FitBloggin 2014 – Around Savannah, GA


When I attend conferences, I almost always try to maximize my free time on the last day. Most conferences end in the morning leaving the rest of the day with plenty of time for more adventures. Since I drove to Savannah, this was especially easy to do for FitBloggin. And I’m so glad I decided to stay in town after the conference ended. I got to spend some time with some great bloggers.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

There was one shop I definitely wanted to hit up before leaving town – The Savannah Bee Company. I headed there with Shannyn, Kyra, Martinus, and Nikki. We wanted to do a mead tasting, but sadly, they weren’t able to do one until 12:30pm since it was a Sunday.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Luckily, there were plenty of other things to check out in the shop. The Savannah Bee Company not only has a wide variety of honey flavors, but they have other treats, from lotions to honey-roasted coffee.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

They have a great sample bar at the front where you can taste the honeys the shop offers. I was surprised at how much the honeys differed in taste. The tupelo and winter white were my standout favorites, so I brought a bottle of each home to enjoy later.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I also tried the honey comb, which was really good. It’s sweet, warm, and chewy. I’ve always wanted to try honey comb straight up, so this was a real treat for me! There was also bread, apples, and cheese in case you wanted to make a savory-sweet sample.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Our next stop was a cupcake shop just down the block, Sweet Carolina Cupcakes.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I hadn’t planned to eat any cupcakes since we hadn’t had lunch yet, and I was still hoping to score some macarons. But, when Martinus kindly offered for each of us to share a bite of his red velvet cupcake, I couldn’t resist. It was delicious, and the frosting was nice and buttery. Thank you, Martinus!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Blogger shenanigans}

One of my favorite things about attending conferences is how you’re around people who are just as weird as you are. Every group has their quirks, and I love the blogger ones. We totally get taking lots of photos of food, photos of people taking photos of food, selfless galore, and other randomness. I love hanging out with fellow bloggers!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

After a couple more photo ops, Martinus and Nikki headed back to the hotel to catch a tour. I wish I’d had more time in Savannah to participate in one of the many historic tours they offered. Guess I’ll just have to go back soon!

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

Kyra, Shannyn, and I had worked up an appetite, so we headed back towards the river to grab lunch. En route, we learned that the macaron shop was closed on Sunday. That was a bummer, but I was happy to at least have some delicious honey to enjoy at home later. Plus, I had one more stop I really wanted to make, and I had a good feeling they’d be open.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We hit up the Chart House, which was located in a beautiful stone building right on River Street. We had a great view of the bridge and passing boats. The weather was warm, but we opted to eat out. With the breeze, it was really lovely.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I was torn between two very different options for my lunch order – a salad or the short ribs. I’ve been on a short rib kick lately, so I figured what the heck, why not get those today. They were a little tougher than I wanted, but the flavor was delicious. It was a heavy choice for lunch outside, but it’s what I was feeling.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

{Shannyn, Me, Kyra}

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

For our last shop stop, we visited River Street Sweets. I really wanted to pick up some pralines for hubby, and I scored one pound to take home. The shop had chocolate and original flavors, but I opted for 100% original.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

I had to be out of the parking deck of the hotel by 3pm, and the girls had flights to catch, but we had about another hour to spend around town. So, we opted to check out some of squares in town.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We took a leisurely walk through the squares, marveling at the giant, arching trees with their sweeping branches covered in moss.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

There were historic monuments throughout. You could spend a long time wandering around, checking out all the sites and reading all the plaques. It’s a nice setup.

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA


FitBloggin 2014 - Around Savannah, GA

We made it to the location of Forrest Gump’s bench, which has since been moved to a museum, before turning back towards the hotel. Our afternoon walking around Savannah was the perfect end to a beautiful weekend. Thank you Shannyn, Kyra, Martinus, and Nikki for helping me end the conference on a sweet note! Let’s get cupcakes in Denver, too!

