Harvest Brunch

Monday, August 31, 2015
Happy last day of August! Tomorrow marks the unofficial start of fall for me; September is the gateway to autumn and the holidays. What's not to love? Fittingly, husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy a Harvest Brunch in the mountains of my home county yesterday. After church we skirted off to Mountain Lake to enjoy the cool temperature, the over-cast weather conditions, and the delicious food. It couldn't have been a better little trip for the two of us. Because who doesn't love a hazy, lazy Sunday with your favorite person?!

So to help you get a feel for where we brunched....who has ever seen Dirty Dancing?? Mountain Lake is the spot where a good chunk of the movie was filmed. And if you've ever been to "the top of the world" then you would know why they selected that spot. Not only is it gorgeous, but the drive is just as stunning. I'm a huge fan of aimlessly driving and sharing deep conversation while doing so. The trip up the mountain is definitely one of those drives for me, but this time we had a reason for heading that way. 

Brunch was incredible and far surpassed my expectations. Husband and I enjoyed a whole variety of food from mashed potatoes and chicken and dumplings to shrimp and seafood pasta. There was one of everything, or so it seemed. And of course, there was dessert! We brunched our way through the incredible food on the porch section of the dining room. It was cool almost to the point of chilly, which this fall-loving heart was crazy about. 

After we ate, we walked around the property briefly and chatted about life now and what we imagine it will be like with baby girl in tow. The next four months will be precious time for husband and I before life as we know it changes forever. And while savoring that, we also can't contain our elation to meet our daughter. 

In 2008 the natural lake began to drain, and by the end of that year the lake had completely dried up. So while there isn't much lake to to look at, it's still beautiful with a ton of charm. And the changing leaves at the top of the mountain were also a favorite of mine. 

It was the perfect Sunday, truly from church and a brunch, followed by a nap and House Group. I need the repeat button for this weekend, please! If you're local, Mountain Lake is a must-do, whether you're going up for a meal, just to look/walk around, or for some type of outdoor adventure (last year we did their tree-top adventure course and had a blast!). Husband and I loved brunch so much that we are in the talks about heading back up for their Oktoberfest this year!

I hope you have a lovely Monday! Week 23 will be up tomorrow for baby girl's bumpdate. See you then! xo

Thoughts For Friday + The Pick: Week 34

Friday, August 28, 2015
It feels so good that it's Friday! Who's with me?? I think the hardest part of vacation is coming back to real life aftwerward. It's the darndest to return to work after spending a week with no worries or agenda. So I'm really relishing this Friday and am beyond excited for the weekend. One that involves no travel and nothing but simplicity. I'm going all out fall this weekend too. Because the temperature in my part of Virginia has stayed consistently in the mid 70's, and the mornings start out in the high 50's. It's a dream, truly it is.

Just a quick reminder for all you bloggers, Rachel and I will be hosting another installment of the Every Girl Link-Up next Thursday! We'll all be sharing our fall décor, and you know you want to share yours too. So maybe you were on the fence about pulling those fall decorations and touches out of storage...with a link-up less than a week away you should totally jump on the fall bandwagon. I mean we all know I've been driving it since mid-July ;) 

T H I N K I N G  > That prenatal massage tomorrow morning is going to be heavenly.  

P O N D E R I N G > My next haircut, which I'm badly in need of. I'll also be going with a fall ombré, and I need to set my mind on the shades I'm after.

N E E D I N G > Fall candles from Bath & Body Works. Really, it is a need.

L I S T E N I N G > This song over and over. The worship team at church picked this for last Sunday, and I'm crazy about it. It's got the alternative vibe that I love, not to mention the words just get you.

D R E A M I N G > About when the leaves will all start turning vibrant shades of Merlot and amber.

S W O O N I N G > Over Essie's Bahama Mama nail polish. It's not an official fall color, but I'm in love. I think it's the perfect transition polish from summer to fall. On your nails it's a darker shade of purple than it appears

Cheers to the weekend and a relaxing couple of days with your people! I'll be baking, concocting a fall drink, resting, and well, doing all things fall! See you on Monday, xo!

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Charleston/Kiawah Vacation Pt 2

Thursday, August 27, 2015
For the remainder of vacation we really kicked our feet up. The beach was our mid-morning to mid-afternoon hangout until we retreated back to the house to shower off, throw on some sweats, and relax some more. Some nights we would head back out to the beach, and other nights we would play cards till way late. 

