Never Apologize for Who You Are {Motivation Monday}

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There are hundreds of quotes that I love from Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass. This is one of them:

Never Apologize for Who You Are {Motivation Monday}

Never apologize for who you are. It lets the whole world down.

Wise words, Jen. Wise words.

I remember when we were researching dogs before we got Bailey. We had it narrowed down to two kinds: shiba inis and corgis. I’d already fallen in love with corgis after seeing them over at Posie Gets Cozy, but hubby was a tough sell. When I showed him corgi photos, he jokingly said something along the lines of, “Who wants to get a goofy-looking dog with big ears and short, little legs?” But, it didn’t take him long to fall in love with Bailey…big ears, short legs, and all! Some people may find the corgi ears and legs odd, but they are what make corgis unique in a beautiful way. In the same way, whatever “flaws” you may find in yourself are what make you you in a totally awesome way! You are you – “flaws”, strengths, and all. Remember to love yourself completely and never apologize for who you are.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

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The last day of our Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend was not only supposed to be the best weather-wise, it was my birthday, too!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Since my sister knows me (and my love of cake) so well, she made me a cake mini based on some of my recipes for breakfast!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

She topped her cake minis with a warm blueberry topping. They were so good!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

We soaked up the sun for most of the day. The weather was in the low to mid eighties, which was just right for our beach day. We hung out on the beach, swung by the pool, had a day-time drink (piña colada for me), and did our best to enjoy every fantastic minute.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

We kept lunch simple with leftovers from the previous days. I had spaghetti and meatballs. They were so good, I even enjoyed the leftovers!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

And for dinner, we had a tasty soup with a side salad with chicken slices.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

And sis made me a two-tier cake mini for my birthday dessert!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

It was so good, I didn’t want to stop eating it. Eventually, the plate was cleared of all cake and chocolate topping, so a stop was forced. Blast! The family was lucky I didn’t dig into theirs while they weren’t looking.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

In the morning, I took Bailey for a walk on the beach. I wanted to soak up every ounce of Kiawah Island that I could before the road trip home.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 3}

And after a quick breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to Kiawah Island. Till next time!

Overall, we enjoyed a beautiful weekend at Kiawah Island that was made better by the company of my family, husband, and Bailey. The icing on the cake wasn’t chocolate or blueberry sauce. It was my sister planning and executing such a thoughtful and delicious menu the whole family could enjoy. She made a Google doc ahead of the weekend with every delicious meal planned out. No detail was too small, and the menu worked out great. Thanks, Sis!

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

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I almost didn’t take my DSLR camera on the boat ride at Mingo Point. I get kind of protective with my camera and the thought of anything happening to it made me a little nervous. But, the sun was starting to set, and I was hoping to get a couple good shots. Little did I know how many I’d take! We got to enjoy the most beautiful sunset on the marsh at Kiawah Island.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

The sunset started off with a simple glow, but things really took off from there.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

First we saw a full rainbow. As we continued down the marsh, the rainbow got brighter and more vibrant. I’d never seen a rainbow that was so clear and colorful.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

And suddenly, the rainbow became a double-rainbow! The outer one wasn’t as vibrant, but it was also a full arch. Everyone on the boat tried to capture a photo, but we were too close to get the whole thing in one shot.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

And as we continued, the sky caught on fire and glowed and glowed the whole way back to the pier.

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

Sunset on the Marsh at Kiawah Island

We really lucked out with the timing of our boat ride. It couldn’t have been more perfect for so many amazing sunset photos! The views were truly breathtaking!

After the boat ride, we headed back to Mingo Point to grab dinner with the rest of the fam. So many great birthday treats in one day!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

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When my parents first suggested going to Kiawah Island for my birthday weekend, I scoffed at the idea. To me, the beaches near Charleston (Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, etc.) were easier and faster to get to, so why bother driving an extra 30 minutes? Though I love road trips, I don’t like being in the car longer than I need to be. But, when I went to Kiawah Island for my birthday last year, I fell in love with the place. I couldn’t wait to go back, and I took off extra days this year to enjoy the island a little longer.

Last year, we made the mistake of planning to eat out for most of the meals. There aren’t many restaurants at Kiawah Island, and they’re all pretty pricey. Luckily, if you stay in a house or villa with a kitchen and plan ahead, you can enjoy home-cooked meals on the island. My sister took the lead on planning an efficient and delicious set of meals for our entire vacation, and she did a fantastic job. I can’t wait to share photos from the weekend of the beach and the eats!

