Yadkin Valley Wine Region

In case you’re wondering – the Yadkin Valley Wine Region in North Carolina is beautiful. My mom & I drove through some gorgeous countryside today. We are staying in Boone but made a detour to wine country. I can’t wait to make a trip again (to stay longer). I plan on sharing a few more details when I get home. But for now, here’s a few photos from Shelton Vineyard & Winery.

Sea Glass Hearts

elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos, sea glass, sea glass hearts

~ One ~

“She reminded me of the sea; the way she came dancing towards you, wild and beautiful, and just when she was almost
close enough to touch she’d rush away again.”

―Glenda Millard

I am made of salt and sand and the deep jade green of the Atlantic. The salt air courses through my veins. This place, these waves, the sea glass, and shells with rounded edges, beaten constantly in the surf, are the pieces and places of my very soul. The heady scent of the ocean air tells me I’m finally home, though I’m not at all conscious of having lived near this shore. In the setting sun of a July evening, the billowing thunderheads in the distance play with the sun. Shadows and light dance on the surface of the ocean at once bringing out the sparkle, and then moments later shrouding the light in darkness. “So this is it?” I ask no one. Home. The word and all of its implications fill me with competing emotions. I look back toward the car, parked a hundred yards away, in the parking lot of the town’s traffic circle. It’s the center of this beach town, on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.

I turn back to the ocean and breathe deeply, taking it all in. Just up the road is the house I bought, sight unseen, sitting first row, pointed towards the sea. I have spent a lifetime, nearly forty years, dreaming of what it would be like to find the place where I began, to return to my beginnings. To the place where I had been knit together in my mother’s womb. When I was a child, before I had been adopted and floated between countless foster and group homes, I made day trips to the beaches of Southern California. In the course sand of those crowded beaches, I convinced myself that I might as well have been a mermaid for all I really knew. One thing I knew for sure, in the deepest part of my being? I belonged to the sea. Somehow, as I would stand there, as a kid, wearing my church charity last year’s style bathing suit, I knew that the sea called me, and would continue to call me . . . home.

Written by Elaina M. Avalos

**This is from my new work in progress – waiting for me once I’m finished with A Thousand Years. I’m currently doing a little work on it this week, while I take a mini-vacay from A Thousand Years.**


north topsail island, north topsail beach, pink moon, elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos
North Topsail Beach – One of NC’s Barrier Islands

It’s hodgepodge of random this evening.

– I have spent countless hours writing & editing my novel A Thousand Years, since October/November of 2020. I ran into some major plot issues and needed to re-work a ton of stuff in the novel (long story). It took me months to figure out how to make the edits work and how to still keep the soul of the story in place. I finally figured that out. What I have now – is a written and edited novel – that is waiting on just a few remaining things before I can call it done. I decided to put it on the back burner this week while I wait for my trip to Western NC. I’ll come back to it with fresh eyes after my trip and a little Graham Ford & Birdie Langston vacay.

– Obnoxiously, the moment I decided to take a little breather from these two characters, and as I walked the beach last night, I decided to start working on a novel I started ages ago. I cannot help myself. I shared the opening lines here on the blog a couple of years ago. But I started writing long before that. You can see it, here. It’s all new and fresh and I don’t 100% know where it’s going, yet. Well, sort of. But not really. #WriterGirlProblems

For instance, I’m still fighting over the protagonist’s name (that’s how new it is).

– I love the simple things in life and finding joy & delight wherever I can. These last couple of years, phew. It’s exhausting for someone that just wants to write, take care of the people she loves, and enjoy the little things in life. I’m so ready for what comes next. I would love to have someone join me on my next adventure. But, I’m ready to do it alone, too. Life is just too short to not chase down what you want. #BirthdayThoughts

– I turned 45 today & it’s a little ho-hum. Haha. I head out of town next weekend for my road trip to wine country & the mountains. Just three days until I leave! I can’t wait. But here’s what turning 45 looked like today (the photos uploaded catywampus):

– Music making me happy or inspiring me lately:

“Know you’re coming from a bad place
Honey, I was there just yesterday
So I know the time it’s gonna take
For you to feel like you again
Wonder if you’re seeing colours yet”

“There are no wrong roads
And no window stays closed
Love is always sad when it fades
The glass is better stained anyways
If never you find what you’re looking for
Come on back to the front porch
Say my name through the screen door”

Making a return . . .

