Sometimes you just need to get the hell out of dodge for the day…

Some times in life you just want to run away. Run away from people, places, things and sometimes even yourself. That’s what I did yesterday and I took a friend along for the ride. Where did we go? Where else would you go when you want to escape? No, not Margaritaville for all you “parrotheads” out there….the beach!

Folly Beach

So I have been without a car for quite sometime due to an unforeseen life situation (one of the ones I was running from). My family, so eagerly and graciously, has allowed me to use their vehicles, carpooled with me to work and driven me all over like Miss Daisy. I am extremely grateful for that. However, I decided to rent a car to give myself the illusion of independence for a week. I was going to rent a jeep wrangler but I would’ve had to get a part time job in addition to my current one to afford that (my dream is one day to own a jeep). Anyway, when I arrived at the rental place the gentleman who was checking me in said “We have an upgrade for you. I promise, you’re going to like it.” I said okay, signed the contract and outside we went. Well, when he walked me over to the car I thought there was a mistake. I pulled out of the lot in a BMW SUV! Now, not only am I physically running away from my problems but mentally running away from my current economic status thinking I’m a Kardashian driving around in this car.

Wow right?

So I have my wheels, now all I need is good tunes, some company and a cup of coffee and all will be right with the world. Donna has been out of town for quite some time and has taken our car with her so she doesn’t need to hitchhike around town. This is why I am without a car and the reason why I needed to recruit company. Now you get it? Good. Let’s move on…

So after I figured out how to work this fancy space car I am now in possession of, I head out to pick up coffee and my friend. We decided our first stop would be Charleston, to take in some sights and more importantly get some delicious, FRESH seafood.

One of the best places to get seafood in Charleston

Now I’ve been to Hyman’s at least twice before and each time I’ve been there the food has been absolutely divine. Today was no exception. We ordered an appetizer and 2 entrees.

Fried Green Tomatoes

The only problem with the fried green tomatoes was that it took the waiter some time to bring us out the cajun mayo that came with it. They are made with local Wadmalaw Island green tomatoes. The breading was light so it didn’t overpower the dish. I enjoyed the taste of the tomato itself and the canjun mayo was good because it added just the right amount of spice without the heat.

Hush puppies

I am sorry Donna had to miss this. These by far are the BEST hush puppies I have ever had. Seriously….They were so good I took whatever we didn’t eat home. (I actually had some for breakfast with my coffee this morning!) They were fried to a deep golden brown and had a firm outer crust but a smooth, not grainy, texture on the inside (kinda like me…hard on the outside but soft on the inside) To eat these with any type of condiment would be almost criminal. Eat them plain and let your senses taken in all the deliciousness that these little puppies have to offer.

Calamari, crab cake, fried okra and hush puppies.
Shrimp & grits

I decided to order way too much food and went with the trio of calamari, shrimp & grits, crab cake with a side of fried okra and of course more hush puppies. I barely finished the whole thing (some of the fried okra was sacrificed due to my stomach not having the capacity to fit it all) but all that I did eat was great. The shrimp were crisp and firm to the bite, probably being that they were just pulled from the water. That’s what is so great about eating in Charleston. All of the seafood is harvested right there, locally. The grits were smooth, on the thinner side and creamy. The calamari could’ve had a thicker, crispier crust to them but the taste itself was very good. The crab cake had just the right amount of breading which allowed you to fully experience the flavor of the crab. The fried okra was just that…fried okra.

Crab cake, Mac n’ cheese and hush puppies
Salmon & grits

Michele was smarter that I being she only selected the entree with 2 items unlike gluttonous me who picked the one with 3 items.

We exited the restaurant via the gift shop. Yes, Hyman’s has a gift shop. As we were perusing, a woman that worked there said being we dined upstairs we were entitled to a free magnet. Well, if it’s free it’s for me so I took my magnet and here is what it said. I placed this magnet on my fridge so it can be a daily reminder for me.

To burn off some of the calories from lunch we strolled over to the Charleston City Market on Market Street to do some shopping. I ended up buying a Rice Beads anklet. I never knew the story of the Rice beads. If you don’t know it either here is the story…

Rice Beads

Where to next? Folly Beach. I started out with shorts and a tank but ended up with sweats and and tank due to it not being as warm as I would have liked. I refused to put on a jacket with hopes I could will the weather warmer by wearing a tank top. Not so much. Regardless, hot or cold, the beach is wonderful. Just sitting back on a blanket mesmerized by the ocean is my meditation. It truly puts everything in perspective. How very vast that ocean is and very how tiny I am. I am but a small cog in the big wheel of life. I am not as important as I think I am.

