Charleston Trip and Restaurant Recommendations

Thanks to my parents who kept Davis and Kenan, and our sweet friends and hosts, Patrick and Maureen, we were able to spend a wonderful weekend in Charleston!  Todd had been traveling for work since last Sunday.  First he went to Arizona, then to Charleston. I met him there on Friday, and we spent some time with our friends who we hadn’t seen in a while.  Todd’s co-worker’s wedding was there on Sunday, so it was a perfect weekend to combine that with a getaway.

On Friday our friends took us to dinner at Red Drum in Mt. Pleasant.  We each had fish dishes, and they were delicious!  Maureen and I are both 18-19 weeks pregnant, so we called it an early night. :)

Patrick took us kayaking and paddle boarding on Saturday morning.  Those are some of mine and Todd’s favorite activities, so we were in heaven!  The weather and conditions were beautiful, and it was such a relaxing time.  I spent a few minutes silently talking to God and thanking Him for allowing us this life that we love so much.

kayaking in Charleston, SC

So far, bikinis are more comfortable than one-piece bathing suits, so I’m just rocking the bump! 

Later that day we grabbed lunch and headed to the beach!  It was plenty hot to sit on the beach, and we even swam in the water.

weekend trip to Charleston, SC

He may not appreciate me posting this, but it’s too good not to. ;) 

That night Todd and I went on a date to The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island, and then out on King St for ice cream at Jeni’s (our first time) and a cocktail (water for me) at Macintosh.  I will never ever be bored with dating my husband!

Flash-Fried Shishito Peppers with Chipotle Dip; Brussels with Farro (I skipped the farro); (gluten free) Short Rib Pasta – all so delicious!

Jeni's Ice Cream

From left-right: Salty Caramel; Brown Butter Almond Brittle; Bourbon Salted Pecan; Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk

Sunday morning involved brunch at Poogan’s Porch, and a walk around downtown Charleston and the Battery.  It was our first time eating at Poogan’s Porch, and it was a fun experience.  The restaurant is charming, and overall the food and drinks were yummy!  I had a vegetable frittata with fennel topped with a baby kale salad, with a side of grits.  Todd had the chicken and waffles, which looked amazing.

18 weeks pregnant bump picture; brunch in Charleston

18 weeks pregnant; Charleston trip

We couldn’t stop mentioning how perfect the weather felt!

Todd’s co-worker was getting married that afternoon, which is one of the main reasons we made the trip.  Her wedding was outside beside the water, and it was very picturesque.  If you’re looking for a wedding or event venue around Charleston, it was the Creek Club at I’On in Mt. Pleasant.

wedding attire for wedding; 18 weeks pregnant

my dress (only $52, and also comes in patterns and a creamy white)


I also wore this ring from Asos all weekend – I’m kind of obsessed

wedding at Cross Creek Club in Charleston, SC

wedding at Cross Creek Club in Charleston

We arrived back home around midnight last night, and finally got to see our favorite boy bright and early this morning!  As much as we loved the time away together, we truly missed Davis!

Friday Favorites

Happy first-real-weekend-of-2016!  Jumping back into the real world on Monday was tough, but also kind of refreshing.  It felt nice to get back into a routine, and to continue implementing some new habits.  I hope you all have a relaxing couple of days ahead!

I am linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.

If you missed my recent posts, here is a quick line-up:

Now onto my five current favorites:

ONE: I am currently Caesar salad-obsessed! I’ve made it for dinner twice in less than a week. I have a recipe coming next week of how to make a Caesar salad from scratch at home, and then turn it into a chicken caesar salad collard green wrap.  SO good and very healthy!  Stay tuned for that.

p.s. The leftovers from the Gluten Free Honey Polenta Cornbread I posted earlier this week worked to make some yummy croutons for the salad!

Caesar Salad collard green wraps

TWO: If you follow me on instagram, you probably saw that we had a photoshoot for Honor Roll Designs with our business partners/crew/bffs last week.  We wanted to show some various ways that our shirts can be styled. Some of us (ahem, myself) were awkward and goofy, and we laughed a TON.  And some of my friends are just natural models!  I will post more photos next week, but here is my favorite group shot. :)

Honor Roll Designs; Friends t-shirt; Chicago Bulls t-shirt; Seinfeld t-shirt; Warriors t-shirt; Spurs t-shirt

1991 Chicago Bulls | Friends tank | 2009 UNC Tar Heels | Seinfeld | Golden State Warriors | San Antonio Spurs tank

THREE: For my birthday last week, Todd took me out to lunch.  I picked Luna’s Living Kitchen!  I had never eaten there, but we really enjoyed it.  That chai coconut milk latte?!  I am majorly craving another one!  I will certainly go there again.

