Jul 282015
 

21d7c37c326bb9d24dc56eb9b313042cMy blogger lady-friend Becca (of BeccaDorr.com) wrote a post  titled “Top Three Tuesday” and encouraged others to also do a “Top Three” post on Tuesdays.  The premise being, post 3 things that you feel good about or three happy things in your life and make it a weekly or semi-weekly post.  

I sometimes right a “Tuesday Tunes” post here and I try to always do a “Tuesday Truth’ post on Instagram…but I really like this idea.  Its good to have that reminder that sometimes things are not as bad as you think they are!

1.  We are planning our Disney vacation for next summer and that thrills me to no end.  We got all the major details (when, what resort, dining plan) figured out this past weekend, so now all that’s left is to spend the next 6 months paying for it.  We are using our friend Sam Lebron as our travel agent through MouseEar Vacations.

2.  Life seems very “settled” and content right now.  No crazy schedules yet, no illness (knock on wood) and nothing major in the pipeline that needs our attention.  Settled is a good word for it.  The kids all seem happy, and soon school will start too!  I love the start of the school year, because it seems like its a “fresh start” for everyone.  This year the kids are all at new schools, so it truly is a fresh start!

3.  Wonderful relationships with coworkers, professors and former students.  This is what makes coming to work daily so worth it.  Without “my girls” and Chuck the IT guy, I don’t think I would have lasted here very long.  Its not that my job is difficult or boring, but good coworkers make it seem less like work!

 

 

 

 

Jul 272015
 

Weekends are made for…relaxing, adventure, fun.  Some weekends are made for – doing absolutely nothing.

We had one of those weekends that we used to say were rare – kidless and baseball-less.  Bubs has been playing less baseball this season, which is a blessing and a curse I guess you could say.  I miss the structure of baseball weekends, but love not being out in the relentless heat for hours on end.  I love the 1 on 1 time I am getting with Patrick this summer, something we had struggled with last summer and last school year.  The new school year is quickly approaching, and I am relishing all these moments of calm.

Friday night we didn’t do much, had simple dinner of salads & baked potatoes.  We plopped on the couch and I read while he watched Andy Griffith on TV..  He dozed off sometime between Gomer yelling “citizens arrest” and Barney locking himself in jail.  Snoring commenced shortly after – so off to bed we went.  Saturday morning, we were sort of lazy – took our time having breakfast and getting ready.  We decided to head downtown to go to the Soda City market.  Never gone before, and it was neat to see all the vendors & go to Mast General Store.  There was even a wine tasting there!  I plan on writing up a post for my South Carolina Saturdays all about Soda City.  We then headed over to campus and checked out the McKissick museum.  Patrick had never been, and it was free.  I also pointed out to him that it was air conditioned – which he agreed was a good thing!

We headed home, and relaxed and watched TV and napped.  Headed out for dinner, and on the way home stopped and got 2 movies.  We picked Paul Blart; Mall Cop 2 and Fury.   Paul Blart was funny, not as good as the 1st one – but it had its moments. Kevin James is such a good comedy actor, and his skills on a segway are pretty killer.  I am sure I would fall off in 2 seconds if I tried to even ride. We did enjoy the laugh.  Fury was excellent, and I did cry several times as I typically do during war movies.

Sunday, more of the same semi-lazy morning. We went and picked up a free coffee table from a yard sale site for a friend of ours whose daughters just moved into an apartment, and then went to pick up a couch for them as well.  Once we delivered those, we dropped off another dresser at a friends house.  While there she gave us 2 lbs of leftover crab legs – yum!  We had those for dinner on Sunday night.  We also decided to rent 2 more movies.  We rented Home Sweet Hell, and American Sniper.  Home Sweet Hell – boring as hell and we stopped watching after about 25 minutes.   We made dinner and then folded 5 loads of laundry (goes much faster when you have 2 people!!).  Then we watched American Sniper.  It was an excellent movie.  A friend pointed out this morning that she thought I had a different take on it than most people would, being a former military spouse.  I think this is an excellent movie that does a good job showing the toll that war takes on families, which is something that I think the American public doesn’t fully understand.

All in all – an excellent weekend!

Jul 232015
 

So I need to haircut badly…but my beloved hairdresser moved 2+ hours away and well, I’m sad.  She is who introduced me to a first high end salon experience by giving me an Oribe signature cut (for free, cause I was a hair model!) and then she did highlights on me.  I miss her, but I can and will find a new hairdresser to love.  

