Be Spontaneous

GIVEAWAY IS STILL HAPPENING – ENTER HERE!

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My husband and I saw that one of our favorite bands was going to be within 4 hours of us (they haven’t been to Charlotte yet!), so we scooped up tickets and booked a hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee for the following weekend. We realized that we would be going right through Asheville, NC on the way and made plans to stop in for lunch and a stroll.

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First stop was at Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) for some beer and lunch. We walked around a little beforehand but quickly decided on a place when our hunger set in. This place had a creative menu, craft beer and no wait. Triple winner.

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We each got soup (roasted pepper bisque with cilantro oil for me, stew for him) and then split a couple small plates (or ridiculously large portion of bison nachos).

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After loading up on some dried lavender from the Herbiary shop, we started the second leg of our trip to Knoxville. I searched for bears on the mountainside while my husband drove.

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We had a great view of Knoxville from our hotel. My only experiences with Knoxville previously were one short stay for work two years ago (oddly enough, same hotel), and many stops through on my way as a kid from VA to Nashville to visit my cousin. I had no idea what Knoxville was really like!

IMG_1051We had about a half mile walk into the ‘Old City’ area, where we had planned to have dinner. I took this opportunity to play with the art in the city.

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Dogs? YES. Also, can I get a replica of this for our yard?

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The old city area was ADORABLE. It was bustling with people who were watching March Madness games, heading to our same concert and just out and about. The place we really wanted to go (Stock and Barrel) had a two hour wait. They served s’mores and nutella milkshakes which sounded amazing, so I debated on this wait for all of three seconds before realizing it was absurd to wait that long. Next time, Stock and Barrel, next time.

IMG_1064We ended up at Not Watsons, which was delicious. My husband had chicken and waffles, which I found to be amazing. His only complaint was that it was chicken tenders versus a whole breast. That syrup though!

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I got a black bean, kale and avocado wrap which was also amazing and healthy. I felt pretty good about that choice after seeing how heavy the chicken and waffles were (but again, they were delicious). After dinner, we headed towards the Tennessee Theatre for our show.

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The inside of the theatre was intricate and beautiful. And the sound…. wow. It sounded incredible. The openers were surprisingly good, although new to the scene.

IMG_1089Alabama Shakes were everything we expected and more. Brittany’s voice is even more incredible than it sounds on their records. I loved watching her on stage. She’s so passionate and full of energy and just totally rocked that place. It was definitely worth the four hour drive.

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We figured we might as well explore UT’s campus while we were there and check out the football stadium. It was pretty impressive in size (compared to Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium) but the design looked industrial and uninviting.IMG_1124
I’m sure it gets pretty rowdy in there and clearly people love going to games but aesthetically it’s not the best looking stadium.

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But it’s always fun to check out other stadiums when we’re in town. Looking forward to the UT/VT game in Bristol! GO HOKIES.

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We made our mid-morning commute back to Asheville with plans to stop in for lunch again. We walked around a little, enjoyed some street music and then grabbed some burgers at Jack of the Wood.

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No pictures of the food because we devoured it but we did decide to make a stop in French Broad Chocolate Lounge for some dessert.

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And I snapped pictures before we scarfed it down. We couldn’t decide on one thing (or even one thing EACH) so we picked three small items to share and the hubs got some coffee for the ride home.

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I loved our weekend getaway and roadtrip. We saw so many things in so little time. We had amazing food, heard great music, and had lots of time together. spontaneity worked out for us on this one – now maybe I can convince my husband to take that spontaneous trip to Belize, Honduras or Costa Rica? *Wishful Thinking* But I can say that we both thoroughly enjoyed this trip!

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Happy Other Half

As I previously mentioned, my husband took a new job. This new job is such a great opportunity for him (proud wife right here!), but it will require him to travel 4 days a week. This means, I will only see him Thursday through Sunday. Only three weeks left to cram in as much “us” time as we can before he heads off on this exciting journey.

I love spending time with my husband. We actually joke quite often that we need more friends because we do a lot of things together that would probably be fun shared with friends. After 5 years together, most of which we’ve spent 95% of our waking time together (literally – working/living/working out/eating together), I feel pretty awesome about the fact that we still WANT to spend SO much time together. I think my husband is one of the funniest people I’ve met, he’s considerate, he’s a good listener, and he knows something about everything (helps keep the conversation going!). I consider us lucky to have that strong of a relationship – but it doesn’t come without work.

My husband is OCD about the house being clean – and I’m a little more relaxed about it (for lack of a better term). For instance, I’m okay making dinner, eating dinner and then watching some TV or a movie before we clean up. This does not work for my husband – the kitchen needs to be cleaned or he feels anxious. I know this – so I make a conscious effort to clean up post dinner. The same goes with our clutter catching ledge when you walk in the door – it’s so easy to lay mail, keys, or “stuff” down when you walk in the door, but equally as easy to hang up the keys, sort/trash the mail and put your empty lunch box in the cabinet. Knowing your other half’s pet peeves – and being attentive to them will help with keeping the relationship happy.

Another great way to make your other half happy is to sacrifice compromise on the things you do. We have very different taste in movies (and music). But instead of avoiding going to those things together, we tend to alternate. We have our musical groups that we both love and we always make a point to see those live: DMB, Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Ben Harper; but we’ve both gone to concerts that we probably wouldn’t have if the other one wasn’t involved – Carrie Underwood and Jay Z are great examples. As far as movies go, I’m your typical sap. Who knows why girls love to cry in movies, but obviously my favorite movie induced emotions are laughing and crying. Romantic comedy? Perfect! Scary movie? No way, Jose! Luckily my husband isn’t a horror fan either, but he does enjoy sci-fi, Hobbit-type movies and some more gory movies than I do. At home, we alternate, and in theatres, we try to pick something that we’ll both like. Most recently, we rented Captain Phillips. Definitely not a romantic comedy, but I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. Compromise is definitely a key to happiness in our relationship.