Luna's Living Kitchen

Later that night, Sarah and my girlfriends, organized a girls’ night for us.  Girl talk, tacos, beers, yoga pants, painting nails…perfection!

FOUR: I have a current vacation dream that I just cannot get out of my head…30A Florida!  I’ve never been and now I’m dying to go.  Now to find an affordable rental. (I’m on a mission!)

30A Florida

FIVE: Absolutely.

Life is tough, my darling, but so are you


I hope you all have fantastic weekends! xoxo




Paris Trip: The Food Part 1

It is no secret that I am a food lover, foodie, chef (former chef), whatever you’d like to call me. I am always infatuated with delicious dishes and though I strive to eat healthy, food is a great passion of mine. But, the food we had in Paris was on quite another level than anything I am used to.

When planning our trip, Casey and I found restaurants first, and charted our daily course around our reservations. She was kind enough to call and reserve us tables at each of the places we chose to dine. My French is quite poor these days. She also had to call almost every place we went, because we were always running a few minutes late – you know, girls take forever to get ready. Then we were always commuting on foot, stopping to take pictures along the way, and regularly getting turned around (thankfully never too lost).

Our restaurant list included:

I am dividing this up into 3 posts, because I clearly have far too many words to say about these dining experiences. I completely understand if you’d like to skip these posts!

On Saturday after we arrived, we took the Metro to our hotel, were thankfully able to check in early and freshen up, then we headed to lunch. We had decided to try the tasting menu at one of Pierre Sang’s restaurants. He was a Top Chef semi-finalist in France and has multiple restaurants in the Marais.  Read this article from The Paris Kitchen for more info about where we ate lunch.  The tasting was 5 courses, and we were served the dishes without knowing what we were eating. After eating several bites, the waiter would come and ask if we could guess the ingredients. Casey and I are both (too, perhaps? no such thing?) obsessed with food, so we were in our element.

The first course was seared mackerel with an aioli type sauce with lemon, coriander, and paprika I believe. It was served with lemon leaves, thin potato crisps, and dots of lemon curd.


The second course was daikon soup/puree with prawns (gambas), herring caviar, fennel coulis, frisee lettuce, and potato crisps.

Paris restaurant, 5 course lunch, Pierre Sang Gambey

The third course was pork.  It was a cut near the shoulder, served with the jus, beet puree, spicy miso sauce, brussels sprout leaves.

Pierre Sang Gambey in Paris

The fourth course was a cheese (I cannot remember the name) with yuzu marmalade. The yuzu was bitter and sweet, and we loved it.

cheese course at Pierre Sang Gambey Paris

The fifth course was some type of blueberry corn cake that was not overly sweet. It was served with fresh blueberries, blueberry compote, a blueberry sorbet that was fantastic – deep, bold blueberry flavor, a piece of meringue, chantilly cream, and some type of mousse.

Paris restaurant, Pierre Sang Gambey

We each had a glass of wine – Casey had chablis and I had chardonnay. I wish I had written down the names! I did not record the wine we enjoyed during this trip, and I regret it now.

For dinner on Saturday, we wanted something more casual. Casey found several ideas for restaurants that strayed far from traditional French, and we chose Hero. This restaurant was small, and served food that was a spin on Korean bbq and fried chicken. We started with an arugula salad with nuts, and a citrus shiso dressing (I think). Then we had a pork bun with some type of slaw and fresh jalapenos. It was incredible. For the main plate, we had 3 types of Korean fried chicken: plain, sweet and sour, and spicy. We also had cocktails…Casey had one with spritz, prosecco, etc, and I had a whiskey drink with pear. The flavor was quite smoky, and tasted mostly like scotch, but it was good.

cocktails at Korean restaurant in Paris Paris restaurant, Hero Paris restaurant, Hero

Hero had a fun vibe, and we were seated upstairs at close, hi-top style tables. The servers were very friendly and helpful. I would certainly recommend this restaurant, especially if you’d like to stray away from traditional French fare.


So that is day 1!  Stay tuned for more restaurant details!

A Look at Our Long Weekend in Paris

I am finally posting about my trip to Paris!  I have 2 or 3 more posts coming, just about the food. 

I have mentioned my best friend, Casey, several times on my blog. Our friendship goes back to the end of middle school/beginning of high school. She and I had basically every class together in high school, and also went to UNC-Chapel Hill together. But she went there on a full ride (ahem, brilliant!) and I was a normal student. ;) We are different in some ways, but in most ways, we are pretty much the same person. After college and the beginning of her career, she eventually moved to Paris, to further her job, and live closer to her wonderful French boyfriend, who is now her husband. She and Antoine have two amazing kids. Over the past 8 years or so, we have really only seen each other when she comes home to NC to visit. My husband, my parents and I did travel to France in 2009, and she and Antoine were wonderful hosts.

