27 February 2015

A Southern Twenty-Five on Friday!

Let's catch up.

Since the last time I blogged...
We had an ice storm.
I've worn my Bean boots to work almost every day.
I worked all day on a Wednesday, traveled to Columbia for the night, and was back at work Thursday morning.
I've watched a lot of Parenthood on Netflix.
Had an old friend in town to visit for the night.
Watched Finding Nemo with a two year old {& have had Dory's whale voice stuck in my head ever since}
My mom came to visit for a few days.
It snowed.
Then they said it would snow 10" and we got about 3-4" slushy mix instead.
& here we are.

It's been one of those weeks where I just didn't feel like writing. I wasn't in the mood to take pictures. No writing + no pictures? No blogging.

Whoops.

So let's get back at it...

Linking up for another Five on Friday with AprilDarciChristina, and Natasha.

{one}
Momma to the rescue! She came up Monday afternoon and immediately made life better. We went to the grocery store and she bought tulips, ingredients for potato soup, and two bottles of wine.



Sometimes all you need are flowers, delicious food, wine, and your momma.

{two}
SNOW! Part 1 at least. It wasn't a lot but it sure was pretty when it was falling.



& more SNOW! Part 2. So much for the 8-10" that they were predicting around here.



{three}
Bought this little guy online from Swoozie's this week using their 20% off coupon code {HAPPY14}. We received a few of these last year as gifts from a friend and they're perfect for the beach.



 It may be snowing outside but I am beyond ready to stick this in the sand next to my chair out on the beach on a 95 degree, sunny day this summer.. preferably with one of my favorite beach drinks in a coozie sitting inside of it.

{four}
See this guy here?



The one who has patiently listened to me talk about running for the last two years. The one who is in charge of the camera when I'm running. The one who cheered me on at my first 8K. The one who made me that awesome sign for my first half marathon.



Yep, this guy.

He signed up yesterday to run a 5K with me in May!

Can't. Wait.

{five}
Last {but definitely not least} it's finally here. After 54 weeks of waiting.

{via}

If you're looking for me this weekend, you know where to find me!

---

Happy Friday! Here's to no more snow and more springlike weather next week. I want to stick my toes in the sand, not in my Bean boots.

17 February 2015

Recipe: Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

A week ago, I was cruising around on my bike in shorts & short sleeves in 70 degree weather. Today? Ice. Just when I thought that maybe we'd get through the whole winter with no wintery precipitation and that we were moving on to spring, here it is. A really not fun combination of freezing rain, sleet, snow, and ice.



But at least I was ready for it. Grocery shopping done, heat turned on, Bean boots by the door, & this recipe simmering away in the crock pot yesterday afternoon. My mom shared this recipe with me and we adapted it so that it could cook in a crock pot all day rather than on the stove just before supper time.

This recipe is definitely going to be something that I make a lot more! It was so good. Add in a side of cornbread and you've got a fantastic meal. It made last night's nasty, cold weather a little more bearable.

Crockpot White Chicken Chili



Ingredients
1 package of chicken
4 cups of chicken broth
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes {if you like it hot! otherwise, leave these out}
3 cans great northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 jalapeno pepper, diced {I used 2}
Mexican cheese blend*
Sour cream*
Cilantro*

*optional ingredients

Directions
1. Add your chicken broth, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, and salt to your crock pot. Stir everything up.
2. Add in the chicken {make sure it's covered - add more chicken broth if necessary} and cook on low until chicken is done, about 4-5 hours.
3. Shred chicken and add back to the crockpot with the great northern beans and jalapeno pepper. Cook on high for 15-20 minutes.
4. Serve with shredded Mexican cheese blend, sour cream, and/or cilantro.
5. Enjoy!



The first time I made this was the other weekend when Patrick came to visit for the night. I didn't even bother with taking pictures {I was too focused on getting the stuff in the crock pot quickly so I could get going with my post-lunch nap!} and we gobbled it up so fast it wasn't even worth taking pictures of the final product.

So... "had" to make it again!

It was even better the second time, and the leftovers are amazing as well. Anything that makes good leftovers or is easy to freeze is a perfect recipe in my book. The problem with this recipe though is that I never remember to freeze any because I'm too busy enjoying every last drop of it when it's fresh!

Also, can we talk about this? I went to measure out minced onion for this recipe and found this on the label:



Coincidence?

16 February 2015

Weekending for Valentine's Day

I love holidays.

