Friday, March 27, 2015

Charleston City Guide


John and I frolicked to Charleston after the wedding for our "mini-moon" and it was seriously one of the best trips I've taken. I think after planning a wedding plus having quite a bit of work responsibility leading up to the wedding, a vacation anywhere would have been much appreciated. It was very nice to not have any plans and just relax. The weather in Charleston was perfect and it's such a charming, historic and beautiful city I can't wait to get back.

Before taking a trip, I always try and research food and drink options and see where the locals hang. Food is always a high priority of mine so I have to have enough time to prepare properly. Charleston is full of restaurants and bars...you can't really go wrong here. In fact, John had to remind me that we were only going to be in Charleston for a limited amount of time so all of the places that I wanted to try probably wasn't going to happen all in one trip. He was right. But the places we did try were magnificent. Not one bad meal...or drink. If you're thinking about visiting Charleston soon (do it), I've put together a little list of the places that we tried and a few that are still on our list. I hope this helps you as you prepare for a trip to one of the most romantic cities!

L O D G I N G

French Quarter Inn // 166 Church Street // 843-722-1900

This hotel was fantastic! The staff was attentive and courteous and the amenities were even better! The French Quarter Inn had a wine and cheese reception every evening for guests, breakfast every morning that you could have delivered to your room or enjoy on their patio, evening turn down service (with a special treat) and warm cookies and milk in the evening. I opted for a nightcap instead of the milk...which they provided as well.  I was blown away by this place - no wonder it's been ranked by Travel & Leisure and TripAdvisor! Great location too; we never used the car the entire time! The hotel somehow found out we were newlyweds and left us the sweetest note and a bottle of bubbly while we were out for dinner. How sweet is that? At the time of our visit, there was construction going on next door; there's a Ruth's Chris coming. It wasn't terribly bothersome though.




Other hotels to check out:

Andrew Pinckney Inn // 40 Pinckney Street // 843.937.8800

The Vendue // 19 Vendue Range // 843-577-7970


F O O D

167 Raw // 289 E. Bay Street 

167 Raw wasn't on our original list before heading to Charleston. Luckily, we got a recommendation to try it out from a couple of friends/locals and I'm eternally grateful to them. This place is good. It's small so be patient if there's a wait - it's so worth it. They have the freshest seafood and they're also a fish market so you can purchase fresh fish on the spot. To say that I enjoyed my lobster roll would be an understatement...so good! John had tacos which he was nice enough to let me sample and they didn't disappoint either. 167 Raw only serves wine and beer and that was just fine. My rosé went perfectly with my lobstah roll.

Amen Street // 205 E. Bay Street

Amen Street was walking distance from our hotel and always seemed busy. They pride themselves on the oysters so if that's what you're into, be sure to try them. I went completely unhealthy and had a plate of fried seafood. Fried shrimp, flounder, oysters and I don't remember what else. It was pretty busy for a Tuesday evening; luckily we made reservations. Service was a little slow but a good time was had overall.




Hominy Grill // 207 Rutledge Avenue (pictured above)

Words just don't do this place justice.  I loved, loved, loved Hominy Grill. Even though this is a weekend guide to Charleston, John and I were actually there for a few days during the week so, getting into most of these restaurants wasn't a big deal...just throwing that out there. I don't think I've ever eaten as much as I did at Hominy Grill. We noshed on jalapeno hushpuppies and I ordered the Charleston nasty biscuit, which still makes me drool every time I think about it. Obviously I had to try a cocktail while we were there so I ordered a Blackberry Collins - cool and refreshing. Definitely needed an Uber after we finished eating here; we weren't walking anywhere after that meal.

outside of Hominy Grill


Craftsmen Tap House // 12 Cumberland Street

We were looking for a bite to eat sort of late on a week night and we stumbled into Craftsmen Tap House. If you're into beer, this place has lots of craft beer on tap. I'm not a huge beer drinker and by the time we found this place, we'd had enough to drink anyway. We both indulged in water. For the beer enthusiast, this would be a great stop on your Charleston tour. One food tip if trying Craftsmen: try the burger. It's like a bacon cheeseburger but the bacon is cooked in the burger - I stole this description from our awesome waitress (hi Atlas!). It's so good. The burger has beef chuck and aged pork belly...it was ridiculous. Try it. Tuesday nights are $5 burger nights.




