Friday, July 18, 2014

Babies and Bourbon and Zombies

How's that for a title?

We have had a sick baby on our hands this week, and let me tell you, it is no cake walk. I am in awe of parents who care for seriously ill children on a regular basis, because sick babies are pitiful and exhausting.  Birdie had the coxsackie virus.  If you've never heard of it, consider yourself lucky. If your kid has had it, you feel my pain.

She's finally feeling better, and James and I are excited to escape the house for a date night tomorrow night. We're heading to Bourbon for an early dinner and then to see Evil Dead, The Musical at Trustus Theatre.  If we have time, we may sneak by Craft & Draft for a pre-dinner nip.  Have you heard of this new craft beer store & growler shop on Devine Street?  We're excited to try it out. 

It's crazy how valued a date night is once you have try to cram so much into the night, when really you should be home getting a good, uninterrupted night's sleep...
Nope, I'm too excited for a baby-free night out!

What are you up to in our fair city this weekend?

Check out this review of Evil Dead, the Musical in the Free Times.

Also, have you partaken in Bourbon's weekday 2:30-5:30 PM "Bite the Bulleit" special yet? It's a bump of Bulleit bourbon, a draft beer, and a burger for only $10!?  The burger alone is worth more in my book--you must try it!  Ordering the house made pimento cheese on top is essential. You will thank me, I promise.

I'll be posting about our date night on my Fig Columbia site blog soon, so check there for the details!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BisQit at the Beach

My family vacations at Litchfield Beach in SC every summer. Have since I was in elementary school.  It's a beautiful, easy, old-school-feelin' beach town and I love it.

On our most recent jaunt to the shore, we discovered a new restaurant that we all now love: BisQit. (In a span of 12 days, we ate there 3 times.)

BisQit is located in the Pawley's Island Hammock Shops, and it has a great menu of burgers and beer and milkshakes.  You can elect to have your burger made with a beef patty, a falafel patty, or chicken breast.

American Beauty Burger (with a falafel patty!), includes American cheese, bacon jam, pickles, shredded lettuce, and kinda secret sauce. I got mine with a Gatherer salad. Delicious!
my sister enjoyed the burrito
 The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, (on a screened-in porch), and it is super-kid-friendly- as evidenced by these happy customers:

And the perfect ending to any meal at BisQit is a milkshake.  I prefer spiked, but you can get a virgin one too ;)
Granny's Secret: Four Roses Bourbon, vanilla ice cream & caramel. Indeed.
Read a more detailed review of BiQit here.

Have you eaten at BisQit; what do you think? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Repeat for Days

I cannot stop listening to this tune. I am enamored of John Fullbright's voice and piano skills.
First heard of him two nights ago while listening to this Fresh Air NPR interview.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday's Thinking of Food

So, I haven't posted anything from this bygone series in quite a while...

I am excited to hear about this film by (and starring) Jon Favreau.  He's been a favorite of mine since Swingers 
Sidenote: I also fell in love with Vince Vaughn while watching Swingers.  I still love him.

Chef looks to be funny and chock-full of amazing-looking food, and movie stars.  According to this SceneSC blog post, the soundtrack's pretty awesome as well.

Here's to hoping it plays somewhere nearby for us Columbians.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Soapbox Moment: What is the Opportunity Gap?
Basically, low-income students of color in America lack the same access to opportunity as compared to their white peers.  Combined with the educational disparities these demographics also face, known as the achievement gap, this is a deleterious abhorrence.  It is in everyone's best interest to seek ways to enhance equal opportunity and achievement for all.

I am a sucker for a cool infographic and I also like Good magazine.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stitch Fix #2

I have been waiting patiently for a piece of jewelry to be included in my Stitch Fix box, and last month it showed up.  And I am in love with it.  It is by far my favorite item from this fix.

This month's fix also included this lovely white blouse that I couldn't wait to wear:

It's super-comfortable and I'll wear it with jeans or a casual skirt on the weekends, and it's nice enough to wear to work too.  The lace detail is not usually something I would pick out for myself, but I really like it.

I am also in love with this black and white striped cotton skirt.   I requested a summery-skirt, and my stylist delivered!

I also received this skirt, which was made of a great material, and I liked the pattern, but it was not very flattering on my hips:

I also received this dress, which I liked OK, but not great,so back it went:

Once again, I was really pleased with my fix.  I received 3 pieces that I will wear in various settings all throughout spring and summer.  Well done, Stitch Fix!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Miso?

While lying in bed last a couple nights ago I read the words "Why miso?" in my Real Simple magazine. I don't know that I've ever tried miso--not intentionally anyway--but the article describes it as having an "umami-rich flavor."

