Wednesday, June 25, 2014

5 Inspiring Guest Rooms

I had my first guests this past weekend at our house! My husband's parents came in to town and we had just enough time to scramble together a bed and some sheets (it wasn't really that bad- West Elm had a really good sale and I had a coupon)! Now that they have officially broken in our bed (thanks guys!), I now have more time before the next future guests (ie. we have none, so time is on my side) to make the room a bit more inviting. 
I have been perusing Pinterest for ideas that I love and gathered a few below (I do not know sources for any, as all did not have legitimate sources, but if you know where they are from, PLEASE let me know!). The theme seems to be "comfortable and inviting". They keys to a good guest room are having a place for guests to hang their clothes, or place their bags, provide adequate lighting, make the room feel like home with inviting artwork and even fresh flowers, and provide enough bedding and blankets so they feel comfortable whether cold or hot! 
Enjoy the inspiration below! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Take Me To: Charleston, SC CHARLESTON, SC!

My husband and I went on vacation with our family already this year which was a TON of fun! But we'd (well, I'd) really like to go on a short vacay together! Our budget isn't anything grand this year, so I had been thinking of something that is only a car ride away. My sister went to Charleston a few months back and absolutely loved it so when I did some research and saw how adorable the city was, I decided this was our pick! Now Les is making me convince him to head south, so I've compiled a list of things that I'd really love to see and do when we are there and I'm hoping he agrees...

1.  The Charleston City Market looks like a blast to me. It's full of unique booths that sell everything from art to food to Sweetgrass Baskets. It's open every day and from May-December, it opens some nights as well! I think Les will be sold when he sees the bags of grits below...(and there's air conditioning). (ps. you'll notice a theme in these posts- Les likes food..a everything has to involve that in some way or another)

*photos borrowed from Charleston City Market's website

2. Next on the list is the Cypress Gardens. It's complete with a swamp where you can take a paddle boat around and see ALLIGATORS! This is actually where part of The Notebook was filmed, but frankly the 'gators intrigue me more. Otherwise there's a reptile house and butterfly gardens! Apparently it's a must-see while in town. 

3. While I'm on the topic of locations that might not win Les over (but I really want to go!!), I will mention Boone Hall Plantation. It's one of America's oldest working and living plantations and also the most photographed (for its sheer beauty). Another must-see stop while in Charleston...(oh and also had a cameo in The Notebook)..

4. Let's get to the good stuff- the food. This list is bound to be lengthy, because I just know it will really reel him in! 

First stop is Hominy Grill, which looks AMAZING. I mean, talk about southern comfort food! My vote is we go here for brunch...check out those Shrimp & Grits. 
*Photo from their website

Butcher and Bee is a sandwich shop on King Street. They craft unique sandwiches every single day and keep their menu fresh! Les, lunch?
*Photo from their website

All that needs to be said about the next one- The Macintosh- is that the owner's last name is Bacon and they have a Bacon Happy Hour. THIS is where I really want to go for brunch another day. Here's a snippet of two menu items...

"Mac Attack," Pork Belly, Bone Marrow Bread Pudding, 
 Poached Egg 

Steak & Eggs, Potato Confit Hash, Wilted Greens, Choice of Eggs, 
 Chimichurri Sauce 

Oh. my goodness. That's all you really need to know...

The Rarebit would also be a contender for a nice dinner in town. They apparently have an amazing Moscow Mule and you can purchase the copper cup it's in! 

Next up is my all-time favorite frozen treat, Jenis Ice Cream. With flavors like Salty Caramel, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, and Saison with Sunflower Seeds & Golden Flax, you cannot pass this up. I actually tasted this for the first time in Columbus, OH and since my local market sells it for $10 a pint, I am ready to go back to the source. 

And finally for the cocktails.  The Cocktail Club has a drink called the Cloak and Dagger- aged rum, rye whiskey, ginger, beet, pineapple, lemon, and a port float. Les, did I win your heart yet?
And as highly recommended by my sister, The Belmont

5. But aside from all this, I would really like to see the beautiful homes, especially on Rainbow Row and enjoy a romantic walk with my husband:) 
*Image from Style Me Pretty 

This is just a small taste of some of the places that make me want to visit Charleston! Check back for more after our be determined :) Les, did I convince you?

