Tuesday, February 21, 2012
On Friday we headed to Charlotte to see Delbert McClinton as soon as Andrew got home from work. We checked into our hotel and then took a cab over to the Neighborhood Theatre to meet a few of our good friends. We had been looking forward to this night for a long time!
We bought VIP tickets, which was the best decision ever. VIP meant that we got to sit in this cozy little area above everyone else. There was room to dance and we even had a really awesome waiter to bring us drinks. It was fabulous. As you can see above, I busted out my special mermaid hair for the event :)
The next morning Andrew and I woke up and decided to check out a part of Charlotte that we had not yet explored. We drove over to Uptown to visit a restaurant called Harvest Moon Grille. It had caught Andrew's eye awhile back, so I was excited to see what it was all about. Basically, Harvest Moon Grille is a "farm to table" restaurant, meaning they only use locally grown ingredients from specific farmers. The food is always in season and very fresh.
The menu had tons of brunch and lunch options. I chose the Nelon Knoll's Buffalo Burger, because I spotted the Goat Cheese Pepper Jam under the explanation. Yum! I now realize that I should have taken a photo of my actual plate, but I was too busy being in heaven. This will definitely be a place that I crave often.
After we ate we walked around a bit and enjoyed the warm weather.
Uptown is a lot different from our go-to Noda neighborhood, but I am glad that we stepped out of our usual hang out spot. Uptown is also where the giant Epicenter is located, which houses lots of bars, restaurants, and shopping all in one place. We wondered into a little boutique that caught my eye and I found this bizarre ring:
Craaazy, right? I saw it in the display case and just had to check it out. I call it my "Finger Fro." It may look weird, but I'll tell you what...that day I was stopped by tons and tons of people. Such a fun conversation piece.
After spending some time Uptown we headed back over to the Noda neighborhood (home sweet home). We needed more supplies from our fav incense shop and I wanted to visit a jewelry boutique that I love. I had previously seen this dainty pair of silver, hoop earrings that are designed to let you change out the drops.
So cool! I can either find my own unique drops to hang on the hoops, or I can go back and collect more from the artist. There were lots of options, including stones of all colors. For a dramatic look I could even hang things from just one side. I am excited to play around and find a signature look.
What a successful weekend!!! I will check back in with you later this week with a little surprise. Believe me, you won't want to miss it!
Friday, February 17, 2012
On a side note, along with getting back into yoga, I have started reading "The Beauty Detox Solution" by Kimberly Snyder.
I don't agree with everything she has to say, BUT I do appreciate learning about what certain foods do for my energy, body, and skin. Furthermore, she also talks about food pairings and how to choose certain foods together to optimize nutrients and benefits. Above all, I am totally in love with Snyder's "Glowing Green Smoothie" recipe. It takes a bit to adjust to the taste, but the more I practiced, the better it got. Basically, the recipe calls for water, romaine lettuce, spinach, celery, apple, pear, banana, lemon juice, and I personally add fresh ginger. I chop up all the stuff and put as much as I can into my Magic Bullet container. Snyder uses a heavy duty juicer, which no doubt makes everything super smooth. However, my Magic Bullet processor does a good enough job.
I start my day with this smoothie and it makes me feel great. It's definitely a power-packed drink and makes it easy to get all of those nutrients in one sitting. I will keep you posted on my progress as I continue to make daily changes to my diet.
Sorry today is short, I have lots to do before date night in the big city!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
There is one large room (which I am assuming was at one time the sitting room, or living room) with beautiful hard wood floors and a mural above an old fire place that reads "Be the change you want to see in the world" (one of my favorite quotes by Gandhi). A really amazing woman, Cindy, owns the studio and I was lucky enough to have her as my instructor. Overall, it was one of the best yoga experiences I have ever had. There were only two other women in the class with me and they immediately extended warmth and friendship. I cannot wait to go back! I might even branch out and try something other than hot yoga.
Now, back to my Valentine's Day planning for Andrew. I really wanted to make Andrew a very special meal, since I had been receiving gifts all week. The first present I received was my friend Edgar Allan Poe.
