Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bye Bye 2015

2015, you were kind to us.
Here's some highlights of our year
New Years Eve at The Carillion Beach Resort in Florida. 
Truman house in Seaside, Florida.
Valentine's tea at Ballantyne.
Friends trip in Sarasota, Florida.
2nd annual Easter a Biltmore.
Family and friends reunion in the Pacific Northwest:
Oregon - Washington - Oregon - Idaho - Utah - Colorado - New Mexico - Texas - Louisiana - Mississippi - Alabama - Georgia - South Carolina - North Carolina ::home::
Celebrated my 10th year in the United States.
29th Birthday in Charleston, South Carolina.
Winghaven gardens.

4th of July in Old Salem.
Shania Twain Rock This Country Concert.
2nd Anniversary at Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Adopted Kelsie a five month old puppy from a high kill shelter.
Celebrated five years together in Asheville, North Carolina on Labor Day weekend.
Southern Living House tour in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Country Living Fair in Atlanta, Georgia.
Family reunion and 2nd annual Thanksgiving at Biltmore.
2nd annual Christmas at Biltmore.
Wishing you all the best for 2016.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Go Tell It On The Mountain That Jesus Christ Is Born

Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.
Dolly Parton's rendition gets me in the Christmas spirit.

I enjoy reading all of your Christmas stories. Our Christmases are simple, as we have family that lives far away. On hubby's side his parents celebrated in the Pacific Northwest with his brother and on my side my mum celebrated in England with my sister.
Growing up, before I was eight I lived on a twenty-two acre farm in rural Pretoria, South Africa. My mother and father's families were from Europe and moved to the African continent in the late 1950's/early 1960's. So even though Christmastime was summertime, we celebrated with European traditions.
My first Christmas was at my Granny's house in Zimbabwe. I was the oldest grandchild, on both sides, so I was doted on and given too many presents, I'm sure.
I remember we decorated our tree with fruit ornaments, and since my dad's passing I inherited the strawberry ornaments - one of which I'd taken a bite out, thinking it was real. To other's looking at that ornament displayed on our tree there was a look of confusion, but to me, and my family it holds a special memory.
That's what makes celebrations, and traditions so important - the memories. When I was eight we moved to a rural village in the heart of Warwickshire, and much of my mother's family lived nearby. We would have the traditional carol services at the village church, many cards were shared (the Brits are very good at sending and receiving cards) and we wore silly crowns on our heads during Christmas dinner - yes, the ones pulled from a cracker.
A few years later my dad's aviation businesses expanded to Australia and the United States. So when it was time for me to go to college, I went to SFCC and later, Marylhurst University in the Pacific Northwest. I was nineteen, studying interior design and had a roommate from Japan. That was hers and a Chinese friend's first Christmas.
Every Christmas after that I would save my summer job money -yes, I worked for my dad's aviation company, and would fly to Europe for Christmas. Firstly, I'd go to my Granny's home in Germany and help her decorate her tree. She lived in a multi-generational home with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Then, I'd go to England and celebrate with my mum's side and see all my old high school friend.
Sadly, in 2009 my maternal Granddad passed away, five months later my maternal Nana passed away. In 2010, my Granny passed away just a few weeks before Christmas - eleven years after my Grandpa. If that wasn't enough loss only eight weeks after my Granny passed, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - he passed away in 2013.
Christmases since then have been with my hubby. We now live in the Carolinas, and have started a new tradition of visiting the Biltmore during the holidays. This year, my mum and sister came to visit over Thanksgiving break and so we took our Christmas card picture with them there.  


On Christmas Eve we attended two candlelight services, it's my favorite sermon of the year. We sang Silent Night as all the candles glowed.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
After the service, I prepared Chicken Gloria and we watched our favorite Christmas movies, relaxed ready for the next day.
On Christmas, we had our 2nd annual Christmas at Biltmore - the largest private home in the United States.  

