17 December 2018

Brewery #40: Steel Hands Brewing

I love when a new craft brewery comes to town.

Not one, but two breweries opened up in Columbia while I was pregnant with Riley. Was I a tiny bit annoyed at the timing of the openings? You bet. I love when a new craft brewery comes to town and usually want to be one of the first people to check it out. When Twisted Spur, Columbia Craft Brewing, and Hunter Gather's Hangar location all opened... I was either there opening day or opening week.

I not-so-patiently waited for the day that I could head back to a brewery so that I could check out the two newest ones in town.

Patrick and I snuck out of the house this Saturday, leaving Riley with his mom to watch, to have a day date at Columbia's newest brewery. Technically, Steel Hands Brewing is in Cayce, which is less than 10 minutes from our house {win!} It's also right down the road from one of our favorite restaurants {Henry's} and from the Timmerman Trail where we like to bike. There's a lot of good things coming to Cayce and I'm all for it.

But back to Steel Hands. It's the 40th {!!!} brewery that Patrick and I have visited together since 2015.

Steel Hands Brewing announced that they would be opening up the Midlands largest craft brewery back in March and I have been counting down the days until I could visit ever since. The taproom seats 150 people and they're busy working on their outdoor patio space that will seat even more people. The outdoor space is about half complete.

Right now, they're open on Thursdays from 4-10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am-10pm, and Sundays from 12-8pm.

On tap, they have:

I tried the Pilsner, Pepper Pilsner, and the Lager. Hands down, the Pilsner was my favorite of the three that I sampled but I'd be ok with grabbing a pint of any of them.

As for Patrick, he tried the Tropical IPA and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout in addition to the three that I sampled. We also checked out their kitchen and had their Duck Fat Fries and their Pretzels + Beer Cheese. Patrick loved the fries and y'all, I need their beer cheese in my life on a daily basis. It was delicious!

We both loved everything about this brewery. It's got a huge {by Columbia standards} taproom that's filled with plenty of seating. Not every brewery has a lot of seating but this one definitely does. Their beer is fantastic. The atmosphere was wonderful - enough people to be lively with a quaint bluegrass duo playing in the background.

Does anyone else spy @easelcathedral setting up shop in the background of this photo?

Their brewery capabilities look to be fairly expansive, with room to grow if needed down the road.

And the outdoor area? I can't wait for better weather to be able to get outside and enjoy this area! To the right of all of this outdoor seating is a big grassy lawn that has a nifty stage built from shipping containers at the end of it. Live music, great craft beers and plenty of space for everyone? I'm ok with it.

Have we already tentatively planned two trips out there this week? Maybe. Is this going to be Riley's first brewery? There's a really good chance it will be! This is one brewery that I have a feeling we are going to be regulars at sooner than later.


12 December 2018

Exploring Columbia: Città del Cotone

I love when new businesses open up in town! Especially ones that are locally owned and bring something new and different that we don't already have here. There's a new area in Columbia that is slowly becoming home to several unique, local businesses that fit that description:

War Mouth
Cottontown Brew Lab
Indah Coffee
Circa Barbershop

That area of town is just north of downtown Columbia, and is known locally as Cottontown. This area hasn't always been the greatest side of town to be on... but as new businesses move in, it's beginning to become a better and more popular place to be. There's a brand new restaurant that just opened up over there that Patrick and I checked out a few weeks ago on their opening day.

Città del Cotone is a delicious new pizza place that serves up pizzas that cook in about three minutes in their brick oven. Located in the heart of Cottontown, Città del Cotone translates to "town of cotton" which, if you ask me, is the most appropriate name ever for this restaurant.

Patrick and I ventured out here the week that it opened. It was either grill some chicken and cook some veggies at home for dinner... or try out a new pizza place for what could potentially be one of our final "just us" date nights. Obviously, we opted for the pizza!

It was 100% not what we expected when we walked in. There are a few tables to sit at, but the bulk of the seating is at the bar that surrounds the kitchen and brick oven. It's a good place to go with one other person or to grab a pizza to go. I definitely wouldn't attempt going here with a group! Also, the pizzas aren't your traditional ones - they're more along the lines of what you'd find if you ordered a pizza in Italy. You won't find a pepperoni pizza here.

I went with the Pizza Marinara {tomato sauce, garlic, and a sprinkle of oregano}. Note to self: if it doesn't explicitly list the ingredient, don't expect to find it on your pizza. Mine didn't mention cheese. There's no cheese to be found on Pizza Marinara.

I was super disappointed to see my pizza come out but you know what? It was so good! I was surprised by how much I loved it despite the fact that it wasn't what I was expecting. I would hands down order it again.

Patrick ordered the Pizza Tagliata {tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sirloin, mushrooms, onions and bell peppers}. He loved his pizza, too!

