Staycation with the [Extended] Family

A much overdue recap of my family’s visit to Raleigh! Alternate title: Staycation with the Whole Fam Damily 🙂

Last Sunday morning, my uncle and cousins from Norway arrived in Raleigh for the first time ever! We were on a mission to show them the best of Raleigh without doing too much boring sightseeing  stuff [sightseeing is not terribly interesting to 13 and 15 year olds, apparently!]. The highlight of seeing them is always just hanging out, catching up, and acting like kids, so we wanted to focus on that.

Took them to Cracker Barrel for the first time

Spent the day at pool having raft races & attempting to stand up on our rafts

Enjoyed a mocha coconut Starbucks frappuccino

Had a cook out with several of our close friends

Went back to the pool for boys vs girls pool volleyball

Ate brunch at Flying Biscuit, where we may or may not have filled a glass of water with all the condiments on our table and then dared each other to drink it [we’re a very mature family]

Got ice cream at Yummy Monkey [coffee & rocky road]

Roller skated at Wheels in Durham to Call Me Maybe and Justin Bieber

Ate pork nachos and chicken tacos at Raleigh Times

Spun in our office chairs to make ourselves dizzy

Ate a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s [my strawberry banana smoothie was delicious]

Spent the day at Frankie’s Fun Park on the bumper boats, playing laser tag, and doing go-karts

Saw TED at the North Hills movie theatre

Ate brunch at NOFO & explored the cute market

Ate more Yummy Monkey ice cream [mint chocolate chip & coffee]

Unfortunately, they had to leave on Wednesday evening. It was so sad saying goodbye, as it always is.

Love you, Norway fam 🙂 

wrapping up the weekend

I’m a big fan of Sundays- I generally have no obligations, I give myself a “lazy pass,” and it’s a day to recap the weekend and look forward to the week.

Speaking of recapping {though it doesn’t relate to this weekend}- I love the expression “The best part of a Saturday night out is the Sunday morning recap.” I remember so many days in college where we’d have a fun night out and spend hours recounting and dissecting it over Sunday brunch 🙂

But back to this weekend! As I mentioned, my dad is in town for the weekend, so we wanted to show him our lives in Raleigh. On Friday, he and I went to breakfast at Flying Biscuit, where I ordered my go-to: the Eggs-Ceptional Eggs {“two large farm fresh eggs over medium, on black bean cakes topped with oven-roasted tomatillo salsa, feta cheese & sour cream served with creamy dreamy grits”- soo good!}.

On Friday evening, we met up for dinner at David’s Dumpling, where Sara and I split an order of soft shell crab with seaweed salad and I ordered the Vietnamese pho as my main course! I love how David {the owner} is always there to check in on customers. And they always bring a different seasonal soup sample to the table- this time it was chilled cucumber soup. Delicious but not quite as killer as last fall’s carrot ginger soup.

Pho

 

Can you see how our family revolves around food? All of our family vacations sound like this: “Let’s get breakfast then hang out. Then we’ll eat lunch here and then just chill or nap. Then where should we go to dinner?” Haha!

I was going to check out the Museum of Natural Sciences’ special 24 hour grand re-opening after dinner, but I opted to climb into bed with a good novel instead. I’ve been uncharacteristically exhausted all week, so I wanted to get some extra rest.

On Saturday we headed out to Pittsboro to volunteer with Carolina Tiger Rescue for Change the Triangle’s April event. The experience was SO neat- it deserves its own post {with photos!}. But here’s a fun fact: apparently tiger spray smells like buttered movie theatre popcorn. Strange, right?!

After the volunteer event, we tried to attend Cuegrass, Raleigh’s annual BBQ + bluegrass festival, but decided to choose an indoor activity once the rain started pouring. Speaking of movie theatre popcorn…we headed off to see 21 Jump St {where we befriended the manager and got free movie tickets haha!}. Hilarious movie- see it if you haven’t! The rest of Saturday was pretty uneventful and may or may not have ended up with another early night in bed- lame I know 🙂

Sunday’s agenda: farmers’ market and brunch, picking out herbs, and seeing where the day takes us…

highlights of the week

Finishing up taxes

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In spite of the fact that I hate managing financials {or I suppose because I hate managing financials} I felt incredibly empowered going through the process, learning about income and deductions, and mailing off my forms.

Blog group potluck

The blog girls and I are having a group potluck on Thursday! Laura of Taking Back My Twenties graciously offered to host, so we’re having the potluck in her chic Durham apartment {I know what it looks like from her blog, of course!}. The theme is Around the World, so I’m excited to see what a group that includes a few food bloggers can come up with!