The second present I received was a set of silver, antique inspired, art nouveau make-up brushes that I have been swooning over for weeks.
These brushes are amazing. They are fairly heavy and have a lot of detail carved into the handle. It is kind of hard tell from the photo, but the top is a woman with her head leaning back, holding a ring of blooming flowers around her neck. Yesterday I used them for the first time and I loved the way my make-up looked and felt. This will be something really cool to pass down if I have a daughter.
As you can see, I really needed to step up my game after receiving these great gifts! Luckily, I did some research earlier in the week and knew ahead of time what I wanted to cook Andrew for our Valentine's Day dinner. I'll admit that I was a little ambitious and decided to go with heart shaped ravioli made from scratch. I had never made pasta at home before, but I found some easy to follow recipes and went for it. I only encountered one hiccup and that was trying to locate some semolina in and around Oakboro. I drove into Locust, back to Oakboro, over to Albemarle, and back to Locust. NO one had any semolina. So, I had to move to plan B: making the ravioli using basic all purpose flour. I found a recipe that called for a few cups of flour and some egg yolks. After working with the dough and adding more flour, some water, another egg...I finally found the right consistency and started to knead. I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes, then let it sit covered for 20. Thankfully it turned out perfect! I was able to roll out the dough until it was paper thin and used a cookie cutter to make the hearts. Here is a photo of my work in progress:
I was really happy with the turn out! For the filling I mix sauteed spinach, bread crumbs, Parmesan, grainy mustard, nut meg, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The mixture could be molded into little balls, which made it easy to fill each heart. Then all I had to do was drop 3 at a time in big pot of boiling water for a few minutes. Here is the finished product:
For desert I decided to go with something a bit lighter. I found a delicious recipe for pears poached in honey and ginger and then drizzled with melted dark chocolate. Yum!
And of course no Valentine's Day is complete without a homemade card!
I think it's fair to say that our first Valentine's Day as a married couple was a huge success. I hope everyone was feeling the love yesterday!
*You can find the recipe for the ravioli filling here.
*You can find tips on making the dough without semolina here.
*And For an easy desert of poached pears check here.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It is a beautiful morning! I am sitting by the window enjoying some coffee and watching lots of little birds come and go. Last night I was reminded that there are a few new items in the house that I have not showcased. One of which is a super awesome painting of a Matador that our friend Heather passed down to us. She originally bought it at a flea market for $3. It is easily one of our favorite pieces of art in the house.
I wanted to show off this piece, because it is a great example of adding amazing art on a budget. Some of the best places to search for affordable art are flea markets, thrift stores, and estate sales. You can always revamp "old" art by putting it in a new frame, or mounting it in an interesting way. The most important part is to find something that speaks to you. I also love the idea of giving the art a new life in your house. We are honored to have The Matador hanging in our bedroom.
Here are some other examples of recycled art hanging in our house. I have shown these before, but I wanted to reiterate that all of them were either found at Goodwill, or a flea market:
In total, all of these pieces probably cost $10. I love that each one has a unique story to tell and that we were able to give some eye-catching art a new home.
Last night I also realized that I never shared a very special Christmas gift I received from my mother-in-law. She is one of the best gift-givers and this holiday season was no different. She sent me a box of hand-blown glass dip pens and ink sealed with wax in glass bottles. Beautiful!
Along with the ink and pens, she sent me something called an Heirloom Diary. I had never heard of such a thing, but now I can't believe I went this long without one! Basically it is a diary to keep track of items passed down and their story. I already have an extensive collection of heirlooms, including my engagement ring. I cannot wait to write about all of my very important items and where they came from.
Such a cool gift idea!
For more information about the dip pens and ink check here.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Last Saturday Andrew and I hung out in the Noda neighborhood of Charlotte all day. Noda is most comparable to a small South Congress in Austin, or maybe a North St. Mary's in San Antonio. Lots of little shops, cool bars, thrift stores, and music venues. We started our day with brunch (per usual) and then took our time walking around and seeing the sights.
