Hurricane Florence heading towards South Carolina

September 8, 2018
What are the chances that the name of an incoming hurricane is a name of a city (among many) that the very same hurricane would hit? Hurricane Florence is forecasted to hit the Carolinas and there is a city in South Carolina that is called Florence. 

What are the odds of that? This is the map of the hurricane tracker from CNN.com as of September 8, 2018. It is forecasted to hit the Carolinas on Thurs., Sept. 13, 2018 (5 days from this post). You can't even see South Carolina that well because that red hurricane marker is covering a lot of it!
 

As a South Carolina resident, I am very nervous. Last week, this hurricane was just in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and there was no spaghetti graph that showed the possibility that it could hit near here. Now, last night this all changed. It is forecasted to be a Category 4 again as it picks up momentum. 

This is my 5th year living in SC and there has been only one time when it hit my house. That was a Category 1 hurricane and it flooded my neighborhood and prevented me from flying back from the airport. We were stuck in Charlotte, traveling from California. I think Category 4 will be catastrophic! 

There is always a chance it can shift again but even if it shifts a bit north or south, a state of the United States of America still will be hit. #hurricaneflorence

Storm Helene is also not far behind. Welcome to hurricane season. 
 

Buy discounted LEGOLAND® Florida here and save $20

April 18, 2016
LEGOLAND® Florida's waterpark is open on the weekends now and soon, they will be open every day for summer. Buy your tickets here and you'll save $20 each per ticket for the whole family. Their theme park and rides are open everyday starting now until September 2016! Go to: http://legolandflorida.scbeachtrips.com to buy tickets. Let your kids bring out their builder side this summer! 


 

Another Great Trip in Columbia, the Capital of South Carolina

January 21, 2015
There was a Beer Fest in Columbia, SC over the weekend so we did a 2 day trip in Columbia, SC. In the past, I've only done single day trips so this was our first time staying overnight and we got to do some more exploring this time around. I am so impressed at how much Columbia is remodeling in downtown and all the businesses seem to be booming, even in the middle of January. Maybe it's because of the beer fest that attracted a lot of tourists/visitors this past weekend but still, I see a prospering city regardless. 
(Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center Entrance)
We stayed at the Hampton Inn Downtown Columbia - Historic Center (See more details about this hotel). It was right next to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, which was where the Beer Fest was. The hotel was doing some renovation when we checked in so there were some loud noises around our hotel room during the day. We weren't planning on taking a nap or anything so it didn't really bother us. There is private parking in the back of the building. It's $12 per night for self-parking. Overall, our stay was really pleasant and their complimentary breakfast was great. I would probably come back here to stay again in the future because it is within walking distances to so many delicious restaurants and cute shops. 
(Our actual hotel room when we arrived)

Across the street from the Hampton Inn hotel that we were staying at is a line of shops like Tutti Frutti Yogurt, The Peanut Man and a restaurant called the Blue Marlin. Those were the 3 places we decided to visit in that shopping area and man, I was blown away by every place. 

The Tutti Frutti Yogurt had over 12 flavors and the place is so clean and modern. I liked so many of their flavors and the ambiance was very nice. Address of Tutti Frutti is: 1205 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC 29201.
(Inside of Tutti Frutti)
(Comfortable seating area)

The Peanut Man is pretty much a really nice candy store with lines of candy, peanuts, popcorn and pretzels! They tasted all like they were made from scratch from the place. They even had ready-to-eat smores! I was so impressed! Address of The Peanut Man is: 1215 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC 29201.
(My ready-to-eat smore from Mr. Peanut)

Blue Marlin sounds expensive and delicious and it was delicious but it was not expensive! I was so shocked. We came here last minute and the place was already busy around noon on Sunday. I ordered the crab cake entree. My husband ordered the salmon and grits entree and we shared the pecan calamari appetizer. Everything was so tasty and fresh! I am definitely coming back here again. My plate was only 12.95. How is that even possible? The place looks very high end and the service was excellent! I recommend anybody to come here! The address of Blue Marlin is: 1200 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC 29201.
 (Entrance of Blue Marlin) 
(Our Pecan Calamari appetizer)
(Crab cake entree)
(Salmon with grits entree)

Just down the street from the Hampton Inn, where we were staying at, is a Jillian's. Being from the West Coast, there weren't many there so this is the first time I've been to one. It's like a smaller scale of Dave & Buster's. There is an arcade, pool tables and private rooms for parties. The dining area is huge and the bar area can accommodate at least a hundred people. I tried their mushroom burger and it was one of the best burgers I've had in a long while! Address of Jillian's is: 800 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201. 
 (Front signage) 
(Bar area of Jillian's)

We also had to stop in at KiKi's Chicken and Waffles because my husband and I are so hooked on their fried chicken wings and sweet potato waffles. I have never tasted chicken this good! This is not located in downtown but it is so worth the drive! Address is: 110 Columbia Northeast Drive, Columbia, SC 29223.
(This was my split order. It usually comes with 4 wings and a full waffle but I split mine with my husband because we weren't that hungry.)

Even though I was only in Columbia for 2 days, I really had a great time. Everywhere I've gone to dine has great quality ingredients and excellent service. I look forward to my next trip here. 

