Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Stuff(and th)ings

Happy Turkey Day, y'all!  Mike and I are on Hilton Head Island for the weekend with my parents and we are even getting to play some golf today before the big meal.  Food + golf = my perfect day!!! Here's my Thanksgiving version of stuff(and th)ings:

+ I am way too excited to not have to drive anywhere today.  For literally the first time in my life, Thanksgiving is (and only is) at my house.  Yes, my parents have hosted Thanksgiving dinners, but when I was young, that was after a trip to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner #1 and when Mike and I were dating, it was before a trip to his family.  Never in my life have I traveled less than 50 miles on Turkey Day.  

+ This has to be one of the most inspirational stories I've seen in a long time.  If you didn't see "Catching Kayla" on E:60, spend 12 minutes right now, watching it.  What an incredible lady.  

+ Every week, for at least the last 3 months, I've read Ashley's Scavenger Hunt Sunday post and jotted the prompts for the following week into my phone.  I haven't actually done a post since April, when we were still living in CT.  The prompts are especially easy this week, and this is post is going to hold me accountable, I'm bringing my camera to Hilton Head and there maybe will be a post up on Sunday! 

+ For the second year in row, the only Black Friday shopping we're doing is CVS.  I have $9 of Extra Bucks saved up, so I am sure to get tons of nail polish and candy I don't need - hooray!

+ I didn't put it on my Christmas list on Tuesday, but man, T Swift's new CD is totally my new guilty pleasure.  It's taking everything I have not to buy it for myself...  Blank Space is just so darn catchy. 

+ As soon as Thanksgiving is over, it becomes CrockPot and soup season for me.  Angi posted a few great recipes this week, and I really want to make sweet potato, kale, and corn chowder asap! 

+ And last, but certainly not least, some of my favorite Thanksgiving cats...

I hope y'all have a great holiday weekend!  See you on Monday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More Southern BBQ: Bessigner's

A month ago when Amanda was here, she said that she wanted to try some real Southern barbecue.  I had already tried Melvin's, so we thought it might be fun to try somewhere new (and she said it would be a good excuse for another Charleston Chowdown post, isn't she the best?!).  We went to Bessinger's BBQ, only a few minutes away from where we live.  
The set up was very similar to Melvin's and both have a variety of pulled pork, brisket, burgers, chicken, etc.  I went with a pulled pork meal with coleslaw and mac and cheese.  Each meal comes with cornbread or jalapeno cornbread and an onion ring.  
What I liked most about Bessinger's was their selection of barbecue sauces.  While Melvin's had four sauces, they were all still mustard based, just with different seasonings.  At Bessinger's, there was the traditional Carolinas' Golden Secret sauce as well as a spicy variety of that same sauce.  Additionally, there was a Hickory Red Sauce which I really enjoyed and was more of the ketchup-based sauce that I'm used to.  What I liked most is that the pulled pork came without sauce so you could add as little or as much of whatever sauce you preferred.  
Now for the food: the pork was very tasty and tender, and with the ability to add and try different sauces, I definitely preferred it to Melvin's.  The sweet tea was also delicious.  However, I think the best sides go to Melvin's.  My cornbread was overcooked (as you can see below- Amanda's jalapeno cornbread doesn't look as bad), the onion ring was very doughy, and my mac and cheese didn't taste too cheesy.  Overall, the experience was good and I'm happy we tried another "barbecue joint."
Now if only I could sneak some pulled pork and Bessinger's sauce into Melvin's, I'd be a very happy camper!  

Other favorites around the city: Zia, Five Loaves, DeSano Pizza, Melvin's Barbecue, Charleston Donuts, Cory's Grilled CheeseLeon's Fine Poultry and Oyster ShopCharleston Culinary Tours: Upper King

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

All I want for Christmas is...

You?  Got married this year, so I'm good there, I guess!  Jeesh, it's not even Thanksgiving, and I've already loved reading so many blog friends' wish lists.  If you looked at 2013 Meg, you'd guess she likes to: cook, be comfortable, be on time/schedule everything.  And yes, you would be correct.  Since it's almost Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, I thought I'd make another...
I wonder what my list for 2014 says about me? Here it goes:

Sooo, I might have developed a little shoe obsession over the last year.  I love crazy-colored flats and have branched out to more than just my Uggs and Birkenstocks.  FYI, I'm a size 8 ;)

