That title made me chuckle a bit, but we are just gonna roll with it anyways lol. I got a real Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia and I’m so excited! I was super happy when I found out that I was going to training in Philly and began looking for places to get a cheesesteak. The people up here literally argue about who has the best cheesesteak. It reminds me of Memphians arguing about who has the best BBQ. I ended up listening to my friend Will Weeks recommendation of a spot called Tony Luke’s.
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I’m spending the week outside of Philadelphia on a company training trip. I usually treat work trips like mini vacations and try to take in as much as possible. This trip was no different. I took the opportunity to head to NYC for the first time. I also got to meet a guy I’ve talked to every day for the past 5 years that I’ve never met. Online friends are real friends y’all. Shout out to my guy Shawn Evan.
I learned a couple things about NYC. I learned that driving a car is pretty much a terrible option. I met up with Shawn in Manhattan and I was pissed the entire drive. Why? Well it took about 30 mines to go 1.5 miles and this was normal. That lead me to my next lesson. Parking ain’t cheap. I parked my rental in a garage and it was $60. Yes $60! The last thing I learned is that the people aren’t friendly like back down south. You speak and no one speaks back.
We went by the memorial for Sept 11th, saw the Statue of Liberty, ate New York pizza, and so much more. It was a truly wonderful experience and I’m glad I went. Check out the pics from the day. All taken with my Sony a7iii and Ziess 16-35mm f4.
Thanksgiving. A day for family and to be thankful. While some don’t like the history of the day, I still see it as a great day to enjoy family and stuff your face. As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown to appreciate being around family and making memories. Which led to one of the best Thanksgiving Days ever.
My mom has never seen the beach in her life and really enjoyed seeing the images from my last stay at the Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona, Florida. So I did what any son would do. I bought my mom a plane ticket from Atlanta to meet me and Maddy in Florida for Thanksgiving! I really want to thank everyone over at Shores Resort and Spa for making this day possible! They were so accommodating and even left us a special gift in the room! #swag
Upon arrival we got a s’mores kit from the front desk and headed to the fire pits. This was my first time ever making s’mores and we failed miserably lol. Marshmallows roast fast as heck, but hey we tried. They still tasted better than they looked.
Waking up the next day proved to be a super challenge. Don’t set a time while on vacation. It will never go as planned!! Maddy refused to leave the bed. I got up early to check out the sunset and it was breathtaking! I recently bought a 16-35mm lens and it was the perfect lens for this trip.
We learned two very important things Wednesday. Disney World is very crowded on Thanksgiving and the tickets aren’t cheap. They were $129.....each! I love Disney like the next person, but those prices coupled with having to wait in line a minimum of an hour and supremely overpriced food, makes Disney not a vacation I would recommend unless it’s something you absolutely have to do. We enjoyed our time, but after paying $409 after taxes for 3 tickets, we didn’t feel we got our money’s worth. That and we were only able to ride 1 ride.
We headed back to the hotel to change and hit the beach! My mom literally cried when she saw it. That was the highlight of the trip for me. Just seeing how happy she was made my entire year. I’m so glad I had the means and the opportunity to do this for her. Maddy, on the other hand, had to be dragged from the ocean each day. This little girl loves being in the water and on the beach.
This was just day one! I’m going to do a part two for the amazing brunch we had on Thanksgiving Day at Shores Resort and Spa. You’re going to go into a food overload! Trust me, it’s worth it.
Life is for Living,
It’s been so long since I’ve been on a road trip! There’s nothing like packing up the car with friends and snacks and hitting the road. I was recently headed to South Carolina to do a shoot for a hotel, so I decided to make the road trip a part of the whole experience. I recruited the super, crazy dope Kim Thomas to tag along and we hit the road. Our plan was to hit the Smoky Mountains and explore a bit before arriving at our destination. Things didn’t go exactly to plan, but we have a great time either way!
First stop on the trip was Nashville. I know I have my little beef with the state capital, but I will at least say the city is very clean. I think eating off the ground isn't frowned upon at all in Nashville. The streets are literally that clean. Seriously, Memphis take some notes. Nashville also has an amazing skyline that’s even more impressive at night. Take more notes Memphis. Ok that’s about all the nice things I have to say about Nashville. That took a lot out of me.
While in Nashville, I had to try some of this Nashville hot chicken that I’ve heard so much about. Hattie B’s recently opened a restaurant in Memphis that is ok but not great. I heard Prince’s chicken was way better, so we decided to give the a try. I will have a full review coming soon, but just know it was better than Hattie B’s.
