Food and Friends and Festive Drinks

Hi!

I had the pleasure of attending the baby shower for¬†one of my oldest friends, Aisling, today. It was wonderful catching up with some old high school friends AND their adorable little onesūüôā
img_1647We got talking about food (obviously), and I promised I would link to¬†my post about my Chik-Fil-A Nuggets Copycat Recipe from January. So when you get the craving on a Sunday, you’re covered!

And, just for you, Mary, the perfect Holiday Sangriaūüôā

Caramel Apple Sangria

2 apples (I like Honeycrisp)

6 cups apple cider ( I like Red Jacket brand)

1 bottle white wine (I like Barefoot Moscato)

1 cup caramel vodka

1/4 cup caramel sauce

Mix and drink…liberally

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Light and Easy

Hello from Philadelphia!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been thinking about¬†everything that is important to me. Fostering friendships, laughing, enjoying my work, cultivating important relationships,¬†eating really good food, spending time with family, laughing more, transforming my hair into¬†“Charleston Blonde”, so I can finally be a blonde “Ole” emoji in my group text with my Chucktown Girls, more laughing, and committing to fun in everyday lifeūüôā

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I truly feel like I emerged out of my chrysalis into the most beautiful butterfly. I’m in the best place in my life to give and receive love. I’ve proved to myself many, many times throughout the past few years that everything is¬†possible.¬†“Fierce” is the best way that I can describe the feeling that I have entering my 30s.

In order for me to keep up this momentum (because, let’s face it, life throws you some lemons, even when you’re sipping that lemonade you made from the last ones), I’ve been listening to a TON of Abraham Hicks videos on YouTube. It just makes SO MUCH SENSE!

Everything SHOULD be Light and Easy. Why do we make everything more complicated for ourselves? I have SO many instances where The Universe has provided me exactly what I’ve needed at exactly the right time. So why should now be any different?

If you need some inspiration, then definitely check out the link. It’s brought me so much peace in my time of transition. Everyday, I feel closer to clarity, closer to alignment, and trying to¬†enjoy the growth that comes from experiencing contrast.¬†Abbey and I say, “The vortex is there for you, all you have to do is step in!”

It’s almost time for a new Word of the Year, and I’ve got one that feels like the right choice for 2017. Stay tuned!

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Life is Good.

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To try and describe something that’s indescribable is always impossible. You try to find words that mean what you feel, but it’s like a phrase¬†that doesn’t have a direct translation.

As I’m entering the last week of my trip,¬†I’m realizing the impact that the last 2 months have had on my life.

The healing that has come out of this journey is really incredible. If that’s all that happened I would be grateful! It’s helped me to forgive myself, forgive others, and confidently lets me know that a different path is meant for me. It’s almost like a veil was lifted and I can finally start to appreciate all of the good in my life. It’s not that I couldn’t see it before, but everything has become brighter and clearer. But that’s not all that happened. I found my inner strength, gained confidence, was¬†independent, and made some amazing friendships that I intend to keep forever.

I went out to dinner with a few friends tonight, and we were all talking about Charleston and what brought us here, and someone asked me, “What would you tell yourself 2 months ago?” And my answer really surprised me. “Nothing.”

My favorite part of this journey has been the NOT knowing. The beautiful unfolding of my life was so exciting when I DIDN’T know what was coming. This shocked me, because I’m constantly saying, “I just wish I knew what was coming next!” And for the first time in a long time, I’ve been happy with NOT¬†knowing. With letting things happen as they do and enjoying the scenery along the way.

As I sit here, with my “butterfly bestie” Abbey’s beautiful piano song she played tonight still ringing¬†in my ears, I’m trying to think of other
words that I can use to describe what this trip has meant to me, and I’m at a loss.

This rarely happens, so let’s relish in the silence, just knowing that life is good.

