Friday5 {Tailgating Essentials}

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It has been an extremely long and painful 240 days (not that I’m counting) since Clowney came close to decapitating a Michigan football to when the Gamecocks finally took the field again last night to prove who the REAL Carolina is! Football season is finally upon us again! HALLELUJAH, PRAISE GOD!

1. Zyliss Paring Knife: This knife is awesome! So awesome that this little guy isn’t reserved just for football season; I keep it in my kitchen drawer year round. This pairing knife is super sharp and can cut pretty much anything. Its small size makes it easy to pack with all of your other tailgating essentials. It comes in a variety of fun colors (perhaps you can find one that matches your teams colors) and has a safety blade cover making it perfect for camping, picnics and tailgates. You can find these at Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon for around $10 and make great gifts or even stocking stuffers!

2. Chill Out and About Cooling Tray Set: Tailgating in Columbia, SC must be similar to tailgating directly on the Sun or in the depths of Hell. It’s HOT. Make-up running down your face, hair sweat, drenched kind of hot. It’s not enjoyable and certainly does nothing to help your tailgate food that needs to be kept cool. The Chill Out About Cooling Tray Set is a must-have accessory. This simple design uses Tupperware-style containers to keep food at sufficiently low temperatures by filling the main container with ice and then placing the serving containers in the proper openings in the lid, you have a service station that’s just as good as any buffet and twice as easy to clean. This set is perfect for use with cold salads, dips, sauces, fruit, and any other dishes that are best served cold.  The containers are safe for refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher.

3: Rolling Cooler: A cooler on wheels is essential when bebopping from tailgate to tailgate. I think this particular cooler is  the perfect size (big enough to carry many bottles of Andre). It also has wheels and a long handle which make it easy to carry from place to place.  It  includes shoulder straps if you prefer to carry it bookbag style. The inside is fully insulated and it is heat sealed to ensure a leak proof interior lining.  The cooler also provides a zipper pouch in the front, and two mesh pockets on the side to carry SOLO cups, wine bottle opener, etc.  By the looks of it,  apparently my Florida-Gator-of-a-boyfriend even approves!

4. Freedom Grill: This grill certainly will provide your trunk or truck bed the “freedom” to fit more in it. This grill  hooks to any 2” trailer hitch receiver and features a steel arm that swings out when you grill (keeping the fire away from your vehicle) and swings back in and locks securely in place when you go down the road. The company can also personalize your grill so you can rep your favorite team. The grill starts at $250.

5. Tailgate Tent & Appropriate Decor: Again, Columbia, SC is “famously hot” and so a tailgate tent is essential to provide shade. In the south, your tailgate tent is an extension of your home and should be decorated appropriately. It is not uncommon to see decorative rugs, sofas, recliners, and flat screen tv’s. Some go as far as to bring candelabras and floral arrangements to complete the set-up.  I stumbled upon an adorable website, Go Chic, that sells trendy and sassy tailgating accessories. Go Chic sells “Chic Chandeliers” that you can customize to match your school colors. The chandelier easily attaches to your tailgate tent and comes with an extra long cord that plugs into an extension cord. Perfect accessory to ensure your tailgate party lasts late into the night!


Other Weekend Happenings

Monday I posted about my baptism, which trumped every other event this past weekend. However, it was a really great weekend for other reasons to.

Friday night I headed to Park Lanes for the annual SEC Alumni Bash with a few of my girlfriends. The SEC party was held in the parking lot of the bowling alley and each school had their own tent and set-up. I know I’m biased, but I think the USC spot was the best…how can you compete with a real stuffed gamecock and a larger-than-life blow-up Cocky? There was a great turnout and I think it got everyone really jazzed about football season starting this week! And even though Matt is a Gator, he was a good sport to put up with us crazy girls all night! After the party, we headed to Angry Ales for some dinner and more drinks. I ended the night early in preparation for my big event on Saturday morning.

