Refuel Wine Bar

Recently I posted on how important dating was for married couples to disconnect from the world and plug-in to each other.  It’s the busiest time of the year in the industrial construction industry and most definitely for my Audley.  He has been flying out on Monday and returning on Thursday or Friday each week.  We make sure we are enjoying quality family time with our teenagers each weekend, but I’m also making sure Audley knows that he is my number one.  With time limited right now our dates are often just a quick supper out while the kids enjoy pizza on their own.

Our last date night took us to downtown Spartanburg. We were actually headed out for sushi when we stumbled upon a newly renovated (and recently reopened under new management) little Wine Bar called Refuel.

 We had actually planned an early night out because we had extra teenagers at the house and we were so tired and wanted to be in early. Sushi dinner was the perfect option, but as we were cutting through what we thought was a wine shop, we discovered a lovely and intimate place that screamed “DATE NIGHT”.

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What attracted me to Refuel?

(Excuse the poor photography, I didn’t plan to restaurant review this particular night)

The interior….

A Cozy little sitting area for enjoying a glass of wine and chatting with friends.

A Cozy little sitting area for enjoying a glass of wine and chatting with friends.

SImple yet well-stocked bar.  So many options to choose from!

SImple yet well-stocked bar. So many options to choose from!

Exposed brick walls with art from a local artist

Exposed brick walls with art from a local artist

The fabulous wine selection…

Not a huge list, but one that was very satisfying to our palette

Not a huge list, but one that was very satisfying to our palette

Audley's flight for tasting

Audley’s flight for tasting

 Or the fact we were able to relax and indulge….

fruitandcheeseplatter

cheeseplatter

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Now I will be honest with you, critiquing the food really isn’t possible. I know we thoroughly enjoyed our supper, but with the smooth modern jazz in the dimly lit, intimate space and the sheer coziness of it all, the food just completed the package. It all went so well together.

Black and Blue Salmon Salad

Black and Blue Salmon Salad

I do know that the chef stopped by our table twice to make sure we were enjoying everything.

Refuel Wine Bar apparently has been around a couple of years, but recently was taken over by new management who have set out to give adults an enjoyable place for a night out. The staff was so friendly and met every need of ours, going above and beyond to see that we were well taken care of. The menu is limited, but that is a good thing as it keeps you from stressing over too many options when ordering! As I mentioned, we had gone out to supper before the evening rush, but Refuel often has live music or DJ’s on the weekend to make the night out a little more exciting.

Audley and I enjoyed going early because we were able to enjoy time alone. We were early enough in the evening that the supper crowd was actually arriving for reservations as we were leaving.  Does this mean we are old?

While our waiter totally met all of our needs, he realized this was a date night and let us enjoy our time together without rushing us out the door.  That was most appreciated!

As for dining at Refuel, I know that Spartanburg is not a premier vacation destination, but if you are traveling I-85 from Atlanta north, take an hour or so to stop in for a lovely supper out in our small, but revitalizing downtown.

Have you dined at a unique restaurant lately?  Would love to hear you favorites!

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Dating My Hubby

In August, Audley and I celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary.  According to everyone we work with, that’s a really big deal.

Personally I think everyday spent with my husband is a really big deal, but that’s for another day.

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It is a wonderful feeling though, knowing that we have made it through the awesome good times as well as the really bad, always fighting for us, our marriage and family in every thing we do.

I can’t say everything we’ve done has come easy (13 moves in 6 states, a hubby who had a heart attack at 33, various other health issues including my own obesity, and even in-law issues), but I can say without a doubt that the good, the bad; its all been worth it!

We were so young!!

We were so young!!

It’s also a really good feeling that after nineteen years, people still notice that we are madly and passionately in love with each other.    Even MacKenzie Grace recently had a girl that she works with make the comment that based on the way she (MacKenzie) acted and the comments she makes that she still had parents that were happily married.

Recently, we have a friend who has been going through a rough patch in their own life and marriage.  While in conversation with Audley and I a couple of weeks back they made the comment that they wanted a marriage like ours and then asked our secret.  Audley told them: “God First; Each other Second; and Self Third”.  Sounds simple enough, but so many choose not to have this kind of relationship.  It may be one person in the marriage or it may be both who are not putting the focus on where it should be.  It does take a toll on a marriage, maybe not early on but even twenty to thirty years later as couples are divorcing when they hit the empty nest.

There are many ways to keep your marriages strong, especially having a strong spiritual life together, but one way we keep our focus on each other is by dating.

Yes, after nineteen years of marriage, I still date my husband.

Regularly.

I know that may sound odd, but just like the whole six and a half  months we dated prior to our wedding, we still make plans and go out for the evening without our kids.  It’s not always been easy and at times we have had to be very creative (check out our carpet picnic here), but we have always made time for each other.

Really, dating is a great thing to benefit your marriage; a break from your element, downtime from the kids, time to reconnect with your spouse and talk about everything going on in your lives or the silly things that can keep your mind off work for a little while.

Yes, we all need it.

But, seriously, why do I date my husband?

I think my Audley actually says it best….

“If you have an expensive car like a Mercedes, BMW or Lexus, you’ll do whatever you must in the way of maintenance to keep that car at peak performance. You know that vehicle, it’s quirks, what makes it run well and you know when it’s not at its best, and needing maintenance.

