30th Birthday in the Big Apple: New York Part 1

Now that it’s in writing I guess I am officially 30! I’ve said it out loud plenty over the last month but this must be the first time I’ve actually typed it out because it looks so old  odd!

Robert’s family always makes a big deal out of celebrating birthdays and I am lucky that he has passed that on and makes sure that I feel special and celebrated each year. I met Robert a few months shy of my 21st birthday. We hadn’t had the DTR (defining the relationship) talk before I left for Las Vegas with my girlfriends to celebrate finally being legal. Upon checking into our hotel I learned that Robert had surprised me with a day at the hotel spa the morning after I turned 21. It was such a thoughtful gift and I returned from that trip with an “official boyfriend”. It also kicked off a long line of very sweet and special birthdays (except for the one fluke year where he forgot to get me a card and we ate McDonalds for lunch…but we don’t talk about that 😉 and this year was no exception.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, dinner with friends is always nice and a party (while pregnant) didn’t sound too fun so we decided to take a trip. I hadn’t been to New York City in years and Robert hadn’t been since he was in middle school so we decided it would make for a perfect long weekend. In true crazy planner fashion I started our itinerary right away. There were LOTS of sights I wanted to see, but more so there were LOTS of places I wanted to eat (I mean what else is a pregnant girl supposed to look forward to on vacation?). If you are planning a trip to the city I highly recommend you start following a few NYC Food Instagram accounts but prepare for your mouth to water.

PSP 4

We flew out on Thursday and arrived in NYC around noon, just in time for lunch! Of everything I wanted to try, I was the most excited about trying soup dumplings or Xiao Long Bao. I tried a giant soup dumpling once when I was in China but couldn’t wait to try the cute little ones I’d seen all over instagram (and that aren’t available in any restraurants anywhere near where I live 😦

Pinch

We wet to Pinch Chinese on Prince Street, a menu I had scoped out well ahead of time and couldn’t wait to order one of everything from. Much to my dismay, they weren’t serving the snow crab over glass noodles for lunch, so we opted for pork soup dumplings, beef pan fried dumplings and Shrimp and Pork Wontons which come in the most delicious broth. EVERYTHING was delicious, highly recommend, A+++. Everything we didn’t order that I saw others around us eating looked delicious too. If we return to NYC anytime soon we will definitely be making another visit to Pinch, preferably at dinner so I can get my hands on those crab noodles.

Soup Dumpling 2
The cutest little soup dumpling you ever did see
Making dumplings
Loved Watching this guy handroll each dumpling!

After lunch we walked around Nolita (Soho? The boroughs confuse me) and browsed through a few shops before stopping at Milk Bar for dessert.

Continue reading

Lemongrass Pork Burgers

Happy Friday! What a week it’s been. Watching the devastation caused by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas has been awful. It’s crazy to think that not even a year ago our own beautiful island was turned upside down by Hurricane Matthew. It was awful and the flooding in Houston looks so much worse.  I didn’t think Hilton Head would ever look the same, but almost a year later, it almost does. It’s amazing how people came together and so many wonderful incidences of compassion and aspects of humanity emerged from such a terrible storm. I know the same thing will happen in Houston, but the process will be long and heartbreaking for so many who lost so much.

As hard as the Harvey coverage has been to watch, Robert and I had something to celebrate this week as well. We are officially half way through this pregnancy, a milestone that seemed unimaginable at the beginning of it all. Hitting the half way mark this week also meant we got to experience our anatomy scan, which was indescribably amazing. Modern medicine is nothing short of miraculous, and watching an anatomy ultrasound is the perfect example of this. We saw tiny fingers and toes, the ventricles of the brain, two tiny kidneys (which honestly just looked like little black spots to me), a long spine and ribs, and best of all the 4 chambers of a rapidly beating little heart ❤

baby feet
Precious Baby Feet

I was apprehensive going into this ultrasound since we opted not to do any genetic testing prior to this appointment. A few days before the test I wondered if that was the right decision and if we would get shocking news once the ultrasound began. Thankfully, all appears to be well, and the doctor reassured us that anything life threatening would have been picked up. I’m sure I’ll find brand new worries in a few days but for now I am feeling thankful and relieved.

We also got confirmation that we are having a little girl. Or as the doctor referred to the picture, “yep, three lines, that’s a hamburger!”. Awkward.

Continue reading

Sea Island & A Last Minute Birthday Trip to New York City

If nothing else this has certainly been a summer of last minute trips.

Fountain

 

For a type A planner like me this is pretty out of the ordinary. I knew earlier this year that I wanted to take a trip in June. The end of June would have been our original due date had we not lost our first pregnancy in December. I thought a trip would hopefully help us from being too sad as the date approached. Finding out we were expecting again in May definitely helped alleviate some of the sadness surrounding late June but it still seemed important to take a trip together to commemorate the event.

We talked about the trip a lot, but never pulled the trigger on a location. We wanted to go somewhere totally new but were reluctant to go too far away with a new pregnancy. Finally, at the behest of Robert’s cousin we decided on Sea Island, Georgia. We planned the trip so that it would coincide with our 3 year anniversary, only a few weeks away by the time we actually got around to the planning part.

anni
Anniversary Dinner

The planning part entailed booking a room and making restaurant reservations. *Tip* Reserve your restaurants EARLY! We were too late to get into either of our top two choices 😦 A prime example of why I am typically a Type A advance planner. In the end, the restaurant choices mattered very little as I spent some of the trip sick (more on that later). Of the three options for lodging, we chose to stay at The Inn, the least expensive of the three. We quickly found out that Sea Island was pricey (especially during their peak summer season when we were there) so even the least expensive option cost a pretty penny. The Inn was closer to the Cloister (Most expensive option) and all of the amenities than The Lodge (second cheapest option) so it seemed like a solid decision. On top of our room rate we chose to pay extra to use the amenities and have access to the Cloister which I would definitely recommend because if you aren’t going to use their beautiful property and beach then why stay there at all? Wherever you choose to stay, there are free shuttles that run constantly which is a great feature.

