We Took a Sleigh Ride! A Visit to Charmingfare Farm

Dillon and I ended 2016 on such a fun note with a sleigh ride at Charmingfare Farm this past Saturday. He found the activity online and reserved tickets for us the day before, meaning zero wait time. We bundled up in our warmest clothes with hand warmers and boots and headed to the farm on Saturday afternoon. We had just received a pretty heavy snowfall on Thursday night which was still fresh, making the trees looked magical. The sleigh was all ready for our ride when we arrived and we were able to climb in shortly after.

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The horses took off at quite a clip and winded through the woods with jingle bells ringing from their bridles. There were about fifteen of us on board, including some little ones who were excited to see the animals. We spotted goats, reindeer, cows, more horses, and sheep as we traveled through the farm. Charmingfare had set up precious little displays along the sleigh path, including a gingerbread house, the grinch, a snowman village, and a little penguin family. It was really cute!

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About halfway through the sleigh ride, we stopped to warm up at a pair of campfires they had prepared in a clearing. I roasted marshmallows, while Dillon enjoyed a warm cup of cocoa. He had thoughtfully brought extra layers for me to wear, so I was happily bundled in his coat and mine.

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After our fireside break, we enjoyed the last bit of the sleigh ride and then visited their gift shop before we left. They had a variety of candles, jams, and Christmas decorations on display, as well as some cute little farm-themed toys for little ones. We had so much fun and I would gladly return for another ride next year!

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Have you ever taken a sleigh ride? If so, share your experience in the comments below!

Chapel Hill + Fearrington Village

I returned home from North Carolina a week ago today and am excited to be back writing on this blog again with a cup of coffee and a fall candle burning on the mantle. While I am still processing all that was covered at Making Things Happen, I want to share the bits of my trip to Chapel Hill (and nearby Pittsboro) that I experienced in the hours around the Intensive.

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I arrived at the airport before the sun came up on Sunday morning and was greeted by a band of bagpipes there for Honor Flight. My parents and I attended a send-off for the organization three years ago, so I was excited to find out that the World War II veterans would be on my flight to Baltimore. Everyone on the flight clapped for them and acknowledged their service to our country, making for a cheerful start to the day.

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I made productive use of my short layover in Baltimore when I saw that one of the terminals had a Benefit Cosmetics ‘vending machine’. I didn’t know such a thing existed! I had been wanting to buy a replacement concealer and was pleased to discover that I could check an errand off my list between flights.

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The flight to RDU was quick, and I gushed to a Raleigh local about how she lived in the best place on earth. When I landed, my sweet friend Carrie Grace picked me and her conference roommate up and brought us to the Carolina Inn. I was so excited to be on North Carolina ground again and thankful for the warm weather.

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After we checked our bags at the Inn, Carrie Grace let me pick where we would go to lunch and I chose the Belted Goat at Fearrington Village, a charming little place that my mom and I visited on our trip two years ago. I bought a replacement mug for the one I’ve worn in quite a bit and we both ordered the cobb salad with pulled chicken and egg. It was probably the most delicious salad I’ve ever had. We caught up on life happenings and walked around the village for a little while before returning back to the Inn. At one point, I took a little cotton boll off a bush and tucked it away as a sweet little Southern souvenir.

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When we arrived back to the Inn, I finally got to hug my roommate and get settled into our room. We have been Instagram friends for the past three years and it was really sweet to get to actually see her in person and get acquainted before kicking off the MTH festivities. She had placed a few treats from her home state of Oregon on my bed, which made for a very warm welcome. MTH had also left a little surprise at the front desk, which set a warm and welcoming tone for what was to come.

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After we talked for a little while, we went to dinner at Spanky’s with a decent-sized group of ladies who would also be attending MTH. I ordered Carolina BBQ with a side of mac and cheese, wasting no time to dig into true Southern fare.

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Photo by Carrie Joy Photography

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As I got to know some of the ladies at dinner, I shared with them that my one culinary goal of the week was to eat pimento cheese. Little did I know how many opportunities I would have to do so! After dinner we went out for frozen yogurt and more mingling.

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Photo by Carrie Joy Photography

When I arrived back to my room that evening, there was a plate of pimento cheese, okra, and candied pecans there to greet me. That is Southern hospitality, y’all. I enjoyed the lovely snack and then took a walk outside and enjoyed the smell of fresh Carolina blooms and mild weather while catching up with Dillon on the phone about my day.