I felt ready to head home but also like I wanted the FitBloggin fun to continue. I’d met so many great people throughout the weekend, and I look forward to keeping up with them over social media and potentially to even seeing them in person! As you may have read on other FitBloggin posts, the event was really great for a blogger recharge. I spent the drive home feeling really appreciative for the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event. I was also really inspired by so many of the other bloggers who attended. I could spend all year hearing their stories about their healthy living journeys.

With my batteries feeling super-charged, I also brainstormed how I could apply the inspiration and learnings of the weekend to make both my blog and life better. I must say, I’m especially inspired to start blogging about healthy living again. That used to be a big focus here on The Chic Life, and I’ve dialed back in recent years. Well, I’m ready to bring that back to the blog with renewed energy. I also want to do more posts to give back and share some of the things Ive learned over the years to help my fellow bloggers as others have helped me. So, long story short (TL;DR) stay tuned for some posts on health & wellness and some tutorials coming up!

Thank you to Roni and everyone who helped make FitBloggin another success! I met so many great people over the weekend, and I wish I had gotten more photos with all of them. To those I met, please know I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with you, even if only for a short time. Hope to see everyone in Denver in 2015!


Here are my other FitBloggin 2014 recap posts:


Thanks for stopping by!

FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 2 Recap


On Friday, I was still feeling the nerves from my “adventures” the day before, but I was also really excited to dive into the first full day of the conference. Here’s FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 2 Recap…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The breakfast buffet had all my favorites – oatmeal (with a nice selection of toppings), eggs, fresh fruit, and bacon. Yum!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Thanks to sponsors like Ninja Kitchen, there were lots of healthy and tasty snacks around for most of the day. The Ninja Kitchen was my favorite because they kept putting out new flavors of delicious smoothies throughout the weekend. Smoothies are always a good idea, and I enjoyed some of their unique flavor combinations, like the yellow one that had turmeric in it.


For my first session of the conference, I went to Valerie’s small group discussion on How to Organize Community Wellness Programs. Valerie talked about her experience planning events, including what worked for her and didn’t. She led the conversation in a really open and friendly way, encouraging open dialog in the room while also shared some of her personal tips. As the session went on, others in the room shared their experiences, too, making for a great conversation. There were so many people in the room who had organized events like a 5k (or longer) race or charity fundraiser. It was inspiring to hear everyone’s stories about the good they were doing for their respective communities. It made me wonder if there’s more I could do for mine.

Click here to read the Live Blog from Valerie’s presentation.

After this session, I went quickly to the front desk of the Hyatt to see if my wallet had arrived to put an end to my worries still stemming from the day before. Hubby said the package would be there by noon according to USPS, so I was hoping it had arrived early since it was a bit before 11am. I was so worried that the darn thing got lost in the mail or something. Luckily, they found the package just fine. I was just so relieved that the madness of the missing wallet was over. Now, it was time to engage in the conference and prepare (calm my nerves and finish my slides) for my upcoming presentation on Saturday. Eep!

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Since I keep toying with the idea of making videos, I went to Dre’s presentation on mobile video.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Dre was like a magician and kept pulling out new tools and supplies throughout his presentation. It was really cool to see how much you could do with mobile video if you had the right tools for the job. Dre talked about getting a tripod, using a bluetooth remote to start and stop the camera, using a microphone, and even passed on suggestions for affordable lighting options. He talked about which tools to use and the best ways to use them. And he even helped troubleshoot for some of the session attendees. Dre put an Amazon list of his equipment recommendations on his blog. The session did leave me wanting to create some videos for guys, but I’m still on the fence.

I actually have recorded a couple videos (dance fitness choreography, shoe reviews, etc.) to share with you guys, but I’ve been way too nervous to actually upload them to The Chic Life’s YouTube account. I don’t really like the way I look or sound on video. And once the video camera (or iPhone camera) is on and recording, it’s like I forget how to talk or act. I’m basically like this. But, maybe one day I’ll work past all that. I mean, if I look at my old food photos from years ago, they’re awful. Maybe that’s just the way things go and you just need to start somewhere and learn and improve over time?

