September Sights & Sounds

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Wouldn’t you know – the longer you look at the word September, the odder it looks! I was poking around the internet to find a September banner and I just thought that it looked so weird, ha-ha!

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Books I Read

The Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon – The fourth book in the Outlander series; this was a re-read for me after watching the first three seasons of Outlander with my Mom. It was just as good as the first time I read it and made me so excited for the upcoming fourth season of Outlander!

Books on the Shelf

I have absolutely nothing on my shelf that is currently begging to be read – so any and all suggestions are appreciated! I have several books that I “could” read but none are just tempting me at the moment. *sigh*

Must See TV/Bingeworthy 

The Mindy Project – I started watching this show on the recommendation of my sister and I could not love it more! The show is funny, heart-warming and wonderful and of course…I pretty much immediately fell in love with Danny Castellano, ha-ha! I just finished the third of six seasons, so I’ve still got a bit to see with this show but I can’t wait to see how it plays out!

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Escape to the Country – I could not love this show more if I tried! It’s like House Hunters but in the English countryside and every single thing about it fills my soul with absolute joy and happiness! A couple looking to escape the the country view three homes, the third being a “mystery house” and it’s interspersed with interesting lifestyle tidbits from the area of the English countryside that the home owners are looking to move to. It’s such a delight and you can find this on Netflix if you fancy checking it out!

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Movies of the Month

I have not gone to see a single movie this entire month. Not a one. Now – I did see Beauty & the Beast as part of a re-release on September 15th but I’m not going to count that here because I think it’s well documented that I’ve seen Beauty & the Beast many many times and you don’t need to know from me how wonderful it is – yet again, ha-ha!

Tasty Treats

I started the month with some tasty chicken stew that turned out really well in the crock pot – so good that I even blogged about it! I also tried a recipe for Sweet Corn Pasta that used corn kernels to make a sauce and it was divine – just typing about it makes me want another bowl. I had yummy pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls and tried some haggis at the Scottish Heritage Festival – I can’t say I’d eat it again, but at least I tried it!

The end of the month brought the delicious Limoncello Tortufa that was some sort of lemon and vanilla miracle in the shape of food! I also had Duck Donuts for the first time and tried Peanut Soup (yum!) and Syllabub (yum!) for the first time at King’s Arms Tavern!

Tunes & Talking

I’ve kept busy this month listening to some of my favorite podcasts: The Big Boo Cast, The Popcast with Knox & Jamie, Lore and Cabinet of Curiosities and when I wasn’t listening to a podcast I was probably listening the soundtracks from Game of Thrones and Outlander. I’ve also been frequenting a station called New Age Instrumental on Pandora, ha-ha! All the instrumental music for me please!

What I’m Looking Forward To

Happy Birthday to Me – I’m not sure how I’ll be celebrating my actual birthday (I’m in Asheville celebrating this weekend) on the 6th but I’m always glad to celebrate another year of life. Shortly before I turned 30, I really got into a funk about…turning 30…but I’ve come to realize that the alternative to celebrating another birthday is pretty grim, so I should celebrate life – regardless of my age. So here’s to 34! Yikes!

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I’ve got some get togethers with friends planned, two different Bible studies/ladies groups to attend all month, a ladies conference at church, hopefully taking in some gorgeous leaves as they turn and of course…at the end of the month is Halloween! October is sure to be a wonderful month!

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September was pretty slow and steady but Autumn is ramping up to be fun and I can’t wait!

Game of Thrones – Live in Concert

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled Five on Friday for this post about the Game of Thrones concert that I went to on Tuesday night in DC! The tickets were my Christmas present last year, so I’d been patiently waiting for the concert to make it’s way from the UK and arrive stateside – and the stop closest to me was DC, on September 25th!

I attended the concert last March as well and had such a wonderful time. I’ve mentioned before that I listen to a lot of instrumental music and the score for Game of Thrones is absolutely beautiful and provoking – I’m slightly inclined to think that Ramin Djawadi is something of a genius – he scores some of my favorite music to listen to (he not only scores Game of Thrones, but also does a fantastic job on the very different Westworld.)

