Wednesday, July 31, 2013

{Recipe} ~ Jerk Shrimp with Caribbean Quinoa

Every now and then, I'll try a recipe that just makes me really, really happy. This recipe is one of those. This dish is so colorful and full of flavor, and I happily cleaned my plate and savored the leftovers. So very delicious.

Jerk Shrimp with Caribbean Quinoa
from Iowa Girl Eats
I mean, come on...
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed under cold water
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs peeled & deveined shrimp
1 recipe of Jerk Seasoning Blend (includes sugar, paprika, salt, garlic powder, red chili pepper flakes, dried thyme, and allspice)
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup each chopped strawberries, mandarin oranges, green grapes, and diced canned pineapple
1 green onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

For the vinaigrette:
3 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. reserved pineapple juice (from can)
Salt & Pepper

Rinse quinoa under running water, then combine with chicken broth in a pot. Bring to a boil then place lid on top, turn heat to low, and simmer until broth has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry with paper towels then place in a large bowl. Add a dash of olive oil and jerk seasoning blend, then toss to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add coconut oil, then cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side. Set shrimp aside.

Combine Caribbean vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or bowl, then shake or whisk to combine. Place chopped fruit, green onion, and cilantro in a large bowl then add cooled quinoa and dressing. Stir well and taste, adding more salt & pepper if necessary. Spoon quinoa onto plates and top with cooked shrimp.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Update

I'm pretty good with timely recaps of my weekend shenanigans, aren't I? I think it's because I sit at a computer all week long so I like to give my tired eyes a break from the glow of a screen on the weekends (unless it's the glow from my iPad while I watch episode after episode of Scandal, obviously).
{1} Our gym A/C is currently working spectacularly...I might as well run outside in July's midday heat at this rate.
{2} I had an early start to the weekend and took off early from work Thursday to head to Charlotte with my mom to visit my financial planner (hello nerd alert) Friday morning. Dinner at Cantina Fifteen Eleven started our trip off nicely.
{3} The Hampton Inn in Charlotte has TVs in the bathroom mirror! If you don't think that's the coolest thing ever, we can't be friends.
{4} Apparently my coworkers and I still think we're in college - Circle of Death is always a crowd pleaser.
{5} I headed home for part of the weekend for a baby shower for a friend (where I got to see so many of my favorite people)! My parents are building a new house so I got to play architect and interior designer while I was home. So fun!
{6} Sunday was one of my favorites. I had brunch with my parents, laid by the pool, went for a short run, and tracked my coworker while he competed in his first Ironman! I was jumping up and down screaming when he crossed the finish line after 13 hours and 40 minutes. So insanely proud of him, and nothing quite gives you motivation like watching someone complete an Ironman. Puts my half marathon to shame!

Monday, you'll look better when you're Tuesday...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Beginnings

Sometimes a fellow blogger will write something and the entire time I'm reading the post, I'm nodding along. Does anyone else do this?

Apparently both Anna and Jess were reading my mind last week.

While I don't think I'm quite having a quarter-life crisis (don't worry, I already had one of those back in grad school), I am definitely feeling a little...lost.
Maybe it has something to do with turning 25 or being newly single?

Either way, I decided a while ago that I needed a goal. Something to work towards so I can feel that sense of accomplishment again. Even though I just got promoted (and got a raise !!!!), I still don't feel like I really earned it. Our accounting firm has a natural progression of staffing, so it's almost the norm to get promoted after a certain period of time (all the staff who started the day I did also got promoted).

My point in all this rambling is this: I've decided to register for half marathon #2. While my first half was pretty disappointing and training for one last fall didn't end so well, the sense of accomplishment I felt when crossing that finish line was pretty unreal. And I want to know what that feels like again. To have a goal and then reach it. So that's what I'm going to do!

And while that goal is in the near future, I've also been working on some not-so-distant goals. Several months ago, I stumbled upon The Day Zero Project, which encourages people to make a list of 101 things they'd like to do in 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years).

I've been perfecting my list for a while now and will be posting it soon! I meant to post it on my 25th birthday, seeing as 25 seemed like the perfect milestone to begin such a project! I'm looking forward to crossing things of this "bucket list" of sorts, and to chronicle the journey along the way!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

{Recipe} ~ Sante Fe Summer BBQ Pizza

Something about the end of busy season and the start of summer has gotten me completely out of a routine in the kitchen. I used to be so good about grocery shopping for the week and trying new recipes. But these days, with traveling, work events, and intern happy hour that turn into happy hours, I haven't been eating very healthy.

