Charleston Day 4

My last and final day was yesterday (as I write this post on the Charleston Airport)😢. I swear I’ll be back to my normal boring self tomorrow, as I need to run all this FOOD off!!  But I honestly think I did well, as I made good choices and didn’t eat everything on my plate as I normally do! 

Our last day was relatively low key in the Low Country….but that doesn’t mean we didn’t EAT! 😂😂😂

We went back to Prohibition for lunch.  Of course we had those INSANE chicken wings …

 I don’t remember if I told you above to them but that are brined in pickle juice for 24 hours, confit in duck fat, fried, tossed in a special Memphis rub (of their own), and stuck in the broiler to get the skin CRISPY! (I probably told you this…but I felt compelled to tell you again!😂). 

We had lunch as well; Hubs had the Duck BLT –

 ….looks like a Dagwood Bumstead sandwich, to me! (You know, from the comic strip Blondie? I’ve just aged myself…). Salt and pepper fries on the side.  He couldn’t finish it…it was too much and half of it came back to the hotel with us. It was so good and FULL of meat! 

I had the Crispy Chicken sandwich- 

 ..I swear the South know how to fry some CHICKEN!! It wasn’t the least bit greasy and the chicken was juicy and flavorful!!

True to form, we walked off the food around town.  We decided to go through Battery Park and walk around from there.  I’m a BIG fan of pre and post Civil war “stuff” and it amazes me the history that is in this town alone.   

 I really like houses like this!!! 

There are many houses to tour and we stumbled upon The Calhoun Mansion.  It is still a private residence to this day and open for tours.  (SN: If you are a fan of Downton Abbey (LOVE!),  Highclere Castle is where it’s filmed and it’s still a private residence open to the public.).  I was surprised to know we could do that!  The sad part is you can’t take ANY pictures inside the house! Boo!! The gardens are beautiful and I was able to snap a few shots because that’s allowed….

   Gorgeous!!  There are so many more pictures I have…on my camera..!  I LOVE photography and I desperately want to get better.  This trip really got my buzz going again for photography!!  
Our dinner was a change from any traditional Southern fare.  We decided on Vietnamese, which was new to Hubs.   Co right in Downtown was the perfect spot.   

 Co is a noun in Vietnamese meaning  “feast”…well, let’s DO this!!😏. We started with the Pork and Chicken gyoza 

 …with some lovely Malbec (our FAV!).  It may not look like a lot but it was perfect and light! We ordered the traditional Pho ga

 ..shredded chicken, rice vermicelli,herbs all in a beef broth.  Sides of additional cilantro, bean sprouts and parsley came with it. And if you like, which I do, lime to sprinkle over the broth.   

 This was a perfect way to end our Eat Through Charleston campaign! Our “tour of duty” was complete and we will be ready and able to shipped out again, Captain!! 

 Thanks for sharing this trip with me!  I’m sad to go home but that only means I get to come back! I’d really like to share this place with my boys next time and my  sister and her family too! 

Now, it’s back to the grind! I’ve got a 5k this Saturday and I’m not the LEAST bit prepared! And Star Wars 10k in April…that training should be starting next week or so!! #letsdoTHIS

***Disclaimer: All of the opinions in this post are my own. I have not been compensated for any of my opinions. 

Charleston Day 3

Just when you think you couldn’t get any MORE of my South Carolina adventures…I’ve got more!!! 

We got a late start because why not sleep in when you are on vacation?? What a novel idea??? We ate breakfast at Toast in downtown Charleston.  

 Which happens to have celebrated an anniversary last year!  It was a quick eat because we were schedule for a tour about an hour after we got there. (Sorry no photos of scrumptious breakfast!)

Part of the reason for coming to Charleston was to get some more of the Civil War history that I enjoy! (Remember North and South??).  This is where the Civil War started and I was anxious to see any remnants of this part in our history.  We decided on  Magnolia Plantation and Gardens which did not disappoint!!   

 We are on our way…..!

 I took many pictures, but with my…camera…and not my phone!! I’ll post them later.  There is a zoo which houses many different animals 

 ME…after this trip!!

The gardens were made specifically for Rev. Drayton’s wife so she would LOVE being in SC versus the city where she was from.  What a beautiful gift! There are many different flowers blooming here during the year, but it was first known for it’s Camillas. Over the years, the Romantic Garden (as it is called) has plants (both flowering and trees) from all over the world.  The bamboo garden is one of a kind… 

 There are remnants of the rice fields, for which the family made most of its income.. 

