Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

It is a great time to start sharing some of my favorite recipes since this is the start of the baking season. I personally like simple but delicious recipes and one of my most-liked casseroles is the Sweet Potato-Pecan. This dish is perfect for Thanksgiving gatherings and it’s a Southern staple, mainly in North Carolina.

While white potatoes are lower in fat and sugar, sweet potatoes have fewer carbs and calories. Also while sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A and vitamin C, white potatoes contain more protein and fiber. There is no clear winner in this battle and just everything else, the secret is to eat your potatoes in moderation.

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  1. Peel and boil 5 medium sweet potatoes. For faster boiling, cut the potatoes in chunks prior to boiling them. Boil for 30 minutes. Insert a fork in the potatoes and if they feel soft, they are ready to be removed from the cook-top.aviary-image-1542051577373
  2. Transfer the potatoes to the sink and drain them. Let them cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and mist a 8-inch square casserole dish.aviary-image-1542051611810
  3. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and add 1/3 cup honey, 1 large egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to the casserole dish.aviary-image-1542051646643
  4. Mix the 2 cups of brown sugar, pecans (I’ll leave the quantity of pecans to your discretion!), and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. aviary-image-1542051681473
  5. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.

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Enjoy!!

Yearly Report Card

Best Christmas Light Displays in Western N.C.

Feeling all jolly? With Christmas being around the corner, you don’t want to miss these amazing light displays across the N.C. Piedmont region. Some of these breathtaking displays are the best in the state. Since it’s the beginning of November, many of these festive events are still in preparations for the season. With plenty of time to plan and prepare your Grinch-type siblings for this adventure, schedule a weekend trip with your family and spend the evening admiring the fairy lights and cherishing the moment. Eggnog and hot chocolate might be included!

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Christmas Town USA – McAdenville

November 30 – December 26

Drive-thru or walk

Free admission

https://www.mcadenville-christmastown.com

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Celebration of Lights & Winterland Express – Kannapolis

November 25 – December 30

The Winterland Express: 6 – 9 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 6 – 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Features Celebration of Lights and Winterland Express, Model Train Displays, and Walks Through the Park.

Drive-thru or walk

Free admission for viewing of the lights. Train and carousel: $2.00 per ride.

http://www.kannapolisnc.gov/Government-Departments/Parks-Recreation/Kannapolis-Christmas/Celebration-of-Lights-Winterland-Express

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Holidays at The Garden – Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont

November 23 – January 6, 2019

Walk

Paid admission: $12.95 – $16.95. Children under 2 are admitted free.

https://www.dsbg.org/events/garden-events/public-garden-events/holidays-at-the-garden

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Speedway Christmas – Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord

November 18 – December 31

Drive-thru and walk

Features Speedway Christmas and Christmas Village.

Paid admission for Speedway Christmas: $30 – $140

Paid admission for Christmas Village: $25 – $175

https://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/events/speedway-christmas

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Forest City Christmas – Forest City

November 22 – January 2, 2019

Drive-thru or walk

Free admission

https://www.townofforestcity.com/forest-city-christmas

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WinterFest – Carowinds, Charlotte

November 18 – December 31

Walk

Paid admission: $26 – $299 + $16 Parking Pass

https://www.carowinds.com/play/winterfest

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Christmas At Biltmore – Biltmore Estate, Asheville

November 3 – January 6, 2019

Walk

Paid admission: $55 – $85. Children 9 and younger are admitted free.

https://www.biltmore.com/events/christmas-at-biltmore-daytime-celebration-1

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The North Carolina Arboretum – Asheville

November 16 – December 31

Walk

Paid admission: $10 – $18. Children 4 and younger are admitted free.

https://www.ncarboretum.org/exhibits-events/winter-lights

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Tanglewood Festival of Lights – Clemmons

November 16 – January 1, 2019

Features Festival of Lights and S’moresville.

Drive-thru or walk

Paid admission: $5 – $100

http://www.forsyth.cc/Parks/Tanglewood/fol/?utm_source=www.visitnc.com&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=downstream-referral

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Old Salem – Winston-Salem

November 17 – December 29

Walk

Features Salem Saturdays at Christmas, Salem Night: Softly the Night is Sleeping, Christmas by Candlelight Guided Tours: A Baking We Go!, and Winter Fair 2018.