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On Monday morning I woke up early to grab coffee at Pittsboro Street Provisions and to start the day off with quiet time in the beautiful lobby. Every corner of the Carolina Inn was filled with design inspiration and an impeccable attention to detail. That morning kicked off the Making Things Happen Intensive and began a full day of hard work without our phones, so I don’t have photos to share from Monday or Tuesday during the day, except this one I snapped of the gorgeous Carolina Inn hallway.

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On Monday evening, we went to Top of the Hill restaurant and I ordered the farm burger because it was topped with pimento cheese, fried green tomato, and bacon. I like to eat locally when I travel so I was quite thankful that the menus at each restaurant we visited were not short on Southern food options. Tuesday came upon us with a similar measure of hard work without our phones, but we did get them back at the end of the day and I got to take some sweet pictures that I will save for a later post. A group of us had dinner at the restaurant in the Inn, which served biscuits with honey butter as the appetizer. Y’all, yum. Enough said.

On Wednesday morning I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in and then enjoyed a hummus and falafel pita at Med Deli for lunch. It was the last eatery I had on my wishlist for the trip (aside from Parker and Otis which was an expensive Uber ride away) so I was thankful to get to experience it.

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I took advantage of the sunny day to walk around the UNC Chapel Hill campus (which was beautiful!) and sit on the front porch of the Inn before leaving for the airport. While the main purpose of the trip was to attend the conference, I’m really thankful I got to visit Fearrington and have an abundance of Southern food during my visit too!

 

 

Chapel Hill Bound! My Road to Making Things Happen

I have imagined this day for a long time and am incredibly grateful that it’s here. I am writing aboard my flight from Manchester to Baltimore, the first part of my trip to the Making Things Happen Intensive in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I have been thinking a lot lately of when the seed was planted in my heart three years ago to attend this conference and I think it will be fun to share that and have it to look back on. 


In September 2013, my faith was on fire and my heart was suddenly – and simultaneously – stirred for design, creative expression, and all things Southern. Through a few compounding circumstances, I had decided to take the semester off from school, something that lent itself to lots of extra time for reading the Bible, teaching myself Illustrator and Photoshop, and delighting myself in the charm of Southern culture. My sweet friend Emily passed along some of her issues of Garden & Gun and Southern Living magazines and I was quickly smitten with the charm, tradition, and heart of life beneath the Mason-Dixon. I had developed an entrepreneurial spirit and was eager to combine it with my new interests to do something meaningful, I just didn’t know what that was yet. (I still don’t yet, but I believe I will soon!)

Later that fall brought about a really difficult season of injury and the subsequent road to healing, a time that the Lord used to strengthen my heart and my spirit beyond anything I could have ever accomplished on my own. As He did this, I continued to turn to Him for wisdom and comfort, and He blessed me with something really good in the thick of it. 

At Christmastime, Emily told me about Southern Weddings magazine, describing the beauty of the content and the mission behind it. V6 had just come out, and she picked up a copy for me at the only bookstore in NH that sold it. At that time, I was feeling a restless tension between brokenness I was experiencing and all the unused ambitions in my heart. On a tearful evening in the glow of my Christmas tree, I was craving something more and opened the magazine for the first time, instantly experiencing this heart feeling of ‘YES. These pages communicate my heart so well.’ The design was beautiful, the layouts were warm and inviting, and the message was heartfelt and sincere. I wanted to know the heart behind the magazine, so I grabbed my laptop and Googled the name of the editor in chief, Lara Casey. I was soon comforted and so encouraged to find that she is a follower of Jesus who vibrantly shares the redeeming work He has done in her life. I found so much hope in her story, something I had lost sight of in my circumstances. I explored her website, taking in every bit of goodness that I could, and found that she offers a conference twice a year in North Carolina called Making Things Happen.

I knew at the time that a trip to Chapel Hill was not possible, but a seed was planted in my heart when I felt an undeniable tug to someday attend the conference. Fast-forward through the start of my blog, healing fully from my injury, a trip with my mom to the Southern Weddings V7 Launch Party in North Carolina, falling even more in love with the South, the completion of a degree, two design internships, two back-to-back year-long creative positions (one in weddings, one in design), an incredibly difficult season of pruning and growth, and falling in love with Dillon, here I am today. I can see how God has set the foundation that I needed to get the most of this intensive. 

I have gained so much life experience in the past three years, and have had lots of opportunities to work through and explore some of my creative ideas and ambitions along the way. I believe with all my heart that God had in store for me to attend this conference all along, and I am so incredibly grateful that the pieces all came together to make it possible today, right where I am. I don’t know what’s next, I don’t know where this all leads, but I trust that God does. My heart and hands are open to what He wants to do here, where He wants to direct me, the vision He has for me, every bit of it. As my favorite print from Lara’s shop says: amen, hallelujah, thank you Lord.