Hanging Out At…My Apartment, Christmas Village, La Viola, and the Kimmel Center

nacho-libreIf we were playing What Do You Meme (got this for my brother for Christmas, so fun, you must play) that would be my caption.

I really enjoyed myself this season! The festivities began when I hosted my Dad and Barb for our annual celebration the weekend before Christmas. I love finding the perfect gift, making sure the house smells good, that there’s enough to drink, the music is playing at the right volume in the background, and thinking of the perfect menu for everyone’s dietary needs. My challenge: Something satisfying that was gluten free and didn’t have red meat or bacon. Here was my invitation and menu:2016-christmas-invite-blogThe Farmer’s Casserole recipe was from the Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook I got a few years ago as a Christmas gift 🙂 It was perfect, because the “crust” was made from crispy hash brown potatoes, and I eliminated the bacon! The chicken apple sausage from Applegate Farms is always so juicy and flavorful, Barb made the roasted vegetables (a crowd favorite). img_1797

The Gingerbread yogurt parfait was a much simpler version of Bobby’s Flay’s creation. Regular plain yogurt (I’ll use Greek in the future), mixed with maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, sliced bananas, topped with whipped cream and a gluten free gingerbread soft-baked cookie! It was really warm that day, so the whipped cream didn’t last too long 🙂img_1802

And then my favorite cold-weather drink…Caramel Apple Sangria. I’ve been making this for about 3 years and it never gets old 🙂 I posted about it before here. The original recipe is from The Wholesome Dish, but see my version below!

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

And then, no Ferenz family gathering would have been complete without the props and selfies…
img_1806 img_1816img_1809My apartment is small, but I really do love to entertain. I’m thinking it should be a goal of mine in 2017.

I took a day off mid-week to stroll around the city and take in all of the Winter Wonders. The first stop was the Christmas Village in Dilworth Plaza. They have lots of local vendors that set up tents, and there’s a carousel, and food, and drinks, an ice skating rink, and lots of happy children!img_1848 img_1846img_1842They had a really cute photo spot with Christmas trees and a winter scene, but my arms were only long enough to capture the happiness that the whole season brings!

Afterwards, I treated myself Lobster Ravioli at one of favorite Italian restaurants, La Viola Bistro (East).img_1853And, obviously, I topped that carb-laden pasta off with some Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake.img_1854 I may be back in Philadelphia, but my Charleston appetite is here to stay!

And then off to the Kimmel Center, where I may have found myself a new annual tradition…my girl, Elise, at work told me that she was going to the Kimmel Center to watch Home Alone projected onto a big screen, while the Philadelphia Orchestra played the entire musical score. Ummm, yes please! After she told me this, I spent the next 2 days thinking about it, and then woke up on my day off, bought myself a ticket and enjoyed it, like no other! It was JUST like watching the regular movie, except that at the music parts, the orchestra would play. Heaven.img_1859 img_1861The music is already amazing, but being in this beautiful theater, knowing that Christmas was only 4 days away, it was about as close to a child-like Christmas magic I’ve felt in a long time 🙂

Then on Christmas Eve, I met my bestie, Sue, for a lovely brunch, where we talked, ate, and “aired our grievances“. img_1883

And then Iron Man and I jetted up to his hometown to spend time with his wonderful, loving, generous family ❤ img_1884After a late night of gift-giving, drinking, talking, and laughter, we got up early and made our way back so I could celebrate with my mom’s side!img_1904 img_1909img_1891Isn’t Caroline the cutest?! Her brother was supposed to be in the photos, but between the 32 people and 2 dogs in attendance, that photo ended up looking more like this:img_1900#truelife

And for the final Christmas Celebration of 2016, I got to spend some time with this little hunnie last night. Emmie in her feather boa. So cute!img_1942Hope ya’ll had as wonderful of a Christmas as me and my families!

I have a special post for tomorrow about my Word of the Year and an overview of last year’s word!

