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RNR Philly

Ahh, kind of fall. It’s a time where races open up to all kinds of possibilities for me because I become convinced that it’s actually cooler. Now that I’ve moved further north than Florida, I just assumed that cooler weather existed everywhere. It doesn’t. Granted, it’s definitely cooler than Florida, but not cool. And the humidity… does it not go somewhere? This weekend it didn’t and I was even further north, in Philly.


I had a free half marathon submission for the RNR series since last year’s Savannah half was so terrible. I decided to use it to run Philadelphia since the course looked appealing and I needed to cross another state off my list. Plus, it is close to my dad’s birthday and he’s into history, but had yet to see the Liberty Bell. Or so I thought. He explained while we were in line that he apparently had seen it as a child. But that basically meant he hadn’t. So onward an upward, we saw it! I will admit, I did read a lot more of the informational pieces than I did the first time I saw the Liberty Bell, so it was really a win on all sides.


On Friday my boyfriend and I took off to see the City of Brotherly Love and basically pick up my packets prior to the massive crowd. We arrived early in the day so we went to the hotel – Home2Suites – and figured we could at least drop our bags off and roam around. The staff at the hotel were so pleasant. I asked if we could simply drop our bags off and come back later, but instead they upgraded our room since one was available. This was terrific since I was already starting to get sleepy from the lack of sleep the night before, plus my allergies were really taking a toll. My starving self was so happy that a BurgerFi was attached to the hotel, that I didn’t even bother looking for somewhere else to eat that was more local. I figure since there isn’t a BurgerFi in Charlotte, I could just go for something I already know that I love. The bajillion calories was also alluring. I was starving, don’t judge me.


Packet pickup went smoothly, but the merch area was a cluster. Only one of the cash registers was functional so it took forever to check out. Regardless, I had my 5K and half marathon bibs and was ready to go! So then we walked to the LOVE statue, because: Philly. Back to the hotel for a nap! It was amazing. Then more roaming. Philly is really pretty. I like all the green space that has been allocated. Plus there was this mini golf that had mini replicas of landmarks. Adorable! My parents arrived shortly after and we stumbled upon a pub – I had Shepard’s Pie but the lighting was so dim I didn’t even attempt to take a picture. We also went to an awesome gelato place! Again, no pictures. I am a slacker.


The 5k went well. The weather was sunny, but breezy. I felt great running it. The scenery was nice and you are surrounded by the museum and some other great Philly landmarks. We then walked the entire city (or so it felt) and killed my feet for the next day. We also went to the National Constitution Center on what happened to be Constitution Day! They passed out cake, so I was sold. I’d also received a really cool swag bag from the team at Visit Philly and they included two free passes for us to attend. I was a little taken aback that they only offered free entry to active duty military and not retirees. Either way, we had fun. The museum is interactive. My favorite part is in Signer’s Hall. They have life size bronze statues of the men that signed the Constitution. We decided to pose with them. I had a blast. Plus I became President. It’s the little things.



Sunday was so humid. I was really looking forward to some overcast breezy weather. Only half of that happened. Overcast, yes. Breezy, no. Because of all of the walking we had done the day before, I was hit hard by the struggle bus. The first three miles I was simply trying to convince myself that I could keep going. My mantra was: knees up, knees up. Just blah. The first four miles put you right back at the start though which is great if you have people there to support you. Seeing my parents and my boyfriend during the race was really nice, especially since I was having such a hard time getting going. Around mile five or six I finally started to get in the groove (my time reflects this to be a fact, too) and I felt better about things. The scenery was beautiful. Seeing some of the rock walls along the road were cool because I’ve generally only seen them outside of cities.


I’d recommend this run to others. I thought it was a nice way to see Philadelphia. It’s one of the things I love most about running half marathons. You get to see the city from the ground in a different way than trying to guess where to go.

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Copper – Modern Indian Cuisine

I love Indian food. In Jacksonville I had one place I went to every single time I was craving some spice. Not only that, I had my dish. Veggie Korma. Add some garlic naan to that. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Dipping naan into curry of some sort is terrific. Possibly even therapeutic. If you haven’t tried it, you have to. Just have to.

