Category Archives: Outings

Weekend Recap

I usually post these on a Monday but, as you can probably tell, I’m a little behind with my blogging.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I made Daniel stuffed shells for dinner on Friday for his Hanukkah gift.  That night was kind of quiet for us because we both had to work on Saturday morning.

On Saturday night, we went out for dinner to a new tapas restaurant downtown.  It’s called Taberna and  their tapas are fantastic but what really knocked my socks off was their paella.  If you’re ever in Downtown Durham looking for a new place to try, go to Taberna.  The service was amazing and the prices are very reasonable.  You can try a huge variety of great food and it’s a really cute restaurant.  Daniel and I can’t wait to go back.  That was sort of our belated anniversary dinner, since we both forgot about it earlier in the week.  It was Hanukkah and his dad’s birthday on that same day, so we just ended up hanging out at his parents’ house to celebrate those.

After dinner at Taberna, we drove to the new apartment of Forest and Fran.  Forest is one of Daniel’s friends from high school and Fran is his girlfriend.  They just moved out of Forest’s mom’s house and into an adorable apartment near Southpoint.  We drank beer and wine and watched trailers on Youtube for some of the worst movies every made (including The Room, Enemy Mine, and Tiptoes).  It’s always a pleasure to see to them.

On Sunday we went to a small Hanukkah party with delicious food and good company.  Everyone brought a “white elephant” gift, which is kind of like a gag gift; basically, it’s something weird or random you might find laying around your house that you don’t want.  My brother recently gave me a bag of some of the most random dvds ever, so Daniel and I chose 3 of those, wrapped them, and I think Daniel’s parents finally ended up with them.  We came home with a silver picture frame.  Honestly, I’ll probably re-gift it to my mother.  She would get some use out of it.

On Monday while Daniel was at work, I went out to a craft store to buy more yarn for the fluffy infinity scarf I’m working on.  I also stopped at Bath and Body Works to pick up some of their candles because they were having a 2 for $20 sale.  The sale might still be happening.  I bought a Japanese Cherry Blossom scented candle, which is a really classic scent from their signature line, and I bought one of their holiday candles called Snowed In.  I’m burning that one as I type this and it smells great.  I wasn’t sure about it at first but I’m glad I bought it.  I was bummed that they didn’t have any of their 3-wick candles in Sea Island Cotton, which is one of my favorite scents, but I would never wear it on my body.  I just think it’s a perfect candle scent.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

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Wrapping Up My Mini-Vacation in Unadilla

I’ve survived this week in Unadilla and tomorrow I head back to North Carolina.  I’m so excited.  I’ve missed Daniel, and I’ve missed the warm weather.  It’s supposed to be in the 60s and 70s for most of next week, so I’m pretty anxious for that.  I spent the afternoon packing up my stuff and taking the time to clean out my childhood room, since I never really did that after I moved out a few years ago.  And when I wasn’t packing or cleaning, I was fighting with the puppy.  She really likes to grab socks, and then run away.  She also likes bras, apparently.

Yesterday I took a trip to my brother’s house in Herkimer to visit him and his family.  His kids are adorable.  Gavin is already 7, but he’s really tall.  Tall genes run on both sides of his family.  He’s also pretty smart and is all-around a really good kid, just a pleasure to be around.  I can’t say that about a lot of 7-year-olds.  For Christmas, I bought him some Legos, which he put together immediately.  He was very happy and played with them for the rest of the evening.  Lily is much bigger than when I last saw her.  She loves when people read to her.  I actually bought her a book for Christmas that is about a ballerina named Lily and came with a necklace in the shape of ballet slippers.  Her reaction was to try to hide the book in between the couch cushions and yell, “No, I’m Lily!”.  It was pretty cute.  After she settled down, she let me read it to her (twice) and she really liked it.  I bought Paige a stuffed giraffe, but since she is not even 1 and 1/2 yet, she didn’t really care either way.  Oh well.

I drove to my sister’s apartment earlier this evening so we could exchange gifts.  She was a little drunk, so I don’t know how much she really liked her gift, but she got very excited at the time.  I bought her a Plants vs. Zombies conehead zombie figure.  She loved it.

It's kind of cute.

It’s kind of cute.

She bought me a new scarf and a Starbucks gift set that included some coffee, a ceramic mug, and a travel mug.  I do plan to buy her at least one more small gift and just send it to my parents’ house for my mom to wrap (thanks Mom!).

It’s been a pretty good week, and I’m really happy I got to see my family.  It’s definitely the last time I will get to visit with them for the rest of this year.  I hope I can plan something early next year.

