Friday, February 27, 2015

Outfit of the Month: Seeing Stripes

Preface: NO not those crazy, trippy stripes breaking the internet today. (#TeamBlueandBlack)
I can't believe I've been doing this OOTM thing for a year.  I've added so many great outfits to my wardrobe, and I can honestly say that I enjoy shopping these days.  Last weekend, Mike and I went on a little shopping spree date to the nearby outlets.  We bought new matching cleats for kickball (how hot are they?!), I got my yearly allotment of earrings from Claire's (I lose earrings like crazy so there's no use spending money on them - 6 pairs for $7 will do it for 2015!), and I hit up the Loft Outlet for their President's Day Sale.  Seriously, everything was fantastic and the prices were great.  I bought 3 tops and a pair of jeans for $75.  I told Mike that it's probably the first pair of jeans I've purchased since we've been together (cough:5 years:cough).
I can't find links to any of the pieces online (probably since they are all from the Loft Outlet), but they're all fantastic! 

Last year's outfit recap: FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember - a pretty special one, OctoberNovemberJanuary

Here's to another year of fun and exciting shopping!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blogging for Books: Lighten Up Y'all

Since moving to Charleston, I've definitely gained an appreciation for Southern cooking.  However, most of it is very heavy and filled with calories: shrimp and grits, fried chicken and waffles, chicken-fried steak, and my favorite: hushpuppies.  Don't get me wrong, all of it is delicious and I definitely love indulging, but I was so excited when I saw a cookbook about lightening up Southern recipes on the Blogging for Books list this month!  I received an advanced copy of Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis and could not wait to cook up some of the healthy and wholesome recipes!
For dinner this week, I made Virginia's Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts and Sauteed Green Beans with Summer Corn.  This full plate of food was only 365 calories and was filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs.
Mike and I both loved the dishes and the recipes were easy to follow.
As you can see, I already have plenty of recipes bookmarked and I can definitely see some Apple-Raisin-Carrot Slaw and Citrus-Grilled Shrimp in our future this summer.  The book is also filled with great winter soups and a Georgia Shrimp and Corn Chowder that sounds wonderful!  And to end any perfect meal, don't Brown Sugar-Strawberry Shortcakes sound amazing?!
Lighten Up Y'all will be available on March 3rd, and you can pre-order a copy by clicking here.  Virginia also wrote two other "Y'all" books: Bon Appetit, Y'all and Basic to Brilliant, Y'all that I will surely be checking out!

I received this book from Blogging for Books to facilitate this review.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Wedding Ceremony

I could not be more excited to share today's post.  Our wedding ceremony meant so much to me.  After a very emotional walk down the aisle (Mike and I waited to see each other on our wedding day until that walk), we started the ceremony off with a laugh and all of my nervousness disappeared.  To be honest, I don't remember what it was about, but it definitely broke the ice and gave the whole ceremony an upbeat mood.  We chose to have a traditional Catholic mass (here are the psalms and scriptures we chose).  Because of the Jesuit philosophy at Holy Cross, many guests told us how welcome they felt and all Christians were welcomed to communion.  It was so perfect for our multi-denominational crowd.

We heard readings from our cousins and a friend, and Mike's sister (my Maid of Honor) even sang.  My godmother and Mike's godfather brought up the gifts.

The homily was perfectly fit to us and our priest bought items from the college bookstore for members of our family that represented past memories and future hopes: golf balls, tissues, and even some postcards.

Then came the vows and rings.  At the exact moment we stepped back to the middle of the alter, the sun shone right into my eyes and I lost it.  Almost exactly 13 months earlier, we lost Mike's mom, and this was the perfect sign that she was with us on our special day.

We celebrated communion and shared a sign of peace with our bridal party and families.

Right before the mass was over, we joined back together for our first kiss.  (Truth be told, we definitely practiced the kiss: where to put our hands and what kind of kiss it would be  - don't judge.  Future brides: I highly suggest doing the same - I've seen my fair share of awkward ones!)

We did it!  We excited the church, and it was time for the receiving line.  I'll be sharing all about that next week!

Now it's your turn! Share your own post with Macy and me for our weekly Wedding Wednesday linkup below:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beanie Weenie Casserole

Before I get to my post, I wanted to share today's South Carolina news: I have a snow day.  Okay, so maybe it's a freezing rain day, but still: all schools are closed and supposedly it's an ice rink out there.  Down here, you have to use bridges to get everywhere, so when the temperature drops (rarely), freezing happens very quickly.  Now to today's recipe: some great comfort food for a cold day.  Friends, I have no idea where Mike found this recipe, and let's be real, I thought it sounded insane.  But, if you're looking for some hot, stick-to-your-bones home cooking, you've come to the right place.  

