Monday, April 30, 2012

Scenes From Caitlin's Baby Shower

Yesterday I attended Caitlin's baby shower at FABO.  Here's some scenes from the fun event.

It was fun to be part of Caitlin's celebratory day and see so many of my friends.  The Charlotte bloggers haven't been getting together as regularly as we once did, so I definitely caught up with a lot of them.  A good time was had by all :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Thanks for all your great comments on my Don't Ignore post.  I hate to see that a lot of you can relate to my struggle, but it's great to not feel alone.  I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.

Anyway, on a lighter note, I wanted to share an awesome dining experience I had on one of my last nights in Charleston last week.  My brother and some of his friends found out about an amazing restaurant called Husk, and made us a reservation about a month before our trip.  This place was declared the best new restaurant in the country in 2011 by Bon Appetit, so you know it had some standards to live up to.

We started our evening at the Husk bar, which is located in a small building next to the main restaurant.

The interior included a bar lined with pig's feet in jars, definitely suggestive of the southern setting we were in, but also had sort of a cellar vibe.

I ordered a glass of pinot grigio to start off the evening.  I believe it was the 2010, Italy-Alto Adige, Riff
Pinot Grigio.  Perfect for a Southern evening.

Our bartender checked us in at the restaurant and we proceeded over.  We were sat upstairs and it was a perfect night for it as the doors to outside were open with the air flowing freely in and out.

The concept of Husk is extremely appealing- ingredient driven cuisine.  Meaning, the chef, Sean Brock, chooses the menu each day based around what is fresh and available locally, utilizing local farms, fish, and ingredients.  I like it.  

We all decided to order appetizers to start.  My pick was the fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and country ham.  The tomatoes were lightly fried in crunchy cornmeal and the pimento cheese was excellent with the salty ham.  Everything went perfectly together.

I traded bites with my table mates and also sampled my sister-in-law's strawberry soup with blue crap.  How pretty is this??

I also got to try Greg's fried cornbread panzenella with vegetables and cheese.  We actually had to Google panzenella to figure out what it was, but it was a great choice on his part- insanely delicious nuggets of buttery goodness with fresh seasonal veggies.

I also tried a bite of my brother's pork ribs, which were excellent.

As a fish eater, I'm somewhat unadventurous.  I like shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, some salmon, talapia, tuna...  I kind of shied away from a lot of pieces of fish as a kid, because well, it smelled and tasted "fishy" to me, and it made it unappealing.  As I've grown up, I've branched out more though, and you can say that last week was my introduction to flounder.  At all the sea markets in Charleston, this was one of the freshest available picks of fish, so my mom ended up buying it twice to make for us at the beach house (baked with a breadcrumb crust), and then when our dinner at Husk rolled around, and I saw it on the menu, I was interested to taste a new preparation of my new fish find.

It was swimming in a delicious buttery sauce with ramps, turnip, and asparagus.  The fish was cooked perfectly and I enjoyed every bite.

Greg ordered the other choice I was thinking about, the Wagyu sirloin.  I had a bite and his was excellent too.

We also got an order of bacon cornbread and cheese grits for the table.  Both were excellent, but I surprisingly liked the cheesy grits best!  Grits are growing on this Yankee ;)

I didn't think I could eat another bite once we finished our entrees, but we agreed to get two desserts for the table to share- strawberry shortcake and buttermilk pie with black berries.  In my mind, you always make strawberry shortcake with BISCUIT if you are doing it right, and they definitely made it the right way at Husk.  

Also, of note, the restaurant had it's own Sommelier, who helped us choose some great wines for the table.  I thought the dining experience at this restaurant lived up to the hype.  The service was impeccable and the food was creative and delicious Southern cuisine.  We all had a wonderful experience.  I will say that I think we have a lot of great Charlotte restaurants that give Husk a run for it's money though.  Bon Appitit needs to come check out the Charlotte restaurant scene!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't Ignore...

A couple weeks ago, I told you that I had made the decision to go see a Reproductive Endocrinologist.  My appointment is this week, which I now realize is during National Infertility Awareness Week- nice coincidence.  Resolve is challenging bloggers to blog about infertility using the title: Don't Ignore...  This is my contribution.

