31 August 2015

The One With the Surprise Ending

In case you were wondering, everything went according to plan this weekend for the party.

Just not my plan.

Sure, I got up, ran my race, and got all of the last minute errands done on time before Patrick's 30th birthday party started. The tents were set up in the backyard, the BBQ was off the grill and being chopped up, and Patrick's {surprise!} 30th birthday cake was safely hidden out of sight.

It was about 4:15, 45 minutes before Patrick's party was due to start, when things started to not quite go the way that I had planned them. Patrick insisted that I stop decorating/setting things up for his party and go upstairs to get myself ready for it. Even his mom kept hinting that maybe I should go change. Eventually I caved and went to go get ready.

That's when my brother called. He and his girlfriend Jen had been at the zoo all afternoon with her two boys and the kids had had it. They were so over the day. All they wanted to do was go home so Jen was going to take them back to Charleston... would it be a problem if I came to pick him up and bring him to the party? Not a problem at all! Especially since he was on the botanical garden side of the zoo and only a short 5 minute drive away.

I ran to tell Patrick what was going on and he said that he would drive me over there to pick him up. My keys were no where to be found and we ended up hopping into his mom's car and driving over there.

I texted my brother:

At this point, we're pulling into the botanical garden entrance at the zoo and I am was not happy. Like really not happy. And when Patrick opted to park the car instead of driving over to the pick up area? Um, no sir.

And then he got out of the car?!

Y'all, I fussed at Patrick and told him to get back in the car and drive back over to the pick up area. He walked over to my side of the car, got me out of the car, and I gave him an entire list of reasons why this change of plans was not ok and told him exactly how irritated I was in that moment. I caused a little bit of a scene but somehow Patrick got me to walk into the botanical gardens to go look for my brother, Jen, and the boys. It made zero sense to me why were doing this. We had a dozen people already at the house and more were due any minute. This was not a part of my plan for the day!

But into the botanical gardens we walked.

When we got to the garden, he suggested that we make a quick loop around it to find them so we could get back to the house. I said something about how late we were going to be. Patrick said that it was his party, he wanted to be fashionably late to it. He stopped me in the middle of the gardens and I took that opportunity to call my brother to find out where the heck he and Jen were. Turns out, we weren't actually there to pick up my brother...


{as if I didn't already love the zoo enough, now I have even more reasons to love it!}

Patrick {and his mom and my mom and everyone else} hijacked the birthday party and turned it into an engagement party. So yes, that means that I planned my own engagement party without knowing that I was doing so.

I wouldn't have had it any other way. I got to walk into a house full of our family and friends who were ready to celebrate with us.

Note: I cried a LOT. Then cried some more when we got back to the house and started getting hugs and congratulations from everyone. My picture loving self was also totally thrown off her game and I got zero pictures that I would have taken had I been thinking straight.

But I got this one with my family! Minus Patrick. Because I wasn't thinking at all.

Best day ever?

You bet.

I want to give a huge shout out to everyone who helped make Saturday so special! From John hiding in the bushes taking secret pictures to my family helping scheme to get me out of the house to Patrick's family cooking up BBQ and decorating for the party... it meant so much to us both!

27 August 2015

A Big Happy Birthday!

It's a big day,  y'all.
Like a really, really big day.
This guy is turning 30 years old today!

Cheers to the guy who has made the last six plus years of my life a little more crazy and a lot more fun than they would have been otherwise. It's hard to believe that I've known him since he was a clean shaven, Gamecock lovin', twenty-four year old:

29 has been my favorite year yet for him! & I am excited to see what 30 has in store.
I cannot wait to celebrate his birthday today, tomorrow, and throughout the weekend {because turning 30 definitely gets a four day celebration!} with all of our family and friends. And with good drinks. Annnnd with delicious food.
Backyard hootenanny, anyone?
Happy 30th Birthday, P!

26 August 2015

Pre-Stomp the Swamp 5K & Half Marathon Training Update

Hellooooooo racing season!

I haven't run a race since this past May, so I'm kind of excited to lace up my shoes on Saturday morning and get going again. I'm not that excited about the heat and humidity though. Keep your fingers crossed for me that it's a little cooler on Saturday morning than they are predicting!

Half marathon training has been going exceptionally well so far. The first week was kind of brutal getting used to the heat again but once I figured out the ideal time of day to run, things got a little bit better. It either needs to be as the sun is coming up or as the sun is going down. Anytime between then is a big NO.

It may have started out something like this:

{after 2 miles at a 10:38/mile pace}
But Monday night's run ended up with this:

A little bit better, right?

It's possibly also because I've reverted back to my 1989 playlist. I don't know why I'm so addicted to that album when it comes to running, but whatever. I'm just going to go with it.

I've also taken care of two important things since I started my training.

1. Bought a new pair of shoes!
They're the exact same shoe that I've been running in for the last two years, just a new pair and a new color. I've also added a new running tank top, running shorts, headphones, a new armband, and a reflective vest for night running to my collection of running necessities. Gotta have new things for a new year, right? Right.

