Friday Five: Zombie Cat Edition

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday, Friday, Friday!!


I received the most thoughtful birthday gift from my friend Sarah - a beautiful painting of our street corner. I love it so, so much. I'm so thankful to have such a considerate friend and I absolutely adore the painting. My next goal is convince Sarah to start taking commissions.


This week my worst nightmare came to life, a zombie cat. This gorgeous creature reappeared five days after being hit by a car, declared dead, and buried; confirming that cats are devil animals. Cue all the nine lives jokes.

Sorry for the picture above, hope you weren't eating...


Speaking of food - I spiralized sweet potatoes last night after seeing them on Katie's blog yesterday. They were delicious! I love this little kitchen tool so much. If you haven't ordered one yet, do it already.


We worked with white flowers and greens in my floral class this last week. During the class we arranged a pew marker, a posy, a corsage, and a church urn arragement. We were working with hydrangeas and roses - one of my favorite combos.

I also hope you enjoy how I have to transport my arrangements home. Safety first.


Saturday evening I'm attending the 7th Annual Chase After a Cure Gala at Memminger Auditorium. Chase After a Cure was started in 2009 by Whitney Ringler after her son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggresive form of childhood cancer. The event benefits neuroblastoma research at MUSC Children's Hospital.

Tickets are still available if anyone in Charleston is interested in attending.


And I'm adding a quick Friday 6 .....


I got a little worked up last night after seeing some ridiculous articles being shared on my Facebook wall regarding vaccines. Sometimes I don't know whether it's better to respond to these posts or just keep quiet. It's unlikely I'll ever convince the original poster to change his/her mind, but responding increases the likelihood that a passing reader may learn something they wouldn't have otherwise.

In last night's particular case, I didn't respond. I did end up sharing this article from Vox about measles. Please read it if you'd like to learn more about the virus and why it's suddenly making a comeback.

Happy weekend!

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Well guys, I'm 30. I'm still processing how I feel about being in a new decade. Obviously, better than the alternative, but it's strange that I'll never be in my twenties again.

Birthdays used to be my favorite day on Facebook; who can deny all of those happy messages? But now they're my favorite of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Everywhere I looked in social media I had messages. I loved hearing from family and friends all day - it was great to say hello and catch up.

I took the day off work yesterday and was all about some R&R. Most of my day revolved around my meals, which I pretty standard. I grabbed breakfast and a coffee at Normandy Farms, had a delicious lunch with Adam at Butcher and Bee, had more coffee and popped by St. Alban, and then wrapped up the day with the highlight of dinner at McCrady's.

I was too embarrasssed to take pictures of my food at McCrady's, but let's just say it was incredible. It was the first time I've been to a restaurant with a prix-fixe menue (outside of restaurant week) and it was wonderful to try so many courses. For dinner I was spoiled with:

First  + Lamb, Red Cabbage, Shiitake, Kumquat, Marjoram
Second  + Tilefish, Butternut, Leek, Farro Verde, Chevril, Wild Bay
Third  + Duck, Sweet Potato, Swiss Chard, Black Truffle, Yuzu
Fourth + Ginger Cake, Apple Anise

Dinner was absolutely delicious. The plates were completely cohesive - everything on the plate was thought out and complementary. Adam and I felt like royalty.

I feel stupid spoiled because this was just the beginning of birthday celebrations. Adam and I rented a beach house on Folly to have a combined 30th shindig next weekend. This party isn't stopping.

30 for 30!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's my birthday! Cheers! I'm taking the day off work so that I can have a relaxing time and enjoy Charleston. I rarely take a day off when I'm not traveling or have guests in town, so I really don't know what I'm going to do. I do know that I'm going to enjoy myself.

To celebrate the BIG 3-0, here are 30 random things about myself (plus pictures for those that hate pure text posts).

My mom is one of 11 and my dad is one of 8. I have a big extended family. Catholics, y'all...

I'm terrible at picking favorites. My favorite food, color, and movie will change depending on the weather.
My first crush was on Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I even sent him a fan letter asking to see if we could meet up when I went to Space Camp (he was filming Tom and Huck).

I loved Space Camp and can't wait until I can go back as a chaperone for my kids.

Due to an overbite (see above) I had to wear a retainer called a jackhammer. Each night my parents had to stick a needle in my mouth to tighten the retainer. It was terrible, but it did solve my overbite.

I hate biting into food - it really weirds me out and feels gross. I prefer tearing it apart. You don't want to eat chicken wings with me.

My mom is a private investigator. I'm pretty sure she's ran background checks on my old boyfriends.

I'm a little bit scared of escalators. I remember tripping on an escalator when I was little and people stepping over me while I was stuck.

In the 5th grade my mom conviced me to get a pixie haircut like some of the actresses on Melrose Place. Little did I know "pixie" meant super short hair, not a fairy princess haircut. I looked like a boy for about a year and am forever scarred from short haircuts. 

Most of my childhood was spent at our local swimclub. I swam on the team growing up and then once I was old enough I worked in the concession stand and then became a lifeguard. It's the same club that my mom went to when she was a kid so it's full of family memories. I try and stop by whenever I'm home in the summer.

In 5th grade my friends and I won the elementary talent show with our tribute to Rock and Roll. I was Michael Jackson.

In high school, Laura and I were yearbook editors. One summer we went away to yearbook camp and it was one of the strangest experiences ever. We were too embarrassed to tell people for a long time.

