Guestbook Giveaway + Life Update

Whew! It’s February and I haven’t blogged in HOW MANY days? Sorry about that. I had TWO trips planned to Boston in that time and both were cancelled due to the massive amounts of snow that have been dumped on the Northeast. Seriously, MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SNOW. So work has been a little crazy to say the least.

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On top of that, I’ve had some fun appointments for swollen lymph nodes that WON’T GO AWAY but aren’t anything deadly (unless you ask WebMD), so there’s that. However, my throat hurts and we still don’t know what is causing them to swell. So 3 rounds of blood work, a CT, ultrasound and two ENTs later, I still have swollen lymph nodes and no answers. But sore throat = ice cream, so I still consider myself to be winning!

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Yesterday, I had to drop my big guy off at the vet for a dental cleaning and to have a mass removed from his elbow. I cried like a baby when I left. It’s what I imagine leaving your child at daycare for the first time feels like. Yes, I just compared having a dog to having a baby. It was awful and I was a wreck for most of the day. Especially when they called me and told me that he was getting ready to have his surgery and I could hear him barking in the background. Everything went fine and he’s back home and resting peacefully with his cone of shame. We’re just waiting on his test results now.

Customized Wedding Guest Book
Customized Wedding Guest Book

Since there were only two entries in the latest giveaway, I decided not to post the video I made of me drawing the winner (it was yesterday and I may or may not have had mascara smeared under my eyes after dropping Tucker off at the vet). Our big winner is Heather P! And since there were only two gals who entered, I decided to also give Ariel something. So I’ll be sending her the “Say Yes to New Adventures” 2015 planner. It will definitely help with wedding planning! Anything to stay more organized.

Image from Nude and Loitering Tees
Image from Nude and Loitering Tees

Thank you to both of you for entering. I will be doing giveaways for the other items in the coming weeks. I’m so pleased with the progress we’ve made on helping these ladies cross items off their bucket lists. Right now, I’m waiting on Beverly to select a 5k to run and we’ll pay for her entry and I’m working with some paddle boarding (SUP) and kayaking companies in Wilmington to help mark a few more items off of other lists. Sadly, Janet, one of the women I saw at the Pretty in Pink Fashion Walk, passed away in January. Her story touched everyone in the room. She was brave and strong and loved her son deeply. I hope we see the day where there’s a cure and women like Janet get to do all the things in life they want to, like take their kids to Disney World and watch them grow up and get married and to spend a lifetime growing old with her husband. I really hate cancer.

Hungry hearts and happy bellies!

One of my favorite things to do with my husband is go out to dinner – especially if we’re trying a new place. This is our “us” time – without TVs, phones, dogs, or really any interruptions other than a waitress checking in. He’s definitely more adventurous with the things he’ll eat (rabbit, veal, sea urchin, foie gras…), but I do love exploring new menu options. We made a deal with each other to try at least one new place in Charlotte each month when we found ourselves becoming too routine in going to our “usual places.”  Since we made this commitment (pre-2014), we’ve done a good job of sticking to it. We went to Dandelion Market (Try the surf & turf), 5 Church, Queen City Q (delicious BBQ & smoked wings), and Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar (get the wild mushroom ‘za).We’ve been pleased with all of the experiences thus far.

We started a discussion around our Top 10 list with my in-laws, trying to determine where our favorite meals were created. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Elizabeth’s on 37th (Savannah, GA): the whole experience was charming and the food was delightful!

2. Fearrington House (Pittsboro, NC): Try the hot chocolate soufflé to end your evening. Recently ranked on USA Today for wine list and CN Traveler for best hotel and restaurant, and Open Table’s #8 restaurant in America!

3. Poogan’s Porch (Charleston, SC): You can’t go wrong with fried chicken in the South, with spicy collards on the side of course.

4. Eleven (Pittsburgh, PA): Best pork chop I’ve ever had. And the most adorable/delicious after dinner truffle.

5. Seer Sucker (San Diego, CA): First place I tried fish, and I loved it so much that I eat it on the regular now.

6. Passion8 Bistro (Charlotte, NC): Farm to table and table to full, happy tummy. We have loved every part of every locally sourced dinner at Passion8. Excited to hear about their move to the Elizabeth neighborhood in 2014.

7. Halcyon (Charlotte, NC): As much as we love the food at Halcyon, the drinks are what we really rave about. Their mixologist is insanely creative. I recommend the Southern Grit Bowl if you go for brunch (Geechie Boy Mill Grits. Pork Belly. Pimento. Greens. Poached Egg).