2. Had a physical.
If you know me at all, you know that I cannot stand going to the doctor because I'm convinced that they're going to come after me with a needle for one reason or another. The good news is that my doctor said I was good for my training and she kept the needles away. Whew.

Hopefully Saturday's race goes well! I have no time goals for this one. I just want to get back into the practice of running an actual race and if I happen to end up with a good time, then yay! Otherwise, just finishing the race is good enough for me because running a 5K gives me all the excuse I need to eat, drink, and party on for Patrick's 30th!

25 August 2015

Columbia's Grill Marks

Man, you look away for two seconds and another new restaurant pops up in the Vista! I've got no complaints about Grill Marks joining the line up, though.

Last Wednesday night, Patrick and I decided to have an impromptu midweek date night here.
Grill Marks is housed in the Old City Market building on Gervais {across the street from Tsunami/Rocket Man Piano Bar} and the atmosphere there is spectacular. We had barely even walked in when I nudged Patrick and told him I thought that this new place was great. This was prior to trying any of the food or even speaking to the hostesses! But I couldn't help it. I'm a sucker for old buildings that are renovated to house a new business and restaurants with big garage doors that they can open when the weather is nice.

When you walk "in", you're actually walking into their outdoor patio area which isn't really outdoors. It's just an area that's completely covered and has huge, wide open window bays. There's a massive heater hanging from the ceiling, ready for those cooold Columbia nights {ha!} but for the summertime, they have misters lining the entire patio area. How awesome is that?

We opted for sitting inside though because we didn't know about the misters when we walked in.

They have a happy hour every day Monday - Friday from 4:30 - 6:30pm with half price bottles of wine {!!!} and $4 draft beers. I'm positive that I'll be back for the half price bottle of wine but I chose to get a River Rat American Kolsch Story instead. Delicious, as always.

One thing to note about the menu is that everything is a la carte. So when you order a burger, it doesn't automatically come with a side. That's fine because they have side orders for you to choose from but they've combined the side orders / appetizers into one list. Be specific when you're ordering! Otherwise your side order might come out as an appetizer.

Patrick and I got the Three Way appetizer {meant to have it as a side} and chose the skinny fries, the parmesan truffle fries, and the fried pickles. I could easily devour several little mini baskets of the skinny fries! Hot, crispy, and perfectly seasoned. Yes, please.

But let's get to the burger.
I got a naked burger {which means no bun} with tomato, pimento cheese, and bacon. Heaven. Getting my burger without a bun was a fantastic choice, too. It was so much easier to eat!

Patrick got the BOW {burger of the week} which was "Soda Ya Know We're Open?"... lettuce, tomato, bacon, pimento cheese, grilled local peaches, and cola reduction drizzle. Doesn't sound like the most appealing burger to me but Patrick loved it.

We'll be back for sure. & knowing us, that means this weekend because once we find a place we like, we tend to put it on repeat ;)

... PS, we definitely went again on Friday night & would add these three things to our list of excellent menu items:
Bleu Cheese & Pimento Cheese Fries
Fat Fries
Firehouse Burger

24 August 2015

DIY Wine Bottle TIki Torches

Want to know what my weekend consisted of?

A whole lot of errands, cleaning, shopping, decorating, and DIY to get ready for someone's 30th birthday party next weekend. Don't worry. I won't bore you with any additional details on that errands and cleaning, but I do have a DIY to share with you.

Next weekend, we'll be spending a lot of time outside in the yard and need a little something to help with the mosquitos. Tiki torches to the rescue! But not just any tiki torches.

Wine Bottle Tiki Torches. Because Patrick, Chris, and I all needed a reason to stay in Saturday night to drink wine, eat pizza, and watch How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Wine Bottle
1/2" by 3/8" Reducing Coupling
Torch Wick Replacement
Plumber's Tape
Citronella Torch Fuel

1. Drink a bottle of wine {my personal favorite part of this DIY}
2. Soak wine bottle in warm, soapy water until it's easy to remove the label & remove the label.
3. Wrap the plumber's tape around the base of the reducing coupling until it fits snugly into the top of the wine bottle. Thread wick through the coupling and set to the side.
4. Fill wine bottle with small pebbles {about halfway up} and place the wick into the bottle. Add/remove pebbles as necessary so that the wick fits snugly into the top of the wine bottle and just touches the rocks at the bottom.
5. Remove the wick and fill up the wine bottle with the citronella torch fuel. Place the wick back in once complete.
6. Light it up!

Easy, right?

Hope y'all had a good weekend and did something more fun than errands and cleaning!

21 August 2015

Oh Hey, Friday Five!

Whew. Made it to another weekend! I am so looking forward to a weekend in Columbia with no real plans other than accomplishing a million things on our to do list for a certain somebody's 30th birthday shindig next weekend. With all of the things that need to get done before now & next weekend, I know for a fact that I'll be ready to party down come next Saturday!
Linking up for Friday fun with April and Karli.
Half Marathon Training Update: new shoes make all the difference in the world.

