Belated Thanksgiving Tidings.

Hello, again.

I fear I’ve fallen behind in chronicling My Crunchy Crusade over the last couple of weeks due to illness, and…well…laziness. I’ve had bronchitis for the past two weeks and it’s really knocked me on my tush.

But it’s been a great couple of weeks otherwise! And thus, a week before Christmas, here is my Thanksgiving update!

The day before Thanksgiving was my parents’ 20th anniversary, so I took them out to lunch and to see “Murder on the Orient Express,” which was awesome.


Happy 20th Anniversary, Mom and Lynn!

Thanksgiving with the Blackton clan went off without a hitch, much to my surprise and relief. Getting all of us women in a room isn’t always drama-free, but everyone got along super well and enjoyed a late Thanksgiving lunch at Nana’s house! I wish I had grabbed a few pictures, but I was enjoying the peaceable conversation too much!

After lunch, I ended up going to see “Coco” by myself, which was outstanding. Definitely one of the best films of the year, and a strong contender for my top 5 favorite Pixar films! I definitely recommend it.

On a whim, I decided to take a trip the weekend after Thanksgiving, and asked my dear friend Jessica Brinkley (#BrinkandBlack) if she wanted to go somewhere with me. We settled on Savannah, and hit the road early Black Friday morning. What followed was one of the best weekends I have ever had, exploring a city I had never seen, soaking up the history, eating delicious food, and catching up with one of my very favorite people! I Have included links to the shops and restaurants we visited at the end of this post.

We started off the trip with a quick excursion to Tybee Island, which, although windy and cold, was beautiful. Upon recommendation from Facebook friends, we stopped for lunch at AJ’s Dockside. I was super excited for some oysters, but was a little disappointed to find that they did not have fresh oysters on the menu. Since I am not a huge fan of seafood, I ended up getting chicken fingers (like a 5 year old), which were just fine.

After lunch, we visited the pier and looked out onto the ocean, where we watched dolphins! It was a gorgeous view.

We traveled back to downtown Savannah, where we checked into our hotel (which was absolutely beautiful and had a lovely rooftop terrace) and napped for a short while before going to dinner at The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen’s restaurant. It was exactly what I was expecting, and I was not disappointed! With full bellies, Jessica and I ventured out into downtown and stopped into a few shops to walk off all of the butter we had just ingested. We stumbled into the Georgia Tasting Room in Savannah City Market, a brand new wine shop, and enjoyed a wine tasting. If you’re in Savannah, definitely check it out! The ladies who work there are very knowledgeable and friendly. You can tell they love what they do.


Our view from the roof!

After walking around a bit more, we decided to go to Savannah Smiles, a dueling piano bar! I had been to one in Disney World, and knew that we were in for a treat. The musicians did not disappoint, and Jessica and I had the time of our lives singing along at the top of our lungs (which, to be honest, we would have done in any other setting!).


At Savannah Smiles ūüôā

Day 2 started off at Goose Feathers, a cute little cafe that serves the best bagel and cream cheese I have ever had. Seriously. If you go there, try the everything bagel with the garden vegetable cream cheese. I am drooling right now just thinking about it.

Once done with brunch, we ventured over to River Street and popped into the shops.

We stumbled across an artist’s market filled with the work of local artists, and I fell in LOVE with this necklace. I walked by it, did a double-take, and immediately snatched it off the display. Marilyn’s pieces are quirky and beautifully made at wonderful prices.

Next, we took a trolley tour and learned about all of the various plazas and historical sites in Savannah. I so enjoyed learning little tidbits about early America and the stories behind the breathtaking buildings and squares.

I made it my mission to find oysters on the half-shell for lunch, so we went to Sorry Charlie’s. Jessica bravely tried an oyster and I downed the rest before enjoying an extremely yummy chicken Caesar salad. Once again satiated with fantastic food, we ventured back to the hotel for some more rest.

