26 April 2017

Charlotte Brewery Hop Part 2 - Wooden Robot & Triple C

After our first two stops at Birdsong Brewing and Legion Brewing, we left the north side of uptown and headed back down to South End for the remainder of our brewery hoppin' time.

 
Our third stop of the day was Wooden Robot Brewing.

 
This was one I requested to go to because I felt like I needed to give this one a second chance. I did not particularly care for this brewery the first time that I went here {about a year go} but I had heard plenty of good things from friends about it. Maybe I had just been on an off day?

 
It was a much better experience the second time around. The first time had been on a rainy Friday night and it was super crowded, loud, and I didn't enjoy the beer. This time? It was a pretty day, not as crowded, and I had an excellent beer here {the Botbier Blonde Ale}.
 
We stayed here for one round before deciding to move on to the next brewery in search of a cooler place {Wooden Robot was hot while we were there} and somewhere to sit.

 
Triple C Brewing Co. was next up on our hop.

 
This was another brewery that I didn't particularly care for the first {and only other} time that I had been here. But, to be fair, that was back in my super early beer drinking days and it might have had something to do with that not with the actual brewery.



 
... and for the second time on Saturday, my first impressions of a brewery were corrected. I really enjoyed Triple C this time! My beer {Golden Boy Blonde} was delicious and the free pretzels didn't hurt, either.


 
 
Just for the record: here's the original blog post about the first trip to Triple C nearly 3.5 years ago. I think it's safe to say that my taste buds have changed over the years since I now really like the Golden Boy Blonde and back then, that's one that I barely managed to drink a small sample of.

 
Whew. Four down, two to go! Check back tomorrow for part 3.
 

25 April 2017

Charlotte Brewery Hop Part 1 - Birdsong & Legion

The #1 thing that I regret not doing while I lived up in Charlotte?
 
Exploring the breweries more.
 
Sure, I had been to a handful of breweries but most of them I only ever went to once {with the exception of OMB and Unknown Brewing} and there are so many that I never made it to in the first place. They have so many breweries in Charlotte and it's hard to keep up with them all! But we made a valiant attempt to squeeze in as many as possible this past Saturday.
 
First up: Birdsong Brewing Company in the Belmont neighborhood and Legion Brewing in Plaza Midwood.
 
 
Birdsong was our first stop of the day and after two minutes here, I was ready to stay for round 2! I ordered the All Knight Long, a Belgian blonde beer named after the Charlotte Knight's baseball team. It was delicious!
 
 
They had a great seating area outside so we took our beers outdoors to enjoy. Downside? The sun was pretty warm and all of the seats in the shade were taken. They did have some big fans up on the side of the building that were helping to cool things down.
 
 
 
From Birdsong, we headed over to Legion Brewing in Plaza Midwood.
 
 
This bar looked packed from the outside until we realized that everyone was sitting outside to enjoy the beautiful day. It was much less crowded inside.
 
 
I ordered a Project Pils here and Patrick got the Slow Boat to India Session IPA. Once again, I had another winner! The Project Pils was light and refreshing. We sat in a balcony area that overlooked where they do all of the actual brewing.
 
 
Patrick found a Connect 4 game for us to play. Little known fact about my husband: he is the Connect 4 Champion and you should never play with him. He convinced me to play two games with him {I actually won one of them!} and convinced Laurel and Steven to play as well before we decided it was time to check out another brewery.
 
 
Fun Fact: they have plenty of board games to play while you're hanging out.
 
 
Next up: Wooden Robot & Triple C!
 


24 April 2017

Snapshots of a Long Weekend

Happy thunderstorm-y Monday, y'all!
 
This past weekend was one for the books. Patrick and I both took the day off of work on Friday, so we had a nice, long weekend to celebrate the end of tax season.
 
 
We kicked off the weekend by catching a Fireflies game with some friends of ours. Tebow might not have played & the Fireflies might have lost, but we still had a great time! We hung out in the outfield and there might have been some heckling from our crowd...
 