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Food for Thought

I know I usually post so many things about where I’ve been eating and what I’ve been wearing, but lately, this trip has become more than all of that for me (even if¬†I have been eating at great places and wearing fabulous clothes…)

I’ve really been enjoying expanding my circle of friends:

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On Friday, I met Amy (second blonde from left) at Black Tap Coffee so we could do some work out of the house. Not only did we get work done, but she also shared some great shopping sites:

Impressions

The Mint Julep Boutique

Dottie Couture Boutique

Magnolia Boutique

Ebates

After Amy left, I stayed for a while finishing up some things, and a gentleman sat down at the table next to me.¬†We got to talking and it turns out he was visiting from Denver to officiate for his friends’ wedding. He was so excited to share with me that his wife was expecting their first child. He showed me pictures of her, because he thought “she looked so cute in this one”. It was obvious that the love he had for his wife and future son was just overflowing out of him, and¬†he had to tell someone!¬†My friend Sarah, and I call this phenomenon: “I can’t know it alone”. When you witness something so good or so bad that you just HAVE to tell someone because¬†it’s basically bursting out of you! It was good to hear from a man that he loved his wife and was excited about a family. So excited, that he had to tell a stranger!

Michael said he was a pastor at a church in Denver. He asked me where I was from and how I ended up in Charleston. After telling him a little about myself,¬†he asked if he could pray with me. Typically, I wouldn’t feel comfortable¬†praying with a stranger in a public place, but for some reason, I felt like this is exactly what I was supposed to do. He left me with these words, “If God has confidence in your ability to make decisions, you should trust yourself to make decisions.”¬†I’ve committed to making sure that I take advantage of every single little¬†thing that is happening in my life now, so, hearing those words really resonated with me.

Then this morning, Abbey and I “Went on an Adventure” by walking Folly Beach out as far as we could to see Morris Lighthouse.img_0901 img_0899What started out as a morning beach walk turned into a wonderful whole day filled with meaningful conversation, lots of laughs, book recommendations, extra walks around the block, “double chills”, and cinnamon buns.img_0905You know when you meet someone and you just KNOW that your paths were meant to cross? Well, that’s how I feel about Abbey. She has such a gypsy spirit and radiates joy, no matter what lemons life throws her way.¬†We got so caught up in laughing during lunch, that we may have even disrupted some of the other diners at the Lost Dog Cafe…#sorrynotsorryimg_0907I ended my day feeling grateful and happy and ready to accept the Universe’s plans for me tomorrow!

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Whirlwind

I’ve really been off the radar, haven’t I??

My beautiful mother came to visit me last weekend, and we had the most wonderful time! I can’t believe this was the ONLY photo I have of us together!

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I picked her up from the airport on Friday morning and I had her traipsing all over Charleston in 86* heat. We went to lunch at Rue de Jean for a repeat meal of what I had beforeūüôā And we talked, laughed, and talked some more, and then strolled King Street.img_0703 Before we knew it, we were both so exhausted we had to come home and take a nap! I guess from all of the walking and soaring temperatures, it didn’t give us much of an appetite for dinner, but she did request¬†a Southern treat. So,¬†after much research about the best place for macaroni and cheese, we ended up at Cru Cafe. And they did not disappoint. Not only were we seated at the sweetest table in the corner of the outdoor patio, but the mac n cheese was so buttery and a little bit crispy and amazing.¬†That will be a place I’m hitting up again before the end of this month!

Saturday, we were up early and headed to the Farmer’s Market where we got brunch. Then it was off to see Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park, the Batteryimg_0709White Point Gardens, and meander down cobblestone streets to marvel at the window boxes and other cute homes, like The Pink House at 17 Chalmers Street¬†(which happens to be for sale right now!)

img_0704img_0708img_0706 img_0707img_0711 img_0712 Look at this tiny door!¬†img_0713 img_0715Then we took a late trip out to Middleton Place where we ¬†walked the incredible grounds. The last time I was there, my Dad and I spotted an alligator sunning itself on the lawn. I had a quick thought that I should mention this to my mom as we were walking the narrow path past the Butterfly Lakes. Well, as soon as I opened my mouth, my Mom grabs my arm and says, “Sarah, walk, walk quickly!” So, we held on to each other while laughing and running past the same alligator only a few feet away!img_0726 img_0729 img_0731img_0721 img_0722img_0724This is the stuff dreams are made of. I mean, look at this wedding that was being set up…incredible.img_0718 img_0717img_0723

Afterwards, we went to Blossom and ordered the Crab and Avocado Toast, Blue Crab Ravioli and Steak Oscar. All of which were incredible.img_0733 img_0732And for desert? Kaminsky’s¬†Toll House Cookie Pie and Lemon Pie. Yum!img_0702 img_0701

Sunday, we stayed home and just talked for hours before finally venturing out for a late lunch at Hominy Grill. I wanted to come here specifically as a belated birthday brunch for my Mom, because one of her favorite breakfasts is Huevos Rancheros, and I knew they had that on their menuūüôāimg_0735

