2016 | What I’ve Been Up To

Hello Lovelies!

Happy 2016 (and early Valentine’s Day)!

Although I have a great deal in store this year (I’m back in action after a brief haitus), you may have been wondering what I’ve been up to! Let me give you a brief run down:

Our 2 Year Anniversary Trip to D.C. 

Living in the beautiful Carolinas, sometimes it’s difficult to leave. However, Shahin and I love to travel and instead of buying each other “traditional” wedding anniversary gifts, we do things a little differently in the Arminoei household. We’ve made taking a trip each year one of our traditions. This year, we decided to spend a long weekend in D.C. The fact of the matter is, I had only visited once when I was in elementary school for a field trip and well, let’s just say it’s one of the hubs’ favorite cities and he had been dying to take me there. Now if you know me, of course I did my research prior to our adventure to ensure we were hitting some of the best spots in town (duh).

The Highlights:

Zara

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{ Image courtesy of DC Internationalist }

I know, I know. I have a shopping problem and everyone is aware. Unfortunately, Zara has not yet graced Charlotte with its presence so whenever I see that big, beautiful store – I’ve got my game face on.

Zaytinya (for dinner) + barmini (for drinks) by renowned Chef Jose Andres

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Y’all – I wish I could put into words how blown away we were. After eating at one of James Beard Award Winning Jose Andres’ restaurants, Zaytina, we had drinks at his bar (which required a reservation). Once arriving, we had to ring a doorbell to enter (a little reminiscent of a speakeasy). This place was simply beautiful – clean, chic, hip. The Mixologist provided us with a drink upon arrival to clean our palates and then Shahin and I went to town. This place does hand crafted cocktails right. One of the drinks I had the pleasure of tasting was homemade banana bourbon – absolutely delicious and hands down one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. If you’re in the area – don’t miss out on this place (but make sure you book a spot at the bar in advance!)

White House visit 

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Cliche, but one of those “have tos”. And of course, being the basic white girl I am, Starbucks in hand!

USDA Farmers Market 

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Purely by accident, we stumbled upon a USDA Farmers Market during a stroll through the city on a beautiful Autumn day. We picked up a variety of dumplings, apple kombucha and homemade cola and sat in a park to indulge.

Persian Cuisine

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I guess it’s no secret that D.C. has a buzzing Persian population. To pay homage to the hubby’s heritage, we decided to drive about 30 minutes outside of the city to get a taste of some of the best Persian cuisine I’ve had (aside from when Shahin’s grandmother comes in from Iran and cooks for us). Kabobs, grilled tomatoes and my favorite, Persian rice (tahdig). NOMZ.

Annual Family Trip: Panama 

Each year, Shahin’s dad and stepmom take the family on a trip for a belated Christmas. This is my favorite family tradition because we much prefer experiences and memories over tangible things. I didn’t think anything was going to top last year’s trip to Barcelona, but the fam never ceases to amaze me. This year we traveled to the beautiful country of Panama and stayed right in the heart of Panama City. Not doing a great deal of research in advance, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Panama City reminded me of Miami in a lot of ways. It’s actually a big, international banking city (who knew) and there were restaurants and bars galore, high end shops (hello, Chanel) and so much to see and do.

The Highlights: 

JUICE

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Weird, right? How could juice be a highlight of a trip? Juice is a big deal in Panama. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and each morning, they had this little piece of heaven we dubbed “liquid life” = watermelon juice. Every morning when we would come down for breakfast, we b-lined straight for the juice (even over the omelette station). This stuff was the real freaking deal. Even outside of the hotel, we would grab juice from a little stand practically every day.

Panama Canal

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We took a boat through the Panama Canal – definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Although the excursion was a little longer than expected, the views were incredible.