My hair is the longest it has ever been in my entire life, my entire 34 years of existence, my hair has never been this long.  Its summer in South Carolina and its hot and humid, and I have that lovely southern perm (aka: frizz) going on about 90% of the time.  

evolutionofhair

So I’m searching for a new style, I need ideas!  I loved it when it was mid-shoulder length, falling just past my shoulders.  Long enough for a ponytail, short enough to not take 30+ minutes to dry.  So while I wait for everyone to throw me some input and courage…I thought I’d share this little collage of the evolution of my hair styles (or lack there of) & length.  

I am eager to hear what others think though, so please leave me a comment to tell me what length you think would look good on me!

Jul 182015
 

Last Saturday Patrick and I truly had a “South Carolina Saturday”.  It was relaxing and fun, and despite the intense heatwave we have been having lately – it was still fun to be outside!

He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, but he had a few ideas in mind.  When he came to pick me up on Saturday, he said asked me to pick Charleston or Aiken. Well, I have a deep love for Charleston, so of course that’s what I said, but I also said “I don’t care where we go, as long as we are together.”  So…off he goes towards the interstate and in my mind, we are going to Charleston.  Nope – he takes a right turn and we are heading on 20-W towards Aiken.  I had seen the quaint little downtown once when we were down there for a baseball tournament, but we did not have time to stop and look around.

Aiken is located west of Columbia, about halfway between Augusta and Columbia.  I had heard in the past that Aiken had a good number of horse farms, but I didn’t realize how big the horse “culture” was down there until Saturday.

The downtown area is very pedestrian friendly, and has *FREE* parking!  The sidewalks are nicely maintained and shaded, and the storefronts are well kept.  There didn’t seem to be many places that were out of business or vacant.   There is an abundance of antique stores, most of which I lead Patrick into (willingly or unwillingly..still not sure!).   We found such neat things in every store, and I would love to go back when I have some more money.  There was one store called Plum Pudding, which is a home chef’s dream store.  So many wonderful cooking items, including a few I am going to go back for to use as Christmas gifts!    I did find a few of my mothers china pattern in one store, but none of the items she needs/wants.  I was excited to see a few items in an antique store that looked like items I had as a kid that belonged to my grandparents.

For lunch, we chose Aiken Speakeasy and Eats, which was not crowded at all (I believe we were the last folks in there for lunch).   I loved the touch of a punch-lock on the door you had to enter a code into before coming in.  Kept with the prohibition theme they had going on.    The food was okay, nothing too spectacular on my end.  I had a lobster roll with fries, and Patrick had a club sandwich and fries.  I think it would be a great place for a dinner date, with some cocktails from the bar.  There was a lounge room in the back with couches and comfy looking chairs.  The bar was beautiful, and the cocktails list looked like it came straight out of Gatsby’s era.  They also had several beers on tap.

After we left the downtown area, we went to Hopeland Gardens, which I had seen an advertisement for.  Hopeland is a 14 acre equestrian estate belonging to the Iselin family.  After the death of Mrs. Iselin, she bequeathed the property to the city.  The 14 acres boast beautiful oak trees that shade the winding brick paths and beautiful ponds filled with fish and turtles.  It would be a beautiful park setting for a wedding, and is adjacent to RyePatch, another estate with museums and rental facilities.  We walked around for about 40 minutes before going back over to the stables area, which is home to the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum.  It is a smaller museum, showcasing Aiken’s history in the equestrian world.  It was a nice chance to cool off from the 100 degree temperatures outside.

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In all, it was a nice little road trip for the day. After we left Aiken, we drove over to Augusta, which was less than 20 miles away.  We drove thru the downtown area, drove past the entrance to Augusta National Golf Club (which was sort of disappointing in my opinion!) and then walked around the mall for a bit.  Drove home the back way through the country, and saw lots of peach orchards and farms.   Dinner at IHop finished our day out, and it was a nice chance to unwind and talk about the day.  I give Aiken 2 thumbs up for its quaint downtown area, and the fun shops!

 

 

Jul 152015
 

We were in New Bern for the afternoon while visiting my family, and he was thrilled with these tracks going thru town and could not wait to walk along them.  Happy boy = Happy mama.

May his love for trains and adventure never cease.  

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Jul 132015
 

Communication – the key to any good, stable relationship is to talk-talk-talk.   Relationships end when people stop talking and communicating with one another, whether its spouses or friends.  In this day of facebook messaging, texting and FaceTime, there truly is no excuse for losing touch with one another.

