23 August 2017

That One (Really Awesome) Summer of Fun

Soo... it's been a little while.

While Magnolia and Main is one thing that I never intended to neglect, it fell to the wayside over the past couple of months. I saw it coming. I embraced it. I convinced Patrick that this should be our "summer of fun" and that we should say yes to all of the things and go on all of the trips.

It was a really, really awesome {exhausting?} summer of fun.


Here's kind of what happened:

- I started a new job!
- Went to Kiawah.
- Hung out on Lake Murray.
- Went to Charlotte for brewery fun & a fundraising event.
- Road tripped to Nags Head for a long weekend & a wedding.



- New job took on a brand new, huge, exciting project that I love... & will share more about very soon.
- Celebrated some new retirees & some awesome dads.
- Bought a couch!
- Went to some Fireflies games.
- Celebrated quite a few pregnancies {... this was the theme of the summer for a lot of friends}
- Played on Kiawah for the 4th of July.



- Had to get my Clemson ring cut off :(
- Celebrated birthday #29!
- Traveled to Charleston for birthday celebrations.
- Popped down to Kiawah for even more birthday celebrations.
- Took a vacation to Edisto with Patrick's family.
- Celebrated our anniversary in Asheville {& toured more breweries!}
- Enjoyed a Mountain Weekend with Patrick's family {& a beautiful wedding}



- Went to Kiawah.
- Spent one final weekend out of town in Charlotte {with breweries, a cute baby, a baby announcement from a friend, and a wedding}


... and in between all of that, we never said no to Fireflies games, drinks out with friends, or mid-week date nights. We were on the go all summer long.

I don't even think that "exhausted" is the right word to use to describe how we feel after three crazy hectic months. Is it bad that we're looking forward to football season because it means that we're only busy one day of the weekend and still have our Sundays at home?

Let's see if I can get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing. I'm looking forward to showing y'all some updates around the house, sharing some new recipes, and telling you about some of my favorite new finds.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

22 August 2017

Totality.

I can't say that I was ever super excited about this whole eclipse thing in the months and weeks leading up to it. It was all that anyone could talk about around here. Eclipse-mania set in hard in Columbia and every. single. thing. circled back to the eclipse in one way or another.

Would it be cool to see it? Yes. Absolutely.

Was I only going to see it because where I live happened to fall in the path of totality? You better believe it.

Did I end up totally nerding out about the eclipse in the days leading up to it and learn everything about it that I could? Yeah, that might have happened.

I'll have to blame two different weekends at the beach for piquing my interest in the night sky and the other things hanging out in space with us. One father-of-the-bride had the International Space Station fly over his daughter's wedding reception. Um, very cool to see that. The other was just two weekends ago when we were invited by some friends at the beach to come down to the boardwalk to see the meteor shower. I learned all about Jupiter, Saturn, the Milky Way, satellites, and space stations, and I was even able to see six meteors during the shower.



All of that prompted me to do my research at the last minute and to be the one that was ready and staring at the sun {from behind my solar eclipse glasses} at exactly 1:13pm today. Sure enough, the tiniest little chunk disappears from the sun.

We watched diligently for the next hour and a half as the moon slowly creeped over the sun and towards totality. As soon as our eclipse glasses went black, we all threw them off to see exactly what this total solar eclipse thing looked like in person.

Y'all, if you weren't in the path of totality, you missed out. I get it now when they say that "close isn't close enough" when it comes to a total solar eclipse. Being able to take off our eclipse glasses for the two and a half minutes was... incredible. Surreal. Awesome. Something I will hopefully never forget.


{Photo from the very talented Joshua of Joshua Aaron Photography in Columbia, SC. See the original post on Facebook here - they are selling prints! Don't be surprised if you see this in our house soon!}

The sheer panic when we all had to scramble to put our glasses back on as the moon continued on it's path is also something I'll probably never forget either!


{this was at 2:42pm during the eclipse}

Everything that they said would happen during the eclipse and totality, happened. From the "diamond ring" to the 360 degree sunset and the temperature drop to the cicadas.