So after my quiet weekend at home, I got out my meal planner and got my butt to the grocery store!

But for some reason, a weekend without pizza didn't sound right, so that's exactly what I whipped up Sunday night! This recipe was extremely easy and filling, even without any meat!

Sante Fe Summer BBQ Pizza
from Iowa Girl Eats
1/3 cup BBQ sauce (I used a combination of pizza sauce and BBQ sauce)
1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 package pizza dough (from Trader Joe's)
Follow the directions on the package for the dough. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Spray a pizza pan with nonstick spray then spread the dough out into a large circle. Spread BBQ sauce evenly on top, then add black beans, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Let cook five minutes then slice. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top before serving.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Update

Sometimes you just need weekends completely to yourself. Or for lack of a better reason, that's the kind of weekend I had. Where the only human interaction I had all weekend was the guy working at Publix telling me he liked my outfit. My single life is off to a great start.

But since I keep disappearing in between weekend updates (I will be getting better at this, I promise!), I'll start from the beginning!
{1.} I had to go to Macon, GA for 3 days for work last week. And if you've ever been to Macon, you'll know it sucks. The only bright side of the whole week was finding my favorite beer at the local pizza place!
{2.} Thursday night when I was back in Greenville, Sarah and I went to see Jersey Boys at the Peace Center. It was so, so good! I found myself singing along the entire time.
{3.} My boss gave Sarah and I tickets to Euphoria's Tapas & Tini's event at the Soby's loft. Aren't my coworkers the hottest?
{4.} Weekend mornings for me usually involve some combination of coffee, the couch, and golf on tv. I just started this book and I'm excited about it!
{5.} We had some pretty nasty thunderstorms this weekend, but the sunset happened to be pretty!
{6.} Picked up this most delicious and refreshing drink at Starbucks: Valencia Orange! Sometimes it's just too damn hot for coffee!
{7.} Weekly meal planning - I finally got myself to the grocery store after at least 3 months!
{8.} My coworker recommended this beer to me - quite perfect with my homemade pizza Sunday night!
{9.} Last by not least, I always treat myself to flowers when shopping at Trader Joe's!

I think that about sums up my shenanigans, of which there were not many.

Come back this week for what I hope will be a few more exciting posts!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekend Update - Birthday Edition

Always a day late and a dollar short.

Sorry I'm not sorry. I've been pretty busy these past few days celebrating turning a quarter-century old! I want to recap my birthday first before we move onto the weekend's shenanigans.

While I was at work briefly on Wednesday for my birthday, my coworkers made sure to make it extra special!
{1} We celebrated with a birthday lunch at Luna Rosa so I could indulge in some birthday cake gelato!
{2} I took the afternoon off for my promotion/birthday massage at Urban Nirvana, which was divine, and then met up with Whitney at Sip for a bottle of wine!
{3} My gorgeous roommate Lauren had flowers delivered to our apartment for my birthday. She rocks my socks off.
{4 & 5} My parents took me to Passerelle, a new French restaurant by the falls downtown. Our waiter kindly let me pick a birthday dessert (yummy profiteroles), and even gave me a candle to make a wish!
{6} My sister bought me the New York Times 36 Hours travel book, which I'm so excited to flip through. It's got mini travel guides to every city across the US and Canada!
{7} My parents absolutely shocked me with a Le Creuset french oven! I've been dreaming about one for years and my mom must've been listening! Can't wait to get in the kitchen!
{8} My parents also bought me this gorgeous Stella & Dot necklace! I've worn it every day since Wednesday!
{9} On my Friday night staying in, I treated myself to a new dress and bubble bath from Anthro. Happy birthday to me!

Now on to my actual weekend!

My best girlfriends planned a day in Asheville for me and I had the most fun I've had in a long time! And since my friends are incredibly gorgeous, there are a LOT of pictures.
Whitney lived in Asheville for 4 years before moving to Greenville, so she was the perfect tour guide for us! We had brunch at Sunny Point, which was delicious. The mega-mosa's didn't hurt either!
7 girls. 5 maxi dresses. 1 Volvo.

We spent the afternoon brewery-hopping, stopping first at Burial Beer. Whitney's friends from Asheville just opened the brewery last month and they were extremely friendly and took great care of us!
Then there was some shopping. And more beer (Lexington Avenue Brewery, Thirsty Monk, and Jack of the Wood). And a whole lot more laughs.
I went home with the happiest heart.
These girls and my family gave me the best birthday in my 25 years.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I'm a quarter of a century old today.
My key lime birthday cake when I turned 22!
I don't have any words of wisdom this year.

