Aruba, DC & NYC

For this week, since our anniversary is on Saturday, I thought I would do Travel Back Thursday of our honeymoon. I can't believe it has been eleven years. Time flies and also it stands still. However that is possible.

We got married the summer that so many of Tony's college friends also got hitched. We traveled up to Connecticut for one and then another was scheduled for two weeks after ours. Therefore, we decided to do Aruba for a week and then head up to NYC for a few days before that wedding. 

I will give you guys a little PSA before I show the pictures.  We got married in the heyday of of scrapbooking. So...if you notice a few stickers or such on some of these photos...that is why;) Kicking myself for not saving extra shots!

Also, at this point I was working for a hotel. And so our hotel in Aruba was $29 a night. Our hotel in DC was $49 and our hotel in NYC was $59. Basically we stayed for two weeks for less than most of these hotels usually went for one night. Thinking about this makes me remiss I ever quit. Stupid move. 

We ended up being in Aruba from Tuesday to Tuesday and so for the first few days, we stayed in DC. A friend of ours worked in the Capitol and so we got a behind the scenes tour. We relaxed by the pool and had dinner/drinks. We ended up checking out the Holocaust museum. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life and if you are ever there, check it out. 

On Tuesday, we headed to Aruba and I cannot say enough about how much I adored it there. The weather was perfect. We would day drink and lay by the pool. We checked out downtown (the bus system worked great!) We had some delicious meals. One of my favorites was at this small, out of the way place named Tango. The food was Argentinian and they had hourly tango shows. 

We ended up doing a Kuku Kanuku tour and that was awesome. It was an old bus painted and you had dinner and then bar hopped. We also stopped for a sunset champagne toast at the lighthouse. 

Our pool was less than stellar and pretty much packed with kids so we would steal away to the Hyatt next door almost every day. They had this awesome slide.  Since we were purchasing drinks and snacks, they were cool with us using the pool. And Tony somehow ended up in a slide contest and won a bottle of wine. We popped it and enjoyed it on our balcony.

Our pool did events in the afternoon and one of them was water aerobics. We did love this at ours and it was hilarious to see Tony jump right in and participate. All the ladies loved it!

We left for NYC and it was so beyond hot. And I had to wear a hat all the time because I forgot to in Aruba and so...blisters in my head. being so close to the Equator, I put tons of sunscreen on and forgot to block my scalp. It looked as if I had the worst case of dandruff in history. and I mean in all of history. haha

We did too many things to really recount
and we have been to the city so many times. We usually stay away from touristy stuff since we have done them already. But we decided to have fun. We rode the ferris wheel at Toys R us. We had drinks at the Pen top bar of the Peninsula hotel over looking Central Park. Dylan's Candy Bar opened when we were in the city and we spent way too much time there. We saw a few Broadway shows. 

I can't believe it has been eleven years! 

A Blate Weekend

as I mentioned in my previous post, Kerry came to visit me! She is gone now and I am all kinds of sad. But our weekend was great!

She got in around ten am on Saturday and she gave me the sweetest gift. I am actually drinking ice water from it now! Along with only THEE best bourbon and some homemade cookies that were divine. Absolutely divine. Then I promptly sent her to bed. Where the girl slept all of two hours after driving all night. That's what second winds are for!

That afternoon we headed for lunch at Twisted Fork and I showed her the goodness that is Charming Charlie and then we headed for downtown Raleigh to explore. It started to pour but we could not be deterred. We stopped in a few favorite stops and then had drinks at Raleigh Times Bar before heading to the Art Museum to see Saving Mr. Banks on the outdoor screen. 

Then Tony took us for a midnight swing to get a Cookout Shake and then it was time to crash. I have no idea how Kerry stayed awake that long!

Sunday she helped me make this space of mine a dot com instead of blogspot. com. Thanks goodness because I am inept at anything of that nature!

We then headed for Bull City and grabbed lunch at a favorite spot, Parker & Otis and then walked around a bit before hitting up Rose's for the best macarons I have ever had. Ever. So good. 

