Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Murphy Chronicles: 13/52, 14/52, 15/52, 16/52

Well, life happened, and I've fallen shamefully behind on the Murphy chronicles. Only a couple pics are recent. Since I haven't felt like touching my camera for the past few weeks, I dug into the Murphy Archives for a couple throwbacks. Enjoy!

Murphy and my mom's dog, Baby, relaxing together a couple weeks ago. So zen.

Murphy getting his pose on for his 6th birthday last August.

Murphy making a mad dash during playtime in December 2012.

Excuse the crap-quality iPhone pic but I had to share. Last night Murphy deployed Operation Puppy Eyes in an attempt to receive some delicious crackers. He wins every time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This Time Last Year























This time last year my Grandpa was still alive. April 15 is his birthday, and this will be my family's first without him. This time last year I couldn't come to town to celebrate in person, but the rest of the family took him to dinner and shared cake and presents at home. I sent him a photo album with pictures of our recent beach trip, shared just weeks before. This time last year I had no idea that one week later he would be diagnosed with a brain tumor and gone just two weeks after that. This time last year I had no idea what the next 365 days would bring. I miss him every day, and smile often when I think of the many memories we shared in our 31 years together. I feel honored to have had such a strong, funny, loyal, and loving man in my life. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Murphy Chronicles: 12/52

Murphy got his green on this St. Patrick's Day! He doesn't enjoy wearing a handkerchief and made multiple attempts to vigorously roll it off. Finally, he accepted it and went to strut his stuff in the neighborhood. He got lots of compliments. Such a handsome leprechaun!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Floral Mood























I bought these yellow roses on a whim one day when it was rainy and cold and their beautiful shade of yellow caught my eye. They were closed up tight, just little yellow buds. Over the next few days they began blossoming and, oh my, were they beautiful! Two weeks later I still have a few wilted stragglers left. But in their beautifully blossomed prime, they brought some serious warmth to many days and a put a smile on my face. They also reminded me of my Mammol; the yellow rose is the symbolic flower of sorority she belongs to. I tend to choose wildflowers or lilies, but these inspired me to "get my rose on" more often!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Murphy Chronicles: 11/52

















Murphy gets VIP service when it's cold. Before we head to work on chilly winter mornings, I toss his blanket in the dryer and wrap him up in the car. Don't judge, it's heartbreaking to watch that little dude shiver! This series of sleepy photos is his morning ritual. Once I start driving, he snuggles under that blanket and doesn't emerge until our final turn into the office parking lot. I'm amazed how he knows, but he KNOWS when we're there. Even without looking. Excuse the grainy photos. My iPhone camera is having serious problems! Can't wait until upgrade time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Murphy Chronicles 10/52























Figured I'd jump on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon this week. This is a photo of Murphy from 2007, around 4 months old, just days after he came into our lives. The eyes, the ears, the nose, that adorable lip! He's pure cuteness. Lucky for him, he grew into those eyes. I've been in puppy love with this guy since the moment I met him!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Tiny Boss

















































Adventures are everywhere! Last weekend I headed home to visit family and got into all sorts of strange. First, we decided to visit a "huge home shopping overflow sale" that was advertised in the newspaper but actually ended up being a giant junk sale. As my Mammol said, we were "underwhelmed." Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of GOOD junk (antiques, consignment, etc.) but this was painful. Torn Clark shoes, Birkenstocks decorated with Micky & Minnie, random kitchen cookware that looked used, and boxes of thing-a-ma-jigs that no one in this world could need or want. The electronic candle with a water feature as the wick really took the cake for me. 

Before I left Sunday morning, Mom threw a little Mardi Gras celebration with homemade beignets, mimosas, flowers, and jazz music. The beignets were absolutely delicious; Cafe du Monde would be proud! Shortly after the party started, I noticed a little dog running up and down the sidewalk, barking at mom's dogs, and backing into the road every few moments. Panic set in. I ran outside and thankfully the pup came right to me. He had on a collar with a phone number. The owner didn't answer, so I left a message and crossed my fingers for a reunion. For the next two hours this stray, Andy, the fuzzy little pup in the photo above, managed to start a massive hump fest among himself, my mom's two westies, my Boston Terrier, and my friend's dog. There was barking, running, playing in the rain & mud...pure canine delight...complemented by lots of laughing and failed discipline attempts on the human end of this charade. By the time the owner came to pick Andy up, this 8-pound seemingly-innocent pup managed to take charge of the entire pack. What an entertaining weekend!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Early Spring









































































Bits of spring are popping up everywhere in my neighborhood. Crocus, crepe myrtle, and daffodil dot the gray and brown crusted winter landscape. It's like seeing old friends! Welcome back spring!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tiny Valentine


This year I had a teeny tiny Valentine. Samuel, my best friend Jessica's son, is stuck in NICU until he's strong enough to come home. We met up for a girl's weekend filled with baby time, good food, and the usual goofy girl-time antics. Sam has such a sweet and calm disposition. He looks intently at this mama, through long lush (enviable) eyelashes, and raises his tiny barely-there eyebrows when she talks to him. He doesn't seem to mind the camera, which is a good thing, since "Auntie" Val plans to take thousands of photos of Sam and his twin sister Cora for years to come!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Murphy Chronicles: 7/52 (Special Report: Snow Day 2014)

Guess what Murphy?

It's snowing!

And it's time for your walk!

"Aww come on, don't make me! I can hold it for DAYS!"

Time to break out the ugly old winter boots!

Come on out Murphy, it's not so bad!

Oh my, how handsome you look in the snow! It really sets off your luscious black fur!

