28.7.14

Trouble, Trouble, Trouble

Trouble..been doggin' my mind since the day I was born. 

Ah, getting to here that sung live may be one of my favorite memories in a long while. Ray was fantastic, just as I had assumed he would be. The weather was just the right temp and I enjoyed my $12 can of strawberrita as much as once can. The only downside was he sang almost all stuff from his new album, Supernova. I would have like a few more of my favorites, but I can't really complain. 


I have no idea who the opener was because arrived after they were finished. Our friends had their wedding reception starting at 6:30, we stayed until 8:15 and timed it perfectly so that I missed no part of Ray. I had been worried all week how to fit both in and in the end I got the best of both. And let me very clear that the bartender at the country club had a very heavy pour. We could be good friends. 

Friday and Sunday were both packed full of fun themselves. Friday night we headed to dinner and the place had a bourbon based sangria. It was one of the best I have ever had. Shocking, I know;) and then we headed to museum to catch Gravity on the outdoor screen and I snatched up a cake batter yogurt pop. So delicious. 

Yesterday, we were able to drive over to the lovely golf resort of Pinehurst. But not before I discovered one of my all time favorite movies was on, Hope Floats. you better believe I hit record, what does it matter that I also own it? 

Then we were off.  Pinehurst is one of the most enchanting and charming towns in the country. It is also pretty much the gold standard in golf and a mecca of sorts. Tony's cousin and her husband are down from Boston and staying there for two weeks as her husband is working the USA kids world cup. 

We drove the easy hour around lunchtime yesterday, amid the backdrop of pouring rain and pulled up in time to see bright blue and sunny skies. We grabbed a bite at the historic Holly Inn bar, circa 1895 and spent a great afternoon catching up before heading back home last night. 

I will have more on Pinehurst tomorrow but this was my jam packed weekend, how was yours? Do anything exciting or did you have a lazy, relaxing one?

Linking up with Leeann, Meghan and Meg

25.7.14

Does That Make Me Crazy

I will tell you what makes me crazy, well, crazy excited anyways.  Tomorrow night I will finally catch a Ray Lamontagne show live. Cue happiness overload. I have wanted to see him in concert for such a long time and when I found out he was going to be in town, I snatched tickets up the second I could. 



The show will be downtown at one of my fave venues in Raleigh, the Red Hat Amphitheater, and there really is not a bad seat there. It is big enough to play large artists, but small enough to still have some semblance of an intimate experience. Plus, the leg room in these seats are stellar. My husband is 6'5 and he doesn't even half to stand up if someone needs to scoot on by. 

Tonight we are headed to the NC Museum of Art to catch another outdoor movie. We are going to see Gravity and I am hopeful the weather will hold out. We have had so much rain lately that I need to look into a boat versus a new car. 

One of the best times I had this week was on Tuesday when I got to meet up with Meghan from Champagnes and Suburbs. She is so sweet and we chatted for almost three hours. We just dove right on in. We met downtown at one of my favorite spots, Calavela. It is a tiny tequila and empanada bar and a great place to have a cocktail and catch up. I got the spicy pineapple margarita and while it was good, not sure that ordering habenero pork tacos to accompany it was the best idea. My mouth was screaming. 

Yesterday I was able to hang out with mister Jax for the day and we had a dance party, watched cartoons and spent some time at the park. He made a new friend and "she was pretty" He is only four. Watch out, ladies. 

Then, last night, Wiki and I checked out a new Chicago style Italian place that  recently opened up in Wake Forest. Their wings were absolutely huge and really tasty. I wasn't the biggest fan of their pasta, but their deep dish pizza looks incredible and I cannot wait to try it out. Another table ordered it and even though I was already full, my mouth started salivating. Out of control. I tend to be a thin crust gal, but once in a while I find myself craving true deep dish. 

Tomorrow night, before the concert, we are headed to a dinner to celebrate our friends who recently got married in the Bahamas. You may remember me mentioning them in my post about how our neighborhood was surrounded by SWAT. 

This week has been fantastic and these are just a few of my favorites. What have you done this week or what do you have scheduled that you are looking forward to?

Linking up with Friday Favorites, Hey Friday, FF

24.7.14

The Maine Coast

For this week's addition of Travel Back Thursday, I am taking you to the coast of Maine. One of my favorite places! I am a Southern gal, no doubt...but there are few places I love more than New England. I mean, I did hitch myself to a Boston boy. 

