Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Ok you have to read til the end of this post, because a dynamite crazy story will be your reward, but first let me set the stage. Last night, Danielle and I were invited to a Jax Bite Club event courtesy of Folio Weekly and, more importantly, my friend Caron. The restaurant is in the historical district of Fernindina and the entire area is super adorable.

We had margherita pizza with whisper thin crust, dangerously light and delicious, followed by my favorite course: a watermelon napolean. Thick slices of watermelon sandwiched creamy goat cheese and arugula, with a balsamic reduction and mint leaves. This was so incredibly refreshing and I am obsessed.

This was followed by fried mozzarella with basil aioli - rich  and delicious - and seafood lasagna that was literally an overflowing treasure chest of  perfect buttery little scallops. OMG. And there was tiramisu. Gosh I hope I do not get sent to outer darkness for eating that tiramisu.

ANYWAY the meal was delicious and I would totally go back. But onward christian soldiers to the money: Whilst our heros sat, listening to the Italian owner go over the evenings menu in a thick accent, a strange burnt matchstick of a woman walked up to our group. This walking wire marched right up to the owner, and sticking her pointy finger out screams I WANNA TALK TO YOU. This lady then begins to throw a howler of epic proportions. SHE HAD EATEN GLUTEN FREE PASTA AT THIS ESTABLISHMENT she said AND IT WASNT GLUTEN FREE. The woman wailed and screamed with a rage that was REAL my friends, unhinged we heard about her night sweats and sleeplessness for a week. As they drug her out of the joint, the obscenities flowed as her shorts began to slip off her bony frame. You'd think a gut so descended with the suffering of gluten would have kept those suckers on, but I witnessed full butt crack. I can't even tell you how insane this lady was. Geeze. So maybe avoid the gluten free pasta at Ciao? Or don't. Idk, this woman sounded more like a wino then a true gluten warrior, so take your fate into your own hands. Truly a story worthy of Florida (Wo)Man.

Ciao Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 19, 2014


Are you ready for a part 3 party? The end of Norway in a nutshell brought us to Bergen, like I mentioned before. Bergen looks like a Steven Spielberg fairytale land. You know how Steven loves wharf towns on hills with lots of rambling buildings and stuff? Bergen reminded me of the Goonies gone European. We raced down to the pier to take a look at the Bryggen houses and then went on a hunt for a top rated polske stand. Sausages are Norwegians favorite food....besides like, herring or whatever. But anyway, I am a hotdog enthusiast (of course I am) and I had to have one of these extra delicious polske. I decided on the reindeer polske with fried onions and it was the best. The best people. After that there was a shocking pink sunset and a train ride all the way back to Oslo.
Fun story: There were these nutso gypsies who (I am guessing) snuck onto our train and started a full on domestic disturbance near our seats. The lady was spitting venom at the dude. I don't know Norwegian, but there is no way she wasn't using every swear word in her book. Then the conductor came by and they started shoving at one another. They eventually got kicked off the train in the middle of nowhere, but my goodness. Thanks brawny train woman, you are awesome.

We got home at 6:30 am and I was the grumpiest. I can not sleep unless I am laying completely flat, and I got not a wink on the train. Thanks gypsies! Jared and I crashed hard, and when we came up for air we lept right back in, visiting the Viking Museum, The Fram Icebreaker Museum and then cruising Aker Brygge, the rehabiltated wharf area. The next day we hung out in the sunshine at Frogner Park, saw Munch's "Scream" (Jared's Favorite) and "Madonna" (my favorite) and walked the streets of Oslo.
The last night. As you may well know from Facebook, we arrived at our weird tiny Torp airport only to be kicked out when they closed for 3 hours. We spent the evening in the desperate cold snuggling and getting increasingly punch drunk. We listened to Van Morrison, invented a game called "shout a phrase and make up the corresponding dance move", slept for a half hour in a stairwell and fell a little bit more in love. I already know that night will be a treasured memory.
Thinking about that trip, and this weekend, I am constantly reminded at how understanding Jared always is. When I'm grumpy, he just ignores me and tells me to go to bed. When I am insecure, he tells me why I shouldn't be. He is not a man of poetry or grandiose statements, but he radiates a steady, calm energy that I desperately need. I am the manic free wheeling kite and he is my tether, and both of of us would be useless and boring without the other.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Jared and I spent about 20 hours getting to Oslo due to a long as heck layover in Charles De Gaulle. Luckily we stalked these weird little chaise loungers and slept intermittently for most of it. Nothing quite like panic sleep at an airport. Btw there was a hole in that neck pillow and I woke up covered in tiny styrofoam balls.

The airport was clean and easy and Scandinavian and felt a lot like Ikea to tell the truth....like the Ikea of duty free alcohol and giant Toblerone.