We spent way longer in Nashville than we should have. I swore it was only an hour but we actually spent 3 whole hours there! We were totally off schedule for our Smoky Mountains plans. I really wanted the opportunity, so I might have gone a tad over the speed limit. Just a tad. Lol. We cruised into Knoxville and started to see those mountains we came for. I was once told the Smokies weren’t mountains, but just big hills. Well when you’re from Memphis and you don’t have any mountains, big hills count! I really wanted to fly the drone but it’s illegal in national parks. I normally would do it anyways, but I didn’t want any issues in East Tennessee.
The plan was to go up a mountain and get a dope portrait. Well, things went from exciting to scary really quick. We go up a road and it goes from two lanes to 1 then just a narrow path. Keep in mind there are houses scattered all along this road. We went so far up that we both got scared because we were literally on the edge of the mountain with very little room for the car. We got out and took the pics we could.
We had to wrap up early because we both kept hearing some very strange noises in the trees. We are both city folk and any noise outside of dogs barking, ambulances and planes flying will spook the hell out of us. We jumped in the car and got off that mountain as fast as possible!
We arrived at the hotel late that night. I was so happy to finally arrive! What was supposed to be an 8 hour drive turned into 11 and a half! Needless to say, we were both beyond tired. But not too tired to take some bomb pics! Check out that lobby!!!
This wraps up the first leg of the road trip. Stay tuned for more updates and the actual hotel stay itself.
Life is for Living,
Yes, you read that correctly. At the age of 35, I took my first trip to The National Civil Rights Museum. Yes, I was born and raised in Memphis. I've been called Mr Memphis by several people, but this is one of the few places I haven't visited in my city. Why? I'm not entirely sure. I guess because I know a lot about that Civil Rights Movement from my dad protesting in his younger days or maybe because I didn't want a reminder that would potentially make me angry.
I decided to take a day off from work and visit. I owed it not only to myself, but to the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and all those who sacrificed so that I could write this blog today. I packed my camera just in case. I quickly found out, I need either a smaller walk around camera or a more compact lens
I enjoyed the experience but I will have to go back to fully take in the museum. I went during MLK50, the commemoration of 50 years passing since the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. The museum was very crowded and I felt a bit rushed.
I didn't leave the museum upset or angry. I actually left with more questions than answers. I wondered how people could treat others so badly based purely on skin color. How a person could live with themselves while treating others so terribly. To think, these were also "good, church going" people.
Life is for Living,
I recently made a visit to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. While the partying was insane, I wanted to do a bit more while in the Big Easy. So I took to the streets with my newly purchased Samyung/Rokinon 35mm F1.4 AF lens paired with my Sony a7ii camera. Before I go any further, I want to say this lens is an absolute beast and I'm so in love with the 35mm focal length.
Ok I've gotten that out the way. I've been to Mardi Gras numerous times, but it's only been to party and come right back home. Seeing how I had a brand new lens, I decided to explore downtown New Orleans a bit. I quickly found out this city's architecture is simply amazing. Take a look at these images I captured.
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I loved every minute of my urban exploration. I wish I had more time because everywhere I went in the city, I ran into someone that was extremely nice and talkative. I definitely plan to go back when there's less Mardi Gras action.
Life is for Living,
I've heard about the ghost tours that go on around the city, but I never actually thought there were actually any real sightings. Boy was I wrong!
Ok, before diving into my encounter, here's a little history of the Woodruff-Fontaine House. Most are familiar with Mollie Fontaine's. It directly across the street from the Woodruff-Fontaine House. The house is in an area of Memphis known as Victorian Village, which is in near Juvenile Court and Lebonheur. This house was built in 1871 by the Woodruffs and then sold to the Fontaine family, hence the name Woodruff-Fontaine House.
The house serves as a museum by day and has ghost tours by night. It's filled with the family's possessions from the Victorian days of Memphis. One thing I noticed was that people were really short back then. The beds and clothes were very small.
Now this house is supposedly haunted and naturally I didn't believe that it was. The tour guide told of the history of the home and how some of the family members passed away in the home and never left. I must admit I felt a few cool breezes, but it was a chilly night in a house that's over 100 years old.
