Taking Things for Granted …

It’s human nature to take things for granted, and I for one will admit my guilt. Sometimes the tiny dramas of the day can get magnified and make you lose sight of what is really important. Recently, I have been humbled by being selected as a 2014 STANDOUT Charlotte honoree by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I am extremely honored to be recognized, but I’m more amazed at being able to try to help fund raise for such an amazing organization.

It wasn’t until recently that cystic fibrosis as a disease was even on my radar.  Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. An estimated 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) have CF. I can’t imagine what it is like to have difficulty breathing or digesting your food and I love food. I also can’t imagine what it would be like to have a life-expectancy rate assigned to me from birth.

Embarking on this journey has really taught me how much I take for granted, particularly regarding my health. As part of my honoree tasks, I have been asked to fund raise for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Currently, there is not a cure for CF and that is why fundraising for research is so vital.

I appreciate that this honor is also a challenge to me and the other honorees. I have assisted with fundraising efforts before, but never done this on my own.  It’s a great feeling to know that I may be able to make a small difference.  If you are interested in donating to help fund future research for CF, please consider donating here https://finest.cff.org/erin-maddrey-honorees-finest.



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Mermaids and Music

Sometimes all you need to recharge is a quick trip to the beach and that is exactly what I did this past weekend. Being around water immediately takes me to my happy place, and I’m convinced I have some mermaid genes in my DNA makeup.

This weekend I went to Edisto Island with two amazing friends and had a blast. There were some interesting parts to our adventure, like being caught in a storm on our way down resulting in the most epic traffic jam (doubled our drive time), and then a man-of-war stinging a friend of mine while she was happily swimming in the water. Other than those little hiccups, we had a great time and no one was killed or seriously maimed. Lots of sun, relaxation and delicious meals in one of the cutest vacation spots the low country has to offer. One of the things I appreciated most was Edisto Island’s commitment to conservation, particularly the turtles that nest along the shore.  Through the state park, we took a turtle education class and then went out at night on a turtle walk in hopes of seeing nesting mommies, or hatched babies making the mad dash to the ocean. We did not see turtles this time, but we saw other cool creatures and learned a lot in the process.

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Hello creepy ghost crab. We had to use red lights to not disturb the turtles.

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I had to take a picture (I hate selfies) and show off my beachy hair that I’m loving/rocking in the office today.

Now this mermaid is landlocked once again, but I’ve had an exceptionally great Monday so far and  I have no complaints. Another reason I’m not complaining is because of some amazing music I’ve discovered recently. I’ve been a fan of Skylar Grey for years (when she was going by Holly Brook), but recently I discovered her song “Words I Never Said.” It is beautiful and haunting and is a reminder to never take anything or anyone for granted.

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Push Yourself

sweat-is-fat-cryingThe past few years have included times of extreme highs and extreme lows, but I embrace all of those moments as they have led me to where I am now. I love where I am now, but I am a person that does not like to be complacent or stay comfortable for too long. This need to challenge myself extends to all parts of my life, but for this particular post, I’m going to touch on ways I like to challenge myself physically.

Last year, I discovered running and completed my first 5K as a birthday present to myself. I absolutely loved the feeling of accomplishment and triumph that washed over me as I crossed the finish line. I love crushing goals and pushing myself to and exceeding new limits.  

This week, I found a new challenge and rediscovered one of my favorites.  In the past few months, I have focused on weights and cardio, but I knew I needed to switch things up a bit. Thanks to my friend, Magen, this week I finally tried Flywheel. I had heard such good things about the workout, and I’m so glad I went. The music was great, the instructor (Denise) was amazing and I left a sweaty happy mess. I will definitely be going back.

I also rediscovered one of my favorite workouts and studios in Charlotte, Carolina Barre & Core. I absolutely love the workouts and the instructors. I had been going regularly a few months back, but just let life get in the way. No excuses, especially since I love the workouts. I forgot about the infamous “shake” that occurs during these classes. When your body shakes, you are exhausting muscle and forcing it to tone, so embrace the shake!

I’m always looking for a new way to challenge myself, so let me know if you have any suggestions!


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Weekend Recap and New Music

This weekend was full of friends, food and fun. Basically it was awesome and now I’m exhausted (give me all the coffee).  Music always gets me through Mondays, especially ones that are dark and rainy like today.  I’ve recently discovered a group out of Brooklyn called Wet. Seriously, get to know them now. I’m currently listening to “Move Me” and it is getting me through the morning.