Paid admission: $16 – $35. Children 3 and younger are admitted free.

http://www.oldsalem.org/calendar-programs/holidays

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Chetola Resort’s Festival of Lights – Blowing Rock

November 23 – January 27, 2019

Drive-thru or walk

Free admission

https://blowingrock.com/festival-of-lights-at-chetola-resort

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Country Christmas Train – Denton

November 23 – December 27

Walk

Features Handy Dandy Railroad, Reid Plantation, Santa’s cabin, Gingerbread House, General Store, Doll Museum and all the Arts & Crafts exhibits.

Paid admission: $5 – $15. Children 4 and younger are admitted free.

https://dentonfarmpark.com/country-christmas-train

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The Polar Express Train Ride – Bryson City

November 9 – December 31

Ride

Paid admission: $10 – $79. Children 23 months old and younger are admitted free in coach class.

https://www.gsmr.com/events/polar-express#.W-Cz3flKiUk

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Local

Lowes Foods Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting – Hickory

November 16

Free admission

http://www.hickorync.gov/content/lowes-foods-christmas-parade-and-tree-lighting

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Waldensian Trail of Faith – Valdese

November 20

Drive-thru or walk

Free admission

https://www.facebook.com/WaldensianTrailofFaith

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Christmas Events – Historic Latta Plantation, Huntersville

Victorian Christmas: November 23 to November 24

Paid admission: $9 – $10. Members and children 5 and younger are admitted free.

Christmas Tours by Candlelight: December 1 and December 8

Paid admission: $15

A Homeschool Christmas: December 6

Paid admission: $6. Members and children 4 and younger are admitted free.

Old Fashioned Christmas Tea: December 8 – December 9

Paid admission: $30 per pair.

https://www.lattaplantation.org/events

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Walk Thru Bethlehem – Mooresville

December 7 – December 8

Free admission

http://www.walkthrubethlehem.org

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Christmas at the Henry River Mill Village – Hickory

December 8

Paid admission: $5

https://www.facebook.com/henryrivermillvillage

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Gifts for Geeks and Nerds – Deck the Halls Edition

Fellow geeks and nerds of the w’rld, Christmas is coming! The gift-giving season is apace approaching and with less than 50 days hence until Christmas, it might be a valorous idea to start thy shopping or at least w’rk on thy list. If ‘t be true thee has a geek ‘r a nerd in thy life, this is the right gift list f’r thee. Delighteth yourself with these gl’rious treasures!

Gifts for Geeks and Nerds Deck the Halls Edition

1. Game of Thrones Makeup Brush Set – $12+

A Game of Thrones 8 piece makeup brush set? Please take my money. The set includes a powder brush, highlighter brushes and eyeshadow brushes inside a super cool faux leather roll, velvet pouch box, and a box. There are 3 color sets to choose from: Rose Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The brand selling the brush sets, Koobox Bits & Bobs, has also a Hogwarts version available.

FREE SHIPPING | Game Of Thrones Makeup Brushes Make up Brush Set Season Handles

8 Piece makeup brush set. Includes: A Powder Brush, Highlighter brushes & Eyeshadow Brushes Set includes: Velvet Pouch Optional Box & Faux Leather Roll 💡 DETAILS: 15.5-18.5cm 3 Colour Options FREE SHIPPING 💌

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2. Star Wars R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set – $19.99

Now you can cook with your favorite droid. R2-D2 not only will help you get your recipes right but he will look amazing on your kitchen counter. You can get this little guy for only $20 on Amazon.

3. Wonder Woman Makeup Bag – $39.99

Not long ago, I came across the NotYourMamasBag’s store on Etsy and I fell in love with these makeup bags. I couldn’t find one negative review and several customers claim the bags are well made. If you’re not into Wonder Woman, they have other models available such as Harley Quinn, Lannister (GoT), Targaryen (GoT), Captain America, and Black Panther!

Original Wonder Woman/Makeup bag/Superheroes cosmetic bag/Justice League /Classic Wonder Woman costume makeup bag/Great cancer survivor gift

AMAZON PRINCESS– Keep your items safe with this bag based on Themyscirias best warrior! Created from the original Wonder Womans classic outfit and equipped with the Lasso of Truth, this bag is perfect for all your needs. The zipper pull is her signature double W logo and the easy to

4. Superhero Shelf – $27.95

A Supershelf is all you need. These shelves are available on Amazon and they look super cool. If your Red Room has more of a Kapow style, the supershelf will look great on your wall. You have several styles to choose from. Check them out HERE.

