Vegan Chunky Roasted Tomato Soup

Every Saturday I like to make my way down to Eastern Market. This is the biggest farmer’s market in Detroit, and has been an institution in the city since 1891. The history of the place incredibly, and you are able to get the freshest produce, and connect with local businesses from all over Detroit.

Last Saturday I ended up going down a bit late. I showed up around 3:15pm, and most vendors were packing up. I speed walked through the sheds, trying to find some fresh produce I could buy. I stumbled upon a stand that hadn’t packed up yet, and they were trying to get rid of all these tomatoes. The lovely folks running the stand sold me 13 big tomatoes for $4! I couldn’t pass up that deal. With a basket full of tomatoes in tow, I decided I would make some pasta sauce.


So many beautiful tomatoes! How could I say no?

I started making pasta sauce, and then I tried it, and didn’t want to add anything else to the dish. So my pasta sauce became a chunky tomato soup. It’s so delicious!

The key is roasting the tomatoes before adding them to the pot. I am an umami addict, and roasted tomatoes are a staple when searching for vegan sources of savory goodness.  So without further ado, on to the recipe we go!

The first step is to chop the tomatoes in large chunks. This helps speed up the roasting process.


Step 1: Cut your tomatoes into large chunks.

After those are cut up, I tossed them with olive oil and salt. The next step is to put them in a single layer on a pan, and throw them in the oven. I set my oven to 425 degrees, and roasted the tomatoes for 40 minutes.


Step 2: Toss tomatoes with olive oil and salt. Put them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting, you should start to prep the onions and garlic. For 14 tomatoes, I used three onions and a head of garlic. Chop the onions and garlic, and put them in a bowl for future use.


Onions and garlic used for the soup.


Onions and garlic are chopped and ready to go!

Once the tomatoes are looking nice and roasted (you can see the skin start to get wrinkly), pull them out and let them cool for a few minutes.


Tomatoes looking nice and roasted!

The next step is to blend the tomatoes. I like chunky soup, so I only blended half of them. If you like your tomato soup really smooth, go ahead and blend all of them!


Food processed half of the tomatoes so I can have some delicious chunks in my soup.

Once you’ve blended the tomatoes, we start cooking in the pot! Put some olive oil in a big pot, and sautee the onions and garlic until they start to look slightly transparent (about 3 minutes).


Sautee the onions and garlic.

Once those are done cooking, add the tomato chunks and blended tomatoes. Don’t forget to add the liquid that came out when roasting! It has a ton of flavor. Let the mixture simmer for about 40 minutes, until you’re happy with the consistency.


Soup is simmering!

Once you’re happy with the consistency, the soup is good to go! Add some salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t add any other herbs. I didn’t feel it needed it. The flavor of the tomatoes was too good on its own. Enjoy!!!


All finished! A beautiful and delicious bowl of chunky roasted tomato soup.




Recipe – serves 2

Cooking time – 2 hours; active time – 30 minutes


  • 6 fresh tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion


  1. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks.
  2. Toss tomato chunks with 1tbsp of olive oil and salt (sprinkle some on).
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Put tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet (with walls or else the juices will spill).
  5. Put tomatoes into oven. Bake for 40 minutes (or until they look wrinkly and roasted).
  6. Chop garlic and onions. Set aside.
  7. When the tomatoes are done, take out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  8. Blend tomatoes until a smooth consistency is reached. For chunky soup, blend half the tomatoes. For smooth soup, blend all of them.
  9. Sautee the garlic and onions in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until slightly translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  10. Add blended tomatoes, tomato chunks, and liquid left in the baking sheet after roasting.
  11. Simmer mixture for 40 minutes. Stir periodically.

A Wintry Wine Tour in Traverse City

A benefit of working in the automotive industry is we get all sorts of weird holidays off… It has something to do with union negotiations (even though engineers don’t have a union, we still get all their holidays off. Pretty sweet deal!)

So we all get MLK day off, which means three day weekend, which means a visit to wine capital of Michigan! Yea, you heard that right. When you think wine, you think France, California, Italy, but not Michigan. Well let me show you what a wine tour looks like in the mitten state.

P.S. I will not be commenting on how the wine actually tastes because it all pretty much tastes like grapes, alcohol, and maybe oak if I’m smelling really hard.

