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Thursday, January 3, 2013

So Blessed

So I don't do resolutions. New Year's or otherwise. Something about not wanting to set expectations that won't be met. Or maybe it's my inner procrastinator. But I love the idea of having a word or phrase for the year. In 2011, my word was "mercy". In 2012, it was "joy".

This year, it will be "thankful". There's a tendency for me to feel discontent by comparing myself to others or by being in my head too much. Comparison is the thief of joy, right?. I want 2013 to be the year that I rest in what I have been blessed with. It will be a year of change (new jobs, growing kids and new routines) but I am so, so grateful for where life has led me this past year and look forward the 2013 with open arms.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Charleston, South Carolina - The City

I'm back. For now. I always forget how busy life gets in the summer. Blogging always falls to the bottom of the list. Between work, church, going to the gym, VBS, swimming lessons, weekend clinics, traveling to weddings, kids, husband, friends, etc., it is a miracle that I have any time to blog. At least that is what I tell myself. I gave myself a self-imposed blogging hiatus of sorts to just live life this summer.
Going back to what I had last blogged about... Charleston. The one thing that I wasn't expecting with Charleston was how amazing the architecture was. I love old cities with old architecture and fun places to explore.

What struck me the most was the abundance of churches in the city. I loved seeing the skyline dotted with steeples and walking through the cemeteries that date back into the 1700s.

 The moss hanging from the trees reminds me of Savannah...

The Gullah people (descendants of slaves who settled in the coastal regions in South Carolina) make sweetgrass baskets in the market. They are beautiful and quite pricey. Gorgeous, but too rich for my blood!

Charleston is a very walkable town, which means you definitely need comfortable shoes to get around. Which means I was dog tired after several days of walking. Next time I go, I will probably take one of the horse drawn carriage tours to save my feet for a bit.

All in all, Charleston is a lovely city that deserves all kinds of adulation for its food, fashion and ambience!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blog updates

I have updated the blog with a more streamlined layout and graphics. I figured that if I haven't bothered to blog since I took the month July off, I should a least be productive and have a new appearance to show for it! Be sure to click through to check out what I have been up to on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest! I will be back. I promise.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Charleston, South Carolina - The Food

So anyone who knows me well will know that I pick U.S. vacation destinations based on the quality of food in the location. Hence some of my favorite trips...

...Napa Valley
...New Orleans

I can now add Charleston to that list.

I had put out a Facebook plea right before my trip and got an unbelievably comprehensive list of places to go for culinary delights. I was also lucky that my friend (who was having the bachelorette weekend) had a sister who took care of most of our reservations. I love not having to do work... Note that most restaurants in Charleston will DEFINITELY need reservations for dinner, but probably not for lunch. Also note that most places are closed for food between 2 and 5 pm. We found that out the hard way. Heh.

I started off my food journey by scoping out the Wall Street Journal article that I had held onto...

My first meal (I was on my own the first day - I love traveling and exploring places on my own!) was at Husk, where I had the shrimp and grits and a midday cocktail of the Milan Mulberry (I think). I loved the touch of basil in the shrimp and grits, as well as the fresh taste of the tomatoes and okra. Low country cooking at its finest.

I walked around King Street a little and found the Savannah Bee Company store and sampled some different  flavors of honey. Couldn't bring any home because of the liquid restrictions in carry-ons, but mmmmm...

On Friday night we went to a restaurant on the beach on Folly Beach (about 20 minutes away from downtown Charleston), where I proceeded to enjoy several of my favorite food groups...

Pre-dinner apertifs...

Deconstructed Caesar salad...

And top sirloin with potatoes... (probably not the smartest food choice to eat with all of my friends who were vegetarian/Indian, but oh well). Sure was good ;-)

The next morning we walked across the street from our hotel (we stayed at the Francis Marion) to Marion Square where the Spoleto festival was happening. I had a yummy crepe for breakfast.

Walked through the farmers' market...

After walking around, we had a snack of flatbread pizza with cheese from Grill 225...

After an afternoon at the spa getting massages and our nails done, we went to the Peninsula Grill, which was possibly the best meal I have ever had. Ever. Also not the place to take incessant food pictures, so not much eye candy from here. Impeccable service. The waiters materialized out of nowhere like those guys from the Matrix movie. Service so good, it was scary. 

