THE Question.

It seems like more than ever lately I’ve been getting THE Question…”When are you and Matt getting engaged???”

Just this week alone I’ve  been asked by three separate people; including my hair stylist who went as far as to offer to call different wedding venues in Charlotte to see if they still have Spring 2015 dates available should we get engaged in the next few months. Um, WHAT! Without fail, every Monday morning my admin asks to see my hand just to check if a ring magically appeared over the weekend. Lately I’ve been hearing that some of Matt’s friends have bets with each other on when it will happen.

Hears the thing, I’m flattered that people care enough about our relationship to ask or to even care.  But it puts SO much pressure on something that is supposed to happen organically. Also, this is Matt’s decision to decide when and where, and I can assure you this is not information I will be privy to before it happens.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man and would marry him tomorrow…BUT I also don’t want to rush through enjoying just dating and enjoying this season of our lives. We have plenty of time to spend together in wedded bliss, but the dating period only lasts a few years.

In full transparency, I get wrapped up in it too. I have to realize that it will happen EXACTLY when it’s supposed to and that me speculating when it’s going to happen is not going to speed anything up. It finally hit me the other day that all the time I’ve spent talking about it or thinking about it, I’ve rarely spent the time to pray about it, or pray for us. I haven’t been praying nearly enough for my future marriage or for the man that I hope will be my husband one day. I think about things. I discuss things. I plan things. I “pin” things. I work on things. And then I discuss things some more. But talking about things and thinking about things and working on things… these are not at all the same as praying for them. So when I’m feeling anxious about making plans or fielding inquiries I am going to instead focus on Proverbs 31:10-31 – the Hymn to a Good Wife.

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Hymn to a Good Wife

10-31 A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

 

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Farmers Market Season

It seems like we rarely have a weekend in Charlotte, but when we do, one of my favorite things is to ride our bikes to the Kings Dr Farmers Market. There is something about the Farmers Market that makes me feel organically trendy. I love to be able to support local farmers and you can’t beat the prices. We typically make a list of all we need for the following week and then stock up and load it in our backpacks for the trek home.  If we’re buying flowers or herbs (or a watermelon) we’ll bring the car, but bike riding seems to fit the experience better.

 

The Charlotte Observer recently featured “10 ways to make the most of farmers markets”

What to do

• Plan ahead. “Almost any market of any size these days has an online newsletter or an email list,” says Daniel. Many farmers do, too. That will not only tell you if someone has a special crop, but it will also alert you to events, like book signings, cooking demos or festivals.

• Make a plan, but be flexible. “If you’re not an experienced cook, have a general idea (of what you want),” says Blacklin. “Otherwise, it’s overwhelming. Give yourself some framework for what you might want. But the key word is ‘might.’ You want flexibility to change.”

• Walk through before you decide what to buy. “Stand back and look where the customers are,” says Crawford. “That’s the way to find out the best people to buy from.”

• Go early. Really popular items sell out fast. “Things that are really favorites, like fresh eggs, sell out quickly,” says Daniel. “Some markets, if you don’t go within the first hour, you won’t get anything.”

• Go late. Sometimes the last customer can get the best deal, if the farmer doesn’t want to pack it up. “I personally don’t try to wheel and deal with farmers,” says Daniel. “They work so hard, they deserve what they make. But for some people who want a bargain, it’s OK to do.”

• Buy for multiple meals, but work in a midweek stop, too, says Blacklin. “Don’t think about it like a supermarket. It’s a shift of how we think of our schedule and our rhythms, but that’s helpful (to shop midweek) when you’re buying fresh things.”

• Get to know your farmer – but not when the market is really busy. “You really don’t want to hold things up by chatting too much,” says Daniel. Go in at a slow time or on a slower day of the week, or stay late and offer to help reload the trucks.

• Be considerate. Take small bills, don’t cut in line, and try to share if something is scarce. “I’ll look behind and say, ‘Does anyone else want okra?’ ” says Daniel. “And if they don’t, I’ll take it all.”