My stepdad’s birthday

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 Happy happy birthday to the greatest stepdad ever! Thanks for helping us with taxes, storing our random belongings, laughing at our inappropriate jokes, and listening  to the painfully awful songs we create for you {good times were had by all, by all by all by all….}

Home decor

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I’m in the home stretch of my self-prescribed home decorating deadline. I made some good progress this week, including hanging corkboards in the kitchen for recipe inspiration; revamping some black and silver end tables {one will go in the entryway for keys, one will stay by the couches as an end table}; painting hooks and a corkboard to hang by the front door; and trying to figure out how to hang napkins as decor on the dining room wall.

Dad visiting

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My dad is coming from the faraway land of Costa Rica to visit for the weekend! We have big plans, like going to a Durham Bulls game, picking up a housewarming plan for me at the farmers’ market, brunching, showing off our office, and lots more 🙂

last day in norway

Our last day in Norway was one of the most beautiful in terms of the views and landscape. We parked the car in Os, which is very close to Bergen, and took a stroll past incredible houses; sat for awhile on a rock overlooking a fjord; walked on a rocky coast, wandered around the grounds of an extravagant inn; and then ate lunch at a casual pizza place on the water.

 

missing norway

Back in Raleigh after a fantastic trip to Norway. I’m fully moved into my new apartment, which I’m psyched about, but I’ll miss:

Being able to read a newspaper outside at midnight

Being woken up by my adorable cousins every morning

Dinners where all six of us die laughing (so hard we spit out our water!)

Kronis ice creams

Boat rides on the fjord

Sushi and Chinese food..very Norwegian 🙂

Hikes, cable car rides, and train rides up beautiful mountains with incredible views

SingStar (singing competition video game)

Endless movies on the couch during rainy days

Sleeping in till 11am (and maybe 12pm once or twice!)

Bread with butter, cheese, salami, and cucumber every morning

Being detached from my phone for 10 days

And so much more!

an incredible gift from my incredible sister

When I left for college, my sister bought me a book of photos featuring landmarks in the Triangle. I didn’t appreciate the significance back then because, as I mentioned before, North Carolina was just a stepping stone for me. However, I’ve always kept the book- which shows the North Carolina State Fair, our childhood favorite Pullen Park, and Duke Gardens, among many other places close to my heart- in a prominent spot in my dorms and apartment.

When I graduated from college some three long- and short- weeks ago, my sister gave me a book of Washington, DC photographs- photographs of the historic landmarks I pass every day on my walk to work or on my morning run. The White House, the Arlington Bridge, the Georgetown Waterfront.

In the front of the book, she inscribed the following message, which brought me (and still brings me) to tears:

Cris,

As you end this phrase of your life and begin an exciting new adventure, hold on to these four years and the place that shaped who you are today. You left NC and fell in love while you were away. I hope this book makes sure you always remember another city that holds a special place in your heart. I love you, and I am so incredibly proud of you. Here’s to the start of your new life in Raleigh.

I love you!

Sara Rose

I plan to showcase these books, side by side, in my new apartment because to me, they represent both my close friendship with my sister and my close tie to two incredible, life-changing cities.

{Thank you for putting up with this corny post 🙂 }

raleigh- reflecting on my decision to return to my homeland!

If you had asked me freshman year- or even junior year- if I would ever move back to North Carolina, I would- and did- laugh. “Absolutely not,” I would say. To me, North Carolina was just an incidental stop- albeit an eighteen year stop- on my way to bigger and better things. Hence my decision to attend The George Washington University in Washington, DC-  a city that is both geographically and culturally between the North and the South.

But here I stand (while, I’m technically lying in bed) a college graduate and in 51 short days, I’ll be moved into an adorable one bedroom apartment near downtown Raleigh, conveniently located approximately .01 miles from my big sister’s condo.

After taking a 4 year break from the Triangle, I realize it really does have it all.

I can drive with the windows down and the radio blasting. The baristas at Starbucks know my order. Strangers in the photo store start conversations about Habitat for Humanity. The volunteer scene is bumpin’ (yeahhh Change the Triangle). Chamber of Commerce staff members take the time to provide an in-depth and personalized response to my form email inquiry. The weather is stunningly beautiful the majority of the time. People are active- hiking, biking, running, etc. Smoking is banned from bars and restaurants. There are several cool co-working spaces. It was named #3 on Best Places to Launch [a business] in 2009 and #8 on Best Cities for Recent College Grads. There is a kitchen incubator nearby (in Durham). Interesting places like CAM Raleigh open everyday. My sister is a hop, skip, and a 30 second drive away. There are hundreds of off-the-beaten path day trips accessible from Raleigh-Durham [I bought that book for my sister and plan to make good use of it]. The mountains and the beach are both within several hours’ drive. There are several lakes nearby, including Kerr, Jordan, and Lake Johnson. Live music events like Thursdays at North Hills and Fridays at Seaboard Station fill the summer. Cool concerts come to the Lincoln Theater, the Raleigh Amphitheater, and Time Warner Pavillon all the time. Events like First Friday, Cuegrass, and the St. Patty’s Day Parade are a nearly everyday occurrence. LivingSocial has an awesome selection of local deals here. Hardware store employees bring treats for your dogs. People spend summer nights grilling and playing corn-hole in their yards. It’s perfectly acceptable to go out at night in Rainbow flip flops. The rent is absurdly affordable. Trader Joe’s has established stores in the area. Triangle Sports Club has fun intramural leagues for young professionals. Meetup groups are active and many.

