Say it with me now.  In through the nose……. out through the mouthhhhhhhh…….

In through the noseeeeeeeee…..

Out through the mouth.


Another tax busy season is (nearly) behind me, and thank the frickin heavens!  Tonight is the first night I’ve come home with nothing URGENT URGENT URGENT to think about in FOR-EV-ER.  It has been a rough few weeks, but the good news is work should be a whole heck of a lot slower until January when the season-who-shall-not-be-named rolls into town once again… bleghhhhhhh….

So to update you on the last few weeks:

ERGONOMICS UPDATE:  My office chair has developed a permanent indentation of my butt due to the extensive quality time we’ve been sharing.

*  OBSESSION UPDATE:  I’ve developed a love for Clif Bars.  You may recall my longstanding obsession with Luna bars.  I dare say Clif bars are now taking the lead.  They leave me feeling fuller longer (quite possibly due to the extra 60 calories they pack) and the Clif bars don’t seem to give me a sugar rush.  Though, I will admit that the Luna Bar flavors are more craveable than Clif’s flavors.  Must be a girl thing.

RESTAURANT UPDATE:  I had a string of crappy meals, which I didn’t think was possible in CLT.  I was sadly wrong.  Two thumbs down to disturbingly grey eggs and unidentifiable breakfast potatoes at Bluprint, incredibly fatty steak at Firebirds, and insane over usage of butter at Cajun Queen.  BLEGH!

TRAVEL UPDATE:  BF and I went to Chimney Rock, NC for a day to hike courtesy of a Living Social deal I snagged a few months back.

We hiked, and climbed, and did our best not to contract poison ivy….


There were beautiful vistas, fancy gaps, and excessive sweating.


We also took impromptu senior year of high school photos:


How ridiculous is that photo???  Makes me giggle every time I look at it!

And since the BF is *cough* afraid of heights *cough* I climbed to the top by my onesie:


Even though it was overcast that day, the view was gorgeous!



WARNING:  Do not look directly at my white legs.  Doing so may cause temporary blindness.


CHEAP ASS UPDATE:  Target has Clif Bars and Luna Bars on sale this week!  They have boxes of 6 and limited flavors in BOXES OF SEVEN for $5!!  HOLLER!

TECH SAVVY UPDATE:  The wireless on my computer died Green with envy

*  NOT-SO-TECH-SAVVY UPDATE:  I spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to fix the computer problem.  This included several rounds of me answering the same exact series of questions over and over.  I think the rep was hoping I’d change my responses.  Think again, Dell.  Think again….Devil

FRIENDS AND FAM UPDATE:  The BF’s mom and pop came to Charlotte.  We showed them the town (through food, naturally).  We also had a make-your-own pizza night at my humble abode:


Mmmmmmm pizzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaa  *drool*


BEEF CAKE UPDATE:  I upped my squat and tricep weight at Body Pump!  I’m now up to the following (total weight including 2.5lb bar):

Sept 2011 versus June 2011

  • Warm Up = 22.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Squat =       37.5 lbs      vs      22.5 lbs
  • Chest =      27.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Back =        32.5 lbs      vs      22.5 lbs
  • Triceps =    27.5 lbs      vs      12.5 lbs
  • Biceps =     22.5 lbs      vs      17.5 lbs
  • Lunges =     22.5 lbs     vs      12.5 lbs
  • Shoulders = 22.5 lbs     vs      17.5 lbs

My goal over the next two weeks is to bump up my squat and back weight again.  Every time I increase my squat weight I get lower back pains, so I’m going to work really hard on my form.  I’m watching the how-to videos on the Body Pump website as we speak…

RUNNING UPDATE:  I didn’t run for two weeks, and felt like death was upon me when I ran 6 miles Sunday.  But I did it, and I hope to beat my eight-mile record in the next couple of weeks!

*  THE WHY-IT’S-GOOD-TO-DATE-GUYS-WITH-SKILLS-UPDATE:  My IT guy fixed my computer *wink* *wink*

NERD UPDATE:  Shit got serious on my 2012 budget spreadsheet.  Yes, that’s my 2012 annual budget I’m working on, which is something I’ve started every September for the past 7 years.  Every year it gets bigger and better, and with the addition of my new friend the “Indirect Formula” my summary spreadsheet just went to a whole new level of awesomeness.   Be jealous.