I doubt that I'll be chasing down future eclipses, but y'all, if you ever find the chance to see a total solar eclipse... do it! Just make sure to remember that 99.9% isn't close enough. You've got to find that 100% path of totality or you'll miss out one one of the most awesome things to see.

08 August 2017

Brewing & Touring at New Belgium

Way back in the day, when I was still new to the craft brewery world, I fell in love with two different wheat beers. One was from a former craft brewer {Goose Island} and the other was from a brewery that I'm 100% positive will never sell out: New Belgium.


While I haven't quite forgiven New Belgium for sending my beloved Snapshot Wheat out to pasture this past winter, I've been introduced to a few recently that are doing their part to make up for the absence of that particular wheat beer. I went to New Belgium last year as part of my bachelorette weekend but knew that Patrick and I would have to come back for a visit and a tour.


Y'all.

If you've only got enough time to visit one brewery in Asheville, let it be this one.

Patrick and I rolled into the parking lot just before 11am last Friday and I checked online for tour tickets. We were in luck and we snagged the last two tickets for the 90 minute tour at 11:30am {ps - the tour is FREE!} Tickets secured, we walked inside when the doors opened and headed straight to the bar where we had our first encounter with a guy named Michael. He poured Patrick a beer {first one of the day!} and then asked me what I wanted.

I told him that I wanted the Sunshine Wheat {my favorite beer from my bachelorette weekend & one that I can only find at the brewery} and he said "Well, ok, I'm going to get you to try something else first."


He handed me back a sample of "Fat Tire No. 2" to try. He told me about how this was a brand new beer that had just been released the week prior and that distributors were already clamoring to get on their shelves. This crisp, refreshing, unfiltered white ale was amazing. I abandoned my Sunshine Wheat and went with Michael's suggestion. Honestly, I don't really think that I had a choice when it came to the beer I was getting because I think I was going to be served Fat Tire No. 2 no matter what.

Our tour started promptly at 11:30am under the bicycle archway between the Liquid Center and the brewery and luckily for us, we had encounter number two with Michael. He was our tour guide!


I have never met anyone in my entire life who speaks so passionately about what they do and the company that they work for. This guy lives and breathes everything New Belgium. He was wildly entertaining, too. We learned about his farm {& his bacon seeds}, how he ended up at New Belgium {it involved many years of rejection letters & living out of a truck for a couple of months}, and so much more. Our tour would have been an entirely different experience with any other tour guide.

Did you know? There's a slide! The highlight of the tour for me might have been sliding down this thing. Maybe.


There's also plenty of beer to sample along the tour. We had the Fat Tire, the Belgian Trippel, the Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, and a sour beer that I opted to skip out on.


& crazy murals to take pictures with.


It was seriously such a great tour and experience. It's one that you've got to check out yourself and not just read about ;)

Afterwards, I may have purchased a few anniversary presents to ourselves from the New Belgium shop. It's hard to not want to support this company and all of the owners {since it's a 100% employee owned company} after learning more about it. I only wish that we had more time to sit outside of the Liquid Center, watch paddle boarders on the French Broad River, and enjoy more of the Fat Tire No. 2.


We checked New Belgium off of our never ending list of breweries to visit. 33 down, hundreds more to go!

Happy Tuesday, y'all.

07 August 2017

Weekending Through the Mountains

There's something about the city of Asheville that keeps drawing Patrick and me in for a visit {& it's not just the breweries.}


I think it dates back to one perfect weekend that we had there nearly three years ago, back when we discovered just how much we loved day-dates. It's a city that we've become quite familiar with. We know how to get to our favorite breweries, we don't get too lost when we visit these days, and we have so many memories tied to this town. When we realized back in the winter that a big, fancy trip to Ireland wouldn't be in the cards for our anniversary this year... we started planning for Asheville.

We got on the road after work on Thursday, checked into our hotel just before 9 o'clock, and headed right back out to Wicked Weed. I know that a lot of people aren't too crazy about Wicked Weed right now and their decision to sell out, but that's not going to stop me from going to their taproom. Delicious beer is delicious beer and I'm not complaining.

After Wicked Weed, we thought it would be a great idea to walk to Hi-Wire Brewing.


