Saturday, June 30, 2012

#SummerProblems

I'll be back with a weekend update tomorrow, but I just had to share this article from Thought Catalog. I just started following them on Twitter and I'm in love. Their articles make me laugh out loud. This one especially! Find yourself a body of water and enjoy the heat wave! :)





1. When you get into a car with vinyl seating and you immediately adhere to every surface accompanied by the soft sound of sizzling bacon, and you are reminded how much you hate everything.

2. Bugs deciding that every inch of your exposed skin is the perfect place to host their week-long music festival.

3. Having to pretend like you’re interested in purchasing various items in every other store you pass even though you have ~zero dollars in your account right now, simply so you can soak up that sweet, sweet AC.

4. Spending an entire morning doing your hair, only to have it meet the humidity at the door and poof up on all sides like some giant, fuzzy head-umbrella.

5. Rejecting 99 percent of your clothes simply because they cover more than the bare minimum amount of body parts to make you acceptable in society.

6. Public transportation taking on the general conditions of a terrarium.

7. Makeup melting down your face, making you look something like a sad clown from a velvet painting.

8. Having to decide between an ice-cold drink which promptly turns into a soup of ice-water and whatever your drink was supposed to be, or a lukewarm drink that keeps its taste but has none of the essential ice.

9. Enjoying about 10 minutes of outdoor exposure before becoming a giant abstract painting of sweat stains and unintentionally see-through clothing.

10. A forehead shiny enough to down passing commercial jets.

11. Debating sticking your head in the freezer or taking the 4th cold shower of the day, and it’s not even noon yet.

12. All of the extra empty calories you are inevitably taking in now that your liquid diet is 70 percent margaritas, daiquiris, and mojitos.

13. When you think you have that sexy summer glow going on while dancing at a party, but then you catch a glimpse of yourself in a reflective surface and are like, jk, I look like a swamp creature.

14. Farmer’s tan, which unless accompanied by a dozen acres of actual farmland, just makes you look like an asshole.

15. Cutting the corners of your mouth open on ice pops, the facial equivalent of stepping on a Lego.

16. Sticky sheets from sweating on yourself in the evening — yeah, you can’t even blame these on hot sex, you’re just gross.

17. Every bad smell being multiplied at least ten-fold.

18. “Summer jams” being overplayed until the opening notes of them make you want to kill yourself right where you’re standing.

19. Not being able to eat anything served over room temperature.

20. The unbelievable people who actually seem to look good and somewhat sexy in jungle-like heat, while you’re standing on the street like a melting wax statue, just waiting for the heat to kill you already.

21. When it’s too hot to even have sex, and someone trying to spoon with you makes you feel like you’re being suffocated by a thousand molten-hot pillows.

22. The nights when thinking of something to do makes you too hot, so you all just sit there and kind of turn into puddles on the curb, waiting for something to do.

23. Hangovers somehow being turned up to 11.

24. When you step outside at 8 a.m. and it already feels like the inside of a locker room and you’re like, damn, this does not bode well for 
the rest of the day.

25. When you remember, lol jk I have zero pride, and would totally sleep with someone for even temporary access to a pool. 





Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Lovin'

With the summer solstice last week and temps like these in the forecast, it's hard to deny summer's arrival.

105 degrees? Really South Carolina?

I thought I'd share some of my summer essentials with you! While I'm actually a bigger fan of fall weather, I love summer travels and fun and I had so much fun sharing a peek inside my beach bag!


{This is a great cooling lotion for the hot months, especially when you accidently get sunburned. The SPF is an added bonus!}



{These are the best summer sandals, hands down. I've owned 3 pairs of the exact same shoe. I only had to replace them because I had worn them so much! They're made with rubber bottoms now, which is more sufficient than the old wood bottoms. I wear these with everything, from sundresses to shorts. The gold is the perfect metallic.}


{It's hard to express my love of this moisturizer. I bought it back in high school and have been using it religiously ever since. When I went to New Mexico several years back, the air was so dry my skin was literally peeling off. This was the only moisturizer that solved the dryness. Summer tip: put it in the fridge to cool off your skin when you return from the pool or beach!}


Kate Spade Straw Purse

{A straw tote is essential for the summer months. It brightens up any outfit!}


{The first is the #1 selling blush in America for good reason. It looks great on any skin tone and even better with a little tan. I use it every day to add some color to my face. The second highlights with a bit of shimmer. I use it on my cheekbones and the outside of my eyes and collarbone to catch the sunlight.}



