Friday, May 2, 2014

carry me back....

I'm excited to announce that we will be moving to Virginia this summer! We made the decision a few months ago to move to Charlottesville so we could be closer to our family, and it sure is bittersweet. We have made such fabulous friends here in Charlotte over the past 4 1/2 years, and it has been hard packing up our belongings and starting the goodbyes. Our friends have been so supportive of our decision, which makes it a little easier, but we will miss the Queen City so much!

I've been documenting the chaos of getting our house ready, so once we are under contract I'd love to share some funny pictures and stories. We have been working on getting our house ready since we got back from our trip to Portland/Seattle, and it sure has been a crazy time.

We are also on the hunt for a house in Charlottesville, and will hopefully be able to find one when we visit next weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

I'll be able to share more soon, promise!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#hipstervacay {Portland/Seattle day 4}

We woke up early again for our last morning in Portland. We decided to walk around Old Town/Chinatown before hopping on the noon train to Seattle.

First stop: Breakfast! We stopped at Pearl Bakery in our neighborhood. It reminded me a lot of our favorite bakery at home, Sunflour. They have a wide variety of pastries, fabulous looking breads, and great coffee
 We shared the cinnamon "crown" (leftover croissants chopped up and baked in a mold) and a chocolate croissant. Yum!
 Since it was still a little early, there wasn't much open around town. So we just wandered. 
 I loved the cool old neon signs that were everywhere in Portland. It kept reminding me of what an old city it is!
The Chinese gardens didn't open until later that day, but they looked really cool from the street!
I am the queen of taking bad selfies, and this was no different. We wanted to capture the Portland sign...whoops! 
 Here it is in all its glory. Isn't it the coolest?
 We ended up walking around the bustling downtown area for a while. There were tons of stores and restaurants in this part of town, but it was much more commercialized than in our neighborhood. It was where all of the banks, law firms, etc were located. It was busy by 9AM!

We knew we still had time to kill, so we found another cafe to boost our energy. Waking up at 6AM every morning and going all day until late totally zapped us! We stopped at Caffe Umbria for a little caffeine jolt. They gave out little chocolates with each coffee. It was so cute!
 We knew we needed some lunch food for our trip, so we stopped at the brand new grocery store in Pearl District, World Foods. It was the perfect place to pick up snacks. You know I would love any place that sells coffee beans in a mason jar (!!!). 
We picked up salami, prosciutto, blue cheese, Cabot clothbound cheddar, an asian pear, and a baguette. We also popped into Sur La Table for a little knife and a cutting board for our goodies. We travel in style! We also played some card games to entertain ourselves. The trip flew by in an instant!
 Once we got to Seattle, we stopped to drop off our bags and freshen up. Our apartment was in a brand new building with all of the bells & whistles! I found it through Airbnb* again, and it was the perfect spot for us! The neighborhood it is in is Belltown, which has tons of great shops & restaurants, and is just 5 blocks from Pike Place market. We somehow managed to book the apartment building right by my friend who is the only person I know that lives in Seattle. She was literally right around the corner! How crazy.
 We looked around at different places nearby to have a drink and a snack, so we headed out to Local 360 to meet my friend, Kelly. The restaurant sources 90% of their ingredients from within 360 miles of Seattle. It is always fun seeing what they come up with! Their beer, wine & spirits list was even all locally sourced. I loved this place instantly.
 They offer a killer happy hour menu, so we picked a few things to share. Their fries and mac & cheese were pretty good
 They had a kielbasa "corndog" that was totally ridiculous and amazing
 And these delicious deviled eggs. I'm a sucker for these!
 We sat and chatted with Mike the bartender for a few hours, as he so kindly let us pick his brain about what we had to do the rest of the week. Luckily it was a pretty quiet night, being a Tuesday, so we also got a lot of insight from the servers as well!
With a long list of MUST DO's, we headed back home and crashed.

More to come!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

#hipstervacay {Portland day 3}

Our third day in Portland was the only activity we booked in advance of our trip: a wine tour in the Willamette Valley. Connor found Backroads Wine Tour through Trip Advisor, as it was the highest rated tour in the area.