We discovered a lot of really interesting little shops, some that even doubled as art venues. One in particular featured a lot of imported goods from Latin American countries, as well as local handmade items. In the back room they even had a Dia de los Muertos inspired alter to honor lost loved ones. There were many beautiful photos, notes, and keepsakes.
We also happened upon an awesome thrift store called The Rat's Nest and I found these gems to bring home with me:
I am not sure the exact year of the purse, but it is in great condition. All the beads are still very much intact and the inside has little wear and tear. It will be a perfect companion on nights out! As for my good friend Rod, I just couldn't resist. I have two very important people in my life that connect me to Rod. First, my mother, who always picks Maggie May as her karaoke song. Second, my friend Anna, who has the strongest love for this man I've ever witnessed. She too has this particular album and it makes me happy to look at it and think of her.
Andrew and I love hanging out in Noda and we will be back later this month to see Delbert McClinton!
Now onto some projects. Yesterday I spent the majority of my time working around the house. The first item on my list was to complete a privacy screen for our back deck. I wanted a way to make our outdoor space seem more intimate and I loved the idea of a "wooden wall" type structure. I found lots of random pieces of wood in our barn that I was able to salvage and my vision really started to come together. I arranged the pieces of wood on the ground and pulled some aside to act as braces for the top, middle, and bottom. I used a simple drill to screw each piece into the brace and before long it was quite secure. Here is a photo of my work half way through:
I really love how the different colors of wood came together. I am thinking about painting a mural on the bottom half to add a little more character. I think it will look really cool on our deck when all is said and done. I wanted to paint today, but it's too wet outside. I will post more photos when I make some progress.
After using the drill for the better half of the day, I moved onto assembling our new chaise lounge. It arrived while I was working outside and I couldn't wait to get it up and running. I also wanted to have the new living room set up arranged before Andrew got home from work to surprise him. Here is the finished product:
Many of you may have noticed that we moved our super groovy electric fireplace into the living room from the kitchen. I loved having it in the kitchen, since it does an amazing job warming the tile in the mornings. However, it didn't work after I changed up our little eating area:
Isn't it charming? It reminds me of a cute little sidewalk cafe. I love how it turned out and thankfully so does Andrew.
As you can see, yesterday was a busy day for me. I was happy to get my hands on some power tools, build something outside, and make cozy changes to our cottage. Not to mention, I got to display my newest treasures. I'm am happy!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
The first night we arrived, Colbey took us to the Annabel Lee Tavern for some cocktails and snacks. The bar was dark, narrow, artistic, and magical. Poe was all around me as I sipped my "Glen's Unrest," which consisted of gin, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and champagne.
The next morning we woke up and decided to walk around the city a bit, visit Poe's gravesite, and grab crab at the famous Lexington Market.
The Lexington Market was a very cool experience. There was food from all over the world, interesting people from all different walks of life, and an overall happy vibe in the air. Oh, and of course the crab was to die for.
That night we went out a bit and visited a bar called The Horse You Came In On. Once again I loved the look and feel of the dark, haunted bar. It is rumoured that this is where Poe stopped for one last drink before his mysterious death.
The next day we woke up and it was New Year's Eve! Colbey had some friends coming in to join us from D.C., so we mostly just hung out and got ready for the night. We made dinner reservations at a delicious tapas restaurant right across from Colbey's place and enjoyed a unique meal with good people.
After enjoying delicious food and drinks, we ventured out to a few more bars before making our way back to the apartment. It just so happens that the city of Baltimore sets off their fireworks over the water, RIGHT next to Colbey's building. We decided to hustle back to the apartment to find our spot on the rooftop deck. Champagne was flowing as we welcomed in 2012 and watched the spectacular show directly above our heads!
Needless to say, it was a New Year's Eve to remember! Great friends, in a great city, with my wonderful husband! I am one fortunate little lady. We spent the next two days recuperating and eating, before heading back to our North Carolina cottage. I look forward to many more visits to Baltimore!