Our next stop in Cottontown is going to be Cottontown Brew Lab and y'all, you better believe that we'll be grabbing a pizza or two to go from Città del Cotone and enjoying it alongside a Bull Street Wheat and a Tropicarolina IPA. I'm excited to try out Cottontown Brew Lab - they opened up while I was pregnant so I haven't had a chance to enjoy their craft beer yet. But I hear that it's awesome!

10 December 2018

Welcome to the World, Riley!

Welcome to the world, Riley!

Patrick and I are thrilled that sweet girl is here, and we're loving life with her in it. Life as a family of three is pretty awesome if you ask me.

There have been so many baby snuggles. All the snuggles. We can't get enough of them. Who needs to be productive or get things done when you can have baby snuggles instead?

We ventured out for one walk before the freezing cold rain rolled in, and I'm already looking forward to our next walk around the neighborhood. I keep checking the weather forecast looking for days where it'll be warm enough to take her outside. It's the downside of having a baby during this time of year - lack of warm walking weather.

We spent a morning with Aaron of Joshua Aaron Photography doing a newborn photo session. I cannot wait to see how those photos turn out! And I'm excited to create our first family Christmas card to send out to everyone. We snuck in a few good Christmas-themed photos since we had our tree up and our stockings on the mantle.

Our parents have been amazing in helping us out! They've been coming over to get in baby snuggles so that we could get things done around the house from eating lunch to doing laundry, running to the grocery store, and showering.

Life sure is sweeter with Riley in it. Thanks to everyone for all of the well wishes, the cards, and gifts - we've appreciated them all and we look forward to being able to introduce her to more of our friends and family soon!

26 November 2018

Happy Due Date, Baby Girl!


I've never been particularly good at waiting or being patient. I'm more along the lines of instant gratification most of the time. But you know what? I can be good at waiting when I know exactly how long I'm waiting for. Waiting for baby is much harder because there really isn't an official end date in sight.

Could I go into labor any minute now? Sure, technically I could. Has baby girl made any moves towards making her grand debut? Absolutely not.

... but, our house is spotless.

Our hospital bags are all packed.

The car seat is installed in my car and the extra base is installed in Patrick's car.

Our parents are all in town, done traveling for the time being.

All of the laundry is done {thanks to a fancy new washer and dryer that Patrick came home with last week!}

I had plenty of time to do some serious Black Friday shopping on Friday and throughout the weekend.

We made a dent in our Christmas shopping.

Our house is decorated and ready for the holiday season.

So, baby girl, we're just waiting on you. I never actually pictured you arriving on your due date because I always thought you were going to surprise us all and come early. Still being pregnant today wasn't anything I ever considered. Here I thought that we'd already be at home, snuggled up on the couch watching some Christmas movies, learning how to change diapers, and figuring out how to survive on a few hours of sleep.

Happy due date, baby girl! We can't wait to meet you and you're more than welcome to introduce yourself any time you want. But seriously. Any time you want.

23 November 2018

Breaking From Tradition

Happy Solid Orange Friday!

For the first time in thirteen seasons, I won't be at the annual rivalry game between Clemson and South Carolina.

I've been to twelve straight games in the series and throughout the twelve years, I've seen an even split of wins between the two teams. Patrick and I have been to the nine games together {and our relationship has survived all nine!} and it's going to be weird to watch the game on TV this year. We're so used to spending the Saturday after Thanksgiving tailgating with our friends before watching our teams square off against one another.

Let's take a quick trip down memory lane...

2006: Freshman year of college
{USC win}

2007: Sophomore year of college & first game in a really long time at USC. Also the coldest game I had ever in my life been to.
{Clemson Win}

2008: Junior year of college & the most miserable game I had ever been to. It was so cold and was sleeting during most of the game. Our Interim Head Coach {Dabo} beat USC's HOF Coach {Spurrier} and it was awesome. Patrick actually attended this game to and at the conclusion, swore that he was never attending another Clemson game again {little did he know!}
{Clemson Win}

2009: Senior year of college and our first rivalry game.
{USC Win}

2010: Year 2 of our rivalry relationship.
{USC Win}

2011: Year 3 of our rivalry relationship. This was a long day of tailgating that culminated in walking down railroad tracks, cutting through an abandoned warehouse, and me falling down a set of stairs.
{USC Win}

2012: Year 4 of our rivalry relationship. The tailgate was exceptionally fun, but the outcome of the game? Not so much. USC notched win #4 in a row.
{USC Win}

2013: Year 5 of rivalry relationship. It was the year of the Chicken Bog, being picked up and dropped, and another Clemson defeat.
{USC Win}

