Adult-ish Furniture and Art: Part 1

Somewhere along the way of transitioning from post-college-yet-still-act-like in-college to sort-of-adults, we find ourselves in need of furniture. Like, real furniture. And real artwork. Like, real artwork. But this often comes with the realization that our budgets are more conducive to splurging on the 3rd nicest glass of (house) wine on the menu than they are for buying chairs for our living rooms. Few days go by that my friends don’t ask, “where can I get a cheap [insert piece of furniture]?” We want to find modern/chic/vintage/sturdy/versatile furniture and artwork all for the small price of an air mattress that, up until this point, has been our most important possession in our nomadic lives of renting houses on VRBO that sleep ¼ of the people actually on the trip.

It has been a little over a year since we closed on our house, and there’s no other way to put it than to say it has been a process. I am usually Anal Alice when it comes to unpacking and getting things set up. I want it done yesterday and damnit it’s going to be done yesterday. But I’ve learned that I just gotta lock up the inner Alice telling me to buy the first side table, painting, or chair that I see. Gone are the days where I can leave those hideous, highly questionable (i.e. WTF was I thinking?) purchases in the apartment dump as I pull away.

As evidence that I practice what I preach, my parents gave us a sideboard for our wedding gift–you know, to store all of our china and crystal that we use ever so often that its all still in the original packages. Our wedding was December 29, 2012. I got the sideboard last week. Besides assuming they were still paying off the bar tabs and the Liquid Pleasure bill from the wedding, I didn’t want to push for it because I didn’t know what I wanted. However, I knew that I wanted something that could store the china and crystal without having it displayed in the open–because let’s face, on a given Saturday night, there’s a chance that the post-college-yet-still-act-like in-college comes out in the best of us. I also wanted something unique, but not too unique that it wouldn’t work in the open floor plan.

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Alas, I found the perfect one at Cotswold Marketplace. The bamboo with the acrylic knobs and glass top was the perfect solution. It was well-made, unique, and reasonably priced. It says I’m not your average wood blob sideboard while still being timeless. Ammi right, or ammi right?

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Local furniture shops for the adult-ish budget:

1) Sleepy Poet
2) Nadeau
3) Cotswold Marketplace (warning, some stuff is pure-adult budget, but gorgeous enough for a splurge)

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my permanent thinking cap

 

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Urbana Wellness Spa (note: picture borrowed from urbana’s Facebook page)

i can, without a doubt, say that my mind has never once stopped thinking. which is why, when i ask what people what are thinking about and they say “nothing”, i assume they are lying. there’s just no way that they aren’t thinking about anything. i mean, sometimes i say i’m thinking about nothing when i’m asked, but that’s only because I’m too embarrassed to say what I’m really thinking about. i.e., did I really turn off the straightener?–even though I am staring at a picture I took of the unoccupied electrical outlets (yes. i do that.) or. what if i forget to renew my passport before our not-yet-planned overseas trip circa 2021 when my old one expires? 

i’m sure you’re thinking, whoa dude, go get some anxiety pills. or, maybe you were thinking nothing, and it is just me thinking that you are thinking that. but, a few years ago, i did just that. it went like this:

i scheduled the appointment–but i remained wary, because in the back of my mind, i assumed the doctor wouldn’t prescribe them for me because i was over-exaggerating my anxiety. LOL, i wish. instead, after describing my thought process, my cute little asian doctor–who has never met me– instantly replies, “ooooohh… mosss peeple, dey take dem for year, few year. you, you take lifetime.” she then proceeds to play 21 Questions with me about which anxiety medicine i want–like, really? are you trying to make me even more anxious by telling me about side effects of x, y, and z and asking if i want generic or not? just pick one for me dammit!

nevertheless, even though i hate taking medicine (I prefer my BFFL, Cabernet), i started taking them….which lasted a whopping month or two. ironically, i had to stop taking them because i was too anxious that i would become addicted to the anxiety pills for the rest of my life, and if i ever got stuck on a desert island and couldn’t get them refilled, then what would happen?

thus i resigned to living with the millions of thoughts of zero importance that go through my head daily. and while i really have been doing better, last week, the bonafide freak in me made an appearance. if I had told the cute little asian doctor how i felt, she probably would have injected a month’s worth of pills into my veins on the spot. instead, i cashed in on the massages we got for christmas at Urbana Wellness Spa.

