Tag: North Carolina

Maryland Crab Soup

Growing up in Southeastern Pennsylvania, seafood from the Chesapeake was a norm.

One of my favorite recipes is Maryland Crab Soup cause I LOVE Old Bay anything and this is basically Old Bay soup. YAS.

Now, I am not a chef guys…I just cook things and eat them with no exact measurements or professional training…so bear with me as I share my ridiculous ways.

Okay so you’ll need a big pot cause you’ll want leftovers. It’s always better the next day, right?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of small red potatoes (cubed)
  • Lima beans
  • Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Cooked carrots (chopped up)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 cans of crab meat (feel free to mix in claw meat or whatever you want)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • Chopped onion
  • Worcestershire
  • Salt & Pepper

1. Cut up the potatoes and boil them until you can pierce them with a fork easily. While they are boiling-chop up the onion and saute it with some avocado oil until soft.

2. In a large pot (remember you want leftovers) bring your crushed & stewed tomatoes, beef broth, a splash of Worcestershire, and water to a boil. Now, here’s where I’m no help because I totally eyeball how much water and taste test as I go. Add some Old Bay in there too (I add it throughout the entire process in excess) Once it’s all nice and mixed up turn it down to a simmer.

3. Add your onions, corn, green beans, cooked carrots, lima beans,and potatoes. I add the crab meat last and gentle stir so it doesn’t get totally shredded in the mix.

4. Lastly, add Old Bay to taste, salt, and pepper. I literally add so much Old Bay it is unreal. So, if you want my measurement probably about half the can? #notsorry

I recommend eating it with bread 👌🏻

Cornmaze, Pumpkins, and Hayrides, Oh my!

Gallberry Farm was so. much. fun.

It totally wore my girls out so I give it a solid A+

The Mclean family is the sweetest.

Marcus Mclean owns the farm and his dear mother can be found running the show.

His goal with opening the corn maze was to provide wholesome family fun on the land he grew up on.

I really appreciate all that they have to offer because it got my kids active, let their imaginations run wild, and definitely got us in the fall spirit.

Not to mention, their pumpkins are beautiful! This was the first time I had seen “Cinderella” pumpkins and they are a total game changer guys.

I think my girls favorite part was the barrel train and the tube slides. They repeatedly went on these while mama took a break. #justsayin

We also took a hayride which took me back to when I was a kid. It’s a necessity.

The highlight of the farm is their huge corn maze which featured a patriotic theme this year. They also have a smaller maze for tiny tots!

maze2018
Gallberry Corn Maze

I really love that they have a variety of activities for all ages and your experience is very personable. In fact, I just spoke with Jeanette, the mama, and I believe I’ll be taking my girls back this weekend!

Music City-and I didn’t even have to travel

Wooden lit up stage

Guitars jammin

Tunes flowin

Cowgirl boots & dresses, flashing lights, Elvis statues & musicians on every corner hoping for their big break.

I remember walking down Broadway Street in Nashville, TN for the first time like it was yesterday…at 10:00 am.

Yep, it’s the city where music and dreams never sleep. It’s something else.

Music City captures Nashville to a T. I got that Nashville vibe right off the bat and became so invested in the characters as the layers of the story unfolded. I laughed, I cried, I gave Alyssa the “did you see that?” look.Now there is NOT much that makes this Billy Joel lovin’ girl cry but, this musical hit home. Serious props to everyone involved in this production.

So much has gone into bringing this show to life. I got to hear first hand how the story has evolved and let me tell you-it has come a long way! It’s amazing what details change and the thought that goes into it in order to create just the right feeling.

I left with a serious appreciation for what it takes to put on a show like this.

The choreography was done by Tyce Diorio who is well known for his work on the show, “So You Think You Can Dance”. He has choreographed many stars and has won a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding choreography. The quality of work that went into this is obvious.

Pretty cool if you ask me!The show ended with a standing ovation and conversations of appreciation filled the lobby.

I’m seriously considering going to see it again.

Like today.

Kaylyn Marie who plays “23”

The “I want to buy everything” Crate.

The Apple Crate Natural Market is like every food I have ever dreamed of in one cozy brick & mortar.Seriously, a family owned business that stocks everything from paleo bread and local eggs to sage for smudging and amber teething necklaces. This store is my jam.

