living for the weekend

So now I’ve gotten myself a job! Now we find ourselves in a sweet window where my morale has risen but I still have some time on my hands, which means it’s an ideal time for blogging and catching you up on my life.

So here we have some weekend fun:

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I got the first strawberries of the season at the farmers market and tossed them with some sugar, black pepper, and balsamic. Then used that as a topping for some pancakes (actually made from some rather old Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake mix. Freakin’ delicious)

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Easy, spring-y salad: thinly sliced fennel, arugula, canned sardines in lemon olive oil, more olive oil, lemon juice.

To be honest, though, in the weeks following Easter I get really excited about being a bit of a carnivore because I don’t eat meat during Lent.

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BURGER! I so rarely eat red meat so when I do I feel vitality pouring into all my cells. This was from Al’s. Beef is local, pastured, all the good things.

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Another day my cousin got me lunch as a thank you for watching her little baby. This was a Southwestern style chicken salad from Brixx, with beans and corn and cheese and crunchy tortilla strips and a chipotle-y dressing. Quite tasty!

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It was a really beautiful night so I met my friend Shaylen for pink wine and apps at Glasshalffull. We sat outside and were happy clams.

Later that weekend I hit up the UNC Science Expo. It’s part of the North Carolina Science Festival, which was started by one of my coworkers from back in the day at the planetarium (<< still the funnest job I’ve ever had). I had fun wandering around looking at sciences and arts.

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Then we had ourselves a rainy Sunday. Fortunately, Colton was in town, visiting from Winston Slaem, where he now works. Because all of my other friends bafflingly love Colton immediately after meeting him despite the fact that he is kind of the worst, I invited my friend Emily to join us for brunch at Monuts.

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Beautiful people, hahahaha.

Along with those donuts (mine was strawberry lavender and just delightful), we also got sammiches.

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This was the Stravocado: foccacia, homemade strawberry jam, goat cheese chevre, bacon (gave mine to Colton- I don’t really eat pig), fresh local strawberries, avocado, and pea shoots in a honey lemon vinaigrette. INCREDZ.

Next on the rainy day agenda was a trip to wander around The Scrap Exchange. That place is magic. I particularly enjoy the art gallery- some of my favorites captured below!

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I tried very hard to include some free/cheap things on my weekend (The Scrap Exchange, the Science Expo, wandering around the farmers market, etc.) to balance out the expenditures (damn my intense love of brunch) but this is all going to be a lot less stressful now that I have a job. Thank goodness!

easter weekend

It’s funny, you’d think (f)unemployment would leave me all the time in the world to blog but it hasn’t worked that way. I kind of have to be in this in-between spot to blog. When I’m super super happy and engaged in life, I don’t have the time. When I’m super depressed, I don’t have the will.

Anyway, that’s why I’m blogging about Easter a month after the fact. But I have some tasty things to share!

It began with this REMARKABLE salmon at my aunt’s house. I helped her make it and marveled how beautiful and fancy, yet healthy and simple, it was.

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Per her instructions, I grated a buttload of ginger and smeared it onto the filets to make a crust (obviously it was a little clumpy because it’s ginger, not a liquid, but the point was that there was a lot of it and every bite had some!) Then I put curry powder in a little tea strainer and sprinkled that thickly over the top.

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Though it seems like a LOT of seasoning, this then went into a hot pan with olive oil and the flavor mellowed so much. It was just a delicious, crunchy, crust- it made the salmon meatier somehow!

Then we rounded out the meal with some sauteed leeks to go on top of the salmon (seriously, this was SO delicious!), some roasted potatoes, and some steamed asparagus.

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All of this was enjoyed on my aunt and uncle’s porch, which is DREAMY. They’ve done increasing work to it over the years- the latest addition are the cool blinds. “We look like f*** Brooklyn hipsters,” bemoaned my uncle.

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Easter itself was at my sister’s godparents’ house. Everything was yummy but those roasted potatoes were SO FREAKING GOOD.

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My mom, like always, made her incredible baklava.

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A real highlight of the day was having our own EASTER BUNNY! Our cousin’s little baby wabbit, Thumper. Malindi and I took lots of pics with Thumpy Thump.

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And speaking of cute animals, I also squeezed in a visit with my dad and his doggo, Bodie. Bodie was all I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE LET ME BRING YOU THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD THIS SQUIRREL TOY! He’s getting quite gray around the muzzle now but still acts like a puppy.

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I ended up staying through the start of the next week (the perks of funemployment, eh?) so on Monday my mom and I checked out the hipster new Korean food court that opened in my home town (Annandale, VA= “Little Korea”).

We opted for the poke bowl spot for our first visit. This was DELICIOUS- it had brown rice, raw salmon, crab salad, and other tasty tasty things.

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And then, for the road, I got us both some bubble teas! This kept me caffeinated and sugared up for my drive back to NC.

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So clever with those sealable lids.

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It was good having the sugar and caffeine on board, since I encountered a BIBLICAL traffic delay due to… construction? Disabled car and/or truck? No one was sure but as you can see at a certain point anarchy hit and cars just started driving in closed lanes and on the shoulder. Madness.