We left for Sea Island on a Thursday, later than we had anticipated and hadn’t been on the road 30 minutes before hitting traffic. And by traffic I mean MAJOR traffic. Our easy 2 hour trip took us almost 4 hours 😦 On top of this being annoying (mostly for Robert, I had a book, thanks for always driving babe!) it also completely threw off our dinner plans so we decided to stop on the road. Robert chose Outback, a decision that I would sorely come to regret just a few hours later.

Continue reading

Peanut Butter Protein Balls & An Announcement

Yikes! No blog posts in over a month! I am feigning shock because lets be honest, this happens every summer (insert emoji with the grimmacing face here). Life is always busy but it seems to get infinitely busier when the weather is warm and despite school being out, I always seem to find myself with less ‘free’ time than ever. One of my goals for the coming year is going to be getting serious about practicing the art of saying “no”. That and more organization. Always more organization 😉

So why don’t we begin with a life update. Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to over the past month, besides not writing blog posts of course: In June, school ended, I put on a yearly event for the non-profit I work with (our biggest yet!), we attended two out of town weddings, Robert and I celebrated our three year anniversary with a fancy dinner out and a weekend getaway to Sea Island, Ga. (I hope to recap that little trip here soon) AND our favorite aunt and uncle officially moved to Hilton Head (Welcome Vanessa and John)!

John and Vanessa

In July, my whole family visited for the 4th, Robert’s whole family visited for a party at his aunts, we moved a LOT of furniture around (our house, friends houses, families houses…and by we I mean Robert), we hosted 3 dinner parties, had two sets of friends come stay for the weekend and a surprise visit from my grandparents. And that’s just the fun stuff!

4th

So now it is officially August and I am trying to get back on track, with blogging and with life in general, for now.

I say for now because there is still one big change that has added to life’s ‘busy-ness’ that I’ve yet to mention; as of this week I am officially 4 months pregnant.

Since discovering we were expecting again I have experienced a whole range of emotions; excitement, terror, awe, immense worry, sweet relief, an odd sense of guilt, pure unadulterated joy. You name it, I’ve experienced it at one time or another over the last few months. Losing a baby, especially your first pregnancy, changes your experience, or at least it did for me. Despite my best efforts, I worried through the first 11 weeks. I hoped that passing the point which we got to with our last pregnancy would calm my fears, and in a way it did, but I’d be lying if I said the worry didn’t creep back in…daily. Over the last few weeks, thanks to the passage of time, a finally visible baby bump and some scriptural words of wisdom I feel like I am finally turning a corner. I’m not yet at the point of visualizing a nursery, but I have begun to say, “when the baby comes” instead of ‘if’ the baby comes. It is both a scary and exciting time, and more than anything I am very, very happy.

ingredients

I am also very hungry. I typically have a hearty appetite but being A. pregnant and B. home for summer exacerbates it immensely. I tend to eat more if the food is close at hand so when I have access to my fridge all day long instead of only before and after work, I find myself opening it frequently. I consider myself to be a generally healthy eater, but if I don’t have something quick and healthy to grab when a hunger pang strikes, I have been known to substitute with a few bites of ice cream. Also don’t ask me to define “a few” when it comes to ice cream. I mean really.

Enter peanut butter protein balls. These perfectly fit the bill for quick and easy. They are also equally as tasty and definitely a lot better for you than ice cream. I got this particular recipe from a friend but as with any “ball” recipe, it is endlessly customizable. Sometimes I add coconut, or cinnamon, or whatever else I have on hand that will mix in well. So feel free to swap ingredients in and out as you see fit.

So with that, I leave you with these final thoughts: I’m going to try to start blogging more regularly again (and re-claiming some ‘free’ time while I still can), I hope you enjoy these protein balls and if you are the praying sort (or even just the finger crossing sort), say one for our little one ❤

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Ingredients:

1 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (I actually use almond butter so any nut butter works)

1/2 Cup Ground Flaxseed

1/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1/3 Cup Honey

1 tsp Vanilla

Optional: chopped nuts, shredded unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, almond extract, etc.

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together thoroughly. I find it easiest to add the chocolate chips and any other chunky mix-ins last and fold them in.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  3. Roll into 1-1.5 inch balls. Keep refrigerated in an air tight container and enjoy at will! They will keep for at least a month in the fridge but I doubt yours will last that long 😉

 

Canada Part 4: Revelstoke and Lussier Hot Springs

We planned to spend our last full day in Golden visiting Glacier National Park, but our plans took a bit of a turn once we stopped at an information exit and were told that almost all of Glacier was still impassible due to avalanche risks. I love a good adventure as much as the next girl but freezing to death in a snow drift is not how I want to go. We decided that we’d see what we could from the road and instead make our way to Revelstoke.

Revelstoke was a darling little ski town surrounded by beautiful mountains.

IMG_5101

We enjoyed wandering in and out of shops and picking up a few souvenirs.

IMG_5104

IMG_5108

We left Revelstoke and headed back to Golden to grab an early dinner and check out some of the sights we hadn’t yet gotten to at our home base.

Continue reading