It might have something to do with the fact that my parents like to surprise my brother & me with little things for every holiday {ones like Halloween included!} so I have something to look forward to. It's also a really good excuse to make holiday-themed funfetti cupcakes.


I'll make funfetti cupcakes for no reason at all, but I love when there's a legitimate reason to do so.

But Valentine's Day and I have not always gotten along, especially recently. Let's recap.

{2010}
My first Valentine's Day with Patrick! He got snowed in in Columbia {um, what?} and when we did see each other, we gave each other the exact same presents.

{2011}
Our 2nd Valentine's Day! I was sick and Patrick decided it was still a good idea to come visit me in Charlotte {he hasn't made that mistake since}. He cooked me my favorite meal {that I couldn't even taste} and went out to drink with one of my guy friends while I stayed home and slept.

{2012}
Our 3rd Valentine's Day! Patrick was sick, so he decided to stay home and I stayed in Charlotte.

{2013}
Our 4th Valentine's Day! Patrick had to work that Saturday so I spent the morning shopping, prepping, and marinating things for dinner. Once he got on the road though, it started to snow and it got so bad that he couldn't make it to Charlotte. Hello, delicious dinner for one :(


{2014}
Our 5th Valentine's Day. We both had no expectations going into this one which was good, because Charlotte got a ton of snow the Wednesday before... enough that I couldn't even make it to work for the rest of the week & he certainly couldn't drive up here for the weekend.



So you can understand why I wasn't getting my hopes up too much for celebrating Valentine's Day on the actual day this year. But you know what? Everything fell into place! No snow! No sickness! I made Patrick take a picture with me to document it.


We made reservations at Al's Upstairs {hellooo pre fixe menu that includes an open bar in the price}, got all dressed up, and headed out for dinner. That's not something that we do often so it was something special for us to do. I mean, I had on heels and that rarely happens for anything outside of going to a wedding.

We had the best time. Fantastic dinner and even better dinner company. It was the perfect date night and definitely worth the five year wait!

---

Linking up with Biana and Meghan

12 February 2015

Wake Up & Chase Them


Everyone's got dreams.

There's always something that people want to do, a place they want to travel to, a language they want to learn, a idea that they want to chase after, and so much more.

I'm not stranger to chasing after the things that I want.

There are more than a few people that have described me as "persistent" when I'm chasing something. It's a fairly accurate word. When I get an idea of something that I want in my head, there's usually no stopping me until I get it.

& oh boy.

Better watch out if I don't get it. It ain't pretty.

But at the end of the day, I would rather know that I chased after my dreams rather than sitting around, waiting for something good to fall into my lap. Sure, that's nice when that happens, but that's not what's exciting.

It's exciting to dream about something that you want to do, something you want to see, somewhere you want to travel to, something you want to learn, or even something that you want to accomplish. It makes life a whole lot more interesting to me when I'm busy chasing after a new dream.

Sometimes they're small.

Sometimes they're huge {hello, half marathon, I'm looking at you!}

Some of them stay in my head all day long.

Some of them are completely terrifying.

Those might be the dreams most worth chasing after. The ones that scare the hell out of you. The ones that you can't get out of your head. The ones that you're constantly going back and forth about whether or not it's worth chasing.

It usually is. Trust me.


It drives me crazy when I hear people talk about all of the things they dream about doing, but then they don't actually follow through and do something about it. C'mon, y'all. Wake up. Chase your dreams. I want to watch you do it. I want to cheer you on! I want to see you get the thing you've been dreaming about and working so hard for.

Quit wasting time.

Chasing after your dream is fun. Even if you don't get exactly what you were hoping for. Maybe you'll get something better? Maybe you'll realize your dream is actually something entirely different but equally awesome?

Wake up & chase your dreams! Get what you want. Party down.

'Cause hey, who's gonna turn down a perfectly good reason for a celebration?

09 February 2015

Weekending in the Sunshine

The very first thing that I did Sunday morning after getting out of bed was to throw open both of the windows in my bedroom. It isn't all that often that you get 70+ degree days in Charlotte in February and I had every intention of taking full advantage of that fact.

Patrick and I started out with the windows and porch door open while making pancakes, sausage, and eggs for breakfast with a little shag music going on in the background. Can't beat The Temptations on a Sunday morning!


We headed uptown to the Charlotte Boat Show around lunchtime to dream about all the things we'd buy if we had the money to do so. Boat shows usually consist of Patrick talking boat details with the salesmen and me testing out the sunbathing capabilities of the boat.