Click here to read the Live Blog from Dre’s presentation on mobile video.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The lunch spread was wonderful. The buffet started with quinoa and pasta salads. There was also fresh fruit…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

…and a ton of salad toppings.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And we also got to build our own sandwiches. And there were Mrs Vickie’s chips at the end with my favorite flavor – salt and vinegar.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

The whole group ate together in one of the larger rooms where we saw a presentation from Disney with a special guest…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Mickey! As you can tell from all the cameras going up, we were pretty excited. We learned about Disney’s training camps for kids and about some of their Run Disney events.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

I think most of us know about the princess races, but did you know they have a Run Disney Star Wars Weekend event now? That’s right. It could be enough to convince my husband to start running. Maybe. Just maybe. (Too bad it’s sold out already!)

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

In the afternoon, I went to ESPN blogger Stephania’s session on How to Build a Respected Blog. Her presentation validated a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately. I used to love to blog about health, nutrition, and wellness, but I’ve dialed back in recent years. My fear was that I wasn’t qualified to talk about these subjects. Stephania pointed out that you can share your personal story and cite resources for information outside of your knowledge/expertise. This is something I’ve been doing to a small extent with some of my recipe posts (like this almond butter smoothie recipe), but I’m hoping to apply it to some more healthy living posts going forward. Stephania also suggested interviewing people who are experts in a given area, which is another wonderful idea.

You can read more about Stephania’s session on the Live Blog about it by clicking here.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

{Photo courtesy of Katrina Elle}

After the sessions, I met up with Katy and also got to meet Katrina and Brendon for some afternoon practice and fun randomness, including dancing, headstands, and handstands. As you can see from the photo, we had a good time. These are some fun peeps! I wish they all lived closer! #headsdownforwhat

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

When I went back up to my room to change, I heard a loud horn coming from outside. A giant ship was passing under the bridge and coming down the river. It probably doesn’t look like much from the photo, but the ship seemed gigantic, like it took over the whole river.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Later, I headed downstairs for the Friday night festivities. Katy was rocking her new Live Chic tank.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And another ship passed behind us while we were at…

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

Ignite Fitness. If you don’t know what Ignite is, you can watch this video to learn more. It’s basically a short presentation where you get a limited amount of time to cover each slide. There were informative presentations, but I liked the deep, personal stories the most. Alan’s in particular stood out to me because it was so inspiring.

FitBloggin 2014 - My Day 2 Recap

And what night wouldn’t be complete without a dance flash mob. Oh yea!


Next up – FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 3 Recap.

In case you missed it – here’s FitBloggin 2014 – My Day 1 Recap.

Thanks for stopping by!

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe


Go ahead and book this one for your post-Easter meal – a Vegetarian Barley Blacked Eyed Pea Soup recipe. After indulging in the traditions – ham, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and what not – you’re going to want something a little on the lighter side afterwards.

But this Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup recipe isn’t just great for a post-feast recovery meal. You can use it for a light entrée any time. In fact, I made a big batch of this one Sunday and saved off individual servings to store in the freezer for later. I’ve had them after post-work workouts and just-plain lazy days, and they’ve been a relief to have on hand. Served with saltines or (my preference) toasted whole grain bread with a light smear of butter, this is easy eats perfection.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

If you’ve been reading The Chic Life for long, you know I’m a big fan of homemade soup.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

There aren’t many things I think re-heat better, and I’m so over canned soup. I haven’t had any in years since the canned versions usually have so many extra, unnecessary ingredients and entirely too much salt. With each passing year, I’m turning more and more into that stubborn old woman who knows exactly what she wants and demands nothing less, and I’m okay with that.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Did I mention there’s kale in this Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup recipe? Yep. As you know, I’m a fan of this dark green superfood. And hey, it’s one of the most hipster foods, apparently.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Guess I’d better stock up on craft beer and PBR to make this a complete meal.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe makes for a great, light meal for lunch or dinner or even a nice, cozy snack. Enjoy with toasted whole grain bread or saltines.
*Vegetarian, vegan*
Serves: 8
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium-large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 32-ounce boxes broth of choice
  • 2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package (8.8 ounces) 10 minute barley from Trader Joe’s, rinsed (or sub any type of barley, but adjust cooking time, as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 6 sprays Bragg’s Amino Acids, optional
  • fresh parsley, chopped, optional
  1. Pre-heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add broth, black eyed peas, barley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until barley is done, 12-15 minutes (or until cooked according to package directions if you’re using another type of barley). Add more water if you want the soup more brothy.
  4. If using, spray in Bragg’s Amino Acids. Taste test and season with additional salt and/or pepper (or Bragg’s), as needed.
  5. Serve. Garnish with fresh parsley, if using, and enjoy.
Note: I used 10 minute barley from Trader Joe’s, which I recently discovered. This saves a lot of cooking time since most barley cooks for more like 45-50 minutes, but you can use any type of barley you wish. Just be sure to cook the soup long enough so the barley is the texture you want.