Husk // 76 Queen Street (pictured above)

The restaurants of all restaurants. The one everyone told us to visit. Husk is the restaurant I constantly read about. So, as soon as we decided on Charleston, I made a reservation. Husk was the first place we had dinner as a married couple so it will always hold a special place in my heart. The experience was fantastic as was the food. You must try the chicken skins. I was a little apprehensive but boy am I glad we ordered them. The skins are served with a warm bourbon honey drizzled on top. Yum! Husk's menu changes daily but whatever they have will be delightful. For dessert, try the strawberry lemon cake with strawberry sorbet. Wow.

Martha Lou's Kitchen // 1068 Morrison Drive

This place isn't hard to miss...it's pink! We had some pretty good meals and service while in Charleston but I'll say that Martha Lou's Kitchen was, in my opinion, the best customer service we had while in Charleston. Martha Lou's is like being in your aunt's or grandmother's kitchen. The staff is friendly, the food is made to order and the sweet tea is just sweet enough. Everyday they offer different food specials. John enjoyed the fried pork chop and I tried their famous fried chicken with mac & cheese, collard greens (so good) and cornbread that tasted like pound cake. We were stuffed when we left but were somehow convinced to take a piece of sweet potato pie to go. If you're headed to Martha Lou's Kitchen, BRING CASH...no credit cards.



Other restaurants to check out (but we didn't get a chance to try):

Social Wine Bar // 188 E. Bay Street

FIG // 232 Meeting Street


F R O L I C


The best time we had while in Charleston was simply walking around and getting lost. We just walked around and just observed the beautiful city that is Charleston. We found an olive oil shop (Lowcountry Olive Oil // 272A Meeting Street) and brought home a few treats. Be sure to stop in and taste a few oils and vinegars before you make a purchase.

We took a stroll through the St. Philip's Church cemetery. Sounds grim but it was very peaceful - it's also on the National Register of Historic Places.



Make time to visit Waterfront Park (located at 1 Vendue). If the weather is nice, have a picnic or just sit and watch the water, so relaxing. One place that we didn't get to visit but would love to visit the next time is the Charleston Tea Plantation (6617 Maybank Highway).


T R E A T S & D R I N K S



Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery // 32 Windermere Boulevard

On one of our walking adventures, we walked by a cute and quaint bakery. We stopped in to rest for a moment (it was really warm) and to try a sweet treat. The lemon bar did not disappoint. We were on our way to lunch so I didn't try any sandwiches but Normandy does offer some pretty tasty sandwiches.

The Gin Joint // 182 E. Bay Street

The Gin Joint had been on my list to try since we decided to go to Charleston. It's a small place but the cocktails pack a big punch. The drinks take a little longer than your "normal" cocktails (we're not talking cranberry and vodkas here) but it's OK - the snacks that they offer will keep you busy while you wait for your drinks. John and I tried the gin basil smash and the Monticello mule. Both very good. Another option on their menu allows guests to give the bartender two words and they'll make something based on the words you give them...I had to give it try. I gave the bartender refreshing and spicy. I can honestly say, the drink was a perfect balance of those two words. The spice definitely crept up on my taste buds. I later learned that there was a habanero pepper in the drink. Eeek! The duck empanadas were awesome and just what we needed to pass time as we waited for drinks. Great place...the playlist was fantastic too!



Belgian Gelato // 6 Vendue Range (there are two locations in Charleston)

After sitting in Waterfront Park, we decided that we deserved a treat so we walked to Belgian Gelato - located just a few steps from Waterfront Park. We tried a double chocolate gelato (or something like that) and it was heavenly. Perfect treat for a warm day.




The Vendue Rooftop // 19 Vendue Range (pictured above)

This was one of my favorite stops in Charleston. The Vendue is a boutique hotel but they also have a beautiful rooftop bar. Wow! The Vendue Rooftop has a gorgeous view of the city and great drinks. There are two levels to the rooftop and I think on certain days they have a DJ. Though we weren't super hungry, we had to try the deep fried Oreos. I've had fried Oreos before (don't ask) but these were something totally different. It tasted as if they were fried in funnel cake batter and they were super soft and served with little sticks of chocolate. Ahhhh. Our bartender, Allen, was so nice and attentive. I knew I was sold on The Vendue when we walked in and there was a wall of View Masters. Remember those? That entertained us for at least a minute. Definitely stop by the Vendue Rooftop for drinks!

Other bars to check out:

Proof // 437 King Street

Eliotborough Mini Bar // 18 Percy Street


Charleston was one of my favorite trips and I can't wait to go again!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Around the Web


I have a new internet obsession: Google Feud.