So fill me in!  What have you been up to?  What have you cooked?  Where have you been?  What have I missed???  My Google Reader is outta control right now!!


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A day in Clover, SC

This past weekend my mom and sister made the long haul down from Ohio to visit me in North Carolina.  7 hours in the car, and they still had smiles on their faces when they arrived Open-mouthed smile

I’ve been so excited for them to come down since I relocated to Charlotte in April.  When you’ve spent your whole life in one area, it’s really bizarre to pick up, move, and plop down in an entirely new city without physically sharing it with your friends and family.

One of our excursions over the weekend led us to Clover, South Carolina to visit my mom’s friend Lucy.  My mom and Lucy met on the internet.  Apparently, that string of crazy runs in the family Smile.

Clover is a very rural town about 45 minutes away from Charlotte and about 30 minutes from Rock Hill, SC.

By rural, I mean there was a whole lot of this going on:


I don’t know what it is about this photo, but I absolutely love it.  Maybe it’s because I don’t often get the opportunity to photograph animals in such close proximity, or maybe it’s just the look in this guy’s eye.  Doesn’t he look like he’s posing for the photo??

Lucy lives on a beautiful property dotted with wildlife and rustic buildings.


It’s crazy that such a short drive out of the city brings you to this peaceful, seemingly simple, town.


If it weren’t for the sweltering heat (holy triple digits!) I could have walked around taking photos for hours.  Every nook and cranny bubbled over with picturesque country charm.


Are you ready to hightail it to the countryside yet?


By the time we finished touring Lucy’s house, we were starving (when am I not?) and headed to Lell’s Café in Rock Hill for lunch:


Lell is a friend of Lucy’s, and her café is about “real food and quality products.”  They specifically focus on using fresh local ingredients with an emphasis on keeping the menu as organic and natural as possible.  They don’t even serve pop (soda for your southerners), given the artificial ingredients and chemicals it contains.

How awesome is that?


I eyeballed the menu and the specials and spent some time drooling over these fabulous looking scones:DSCF7003

But decided to go with Lucy’s advice and get the French Connection sandwich for my meal:DSCF7012

The French Connection had sliced ham, a generous portion of deliciously melty brie (welcome to heaven), and fruit spread:DSCF7009

I’m not usually big on mixing sweet and savory, but I am so happy I stepped outside the box and got this sandwich because the combination was simply fabulous.



Jenny tried the veggie wrap which featured the hummus of the day.  Unfortunately, the hummus of the day happened to be olive hummus and Jenny happens to hate olives (even more than I do!).  She took most of the wrap home with us, and Mom, who adores olives (she must be adopted) had the leftovers for a midnight snack and said it was fabulous.  DSCF7007

I tried to be sneaky and snap a photo of mom on my way back from the bathroom.  Of course the light shining in the window washed out what could have become THE ONLY photo in existence with her actually smiling.


Apparently the gods are on her side and intervened on the photo op, thus destroying my hopes of getting a natural photo of her.

One of the many great things about Lell’s is their serious coffee selection:DSCF6999

I went with the mocha latte:


So friggin delicious.  One of these days I am going to get a job as a barista so I can learn to make delicious coffee concoctions for myself.  A girl can dream, right?

Lell’s carries their local focus from the table to the walls and displays artwork of several local artists.  Lucy was one of the artists featured.  How cool!DSCF7014

Lell's Cafe on Urbanspoon

After lunch we drove around Rock Hill, scouted out downtown Clover, then hit up the Goodwill where I found a new pair of running shorts (tags still attached!) and a gap skirt for $3 a pop.

Can I get a Boo.Ya.?

Dinner was courtesy of Lucy’s husband Tommy, the Red-Neck-Chef.


Hello Moroccan Chicken!


As soon as I saw the olives, I had to giggle.  Poor Jenny Smile


Even with the olives, this meal was deserving of a golf clap for the chef!  I adore anything with cumin, so this dish was right up my alley.  Ok…  yes, I picked out the olives. Maybe the Red-Neck-Chef will post this recipe to his blog so we can all enjoy it again Smile

We ended our visit in Clover on a sweet note courtesy of a large slice of Lucy’s homemade peach pie:DSCF7028

Only in the south Smile

I may not have gotten any photos of the people in this post, but every person mentioned has a website so feel free to get your stalk on Winking smile


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I’ve been doing A LOT of eating lately.  It’s not my fault, really.  How can a gal not fall victim to sensory overload in this food-filled city of Charlotte?  Every street, every corner, every nook and cranny of this beautiful city is buttered with interesting restaurants to try–from fancy schmancy steak and lobster grilles to down-home-country barbecues to fabulous food trucks and every single flavor combination in between.

