Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Charleston Eats

As promised, a post entirely devoted to the amazing food from our recent trip to Charleston/ Isle of Palms, South Carolina.  There is definitely no shortage of fine eating establishments in the Lowcountry, which is just one of the many things I love about the area, gorgeous scenery and amazing people notwithstanding. 
We wasted no time finding great food since the first stop we made was to meet our friends for lunch before we even went to the house! We're all food lovers in this group, so we obviously travel well together :) 
Acme Lowcountry Kitchen had so many delicious things to offer on their menu when we stopped, but I ended up going with the sweet tea brined fried chicken, collard greens and pimento cheese grits (hands down, best grits I've ever eaten, by the way). Caroline shared some of everything on my plate and loved it all!


I only used my iPhone on these pics, so it's not the best quality, but I'm always looking for great new places to try when coming to town, so I want to share. The Lowcountry Kitchen sits right across from the Fire Dept so Caroline kept herself entertained by watching them through the window. Our waitress told us that they let kids tour the firehouse and truck if you stop in and they aren't busy, but we didn't get the chance to that day. 

The next stop on the culinary tour took us to Sullivan's Island and Poe's Tavern. If you're a lover of Edgar Allen Poe, this is the place for you. The decor is very gothic and all inspired from his writings, as are the titles of everything on the menu. I got a Pit and Pendulum burger and wasn't blown away with it. This was probably my least favorite of our food stops, but it was still okay. If anything, the ambiance made it worth a return trip.   


Onto downtown Charleston eateries and what was probably my favorite stop of this trip, 82 Queen.  Opened in 1982 and located at 82 Queen street, this restaurant is true Lowcountry fine dining. We went for lunch, so no formal attire was required, but the food was out of this world!.



Juston, Caroline and myself got a She Crab Soup (my favorite) bowl to split to start and then we all shared a main course of cheese grits topped with a grilled chicken breast, fried green tomato and crab cake with she crab soup drizzle to finish. It's the kind of food that isn't necessarily pretty to look at, but man does it make your tummy HAPPY!


Our last downtown Charleston stop was the Charleston Crab House which is really conveniently located just across from the Charleston City Market. I got BBQ shrimp and grits and it was absolutely delicious. Caroline was a big fan of it as well. When we eat out, we never order her anything of her own besides a drink. She has really tried a wide variety of foods this way and it saves us money as well as the waste since everyone knows most kids don't eat half of what you order them. 




Juston got the crab pot and was in HEAVEN! He is a seafood lover, that man of mine, especially when it's as fresh as what you get in Charleston. Our Goddaughter, Lexi got Mahi Mahi fish tacos and really loved them as well. 



When we were eating at the Crab House, Caroline was looking out the window, watching a woman walking down the street. I didn't pay it much attention, but she turned around as asked me if that lady was going hunting. When I looked a little closer at the lady on the street, she was wearing a camouflage jacket, so since Juston is always decked out in his camo when he comes back from hunting, Caroline put together that camo= hunting time. She's a sharp little one ;)

A few other favorite stops for sweets in Charleston include The Fudgery and the Savannah Candy Kitchen, both located directly across from the market. We visited both of these places. I always bring my dad back the milk chocolate gophers anytime we visit Savannah or Charleston. 

We made one other noteworthy food stop on the trip home and that was at 12 Bones in Asheville, NC. I mean, everything we got was so, so delicious. I got the BBQ, baked beans, macaroni and cornbread and Juston got some massive sandwich with like 4 kinds of pork on it, jalapeno grits (a new favorite of mine) and the best smoked potato salad you ever put in your mouth. I tried my best to find a recipe for something similar when we got home but haven't had any luck yet. If you're ever in our around Asheville, it's definitely worth looking this place up!



Asheville is located in such a beautiful part of the North Carolina mountains and a very cool, albeit trendy, little city. 


So there it is, our grand feast of a trip through the Lowcountry. Ironically, I almost always lose weight when we visit Charleston. Even though we eat like kings, we walk I'd say a good 4 miles or more through the course of the days. I also brought along my resistance band and worked out during Caroline's naps every day we were there, but probably not enough to cancel out the delicious food we had. If you have any food recommendations in Charleston, please share them! We're heading back in a fe months and are always looking for new places to try. Top of my list is Hall's Chophouse. That one is non-negotiable. We will be stopping there in March!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Charleston Tradition

Warning: super long, picture loaded post ahead. If you bore easily, abort. 

