My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina)

Well, another week in the Outer Banks with friends and family has come and gone. Truth be told, they always go by way too quickly.

 Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

This year was a little different – we came a bit later than usual because my brother’s wedding was the day before, my parents left early for a family emergency, and I worked most of the time we were there, but it still felt like the re-set I needed and the perfect way to cap off summer. I’ve been coming to the Outer Banks since I was about 5 years old and it’s still easily my favorite place in the world. It’s the place where I feel instantly relaxed and always make the best memories. It feels like home.

I wanted to share some of the photos from our trip and I know the past few posts on here haven’t been too substantial, but they’re more just a peek into my life! I’ll have some of my favorite places to eat/visit/explore listed at the bottom as well, in case you want to plan a trip there or know someone who is! I guess you can think of this as a mini photo diary and travel guide to the Outer Banks. It really is an incredible place and if you ever get the chance to go, please tell me and I will meet you there. jkjkjk but no seriously…

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

Food:

Steamers – Incredible seafood & the best clam chowder!

Roadside – One of our two all-time favorite restaurants in OBX, casual but slightly more elevated with amazing food

Lighthouse Bagels – The. Best. Bagels.

Big Buck’s Ice Cream – A MUST. No literally, you have to go. I crave their peanut butter cups and fudge all year round.

Metropolis – The other restaurant that’s tied for first, amazing tapas with unique flavors and dishes, something for everyone

Tomato Patch – We get pizza from here our first night every. Single. Year.

First Light – Our go-to breakfast place! The biscuits are out of control.

Ocean Boulevard – Definitely on the fancier side, but so delicious and perfect for a special night out!

Kill Devil Grill – Get the crab cakes and the wings, then thank me later.

Activities:

Coastal Explorations – Where we went SUP boarding this year in the sound! They have the best prices I’ve found so far.

Whalehead Club & the Lighthouse – We used to watch July 4th fireworks here, and it’s also a beautiful place for a wedding! Or honestly just a run, picnic, etc.

Wild Mustangs on Carova Beach – If you have a car with 4-wheel drive, you MUST do this. You basically just drive all the way up past Corolla and the Whalehead Club and the road will stop. This is the only place you can drive on the beach and it’s where the horses live! Go at sunrise, you won’t be disappointed.

Dancing for Donuts | My Happy Place (Outer Banks, North Carolina Travel Guide)

And if you want to rent our house, you can find it here!

Okay I’ll stop boring you now. Let me know in the comments if you like posts that have more photographs like this and hope you’re all having a great September so far!

xo Jordan

Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

Hi friends!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

The past 10 or so days have been an absolute whirlwind! There was a ton of celebrating (my birthday, seeing family again, and a wedding) and I had an absolute blast.I made it to the Outer Banks in NC on September 1st, aka my favorite place on the planet, and got to enjoy the next week soaking up some much-needed time with family. In between moments of fun were plenty of relaxation on the beach and a bit of work, too. Oh, and I ate like a friggin’ QUEEN. Here’s some proof:

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

My favorite ice cream from Big Buck’s – peanut butter cups and fudge on the bottom, coffee cookie on top! 2 scoops because #yolo.

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

The most incredible and doughy bagel with pastrami smoked salmon & veggie cream cheese – I kid you not when I say I had 4 bagels in 6 days. What can I say, we just don’t have good ones back in LA!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

Homemade crab cake benedict with hollandaise sauce – I can’t take credit for this one, my dad & bf were some very impressive chefs!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

And Frozen grapes by the pool because literally nothing is better on a hot day!

There was also some blogging involved (did you catch my recipe for nutty whole grain chocolate chip cookies?!) and therefore eating of the props, as well…and I taught my boyfriend how to take photos on my fancy camera! I’d say he got pretty into it 😉

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

We also caught the gorgeous sunsets that are characteristic to the island and one of the things I love so, so much about my annual trip there. What is it about rainbow skies that makes us feel happy and grateful and humbled?!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

…And the love my parents have for each other? That’s another thing that makes me feel happy & grateful 🙂 I know this picture is kind blurry, but it instantly makes me smile. These two have been married for 37 years, how incredible is that?!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

One thing that was extra special about this year was that my boyfriend was able to join me. It was pretty wonderful getting to share my favorite place with my favorite person. It just makes me love it even more 🙂

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

And then we rounded out our amazing week with a wedding for one of his friends in Minneapolis, a city I’d never been to before. As exhausted as I was, it was so much fun. I also really liked the city from what I could tell, it’s very clean! I’d love to go back someday.

IMG_3083

Now that I’m back, a part of me feels a bit sad that I don’t have this trip to look forward to anymore. I know that’s kind of silly since I had such an incredible trip, but I get so completely blissed out while I’m there that the week just flies by. This trip also always coincides with my birthday (and the start of a new school year), which makes it feel like both an end to the previous year and a kickoff for the one ahead. I like to take advantage of the down time I have while I’m there to check in with myself, re-evaluate my goals, choices, and general path in life. And I guess as much of a bummer it is that it’s over, I without fail always come back with a new perspective. I have so many goals for my 28th year, but here are just a few top-line ones!

Autumn Goals

-Try one new fall recipe each week

-Get back into a fitness routine and aim to workout 6 days a week (I need a serious re-set after all the celebration and vacation this past month!)

-Start bullet-journaling

-Blog 2-3x each (something I’m generally already doing, but want to be more consistent about)

-Carry my DSLR camera  + fancy lens everywhere and take more photos!

-Map out my blog goals both short and long-term, and how I will achieve them

-Spend more time outside (I know this one sounds counter-intuitive because the weather will be cooler, but I’d much prefer the cold over the heat from the summer!)

-Give my beauty routine a re-fresh and upgrade, it is MUCH needed!

DSC_4109

Do you make seasonal goals, too? What are you focusing on as we head into fall?

xo Jordan