Let’s just say I’m in glutton heaven, and I’ve made it my personal goal to try each and every restaurant in the city.  I’m dedicated to this cause.

As I try more and more places, I’ve started picking up on some of the soap-operaesque back stories of the local establishments.  One that is particularly intriguing is the story behind The Penguin Drive-In in Plaza Midwood.

DSCF6524 DSCF6523

In the past, the Penguin was just one of those places you had to go.  If you were a true Charlottean (yes, that’s what they call us), you’d been to the Penguin a hundred times and you’d eaten your fair share of their famous fried pickles.  Newbies in town didn’t know what they were missing as they walked right by the Penguin’s dilapidated building and awfully awkward parking.

But then Guy Fieri stopped in at the Penguin for his show Diners, Drive-in, and Dives, and all hell broke loose.  I’ll admit, I love the show, and I love seeing places I’ve visited on TV.  It’s almost like for that millisecond when the image flashes across the screen you are actually a part of something famous.  As if your emotional investment in the place somehow makes you a part owner, and you burst with pride when you see your baby on the big screen.

What, just me?


Anyway, due to some disagreements, two of the four guys who ran the Penguin left to open Pinky’s Westside.  The remaining two owners couldn’t come to an agreement with their landlord, so they were forced to abandon the Penguin.  The landlords of the building then decided to run the Penguin themselves, and the other two guys opened up the Diamond Grill, literally a block away from the Penguin. I think I’ve got that straight…

Interestingly, all three restaurants serve hotdogs and all three have fried pickles on the menu.  The newly-owned Penguin has the “famous Penguin fried pickles,” Pinky’s has “Greg’s pickles,” and the Diamond has “classic fried pickles—the neighborhood’s first and best original recipe.”  Can you smell the rivalry brewing?

Of the three restaurants, I’ve only been to the Penguin so far, which many other Charlotteeans are boycotting in favor of the Diamond.  Let’s hope this post doesn’t get me blacklisted.

The Penguin had a TON on the menu that I wanted strike that NEEDED in my belly.


But as I perused the menu, one item made my heart sing.

The Ma… the Meatloaf Hot Dog. 


Chili. Onion. Slaw.  Seriously?!?!


Let’s make brief note of the MONSTROUS side salad that came along side with a balsamic dressing was to die for.


But really, chili, onions, and coleslaw on a hotdog?!  My world was officially rocked.  Hands down THE BEST hot dog I have ever consumed.


Now that I know the backstory I feel it is my moral foodie obligation to give all three of the brawling restaurants an equal tasting.  I MUST go to the Diamond and to Pinky’s to give their Weiner Wonderlands an equal shot.  Seriously, it says Weiner Wonderland on the menu… get your head out of the gutter already.

Nutritional stats on the hotdog:  1 clogged artery, 1 full belly

Penguin on Urbanspoon


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Holy crap, that was a lot of food.

Have you ever been in conversation with a new person and thrown out the obligatory “so, Bill, what do you do for a living?” and had Bill come back with “well Mary, I’m a psychiatrist”?  Confused smile

When a person discovers they’re in the midst of conversation with someone who analyzes people for a living, they are immediately scared.  (What the heck have I said in the last five minutes? …  Does he think I’m a basket case… Why am I suddenly sweating profusely?!)  All of this fear and anxiety is followed by near immediate curiosity.

Oddly enough, that’s a similar reaction to the one I get when I first tell a person I’m a food blogger.  People get oddly weirded out, followed almost instantly with excited curiosity.  I try to explain that I am not a food critic, but a food enjoyer.  I’m not professionally critiquing food, but rather honestly sharing my experiences with the food with friends and fellow foodies.

Isn’t sharing food with others what makes a good meal great, anyway?


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It wasn’t THAT good, actually.

