good eats

Pardon the MIA-ness lately….my best friend FINALLY got married so my life has been consumed by wedding festivities and decorating for the past few weeks. I’ll post pics as soon as I have a few hours to put together a post…First things first, though. I have eaten very well the past week. My week of good eats began Saturday night with dinner at Dandelion Market in Charlotte for my friend Becca’s birthday. It’s a fun tapas bar with food that is to die for, but the coolest part is the wall of Dutch wooden shoes. Here are a few pics of our meal:

The photos don’t even do it justice. We split proscuitto crostinis, stuffed zucchini and lamb lollipops with fresh cherries. A friend made the strawberry cake with rainbow chip icing, which everyone devoured (even without forks). I also enjoyed a fresh cucumber mojito. It was light and perfectly quenched my neverending summertime thirst…for the time being. 😉

Eating all of this inspired me to start cooking again. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking. It has made for a good procrastination device when there’s something I need to do but just can’t bring myself to. I prefer cooking most of my meals at home and try to eat out no more than twice a week. With all the chaos that has become my life, I have been eating out or grabbing something on the go a lot lately. After a while, I can notice a big difference in how I feel and the fit of my clothes. Snugness = yuckness. So, Sunday afternoon E and I grabbed our reusable grocery bags and headed to the grocery store. We loaded up on organic veggies and whole grains, filling all four of our bags to the brim. You gotta love that bag discount! I immediately got to chopping ALL of the produce when we got home…and it only took three hours. Seems a little excessive, I know, but I’ve found that if food is cut and ready to cook then I am more likely to cook everything before it goes bad. I hate wasting food so much that I will eat past any comfortable level of fullness instead of throwing a bite away. Although, sometimes a bite or two ends up in Susie Q’s bowl.

All of that turned into this:

I have been eating on this pasta salad all week. With all the different veggies and flavors I never get sick of it. In case you’re looking for the recipe, here ya go:

Healthy Summer Pasta Salad
(use organic when possible)
1 box tri color rotini
1 bottle lite Italian dressing (I prefer Newman’s Own Lite Olive Oil Vinaigrette)
1 cup black and green olives, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup red and green peppers, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients and toss in large bowl. Let stand in fridge overnight. Bon appetit!

Have you made any delicious (and/or healthy) means lately?

les fenetres – gratuit!

My neighbor is a fifty-something single male who, until recently, lived with his eighty-something mother next door.  She has Alzheimer’s and would sometimes show up on other neighbors’ doorsteps with a suitcase claiming she was coming to stay with them.  She never came to our door, but I would occasionally get a wave when she would sweep her front porch.  She’s now in a nursing home, so her son, self-named Crazy Uncle Charlie, has decided to sell her stuff.  And by stuff, I mean crap that nobody wants.  Like a bedpan.  And a rusty old birdcage.  And a split headboard.

Usually we ride by, embarrassed to live next door to someone who puts a bedpan in his front yard with a homemade FOR SALE sign on it.  This was until last night.  On our way home, we saw a stack of about 20 or so old windows.  Yes, windows!  For a Pinterest fiend like me, I can think of about a hundred uses for said windows.  Picture frame.  Room divider.  Yard decoration.  I could go on and on.  Here is an example of an idea I pinned just yesterday:

When we pulled in the driveway, Elliott asked, “You want those windows, don’t you?”  I responded with a very enthusiastic, “Of course I do!  Why would you even need to ask?!”  We ignored the looming storm clouds, wind and thunder and hauled ourselves next door.  He wanted to take five of them.  I wanted them ALL.  About a dozen trips later, they were all neatly propped on our back porch.

There are different sizes with different numbers of panes.  I can’t wait to drag Kristin, a self-proclaimed Queen of the Unwanted, down from DC to spend an entire weekend putting our useful pins to the test.  My local friends, Elizabeth and Becca, also want to join in on the fun.  I’m thinking a DIY Saturday equipped with some Florence + the Machine blaring through the outdoor speakers and some mason jar cocktails…now, that’s what I call a southern good ole time! 😉

chair update and a newly covered old sofa

Remember this chair?

