Back From The Dead

Oh hello there.  If you haven’t noticed I’ve been a little MIA for the first part of the week.  Simply put, it’s because I felt like I was dying.  I’m much better now, but the past 48 hours have been hellish.  For the sake of this blog starting and ending on a positive note, let’s make this post a positive blog sandwich {you know, one thing positive, one thing negative, one thing positive}.

So for the first positive…rewind to this past Friday.

My friend, Jess {as in the one I’ve had for years but just recently became Facebook friends with}, is starting a new chapter in her life this week.  She’s a fellow Herd alum, but was also an employee with Marshall’s athletic department, and she’s just recently accepted a job offer with FSU!  A FLA native, I’m so happy that she’s able to go back to the sunshine state and still do what she loves.  We are all so proud of her!!!!  This past weekend was her last weekend in town, Molly had plans to come up but I wanted to surprise her for her last romp through Huntington.  {me=early bday surprise??? 🙂 }

{me, Molly, Jess, and Erika!}

As we all know, when it comes to my friends and Huntington, I can get weirdly nostalgic, so I won’t do it here.  BUT it was really nice to see my friends, and be there while one friend was closing a chapter in her life and moving on to another.  Can’t wait to visit you in FLA, Hessica…wahoo!

We then went over to my beloved Hagy’s house for Sunday dinner {former employers/owners of La Famiglia}, with our other friend, Kendall.  I absolutely adore that family, and love visiting with them in their home.  It honestly feels like you’re visiting with your own family at your own home.  A great way to end a weekend.

Now for the quick negative….

Without getting too graphic, I woke up with sharp pains at 4am on Monday and could not stop vomiting.  It was like The Exorcist for 24 hours.  I have no idea exactly what did it, but we’re just chalking it up to some random gnarly 24/48 hour stomach virus.  No one else that I was with this weekend got sick, but I somehow directed myself home.  I’ve pretty much seen cross-eyed for the past 48 hours, and unable to walk from one side of my apartment to the other without getting nauseous.  It was kind of scary, and I haven’t been sick like that in years.  The good news is, it’s clearing up.  However, blogging was the last thing on my mind.  If I had somehow gained enough sense to write, it would have been the most pessimistic thing you would have ever laid eyes on because I was in so much pain.

Now back to the positive….

Like I said, I can see straight again and I can do things without feeling like I need to carry a bucket around with me 24/7.  I’m still not at 100%, but after 2 days I’m already experiencing symptoms of cabin fever.  I want to jump right back into my routine, but I know that isn’t the most intelligent thing to do.  So here’s the plan.  I’m going to unpack/clean/disinfect my apartment, answer some emails, maybe go to the store, and be back with the dairy-free chai tea latte recipe that I talked about on Friday!  Baby steps to get back to normal.  I just wanted to check in and let you guys know what’s been going on/that I’m back from the dead.

Hope everyone’s had a great week so far!  {and not been sick}…

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Hello Huntington

Any chance to have a friend weekend is a good enough reason for me.  Like I covered in the most recent  #FiveThings, I was able to take a trip up to Huntington this weekend to spend time at my alma mater, Marshall University, with my friends!!!  This is a quick recap of that…it’ll mostly be pictures.

I got in to town on Friday around one o’clock and met up with my friend, Jess.  We first stopped by the Mulberry Street Meatball Company & Deli for lunch.  It was great to see my old “second fam”, and I got so distracted and was so hungry, I don’t have a food picture.  But trust me, it was amah-zing.

Before getting Jess back to work, I was also able to get a quick tour of Marshall’s brand spankin’ new indoor facility.  This thing is on point.

I also got to check out the HOF that’s attached to the new facility.  Not too shabby, Marshall.

Erika and Jess both had to work a little bit on Friday night, so Molly and I met at La Famiglia {where Jess was bartending}, and sat at the bar while we ate and had some wine until it was time to get ready to go out.

Chaos then ensued.  That’s all I have to say about that.

To everyone’s dismay but my own, it ended up snowing Friday night in Huntington and everything was covered when we woke up, like a dream.  I planned ahead and brought my camera, so Jess, Molly, and I headed out to Ritter Park with Erika’s dog, Oakley.  Ritter Park is a local park in Huntington where I’ve spent many a day running, walking, or just hanging out.

Check out this Canon goodness.

There’s Molly and Jess in the bottom left corner…so artsy.

And there’s Oakes!  She just loves to play.

Jess had to work at La Fam again on Saturday, so we ended up going back for round 2 for dinner.  We didn’t mind because this is literally one of {if not THE} best restaurants in Huntington.  I miss working here sometimes, the Hagy’s {owners} really are like family {P.S. Cody, you’re picture will be up Friday}.