Look at Murphy frolic! (AKA: making a mad dash for home)

Vogue.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Flip Flops to Freezing in Two Days

Winter storm number two is hitting the South! Beautiful soft snowflakes are dancing in the sky. There's something electric in the air when a big storm is coming. Everyone is rushing around, making store runs, picking up kids, and cancelling events; people in the South tend to freak out more than those in the North. Makes me feel like getting cozy at home with a book, hot tea, and a fire, and watching the flakes fall. Speaking of snow, can you believe it was almost 70 degrees in Charlotte Saturday!? I started an exciting new photography project with a local blogger. Check out The Style Heist to see my first assignment!



Just one more New Orleans photo. Proof that I did, in fact, share a Huge Ass Beer with my grandmother and mom on Bourbon Street. What an awesome memory! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Murphy Chronicles: 6/52























And this, my friends, is Murphy at work. I'm so fortunate to have the privilege of bringing him with me. It brightens my day to hear his tiny snore, or crawl under the desk for some lovin', or just look at his cute little face. Everyone should be able to have dogs at work! He makes my coworkers smile and keeps me in the habit of getting up and walking outside every so often. This photo is a perfect example of how he spends most of the day: snuggled on his dog bed and wrapped in a blanket beneath my desk. We have this ritual where he'll scratch on the blanket and give me puppy eyes. That means, "Wrap me up woman!" 

On a side note, the blog just passed 50,000 views! On March 30 it will be four years old (whoa time flies). I started it as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and while I've had my ups and downs with consistent posting, it continues to keep me creatively motivated. Here's to a great fourth year of blogging!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Drop Me Off In New Orleans!

New Orleans is hands down one of my favorite cities. The French Quarter is so alive: jazz music on every block, various scents wafting through the air (from fried seafood to, well, not-so-nice smells), people from all over the world, incredible food, gorgeous wrought iron accents on ancient architecture, and a deep rich history woven throughout. On this trip I got to spend a couple days with my mom and grandmother; even shared a "huge ass beer" with them on Bourbon Street! I also discovered the best shrimp po boy I have ever had...even better than the famed Johnny's Po-Boys! Housed in the back of a tiny ecclectic bar (Erin Rose), Killer Po-Boys packs some serious flavor. Sauteed shrimp, grated carrots, pickled radish, cilantro, and special sauce made for one bad ass po-boy. Don't let the location deter you! Laissez les bon temps rouler!























There's always room for beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde!
Pretty sure this is Stalebread Scottie and His Gang






































































































































































No trip to NOLA is complete without a Kermit Ruffins concert. We saw him at the Blue Nile on Frenchmen. Best show yet!



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dining Dreams: Emeril's

Last night I crossed a big one off my culinary bucket list: Emeril's in New Orleans. The food was delicious and the customer service was out of this world. When I inquired about the location of the ladies room, a server escorted me. When I returned to the table, another server was waiting with my napkin and chair pulled out. My mom, Mammol, and I shared a lovely bottle of Prosecco and started with the famous barbecue shrimp appetizer and a ceasar salad. The shrimp was cooked to perfection with a perfectly sweet yet salty sauce. We sopped up the leftover sauce with the fabulous bread trio that accompanied the meal (sweet potato roll, corn muffin, and a rosemary garlic foccacia). For dinner I had the Top Chef special: Chef Shirley's black drum. Wow. The fish was tender and flaky and surrounded by a delightful mix of roasted red peppers, braised celery, crunchy roasted shittake mushroom, and parsnip. The sauce was buttery, creamy, and basically heaven on a plate. It was a special night with two of my favorite ladies! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Murphy Chronicles: 4/52


Murphy feels pretty cool when he can fit TWO of his favorite squeaky bones in his tiny little snout. Every now and then he can fit three! Impressive!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend Snaps


Spotted at the 7th Street Public Market: VEGAN FISH HAM. Some friends and I hit up the market for lunch last weekend. As we strolled through the market, checking out the various vendors, local farmers, and artisans, this strange food caught my eye in the vegan cooler section. Up until this point, I considered myself a somewhat adventuresome pescetarian. I've tried Tofurky (won't go there again) but must draw the line at Vegan Fish Ham. I did some research and found an ingredient list:  Non-GMO Textured Soybean Protein, Non-GMO Soybean Protein (Powder), Wheat Protein, Starch, Sea Salt, Brown Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Vegetarian Seasoning (source). While I appreciate the Non-GMO ingredients, I must say, this sounds like it would be utterly bland and unsatisfying! 























My girlfriends ate at Local Loaf and raved about their meaty sammiches and homemade potato chips (I snatched a few and they taste somewhere in between crunchy chips and chewy french fries, AKA heaven). For me it was a grilled cheese at Orman's Cheese Shop. I've heard rave reviews about their grilled cheese and it was, in fact, incredibly delicious. I had the cheddar, gouda, pickes, and mustard on sourdough. The bread was just right--buttery and tender yet crunchy, and the cheese was marvelous--perfectly stringy with a slight smokey flavor from the gouda, and the pickles and mustard complemented beautifully with a delicious tang.   




We finished the afternoon at the Levine Museum of the New South to explore their exhibits and activities in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. My favorite display was about Charlotte photographers during the Civil Rights Movement. I am fascinated by the history of the Civil Rights Movement and love hearing stories about the people who helped move the revolution along. Photography from that era is so emotional, moving, and life-changing. The museum's permanent exhibit, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers, presents a history of Charlotte through interactive displays and sets; it's really interesting to see how much this city has changed, yet in many ways, has stayed the same!


Guess I'm jumping the gun on my weekly Murphy photo post, but I couldn't help snapping this shot of him caught in a bone trance, surrounded by his toy collection. I'm grateful for fun weekends filled with good friends, cute pups, and new adventures!