After running twice this past weekend, my knee was bugging me on Monday. Luckily I had already ordered a new pair of shoes that arrived Monday afternoon at my local running shop. These kicks are so bright but they feel soooo good to run in. I forgot how big of a difference a new pair of shoes makes.
Last minute midweek dinner date nights.

I had plans to meet up with a friend from Charlotte for drinks/dinner but it got cancelled at the last minute. Patrick to the rescue! We even were able to try out a new restaurant that just opened in the Vista {Grill Marks} More on that next week!

Is this not the cutest thank you card that you've ever seen?

August is SMA Awareness month & this little guy {who was recently diagnosed with SMA} and his family & friends are on a mission to help find a cure for it. You can read more about SMA here and their fundraising efforts here. If you're in the Charleston area and like to run 5Ks {or walk 5Ks or be supportive of a good cause} then you should look at signing up for the Go Miller Go 5K coming up in September.
I mean, I don't know how these packages keep showing up at the house.

Might have something to do with 40% off + free shipping + tax free weekend combination the other week. Maybe. But the good news is that I've stopped shopping for summer things and have moved on to fall with things like this cute shirt {perfect for a Clemson game} and this vest.

Factory long-sleeve flip-striped tee

Factory printed quilted puffer vest

Friday morning breakfast dates at Panera are my favorite. Bagel + boy = best way to start off a Friday.

Happy Friday! Only two more weekends without college football and only 15 more days until my Tigers take the field :)

20 August 2015

The Morning Tailgate Drink

Five years ago, when we were in Venice, Italy, everyone made a big deal about going to Harry's Bar for some special drink. I had exceptionally unadventurous taste buds {that had already been put to the test too often over the previous week} and opted out of drinking this magical drink that everyone raved about.


Fast forward to present day where I decided on a whim to try the Peach Bellini at Lost Dog Café on Folly Beach.

Now I absolutely adore having a Peach Bellini in the morning. Or on the boat. Or at the beach. Or at a tailgate before a Clemson football game?

Clemson tends to have a few noon games during the season and having a morning tailgate drink would be perfect. I can't be the only person that struggles with a glass of wine or a beer at 8am, right?

Peach Bellini
3 parts Prosecco
2 parts peach nectar
1 part peach schnapps
Fill your glass with ice, pour in all of the ingredients, and stir.

Easy & simple, which is exactly what you want for a tailgate. I'm guessing the only difficult part is going to be popping the cork off of the prosecco. I might have to work on that before football season starts.

Clemson's first two home games of the season are noon games... bet you can't guess what I'll be drinking at the tailgate those mornings. Cheers!

18 August 2015

Weekending on Kiawah

The good news is that there are only TWO football free Saturdays left before college football is back in our lives.

The bad news is that there is only ONE more weekend in Kiawah between now and the end of November.

But we did manage to have an awesome weekend on Kiawah this past weekend. Between running and biking and beaching and hanging out with friends, we managed to pack a lot into two days. There were shooting stars, bellinis, and bacon {win-win-win}.

One of my favorite things to do on Kiawah is to go down to the beach after the sun goes down and the stars come out. The island gets super dark {thanks to nesting sea turtles} and you can see stars for days when you walk down to the beach. We walked down late Friday night to enjoy the cool fall like weather and happened across a couple of shooting stars while we were down on the boardwalk.

Saturday morning, I got up and hit the road/trails for a 3.5 mile run. I was aiming for a 10 minute mile pace. I think 10:01/mile is totally acceptable!

Patrick and I biked over to the Southern Kitchen in the Straw Market for a late breakfast. Patrick had never been before and it had been awhile since my last visit over there. Y'all, the food there is awesome. I'm almost positive that Patrick wanted to lick the bowl when he was done with his shrimp and grits and I was really close to attacking the waiter with my fork when he tried to take my plate away from me before I was done. Yup. It was that good.


Our friends Jacob & Cameron came out after lunch to spend the rest of the day with us. We loaded up the coolers, made a couple of peach bellinis, and headed down to the beach for the afternoon. It was so good catching up with them!

That night, we decided to go to The Ryder Cup Bar at the Ocean Course for a couple of drinks. Who's surprised that we ended up there?? The weather was perfect for sitting outside in the Adirondack chairs with our drinks. There was a gorgeous sunset, too. And an epic selfie fail. We had dinner at Red's at Bohicket Marina {best chicken fingers EVER} and were joined by my parents for another round of drinks / late night snacks.

I made it out for run #2 of the weekend on Sunday morning. The goal was to do a negative split run {faster time on the 2nd half of the run than the 1st half of the run} which I managed to do. Averaged 9:47/mile on the first half and 9:40/mile on the second half. I hopped on the bike afterwards with my mom, met up with some friends of ours from Columbia, and took them on a tour of Kiawah.

The weekend ended with a brunch cooked by the guys and a long stroll on the beach with a peach bellini in hand. My kind of weekend y'all, my kind of weekend.

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