Monday, January 31, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11

Do you ever let your posts sit in the 'warming drawer' for a few hours before you post?  Save to drafts but not publish?  Sometimes I feel like I should let them "mature" but sometimes I just need to be honest with myself and post things as they fly off my fingertips and onto my keyboard.  Raw.  

I am officially transitioning roles at work, effective tomorrow.  I am really excited about this opportunity to experience different sides of the industry and expand my knowledge base.   It will be a great experience, and I have an opportunity to hit a home run.

However, there was a time in my very recent past when I wasn't quite sure what I would be doing.  With what company.  In what city.  In what industry.  The fear, frustration, and the unknown were paralyzing and all-consuming.  So many terrible thoughts ran through my head- all the what ifs. What if I- the primary bread winner until Lash finished med school {already a frightening idea in itself, hehe :) }- was unable to provide for our dear family to be?

I spent many a sleepless nights tossing and turning in agony.  I used to never understand sometimes if my dad had a rough day at work and brought his frustration home.  We used to call it being on the war path.  Now, I get the joke. . . . and I'm afraid to admit I was probably on the war path for a month.  

However, as things have unfolded and my uncertainities were turned to certainties, I can now look back with confidence and say that I am thankful for the challenge, the trials, and frustrations because during that time, I had to cling to the cross.

The verse, "do not be anxious" was seriously every corner I turned.  Luci's intouch ministries daily devotion, my boss' letter he put on my chair, my daily conversations with my parents, Lash's reassurances, my friends' texts.

And, every step I took, I heard, "For I know the plans I have for you."  Sometimes it was louder than others, but all the while, I knew someone had big plans for me.

I tell you this- perhaps as assurances for whatever you are experiencing- that there is One who is faithful who loves you and is saying, "I KNOW THE plans I have for YOU.  I know.  THE plans. I have for YOU."

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phillippians 4:6

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Upside Down, Inside Out, and Backwards

I wore two different pairs of shoes to work today!! Are you kidding me?!?!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christmas Cards

My uncle recently scanned and uploaded some of our old Christmas cards to Facebook.

I loved the walk down memory lane and was reminded how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful sister and best friend by my side.  I just had to share these pictures. Some of them are hysterical!

Goose- looking at these, we've sure grown up a lot, but I'm so glad we've had each other. Thanks for being the best little sister in the world.  143!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Busted Biscuits and Chocolate Peanut Butter Redemption

Several years ago, my mother organized and co-wrote a fundraising cookbook for my high school that is a wonderful compilation of our favorite lowcountry tastes and traditions.  Around our house, this book is frequently referred to as our second Bible!  All of our family favorites are included, and I can't imagine being in the kitchen without it.   Want to order one?  Click here or call Beaufort Academy.

Moving on. . .

The joke around my parent's kitchen is that Luci is the baker and I am not.  I love to cook.  I appreciate the art of cooking so much more than the science of baking.  The precision of it freaks me out, and I tend to overanalyze the simplest steps.  2 cups of sifted flour?  As I stare at the bowl, I wonder if this exactly 2 cups?  What if I pressed down harder and compacted the flour harder on this cup than the last?  OMG, flour is getting everywhere, my kitchen is a mess! Ahhh...

A cold winter night last week, I reheated some gumbo for supper and wanted to make some biscuits to go with it.  Full Moon, High Tide has these awesome sour-cream drop cheddar cheese biscuits that are so delicious and light, and I decided to give them a whirl.

However, being lazy and ignoring all rules of baking, I marched on.

I did not have a flour sifted and skipped that step.  The dough looked dry as I was finished beating everything together {ha, like I know from experience}, so I added a touch more butter, and a touch more sour cream so I could throw the container away.

Big. Mistake.

The biscuits had freaking craters in the middle of them. And they tasted like a big buttery gooey disaster.  Not even the Sweet Potato Butter from Lowcountry Produce or Lash's sweet attempt to put down a few could save these busted biscuits and they ultimately ended up in the trash.

Noted: Baking 'scientists' probably know what in the world they are talking about when they write the recipe as such.

As I mentioned previously, Lash rang in the big 2-5 Wednesday.  We had fun plans of wining and dining our way through town Saturday night by taking advantage of Charleston's Restaurant Week, but a delayed flight home Friday and a bad cold for me, and a full day of studying Saturday for Lash changed our plans.  Santa brought Lash a deep fryer for Christmas, and per the birthday boy's request, we figured what a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.  I do love a relaxing night at home!