And how I attempted to cover it myself (Well with the help of a few friends, only one of which was experienced)?

Well a few months (sorry, I’ve been busy) and some professional help with sewing the cushion and ottoman later, here’s the finished chair:

Isn’t it puuuurdy?!  I like the faint dandelion design in the fabric.  It reminds me of being a little girl and collecting dandelions in my parents’ backyard.  My sister and I used to take turns making wishes on them and letting the wind carry away their fuzz.  I love taking old stuff with lots of memories and making it new again.  I got that from my grandmother.  So, it just made sense to take on this project.  She loved this wingback chair and it was the first piece of furniture I had when I moved out on my own after college.  It has appropriately become my reading chair.  I love rainy days when I can lounge in my pj’s all day and let the arms envelop me as I escape into some fictional wonderland.  That’s when I feel her the most and remember when I used to spend afternoons at my grandparents’ watching HGTV and The Food Network, while she sat in her chair, tissues stuck in all the creases.  That lady could go through some Kleenex!

When she passed away last October, I also inherited her camelback sofa.  She has had it my entire life, and, according to my mom, my grandmother has had it recovered quite a few times over the years.

It was a little rough around the edges.  I ordered some fabric from Tonic Living and even scored a 15% discount thanks to my blog following obsession.  After about 8 months sitting in storage, I finally took it to an upholsterer to get covered.  I probably could have done it myself, after all the chair turned out pretty good, but I really wanted it to turn out perfectly.  I delivered it Friday and they delivered it back to me on Monday!

What do you think?!  I think it’s the perfect shade of maize.  Not too bright.  I’m also glad the pillows turned out to match exactly.  I took a risk at Pottery Barn last weekend (what? they were having a sale!).  The knotted blanket is from West Elm and has been folded over the arm of our old sofa and now it happily sits front and center.  For comparison, take a look:

A little cramped, huh?  You could barely open the front door, which meant it never got used.

Ahhhh, much better!  Because the furniture is more petite, we moved it closer to the fireplace to make it a little cozier.  And the best part is – there’s a walkway to the front door!  I should also showcase this dandy little piece (under the window by the front door):

My grandfather built this for their kitchen years ago.  It even has a neat chopping block top!  It was a dirty brown, but I painted it a few months back to use as a mobile beverage station.  Obviously, it has morphed into a portable board game station.  Let the games begin! 😉

Have you done any upholstering lately?

bedside tables – making the old new again

I have been on the hunt for 2 bedside tables for over a year.  For much of that year I was using an old telephone table on one side and an end table on the other.  They were different heights and depths and were only meant to be temporary.  As I’ve been doing more and more updates to the house and making new purchases, I’ve forced myself to let go of some of those pieces that I’ve either had for a while, no longer work for the space or were just hand-me-downs.  I sold the end table/coffee table combo that was my first furniture purchase, not because I didn’t love them but they just didn’t go with the oversized sofa and tiny living room I was working with.  It worked out in the end because, although they were bought through Craig’s List, I actually sold them to someone I went to high school with who was starting a family and buying a house.  They didn’t have much furniture and were so excited to find the tables on CL.  I purchased them for $80 over 3 years ago before I left the mountains.  They bought them for $200!  I know what you might be thinking…but the same set was selling for $250 at a local antique shop so I thought that was a good compromise.  Plus, I need to support my DIY obsession with a bigger bank account.  Every little bit helps, right?

After I sold the end table, I moved my old bookshelf in its place.  As you can see above, it still didn’t suit.  The heights were closer, but the green tint to the telephone table didn’t go with my coral, navy and teal motif.   I had looked everywhere from Joss and Main and One Kings Lane to antique shops and even IKEA.  No.such.luck.  Then one day, Elliott and I happened upon an antique shop I’ve never visited before, Katy Dids (he’s such a trooper – he gets dragged to antique shop after antique shop and never complains).  Most of the stuff was old junk, even though I could see potential with a few items that just needed a little TLC and a new paint job.  BUT then I saw these and immediately sent a picture to my mom and Kristin, my DIY friend who has become my constant second opinion these days.