Monkey Island & Indigenous Tribe 

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The best excursions we had (in my opinion) both occurred in the same day – and a full day it was! First, we met our guide and took a boat out into the water where we would then pull up to various parts of a jungle (keep in mind: about a 45 minute drive outside of where we were staying). This is where an array of different monkeys would come and visit our boat while we fed them bananas (and in some cases, right from our hands). This was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. Above is a shot of a monkey that was hanging out on our boat. Pretty up close and personal!

After Monkey Island, we went to spend the rest of our day with an indigenous tribe. Yes – real life. A couple of the tribe members met us and took us out on a canoe to get to their village – life jackets and all (refer to the picture below).

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Once we got to the village, we watched the tribe do a few traditional dances (and then were invited to dance with them), were fed some delicious plantains and fried fish wrapped in a banana leaf and then had a little Q&A time (thank goodness we had a translator). We were also to buy some crafts from the tribe which was a really neat concept in itself because each family had their own table and the money went directly to them. I picked up a couple of beautiful hand crafted vases – LOVE! Below is a picture of the end of our excursion. The tribe was so welcoming – definitely a experience for the books!

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Coming Soon: DIY Project 

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So what else has been going on aside from traveling? The hubs and I picked up this beauty from one of my best friend’s moms (who owns Charlotte Staging). It’s actually an antique record player but we immediately saw its potential – and if you’ve seen some of my other posts, we love DIY projects. I am really looking forward to tackling this one!

So far, Shahin’s taken out the record player, and we will be using it to decoratively conceal our entertainment center. The piece has officially been sanded and we’ve removed the grates and added shelves. Step 2 of 3 complete.

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So what’s next? Of course, you’ll need to stay tuned (blog on this one coming soon) but we’ll be painting it and transforming it even more! We’re definitely going mid-century modern here – I’m thinking brass legs and a high gloss white paint. Below is an image I snagged from Pinterest and will be using it as inspiration!

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Be back soon! XO

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Swooning | February Favorites

Hello, lovelies!

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable week thus far! For my first order of business, I wanted to give a shout out to Elizabeth (Instagram name: elisabetaana) for being the blogiversary giveaway winner! She will be receiving a beautiful Volcano candle soon! Congratulations, sweet girl!

This week’s blog post encompasses the things that I am currently swooning over. With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, I wanted to share with you the things that I heart. Take a peek at my February Favorites List below (two of which are local to Charlotte, NC). Enjoy!

February Favorites

1. { Hop Cakes from NoDa Brewing Company } If you’ve read my blog before, you will notice that I’ve mentioned NoDa Brewing Company in previous posts. It is a craft brewery located in Charlotte, NC and two of their beers made my top ten favorite beers of all time list (check out that post here). However, I would like to revise the list and add Hop Cakes because NoDa has done it again! I can quite honestly say that I have not had a beer of theirs that I disliked…they nail it every time. But let me tell you about Hop Cakes. It started off as a “NoDable Release”, which is a special, small-batch brew that they change out and feature each Tuesday. However, the popularity of Hop Cakes was significant and rightfully so. Imagine a delicious, double IPA combined with the taste of pancakes. Yeah, I said it. Pancakes. NoDa Brewing Company just released Hop Cakes in cans this month and they’re being snagged up like “hop cakes” (see what I did there?). This will be the 4th beer that they’ve released and distributed in four-pack cans (also check out Coco Loco, Hop, Drop N’ Roll and Jam Session). If you live in the Charlotte area, you can pick up Hop Cakes at your local Harris Teeter.

2. { Shadow/Blush in Hot Mama from The Balm } The first product I purchased from The Balm was the Mary Lou Manizer highlighting powder, which was recommended to me by a friend. I instantly became a fan for life – I loved the product, the packaging and the company mission. Their makeup is certainly not easy to find (it’s not something you can pick up in Sephora or Ulta), but if you have some faith and order online, you will not be sorry! I discovered the shadow/blush merely by accident while I was in Barcelona. My luggage was lost at JFK (fiasco) and I had to purchase clothes, toiletries and makeup since I would be without my own for a few days. I went into a makeup store at the mall in Barcelona and noticed there was a whole display of makeup and skincare from The Balm – bingo! I ended up picking up quite a few products but this shadow/blush – I cannot stress how GORG it is. The peachy/blush color is super pigmented and has a slight shimmer that will make your skin look simply radiant. It is one of those universal colors that looks fantastic on every skin tone.

