Aug 29, 2014

attention shoppers: the mecca of furniture has been discovered!

This post is really more of a public service announcement, because whenever I come across a really good tip, I just have to share it. If you have ever searched high and low for that perfect table, or rug, or known someone who was on the hunt for just the right bed or sofa, this is for you. I'm still in shock, really, because I was pretty certain I already knew every online and every brick and mortar furniture store in existence, and here was this big old gem, right there under my nose. Okay, it was two hours away, but still.

Behold, Greenfront Furniture…

I took a little road trip to Farmville, Virginia the other day, to help my sister pick out some new furniture. I wasn't really expecting much out of a town with a name like "Farmville," and honestly wasn't impressed until we turned down main street and the plethora of furniture shops and warehouses came into view. Then, it was exactly everything I had hoped it might be. Greenfront Furniture has over 12 different shops and renovated warehouses devoted to furniture. The buildings are categorized, with a few devoted solely to rugs, and the rest grouped by type of furniture, accessory, or clearance. The warehouses were by far my favorite, because really, who doesn't want to shop for furniture in a building that looks like this:

 really, who?

For the record, I am so glad that we weren't actually shopping for any kind of kitchen furniture, because I might never have left this particular room.  But believe me, I will be back.

We made a day trip out of it, but for serious shoppers, I might recommend making it a weekend trip. The Greenfront website suggests a few B&B's and hotels for weary shoppers, and I can envision a nice girl's weekend (or romantic if your s.o. happens to be into this sort of thing!) browsing through the merchandise, taking rest breaks at one of the cute coffee shops, peeking into a few of the antiques stores and then resting up to do it all over again the next day. And if you're making a weekend out of it, might I suggest hopping on over to Lynchburg to check out the J.Crew clearance warehouse while you're at it?

I still can't believe that after all these years of living in Virginia I just now found out about this place!  If you are within driving distance of Farmville, I highly recommend giving it a visit. And if you're not, I do apologize for teasing you with all of this furniture shopping goodness.

Have you ever heard of Greenfront Furniture before? 

Have you discovered any hidden gems of your own lately? Do share!

Aug 22, 2014

a bittersweet goodbye

After five months of being back on land, the time has come to say goodbye to our trusty sailboat, Winbrandt. When we first returned from our sailing trip, we envisioned keeping her, returning her to New Bern and maybe even taking her up to the Chesapeake Bay. It was hard to part with her after five months of living aboard, and we couldn't really foresee selling her anytime soon. However, as time passed and we started getting settled back into life on land, our perspective began to change. The idea of maintaining a sailboat that is kept six hours away began to feel like more of a burden. Riley especially, had this constant worry hanging over his head, and issues like hurricanes certainly weren't helping. It was also becoming clear that keeping a sailboat at a marina six hours away was a financially irresponsible decision for us to be making in light of the monthly slip fee and the cost of visiting even only once or twice a month.

On the bright side, we are really enjoying our new life back on land! We find ourselves wanting to spend our weekends here in this city, instead of traveling back and forth to the boat. So, when we received an offer after only having her listed on Craigslist for three weeks, we were able to recognize it as a blessing. Of course, after the deal was finalized, I did shed a few tears!

December 2012: Washington, NC
Riley, the proud owner of a new old boat.
Winbrandt, all fixed up and ready to go.
October 20, 2013: New Bern, NC
Getting ready to set sail on the first day of our adventure!
December 21, 2013: Somewhere in the Keys
 Riley, living the dream.
March 1, 2013: Southport, NC
The last day of our great sailing adventure.

Winbrandt was truly a good boat and she gave us the adventure of a lifetime. The time that we spent fixing her up and sailing her down the coast is something that we will never forget. We feel so fortunate to have been able to see this dream through to the end. Winbrandt helped us to accomplish exactly what we hoped to, and I think that is what gave us enough closure to be able to let her go. I only hope that she will continue to make dreams come true wherever she finds herself next.

