Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye Blog...Kind Of

I'm sure by now most of you have heard the good news that John accepted a full-time job at MUSC and we'll be staying in Charleston indefinitely post-residency. Hooray! We had a lot of hard decisions to make this year, interviewing for jobs around the country, etc. But we have absolutely fallen in love with Charleston and couldn't be happier that our stay here no longer has an expiration date.

That being said, this blog might be expiring soon. As you know, I started it when we first moved here because so many of our family and friends were curious about our new life in the South. I've enjoyed posting our personal photos and adventures here and sharing them with you all back in Oklahoma. But now that the year of residency is over, it seems unfathomable to keep this thing going forever. Besides, it's hard to keep up with and let's face it, most of you are friends with me on Facebook anyway.

But don't worry, I wouldn't go cold turkey on you. This blog will stay active and I might even post here from time to time if I have an especially good personal story that needs sharing beyond a few Facebook photos. On the other hand, I have created a new blog with some new goals and purposes.

Now that I'm a permanent Charleston resident, I'm going to try my hand at freelancing more seriously at some local publications. Therefore I have created a new blog that is more of a professional online portfolio and editorial blog to showcase my writing rather than my personal life. I'll still write about fun things to do and eat in Charleston, so you should still check it out. But prepare to see more writing and less photos (find those on Facebook.) Different, but still enjoyable!

Find the new blog here.

So goodbye for now, blog reader (aka: Mom). Thanks for sharing in these adventures with me!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Anniversary Picnic

Tonight John and I celebrated our 4th anniversary spread out on a picnic blanket at the park down by the Battery. It was blazing hot in Charleston today, the heat and humidity of summer is finally here. But with the sun setting and a cool breeze coming off the water, a shady dinner under the live oaks was just beautiful.

Happy anniversary, Love.

We've had a really crazy, busy week and are also preparing to head out out of town after work tomorrow for a week in Oklahoma (woohoo!) So we decided a low-key, relaxing picnic was the perfect way to celebrate. Our dinner consisted of some rosemary olive oil bread, chicken salad, pimento cheese and crackers, watermelon and two delicious cupcakes. 

John's such a Southern boy. He loves him some pimento cheese! 

Glad this picnic is another check off my Charleston bucket list!
The park was beautiful, besides a few pesky dogs off leashes who kept sniffing around our food. We saw a couple elope in the park's gazebo, right near our picnic spot, and watched the tourists goof around on the nearby cannons. It was a lovely evening eating, talking and snuggling on the lawn. 

Our view while laying on the blankets, looking up. Gorgeous!

Palm trees, cannons and cannonballs in the background. I love this town. 

Sticky Buns and New Honey Bun

Catching up a little on what's been going on since Sarah Roland came to visit us (been a few very very busy weeks!)...I forgot to fill you all in on the best morning ever that happened a few weeks ago.

On the morning of Sunday, May 20, Sarah Roland and I woke up early and went for a long 6 mile run---how all great morning's should start if you ask me. The night before, my sister Sarah went into labor back home in Oklahoma and I was up several times that night checking text message updates from my mom. It was driving me crazy that I couldn't be there to be with my family, so pounding the pavement on a 6 mile run really helped.

After our run, we headed to WildFlour Bakery to finally try their famous Sunday Sticky Buns that we've heard so much about. We tried once before a few months ago, and by the time we got there, they had already sold out. This Sunday, we made sure to be there early. 

Back in Oklahoma, Sarah went into the operating room for a C-section right about the time we got to the bakery in Charleston. I was a nervous wreck the whole time we were ordering and nibbling our sweet treats. Their deliciousness wasn't lost on me though, they were amazing---big, soft cinnamon rolls with glazed pecans on top.

Could hardly snap a pic of them before they were eagerly devoured.
By the time we got back to the car and were driving home, I got a teary-eyed phone call from my Mom and this picture sent to my phone...
My new honey bun, Kingston Alexander is born
I couldn't be more proud to be this little guy's aunt. I talked to him on the phone a few hours after his arrival (aka my mom held the phone up to him crying,) but we've yet to meet in person yet. I can't wait to hold him and give him lots of kisses when we go to Oklahoma this weekend. 

Love my beautiful sister and baby Kingston.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's SUP?

