Sunday, September 29, 2013


Nonsensical thoughts on the new ‘hood.

First, admire the amazing luna moth that took up residence in the breezeway by my building for a few days. Huge! Beautiful! Makes me think of my favorite book, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

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Snapshots from the first time entertaining at Steve’s place. He had over my roommate and her boyf as well as Steve’s old college friend and his girlfriend. Crazy- Steve and Alex attended school together- in Illinois, mind you, nowhere near North Carolina- and with no planning or forethought, ended up living on the same street. Crazy, right?!

Steve’s back porch is pretty fantastic. Clearly someone just told a hilarious joke!


Neglected to photograph the meal (Steve’s impeccable homemade pasta) but got a dessert shot.

Alex’s ladyfriend Myra made this totally boss tart- puff pastry crust, dense creamy filling, fresh blueberries atop.


I made what we’ll call “deconstructed tiramisu”. It was okay. Had ricotta and bits of chocolate and things.


Molly takes care of plates after we dine at Steve’s. She has some irritating habits, chiefly making the home smell like her, but she also does cute things like yawning.


As for my place, I’ve (almost) got my apartment where I want it. Alli’s gotten a lot of GREAT stuff for it. She buys the cool vintage furniture at thrift stores, I buy Dolly Parton albums at the Habitat for Humanity thrift store and create a little Dolly shrine. My fabulous roommate loves Dolly Parton as much as I do AND grew up very close to her hometown.


Note Alli’s awesome homemade coasters!


That Habitat for Humanity store is also where I got this fabulous lamp for twelve dollah:


The shade is really thick and sturdy and silky and high quality, too, so it’s got substance along with its style!

Since I am surrounded by hippies, I decided it wouldn’t be too ridiculous for me to adorably decorate our trash can. (Note: when you lift up the lid, I wrote a little note that said, “Could you be recycling this?”)


I’ve cultivated feelings of competence and self-worth by putting up my own curtains and then doing a repair when they fell down.


They were like $8 or something? Solid polyester, of course, but I like the texture of the fabric.


In general, I’m into fun fabrics in my room. My bedside table is in fact just one of the boxes I used to move covered with a cool piece of fabric I got in Thailand. As for that melatonin, that useless substance is evidence of something that’s not going so well in the move. Sigh.


More cool fabric patterns: the goldy stuff underneath I also got in Thailand; those pretty green containers where I keep my jewelry were a gift from my aunt, who got them in South Africa.


Lest you think my room is just filled with exotica, my absolute favorite thing I bought on a day trip to Hillsborough. Isn’t this gorgey?!


Simultaneously ceiling decor, excellent feng shui, light reflecting, and container for the only living thing (I hope) besides me in my room. I bought it at the coolest little store in Hillsborough- full of all sorts of reclaimed wood furniture and homemade soaps and fun stuff like that.


Also made a KILLING at an estate sale that we randomly stumbled upon one Saturday. There was something truly gruesome about seeing all of someone’s earthly possessions sold off to the masses for vastly less than they were worth. I feel compelled to give my Monet poster (still in the process of being flattened!) a happy second life.


One of the things holding down the Monet poster is this cool lantern-type thing, which I think I’m going to give to my sailing-loving uncle for Christmas. I got a LOT of Christmas presents at this sale!


Speaking of deals, this is way too close to my home and way too delicious and way too cheap.


Enough said.

A wonderful close to home place is the farmer’s market, where I got all this great loot for $14.


Fab Tuscan kale, tomatoes that seem to be keepin’ on truckin’ right into fall; a fun new kind of pumpkin that I had to get; cute stripey summer squash; yummy corn; and SCUPPERNONG GRAPES! The most intensely scented, incredibly sweet, thoroughly seedy specimens. I love them.

We end this nesting post with a silly comfort food dish. After having our first cookout with the neighbors (which I’ll highlight later) I had some leftover hot dogs (on which I’d spent a small fortune; for organic dontcha know). So what better than my first hot dog and bean casserole?! With liberal amounts of fresh tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, sweet onion, and worcestershire sauce, I must confess that it was delicious.

With kale chips on the side cause it isn’t 1950 anymore!


Monday, September 9, 2013

exploring winston salem

So I’m doing another Americorps gig! Whoo!

I don’t think it’d necessarily appropriate to give a tonnnn of details, but the short story is that I’ll be working with little (as in, pre-school) childrens who like all children deserve to arrive at school ready to learn and able to express themselves but won’t necessarily be fully equipped to do so because of challenging home situations.

I recently traveled to Winston Salem, NC to train with my new AmeriCrew. I have very few photos of the training itself, but they make me laugh.

The first is of a duck attacking my fellow corps member Leslie.


Ha! Our (awesome) supervisor designated one of our training days as an outdoor day, so we did some team building type stuff in a park. We were in a picnic pavilion, where local ducks are clearly used to getting people’s tidbits. They were AGGRESSIVE.

Another awesome thing about this new Americorps program (and there are many) is that unlike my old program, we trained in a beautiful building (not an ugly, old, smelly, crammed-with-random-crap one) and were served delicious breakfasts and lunch each day (unlike the old one, which never fed us unless you count the food bank leftovers we frantically gorged at the end of our stressful days). Our last day, we got (admittedly less than healthy but quite delicious) biscuit sandwiches from a local barbecue place. Enjoyed with delicious fruit.


Because our organization was hosting a fundraiser, we spent the morning camped out on the front lawn. It was lots of fun!


And that’s all I have to say about my new gig for now. However, I did want to share about Winston Salem, which is a surprisingly fun city!

I stayed at a hotel and also got a per diem. It was great for like two days (there was also a free gym, which I visited every day after lots of sitting-down-y training) and then it was like “Ugh get me some vegetables.”

One night we went to an establishment with some saucy mermaids and fishing netting on the wall.

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‘Cept it was Tuesday and our really really really hands-off waiter didn’t tell us it was TACO TUESDAY so we spent too much money for normal food where we could’ve spent very little money for awesome tacos! Tragic.

My favorite day in Winston Salem was our second to last day, where they let us out of training early and we got to visit Reynolda House. No pictures were allowed inside of the awesome-robber-baron-house-turned-museum, but I went a little nuts in the gorrrrrrrrrgeous gardens.

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This is columbine. It smells like heaven and butterflies love it!

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The food department.

Tomatoes and figs!


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The rose garden! Usually I’m not that into roses but these were gorgey porgey.

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Steve calls these “Jurassic Park Plants” :)


So. Many. Grapes. It smelled like heaven, standing under the vines and inhaling.

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Watermelon patch! Fun fact: my cousins inadvertently created a watermelon patch in their backyard by sitting on the back porch eating watermelon and spitting out the seeds.


Went to the Biltmore estate in Asheville and they had these same funky golden leaves on display. Must’ve been a trend of the times.


Can you imagine having this in your yard?!

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Fun fact: the Reynolda family made their own lake (…) by damming up a natural spring. Surprise surprise, nature was all “That’s cute that you think you can just manipulate me like that” and it has now almost entirely returned to its natural state and provided a beautiful environment for birdies.


Also, Mario mushrooms. Never saw red mushrooms before the move to North Carolina.


Th’other side of the dam.


For dinner, we went into the little “village” near the house and dined al fresco.


Wish I’d been there with more of a crowd- it would’ve been fun to go sharesies on some of those sandwiches and small plates.

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Limemade! Made to order! I got mine suuuuuuuper tart, mm.


For dinner, I opted for a cup of the lobster bisque…

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… and some Holy Salty bruschetta type stuff with red peppers, onions, feta, etc… good but a little overwhelming on the sodium front.