We have some really awesome friends who I met through church years ago when they first moved here to town. I used to babysit the girls, then eventually coached the middle one for a couple years in cheerleading before they moved to North Carolina a few years ago. We started a tradition four years ago that during Thanksgiving week, we'd all meet in Charleston to get together and it is one of the trips I look most forward to every year. They really are just like our family and the kind of people that just make you better when you're around them. We just love them and Caroline doesn't get any attention or affection at all when we're all together ;)

This year, we stayed at Isle of Palms just outside of Charleston and went down the Saturday before Thanksgiving and we drove the whole way home Wednesday, while the rest of the group stayed until Friday. And we did not lack for fun, food or good company on this trip, let me tell you! 


It was gorgeous the first day so we headed straight to the beach before we even went into the house. Caroline was so excited but couldn't understand why we couldn't just run full tilt into the water. She had a blast grabbing seashells though. 



Here's the view from our back porch. We stayed in the cutest little beach chic cottage. 


Sunday morning, all the girls in the crew and my friend Missy's husband David headed out to church at Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant and it was a really great service. Sometimes I struggle with the contemporary services being so accustomed to and having grown up in a traditional Methodist church, but I always get so much out of the message that it's more than worth it. I think it's the rock type music that always throws me. I love me some traditional hymns and so live five piece bands in church are a new thing. 
The rest of the day Sunday was a wash. I mean it poured from sun up till sun down without relenting so we hung out at the house and played games which was a blast. We did manage to find a decent place to eat out for dinner ;) I'll do a whole separate post on our food since I was that in love with all of it!



This is Mimi and PauPau's dog Taco who Caroline absolutely ADORED! Every time she's sit next to him to pet him, she's ask me to take their picture. I'm not sure if her affection was returned, but Taco tolerated her so well haha. She'd just pet and love on him and say "He nice. He soooo cute. He rough." 

Two of Caroline's three favorite chicks and us before dinner Sunday. 



One of my favorite places we always go when we visit Charleston is to the Charleston City Market. They have a little bit of everything for everyone. I got a Christmas book for Caroline, a sweet grass flower for my Momma (another Charleston tradition. I always bring one back), and a thing or two for myself. 



If you've ever been to Charleston, you know the horse-drawn carriages are everywhere and they are really great about letting kids pet the horses while they wait. Some of the companies use donkey's and they sometimes aren't as friendly. 


Our Goddaughter Lexi, who is just one of the best girls I know, rode into town with us a little bit early on Monday to snap some Christmas card pictures for us in Battery Park before we met up with the rest of the group for lunch and shopping.




All about that plaid. Juston is so good about going along with my family photo ops without complaining :)



After pictures, Caroline lead Daddy around through the streets like a boss. She knew just the way to go. Lunch was 82 Queen which was just divine and then we hit King Street to shop of course. 



The next day started off soggy just like Sunday, but we made the best of it and went to visit The Angel Tree on John's Island. I'd really been wanting to visit the tree when we were in Charleston in July but we just ran out of time so we made sure to go this trip. I can't even explain to you just how huge nad gorgeous this Live Oak is in person. You just have to see it for yourself. Definitely worth the trip just out of downtown a few miles. 


Tuesday was out last full day, so we went back into downtown with Lexi and did a bit more eating and shopping, what else ;) 


When we got back to the house that afternoon, we headed to the beach and found the most amazing things had washed up after the soaker from the weekend. I kid you not when I say there were hundreds of starfish up and down the stretch of beach we were on. We found two whole sanddollars within ten minutes of searching, whole conch shells and just so many neat things. 



There are no words for how much I love the family we traveled with, how much I love the family we had waiting back home to celebrate Thanksgiving with us and how much we love Charleston. It was just an amazing week all around. Next time we head back to Charleston, it will be in late March for the 10K Cooper River Bridge Run and I'm so excited. I've slacked in my training with all the traveling we've been doing the last few weeks, but it's back to regularly scheduled running starting this week and time to buckle down and hill train! I'm really excited to do this race with Juston and obviously to get back to my favorite place. 