The first year we dated, he took me on a trip to Maine and 13 years later, it is still one if the most memorable.   We shopped in Kittery, ate our way through Portland and fell in love with Ogunquit. The views were just stunning. 

It had been way too long since we had traipsed though and I had just been itching to get back. My in laws had a place in Jamestown, RI and we spent most of our trips there, shuttling between Newport and Block Island.  Also in NH and Vermont. Last year my brother in law and his wife rented a condo in New Hampshire and after a few days there, we decided to trek on up to Maine. 

We stayed in Portland the first night and then headed up to Boothbay Harbor for the day.  I absolutely adored it and the food and shops. Here are a few snapshots of our time. and apologies in advance but the photos are all different sizes.  We also were able to take in a sunset at Cape Elizabeth.













 and the second night we stayed in the sweet town of Bath. This town had the prettiest waterfront to walk around. We found a Thai restaurant downtown and weren't disappointed. If you are ever up in Maine, I definitely recommend this town. You are close to so many sites and the best part is that the hotels are not as expensive as so many of the other towns!



Our second day was spent at Popham Beach. This is probably my favorite beach I have ever been to. Ok, It may be a close tie with Glory Beach in Jekyll Island, GA and Key Biscayne Beach in Florida...but it is magnificent. The only downside is that we were there in August and the water was still frigid. 





Plan a trip to Maine, you won't regret it!

and on my food blog, I have our favorite restaurant in boothbay, it involves a great view and the best fish bites I have ever tasted! 

21.7.14

Sweet Virginia

This weekend we headed up to Virginia to spend the weekend with my family. We got up there around Eight on Friday night and quickly headed out for Mexican and margaritas at the place next door to my parents. We had fun just catching up and hanging out before heading back and going to bed. 
Their garden is out of control amazing!
Saturday we went to see my parents new property they recently purchased. It is about half an hour away and in the middle of nowhere. I love the creek bed. And I will have to get my mom to email me a picture of the three bears the camera has spotted. One of them is absolutely huge! Fingers crossed I don't run into it. Still looking for Goldilocks...



Then we scooted over to one of my favorite quaint towns, Appomattox. Just so happens to be where we got married and you know, the small detail of Lee surrendering to Grant at the Mclean house. We stopped by the sweetest coffee and book shop. They're known for their live music on the weekends. 


That night we had dinner at my parent's. And snapped some more green beans from the garden to can and enjoy over the next year. Nothing quite like fresh greens!

then we listened to my brother play and sing for a little while and I got to play with my niece. I do love her so and she is so funny. Her red hair is my favorite, she takes after her aunt. ( I suppose she takes after her red headed momma too;)

Yesterday we had breakfast downtown and walked around a little before getting some shopping in. I hadn't been to Point Of Honor since I was in third grade. And Virginia has the love signs all. over. the. state. This shoe one in front of the renovated Craddock & Terry Hotel is one of my favorites!



 Then we headed with my older brother to a brewery about half an hour away and the view was just ridiculous! The food truck was awesome. and I somehow found a way to sample the beer...I made myself blackberry shandy's. Not too bad!

On the way home we stopped at this local spot and got some ice cream. It was National Ice Cream Day after all. Kind of had to! 

We're back home and back to work now. Did you guys do anything fun this weekend? It just goes by so fast! I already miss them.

Linking up with Meghan, Leeann and Meg

18.7.14

The Suite Life

This has been a week of finds. and unexpected fun. 

On Monday my friend Danielle put up an instagram of the World Market mason jar measuring cups. I have only stalked every World Market and on line for over a year and so I basically demanded to know where she got hers from. It turns out the World Market down the street had finally gotten an order in. I may have stopped everything I was doing and rushed there to get mine. And I scored the last one. Yes!

My good luck continued that day with finding two new pair of shoes and four dresses for our upcoming trip to Italy. And it was all 75% off take off and extra 50%. all of this cost me a whopping $32. 



Yes. Please and thank you very much.

On Wednesday my husband called and asked me if I wanted to attend the AAA all star game that was being hosted at Durham. He had gotten suite tickets so this equates to free food and now who in the world would I be to turn that down?! Plus, I got to meet some really new fun people. 



