Tuesday, November 23, 2021

High Country Weekend

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Hey y'all! I hope your week is off to a great start! Last weekend, we celebrated my 36th birthday in the High Country! We have been to this area many times for weekend trips and even day trips since it's only about two hours from where we live. This area of the North Carolina mountains is so beautiful! The towns are charming, there's lots of great places to eat, and so many fun things to do.

When planning this trip, I really wanted to stay in downtown Blowing Rock. I wanted the place to be budget friendly and within walking distance to our favorite spots downtown. We stayed at the Boxwood Lodge and it checked off all of the things I was looking for. It's a simple place but it was very clean and located in such a great spot plus it was very affordable! Our room had two queen sized beds, which was perfect for our family of four. After we got settled into our room, we walked down the street for dinner at Mellow Mushroom. It was only a five minute walk!

On Saturday morning, we slept in and woke up to snowflakes! We started our day with brunch at Famous Toastery. This spot was within walking distance from the Boxwood Lodge. The food was great and I would highly recommend it but be prepared to wait for a table. It gets busy!

Our second stop on Saturday was to my very favorite winery, Grandfather Vineyard! We have made a visit to this vineyard every year since we discovered it. There's so many things that I love about it! The mountain view is incredible. You can also sit right along the water, which is my girls' favorite spot to play. I am a big fan of sparkling wines and I love that this vineyard has some but you can't go wrong with any of their delicious wines. Pro-tip: if you are going on the weekend, get there right when they open (12pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday) to claim the best seating. It gets very busy, very fast! During the warmer seasons, grab a seat by the river but when it's cold, run to the seating closest to the building that has propane heaters and fire pits. It was freezing the day we went and we were very grateful for the warmth of a propane heater!

After visiting the vineyard, we warmed up with hot drinks from Blue Deer Cookies. They have great hot chocolate and coffees but the real star of the show here is the cookies. You have to go here and get an ice cream sandwich (even if it's 30 degrees outside). I'm gluten free so I love going here because they have a great GF chocolate chip cookie that I got with pumpkin pie ice cream! So good! After we warmed up, we went back out to walk downtown and visit the park. It's such a great park! My kids ask to come to Blowing Rock just for the park because it's so much fun and there's so much to do. For dinner, we walked down to Blocking Rock Ale House Restaurant. It was a pretty short wait and the food is always delicious!

To get my birthday started off right on Sunday, we went to Dan'l Boone Inn for an incredible family style breakfast! All you can eat scrambled egg, bacon, country ham, sausage, pancakes, grits, fresh stewed apples, buttermilk biscuits, redeye gravy, cream gravy, glazed cinnamon biscuits, strawberry preserves, and drinks. Pro-tip: don't wear high waisted jeans like I did. Stretchy pants are the way to go for this food experience!

After breakfast, we headed to Banner Elk for our next adventure: Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster! It  was so much fun! Before you go, make reservations via their website. We arrived about 30 minutes early for our reservation to get our coaster tickets and get in line. I would definitely recommend purchasing the three rides bundle for the ultimate experience. I think it got even more fun by the third ride that Olivia and I did because we knew what to expect and enjoyed it more. The first ride was a little scary, lol! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves trying something new!

After our coaster adventure, we drove to Linville Falls Winery. This is also a gorgeous winery in the High Country! There's a Christmas tree farm on the property so it makes for some cute photo opportunities. I would also recommend it for a family friendly winery experience because there is so much outdoor space for the kids to run and explore. The wine is also great, too!

I can't come to the High Country without visiting Linville Falls. I absolutely love waterfalls! It's an easy and short hike to get to the beautiful falls so it's a great family experience. Afterwards, we headed back to Boone for one last meal before heading home. We ate at The Cardinal, which is another spot that we go to almost every time we are in the area. They have great food and drinks!

Bookmark this post for your High Country travel planning and definitely let me know if you have any questions about the area. Thanks so much for visiting! Happy travels!

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Joy Garden

With Style & Grace

Happy Monday! This particular blog post is long overdue but the reason I was dragging my feet on it was because I couldn't decide on a name for my garden and/or flower stand. I even polled my Instagram and Facebook friends for some inspiration. There were so many wonderful ideas but I just couldn't decide because once I give it a name, I don't want to change it. I wanted something that felt like it encapsulated the heart of what the garden is to me and what I hope to share from it. 

