29 February 2016

The Unplanned Weekend

Y'all know I don't do unplanned weekends. I usually don't do unplanned anything. But this weekend? Totally unplanned.

When you find out Friday afternoon that your fiancé is down & out with flu-like symptoms, it's time to improvise & be a little spontaneous. And no, I didn't immediately pack up the car & hit the road to Kiawah {even though that sounded like the best idea ever}. I stayed in town for the whole weekend - with no plans.

Friday night looked a little something like this:

I stocked Patrick up with some medicine, Gatorade, noodle soup {the Campbell's Keurig kind? Genius} and headed back to my house for some old episodes of Scandal on Netflix, pasta, and a glass of red wine.

Saturday was a lot busier!

I started out at the gym before heading to Main Street. There, I dropped my ring off at the jeweler to get it checked/cleaned and took our florist his deposit for the wedding {another thing to cross off on the wedding to do list!}

I browsed through Mast General and people watched/shopped my way back through Soda City Market to my car. That's where I came across these guys:

& knew that we had to have one for the beach house.

From there, I went to my very favorite Blue Flour Bakery in Irmo. I'll say it once & I'll say it again: Blue Flour Bakery is the absolute best place to grab a cookie. I went in there to chat about the possibility of doing cookies rather than a cake for the wedding and left with not one, not two, but THREE {two sugar for me & one chocolate chip for Patrick} free cookies. Y'all can only imagine how excited I was about that.

& then I made the mistake of watching the first episode of Fuller House on Netflix.

I say mistake because the show was really cute, pretty entertaining, and slightly addicting. Thirteen episodes? No problem. I knocked those out easily this weekend and by the way the season ends, it looks like they have definitely left the door open for more seasons {yes!}

Sunday morning, I went back to check on the sick one again, went to church, and picked up some lunch from Newk's... which is quickly becoming our Sunday lunch go to place.

& we may have turned on House of Cards after lunch and I may have taken another Sunday afternoon nap. I don't know what it is about 1pm on a Sunday but y'all, that's nap time for me almost every week.

I rounded out the weekend with a quick trip over to Riverbanks Zoo! It was over 70 degrees outside and sunny and there was no way that I was going to waste the day inside watching House of Cards.

The good news? I'm getting really, really good at this staying put for the weekend thing. Which is good. Because we have 2.5 more weekends at home before the traveling starts up again.

Happy Leap Year, y'all! :)


Linking up with Biana & Meghan for another Weekending.

25 February 2016

4 Things I Have to Have to Run

After the much {much, much, MUCH} needed running break post-Kiawah Half, I am quickly getting back into this whole running thing again. It feels good to be running again after seven weeks without it!

Back in the game y'all, back in the game.

This also happens to be my favorite time of year to run. It's pretty cool outside, there are plenty of races in town to choose from, and I have a lot of free Saturday mornings to go run a race. I have quite a few races in mind {all 5K/10K distances} so I've been working on going through my running bag to make sure that I have all of my race day essentials on hand & replacing the ones that need to be replaced.

Here's what I absolutely have to have on race morning when I'm lacing up my shoes for another 5K:
1. Running Clothes {tank top, shorts, sports bra, shoes}
I have finally nailed down the perfect outfit that I'll only deviate from if the weather is super cold {under 30} or rainy. Otherwise? These are my go to things.

2. GPS Watch
Most courses will tell you when you're at mile 1, mile 2, etc but I need a little more detail than that. I want to know when I'm at 1.5 miles, 2.75 miles, etc. I don't use the pace/overall time feature while I'm running but it is the very first thing that I check as soon as I cross the finish line. I like knowing what my chip time is compared to the time I see on the clock as I finish the race.

If for whatever reason my watch isn't charged for a race, I'll use the Nike App on my phone as a back up.
3. Music {playlist, phone, headphones, arm band}
To those of you who can run without music: please, teach me your ways! But until then, I always have to have a good, upbeat playlist that can keep me entertained while running. It was T Swift's 1989 for about the entire last year but I have slowly been moving on to other playlists.

This is the current one:

4. Headband
I'm not sure why I threw this thing on one day before going on a run, but I did, and now I can't run without it. It keeps the short little flyaway hairs out of my face while I'm running AND it's sparkly. Win-win.

I might also now own 5 of these {thank you, Kiawah Marathon Expo...}

What do you absolutely have to have to run a race?

23 February 2016

90 Seconds to Pizza Awesomeness

Confession: I really {really, really, really} love pizza.

You can ask my college roommate. We used to split a pepperoni pizza from Peppino's on a weekly basis when neither of us felt like changing back out of our pajamas to go to the dining hall and really wanted a night in with pizza & Gilmore Girls.
You can ask the Greek/Italian restaurant that I worked for when I graduated high school. Pizza every day for either lunch or dinner? Yup. I'm ok with that.
You can ask my fiancé. He's been subjected to more than one late night pizza delivery - thin crust with pepperoni & green bell peppers from Papa John's, please!

So when a new pizza place opens up in Columbia? You know that I'm going to go check it out. Patrick and I went to check out the new place, Persona Wood Fired Pizzaria, last week for dinner.

When we walked in, it immediately reminded me of Moe's. You start with your base {crust + sauce of your choice + cheese} and then go down the line and add the toppings that you want onto your pizza. At the end, the throw it into a big wood fired oven and cook it for 90 seconds.

& then you get to eat! Yes, it's that fast.

It's also incredibly delicious.
I created a personal pizza with pepperoni, green bell pepper, and minced garlic. They could have gone a little lighter on the toppings {especially the garlic} but it was a pretty good pizza!

Patrick got one of their specialty pizzas, the Carne.

Will we go back? You bet. I'm hoping to get over there for lunch sometime soon. Mostly for the pizza, but also because it happens to be located to my very favorite store in all of Columbia {Uptown on Main}.

22 February 2016

A Kiawah Weekend by the Numbers

There was one mission & one mission only this weekend: be outside as much as I possibly could while visiting down on Kiawah.

Mission accomplished.

3.1 miles run

2 walks on the beach {3 & 4 miles, respectively}

10 deer encounters

20 alligator sightings {18 gators, 1 spotted multiple times}

{this gator below is one of my favorites - he's MASSIVE and you can always count on him being in the same place any time it's warm or sunny out. He's a guaranteed sighting.}

4 bike rides totaling 30 miles

1 evening of sunset drinks at the boardwalk

1 family dinner

1 amazing burger {with fantastic homemade pimento cheese} from The Southern General on Johns Island

& one big skillet full of fajita pasta back at home in Columbia to round out the weekend on Sunday evening

It was the perfect mid-winter trip down to the beach, that's for sure. Now the only thing left to do is plan my next weekend down there before all the wedding craziness begins to kick in...

18 February 2016

Recipe: One Pot Lasagna

Pasta, pasta, pasta.
If you ask my fiancé, that's all that I want to eat. Ever. He might think that because that's all that I ever cook. I wanted to disagree but in the last week alone, I've made three different pasta dishes so he might be on to something there...
This one though happens to be my new favorite. I love lasagna but I'm not able to attempt to tackle actually making it for myself. It seems like a heck of a lot of work {& clean up!} that I don't want to do. So when I found this One Pot Lasagna Pasta recipe the other week, I knew that I had to try it out.

One Pot Lasagna Pasta
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground sausage
1 {14.5 oz.} can diced tomatoes
1 {8oz} can tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz. bowtie pasta
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup ricotta cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet & add in Italian sausage. Cook on medium heat until browned & then drain excess fat. Return to skillet.
2. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, garlic powder, & red pepper flakes.
3. Bring to a simmer & add in pasta along with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked.
4. Stir in mozzarella & parmesan until well combined. Top off with dollops of ricotta cheese & cover until heated through.
6. Serve & enjoy!

Y'all, it's safe to say that I'll be making this dish again in the near future. Any supper that I can cook in one pot and can make in less than 30 minutes and is delicious? Winner.

{Pro Tip: just make sure the pasta is cooked all the way first! Or you could end up like my poor dad, subjected to half cooked pasta because I was too impatient to wait any longer... we ended up having to throw it back in the skillet for a little longer! Whoops.}

16 February 2016

Dreaming Of...

I'm dreaming of...
Warm, sunny days at the beach this summer.
Changing my monogram.

The 8th Harry Potter book.

Football season.
I know, I know, it's only February but y'all I miss tailgating in Tiger Town & cheering on my team in Death Valley & I really want to get back to Charlotte!
Three weddings {plus our own!} this summer with my favorite wedding date.

... basically anything but this cold, dreary rain that we've got going on around here right now. At least there are 70 degree days and sunshine in the forecast for the weekend!

11 February 2016

The Town That Got Cool

Columbia was never a place that I wanted to move back to. Ever.

You used to get a pretty good rant from me about all the exact reasons why I didn't want to live in Columbia again after leaving when I graduated high school. I had a whole host of reasons why Columbia wasn't a suitable place for a 20-something to create a life in.

But you know what? Columbia's gotten kind of... awesome. It's been neat watching how this city that I once swore off has grown into a place that I am happy to call home again. There are so many new things! From the growth in The Vista, to the thriving breweries out by the stadium, to the Bull Street Commons project, to the revitalization of Main Street, Columbia has grown. It's not the Columbia that I grew up with and I'm totally ok with that.

Plus, Columbia has some cool things happening around town over the next few months that I'm excited about. Here's five of my favorite:
It's almost opening day for the Fireflies!


They're about to start their very first season in Columbia and in their brand new stadium over at Bull Street Commons. I adored going to the Charlotte Knights' games up in Charlotte and I have high expectations for the Fireflies' games here.

Hunter Gatherer Brewery & Ale House, Patrick's favorite restaurant in Columbia, is opening up a second location in Columbia... in a hanger at the Owens Field airport.

Good food + good beer + totally awesome new location. What's not to love about that, right? Even better is the fact that it's opening this spring AND it's a 2 minute drive from my work. I am already anticipating post-work happy hours there once they open up.

Granted, this isn't happening until sometime in 2017 but it's still worth mentioning. This was one of my very favorite restaurants in Charlotte and Columbia needed a brunch place close to The Vista & Main Street. Toast is a perfect fit {& not just because they put copious amounts of powdered sugar on pancakes}.

If you haven't been to Riverbanks Zoo lately, they've been making a lot of changes and adding so many new attractions. They did a fantastic job with the new entrance, the River Otter habitat, and the new home for the Grizzly Bears.

Next up? Seals & Sea Lions!

This exhibit is slated to open later this spring and you can bet that I'll be taking a lunchtime visit or two once it warms up to check them out.

Patrick and I did a double take one day when we were walking along Gervais: someone had recently begun renovating one of the old buildings & had put up a permit in the window with a teeny, tiny bit of information about what was going inside once complete.

A microbrewery in The Vista?? Yes, please! That area of Columbia has really stepped up their game lately and there are so many new restaurants to choose from... adding in a microbrewery is only going to make that area even better.

BONUS! I just found out yesterday about this one... there's a Food Truck Court coming to West Columbia in March.

& y'all, I think it might beat out my beloved Food Truck Friday in Charlotte. Why? Because it's going to be open seven days a week for breakfast/lunch/dinner, not just one night. Also, it opens on March 13 which is the first official day of Daylight Savings Time which means I will absolutely be out here for dinner, soaking up the late evening sunshine.


So... anyone else excited about all the fun things coming to Columbia soon? Or is it just me?

10 February 2016

Confessions of Moving Back Home at 27

On the list of things that I never thought I would ever do, moving back home with my parents was close to the top.

I successfully graduated from Clemson with a job offer in hand and immediately set off for my first job in Charlotte, NC almost six years ago. That should have been that, right? Graduate college, get job, move to your own apartment in a new city, never worry about living at home with your parents again.

When you move back to your hometown and you & your fiancé are completely old fashioned, out-of-date, and untrendy... you might end up back at home with your parents all because you and your fiancé aren't planning to live together before getting hitched.

That was 8.5 months ago. And since then, I've collected quite a few confessions of moving back home with your parents when you're 27...
Confession: my parents do my laundry.
Not even a little bit of shame in this one because I tried to do my laundry. But most of the time, they grab it when I'm at work because they need a little extra to make a full load. How am I supposed to do laundry when I get home if it's already done?

Confession: my parents now use phrases like "Bye Felicia!" & they like to throw their hand on their hip in pictures.
... whoops.

Confession: I've brought out my parents' passive aggressive style.
If you follow me on Snapchat {@chessop}, you know that there was a certain little Christmas tree {mine} in the our kitchen that stayed up until January 27th. It only came down because I walked into this when I got home that day:

Confession: receiving a text like this from my dad completely makes my day.
It's the little things, y'all, and being able to park in the garage is the best thing ever.

Confession: online shopping happens. Frequently.
There was one week where all of the following shipped to the house: Save the Dates, a return address stamp, 140 stamps from the post office, invitations for a party my parents are co-hosting, a Carolina Panthers jersey {Luuuuuuuuuke!}, a new Rocksbox set, & two monogrammed hats from Marley Lilly. I blame this 100% on close proximity to my mom at night where it's easy to get her opinion on things/talked into buying things {& vice versa}

Confession: they've both becoming expert blogging assistants.
They're almost always the ones behind the camera taking pictures as needed... or popping into the background of pictures when bored &/or hungry.

Confession: my fiancé is a little worried about what happens when I have to move back out of my parents house because we're having entirely too much fun being roomies again.
True story. He's genuinely concerned.
I'm just glad that I have two parents that are mildly entertaining to live with :)
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