We knew we needed to have a hearty breakfast before our long day of wine tasting, so we found a cute old diner around the block from our apartment: Fuller's Coffee Shop. It had 2 u-shaped bars where you sit side-by-side, and the waitress is easily able to manage everyone. We ordered omelettes with a side of hashbrowns and a side of their homemade toast. It was good, stick-to-your-ribs food!

Our next stop was in search of more coffee. We found the other Stumptown cafe near us, which was located in the Ace Hotel. This place was even more hipster than the one we went to the day before. I felt so cool!
Stumptown's coffee bars are so gorgeous. I could hang out all day in one!
We sat and sipped our coffee in the lobby of the Ace, and worked on a crossword. That is our weekend tradition. Yes, we're old.

We headed back to our apartment to grab our things, and then our tour guide picked us up right outside our place. Talk about convenience! We drove into wine country to pick up the other couple that was joining us then made our first stop.

Stop 1: De Ponte Cellar
Luckily for us, the rain started tapering off as soon as we got to the first winery. We enjoyed some of De Ponte's pinot noirs while overlooking the Willamette Valley. It was gorgeous!
They had trimmed back all of the grape vines and were burning the dead branches, making my pictures quite smokey.
The clouds were spectacular, and kept moving and shifting around. It was breathtaking.

Our guide drove us to the next winery, and the sky started finally clearing up. We had to take some pictures right then because we weren't sure if the sun would hold!
We enjoyed our tasting at Bergstrom more than at De Ponte. The woman giving our tasting was really fun and knowledgeable. The Pinot Noirs were killer. So great that we decided to order a case!
We walked through the barrel room and out the back to the sunshine. Any vineyard dog will get lots of attention from us!
It was turning into such a gorgeous day!
We loved meeting this sweet couple, who also happened to be from NC!
I'm pretty sure we had purple teeth by this point...

It was finally time to eat some lunch, so our tour guide set it up while we stood outside

We had a private tasting (accidentally I think!) and were seated in their reserved room for lunch.
I loved the gorgeous table, which reminded us of a table we have that my grandfather made. This was one big tree slice! The legs were also stunning.

Check out our spread! We gorged on delicious charcuterie, cheese, and crackers before we started our tasting.

We had a wonderful tasting, and Carly truly hooked us up. I was able to purchase a bottle of their "sold out" Pinot Gris for Meredith, because she was watching Bowser. She also brought out some half-size bottles of 2008 & 2010 Pinot Noir, and gave us a vertical tasting along with the 2012 (which is THE YEAR for Willamette Pinots). We were sold on those, and brought back the 2008 & 2010 as a gift for Connor's boss and client (and ourselves, of course!). We also ordered a case of the 2012 Pinot, which we are expecting in April.

We admired the bar while the boys settled up. Check out the different layers of dirt! This shows the different areas in which they grow their grapes. That is a lot of variety!
Stop 4:  Soter Vineyards
Soter is by appointment only, as the tasting rooms are actually where people live. On the property, there is the big house, which holds the the living room, fireplace, and kitchen. There are two cabins right down from the big house that have bedrooms and smaller living areas. They had our tasting in one of the smaller cabins. It was so unique! We tried a few whites then moved on to their pinot noirs. The pinots were so good!
I'm pretty sure that after the 4th tasting, things started unraveling. It was hard to hold it together by this point! I definitely was chugging water at this point. It got a little silly...
I somehow managed to snap some good pictures on the Soter grounds. Here is one of the 2 sleeping cabins. Isn't it amazing?

Just the view of the rolling hills. I was in heaven!

Here is the inside of the big house. There was a lot of great little seating areas and a to die for kitchen.
The architecture was incredible in this place!

The end of our day! Purple teeth and all, we made it!
Here we are with our great tour guide, Jeffrey
He dropped us off at our door, and we heated up leftover pizza and called it a night. It was quite a long day!

If you have never been on a wine tour (it was my first!), you HAVE to make it happen. This was such a fun day, one we won't forget!

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