Feel Good Friday 79
Thank you so much for all of the well-wishes last week. Things have been looking up ever since that stomach bug vacated our house. This week was filled with adventure, new to us recipes, a new show obsession, great books and lots of little life moments. All in all, it’s been a vast improvement on the prior week. Of course, the bar was set extraordinarily low. Anyhow, all of that being said, I am excited to share so many wonderful things with you. Let’s get to it – and brace yourself for photoverload.
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Delicious Vegan Meal
Buddha bowl: It’s just so much fun to say, which is probably part of the appeal of this recipe. Buddha bowl. Get in my buddha belly! Not to mention I had all of the necessary ingredients at home which is always a plus. The grocery store is only 2 minutes away, yet still, the thought of it exhausts me. Monday, I was looking for a simple quinoa bowl recipe for the evening and cam across this one which features roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas. (I know my photo doesn’t show it, but there’s quinoa under all of that goodness!) Chris is not a fan of kale so we don’t keep that on hand, but I did have a bunch of dandelion greens a dear friend had brought me when I was too sick to go to the farmers market with her. I substituted that for the kale, but followed everything else to a tee. Chris even enjoyed this meal, but we both agreed on adding a bit more seasoning next time. Actually, I already made it again – with more seasoning – on a night when Chris was away as it was a great meal to make for one. Because let’s be honest, my kids letting this food grace their delicate palates.
We got a hot crustacean meal!
I hope you get that reference from Under the Sea with this savory hot crustacean meal. 😉 On Sunday morning I came across this recipe for Whole30 compliant coconut shrimp with sweet chili dip and we decided to give it a go, but make it into more of a meal. I served mine over a salad and Chris dished his out over rice. (Not pictured is the chili dip which I drizzled over mine halfway through eating – oops!) While I may have cussed as hot coconut oil splattered me and I was sure I was burning the first pan, in the end, these turned out well. We’d both add more seasoning to the shrimp, but otherwise they were great and the chili dip added a nice little zing.
I started A Woman is No Man on the Friday I fell sick, so I didn’t pick it back up until almost a week later. But once I did, I could not put it down!!! This book tells the long untold story of the experience of the Palestinian American woman. It’s eye opening, heartbreaking and, yet, hopeful. If you’re looking for a quick read that will touch your soul, make it this book.
A Sweet Summer Read
If you’re looking for a beach read this summer, make it The People We Meet on Vacation. Poppy and Alex meet in college and, as it turns out, are form the same small town, thus begin driving back for summers together and become the best of friends. After she moves to NYC, they start meeting up every year for vacation so that they can still enjoy their summers together. They’re meant to be, but are both afraid to let romance destroy their friendship. They’re too afraid to lose what they have in each other. OK, so this book was totally predictable but sweet and sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned love story.
A Thrilling New Series
A few people had recommended Mare of Easttown to me so Chris and I finally started it last weekend. Holy cow, is it good! We’re still working our way through it, but the story line paired with stellar acting makes this murder mystery show worth watching. Kate Winslet stars as Mare, a small town Pennsylvania detective, and she’s absolutely incredible – as if she has ever been anything less than that! If you like shows with dead bodies as much as I do, check out the trailer:
Throwing it back to 1993
When I was in high school, Tevas were my go-to sandal of choice. Of course, back then, they were all black and rubbery with unique printed nylon straps and smelled like the bottom of a swamp if they got wet. I am hoping that has changed, but I guess I’ll find out! Because last weekend I was shopping with Emmy when these white Teva Hurricane Drifts found their way to my feet! I showed them to Chris and asked what he thought. His answer was, “I mean, they’re utilitarian sandals.” I understand that to mean, “Heck no, but I guess they’re useful and also I am afraid to say no.” Haha.
Also throwing it back to the 90s are all of the current denim trends. I was overdue for a new pair of jeans and stepped into the J.Crew Factory store and decided to try on these. It was love at first zip! They fit perfectly, are high waisted and oh so comfortable. I ended up grabbing a second pair in another wash. They were 40% off when I bought them on Sunday, but they’re half off now, so go snag yourself a great pair of jeans at an awesome price!
A Local Dive
Last Friday morning, I headed to Sonder Specialty Market for a breakfast smoothie and a peek of the new place! Before the pandemic, this was a little cafe attached to Sonder Mnd & Body, a wellness center. Post-pandemic, my friend Jess, one of the owners, has turned it into a specialty market featuring loads of gluten and allergen free. They also have a smoothie and coffee bar that features delicious and healthy beverages to start your day. In addition to my Revive smoothie, I bought cassava pasta and vegan salami made with fig which I’m dubbing fauxlami. We used it on a charcuterie board that evening and it was delicious and a bit spicy. I enjoyed it on a Mary’s GF cracker with smoked gouda. (You can see it on the top left of our board.)