Don't Ignore the definition of infertility.  Until my second miscarriage, I just thought I was really unlucky, that I was just one in four women that experience the very common but unfortunate event of miscarriage.  After my second miscarriage and over a year of trying without a successful pregnancy, it was time to face what I was ignoring- that I am actually considered infertile since I haven't been able to carry a pregnancy to term and having been trying for so long.  This is a label I have been hesitant to give myself.  I've always felt like the club was exclusive to women trying to get pregnant and not succeeding, and I was just this weird case that didn't really fit in the fertile or infertile world.  After all, I can get pregnant, so am I really infertile?  Yes, I really am.  I've learned that there are a lot of women like me.  There are forums for women who have experienced multiple, recurrent miscarriage, and unfortunately a lot of people are going through the same thing I am.

Don't Ignore educating yourself about your cycle and the reproductive process.  I've learned a lot about fertility, and lack thereof, since my journey to try to conceive started.  For those of you who want to start a family, I encourage you to think about it sooner than later, because you never know what obstacles you might face once you do want a baby.  I think it's important to at least understand your cycle and notice what is regular and what is not, but also to understand when you are ovulating and the rest of the reproductive process.  I've been surprised at how many of us didn't pay much attention to our cycles until we wanted babies.  In my case it wouldn't have made a difference, because I have a very regular cycle that really didn't indicate any issues in that way, but even still, learning more about fertility ahead of time wouldn't have been a bad thing.

Don't Ignore the strain infertility puts on your marriage/relationship.  My husband and I have already been through a lot, not including infertility.  His furlough, moving, changing jobs, etc... all have put a lot of stress on our marriage, and now we're dealing with the frustration of trying to conceive and multiple miscarriage on top of it all.  Sometimes we're just coasting along and then we'll have an argument that turns into a full on blow out about it.  It kind of takes me by surprise, but it shouldn't. This is a huge deal and it shouldn't be a surprise that it's affecting my marriage.  I'm looking into counseling, because I think it's time we talked to someone and made sure we're dealing with it the way we should be to ensure our marriage survives it.

Don't Ignore that infertility will affect your friendships.  Infertility has affected almost every friendship I have in some way.  It's sometimes hard for me to be around my friends who conceived easily and had successful pregnancies.  It's sometimes hard for me to be around my friends who are currently pregnant and talk non-stop about all the things going on with their pregnancies.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't avoiding my pregnant friends sometimes.  On the flip side, I feel closer to my friends that are also going through infertility.  I talk to one of them almost daily and sometimes I think she's the only one that really understands what this feels like.  Even my friends who have gone through infertility but were able to turn into success stories are sometimes hard to be around.  I'm jealous and I feel left behind.  At this stage of life, when most of my friends are having kids, talking about having kids, or pregnant, it's really hard to be struggling with infertility.

Don't Ignore that people want to help and mean well.  I think it's pretty universal that infertile people feel annoyed and hurt by things a lot of people say to us.  My personal pet peeve is "At least you know you can get pregnant".  For the record, this is the wrong thing to say to someone who can't successfully carry a pregnancy.  While it may seem that my problems are not "as bad" as someone trying to conceive that can't, the fact that I can get pregnant but haven't been able to carry a pregnancy to term makes it especially frustrating to hear things like that.  I'm constantly reminded of the babies I was supposed to have.  The knowledge that I can get pregnant doesn't ease the pain that I lost these pregnancies.  Also telling me about other people you know with fertility issues that did such and such to get pregnant, people that got pregnant after 40, people that had successful pregnancies after drinking heavily...  none of this really helps me.  Every case is different.  That said, I am trying my best to not be hyper sensitive.  I know people don't know what to say to me.  I get that.  I know they mean well.  Here is a link to infertility etiquette.

Unfortunately, my struggles with infertility have changed me.  I know I'm very strong for handling all of this, but at the same time, I think I'm more jaded, bitter, and angry at the universe for doing this to me.  It's not fair and I'm sick of struggling with something that is supposed to be such a happy and exciting event.  I really hope that in the end, this works out for us and everyone else who is struggling with infertility.  We deserve our happy endings too.

Here are some links if you'd like to learn more about infertility:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Day In Charleston

Thursday it was kind of rainy in the Folly Beach/Charleston area.  We decided it might be a good day to skip the beach and head into Charleston to have lunch, walk around, and shop a little.  We originally chose Cru Cafe as our lunch spot, but it had an hour and a half wait when we got there, so we regrouped and decided on Hominy Grill instead.

They started the table off with some boiled peanuts.  I've had them before and thought they were gross, but decided to give them a second chance.  Not bad, kind of moist, but still with the normal peanut taste.  I had a few.

For lunch I ordered a fried green tomato BLT with fries on the side.  Kinda carb heavy, but the waitress explained that swapping fries for a salad was complicated and none of the other sides sounded appealing to me.

