Monday, June 26, 2017

Black Balsam Picnic

Every now and then Matt and I try to capitalize on daycare hours by playing hooky from work and going on a day date. We spent our last day date in Asheville and loved it so much that we almost did it again but changed the plans last minute to picnic on my favorite mountain -- Black Balsam Knob. It was truly one of our favorite things we've ever done together.
 
The drive was about 3 hours away so we dropped the kids off at school super early, grabbed some coffee and hit the road. It was so nice to spend time together in the car without the constant interruptions and requests from the backseat. We arrived to the trail head off the Blue Ridge Parkway right around 10:30 am, stuffed our backpacks and set off for the 3 mile hike.
I love this hike so much and have camped along this trail in several places. The first half mile of the hike takes you through the Enchanted Forest -- an endless pine forest with a gorgeous dense pine canopy. See all those trees?! They open up to the most amazing treeless mountains.
As you climb the mountain you can feel the air thinning, the temperature dropping and the wind gusts picking up. It is exhilarating -- truly. Nothing kicks my endorphins into overdrive like climbing a mountain with spectacular views. 
Once you get through the grassy and rocky mountain meadows you reach the first knob. From there we continued on another half mile or so on the Art Loeb Trail to get to Black Balsam.
Alas, we made it to the peak...
 Views from the summit of Black Balsam Knob!
At 6,214 feet, Black Balsam Knob is the 23rd highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina.
It was wild how quickly the clouds would pass through us. We could feel them sweep over the mountain as the temperature would drop a good 15 - 20 degrees each time. It was incredible.

Right before his ascent to the top of this rock, Matt made sure to remind me that this is exactly how every good episode of Dateline begins.
After exploring the mountain for a bit we decided to set up camp with a little picnic. To avoid the wind we descended down the side of the mountain a little bit to the most perfect grassy spot.
At 6,000 feet we enjoyed prosecco and a charcuterie board on the side of  a mountain. I swear it felt like a date right out of The Bachelor, minus the rose, Chris Harrison...and the awkwardness. It could not have been more perfect.
This lunch could not have been easier thanks to Trader Joe's pre-made snack packs of cheeses and meats!
 The spectacular view from our picnic spot! I think I must have said "I can't believe we are here" at least 348462 times. 
After a few hours on the mountain it was time to hike back to reality.
And because I'm a huge dork I dropped all of our photos and video snaps into an iMovie to have forever!
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Friday, June 23, 2017

Five on Friday!

This is definitely the happiest Friday I've had in a very long time because...Matt and I are playing hooky together today for a little day date while the kids are in school!
one. Guess where we are headed? Hint: It's my happy place. And no, it's not my driveway, although we do love a good happy hour there! We're headed to the mountains!
two. Last weekend Matt (& Thomas) cashed in a gift card that Matt has been hanging on to forever on a new Yeti...and one for me too (best surprise ever)! I now understand all the hype around these amazing tumblers! And I'm obsessed with the seafoam color he got me.
three. I have painted my nails (& Caroline's toes) this gorgeous Essie color called Bikini So Teeny like seven times in a row now. I am so obsessed with it. It's the perfect summer blue and although I normally opt for pinks and reds for toes I have loved this color on my toes and have received so many compliments!
four. New dress! New dress! I am always on the hunt for casual summer dresses to wear on the weekends and I just scooped this one up on sale for $19!! It comes in a ton of patterns and the fit is so flattering. These braided sandals are also my favorite for summer -- I have them in white and gold and just grabbed two more pairs (black & brown) on sale! They are so comfortable and go with everything!

five. A few evenings ago I met a girlfriend for pedicures and cocktails. THIS cocktail is definitely going to be my summer jam -- lemonade, muddled strawberries and vodka! It was so refreshing and delicious!!!








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Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Trader Joe's Shopping List!


I received some questions about my recent Trader Joe's haul on InstaStories, so I thought I would pop in with my shopping list. I know I'm missing stuff on this list (Thomas destroyed my receipt) but these are a few items I never leave the store without. Tried and true favorites...
TRADER JOE'S GROCERY LIST
  1. Wine (duh)! 
  2. Cheese: goat cheese crumbles, feta crumbles, Manchego, boursin, Chevre with Honey
  3. Produce: tomatoes, avocados, apples, onions, spinach, arugula, broccolini, etc.
  4. Frozen: cauliflower rice, grilled cauliflower, blueberries, edamame, BBQ Chicken Teriyaki, turkey meatballs, mac & cheese
  5. Meat: sliced prosciutto, filet mignon steak
  6. Frozen Desserts: mini ice cream cones, cookie dough cheesecake bites,
  7. Flowers 
  8. Salad Dressings: Champagne Pear Vinaigrette, Cilantro Salad Dressing
  9. Olive Oil Spray & Avocado Oil
  10. TJ White Cheddar Corn Puffs (pirates booty knock off -- my kids favorite popcorn ever) 
  11. TJ Mini Peanut Butter Crackers
  12. Cinnamon Schoolbook cookies (favorite bribery treats)
  13. Random spices, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt & Peppercorn Grinders)
  14. Bonus impulse buy: Succulent garden (Seasonal -- and only $8!) 
Now share your favorite Trader Joe's items!
    
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