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Posts from the ‘relaxation’ Category

Thankful for Thanksgiving

So, Thanksgiving was a week and a half ago you say? Balderdash. I’ve never been one for the timely recap, so why start now?

I am still basking in the glow of my first Thanksgiving as hostess. Last year, I hosted our family X-mas dinner, and this year, Thanksgiving. Here is how it all went down…

Tuesday: I worked for 2/3 of the day, and then went to pick up my fresh local turkey (thanks Carl!). The weather was insane… 76*, and picking up my turkey for Thanksgiving? what the what?

crazy turkey weatherbeautiful treeme and turkey

This guy weighed 14.48 lbs., and cost an arm and a leg. Seriously, I never thought I would hand over that much cash for poultry. However, I’d do it again in a heartbeat (or rather, next year, come Thanksgiving). When the only meat I eat is local/humane, I knew it was time to step up and buy a local turkey – or pass on it, altogether.  I can’t recommend it enough. I say, know where your meat comes from. Or don’t eat it.

Wednesday:  I was fortunate to have the day off, and spent my time cleaning and doing a bit of cooking for Thursday. I made Ree’s make-ahead mashed potatoes, which I was thrilled to get out of the way. I also made veggie dip and hummus, and cranberry orange salad dressing.

mashed taters

Thursday:  The big day! I baked my apple pie bright and early, and then dealt with the turkey. It seems I didn’t get many pictures throughout the day, as I was busy being the cook/hostess. Oh, well. Maybe next year? Here is what I managed to capture (or holler at Tristan to take a pic of… flash pictures, I’m looking at YOU. *ahem*).

apple pie2apple pieappetizers tdaygoat cheese ball tdaytday saladturkey on platterwhole wheat rolls2

The majority of my meal, was local. Aside from the crackers, it was all homemade (and if I’d had more time, I would have made the crackers, too!). Most of my ingredients were purchased at my local Farmers Market… the veggies for the crudité plate, the cranberry pistachio goat cheese ball (Bosky Acres), the turkey, the potatoes (in both the sweet and mashed forms) the apples in the pie and salad, the herbs, etc. You get the picture.



After the big day, the rest of the weekend involved two days of well-deserved holiday relaxation, and one day of working on the new house…

Friday: Couch – meet Angie. Lovely. No Black Friday shopping for me. Crowds of grouchy, sleep-deprived, insane cheapskates don’t appeal.

Many episodes of Supernatural were viewed, with Tristan and Lilly by my side. (The show may be a little cheesy – but damn, those Winchester brothers are easy on the eyes, no? It’s one of my current guilty pleasures).


Saturday:  Another lovely lazy day. I had planned on getting several things accomplished, but staying in my PJs was just too damn tempting. (I NEVER get to have a lazy weekend – ever – so I decided to make it count).  I think we watched some more Supernatural, and I know I took a nap. It was all very exciting. (You might think I’m kidding, but sadly, no).

That night we had tickets to see Daniel Tosh at Ovens Auditorium here in Charlotte.  The opening act was Tommy Johnagin , who was absolutely hilarious. I might have enjoyed his set a smidge better than Tosh, even? I like Tosh well enough, but as I told Tristan… I only find approximately 85% of what he says, funny. If you aren’t familiar with him, his humor is VERY politically incorrect, and more than a little masochistic and homophobic. Wait, that doesn’t make him sound very funny, does it? He is, I promise. Much more of a “guy’s comic”… but still amusing, definitely.

tosh tixtosh

Sunday:  I spent most of the day Sunday on my feet, cruising around Lowes, picking out a new refrigerator, and dishwasher (thank YOU holiday sales), and finalizing paint colors for the new house*. I then put in a few hours at the new house*… generally up on a ladder, or down on my knees; prepping the walls to be painted. Muscles I didn’t know I even had, hurt this past week. Yeeouch.

* Yes, new house. Have I mentioned that yet? We’re moving in January. I think.



Head in the Clouds

There is something about being at the beach, that gives me the time and space to think. I think about the future, plans and goals, and am able to give myself time to daydream – and also that much-needed kick in the pants to get moving on again. I spent my few days at the beach in La-La Land daydreaming, drinking, eating, sunning myself, reading a fantastic book, biking and trying to figure out how I could live at the beach.