The seats I was gifted (my Mom is the best at picking out seat y’all – the best) were on the second row and so close to the stage that when it snowed or leaves fell (we’ll get to that), they floated right over my friend Jennie and I. The seats were – in short – spectacular and I could not wait for the concert to start! Game of Thrones is currently in between seasons and as they make the final season (tears) with 6 episodes that will likely each be the length of a short movie, the break between last season and this season has been LONG.

Now – if you’ve never watched Game of Thrones then this post may not be too fascinating for you – but if you are a Game of Thrones fan, well I tried to include as much as I could! I took so many videos and I don’t want to overwhelm the post with videos, ha-ha!\

One of the first pieces to be performed was Winterfell – the theme of House Stark. A violinist was suspended in the air as she played the piece, being drawn into place to represent a Weirwood Tree – a symbol that is central to the faith that the Starks adhere to in the North. The song is beautiful and of course, I took video! How could I not?

Absolutely beautiful – isn’t it? Haunting and poetic…I just love this song! I also love how the creative minds work to place her solo performance in the show in this way – just fantastic!

The show is incredibly large and the cast is…generous, to say the least. Two of the characters who have spent earlier parts of the show far apart are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen – but in the seventh season their stories; which have often mirrored each other, finally merged. But before we could get to that – they showed the first love of Jon’s life – Ygritte… A fun fact for you? Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie, who play the characters Jon Snow and Ygritte were married this past summer – so I think that makes their portion of the show a little more touching, no?

You guys – that horn absolutely made the floor shake! The guy playing it was an incredible percussionist and he played numerous instruments throughout the show. I loved watching him play the didgeridoo but I do think the giant horn – called the wildling horn – was my favorite. As promised, after Jon’s story line…we got some of Daenerys’ story line as well!

I couldn’t not include this amazing video with Ramin just wailing on the guitar – this scene is one of my favorite scenes from Game of Thrones. If I’m being honest, all the scenes from Game of Thrones are my favorite scenes…ha-ha!

Following intermission, we picked back up with Jon Snow’s story (he’s become something of a central character) with the all important resurrection and the ensuing Battle of the Bastards – what may be the largest battle sequence ever filmed for television – as of right now. Apparently a battle in season eight will top that…

The scene depicted below is easily one of the most thrilling moments in the history of the show – I think the audience’s response when Jon Snow reaches for his sword makes that pretty obvious. I’m not a big fan of watching battles because I tend to be squeamish, but I am always impressed with what Game of Thrones delivers!

Another scene that was beyond memorable is also from season 6 – and the song that goes along with it; The Light of the Seven, is an almost ten minute marvel of music that builds and scales it’s way to a thundering conclusion.

This song was the conclusion to the show last year – filled with fire and bright green lights. It was no less impressive this year and when the song ended, the smoke wafted across us as it cleared the stage.

The show then moved on to moments from season seven – including the reunion between the Stark siblings, which was one of the most touching moments for me to watch.

The show moved on to one of the big battles from season seven – I call it the Field of Fire but I don’t think that’s what it was called in this particular episode. It was yet another moment in the show when favorite characters…after seven seasons…begin to collide and you aren’t really sure who you should cheer for!

I was thrilled to get such a good shot of Drogon from the battle – this whole portion of the show, with the lights and music – just incredible!

The final video that I will share covers the meeting and blossoming relationship between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, the Wolf and the Dragon. I cheered this relationship all season long…although I’m not so sure it will have a happy ending when it’s all said and done. I suppose you have to enjoy things while they are happening, right?

The show was absolutely so amazing – I hope they do a third tour, because I’ll be more than happy to get tickets again. The eighth season is not set to premiere until the middle of 2019 and there will be plenty more footage to score with excellent music.

Game of Thrones is so much more than a TV show and besides the incredible story that the show is telling, I know the music is one of my favorite things to come from the show. I am both looking forward to and dreading the final season – because all good things must end and that will be the end – but at least there will always be the gorgeous music to listen to!

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Winter is Here.

Going Colonial

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It has been quite the week y’all – it hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as I’d hoped although I did get safely to and from DC for the absolutely amazing Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience (pictures and videos to come…probably next week…we shall see..) but Wednesday was nothing more than an almost 24 hour headache and here I am today trying to fight off an “after shock” headache – you’ve got to love those migraines, am I right?

