Tuesday, October 21, 2014

As the Season Turns, We Stay Rooted

1. Elizabeth Lawrence is quoted as saying, 'Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." So have you done just that? And what did you leave undone in order to do so?
Our family history. About a year or two ago my hubby and I got interested in knowing more about our ancestors. Perhaps it was spurred on after a four year period in which I lost three grandparents and my dad.

I have a binder with all the varying family trees, but as a thinker, I also like to know everything about each couple and their story. It has brought me great friendship on some genealogy groups, who are all pleasant, and helpful. But is still undone, and my life and legacy has to go on in the meantime.
2. Since we're talking turning...what's one thing you feel you're doing 'every time you turn around'?
Thinking about our remodel. In February we bought a thirty year old colonial. We chose this home because it was in a good neighborhood, had a pool, and we could buy it outright without a mortgage. Although it had been loved on at one time, it needed a complete update.

But, luckily, I'm an interior designer, and I've been studying and practicing design for almost a decade and my hubby is also a creative so he understands my visions and helps make them happen.

3. How hard is it for you to 'turn the other cheek?'
If your a people pleaser like me, you probably resonate with me. I oftentimes turn the other cheek. At times, I wish one or two people in our family were more encouragers, instead of know it all's with critical spirits.
4. When did you last turn a drawer, your car, a room, or your entire house upside down looking for something? Did you find it?
Not in a long time. I have a visual memory, and can usually picture where something is.

5. 'One good turn deserves another'...were you most recently on the giving or receiving end of that sentiment?

Every day I'm on the receiving end of kind thoughts from my hubby, and I do my best to give back gratitude and encouragement.

6. Red, yellow, and orange are the colors of fall. Also the colors of fruit. If you were permitted only one color of fruit in your diet, which would you choose? This question isn't as easy as it sounds, at least not for me.

Red. I've always loved berry colors and tastes more than citrus colors and tastes.

7. The Hunt for Red October, October Sky, Halloween...which 'October' film is your favorite?

I haven't seen any of these. October Sky looks more like something I'd watch.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I saw this on Pinterest today, and it melt my heart. I do feel home sweet home in the Carolinas.

a love letter to North Carolina

Monday, October 6, 2014

Birthday Trip to Charlottesville, Virginia

Soon after the leaves start falling I start to make birthday plans for my hubby. He's turning the big '33' this year and this year has been good to him.
As a toddler in 1983.
He's had a birthday in a different state each year since we've met. I met him four years ago just before he turned 30, and that was the last year his Mom got to plan his birthday. Nothing extravagant, just dinner at their house, and maybe a gift or two.
I blogged about his 31st birthday trip to Boston and Cape Cod (here, here and here). His 32nd was in Georgia, when we were staying at the 1906 house. So this year, with a little saved we decided that we'd go away again. There's many things you can choose to spend your money on, we just choose to spend it on making new memories.
We headed to Charlottesville, Virginia. A mere four and a half hours away from Charlotte, the city is steeped in colonial history.
Off we went on Friday afternoon. We arrived safely and settled in for the evening, awaking the next day ready for a day of culture and history.
Let me introduce you to James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and his home, Ash Lawn-Highland.


The white building was James Monroe's home and the colonial building to the left was an addition by previous owners in the Victorian era.

The back of the property shows the lower floor where the kitchens are located. This was unusual for that era, as kitchens would burn down every so often.

A little more about James Monroe's life...

"James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, was born on April 28, 1758, in a home four miles from the birthplace of George Washington. He was the eldest son of Spence Monroe, a moderately prosperous planter in Westmoreland County. After studying in a classical academy, Monroe entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1774. As political tension with Great Britain mounted, Monroe became active in the revolutionary cause. Entering the Continental Army in 1776, he was quickly commissioned a lieutenant. He participated in battles in New York and New Jersey, wintered with Washington at Valley Forge, and was seriously wounded in the Battle of Trenton. Though he actually crossed the Delaware River in an advance guard several hours before Washington, he is depicted in Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware as standing behind Washington and carrying the colors. In 1780 Monroe left the army as a colonel to study law at William and Mary and in Richmond under Thomas Jefferson, who became a lifelong friend, political mentor, and neighbor." source

