Donuts and Bread Pudding

DISCLAIMER: If you are in search of an amazing recipe for donuts or bread pudding, I am afraid you will be disappointed by this post. And if you are expecting some insightful comments or thought-provoking questions, I am sorry, but you will be left disappointed as well. This post is really nothing more than a personal reflection of what my life has been like the past few weeks. But, if you are interested at all in my personal life, feel free to continue reading (:

So here we go. On March 14th, around 4am, my dad loaded up the car and drove my mom and me to the Memphis airport. We were packed, anxious, and ready to spend what we knew would be an amazing Spring Break in Punta Cana. My dad was not so excited about the trip, considering he was being left at home. (Sorry about that, dad) But I was very excited about this opportunity to spend a week with my mom just relaxing and making some unique memories together. After a rather long, tiring day of airport security, flight attendant safety speeches (which are less than comforting, by the way), and conversations with strangers, we arrived at our new home for the next week. I knew it was a good sign when we pulled up to our resort and were greeted with chilled hand towels and a bellhop who took our luggage and said, “Let me carry your bags for you. While you are here, you do no work. Only relax.” Things got even better when we got to our room and I saw that we were given fancy bathrobes and matching slippers. At this point, I really felt like I was in a movie. As you can tell, it doesn’t take much to get me excited. It’s the little things, people! We opted for a quiet, room-service dinner that night, and fell asleep without too much excitement after dinner.

Since my college-student body is accustomed to getting about 6 hours of sleep on a good night, after 10 hours of sleep, I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed (which does not happen often for this night owl). Considering it was 7am, Dominican time, my mom was not as excited about the morning as I was. But, in true, selfless-mother fashion, she obliged and got ready for breakfast. My favorite thing about Dominicans is that they serve crepes at breakfast. I guess it’s the same as us serving pancakes at breakfast, but crepes, in my mind, have always seemed like a dessert, and who doesn’t love dessert for breakfast?! Again, the little things. After breakfast, we ventured out to the pool to find our spot for the day. We found a bed by the pool that was the most amazingly evil thing. Amazing, because it was insanely comfortable. What’s better than a bed by the pool? And evil, because you could be laying on it for 3 hours and it felt like 30 minutes. This causes a problem for pale people who don’t set alarms to reapply sunscreen. (Side-note: if you travel to the Caribbean anytime soon, learn from our mistake and realize that their sun is less forgiving than Florida sun. 30spf is probably not enough. And you should reapply EVENLY multiple times a day) If you haven’t figured out, we got burned. The first day in paradise, and we got sunburned worse than I have ever been sunburned in my life. But the worst part is that I only got sunburned in small random blocks, because I am apparently the world’s worst at putting sunscreen on evenly. Aside from the sunburn, it was a truly magical day though. We read books, took short naps, and even had waiters that walked by and asked what we would like to drink several times throughout the day. It was a blissfully restful day. Here’s a picture to give you an idea of our view for the day:
 After our day in the sun, we went back and got ready for our dinner at the Lobster House. The resort we stayed at was an all-inclusive resort, similar to a cruise, so I was pretty excited about getting to try some fresh lobster. We ordered and spent some time in conversation until our food got to the table. My mom will probably forever laugh about this moment, but when we got our food, I was eager to try their Lobster since it was suppose to be some of the best. I took a bite, and I wouldn’t say it was better than my last experience, but it was pretty good. And I ate a few more bites, before looking up with a horrified expression on my face. My mom looked at me, a little worried, and asked what was wrong. Well this is what the lobster looked like:
I am no lobster connoisseur, but every time I have seen lobster, it has been served with just the tail-end. I did not realize until a few bites in, that I was eating lobster out of a still-entact crustacean. I know it’s not really any different than just eating out of the tail, but this seriously weirded me out. My mom thought it was hilarious that I didn’t notice that detail when they first brought it. I guess I was so excited about trying it that I overlooked that fact. But after I noticed, there was no going back. Even though it was pretty good, I suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore.

Most of our days followed the same pattern as our first day. We would wake up and go to breakfast around 8 each morning (I know deep down my mom really appreciated me not letting her ever sleep the day away!), and then spend the day by the pool. The only difference from the first day, was we spent the rest of the week under these nice little huts! As my Dominican boyfriend told me, “You’re skin is too soft for our sun. The first day I saw you, you were so white. Too white for our sun.” Thanks for the confidence boost, Chelly!

We had planned to go zip lining and do a bicycle tour during the week, but our sunburns combined with how enjoyable sitting still and being lazy all day was, we opted to be lazy all day everyday, and it was the best decision we could have made. We went to the nighttime entertainment a few nights, but that was about the most excitement we experienced. I never thought I would have so much fun spending a week doing nothing, but it was incredible.

I think you can tell by this picture on our last day how relaxed we were.

It was a week filled with some much needed rest and relaxation, with a little bit of bonding thrown in. And if you want to hear a good story, just ask my mom how she got swindled at WalMart!