Beyond all that – let me get back to the past weekend spent in Williamsburg and finally share my pictures from Colonial Williamsburg. We came back into the center of Williamsburg on Saturday evening and perused the shops at Merchant Square before we ventured into the Colonial portion and I wandered up to the Governor’s Palace to snap a few dusk pictures…

I don’t remember on our previous visit getting to wander down the palace green and snap pictures of the Governor’s Palace but I made sure to do that this time. I was also pretty adamant about wanting to be in Colonial Williamsburg at dusk – there is just something slightly unearthly about seeing this little town come alive with lantern light…and knowing the colonial people used to roam these same streets by lantern light..and perhaps still do roam the streets once night has fallen? We didn’t take a ghost tour this time but we have before and it’s all delightfully eerie!

We made some purchases at the Peanut Shop and Wythe Candy and Gourmet, investigated all the amazing and unique cheese on sale at The Cheese Shop and my Dad and I discovered even more information about our Scottish ancestry at Scotland House, LTD. Apparently one of our descendants had a ballad written about him because he “slew a gigantic beast or worm”…in some writings it says he killed the last serpent in Scotland and that is why the coat of arms for our family has a dragon on it! How amazing is that? My ancestors were killers of giant snakes – I am all for that – I guess the dislike of snakes is also an inherited trait?

We had a late dinner at Sal’s by Victor Italian Restaurant and this was authentic Italian food, not your Olive Garden fettuccine alfredo (which I am definitely not hating on, I love that stuff so much – I just also know it’s not really authentic)… and the pizza that my Mom and I split was divine! I know I mentioned my dessert on the other post but it was easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten and I want to see if I can find another when I’m in Italy!

 

We started the morning on Sunday with Duck Donuts – a donut shop that originates out of Duck, North Carolina and is essentially a made to order donut shop. Now we have Duck Donuts here in our area of Virginia but we’ve just never made our way to one and Sunday seemed as good a day as any to give them a try! We had some really delicious donuts: blueberry pancake, s’mores, french toast, apple pie, lemon blueberry and pumpkin pie with strudel – my mouth is watering just thinking about them! It certainly wasn’t a healthy breakfast but it was tasty!

We popped into the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor’s Center after we’d have breakfast and perused the shops for a bit – I also came to the realization that the actual layout of Colonial Williamsburg is much larger than I’d thought. I purchased a Christmas gift for a certain someone and then we sought out the tavern guests parking and entered the Colonial area that way. I wanted so badly to have lunch or dinner at King’s Arms Tavern but we couldn’t seem to make a reservation…but aftern inquiring about eating lunch there, we learned it was first come/first serve at 11:30…and since it was 11:20, we perused a shop or two and then made our way back to the Tavern!

Now you may be wondering why I wanted to eat at King’s Arms Tavern so badly and I’ll be glad to tell you – I wanted to try the Peanut Soup! The King’s Arms Tavern is known for it’s peanut soup and I love all things peanut, so I wanted nothing more than to try some of it…and King’s Arms is the only tavern in Colonial Williamsburg that offer the lovely soup made of peanuts! I was just so pleased to have a seat and order some peanut soup – it really is the little things in life y’all!

I had the half sandwich and cup of peanut soup for my meal – and peanut soup tastes exactly the way I thought it would: like soupy, creamy and delicious peanut butter! I’m glad I opted to do a bowl because while it was delicious, it was also incredibly rich and I think an entire bowl would have been too much! When it came time for dessert, I also decided to branch out and I got Syllabub – the most historically accurate dessert on the menu; it’s made from cream mixed with white wine and sweetened with lemon, topped with fresh berries. It was delicious and I’m wondering why Syllabub isn’t really a thing anymore because it’s so tasty and good!

After our delicious lunch, we walked down the main street (Duke of Gloucester) to the government houses and then peeked in a few shops on our way back down the street. One of the most interesting items that I found was a mourning ring (pictured above) – which was normally a ring made from the silver a person inherited from a relative; they wore the ring for a year following the loved one’s death and then had the silver melted down as their inheritance. Isn’t that the most interesting thing? The rings were decorated with skulls and cross bones, so they almost looked like a sort of pirate ring or something… amusing to say the least!

