NC Mountains Apple Pickin’

After making the apple crisp dessert the other week, I have been itching for a trip to the mountains to visit an apple orchard. Eric and I went with one of my old roommates several years back and I haven’t been back to one since. I googled apple orchard and what do you know… Sky Top Orchard is the first hit. Seems pretty popular. So I decided I was going. After finding out that this place was also only 36 mins away from Tupelo Honey Cafe, I knew another stop was mandatory.

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If you have seen my post from another trip I had to Asheville, you will see why I love Tupelo Honey Cafe so much. I’ve been back twice more since that trip and every time the food is out of this world. I loved it so much that I bought the cookbook and I am actually making a black bean burger from from the cookbook this week for dinner. I’m seriously obsessed. Luckily, we are getting one of these restaurants in Charlotte in the coming months. Let me tell you, I will be first in line.

We invited my mother-in-law on our day adventure as well, and I’m so glad we did. I am very fortunate to have a mother in law who is amazing. We have so much fun hanging out. So off we went bright and early Saturday morning up to the mountains. We got to the Orchard right at 9 am which was when they opened. Note to others: that is the way to do it. The place was packed by the time we were ready to leave. So getting there early is the way to go if you want a peaceful experience and not one with a bunch of crowds and chaos.

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You would not believe the amount of apples they had. I was blown away with just the large selection of apples in the front store. Once you are ready to pick some apples, they hand you a map of the farm. Looking out from the store, you can see apple trees for days. Plus there are so many different types of apples. Apples I have not even heard of.  They even have a sample table which is a great way to try all the different kinds of apples. We just wandered around the orchard picking apples as we chose. We ended up picking several different kinds.

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Eric loves Granny Smith apples, so we got a good amount of those for him. We also got my favorite apples: Fuji; love me some Fuji apples. Then we picked up a bunch of random apples in twos including: Rome, Cameo, Arkansas Black, and Pink Lady. I’m sure we will not be able to tell the difference now between all of the apples, but we picked the nonetheless.

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After picking apples we headed back to the storefront where we browsed through all the jams, jellies, butters, and apples. They also have fresh apple cider and apple pies. We all bought cider but Eric’s mom bought an apple pie (I need to ask her how it was). It looked mighty tasty!

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But the best part of the trip is the apple cider doughnuts. OMG… you walk up to the stand to purchase doughnuts and the heavenly smell of sugar and fried bread is in the air. It’s enough to make anyone salivate. I of course had to buy a dozen and it took all I had not to eat them all while holding the warm package in my hands. Ohh they are delicious. Eric and I had several with apple cider for breakfast the following day. You HAVE to heat them up. They are 10X better warm. Throw them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes and its sheer perfection in your mouth.

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The views at the top of the orchard were also wonderful. You can pick your apples while enjoying the mountain views in the background. The air was crisp and the leaves were just beginning to turn. The skies were overcast which all came together to make a perfect day for apple picking. I plan to make it a tradition to go up there every year. And hopefully with Sarah and James, Eric’s sister and boyfriend. This is an experience that everyone should have. Nothing like a day in the NC Mountains.

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We went home with 10 pounds of apples each. Now I’ve got several dishes in mind this week with all these apples. We are having apple, fig, and Gruyere cheese paninis this week, apple based salads, grilled apple, and I may even make some apple cinnamon buns with whatever is leftover next weekend.

How are you celebrating fall?

Where I Want To Be

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I love the sound of rain. It’s the most relaxing sound to me other than a summer thunderstorm.  I hope with this rain comes  cooler temperatures ringing in the fall season.

This post is more a of a heart to heart versus a decorating or cooking post. More and more lately I’m asking myself if I am where I want to be. Where do I want to be? Am I there now? If not, how do I get there. Can I ever get there?

My ideal self (at least as of the moment) is healthy, calm, and active. Am I there? The answer would be a resounding no. I think I am on my way to these things (or at least some) but not where I want to be.

I envision in my perfect day I would wake up, work out, then meditate / quiet time, fix breakfast, take a moment and relax with a cup of coffee, then get ready for work. Sounds amazing right? Do I do any of these things now? No. Other than get ready for work. Haha. I would have to get up at like 5 am in order to achieve these goals. Is it worth it? I’m sure. But how do you get there?

I set my alarm every morning to work out. Every morning I hit the snooze. Am I not motivated? Why is it that I cannot get the will power to get out of bed. I know it’s important to me but I still hit the snooze. Sometimes I wonder if I’m hitting the snooze button on everything in life, just because it takes a little more effort than pressing the “easy button.”