On Saturday I met my Dad bright and early to head to my first-ever bike race. The race was called the Tour de Turns and started at the Brixx shopping center on Fairview. We opted to do the 25 mile ride (there was a 15, 30, and 60 mile ride as well) – and halfway in I thought I might be walking my bike back to the finish line. The ride was actually not too bad, just a lot of hills in the first 15 miles that I wasn’t prepared for. I have only been riding since Christmas (and honestly have probably only ridden 8-10 times) so 25 miles was a big undertaking for me.   We couldn’t have asked for better weather; it was a gorgeous Carolina day, and the route provided many shady streets. I was so impressed by the amount of people who were sitting in their driveways to cheer us on as we rode past.  Wouldn’t it be great if in life we had a “cheering squad” who followed us around and cheered us on through our daily lives?  While climbing some pretty terrible hills that seemed like they would never end… I kept repeating Proverbs 31:25 in my head over and over and over again. “She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days (HILLS) to come

We finished in 2 hours and 18 minutes (including a 10 minute stop at the rest station) and I was thrilled! Although…my Dad did bring up a good point that some people RUN 25 miles in the amount of time it took us to ride…show offs! After the race there was a raffle and my name was randomly selected to win a gift card to a bike store in town, hooray! This is only the second year of this particular event and it raised $10,000 that will be donated to Loaves and Fishes, Friendship Trays and Second Harvest Food Bank. I was so glad I had my Dad there – he is a machine! He’s double my age and in way better shape! I think I might have slowed him down a little, but was glad he was there to challenge me.

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Surprisingly enough, I was still able to walk after the ride! So Matt and I took a nice walk around the neighborhood. The weather was so beautiful that it was made no sense to be inside all day. Later in the afternoon we met our friends for dinner at Brixx. After that we all headed to Common Market for a few drinks. Common Market is being a tradition for us, and we usually find ourselves there 3-4 times per week. Its easy, relaxed, and there’s some seriously good people watching!

After church we met some other friends at Liberty for some lunch and vino and then back to Common Market where we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and laughing.  All and all fantastic weekend! Looking forward to an  exciting Labor Day weekend a few days to finally relax!!

Raised To Life

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I had all intentions of my Monday morning post being a weekend update, as it was a great few days. However, what I experienced on Sunday morning was so life changing that it deserved its own post. Sunday’s are tough. The desire to sleep-in is typically so overwhelming that the excuse of “I’ll just watch church online later today” usually suffices. However, I woke up yesterday with this nagging feeling that I needed to get up, and I needed to get to church.  Matt agreed to tag along and we spent the car ride there planning our shopping list at Trader Joe’s after church.  What we didn’t know was that all prior plans would be thrown out the window and our lives would be changed forever.

Our church, Elevation, just began a new series title “Raised To Life”; a two-week series on baptism. I was baptized when I was two years old, and am so thankful that my parents made the decision to raise me in a Christian household. However, that was really their decision, and ultimately a choice I felt like I needed to make on my own. Throughout the sermon I went back and forth in my head on whether I would do it or not. I think deep down I knew I wanted to, but  had some reservations.  Isn’t this something I need to pray about before doing?  Shouldn’t I be in a different place with Christ before going through with it? Would my outward decision hold to me to a different standard with those who knew? Did this mean I would have to change? Should I wait until my family could witness it?  And embarrassingly enough,  I thought about my hair, mascara running down my face, and having to deal with wet clothes afterwards. But Pastor Steven’s words spoke to my heart and I knew today was the moment. All excuses were irrelevant at this point He said that being baptized is an outward expression of an inward decision. It didn’t change your position with God, or create any expectations or responsibilities to fulfill, it is simply an acknowledgement that my life has been saved because of Jesus.

Pastor Steven counted to three, and those who wished to be baptized were asked to make their way outside. All over the church people rose with excitement. The Holy Spirit was tugging at my heart and telling me that today was the day and to not delay it any longer.  I looked over at Matt (both of us were crying at this point) and we gave each other the “look”, gathered our things and excitedly headed outside. On the walk out there were people cheering, high-fiving, hugging and congratulating us on our decision.  It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.

Once we got outside, the men and women got in separate lines and bags were distributed to everyone. Inside of the bag was shorts, shirt, bra, underwear, flip-flops, hair-tie, and even make-up removing clothes. They truly thought of it all! They accounted for any excuse anyone could possibly have. We were filtered into large tents with separate dressing rooms where we could change into the clothes they provided. After changing, I met up with Matt and we got into the baptism line. While we were waiting we heard many amazing stories. One man was watching Elevation online and was so touched that he drove to the nearest church to be baptized. Stories of an entire football team making the decision together…and a story about a wife who had been praying for her husband for 40 years who was saved!

When we got to the front of the line, Matt decided he would go first. I watched him climb to the top of the stairs, and then walk down them into the tub of water.  I watched as the Pastor held a cloth over his face, dunked him under the water, and rise up a new person. Witnessing this moment was surreal for me and a moment I will cherish forever.

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Before I knew it, they were calling my name and it was my turn to enter the water. As I climbed down the stairs I heard one of my friends from college cheering me on from the bleachers. It was special to know there was someone in the crowd I knew. The Pastor said a few words and it was time for me to go under. When I surfaced all I could do was cry. I was overwhelmed by the feeling that had overcome me.

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I quickly met back up with Matt and we spent a good three minutes just holding each other crying. It is a moment I will never forget and probably one of the most meaningful events we will experience together. It  meant so much to me to have Matt by my side me. To see the man I love make such a deeply personal life choice and vow to lead me in my walk with Christ was truly a life changing moment for our relationship.

Being baptized was the most pure and holy moment I have ever experienced.  I went under with all of my sin, regrets, embarrassments, ugliness and unworthiness. But was washed by the water…revived and RAISED TO LIFE. Hallelujah!

If you’d also like to experience this life-changing moment, Elevation Church will be performing baptisms this upcoming Saturday and Sunday as well. You do not have to be a member of the Church and there are no obligations or requirements other than wanting to be #RaisedToLife in Christ.


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1.  Apple’s iPhone charger take-back program: Last month a lady in China was electrocuted and killed by her iPhone.  That’s like being killed by your best friend, bummer.  Apple believes the phone was plugged in to the charger, and the charger was likely counterfeit. In a somewhat genius move, through October 18, Apple is offering to take back any iPhone, iPod, or iPad chargers not made by Apple at its stores and authorized service providers, and in exchange will sell users an authentic Apple USB power adaptor for $10—half the usual price. Users will also have to bring in their Apple gadgets, each of which has a unique serial number, and will be limited to one discounted charger per device. This strategy is smart because Apple has 1) distanced itself from blame from any future fake charger disasters 2) making a profit on new chargers bought and 3) increased foot traffic to their stores. According to Asymco analyst horace Dediu, the company collected $57.50 in revenue per Apple store visitor in Q1.  Maybe it’s finally time to upgrade from that charger I bought out of desperation at the Citgo back in college?

2. My Amazing Blow Dry Secret: Um…amazing and secret is right! Who knew this product even existed? This company sells shampoo, conditioner, and a shake n’ spray product that claims to reduce your blow dry time in half. That’s right folks, half.  I don’t know much about chemistry (I thought atom was spelled adam until high school), but I do know that these products contain molecules that speed up the evaporation of water. Seems too good to be true, but all of the reviews I read said that it actually works. Each product retails for around $25 and I’m very tempted to purchase.


3. I’m not a big couponer; mainly because I don’t find it to be convenient to rifle through the non-existent Sunday paper I receive. My sister introduced me to You type your grocery list into a box, and then it returns any relevant coupons to items on your list.  Lozo searches hundreds of coupon sites at once, and will also email you new savings each week.

4. Microbrew Cruise at the National White Water Center: During the months of May-October, the White Water Center is offering a Microwbrew Cruise on almost every Wednesday and Friday evening. For $55, you take an hour and a half Flatwater paddle on the Catawba River. As the sun begins to set, you head back to shore for a chef-prepared, fire side dinner. Each cruise features a select craft brewery; representatives from the breweries lead the tastings by highlighting new, seasonal and unique brews. I think this would be a perfect date night.  There’s only ten more opportunities this season, so sign-up soon!


5. Quirky Sliders: Can you tell I really love the company Quirky? I’ve mentioned them here and here in previous Friday5’s and I’m back today with another great hit! With Labor Day right around the corner (boo hoo hoo!) we have a few more opportunities to pull the grill out. The nonslip rubber gasket of the Slider keeps your food securely in place while grilling, and easily slide the food off  the skewer when you’re ready to chow down. For $24.99 you get a set of four skewers, and also help support Tim Hayes in Lakewood, Ohio.

One Year Anniversary!

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I cannot believe it’s already been a year since the birth of The Dilworth Darling. What started out of boredom and lack of inspiration, has truly turned into a passion of mine. I have learned so much about the blog world and look forward to starting every morning  with a glimpse into the lives of some of my favorite bloggers. Although life has changed a lot in the last year, I’m still just a twenty-something loving Pinot Grigio and life in the Queen City.

Thanks for your readership, comments and support along the way!


“Publix is a grocery store gifted straight from the heavenly angels to the southern regions of the United States.”

In honor of Publix breaking ground on a new store less than a mile from my house, I give you this beautiful and articulately written piece on the wonder that is…The Pub Sub

Christmas in…August? Custom Needlepoint Belt

I’ve been meaning to post about this since Christmastime…and now that Christmas has come and gone, and Christmas in July has also passed us, I better get this post up before Christmas this year. I wanted to get Matt something really nice for Christmas since he always goes out of his way to spoil me. And lets face it, guys are REALLY hard to buy for.  Last summer we were out and saw a guy wearing a needlepoint belt, and Matt mentioned that he thought it was really neat. That’s where the adventure began!

I contacted an online company called Smathers & Branson. They specialize in all things needlepoint and have really great products. They sell pre-made belts, but will also help you design something custom. I sent them a few of my original ideas, and they sent back the below mock up, with the cost associated. I was shocked. I had no idea how expensive these things were, and figured I could do-it-myself cheaper.


Please note that I had extremely lofty plans when I decided I would be able to needlepoint my own belt.  I am the person who has to YouTube “how to sew a button” – worst homemaker ever? Probably. I started at Po’s Po int in Phillips Place. This is a needle pointing utopia. They have a plethora of threads, designs, etc. From there, they put me in touch with a  lady name DeElda Wittmack. Dee and I had a phone conversation about what “icons” I wanted on the belt, and she gave me some advice on spacing, number of icons per belt, colors, etc.  From there, she mailed me a mock-up on a piece of paper and drawn in pencil (unfortunately forgot to take a picture of this step). I was able to approve the design and make tweaks before sending it back.

A couple of weeks later, I received the below design. Dee draws the icons you request, and then paints them on a canvas. This makes it a lot easier to know where what colors go where. Once this was received, it was time to head back to Po’s Point and purchase all of the thread colors I would need.  I originally thought I wanted a navy background, but Dee informed me that a neutral background would help the icons pop. Plus, tan can be worn with khakis, jeans, etc.

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My mom and I (mainly my mom) worked tirelessly from October until almost Christmas Eve to get the belt needle-pointed. It was a lot more time consuming than I think either of us had ever imagined it would be. The icons are so small and have so many details that you have to be really meticulous and focused. We got the entire belt needle-pointed just in the nick of time for me to wrap it up and put a bow on it.

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Matt loved the belt and was so surprised to find out that I had designed, and sewed it myself. However, the belt wasn’t complete yet. We had to take it back to Po’s Point to decide on what color leather we wanted the belt bound in, and the buckle color and style. Once those decisions were made, the canvas was sent to Kentucky to be wrapped in leather and made into an actual belt.