Beanie Weenie Casserole
(unsure of origin but possibly adapted from here)

Here's what you do:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line 8-inch square pan with 1 can of beans.
- Slice 3-4 hotdogs into 1/2 slices and layer on top of beans.
- Make your favorite corn muffin or bread mix and pour (uncooked) on top of hotdogs.
- Bake for 30-32 minutes until top if light brown,

You won't be sorry!  Okay, maybe you will, but I swear it's actually pretty good :)

Linking up for Kate and Emily's Tuesday's Recipe Swap!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Charleston Chowdown: Bay Street Biergarten

Last week, my organization had a Happy Hour kickoff meeting for one of our committees at the Bay Street Biergarten.  On the corner of East Bay and Chapel streets, it's a fantastic location and even has its own parking lot (Charleston peeps, you know what a plus that is!).  As you can imagine, they have tons of beer on tap and even more in cans and bottles.  I had a couple of Sam Adams Cold Snaps and they were delicious!  Additionally, we ordered a bunch of appetizers and they were amazing: stuffed pretzels, wings, freaky taters, pimento cheese sticks, and the cheese plate.  I look forward to going back when it gets a little warmer to sit on their patio, play cornhole, and try some of their entrees: German schnitzel, BBQ ribs, and even a buffalo buttermilk fried chicken sandwich - yum!  I just love the combination of the Bavarian and Southern influences!  If you're in the Charleston area, I highly suggest the Bay Street Biergarten.

(And shameless plug: any of you Charleston bloggers looking for a fun young professional group - especially those interested in golf (maybe your husbands :) ), we are always looking for new members!)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pinks and Reds: Blush and Gloss

Oh hey, a little late for these Valentine's Day colors, but what the hey, right?!  Welcome back to the third and last installment of my favorite makeup products.  By this time in my beauty routine, I've used my BB cream, concealed, and brightened up my eyes.  This final part is where I've always struggled with makeup in the past: adding color back into my face.  Growing up, I remember my mom always had this bright pink, almost red blush that was just so bright and kind of always scared me (sorry, Mom!).  When I first started wearing makeup, I tended to err on the side of caution and used almost nothing after concealing.  Well, when I started this makeup journey last year, I discovered all of the neutral blush (and even lip color) tones, and I'm really liking it.  In addition to the products below, I've been using Cover Girl Instant Cheekbones (in Sophisticated Sable) powder to help contour and blend.

Stick/Cream Blush:
Good: Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush (in Rose Petal)
Better: L'Oreal Paris Visible Lift Color Lift Blush (in Rose Gold Lift)
Best: Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick (in Just-Pinched Pink)
Like I mentioned above, I use a powder cheekbone blush, so I decided that I wanted to try different cream blushes to experiment.  A combination of powder and cream really works well and blends well on my face.  I like the Maybelline Bouncy Blush, but it is a little too creamy and didn't blend as easily as I would have liked.  However, I really do love this Rose Petal color!  The L'Oreal Life Blush came in similar packaging, but went on much more like a powder but with the staying powder of a cream blush.   Honestly, the only reason I really like the Maybelline Master Glaze better is because of the applicator: the stick makes it so easy!

Lip Color:
Good: Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor
Better: Sei Bella Brilliance Lip Gloss
Best: L'Oreal Glossy Balm (in Lovely Mocha)
My last step and newest beauty love: lip color.  I am a chapstick girl and honestly haven't worn a lot of lipstick in my life.  For my wedding, my stylist gave me the Sei Bella lip gloss and I fell in love!  Since then, I've bought a lot of lip colors including a few Maybelline Color Sensational colors, which go more glossy than other lipsticks I've used.  My favorite, however, is a lip pen by L'Oreal, that goes on so smooth and stays on really well throughout the day: eating and drinking.  

Thanks so much for following along with all of my favorites.  As always, if you have any products you love, I'd love to read about them in the comments!  Here is a recap of all of my favorites:
Part 1 (concealer and eye shadow palettes) and Part 2 (liquid eyeliner and Maybelline mascaras)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Exploring: Charleston Tea Plantation

This weekend when Mike's dad was here, one of our many stops was the the Charleston Tea Plantation.  Who would have thought the only tea garden in the U.S. is just right down the road?  Located on Wadmalaw Island, the plantation is comprised of 127 acres of Camellia Sinensis tea plants used to make green and black tea and is the home of American Classic Tea (now a brand of Bigelow Tea).  At the plantation, we toured the factory, tasted tons of different teas, and went on a trolley tour all around the grounds.  It was seriously awesome and is a beautiful place!  So far, this has been one of my absolute favorite Charleston adventures.
Yummm - so many tastings!  I was so hyped up on caffeine by the time we left.
Greenhouse at the back of the plantation where they grow new tea plants.
Of course, we left with tons of loose leaf tea to try: peach, Governor Grey (haha we don't have Earls in the U.S.), and raspberry!

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