However, since we were not going out, I felt bad for the slighted birthday boy {though he was completely happy} and decided to make it up to him by surprising him with his favorite combo- chocolate and peanut butter!  My roommate recently made this cake, and let me tell you, it is to die for.  It is extremely labor intensive, but absolutely worth it in the end, especially for the chocolate peanut butter lover.

Allow me to introduce you to Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate- Peanut Butter Glaze courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen Blog.

Professional images via their blog

Allow me to introduce you to what my cake looked like:
Yes, those are twizzlers. I forgot to buy the number "5" at the grocery store.  Gotta be flexible.



In my house, baking leads to bad words and drinking.  I almost got into the wine at 3:00 when I had to start over because I had not read the directions clearly, but I did manage to hold off until 5:30 when I was putting the final chocolate glaze on the cake.  That's why it looks so crappy.  By that point, I was so. over. the. cake.

But despite the outward appearance, it is incredibly delicious, moist, creamy, chocolate-y heaven.  And I'm proud of myself for getting back on that baking horse and powering through a fun labor of love for my man!

I was almost too embarrassed to show these photos, but I am really thankful for my blog to capture my up's and down's in the kitchen.  I'm just keeping it reall!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

City Slicker

I am sitting right now in the Westchester County airport, wrapping up an incredible business trip to NY. 

I loved pretending to be a city girl for a few days.  South Carolina born and raised, my visits to NY have been brief and quite spread apart.  As much as I love being a southern belle, visiting the city is such a fun change!  How incredible to walk everywhere, have fabulous restaurants within your fingertips, and easy transportation at your disposal. I also love the energy and vibe of the city!  And the snow- what a fun change.  I woke up to 5 fresh inches this morning.

Over my stay, I got to meet a lot of people I've worked with for twenty months and had not had the opportunity to meet yet.  How wonderful to finally put a face to a name!  I will say I had a vision of what I expected several to look like and how I expected their mannerisms to be- a couple I had nailed, but a few absolutely threw me for a loop! :)

As I am sitting at the airport, much crowded because of weather and mechanical delays, I am reminded of one of my favorite blogs these days- the lil bee.  A Monday post series entitled "On My Mind. . . " are some of my favorite posts to read. She used to write these on her morning commute on the train, as she was inspired by her surroundings.  I love reading and exploring her thought process.  She is not working or commuting any longer, but still doing the post from home. They are great!

I have chuckled thinking if I were to do "on my mind" post, inspired by this airport.  There is some quality material all around me.  I am staring at TWO cavachons barking up a storm- I pray they are not on my flight. The whiny child behind me is smacking his grapefruits (I hate that sound), and screaming to his mother, "what does constitute mean?" A overall clad man to my left is screaming into the phone, "we gunna go to florida once da plain ben fix'd" Another gentleman behind me saw my Bon Appetit and heckling me if I am a food critic - ah, in my dreams! 

This place is crazy and I can't wait to get home!  I love to travel but there is nothing like coming home.  Lash turned 25 Wednesday and, of course, I missed it so we are going out tomorrow night. We've said we are trying to branch out and try a new restaurant- - - it seems there have been tons of new ones opening in Charleston lately!  I'll keep you posted if we uncover a gold mine.

Also- I know this post is scattered- but please send me any new (preferably healthy) recipes to try!  I have been eating on the ROAD lately traveling and I can't wait to get back into the kitchen next week.  Until then, have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beaufort Party Weekend

As I've mentioned, this past weekend was the official kickoff of our wedding season!

Saturday night, several of my parents' best friends threw us a cocktail party at a gorgeous home overlooking downtown Beaufort.  The guest list had a large Beaufort contingency of my parents' and family's close friends in addition to family and our Wofford friends.  A formal affair, it was the perfect introduction to the festivities and one of the most fun parties I have ever been too.  The entire night I left like I was floating on air and my cheeks hurt by the end of the night from smiling so big.

My family snapping some pictures before the party
Future in-laws!
My parents gave us our first pieces of silver, we finished getting ready, and headed off.
After the receiving line, my dad gave the sweetest toast.
We then cheers-ed in our "happy flutes" which we will be using at all of our live's happy times, at engagement parties, and at our wedding, and laughed and talked the night away.
The flowers were stunning, the food incredible, and they even served Kir Royales- my favorite!
During the party, our hosts graciously gifted us with our first piece of china!
My bridesmaids :)

I am not exaggerating when I say that no one wanted to leave the cocktail party, and I am pretty sure the hosts were ready to drive us downtown themselves while we waited on the cabs.