I finally got my fireworks. And they were crazy. Probably some of the best I have ever seen. Ever. Nothing may have ever come close to these. Excluding the obvious major cities like NYC, Chicago & Boston. But none otherwise have even been on level. These were not your average "Firework Friday" after a minor league game. And I would know seeing as how I worked in minor league baseball for way too long. 

and we finally booked all of our plans for our trip to Italy. I cannot wait. We will be spending almost a week in Montegratto and touring that whole region every day and then heading to Lake Como for four days. and then heading to our family's inn and vineyard in Tuscany for the next week. I am not even sure how this is real life. But I am just going along hoping noone wakes me up. But this will be our view in a few weeks!


via
linking up with Hey Friday, Five on Friday and Friday Favorites

16.7.14

Off With The Blood Suckers Heads...

The women's to be exact. Because leave it up to the woman to leave her mark. With the male mosquito, he'll come and go and you may never even know he is there. Sounds like a lot of men I used to know too. But that is neither here nor there. 

Today I want to discuss my absolute abhorrence for mosquitos. I long for summer and heat. It is my favorite and then...right about mid July, I begin to fear it. and the pesky winged creatures it brings. 

This year I had been doing ok. And I should note that my current hatred level is in direct proportion to the amount of itchy bites I now have on my poor feet. This means that my hate level is a bona fide 25 on a scale of 1-10. 




and I should also note that OFF did nothing. Nothing but perhaps but a beacon on my body screaming that my blood was up for grabs. And on top of that...it smells all kinds of funk. 

I am going to try and see if any essential oils will help to reduce any further bites and to hopefully alleviate some of the itch hell I am living with.

 Although...I am that person and I scratched till some of them bled. 

In other words, my feet look like they belong on an eight year old. I just can't wait till the scabs pop up. Gonna be overtly attractive on a woman in her mid thirties. I really try to abstain but scratching just feels so good. 

On Sunday alone I counted 22 bites. Just on my feet. My poor pinky toe alone has 4 bites. It is a pulpy red mess. I was trying on shoes for Italy yesterday and I could barely concentrate on the shoe for the ugly convergent of bites. 



I read about this spoon trick that was supposed to remove some of the sting and it did work for a while. You heat a spoon up and then place it directly on bite. I also boiled some green tea bags and put on spots. All worked for a little bit...

So basically this confession is to declare the opposite of my undying love for these blood sucking irritants. and to pretty much admit I have no will power to not scratch the ever lovin hell out of these bites. 

and also, thanks national geographic for showing the West Nile Virus on tv last night. Especially the part about how North Carolina cases are on the rise. It did much for my paranoia.


linking up with Kathy and Liz

8.7.14

Knock, Knock...Who's There. Oh, It's Swat

As I mentioned yesterday, we came home from our vacation on Saturday and as we pulled up, we noticed four police cars at the entrance to our neighborhood. We paused for a second and my initial fear was that something had happened at the pool. A child recently drowned in a friend's neighborhood and my mind wandered to that thought.

After thinking it through, we realized there were no paramedics or fire department involvement and the police didn't seem to be in any sort of hurry. We chalked it up to kids were probably setting off fireworks and people had complained or something. 

We parked and lugged all of our stuff into the house and went about our business, prepping to head for dinner with friends in a little while.  When we headed outside to leave, dusk was settling in and we were greeted by flashing lights coming from seemingly everywhere. 

At this point there were over a dozen officers, multiple fire trucks and news vehicles. We both looked at each other, completely shocked. We live in a quiet swim and golf community. The largest thing we usually have to deal with is kids riding their bikes in the parking lot and paying no attention. (Although, Wiki would say the largest thing is people who litter, if there is one piece of paper on the ground, he will find it and get it;)

As we went to leave, we asked what was going on and were alerted to the fact that it was a hostage situation. And then we were told we had to move, they were not really letting people in/out at this point.

We texted a few neighbors, each of us trying to garner what was happening. And none of us could really get a grasp at that point. We said a few prayers that it would end well and no one would be hurt and went out to meet our friends. 

We thought for sure when we got back home three hours later that the situation would have been diffused. Both of our phones were dead so we couldn't really ascertain any new info. But when we pulled up, it was more far reaching than when we left. The entire main street to our community was blocked off. FBI and SWAT had been added to the mix. Everyone on the pool side of our neighborhood was on complete lock down. 

And you couldn't come in or out of our section at this point, unless you could prove you lived there. The area was barricaded by police and yellow caution tape spawned one side of the road to the other. 