Monday, December 8, 2014

Thanksgiving

In case you haven't noticed, I'm way behind posting here. We have been traveling like crazy and going to Christmas parties, family get-togethers, working and all kinds of other fun stuff. So I'm going to try to get caught up this week, starting with out Thanksgiving. 

The morning of, I got up early to start cooking and baking and we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while I cooked. That was always my Papaw's favorite thing to do on Turkey Day besides eating, so I try to carry on that tradition. 


We went to my parents house like we do every year. We'd just returned from our trip to Charleston with some very dear friends on Wednesday evening, so I got up Thursday and made my dishes, which were the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and Paula Deen's gooey butter pumpkin cake. 
Believe it or not, Mom cut back on what she made this year, leaving about 4 of her regular dishes out of the line-up, plus everything she made isn't even on the table in the picture. 



How cute is Caroline's monogrammed vest? It's from Crystal Faye and I couldn't love it anymore!


Caroline made it her goal to mean mug in every single picture we took on Thanksgiving and it's pretty hilarious. She started with this picture with her cousins. I swear, she was in a great mood, but you'd never know from the pictures. 


 How cute are all these little chicks at the kids table! Caroline sure loves her cousins. 




We ate until we couldn't eat another bite, and then we ate some more. I stayed behind to get a run in for the day and Juston and Caroline went on home.  Well, when I got back home, this is what I found...



Too much turkey? I think so. And in keeping with our Thanksgiving Day tradition, our Christmas tree went up that evening while we watched football. We did the rest of our decorations over the course of the weekend. The tree is about all I'm up for after a day filled with eating. 


Caroline was really fun this year and actually got really into hanging the ornaments by herself. She wasn't much interested at first, but as she watched me a little bit, she decided she wanted to help as well. It was really fun. We had a really great Thanksgiving. I love that we just sort of hang out with family and bum around. It's the best of all the traditions :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Workout Wednesday ~ BOSU Ball

I thought I'd share a quick workout I used last week with my BOSU Ball. If you don't have a BOSU, you can find them on Amazon or Dick's Sporting Goods or just google it. I'll list the exercises first, then a short explanation afterwards. You do 10 repetitions of each exercise, 4 rounds total with as little rest as possible. 

Burpees with overhead ball press
Lunge Hops
Push-ups
Squat on Ball
Knee in to Knee ups
Chest Press Outs
Single Leg Bridge Ups


Burpees~ Have round side of ball on ground, flat side up. Squat in front of ball, placing hands on sides, jump feet back so you are in a pushup position. Jump feet back to start, stand up with ball and press it overhead. Return to squat and repeat. 

Lunge Hops~ Just a standard lunge, front foot on the round side of the ball (flat side on ground). To add intensity, hop your front foot off the ball as you stand. It's just a small hop. If you don't feel stable, don't do the hop, just lunge. 

Pushups~ Round side on ground, hands on flat side. Execute standard pushup. you can also kneel to make easier. 

Squat on ball~ Flat side on the ground, stand on round side, feet hip width apart. squat as low as you can go and return to stand. Execute nice and slow. 

Knee-ins to knee ups~ Round side on the ground, hands on flat side in a plank position to start. Bring right knee in to your chest, keeping hips and shoulders in line (don't let your butt come up). As you extend the right leg back, raise that leg taking toes towards the ceiling and allowing your body to raise up to down dog yoga position. Lower leg and return to plank. Repeat all on one side before doing left leg. 

Chest Press Outs~ Stand, feet hip width, with flat side of BOSU toward your chest. Slowly press the ball out until your arms are extended straight in front of your chest. Return to start. 

