Belated Birthday Getaway in Amelia Island – Part 1

Happy Wednesday! Hope everyone is having a great week. I am still soaking in the bliss of a weekend away…and for once it was near enough that we got back early on Sunday and got the house in order and errands run in record time! Confession: We were both in bed by 8:00 on Sunday night (7:30 for Robert) and it was blissful. Normally if we are out of town for the weekend I am up until midnight trying to get everything unpacked and ready for the week. Amelia Island was the perfect distance (2 hours) from home. Far enough to feel like we are on vacation but close enough that we truly could enjoy the whole weekend without dreading the car ride. Robert and I both agreed that we would definitely be back!


I’m sure you are dying to hear all about it and check out my iphone pictures since we forgot the camera at home…whoops. Or maybe you could really care less but you’re bored at work and would like to see my pictures anyway? Either way, I’ll get right to it 🙂

We arrived around 5 o’clock on Friday and I liked the look of Amelia Island immediately. The marshes were beautiful and the weather was perfect. It reminded me a lot of Hilton Head except less developed and a lot less crowded. Robert decided to be extra splurgy for my 28th and had booked a room at the Ritz Carlton! Neither of us had ever stayed at a Ritz (and based on the price we probably won’t ever again!) BUT I could sure get used to it! They definitely take service to another level. Both of us remarked several times that we felt like we were back on our honeymoon in Riviera Maya. Everyone calls you by name and is so eager to help with anything you may need.

As soon as we checked in I noticed how much the hotel really went out of their way to accommodate children. This surprised me since you don’t normally think of expensive hotels being overly family friendly. We were greeted by a pirate in the lobby (already surrounded by his own pint-sized fan club) and his treasure chests full of candy! So cute!

Treasure Treasure 2

And lest you fear the kids were going to have all the fun, we were quickly offered a pina colada shot by a sweet waitress (who also had Shirley temple shots for the pirate fan club). Our room had a nice view of the ocean and overlooked a seating area outside the lobby.

View from room

After situating our bags in the room we decided to explore the hotel. The hotel itself is beautiful with woodwork every where you look. They also had a nice gym (and I actually went!), an indoor and an outdoor pool and sweet little nooks with swinging benches.

Pool 2 Swing

We grabbed a drink at the pool side bar and walked down the beach access to enjoy them on the sand.


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Date Night at Home: Perfect Steamed Crab legs

Happy Hump Day! This is the view I awoke to on this glorious Wednesday…

 Human Dog 2

Renly officially thinks he is a human. He usually falls asleep right between us with his head on the pillow like a real person, but this is his typical relaxing posture. Need further proof that he thinks he is a person? This is how he rides in the boat….

 Human Dog

Goodness I love that anthropomorphic furball.

In case it isn’t obvious, I  have certainly been spending a lot of quality time with Renly this summer, but I’ve made sure to enjoy a few special date nights with the other most important man in my life… you know, the one that is actually a human Winking smile  When Robert and I were completing our pre-marriage counseling, our pastor stressed the importance of “date night” repeatedly. Now that we have been married for a year, I see just how right he was. Life gets busy and its crucial to make time to reconnect with your spouse. Dinner is an important time for me to spend with Robert each day, not only because I love preparing our meals, but also because that’s sometimes the only time during the week that we truly get to sit down and talk. Every few weeks, it’s nice to have a date night and make that dinner time together extra special. Robert and I both enjoy treating ourselves to a meal out, but sometimes I’ll splurge at the grocery store so we can enjoy a date night at home. Crab Legs are not only one of my favorite date night splurges but they also scream SUMMER.

 Crab Legs

The first time I ever remember eating crab legs was on vacation with my family at the beach when I was little. My younger sister Haley was only a toddler at the time and she must have enjoyed the crab legs even more than we realized. As we were leaving the restaurant, one of the restaurants wooden crab mallets fell out of her pants right in front of the hostess stand! She cried and explained to my parents that she had wanted to take it home as a souvenir, which the restaurant was kind enough to let her do (maybe because it had already been in her pants). She kept the mallet in her room for years and we still laugh about it to this day.

      The cutest thief you’ve ever seen

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Girl’s Weekend in Charleston

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! My typical MO on a Monday is to share a breakfast recipe, but alas, for the first time in recent memory I did absolutely NO cooking this weekend…none! Instead of (joyfully) slaving away at the stove, I enjoyed the most fabulous girl’s weekend in Charleston, SC with my best friend Anna! You may recognize her as my wonderful traveling companion from all of my China posts.

 Anna and Laurin

I met Anna in college when she became my “little sister” in my sorority and we have been best friends ever since! She lives in Charleston, about two hours away from me and we try to meet in the middle for lunch or dinner every few months to catch up. Each time we meet for a meal we talk non-stop and never seem to have enough time to catch up as much as we’d like, so we decided a weekend reunion was a must. Charleston is a fabulous city, and one that I have had the good fortune to live in for short periods both post college and post graduate school. It is rich in history, full of fun things to do from museums and horse drawn carriage rides to pirate tours and designer shopping, a total foodie destination, and last but not least it is absolutely one of the most beautiful places in the south. There is literally something for everyone, so if you are traveling to South Carolina for the first time, Charleston is a must see destination!

 Cute house

I arrived at Anna’s around 7:30 on Friday and we caught up over a glass of wine as we got ready for dinner. Anna lives close to East Bay Street, which is one of the two main destination streets in downtown Charleston (at least in my mind), the other being King Street. King Street houses the majority of the shopping downtown while East Bay is home to many different restaurants and bars. We decided to try Minero for dinner, a new Mexican restaurant opened by Sean Brock. Sean Brock is a very well known, James Beard award winning southern chef who has appeared on Top Chef several times and has several restaurants in Charleston. I had a feeling the food would be delicious and we were not disappointed.

Anna at Minero Tacos 2

We started with guacamole and margaritas and each ordered several different tacos. I tried the grouper and the green chorizo, both of which were delicious. I was actually inspired to come home and attempt a homemade green chorizo recipe which I am planning to try later this week, wish me luck!


After dinner we called it an early night in anticipation of a big day on Saturday. Saturday morning we woke up early and headed our for a brisk walk around The Battery. The Battery is a seawall around the Charleston Harbor that is lined by breathtaking antebellum homes. I say homes but they are really more like mansions and each is stunning, unique and VERY expensive. Since it’s safe to say I’ll never be able to live in one of these homes, it’s nice to be able to enjoy them as the backdrop to a morning run.

Image courtesy of Trip Advisor since I only took a picture of the water…

The day quickly heated up and we walked back to Anna’s to cool off and enjoy a light breakfast before heading over to King Street for a little retail therapy. King Street has everything from Louis Vuitton to Forever 21 so there is lots to see at every price range. Anna and I both made a few purchases before deciding it was time for lunch. King St. has LOTS of restaurants, Burgers, BBQ, Pizza, Lebanese, Greek, Mexican, Asian, ALL THE FOOD! It’s a foodies dream and an indecisive girls nightmare. Luckily Anna suggested Vietnamese early on in her extensive list of everything available and I remembered how much I LOVED my banh mi in Atlanta a few months ago. We ended up at CO, a Vietnamese restaurant I remember seeing when I lived in Charleston but had never tried. We were seated immediately and decided to split a few things so we could both try a lot.

 edamame dumplings

*Side Note* Is it just me or is one of the best things about girlfriends the fact that they love to share? My mom and I do this too when out to eat but Robert HATES to share. Is this a man thing? Or just a mental thing? Like maybe he doesn’t feel like he’s getting enough to eat if we split things instead of having an entire full meal to himself? He doesn’t mind sharing dessert or appetizers but anytime I’ve suggested splitting a salad or entrees I get shot down immediately and he tells me I should just order both/all of it. Maybe I’ll wear him down eventually.


We ordered the edamame dumplings, pork belly buns and a Korean short rib banh mi. It was all tasty but we both liked the banh mi the best. The lunch prices at CO were surprisingly inexpensive for a sit down restaurant, we both left full but not stuffed and only paid about 10 dollars each! I’ll have to remember to add “cheaper” to my list of reasons to convince Robert to start sharing Smile

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