I LOVE Etsy, that's really no secret.  I love shopping with small businesses and these items are definitely some of my favorite I've found recently. 
And if all else fails, Target's where it's at.  No, I was not compensated by Target to say that, but I wish I was and would be happy to be sponsored by Target, hint hint. ;)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Flying Squirrel Chic

I realized a few weeks ago that I hadn't gone shopping in months.  While my Outfit of the Month has been going strong, the past couple of months haven't required me to purchase any clothes.  There's a lot going on in our little world right now, so shopping was not on the top of my priority list.  I received a Kohl's gift card for my birthday, so I was lucky enough to go out and buy a little something for myself a couple weekends ago.  Since weather in South Carolina in November is unlike anything I've experienced in Connecticut (usually 65-75 degrees during the day), like I mentioned in October, I have nothing to wear for this weather!  My typical 70 degree weather outfits are floral dresses and bright colored shirts and my typical November wardrobe is a lot of heavy sweaters and scarves.  So, I went to Kohl's and found these great Croft and Barrow fall-color appropriate mock-layer cardigans, or as Stacy London calls them: schweaters.  Don't judge me!  These things are awesome.  They're so light-weight and I don't have to worry about matching!  I also picked up that gray pencil skirt from Croft and Barrow at Kohl's, as well.  

And if you're wondering about my title, yes, that's what Mike calls it.  As I mentioned last week, I was showing him my outfit, and he couldn't help calling me Rocky.  
Paired with my OOTM pants from last winter - and hooray for learning how to use my camera since then!

Past OOTM:
September (my wedding dress!)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pinterest is always 50/50

Pinterest used to be my "go-to" recipe book.  Everything I pinned looked so good, and the only real downfall of recipes for me was my laziness in making them... or not making them.  Now that Pinterest has found the general public (thanks to Kristin for pointing that out - so true), anyone and everyone is creating these crazy recipes and saying HOW AWESOME THEY ARE.  I've basically come to the conclusion that for ever 2 things I pin, only 1 will even come close to resembling what it's supposed to be.  Seriously, just stop always saying your recipes are the best.  Not all recipes are blog or Pinterest-worthy.  You will make mistakes.  Take it from me.  I know you took all of that time to photograph your food, but if it doesn't taste good, don't try and fool us!  

Well, I ran out of ideas for leftover Halloween candy after the Butterfinger Doodles and Baby Ruth Crisp, so I wandered over to Pinterest.  I found a couple of ideas and went for it.  Surprise, surprise, one was great the other was horrible.  Let's start with the good:

Reese's-stuffed chocolate chip cookies: I was skeptical, but figured I'd try it anyway.  I had seen these disasters in the past, so I made sure I used a baking pan with ridges, just in case.  I decided to freeze the dough after I stuffed it to give myself every chance for success.  Well, it worked!  Everything melted and cooked together and it was really good!

Homemade Butterfinger candy bars: Mike was so confused why, 3 days after I used all the Butterfingers to make cookies, I was attempting to make more.  I told him not to get too excited and when he saw the ingredients, he agreed.  There is NO WAY melted candy corn and peanut butter make Butterfingers.  Well, some things really are too good to be true, and my suspicions were confirmed.  First of all, the melting of the candy corn created this candy napalm that burned my fingers and took 2 days to get off the bowl I cooked with.  The texture was ALL OFF (see the third photo) and it literally just tasted like sweetened peanut butter.  Don't try this at home.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stuff And Things

I've been reading Kristin's Stuff and Things posts forever.  I've been meaning to write one myself since she made it a link up months ago, so this week, I finally started a note on my phone and wrote down all the random stuff I thought and things I did throughout the week.  Turns out, there are a lot of them...
+ We started binge watching Breaking Bad and Parks and Rec on Netflix.  We're halfway through season 4 a few episodes into season 5 (see what happens when you start writing posts 3 days in advance?) of Breaking Bad and who knows where we are with Parks and Rec.  Our nightly routine is usually an episode or two of Breaking Bad followed by a Parks and Rec as I fall asleep on the couch.  However, I do know that we're in the point in Parks and Rec where we find the mutual character between the two shows!  Mike is Ben's dad!!!

+ I think our next show will be Portlandia.  Any other suggestions?

+ We made our flight reservations for our Christmas trip back home.  We decided to come back on the 30th to enjoy a New Year's Eve - Charleston style.  Now, local bloggers, what should we do?

+ My cat doesn't understand Daylight Savings Time.  Before the clocks changed, she'd come in every morning around when my alarm went off (7:30).  Now, every single morning, she is there at 6:30 wondering what the heck is up and trying to pet my face to wake me up.  For proof, see below:
I had to pretend to close my eyes or she wouldn't do it...

