Monday, May 5, 2014

April Update

This blog has quickly turned into a place where I show up once a month and recap what's been happening while I was away, and I kinda sorta like it that way. From now until the end of summer, I've packed my life full of vacations and activities, so I won't be around much except for the occassional vacation re-cap or life update. If you want to keep up with my daily happenings, you can always find me on Instagram (probably posting pictures of my food)!

April was a busy month, traveling and work-wise. I managed to work longer days so I could have the chance to enjoy my weekends again!

One of my best friends from college, Rachel, is graduating from medical school in a few weeks and moving to Richmond, so I planned a quick getaway to Charleston to see her before she leaves! I didn't quite think it through and picked the busiest weekend in Charleston to drive down (Cooper River Bridge Run weekend), but we had a great time despite the crowds! We ate fantasic meals: tacos at Zia Taqueria, brunch at Poogan's Porch and The Fat Hen, drinks at Leaf and The Gin Joint, and dinner at Blossom. We walked around the city, shopped, got manicures, and generally caught up on life. Rachel got engaged the weekend after I went to visit so now I have another reason to visit - to celebrate!
The next weekend, my parents and I went down to Litchfield for a little R&R. After busy season, I always like to get down to the ocean to recharge, and the weather was perfect for catching a little vitamin D.



I made it down to the beach both mornings to catch the sunrise, which was breathtaking (especially Sunday morning). Although I worked while I was there, I came back feeling more refreshed than when I left!
The next week and weekend were spent celebrating the grand re-opening of our favorite taproom The Community Tap, getting tacos with friends at Asada, and celebrating Easter with my family.

The following weekend was PACKED with activities, because our friend Sarah was back in town from Philly! Several other friends who live nearby (Charlotte, Atlanta, Chapel Hill) also made the drive to Greenville so everyone could reunite with Sarah while she was here!
There was a lot of eating, drinking, girl talk, and of course, selfies. We even checked out a new brewery, Swamp Rabbit Brewery, where we had some friendly competition while playing Scattergories and Apples to Apples. Girls' weekends are the best kind of weekends!

And as if I hadn't had enough trips to the coast in April, Mom and I headed back down to Charleston this past weekend to celebrate the engagement of one of Katie's lifelong friends, Meg. We drove down Friday and stayed with some old friends in their wonderful house on Johns Island, and then headed back after the party Saturday so I could pack for St. Simon's Island for a week for work! All these trips have been so quick, I'd like to stay in one place for longer than 2 days!
Can y'all believe it's already May? I'm so glad the first 4 months of the year are over (because of the long hours at work, obviously) and am ready to start the vacation train this summer! Trips in May and June include Portland, OR with my sister, NYC for Governors Ball Music Festival, and a week at the beach!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Life Lately

Y'all, I'm alive! Busy season kicked my butt more than I could've possibly imagined this year, but I managed to squeeze in some fun in the past 2 months!

Here's a quick recap of what I've been up to since February (not pictured: the 234930 hours I sat at my computer working):

It snowed! Lauren and I were snowed in for almost 3 days, which just meant we worked from home and almost went stir crazy. Snow days as an adult are not near as fun! We finally ventured out on day 3 to meet friends for pizza and beer - much needed socialization!
I went to the mountains with my parents for a quick weekend getaway.
Katie came home to be maid of honor in her friend's wedding, and it was one of the most fun weddings! Such a pretty location (on the lake in Clemson) and perfect weather for Ashley & Weston!
And in between, I hung out with friends, organized my closet, went on a bike ride, tried to steal a few dogs, and I did a lot of drinking as evidenced by my camera roll...
I also went gluten-free (more on that later this week) and have planned several upcoming vacations!

What all have you been up to while I've been away?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

{Recipe} ~ One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

I'm curled up in yoga pants and fuzzy socks, with a cup of coffee, watching the snow fall. I'll say it once and I'll say it again: I never want to live in a place where snow isn't simply magical.

I'm hunkered down for the next few days with this amazing pasta to keep me warm. There is seriously nothing better than a comforting bowl of this one-pot pasta. Southern Living has the best recipes, hands down. I'm typically not a fan of leftovers and I ate this dish for lunch and dinner for at least 3 days without complaint. The best part about this recipe is that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge!

One-Pot Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce
from Southern Living

  • Ingredients
  • 12 ounces casarecce or fusilli pasta
  • (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 medium-size yellow onion, sliced
  • garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (optional)
  • (6-oz.) package baby spinach
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions

  1. Place first 9 ingredients and, if desired, dried crushed red pepper in a Dutch oven in order of ingredient list. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (about 12 to 15 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is slightly al dente, stirring at 5-minute intervals.

