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Weekend Recap

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We had a fantastic, but extremely busy weekend. I needed to wait an extra day to recap it all because I was still worn out. Luckily, I found out this is going to be a short week for me. Brandon has a work conference at Carolina Beach, so we'll be heading down there for a couple days on Thursday. Hopefully the rain will let up a little bit for us.

My dad got remarried this weekend, so we had a lot of activities dealing with that. On Friday afternoon, my now step mother's daughters hosted an Afternoon Tea at the Umstead. The tea was really fun and I would highly recommend it for a fun girls outing. It would be great for a small bridal shower or baby shower with friends too. I would love to do something like this with my aunts and girl cousins around the holidays.

I wish I had taken more photos, but I didn't want to take away from the atmosphere by constantly snapping pictures.
First Course: Tea Sandwiches // Third Course: Dessert

Friday night we went with my dad and Lynne, brother, and her daughters (who are now my step sisters - weird!) to see Catching Fire at Koka Booth in Cary. Koka Booth is a little less strict than the Art Museum in that you can bring whatever you want with you - food, alcohol, etc. The Art Museum's screen is definitely larger/more impressive, but you can only bring in sealed non-alcoholic beverages. Dad had picked up lots of yummy food from Whole Foods and gotten out there early so we had really good seats. I'm hoping we can make it out to the NCMA for a few movies before summer is over (particularly 12 Years a Slave, Bull Durham, and The Grand Budapest Hotel).

Saturday was the wedding. I started the day off in the best way possible with a haircut from Steven. Seriously, y'all. If you need an incredible hair dresser in Raleigh and want to have the best time while you're there, go to Steven. It obviously doesn't hurt that he's Brandon's cousin, but he is amazing. He did soft waves for me for the wedding and my hair looked amazing. I've tried to do it myself a million times and it never works for me. He's so good. 

I have absolutely zero pictures from the wedding or the lunch, but I'll be sure to post them when I do! My wonderful friend Grace's sister, Glory took the photos at the wedding. She's just starting out, but I know she did a fantastic job and I can't wait to see the pictures. It was also amazing getting to see my grandma that I'm extremely close with, my aunt, uncles, and cousins. I love spending time with them and it doesn't happen nearly enough.

After a lovely nap, we headed out to dinner for Jenny's birthday! We ate at Bida Manda and it was fantastic. I can honestly say I've never had a bad meal there. I ordered the Green Papaya Salad with the Filet and it's my new favorite. Meredith got Jenny a delicious red velvet cake too. Van, the owner was there helping out the staff. It's always nice to see an owner who is so involved in the day-to-day operations of their business.


Continuing on with our busy weekend, on Sunday we went to the contemporary service at our church, "The Gathering" at 9:30 and then had brunch with mom, Dale, and Ry at Nofo. The Gathering is our new favorite service. Mom and I loved the contemporary service at our old church in Jamestown, and we're happy to have won our traditional men over too. The music is so happy and we all feel so full when we leave. We are so fortunate to have amazing ministers at our church. It's a wonderful thing when you're thrilled no matter who's preaching because you know they're going to bring it. If anyone ever wants to go to church with us, please let me know! We love sharing our church with others!

After that we went clay shooting out on my aunt and uncle's farm with my cousin and some friends. I'm semi-embarrassed to say that it was my first time to ever shoot a gun. Shooting is definitely something that's "in my blood." Both my nanny and grandpa were/are an excellent shot. My grandfather even goes hunting in the UK. I was a little worried being a lefty, shooting a right handed gun being taught by all right handed people, but I'm happy to report that I shot quite a few clays! I had a fantastic time and this is definitely something that Brandon and I are excited to continue doing together. I could see myself branching out and quail/pheasant/dove hunting with him, but I'll let him keep the ducks and deer to himself.

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Loving Lately

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I've made a few purchases lately that I am thrilled with, so I thought I would share them with y'all. I try not to be an impulse shopper and most of these things I've either wanted for months and/or I was able to get on sale. I really try to buy things that are on sale or that I at least have a coupon/promo code for.

This Zara dress is even better in person. I saw a friend wearing it on Instagram and she kindly shared the details with me. This was my first purchase from Zara and I am thrilled with it. Another positive is that it is currently on sale for $29.99. I ordered it last Thursday and it was delivered on Saturday - super fast!

I originally posted about these pajamas here and my sweet mom and Dale got them for me for my birthday! They are so comfortable and I can't say enough good things about them. I love that Tink + Tiger is based in Charleston and that all of their clothing is made in America.
Tink + Tiger Silk Top and Bottoms

Y'all. Get this top. It is the softest, most comfortable top I think I've ever worn. I first got it in this indigo color while it was on sale and then scooped up the light gray as soon as that went on sale too. If you can't find it in your size on Shopbop, check Saks.

