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Sharilyn Grayson


Aldi stores are among my favorite. They have innovated a grocery shopping experience that, though it's low-frills, is also reliably the least expensive way to get fresh, basic food. 

I love a lot of the Stash teas, as I found after I received a huge assortment of tea bags from different companies at Christmas, but Chocolate Hazelnut decaf is my favorite.

I love Republic of Tea, which Panera carries as a drink choice in its restaurants ( I get Ginger Peach there). Blackberry Sage is my favorite Republic of Tea choice.

The Origins Peace of Mind lotion is magic sauce for headaches. I kid you not. Rub some on your eyebrows and temples and under-eye sinuses, and it makes you feel better in twenty minutes, drug-free.

Almost every beauty product I use, from shampoo to lotion to deodorant, comes from Suave. Their products are inexpensive, and they work and smell good. 

I get other products sometimes when I'm in a rush or use them when I get them as gifts, but I always come back to Maybelline for makeup. I love the Fit Me foundation in Matte+Poreless


Intentional Blonde. Trekkie. Tea Drinker.

I was born in Cocoa Beach, Florida, land of the Space Shuttle launches. My father was an airman assigned to the enormous, golf-ball-shaped radar array looking for Communists over the Space Coast. My mom was a nursing student from a deeply religious home. ​After I appeared, Mom stayed home to raise me. My first year of life, I lived a short walk from the ocean - a really short walk. Crabs used to scuttle up the sidewalk of our base housing.


My family moved to Arkansas briefly, where Dad got a job fixing appliances for Sears and Mom took care of my brother and me. Before I turned three, the family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to the small, suburban house that would provide all the rest of my childhood memories. I didn't move again until I was eighteen and leaving for college.


North Carolina in the eighties was a contradiction. When I grew up and learned what had been happening around me, I felt hoodwinked. The people around me were kind and warm. They were good neighbors and cherished fellow church members. I loved Southern food and accents and hospitality and manners and culture. I felt safe biking around my neighborhood with my best friend.


Yet I swam in a segregated pool. I never saw a black face in church and seldom saw one at my store or bank. And I lived in a large, diverse, Southern city. I had no idea about bus routes or racial discrimination or what conservative politics really wanted the world to look like - and why. I do not remember hearing slavery mentioned, ever.


I am still untangling the threads of my past. I will say that North Carolina was a beautiful place to be a child. Sweet tea and biscuits and fried chicken ​still​ speak to me, and I feel like everybody on Andy Griffith was a distant relative. I ​remember​ marvelous ​symphonies and a world-class library​and a world ​that ​was green and soft and warm.


The place affected me. When I studied state history, I learned about pirates and Indians and the Lost Colony and the colonists and the Revolutionary War. ​I loved touring the Hezekiah Alexander House, a preserved colonial-era house where re-enactors dressed in period costume showed me the way colonists ate and worked and lived and took care of themselves. I deeply wanted to live in the past. I still love dogwoods (​the ​state tree), and cardinals (the ​state bird) are my good-luck charms.


So one way that I am untangling the threads of my past is allowing my heart to love what it loves. It is not a perfect way. But I do love cool mist shrouding gray barns; bright red birds perched on warm, green leaves; the sound of waves kissing sand; good stories on well-worn pages; the taste of fresh, hot bread; the sight of a fiery shuttle escaping gravity;​ and people of all kinds and colors and beliefs and backgrounds. Below is where I live now.


They say you can't go home again. But you can bring with you what matters most.

Cocoa Beach




North Carolina


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