{ From City Chic to Suburban Simple }

Alright lovelies…I know it’s been a few weeks since I last posted. And no, it is certainly not normal. I am a blogger that posts weekly but I had to take a brief hiatus for a very good reason. But do not fret – I’ll be posting regularly again now that things have calmed down. So what exactly has gone on in this duration that has caused a slight pause in posting?

Welp…if you did not know, the hubs and I were looking to purchase a home. We had lived in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood for almost a year and as much as we have always loved the area, we realized quickly that the space was getting a little too tight for us. We were in a historic bungalow which had such great charm, however, to put it frankly, we needed more room.

We had been working with our real estate agent for a few months and kept finding ourselves either losing out on a house because we did not move fast enough or ended up in a bidding war because a house had multiple offers. The housing market in Charlotte is pretty hot right now and with it being inundated with buyers, not a lot of inventory and low interest rates…it was a recipe for frustration. I was down and out a few weeks back because we had lost a bidding war on a house and I had not felt defeat like that in some time. However, a week after the bad news, our dream home came on the market. So Reader’s Digest version: we put in an offer sight unseen the day it came on the market with a time table (we asked for a response from the seller by 5pm that day in order to avoid another multiple offer scenario – yeah, we played hard ball) and I went to scope out the digs on my lunch break that day. Risky? I’d say so. But I just had warm fuzzy feelings about this home and we went with our gut instinct.

Needless to say…it ended up working out in our favor and I am proud to announce that on May 26th we closed on this gorgeous southern colonial.

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I will say that I am and always have been a big believer in fate. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes, you have to believe. Not just say you believe, but actually live it by letting the cards fall how they may, putting your best foot forward, thinking positively and not letting a hit or setback deter you from still pushing forward.

Although Shahin and I have always been big into “city living” we have officially traded it in for a more simple, suburban lifestyle. Does that mean we have aged 20 years and will never go out to the bars and breweries we used to enjoy? No. It just means that we have taken a new direction in our life and marriage and are so excited to make this house a home.

Stay tuned for home update posts as I see many projects in our future! In the meantime, enjoy some other great shots of our new abode below. Enjoy!

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{ beautiful front door }

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{ living room and lots of windows }

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{ dining room }

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{ Our garden of aloe, tomatoes and radishes }

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{ the back }

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{ ivy trees and a pretty sweet shed }

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{ a pretty incredible back deck }

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{ back deck love }

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Food Truck Frenzy

In case you haven’t heard…food trucks are all the rage. Of course they have been for quite some time, particularly on the west coast. But my beloved city, Charlotte, is experiencing a large growth in the food truck game lately and I can’t lie…I’m kind of loving it! I am big on doing everything on a local level – supporting neighborhood businesses is big for me. Especially because I am a native Charlottean and I love nothing more than standing behind those who put their heart and soul into a vision and made their dream a reality. NoDa Brewing Company being one (yay craft beer) but also my dear friends, Kevin and Matt, who have started their very own food truck, New Wrap Order.

This was something I’ve heard Kevin talk about through the many years he has been in my life. And rightfully so, the guy is talented. He went to Johnson and Wales for culinary so let’s put it this way – he knows what he’s doing. When he told the hubs and I that he was going for the gold, to say we were excited for him is an understatement. Watching Kevin and Matt take a dream and see it through has been inspiring. Nothing tugs at my heart strings more than seeing someone take a leap of faith, put everything they have into something and to put it frankly…make it happen.

Two nights ago, we attended a family and friends night Kevin and Matt hosted for their food truck. In light of their first real event/public launch of their truck today (Food Truck Friday in Matthews), I am sharing my favorite food trucks in town and also the ones I am dying to try! Enjoy!

New Wrap Order (the new kid in town)

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Exhibit A – Kevin & Matt’s food truck, New Wrap Order. New Wrap Order is exactly what you would think: internationally inspired wraps but also bowls for all of you avoiding carbs! Two night ago, I tried the Caribbean Wrap – Jamaican jerk sauce, crispy plantain chips, black beans, white rice and toasted coconut (and comes with your choice of meat – I picked steak). I also got to to taste the “wonchos” – think nachos with wontons instead – and there are three different kinds: Traditional, American and Asian Style! Let me tell you…the Asian Style was out of this world. I am confident that they are going to kill it in the food truck game and excited to watch it come to fruition! More information can be found here.

Ooowee BBQ

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Now, I thought I had tasted the best BBQ in Charlotte as we frequent Midwood Smoke on a fairly regular basis. But I have to say, Ooowee BBQ definitely gives them a run for their money. I was fortunate enough to try their food at NoDa Brewing a couple of weeks ago. No words. The BBQ is ridiculously on point and the mac and cheese is killer. Not to mention they do a little something called BBQ Sundaes…and it is exactly what you would expect. Layers of mac and cheese, baked beans, your choice of meat, dry rub cole slaw and topped with BBQ sauce. They even serve it in a sundae container. Lots of points on creativity but even more on the cuisine itself. More information can be found here.