Last week my college roomie and best friend Sarah Roland came to visit me and John in Charleston. Sarah and I lived together for three years at OU and I was so excited to live with her again, if only for five days. We had a great time exploring Charleston together and she helped me cross several things off my Charleston bucket list while she was here.

My beautiful roomie. Miss you already!
One of my favorite things we did while she was in town was stand-up paddle boarding (or what the locals call SUP.) You don't know what SUP is? Well let me show you...

There are plenty of tour companies in Charleston who offer SUP guided tours, classes and even fitness classes. But we decided just to rent a few boards for the day and wing it. First thing's first, loading them up in the truck.

Three paddle boards ready to go.

The second obstacle was getting them from the truck to the ocean. You see, a paddle board is much bigger than even a surfboard. And despite the convenient handle in the middle, they are much heavier than you'd think.

What a trooper, carrying her own board. 

Demonstrating some SUP techniques, or just posing on the board, whatever.
We took our boards to Sullivan's Island (per the rental dude's advice) because the water there is much calmer thanks to the sandbar about 100 yards out. We soon discovered why he recommended calm water. Waves were our enemy on the stand-up paddle boards.

Oh yeah, we've got this.

After about 10 minutes of struggling, falling off in the water and getting laughed at by some passersby, we got up on the boards and were doing pretty good. The best part of the afternoon was when Sarah freaked out because she saw a fin near my board (lots of "It's a shark! It's a shark!") Turns out it was a dolphin! And he/she swam along side our boards for a while, which was pretty amazing! Who's laughing now, land-locked passersby? 

Paddling off into the sunset.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Swamp People

On Shannon and Neal's last full day in Charleston, we decided to get real country on 'em and take 'em out to the swamp to catch gators. Okay, not really. Really we just drove to Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner and explored the swamp and nature trails there. 

This activity actually far exceeded my expectations. It may be one of my favorite new attractions in Charleston. First thing we did was hop in some flat-bottom boats and paddled out into the black water swap (don't worry, there was a marked path to follow.) 

Here's my view from the boat. Beautiful cypress trees growing out of the black water. 

Are you thinking this setting looks very romantic and beautiful and oddly familiar? Maybe it's because this is where they filmed the boat scene from "The Notebook"! You know....

This part from the movie
Here Shannon and Neal are in their boat. Just as romantic, eh?
 Unlike the movie, there weren't hundreds of white birds floating around on the water while we were there (I heard they flew those in for the movie.) But there were tons of pretty lilly pads!

Paddling in the lilies
Lots and lots of lilies
Don't worry, Mom, we didn't see any gators in the swamp, but we did see some in Cypress' swamparium! We also checked out the nature trails and the butterfly house (where we met a fellow Okie by the way.)

By far the best part of the day was when this happened...

Oh yeah, we're cool.

Sunset Cruise

One of my favorite things we did with Shannon and Neal when they were in town was taking a sunset harbor sail on a catamaran from Shem Creek. Riding on a sail boat was on my Charleston Bucket List, and this boat had sails, so I think it counts. 

Me and Shan sailing away

We enjoyed just lounging on the deck, chit chatting and taking in the spectacular views. We did see about three dolphins, but I didn't get pictures of them.

Beautiful views of downtown Charleston at sunset.

The four of us onboard the catamaran
 After the sunset, we got a great view of the Super Moon from the water. Not really sure what makes it super, but John seems to be into it...

John and the Super Moon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Deadliest Catch

After a lovely dinner at Blossom (Neal got the fresh Charleston seafood he was hankerin' for) and drinks at the Market Pavilion's rooftop bar....

A stop at this rooftop bar was one of the things on my Charleston bucket list. Check!

We enjoyed the great bird's-eye-view of Charleston

we headed down to Folly Beach for a nighttime stroll. This innocent stroll turned into a full on crab hunt and hilarity ensued.

Strolling on the beach, minding our own business. 
Then, we spot a crab scurrying under our feet. 
The boys spent the next twenty minutes frantically chasing the crab(s) around the beach, while Shannon and I ran screaming when the crabs made a beeline for our toes.

Finally caught one in, what else, a red solo cup.

He's not very happy.
Sweet success! 

No crabs were harmed in the making of this blog post...not permanently anyway. We did let him go.