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 much 🙂 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 music 🙂 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 city 🙂

Sunday was another beach day which included more eating, laughing, talking, and sunning 🙂

 

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 slivers 🙂 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 parking 🙂img_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 time 🙂 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 ate 🙂 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 house 🙂img_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 table 🙂img_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!

 

Hanging Out At…Elizabeth Stuart Design

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Right after my trip to Page’s Okra Grill, I stopped in Elizabeth Stuart Design. Not only is the shop an eclectic mix of old an new, but they also sell some very unique jewelry. Tim was working in the shop that day and he was really kind and explained several pieces, while also talking to me about some of their design projects. He encouraged me to take photos for the blog, so here you go!

img_0244 img_0243img_0242That emerald green velvet with the crisp white and natural rattan. In Love.img_0239 img_0238 img_0237 img_0236 img_0235 img_0234 img_0233 img_0248 img_0249 img_0250 Tim told me that the lamp above and it’s matching friend were vintage Ralph Lauren. img_0267img_0255 Why haven’t I thought about a round desk? Well, I’m thinking about one now, and how convenient and lovely it would be!img_0256 img_0257 img_0258 img_0251 img_0252 img_0253img_0268

Their jewelry was all from individual designers. Here are some of my favorite pieces:

img_0264img_0263img_0261I know it’s not THE Sarah Richardson, but I just thought was amusing…

But this one was even more amusing…

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If you know my good friend, Robin, you’ll be amused too 🙂

And what did I wear?

img_0230Striped Seersucker Dress: Love Fire via TJ Maxx

Hanging out At…Page’s Okra Grill

Right before I left, I met with a long-time family friend, Joanne, to give her some design suggestions for her home. She just sent me a beautiful card as a thank you and added the sweetest encouraging message for my journey. She always has the perfect words to make you feel safe and that everything will be OK. Do you know anyone like that? It doesn’t matter what is happening, she always brings peace wherever she goes. It’s really a remarkable quality. How lucky am I to have her in my corner? 🙂 The card also contained a generous gift card and a recommendation to try Page’s Okra Grill (in Mt. Pleasant).

So, this Saturday, I made a little trip out to some design stores in the area (more to come!) and then stopped for lunch! What a DELICIOUS outing!img_0269The place was so crazy packed with people, but I quickly snagged a seat at the bar, which gave me a front row seat to all of the action. That place was running like a well-oiled machine. They literally had my food out to me within 5 minutes. The waitress was super nice and offered her honest opinion when I was torn between the Chicken & Waffle vs. Southern Fried Chicken Biscuit. I got the Southern Fried Chicken Biscuit, because it was a smaller portion size:img_0270
It also left more room for dessert, obviously. My first ever (but DEFINITELY not last) taste of Banana Pudding. Oh.My.God. Seriously, why has this not been popularized in the Northeast?? It was so incredible, I even wrote a review on Tripadvisor about it…img_0271I also shared my love of dessert with a nice couple sitting next to me. They were from Charlotte, NC and were down for the day. They originally ordered the Peanut Butter Pie, but when I ordered my Banana Pudding, they changed their order to the same thing, and we all agreed that it was the right choice 🙂coupleOK, I admit, this isn’t them, but it captures the joy we all felt while devouring our dessert 🙂

Thanks, Joanne!

 

 

 

 

Hanging Out At…Whisk, Theodora Park, Candlefish, and Sugar Bakeshop

It’s been rainy for days here and I’ve been cooped up in the apartment going insane. So when I woke up yesterday morning and saw that it was sunny, I knew I had to take advantage. This meant that I actually dried my hair, straightened it, and put on a full face. img_0202Top: Gaze USA via TJ Maxx. I got 4 compliments on this top! Woo Hoo!!