{I don't actually own this hat, but how cute would it be for the beach or running errands on Saturday morning?}



{My favorite summer nail color! I used the gel polish in this shade when I got a manicure a few weeks ago and I couldn't stop staring at my shiny nails! The color goes with everything and is such a fresh pop on tan fingers!}





{This is my first product from the Moroccan Oil line and I'm hooked! I bought it in Arizona at the spa after a friend of mine with curly hair recommended the mousse. They didn't have the mousse, and while I'm still on the hunt for that as well, I use this cream in my daily hair routine now. It smells DIVINE. Ryan always tells me I smell good after he gives me a hug, and I'm 100% convinced it's this cream. It controls the frizz from all the humidity and is worth every penny!}

What are your summer essentials? Do tell!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

{Recipe} ~ Bang Bang Shrimp and Edamame Fried Rice

Another recipe from last weekend! This one is great for summer - I love the flavors of the shrimp. And edamame fried rice? So. darn. good. I never would've thought to put the beans in the rice! My first attempt at fried rice was with grilled pineapple, and I never realized how easy it was to make myself! Great for nights when I'm in a hurry and craving Chinese food.

We actually ended up grilling the shrimp, but they were probably too small for the skewers. I want to try this version of the recipe next (in a wok on the stove) - a favorite from Bonefish Grill.

Bang Bang Shrimp
adapted from SkinnyTaste



Ingredients:
  • 5 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (to taste)

For the Shrimp:
  • 1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined (weight after peeled)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 4 tbsp scallions, chopped
Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce and Sriracha. Set aside.

Coat shrimp with cornstarch, mixing well with your hands.

Heat a large skillet or wok on high heat, when hot add oil. When oil is hot add the shrimp to hot pan and cook tossing a few times until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and combine with the sauce coating well.

Top shrimp with scallions.

(Shrimp can also be served on a bed of lettuce and purple cabbage mix).

..........................................................................................................................................

Edamame Fried Rice


Ingredients:
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced 
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat shelled edamame
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Directions:


Whisk eggs, season with salt and pepper. In a hot wok, spray a little oil and cook the eggs. 

Add oil and cook onions, carrots and garlic for about 30-60 seconds, careful not to burn. Add brown rice and stir well a few minutes to heat through. Add soy sauce, scallion greens and edamame, mixing well for about 3-4 minutes.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Update ~ Surprise, Virginia! I'm Back!

Is it just me, or does Sunday evening come again in the blink of an eye? I feel like last week flew by. I'll update you, starting where I left off last week!

Thursday, we had a work social at Thomas Creek Brewery. We had lowcountry boil and bbq and free beer! I really love the people I work with, so it was fun to hang out with everyone outside the office. After the brewery event, a few coworkers and I went to try out a new restaurant in Greenville, Mac's Speed Shop, for a few drinks. It's certainly an interesting place. It has a great outdoor patio with picnic tables and an awesome selection of beers, but the crowd was a little rough (Thursday was "bike night"). The service was a little slow, mainly because the place just opened and they're still working out the kinks. I don't think we'll add it to our local favorites, but I'm glad we gave it a try.

So many beers!
I worked Friday morning until lunch, then met my cousin for lunch at Papas and Beer, a delicious mexican restaurant. Friday afternoon by the pool was cut short for a run on the treadmill and then a shower and some packing. I decided to join my parents, who were going to Virginia to visit my grandparents. I hadn't seen my grandparents since Christmas and my grandfather is turning 95 next week! I did some quick plan changing, and I decided to hop in the car with my parents and make the 5 hour drive back across state lines. 

It was great to celebrate my grandfather's birthday, although it was a short trip.

The rosebush we gave my grandmother for her 90th birthday!
My dad with his parents! Happy Birthday Papa!


We joined my grandparents for church this morning, then we were back in the car to make the trek home. We always stop in Winston Salem at Salem Kitchen to buy the most amazing cheese straws ever made. Seriously, I've never had better. They were even written up in Garden and Gun magazine!! Do yourself a favor and order a box (or twelve) now!

Unfortunately, they're closed on Sundays, so we didn't get to buy any. My mom is going to order some and have them delivered so we can snack on them at the beach!


Our drive home always takes us by Lake Norman and Davidson College, my dad's, grandfather's, and great grandfather's alma mater. My sister, mom, and I love taking a walk down memory lane with Dad, and love hearing stories about his college years. We always stop for lunch at the M & M Soda Shop, a mainstay in the college town since 1951. This place still has the original booths and barstools! It's so fun to step back in time, with a great 70's playlist playing over the speakers. 