Winery #1: Bonobo Winery

Our first stop was Bonobo winery, and probably my favorite of them all. We rented a bus to drive us to the different wineries (don’t drink and drive!), and our amazing driver set us up to have a room all to ourselves (about 14 of us in total). We were taken to this beautiful white room with huge windows overlooking the vineyard. Our waitress brought us a tasting menu with explanations of all the wines, and we got to tasting. The full tasting cost about $10, and we got to sample about 5 different wines.


Cheers! Our first tasting of the tour.


Bonobo winery had a piano in the main room, so Corinn played us a song!

Winery #2: Chateau Grand Traverse

I think we must have come on a bad day. There was an event going on, called Winter Warmup I believe. This meant there were A TON of people trying wine, and we weren’t able to do a tasting with such a large group. However, they opened up the patio for us (which was covered thank goodness!!), and we were able to order a glass out there and enjoy the sunshine and snow while covered in some snuggly blankets.


Cheesin’ because we have this patio all to ourselves!


Here’s me warming up with a good glass of wine and a warm blanket.


Winery #3: Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery

This wasn’t our last stop, but this is the last one I clearly remember so it’ll be the last for this post. We went to Brys, and they were also participating in the Winter Warmup event so they were incredibly crowded. The crowds were handled a bit better. In order to do the tasting, you had to walk in line around the winery to different stations. It felt like waiting in line at an amusement park. We were able to see some barrels and how the wine is fermented, but the waiting in line kind of dampened the experience. Still a cute place though!


Some wine barrels at Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery.


All in all, it was a fun day with friends. To rent a bus with ~14 people, it cost $40/person. At each winery I spent about $10 on glasses/tastings. It’s a great way to see some popular wineries in Traverse City, and I’m sure you could ask the driver to go elsewhere if you had other wineries in mind. My only recommendation is to not go when they are having large events. I think I enjoyed Bonobo Winery so much more because they were the only place not participating. I can’t wait to visit Traverse City again in the summer, and to try some more wine!


NYC Vegan Food Tour

I recently went to NYC for the weekend to visit some friends. What’s a girl to do with a couple days in the big apple? Eat all the amazing vegan food, obviously!

(Please excuse the terrible photos. I forgot my camera all day and restaurant lighting is dark and terrible).

Restaurant #1 – Yum Yum Too

We arrived late and were STARVING. Luckily, my vegan friend who I was staying with new just the place a few blocks from her apartment (which is in Hell’s Kitchen). I had the mock duck. It was FANTASTIC.


Rad Prik Tamarind with Mock Duck – Yum Yum Too

Restaurant #2 – La Palapa Cocina Mexicana

We spent the night drinking, and it was time for boozy brunch. Chosen by another friend, we made our to The Village to take advantage of their amazing brunch special. The food was alright, but we got a meal, side of fruit, tea, and a margarita for $20! A steal in the city.


Molletes without Cheese – La Palapa Cocina Mexicana

Restaurant #3 – Meske Ethiopian Restaurant

It was now time for first dinner. I had reservations at another place at 10pm, so first dinner took place around 6pm. I hadn’t had Ethiopian food in a while, so I started to crave the spongy bread. We ventured out to Meske, in Hell’s Kitchen. I shared a vegetarian plate with my vegan friend, it was alright. Ethiopian never quite hits the spot like Asian food does.


Vegetarian Plate – Meske Ethiopian Restaurant

Restaurant #4 – Ivan Ramen

This was the restaurant I was waiting for! Ivan (head chef at Ivan Ramen), had a Chef’s Table episode about him. Apparently he moved to Japan, became the best ramen shop in the country, and then moved to the States because he “experienced Japan.” What a badass. You don’t need reservations weeks in advance, just make them a few days ahead of time. This guy is the king of umami! Such good vegan ramen! He put roasted tomatoes in it! Amazing! *slurp slurp*


Vegetarian Ramen – Ivan Ramen


Restaurant #5 – Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen

We went out in Brooklyn after the ramen, and it was now time for brunch again. I got my friends up and made them go to Blank Slate because I saw some pretty photos on instagram (yes, yes I am the worst I’m sorry). Too bad it was actually pretty good! I was hella basic and had avocado toast, but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t the best avocado test I’ve ever had. I also got a chai latte. It was delicious.


Restaurant #6 – Blank Slate Tea

Okay, so this isn’t really a restaurant. It’s a tea shop, directly adjacent to Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen. I had an earl grey lavender latte. It was very pretty, and the shop was all pink. Perfect pick me up before some more exploring!