• Leave room for a treat. “I’m a big fan of leaving yourself some wiggle room (in your budget),” says Blacklin. “It’s a social experience. Buy yourself that flower or that scone or a cup of coffee.”

• Finally, if you really want to be a regular, volunteer. Most markets need helpers. “There’s always things we could use help with,” says Blacklin. “Even the information booth.”

You can also click here for an interactive map of the all of the Charlotte-area markets.

 

Your States Internet Search History

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America’s fifty states have a lot in common, but if their internet search histories are any indication they also have significant differences. Estately ran hundreds of search queries through Google Trends to determine which words, terms, and questions each state was searching for more than any other. What does your states search history say??

NORTH CAROLINA:  Barbecue / Charles Barkley’s Golf Swing / White Snake (band) / Your Mama Jokes

Analysis:  People are just having a real nice time on the internet in ol’ North Carolina

Eurotrip Recap: Day 6

 

Woo! This was a long day! We left Slovenia at 5:50am to catch a flight from Ljubljana to Zurich, Switzerland. The flight was quick, less than a hour. Kind of crazy how quickly you can get from country to country. The Zurich airport was also very nice and we were able to retrieve our luggage very quickly. We used the ATM to get some Swiss Francs out which also came with a THIRTY-THREE dollar service fee. Lesson learned. We also purchased train tickets to get us from Zurich to Engelberg, the ski resort we were headed to for the next few days. Again, very process. Although I’ve never ridden it, the Charlotte CATS system seems like it would be more difficult than the European rail system. Our first leg of the train took us from Zurich to Lucerne where we took another train to take us the remainder of the way to Engleberg. The ride was a total of an hour and 40 minutes and one of the most scenic and beautiful rides ever. The lake we passed leaving Luceren with the Alps in the background was unreal.

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The train stop in Engleberg was about a 3 minute walk to our hotel – Sodennhof Tref. Our hotel was so quaint and had a family home feel. We were able to check-in early and got the corner room we had requested. The first thing we did was have a mini photo shoot on the balcony because the bright blue sky and mountains in the background were breathtaking. After we were done being total-tourists, we ventured out to explore. Engelberg is the cutest ski resort town and so charming!

We had a late lunch and then walked around the town to get our bearings. We knew we wanted to ski the next day, so we stopped by a ski shop to rent all of our equipment. Again, everyone we encountered was so lovely and went out of their way to help us. We went back to the room for a quick outfit change and then went back out to dinner.

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The only problem is that apparently Engelberg is very busy during ski season, and we were not aware we needed a reservation pretty much everywhere in order to actually be seated. Luckily we found a place that would take us, and we couldn’t help ourselves but to get fondue. I’ve never had fondue before, so what better place to get it than in Switzerland. We ended the night with a night cap of Gluhwein – hot mulled wine – before heading back to the hotel to prepare for the coolest day ever.

Europtrip Recap Days 4 & 5: Solo in Slovenia

This was the first day that MRH had to work so he got up and left early. Me, on the other hand, didn’t get up until 12:30. I felt very lazy but I knew  I didn’t want to waste my whole day sleeping. I did some searches and found a coffee shop that was nearby. I walked thru the Ljubljana University and found the quaint “Le Petit Cafe”. It was near the University so there were a lot of young people and a cool vibe. I was able to connect to WiFi and catch up on some of my favorite blogs.  I was the only person in the coffee shop on an iPad which would be a much different scene in the U.S.

After lunch I walked around a bit and took some pictures and then headed back to the hotel. I didn’t have much to do so I went back to the spa and indulged in the sauna once again. I was feeling sick before we left the states but  I think the sauna really helped clear up my sinuses. I experienced my first naked European which was quite awkward for me, but not seemingly an issue at all to the gentleman. Matt got back from his work meeting and let me know the bad news. There was a work dinner later that evening…that I had not been invited to. It was unfortunate but not a big deal.

