into $425 in three spins, cashes out, buys a sandwich, and quits.
-I put in $120 and turned it into $0
-My dad hands Kyle a $20 and tells him to double it. Kyle turns it into $48.
-My dad gives Kyle another $20 and tells him to double it. Kyle doubles it.
They didn’t let me hear the end of it. In fact, they let that be the conversation starter every time they talked to the family. I think I heard “so the casino was fun, huh?” about thirty times the next day. The question was obviously rhetorical.
I was ready for bed by the time 9 pm rolled around. I think everyone was. As soon we got to the hotel, I put my face mask on, ate a bag of pretzels, a piece of chocolate, brushed my teeth, and went straight to bed.
I woke up extra early so I could have some coffee, and then head over to the farmer’s market. I thought I was the first one up until I looked at my phone and saw a text message from my mom that said “hi” at 5 am. I called her and asked her what the heck she was doing, and she was downstairs on the treadmill. Now that’s dedication! I went straight back to the room to relax and had no plans of joining her.
I thought I’d be walking the farmer’s market alone, but Kyle, my brother, and my mom wanted to join.
The weather was chilly and overcast. That made me SO HAPPY! It felt like fall. I had all the feels 💜
We headed into Java Joe’s for some drinks! I ordered an almond milk cappuccino, Kyle ordered an apple cider tea, and my brother ordered a cortado.
My brother ordered a bowl of “eggs and things.”
I walked by a booth with samples of gluten-free, no refined sugar, dairy-free, and no preservative wholesome ingredient granola bars. I had to try one! I was blown away. I tried the vanilla, the peanut butter, the pumpkin, and the lemon! I couldn’t pick a favorite, so I decided to buy six-packs. The best part was how inexpensive they are. I love to have a light snack before walking the dogs or with my coffee in the morning, and these were perfect for that. I also plan on taking them to Saturday morning tennis. As soon as I’m out, I’ll be ordering six more packs! I have a feeling this small granola business is going to go big time very soon! Their bars are absolutely wonderful! You can order the bars on their website if you want to try them out. 😊
We had to pick up some kettle corn to bring back to the hotel for late-night snacking! No one does kettle corn like Iowa.
I had to pick up a pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting at the Scenic Route Bakery booth! The Des Moines farmer’s market was incredible, and one of the biggest I’ve been to! I know Charlotte has a farmer’s market, but I wish it were like the Des Moines one. Maybe Charlotte can start shutting down their uptown for markets like this.
If I lived in Iowa, I’d be here every single weekend to buy all of my food for the week.
We headed back to the hotel to spend a few hours relaxing while slowly getting ready for Emily’s wedding. (my makeup tutorial)
Even though it was raining (they say it’s good luck!), the wedding was breathtaking. Congrats to Emily & Alex! 💜
My date ♥️
The reception was a blast! And no. My mom and her twin sister do not age.
If you watch the video, you’ll get more of an idea of how fun the reception was! ♥️ I can’t wait to show you part two! It gets pretttttty crazy.
Thank you guys for taking the time to read. This was a very special blog post for me because I’m used to just showing you what I eat, where I go, or the small stuff in my life. My family is so important to me, and I’m glad I got the chance to share them with you.
Questions for you!
- Do you have any twins in your family? (in the video, you’ll see two of my great aunts taking a photo of my mom and her twin, well they are also twins! Oh…and Kyle’s dad is a twin!)
- Whose wedding did you attend last?
- What’s your favorite thing to buy at the farmer’s market?