western trip: then and now

Before we left on our mini vacation, I went digging for some pictures from our time in college. I found a few good ones. We went back to the same places and retook the pictures. It's amazing how some things change and some things remain the same. 

No, I did not shrink since college. This sign was a lot higher than it used to be. One of the first things that we noticed when we went back to visit the campus was that they had moved the catamount. He was purchased and erected while we were in attendance and used to sit on top of the hill (that's me and my dad), overlooking the campus. Now he sits right at the main entrance to the university. 

Here are a few more pictures from back then. 
Me, as a freshman.
Byron's graduation (my hair changed...a lot).

western trip: campus

These are the buildings and places where we spent most of our time in college. The Bell Tower and UC (above) were and still are the center of Western Carolina University. We went on many a date to the Chick-fil-a in the University Center.  Below is a picture of the steps where we met for the first time, at RA training. We were both very involved with the housing department in college. We made great friends, didn't have to have roommates and got to organize parties, all while geting paid. 

I lived in Madison during the summer before and during my senior year. It was a quiet building with graduate students and acted as a hotel to university visitors. Byron was the only male RA in Buchanan during his senior year. The Moore building was where all of my Clinical Laboratory Sciences classes were held. I spent so much time there. 

I have one more set of pictures from our trip back in time. I think you will really like them. You will get to see what we looked like 10 years ago. 


We have been seeing signs for this new bakery lately and have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to get some Saturday morning doughnuts. The building is tucked away behind a bunch of antique shops and next to an old railroad car. They have lots of signs and some pretty cute balloons up to alert customers, though. I made a quick stop there this morning. I was planning on being fairly good and only getting four doughnuts, but like all good bakeries, it is cheaper to get six doughnuts than four. Twist my arm, right? They also encouraged me to try a sample of their chocolate brownies too. Byron agreed that they were some of the best doughnuts ever! We are in trouble. 

nails of the week: plants

I found two new fabulous colors of nail polish recently. Finally, popular make up brands are branching beyond the "normal" pinks and reds and coming up with some really nice color variations. I've long been a fan of REVLON nail colors. I find their polish to be thick, rich and quick-drying. These colors are named Buttercup and Spanish Moss. Maybe I like the muted hues because I grew up in Florida and they remind me of the tiny, yellow flowers in the fields and the ever present air plants that hang from the trees. 

western trip: the food

We have so many fond memories of the cheap yet excellent cuisine that we enjoyed during our college years. We couldn't wait to get back and see which of our favorites were still there. I often went to the Coffee Shop by myself. It was a quiet place to go and read and drink, well, coffee. It's a small diner where the locals go. I think that's why I liked it to much. No loud college kids hanging around. Byron had never been there before this trip. They cook an excellent breakfast, fast and cheap. 

Colima might be one of my most favorite restaurants ever. It is the mexican restaurant that I judge all mexican restaurants by. I can't tell you how many times I have said "This place is good, but it's not Colima's." I was completely overjoyed that it was still serving food to the greater Sylva area. It was like a trip back in time, as if nothing had changed. Seriously, the same waiters, decor, food, cashier, it was incredible. I hope it will be there every time that we go back to visit Western. 

There was one new eatery that we tried, Guadalupe's. It was a really cute spot. It had stegosauruses, lanterns, black and white floors and a really eclectic menu. Byron had goat (locally raised of course). I had blackened plantains with tofu in a curry sauce. Blackberry and currant cobbler was dessert. 

City Lights was the local coffee bar/ jazz lounge/ brunch spot/ bookstore/ college kid-with-a-laptop hang out. It still is pretty much. The owners changed but the food was still amazing. 

The Well House is a local deli in Dillsboro that caters mainly to tourists. Their Prime Rib, on Friday nights, and Reuben sandwiches are the most loved menu items. It is named for the actual working well that was one of the first in the area back in the 1800's.

A trip back to college wouldn't be complete without a drive through the Brew Thru. Local and college girls will bring your beer to your car for you, for tips of course.

Sadly, we didn't get a chance to get any ice cream from Jack the Dipper this trip. Even so, I had to include the sign. They win the prize for the best named eatery, I think.

western trip: the inn

On our recent jaunt to the Western part of our beautiful state of North Carolina we stayed at the Dillsboro Inn. The Inn is a giant and rustic log cabin with large rooms right on the river. We met some lovely people and resident dogs while we were guests there. Every night, when it wasn't raining, the innkeeper made a fire for us to gather around. The kids toasted marshmallows and everyone relaxed and watched the water of the Tuckasegee flow by. In the mornings and evenings the clouds would fill the valley and settle on the river. It was quite humorous to see how the humidity of the Smoky Mountains affected Alice's hair. She has quite a few unruly waves.

western trip

Byron and I were lucky enough to meet each other in the year 2000 at Western Carolina University (Go Catamounts!). We started dating in January of 2001. He graduated in 2002. I graduated in 2003. We fondly remember our time in the mountains and still keep in touch with most our friends from college. Neither of us had been back to visit the small towns of Cullowhee, Sylva or Dillsboro since we graduated. We recently decided that a trip to the past was just what we needed. 

We stayed in Dillsboro and spent a couple of days touring our old haunts, favorite restaurants and the college campus. If you have never been to this area, you should go visit. It is magnificent in the Fall when the leaves change. There are numerous outdoor activities to enjoy and the mountain scenery is breathtaking. We spent a lot of time in downtown Sylva (pictured below). Surprisingly, the music store where we purchased many a CD was still in business. We got a few used records and browsed through their section of second-hand baby clothes (weird right?). We also made a visit to the hospital where I learned how to be a Medical Technologist. It was also the hospital where the beginning of movie The Fugitive was filmed.

