Archive for January, 2014

January 31, 2014

Scenes From a Charleston Snow Day

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January 30, 2014

Charleston Snow Day

When I was little, I used to yearn for those occasional snow days. I remember waking up at sunrise to peer through my blinds in anticipation of a winter wonderland reality. If the streets were plowed, it was never a good sign. If the streets were coated in a blanket of white, however, I’d know right then and there that I could turn that alarm off. I’d always wake up before my alarm, though, and would lie in bed and wait for my mom to come in and tell me the good news.

Snow days are few and far between up North. Down South, however, people react to 6 centimeters of snow as if it were 6 feet. Bridges close, grocery stores close, schools shut down for days… all in anticipation of a thin dusting of snow. I could get used to this snow-drama, but I’m ready for some real snow this weekend and I’m hoping that Stowe has more than just a thin dusting.

I made the most of my snow day by running some much-needed errands, baking cupcakes eating cake batter, watching some of my favorite shows on DVD, and treating myself to some beautiful white hydrangeas. Running errands on a “snow day” is blissful… empty streets, empty stores, and zero lines.

January 29, 2014

Most Wanted

Is it still too early to start thinking about my spring wardrobe wish list?

1. Mother of Pearl skirt  |  2. Theodosia necklace  |  3. Carven skirt

4. J.Crew pants  |  5. Tibi dress  |  6. Lizzie Fortunato cuff

January 28, 2014

Brunch at Barbounia

I’ve been on a brunch kick as of late, so it’s no surprise that I felt the urge to try Barbounia–one of my old NYC standby restaurants–for brunch, as opposed to dinner. We sat by the window and since it was a warm December day they kept the french doors open; plus the restaurant was dressed to the nines for Christmas, which made it feel even more special and cozy.

I discovered that I can eat their “Spicy Feta” day or night–it’s just as good for brunch as it is for dinner. And now I’m getting a craving… They also have a great unlimited champagne cocktail special for $18.95, but you almost want to avoid the champagne because the juice is that fresh. Really, it’s just an unbeatable combination.

January 26, 2014

Hominy Grill

I’ve been hearing about Hominy Grill ever since I first visited Charleston, but I never made the time to fit it in. I decided to take Mike there over the long weekend and we were sure to get there extra early (I’ve heard their waits can be lengthy).

Mike ordered the “Big Nasty“, which I will have to try next time around—apparently it was so good that I didn’t even get to try even the littlest bite. Ahem…

Brunch had a great atmosphere, though, with an appetizing menu, and I can’t wait to go back in the spring to take advantage of their outdoor patio.

January 24, 2014

The Biltmore Estate

180,000 square feet, 250 rooms, 65 fireplaces, a banquet hall, a two-story library, a 70,000-gallon indoor swimming pool, a two-lane bowling alley, a greenhouse, winding staircases, secret passageways, 75 sprawling acres, vast forests and rolling hills as far as the eye can see… It sounds more like a five-star luxury resort than a private residence, but I’m actually describing the latter.

Mike and I took a two-day trip up to Asheville, North Carolina to visit the renowned Biltmore Estate, otherwise known as the largest privately-owned residence in the United States. We stayed at the Biltmore Inn, which granted us access to the grounds, winery, Outdoor Adventure Center, greenhouse, and gardens. We decided to splurge and take the tour of the actual Vanderbilt House–the mansion we all know and love  from the movie, Richie Rich–and we were so glad we did. The audio tour took over two and a half hours and was extremely informative.

So much history, so much beauty, it was hard to take it all in in just two and a half hours. The tour brought us through a decent portion of the house, but I walked away wanting more. I also walked away feeling a little sad that this incredible architecture–these beautifully detailed buildings–will never exist again. I then spent much of the night Googling George Washington Vanderbilt (doesn’t that sound like a strong name?), his family history, and their legacy.

Mike and I already promised one another that we’ll make it back up there in the warmer months so we can see everything in full bloom–and maybe another time during Christmas…

Some other fun facts:

  • Vanderbilt employed nearly half of the city of Asheville throughout the construction of his home, which took over six years

  • There is a tapestry hanging in the parlor that took ten years to complete

  • He had a railroad specially built to transport materials straight to the front yard and then tore it down once the estate was complete

  • The banquet hall ceiling is over 7-stories high

  • The architect, Richard Morris Hunt, built a “viewing tower” in the planning phase to show Vanderbilt what his views would eventually look like

  • Vanderbilt was single when the house was built and had only one child

  • Vanderbilt and his wife had separate bedrooms so she could have her own space to get ready… that is my kind of house

  • Some rooms in the home were never finished

  • Tours of the Vanderbilt House began in 1930

  • The last year that people actually lived in the home was 1956

January 22, 2014

weekend in scraps

Mike finally made it back down to Charleston after two long months and we road-tripped it up to Asheville, North Carolina for two days. This trip + a very special off-road driving experience was my 2013 Christmas gift to him and we were sure to make the most of it.

weekend pass | receipt for Mike’s off-road excursion with Land Rover  |  letterpress coaster from the Biltmore Inn

cork from the Biltmore Sauvignon Blanc  |  treats for the road trip from Dylan’s in NYC  |  fun postcards from our waiter

January 19, 2014

Brunch at the Fat Hen

$10 carafes of mimosas, an extensive brunch menu that isn’t 100% southern-focused, outdoor seating, and it’s absolutely adorable. That’s all you need to know about the Fat Hen on Johns Island.

January 18, 2014

Pod 39 Rooftop

After writing about the Pod 39 rooftop, I searched images to see how it looked in the daytime. Upon Googling, I discovered something extremely disturbing. The before and after photos within the two years the space has been open just breaks my heart.

The once priceless views of the city are now obstructed by a horrible building with no character whatsoever and the only way to view the Empire State Building is by standing in one particular area of the rooftop. A view that was once blemish-free and flawless is no more. So sad…

January 16, 2014

wednesday night pick-me-up

There’s nothing like a bouquet of fresh flowers to brighten up the apartment and welcome a very special visitor… one who hasn’t been down to Charleston in over two months, might I add!

I miss the corner bodegas and their fresh and affordable flower arrangements desperately, but every once in awhile I’ll luck out at the grocery store with their 3 for $12 selections.