I'm thankful for my family, friends, job, health, and so many other things.

This isn't quite where I expected to be on my 25th birthday, but I plan to make the best of it, anyway I know how.

Here's to another year of candles on my cake!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

San Francisco

Remember that time I went to San Francisco almost a month ago and forget to tell y'all about it? My bad.

I'm finally getting around to the last leg of our trip out west (see Part 1 & Part 2 here)!

We checked into our hotel, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins and took a quick nap. This is the second time we've stayed in this hotel and I'd highly recommend it to anyone visiting SF! It's very centrally located but you're going to have to hike extremely steep hills no matter which direction you're walking when you're walking back to the hotel!
For our first night in the city, we went to a Giants game! The SF Giants were playing the Oakland A's, so the entire bay area had to pick a side for the "Battle of the Bay"! And no trip to a baseball game is complete without first stopping at a brewery, right?
My parents and I stopped into 21st Amendment Brewery for drinks and a light dinner before the game. The food wasn't anything to write home about (I honestly can't even remember what I ate), but man is their "Hell or High Watermelon" beer delicious! Unfortunately, I can't even buy it in the state of SC so if anyone feels the urge to ship some to me, it'd be much appreciated!
It was a chilly night at the stadium but we bundled up and cheered every time either team scored. I guess we just couldn't decide which team to cheer for! The A's ended up winning, though, so about half the stadium/bay area went home happy and the other half was, well, pissed.
Thursday morning, we headed to Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery for breakfast before heading to Napa for the day. One of the main things I love about the city is the endless selection of breakfast spots. While I think southerners can cook a damn good breakfast, we just haven't quite figured out how to do breakfast/brunch restaurants around here. But we're working on it and bottomless mimosas are a good place to start.
We were back in the city in time for dinner with Katie and her roommate, Alice. We had dinner at Marlowe, which was completely fantastic. All of the restaurants in SF have such cool atmospheres, and Marlowe was no different.
My favorite part about the restaurant was the outdoor windows were covered in quotes from famous actors, actresses, and foodies. I can definitely appreciate a well-written quote about my favorite thing of all time (hint: food). The baked oysters and deviled eggs were amazing for appetizers, and almost the whole table ordered the pork chop, which was easily the best I've had. This restaurant can't be missed if you're ever in the area!

We woke up to gorgeous weather on Friday so we decided to make the best of it by driving out to Crissy Field to take in the sights of the bridge. But we couldn't take off exploring without a stop at Blue Bottle Coffee first. Y'all, I know people love Starbucks and all, but Blue Bottle blows Starbucks out of the water. Yeah, I said it. I had the New Orleans style iced coffee and nothing I've had before or since can compare. It's that good.
After everyone was caffeinted and well-fed (sourdough toast for me!), we made our way across the city. It's very rare that you get to see crystal blue sky in San Francisco, but we sure lucked out.
I took about 15 pictures of the same view, but this one was my favorite!
We drove across the bridge to wander around the cute little town of Sausalito. This is another must if you're in town for more than a weekend! The views of the city across the water are gorgeous and Sausalito has plenty of little shops and cafes to wander into.
 We had lunch at Scoma's, which hit the spot for my craving for fish tacos!
Once we were back in the city, we made a stop at the Ferry Building.
Again, this is another absolute must if you're in San Francisco. I could've spent hours wandering into all the little shops and markets. Otherwise, I never would've discovered the most adorable biscuit shop, Biscuit Bender!
After we wasted away the afternoon shopping, it was time to get ready for my parent's last dinner in San Francisco. They were flying home on Saturday while I got to stay an extra day!

Before dinner, we went to the 38th floor of our hotel for cocktails at Top of the Mark, which has the best view of the city!
For dinner, my sister chose a popular Peruvian restaurant, La Mar, known for their ceviche and Pisco sours!
The food was incredibly fresh and innovative. I felt like I was eating on a tropical island with the vibe of the restaurant and the view of the water. Another great pick!

Even though we were stuffed, Katie insisted on stopping for the best ice cream in the city, from Bi-Rite Creamery. The shop was already closed but the line was wrapped around the building!
Salted caramel and honey lavender ice cream for the win!

