Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Things Thursday

Happy Thursday! One of my favorite blogs, Ali on the Run, does a weekly post titled "Thankful Things Thursday." I think this will be a great way to take some time each week to be thankful for the little things. They can be silly or legitimate. Either way, it'll be fun for me to reflect back on these posts when I need a pick-me-up!

First, I'm thankful for working 4 10 hour days this week. How has the rest of the business world not caught on to this phenomenon?! I could get so many things done if I had one extra day during the week. And 3-day weekends every weekend? YES PLEASE!

I'm thankful I'll be waking up at the beach tomorrow morning. Litchfield Beach is one of my favorite places. It's perfect for relaxing in the hammock and soaking up the sun. Nothing beats a day on the beach. Hoping for beautiful weather!

I'm thankful for my health. While I've dealt with some random pesky injuries (my hip) during the past couple of months, I'm glad I'll be able to put one foot in front of the other and run this race on Saturday. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the fact that some people don't even have the ability to run. One of my dear dear friend's father is fighting a battle with cancer each day, so I run every mile and pray for him. It gives me the strength to keep going.

I'm thankful for popcorn. Everyone who knows me knows that I consider it a favorite food. I eat it for meals all the time. In grad school, I lived off of popcorn for lunch or as a snack in the library. I have made trips to Target specifically for the $1 popcorn combo. Can't beat it! I rekindled my love when I ate popcorn for dinner last night. I'm not ashamed! :)


I'm thankful for sleeping with the windows open. While Lauren and I live on a pretty busy street and the noise is sometimes bothersome, I love sleeping with the windows open this time of year. We managed to skip spring and go straight to summer. We even broke a few records with the high temperatures recently! I'm cold-natured, so give me 80 degrees and sunny everyday and I'll be an extremely happy girl. 

Hello nice weather!
 And last but not least, I'm thankful (actually, excited) for my new Tervis water bottle. I've always loved Tervis cups but the water bottle is a great addition to my collection! The ice doesn't melt for a solid 5 hours and the bottle doesn't sweat AT ALL! It's going to be great on the beach!

Well, I'm headed out for the road trip to the beach. 5 hours in the car calls for lots of snacks! Hope you all had a great day! Almost the weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

{Recipes} Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmeal, Oreo Pudding Cookies, BLT Dip, and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Whew! This post is going to be full of yummy recipes! As I mentioned, I love to cook and try new recipes in the kitchen! I'm currently working through all my saved recipes on Pinterest! I follow a lot of food blogs, so I'm always finding something new to whip up in the kitchen. All of these recipes were delicious, however I probably won't make the baked blueberry banana oatmeal again. Because it's "healthy" and oatmeal actually isn't one of my favorite foods (I've tried countless times to like it but I just can't seem to love it), it didn't have a ton a flavor. It smelled heavenly while baking though! I actually heated up some for breakfast again this morning and ended up switching to cereal instead.

First up: Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries and Bananas from Skinny Taste


2 medium ripe bananas, (the riper the better) sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup honey (or agave)
1 cup uncooked quick oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup fat free milk (or any milk you desire)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Lightly spray a 8 x 8" or 9 x 9" ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the ceramic dish.Sprinkle half of the blueberries over the bananas, 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon, 1 tbsp of the honey and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, and salt; stir together.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining honey, milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

Remove the bananas from the oven, then pour the oat mixture over the bananas and blueberries.

Pour the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as possible over the oats.  Sprinkle the remaining blueberries and walnuts over the the top.

 the oatmeal for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven.

(PS. Ryan wasn't around when I baked this Saturday morning, but when I showed him the picture he said, "You put olives in oatmeal??" Haha, he's a mess)

Oreo Pudding Cookies from The Girl Who Ate Everything

These are probably the greatest cookies I've ever had. I'm not a huge sweets person. I have a tendency to bake things and then not eat them. But these, I could eat them for days (and I have been)! So so good! The recipe said it made 2 dozen but I'm pretty sure we had more than that. Maybe we just made smaller cookies!


1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (4.2 ounce) package instant Oreo Pudding mix
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Hershey's Cookies N Cream Candy Bars broken into small pieces
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in pudding mix until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Stir in cookies n' cream pieces and chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.

Using a cookie dough scooper, place golf ball sized dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before moving to a cooking rack. Store in air-tight container. Makes two dozen.


