The Flying Saucer

Do you ever watch movies or TV shows where the main character(s) have a spot they always meet to hang out? The staff know them all by name and they sit in the same place every time? On Friends it was Central Perk. Gilmore Girls had Lukes Diner, Cheers had, well Cheers. Well folks, we have found "our place". The Flying Saucer.

The Flying Saucer was founded in 1995 and is a largely Texan based franchise. We are lucky enough to have one in our home town of Charlotte, NC. A unique taproom with over 200+ beers at any given time available for the drinking, they also have a great bar food menu selection (the cheese fries surprise and the San Miguel burger? To. Die. For.) The bar itself is unique and cozy, the waitresses all rock, and they have a killer beer club, but more on that in a minute.  

UNC- Charlotte, my alma mater (go 49ers), is conveniently located across the street, as is my former employer, a local hospital. I could often be found grabbing an after work beer at The Flying Saucer with a group of work friends after a particularity rough shift in the ED. This was back before my beer tasting palate had been truly refined, I stuck with my Bud Light and called it a night. After college and a new career, I forgot about my good friend Saucer. Fast forward a few years (more like 8) and mine and Mias hubby venture in one day after work and are talked into joining the UFO club (and subsequently roping us in along as well).  

"The UFO Club?!" you say?

The UFO Club.

For the low, low price of $18.00 you are gifted with your very own membership card and a Flying Saucer shirt. Swipe your card at the computer kiosk each time you come it, choose and print 3 chits for 3 different brews. Drink said brews during your visit, turning in your chits to your waitress. Once you have sampled 200 different types of beers your name is forever immortalized on a large round saucer displayed proudly on the walls of the bar. The fine print: You may only add THREE beers to your tally per day. Drink as many as you want when you come in, but only three count towards your total per day. All 200 beers must be completely different from one another. As a way to keep you encouraged throughout your beer drinking challenge, you are gifted for each 50 beer milestone with a free $10 towards your purchase, a t-shirt, a hat, and finally...Drum roll please.... $100 towards your plate party to spend on drinks and food.

Plate Party?

Plate Party!

Once you have completed the arduous task of drinking all 200 beers, The Flying Saucer wants to celebrate! Tables are reserved in your honor for yourself and 15 of your nearest and dearest to unveil your plate on the wall. Choose a quote to personalize your plate and when the time comes, the manager will announce your amazing feat to the entire bar, while standing on a chair, ringing a loud bell, and have you ceremoniously unveil your accomplishment. Cue the applause and order another drink! 

Now I'm not so good at math but let's break it down. 3 beers allowed per day divided by 200 beers needed for a plate equals roughly 66-67 actual visits to saucer until you achieve plate status. After visiting 66-67 times you get to know the waitresses pretty well. They know you by name, they know what's going on at work, they've met your kids (don't judge! It's very family friendly for lunch!), they are there to share in exciting news like buying a home or passing a stressful license exam for work. They sit and have a beer with you after their shift, they are a huge part of what makes The Flying Saucer such a great place to hang out. 

Our hubbies are working on their third plate right now (THIRD?! Yes you can circle back through once you drink your first 200 and go round the merry-go again! Each lap around the beer drinking track gets you a different, distinct plate color and you can even bring home your previous plate to adorn the walls of your man cave, or dining room, whateves). Sadly Mia and I are only a forth of the way through on the way to our first plate, but have no fear, we aren't quitters, we will have our plate and drink it too! In true nerd girl fashion, we also have the perfect Harry Potter inspired quotes picked out and ready to go!

If you are in the Charlotte area, do yourself a favor and check out The Flying Saucer. I promise you won't be disappointed. 

 

Treasure hunting at Market Station Antiques

I've had an obsession with antiques, old artifacts, and things that others might deem as junk. I absolutely LOVE going what I call treasure hunting, to flea markets and antique stores. That being said, I was stoked when I found out about the opening of Market Station Antiques, in Albemarle, NC. Just a short drive northeast of Charlotte, Market Station Antiques is the place you want to go on a weekend, to browse and shop for the perfect piece.  

The owner, Dr. Larry Bridge, let us peek through the store before the grand opening. Let me tell you folks, I felt like I was walking through heaven....antique heaven.  

First of all, the location is perfect. Market Station is a landmark in the city of Albemarle  making it super easy to find.  Market Station is in the downtown area of Albemarle, NC right off Main St. This beautifully restored train station is home to Stanley County Farmers Market which hosts many weddings and receptions throughout the year.  So, if you are in the area or attending an event, walk right across to this antique store and I promise, you won't be disappointed. 

Just look at this! I could live here!

Just look at this! I could live here!

Ok, let me tell you about the amazing things we saw.  Walking through the aisles, it's important to remember to take your time! You don't want to miss out on the details of the decor and the smaller trinkets that are waiting to share their history with you.  Everything is for sale, so don't dismiss something just because it seems to be part of a display.  

