Friday, July 31, 2015

A Day at the Beach. Have Fun But Safety First. Rip Currents & Sharks

I love the ocean.  I can sit and watch the water for hours mesmerized by the beauty and strength of the movement of the waves.  I have been swimming in the ocean since I was a little girl.  I can remember many days jumping the waves in Ocean City Maryland.  I love the feel of the salt water on my skin.
This summer there have been some disturbing events on the coast of NC.  Shark attacks and rip currents top the list.  As we all know there are risks to everything.  Just driving down the street or walking down a sidewalk can hold unforeseen risks.  For example, an elderly man in Raleigh was sitting on his front porch minding his own business and was attacked by a, possibly rabid, fox last week.  We can take every precaution and still be unable to avoid a tragedy.  What we can do is arm ourselves with knowledge and do our best to avoid these scary events.
"Rip Currents"
I spent a few nights in Emerald Isle last week.  The big questions was, "should I go in the water?".
One evening at high tide we stood with our feet in the water.  We could feel the strong pull of the water and see the sudden drop off right in front of us.  As much as I wanted to get in the water it just did not feel safe so we did not.  The next day during low tide it was a different story.  We walked out to our knees, there was not an obvious drop off as there was the night before and the tug of the current did not seem as strong so we went for it.  We went out and spent time jumping and diving in the waves.  What fun!
Here is advice on Rip Currents from Semper Safe.....

"Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore."  
"Rip currents are the number-one concern for beach lifeguards"
How to Identify Rip Currents

Look for any of these clues:

A channel of churning, choppy water
An area having a notable difference in water color
A line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward 
A break in the incoming wave pattern 
They give us these warnings but also let us know rip currents can be difficult to identify.

Lucky for me we did not see any sharks while at the beach, but you know they are out there. With that in mind I have to share a video...."The Sharks House"

Beach at Emerald Isle NC

Tips from Visit NC Beach Safety

Chances of encountering a shark in North Carolina waters are very low. To further reduce your risk, consider the following tips from the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher: 
  • Do not enter the water or swim near a pier, as they attract baitfish that sharks feed on and are a very likely place for sharks to swim if they come close to shore. 
  • Avoid waters being used by sport or commercial fishermen, especially if there are signs of baitfish or feeding activity. Diving seabirds are good indicators of such action. 
  • Always stay in groups. Sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual. 
  • Avoid being in the water during dusk, darkness or twilight hours. This is when sharks are most active and have a sensory advantage. 
  • Wearing shiny jewelry in the water is discouraged because the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales. 
  • Avoid wearing brightly colored contrasting clothing in the water. Sharks see contrast particularly well. 
  • Refrain from excess splashing to minimize your risk. 
  • Exercise caution when swimming between sandbars or near steep drop-offs. These are favorite hangouts for sharks. 
  • Do not enter the water if bleeding. A shark’s sense of smell is acute. 

    Keeping all of the information in mind don't let fear deter you from enjoying your life.  Use caution but have fun.  I suggest you visit Emerald Isle NC and take a refreshing dip in the ocean.
    Get out and travel!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My A-Z Adventures...E is for Emerald Isle NC...Evening Walk on the Beach

Emerald Isle NC.  What a lovely place.  I had the opportunity to visit the area with a good friend and we had a wonderful time.  Photos from our evening stroll on the beach with a few quotes about the area...

"Emerald Isle greets Crystal Coast visitors at the western end of Bogue Banks, offering 5 miles of pristine shoreline and incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and Bogue Inlet."

"Emerald Isle is a town in Carteret County, NC.  It is part of the Crystal Coast and is located entirely on the Bogue Banks. The Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier, located on the western end of the 
Bogue Banks is one of the only fishing piers left on the island."
The sky and the sea were beautiful at sunset....

 Sea shells everywhere....Cindy and I searched for sea shells on our evening walk.  We compared our search to shopping.  Below is the sale rack.  Everything bunched together and you have to really dive in and search if you want to find that special shell....
The items not on sale.  All on display and easy to find....

"Emerald Isle is a popular vacation spot and is also known for excellent fishing and a wealth of marine life. Notably its beaches are a favorite location for nesting sea turtles."