BLT Dip from Betty Crocker

I made this while we were watching the basketball tournament and served it with tortilla chips. While I was whipping it up, I realized I managed to forget the cream cheese. But I had already mixed everything else together so I baked it anyway. It was tasty without it, but I'm sure the cream cheese would've give it the thickness it needed. Highly recommend for a tailgate or party!


1 pound bacon, cooked 
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions


Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, and cream cheese in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Crumble bacon into mixture and stir. Add cheddar cheese, green onions, and tomato and mix well. Pour into a shallow dish or pie pan and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Garnish with additional green onions, tomato, and crumbled bacon. Serve with corn chips.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread from For Goodness Sake

Last but not least, banana bread! This recipe was relatively easy although it did have a fair amount of ingredients. But the result was delicious! I would definitely make this again!

3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons white sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed or whizzed in food-processor
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips tossed in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9X5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray; add a strip of parchment paper to bottom of pan for easy removal.Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. In another bowl or bowl of mixer, mix bananas, peanut butter, yogurt, egg, vanilla, and oil. Fold in flour mixture until no streaks of flour remain, then gently fold in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into loaf pan. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes; carefully remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack before slicing.


Hope y'all enjoyed the recipes (sorry this post was so long)! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weekend Update ~ Mountain Weekend

Hi lovelies! I've had quite the busy week/weekend since I last posted! Wednesday included drinks at Nantucket with Lauren's dad who was in town for the day.

Pretty courtyard outside Nantucket

Thursday involved a happy hour at Liberty Taproom for an employee who is leaving our firm.

Friday also was filled with interesting adventures! Our boss had asked me and two other audit staff to be in a video for the Greenville Drive (the minor league baseball team in Greenville). We were promoting the second annual "Drive Business Downtown" event, which involves an afternoon game and then meet-and-greet networking sessions with local CEO's and other businesses.  Let's just say I spend most of my time behind a computer and calculator for a reason...I was not meant to be on camera! I wish I had more pictures of the set, but there wasn't enough time!

Early morning video shoot

After another day at the office, Lauren and I were off to the mountains!! We decided a weekend getaway was much needed, so the car was packed and off we went to Cashiers, NC! Dinner Friday night was at the local brewery and didn't disappoint! I had cheeseburger sliders and Lauren built her own pasta! Post dinner, we enjoyed a bottle of wine and the movie Bridesmaids, which neither of us had seen yet! 

Saturday morning involved some baking. I tried so many new recipes this weekend (4 to be exact), so they'll have to come in a separate post! After breakfast and HUGE mugs of coffee on the porch, we were off to Highlands for some shopping! 

We scored some sweet deals, but mainly just browsed. Our first stop (a must!) was to pick up some Abita Strawberry Lager at a local grocery store. They don't sell it in South Carolina and I was desperate to get my hands on this seasonal delight! I bought everything they had in stock (2 6-packs). It is certainly worth it! 

This post is starting to look like an Abita advertisement! But (and my sister agrees!), it's pretty darn delicious. Katie has been known to pick restaurants based on whether Purple Haze is on draft (Mellow Mushroom being a favorite of ours)! Moving on...

The weather turned out to be beautiful on Saturday. A girl's day with my bestie and some sunshine was all we needed!

Best purchase of the weekend. TERVIS WATER BOTTLE!

Pretty local church

After we got back home, there was more baking (the BEST chocolate chip cookies ever) and then Ryan showed up and Lauren headed back down the mountain!

After Ryan got there, there was wine drinking, basketball watching (LOVE March Madness), appetizer eating (BLT dip), fire building, and grilling out! Dinner (which I failed to take a picture of) was steak, corn on the cob, and asparagus. Poor Ryan just wore short-sleeves and shorts and forgot how chilly the air can be at night! He grilled our dinner in a bathrobe to keep warm! 

Everything seems so much better with a fire in the fireplace and mountain air blowing through the windows!

Sunday I went for a run around a lake nearby. The views were amazing, but trail running is not my forte. I had some pretty severe hip pain afterwards (an injury I've been fighting since before the half-marathon in November). I managed to limp around for the rest of the day Sunday. But most of the day was spent on the couch watching more basketball and napping. Ahh, what great Sundays are made of! The splits for my run turned out great, but I was definitely feeling it afterwards. Only one week till the 10K in Charleston!

The weekend was absolutely perfect and I came back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another week! This will be a short week of work, as Ryan and I are off to Litchfield/Charleston for the race this weekend! I'm getting spoiled with all these mini getaways!