I just kept coming back to the word joy because I just can't describe this garden and the experience that has come along with it in any other way. It's been absolutely joyful. From building the flower bed as a family, planting the seeds, watching the seedlings sprout, patiently waiting for my first bloom, cutting flowers, making bouquets, watching my husband build my flower stand, pruning, sweating, hunting for jars, being blessed with jar donations, making arrangements for a birthday party, providing flowers for a baby shower, and giving away dozens of bouquets to other flower fans... I count it all as pure joy!

So, the name "The Joy Garden" just felt right.

This journey of growing a zinnia garden has reminded me that God cares about the little things, the small details that bring us joy. Years ago, we first discovered the “God’s flowers” flower stand on the side of a back road. It’s an honor system so you pay $3, leave your payment in a container, and choose the bouquet you want. Sometimes we took that road just to see if the flower stand was out and filled with flowers. I always told Josh that I wanted to grow zinnias, make bouquets, and give them away to bring joy to others (the way the flower stand has always brought me so much joy). Well, after years of dreaming, I have that zinnia garden (which I will share more about another day) and I was able to give away my own bouquets this year. I started the summer out by cutting the flowers, arranging them in thrifted glass jars, and sitting them out to be picked up by friends who had already claimed them. I was so proud and excited to put those first vases on my front porch! 

I started giving away my flowers at the beginning of July and by mid August, I had a real flower stand! The goal of building a road side flower stand was a dream that I was hoping would come to reality in the next couple of years. But, my husband knew how much I wanted it so he made it happen for me with some leftover wood from our deck project, some Pinterest inspiration, some ingenuity, and a lot of hard work! He dedicated an entire day to making this beautiful flower stand for me. Once I had the flower stand, I started regularly filling it with flowers that anyone could stop by to pick up. Flowers were picked up as a personal pick me up, a gift for a friend or family member, a surprise for a spouse, and a much needed spark of joy for someone going through a really hard time. At the beginning, I didn't have the flower fund jar but after several people ringing my door to thank me for the flowers, we decided to put the jar out there. Within about eight weeks, there was enough donations for us to build a second flower bed for next season! I'm so incredibly grateful to be able to spread even more joy next summer with the addition of a second bed. More flowers = more joy!

This is your reminder today that God cares about you and loves to see you delight in the little things, like zinnias, that bring you joy. I encourage you to find what brings you joy and spread joy to others, even in small, simple ways. I am so grateful for this garden and all that it has taught me!

Friday, November 5, 2021

Currently Loving .244

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Hey y'all! I hope you've had a great week! We are gearing up for a fun filled weekend and probably our busiest weekend that we've had in a long time. We have an event at church tonight, an adventure tomorrow, and we are headed to the Carolina Panthers game on Sunday. I'm really not a big football fan but I do love the experience of sporting events.

Today, I'm sharing my weekly roundup of what I'm Currently Loving, including some picks that I already own and love! It's definitely feeling like fall here in North Carolina and we have seen some really chilly temperatures this week. Summer will always be my favorite season but I am loving dressing in layers, leggings, and sweater again!

Which of this week's picks is your favorite?!

1. B O O T S | How cute are these budget friendly ankle boots?! I love the color and the heel height looks perfect for everyday wear.

2. R I N G | I have been on the hunt for some fun stacking rings that would hold up to constant hand washing and I found them! This one is definitely my favorite style. It's so cute!

3. S K I R T | I've shared this skirt before in a roundup but I wanted to share it again now that I own it. It's the prettiest mauve color and I love how it feels on! The fit is true to size. I can't wait to style it many different ways this fall and winter!

4. J E A N S | I typically stick to Madewell denim but this pair from Everlane is speaking to me! I am loving the ultra high rise fit and the straight leg. Everlane is a great spot for super high quality denim at great prices. 

5. T O P | How cozy does this waffle knit top look?! I think it would be perfect to throw on with a pair of leggings and sneakers for a casual fall look. I love it!

6. P U R S E | I've also shared this purse but I had to share it again because it's been my go-to bag for a the past couple of weeks. The leather is so soft and it's such a great size!

7. B E A N I E | It's beanie season, y'all! Another great thing about cooler temperatures is you can skip washing or dry shampooing and just throw on a beanie instead. Cute and functional!

8. S N E A K E R S | I shared a pair of court sneakers last week and I'm back to share another pair this week. The leopard print details on these are so fun!

Thank you for stopping by today! I hope you have a great weekend!