Friday kicked off the weekend with an event at Discovery Place called Science on the Rocks. This will be a monthly event that occurs after normal business hours so that adults can explore the museum’s exhibits, drink and not have to elbow small children out of the way to see things. There were touch tanks to get an up-close encounter with some sea creatures, a liquid nitrogen demonstration involving wine (yep) and all the exhibits currently featured at the museum. I especially enjoyed the Frog exhibit. After the event, some friends and I went to Dandelion Market for awesome bites and then out in Uptown before coming home to pass out after a long week. I can’t hang on Friday nights anymore.

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Saturday night, my group of culinary adventurous friends, the Epic Eaters, participated in  Charlotte Restaurant Week the Queen’s Feast. We went to Fahrenheit and the food did not disappoint. Although our service was not amazing, the food, restaurant and view were fantastic. I think I used sex analogies to properly answer questions such as “How is your first course?” and “Tell me about the pork tenderloin?”  After dinner, we headed to the summer party to end all summer parties. It was so legit that it had it’s own hashtag (#summerparty3). There were not one, but two bands playing at this house party and later a DJ appeared with a turntable in the living room. What? It was insane and so much fun.

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photo 4To round out the weekend that wouldn’t quit, I had the honor of going to my friend Caitlin’s place for an amazing brunch. She is not only an incredible person, but also a gifted chef. Those lucky enough to be there had some amazing food and drinks. I was so full and happy after I left her place that I promptly came home and took a nap. It was the perfect end to a fantastic weekend.

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Music Monday: Banks

This past weekend was full of down time, fun catch up sessions with friends and a culinary tribute to the countries participating in the World Cup. Saturday I attended a World Cup party hosted by one of the most culinary and soccer savvy couples I’ve ever met. The party consisted of watching the games, and, most importantly, eating dishes inspired by the 32 countries participating in the World Cup. One of my favorites was a Cameroon inspired beef dish … wow.  Then I went to see The Fault in Our Stars. I had read the book, so I was somewhat prepared, but my friend and I still cried our eyes out.

Sunday night I went to see the Charlotte Symphony’s Pops in the Park.  I hadn’t been in years and it was a great night for amazing music and a picnic of wine, dessert and Doritos. If you haven’t tried Cake in a Jar by The Secret Chocolatier, stop what you are doing immediately and get one.

One of my other favorite things about this weekend was having down time to listen to new music. Although, I’ve been listening to Banks for awhile, I’ve had a rediscovery moment with her. Seriously, if you don’t know her work, get to know her work. Her songs are awesome and some of the covers she has done, I love her version of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody,” are just sick.  Here is her song “Waiting Game”. Enjoy!


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Music Monday: The Country Deep™ Tour

photo 1 (3) photo 2 (4)This past Friday, I had the opportunity to attend The Country Deep™ Tour, presented by AT&T U-verse® thanks to my amazing friend, Katy (Thanks, Katy!).  The Tour came to the Fillmore Charlotte with David Nail as the headliner and Sam Hunt as the opening act.

After grabbing pre-show drinks, we headed towards the venue and had our photos taken by the AT&T U-verse® reps in front of a wall of guitars. There was also a tour bus outfitted with a karaoke machine for the brave ones. Although I love music, I am tone deaf and decided not to hurt anyone’s ears that day with my attempt at singing.

Before the show, we had a chance to participate in the meet & greet with David Nail. He was very humble and took the time to thank all of his fans for coming out to the show. After the m&g, it was time for the show to start. Sam Hunt came out and was ready for a party. A talented songwriter that is finally getting recognition for being a great singer and overall entertainer, he had me singing, dancing and making googly eyes at him (did I mention how cute he is?).  If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will as he is someone to definitely watch with his vocals, songwriting talent and showmanship (did I mention how cute he is?).

Next up was the headliner, David Nail.  He is a great mix of contemporary and classic country. He reminded me of George Strait with his performance style. He spoke briefly to the crowd, but left his heart on the stage with his songs. I love a good heartbreak song, and David has some great ones, especially this one.  The crowd, myself included, went nuts when he started singing his hit “Whatever She’s Got“.

Such a great show by both performers and an awesome tour experience. Now if only I could sing …

photo 5 (3)Meet and Greet with David Nail

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Mother’s Day Love

photo (61)To me, there are many different levels to being a mother and all are beautiful. A mother can care for her children, someone else’s children, her animals, her family, her friends and total strangers. A mother’s heart is kind and caring, but also strong and fierce.

Today, I would like to recognize all the different types of mothers in the world. I know my life has been touched by amazing women (relatives, friends and strangers) that have cared for me and fought for me during different parts of my life journey.  To all of them I say Happy Mother’s Day, but most of all, I’d like to say Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Gale. She is the fiercest, most loving Mama Bear and I am blessed and honored that she is mine. I am humbled when I think of all she and my dad have done for my brother and I, and I hope I give as much love to others as she does on a daily basis.

May all the mother’s have an amazing day today.

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