Weekend Getaway

Ever feel the urge to get away? Last weekend, West and I got to satisfy that urge with a overnight trip to Charlotte to see one of our favorite little families. Upon driving up to their home, we were met curbside by this little man:

Melissa and Tyler invited us over for dinner, and while they were finishing getting things together, Ethan shared this yummy salsa his mom made.

He also gave us a tour of the house (he wasn’t home the last time we visited, so he didn’t know we’d already seen it). In case you forgot, they live in the cutest townhome in downtown Charlotte. West and I are green with envy 🙂 They had hung pictures up / rearranged some things since we visited in the summer, and it was even cuter!

Melissa and Tyler made us individual quesadillas that were so gooooood.

While we ate, we talked and listened to records in their living room. Then, before E went to bed, he read us a story.

Since West and I are pretty much like 60, we were yawning like crazy around 10:30; we said goodbye and headed to sleep at the DoubleTree near the airport, which, by the way, is really depressing feeling even though it says it’s 3.5 stars (but don’t worry, we pricelined it, Dad ;)).

Sleeping in a king bed, however, was absolutely amazing. West and I have a double at home, and I think one of our goals for next year is to save enough for a queen because it is SMALL. Before we knew it, it was time to wake and run!

Melissa and me looking our best before our run. ha-ha.

West looks equally out of it. Melissa took us on a run through her neighborhood area. Downtown seriously has some beautiful neighborhoods; of course, we would have to sale our first born (or maybe all future children) to afford to live there, but it was a gorgeous place to run, despite the 40 degree weather.

As we ran, Tyler coached Ethan on some photo skills with our camera. Here’s one of his shots:

After running, we were starving, so West and I headed back once again to shower and grab some brunch. Even though Melissa tried to sway us to eat at the Original Pancake House (is that right, Melissa?), we couldn’t resist the call of the Flying Biscuit.

I can’t move away from my fascination with carbs, so I ordered the goat cheese grits, potatoes, two over-medium eggs and one of their fluffy biscuits.

West ordered sort of the same thing, except no potatoes and add meat.

His also came with a side of decadent french toast.

I was so full after the meal I had trouble breathing. No joke.

After brunch, we met up with T & M one more time for a trip to IKEA! West and I had been saving some money to purchase a futon for our back bedroom so that I could hang out with him while he worked on website design stuff and so our future visitors would have a place to sleep.

We took our time testing our choices and finally settled on what we wanted by the time we ran back into our friends.

IKEA was a mad house on Saturday because apparently ALL of Charlotte had received this $25 coupon.

We were very nervous about our purchases because we knew that length-wise, we were pressing our luck with getting the futon in the car.

I got more and more nervous as we waited in line for like 20 minutes.

Once everything was paid for, we enlisted Tyler and Melissa’s help to getting everything in the car. Thank the Lord they were there!

While we thought about letting the boxes hang out the trunk, we ended up shoving it all into the car (30 minutes later), which, though uncomfortable, felt safer to me.

We said goodbye to our favorite Charlotte family that we had so much fun with. I am just waiting for Melissa to tell me that I can start praying for jobs for them in Greenville. 🙂

Then, it was the tight ride back to G-ville.

Yes, there is a mattress on our heads. We laughed the whole way home. hahahaha.

We worked hard to get it done before the football game came on that night.

Ta-da! Ryan refused to move, claiming he was too busy on the interwebs.

We are now ready for visitors; contact us today to reserve your stay 😉

I’m not sure what it was about last weekend, but West and I agreed that it was the longest, most relaxing, most fun weekend we had enjoyed in a loooonnng time. I’m hoping we get away one more time before the year’s out for my b-day!


American Grocery

Ever have trouble balancing everything in your life? Yeah. I started a new job recently, and while it’s a blessing to finally have the hope of benefits and vacation days, it means that I’ve been just a wee bit busier (read: more overwhelmed) than usual. I’m still teaching, too. Oh, and I’m still training for my 5k, and then there’s my new husband that wants food every now and then. And then there’s that community we’d like to keep building…. The point is that I had to cut something out, so that’s why you haven’t seen any blogs 🙂

Since I can’t fathom planning a lesson right now with my brain dead head, I’m writing a post instead. Back at the end of August, Greenville hosted its Foodie Week, where several high-end restaurants in Greenville offered a three-course menu for the price of 30 dollars. I convinced West that it was necessary for us to finally try American Grocery.

American Grocery is one of the many restaurants that creates its menu based on what is available locally and seasonally. They even have a cute little grocery list as part of their menu, which highlights local farms that supply their ingredients.

I started with some type of peach + jalapeno drink, which was very tasty.

Then, I ordered the rabbit sausage with a corn maque choux. It was my favorite thing I ate that night, and I wish I could have just ordered ten of them.