+ I went shopping for the first time in months recently.  I wore this outfit to work and when Mike asked me about the sweater, I showed him that it's one piece.  He called me a flying squirrel and insisted on taking a picture... probably to send to my dad.  They're close, it's cute.  Anyways, more about it next week for my OOTM.

+ Mike and I bought a giant container of cookie dough at Costco a few weeks ago.  While we both love making cookies, we really only eat them when they're warm, so now we have "cookie time" each night around 9:30.  Don't judge us... we always share an apple or a pear first, I promise.

+ Mike sent me this beauty yesterday.  Yeah, just try not to laugh at these.

+ I had my first bad experience with a swap last month.  She says she mailed it, but I've yet to see it and now she won't return my emails.  Oh well, I still have faith in the blog world.  On top of that, the swap host had a baby and the swap is ending for a while, so there's really no use contacting her.

+ Christmas shopping is DONE.  For everyone.  Yeah, I'm nuts.  My parents are driving down for Thanksgiving, so we are shipping all of our wrapped presents back with them so we don't have to worry about flying them back in December.  I, personally, think it's genius.

+ But don't worry, I'm still in Thanksgiving mode.  How cute is this little guy?  I think he might be my favorite of all my toppers...I have about 10 #Disneygeek.  Christmas and Thanksgiving have always coexisted peacefully in my world.  Christmas music season for my parents starts every year on Veteran's Day, so there's always some overlap there, and Black Friday was always Christmas Tree Day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our Only Wedding Hiccup: The Rehearsal

So, I realized I jumped the gun a bit.  I've been all over the place with wedding posts.  I've written about my dress and even our thank you notes, but over a month ago, I did my bachelorette party, which was the Thursday into Friday before our Saturday wedding.

Well, continuing on from there, we got to the hotel, checked in, got ready, and headed out to the church for the rehearsal.  Up until this point, I was cool as ever.  I had told the groom's guys to be there 15 minutes earlier than we really needed them there to make sure they were on-time.  We even hit traffic but had left with plenty of time so it wasn't an issue.  Then, we walked into the church.  CHAOS ENSUED.  The wedding planner at the chapel was this sweet little old nun.  She was great to talk to and made sure we had all of the paperwork done a month before.  Then, the day of the rehearsal, it was like she forgot EVERYTHING.  So, instead of this calm, cool, and collected bride I had been for months, I turned into bridezilla in 5 seconds flat.  She asked over and over again what I wanted: Who is processing in first?  Who is escorting mothers/grandmothers?  Are the groomsmen walking the bridesmaids down or will they just be at the alter?  (Just in case you were wondering, ALL of this was written on the papers that were IN HER HANDS that I had given her a month ahead of time.)  Meanwhile, there were 12 members of our bridal party, their significant others, our readers and their significant others, our parents, my aunt and uncle, and a few random family members all sitting in the pews of the church watching me walk back and forth up and down the aisle a million times, making sure people were standing in the right place and everyone knew when to walk in and out.  I think the straw that broke the camel's back was about 10 minutes in when she asked Mike if he would be walking down the aisle with his mom and dad.  Yeah, she didn't remember that hour long conversation about the last year of our lives, apparently.
Basically, it was my lone wedding mishap.  Even in the midst of moving halfway through planning and then doing everything from 1,000 miles away, I had so much fun planning my wedding and honestly loved every minute of it.  I really think it's because I had over a year to plan and not stress (hint, hint engaged or soon-to-be engaged ladies).  In the end, the wedding turned out great and we got everything arranged perfectly at the rehearsal, but what was the point of me sending everything ahead of time to just need to ask me every single question again??

I promise this is the one wedding rant blog post you will see from me.  Luckily, after the rehearsal, Mike's dad and sister had planned a lovely rehearsal dinner buffet at a nearby Irish Pub.  I was introduced to the beauty of Chambord and pineapple juice, and I was a happy lady.

This week I am starting to co-host with Kristyn for Wedding Wednesday.  Make sure you link up each week and share a story about your past, present, or future wedding!  

