California Dreamin'

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the opportunity to tag along on the hubby's work trip (read: a college golf tournament), which ordinarily wouldn't be super special or necessarily be an option at all. But it was pretty special that the destination for this trip was the one and only Pebble Beach Resort - so I was all, "uh yeah, I'll go. If I have to." Ha!

I was expecting cooler weather and sunshine, beautiful views and luxury. What I didn't expect was to whale watch from my balcony, feel like I was on a wildlife tour on the golf course, and for everyone to be soooo friendly. I guess I would be pretty friendly, too, if I lived somewhere so beautiful! 

The view from our balcony

Long sleeves in August!

The tournament included accommodations and perks for the spouses that tagged along, including several treatments at the Spa at Pebble Beach. After traveling for nearly 12 hours the day before (flying from Columbia, SC to Houston to San Francisco to Monterey), the pampering was most welcome!
The tournament organizers graciously gave the ladies a spa day...heaven on earth, I tell you!

I didn't do a lot of sight-seeing, but that was by choice. I just couldn't get enough of the golf course and its views, which was sight-seeing in itself. From the Lodge or the course, we saw whales, dolphins, seals, and sea otters. And of course, jaw-dropping views of the Bay and mountains. 

It was so fun to watch the team play and the hubby coach, since I don't get to go to many tournaments. Even better that we were staying right there at The Lodge, which was elegant and luxurious, full of old-world charm, but not stuffy: the perfect balance.

At #1 Tee
Wood-burning fireplace in our rooms.
And no A/C, because it's just not needed!
The hubs. He's adorable, no?
Watching the seals from #18 tee
I stood at this place and watched for about an hour. What. A View!! (And I was freeeezing!)

17-mile drive and the Lone Cypress Tree

Sunset over the Bay

If you ever, ever have the chance to stop by Pebble Beach - even if for the day - do it. I've seen this place on TV, but it's hard to appreciate its beauty on a screen. If you're a golfer, you're in luck: it's a public course, and you can play a round for the low, low price of $495. No, seriously.

It was an amazing trip, and SO worth all the connections and traveling! A bonus was that it was just a few days before my 30th birthday, so it doubled as a birthday getaway!

I'm still dreaming about that view. 


Five on Friday: September 12

Friday, September 12, 2014

It feels good to be back in the swing of things - and by "things" I mean blogging again! This summer was a whirlwind, and I'm still trying to figure out why. Whatever the reason, it didn't leave much time for writing.

I'm still catching up, but in the meantime, here are 5 things that have me smiling this Friday! 

ONE. New Gator gear that my besties gave me for my birthday last week! Sadly I don't get to many games in The Swamp, but I don my orange and blue each weekend the boys play.

TWO. I became a UF Alumni Association Life Member a few months back and just got my official swag to let the world know! (Photobombed by my foot) 

THREE. My sweet hubby bought me an espresso maker for my birthday, and got up early this morning just to make me a cappuccino! So delicious. 

FOUR. I am a big supporter of greeting cards. Yes, I know - it's like paying for words - but I love sending and receiving them. Enjoying all the sweet cards I got for my big 3-0! 

FIVE. I'm still laughing over this...
Full birthday recap coming soon! 

Enjoy the weekend! 

Goodbye, twenties! The best is yet to be!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today is my 30th birthday. Unbelievable.

It's cliche, I know, but where does the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday (another cliche) that I turned 20, and then 21, and then 22, and...? From my college days and studying abroad to starting my career, and from meeting the love of my life and tying the knot, my twenties were some of the best years of my life, for sure. But I know the best is always still to come. As I mourn the passing of my youth (kidding!), I know that my thirties have so much in store: advancing my career, making memories with Alex, and, God-willing, starting a family.

My 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th birthdays! 

Here's to the past decade of my life, my twenties - one for the books! And also to the next decade: I might not hit as many milestones (there aren't many left!) but I'm looking forward to the possibilities and seeing what God has in store! Whatever His plan, I know one thing for sure: I am blessed beyond measure, and I'm feeling those blessings especially today. Thank you Lord for another year!

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24


Ending the summer on a high note

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Or shall I say a low note - as in the lowest temps I've felt all summer? I am so thankful that I'm spending a few days at the beautiful Pebble Beach Resort in California, watching Alex coach and the team play! It doesn't get much better than this. 

More later, but I just had to share this view! 


Figs for Dummies

Monday, July 28, 2014

When you buy a 70 year old house, you inherit all kinds of interesting things, good and bad. Like the 36 year old air conditioning unit that went out just 9 months into our ownership. Or the rope that once held a tire swing, I'm sure, now hanging so high from pine tree branch that you can't get it down and it's become a decorative accent of your back yard. Or, in this case, a giant fig tree that bears fruit even when you neglect it. 

