Vegan Chocolate Cake

Rainy days coop us inside sometimes which means I have to get creative with our activities. Usually I’ll just ask Nathaniel what he’d like to do – on this occasion, he told me he wanted a chocolate cake (totally my kid). I had all ingredients on hand and told him we could have some if he would help me bake it. So here we are.

Excited to help!

My favorite chocolate cake recipe comes from Sam at “It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.” She’s actually the source for a lot of my favorite vegan recipes. The cake turns out moist and fluffy every time and has even become our cake of choice for birthdays and special occasions – or rainy Tuesday afternoons. The Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cake

Best part of vegan cake batter is licking the bowl clean!

The frosting recipe was a new one for me – I was intrigued by its lack of powdered sugar and butter (my southern ancestors turned over in their graves, I’m sure). I was pleasantly surprised! The coconut oil and maple syrup made for a shiny, rich frosting that reminded me of a “Hail Merry” dark chocolate tart – if you’re not a fan of coconut, this may not be for you. My only advice is to sift the cocoa powder to reduce clumps. Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Back in the day, I used to make and sell vegan baked goods at Palafox Market in Pensacola. Baking has always had a special place in my heart and I love that Nathaniel wanted to be involved in the process. It reminds me of baking and cooking with my dad. Special memories for sure. 💖

Kitty Hawk Kite Festival

Hiya! My, what a crazy summer it’s been. I feel like I have been here, there, and everywhere in between. Physically, mentally, emotionally, just the complete gamut of feels.

Now is the time for my son and I to really knuckle down and establish a routine. We’re finally starting homeschool this week with a plan, I’ve started 80 Day Obsession, I’m really trying to apply myself to growing my business with ItWorks, and I just love this time of year in general. September and October are always big transitional months for me; there’s always major changes underfoot. Maybe it’s the change of seasons…. hahahahaha just kidding it’s Florida, it’s still a million degrees and will be until at least mid-October.

But I digress.

I had promised to take Nathaniel to the beach this past weekend – 1) because we hadn’t been to the beach in a hot minute and 2) because the Kitty Hawk Kite Festival was happening!

This festival of flying art is hosted by Kitty Hawk Kites – they have several locations in the southeast US; this particular event took place at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island.

I went to the festival earlier this year and I was impressed but also a little underwhelmed (what, you didn’t know a woman could feel two opposite emotions at once? Silly). If I remember correctly, the event happened on a major weekend (fourth of July, maybe?), and the beach was packed and there weren’t that many kites flying. I have to admit I’ve become spoiled by my regular beach spots that I’ve scoured and held on to for their privacy and lack of tourists. When I say the beach that day was packed, I mean you couldn’t even take a step without walking on someone. It almost ruined the Boardwalk for me, honestly. Since then, though, I’ve gone again and even though it is seriously geared towards tourists and travelers, it is a really nice spot. And there’s a playground on the beach – totally a plus in my book.

The pier on Okaloosa Island

So, when I saw that the Kite Festival was coming back, I decided to give it a second chance. I do love the kites and it’s late enough in the season that I knew it wouldn’t be as crowded. Definitely the right decision.

The kites were amazing and the beach was beautiful and not crowded at all. The weather was lovely and the Gulf waters were warm. A perfect outing.

My beach baby
Seriously, this is paradise

So if you’re ever in this area and the Kite Festival is going on, definitely make the trip to see it! The Kitty Hawk Kite store has a table set up for kids to make their own kits to fly, there’s several restaurants at the Boardwalk and the nearby pier (I recommend the Avocado Fries at Rockin Tacos, yum!), and it’s a nice, *free*, family-friendly event.

Until next time! See ya! 💖

Summer Bucket List 2018

Ahh, sweet summertime.

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In an effort to soak up as much fun as I can, to savor every beach day, to make outings a teachable trip to enrich the experience, and to just enjoy the amenities of the area I live, I’ve curated a Summer Bucket List. These are things I’d like to do and places I’d like to visit.

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So here it is, my {hopefully not too unrealistic} bucket list for this summer!

  1. Touring Fort Pickens, Pensacola – I just bought an annual pass to Fort Pickens along the Gulf Island National Seashore. I’m excited to use it because the park and the beaches there are gorgeous and more secluded than the main tourist-y areas of Pensacola. Plus the Fort is a neat attraction in that it used to be an operational fort until 1947 and you can climb on the structures and take a tour.
    More on Fort Pickens
  2. Bear Lake/Blackwater Trail – We haven’t been camping since we moved to Florida in 2010. A camping trip would be nice; and I’ve had friends recommend Bear Lake. The area has a hiking trail and camping facilities.
  3. Vortex Springs – I’ve never been; but I hear it’s awesome! I think my first time to the park will be an adult-only trip 🙂
  4. USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park – I’ve only driven past it on every cross-country road trip; I think it’s time for a visit. I’m making a note to try and make it to one of the “Living History Crew Days.”
  5. Go to a Blue Wahoos Game! Did you know that Pensacola has its own Minor League Baseball team? The stadium sits right beside the beautiful bay and is just gorgeous during evening games.

Also tucked in this list are other outings in Pensacola – visiting the Pensacola Lighthouse, the Naval Aviation Musuem, Children’s Museum, and just chilling on the beach. I actually can’t wait for school to go back because the beaches empty and it’s so nice.