It’s the same way with your spouse.  You learn when things are well with your mate, what they like and dislike, when they are struggling, and even every little quirk they have.  They are precious and should be treated as such. You do whatever maintainance is needed to keep your marriage fresh, alive and always growing; always at it’s best.”

“Wives submit (offer respect) to your husbands as to the Lord….

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it…”

~Ephesians 5:22,25

Yes, our marriage relationships are precious, special, and lovely indeed!

Date night!

Date night!

I do love to date my man though.  It’s our time to disconnect from the stresses of the world and reconnect with one another.  We laugh, we talk, we share, we still dream and oh how we love!

Song of Solomon 3:4

Song of Solomon 3:4

Since Audley travels during the week for work, I have returned to the workforce this last year, and we have three very busy teenagers at home, our nights out are even more important to us now than even ten years ago!

Sometimes we dress-up and go to the theater (if you have a man that will watch Broadway AND ballet with you…. he’s good one!!), sometimes we go casual just strolling through a park (Audley will even go to the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain with me), it may be sushi night, out to the movies (we have very opposite tastes so that isn’t too often), NASCAR races, slipping away for weekends in a hotel, watching football either live or at Buffalo Wild Wings, and sometimes we never even leave the house!  There are times we keep it cheap (or free) and times we go way out of our budget, but each and every moment is treasured and precious to us.

No matter what we do, we have found plenty of things that we are interested in together.  And that is the key…. together.  I have been very blessed to enjoy four girls weekends away this summer with girlfriends, bloggers, and my sisters.  Audley enjoys golf with the guys. But in the end, the most fun we have is always together.

Which is as it should be.

Just out of curiosity, how long have you been married and what do you do to keep the romance alive in your marriages?

I would love to know!

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A Night at The Theatre

Audley and I love culture and arts, so a night out to the theatre makes for a perfect date night for the two of us.  Whether it be ballet, Broadway, the symphony, or a local band art events have been some of our more memorable nights out over the years.

Recently we slipped away to Flat Rock, NC (just forty-five minutes away) for a local production of “Boeing, Boeing”.  I just love supporting local arts.  There are times that we have seen better productions from the small community troupes than the larger national programs.

“Boeing, Boeing”! As much as Audley travels and dashes through the airport we couldn’t have picked a more perfect production.

Flat Rock is a quaint little town just outside of Asheville in the North Carolina mountains.  There are actually two theaters in the area; a small intimate setting in historic downtown Flat Rock and a much more grand stage for more detailed and large-scaled productions.

For our evening out we visited the intimate downtown theater.

Flat Rock downtown playhouse

Flat Rock downtown playhouse

The entrance to the downtown Playhouse theater

The entrance to the downtown Playhouse theater

The stage was set up with just one set that was the setting of the entire play.  I liked that concept as it made the play so easy to follow.

The set ... we weren't supposed to take any pictures, but I had to sneak just one!

The set … we weren’t supposed to take any pictures, but I had to sneak just one!

A little on the raunchy side, but absolutely hysterical, the story was set in the 1960’s, the boom of airline travel and the “romantic” lives that stewardesses lived.  It was the remake of a 1962 comedy about a swinging bachelor living it up in Paris, France and the three stewardesses he as a relationship with.  Add a friend from high school to the mix, a busy-body maid and let the laughs begin as one catastrophe after another takes place!

The local troupe did a fabulous job of acting and truly made the performance one to remember.

Since it was date night and we were headed out to a live performance, I wanted to dress-up for the evening.

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All dressed up and ready to go out!

I think I was a little over-dressed compared to several in the audience (I really didn’t mind), but my simple shirt dress was a perfect complement to my handsome man’s jacket and jeans.

And can you believe it?  I’ve gone from a brunette to a blonde!

It’s my mid-life crisis.

While I do like to dress up even more for the ballet or a Broadway show, I thought my choice was great for the community theater.

Do you dress up for shows?  What have you checked out lately?

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Fireside Romance

For most of mine and Audley’s nineteen years together we have been away from family as well as being parents from day one. I became a full-time momma the day we said “I do.” When it comes to keeping romance alive in our marriage we have often had to be quite creative with “dating” each other.
With small children and lack of babysitters often we created what we have fondly called “carpet picnics”.  These began when we lived in Carrollton, Georgia about 12 years ago.  We would feed the kiddos and then put them to bed two hours earlier than usual.  While I did the tucking in, lighting candles and laying out our picnic spread, Audley would run out and grab take-out from our favorite little seafood restaurant and we would picnic in the living room floor.
Those were special times for us.
Now days, with three teenagers still living at home we don’t have to have babysitters any longer; we usually just go out.  But last weekend Audley and I decided that we really wanted to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies together.  We had to run the girls to a sleepover after we both got off from work and we had a child sick with a chest cold.  There wasn’t time for supper out, and we felt bad for Bradley, so we took a step back in time to the days of our carpet picnics.
We ordered take-out sushi from our favorite little joint, fed Bradley and tucked him in and enjoyed a romantic dinner by the fire watching the opening ceremonies.
Audley built a beautiful and cozy fire, while I lit candles, arranged our take-out on a platter, pulled out our chopsticks and dipping bowls to complete our fireside date.
Honestly I couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable date with my husband.
What are some things that you do to keep the romance alive in your own relationships?