There's a large selection of antique dressers, chairs, lamps, tables, mirrors, frames, doors, chandeliers, and amazing signs and other unique decorations.  

Dr. Bridge has passionately collected these wonderful pieces from estate sales and other auctions around the area and also all along the east coast. They are hand-picked and selected just for you. Each item has an incredible story behind it, and since they are hand picked, everything is high quality, and handled with care. Note that there are many items that are rare, and some that are very, very old...so when I said go treasure hunting in this place, I wasn't kidding.  

If you are into antiques and hard to find trinkets and decor, do yourself a favor and visit Market Station Antiques! Remember, Christmas is around the corner, and many of these artifacts can make the perfect gift or furnish a room like they were meant to do.

Also, visit and like their facebook page at @MarketStationAntiques AND their  instagram and Twitter accounts @AntiqueDecor_NC to see more pictures of their amazing selections!

Market Station Antiques and Decor 113 Railroad St. Albemarle, NC 28001

Dance Fusion of Harrisburg, a great place for your little star!

When my daughter was only five, she (and her cousin) showed interest in taking ballet classes.  After days of research and a lot of calling around for questions that only moms think about, Coco and I decided to pay a visit to Dance Fusion in Harrisburg, NC.  They had an open house right before classes started in August, which was pretty convenient for us to stop by after work.  

When we first met Ms. Lauren Hinson, I didn't realize she was the owner of this fantastic studio.  She charmingly gave us a tour of the facility.  A cozy two studio dance school, equipped to teach little ones as young as 2 years old, as well as rising dancers in the art of ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, and acrobatics. We were in love with the place, the location, affordability, and the very convenient schedule of classes.  

Then, I noticed something.  Trophies displayed in the lobby area, showcasing the talent that has emerged and continues to emerge from their instructions. It was then when I realized that, besides recreational students, they also have a competitive team of amazing kids which compete each year in several regional competitions.

Dance Fusion was founded in 2009 by Ms. Lauren, a Fayetteville, NC native. She told us about how she always had a passion for dance and opening a studio had always been her dream. A graduate from UNCC with a degree in dance, Ms. Lauren perfectly combined a small studio with a big heart and love for the art of dance.     

Being a locally owned business, Dance Fusion of Harrisburg is very family oriented, and their dedication to their community as well as their passion for the arts shows in every event in which they participate. Dance Fusion dancers participate in Christmas Shows at Harrisburg Town Center, Fourth of July parades, Harrisburg art walk, and other yearly events.

Commitment to our community

When we reached out to business in our area about our very first book drive to benefit a local clinic, Ms. Lauren did not hesitate in helping. In fact, she went above and beyond what we expected. Thanks to our community and especially Ms. Lauren and Dance Fusion moms, we were able to collect 645 books in one week!!. 

RELATED: SMART START: REACH OUT AND READ

It is a pleasure to work with amazing, dedicated people like the instructors of Dance Fusion. Our daughters have learned so much, not only about dance, but about being a good, community involved person.  

If you are looking for a great extra curricular activity for your kids (boys and girls) consider dance; and if you are in our area, consider visiting Dance Fusion. I promise, you will love it as much as your kids.  

For more information visit http://www.dancefusionnc.com/

 

 

Smart Start update

Greetings Loyal Readers!

Wanted to keep you all updated with the success of our recent book drive that we wrote about last week. (Missed that post? Check it out here!)

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This is how the book shelves at cmc-northpark looked before the book drive. .. only a handful of books to be shared among literally hundreds of kids that visit the clinic every month.

This is how the book shelves at cmc-northpark looked before the book drive. .. only a handful of books to be shared among literally hundreds of kids that visit the clinic every month.

This past week, we have had collection boxes placed in various facilities around Harrisburg, NC. We have solicited donations from family and friends, and placed ads on our local Facebook community sites asking for donations of new/gently used children's books. Believe me when I tell you that there's always a need for books donations in every community.  The clinic's shelves were almost empty and ready for books! 

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I am so happy to say that in one short week, we were able to collect 647 books, and educational materials to provide to CMC-Northpark as part of the Smart Start- Reach out and Read program!

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we delivered these books yesterday and were able so see big smiles of some kids that were able to take books home.  Talk about something satisfying!!!

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These books will be given directly to children of low income families in an effort to promote reading literacy early on, not only enhancing skills and building confidence, but fostering a love and passion for reading. (Ahhh my heart just melts at the thought of budding bookworms cracking open their books and diving into a wonderful fictional world!) Without the help of the community, many of these children would not have access to books, especially in the summer as many lack transportation to local libraries or funds to purchase books. 

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We are so thrilled to have been asked to host this bookdrive, and are hoping to make it an annual event!

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Before and after! 

Before and after! 