So, now I'm intrigued because I've recently learned that many of my favorite flavors are umami.  (I mean, I already knew these were my favorite foods, but I just recently learned they fall under this particular flavor category...) Like Parmesan cheese, aged & blue-veined cheeses, almonds and other tree nuts, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.  All favorites of mine. 
I could eat Parmesan and balsamic vinegar on anything. Or by themselves. Two of my very favorite flavors.
So, what is umami, you ask?  In Japanese umami means savory and delicious taste; we've translated it to almost be one of the basic taste sensations like salty, bitter, sweet, or sour.  Who knew, right?! Check out more umami information and foods here.

So, now I need to know how to cook with miso... One of my favorite food writers, Mark Bittman of the NY Times gives me a starting point; what else have you got?  Do you love umami-flavored foods as much as I do?!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hints for the Easter Bunny

Hints for the Easter Bunny, or alternately titled: candy substitutes and things I wouldn't mind my children finding on Easter morning:

adorable Maileg "Little Sister" mouse with tutu and "sleeping box" from My Sweet Muffin

wind-up bunny rabbit from KD's Treehouse in Columbia, SC

rad recycling craft stickers from Box Play- these are binoculars! available at KD's Treehouse
pirate shrinky-dinks from My Sweet Muffin (they also have fairy tales Shrinkables)

Poppy Drops temporary tattoo earrings, available at KD's Treehouse; see all my favorite toddler-tattoos here
a Box Play camera sticker (fits on a macaroni & cheese box) from KD's Treehouse
this sweet little book, Jojo's First Word Book via Cool Mom Picks

Hape people, transport, and book set- my 1 year old is obsessed with hers! at KD's Treehouse
a harmonica- simple, classic, cheap; our 3 year old's favorite toy (idea borrowed from You Are My Fave blog)

Obviously, I'm a little biased, but KD's Treehouse is by far my favorite place to grab creative and unique gifts, toys, and clothing locally, (and it's all eco-friendly to boot!)

What are you wishing the Easter bunny to bring your kiddos?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Columbia Open Studios- You Should Go

preview party art

James and I went to last  night's Columbia Open Studios Preview Party.  I fell in love with a couple things that I cannot afford. 

We have Birdie's 1st birthday party and a play to attend this weekend, so not sure how much time we'll have to actually see some of the open studios, but here's my priority list if we can work it in:

Studio Carlisle: this one gives you a ton of bang for your buck.  Five artists' works are housed here; I actually own a painting by Page Morris, see below.  She, plus Julia Moore and Kevin Smith are generous donors to the St. Lawrence Place Angels Tea silent auction, so patronize them if you can!  All of their work is gorgeous.

Page Morris collage/painting

One Eared Cow Glass: I have not been here in ages, and I think Jones would love seeing the craftsman at work.  They have some really affordable art pieces for sale every day; unique gift ideas!  Maybe I'll look for a Mother's Day gift...

Nora Floyd & Ruth Bayard of A Checkered Past: My mother has been a long-time fan of the jewelry these ladies create, often from re-purposed vintage items. 

mom's necklaces from A Checkered Past

Viridian Gallery & Studio: Another spot where you can see four or more featured artists' works, including long-time St. Lawrence Place supporter, Nini Ward.  She is an extremely generous woman and talented artist.

Which ever artists' studio into which you may venture, you're sure to glimpse some of the amazing talent that Columbia has to offer.  Print off a guide with maps here, or grab this week's Free Times.  Go, enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Indiscriminate Thoughts for the Day

Some random things to share:

+ I read this via @NYTimes Twitter yesterday: "An unpublished Tennessee Williams story about campus lust will soon be published "  Yes, please!  I have been kind of obsessed with Tennessee Williams, namely A Glass Menagerie , since seeing friends perform it at my middle school. This is exciting news.

+ Saw this in my Facebook feed this morning:

"This is Aaron- father to the magical Elvie, husband to @Jessica Bornick and fiercely loyal and fun loving friend to all. Aaron will soon begin treatment for a recently diagnosed brain tumor. In order to raise funds and help offset medical bills we are adding a new special to our menu. Please join us every Wednesday for Aaron's Lunchbox: Mean Bean Burrito (yum!), chips, salsa, a donut (of course!) and special treats. Each week the items will change and we will be bringing on friends to help us curate this box of fun! All proceeds will go directly to the family, so come show your support and eat your heart out for one of Columbia's biggest sweethearts."

Aaron used to teach at my child's daycare, and his wife Jessica is behind the awesome children's line Owlette, which I have blogged about before.  Please support this family if you're in Columbia, and order Aaron's Lunchbox at El Burrito on Wednesdays.

