Monday, December 31, 2018

Merry Pawmas

Good afternoon my dears, 

Since we celebrated Christmas at The Greenbrier this year, we decided to celebrate Pawmas when we returned home. Each year we buy a little something for our pets to open on Christmas morning, and as usual they enjoyed opening and playing with their gifts. 

- Milly age 10 -
A red mouse. 

- Boo age 11 -
Hair Ties. Now maybe she'll stop borrowing mine.

- Sophie age 10 -
A purple ball (not pictured).

- Kelsie age 3 -
A red, white, and blue rope (not pictured).

- Oscar age 9 -
A red and green ball (not pictured).

Cory's Christmas gifts.

My Christmas gifts. 

Apparently I was good this year. Santa gifted me this darling doll house with a wrap-around-porch. My childhood dream has come true.

Pawmas dinner. Roast chicken, roasted carrots, peas, herb stuffing balls, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The pups also got a Pawmas dinner which they were really happy about.

- Video -
Click on image to play. 

-Kiki Nakita-

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas at The Greenbrier

Good afternoon my dears,

We had a wonderful Christmas this year at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Claimed as "America's Resort" it was decorated by the one and only, Dorothy Draper, from Dorothy Draper & Co. 

- Christmas Eve Eve - 

We arrived on Christmas Eve Eve and had a delicious dinner at Drapers. Then with a resort map in hand we walked around and explored.

- Christmas Eve - 

On Christmas Eve we spent much of the day reading, relaxing, eating brunch and dinner at Drapers, and watching the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in the theatre.

- Christmas Day -

On Christmas Day we went to the chapel for a service, brunch at Drapers, for a walk around the grounds, and dinner at The Forum.

Snapped this photo of Cory at Prime 44 West. It makes me chuckle because it looks like he's the restaurant owner, don't you think?

Princess Grace of Monaco, who was also a guest. 

A retired photography teacher took this snap of us together.

We had the most enjoyable time celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ

- Video - 

-Kiki Nakita-

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Our 2018 Christmas Card

Good morning my dears,

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is making and sending out Christmas cards. Yes, I know it takes time and money, but it is a wonderful way to reach out and let others know that your thinking of them during the holiday season. This year I decided to use Minted, (here's a link if you'd like a discount (I believe its $25 off) your next order). The picture was taken earlier this year during the formal night of our Bahamas Cruise, which is a fond memory for both of us. 💜

Our 2018 Christmas Card

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!

-Kiki Nakita-

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Home Tour

Good morning my dears,

Today I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at our Christmas décor. This is our first Christmas at the farmhouse out in the country, so it was fun getting to decorate with a blank canvas. 

This is our breakfast room, which has French doors onto the patio and eight windows of uninterrupted views of our forest. The sideboard houses all my cookbooks and is decorated with an advent wreath. The evergreen symbolizes eternal life, and the candles lit each Sunday symbolize hope, faith, joy, and love.

Our cat, Millicent Marie, aka Milly was too cute not to snap a picture of.

Decorated our breakfast room with evergreen wreaths and a small town Christmas village in our apothecary jar. Our blue and white china is mix-matched, with Laura Ashley Petite Fleur bread plates and Johnson Brothers Devon Cottage dinner plates.

Decorated the great room with an angel tree as angels and angel wings are my all-time favorite Christmas decoration. I have wings representing all our loved ones who are no longer with us, but are in heaven, with heavenly father and heavenly mother. The stockings were handmade with care by my sister with Cath Kidston style fabrics and ribbons.


Our Christmas Home Tour video also includes our entryway, library, kitchen, mud room, coffee bar, and dining room.

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!

-Kiki Nakita-

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Happy 250th Birthday Charlotte, North Carolina

Today, is the 250th birthday of Charlotte, North Carolina affectionately known as the Queen City to local Charlotteans.

Picture of Cory and Kiki with the Charlotte skyline. Charlotte Restaurant Week, January 2018. 

The Founding of Charlotte, NC

"This year, 2018, we will be celebrating the sestercentennial, or 250th anniversary, of the founding of Charlotte.  Historical records show that the town of Charlotte was established with a law passed by the Assembly on December 3, 1768, but the story is more interesting than that.  The way that Charlotte came into being was unusual for the time and illustrates the exceptionalism that has always been a part of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. To understand this we have to start at the beginning. 

