Camping Big Lagoon by Kelly Garcia


Every February, just when we can't handle the Nashville chill any longer, we pack our bags and join the snowbirds down in Florida for a pre-Spring break weekend warrior trip. This year we camped at site #66 at Big Lagoon State Park. We camped at this park last year and returned because we wanted to relax somewhere familiar, quiet, and safe. At BL we can count on being surrounded by RV campers (no SPRING BREAKERS!), hot showers and water hook ups - You know, the simple pleasures that make a big difference. All of us have 9-5 type jobs, so an easy trip in good company every now and then is just what we need.

Since we had pull up access to the site, we didn't limit ourselves on supplies. Hammocks, chairs, speakers, yeti tumblers, not one but two coolers (wet/dry), a screened canopy to go over the picnic table to keep bugs and raccoons out of our food, and food. So much food. You would probably laugh if you saw how we do mealtime on our camping trips. No matter what kind of camping situation we are in, Drew always makes the group a killer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all on a single cast iron skillet. 

We spent our time napping on the beach, tossing a football, skim-boarding, canoeing the lagoon (last trip), visiting Fort Pickens, shopping for fresh seafood at Joe Patti's, taking photos, and catching up around the campfire. I made a note to bring horse shoes for both the camp site and beach next time because sportsballs aren't my thing. (I also need to bring a wider lens!)

As long as I live in Nashville, TN, I will be making the snowbird's journey south every February. 


LOCATION / STYLE: Big Lagoon State Park in Florida / Tent and RV
SITE AMENITIES and PERKS: Pull up access, Clean restrooms, hot showers, local firewood (Gypsy Wagon), fire ring, water hook up, picnic table, electricity, easy lagoon access, trees for hanging hammocks, and canoe rentals. 
SITE DOWNFALLS: Have to drive to beach access, close to neighbors.

PACK: Other than the normal stuff, I recommend a Hammock ( I took my Eno), screened canopy to go over picnic table, horseshoes, skimboards, bug spray, bucket for doing dishes, 2 coolers (wet/dry), and a bluetooth speaker.
SEE: Fort Pickens
DO: Hang out on the white sands of Langdon Beach. Canoe rentals at Big Lagoon.
EXPLORE: Joe Patti's Seafood Market. Frank Patti Senior cut us some great tuna on our last trip. 

APP RECOMMENDATION: Since there were five of us splitting everything even, we used Splitwise (paired with venmo) to track spending and payout to each other during the trip. 

Settling In by Kelly Garcia

I live in a studio apartment that's just under 600 square feet with my husband, Seth Pineapple, and our dog Zeyk. Mid September marked one year, and that change craving, restless feeling is setting in. I either need a new space or i have to completely re-do the one we're in to cure the madness in my brain. I love/hate that feeling because it's tends to get expensive. 

We moved into our studio apartment directly following our honeymoon and the whole first year was filled with the not so exciting chore of deciding what to keep, sell, donate, and trash. Now we are finally moving into the fun phase of re-imagining our tiny space. My Pinterest boards are filling up and I have ideas taped up on my wall and sketch out on loose pieces of paper in my tote bay and around my desk. 

While we have a lot of good things to work with (white walls, tall exposed ceiling, original wood floors, a big restroom with a tub, a storage closet down the hall), our single window is a major drawback for us. We are both a little plant crazy and love tons of natural light, so we've had to adjust by getting more mirrors to bounce the light and by getting plants that like darker space. If you have any tricks for dealing with dark living spaces, please let me know! Other than filling our space with shade plants and mirrors, the rest is a blank canvas. 

Here are a few living spaces I wanna cozy up in. 

All photos from this post are linked to source. Click on Image to view source.


Hiking Guadalupe Peak by Kelly Garcia



Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Houston > Balmorhea Lake > Marfa > Guadalupe Mountains National Park > Whites City

After a good night's rest in Whites City, Brandi and I got up before the sun and loaded up the car. Not knowing where we would land after the Guadalupe hike, we checked out of the RV park with a fully packed vehicle and headed south towards adventure. 