Some of my fave coffee mix-ins from The Apple Crate & Cinnamon from Leclair’s

I’m talking every herb/supplement I can think of, Vital Proteins, Siete chips, Kite-hill almond milk cream cheese. Yas.

I instantly fell in love with with this market when I walked through the doors with my then 2 and 3 year old and we were greeted by a warm smile, organic lollipops-

…and that nod of “you got this mama” that we all need when we enter a grocery store with children.

The smell of essential oils and all things good hit me and I knew I found my little corner of Fayetteville.

The variety is impressive but the friendly vibe keeps me coming back. Honestly, I would drop in on a Saturday just to chat with everyone (and probably leave with a basket full because who can resist!!)

Some of my fave products:

  • Epic Provisions Bone Broth
  • Vital Proteins Collagen
  • Kite Hill Chive Almond Milk Cream Cheese
  • Tribucha Kombucha
  • Siete Chips
  • Simple Mills Crackers
  • The fact that they have every herb and supplement you could need
  • Sage for smudging
  • Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (yassss)
  • Hail Merry anything
  • So much-I don’t know where to draw the line.

Art & Music

Art and music

The first day of high school art class my teacher told us to bring CDs. (I know, CDs… iPhones were definitely not a thing yet guys)

“Art and music go together!” Those words stuck in my head.

It’s about the process.

That concept of “the process” came up again in college when I was a fine arts major in a drawing class.

I was made to appreciate the work the artist put in-not just the finished product.

How the artist struggled with form and you could see it on the page…that hadn’t occurred to me. Once it did though, I looked at art in a new light.

That process of how a piece is created directly impacts the outcome.

A simple pencil drawing shows lines, even erased lines, and you can almost imagine what was going through their head when they drew them.

There are some paintings that have layers upon layers of paint. They’re almost 3D. You can see that struggle the artist had finding the form and bringing out the colors. It intrigues me.

Sometimes when I see a piece of art that looks like the artist really struggled, I wonder if they were going through something in their life. Often times you can see that artists take out their emotions in their work and it tells a story on its own, separate from the content of the piece.

The pressure they used, the speed at which they laid the lines down, is it a mess? Was the form carefully constructed? It really makes a difference.

Music flows much like art. It facilitates that process. Once I find that place where I’m inspired and have a direction-it just flows.

Whenever I get done with a drawing my mind feels clear-like I emptied it right on the page. I definitely put my emotions into my art. And when you consider how music expresses emotion-it just all kinda ties together, doesn’t it?

I often listen to mellow music when I create to remind myself to slow down and pause before making decisions on the paper. I need that reminder because I get excited and just go! I’ve learned that just throwing lines carelessly on paper does not work for me. I always hate the outcome.

So in order to love my work, I have to force myself to entertain a process that doesn’t come naturally to me. That process being patience. Ha.

Patient mood, calm music drawing: (attention to detail, thoughtfully placed lines)

Fun, faster music with less care to detail:(Less care with lines, a little more hectic looking, can you see the difference in style?)

While patience takes practice, I do enjoy building values in a drawing. Often times there’s this struggle of:

    Will this work?
    It might, I’ll draw it.
    It’s not working
    I hate it
    Maybe I can fix it
    It’s working now
    Okay, I dig it
    I gotta start dinner-I’ll finish this next year. (Real talk)

Pushing myself to get through those beginning unsure steps can be a challenge. I always try to decide if I’m wasting my time on an idea or if I just need to work out the details.

Listening to music helps my momentum. I’ll often just sing and jam and draw and let the hours go by and then I have an almost finished drawing in front of me.

I’ll be honest I have a TON of drawings that I’ve started and haven’t finished. I have ideas I want to get on paper but don’t typically have time to complete them.

Lately I’ve been making time though and you can read about that journey here.

So that’s my long, drawn out way of telling you that I think art is persuaded by music and that music is like a train that takes my mind from idea to creation. I dig that. Plus who doesn’t want to sing at the top of their lungs while drawing like a weirdo?

It turns out starting a business is hard.

Entrepreneur to Avocado. What gives? Let me explain.

So, a few years back I came up with a design for a hands-free dog walking belt because at the time my daughters were 1 and 2 years old and I never had a free hand.