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We decided to go out and explore a bit before his dinner and had heard there was a “lovers bridge” similar to that in Paris. we purchased a lock at the post office and then headed to the “Butchers Bridge”. The bridge was built in 2009 so there was a much smaller amount of locks than you’d find in Paris. Although we both admitted it was a bit corny, we locked our lock to the steel cable on the bridge, made a wish, and threw the keys into the Ljubljana River. I guess this means he’s stuck with me forever….muhahahah!

Matt headed to his and dinner and I headed back to the hotel. This is when my cabin fever got really bad. There were only two TV stations that were in English, CNN and the History Channel. I must have heard the same news looped over and over nearly 100 times before I started watching “Doomsday Preppers”.  It was depressing being alone, but I had to remind myself I was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. After what seemed like 10 hours, Matt finally got back. At the end of the day I was just happy to be on vacation and laughing with my best friend.

The next day Matt had to work again, so I did what any other American girl would do…shop! I visited the 4 story H&M and Zara. I left empty-handed except for a few post cards for home. While I have to give the Slovenians most of the credit for speaking such great English, I was really proud of myself for communicating and navigating around town alone. I purchased some post cards and headed back to the hotel to meet MRH. He had another work dinner that night, but not until later. He was sweet and took me out to dinner so that I wouldn’t have to go alone. We are at a cute little place and ordered a “Crispy” — essentially a flat bread with a multitude of different toppings to choose from. We ended the night by walking to a wine bar for a quick glass of vino.

As I sat and reflected on our last night in Ljubljana, I couldn’t help to think about what an amazing experience Slovenia had been. I never thought in a million years I would ever have spent my 26th birthday in a castle in Slovenia. Prior to the trip I had no clue of where Slovenia even was. I was blown away by the graciousness of everyone we met. They were all so genuine. They all went out of their way to speak English and to accommodate us. The snowy town of Ljubljana is peaceful and quaint. A place I never knew even existed is now a place that I will hold in my heart forever.

 

 

 

 

Eurotrip Recap Day 3: Go Shawty, It’s Your Birthday

 

We woke up around 9am and decided we weren’t ready to get up just yet. So we went back to sleep and didn’t get back up until almost 1pm. 16 hours later and we were finally caught up on our sleep. Plus, when you’re the birthday princess, you can sleep as long as you want and not feel guilty about it. I hopped out of bed with an extra pep in my step because it was my 26th birthday!

We showered and set out for a birthday lunch at Paninoteka in which I indulged in a little salad and a lot of peach champagne. Next up after lunch was part of my birthday gift from Matt; a couples massage. It was Matt’s first time getting a massage and my fingers were crossed that he would love every minute of it, resulting in frequent massages in my future. We got to the spa and slipped into some robes and then found out that we wouldn’t be in the same room. I was worried about Matt being alone, but that quickly left my mind the second I got on the table. My massage was absolutely amazing and the most relaxed I’ve been in a months. The masseuse had to wake me up when it was over. We were able to use the amenities of the spa afterwards, so we opted for some detox time in the sauna. Although we felt like wet noodles, we dragged ourselves back to our rooms to get ready for my birthday dinner.

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Matt had made reservations at the Ljubljana Castle for our special dinner. The castle sits on top of a big hill that overlooks the city. To get to the top you can either walk up a trail (um..birthday girls don’t climb mountains) or take the Funicular to the top. The FUNicular (I like to emphasize the FUN!) is a box with glass sides, glass top, and glass floor. You board the cabin at the lower station and it runs on a thin line of rails to the top of the mountain. It only took about 60 seconds to get to the top but we had the most beautiful view looking over the entire city. We had some time to kill before our reservations so we explored around the grounds of the castle. We were the only people up there, and it was very dark. A little too creepy for my liking.