It was threatening to rain and so we made our way past a few houses and a pen of sheep before hopping into the car to make our way home. We stopped in at the Yankee Candle Shop on our way out of town and then when traffic backed up on I-94, we decided to trust Google Maps and headed home via the back roads – which took some time off our drive and we got to see the countryside. We arrived home around 5:30 with Panda Express for dinner and a very happy puppy waiting to greet us (a friend watched him over the weekend).

Such a great weekend – I always love poking around Colonial Williamsburg and seeing all the sights!

Watson Wednesday

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Watson has never hesitated to do whatever it takes to get a bite of food – this picture popped up on my Time Hop and I couldn’t resist sharing it! He’s managed to balance himself with two back paws on the ottoman, one paw on my leg and the other floating in mid-air… but hey – he did get to lick the soup bowl!

Just Around the River Bend

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Well – Monday was wild y’all. I just felt like my head was spinning by the time the day was over and this week as a whole is going to be eventful in and of itself – I’m headed into DC tonight with a friend for Game of Thrones in concert, I’m having dinner with some of my favorite ladies after work on Wednesday and then it’s home to pack (again) and after work on Thursday, I’ll be Asheville bound for a long weekend to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Whew!

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We spent last weekend in Williamsburg – we’d originally planned to be there for an air show but my Dad decided about a week out that he’d rather do other things in the area and my Mom and I happily agreed. We arrived around 9:30 on Friday night; Williamsburg is only about 2.5 hours from our house but between stopping for dinner and tons of North Carolina folks trying to get back to their homes, the traffic was a little more hectic than usual.

After a delicious breakfast at the Colonial Pancake House (things have to be on theme y’all) we headed over to Jamestown Settlement – a first for me. Over ten years ago we vacationed to the Northern Virginia area and visited Jamestown but the portion we toured was the area set up as a recreation of the settlement, while this time we went to the actual site of the Jamestown settlement and fort. I thought it was absolutely fascinating and was taking it all in from moment one – I love history so much!

The settlement was chartered in 1606 and established in 1607 and was the first colony in North America to be sustained – which was kind of a big deal. The original fort and settlement was right at the edge of the James’ River and saying that the colony was the first to be sustained is a tenuous use of the word sustained – the colonists struggled to make a good life and while the Powhatan Indians were initially welcoming, that relationship quickly became quarrelsome and wouldn’t be repaired until Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.

We listened to a historian talking at length about the “starving time” that took place in the winter of 1609 – a third boatload of colonists had arrived but the colonists already living at Jamestown still had not yet found a way to provide for themselves to sustain through the winter – and now they had more mouths to feed. Archaeologists discovered a trash pit near the church and inside they found human skeletal remains of a 14 year old girl that give clear evidence that the settlers turned to cannibalism in the winter of 1609. The young girl was most likely an indentured servant and so not as “valuable” as other members of the colony – but I cannot remember if she was killed for food or if she died from natural causes… either way – not a great look.

I snapped several pictures around the colonies and even grabbed a couple shots inside the museum – until my Dad whispered to me “there are cameras watching you and you aren’t supposed to take pictures…” I thought I was being sneaky and no one ever came to throw me out, so maybe it’s fine? The very first set of remains that was excavated at Jamestown were of a man and the cause of death was quite apparent – because a lead bullet was lodged in his skeleton – he was shot in the leg and bled out due to the injury. After perusing the museum, we walked back through the settlement and I couldn’t resist snapping a picture standing in the exact spot where Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.

I loved every minute of exploring Jamestown – I usually make fun of my younger sister because she reads so many things but I probably could have poked around investigating things a bit longer. I stopped to listen to the Native American gentleman speaking about the Powhatan tribe and after a few minutes, I looked up to see I’d been left. My parents just kept walking and had moved on to other things, ha-ha! We made a stop on our way out at the glassworks – the settlers tried to create glass to send back to the UK to sell for profit but the venture(s) weren’t ever very successful because the timber they used for fuel never quite achieved the temperature needed to perfect the glass making process.

I got a wee glass ghost to commemorate our little visit to Jamestown and then we made our way across town to Yorktown Landing and Yorktown Battlefield to have a bit of lunch and look around. We had lunch at a restaurant located at Yorktown Landing (delicious black bean and sausage soup) and walked along the York River for just a bit before visiting the Yorktown Battlefield museum and watching the educational video (wherein my Mom quips “so I guess we won the battle at Yorktown?” *facepalm*). We also discovered a book with George Washington’s Rules for Decorous Living and precisely broke one of them: “do not laugh loudly in public”…because we were absolutely wailing at some of them.