Up for the sunrise, wine with the sunsets and every moment in between… I had a brilliant time. I’d like to get back before the end of season (my favorite Inn closes in mid-October through end of March/beginning of April); but this fall is shaping up to be quite a busy one.  I don’t think I am going to make it back until 2012.

In the meantime, I will just have to revisit the beach in my mind… and in my photos…

mom and ange sunset

running on beach

beach book

sea oats1


2 bikes



windblown ange

shell hunting





day2sunset purple


hello moon in am

after the rain - clouds

shell island5

slushy beersthurs sunset12

thurs sunset1

storm brewing - shell island


fri sunrise11

bird friends


fri sunrise33

sunset sailboatday2sunsetbirdshare the beach signday2sunset4ange sunset closesouth3wine at sunsetbeach1

bird sunsetwaves crashing

I had a G-R-E-A-T time!

tongue out awfulness


WIAW–Beach Vacation Splurge!

Here are my eats, from a day at the beach…

A.M. – up before the sunrise, with a cup of cinnamon hazelnut coffee. The only flavored coffee I ever drink, is at one particular coffee shop, once a week. Elgin, the owner, gave us some of my favorite flavor to take on our beach trip, on the house. Two cups were had bright and early…

coffee at sunrisecoffee2

After watching the sunrise, I ate a mini-Larabar for fuel, before taking a bike ride down to the Southern tip of the island. After a sandy stroll, some obligatory photography and just as obligatory shell-hunting, I headed back via bike.

lara snack

Back at the temporary casa, it was time for the real-deal breakfast… Iced coffee and a fabulous yogurt parfait.

beach breakfast1yog parfait1

This parfait was Blueberry Chobani, layered with strawberries, blueberries and banana; along with chia seeds and some Bear Naked Fruit & Nut granola. We had a lovely little coffee table with rocking chairs on the 2nd floor porch to sit and enjoy our meals outside at.

Lunch was enjoyed on the porch as well, with some Caprese salad, and a tuna, white bean, arugula salad (both homemade). And some Chardonnay! Why not? I’m on vacation!

fancy beach lunch

Mid-afternoon, I enjoyed another glass of wine and a handful of TJ’s peanut butter filled pretzels. It’s been ages since I’d had those… and man were they delicious!

wine and pretzels

Then, a very rare treat….

rare treat

I happen to love Diet Coke… BUT, I know it’s chemical-laden crap, so I don’t drink it very often.

I also had a bottle of Perrier out on the beach in the afternoon, unpictured.

Wine (yes, again!) at sunset, before heading out to dinner…

wine at sunset2wine at sunset

Dinner – at BlueWater  for their famous crab cakes, and yes, more wine (!). The crab cakes were served atop a humongous pile of red beans and rice, and a frankly rather piddly amount of sautéed fresh snow peas. I wish the amounts had been reversed; but it was delicious, nonetheless. I probably ate about 40% of the rice that was given to me, along with every last bite of crab cake and snow peas, and was stuffed. crabcakes1

Midnight snack – (did I say I was stuffed from dinner?). Late in the evening, we ventured out on our bikes for some frozen custard at Kohl’s. I got a small 1 scoop cup with half a scoop of vanilla and half a scoop of chocolate. So very rich, and it melted into custard soup in a heartbeat!


This was a very unusual day of eats for me – and definitely quite splurgy. Between the copious amounts of wine, the pretzels, the Diet Coke, the white rice and the frozen custard… I ate a lot of things that I normally try to stay away from, and/or consider treats. But it was worth it…  a totally great day of eats!


Gone Beachin’

I’ve taken advantage of a spur-of-the-moment opportunity, and have found myself at the beach. Not just any beach either… Wrightsville Beach, NC. This is my absolute favorite beach (in the U.S.). (shhh, don’t tell anyone. and especially don’t come here. go away, tourists!).

I will be spending the next couple of days doing this…

toes in water

and reading this…

beach book

While staring out at this…

beach view

and drinking this…

coffee at sunrise

and this…

beachy beer

and watching this…


and this…


and getting around via this…

bikes wb

digging my toes in like this…

sunrise toes

And oh yeah, some more of this…

wine at sunset

(buy me a house here, please? mmmkay?)