Papi Queso

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If you know me, you know I love cheese. Better yet, grilled cheese. So you can imagine how this food truck won my heart long ago. This is not some plain, boring grilled cheese – this is grilled cheese on steroids! From mushroom gruyere to a grilled cheese with prosciutto and honey walnuts…this truck is on point. More information can be found here.

The TIN Kitchen

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In my opinion, TIN Kitchen is a Charlotte food truck staple. They offer a little bit of everything – from tacos to quesadillas to salads and sliders – everyone will dine happy here. My personal favorite is the Chicken Tinga Tacos — chipotle chicken braised with tomatoes and charred onions, topped with salsa verde and queso fresco crumbles and scallions. This is a food truck that I will continue to support for life. More information can be found here.

Maryland Crab Co. 

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Have you ever wanted fresh seafood? I know…it sounds strange that a food truck could potentially provide this but believe it or not, Maryland Crab Co. does! This food truck launched in 2013 and it has been a great addition to the town. They found that people could not find fresh seafood in Charlotte and why would they? After all, we are no where near the coast. However, Maryland Crab Co. brings fresh MD crab to the Queen City. From soft shell crab to shrimp to crab cakes – this place has it all. More information can be found here.

King of Pops

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So…it’s not a truck per say. But same kind of concept. If you have not had the luxury of eating one of these popsicles in your life, you are doing a disservice to yourself. I am quite serious. King of Pops has little carts all around Charlotte and their mission is to bring fresh, all-natural popsicles to the area…and they definitely deliver on their promise. They have a schedule that you can check out on their site that tells you exactly where they will be. They provide an array of seasonal pops as well as some staples. With flavors like Cereal Milk Fruit Loops, Chocolate Tarragon, Coconut Lemongrass, Grapefruit Mint, Lemon Ricotta (my personal fav) and Pineapple Cilantro – you will never be disappointed with the selection. More information can be found here.

Now…the trucks I have not tried yet but am dying to…

Yummi Banh Mi

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Okay, so I am not 100% sure what this truck is about other than one thing…bahn mi. A delicious, traditional Vietnamese sandwich. I’ve seen it driving around Charlotte and I’ve actually contemplated following it (is that weird?). At any rate, I will be finding this one soon so I can get my hands on a delicious sandwich! More information can be found here.

Sugar Handmade Gourmet Donuts

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Yeah…I have no shame admitting that I love donuts. I don’t do them regularly but when I do, I want a good one. Don’t get me wrong, I love cupcakes too but there is something really fresh and almost chic about gourmet donuts. Everyone sees Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ but a homemade donut just simply cannot be beat. When I saw this food truck the other day I nearly peed my pants (not really, but you catch my drift). I mean, they have a beignet donut for goodness sakes. This is definitely a food truck worth trying! More information can be found here.

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In Bloom | Swoon-worthy Vases

Happy almost weekend, lovelies!

Although the weather in the Carolinas has felt more like Seattle lately than the sweet south, it definitely makes me look forward to the beautiful weather to come! And as the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers — no truer words could have ever been spoken. With that being said and keeping this theme in mind, what better way to showcase your May blooms than with a beautiful vase? Vases are both functional and make great statement pieces in your home. Below are a few of my favorites that I’ve been eying (and I may or may not own #6). So instead of letting this dreary weather bring me down, I’m going to daydream about sunshine and fluffy, soft peonies in a gorgeous vase. Enjoy the selection of pretties below!

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1. Pineapple Mercury Glass Vase, $31.43 {from Horchow}  2. Pearl Place Rosebowl, $75 {from Kate Spade}  3. Paisley Park Coral Bud Vase, $22 {from Fitz and Floyd}  4. Indigo Aishe Vase, $24 {from Pure Home}  5. Neon Pink Wire Floral Vase, $27.15 {from Oliver Bonas}  6. Adra Vase, $39.95 {from Crate & Barrel}  7. Clear Heirloom Vase, $14.99 {from Target}  8. Aqua Frosted Bottles, $39.95 {from Pier 1}  9. Maine Tall Vase, $76 {from Neiman Marcus Last Call}  10. Olivia Vase, $49.95 {from Joss & Main}

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Spring into Spring | From Day to Night

Hello lovelies,

Spring is in the air! Although Autumn is my favorite season, Spring would have to be a close second (and I can’t say that I’m sad to see the Winter blues become a thing of the past). Everyone in my neighborhood is out and about – walking their dogs, entertaining outside, riding their bikes and going on runs (which I’ve managed to squeeze in after work a few days this week). Speaking of work, the warm weather has me thinking ahead in regard to my professional wardrobe. Between starting a new job (it’s hard to believe I’ve been with my new company for over a month now) and all of the wedding festivities the hubs and I have coming up (four weddings this year, two of which we are in) — I thought it would be a fun twist on a Spring post to incorporate a day and night time look by using many of the same pieces for both. After all, I’m certainly not made of money (although in my dream world I am) so I need to be extremely functional and realistic with these various expenses approaching! Alas, below is a fun little professional and evening guide that I’ve put together and they include some of my favorite items that I am currently obsessing over. Enjoy!