Especial thanks to Ms. Lauren and Dance Fusion of Harrisburg for your amazing support! and thank you again everyone who was able to donate!

XOXO, 

Coco & Mia

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Smart Start- Reach out and Read

Mia and I have been brainstorming ways to connect with our community in Charlotte, NC in a volunteer capacity to a cause that we are really passionate about. As fate would have it, we had a local clinic in the area reach out to us in order to assist with a book drive through Smart Start. Of course we jumped at the chance. Having grown up in a home where books were bountiful, and trips to the library were weekly- it is so disheartening to me that some children never even get the opportunity to experience the joys of reading all because they are unable to afford books, or lack transportation to visit libraries (don't get me started on the loss of funding to local libraries resulting in closures and limited hours of operation). So without hesitation, we readily agreed to assist!

What is Smart Start?

The mission statement found on their website perfectly sums up the ideals and goals driving the Smart Start Organization:

"Vision
All children reach their potential and are prepared for success in school and life in a global community.

Mission

Facilitate the delivery of a high quality, collaborative, accountable system of care, family support, health services and education for every child beginning with birth.

Goals
Smart Start of Mecklenburg County has identified the following goals that are essential to fulfilling this mission in our community:

  1. Identify, fund, and evaluate programs for children that prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond.
  2. Educate the community about early childhood related issues.
  3. Lead the community efforts surrounding young children.
  4. Increase and expand revenue sources.
  5. Maintain a healthy strong board of community members. "

The Reach out and Read program within Smart Start aims at connecting low income families of children with books via their primary care medical provider. Children are provided with an age appropriate book at annual well check visits starting from birth so that by the time the children reach kindergarten- he/she has their own collection of 10 books. This program serves over 144,000 within North Carolina at 176 participating medical clinics (that's ALOT of books!). 

 

How can we help?

Our role here at RealLifary will be to educate locally run businesses on our mission and request to use their businesses as a drop off/collection station for people in the community to donate gently used or new children books. So far, we have graciously been given permission to leave boxes at Dance Fusion of Harrisburg, Meineke Car Care in Harrisburg, and the local YMCA. These books will be collected over a one week time frame and given to CMC- Northpark Clinic to be distributed to children of low income and struggling families. We will also be doing pieces on each of the locally run businesses assisting us, highlighting their business and role in the community!

We are super excited and can't wait to bring the joy of reading to as many kids as possible! We will be updating you guys on on progress once the book drive has been completed!

*Note* if you are in the Charlotte area and able to donate but unable to make it to the drop off locations- let us know and either Mia or myself will arrange to pick up your donation!

 

Adopt, don't shop! Palace of Paws

Rebecca and her kids are some of the most caring people I’ve ever met in my life. They’d give anything to save, feed, shelter, and love in-need dogs (and other animals).

Since dogs, especially German Shepherds, are so close to their heart, in 2013 (after fostering for 2 years) they founded Palace of Paws; a non-profit dog rescue that focuses on German Shepherds.

: I fostered for 2 years before that and seen the need of so many homeless animals and I wanted to help all I could. in 2013 we were able to rescue 52. In 2014 we saved 73. In 2015, we personally saved 81. We fostered/transported and rescued over 200 dogs ourselves out of our pocket.
— Rebecca- Palace of Paws

I realize that, before I met Rebecca, I didn’t really know (or cared to research) the difference between adopting a rescue dog, and buying a dog from a store/breeder. Even though hubby and I adopted our gorgeous 8 month old black lab mix Chloe (she’s now 9 years old) from the local shelter, I didn't have a true understanding of how important adopting a dog is vs. buying from a store or a “breeder”.  

Meet Chloe.

Meet Chloe.

Disclaimer: It is not my intention to undermine legit breeders that have a legitimate business and care about the well being of their dogs, and are focused on quality rather than quantity. I’m referring to the so called puppy-mills that reproduce popular breeds in massive quantities for sell and re-sale purposes (that made my stomach turn just typing it).

       

I find it a bit disturbing that this issue is so misunderstood and that so many people are poorly educated on where and how to properly and humanely look for a lovely pet.    

So here are some tips from these pet heroes on how to search for a pet, how to spot a shady for-profit puppy mill, and what to do if you encounter one of those while searching for your new best fur-friend.  

 

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

The first thing you should do is to google where your local rescue is located. There are several websites that are great to help you narrow it down. You can search www.petfinder.com and www.adoptapet.com to contact a good rescue.  

2. BEWARE OF FAKE RESCUES AND/OR PUPPY MILLS.

They just breed to sell, make money and line their pockets. A good rescue makes sure all animals are vetted and fixed before adoption. Also, a good rescue will do a home check, a vet check, and some do background checks. A fake “rescue” that’s in just for the money will give a dog up for adoption with no records or vetting. They don’t care who gets the pup.  