There were a good many nicks and scratches, but they were exactly what I’ve been looking for.  And at $93.50, I just knew I had to have them.  I waited a couple of days so I could leave the scene and make sure that’s really what I wanted.  Then I went back with $80 cash and planned to haggle a bit.  They agreed to my price and told me that they had just gotten them a week ago.  They had been on hold the day before, probably just after I last saw them, but the lady never came back.  Boy was I in luck!  He also told me that they were from the 1930’s.  Seeing as I love old things with a story, that only added to my need to get them.  I loaded them in my car and brought them to their new home.

I had a 5 day weekend coming up for the 4th of July, so I put the tables by the back door to remind me to get them sanded and stained while I was off.  You know how I hate not being productive.  We already had the sander and new sandpaper and the minwax stain and sealer in one, so I had no excuses not to get ’em done.  Here are some befores and durings (sanding):

And some more durings (staining):

Note: wear gloves, protective mask on your face and goggles!  You don’t want that junk in your nose, eyes and lungs.  While sanding, I tried going side to side but found that sanding in a circular motion worked best.  I did have to go slowly along the edges to make sure I got every corner.  Also, I didn’t press down hard because I only wanted to get the top layer with the (shiny) finish.  Since there were a lot of nicks on the edges, I buffed them a little so they were smooth.  It actually turned out nicely and gave it that Pottery Barn antiqued look.  After sanding every side, leg and crevice, I got a damp towel and wiped the surface until it was clean and all of the dust was gone.  Then, I let them dry, which only took about 10 minutes since it was 100 degrees outside, or hot as Hades as we say southerners say.

Once they had dried, I left my gloves and mask on.  The stain will turn your hands for a week if you don’t and the odor is even more pungent in the heat.  I began staining with a cheap $1 brush from Lowe’s and did thin, even coats over the entire tables.  If any stain started to run, I would swiftly brush it out.  There were some corners that I’d had to sand a lot so I had to put thicker coats on them to cover the wood that was lighter because of the sanding.  I did two coats of stain and let them dry for about 2 hours between coats.  The directions recommend 6 hours, but it was so hot that they dried a lot faster than usual.  After leaving them to dry overnight, I was able to bring them inside and put them in their permanent home.

And the final picture:

In case you’re wondering, the bedding is from West Elm, the two burlap pillows are from my favorite booth at a local antique shop, the teal lamps and burlap shades are from Target and the navy and white chevron lotion bottle and mini tray are from One Kings Lane.

Have you done any boudoir decorating lately?

a relaxing weekend in Connecticut and DC (alternate title – more adventures on the New Jersey Turnpike)

For my last morning in the Big Apple, I grabbed a breakfast wrap and latte from Starbucks and then hailed a cab to the parking deck where I had left my car for the past few days.  I paid the $52 I owed for 2 nights and plugged Alyssa’s address into the GPS and hit the road to Connecticut.

Surprisingly, I only missed 2 turns trying to get out of Manhattan.  I felt like a pro at this point, mastering navigation in the big city.  Once I made it out of New York, it was the easiest drive since I left North Carolina.  I got to Alyssa’s around noon and she drove me through the streets of Norwalk along the water.  It was overcast all afternoon but I still enjoyed seeing another small, quiet town.  They tend to be my favorite and after the bustle of DC and NYC, it was very soothing.  She took me to lunch at a precious French cafe in downtown Norwalk, called Chocopologie.  We devoured ham, apple and brie crepes and a piece of chili chocolate.  Then we wondered in and out of a few boutiques and gift shops.

I always value the time I get to spend with Alyssa.  She was the first new friend I made when we were studying abroad in Paris.  She was from a small private college in New York and we bonded immediately.  We were both trying to make a relationship work across an ocean and soon struggled, together, with finding balance between the new and the familiar.  Neither of our relationships lasted (to put it mildly), but our friendship has remained strong.  She even lived for a year or so in Winston Salem, so we took advantage of the time we were so close geographically.  Other than that, she’s managed to visit me a few times a year.  I’d never made the trip up north to see her, so I’m sure she thought it was long overdue.