The first time Byron and my parents met was on this train. We took a six hour train ride together up the mountains while they got to know each other. I had to include a trip to Wal-Mart on our nostalgic tour. Late night trips to Wal-Mart were sometimes the only thing us poor college kids could afford to do for fun. 

I have many more pictures from our trip to the past to share.

weekend fun

Our little family had a lovely weekend. We dined on shrimp sausage and grits at the Gulf Rim and hung out at the park for a little bit for Alice's first swinging experience. She didn't seem too thrilled. We will have to try again when she is more awake and the sky isn't as cloudy and nap-inducing. 

We missed the Farmer's Market (Batman) on Saturday morning. To get our weekly fill of farm fresh goodies we drove to Fickle Creek Farm. Farmer Noah and his trusty dog sold us eggs, sausage and chicken and used his iPad to check us out. It's pretty crazy how the old and new coincide. He also welcomed us to take a walk around and check out their ducks. A giant dog guards the ducks, or maybe he just hangs out with them because they are cool. 

Since we were out in the farmlands, we decided to drive by Maple View Farm and stop by their  Country Store for a sweet treat. Clown Willie was there making balloon animals for the kids. It was quite the popular place for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Cars were lined up just waiting to park. 

What a fun weekend we had. I hope your weekend was fun as well. 


Thanks to some last minute babysitting help from the lovely Kristine, Byron and I were able to go see The Dark Knight Rises this morning. We are super nerds, as you can tell from our collection of matching shirts. The movie was indescribably awesome and thankfully Alice was well behaved while we were out. Little Alice is even trying to say "Batman." So far she only has the ba, ba, ba sound. 

nails of the week: Breaking Bad

We are kind of obsessed with Breaking Bad in our house (careful of the Spoilers on that link if you haven't watched through season 4). Byron wears his Los Pollos Hermanos t-shirt proudly and we are anxiously awaiting the beginning of season 5. It starts tonight!!! So in honor of the start (and what may be the end for some) of the season I did Breaking Bad themed nails. 

Br and Ba are for the shows title. The yellow shirt and blue tie are for Gus. Need I say what the blue is for?

The sketch artist's rendering of "Heisenburg"

In addition to the Walt/ Heisenburg nail, I tried to do one for each of the other characters. Marie- purple (aptly called No Means No). Skyler- peach and green for her robe that she always wears. Walt Jr.- breakfast. Jesse- black and red with sparkles, like one of his shirts. The blue color is called Blue Me Away! 

I have a few more fun ideas for Breaking Bad nails. I will probably do them again for the series finale. 

happy birthday Byron

For Byron's Birthday I took him to Panciuto, a restaurant that he has been dreaming about for quite some time. It did not disappoint. The food was spectacular. Luckily for us, Alice cooperated and fell fast asleep so we were able to take our time and really enjoy the exquisite, local, farm-to-table food that was prepared for us. 

This is what we ate. During the week, small plates are offered on the menu. We chose four dishes and shared everything. The flavor combinations were perfection. We dined on a cheese plate, salad with jalapeƱo vinaigrette, goat cheese tortellini with fried green tomatoes, pork loin with corn fritters and heirloom tomatoes. All of the food was locally grown and raised. 

They served the tiniest glasses of wine as a pre-dinner aperitif. We were also given complementary glasses of prosecco since it was Byron's birthday. Last, but not least, we had blackberry-blueberry cobbler for dessert (in the first picture).

I love you Byron! I hope you had a fantastic birthday!

As a late night treat for Byron's birthday, Alice awoke and stood up in her crib. She also crawled all over the floor while we lowered the mattress. She's getting older too. 

nails of the week: why so serious?

My nails (toes included) were all done by the lovely Ashlee at Bella Trio Day Spa. I had her pick the colors as I am always up for anything when it comes to nail art. All of the polish is by OPI. The green is Don't Mess With OPI. The purple is Pamplona Purple. The glitter is Divine Swine. The white is Alpine Snow. I really love the deep purple and green colors. I might make them permanent members of my polish collection. Together, they kind of remind me of the Joker. 

11 awesome things from today

Today was a fantastic day! Here are 11 reasons why...
1   This super cute dress that my cosister, Jordan, brought me back from her honeymoon. How nice is  
2   Three hours at Bella Trio day spa
3   An amazingly relaxing swedish massage from Rebecca
4   A fabulous pedicure with a little fun nail art from Ashlee
5   An equally stunning manicure from Ashlee as well
6   Lunch with my loving husband who gifted me with the luxurious spa retreat for Mother's Day
7   Time to go see The Amazing Spiderman and it was really entertaining
8   A 10$ striped sweater from Urban Outfitters that I found super fast that kept me warm in the   
     freezing theater
9   A silvery, sparkley new iPhone case was delivered
10 Baby Banz earmuffs 
11 This sweet baby 

recovering vegan

So, I've decided to slowly incorporate meat and small amounts of dairy back into my diet. Why? Mainly because I want to be able to take Alice to all kinds of different restaurants and have her experience all different kinds of foods. More on that later. We went for sushi, since fish is the mildest of meats. Byron discovered this sweet little spot in a shopping center in Chapel Hill. The food was amazing and we discovered that sushi is a great food to eat when you have to hold a fussy baby. Maybe we will dine on sushi every time Alice gets a tooth. 

There was some beautiful sunlight that evening. It made my shoes sparkle.

Such pretty food to eat.