Sunday, November 27, 2011

Give Thanks

We usually leave town for Thanksgiving but a new addition to our extended family is coming in the next few weeks, so traveling wasn't the best idea at this time. Although we missed them terribly, it was nice to spend our first Thanksgiving as a married couple with our immediate families.

I did keep tradition and ran a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day. Since we're usually in a small town for Thanksgiving, I'm used to running a race with maybe 100 people (which seems to be at least 2/3 of the population there). The race I ran in Charlotte had 8,000 people. 8,000!  It was crowded to say the least. The race was an 8K (5 Miles) but a 5K (3 Miles) walk was an option as well. I talked my friend, Sairy, into slacking off and signing up for the 5K walk, but running it instead. The race turned out to be pretty fun. A little difficult maneuvering around the other 7,998 people, but once we got going, it was worth it. I'm really glad Sairy ran by my side the entire time. She was just the extra motivation I needed. I ran with a GPS for the race and once we finished, I noticed that we ran 3.44 miles. Looks like they lied to us. Clearly not a 5K. Either way, I think we would have survived the 8K....

South Park Turkey Trot 2011
Once the race was complete, it was time to focus on the feast! It works out great that both Jeremy and I's family live in Charlotte. We ended up dividing the menu between families and met at my parents' house for the scrumptious feast. Food, football, laughter, Black Friday deals, and old stories were shared all afternoon. The only thing missing was pie. We somehow missed that in the beginning, but no worries, we ended up getting some later.  Turkey Day was also a celebration of my Dad's birthday! He's now 62 years young! {Happy Birthday, Dad!}!
Thanksgiving 2011!
Apollo wanted to make an appearance :)
Someone just  had to ruin the picture....haha :)
Once home, I took a nice long nap in preparation for Black Friday shopping at midnight!  Nickie (my sister) and I decided we were going to conquer the crowds since we are usually in a small town with limited shopping on Thanksgiving weekend. We had to take this opportunity and get some good deals! We met at Khols and once the doors opened, we ran through the store grabbing countless deals. It was actually kind of exhilarating! Waiting in the line to get in and pay for things wasn't too horrible. You make friends with those around you which makes the wait a tad more enjoyable. I was out until 3AM and saved a total of $266 between Khols and Target. SCORE!!!! My first Black Friday was a success :D

Ready to get our shop on! Long lines and all :)

There we have it. Thanksgiving 2011. I am thankful for the most wonderful, kind-hearted, handsome man that I get to call my husband. I'm thankful for our drooling mess of a dog, Apollo. And last but not least, I am thankful for two wonderful families that are there for support, love, and advice whenever we need. We hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!!

NOW we can listen to Christmas music!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Throw ya diamonds up!

I forgot to talk about this earlier, but a couple weeks ago my brother and I went to the "Watch the Throne" concert with Jay-Z and Kanye West. I'm not a girl, so I didn't take a bunch of pictures while we were there, so I'll just proceed to tell you about how awesome it was.

The arena filled up pretty quickly. I have to admit, that was a whole lot of black people and none of them were on the popular "CP" time. However, the stars of the show were held up in Atlanta and were late starting our show... almost 2 hours late. It was all good though because once it started, it was definitely a hip hop party.

Last year I saw Jay-Z in concert and it was awesome, but this year adding Kanye brought a different element to the show. The stage set up was clever. There was basically the main stage on one side, then another, smaller stage across from it. Also, each stage elevated about 20-30 feet up and had video playing underneath them when raised. (Did that make sense?) They also had HUGE screens on each side of the main stage showing both Jay-Z and Kanye while they performed so us folks in the nosebleeds could clearly see the performance. There were also lots of lights and flames and lasers going off giving you plenty to look at throughout the night.

Kanye West on the mini stage.
Jay-Z on the big screen.

Anyway, they did nearly every song from their new album, Watch the Throne, and mixed in some of their older hits as well. They really did a great job going back and forth with their songs too. They started out on separate stages, then Jay-Z took over, then back together, then Kanye took over, then back together. It was great because there was never a lull or break in the action which meant I just lost my voice quicker.