After polishing off some fried pickles, an egg salad club, curly fries, and a classic Shirley Temple, we decided to walk around campus. It's such a pretty place to go to college.





After a run, a long bath, and some unpacking, I'm tucked in bed for a few hours before I have to pick Ryan up from the airport (he was in Colorado with his family for the weekend). 
Another busy week and then we're leaving for the beach on Saturday! Can't wait for another vacation! I'm going out of town for the next 5 weekends, but like I always say, I LOVE to travel! 

Hope you had a great weekend! Only 10 days until the 4th of July holiday!

{Recipe} ~ Peach and Pork Kabobs

Weekends are the perfect time for trying out new recipes, especially on the grill! While Ryan and I were both in Greenville last weekend, we tried out several new recipes. After spending Saturday at the pool, we wanted something light on the grill. I had saved this recipe when I saw it in Southern Living, and I figured it would be easy enough to throw on the grill for a delicious dinner.

These were so good! The sauce was divine. This is a great recipe while peaches are in season! We bought some small peaches at the grocery store and the slices were a little too small for the skewers. I recommended slicing up the biggest peaches you can find, as they'll shrink under the heat on the grill! These are great for a summer cookout, perhaps for July 4th weekend! Enjoy!

Peach and Pork Kabobs



















Ingredients

1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1 pound boneless pork loan, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (I just used pork chops that I already had in the freezer)
3/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce
8 (10-inch) metal skewers
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large peaches, unpeeled and cut into 8 wedges each
1 large green pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Whisk together first 3 ingredients, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. rosemary; reserve 1/4 cup. Pour remaining mixture into a large shallow dish or zip-top plastic freezer bag; add pork, turning to coat. Cover or seal, and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, cook barbecue sauce and reserved 1/4 cup mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from heat.
  3. 3. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Thread pork onto skewers, leaving a 1/8-inch space between pieces. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.
  4. 4. Thread peaches and bell peppers alternately onto other skewers, leaving a 1/8-inch space between pieces. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. rosemary.
  5. 5. Grill pork and fruit-and-vegetable kabobs at the same time, covered with grill lid. Grill pork, turning occasionally, 7 to 8 minutes on each side or until done, brushing pork with barbecue sauce mixture during last 5 minutes of grilling. Grill fruit-and-vegetable kabobs 4 minutes on each side or until bell peppers are crisp-tender.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Virginia is for Lovers..Not Auditors

We made it back from Virginia - a day early! Honestly, I was ready to come home the minute we got there. The town was t.i.n.y. The food options were nil, which makes it really hard when you have to eat there for 7 meals. The client, however, was amazing - so organized, I could cry from happiness. That's why we were able to leave town early, a little less than 48 hours after we had arrived. 

I managed to catch some pictures along the way. The drive was really gorgeous. If I had been driving alone, I would've stopped at some of the lookouts to take pictures. It made me really excited for Ryan's and my trip to Asheville for our birthdays in a couple of weeks. No, I didn't just spend fifteen minutes on Google determining the proper grammar for that last sentence.

When discussing a stopping point for dinner on our way up, my boss got extremely excited about this burger place in Kingsport, TN, that's a favorite of all the locals. It's a little drive thru that serves burgers, fries, peach tea, and milkshakes. I must admit, it was really delicious. I'd make the stop again. And it was pretty cute, too.



Then we made it to Grundy. The most exciting thing? Their 3-story Walmart with cart escalators.

Foggy morning view from the hotel
Thanks, Comfort Inn, for the bath time toy

Little mountain town 

I managed to capture a few glimpses of the mountains on the way home. 



I'm so happy to be back in my own bed. I'm looking forward to working from home the rest of the week and a low-key weekend.

I owe y'all a recipe or two! Those are coming next!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's Talk Running...and Plans!

Let's be honest here, I love a good plan. I'm an accountant, after all. When I graduated from grad school last August, and had 3 months off until I started my first job, I constantly thought, "What am I going to do with all that FREE time?" For someone who had spent 15 hours a day studying for the CPA Exam for the previous 8 months, you would've thought I would enjoy the idea of waking up with not a darn thing to do. But it was weird. No plans? No schedule? No classes to attend and no tests to study for? Those, my friends, are the thoughts of a Type A, slightly OCD, girl.

But, those months came and went, and when people asked me what I did all day, I simply said, "I wake up, eat breakfast, watch the Today Show for a couple of hours, go for a run, lay by the pool, cook dinner, and sleep." It was wonderful. The most carefree months I'd had in a long time. I trained for my first half marathon during that time, which gave me a goal to work towards and something to do.