Earl Grey Latte with Lavender – Blank Slate Tea

Restaurant #7 – Kazunori: The Original Hand Roll Bar

Last stop of the weekend! We grabbed a few hand rolls before heading back to my friend’s apartment to watch the Super Bowl. Even though I don’t eat fish, the cucumber hand rolls were a perfect light snack before I gorged myself on vegan nachos and guac.


Cucumber Hand Roll – Kazunori

‘Twas a good weekend filled with wonderful friends and amazing food. Thankfully we did so much walking, I only gained a pound or two! Shout out to the best hosts, who look so happy to see me!DSC_0603.jpg


Iceland in November

Who would go to Iceland in November? The summer is characterized by the midnight sun and beautiful weather. November, however, has about six hours of daylight, very good chances of grey skies, and is pretty freaking cold. So why did we decide to go then? Cheap plane tickets! I had some vacation days to burn before year ended (it’s a use it or lose it situation), so Gus and I decided to go to Iceland on a whim. For $300 round trip each, you couldn’t beat it! A trip to California would have been more than that. So we bought our tickets at work, and a month later we were landing in Reykjavik in the pitch black.

Day 1

We landed in Reykjavik at around 6am, so we had the whole day ahead of us. After our flight landed, we went to the car rental place and picked up our car. I had no idea what the weather conditions would be like, so opted for a 4WD SUV, just in case we got stuck in the snow. Luckily enough, it never snowed (although it did rain quite a bit)!

We decided to do a self-guided golden circle tour today, minus Thingvellir National Park. We would be going there the next day to dive in between tectonic plates!

Our self-guided tour started at Geysir. The sun was just starting to rise at 10am, and the light was absolutely stunning. We hung out for a while and looked at the bubbling pots of water, and waited for the geysir to erupt a couple of times.

After we had our fill of hot water, we began the drive to Gulfoss (a giant, awesome waterfall). On the way there we found some adorable Icelandic horses! After spending some time with the horses, we continued on our way to Gulfoss.

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Met some friendly Icelandic horses along the road!

The next stop wasn’t on any golden circle tour. It’s called Pjorsardalur, and my Lonely Planet book said it was a volcanic valley carved out by a river. The GPS dropped us off in the middle of what I guess was this valley?? We found a pile of volcanic looking rocks, and were the only people around. Definitely an interesting side stop…

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Did we find the right thing? Why is there a pile of rocks in a field with a plaque?

The last stop before heading back to Reykjavik was the Secret Lagoon in Fludir. It costs about $35 to enter, and is surrounded entirely by nature. It’s a beautiful way to end the day, and was perfect for our jetlagged bodies.

Once we got back to Reykjavic, we pushed through our exhaustion and decided to walk around the city at night. It’s a cute city, and reminds me of a giant Ikea. After some BOGO Christmas mules, it was time to go home and go to sleep!

Day 2

Day two was all about diving Silfra. Silfra is a fissure between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, and is located in Thingvellir National Park. We decided to go with this tour company. They were very professional, and I would recommend their services in a heartbeat.

In order to dive Silfra, you need to have an open water diver certification and a specialty dry suit certification. We had gotten our certifications about a week before going, and it was totally fine! The water doesn’t get too deep in Silfra, so even if you’re not comfortable going deep in a dry suit, it’s definitely fine to do this dive. Each dive is about 20 minutes long, and you basically go through the fissure twice.

If you don’t want to fork out the cash for getting all these certifications, you can also go snorkeling. They only go out once in the fissure instead of twice. I would absolutely recommend snorkeling. The visibility is so amazing, so you can see everything even from the top of the water.

Although pricey, it’s a pretty cool experience to dive or snorkel in between two tectonic plates!

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Such a cool experience to dive in Silfra.

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Cool waterfall found in Thingvellir National park.


Day 3

This had to be my favorite day of the whole trip. We got out of bed kind of late (we had a few too many drinks the night before…), and drove to Reykjadalur Valley. This valley is about an hour outside of Reykjavic, down the South Coast along the Ring Road. What’s so special about this valley is the geothermal river in it. You hike up about an hour into the mountains to this river. Once you arrive, there’s different water temperatures along different parts of the river. At the top is the hottest, and if you walk down a bit it gets to be more luke warm. It’s free to go to, and it was so amazing to soak in the hot river in the middle of the mountains (in the winter!).