The fried green tomato sandwich was delicious!  This was one of a few times I had fried green tomatoes this week and it was excellent.

After lunch we walked around on King Street for a while.

We found this neat little church garden off King Street and walked around in there.

After our detour through the church gardens and graveyard, we headed to the market area of Charleston.

Ashley found this hat, which she got for the beach.

There was lots of jewelry, clothing, baskets, and artwork.

Our next stop was a candy store we'd found the night Greg and I went to dinner at the rooftop bar.

Avery seemed amused by all the colors, textures, and smells.

We picked up some pralines, the classic southern treat.

Once outside the candy store, we looked at the sky and decided it was probably going to rain so we decided to go back to our beach house.  We had a great day in Charleston!  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Folly Beach and A Night Out in Charleston

I'm still having a ragin' time at the beach with my fam.  The days are running together now, but Tuesday we headed to the beach for a while, which has pretty much been a daily occurance except for yesterday when it rained.

We decided to all head to the little town of Folly Beach again for lunch, and this time went to Taco Boy.  It's an eclectic little joint.

We ordered fresh guacamole, chips, and salsa to start with.

I ordered a grilled fish taco and a carnitas (pork) taco.

Everything was delicious.  I loved this place :)

Later, we took happy hour out to the beach.  Greg had purchased a new beach umbrella and was excited to give it a try, so we all stood around under it like dorks :)

We had margaritas made with 1/3 tequila, 1/3 Grand Marnier, 1/3 pineapple juice to mix things up (and because we were out of limes).

Greg and I decided to split off from the fam on Tuesday night and head into Charleston for a date night on the town.  He has had a lot of overnights in Charleston over the years and wanted to take me to the rooftop bar at the Vendue Inn.

We each ordered a martini.  I had a Carolina Peach and Greg had a Charleston Sweetini.  Both were fruity and good.

We ordered two kind of light apps- the tomato bruscetta and a caprese style salad.  The lighting got bad and I couldn't get a decent picture of either.

After dinner we wandered around the area, checking out a nearby fountain and pier. 

We asked a local person for a recommendation on where to get some good dessert and she told us to try Kaminsky's on Market Street.  This place was the jackpot.  A case full of decadent looking desserts, coffees, drinks, and a fun funky vibe.  I got a decaf and Greg tried a steamer (like a hot chocolate).  We split the bourbon pecan pie and the cappucino torte.

Even with the light dinner, this was waaaaaaaaaaay too much dessert, so we ended up taking about half of it home.  It was a fun night out.  We definitely need to come back to Charleston for a romantic weekend sometime.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Wow, the week is flying by.  I haven't had much time to blog because I've been running around with my family all week.  Fact: I haven't had an entire week off from work since 2007 when Greg and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon.  Yikes!  I'm the queen of taking days here and there for extended long weekends.  I hoard my leave at work because it's cumulative, but after the year I've had I knew it was time for some real time off.  My parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece, Greg, Clyde, and I are all at a house steps from the beach.  It's nice to be "unplugged", although I did field a couple calls from the office yesterday!

So anyway, Sunday I arrived in time for a walk on the beach with the gang.

This is my niece Avery's first time at the beach.  She has a million cute sunhats!

The beach walk was followed by a dinner of fresh sauteed shrimp with lemon pepper pappardelle pasta, with asparagus and salad.

We also had birthday cake, because Ashley's birthday is in February, Greg's is in March, mine is in April, and Mark's is in May.  My mom thought cake was in order.

This cake is a favorite in my family (we've been having it since I was little)- chocolate cake with chocolate pudding in between the two layers, frosted with cool whip, with crushed Heath bar on top.  This one also had almond slivers on it.  Yummm!

My mom, dad, and brother played golf at Kiawah on Monday, so Greg, Ashley, Avery, Clyde and I spent the day together.  We headed into downtown Folly Beach to get lunch at the Lost Dog Cafe.

It took us a while to all get assembled and over to the restaurant so we didn't eat lunch til about 2pm.  I was so famished, I forgot to get a picture of my lunch, but I had a grilled mahi mahi salad with mango salsa, it was excellent.

We walked around the downtown area to check things out after we ate.

Folly has a laid back, beachy vibe.  There's a bunch of touristy stores, and lots of cute little restaurants.  We headed back to the house to unwind and wait for the golfers to return.

My niece has definitely been keeping us all entertained.  Her cuteness is out of control.

The golfers returned and we had a great dinner of fresh caught baked flounder, roasted potatoes, and salad, before passing out for the night.

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