raleigh

11 Year-End Superlatives for 2016

Quite a few months ago, I read this post by Laura over at A Beautiful Plate and thought it was such a cute idea! I’ve created my own spin on it by doing 11 superlatives for 2016. It was an amazing year!

1. Biggest Milestone: Changing jobs! Back in July, I started a new job with Make-A-Wish. It is the best thing ever, and I pinch myself every day! I still can’t believe that I get paid to plan wishes!

Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina Disney World Wish | Trés Belle

2. Hardest Challenge: I am extremely grateful that 2016 was a year of few challenges for me. I am still dealing with some residual health issues from a terrible infection I had back in 2014/2015. Aside from that, I have few complaints!

3. Most Memorable Trip: Wes and I went to St. Thomas with my family back in March, and it was so wonderful! It was true relaxation to just lay on a beach all day. The sunsets were gorgeous, and I got to ride a horse in the surf. Bliss!

St. Thomas US Virgin Islands Sunset | Trés Belle

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands | Trés Belle

Horseback riding on the beach in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands | Trés Belle

4. Best Bite: Every single flavor of gluten-free cupcakes at Carytown Cupcakes in Richmond, VA. Y’all, I fantasize about going back to try more of these cupcakes! You truly cannot tell that they are gluten-free, and they have the perfect crumb. I also like that they have inventive, unusual flavors (obviously not pictured).

Gluten-Free Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from Carytown Cupcakes in Richmond, Virginia | Trés Belle

5. Favorite Photo: This picture of me and Wes at a Panthers game back in August. I had a wish taking place that day!

Carolina Panthers Spirit | Trés Belle

6. Inspiring Read: Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I’ve actually already talked about it here on the blog.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton Book Review | Trés Belle

7. Most Valuable Lesson: That I can only give out as much as I’m taking in. I always tend to overcommit myself and run, run, run without stopping for self-care. I used to be able to do this with minimal consequences, but due to the aforementioned health issues, I have to be more careful these days. I’m also an introvert, which makes it all the more important for me to have time to recharge alone at home. Thanks to the reflection process built into my PowerSheets (a goal setting workbook), I have learned that I need equal amounts of time of pouring into myself and giving to others. My eight hours of sleep each night cancels out my eight hours in the office each day, so it’s really how I spend my waking hours outside of work that are critical. If I’m out volunteering or participating in social events every night of the week, I’m going to feel tired, weary, and anxious. I need equal amounts of rest and doing.

PowerSheets Goal Setting Workbook by Lara Casey/The Cultivate Shop | Trés Belle

8. Favorite Gift Received: Wes surprised me by giving me a nice camera for Christmas! I am so, so excited to learn how to use it.

9. Scariest Moment: I don’t even know how to describe this in just a few sentences, but I’ll try. On a trip to Stratford Hall back in the spring, Wes and I went on a hike straight into a tick-infested forest. We didn’t realize it until we were already halfway into the hike and had dozens and dozens of ticks crawling all over us. It took us about 30 minutes of sprinting then stopping to knock off ticks to finally get out of the forest. I have a huge spider/tick phobia, and I felt like I was having a panic attack. It took us two hours to go through all of our clothes, comb through our hair, and shower afterward. Horrible! We kept imagining that we felt ticks crawling on us for weeks!

10. Favorite Raleigh Spot: I really can’t pick a true number one favorite because I have soooo many. As far as food goes, it may have to be Guasaca South American Grill based solely on number of times visited. Guasaca is a short order arepa restaurant that is amazingly delicious, especially for the price point! Another top favorite Raleigh spot is The Flourish Market, of course!

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

11. Things I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2017: Taking a trip to Italy (Wes’s first time out of the country!), taking photos with my new camera, getting some projects done around the house, and granting wishes!

Wasn’t that fun? I’d love to hear some of y’all’s superlatives from 2016 in the comments. And, if there are any other superlatives you think I should add for 2017, let me know!

xoxo, Laura

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The Flourish Market: Ethical Fashion Store in Raleigh, NC!

Y’all have heard me talk about The Flourish Market before…remember this post about the amazing ethical fashion truck right here in the Triangle? In a fabulous turn of events, The Flourish Market actually opened a brick and mortar store in downtown Raleigh about a month ago! I may or may not have been a couple of times already…

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

I love the peace of mind that comes with walking into a store and knowing that anything I pick up has been ethically made. I can turn off the critical, questioning wheels turning in my head and simply enjoy the shopping experience!

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

One of my favorite things about the clothing, jewelry, and accessories that The Flourish Market carries is that the prices are on point. Sure, they aren’t as cheap as Target, but they’re actually much, much better than the majority of boutiques you find in Raleigh. You can walk into any store in Cameron Village and easily drop over $100 on a shirt, but my purchases at The Flourish Market are always much less than that. Buying clothing that’s good to the makers and also good on my wallet? #winning!