As a group, we are legitimately the worst people to be responsible for taking pictures {and me…a blogger, for crying out loud!}  I think we just get so overwhelmed when we see each other that we get distracted and forget about it.  This was easily one of the best {and only} pictures from the weekend, at Jockey Club.

Sunday morning, we all went over to Jess’s house for brunch.  It was soooo good….better than anything we could have ordered out.

French Toast, bacon, cajun sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, organic strawberries, and beermosas {Woodchuck and OJ}.  Easily the best thing to have while re-hashing the weekend, and our time at MU.  I’m pretty sure we sat around the table and walked down memory lane for two hours, if not more.  Even though not all of my friends were there, or could make it, it was so nice to be able to see everyone that I could.  Like I said yesterday, I ended up staying Sunday night because I didn’t try to leave until 6pm {great idea, Christine}. This allowed me to spend a little more time with Jess and watch the newest episode of GIRLS {and Friends on the ‘Flixxxx}.

It’s good to reintroduce yourself, to a part of yourself every now and then.  Quite honestly, it’s something that I’ve been needing recently.  I did a lot of growing up in Huntington {age 18-24, grad and undergrad}.  That town and the people in it are a big reason why I am who I am today.  Even if some growing pains were involved along the way.  It’s home #2.  When my friends are there with me, it’s like we never left one another and class is on Monday.  Everything in Herd Country is Kelly Green.  The boundaries of campus are marked by The Joan and Old Main, which watches over 4th Ave, serving as a navigational beaker when you need to get back home at 3am.  Houses, most of which are now used as apartments for college students, are aged with character and could probably use a paint job.  The margaritas at Rio are strong, and the arguably iconic bar owner, Herb, is waiting for you at The Union with “The Original Southern Belle”.  You can’t beat it.  Full of familiar faces, it doesn’t seem to change much, and that I don’t mind at all.  It’s not a perfect or glamorous city.  It’s Huntington, WV- a small college town with a football team, a lot of pride, and a sense of community.  Even though we all grow up and move away after we’ve learned some life lessons, it’s always ready to welcome home the sons and daughters of Marshall.

In fewer words, although I am glad to have moved on and be back in NC, I am thankful for Huntington.  It is there when you need it, and I’ve needed it and my friends, desperately.  I feel refreshed, like I hit a reset button.

Now it’s back to reality and I’m ready to hit the ground running.  Sometimes you just need a weekend off like that, you know?

How was everyone else’s weekend?  Do you love your alma mater as much as I do?

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Sur La Table Family Outing

Since mid-October {maybe even a little earlier}, my Dad has had something up his sleeve.

All he would tell us was that he had a “family surprise” planned for the Saturday after Christmas.  No other hints, his lips were sealed.  If you know my Dad, then you know that the possibilities here are endless.  We tried guessing everything we possibly could to get a clue out of him.  Is alcohol involved?  No.  Do we need to dress up?  No.  Hypnotist?  No.  Dolphins? {yes that was a real guess}  But again, no.  You can’t crack this guy.

So on Saturday morning my family, Jimmy, and myself all rolled out of bed and headed to The Streets of Southpoint in Durham {a local mega mall}.  After walking around for a bit, we ended up in front of Sur La Table and quickly realized that we were about to enter a cooking class!

If you’ve never been to a Sur La Table cooking class, find out your nearest location here.  Each class has a different theme and menu.  Our class revolved around Holiday Tapas.  “Tapas” essentially means a wide variety of appetizers and finger foods, which originates from the Spanish culture.

A man and his dream.  That’s Kev, front and center.

When you attend a Sur La Table class, there are about four people per station.  Each station has pre-measured ingredients ready to go, so that you can easily cook along with the head chef.  We had Chef Warren Slate, and he was truly awesome.  Between my family, and working very closely with La Famiglia when I was in Huntington, I feel like I know my way around the kitchen.  After this class I learned so many additional tips and tricks when it comes to cooking!

On the menu we prepared the following:

Marinated Olives with Rosemary and Chile {top corner of the picture below}

Seared Saffron-Tomato Shrimp

Rioja-Style Potatoes with Chorizo {too good, we ate it before I could snap}

Spicy Pork Skewers with Romesco Sauce

Ryan, Jimmy, my Mom, and I were split up on a team, and my dad was with the group next to us.  Like I said, they had us in groups of four.

{and just for the record, Ryan played a much bigger role in the cooking class.  This was the only shot we could get we were all so busy}

We were each given a packet of our recipes to take home and a 10% off coupon from your entire purchase at Sur La Table afterwards.  Great marketing technique, but I’m not complaining!