8. The Palisades (Eggleston, VA): This hidden gem is truly surprising in it’s atmosphere and delivery of high quality food. It’s on the outskirts of Blacksburg (Go Hokies!) and provides an eloquent yet rustic dining experience.

9. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint (Atlanta, GA): Another delicious Southern meal full of fried goodness, hearty sides and live music. Doesn’t get much better than that!

10. The Fig Tree (Charlotte, NC): Fine dining just outside of uptown Charlotte. Top notch dining experience with to-die-for menu options. The perfect place for a romantic dinner.

This list was harder than I thought to make! We’ve obviously been lucky enough to eat a lot of delicious meals. A few more of my faves are Manna (Wilmington, NC), ONE (Chapel Hill, NC), Divine Prime (Myrtle Beach, NC) best steak I’ve ever had, Toast (Charleston, SC): Go for brunch and get a cucumber bloody mary!, Magnolias (Charleston, SC), Catch 27 (St. Augustine, FL), CODA (Boston, MA): Try the mussels, Lolitas (Boston, MA): you get tequila on ice upon arrival, Viet Thai Noodle House (Charlotte, NC): try the Pho, Atlantic Fish (Boston, MA): Try the cioppino.

I’d love to hear what some of your favorite restaurants! In addition to trying new places, we plan to continue traveling as much as possible this year and we’d love to check out exciting new food in those destinations. Cheers!

PS – you can friend me on Yelp to see all of my reviews, check ins and delicious photos!

Bridesmaids, Breweries and Books!

We are almost half-way through November (wasn’t I just exclaiming that I couldn’t believe it was already November???). I’m succeeding with “No Shop November” although it was exceptionally hard for me to hit “Skip this Month” with Fabletics (Kate Hudson’s work out clothing line – and I have a total girl-crush on Kate) since I got my first outfit and am in love with it. I joined as a VIP because you get your first outfit for $25. Yes, OUTFIT for $25. Unbelievable, right? And of what “quality” is this outfit? Perfection. That’s how I would describe it. It’s uber comfortable, holding up to me wearing it multiple times (and washing it multiple times), and hello, it was ONLY $25. Now, the deal with VIP is that each month after your first $25 purchase, you are given outfits to choose from to purchase for $50. However, you have the option to skip if you don’t want to spend $50, or don’t need more work out clothes at that time. OR, you can even cancel after signing up for VIP and getting your first $25 outfit. I doubt you will after you get it though, you’ll be totally in love. Interested? Try it now.

I blogged about bridesmaid dresses and the easy choice of black dresses for your ‘maids for Carolina Bride. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with adding black into your palette. It will go with any array of flowers that you choose and your BMs will be able to wear most black dresses again (as we promise all bridesmaids they’ll be able to do with that $200 dress they’re buying for the wedding). You can see some of my choice black bridesmaid dresses here on Pinterest.

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We checked out Charlotte’s newest brewery “The Unknown Brewing Company” on Saturday. Quite the turnout for a grand opening. They seem to know how to do things – and understandably so, since their owner has previously worked with other large and successful brewing companies.

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In one day, I read Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (after blowing through Season 1 on Netflix). The book is totally different than the TV show, but in a raw and honest way. The TV show is exciting, graphic and will totally suck you in. I can’t wait until 2014 for more episodes.

More things I’m reading?

The Good Men Project (Happy Couple, Happy Life)

A Practical Wedding

Smitten Kitchen (for December Book Club)

Skipping a Beat (Sarah Pekkanen)

Daring Greatly (Brene Brown)

Waiting List: 

Happier at Home (Gretchen Rubin) – I loved the Happiness Project so much (as did my husband) that I have pre-ordered Gretchin’s latest book *released 12/31

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Okay, enough recommendations from this self-proclaimed book worm. One more weekend wrap up piece of news: OUR WEDDING IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED IN A WEDDING MAGAZINE!!! I found out on Friday while in a cab on my way to Logan Airport in Boston. So excited to see what photos they chose for publication! Stay tuned, I’ll announce the magazine once it’s available and you can all go snag your copies 😉

PS – there’s still time to enter the Inaugural Ornament Swap. It’s free, you get a brand-spankin’ new ornament for your tree and you get to connect with a new friend. What more can you ask for? Sign up today and share it with your friends!