Monday 5: Masculinity & other things I’m excited about this week

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This weekend was definitely an adventurous one. I went camping for the first time since high school with four men in the mountains of Brevard, North Carolina.

To be fair, the camp site was pretty nice; we had grills, showers, wifi…the guys called it ‘glamping,’ but I slept outside so I didn’t see anything glamorous about that, #thankyouverymuch.

There was a fair amount of apprehension going into the camping trip on my end but all in all I had a really great time. I struggled with the sleeping part (I couldn’t stop thinking about bears and serial killers and there was a bug-in-the-tent incident). But I really enjoyed the hiking and spending time with Nicholas and some friends in the beautiful outdoors.

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It did rain our last day which made our packing up highly unpleasant, but the boys were troopers and got it all done quickly and without complaining (I helped a tiny bit).

I am excited to have a bed to sleep in again but I do hope to go camping again some time. I hope you had a good weekend without any thoughts of bears or serial killers, hopefully you have something to be excited about…if not, here are some thoughts to get you started!

Masculinity

 

It was really interesting to spend so much time with only guys. Even though I grew up with a brother and spend a great deal amount of time with Nicholas, I feel like this weekend I grew to understand men and how they operate a little better this weekend.

I noticed that they were all upset when they heard the camp site was as nice as it was, they really wanted to ‘rough it’ in nature…something about being able to survive in wilderness is really important to them, an instinct I have trouble relating to.

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They felt so much accomplishment from getting the fires started (which is actually pretty difficult), and putting up the tents, and taking them down after. That challenge of conquering the outdoors seems to really speak to their identity. I was so impressed with how they worked together to make camping possible, the leadership they demonstrated and the sweat they put into all the necessary tasks. I think it’s really important to let be men be men. Today we have an unfortunate tendency of wanting to suffocate masculinity in the name of civility and equality, but I think that is causing more damage to men and women.

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Women are frustrated because men won’t act like men and men are frustrated because they feel they can’t. I felt protected this weekend because the men I was with stepped up, and I don’t think that makes me weak or the guys chauvinistic; it’s just part of how we complement each other. Men aren’t just like women and women aren’t just like men, and thank goodness for that.

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Biscuit Head

We stopped here for lunch per the recommendation of my friend Rachel (shout out!) and were really impressed. I think living in Charleston spoils us sometimes with the plethora of excellent cuisine and therefore are often disappointed when eat out in other cities. However, Biscuit Head was a notable exception. It’s a chain started in Asheville that sells gourmet biscuits that are super tasty. They also have a wide variety of jams and butters to try which were equally delicious. I ordered ‘The Classic’ which was a biscuit with egg and cheese, while Nicholas ordered the pulled pork biscuit, both were exceptional. The biscuits are enormous, and if you get the Classic it comes with a side. The more substantial ones don’t come with a side, but you definitely don’t need it. I highly recommend this restaurant if you visit Greenville, SC or Asheville!

Table decor

Last weekend was my mom’s birthday and we celebrated with a France themed get together Tuesday evening (can you tell I love themed parties?). One of my favorite ideas that I stole from one of our books on entertaining (I’ll list it in next week’s 5) is one for table setting. All you do is buy a bouquet of flowers and use a stem for each napkin. You put the napkin in a napkin ring, make a name card and tie it with twine or ribbon and then slip the flower into the napkin ring. It’s so pretty! And simple and cheap. Love love love.

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Challenge

What I learned this weekend about camping is that it requires a ton of work. From the planning to the packing to the setting up to just getting in your tent (freaking zippers), nothing comes without effort. While frustrating at times, there is something really important and rewarding about working hard. I know our lives can be so easy, so comfortable, which can often lead to complacency. Camping was a wake up call to all we have to be grateful for that I often take for granted and why it’s important to keep striving even if it seems unnecessary. Challenge, whether physical or emotional, helps us grow and become better, more compassionate people…something this world really needs.

