Monday, June 27, 2011

Spreading Love in Honduras

We’re heading back to Honduras soon and CANNOT wait to see these sweet smiling faces again!!



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If you would like to know more about the group we’ll be going with check out Louder Than Words’ website.  If you would like to see about our trip from last year go here, here or here.  And from the first year I went, here.  And if you want to learn more about the orphanage, you can go to their website here.

Please pray for our safety and that the children will have a great time at “camp.”  Our hope is that they will feel the love of Jesus Christ through us. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cooking with Gas

We have been in DESPERATE need for a new grill.  Our existing grill was a present for Joe’s 30th birthday. (he’s turning 37 in a month!)  So 7 years for a grill to last is pretty good.  Well truth be told we haven’t been able to use the grill for while.  Why, you ask?  Because it looks like this!


Doesn’t look too bad on the outside!  But the insides – not so much!  Check out that rust.  UGH!


We had been talking about getting a new grill all spring.  But we just couldn’t seem to get to the store to actually purchase it.  So on Sunday afternoon, we hopped in the car to run some errands.  We had 3 stops to make.  Shop for a mattress – yes we STILL haven’t purchased a mattress.  More on that later.  Go try out some bicycles – potential birthday presents for each other.  And head to the Home Improvement store for a grill.

So our first stop was to Home Depot and we can upon this grill.  It was in the budget – good sized and was in stock.  So we said “we’ll take it!”  BUT when we went outside to pick out which one we wanted; they all looked junky.  Already rusted in spots – dings in the cover.  I didn’t want to start out with rust.  So I walked back inside and returned the grill before we even took it anywhere.

So next stop was Lowes.  I was determined to get a grill!  We found a Char-Broil that looked pretty swanky!  So we pulled the trigger on that one.  Well out to the car we went.  Joe and I both felt extremely confident that it would fit in the back of his SUV.  We were both extremely WRONG!  And of course by this time it was 5:55 on Sunday and they were closing @ 6 pm.  So our plan was to come back on Monday and rent the “Lowes” truck.

So Joe headed back on Monday to rent the truck.  BUT he didn’t have his updated insurance card!  URGH!!  Was this grill thing supposed to happen or WHAT!?!  Thankfully a friend at work let me borrow his truck and I got that bessie home.  She looks so pretty in her new home.




Joe made some yummy Bison burgers for our inaugural grill off!  And so much faster than waiting on the charcoal like we had been doing.  I am so thankful to have a gas grill again!!  I seem to eat so much healthier when I grill. 

Have you had any challenging purchases recently?  Are you making the most of the grilling season?  Any recipes you would care to share??

And I just have one more thing to share with you guys…  Annie was looking super cute hanging with me on the deck as I was taking pictures.  So she had to pose for a shot too!


What a cutie pa tootie!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Lovin’

Are you loving summertime as much as me??  There is just something about coming out a cold long winter that makes you appreciate the warmth of the sun’s rays on your skin just a little more!  I thought I’d take a minute to share just a few things that I am really loving about summer…

Hanging out on the front porch. 


I just want to be outside any opportunity I can get.  And normally if you’re in the shade it’s fairly comfortable.  If not you can just wait for the early morning with your cup of coffee or late night with a glass wine!

Delicious Tomatoes


There’s just something about a fresh tomato that is quintessential Summer! Cherry, Roma, Beefsteak, Heirloom – I love them all!

Fresh Flowers from the Market


At our farmer’s market they have amazing flower bouquets for $10.00 – but only when the market is in session.

All the wonderful things growing in the yard

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We have multiple hydrangeas in our yard that I love cutting them and bringing blooms inside.  I have mint in our flower garden that I love to make Mojitos with!  We are also enjoying our basil (with our tomatoes!)


What are you enjoying this Summer?


Thursday, June 16, 2011


Do you speak in acronyms?  BTW – LOL – BRB – BFF – TTFN.  Well maybe everyone doesn’t say “ta ta for now” like I do.  But when I saw this tweet last week from a new furniture store in Southend, High Cotton Home Co…

Calling all #CLT home and lifestyle bloggers! It's time to meet IRL! Join us on June 15: #clthomemeetup

…I decided I needed to check this out.  How cool to finally meet some Charlotte peeps I n    R eal L ife!  So I headed over to High Cotton. This is a new furniture store for Rodney Hines, but it’s not his first rodeo.  Rodney has been in the furniture industry for years.  I remember going to his first shop years ago when I worked for a design firm. He has always had a passion for providing beautiful things at beautiful prices!  (that means a super deal, people!)  Rodney has another shop in Southend as well, The Furniture Connector

I’m so excited about this event I can’t decide what to talk about first the great people or the great furnishings?!?!  Well let’s meet Rodney:


Here we are hanging out by some beautiful fabrics.  Rodney is SUPER sweet guy – makes you feel so welcomed!  He was the perfect host!