Jul 28, 2014

weekend weddings, watercolors and wishful thinking

Weekends are pretty great, aren't they?  That's a fairly common sentiment of course, but we've been having some extra good ones around here lately.  Last weekend I had the opportunity to assist Chelsa Yoder Photography with another wedding.  An absolutely gorgeous one at that… a beautiful venue, a stunning bride, unbelievable florals…you get the idea.

I've also been doing a ton of painting and loving it! I'm actually hoping to open up a little Etsy shop soon to accompany my jewelry shop.

Riley and I have also started making a habit out of Sunday drives lately.  Come late afternoon, we hop in the car and drive up and down the streets, making turns on a whim and picking out the houses and neighborhoods we think we might like to live in next. We're not in a huge hurry to move, but we can't seem to help looking anyway. In fact, it makes the house hunting process enjoyable instead of overwhelming and stressful.  This past weekend, we went on our first "legitimate" look with a realtor and both fell in love with a (major) fixer upper.  The same one, fortunately.  The sale of this particular house comes with a ton of baggage, lots of conditions and hoops to jump through.  We'll have to wait and see for awhile but we're keeping our fingers crossed.  I've tried not to get my hopes up, but seriously, who am I kidding? It's highly possible that I may have already redesigned the whole kitchen… like, with a full color illustration and everything.  Let's just call it extreme wishful thinking.

How have you been spending your weekends lately?  

Jul 10, 2014

a southport 4th

Well, I finally got to see the famous Southport 4th for myself!  It was pretty amazing waking up to a beautiful sunny morning after the hurricane blew through the day before.  We had heard that traffic would be pretty bad for the holiday, so we brought our bikes along and that made for an enjoyable (but hot!) trip from the marina to the heart of downtown.

Southport has an amazing lineup of events for the 4th of July weekend, and although some had been canceled due to weather, and others we opted to skip, there was still plenty to entertain us and make us feel like we got the most out of our 4th of July experience.  We caught the parade, the car show and some pretty views along the water before peddling back to the marina to escape the heat and the crowds for a bit.  Then it was back out later for the fireworks show.  It was standing room only by the time we got there, but we couldn't really pack blankets or chairs on the back of our bikes anyway. Well, actually, I wouldn't put it past Riley, but for me, maneuvering a bike around people and cars in the dark was quite enough already, thank you!

All in all, if you're up for the crowds and the heat, a Southport 4th is something I definitely recommend checking out for yourself! And if you can't make buddies with one of the locals who owns a gorgeous house in town with a parking lot for a yard, definitely bring your bike!

Jul 8, 2014

surviving arthur

This past weekend, before any celebrating could begin, we had a little issue to deal with first.  

Just, oh… a hurricane.  

As we checked the weather forecast throughout the week, we started moving the beginning of our holiday weekend up earlier and earlier.  Because, instead of traveling away from a weather advisory as most people would, we seem to always travel towards them.  Just call us storm chasers.

Being the protective boat owner that he is, Riley tends to worry about his girl when he's away from her.  And since six hours of travel time is really quite a distance, he knew he wouldn't be able to check in on her once the foul weather hit.  So, we made our way down to North Carolina on Wednesday night so that we would be able to weather the storm right alongside (rather, in it, actually) of our boat.

Yeah, it was just as much fun as it sounds…

High winds and constant rain don't really make for a great time on a sailboat. And it was quite a roller coaster experience as we watched updated forecasts predict the eye of the storm to hit closer, and then farther away, and the closer, over and over again. But we used our experience in Key West to prepare for rough weather this time around.  Meaning, of course, that we came prepared with plenty of coffee to drink and Gilmore Girls episodes to watch. We were fortunate in that the marina where we are currently keeping our boat is fairly well protected and we didn't suffer any damage. After about 24 hours of waiting it out in our small, wet space (why do we still have so many leaks??), we awoke to a beautiful morning on the 4th of July.

Still, I think that's probably the last time I will intentionally put myself in the path of a hurricane.  I'm just not entirely sure that I'm really cut out for storm chasing after all.

Jul 2, 2014

currently… blueberries and tropical storms.

wishing: That I had updated my blog before now.  Is it a cop out to only show up for the "currently" link up?  I'm thinking yes.

celebrating: The 4th of July on the sailboat.  Last year we spent the holiday weekend on our boat in New Bern, and I'm excited to be able to celebrate in Southport this year!  You already know how much I loved exploring Southport anyway, but did you also know that the huge 4th of July celebration from the movie Safe Haven is a real thing?? I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself! 

wearing: A pink rain jacket and Hunter rain boots.  The only thing that has me a little concerned about this weekend is the weather forecast.  You know, that tropical storm warning for all of North Carolina's coast?  That could put a damper on the celebration, huh? We're planning to start the weekend a little early just so we can get to the boat and make sure everything is safe and secure before it hits. Good thing I've got some cute gear!

cooking: Blueberry everything!  I went blueberry picking yesterday and now I have a million blueberries for delicious recipes!  You better believe the first thing on my list last night was this blueberry buckle recipe from last year.  It was just as good as I remembered.  I'm planning on trying out this blueberry and peach salsa recipe, too.  Do you have any favorite blueberry recipes to share?

planning: A better question might be, what am I not planning?  I'm planning to get back into blogging (eventually), I'm planning new jewelry pieces and new paintings, too.  I'm planning all kinds of decorating finishing touches on our apartment and then I'm planning on sharing it on the blog.  I'm planning a healthy menu plan for next weeks meals (you know, to counter all that blueberry buckle I'm eating…).

What are you planning?  And most importantly, what are you planning for this holiday weekend?  I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July and that you stay safely out of tropical storm Arthur's path!

linking up with Jenna and Anne today.

Jun 10, 2014

tales of the tunnel of doom

After arriving in Southport with a feeling of relief over the condition of our boat and a fresh outlook on the place in general, we discovered all kinds of hidden gems that we weren't aware of when we left our boat there three months ago.  One of the best surprises is that the marina has it's own small, private beach.  You just have to take a short walk through a woodsy tunnel to get there.

Easy enough, right?

Wrong.  So wrong.

Don't let the photo above deceive you.  I mean, it actually was a beautiful, sunny day.  And the tunnel itself did look kind of pretty. From a distance.

Up close, things got ugly.

We were about halfway through, enjoying our day and looking forward to seeing what this private beach was all about, when suddenly, we heard a violent thrashing in the woods, just a few feet away.  We both froze in our tracks.  We had startled some large animal and it was either coming or going or just plain stuck.  I had visions of wild boars and grizzly bears, this was certainly no squirrel.  My heart was racing and I didn't know whether to run or play dead.  Do I run towards Riley, or stay away in case this crazed creature wants to take him out first? He was just standing there as dumbly as I was, so I knew it was every man for himself.  I also knew from the sheer volume of frantic activity, that any contact with this animal (even if it was, most likely, a deer) would come in the form of vicious trampling or mauling.

After nearly forever, the noise stopped just as suddenly as it had started.  We gave each other a wary look and then continued down the path with trepidation.

And then, just as my heart rate started to return to it's normal speed, Riley took a gigantic surprised leap backwards.  Snake!  But not just any snake. A sneaky, slimy Copperhead just lying in wait to sink its fangs into Riley's flesh. As I took a timid peek around Riley to watch the vile thing slither by, I had to wonder if this was really such a good idea after all.  I mean, the beach is nice and all, but not if you're DEAD.

However, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel (literally), and I wasn't in any hurry to turn right around and go back through, so with senses on high alert and eyes glued to the ground, we finally made it to the end.

And I suppose it was all worth it, because this was waiting for us on the other side:
A small, empty beach where we could regain composure, relax with a beer on a log, and let Gidget run free.  All was right with the world.  

Until, of course, it was time to leave.  Fortunately, we made it back through the tunnel without anymore threats on our lives.  But I'll never look at it the same, that's for sure.

So, the next time you're taking a leisurely stroll through an innocent looking forest tunnel in the middle of the day, beware. Maybe sing a little tune to announce your presence to any lurking creatures.  Arm yourself with a big stick. Watch your step. And of course, always let your partner walk a few feet ahead of you, just in case.  I mean, somebody's got to make a sacrifice, right?
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