Finding Bethlehem In Surfside Beach

Those of us who love the holidays all have images ingrained in our heads of Christmas magic. For me, I have a few that jump right out: the Christmas tree farm my parents would take us to each year, the festive looking trolley my family rode through the streets of Walla Walla one Christmas Eve, and the fireplace at my grandparents’ house where we would lay out cookies for Santa. I can close my eyes right now and conjure up a vivid image of each scene.

This past weekend, Sidney and I enjoyed a very special Christmas visual that from now on will always resonate within me.

We were traveling back to Myrtle Beach from Murrells Inlet where we had just finished up a 3D ultrasound. About 10 miles separate the two areas. To be honest, the drive is an eyesore. Throughout stretches of the trek you are treated to very uninspired landscape. No colors, scattered trees, little architecture. Since it was 5 p.m. it was starting to get dark, making the trip even that more dreary. As we were driving along, we saw police lights flashing on the side of the road. Thinking the cop had pulled someone over, we drove past without thinking anything of it. After we had passed the police car by about 30 feet, something caught the corner of both our eyes…

In the dark, unimaginative area we were in, we saw a sight that transformed everything. To our right and off to a distance we saw lit tiki torches, white Christmas lights, and high powered lamps. We saw structures made to look like a town from about 2,000 years ago. Sidney squealed when she could make out the shapes of a camel and other animals (you just don’t see that type of wildlife in the Grand Strand area). Finally, you saw people that looked like they had jumped right out of the Bible.

From a distance, we could see a makeshift town complete with biblical characters and animals. We knew we had to go check it out.

From a distance, we could see a makeshift town complete with biblical characters and animals. We knew we had to go check it out.

Seemingly in the middle of nowhere on a dark highway, we had just seen a very unusual site. However, it didn’t take long for it to click for Sidney. She immediately identified it as a Drive-Thru Nativity. Overjoyed by the scene, we didn’t need much convincing. Although not the easiest thing to do, we managed to turn left down a street so we could reverse course on the divided highway and head in the opposite direction back to the Nativity. Once we were going toward the scene, we had to reverse course again once we passed it so we could get on the side of the highway where all the excitement was happening. As we approached the flashing police lights we saw earlier it became obvious…law enforcement was helping out with crowd control. We turned right past the car as a cop waved us in.

Sidney and I had managed to drive by the Church of the Resurrection at just the right time so we could see its Return to Bethlehem Drive-Thru Nativity.

Sidney and I had managed to drive by the Church of the Resurrection at just the right time so we could see its Return to Bethlehem Drive-Thru Nativity.

We had arrived at the Church of the Resurrection, a place of worship I never knew existed. Even though the church was a tall structure with an impressive steeple, it had never popped out to me while driving the monotony of Highway 17 Bypass in the past. On this particular weekend, the congregation was putting on its “Return to Bethlehem” Drive-Thru Nativity. As we drove by the church up to the gates of Bethlehem, we stopped at several stations. Each of these stations had a board with scripture written on it setting the stage for the different scenes we would encounter after going through the gates.

This was our view right after we turned into the property of the Church of the Resurrection in Surfside Beach. The church itself is on the left and the board you see right in front of our dash has scripture on it, describing one of the seven scenes of the Drive-Thru Nativity.

This was our view right after we turned into the property of the Church of the Resurrection in Surfside Beach. The church itself is on the left and the board you see right in front of our dash has scripture on it, describing one of the seven scenes of the Drive-Thru Nativity.

Church members arranged cars into one of three lanes in front of the Bethlehem gates. When we were given the go-ahead, we slowly drove forward. Two teens dressed as guards in armor halted us.

“Are you here for the Census?” one of the teens questioned.
“Yes we are!” replied Sidney.

We convinced the guards at the gates of Bethlehem to let us in so we could see the Drive-Thru Nativity put on by the Church of the Resurrection.

We convinced the guards at the gates of Bethlehem to let us in so we could see the Drive-Thru Nativity put on by the Church of the Resurrection.

With that the gates opened and we entered the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

For the next ten minutes or so, we were treated to several scenes that told the story of the birth of Jesus. So much effort was poured into the presentation. Each scene was built with care and craftsmanship. The church members serving as actors had microphones so you could easily hear from the comfort of your car. Church members not playing a part gave us clear directions on when to drive up to the next scene. The animals did not disappoint. Besides the camel we also saw goats, llamas, and sheep.

