6.24.2016

Five on Friday

Happy Friday, readers!

How are things going?

I'll be the first to admit, I've hit the summer blogging slump. On top of that, things are gearing up at work. Fall is our busiest time of year and now we are starting to get busy with preparations for the upcoming season.

I am glad to tune in today, though, linking up with the 5 on Friday ladies!

ONE

Like probably all of you, I also love the off-the-shoulder trend and have been on the hunt for a top that I love...that doesn't break the bank. I've found it in this top! It actually reminds me a lot of this top that I fell in love with, but was way out of my price range with a tag of $395! I love loose, flowy tunics, and this has a similar feel! I also love this barely there salmon color! It also comes in white, a pale blue stripe, and a dark blue stripe. I have a 20% off code right now, which brings this shirt in as a steal at under $60. You can get your own code, by completing this brief survey. What summer trends are you loving?


TWO


I try to not share things here on the blog that I can't link back to an original source, but this pin was too good not to share. Those who follow along on Insta, know that I've caught the running bug. For the last month and a half, I have been running every 2-3 days, a minimum of 3 times per week. I have always said "I am not a runner" but have finally reached a point that I crave my runs. I've been using the Running for Weight Loss app, which is an interval training program. I started at the beginner level and in the beginning, it was mostly just walking and running. Now I am doing mostly running and sprints. Toward the very last leg of the workouts, I find myself at a point (typically after a tough uphill sprint), where I just want to stop and walk. At that point, I just repeat to myself in my head over and over, "Running slow is better than walking." You can imagine, therefore when I saw this pin, it really resonated. Now I just need to get my diet in shape! What are your best motivators to stay fit?

THREE


I can't get enough of this "Head Over Boots" song by Jon Pardi. It is so cheesy, but I love it! I always find myself listening to country more in the summertime. What have you been listening to lately?

FOUR


I can't believe that 4th of July is just next weekend! Time, as always, is flying! Earlier this week, we had dinner with Bryce's mom and we discussed coming up with some creative blueberry cocktails for the holiday, as the blueberry bushes at the river are overflowing with berries. I couldn't resist going to Pinterest for some inspiration, and think the champagne cocktail pictured above sounds like a winner! I also will likely be making my Patriotic Popcorn (recipe here). What are your 4th plans?


FIVE


I first came across Bradley of the blog Luella & June on Instagram here. I was immediately drawn to her preppy, punchy style! I still follow along mostly on Insta, but also like perusing her blog for fashion eye candy! If only I had an unlimited budget to fill my closet with all of her beautiful pieces...do you follow Bradley? Any other favorites I should be following?


So there you have it! My 5 on Friday!

What's been on your  mind lately?

Have a great weekend!

6.13.2016

Cru Cafe

Happy Monday readers!

I hope you had a great weekend! I took a little needed blog break last week. I had social obligations almost every  night and the thought of writing blog posts on top of them was just too overwhelming. I'm excited to be back in my groove this week!

Did y'all have a good weekend?

Mine was great! I took a personal day on Friday to unwind after my busy week. I logged a run in the morning, and then headed to the pool with a girlfriend for the rest of the day! That night, we had an impromptu double date night with our friends Emily and Frank. We both had planned to stay in, cooking our Blue Apron miso-glazed wings, so we decided to combine food and forces to enjoy the night together! Saturday I headed to a baby shower for Bryce's cousin and that night we had a date night. We decided to take a chance getting a seat at the bar of our favorite date night spot, Edo's Squid, and were pleasantly surprised when a prime table by the window was available sans reservations! Yesterday we went to brunch and then headed to my coworker Joanne's to celebrate her sweet baby boy Oliver's 1st birthday. After the party we had leftovers for dinner and went for a nice long walk. It was the perfect weekend in my eyes--a great mix of fun with friends, as well as downtime!

Today I am excited to be sharing one of the highlights of my Charleston trip with you: Dinner at Cru Cafe.