Here are some photos from the first day. We got a later start than we expected on Thursday, so we only had time to enjoy dinner and head to bed. So, I’ll count Thursday night and all day Friday as “day 1″…

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Sis planned a light dinner for Thursday of chickpeas over bulgar.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We had fried plantains for dessert.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

One of my favorite things about Kiawah is the lush scenery. There are tree-covered paths and boardwalks all around. If you stay in the right place, the beach is a short walk away.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

On Friday, we started with fresh-baked zucchini muffins, sausage, and spinach-pepper omelets.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We lucked out on the weather. It was supposed to rain all day, but we caught some sunshine in the morning. It was just enough to hit up the beach for a couple hours.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We thought we may be able to use these beach chairs, but they had reserved signs on them. There was plenty of space on the beach to spread out.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Mine?”

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

For lunch, we had breaded chicken, beans from the garden, and mashed potatoes with vegan gravy.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Yum!

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

After lunch, sis and I headed out for a bike ride around the island.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

We had pasta for dinner – vegan for dad.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

And sis went above and beyond and baked bread from scratch! She made two loaves of delicious rye bread.

Kiawah Island Birthday Beach Weekend {Day 1}

While dad had vegan pasta with whole wheat noodles, the rest of us had fresh-spaghetti with homemade meatballs.

We were off to a wonderful weekend already! I’ll share the rest of the photos soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Dumpling Making Party

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My friend Briana had a dumpling making party this weekend, and it was so much fun!

I even went with her to the Grand Asia Market for some pre-party grocery shopping and lunch earlier in the day. You can check out photos of our adventure on either my Facebook or Instagram account.

Dumpling Making Party

As for the dumpling making party, we all got hands on prepping the ingredients, from chopping to mixing. The dumpling filling was made with ground pork, fresh ginger, and bok choy (plus a couple other things, I think). Once everything was prepped, we hand formed hundreds of tiny dumplings. Briana was our lead dumpling making instructor, and she showed us how to fold the dumplings.

Dumpling Making Party

There were two ways to make the dumplings: 1) with the dumpling press and 2) by hand. There are videos for both on my Instagram if you want to see a visual.

I went straight for the by-hand folding. One thing I didn’t realize was that you only fold one side of the dumpling along the top. The back side stays flat/straight. Who knew? Briana family’s method was to start at one side and fold all the way down to the other. Another one of Briana’s friends showed her grandmother’s way, which was to start in the middle and fold outwards, one side at a time. They were both beautiful…once you got the folding down.

Dumpling Making Party

We filled up a few different trays full of beautiful dumplings just waiting to be steamed.

Dumpling Making Party

After a quick trip to the sauna (bamboo steamer)…

Dumpling Making Party

…they were ready to eat!

Dumpling Making Party

Attack! I tell ya, those dumplings did not last long!

Dumpling Making Party

I mean look at them!

Briana made a special dumpling dipping sauce for everyone to enjoy with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and green onion. It was very good and perfect drizzled over those warm dumplings fresh from the steamer.

Dumpling Making Party

After a few rounds of dumplings, we also enjoyed a vegetable stir-fry.

Dumpling Making Party

And for dessert – I ate my first fresh lychee. They were much easier to peel than I expected. Once you got it started, it came off pretty easily.

Dumpling Making Party

And check out my new friend. It’s Beto the beta fish. Isn’t he cute?

Thank you, Briana, for the fun dumpling making party! I can’t wait to make (and eat) more!

One More Outer Banks Trip Recap

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Finally! My last Outer Banks recap. I was hoping to get all of these posts done sooner, but they’re better late than never, I hope. I had a few more photos from our Outer Banks trip that I wanted to share with you guys.

Outer Banks Trip

Mostly sunset photos.

Outer Banks Trip

The family requested that hubby and I make our now famous crock pot chili. Hubby’s sister and family are vegetarian, so we made the whole batch sans meat. The flavor is still great, and the beans keep it filling.

Outer Banks Trip

And to keep things simple, we brought some Great Harvest jalapeño cheddar cornbread, which we sliced and toasted under the broiler. We also had some salad on the side with garden-fresh tomatoes.

Outer Banks Trip

This chili dinner feeds the whole family and is great every year!

Outer Banks Trip

We were hanging outside later when this crazy corgi jumped right up to the top of this picnic table just as pictured. Oh, Bailey!

***

And I didn’t quite get the sunset photos I’d hoped for, but here are some from one of the nights:

Outer Banks Trip

Outer Banks Trip

Outer Banks Trip

Outer Banks Trip

Outer Banks Trip

The dogs had fun playing outside. Hubby played frisbee with Bailey while I snapped away on my camera.

Outer Banks Trip

I hoped for one more chance at sunset photos on the last night, but it was so stormy! The wind was blowing like crazy, and the sky was totally overcast and gray.

Outer Banks Trip

We had a great time during our first trip to the Outer Banks. The trip there may not be short, but it’s definitely worth it for the relaxation, beautiful beaches, and yummy food!

Catching up? Here are my other Outer Banks blog posts:

Thanks for reading!

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