How does anyone not love this man? Here’s an honorable mention: https://youtu.be/wGyh_53ecgg.

Now that I’m working on a new novel, I’m gonna need to start working on a new playlist. While I work through some details & it takes shape, I’m listening to this and this (from my OC pal Suz Moshenko). OC means Orange County, dudes (where I’m from).

I have big things ahead. Cheers to 45!

50 by 50

Anne Lamott, Elaina M. Avalos, elaina avalos, 50 by 50

In April 2026, I will turn 50. This year feels like a big birthday, as I turn 45. But gosh, there’s a lot I’ve still got to do before hitting 45 and six weeks won’t do it. So, after a friend posted about her 40 before 40 (that she’s now added a few more items onto for 50 before 50), I’ve decided that I’m going to join in the fun. I am not sure how long it will take me to come up with the full list. Some of this might be ridiculous stuff, big stuff, or things that only matter to me, but I’m starting to work on this list now. I may keep some private. But, I’ll share periodic updates. What would you add to my list? Have you ever done something like this for a milestone birthday? I’d love to hear all about it!

1. Start camping again.
2. Travel to France or Scotland for my 50th birthday (I mean, I’ll take sooner too).
3. Trip to the NC mountains in the autumn.
4. Trip to upstate New York to meet family & see where my grandparents grew up & my mom lived.
5. Fall in love.
6. Start a family. I hear I’m kind of late on this one. Whatever.
7. Get a book contract.
8. Learn Spanish. Like really learn Spanish.
9. Take a dance class (salsa, ballroom, etc).
10. Go to the Pat Conroy Literary Festival in Beaufort, SC.
11. Attend one of the wine dinners at the Beaufort (NC) Wine & Food Festival.
12. Take at least one random (can be a quick day-trip) road trip every few months.
13. Eat at Chef & the Farmer again.
14. Take a few of Chef Marcela’s cooking classes.
15. Western NC Winery Trip (preferably soon). 30 April-01 May 2021
16. Get back to Wolf Trap for a summer concert.
17. Convert website to business plan & learn (really learn) SEO.
18. Make good use of my ridiculous Pinterest time investment.
19. Get a little better with time management (don’t laugh).
20. Finally make a decision about what I want to be when I grow up.
21. Live in a pretty little home with my dream backyard & grow lots of veggies, herbs, and fruit.
22. Hit my target weight (and stay there). I’m on my way having lost 18 pounds so far.
23. Dedicate more time to painting & crafty mccrafterson activities.
24. Cook my way through Deep Run Roots by Chef Vivian Howard (see #13 – that’s her restaurant).
25. Cook my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I own both books but haven’t cooked enough in either.
26. Get a tattoo.
27. Go skydiving.
28. Get a wedding planning & event planning certificate.
29. Go to Indochine (Thai/Vietnamese restaurant in Wilmington, NC).
30. Visit Ocracoke Island & go shelling.

Okay, I think I have to take a break there. I am sure I have more things to add to my list!

When the Dust Settles

elaina avalos, wild things, a thousand years by elaina avalos, a thousand years
Poem originally written on December 12, 2020: https://elaina-avalos.com/2020/12/12/a-thousand-years-2/

Long, painful days filled almost two full years. Days I don’t want to repeat ever again. I found these pockets of joy in the midst of it all – because I discovered that my heart could feel again. I could care again. This was the gift you gave me. When the dust settles, I don’t think I’ll find you waiting there. In the silence, I am coming to terms with this.