Tupelo Honey: The Bees’ Knees

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Holy goodness!

That is my ecstatic exclamation in response to Tupelo Honey’s opening in downtown.

Now I know this restaurant isn’t necessarily authentic Greenville because it started in Asheville and just happened to trickle down to our sweet and dainty city, but it is indicative of that smooth as molasses lifestyle we have going on here. That whole mason jar, fresh dandelion, distressed wood, southern essence that pervades much of this region.  I’m guessing you could say it’s a chain, with five locations, but as it originated in a neighboring city, only forty minutes North, we might as well claim it as our own, right? No one really has to know.  And the fact that I have frequented this joint three times in four days is testament that it’s worth dedicating some viral space.

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I’ve only been to Tupelo once before it opened in Greenville, in the downtown Asheville location, where I had some smashing sweet potato pancakes after a day spent shopping with my girl Kristen, but it was memorable all the same. For the longest time I thought it was “Two Pillow Honey” and I always chimed in on the restaurant decision making, saying I wanted to go to “Two Pillow Honey.” That’s not as bad as the couple who came into Anthropologie the other day, which is conveniently located next door (the best combo on the planet- shopping at Anthro and brunch at Tupelo), who asked me where “Triple Honey” was. So the name is going to take some getting used to. But the food….that will charm you as soon as it hits your taste buds. As soon as the complimentary roll is passed under your nose, hot and flaky, complete with blackberry jam and in-house honey. Best part of the meal in my opinion. Like having dessert before the main course.

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I’d describe the food here as home cookin’ but in a refined, polished sort of way. Although a generous amount of butter is probably used in their food, I wouldn’t say it’s used excessively. But can there ever be too much butter in food??? I described it to someone as a Cracker Barrel but elegant. Although they scoffed at my portrayal, I would say it’s pretty accurate, minus that bemusing triangle game and large checker board that appear in every Cracker Barrel.

The three times I have stopped in I have ordered the same thing, the veggie plate, which consists of four side item choices served up pretty and speedily I might add. You could get in and out of here in under an hour if there wasn’t any wait time. Which there usually is because it’s just so darn yummy and such a novelty right now.

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My choice of sweet potato fries, fried okra, parmesan corn, and smashed cheesy cauliflower were seriously heaven on earth. My friend, Meg, described the corn as tasting like “movie theatre popcorn.” And the pickled okra that comes with each meal is the perfect garnish to round out a truly fabulous meal. They served me a very large portion, which I ended up eating only about half of, so I took the rest home for leftovers. I then proceeded to eat them two hours later. You know you’re gluttonous when…. Do not judge. I needed something to munch on while the Mad Men season finale aired.

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The raspberry iced tea was mighty fine and pretty refreshing too. Not too sickly sweet and overpowering but just the right dosage of tea and fruitiness. I usually try to be a healthy/frugal girl and order water when I eat, but this tea and also the mint lemonade were worth those extra calories. And all that picking up my fork and picking up my glass must have burnt some amount of calories ;)…. However, judging by the way my summer white jeans hugged my stomach after I left, maybe not.

And the distinguishable décor that adorns the inside of the restaurant, just too cool. You remember this restaurant not only for its delectability but also for its nifty tea cup and spoon chandelier, multi-colored renovated wood, and cozy sitting area in the “Pickled Okra” bar. It has a little bit of that granola, artsy, hippy lovin’, peace on earth, feel of Asheville.

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How remarkably original and creative. This visual aesthetic of this particular restaurant is phenomenal and your commenting on it will take up any wait time you may have for your food. It’s so unique and creates such a hospitable environment to gorge yourself in. And believe me. You will gorge. It’s too enticing not to.

I will rave about this restaurant to anyone who will listen, but that is not to say it wasn’t without a few glitches. They forgot the hot sauce. They ran out of to-go boxes. They mixed up our credit cards. They didn’t put any ice in my drink. There were a few pieces of meat mixed into my veggies which makes an extreme vegetarian choke. They overcompensated for the wait time.

But it has only been open less than a week so I’m sure those will shortly be sorted out.  And the wait staff and all the employees were more than welcoming and kind. And it doesn’t change my opinion anyway. I just care about the food and what it tastes like honestly. As long as it’s served hot!!! I do not eat to live. This girl right here lives to eat!!!!! Full belly, happy heart.

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This picture is from the first night I was in attendance (and awe) of this restaurant with my cutie girlfriends, Meg and Katie Jo, two of the best teachers in town. Thought they deserved a shout out for contributing to this post. And the third time I went, last Sunday to be exact, was with Noelle and Brittany. I was in good company both nights and loved having these cherished friends around and getting to try what they ordered as well. It gave me a chance to expand my palette and try some marinated tofu (Thanks Meggie) and some goat cheese grits.

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Miss Brittany

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I love my Noe!