There was one thing they did that I thought was brilliant. Any time I go to a concert and a good/favorite song is performed, I usually want to hear it again. Well, they performed their song "N***** in Paris" and it was awesome. The crowd was loving it so guess what they did... that's right, they just performed it again. Crowd continued to go crazy (we were feelin' it) so ya know what... they did it one more time! Probably my favorite moment of the concert.

Overall it was a fantastic show. Also, very, very, very good album. You should own it if you don't already (if you like rap music). Enjoy the video clips from the concert below (taken by my phone so sorry it ain't in HD).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Baby Bump

I'm not the one who's prego, but MY SISTER IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm so excited!!! I'm going to be an Aunt!!!!! I've been itching to tell the world for the past two weeks! I wanted to make sure it was confirmed by the doctor and that she was able to tell all friends and family before I opened my big mouth to the blogesphere.

Let me start from the beginning. Two weeks ago, my sister and her fiance of 9 years (they have been together for a total of 12 years), came over to our house for a visit. I hadn't seen her for a month (sad since we live 5 minutes away from each other) so I was super excited to see her and catch up. We were chatting about this and that when she interrupted and said she wanted to show me her Halloween costume. She went to change and came back wearing this:

There's going to be a Little Baby. Ha, get it?

It took me a few seconds to comprehend and then my jaw dropped. I hesitated and asked..."IS THIS FOR REAL?!?!??!?!" in excitement. She confirmed with a big smile and said, "Yup, it's for real!"

Kind of funny. This whole situation almost turned into a "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" episode. Turns out the tentative due date for their baby BOY is March 1st! March! That's 3 1/2 months away!!! I don't have much time to plan a baby shower, but I am super psyched to plan one in the coming months.

Ahhhhhhhhh!!! I'm going to be an Aunt! I'm going to be an Aunt! I'm going to be an Aunt! If you can't tell, I'm excited!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deer Crossing

It started out as any other Thursday morning. I rushed to get ready, racing to catch the vanpool that takes me to work. ( I work an hour away from home, so to save on gas I commute with others that also make the long commute.) As I was driving on I-485, I looked to my left and noticed two deer running across the highway. They were in the median and they were gunning it, looking frantic. I slowed down but that didn't work to my advantage. I closed my eyes, heard some clunks and opened my eyes to shattered glass, wishing I had missed them altogether.

I was in shock. Shocked that the two deer didn't ram into me. Shocked that I wasn't hurt. Shocked that I actually hit a deer. Luckily, the only damage done was to the hood of the car and my windshield. There was no blood to be found which makes me believe the deer are ok and not hurt too terribly. All in all, it could have been a lot worse and I am very appreciative to walk away in perfect condition.

Check out the fur that got stuck in the corner!

Jeremy came to my rescue to keep me company while we waited for the police to get there. It took TWO hours for the officer to show up. TWO! While waiting, we watched three police cars pass by. *sigh* We eventually got things rolling with a police report, tow truck, and figuring out insurance information.

It was a crazy morning but it ended up being a great day.  I decided to take the day off and not go into work. This turned out to be the best decision I could have made all day. I ended up having lunch with my mom and sister, spent some quality time with my dad, and got some errands out of the way.

For now, my car is in the body shop. There's no telling how long it will take for them to fix it but I'm hoping it doesn't take long.

Instead of being a downer about the day, I am grateful. Grateful that I'm not hurt. Grateful to spend time with my family. And grateful to have great friends helping throughout the day. Thanks to everyone who helped out and who voiced concern!!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Home of BBQ

Within the past couple of years, I've really gotten into BBQ. Cooking, sauces, seasoning, restaurants - it's been quite a tasty adventure. However, one thing I hadn't been able to do was venture outside of Charlotte to experience other places that specialize in pulled pork BBQ, and by "other places" I mean Lexington BBQ.