I pretend that I go for Patrick but in all honesty, I think I have just as much fun looking at all of the boats as he does.


The more ridiculous the boat? The more I love it.



I mean, seriously, do you really need a bar on your boat that has a place for you to hang your purse? No. Do I want it? Absolutely.

After the boat show, we wandered around uptown towards Mellow Mushroom for lunch.


Wanna know what's right next to the Mellow Mushroom?


Romare Bearden Park! It's only my favorite place in all of uptown Charlotte.


We found a sunny patch of grass on the far edge of the park by the BB&T Ballpark and laid down to soak up the sun. I have no idea how long we laid there but I could have laid there for a lot longer.


Everyone else in Charlotte seemed to have the same idea: get outside and enjoy the beautiful, un-February-like weather. So many people were outside throwing frisbees, playing soccer, taking naps, riding bikes, running, etc. It was great people watching. My favorite people are the two people with their bikes, a blanket, and a bottle of wine... my kind of afternoon!


After Patrick left, I decided to keep taking advantage of the perfect weather.

My apartment complex has bikes that you can check out so I borrowed one for the afternoon. A short ride turned into an hour and half, thirteen mile bike ride. I'm telling you, the weather was way too perfect to waste inside. You had to be outside yesterday.


I ended my day the same way I started it... bedroom windows open, porch door open, thoroughly enjoying the warmth.

05 February 2015

Recipe: Oven Roasted Potatoes

Some people crave chocolate or sweets or even something salty.

Me? I crave potatoes.

Give them to me any way that you want to cook them - baked, mashed, roasted, fried, whatever. Potatoes are one of my favorite things to cook and eat. I've even used the word "carbivore" more than once to describe my eating habits.

These potatoes have been some of my favorites for years, but it's been a long time since I've made them. I ended up making them this past weekend at the beach and remembering just how good they are.



Oven Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients
1 bag of red potatoes
1 bag of Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 red onion
1/2 yellow onion
Olive Oil
Garlic
Salt
Pepper
Oregano
Crushed Red Pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash potatoes and cut them into large, bite size pieces and add them to your pan.
3. Cut both onions in half & then quarter each half. Break out the onions into each layer and add them to your pan. Feel free to use the whole onion here if you particularly love them or want a lot.
4. Drizzle olive oil over all of the potatoes/onions.
5. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper to taste.
6. Add in minced garlic to taste.
7. Stir everything up and then cook in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take out of the oven and stir everything up again. Repeat this until potatoes are tender (usually 45 min to an hour)
8. Enjoy!





To go along with these potatoes, we had a fresh salad, grilled French bread, and steaks. Dinner was so good!



The best part of this was that there were plenty of leftovers for me to bring back to Charlotte {along with a piece of steak!} to enjoy this week.

03 February 2015

Kiawah Weekends Are The Best

Yeah, yeah, I'm a little late on this but it was a fantastic {& busy!} weekend. So here we go!



See this girl?



Happiest girl ever to be back on her bike.

It's been months since I've been able to go biking at Kiawah and it was so good to be back on my bike for 30 {!!!} miles this weekend. That's pretty much the entire story of my weekend, too. Lots and lots of bike riding. And then some more bike riding.



We biked the beach three separate times because it was low tide both Saturday and Sunday morning and so beautiful out.

We hopped off the beach, biked around on the bike path, and checked in with one of my favorite alligators.

But we went straight back down to the beach and I'm glad that we did.

Look what I found!!



... and look how many of them that we found!


Y'all, I've never even come across one sea star {fun fact of the day for you: they're sea stars, not star fish} and the first day I find one, we found dozens.



Saturday afternoon was all about some basketball {Go Tigers!}, drinks at sunset, and amazing food for dinner. Salad, steak, roasted potatoes, and grilled bread with olive oil. Yes, please. All of the biking and food put me to sleep at like 9:30, too. Livin' on the edge, y'all.



Sunday morning was gorgeous and the weather was perfect for biking out on the beach again. But this time, my mom and I decided to venture out to an area of the island that we had never been: Captain Sam's Spit.


Gorgeous, right?


I was proudly supporting my Seahawk's all day on Sunday {even if they did decide to blow their 10 point lead and to throw the ball instead of hand it off to Marshawn Lynch and hand the Super Bowl to the Patriots} with my Russell Wilson t-shirt.



Oh well. At least we played in the Super Bowl and kept things interesting until the very last play! Maybe next year.
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