Folly Beach

Dessert and coffee please! We turned that beemer around and headed back to Charleston. Next stop Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe.

Almond Joy cake with vanilla ice cream and a cappuccino with a shot of mocha
Mixed berry pie with vanilla ice cream and a cappuccino with a shot of vanilla

Anytime there is a line outside that is a sign of either one of two things…either that is the only place to eat or the food is that good. I was grateful it was the latter that the line was long outside of Kaminsky’s.

My cake was soooo good but I was confused by the name of it because there was no coconut to be found in it. Plenty of sliced almonds but no coconut. The mixed berry pie had strawberries, blueberries and blackberries with a delicious crust which reminded me of Thanksgiving with hints of nutmeg in it. After I took my last sip of my cappuccino I was done. The sweetness of that drink pushed me me right over the edge. Oh brother am I full.

I could not have asked for a better day. Even though it didn’t warm up as much as we would’ve liked and we were missing a friend that was supposed to come with but wasn’t able to, it was picture perfect. The food was delicious, the sights were magnificent and the laughs were oh so needed. Two chicks beach bound in a BMW, escaping the monotonous ups and downs of everyday life….that is the stuff that movies are made of, no? Netflix, I’ll be waiting for your call…. ūüėČ

Sisters at Soda City…

I set my alarm last night for 8:00 a.m. so I could get in an early run/workout prior to our food crawl extravaganza down at Soda City today. I was surprised that I actually woke up prior to the alarm being that I was up until 1:00 a.m. binge watching “The Killing” on Netflix. If you’ve never seen it I recommend you do.

I got in my 3 miles, pumped some iron, relaxed in the massage chair for 10 minutes (one of the perks of being a Black Card Member at Planet Fitness) and then headed home to wait for Kelly to pick me up so we could head downtown.

The view as I walked home from the gym.

Now, I’ve been to Soda City many times but I’ve never eaten my way through it like today. Some of you are probably thinking “What is Soda City?” It is an open air market in downtown Columbia on Saturday’s that stretches about 4 blocks down main street. There are a ton of food vendors as well as artisans selling their wares. It is a must if you are in the downtown area on a Saturday between 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.. And if you are a dog owner feel free to bring them along. There were 1/2 as many dogs as there were people.

As you can see, Soda City is the place to be!

Of course being a Kirby, the first priority was to find coffee! I went with the tried and true, one of my favorites, a cup from Curiosity Coffee Bar.

Their brick & mortar shop is located at 2327 Main Street, Columbia

Now being Kelly wanted coffee with a flavor profile we walked over to Drip on Main. She was kinda disappointed being the coffee was lukewarm before she even added any cream to it. I was suprised being I have had their coffee before and it was very good. Their baked goods, even though we didn’t eat any this time are delicious, especially the scones.

This joint is jumpin’!

With coffee in hand we began to crawl but before any food caught my eye a jewelry vendor called The Indigo Bee Co. did. I have been looking for a bracelet for a while now but nothing has excited me. I really like to support local artisans whenever I can, especially because my Donna is a local artist herself. Be sure to check out her page on instagram, it’s listed under her business name Evergreen Mosaic. Plug…plug… ūüėČ Back to the bracelet. I tried it on but it was a little too big, so the artist, Emily Brereton, told me if I’d be around for a bit she could make me another one a little smaller. Talk about good customer service! She sized my wrist and I told her I’d be back. 3 food trucks and 2 coffee shops later we returned. The new bracelet fit perfect and at only $15 it was at great buy!

Now for the food! Soda City is like a mecca for food trucks. A one stop shop if you will. From Tex-Mex to Venezuelan, there is a food truck for you.

Now we didn’t actually eat here but I wanted to shout it out due to it being just so damn cool. The Grand just opened December of last year and I can’t wait to eat & play there. The reason why I say play is because they have a 7 lane bowling alley, lounge area for playing board games, indoor shuffleboard as well as an outdoor space with a bocce court. Is is referred to as a “boutique” bowling alley, bar and restaurant. We’d like to bring Yuri being she loves to bowl.

Yes, that’s a bowling alley.
Outdoor dining and bocce
The restaurant seating has a 1960’s “rat pack” era feel to it.

The first stop on our crawl was The Belgian Waffle Truck.

Kelly got a sweet waffle with a strawberry compote and whip cream. Unfortunately, the whip cream tasted like it came from a can. The compote was good though.

Take note of the manicure…compliments of Blush Nails & Spa in Lexington
Get it girl!

I went with the breakfast sandwich, which is an egg, sausage patty, and gravy on waffles. The sausage tasted like it was a store bought frozen patty but the gravy was quite good. Overall it was tasty sandwich.

