When you first look at Karen O’Leary’s paper designs, you find yourself pulled into the complex, yet exquisite, beauty. These are detailed works of art that serve a purpose; they are hand-drawn and hand-cut maps of major cities. O’Leary earned her Bachelor in Architecture from Virginia Tech, and has found a new way to breathe life into what was once just a ordinary sheet of paper. The Charlotte artist uses her blade to cut out each district and street to create a two-dimensional work of art.
Every January the Wilmington Roadrunners host a club-members-only run called the “Survival Run.” Not a race, this event is a chance to run with each other through some of the most beautiful terrain along the Cape Fear River. We gather at the Carolina Beach State Park Marina, check in, then run through the trails of the park and, with special well-coordinated permission, through land owned by the U.S. Army. At the end we enjoy a catered breakfast and visit with each other having gotten our new year off to a running start.
When my husband, Rob, and I moved to North Carolina, perched at the top of our to-do list was a trip to the coast. Coming from landlocked Utah, the closest ocean waves had been a 12-hour drive away in California. So when Rob had his first spring break in law school, we packed up our new puppy and headed to picture-perfect Nags Head. In March. We knew it wouldn’t be swimming weather, but had no idea that parkas and Wellies would be more appropriate than shorts and flip flops, and that virtually the entire town would be boarded up for the off-season. We spent our first night walking through Harris Teeter trying to choose a frozen pizza to heat up in our condo’s small kitchen — the ultimate foodie fail.
Two years ago I made a resolution. Not to lose weight or take up meditation, but something a little more doable, and way more fun. I resolved to start a wine journal.
This week I took a trip to Old Mill of Guilford in Oak Ridge to pick up some flour. Around Christmastime, a coworker suggested that the pancake mix from Old Guilford is a good local product to give someone for a gift. I’d heard of the Old Mill, seen some of the products at the Piedmont Farmers Market, but had never purchased any. I decided to do a little research about the Old Guilford Mill and see what everyone was raving about. There, you can find cornmeal, grits, flours (wheat, rice, and spelt), mixes for pancakes, hushpuppies (get the one with the onion — it’s amazing!), gingerbread, scones, muffins, and cookies.
Living in a state with grape-friendly soil and enterprising oenologists, we can consider ourselves lucky to have so many day trip-worthy wineries to choose from. And there are certain things that make a winery stand out in the ever-increasing crowd. Sometimes it's the scenic location, the cozy decor, the quality of its Riesling, or the tray full of dark chocolate chips free for the taking.
Sure, I love my group of girlfriends for all of the important reasons in life: their sincerity, kindness, senses of humor... I admire how driven they are in their careers, juggling motherhood and households and 1,000 other things. But, I would be remiss if I didn't mention one more little detail: I also admire how they manage their mini-empires with impeccable style. It's hard to miss, really. They always know what the current trends are, and their wardrobes and homes are a reflection of their unique personalities.
One of the first things I ever learned how to make was a biscuit (well, I'm sure there were at least eight of them, but you know what I mean). My grandmother let me peer over the counter as she sifted flour, cut up butter, and rolled her way across the counter.
This issue's adventure took me to Raleigh to shoot Escazu chocolates. The photographer and I met at the chocolate shop first, and then took some chocolates to the studio to shoot there. I try to come prepared to photo shoots as much as possible, working on mockups beforehand, bringing backdrops, and props, and scissors, and whatever other tools I think we might need. I had in my head this idea of stacking the chocolates on these cute plates from Williams Sonoma, and then doing a type treatment with the word LOVE really big, weaving the stack through the "O." I bought backdrops of different colors — striped ones, solid ones, table runners ... hoping that I'd find the winning combination.