Sunday, my family and I had everyone over for brunch at my house, hung out on the dock for a little bit, and pretty much everyone dispersed after that for a little downtime.

That afternoon, my parents' other best friends hosted a Lucy Creek Oyster Roast for us at their beautiful home down the creek from my parents.  In true lowcountry fahion, this party was a fun, casual, laid- back affair that showcased some of Beaufort's finest.  No stone was left uncovered in the decor, the food, the band, and the wine (the one, get it??). It was incredible.

Check out this setting- GORGEOUS!
Wofford :)

I am so sad this weekend is over, but what incredible memories. Everything could not have been more perfect.  I am so honored and humbled by how many of our friends were able to make the trek to Beaufort. It would not have been the same without them there, and it just filled my heart to be reunited.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I am on cloud nine.

I just had one of the best weekends of my entire life celebrating our engagement in Beaufort.

Thank you so much for everyone who made it so special and unforgettable.  Your love and support of us as we begin this chapter of our lives together means the world to us and we cannot tell you how much we cherish your dear friendships.

I have tons of pictures I am dying to post, but for brief glimpse, visit Anna's blog and click on her pictures.  I hope to upload some tomorrow, but tonight I am slammed unpacking, writing thank you notes, updating our knot website, getting organized for work, and doing laundry.

Oh, and repacking.  I leave for New York Wednesday morning at 6:35am. (6:35- you did not misread...)

I'm struggling packing as this is the 5 day outlook for Charleston. . .

and in contrast, this is the 5 day outlook for New York.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Extra, Extra!

SC residents, check your paper today - - - Our engagement announcement officially hit newsstands this morning!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2010 Highlights

I love blogging. It is so fun to go back and look at everything that has happened over the past year.

A tip of the hat to my favorites of 2010. . .

What a year it has been!  Here's to another year of blogging and memories being made.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quail in Wine

In the kitchen during the week, as much as I love to cook, I feel I sometimes get stuck in a recipe routine, keeping the same tried-and-true recipes at bay and not really branching out.  This is especially more true as I've been trying to work out most days after work.

However, in 2011, I really want to branch out with try new ingredients or methodologies and take a step outside of my comfort zone.  I'm fairly confident in my kitchen capabilities- my only hesitation with stepping up to the plate with this idea boils down to time and monetary constraints.  Plus, I also need a built- in left-over eater- - - another perk I'm looking forward to when Lash and I get married!!

When we shot some quail on our hunt at Laurel Springs, I was really excited to experiment with some new recipes.  I love quail, but gosh y'all, I never think to cook it!!  The recipe below, adapted from Tea Time at the Masters, is fabulous.  We cooked it Christmas day in Beaufort and served over wild rice {I just typed wice, hehehe} with a salad of craisins, toasted pine nuts, feta cheese, and a sweet vinaigrette.  Enjoy!!!

Quail in Wine

Salt, pepper, and lightly dredge quail in flour.  We used 4 quail, split in half.

In a skillet over medium to medium-high heat, lightly brown birds in 4 tablespoons butter and EVOO each.

Turning as needed . . . (it may help to break apart legs and breast as you are browning)

Remove quail from pan to a buttered casserole dish.  In the same skillet, saute 1 diced carrot, 1 small onion, and 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms for 5 minutes.

Gradually add 1 cup of chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Not pictured: while sauce is simmering, pour 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay) over birds in buttered dish.

Pour sauce and veggies over birds, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. 

Serve over rice and go to heaven!!!


We spent New Years at Laurel Spring with my family and had the best time being together.  I so value the wonderful time spent there relaxing, and it truly was the best way to end 2010.  I'm so thankful I had some extra PTO to burn!

I am patiently waiting on my sister and cousins to upload some pics on Facebook that I can steal (ahem), but the few I have on my own camera will have to suffice.

We went duck hunting several mornings while we were there.  I used to groan at the thought of getting up at 5:30 am by choice, but considering that's only about an hour earlier than I do for work, o'dark thirty does not seem so bad these days.  

Moreover, watching the sunrise of the ACE basin is one God-given blessing I will never get tired of viewing.  I really wanted to take my camera, but I was terrified I'd misstep and fall in head first.

Here's a shot of some of the hunters one morning. . . This was an awesome morning. 

Daddy/daughter bonding

After this pic, I'm hoping folks won't request to sign a waiver on my blog. Note: you may end up in pics with no make-up on after being in a duck pond all morning. Sorry D- at least its a small thumbnail! 