Pro Tip: don't. Call the Uber or make the decision to walk during daylight hours. It was a little sketchy. We did get another brewery crossed off our list {#31!} so it was worth it.

Friday morning, we ventured over to Biscuit Head for breakfast. We were amazed at how many people where there for breakfast on a Friday morning! I can only imagine how packed it must get on the weekends.


Afterwards, Patrick and I went to New Belgium Brewery right as they were opening up for the day. Someone {Patrick!} might have even had the first beer of the day there. I'll have more on this for you tomorrow because our experience at New Belgium deserves an entire post to itself.


Sierra Nevada didn't disappoint, either. The food there is amazing: we had the ham pizza, the moroccan skewers, and the beer pimento cheese with pretzels. So, so, SO good.



It was a short trip to Sierra Nevada and we decided not to do the tour here. They have a self-guided catwalk tour that was plenty enough for us.



We headed out to Hendersonville, NC to meet up with Patrick's family at a family friend's mountain house where we stayed for the remainder of the weekend. They had come to town for Patrick's cousin Angela's wedding. We caught this view of the stormy weather over the mountains as we were going back to the cabin after dinner in Chimney Rock:



Saturday morning, we woke up to this view:



You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for a wedding, either. We actually got cool outside. I don't think the temperature ever got higher than 75 while we were in the mountains this weekend and I'm definitely not complaining. It felt amazing and made me wish for fall weather and football season.


It has been so good to be able to spend time with Amy this summer while she's been in town. Patrick and I both felt like we didn't see her at all last summer in between trying to fix up and move into our house and our wedding, so we've been making up for it this year.



That night, we had the best time sitting on the porch, watching the sunset, singing along to some fun songs, and eating pizza. How do you beat this view?



But there comes a point in every summer when you're ready to move on. I think that both Patrick and I hit that point this weekend. It's been a crazy busy, crazy fun summer for us. We've traveled to Nags Head, Kiawah, Edisto, Charlotte, Charleston, and Asheville. We've celebrated the 4th of July, our friends' wedding, my birthday, my dad's 70th birthday, our anniversary, and Patrick's cousin's wedding.

It has been so much fun.

But now I'm ready for fall and football. The cooler weather in Columbia last week combined with the chilly weather in the mountains has me dreaming of football season, all things pumpkin, and a return to our less hectic lifestyle. We've got two more adventures this summer though before we pack away the suitcases for more than three days.

Happy Monday, y'all!

04 August 2017

A Brewery Trip Around Charleston

There were only two things that I wanted for my birthday this year: a mini vacation down to Charleston and a corresponding Charleston brewery hop.

Truth be told, we usually don't need any sort of excuse to go check out a new brewery or any brewery for that matter. But a birthday celebration seems like a pretty good excuse, right? We stopped by five different breweries on our last trip down to Charleston. Two were ones we'd been to before and three were new to us.



But of course this was our first stop last Thursday on our way into town. We didn't have plans to visit Holy City until we got a slightly later than planned start out of Columbia and realized that we would be passing by Holy City right around lunch time.


I always go with the Washout Wheat when it comes to Holy City but decided to go with a flight to try out a few other ones. The one that I wasn't crazy about was the blonde ale. The Paradise Session IPA was really good... might I be slowly turning into an IPA fan? Maybe?

Birthdays get zero judgement, so I'll share exactly what I had for lunch: a basket of these amazing fries with beer cheese on the side. If you've never had these fries before then you're missing out!



{Frothy Beard Brewery}
Fun fact: most breweries in Charleston don't open until 4pm on weekdays. This one was suggested to us by the bartender at Holy City as one that opened early and we are glad that we stopped by!



I went with another flight of beer here but since there were only three that I wanted to try, Patrick picked out the last one.


The Hominy Cream Ale, Pelican Pilsner, and Holy Water Belgian Saison are all beers that I would love to find sometime in Columbia. They were great. That last one? Uh... even the bartender that day agreed that it wasn't the best one on tap. Per Patrick, it tasted like boiled peanuts. I can attest to the fact that it smelled just like water that boiled peanuts had been cooked in. It was not the most appealing?