On Thursday, we drove the 45 minutes into Charleston to explore the city and venture through all it had to offer. Again, the architecture, vegetation, and aesthetic of Charleston is just downright charming. From the moss all over buildings to the bright pops of pink in the crepe myrtles, it's just stunning!

That day started off sunny and bright. So we kicked off our time in the city at the open-air market. Apparently, this market space will always just be that, because the man that gave the market space over to the city strictly forbid it be anything else or his family would inherit it back. I'm glad he thought to add that to the contract, because the market is so much fun. There are trinkets and all kinds of homemade goods. Not to mention the food and spices also available for purchase. 

I'm a sucker for freshly squeezed lemonade, so when this hot pregnant lady spotted ^^this stand^^ I was all about a cool drink to quench my thirst. Husband obliged without hesitation.

Within an hour of being in the market, the rains began. First a little, and while on a carriage ride through the city it poured. Naturally, being on a covered carriage you wouldn't expect to get wet. Wrong. My mom and I (since we were on the outside) got soaked. Nonetheless, it was an interesting hour-long ride and I learned a good bit about the city's start and the significance of some of their buildings. 

Our horses' names were Hit and Run. And they were a mix of horse and mule, check out those ears! You might have seen the photo of them I shared on Instagram while trotting along!

So this building has a really neat story. It was originally used as a hospital, and then converted into an orphanage for African American children. The owner couldn't afford the rent, so he brought in music tutors to teach the students how to play instruments. Those students then began playing in the streets, and as their popularity rose they traveled around the country to play their jazz music, eventually landing on broadway. Their greatest contribution to music in the 1920's?? The Charleston :) How neat is that?!
This jail house is known as one of the most haunted buildings in the city. Notable criminals were held here along with pirates. Today it's used as the American College of Building Arts (no thank you would I ever go to school there!), but apparently the school is preparing to relocate (no wonder!). Just the look of this place gives me the hebbie jebbies! 

Unfortunately, the stronger the rain became, my camera had to be put up. So I tucked it away for the remainder of our time in Charleston. I did, however, use my iPhone to capture some moments of the rest of our evening, which included dinner and an hour and a half ghost tour walking through the city.

Charleston speaks my aesthetic language. From the gas burning lamps to the cotton wreaths, this place has me written all over it. If the humidity wasn't so intense I might consider moving there, but I'll keep my mountain air any day.

For dinner, we ate at Hyman's Seafood, which was excellent and a fun experience. Husband couldn't stop raving about the food and the price point. Another neat aspect about this restaurant is that a lot of famous people have eaten there. So the tables where they say at marked with miniature plaques, like the one below. The table we dined at happened to be the same table that Bond himself ate at. Husband was all over that fun fact!

And Food Channel Network listed it in its Top 5 in "The Best Seafood" category. If you ever go, make sure to get the Wadamalaw Delight as an appetizer. It's out of this world! That dish is local friend green tomatoes served on creamy grits and topped with Carolina cream sauce, cheese, and Cajun seasoning. Is your mouth watering yet??

What's dinner without dessert?! Fresh key lime pie it was, and I loved it. That's saying something considering I'm not always the biggest lover of lime-flavored food.

After dinner we ducked into a couple of stores on King Street, and oh how I wish we would have have had more time for exploring those shops. I guess I'll just have to go back :)

The reason we had to run through King Street was because the ghost tour started up at 7:30 and we needed to get there about fifteen minutes before it started. So we met in this park, where I proceeded to get eaten up by mosquitoes, a trend that continued the entire tour. Darn those mosquitoes!

Baby girl was on board at the beginning of the tour, but after walking for an hour and a half, my feet were yelling at me to sit the heck down!

The tour was really factual and detailed a lot of history in Charleston, which I appreciated. The ghost stories were factual in nature and it wasn't a creepy tour where people jump out at you. Instead it was a lot of history, coupled with sightings and stories of people's encounters with said ghosts. The above restaurant. Poogan's Porch, has been listed as one of the most haunted places in the world by Travel Channel.

 The public library is also another source for haunted, ghost encounters, especially on Halloween.

We spent out last full day on the beach before packing up and heading back to Virginia. That night we headed out to the town square on Kiawah Island for dinner, a little live music, and some ice cream. 

Although I loved vacation, it was so nice to get back to the mountain air and lack of humidity! It feels good to be home! If you missed the first part of our trip, you can check it out HERE!