So I’ve had kind of a hard time finding an Indian place that really tickles my fancy. I know I’m not being fair because I’ve been trying the same meal and expecting the same results. It doesn’t work like that and I know better. While I live slightly outside of Charlotte, I have quite a few friends that live in the city and I’ve been seeking some opinion on where I should go for some great Indian food. I’ve even been hearing the same results from people who live outside of the city.

Unanimously: Copper.

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical based on their website. It just seems a little upscale based on the website alone – which the website does accurately represent the space – it’s beautiful. Some of the best Indian I’ve had has just been in a hole in the wall space that makes you feel as though there might be a hint of questionable so I was worried that Copper may take out some of the hidden things that make an Indian joint so good.

Guess who was wrong!?

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I ordered chicken tikka masala – I know, pretty common – but everyone told me it is the best they’ve ever had. So, why not, right? Right. And everyone is accurate in their judgment call. The dish is so flavorful and not too spicy for those that don’t ask about spice. I know you can request something spicier than the usual because I heard someone next to me ask. I don’t think the dish needs to be spicier, though. The chunks of chicken are cooked nicely. You can slice the chunks with your fork, mix them in the sauce a little more, pile onto your naan… You get my drift, right? I could actually eat it again right now. The garlic naan was your usual, I’m not sure you can mess up naan too much. Don’t take that the wrong way, though. Naan, to me, is a necessity for this meal. I’d rather have naan than the rice. I always have some rice, but I could live without it. I can’t live without naan. Just one of those requirements. Maybe it’s because I’m from England, but okay. We all have our things.

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We also ordered a margarita – of which I can’t quite remember the name. In lieu of salt around the rim it had licorice – an Indian twist on a pretty casual drink. The licorice does begin to overpower the drink since the margarita isn’t exceptionally strong, but it’s cool and if you’re looking for something different it’s worth a try.

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For dessert I ordered the Three “Excuses”. It’s Molten Chocolte Cake, Gulab Jamun, Baileys Kulfi. The presentation – like all of the food – was gorgeous. I could have honestly been perfectly happy without the dessert. I think my boyfriend would agree and he ordered the sorbet and gelato. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad at all, I think we had really loaded up on the meal and the meal was so flavorful and delicious that the dessert just could not compete to the main event.

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Overall, I was really happy with my Copper experience. If I lived closer to the area I would have a real problem, because I would have found my new regular spot. Instead, Copper will have to be a special event for me. I’ll make reservations though, because while it wasn’t busy when I arrived at 6 pm, it was packed around 7:30.

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Coconut Chocolate Blondies

I’m going through a coconut phase. I’m not even sure I want it to just be a phase. It all started with Coconut Chunky Chips Ahoy. Try them if you can find them. The Target near me doesn’t sell them. Neither does the Lowes Foods. Thankfully a new Publix opened up the road and they generally have them stocked. Food Lion has them, too. That was a ton of information about a store bought cookie. You could also try the Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chunk Coconut Almond cookies. Or coconut in your sushi. Or just straight coconut on anything. You do you. I won’t judge.

A coworker of mine was a little disturbed by my obsession with my store bought cookies, especially when I can make my own so she found a recipe for me to try out from Sally’s Baking Addiction. While it’s not cookie-like, it’s a great blondie. Since I’m not a fan of brownies, it really is something I was interested in. Blondies, good. Brownies, bad. Coconut blondies…so yum!

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I bought all of the ingredients a week or two ago, but I wasn’t quite ready to make them for some reason. Either way, I’ve been wanting to photograph a bit more and figured this holiday weekend was the perfect excuse to break out my DSLR and really live it up on the blog. Alas, my Rebel XT battery was dead, so iPhone pictures it is. My boyfriend decided to live it up though and give me a smidge of an upgrade. Hopefully soon I’ll be uploading some awesome new pictures on a new camera!

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Either way – coconut all day long… If you’re needing some coconut in your life like I seem to, throw these blondies together. They are incredibly easy to make and would be perfect alone or with some ice cream.