I am loving my new Karen Walker sunglasses. I've wanted these for a while now and finally ordered them with my birthday money.

I recently discovered Zella workout gear and it's a great alternative to Lululemon. Their prices are already a little cheaper and they go on sale frequently. I have the tank shown below and it's perfect for workouts. I was able to grab this one on sale a few months ago. I'm waiting to see what's on sale when the Nordstrom Anniversay Sale becomes available to the general public so I can get a couple more for as little as possible. 

My Fitness Pal has definitely turned into a habit for me and I'm thrilled to be seeing results! Although I do try to stay within my calorie limit every day, I of course have days when I go over. I also haven't deprived myself at all. If I want french fries, I have them. I just make sure to not go overboard. I set a notification alert on the app so if by a certain time in the day I haven't logged my breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it pops up with a little reminder. I've found it easier to track as I go than to try and remember everything at the end of the day. You also get a much more accurate log that way.

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River Tubing 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This past Saturday we drove up to Stoneville, NC to go river tubing with a group of friends. We had an even better time than I think we all expected and it's definitely something we would do again.

We did it through Dan River Adventures. Through them, we rented our tubes plus tubes for our coolers, and they drove us to the "drop off" point and picked us up at the end. The only costs were for renting the tubes. Most of the group got either the cup holder tube or the Cadillac tube. I ended up going with the tube pro and was really happy with that. We thought the Cadillac tubes had a cupholder, but they didn't. We discussed that next time we could just buy our own tubes off of Amazon and then leave one car at the start point and two at the end. That way if when we got to the end of the river and wanted to float some more (like we did), we could just start over. 

I think one of the best parts of the day was the fact that we were on the water, so no one had their phones with them. It's so easy to get distracted by social media that you don't end up spending quality time with the people you're with (I'm definitely guilty of this), so it was nice to not even have that be a possibility. 


About halfway down the river we saw a rope swing that we decided we had to do. Katie and I were the first ones up there, but we did at least make Tommy stand in the water to see how deep it was. I was the first one off and had so much fun that I did it again. Poor Brandon broke his finger doing it though. By the time we got back to Raleigh, all the Urgent Cares were closed, so he had to wait until Sunday morning to get the official word that it's broken/fractured.

Despite Brandon's injury, a speeding ticket (not ours) and two pairs of lost sunglasses, I think it was an extremely successful and fun trip!

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Graphic Image Sale

Monday, July 14, 2014

Two posts in one day?! You know something special is going on!

July 13th at 4 pm - July 15th at 3 am is Graphic Image's annual Christmas in July sale. I always wait for this sale every year if I want to order something from Graphic Image because who doesn't want the same stuff for half the price? Everything is included int he sale except for the 2015 Datebooks.

A few of my favorite things are this passport cover, this journal that I use for work, lists, etc, this business card holder and this dictionary given to me as a high school graduation gift.

They have great gifts for guys too:


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Blueberry Syrup Recipe


Years ago (probably at least 15), we had dinner at my Aunt Karen and Uncle David's house and she made a blueberry syrup with dessert. I have no idea how or why I remember this one small detail. It might be because I didn't realize how much I loved blueberries at that point and thought it was delicious. I've thought about the recipe for years and decided that this weekend would be the perfect time to make it. Dale wanted to make vanilla ice cream and while I like it plain, it's so much better when it's underneath something equally as yummy. I looked up different recipes and couldn't find one I liked, so I improvised and luckily it turned out really well!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
Squeeze of lemon juice 

1.  Place water and blueberries in a pot over medium heat. Make sure stems have been removed from  blueberries.
2.  Using a masher (you can use whatever you have, we ended up using the flat end of a meat cleaver), mash the 
     berries. You can completely squash them, but I liked having a few blueberries left that weren't completely mashed
3.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil while you're stirring your mixture.
4.  Once the mixture is boiling, add lemon zest and sugar. 
5.  Return to a boil and let simmer for 6-7 minutes until thickened slightly. 
6.  As a squeeze on lemon juice (no more than a tablespoon) into the mixture and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 
7. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Anniversary Trip | Charleston | Day 3

Saturday, July 12, 2014

After checking out of our hotel, we went to the Aiken-Rhett House. We stayed at the Francis Marion (the same place we stayed after our wedding). It's a nice hotel in a very good location, but it's definitely starting to show it's age. The door handle fell off of the bathroom door and the knob on the shower was broker. Other than that, I was happy with our stay there. For the location and rate, you really can't beat it.