We just came home from a summer vacation filled with family and a few attractions! Posts on those adventures coming soon 😀

What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Do you live in the Florida Panhandle – what are some of your favorite getaways?

It all started with one gray wall… well, kinda.

3/8/2020

It all started with one wall. One single wall in my living room to be painted gray (Sherwin Williams “Agreeable Gray,” ironically), that spurred the momentum to change my entire life. Well, kinda.

It’s been a slow, seething, spiritual awakening type movement to get to this moment – me, here, sitting in front of my computer putting thoughts out visually in a here-we-go type of fanfare. 

Hi, I’m Megan; and this is a restart to the restart to the restart. Just like the beginning animation to Bob’s Burgers.

To flesh out the long story, we’d be here for literal ages. And I get stuck with analysis paralysis. And as you can see, I’m quite wordy. Buckle in, that doesn’t go away. 

I told myself I have 10 minutes to write my first blog post on this newest journey of mine. 

I’ve owned and lived in our current house for 10 years. It’s been through a lot. Me, my husband and kiddo – we’ve been through a lot, in this house. See, I can’t explain a 10 year journey in 10 minutes – I’m already 5 minutes in and not even to the point yet. 

About a year/year and a half ago, I had wild dreams of leaving this house and all of its memories behind for a life well-traveled on the open road. I had two or three major garage sales; sold nearly ¾ of our household possessions; and in the process, discovered a love for selling things on the internet and decided to low-key open an E-bay store to see if I liked it (I do!). 

But, becoming a traveling family has not come to fruition (yet), and I realized that we are in the right place for where we are now. So, I had to switch gears. Now, I love our house. I really do. But, it’s been through 10 years of hell and major character changes. The Megan and Daniel that bought the house in 2010 are not the same people in 2020. There’s a 5 year old boy in the mix. We’ve had two dogs and one cat come and go; and now Lucy rules our roost. Things have changed. 

The house needs an update. I decided that if we couldn’t just uproot our lives and run away from our location that I would hunker down and truly, truly, make this home one that I am proud to live in and one that has risen from it’s challenges, just like us (insert cry face emoji here).

Hmmm, ok, that’s all well and good (I’m at 15 minutes here, for anyone keeping track), I’m going to be the next Joanna Gaines of my generation and Ana White is my insta-inspo, my Living Spaces Pinterest board is sub-categorized and organized; I can read directions (following, ok, needs improvement), and I am one with Google. Let’s go. 

I caught this wild hare at the end of October, 2019 and today is March 8, 2020. Hooray! I am actually celebrating because I’m actually taking action. Today, I am painting the wall gray. Then, I am putting the ladder away until I can devote some attention to the rest of the house. There’s a process. I promise. 

In the beginning, I started making punch lists for all the things that needed to be done in the house. I have one for each room (living, kitchen, laundry, office/guest, N’s room, N’s bath, master, master closet, master bath, deck, and garage). I take so much comfort in lists – so much so that I tend to lose myself in the planning and don’t do any work to actually make progress. I know I’m not alone out there. 

All the while I’m poring over to-do lists and heavy-sighing when feeling like spinning my wheels, I decide that I need to find an outlet and as it does about once a year, my poor little website, my blog with the hopes and dreams of 2018 and 2016… (whoa, patterns) are whispering to me from the ethereal. Then, I opened Word-Press site, stared at it for about 10 minutes, closed the tab and went to bed and proceeded to scroll on Pinterest. And that’s when I found Ruth Soukoup of Elite Blog Academy. 

Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I went to see a physic medium. That’s important.

My blog has been a thorn in my side – an obstacle not only in my professional aspirations, but also in my self-development journey. I’ve tinkered with blogs ever since Tumblr was a thing; but never really held the discipline for the long haul. I’d always found more satisfaction in Instagram and Facebook and chose to keep my focus there. But, in the years I found myself craving a platform in which to express my overly-wordy self, I turned to my blog. 

So, if you’ll humor me, imagine a world in which I am ready to grow personally and professionally, at a steady pace with my ebay store, building up my side hustle in cleaner, greener cleaning products, filled with gung-ho and dreams of household renovation, and ready to take my blog from mere whispers to a roaring platform in which I share all of these crazy things in my head. Still with me? Good.

I bought the paint. I taped the wall. I spackled the holes. I cleaned the baseboards. I took down and hid all the paintings. And… the wall sat there. For about two weeks. Hopefully the timeline for the rest of my projects are more streamlined (fingers crossed). 

But hey, I did it! Today I painted the wall. Today, I’m publishing this post. 

Hopefully, my ramblings and thoughts give someone inspiration to do the dang thing. To live life on their own terms. To imagine, plan, and execute the life they’ve always dreamed. I know I don’t want to spend the next ten years of my life devoted to something I don’t believe in or care about. I’m taking action now (well, I guess it’s been 10 years in the making) to move forward. Consistency, discipline, boundaries and organization mixed with creativity, color, and chaos – here we go! 

Until next time,

Megan 

PS – it took me all day to write this post 🙂 Full disclosure – I made it to near the end, N woke up, the rest of the day went by – I painted the wall! – came in to plug my computer back in and noticed this tab still open. Yup. Everything’s fine.