We rented this apartment from AirBNB which was fantastic. If you're going on vacation you should always check AirBNB first. After spending $30 on Burger King at the train station we were even more grateful for a full kitchen. After we got in, we went to the market across the street and crashed hard. Next morning we took a train trip across the country nicknamed "Norway in a Nutshell."

Lots of travelers use this route, which is all public transportation, to see a lot of Norway really quickly. It was the most beautiful trip of my life. We took a train out of the city, through the mountains and across a plateau covered in huge drifts of snow. The train stopped us in Myrdal and we took the Flam railroad through the mountains down into the fjord, where we took a few hours cruise. This dropped us at a bus which wound its way up and down the mountains and to another train which we road all the way to Bergen and back. Exhausting? Yes. Breathtaking. Oh, yes. There is no way to describe how gorgeous the country is. Pictures can't capture the middle earth, the cliffs of insanity, the hundreds of waterfalls the water and sky and I wanna go back! I'll stop rambling and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Last night me, Jared and every lesbian in Jacksonville went to see Tegan and Sara. Can I just say that the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall has not disappointed? I want to kiss their booking agent, seriously. M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Iron and Wine, then this show? Hits keep comin.

I forgot to bring Jared clothes after work and he was semi-mortified to be walking around that joint in a US Open tee. Poor Bird. 

Our main objective was to see one of the opening bands, Lucious, who were AMAZING, and cash in our birthday present to Danielle, who was not awesome having rolled her ankle :(. 

We met Lucious after the show, but in normal Kipin fashion I was to much of a wuss to ask for a picture. Tegan and sara were great, I mean don't we all have a memory of singing  "Nineteen" at the top of our lungs in the car? The only downside of going to a concert with 85% women is that you could barely hear the band over the chorus of voices singing every single word. Now I am off to the beach to enjoy the world's most perfect day. Fun challenge: find me and Jared in the below photo. Hint, I am standing behind a girl with Skrillex hair. :

Wednesday, May 14, 2014



Jared has absconded with the laptop so a recap of Norway will have to wait another day...another exhausting day might I add. I am still pretty bushwacked from that particular adventure, last nights activity not helping much.

My father, youngest brother and I all went to see The Aquabats last night. There were cosplayers, children of all ages, a girl in a full AB gear, Koo Koo Kangaroo - who ended their set throwing a giant colorful parachute party, kindergarten style, in the audience and made me want to jump off the balcony into the fray.

The Aquabats did not disappoint on their 20th anniversary tour. I had a brief and torrid love affair with them in the 10th and 11th grades, introducing them to my Dad and brothers, and I could still shout along to every word of Pool Party, Super Rad, Fashion Zombie and Lovers of Loving Love. Fun fact: The MC Bat Commander and Crash McLarson are card carrying Mormons.

During the encore, they brought 5 kids up ranging from about 9-4 - their first rock shows - AND HAD THEM CROWD SURF. Parents, I implore you, if their tour comes close, grab some earplugs and your children of whatever age and take them to this show. They are guaranteed to have the best night of their lives. Aquabats, thanks for being the best band on earth.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

3:30 OSLO

We have been in the country for 12 hours now. I am feeling some crazy jet lag, so here I sit at 3:30 am in this quiet apartment kitchen while Jared attempts to set the world record in snores and night humming-yes humming. Instead of laying awake and fretting about finding an ATM in the morning and getting to the Torp airport on Sunday, I got up and made our sandwiches for our train ride today.

Speaking of- Norwegian groceries, or at least the tiny bodega we went to yesterday afternoon, are fascinating. They sold 6 different kinda of meat or cheese paste in big tubes  and a soda cost around 19 krone, about $3.50.  Poor Jared. I'm sure the night humming is his way of coping with nightmares of mystery meat and the huge section of soft cheeses we  spent 10 minutes pouring over (I chose salami and some kind of mild white cheese. Just sampled both- delicious). New/strange food is always in my top 5 favorite things on a trip and Jared's number one hurdle, so it should be an interesting 4 days.

3 hours until our alarm goes  off and we head towards the fjords.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Hey so uhhhh.... Jared and I are going to Norway. Tomorrow. For real.

A week and a half before his birthday, I was cruising Kayak's explore feature-have you used it?- and found tickets for $400 a piece. The steal of a lifetime. The two round-trip tickets cost less then my one ticket to London last summer. Quite a bit less.

Anyway, I bought them, ordered a viking helmet online and asked Jared to go troll-hunting with me with only 4 days notice. The trip will be a whirlwind, 6 days total with 2 of them traveling literally alllll daaay loooong. I have a feeling I will be revisiting the nap spot I found in Charles De Gaulle 5 years ago. But it is the chance of a lifetime and I'm ready to make it count. Se deg snart, Norge!