And then it was off to explore Tobacco Warehouse district and a Bulls game. We had so much fun but since both of our phones died we had to commandeer Wiki's phone to take pictures. He was a good sport and kept handing Kerry and I his phone. He is used to it by now;) (Kerry, you will be happy to hear I just purchased a charger pack;) 

We hit up a sport bar afterward that over looks the park and you can eat and have drinks while overlooking left field. But this place was rockin and standing room only for a while with everyone watching the World Cup. I would have had the best video ever if the last ten seconds hadn't happened. Rude USA, rude;)

Then we headed back to my house and just lounged around. and by lounged I mean we stalked twitter, facebook and instagram. Obviously.

Monday beckoned and I had to nanny and I left Kerry to explore and she did explore by way of doing serious damage at Ross and World Market. As anyone is prone to do once setting foot in either store. 

She went for a jog and then got in some pool time before we headed for one last dinner and drinks. 

I had such an  amazing time. Kerry is truly one of a kind, being around her makes me strive to be a better person because she is, to borrow a quote, "just good people"  Being her friend is an honor.  And then on top of that...the laughs. Oh the laughs. She makes me giggle. She also makes me jealous with her shiny locks. I am trying to contain my bitterness.

And also, big thanks to my mister for driving us all over, taking us to really cool spots and being fantastic company. You rock too. 

Till Then, I'll Grin...Often.

and the then I speak of is tomorrow morning when Miss Kerry from till then, smile often herself is in my house!!!!

This Friday has come about so very quickly. Which usually never happens when you are anticipating something as much as I am anticipating this! 

Tonight I am headed to downtown Raleigh with one of my besties (Nicole from the life of the baseball wife, if you haven't checked her out, do so. She talks about life in the baseball world and her 3 kids. I mentioned our matching puffy eyes & margarita date last weekend) to see Iron Man 3 playing on the outdoor screen and the food truck rodeo. This is the first year they have had this downtown and I have been wanting to go. 

It is free and all the films this year are ones that were filmed in North Carolina. (of which there are a plenty, other than NY and LA, more tv shows and movies are filmed here than anywhere else in the country. To name a few, Hunger Games, Double Jeopardy, Safe Haven, Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, Under the Dome, Homeland, Banshee and Sleepy Hollow)

And as I already exclaimed, tomorrow, Kerry will be here to visit and staying through Tuesday. I am so psyched. I would say that she is one of my blog besties but we have hung out so many times and she has hung out with Tony and my sister in law before, so I think she has become one of my good friends...who also blogs;)

We will be at the pool and then, another outdoor movie night as the art museum offers them too!

Sunday we will be heading to Durham to take in the amazing food and then heading to see a Bull's game! The Durham Bulls. Speaking of North Carolina movies, remember this? (if you have never seen Bull Durham...fix that.)

Why, helloooo, Kevin Costner.

I get to try a few cocktails that I am making for a contest out on Kerry. She doesn't know this yet, but she is going to be tipsy pretty much all day Monday. Prepare yourself girl. Moonshine is in your future.

and then, at the end of next week, I get to head up to Richmond to meet up with Tony's family as they are stopping there on their way to OBX. I can't wait to show them some of my favorite stops along the way!

and finally, next Saturday is our eleven year anniversary! How am I old enough to have been married eleven years?! I do declare that I most certainly do not look it;)

What do you have planned for your weekend?!

linking up with Amanda and Five of Friday

Travel Back Thursday: Annapolis & Easton

In April, on our way up to Boston for my father in law's surgery, we made a small trip out of our drive. The first night we stayed in one of our favorite cities, Richmond. The next night we decided to play by ear. Our first choice was Annapolis. But it ended up being the day of the largest croquet match in the country. It takes place every year between Navy and Saint Pauls.

And let's just day that these people do not play. The entire town looked like everyone was headed to the Kentucky Derby and got lost. Or another explanation would be a 5th and vines store threw up on everybody. Annapolis happens to be one of my favorite towns, but about an hour into our stop and we had to get out of there.

This croquet match sounds like it would be a lot of fun, however, not going and participating in the drinking and then dealing with them afterwards...not so much.