For the second course, I tried the potato-crusted trout served with a red pea ragout and green tomato chow chow. This was good, but the sausage was better.

Maybe you’re wondering what West ordered for his first and second courses. I wish I could show you, but he is highly embarrassed that I take pictures of my food in public, which means he won’t let me snap any more than I absolutely have to. Oh well. I did snap a pic of his dessert: Krispy Kreme bread pudding.

He definitely ordered the winning dessert because my chocolate – raspberry creme brulee with a peanut butter mousse just had too much going on to be good. 😦

We had a fun night out, though, and even caught some fireworks on the way home!

If you had some money to drop on food, I would definitely recommend American Grocery. We’ve tried a few of the nicer places in Greenville, and this ranks high on our list.

Now, I can’t wait until Restaurant Week in January, so I can finally try Devereaux’s. Time to start saving…

Saving Labor Day

For the past five or so years (maybe even longer), my immediate family (and sometimes extra friends) spends Labor Day weekend together, and at some point over the weekend, we go hiking. This tradition becomes increasingly hard to keep when we are all in different places, and while Charity and Hope managed to spend the weekend at home, West had a show in Georgia that kept us from crossing the NC state line.

We did, however, plan to still meet up for a hike in Asheville, but a little tropical storm ruined that. 😦 We managed to save Labor Day by meeting for a sweet lil’ lunch at:

Before we got to Asheville, though, West and I took a pit stop at Sky Top Orchard.

But it was rainy and there were like no apples, which made me feel worse for cheating on my go-to apple supplier, Apple Hill Orchard. Looks like we will be heading to my parent’s house soon to go apple picking!

I made West make this sad face for no apples, but I think he was actually fighting a smile.

After that fruitless (ha-ha) side trip, we headed up the mountain to meet my parents. Charity had to drive back to Raleigh, and our little Hopey was already bogged down in school work.

Once seated, we were greeted with warm biscuits, blueberry jam, and apple butter.

I like the biscuits, but they are a bit more dense than I think they should be. I’m definitely more of a fan of the light & fluffy.

We were all in the mood for breakfast, ‘cept mom who ordered the tomato soup & salad combo. West got something that looked delish: Breakfast Bowl.

And I chose the Country Breakfast; however, I subbed out my meat choice so I could have the goat cheese grits (so.darn.good.) AND the country potatoes. I love carbs.

We had such a good time with the parentals and sat and talked a long while after our food was gone. It’s so fun how you get the chance to be friends with your parents as you get older. Blessing!

After lunch, we spent an hour or so at the Verizon store getting new phones (my parents are letting us get on their plan to save money), and then, we parted ways so we could get back to G-ville and they could get to their vacation.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right to see my mom and not receive tons of goodies…

Some end of harvest tomatoes and cucumbers from a sweet older man in my parent’s church.

And homemade bread, cookies, and pizzas rolls. Have you ever had a pizza roll? I don’t think my mom invented them, but man, hers are good!

We had a great Labor Day, but I really hope we get the tradition going strong again for next year. 🙂

Gettin’ that Degree

Last weekend, I walked across the stage to pick up that diploma that I desperately hope was not gained in vain.

With the parents. They said they didn’t deserve a picture since they didn’t pay for this one. However, they did put up with some pretty serious melt downs during student teaching.

Ready to get outta there. It was good to see my school friends one more time, but this graduation felt SO different than undergrad. I did not feel that accomplished. And my diploma doesn’t even say summa cum laude. What.A.Waste.

But afterwards, the parents took West & me out to PF Changs in Charlotte, where I ordered my beloved eggplant (I’m forever indebted to you, Laura Brown).

Then, West and I hopped back in the car, which was just a little warm…

to head over to see our newlywed friends: Tyler & Melissa!

This is them doing their “band pose.” They look way too cool, right?

They live in a super cute townhome in downtown Charlotte, which we got to tour while visiting. While E was away, we got to see their other child, LuLu, the spinx.

I just love Melissa so much, and it was so nice to see her for a few hours in her new home. I love that we are sort of at the same place in our lives-I just wish we lived closer! Here’s to hoping its in our future.

West had to play a show in Charlotte, but I made him take me to Cantina 1511 before it started.

This is the second time we’ve been here, and the second time West hasn’t eaten anything. (In the picture below he is absolutely mortified that I used the flash. I really embarrass him with flash pictures in public.)

Last time we were here, he was getting over the flu and a hole in his stomach from taking too much medicine without eating. This time, he ate stupid pizza beforehand because he didn’t think we were going out. Communication problems. We’re working on it.

I ordered exactly what we tried to split last time: Tacos Marco Polo. Seriously amazing.

We hurried back to Amos so West could get show ready while I read a book in the car (turning into a grandma, I know). After the concert, I watched as the boys packed up so we could drive back to G-ville.

Jordan and Harrison. Working hard or hardly working? heh. heh.

