Year of the Cat

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Remember how I said October was insane? Do you believe me, yet? Last weekend was the 125th Anniversary of Western Carolina University and a big group of us had all been planning to go up for Homecoming. The drive up is one of my favorite parts, especially during fall. I mean, really? This doesn't even look real!

And if that wasn't good enough, check out the view from our cabin! (Here's the link for more pics/info, if you're interested in renting some time.)

Just relaxing on the couch with this terrible view…

Melvin and I kickstarted the weekend with some mimosas. As he said, "Make the mimost of it." (Side note: Do you see how I'm wearing workout clothes…with tennis shoes? Halfway through my drive I realized I forgot to bring shoes!! I literally only had my tennis shoes on my feet. I had to make a pitstop at the local Shoe Show, but luckily was able to borrow someone else's so I got to take them back. So embarrassing.)

Shots of Fireball to get the weekend started!

Dinner at Speedy's, drinks at O'Malley's and No Name, then finishing off the night in the hot tub at the cabin. Could our first night have been more perfect?

The next morning, we were up early to tailgate for the game (we didn't actually go into the game, duh).

Check out this "Selfie Stick" that Natalie bought. So hilarious… and useful.


Um, please zoom in on this terrifying "Catamount".

After tailgating, we posted up at O'Malley's. We were in the same booth from 2pm - 10pm. Literally an entire work day.

After a late-night stop at Sylva's newest "disco", Tropical - we headed home for more hot tub time machine fun! Check out this amazing pizza sweatshirt that Whittney and I got Natalie for her birthday! Of course I borrowed it for the photo op.

The next morning, we all cleaned up, packed out and hit the road. But not before snapping a few pictures of the absolutely gorgeous morning from our deck. Ah, Cullowhee. I miss you always.

While I was enjoying my weekend with friends in Cullowhee, Adam was having a little homecoming of his own! He headed up to DC to spend the weekend with his BBF/Best Man, Brent. (Thanks to Brent's girlfriend for posting some pics on Facebook!)

Adam actually sent me this pic on his own! It was my one request, and made me very happy.

We boarded the pups at a new place this time, and it's safe to say they also had an amazing weekend! Southern Tails posts daily pics on their Facebook page, and I about died when I saw this one of little Hankie Doodle! Eeeeek, he's so cute!

This was them about 2 minutes after I picked them up. This has never happened. They'll definitely be going back!

Also, kudos to me for getting all these posts in before November! Minus the whole "I haven't been cooking" thing.

Between the Chaos

I arrived home from Nashville on Thursday night, just in time for a fun-filled weekend with family and friends! (Do we ever stop? No.)

Cousin Amy, Cousin Courtney and Granda Blumenkamp were all in town - which obviously means a shopping trip is in order. Amy is pregnant (and her and Meagan are BBFs, so it's extra adorable!), so we spent a good bit of time in Motherhood Maternity. In the dressing room, they have a fake tummy for you to try on under your clothes (genius and weird). Meet Kelsey's lumpy baby...

The weather was gorgeous all weekend! At one point, I couldn't find the dogs and they weren't responding when I yelled for them outside (which never happens). I found them like this. Totally in the zone enjoying the perfect weather.

Saturday night, Adam and I headed over to Madi's for her Inaugural Pumpkin Party. She made lots of fun food and some spooky punch (trying to be themed here, people). 

Ta da!

Look at us being cute and candid! Just kidding, we all posed for this "candid" one.

After the pumpkins were carved, we headed to Atkins Park for some more fun. My childhood lifeguard was our bartender, which was so strange. I probably told everyone I saw for the next 48 hours - meaning Adam got to hear me retell it 2934879348 times. Lucky guy!

Sunday was another family day. We started it off by spending some time with my dad and Papabear. Couldn't help but take advantage of their back deck for a photo op (of course).

Then it was back to the Bakers for dinner with the whole fam.  There is a baby under there, by the way.

Little bear! It's so funny, we're all so careful when we hold him so we don't wake him up - yet Adam was waving his arms around and getting all up in his face... and Jude didn't even budge.

My mom, her sisters and a childhood friend all went to Charleston for the weekend, but came home a day early because Aunt Kathy saw a rat on the back porch. (Don't even get me started on their ridiculous stories.) However, this meant I got to see them all on Monday night! Instead of getting a group pic of all us ladies, I took one of Papabear. Same thing, right?

I had the last minute opportunity to attend the Network of Executive Women Summit in Atlanta last week, and it really was amazing. I'm so glad I got to go and be around some very incredible women.

The conference was held at the Hyatt downtown, so I couldn't help but head up to Polaris for a quick drink and glimpse of the view.