Note: If you store the leftovers for later, you may notice the barley soaks up more of the liquid. When you go to re-heat it, you may wish to add some more broth or water to make it more liquidy.

Ingredient Note: I really like the canned black eyed peas from Eden Organic. Not only are the beans organic, the can is BPA free. The ingredients are simply organic black eyed peas, water, and kombu seaweed. Eden Organic uses the kombu instead of salt when cooking their beans since it offers many benefits, including adding flavor and working as a tenderizer for dried beans.



Happy cooking!

Christmas Part Deux 2013


I hope you all had wonderful holidays this year!

We spent the first half of our Christmas celebrations with hubby’s family in Durham, NC, where we helped Santa bring the tree for the kiddos on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, I caught a 24 hour bug of some sorts and ended up sick on Christmas, so I didn’t take any photos from the day. I slept through a lot of the day, but I did get to partake in two of the key family events – Christmas morning and Christmas dinner. I definitely didn’t want to miss hubby’s family (especially the kids!) opening their presents or catching up with his extended family.


We headed to Greenville the day after Christmas for part deux of our celebrations.


By this point, I was not feeling 100%, but I definitely felt a lot better!


Bailey, on the other hand, had an absolute blast.


He got to open a ton of presents…



…and this year my family even got him his own stocking with a “B” on it. So cute!



I think he was feeling a bit like the Happy Bunny – “It’s all about me. Deal with it.”


Mom made me some of her famous Get Well Soup (which I’ve blogged about before – click here for the recipe).


We ended up having to push our Christmas dinner back a couple days (since I’m easing my way back to food), which I feel bad about, but better late than never, right? I’m just so thankful we’ve been able to spend so many days with each of our families. It’s so nice to have some good down time with the people we love to end the year.

Insta-Chic {11/9/2013} – Bailey, Vegetables, and Nan and Byron’s


Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far! Just wanted to pop in with some recent Instagram photos and updates from me…


Bailey’s been a little sick, but he’s on new medicine and feeling much better. Woohoo!


I made a new Green Monster flavor the other day – a fall-themed flavor! Hope to share it soon!

Sorry for the delay in posting my last recipe for the cinnamon spelt doughnuts. I had it drafted up and ready to publish early last week, and then we lost our internet connection for two days. Bah! Not that anyone is waiting with bated breath for my next post, but I’ve been hoping to post more frequently, and my schedule has working against me on this, much to my frustration. But, hey, a girl’s gotta pay the bills, right?


I’ve been working on my vegetable consumption, and I’ve also tried to do better about supporting my local farmer’s market. Is it just me or does life seem to get in the way allowing convenience to take precedent? I’ve been doing pretty good about visiting the market at least once a week recently. I have a new vegetable addiction (if such a thing is even possible): vitamin greens! Have you heard of them? They are greens that are high in many vitamins and have a similar texture to bok choy. For my vegetable consumption, I’ve been focusing on eating more leafy greens, and these have been wonderful.


I’ve been getting one bunch per week from a local vendor at Atherton Mills Market in Southend, and I even brought home the last beautiful bunch they had today. I’m thinking they’ll make a pretty fantastic side with dinner tonight.


While I was at the market, I swung by Not Just Coffee. Their coffees are so delicious. I’ve really been enjoying their mocha. Yum!


