My Fav Things July 8-14

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I received a sample of Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls gel in my Birchbox last month. Over the past few years I have grown to embrace my curls, letting them loose more often (especially during the summer). Everyone’s curls are different and I normally don’t go the gel route; my curls are light and gel usually made them heavy and crunchy. Miss Jessie has changed that for me. This gel will leave your curls so light and shapely. I love it! To learn more about this product click here.

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The other day my husband brought these home from the grocery. I was at first skeptical. I love their other products (hot dogs and cold cuts), but every time I have bought a healthier version of chicken nuggets they don’t taste good, prompting a regrettable return  to the Yummy brand dino-shaped nuggets. I thought the Yummy brand was a healthier choice over Tysons and Perdue, but after reading this report, I am so glad I found the Applegate nuggets. The kids loved them! They are very tasty and have a lot of chicken meat. They really taste homemade. I have made homemade nuggets, but those have always been met with negative review from my boys.  During the summer, I feel like I am always in the kitchen making food. Weekday lunches have to be fast and easy, but somewhat nutritional. I urge you to change your home nuggets if you are buying the other crap (lets face it, its crap). If you aren’t making your own nuggets, give these a try. They are fantastic!

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Thank you to Vanessa for suggesting this show to us. During the summer, my hubby and I like to watch shows we didn’t discover in the regular season. I heard through the grape-vine that this show was great, so I am glad we have finally started to watch it. House of Cards is a political drama based off a BBC miniseries of the same name. Both are based off a novel by Michael Dobbs. House of Cards is set in modern-day Washington D.C. and follows the revenge path of scorned Congressman Frank Underwood, sublimely played by Kevin Spacey.  Along the way we meet his wife, Claire, played by Robin Penn Wright  who runs a non-profit; a young ambitious journalist Zoe, played by Kate Mara; and a down-on- his-luck Congressman Peter Russo, played by Corey Stoll. The acting is phenomenal. I encourage all of you who like political dramas to give this one a shot. You will not be surprised if you over stay your welcome in the House of Cards; you will leave wanting more! It is a Netflix original series, but I believe now you can get it on DVD. If you have Netflix streaming, you can access it with ease.

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I just love when you step out of your car when getting to the beach and getting that first whiff of sea salt air. I wish I could bottle that scent. This past Sunday my family spent a glorious day at Kure Beach in North Carolina. I would like to thank my friends (well, really they are like family) Vanessa and Matt and their families for opening up their beach house to us. There is nothing better than spending a day on the beach with loved ones, good food, drinks, and laughs.

This past week was a little hectic, so I am sorry I wasn’t able to post it on Friday. I hope you all have a great week! What some of your favorite things you have discovered recently?

A Night of Music

We are really lucky to have the Carolina Philharmonic in our small town. They do wonders for our local community, not only bringing us wonderful music, but also funding programs that cultivate musical interest to children. My oldest was lucky to participate in the Junior Orchestra class the Philharmonic sponsored this past school year. Like many schools, his elementary school fell victim to  spending cuts, unfortunately shutting down the orchestra program.  To the fill that void, the Philharmonic sponsored a weekly class to 3rd and 4th graders free of charge. My husband and I strongly believe that our son’s musical education doesn’t just end with practicing at home and going to his class once a week. Being exposed to live music and seeing other musicians play their instruments is a key element to that education. He and his classmates had the special opportunity to actually play a long side with the Carolina Philharmonic last month. It was a very special moment for all involved.

I was happy to find out that for their June concert the Philharmonic planned on doing their concert outdoors and play movie scores. This bode well for our younger son who is currently OBSESSED with Star Wars.  This concert was also in conjunction with opening a new memorial park in our town.

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Since the tickets were free (another bonus), it was first come first serve basis. We got there early so we could get good seats and also enjoy a picnic dinner. The weather was gorgeous we couldn’t have asked for a better night.

IMG_2556The selection of music was from notable movie scores from the last 50 years of cinema. They played scenes from the movies as they played the scores, which provided a really nice touch. It was a very well done classy performance. There was a lot of talent on that stage. It’s really nice that even though we live in a small town, we still get big city talent.

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Sometimes the best memories are made when you think outside the box. I was a little hesitant to take our 5-year-old, but he really surprised us on how engaged he was throughout the entire performance, and not just merely the Star Wars portion. We all had a great time and look forward to attending more performances in the future.

