Thursday, May 27, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 5.27.21

A Jolt of West Coast Love

My girlfriend, Jillian, scored an incredible deal on a flight out to Charlotte from San Diego last week and I couldn't have been happier to see her and to have some time together to catch up! Jillian and I met in grad school way back in the day. When we first moved to Charlotte, she was the only person I knew and she did an amazing job welcoming my family and showing me all the best spots! A couple short years later, Jillian took new job teaching at the University of San Diego and off she went (who could blame her?). It was fun switch roles a bit this week and take her to a couple of Charlotte's new destinations. The city has exploded in the few years she's been away! Cheers to our next visit, I already miss you! (And she heard about the flight deal through an app called Hopper.)

Yard Updates/Refresh

This yard project is so overdue. The easement beside our lot is missing a sidewalk. The city just never put one in. Over the years, the grassy area has been encroached upon by neighboring fescue seed (that's competing with our zoysia) and it's basically an eyesore. Additionally, the ivy (NOT planted by me) is out of control and taking over everything all around the yard. You all know I love my houseplants; however, yard work/pruning/weeding is not my jam. Unfortunately, the landscaping around this house has suffered from our own neglect and mismanagement. We are finally addressing a few of the more problematic areas and I'm very excited to share the progress with you. Here's just a small sneak peak of what's coming: 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

OMGoodness. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book I've had on my "to-read" list for YEARS and I finally got around to picking it up. Geneva had it checked out from the library and recommended I not put it off any longer. I read it in a day --at the expense of everything else I was supposed to accomplish. Some books are like that. This was one of them. My friend, Tracie, says the movie is one of her all-time favorites. It's directed by the author of the book so I have high hopes. Have you read the book? Seen the movie? Both??

Knock Off Birkenstocks

The first time I saw the yellow suede pair of Arizona Birks on my friend, Laura, I wanted a pair of my own. However, the holidays were coming and I was making a real effort not to buy myself anything so I waited. Of course, they sold out and have never become available again (unless you want them lined in shearing  --which I do not). Anyhoo... flash forward to last week when I was INFLUENCED on Instagram into checking out the Amazon knock-offs. They're really kinda great! However, I will say, like actual Birkenstocks, these also take a little time to break in. The bonus is they have a nice cushion under the heel --which the real ones lack. They come in tons of colors and are true to size. 

Cauliflower [Florets] with Chipotle-Cashew Sauce

The recipe, from Milk Street Magazine (November/December 2019), actually calls for cauliflower steaks --but I'm super lazy and subbed prepared cauliflower florets from the bag instead. Wow. This dish was packed with flavor and I loved every bite! Whether you use 2 pounds of steaks or florets, you'll toss in olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper and roast until fork-tender in a 450ยบ oven 20-30 minutes (flip halfway if you're doing steaks). Here's the magic: To make the sauce, stir together 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 finely grated medium garlic clove, 3/4 cup chopped roasted cashews, 1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (mined), 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used olive oil), and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spoon over the warm cauliflower. Prepare to be wowed. 

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 5.20.21

Cheers to Porch Time

We are through the bright yellow pollen season in Charlotte. Huzzah! That means more slow evenings on the porch watching the neighborhood walk past, visiting with friends, and enjoying cool sips.

Old Fashioneds

Speaking of cool sips --this one is the definition. Our first choice to try from the latest Unpretentious Palate Old Fashioned sampler kit was Ashely Thompson's (The Cocktailery) "Peaches is My Name." The peach, cinnamon, and pecan bitters syrup made for an incredibly flavorful and layered cocktail and the dehydrated peach slice that was subsequently infused with rich bourbon was amazing!

Outdoor Music

It was a pleasure to listen to these two, with all of their high school classmates, play their instruments so beautifully last night on the quad lawn. The cherry on top of our breezy and relaxing evening was that (to our surprise and delight), our flutist was presented with a Musicianship Award from her band director. :)

Caladium Lindenii Magnificum

Guess what? I should avoid acquiring new plants before heading out of town. I know this. And yet...
My girlfriend, Laura, via text: "Get to Lowes ASAP [pic]"

Propagation vessels are Hilton Carter for Target

Spring in the Yard

'Tis the season for magnolias and hydrangeas --two of my faves blowing up at once. Swoon. We are getting ready to do a little yard re-fresh... What's your favorite outdoor blooming plant that I should consider adding to the plan?


