eating around the outer banks

eating around the outer banks

We love the beach.  The fun with family, the relaxation (if you can get it) and the escape from every day life!

One of our favorite beach spots is the Outer Banks.  It is a bit of a drive from our hometown of Charlotte, NC, but totally worth it.  You may remember Heather’s post from a while back.  Horses, relaxing, eating and more.  Life is slower there, you do not get the overly crowded beaches and it is, in our opinion a great place to escape to.

Last month I packed up our new family of 4 and headed to Nags Head for a family trip.  My dear friend was getting married and I knew I couldn’t miss it!  We stayed at this adorable house we found through VRBO – my favorite way to travel as you may remember – and enjoyed the beach, local spots and amazing food.

nags head, outer banks

When we vacation or visit any new city, we always look to YELP for recommendations on restaurants, things to do, shops, etc.  We are RARELY disappointed.  We eat at dives that get great ratings and below I have shared a few spots we really enjoyed.


When my sister lived in Hawaii she turned me on to acai bowls.  You guys, these are bowls of amazing blended fruit topped with anything from fresh fruit, to coconut and granola, or even peanut butter.  They are refreshing and filling at the same time.  So when I saw there was a local spot walking distance from our vacation home in OBX, I knew we had to go.  This place was everything I was looking for.  Acai bowls, smoothies and even poke on the weekends.  My husband now has me make bowls at home and my two year old LOVES them.  Add it to your OBX places to go.  Photo: The Spot

the spot


So.. confession time, my husband and I love watching the Food Network and one of our favorite shoes is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  So, we figured if Guy had been there, why not give it a try and just like that we found Tortuga’s Lie.  This place is just what we wanted, low key, amazing food, great atmosphere and easy for our boys.  I am currently staying away from dairy for my 4 month old’s allergies and they were more than accommodating!  If you go, try the beans and rice… I am not sure what they do to those beans, but they are the best we have ever had!  Photo: tortuga’s lie

tortugas lie


Finally I’ll share this small, hidden in a shopping strip, piece of heaven.  This was another yelp find and was probably our favorite.  The freshest sea-food, great local beer selection and great for families.  It was tight, but our boys handled it well.  I got a tuna burrito that was one of the best I have ever had.  It was the special of the day, so maybe try that as they work with what is in season.  Don’t forget those rice and beans – seriously the OBX has those down pat.

food dudes

What about you?  Do you try yelp?  Do you have any favorite places to eat in the Outer Banks?  Any favorite places to stay?

in one month i will be driving across the country

in one month i will be driving across the country

Exciting news! My little sister is moving to Portland, Oregon next month and I am going to drive with her to get there.  Of course, I am a little sad that she is moving so far away to the west coast, but I am so excited for this new adventure for her.

I have always wanted to drive all the way across the country.  Definitely an item on my bucket list. I have been to the Southern California many times and a few cities in between, but have barely seen the mid-west/north-west.  Little did I know my sister would bust out the news a few months ago that she was moving across the country!   I quickly jumped on the opportunity to make the trip with her.  And did I mention her sweet one-eyed “Jack” is going to make the trip with us… he is the cutest!

One Eyed Jack

We have planned our trek, booked our hotels, booked my flight back home and we are ready to explore!  Last month we spent the morning at a coffee shop with maps, a computer and calendar.  We used my favorite road trip planning guide – Road Trippers.  You can set your destinations and search on the interactive map for extraordinary places, unique hotels and sightseeing must-sees.   Then, you can pin your stop to keep up with milage, timing, etc.  To keep a 3,000+ mile trip interesting, you want to see some cool stuff for sure!  Here is our planned trek as of now…

Road Trip Map from Charlotte NC to Portland OR

Some of the highlights we are planning to see along the way…

St Louis Arch

(image source) 

St. Louis Arch.  Showing you this at night because that is how we will see it when we roll into town.  Trying to drive all the way the first day here from Charlotte.  That’s over 700 miles.  Wish us luck….and no traffic.

Corn Palace South Dakota

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The Corniest Stop we will make goes to the Corn Palace in South Dakota. Because, why not.  I mean, I’m sort of excited about it.

Prairie Dog Town USA

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Prairie Dog Town USA.  Can you believe their is such a thing?  I can’t wait.  According to this website, they will eat peanuts out of your hand!  Cue cuteness overload!!

Mount Rushmore South Dakota

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Mount Rushmore.  How can you not take a trip through South Dakota without seeing this magnificent rock sculpture!

