Life

Goodbye, My Sweet Boy

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my best friend in the entire world. He would have been 14 years old soon. Words cannot even describe how heartbroken and empty I feel today. At some point I might be able to talk more about it, but right now it’s just too hard. 😢💔

RIP Beaker. You made my life better in so many ways. I love you so much, my sweet boy.

 

Life · mental health

Fits of Gratitude (Pt. 2)

A while back I wrote a post mentioning a few of the things I was grateful for in my life. They were small things, but things that brought me joy, nonetheless. This time of year is always a difficult one for me. With the beginning of the holiday season, I often find myself feeling lonely and in a bit of a funk. This year has been no different. Compounded by some news I received a few weeks ago regarding my dog’s health, as well as my own ever-present health problems, it’s been a struggle to feel the holiday cheer.

So, in an effort to remind myself to be thankful for the little things, here’s Fits of Gratitude, Part 2.

My Animals – There isn’t a single day that goes by that I am not grateful to have Beaker and Merlin in my life. Their companionship, silly antics, and snuggles are there when I need them the most. They give my life purpose and serve as a constant reminder that I am not alone. I adore these two more than anyone/anything else on this planet.

The Bookstore – My home away from home. It’s where I spend my lunch breaks to read or get some writing done. On weekends, I browse and visit friends, both new and familiar, among the stacks. The people who work there know me and always make me feel welcome. There’s always coffee in my hand and the smell of baked goods in the background. I don’t know where I’d spend most my free time if this place didn’t exist.

Books · Life · travel

Wanderlusting: London

Have you ever wished that you were anywhere other than wherever “home” is? I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately. Not that there is anything wrong with my life or where I live. More and more, I am just finding myself wishing that I were traveling and seeing new places. Call it a major case of restless wanderlust, if you will. I was hardly home from Portland a few days before I already felt that familiar itch start to creep up. “Where can I go next?” Is a question that pops into my brain on a regular basis.

Fortunately, there are some upcoming trips in the works to look forward to. (I’ll be visiting New Orleans for the first time in Janurary, and heading back to NYC for BookCon in June.) I am also currently saving for a trip to Europe next Fall-Winter. I have been dying to visit various places in Europe since I was a teenager. And you know what? It’s time to finally make it happen. I’m tired of waiting.

I’m not 100% positive where I will end up on my European excursion, but there are a few places I am really leaning towards. One of them is London. What’s so exciting about London, you ask?

Interior of Shakespeares Globe Theatre Southbank London England. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.

For starters, it’s home of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater! I’ve been a Shakespeare fan since high school and would absolutely love to get a taste of what it was like to actually see one the bard’s plays in an authentic setting. (This is actually a reconstruction of the original Globe. Sadly, the original theater burned down in 1613.)

2445616864_91560b4a7c

I’m told that Charing Cross Rd. is a must for any bibliophile, as it’s lined with bookstores, selling both used and new books. (In case you don’t find what you’re looking for on Charing Cross Rd., here’s an entire map of all the different bookstores in London. *swoons*)

9bc0ba8d10d97232aff5c03673b23ea0

The Sherlock Holmes museum!

warner-bros-studio-tour-18090138

All the Harry Potter things! For example: Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station, the Warner Brother’s studio tour (you can go behind the scenes and see how the movies were made), Harry Potter and The Cursed Child…need I say more?

Of course, there are all the usual tourist attractions in London, as well. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Gardens, The British Library, etc. Not to mention, all the food I have yet to try! 🙂

Life · mental health

Funky Town

tumblr_m4yh9azla31qhjtveo1_500

I feel like I’ve been failing, or perhaps “slacking” is a better word, at the whole blogging thing lately. For some reason, since I got back from my Portland trip I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Some of it is most likely due to the weather. I’m finding it harder to go outside and get exercise, as it’s already dark by the time I get home in the evening. (Stupid daylight savings!) On top of that I’m just feeling incredibly bored and a bit sad. Usually at this time of year, when all the holiday fervor starts, I start feeling quite lonely. I find myself wanting to do more things, but I keep running into the issue that a.) there aren’t many things in Charlotte that excite me anymore, or b.) I don’t have anyone to do them with.