"In the next decades Monroe practiced law in Fredericksburg and served in the Virginia House of Delegates and on the Council of the State of Virginia. He gained additional political experience in the Congress of the Confederation and as minister to France during the Washington administration. With Jefferson and James Madison, he helped to organize the Democratic-Republican party. He became known for his administrative ability, for his decision-making ability, and for his ability to build consensus." source

"After one term as governor of Virginia, Monroe was catapulted to national fame by his role in the Louisiana Purchase. Following additional terms as minister to France, Great Britain, and Spain in the Jefferson administration, and as secretary of state and secretary of war under James Madison during the War of 1812, he was elected fifth president of the United States in 1816. His two terms as president are noted for the Era of Good Feelings, the Missouri Compromise, the establishment of the Indian Territory, the purchase of Florida, and especially the Monroe Doctrine." source

In 1786, when he was 28, Monroe married 17-year-old Elizabeth Kortright of New York City. In 1799 he built and moved to the plantation of Highland (renamed “Ash Lawn” by a later owner and now known as “Ash Lawn-Highland”) in Albemarle County, Virginia. It was adjacent not only to Jefferson’s Monticello but also to the plantation of Colle owned by Philip Mazzei, an Italian-American patriot, vintner, and author closely associated with Jefferson. After serving two terms and leaving the presidency at the age of 67, Monroe gave up his dream of retiring to Highland. Selling it to satisfy his creditors, he settled on his plantation of Oak Hill in Loudoun County, Virginia. Elizabeth Monroe, whose increasingly fragile health had provided another reason for moving closer to Washington, died in 1830. Ten months later, on July 4,1831, Monroe died in New York City at the home of his younger daughter, Maria Hester Gouverneur. He became the third American president—Jefferson and John Adams were the other two—to die on July 4." source

Afterwards, we went to Mitchie Tavern for lunch, we arrived early at eleven, just as it was opening and it was a wise choice, as this was the line as we left...

The lunch is served buffet style and was delicious. I asked about their stewed tomatoes, apparently they crumble biscuits and sugar to get the breaded texture, they were scrumptious. Yum!


Afterwards we went to Monticello, home of the third US president, Thomas Jefferson.

"Thomas Jefferson was born April 13, 1743 on a plantation in Shadwell, Virginia. He spent his boyhood exploring the wilderness and reading books. He attended boarding school and then enrolled at William and Mary College, where he studied math, science, literature, philosophy, and law. In April 1767, he became a lawyer and was admitted to the Virginia bar." source

"When Thomas was fourteen, Peter Jefferson died. In his will, he left Thomas about 3,000 acres of land and about thirty slaves. When Jefferson was twenty-six years old, he began building Monticello. The name means "little mountain" in Italian. Jefferson designed the house, gardens and workshops. Skilled white and enslaved workers built and tended them.

Jefferson loved Monticello. He made notes on everything. He wrote about the rainfall and daily weather. He wrote about his trees, slaves and crops. He even kept a gardening diary. These records tell us valuable information about life at Monticello." source

"Jefferson quickly became known as a champion of freedom and independence from Great Britain. In 1775 and 1776, he was appointed to the Continental Congresses, the later of which selected him to write the Declaration of Independence [note: he was 33, at the time, the same age Cory is celebrating this birthday]. Jefferson also served in the Virginia House of Delegates, and he was Virginia's governor during the Revolutionary War. After the war, he went to Paris as America's minister to France. While he was away, members of the Constitutional Convention contacted him and asked for his support of the new constitution. He conditioned his support on the addition of the Bill of Rights." source

"Upon Jefferson's return from France, he served as President Washington's secretary of state until 1793. He lost the 1796 presidential election to John Adams, but became Adams's vice-president. He ran again in 1800 and served two terms as America's third president. While in office, he commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to lead an expedition across the Louisiana Purchase." source

"At the end of his presidency in 1808, Jefferson returned to Monticello, his Virginia plantation. He worked as a scientist, inventor, linguist, and architect, and established the University of Virginia. Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the Declaration of Independence was signed and on the same day that John Adams died." source
I couldn't live in a world without seasons, and all it's glory.