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What you need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I have no patience here so mine is mostly melted)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

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How to make it happen:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a pan that’s lined with aluminum foil – I use olive oil Pam.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer, combine the melted butter and brown sugar. Once combined, add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  4. Combine dry ingredients into the mix within the stand mixer. Be sure to scrape down the bowl.
  5. Once fully mixed, fold in the coconut and chocolate chips.
  6. Evenly spread the mix into the greased pan. Place in the oven for 35 minutes.
  7. Let cool and enjoy or let it cool for a small amount of time and add some ice cream!

Hopefully you like it! Nom nom nom for days!

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Tupelo Honey [Charlotte]

During a bachelorette weekend in Asheville I went to Tupelo Honey. I didn’t go to the original, but I was still pretty impressed so I wanted to see if the locations outside of Asheville still had the same fun vibes, but more importantly, the same incredible biscuits and food in general.

And you know what? Heck yes they do!

I made reservations for brunch, because they do brunch everyday and I’ve been told the wait is insane – plus I experienced the long wait in Asheville and after a morning of working out didn’t want to do that again. By the time I sat I was pretty ravenous so the reservations really worked out. 

To begin with, they bring a biscuit per person at the table plus a side of (what I think is) homemade jam and a bottle of honey. I like my biscuits plain, but I did try the options… And I still like my biscuits plain, but the boyfriend liked the biscuit plus honey. Honestly, the are done so well that plain is really really good, but you do you! We all have our preferences.


For the meal I ordered the fried chicken salad and my boyfriend ordered the chicken and gravy with a side of extra gravy. 


The salad was delicious. I asked for it without the cheese crumbles. If I’m not mistaken, Tupelo makes their own ranch and it sits so perfectly with the chicken. It’s not too heavy of a dressing and has a really nice hint of pepper that kind of kicks at the end. The salad is a commonly used combination among restaurants, but I think Tupelo pulls it off really nicely. Not only did I eat every bite, but I was full. From a salad. Not something that usually happens to me unless the salad is massive.

The chicken and biscuits were also delicious. If you get it, also get a side of extra gravy. The biscuits soak it up so nicely so at some point you need to toss the rest in. The gravy is nice. It’s the right consistency for a southern gravy and also offers a similar but different kick as the ranch. I’m always impressed with a full bodied anything at restaurants like this, because this restaurant is definitely a work horse.


Whether it’s in Charlotte or Asheville, I’ll be back to Tupelo… With reservations. Plus I really want to get their drink that comes in a pineapple…

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Biscuits & Gravy Casserole

It’s possible that breakfast potlucks interest me more than lunch potlucks.

This is probably because I find the breakfast potlucks more challenging. Do you use eggs? My answer is generally no because you don’t want weird or cold eggs. Or you don’t want to make too many sweet things in case other people bring sweet things. It’s a challenge. I like to be challenged. Therefore, breakfast potlucks are more interesting.

So on this particular breakfast potluck I decided I wanted to try and make biscuits and gravy in a way that would stay a little warm longer. So a casserole it was. I also needed this to be something I could make before work so making my own biscuits was kind of out of the question for this one.

I bought two cans of the Grands Biscuits – the Buttermilk kind – so that I could make this gem before work. I also bought one roll of sausage – I did the maple kind.

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So here’s basically what you do:

  • Turn your oven on to 400 degrees.
  • Grease a casserole dish – mine was 9×13 and I sprayed it with olive oil Pam
  • Cut one can of the biscuits into quarters and place in the casserole dish
  • Bake for about 10 minutes

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  • While that’s baking, cook the sausage in the frying pan. Be sure to separate into crumbles the best you can and make sure it’s fully cooked
  • Sprinkle three tablespoons of flour in the pan and stir until the flour is absorbed
  • Add 2 and 1/4 cup milk (I used whole) as well as salt and pepper to taste. Continue to stir until it has thickened to desired consistency. If the gravy gets too thick, add more milk.

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  • Pour over the casserole dish of biscuits
  • Cut the remaining tub of biscuits and place on the top of the sausage gravy

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  • Bake for ten minutes
  • Cover with aluminum foil and back for an additional 15 minutes
  • Take of oven and brush with butter or slice thin strips of butter on the top so it’s perfectly melted
  • Serve and enjoy!

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