Below is the final product, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it turned out. The icons I decided on for the belt were: Matt’s initials (MRH), a bill fish since he loves to fish, fleur-de-lis for his love of the New Orleans Saint, bourbon bottles and tumbler, shotgun and shell, the state of Louisiana with a star on Baton Rouge for where he was born, American flag for his love of the US of A, a crown for the Queen City (Charlotte) because that’s where he lives, and where we met, golf ball and tee’s, and finally the University of Florida’s logo.

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The belt ended up costing more than if I had sent it Smathers & Branson, and took significantly more time than I think we had ever imagined. All that considered, I am so glad that I decided to do it myself. It was a great learning experience and now I can say that I needlepoint. Plus, it’s a very personal gift that Matt will have forever!

Weekend Recap


What was planned to be a low-key Friday evening, turned out to be an impromptu reunion with old friends. Matt and I walked down to Food Truck Friday to grab a casual dinner. If you haven’t been to FTF, you need to check it out. I remember going a year ago, and there being maybe 30 people there. It has certainly evolved. Now the lines wrap around the lot, and most trucks have a 30-45 minute wait. You can hardly even find room for your picnic blanket and chairs. I am so glad to see South End thriving! We decided on BBQ and okra, and Matt ran over to Common Market to grab some beverages. Why he thought it was a good idea to only buy me two mini wine bottles is beyond me…? While we were eating we ran into the majority of my close high school friends. We had no idea that they would all be there and it was great to catch up with everyone. Afterwards, we walked over to Gin Mill and let the reminiscing continue.


My dad met me at my place early Saturday morning to go on a bike ride. He bought me a road bike for Christmas, and I am embarrassed to admit that I have only ridden it a handful of times. I want to ride more often, and am glad my dad and I had the chance to get out on the road. We ended up doing around 15 miles; riding to South Park, Freedom Park, and a couple of laps around the Booty Loop, and then stopping for some lunch at Brueggar’s Bagel.  I definitely have the itch to ride again very soon!

After the ride, I met up with Matt, and we headed to The Ashton to meet some friends at their pool. The Ashton pool is so beautiful, and the rooftop has arguably the best views of the city.

Later that night we headed to 5Church to celebrate my dear friend Kelly’s birthday (Happy Birthday, KRR!). I ordered the wasabi crusted salmon, and it was amazing delicious. I highly recommend it. We left dinner and headed to a friends condo at the Avenue Condos to pregame before heading out uptown. We bar hopped all night and eventually ended up back in South End at Gin Mill again. After an intense argument with the boys, we agreed to go to Fuel Pizza for late night pizza. The girls wanted to eat at Midnight Diner, but a shooting the night before had everyone a little nervous. Bullets and Bacon don’t mix well.



I met my mom for Sunday brunch to celebrate her birthday that was earlier in the week. The weather was beautiful and perfect for dining al fresco. After lunch, we went to Sleepy Poet for some antique shopping. Sleepy Poet is one of my favorite places to get lost in. Each and every booth offers a unique selection.  I have recently become interested in Blue Willow china. My grandmother had a set that we ate dinner off of every Sunday. She has since passed, and I am working with my Uncle to hopefully inherit the china. Mom and I are on the hunt to find more pieces to add to the collection, including incorporating white hobnob, and green accent plates. We ended up finding amazing green salad plates, cups and saucers, and a serving bowl for $60. I can’t wait until my set is complete! I love that Sleepy Poet offers free popcorn, it’s never good to antique shop on an empty stomach.

Later that afternoon, Matt and I ran a few errands and then treated ourselves to some more BBQ at Mac’s Speed Shop. We lucked out and got the perfect picnic table outside and in front of the band. Nothing is better than a Sunday evening of live music, BBQ, a few brews, and my love.  Being in town on the weekends with no plans sure is nice! Looking forward to a few more this month!