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1. Nars Audacious Lipstick in “Brigitte”, $32 {from Sephora} I’ve been a Mac lipstick girl my whole life…and my collection speaks for itself. However, one of my bests, Heather, purchased one of these bad boys for me during the holidays because she absolutely swore by it. But really though, can Nars do any wrong? The Audacious line is like no other lipstick line that I have personally experienced. The colors are super pigmented, long-lasting and have this ultra soft, creamy texture. I own the color “Brigitte” which is a nude rose. It is the perfect color for Spring and transitions extremely well from day to night.

2. Factory Metallic Tweed Tweed Panel Heather Sweater, $52.50 {from J. Crew Factory} J. Crew always does it right and metallic is hot this season. I particularly adore this sweater because it is something a little out of the ordinary and can be dressed up or down. I love mixing and matching colors and patterns and adore how it looks against the neon skirt (reference #6).

3. Balenciaga Roseblanca Perfume, $100 {from Sephora} I received this scent as a gift back in December and it is truly becoming a regularly worn scent during these warmer days! It’s the perfect amount of floral without being too sweet – think clean, fresh and a little valiant with scents of rose, white woods and citrus notes.

4. Light Pink Embellished Prom Dress, $240 {from River Island} This dress may not be the lightest on the pocket but it is one that you can wear over and over again. I’m okay with spending the money on good, quality items – particularly cocktail dresses because you can always keep them in your arsenal. Not to mention, with all of the wedding festivities occurring over these next few years (hey, we’re at that age), it makes sense to pick something lovely (like this number) and recycle! This dress…no words. It speaks for itself.

5. Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer, $34 {from Sephora} Y’all – this stuff is life changing. If you are looking to achieve the “fresh face” look this Spring, this primer will exceed your expectations! I like to mix it with my foundation before applying and the outcome is soft, radiant, dewy skin. Just dab a little on your face during the day for some highlight and go a little heavier in the evening.

6. Dickins & Jones Neon Skirt, $47.61 {from House of Fraser} I love, love, love neon! If there is a way to implement it in my wardrobe, I absolutely jump on it. However, neon can be tough to pull off in a professional environment. But it can absolutely be done and with this beautiful pencil skirt paired with the cool, neutral J. Crew Factory sweater (see #2) as of the intensity of the neon is toned down and you have one chic, pulled together look.

7. Gemini2 Patent Court Shoes, $70 {from Top Shop} Patent nude pumps are a must-have in anyone’s closet. They are super versatile and can go from day to night seamlessly.

8. Factory Stone Burst Earrings, $14.50 {from J. Crew Factory} I love these little cluster earrings! They are delicate but can add a pop of color and allure to your outfit. They look fantastic for both day and night and the best part? They’re a steal at just $14.50!

9. Essie Baby’s Breath Nail Polish, $8.50 {from Beauty.com} I’m an Essie advocate through and through. I’m also a huge fan of neutral polish, particularly in the Spring. This is hands down one of my favorite Essie colors because it’s the perfect amount of pink without being overkill. It’s soft, creamy and a functional nude polish to add to your collection.

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Travel | Barcelona Round Up

Well hello, friends!

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get to it, but alas, I have summed up our amazing family trip to Barcelona, Spain! Now trust me when I say, there is no way on earth I have covered all of my bases (we were there for an entire week), however, I think I have provided a pretty concise round up on the city of tapas, cava + siestas!


Arrival

We arrived in Barcelona, Spain early Sunday morning (January 18th). We rented an adorable condo in the city with the most miraculous view.

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{ Inside of our condo }

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{ We’re here – oh happy day! }

Basilica of the Sagrada Familia

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Okay, if you are unfamiliar with Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, open a new tab and Google it right now. It’s listed as the 2nd most popular thing to see in Barcelona on Trip Advisor and rightfully so. Please keep in mind, the pictures do not do this place justice. Here is the rundown: it is a MASSIVE Roman Catholic church designed by the famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. He used nature and art as inspiration to cultivate this beauty. The project started in 1882 and guess what? It is still under construction and not projected to be done until 2030. Gaudí spent his very last days working on Sagrada Familia and his tomb is even in the church. This was such a sight to see – I mean, the intricacy of everything, the gorgeous stained glass windows…it was truly magnificent. Fun fact: we went up to the towers (556 ft high) and then had to take a spiral staircase down – and I shook uncontrollably while my family poked fun at me (afraid of heights, much?).