Being across the Atlantic from her is tough. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in her early twenties, and that makes it even harder. I remember the exact moment, years ago, when she called to tell me of her diagnosis. I am not able to be there when she’s sick or in pain or having tests done, and the main way that we keep in touch is through frequent texting. So being able to take this trip, and have a girls’ weekend away in PARIS was incredible. I wanted to be able to come close to where she lives, instead of her always having to come near where I live to see her. Paris seemed like the obvious, appropriate place. (Hello!!!) My only disappointment is that I wasn’t able to see Antoine or her kids. This timing worked out well, because all of our kids are in some version of preschool, and like I said before, OUR HUSBANDS ARE SAINTS.


Before we left for the airport

Casey and I had a relatively quick trip. She and I both arrived in Paris on Saturday morning, and we left early Tuesday morning. She was my tour guide and translator the entire trip, and I am so grateful she was patient with me as I complained how my feet hurt from walking! (Seriously though, we walked 11-13 miles/day).

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We stayed in the Saint-Germain area, and explored many parts of Paris. We were near the Seine and the Louvre, so the scenery was gorgeous. We spent time in the Marais, and also in other areas. We walked (and walked and walked!), ate, and shopped and had a fabulous time! Honestly, neither of us are fully into museums, so we chose to base our trip around exploring and eating. We did walk around the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. She lived in Paris a few years ago, and I had traveled there previously and done several of the must-see places.

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I wish I had taken pictures of all of the beautiful doors we saw!
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We had an incredible trip!  I realize how once-in-a-lifetime this was, and I am so grateful to Casey for all of her planning, and to our husbands and my parents for taking care of our kids!

Five on Friday

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week!  I am back from my trip to Paris, and I have been attempting to catch up on life, while conquering jet lag. :)  I am so grateful for the experience of traveling overseas with one of my best friends!  Life is getting back to normal now, and I am thankful for that as well.  I will post all about our Paris trip in the next week or two!  For now, I’m linking up with all the girls for the fun Friday posts!

April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea

ONE: Macarons from Paris!  Casey and I didn’t shop much while we were on our girls’ trip, but I did want to bring something back for Davis.  He loves when I make macarons, and Casey and I wanted to try some from Pierre Hermé.  We went to the store and tried a few flavors ourselves, then I brought a box of 7 home for Todd and Davis.  He was quite excited!

macarons from Paris


TWO: Eye beauty products.  I am trying a few new items – makeup and skin care – for my eyes.  I posted about Neulash a few weeks ago, and so far I’m happy with it.  It does make your eyelashes grow, and I’m excited to see how much they’ll have grown in a month!  It slightly burns my eyes after I apply it, but it quickly goes away.  I have bad dark circles, so I bought a product at a pharmacy in Paris to hopefully remedy that some.  It can also be bought in the U.S.  And my friend, Allison (thanks!), suggested I could try charcoal eyeliner.  I’ve been pairing that color with a matte green eyeshadow (new as well), and so far I’m liking the combination!

eyelash growth serum

nude matte green eyeshadow

(color is Covet)

charcoal gray eyeliner

(color is Charcoal)

serum for under eye circles

THREE: Fall produce!  Apples and pumpkins take center-stage this time of year, but this season yields so many other delicious vegetables!  I included some of my favorites in this salad for dinner last night.  The beets, brussels, cauliflower, and butternut squash were all roasted – delish!  The kale, beets, and squash were all from our CSA.

  • Kale, chopped; toss with dressing and let sit for 30 minutes before serving
  • Beets, peeled, drizzled with olive oil, loosely wrapped up in foil, roasted at 400 for 50 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 375 for 30 minutes
  • Cauliflower, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 375 for 30 minutes
  • Butternut Squash, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 375 for 30 minutes
  • Quinoa, cooked in chicken stock with 1 clove garlic
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Avocado
  • Goat Cheese
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette

beets, fall produce fall salad with roasted vegetables: beets, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, kale, goat cheese

FOUR: My mom let me borrow her leather jacket for our trip, and now I know I need one for myself.  But hers is pretty great so I may have to steal it. ;)  I looked online and found a few promising options.  One of these may need to be added to my Christmas/birthday wish list. (These are all faux leather).

black leather jacket outfit


faux leather jacket black leather jacket black leather jacket

FIVE: As I’m sure many of us are, I am thinking about the holidays, and how I want to decorate my house.  This table setting from Style Me Pretty would be perfect for a simple Thanksgiving look, and could easily transition into Christmas, with a few added touches!  It is a given that I will love anything with magnolia leaves! 

