Current faves: Sea Life Concord Aquarium, Easter 2023, a delicious dish and more
Hi, friend. How are you?
Well after my break-from-routine last week when I took some time off, this most recent week was very busy. Brady was off of school for spring break, but I jumped in to sub a bunch of extra classes, and after today’s double, I’ll have taught eight classes spanning four different programs, which is a lot. Other than that, we did tennis, swimming, work, a library visit, grocery shopping and various stuff, and the days flew by. This weekend, I have some fun plans with Dave and two other couples, and I’ll also be relaxing a bit, I hope, as well as preparing a new hour of barre choreography for early next week.
Let’s get right to the faves …
Sea Life Aquarium in Concord
I had heard about the Sea Life Aquarium in Concord maybe a year ago, and I was a little hesitant to visit, because it’s in a mall. Well last week on Good Friday, Brady was off of school, I was off of work, and we were having a torrential downpour, so we needed an indoor activity to do together, and this seemed like the perfect time to see what this aquarium was all about.
I bought us tickets online in the morning, and after going out to lunch, the two of us made the 35-minute drive to the Concord Mills Mall in Concord, North Carolina to check this place out.
Brady and I were not properly dressed for a cold and rainy day, and my umbrella was not operating at 100 percent, so after finding parking pretty far from the entrance, we got a little drenched on our way in. Thus, during the first bit of our aquarium experience, Brady wore my flimsy sweatshirt to keep him warm, while I shivered. But other than that, we had a great time there, and I loved our little outing together.
On a rainy Friday, it was quite crowded, and we often had to wait to see into the tanks. But honestly, all of my aquarium experiences in the past at other places have been the same, so that was no big deal.
But here’s the thing: It cost about $50 for the two of us to visit the aquarium, and that’s not a cheap activity in my book. We only spent about an hour there, and we saw everything there was to see, without upgrading for any extras. And while normally I would say this aquarium was not worth the money, Brady really liked it, and his goal was to see a shark, and they had a few small sharks, so he was very satisfied.
Based on some feedback from others, I went in to our Sea Life Aquarium visit with very low expectations, and it actually was maybe a little better than I had thought it would be. But it’s not exactly the Georgia Aquarium (which we were lucky enough to explore last year in Atlanta with my brother and sister-in-law — that place is awesome).
The Concord Aquarium’s claim to fame is that they are “North Carolina’s Only Ocean Tunnel.” And yes, they do have a small walk-through tunnel under/within a tank, which was the coolest part for us both. But, once again, the aquarium is in a mall, and it’s over and done with pretty quickly.
Overall, I think the Sea Life Aquarium Concord is worth a visit if you have young children who like to see fish and marine life (they also had a couple sea turtles, but not much else), because they will probably enjoy it — and that’s really the whole point. Brady was definitely entertained, and he was happy we did it, which makes me happy we did it. But I would likely not spend the money to go back again any time soon. If we lived closer, it would be a cool place for a birthday party though.
Our Easter 2023 weekend
We had a really nice Easter weekend, even though half of it featured very dreary weather. This marked our third Easter in Charlotte, and it was definitely our best yet.
On the day before Easter, Dave and I took Brady to an indoor Easter egg hunt at our country club, and we hung out with some friends while there, took a picture with the Easter bunny and waited in a long line to get Brady a balloon animal, which he didn’t play with even one time after we got it.
I posted a few of the pictures on Instagram, and someone commented that the Easter bunny we took pictures with was one of the “least creepy Easter bunnies” that that person had ever seen, and it made me laugh. Because yes, Easter bunnies can be creepy, and this one was not.
On Easter Sunday, my mom joined us, and we went to a lovely church service, before heading back to the country club for our official Easter feast. We’ve always made our Easter meal at home ourselves, but this year, we felt like having it out, and it was stress free. No planning, no grocery shopping, no cooking and no cleaning up, and I’m all for all of that.
Our meal was nice, and it was fun to be all dressed up out and about too. Brady was wearing a three-piece pastel suit that I had bought him at the Weddington Kids Consignment sale (which I shared about here), and I had bought him that outfit for just $8. It sure has felt great to pull out those sale clothes and let him wear them.
Overall, it was a really good family day, and I’m glad we had it! (By the way, I’m not linking any of my outfits from Easter, because everything I wore this past weekend is from a couple years ago, and I can’t find any of it online. I intended to get some new stuff, but I didn’t, and it all worked out.)
The crab and avocado toast at First Watch
I mean, I loved this dish so much that I went to the First Watch restaurant near us two days in a row to eat it. If you have a First Watch in your town (First Watch is a national daytime eatery, so you just may have one), put this on your radar for your next visit. Also, fun fact: First Watch was the first account I managed as a public relations manager back in Orlando, so it has always had a place in my heart.