Saturday, after we said goodbye to our parents, I made Katie escort me across the bay so I could get my hands on the greatest chicken sandwich that ever existed from Bakesale Betty in Oakland. I wish I were exaggerating, but really, I'm not. I wouldn't be surprised if I started dreaming about their perfectly crunchy chicken and jalapeno coleslaw.
After we gorged ourselves on sandwiches, it was time for a hike!

Although it was my 4th time to San Francisco, I had never managed to visit the redwood forest or Muir Woods. Katie had told me awhile back about this secret treehouse/bar in the middle of the forest that you can hike to, take a picnic, drink beer, and play board games. I was so excited to finally get to see this place for myself, and it definitely didn't disappoint!
It doesn't really get much cooler than a treehouse that has draft beer in the middle of the woods, kids.

We finally hiked our way out of the forest (which was much easier after a pitcher or two of Hefeweisen) and headed back to Emeryville. We had a pretty low-key night with dinner at Comal in Berkeley and some late night shuffleboard at Katie's local bar, the Prizefighter. And come Sunday morning, I was back on a plane to the East Coast!

I think I waited so long to do this recap so I could still pretend I'm on vacation. Oh California, you're always so good to me...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekend Update ~ Beach Edition

Sitting at my desk this morning doesn't quite have the same excitement as sitting in a beach chair with my toes in the sand. But I suppose all good things must come to an end.

Here's a recap of my weekend spent at the beach!
The first 2 full days at the beach were completely rainy and gross. I finally made it out to the beach on Wednesday in the hopes of some sunshine and was greeted with lovely thunderstorm clouds over the ocean. But luckily, that storm passed really quickly and it was nice for the rest of the afternoon and the rest of the week!

The 4th was spent with the annual parade of golf carts, a military fly-over with vintage planes, festive cocktails, homemade appetizers, burgers on the grill, and watching fireworks all along the beach!

We spent Friday night at our favorite restaurant, Chive Blossom, which never disappoints! Afterwards, we took a drive around Pawley's Island before heading back to the house.

Since I've been going to Litchfield since I was born, I swear that ocean air runs in my veins. It's always a sad day when we have to drive away!

Linking up with Sami today!

Friday, July 5, 2013

{Recipe} ~ Watermelon Pico De Gallo

Well, lookie here! My first recipe post in months!

Fun fact: I haven't done legitimate grocery shopping since APRIL. I should probably get my act together here soon.

But being on vacation with endless amounts of time to pick out fun recipes, I figured it was high time I tried something new! This recipe was really simple (minus all the chopping of ingredients) and just tastes like summer! Perfect for a summer BBQ or afternoon by the water!

Watermelon Pico De Gallo
from The Pioneer Woman

1/2 whole Small Seedless Watermelon, Diced
1/2 whole Red Onion, Diced
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Finely Diced
1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded And Finely Diced
2 whole JalapeƱos, Seeded And Finely Diced
1 whole Bunch Cilantro, Chopped
2 whole Juice Of 1 To 2 Limes
1/2 teaspoon Salt


Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss it together. Taste with a chip and adjust ingredients as needed.
Posted by on June 19 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weekend Update

I'm a little late on the weekend update, but since it's been thunderstorming at the beach all day, I figured better late than never!
I had quite a fantastic weekend, and because all good weekends start on Thursday, I'll start there!

We started happy hour early with the interns at 4 pm, and an extra-large margarita was consumed with coworkers (top left)! I then met Jess for our second bloggie date and we posted up at the bar at Liberty for 5 hours and I even got to meet her fiance! I'd say it was a success! Except we're really failling in the picture-taking department.

Friday's headache was sponsored by Thursday's festivities, so I headed out of work early for a nap and an afternoon watching Friday Night Lights. Seriously though, I'm obsessed. Mid-afternoon, I met up with Lauren and Sarah for pre-vacation mani/pedis. I then headed to Roost for cocktails with my coworkers, before heading to another coworker, Whitney's house for pizza and girl talk. Is her house not the cutest thing you've ever seen (top middle and right)?! I made her promise to come decorate my house whenever I move! She has FOUR dogs and one of them curled up in my lap for most of the evening.

Saturday was spent on the lake! I first met up with friends at Trent's lake house for a few hours before heading to my parents' best friends house, which is also on the lake. If they don't have the most beautiful porch in the whole entire world, I don't know who does. Whenever I'm there, I never ever want to leave. It was my mom's birthday on Saturday and also the night the Hartwell Dam sets off fireworks for the 4th, so we hopped in the boat at sunset to see the fireworks. Spending the night with the cutest dog ever doesn't hurt either!

Linking up with Sami!