After napping, we decided to explore more of the city and walked around some more. I had never taken a petty cab ride before, so we searched for one, and found Michael! Michael was an absolute joy to ride around with and he shared fascinating stories about things that weren’t discussed on our trolley tour earlier in the day. It was so refreshing to speak to someone so kind and full of life. He was such a sweetheart and a beautiful soul.


Jessica and I had a hankering for pizza and asked for Michael’s recommendation for the best in the city. At first he recommended Vinnie Van Go-Go’s, but warned us that it would be absolutely slammed. In the interest of time, he recommended Screamin’ Mimi’s, another local spot with delicious pies. His recommendation was a good one, and we stuffed our faces before venturing back to River Street for a lighted boat parade (#lightsonboatsMerryChristmas).

Exhausted from the day, we made our way back to the Georgia Tasting Room, picked up a couple of bottles of wine, and went back to our room. We made it just in time to pop some corks and enjoy fireworks on the rooftop terrace.

Day 3 meant it was very sadly time to go home! Before leaving the city, we went to The Funky Brunch Cafe, another one of Michael’s recommendations. The aesthetic of this place is described perfectly in the name. Eclectic, fun, and hip, the cafe has tables with griddles built in so you can make your own pancakes! Since I’m not a breakfast food kinda gal, I went with a lunch dish…a smoked salmon BLT! I’m slowly reaching out of my comfort zone, and enjoyed something new. Paired with a cucumber and tomato salad, the dish was light, fresh, and satisfying. They also had some killer coffee.

And so we hit the road, traveling the almost 6 hours back to Dalton. After hitting a little bit of holiday traffic, we made it back just in time for me to hop over to Dalton Little Theatre for rehearsal for “Shakespeare Uncorked: A Night with the Bard”!

The next couple of days went by in a blur, filled with work and rehearsal for the show. We opened that next weekend and enjoyed three very fun shows. With just over a dozen performers, we put on scenes and monologues from Shakepeare’s greatest works, including “Julius Caesar,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Richard III.”

I had the great pleasure of performing the Queen Mab speech from “Romeo and Juliet.” I enjoyed blurring the typical gender lines with the part of Mercutio as he speaks about the mythical and naughty queen of the fairies.

I also enjoyed sharing the stage with Chase Parker for the first time since we were in “The Fantasticks” in 2012! We did the scene where Petruchio meets Kate for the first time in “Taming of the Shrew” and enjoyed a bit of stage combat. The witty repartee and double entendres of that scene have always made it one of my favorites, and I was honored to do it.

So we closed the show and I immediately got sick. I actually started coughing about halfway through that Saturday night’s show, and progressively got sicker as the days passed. I ended up taking a half day that Wednesday (almost two weeks ago) and going to the doctor, who diagnosed me with a sinus infection. Knowing they were probably wrong, I filled the prescriptions for nasal spray and got a steroid shot anyway. Fast forward another couple of days, and I can’t go thirty seconds without hacking a lung up. Upon my return trip, they diagnosed me with a “pretty bad” case of bronchitis. (Their words.) So I’m taking an antibiotic and steroids, which have helped a little. I’m slowly returning to normal!

As promised…here are links to the restaurants and shops mentioned above. As always, thanks for reading!

AJ’s Dockside Restaurant:
The Lady & Sons:
Savannah Smiles Dueling Pianos:
Goose Feathers Cafe:
Arts & Crafts Emporium:
The Funky Brunch Cafe:
Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar:¬†
Screamin’ Mimi’s Pizza:¬†



The Crunchy Crusader


Galavanting in Greenville

I have a new city to add to my list of favorite places: Greenville, South Carolina! Though it was a rather short trip, I fell in love with the city. With so many beautiful sights, delicious food, and lovely public art, Greenville is a city I will definitely be returning to soon!


Adopting this as one of my new mottos: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” This was found on the side of The Escape Artist. The mural was created by¬†Stone Academy of Communication Arts and Furman University.