After a big trip, I am always overwhelmed by the the amount of pictures and activities to share here on the blog, but this meal was absolutely amazing, and a "must post" for sure!

Thanks to the recommendation of Ashley of Sweet Southern Prep, we decided to visit Cru Cafe. This restaurant is a secret gem in Charleston and a little bit off the beaten path! Erin (my bestie and travel buddy-see her blog here) and I had both hit some of the big Charleston hot spots on past visits, so we were excited to try a new place! Meg of the blog Borrowed Heaven, also joined us and it was certainly a meal and experience to remember!


When you arrive at Cru, you automatically feel like you are sitting down to dinner in a close friend's home. The atmosphere is casual and bright. 


I loved the giant whisk mounted above this bar seating area 
that is open to the kitchen!


After getting comfortable and taking a few sips from your beverage of choice, prepare to be amazed by the drool worthy menu! Cru has a great selection of classic Southern fare, tailored to the freshest low country ingredients available, as well as an eclectic mix of additional menu items with Asian and Caribbean influences.


I was delighted to be eating with Erin and Meg, who both wanted to try as many different items from the menu as I did! We decided to order quite the assortment of small plates, sides, and entrees to sample quite a bit of the menu.


Service was also impeccable! Our waiter was so friendly and had great knowledge of the menu. The chef, coincidentally named Erin, was also fabulous! She came out to speak with us multiple times: sharing both her story, as well as the history behind Cru. We were delighted when she sent out the amuse-bouche above as a surprise! It's tough to find shrimp that lovely or tasty outside of the low country!


Next up, we couldn't resist sharing the four cheese macaroni! If you've read my bio on the sidebar, you know I am quite the mac and cheese lover...and this baked cheesy goodness did not disappoint! 


As the last of our starters, we shared the Seared Nantucket Scallop small plate, which came with spatzle, Italian sausage, and shrimp. Scallops might be my absolute favorite shellfish and these were oh so tasty!

For entrees, I chose the Shrimp Special du Jour (when in Charleston, right?); Meg chose the Grilled Basil Shrimp Pasta, and Erin chose the General Tsos Brussel Sprouts and Truffle Parmesan Fries.


After all of our indulging, I was glad to choose something a bit on the lighter side as my entree. Arugula is hands down my favorite salad green and I didn't feel like I was sacrificing any flavor by going with a lighter option!


Meg's pasta was comfort food at its finest! I'm a sucker for orecchiette, and this was filled with peas, mushroom, basil, and shrimp, all in a cheesy, creamy sauce! Yes, please!


Erin's fries were also a treat and were served with a yummy aioli!


Finally, we were blown away by the General Tsos Brussel Sprouts. They were cooked perfectly and literally tasted just like General Tsos Chicken! 


With full bellies, we snapped a picture in the kitchen with Chef Erin before leaving!

Cru Cafe is most definitely a "MUST" when it comes to Charleston eats! I cannot wait to take Bryce on our next trip!

To check out some of my other favorite Charleston dining experiences, check out my "Charleston Eats" post here.

Have you dined at Cru Cafe before?

What are some of your favorite Charleston spots?

Have a great day!

6.03.2016

Mantel Refresh

Happy Friday readers!

I don't know about y'all, but I'm ready for the weekend!

This 4 day week has felt like a 6 or 7 day week!

Those of you that follow along on Instagram know that I did a little mantel refreshing this week. You may remember from this post, exactly a year ago, that our mantel is one of the spots in our home that I've struggled with. I dream of someday having a big mirror or marsh painting to hang above a mantel flanked by a fabulous pair of ginger jars, in the meantime while that's not yet a reality, I've found myself constantly tinkering with it to find a "right now" style that I love.

Those of you that have followed along for a while also know that I love to play around and redecorate while Bryce is traveling. He's been out of town, so inevitably I found myself playing with the mantel earlier this week to kill time...and I finally think I found a style I love!

Ready to see?