A while later we went back to Alyssa’s so she could pack things up for her adorable doggy.  She and her fiance, Matt, were heading to North Carolina the next day after work for a week and her parents were going to dogsit for them.  I’ve never met her parents, but her mom bought us many dinners during our travels abroad and even for my birthday when Alyssa visited a few years ago.  It was so good to finally meet them both.  When we returned home, Alyssa made dinner.  Her family is Italian, so she can make a mean chicken parm, ziti and meatballs.

Mmmmm…the picture doesn’t do it justice.  I helped myself to seconds.  By then, Matt had gotten home and suggested we go for fro-yo.  I acquiesced.  Shocking, I know.

I piled on toppings – white chocolate for-yo, shredded coconut, strawberries, chocolate chips and vanilla yogurt chips.  Deeeelish.

The next day, Alyssa and Matt worked from home so we relaxed around the house and watched old reruns of Saved by the Bell.  I unpacked and repacked my bag and managed to remember to snap one final picture before I had to leave.

It’s never enough time with her, but I knew she and Matt would be staying with me the following Monday through Wednesday.  We said our “see you soons” and then I began the journey back to DC for the weekend.  I thought about driving straight home, but DC is halfway and I had already planned to be gone until Sunday.  I took advantage of one more visit with Kristin.  As if she couldn’t get enough of me…. 🙂

Before further tales in the capital, I will interject here with a story about New Jersey.  I wanted to be adventurous and avoid toll roads back to DC.  TERRIBLE IDEA.  It took me 4 hours to get halfway through Jersey along city streets when it would’ve taken about an hour or so had I taken 95 and just paid the darn tolls.  After hours of nearly bumper to bumper traffic, I finally said #*&@ this and found the quickest route to 95.  Four more hours later, I arrived at Kristin’s.

She and her Matt were enjoying drinks a few blocks away so I changed in my car (it was dark) and walked to meet them.  We all shared a quesadilla and a chimichanga and savoured a few drinks before walking back to their apartment.  I was exhausted from the drive, so it didn’t take long for me to pass out on an air mattress in the living room, soaking up the AC from the window unit.  The next day, Kristin and I agreed that we needed a girl day.  We had brunch and Starbucks mocha frappes and then indulged with mani/pedis.  The salon was packed and way more expensive than I expected, but when the girl asked if I wanted a longer foot massage I didn’t think twice.  $70 later we walked to Georgetown to see the matinee of “The 5 Year Engagement”.  We even split a gigantic popcorn….what rebels.  I love Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt and Alison Brie so I laughed quite a bit.  My only complaint was that it was just a bit too long.  Still a decent rom-com though.

Obviously, we love photo-ops.  We decided to swing by the Safeway grocery on the way home and get the everything we needed for tacos.  We also found some kind of amazing, mouth-watering 7 layer taco dip.  It was difficult walking the remaining 20 minutes without tearing into that dip.  About 22 minutes later, I did.

It probably looks like I have an eating problem, but I love me some good food.  And Kristin likes taking pictures of me eating….We tore up some tacos and then stayed up late talking and laughing and sharing stories.  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful two weeks.  The next morning, I packed up my bags for the last time, along with the memories and clarity I gained during my journey.  Little did I know, some major things would happen the following weeks after my return home (hence the reason it has taken me over a month to write about this little adventure of mine).  But that is another post for another day…

The drive home went by quickly and I sang along to my iPod the entire way.  I loved every minute of those 2 weeks, but I also loved pulling into my own driveway.