2014: Year 6 of our rivalry relationship and at least the 4th year in a row of Patrick and his Gamecock flannel and the FIRST TIME that Clemson won while we were dating! It was the beginning of excellent things to come.
{Clemson Win}

2015: Year 7 of our rivalry relationship. Hands down the warmest Clemson/Carolina game to date - we were all rocking short sleeves rather than scarves, coats, and hats.
{Clemson Win}

2016: Year 8 of our rivalry relationship. It was our first married game and one of the best Clemson/Carolina weekends. We had rented a house just outside of Clemson with a group of friends and spent the whole weekend together.
{Clemson Win}

2017: Year 9 of our rivalry relationship and another Clemson win! I also absolutely froze during this tailgate because I accidentally forgot to pack a pair of leggings for when it got cooler after the sun went down.
{Clemson Win}

The irony of having a Clemson / Carolina weekend due date was not lost on us when we found out that we were expecting baby girl. It's only appropriate for two people who built their relationship during football season, who have season ticket's to both Clemson and Carolina, and for two people who have always been distinctly Clemson and distinctly Carolina.

Our friends know us well, too.

They've already prepared baby girl for next football season!

It's just weird to think that we might be watching the game this year in the hospital if she decides to come this weekend. I know that she's going to come when she decides to come, but it would be truly appropriate for her to show up just before kick off. But, just as likely, we could be watching the game from our living room tomorrow night as we hang out waiting on her grand debut.

There are very few reasons why I would ever miss a Clemson / Carolina game. This little girl is at least a very good reason to miss it!


21 November 2018

A Celebration With the Girls

Earlier this month, some of our long time family friends got together and threw us the sweetest baby shower. This group of friends is one that Patrick and I both love to celebrate with - we have celebrated all kinds of events throughout the years with them.

There have been engagement parties, wedding showers, weddings, baby showers, baptisms, birthdays, and more. If there's something to celebrate, we like to get together and party.

Baby Girl was no exception.

The hostesses knew that Blue Flour Bakery cookies were a must, along with cheese straws. They even pulled a recipe from my blog to make, too!

The gifts at this shower were definitely some of the most thoughtful ones that Baby Girl received. One of the girls that I work with handmade three gorgeous baby outfits. My aunt handmade two baby blankets. One of the girls found the most perfect outfits for her that look like something I would wear {with the exception of that Gamecock one!} Another girl I work with collected shells along the coastline and arranged them in a shadowbox for her low country / beach themed nursery.

These mothers know how to put together a party, y'all.

And this great-grandmother-to-be knows how to party. She might be 93, but I think she's got more energy and more things on her social calendar than the rest of us combined.

& this group of girls? They're pretty awesome. Some of us have known each other for nearly 26 years! We've been there for each other's milestones throughout those years... engagements, weddings, & babies. Here's to adding one more celebration to the books!

20 November 2018

Baby Bumpin' in Downtown Charleston


While I haven't documented too much of my pregnancy here on the blog, one thing that I really wanted to do to document it was to have maternity photos taken.

Enter in Caitlyn, of Caitlyn Motycka Photography and the blogger behind Home Sweet Ruby. I've been following along with Caitlyn for years and have watched as she picked up a camera and began to take absolutely stunning pictures of her family and friends. I was so excited to see that she decided to start her own business earlier this year, and immediately messaged her about taking maternity photos in downtown Charleston.

Fast forward a few months, and Patrick and I met up with her early on Sunday morning in October to document this ever growing baby bump of mine.

Fun fact: this particular Sunday was the very last day that I was able to squeeze my engagement ring and wedding band on my finger. My Clemson ring had to be ditched a few weeks prior and I've been rocking my Enso ring ever since. I'm just glad that I was able to wear my regular rings in these photos!

We took the majority of our photos in downtown Charleston on Chalmers Street between Meeting Street and Church Street. Fair warning: this is hands down the bumpiest, roughest road to ever drive down! Extremely picturesque, but extremely bumpy. If we lived in Charleston, I'd probably make several trips down this road to try and get labor going.

You also don't have to worry about being in the way of cars on this road. It isn't well-traveled, and when it is, the cars are going so slow that you can easily hop out of the way.

We also ventured into Washington Square Park for a few photos.

And of course, it wouldn't be a photoshoot with a professional photographer if Patrick and I didn't have at least one dancing photo. These always end up being some of my favorite and we have quite the collection going these days.

If you live in the Charleston area, or if you're traveling that way, and need some photos taken of your family... I highly recommend Caitlyn! She was super easy to work with and I love how our photos turned out! You should see some of the sessions that she does down on the beach - they're stunning. Am I already mentally planning another session with her sometime next year when Baby Girl is here? You bet.

As for now... now, we're just counting down the days until we get to meet this sweet little girl!

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