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Some awesome views on our way up to the geothermal river.

After a quick bite to eat, we made our way to Vik (where we were spending the night). Seljalandsfoss was on the way, so we HAD to make a quick stop. I was very excited to see all these waterfalls!


Day 4

After spending the night in Vik, we decided to chase some more waterfalls. Not too far was Skogafoss, which was absolutely beautiful and somehow very Scandinavian looking.

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Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland.

I then had the best idea to walk 45 minutes into the abyss to see an abandoned plane wreck. Honestly… this was not worth it. Maybe on a nicer day it would have been cooler because it’s by the water, but it was just so windy and cold and raining when we went. It was also being used as an instagram backdrop, so you had to navigate all the selfies. It would be a cool stop if it was right by the road, but it’s really not worth the long walk.

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It was so windy… Everyone was hiding out inside the plane!

The last stop of the day was to Reynisdrangar. This is an epic black sand beach right in the town of Vik. We went and it was completely empty! Possibly due to the fact that it was raining and freezing, but that won’t stop us from adventuring on.

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Reynisdrangar – black sand beach


Day 5

Now this was the biggest road trip day. We did a TON of driving. The first stop was to Fjadrargljufur, which is this epic canyon. We were the first ones there, so pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. The canyon has a trail with different outlooks. We only went to the first one and back, but there were options for longer hikes if that’s what you wanted.

The next stop was to the Skaftafell glacier. We wanted to see a waterfall, but getting up close and personal with a glacier was something I couldn’t miss. The glacier is a short hike from the visitors center, and you get pretty darn close. There’s also little lakes formed from melted glaciers, and glacial chunks hanging around. I even tried some! It definitely tasted like the last ice age.

The final stops were Jokusarlon and Diamond Beach. It was quite foggy, so we couldn’t see out very far in Jokusarlon, which is a glacial bay. However, on Diamond Beach you could see ice chunks waiting to go out to sea on a black sand beach. They look like actual diamonds! It’s touristy, but honestly something I wouldn’t want to miss seeing.

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“Diamond beach”


So should I go to Iceland in November?

Go for it! When I first bought tickets, I was nervous that there wasn’t going to be anything to do. With a good coat and a positive attitude, you can still see some cool things on the South Coast and around Reykjavic. If you’re lucky, you might even see the Norther lights! We didn’t venture anywhere else in case the weather got too bad, but this was plenty for our short, five day trip.

Also, rent a car! It was more expensive, but I really appreciated the freedom to do what we wanted. It also helped navigate the limited sunlight hours (about 6 hours a day). We made sure that we were on the road and able to use these hours to the fullest.

Theatre Bizarre 2018

It’s been about two months since Theatre Bizarre, and I’m still in awe about what I saw that night. I remember the dapper mime in the DJ booth, with phonographs surrounding him, playing electro-swing to all those dressed in costume below. The memories of burlesque are burned in my mind. The words “Hail Zombo” ring through my head, and we worship who brought us into this other world.

Let me rewind a bit.

First of all, Theatre Bizarre is a yearly Halloween party thrown in Detroit’s historic Masonic Temple. This venue is huge, and this party fills up the space appropriately. I wouldn’t even call it a party, but more of a create-your-own-adventure. With eight floors of interactive art, music, shows, etc., there’s no limit to what you can do in a night. John Dunivant started this masquerade illegally in a studio space in an old warehouse in Detroit, but eventually went the legal route and opened it up to the public. For those who love Halloween, it’s a spiritual experience. For those who don’t, it’s still a fun time.

Your night doesn’t start at the party. It starts with getting ready. A costume is 100% required for entry, and everyone gets really into it. I dressed up as a dead Playboy bunny, full in a leather skirt, corset, fishnets, and a leather pair of bunny ears. I also took the opportunity to play with prosthetic’s, and fitted myself with an awesome gash across my throat and blood spattered everywhere.


Ready for the party!

After your costume is ready, you are finally allowed to enter Zombo’s world. We walked in, and started the night by visiting the Sinema. They were playing old vintage horror pornos (???), and giving out popcorn in exchange for your most embarrassing story. The other partygoers were chatting all around the theatre, hardly paying any attention to the movie.