A long time ago Patrick and I made a promise that everyday during work that one of us will send a “check-in” email to the other.  99% of the time its me sending the email. Some days I get a response, most days I don’t and that’s ok.  Its just that moment of saying “hey, I was thinking of you and wanted to let you know”.   There are times the emails are 1 liners that just say hey, or I love you.  Some days I am witty and write silly things that have happened so far during the day.  He says he gets them, and reads them – but often doesn’t have the time to respond.  There are days when he will send me an out of the blue text, or call me on my lunch break.  Those are the things that remind both of us that we are in this adventure together and are committed to making “us” work.

We talk every morning on the way to work.  I have said it before, and I’ll say it again;  this above everything else (including coffee), is what starts my morning off right.  He started these calls before we ever started dating officially.  I have told this story before about how he called me one morning at 730 on my way to work.  I thought this guy is crazy and sent him to voicemail.  I did this a couple mornings in a row, and then finally answered.  His reason for calling that early – he knew that I was on my way to work, which meant uninterrupted time to talk to me.  With 4 kids between us, phone calls that aren’t punctuated by “MOM!” or “Dad can you help me” are rare.  These conversations happen, even if we stayed the night with each other and saw each other 15 minutes prior.  They last from 5-15 minutes.  They always start the same and end the same (with the same “lines”).

The point of all of this is – we make a point to make time for one another and have that communication – every single day.  We know that life is crazy sometimes, we know that “keeping it real” means real, hard work.   Yes its hard, but its so worth it.

Jul 112015
 

I have decided to start a new weekly feature called South Carolina Saturday.  I will try to feature a South Carolina attraction – such as a museum, park or town, or a great place to eat!  South Carolina is so full of amazing places, and I’d love to share them all with you.

I have written about Charleston a few times already, so I will focus on something local to me that is a place I love to eat!

logowithburger

Located in Five Points at 827 Harden Street, Pawley’s has been voted Best Hamburger in Columbia by The Free Times newspaper.   There is also a location down near the coast in Mount Pleasant (near Charleston).  

They have a variety of hamburgers, salads, fish tacos and wraps.  The burgers are named after towns across South Carolina, such as the Beaufort (topped with Franks Red Hot onion rings, fried egg, apple cured ham, cheddar cheese) or the Wadlamaw (topped with chipotle barbeque sauce, fried pickle chips, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese).   For most burgers you get to pick your choice of bun (traditional Sesame Kaiser, Multi Grain, Ciabatta, or Pretzel) and a side.  They have fries (of course!), onion rings and these to die for sweet potato fries with cinnamon sugar.  My personal favorite though is the Isle of Palms Burger on a pretzel bun.  It comes topped with pimento cheese and jalapeno bacon.  Oh yes…can’t get much more southern that pimento cheese!

They also have daily specials, ranging from “kids eat for $1″ on Mondays to “student discount sundays” (since it is located adjacent to USC, giving students a 20% discount is pretty awesome!)

Next time you are in Columbia, be sure to check this gem out!

Jun 262015
 


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Sign up today and get the Swag Code while it lasts!!

Jun 262015
 

For today’s edition of Five 4 Friday, I thought I would share some of the places that I love in this state.

fallspark

Falls Park – Greenville, SC.  

Greenville is such an amazing example of a city putting money into their city to make it pedestrian friendly, and driving businesses downtown (vs. the burbs).   Their main street is so alive with shops, bars & restaurants and hotels.  The park is beautiful, with swings and benches all around.  This is one of our favorite shops in Greenville!
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huntingisland
Hunting Island State Park, St. Helena, SC

Hands down one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to.  The Hunting Island lighthouse overlooks the Atlantic at this state park just between Charleston and Savannah, east of Beaufort.  The waves may have broken and battered its tree-lined coast, but it makes it all the more haunting and beautiful.
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beaufort

Beaufort, SC

Otherwise known as Beaufort by the Sea.  This beautiful, quaint little southern town is a place I was blessed to call home for 3.5 years, from February 2002-July 2005.   Shops like the Craftseller & The Chocolate Tree and amazing restaurants like Dockside and Saltus make this a must for a weekend trip.
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North Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC

One of mine and Patrick’s absolute favorite places to visit.  So much history, so many beautiful homes, and so much yummy food.  We love the waterfront park with the swings, and walking the battery (seen above).  We enjoyed a trip there in March for our 2nd anniversary and hit up several beaches too while we were down there.

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williamsbrice

Williams Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC

Did you think this wouldn’t make the list?  There is little in this world that is more amazing than to hear the opening of 2001, and screaming your head off with 82,000 of your closest friends.  I love everything about it (except maybe the 100* temps we have some game days).  From 2001, to the band forming the iconic gates, to Sandstorm.  This place holds a very special place in my heart.  Go Gamecocks!