The magenta flower is called celosia cockscomb.

Saturday evening we went for dinner at C&O in downtown. The restaurant is owned by the chef, and has been given critical acclaim by Bon Appetit, Food and Wine magazine and so many more. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was a relaxed and pleasant one.


We went to Sunday brunch at a restaurant called Fossett's at Keswick Hall. It was another sunny day and the menu had so many delicious choices to choose from. I highly recommend it.



After brunch we started meandering home along the majestic autumnal tree lined streets of Virginia and North Carolina. That my darlings, was one fabulous trip.
More celebrations to come this week.
Linked up to: Coastal Charm #231 The Dedicated House #116 Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson #121

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I last did a hodgepodge in July, here I go for a second time. Won't you join me?
1. Are the leaves turning color where you live? Have they begun to fall? Will you have to rake when it's all said and done? Is that a chore you love or loathe?
So September has hit and I've got a couple of FREE Fall Printables for you! Print them out, frame them up and use them around the house in your fall decor!
The leaves have started turning in the Carolinas and some have begun to fall. I love letting them gather on the pathway so I can hear that crunchy sound as I walk to the car.
Loathe? why no. One of the reasons we love the Carolinas is all the deciduous trees we seldom saw out West.

2. When did you last shake like a leaf?
As unfortunate as it sounds, I often have to get up, dust off my knees, and find ways to keep myself in a positive state of mind.  

3. After 20 seasons with the NY Yankees, Derek Jeter played his last official game Sunday afternoon. Jeter has been described even by opponents as a 'class act', both on and off the field. The NFL is back in action this month too, with several players in that sport also making headlines. What are your thoughts on athletes as role models? Should a professional athlete be expected to act as role model or is that going beyond their job description? What responsibility do the organizations these athletes work for have when it comes to dealing with off the field behavior? Discuss.
I believe anyone who is in the public spotlight, as well as everyone in general has a responsibility to be a good role model. Unfortunately, many role models these days are narcissistic and have little to no empathy as to how their behavior may affect others, especially to the impressionable ones who look up to them.

4. What season of the year is toughest for you in terms of your health? Why?
Luckily at twenty-eight I don't have any health issues. I suffered during a season in my life with chronic fatigue for almost four years, which was spurred on by four relatives passing in such a short amount of time.
5. The top six healthy food trends of 2014 according to Eating Well are-
clean eating (more veg, less meat, less sodium, limit alcohol and processed foods)
trash fish (you know those fish that get caught in fishermen nets and are thrown back? It seems chefs are finding creative ways to make them more appetizing)
cauliflower (this year's IT vegetable)
kaniwa (essentially baby quinoa, so like quinoa only smaller)
fermentation (think pickling except with twists on flavor we're not accustomed to)
community supported food (farms operating with community support/membership).

Okay-so how many of the hot healthy food trends for 2014 have you experienced, encountered, enjoyed? Any you've tried and said ewwww? Any on the list you'd like to try before year's end?
We rarely, if ever drink alcohol.
We try maintain a clean eating diet of fresh vegetables (including cauliflower), and lot's of fresh fish. We eat meat maybe once or twice a week, mostly at restaurants, as I have an aversion to touching raw meets.
Back when I lived in Portland, Oregon community horticulture and green living was a big thing. Them Portlanders also drank a lot of kombucha, some kind of fermented tea. I'd say ewwww to that!
6. In seven words or less, bid September adieu.
So long, farewell, see you next year!
7. What's something on your October calendar that makes you happy just thinking about it?
My hubby's thirty-third birthday trip to Charlottesville, Virginia. We're going to meander along the leafy paths to see Ash Lawn Highland, Mitchie Tavern, Monticello and Keswick Hall for the first time. Please pray we have a safe trip.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Bibi 'the original' was my first ever car picked out by my dad. She has given us 171,000 miles of memories, travelled to over 14 states, and withstood our rambunctious dogs. So after a month of making decisions, buying used and saving the difference, we'd like to welcome Bibi Belle 'the second' to our family.
Thanks for stopping by, have a lovely week!
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