Denim Shorts: Target (This are SO cute, but unfortunately, they ride up showing everyone your sweet cheeks…They’re only good if you’re standing still) Maybe “appropriate length denim shorts” should be in an On The Hunt post…

First up: Early lunch at Whiskwhisk-2source

The interiors of this place are just so cute! It was too weird for me to take a photos, so Please enjoy the blurry photo I found online 🙂 It was the only one that looked the most accurate to what it looks like now!whisk-1I tried the Power Bowl Salad (spinach, romaine, chicken, bacon, cheddar, tomato, avocado, flax seed, Whisk vinaigrette) and the Tropical Verde Juice (pineapple, kale, oranges, ginger). The guy at the counter was super nice and really helpful. He gave me some samples of juice to help me figure out what I wanted. The verdict is that it was just alright. Their Whisk Vinaigrette is similar to a Green Goddess-type dressing, but it wasn’t as flavorful as I had hoped. I don’t know what I was really expecting from a salad and juice. It was definitely edible (and I definitely ate) but maybe I’d try a smoothie the next time…At least I went and tried it!img_0208Note the Dreams of Joy book in the background…lol

Second Stop: Reading in Theodora Parkimg_0077This whole city is so quiet, but in the residential Ansonborough neighborhood, there is a quiet little park with a reflection pool and small tables. It’s so peaceful here. Not too many tourists, so it makes a perfect spot for afternoon reading. I have to admit, these photos were taken a few days ago when I walked by there at sunset, but the #currentmood was still the same…img_0076 img_0079

Third Stop: Perusing Candlefishcandlefishsource

This boutique candle shop is a sensory dream come true. It smelled like heaven, the visual displays were phenomenal, and the music was chill.

img_0211 img_0214This is their scent bar, where you choose which scents you want mix together, if you make your own candle! They have several workshop dates, and I definitely plan on attending one!img_0217Love those branch candles! And the candles on this display…I can’t even…Illlume’s Pumpkin Peppercorn candle for $22 was like an autumnal paradise! Apothecary’s Tobacco and Patchouli was also reminiscent of a sweet pipe smoking lounge 🙂img_0218

And these flowers were absolute perfection to me:img_0212img_0210These lovely block prints are also available through Perla Anne Press on Etsy or at the Charleston Farmers Market!

And I couldn’t help but chuckle at these cheeky dishes:img_0216 img_0215

Speaking of portion control, onto the sweetest stop on the tour!

Fourth Stop: Indulging in mini cupcakes at Sugar Bakeshopimg_0219Like, really, this is the cutest shop ever. It looks like a bakery out of a dream! I walked by here the other day, but it was already closed, so I decided to take advantage of my day and take the 20 minute trek to the other side of town to snag me some sweets. I quickly picked out my 3 mini guys: Vanilla, Almond, and Coconut. Truth be told, I think I should have arrived earlier when the cupcakes were freshly baked. I’m afraid Dia Doce’s are still the winner, even after sitting for a week…fullsizerenderAs soon as I walked out, the clouds started rolling in and it was dark. I booked it out of there, just in time to be caught in the most extreme downpour I’ve ever experienced without an umbrella. I was slipping out of my shoes, the cardboard carrying box was disintegrating in my hands, a raindrop fell into my mascara’d eye, completely removing any and all traces of makeup, my straightened hair was completely drenched, and my top was so sopping wet that I could actually wring it out. This is me as soon as I got home…img_0221

And as soon as I dried off, the rain stopped completely. That’s what I get for eating cupcakes…

 

 

Hanging Out At…Brown Dog Deli

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My high-school friend, Liz, texted me the other day (even though she just had the sweetest baby girl, Delaney!) to tell me about Brown Dog Deli, a restaurant she tried when she was here a few years ago.

She recommended the “Apple Butter Jeans” sandwich…img_0128

So that’s just what I got!img_0131It was really, really good. The brie was all melty, and the apples were all tangy, and the bread was perfectly crisp.

Here was my view as I enjoyed my late lunch at Waterfront Park:img_0130

She also suggested Kilwins for the Salted Caramel Apple. Although I didn’t try one that day, I promised her (and myself) that I wouldn’t leave Charleston without snagging one at some point 🙂

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Thank you Liz for the suggestion!

As for what I wore, this lunch occurred on the same day as my Acquisitions escapade 🙂

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