Billy and I went to visit his best friend of 8 years, Lawrence, for his birthday! Lawrence has been living in Greenville for about half a year, and had nothing but wonderful things to say about it. He very graciously hosted us from Friday evening to this morning, and showed us some highlights of the city.

We explored Falls Park, a couple of breweries, and some delightful bars and restaurants, including the Bohemian Cafe, Lazy Goat (where I had the BEST Brussels sprouts of my life), Swamp Rabbit Brewery in Travelers Rest, the Velo Fellow, Braswells, Pour, Sully’s Steamers, Universal Joint, Barley’s, Trappe Door, and, my favorites: The Village Grind and GB&D. (Yep, we saw a lot in a short amount of time!)

We also visited Horizon Records, where I found four of my absolute favorite albums for a very great price: The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Rubber Soul” (my two favorite Beatles albums); The Postal Service’s “Give Up,” and Green Day’s “American Idiot.”

There were a number of notable delicacies at the places we visited: the best Brussels sprouts of my life at the Lazy Goat (Crispy Brussels Sprouts¬†with speck ham, shaved Manchego, and sherry glac√©); the Raspberry White Ale at the Swamp Rabbit Brewery (light and refreshing, with raspberries added to the second fermentation- perfect for a hot day); the Swamp Rabbit BBQ bagel at Sully’s Steamers (They’re famous for their steamed bagel sandwiches; this one had turkey, cheddar, provolone, onion, green peppers & BBQ sauce. Other notable names of sandwiches include the Bob Loblaw, California Steamin’, and Big Deddy); and, one of my new favorite meals ever, the Chicken and Waffles from GB&D (with hot maple glaze and bacon jam). Don’t worry: we walked all of the delicious food and beer off!


Pink beer at the Swamp Rabbit Brewery in Travelers Rest!

A true pleasure was visiting The Village Grind, a trendy coffee shop in West Greenville owned by a woman I went to high school with, Lindsey (George) Montgomery. All of the memories I have of her place her in my mind as a creative, talented, and beautiful person, and her shop is so reflective of that. The cozy space was decorated with eclectic artwork and furniture, tons of plants, and cute knick-knacks, so I was in heaven! Her menu had your classics, macchiatos, americanos, cafe au lait; but she also had new and fun twists on coffee, like the rose cardamom latte. GB&D (which stands for Golden, Brown and Delicious), the home of the life-changing chicken and waffles, adjoins the space and is owned by her brother and father. It was so great to get to see her briefly and give her a huge squeeze! (And I enjoyed a very, very tasty cafe au lait.)

I’ve included links to all of the places we visited at the end of this post, in case you want to try any of the places out on your next visit to Greenville!

Hanging out with Lawrence and their friend Parker made for a very entertaining weekend! I always love seeing how happy Billy is when he’s with his buddies and hearing all of the hilarious stories from when they co-opped at Shaw together. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my husband in a place that’s new and foreign to the both of us, and watching him feel completely at home. I’m constantly in awe of how lucky I am!

And so concludes another week. Each time we return from a trip, I find myself planning the next one! I’ve been bitten by the travel bug, and feel so lucky to be able to take these short trips and see new places.

I’m sitting here now, with my cat snuggled up to me. My turkey and sweet potato chili that I prepared earlier has filled the house with a lovely aroma as it cools before I portion it out for my lunches this week. My Daily Habit Tracker is made in my Bullet Journal for the month of May, so I can get started with it tomorrow. I’m sipping a cocktail. I literally could not ask for anything more at this moment.

My wish for you, reader, is that you revel in the small pleasures of life. I’m learning to. And I urge you to take a deep breath. Just breathe the joy in. Let it permeate your being, and exhale the stresses of the previous week. It’s a brand new month, a brand new day, tomorrow. Make it great.


The Crunchy Crusader
Info about the flowers mural: