A lesson in thankfulness and gratitude


I’ve received quite a few emails asking about my whereabouts and I said “oops, I didn’t click publish on my blog post that I was taking a vacation.”

Sorry, y’all.

For the past week, I’ve been deeply immersed in the world of packing and moving. The movers came today and there is still stuff to do at the other house. How can that be? I have an MCL tear and my once robust activity has dwindled to a trickle, as I’m quite limited by my very large knee brace and lots of pain.

If I were a character in my favorite BBC comedy, Miranda, I’d say “such fun.”

For the most part, we’re home. My mattress and box spring are on the floor and I’m okay with that, as everything is moved but my bedroom. The movers are coming back in two weeks to take care of that and I can handle things at a much slower pace as far as finishing the packing.

Of course, one entire side of my garage is filled with boxes to be unpacked, but I’d rather have them there, to be opened one at a time, instead of sitting in the house staring at me.

I try to take away lessons in everything I do, as I feel each moment we experience in our life is a teachable one. The lessons I’ve learned through all of this is gratitude and thankfulness. My husband, despite the long hours he works, has exhausted himself helping pack and move smaller things. My best friend has helped me where I couldn’t help myself when packing. My son who is 14 and has been a trooper, lugging his fair share from place to place as we prepped for the movers. I’m so very thankful for the movers. What has taken me four weeks to prep due to aforementioned knee took them 3 hours. I’m thankful for the friends and families whose texts and emails have been rolling in the past few days to check on things, to offer a helping hand, or just to say “I’m thinking of you.”

Finally, I’m thankful for you. Thanks for sticking around the past six years. Here’s to the next six.

Monday Lowdown

Happy Monday friends! As you can tell, I’m trying the “fake it till I make it” theory to pep up my Monday. I’m not sure it’s working. Today is all about the lowdown in life, or that part of the week where I get everything off my chest.

There was some sort of ballgame on television last night. I was too busy watching the commercials and tweeting about them for the #adbowl #brandbowl to notice. Well, except the last part when they forgot they were professional football players and decided to become professional hockey players. Yes, the Seattle Seahawks Legion of Boom turned into the Philadelphia Flyers Legion of Doom.

Let’s just say “Thanks for setting such a good example for kids everywhere.” Of course, the NFL is going to levy HUGE fines to all of the players involved in the scuffle. It is my personal opinion they should donate the fines to a domestic violence organization seeing as how the league has a huge problem in that area.

Time to cause whiplash from the spin and talk about the house. We’ve started moving stuff in and it doesn’t matter how much you’ve already gotten rid of, you’re going to get rid of more while in the middle of this process. My entire body aches, mainly below the knees. I have banged enough boxes against my lower legs to cause massive bruises. The movers are coming on the 12th, but in order to maintain sanity and not live amongst the boxes (or a massive moving bill) we’re taking as many trips in our cars as possible now. (We are moving 5 miles away.)

To finish things off, Handmade NC is growing. We’ve had such a great demand for coverage, Ilina and I will be launching a website for this project in the coming weeks. It’s a something that is definitely close to our hearts and a special project we will be pouring serious love into.

What I’ve Learned — {Week 12}

What I've Learned -- Week 12

Oops. It’s been a while, y’all. I’m bringing my series back from hibernation due to several requests from readers just like you. (That was a total NPR ripoff.) I also realized I have two week ten’s in the “What I’ve Learned” series, so I’ll skip editing and go straight into week twelve. As I sit here, pondering life, I’m drawn deep into a rushing cascade of thoughts which remind me of swirling rapids you’d find in the movie “Deliverance.”

1. Attorneys will keep you waiting until the last minute to let you know the amount of funds you need to wire for your home closing. I’m writing this on Tuesday. I closed yesterday. Wiring funds is the new “thing.” Cashiers checks are passé.

2. When you go to buy a sofa, the one you want is ALWAYS an eight week lead time.

3. Wear your Fitbit, or other fitness tracker, when sofa shopping. It’s not about testing the comfort of the sofa. It’s about the steps. Five furniture stores in six hours will give you enough steps for two days. Unfortunately, you still have to get your steps in the next day. There is no such thing as paying it forward in the steps department.

4. If you need to have a few things touched up on your house, the sub-contractors will ultimately mess something causing your builder lots of stress. Hello new cabinet doors overnighted just for my kitchen and bathroom.

5. If you talk to much about home design, your teen son will have a meltdown in the back seat of the car and beg you to discuss something different. Bring up the girls at his school and he’ll quickly change the conversation back to the design process.

What did you learn this week?