Lexington BBQ is sacred ground in North Carolina. It's been labeled as the "epicenter of BBQ". It's rich with history and a large number of people swear the best BBQ in the land is served in this small country restaurant comfortably sitting just off of I-85. So after hearing sooooo many good things, I knew at some point I HAD to visit. Just doesn't seem right to call yourself a "BBQ Lover" if you've never eaten there.

Recently my taste buds and I had the wonderful opportunity to FINALLY visit Lexington BBQ! It took a while, but Asha and I were able to schedule a day to eat at the legendary restaurant with one of her good friends, Greg, and his wife Bobbie. (Side note: Greg and Bobbie are absolutely wonderful people. I'm not just saying that because they took us to Lexington either. Greg shares a passion for making slideshows/videos like I do, PLUS, they both happen to watch some of the same TV shows as us. They're both all-around great folks and I'm glad I've had the pleasure to meet them and share some BBQ.)

We pull into the parking lot and I'm 100% ready for deliciousness. My stomach is rumbling, my nose is catching wafts of succulent pork, and my mouth begins to water in anticipation of biting into juicy BBQ. The place is exactly how I imagined - a small building that's borderline "hole-in-the-wall", a full parking lot (always a good sign), and it has tasty history written all over it.

We get to our seats and I quickly scan the menu. It doesn't take long for me to decide on a chopped BBQ plate, fries and baked beans. The food comes (by the way, really fast service which is NEVER a bad thing), I grab my fork, take my first bite and...

It was just OK.

OK, I take that back. It was MUCH more than "just OK". In fact, it was really, really good. Their chopped BBQ was chopped more than I was used to, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, just felt the need to point out it was different. I was also a little surprised to read that they "only" cook their BBQ for 9 hours. I guess it's because they probably have more people customers than most BBQ restaurants.

The beans and fries weren't anything to rave about. There wasn't really anything special about them. But speaking of special...

That sauce. Oh that spicy, sweet, tasty sauce. I've said before that really, for the most part, BBQ is BBQ and the sauce is what separates restaurants from each other. Lexington's Smokehouse hot & tangy barbeque sauce is just... well I can't think of a tasty enough word to describe it. It was a perfect blend of vinegar, spices, and sugar. If you can't tell, I loved it. I dumped that stuff all over my BBQ too, which cranked it up a notch (BAM!).

Another thing that was fantastically delicious were the hush puppies. Someone did tell me they're hush puppies were great and ya know what... they were. They were nice and light and not greasy... and also tasted great with the sauce.

So my visit to Lexington was definitely a good one. I guess I should explain myself for the earlier "just OK" comment. I think my expectations were set SO high and my excitement level was that of a 6 year old receiving their first bike on Christmas morning. I basically set myself up for disappointment. But let's be clear, my meal was definitely not disappointing. I really wish I was able to try some of the other sides. Guess I'll just have to make another trip!

As I said earlier, if you consider yourself a BBQ lover, you better make a trip over to Lexington Barbecue. Thanks again to Greg and Bobbie for graciously accompanying us on our scrumptious trek to the epicenter of BBQ!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sugar Rush

Our doorbell rang a total of 5 times Halloween night. We were disappointed to say the least.  We had some cute trick-or-treaters but most were toddlers which means their little hands couldn't grab much loot. There is a  TON of candy left over! Candy I don't need to eat!

Well...I don't have much else to write for this particular blog. I guess I can share some of my personal goals for November:
  1. Update and revamp my resume. I'm tired of commuting 3 hours a day. I need a new job!
  2. Start running again. (I kind of miss it)
  3. Lose 5 Lbs. and KEEP it off! Maybe the running will help.
  4. Create some artwork for the bare walls in our home.
  5. Get Jeremy to blog at least one time this month ;)
I'll leave you with a picture from this past weekend. We made a quick trip to Boone for Black Saturday which always turns out to be a thrilling football game. We were hesitant to make the trip up the mountain since there were snow flurries that very morning.  We bundled up and braved the cold, witnessing a great game and an Appalachian win!
Black Saturday--October 2011