Dinosaur Park South Dakota

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Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, South Dakota.  This vintage road side attraction is a must for some great photo ops!

Beautiful Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park.  This is definitely one we are really looking forward to. Driving through Yellowstone is going to be a dream!   Hoping to see this amazingly beautiful Grand Prismatic Spring.  Mandi’s sister has been traveling through Yellowstone this past week (on her way to Alaska!) and has shared some crazy cool photos. I need to chat with her and get some road trip tips for sure.

Road Trip Across North West

Yellowstone National Park

From Yellowstone, we are pretty close to Oregon.  We will stay over one more night and see some cool roadside sights like this giant red wagon slide….

Giant Red Wagon Slide

(image source)

Can’t wait to see Portland too!  I have never been and neither has my sister.  Pretty exciting and brave of her to move to a city she has never been to, right?  Love it!  I am so proud of her. She rules.

Portland Oregon Sign

(image source) 

Portland Orgeon at Sunset over Mt Hood

And you had better believe we are planning some sweet road trip tunes and lots of entertaining activities for the car trip….


So in just about a month, my sister and I will hit the road for this very exciting trip!  More details to come on how you can follow our adventure on Instagram.  And if you aren’t already, be sure to follow Sunny Slide Up on Instagram so you don’t miss the photos!

Have any travel tips or places not to miss to share?  Please comment below and let us know!

On top of Chimney Rock overlooking Lake Lure NC

Cheers to our adventure sister!

Heather Johnson - The Creative Stack



Happy Summer Everyone!   Time to start planning your next getaway – jump in your car and go away for the weekend!

I for one am always wanting to do something new – discover new cities, try new restaurants, stay at a new resort, check out a new attraction.  I love to travel – from week long vacations to quick weekend getaways.  I am always up for a new adventure!



I recently stumbled across Roadtrippers on Pinterest.  I was immediately drawn to everything they were about.

Eccentric roadside attractions, breathtaking natural wonders, or mouthwatering foodie feasts. Whatever your interests, you’ll discover your America on Roadtrippers.

Follow Roadtrippers on Facebook – daily they are posting about crazy cool places you never knew existed.  My travel bucket lists keeps getting longer and longer!



7 Iconic Road Trips Roadtrippers

 7 Iconic Road Trips
The Blue Ridge Parkway is just hours away from our home town Charlotte!

Tree House Hotels US Roadtrippers

The 7 Best Tree House Hotels in North America
Who doesn’t want to sleep in a treehouse?

5 Amazing Places To Stargaze Roadtrippers

5 Amazing Places to Stargaze
Shooting stars anyone?

I can’t wait to plan my next adventure. Where shall I go next?


Heather Johnson - The Creative Stack



10 best places to camp in the US

10 best places to camp in the US

As you can tell… this week we are ALL about camping!  Camping gear, making s’mores, bringing the camping life into your home and of course fashion!

I grew up camping with my family and working at summer camps.  I love a good bandana on my head, cut off jean shorts, guitar songs around a campfire and hikes in the woods to see amazing views!

Today I am going to tell you the top 10 places I would say to go camping in the US.

10 best places to camp


acadia national parkpicture: acadiamagic

Maine is called “The Pine Tree State” for a reason: It’s covered in 17 million acres of forest. Plus, it has 6,000 lakes and ponds and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. Basically, it’s a camper’s paradise. Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park makes the perfect camping destination for nature lovers of all skill levels. Looking for a unique experience? Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain (the highest point along the east coast) just before sunrise and be the first person in the U.S. to say hello to Mr. Sun that morning.  (source)

The park has two campgrounds: Blackwoods (closer to the island’s town center, Bar Harbor), and Seawall (which offers a more rustic, less touristy environment). While visitors can enjoy hiking throughout the entire park, camping is only allowed in these designated areas (backcountry enthusiasts, take note).


Yosemite national park

Photo: canuckabroad

Nearly 95 percent of the park is designated wilderness — that means no cars, no structures, no roads, and no electricity. After a night spent under the stars, take a hike up to Glacier Point, which overlooks the park’s famous Yosemite Valley, Half Dome (a rock structure revered among climbers), and the High Sierra peaks. The hike on Four Mile Trail from Yosemite Valley to the top of Glacier Point takes about 3-4 hours each way. If you’re looking for something a bit tougher, the Panorama Trail is about twice as long.