Dinner was a Na Gradu – a charming restaurant nestled in the interior of the castle. We chose to sit on the outdoor patio, which was enclosed with glass. It was the best of both worlds; beautiful views, but the comfort of warmth. The menu changes daily based on what fresh ingredients they have. I ordered ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and bacon and Matt ordered deer. Our waiter was extremely helpful and personable and upon learning we were from NC, he told us his favorite golfer is SC native, Dustin Johnson. How random! He brought us some sweet wine and kindly called us a cab since the funicular stopped running at 8pm. Our cab driver dropped us of at a restaurant lounge that our Charlotte friend had recommended the night before. Slon had an elephant theme which just so happens to be my favorite animal. I enjoyed some birthday bubbly and we were able to connect to WiFi and FaceTime our families. The bar closed at 12, but Matt convinced the bartender to service us one more round.

We made it back to the hotel around 1am which is when the missing cell phone scandal began. I emptied the contents of my purse and jacket pockets and couldn’t  find my iPhone anywhere. Because it was in airplane mode, Matt couldn’t call it and “find my iPhone” wouldn’t work either. Matt instructed me to throw on my coat and that we needed to run back to the bar before they closed. Nothing gets me running faster than a momma and her lost baby. We passed the bartenders in the street and they were very kind to unlock the bar and help us search for my phone. Unfortunately, our search came up empty handed and I was definitely the “it’s your birthday, you can cry if you want to” girl. It had me questioning if it was my 21st or 26th birthday. Of course sweet Matt assured me that everything would be OK. We got back into the room and Matt reached down into my travel bag and poof out came my phone. It was a birthday miracle! I felt pretty dumb for running through the streets of LJU at 1am and for my theatrical performance at the end of the night, but was so happy to be reunited.

I ended my birthday a very happy girl with a full heart. It was an absolutely perfect day and I can’t imagine it spending it any other way. Poor Matt has set the bar VERY high for next year 😉

Eurotrip Recap: Days 1 & 2

It’s been over three months since our amazing Eurotrip vacation and I am just now getting around to posting about it…oops! I have been getting very nostalgic about our travels lately and a the travel bug certainly keeps biting. Since we don’t have any upcoming trips, I will try to scratch my itch by reliving the good memories.

Day 1: Lufthsana is trying to get us drunk

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We left Charlotte Saturday around 5:30pm heading to Munich, Germany. It was my first time flying Lufthansa and boy was it a night and day experience from flying on any American Airlines. Right after takeoff, the attendants came thru the cabin offering beer/wine/liquor of your choice.  Soon after they came through with hot towels to clean your hands. We were then served dinner and more wine. The attendants actually walked through the aisles with wine bottles asking if anyone wanted refills on their dinner wine. Wee were then offered an after-diner-drink of Baileys of Cognac. Within an hour of being on the flight we had already been served 4x as many drinks as we did on our last international flight on US Airways. The biggest difference was the pleasant flight attendants who actually cared that we had an enjoyable flight.

After dinner I decided to pick a movie and fall asleep early. My biggest mistake on our flight to Spain was that I stayed awake the majority of the flight and I ended up being exhausted the entire next day. The plane offered a lot of great movie selections and I felt it was only appropriate to watch ‘Cool Runnings’  (Sanka, ya dead mon?) in honor of the winter Olympics that would be starting in Sochi in just a few days. I also dozed in and out of ‘The Butler’ and before I  knew it, the cabin lights were coming on and we were about to land in Munich. Neither Matt nor I felt like we had slept a wink and were exhausted when the wheels hit the runway.

Day 2 (morning): The land of beer and sausage

We landed in Munich around 7:30am on Sunday morning which was almost an hour earlier than the flight was supposed to land. The Munich airport is huge and I am still uncertain if we were in an airport or on Rodeo Dr. Before 9am, I had already tried to convince Matt to buy me an Hermes bangle, Burberry scarf and a Rolex. I was hoping  the sleep deprivation would trick  him into agreeing, but only ended up with a carrot and apple smoothie. The Munich airport was extremely nice and clean. The Lufthansa terminal offered free coffee and expresso in multiple places and free magazines and newspapers. There was also an entire section of reclining seats, perfect for an early morning nap. Also interesting was an enclosed glass box inside of the terminal where you could smoke…those Europeans love their cigs!