All in all, it was a great experience and a wonderful family outing.  Kevin did it again!  It was also a great ending to Christmas break with Jimmy and my family, couldn’t have honestly asked for a better one.  It came at the perfect time because it reminded Jimmy and me how much we like cooking together.  With our schedules it sometimes falls to the wayside, so we’re definitely going to try to do it more often.

If you’re in the market for a new family friendly idea, or a cute little date night, be sure to check out the cooking classes available in your area.  {I’m sure Groupon has some great deals as well}!

Have any of you ever been to a cooking class?  What was your experience?

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Hey There

Seven days later…waddup y’all.

After posting about the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, I decided to take the rest of Thanksgiving break to unplug from electronics and spend time with family and friends {okay Insta saw some action but you know what I mean}.

Can we also take a second to recognize that Thanksgiving was SEVEN days ago.  Almost makes me sick to think about, time is moving so fast.  Next Christmas will be here before we know it.

Since getting back from the holiday, I have hit the ground running, semi-unprepared.  After work, I had to spend all Monday night grocery shopping and food prepping, and the past two nights getting other odds and ends done {plus working out}, so when it came to posting another blog I said, “Why not make it a lucky seven days sans el blog”.  I  swear, you always need a vacation from your vacation.  If I would have had an extra day to get things done I would have been fine.  Does anyone else go through this as well?  Where are those cute Visa Card commercial kids when you need them?  {“One more day!  One more day!}.

Before jumping back into the swing of things {#FiveThings, workouts, recipes, etc} let’s recap what’s been going on the past week {besides working my life away}.

Thanksgiving Break was perfect and reminded me of all of the things I’m thankful for, like my family, friends, Jimmy, my health, my dog, and life in general.  I truly am a lucky girl.

Check out the first of many plates of Thanksgiving food I devoured over break, all prepared by the wonderful E. Lavery.  {If you see her today, throw her a good old fashioned ‘HBD’, today is her birthday!….Happy Birthday {again}, Mom!}

Of course last Thursday was family day.  We spent time together watching football, playing games, and taking Alba for a walk around the neighborhood after our epic, second annual Turkey Trot action.

She’s the hardest dog to take a picture of because she is all black, but she’s so darn cute…all she wants is 100% of your attention, 100% of the time.  Is that too much to ask?

A serious Lavery game of Scattergories and a cozy fire makes for a great night…I freakin love Scattergories.

We spent Friday having our hearts stomped on watching the Marshall football game, but that’s all I’m going to say about that {no picture….still proud to be a daughter of Marshall, and SO ready for the conference championship this Saturday}!

Last Saturday consisted of some Christmas shopping with Ryan at one of my favorite Durham novelty stores, Morgan Imports.

Christmas overload is the only way to decorate for Christmas.  This is a dangerous place to walk into because you buy about 10 more things that you weren’t planning on buying.

Finally {this is something I will definitely be posting about solo next week}, my family and I went on a brewery tour for the Bombshell Brewery Co. in Holly Springs, NC.  It was extremely interesting, and quite enlightening.  My parents brew their own delicious home brew beer, so it was funny to hear them hold conversations with one of the Brew Masters about brewing techniques.  I think they even learned a thing or two.

Other than that, I’ve been lucky enough to squeeze in a couple of distance runs over the past week.  Since I live so close to UNCC night runs don’t actually feel like night runs because everything is so well lit.  It’s also been unseasonably warm the past few days {I ran in shorts last night}, which makes me nervous.  I feel like the weather could change any minute and another big “FU Polar Vortex” will pop up.  I’m just soaking in the temps while I can.

Alright, seven days in a nutshell…so what’s new with you guys?

How was everyone’s holiday?  Have any of you ever been on a brewery tour?  Any local suggestions?

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Marshall Trip Recap

Finally getting a chance to recap this past, last minute friend weekend in Huntington, WV.  Even though the trip came together extremely last minute, I was incredibly excited to be able to see my friends and be back at my Alma Mater.  Getting to see The Herd clinch another W and remain one of the only two college football teams still undefeated wasn’t so bad either {We Are…}.

One of my first stops when I got into town was to visit with some of my old Rec co-workers and boss at lunch!  It was so nice to see all of them and catch up.  However, I didn’t grab any food at the time because I promised another set of coworkers that I would check out their new deli.  I know I’ve referenced to them in the past, but I also used to work at family owned, La Famiglia, and these people are truly like a second family to me.  They have recently opened up a deli on 4th Ave {in the old Aqua Massage place, for all you Huntingtonians}.