A look at some of the scenes we saw at "Return to Bethlehem," a Drive-Thru Nativity put on by the Church of the Resurrection in Surfside Beach..

A look at some of the scenes we saw at “Return to Bethlehem,” a Drive-Thru Nativity put on by the Church of the Resurrection in Surfside Beach..

All the special moments from the actual birth of Jesus to the angel appearing to the shepherds to the visit of the Magi were depicted. My personal favorite scenes were the first and the last. Starting off the Drive-Thru Nativity was the angel telling Mary that she would conceive the Son of God and concluding the display was a joyful performance by a choir of angels singing Angels We Have Heard on High.

My two favorite scenes included the angel telling Mary that she would conceive Jesus and then the choir singing "Angels We Have Heard on High" at the end.

My two favorite scenes included the angel telling Mary that she would conceive Jesus and then the choir singing “Angels We Have Heard on High” at the end.

The presentation was perfect, as was our timing. Not knowing about this event at all, we had arrived right when it started on the first of the only two nights that it was offered. It certainly was special.

But as I mentioned above, what will really stay with me from last Saturday night was the scene we saw while passing in our car. In the dreariness, we saw the town of Bethlehem fully illuminated, inviting us to stop. I won’t forget the image of the people, the animals, and the light that seemed to cry out to us as we drove by. Thanks to the Church of the Resurrection for doing such a cool thing. Don’t Blink.

Go Out For Breakfast!

This past Saturday, I asked Sidney to go out to breakfast with me. Kindly, she sacrificed some of her well-deserved sleep and obliged. At 8:30 a.m. we drove to one of the many breakfast houses that line Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. This particular one was called Southern House of Pancakes and we made sure to bring our appetites.

We sat in a worn booth inside the busy but warm restaurant. It was the type of place that had the silverware placed in plastic sacks, waitresses that called you “hun,” and a system where you brought your check up to the cashier when you finished. This particular place had a little more personality than your typical breakfast joint though. The owner joyfully mingled with staff and customers on the restaurant floor and the walls were lined with colorful southern phrases. Sidney made me laugh by saying each one with an exaggerated accent (which is very exaggerated considering she already has a thick southern accent).

I took this photo of Sidney with our food on the table at the Southern House of Pancakes in Myrtle Beach.

I took this photo of Sidney with our food on the table at the Southern House of Pancakes in Myrtle Beach.

I ordered pancakes, eggs, and sausage. I also ordered a hot chocolate complete with whipped cream that seemed to reach as high as a foot above the mug. Sid got a waffle and hash browns. We traded bites of our food and had a delightful morning.

A close up look at our food that we enjoyed at the Southern House of Pancakes in Myrtle Beach.

A close up look at our food that we enjoyed at the Southern House of Pancakes in Myrtle Beach.

I say this not to promote the Southern House of Pancakes nor to go off on another pancake tangent. Rather, I am writing just to say this: go out for breakfast every now and then.

I advocate eating breakfast at a restaurant for a few reasons. First, doing so helps get the day off to a great start. Sleeping in on the weekend is nice, but getting up when others are sleeping and sitting down for a warm meal is even nicer. Second, breakfast is more of a treat than anything. When you go to a diner for the first meal of the day, you aren’t eating salads and fancy hors d’oeuvres. Rather, you are eating pancakes, French toast, waffles, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and crepes. It is your time to indulge in something hearty and sweet. Third, breakfast is just low key. Prices are cheaper and people are more relaxed.

But the main reason why it is important to go out for breakfast every now and then is simply because of the experience. Most of the time when you go to these breakfast houses, it is just pure nostalgia. Many of these places haven’t been updated in years. At the cash register you can grab a mint or an issue of some strange alternative newspaper. Glassware is simple, the menu is straightforward, and the atmosphere is warm. Even for people who don’t drink it, the rich aroma of coffee dominates the inside of these places bringing a soothing feeling. The butter is whipped, the milk is from a machine, and the syrup is homemade. To me, the yummy food is just a small part of the breakfast appeal.

