Road Trip Time

Asheville NC, Asheville NC skyline, explore asheville website, elaina avalos
Asheville, NC skyline – Photo credit.

It’s road trip, time. I’m heading out to Charlotte & Asheville this week. I’m looking forward to a little break from the norm. I have no idea what I’m doing – except for one exciting event on Tuesday evening in Asheville. I hope to share more about that later. What I will tell you, is that I’m ridiculously excited about it. I ordered a ticket for it (the second I heard about it). I had no clue if I could make it, however. Asheville isn’t exactly a quick trip (over 6 hours) on a Tuesday evening – in a typical work week. But I just had to order the ticket – hoping I’d find a way. All the pieces fell into place and I will be four hours closer on Tuesday, now. Have I mentioned I’m excited? 🙂

Charlotte NC, Queen City, Charlotte, elaina avalos
Charlotte, NC – Photo credit.

My quick few days in central & western NC are kind of blank slate at the moment – except for Tuesday evening. I had a few recommendations for places to eat or check out. Here’s some of the recommendations:

Charlotte

Amelie’s French Bakery — The menu looks awesome! There’s a location in NoDa.

NoDa — Charlotte’s North Davidson neighborhood. This arts & entertainment district is right up my alley.

Leah and Louise — Wow. This menu looks amazing. Leah and Louise is in Camp North End which was recommend overall. You can find more info, here.

Asheville

Chai Pani — I’ve wanted to go to Chai Pani since I saw the restaurant on “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love, early this year. Now that the restaurant has been deemed “Outstanding Restaurant” for 2022, by the James Beard Foundation, it may not be easy to get into, but worth a shot. The Chicken Pakoras sounds amazing! As do the Uttapam! Butter chicken is one of my favorite Indian dishes. So, that might be hard to pass up. But man, I just saw that Chai Pani appears to be closed on Tuesdays so that stinks.

Grove Park Inn (for lunch or dinner) — I think the view might be the draw . . .

Asheville NC, Grove Park Inn, Asheville, elaina avalos

Mela — More Indian food (which I love)

Rosetta’s Kitchen & Buchi Bar — Vegan soul food! What??? Oh my. Sounds amazing.

Bouchon — French food always sounds good. Beef Bourguignon sounds pretty delish right about now.

Tupelo Honey — I wouldn’t hate trying this place. However comma – it’s southern fried kind of food and it doesn’t appear there are many gluten free options (which are available other places).

If you’ll be visiting my adopted home state, anytime soon – I highly recommend checking out NC Tripping! Their site is a treasure trove of info about The Old North State. Here are a couple of their guides for Asheville & Charlotte (open in new tabs).

Got any other recommendations?

Our Response to Stress

stress, maureen killoran, tiny buddha, tinybuddha.com

“It’s not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” – Maureen Killoran

It has been a while since I’ve shared a podcast recommendation. Today, on my second favorite podcast (Being Well) Dr. Hanson & Forrest Hanson tackled the topic of stress in a episode called, “Understand and Manage Stress: Causes, Biological Basis, and Increasing Resilience.”

Here’s a bit of the description:
On this episode, Dr. Rick and Forrest Hanson take a deep dive into defining stress, how it functions, how it impacts our lives and bodies, and what we can do to repair from its effects. We discuss how to distinguish stress from effort, the influence of the modern world on how stressed we feel, the various biological mechanisms involved in stress, and the challenges presented by chronic exposure to it. We then consider what we can do to increase resilience, including positively responding to stressors even in the midst of limitations and uncertainty.

This is definitely worth your time. But you will need a little over an hour to tune in. It’s so worth it. I’m already on my second listen. If you’re prone to stress, work in a stressful environment, or just generally feel like your brain and body haven’t caught up after a traumatic or painful event, I think you will get a lot out of this.

It’s the Little Things

Trader Joe's Flowers, Trader Joe's Daffodils, Daffodils, Elaina Avalos

It’s the little things that mean the most, sometimes. The joy – for me, is in the hike in the forest, when the only sounds around me are the birds, or the wind through the pines, or in the view from my kitchen window.

In no particular order, here’s where I’m clinging to the little things & the way they bring me joy & delight . . .

1. Fresh daffodils in my favorite vase.

Kitchen Window View, Trees, Woods, Elaina Avalos

2. The view from my kitchen window.

3. The hope that God’s plan, which I can’t fully see yet, is far better than my own.

Your Plan and God's Plan, Elaina Avalos

4. Memories of our chats (and maybe even arguments) are priceless to me now. Your defense of me, support, our conversations, and your eyes (maybe also your cologne) – are the best thing in the absolute mess of the last few years. I miss the joy I felt being around you. I truly miss you, my friend.

5. My quiet home.

6. Being heard.

7. Sunsets.

Eastern NC sunset, Carolina sunset, ENC Sunset, Elaina Avalos

8. New to me songs…

Honestly, it’s the sweet moments, in my quiet house, with these little “things” – that have helped me feel like I’ve finally returned to myself.

So what are some of your favorite “little” things?