This is a rather disconcerting way to spend your night, to put it mildly. Most of our close neighborhood friends live on that side and we were frantically trying to reach them to make sure all was well. And I had multiple back and forth panic texts with one in particular...at four am they were supposed to be leaving for the airport to catch a six am flight to the Bahamas so they could get married. At this point, they weren't going to be allowed to leave and to say there was some flipping out would be an understatement. (they got out;)

Once we were back in our house, we flipped on the news to see what was being said and as I logged onto fb and saw a thread in our town's community page, I couldn't help but laugh at it. Talk about smoke and mirrors and full on lies. First, people kept listing off different communities, then someone one said they heard our neighborhood was "sketchy" (hahahahahahaha I still laugh at this one) and then of course people started saying it was a huge "drug bust" and then the speculation that he had four kids he was holding hostage. None of which was true. 

The standoff ended a little after two am, lasting for almost nine hours. They tossed in tear gas and he surrendered.  He was not actually holding anyone hostage, just himself. I am only writing this story because there was no violent ending. The police did a wonderful job in ending it peacefully and this man is getting the help he needs. This is the biggest point of the whole debacle, instead of being charged (he was arrested at the time) because he was obviously mentally unstable and was not trying to harm anyone but himself, they are seeing to him getting the proper help. 

This can happen at anytime in absolutely any neighborhood. I can assure you that I never saw it happening it mine. and I hope to hell I don't have to again any time soon. Or ever. Ever is even better;)

7.7.14

Playing Catch Up

The past two weeks have been somewhat busy and we have company coming multiple times over the next few weeks and so I have had to at least try and get my  house in somewhat of an order. This is where I mention that living in a three story house is often times fantastic because no one really ever goes upstairs;)

Last weekend was our anniversary. Tony had to work all day Saturday. I was able to get a bunch of errands done and the best pedicure ever. Remember this post about how I love me a Walmart pedicure? Well...they closed. Cue tears. Then I stumbled upon the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Pedicures. It was a little pricier than usual but they put you in leather recliner and give you  mixed drink while they give you your massage. 

And I will never be the same. 

That night we ended up getting a hotel and grabbing dinner at a local spot that is somewhat famous for their steaks and their wine cellar. It is ( I believe, but don't quote me) the 5th largest in the country. They did a special on the Travel Channel and apparently there are people who legitimately fly into Raleigh, eat at the Angus Barn and then fly back out. I mean....it's good and all, but. 

It ended up being their 54th anniversary and so they gave us a bottle of wine signed by their owner. They gave away over 500 signed bottles. One of the reasons they are a mainstay. Impeccable details. They also gave us a free appetizer because they seated us for our reservation a whole ten minutes late. as if I had actually noticed. 

and another show of customer service is that they give you your own personal pound cake, decorated, whenever you are there for a special event such as your birthday, graduation or anniversary

We got back to our hotel and they had surprised us with strawberries and chocolate in our room and Tony had a beautiful arrangement of sunflowers waiting.

This past week flew by and we were anxiously awaiting our trip to OBX to see Tony's family. 

and then Arthur decided to be rude and ruin our plans. 

With Tony having Thursday off, we still wanted to go at least somewhere. After throwing a few different scenarios around we decided on one of usual go tos, Richmond. It is an easy two hour drive. and in no time, we were off. 

We used our favorite app, Hotel Tonight to score a cheap room last minute. If you have never used it, I cannot say enough good things about it! We have used it in NYC, DC, Miami to name a few. And your first stay you get $25 off with a code. and then anyone you invite that uses your code gets $25 off their next stay. The only kicker is that you cannot plan your stay in advance. This is last minute and you can only purchase the day of. So this works more for last minute escapes! (if you want to sign up, you can use my code mbaldassari1 or if you have friends who use it and want to give them credit, have them invite you and use their code, but whatever you do, don't let free money go to waste!)

We had a great time eating our way through Richmond and doing basically nothing. Pretty fantastic and we had the pool mainly to ourselves and we took full advantage. I never tire of walking through the neighborhoods of Row Homes. Le Sigh. 

The only downside was that we, once again, missed the fireworks. How does this happen to me every year. We went to a roof top bar and anxiously awaited them and then....the trees forbid me to enjoy them. 

and then, to make matters even worse, we got stuck in the firework traffic for over 45 minutes. I was bitter and cursing at all the cars around us. Tony made it slightly better by taking a side trip to Friendly's for late night sundaes. 

We headed back Saturday and were met with over 20 police cars(FBI & SWAT) in our neighborhood. And that is a story for tomorrow. 

What did you guys do for your 4th? Anything big? Or did you lay low?

Linking up with Meghan, Biana, Kimberlee and Leeann