28 October 2015

The Dress

Shopping for a wedding dress was not something that I was looking forward to. At all.
I was looking forward to a weekend down in Kiawah/Charleston, brunching, and spending time with my mom and with one of my bridesmaids. The actual shopping part? Eh. Wasn't that excited about trying on dozens of dresses and trying to make a decision about what dress I was going to wear to marry Patrick.

But apparently you need a dress so off we went!

Our first stop was to Hominy Grill for brunch. Tip: get there right as they open and there is absolutely no wait.

The first appointment was at Modern Trousseau on King Street in downtown Charleston. This shop was more of a boutique so it wasn't super overwhelming when it came to picking out dresses. We found about 9 or so for me to try on there.

Problem #1: I liked them all.

We narrowed it down to four, then to two, and then to one that I really liked. But since it was our first shop, we made our notes, and headed out to Southend Brewery for a drink.

... the Clemson game was on at noon and we had to watch some of it before walking over to the second bridal shop. I think Clemson must have known I only had about an hour to watch and they put the game away in the first quarter {21-0!} and by the time we were at dress shop #2, they were up 28-0 and by half? 42-0. Thank you, Clemson, for soundly beating Miami so that I could focus on the shopping!

The second appointment was at Fabulous Frocks. I'll be honest - I had low expectations for this place. I had already found a dress at the last shop that I liked and wasn't expecting much from out of this store.

& then I found a million dresses to try on. Do you want to know what the problem is with a million dresses to try on? I'm entirely too indecisive. I liked them all. Again.

But the girl that was helping us looked at all the dresses that I had tried on and said she'd be right back. She came back a minute later with another dress for me to try on. I looked at the dress and almost told her no because it was exactly what I didn't want. It was open mind Saturday though so I tried it on.

... and wouldn't take it off. It was absolutely not what I had wanted but it looked perfect once I put it on.

I did eventually take the dress off and we walked over to The Blind Tiger for some drinks, nachos, and dress decision conversations.

At the end of the day, this is what it came down to: I liked every dress that I tried on. Some more so than others. I could narrow down to a top 4, then top 2, then a favorite dress in each shop. If I went to another store, I'd find another favorite dress.

So we marched back into Fabulous Frocks and bought the dress that I wouldn't take off. Added in some accessories and called it a day.

No tears, no "omg this is my wedding dress!" exclamations, no theatrics. Just a simple peace in the fact that I had found the dress that I wanted to wear when I walk down the aisle to marry Patrick.

I cannot wait for July 30, 2016!

{& yes, you all will be waiting until then for any details/pictures! :) }

27 October 2015

Kiawah, Dresses, & Russian Weddings

This past weekend was a whirlwind adventure in Kiawah, Charleston, and Columbia.
Raise your hand if you remember that time I said that I was moving back to Columbia so that I could travel less? Yeah, about that...

On Friday, one of my bridesmaids and I headed down to Kiawah to meet my mom for a girls' weekend so that we could do a little wedding dress shopping for me {!!} Our plans were to grab some brunch, go to one dress shop, get a drink/watch some of the Clemson game, hit up dress shop #2, and then head back to Kiawah.

We ended up at Hominy Grill. Despite numerous trips to Charleston, none of us had ever been here for a meal. The brunch was delicious and the drinks were even better. I just can't believe it took me so long to finally get to this place!
The wedding dress shopping will get an entire post of it's own later in the week. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know the outcome of the dress shopping this weekend :)
Saturday night was all about drinks on the boardwalk, frozen pizza, leftover potato soup, and football!

I woke up on Sunday and headed out for a 7 mile distance run. It was so nice to run on completely flat roads! I had forgotten how much easier flat roads are than rolling hills. What was even nicer than the flat roads was throwing off my socks and shoes after my run and heading straight into the ocean. That freezing cold water felt so good on my tired legs.
Then it was back to Columbia for a 2pm wedding.