Then, we went to Boone Hall Plantation and absorbed that beautifulness…img_0755 img_0751 img_0748img_0736img_0745 img_0740img_0762 img_0761

On the way back, we quickly stopped on the Sullivan’s Island¬†beach and drove past the Old Village Post House Inn, which you may remember from this post. We weren’t too hungry, but the weather was perfect for eating outside, so we decided to stay, and it was a great decision. We were the ONLY people eating outside, the hostess, Amanda, was super-sweet, and our waiter, Andy, was the absolute best. So calming and laid back,¬†he didn’t mind that¬†we lounged for 3 hours just chatting and enjoying our food, which was the Burrata Salad, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Lemon Berry Torte, Chocolate Pie, and Cheesecake to go. Yes. 3 desserts were ordered.img_0766 img_0765It was truly bittersweet when I dropped her back off at the airport on Monday morning. But we really did have a wonderful time talking and enjoying being friends. I missed her so much as soon as she left!

The weather was incredibly beautiful while she visited-as evident in the photos. We really lucked out, because on Tuesday at 3:45, Emily texted me telling me that Charleston was being evacuated for Hurricane Matthew. I quickly showered, not knowing when I might be able to do it again, threw my most valuable things into a bag, and tried to figure out what to do next.hurricane-matthew

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Luckily, I have some wonderful relatives (who I haven’t seen in 30 years) that live near¬†Charlotte, NC and were willing to host me (for however many days I needed!) I left my apartment at 7pm and drove¬†around for 45 minutes trying to find a gas station that had gas and didn’t have a line into the next street. I caved and went to the next closest one, and anxiously waited for an hour, hoping that they wouldn’t run out, then FINALLY started my 3 1/2 hour journey, which turned into 4 1/2 hours, and arrived in Charlotte at 2:30am. Not fun.

My relatives are so, so accommodating and are making¬†me feel so welcome. They are Italian after allūüôā Interestingly, in¬†June, I went to visit the same¬†family of relatives that live in New York, which we rarely get to see. But the NC part of the family couldn’t make it to the gathering. I had no idea that I’d be seeing the NC family now. I’ve been here since Tuesday, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to Charleston, so their kindness is so incredible AND reaffirms that I come from good stock! Again, so many blessings.

It has really been a wonderful family gathering right in the middle of my trip!

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Where Have You Been?

Well, this past week was QUITE the whirlwind! Lot’s of meeting up with friends, drinking too much, lounging at the beach, and eating myself into oblivion…

Instead of separate posts, this will be one week of nonsense crammed into one!

HANGING OUT AT …39 RUE DE JEAN

WHAT I WORE

My cousin is married to a wonderful girl, Meghan, that we love. Meghan’s¬†spunky sister, Emily, happens to live in Charleston and knows EVERYONE. Lucky me! She has been so sweet and invited me to lots of things, including lunch at 39 Rue de Jean¬†last week. It was INCREDIBLE!!! No photos, we were talking too muchūüôā We shared the Mediterranean Artichoke Ravioli and then I got the Fried Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Chicken. The chicken was so juicy and the goat cheese melted in my mouth! Oh yeah, and some Rose…Emily got¬†the Mesclun Salade with Duck Confit, which she said is what she always gets, so it must be delicious!

Here’s what I wore:

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Top: J Crew Factory (new from June, purchased for my trip!) I’m noticing now that it is slightly see-through. Oooh -la-la (you know, because France…)

Denim: Bass

 

HANGING OUT AT…LOW COUNTRY BISTRO

Next up was a late breakfast on Wednesday at Low Country Bistro for my first ever taste of their Coleman Farms Chicken & Waffle. Let’s just say, I hope it’s not my last! This place was recommended to me by 2 different people, and they were right-it was goooooood! The chicken was so juicy and crispy, the¬†waffle was made of sweet potato cornbread, and the butter was infused with pecans and bourbon.

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I have to admit that I pretty much ate the whole damn thing.

 

HANGING OUT AT…THE COCKTAIL CLUB & HALL’S CHOPHOUSE

WHAT I WORE

During our lunch, Emily said I should come out with her and her friends on Thursday night. When I asked where she wanted to meet, she said, “The Cocktail Club…Everyone goes to The Cocktail Club on Thursdays!”