We arrived at the park just as the sun was rising. The land, the sky, shadows and sounds were breath taking. My version of heaven. Kind of like a mini desert version of Big Bend. First stop was the visitor center restroom, so I could braid mine and Brandi's hair. For me, braids are the only way to keep the hair out of my face 100% of the hike and I can easily switch between hat/no hat on the longer hikes.

Our packs included a sandwich for the top of the mountain, 3L of water each, a film camera (still waiting to get developed), a digital camera, a Marigold bar each, our Manready TX caps, beanies (I brought my red John Prine beanie (which worked out nice for International Women's Day), chapstick, mace, sunscreen, etc... When it comes to water, I think it's better to too much than not enough because you never know what will happen.* I usually pack my 3L hydration pack as well as a Nalgene style water bottle, but this time I just took the 3L pack to make room for my camera in my pack.

The view got more and more beautiful each step of the way. There were a couple of places near the end that had my rear burning! After all, we were hiking up! Instead of complaining when we are out of breath and on a burn stretch, Brandi and I like to remind each other how lucky we are to have bodies that can hike mountains. That may not be the case forever, so we really take in every bit of our hikes. 

It was a clear, sunny day and it felt like the birds were singing just for us. We joked that they swooped in to sing when our bums were burning the most. Songs of encouragement. haha. When Brandi and I would pause to catch our breath and look down at what was behind us, I noticed something that I've never given much attention to before. Bird shadows. On a clear day with only birds in the sky, there's is nothing like watching their shadows glide across the land. Now it's something I look out for.

We spent close to an hour on that peak. We relaxed, took photos, and ate our well deserved sandwiches. On the way down, we kept passing and getting passed up by a couple who we eventually struck up conversation with. By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain, they had invited us to share a camp with them inside the park! 

To see more from the trip, check out #buenosjourneywest on IG

 **While we were out, this young kid came running after us panicking and said he needed water for his Dad. He was really worried because his Dad had ran out and wasn't doing well. Had I packed that extra water bottle, I would have just handed it over to him. It would have been a good amount to share. Sadly, I didn't have much to share. We found the Dad a little back on the trail and the poor guy looked awful and embarrassed. 


All photos by Brandi Bueno and myself.  

Roadside: What Happened Next by Kelly Garcia


When we headed out for our week long camping adventure in West Texas, Guadalupe Peak was not a part of the plan. Heck, it wasn't even on our radar! When our friends back home heard that our original plans got derailed, the recommendations came flooding in (thank you!) and Guadalupe Peak caught our attention. Brandi's long time pal, Matt Tantillo, sent us photos and told us about the most beautiful hike he had ever been on in Texas.

Houston > Balmorhea Lake > Marfa > Guadalupe Mountains National Park > Whites City

After driving south to Marfa, heading back north for a couple of days wasn't ideal since the rest of our trip was further south, but we let go of caring about petty things back in Balmorhea. It was just a couple hours after all. We kissed Marfa and our pals goodbye, loaded up my lemon of a vehicle with gas, and headed straight for the Gaudalupe Mountains National Park.

Pro tip: While traveling out west, there are some things you do not want to find yourself without. Stop when you can to grab toilet paper, water, wine or whatever alcohol of choice, lotion, gas, etc... But we will talk more about that later. 

When we got to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park visitor center we were told that all camps were booked up for the night and the closest place to camp was 13 miles further north. Disappointed, we bought our patches (incase we didn't make it back to the visitor center after the hike) and headed further north. We checked out two places marked by only mile markers that looked like abandoned Summer Camps. There was a white truck that followed us in to the second place and parked. It stayed parked the whole time we drove around scoping the place out and no one ever got out of the truck. On edge after Balmorhea, we were not taking any chances. We took out our paper map and saw an RV park in Whites City, NM just a little further up the road. BONUS, there was also a gas station!