We had our luncheon at The Deerpark, on the estate. The restaurant has windows on both sides - which look into a courtyard.  There was a tree all trimmed with red bows.


We're usually seated, make our drinks order then go into the large hall, where a buffet of holiday foods are on display. They also had an ice sculpture. Which was d-r-i-p-p-i-n-g on this unusually warm seventy-five degree day.

All the buffet tables had fantastic floral arrangements. I especially liked this one by the dinner plates.


After lunch, and dessert we did the washing up, went on a walk to the house. Where they took our picture in the music room.

The more we visit, the more we notice the architectural details.

Thank you for having us Vanderbilt's. Afterwards we hiked down to one of the rustic gazebos by the lake and I pulled so many funny faces for a picture - it made us laugh.
Lastly, for British Boxing Day we went to the Six Pence Pub in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Hubby had the cottage pie, and I had the bangers and mash.

We also watched our dear Queen's speech with a helping of English Christmas pudding. She's turning ninety next year, God Save Our Queen.

Hope your Christmas was just as joyful,
~Kiki Nakita ~
You can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Bloglovin'.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reid House Open House

Welcome to the Reid House, located in Matthews, North Carolina.
Built by Edward Solomon Reid in 1890 by a local businessman and later sold to his dear sister Ellen in 1893. That year, Ellen married Dr. Thomas Neely Reid (they had the same last name - but weren't related).
Dr. Reid graduated from City University of New York and settled in Matthews to practice medicine in 1889. He served until his death in 1946 aged seventy-eight. 
He was a colorful figure in town, beloved by his patients. Dr. Reid was one of the first people in Matthews to trade his horses for the "new fangled" automobile.
The house was named for Miss Nancy Reid, the youngest of Dr. and Mrs. Reid's daughters. She was born in the house on January 9, 1898 and lived there until her death on January 25, 1986.
She was well educated and taught in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System for thirty-five years. Mrs. Sarah Redd of Columbia, South Carolina, a niece of Miss Nancy's, inherited the house upon her death.
Mrs. Redd generously gifted the house and property to The Matthews Historical Foundation on December 31, 1987.
The Reid House is considered unique because it was one of the few Victorian Queen Anne style homes built in Mecklenburg County. With its design of gingerbread cupola, Chinese Chippendale porch railing and rounded turret it has remained a wonderful example characteristic of Victorian style.
The large windows, still with the original glass, the height of the interior walls, nearly 12 feet, and the woodwork and cross molding above the windows all are evident in homes of this era. Unfortunately, the furniture is not original to the house but is period correct.
The gazebo was constructed in 1996, using the Chippendale woodwork pattern found on the front porch as a guide. It makes a wonderful addition to the large backyard.
Hope you enjoyed the Holiday open tour.
Have a blessed Christmas week,
~Kiki Nakita ~
You can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Bloglovin'.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sentimental Gifts and Date Night

Before I share about our weekend, I wanted to share that this week we had not one, but three different doctors appointments. Two at my fertility specialist where I had an ultrasound, a follicle size of 23mm, and my 3rd IUI procedure. The third was an emergency doctors appointment to ensure I would be fine after quite a bit of blood loss. Luckily, I have been doing okay - and feeling back to myself.

We've finally sent all our Christmas cards and packages in the mail. It's almost like we need a trumpet. Here's a drawing hubby did of his older brother, and his niece - aged eight, and nephew - aged seven.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to send sentimental gifts. Its the ones you make that get kept for years to come, or passed down from generation-to-generation.

Our weekend was good. We spent Friday night out at The Gallery Restaurant at The Ballantyne Hotel and Resort. We really enjoy dressing up and dining there - here's a photo courtesy of Trip Advisor.

Hubby had the veal shank,

and I had the duck.

It was delicious.
Afterwards, we went to see the gingerbread house competition in the lobby, and sat by the fire for a little while - until we realized it was past midnight.


So cozy.
To be continued...
~Kiki Nakita ~
You can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Bloglovin'. 
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