Also near Atherton Mills Market is the Savory Spice Shop. I swung by there the other day to stock up on baking ingredients. I’m so ready for some holiday baking – cookies, cakes, pies. Yesss!


Anyone looking for a good way to re-heat roasted brussels sprouts? Put them in a sauté pan with a little oil. The taste and texture is so much better than what you’d get if you used a microwave.


For eats lately, here’s a lovely lunch from this past week by Roots Farm Food. I had a pulled pork sandwich with kale apple slaw on a warmed pita with a side of ginger carrot salad. It was delicious, locally-sourced, and so enjoyable to eat.


And I finally escaped my usual lunch-at-my-work-desk to have lunch with co-workers at Bentley’s. It was my first time eating there, and the view is so nice from that high. It was great getting away from the office, and the food did not disappoint. I had the grilled mahi mahi and nearly licked my plate clean I liked it so much.


And I rounded out my week of fantastic eats with a trip to Nan and Byron’s on their grand opening night with my Epic Eater friends. As a fan of 5 Church and chef Jamie, I had no doubt the meal would be spectacular. We started with the Train Wreck fries and Peppedew Poppers. I’m not normally a fan of pepper poppers, but I would absolutely order those again here. The fries were rich and perfect for the cold day. For my entree, I had the beet slider with mojito fries. The combination of ingredients on the burger was unique and a great mix of flavors and textures. The fries were just-right crispy and seasoned perfectly. I’m not sure if I’d order this again next time only because I had my eye on several other things on the menu that I can’t wait to try! But, it was really good, so I guess I’ll just have to see what mood I’m in when I’m back.

Thanks for stopping by!

Birthday Lunch at Jasmine Porch


After our beautiful morning on the beach at Kiawah Island, we decided to enjoy a birthday celebration lunch. We opted for a lunch instead of dinner, which worked out well since many of the restaurants on the island were shut down due to weddings and private parties.


We decided to visit the restaurant that most caught my eye – Jasmine Porch. I loved how the restaurant is big into supporting local farmers, so they had my vote.



Lunch started off great with a basket of breads and two kinds of toppings…pimento cheese…


…and (I believe) honey thyme butter.


We decided to share an appetizer and entrée for extra variety.


We started with the Summer Tomato Tasting – “Heirloom Tomatoes, Sol Haven Arugula, Garlic”. This is half! They went ahead and made things easier for us by splitting our dishes in half.


For the main event, we shared Lunch on the Porch – “Crab Cake Slider, Roasted Beet Salad, She-Crab Soup.”


Can you believe this is half?! Everything on the plate was so delicious and handmade save the ketchup. Hubby thought the crab cake slider was the best crab cake he’d ever had. I had to agree. We also enjoyed all the other components of the lunch as very happy eaters. I was impressed to learn the even the french fries are made from scratch at Jasmine Porch – sliced on site, breaded, frozen, and fried. They were also seasoned perfectly, as was everything else on the plate.


Dad got vegan pasta that was made with cornmeal and flavored with lavender. He also got a side of watermelon jalapeño gazpacho.


Sis got the burger with a side of fresh fruit. The burger was gigantic!

The table was pretty quiet when the food arrived – a sure sign of everyone enjoying their delicious lunch.


Near the end of the meal, we were happily surprised with complimentary champagne…


…and crème brûlée. Not only was the plate beautifully decorated, the dessert was delicious – creamy and speckled with vanilla bean.

The lunch couldn’t’ have been more perfect. From the wonderfully prepared food to the exceptional service (ask for OT!), I was one happy birthday girl.


From inside, we could see butterflies floating all around. They’re all over Kiawah Island, but there were extra behind the restaurant where they have a butterfly garden.


We walked around the grounds of The Sanctuary hotel to see more of the butterflies.



Just behind the restaurant is a sign with distances to the farms used in the restaurant.


It was beautiful there! We’d love to stay here sometime. Maybe one day?


After dinner, we definitely had birthday cake! All in all, it was a great way to spend my birthday! I was very appreciate of the experience and the quality time with my family.

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