06 August 2018

A 30th & 60+5th Birthday Celebration in NYC

Once upon a time, or three months ago, my mom and I traveled up to New York City for a four day adventure to celebrate a year of milestone birthdays for the both of us. It was an incredible trip and it's been long overdue to write about it on here. But, the trip happened right before I hit my 1st trimester work/sleep/eat dinner/sleep/repeat hibernation and now it's time to play catch up. So, ready for it?

My mom threw out the idea of going to NYC back in January, and we booked the trip in March... two days after I found out that I was pregnant. I'd be heading to NYC right around 7-8 weeks pregnant, and figured that it would still be an ok time to go.

We woke up at the crack of dawn, got ready, and headed for the airport. 

We hopped on a quick two hour flight up to NYC and we were at our hotel by about 10:30am. Since it was my first trip and we didn't know the city super well, we chose to stay right off Times Square at the Marriott Marquis.

It was a great location and the best part is that when we arrived, they checked us right in. How awesome was that? We were planning to check our luggage with them and go out and explore before coming back to our room later that afternoon. That alone made the hotel 100% worth it to me!

The weather was beautiful the entire time that we were in town and it made walking around so easy. We set out on foot and wandered around Rockefeller Center before making our way to Central Park. I think that I could have spent days in Central Park and would have been 100% ok with it. We took a break and stopped at The Boathouse to grab a drink... wine for mom, a glass of water for me.

That evening, we ate dinner around the corner at a fantastic little Italian place before walking to The Gershwin Theatre to see Wicked. It was AMAZING and I cannot recommend it enough to y'all! I was blown away by it. I've never been a big fan of going to see plays or musicals, but if I can see more that are along those lines, count me in.

I'm 99% sure that I was asleep within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow that night.

I thought we walked a lot on Thursday, but it was nothing compared to all of the miles and places we walked on Friday! Originally, the plan had been to go see if we could get in the background of the Today Show, but sleeping in a little longer sounded oh so much better.

We started off the day by walking from our hotel to Chelsea Market {about a 2 mile walk} for breakfast and shopping before heading up to the Highline to walk around a bit. From there, it was a day all about being spontaneous. We looked to see how far the 9/11 Memorial was and then trekked 2.6 miles through Greenwich Village and Tribeca down to it. From there, we walked half a mile to see the Charging Bull before deciding we had gone far enough and probably needed to start making our way back in the direction of our hotel... considering we were now 4 miles away from our hotel and had no intentions of taking the subway.

Somewhere along our walk from Chelsea Market to the 9/11 Memorial, we had passed what looked like a few great restaurants with outdoor patios that would be perfect for stopping for a mid-afternoon snack. We made it back to one of them {a Mexican restaurant} and settled in for some chips and salsa, water for me, and a drink for my mom. Once we were done eating and we stood up, we both knew we were in trouble.

Y'all, I was positive that my legs were going to fall off. My legs and my feet were so dang tired from all of the walking! We were both limping around who-knows-where in NYC and trying to find a cab or an Uber or anything to take us back to our hotel. We had all but given up home when a cab driver pulled over and I threw myself into the backseat before he could tell us that our hotel was too far away again.

I will stand by my Jack Rogers all day long. I wore them on my wedding day, I've worn them traipsing around Asheville, Charleston, Savannah, Charlotte, Louisville, Nashville, and everywhere in between, and I wore them traveling through Europe. But, in NYC, they did not hold up. My feet had nineteen blisters on them from my Jacks. It's inspired me to find a cute pair of tennis shoes before my next big adventure... because I'm never doing that to my feet again.

That night, we limped downstairs to one of the hotel restaurants overlooking Times Square to have a late dinner. It was well earned - we had walked 25,297 steps and 11.15 miles that day!

They say NYC is the city that never sleeps, but I'm pretty sure they all sleep on Saturday mornings! My mom and I got going super early on Saturday {after our early bedtime on Friday} and we had the city to ourselves. There was nobody at all in Times Square!

We couldn't go to New York without my mom getting a photo in front of Radio City Music Hall {you know, since she was a former Rockette and all... or at least that's what I grew up believing!}

& we couldn't go to NYC without me exploring the Upper East Side and the steps of the Met, a la Gossip Girl.

We walked through Central Park and y'all, we needed to be in workout clothes. Every single person we saw was in some sort of athleisure outfit, was running around, or headed off to a kids baseball game. In our "normal" clothes, we were so out of place! There was plenty of people watching to be had though and I spent most of the time checking out what strollers people were pushing around. True story: they were all UPPABABY strollers. Every single one. I don't think we ever saw anything different.

By this time, we were starving, so we walked through Central Park over to the Upper West Side and grabbed a table at the first place we saw. It was definitely brunch hour by this point and everyone in NYC was up and ready to chow down on some brunch.

Anyone recognize this hotel?