Our flight to Ljubljana didn’t leave Munich until 11:45 so we had a good 4 hours to kill. We spent most of it being one of “those people” sprawled out across a row of chairs, sleeping at the airport. Finally our boarding time arrived and we walked down the ramp as if we were getting on the plane. Instead, we boarded a bus that drove us all around the airport and dropped us off in a random parking lot where a small plane was parked. The flight to Ljubljana was only 40 minutes in which I spent the duration passed out. I hear I missed an amazing view as we flew over the Alps…tear.

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Day 2 (afternoon):  It’s a small world after all

We landed in Ljubljana and got our bags with no problems. Our driver was waiting for us right as we walked out; easy breezy. He told us that Ljubljana had just experienced one of the worst ice storms they had seen in almost 30 years! It snows often in LJU  but apparently not like the ice they had recently seen. Within 20 minutes we pulled up the Grand Union Hotel. We got to our room and both looked at each other with disbelief when we saw how small our bed was. We figured it must be a mistake, so Matt went downstairs to see about switching to a room with a bigger bed. He came back up to the room shortly after, letting me know that he was told by the young man at the front desk that our bed was a “king”. Yeah…right…maybe if our room was a dollhouse. It appeared to be smaller than a double, had only 1 pillow, a blanket that didn’t cover the entire bed, and no sheet. The good news is that we were so exhuasted that it didn’t matter. We crawled into bed and took an hour nap to recharge our batteries. The hotel was about a 2 minute walk from the famous “Old Town” area which is the city center with shops, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. A river runs in the middle of all the shops and it was so quaint and beautiful. We walked around and got our bearings and then decided on a pizza place for a late lunch/early dinner. We finished around 5 and knew we would pass out if we went back to the room, so we explored some more until we found the most perfect wine bar, Dvorni. At this point the rain had turned to snow and was powdery and beautiful. Dvorni had 100’s of glasses of wines to choose from. I had no idea what to get so I played it safe with the house wine. We were both so exhausted that we barley talked to each other. We both noticed a man at the table beside us was wearing a Carolina Panthers sweatshirt. What are the chances?? We struck up a conversation with him and turns out he went to high school and college in Charlotte and now lives in Latvia. He was in LJU for work . He was a super nice guy and invited us to watch the Super Bowl with him later that night. The only problem was that the Super Bowl started at 12:30am and we knew there was no chance we’d still be awake. We ended up crashing around 9pm. The bed could have been a sleeping bag at that point and I dont think either one of us would have cared or noticed.

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Threading > Waxing

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I have been on the threading train for around two years now. I  never felt like waxing my eyebrows really gave me the results I was looking for…plus, in about 2 weeks it was already time to wax again. I fell victim to the threading kiosk in the middle of South Park mall a few years ago. Embarrassing? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!

Pros:

  • Of all methods that there are of shaping eyebrows, Threading gives the most control, shaping the brows identically on both sides and exactly the way you need it.
  • It epilates hair at follicle level, due to which the period between two sessions can go up to a month. Also, threading can take off hair from very close to the skin. It does not need to be of a certain length to be threaded. Experts can even coax hair out of the skin just as it’s breaking the skin surface.
  • It does not have any side effects, as there is no external application of any substance. It’s non-invasive. Reactions, if any, are very rare. It’s very rare, but one can suffer from slight red bumps, which go away after a few hours.
  • When done by a practiced and efficient threading artist, it can be painless. A threading expert can remove an entire row of hair in one go, which makes it very quick as well.
  • To take off hair fast, the Threading artist needs to use thread that has not threaded. Hence it’s hygienic, as the only thing that is used is a specially designed cotton thread which is broken and discarded after removing each strip of hair.
  • Threading is the preferred method of hair removal by the Dermatologist as it does not have any side effects. It is ideal for patients suffering from Rosacea and those with thin or extra sensitive skin.

I’ve been trekking to South Park to get my eye brows threaded until I realized that Idolize had opened a salon in Kennilworth Commons, near the Harris Teeter in Dilworth. I was even more excited to find that Idolize is offering 50% off threading services for the month of May, making them only $6!!