Food podcasts to listen to! - via PopSugar

Simple tips for success - via Design Sponge

Have you seen this little boy who meets his heros? The garbage men. So sweet. - via Huffington Post

Google Feud will keep me busy when I need a little entertainment - via Google Feud

The South's best bars! - via Tasting Table

Naps are good for you - via Elite Daily


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chocolate Soufflé



John and I got the 'holy grail' of wedding gifts...a Kitchen Aid mixer. I'm way too excited to make things with it and buy random attachments for it. I didn't break out the mixer for this little baking project but trust me, you'll definitely see me using that beautiful appliance lots on the blog. Anyway, I baked on Saturday and chocolate souffle was the outcome. I've made souffles before but it was years ago. It turned out fantastic but I never really bothered to make it again. Not too sure why.

This isn't an original recipe (sad face); I found it on Pinterest via the Artful Desperado. This blog is awesome. Beautiful photos and great recipes. I can be honest here, right? This is a safe place. Though the souffles were great, my Earl Grey cream didn't exactly have the consistency that it was supposed to have; I have no idea what happened. Because I'm not hiding anything here, I included a picture of what the cream looked like on my souffles. Definitely not the fluffy cream that Artful Desperado showcased.

Sigh.

I will say this: even though the consistency was completely off, the flavor was SO GOOD. I'm definitely going to make Earl Grey infused cream for other kitchen adventures. It's so easy. I was actually surprised at how well the Earl Grey flavor went with the chocolate souffles. It was perfection even if it didn't look like perfection. Oh well.



See.

The cream. It just doesn't...it didn't. It was just there. So sad. So pitiful. It didn't look that great but wow did it taste good. The cream was as easy as heating some heavy cream and adding two bags of Earl Grey and a small piece of skin from a lemon. Let it steep and then let it cool in the fridge.

Yum.


Look at these gold spoons. Beautiful, right? Two of my friends got me an amazing set of flatware for my bridal shower. It made me forget about my sad Earl Grey cream.




I made no changes to this recipe so find the original over at Artful Desperado. I think I'll try this again...maybe with a lavender cream?

I forgot to mention that making a souffle is on my New Year's resolution Popsugar challenge; I'm making a little progress with that challenge...not really.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Weekend


I read an article this weekend on the subject post wedding depression. To sum it up, it talked about how much time the bride and groom spends from the engagement to planning a wedding then after it's all done there's nothing to do. No more meetings with vendors and venues, no more RSVP cards coming in the mail...that's just it. That emptiness can lead to depression apparently. Depression is a serious subject, no doubt, but I don't know who these couples are that are seriously depressed from not planning a wedding anymore. I'll admit, yes, there was a bit of: oh. What do we do now? Is there anything else I can plan? Then you snap out of it and realize you made it to the wedding day without killing each other or friends and family who refused to RSVP (don't get me started) and you go about your day. Depressed is the last word I would use to describe how John and I felt after it was over. We were just both super-excited to not have to write anymore checks.

I say all of this to say: our wedding was one of the best days of our lives but we're definitely far from depressed due to the end of the wedding planning process. Sounds like the couples in the article need new friends to keep them busy.

Anyway, this was a good weekend. I made some progress in our apartment in getting it somewhat organized. We've been married for 2 weeks now and we're still trying to catch up, clean and organize gifts. If there's anything we've realized is that we're tremendously blessed from the support and gifts we received...not depressed. The organization process is going to be a long road though. Sheesh.






I can tell I'm back to my 'normal self' because I baked on Saturday! That definitely felt good. John and I had a little brunch on Sunday and I'm surprised and quite impressed at the Bloody Mary he made while we were at brunch. The apartment is slowly coming together so I decided to reward the progress with some fresh flowers. Fresh flowers always make everything better, don't you think?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Around the Web


Back to my normal, web surfing scheduled. Feels good.


Things to consider when planning a trip overseas - via The Everygirl

See what the Facebook cafeteria looks like (omg) - via Huffington Post Taste

I already follow her but here's 42 reasons to follow Chrissy Teigen on Instagram - via PopSugar

How being a bride can teach you how to be a better wedding guest - via Huffington Post Weddings

What song was #1 when you were born? - via PlaybackFM

How to plate like a pro - via Food52


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Swimsuit Lust List


I may be getting ahead of myself but I like to think that Spring has sprung! Yes, I know it's still winter but Mother Nature has been showing off lately and I'm not complaining. Sunshine and warm temperatures make me very happy. When I wake up in the morning to the sound of birds chirping, I can't help but celebrate that I (barely) made it through winter and now I can rejoice because one of my favorite seasons has finally showed up! Warm weather makes me think of summer vacations filled with trips to the beach. Naturally, beach daydreams lead me to think of swimsuits! I love swimsuit shopping. Though sometimes it can be a little trying and takes a lot of my patience (sizing problems sometimes) I'm usually always happy with the outcome.