As a foodie, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that my world revolves around food.  I spend countless hours each week reading about it, researching it, cooking it, exploring it, talking to strangers about it, sharing it… you get the point.  From the 5:30am pre-body pump peanut butter toast to the hot fudge brownie bowls I’d like to cap every night off with, food is the thread that links the pieces and parts of my days together.  It’s what brings passion to my eyes during conversation.  It’s what brings a smile to my face at the end of a trying week.  It’s what intrigues me, and challenges me, and nourishes my body and mind.

Bottom line:  food brings me joy.

Of course, with all this love and warm fuzzies there is a dark flip side:  the food flop.  Nothing is more disheartening than experiencing a food flop.  Perhaps it’s a new dish that’s lacking in taste or worse yet a new dish that straight up makes you ralph.  Either way, a food flop is like a sharp nail on a chalkboard.  It brings a party to a screeching hault in a matter of seconds.

It’s no secret that trying out new restaurants is one of my favorite pastimes.  I love the excitement of experiencing something new and the opportunity to have ALL of my senses blown away by a fabulous dining experience.  When I try a new restaurant and that restaurant doesn’t rock my socks off, whelp, it’s downright depressing.  It feels like a waste—not only a waste of money, but more importantly a waste of time that could have been used to try out a different much more fabulous establishment.

Does anyone else feel this way?  Maybe I’m a foodie extremist.

Speaking of trying new places, after my Ladies who Lunch post last week I headed to lunch with a lady (Jamie) at King’s Kitchen uptown.  I was thoroughly excited for the opportunity to lunch with a new friend AND to try out a new restaurant that I’d passed so many times but never stepped foot inside.

While perusing the menu, I was pretty pumped when I saw “macaroni and cheese” as a vegetable.  That HAD to be a good sign.


Another plus were the free biscuits we were brought:


Then the meal came—grilled chicken with macaroni, broccoli, and collard greens:


And that’s where the plusses stopped.

The chicken was dry – so dry that it was difficult (and awkward) to cut through even with a knife.

And the mac and cheese?


Whelp, it was oily and lacking flavor…  As were the collard greens… and the broccoli.

Even with this disappointment, at the end of the lunch I put my hand on my belly and said almost robotically “that was so good!” As soon as the words left my lips, I thought to myself “ummm Mary, no that was NOT good.”  But what didn’t come to me until later that day was that it was OK to admit the food wasn’t good.  It’s not always rainbows and chocolate ganache.  Sometimes it’s dry meat and oily side dishes.

The King's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Despite the food flop, Jamie and I had a great time getting to know each other.  Some might think it’s crazy that I invite random people I’ve never met to lunch.  But if you want to be a Lady who Lunches, sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do 🙂


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Time to eat your face off

I’m all for healthy eating, but I believe there’s a time and a place for eating a brownie the size of your face.  Case in point: when your very first visitors come to your new town, you are obliged to eat your face off during the length of their stay.

So I ate.  And I ate.  And I ateeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

One of the added perks of having my first visitors was that it provided the swift kick in the butt I needed to get the rest of my crap unboxed from the big move.

The new home is FINALLY nice and clean and box free.


Never underestimate the joy a clutter-free home can bring Smile


Ok, so maybe it’s a little sparse… But you know, I actually prefer it that way.  Less to clean, less to worry about, less things to absorb my energy.

And more room to just be.


I feel relaxed already.  How about you?

One of the MANY foodie stops I made with my friends Tim and Jaci this weekend was Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop.


Pike’s is tucked away in a little nook off of South Boulevard in South End Charlotte.  The brightly colored umbrellas lining the patio, low strung lights, and old fashioned soda shop sign made me feel like I’d been transported back to the 1950s.


Once we walked inside, we realized Pike’s really lives up to being “old fashioned.”  The walls were covered with old advertisements, the wait staff was incredibly friendly, and the faint smell of ice cream and homemade baked goods lingered throughout the entire place.  Add to this a menu overflowing with dozens of old fashioned tasty treats, and I’m sure you can imagine the serious salvation that was going on in my mouth.


Jaci was a little bummed she didn’t bring her poodle skirt with her, but she and Tim were still able to force smiles for the picture Smile


It took us an exceptionally long time to order because each of us were going back and forth debating our decisions.  Philly Cheese Steak?  Onion Rings?  How about the meatloaf?  Ooohhh  the homemade chili sounds really good.  Blue cheese potato chips?!?

Tim went with an unpictured buffalo chicken sandwich—I snagged a bite of the crispy chicken on the sandwich and was a big fan of their buffalo sauce.

