Tea, scones and a royal wedding.

I need to give a shout-out to Angie. I’m so glad we became friends, because she’s always up for the crazy things that I want to do. Like getting up at 5 am on a workday to watch a royal wedding.

We tried to go to Big Ben, the local British ex-pat hangout, for a royal wedding breakfast and viewing party but it was actually over-booked. Turns out there are more royal-watchers in Charlotte than we expected. Plus, the director of our symphony also conducted the royal wedding orchestra at Westminster Abbey, so all of his colleagues and other symphony friends were headed there. I’m sure it was a madhouse! We opted instead for coffee (we needed something more strongly caffeinated than tea at that hour) and scones while we watched all the festivities in crystal-clear HD. The best seat in the house. And we got to share commentary on the dresses and hats, watch Oliver and Dixie wrestle and try our best not to wake Angie’s husband, who thought we were nuts. Okay, we are.

Next, Oliver and I headed to work, since we didn’t get to partake of a bank holiday. Instead, my coworkers and I spent all day watching the wedding re-broadcasts online and enjoying another spread of English delicacies — tea, more scones, petits fours, quiche. I even made sticky toffee pudding, which we can add to the OMG list. The recipe I used was pretty simple, and the result is just beyond words. Keep reading »

Hello, old friend.

Whoops, it’s been awhile since I last posted, which means I’ve already blown my post-a-week resolution this year. But my mama told me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And I’ve had a whole lot of nothing nice to say recently.

The good news is that my dear friend (and technically third cousin) Maggie came to visit this weekend. Sometimes it really takes an out-of-towner to reintroduce you to the very city you live in. I mean, I was born here and I know nothing of the city’s history nor what you do when you’re a tourist. I absolutely take it all for granted. So, I became reacquainted this weekend with an old friend, the place I now call home (again).

Maggie brought a guidebook that directed us to Mert’s Heart and Soul, a southern soul food joint with a Cajun flair, in the heart of uptown. It was a.ma.zing. Think warm cornbread with butter, salty collard greens, true southern mac & cheese, lightly fried catfish. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that we exclaimed, “That’s the best ___ I’ve ever tasted!” after every single bite. I had never heard of Mert’s before, and I would never have known it was there but for the guidebook suggestion and Maggie’s need to satisfy a craving for down-home cooking while she’s in the South.
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I come from a land Down Under.

Ah, Sydney.

I’ve just returned from a weeklong trip on the other side of the world. (Well, I actually returned last week, but the jet lag hit me so hard on Monday that it wasn’t until yesterday, Saturday, that I felt normal again).

C* and I took off for a glorious 24 hours in L.A. full of glitz, glamour, fame and Sprinkles cupcakes. Then we hopped aboard the largest plane I have ever seen (double-decker A-380) for a 15-hour jaunt over open ocean. You can get through anything with enough Xanax and Sauvignon Blanc, I tell you. Truth said, it was an easy flight – we watched movies, ate every three hours and actually slept. Bravo, Qantas!

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