Friday, April 29, 2016

Charles Towne Landing

Last week, we finally made a trip over to Charles Towne Landing when Mike's family was in town.  (You can check out the rest of the kid-friendly things we did in Charleston while they were here by clicking here.)  Located across the Ashley River from Downtown Charleston, Charles Towne Landing is the original Carolina colony settlement.  What's great about the park is how interactive it is.  We started inside, walking through the Exhibit Hall to see a history of the area and settlers before and after they first landed here in 1670. (FYI, we liked this museum way more than the Charleston Museum downtown.)
After learning all about the history of the area, we headed outside to the 600+ acre park to explore the trails.  We followed the map they gave us to easily catch every site throughout the park.  Our first stop was the Animal Forest: otters, bears, bison, bobcats, skunks, and even a puma!
Also on the property are remnants of the original settlement, replicas of cannons and the fortified walls, Legare-Waring historical home, and The Adventure.  The kids' favorite was definitely exploring The Adventure, a replica of a 17th century coastal trader.  This type of ship would carry supplies, provisions, and life stock between the colonies and the West Indies.
The Landing site is now one of 47 South Carolina State Parks (see the full list here).  While a day trip to Charles Towne Landing costs $10 per person ($6 for kids), they have an awesome deal for $75 where you can get a whole car-load of people into all 47 parks for a full year!  We can't wait to head back to Charles Towne Landing to ride our bikes as well as explore even more state parks with our pass.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My blog is a Kindergartener.

Happy Blogiversary to this little space!  I cannot believe it was five years ago since I wrote my first blog post, anticipating college graduation and my new "adult" life.
This blog has brought me so much joy over the last five years.  It's chronicled some big things in my life: from the happiest day of my life to one of the saddest, my move across the country, our most recent adventure, as well as so many "firsts:"
first recipe
first half marathon
first blog swap (and resulting first blog friend and best friend)
first Pinterest obsession
first attempt at fashion
first time monetizing my blog
I feel that it's fitting that I'm beginning my (way overdue) first blog conference today: Southern C!  I am so excited that this conference is right here in Charleston.  I look forward to not only meeting new bloggers from around the country and also connecting with local companies and brands.
Writing this post, I had fun looking back on the last five years of Borrowed Heaven and thought it would be cool to see what y'all liked the most.  My top 5 most-read posts are: Wedding Workouts, A Tale of Two KittiesCharleston Eats: O-KuChristmas 2015 Wish List, and A Few of my Favorite Things.

As a little thank you to y'all, I'm giving away five Starbucks gift cards (valued at $10 each) to lucky readers.  All you need to do is follow me somewhere - your choice!  Enter with the Rafflecopter widget below, and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 25, 2016

April Showers...

Happy Monday and April 25th!  As a Rhode Islander, we celebrate April 25th as if it were Christmas or VJ Day (yeah, we still have that one on the calendar, too).
I cannot believe we are already into the last week of April!  It might not be the rainiest month for us in the Lowcountry, but we did have a nice little stretch of storms last Friday.  There's a sentiment here that every Charlestonian needs two pairs of rain boots: one for your house and one for your car.  I remember laughing when I first heard this, but they're right.  That rain can come out of nowhere and with the low elevation, holy rapid flooding!  I've rounded up a few of my favorite rainy day items for you today as we wait for those May flowers:
The essentials: trench coatrain boots, and umbrella.  This waterproof bag is always with me on rainy days, too.  The material is great and I love the zippered top.

When there's not too much rain, how cute as these rain shoes?

Gotta brighten up those rainy days with this scarf (how awesome are these Lilly state-inspired scarves?) and a bucket hat.

Now for those of us who'd rather sit inside and watch the rain (and our rain chain): rain candle, a good book, a fresh mani (butler, please or sugar daddy), and a few rain drops only on your phone case.

There you have it!  The only thing I've found that I do not have in this list is some good waterproof makeup.  I have my favorite mascara and setting spray, but if y'all have any other suggestions for water resistance makeup or other favorite rain attire, I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Five Kid-Friendly Charleston Favorites

This week, we had Mike's family in town.  His sister, cousin, and her three kids made the 14 hour trip from Connecticut for their spring break.  Since I have such a small family, Mike's family has become so important to me: his sister was my Maid of Honor, and his cousin's kids were our flower girl (and goddaughter!) and ushers at our wedding.  It was so nice to have them here, and it gave us the perfect excuse to play tourists in our own city.  What was awesome for us is that these kids love history and national parks!  They've taken road trips all around the country to see different parks and love the kids' programs where they can answer questions and do different activities through the park to earn special "Junior Ranger" badges.  Leading up to their trip, it was fun to think about all the different things we could do, and while they were here, we narrowed our activities down to these five things, which I think are perfect for any family's trip to Charleston!  Happy Five on Friday:

1. Fort Sumter: The boat ride itself was a blast for the kids.  They loved standing outside and getting blown over by the wind.  This park has a great Junior Ranger program, and the kids ran from sign to sign filling out their packets.  They learned a lot, and the views are fantastic!
2. City Market: We initially planned a quick walk through the market after grabbing a slice of pizza and on our way to free candy samples at Charleston Candy Kitchen (pralines - yum!), but the kids loved it so much that we spent nearly an hour there.  They loved all the different vendors, especially the ones with puzzles, stuffed animals, and tee shirts.