The Aiken-Rhett House was my favorite tour we did. Instead of a guided tour, they had a recorded tour that you listened to as you walked through the grounds and the house. It allowed you to really grasp a lot of the information and enjoy the rooms at your own pace. 

It was hard to get a good picture of the house. The original house was added on to over many years. There was also a large back yard where the carriage house and slave's quarters were located. 
Aiken-Rhett House

Back of the House - photo via

After our tour we had lunch at Poogan's Porch. The first time we went to Poogan's (in 2010), it was amazing. I've been twice since then, and I'm not as impressed with it as I originally was. Lunch was still good, but I think I would have rather gone back to Husk and had a burger from their bar.

My husband is the best sport ever and after lunch (even though it was a million degrees), we walked along the water. We eventually sat down in Battery Park under some shady trees and relaxed for an hour. That was one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend. It was so relaxing and peaceful. The shade and the breeze coming off the water made it so delightful.
Fort Sumter (Brandon and I went out their on our first trip to Charleston together)

Another pretty house along the Battery with a double piazza

Our view as we relaxed in the park

We wanted to squeeze in one last good meal in Charleston, so we ended up not leaving until after dinner. We both really wanted to eat at The Ordinary and since they are only open at dinner, we made an early reservation there. We would both definitely eat here again (I would actually eat there right now if it wasn't 4 hours away). I would have loved to have gone on a different night when we still had our hotel room to freshen up in before dinner, but it worked out fine. 

We ordered a dozen oysters and they were the best I've ever had. We got a few more small plates that were just as good and then shared the daily special - a lobster roll and frites. We ordered ours "Connecticut style" which serves the lobster warm and is tossed in butter and lemon juice. It was so good and hit the spot! 
Happy husband!

The restaurant itself had my favorite decor of all the restaurants we ate at. To see more of the interior of this awesome restaurant, visit their gallery HERE. We loved the blue Duralex glasses so much that we ordered a set for ourselves. (If you love them too, get them now! They are on SUPER sale HERE.) These are actually the same brand/style as our everyday glasses, just in between the two sizes we currently have and love.

After dinner we headed back to Raleigh. It was such a wonderful trip and I will treasure that time away with no work or other distractions. 

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Anniversary Trip | Charleston | Day 2

Friday, July 11, 2014

Monday (our actual anniversary) was the only full day we spent in Charleston and it was perfect. Brandon and I enjoy looking in all the shops, but we love getting a bit of culture and experiencing the history - especially when we're in a place like Charleston. We decided to take a few house tours. I love getting to see the way people used to live and what style and pieces have evolved with the time. It's also interesting to compare the different styles of the houses in the South with ones (including my grandpa's) up North. 

Warning/Disclaimer: This post is going to be pretty long. 

We first toured the Nathaniel Russell House. We got the joint tickets and were able to tour the Aiken-Rhett House the next day. Unfortunately, you aren't allowed to take any photos inside. The Nathaniel Russell House is beautiful inside and the attention to detail is amazing.

After our first tour, we ended up going straight into the Calhoun Mansion tour, which is just across the street. This is the house they used for Allie's parents house in The Notebook. You weren't allowed to take interior photos in this house either. The most interesting thing about this house is that it's privately owned and the owner lives in the home about 80% of the time. Unlike the other homes where the furniture and finishes are made to look exactly as it did when the families lived there, the Calhoun Mansion is decorated with the current owner's collection and let me tell you - he has A LOT of stuff. I don't think there's an inch of space that there isn't something on.



Lunch was at Fleet Landing. We had originally planned on going to the Butcher & Bee, but didn't feel like hopping in a cab or taking the car out of the deck. The food was nothing fancy, but still good and we had a great view on the water.


After lunch we walked around the city more. It was a beautiful day!

Loved this door knocker and the lantern!


The French Huguenot Church (Where T-Rav goes)

Much needed ice cream/gelato break

A sweet couple offered to take a picture for us


Loved the tall columns on this house's piazza. 

For our anniversary dinner, we went to Husk. Husk is where we ate the night after our wedding, so it holds a special memory for us. The food was as good as we remembered, but the highlight was having before dinner drinks in the bar next door. If you eat at Husk, you have to get a before (or after - or both) dinner drink at their bar! Their cocktails were the best. I've also heard that their bar menu rivals their main house too.




Appetizers:  The best Pimento Cheese I've ever had and delicious Heirloom Tomatoes with Goat Cheese

Entrees: For dinner I had the flat iron steak special and Brandon got the pork chop. Both were very good.

Dessert: Chocolate Pie with some kind of toffee "mousse." 

 

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