30 August 2013

Playing catch-up...

Hi friends! Hope you have all had a great week/ past couple weeks. I know I've been a little MIA, but I guess I haven't had a whole lot on my mind to blog about. That might be a little bit of a lie as there are a couple things on my mind, but nothing set in stone enough to talk about. More on that later!


Over the last few weeks, S and I have kayaked out to Capers Island with friends, attended a beautiful southern wedding, and have been trying to make the most of the warm weather by spending lots of time at the beach. S is on a huge fishing kick right now and that's fine with me because while he casts his line, I can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea and watch the dolphins play.


Our kayak trip.



Marie and the Pilot's wedding! Woo hoo, a first - How cool to attend the wedding of a great friend met through blogging??! S even caught the garter (his third....) and I caught the bouquet!




Long days spent at the beach....




While still keeping up on my workouts and early morning runs...


 And, more time spent with great friends, Marie and her [now] hubs and my puppy boy, Gunner<3

To read more about Marie's wedding, check out her super-cute blog, Letters from Carolina!

You can also follow me on Instagram to follow our adventures in Charleston and beyond.


I'm highly looking forward to the upcoming long, holiday weekend. There is nothing like a long weekend at the end of the summer. I foresee sailing, fishing, beaching, going out to eat, and spending lots of time with friends who are like family.







26 August 2013

Military Monday ~

Happy Monday y'all! Hope you had a great weekend. I now it's been ages since I last blogged, okay maybe just a couple weeks, but hopefully I can get back into regular blogging again soon.

The past month or so has been crazy busy at work with all of the orientations taking place at the College and classes started last Monday. Hopefully things will be quieting down again over the next few weeks and I can get back into the blogging swing of things.

I'm linking up again today with Ashley from Eights on the Move for Military Monday!
This weeks topic is.......


Do you live on base/post/fort or away from the military world?


What factors did you consider when deciding where you would live?

Was one more affordable than the other?

Did it help/hinder your family situation?

What things would be helpful for others to know before they potentially move to your area?

S and I have only lived in one city together, Charleston. We live and have always lived off-base. The Navy base here is called the Naval Weapons Station and it a part of Joint-Base Charleston (joint as in with the Air Force.)

Even though it's called "Joint-Base", the Air Force base and Navy base are not exactly in the same location. See below.


The Weapons Station has a Commissary and Navy Exchange, however, the Commissary and BX at the Air Force base are quite larger.

S and I obviously did not make the decision together to live off-base considering we are not married and wouldn't be able to live on-base together anyway. Another reason S did not live on base, is because his brother moved to Charleston with him and he also would not be allowed to live on base (his brother no longer lives in Charleston.)

 S and I have lived together in two different locations: James Island (black *) and Hanahan (red *). If we did have to make the decision together whether or not to live on base, I'm pretty positive we would have chosen to still live off-base. The Weapons Station in Charleston is not exactly in the best area. The base itself is fine, it's more the surrounding area. There are wayyy nicer and prettier areas to live in around Charleston and I wouldn't want to waste our time here living in Goose Creek.

We also prefer to live off-base because we have had the chance to leave right down the street from the beach and just minutes away from downtown Charleston, where we like to spend most of our free time. We are also closer to our non-military friends.

Some benefits to living on base would be easy access to the Commisary, NEX, and other special events on base. I have seen a few areas of base housing and some is super nice (E-6 and above/ officer housing) and some is definitely not nice. I do, however, like how the higher ranking housing is behind a gate with armed guards. I always feel super safe when I'm there to the point where I'll leave my keys and purse right in the car. I definitely love that.

I can't really speak to what the ratio of on-base to off-base living is, but I would imagine it's about 50/50. There is also limited base housing so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. There are a lot of military families that live in our neighborhood, however, there seems to be all over since there is a high concentration of military in the Charleston area (Mt. Pleasant, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, North Charleston, West Ashley, James Island, and downtown Charleston.)

Wherever we move to next, fingers still crossed for Hawaii, S and I have been talking about buying a house. I would still like to live close by the base so we have easy access to the commissary, the NEX (Navy Exchange), healthcare, and other support services.

What are your experiences with living on or off-base?



12 August 2013

Military Monday ~

Good morning! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We had a very busy/ productive weekend, but more on that tomorrow.

Today, I am linking up with Ashley from Eights on the Move for Military Monday.


This weeks topic:

PCS Adventures!

Did you explore the Grand Canyon on your way to Cali? Or vaca in the Big Apple before moving to Europe? Maybe a road trip with various tourist stops along the way?

Did you drive? Fly? Ride a train or bus?

How much time did you take to PCS? Was your spouse/significant other able to be there with you or did you PCS on your own? Maybe help from family? Were you hauling all of your belongings or did the military move them for you?


S and I have not yet had to move together. Since I met him at the beginning of his Shore Duty in Charleston, we have spent the entire duration of our relationship here. He is getting very close to finishing up his third year, however, and we are very close to finding out where we will be off to next!