I saw that other mothers were struggling to push a stroller and walk their dog. I wanted to create a product that contributed to a better quality of life so that people could step back and enjoy what they were doing rather than have their hands full.

There were similar products on the market but I chose to differentiate mine by adding certain features. It was cool. It worked.

I’ve always had a fascination with bringing the ideas in my head into fruition. Whether it be a product, a photo, a drawing-I love seeing things come to life. It’s my passion.

Is that still one of my businesses?

While it was super cool to do, it is no longer my business. I handed the business over to the manufacturer when I realized it had played itself out and it was time to move on to something new.

One of the hard parts about being an entrepreneur is that you have to know when the life cycle of your product is coming to an end. It may be time to close shop or just time to evolve.

It takes grit to start a business but it takes a certain amount of humility to know when to walk away.

So what is Guac & Soul? What’s the deal with the avocado? What’s happening?

Guac & Soul was created by me. I started my Instagram, @guac_n_soul by posting about mom life and my art mostly as a hobby. When I decided to focus on social media marketing, I began growing the platform and focusing on collaborating with businesses in the community.

On that note, I love music. Like, LOVE. Who doesn’t? So I wanted something like “rock n’ roll” but I also really love food. Mostly healthy food with a side of nachos. So “Guac & Soul” was born. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it!

Anywho, the decision to focus my platform on small businesses had a domino effect and lead to my full time position at The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development where I have resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs right here in the city I live in! I love my job. Love.

I mean, the idea of collaborating with and supporting small businesses became a tangible job. Grateful is an understatement.

So basically, I got tired of trying to find a marketing job after interviewing for a year so I decided to create my own job which lead to my actual dream job. I don’t sit still very well so thank goodness.

Recently my co-workers and friends inspired me to start blogging in addition to my Instagram and that has been a fun outlet for me. I mean, here I am! So I guess I’m digging it.

I’ve also recently begun to monetize my social media platforms so I suppose I’m still in the entrepreneur game in that respect. I’ll probably always have some type of side hustle. I can’t resist the challenge of building something and social media has definitely been an interesting challenge.

My entrepreneurial motivations have definitely changed since I first started all of this. My goal went from having my own venture to using my knowledge to help other entrepreneurs succeed in theirs.

Again, I now work in the Women’s Business Center at CEED where we empower women to succeed. In fact, we have a huge fundraiser coming up in October called Over the Edge where people in the community have a chance to rappel off of a building here in Fayetteville to celebrate a milestone such as opening a business or a personal accomplishment.

I love to celebrate the success of others and I’m so proud of the entrepreneurs in this community.

If I could tell you anything it would be: Your business will be your baby. Working for yourself is much harder than working for anyone else. You will have to be very disciplined to make it flourish and get it to a self-sustaining point. It’s entirely doable, but you have to know going into it that

The moments of accomplishment will keep you going.

The absolute most exciting moment was getting that shelf-ready, packaged product on my doorstep. I literally cried tears of joy. It was such a journey to get to that point and took a great level of determination. It was very gratifying to have something I dreamed up become a tangible product.

So, is entrepreneurship innate or what?

For me personally, I have an innate need to create. Before I had a paint set I would paint on printer paper with nail polish. When I was in elementary school I spent a summer saving up for a Minolta camera. I wanted to take pictures and I remember being so curious about that art form. I’m stubborn about my curiosity. I’ll make it happen. I suppose that’s another innate quality, curiosity. I’m ridiculously curious.

Creativity and curiosity are a strong mixture for an entrepreneur to have.

When I’m not working I am playing with my daughters, cooking, creating art, dancing to Billy Joel in my kitchen, or working out. I also really like to clean. Like, a lot. Probably more than necessary.

Honestly though, I work alot. When I go home I like to read marketing books. I’m always thinking of the next project. Some may call me a workaholic but I just really love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Maybe that’s another quality of an entrepreneur, we don’t really separate work from play-it’s all play for us and we’re happy to do it even when times are tough. It’s kind of a way of life.