 …and the friendly Alligator appears to be protecting it!! #goGATORS

We took a Nature train ride through the plantation.  We saw all kinds of wildlife from alligators to blue herons and ducks to turtles.  We even saw an eagle..perching…and waiting to pounce for his next meal!

This plantation is still in the same family from when it was built in 1676! As with many of these plantation tours, they don’t allow any photography of the house. Boo!!!!  So, it shall be forever fresh in my mind but I can’t share it with you! 

After a great day of history…it was a quick change and then off to dinner. We had the pleasure of dining at Halls Chophouse.  Never and I mean NEVER have I been to a resturant so elegant with the feeling of being home! We were greeted by the host and hostess and ass they were showing us upstairs to our table, the owner comes out to say “hello” and welcome us to the restaurant. He gave us a “high five” for 17 years of marriage. We sat down and immediately greeted by our wait staff and right after two glass of champagne brought by the owner and thanking us for celebrating our day with them! #imsofancy. Let’s take a trip down FOOD lane, shall we??


 Oysters Rockefeller was for hubs and the BEST Onion soup I’ve ever had! French onion soup with a mound of string fried onions on top of the cheese! I’ve died and gone to heaven!! I thought I snapped a pic but my greedy a** forgot to snap one!!


 Hubs had the Dry Aged Ribeye (12oz) and for me…? 

 I finally was able to try grassed beef! I had the 8oz filet and it was everything I was expecting.  Grassed need has a little bit more of an “earthy” taste to it,but not in a bad way.  If you’ve had venison or buffalo, you know that is has “that” taste, as well.    I happen to like both of those meats, so it wasn’t a bad thing for me.  The sides are family style so we chose the Parmesean Creamed Corn.  SN: And NOT that crappy stuff that comes out of the can! This the REAL deal creamed corn!! We also selected the lobster Mac and Cheese and Broccolini.  Everything was lovely!!  

Believe it or not…there was room for dessert…  

  Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée 


 Dark Chocolate “Pate”. Pate, in that they make it just like a pate (except with dark chocolate) and then slice it thin (like Pate).  OMG!!!

When it came time to pay, we found out that our desserts had been comped by the owner! How sweet is that?!?!?  We left…bellies FULL, and our hearts warmed over by the care that we recorded in the restaurant.  Made us feel like family as we are exiting and the owner gives me a hug to say “Thanks!” and my husband a great handshake.  

Thank you, Halls Chophouse for making our dinner AND anniversary such a wonderful memory.  

**Disclaimer: The opinions of this post are all my own.  I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions.  

Charleston Day 2

How can you BEAT Day 1? By having a Day 2!! Hubs and I are celebrating 17 years of marriage today, January 9th.  We’ve been blessed to share this time in Charleston this year. 

I started the day off with a run around Downtown.  I needed to because of all the culinary indulgence from yesterday!! 😏. The weather was cold and a little rainy but still perfect in my mind. I loathe running in the heat in Florida!!  I was able to muster strength to get 2 miles in.  I promised myself that this year, I wasn’t going to belittle myself by focusing on the negatives about my running, etc butto focus on the process and be happy that I am on this journey to get better! It’s going to be hard…but I’m up for the challenge!  

Hubs and I went to Magnolia’s for lunch. It’s South of Broad Street. SN: did anyone read that book by Pat Conroy?? ANOTHER reason I wanted to come to here!! 

 GREAT book!! Any hoo…great place to eat! We started with soup.. 

 The tomato bisque was flavorful and hearty and everything you want in a starter soup. Hubs had the crab bisque and I was so busy stuffing my face that I didn’t grab a pic! 😏

The list of entrees were unbelievable!  There were so many choices and not enough stomachs to eat all of them!!  Hubs had Shrimp and Sausauge with Tasso Ham and grits! This is a low country staple…

I had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich with jalepeno coleslaw, bread and butter pickles and home made potato chips…

 Carolina BBQ is mustard based and it was tasty! I haven’t had this kind of BBQ before…I wasn’t worried…it’s just being a creature of habit…I’m used to tomato based sauce.  What a pleasant surprise this was to eat. 

Of course we had dessert!  