Jaci and I both decided on Burgers in Bowls.  She created her own bowl with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and avocado:


I went with my new obsession (meat chili and coleslaw) and got the appropriately named Carolina Classic.  It had a homemade meat chili, coleslaw, mustard, and onions:


This was pure heaven.  I’m in love with this combination of the hot slightly sweet chili against the cool crunchy coleslaw.  Pair that combo up with the smoky char of the fresh ground chuck and it’s a match made in heaven, I tell ya.  I was never a fan of coleslaw until I moved to North Carolina and tried this combo for the first time.  Now I cannot get enough!

Each of the three of us downed our meals with gusto.  The waitress let out a little laugh when she came back to three near-sparkling empty plates.  Full is an understatement, but we still felt obliged to try out one of Pike’s desserts.  We took a quick peak into the dessert case, and even though the Key Lime Pie, cupcakes, and blueberry cobbler looked amazing, we were all drawn to the giant brownies on the top shelf.  These brownies were large and in charge.  Several inches thick and big enough to surely require two hands to eat.  They looked just too darn good to pass up, so we agreed the hot fudge brownie bowl was the way to go:


I haven’t had REAL ice cream in AGES.  I’ve found Charlotte to be a hard-core Frozen Yogurt town, and I’ve been searching high and low for some good old fashioned ice cream.  This ice cream hit the spot—dense enough to eat with a fork, creamy, and perfectly sweet.

30 seconds later, we declared ourselves champions.


Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop and Fine Diner on Urbanspoon

After our large lunch, we thought it would be nice to take a stroll in Freedom Park.  A little sun, a little nature, and a little jump start on digestion Smile


This was my first time visiting Freedom Park, and I was pleasantly surprised by how large the park was and by how  peaceful and serene it was.  I can see myself coming here, sprawling out in the shade, and reading.  Or napping.  One of the two Smile



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Weekend in Paradise

I’d like to rewind this past weekend, click the pause button, and live the life of an islander for the rest of eternity.  The island life.  Where your stresses melt away, your to-do lists disappear, and daily woes are forgotten.

OHH, PLEASE. I forgot to say please!

Ahhhh the island life.


Forget the fact that I missed out on first place in the 5th grade spelling bee because I misspelled the word “paradise.” As a wee 10 year old I hadn’t experienced paradice let alone PARADISE!

What’s this island I speak of?

Good old Bald Head Island, NC.



Bald Head Island. A beautiful harbor and beaches that stretch for miles. No cars—just golf carts. No stress—just cocktails.


Quite frankly, there’s not much to do there.  But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

They even have little trucks to smuggle you across the border:


Being the Frugalista I am (can I coin that??!?! … no pun intended Winking smile ) the BF and I rented a TEENY TINY little studio right on the harbor (this one was called the Elements – Fire).



So cute and quaint and sassy all in one little shoebox!


We didn’t waste any time once on the island.  First stop—kayaking on the beautiful island marshes!


BF wasn’t exactly a natural…


Tootsie tanning:


Bird watching… (birds are so creepy).


After kayaking it was back to the harbor.


For a little dinner at Eb & Flo’s!


Dining out = happy Mary


We split some yummy jambalaya:


Reminds me of New Orleans!


Grey Goose and Tonic for the lady.  Blackened chicken Caesar wrap for the man.


My entre:


Shrimp AND potatoes?!  Sign me up!


The restaurant deck was prime for people watching across the harbor.



We took a stroll on the beach after dinner.  It was entirely empty and entirely peaceful.


Saturday we had one thing on the agenda:  BEACH TIME!  With chairs and umbrella in our cargo, we headed for the sand.


Never underestimate the luxury of a nice beach umbrella.


The beach was pretty uncrowded, but still provided quite the opportunity for man candy oogling Winking smile


After a few hours in the sun (or sprawled out on a beach chair under the nice shade of a 6 foot beach umbrella as the case may be)…

photo 3

we were in need of some serious fuel.  We headed to the Shoals Club where I feasted on an ENORMOUS burger complete with Swiss cheese, onions, and mushrooms.


After lunch, it was—you guessed it–back to the beach!  We were so full, that we both passed out under the umbrella for a good hour and a half.



Good Ole Baldy:


For dinner, we headed to the River Pilot Café.