S has learned that he may have a few different options. The first option is a boat that is currently still under construction in Newport News, VA. If he were to go there, he would get to go through some special training, which would be great for him. However, Virginia is not our first choice.

The next option (hopefully) is Hawaii. You may have already seen my previous post about Hawaii, but it is definitely our first choice. It would be absolutely amazing to live there and we are crossing our fingers that it happens!

Our third option and probably second choice, would be a boat which is currently in Groton, CT. There is a rumor that this boat will be transferring to Hawaii in the next year or so, so that would still get us to our preferred destination.

We have talked a LOT about moving recently and what it is going to entail. If we go straight to Hawaii, we are going to plan an awesome cross-country adventure.



If we go to Connecticut, then Hawaii, it would make things very complicated. We would both move to CT (my home state) and then when it's time to move to Hawaii, S will have to go with the boat and I'd have to move us from Connecticut to Hawaii by myself. Awesome! We could potentially only be in CT for 6-12 months, so it would be difficult to get settled knowing that another move is on the horizon.

So that's it for the most part, in a nutshell.

I have a feeling that the next couple months is going to be a very busy/ exciting time. Looking forward to keep you all updated. We should have official orders by October!


What are your experiences with PCS-ing??



07 August 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday ~

S and I have been doing our weekly food shopping at Trader Joe's for some time now. We live almost right next to a BI-LO, but I have to say that we get so much more for our money at TJ's! On top of the savings, you just cannot beat their all natural products. It's nice to be able to read the label and know exactly what you're eating.



This week, I thought I would share some our favorite go-to products.

Pizza Veggie Burgers
This is kind of a new found fave. I'm not going to lie, these things are the bomb.com. Topped with a little extra marinara? Oh my goodness sooo good.


Mandarin Orange Chicken
 
I love grabbing a bag of this delicious chicken to whip up for dinner if we are short on time. I love that you cook it in the oven, a slightly healthier choice, and it still comes out nice and crispy.


Roasted Coconut Chips




S discovered these a couple months ago and he absolutely LOVES them. They are slightly sweet, a little bit crunchy and super delicious.


Chipotle Pepper Hummus
 This is definitely one of my faves and I'm sure to pick some up almost every week. This is honestly the best hummus I've ever had.


Frozen fruit: Mango, Pineapple, Strawberries, and Blueberries

 Without fail, I always pick up at least 3 bags of frozen fruit per week. It's a great alternative to using more expensive fresh fruit and it works perfectly in my breakfast smoothies.


Three Cheese Pomodoro Pasta Sauce

Yum, yum, and yum. A few weeks back, I was looking at sauces and was about to buy the Creamy Tomato Basil sauce, until I looked at the calorie content. It had about 40 calories more per serving than the Three Cheese sauce so I opted out of that one. To my delight, the Three Cheese sauce was beyond my expectations! I didn't even feel the need to add more cheese on top because it was just that delicious.


Sparkling Lemonade

This is a great alternative to soda and a slightly less sweet and sugary than juice. It's very refreshing on a hot summer day (can also be used to make cocktails!) The Pink Lemonade flavor is really good, too!


Chicken Tikka Masala

 I loveeeeee Indian food and I love this dinner. It's a great go-to meal if I'm by myself for dinner. It's just enough with maybe a piece of Trader Joe's Naan bread along with it.


I could go on and on about all the products that I LOVE from Trader Joe's, but I'll stop there. We also get our meats, seafood, produce, and vino from TJ's, it's the best. If you haven't yet had a chance to venture over, I would highly recommend it. There is no other place like Trader Joe's.



Disclaimer: All options are my own. I was not asked to do this post, I just genuinely love Trader Joe's.
 






06 August 2013

Weekend Update ~

This past weekend was definitely nothing compared to Coon Fest last weekend, that's for sure!

Friday: S and I hit the gym after I got home from work. I'm glad we did because it made me feel that much better about the chips and salsa and margarita that were consumed shortly after. For our date night, we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant :)


Saturday: S had duty, but was able to join me and our friends, Krista, Marc, and their son, Kai, for lunch at Sesame. After lunch, Krista and I headed to the pool for the rest of the afternoon. After dinner, since it was tax-free weekend, I couldn't help but head to the outlets to browse a bit. I scored some super cute, extra comfy faded red chinos from Loft.

Sunday: Once S got home from duty, he made an awesome breakfast then we headed out to the beach. We met up with another couple that we're friends with and it was a perfect beach day. After a few hours of fishing and walking the beach, we headed to Poe's for a late lunch.





Sunday concluded with a little food shopping at Trader Joe's and some food prep to get ready for the week.

PS - I also discovered Larabars and they.are.amazing. Why did it take me so long??!


Hope you all had a great weekend!





05 August 2013

Turning Over a New Leaf: Tone It Up!

Happy Monday chicas!

Throughout the week last week and over the weekend, I've done a lot of thinking about where I am in regards to my fitness goals.