Folks staying in Whites City, New Mexico are usually there because they are going to the Carlsbad Caverns. The RV Park we stayed at shared the road with a hotel, gas station, a restaurant that was closed our entire stay, and this odd everything store that was a gift shop, grocery, home goods and more kind of place. There were three options for staying at the RV site. RV, tent, and shelter. The shelter was a cement room with a door, electrical outlets, and two beds. No heat/AC/Water, just the basics. There was a restroom, shower, and laundry room on site that we happily took advantage of. Since we had more days of tent camping ahead, we opted for the shelter to guarantee good sleep and fully charged cameras.

To see more from the trip, check out #buenosjourneywest on IG


All photos by Brandi Bueno and myself.  

Friday Faves by Kelly Garcia

Thank the lord for music, books, and film! Between crazy politics and the earth potentially melting into a disease ridden puddle, it's been pretty dang gloomy. These days I'm extra thankful for the beautiful work and art being created and set free into all the madness. Here are a few of my latest favorites...

John Moreland just released Big Bad Luv and I have it playing at work right now! Check it out!

Haim! I've missed you! This video makes me really excited for what the entire album has in store for us. Have you heard the first official single from Something To Tell you? July 7th!

Not super recent, but I love this album trailer for Lana Del Rey. Of course I love her as a musician, but I also enjoy the amount of attention given to her visual representation as well. 

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit released two rockin' tracks, "Hope The High Road" and "Cumberland Gap" from their latest album, Nashville Sound and I can't even tell you have many times I've listened to them. So good!

After seeing my friend, Amanda's tweet about The Secret Sisters/Brandi Carlisle project, I had to check it out. I have never listened to them before, but after hearing their new tune, "He's Fine," I'm a fan!

Just when I think I couldn't possibly love Willie Nelson anymore than I do, he releases a music video like this. And hell yes I've listened to his latest album God's Problem Child! Have you?

I really hope to catch The War On Drugs on tour this Fall! May have to jet out to Texas or North Carolina to make it happen, but I gotta make it happen this time around. Have you heard the new single

I haven't ever listened to the band before, but I'm liking the sound of their new single. What do you think? Good news Nashville! They'll be playing the Ryman Auditorium on May 15th.

I've been watching this local podcast grow into something really rad. Kelly McCartney of The Bluegrass Situation interviews singer/songwriters and then they play a few tunes. Most recently she's hosted Johnnyswim, Sunny Sweeney and Drew Holcomb. I believe Karen Elson is up today! If you haven't already, check out Hangin' and Sangin'

Did you snag a copy of John Prine's sold out book, Beyond Words? Mine is in the mail and I CAN NOT wait!

I'm also stoked about this collections of essays written by badass women, about the badass women in country music who have changed their lives. Pre-order here.

P.S. Have you heard Lydia Loveless cover of Bieber's "Sorry" yet?

Marfa, Texas by Kelly Garcia


Houston > Balmorhea Lake > Marfa > Guadalupe Mountains National Park

I've been out to Marfa, Texas a handful of times and without question each visit has been uniquely different. My most recent trip was unplanned and off schedule. My sister, Brandi and I landed there a few days early because of a few Bozos were messing with us while we were setting up camp at Balmorhea Lake. Balmorhea State Park, where the beautiful spring-fed pool is, was book out and after a full day driving, "6 miles down the road" was the most appealing solution. You can read the full story about all that here. Long story short, we found ourselves in a bind and heading off route and down south about an hour to a place we knew would be safe, Marfa, Texas. Not only do we have friends there, but if for some reason we found ourselves getting messed with, I'm certain my scream would be heard by the entire town. It's teeny.

Sure, getting knocked off route was a bummer, but once we got checked in to El Cosmico our disappointment quickly turned to excitement. This gave us a chance to toss out the itinerary (HELLO SPONTANEITY!) and check out recommendations that were coming in from friends who heard we were on a West Texas road trip. One of which became the highlight of our whole trip, but more about that later.

