Smile #134 – Nice to Meet You, Grandfather Mountain!

Nice to Meet You, Grandfather Mountain!

Grandfather Mountain opens its gates to student and local residents of High Country for only $3 per person as part of “Dollar Days” annual promotion.  I anticipate for this promotion each year…and yet, never took advantage of it until today.  No more waiting, let’s do this!

It was a slight overcast day, but the sun peaked through the layer of clouds.  Warm enough to not hide indoors and cool enough to enjoy the outdoor with a just a light jacket.  So Lil Sis, OH, MO and I filed in the car and off to another adventure we go.

At the gate, we received an informative CD that briefed us with facts and history as we drive to the peak.  From afar, we can clearly define the shape of a grandfather’s face!  Thus the birth of Grandfather Mountain.

The road to the peak grew increasingly more beautiful.  Lil Sis kept leaning over to look at the view.  It would be fine on occasion when she isn’t the DRIVER!  Hold on for our lives!

We parked at Split Rock for a chance to climb the unique rock formation.  Everyone climbed up just fine…except Lil Sis.  Her dramatic struggle was hilarious!  She eventually made it after OH pulled her up.

I love the view up there!  Semi-blue sky, Blue Ridge Mountain, couldn’t ask for a better backdrop!

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Given the option of driving or hiking the trail, we chose the latter.  The winding narrow road was a test of Lil Sis’ driving skills.  The wind was blowing at 50 mph.  It felt like we could be blown off the mountain if we stood too close to the edge.

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The most part I looked forward to most is definitely the Mile High Swinging Bridge.  In the middle of the bridge is a sign that shows 1 mile above sea level, how exciting is that?!

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…or not, as it turned out MO has a fear of bridges.  We assured him that no death has occurred on the bridge yet and he insisted he will be the record first.   Even with the strong wind, I barely felt the bridge swings much.  MO claimed otherwise.  It took everything in him to walk across the bridge.  But he made it through!

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Lil Sis and MO hung back at the end bridge while OH and I braved the wind and continued to the cliff!  The view is stunning!  I love how we were able to take in so much of the vast surrounding areas.

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Just as we were ready to cross back, MO stopped us.  There is a sign that stated the bridge’s capacity is 40 people at a time, but who is counting?  MO is!  Lol!

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Afterward, we took a look at the gift shop.  The country shop sold almost everything, from typical souvenirs to children toys. The stairs down was equipped with small openings to beautiful landscapes.

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What a fun day it was! 🙂  The wind did not ruin our appetite for the hike and view.  Until next time!

Smile #133 – Say Yes to this Ring

Italy is ranked as one of the world’s most romantic destinations.   I’d say Bubble was pretty clever to use our Italian vacation to his advantage. (Read Smile 97 for our proposal story!) 🙂

Before the actual proposal, we talked about different ring styles and settings.  I am a fickle girl; making up my mind is my enemy!   Classic?  Vintage?  Three-stones?  Silver?  Gold?  Rose-gold?  Platinum? Why are there so many components to a ring?!

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How do I choose the ‘perfect’ ring?!  I like one part of this ring, but another part from a different ring.  I gave him a collection of rings I liked, specifically detailing which part I actually like and which part I didn’t like.

Somehow from the messy collection I gave him, he figured out what would best suit me. 🙂  #designerintraining!

When he proposed, the ring was still in configuration phase.  He showed me a sample photo of the future ring with separate pictures of the diamond, the band, and the setting.

I joked that he should re-propose once he pick up the actual ring.  🙂  He laughed and refused my offer.  Boo!

As it turned out, Bubble had crafted his own plan.  Sneaky much?!

My sister and I headed to his place to celebrate my birthday and Halloween.  Cheers!  🙂  After I had open all the birthday presents, he instructed for me to sit down.  He handed me a big wooden treasure-y box.  Each box opens up to a smaller box.  A note is attached to each box until the very last one.

First box with a blue sticky –

Five years ago today….I met a wonderful girl at a party.  Ever since then I’ve been counting the reasons I can’t live without her.  

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Second box with a green sticky –

She makes waking up in the morning the sweetest gift.  She never fails to look beautiful.  She makes me want to accomplish amazing things…together.  Everyday with her is filled with laughter and love!  

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Third box with a pink sticky –

So….on October 13th, 2015 I asked this amazing girl if she would spend the rest of her life with me.  You said yes!  

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Final box with a yellow sticky –

Now look at your future husband so we can put a ring on it!

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With the last box, Bubble got up and showed me my ring!  🙂  Making it official!  🙂
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I must say, the actual ring is absolutely gorgeous!  🙂  Surprisingly (once again 🙂 ) Bubble picked up just the most fitting ring.  I guess he knows me better than I do.  🙂

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Smile #132 – Once

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This Saturday afternoon, Bubble and I headed uptown for another play.  One that won the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Once.  Adapted from the indie film directed by John Carney, Once tells the unconventional and charming love story of an Irish guy and a Czech girl.

Having seen the film and falling absolutely in love with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, I was eager to see the musical production!

Dimly lit wall decorated with antique mirrors, it felt like we were transported to a real Irish pub.  While the audience filled up the theater, the cast were jamming on stage.  A mix of instruments played harmonically until the theater lights dimmed and we were all anxiously waiting for this love story to unfold.  Bubble and I settled in our way-too-good-totally-didn’t-pay-enough-for seats at Belk Theater.  Being only a few rows from the stage, it was a VIP Broadway experience! 🙂

Alone in the street of Dublin, an Irish guy played the guitar.  First softly expressing his longing for his ex-girlfriend.  Then louder and louder he sang and harder and harder he played the notes to reveal his frustration and passion.  Just as the Irish guy felt most defeated and ready to walk away from his guitar, in came the Czech girl and her optimistic attitude.  Little did he know that she will revitalize his passion for music and completely change his attitude.

“Do you enjoy being Irish” asked the Czech girl
“Are you serious?” the Irish guy retorted
“I’m always serious.  I’m Czech.” the girl replied.

Her blunt and direct manner added humor to this story and the audience loved her for it.

She began playing the featured song, Falling Slowly in a fast tempo, which aggravated him enough to join her at the piano.  Together they play the most beautifully composed melody.  Casually they began singing to the raw lyrics.  The song is the essence of the movie.  Purely powerful and dramatic!

The two bonded over their shared love of music.  She saw that Irish guy is a bit “stuck” but perhaps she is a bit “stuck” as well.  She now lives in Dublin with her mother and daughter in a shared apartment after her husband had left.  Over the course of one week, their chemistry grew stronger and more intense.  Their unexpected friendship blossomed into a sensational but complicated romance.  The story is bittersweet and romantic, it is absolutely captivating!

The Irish guy portrayed the lost broken soul fittingly.  The Czech girl rocked her accents well.  In fact, the entire cast were very impressive!  Every character wore multiple hats from musicians to actors to supporting character.  They danced, they sang, they played instruments; their upbeat vibe made the play alive!  🙂

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Photo Source – Once Musical

Unlike typical love story ending with happily ever after, Once provided an alternative ending that captured everyone’s heart.  Even for Bubble, who was slightly hesitant about seeing this play; but afterward, he rated it highly.  🙂

I absolutely loved the performance.  🙂 What is even better is how the theater director put a different twist on this musical.  The stage was shared with new characters with new mini storylines.  It wasn’t like the movie reenacted in live performance, it was like the story being told with a different personality.  🙂  Once remains as one of my favorite romantic movies/musicals of all times.  🙂