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Saving pieces of the Cavalier

If there’s one thing you must know about the South it’s the fact that we love our history & historical sites, buildings, and battlefields. We take pride in our heritage & on any given weekend of the year you’re more than likely to find a reenactment from the Revolution or Civil War going on. Did I mention we love our reenactments? As many historic places as Virginia has there is one city that pretty much has next to none, Virginia Beach. It’s been highly developed & home to many Naval bases & sprawling malls. In this vast desert over condos, house, malls. shops & hotel there sits a little piece of history carefully preserved, The Cavalier Hotel. It’s quite hard to miss this gem nestled at the end of the “strip” as the locals call it. It’s quite impressive with its expansive grounds & gleaming brick facade. One might say that it’s breath-taking as well.

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This hotel was built in 1927 & billed as a top-notch hotel. It’s hosted seven United States Presidents, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. As well as many other famous people like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Will Rogers,  Jean Harlow, Mary Pickford, Betty Grable and Fatty Arbuckle. As with all historic hotels it does come with a famous dead person. Adolf Coors the founder of Coors Brewing company committed suicide at the age of 82 by leaping to his death from one of the hotel’s windows. Most locals know this place is haunted & always try to get up to the tower where there’s more ghostly activity.

I always dreamt of getting married at this hotel when I was a little girl. I would always see couple’s getting their wedding photos taken on the grounds. When I got engaged the first place I went was the Cavalier to check out the space. I knew it was an old hotel but the ballroom was too dark & it was showing quite a bit of wear. After that the hotel fell into litigation between the family that owned it & subsequently disrepair. A judge forced the family to liquidate all it’s holdings & properties & split the profits since no agreement could be reached. There was much hoopla over the selling of the property since it’s pretty much the last historic piece of Virginia Beach around. Thankfully a hotelier bought the property & decided to completely rehab from the top down. That meant pretty much everything the hotel except the fixtures had to go. I was so excited to see the tag sale that the owner was holding. It’s being held for 20 days starting the beginning of April, then going to be remodeled after that. Being the tag sale junkies we are my Mother & I went to check it out. At this point the place had been completely picked over & all that was left was the odd furniture pieces & hotel equipment. What I did find to be funny was that people were taking parts of the old wallpaper straight off the wall. It was glue so much in some places that the plaster came right off with it. But by far my favorite thing in the sale was the round bed that I’m assuming came out of the honeymoon suite. The only thing my mother could say was “I’m sure there was a lot of sex on that bed.” I didn’t even want to know. We ended up walking away with a few pieces of the wall paper, a propane heater, carpet dryer & a two vintage outside flood lamps I’m going to turn into pendants. 

This place was still hauntingly beautiful in its sad disrepair state. I can’t wait to see it rehabbed to its old glory & hopefully if we have a baby girl she’ll want to get married there too someday. Here a few photos I snapped & a couple of old borrowed.

 

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Said Sex Bed

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Damaged Shins No More

Sometimes patience pays off in a stoke of luck where you didn’t expect to find it. For months I’ve been searching for a coffee table that fit into the decor of our living room. While I love the current one we have, a factory cart, it’s been murdering the heck out of my shins. Our lab Texas has figured out that if he stands on it & throws his weight to the side it’ll move. The last thing I need is a heavy cart with a large dog rolling around the room. Which just bumped the need for a new one high up on the list. Of course every single one I found on Craig’s List was way out of my price range or already sold. That left me looking at estate sales & hoping I could find one at a reasonable cost. I had little hope in that area thanks to the jacked up prices I’ve been seeing at estate sales lately. There wasn’t a lot of sales going on near me so I searched a few cities over & found an estate sale with a few pyrex & mid century items. But because I waited until Saturday to look at sales I figured there was no way any thing I wanted to be left since it most likely went the day before on the first day. I was a little bummed but decided to go the next day when it was 50%. I didn’t have anything to do & if it was a total bust I could always thrift my way back home.

As usual I made a bee line straight to the kitchen. All the pyrex was still on the counter so naturally I scooped that up with a few other pieces. I almost walked out of the house without checking the garage. But being the person I am I decided to take a look. Underneath a mound of vintage tupperware there it sat. The coffee table I’d been looking for! I was slightly scared to even look at the price. Thank god they had $10 on it which made it a whole $5! The guy working in the garage looked slightly confused that I even wanted a dusty old table. I told him I’d been looking for one like this & so glad it was still there on the last day. After I loaded the dishes I picked up the table & went to put it in the car. I didn’t even get two steps before an older gentlemen took it from my hands saying, a lady in a dress should never carry something so heavy. It only weighed a whole 5 pounds but I let him carry it since it would be a mark against his pride if I didn’t.  I was just so happy I scored a great coffee table for an even better price. Once it’s cleaned up it’ll be going straight in the house. But the best part about this piece is it’s actual worth… around $150-200! Now that’s a deal!