5. Game of Thrones Pen Bag – $21

The Game of Thrones Pen Bag is just the perfect accessory for all Westerosi Lords and Ladies. The pen bags are made of artificial leather and includes a House charm. This is a perfect gift for (nerdy) students.

Game of Thrones Houses, A song of ice and fire, pen bag, pen case, pen roll, makeup bag, Makeup Brush Rolls,pen holder,cool gift for student

Game of Thrones Pen Bag in handmade – approx. 205mm*31mm Please, according to House type to choose. Thank you! All our items are made to order. Please allow up to 3 business day to make them.

6. Harry Potter Scarf Camera Strap – $62

This item is handmade with Italian leather, military grade buckles, and a licensed Harry Potter scarf. Release your inner wizard with this stylish camera strap and hop on the Hogwarts Express!

Harry Potter Scarf Camera Strap w Quick Release Buckles – 1.5- 2 inches wide – Gryffindor or Hufflepuff or Slytherin or Ravenclaw * Licensed

Striped in your favorite houses colors, our Harry Potter Gryffindor House Scarf Camera Strap is so dang awesome! Are you courageous, chivalrous, and determined? Then this camera strap is for you! We love shooting photos, but hate those ugly, black, generic camera straps. We designed a strap

7. Hot-Cold Zombie Mug – $15.95

This is the perfect gift for The Walking Dead fans. This mug will display a disturbing zombie while your beverage is hot and fades to black when it’s cold. You can also find a darn cool Game of Thrones’ Many-Faced God version on Amazon.

8. Kotobukiya Art FX Statues – From $30 to $150

The Kotobukiya’s action figures have been part of my household for several years. Every other Christmas or birthday, I gift a Kotobukiya figure to my nerdy soulmate. His collection is slowly growing and since his home office is Marvel themed, they are amazing décor pieces to display. The statues are very well made and they come with a magnetic base. You can purchase these figures on Amazon but be aware of the price. They run between $30 and $150, depending on the figure.

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9. Queen Lagertha Earrings – $23.62

I am very particular about my jewelry but these Lagertha earrings definitely caught my attention. These tribal dangle earrings are to-die-for.

AVAILABLE Vikings Queen Lagertha Warrior Silver Ethnic Tribal Disc Dangle Earrings // Ancient Dark Ages TV Show Earrings // Made In France

Vikings Queen Lagertha Warrior Silver Ethnic Tribal Disc Dangle Earrings // Ancient Dark Ages TV Show Earrings // Made In France INTERNATIONAL BUYERS, PLEASE NOTE THAT THE STANDARD SHIPPING IS WITHOUT TRACKING (99% safe and reliable). YOU CAN CHOOSE A SHIPPING WITH TRACKING IN THE

10. Geek Candles  – The Shire, Butterbrew, and Dragon Eggs – From $23 to $45

Everybody like candles. They are pretty, they smell good and they can bring a sense of peace. When you have a “Dragon Egg” candle, a “Star Trek: Vulcan Pon Farr” candle, a “The Lord of the Rings: Rivendell” candle or a “Hunger Games: The Boy with the Bread” candle you are just step above. You are officially part of the geek realm and your fellow geeks will ask where in the world you got this? Don’t tell and keep the secret to yourself. Just gift them!

Soy Candles – Set of 3 – Choose your scents! | Fandom Candles | Geek Gift Idea

Gift Box included in all orders** Hand poured all natural soy wax candles in beautiful 16 oz. apothecary jars. Available in many fresh and delicious scents! Geek candles from all your favorite fandoms! The soy wax I use is all natural. It is a sustainable and renewable

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Handmade Khaleesi Dragon Egg candles, Game of Thrones Dragon eggs, Ritual candles, egg of life candle, Wicca Halloween decor, carved candle

Welcome to The Muse Creations These are my special Khaleesi Dragon Egg collection. Also known as the egg of life ritual candles Very well used for meditation Rituals Goddess enchanting These beautiful eggs come in a selection of 4 standard wish colors. If you would like a custom

10 Fun & Easy Recipes Made With Leftover Halloween Candy

Halloween is here and you anticipate having everlasting piles of candy in your kitchen, in your living room, in your bedroom, and everywhere else. You eat candy for 3 or 4 days but the piles are still there, everywhere! After Halloween season, the amount of candy can get a little out of hand but I have a few suggestions to get your blood glucose levels back to normal (or not?). Start by donating some of you candy to our troops by visiting https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks/halloween-candy or https://soldiersangels.org/Donate-Halloween-Candy!.html to find out how to give away your candy. You can also pay a visit to local nursing homes and homeless shelters to make your donations. If you decide to keep some candy for yourself, take 15 minutes out of your time to prepare these easy and fun recipes.

10 Fun & Easy Recipes Made With Leftover Halloween Candy

Candy-Infused Vodka

Use Jolly Ranchers, candy corn, Skittles, Starburst, Lemonheads, Dubble Bubble Gum or Jelly Beans. Buy a mid-range Vodka and pour it in a mason jar with your chosen candy inside. Let it soak for at least 24 hours and up to a week. Strain the vodka to remove the candy and pour to serve.

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Snickers Hot Fudge

Use 3 Snickers bars and chop into several large pieces. Microwave for 15-20 seconds and stir. Return to microwave for an additional 30-40 seconds until the candy is soft and melted. Spoon over ice cream and top it with chopped peanuts.

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Homemade Suckers

Unwrap Jolly Ranchers and crush them with a meat mallet. Pile the pieces on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Bake in 350 degree oven for 3 – 5 minutes. Pull candy out of the oven and immediately place sucker sticks into each candy puddle. Roll sticks in candy to coat the stick. Allow to cool and remove them from the mat.

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Kit Kat-Filled Angel Food Cake

Prepare angel food cake by following the instructions in the box. Beat ¾ cup heavy cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar until stiff. Fold in 5 chopped Kit Kat Snack Size bars. Halve a 9-ounce angel food cake horizontally and hollow out each layer slightly. Fill bottom with the cream mixture. Dust the cake with cocoa powder. Slice the cake and serve with chocolate sauce.

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Snickers Popcorn

Use 2 bags of microwave popped popcorn. Cut up Snickers bars into little pieces and melt in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Stir and pour the melted chocolate on the popcorn. Mix all together and allow 45 min. to cool. Enjoy!

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Leftover Candy Hand Pies

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles on a pie crust. Use chopped chocolate candy on one side of each pie dough. Fold the dough over the candy and seal the edges with fingers or fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool. Drizzle melted chocolate over the pies and serve.

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Kit Kat (or Keebler Fudge Sticks) Brownies

Preheat the oven and prepare the brownie batter according to the package’s instructions. Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan, then top with a layer of Kit-Kats, covering the batter completely. Top with the remaining batter. Cook according to the box’s instructions, or until a toothpick (reaches the Kit Kat layer) comes out with a few crumbs.

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Halloween Chocolate Bark

Place the chocolate chips in a heat-resistant bowl. Place bowl over top of pot of simmering water to create a double broiler. Let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. Pour melted chocolate on a parchment lined baking sheet and spread the chocolate evenly into a large rectangle of even thickness. Place Halloween candy all over melted chocolate. Let set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Break bark into small pieces and serve.

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Mini Chocolate Bar Mug Brownie

In a heatproof mug, stir together 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. Stir in 2 Tbsp. canola or other mild vegetable oil and 2 Tbsp. milk, coffee or water. It will form a thick paste. Stir in a chopped chocolate bar of your choice. Microwave on high for a minute but check it every 30 seconds.

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SweeTarts Milk Shake  

In a blender, blend 2 tablespoon of SweeTarts candies with 1 pint softened strawberry ice cream and ¾ cup milk until smooth. Serve.

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BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEALS FOR 2018

Black Friday is less than a month away and if you like to snatch a good deal, allow yourself plenty of time to plan your annual shopping pilgrimage and build an armor (It can be tough out there). All Black Friday ads should be available by early November but until then, satisfy your curiosity on what kind of sales we expect to see this year. Below is a compiled list of what deals you may find at big box stores in 2018’s Black Friday frenzy. These predictions are based on previous sales and some internet research. Make that list and check it twice!

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Phones and Accessories

Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR – $200/$300 gift cards with the purchase of new iPhones and installment of a plan.

Apple watch – Starting at $229

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+, and Note9 – $350 gift cards with a purchase of a new Samsung Galaxy and installment of a plan.

15% off Apple iTunes Gift Cards.