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I checked out their website ahead of time, and it’s a really cool place. Very rustic and industrial with moody lighting, creative cocktails, and live musicūüôā Here’s what I wore:

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Off-the Shoulder Top: Hummingbird via C’est La Vie. Remember when I posted about it here? I wish it photographed more clearly….

Black Shorts: J Crew Factory

Earrings: Charming Charlie

Clutch: Charming Charlie

I wore nude platforms from Nine West Outlet

Here I am really enjoying myself:

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And here’s what took me over the edge and kept me up all night wishing I had taken it easier…

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Drink courtesy of our second stop,¬†Hall’s Chophouse, and the nachos from across the street, which they hand-delivered to us because we were hungry and their kitchen was closed. That’s why this place is¬†voted among the top 10 Restaurants in the US…

 

HANGING OUT AT…CO &¬†AMEN STREET FISH &¬†RAW BAR

WHAT I WORE

I’ve walked by CO¬†several times and someone told me that they enjoyed it, so I stopped in on Saturday night. It was a little confusing-a long line, but no hostess…I waited a little bit, got some menu recommendations in line, and then had a seat at the bar, where I ordered a Blackberry Cooler/Spritzer? and the ever-safe Pad Thai with Shrimp. It was SO SO good! I’m convinced there is no bad food in this town! A little spicy, with just the right crunch from the peanuts. I would DEFINITELY eat here again.

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Here’s what I wore:

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Dress: Forever21 (that I originally posted about here)

Booties: Madden Girl

And then I came home, sat inside for an hour watching the ID Network, decided I looked too cute to be sitting at home, and went on a mission to find me some key lime pie. Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar delivered.img_0635

Did I feel slightly uncomfortable that I went in by myself, at 10pm, on a Saturday night, sat at the bar, and only ordered pie? The answer is yes. Did the pie make it worth it. Also yes. Are all of my clothes seeming to shrink smaller and smaller as the weeks go by? Sadly, the answer is yes to that too…

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Earlier on Saturday, my new friend, Abbey, joined me at the beach on¬†Sullivan’s Island. It was a slightly impromptu visit, and we had such a great time laughing and talking. She is just so sweet and insightful, and I met her through Emily! I feel so happy and excited that I am making some new friends to help me feel a part of the cityūüôā

Sunday was another beach day¬†which included more eating, laughing, talking, and sunningūüôā

 

HANGING OUT AT…SAFFRON CAFE AND BAKERY & THE NOISY OYSTER SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Emily recommended Saffron Cafe and Bakery to me the other day, and so I took a stroll there this morning. I have been craving hash browns ever since I started thinking about them yesterday. This did not disappoint (see what I mean about no bad food?!)

I got the Eye Opener-2 scrambled eggs with American cheese, hash browns (obviously), and 2 biscuits, but I only ate 1! Yay! Don’t worry, that was the last self-restraint of the day. Eggs were buttery, biscuits were flaky, and hash browns were crispy. Incredible.

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I finished off my binge-fest with a spontaneous stop at The Noisy Oyster Seafood Restaurant. I’m sure any well-seasoned foodie would have said, “Out of all the places in Charleston, why would you stop there?” Well, it was on my walk home from Waterfront Park, all of their garage-style windows were open and I wanted to sit inside and read my book while feeling the breeze. So, there. That’s why. I got the Chopped Salad with Grilled Shrimp. The shrimp was actually really good-nice and pan-crispy. The salad was really flavorful and had a nice little crunch from the toasted almond sliversūüôā And that’s it. I didn’t want anything else for the whole night. Just a plain old salad.

OK, I had the Old Fashioned Banana Meringue Pudding. Gahhh! Can’t. Stop.Won’t.Stop.

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Hanging Out In…Savannah

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I decided to make the 2 hour trek down to Savannah on Sunday. I have to be honest, it was no Charleston.

I’d like to finish on a positive note, so instead of “cons”, let’s begin with what I will call-

CONcernS:

The parking situation was insane. I drove around for 45 minutes just to find a parking spot. I had wanted to visit a few shops a few minutes drive away, so I didn’t want to park in an all-day garage.