When Sidney and I went out for breakfast this past Saturday, it was our first time doing so since our honeymoon. It proved to be just what we needed. Are you overdue for a warm breakfast at a family restaurant? Perhaps this weekend is your chance. Get up a little early and enjoy yourself. Don’t Blink.

Our 2016 Voting Experience

Today it was the pleasure of Sidney and I to perform our civic duties and vote. We went to Ocean Bay Elementary School in Myrtle Beach to cast our ballots.

We voted at Ocean Bay Elementary in Myrtle Beach today.

We voted at Ocean Bay Elementary in Myrtle Beach today.

We quickly learned we weren’t just poking our heads in to vote. With the line stretching outside the school, it made for a long afternoon. Inside, the line stretched and curved all around the school’s cafeteria.

The turnout at our voting precinct was heavy. The line snaked around the entire cafeteria and out the door.

The turnout at our voting precinct was heavy. The line snaked around the entire cafeteria and out the door.

We passed the time in line by talking to our neighbors in front of us and in back of us. As South Carolina is very much a red state, I overheard a lot of people voicing their support for Trump. One man said he would “wait all day to vote for Trump” while another commented that he didn’t care about the rest of the ballot, he just wanted to vote for Donald.

After we checked in at the voting precinct, we were given these little "vote" cards that we eventually would give to the voting official at the front of the line.

After we checked in at the voting precinct, we were given these little “vote” cards that we eventually would give to the voting official at the front of the line.

After two hours and 20 minutes in line, Sidney and I finally reached the front of it. A main reason for the long wait wasn’t just because of the strong turnout, it was also because out of the seven voting machines installed, only three were in working order.

After two hours and 20 minutes, we finally reached the front of the line.

After two hours and 20 minutes, we finally reached the front of the line.

Once we submitted our ballots we received our coveted stickers and took the obligatory “we voted” selfie. Then, hungry from the long wait in line, we went off to lunch.

Wearing the stickers to prove it, Sidney and I posed for this selfie outside of Ocean Bay Elementary after casting our ballots.

Wearing the stickers to prove it, Sidney and I posed for this selfie outside of Ocean Bay Elementary after casting our ballots.

My story, along with the millions of other voting experiences shared by others today, is a major example of why the United States of America is the best country on the planet. To have the opportunity to voice our opinion for the top leader in the nation along with our preference on many other races and issues is an extraordinary right that we all need to appreciate and take advantage of. I voted and I am proud of that. Don’t Blink.

Proud To Be A Myrtle Beach Local

Last night, Sidney and I attended Taste of the Town, a Myrtle Beach event where over 40 area restaurants set up booths and offer food samples. As we walked up to the convention center I looked at Sid and said, “Can you believe this is the third year we have attended this?”

This was Sidney and I at Myrtle Beach's Taste of Town last night. The event is sponsored by the St. Andrew Catholic community.

This was Sidney and I at Myrtle Beach’s Taste of Town last night. The event is sponsored by the St. Andrew Catholic community.

Although I have come to realize it for at least a year now, when I asked her that rhetorical question the truth couldn’t have been more obvious to me: I am a genuine Myrtle Beach local.

Of course I was immediately a Myrtle Beach local the day I moved here by way of my address but I don’t think from a psychological standpoint I was. Now, almost exactly two and a half years since I arrived here in a U-Haul, I don’t think they come much more local than me.

Besides still messing up on directions every now and then, I would say I am a solid Grand Strand citizen. I work here, got married here, and our baby will be born here. I know about all the popular restaurants, the diviest bars, and the best ice cream parlors. I am familiar with all the local high schools, car dealerships, and putt putt courses. I have spent enough time on 501 to last a lifetime and enough time in the surf shops to know that if you have seen one you have seen them all.

But back to Taste of the Town real fast. It really is a fabulous event. Besides the restaurants I mentioned above, there is also entertainment, a beer garden, activities for kids, and much more. It is a major Myrtle Beach event and it is all put on by the St. Andrew Catholic community. As Sid and I walked around during the peak period of the event and admired what seemed to be the entire city inside that convention center, we felt very proud to be members of St. Andrew.

But you know what else I am proud of? Being a Myrtle Beach local! This place is my home and it is much more to me than just a popular tourist town. Don’t Blink.

The Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach

On Friday night, Sidney and I wanted to do something a little different to cap off our date night. So after we finished dinner we decided that we wanted to act like tourists. How did we do that, you ask? We decided to go to one of the biggest tourist traps (I mean destinations) in town.

Sidney and I ate dinner at an Italian restaurant called Maggi D's on Friday night.

Sidney and I ate dinner at an Italian restaurant called Maggi D’s on Friday night.

The Hollywood Wax Museum in Myrtle Beach is an impressive structure. The exterior is built according to a popular King Kong scene. A version of the New York skyline takes up the outside base of the structure and at the very top is a giant King Kong gripping an airplane from atop the Empire State Building. You see, when you are driving down U.S. 17 Bypass it is impossible not to look. As Sidney and I drive by it almost on a daily basis, our curiosity finally got the best of us.

Before we walked inside on Friday night, I took this photo of the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Before we walked inside on Friday night, I took this photo of the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Believe it or not, the Hollywood Wax Museum isn’t solely a wax museum. It also is home to a mirror maze and a haunted house. The price for out-of-towners for an all-access pass good for all three attractions is $27. However, since Sidney and I are proud locals, we only had to pay $20.

Although I was probably more interested in the mirror maze and haunted house, we decided to tour what the center was named for first. After getting our picture taken in front of a King Kong backdrop, we entered the wax museum. Quickly, for those who don’t know, a wax figure is a replica of an actual person made out of (I am guessing but don’t know for sure) wax. The artists of these figures do their best to pinpoint the physical characteristics and mannerisms of each person.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is filled with replicas of famous celebrities.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is filled with replicas of famous celebrities.

With that said, some wax figures were dead on when it came to portraying the person they were supposed to. Other figures weren’t even close. However, Sidney and I would both say that the accurate ones were much more abundant than the ones that missed the mark. Another thing we can say for sure is that the total number of wax figures exceeded our expectations.

Some of the wax figures depicted certain celebrities right on while others were a little bit of a stretch.

Some of the wax figures depicted certain celebrities right on while others were a little bit of a stretch.

Each wax figure had a screen with a description about that particular person. It contained the name of the person, his/her career highlights, and usually some obscure fact(s). When Sidney and I first entered the museum we started to read each screen. However, as it became clear that we would be there all night if we did, we started to pick and choose.

This isn’t a museum where they encourage you to put your phones away. In fact, it is the absolute opposite. To promote selfies, the museum offered props at several of  the figures for visitors to use. For example, Rocky Balboa and Hugh Hefner each had robes on a hook that you could put on. Harrison Ford (as Indiana Jones) had a hat you could don and a snake you could drape around yourself. It was a nice touch.

Several of the figures came with props that you could use while  taking photos.

Several of the figures came with props that you could use while taking photos.

The museum was set up in sections. In one part you had iconic figures from the 1950s such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean. Another section had horror film legends. Another had action heroes. One section had divas. Another one had current female pop stars such as Pink, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. The museum was very organized, vast, and clean.

Me hanging out with some of the 1950s icons.

Me hanging out with some of the 1950s icons.

When it came to our favorite figures, I especially liked the John Travolta replica. Sidney sided with Justin Timberlake. My favorite section was the horror one but coincidentally it was Sidney’s least favorite. She wouldn’t go inside it with me. Overall, we had a great time “meeting” all of those famous people .

Sidney liked Justin Timberlake and I liked John Travolta.

Sidney liked Justin Timberlake and I liked John Travolta.

After we finished at the museum we took a look at the gift shop and then hopped on an elevator to the basement for the mirror maze and the haunted house. We did the maze first.

A look at some of the figures in the horror section.

A look at some of the figures in the horror section.

We went through the doors and entered a room with a screen. Surrounding the screen were what seemed like hundreds of different mirrors projecting our reflection. After we adjusted to seeing our reflection in so many unique ways the screen turned on and a king gave us our mission. We had to go save the princess. This wasn’t like the mirror maze at the fair we all went through when we were younger. This maze was an expensive production. It was built like a castle. Music played, lights flashed, smoke rose. It almost seemed like it was half reality, half virtual reality. It took some teamwork on our part to get out but we made it. If you want an actual look at Sidney and I navigating through the maze, there is a video on my Facebook page of us doing just that.