I feel pretty good as far as my working out goes; I've completed Phase 1 of Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer and have moved on to Phase 2.

Although I've been working my butt off in the gym, I haven't really been following any kind of diet plan.

S and I try to eat clean most of the time, especially during the week. It's the weekends that cause me to fall off the wagon.

Since starting the LiveFit program, I've been super motivated to workout and seeing the amount of calories burned on my good ole FT4 keeps me wanting to keep up the hard work. 



I am a "planner" therefore apparently I do better when following some kind of "plan". I just could not get into Jamie Eason's "five egg whites every morning" meal plan so I decided I needed another kind of "plan".

I can't remember exactly when or where I originally came across the Tone It Up program, but although it's been on my radar for some time, I've just now taken the first step in starting it.




At the end of last week, I finally caved and purchased the nutrition plan. I'm super excited to have all this new knowledge (some not-so-new) and starting today, I am going full on into body combat mode.

I NEED to get back into meal planning, which I did over the weekend for this week, and I NEED to stay on the wagon this time.

I talked a little bit about my fitness journey a little while back and I know that where I am now, although feeling in pretty good shape, is still not where I should be weight-wise. In fact I am worse off now than I was when I wrote that post back on June 7.

I'm ready to make a push for a real change and I hope to use my blog, as always, for support and motivation. 

I have met so many great ladies through blogging and I know that many of you have similar fitness goals. 

I can't wait to get this show on the road and I hope that you'll stick around for the ride.




My meal plan for this week:

M1 - Smoothie w/ protein powder and ground flaxseed
M2 - Larabar/ Luna bar w/ fruit or an apple with soy nut butter
M3 - Spicy Chicken wrap w black bean spread, guac, spinach, mango OR Peach Pecan Quinoa Salad OR Power-Packed Quinoa bowl
M4 - Homemade trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and a few chocolate chips ;)

Meal 5:
Monday - Spaghetti Squash w/ Ground Turkey and Organic Marinara
Tuesday - Chicken Stirfry + Salad
Wednesday - Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
Thursday - Mahi w/ Mango Salsa + Salad + Mixed Veggies
Friday - Flatbread Pizzas + Salad


Anyone in on the Tone It Up plan as well? 


Follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

02 August 2013

Escape Monthly Giveaway Winner ~

TGIF!!

My Escape Monthly giveaway ended today and I'm happy to announce that the winner is Ashleigh from Finding My Sea Legs, congrats girl!

Finding My Sea Legs


I don't have a whole lot to share today, but I did come across this YouTube video.. I thought it was pretty funny and since we're all ladies around here (or so I think), it's appropriate. Hope you all have a great weekend!


01 August 2013

Charleston Foodie Bucket List - Coast

Woo hoo! It's Thursday, which means that tomorrow is Friday and I like the sound of that. S has duty this weekend, but I'm looking forward to spending some girl time with my friend, Krista, and her son, Kai. Kai is seriously one of the cutest kids I know and Krista, who is preggo with #2, just found out she's having a girl! I am sooo excited for her.


Now to the main focus of this post, my Charleston Foodie Bucket List.

I know I need to get going on this thing if I'm going to visit half the restaurants before April! 

Today, I am featuring Coast. I would have to say that this is definitely S's favorite Charleston restaurant and although it's not my #1, it is definitely in my top 3.

 {source}

Tucked away behind 39 Rue de Jean on John St. in downtown Charleston lies a quaint little alley way where you will find the entrance to Coast.

Upon entering the restaurant, you will find an airy outdoor patio where you can choose to dine or you can continue on into the bar area, where they have (in my opinion) the BEST mojitos in town; the Hawaiian Peach is my fave.


Coast also has a pretty extensive wine list as well, if you are looking some great reds and wines

Depending on what type of group you're with, you can choose to eat at one of the open-dining tables in the bar or move on into the dining room for a more intimate atmosphere.


Main Dining Room
 {source}

S and I have dined here on numerous occasions and it's one of our go-to places when we have family and friends in town who are looking to have some great seafood. 

I usually start out with a Mixed Green Salad to go along with the phenomenal Orange and Rosemary bread that they bring out upon your arrival. In addition, we have tried other appetizers such as the Oysters Rockefellar, Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops and S can't go without ordering some local oysters from the raw bar when they are in season.


Other entrees that either we've tried or family has tried include the Seared Rare Tuna, Shrimp & Stoneground Grits, and several choices from their Smokey Oakwood Grill. 

For the Grill, the options change on a daily basis depending on what is available. S is a huge fan of the Escolar and the Mahi is one of my go-to faves. You will also get a nice serving of seasonal veggies as well as their Parmesan or Blue Cheese mashed potatoes.


For the grilled options, you can also choose which type of sauce you would like with your grilled fish; some of which include remoulade, buerre blanc, tropical salsa, roasted pepper relish, etc.

I highly recommend Coast if you are looking for a great date night spot, a special occasion meal, or if you have peeps in town that want to have some of the freshest seafood around!






 
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