Downtown¬†wasn’t as historic as I thought it would be.¬†The city plan is actually really beautiful, however, I kept wondering if I was in the right downtown. The main strip’s buildings had more of a¬†1950’s feeling than 1850’s (which I happen to prefer) Maybe there were more historic neighborhoods if I had walked around side streets, but without being familiar with the area,¬†I didn’t feel comfortable walking around like I do in Charleston. I did take a few photos of some of the older buildings I passed by on my circling to find parkingūüôāimg_0485 img_0484 img_0483 img_0480

Most of the shops and restaurants were closed because it was Sunday.¬†This was just poor planning on my part. I tried to follow¬†this guide on 24 hours in the city, but most of the places weren’t open. (Including the author’s place, Back In The Day Bakery)

I ended up going to Goose Feathers Cafe, because it was one of the only places that was open and I read about it on a review site. It was an “express cafe”, which means you order at a counter and then they bring your food¬†to you. This would have been fine on any other day, but I had really wanted a different experience. It felt a little too college cafeteria for my mood. But I was so hangry, that I knew I needed to eat something. Immediately. Upon describing my experience to Iron Man, he said, “I’ve experienced you being hangry, first-hand. You just needed to be fed fast!” The sandwich was fine¬†and the service was good-They were so friendly. It has great reviews, so don’t judge it based on my gnaw-my-arm-off attitude at the timeūüôā If I hadn’t been so¬†discouraged, I would have stayed around¬†for a fancy dinner at The Olde Pink House at Planters Inn, which was written up in all reviews, and happened to be open.

There weren’t any plantations to visit.¬†However, I stopped by Wormsloe Historic Site, which has “Tabby Ruins”. I walked through the whole museum, and I’d hoped¬†they would have a description of what exactly “tabby” is. I just looked it up now, and apparently it’s a kind of concrete from shells, sand, and water…but the real showstopper was the beautiful oak allee with Spanish Moss¬†in all of its Southern glory¬†:) In hindsight, I should have walked through the cemeteries, which are supposed to be beautiful…img_0501img_0503

This photo was taken AFTER I ateūüôā And yes, The Charleston Dress made another appearance!

PROS:

The shops that were open were lovely! One recommendation was The Paris Market. It was SO cool in there and really reminded me of one of my faves, Terrain at Styers.img_0462img_0445 img_0446 img_0448 img_0447img_0460 img_0459 img_0458 img_0457 img_0455 img_0454 img_0452img_0453img_0451 img_0450

Also downtown was 24e Design Co., which was pretty cool, as their sign proclaims…img_0478 img_0479img_0463img_0475img_0474img_0473This ;little “loft” was on the landing between the flights of stairs. It had a low ceiling and reminded me of an adult tree houseūüôāimg_0470img_0471img_0472img_0468img_0467img_0465img_0466img_0464

And finally, I did a quick run-through of 2 Women¬†and a Warehouse (which was also recommended in the 24 hour guide). I was a little skeptical, because of the kitschy things outside, but it ended up holding a few treasures.img_0500 img_0499 Another narrow dining tableūüôāimg_0498img_0496

Check out that inlay!img_0497 img_0495 img_0494 img_0493img_0492

The ice cream was quite possibly¬†the best I’ve ever had. If you ever find yourself in Savannah, please, please, please stop at Leopold’s Ice Cream. The line was out the door and I know why. As always, I was torn between two:¬†Lemon Curd vs. Rum Bisque, both 2 of the¬†original flavors from 1919.¬†I’m usually a caramel/mocha girl, as opposed to a lemon/raspberry girl, but they recommended the Lemon Curd and it really was the right choice. It was just a tiny bit lemony, a lot a bit¬†sweet, and very creamy! It may have made my trip worth it!img_0481img_0482

The drive was really relaxing.¬†The scenery on the way down was really beautiful. Lots of open fields with flowing grass. The weather was perfect and featured clear blue skies and lots of fluffy white clouds. The clouds were so perfect and low, they looked like cotton candy and something out of a movie. It really reminded me of the trips my cousins and I used to take to our grandmother’s house in Canada. She has since sold the 75 acre property, but the memories stay.img_0506

There was a sweet country shop¬†that sold cider.¬†I passed the Carolina Cider Co.¬†on my way down, and noticed that they had another location across the highway on the other side, so I stopped on my way home. Secretly,¬†I was hoping it¬†was alcoholic…but they let me try it and it was SO tasty. I bought the Peach AND the Black Bing Cherry!¬†Not pictured is the Moscato that was purchased later to top it off!

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Although it wasn’t what I expected, it at least¬†confirmed that Charleston is my favorite southern city!

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