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{ The hubs and I outside of La Sagrada Familia }

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{ Mi familia }

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{ The detail on these doors – I mean…WOW }

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{ I have an obsession with stained glass }

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{ Glorious stained glass windows }

Boqueria Market

Okay, so I was told that the Boqueria Market was a must see when traveling to Barcelona. I thought to myself: Why? A market does not sound all that exciting. Wrong! This place is not like any market you have ever seen. When I say they have everything, I mean…they have everything! From candy, to all varieties of fresh seafood imaginable, to sheep heads (no, I’m not joking), to veggies, nuts, dried fruit and our ultimate favorite – an infinite variety of fresh squeezed juice for just a euro. We kept going back to the juice stand like crack junkies. As soon as I would finish one, I would purchase another. Papaya, coconut, coconut/strawberry…it was a sick addiction. This place was absolutely amazing and I would highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance!

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Dalí Museum

It’s weird, it’s obscure…and totally worth the two hour train ride outside of Barcelona. Even if you do not particularly enjoy art, you will enjoy this museum. It was by far the most interesting place we visited and I am so grateful that we did. From the architecture to the sketches and paintings inside, it exudes Dalí through and through. For me, it was intense just wrapping my head around the fact that I was looking at actual pieces of art that Dalí touched and created: MIND. BLOWN.

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{ Inside of the Dali museum }

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{ Outside of the Dali Museum }

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{ Obscure courtyard at the Dali Museum }

Picasso Museum

This was probably one of my favorite stops. Of course when you think of Picasso, you think abstract, however, he started off doing still life. I even picked up this print from the museum gift shop because I loved it so much. Perhaps on the gallery wall?

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{ Image found here }

Park Guell

Okay, so the walk up to the park was intense. Think: steep San Francisco hills meets outdoor escalators. Let’s just say, it was a lot of work to get to this famous park. However, once we got there, the view made it all worth it. The scene of Barcelona from Park Guell is breathtaking. There is no other way to put it.

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{ The view of Barcelona from Park Guell }

Tapas + Cava

You would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not eat tapas or drink cava in Spain. Period. That’s what they are known for (aside from the siestas). You can find tapas practically everywhere in Barcelona but a notable place to check out that we were blown away by: La Flauta. So, so amazing. The good news: they have a menu in English (score!) however, the selection is super overwhelming and we asked them to just bring out food to us…and boy, did they ever. Dish after dish after dish – it was slightly embarrassing because honestly, we just kept eating. Everything they prepared was delicious. My favorite dishes? Brie skewers rolled in toasted peanuts and topped with a raspberry sauce, patatas bravas, octopus salad, shredded potatoes (kind of like hash browns) topped with an over easy egg – I mean, wow.

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{ Feast your eyes }

On our last day of the trip, we decided to do a cava tasting. For those of you who are unfamiliar, cava is a sparkling Spanish wine that is similar to champagne (but so much better). My friend, Ashley, introduced me to a glass of it several years back and I have been a fan ever since. Spain is known for their cava and what better way to enjoy it than exploring the vineyards, learning the history behind it as well as the art of cava making? Let me tell you, this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Artcava was the company we went through and it only required a 40 minute train ride outside of Barcelona. We met the owner, Eric, and enjoyed a 6-hour cava excursion with our host, Ramon. I can honestly say, we became friends with Ramon when it was all said and done. In fact, we still keep in touch through Instagram! He was one of the most interesting and knowledgeable people I’ve ever met. After our tasting and tour of the facility, we made our very own bottles of cava to take home with us and indulged in a delicious meal that Ramon cooked – it was hands down one of the best meals we had in Barcelona. What an experience!

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{ The scenery }

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{ Ready for our cava experience }

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{ The tasting table is ready to go }

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{ It really does not get much better than this }

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{ The hubs attempting to cork his bottle of cava }

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{ The finished product }


Barcelona in a nutshell:

  • The city was beautiful and this visit will be an experience forever engrained in my mind.
  • There is a great deal of hustle and bustle, people are constantly on the go.
  • It’s interesting to see businesses close in the middle of the day for a few hours and then reopen.
  • The food (particularly seafood) and cava are delicious.
  • I got spoiled drinking cappuccinos over there – it’s just not the same in the States.
  • FACT: the Coke products and McDonald’s taste better in Barcelona.
  • There are bakeries on every corner. With that said, I got to experience a cronut filled with nutella…no shame.
  • You do a great deal of walking in Barcelona – in fact, I was sore almost every day. Either I’m completely out of shape or living in the South and driving everywhere did not really prepare me for this adventure!
  • People believe in “working to live” over “living to work”. Bottom line: they think Americans are workaholics.
  • People genuinely look happy. They pretty much love life.

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