Thanksgiving table decor


Have a fun, restful weekend!  Thank you for reading!




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Girls Weekend in Boone, NC

Two weekends ago I spent the weekend in Boone, NC with my college roommates. We had not all been together in years, so this reunion was so wonderful! After leaving college, getting real jobs, marrying, having kids, traveling for work, moving away, etc, it is difficult to see each other. The friendships are still there, though, and getting to spend an entire weekend together was refreshing and encouraging. And so fun! We are still all there for each other through tough times and joyful times, and that is a true gift.


We rented a cabin and spent time catching up, drinking wine, and listening to the rain (oh, the rain!). On Saturday we ventured out for lunch at Eat Crow, a wine tasting and an afternoon drink at Grandfather Vineyard, and dinner at Bistro Roca (formerly Antler’s). Because of the rain, we stayed away from shopping or walking around town. Our experiences at each place on Friday were lovely. I would highly recommend lunch at Eat Crow – one of the best salads I’ve had, and all of the girls were happy with their chosen dishes. Grandfather Vineyard was charming, and has plenty of outdoor seating. The views of the vineyard and the river were great. Dinner at Bistro Roca was fabulous. I had the Wood Roasted Sweet Potato “salad,” which I copied slightly once I got home.

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(Thanks for letting me steal some of your pictures, girls! ;))


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Saturday (still plenty of rain) involved a spa treatment for everyone at Chetola Resort, cheap Mexican food for lunch, and dinner at The Gamekeeper. I’m not sure if Chetola is used to being able to accommodate that many treatments during the same time frame, but we all had massages and thoroughly enjoyed our time relaxing. We felt rather spoiled! (The grounds were set up for a wedding that day, and we all felt so sorry for the bride who had to get married during a flood. Awful, right?!) Dinner at The Gamekeeper was a worthwhile experience. I would recommend it to anyone traveling to Boone who is looking for a nice and different dining experience. The menu has some rare foods not found on typical menus. The elk and the ostrich were a hit, and the bread pudding for dessert was the group favorite.

The Gamekeeper Restaurant, NC

Being able to spend a weekend with my friends was wonderful and needed. We enjoyed the girl talk, caught up on each other’s lives, and had some cathartic conversations. We’re already discussing taking a cruise together in a couple years! Love you, Margaret, Neely, Allison, and Shannon!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time!

I am linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.


ONE: I am still in disbelief about this, but I am going to Paris later today!  I will get there Saturday morning their time, and Casey and I are meeting in the airport.  We have plans to enjoy amazing restaurants, and tour the city.  Thank goodness she lives in France and can handle all communication, because my days of speaking French are long gone!  I posted on Monday about my packing plans, and I will certainly write a trip recap once I’m home.

weekend in Paris wardrobe chic fall outfit; black and white outfit weekend wardrobe for trip to Paris





TWO: Have any of you seen Three Sheep Shack on etsy?!  Jess, from Silex in the City, and her mom have started this store full of homemade, crochet scarves, hats and gifts! And the prices are so reasonable! Jess sent me this merlot-colored infinity scarf, and I love it.  I already know I will wear this far too much this Fall and Winter.  I paired mine with chambray a couple different ways:

1.Chambray dress + vest (this year’s version) + boots (same brand as mine, with a shorter heel)

Three Sheep Shack scarf three sheep shack scarf

2.Chambray shirt + camo pattern/military jeans (or these) + booties (similar)

chambray shirt, camo pants, merlot infinity scarf, booties

Three Sheep Shack scarf

Check out her shop here!

THREE: Sarah and I took the kids to the Hodges Farm pumpkin patch on Wednesday! It was H O T!! My gosh, I was a sweaty mess, but we still had fun!  They have a barn with some sweet baby animals, a little maze, games, and a patch to pick pumpkins.  Oh, and tractors!  The boys’ favorite!  We did come home with one giant pumpkin to carve, and 3 small ones to paint.

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FOUR: I think I have posted about this before, but it’s been awhile.  I had to share my favorite lip gloss: NYX Butter gloss!  Do any of you girls use this kind?  I have it in Tiramisu and Angel Food Cake.  It is inexpensive, it goes on well, has a great sheen, and it is soft and not sticky.

NYX lip gloss NYX lip gloss







FIVE: Follow along on instagram if you’d like to see more of our trip!

Paris quote


A bientôt!








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