I ran out of gas way too many times in college. It was definitely a mix of being irresponsible and poor. I stopped my daredevil streak as soon as I moved somewhere with bridges.

I've never broken a bone. Hopefully, this is always true.

I would rather spend my money on traveling and food above all else.

I'm not changing my last name. I might reconsider once we have kids, but for now I'm the same name as I ever was.

My most eclectic group of roommates was a Brit, German, and Mexican.

I worked at a bar in Spain handing out free shot coupons on the street. It wasn't great; I was routinely propositioned and worked until 3AM, but I drank for free at that bar. It was called Mulligan's. Yes, I worked at an Irish bar in Spain.

I still have a baby tooth. My dentist says that is will eventually fall out - yikes.

My freshman year of college I worked at the first Chipotle in Kentucky. I was a part of the Salsa Squad.

I haven't had my own car since 2010. I wouldn't be able to pull this off if I didn't live and work downtown and if Adam wasn't pretty awesome while a big proponent of a one car household.

Keeneland is my happy place. I get the most homesick during April and October.

I love the water more than I love the beach. I'll take going out on a boat over the sandy beach any day.

I loved the adrenaline of sneaking into a bar with a fake ID.

I will stop and watch Something's Gotta Give every time I find it on TV.

I'm not in a hurry, but I'm so excited to have a house where we can regularly host friends and family.

I love living in Charleston and never want to leave, but I have some fears about what it will be like to raise kids far from family.

I've taken a few code classes in Charleston. I won't hate it if I never need to interact with PHP again.

I have a weird fascination with Scientology. If I had enough money, I'd love to do an undercover investigation. Once I get started I can't stop reading about the ships and camps.

This isn't random, but sometimes I can't believe how lucky I was finding Adam in Charleston.

30 30 30!

Whole30 Results and Recap

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I wrapped up my shortened version of The Whole30 (22 days) this past Saturday and wanted to recap my thoughts and general results from the challenge.

How did I feel during the challenge?

Good is an understatement. Eating very healthy and not drinking for 3 weeks made my body happy. The first time I did this challenge I had more issues with headaches, stomach cramps, and general cravings. This time around, I didn't experience any big lows. I rarely had a headache and my cravings didn't feel as strong.

What made this challenge easier than the last?

Since Adam and I lived together during this challenge, it was easier to make big meals that rewarded leftovers. During the last challenge, I had to make smaller dishes and do more daily meals so everything was eaten. For this version, I knew that if I made three pounds of pork, someone would eat it.

Experience also made this challenge better. It was easier going in knowing what to expect: I knew what I could eat, what I couldn't, the easiest snacks to grab, and the little rewards I needed to keep me going through the process.

Side note: Adam loved this challenge because it meant he had home-cooked dinners every night.

Did I screw up?

Not really. I didn't eat any truly non-compliant foods, but I wasn't 100% perfect either. I had salami that had nitrates, I ate bacon once that did have sugar, and I'm not certain that the almond milk I had at a coffee shop was completely compliant. Do I feel bad about any of these? No, not really. I'm not going to beat myself up over nitrates when I don't fully know what they are.

What did I miss the most?

Convenience! Cooking almost every meal wore on me. Some nights I just wanted get pick up from a restaurant or throw something easy into the microwave. I would get a little jealous every time Adam was able to go grab a sandwich. He didn't know how good he had it.

In terms of cravings, I just wanted stupid easy stuff. I wanted to go able to get a coffee with steamed milk, grab a quick breakfast sandwich, and munch on chips with my guacamole.

What would I do differently for the next challenge?

I think I relied on potatoes too much in this challenge. I'd make sure I had a good serving of vegetables every day, but I probably had too many white potatoes at dinner. A few evenings I would be so tired of cooking that the easiest option was to toss a russet in the microwave for a nice baked (microwaved) potato with a side of meat. The next time I complete this challenge I'll probably prep vegetables the same way I prepped my protein.

How did I reintroduce food?

Incorrectly. The Whole30 recommends introducing non-compliant foods one at a time so you can identify any potential allergies or intolerances. I didn't do this. On Saturday I dropped the ball at the basketball game and had grains, cheese, and alcohol. Whoops. On the plus side, I didn't experience any really strong pains or stomach aches.

Sunday was a different story, Adam and I had sushi for dinner and it did not sit well. I'm not sure if I have a real issue with rice or that it was just the first time I was digesting it in awhile, but I was up with stomach aches for awhile.

There are still a few random things that I haven't had (beans, corn, real dessert) but I'm pretty sure I don't have any real food issues. I feel good when I eat good and I feel bad when I eat bad, I wouldn't say I need to eliminate anything - maybe just practice better moderation.

What do I hope to continue now that this challenge is over?

After my first Whole30, I gave up Splenda and other artificial sweeteners. It was pretty easy to switch to just milk with my coffee and I've never missed the too-sweet sweetener. I don't think I have anything in particular that I'm going to completely give up after this round. I want to continue limiting my unnecessary sugar intake, but there's not one specific food that I'm ready to part with. More moderation will be my overall goal.

Will I do The Whole30 again?

Yes! As frustrating as it can be sometimes, I really enjoy the challenge. I experience such positive feelings - from never feeling bloated, to sleeping better, to no headaches, that I think the tough stuff is definitely worth the reward. When will my next challenge be? No idea, but I'll definitely try it again.

And with that, I'm off to eat a burger! J/k...j/k...