Sidney wouldn’t do the “haunted house” with me but she didn’t miss too much. I used quotations because it is officially not a haunted house but rather a “zombie apocalypse outbreak.” The premise of the attraction is that a government experiment went completely wrong and zombies took over. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through the center where the failed experiment went down. I went through with two other couples. You watch a video and the doors open but it is just downhill from there. The whole thing is on autopilot. You go past zombies that are set to move or light up based on proximity sensors. There was only one live actor at the very end of the attraction. For someone like myself who loves haunted attractions, I was not impressed.

But the $20 was worth the admission for the wax museum and the mirror maze. The Hollywood Wax Museum is definitely one of those things that you only need to do once. However, that one time you do it will definitely make for a fun and unique date night. Don’t Blink.

Brent’s Best of the Beach

Four years ago, I ripped off a standard content hog of every newspaper you will find in this country. Do you know what I am talking about? Every publication has a “Best of (insert city here)” where readers are polled and asked to vote on their top choice of restaurant, bar, news personality, realtor, ice cream shop, etc. etc. Well, in 2012 I used this blog and published my “Brent’s Best of the Zoo” post. For those not familiar with Montana slang terms, “Zoo” is a nickname for Missoula.

As I have lived in Myrtle Beach for over two years now, I decided to take a stab at naming some of my favorite places and activities in town. In order to keep this blog post from getting out of control, I decided to limit it to 15 categories. Speaking of categories, I tried to choose ones that are relevant to this area and ones that I can actually speak on (i.e. I have never ate sushi before so “Best Sushi in Myrtle Beach” is not a category). So enough with the explanations, let’s get to the winners!

Best All-Around Restaurant: Drunken Jack’s

Although it is on the Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet, I am counting Drunken Jack’s in Brent’s Best of the Beach. In my option, Drunken Jack’s boasts the best salad bar, the best hush puppies, and the best seafood/steaks in the area. Not only is it the best when it comes to food, it is also tops in atmosphere as well. Built to give the illusion that you are eating on a pirate ship, the place feels cozy. While you wait for your table you can enjoy complimentary popcorn while taking in the beautiful views of the water. If you want the best in scenery, personality, and food, Drunken Jack’s is for you.

This is a collage of my brother, Sidney, and I enjoying an evening at Drunken Jack's.

This is a collage of my brother, Sidney, and I enjoying an evening at Drunken Jack’s.

Best Bar: Remedies

I enjoy Remedies not just because it is a locals bar. I count it as my favorite because it is covered in televisions and because it is non-smoking. Throughout the past couple years I have gone to Remedies on numerous occasions to watch my western teams play as their TV package allows them to bring up pretty much any game. The food is excellent and the drink prices are very good. The bartenders are welcoming and treat you well the whole time you are there.

This is Sidney and I at in 2014 when we went to Remedies to watch the Montana football team play.

This is Sidney and I at in 2014 when we went to Remedies to watch the Montana football team play.

Best Miniature Golf Course: Mt. Atlanticus

Talk about the category with the stiffest competition! Myrtle Beach is covered with “Happy Gilmore” style putt putt courses. I made the tough decision choosing Mt. Atlanticus as my favorite because of how the course makes you ascend up. The holes are creative, especially the 19th ball return one, but it is the gradual climb of the course I like the most. When you conclude your 18th hole, you are high above in a tiki hut type structure looking over the whole course. Other courses might have dinosaurs, exotic animals, and pirates but Mt. Atlanticus has a view.

Sidney and I at Mt. Atlanticus in September of 2015.

Sidney and I at Mt. Atlanticus in September of 2015.

Best Ice Cream Place: Meyer’s Ice Cream Parlor

This is another category with extremely tough competition. Ice cream parlors dot every corner in the Grand Strand area. But my favorite is clear cut. Meyer’s Ice Cream Parlor is an inviting place with the BEST ice cream. The exterior is covered in different colors and ice cream cut outs and the inside takes on a New York Yankees theme but it is the ice cream that stands out. All flavors are fresh and the sundaes are fun and huge. You will feel nostalgia and happiness when you eat inside Meyer’s. I can’t recommend it enough.

