HLS or Bust (Check!)

It was touch and go today, but Katie and I just wrapped up our epic road trip to HLS. Phew! It went a little longer than we expected thanks to a crazy storm working it’s way across the East coast, but I’m home safe and sound. Yesssss…

I have lots more photos and notes from HLS Saturday to share, but for now, it’s time for bed! I have to work tomorrow!

If you didn’t read it already, you can click here to view the post I wrote about our brunch in DC and the HLS cocktail party.


HLS or Bust (Pit Stop DC)

Things got a little hectic this morning at the Chic house. Even with all my pre-planning, I just had a lot to do last minute to get ready for HLS. Mostly, I spent the morning making goodies to share with my blends at HLS. I wanted to wait until the last minute to bake everything so it would be as fresh as possible for the conference.

All in all, I:

  • packed (I had most of my stuff laid out but actually packed it up this morning)
  • baked several batches of both sugar and chocolate chip cookie dough balls, including one extra batch
  • decorated sugar cookie dough balls
  • baked Chic bars
  • packed my Chic-a-roons
  • blogged
  • checked email
  • made a Green Monster smoothie

Here’s a sneak peek of the goods…

Dough balls (sugar cookie and chocolate chip)

Chic-a-roons (made these for my roomies)

The sugar cookie dough balls…with the frosting this time (in TCL blue!).

Plus, I made Chic bars. Mmm


Katie came by around 11:30am and we hit the road for HLS! HLS or bust baby!

We had a lot of your tips in order: lots of music and def lots of healthy snacks! No books or podcasts since we were so busy chit-chatting. ;)

We made a quick stop in Durham for lunch. I promised Katie it was a foodie town with a focus on local foods, and we found a cute local spot for eats. This restaurant was a bit further off the highway than fast food joints, but so worth the extra 10-ish minutes!

The restaurant was International Delights right near Duke University campus. Katie and I were really excited since we both love Mediterranean food.

We both got the International plate (falafel, hummus, foul mouddamas, tabbouleh, and pita). It was wonderful!

Homemade baklava. We got one on the house (before they found out we were food bloggers…just because they’re so nice there).

Thanks International Delights for the yummy eats! That was the best pit stop we could have had! :)

Soon enough, we passed Richmond.

Most of the trip looked like this – semi-busy roads – lots of green trees.

And not before too long, we were in DC! Check out the rainbow beside the monument!

I loved seeing all the DC landmarks – Lincoln Memorial – the Monument. I just wish I had time to stay and site see!

After meeting up with Katie’s friends and changing, we headed out for dinner.

Katie’s fabulous friends took us to one of their favorite DC spots – Zaytinya.

From their web site:

Zaytinya offers an innovative mezze menu inspired by Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisines served up in a sleek and modern setting.

We got lots of this yummy, pita-like bread.

“Brussel sprouts, coriander seed, barberries, garlic yogurt.”

“Sautéed shrimp, dill, shallots, mustard, lemon juice.”

A Date with Rose (cocktail) – “Chairman’s Reserve Rum, Date Syrup, Almond Foam”.

And a mini chocolate Turkish cake (with cardamom) for dessert.

Everything was so delicious! Yum!


Katie and I have a short (ish) drive to Philly tomorrow. We’re going to play things by ear and leave whenever we want, but we’ll be in Philly in time for tomorrow’s cocktail party for sure!


Reader question: What types of eats do you do on road trips? Do you eat out? Pack your own food?

How to Have a Cheesy Beach Trip

Of all the greatest questions on earth, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “Self, how exactly does one have a cheesy beach trip?”


Luckily for you, I have the answer!


(But first, please admire this TCL blue mug used at breakfast!) Smile


Enjoy the obligatory hotel-on-the-beach breakfast buffet.


But remember to Veg-Up and eat your fruits and veggies, too.


Spend lots of QT at the beach (but be safe and use sun screen or take time in the shade if needed)


(now here’s where it starts getting cheesy)

Get matching hemp anklets, but make sure you each pick your favorite color…sort of like super heroes – matching, but unique.