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Tablets

iPads – $229

Amazon Fire Tablet – $24.99

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Consoles and Accessories

PS4 bundles – $275

XBox One bundles – $399

PS4 Dualshock/Xbox One Controller – Starting at $34.99

1-Year Subscription of Playstation Plus and/or Xbox Live Gold – $39.99

Xbox One S + Game – $199.99

Playstation 4 Slim with Game or Gift Card – $199.99

Nintendo Switch – $269.99

Oculus Rift – $349.99

PS4 Gold Wireless Headset – $64.99

PSVR Skyrim Bundle – Starting at $299.99

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Games

God of War, Spider-Man, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Forza Horizon 4, Zelda BotW, Super Mario Odyssey, Valkyria Chronicles 4, Sea of Thieves, and Monster Hunter World – $40

NBA 2K19, Madden NFL 19, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Dragon Quest XI, Kingdom Hearts The Story So Far, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Octopath Traveler – $29.99

Persona 5, Call of Duty: WWII, Mario+Rabbids, Far Cry 5 – $19.99

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition – $9.99

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 – Possible Discounts

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Computers and Accessories

Chromebooks – Starting at $89

Laptops – Starting at $90

Logitech G502 Proteus Gaming Mouse – $39.99

Dell S2716DG 27″ 1440p 1ms 144Hz G SYNC Monitor – $299.99

27″ 1080p 1ms 144Hz Monitor – $169.99

Blue Microphone Yeti USB Mic – $89.99

8TB External Desktop Hard Drive – $139.99

SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless Headset – $99.99

HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset – $69.99

Sony WH1000XM2 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones – $269.99

Bose Quietcomfort 35 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones – $299.99

SanDisk Ultra 200GB Switch Memory Card – $29.99

4TB Portable Hard Drives – $79.99

8TB External Desktop Hard Drive – $139.99

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Movies

Marvel 4K Blu-ray Movies – $9.99

DC 4K Blu-ray Movies – Starting at $4.99

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Smart Speakers

Google Home – Starting at $69.99

Amazon Echo Show – $169.99

Amazon Echo – $79

Amazon Echo Dot – $29

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TVS

32″ TVs – Starting at $70

39″ to 43 TVs – Starting at $150

49″ TVs – Starting at $160

50″ 4K Smart TV – Starting at $199.99

65″ 4K Smart TV – Starting at $299.99

JVC 55″ Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) HDR Smart LED TV with Built-in Chromecast – $289.99

50″ 4K HDR Smart HDTV – Starting at $499.99

65″ 4K HDR Smart HDTV – Starting at $699.99

55″ 4K OLED HDTV – Starting at $1199.99

65″ 4K OLED HDTV – Starting at $1599.99

RCA 65″ Class 4K (2160P) LED TV – $400

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Misc.

SL18130, 5 gallon, 4HP Stanley Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum 11 pc Box – $33

Logitech Harmony Smart Remote Control – $53

DNA Testing Kits – $59.99

From Indian Love to Sasquatch Country – Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains are the crown jewels of Western North Carolina. Here stands one of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes of North America. In the Fall, the Blue Ridge Mountains is one of the most remarkable sites in the world as the leaves change colors to shades of gold, orange, and red. The foliage peak season is here and this year, I’ve decided to explore some of these stunning mountain views.

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I started in the small town of Blowing Rock located 1 hour and 50 minutes north of Charlotte. Here you can find several great restaurants, charming shops, and a delightful downtown to explore. Start your day by having breakfast at The New Public House & Hotel but don’t forget to make a reservation. From the moment you walk in, this cozy restaurant will make you feel that you’re inside a small cottage in the woods and “grandma” is preparing breakfast back in the kitchen. Well-seasoned potatoes with just enough peppers; fresh farm eggs with bright green spinach leaves and healthy tomato chunks; handmade sausage patties with impressive but tasteful hints of rosemary and other herbs; and a light but enormous biscuit served with a sweet jam and butter will hit the right spot to get you started. Wash it all down with a cup of coffee and be surprised. The fresh ground coffee they serve will make you appreciate the small things in life.

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Drive up to the famous cliff and relive the legend of the Blowing Rock. It is said that a Chichasaw maiden and a Cherokee brave fell in love in this location. Days passed and the couple returned to the Blowing Rock but this time to encounter a strange red sky. The Cherokee warrior knew this was sign of troubled times to come between the tribes. Torn between his duties as a Cherokee and the love for his maiden, the brave jumped off the cliff. The young maiden cried and prayed for her lover to return and one day, the bright red skies re-appeared above the cliff and a strong gust of wind brought the Cherokee warrior back to her. Ever since that day, wind has blown at the top of the Blowing Rock, rising from the valley below.