Breakfast sandwich on steroids!
Now that’s how you eat a sandwich.
Does anyone have a napkin?

Next stop The Wurst Wagon. Now Donna would have appreciated this food cart. If you closed your eyes and inhaled, you would swear you were in NY standing in front of a Sabrett dirty water dog stand. We actually closed them down being we took their last 2 sausages. There was a snap when you bit through the sausage casing, so we knew they were home made. It came with a side of potato salad and sauerkraut. We loved the potato salad! It was vinegar based and had dill in it, which Kelly was particularly impressed with. It kind of reminded me of a german potato salad. The sauerkraut was delish too. We both gave The Wurst Wagon 2 big thumbs up!

I vote to have one of these on every corner!
Good bang for your buck for only $7.00.

Now for something sweet. What to pick, so many choices. You can never go wrong with donuts right? Next stop, The Donut Guy”. Kelly picked the maple bacon mini donuts and got herself an iced coffee. The donuts were light and airy, kind of reminded me of a zeppoli but I just wish the bacon was more incorporated into the donut instead of just being sprinkled on the top. Being the glaze was very thin the bacon couldn’t really adhere to the Donut and just collected at the bottom of the tray. All in all it was good but I felt the flavors didn’t really explode in my mouth when I took a bite.

A generous portion but I wish the bacon stuck to the donuts better.
My sis is a good sport being I made her pose for a bazillion pics today ūüôā

Even though our dad wasn’t with us today Kelly made sure he could reap the rewards of our crawl. Being our dad is a good ole’ southern boy we got him some yellow stone ground grits compliments of The Congaree Milling Co. Kelly said dad likes yellow grits better than white so yellow it was.

Now dad has a huge sweet tooth so we knew we had to get him a dessert too. Dad’s rule of thumb is if it’s heavy (weighs alot) the dessert is good. Kelly picked out a blackberry pie compliments of Divine Pies Bakery. I picked it up first to make sure it lived up to dad’s standards, it did, so we got it. I will have to get back to you on the taste because I didn’t try it but it sure did look divine!

Are those not the most beautiful pies you have ever seen…

One last thing that was a must to add to the list bring home to dad were boiled peanuts. I happen to like them and Donna can’t seem to understand why. She’ll say to me “Do you really like those or are you just trying to impress your dad?” Yes Donna, I really like those, along with collards, pork rinds and hash.

Last stop on the crawl.

This has been the most interesting crawl so far being we got to sample food from several different vendors. Beautiful weather, day off from work, yummy foods and spending the morning with my big sis….life is good my friends ūüôā

On our way back to the car. Last picture Kelly, I promise.

1000 miles in 365 days….

I have had an on again off again relationship with fitness and healthy food over the past couple of years. Well we are going steady once again. One of my coworkers had ordered me a running calender, which allows me to record daily how much I run/walk. The calender was provided by the site ilovetorun.org and it is a great motivator for me.

I have it right on the closet door in my bedroom. It is the first thing I see when I get up and the last thing I see before I go to sleep so it reminds me to stay fit daily. I get so excited to fill it out, attempting to outdo the prior day’s total miles.

So the challenge I signed up for is this… run/walk/crawl 1000 miles in 365 days for 2018. It sounds like a lot and kind of overwhelmed me at first but a saying I heard just recently helped me get beyond that feeling. “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”. So I am eating this 1000 mile elephant of mine biting off one mile at a time.

I joined Planet Fitness this year which has been an immense help in keeping me on point with my daily regimen of running. First I run on the treadmill, then I workout with weights and then I sit back and enjoy a 10 minute massage in one of the massage chairs. Planet Fitness is within walking distance from my home so I get in some extra miles walking to and from the gym. On occasion Donna will join me (with my Black Card membership I can bring a guest and get unlimited massage too!) and she’ll get on the recumbent bike and I’ll do weights.

I already can feel an difference. Notice that I said FEEL a difference. I am not obsessing about what the scale says but focusing on how my clothes fit and the increase in my energy level. If I should miss a day, which I try not to, but if I do I don’t beat myself up. The next day I’ll just push to run a little bit more than I normally would. Why would I beat myself up being I am doing this because I love myself. Makes sense, right?

Love yourself enough to be willing to make a change for the better in your life, whatever that change might be…

You never know what the day will bring…

Today while I was out for a walk, I happened upon an unexpected suprise. Every Sunday from 10:00 – 2:00 at the West Columbia Riverwalk entrance, Latham’s Farm and Curiosity Coffee Bar are featuring their products. Being I knew Donna would love this, I decided to swing back home and get her.

