For the majority of our relationship, Audrey and I have dreamed of going to New Orleans. Around tax season we got pretty serious about making the trip. I saved some of my refund, and so did Audrey. But, then reality set in that I’m barely working 20 hours a week. I kept having to dip into my savings to live my life the way I wanted on a regular basis. So we put our NOLA trip on hold, but still wanted to take a vacation.

Anna, one of my favorite ladies in the world, was taking a trip to Seattle. I offered to housesit, and watch her cats for her while she was away. The perfect mini-vacation for Audrey and I, complete with a free place to stay! Anna lives in Des Moines in the historical Sherman Hill Neighborhood. Sherman Hill is conveniently located right off downtown. We never went anywhere that took us more than 10 minutes to get too. It was perfect.

We arrived on Wednesday evening, and headed straight to Krunkwich Ramen House. We both had the classic ramen dish, which included chicken, braised pork, green onions, a soft boiled egg (my favorite part), and of course ramen noodles. The portions were generous and the bowls were adorable. It was delicious, and something that I hope that Audrey starts making at home. Next time we visit we are looking forward to trying something off their tator tot menu!

On Thursday we headed straight to Smokey Row Coffee so I could work on homework and Audrey could do some admin stuff. A couple hours later we headed downtown to one of our favorite bar and restaurants, Royal Mile. We split a BLT, and discussed our plans for the remainder of the day.

It had been raining on and off all day, so we decided it would be the perfect time to go the botanical gardens. Audrey had mentioned several times that her Grandma used to take her there when she was little, and how amazing it was. I was thrilled to finally get a chance to go, not to mention I’m a little plant obsessed at the moment. Unfortunately for the Botanical Center, but fortunately for our wallets, the roof has some serious leaking issues. It was basically raining inside, so admission was free! I have an excessive amount of photos I want to share, thus I’m going to do a separate post for them.

For the size of the garden, I was highly impressed. It was absolutely beautiful. I do wish more plants would have been labeled so I could really nerd out and Google them and figure out how to turn my house into a rain forest, but maybe it’s for the better.

That evening we met up with some of our friends for drinks, ordered a late night delivery pizza, and watched Dexter.

Bright and early Friday morning we grabbed breakfast at Mullets with Audrey’s Dad. I would HIGHLY recommend Mullets. Tons of options, delicious bad-for-you food, and cheap prices. I spent the remainder of the morning and early afternoon doing school work while Audrey relaxed.

That afternoon we visited the Iowa State Capital Building. I hadn’t been on a tour since I was in elementary school. It was so beautiful, and a lot more meaningful as an adult. Sometimes I think I could be a politician, but I think I will stick to local city council dreams over Congress Woman Hannah.

That evening we were invited to a family cookout by our mutual long-time friends. It was a wonderful time with their family of seven, and so generous of them to invite us over. It was great to catch up with everyone, and meet April’s three-year-old daughter Gretchen. I didn’t take any photos because I was too busy water coloring Doc McStuffins.

On Saturday morning we visited the Farmer’s Market for breakfast. I had an amazing grilled cheese with a friend egg and bacon, from Say Cheese. We saw lots of adorable dogs of all shapes and sizes. There was a lot of “I could live here” and “I want that dog” moments.

Audrey had a show in Iowa City that night, so she left Saturday afternoon. In her place arrived Zach! We went shopping at the mega mall, where I proceeded to spend every single dollar I had left on make-up items that I had been dreaming of for months. I’m totally irresponsible with my practically non-existent money and I don’t care who knows it! I LOVE MAKEUP!

After going broke, we grabbed a couple sandwiches at Smokey Row, and then went on a wonderful long walk around Sherman Hill. Talking with Zach is always very good for me, because it reminds me how much life can change, even between 21 and 25. It is so important to remember where you came from, and to appreciate where you are now. He is an incredibly wonderful friend, and always makes me laugh. All in all I walked over 8 miles on Saturday. At least that’s how far my phone walked, and I believe it. So we ended the evening with pizza and watched Nightcrawler (4.5 stars!).

It was an absolutely perfect vacation. If I couldn’t have NOLA, then Des Moines was an almost totally equal trade. I love Iowa, and all of the people that reside here that I call my friends. I also love vacationing with Audrey. She is more than willing to do all the tourist-y things with me, and then

I will return later this week with pictures of stuff! You know how I love stuff.


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