Friendship

Our friend Brent (shout out #2!) told us this weekend that every time he saw me with Nicholas I was laughing: ‘I’m always like, what did Nick do this time?’ – Brent

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This weekend was great not only because we got to spend time together and with friends, but also because the time gave us the opportunity to work on our friendship. It’s really important to be friends with your significant other and for it not to be a purely romantic relationship. By this, I don’t mean that you have to be just like your s/o or have everything in common. I respect Nicholas when I accept his differences in thought, habits or preferences. We can still get along and have good discussions and enjoy each other’s company. Our differences challenge us to love each other for who we are and to see things from a different perspective. I think laughing together is one of the best things about our relationship and that can exist whether we both have all the same hobbies or not (we don’t).

Here’s to honoring the differences in the people around us this week (especially between men and women).

xo

Miranda

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Monday 5: Food & like one other thing I’m excited about this week

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Another rainy Monday here in Charleston. Although to be fair (will TBF ever be a thing?!) we got our share of sun Saturday and Sunday morning. But it has rained a lot this summer…the plants are excited about it. This weekend I spent some time with my family; we went to the movies, went to the beach, and had some friends over for brunch Sunday morning.

Nicholas and I went with my brother and a few other friends to play tennis on Sullivan’s Island (they played, I practiced) yesterday afternoon and then we went for a short-lived beach trip since the weather wasn’t ideal.

Hopefully this weather doesn’t last too long, although it is good to get some rainy day activities in (anyone have any suggestions?!).

Massage

For our latest ‘monthaversary’, Nicholas gave me a massage (apparently he thinks I’m tightly wound…) and I’m so excited about it. I’ve been thinking of going to get a massage for a few months now but was never able to actually get myself to schedule an appointment. I have my appointment Friday and am definitely looking forward to it. Yay for thoughtful gifts!

Wine & cheese night

Nicholas has been wanting to start a weekly/bi-weekly tradition of some sort of ‘wine night’ for a little bit now and we finally had the first one last night. It was pretty low-key with a few bottles of wine and an assortment of cheeses (thank you to our friend Sara who brought the great spread!). A few people came over and we chatted for a couple of hours. It was nice to have friends over in a smaller group and more laid back environment. I think hosting people is such a nice practice that we don’t see as often anymore. It always feels a lot easier to meet up for drinks or food. Having people over invites a deeper level of intimacy and trust in friendships and gives us an opportunity to practice hospitality (plus you have to clean up a little).

Greek food

I’m not a good cook, as anyone in my family will attest. However, I do like cooking for other people and would like to improve. We’ve decided to try a few recipes together that belong to a certain culture. This week we’re going Greek and hoping to do a little research on the country itself while trying out some of their typical dishes. This way we expand our repertoire, learn a thing or two about other cultures and (hopefully) eat some yummy food.

Homemade brunch

As I said in my intro, Sunday morning we had a few people come over for brunch at our house. My stepdad Ruben made Venezuelan arepas and we had eggs, chocolate croissants and avocado as well. Our house it remarkably small so it was fun to have nine people fit in our snug living room. Everyone loves brunch and there’s something fun about dressing up and going out; however having it at our home was a cool way to bring people together (and a little cheaper for everyone).

Dunkirk

Saturday we went to go see Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Even though I had my eyes closed a fair amount, the movie was really well done. The movie depicted what the soldiers went through who had been cornered by Hitler and how they were rescued. We see the soldiers on the island, the air force and the role they played as well as civilians and how they came to the rescue. It was especially impressive how they worked together to bring about relief and how essential each role/person is. It was also incredible to see how much the soldiers went through and to witness the emotional/psychological trauma they experience (in addition to the obvious physical hardships). It was a good movie that is thought provoking and inspiring (and Harry Styles is in it, in case you’re into that sort of thing).

Here’s to another great week!

xo

Miranda

Monday 5: Needlepoint hats & other things to be excited about this week

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Happy Monday! I hope the time change didn’t throw you off too much (why can’t we just pick one time and stick to it?), although I’m not complaining that the days are now an hour longer!

