Friday5

1. OpenTable: If you aren’t using OpenTable, then you must hate free money. You go to their website or their app to make reservations at over 27,000 restaurants throughout the world. The best part is that for every reservation you make, you get 100 points added to your account. Sometimes they run 1,000 point restaurant specials which are huge to capitalize on. Your points eventually accumulate and you can turn them in for dining cheques which can be redeemed at any OpenTable restaurant. 2,000 points = $20; 5,000 points = $50, etc.  I am so obsessed with OpenTable and accumulating as many poitns as possible, that I’ll make a reservation on the way to the restaurant. I realize you don’t really need a reservation at 8pm on a Tuesday at Cantina, but why not for 100 points!  So far I have 2,500 points, but am trying to save up to cash out for a big fat check.

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2. Undressed Skeleton Blog: I realize it’s an oxymoron to follow a post about eating out with a post about eating healthy. However, my friend Kelly introduced me to this blog, and I’m hooked. Taralynn from the Undressed Skeleton found herself in an abusive relationship, overweight, and unhappy. She decided to make a change by eating healthy and exercising  and her weight loss results are unbelievable.  I have spent so much time perusing her recipe index. I can’t wait to head to Whole Foods this weekend to try some of them out!

3. Horchow Tortoise Glassware: Have y’all heard of Horchow before? I just recently stumbled upon the site and am so glad I did. They sell all things home decor and at reasonable prices. Lately I’ve been obsessing over wanting a bar. I have had my eye on a particularly amazing acrylic bar cart, that just happens to be a fun hundred dollars out of my price range. So, to satisfy the craving, I’ve been buying other bar accessories that I can hopefully one day  put on my beautiful bar cart.  I fell in love with these tortoise glasses, aren’t they so chic?!

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4. Brownberry’s Clear Sunless Tanning Spray: Did anyone else want to crawl inside a hole and die when Lisa called out Adrienne for leaving self-tanner all over her white chair? Umm….embarrassing! If only Ms. Maloof had used Brownberry’s CLEAR Sunless Tanner! Although $39 seems a bit steep, it comes packed with Vitamin D and green tea to help skin look healthy and tan. The best part is that you don’t have to spend your night sleeping on a scratchy towel (am I the only one who does this after a spray tan??).

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5. Stick-N-Find: When I first heard about this, there was only one thing that came to mind….MOM! The poor lady is insanely busy and it’s a wonder she doesn’t just collapse on the floor at the end of each day. Because her life is so busy, it makes it very easy to be scattered and lose thing. I cannot tell you the amount of times she has lost her keys. Enter “Stick-N-Find“.  Using Bluetooth stickers (the size of quarter) you can track and find any item, pet, or child. Just put a sticker on easily lost things (keys, cell phone, remote), download the app, and track away. You can set “virtual leashes” on tagged items that alert you when your item leaves a certain range (ex:  it can alert you when your kids wonder away)  and also set an alert when an item reenters a set range (i.e. put it on your luggage so that it will alert you when it arrives to baggage claim).  Genius! I totally think the $70 (for three stickers) is worth it to never feel the shear panic of misplacing my iPhone ever again.

Valentines Day 5.

 

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I undoubtedly inherited the “holiday” gene from my mother. I love holiday’s and I love celebrating! I’m not a huge fan of Valentines Day per se, but it’s a reason to celebrate and a good reminder of how much love I have in my life. Matt completely spoils me pretty much every day of the year.  He is always so good about taking care of me – I can’t tell you the last time I cooked a meal for him, he’s the best! We’ve recently been reading The 5 Love Languages (more on this later) and Matt’s “language” is Acts of Service; meaning his emotional communication preference is through acts of service.  We’ve celebrated a lot of holidays lately (Christmas, New Years, Birthday) and have an anniversary coming up, so we decided we would celebrate Valentine’s with a low-key dinner on Saturday. Taking this all into account, I decided I would surprise Matt with a special Valentine’s Day Breakfast this morning that he would not be expecting.

1. Anthropologie Fluer-de-lys Juice Glasses: Recently I have been really getting into depression glass. I love all of the different color options and it always reminds me of my Grandmother who collected a lot of pieces. I had my eyes on some replica depression glass juice glasses from Anthropologie. Right after Christmas they went on sale and I scooped up 4 smaller juice glasses and 4 larger tumblers for a steal! Since I don’t do much entertaining, and don’t usually eat breakfast at home, I haven’t been able to use them. I am so glad this morning gave me the chance to break them out!