Our goal as a rescue is to find a forever loving home
— Rebecca- Palace of Paws

3. REPORT SHADY RESCUES.

    If you happen to encounter a fake rescue or a so called puppy mill, report it! Don’t let them get away with this inhumane crime! Dogs (and cats) are living, loving animals that will take care of you, if you take care of them. They will be part of your family and love you forever without caring how you look, or what you do. They’re not a commodity for others to get rich. Ask yourself, would you report someone that is selling their children for profit? Absolutely! Call your local animal control department, humane society, or police station and open a claim against any suspicious unscrupulous sellers.  

 4. PREPARE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU ADOPT.  

“We look for people who genuinely love their animals.  Who always make sure they are cared for.  Ones who will treat animals as family and not as yard decor or keep them chained”.  If you are not going to treat your dog as part of the family, don’t bother adopting a dog. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a dog chained to a tree in the back yard. They have feelings too, you know.

  

Over the past few years, I’ve seen them rescue, foster, and transport hundreds of dogs, saving their lives from the inevitable death that they would’ve encountered in a shelter. Yes, you read it right. If the dog is in a “kill” shelter (which most are) and he/she is not adopted or claimed within a few days (or hours) they get euthanized.

Let me tell you two stories about two puppies that would’ve never survived if it wasn’t for Rebecca and Palace of Paws.

 

Little Ms. Addy was 6 weeks old and (along with her sister) were on their way to be euthanized that afternoon. Rebecca. Here’s her story:  

Ms. Addy (skylar) at 6 weeks.

Ms. Addy (skylar) at 6 weeks.

“I was going into Rutherford NC shelter to pick up an German shepherd that was going to be killed that day. As I was walking out, there was a lady coming in with these 6 week old pups that were going to be euthanized  that day. I said, no way let me have them also!. They said ok, so I brought her home, had her about 2 weeks when she and her sister broke out with Parvo :(  it can kill them so fast if not treated. I rushed her to the er vet the day the signs started. We treated her and her sister at the vets with a grand total of $637 dollars. That was just the vet bill. We then needed to make sure to get special baby food to feed them, meds, and fluids. Plus gloves, because for 10 days they needed to be isolated.  They could not be together or around other dogs. But I knew it would be  2 weeks of hell for the rest of a healthy life. So we did that. Then she grew healthy daily. She was strong and had no issues after and the vet cleared her for normal play and activities  ;)"
Skylar growing up!

Skylar growing up!

I adopted her to a family I call friends. They treated their animals with nothing but love from the day I met them when my older weenie mix dog ran into their yard lol . I knew it was a life of love. Plus they have this awesome lol girl who I knew would love Skylar. They wanted to adopt a allergies dog for their family and one their daughter could grow with. They are awesome and loving. Even though Skylar turned out to be a smaller but bigger girl. They still love her.
Meet Skylar! AKA Sky-Sky

Meet Skylar! AKA Sky-Sky

Not long after we adopted Skylar (formerly known as Ms. Addy), Rebecca found Flora, abandoned in a ditch near the house.  At first she thought it was Skylar, because they looked very similar from a distance, but then she realized that this little pup was pregnant, malnourished, and left to die in a ditch.  (insert an angry face here...despicable human being who did this).  She took her and named her Flora.  

flora, scared and pregnant.

flora, scared and pregnant.

after her surgery

after her surgery

Ms. Flora had to have emergency C-section, and treatment for cherry-eye.  Unfortunately, all of her pups were already deceased in the womb due to the extreme circumstances she went through.  Rebecca paid for the surgery and treatment out of her own pocket and saved her life.  After she recovered from the surgery, the emotional recovery began.  Flora was very scared of people (I don’t blame her). But with their love and safe environment provided, she eventually rehabilitated.  “We adopted her out to a family with a mom who is at home and knew what they were getting into with her scared not wanting the trust anyone. She is happy as can be she has gained trust and found love with her family and now approaches anyone she meets with no worries thanks to her family.”

recovered from surgery and emotional distress

recovered from surgery and emotional distress

Rebecca is a super woman in the flesh.  She manages to work hard rescuing in need pups, and transporting them to other rescues so they can be saved and adopted. She also fosters when she’s able to.  She has two amazing children that are a perfect example of compassion and good-heartedness.  All out of her pocket and without asking for anything in return.  You can’t find people like her just anywhere.  

Here's a very interesting article from Petfinder.com that will help you prepare yourself and your home if you are thinking about adopting and providing a fur-ever home: Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption.

If you love animals, please volunteer at your local dog shelters, or donate to legit non-profit rescues.  Every penny helps!

For donations to Palace of paws please visit www.paypal.com and donate to palaceofpaws@live.com. Many fur-friend will be saved with your help!

 

If you know someone in your community that is an example to us all, send us their story! readexplorerepeat@gmail.com.