My husband manhandling those merch boxes.

I think Jordan wants me to tell you that their new CD came out this year, and it’s pretty much the best ever. Listen to some of it here. My favorites are About Rain, Too, Grass Grows Green & Hands in the Dirt.

We made it home before 2am, so I’d say it was a successful day.

Girl Time

Last Thursday, I had a date with Ms. Shannon, and the first activity on our agenda was bike riding!

I have been dying to make use of my bike, but since West sold his before we moved here, I’ve had no one to ride with. Enter Shannon.

Not only did this lovely lady come ready to ride (or die) but she also brought me tomatoes from her garden!

Once we figured out our path, we set to riding along the scenic Swamp Rabbit Trail out of downtown.

We rode for over 13 miles, and when we finally made it back to our cars, my little bottom was soooo sore. We separated ways to eat lunch & shower before heading up to Asheville.

I had a very inadequate breakfast for all that movement so I ate a bunch of sugary & starchy veggies for lunch 🙂

Once I cleaned up, I picked Shannon up and we drove up to Asheville. But, we got there before Heather and her friends.

So we walked around and around and around.

And just when we were getting tired of looking at weird art…

Heather called to say that we should head over to the chocolate lounge because they just got in town.

So, off we went. You may be confused that we met Heather for dessert before dinner but that is pretty much how Heather works. Sweets are really important.

I choose three perfect little truffles. One for now. One for later. One for much later.

Heather and her friends all purchased a liquid truffle and to wait patiently as these decadent little treats were created.

I tried this liquid truffle, and it was deeelicious.

With the taste of chocolate still on our lips, we headed to get some dinner at Chai Pani, an Indian place in downtown Asheville.

I have been craving Indian food since before our honeymoon, and I was so excited to finally partake in some spicy cuisine. Their menu was quite small, and I didn’t see my beloved chana masala.

But I decided on a potato masala uttapam, which was really yummy.

Heather ordered the lamb curry that came with all these cute little ramekins filled with toppings & sides.

After we were all uncomfortably full (that may have just been me…), we headed over to Warren Wilson for a night of contra dancing.

Contra dancing is sort of like line dancing + medieval dancing. And hippies really like to do it.

The music is usually really good here – bluegrass-ish bands play while you dance.

Shannon and I took before and after pictures.

You can’t really tell from this second picture, but we are a sweaty mess because we just danced for 3ish hours in the Southern heat.

I had such a good time with Shannon and Heather! However, and I’m not trying to harp on this “just married” thing too much, it felt super weird to be away from West for so long. And I decided that next time he has to go with us. Even though he hates dancing with people who don’t like shaving or deodorant. 😉

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

New favorite things!

1) Rebecca Lives in Korea

Screenshot of Skype video between Hartsville, SC and Pohang, S. Korea.

Almost a month ago, my bestie Rebecca flew across the globe to be a teacher in S. Korea for a year. She’s made a blog that documents her experiences, and I gotta say it’s one of my favorites now. (Rebecca, update more!!)

2) Garlic ‘n Herb

I honestly use this seasoning almost every time I make anything, and it’s almost out! Time to head back to Whole Foods…

3) Georgetown Cupcakes

You’re seeing my sweeeeet friend Julie who graciously picked up two delectable cupcakes for me from the bakery on her last trip to DC.

She let me choose the flavors I wanted, and I got salted caramel (amazing!) and PB fudge. I ate half of each and then saved the leftovers for Anna Gail since I knew she loved them.

But you know what happened? Anna G shared them with her cute little Asian boss who loved them so much that she ordered $88 dollars of them while I was standing there. Can you believe it?

I’m thinking about going into cupcake sales now…

Into the Mountains

This weekend I went home! I haven’t been home in almost two months, and it felt so good to wind through those country roads.

My parents run a children’s summer camp in the foothills of NC, and this weekend they were taking the camp staff up to Shatley Springs for dinner, and they let me come with them!

We went up past Boone and almost as far as Virginia(!) before we got to Shatley Springs. When we got there at 4:30, it was already packed!

They provide live entertainment and rocking chairs to help pass the time while you wait to eat.

Once we were seated, they waitress took our drink order and then started bringing food–they serve family style!

Green beans and mashed potatoes.

Fried chicken and country ham. (I realize that if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’re probably really grossed out by this display of meat. Sorry! But it was delicious.)

Gravy and creamed corn.

All I can say is yum.

I could feel the butter and grease seep from each bite into every taste bud. Gained a realistic two pounds from eating this meal, and I’m okay with it.

The big table:

They tempted us with all types of cobbler like strawberry…

But I chose blackberry!

After dinner, we walked around outside to let our stomachs settle before the ride home.

Sooooo pretty. Here’s my cute little sister 🙂

Can you tell we’re related?

I know I’m biased, but this area has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

Can’t wait to go home again!