 

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tea bar

Turns out, it was the perfect remedy. when we arrived, we were offered tea and invited to lounge on their plush sofas (with Bon Appetit to read) until our massages. I was handed an iPad to fill out my massage preferences–oh hellooooo, firm touch with no talking to me. Then, because we did a couples massage, we got hot stones added on for free. a-ma-zing. It was one of the best massages of my life, and the massage therapists (and receptionist) were some of the nicest and friendliest I’ve ever had. i truly felt like a new person after.

not sure why he looks like he's in pain?
not quite sure why the position of his arms make him look like he’s in a torture chamber?

i will say though, that despite its perfection, there still wasn’t a solitary second of the  massage that i wasn’t thinking about something. this time though, it was good things–like pondering (and planning out) our future together, and how happy we will be (with or without my self-diagnosed disease of the day). i just knew that michael had thought these same cute thoughts, so i asked him what he thought about during it.

to which he replied, “nothing”.

Wheel of Baku

Since it’s opening, Baku has been this untouchable desire in my fantasy world of frequenting nice restaurants. For starters, it doesn’t put prices on the website menu. Like really? Either a) you are pretentious pricks or b) you are pretentious pricks. Between that and hearing that it had “trendy cocktails”, Michael made it clear that he didn’t want to try it. So, naturally, I name dropped it every weekend during the inevitable “where should we go to dinner?” game of hell. Just when I thought I had annoyed him enough to take me, we heard it was expensive from one person. And just like that, all my productive nagging was made useless. I had again spun the “we aren’t going, so shut the f up” tab on the Wheel of Baku.

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Alas, I had one more spin in my pocket. You see, due to Michael’s work, I saw the yard man at my house more often than I saw Michael in the month of December—which did not make the girl who wanted to watch christmas movies, wrap presents, and sing carols by the fire together all day every day very happy. But it did make for some good guilt. Add that to our two-year wedding anniversary on December 29th, and suddenly, when I spun the Wheel of Baku, I spun a “surprise anniversary/remember what your husband looks like dinner!!!”. Good thing. Because I was about to spin the Wheel of Potential New Husbands.

Now that is was actually time to try the restaurant though, i began to wonder if it could live up to my ridiculously-overhyped expectations. Spoiler: it did, overwhelmingly so. and here is why:

1) Atmosphere: the moment I walk into a restaurant, I can tell if I am going to like it. (Similarly, the second I meet someone, I can tell if I am going to like them. I am gifted in discernment, not judgment, as a 250 question multiple choice test recently told me.) Baku atmosphere=on point, especially the bar upstairs.

2) Specialty Cocktails: gotta have a unique variety. again, it passed the test.

  • My choice: Cucumber Cooler- Junmai Sake, cucumber, lime juice, simple syrup, and club soda ($10)
  • Michael’s choice (and my second cocktail): Orange Ginger Pimm’s Cup- Pimm’s liquor,  Domaine de Canton, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, and Orange juice

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3) bold flavors. and bold they were. We had:

  • Kurobuta Pork Belly with gochujang-miso glaze and kimchi  ($14).
  • Pork dumplings with green onion, ginger, and sesame oil ($9).
  • King Crab hot pot ($17)
  • Duck breast with umeboshi honey, and five spice with sancho salt ($24)
  • Asparagus with sweet soy and sesame seeds ($8)

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while everything was to die for, i would probably only choose to die a slow death for the pork belly and the asparagus. pork belly, obvi. but the dreaded pee sticks as they are called in our house? that was a surprise. every dish was cooked perfectly and was overwhelmingly savory, and the fact that there wasn’t one bite of food left on our plates proved it.

i could stop right here. but i feel like I should admit that I was wrong about a few things. i was wrong about the pretentious pricks part. the staff couldn’t have been nicer, and based on comparable charlotte restaurants, the prices weren’t bad either. but more importantly, i was wrong about the Wheel of Potential New Husbands. These two years have been the best two years of my life, and it is without a doubt because of the man I married. i wouldn’t be half the woman (and bitching wife on her blog) that I am without his unconditional love. another date night at baku?

Cat Scratch Fever

i woke up with a fever. the weird part was that i didn’t feel sick. at first i thought i was just convincing myself i didn’t feel bad because it’s a friday–and i would never allow myself to be sick on a friday. I’ve built my immune system up to only get sick on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. but then i realized that my fever wasn’t an actual fever due to an infection, but Cat Scratch Fever. As you all know, the Panthers play the Seahawks tomorrow at 8:15 pm. If you don’t know this, then you suck at life and should be penanced by spending 8 hours at the Social Security office followed by 8 hours at the DMV only to forget a form at each.