3. { Rectangle Hand Painted Floral Tray in Yellow from The Little Market } So let me start out by saying, The Little Market is a gem that you must know about if you do not aleady. I’m a avid Lauren Conrad blog reader and discovered this company through her posts. I’ve got to hand it to Lauren Conrad, she is a marketing/branding genius and as someone in the industry, I admire her immensely. Lauren Conrad is actually the co-founder of The Little Market, which is a company that was created to build partnerships with female artisans from around the world and connecting them to customers in an online marketplace. It was cultivated to not only empower women but to provide them with the opportunity to support their families as many of them are in less fortunate situations. The mission itself is so heartfelt and touching and the products? Equally as beautiful. From baby gifts to handbags to home decor – there is truly a little bit of everything. I personally love this dainty, hand painted, pale yellow tray (as well as practically everything else on the site).

4. { Lean In – Women, Work, & the Will to Lead from Amazon } Who doesn’t love a good book? I’ve been blowing through them lately and the one that I just finished up is truly life changing. If you are a female professional, it is seriously your right of passage to read this book by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. It was informative, fascinating and I could not put it down for the life of me. I would even be bold enough to say it was probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. Download it on your tablet or pick up a hard copy from Amazon or your local bookstore!

5. { Jewelry from Melvin from Shop Melvin } I came across this company on Instagram and coincidentally, discovered that they are based out of Charlotte, NC — go figure! All of their accessories are swoon-worthy but I happen to have a soft spot for their necklaces. Some of their products have even been featured on the hit HBO series, Girls. The designers get their inspiration from art, culture and travel and its definitely translated in their lines. I tend to get a very tribal and boho vibe from their designs – love, love, love!

6. { Embellished Armhole Scuba Skater Dress in Nude from ASOSI’m a sucker for a. embellishments, b. a feminine frock, and c. anything and everything from ASOS. Therefore, this dress is a home run! For those of you who are looking for something a little more valiant, it also comes in black.

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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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What I Wore | { Outfit of the Day }

I can’t believe just last week I was in Spain – le sigh.

Although my luggage was M.I.A. during half of our trip (giant thumbs down), I managed to snag a pic of a casual little ensemble I pulled together for my visit to Parc Guell and the Picasso Museum when it did arrive. Information on each piece is available below.

Stay tuned … more { Outfit of the Days } are coming to the blog soon!

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{ What I Wore }

  • Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses found here
  • M.A.C. Cosmetics Lipstick in Velvet Teddy found here
  • J. Crew Factory Quilted Jacket found here
  • ASOS Petite Slouchy Ribbed Top in Cream found here
  • ASOS Oversized Knit Scarf in Tobacco found here
  • Michael Kors Fulton Large Crossbody Bag found here
  • H&M Slim Fit Pants in Black found here
  • Lucky Brand ‘Asherr’ Desert Boots in Honey found here

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Fall Favorites | Bucket List Edition

Happy Fall Y’all!

Last week, I decided to kick-off my “Fall Favorites” through the month of October (since it’s my favorite month and all). My previous post was the Style Edition which focused on cute kicks, scarves, hats and all of your autumn essentials! This week I wanted to focus more on my favorite part of Fall (I know…it’s surprising that clothes and accessories aren’t, right?). One word: activities. I mean, really…it would not truly be Fall without “autumn-esque” things to do. Now, please keep in mind that some of my suggestions are geared more toward the local, North Carolina-based crowd because I am providing specific examples, however, if you’re not in North Carolina, this may get your wheels turning as I’m sure you can find similar activities in your area! So without further adieu, enjoy my Fall Favorites – Bucket List Edition!