So, after lunch and a little exploring, back on the road we were. We ended up choosing to stay the night in the town of Easton. What a great decision! Our hotel was fantastic, our room even had a fan! Note to all other hotels, do this! We had a great dinner and some drinks and then walked around a little. There were so many stores and art exhibits in this quaint stop. And absolutely everything was in walking distance!

The next morning we had the breakfast buffet at the hotel and it was one of the better ones I have ever had. Plus, they offered a plethora of hot teas. The simplest way to my heart. Also, they had fresh made whip cream for their strawberries and waffles. This made for a good laugh when I couldn't figure out why our waiter was staring at me slightly funny. Then, when Tony came back from his trip to the buffet, he pointed out that my hair was full of whip cream. What can I say, it was that good!

We left after breakfast and stopped at another charming town about half an hour away, St. Michaels. You can read my recap here. If you are ever looking for a weekend trip on the shore, I recommend either of these stops!

Me So Quirky...So, So Quirky.

You guys singing a little diddly about something other than quirkiness? Good, join me in my own rendition. 

Anyways, onto the actual topic at hand. I have come to realize that there are certain things about myself that are rather quirky. Some may say annoying and that is fine too, I can accept that. But I prefer quirky. 

And so, here are mine, all laid out.

I cannot sleep without a blanket. Even if it is 100 degrees out. I just cannot fall asleep without one on. My dad used to get furious because we would go on road trips in the summer and I would wrap myself in a comforter and he would insist I stop or I was going to "have a heat stroke" 

Guess what, dad, I am still kickin.

I don't really understand the purpose of a top sheet. The second I get to a hotel I will kick it off in no time. I hit the marital jackpot due to the fact that the mister didn't grow up with them either. I am sure this has played a huge part in our eleven year marriage still going strong.

And then, also to sleep, I really like a fan. On my face. The rest of me, as you now know, is basically a cocoon. I like the breeze on my face and I love the noise.

Speaking of noise, I cannot fall asleep if the tv or radio is on. I think this actually may be partly to due with my bipolar. I have to pay attention or sing along and I can't get my mind to shut off if there is some sort of stimulation around. and I don't mean the good kind of stimulation.

I don't like my food to touch. So, basically, I am a 5 year old. Unless it is mashed potatoes and corn. Then they can touch all the little long day. But if something with sauce touches something that is not supposed to have sauce...oh, H to the no. (unless I am in public and my fear of being perceived as a biatch wins out and I will eat it.)

I do not like it if you try to put something on my head. Tony loves to do this to irritate me and I will pretty much run away. It has nothing to do with not messing my hair up either. Honestly, I have no legitimate reason for this rage. i just hate it. As in hate it hard.

If Tony is out of town, I put a chair underneath the door so no one can break in. and we have an alarm system. You can tell I have serious faith in ADT. Whatever, no one is going to get me! No One. Thanks Blacklist and Criminal Minds for my total and complete irrational paranoia. ( and the person who broke into our old apartment...while I was home)

When I am walking alone at night, I walk with my hand covering my neck. I had no idea I even did this until a friend noticed it one night when she came up on me in the parking lot of a movie. Apparently I think if someone tries to slash my throat they will get my hand instead. Are you noticing a trend, like perhaps I should stop watching creepy shows? 

I make weird noises when I am nervous. I can't even give you a true example of the sound. Just know that if we are ever together and I start spouting off strange sounds, for some reason I am nervous. Or cold, i also make them when I am absurdly cold. 

I cannot take talk radio. It makes me want to pull my hair out at the roots. And this includes sports radio. And since I cannot miss a huge sporting event, if I happen to be in my car and have to listen to a game or something to get the score, I pretty much cringe. Tony, on the other hand, listens to nothing but NPR and stuff like that (well, EDM also) Our car rides are bunches of fun. 

I have to read if someone else is driving. I think I am probably opposite of most people in this sense. I don't really get car sick, but I am much less nervous if I can read on ling road trips. He gets mad because he tries to talk to me sometimes and i usually respond with "uh, huh. sure, mmm, yes" and other short responses that indicate I am paying him absolutely zero attention.  Men are so needy. 