Here's my dad. He's been adjusting since my mom passed this last summer. Helping to adjust, have been his two big dogs (Bonnie and Baxter) and THIS little morsel, his great-grand-daughter, Sage. This pic was taken yesterday when GGPa, Sage, and Baxter went for a walk. And then I had a heart full of happiness.

The Lap Dog

Ben thinks that if I just let him try, he could definitely fit in the chair with me. As you can well imagine, it's very hard to not let him try.

Jumpsuit, Sunnies, Necklace, Earrings, "Ben's Baby"

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 5.13.21

Mother's Day Love

I was completely spoiled on Mother's Day and I sincerely hope you were too (if it's a "holiday" you celebrate). Mother's Day can be a little tricky for me. Aside from a brief text exchange several years ago, the last time I spoke to --or even laid eyes on my mom, was almost 11 years ago (and before that it was a rollercoaster at times --but not all the time). It's a long story. I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by exceptional mother figures. Toward the end of 2020, we lost my wonderful, amazing, "super grandma," badass, stepmom, Debbie, to an aggressive cancer that came out of nowhere with a fury and vengeance that took our breath away. So this year felt even more fragile. However, there's absolutely nothing I love more than being Geneva and Piper's mom and I am grateful (for myself and the girls) that my mother-in-law is vivacious, active, hilarious, and always ready for a dance party. Plus, she just moved from California to Charlotte in March! We spent most of the day with her and it was lovely. The girls chose a beautiful new cookbook (always a favorite of mine), built me a terrarium, and my all-time favorite: made me homemade cards. Greg surprised me with a new purse that I blogged about a couple weeks ago and a pair of new Printfresh pajamas (this "Lemon Drop" short sleeve set). The day was tied up with a bow when we indulged in my favorite meal (filet, grilled veggies, green salad with all of the cheese, and a giant cabernet) and watched the movie of my choice: My Octopus Teacher (so good --we all loved it). All in all, an absolutely wonderful day!

Booty Vase (+ Progress)

I love to feel like my people "get"me. :) My girlfriend, Tracie, texted me this week, "This vase is so YOU [screenshot]." Me: *gets in car and drives directly to the consignment market.* Because, seriously. Look at this booty! Also captured here is a little sneek-peek at some more progress in the living room! I mentioned a couple months ago that I bought some very cool shelves from Anthropologie. ONE of them has been backordered and should arrive at the end of this month --and "lort" knows it better at this point --because I just ran out of patience and hung the other four (with a gap in-between for the final piece). Can you imagine if Anthro sends me some little email after all these months that says, "sorry, we don't have your item"? Ugh. 

Surprise Surprises

Looky at what just arrived out of the blue! These Houseplant Jungle playing cards by Galison are a gorgeous little "hello, these made me think of you" present from my friend, Gretchen. Each card has a different plant illustration on the face and they are so beautiful that I shouldn't allow myself to actually play poker with them because I'd be too distracted by the details of the designs that I'd be certain to make a bad bet.

Bernedoodle Baby

The perspective on this shot is certainly adding to Ben's SIZE, but he really is quickly approaching 50 pounds and is just over 16 weeks. He's cuddly, clumsy, enthusiastic about having any part of your body in his mouth, and thinks hotdogs are the bomb. He's heading off to "boarding school" to learn some manners in about 3.5 weeks. We will miss him so much during the four weeks he'll be away from home. (And I can't imagine how BIG he'll be when he gets home!)

Unpretentious Palate's Latest Old Fashioned Kit

We got one of these amazing kits last winter and I'm thrilled they've put together another. Cheers to those who live in and around Charlotte because you can pre-order one of these sampler kits just in time for Father's Day (pickup on June 12th). Inside, you'll find that eight of the city's best bartenders have created unique recipes that make up their personal take on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. Everything you need to make these eight recipes (2 servings each) --minus the bourbon, because NC liquor law doesn't allow it to be included, is inside the box. Dad's going to love you for it! 


WooHoo! Just in time for travel and camp... 

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)