Cheesy appetizer goodness:




BF got the jambalaya pasta for dinner (apparently we were really missing New Orleans):


It was DELICIOUS.  Shrimp, sausage, country ham, and chicken over pasta?!?!


FABULOUS lobster bisque.




After dinner I realized the sun was setting… on our mini vaca Crying face


I woke up bright and early Sunday morning and took a stroll along the harbor.


This is what I do to keep myself occupied when my travel buddy is STILL.FREAKING.SLEEPING… It’s 9am.  Get your butt in gear man.


For breakfast we headed to the Maritime Market Café to get our grub on.


I know this looks like a massacre, but it’s actually a bit o hot sauce heaven.


The breakfast burrito was delicious and so were the potatoes.

His face says “enough with the pictures already” but his plate says “I’m a breakfast burrito eating champion.” I’ll go with the latter.


Ooooooghahhhhhh yessssssssss cheesy bagel bliss:


Never have I ever seen a golf cart with a baby car seat strapped in…


Waiting for the ferry to take us back to the daily grind:


Farewell Bald Head!

(insert obligatory “I’m the King of the WORLDDDDDDDDDDD” titanic reference here)


We’re already planning our next beach retreat… hopefully priceline will be kind to me Smile


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Things I’ve learned over a week in Charlotte

  1. The people in Charlotte are nice.  Like SUPER nice.  Like almost weirdly nice.  I love them.
  2. Carwashes in Charlotte are a whole heck of a lot cheaper than in Ohio… 30% cheaper, to be exact.  Though, they will look at you funny when you ask to stay in the car as you go through the carwash.  Apparently, that’s not how they do it here in Charlotte.
  3. Everyone is really nicely dressed.  Not in a I’m-better-than-thou sort of way, but in a I’m-putting-my-best-foot-forward-today (and every day for that matter) sort of way.  I’m a fan.
  4. Chicken paws are not the same thing as chicken breasts!
  5. Speaking of chicken, why is the chicken breast at the butcher counter at Harris Teeter only $1.99 a pound???  That’s cheaper than the stuff they have on the shelves.  Mystery.
  6. Either u-turns are legal here or we’ve broken the law 7 times in the past week.  I’m hoping for the former.
  7. North Carolina is part of the South.   People actually have accents here.
  8. A Charlotte native can spot an Ohio accent a mile away… I didn’t think there was such a thing as an Ohio accent.  I was wrong.
  9. Public transportation is awesome.
  10. People are young here.  Like a city chock full of Doogie Howsers. 
  11. I’m pretty sure it’s possible to eat at a different delicious Charlotte restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for a whole year without having any repeats.  I may have to try that sometime.  Charlotte knows a thang or two about food. (Stay tuned for more on that topic!)

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End of Vaca

Monday morning we left Charleston and headed to Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Island.  We got a ton of great pics.  Here are just a few:

We munched on the remnants of food we brought from home while driving through the plantation.  For more information on Edisto Island, check out

Then we headed back to Charlotte.  This time, Priceline got us a room at the Double-Tree in Uptown Charlotte for only $45 a night 😀

We really liked this hotel (especially because you get free chocolate chip cookies when you check in)…

The bed was lot more comfortable than Aloft’s bed, however you really just cannot beat the Aloft location!

Here are some shots of Charlotte:

Monday night we headed to Rockbottom for some cheesy jalapeno dip (hello $5 appetizers!) and drinks:

Then to Aria for dinner.

Aria was a lot fancier/swankier than I expected, but I thought the bartenders were pretty rude :-/

We ordered a Super Tuscan Wine to start:

We’ve never tried this type of wine before and we both really liked it!

We ordered the bruschetta for the appetizer:

This was actually served cold, which I thought was odd.  Then we got the vodka penne for dinner and added grilled chicken.  The pasta was super tasty, which made up for the appetizer.  Didn’t capture a photo unfortunately.

Aria Tuscan Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday morning, we went to the Holiday Inn’s Cafe Siena for our favorite breakfast buffet.  Walked around the city, then hit up Fuel on our way back to Ohio.

Jarrod is obsessed with Fuel’s chicken parm calzone.  I got an Italian sub which was also quite tasty:

And that brings us back to lovely Ohio.  First thing I did was head to Acme and buy an ABUNDANCE of produce.  My body is just craving healthy eating after a week-long restaurant binge!

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