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2. Van’s Wheat & Gluten Free Waffles: Because of some recent health issues, I’ve had to eliminate gluten from my diet (kill me now!). Luckily there is a lot of exposure to gluten-free allergies and a lot of great alternatives. I found these wheat and gluten-free waffles at Target, and they tasted great. I don’t think Matt would have ever noticed if I hadn’t told him.

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3. Cookie-Cutter Waffles: I knew that I wasn’t going to have a ton of time to make an extravagant breakfast because we had to get off to work, so I stole this cute idea from Christina at Carolina Charm. If anyone knows my mother, then no one should be surprised that she owns five hearts,  lip and cupid cookie-cutters.  I borrowed those from her and used them to make Matt’s waffles into heartfelt shapes. A nice extra touch!

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4. The Dish: I first fell in love with The Dish when I saw the Charlotte, NC platter at Paper Skyscraper. I love the city collection and wish I had one of everything from their Charlotte collection (platters, cups, mugs, popcorn bowls, tea towels). After going on their website I found the have so much more than just cities; political parties, colleges, seasonal, occasions, southern-theme, nautical, states, so many! I think these make awesome gifts!

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5. KillSwitch App: For those of you without a special someone today, don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you! The KillSwitch app launched today and would have really come in handy back in my college days!  If you aren’t quite ready to de-friend the d-bag, this app “makes it easy to eliminate your ex’s entire presence on your Facebook timeline — in one fell swoop.   Identify the target ex from your list of friends. The app then crawls your profile for content (photos, videos, wall posts and status updates) linked or tagged with that person’s specific Facebook ID. In the next step, you have the option to delete all the content or manually select and vanquish certain interactions”. The app costs $0.99 and proceeds will go to the American Heart Association of New York.

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Weekend Wrap-Up

This past weekend was the first weekend since before Thanksgiving where we did not have a single plan. With the holidays, three weddings, birthdays, and out-of-town trips, it felt slightly weird to have nothing to do. I have to admit, we were actually kind of bored! As much as it was needed, sometimes it’s hard to just sit and do nothing. We’re so used to always being on the go. Anyways, we took full advantage of our free time and had a successfully lazy weekend.

Friday night I was craving Mexican, so we tried out Maverick Rock Taco on Montford.  Our go-to Mexican joints are usually Azteca or Cantina 1511, and I think we’ll stick with those. I wasn’t crazy about Maverick. The food was decent, but nothing spectacular. My standard system for judging is based upon the chips and salsa. Maverick’s = weak.  Afterwards we stopped by Park 10 Lanes to see how long the wait to bowl would be. It was already almost ten o’clock and I didn’t have socks, which made the decision easy to not wait an hour and half for an open lane.  We were in the mood to try something different, so we checked out a new bar/lounge to South End, ‘Stache House.  People really seem to be clinging to this mustache-theme trend these days. I never thought a mustache bar could be successful, right? ‘Stache House describes itself as having a “modern take on a Victorian speakeasy” – and  I did really like the way the interior was decorated, it was swanky and upscale.  However,  the clientele was a little strange, and I’ve never really been into the whole hookah scene. Friday night ended by falling asleep on the sofa, pretty typical.

I’ve been wanting to check out the Farmers Market at the Atherton Mill Market for a while now, so Matt and I planned to get up early and go on Saturday.  I accidently slept until noon, so our morning plans got pushed back a little. We made some to-go mimosa’s and walked down to the Market. Due to my laziness, we didn’t get to the market until after 1pm, and it closes at 2. We were disappointed to find that most of the vendors had already sold out of most of their items, and some had already packed-up and gone home. We were able to participate in a wine tasting from Vin Master and are now looking forward to attending their “Mega Tasting” later this month. We were hoping to pick up some fresh seafood, and have learned our lesson that we need to get their early next time! The rest of the afternoon was excessively lazy, including not one, but two naps. Later that evening I finally took a shower and met up with my girlfriends at Nikko’s. We had planned a girls night back in October and November, and all of our schedules were so crazy that February was the first available Saturday we all had.  After dinner we headed to the Epicenter (where our friendship first began!) – shots at Nikko’s led to free drinks at Blackfinn  which somehow led to bottle service at Suite which  then led to 80s night at Roxbury and inevitably late-night Moe’s.  There’s never a dull moment with these girls and I hadn”t had a night out uptown in a while, it was a nice change of pace!