The first night they held a meeting for Nestle women who were at the conference. Again, another amazing night with incredible women.

After a long day at the conference on Thursday, I headed home to get ready for the MS Harvest for a Cure dinner with Kelsey! I donated water to the event, so I was able to score a couple tickets. Since Kelsey interned with them this summer, I decided to bring her along. We had so much fun!

Kelsey does not eat seafood, but she tried octopus! So proud!

Weee! Such a great way to end my week! Did I mention we had so much fun?

Again, no recipes. Sorry, folks! It's been crazy.

Charlotte -> Nashville -> Charleston

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Like I said, October was/is nuts. I left on Tuesday, October 7 for a whirlwind work trip. First stop, back to Charlotte! Initially my meetings in Charlotte were supposed to be the prior week so I could just stay through Natalie's birthday. Of course, they were postponed, but I still had the work event in Atlanta on Sunday night so I couldn't just stay through until my meetings the next week (are you keeping up?).

Whittney and I went for a walk before dinner while I was in Charlotte - they live so close to the Carolina Panthers stadium!

After a yummy dinner at The Summit Room on my last night, we headed to Angry Ale's for some trivia. And guess who won? THIS GIRL.

After my week in Charlotte, I headed to Charleston on Friday morning to get a little work done there before the weekend started. Adam rented a car and met me there after work - which means he arrived around 1am. To kill time, I hung out with my favorite redhead - Miranda.

We went to a really cool bar called the Gin Joint, then headed over to start our own little dance party at Mad River.

The next day was planned around Georgia Football (of course). I researched the best UGA bars in Charleston, and luckily one was right down the street from where we were staying!

We got to Sullivan's Island in the morning and decided to walk down to the beach before we posted up at the bar. It was WARM - like, 90 degrees WARM.

 Home Team BBQ on Sullivan's Island! Not the worst place to spend your day.

And Georgia won - great day!

After taking a quick snooze, we got ready for our night out in Charleston. After a quick drink at Social, we headed to the Market Pavilion Rooftop Bar. It's our tradition to go every time we're in town.

We finished the night with dinner at Cypress - so yummy!

The next morning, we headed over to The Grocery for a quick mimosa and snack before walking around Charleston. It's our favorite city and we fall in love with it every time we go! (Can we move there, please?)

The whole reason we were in Charleston is because I donated water to the No Kid Hungry Charleston dinner and got two tickets in return. The dress code was Cocktail Casual (what does that even mean?), so we saw all sorts of outfits.

The dinner was in this beautiful tent on the water - great night!

We headed home on Monday - just in time for me to turn around on Tuesday and head to Nashville. I couldn't leave town again without spending some QT with my favorite little man though!

In Nashville, I was working with Distributor Reps - which means they know they're getting a killer lunch out of the suppliers when they volunteer to do it. My guy picked Wild Ginger for some sushi. It was AMAZING! Fried beyond belief, but so freaking good!

I was alone on my trip to Nashville, so I thought it was worth a try to call The Catbird Seat on Wednesday morning to see if they had any openings that night. (Side note: This is one of those places where reservations only open up 30 days out and fill up like THAT.)

Lucky for me - I got a call back and they had an opening for me at 9pm! Someone recommended I grab a drink downstairs at the Patterson House before dinner - so I happily obliged. 

I've never eaten out alone before and was a little wary, but it actually ended up being so much fun!

Here's the entrance to The Catbird Seat… you open a random wooden door and there's this little table with a candle - and an elevator.

And here we are! A couple fun facts about The Catbird Seat.
  • The restaurant only holds 20 people 
  • You sit around this "bar" where all of the chefs are cooking right in front of you. There's literally no kitchen. They do everything right here.
  • The chef, Trevor Moran, is Irish and came from Noma (no big deal, only the best restaurant in the world).
  • There is no menu. You show up and eat whatever they're making that night (add drink pairings, for an additional cost, of course).
  • My meal was 14 courses. 14! By the end, I was only able to eat a bite of everything because I was so full.
  • My meal and drink pairings - for just me - was $220. (Thank you, work!)
  • It was the coolest experience ever - not to mention the food was so delicious! I actually preferred eating there alone, because I spent the whole time talking to the chefs/beverage director/hostess and learning more about everything that goes into it.

Here's Trevor (we're on a first name basis) just topping off my Fernet. I'm so fancy.

At the end of the meal, you receive a handwritten menu! The hostess and I were going out for a drink after dinner (see, I made friends!), so I didn't take mine with me. I was so sad! However, she texted me the next day and mailed two copies to me! Yay!

It was definitely a killer way to end my crazy out of town excursions! For obvious reasons, I have no recipes to include in this post. You can just read that "menu" instead.