I will recommend their famous coconut cake to share amongst several people. Worth every calorie. It helped that one of the other girls was celebrating her birthday at the same time...

Before we left town, we stopped by Hominy Grill for breakfast...

I thought about getting a morning mimosa, but I got a cup of coffee instead...

Where I got a "Big Nasty Biscuit" for breakfast...

With a requisite cup of grits on the side...

My final Charleston meal was from High Cotton on East Bay Street...

Where I had a fried oyster Caesar salad...

I only made it to about 1/3 of the places on my list of restaurants to tackle in Charleston, which means I am going to have to suffer the hardship going back again. Poor me. :-)

Here is the list of places that were recommended to me, in case you ever get a chance to go yourself!

High Cotton 
Bessingers BBQ
Grill 225
Fish pearls
Hominy grill
Venue inn rooftop bar
Poogan's porch
The Landing
Poe's Tavern in Sullivan island
Rosebank Farms Cafe on Seabrook island
hyman's seafood 
Taco mamacita's on Sullivan island

I can't wait to go back to Charleston again...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Charleston, South Carolina - Or the City Where Preppy Casual Came to Live

There comes a point in your 30's after you have had kids and been married for a while where you find yourself visiting the same cities over and over again whenever you have some time off. It may be the city where you grew up. It may be where you went to college or grad school. Or perhaps the town you always go for business trips or where your family always takes a summer vacation the second week of July.

While familiarity is great, every once in a while you get to explore a city for the first time and experience the rush of getting lost in a town, maybe accidentally wandering into a sketchy neighborhood or even stumbling across a great local dive bar with awesome live music. I got the chance to get lost in a city for the first time in FOERVER by myself (sans kids and sans husband) when I went to Charleston, South Carolina for a bachelorette weekend. Although it seems silly to call it a bachelorette weekend when we were all in our thirties, well established in our careers for years now, but whatever. It was a beautiful weekend.

Charleston is the perfect city for a grown-up girls' weekend or a couple's getaway. In the summer, the heat can be oppressive, but the proximity to beaches, amazing food and Southern hospitality go a long way into making this a city I will want to visit again.

To start with, you must dress the part in Charleston. People seemed to dress super preppy, from young to old. I loved seeing older couples in seersucker shorts and gingham dresses. I ran into a girl in a grocery store in the historic district who was dresed like page 26 of the most recent J.Crew catalog. Head to toe.

We had a J.Crew moment.

Here are some of my fashion moments...

An orange Kate Spade (a present to myself from last year) with my orange for breakfast.

J.Crew brown seersucker dress from 2009
Banana Republic necklace
Target leopard print flats

Note: Charleston women tend to be dressy from what I observed. Cute, preppy dresses with sandals or espadrilles seemed to be the dress code. Men would do well in seersucker or brightly colored shorts and short sleeved cotton button-down shirts or casually rolled up sleeves of a dress shirt. And almost every guy had sunglasses on a strap around their neck. Seriously like J.Crew and Vineyard Vines had an illegitimate love child. 

A breezy print dress that I bought from a local Charleston boutique (Scout and Molly's). So comfortable.

Besides J.Crew, another popular retailer here was Lilly Pulitzer. I saw these cute LP paper dolls for girls in a store located on King Street.

Of course we had a spa day while we were there, which meant that I had to try out some fun/trendy pastel summer shades.

Tomorrow, tune in for some of my food recommendations. The food in Charleston is unbelievable.

If you've been to Charleston, what was your impression of the city? Or do you have any other travel recommendations for an great city to visit?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Long Overdue Easter OOTD - Kid Style

One of the hardest things about living in a city where none of your immediate family lives is celebrating holidays alone. Luckily for us, although our family is scattered all over, I have a surrogate family from one of my best friends from college who lives in the same town as we do. We celebrated Easter this year with them which was awesome, since we have both known each other pre-husbands, pre-kids and pre-adulthood.

Our kids have basically grown up in each other's lives and it is great watching them have a friendship now.  

Here is what she wore for Easter (pre-Easter egg hunt)...

Old Navy lavender shrug
GapKids ruffle dress and sparkle pom pom shoes

Sorry for waiting so long to post these! So thankful to be able spend my favorite holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus with people we love.

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