I got to meet some fellow tweeters.  Above is Todd aka GreenMarketGuy (on the left) and Andy @ Tack Charlotte Upholstery (blue t-shirt).  I didn’t get an opportunity to meet the lovely ladies on their right.


Here you see Rodney again with Rachel @iftheshoefits and Nicole with Yelp


You may recognize these peeps…  Yep that’s Ms Emily Clark  of Emily A Clark Designs. Sweet as a glass of Southern sweet tea! Emily has blown up in the blog world (for good reason!) and has so many great ideas! 

And the GW of thrifting – Mr Goodwill Hunting aka Rashon.  Don’t you love his “i ♥ thirfting” T'!  It’s a revolution.  You must check it out!!  RIGHT HERE!  And there’s going to be a BIG event on July 9th – that’s going to be WORLDWIDE – all thanks to Mr G-Dub!  Oh and you can get your own snazzy T right here.


We were also hanging with Ms Kim of Super Chyc – a super sweet chicky that loves to blog about thirfting, fashion, and much more!


Rodney had a little door prize action going on as well.  Melissa was the lucky winner of a gorgeous silver tray.  Nice, right!  Speaking of gorgeous…  let’s take a little time to look around this store!

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AHH-mazing, right!  You must go over and really check this place out!  Rodney is stocking Vanguard Furniture (made in Hickory NC – yay for local!!) found pieces from flea markets, awesome accessories, uber cool lighting and the list goes on!

And to top off a super-fabulous evening we didn’t leave empty handed!  Yes that’s right – swag people!  Some goodies from Vanguard and a BEE-utiful pillow…

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So cool, right!  It’s perfect in the living room.  Thanks again Rodney!!

High Cotton Home Co. is right across the street from Atherton Mill on South Blvd.  So make a afternoon of it…  Hop into High Cotton and take a nice long stroll around – there’s lots to look at!  Then walk over to Bead Me by Linda Minor for some handmade jewelry and then end the evening with a nice bottle of wine from The Vin Master.  So fun exploring new spots!

There were other Charlotte tweeters / bloggers I didn’t get photos of (maybe cause they were hiding from the camera!) or I didn’t get an opportunity to meet…  @havencharlotte @caitlinkaestner @vanguardfurn @moondoonie  @goodwillsp

I had so much fun and was so happy to meet some fellow Charlotte bloggers and tweeters.  I would love to meet some more!  There’s talk that this won’t be the last #clthomemeetup – bring it on!

T T F N!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Food Truckin’

I don’t know about in your area but the Food Trucks are in high demand around the Charlotte area.  If you haven’t experienced this whole mobile eatery phenomena, let me break it down for ya!  It’s a restaurant on wheels. Yeah, it’s that simple.  There are lots of different trucks in the Charlotte area.  There’s a wing truck, a pizza truck, a cupcake truck, a local / organic truck and the list goes on!!

There’s even a weekly gathering of all the trucks in Uptown.


So far we’ve only been to Chowdown once and the food was GONE! That was the first week of the event and I couldn’t make it till later in the evening.  I think they’ve done better planning as well and prepared for the multitudes to get their eat on.  SO…  I’ve been on a mission to find the trucks at other times!  Cause you know I like to try new things!

So first truck we found = Harvest Moon Grill

They had two options that day we found them on Camden & Park. 

Option 1:  Cucumber Tomato & Bacon Sandwich with a bulgur salad

Option 2:  Barbeque Pulled Pork with green salad and peach vinegarette


I went with option A.  That sandwich was STUPENDOUS!  The bread was grilled and nice and crunchy.  I do believe there *may* have been some butter on there!  The proportions of cucumber, bacon and tomato were perfect.  A good sandwich is all about proportions.  I believe in sandwich artists and the good man in the Harvest Moon Cart is an ARE-TEAST!

We headed back to the same spot on a Friday and The Roaming Fork was parked and serving up some tasty treats!  They had multiple options – I don’t know if I even remember them all.  I do know there was:

Option 1:  Blackened Fish Tacos with chips

Options 2:  Pulled BBQ Pork with mixed greens in Balsamic Vinaigrette


And this time I went with the BBQ pork.  It actually came as a sandwich but I was trying to watch my carb intake.  You didn’t need the bun.  Really I think it might be better without the bun – you could really appreciate the nice flavor of the rub on the pork.  There were little nuggets of goodness in there – the charred edges where you could tell the grill had left it’s mark! 