Isn’t it adorable?  Having worked for them for around 2 years, I know how delectable their food is, so of course I wanted to taste everything on the menu {guess I’ll just have to come back}.  I decided on the Carne Sandwich, stacked high with a variety of Italian meats, arugula, tomato, cheese, pickled onions and peppers, and a homemade citrus aioli…it was unreal.  Not to mention that all sandwiches are made with their homemade focaccia bread…in true La Fam fashion, they did not disappoint.

I’m still having dreams about this sandwich.  If you’re in Huntington at lunch time all you need to know is- GO TO MULBERRY STREET MEATBALL COMPANY AND DELI.

I then spent the rest of the night hanging out with old friends, and eventually taking it easy, knowing there was a full day of tailgating ahead…but first, let me go to Quarters.

Quarters is a specific time every Friday in Huntington {it actually starts at 4pm real world time}, where everyone gathers at one of the most popular Huntington bars, The Union, to hang out for Happy Hour.  But this is no “drinks half off” HH…this is a, “here is beer in a cup and it only costs you a quarter” type of HH.  Lots of things have happened at Quarters- things you’ll always remember, things you can’t remember, and some things you wish you couldn’t remember {aka the definition of college}.  Here I am with my friends, Erika and Molly.

The next day, before the game, Molly and I walked over to campus to check out the bookstore and walk down memory lane.  As I mentioned last Friday, 11.14.2014 marked the anniversary of the horrific plane crash that killed 75 Marshall football players, coaches, staff, and fans.  The story is brought back to life via Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox in the blockbuster, We Are Marshall.  I might be biased, but it’s a must watch.  Every year a fountain ceremony is held where they remember those that lost their lives and shut the water off to the fountain for the season.  I didn’t get to town in time for the ceremony, but the empty fountain and flowers are what remains from the previous day’s gathering.

What better way to honor those individuals than to watch Marshall bring home another win? {“One day, we’re going to be like every other team, where winning is everything and nothing else matters”…movie reference, if you’ve seen it you’d get it}.

So proud to be a daughter of Marshall…but don’t let the picture fool you, it was FREEZING outside that day.

But tailgating makes things fun.

Later that night we, and what seemed like the rest of Huntington went out.

Of course, it was a great time…and remember how I said it was freezing?  I experienced my first snow of the season that night!  I added a filter to better show the shnow.

Winter is coming…and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Sunday came rearing it’s ugly head, and after a tasty brunch at Prime on 4th {it’s a newly opened spot, and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice everything was}.  Their “checkbooks” are copies of old books that you can write in and leave notes.  When I saw that my “checkbook” was The Great Gatsby”, I knew I loved the place.

“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” 

or I was also thinking of using…

“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” 

Idk, I love The Great Gatsby {book and movie}…picking one quote is too hard.  I eventually moseyed on out of Huntington with a tear in my eye.  Leaving Huntington, my friends, and Marshall is always so hard.  I couldn’t imagine living there again, but I have such an emotional tie and bond with the place, that being back there with my friends always feels just right.  Want to know how I really felt about my time at Marshall and the Rec?  Click here {it’s much more eloquent and heartfelt, my farewell post from the Marshall Campus Rec blog}.

So maybe when I got back to Charlotte, I watched We Are Marshall and cried my eyes out {self-inflicting wounds here}.  I love my school and take pride in the fact that I went there.  All in all it was another great weekend, and I can’t wait to revisit.

Where did you guys go to school?  Do you have the same nostalgic feeling that I do with MU?

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#FiveThings {Nov. 2}

Good Morning SF-er’s!  Is everyone fully rested and recovered from their candy coma and extra hour of sleep this weekend?  I know I am, and although I counted down the days to the night we were “falling back”, I still had a solid 5 seconds of confusion when I woke up this morning after looking at my smart phone and then the clock in the kitchen.

Let’s get on with another edition of #FiveThings, shall we?

Ali in Town

This past weekend, my best friend from high school, Ali, came to visit!  It was great to see her and be able to spend a whole weekend with her.  In addition to it being Halloween weekend, it was fun to take her around to some of the places that I love in Charlotte.  She went to school here, but now lives back in Durham.  We spent Saturday night having dinner at our mutually favorite food spot, Cabo Fish Taco.  It’s located in the NODA area of Charlotte, and if you’re ever in town you HAVE to visit this place.  Margaritas and Fish Tacos make for some happy people.

Lemon Grilled Shrimp and Jerk Shark Tacos with their signature Avocado Pasta Salad…get in ma belly!

