Monday, January 15, 2018

Thoughts on MLK Day

"If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Before I continue onto sharing what we've been up to this weekend and sales I'll be enjoying on this extra day off, I wanted to start with my two favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes.  Today is about looking to the past, learning from our history, and making a better future.  As some of you might know, I work full-time for a non-profit youth development organization, and in the past, I have viewed that as fulfilling my need to give back.  But now, in 2018, I want to do more.  I am passionate about helping local young people and animals, and in the new year, I look forward to volunteering with Girls on the Run and the animal society.  I encourage you to consider donating your time, talent, or treasure to somewhere you want to make a difference!  That's the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Weekend Wandering

We've had a relaxing one: checked out a new spot to buy beer, took a walk at the Pitt Street Bridge, drank beer and ate pizza at Low Tide, started reading a couple of the books we got for Christmas, and watched a lot of football.  Spring cleaning has come early as we took down our Christmas decorations.  We rearranged our living room and are making little updates including new kitchen stools, an organizer for the end of our bed, and a new dining room chandelier (all linked to below in the Target home sale).
With a Lowe's trip yesterday, we also updated our pendant shades to these (obsessed!!) and bought some samples for a new kitchen backsplash.  I put out a poll on Snapchat, and I am still looking for input, which tile should we choose?  Left has mostly grays with some black and shiny chrome squares, middle is uniform tan and light blue, and right is very faint blue/white subway tile.  

Sales and Favorites
  • LOFT
    • Code: FRESH
      • 50% off all full-price items
      • 60% off all sale items 
    • Ends Monday night
    • Favorites...
  • Gap
    • Code: BIGWKND
      • 40% off purchase and free shipping
      • Plus! up to 75% off winter items (prices as marked)
    • Ends Monday night

  • Target
    • Code: HOMEREFRESH
      • 20% off home items 
    • Ends Thursday 
    • Favorites...

  • Anthropologie
    • No code needed
      • 20% off all furniture, bedding, and decor

  • Williams Sonoma
    • Code: NEWYEAR
      • 20% off entire purchase and free shipping
    • Ends Monday night
    • Favorites...



Friday, January 12, 2018

Connecticut Craft: Five Hartford Area Breweries

I'm excited for a different type of "Five on Friday" today!  When we were in New England over Christmas, we met up with some of our best friends for some brewery hopping.  These are the same friends who we visited 11 breweries in 5 days with when they visited Charleston last summer, so you know we had to top that.  We each had a few we wanted to visit, so we ended up with five stops in one afternoon.  We were pretty impressed with the Hartford beer scene, as there wasn't much there when we left four years ago.  Here's where we visited:
1. Connecticut Valley Brewing Company: We started the afternoon in Windsor at one of the newest spots.  We loved how much space they had and that there were playing cards on every table.  Playing cards and drinking beer are our favorites!  They had a good selection of New England Style IPAs, and I liked the Farmhand Kolsch.  Plus, their adventure branding was so fun!
2. Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt: Hooker has been a Connecticut beer staple for over 10 years and was one of the first breweries in the area in Bloomfield.  We went to their new Hartford location, at the Colt building, that just opened this summer.  It's a perfect spot downtown that still has plenty of parking.  As for beers, I was most excited to try the Chocolate Truffle Stout.  It's made with Munson's Chocolate (a Connecticut must-have) and absolutely lived up to expectation.  We liked the #nofilter IPA so much so that some came home, too!
3. Hanging Hills Brewery Company: Right down the road from Colt was Hanging Hills, and oh my goodness, they had a pup there!  It wasn't their official brewery dog, but Poppy was so sweet.  This was another spot with IPAs, and Hartbeat DIPA was definitely the best.  
4. New Park Brewing: This brewery was definitely most hyped by our friends who still lived in Connecticut, and it lived up to expectation for sure.  It was also the most packed!  They have one of the shortest tap lists of places we visited, but it was some of our favorites of the day.  You really can't go wrong with a beer; I loved their Blender-Cherry (a Berliner Weisse) as well as the Wavelength IPA, made with pineapple and orange. 
5. Hog River Brewing: By our last stop of the day, we were pretty tired, so I definitely want to go back to Hog River next time we're in the area to get the full feel of it.  We tried the From the Ashes IPA and Chocolate Milk Stout.  The Milk Stout was the perfect dessert for our day of drinking.  
We had a fantastic time brewery hopping, and if that wasn't enough, we made sure to stop at the Two Roads Tap Room at the airport the next day when we left.  We definitely need to take a trip to Two Roads next time we fly to CT!