It’s the best of both worlds- a big city with a small town feel. Cultural events are incredibly accessible, but there is still a warm “down home” feeling when you walk down the street. I’m proud to call myself a [future] Raleigh resident.

sister entrepreneurship

I was chatting with a co-worker recently about how we both wanted to start businesses with our sisters.

“Sister entrepreneurship” is all the rage right now: Katherine and Sophie, the “sister-owners” of Georgetown Cupcake now have their own TV show, called DC Cupcakes. The Kardashian sisters co-own Dash, a line of clothing stores. Apparently the rollable footwear line FootzyRolls was started by sisters Sarah and Jenifer.

Who better to start a company with than your sister? In the case of me and my sister, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we push each other in a positive way, we’re more productive when we can bounce ideas off each other..and we have an absolute blast together.

We’ve talked about a promotion company, which would leverage both our shared strengths and our unique skill sets. For example, we are both very capable in terms of promoting, but I am more experienced with social media, while she is great at interpersonal communication.

Sure, there are risks involved. There have been many times that my sister has helped me out financially or I’ve fronted money for our phone bill. Having both of our assets wrapped up in the same company is more financially risky. Most importantly, there is always the possibility that a work issue will affect personal relationships.

Should we decide to move forward with our venture idea, I’d insist on a “sister contract.” This document would essentially say that, if push came to shove, our relationship would take precedence over our business. Also, it sounds incredibly silly, but we take pinky promises very seriously. They basically constitute a sisterhood pact; they are never to be broken. A pinky promise about family over business would definitely be in order!

Any other “sister-owners” you know of out there (famous or not)?

nearing the end of the semester…

…which means:

  • Long nights out on patios with friends, beautiful weather…and Coronas!
  • Camping with frolfing [frisbee golf!], s’mores, campfires, country music, and Bojangle’s
  • Art museum to see the Close to Home: Photographers and Their Families exhibit
  • Long walks through the city
  • Last minute extra credit assignments
  • My first and last afternoon in the library this semester
  • Last day of classes tomorrow!
  • Finishing up my final photo assignment
  • Resolving last minute graduation issues
  • Finally downloading Google Chrome [such an upgrade over Safari!]
  • New recipe inspiration [coming soon!]
  • Awesome multimedia presentation on GW Bites and two other GW-based businesses. Thanks to Andrea, Rachel, and Scott 🙂
To my awesome sister, Miss Sara Rose Roman: kudos for how incredibly strong, proactive, and inspirational you are! Love you so much.

the good, the bad, & the senior year

This week has been a bit up and down- mostly great but some hard things as well.

The Bad:

  • Horrible tornados hit Raleigh and Eastern NC this weekend, killing at least 45 and injuring many more. It was really scary to be on the phone with my sister as she heard the tornado coming, but thank goodness she (and everyone else I know down there) is okay. One neat thing is how the community is apparently really coming together to help each other. Donate to the Triangle Red Cross here and find Raleigh volunteer events through Change the Triangle.
  • I came down with another cold!

Good:

  • My friends and I spent Sunday on a Crab Boat Cruise in the Potomac. Sunny day, lots of crab, and new friends- can’t complain!
  • I found out that my new niece or nephew will be a…NEPHEW! So excited for baby #2 🙂
  • I’m being flown to Raleigh on Thursday to work an event for my company. I feel like such a grown up taking a business trip 🙂 So excited to see everyone down there, especially my sister of course.
  • I met Ben Stein in Starbucks! He walked over to me and said “You’re going to be the most successful person in here because you’re the only one smiling.” Wooo that definitely made me smile even more!
  • My professor loved the first draft of my Human Services paper. I’m writing a diversified funding plan for my sister’s organization Change the Triangle, and I think I have some good fleshed out ideas. Best of all, it’s a memo, so in the “From” part, I put “Roman Enterprise Consulting.” Foreshadowing, anyone?
Coming up:
  • Raleigh!
  • Camping for one night in Pohick Bay
  • Last week of classes
  • Final photography portfolio
  • Getting back to cooking
  • More blogging