After driving around the battlefield a bit, we drove over to Langley AFB and my Dad took in all the static aircraft displays while my Mom and I hit up the Starbucks. Once he was done snapping pictures, we drove back to Williamsburg to peruse the the Merchant Square shops and snap some pictures of Colonial Willamsburg at dusk – which I did. I’m going to share those photos in a later post but I did want to share a picture of the dessert I had with dinner on Saturday night – a Limoncello Tartufo – it was amazing! We had dinner at Sal’s Italian and the food was divine; something of a preview for Italy in LESS than two months!

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Oh – and one more thing I love. Remember I said we vacationed to Northern Virginia, DC and the Williamsburg area almost ten years ago? Well when I spotted a fountain at Yorktown Landing, I couldn’t resist plopping down for a photo – even if it was missing something. There’s something…interesting…about seeing a place unchanged in some ways even though ten years have passed. That’s all I’ve got for today guys!

 

Autumn is Here

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Today is the first “official” day of Autumn and I am thrilled! It makes me want to drag out all my scarves, pull on my boots, maybe put a little hat on my head and take a walk while sipping a pumpkin flavored coffee out of my thermos and watching the leaves fall.

Granted – as I post this, I’m in Williamsburg and the temperature is hovering around 90 degrees…so if I had on all those things and was sipping something warm, I’d probably melt to death. But next weekend I’ll be in Asheville and the temperatures are supposed to be a wee bit more Autumnal – so maybe I’ll really be feeling it then?

Regardless – happy first day of Fall to everyone – enjoy! I’ll be trying to find a location that mimics the picture below…and then I’ll put on my hat, scarf and boots and sip my warm gourd flavored drink, ha-ha!

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Five on Friday

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It’s finally Friday! Isn’t that the name of a song? I definitely feel like I can hear that chorus playing on refrain in my head… I know one thing, I’m glad that it’s finally Friday because I’ve got a weekend full of places to go and things to do!

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One. Colonial Williamsburg – The family is heading to Williamsburg for the weekend and I’m pretty excited. We’ve been a couple times since I moved to Virginia over four years ago (cannot believe it’s been OVER four years!) and I love the whole area. We don’t have any concrete plans but I’m sure perusing the streets of Colonial Williamsburg will be on the agenda and I can’t wait!

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Two. Jamestown(e) – Another spot that is near to Colonial Williamsburg are the settlements of Jamestown and Yorktown and I don’t believe I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting either one! We popped into Yorktown years ago when we were on vacation in Virginia but an absolute downpour arrived and quite literally put a damper on the day – so that was that. And while I’m well aware that Pocahontas and John Smith didn’t scamper around Jamestown singing about the “colors of the wind”, I think it will be really cool to finally see the area where they really did interact!

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Three. Autumn is Almost Here (Officially) – I don’t know if you’re aware…but the first official day of Autumn is tomorrow! I am (always) ready for cooler weather and Fall fashions – I do feel like cardigans, scarves, jeans, sweaters and boots are really more my aesthetic than shorts and tanks. Hooray for all things Autumn!

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Four. Game of Thrones in Concert – I am finally getting to use a Christmas present from last year on Tuesday night! The Game of Thrones in Concert has made it to the US and will be back in DC on Tuesday night and my friend Jennie and I are headed into DC for the concert! I went to the concert last Spring and it was absolutely fantastic – I cannot wait to go again! I also can’t wait for my friend Jennie to experience it because she is a recently converted Game of Thrones fan (she binged all seven seasons in like…less than three weeks) and I know she’ll think it’s amazing!

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Five. Pompeii – Today is September 21st and as I was listening to my iTunes while sitting at my desk, it shuffled to a song from the movie Pompeii and the realization dawned on me – I will literally be IN Pompeii on this very day in two months! I am so excited to see Italy and explore Venice, Rome and Sicily…but a small part of me is most excited about seeing the ruins of Pompeii! I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Pompeii and the way the violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius so perfectly preserved the entire city. And in just two months – I’ll be walking down those very streets!

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That’s the five things on my mind on this Friday! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back Monday (or maybe sooner) and I know I’ll have plenty of pictures!