It wasn't until leaving that I believe that I encountered a spirit. I was in the main room without the rest of the tour taking pictures with my iPhone. I noticed some bright spots on my screen. I thought of maybe it's a reflection and turned to get a different angle. Nope, the lights' seemed to move with me. I couldn't see these lights with my eyes, but the iPhone camera was picking them up! I cleaned the camera off thinking that would fix it, but the lights were still there and moving about the room.
Notice the bright white dots in the photos.
A closer look
I thought maybe these are just reflections, so I grabbed the tour guide and asked about what I was seeing. She tells me that these lights are very common on the third floor in Elliot Fontaine's room, but she's never seen them on the 1st floor!! She said they are more than likely paranormal as well.
That was about all I needed to see and hear before I wanted to get out of there! My ghost hunting career is officially over. As I was leaving I heard someone mention a ghost pub crawl...I think I might just have to come back out of retirement for that one!
If you're braver than I am, go check out one of the ghost tours at the Woodruff-Fontaine House. It's definitely an experience that will leave you wondering and guessing for a few days after. You can sign up for a tour by clicking HERE.
Here are a few more pictures from the Woodruff-Fontaine House!
Life is for Living,
I just had to make the drive from Milwaukee to Chicago and meet up with some friends. If I didn't, I'm sure they would have been very upset and sent a ninja assassin to kill me!
The drive down sucked!! There were 7 wrecks and Google maps attempted to reroute me through Northwestern University and on an epic adventure of stop signs and side streets. Not the best scenic drive ever but it got me out of Chicago traffic.
The first stop was Giordano's and it was everything I hoped it would be!! That deep dish pizza that I always thought I would have in Chicago. I got a small and it was literally the biggest pizza I've had height wise. The ingredients were top notch and the service was awesome!
Next stop was to meet up with some friends from Memphis that were in Chicago and to do some walking around but first we have to stop by Walgreens for "walking juice".
Walking around Chicago
I really enjoyed Chicago, but I don't think I could live there. The buildings were just so big that I felt caged in. I loved the people though! They were so nice and very talkative. Can't wait to cost again because I have a list of places to eat next time! Stay classy Chi-town!
Life is for Living,
My first day in Milwaukee was mainly filled with me getting to my hotel, unpacking and relaxing. I did take a walk around downtown and snapped a few pictures. You can check those out HERE. My second and third days were filled with seeing some of the attractions of the city.
My first stop was a tour to Wisconsin's third largest craft brewery, Lakefront Brewery. I found their tour on their website and decided it was the place for me to be. I sampled their River West Amber Lager, Smash (Single Malt and Single Hop) Ale, and the Fuel Cafe, which is an organic coffee stout. They were all great but the River West has me scouring to see where I can get it in Tennessee.
The tour was really cool and the tour guide was one of the best I've ever had. It was capped off by singing of a song from LaVerne and Shirley! The Brew Hall was huge and the building is a renovated former electricity plant from 1908. I got 4 tokens for 4 beers and it only cost $5! Not a bad deal at all!
The cool thing about being housed in a former power plant is that you're normally close to a river. Lakefront Brewery took advantage of this and created one of the coolest and most relaxing patios I've ever had a beer on. I sat there until they kicked me out!
Tuesday I decided I would go check out the Milwaukee Brewers play the LA Dodgers at Miller Park. I've been to a handful of ballparks, but this one was truly impressive. It occupies a lot that's sort of out in the middle of nowhere and it dominates the view when driving on the highway. It's truly impressive. It's one of the biggest stadiums I've ever been to and it was packed!!
The Brewers lost 6-5, but it was a good game. Baseball seems more exciting and enjoyable when you are actually at the ball park. I was glad I got good seats and the food was very good. I got a beer, Italian sausage and cheese fries for $18. Not the worst I've ever paid at a ballpark.
That concludes days 2 and 3. Stay tuned because tomorrow I take a trip to Chicago for a White Sox game!!
Life is for Living,
I'm in Milwaukee this week and I'm impressed by the visuals of this city. I have my handy dandy mirrorless camera in hand and I'm going to take you on a photo tour of Milwaukee!
That flight in was amazing! I swore we flew over Lake Michigan for about an hour! How is that considered a lake!
Walking around Milwaukee's Third Ward was great! I got there sort of late but I still managed to get some decent shots.
So far I'm impressed with Milwaukee. I have noticed that my Southern tradition of speaking to people you pass on the street isn't well received here. I get some funny looks but some speak back. Makes me miss Memphis.
Next up will be my trip to Lakefront Brewery, Wisconsin's third largest craft brewer.
Life is for Living,