Lash came and joined us Thursday to ring in the New Year and officially our wedding year!  WOO HOO!  We had an oyster roast Friday night, complete with quail poppers, grilled duck, and chili (yum!!).  I'm embarrassed to say I was asleep by 9:30 on NYE, but when you play hard, you gotta sleep :)

Friday and Saturday, we went on long walks around the property in the morning and beautiful quail hunts in the afternoon. I was so thankful for the warmer weather over the weekend!!  I loved being able to spend all day outside- so refreshing after being in an office all day everyday.

My sweet grandfather and some of the cousins Saturday afternoon.

I really wish I had some other pictures to share, but until my cousin's step up, this is it.  Rest assured I did not live in camo all weekend- just a large part of it.  Looking at these pictures makes me long for those days all over again. . . 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gym Woes

I joined a gym a few months ago, and it was one of the best thing I could have ever done for myself at this point in life. . . I've been feeling much more energized, sleeping better, banging out some stress, really improving my distance training, all is good.

I have had no complaints about the gym until my three last visits.

On Thursday, after circling in the parking lot for 20 minutes after work, I determined there was no spot to be found. . . which, of course, I happily blew off for one day and used it as my excuse not to exercise.  However, I am really frustrated by the increased number of individuals hanging around the gym these days.  Yes, I'm really excited everyone has made new years resolutions to get fit, but I am selfishly ready for February when everyone's resolutions have fallen by the wayside, and I can park my Jeep without having to feel like a vulture!

On Friday afternoon, I begrudgingly dragged myself to workout because I knew I was eating Basil (thai) for supper and I for sure had a pad thai belly coming on!  Let me tell you, I firmly believe you should burn double calories just for showing up on a Friday, and triple for showing up on a Friday afternoon, but that is neither here nor there. . .

Anyways, I was on a treadmill, happily running away when all of a sudden, I got a whiff of something f.o.u.l. I was hopeful someone had just walked by that needed an extra dose of deo, but the smell permeated the air around me and would not go away.  Suddenly, I felt like my throat was closing up, I was gasping for clean air, and my eyes were about to water {ok, slightly exaggerated, but not really}.  When I was literally to the point of nausea, I realized it was the gentleman on the treadmill next to me who had the worse B.O. I have ever smelled in my entire life.  {I have to pause for a minute to wipe the vomit off the keyboard}.  It was so bad I had to move treadmills.  Are you kidding me????

Today, I was eager to bang out a long day of work on a treadmill.  I was apprehensive about finding a parking spot after Thursday's no luck, but was hopeful Charleston's atrocious wintry weather would deter some gym-goers today.  As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, someone got into their car right where I was and I sat with my blinker on to take their spot.  An Expedition pulled up on the other side as I was patiently waiting.  Oh no, I thought, I was here first.  I thankfully was able to get the spot, but the Expedition waited behind my car until I got out, rolled down their window in the freezing rain, and gave me their foul- language infused two cents about how rude I was, how they were there first (false), how long they had been circling, and demanded me to apologize.  Y'all, this complete jackass was so rude, I started crying.  Seriously.  I wish I had had the nerve to snap back at this individual (I wanted to keep back in my car and ram him), but I was terrified I'd come out to slashed tires or something.  He then preceded to work out a few ellipticals away from me and I was so mortified I tried to avoid making any kind of eye contact his way like the plague.


I need a clean slate with MUSC.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This is where my heart is

This is where we are having our wedding reception.

None of these photos have been edited.  I probably could tweak the color, saturation, and lighting to really make the setting shine, but I didn't want to. I wanted you to see these photos in the original glory. . .  As I saw this drop-dead gorgeous sunset through my own eyes.

This is my favorite place in the entire world.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to Reality

After a lovely ten day vacation, it is finally time to jolt back to reality . . . I am so rested and motivated after the wonderful break, and yet so behind on so many different things- including my google reader which is currently at 115 unread posts! 

But, in a brief glance-over this morning, I can't wait to catch up on everyone's Christmas pictures, holiday traditions, NYE plans, and 2011 resolutions.  I am particularly infatuated with my favorite cooking blogs' recap of their favorite 2010 recipes.  I already have 5 I can't wait to print and try!

Once I get caught up in the real world, I can't wait to post about my own lovely holidays. . . my "last" holidays per my dad.

Until then, I wish you a seamless transition back to reality and a warm welcome to 2011. . . the year I get to MARRY LASH :)