Sunday, July 10, 2011

30 before 30 Progress

I made this list of thirty things to do before turning 30...Today is my 29th birthday, so I figure it's a good time to reflect on what I have or haven't accomplished yet. Keep in mind I do still have another year to go for this. 

1. Go on Vacation. It doesn't have to be exotic, but it has to be for fun, with the hubs, and spend at least 2 nights in a hotel. Staying with family does not count. (June 30-July 2, stayed in Charlotte, NC and then met up with the hubs family at the beach for 2 days)
2. Come to grips with whether or not we want children, and if we do want them, a plan for when we might want to start trying.
3. Read 8 books between now and then. Yes, the ones I am currently in the midst of count. (Poisonwood Bible 2/6/11;  Water for Elephants 7/3/11, still working on Appollo's Angels and starting Life of Pi )
4. Wear a two piece bathing suit. (Tankini purchased May 28, 2011; wore all summer 2011. Will try to embrace a real two piece in 2012.)
5. Attend a dance intensive without students.
6. Have organized closets that stay that way. (organized on April 4- Still working as of June 27, 2011)
7. Find a signature hair cut/style. (New hair cut June 24, 2011)
8. Start a vegetable garden. (Joined a CSA May 2011...not the same, but certainly is good for increasing our vegetable intake. Maybe we'll grow some of our next summer.)
9. Lose Weight. (91 lbs to be exact.)  (62 down as of July 10, 2011.)
10. Apply to grad school.
11. Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it for at least 2 weeks. Modify what doesn't work and stick to it for at least another month. (I've worked on the schedule part-have not been able to keep it. Still experimenting.)
12. Try 4 new local restaurants (no chains!) (Soprano's Pizza 6.12.2011; On our Charlotte Vacation we only ate at 2 chain places: Buffalo Wild Wings (it was late, and convenient when we got to the hotel) and Sheetz on the way back; ) Going to Tuscanny Italian Ristorante for dinner tonight, 7.10.2011)
 13. Try being vegetarian for a week.
14. Buy a houseplant-and don't let it die. (Received an Orchid on 2.14.2011; Dead by the end of May 2011)
15. Organize jewelry. (Completed 2.12.2011)
16. Go to the zoo.
17. Complete JL's tshirt quilt.
18. Complete SD's onesie quilt.
19. Try at least 3 new craft projects. (Jewelry Organizer Completed 2.12.2011; attempting some jewelry making 6.28.11)
20. Take a real yoga class.
21. Go Hiking.(Completed on 4.23.2011)
22. Have a reunion with at least 2 friends from college.
23. Sing at to Karaoke.
24. Go to a Wax Museum.
25. Update Resume
26. Take new, good head shots.
27. Create a jazz dance syllabus. (Began June 2011. Working with some preliminary information found online, trying some of it out on our students and then adjusting as appropriate.)
28. Write an original children's ballet to correspond with the VA SOLs.
29. Pay off Credit Card.
30. Sex. Let's just leave it at that.

Other New Experiences
  1.  Attended Minor League Hockey Game - 2/18/2011
  2. Visited NYC on Band Trip-not necessarily new, but it was with the hubster! 4/28-29 
  3. NASCAR Hall of Fame and 4 different race shops/museums - 6/30-7/2

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Richard Childress Vineyards

 When one thinks of North Carolina, images of tobacco and barbeque tend to come to mind. Wine? A novelty at best. Thankfully, I learned I was wrong when we visited Richard Childress Vineyards. First of all, the vineyard is absolutely beautiful. The building looks like it came straight out of Italy, and up on the hill, you just see grapes for ever and ever. Breathtaking. The interior of the building is just as stunning as the exterior. Turns out, we showed up about 15 minutes before a free tour began. Yes please.

We enjoy the tour, which was nice, but I felt like I saw (and learned) more about the process of making wine on the tour we took to Williamsburg Winery. After the tour, we opted for a tasting. We had the option of the Cellar Select Tasting ($12 gets you a taste of 8 "basic" wines and a souvenir wine glass) and the Barrel Select Tasting ($14 for 8 premium wines and a Bordeaux wine glass). Since we visited the RCR museum earlier in the day, we each received $2 off the tasting...and the more expensive tasting came with a much bigger wine glass. Can you guess which one we did? Here's a run down of the wines we tasted:

2009 Vioginier- Very nice and light, definitely a summer wine. The description includes pineapple and peach flavors, which were very prominent. On sale for $12.95, and certainly worth it.