Atherton Market

Atherton Market

I received a road bike as a Christmas present, but haven’t had any free time to take it back to the store to have it fitted and tuned-up. So on Sunday my Dad met me at TrySports with my bike. Fernando at TrySports is awesome, and I highly recommend him to anyone in the bike market. He spent a lot of time with me and my bike. He was very thorough and made sure that I was good to go. I cannot wait for a warm weekend to finally get out on the road.  My Dad has two bikes and really enjoy’s riding. I am so excited to have him as a biking partner. I have already researched trails and routes in the area…come on warm weather!! After the bike store, Matt and I headed up to Selwyn Pub. It was a little crisp out, but we sat near a fire pit and loved every minute we got to spend outdoors.  We’ve recently gotten into sports betting (on a very small scale, no need to worry!) and this was the first weekend without any football. So we got creative and made our own Grammy’s betting game, picking who we thought would win each category. I’m glad to say that Mumford & Sons helped me be the night’s big winner (a whole $4, woo!!!).  Can we take a minute to talk about how amazing Justin Timberlake was?? Status of  Sexy: “Officially Brought Back”!

Our bets

Our bets

Super(bowl) Sweet Twenty-Five!

This weekend I kicked off my birthday month with a bang!

Friday night Matt and I met my parents for dinner at Soul Gastrolounge.  We went to Soul for my birthday last year, so it’s becoming somewhat of a tradition. If you live in Charlotte and haven’t been to Soul, it’s a must-try! Soul offers an eclectic vibe that matches the Plaza Midwood neighborhood that it’s located in. They serve a variety of small plates, which are all wonderful, but the Asian glazed pork belly tacos served with watermelon are to DIE for.  They don’t take reservations, so plan to post up at the bar while you wait. Upon my arrival, I  was pleasantly surprised with a glass of Prosceco that my sister had called in all the way from Chicago, such a thoughtful gesture! We devoured a lot of small plates, and then I opened my presents. We weren’t ready to call it at night, so we all walked down to Twenty-Two and grabbed another drink. Twenty-Two’s slogan is “art, booze, music, schmooze” – love it! It’s an art gallery that also has a bar inside. I imagine a lot of artwork probably gets unintentionally purchased after a few glasses of vino. My parents called it a night, and Matt and I went to one of our favorite new spots in SouthEnd, The Wine Loft. It’s a small place, but really swanky. You definitely don’t feel like you’re nestled in between a Five Guys and Noodle Company. It was packed, but we were able to find a couple of seats at the bar. Our favorite is the charcuterie platter, and since we didn’t fill up with the tapas at Soul, we decided to place a late night order.

Love the champagne glasses!

Love the champagne glasses!

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Saturday morning I woke up early to spend the day with my Mom.  We are both looking for some antique furniture pieces, so we hit the ground running at The Potato Sack.  The Potato Sack is a hidden gem in Charlotte that most people don’t know about. It is only open every other month, and just for one weekend. Items that don’t sell at estate sales and other places come to TPS to be sold. The sale kicked off on Thursday, so most of the good pieces were picked over by the time we got there Saturday. We decided to continue our search by visiting some antique shops off of Remount Rd. and finished the shopping tour at The Sleepy Poet. I have had my eye on a vintage Lucite bar cart from the 60s that is there. I was thrilled to see that the price had been slashed nearly in half since the last time I saw it. I’m still having a hard time pulling the trigger on a $700 bar cart, but it is simply amazing. I’m thinking my tax return money might have to go towards this! Mom and I finished the day with a nice lunch. I love spending time with her, and hate that we don’t do it more often.

I hopped in the shower and got ready for birthday celebration #2, my dinner with Matt. We have a list of restaurants that we’ve been wanting to try, and he surprised me by taking me to E2, located by the Mint Museum Uptown. As soon as we sat down, the waitress brought us two glasses of Sparkling Grüner Veltliner.  My sweet, sweet boyfriend had called ahead to ensure we had the best table in the restaurant, and to arranged a delivery of my favorite wine. We devoured a gumbo appetizer, filet and NY strip and were stuffed! But we couldn’t turn down the birthday treat the restaurant brought out. After dinner we met up with some friends and had a nice night out on the town. Staying out until 2am is not as easy as it was at 24!