When we had our fill of shame-ridden popcorn, we made our way to the Burlesque show. The room had a long catwalk-like stage, and we were lucky enough to snag a seat on the side of the catwalk (others had to stand near the back). We were then entertained thoroughly by all the burlesque dancing. I was sad to see it end. But alas, it was time to explore the rest of the party.

The rest of the night was a blur. We stopped and saw clown shows where, for a small fee, you were able to staple money to the clown himself as he put swords down his throat. There were women suspended from giant hooks, metal bands playing in the basement, silent rooms with actors playing the clown king, and secret dance floors everywhere throughout the building. We created our own adventure, and it became one of the best nights I’ve had this year.

I’ve attached the few photos that I took below, but it’s nothing compared to experiencing this party for yourself. The price is steep at $100, but it is absolutely worth every penny. Try it out for yourself, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.






6 Ways To Enjoy Bad Weather

You research for months, compiling every place you want to visit. You save up over the year, opting out of brunch with your friends to save that money away to cross off another bucket list item. You save up your vacation days, and finally get enough to take that week long trip to your dream destination. You can hardly contain your excitement as the days get closer. Once you finally arrive, you check the forecast for the upcoming week.


Every freaking day.

Suddenly there’s a cloud over you, and you can’t help but panic about the trip. It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts, and question cancelling the trip altogether. Don’t let your mind take you down that path. There’s ways to get around the pre-trip anxiety, and to deal in the moment when things just aren’t going as planned.

1. Don’t check the weather.

The biggest mistakes I’ve made before many trips is checking the weather. I knew I was going to go on the trip, rain or shine. So why did I even check? A week before my trip to Banff, I looked up the forecast and it was like 70% chances of rain for the entire week! However, when we got there we had beautiful sunny days for all except a couple days. The mountains are especially unpredictable, and scattered showers aren’t uncommon.

Save yourself the negative thoughts and just don’t check.


Yea, it totally looks like 70% rain right here.

2. Embrace water-based activities.

Pick things that you’ll get wet doing anyways. When it was raining in Jasper, we just decided to go rafting, and then pay a visit to the hot springs. We’re gonna get soaked anyways, so why not do it in the rain? It was something none of us had planned on doing, and was certainly a memorable experience!

3. Change your mindset.

None of us can change the weather, but we can change how we view it. When I visited Goa, it was the start of monsoon season and rained pretty much the entire time. Sure, we couldn’t go to the crazy beach parties they through there. However, we got to experience a version of Goa that most people never see. With the monsoon came beautiful lush green landscapes, and almost no crowds. There weren’t many tourists around, so we got to wander around to our hearts content, and go to do everything a lot cheaper! I was disappointed at first, but now I’m so glad that this is when I went to Goa.


We definitely wouldn’t have gotten this amazing waterfall and greenery during the dry season.

4. Explore the local food scene.

When the outside world is just too terrible, stay in! Use the opportunity to really dig deep into the local food scene. Food is something I cherish, but I never really make a point to go to a bunch of different restaurants when I travel. Whenever the rain comes in, it forces me to try everything I wanted to, but initially didn’t have enough time to! In Jasper, I never would have tried all the breweries in the area had it not been for the rain. In Luang Prabang, I never would have embarked on a croissant crawl (it’s really a thing to try and find the best croissant in the city) had it not been for gloomy skies. These are some of my best memories, and it all happened when I was forced to be flexible.

5. Do ALL the inside activities.

I usually hate doing inside activities. Especially when I’m planning trips to national parks. Unfortunately, sometimes the conditions are just not good for hiking. This recently happened while I was at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. We got some hiking done in the morning, but by afternoon it was absolutely pouring. No good sunsets were in our future. However, we decided to spend the evening hanging around Gatlinburg and doing ALL of the touristy things. We played mini-golf, went in a mirror maze, and tried cotton candy wine (it was terrible lol). It wasn’t what I was expecting to do at all, but I honestly had so much fun doing it!


Seriously, how cool is this?!?!

6. Be flexible.

This is pretty much a combination of the first four points. All you need to combat the rain is a positive mind, and the ability to remain flexible. It might suck at first, but if you just roll with the punches and take control of your vacation, I guarantee you will have an amazing time.


I swear it wasn’t snowing at the beginning of the hike…


Smokey Mountains Getaway

As memorial day approached, the weather FINALLY started to get nicer. This has been the longest winter ever. Although pretty snow and skiing and winter wonderlands are beautiful, I was about ready to pack up my parka and bring out my hiking boots and tank tops. With a three-day weekend approaching, I thought this was the perfect time to make the drive down to the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee.

