Thursday, October 21, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 10.21.21


Meggie Sullivan owns and operates this cleverly-named service here in Charlotte. I've blogged about her before (a gift certificate would make a lovely gift) and had the pleasure of serving one of her gorgeous and delicious spreads this last week when some friends (and generous volunteers) joined me to help wrap gifts for The Children's Theatre's annual gift-giving experience for children, Winter Wonderland (formerly known as Santa's Bag). Meggie and I had a brief exchange of ideas and she executed to perfection on this brunch-themed board. Not only was everything delightful to look at --the quiche was the best I've ever tasted and the details were amazing! Even if you're not in the Charlotte area, give her a follow on Instagram and enjoy her creations for eye-candy and inspiration!

Gillian Stevens Art

Gillian Stevens is the designer and artisan behind Dewdrop Designs, a female owned, local-to-Charlotte, enterprise that offers original canvas art, leather accessories and jewelry, and wonderfully textured pieces made of wood, clay, beads, and glazed ceramics. I fell in love with The Last Drop. This leather knot wristlet is made from reclaimed leather and is a perfect little day or evening bag. I had a hard time choosing --but came away with the creme-colored bag.

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Walking Ben Letting Ben Just Walk

Confession time. Ben has been through some rigorous training. Knowing he was going to be a huge dog, it was important to us that he have nice manners. For a 9 month puppy, he's doing pretty well. Even though we were told in advance, we were unprepared for how much work it would be on a daily basis to reinforce and support all of the formal training he had (when we sent him to "boarding school" at 5 months). For sure, he is still sleeping in his crate --though, that was certainly the biggest battle. He is excellent when asked to stay on "place" and his recall is strong (as long as he's not distracted by something he finds interesting LOL). Having said all that, I must confess that we have stopped insisting he be held to a very high (or any real) standard on walks. Honestly, it just wasn't all that relaxing or enjoyable to have to constantly work through his multiple walks a day. Now we give him the lead to sniff, explore, (PULL), and frolic. He's still required to move aside and stay in a "sit" when other people and dogs pass us on the sidewalk --but otherwise, he just puppies around. It's so nice to be able to listen to an audio book, sip a coffee, or enjoy a conversation with whoever is walking with us --now that correcting him is not a full-time job. 

Home Bartenders

There's little I love more than a delicious cocktail that has been made with friendship and care. My friend, Anne, is famous for this. She loves mixology and has an impressive array of ingredients (and ideas) for serving her guests amazing sips. Don't get me wrong, I love a simple glass of wine or an ice-cold beer (from time to time) --but there's something extra special about the thoughtfulness that often goes into mixing a featured cocktail for an in-home evening of celebration or socializing. Enter my friend Amy. Amy hosted our neighborhood "Foodie Night" group (formed during quarantine 2020 to share recipes, inspiration, and support --and still going strong) for appetizers and drinks last week. To toast this first indoor gathering of five, she mixed fresh-squeezed juices and secret* ingredients to create perfectly refreshing margaritas and palomas. Can't you almost taste the citrus just by looking at this picture?! Cheers to that! (*Maybe the ingredients weren't necessarily a secret --but I wasn't paying enough attention to share what they were.)

Chilly Fall Evenings

We are currently experiencing "I Left My Jacket at School" weather here in Charlotte. Mornings begin in the low to mid 40ºs and as the day continues, temps rise to the high 70ºs/low 80ºs. However, for a brief evening last week, it stayed chilly enough to talk ourselves into a festive little fire pit. We ate dinner "camping style" in our laps and then enjoyed some toasted marshmallows afterward. It is such a little thing that brings us all so much happiness. I look forward to many more fire pit evenings this season!

Jane Harper

I just finished my second audio book by Jane Harper. Have you read anything from this author? Her stories are set in Australia and she writes murder/mystery. The first of her books I read was, The Lost Man --about the death of a seemingly successful and happy man in the remote Australian Outback. He is survived by two brothers, and his wife and kids. Family secrets, unexplained circumstances, and suspicion give rise to a slow-burning and suspenseful story that I didn't want to put down. The novel I just finished, The Dry, unravels the mystery surrounding the brutal murder/suicide of a family man in a small Outback town facing great hardship and draught. His childhood friend, Aaron Falk (now a federal agent), reluctantly returns to attend the funeral and gets caught up in an unofficial investigation. Again, a fairly gripping plot that kept me guessing until the end. I found both books incredibly entertaining and very well done! Listening to Steven Shanahan perform The Dry with an Aussie accent just adds another enjoyable layer to the experience. The character, Aaron Falk, from The Dry is featured in what's sure to be my next book by Jane Harper, Force of Nature. Eventually, I'll get around to reading her latest novel, The Survivors.

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