Have you ever been to a Russian wedding or Reception? No? They're awesome. Don't be surprised if you see Patrick and I attempting to incorporate something from this wedding into ours next July!
We caught up with old friends, made lots of new ones, ate delicious food {including an entire plate of mashed potatoes}, danced to ridiculous songs from the early 2000s {like Livin' la Vida Loca}, and had so much fun. The reception was seven hours long! We stayed all the way through the sparkler send off before calling it a night.


What a weekend.

You throw in a massive Clemson victory over Miami {58-0!} and a Panthers win {they would wait until I moved way from Charlotte to have a perfect season...} and it was a pretty great weekend.

20 October 2015

Recipe: Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

The crockpot has been getting quite the workout in our house lately. It's on the counter just about every other day with either a new recipe in it or a tried and true one {sausage dip, anyone?}
My mom came across a few new recipes for us to try out and two of them ended up being absolutely fantastic and the other let me know that I am not a fan of smoked paprika. Ew. But my favorite of the two was the Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti.
It's got pasta, cheese, and all other sorts of deliciousness in it. I'll go ahead and tell you that this probably {ok isn't} the most healthy recipe out there but on a cool fall night? It's the perfect recipe.

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
{original recipe can be found here}
1 lb chicken {2 chicken breasts}
1 can cream of chicken
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can diced green chiles
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
3 cups of cheese, shredded
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste
1 can of chicken broth {as needed, but I used the whole thing}
1 pkg spaghetti noodles, cooked
1. Add cream of chicken, bell pepper, red pepper, diced green chiles, onion, 1 cup of cheese, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to crockpot. Stir well.
2. Place chicken in crockpot and set the crockpot to high for 3-4 hours until chicken is cooked.
3. Pull chicken out of crockpot, shred, and return to crockpot along with spaghetti noodles. Add in additional chicken broth as necessary to get the consistency that you prefer.
4. Cook for an additional 30 minutes on low.
5. Enjoy!

I'd show you a picture of the final product in a bowl or something, but to be honest, as soon as this was done it was scooped out and put into a casserole dish for Patrick to pick up for dinner. What didn't fit in the casserole dish... I ate straight out of the crockpot. Yup. That good. Didn't even bother with the bowl.

I'm only wishing that I had saved a little bit more for myself and not given the entire thing to Patrick... guess I'll be making this recipe again soon!

19 October 2015

Week 7: Clemson vs Boston College


Blue skies, cool weather, floats on Bowman field, a night game, lots of friends... what's not to love?

With it being a night game, I was able to get up and squeeze in a quick run before getting on the road to Clemson. It's a lot easier to rationalize all of the eating and drinking after you run!

Because we were rocking the Girls Only Tailgate again this week, as soon as we got to Clemson and parked {in our DRY! parking lot}, we grabbed some wine and headed downtown. Our only goal was to return one hat for another and to buy one additional one. Yeah. Might have purchased two cups, a pair of earrings, and a dress. Not sorry.

That was just stop # 1.

Stop #2 was Bowman Field to see the Homecoming Floats this year.

After checking out the floats, we stopped by Godfrey Hall for the Graphic Communications Homecoming.

... where I talked my mom into doing a little screen printing this year! She's opted out of it in years past but didn't get away with that this year.

But y'all, we weren't done yet. We hauled it across campus to the other side of the stadium for Tiger Walk. This is something we've done ONCE before {almost exactly seven years ago to the day when they decided to implement this new tradition} but we watched from a distance.
This year?
Up close & personal.

We may have been a teeny, tiny bit excited.

Highlight? Getting to high five Dabo when he walked by.

AND got to high five Deshaun Watson. Day complete.

After Tiger Walk, my mom and I did a little tailgate hopping.

& then it was once again game time in Death Valley!
Clemson vs Boston College: October 17, 2015
34 - 17, Clemson

Coolest part of the whole night? All of a sudden, with no prompting at all, everyone in the stadium decided to turn on the flashlight on their cell phones and hold them up. Pretty awesome, right?

6-0! 6-0!

Halfway through the season and we're still undefeated. My Tigers on the road the next two weeks with trips to Miami and NC State and I'm getting out of town as well... Kiawah and Charlottesville, here I come!