Final tally – 1,501.9 miles!!! Whew!  Hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did 😉

eating my way through NYC (alternate title – adventures on the New Jersey Turnpike)

After a wonderful nights sleep, the 3 of us girls casually had breakfast and packed up the car for our little drive to NYC.  It was a dreary day, perfect for driving (who wants to waste a sunny day in a car?!).  Like the motherly type I am, I had a cooler full of bottled waters and some healthy snacks from Whole Foods.  I didn’t want my girls to get hungry/ill during our road trip.  Little did I know that we would be stopping every 45 minutes so someone could pee.  I never realized how true the phrase “girls have tiny bladders” was until this day.  It didn’t help matters that Kristin wanted a Starbucks and a bottle of water every other stop either…

I must credit Kristin for the above photo.  Shannon and I were having way too much fun stuck in traffic and singing along to Glee on my iPod to take pictures ourselves.  After potty breaks in Maryland and New Jersey and a lunch break at Wendy’s in Delaware, we arrived at Shannon’s place in Brooklyn.  It only took 7 hours.

We spent our first few hours on a walking tour of Brooklyn led by Madame BKL herself, Miss Shannon.  It was drizzling a little, which just added to the fun since, like all 10 year olds, I love puddles.  We got to see some awesome views like that of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges above and even the famous Jane’s Carousel.

 Unfortunately, it was closed or else I would have been on a horse before you could say “ride, Sally, ride”.  Instead of riding a faux horse, we rode the metro.  It was getting quite chilly from the rain and I was the only one with an umbrella, so we were happy to find warmth in the underground metro.  Quite the oxymoron, I know.  Don’t believe me?  Check out these 2 happy girls:

Shannon walked us around Soho for a bit before taking us to a cute little place for expensive wine and a yummy, stinky cheese plate.

Needless to say, it didn’t last long.  After a bottle of wine and some good conversation, we walked a few blocks over for dinner at a lovely little place called Home.  Kristin and I “weren’t that hungry” (note the quotation fingers here) after all the bread and cheese, so we split a vegetarian risotto.  We licked the plate.  Another bottle of wine later, we huddled under the umbrella to catch a cab back to Brooklyn.

The next day, Shannon drove us into the city to a parking deck so I could leave my car since we’d all be parting ways that afternoon.  She pointed Kristin and I towards a few cafes and we settled on brunch at Le Pain Quotidien.  Here I am enjoying a caffeinated hot beverage:

Another 5 pounds later, we began our walk to the 9-11 Memorial.  Along the way, we stumbled upon a very familiar stoop….

Any lucky guesses? No?!  Why, that’s Carrie Bradshaw’s front door!  As 2 Sex and the City enthusiasts, we were excited and couldn’t wait to snap a pic.  After a brief photo-op, we continued on our way to the memorial.  Kristin reserved our tix, so it was easy peasy.

Pictured above are both of the Memorial fountains where the Twin Towers once stood.  To the left is a tree that survived the catastrophe.  Seeing the tree still standing reminded me that even in the greatest darkness, there is still life.  The names of those who perished are carved along the edge near the section of the building where they were thought to have been at the time.  It was difficult to read name after name and know that they were important to someone.  I couldn’t help but imagine if those were the names of people I worked with every day.  I don’t think having them memorialized in this way would make it any easier.

We could only take a short time of walking around the memorial that, to me, felt so much like a graveyard.  We decided to try to find our way around on the metro so I could pick up apartment keys from my friend Laura, who I would be staying the night with.  Somehow we ended up right back in Brooklyn.  Sometimes, the line you’re on decides it’s going to skip some of its stops.  In the words of Kristin, the metro can suck it!  We did get a free show from a mariachi duo during our ride…

We de-metroed ourselves at Grand Central Station, pausing for a photo and to listen to a song from a girl performing live with her band.  I didn’t recognize her but I got a free CD!

and

We gleefully hailed a cab to navigate us to Madison and 5th.   A quick hug and key-swapping later, we were famished.  Luckily, just outside of Laura’s office building is this fabulous place called Madison Square Eats, which has various vendors from the area serving their signature dishes.  We each got a brick oven pizza and a beer.  Oh, and of course a cannoli.  When in NYC…

Afterwards we took a stroll through the Flat Iron District to attempt to burn off at least half of the calories we consumed at lunch.  I don’t think we burned much, but we certainly saw some pretty architectural sights.