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The Blue Ridge Parkway entrance can be found just outside of Blowing Rock. Don’t look back and don’t think twice. This is one of America’s favorite scenic drives. The Blue Ridge Mountains extend from Georgia to Pennsylvania but the highest peaks are found here. This is the home of rare plants, wildlife, rivers, waterfalls, and exciting hiking trails. You will find several spots to pull over to enjoy the views and take a deep breath of fresh air. What gives The Blue Ridge Mountain its namesake is the blue tinted haze you will see from a distance. This haze is the result of isoprene accumulations emitted from the flora into the atmosphere.

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While you drive across the parkway, follow the signs to Marion. Once you enter McDowell County, you are officially crossing Sasquatch’s territory. Over the years, residents have claimed several Bigfoot sightings in the area, drawing researchers and enthusiasts from all over the country. On Sept. 8, this mountain community celebrated the hairy creature with the first annual “Western North Carolina Bigfoot Festival”. The festival was a huge success and the big guy was rightfully named the official animal of the town. However, Marion is more than just Bigfoot’s backyard. The vibrant Main Street will offer you great places to eat and shop while enjoying gorgeous mountain views. Pick up a copy of the McDowell News and if it happens to be a Friday edition, check out Scott Hollifield’s column. Hollifield, a local humor columnist, often writes about unusual news, his personal life, and everything in-between. It will make you laugh and end (or start) the day on a good note. Make a “pit stop” by Bruce’s Fabulous Foods on Main Street. The restaurant offers a variety of sandwiches, wraps, salads, quesadillas, and the star of the show: delicious cheesecakes. Be prepared to spend more than 10 minutes trying to decide from their lengthy list. All of the options will sound amazing and they taste even better. After you enjoyed your dessert, you will want to take them all home. Guaranteed.

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A Non-Snobbish Wine Review – Casal Garcia

I don’t own a wine cellar in my house, I buy wine from bad years, and I’m far from knowing everything about a good vintage of Burgundy. I enjoy going to wine tastings and if I find something I like, I buy it, no matter the brand or what the price tag says. Cheap wines are often frowned upon by wine snobs but I’ll say “If it tastes good, gimme gimme.”

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Every Portuguese knows well this bottle of happiness. Casal Garcia has been around since I remember but this brand actually dates back to 1939. The Minho region in Portugal is the birthplace of this fun and fizzy wine brand. To this day, Casal Garcia is a staple in every Portuguese household.

This low alcohol white (or rosé) wine is usually more appreciated in the summer time while enjoying seafood or a lighter meal but over the years, I learned that you can appreciate it all year around. So what exactly is vinho verde? No, it’s not green wine. Young wines are called verdes because they must be consumed within 2 years after it was bottled. You can find many verde wines but the crisp, sweet, and refreshing taste of Casal Garcia is unique.

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Occasionally, you can find bottles of Casal Garcia wines at a Trader Joe’s near you and it costs between $7 and $10. You will also find Espiral, another Portuguese vinho verde brand. Casal Garcia is one step above Espiral but you might find the price more attractive if you are on a budget. Espiral wines are around $5 a bottle. If you’re lucky, you also might spot another competitive Portuguese brand in the vinho verde business called Gazela. Who drinks Casal Garcia will also enjoy Gazela. They are very similar in flavor and smell however, Casal Garcia remains my favorite for the distinctive sweetness.

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Fun things to do with vinho verde:

Make a Pritzer – Add Sprite or 7Up to your vinho verde. It will give a boost on the citrus flavors and fizz!

Make White Sangria – White Sangria made with Casal Garcia is delicious. Add Orange, Orange Juice, Apples, Grapes, Rum, Sugar and a couple of Cinnamons sticks. Oh my!

 

Bones for the Boneless – TV Shows You Must Watch This Halloween

Are you in need of watching good TV shows while dealing with your sugar overdose? Come closer. I have the right list of options to you.

Vikings

Entertainment Tonight (ET) released the exclusive promo poster for the second half of season 5 returning Wednesday, Nov. 28. It’s awesome, it’s chilling, and I can’t wait to know how the story line will wrap up in the end of this season. Sources across the internet confirm that the final 10 episodes of this season will be action-packed and the fate of Lagertha and Ivar will be soon revealed. It is not clear if the Viking queen will return for Season 6 since actress Katheryn Winnick will be part of the new upcoming Netflix series, Wu Assassins. Will Lagertha finally join Ragnar in Valhalla?