Me and my girl…

When we returned, we decided to sample the coffee first. I opted for a regular cup of coffee but Donna was tickled that Curiosity Coffee Bar was offering chai tea, so she got a Chai Hot Toddy (mocktail). As for snacks, we sampled alfajores, compliments of K & K Gourmet Sweets and a date & almond scone.

Alfajores by K & K Gourmet Sweets
Scones
While we ate and drank Donna chatted up the baristas about her mosaics.

Donna’s company is called Evergreen Mosaic and you can see all of her amazing pieces on instagram. And if you’re lucky enough, maybe you too could own an Evergreen Mosaic original!

Mosaic by Evergreen Mosaic. This work of art was creating using beads as the medium.

Then we walked over to the tent manned by Latham’s Farm. They had a wonderful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and you couldn’t beat the price of $13 for as much as you can stuff in a basket!

I would have fit more into this basket but it was already very heavy and I had to carry it home!

So what did I do with that basket o’ veggies you ask??? I cooked them of course! For dinner tonight I made chicken cutlets with roasted eggplant, squash, zucchini, carrots and white corn on the cob. With the mild weather and our meal tonight, it is starting to feel like spring time in the south.

The trick for not letting your veggies dry out in the oven is cutting them into at least 1/2″ cubes.

They tasted twice as good as they look.
No guilt in eating this meal ūüôā

Cooking without carbs…

Tonight I decided to make myself a healthy meal of ham steak, a cauliflower risotto medley with asparagus and a spring mix salad.  20171023_190152

My sister introduced me to riced cauliflower this past weekend when she made me the most delicious flat iron steak for dinner (I am kicking my self that I didn’t take a picture of that!).  She added brown sugar and butter to the riced cauliflower but I just ate mine with salt and pepper.  I love the fact that this has very little carbs and sugars and is only 20 calories per serving.  If you ate the whole bag that’s only 80 calories!

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Who needs rice?  This is an absolutely delicious alternative.  I have also made smashed cauliflower in leui of mashed potatoes when I was looking to watcheck my carb intake.  After adding a little butter, salt and pepper you can hardly tell the difference if you prepare them right!

What a pain in the back

As I bent over to look into a cabinet on Monday morning all of a sudden a I felt a sharp pain in my lower¬†back and I dropped to my knees.¬† Tears began to stream down my face as my back involuntarily contorted from muscle spasms.¬† I tried to get up from the floor with no success.¬† I then crawled over to the couch and called out for Donna to come help me up.¬† We failed to get me upright so with a combined effort¬†we were able to get me up on the couch, facing the opposite direction of the t.v. of course.¬† So as I lie there, watching the Andy Griffith show upside down, I can’t believe this happened….again.¬† I come from a family of bad backs.¬† My dad, sister, mom all have had¬†their backs go out on more than one occasion.¬† The last time my back went out I was flipping my hair¬†to wrap it in a towel after getting out of the shower.¬† This was of course back when¬†I had long hair.¬† As soon¬†as I¬†flipped my toweled head upright my upper back went into horrific muscle spasms and I could hardly walk to the bed to lay down.¬† I was out of work for days with that one too.¬†¬†This time I wasn’t doing anything strenuous either.¬† I wasn’t lifting anything heavy, not running, pushing or pulling.¬† I just bent over to look in a cabinet!¬† The body truly is an enigma.

Being I couldn’t walk I needed to think of something to use to get me from the couch to the bathroom.¬† Ah ha, just call me MacGyver!

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Making due with what we had at the moment

I decided to use my trusty shopping cart as a makeshift walker.¬†The blue stuff on the wheels is painters tape, which prevents the carpet from getting dirty.¬† Not bad, huh?¬† I was quite the site shuffling across the apartment with my¬†“DIY” contraption.¬† After posting on Facebook about my injury many friends reached out to let me know if I needed anything they were there.¬† Our friend Millie told us about¬†Palmetto Health Orthopedics, who¬†conveniently has a walk in clinic that you don’t need an appointment for.¬† We decided to take her suggestion and go there to get me checked out.¬† There was no way we¬†could use my shopping cart to steady me for the¬†trip to the doctor.¬† So leave it to my good friend Jennifer to come to the rescue.¬† She borrowed a walker from her mom and brought it to us Wednesday morning before she went to work.