And after a week back at school, I came back home again. Considering I came home only once last Spring, being home 3 weekends in a row was a new thing for me. But when you get the chance to go see Brantley Gilbert in concert, you have to go! Even if you’ve already spent two weekends at home. As if Brantley Gilbert wasn’t enough, I found out my high school was having a tennis match on Saturday as well. I couldn’t have picked a better weekend to be home! Being the planner that I am, I had mentally scheduled in everything I wanted to do, and the first thing on my list was get donuts from Shipley’s. In high school, my dad and I would go get donuts every Friday before school, so I usually have a killer craving for them when I come home. So Saturday morning rolled around, and I was more than ready for some donuts. I guess my mom was taking advantage of not having me in the same room to wake her up early, because she opted to sleep in while we went to Shipley’s.

There’s just something about sitting in a donut shop talking about life that’s good for the soul. It’s so good for the soul, it counterbalances the fact that you’re consuming way more calories than you know you should. We sat and talked about school and life and reminisced on old memories until it was time to head for the tennis courts. As we were getting close to the parking lot, we realized it was probably a bad sign when we didn’t see any cars. After a little investigation, we discovered the match had been canceled because of the weather. Well, since that was the extent of my plans for the day, we now had time to spend and no where in mind to go. My dad mentioned that he needed some stuff from GNC, so we headed towards the mall. After walking around the mall for a little while, and then deciding it was a little too cold and windy to ride bikes, we decided to take care of some more errands.

My first errand of choice was Hobby Lobby. We walked around and read all the funny quotes on canvases and metal art that we could find, debated on buying us a bag of Robin Eggs easter candy (we made the mature decision to pass), bought a few things we had found, and then moved on to our next stop. From there, we went to PetSmart (anyone else mesmerized by the fact that it makes sense as PetSmart or PetsMart? How cool is that?!) and saw a rather well-fed basset hound and a very aged, also well-fed, dachshund. Both of which were equally adorable. We also went and looked at Elizabeth Claire’s and the Corner Shoe Store. What more can you ask for than a dad who pretends to enjoy shopping at girly stores with you? About this time we were starting to get ready for lunch. We threw around a few different ideas and then settled on eating at Romie’s Grocery.

After being seated, and finding out the meat of the day was fried shrimp, we realized we had picked the wrong place for lunch. For a few minutes my dad and I were both acting like this was exactly where we wanted to eat, since we genuinely thought it was what the other wanted. After catching on to the fact that my dad really didn’t want fried shrimp, I felt it was safe to say I really didn’t want it either, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell them we were leaving after only drinking a glass of water. So we walked to the hostess stand and tried to politely tell them we were leaving. In case you aren’t aware, this creates a very awkward situation for both parties. But what is life without some awkward moments, right? So we both walked out laughing, which probably made us look pretty suspicious.

Our next pick was Cracker Barrel, because you can never go wrong with Cracker Barrel. But after talking about Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on our way to Cracker Barrel, my dad decided he should take me to a new restaurant in town called Steele’s Dive. And I am SO glad he did! If you haven’t eaten at Steele’s Dive yet, you really need to check it out. The food was some of the best I have had in Tupelo. After finishing my meal, my dad mentions that everyone says they have the best desserts in town. Now, if you know me, you know that dessert is my favorite meal. But as he says this, I’m thinking, “I basically had dessert for breakfast this morning. Donuts and dessert in the same day is not the best idea.” So usually, I would pass, but our waitress told me several times that I REALLY needed to try the chocolate chip bread pudding. Well, I am not a big bread pudding fan, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. I probably wouldn’t like it, so I wouldn’t end up eating much of it. Win win. Boy was I wrong. This chocolate chip bread pudding was like chocolate cobbler on steroids. I would venture to say it probably made the list of some of the best dessert I have ever had. If you live in Tupelo, you need to go try it. Like right now. It is phenomenal. You can thank me later. I was suppose to be sharing with my dad, but I would say I ate more than half of it. But it is worth every calorie, I promise!

After lunch, I had a couple more hours before I had to start getting ready for the concert, so my dad asked if I minded just riding around for a little while. So we talked about different artists on the radio, I introduced him to some new songs, and we rode around looking at houses and landscape and talking about random things. My dad can tell you, I’m not the kind of person who usually enjoys endless hours of conversation. Usually I prefer to talk for a little while and then spend the rest of the time just listening. I like to talk when I have something to say, but idle chatter is not really my thing. But something about this day was different. I had spent all day talking, and when I heard him say it was about time to head back home so I could get ready, I was wishing we had a few more hours to ride around listening to music and talking. It’s one of those days that seems pretty insignificant, but one that you know you’ll remember. Nothing big or out of the ordinary really happened, but it still felt different. Something about it was special. And I would say it was one of the best days that me and my dad have shared together, just the two of us. That Saturday taught me something. It’s something I think I’ve always been aware of, but on that day, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

You don’t have to grab a passport, board a plane, and fly to a Caribbean resort to feel like you’ve spent a day in paradise. Sometimes riding back roads, listening to the radio, and getting lost in conversation is all you need to feel renewed and reenergized. And if you get the chance to eat donuts and bread pudding in the same day, by all means take advantage of it. It’s good for the soul, remember?


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