Autumn Fallin'

Autumn Fallin' | Freckled Italian

I flew to Roanoke instead of Charlotte last week and connected in Philly. It takes all day to fly from the West Coast to the East Coast because it's at least five hours if you get a direct flight, but if you want to fly into Roanoke, Virginia then you have to stop somewhere else and put your bag under the plane and climb aboard a tiny little prop that only seats 34 people. Because "home," wherever that is, didn't feel far enough away already.

The plane bounced us around through the chilly night as we descended over the Blue Ridge Mountains; and even though it was dark outside, the moment the plane door opened I knew that I had made it to fall in Roanoke--the most magical time of the year with yellow leaves, the smell of autumn and campfire smoke, and chilly wet sidewalks. It feels like home.

I wore jeans and sweaters and my mom's Uggs, which I always do whenever I'm visiting. They're way cuter than mine because she never wears them. (I've had a pair for years and they're one of the few shoes I own that Ender hasn't shown any interest in eating.) I met my friend Raquel for tacos and margaritas and walked around the Barnes & Noble, which always reminds me of winters in Roanoke, no matter the season.

And then I arrived in Charlotte and immediately felt disoriented--walking through Trader Joe's for baby shower supplies and stopping suddenly at the eggs, because I always need eggs, right? But when you're staying with a friend and flying home on Tuesday morning then no, you don't need eggs (or Brussels sprouts, no matter how beautiful they look).

I spent one night at my friend Siobhan's house and a few with my friend Corri, and felt so weird every time I climbed into someone's car to catch a ride to a place I've been to a million times. Not Just Coffee, the Vietnamese restaurant, Sabor for tacos, Hygge to teach a SkillPop class. All of it still feels like my neighborhood.

I saw a guy in a Panthers tee shirt on Saturday and did a double-take. I just moved here from Charlotte, I wanted to tell him. But "here" actually was Charlotte, at that moment, and for what feels like so long before it.

So you sighed and swept your broom
Under the wintery moon
Well I called up this afternoon
Your words were “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye”

And I believe it was you
Who I wanted to be talking to
And I believe we were friends
And I believe we will be again
— Autumn Fallin', Jaymay

So Long, Charlotte

So Long, Charlotte | Freckled Italian

Moving weekend is officially here! I can't even believe it--it seriously feels like yesterday that Rob started traveling to and from California every week, but sure enough that was three whole months ago.

I thought I would hate living alone all summer and while I didn't love it, Ender and I did just fine together. It was so nice having Rob home every weekend and I'm so glad we made it a priority to see our friends every Saturday or Sunday instead of just taking time alone to catch up after a week apart--I'll treasure the memories of those Sunday dinners and backyard doggie play dates forever.

Our moving company packed us up yesterday and today they're taking all of our stuff. We hit the road Sunday morning after a going away party we're throwing in the empty house on Saturday. It's so surreal to me that in a few days we'll be driving away from Charlotte with our new home ahead of us.

I'm not sure how much I'll be on the blog these next six days (I know I've been pretty absent in general lately!), so make sure to follow along with us on Instagram and Snapchat (username flynnmd). I'm so excited to start sharing our day-to-day adventures on the road! And I'll be back with a big road trip update once we get settled--maybe even before then if I have time at one of our many hotel stops!

Photo by Rémy Thurston.

Queen City Favorites

Queen City Favorites | Freckled Italian

When we first moved to Charlotte, sometimes I felt like there wasn't much going on. It always takes a little while to find your favorite places and feel like you know your way around, which is why two years later I'm finally putting this post together. I figure there's no time like the present, even if movers are coming to pack us up today as we get ready to move across the country!

The truth is that there is a ton of great food, coffee, cocktails, and craft beer in Charlotte. After twenty-five months I've narrowed down a not-so-short list of my favorites, which will make it clear why I'm leaving the Queen City at least ten pounds heavier than when I arrived.



Food and Drink:

Things to Do: 

  • Take a SkillPop class
  • Walk along the Rail Trail
  • #instabeerupclt (last Thursday of each month, search the hashtag on FB or Instagram)
  • Bring a picnic to Romare Bearden Park
  • Hang out at a brewery (see favorites below)
  • Food Truck Friday (bring a lawn chair and a little patience)
  • Visit Paper Skyscraper and try not to buy everything
  • Hike to the top of Crowder's Mountain



If you live here or have visited, do you have any to add to the list? I'd love to hear your favorite spots (for future visits, of course)!

Peterson Family Photos: Charlotte Edition

Charlotte NC Family Photos | Freckled Italian

Since we're moving so soon (two weeks!), I asked my friend Rémy to take some photos of me, Rob, and Ender in Uptown the other day--I really wanted some shots to capture our time here in Charlotte. There are so many good ones I had trouble picking just a few favorites! I can't believe how big Ender is, especially if you look at last year's session with our wedding photographer.

Charlotte NC Family Session | Freckled Italian
Charlotte NC Family Session | Freckled Italian

We'll treasure these forever.

Charlotte NC Family Session | Freckled Italian
Charlotte NC Family Session | Freckled Italian
Charlotte NC Family Session | Freckled Italian

Photos by Rémy Thurston.

Another Autumn

Last week I stood in my back yard and noticed that we've reached the time of year for that subtle shift to set in--where summer starts to nod to fall as it dozes off around the edges of the day. 

Sure, it's still 90 degrees in the late afternoon and you have to peel yourself out of your car, but in the morning the air is refreshing and you begin to think about taking your coffee hot again. In the evening, when the sun starts to go down, Ender and I play fetch in the yard and the grass is cool beneath my bare feet. 

Rob is currently home for a twelve day stay but last week before he had returned from California I found myself reminded of a time before Ender, before we had Charlotte friends, when the thought of moving to the Bay Area was just a vague dream we sometimes talked about. We were so focused on getting settled in North Carolina that everything else was unclear. Now he's back for over a week and it's like he was always here.

When our neighborhood as we knew it was just the walk from our apartment to Pike's Soda Shop, and the smell of fried dough in the air from the Honey Bun factory down the street. Rob would take the light rail into Uptown and I'd walk to the station with him before going back home to unpack boxes and write and drink coffee and talk to my mom on the phone. I had nowhere to be so I would often pack a bag and hop on the train later in the afternoon for a latte at 7th Street Public Market, and I'd sit and write and Rob would walk down from his office and meet me for lunch.

And then there are the newer memories that feel so much like home: the cute house we will have to leave, the smell of fresh-cut grass every Monday morning after the landscapers come, our big open kitchen where we've entertained so many of our friends, Ender snoozing in the sun on our back patio. I finally have an office here but didn't unpack it until last week because I didn't want to get too used to it.

There are rowing workouts early every Tuesday and Thursday morning followed by an iced latte or an almond milk cappuccino with my friend Kristen--we sit outside and feel the cool morning air on our sweaty shoulders and once again I'm back to that almost-autumn magic state of mind, where anything is possible--even another autumn spent making a home in a new city.