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Noelle and Britt playing Vanna White

So go give it a try! It’s the bees’ knees. See what I did there..? Tupelo Honey….Bees’ knees…..

https://tupelohoneycafe.com/

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Splitting Hairs: Wilson’s on Washington

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It’s really hard to think about what to write when composing a review on a salon. What can I say that is going to sway people from going to Super Cuts to spending a little more on angling their bangs or softening up those lamb chop sideburns? Some people care about their hair. Some people don’t. Like at this moment….I have chocolate frosting staining my blonde locks and I’m probably going to leave it there til my next shower. That’s not because I don’t care how my hair appears. It’s just because I’m too lazy to do anything about it, especially when I am not planning on making any dazzling appearances.

However, I must make the personal admission that one of the qualities that I wholeheartedly like about myself is my hair. I can find fault with just about everything about me…..my skin, my thighs, my nose, but my hair is one aspect I wouldn’t change. You know how girls are. It’s very literally my crown and glory and I don’t want just anyone messing with it or even worse, messing it up. I remember quite vividly when I decided to cut my hair short after I had grown it out the longest it had ever been.

Lobs (long bobs) were all the rage and I thought I might as well give it a go. The woman at the salon, which shall remain nameless, did a dry cut and went straight across with the scissors. No shampooing of the hair. No adding layers. Just a straight, blunt cut. I felt like a little page boy. I also had a Band-Aid on my chin at this point in time so that didn’t do me any favors either. Omitting a picture to spare myself the embarrassment.

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I had to get it recut a week later because I despised it so much….Needless to say, I got recommendations before I stepped foot in the next salon. It is extremely important to me that they do a bang up job {pun} and that I come out looking like an Herbal Essences hair goddess.

Moral of the story here. I only get my hair styled by people that I trust. And Wilson’s on Washington, “WoW”, gives a good trim, plain and simple. No gimmicks. No fuss. They are professional and trendy at the same time and cater to both men and women of all ages. I see college girls in there as well as fathers. I went there a week back and came out looking like this.

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Would you be my friend if….No. That’s a joke. I didn’t get any hipster bangs but I did get some side swept ones. I was inspired by an Emma Stone cut, the cute red head actress in “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” and “The Help,” and asked my stylist, KB, to give me a little trimmy trim and to spruce it up just a tad. I always tell them to do what they think looks best.

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After a nice, relaxing warm shampoo, a cut, and a blow-out, I came out of the salon, hair a flowin’ in the wind. Like my new layers?

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Ignore the stupid face. It was a hard task maintaining good composure while taking selfies out on your balcony with  your neighbors watching. If they didn’t think I was a hooligan before, (I had my Christmas decorations up until February until the leasing office told me to take them down), then I am sure they do now. I didn’t think it necessary to explain to all of them that this was for my highly important, highly-clouted (I wish) blog post about where to get your hair and your nails did. Oh, by the way, Wilson’s is a full service salon so they also offer nail appointments, waxing, color treatments, and even provide make-up artistry. This is their little booth below where you can get your face painted after your hair is complete. I have never done it but I wouldn’t be opposed to some winged eye liner and a pink pout…. My mom once told me I was too much of a girly girl. Am I too much of a girly girl??

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If you are looking for a place to get all gussied up or to get a quick and painless trim, I recommend walking into Wilson’s on Washington. Your hair will thank you.

 

Ball Park Revelry: The Greenville Drive

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Think back to those days when you were young and school let out for summer break. Those final days when yearbook signing took up class time and Have A Good Summer (H.A.G.S) was scrawled sideways on blank pages. When flips flops became a necessity and neon nail polish dazzled in the afternoon sun. When beach trip plans to the coast with the crew pushed everything else to the side. It seemed like summer was endless, a vast expanse of time that opened its welcome arms for kids to rush into.

I’m no longer a kid. And although the giddiness of summer break has since been replaced by working year round and having responsibility, I still feel its residual tingle. What’s the salve that soothes that tingle? What makes an adult’s mind harken back to the days of summer break? Baseball. Simple, perfect, American baseball. And maybe some beer.

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My little Lauren

Living in Greenville, there is nothing finer in the summer than going to watch a Greenville Drive game at Fluor Field. A minor league team, and Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, the Drive is, in my opinion, a mediocre squad. But let’s face it. The one time I’ve been to a Braves game, I was more excited about getting a foam finger and some dip ‘n dots than seeing how many runs were batted in. That’s not to say I’m not into a competitive game. When my Gamecocks played in the World Series, my eyes never left the tv. Scott Wingo had my full attention. (Wink wink.) It also may have something to do with the fact that my dad used to be the doctor for the USC baseball and football team. (Side note: My dad has a fake front tooth after getting it knocked out with a pitch when he was younger.)