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1. Apple Picking / Hard Cider Drinking / Apple Pastry Tasting

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It’s not as cliche’ as you think, I promise. Grab your friends or your significant other, find a local apple orchard and make a day of it! The best part is that some of these orchards offer an array of different goods and activities beyond apple picking! Many of them even have hot, apple cider in addition to hard cider (when you’re craving an adult bev), as well as delicious apple donuts and pastries. There are a few I recommend in the Carolinas that are not far from all of you Charlotteans — Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill (in York, SC), Sky Top Orchard (in Flat Rock, NC) and Justus Orchard (in Hendersonville, NC).

2. Visit the Local Farmers Market

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Sure, you can do this practically any time of the year, but there is something very autumn about going to the Farmers Market to pick up some ingredients to make a delicious pie or strudel while grabbing a bunch of wildflowers to spruce up your cozy, little home. What a fun Saturday morning activity and a great way to kick-off your weekend! My absolute favorite Farmers Markets in Charlotte are: Atherton Mill, King’s Drive Farmer’s Market, & Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. I can say that I’ve been to all of them and they each offer something very special and unique – check it out if you haven’t already!

3. Visit the Biltmore & Watch the Leaves Change in Asheville, NC

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Asheville, NC is hands down one of my favorite cities in the U.S. It’s artsy, warm, quaint – but even more, as soon as autumn rolls around – the entire place transforms into a magical wonderland! I am absolutely convinced that there is no where else on this earth where the leaves change as beautifully as they do here. Plan a little weekend retreat in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, visit the largest privately owned home in the United States (the Biltmore Estate), and enjoy the scenic paradise that is Fall in Asheville.

4. Brewery Hop in Your Lovely City

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Who doesn’t enjoy a craft beer? Even more, a LOCAL craft beer? But even beyond that, a SEASONAL, local craft beer? I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. I’m a big fan of any type of Octoberfest type beer or a pumpkin beer – it’s pretty much my weakness. I am also a big fan of supporting local. So what better way to get into the Fall season than taking a little brewery hopping tour and checking out the craft beers each have to offer? It’s a great way to take in the autumn air, support your local businesses while enjoying a delicious beverage! My favorite local pumpkin beer is NoDa Brewing Company’s Gordgeous (and I may be just a tad biased because I love the people there). What are some other excellent breweries in the Charlotte area? Check out Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Triple C Brewing Company, Sugar Creek Brewing Company, Heist Brewery, Birdsong Brewing Company, The Unknown Brewing Company, Four Friends Brewing and more!

5. Pick a Pumpkin

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I know, I know. Traditional. But a classic. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin picking – and it never gets old!

6. Festivals, Festivals, Festivals!

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Autumn is the time for my favorite thing ever – FESTIVALS! Not even just music festivals…I’m talking legit festivals filled with activities and fun! It provides you with hours of enjoyment with your friends and loved ones – that’s a win in my book. Below are a list of my favorite local/North Carolina festivals that you should definitely add to your Fall Bucket List!

1. Carolina Balloon Fest

2. The Renaissance Festival

3. Uptown Charlotte BBQ & Blues Festival

4. Stechoa Valley Harvest Festival

5. North Carolina Oyster Festival

7. Create + Implement a Fall Tradition

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I am a HUGE fan of tradition and as a newly married couple (our 1 year is actually next weekend!), I want to create as many meaningful traditions as possible for us to carry with us our whole lives. My husband’s family’s tradition was making Cincinnati style chili and watching Halloween movies each October 31st while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Last year was the first year we adopted this same tradition because it was one that I want us (and our future family) to have. What traditions do you have or wish to have?

8. Go Camping / Eat S’mores / Sleep Under the Stars

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What is more satisfying on a crisp, Fall evening than sitting around a fire with some of your closest friends, making s’mores and sleeping under the stars? This was the first year I’ve ever gone camping in my almost 29 years on this planet – crazy, right!? And let me tell you, I had an absolute blast! Throw on the flannel shirt, grab a few pals and drive to the mountains or nearest campsite. Camping is a great activity for Autumn because it’s not too hot or too cold – enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!

9. Try Out Some New Fall Recipes

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What better way to embrace Autumn than utilizing the seasonal fruits and veggies available and implementing them in a meal? Below are a few of my favorite Fall recipes that you’ve got to check out!

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts with a Maple Glaze

Root Vegetable Pan Roast with Chestnuts & Apples

Potato, Dried Apple & Chorizo Hand Pies

Bourbon Maple Apple Cider

Fall Browned Butter & Cinnamon Spiced Rice Krispie Treats

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

10. Snuggle Up with a Warm Throw + a Good Book

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As the weather gets cooler this season, take some time to yourself by snuggling up in a blanket on the couch while reading a good book – add a mug of hot chocolate and you have a recipe for pure bliss. There are so many incredible books out there that I’m dying to read this Fall. Below are the ones I have on my must-read list!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I know, I’m a little late on this one because it’s already a movie but I REFUSE to see the movie until I’ve read the book – so I’ll probably knock this one out first.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham – Sounds extremely intriguing – about all of the experiences that make up your path in this world such as falling in love, feeling alone and more.

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki – A historical novel about Benedict Arnold’s wife.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Sounds gripping and suspenseful – check out the description on Amazon!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – I’ve heard great things and it sounds super powerful – definitely looking to give it a go.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Takes place on the Italian coast…(#TBT take me back to our honeymoon in Positano, Italy). So reading this one.

Travel | Paradise Found in the Amalfi Coast

At last, we have reached the last portion of our 3 part honeymoon in Italy! We’ve experienced the art, cuisine and wine of Florence + Tuscany and made our way down to Rome – the beautiful and historic old city. But now…we’ve saved the best for last (and it happened to be the last place we stayed prior to heading back to the U.S.).

Let’s be honest, you probably cannot go wrong with anywhere you visit in Italy. It all depends on the experience you wish to have. But if you know Sean and me, we do not like to do anything in moderation and wanted to have it all…is that really so wrong? When deciding on a final location, we wanted it to be somewhere that was not only relaxing but ridiculously breathtaking as well. Going into this, we knew that we were going to be exhausted from traveling and bouncing around from city to city. Not to mention, everyone else typically chooses somewhere calm and serene for a honeymoon destination and we did not want to miss out on that aspect. We saved the peaceful and “real honeymoon” portion of our vacation in Italy for the end – and I have to say, I am so glad we did because had we started with this place, I would have never wanted to leave…and the feeling was quite mutual. To put it bluntly, Sean and i fell madly in love here and even began brainstorming ways to relocate permanently. From a surf shop to a bar…we exhausted all options. Before you ask – no, I am not joking – if there was a place that I would describe as “perfection”, this place nailed it.

The location I speak of? Positano which is a village in the Amalfi Coast. Now, I’ve heard people rant and rave about the Amalfi Coast all of my life. It’s one of those places you have to see before you die from a bucket list perspective. There were several areas within the Amalfi Coast that were appealing and I do not think you can go wrong with any. However, I did quite a bit of research before booking our trip and Positano was always described as the most picturesque town in the Amalfi Coast where the rich and famous vacation. This was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities and we just couldn’t pass it up.

Before you scroll down to see some of our highlights of our 3 day stay in Positano, I am going to go ahead and warn you: after seeing this, you will want to move there. Like, tonight. You will also probably dislike your current place of residence – even if you live in the most beautiful of cities. So there’s your notice – now let’s keep it moving.