I look forward to getting back Uptown for Chowdown Uptown soon!  There’s Philly steaks to try, cupcakes to partake in, and pizza to munch on!

Have you had any foodtruck treats?  Wanna plan a meeting @ the next Chowdown??

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dinner Club - June

We have started a dinner club with our good friends Tracie & Roland.  Tracie and I have been friends since our Peace College days.  So ever since they moved to Charlotte, we have enjoyed any time we have been able to spend together!

The four of us love food!  Roland worked in the restaurant industry for years so we often like to reminisce about the days of restaurant working.  Last night we brought up the whole “serving table recurring dream.”  If you haven’t served tables before you may not know what this is about… but it’s similar to the “can’t seem to make it class” dream.  It's pretty funny how the restaurant industry makes a mark on your life!  Ok sorry for the sidetrack!  Back to subject at hand…  

Last month was our initial Dinner Club meeting, where we came up with the idea of a monthly “Dinner Date.”  We went to Bask on Seaboard, which as the bad blogger that I am, I never blogged about.  But I am going to try and do a better job! 

So this month The Fig Tree was on tap!

Our table was on the porch – it was a perfect evening to sit outside.  Roland loves appetizers and he was hungry, so the ordering began…

Bison Carpaccio – with heart of palm, arugula and parmesan
The bison was so good.  It literally melted on your tongue

Crab Pagoda – crab meat with avocado salsa layered between house made potato chips

Loved the presentation.  But I felt like there was a little something missing on this dish.  It needed some more salt and maybe a little more acid (lemon juice) maybe?? 
Cheese Platter (which I unfortunately don’t remember which ones were on the plate.  Oops!)
Loved the mixture of cheeses with assorted fruit, honeycomb, and different crackers.  Also thought it was a cool touch that a fig leaf was on the bottom of the plate. Get it – fig leaf – Fig Tree Restaurant.  HA!


Cold smoked duck breast with arugula and peaches.
A special for the evening.  This was so good!  The duck was tender and flavorful and the peaches were a perfect compliment. 
Next up Soup & Salad course:

Caesar & Spinach

Corn & Stilton Cheese Soup – surprising yummy – I thought it would be too strong with the Stilton, but it was really smooth and rich.
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Tracie & Roland had the 2 entrée's above. 

Grilled Provimi Veal Chop and Jumbo Shrimp over Smashed Fingerling Potatoes with Cremini Mushrooms, Capers and Sherry Garlic Butter Sauce with Asparagus

This was an amazing piece of meat.  The meat was extremely tender and flavorful.  I would go back today and get this!  DELISH!

Grilled Filet Mignon topped with Stilton Cheese and Mushroom Duxelles over Fingerling Potatoes and Wilted Arugula with Veal Demi-Glace and Asparagus (minus the Stilton)

The filet was cooked perfectly.  They had a really nice hard sear on the steak and the demi glace added a nice sweetness to the saltiness of the seasoning of the filet.

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Joe and I went with:

Sautéed George's Bank Sea Scallops over House Made Saffron Fettuccine with Fava Beans, Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Preserved Lemon in Basil-Mascarpone Sauce

Pasta was perfectly cooked. Creamy rich goodness.  Scallops perfectly seasoned and seared!

Pork Porterhouse with Barbequed Fingerling Potatoes with Stewed Okra with pan jus.

This was one of the specials of the night.  Unfortunately the pork was over-cooked (to well-done).  I didn’t love the bbq flavored potatoes either.  Wouldn’t get this one again.

And then came the sugar!!

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White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding     Chocolate Molten Cake

And somehow I don’t have the pictures of the Beignets.  They were light and fluffy and sweet.  They came with Cinnamon Crème Anglaise that was SERIOUS.  It was so tasty I thought a spoonful of it my coffee would be perfect.  And it was!

We had such a good time.  The meal was slowly paced.  Lots of time for chatting and catching up.  Our monthly dinner dates have been our only time with Tracie & Roland so we’ve got lots to catch up on!
July’s Dinner Club is planned and I look forward to telling y’all the details!  Any suggestions? 

There are so many yummy spots in our Queen City.  And there are places on our list that we’ve never been to.  Barrington’s for instance.  How have I lived in Charlotte for over 13 years and haven’t been to Barrington’s??  Ridiculous!  We will fix this problem!