Shagbark Soft Opening

Happy Tuesday, readers!

Good weekend?

The most exciting part of ours was getting the chance to attend a soft opening at Bryce's stepbrother's new restaurant, Shagbark! We are so proud of his stepbrother, Walter, and let's just say the new restaurant did not disappoint!

We ate at a high top table in the bar area, and I have to say, it's my favorite space in the restaurant. There is lots of natural light, gorgeous grass cloth wallpaper, custom lighting, and stunning oil paintings!

The name Shagbark pays homage to a Shagbark Hickory Tree which was used to create the communal table in the restaurant. Our hightop was also cut from the Shagbark, as you can see above. The tree used for the project came from a property on the James River. It's important to mention this, because the entire restaurant pays homage to the bounty of Virginia. The shagbark tables, the art on the walls, and just about everything on the menu is hyper local, from right here in Virginia. 

We sipped on cocktails while salivating over the menu. Bryce had the Shagbark Sour pictured above and I had the Shagbark Smash.

We started with the Manakintowne Farms Squash Blossoms and Chicken Fried Chesapeake Bay Oysters. The squash blossoms, were fried with an herbed goat cheese, roasted peppers, tomato coulis and basil oil. The goat cheese reminded me of a creamy pimiento cheese and complimented the blossoms so well! We were also, as always, excited for Walter's oysters! He fries them up regularly at family dinners, so I was pleased to see how he put a restaurant spin on them. They were served with Byrd Mill stone ground grits, shoots & sprouts, dill pickle remoulade, and Tabasco butter. The oysters were scrumptious, and it was a real treat also getting to indulge in some grits!

For entrees, I ordered the Pan Roasted Carolina Grouper and Bryce chose the Autumn Olive Farms Berkabaw Pork Chop.

I can never resist a well prepared fish dish, and well prepared this certainly was! The grouper came with Victory Farms spring leeks, Florida rock shrimp, sweet corn, parmesan risotto, and champagne-citrus butter. I ate every bite.

Bryce's pork chop came with black sticky rice, roasted sweet potato, garlic broccolini, and lime-scented coconut curry broth. It was so juicy and good! 

And of course, we couldn't resist dessert! We shared the dark chocolate tart, which came with chocolate ganache, banana ice cream, and candied peanuts. It was heavenly and I especially can't wait to enjoy the banana ice cream again sometime soon!

Before leaving, I had to snap a photo of these gorgeous Shagbark panels!

To get the recipe for Walter's delicious chicken fried oysters, which was featured in Garden and Gun, click here

You can read an additional Garden and Gun spread from a couple of years ago, featuring Walter, as well as several other top Southern chefs here. The piece, titled "For Love of the Game" shares a hunt on the same James River farm where the Civil War-era Shagbark Hickory in the restaurant originally grew.

And last, but not least, my favorite piece leading up to Shagbark's debut, can be read here.

For those of you in the Richmond area, Shagbark officially opens to the public for dinner service tomorrow. However, the restaurant is unofficially open to the public tonight. If you're in the mood for an amazing meal tonight, stop by! Your tastebuds will not regret it!

Are you a local?

What are your favorite Richmond eateries?

Have a great day!


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!


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?


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?


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?


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?


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!


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!


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!


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
8 oz orzo pasta (2 cups)
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

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.


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!