About 1750 settlers began to come down from Pennsylvania into western Anson County in the Royal Colony of North Carolina.  By 1763 there were enough settlers in the area to form a new county out of the western part of Anson, to be called Mecklenburg. This was not an unusual action as counties were routinely divided whenever the population reached a level that made that feasible.  When any new county was formed seven men were appointed to purchase a piece of land and build a courthouse, prison and stocks for the new county.  Once they had done this they were to levy a tax on the residents of the county to repay themselves for the expense.  This way of building a courthouse always gave new counties a problem.  Since the commissioners put up their own money, they waited until there were enough residents that the tax would fully reimburse the cost of buying the land and building the courthouse.  So in the case of Mecklenburg County, the commissioners waited four years before building the courthouse.  

Then they did something extraordinary.  On January 15, 1767, instead of just building a courthouse, they decided to build a town.  Three of the commissioners put up their own money, and bought a large piece of land.  It was the best land they could find, on the main road from Salisbury to the Catawba Indian Nation.  It was on a high hill on a long ridge, and had three good springs.  They bought 360 acres from the absentee land owner Lord Selwyn through his agent Henry Eustace McCulloh for £90.  A land grant for this amount of less desirable land elsewhere in the county would have cost them only about £5.  In addition to building the court house they laid out a city and began to sell city lots.  The North Carolina General Assembly had met the previous October, 1766, with Thomas Polk and Martin Phifer, the representatives from Mecklenburg County, attending.  Governor Tryon prorogued (dismissed) the session to reconvene in December, 1767.  In that session Mr. Polk introduced two bills.  One was to divide Mecklenburg County, forming Tryon County.  The other was to establish a town in Mecklenburg County.  In January 1768 the session was again prorogued and met again in November, 1768.  On November 12 Thomas Polk, re-introduced the bill to establish a Town in Mecklenburg County and Mr. Phifer re-introduced the bill to divide Mecklenburg County.  These two bills became laws when they were approved by Governor Tryon on December 3.   The law establishing Charlotte states that John Frohock, Abraham Alexander and Thomas Polk had purchased 360 acres for the purpose of erecting a Court House for the use of the County.  That they had laid out this land into a town and a common area and some if it into lots.  They had sold 80 of these lots and on some of them good habitable houses had been erected.  The law also says that the land is so healthy and convenient for trade that if it were established as a town it might grow to a considerable size.   

The town was to be named Charlotte, in honor of their Queen, the wife of King George III of Great Britain.  It was the custom in those days to name towns after famous people to honor them, not for any hope of gaining favor.  These Trustees plus two more – Richard Berry and George Allen – were to make deeds for the 80 lots already sold and for other lots as the town developed.  The owners of these lots were given three years to erect a building of a specified minimum size and quality or the lot could be seized by the trustees to be sold again. These lots were owned “in fee simple,” but the owners were to pay a Land Rent of one shilling per year.  Land Rent for city lots and Quit Rent for land were universal in the Royal Colonies, providing a way to support the colonial government and the Royal Establishment, much as taxes do today.  Finally, Thomas Polk was appointed treasurer.  The founders expected to sell a large number of city lots and make a lot of money and it seems that this did happen at first.  As soon as there were 60 families living in the town, the Assembly would make Charlotte a Borough Town, giving them their own representative in the Assembly.  Unfortunately things did not work out as planned.  Within seven years the American Revolution had begun and it would be 1815, 46 years later when the town was finally large enough to become incorporated."  

- Jim Williams, Dandelion Press, Volume 24, Number 1 

Mecklenburg County Court House and Monument Postcard, Circa 1930's 

Historical Scenes of Charlotte Postcard, Circa 1959

East Trade Street Postcard, Circa 1908

East Trade Street Postcard, Circa 1909

Trade Street, Looking East Postcard, Circa 1920's

Trade Street, Looking West, Circa 1930's

City of Beautiful Churches Postcard, Circa 1940's

PBS Trail of History - Charlotte Then and Now

Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz 

Portrait of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom, with Windsor and the royal family in the background. Painted by, Benjamin West in 1779.