 
Friday, there was a breakfast of waffles & sausage, a super productive morning crossing things off our list, and then an early happy hour at Twisted Spur. They had their Southern Belle Blonde beer back on tap which made my day. It hasn't been available the last few times that I've been there and it's hands down my second favorite beer in Columbia {behind River Rat's American Kolsch Story}
 
 
From there, we walked around the Vista to check out some of the new murals at the entrance to the Lincoln Street Bridge tunnel / greenway.
 
 
& then it was off to Lula Drake for a double date night of drinks at the wine bar / dinner at Main Street Public House. Lula Drake has added some great outdoor seating, complete with umbrellas for those hot, sunny afternoons that Columbia is well known for.
 
 
Main Street was packed on Friday thanks to the gorgeous weather out and the Indie Grits Festival going on at The Nick.
 
 
On Saturday, Patrick and I made a quick road trip up to Charlotte to visit some friends and do a little brewery hoppin'. We made it to six breweries Saturday afternoon!
 
Birdsong Brewing
Legion Brewing
Wooden Robot
Triple C Brewing
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Sugar Creek Brewery
 
We had such a good time visiting Laurel & Steven!
 

I'll have plenty more to share about the breweries later in the week. We went to two new-to-me breweries, two of my favorite Charlotte breweries, and to two that I wanted to give a second try to see if I liked them any better the second time around.
 
 
Spoiler alert: we liked them all!

 
It was a great weekend that ended entirely too soon. I'm already counting down the days until this weekend. We've got the Wine Tasting at the Rivebanks Zoo Botanical Gardens and {drumroll, please}: the return to KIAWAH!
 
The fact that I can't even tell you the last time that I was at Kiawah is all the justification that I need for a quick trip down there this weekend. Bring on the sunshine & beach days! 
 


19 April 2017

All of the Running

You thought you were done with reading about running on my blog for a little while, didn't you?
 
Nope. Not yet.

 
Between December 31 and April 15, I ran twelve races. 10 of those races happened over an 11 week span from the first weekend of February through this past weekend. Have I run more miles over the same amount of time? Absolutely. Every fall that I've trained for a half marathon, I've definitely put in more miles.
 
So why is it a big deal?

Because I woke up every Saturday morning, put on my shoes, and toed it up at the start line for another run. I wasn't the fastest. I didn't always necessarily want to go run. But I committed to it & completed it. The only planned race that I missed was in the middle of March when I felt like I might have hurt my heel somehow and decided to rest it up a week. Other than that? Didn't miss a beat.
 
Best Race
Run Hard 5K - I loved everything about this race {minus that hill} and even though it wasn't a PR for me, it was definitely the best race experience. Walking away with a surprise age group award didn't hurt either, especially since my mom & sister-in-law were there to see it.

 
Worst Race
March for Meals 5K - my GPS watch wasn't working well on the Timmerman Trail & I was fighting a painful heel.
 
Hilliest Race
Woodlands 5K & Play - this race was nothing but rolling hills from start to finish.
 
Flattest Race
Daybreak 5K - I'm not sure there was really any stretch of this course that could qualify as a "hill".
 
Fastest Race
BC Run to the Plate - this was my PR race this spring! I remember thinking that I was going so slow only to see the clock at the finish line and realize that not only would I PR, but I would PR by about 20 seconds.

 
Slowest Race
Brain Tumor 5K - there's nothing like the combination of an entirely uphill back half of a race in the direct, warm sunshine to slow a girl down. But we had so much fun doing this race regardless of time!

 
Coldest Race
MGC Not So Long Run 5K - I have never been so cold at a race! I definitely could have used something other than a tank top and shorts for this one.

 
Hottest Race
YMCA Bunny Hop 5K - the combination of a late start time + a mid April race meant that the heat index was over 70 at the start line. Not particularly ideal for this #coldweatherrunner

 
Favorite Age Group Award
Run Hard 5K & YMCA Bunny Hop 5K - I'm always a fan when you get a cool printed pint glass as an award. The Run Hard 5K might have been my favorite award ceremony though.

 
Age Group Finishes
1st Place - 2
{Valentine's at Ballentine 4 Miler & BC Run to the Plate 5K}
 
2nd Place - 1
{YMCA Bunny Hop 5K}
 
3rd Place - 3
{Red Shoe Run 5K, Run Hard 5K, Woodlands 5K & Play}
 
4th Place - 4
{A Cold Winter's Day 5K, Lagniappe 5K, March for Meals 5K, & Daybreak 5K}
 
5th Place - 1
{MGC Not So Long Run 5K}
 
Whew.

I'm already looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday morning & eating a delicious breakfast at the house. Bring on the snooze button & waffles!
 

18 April 2017

Bunny Hoppin' Around Columbia

Of all of the 5Ks that I've completed over the last 3.5 months, the Columbia YMCA Bunny Hop 5K is one of the only two that I've run in prior to this year. In fact, this is my third time bunny hoppin' all around downtown Columbia.
 
{2015|2016}
 
They did end up changing the course a little bit this year due to the new location of the downtown YMCA. It didn't change too much though and they kept the fun little loop that you have to run through twice in the middle of the race.



My friend Kayla had a goal to do her first 5K this spring & I convinced her that this one was a good one, so she signed up for it! Yay! I always love when there is someone else that I know doing the same race as me.
 
I went into this race with only two goals: run the entire thing, finish in under 29 minutes. Despite PR-ing in this race every other time I'd run it, I had no grand plans to beat my current 28:18 PR from the Brookland Cayce Race to the Plate back in February. Those goals changed about 30 seconds into the race though thanks to how toasty it was on Saturday morning.

 {yes, a real feel of 72 is considered "warm" in my book when it comes to running}
 
Mile 1
{9:06 / mile}
 
Loved the new start line location! We started a little further from Main Street this year on a shady section of Hampton Street. The shade lasted for like 30 feet though before we ran through the sunniest roads of all of downtown Columbia. Seriously. There was no shade to be found! Since the race started at 8:30, the sun was already out & shining and warming things up nicely. For this #coldweatherrunner, it was a little too warm for my liking. I ran hard for the first mile knowing that I would be slowing down for the back half of the course. We hit mile one right around where a random yard sale was set up {with about 3 microwaves for sales} and in one of the only shady spots along the course.
 
Mile 2
{9:51 / mile}
 
Mile 2 is always a fun one during this course. This is when the slower runners & the walkers start getting passed by the speedy runners who are completing their second lap of Laurel / Pickens / Barnwell / Richland streets loop. My goal was not to get passed by too many of these runners and I ended up getting passed by the top 8 male runners & the top female runner. Only 9? I could live with that... but I couldn't live with the warming temperatures anymore & had to stop and walk for a few seconds. 72 degrees isn't that warm outside but y'all, when I'm running, it feels like 95.
 
Mile 3
{10:22 / mile}
 
I completed my second lap around the Laurel / Pickens / Barnwell / Richland streets loop and started to head back to the finish line. The complete lack of shade on this part of the course + the temperatures = more walking on my end than I'd like to admit. Part of me might have even been wishing for the torrential downpour that we ran through back in 2014! One guy ran up next to me when I stopped to walk and was having none of my walking. He slowed down to give me some encouragement to start running again and who am I to ignore someone taking the time to encourage me to run? Picked up the running again and took off once I saw the finish line in sight. We crossed over Bull Street & barreled down towards the finish line.


{Photo by Columbia Running Club}

Finish
{8:49 / mile}

Once I saw the clock, it confirmed my suspicions that this definitely would not be a PR kind of day for me. It was already over 30 minutes but I still sprinted it out to the end. It wasn't my slowest 5K of the year but it was over two minutes slower than my best time. The wide range of times that I've managed to clock this spring would be a lot more confusing if they didn't directly correlate with the temperatures outside. Cold = fast, hot = sloooooow



 
Final Results
Watch Time - 30:32
Chip Time - 30:28
Pace - 9:49/mile
Age Group - 2/18
Gender - 41/164
Overall - 116/280


{I love being able to print these out as soon as you cross the finish line!}

Somehow, despite turning in my slowest time ever in the Bunny Hop 5K, I walked away with 2nd place in my age group! I'm definitely not complaining over here. The award was a sweet Bunny Hop 5K pint glass to add to our already extensive collection of pint glasses {which grew by 2 lately thanks to 5K age group awards}.

I'll absolutely be running this race again next year {fingers are already crossed for cooler weather} and I really liked the new course. Despite the lack of shade, it was an insanely flat, straight course. Plus, they have great t-shirts every year and the age group awards are sweet.
 
... aaaaaaand DONE!



That's it y'all. All of the running is D-O-N-E. Ok, well, the racing is done but I'll probably still throw my shoes on some mornings or on cool evenings after work or on Saturday mornings down at the beach. I won't be signing up for anymore 5Ks until August {looking at you, RBHS Stomp the Swamp!} and I am more than a little excited about that.
 
Adios, race recaps! See ya in August!

17 April 2017

Meal Planning #4

Happy {belated} Easter from our family to yours!

 
We started our day off right with waffles & sausage for breakfast before heading to church for our Easter service.


 
I hope that y'all got to enjoy your Sunday and that you were able to spend plenty of time with your family. Patrick and I were lucky enough to be able to hang out with both sides of our families - lunch with his family and dinner with mine.
 
Have you got all of your meals planned out for the week yet? We made the rookie mistake of thinking that we could do our grocery shopping yesterday afternoon. Um... well, apparently everything is closed on Easter Sunday? Not sure how we missed that memo. Anyway, here's what we've got on tap in our kitchen this week:
 
Sunday - Hamburgers, Salad, & FF
Monday - Easter lunch & dinner leftovers
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday {end of tax season YAY!}
Wednesday - Brined & Baked Chicken w/ Veggies
Friday - Out to Dinner
 
It's a big week of celebrations in our house this week. Tax season is officially over tomorrow afternoon at 5pm and I finally get my husband back! I know how excited I am and I'm not even the one suffering through actually doing the tax season work. We'll be doing a little celebrating at the end of the week with a night out at the Fireflies game on Thursday and a fun day around Columbia on Friday.
 
Have a great week!

14 April 2017

Five on Friday

Oh hey, Easter weekend!

 
It's Friday, the sun is shining, it's going to be over 80 degrees today... does it get much better than that? Don't think so!

Linking up for another Five on Friday with April.
 
{one}
It's the last 5K of the winter/spring race season for me - hallelujah!

 
The Columbia YMCA Bunny Hop 5K is annually one of the best 5Ks that I run. The first year, I set a 5K PR. The second year, I set another PR and beat my previous time by nearly 30 seconds. I don't have any new PR hopes for the race this year since it looks like it's going to be a little warm tomorrow morning but I am excited to get out and run it.
 
{two}
Three words: Henry's on State.
 
One of our favorite restaurants, Henry's, opened up a new location about five minutes from our house. We checked it out this past weekend and y'all, it's just as good as the original location with the added bonus of being much closer to us.

 
There are a lot of Carolina Chicken Sandwiches with a side of fries in my near future! ... like possibly this weekend, because I'm too impatient to wait any longer to get back here for another supper.
 
{three}
Can I point out that these shorts from JCrew Factory are the jam?
 
 
I already own every single color of the chino shorts, but have only recently gotten into this particular pair. Who knew that elastic waistband shorts could be so cute, comfy, and absolutely perfect? I definitely didn't expect it but you can expect to find me rockin' these shorts all summer long.
 
{four}
Found some neat pieces of art from local artists at the Soda City Market last Saturday.

I really want one of these sea turtles & one of the crabs to hang up in our hall / guest bathroom at our house.



I also want to find a place to hang one or two of these guys in our house. Maybe in our entry way? Maybe on either side of the mirror hanging above our fireplace?

 
{five}
It's been a looooong winter / early spring full of weekends at home. Don't get me wrong - it's been wonderful not having to travel all of the time and I've got zero complaints about all of the downtime that we've had. But y'all. It's time to travel again.

 
There are road trips to Charlotte, Kiawah, Edisto, {& maybe Asheville!} in my very near future. Beautiful island days are calling my name & I must go!

 
---
 
Hope that everyone has a great Easter weekend! We're celebrating not only Easter, but the end of tax season :) It's the final tax season weekend and it'll officially be over at 5PM on Tuesday.
 
Can. Not. Wait.
 
#SummerOfFun, here we come!



 

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