The weekend was capped off with a beautiful orange and purple sunset over Lake Keowee on our drive home. 

God must love Clemson with sunsets like these!
Hope you all had a great weekend! Recipe post to come soon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

{Recipe} Lettuce Wraps

Happy First Day of Spring! I made lettuce wraps tonight and wanted to share the recipe with y'all! I adapted the recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Here's a picture from the website:

Lettuce wraps


2 teaspoons Peanut Or Olive Oil
1 package (about 12-14 Oz. Size) Firm Tofu
2 ears Corn (or 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Corn Kernels)
1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder (more To Taste)
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
Romaine Lettuce Hearts
2 whole Avocados, Sliced
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Preparation Instructions
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the tofu, then break it up into very small pieces. Cook tofu for several minutes, until much of the liquid cooks off and tofu starts to turn golden.
Cut kernels off the cobs of corn and throw it in with the tofu. Cook for a few minutes (corn can remain crunchy.)
Add chili powder and soy sauce, then cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in balsamic if using.
Pile mixture into romaine hearts, then add sliced of avocado. Fold up and chow down!


I only modified the recipe a little when making it. First, I was a little unsure about the tofu and I had chicken breasts frozen in the fridge, so I just went with what I knew already. Someday I'll drudge up the courage to try something with tofu! 

This recipe was good. It didn't have a ton of varying flavors and I forgot to add avocado which probably would've been delicious. I looked for water chestnuts at Trader Joe's but they unfortunately didn't have any. I would've liked a little more "crunch" to the wraps!

It was an easy recipe I would make again! Thumbs up!


This week's workouts are going mostly as planned! Monday involved a 2 mile run from my apartment to the Y and Ashtanga Yoga on the patio at the Y. Practicing outside in 75 degrees as the sun was setting was so much fun!

Today involved an 3.75 mile afternoon walk with my roomie (I didn't wear my watch)! We wandered the neighborhoods around our apartment and found many adorable houses we dream of purchasing one day! 

Hope you all had a great Tuesday! Until next time!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekend Update ~ St. Patrick's Day

What a great weekend! The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous (75-80 degrees and sunny)! We're getting a very early spring and I don't mind it one bit.  Here was the gorgeous sunrise on my way to work Friday morning:

My boyfriend, Ryan's family was in town for the weekend and we all had so much fun! There was lots and lots of food. And of course, St. Patrick's Day celebrations!

Glow sticks (and the sorority squat)

Sunday Brunch ~ Ryan and me

Ryan's mom, me, Laurel, and Victoria


Happy St. Patty's Day

There was a 5K in downtown Greenville that I was registered for, but didn't quite make it awake in time. Oops. But the celebrations the night before were definitely worth missing the race!

We walked around downtown and drank green beer (of course).

Reedy River Falls

Obligatory green beer

Now, I'm just relaxing on the couch with March Madness on tv! Perfect lazy Sunday! I have to get my butt back in gear this week for the 10K I'm running in Charleston in two weeks! If I post my plan for the week, I'll be forced to stick to it and report back next week! Here's the plan:
Monday: Sunrise Yoga
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Sunrise Yoga
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: 5 miles

Hope everyone had a great weekend filled with fun!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The ABCs of Charlotte

I saw this blog questionnaire awhile back on a blog I follow, so I thought it'd be fun to fill it out for my blog as well!

A. Age: 23. My birthday is in July, so I'm getting close to 24!

B. Bed Size: Queen. I got a queen-size bed when I moved into my last apartment, and I don't know how I slept so long in a double (or twin). One of the requirements of my new bed was that it was high off the ground and that my mattress was "fluffy." It's safe to say I accomplished both of these; I like to proclaim I have the coziest bed ever!

Comfy, cozy bed!

C. Chore you dislike: Folding laundry! Doing laundry isn't the problem - I usually wait until I have several huge loads and I just throw everything in together. The problem is putting it away and hanging things to dry. I have no patience! I sometimes restart the dryer so things don't get wrinkled but I'm really just trying to avoid the inevitable.

D. Dogs: I've never had a dog! Growing up, we had a cat named Oreo. We got him when I was 5 and we just had to put him to sleep last year at age 18. He was the greatest pet I've ever had!

 But if I ever got a dog, I'd get a golden doodle. They're seriously the cutest dogs ever. 