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Mad with Style

Sunday night the first episode in the last season of Mad Men aired. No I didn’t watch it. I figured I’d let the whole thing end before I started watching it so I could just do a marathon. But what little I do know about Mad Men is the amazing style everyone seems to have. Over the winter I stocked up on a few vintage dresses for this upcoming spring & summer. I’ve been biting at the chance finally wear these pretties out & about. Even though I love the 50′s day dresses I’ve found my figure is more suited to the 60′s style dresses. This is why I love that the show is popular since it started a trend of everything MCM & 60s coming back into style. And for a girl that’s top heavy & a bit curvy this era of dress works perfectly for me & still makes me feel like a bomb shell. Since this is the ending of an era in TV Land so to speak  a lot of my friends haven been throwing Mad Men Style Dinner Parties. I knew my habit of collecting pretty dresses wasn’t in vain. I’ve also gotten quite a few request to help friends find that perfect piece for their party. So if you’re attending one of these parties but clue less on what to wear & don’t have time to thrift one head to Etsy. They have a vast & great many choices to pick from. They also range from budget friendly to budget buster. If you have no intentions of diving head first into vintage dress I highly recommend a budget friendly dress. And yes there are many pretties to choose from for every shape. I’ve picked a few of my absolute favorites to steer you in the right direction.

 

 

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(I have this dress in brown, black & white color & LOVE IT. Good for all shapes.)

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Of course I couldn’t post without adding an Mad Men avatar of myself. Oh an don’t forget to accessorize your outfit or you won’t be doing it justice!

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To B&B or to not B&B?

Have you ever felt like you needed a vacation from your vacation? Yeah I know I’m not technically working so every day is a vacation for me but I need another three days to recover. Heck I didn’t really consume a lot of adult beverages & I’m still dragging arse. Old age man, old age.

The second part of our cross Massachusetts jaunt we decided to switch the game up and stay at a Bed & Breakfast called Ivory Creek. J actually thought the idea up on his own & didn’t tell me until it was booked and paid. At first I was completely put off by the idea of staying in some random person I’d never met’s home. I mean I hadn’t even read any of the Yelp reviews & that’s a major no no in my book. After checking out the place online I felt slightly better that I wasn’t going to become apart of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3. I still had no idea what to expect or how to act when staying at a B & B.

Since we were catching a Red Sox game at Fenway we weren’t going to make it in time for checking in. With a short call placed to the owners we were told to look for our key next to the main entry way. They don’t keep their front door locked so you’re able to come & go as you please. Once again I was leery about that part but they live in the middle of no where on a dead-end street. I highly encourage everyone to be present at check in time or you’ll be stumbling around in the dark at 1am trying to find your room. Thank god our room was on the first floor or I would have been up a creek trying to get my luggage upstairs.

After silently cussing each other out in the middle of the dining room we managed to go through a shit ton of doors to find the room. Once we unlocked the door we entered an amazingly spacious room. It came stocked with a fireplace, huge king bed, a claw foot bathtub & a private porch. J did a bang up job selecting the room. That place had me at claw foot tub hands down. I didn’t really care at that moment since all I wanted to do was sleep.

Since it was dark & I was pretty much blind I didn’t notice that our room was located right next to an indoor garden. Cool huh? Yeah not so much when you’re woken up by loud arse birds at 6am. Not cool birds, not cool. It also hit me that I now understood why this place was called Ivory Creek, there were elephants everywhere. It was oddly charming for a place in middle of the woods. The best part about this whole place was the breakfast. I had no idea how that worked since I’m just use to room service. We signed up the night before & there were place setting laid out for us in the dining room the next morning. Usually I’m a super picky eater so I was a little worried it would be stuff I didn’t like. They started us off with fresh fruit with a raspberry garnish then made from scratch chicken sausage, sautéed  mushrooms & scrambled eggs with herbs. That wasn’t the best part though, the real kicker, FRESH MADE BANANA BREAD! It was so freaking good I could have eaten a loaf of that by its self. I’m not sure if it was the butter already melted on it or the side of cream cheese spread but it was the stuff fat kid’s dreams are made of.