Sophie Charlotte, born on May 19th, 1744 was the eighth child of the Prince of Mirow, Germany, Charles Louis Frederick, and his wife, Elisabeth Albertina of Saxe-Hildburghausen. In 1752, when she was eight years old, Sophie Charlotte's father died. As princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Sophie Charlotte was descended directly from an African branch of the Portuguese Royal House, Margarita de Castro y Sousa. Six different lines can be traced from Princess Sophie Charlotte back to Margarita de Castro y Sousa.
George I of Great Britain’s grandmother was Elizabeth Stuart The Winter Queen of Bohemia and the daughter of James VI of Scotland and James I of England and subsequently Great Britain.  George I was the grandfather of Charlotte's eventual husband (George III).  As a Protestant and a descendant of the Stuart Kings he was chosen to become king.  The long lineage of Scottish kings and queens is often sidelined in the ancestry of the current royal family.
She married George III of England on September 8, 1761, at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace, London, at the age of 17 years of age becoming the Queen of England and Ireland.  The conditions of the marriage contract were, ‘The young princess, join the Anglican church and be married according to Anglican rites, and never ever involve herself in politics’. Although the Queen had an interest in what was happening in the world, especially the war in America, she fulfilled her marital agreement. The Royal couple had fifteen children, thirteen of whom survived to adulthood. Their fourth eldest son was Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, later fathered Queen Victoria.
Queen Charlotte made many contributions to Britain as it is today, though the evidence is not obvious or well publicized. Her African bloodline in the British royal family is not common knowledge. Portraits of the Queen had been reduced to fiction of the Black Magi, until two art historians suggested that the definite African features of the paintings derived from actual subjects, not the minds of painters.
In Queen Charlotte’s era slavery was prevalent and the anti-slavery campaign was growing. Portrait painters of the royal family were expected to play down or soften Queen Charlotte's African features. Painters such as Sir Thomas Lawrence, who painted, Queen Charlotte in the autumn of 1789 had their paintings rejected by the royal couple who were not happy with the representations of the likeness of the Queen. These portraits are amongst those that are available to view now, which could be seen as continuing the political interests of those that disapprove of a multi-racial royal family for Britain. Sir Allan Ramsey produced the most African representations of the Queen and was responsible for the majority of the paintings of the Queen. Ramsey’s inclination to paint truer versions of the Queen could be seen to have come from being ‘an anti-slavery intellectual of his day. The Coronation painting by Ramsey, of the Queen was sent out to the colonies/commonwealth and played a subtle political role in the anti-slavery movement. Johann Zoffany also frequently painted the Royal family in informal family scenes.
Queen Charlotte was a learned character, her letters indicate that she was well read and had interests in the fine arts. The Queen is known to have supported and been taught music by Johann Christian Bach. She was extremely generous to Bach’s wife after Bach’s death. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at aged eight dedicated his Opus 3 piece to the Queen at her request. Also an amateur botanist, Queen Charlotte helped to establish Kew Gardens bringing amongst others the Strelitzia Reginae, a flowering plant from South Africa. The Queen who had the first one in her house in 1800 introduced the Christmas tree to England. It was said to be decorated with, ‘sweetmeats, almonds and raisins in papers, fruit and toys. Also the Queen Charlotte Maternity hospital was established in London. Set up as a charitable institution, it is the oldest maternity care institution in England.
Queen Charlotte died on November 17, 1818 at Dutch House in Surrey, now Kew Palace, in the presence of her eldest son, the Prince Regent. She is buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The only private writings that have survived are Queen Charlotte's 444 letters to her closest confidant her older brother, Charles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. On 23 May 1773 in a letter, the Queen felt she was in a position of privilege yet a task. Her Christian faith was a protection and a method of endurance, as she quotes from the Bible and recognizes her role as a royal of God beyond her royal role on earth.  An exhibition took place in 2004, at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace displaying Charlotte and George’s collections and tastes in the arts. Queen Charlotte was the great great-great grandmother of the present Queen Elizabeth II who still lives in the expanded Buckingham House, now Buckingham Palace. Kew gardens still flourishes and is always being expanded, also the Queen Charlotte maternity hospital and many other places still carry her name in honor globally such as Charlotte town, Canada and Fort Charlotte, St Vincent, West Indies.
Happy 250th Birthday, 

-Kiki Nakita-

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