Fall Bucket List 2013 Final Wrap-Up

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

When I looked at my phone this morning and saw “December 23” I couldn’t believe it. Not only is it in the upper 70’s here in Charleston, but I’m working today and tomorrow. So it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet. Although, Greg and were super productive and in the holiday spirit this weekend. We finished our Christmas shopping, wrapped all of the presents, and I cleaned almost the entire house in preparation to go out of town for several days.

Side note: When I was younger, I never understood why my mom spent so much time cleaning right before we left for vacation. What was the point?! I get it now!! I absolutely hate coming back home to a messy house when I already have a suitcase full of dirty laundry and am too exhausted from the travel to even think about cleaning. Nowadays I make a point to wash as much laundry, clean as many dishes, and vacum as many floors as possible before leaving town. Like mother like daughter! …almost. I’m not quite as clean as my mom.

Okay so enough with that. Now that it is officially WINTER, I want to do a final wrap-up of my Fall Bucket List. Remember this?:

I already went over #1, #3, and #6 here.  
So how did I do on the rest?
#2. I made pumpkin donuts and double chocolate pumpkin cupcakes. No pumpkin muffins this year, but I can’t complain. 
#4. Greg and I fulfilled this dream of going to a Panther’s game last weekend when they beat the Jets! It was so much fun spending the day in Charlotte and seeing my our boyfriend Cam in real live action.
#5. We did roast marshmallows and make s’mores, but not over our own fire pit. Our backyard/patio is currently a much delayed work in progress as we wait for our patio stones to be delivered. 
#7. I made it to the Farmer’s Market once or twice this fall. It’s losing my interest though, unless I have a specific gift to buy or have out of town visitor’s. I have found the The Vegetable Bin (which I previously posted about here) has the same produce for much cheaper! 
#8. We took Zoey to the beach on Thanksgiving Day. Oh my goodness, she LOVED it. The beach that is, not the water. So you can imagine her fear when she accidentally chased another dog into some standing water and refused to move for 10 minutes. It was in the low 30’s outside, so the water was freezing as well. What a little baby!! Gotta love her. 
#9. Okay so how terrible is it that the one thing I did NOT do on my list was volunteer? Ugh. #ImNotABadPersonIPromise!
Skipping right ahead…
#10. Although I love dates of all kinds, breakfast dates always feel so special to me. It’s nice to spend a lazy Saturday morning sipping coffee and eating a pastry with Greg by my side. With the hustle and bustle of our lives right now, it doesn’t get to happen often. I am happy to say we got to do this a few times this fall.
And that’s it! Fall 2013 is history. Bring it on, Winter! (just as long as temperatures remain in the 60’s/70’s, even though I know that’s not happening). 
On another note, you may have noticed my serious decline in posting recently. To be honest, I don’t anticipate that changing for a few more weeks. Part of it has been due to the fact our wireless internet modem broke last week, so we’ve been disconnected whether we like it or not. And the other part of it is simply due to the extreme craziness of the holiday season. 
I’ll re-evaluate when we get back from visiting family in North Carolina and Ohio this week and next. Until then, MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND VERY SAFE TRAVELS!!!!

Charlotte’s Energy Cafe

I spent this past weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. I have driven through Charlotte a zillion times, but have only actually been to the city once and it was only for an hour or so. I was looking forward to the entire weekend there.

The best part about visiting a new city for me is discovering the food!! Greg even helped me with this by looking up some places to eat. I was extra surprised when he named a place called Energy Cafe. Sounds like my kind of place (maybe my food habits are rubbing off on him after all). Not to mention it has a 100% rating on Urbanspoon. I had never seen that before.

Energy Cafe on Urbanspoon

When we got to the cafe, it was dead. The only thing keeping it alive were the bright lights and vivid colors on the walls. Just standing inside the place will energize you, no need for the food. Wait, who am I kidding? Always a need for good food.

It doesn’t necessarily look great when a restaurant doesn’t have any customers inside, granted it was in between normal meal times (2:30pm) and located in the middle of the business district. So the local workers had already come and gone during their lunch break, leaving the restaurant free to be enjoyed by Greg and me.

All of the ingredients were colorful and fresh. There were plenty of options between salads, wraps, sandwiches, snacks and even smoothies.

I had the Signature Salad- bed of greens topped with grilled chicken, apples, mandarin oranges and walnuts. Plus sliced red onion per my needy request 🙂 This all sounds great, but the selling factor of this salad for me though was the raspberry vinaigrette dressing. It never gets old. Any menu item listing raspberry vinaigrette as an ingredient automatically catches my eye. 
The box the salad came in looked small and shallow from the outside. I was worried my order wouldn’t be enough to satisfy my empty stomach from the car ride into the city. I was wrong. Looks can be deceiving and that is definitely true in this case. The salad was more than enough and the variety of toppings and flavors did not leave me unsatisfied (as can sometimes be the case when I order salads). 
Greg got the Southwestern Turkey Wrap- turkey, black beans, corn, guacamole, red peppers, tomato, mixed greens, cheese and a chipotle ranch dressing in a whole wheat wrap. As if THAT wasn’t good enough, they grill it for you to heat it up and add those beautiful grill marks on top.
I was jealous. But I have been working on not stealing bites of Greg’s food when mine is perfectly fine. So I let him have it all to himself.
When we finished our meals, I saw the most exciting sign I have ever seen. 
WHAT!?! How kind of them! 
Then I went to get a bowl to eat my free yogurt out of…but there were no bowls. Or cups. I don’t even know what you call these:
But you can be sure Greg and I took advantage of the tiny container and filled it with as much cookies and cream frozen yogurt as we possibly could. 
We went to a couple of other restaurants in Charlotte, but nothing spectacular. An Italian restaurant here, a sports bar there. Those were good, but Energy Cafe is definitely somewhere I would go to again. It is a great place for a light lunch. Even if you only get a bite of frozen yogurt with your meal, it’s worth it.