For now, I’ve escaped reality… happily.


Holiday Weekend Happenings

What a weekend it was! I had 3. 5 days off from work, and tried to make the best use of my free time and long weekend!

I cooked good food.

I cleaned and organized my house.

I played with my puppy.

I tended to my garden (bugs and all!)

I spent some quality time with my other half.

Some highlights…

Lilly Julyred white blue breadfarmers market basket fulltamale pie sliceenchilaswatermelon

mutant cukesromasichibansungoldscrazy wubba doglavenderpatio playrainbowdead bugstomatoes1DSC_0305Lilly's new gate

Come Saturday afternoon, I made a full dinner for a family that I had never met. I signed up to help out the Breen family with a meal for a couple of months, while Tonya is fighting cancer. I live locally, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. (Thanks again to Caitlin for sharing Tonya’s story!)

I had intended to snap a photo of the food I made for them, with handwritten ingredient tags, etc – but when it came down to it, I was more concerned with packing up and getting the food to them – rather than snapping pics. (Poor blogger = good person? Hee, hee). I took them a pan of Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas, salad with veggies fresh from my garden, my homemade Cilantro-Lime salad dressing, some fresh salsa from the Farmers’ Market and a batch of Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I figured even if Tonya and Kevin didn’t want to indulge in the cookies (they are trying to eat a semi-vegan diet), that their little boys might appreciate the sweet (healthy!) treat. Little did I know, that when we dropped the food off at their house, we would find a house FULL of people! It was a bit chaotic, but we did chat with Tonya for a few minutes, and we met her Grandmother, and the two boys. I received a nice message later that night from Kevin and Tonya, and apparently all EIGHT of them (6 adults and 2 kids) enjoyed our dinner. I was thrilled that they were able to feed their unexpected dinner company with our meal, as I had been a little concerned when we left! But I had made a large amount of food, figuring in that situation, leftovers would probably have been appreciated, as well. Thankfully it all worked out. Now I just have to figure out what to make them for dinner in August…

Monday night, the rain and storms drove us inside to cook out dinner (we had planned to grill the burgers and corn). We cooked our local grass-fed beef burgers in a skillet, and they were still tasty. Come dessert time, we braved what were merely sprinkles at that time, to make S’mores! These were Tristan’s first s’mores ever – can’t you believe the man got to be 33 years old without ever having a s’more? Shocking! We set our marshmallows ablaze and got to work assembling them.


They were even better than I remembered! A rare treat!

Having graham crackers reminds me of how much I love them – but I don’t like the ingredients in store-bought crackers. I must try to make my own! And soon!

We saw a few fireworks from the comfort of our living room… and let me just say – Lilly is NOT a fan. What she IS a fan of, however… is watermelon! Can you tell?!?!

Land of Lincoln (and travel woes)

I took a week off from blogging while I was traveling, and even longer from reading blogs! (I’m 10 days behind! Gah!). I’m going to be playing catch-up all week!

Last week I was in Central Illinois… where the wireless Internet is slow (and thieved from a neighbor!), the corn is currently knee-high, and the fireflies come out in droves after an early evening thunderstorm. Life is so much slower in the Midwest. I was born there, and moved away when I was in the 6th grade; though it will always really be “home” to me. My entire extended family still lives there, and I get back whenever I can manage it, to visit.

I went with the purpose of spending as much time as possible with my Gram. It was great to get to relax and hang out with her. Getting out-of-town was a nice bonus, as well! I was hoping for cooler weather in Illinois, but alas, didn’t get much of it. The day that I left (it figures!) the high was 68*, and it felt amazing, if only briefly!

My Gram and I are very close, and we spent our visit chatting, debating the ages of various celebrities (and looking them up on IMDB to settle the debates!), and basically enjoying each other’s company. We didn’t kill ourselves trying to accomplish a ton of activities. I went grocery shopping and cooked a few meals; and we watched a RedBox movie or two. I helped her around the house as much as I could with little things here and there – but for 81 years old, my Gram is pretty darn self-sufficient. She kicks butt, actually. She is an 18 year Breast Cancer survivor, and a nearly 5 year Colon Cancer survivor. My Grandpa has been gone for 14 years, and she has settled in to living alone very well. Luckily my Mom has three brothers that all live less than 45 minutes away – with one of my uncles, living in her same town. They take wonderful care of her, but my Mom and I wish we could do more. My Mom is able to get back to visit about every other month, which is great for my Gram. I am going to try to get back more often than I currently do. In fact, I am going to see if I can’t swing back up there in August for a few days. *Fingers crossed*.