It all started with the  modern blue and white vase and hosta leaves on the left. I love the tropical vibe that some big green leaves add to a space. I'm big on symmetry...or the illusion of symmetry by two pieces that balance each other. I had our Alison Evans oyster plate on the right and thought the vase might provide the balance needed.


When the balance wasn't quite working, I tried to figure out what might also provide an additional illusion of symmetry and brought out the Jefferson cups on each end, as I've been wanting to find a place to display this collection. They have been stored in our corner cabinet, somewhat hidden by our oyster plates, for quite some time because I hadn't figured out a better space for them! 


The oyster plate still wasn't quite working, so I decided to give up on making it work on the mantel and starting roaming the house looking for a blue and white piece to flank the other side! I had honestly forgotten about this vase I found antiquing on the Outer Banks several years ago, because it's been styled on a bookshelf in the sun room for so long! I thought it worked perfectly, especially once I added the leaves and shells.


I then brought in the remaining silver collection, and grabbed these candlesticks off the dining room table. I knew fresh cut blooms would be the perfect finishing touch! If only they were available year round!

Here are some detail shots:


Green is an accent color throughout our home and I love the fun pop these bright candles provide!


I really love that this is a "his and hers" space. We are able to pay homage to Bryce's VMI education with the art and sword, the silver is a mixed collection with pieces that belong to the both of us, the flowers come from the garden Bryce lovingly tends to for me, and the rest of the styling, the blue and white pieces and pops of colors, are particularly me!




You can get the look yourself by shopping below:



How is your mantel styled?

What are the "problem spots" for decorating in your home?

Do you mix things up as often as I do?

Have a great day!
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6.01.2016

Orzo & Spinach Salad with Lemon-Cranberry Vinaigrette

Happy June, my friends!

Don't you just love short weeks?

I had a great, low-key Memorial Day weekend, complete with a mix of girl time, family time, puppy time, and me time. I also was glad to get a fabulous pool day in on Saturday, especially given all the rain we've had this month! With 9.79 inches, this May broke a record set in 1889 when it rained 9.13 inches! Here's to sunshine in June!

Today I'm excited to share a favorite recipe with you: Orzo & Spinach Salad with Lemon-Cranberry Vinaigrette. I have been  meaning to share this recipe for quite some time, but always forget to take pictures, so y'all are in luck today!

I first had this salad during a family luncheon that Bryce's mom hosted. You may notice a trend that many of my favorite recipes are her's. She is an amazing chef and entertainer, so I am always learning as much as I can from her. Since then, it has become a go-to and friends often request that I share the recipe with them! What's even better is that it can be made ahead and served cold...always a plus in my book! It originally comes from the What Can I Bring? Cookbook.


Orzo & Spinach Salad with Lemon-Cranberry Vinaigrette
Ingredients
8 oz orzo pasta (2 cups)
Salt
1 pacakge (5 oz) baby spinach, rinsed and drained well
1 cup (4 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
2 tbs fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/3 c olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans for garnish

Directions
Cook the orzo in boiling water uncovered with 1/2 tsp salt over medium-high heat until just done (7-8 min).

Meanwhile, place spinach, feta, and cranberries in large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.

Place the lemon zest and juice in a small mixing bowl and gradually whisk in the olive oil, a little at a time, until the lemon dressing thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the orzo well in a fine sieve (orzo is too small and fill fall through holes of a normal colander). Shake the orzo well to remove excess water. Transfer to the bowl with spinach mixture and toss.

Pour the lemon dressing over the orzo mixture and toss again to coat well. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and garnish with the chopped pecans right before serving.

Enjoy!


I last served this for brunch the morning of my cousin's wedding. Since it was a 4:30 wedding and we bridesmaids wouldn't get the chance to eat until probably close to 6:00 pm, my aunt and I decided to cohost brunch in the bridal suite. No surprise, the orzo salad was a big hit! We also served a mimosa bar, fruit salad, pimiento cheese ham biscuits, chicken salad sandwiches, and Westhampton Pastry Shop cookies!