Someone once told me business is the greatest game in the world if you know how to play it. That really resonates with me. Now, as someone who thrives on creating, I have learned the hard way over time that without discipline, I can create all day and it will go nowhere. I could decide to paint masterpieces but if I don’t have the discipline to finish them or market them, it won’t make a difference and will remain an unfinished hobby in my closet. I can’t think of anything sadder than potential collecting dust. I’m guilty of it though.While discipline and creativity are two sides of the same coin, it is very difficult to have both of those elements and personally, I must remind myself everyday to keep a balance between the two in order to be productive. I have many ideas and I can easily get carried away with starting a million projects but I have to have the discipline to focus my energy.

I constantly fail at things. I’m always learning. I could always do better, do more. It’s learning to do things better and integrating that into your work that makes the failures stepping stones and not setbacks.

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs:

Figure out your “why” and write it big and bold where you can see it every day. That’s what’s going to get you through those days, weeks, and even months in the trenches of the start-up days. Remember why you did this and keep your eye on the bigger picture.I’m often asked if I could start another business, would it be the same? Definitely not the same. I don’t like to look backwards. The world is constantly evolving and what was needed yesterday is no longer relevant today. I don’t have any plans to start another business-I really enjoying helping others start their own. You’ll often see me around town helping photograph products and setting up collaborations. That’s my jam and I can see myself in this for the long haul.

Can I borrow your crayons? Moms-listen up!

Yeah, moms an artist.

…and the apple didn’t fall far.

Creativity is time consuming though and it turns out, so is being a mom of two

So naturally, I haven’t focused on really creating much since my kidos were born.

5 years ago.

#oops

About a week ago I picked my pencils back up and now I can’t stop. It doesn’t make sense why I haven’t been making time for it.

I mean, I’ve been just a little busy raising two kids. Just a little.

But now those little girls are getting older and I’m starting to come out of that up-all-night, diapers and sippy cups phase. I’m entering the school-age phase (which is surprisingly still full of tantrums…darn.)

Anywho-

One of my daughters loves to draw too. It’s really all she does.Last week we sat and created and talked and it was one of those unforgettable moments where I wasn’t vacuuming goldfish crumbs or playing referee between my kids.

I pulled out one of my “serious” drawings (which I never do for fear of juice spills or something crazy) but I gave it a shot and it worked. I was simply just sitting and creating with one of my favorite human beings on the planet.

I remember drawing at the coffee table when I was her age. As I got a little older I would use nail polish as paints and hairspray as fixative. I was always making something-usually a huge mess. I always felt the innate need to make something and my parents let me.

I could never leave a blank surface alone. Imagine being the parent of that. Just imagine. #sorrymom *insert magic eraser advertisement here*

I’m the same way though. I’ve always encouraged my girls to make something-even if it’s a mess.

The first time Noelle drew on the wall I was so proud of her drawing that I took a photo of it.

You guys, I took a photo. Who does that? 🤣

I was sad when it came time to move and we had to paint over it. I cherished her creativity and I wanted it to flow freely.

Like that time she was 1 and I gave her paints and a pumpkin. She painted it and then rolled it across the kitchen floor. I call it the great pumpkin paint disaster of 2014. She loved it.

I loved that she loved it.

I fully regretted that enthusiasm when Orchid was born and markers+our white walls became her daily favorite thing. 🤦🏻‍♀️ but hey, we got through it 👍🏻

So, art has impacted all aspects of my life without really realizing it – including how I raise my children.

I won’t give you some cliche about how you should make time to do what you love cause you know what?

Parenting is flippin’ exhausting and we ‘re all just doing the best we can.

I mean, somedays I’m just proud of the fact my girls have on matching socks 🤷🏻‍♀️ #win

In a perfect world would we stay up after they go to sleep and do what we love? Would we set time aside in the day? Would I sit down and color Paw Patrol coloring book pages with my kids every morning?

Sure.

But sometimes we’re just tired. Sometimes we need to get things done. Sometimes we don’t make time for ourselves. And sometimes hobbies are shoved in a closet for years on end because play dates and blanket forts are more important and that’s perfectly okay.

My advice: don’t forget who you are mamas. It might take 5 years but, someday you’ll be able to incorporate that part of you into parenting and it’ll be one of those moments that trumps many others.

Someday instead of crayons and coloring book pages it’ll be sketchbooks and pencils and you’ll realize how fast it really does go and how epic it is to show them what you love.

If your passion is skydiving though, I would recommend just doing that by yourself. Not all hobbies are meant to be shared 💁🏻‍♀️ #justsayin