A Day Trip to Rochester

Kelly and I took a short trip to Rochester today. I really wanted to see Matt before he moved to Seattle in January, so my main purpose for the trip was to attend Game Night at the comic store. Kelly and I ate a late lunch at Magnolia’s, and then we went to Wegman’s in Pittsford (or, Mega Weg’s, as some like to call it). I had a request from Adrienne for Cocopop, which I’ve only ever seen at Wegman’s, and Daniel wanted a particular cereal. I do miss Wegman’s.

We also went to Eastview Mall for some holiday shopping. I’m visiting my brother tomorrow, so I wanted to get everything for him, his kids, and my sister-in-law wrapped and ready to go.

Finally, it was time for Game Night. I got to see Matt’s wife and kids briefly, then Kelly dominated us in Settlers of Catan. And then I lost miserably in poker, too. But it was great to see them, and a trip to the store means that Matt gives me and Daniel all of the stuff that they haven’t been able to sell. This includes random, terrible comics and bizarre action figures that probably shouldn’t exist.

I had a good afternoon in Rochester. It was nice to visit, but I don’t think I could ever live there again.

November Date Night!

Daniel and I enjoyed a little date night yesterday evening.  It was one of our best date nights ever, if I do say so myself.  We decided we were just going to do the simple dinner and a movie.  However, date night requires that you put in a little more effort than usual.  For me, that apparently amounts to an extra two hours that I spend primping.  I showered, curled my hair, did my makeup, and I picked out a cuter outfit than what I usually wear.  This also encouraged Daniel to wear a button down shirt and a jacket.  He looked excellent.

We dined at Pizzeria Toro, which was our first time eating there.  It was delicious.  For an appetizer, we tried the Burrata with charred tomatoes and crispy basil.  It was really good, but a little overpriced for the portion we received, and for what it was.  Now, the pizza was amazing and priced very reasonably.  We tried the spicy lamb meatball pizza.  Our bill came in at under $30 for the appetizer and the pizza, and that also included the tip.  It reminded me a little bit of a restaurant in Rochester called Veneto.  They both offer wood-fired pizza, but Veneto also offers a wide selection of pasta dishes.  Between the two establishments, the prices of the pizzas were very similar, but the portions of the pizzas at Pizzeria Toro are slightly bigger.  Despite the weird, uncomfortable chairs that they put you in, and sitting us at a long table with four strangers, it was a positive experience overall.  I complain about the strange seating arrangement because all they have for seating are long tables that are meant for multiple groups of people, which is bad if you’re looking for a more quiet restaurant where you can chat with the person you are dining with more privately.  But other than that, it has a very, very Durham vibe to it.

I admit that before we went to the theater, we stopped at Target to buy candy and Coca-cola Icees.  (They don’t sell Coke Icees at Wynnsong or Northgate.  This is a problem for us, because we love Coke Icees.)  We ended up at Wynnsong to see Skyfall.  It was certainly the best James Bond film I’ve ever seen, which probably doesn’t say much because I’ve only seen maybe 4 or 5.  But the consensus seems to be that it is the best one yet.  I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil it, but Javier Bardem’s character did remind me a little bit of The Joker from The Dark Knight.  Nothing specific about him screamed “Joker Ripoff”, but in general the character seemed reminiscent of that kind of villain.  This didn’t cheapen the film even a little bit.  I think the entire movie was a perfect combination of action, humor, and sexiness.  It’s definitely a movie that I want to own when it comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

On a side note, we saw a trailer for another Die Hard movie.  I am SO excited about that, words cannot express it.  This of course means that we will need to have a Die Hard movie marathon before we see it in theaters.

I will leave you with Adele’s “Skyfall”, the new Bond film theme song.  I don’t really care for Adele, but I do think this was perfect for the film.

Adventures

Every weekend, Daniel and I wake up in the morning and say “What fun things are we going to do today?”  Usually, we end up on some “adventure”.  These adventures usually aren’t anything too crazy.  Today we just went to the Southpoint Mall in search of a specific Hanukkah gift for his sister Nicole.  We were fortunate enough to have completed our mission (and saved 10% while doing it).  In the process, I also finished holiday shopping for my nieces and nephew.  I never get that sort of thing done this early.  I’m always that person out the weekend before Christmas looking for gifts.  I’ve made it a personal goal not to let that happen this year.

Other adventures have included driving to various GameStops in the area looking for a certain Wii game that Daniel really wanted.  The only reason we didn’t order it online was because we found out we could get it for $5 or less at a store in Morrisville.  Unfortunately, we bought the game used and then found out it didn’t work.  Returning the game was a less fun adventure.

But it’s not just consumer-driven adventures that we go on.  In Rochester, we often went on hikes in the summer.  We’ve been doing that less since we moved here, which is a bummer because the Eno River State Park is very beautiful.  (Daniel, this is a not-so-subtle hint that I think we should go on a hike soon, if the weather is nice and it’s not too cold.)