Cruise “the strip.”


Get a tattoo.


Or better yet…a henna tattoo.


Make lots of beach snacks, like Michael’s homemade guacamole.


And nachos. Nachos are great beach food.


Last, but not least…please be sure to get matching shirts. Bonus points if you get something either a.) printed or b.) spray painted onto the shirts.

Please be sure to check my Facebook page for hermit crab updates. Winking smile

What’s the cheesiest thing you’ve done on a beach vacation?

New Pet & Italian at the Beach

Did you guess correctly from my previous post?


The first thing we did when we got to the beach was purchase a new pet – a hermit crab!


Isn’t she cute? It is undetermined at this point who exactly will take the crab home, but I’m thinking it’s Megan.


Of course, a trip to the beach was next on the list. We got to the beach around 2 pm, so after hotel check in, shopping, and settling in, we had a good couple hours of sunlight.


Being the food geek that I am, I offered to research restaurants and found this neat little Italian place called Ciao after extensive google searching and restaurant review web site scoping.


Ciao had stellar reviews, and what I primarily learned was:

  • Make a reservation no matter what night of the week it is
  • The restaurant is small (it is! I think they have 20 tables?)
  • The walnut ravioli is popular
  • The food is awesome


I found the reviews to be true. Since I called the restaurant around 5pm for a dinner reservation, I wasn’t sure if we’d make the cut. We barely got the last minute reservation, but everything worked out. Hazzah!

The interior of the restaurant was super cute! Very cozy and romantic. I think the place would be good for a date night or evening with friends.


The bread was wonderful and was served nice and warm with a crusty outside and tender inside.


Especially dipped in this yummy herb oil (perhaps pesto?).


I shared eats with Erica because we are food sharing soul mates.

We go the shrimp over polenta cakes for an appetizer. Not only were they beautiful, but they tasted great, too.


We were torn between several entrees but ended up splitting the Chicken Ciao (chicken with zucchini, roasted red pepper, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce) and doing a share charge to get an extra salad (which I forgot to photograph).

The salad was awesome – definitely get the homemade Italian dressing!


We also got a side of spaghetti marinara for a side. Loved that marinara sauce – simple but delish!

I’m so glad I did my online research because the reviewers, like usual, were right! Ciao Italian restaurant was a real winner. I know it seems a bit silly to eat Italian (and not seafood) whilst at the beach, but trust me…it’s worth it!


After dinner, we hit up the grocery store to stock up for the rest of the week. We have eats for two lunches, one dinner, and enough water to last the rest of the trip. Score!

Reader question: Do you prefer to cook food or eat out when you travel? While many hotels/rentals typically have kitchen goods, I usually prefer to just eat out. Although I love to cook, I guess I’m just more comfortable doing so at my house. Winking smile

Sweet Beach Treats

I was so excited to wake up today and be on vacation!


I happily checked the raw coconut macaroons I’d been dehydrating since before (a late) dinner last night.


After enjoying the delicious smells that had been filling my house overnight, I had just a short wait before I actually got to enjoy the flavor.


I also woke up early this morning to make a special request from Megan…


My famous Green Monster muffins!


I made the regular version, but the vegan version is available here in case you’d like to check these out. They seriously super yummy!


They made for great road trip eats!


And you’ll never guess what we did as soon as we got to the beeeeeach! Winking smile Any guesses?

Which beach treat would you rather have? Green Monster muffins or coconut macaroons?!

Mountain Greetings

Greetings from the Carolina mountains!


We’re having a blast here enjoying the fresh mountain air and some winter activities.


We even went ice skating!


And we found some really interesting stuff in this book at a coffee shop in Boone, NC. Reeeeally interesting. ;)

I’ll be back tomorrow with lots more photos (80 of them!), but for now…it’s late, so I’m off to catch some zzzzzzzzsssssss.

Oh and my taste testers have sent in positive reviews of that coconut cream pie. Suh-weet! I need to make another batch and if all goes well, I’ll be sharing the recipe soon! Woohoo!

Hope you’re all having a fabulous weekend!  *Hugs*

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