Before we re-routed the rest of our trip, we called our pals Colt and Logan and decided what we would do the next day in town. Marfa is a funny little town where businesses are always growing, shifting, moving away or moving in town. A few of our favorite businesses have moved on (I think our local friends counted near 27 in the last 6 or so years), but below are a few of our favorites I am happy to see continue to thrive. If you make it out to Marfa, TX...

Walk or bike around town
Learn about Donald Judd
Shop at Cobra Rock Boot Company
Load up on Marfa Brand Soap
See a show at Marfa Ballroom
Chinati Foundation
Glamp at El Cosmico
Pick up lotion (you'll need lots) and refill your cooler at The Get Go
See Marfa Mystery Lights
Swing in the Freda Shop
Watch the sunrise and set

Eat + Drink:
Hang out at Planet Marfa. Maybe challenge a pal to a round of pingpong
Order Spicy Margaritas at Bar Saint George
Grab Ice cream and/or coffee at Frama. It's next door to Tumbleweed Laundromat, so bring your dirty clothes and a pocket full of change!
Eat a burrito bigger than your face at Marfa Burrito - Cash only!
End the night at Lost Horse. If you're lucky, it'll be karaoke night.

Visit Nearby:
McDonald Observatory
Prada Marfa
Terlingua Ghost town
Big Bend

When you do make it out to West Texas, keep in mind that you are no longer in a busy city where faster is better. Remember to slow your roll and take notice of what is going on around you. Breathe deep and walk slow. Smile and maybe talk to a few locals and get the scoop on what to do around town.

If there's something you have really enjoyed doing in Marfa, Texas, please let me know what? I'm always looking for new things to explore around places I love. 

PS Brandi just posted about "How We Road trip" over on Mucho Mucho Bueno Bueno. Be sure to check that out!

The Balmorhea Bozos by Kelly Garcia


Houston > Balmorhea Lake > Marfa 

If you have been following our Instagram feeds, you may know what happened on our first night of camping. If you don't have Instagram or you are just finding us, our original west Texas camping route was derailed by five bozos after we set up camp at Balmorhea Lake. We have stayed at Balmorhea State Park by the spring a couple of times and always felt safe. On March 5th, the State Park was at capacity and they ranger recommended we camp at the lake just a few miles down the road. 

When we arrived at the lake, it was an odd combination of desert with a far off mountain scape, a few houses, and a trailer park on the opposite side of the lake. There were quite a few RVs set up around the lake with families fishing, picnicking, etc... We rolled around to the office to check in and leave our camp fees, but they were already gone for the evening. There was probably an hour left of full sun, so we drove around the lake evaluating our camp options. There was one road that takes you almost entirely around the lake and then shoots you right back around the way you came. On our first pass around the lake we noticed a white truck full of men look at us strange and continue to look at us for an uncomfortable amount of time. Being on a rocky dirt road, we had to continue to drive slow making that minute seem like an hour. Mace and knives were immediately relocated to our jacket pockets. We got to the end of the road and had to turn back, which meant passing by the Balmorhea bozos or the "grossies" as Brandi refers to them, again. They stared, we cringed. This was our first night of the exciting adventure that I planned and of course being the younger sister, there's always a small piece of me that wants to impress my older sister. So far, this group of men was ruining that. haha.

We eventually found a beautiful spot on the opposite side of the lake from those guys and began to set up camp for the night. I was on tent duty and Brandi was on kitchen duty. The ground was tough and it took me forever to hammer in the tent stakes with the heel of my boot. Our plan was to get settled so we could relax off the long drive and watch the sun set with a glass of wine. Just when it came time get around to all that, that white truck started driving past us on its way around the lake. We counted four times (two passes around the lake) before they parked uncomfortably close to us. There was no one parked close to us and there were plenty of other areas for them to relocate other than 10 feet from us. Brandi and I immediately began discussing our options. Then came the small talk... "Do y'all want a beer? Do you smoke? Hey we aren't gonna bother y'all! Hey do y'all have food? I'm really hungry (followed by creepy laugh)." Brandi and I debated either moving camp in close to a family near the office or leaving Balmorhea Lake all together. If we left, that would mean our whole nerdy itinerary would be rocked. We didn't have great internet access on our phones to do a little research and I couldn't guarantee a safe bet on the way to White Sands, NM after sundown, since I have never camped out that way. The guys continued to annoy us despite our obvious "bitch-face" and lack of verbal response.

One man approached us and made small talk and walked back to his truck when he didn't get much from us. Then another one of the guys walked over to our camp and continued to ask questions while standing three feet from where we were sitting. "Do you fish? Do y'all want beer? What do you do for fun around here? Do you have a lighter?" And then the two questions that made us decide the pack up and leave, "are y'all from around here? Do y'all plan on staying here all night?" Brandi was sitting in a chair with her back towards the man the entire time. I was facing her and the man. The man eventually walked off annoyed and said some things to his friends and they drove off, yelling out of the truck window. For how long it took us to get the tent staked in the hard ground, we yanked them up so fast!

Needless to say, we got the hell outta dodge. The first night of adventure seemed to have been stolen from us. After quickly tossing (more like throwing or shoving) everything back in the car we headed for the exit without of plan. We had our first tough decision to make - We could continue on route to White Sands National Park in the dark not knowing if someone is following us or if we would be able to find a place to camp, or we could veer away from our plans and head an hour south to El Cosmico, where we have friends and have a guaranteed safe place to lay our heads. With Brandi sitting crossed legged in the passenger seat with firewood on the floor and a lantern in her lap and with my poor night vision, we opted for the safe bet and headed down to Marfa, Texas. Stay tuned for Marfa!

Click here to see what our original route was.

Photo of my sleepyhead by Brandi Bueno

Buenos Journey West by Kelly Garcia



If you have ever been out to west Texas, you know. The sky goes on forever and like the sea, you can't tell where the earth stops and the sky begins. You can see the shadow of every bird that soars between you and the sun. There are hot springs, cold springs, snakes, tacos, cacti, sand dunes, bears, mountains, cold rivers and swift shifting skies. Shaking out your boots is a routine part of every morning and you'll need a bandana handy for the next sand storm. It's a magical land where tumbleweed roams and you can see the start and end of a rainbow.  I could go on forever with details, but you just don't know until you go.

This whole adventure came about because my husband Seth booked a few guitar gigs in Texas. We are both from Texas now living in Tennessee so of course I invited myself along on his trip back home. It had been around two years since I had visited my favorite place on earth and that's unacceptable. I blocked out a few days to be in Houston with family before and after the journey west and starting looking at which destinations I could hit within 8 days. So many places, so little time! I wanted to hit a few new places and still reserve time to revisit some golden oldies. Once I had a rough idea of what I was going to do, I invited my sister Brandi to join me. We've been out west a handful of times, but never just the two of us. I warned her that is was a camping trip and my two person tent meant that we would be sleeping shoulder to shoulder. Brandi is constantly traveling (check out her blog here), so I fully expected her to say she was already going to be out of town or she needed time to rest between trips, especially with only three weeks notice! But she didn't. She was down for the 8 day journey west. 

The plan was as follows:

Sunday 3.5.17 .......... Houston --> Balmorhea State Park
Monday 3.6.17.......... Balmorhea --> White Sands, New Mexico
Tuesday 3.7.17.......... White Sands, New Mexico
Wednesday 3.7.17.......... White Sands, New Mexico --> Marfa, Texas
Thursday 3.7.17.......... Marfa, Texas --> Terlingua, Texas
Friday 3.8.17.......... Terlingua/Big Bend
Saturday 3.9.17.......... Terlingua/Big Bend
Sunday Terlingua --> Houston, Texas

But as things usually go, the plan went out the window due to some unfortunate events that took place during our first night in Balmorhea. Stay tuned for the full story and for our actual whacky west Texas route that spontaneously developed! 

In the meantime, check out Brandi's blog post about my desert hairdo, the triple braid.