Linking up for Oh hey, Friday, Five on Friday, High Five for Friday, and two doses of Friday Favorites

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#GirlCrack: S'mores Treats

Well, the snow has just about melted, and this batch of #girlcrack is just about gone.  Last week, when we were stuck in the house for 3 days, I got a little stir crazy.  Around hour 48, I started looking through my baking cabinet for something to make.  We had an unopened box of s'mores cereal from an old sponsored post, so I decided to dig out all the graham pieces and finally make a batch of #girlcrack.  This stuff first became famous at my and Mike's bridal party weekend getaway, more than 3 years ago.  All of our friends brought things to share, and Mike's friend James brought a variation of this.  Basically, it's rice krispies treats made with graham cereal, and it's soooo good.  I decided to add a drizzle of chocolate to the top to make the perfect s'more.  It's kind of been a running joke that I never shared the recipe, but joke no more!  
Ingredients: 
5 cups graham cracker cereal (Golden Grahams or S'mores)
3 tablespoons butter
1 package (10oz) of mini marshmallows
1/3 cup cream cheese frosting
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup milk chocolate

Directions:
1. Heat butter in a large saucepan on medium.
2. Turn stove to low and pour in marshmallows, stirring until melted.
3. Add cream cheese frosting and vanilla extract.
4. Remove marshmallow mixture from the heat and stir in graham cereal.
5. Grease an 9x12 pan and press treats into the pan (spraying cooking spray onto your fingers helps a lot with this).
6. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
7. When set, melt milk chocolate and drizzle over the bars.
8. Allow to set for another half hour and cut into squares.
So yeah, making these was a perfect way to spend another snow day.  So that I didn't eat the whole batch, I bagged them up and delivered them to neighbors.  Everyone deserves a treat after being cooped up inside for 3 days!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Snowy South Carolina Weekend

This is definitely not something I ever thought I'd write when we decided to move to Charleston.  Average lows are barely ever into the 30s, and even in the wintertime, the average highs are in the 60s.  When we were in New England for Christmas and saw that snow was predicted in Charleston 10 days out, we definitely rolled our eyes.  Even when I went back to work after New Years, and we talked about closing the office the following day, just in case, I thought we'd get a dusting.  Then, on Wednesday, it started with freezing rain.  Around noon, it changed to snow, and before I knew it, we had 5+ inches of snow.  Yeah, I know, we're from New England, and should know about snow (hello, Halloween 2011 Blizzard and Nemo: 2013), but this was something different.  
We took every advantage of playing in the snow, and even took our 2018 Christmas card photo, because when will our house ever have snow in front of it again?!  The snow stopped by the time the sun went down, and the sunset was incredible.  The streets were covered in snow, and those few streets that people had braved turned into sheets of ice.  We went sledding behind the golf cart, and it was amazing!!  You can check out a video on my Instagram story highlights.
Thursday and Friday were spent in the neighborhood.  There aren't any plows, so it was just about waiting for the snow to melt.  Golf cart was our primary form of transportation to visit friends.  But holy moly, did everything look so pretty!  Our neighbor even flew his drone over the 'hood, and captured the most beautiful shots.  Our home is on the left side of the photo below.
By Saturday, we had some serious cabin fever.  We decided to brave downtown to exchange a few Christmas presents (and shop the extended Lilly sale at a local shop!).  Of course, I also had a take a few photos of my favorite streets.  It was crazy to see the melting patterns.  Because the sun hits them, all North-South streets were clear, but East-West were still covered in snow and ice.  It was pretty dead, so we got to stop a bunch of times and get some fun shots (including one sitting in the middle of Tradd Street - haha!). 
On Sunday, we might not have left the house.  We cooked, watched football, and relaxed.  As I write this on Sunday night, it looks like I will be going back to work in the morning, but with the chance of rain, hopefully nothing will get too icy!

Linking up for 'Weekending' with Biana today!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Out of Office - Snow Day! Re: Lilly Pulitzer After Party

Whoever thought I would write these words: it's a snow day in Charleston!!  I'll be back next week with plenty of photos and stories, but for now, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorites from the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale going on through tonight.  I purchased a couple of pieces in the sale, including (finally) a pair of my favorite shorts in the coveted Oh Shello pattern as well as the La Fortuna top and Alpaca romper below.  Lilly added a bunch of new pieces late last night, so I included a bunch of those here, in case you haven't re-shopped the sale.

Thursday, 10am update: all of the above (except Rock the Dock Elsa - however, click here to see what is still available in that pattern) are still available.  Also, a whole new batch was just added, included a bunch of dresses, vests, luxletic, and accessories.  Here are a few of my additional favorites - happy shopping!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Christmas in New England

Happy New Year, friends!  Mike and I got back to South Carolina on Saturday night, just in time for New Year's Eve.  Prior to that, we were in New England for the week of Christmas, visiting family and friends.  We love spending this time of year up north!

We started our adventures in Connecticut and were greeted by a perfect Christmas Eve snowfall.  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law brought their beagle puppy home with them, and he was adorable in the snow.  We had a lot of fun figuring out our new camera.  As you can see, no photos of the pup (still working on motion - haha), but the snow was moving slowly enough to capture it.  Afterwards, there were the perfect snowflakes, and now I am in search of a macro lens to get better close-up shots - any suggestions?
 After Christmas Day with Mike's family, we headed down to Rhode Island to see my family for a couple of days.  By this point, it was freezing (and didn't get much about 10 degrees for the rest of our trip), but we still went for a few walks around town.  It's my favorite time of year here!
After leaving Rhode Island, we headed to Boston to see our friends.  Winter sunsets in Boston are so pretty! 
The last stop of the trip was back in Connecticut to see more friends before flying out.  We visited 7 breweries in 2 days, and I can't wait to share more about our favorites next week!  Plus, we got so many of our favorite people together for bowling, and Mike was asked to be the best man in one of our friends' weddings.  There are going to be a few trips back this spring and summer for weddings - can't wait!
I hope everyone has a happy first week of 2018!  I'm back to work today but looking forward to a slow one as we ease into a new year!

 
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