(I’m a poet and I didn’t know it).

1, 2, 3

As you

As we sat at Hollymead on Saturday, we contemplated what to do with our last day. Our top choices included a trip to nearby Blowing Rock or a day at a local vineyard. Since we went to Shelton Vineyards last time, we opted for the hour drive to Blowing Rock, which I had never visited but had heard rave reviews about.

This time it was just me, my sister, and Larry- we managed to have a good time even with Larry there (just kidding- Larry reads my blog and I wanted to poke [more] fun at him!). It was a marvelouuuuus day in an adorable little mountain town. The drive to town through the mountains was beautiful, even though the leaves haven’t fully turned yet. We grabbed lattes at Revive Java, wandered through the shops, snapped a bunch of pictures, saw a couple we know from Raleigh (hi guys!), played a prank on Larry, ate lunch at Storie Street Grill (pot roast with mashed potatoes and green beans for me!), and then got ice cream at Kilwin’s

I guess I should have put more thought into the word “relaxing” yesterday. Does mowing a pasture count as relaxing? Larry was gracious enough to “allow” me to use a zero-turn radius mower on the lower pasture again- my sister got to ride horses, I got to ride the John Deere! There is nothing like sitting on that mower seat on a perfect fall day in the country with the radio playing on headphones. I’m secretly a farm girl…

Other highlights of yesterday: 5pm snacks of spicy hummus and margaritas, delicious gluten-free eggplant parmesan and red wine for dinner, watching a very sweet 50th birthday video, and watching a few episodes of Modern Family.

On the agenda today: more mowing! Then a field trip to either a vineyard or Blowing Rock!




(Yup, had to have my Starbucks cup on the farm!)



(Should read Welcome to Paradise…)



(The Kabota, which we nicknamed the Katubah)


Another weekend at Hollymead, this time just me and my sister!

Our road trip to the farm consisted of eating at Smithfield’s BBQ (sans buns to make it gluten-free), listening to Basshunter, responding to several work emails, and updating my sister’s resume (in related news, I want to offer resume writing/critique services since people are always asking me to review theirs!).

So far today I’ve eaten pumpkin oatmeal and sipped Caribou Daybreak coffee for breakfast, helped load food for a school backpack program, and had lunch at a local pizza parlor. We’ll see what the rest of the day holds, but I have no doubt it will be a fun, relaxing day on the farm!

Roses from the gaden in a vase in the house

Feeling a little down on this gloomy Monday afternoon? I figured I’d share some cozy images from the past few months!

Veil of Roses and Better Homes & Gardens

A mug of coffee and a magazine

Fall leaves (last year)

Flowers at Duke Gardens

More flowers at Duke Gardens

And even more flowers at Duke Gardens!

Bud Light at the lake mansion

Shelton Vineyard in Yadkin Valley

Sister and stepdad at Brightleaf Square in Durham

On one of our days in Nashville, my sister suggested that we visit the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, which is next to the Grand Ole Opry. After exploring the 9 acre hotel, we were shocked that none of our friends had recommended it as a must-see in Nashville. So here is my official Opryland Hotel endorsement: if you are in Nashville, go! You will not regret it.

I spy the Opryland Hotel (and maybe some fall leaves?!)
The lobby of the hotel
To our right: a woman dressed as Little Boo Peep singing “Hoooooowdy” at the top of her lungs. The sound rang in our ears for the rest of the day and we took it upon ourselves to share the “Hoooowdy” love with other strangers
Haha! Trying to pose like the statue. The Roman Sisters are a bit odd

We decided that late night hide-and-seek in the hotel would be epic
Las tres amigas
We hit up the on-site Mexican restaurant for happy hour- appetizers were $4-$6! Tip: if you buy food in one of the on-site restaurants, they will validate your parking ticket (which is usually $20). We bought happy hour appetizers for a total of $12 and ended up with free parking- win!
Queso con chorizos y guacamole. Come se dice “nom nom nom” en espanol?
The three musketeers- happy, full, caffeinated, and ready for a night at Tootsie’s!

For more photos from the Opryland Hotel, visit my Nashville pictures page!

On Wednesday night, my sister, our friend Colette, and I boarded a plane (for the first time all together!) to Nashville.

In the security line, we jokingly got called out by a TSA agent for being troublemakers. Before we sat down, we asked the man in the adjoining seat if he would cry if we sat next to him. We thought it was nice of us to give him a fair warning.

When we got to Nashville, we met our friend’s aunt and uncle, who we were staying with. The five of us hit it off immediately- they’re the kind of people you feel instantly comfortable around. We heard so many inspirational stories from our friend’s aunt over Mexican food and margaritas.

The next morning, Sara Rose and I met up with Sam Davidson, our TEDxRaleigh amigo,

Off to Nashville this evening!

It’s has always been on my radar as a city that I had to visit, but my sister, our friend Colette, and I knew we had to book a trip when we saw $100 round-trip tickets on Southwest

Last weekend, I stayed in a beautiful lake mansion with some friends.

Transitioning back to the workweek after a

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+Cristina Roman