So these are a few of my quirks. Can we still be friends? 
linking up with Liz & Kathy

Chocolate Pistachio Ice Box Cake

This is such a simple, yet delicious dessert. And it is perfect for summer! If you are looking for something quick and not wanting to bake anything, this is your answer. 

I came up with this by combing two of my favorite desserts: My mom's watergate cake and chocolate eclair cake. And it was a huge hit!

2 pkgs pistachio pudding mix (instant)
3 cups milk
1 tub cool whip
(or 2 cups whipping cream and 1/4 cup sugar)
chocolate graham crackers

Make the two packs of pudding using the three cups of milk. Put in fridge for about 5 minutes to set up. Once it is all set, fold in the cool whip (or fresh whipped cream) in a 9x9 pan, place a layer of the graham crackers on the bottom and top with a layer of the pistachio mousse, place another layer of the graham crackers and repeat until you run out. I used the crumbs to sprinkle on the top for decoration and place in the fridge for about 4 hours to set up. 

The graham crackers soften and it becomes a cake like mixture. This is now one of my new favorite desserts and I cannot wait for the next get together so I can whip this up!


I Am Not A Car Person

but I will admit that the antique car show we attended this weekend somewhat changed my thoughts. I may really, really want an antique car now.

 Our anniversary is in two weeks. Think I can work on him in the next fourteen days? neither. 

My parents came down on Friday night so we could celebrate Father's Day with my dad and since he is a huge car lover, it was the perfect plan. The weather cooperated and gave us an absolutely beautiful day. Could not have been better. 

All of the shops were open in downtown and there was plenty of food and live music. My mom and I took a slight detour and moseyed our way into one of the antique shops. I want all of these things!

We ended up leaving there in the early afternoon and heading over to the farmers market. You can read more about that on my food blog. 

After my parents left, I met up with my friend Nicole(she actually also writes a blog, you can check her out here) and we had margaritas and went to see the movie Fault In Our Stars. And both bawled our eyes out. Nothing like matching bestie puffy eyes and snotty noses;) 

Three to the Six

Today is my mister's birthday. The one day each year that he once again becomes my elder. I am super grateful that of all the eggs his mom had, his is the one that hatched. But for reals, momma b!

Last year I wrote a post listing my 35 favorite things about him. I have no plans to do this again, but please feel free to read it as it is actually one of my favorite posts. I did reel myself in a rather nice catch.

I will just add a new addition to the list this year...

Thanks for supporting me in my endeavour with the blog this past year. In the beginning I drove you crazy by making you wait to eat while I staged pictures of food and such. But when the Rachael Ray show came calling, you dropped everything and took the day off of work to play camera man. And then you paid for me to go to my first blog conference. You have even started "staging" plates and such for me and I don't even have to ask. Your support means everything. I have really started to like you most of the time;) Except when you don't "let" me use the flash in a restaurant. Stop it with your manners.

Happy Birthday. Thanks for being born and also thanks for being sexy. Rawr.

Happy 36th!

I Got Schooled

This past weekend I went to my first blogger conference. I set off from Raleigh at 8:30 on Friday, full of nervous anticipation and excitement (and also apparently pee or so my three pit stops in an hour would suggest) I had an ETA of 1:30 and I promptly 4:45.  For all the f@&ks sake, get it together 95. Once there, I was warmly welcomed by everyone and immediately my nerves began to calm down as I settled into my room and waited for my infamous roomie, the one Amy "f@cking" Mayo to arrive. (I may have bided my time with mustache selfies.) 

I could go into numerous rambling details about this experience but I will mainly let my pictures do the talking (for that very reason) I will just emphasize that I made the best possible decision by attending blog U. I ascertained much more than I had anticipated and the ideas I had going into this weekend were solidified by this group of women.  I think I discovered that the only things that have been holding me back are my own fears and self doubts.  I need to kick them in the bum and get to getting. 

The other main thing I will take away from this conference is that in blog land, I am not as short as real world land. This is a big deal. and also, bipolar is apparently more common in bloggy world. Who in the hades knew this, as I sure as heck didn't. It is like I am all of the sudden "normal". I am trying to coming to grips with this knowledge. I heart it all kinds of hard. 