We took a train from Rome (business class again, of course) to Naples. We were told that we would then need a driver to take us about 45 minutes from the train station to the Amalfi Coast – which is basically the only way to get there. We called our resort while we were in Rome and they set us up with a private driver. We heard this was the way to go because a.) Naples isn’t exactly the safest place and tourists can be easy targets and b.) it was much better to get a driver that provided an up front cost versus a cab driver who could end up taking advantage of us financially.

We budgeted appropriately for our hotels in Florence and Rome but definitely splurged here. We stayed at Hotel Marincanto, which was ranked #7 of all of the Positano hotels on Trip Advisor. It was more than I could have ever imagined – wow, just wow.

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{ The lobby of our hotel. }

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{ We were greeted with prosecco + treats while we waited on our room. }

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{ Lemons are a big deal in Positano – the resort had lemon trees everywhere. }

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{ Anddd this was our view from our hotel terrace as we waited on our room. }

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{ Fresh squeezed lemon juice from the hotel’s lemon trees. }

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{ The view from our room – ahhhmazing. }

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{ And the sun goes down on our first day in Positano. }

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{ This sunset: unreal. }

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{ A gourmet breakfast with the best view in the world. }

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{ Forgive me – but did I mention how amazing the view was? }

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{ Beauty. }

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{ Exploring Positano. }

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{ Our hotel sat high on a cliff. }

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{The best part: you can sunbathe and look out into the ocean. }

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{ Dinner out at a lovely restaurant that sat on a cliff – our view was ridiculous. }

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{ Fresh seafood – oh ya know, caught just moments before. }

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{ Homemade panna cotta drizzled with chocolate sauce. }

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{ Beautiful passageway during one of our walks. }

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{ *Le sigh* }

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{ I can never get enough of this. }

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{ The freshest bruschetta we’ve ever had. }

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{ Nomzzz for days – fresh orange juice + fresh seafood = match made in heaven. }

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{ Our last sunset in Positano – but not forever! We will be back one day soon! }

This was the most unbelievably surreal experience I’ve ever had. Not one complaint. All I can do is rant and rave about how perfect Positano was. If you ever have the opportunity to go, do not, I repeat, do not hesitate. If you are planning a trip to Italy – this is not a place you want to miss out on.

Overall, our honeymoon was more than I could have ever possibly imagined. It was the perfect mix of art, culture, history, cuisine and serenity. This country will forever have a piece of me. Arrivederci, Italy. We will meet again one day soon.

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Travel | When in Rome…

So my very first travel post was about Florence which was Part 1 of 3 of our honeymoon back in October. As mentioned, Sean and I had decided to take on Italy for our first adventure as a married couple. Since there were so many places to choose between, we each picked a city that we were dying to visit and then one that we agreed on together. There was a method to our madness regarding our itinerary – we started up north and worked our way down south. Florence was our first stop (my choice) and next was Sean’s choice – Rome! I have to be completely honest here, I was very skeptical about Rome. Not that I didn’t think it would be fabulous, but there were other cities in Italy that were further up on my list of places to see. However, we made a deal and if Rome was where Sean wanted to go, that’s where we would go!

After two incredible days in Florence, we caught a train and traveled down to Rome. Prior to leaving for our honeymoon, I remember my dear friend, Amy, telling me how amazing the train experience alone is. In fact, one of her most vivid memories while traveling in Italy was looking out the windows of the train and taking in all of the beauty around her as all five senses were ignited. Ever since she described this to me, I longed for that same experience. Sean and I booked two “business class” tickets to Rome which provided us with comfortable leather seats and some extra room. The pungent aroma of coffee beans lingered throughout the cabin and the train attendants came around to pour us a fresh cup of joe while serving up delicious, crisp biscuits (a fancy term for cookies).