And being the planner I am, I know these things will only get harder to achieve once we throw children in the mix.   But I truly believe that if I had this morning ritual, I would be closer to my healthy, calm, active life.

In addition to that, I wonder if my current job as an accountant is where I should be. Sitting in a chair in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day is not exactly what I would call active. Again, in my dream world, I would open a gym and promote healthy living through exercise and nutrition. But with that would come sacrifices of money and time. So again, I  am complacent in my swivel chair and neutral colored cubical.

I hope by putting this out in there in the world that I will hold myself more accountable to obtain my goal of a healthy, calm, active life. Maybe I will put more effort into getting up in the morning and completing my desired morning ritual.

Where do you want to be? Are you there? How do you plan on getting there?

Wife Lessons – Year 2 Reflections

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I haven’t done one of these in a while. Probably because I needed more lessons than I cared to share.

And I’m learning that you find wisdom in the most unexpected places. At my hair appointment this last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting an older woman who shares the same wedding day as me. While Eric and I are celebrating 2 years today, she will be celebrating 35 years of marriage. Crazy.

Her advice was to always remember that you will have good years, bad years, and okay years. I couldn’t agree more.

As Eric and I have reached our second year anniversary I can honestly say that year two was harder than year one. Maybe it was that year one was filled with so much newness that we didn’t get a chance to really did into the details? Or maybe it was the year two brought more outside struggles that affected our marriage. Either way I’ve learned some lessons many times the hard way.

I’m still learning how to handle my anxiety and learn to be patient in uncomfortable situations. I think this has the biggest affect on our marriage. And yet, I have the most wonderful man as a husband, in the midst of my chaos. He supports me. He uplifts me. And I can only hope that I do the same.

We’ve struggled through my stress and anxiety. We’ve struggled through finding time for each other. Continuing to learn how to balance life priorities. Through everything this year I can honestly say that I am still happily in love. I cannot wait to get home to see my husband every day.

We have good days. We have bad days. We have okay days. But I know in my heart that this is the man that I am supposed to be standing beside through the rest of my life on this earth. And for that, I am truly thankful. Not everyone can say they have found that person yet. So I try and remind myself how lucky I truly am.

So with that, I’m going to enjoy a glass of wine from our Childress Syrah bottle we laid aside from our last year anniversary. A tradition that we will continue to keep. Last year we wrote letters to each other. And this year we let the time slip away. So this is my letter to you Eric. I will love you always.

Jamaica – Clear Blue Water Vacation

This summer, we decided to venture back out into the Caribbean. We’ve been once before about two years ago on our honeymoon. At that time we visited a Sandals resort in St. Lucia. It was wonderful. Unlimited drinks, laying out by the pool, walks on the beach, delicious food.

After busy season this year I was so ready to leave Charlotte as quick as possible. I’ve never felt like I needed a vacation so bad in my life. And it really wasn’t that bad of a busy season this year. I used CheapCaribbean.com to book our vacation. A great website if you are looking for a deal. The earlier you plan, the better the deal. I did not plan ahead but still was able to book our trip for 5 days, 4 nights at $2,085 with transportation to the hotel.

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The resort we stayed at was a 3-star hotel. Definitely did not live up to the standards of Sandals but for over half the price, I was willing to give it a try. And I was not disappointed.

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We stayed at Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in a Bayside View room. If I could do it again, I would not do the Bayside View room. Not really much of a view and it’s an extra price too. Doesn’t make much sense. However, we were hardly in the room but to sleep so it didn’t affect my attitude on the trip.

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This resort was more family oriented so there plenty of families with kids around. To be honest, I was a little concerned about this but to be honest this didn’t end up being an issue at all.

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The food was pretty good. The omelets were the best part for me while Eric loved their jerk chicken. Some of the other guests at the hotel said it was better than the jerk chicken on the side of the streets. The drinks were pretty good as well. The best was the Jamaican Rum Cream. We ended up coming home two several bottles. Like Bailey’s but better in my opinion.

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But I think the best part of Jamaica was the views. The water so blue. I don’t think I can stay at another beach that doesn’t have clear blue water. Even on a rainy day, you can’t beat the views of Jamaica.

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We had a great time on our trip. It was a much needed vacation. Would I go back again? Absolutely for the price. I still however have my eyes set on the new Sandals resort in Grenada. And a much dreamed about trip to Italy next year. But Jamaica still has a place in my heart.

Where did you go for your summer vacation?