 Red Velvet Trifle.  Red velvet cake, rasperberry curd, cream cheese mousse, with fresh whipped cream. #nuffsaid

After we walked off all of the food (and drinks), we found our way to some stores! Shopping….YAY!!!  We end up at The Shoppes at Charleston Place which is nestled in with The Belmond Hotel.  

   Isn’t it GORGEOUS! It has that Southern Charm that I love! Hubs says we are staying here for our next visit! As we do, we found another watering hole to quench our thirst, still within the hotel.
 We are thoroughbreds…lets GO! I could live here…!  

The shops are high end but it’s still nice to walk amongst those that shop this way all the time. I went to see my good buddy, Louis….

 ….you know…Louis Vuitton?? And guess what??? 

 LOUIS came HOME with me this time!!! Hubs gave me the purse of a lifetime! I almost fainted…..!

I had to get some oxygen flowing, so we walked and found another spot so we could catch up on the UM (Miami, FL)- FSU game.  Hubs is a huge Hurricanes fan. Y’all know that I’m a Gator…bleed Orange and Blue! But I was a UM supported because they were playing (gag) FSU!😝 

 Charleston’s oldest Family Owned Resturant? Ok!!

Anthony Bourdain….I mean, Hubs, picked another great resturant for dinner. Trust me when I say, walking around Charleston is a good thing because we EAT in this family!!  We dined at Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill.  

   They are know for their premium ages steak and local ingredients…. and we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one. Our starter included what they are known for “On the Rocks”. Nope…not a cocktail.. 

 …but a stone at 700 degrees (you read it right!) and you can sear you own meat at the table. You have your choice of beef or lamb…we went for the beef! The stone is seasoned and you only need 20-30 sec on each side (to make medium steak like we like) and VOILA! 3 sauces accompany…steak sauce (and not A1 folks), garlic, and mustard sauce. All were  good and all were used!! 

 We also had an Asian inspired pork belly with shrimp and kimchi 

 …you guessed it…worth it!

Hubs and I picked the same entree, the Wagyu Hangar Steak. 

 I have NEVER in my life had a steak melt in my mouth! What a treat and now I’m spoiled!!! I had the Idaho mashed potatoes and he had the Dirty rice and Brussels. I was full, but there was more… 

 Hubs didn’t order this one because there was a surprise dessert that he wanted me to try. But it was sent over by the Manager, so how do you say no to Nutella Cheesecake??? You never do…that’s how!! 😂. Hubs asked if we could try the dessert he excited for me to try… 

 S’mores!! #imdone

As you see, Day 2 was another culinary success! It just keeps getting better! 

But wait…there’s more! We got back to the hotel,

 Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.  They kinda spelled our name wrong (it’s Leyva…not Layva) but it’s the thought that counts! I was #fooddrunk so that will be breakfast!! 😏

I hope you get to try some of these places in Charleston. Let me know if you do!!!  Day 3….bring it!

***Disclaimer: The opinions in this post were my own and I haven’t been compensated for them. 

Charleston Day 1

Hubs and I are celebrating our anniversary this weekend in Charleston, SC.  I’ve been OBSESSED with coming here since I was OBSESSED with the miniseries “North and South”! Remember that?? With Patrick Swayze??? “Orrie…take me to Nawlins…” 

 We had an early morning flight out of Tampa at 8:30 to Charlotte, NC, connecting to Charleston, SC.  I always find that funny when you pass the state you need to get to…to then come backward to it! 

We are staying in Historic Downtown Charleston, where there is a lot of construction going on to improve what’s here and to help the city grow.  It’s exciting.

We had lunch at Prohibition right up the street from our hotel.  

 This place was a throw back and pays homage to the Prohibition era.  I mean any place that refers to their drinks as “hooch”, I’m GAME! 😂 

   The lunch menu was perfect because it wasn’t overwhelming.  Simple items, simple ingredients with good tastes! 
Chicken wings with a Memphis Dry rub..

 WHAT??? They are brined in pickle juice for 24 hours, then confit in duck fat, deep fried, and tossed in rub and then broiled! I’ll say again…WHAT???? Man…those were good!!

Fried Oysters 

 Theses accompanied a truffle oil aioli.  I LOVED them…and I don’t eat oysters! But  I do now….

Grilled Sweet Corn 

 This was ridiculous!  Grilled to perfection, topped with garlic aioli, manchego (cheese) with lime.  I WISH they sent mmore than just 3 small ears! I’d would have had 20!!  

 We walked around a little to wear off the food!!!