Bryce's mom arranged the gorgeous flowers, all fresh cut blooms from her yard!



I love this photo a fellow bridesmaid snapped of my mom and I while we got ready that morning!


What are your go-to recipes for entertaining?

I'd particularly love to know what y'all like to prepare that can be fixed ahead like this recipe!

Have a great day!
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5.26.2016

Confessions

Happy Thursday readers!

I don't know about y'all, but I am ready for the long weekend!

Today I thought I would link up with Annie and Natalie for Thoughts for Thursday. My thoughts today are going to be confessional style. These posts are so fun to read for me, so hopefully you'll enjoy!


I confess I just don't get the Beyonce thing. Be yonce, Queen Bey....I just don't get it! Sure, she's an amazing entertainer, but so are a lot of people. And I really don't get the "You have just as many hours in your day as Beyonce." To be quite honest, I bet I could achieve a lot in my day if I had the staff and means she does. I'm not a Beyonce hater, but I just don't get the obsession. Is there something I'm missing?

I confess I'm having a love-hate relationship with the upcoming summer months. I'm disappointed in myself for not sticking to my New Year's fitness goals...I blame the flu for derailing my progress...and am just not ready to put on a bathing suit. (I have been running 3x a week the last 3 weeks though, woohoo!). I also am feeling overwhelmed as the calendar gets so full. Whenever I'm overbooked it makes me feel like that time is lost. Can y'all relate? We have events the first 3 weekends in June, which makes me feel like July is already here.

Speaking of fitness, I confess I might be catching the running bug. I'm still using my "Running for Weight Loss" app, and don't get me wrong, the running/workout part itself is pretty miserable, BUT, I love the sense of achievement I feel afterwards and find myself actually wanting to go for my runs. Any tips for a rookie runner like me?

I confess I'm having major wanderlust. My Charleston trip was wonderful, but so jam packed. I want a leisurely vacation with Bryce. We're due for a getaway, just the two of us, but scheduling it is proving difficult (ie: my summer confession above).

I confess I am loving Blue Apron! My friend Emily sent us a free shipment last week and we really enjoyed the meals! I love that the ingredients are fresh and responsibly sourced, and that there is no food waste. I can't stand throwing food away! I also confess, I am really loving that it means way less grocery shopping. Have I mentioned how much I loathe grocery shopping?

I confess I am really liking only washing my hair every 2-3 days...thanks for all the dry shampoo recommendations. Batiste (original scent) seems to be doing the trick. I'm wondering though..could the dry shampoo product build-up be just as bad as shampooing every day?

I confess I am really missing being such a bookworm. I'm just too tired to read these days, it seems. Whenever I do get around to reading at night, I can't seem to get past 4 or 5 pages before dozing off. I got 3 books from the library yesterday and am hoping to get some poolside reading in this weekend. I started the thriller Pretty Girls last night, and at least the first few pages seemed really good!

Speaking of being tired, I confess that my exhaustion is totally my own fault. Bryce travels so much for work, and then I often have different social events and obligations after work, so when we have downtime home together at night, we tend to stay up way later than we should. I also battle insomnia occasionally, and the lack of a regular bedtime probably only perpetuates that problem. We need to be better about having a bedtime.

I confess I have still not fully unpacked my spring and summer clothes! I got them from my parents house when I was there for Easter...ya know...TWO MONTHS ago! The bags have just been sitting on our bedroom floor and I've been pulling things out of the bags, albeit sometimes wrinkled, as I want to wear them. I blame the lack of closet space.

I confess I'm a stickler for grammar, and cringe when I see a glaring error that I've made on this blog. I initially titled this post, "Five on Friday: Mark & Graham ADDITION." I was mortified as soon as I realized my mistake and immediately changed it to the proper "Edition." Don't even get me started when I realize I've mistyped a there/their/they're or realize an error much later after many of y'all have read and commented!

My recent confessions, friends!

Can you relate to any of mine?

Do share yours in the comments!

Have a great day!
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