We noticed the tree last summer when we moved in, but honestly, picking figs was the last thing on my mind. A few weeks after move-in, we had a huge storage shed in the backyard torn down, and the guys who did the demolition ended up taking every last fig off the tree for their greedy little selves. So not cool. That said, we didn't get a one last year. Not one! 

A few weeks ago, I noticed there were dozens - maybe hundreds - of tiny figs on the tree. Not one to miss an opportunity for a second year in a row, I kept watch to see when they looked ripe and ready for the picking. Unfortunately, I know nothing about figs. This girl grew up in orange groves, not fig orchards (if that's even what they're called). 

I needed to know if they were ripe, what kind do fig tree I have, how to pick them from the tree, and of course, recipes - what in the heck was I going to do with all these things?! So I did what anyone would do: googled "Figs for Dummies" - and nothing relevant came up. So disappointing. 

(Maybe the next time someone googles that phrase this blog post will come up. Not that I'm a wealth if knowledge, but they'll know they're not alone.)

After watching several enthusiastic fig lovers in YouTube tutorials, I was set to harvest. I couldn't get over how many little figgies were on my tree! My poor, neglected fig tree that we haven't so much as trimmed since we moved in just keeps giving! 

With my first bunch, I gave most of the figs away to neighbors and co-workers, but not before I made this delicious salad. 
1-2 small figs, cut into fourths or eighths
Spiced pecans
Crumbled goat cheese
Mixed greens
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil 

Mix together and serve in a chilled bowl. Even better when paired with a crisp white wine! 

I've since gathered a few more recipes that I want wait to try. Goodness knows I'll have bountiful harvests for the next few weeks! And if you have a fig recipe that's worth a try, holla at me :) 


Three years in a flash

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


It seems impossible that I walked down the aisle to you, my groom, three years ago today. In some ways it seems like you've been my husband and I your wife for as long as I can remember; in other (and many more ways), it seems like we were just standing at the altar, beginning our life together. I'll never forget the first steps I took as Mrs. Alex Hamilton: as we turned to face the congregation, my arm linked in yours, I had the simple thought of "Here we go!" 

And my, how we've gone! In three short years, we've sold a house and bought a house, moved cities, and both changed jobs multiple times. We bought a car, got a puppy, and taken some of the best vacations of my life. We've learned from each other and grown to appreciate the little things that might drive others crazy. We're a team; a united front. We stick up for each other, love each other unconditionally, and can make each other laugh like no one else quite can. 

God knew what He was doing when he introduced us nearly 7 years ago. I am thankful that I get to do life with you: there is no one else I'd want by my side for all of the little triumphs, bad days, overwhelming joys, or everyday happenings. You're my One, my Only. Happy Anniversary - I love you! 


My Kind Of Town

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We celebrated the Fourth of July in a very American city: Chicago!

Our 4-day trip to Chicago was a whirlwind of decadent food, constant walking, boat rides, skyscrapers, and Midwestern hospitality, topped off with absolutely perfect weather. We arrived on Thursday, and the temps never got above 70. This was a very welcome change of climate coming from famously hot Columbia, SC! 

Although this trip was in celebration of our 3rd Anniversary, we invited some friends of ours, Franklin and Kendall, along. The four of us had a blast!

Since I lived in Chicago for a short time (7 years ago - which doesn't even seem possible) and Alex, Franklin and Kendall had never been, I minimally played tour guide and reminisced about my days as a Windy City girl. 

We stayed at The Drake, which I highly, highly recommend - it's an old, gorgeous, plush hotel on the Magnificent Mile and they treated us like royalty! They even had champagne waiting on us in our room when we arrived. Definitely could get used to that!

The Drake: so posh
The first night we were there, we walked two blocks down the street and 95 floors up to eat at the Signature Room in the Hancock Center. The food was good, but the view is breathtaking. If looking out over Lake Michigan while you dine isn't enough, just take a trip to the Ladies' room to see the best view of the city you'll ever see.
The views from the Signature Room in the John Hancock Center

Happy birthday, America!
We hit all the staples in Chicago: Art Institute, Field Museum, Millennium Park and the bean, State Street, Mag Mile, Navy Pier. Probably the single best thing we did was take a boat ride on the Fourth of July on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. The day was bright and sunshiny, the views of the city were magnificent, and it just felt so patriotic!

Pizza/Gibson's/Prohibition Cocktails
We also overindulged in food...really, really good food. Of course, you can't visit Chicago without eating deep dish pizza. We hit Lou Malnati's on Friday night and it was worth the hour and a half wait for that amazing Chicago-style pizza! On Saturday, we had one of the best meals I've ever had at Gibson's Steakhouse. Huge steaks cooked to perfection, jumbo asparagus, and the largest pieces of cake I've ever seen - all of it was outstanding. For a nightcap, we went to Coq d'Or in the Drake Hotel, which opened when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. 

I was sad to leave the city and head home to SC on Sunday, but now that Alex has been, I think he's hooked! I know we'll be back again soon!


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