Our sweet kitty
You can't tell me you don't want this adorable puppy!
E. Essential Start to your Day: Coffee usually, and a shower. I also like watching TV while I'm getting ready (most people I know listen to music). I either watch my Friends DVD's (I own the complete series -- favorite TV show of ALL TIME) or the Today Show!

F. Favorite Color: This is easy. BLUE. I love any and all shades of blue. 

G. Gold or Silver: I like both! It depends on my outfit, but the one piece of jewelry I wear everyday is my Clemson class ring, and it's white gold, so I guess I'll say silver!

My Clemson ring!

H. Height: 5'9". I like being tall, except when I'm wearing heels and towering over everyone! Also, tall guys are hard to find these days!

I. Instruments you play(ed): I took piano lessons for several years when I was younger, but I've forgotten everything I learned. I can still read music, but I do wish I hadn't stopped playing! I also played the clarinet in the middle school band. That talent did not last very long!

J. Job Title: Staff Auditor (soon to be CPA!) 

K. Kids: None! I used to say I wanted twins, but how difficult would it be to hold two babies at the same time?!

L. Live: Greenville, SC! I've only ever lived in South Carolina. I grew up in Anderson, went to Clemson for college, and moved to Greenville upon graduation. 
My roomie, Lauren, and I downtown Greenville after our MPAcc graduation!

M. Mom's Name: Kathryn. I know people say that they have the best mom in the world, but I might actually be stating the truth when I say it. She's the most loving, caring, thoughtful person I know. I hope to be half the mother she is one day!

My wonderful mom and sister

N. Nicknames: I don't really have any. My dad calls me "bubby" and friends in college called me "Char Char," mostly as a joke (I hope!)

O. Overnight Hospital Stays: None, thank goodness! (knock on wood...)

P. Pet Peeves: Ha, I believe I have a few of these. I hate being late, or people who are going to be late and don't let you know. I get very angry when people drive slow in the left-hand lane and don't move over for you to pass. I also get very annoyed when people chew gum with their mouth open. Sorry, it's not attractive AT ALL.

Q. Quote: Ohh, I just love quotes! I keep a word document of ones I hear and want to save. It's hard to pick just one favorite. But one that I love to have around as a wonderful reminder: "All great blessings come from being at peace. When the day is over, go to sleep. Never stay up worrying about tomorrow. Work hard and let God do the rest."

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: One sister, Katie, who lives all the way on the opposite side of the country in California! She went to Berkeley for grad school and ended up staying! We miss her. A lot. (But California is quite a nice place to visit!)

A tad windy at the Golden Gate Bridge!



T. Time you wake up: Random fact about me - I set my alarms ending in 3's or 7's. So on mornings I go to Yoga (Monday and Friday) or run before work, I set my alarm at 5:33 am. On mornings I work but "sleep in," I wake up at 6:37 am. And on the Saturday's I have to work (hello, busy season!), I set my alarm at 8:03 am. I have no idea where I picked up this strange habit, but 3 is my favorite number. I'm kind of secretly convinced that days where I don't set my alarm on these weird times will be bad luck days. Yes, I'm weird. I've embraced it.

U. University: Clemson. The best place on earth. My blood runs orange. I still get chills whenever I sing or hear the alma mater. There's nowhere else I would've wanted to spend 5 of the greatest years of my life.

Tillman Hall via

Death Valley, 82,000 of your best friends!

V. Vegetables you don't like: Broccoli. I've tried so hard to like it, but I just can't. As a child, I also hated lima beans. I remember piling as many as I could on my fork and holding my nose while I ate them. But now I love them! Funny how our taste buds change!

W. What makes you run late: I actually HATE to be late, especially when I know someone is waiting on me. But if I am late, it's usually because of traffic/can't find a place to park/I'm with other people who are running late.

X. X-Rays you've had: I broke my leg when I was 5 months old. So I'm sure I had X-rays then, I  obviously just don't remember! 

Y. Yummy food you make: I love love LOVE to cook (and eat)! I'm currently cooking my way through every recipe I can get my hands on via Pinterest! It's the best way to keep track of recipes you want to try! Some of my favorites I love to cook are chicken pot pie (mmm, comfort food), Taco cornbread casserole, and delicious grilled corn guacamole.

Z. Zoo Animal Favorites: I don't visit the zoo too often, but the family and I just took a trip to San Diego last year, and of course had to tour the famous zoo! Here are some of my favorite pictures from that trip:

But I do love penguins (my sister's favorite animal)!

My penguin friend from the St. Louis Zoo!

I hope you enjoyed all the random facts about me!