3. Waterfront Park: After our free candy, we took a walk over to Vendue Range to check out the water.  The Park has bench swings on the boardwalk and two fountains that kids can play in.  It was a bit cooler, so the kids didn't run through the bigger fountain, but they loved wading in the Pineapple Fountain.
4. Charles Towne Landing: Click here to check out my full post on the Landing, but for the kids, the best parts were the museum (Crazy, right? It's interactive, concise, and colorful - perfect for them.), Animal Forest Trail, Adventure ship, and gift shop!
5. Eat!  While these kids were great sports and loved all the history and experiences, the one thing they are not adventurous with is food.  We wanted to bring Mike's sister and cousin to places with great Charleston fare, but when the kids tend to stick to hot dogs, grilled cheese, and the occasional chicken finger.  Luckily, we found a good number of kid-friendly places: Sesame Burgers, Five Loaves Cafe, Queen Street Grocery, Callie's Hot Little Biscuit, Waffle House, and Poe's Tavern.
And just because, here are five honorable mention spots that we didn't make it to this time, but are definitely on the to-do list for the next trip: South Carolina Aquarium, Magnolia Plantation, Boone Hall Plantation, Children's Museum of the Lowcountry, and Wild Blue Ropes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lowcountry Living: RBC Heritage

Last week, I finally had a chance to take Mike to one of the events that I most vividly remember from my childhood. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with South Carolina and the "Lowcountry" lifestyle. I first went to the Heritage PGA golf tournament exactly 20 years ago in 1996, and since then, have been back for many Heritage weeks.
My parents and I just fell in love with Hilton Head Island, and it always lined up perfectly with spring break in New England. Now, we have Thanksgiving in Harbour Town each year, so Mike's been to Hilton Head and even played Harbour Town Golf Links with me, but tournament week is a whole other ballgame.
When I was offered tickets from work, we decided to take advantage and make a mini vacation out of it. Friday and Saturday could not have been more different days. We actually went shopping on Thursday before we left to buy new rain jackets because the forecast looked so bad. While we were super lucky that it never rained, it also never got above 60 degrees, feeling like 50. The wind was whipping! I guess it worked out well for us because there was no where there and we got to follow Jason Day, Bill Haas, and Brandt Snedeker with virtually no crowds.
Even our favorite restaurant in South Beach, The Salty Dog, only had a 10 minute wait - crazy! Mike and I shared hush puppies, shrimp toast (here's my copycat recipe), and seafood pasta.
We stayed at the Omni Hilton Head and were super impressed with the amenities and rooms. Plus it was cool that a bunch of the golfers were staying there, too. We woke up Saturday to a drastically different day.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky!
70 degrees and sunny was the perfect combination for my first sunburn of the year - haha!  We got there early, and the crowds definitely started pouring in by lunchtime.
We had lunch in the clubhouse and even stopped at The Cinnamon Bear for the second time in one weekend - Friday was for hot coffee and Saturday was for ice cream - what a difference.
I love The Heritage: the field of golfers is great, Harbour Town is one my favorite golf courses to play, and the mimosas are always delicious!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Framed and Financed

It's been a couple of weeks since I first shared that we're building a house in Charleston, so I wanted to post a few progress photos today.  Okay, so maybe I delayed a bit on sharing the exciting news (all of this did not happen in two weeks), but it has been a very quick process.  We had a post-framing meeting with the lead contractor last week, and everything is moving along smoothly!  We can now go in the house, which is so fun.  Plus, our final loan approval came in last week, so everything is moving in the right direction.  These photos were taken between March 14 and April 10 - it's amazing to see all the progress in just under a month!
The builders started leveling and laying molds, then pouring concrete on March 16. 
The walls started to go up March 25, and it's been especially cool to see the progress with all the houses on our street.  We are the last one under construction on the left in the photo below.  
We came back on March 30, and there were workers standing on our second floor.  Literally a day later, the trusses and roof were just about in place.
April 10: our whole house (including the garage and breezeway) is framed, and they're starting on our next-door neighbor's foundation!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Unique Party Snacking

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StackItUp #CollectiveBias 
Oh party food, you are my favorite: the dips, the trail mixes, and basically anything stuffed, stacked, or on a stick.  While I put together as many wings, mini meatballs, salsas and as the next girl, I also love creating new party foods.  I know, I know, why fix what isn't broken, right?  But there are just so many flavor combinations waiting to "make it big" like lime and coconut and chicken and waffles.  You know that first guy who suggested pineapple and ham together got some weird looks.  You ready for this one?  Peanut butter, banana, and BACON.  No, not a sandwich but on a RITZ Original, making it a perfect snack for your next party!
This combination is definitely my new favorite: salty, sweet, and savory all in one.  Using just four ingredients, I created a perfect one-bite snack, featuring RITZ Original Fresh Stacks and Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter, which can both be found at your local Walmart store.
After gathering your ingredients, there are four simple steps to layer your ingredients into delicious Peanut butter-Banana-Bacon Bites.
1. Spread Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter onto a RITZ Original or New RITZ Ultimate Butter cracker (available now while supplies last!).
2. Top with half a piece of bacon.
3. Add more peanut butter to the top of the bacon.
4. Finish with a slice of banana.
Five RITZ Original or RITZ Ultimate Butter crackers equal one serving as described on the box. 
Now, all you need to do is arrange them on a platter, and you're ready to party!
Looking to create something unique and fun for your next party?  Check out even more delicious recipes featuring RITZ Original Fresh Stacks at their social hub.

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