I’m already finding myself wanting to book another trip somewhere, just to get out of my own head for a  bit and to give myself something to look forward to. But is going away somewhere by myself really going to make me feel any less lonely? I don’t know.

One positive thing I have to share is that I’m still making good progress on the book. I have about a quarter of the book left to finish before I am done with my first draft. As I already have the rest of the story outlined and planned out, it shouldn’t (hopefully) take too long for me to finish. 🙂

I apologize for my lack of comments and posts lately. I’ve been reading plenty, but realize that I’ve been somewhat lazy with comments and writing reviews. Blergh. I really need to snap out of this funk soon before it starts spiraling back into a full-blown episode of depression.

I hope you’re all doing well and had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Books · food · Life · travel

My Weekend in Portland, OR (Part 3)

I’m going to be honest, getting back to work this week was a struggle. I still can’t believe Portland was a whole week ago. 😦

On day 3 of my trip I slept in a little and let myself recover from all the exercise I got the day before. With the time changes and daylight savings happening all at once, my sleep schedule was pretty thrown off. After acquiring coffee and something light to nosh on, I explored the downtown a little bit. That early, before the streets get crowded with tourists, it is quite lovely to look at.

By the time lunch time rolled around I had ventured my way to the Nob Hill/Alphabet District, which was about a mile from where I was staying. The walk there alone was so peaceful with all the pretty old houses and churches, trees, street art, and laid back vibe. The main street was lined with interesting shops and fun food places (and coffee, of course) to check out. I spent some time perusing the main street, but only after I ventured over to my intended stop: Salt & Straw.

Salt & Straw is a super popular ice cream place that I’d been dreaming about for months, almost as much as I was dreaming about doughnuts. They’re known or their homemade, unique flavors. There’s usually one or two “weird” flavors on the list, as well. The menu was creative and there were lots of flavors I wish I could have tried, but sadly my stomach is only so big. The seasonal offerings were all Thanksgiving-themed flavors, including turkey salted caramel. I didn’t want to order a whole scoop of this, but I just knew I had to at least sample it while I was there. (Because where else am I ever going to find turkey ice cream?!) The flavors I actually ordered were sweet potato casserole and almond brittle. Both flavors were delicious, especially the sweet potato! The turkey spoonful that I sampled, however, was quite odd.

After stuffing myself with ice cream I made my way to The Meadow, which was also on my list. The Meadow is a super fun gourmet salt, chocolate, and bitters shop owned by Bitterman Salt Co. As a foodie and former employee of a spice/salt shop, I was super excited to finally check it out. Just look at the walls of chocolate and salt:

 

When I finally ventured back to the Pearl District/downtown area I was in need of something other than dessert, so I headed over to one of the food pod areas. There are various places throughout the city that have food cards and food pods lined up. I love the whole food truck thing, as it’s easy to get to try different types of foods for relatively cheap. I went with a pod called The Eggy Pocket, which sold Jian Bing. Jian Bing is a Chinese street food, consisting of an egg crepe and some kind of filling. Mine had vegetables and Chinese sausage in it. It doesn’t look like much, but it was really good.

I spent my last afternoon sipping on coffee from one of the dozens of local coffee shops in the city. (The counter culture coffee scene there is huge.) Of course, I paid one last visit to Powell’s, as well. I’d share a picture of my final haul, but I actually didn’t get to take one…The store is actually shipping the rest of my books to me because I was running out of room in my bag. Hehe.

I had such an amazing time exploring Portland. I’m already trying to figure out when I can go back and visit (*coughmovetherecough*) because there are still so many other things I want to see/do there. If you’re a book lover/hipster/foodie/artsy type, like myself, you should definitely check it out someday.

(Check out Part 1 and Part 2 here)

Books · food · Life · travel

My Weekend in Portland, OR (Part 2)

Before I write the second post about my Portland excursion, let me just tell you that the post-vacation blues are starting to sink in. It’s always rough returning to reality after spending a few days away, exploring and enjoying yourself. (I want to go back! *sad face*)

I got up early on Saturday and made my way over to one of the local coffee shops to wait for the rest of my tour group. I’m not normally one for group tours, but I really wanted to go see the beauty that the Oregon mountains and the Columbia Gorge had to offer. We visited Multnomah Falls (the tallest waterfall in Oregon), a few smaller waterfalls, Vista House (the fanciest rest stop I’ve ever seen, with the world’s prettiest view), a fish hatchery, and just drove through the amazing Fall scenery of the mountains. It was only a half day trip, but it was a perfect 4 hours.