I wish I had started the blog back then, so I could look back on my training. The only two runs that stick out in my head are a 6-miler and a 10-miler, both of which were my longest distances to date at the time. The 6-miler was the first run EVER where I didn't stop once. I ran a whole hour and didn't stop. I remember coming back into the apartment and jumping up and down with Lauren, saying "I DID IT! I RAN 6 WHOLE MILES!" I texted several people. It was an exciting day.

Then the 10-miler came along. Same thing. It was actually the same day as the half marathon I'll be running this year. I set out, and ended up running part of the race course, to which volunteers offered me water and Gatorade even though I wasn't running the race. It was a great run. I didn't stop. I wanted to tell people as I passed them on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, "I've been running for an hour and a half and I could keep going!"

DailyMile Snapshot from that great 10-miler (ya know, for proof)

What is my point in all this? (I promise I have one). Training for this year's half marathon is going to be extremely different. And I'm a little nervous. I'm unavailable from 7 am - 5:30 pm, a solid chunk of the day. I can't just set out for a run when I feel like it. I think I've had the half marathon on the brain a lot lately, mainly because my last couple of runs have been difficult (and only 2 miles). Ryan and I went for a short run on Sunday morning, and it sucked. I chalked it up to giving blood several days before, but as Ryan so honestly put it, "You're breathing awfully heavy for only running two miles." Thanks Ry, love you too. That was weird. I've never called him "Ry" before.  Side note: I actually do love his honesty.

I shouldn't be surprised that running isn't effortless. I'm not exercising on a regular basis. I workout for 4 days in a row, then take 10 days off because I'm out of town for work, on vacation, lazy, would rather take a nap instead, etc. I know, they're excuses. I rarely deny myself a "I feel like doing nothing today, so that's exactly what I'm going to do" day.

All this to say: I need to get back on track. With working out and eating better. Did you know that working in a town for three days where the only food options are McDonald's and Huddle House does not allow for healthy eating? I've got to buckle down and work hard if I want to kick this half'marathon's butt (which is exactly what I plan to do). I'm heading to the beach the first week in July, and it seems like a perfectly good time to get back on track (and fitting, too, since it's my birthday month and practically a fresh start)! I can wake up early before the humidity gets too awful and go for a run on the beach. A beach run is a great workout for the calves, too!

I already have my half marathon training plan ready to go. I created it oh, probably, 3 months ago. I'm a nerd. Yes. I freely admit it.


So there you have it. 12 weeks of delightful running, all which will be recapped for you here. Those Monday's of "Rest" will probably involve Kettlebells at the Y, as I'm now officially obsessed with the class and the fact that "Call Me Maybe" is on the playlist rotation. Friday's will probably be yoga at the Y, or maybe the elliptical. I haven't quite decided yet.

I moved my long runs to Sunday and made Saturday a rest day, as it's football season, and I have season tickets to see my Tigers play. So Saturdays are out of the question, workout wise. Clemson is notorious for noon games, which means leaving Greenville at 8 am or earlier. It's all worth it, though, so I'm not complaining one bit.

Remember at the beginning of this post, when I talked about plans? Drumroll, please. My plans are TO RUN BEFORE WORK. Groundbreaking news. But honestly, it's just the only logical thing. It'll be before it gets too hot and humid, my run is already out of the way before 7 am, and I'm free to do whatever my heart desires after work. I'm self-admittedly a morning person, so I know this is do-able. Getting up at 6 am instead of 6:45 won't make a huge difference. It'll just mean I'll have to go to bed a little earlier in order to wake up at a decent hour. I can do this. I'll start next week.

Congratulations if you stuck with me through that entire post. I know I rambled, but I feel like if it's out there in blog world, I'm more likely to stick to it. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend Update ~ Brew at the Zoo & Father's Day

Is it Sunday already? I feel like the weekend just started! Another great one in the books! Here's a recap in pictures from the weekend:

Friday ~ Brew at the Zoo










Slap on koozies! My fave!
Lazy Saturday ~ Farmer's market, brunch, mani/pedi, afternoon at the pool, dinner on the grill, and an early bedtime while watching golf




Father's  Day ~ Morning run, brunch with the parents in Anderson, afternoon lying on the couch watching the US Open, grilling out again, and packing for a work trip to Grundy, VA (yeah...serious mountain country)



It was great to celebrate today with my dad - he's by far the smartest, most patient, well-respected man I know and the best dad I could ever ask for!