After more wandering and more shopping {without ever finding a single thing to buy}, we headed back to the hotel for a drink and a snack. We caught the end of the Clemson spring game back in our room before going out to dinner. Dinner was... less than impressive. Totally not worth the time or the effort. But, we did catch Times Square one last time at night so that was kind of cool.

Sunday morning, we woke up to typical early April NYC weather. It was about 40 degrees outside and was a little drizzly - a far cry from what our weather had been like Thursday through Saturday! It was a good thing that our plan was just to hit the road to head back home.

Getting back home was a disaster. Our flight took off just fine from New York, but we had to connect through Atlanta to get home. Want to know what happens when you fly through Atlanta in the spring or the summer? You're going to have a delayed or cancelled flight thanks to weather. Sure enough, when we landed, we had texts from both my dad and Patrick that our flight to Columbia had not been delayed but cancelled.

We decided not to rent a car {because we'd be driving straight into the storms} and did whatever we could to reroute ourselves back close to home. In the end, we were scheduled on a flight to Charleston that would arrive around 11:30pm so my dad could pick us up and we could spend the night on Kiawah. Somehow... there was another flight from ATL to Columbia that evening and our luggage made that flight {???}, so Patrick went to the airport to scoop those up for us. Should it be at all concerning that he could just walk into Baggage Claim and grab our bags with nobody noticing?

Whew, all kinds of points to you if you made it to the end of this incredibly long post! Other than the trip back to the south, it was an awesome birthday trip to New York City!

01 August 2018

Biking the Palmetto Trail

Last fall, after years of talking about doing it and a well-timed Black Friday sale, Patrick and I finally left Outspokin' Bicycles with a pair of Trek mountain bikes. We've slowly been getting out around town to explore the different trails, adapting as we go along for what I can and can't tackle while pregnant.

We really loved the Firebreak Trail at Harbison State Forest, but that was the first trail to get cut from the list this spring. There are plenty of hills, some technical challenge to it, and it's a lot of fun to ride.

Nearby, we have the Timmerman Trail. Completely paved and pretty flat, this is an easy bike ride after work {when it's not miserably hot outside} but is often crowded with people walking their dogs and families with small kids who have no sense of balance on a bike.

Our current favorite? The Palmetto Trail Peak to Prosperity Passage.

I had the chance to explore this trail pretty well back in April when the girls I work with and I completed the True to the Brew Trail Run. We explored about 6.5 miles of this 10 mile passage and I loved it. I had plenty of time to take in the scenery since I was walking it rather than running it, and have been dreaming of biking it ever since.

Patrick and I finally had the time to get out there earlier this summer and again this past weekend and y'all, it's my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning now!

Plug in the address for the Peak Post Office {10 River Street in Peak, SC} into your GPS and get on the road. There's an entrance to the trail in the middle of "downtown" Peak {I'm not even sure this qualifies as a downtown area, but it's the middle of Peak so we'll go with it}. You'll park along the side of the road right across from the post office and the trail access is right there at the corner of River and Mulberry.

Bike {or walk!} down the wooden ramp to the trail. If you head to the right on the trail, you've got about half a mile of trail to explore. There's a gorgeous train trestle that spans the Broad River that is hands down the best part of this portion of the trail. We like to save this part for the end as a reward for getting in the miles on the other portion of the trail.

Head to the left, and you'll have plenty of miles to explore by foot or by bike. It's a very flat, easy to navigate trail. To me, it feels like you go ever-so-slightly uphill while biking out along the trail... and ever-so-slightly uphill while you're coming back. Not suite sure how that works. Either way, you get in a really good leg workout on this trail via bike because there is never a time that you're not pedaling.

You'll cross over a few wooden bridges that have some scenic views and you might pass a few people along the trail. It's not super crowded on this trail early in the mornings. This past weekend, we ran into more spider webs than we did people {they were everywhere!}. We biked about 3.25 miles up the trail before reaching Hope Station Road and turning back around.

If you've never explored any portion of the Palmetto Trail, I highly recommend it! The Palmetto Trail is a planned 500 mile long foot and mountain biking trail that runs from the upstate of South Carolina down to the low country. It isn't 100% complete yet - they have about 350 miles complete and 150 more to go in their "Finish the Trail" campaign. Get out and enjoy it!

30 July 2018

The Second Year

It's no secret that we're over here getting excited for football season {33 days to go!} and all I can think about is that it'll be our tenth football season together. Ten?! How is it that even possible? I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that for some reason. We've been doing life together since I was 21 and Patrick was 23.

You know, since the days of sitting on the front row in our respective student sections for home football games.

It's our tenth Clemson / Carolina game together which means that, finally, finally, finally, we can even out the score in our house divided family {if Clemson pulls off the win against Carolina in November}.

But before we get to football season we've got a bigger milestone to celebrate: today is our 2nd anniversary!

Two years ago today looked a little something like this...