Maniac

Emma Stone, Sally Field, and Jonah Hill will be starring in the new Netflix sci-fi drama, Maniac. A group of mentally unstable individuals are chosen to participate in a drug trial. During the trial, the patients are connected to a supercomputer that is able to read what they experience. The show will lead viewers to question what is reality and if there’s something greater than our existence. This enthralling and brilliant miniseries will not only have a top-notch cast but a gripping storyline that will challenge you emotionally. “Maniac” will debut Sunday, Sept. 21 on Netflix.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a dark reimagining of Sabrina Spellman’s, the Teenage Witch, origin story with tons of horror, the occult, and witchcraft. Although the show will have more of a “The Exorcist” vibe, you can count on seeing back in the screen Sabrina’s famous pet cat, Salem! Tune into Nexflix on Friday, Oct. 26 to watch this upcoming reboot.

  • ON AIR Special Mentions

The First

The Hulu’s new sci-fi drama tells the story of a crew of astronauts who are attempting to become the first humans on Mars. Viewers will be taken to a journey through space that will not only physically challenge the crew but also their morale and sense of responsibility. The first episode premiered Sunday, Oct. 14 on Hulu.

The Romanoffs

The Romanoffs were the last dynasty to rule Russia from 1613 until the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917. In July of 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children were slaughtered. Conspiracy theories claim that one of the daughters survived this attack. “The Romanoffs” will explore the “casual” life of these surviving modern-day Russian royals. Watch it on Amazon Video every Friday.

American Horror Story: Apocalypse

American Horror Story is the crème de la crème of the horror cinematic arts on television. After 7 seasons of telling terrifying stories, Season 8 returns as the culminating point of this horror anthology. If you never watched any of the AHS series, I strongly suggest for you to start at the “Murder House”. Don’t skip seasons and don’t start watching Season 8 without knowing what happened before the nuclear blast (opsies!). New episodes every Wednesday night on FX.

The Walking Dead

After 8 years of killing the undead (and the living too), Rick Grimes is finally saying his goodbyes. Although is not clear what the future brings for the comic book based series, “The Walking Dead” is rocking this season with unsettling stories that is putting viewers on edge. The episodes are pointing towards a very unhappy ending but we are already used to that trauma, right? The show’s lead character will be leaving soon but AMC has already plans for a Season 10, 11, and 12. We will soon see how the post-apocalyptic world turns out without the King County sheriff deputy patrolling the streets but meanwhile enjoy this great season. See it every Sunday on AMC.

  • Not Confirmed

The Witcher

The Witcher Based on the novel series by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski, “The Witcher” was developed by CD Projekt Red and became a popular action role-playing game. Set in a medieval fantasy world, “witchers” are monster hunters who develop supernatural abilities at a young age to battle deadly beasts. With all this potential, Netflix was the (smart) one to invest in turning “Witcher” into the next hit-show. The casting and the script are near completion and what the fans want to hear at this point is when will it be released?

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DC Titants

“Titans” will be DC Universe’s first original series and will arrive on the exclusive DC Streaming Service on Oct. 12, 2019. There are plenty of introductions to this new series. Scroll down and get ready for binge-watching all of the released “Titans” trailers.

DC Titans Trailer #2

Meet The Character – The Boy Wonder – Robin

Meet The Character – Raven

Meet The Character – Beast Boy

Meet The Character – Starfire

Makeup/Beauty Box Subscriptions – From $5 to $15

If you are on a budget and you like to try new beauty products without the commitment, this post is for you. I have been researching what choices are out there under $15 and for my surprise, there are plenty of options. Play! by Sephora, Target, Birchbox and Ipsy are the brands with most positive reviews. Take a look below!

Walmart Beauty Boxhttps://beautybox.walmart.com

Cost: $5 per box

Products you will get: Mix of full and sample sizes.

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Birchboxwww.birchbox.com

Cost: $10 a month with free shipping

Products you will get: 5 sample size beauty products

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Play! by Sephorahttp://www.sephora.com/play

Cost: $10 a month with free shipping

Products you will get: 5 beauty products plus a beauty bonus.