To find hotel in the downtown Columbia area, search our portal
 

Secret Atom Bomb Dropped in Florence, SC

December 7, 2014
One of the few fortunate things that I was able to see for myself is the site where the bomb was dropped by the air force. Not a lot of people know about it because there was an article that said that they wanted to keep it a secret. Although the site is somewhat preserved for its history, there is a chance in the future that that site could be replaced with housing. Here are the pictures I took of the site and the bulletin board that someone put there about the history. 


The Florence Morning News regarding atom bomb. It was dated March 13, 1958.


The bulletin board someone put up to uncover the secrets right by the site.


Someone created this atom bomb construction to show the size of the possible atom bomb. You can see it right by the site.


The actual bomb site that created a crater into Florence. You can find this in East Florence in Mars Bluff area. 

 

Jennifer's Taqueria at Florence Flea Market in South Carolina is awesome

December 7, 2014
The best Mexican food I've ever had in Florence, SC is at the Flea Market at a little place called Jennifer's Taqueria. Don't be deceived by its little shack. Their tacos are phenomenal with all the right fixings! Make sure you bring cash because that is all they take. My favorites are the carne asada and chicken tacos. They all come with a piece of avocado. Make sure you put some of their hot sauce on it. It's so good and authentic! 
 

San Jose's Tacos & Tequila Review

June 26, 2014
We went to the San Jose's Tacos & Tequila restaurant today located at 3410 W. Radio Drive
Florence, SC 29501 and it was surprisingly nice inside. You know they spend a lot of money building the whole place inside and out. The podium was inviting and we were greeted right away by the staff who was waiting in the front. 

When presented with the menu, I was very happy to see that they have California Fish Tacos on the menu. I'm originally from San Diego and I lived on fish tacos growing up! They also have a lobster enchilada dish that I had my eye on as well so my husband agreed to get the California Fish Tacos and I'll get the Lobster Enchiladas so I could give both a try. 

I like how they gave us chips right away upon seating. The service was fast and prompt so you know the team has done this before. We have a suspicion that the old owners of Don Jose opened this one up. 

When our food arrived, the presentation was nice and clean. The California Fish Tacos were fresh and flavorful. However, I wish they would have provided limes with the tacos. I know I could of asked them but I was too hungry and wanted to start digging in right away. 

The Lobster Enchiladas were also fresh but I wasn't a fan of the spicy enchilada sauce they had on top of it. Next time I will ask that they put that sauce on the side if I were to order it again. Overall, it was great! We would come back again. See below for the pictures of our food and other pictures I took of the restaurant. 
 

Myrtle Beach is a great place for spring and summer break

April 24, 2014
Myrtle Beach is a pretty popular place for the south. It has miles of sand, a lot of restaurants and entertainment. With many available  accommodations, rides and eateries, it's no surprise that college students love to come here. 
 

Snow Day in Florence, South Carolina - January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014
It rarely snows in Florence, SC but last night it did. The weather channel was accurate in their predictions and all the schools and most of the businesses are also closed for today. Most residents are staying inside. 

Since it usually only snows once a year around here (if we're lucky), most of us really appreciate it. Of course, it makes driving a lot more dangerous but as long as we know to stay indoors before the sleet starts, we should be okay. My husband didn't work today so we played in the snow.


Say hello to the little snowman we made! 
Have a fun snow day!
 

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 16, 2014 at Francis Marion University

January 17, 2014
We had an unexpected theme this week at our home. A few days ago my husband and I watched the movie The Butler and felt really moved by the courage of a few who stood up for the millions in order to get equality. One of those figures in the movie is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A couple of days letter, I received a flyer in the mail about a public celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the local university and I felt that I must attend.
 
It was held at the Chapman Auditorium inside of Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. Their theme was "Celebrating the Legacy, Living the Dream". It is sad that Dr. King never lived to see the dream that he mentioned in his speech but the dream became a reality for all of us. He didn't die in vain and all of his work really paved the way for all of our own dreams. Now it's up to us to live the legacy and continue to stand up for equality when unfairness is in the way. And of course, we do this non-violently. They had a keynote speaker and she was the state representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter. Her speech was very powerful and one line hit me hard and that was "Stop agonizing and start organizing."

A lot of people in this world do more talking, "complaining", than doing something. We are at an advantage compared to the past. We're allowed to do things in America without being judged by our skin color. We are living the American dream and it is up to us to continue to stand up for what is right.

Young, Gifted and Blessed Gospel Choir also performed at the celebration. See a video glimpse below.
 

Golden Dragon is a good deal but food is really sweet

January 12, 2014
I like Chinese food but I feel like the Chinese food restaurants around Florence, SC are all overly sweet for my taste. A lot of the dishes are filled with a lot of sweet sauces that make it really overbearing for my palette. Golden Dragon is one of them. I really like how they have the twin dragons in the front and when you come inside of the restaurant, it definitely has a Chinese theme inside.

Besides for the appropriate decor, another great thing about this place is they let you order their lunch portions during dinner time! What a great deal! My husband ordered the sesame beef and he didn't like it but I ordered my orange chicken and I really like it. It was a little too sweet but it still tasted great. I say skip the sesame beef and order the orange chicken lunch special. It comes with fried rice but I asked for steam rice and they were happy to accommodate. Their address is 1938 W Evans St, Florence, SC 29501.
 

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