Wedding Wednesday

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving in the South

Today I'm linking up with some lovely ladies for their Thanksgiving link up.  I figured this would be a good way to hold myself accountable and actually figure out what I'm making next week for Turkey Day.
Holiday Linkup
This year will definitely be different than the past.  This will be the first holiday we are away from family, meaning there won't be 20+ people cramming around tables in Connecticut, but instead, a little more intimate get together.  My parents are renting a place in Harbor Town on Hilton Head Island and we will be with them for Thanksgiving.  They're driving down so my mom can bring her roasting pan and everything she could possibly need for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'll be making side dishes and desserts to bring.  I wanted to do a couple of traditional things we always had at Thanksgiving when I was growing up as well as a couple of Southern-inspired dishes.  I've also been watching way too much Food Network lately, so my new dishes are definitely inspired by some of my favorite ladies.  In addition to my mom's turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and homemade cranberry sauce, here's what we will be having:

Apple Crunch Pie
One of Mike's family friends gave us this beautiful pie dish for our wedding that matches our kitchen.  On the bottom, it has a recipe for this pie that I cannot wait to try!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tourists in our own city: Charleston Culinary Tours

On Saturday, Mike and I went on a tour of Upper King Street, a section of downtown Charleston, on the peninsula.  We had a fantastic time, visited 4 new restaurants, and tried tons of things that we never would have tried on our own.  There were 13 other people on the tour, even a fellow Charleston blogger, Kaitlyn!  I apologize in advance for the not-so-great quality of my phone photos.  I decided not to bring the Canon so we could really just enjoy the experience.  We started the afternoon at HöM, a burger boutique and ping pong lounge. 

HöM was a super cool spot where we tried 3 courses: 2 starters and a specialty burger.  First was the Calamari in a bed of sundried tomato and goat cheese sauce, sprinkled with a balsamic reduction and shredded cheese.  Holy cow.  It was amazing.  I think this very first thing might have been my favorite item of the entire tour.  Next was the Dixie Flatbread: house-made pimento cheese, pork confit, caramelized onions, and maple bacon greens on house-made flatbread.  Last was the Green Gobble-n burger: a turkey burger ground in-house with melted leeks and spinach, brie, green goddess aioli, and green apple.  Everything was spectacular and I cannot wait to go back to enjoy more of their food and play some ping pong!  You can check out their whole menu here.

We only had to walk a few doors down to our next stop: Prohibition.  Their "Grub" and "Hooch" (what they call their drinks) are definitely one of a kind.  They have everything from seafood to fantastic cuts of meat all prepared in unique ways as well as tons of different alcohol concoctions like infused alcohols and award-winning cocktails.  To start, Executive Chef, Stephen Thompson came out with a giant skillet of paella and told us all about the local ingredients used in all of his dishes.  After that, we also tried his take on ramen in a ginger broth, with pork confit and a fried duck egg.  We also each tried a cocktail; I had the strawberry mojito and he had the Moscow Mule - both were amazing.

After a lovely walk down King Street, we arrived at 39 Rue de Jean, a French restaurant with a little bit of everything - seriously, their sushi is even fantastic.  We sampled their ratatouille, mussels, and pommes frites.  All were great, but, surprisingly, my favorite were the mussels.  The garlic sauce they were prepared in was just wonderful!  Our very last stop was Paolo's Gelato right next door, where we sampled flavors like tiramisu, Nutella, and even bacon.

Overall, we had a marvelous time.  Our tour guide, Charley, was so knowledgeable and so upbeat!  I loved that she didn't just talk about the restaurants we went to, but also almost every other place of interest on Upper King as well as general history of Charleston.  I HIGHLY recommend this tour for tourists in Charleston as well as residents.  There are so many restaurants on Upper King, that it would take a long while to visit them all, so it was great to knock off a few all at once.  The tour costs $60 and is definitely worth every penny; it's more than a full meal of food!

Even though we were full, we decided that weren't quite done with Upper King yet, so we walked around, looking at menus of other restaurants Charley suggested and even get a little more ice cream at Jeni's.  I had to try their dark chocolate and also decided to go out on a limb a little and got the sweet potato with homemade torched marshmallows.  Mike got caramel and milk chocolate with chocolate blackout gravel topping.  All four were great!  Right next door was the Charleston Distilling Company that just opened this summer and was another site Charley suggested.  We caught their last tour of the day at 6:00.  It was only $7 for a tour of the distillery and samples of their vodka, gins, and new Temperance alcohol which is their take on Fireball with ginger and cinnamon flavors.  It's not in stores yet, but hopefully it'll be out in a couple of weeks and will be sold all over South Carolina.

We had such a fun day and are very grateful to Charleston Culinary Tours for this great opportunity to get to know our city a little better!

Mike and I received complimentary admission to this Charleston Culinary Tour in exchange for the following review through Eskimo Advertising.  All opinions are my own.

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