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The thing is, my friends and I are struggling for a place to watch it. We really aren’t picky. Our only requirements are:

  1.  massive quantities of massive flat screens
  2.  the perfect table–you know, one where everyone can perfectly see yet still talk to each other.
  3. great food–not too nice, not too shitty. large portions, bold flavors.
  4. cheap libations- where good draughts and strong cocktails are on special.
  5. fun crowd- gotta have the crowd into it. but is has to be the right mix of people. i’ll leave it at that.
  6. the right atmosphere: since it’s winter, we aren’t requiring the retractable garage doors. however, this does include, but is not limited to, that it doesn’t smell like butt-f***. there is nothing worse than the smell of a bar kitchen–the steamy water they use to “clean” dishes with a mix of last night’s bar residue is enough to vomit before the first round of fireball shots. it literally haunts my dreams.

    So, now that we have all of that cleared up, does anyone have a suggestion? The closest we have come is Draught–but it falls short with the cheap libations requirement. We spent close to a dowry last time we went for dinner, so an afternoon and night of games would surely cost about the same as it would cost to buy all of India. Debatable. 
     

    But whether we find this perfect place or not, the most important thing is a Panther win. My ways to do so are as follows:

    1) Have Kelvin Benjamin soak his hands in a honey and syrup mixture for the next 24 hours.
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    50/50 whether he catches this one…
    Go Panthers!

5Church & the Magic of Christmas

dinner downtown followed by the christmas symphony has quickly become one of my favorite christmas traditions. it’s festive, it’s delectable, it’s ear(th)-shattering.

it’s also a chance to eat downtown. though I’ve lived in charlotte my whole life, my knowledge of downtown roads and relative locations is probably on par with a drunk in corn maze. for the life of me, i just can’t figure it out. but it doesn’t stop me from entering addresses into uber. this year, we chose 5Church. and as many times as I said, oh my god, after taking a sip or a bite, it’s quite possible i thought i was in an actual church.

first things first. the viper. it was delicious, cool, and refreshing–like if i ordered ten, i’d be hydrated… which is why i ordered two in about ten minutes.
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rather than an app, we went the “snack” route. split, it was just a bite a piece. but it was the perfect bite. the prime meatball slider (michael’s favorite) and the crisp szechuan pork belly (my favorite) left us wanting more long after the plates were cleared.

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mahi-mahi or trout?

funny story about the entree. i was between the wasabi-crusted salmon and the mahi-mahi with hoppin’ john and greens in a ham broth. somehow though, i must have asked the waiter whether he preferred the salmon or the trout. he said “definitely the trout”. so, when I got my plate, i was like hmmm this is odd. these greens seem like kale. and where is the hoppin’ john? and i don’t taste the ham broth. I justified these thoughts by assuming that my mom probably uses more fatback than regulated establishments are allowed to use, and, since there were some black-eyed pea size things around the edge of the plate,  i was all like, this place is fancy. they must have done hoppin’ john all fancy and dried the black eyed peas. so i kept eating…and eating…until literally the last bite… and it finally hit me that I was eating trout. 

curiosity kills my cat’s nine lives daily, so I just had to know if the trout or the mahi was better. after i explained my dumbassness to our waiter, I asked. I assumed he would answer with the trout, since, you know, it was in front of me and i was about to pay for it. instead, he responds “oh, definitely the mahi.” FML. on the positive side, when you order the wrong dish and still think its one of the best you’ve ever had, that’s a pretty good sign.
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on to the symphony. simply put, the Magic of Christmas is one of the most beautiful sounds i’ve ever heard. it makes you feel good, feel hopeful, and feel thankful. hearing Joy to the World, it almost seems as if the whole world will soon feel joy.

but the night wouldn’t be nearly what it is without conductor Albert-George Schram. i. love. Albert-George Schram. no shame. his jokes are hilarious. his dance moves are top notch. and his enthusiasm and love of music and of life are contagious.

so it is my hope that I continue to celebrate the christmas season with such joy and such love. Because, maybe if we all give a little love, it is possible to bring joy to the joyless.

Holiday Workout

My new favorite napkins

The transitive property of geometry: if a=b and b=c then a=c

The variables:

a = there is Christmas music playing on the radio

b = it is the holidays

c = it is now appropriate to follow the workout routine listed on the napkins

The proof: 

1) We can all agree that a=b.

2) The napkins prove that b=c.

3) Therefore, a=c. Since there is christmas music on the radio, then the holiday workout is now acceptable. You’re welcome and Happy Holidays!

Napkin Credit: Paper Skyscraper (330 East Blvd)
Napkin Credit: Paper Skyscraper (330 East Blvd)