+ I'm a huge proponent of raising the minimum wage in our country, as I see the human side of the issue daily.  I work with adults who are working--many times full-time--yet can't make ends meet to support their families because they make a miserably-insufficient minimum wage.  I fully admit that I am not an economist, and therefore don't understand that side of the debate, but I've been trying to educate myself a bit from that perspective.  This article/research makes some great points, taking into account the economics of it all: How to Reduce Poverty and Save Taxpayers $4.6 Billion a Year.  This makes quite a statement too: 600 Economists Sign Letter in Support of $10.10 Minimum Wage.

+ My Birdie will be 1 in a week, and her flower-themed party is scheduled for next weekend.  I have been "pinning" inspiration on my Birthday Party Ideas Pinterest board.  I am enamored with this cake, and plan to undertake something similar:
via here
I've also asked a local friend of mine to create a succulents centerpiece for the event; I can't wait to see what Succulent Columbia creates!

Planning my children's birthdays is kind of a hobby of mine, so I'll share how Birdie's 1st turns out.  I shared Jones' 3rd birthday party--marching band themed--on my Fig Columbia blog.

+ And last, but certainly not least, today is Bee Day 2014 in SC! Advocates for comprehensive sex ed reform in SC public schools are talking to legislators at the state house today.  If you want to be counted among the thousands of South Carolinians who believe the best way to address many of our state's problems is through age-appropriate, medically accurate health education and access to comprehensive reproductive health services, then add your name to the Reproductive Bill of Rights on the Tell Them site. 

Happy Wednesday.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Soapbox Moment: Early Childhood Education for All Matters

Anyone who knows me, knows I am passionate about the issues of poverty and family homelessness in America, and at the core of those problems, in my opinion, is education

Our country does a poor job of helping every child access high-quality preschools and early education programs, and this is the most critical time for a child's development.

It really is pretty logical why this should matter to EVERYONE, but in case you need some numbers:

benefits of early childhood education

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Temporary Tattoos for the Toddler Set

I am a fan of tattoos.  I have two, and I have never regretted them. A star on the in-step of my right foot, and a bird on my back. My husband has a few, and I am a sucker for a man with a sleeve.

I get why many do not like them, and I also get that they're not that "edgy" anymore either--I mean, according to recent polls, 14% of all Americans have one. And 17% of those have some regret over their tattoo.

My 3 year old is getting to the age where he likes to talk about and look at mine and my husband's tattoos, and like many kids his age, he likes to sport temporary tattoos.  So, this is a round-up of some really cool, artsy temporary tattoos that I've found recently--some of which you can buy locally:

Wee Gallery Origami Tattoos ($5 for a dozen!)

Tattly Popsicles tattoos ($5 for 2 sets)
Tattyoo Fruit & Veg tattoos (6.00 EUR for 2 sets)
Poppy Drops Panda temporary tattoo earring
Poppy Drops Glow-in-the-Dark Animal Friends tattoo earrings ($6.95 for 1 sheet)

These Poppy Drops temporary tattoo earrings (that are made with veggie-dyes, by the way), can be found locally at KD's Treehouse! They have a variety of styles, as well as some cool Poppy Drops tattoo nail art.  (They'd make a perfect Easter basket addition, no?)

And for those craving simplicity:
pepperink tiny heart tattoo ($5 for 5)
I want them all for myself...and my toddlers.  What do you think, are you a tattoo fan?  Do you know some kids who would love these temporary ones?

Also, Obama's method for stopping his daughters from getting tattoos.  Love it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Vacations: Anticipation & How I Enjoy Them More Now That I Have Kids

My husband and I just got back from five glorious days at an all-inclusive resort in Dominican Republic.  We planned this trip back in July of last year, to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary.  We are not typically a very plan-ful pair, but we decided to plan this trip far in advance for two reasons. 
First, the deals on rooms and flights are typically better the further out you make reservations.  So, we saved some money, I think. But the second reason was a bit more cerebral, and it had to do with this NYT article I read a few years ago.  Basically, the article highlights a study done on the effects of vacations on overall happiness.  "The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation...the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks."
2 people who much-anticipated the vacation, but maybe not the severity of the DR sun...

The lead author of the study, Dr. Jeroen Nawijn, says  “The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip,” so anticipate the heck out of it!