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Ipsyhttp://www.ipsy.com

Cost: $10 a month with free shipping

Products you will get: 5 beauty products

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Target Beauty Boxhttp://www.target.com

Cost: Between $5 and $7

Products you will get: Between 5 and 8 beauty products

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Macy’s Beauty Boxhttp://www.macys.com/subscription/beauty-box

Cost : $15 a month

Products you will get: 5 beauty samples, 1 perfume sample and a beauty bag

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Allure Beauty Boxhttps://beautybox.allure.com

Cost: $15 a month

Products you will get: Several product samples and Allure mini magazine

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Petit Vourhttps://www.petitvour.com

Cost: $15 a month

Products you will get: 4 samples of non-toxic, vegan, all-natural beauty products

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Marvel Movies – What’s Coming?

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Release Date: Dec. 14, 2018

Following the death of Peter Parker, the afro-latino teenager, Miles Morales, is the second Spider-Man appearing in the Ultimate Marvel comic book series. In this computer-animated superhero film, Morales is one of many Spider-Men where multiple alternative versions of Spider-Man appears in various media, all under attack by Morlun and his family, the Inheritors. This computer-animated superhero film is a must for the fans of Spider-Verse comic book story line.

Captain Marvel

Release Date: March 8, 2019

Carol Susan Jane Danvers becomes Ms. Marvel after her DNA was fused with the Kree superhero, Mar-Vell’s, during an explosion. The character is also known as Binary, Warbird, Catherine Donovan, and Captain Marvel. Nick Fury’s intel classified Captain Marvel as Power Level 8 with several enhanced physical abilities, flash precognition, hyper-cosmic awareness, contaminant immunity, and energy manipulation. As binary, Captain Marvel can generate heat, light, radiation and access all other forms of energy with minor control over gravity. She can breathe in space and travel at the speed of light. Captain Marvel has been labeled one of the Marvel’s greatest superheroes.

Untitled Avengers 4

Release Date: May 3, 2019

Will be the fourth installment of the ‘Avengers’ series.

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Dark Phoenix

Release Date: June 7, 2019

In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men face one the strongest enemies and one of their own. During a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey loses control of her abilities and unleashes the Phoenix. Experiencing this power in its totality overwhelms Jean. Unable to adapt to her enormous power, Jean was driven mad, reforming herself as the “Dark Phoenix”.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Release Date: July 5, 2019

Not much is known about the storyline of this spidy flick, however, it will be related to the events of Avengers: Infinity War and its still-untitled sequel, Avengers 4. Holland will be back as Peter Parker and the latest update indicates that Jake Gyllenhaal will be playing the supervillain, Mysterio.

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The New Mutants

Release Date: Aug. 2, 2019

The movie features a group of young mutants held in a secret facility fighting to save themselves while discovering their abilities. In the comic books, the teenaged mutant superheroes-in-training start as students at the Professor Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters that grow into a far-fetched adulthood, shaping the series into more of a science fiction and fantasy concept.

Gambit

Release Date: March 13, 2020

Gambit is a central player throughout the X-Men series. Gambit’s mutant power allows his body to constantly generate bio-kinetic energy which enhances strength and agility. His signature ability is channeling that energy into inanimate objects such as his deck of cards. Gambit not only uses his cards as grenades but also developed an ability to read his playing cards like they are tarot cards and even predict the future.

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To be announced

Black Panther 2 – Marvel Studios has confirmed a Black Panther 2 movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 – Filming has been postponed indefinitely after Disney fired James Gunn.

Silver and Black – In August 2018, Sony canceled the plans for a “Silver and Black” film and replaced it with two solo films, focusing on each of the title characters. Prince-Bythewood remained as a producer on both projects. Storyline and other details are unknown.

Black Widow Movie – According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Johansson’s Black Widow is reportedly set before the events of the first Avengers movie and sees the actress reprise the role of the Russian spy turned superheroine.”

Doctor Strange 2 – The biggest mystery of Doctor Strange 2 is who will be the villain. Nightmare or Mordo?

Not confirmed

X-Men Universe – X-Force, Deadpool 3, X-23, Multiple Man, and Kitty Pryde are the current projects in works of becoming the next film adaptations for the X-Men movie series. Alpha Flight and Exiles are also characters being considered by Simon Kinberg.

Ms. Marvel – Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed plans for a Ms. Marvel movie. Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Muslim superhero, appeared in the third and fourth Ms. Marvel’s comic series and it will be chosen storyline for Khan’s debut on film.

The Eternals – The Eternals might be next big franchise for the Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Created by Celestials’ genetic experiments on earth, this fictional race of humanity has a wide range of abilities from superhuman strength to immortality. Thanos, an Eternal–Deviant hybrid, has been representing this storyline throughout the Avengers movie series.