Getting out of the house is important for us, too. I tell people quite often that running is not just for my physical health, but mental. I can be quite the grump if I don’t get to run for a couple days in a row. Does anyone else get cabin fever after a few days in the house? We sure do! This year, we joined the Young Affiliates of the Mint (YAM) and have unlimited access to the museums in Charlotte, as well as are part of a group of young professionals (more friends!). We share a love of art and history, so this was the perfect group for us to join. We also love going to Charlotte’s beer festivals and checking out the craft beers offered in our city (food trucks are an added bonus!). Hanging out with friends is always nice, whether it’s dinner, live music, a get together at someone’s house or a kid’s birthday party (most of our Charlotte friends have at least one bundle of joy by now). And sometimes, doing things by ourselves is good for us. I enjoy shopping, doing crafts, and long runs. My husband enjoys live music (thank goodness for his friends who share his love for Metallica/Gaslight Anthem/JJ Grey & Mofro) and NFL games. We’re okay doing things solo on occasion.

Our favorite thing to do together is travel. Ever since we first started dating, we’ve been traveling. Our first ever trip was to the beach and Swansboro, NC. We’ve visited the opposite coast. We’ve visited the NFL Hall of Fame in Ohio. We’ve walked the Freedom Trail in Boston. We’ve explored the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh. We’ve biked around Jekyll Island in Georgia and saw wild horses on Cumberland Island. We’ve spent time enjoying the history of St. Augustine, FL. We’ve played on the beaches in Wilmington and the Outer Banks. We’ve marveled over the old trees in Savannah while carrying our drinks in our hands. We’ve run the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston. We’ve had wine in Temecula, CA and enjoyed the waterfront in San Diego. We’ve jumped to Enter Sandman in Lane Stadium. We’ve swam in the natural pool in Aruba. We often remember dinners, events or experiences that happened on these trips and smile. Having experienced these things together only brings us closer, and leaves us looking forward to our next adventure.

I am so thankful that I met this man and get to share my life with him. I am dedicated to making sure we always work on our happiness and our love and our marriage. There’s a saying that “you are only as happy as your unhappiest child.” Obviously we don’t have children, but if one half of the couple is unhappy, the other one can’t be all smiles and full of joy. I’m not trying to imply that life can always be all cotton candy and candy apples, but you can certainly aim for the highest level of happiness and then even on your “bad” days, you’ll be able to pull out something positive, right? This requires working together, working for each other’s best interest and giving 110% everyday. It’s a lot to ask, but isn’t it worth it?

 

What a week!

Last week was intense. We were so busy it felt like we only saw each other in passing. But I can happily say that big things are on the horizon for us! Luckily, this weekend we were able to regroup and spend time together now that the hubs is done with grad school til 2014 and we had no planned events to attend (and of course being stuck inside on Saturday voiceless and with a sore throat helped). So here’s a recap of LAST weekend and also a new recipe that left us licking our fingers!
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After spending the holiday with my family and finally getting our kitchen back in order, we spent Friday night watching the Bobcats play (but of course we were wearing our Hornets colors!). We even got cute toboggans for showing up early!
w3While Saturday marked the last day of November (and no-shave november for my husband), it was also the day that we had Fall photos taken with our city in the background. I love this one that our photographer shared from the back of her camera. A little late on the Christmas cards this year, but I am glad we will have these beauties in our home and on our family’s fridges.

w2Later we explored NoDa and met up with our friends to see Matrimony in concert at the Chop Shop. We had dinner at Revolution Ale House and stopped in the Crepe Cellar for some post-dinner drinks (coffee for this girl – who was yawning at 8 PM).

w4We capped off the weekend by picking out our first real Christmas tree together. I love starting new traditions with this guy – and this is one we will definitely continue. It’s all decorated, with a brand new tree skirt and colorfully wrapped presents beneath it now.

While it seemed like a busy weekend, it also seemed normal and calm for us. We’re at “that age” where every weekend holds something (most of the time that other people have planned), so it’s nice when we have a weekend at home where we can pick and choose what we do, hang out in pajamas if we want and curl up on Friday nights and watch a movie on our own couch instead of in a hotel room somewhere. We’re thankful for those moments, but also thankful to be blessed with so many friends and family members that we get to travel to see. We’re especially looking forward to all of the upcoming weddings we’ve been invited to – with a few more that I’m betting get added to the list (wink, wink):

Dec 21 – Pittsburgh, PA
April 26, – Nassau, Bahamas
May 4 – Austin, TX
May 17 – Wilmington, NC
June 6 – Baltimore, MD
June 7 – Blacksburg, VA
Sept 20- Winston-Salem, NC
Oct 11 – Charlotte, NC

Looks like 2014 is going to be a busy one for us! Even more reason to soak up our weekends at home!

Here’s last night’s dinner, which was delicious – my husband told me at least 3 times this morning that he couldn’t wait for lunch to eat the leftovers: Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas (click on the picture once there to go to the recipe)
buffalo chicken enchiladasThis was the perfect meal to accompany Sunday night football. When you want wings but would rather a real meal, go for the enchiladas. Yum!