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

TriFABB (the Triangle Area Bloggers group) had their holiday party at The Flourish Market earlier this month. In the photo below from the party, you can see me (on the right) wearing one of my recent purchases from The Flourish Market. I have worn this red dress to multiple Christmas parties this year…it’s the perfect color for holiday festivities!

The Flourish Market ethical fashion store in Raleigh, NC | Trés Belle

via Molly Stillman of still being molly

Hit me up if you ever want a shopping buddy to go with you to the new store….I just might be able to sacrifice a little bit of my time for such drudgery (wink!).

xoxo Laura

P.S. – This is not a sponsored post. I just love sharing things that I love with my belles!

Inside Out Challenge: Fair Trade Fashion Truck Adventures

Yes, you read that right. Fashion trucks! They’re a thing, y’all! Think of a food truck, but with pretty clothes inside instead of tacos and burgers. It’s fantastic.

I recently wrote about my difficulties finding stores here in Raleigh at which to shop for fair trade clothing. At the end of that rather depressing post, I promised that there was good news coming. Here it is!

Back in January, I was telling a group of ladies about my interest in fair trade fashion and my struggles to find local vendors. One of them piped up and said she had recently learned about a local fair trade fashion truck through another friend. I was beyond excited and immediately hit the Internet to find out more.

The Flourish Market, which just opened its doors in fall 2015, camps out at various festivals, parties, and events around the Raleigh/Durham area in addition to running an online store. The truck carries fun fair trade brands like Threads 4 Thought, Tribe Alive, Grace and Lace, and Akola. In addition to clothing, the truck also stocks jewelry, shoes, purses/bags, home decor, and gifts.

After stalking the truck’s schedule on Instagram for several weeks, I finally caught up with The Flourish Market a month or so ago in Durham. It was a breath of fresh air for this shopping-deprived gal! Most of the clothing was just my style, and I thought the prices were very affordable compared to the sticker shock I had gotten on several fair trade websites. I probably tried on every single piece of clothing in the truck and left with some beauties, including this STUNNING dress, which I can’t wait to wear to every single party and dinner outing this summer:

Threads 4 Thought fair trade dress from The Flourish Market | Trés Belle

Since then, I’ve gotten to know Em, the truck’s founder, and learn more about her heart for winning people over to ethical fashion (you can read some pieces she’s written for The Huffington Post here). It’s so inspiring to connect with other Raleigh locals who have a passion for social justice and who are doing big things to change the fashion industry. AND, I’m just tickled pink that I finally found somewhere local to try on and buy fair trade clothing! Happy dance!

xoxo Laura

P.S. – If you’re new to the Inside Out Challenge, you can find previous posts here.

Food Favorites: January 2016

One word: s’mores. Nothing beats them. We had such a fun time roasting marshmallows over our fire pit while my family was visiting earlier this month. I think these gluten-free graham crackers taste better than regular graham crackers!

S'mores Over the Fire Pit | Trés Belle

Taza’s Pan de Jengibre chocolate bar. Holy moly. I bought some on sale at Thrive Market after Christmas and am so in love, I wish I had bought more. Don’t care one bit that it is after Christmas and gingerbread is “out.” This stuff is pure T amazing.

1915 cold-pressed organic juice. I posted a couple of months ago about the Suja juices we’ve been loving. The 1915 juices are pretty similar, though the flavors vary somewhat. We rotate between the 1915 juices and the Suja juices just depending on which brand is on sale. Paying full price for these juices gets expensive! We love the extra dose of organic fruits and veggies, though.

Lots and lots of guac. We have always been guacamole lovers, but Wes has really been killing it in the guac department ever since I got him this nifty avocado tool for Christmas. I wish I could say that we have a homemade recipe, but since we are often pushed for time (especially right now while I’m studying for my licensure exam), we usually use this mix.

Five-Spice Sangria | Trés Belle

For local readers in the Raleigh area: This month was fabulous for my taste buds on account of Five-Spice Sangria at Trophy Brewing, Pumpkin Gingerbread Spoon Cake at Irregardless Cafe, Dirty Shirleys with Covington vodka (local and gluten-free!) at buku, and Succotash Farro Risotto/Chocolate Ganache Tart with Salted Caramel/Moscow Mules at Fiction Kitchen. Now you have dinner and/or drinking plans for next weekend. You’re welcome!

That’s all for this month, y’all…not much cooking going on around here with me studying my tail off for this exam. February 19th needs to come and go, stat!

xoxo Laura