With love, Allie xoxo 

Ps. A few other places to note:
-Sugar Bakeshop for a yummy cupcake!
-Charleston Tea Plantation to tour and bring home some tins
-The Battery (promenade along the water) for a walk and view of the water
-Poe's Tavern for a juicy burger 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bridal Shower Gift Idea!

This past weekend I attended the bridal shower of my dear friend, who I have known since 4th grade! We have been through it all together- Limited Too silky underwear and Delia's pleather pants and a long period of single-ness- and we are still friends today (and have permanent men in our lives thank goodness)! I have the honor of being a bridesmaid in her wedding and am so blessed to be a part of the big day when she says "I do!".

Her shower was cooking themed (complete with cooking tutorial and rosemary-salt favors) and took place in a gorgeous old mansion! (Sadly there were no puppies to take home)
Myself and three of the other bridesmaids decided to gift her every girl's favorite kitchen appliance...a Kitchen Aid Mixer...mostly because it was on her registry but also because I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it so much, I had to do it myself! I think displaying the mixer with a beautiful arrangement is so feminine and fun! And it only took a few easy steps...

1. I went to Whole Foods Market and picked out the flowers- I chose hydrangeas and peonies in pinks and whites. (peonies just happen to be in season!) I've also seen people use roses with other filler flowers
2. I brought the flowers home and trimmed the ends of the stems to the length of the mixer bowl.
3. I bunched up all the flowers in a bouquet and wrapped the bunch with floral tape to keep them together. It's also helpful to the bride, because she can easily lift the bouquet out of the bowl and place it in a vase as an alternative after the gift has been presented!
4. I filled the bowl with a little bit of water and placed the flowers in and "puffed" them to fill the edges
5. Then...WAH-LA! you have a beautiful flower filled kitchen mixer:)
6. I tied a burlap ribbon around the bowl to tie the look together and later added a large gift tag with our names!

Not really that hard...but thanks for following along:)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Turks and Caicos Trip

Last week my dad, mom, sister, husband, my sister's boyfriend, and I went to Turks and Caicos for 5 days! It was a blast! We stayed at the Sands at Grace Bay, which is located right on the beach of...well...Grace Bay! It was gorgeous, with a large pool, lazy river (that wasn't so lazy) and a hot tub! All the staff members were SO nice and helpful. The resort had its own restaurant, Hemingway's, which had seating right off the beach and palm trees that were all lit up at night. We went fishing on Friday and caught two fish, which the chef graciously cooked up for us and served to us in fish tacos for lunch on Saturday! What a treat to eat what we caught! Sea to table at its finest:) Our suite had just enough bedrooms for all of us, with a full kitchen and living room and screened-in porch overlooking the pool and beach. 

The local town is cute. One of the shopping centers we rode our bikes to is called the Salt Mills. It had a few art galleries and clothing stores. I wish it hard more local crafts though that weren't outrageously expensive (oh wait...a carton of eggs on the island is $7..soooo...). 

On Thursday night we went to the Fish Fry. If you've ever been to a food truck market (we have a lot of those in Philly), this is pretty much what it's like...minus the trucks...and add a lot of fried fish. There were probably about 20 stands that served fried conch, fried grouper, fried snapper, rice and peas, plantains, macaroni and cheese, or coconut shrimp (these were literally the main options at all of them). They also had some stands with beverages -my favorite being the Gollywash (coconut milk and gin) and the coconut rum served in a coconut! This event happens every Thursday night in Bight Park, right off the beach. It's attended by both tourists and locals alike and is the place to be on the island! They have live music and dancing. It goes from 5:30-9:30 but we got there on the early side, which I am glad we did because we were able to find a table- by 7pm, we could have sold those seats off for a good penny! I highly recommend this event- it's something you just have to experience! 

The boys had a lot of fun with the water sport options- most specifically paddle boarding, katamaran, and snorkeling. The paddleboarding was something I had never done before and it was much harder than I imagined, but being able to experience it on the flat water made it a much easier start! It's something I would love to do again! We snorkeled around a small reef off the shore and saw so many beautiful fish! We were supposed to snorkel again out in the open water, but after catching two sharks during our fishing trip, we quickly opted out of this! 

Overall our favorite restaurant was Coco Bistro ! It was a gorgeous little oasis between a grove of palm trees with the most delicious food ever! But make a reservation in advance, or you will miss the opportunity! 

Thanks for following along with the recap of our beautiful vacation! I hope you love Turks and Caicos as much as we did if you ever have the chance to go! 

With love, Allie 

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