This weekend my family and I went to Atlanta to visit some relatives who live in the area. I got to visit some of my favorite spots which I talk about in my Atlanta edition of the Monday 5. The list includes a fantastic bakery/restaurant with an amazing shrimp po’ boy, an adorable stationary store with hilarious greeting cards and the best upscale thrift shop I’ve ever been to.

I know the time change can be a little disconcerting, here are some things I’m excited about that might help you think of your own list instead of how sleepy you are.

 

The Book of Virtues

I’ve had this book in my bookcase for years and for some reason last week I was inspired to pick it up and see what it was all about. This compilation is written by William J. Bennett, who worked for the Reagan administration as head of the department of education before retiring and publishing this book. He separates the book into the various virtues (courage, honesty etc) and groups various poems, short stories, songs and excerpts from books that relate to it. I have enjoyed perusing this book so much, it is a great reminder of what we should really be working on and all the charming literature that is out there that Netflix often distracts us from. Some of what I’ve read so far includes Greek myths, a letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter and Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream.’ It isn’t a book that you need to read cover to cover, but it’s really worth checking out if you haven’t before. All I’ve come across is lovely and inspiring, and great to read to children as well!

 

Macaroon Boutique croissants

I absolutely love chocolate croissants. They are one of those simple (if caloric) pleasures that every now and then are such a treat! Most bakeries and many coffee shops have them, but there is one bakery downtown Charleston owned by a French couple who have some of the best croissants I’ve had in the states. Friday before we left for Atlanta we bought a few of them and so were able to enjoy some delicious croissants over the weekend. If you like croissants and ever are in Charleston, I highly recommend the Macaroon Boutique on John street! So yummy.

 

Needlepoint hat

One of the stops we made this weekend in Atlanta was a shop owned by another husband and wife called Steve Mackenzie’s. They have a little bit of everything from home furniture to tassel earrings. Their store is incredibly well-decorated and so much fun to look around in! They have those adorable things you don’t strictly need but fall in love with anyway (like emoji embroidered napkins for cocktails). While there, I came across these canvas hats that were had various embroidered details. I’ve been looking for a good hat (cute, fits well) for a while now and am so glad I found these! They are a brother and sister who make and design unisex baseball caps, the company is called Harding-Lane and you can check out their hats here. The one I bought is a faded red with a sailboat on it. So cute!

 

Upcoming mini-adventures

Before the trip to Atlanta this weekend, a few months had passed since my last travels over the holidays. It was refreshing to get out of the routine and explore some new (and some old favorite) spots and I’m excited for a few other short trips I have coming up! This coming weekend I will be traveling to Eastern North Carolina and I have another trip in early April as well! I think in general even the smallest of trips can be seen as an exciting experience to look forward to and break us out of the same old same old. You can be on the lookout for new special editions of the Monday 5 coming soon!

 

Anticipation

Speaking of looking forward to things, I’ve recently learned about the importance of anticipation and how it is more meaningful to some than others. A part of traveling that I very much enjoy is the planning beforehand. Finding the perfect place to stay, fun places to go and where to eat is almost as enjoyable to me as the trip itself. I love to get an idea of what it will look and feel like before I actually experience it, and often going in person feels more fulfilling when I had gotten a glimpse of what it would be like in advance. This pretty much goes for everything I do, whether it’s just a normal Monday or a trip or a night out, thinking about it before makes it that much better to me when it actually takes place. Not everyone is this way. Some people much more enjoy the spontaneous, unexpected or unprecedented kind of events or travel without the hassle of planning. While I see the positives to that, I have come to terms that anticipation is important to me. Knowing this, I make an active effort to plan for and let my imagination wander (just a little bit) to things I’m excited about.

 

I hope your week is a good one and you get to enjoy the newly extended hours of daylight.

xo

Monday