Queen City Q {Handmade in NC}

BBQ is on every corner in North Carolina and there are three different varieties in our great state. One of my favorite places to stop in for a quick bite to eat is Queen City Q located in Charlotte, NC. The Q (as it’s known to locals) has some of the finest smoked meat I’ve eaten in the Carolina Piedmont.

Check out Handmade in North Carolina at www.adailypinch.com

Owners Bryan Meredith and Craig Utt met playing basketball with the #SCLThoops crew. This group of fellas met on social media and decided to get together, play ball and laugh. (I’ve heard a few stories about how they play, laughter was a given.) During their talks about the lack of good BBQ in Charlotte, and it being the right moment, things meshed quickly and within three months, the Q was open for business. Three months later after they opened, Charlotte magazine bestowed the honor of best BBQ in their annual BOB awards.

How serious are they about their BBQ? Both Bryan and Craig became certified BBQ judges after opening their restaurant.

Now, the Q isn’t your normal BBQ dive. They have an expansive beer list with over 40 on tap and a full traditional bar. When it warms up, I like to sit outside, watch the light rail whiz by and sip on Larken’s Patio Punch, a fruity concoction of two different Mount Gay rums and citrus. It washes down your BBQ just as well as a glass of their perfectly sweetened iced tea.

What do you order when you go to the Q? BBQ, of course. Here’s our typical order:

Appetizer: Deviled Eggs — My husband and I are deviled egg connoisseurs and these are some of the best in the state.

Entree: Hand pulled pork or smoked brisket. My son prefers the St. Louis Style Pork Ribs and my husband has consumed quite a few of the house smoked sausages.

Sauces: Eastern NC Sauce, PoPo’s Sauce, Queen City Q Sauce, and SC mustard

Sides: They’re all good, but I always go for the macaroni and cheese, collards or corn maque choux.

Desserts: If we’re able to have dessert, we either share an order of bread pudding topped with vanilla ice cream or banana pudding. I’m a connoisseur of these as well.

Next time you’re in town, head over to the Q for some serious good eats.


Queen City Q
225 E 6th Street, Suite A | Charlotte, NC 28202
704.334.TheQ (8437)

Parking is in the 7th Street Station Building. After 5pm and all day Sat and Sun parking is free with validation. Mon-Fri from 6am to 5pm they validate for 2 hours.

Follow the Q:




Want more local love? Head over to Dirt & Noise and visit Ilina!

My Crowning Glory: Bald Is Not The New Black

In less than 58 hours my husband and I will be singing the paperwork for the first home we’ve ever owned. Y’all, I thought this building process was the tough part. Turns out, packing, purging, and the sleep I’m losing over where to put things in our new house may be what causes me to go bald.

I will not be a pretty bald woman. My scalp has a funky indention at the top from a car accident when I was a little girl (head meet window) and thanks to middle age and PCOS, my hair has been steadily thinning over the years.

This is a travesty (Insert dramatic flair)! I’m a Southern woman. Our hair is called our crowning glory for a reason! Stories have been written about our hair. Legends made of it. Sure, it has led us to be the butt of jokes for many years due to the sheer volume, but that’s beside the point.

Let me explain. Unless you’ve visited the South during the summer, let’s say anytime from the end of March until early October, you won’t have context. To help you gain perspective, go put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Go on, I’ll wait. Cut the heat up in the house until it is a toasty 95 degrees. Now, grab a towel, go to the pot of boiling water with your perfectly coiffed do (and a full face of makeup), lean over said pot in the 95 degrees heat and throw a towel over your head. Stay in that position for at least 1o minutes.

If you don’t want to do this in your house, go to your local sauna dressed for a formal event and step in fully dressed while wearing stockings and heels. That stuff melting down your face if your makeup, hair and any product you’ve put in your hair to keep it in place.

We make our hair big to help combat the heat and humidity. There is a reason Aqua Net is the shellac of The South. Blue haired ladies trail a heady cloud after their weekly fluff and puff at the beauty parlor; that fresh set has to survive a week. Southern women must face the world with their crowning glory done to perfection and football helmet strong.  You’ll soon understand after you survive walking down the sidewalk day after day in conditions that will melt the rubber on the soles of your Havianas.

Big hair is a necessity. If we didn’t give it some lift at the roots (and I’m not talking about 1980’s hair), it would be plastered to our foreheads and that is just low rent. Like getting down and doing the limbo low.

Am I a little nervous? Sure, who wouldn’t be? I’m more worried about the state of my manicure and the day filled with business meetings I have tomorrow. While that sounds vain, I am very much aware of my vanity and keep it in check for the most part. Well, as in check as you can when you’ve been raised with the constant reminder to “suck your stomach in and put some color on.”

But, as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, “with God as my witness, I shall never have flat hair again!!”*

*She never really said that, but she should have