Single Leg Bridge-Ups~ Flat side of ball on the ground. Lay on your back in front of ball getting your seat as close to the rim as you can. Place right leg on ball to start. You can cross left ankle over right leg, or extend the left leg out to make more difficult. Raise your hips up towards the ceiling and return to start. To make more difficult, don't allow your hips to touch the ground in between reps. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescapes

My parents host Thanksgiving every year and I have no intentions of taking over the duties any time soon. My mom does too good of a job :) She'd probably rather hand it over, truth be told, but her food is just too good. I usually bring the dessert and mashed potatoes. I do love the thought of doing a Thanksgiving tablescape, however, so I wanted to share a few of my favorites. I've linked to the original sources for each image so you can take a more detailed look at these beautiful table settings. You can also follow along with my Pinterest boards where I came across these beautiful settings to begin with.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, November 17, 2014

Our Weekend

Is it just me or was the weekend gone in a blink? It was a good one, regardless and one that included a lot of relaxing, family time and working out. My kind of weekend. 

Friday evening, I tried a new Pinterest recipe and it's probably the easiest recipe ever. You just roll a can of Pillsbury pizza dough from the can into the bottom of a 13x9 pan, then press it up the sides a bit. Spoon on your favorite pizza sauce ( I just use Kroger brand), add 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese, and whatever toppings you want. I kept ours simple and did mozzarella, monterey jack cheese, a little cheddar cheese and some turkey pepperonis. It was really good and Caroline just loved it, which is always great! Not my healthiest recipe, but I had it thrown together in under 5 minutes, even with Caroline's help. Bake for 20 minutes at 425. 


During dinner, Juston and I were talking about a trip we have coming up and when I mentioned it to Caroline, she asked to leave the table so I told her yes. She came back with her shoes on, her backpack and her turtle purse and said "I'm ready to go beach. Let's hit the road!" Love that girl! A traveler after my own heart. 


Saturday, my mom and I headed to Lexington to do some Christmas shopping. I had to get Caroline properly outfitted in her Georgia gear before I left though, pants optional. I did make it back in time to watch the game and I'm just so upset over Todd Gurley tearing his ACL. Poor kid can't catch a break it seems. I honestly believe that if UGA could have kept their kids healthy and injury free this season, they could have had an extraordinary possible championship season, but it wasn't in the cards. They still played a great game. Back to our Saturday...


Our first stop was a gift boutique off Chinoe called Violet's.  We'd actually been here before, but they just moved to a new location and the store just has the cutest things. I found a few stocking stuffers for Juston and of course, some things for the house as well. 



Next stop was Two Chicks off of Southland Dr. I found the cutest Christmas tree that was reminiscent of Juston's Redneck Christmas tree. Who knew he was actually being so chic and ahead of his time with that thing?! I also got the wooden Kentucky sign pictured and it's currently in my kitchen. It matched my kitchen perfectly, so it was fate. I really love boutiques like these, especially when it comes time to buy gifts for people, and find fun, unique things for myself and our home. I found a few things at Two Chicks for holiday gifts, as well as some cute home decor. I already need to go back to both of these shops to stock up on their cute Christmas decorations. I crossed about three things off of my Christmas list, so it's progress. And I shopped small ;)


Next obvious stop was chik-fil-a. And then on to the Athens Schoolhouse for some antique browsing. 


how cute is that baby buggy! I'd never seen anything like it! The dealer said she had a woman flying in from Texas just to buy that piece, then renting a vehicle to drive it back home. People do love their antiques! If I could afford it, that credenza would have come home with me. But it was EXPENSIVEEEEEE. Why couldn't I have been born rich? Or invented Spanx first? Oh well, I really do plan on saving up over the next few months and praying that it's still there when I go back for it. Antiques are a great investment in the long haul, because they hold their value so well and usually increase in worth over the years. 


Sunday was low key and COLD. Church in the morning, then my run that afternoon while Caroline napped. Juston was off hunting again, so us girls went down to spend the day with my family. 


I have been running on the treadmill for about that last month, I just hate cold weather, but I decided to brave it yesterday and felt like a popsicle when I was finished. As soon as I was finished, I found myself wishing I'd done five instead of four. I feel like I'm not far enough along in my training for this race in March, but I know I've got time to get there. It really was a good two hours before I felt warmed up again and it wasn't even really that cold,..like 38 with a wind chill. And this morning, we woke up to snow and the county school have their first official snow day. I'm so not ready for this.