Here are some photos of my trip…  (I only brought my point-and-shoot camera – I didn’t want to lug the DSLR this time around). 

Illinois trip (30)

Illinois trip (22)

The cutest Cubs fan, ever?

Illinois trip (24)

My cousin's son, Max, enjoying a 'Dilly Bar'. We both were a bit sticky afterwards!

Illinois trip (40)

Enjoying my bare feet in the grass - without fear of fire ants! Divine!

Illinois trip (8)

The sheep behind my Gram's house... so cute.

Illinois trip (71)

Wind Power!

Illinois trip (60)

My Gram and I

Illinois trip (34)Illinois trip (42)Illinois trip (48)Illinois trip (52)Illinois trip (51)Illinois trip (63)

As for the travel aspect of my trip…

My flight(s) up were fairly uneventful, and I arrived at my Grams around 11pm after having worked a half-day here in Charlotte. It was a looooong day, but I was thrilled to be there.

My flight(s) back to Charlotte, were another thing entirely. I ended up leaving IL 2 hours later than scheduled, due to weather problems in Atlanta (where my connecting flight was). Thankfully, I know how Atlanta can be, and had scheduled a 3-hour layover, to avoid any potential missing flights issues. The flight down to ATL itself was lovely, actually. We were on plane that could seat about 80 passengers, and there were only 14 of us! That never happens anymore, in the days of fewer and fewer flights per route. I was thrilled to sit in the back all by myself, read my BUST magazine and relax. Little did I know what was in store for me…

Illinois trip (1)Illinois trip (3)Illinois trip (2)Illinois trip (6)

I arrived in Atlanta with about an hour to spare before my flight to Charlotte, and made my way from Concourse D  to Concourse A on the tram; only to find out that my flight home had been pushed back as well. And back. And back again.

We FINALLY departed Atlanta around 1 a.m. and headed for Charlotte. It’s quite a short flight, only about 38 mins of flying time. The time flew (ha) by, and before I knew it, we had landed. After sitting on the tarmac for a few minutes, the Pilot came on the loudspeaker and told us that the gate/jetway that we were supposed to deplane at, currently had a plane full of people waiting to deplane – and that the jetway was broken. Apparently that plane had already been sitting there for over an hour, while the CLT airport tried to get their #$%! together and call in some off-duty mechanics to fix the jetway. Our Pilot then informed us that the jetway was the only Delta jetway that was currently “available” for us, as it was very late and all of the others had planes parked at them for the night… Yadda, yadda, yadda. Needless to say, there was a collective groan among the passengers, as we all were already quite tired of traveling, and it was almost 2 a.m.  We continued to sit on the tarmac for 1 HOUR (!!!). I had been growing more and more impatient by the minute – and I was not the only one.  Finally we started to reverse a bit, which was NOT the direction we wanted to go – but at least we were MOVING! We moved out the way, so that a tractor could come and tow an empty plane away from another gate, to allow us to deplane. It was an absolutely ridiculous situation, and frankly inexcusable. By this time, we were all ready to inflate the yellow slides, and jump down from the plane, a la Steven Slater! Woo!

I finally walked in the door of my house at 3:30 a.m… Tired, cranky and scuzzy from traveling all day. Poor Tristan picked me up, and had to go to work later that morning. I, luckily, had the day off.

I love to travel, and have had my share of interesting travel stories, delays, sleeping in airports, etc… but this situation takes the cake! Landing at your destination, and being UNABLE to get off the plane – at 2 in the morning, no less – is frustrating in a way that I can not even explain. Grrr!

The trip was lovely, the journey home… not so much.


Asheville–Day 4

On our last day, we had planned to do a hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway, before heading home. However, with all of the walking, hiking and heat the day before at the Biltmore, we were completely wiped out. The motivation just wasn’t there. So, we settled on driving up on the Parkway, stopping at a few overlooks, and then shopping at the Folk Art Center. But first, brunch!