2006 Syrah- Another great wine. I was a little apprehensive that this would have "intense raspberry, chocolate, and tobacco flavors" as described, but the tobacco flavor was very savory. Heavy for the summer, but a great wine.

2009 Sangiovese- A light red, this would go well with burgers or in general grilling out. I enjoyed it, it was nice, but not my favorite. For $19.95, there are other less expensive wines I like just as well.

2009 Reserve Chardonnay- I wasn't completely aware of the butterscotch and vanilla influences, but this was a very buttery and smooth wine. Very satisfying.

2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon- Nice, enjoying, but nothing too exciting.

2006 Signature Merlot- I've heard it said before that life is too short to drink cheap Merlot, and while I like Merlot, this wine helped me see what I've been missing. Very dense with a bit of a spicy finish. Would love a bottle, but I have troble drinking $29.95...even if that is marked down from $39.95.

2007 Signature Meritage- Nice, but if I couldn't stomach the price of the Merlot, I certainly didn't think this one was worth $49.95.

Late Harvest Viognier - I am not typically a fan of dessert wines. Most are just too sweet for me. At first, I was afraid this one was going to go down like perfume. It started that way, and then calmed down. It is a dessert wine I could enjoy with friends, but not one I would choose on my own.

Three- Did you notice I said we would taste 8 wines and yet this is the 9th one I am writing about? That's because I'm a brat-well, not really. This wine is a blended from the Chardonnay, Viognier, and Pinot Gris grapes, and a signature of the vineyard. It is included in the basic tasting, but considering it was such a signature wine, I felt compelled to ask to try it. I was willing to swap out one of our other wines for it, but they said it wasn't a problem to throw it in. I was happy. And I was happy about the wine. Very smooth, very easy drinking, and sadly, I didn't buy a bottle. Of course, I can't find it in any grocery or wine stores around here. I'm sure this is going to be a sad quest to now find it.

The best part of the tasting: We came home with these lovely (and huge) crystal wine glasses. Score!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vacation!!!!- Saturday, Sunday, and Monday...

Saturday morning, we ventured out to Lexington, NC, for the second part of our NASCAR extravaganza. We first headed out to RCR Museum. Richard Childress was the team owner that Dale Earnheardt drove for. The museum had an awesome selection of artificats and memorabilia of his racing history. The hubs was in heaven.

A kid in a candy shop.

I like the recycling aspect.

I think he has a new career aspiration.

My favorite display. It just made me happy.

So apparently Richard Childress is quite the hunter...I was a bit unnerved by the beady eyes staring down at me.

Upon leaving the Museum, we headed out to Lexington Barbeque...allegedly the best barbeque in the world. And it was pretty good.

From there, we headed right up the road to Richard Childress Vineyards. Yes, this is the same NASCAR owner that had the museum and killed lots of animals. He also makes wine-pretty good wine. More on that later. It was very much the perfect merger of me and the hubs.

At that point, there was nothing left in central North Carolina for us to we started our trek out to Holden Beach, NC, a small little down in the south eastern corner of the state. We got there just as the rest of the hubs's family was heading out to the ocean. We threw on our suits-well, I did-and joined them on a late afternoon swim.

Have I mentioned how much I love the ocean? I never feel more comfortable, more at home, more at rest than when I'm with at the shore. It makes me happy.

Sunday morning started with a breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and mimosas, and by noon, we were out on the beach. I ended up getting quite engrossed in my book (Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen-highly recommend it), and my legs turned a bit crispy. When I went back in the water for my last swim, I could feel the heat on the back of my knees. When I got back to the beach house, my legs looked something like this from my ankle to my thigh:

We spent the evening playing beer pong....I've never played it before in all my days, and it truly showed. The hubs and I lost to his brother and sister, who in turned played his parents. It was not at all a traditional evening by any stretch of imagination. About midnight, I waddled my sunburnt self upstairs, crawled into bed, and tried to find a position where my legs didn't hurt.