I’d return to this place for the breakfast alone if given the choice. Once we stayed a night I started to get into the groove of the whole Bed & Breakfast thing. At first it felt all awkward but that dissipates after a spell. If you aren’t sure if a bed & breakfast is your cup of tea I’ve got a few pointers that could help make up your mind. Cause you know I’m a total pro at this now.

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To B&B

- Delicious breakfast

-You’re a social person

- A cheaper rate compared to hotels even with a free breakfast

- Rather have homey type of enviroment instead of standard hotel type places

- Want to try something new & off the beaten path

-Good for a romantic weekend get away

- Supporting local small businesses instead of subscribing to some silly point system with a big chain

 

Not to B &B

-You’re socially awkward.

- Dislike staying at other people’s home.

And well that’s really the only two I can think of. Everyone should at the very least try a b&b once. You’ll meet some interesting people & more than likely the breakfast will blow your mind! We loved this place so much we’re booking our stay for this upcoming Thanksgiving. Cause let’s face it I’m a fat kid & the way to win me over is with food. This couple knocked it out of the park!

 

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Eating my way through MA with a few Sides

This past week we packed up the car and headed to Massachusetts for a much-needed vacation & family time. J’s sister had a baby shower on Sunday so we figured we’d just make a week of it. The best part about traveling for an extended weekend is that every day feels like Friday. That and the traffic isn’t so bad when you’re traveling up 95 on a Wednesday. We decided to split our vacation into two parts. The first four days were spent in Boston then we’re taking off to the Western part of the state for three days then hitting up Boston on the way back to Virginia. My poor Libby ( the Jeep Liberty) is getting a work out this week.

While we were in Boston we caught up with old friends explored the city, antiqued of course, & decided to get in on opening weekend action with s Sox game. But between all of that we got to do some serious chowing down. I don’t eat big meals or crap food any more since I’m trying to shed a few pounds but decided to give myself a little breathing room while on vacay. What’s a vacation without indulging yourself?

Every time we come to Boston we always go to Bukowski Tavern. It’s not a trip up North if I don’t get my Peanut Butter Bacon Burger. Normally I don’t eat a lot of burgers but that burger is a no brainer. It’s exactly what it sounds like, amazing. So many people tell me it just sounds gross but once you’ve taken a bite you’ll agree it’s aaaaaaamazing. The best part is you get to pick the peanut butter smooth or crunchy. I always opt for crunchy. Not to mention the atmosphere is what you’d expect at your local tavern. A bit dodgy , no frills, & a wide selection of brews.

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The next day we did a bit of antiquing & hanging with friends. Later that night J took me to a place called Flatbread Company. It’s in an unassuming part of a business park that you wouldn’t find unless you were looking for it. I knew the place had to be good when we had a 30-45 minute wait for just two people. The bake all their flatbreads in a huge stone oven & almost all of their ingridents are organic. They even have a garden along the side of the building they grew their herbs & spices in. As much as I loved the food my favorite what the orange mango soda they have. It’s so good and surprisingly goes well with the pizza.

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On Saturday we hung around Back Bay with a quick trip to Newbury street for a little shopping. Most of the stuff on that street was way too expensive & out of my price range. Since we hoofed it all the way from Newbury street & back we decided to stay around Fenway Park & eat. The day before I saw this massive line wrapped around the block for a place called Tasty Burger. Judging that it must be good we decided to give it a go. It’s not your typical burger joint though. They offer of course a large selection of burgers, sides, shakes, and hot dogs. The beer menu is huge & their sides aren’t the usual fries. We got a side of hummus & guacamole served with tortilla chips. The hummus was better than expected and so was my plain Jane burger. I’m a sucker for packaging and this place nailed it. They also have a burger challenge but I had to convience J NOT to do it.

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That night I sat through what must have been the coldest baseball game I’ve ever attended. I knew it was going to be cold in New England but this was insane…. We left after the 7th inning because my fingers started to go numb & I couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering. The only way you could have survived watching that from the stadium was either a box or a snow suit. Two shirts & two heavy coats couldn’t keep me warm. It’s safe to say that even though I love Fenway Park & the Fenway Franks I love Camden Yards in Baltimore too much to travel back for opening day. This southern girl will happily sweat it out instead of having to thaw myself from the cold.

 

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A few shots I managed to get from our awesome seats until I retreated to standing next to the hot dog stand for heat.

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