We headed back towards my car and Kristin got her bags and headed to the bus station for a fun ride back to DC.  I had a meeting and tour scheduled with an amazing lady named Stephanie at Charity Water.  If you’re just tuning in to my blog, I will catch you up to speed.  I have devoted a few odd years and many long hours to nonprofits that I absolutely love and believe in.  Charity Water is one of these.  They build wells in Third World and developing countries to provide clean water to those who need it most.  They remind me every day that I am so blessed not to be poisoned by the water I drink.

Although it was just a quick tour and chit chat with Stephanie, I was extremely nervous as I took the elevator up to their floor of their office.  If I could someday work for any organization in the world, it would be this one.  Mr. Scott Harrison is my hero.  Every story they tell, whether through words or pictures, displays the difference they are making in the world with something we take for granted daily.  As I entered the office and saw the walls lined with photos of the people whose lives and villages they are changing, I had to choke down tears.  I didn’t want to seem like a complete baby when I met Stephanie (a quick note about Stephanie…it says a lot about an organization when the receptionist is one of the most intelligent, compassionate and inspiring people you’ve ever met. Oh, and she hugs. Yeah, we were fast friends.).

I was speechlessly proud to have my picture taken with a jerry can and to have been able to give up birthday presents this year so that someone in the world could have clean water.  I didn’t get to meet Mr. Harrison, but I saw him in his office hard at work saving lives in Africa.  Total inspiration.  I may or may not have nearly peed my pants.

I didn’t want to leave, but I was in need of a shower.  I walked the 2 blocks to my car, unwillingly paid $60 to the parking garage and drove to what felt like the other side of the city to another garage near Laura’s apartment.  I felt like a native city girl driving like a cabby through NYC.  I showered, checked my email and iced my then very swollen ankle before meeting Laura in Curry Hill.  We went to a vegetarian Indian restaurant, where I had the best curry my mouth has ever savored.  And a cool Indian beer.

and

It was a delicious night catching up with Laura about her life in the city as a Maxxinista and mine in my small, exciting town and reminiscing about our semester in Paris.  It seems like so long ago, yet it’s still so easy to pick right back up and feel like we’re back in undergrad, learning the ways of the French.  After dinner we walked back to Laura’s, where I had the best night’s sleep of my entire trip.

I had big plans for my last day in the city.  I was going to spend it all at Broadway!  I didn’t have tickets to any shows, but I was going to take my chances doing the lottery at Wicked.  I saw it when it was touring in Charlotte a few years ago and have been dying to see it on Broadway ever since.  For those of you who know nothing of this lottery, here are the details:  some shows offer a lottery 2 hours before showtime to fill open seats.  You write down your name, they spin all the names around in a BINGO wheel and draw 10 names. If your name is called, you get 2 tickets for $30 each.  Your chances double if you partner up with someone (in case either of you is called), so I was excited when a retired widow from New Jersey asked to be mine.  We didn’t win, but it was nice to make a new friend.  Still determined to see a show, I moved next door to the lottery for Godspell, where I partnered up with Jeff, one of the cast of the traveling tour of In The Heights.  Oh yeah, I know people.  Luckily, we did win and immediately proceeded to grab some yummy Italian before the show.

I love meeting new people (obv.) and it was so fun sharing stories about our very different upbringings and experiences over lunch.  I can’t wait to see where Jeff goes next!  About the show…it was amazing!  I saw it in high school but haven’t seen it again since it’s big revival.  They updated a lot of the jokes and quips to make a more relatable story of the 12 disciples and Jesus for teens and young adults.  I particularly enjoyed the joke about everyone in Heaven having IPads because Steve Jobs is there.  Laugh and sigh.  I would definitely recommend it.  There’s even a grape juice communion during intermission.