13 October 2015

Week 6: Clemson vs Georgia Tech

One day, maybe, we'll have a normal tailgate.
One where it's pretty and sunny and perfect football weather. We'll be able to park in our own grass parking lot. It'll be a girls + guys tailgate rather than a girls only one.
One day.
That day was not this past weekend. After four glorious days of sunshine, we woke up to torrential downpours and a thunderstorm Saturday morning. You know, exactly what Columbia needed: more rain. My mom and I hit the road mid morning for Clemson & we were greeted with this view when we got to our parking lot:

Mud. Mud. MUD.
Plus a cop knocking on our window to inform us that we would not be allowed in our parking lot due to the conditions. So we drove around to Lot 11 where we had been directed. Nope, try again, we couldn't get into that muddy mess of a lot either.
We ended up parking at Brooks Center. It's a location familiar to us as we parked there for two seasons after I graduated Clemson. It's a fantastic lot... just nowhere close to anything.

But on the bright side, we were able to tailgate with some old family friends of ours and celebrate a sweet little two year old's birthday in the process.

Birthday party in Clemson? Does it get any better? Nope!

Holding on to this tent pole was a necessity in this picture. Do you see all of that mud we're standing in? It was so slippery!

& then it was game time!

Did it rain the entire time?

You bet it did.

But we embraced the rain AND another Tiger victory!
Clemson vs Georgia Tech - October 10, 2015
43-24, Clemson

My Tigers are now 5-0 and are either #5 or #6 in the country depending on which poll you look at. My team also has a fantastic coach. You can love him or hate him but you cannot deny that the guy is incredibly passionate about the things he cares about. His post game speeches and rants are the best.
We'll be back on Saturday, rain or shine, for Clemson's Homecoming against Boston College. Let's just say that we're hoping for more shine than rain! Right now the weather forecast has some amazing weather predicted for the weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

09 October 2015

A Southern Twenty-Five on Friday!

Day FOUR of sunshine around here and I can't tell you how happy everyone is about that. After two straight weeks of rain plus the flooding from this past weekend, it was so great to see blue skies and sunshine and get some good fall weather rolling around here.

I spent as much time as possible outside after work this week! Running, grilling, attending soccer games... if I could be outside doing something, I was outside doing it.

Linking up for another Five on Friday with April.
"While I breathe, I hope"

In the five months that I've been back in South Carolina, I've seen three huge events: Charleston, the Confederate flag, and now the flooding.

I've also seen how this state and the people who live here have responded to each event. The way that people have reacted and the way that people have treated one another reminds me of exactly why I have always loved South Carolina. I can't imagine living anywhere else {sorry Charlotte...} & there is no where else I would rather call home. Unless it's Kiawah. But that's still South Carolina so it counts ;)

 That first run {and second!} in the fall when the temperatures are finally below 70 and the humidity is pretty much non-existent always makes me feel like I can run for days. I remember the exact run that it happened last year and this year, that run was Tuesday night.

4.64 miles isn't that far but the energy I had to run it was unbelievable. The only downside now is that it's getting darker earlier and my own shadow has already managed to scare the hell out of me. Time to get creative with my evening running gear!

I kind of got off tracking with my bucket list of things that I wanted to do in Columbia once I moved back. Last night, my parents and I tackled another one: attend a USC Women's Soccer Game.

It was a perfect fall evening to take in a game! We had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Columbia, Thirsty Fellow, and then headed over to watch the girls play.

Fall TV is back! My three favorite shows from last year {The Voice, Nashville, and Scandal} plus newcomers Quantico and Blood & Oil.

Blood & Oil is fantastic... and not just because it has my favorite actors from Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Greek, and Red Band Society in it.

But Quantico? Y'all. I can't get enough of this show.
 We're off to Death Valley this weekend for another Girls' Only Tailgate! Somehow, the guys really lucked out this football season and will only be making the trip to Tiger Town once this season. It should have been twice, but with the Notre Dame weather fiasco, they cut their games down to one.

It's a 3:30 game this week though so we'll be doing a little bit more at our Girls' Only tailgate than normal. Check back next week for a new tailgate recipe or two!
Happy Friday! Hope y'all have a great {sunny!} weekend! & GO TIGERS!
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