As I sipped my warm cup of coffee in my cozy leather chair, I gazed out the window of the train as beautiful Italian hillsides passed us by. I remember looking across the little table that Sean and I shared and took a few minutes to take this moment in. Here I was, someone who was constantly wrapped up in my own world back at home – between my career, school, social life, bills, pleasing people…all of these things began to seem so insignificant. Sure, it’s a part of our every day lives and how can we not get immersed in the monotonous day-to-day rituals and responsibilities we have? But having this moment to breath, collect myself, see the beauty of the world around us and actually look at this man sitting across from me, my new husband whom I was sharing this adventure with as I enjoyed my delicious cup of coffee, I was suddenly reminded of why I work so hard in life. It was to enjoy moments like these. It sounds cliché but it’s the little things I live for. And I knew at this very instant that this would be an irreplaceable memory forever engrained in my mind.

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{ An adventure in itself – the train ride on the way to Rome. }

We arrived in Rome in the early afternoon. We took a cab to our adorable little Bed and Breakfast, Navona Governo Vecchio, which was centrally located in the city and in an apartment building. This was a really neat concept because we were able to immerse ourselves in the life of a local. Rome was the longest leg of our trip (5 days) and goodness did they fly by! However, we were able to do a great deal of exploring (especially our first evening there when we decided to get lost on purpose and wander around with no map). I have to admit, I was extremely impressed and enjoyed it so much more than I had initially anticipated. I mean…wow.

First and foremost, Rome is an incredibly lively place. It had the hustle and bustle of NYC but in a very historic and beautiful old city. There was a hodgepodge of people – all ages, shapes and sizes, ethnicities, backgrounds – truly a melting pot of cultural wonder.

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{ A man at one of the piazzas playing the violin. }

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{ An endless assortment of fresh flowers for sale at a piazza. }

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{ Our first dinner in Rome at a vibrant hookah bar and lounge in one of the piazzas. Our appetizer: fresh prosciutto + buffalo mozzarella. }

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{ A fresh seafood pizza pie. }

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{ Enjoying some vino + brown butter/sage ravioli. }

Our next few days we did so much exploring (and walking). The best part about this was that we were able to work off everything we ate! So many incredible sites to see and take in. Since we photographed so many moments, below are just some highlights from our 5 day stay in Rome.

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{ The door to our room at the Bed & Breakfast – so very Rome. }

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{ This is what we woke up to every morning – fresh croissants and bread, cappuccino, tea, orange juice and yogurt. }

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{ We decided to visit the Jewish Ghetto – and the hubs had to point out the “accident” a few birds had that flew over him. He doesn’t have the best of luck but it made for a good laugh! }

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{ Walking around the Jewish Ghetto. }

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{ Doing some exploring! }

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{ So ornate and beautiful – the picture doesn’t do it justice. }

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{ Absolutely incredible – ancient ruins. }

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{ The Roman Forum – it’s hard to believe things like this still exist in the world. }

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{ Antipasto pit stop – someone was happy. }

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{ Oh, the interesting things you will see in Rome – all while eating at a street cafe! }

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{ Colosseum | Take I }

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{ Colosseum | Take II }

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{ Roman aqueducts }

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{ *le sigh* – this sunset + the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius }

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{ The famous Trevi Fountain }

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{ The Pantheon }

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{ We made it to Vatican City! }

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{ Amazing to see in person – there are no words. }

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{ You will never realize how small you are until you visit the Vatican. }

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{ Wowza! }

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{ One of the immense statues inside of the Vatican. }

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{ This incredible pergola. }

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{ We were able to witness the changing of the guards. }

What an enriching experience this was. We enjoyed every moment of our time in this incredible place. From the lively people, to the adorable piazzas, to the boisterous markets and quaint street cafes, to the delicious gelato and cuisine and of course, the refreshing vino…we had the time of our lives. Beyond all of this, being able to walk the old city with my new husband made it that much more beautiful. I will forever hold a place in my heart for Rome. Our last stop in Italy is coming up on the blog next and it was hands down our favorite place we’ve ever visited (ever). Stay tuned! Ciao!

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