My Desert Do by Kelly Garcia


Hey-o! Ignore my sunburned shoulders and head over to Mucho Mucho Bueno Bueno to check out Brandi Bueno's recent post on my Desert Do and how we got away with only washing our hair once during an 8 day camping trip. We romped all over West Texas doing everything from Hiking to cocktails, hardly ever breaking to "fixing" our hair. My hair is really course and curly, so braids and twists are always a solid solution for me. If your hair is straight or silky, Brandi shares a few product suggestions that are great for not only making you smell beautiful, but also getting your mop to be the mane envy.

Camping With Stolen Rum by Kelly Garcia

OOoooo lordy, I love a dang cocktail. I used to go for wine or whiskey on the rocks only, but for the past two years, I've been on a solid experimental beverage kick. My good pal, Reuben Bidez, is always making my next favorite cocktail, so I'm always trying to pick up tips and tricks from him. 

I've never really ventured too far into the world of rum. I blame my senior year cruise to the Caribbean. With that regrettable blur more than a decade behind me, i've been a little braver. I had Reu help me whip up a few different cocktails using Stolen Smoked Rum one night. It has a interesting smokey and mildly chocolate taste, so we experimented with two fruity cocktails and one smokey. I enjoyed all of them!   

Eager to relax the week off and recreate what I just learned, I packed a bag, and Seth and I headed away from the noise of the city. Of course he brought his guitar. He even brought his guitar on our Honeymoon. He played us some tunes and I shook up some yummy drinks.  If you want to give this smokey rum a shot, they have a few starter recipes at

I'm curious, do you like rum? if so, please share some recipes with me! I'm always looking for something new to whip up. 

Fiery Gizzard by Kelly Garcia

 All photos by Jessica Wardwell of  Ramble and Roll  and Annelise Blackwood of  Annelise  Claire Photography .

All photos by Jessica Wardwell of Ramble and Roll and Annelise Blackwood of Annelise  Claire Photography.

Fiery Gizzard has quickly become one of my favorite hikes since moving to Nashville. Whether it's a full weekend campout or just a short day hike to Raven's Point and back, I can always count on losing myself on that trail and re-charging my soul. Before living in Nashville, TN, I lived outside of Houston in Cat Spring, Texas. I had a tiny white farm house on a good size lot with two huge trees that had to be over 100 years old. I miss sitting on my porch hammock and listening to the wind blow through the leaves and branches. My weekend getaways were either a spring dip outside of Austin or heading to Galveston to skate the boardwalk and enjoy the salty air and sound of waves crashing. Man, I could listen to waves forever. 

Once I settled into a new life in Nashville, I discovered something about myself. I need time outdoors. With the nearest ocean about 8 hours away, I then discovered my love for the mountains. I don't think it competes with my love for the desert or the sea, but it's a good love. Once I'm on a trail, I could hike until my legs fall off. After the first hour, my crazy brain of mine finally shuts up and I'm able to be at peace. I can feel my face relax and I don't have to keep reminding myself to unclench my jaw. It's the perfect reset. 

How do you re-charge after a noisy week of work? 

Psst! Over Here by Kelly Garcia


My sister Brandi, recently asked me and Seth to be a part of her Young Love Mad Style feature. While we were a little surprised, we were more excited to be a part of such a rad series. She already had all the photos she needed for the post from our recent family vacation/wedding trip on the West Coast, so all that was left was the interview. Sunday morning, Seth made us coffee and we reviewed our relationship from the start to where we are now. While we only shared certain details of our story in the interview, we spent a good amount of time laughing over the details of our extended story. Love and partnership is such a beautiful, fun, crazy thing. I'm so happy to have found my person!

Head over to the Mucho Mucho Bueno Bueno blog to catch our story. 

Full wedding post coming soon! 

Friday Faves by Kelly Garcia

I'm all smiles today because it's Friday and the weather is finally taking the turn we've all been waiting for. I guess I'm a little delusional for believing it should be sweater weather by mid October in Nashville, TN. Anyway, here a few other things I'm excited about today.

I know I'm taking my happy butt to yoga tonight and meeting some cuties out for drinks. The rest of the weekend is undecided and that feels good too. What about you?