Now, I like to splurge on certain items but typically, swimsuits aren't one of them; that's probably why I have a sizing problem. Maybe if I spent a little more dough on the suits, they'd fit better. Whatever.

Because the rising temps has me with beach on the brain, I've rounded up just a few of my favorite swimsuits (and coverups) that I'm currently lusting over and "needing" for the summer. I'm usually a two-piece girl but for some reason, I'm loving all of the one-piece swimsuits this year. All of them.

 Ok, little info about these beauties (clockwise):

Striped Kate Spade ($160) - available at Neiman Marcus

Olive & black Flora one-piece ($246) - available at Free People

Mesh cover up ($60) - available at Nasty Gal

Marysia skirted one piece ($339) - available at Anthropologie

Melissa Odabash black caftan ($203) - available at Saks Fifth Avenue

Metallic gold scoopback swimsuit ($118) - available at J.Crew


Cheers to swimsuit season!


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Weekend


I'm back!

I feel like I haven't blogged in so long; I've missed it! Well, if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you know I got married last weekend...yay! Because of the wedding and all the things that come along with it, I took a week off from blogging for the whole marriage thing and to enjoy a little break with my Johnny husband; also known as a mini-honeymoon. Of course, when the wedding photos are in, I'll be sharing them on the blog along with 'wedding week' themed posts geared to help you or someone you know plan a wedding. It's basically just tips and things that I learned throughout the process.

So this past weekend was our first 'real' weekend being back to our regularly scheduled program and it felt nice. It feels weird not having a wedding to plan but I'm oh so glad to have some free time back to focus on cooking, planning our trip to Paris and all other things I'm trying to accomplish this year - I'm ready to get to it!





John and I (along with a few friends) tried out a recently opened restaurant/bowling alley. Seems cool...it's only been open for a week so I'll re-visit this place soon and give a full report. We went to the movies this weekend to see Focus - the Will Smith movie. I won't say too much about the movie but it's about con-artists and since seeing the movie, I've been thinking people are stealing from me all weekend. Wonderful.

I made this cocktail for our cocktail hour at home on Sunday but switched the rosemary with thyme and we tried to catch up on all the things we missed on our DVR.

How was your weekend?


Monday, March 2, 2015

The Weekend


Oh the weekend. I love you so much.

This weekend I attempted to clean and organize things for the wedding. We met up with friends this weekend for late dinner and drinks and met John's parents for a delicious lunch on Sunday. I tried to run a few errands on Saturday and be productive; I think I succeeded. John (and everyone else) must think I'm nuts because of all of my lists and checklists that I have to prepare for all the craziness that will happen soon but I'm sure they'll all thank me later. I'm also coming off of event mode for work (and about get back into it...again) so I'm super task-oriented right now; it's hard to break that little habit. One exciting thing that happened on Friday afternoon: we got our marriage license! Not as daunting as I imagined. I also got my first Rocksbox in the mail! So exciting! Scroll through the post to see what was in my Rocksbox!




Obsessed with this necklace!



So Rocksbox is a jewelry subscription service that sends 3 pieces of jewels to your doorstep. The jewelry is based on your style profile so you're sure to get pieces that you'll wear. I've worn the necklace that was in my box pretty much every day this weekend. You can send back what you don't want and then 3 new pieces are sent you. Whatever you want to keep, you'll be charged for it...it's that easy. It's only $19 a month but with a special code (eatdrinkfrolicxoxo) you can get an entire month free!

I also tried an Icelandic beer this weekend...while wearing my new favorite necklace. So there's that.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Maple Bourbon Cocktail


Winter can't be over fast enough for me. Even though I live in the South and winter hasn't been as bad here as it has been for my friends up north, I'm still way over it. My friends in Boston and Chicago laughed at me when I sent them a photo of the "snow" we got last week. Well, this week was a different story. We actually got a legit amount of snow. Not enough to call home about (as I type this, it's almost all melted away) but enough to have a day at home, which is always really nice.

