If you have been following along, you know that Katie and I are both July babies. It’s a little part of our relationship that we absolutely love! July just seems like the perfect month for a birthday and a party for that matter. Or does everyone think that about their birthday month? This year I turned twenty-five! A quarter of my life has been lived and I only have seventy-five left! Yes, I plan on living to a hundred.
I don’t put too much emphasis on having an “amazing” birthday because I think all that added pressure can really ruin a perfectly good day. Each year I try to have a really good “normal” day and because of that every birthday seems perfect! What’s your equation for a great birthday? Do you plan a party or some special adventure? Do you secretly hope others make your day fabulous? Do you go with the flow and see where your b-day takes you?
This year I went on a lovely morning hike with some pups and then I went grocery shopping and bought myself $50 worth of cheese, berries and fresh flowers because who doesn’t love all of those things? After gorging on raspberries and cheese I cooked a tomato tart and waited for Kevin’s parent’s to arrive. This was their first visit to our apartment in North Carolina (it’s a 500 mile drive!) and it happened to land right on my birthday! In the meantime Kevin gifted me a Camelbak (I borrow his ALL the time), an old fashioned ice cream scoop (he knows I hate bending our spoons, but I love super hard ice cream) and twenty yoga classes at my favorite studio (BEST present ever). Once the rents arrived, we went to a great restaurant in Carrboro called Venable. Kevin and I had been meaning to try it for awhile and it was better than we anticipated! I ate the buffalo mozzarella ravioli with lemon-arugla pesto and I had panna cotta with raspberries for dessert. I also drank several mule variation cocktails. It was one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. ever. It was a blend of spicy ginger ale, vodka, cucumber, lime and fresh sage. I plan on trying to recreate that little baby for the blog so stay tuned! After our delicious meal, Kevin’s parents drove to their hotel while we wondered what to do.
We wanted to celebrate some more, but I also really wanted to hang out with Ca$h the dog so we decided to do both! We looked up all the dog bars in Chapel Hill (there is four!) and settled on The Underground. After adorning Ca$h with a few accessories we put on our walking shoes and headed to the bar. The Underground was actually pretty calm. The twenty or so folks in the bar were excited to see our pup and he was given lots of pets and hugs! Around midnight when the bar cleared out, Rick, the bartender, told us to take Ca$h off the leash, which made our time even more enjoyable. Kevin and I were playing pool so it was nice to be leash-free. Ca$h could happily roam where ever his little hound nose lead him, which was mostly to the ladies room. He also laid in front of the door for awhile and acted as the bouncer. No under-agers here!
Two games of pool and eight games of air hockey later, we were finally ready to head out. We decided to sit at the bar and have one more drink and that’s when something pretty awesome happened. Ca$h joined me and sat on the bar stool next to me for my final birthday drink. He was our designated leader so he didn’t partake, but having my pup pal next to me made my birthday that much sweeter. He even snuck behind the bar to bid Rick a final farewell before we left!
As if my birthday couldn’t get any better, about a block from home, Ca$h quickly circled Kevin, wrapping Kevin’s ankles in the leash and tripping him! Kevin, disoriented (ok, and drunk) dropped the retractable leash and Ca$h went running! (I wasn’t worried because we were a block from home and our neighborhood is very, very calm and quiet.) As I’m doubled over laughing hysterically, here comes Ca$h bounding down the middle of the street right towards us, but one thing was missing: his leash! He got tangled on something and ran away so fast that it snapped right off about two feet from his collar. If you know Ca$h, you know that he’s sporadically crazy. Ca$h’s tangle, trip and escape was the cherry on top of my ice cream sundae of a twenty-fifth birthday!
I finished out my twenty-fifth birthday weekend (I hope you’re all with me when I say birthday celebrations are meant to last more than 24 hours) by visiting several new restaurants including Allen & Sons, Mama Dips and Squids. I also tried raw oysters for the first time and I loved them. I’ll definitely be hitting up Oyster Fest this year! I also went to my first Durham Bulls baseball game, which was the best 15 bucks I’ve ever spent! I highly recommend going to a minor league game. You’ll get to see some major leaguers without the price tag and helllllllllo, peanuts and cracker jacks and in this case, local craft brews! After the game, we all roamed around the American Tobacco campus, which has a handful of restaurants and taprooms as well as lovely old brick architecture. Of all my first experiences this weekend, I think my favorite was visiting Honeysuckle Tea House with Kevin’s mom. We spent a good two hours lounging in the open air structure sipping spicy ginger kombucha among tinctures, elixirs, balms and medicinal herb mixtures. Afterwards, we walked the herb gardens and I snagged some Thai basil, which I have such a hard time finding in grocery stores. (You can expect a Thai recipe soon!) This past weekend was one for the birthday record books. It was an inspiring couple of days between all the new food, cocktails and experiences. It was a great reminder to travel and explore even in your hometown.
(Just so you know: The next day I found Ca$h’s retractable lease wrapped around a cherry blossom tree in our neighbor’s front yard! Also, all these pics are from cell phones so please excuse their quality! Thanks Kev & Kathy for capturing this memorable weekend!)