Friday, March 23

:: The Big Apple ::

Last weekend we headed to New York City with Karl and Nancy for our annual St. Patty's Day weekend vacation. The tradition started 3 or 4 years ago when I was writing for Southern Beauty Magazine. SB hosted it's launch party at Justin Timberlake's Southern Hospitality Restaurant in NYC over St. Patty's Day weekend and we invited the Browns to join us there. Unfortunately, the magazine didn't make it…but our annual long weekend trips thankfully did.

Thursday Cannon and I took the PATH train to Hoboken to visit Carlo's Bake Shop of TLC Cake Boss fame. We had to laugh at ourselves for making all that effort for baked goods and a look at the place we've watched on TV…the line stretched across the block! But we persevered and got our pastries (the lobster tail and chocolate canolis were divine) and a t-shirt for Parrish, who watches the show with us. When we gave him the shirt and told him we visited the bakery he was shocked and said…"You mean there is really a cake boss bakery?" I guess to him it's hard to distinguish between reality TV and fiction so all this time he's thought they were just characters (and characters they are!).

I had to snap a photo of this over-the-top baby shower cake. It's beautiful though, isn't it?

The yummy pastries that were worth the wait.

Friday we visited the 9/11 Memorial site. Walking up to the two pools at the sites where the towers used to stand made my heart feel tight and brought tears to my eyes. I wasn't expecting to have such a reaction, but I guess it makes sense. All I could think about as I read the names inscribed in the bronze around the pools was all of the devastated families and how even though time has passed, they are still devastated.

"The survivor tree" is a pear tree that was originally planted on the WTC plaza in the 70's. After the attack it was reduced to an 8 foot tall stump. The tree was nursed back to health and stood in NYC Park, growing to 30 feet tall, but in March 2010 the tree was damaged again by severe storms. Despite these struggles the survivor tree did just that - survived - and now stands in it's original home at the 9/11 memorial site.

It was a reminder to Cannon and I as we stood there that we can survive. But I don't want to just survive. I want to thrive. In my head I kept thinking of this verse - "In this world you will have many troubles. But take heart. I have overcome the world."

We ate dinner at Mario Batali's Babbo and it was delicious. We had spicy black spaghetti with rock shrimp and beef cheek ravioli and all sorts of things we would never cook ourselves but were fun to try. The picture above is at Sparks Steakhouse on our last night. We also saw Rock of Ages on Broadway. It was more R rated than I expected it to be, but pretty hilarious and filled with songs like "every rose has it's thorn" and other favorites you'll remember from middle school mixers.

This week is Spring Break for Parrish so since our return from NYC we've just been enjoying being at home. We've hit the McWane Center and had our nephew Quinn spend the night. Today we are planning to have a lazy, rainy morning playing board games before we go to iJump. If it stops raining I'm going to go buy some native plants to plant in our front yard. Our neighborhood requires that only native things be planted in the front yards so I'm thinking of getting some color with native azaleas and caroline jasmine. Do any of you have any other native plants you would suggest I try? I'm new to native gardening so this is going to be a learning experience and I can use all the tips I can get. Parrish says he wants to plant a tomato and rattle snake bean garden in the side yard so we might be trying that out as well. Wish us luck and happy spring break! Check back soon for an update on our Olivia Charles Antiques website. After months of hard work, I think it will finally be live soon and we plan to do a fun give away to celebrate the launch.
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