I'm one of those people that *usually* switches up my cocktails as the seasons change. In the winter months, I lean more towards warmer liquors like whiskeys and bourbons and summer is dedicated to gins and sometimes a little bubbly. At any rate, I'm on Instagram a few days ago and a blogger that I follow (Local Haven) shared a photo of a cocktail that looked ridiculously delicious and seemed really easy; most of the ingredients I already had in my kitchen! I was a little interested in drinking maple and bourbon together so off I went to recreate this cocktail.

This drink was perfect for being 'snowed in'.


All you need:
1oz (or 2) of bourbon
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
rosemary

In a cocktail shaker add: ice, bourbon, lemon juice and a rosemary sprig. Local Haven suggests that you spank the rosemary before putting it in the shaker. I've mentioned "spanking" herbs here before. It makes it more aromatic and brings out more flavor.

Shake it up. The shaker should be nice and frosty.

Pour it into a glass and add ice. Add lemon or rosemary as a garnish.

Enjoy! I see another one in my future this weekend!


Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Around the Web


No mention of Giuliana + Zendaya drama over here.


21 of the best places for fried chicken - via Yahoo

[gasp] Pimp My Ride was fake - via Huffington Post Entertainment

Inspiring African-American women in the tech industry - via Brit+Co.

Things you didn't know about Gilmore Girls (best show ever) - via Buzzfeed

What does your favorite fast food restaurant say about out? - via Huffington Post Taste

Do you know how to pronounce Burberry? Hint: it's not a "berry" - via The Everygirl


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Preparing for Marriage


We're close to the finish line. Not quite there but gosh are we really close. As we get ready to begin this little adventure, we asked 4 questions to each other (nothing too serious) but just questions to help us remember why we fell in love and just to take a minute from the wedding planning process and breath.


John's answers:

One trait about your soon-to-be spouse that made you fall in love: 

She's very fun-loving.

Something you've learned about the other person while living together (yes, we're living together currently):

She. Plans. Everything.

How do you think your relationship will change once you're married:

Our focus on planning for retirement will be more intense than it has been.

Our first year of marriage is approaching. What are we doing to celebrate?

A trip overseas!



My turn!

One trait about your soon-to-be spouse that made you fall in love:

He's so kind and has the biggest heart!

Something you've learned about the other person while living together:

Socks can sometimes also be used as tissues. Barf.

How do you think your relationship will change once you're married:

I think we'll travel more and help each other reach our professional goals.

Our first year of marriage is approaching. What are we doing to celebrate?

Drinking a strong, frozen drink somewhere on a beach!


xoxo

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Weekend


The calm before the storm...

By storm, I mean busy...not anything bad, of course. This weekend I had no commitments, no plans, no obligations and it felt amazing; it also shows in this post. I have hardly anything to show for it but I'm OK with that. It was quiet around these parts and I *finally* got a chance to clean! We've been so busy lately that we've pretty much neglected normal chores so it was nice to spend a little time cleaning and organizing our "wedding corner". The wedding corner is the area in the apartment that is to travel with us during wedding weekend. Decor, liquor and other randomness. The wedding corner was becoming out of control so I took it upon myself to get it organized using my favorite: post-it notes. Call me OCD but whatever. Tomorrow, I have an annual fundraiser for work and as soon as that's over, I think I'll be able to breath more easily. This has been probably the busiest time of my life and I'm hoping and praying for calmness today and tomorrow.

FYI: planning a wedding and a fundraiser at the same time actually isn't that much fun.


You've seen this exact same meal for the last 3 weeks on this blog. It is obviously my favorite. It's a pancetta sandwich which a delicious pear jam on it and it was our go-to meal after the movies Saturday evening. We went and saw Still Alice; Julianne Moore was great and the Oscar she won last night was well-deserved.

I hope that your week is a calm one, happy Monday!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Favorite Wedding Movies


I couldn't be planning all these wedding shenanigans without thinking of all of my our favorite wedding movies. I mean, it's only natural, right? So I thought about it and I narrowed it down to five wedding movies that I love and adore. Then I thought...let's see what John thinks too, which was interesting trying to narrow his down and explain what I real wedding movie is. Then an argument ensued about Lethal Weapon 4. Anyway, I love wedding movies (well some of them) here are five of my favorites...


The Wedding Date
Sex in the City
The Best Man
Rachel Getting Married
Bridesmaids


John's favorite wedding movies:
The Best Man
The Wood
Bridesmaids
Meet the Parents
The Hangover


What are your favorite wedding movies?

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