We did not see any sea turtles but we saw some beautiful birds.  I was thankful we did not see any sharks.  

 "When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out 
with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon 
everything in me that is bewildered and confused."

 Rainer Maria
I really like the quote by Rainer.  I agree....
"There is something soothing about a calm day at the beach.  The sound of the waves and the sea birds.  The gentle breeze and the feel of the soft sand on bare feet." 
We had a great evening on the beach.
I can't wait to go back.
Life is an adventure. Get out and explore.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Caleb and Nana's Adventures....National Ice Cream Day At "Fresh Local Ice Cream"

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month?  In 1984 President Ronald Reagan decided that July would 
be National Ice Cream Month and the 3rd Sunday in July would be National Ice Cream Day.  As luck would have it 
Caleb and I were both free, as were his Mom and Dad, on the 3rd Sunday in July and so decided to indulge.
Now where should we go to enjoy some ice cream?  I went to my favorite source, Google, and did a bit of research.
 I decided on Fresh Local Ice Cream in Raleigh.
We drove up to a cute little stand alone ice-cream shop.  You order at the window and then take a seat at
 one of their outdoor tables.

So many tempting flavors.  It was hard to choose.  I finally decided on the Coconut Almond Crunch.
It was delicious!!  The girl at the window was friendly and answered all of our questions with a smile.

My Coconut Almond Crunch and Caleb's Chocolate with sprinkles.  Good choice Caleb:-)

A few ice cream facts from the Farmers Almanac..."The History of Ice Cream"
A.D 54–68: For centuries, iced desserts were a luxury.
A.D. 618–907: The origins of ice cream date back to China's T'ang period, probably as a dish for the 
country's rulers.
1744: American colonists brought along recipes from Europe.
1851: Baltimore dairyman Jacob Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream factory. 
1939: Grocery stores didn't start selling ice cream until the 1930's, and by WWII, 
ice cream had become so popular that it turned into somewhat of an American symbol 

If you are in the mood for ice cream and you are in North Raleigh I suggest you try Fresh Local Ice Cream. 
I think you will love it.  I did.
Get out and try a new restaurant or go on an adventure.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Travel & Fashion....Beach Day...

I am so excited.  I am getting ready to go to the beach for a few days with Cindy.  That got me thinking.  Do I have what I need for a day at the beach?
Bathing Suits?  Yes.  The one on the left I have had for years.  The one in the center is a tankini top I bought on Zulily and I already had the swim shorts.  The bathing suit on the right is one I just bought on Amazon and I really like it...

They are out of the color I ordered.  There are straps with this suit also.  It has a cute little skirt in the front.  The skirt does not go around to the back but that is ok, it is fine just the way it is:-)

The hat I bought from Amazon also......  It was a bit large.  It does come with strips of foam to add to the lining in the hat to give it a more snug fit.  I did have to add them.  It's nice I am glad I bought it. $26.96

I have a bathing suit cover and sandals.  I have only one beach towel so I decided to get one more...This one was on sale for $18.99.  Why are beach towels so expensive?

If you know anything about NC you know there have been several shark attacks this summer.  I love to swim in the ocean.  I enjoy diving in the waves and body surfing.  I am a bit reluctant this summer though with 8 shark attacks on the NC coast in a very short period of time.  Cindy and I decided to get sand beach chairs and sit in the sand with our toes in the water.  I think I will take a bucket too so I can at least pour water over my head:-)

I already have a picnic cooler bag I bought on eBay.  I have the Plastic Wine Cups too, although the cup is a bit small for my taste.  I will have to carry a couple of bottles in the cooler bag:-)
I did decide to get one more thing for my beach adventure.  I bought a waterproof waist pack so if I do decide to go in the water I can carry my keys and phone.
Ok, I think I am ready.  If you like any of the products just click on the photo and it will take you to the site.
Can't wait to hit the beach.  If I have forgotten anything for my beach day 
let me know by leaving a comment.
Get out and go on an adventure.
I suggest you go to the beach.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Travel and Adventure...Brook Green Gardens Murrells Inlet SC