She even came with my headboard in tow!  Post on that later….can’t wait to see her again soon for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Halloween

As we all know, this past Friday was All Hallow’s Eve.  As I mentioned in my Costume Dilema post the other day, Ali and I weren’t sure what we were going to do until the very last minute.  We went with Candy Rappers and it was a success.  I love a good play on words.

As seen on insta…Candy Rapper Nation.

We tried hard to create a #crnation logo on the back of our jackets, it held up for awhile, but Ali clearly did a better taping job than I did.  We all met up at my friend Emily’s apartment before heading out.  That adorable little nugget in the bottom left is her dog, Ollie…he wanted to be a Candy Rapper too.  All in all it was a fun {and packed} night out in CLT!

TJ’s Fruit Bars

These things have been on my snack radar the past few weeks.  Trader Joe’s Fruit Bars…two ingredient, raw, fruit bars {and only about 90 cal. a piece- kill my sweet tooth and any of that midday hunger}.  This one is hands down my favorite.

Cold Weather Running

Call me crazy, but I enjoy cold weather running much more than warm weather running.  Not sure why, but I always have.  Even though it was 80 degrees this past Monday, it’s now 40 degrees today… {welome to the piedmont region of NC} ….which means pulling out all of my cold weather gear {yes!}.  And maybe, just maybe I’ll be motivated to start running longer distances again.

Speaking of cold weather running…special shout out to my former boss {and boss runner}, Michele Muth, who is running in the NYC marathon as we speak!  Go Michele, go!!

The Walking Dead

A few weeks ago, one of my Five Things was the fact that, ’tis the season for my shows to come back on TV.  One I forgot to mention was The Walking Dead.  With the past few weekends being full of travel I have missed the last two episodes {and another one is coming on tonight!}.  I’ve been a Dead fan from the beginning, and although it has been slow at certain points over the course of the series {admit it…you know it too…still love it anyway}, everyone has been telling me that the past two episodes have been insane!  Once I get some things done today, I plan on spending my evening catching up on everything before I watch the new episode tonight.  Are any of you Walking Dead fans as well?  I can’t wait {and don’t spoil anything for me!}

Source

One holiday in the books.  Up next, Thanksgiving {no Christmas until Nov. 28th here, people}.  Hope Halloween found everyone with a spooky good time!

What are your #FiveThings for the week?

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Weekend in the Sunshine State

Throwback Thursday recap time!  As you may already know, I was able to squeeze in some more friend time this past weekend in Miami/South FLA.  Below is a quick recap of the trip…

I got in late Friday night {Jess was already there, the Marshall football team played FIU this past weekend and she was down there for work}.  To Abby’s surprise, I strolled out of Gate D at the airport on Friday {more like jumped out from behind a car}….she was super surprised/happy to see me…success!  I love surprising people.  We had plans to participate in the Susan G. Komen run/walk for Breast Cancer Saturday morning, so we took it easy on Friday night, sipping champagne and catching up.

Here we are after the race!  It was a great way to support an awesome cause, and ensure that we were up and ready for the day.  We then headed over to this adorable restaurant for brunch, the Peacock Garden Cafe {check out there website, and you’ll see what I mean when I say adorable}.  We ordered a round of berry mimosas and cinnamon rolls {hey, it’s vacation…no judgment}.

Awwoooogggggaaaaa!  Yes, I’m pretty sure I stared at this with cartoon-like eyes when it appeared.

I ordered the Monte Cristo breakfast sandwich…basically a breakfast sandwich made with french toast, it was heavenly.

We decided to just soak up some sun until the Marshall game.  Even though we weren’t in Huntington, and didn’t recognize as many people, it was almost comforting to just be in the middle of a Marshall crowd.  Along with the fact that the Herd fans were more than twice as present as the FIU fans, it was a great way to support my alma mater {and we won…We Are…}

We then went out for a little bit on Saturday night, and were excited for what the next day had to bring: Boating!

Getting up around 10am, we headed out to Elliot Key {the northern most Key, about 30 minutes away} and hung out on the water literally all day.

The weather was spectacular.

The water was unreal.  It was the perfect temperature and it was so clear…I couldn’t get out of it.  Even Jess {who is apparently afraid of open water} was having a blast.  There was absolutely nothing else that I would have rather been doing this past Sunday.

Oh yea, and then I had to fly out at 9pm that night…

Overall, the trip was amazing and once again leaving friend time es no bueno.  I want to go back again…tomorrow, actually.  If someone wants to pay for it and work for me that’d be great.  It was so nice to finally get to visit Abby in her new home and check out what she does from day to day.  Hopefully a trip back is in the works soon, since it will start getting “cold” down here in North Carolina, very soon.

Have you guys ever been to Miami?  Any favorite spots to check out next time I visit?

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