I cannot thank the ladies enough for putting this shindig together and the amount of work that went into the whole process.  I just have one suggestion...step stools for the beds next year. Once I was in bed, I was there till the morning light for fear I could never get back up;) And I am most excited about a burgeoning bestieship with the wonderful Megan from Fashionista Momma.  I have a plethora of other stories I could share...but you will nod off. If we shared laughs, you know who you are! Wine. And makeup. 

Mainly I am just sad for everyone that I "bailed" out of Retro Prom before they played "I like big butts". Because this rump was made for shaking. Such a crying shame. 

and as a last side note, thanks to the mister for sending me on this and trusting that it was a game changer for me. He flew to Boston on Thursday and left me with his car to drive. He got a fresh oil change, filled it with gas and had the tire pressure checked. it's the little things. (well, I mean, in case he reads this, big things are still welcomed. Don't get any ideas)

North Carolina Blogger Meetup

This past weekend I was able to attend a blogger meet up with some ladies in downtown Raleigh. It was nice to see a few favorites and to catch a ride in with Angela and catch up on chatting. This was the first blogger meet up I had been able to attend since the blogger buzz meet up last November. 

It was held at Busy Bee downtown and was put on by Madison from wetherills say I do and Kathy from Up To Date Interiors. We all chatted for a bit before enjoying a delicious meal and then listening to Linda from speak about building your follower engagement and a few other topics.

We were gifted some awesome swag from local ladies and businesses. I loved the presentation of the boxes, very cute.

Can't wait till the next blog meet up! If you ever have one in your area, you should definitely go! It's a lot of fun to meet up with differing bloggers in and around your area.

The swag sponsors for this event were

Mindful Skin Therapy {lavender lip therapy}

Sara Does {greeting cards}

Morgan Alexander {whatever is lovely print}

Hardin Studios {print}

Laureling Studio {$15 gift certificate}

Carolina Charm Wreath {NC vinyl decal}

Queen B's Busy Work {wine cork key chain}

Essential Lines by Erin {lighthouse print}

A Jaunt Through the Triangle

We were actually home this weekend which was nice. We had no set in stone plans, other than the blogger meet up I had on Saturday morning at Busy Bee in Raleigh. And so we used our time to stop in some of our favorite places and check out a few new ones. 

Friday night was Tony's late night and I tried my hand at my first zucchini lasagna. And oh, my word, it turned out so fantastic! You have to spend a little time dehydrating the zucchini and and sauteing it beforehand to expunge all the water,

Saturday I was up early and headed to meet Angela from Head to Toe Chic and the two of us rode in together. It was nice to see a few bloggers I have hung out with before and also getting to meet new friends. The food just made it that much better. 

Afterwards, Tony met me downtown for an afternoon of drinks and exploration. We started out at Joule, one of my favorite coffee and dessert spots downtown. Their dinner menu looks amazing but we have yet to try it out. I got the affogato and it was lemon vanilla ice cream. Pretty much incredible. If you know me, you know I am not really a coffee fan. Mix it with ice cream and suddenly I am a groupie. 

We ended up in some shops downtown that showcase local times. Tony got me a head band from high cotton, and it is super comfortable. I really want this sign from Deco!

Then we capped our afternoon off back at Busy Bee for some rooftop cocktails! The weather was gorgeous and the drinks were perfectly refreshing. We had to be home by 7 due to the fact I am still somehow crazily exhausted from this surgery and going to be early every night. But he did stop by the ABC store to grab me some bourbon. And he got me a favorite! I made some cherry soaked bourbons with it. 

Yesterday we headed into Durham to do some shopping and we ended up eating at Ted's Montana Grill. We are not big fans of chains ( and I may be even less of a fan of Ted himself) but their food is spectacular. 

And then, I spied these mint chocolate chip cookies. And I wanted them. And I passed. How sad.

This was our weekend. We had a great time. Some of my favorite moments are ones spent locally! We rarely have them!

What did you guys do this weekend?

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