There are 13 popular campgrounds scattered throughout the park, and those requiring reservations are usually full from about April – September. If you don’t have a reservation for summertime camping, there are seven campgrounds that operate on a first-come first-served basis. Backcountry camping is also allowed, but requires a free wilderness permit (which can be reserved ahead of time). Reservations are recommended. (source)


joshua tree national park

(Photo: We are adventure)

We know — camping in the desert doesn’t sound like so much fun (hello, sunburn). But the famous Joshua Tree National Park is oh so much more than just desert. The park actually sits at the intersection of two very different deserts: To the east is the low-lying Colorado Desert; to the west lies the slightly higher, cooler, wetter Mojave Desert (home to the park’s namesake, the Joshua tree). In addition to the deserts, the park also has ten mountain peaks higher than 5,000 feet in elevation. Need to get vertical? Joshua Tree is a popular rock-climbing destination. (Just be sure you know what you’re doing first.)

The park is home to nine established campgroundsSome campsites require reservations for October through May. The rest of the sites are first come, first served year round.Backcountry camping is allowed, but campers must register in advance at a designated backcountry registration board.  (source)


olympic national park

photo source

The coolest thing about this park? It contains three different ecosystems, including — wait for it — a rainforest. Head to the Quinault Rainforest (one of only three in the western hemisphere) to see the largest Sitka Spruce tree in the world. There’s a 30-mile road that loops through the rainforest, but we think hiking’s the better option. End your trip at Ruby Beach — where you can see the mountains, glaciers, and rainforests right from the shoreline — or at La Push, the northernmost beach in Washington, where you can see whales off the coast during migration season.

The park has 16 National Park Service-operated campgrounds with a total of 910 sites. Availability varies from site to site, but there are some primitive sites open year-round. Backcountry camping is allowed, but a Wilderness Camping Permit ($5) is required (reservations are also sometimes required). (source)


zion national park

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Remember learning about the pioneers? Yeah, they walked the grounds of Zion (before it was a park). After spending the night in the woods, try hiking the Kolob Canyons in the northwest corner of the park. The five-mile and 14-mile trails make perfect four- or eight- hour trips. The longer trail takes you to Kolob Arch, one of the largest natural arches in the world. (There are also a bunch of backcountry campsites by the arch, and staying out there can make a great two-day backpacking trip.) If you’re traveling in the summer and lucky enough to win a permit in the permit lottery ($5), exploring The Subway of the park is an unparalleled experience. There are two ways to hike the deep valley and underground passageways, both strenuous, nine-ish mile routes. (Be warned — both trips are wet.)

The park has three established campgrounds and during the summer, they are full every night. Wilderness permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips and can be issued the day before or day of your trip (or reserved up to three months in advance). Before embarking on a backcountry trip, be sure to read through the Zion wilderness guide. (source)


glacier national park

photo source

The park’s probably known best for Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile road through the park’s interior that winds through the mountains — but that’s only fun if you’re in a car (and what fun is that, really?). For some fun on foot, try hiking the Many Glacier (there are a few trails to choose from, many of which offer spectacular views of alpine lakes). There’s also a campground at the glacier that accommodates both vehicles and primitive camping.

There are 13 developed campgrounds with a combined 1,009 established sites. Most operate on a first-come first-served basis, except for three that require reservations. Backcountry camping is also allowed, but a backcountry permit is required and you may only camp in designated backcountry campgrounds. (See the Backcountry Guide for details.)  (source)


arches national park

photo source

It’s a red rock wonderland with over 2,000 natural stone arches. The park has a variety of easy, moderate, and long trails. One of the most popular, the Delicate Arch trail, takes you to the well-known arch by the same name (a photo op not to miss). There’s also the option to take a ranger-guided hike through the Fiery Furnace, an area of sandstone canyons with no marked trailheads (to go without a guide, you need a permit).

The park has one developed campground, The Devils Garden Campground, and it has 50 campsites. Sites are usually reserved in advance during the busy season (March–October), but there are also campgrounds located outside the park and nearby. Arches is relatively small, and there’s little land for backpacking. To do so, you need a free permit, and you should know what you’re doing (be able to read a topographic map, identify safety hazards, etc.).   (source)


grand canyon


My mom and I went here last year… it is unbelievable in person!  You have to go!  You can read my blog post about that trip here.

Do you really need a reason? It’s the freakin’ Grand Canyon. There are two main areas: The North Rim, and the South Rim. The South Rim is more popular, easier to get to, and busier. The North Rim is harder to get to, but offers a more secluded stay (and is actually in Utah). Both areas are gorgeous, so you really can’t go wrong. Hiking is one of the most popular activities, but it can be tough (and equally rewarding); know what you’re doing before setting off. Rafting trips are also very popular.