  2. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach (I saved the basil for this step and added it with the spinach). Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Stir just before serving. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bar Carts

Bar carts have become a recent trend, and while I was planning to stock my bar with something other than wine, I thought it would be the perfect addition to our apartment! We have a lot of underutilized space in our current apartment due to the layout, and because we're renters, that means we have a lot of white walls.

I took to Pinterest for some inspiration as to how I wanted to decorate my new bar cart, and these were some of my favorites:
{all images via}
It took me awhile to gather a collection of liquor (essentials include vodka, rum, gin, tequila, bourbon, and whiskey) plus some extras, so now we're ready for a party at a moment's notice!

The bar car is still a work in progress, but it adds a nice flair to our place!
And in the meantime, I happened to find my signature drink, too: a moscow mule!

Lauren gave me a copper mug for Christmas so I can have my favorite cocktail anytime I want!

1.5 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 cup ginger beer
Lime wedges for garnish

Enjoy!

(Disclaimer: This post has no other point other than to say I've been working 65 hours a week and need to drink heavily to otherwise survive.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

{Recipe} Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

One thing I've always wanted to make from scratch is homemade soft pretzels. So much so that I even added it to my 101 in 1001 list. When Lauren and I were hosting our friends for the Orange Bowl (Go Tigers!), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to a) use my new kitchenaid mixer to make the dough and b) cross something off my list. Plus, mini soft pretzels make the perfect snack!

However, that will probably be the first and last time I ever make soft pretzels! The first batch turned out great, but the remaining batches, not so much. I think I needed to use a bigger pot for the baking soda/water bath, because it kept boiling over and the last batch of pretzels tasted like pure baking soda! I also attempted to make a cheese dipping sauce but with the arrival of guests and the distraction of the pregame show, I let it overheat and it quickly became inedible. But I will say that people were quite impressed that I made them from scratch (even if it did take all afternoon and left a HUGE mess in the kitchen)!

Soft Pretzel Bites
from What Megan's Making
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt

Directions


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 22 inches. Cut the dough into one inch pieces. In small batches (about 15 at a time), boil the pretzel bites in the water solution for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season with coarse sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.
These are best warm, but are still good at room temperature. They are best served the day they're made.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

With 2013 In My Rearview

One of my favorite things about this blog is being able to look back: on a fun vacation, a weekend in Greenville, or just mundane musings on a Wednesday.

I can't say 2013 was one of my favorite years. Sure, when I look back, I had a lot of fun, but I distinctly remember being sad for a decent amount of time. My feelings about 2013 can be summed up with one quote:
{via}
Here's my recap of 2013 in a nutshell!

Highs
I got a promotion and took a new role in Recruiting
I bought a new car
Celebrated turning a quarter of century old in Asheville with the best friends
I created a list of 101 things I'd like to accomplish in 1001 days
My dad turned 60!
+ I celebrated my 2 year work anniversary
The blog turned one!

Lows
I lost both of my grandparents, on the same day
A boy broke my heart
I house-hunted for a bit, and then gave up

Travels
New Orleans for Jazz Fest
Asheville (spring at the Biltmore)
Lake Tahoe (gorgeous)
Napa Valley
San Francisco
Malibu for a reunion with my college roommates
Philadelphia

I crossed 3 states off my list this year: Louisiana, Nevada, and New Jersey (over halfway there now!)

I asked a lot of "why?" and "how?" this year. I'm hoping 2014 has the answers.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Holiday Recap

When I woke up this morning, I felt like blogging. So here I am, unashamed that I'm sharing a holiday recap a month later.

This Christmas season was wonderful! I love being home with my family, having a lot of time off from work, and just relaxing.

Before everyone went home for the holidays, we hosted "Friendsmas" at our apartment, complete with festive cocktails and tacky sweaters!
We had our annual M&M Dinner at Lazy Goat, but unfortunately Katie hadn't arrived from SF yet so it was just me and the adults!
Next up: Katie and I were "A Perfect Pair" of salt & pepper shakers at our friends' themed party (such a fun idea for a party, by the way)!
And then the Christmas festivities really got started!

The holidays are always a flurry of cooking and baking. Mom and I sit down with a pile of cookbooks and make a menu for the days surrounding Christmas. However, our family takes our traditions very seriously so we usually don't deviate from our standard menu for most occasions.

Snapshots from Christmas Eve & Christmas Day:
The week between Christmas and New Year's was filled with more relaxing, movie watching, and spending time with family. With one last hoorah for New Year's Eve, it was time to go back to work.
2013 was most definitely NOT my favorite year, so we definitely had no problem toasting it goodbye!