Each morning when I wake up, I make coffee, grab my book, and head outside while the dogs play in the backyard. I had trouble putting my book down and coming inside to write this morning. It’s overcast, 70-degrees, and I’m getting towards the end of my book, usually when they get really exciting. September in the south is typically humid and miserable, but we’ve been blessed with the most fantastic weather these past few days.
I know it’s been a bit, a little over a month, since writing a recap post, but I needed to take a break. It feels good to be back, and I’m ready to dive back into the routine of things. I took my first summer break in years, and it felt nice. I always feel more motivated in the fall, and with this weather, fall feels like it’s practically here.
We had family in town for Labor Day weekend, and it was so nice to see my brother and his girlfriend, Abby, finally! It’s been since December. The military had stringent restrictions for them, and after quarantining for over four months, they were given the thumbs up to travel home. We spent this past week outside most of the time and also eating a ton of good food! I can’t wait to share our weekend with you all in this post. My body is so sore from all the activities, so sitting on this couch writing is a convenient spot for me to be right now. Before heading to the airport in the afternoon, I went on a long walk with my neighbor around the neighborhood. The weather was in the 70s and that practically felt like a refrigerator to us after spending our usual mornings walking in 90-degree heat. When the weather is chilly, I get that warm and cuddly fall feeling inside. I’ll for sure be decorating with pumpkins in a few weeks! Before picking up my brother and Abby at the airport, I stopped at Starbucks to pick up an afternoon coffee. And since it was still a bit breezy, I decided to get a pumpkin spice latte. I have a few favorite ways to order pumpkin spice drinks at Starbucks and I’ll have to put those in a post sometime soon so you can try them. My go-to way of ordering a pumpkin spice latte is a tall almond milk pumpkin spice latte with only one pump of pumpkin and an extra shot of espresso. It’s the perfect ratio for someone who likes strong coffee, but still a hint of pumpkin. Every now and then I’ll have them keep the whipped topping. We were all pretty hungry after picking them up at the airport. We stopped at Fine & Fettle for an early dinner. The herbed truffle fries with aioli are pretty unbeatable. After stopping off at Trader Joes and picking up things for the house, we headed to the neighborhood pool to hangout. My parent’s stopped by as well, and we swam late into the evening. We were up bright and early on Thursday morning so we could hike up Crowder’s Mountain before it got too hot outside. We did a 5-mile hike after taking the wrong trail back to the car.
Crowder’s mountain is one of my favorite go-to hikes in Charlotte. It’s been a while since making it out that way, but this was a reminder that I need to hike there more often. After finishing our five-miles, we headed to Eight + Sand for breakfast in Charlotte.
I ordered the Eight + Sand Kale salad with grilled chicken. I also had the oat milk cortado. My brother had their oat milk chai latte and it was probably one of the best chai lattes I’ve ever had. It wasn’t overly sweet like most, and all of the spices tasted fresh as if they freshly ground the cinnamon and cloves themselves. Caitlin met up with us at the pool for the afternoon and we spent our time in the sun reading, drinking wine, and floating. I tried out the Fruit and Flower bubbly and it may officially be one of my favorite canned wines. I don’t know what has gotten into me lately, but there’s nothing better than canned wines by the pool. I may just be a sucker for cute packages. My brother and Abby made the most delicious Caesar salads for dinner on Thursday night. I cannot wait to make these again!
They massaged kale with the vegan Caesar dressing from Trader joes, topped it with homemade air-fried gluten-free croutons (I’ll have to ask about the seasoning they used!), toasted and seasoned cashews, vegan parmesan, and seasoned grilled shrimp on top.
I’ll be making this in my near future!
We spent the evening listneing to music, drinking wine, and playing cornhole outside on the porch. The weather couldn’t have been any more perfect. I was up bright and early so I could fit in some reading time. I knew with my brother visiting, I’d fall behind on book club, but luckily, I fit in my chapters early morning. My brother LOVES disc golfing, something I’ve never done. He mapped out a few courses to play while visiting, and we started at a course in Tega Cay. I’m happy we explored there because the park was right on the water, a few miles from my house, and I can’t wait to bring the dogs there to run.