When we woke up the next morning, I was so hoping to head out and get a little more time in a the beach before we left in the afternoon, but my skin just couldn't handle another day out in the sun. We ended up heading on out about 10:30, bidding our long weekend good bye, and heading back to our puppies at home.  It was a great weekend, and I'm so glad we were able to get out of town. It's nice, though, to be home and getting back to normal.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Vacation!!!!- Thursday and Friday

The hubs and I just came back from a short little out of town trip. It kinda developed in a peculiar fashion. We knew his parents were going down to Holden Beach, NC, for a week, and we wanted to go down there for part of it. Due to our summer jobs, we knew an entire week was out of the question. The rental was Saturday-Saturday, and since we both had off for Independence Day, we thought we could get more time in by going down this weekend. Then I had a stroke of genius. The hubs is a huuuuuuge NASCAR fan...why don't we take a (long) detour and go to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. So we left in my little Chevy HHR Thursday at lunch time and began our pilgrimage.

We started our vacation with lunch at the Virginia Diner in Wakefield, VA. The hubs first fell in love with this place after seeing it on "Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives." We ate there a few years ago, and he was thrilled to go again. I was excited to embrace my Virginia heritage with ham biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and sweet tea.

From there, we began the sojourn out of Virginia. We were truckin' along, and suddenly, a dead stop. Along I-85 outside of Greensboro, we came to a crawl. Actually a dead stop. Some drivers around us were using an entrance ramp as an exit ramp. It was a mess. We were finally able to get off the interstate an hour later, after traveling only 3 miles. Come to find out, it was quite an unfortunate accident involving a death.

We finally got into to Charlotte about 9PM that evening. The hubs was super excited by the location of our hotel-directly across the street from the hall of fame. Unfortunately, there wasn't much else around the hotel, so we opted to head to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. It was convenient and we were hungry.

The next morning we awoke early with eagerness and excitement to head to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Ok, that's a lie. I awoke early because that's what I do, and when the hubs rolled out of bed, he was excited. We toured the facility, and, as a non-NASCAR person, I will have to say that it had it's educational and informative moments. The package deal we got included a ride in a simulator. The hubs thoroughly enjoyed that. I got motion sick and wanted to die. Oh well, we'll know next time that isn't for me. Oh yes, and we certainly stuck out like a sore thumb...I was the prissy girl in a sundress and he was the only redneck Asian they'd ever seen.

(BTW, I hate that this pic makes me look pregnant. I promise, the belly is only slightly me and more the dress.) Oh yeah, and I did find some friends there....

We had lunch at the Hall of Fame, perused the gift shop, and then headed out for the rest of the day. We first ventured out to Mooresville, NC, to visit the D. E. I. shop. For those of you not in the NASCAR know, that's Dale Earnheardt Incorporated. While this is still a functioning company, the shop we went to is no longer functioning. It is essentially a memorial shrine to the late driver. It was moving to see what an impact this person had on so many people. There were some cars there and memorabilia from his racing days, but most of what was on display were different memorials people had sent. It was sad, and a little morbid, but strangely serene, too.

From there, weventured on to JR Motorsports, Dale Earnheardt, Jr's, Nationwide Series shop. There was a little gift shop, and you could see into the car shop as well. Jr was there in the form of a wax figure, and I forced the hubs to take a picture with him. He was not pleased with me. (I need to teach him how to pose for pictures.) 
From there we ventured on to Michael Waltrip Racing. They actually had a tour. You could pay and be able to walk around the upstairs, overlooking where all the cars were assembled, and on the hour there was a guided tour around the outside of the facility. That was interesting and educational. The hubs found out that he does not fit well in NASCAR seats.
 He also decided to buy part of a fender and a splitter, whatever that is. I was worried how they were going to fit in the car.

From there, we ventured on to my favorite part of the trip: IKEA!!!! It was a record though...we only spent about $40 and an hour in there. I've never spent so little time or money in Ikea.

At this point, I was getting quite grumpy and hungry from driving around all day, so we ventured to off to dinner. The hubs had heard of this place called Barbeque King (once again from "Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives") so we ventured there for dinner. He had barbeque for the second time that day, while I enjoyed a fish sandwich and a chocolate milkshake. It was soooo good, and a pretty good ending to the day.