 

Calling All Mudders!

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One of my new years resolutions was to do a race ( I know a tough mudder is not a race it is a competition) with my husband this year. Originally we were going to do our local St. Paddy’s day 5K , but I got a hip injury in early February. I couldn’t run on it for about 6 weeks. After a month of consistent acupuncture and realizing I need to stretch better, my hip recovered. As long as I only run a few times a week and listen to my body I have been ok. In my mind though I thought a straight running race might be too much.

A friend of mine said she and her husband were starting a Tough Mudder team. It piqued my interest. I saw the video below and thought sure this is better than a straight running race. HA!!! I think I am in for a rude awakening. We registered for the race back in May.

To be clear, we aren’t doing this to set any time records. We are doing this to have fun and say we did it. My goal is to finish and to not break a bone.

I consider myself in good shape. I go to the gym regularly. I have been doing more cross fit and trx classes.  I train weekly with a trainer and my sessions have been harder to prepare. My achilles’ heel is running. I hate it. I have never enjoyed it and it’s such a mental battle for me. I know I have to incorporate running in my mudder training. I have been running intervals. I just hate running without stopping. I can probably run 1.5 miles straight right now.  I have  2 months until the Tough Mudder and I really need to kick up my training.  My plan is to go to the gym 4-5 days a week do 30 min of cardio (mostly running) and then a trx or crossfit class.

I know it is going to probably be the hardest thing I have ever done. So mentally I am prepared for that aspect. I just don’t want my body to go through shock. I am excited, but a part of me is also scared.  Have any of you done a Tough Mudder competition? If yes, any advice on training?

Trains and Carolina BBQ

This weekend we decided to venture out to the North Carolina Transportation Museum. It promised to be a day full of planes, trains, and automobiles. Our two boys have been quite the train enthusiasts. My oldest has mostly grown out of the phase, but my younger one is still mesmerized.Thomas the Tank Engine has long been the source of their obsession.  Who can deny the intrigue that the Island of Sodor and their very useful engines bring?  They have brought much happiness (and sometimes confusion and delay) to our household for number of years now. Our Thomas the Train wooden railway set and the many trains we have accumulated are the things toys we will keep long after they’ve grown. Maybe their kids can play with it when they come to visit us…  :).

This was a lovely museum. The entrance fee includes a 30 min train ride on an old fashioned diesel engine.

That day we saw classic car exhibits, the warehouse where they refurbish vehicles, the roundhouse, and the airplane exhibit boasting a Wright brothers’ plane replica. My little guy’s favorite exhibit was by far the roundhouse. I think they had about 8 trains on exhibit that day. They sat in their respective spots so majestically. It was hard not to be giddy. After we exploring the exhibits for over an hour, it was time for our train ride!

Our crew was very friendly and informative. Our conductor was especially nice. He told us how the particular car we were on was used in the movie Leatherheads. There is a slight chance I could have sat in Mr. George Clooney’s seat.  They shot the movie for 2 days on the museum grounds.  The train ride was 25 min. It was nice and scenic. We went through the grounds of the museum and they explained a little bit more of the history of the yards and buildings. It was interesting.

What are some of your favorite museums? Are there any that hold a special place in your heart from when you were a child?

After the museum we decided to get some BBQ for lunch. We were only about 20 minutes away from one of the best BBQ joints in the entire state. How could we ever pass that up?  I have to say Carolina BBQ is by far my favorite kind of BBQ, especially the chopped pork.   Lexington BBQ #1 in Lexington, North Carolina has been run by the same family for years. It is definitely a no frills place, but the staff couldn’t be any nicer, and their food speaks for itself.

As soon as you find a parking space (and the lot was really full) you are greeted by these lovelies and the wonderful smell of hickory and sweet slow-cooking pork.

For 2:30 pm it was busy. We had to wait in a line that was outside the doors. Luckily things moved like a well oiled machine. We were seated in about 10 minutes and eating in about 20 minutes.

I ordered the chopped pork sandwich. It is topped with this coleslaw that is heaven sent. It is vinegar based and it’s tangy and a little spicy at the same time. Such deliciousness!!!

I will be dreaming about this meal for a while. The baked beans were to share. They were also very tasty. I couldn’t finish all of that. This was a wonderful meal and I am so happy we were able to stop by on our way home.

What are some of your favorite BBQ joints?