Anywho, although the food at First Watch is always solid, the one near us sometimes has slow service, and it just hasn’t always been the greatest experience at times. But Brady really likes their pancakes, so I’ve never written it off entirely.
That being said, I decided to take Brady there on our little adventure before the aquarium expecting to have a decent experience, and when I saw this special on the menu — the Crab and Avocado Toast — I knew I wanted it. And boy did it deliver. I was so pleased with this meal, and it made my day.
This dish is awesome. The bread is thick, there is a lot of chunky avocado and a lot of chunky wild lump real crab meat too, with some pickled red onions on top. It also comes with two eggs on the side, and I got mine over medium, so I could dip my bread chunks in the yolk. I mean, perfection. And a filling meal too, with a lot of protein.
This was absolutely worth getting twice in two days. And both times we had great service and were very happy, so maybe our First Watch has turned things around. I just had to share.
Let’s get to the movement …
My workouts from last week
Now it’s time to take a look at my workouts from last week.
I share this recap to show you how I try to get diversity of movement in my week, and how I always take a rest day (almost always). But remember, I do a little bit more than the average person, because I’m a group fitness instructor. You absolutely don’t need to compare your movement to mine.
Workouts from the week of 4/3
- Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m.
- Tuesday: 30-minute walk, 9:30 a.m., 15-minute gentle yoga via Peloton, 7:30 p.m.
- Wednesday: 20-minute Pilates via Peloton, 2 p.m., 30-minute walk, 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday: 30-minute walk, 9:30 a.m., 20-minute upper-body weights via Peloton, 2 p.m.
- Friday: 20-minute lower-body weights via Peloton, 10 a.m.
- Saturday: 30-minute full-body weights in gym, 4 p.m. (shown below)
- Sunday: Rest day
A much lighter week of movement! I took seven full days off sweating last week (after getting my eyebrows micro-bladed), so all of the movement I did that week was mild enough to not make me sweat at all. I didn’t want to totally skip exercise, so I kept it really, really light.
Here’s the super-quick full-body weights workout I did in my neighborhood gym …
Best read of the week
Here’s a quick fitness-related article that I wanted to share …
Activating your muscles. Have you heard the phrase “activate your muscles”? This is the term fitness professionals use to mean “wake up” the muscles you will be using in your workout. And activating your muscles is super beneficial to help you get more out of your movements. For instance, if you plan to do heavy squats, you can activate your lower-body muscles with bodyweight squats, or even with hip bridges or clamshells to “wake up” your lower-half muscles and get them ready to work. Check out this article for a little bit more insight on the what/why of activating your muscles.
Quote of the week
Here’s a great thought from Positively Present, which I liked …
Blog archives of the week
Let’s look back at two posts worth revisiting, including the latest from earlier this week …
The best leggings. I’ve tried out so many brands and styles, and these stand out as my favorite from the last couple of years … “The best black leggings I’ve been wearing that are less than $100.”
Creating helpful habits. Have you read this popular book? If not, here are some tips on habits I learned from it … “Tips on habits and a book review of “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.”
Thanks for coming by the blog today, friend! I hope you have a lovely day and weekend. Please leave a comment or send me an email if you have a post request! 🙂
Questions of the day for you
How was your week?
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this weekend?
What’s one thing you plan to get done this weekend?
Your eyebrows look so good! And I love your Easter dress too – so flattering and pretty. Have a great weekend Ashley!
Thanks, Shelby! The brows went through a healing/scabbing process this week, and they are a little lighter now and feeling good — I’m glad I did it hehe. Have a wonderful day and weekend! 🙂
My husband took our boys to that aquarium a few times when we first moved. After hearing the price I agree too, $ and for us almost an hour away. But our boys loved it too. We took them to our favorite zoo the other day, Riverbanks in Columbia, SC. I think Brady would love it! He can feed the giraffes, there are otters, sea lions, a carousel etc. Also a huge section with fun splash pads near the gardens. You can spend the whole day there!
Hi Joanna! We totally need to take Brady to the zoo in SC — thank you for reminding me about it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, friend! 🙂 xoxo
busy week for you but filled with so much good fun!!
I don’t know if its the haircut or something else but Brady matured a little in his face! he is looking more like a first grader!
Good for you on making Easter easy for you all, especially with a busy week. Great family photos!
Hi Sabrina! Brady did get a “big-boy haircut” where we took the curls off the sides a few weeks ago, and that has really made him look grown up! Also, he’s tall. But yes, he’s definitely starting to look more like a boy and not a baby heheh! Hope you have a wonderful day and weekend, friend!