Emmy has been such a huge help with Wilder over the past year, so I decided to take her out for a weekend of shopping and general mother/daughter fun. As I mentioned, Sunday we hit up the outlets not far from us. On Saturday, we took a little day trip to Winston-Salem, home of my alma mater, Wake Forest University. It’s only a 30 minute drive from here and filled with lots of little shops and fun restaurants.
We started at Lavender & Honey Kitchen, a popular mother/daughter owned bakery – how fitting! We bought cinnamon rolls to take home for breakfast the next day. I mean, just look at these things! They were insanely delicious. Wilder is some sort of monster and took one bite and wanted no more. Sawyer, being the helpful oder brother and cinnamonster, picked up his slack.
Just downstairs from this charming bakery is Poppyseed Provisions, a great little shop with lots of fun foods and candy barrels, plus loads of wine and even a coffee/wine bar. I didn’t purchase anything here, but it was a fun shop to peruse and I could easily see grabbing items there for hostess goodies, or to bring to share at an event.
Next door to both of those shops, and in the same building, is Fiddle & Fig, which I’d heard so much about. It’s a beautiful home decor boutique with a modern farmhouse vibe. It’s only been open for 6 months, but it seems like they’re booming, which is so nice to see, especially given the last year. The thing that shocked me was how affordable everything here was! I took home new salad servers and a little ceramic berry dish sort of the color of my dress. Here’s a peek at the killer styling inside:
Our next stop was Elizabeth’s at Hanes Park, co-owned by one of my favorite people on the planet. Kirby and I met through blogging years ago and have remained friends because we have so much in common. I affectionately call her Aunt Kiki and she calls me LC (for little Cassie). She took over this shop before we moved here and I have loved visiting it since. We bought some books, a vintage style print and some Free People boots for Emmy.
This space was one of my favorites – so many fun finds! A couple doors down from Elizabeth’s is a consignment shop where Emmy found lots of great pieces, including this adorable shirt, as modeled by Wilder, who wanted to try on everything she got.
We also hit a brand spanking new shop in the West End, The Boho Depot. It was an absolutely gorgeous place, but a bit pricey. We did find a couple of prints for Emmy’s bathroom.
After that stop, we made our way downtown, checking out the 4th St. area first to hit Bookmarks, a fabulous local nonprofit bookshop, and Design Archives vintage shop. At Bookmarks, I bought a YA book for Emmy and the light beach read I shared earlier.
At Design Archives, I didn’t find anything, bit I am totally enamored with the creations by Wing & Marrow. This wall is so striking.
Next we hit downtown, but sadly, so many shops and restaurants were closed. I am not sure if it was because of construction, the pandemic, or what, but it was sort of a disappointment. We ended up eating lunch at Crafted which is a two restaurant taco chain. Of course, the other one is in Greensboro, so I’ve eaten there plenty, but Emmy hadn’t so I treated her. However, the other two restaurants we’d wanted to try were closed for lunch. My go-to on their menu is the Fedora, but made into a salad bowl. Because I have to same room for their delicious fried chips and guac, obviously!
While there, I asked Emmy if we could grab a photo together to remember our day out by. Didn’t it turn out well?
After lunch and browsing the shops that were open, we took a drive through Wake Forest so that she could see the campus. So much has changed in the 21 years since I graduated, but so much was also the same. I took this photo for Chris: It’s his old fraternity house, of which he was “social chair,” which I think is code for “the one who drinks the most.” (There’s a reason we never met while he was actually in college. I was the studious nerd going to and actively participating in my classes, and he was – well, not that.)
After our WFU drive-through, we hit up Mega Thrift, a huge thrift store – in case the name didn’t give it away – a friend introduced me to. Emmy scored a bunch of clothing there, plus I nabbed some pants for Wilder for the fall and even a pair of Under Armour lounge pants for myself.
Lastly, we headed back to the strip in the West End where Elizabeth’s is because we wanted to hit up Cafe Gelato, the most adorable little treat shop. At night she serves wine. Basically, the woman who ones this shop and I are kindred spirits.
I ordered a pistachio gelato with mixed berry sorbet. The angels sang while I ate. The day was hot, and it was the perfect treat to end our tour of Winston-Salem.
Life’s Little Moments
Just like that, Wilder has wrapped up his year at school and will be moving on to the 3 year old class in the fall. He’s enrolled in their summer program as well, but it is hard to see this year come to an end.
Last day photo
He’s been with the same two teachers since he started in January of 2020 and we’ve grown so fond of them. While it’s exciting to watch him continue to grow, we’re going to miss these two women incredibly next year. I’m so grateful that I can send my son to school every day knowing that he is so well cared for and loved. (Also, yes, he totally needs a hair cut and his head looks like a mushroom at the moment. Dorothy Hamill called and she wants her hair back.)
If you made it to this point in this post, I owe you a cookie. Or my life. But will you settle for a cookie?
Wishing you all the best this Memorial Day weekend. And a huge thank you to those who continue to risk their lives for our freedoms, to the families who’ve lost so much and to those whose lives were cut short due to their sacrifice. Your service will not be forgotten.