An article I read last week by Mark Bittman, (of whom I am a big fan), highlighted another awesome aspect of our trip that got me thinking about how I appreciate vacations differently now that I'm a mom.  Bittman was speaking specifically about his love for cruises, (as unhip as they may be), but his words ring true for any vacation: "it’s a life that is free of most of life’s normal chores: cooking, cleaning, commuting (can you imagine not driving or taking the subway, for a week or two on end?), working (unless you work independently), even talking on the phone — because at $3 or more per minute you’re not going to be taking any calls from your mother. In my life, this feels like an extra five hours a day.These are hours spent staring at passing islands or shorelines, wildlife, the sky and sea." 

parting beers in the Punta Cana airport

While in DR, our biggest decisions each day were when to eat, where to eat, what to drink, and when to sleep.  The banality of that is so much more exciting when you're a parent. Don't get me wrong, I missed the hell out of my babies and couldn't wait to get my hands on them after five days away.  But for that five days, I did not miss wiping bottoms, making meals, cleaning messes, and waking at ungodly hours.  I really didn't.  I finished three books, took four naps, slept as late as I wanted everyday- (my 20-year-old self would hardly recognize the me who thinks 8 AM is a beautiful hour to wake),- and did not prepare a meal the whole time I was gone. It was perfect.

I am thankful and lucky to have had the means and support from our parents to take such a trip and know that our babies were well-taken care of.  Now, to plan the next far-off trip...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Some Beach-Read Reviews

Fresh off a plane from the Dominican Republic, I give you a couple book reviews:

via here
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. was highly entertaining.  It took me a couple chapters to get past the sullen, misogynistic superciliousness of the main character, but once I endeared to him just a bit, I was hooked.  Probably because I've known men like him.  And women like the women he describes. (Hell, I've been like those women at times in my life).  I will definitely be reading more of Adelle Waldman in the future.

via here
This one was passed on to me by my cousin who had to read it in a class on Middle Eastern history, I think.   Girls of Riyadh is an interesting look into the lives of modern young women in Saudi Arabia; still trapped by the stifling patriarchy and arranged-marriage-society in which they find themselves, but largely yearning for a more western-modern love life.  A bit chic-lit-ish, but with just enough social commentary to make you feel like you learned something. A good beach read.

What should I read next? My friend Katherine Yon of Eat, Shop, Love has some pretty great book reviews on her blog, if you're searching for a new one.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Birdie

This little Bird is just about the juiciest baby I've ever seen.  Am I right?

Bird and my momma. I mean, rolls for days.

And, she's pretty much the happiest baby I've ever known...

the head scarf is probably too much, but I couldn't help myself. long as she's being held.  Namely by me.  She's newly in that "oh-my-god-mommy-hold-me-or-I-might-die-or-at-least-drive-everyone-around-me-completely-insane" phase.  So, this is how we travel most places these days:

Bird, channeling Axl Rose at last weekend's Mardi Gras festival at City Roots
And that's just fine by me. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stitch Fix

Have you heard of it?  Stitch Fix has quickly become my hook-up for fashion, and it is the most convenient and fun service of its kind that I've ever encountered.

I have never been a huge fan of in-store clothes shopping.  And since I have been pregnant and having babies for the last 4 years of my life, I have basically acquired the majority of my wardrobe at Target.  Not knocking Target, but there comes a time when the wardrobe choices should expand, right?  So, I asked my family to give me gift cards to Stitch Fix for Christmas, and I let the stylists do their work.

Here's how it works:
Create a style profile.
Receive 5 hand-picked items. (In the mail, from your personal stylist!)
Keep what you like, send back what you don't.
The styling fee is $20 per "fix," but is applied towards any purchase of items in the fix.

Seriously, y'all, it is extremely fun to open a box of items that have been specifically picked for you based on your style and in your price range; they can even look at your Pinterest pages for inspiration, if you want!  The items I have kept from the 3 fixes I have received so far have already become wardrobe staples, and some of the items are things I might never have picked for myself, but now I love!

Here's what was in the fix I received last week:
Simple, classic green cardigan. Kept.

Amazing-color-green chiffon pleated skirt, alas it did not fit. Returned.
My favorite piece from this fix- flowy sleeveless blouse w/ exposed front zipper. Kept.

Shoulder/back detail from above shirt--so beautiful!
Tribal print tank; not something I loved. Returned.
Black print tank-gorgeous open back detail!  Kept.
Also included in each fix is a card from your stylist, with photos of sample stylings for the different pieces. When you return pieces, they encourage you to tell them why you're returning, so each fix gets more and more on-point with what you like and what fits, etc.  It's pretty great.

So, what are you waiting for?  Try it.  You'll like it. (That was a Yo Gabba Gabba reference for all you parents out there).
And if you try it, please use my referral code, below; I will receive a $25 Stitch Fix credit.
Then, once you've scheduled your first fix, you can earn credit from referring friends as well!

My referral code: 

If you've already tried, do you love it?!