My day didn’t end there.  I was going to meet my old Elon/Paris/AXO pal Courtney for dinner and ended up walking close to where she had work.  SInce she had gotten off early, she met up with me and we walked 20 or so blocks to grab my bags from Laura’s and cab it to her place near Central Park.  We were both starving by the time we got to her apartment and walked to Amsterdam to enjoy a lovely 3 course dinner at The Mermaid Inn.

I had the best time eating like we were students in the Latin Quarter again, except this time we shared stories about grad school, mortgages and married life (she and her husband just had their 1 year anniversary…so cute!).  Some things never change…like our love of food.  We walked back to her place and watched the season finale of Revenge before heading to bed.

I needed a good night’s rest if I was going to brave the NYC streets to Connecticut the following morning!

one bad mother runner at a barn sale

After a handful of hours behind the wheel (yet again) and only one wrong turn, I made it to DC.  My childhood best friend, Kristin, recently moved there from Charleston and was dying to have visitors in the big city!   Her friend, Shannon, another blogger and runner, also came down from Brooklyn.  We spent Friday night in DC enjoying a few quesadillas on the rooftop of a restaurant in Georgetown and then proceeded to Bourbon for drinks.

The second I tasted the delicious drink pictured above I promptly yelped, “This tastes like Asia!”  It was some kind of cucumber ginger martini that warmed both my throat and my heart.  It was so good that I of course had another.  After a few drinks (there might have even been a very strong mint julep in the mix) and lots of catching up, we made the lovely walk back to Kristin’s apartment.  We needed sleep before hitting the road Saturday morning for some barn sale-ing and half marathoning!

We began our beautiful Saturday with Bruegger’s bagels and iced coffees before hitting the road to VA.  An hour or so of driving later, out of the city and through the middle of nowhere, we arrived at the famed Lucketts Barn Sale (insert ahhhh here).

I don’t remember the last time I was that excited to pull up to a parking lot.  I could smell the food stands and see the rows and rows of vendors, like the famous Miss Mustard Seed.

There were so many inspirational pieces, which I of course took photos of to remind me to DIY later.  I even picked up the cute little metal stools above for $15 a pop!  I’m thinking they might need a little chalk paint job on the seat….but we’ll see.  Here are some of my inspiration finds:

Antique buffet turned bathroom vanity…

Precious Frenchie desk…

And it wouldn’t be a barn sale without a delicatessen or two.  I devoured the best crab cake sandy ever in about 90 seconds. You think I’m kidding?  Look-y here:

After filling our bellies, it was time to hit the road again to Fredericksburg, VA for the Marine Corps Half Marathon.  We visited the expo to get our runners packets and some other goodies.  My favorite?  A sticker that said, “one bad mother runner”.  Oh yeah, that’s going on my car.  I also got two car coasters that said “will run for wine” and “I sweat liquid awesome”.  I certainly channeled my inner Barney Stinson.  After the expo, we got our carb fix at Carabba’s, my pre half marathon tradition.  We checked into our hotel and had a pretty relaxed evening since we had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to drive to the lot to take a bus to the starting line.

Above is the pic of us post race (from left: me, Kristin, Shannon).  It was not my personal best by any means, but I was running with giant blisters on my soles and a swollen ankle so I’ll chalk it up to injury.  I typically run my races in the winter, so a May run was new to me.  There were a lot of hills and the heat got to me a little more than I expected.  It did feel the usual amazing to cross the finish line!

After the race we showered and headed to downtown F-burg for brunch and some sightseeing.  I was so excited to eat food and partake in some juicy mimosas.  A post brunch walk was perfect before the drive back to DC.  I even managed to snap a few pics while we walked.

The rest of the evening in DC was very low-key.  We settled for a little Georgetown shopping – ahem Lululemon – and a lovely Asian dinner on the patio before ending the day with a movie.  We saw “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and it was even cuter than I expected.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend that you do.  Your significant other would even get a kick out of the Chris Rock daddy’s at the park montages interspersed throughout the film.

We were happy chill at dinner and a movie instead of trying to cram in some sightseeing before our next adventure.  Where’s that do you ask?  NYC baby!