IMG_20181103_172358_431.jpg

After the waterfall tour I returned downtown and fed my grumbling stomach. I’d lie and pretend that I ate something healthy for lunch, but after all that sightseeing and hiking, I needed another doughnut. For my second visit to Blue Star, I tried the pumpkin creme brulee doughnut. (The little syringe sticking out of the top had some kind of boozy cinnamon syrup in it.) Don’t worry, I did eat food other than doughnuts that day. For dinner I headed over to Lardo, a highly recommended sandwich place that I’d been hearing about for months. I ordered a pork meatball bahn mi, which may have been the best damned sandwich I’ve ever inhaled, I mean eaten, in my life.

Of course, on my way back to the Air BnB that night I took a detour to Powell’s again. This was my haul from day 2:

Part 3 coming soon! (Check out part 1 here.)

Books · Life · travel

My Weekend in Portland, OR (Part 1)

Last night I got back from an amazing long weekend in Portland, OR! To be one hundred percent honest, if I wouldn’t be abandoning Boyfriend and my fur babies, I would never have come home. (Obviously, I would have had someone send my books to me. I’m not that crazy.) I fell in love with everything about Portland – the scenery, the people, the food, and the culture. I may or may not have already put the bug in Boyfriend’s ear that we need to move there.

I have so much that I want to share about my trip that I don’t even know where to begin. This will have to be a multi-part post, so bear with me.

Day 1: After a long, early morning flight I arrived in Portland a little after 11:00 a.m. As I wasn’t able to check into my Air BnB until 3:00, I decided to head straight to the downtown/Pearl District area and get a feel for what it was like. Exploring a new city is always such an exciting experience for me; this time was no different. After months and months of planning and reading about Portland, it was interesting to compare the picture in my head to reality. Downtown and the Pearl District were exactly as I expected: like a cleaner, less chaotic, more artsy version of New York. There were so many fun shops and restaurants, and cool street art to look at that I hardly knew what to check out first. My stomach dictated that I look up one of the places on my list and find lunch, so that’s exactly what I did, only to follow up with one of the most important reasons for visiting Portland: DOUGHNUTS.

There are a lot of popular, “must try” doughnut places in Portland, but the one I had my eye on was Blue Star. Blue Star has “doughnuts for grown ups.” Common favorites get fancy, more mature spins on them like the Valrhona Chocolate Crunch, Blueberry Bourbon Basil, Hard Apple Cider, and PB&J (filled with marionberry-habanero jelly). For my first taste, I went with Raspberry-Rosemary Buttermilk…and YES, it was worth every ounce of hype.

After getting situated in my Air BnB and dropped my bags out I headed back to the streets to find my #1 destination: Powell’s City of Books.

It wasn’t hard to find, considering it’s an entire city block. That’s right, an entire block of books. I can’t even begin to describe the excitement I felt when I walked into Powell’s and saw how freaking huge it was. Never before have I seen so many books in one place in my entire life.

There are 4 floors, each consisting of different rooms, which are designated to specific genres. The first thing I saw when I walked in was the cooking section. Row after row of beautiful cookbooks. *swoons* After about 30 minutes I had to force myself away from the cookbooks just to go investigate the rest of the store.

20181102_170540.jpg

20181102_162053.jpg

I’m pretty sure if I did that evening I would have been fine with it. Nothing will ever top that euphoria I experienced when I first explored Powell’s after dreaming about it for so many years.

I wandered around Powell’s for about two hours that first day. I could have stayed even longer, but I already knew I’d be back the next day. This was my first haul:

After Powell’s I ate a delicious dinner at a restaurant that specializes in handmade pastas. After that, I journeyed back to the Air BnB and slept pretty hard. It had been an exhausting, yet super awesome first day of the trip.

Part 2 coming soon! 🙂