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Sunday was my actual birthday, and I slept in until after noon. What a nice treat!  I could have probably stayed in bed all day, but had a birthday brunch at Vivace to attend.  Vivace has $10 endless mimosas, and me and my friends took full advantage of it! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! Laugh-til-I cried type of laughs!  We left Vivace around 3pm, and some of my friends said they wanted to come back over to my place to “hang out” for a little.  Because I had stayed in bed so long that morning, I hadn’t showered before brunch. Once we got back to my house, my friends were adamant about me showering. I didn’t really see the point. We were just going to a restaurant for to watch the Super Bowl, and I didn’t really care what I looked like at that point. Looking back on it, I probably should have known something was up, but I didn’t ever put two and two together.  I begrudgingly got a shower, and then headed to Matt’s house. The plan was for us to open presents together, and then to head to Taco Mac to meet our friends to watch the Super Bowl. Boy was I surprised when I opened the door to Matt’s apartment to find all of my best friends there screaming “surprise!!!”.  I was in complete shock and so happy to spend the last few hours of my birthday with the people I love the most. Matt certainly outdid himself. He had been secretly planning this for weeks and it could not have been more perfect. He had all of my favorite appetizers (including deviled eggs!!!) cold drinks,  and an ice cream cake to top it off.  My parents were in on the surprise also and it was great to see them there. We placed bets on the game, hooped and hollered, and even managed to fit in a dance party during the power outage. I could not have asked for a more perfect weekend. I love my friends so much and it meant the world to me that they were all there for the celebration. As for Matt… that little stinker has set the bar high! The thought and effort he put behind the party means the world to me. I am so lucky to have so many kind, generous and thoughtful people in my life. Cheers to 25 being the best year yet!

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Friday5 {Birthday Edition}

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If you know me well, then you know I LOVE my birthday, and chances are you (CTB & CEB especially!) love MY birthday too.  It is certainly one of my favorite days weeks of the year.  I wish everyday made me feel as special and as loved as February 3rd does – I am one lucky lady!

1. The Birthday Fairy: My parents are big on traditions, and birthdays are no exception. I cannot wait to use all of their same creative ideas when I have children.  The concept of the Birthday Fairy is that the night before your birthday, once you’re asleep, the Birthday Fairy would sneak into our rooms and bathroom and decorate it. Streamers, balloons, and banners galore!  From the moment you wake up, you’re in birthday mode.  The Birthday Fairy came every year until I went off to college, and she must be one sneaky fairy, because I’ve never actually seen her!

2. The Birthday Cup &  Special Birthday Meal: On your birthday, in the Hewitt household, you get to drink out of the “birthday cup” for all of your meals. The birthday cup is just your average glass, but has lots of fun and colorful ribbons tied to it. I’m not sure where or why this tradition started, but it’s not your birthday unless you’re drinking from the special glass. You also get to pick your birthday meal. Growing up, my parents would always come and eat lunch with me at school, which was always my favorite. Now that I’m older, I still get to pick my special birthday meal. It usually takes place at a restaurant that I don’t usually go to, or my favorite home-cooked meal from mom.

Similar to the Birthday Cup

Similar to the Birthday Cup we have

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First legal drink

3. My 21st Birthday Week: This probably deserves its own post, it was that awesome.  I was in the library studying on a Monday night, and when the clock struck midnight, I was 21. I was with my dear friends, Kathleen, Caroline, and Carrie in the library when we decided we needed to give up on studying for the night and go buy beer or something exciting. Unfortunately, the gas station we tried to go to was closed. So the next best option was obviously going to our favorite bar, Pavlov’s. Because it was a Monday/Tuesday, the bar was dead. It was just the four of us. But one of my favorite nights of my college career. We were given pretty much any and every shot we wanted for free, danced on stage, and somehow all got home in one piece that night (give or take a few potatoes and towels).  Unfortunately, I had a test at 8am that next morning, had to get a friend (thanks, Katt!) to DD me to the test, and somehow pulled off an 88 on the test…you only turn 21 once, right?

First time showing a legal ID

First time showing a legal ID

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Shots, Shots, Shots!

4. 21st Birthday Week (Continued): Later that week, my parents threw me a big birthday party with all my friends in Columbia. My sister and all of her friends came to town also. It was one of my favorite nights ever. After a soiree at my house, the whole group went out in 5 Points in Columbia.  My Birthday is always around the same time as Mardi Gras, and someone must have brought a mask to the party. A mask I refused to take off all night. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the greatest idea (along with a lot of other things that night)

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5. Shared Birthday:  It was a cold February day when I was born. My grandparents were babysitting my sister while Mom and Dad went to the hospital. My grandparents have four, steep, cement stairs outside their house, and Whitney tripped and fell down them the morning I was born. She has a broken nose in all of my newborn pictures…trying to steal the show as usual, hah! That cold day in February also happened to be my grandfather’s birthday. On my Grandfather’s 56 birthday, he got the “best gift he’s ever received”,  ME! I love that we share this special day together!

My grandparents and me this summer

My grandparents and me this summer