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Me sporting my “Run LI” tee to get myself ready for the big trip to the doctor

The doctor took an x-ray which showed I had very bad muscle spasms and prescribed me steroids, muscle relaxers, pain pills, ice, heat,¬†some exercises¬†as the pain allows¬†and¬†lots of rest.¬† As I am sitting there in the doctor’s office,¬†I felt as if I was in the¬†middle of a Seinfeld episode.¬† Donna, being the chatty person she is struck up a conversation with the doctor and ended up finding out that he is auditioning to play Daddy Warbucks in Annie¬†at¬†Town Theatre¬†while I am sitting¬†there in pain.¬† Hello.¬† Remember me?¬† The patient.¬† Go figure…

So after being off for a mini vacation from work now I am off¬†for another 7 days¬†as per doctor’s orders to heal¬†my¬†back.¬† There is nothing worse than your back going out, maybe a toothache, and¬†just having to be still and wait for it to heal.¬† No running, no walking, no fitbit challenges, no weights.¬† I am sure I will go stir crazy¬†just sitting around.¬† I am just grateful I have a wonderful other half to care for me while I am at home.¬† Maybe this will push me to post a couple of blogs while I am at home.¬† We’ll see.¬† And for all of my readers out there, be sure to bend at the knees…

Waffles up!

On my day off today I decided to stray from my regular breakfast of oatmeal and shake it up some.  Donna had gotten me an itty, bitty, baby waffle maker this past Christmas and at first I thought it was very adorable but what kind of waffle would that make.  And you know what, it makes the perfect waffle!  The size is perfect for a healthy portion.

waffle2I used Bisquick to make the waffles and flavored them with some chocolate (I improvised with a microplane and a mini nestle crunch) and cinnamon.¬†¬† Then topped it off with sugar free syrup. ¬†Don’t knock it until you try it!¬† Delish ūüôā

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Wardrobe malfunction

So for all of you that don’t already know, I am participating¬†in the “Sweat Your Claws off” challenge for the month of June.¬† This¬†involves either running or walking at least 1 mile each day.¬† I have¬†run a total of 35 miles so¬†far this month¬†and you can see my progress on¬†my¬†Face Book page daily. ¬†This is one of the many reasons why I love Facebook because a friend of mine from Long Island created this and invited me to participate.¬† Another friend from high school that now lives in London¬†challenged me last year to do 22 push ups in 22 days to raise awareness of veteran suicide.¬† I have no idea how I got through that one being I can’t even do 5 push ups today!¬† I must have¬†summoned the strength from the veterans and I am not one to back down from a challenge, especially via Facebook.¬† I know what you are all thinking….¬† Who cares about sweaty claws and push ups, what about the wardrobe malfunction!

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The infamous “large” shorts and¬†a cool tank that Yuri gave me ūüôā

Last Thursday I headed out¬†for my evening run.¬† I had bought a handful of new shorts the day prior¬†so I was psyched to break them in.¬† To my surprise, as soon as I took my first strides my shorts started falling down!¬† What the?¬† I stopped, pulled them back up and tried again.¬† Same thing.¬† Damn.¬† Now being I have been challenged to do this mile a day thing of course I can’t head back home defeated, so I walked instead.¬† Walking is good but I don’t get that same adrenaline rush as I do from running.¬† So I walked as fast as I could without losing my shorts.¬† See, maybe¬† I could have gotten my 15 minutes of fame being a featured story on WIS.¬† “Woman arrested for indecent exposure while running across the Blossom Street Bridge tonight at 11:00”.

 

 

There is a silver lining to my shorts story.¬† I have always been a size large, at a minimum, for as long as I can remember.¬† When I went to the store to shop for new shorts I picked up a pair that was on a hanger marked “Large” and off to the dressing room I went.¬† As I slid them on and they began to slide right down I checked the tag and they were actually a 2XL.¬† This actually elated me being at one time I could only shop from the XL/XXL rack.¬† I put those shorts back and verified the tag on the size large, didn’t try them on and preceded to the cashier.¬† When I got home and tried¬†them on to my surprise they were kinda big.¬† What is this?¬† A size large is¬†too big?¬† Doesn’t make sense.¬† I decided to give those shorts a try and they failed.¬† So back to the store to purchase my first pair of size medium ANYTHING.¬† It felt so foreign but I could definitely get used to this.

Just to set the records straight.¬† I do not want to be a size small, that is not the destination¬†of my journey.¬† I want to be comfortable in my own skin.¬† I want to be healthy.¬† Medium is friggin’ amazing!¬† This is not a quick process loosing weight and getting healthy.¬† I had a mind shift 2 years ago to start getting¬†fit and I’m still working at it.¬† Hey, I had a bowl of ice cream with peanut butter¬†and popcorn last night so I’m not always a miss rice cakes and carrot sticks kind of gal.¬† Have a great day!