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What is so appealing about the Drive games though is the atmosphere, really and truly. It’s just an all around good time, regardless of if the Drive is hammering it home or getting annihilated on their own turf. I’m people watching or socializing a majority of the time anyway. Families bring little children, those same precious little children that get up and do Gangnam Style between innings, boyfriends bring their girlfriends, and friends bring more friends. And Thursday nights happen to be the best, because not only are they the first game in the series but they are also dollar beer night which always brings in a substantial crowd. Especially those in their twenties. Like my three pretty friends below, Kathleen, Amy, and Hunter.

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Fluor Field is also conveniently situated in the West End, walking distance from just about any restaurant or bar in the downtown area. Which makes the festivities last even longer. After the last pitch is thrown and the fireworks display waves it farewell and the  beer vendor has stopped serving, people usually linger about or head directly to Main Street. It’s a perfect combination of sport and socialization. A must try if you are a Greenville resident or a Greenville visitor.

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Take me out to the ball game!!!!!!!!

Little Known Obscurities #4

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1. I have never ever had a cavity in my entire life. Considering the amount of sugar I consume daily, this is truly a miracle.

2. I was in the talent show every year in elementary school with my best friend, Kathryn. Our most memorable dance performance was a Grease rendition where I played Danny Zucko, complete with slicked hair and leather jacket.

3. When I can’t sleep at night, I watch old episodes of Saturday Night Live. Nothing to lull you to sleep better than Kristen Wiig impersonations.

4. My dad, the talented surgeon, sewed up my chin in our bathroom at home after I fell off a slide. My reward for enduring the pain was a Barbie with opposable limbs. It was the BIGGEST craze at the time.

5. My AIM screen-name used to be puppylovr53. And tickledpink274. Both still fitting to this day. My self awareness was manifest, even though my maturity wasn’t.

Shinola: Art, Antiques, and Funk

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It was a treasure trove of possibility. Full of trinkets and knick-knacks and the occasional farm animal…

Shinola. An antique store that I have driven past bi-weekly for months as I make my way to a volunteer program I am involved in, has been a twinkle in my eye that I have always wanted to capture. Its mention by the concept designers at the goddess of all clothing stores, Anthropologie, where I work a few shifts a week, has also convinced me that this is where it’s at {ending a sentence with a preposition. Me oh me. English major no-no. But I’m going to go ahead and call it writer’s voice}.

I am enthralled by this whole idea of “antiquing” because it seems so darn pinterest-y and so bohemian cool girl in the city, so what I aspire to be (except I’m nothing of the sort). I want my home, well, my small downtown studio apartment, to be furnished and decorated so individualistically that those who cross the threshold, shuffling their feet across my floral welcome mat, will exclaim with exuberance how well put together my digs are! A girl can (day)dream.

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So that whole bohemian vibe didn’t work out to well.  I realized after visiting Shinola that I like my material goods new, clean, and without the some other person’s grandma’s living room smell. I’m more glam-tastic than boho chic, opting out of thrift store bargains and steals for the full priced merchandise. My bank account is sighing as we speak.

Shinola, which I assumed had some ties to Hebrew, is actually a euphemism for sh!t and that’s pretty much what I thought of the premises. A pile of shinola. And upon arriving, we were surprised to find some farm foul bopping about the front window display. Some hens and some baby chicks, a sighting that occurred many times as we maneuvered our way through the store.

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Becca Boo and furry friends

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My question is….can you purchase these guys?

Now I’m not discouraging those from visiting because some of those antiquers out there could find some decent garden accessories and table accents. The store was brim full of oddities, ranging from cardboard cut outs of Lil’ Bow Wow to old saddles to headless baby dolls (which was the main reason I only toured the store for a few minutes. Fear of decrepit baby dolls). And this was definitely an experience, one that everyone should witness. My friend who accompanied me, Becca, said she would definitely revisit the place when she had more time. You could do some nifty DIY crafts with some of materials within and there were hints of inspiration around the store that my creative mind couldn’t help but notice. Like this blue glass bottle tree that apparently brings good luck.

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Or the print and design of this plush arm chair…

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Or whatever the heck this is….

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Regardless of my opinion, I hope that this has shed some light on some of the less visible attractions of Greenville. Is it odd that I call this an attraction, a word with a positive connotation? No, not really, because it did feel awfully like being in some crazy hall of mirrors, some carnival ride that you couldn’t get off fast enough. But hey! Each to their own…… If you are looking for vintage, quirky, or just plain bizarre to jazz up your abode then you for certain need to meander through the countless rooms in the Shinola layout. Maybe you will come across the most perfect jumping off point for your next home creation. Or maybe you will leave feeling dizzy because of the disarray.

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Crazy ladies going antiquing….

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Fun at the Rock Quarry Garden

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Located close to Cleveland Park, this is a wonderful place to take pictures. I pass by all the time and there are engagement photos and baby modeling sessions taking place. I have even seen a few weddings happening here as well.

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Adore this shot. This place is green, green, green.

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I had too much fun with my weekend visitors, Kathryn and Anna Laura. I hope these photos document our joviality!