Thursday, October 31, 2019

Things I Love Thursday // 10.31.19

  • Kindred - The hubby and I had the pleasure of celebrating a friend's recent nuptials in Huntersville last weekend. The drive is about 30 minutes north of Charlotte. Since we were heading up there on a Saturday evening for the festivities, we thought to start our night at the critically acclaimed Kindred restaurant in Davidson beforehand. We had both been there on other occasions but never for dinner and never together. We had excellent cocktails, an amazing meal, and so much fun. Look how funny I found my cocktail to be (photo below). Getting there might be more effort than the typical date night warrants --but the dining experience will definitely be worth it if you make the journey. (Our Uber was about $30 and the luxury of not driving was priceless because like I implied, they offer many amusing beverages.)

    "This cocktail is hilarious!"
    Scallops a la Plancha
  • Optimist Hall - With a day off of school this week, I finally took the girls to Optimist Hall (located at 1115 N. Brevard Street). If you haven't been there yet, it's definitely an outing that should be added to your list. The building, a 147,000-square-foot redevelopment of an old gingham mill is now Duke Energy office space and an impressive food hall that includes some retail (Archer Paper, Pet Wants). The restaurant tenants open at the time of this post include: The Dumpling Lady, Undercurrent Coffee, Zukku Sushi, Bao and Broth, Honeysuckle Gelato, Papi Queso, Village Juice Co.El Thrifty, and The Spindle Bar. If that already sounds like an impressive list, get this --here's a list of what's still to come: Aix Rotisserie, Fonta Flora Brewery, Ava Neopolitan Pizzeria, Suarez Bakery & Barra, Billy Sunday, Felix's Handmade Empanadas, Botiwalla Indian Street Grill, Boxcar Betty's, Velvet Taco, and Mezeh. (Wow. Maybe we should agree to meet there daily until we've had a chance to sample all the goods?) As for the space, the brick, hardwood floors, and exposed duct work are original but the fresh coat of paint, big windows, and abundance of plants creates a bright, open, and inviting feel. They have ample seating options both inside and outside. The girls and I hit it on a Monday afternoon and the weather was sunny and warm. We were delighted to run into a handful of the girls' teachers and several neighbors and friends. Great minds...

    {photo via Charlotte Business Journal}

  • "Weekend Plans" Art Print - We picked up this gem a few weeks ago for G's room. The print is by Shawna Koontz and it couldn't be more perfect for our girl(s). In case you can't see the text on the front of the book in the photo below, it reads "How to Smash the Patriarchy". Art prints are a versatile, affordable way to decorate. This 11x14 print was about $20 and the frame was on sale at Michael's for about $15.

  • A Backyard Oyster Roast - Ahhh! I love oysters and I love them best freshly steamed with friends gathered around a backyard table in the fall sunshine. What a treat! Our friends sourced their oysters from Porcupine Provisions in Charlotte and they were exceptional! 

  • Effortless Entertaining - On that note of gathering your friends together... A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing DeeDee Dalrymple tell the story of how she came to the idea to write her workbook/instruction-manual Effortless Entertaining. Both her presentation and guide book are packed with great tips, menus, resources, and stories. The idea that I find myself coming back to is this: inviting friends/family into your home is a gift. Specifically, DeeDee says, "Dinner is not a performance. It's a gift of friendship. Entertaining is about enjoying family and friends, not pursuing perfection." In reframing the starting point (from "putting on a perfect evening for your guests" to "enjoying a warm and genuine evening with your friends") she changes the energy and focus of the whole affair. In theory, this will help us all to move past any misgivings/stress around the idea that we have to prepare a perfect meal, have a spotless home, or be polished, well-practiced hosts in order to pull off a successful dinner party. We don't even have to strive for that --in fact, we should not. Instead, according to DeeDee, we just need remember and "appreciate that our friends are excited to be together in our homes... They'll arrive with open hands to receive our gift of hospitality." Don't wait until you think everything will be perfect; everything will be just right because you've extended the invitation.

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