After packing up and leaving the Cottage, we headed downtown to Tupelo Honey. We had called ahead, so the wait wasn’t TOO bad… about 15 or 20 minutes. (Those walking in off the street were told it would be a 75 minute wait! Definitely call-ahead if you can, as they don’t take reservations).  We sat across the street in Pritchard Park to people-watch while we waited.

Tupelo HoneyP1050699Waiting for TH

The place is always hopping! I have never seen a “slow” day here. The food and service are great, so it’s worth the wait!

I ordered their homemade Peach Iced Tea, and Eggs Betty (with asparagus, instead of ham), and a side of Honey Glazed Fruit Salad.

TH (3)TH (1)TH (2)

It was a fantastic ‘last meal’ in one of our favorite cities.

Next we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the gorgeous mountains, before heading back down to boring ‘ol Charlotte.

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A quick stop for some shopping at the Folk Art Center, and we were on our way!

Goodbye Asheville. We’ll miss you.


2011? How can it be??

I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year!

I have a lot of posts waiting in the wings…

– New Years and resolutions, of course!

– info on making your own vanilla extract

– photos of the Boxing Day snowfall we enjoyed

– many new kitchen creations

– Fitness plans for 2011, etc…

But, I’m taking this weekend “off” from pretty much everything, including the computer. I just need to some decompression time, and time to enjoy myself on my last two days of holiday vacation. Tristan and I had a great New Year, and hope you did too! See you next week!


Bluefields Bay, Jamaica

We’ve postponed our trip to Greece and Turkey, originally scheduled for autumn of this year. It’s a lot to do with the troubles that Greece is having right now, and a lot to do with my desire to have a RELAXING vacation. (A vacation that is relaxing? Go figure!). As much as I love to travel and see the world… the trips I take overseas are anything but relaxing.

So, meet Bluefields Bay Villas in Jamaica. Scheduled for late October of this year. Greece will be next year… hopefully in the spring.

So 2010 is the year of Jamaica. We are sticking to our commitment to travel internationally at least once every calendar year. 🙂

Off to Jamaica!

New year, new decade

“Accept everything about yourself–I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end–no apologies, no regrets.” – Kissinger


As I sit here drinking the last of the Clicquot in a mimosa…my thoughts turn to the start of a new year. What will the new year, this new decade hold for me?

I find “beginnings” exciting – and the start of new year always seems like a fresh start, whether you need one or not.

I know it has been a bad year for many, but 2009 has been a great year for me. Tristan and I both have good jobs and are healthy and happy. We’ve clawed our way through the mire that is love/relationships/life and emerged on the other side, holding hands and smiling. We travelled to Ireland together in 2009. I am happyhappyhappy, and that is not always something I have been able to say.

This is the year that I am going to learn to knit, and to speak Greek.

(Tristan and I are planning on going to Greece in October, and I am already very excited. I make it a point to try to learn at least a little of the language of the place I’m visiting before I go… hence the Greek. Oh, and I’m determined to learn the Greek alphabet as well.  So at least I’ll be able to read signs! I think we will probably splash out and get the Rosetta Stone Greek Language program – it’s expensive, but I’m thinking it will be well worth it).

But I digress…  

I will be 32 this first year of the new decade. I must be more conscious of myself and my needs… Tristan says that my ‘New Year’s Resolution’ should be to be more selfish! I think I need to find more balance, between everything going on in my life. I find myself giving, giving, giving – and while I enjoy it, sometimes I need to take. More time for me… for exercise, for meditation, for writing. More time to see those that I love. I must get back to Illinois soon to see my Gram. Hopefully in February, for a long weekend if nothing else. Then in May I will be taking Tristan back with me so that we can celebrate her 80th birthday. She is an amazing person, and I love her very much. I don’t see her nearly as often as I used to… it’s been just over a year now, and that is too long.

There is a puppy for us on the not-so-distant horizon, which I am terribly excited about. After losing Kensie to oral melanoma in 2008, I think it is time.

My new raise begins on the 4th… huzzah and hooray for a raise, and a job that I enjoy.

In 2010 I will be optimistic, and not as critical of myself. I will focus on making myself as healthy as can be – for me.  

 Here’s to a wonderful, healthy, happy 2010!