There are three developed campgrounds in the park, two of which are available for reservations. Two are by the South Rim; the other is closer to the North Rim. Backcountry camping is also allowed with a permit ($10–$25)  (source)


everglades national park

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This park is the third largest in the lower 48 states, covering 2,400 square miles. So, let’s just say you won’t get bored. There’s a wide range of hiking trails with heads near all of the park entrances and campgrounds, as well as ample opportunities for biking. There are also a ton of canoe and kayak trails to take you further into the park’s mangrove forests, freshwater marshes, and open Florida Bay (You can also take a multi-day canoe or kayak trip — just make sure you don’t accidentlydo that by getting lost). Once you’ve had enough of doing the work yourself, check out one of thetram or boat tours offered in the park.

There are two drive-in campgrounds in the park (one of which, Long Pine Key Campground, will be closed for Summer 2013). Reservations are accepted at Flamingo Campground and are strongly recommended. Most backcountry sites (permit required, see more below) are only reachable by canoe, kayak, boat, or particularly adventurous hikers.  (source)


pisgah national forest

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I have to end on one of my favorites that is close to home and close to my heart.  I grew up going to Pisgah with my childhood camp. It is an amazing place full of trails, waterfalls, and views!  I definite must see!

There are literally hundreds of different trails throughout the Hemlocks region, offering a diverse range of hikes and backpacking opportunities. Just an hour from Asheville, NC, The Pisgah Forest is sometimes called “Land of the Waterfalls” (we’ll let you guess why), so take a look at a map and pick a hiking trail at your comfort level to check out some of the wondrous falls. The forest also contains four long-distance trails, including portions of the Appalachian Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail.  The Art Loeb Trail is one of the toughest (30.1 miles) trails in the forest, but also one of the most popular. There are plenty of campsites along the trail, too, so it makes a great path for a weekend backpacking trip.

All forest-operated campsites are first-come, first-served. Dispersed camping is only allowed at one of the forest’s designated camping areas. (source)


And remember… if camping is a little too rustic for you?  Why not try glamping or Glamour-Camping?  There are amazing places everywhere for you to try!  Here is an entire website dedicated to it!


Dunton Hot Springs   Paws Up   Fireside Jackson Hole


Now with all these places to go… its time to look the part!  Sign up for our giveaway with Apricot Lane!

Camp Fashion Week Apricot Lane Boutique New Apricot Lane Boutique Giveaway

Mandi Heilig - Dry Ink Designs


a bar in the middle of the ocean

a bar in the middle of the ocean

I just came back from a wonderful vacation in Jamaica.  A week of laying on a beach drinking lots of frosty beverages is just what the doctor ordered.

One of the highlights of our trip was a catamaran cruise to Floyd’s Pelican Bar that sits about 3/4 mile off shore in the middle of the ocean on a giant sandbar.   It is just a tiny hut made out of driftwood located on the south coast of Jamaica in Parottee Bay.

Floyds Pelican Bar Jamaica


To get there, we had to ride a little tiny boat over from our catamaran.  What an adventure!

Pelican Bar Jamaica


Once there, you can hang inside in the shade, tan outside the deck or swim down in the water on the sandbar.   Lots of  locals and tourists to mingle with.

Inside Floyds Pelican Bar Jamaica


Pelican Bar Deck


Party In The Ocean


They serve two drink options…. Rum Punch or Red Stripe.  Step right up to the bar and don’t forget – cash only!

Jamaican Floyds Pelican Bar


They even have food!  Two options….fish or lobster. Both served with rice.  Fresh caught and cooked right on the spot.

Food At Floyds Pelican Bar


When hanging out in the water, be sure to watch out for boats bringing people in.  Oh, and Stingray too!  We saw two that day.  Luckily, we were up on the deck when they came by.

Pelican Bar Jamaica 2

Stingray Floyds Pelican Bar


When you go, be sure to leave something behind.  I brought a pair of fun sunglasses from a friend’s bachelorette party.  And I brought along a business card…I couldn’t resist.  Think I will get any referrals?

Jamaica Pelican Bar Tour

The Creative Stack in Jamaica at Floyds Pelican Bar


There was even a cute dog inside taking a snooze.

Dog at the Pelican Bar in Jamaica

Bar In The Middle Of The Ocean


The Pelican Bar was a very cool excursion – not to be missed.   A once in a lifetime opportunity for sure.  Thanks to Island Routes for the fun catamaran cruise too!

Heather Johnson - The Creative Stack