Nine hours of driving seemed way shorter than it actually was. It also seemed shorter when you weren’t leaving after a full day of work, but oh well. Leaving Detroit at 3:30pm on a Friday meant getting in to Tennessee at 1am. Who needs sleep when there’s beautiful mountains to see in the morning?

The lack of sleep didn’t deter us from waking up bright and early to have a full day of hiking ahead. We showed up to the ranger station, and said we wanted VIEWS. Beautiful mountain views. That’s all I wanted, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned!


Believe it or not, I did make it to the top of the mountain. Surrounded by fog!

The ranger suggested doing the hike to Charlie’s Bunion. I could only imagine how beautiful the mountains would look, but unfortunately we were in a cloud. It was white everywhere. Oh well, it had it’s own type of beauty. It kind of felt like we were on the edge of the world.


Feeling like I’m on the edge of the world!

After a full day of hiking, we ventured into Gatlinburg. Everyone I knew said they hated it there. I must say, it was an incredibly touristy town. However, how could you not have fun going through mirror mazes and playing mini golf? I had a mediocre dinner of french fries and lettuce (yay, veganism in the South!), and walked around town. The sun started to peak out, so Gus thought it would be a great idea to rent some little zippy convertible car and drive around. In theory, it sounded great, but the weather in the Smokey’s is unpredictable. The start of the drive was really fun (for him, I thought I was going to die. It accelerated a bit faster than my Chevy Cruze haha). As we went further into the mountains, it started TO POUR. Now, I don’t mind the rain too much, but when it’s hitting you at 60mph, then it really starts to hurt! Not as much fun. You live and you learn, and it’s pretty funny to look back on.


The amazing mirror maze!


It’s soooo trippy in here.

The next day, we headed back to the same ranger station (Sugarlands visitor center if you’re curious). The forecast said rain was expected by 11am, so we had planned to do two shorter hikes so we wouldn’t get stuck in the middle of nowhere as it started pouring. We started off with another hike meant to produce views, so started the walk to the LeConte lodge. It’s this cute little lodge that you have to hike 5 miles up to, and ugh don’t I wish we had stayed there. The initial plan was to stop halfway, but the sun was shining so bright and we were finally seeing mountains, that we decided to go all the way up! Fast forward like four hours, and we finally made it to the peak! The peak was again, covered in white. We had apparently walked up too far and entered the cloud. The trail itself though was amazing. It made the foot pain and 6 hours of walking totally worth it (although I was pretty done about a mile from the end).


This was just along the trail to the top. It was a beautiful hike!


We walked all the way up to the clouds.


Feeling some serious Lord of the Rings vibes up here.

With 10 miles of hiking and enough elevation to take us up into the clouds, we thought a few beers were very well deserved. Smoky Mountain Brewery in Gatlinburg was perfect for the occasion. We both got flights and tried basically every beer they brewed in house. They also had vegetarian/vegan options! It was a fantastic restaurant (especially compared to wherever else we were eating). It was a great way to end our short trip, and prepare for the long drive the next day.


A well-deserved flight of beer from Smoky Mountain Brewery!

Our trip consisted of 18 miles of hiking, 18 hours in the car, and tons of memories. Was it worth the distance? Absolutely! I definitely can’t wait to go back!

About Me

Hi there. My name’s Kristina (or Nina as some like to call me). My favorite animal is a buffalo. Hence the name Buffalo Nina. I went to college at MIT and left with a mechanical engineering degree. That’s great and all, but what really influenced me was my internship abroad in India the summer of 2016. I had never traveled anywhere alone, and I got the great idea to just move off by myself to Bangalore for 3 months. My family thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. But, hey, I did it, and came out a better person.

That trip taught me how to appreciate new cultures, travel solo, and adjust to situations that were entirely new. It also gave me the travel bug, and I’ve been unstoppable since then.

Since then, I’ve been a science and engineering teacher in Jordan, backpacked through Southeast Asia after graduating, and moved on to Southeast Michigan to start my new job as an engineer!

I’m so happy to say Michigan is my new home. There’s so many things to do, and I can’t wait to share all my adventures as discover Pure Michigan.

I’m also not done traveling the world. I have plenty of vacation days to use on exciting new adventures.

Stay tuned!