Dinner came about 3-4 hours later at Husk.  There are two locations- one here in Charleston and one in Nashville, TN. 

   Hubs picked this place out – he’s the family “cruise director” when it comes to food and drink. He always picks good places and never disappoints!! #lovehim. Husk prides themselves with selecting fresh foods from local and surrounding areas. When you walk in the foyer (it was an old house), you are greeted with a huge chalk board of all the ingredients on the menu and WHERE it came from.  They change the menu every couple of days which is nice because you don’t know what to expect. (See the menu from our visit on Jan 8th here ).


Kentucky Country Ham, Husk Bread -n- Butter Pickles, Mustard, and Buttermilk Biscuits 

WWow….was that good!! 

Glazed pig ears lettuce wraps 

 I KNOW….you are thinking “Gross!!!!!”.  It was DELICIOUS!! It was like real crispy bacon! There was a pickled cucumber slaw on top.  You MUST try it!!!


Georgia Chicken, BBQ cabbage and sweet potato, NC mountain apple, honey, tangerine jus 

Hubs had another part of the pig 😂

American Spot Heritage Pork, Field peas and Butterbeans and smoked tomato gravy  

  It didn’t disappoint!

..there were SIDES too… 

  Geechie Boy Mill cheese grits (front) and Bacon cornbread (back).  Have you heard the phrase “it’s so good, it’ll make you SLAP your Mamma!”. This would be true! (sorry Mom…I don’t really want to slap you!!❤️). Oh…the butter for the cornbread? 

 …yeah….pork fat infused honey butter homemade!!!!

But wait….there’s more!  

 Egg Nog Tres Leches.  My hubs is Cuban- American and I believe they (the Cubans, that is) know their tres leches (“3 milks” cake because it’s made with 3 different mills for us gringos!).  This was perfect with a nutmeg whipped cream and an orange marmalade base! Hubs went through the ROOF!

If you ever go (or go back) to Charleston, please add these restaurants to your places to eat. I’d love to know that you enjoyed something that you read here! 

All in all,  Day 1 in Charleston was a success…dare I say a CULINARY succes! Can’t wait to see what Day 2 brings!

Anything anyone is celebrating now???Hubs and I have 17 years of marriage on Jan 9th.

***DISCLAIMER: All of the opinions in this post were my own. I have NOT been compensated for my opinions and reviews.

Getting to Know You #5

I know…I KNOW that you’ve been dying for me to return with my “10 Day You Challenge”!! #riiiight

6 Places



20140723-214027-78027754.jpg The Opera House in Sydney! Uh yes…sign me up! “Me me me meeeeeee🎶🎶”

20140723-214027-78027270.jpgWho WOULDN’T want to see this?? ALL of this!! I’ve made or as far as New Zealand, but I’m getting there!!

2. Italy



20140723-214506-78306274.jpgA country that I have been blessed to see but was so young don’t remember much. And I would really like to appreciate the country (and WINE) through adult eyes!

3. France

20140723-215027-78627168.jpgVive la France!! I took French in middle school and high school and really didn’t a chance to use it as much as I’d would have liked to (mind you this is the 42 year old talking NOT the 14 year old!!)

20140723-215659-79019559.jpgArc de Triumph

20140723-215728-79048383.jpgI’m OBSESSED with the Lourve! I want to see literally every square inch of it!!

20140723-215904-79144402.jpgAnd there you have it…The Eiffel Tower! What is more “France” than that????

4. Spain


20140723-220539-79539172.jpg España…how I want to see you! Hubby is of Cuban decent and his connection to Spain is via his grandfathers on BOTH sides. I can wait to see this country and eat all of that scrumptious food…like THIS paella!! #omg

5. Charleston, SC
Ok…this is the ODD man out! I can’t get enough of the gentle South! I’m secretly wanting to have EVERYTHING in Southern Living magazine! I love the history and the charm that defines the South…



20140723-221401-80041084.jpgWho wouldn’t want a horse drawn carriage ride??

6. Germany


20140723-221703-80223974.jpgEVERYONE wants to see the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle! Neuschwanstein Castle is magical and I would love to see it in person…BEFORE my ball dress turns back to shreads! 😉

What do you think about this list? I’d like to point out that all of my places, with the exception of Charleston, ALL have great wines and beers! That didn’t necessarily factor into my list….probably just coincidence! 😉

Where are the places you’d like to go??

Next up….5 Foods