Several months ago I spent a rainy weekend in Charleston.  My goal was to attend a conference, which I did and it was great.  I also wanted to visit several of the Gardens in the Charleston area but the rain would not let up.  Well, it was time to head home. I could take the short route home and give up on my garden tour or I could take a chance and visit a garden just a bit north where there was, hopefully, less rain.  Not being one to give up on an adventure  I took the risk and went the long way home so  I could visit Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet SC
Here is what they had to say on their website...
"For 85 years, Brookgreen Gardens has been an inspiration, refuge and retreat for our community. We hope residents and visitors will take pride in the fact that in their midst is one of America’s premier gardens."
"On entering the Diana Garden, the breadth of this magnificent place stands before you. The Live Oak Allée garden is comprised of 300 year-old Live Oak trees that were planted in the early 1700s when Brookgreen Gardens was a thriving rice plantation."

This area of the garden was stunning.  I love the large oak tress with the Spanish Moss and ivy.  Beautiful!  Here is a map of the garden....Garden Map
"Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in America, has in its collection more than 1,400 works by over 350 sculptors."
There were beautiful sculptures everywhere.  I did not get to see all that I wanted to due to the misty rain but what I saw was lovely.

Throughout the gardens were quotes.  I like this one....
Due to the weather I did not get to tour the entire garden.  I know I missed many of the sculptures and much of the gardens.  Here a few things I want to see next time,,,
They have a Zoo, a Pontoon Boat Adventure, A Butterfly House, and a a few different Dining Options.
I am looking forward to a return trip to Brookgreen Gardens to complete my tour.  If you are in the Myrtle Beach area I suggest you check them out.  You won't be disappointed.
Life is an adventure.  Get out and enjoy it:-)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Restaurant Review...Six Plates Wine Bar....Durham NC

I love to try new restaurants.  It can get a bit pricy and that is why I am constantly checking Groupon for culinary deals.  I found a Groupon for Six Plates Wine Bar in Durham.  I bought the coupon called Cindy and off we went on a yummy adventure.  And an adventure it was....
Here is what they say on their website...
"We keep our selection of plates and wines by the glass small, so that every plate and every glass of wine we give you is of the highest quality.  Because our menu is small, both the food and the wines are constantly changing in order to offer as much variety as possible."
We decided to sit at the bar. They don't have wait staff and  here is their reason why... "Why no waiters?  Waiters can be a great feature of a fine dining restaurant, but there is no reason you can’t have great wine and great food in a more laid back atmosphere.  This way, rather than waiting on someone to show up and help you, you get everything on your time and not ours. However, if you desire the extra attention and want to talk about wine, sit at the bar and the bartenders will be at your service."
The Appetizers 
Sweet Potato Arancini with Smoked Gouda $6

Olive Plate $4

The Entree
Sliders served with BBQ Chips Beef 
                        cherry black pepper chevre, pickled beets, caramelized onions $9

Flatbread spicy tomato sauceroasted corngrilled zucchiniroma tomatoes, red onion, bacon lardons, feta, parsley shallot vinaigrette $9

Chocolate Truffles
 Hand dipped blackberry lavender, pink peppercorn & sea salt,peanut butter …2 for $3.50
Such a great experience.  The atmosphere was cozy and inviting.  The food amazing.  I think Cindy would agree.  The chocolate was, I guess I would have to say, complex.  You could taste pepper, sweetness, saltiness and a hint of was delicious.  
There were several words on the menu that were foreign to me.  Lets look them up and enhance our vocabulary.
Arancini- are stuffed rice balls that are coated with breadcrumbs, and fried. Arancini are usually filled with ragù, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape.
Chevre- French for goat cheese.
Lardon- also called lardoon, larding needle or larding, is a small strip or cube of pork fat (usually subcutaneous fat) used in a wide variety of cuisines to flavor savory foods and salads....(These were really tasty on the flatbread:-)
If you want to try a new restaurant I suggest you try Six Plates Wine Bar.  Many varieties of wine, they even let you taste before you buy.  I probably tasted 4 before I made my decision.  We sat at the bar to get a feel for the flow of the restaurant but next time I think we will take a seat in the dining room.  I love their concept of taking your time and just enjoying the wine and food at your own pace.  I can't wait to return....
Get out and try a new restaurant!