Vacation – Part I

Hello All!

I’m finally done with Jury Duty (YAY!) and I recently went on vacation (DOUBLE YAY!), so I’m just now getting back into blogging again. I completely underestimated jury duty, and wasn’t able to blog as much as I was hoping (or at all!). Then I went back to work for a few weeks before taking 2 weeks off for vacation. Things have been a little crazy, the vacation was so needed…and completely incredible. I’ll be doing recaps this week, part I is below so as not to completely overwhelm you in one blog post. Warning: these will be picture heavy posts.

 

Note: I’m still trying to catch up on emails and blog comments…please forgive me if I haven’t gotten back to you yet. I will be responding, it’s just taking me some time to work through them all. Sorry. 

 

First off…I received a bunch of questions from people asking about jury duty. Questions ranged from how jury duty works in California, what case was I on, why was it taking 3 months, do I get paid…and so on. I’ll try to briefly answer a few of these below.

I get a jury duty summons almost every year…they can call you once every 12 months and they get me every year (lucky me). The general rule is one day or one trial. Every other time I’ve been called, I’ve been done in just one day. This was the first time I had ever been seated on a jury trial. I’m not going to give out the defendant’s name, so you won’t be able to Google the case (sorry), but I will say that it was a Death Penalty Murder trial. I couldn’t share that before, so you can probably understand why it was so long. In fact, it took them a whole month to fully seat the jury, then it took another 2 months to complete the guilt and penalty trials. We found the defendant guilty on all counts, and sentenced him to Life without the possibility of parole. The entire experience was exhausting and emotionally draining since I was hearing and seeing things that I never wanted to see/hear. However, the penalty deliberations were by far the worst. Obviously when you’re talking about the death penalty it’s going to get personal as your dealing with people’s morals/values. I expected that; however, there were some jurors that just took it too far. They got very personal and lashed out at others. During the course of deliberations, many of us felt personally attacked and it was particularly draining for me since I hate confrontation. I’ll just say it was rough.

Given all of that, while I would prefer to not do another capitol case, I would gladly be part of a trial again. Not only was the process fascinating at times, it truly did feel like an honor to be part of the process.

Oh…regarding pay. The court pays $15 a day and some mileage; however, I’m VERY lucky that my company pays unlimited time off for jury duty, so I was paid my regularly salary while I was out.

 

Ok…moving on to a far more relaxing time…VACATION! My brother turns 40 this year so the family got together for a week to celebrate and spend some time together. We have a small family, but we don’t see each other often…so this also acted as a mini family reunion.

 

So near the end of October I hopped on a plane, along with my parents, for my first trip to the South! We flew from San Diego to North Carolina, then drove to South Carolina where we spent a week in Isle of Palms. It was heaven!

SAN to CLT - Among the Clouds

Side note: Starbucks treats are required while travelling. Have you tried the Chocolate Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks…amazing!! My usual Starbucks drink is a Cafe Mocha with 2 pumps Chai, but the tea version was really good. I hope it lasts longer than one season.

After I let this cup sit on the counter for a really long time, the Barista said this was mine…but, who the hell is Timmie??? I’m used to my name being misspelled, but this is the worst so far…funny, but not even close.

Who the hell is Timmie?

After spending a night in Charlotte, NC, we started our drive to Isle of Palms. We stopped in Columbia, SC on the way and toured the State House.

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

 

Columbia, SC - State House

I loved the architecture of this building.

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

…and saw beautiful churches along the way.

Columbia, SC

We also drove down to the Canal and walked around. It had the most beautiful running/walking trail for locals.

Columbia, SC Canal

Columbia, SC Canal

Then we arrived at the beach…cue the sound of angels singing!  The ocean is by far my happiest place.

This was the house we stayed at during our week in town. Beautiful…with a freakin’ elevator! This was the first time staying at a rented house as opposed to a hotel and I would go this route again in a heart beat (if only they all looked like this). For the large group we had, it was perfect, and everyone had their own space. I mean I love my family…but WE ALL need our own space from time to time, am I right?

[yes, I am]

Isle of Palms, SC

View from deck…but we’ll get back to the beach shots in the next post.

Isle of Palms_25

On our first full day, we did a culinary tour in downtown Charleston, SC and would highly recommend it. The guide took us to 3 restaurants around town where we ate a ton of delicious food, and gave us a tour of the area during our walk in between eats.

The Southend Brewery was my favorite and our first stop.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

I had my first taste of Shrimp & Grits which was delicious, and fried green tomatoes (which I sadly did not photograph).

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

This vegetable risotto was incredible, I need to recreate this ASAP!

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

The whole experience was unique and much more than I ever expected. The chef’s did an amazing job catering to us, and the presentations were deliciously beautiful. 

Seared Tuna with Lemon Pepper Beignets & lime ‘caviar’. Not my favorite dish since I don’t like tuna, but I still tried everything.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

We even cooked out own steaks on a 700 degree hot rock. Delicious and fun.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Not gonna lie…this was the best ending. Carrot Cake Donuts!

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

A few more shots of our tour around town.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

I’ll be back tomorrow with Part II…prepare for a barrage of beach photos.

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