This was one brewery that I knew I needed to give a second chance. The first time that we went here was late on a Thursday night and the place was loud, crowded, and hotter than preferable in July.



It was just as hot this go around, but there might have been less than 10 people there? Perks of going here at 3pm on a Thursday.



I'd love to tell you what I had to drink here, but I forgot to write it down and I think it was a seasonal beer that's no longer on tap. Whatever it was, I really liked it!


Our 2nd stop by this brewery was a success and I'm now officially a fan.

Oh, Westbrook. The White Tai has always been one of my favorite beers and this brewery has always been on our list to visit.


They were right. As much as we love their beers, their taproom wasn't what we were used to. It's smaller, has limited hours, and isn't made for settling in for a couple of hours with your friends. Our trip here was purely to check it off the list - mission accomplished!


We stumbled across this one. We had a limited amount of time to squeeze in one last brewery before meeting up with friends for dinner and in hindsight, we would have picked a more popular one that was right down the road.

This was the taproom...



Would I suggest their beer? Absolutely. I just wouldn't suggest stopping by their taproom just yet. They'll likely have a great one soon so we'd take another trip here in another year or so for sure.

Just for the record, other Charleston breweries that we love and didn't have time to get to this trip:
Low Tide Brewing {on Johns Island}
Revelry Brewing

Ones we still need to try:
Coast
Fatty's Beer Works
Charles Towne Fermentory - any time we talk to someone about Charleston breweries, they ask if we have been to this one yet.
Lagunitas - this was right across the street from our hotel this past trip but was closed for renovations
Tradesmen
Cooper River Brewing

01 August 2017

#367

Exactly one year ago today, right about this time, Patrick and I were on a flight down to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon.


All I can sit here and think about is how in the world has it already been a year since the day we got married and celebrated with all of our family and friends? It truly does feel like just yesterday, but at the same time, it feels like it's been five years and not just one. It's hard to believe that today is #367 of being married but easy to think that it's been 2,908 days since we met.

We kept things fairly low key on our actual anniversary this past Sunday since we've got a little getaway planned to Asheville this coming weekend. It was a day-date kind of day for us which are my favorite kind of days with Patrick.


Our day started out where it began last July: at our home church. There's something really special about being married in the church that we are members of and the ability to revisit the site of our ceremony throughout the year is great. To go on our actual anniversary? Even better.


We wasted a little time by walking around on Main Street, checking out all of the "yarn bombing" that was going on, before going to State Street for brunch.


Could you tell that I was on a hunt for all the fun artwork around Columbia? We found this great new mural right behind Terra / 116 / New Brookland Tavern.


I'd never been to brunch at 116 before, but you can bet that I'll be back soon! The chicken and waffles were delicious. Pro Tip: 116 doesn't open until 10am, but the line starts forming early. Go 15-20 minutes early to make sure that you can get your name on the list and be in the first group to sit! It's a small restaurant and can only seat so many people.


We joke that the rest of our day was spent in true Lutheran fashion. I had an errand to run on Devine Street, but the store I needed to go to didn't open until noon. We had about 45 minutes to waste... when I remembered that River Rat Brewery opens at 11am on Sundays, right after their 10am Yoga class. So what do y'all think we did?


We grabbed a drink at River Rat and sat outside to enjoy the amazing weather that we had going on Sunday morning. No humidity and temperatures hovering right around 70 made for the perfect morning spent outside.

And, you know, right after we finished our errand on Devine Street, we may have noticed that Craft and Draft was about to open up for the day...


It wasn't particularly busy at Craft and Draft while we were there, so we were able to grab seats right at the bar and enjoy a leisurely drink while we plotted what to do with the rest of our day.

The highlight of the afternoon might have been our final stop of the day: the grocery store.

I know, I know, the grocery store? Yes. We went to the grocery store on our wedding anniversary and we loved EVERY second of it. Y'all. I grew up going to Lowes Foods in Winston-Salem and I enjoyed it for a little bit while it was in Charlotte before closing up shop there. They've opened two Lowes Foods in Columbia now {with plans for a third} and they are amazing.


How amazing? You'll have to wait until later this week to find out. Just know that both Patrick and I had more fun here than should actually be had at a grocery store.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

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