We were surrounded by our family, our friends, and all the people who helped us survive nine years of Clemson/Carolina games. It was the best day! It's one that I could relive over and over and over... and if you catch me daydreaming today, you can safely bet I'll be daydreaming about our wedding day. I've already started. I spent all day yesterday with "you know, we were right here in this church sanctuary two years ago today for our rehearsal" moments and I'm sure anytime I see the time today, I'm going to be thinking about what I was doing at that exact time two years ago.

Year two was filled with all kinds of adventures for us, but none quite as big as finding out that we were expecting. I daresay that year three is going to be one wild ride and there's nobody that I'd rather go on that wild ride with. Here's to our third year as we become a family of three!

19 July 2018

A Kiawah Kayaking Adventure

One thing I've always wanted to do on Kiawah but hadn't checked off the bucket list: kayaking!

Somehow I made it through the first 30 years of my life without ever attempting to kayak.

There are several different kayaking companies that you can take a tour with, but we went with Tidal Trails and our guide, Ryan. I cannot possibly recommend them enough if you want to kayak on Kiawah! We had such a great experience, especially since two of us had never kayaked before and two of us had only limited kayaking experience.

It was a great morning to be out on the water. It wasn't incredibly hot, there was a little bit of a breeze, and plenty of blue skies. After sunscreening up and going over a few kayaking basics, we were in our kayaks and ready to explore.

I'm not sure how far we ended up paddling, but we wound our way through the tidal creek for around two hours. Our guide told us plenty of interesting things along the way about the area and the wildlife to keep us entertained. We also saw a dolphin! She popped up out of the water three times - once at a distance, once like 5 feet in front of us, and once right behind us as she continued on.

I'm happy to report that nobody went overboard! I ran into everyone's kayak at least once {including our guide} and I think each of us ended up in the grassy part of the marsh at one point or another, but we all survived.

If you're planning a kayak adventure on Kiawah, you definitely need to look into Tidal Trails. They've been leading daily tours around the island for over 20 years so they know what they're doing! Before our kayaking fun was even over, I was already plotting to purchase kayaks for Patrick and myself. We live near a lake and a river, and spend enough time at the beach to where we could definitely get our use out of them.

18 July 2018

A 30th in the Low Country

Let's rewind back to January... back to when I first started planning my 30th birthday. Patrick and I had an epic weekend planned in Charleston. We were going to take Friday off, head down to the low country, and do a solo day of brewery hopping before inviting my friends to join us for a Saturday of even more breweries. We had our favorite hotel in Charleston {The Venue} booked and we were ready to roll for a weekend similar to how we celebrated my 29th.

Fast-foward to my actual birthday and with a little one on board, we had to improvise just a tiny bit.

On Friday, we packed up the car and drove down to Charleston with a pitstop at the outlet stores. With a growing baby bump that's getting more and more difficult to fit into my regular clothes at 21 weeks, I was on the hunt for some bump-friendly clothes. Y'all, I'm not sure they exist. I walked out of the outlets empty handed from my search.

Our next stop was... a brewery?

But of course. We can't drive into Charleston without stopping at Holy City Brewing. Patrick enjoyed his favorite beer there and I chowed down on a basket of their incredible French fries.

Onwards to Charleston! I'm positive that I popped into every single store on King Street and tried on dozens of dresses only to walk away with one. One dress. Hours of shopping and that's all I found to wear.

Patrick had been on a guys weekend in Charleston recently, where he spent some time at Edmund's Oast Brewery. I wanted to check another brewery off my list, so we headed there next. It's tucked away in an area of Charleston that's quickly becoming a brewery neighborhood - it's the same area of town that you'll find Palmetto Brewing, Revelry Brewery, and Fatty's Beer Works, among others.

I could totally see myself hanging out at Edmund's Oast on a regular basis if we lived in Charleston! It's a cool place with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating as well as space for kids to run around. It has a very community feel to it and we wound up staying here for over an hour before making our way to Kiawah for the remainder of the weekend.

My parents took us out to dinner at Freshfields at a new-ish restaurant called Fuji Sushi Bar and Grill. I skipped straight past all of the sushi dishes and went straight for the teriyaki chicken hibachi dish.

Y'all, I might still be dreaming of my dinner from there! I love a good chicken hibachi meal and this one definitely did not disappoint.

We checked off one big thing on my bucket list Saturday morning: kayaking around Kiawah! Would y'all believe that this was my first time ever kayaking? It's something that I've been trying to do on Kiawah ever since my parents bought their house down there but had never been able to find time to do. I'll be sharing more on this later!

But hands down, my very favorite part of my 30th birthday was our doctor's appointment on Monday afternoon. It was finally time for our anatomy scan! We got to spend some quality time watching an extremely active baby girl flip and twist around while the ultra sound technician did her thing. It was unbelievably weird to see the movements on screen that I was simultaneously feeling, but kind of reassuring to know that some of those weird feelings had definitely been her somersaulting around in there.
{that's the one & only dress I found from my birthday shopping trip!}

Was it the original birthday celebration I had planned back in January? Not even close. But you know what? It was so much better.

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