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country mouse, city mouse

A pro of living where I do is that I get fun things you get in cities:

  • walkability
  • cultural events
  • fancy classy restaurants
  • trendy things like cool new workouts and food trends
  • theoretically more job prospects, THOUGH IT DOESN’T SEEM TO BE HAPPENING FOR ME, LOL
  • more diverse population
  • more progressive population (especially in North Carolina, ugh, SORRY FOR BEING A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT A LOT)

But I also get fun things you get in more rural settings

  • a culture of casual, lovely back porch music
  • wide open spaces
  • animals, wild and domesticated
  • clean air

This post chronicles some weekend activities I’ve gotten in semi-recently that combine both of these things.

One weekend was a two-bruncher. OH THE EXCITEMENT! First I was going to hit up Acme on Saturday and then Venable on Sunday, but then my friend and I realized there was in fact no Saturday brunch at Acme… so I went to Venable twice in one weekend! I did not mind even one bit.

We were celebrating my friend passing the RD exam. She took it later than I did, cause lucky girl was already working and in not any particular rush.

Brunch #1 I got the herb roasted eggs 😍😍😍  Because they are classy and awesome at Venable, I requested no bacon (I can’t really eat pigs… they’re too cute and smart) and they offered to swap in avocado instead at no additional cost. LOVE THEM!

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Next on the day’s agenda was Open Barn (A play on Open Bar, get it?! Get it?!) at Celebrity Dairy.

Celebrity Dairy is this lovely farm that makes all kinds of delicious goat’s milk products- cheese, yogurt, gelato (!), soap, etc. And in the spring, they just open up for two weekends and everyone gets to come and play with the baby goats.

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Baby goats are a RIOT. They just love hopping and climbing and head butting and scampering!

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We got to see some BRAND NEW baby goats just born and then later in the day literally watched a mama goat give birth in the middle of a field. AGH! CRAY! If you want to teach your kiddos the facts of life, anatomy, breastfeeding, and so on, this is a pretty great place to do so.

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My friends brought their three year old and she had SO much fun feeding the goats, giving them hugs, etc.

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This picture shows:

  • One goat, white, background, nuzzling with one of the dairy’s staff like a freaking housecat
  • One goat, dark brown, foreground, licking off her baby she gave to about five minutes prior

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We LOVED these two- they were like “Pregnancy besties! Taking Lamaze class together!”

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Then it was Sunday and time for Brunch #2, again at Venable! So silly!

This time I got a potato cake (!) topped with gravlax and the most dreamy greens with a rich and creamy dressing. This was SOOOO good.

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And later in the day I hit up the local artisan/craft market. Love their motto!

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I think I got my mom a gift at this particular round of The Bazaar, but generally spent most of my time there hula hooping in the middle of a field. It was great.

Another weekend!

I began my dose of culture by MARVELING at my friend’s creative ingenuity. I went to Myra and Alex’s and Alex demonstrated his homemade bagpipe (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!) that he’d created for his friends’ Burns Night celebration earlier that month.

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Components were:

  • trash bag
  • paper straw
  • duct tape
  • not much else?

The following day, Saturday, I had plans to meet friends at my fave coffee shop, Johnnys. I headed there early and got some of these BOMB huevos rancheros from the food truck stationed outside, Lost Boys.

The Lost Boys food truck has awesome food and also dimey chefs. So that’s fun 😀

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We then voyaged together to the cat refuge, because my friends are on the hunt for a kitten! SO SO SO FUN!

As usual I was mostly too busy hugging cats to take many pictures, but I admired this little guy in his freakin’ rooftop nest. They have some feral cats there who aren’t adoptable but get to live out their lives somewhere safe and warm with good medical care. I suspect this guy was one of them!

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The next day I held a clothing swap, a semi-seasonal event Alli and I put on for our girlfriends.

I’ve picked up a lot of skills for the clothing swap layout from my friend Leesie. Key is having sheets spread out so you can put clothing on the (clean) floor without having it get all dusty.

Lola LOVED having sheets spread all over the living room- as it is, her favorite thing ever is when I make my bed and move the sheets around, so this was even better. Just cat forts all over the living room!

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Another weekend, another adventure!

I went to the Carrboro farmer’s market and there was a cooking school doing a cooking demo. This yummy frittata featured all kinds of yummy seasonal veg, including turnips and Swiss chard (who knew those were good in frittata?! But they were!) There was also local fresh cheese. And a yummy herb-y yogurt sauce on top!

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That was not a complete breakfast, though, so I went to Weaver Street market and got myself a yummy brunch. Their black beans are so yummy, if an odd choice for that meal. Plus cinnamon apples, a dreamy biscuit, and scrambled eggs (some regular and some in the migas style with tomatoes and hot peppers and tortilla chips)

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Then, as usual, there was a community festival going on in downtown Carrboro. Because it’s basically a weekly occurrence in the warm months, which I love.

Hipster hand-cranked coffee roaster

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Tried acupuncture for the first time (!!!!!) and it didn’t hurt (!!!!!!)

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Then I had to do some deep thinking about all the disappointing aspects of my life (Sidebar: PLEASE don’t think that because I try to keep a relatively positive tone in this blog that I am not VERY UNHAPPY to still not have a job. Also boys are lame.)

So I decided to do some much-needed journaling off at Honeysuckle Tea House, which blends city mouse and country mouse in kind of a perfect juxtaposition of this area.

  • literally in the countryside
  • eco-chic, built of recycled shipping container
  • grows plants on site
  • makes $$$ teas and tinctures featuring said plants
  • live music!
  • increasingly hipster vibe
  • now they have acai bowls… and they’re stupid expensive

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Here is my $5 green tea latte, hahaha. In the rustic natural landscape.

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