Sometimes we will hear about an interesting event that’s happening downtown or an art exhibit at the Nasher, and wander on over to check it out. Those can turn into really interesting adventures because you never know what insane things you might see, hear, or be a part of.

Pictured: Daniel (top) and Christine (bottom) adventuring on a gigantic turtle.

There are also lots of bigger adventures that we haven’t gone on yet.  For instance, we’re both anxious to take a trip to New York City, since I haven’t been there in years and I’ve never gone with Daniel.  I’ve never been to Chicago, so I’m dying to visit.  I’ve also never visited to Seatlle, and some of our good friends in Rochester are moving there in January; I hope that we can sync up our schedules to visit them sometime next year.

What adventures have you gone on recently?

Just a Fun Saturday Night

Last night was pretty awesome.  A girl that I work with, Megan, came out for drinks with me and Daniel at Bull City Burger and Brewery.  She ended up just driving to our house, parking here, and walking with us, since parking over there can get crazy on Saturday night.  She had never been to BCBB, so it was cool that we got to show her what that was about.  And, in my opinion, their beer is just much better than Fullsteam’s beer.  BCBB typically has a better variety, and have new and different beers every month, and their quality just seems to be better and more consistent.  Fullsteam has a great vibe, but I definitely prefer BCBB.  As we were sitting outside on the (new and improved!) back patio at BCBB, we also were witness to a guy trying to bust open a piñata while he was surrounded by a number of his friends.  Using a stick to break it open ended up being a complete failure because the stick broke long before any real damage was done to the piñata.  So they just let the guy tear it open.  Naturally, Megan, Daniel, and I were waiting anxiously to see what was inside (there had been talk of puppies), but we were pretty disappointed to find that it was only the crappy Double Bubble bubblegum, where the flavor is gone before you can even get it to your mouth.  But that was fun, and after 2 beers each we walked to Fullsteam.  It turns out that Fullsteam was having a Zombie Prom for Halloween.  It was excellent, but we were all bummed that we missed the memo on that one, because I definitely have a dress that would have been perfect for it.  They had a decent band playing, except that you couldn’t understand what they were singing because it was mixed so poorly.  I did figure out one song, it was Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”.  We drank, we danced, we saw all kinds of zombies.

After Fullsteam, we just walked back to the apartment where we continued drink.  Daniel had some of his whiskey on the rocks, Megan and I drank appletinis.  And after that I don’t remember much except that I know Megan ended up sleeping here because we were all very, very drunk.

My First Real Vacation (As a “Grown-Up”)

I finally have an opportunity to blog about the beach trip I took in August with Daniel and his family.  This was my fourth year going to Bald Head Island with his family, and I have to say that this year may have been the best yet.  That’s partially because this is the first year that I actually took a vacation from a real full-time grown-up job.  That felt really good.

I took so many spectacular pictures while I was there, and I’ve posted them all on Facebook, but I will put a few of my favorites at the end of this post.

Of course, everyone spent a good part of the week just relaxing, eating well, and drinking a lot.  On most days we would go to the beach in the morning and spend almost the entire day there.  The weather was absolutely perfect almost everyday.  There was one day when I woke up and it was storming pretty hard, but by the afternoon we made it out to the beach and it was beautiful again.  Every evening we would head back to the beach house for drinks and dinner.

This year, Daniel and I spent the first night in the beach house that Daniel’s parents rent every year.  Unfortunately, the mattresses probably haven’t been replaced since the house was first furnished…in the 70’s.  At least, that’s what it felt like to my back the next morning.  And I can honestly sleep anywhere, but I was pretty sore the next morning.  So Daniel and I took the opportunity to stay in the crofter at the house rented by his aunt and his uncle.  They had the extra space that no one in their house was going to use, since they already had 4 bedrooms in the house and were only using 3 of those.  It was an adorable crofter over the “garage” consisting of a bedroom and a bathroom, which was perfect for Daniel and me to use for the rest of the week, and their house was just a short golf cart ride or bike ride away from where Daniel’s parents were staying.  And the bed was so much more comfortable.  It was the first year at the beach that I actually got substantial sleep and didn’t wake up tired everyday.  When you’re on vacation, that’s how you’re supposed to feel.

This year was unique because we saw so much wildlife.  You get glimpses of some of the animals that live on the island every year, but this year we saw everything from birds to foxes to alligators, and I was fortunate enough to get pictures of almost all of them.

There were turtles. Lots of turtles.

There are some deer that live on the island.

There are beach foxes. This one visited us right at the beach house.

Oh yeah, there was also an 8 foot alligator, but he’s not the largest on the island.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of truly being on vacation for the first time.  It feels really good to be getting paid while you’re lounging on a beach.  Paid time off is something I will never take for granted.  As always, I look forward to the next time I can go to Bald Head.  It’s always a treat, and I don’t think I could ever get tired of it.