We spent the morning disc golfing and I wasn’t too bad at it! I like doing things I’m good at, and if I’m horrible at something, I usually check out pretty quickly. That’s probably a quality I should work on lolAfter cleaning off, we all headed to Waxhaw to walk around the shops and grab a coffee at Crossroads coffee. I’ve been going to this place for the past six years, and I love that they’re still going strong. I ordered a small iced chai latte with almond milk and an extra shot of espresso. After exploring Waxhaw, we headed to Spice in Kingsley to have dinner. This has become one of my favorite restaurants! I always order their grilled salmon salad with a side of white rice. After dinner, we headed to go play mini golf! I forgot how fun it is, so we’ll definitely have to go back soon. When we got home, I made pineapple Dolewhip and we hung out in the kitchen chatting past midnight. Even though we went to bed late, we were up bright and early so we could go to play tennis. It felt SO GOOD to be back on the courts. It’s been a while, and the weather was barely over 70, so the perfect time to play. We had so much fun! I can’t wait to play again this weekend. After tennis, I ordered a pumpkin cream cold brew with almond milk and it was DELICIOUS. I forgot to order it without the classic, but the extra sugar was fine by me because I was exhausted and needed all the energy I could get. For breakfast, I had a gluten-free English muffin, avocado, everything but the bagel seasoning, and a protein smoothie. The smoothie has frozen peaches, raspberries, almond milk, raw fusion vanilla plant-based protein powder, and pumpkin seed protein powder. The pumpkin seed protein powder is super high magnesium and iron. It doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all, but still keeps things creamy while added extra nutrients. We headed to Charlotte on Saturday afternoon to stop by some breweries, grab lunch, and dinner. We first stopped in NoDa for Cabo Fish Taco, Heist Brewery, Birdsong Brewing Co for cider, beer, and Kombucha, and the Wooden Robot for our final brewery stop. We picked up pizza at Blaze on the way home and ended our evening on the patio having dinner and dessert. My next-door neighbor brought over a gluten-free Nothing Bundtz Cake, and WOW! It was my first time having one and it was delicious. Dangerously delicious. I was up early with my coffee and snuck in a few chapters of my book. I also picked these gorgeous purple velvet roses from my garden. Right now, all of my rose bushes have hundreds of buds and they will be in full bloom next week! I can’t wait to share those photos. I decided that I’ll be planting more rose bushes where the annuals are right now. They grow the best here with the clay dirt and they are low-maintenance. Some of the roses bushes I planted are already over my head and I’m 5’8! We spent almost all morning and afternoon out on the Winthrop Lake disc golf course. My arm still feels like it’s going to fall off after all of the frisbee throwing, but I was so proud of my performance. I had a ton of pars and birdies, which is great for only my second time playing. I definitely think this is a sport I’d like to play again! We packed up the dogs and headed to my parent’s house for a fun backyard barbecue on Sunday night! I made my Frose recipe to bring over because it’s super refreshing! It’s just peaches and rose in my ice cream maker. I love making it homemade because there are no added syrups or sugars.
We spent the evening playing backyard games, swimming, and ending the night by the fireplace. I was cuddled under a blanket because of how chilly it was outside! I made my gluten-free fluffy pancakes for breakfast! I added bananas and blueberries to mine. My brother made vegan maple sausage and scrambled eggs for the side! This was a perfect breakfast before hitting the neighborhood trails. I jogged a bit but did 7.48 miles mostly walking and listening to podcasts. When it’s not miserably hot outside, it’s a lot easier to workout! The weekend definitely ended with a bang! We spent some time at the pool, and then T.C. and Abby made the most delicious vegan potato soup! She shared the recipe so I could blog it soon. I had it for dinner last night because it was so good and I’ll also be eating it again today! Our neighbors (the same that put on our 4th of July show) did the Labor Day weekend fireworks and they were stunning! 😲
I dropped them off at the airport in the morning and was sad to see them go, but can’t wait to visit them next! Now, time to clean the house and get it ready for my Fall decorating video 😊
Questions for you!
- How was your Labor Day weekend?
- Are you currently reading any of the Book Club picks?
- Are you getting any Fall weather?