This is me at Meyer's Ice Cream Parlor (notice the Yankees memorabilia and pink walls in the background) enjoying one of their classic sundaes.

This is me at Meyer’s Ice Cream Parlor (notice the Yankees memorabilia and pink walls in the background) enjoying one of their classic sundaes.

Best Signature Activity: Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens

In Myrtle Beach you have a hundreds things to do with top entertainment options, the ocean, and numerous golf courses. However, if there is an event that stands out from the Myrtle Beach mainstays, it would be Nights of a Thousand Candles. Every December for a few weeks, the big sculpture garden in Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens, becomes a Christmas cheer destination. The event will make you forget about the fact that Myrtle Beach doesn’t get snow. Event organizers set up thousands of candles and lights throughout the gardens. You walk on paths and admire the beauty as talented people perform Christmas carols. It is a peaceful and warm way to get into the holiday spirit.

Sidney and I at Night of a Thousand Candles in 2014.

Sidney and I at Night of a Thousand Candles in 2014.

Best Movie Theater: Coastal Grand Mall (Cinemark)

A couple months ago I would have given this nod to the Grand 14 at Market Common (Stone Theaters) but the cinema at Coastal Grand Mall is now tops. The theater recently replaced all seats with electronic recliners. Now, each auditorium just has a capacity of 50 people but if you get a seat it is well worth it. The theater is always clean and you can’t beat the location considering it is attached to the best mall in Myrtle Beach.

Best Sit Down Pizza Place: Mellow Mushroom

When I was home for the holidays in Spokane I found myself at the casino. I was at a blackjack table sitting next to a woman. She asked me where I lived and I told her Myrtle Beach. She remarked that she visited there for a short time several years back. I asked her what she remembered most. Her response? Mellow Mushroom.

Yes, the pizza is that good. I highly recommend it.

Best Delivery Pizza Place: Marco’s Pizza

I like nothing more than enjoying a low key Friday night in with Marco’s Pizza. Much better than the national delivery chains (you will have to pay a little extra), you can count on fresh toppings and plenty of grease. Make sure to order their garlic sauce and you will feel like you made the best choice ever.

Best Grocery Store: Publix

The hype is real. When Publix came to Myrtle Beach I didn’t know if it would be a game changer for the grocery habits of Sidney and I. But it is. Although we will usually still go to Lowe’s which is just two minutes away from our house, we will frequent Publix if we want an out of the ordinary shopping experience. Where else can you go to get a loaded ice cream cone as a sample? Where else can you go where the baggers still insist on taking your groceries out for you? Where else can you go where the store brand is legitimately better than the premium brand? There isn’t a better supermarket option in Myrtle Beach than Publix.

Publix has a terrific line of products. Check out this ice cream flavor.

Publix has a terrific line of products. Check out this ice cream flavor.

Best Sandwich Place: Which Wich

When I tried Which Wich for the first time I immediately fell in love with the concept. You walk in and fill out your order on a brown paper sack. Your sandwich comes out exactly how you wanted it. The food is as perfect as the ordering process. The submarine sandwiches are unique in both build and taste. You will want it again and again.

Best Place to Take Visitors: Broadway at the Beach

Although Broadway at the Beach is undergoing an evolution of sorts right now, it is still a great place to take visitors. You can enjoy sports bars, frozen drink bars, Mexican bars, live music bars, and clubs. And that is just the adult portion of it. Broadway at the Beach also has numerous restaurants, specialty shops, carnival rides, putt putt, kiosks, surf shops, a movie theater, and more. Did I mention that the place is built around a man made body of water that is stocked with ferocious-looking hungry fish? Broadway at the Beach earns my designation as the “best place to take visitors” because there is something for everyone.

Sidney and I enjoying a moment at Broadway at the Beach.

Sidney and I enjoying a moment at Broadway at the Beach.

Best Place for a Date: Market Common

As Myrtle Beach is a destination city, it is filled with tourist traps and gimmicky entertainment centers. The Market Common was built as a classy lifestyle center with locals in mind. With several unique restaurants, upscale bars, designer shops, and a nice movie theater all built on a strategically designed and well landscaped property, a relaxing night out at Market Common is easy to enjoy for any couple. I can’t count all the dates Sidney and I have enjoyed out at the area.

Best Beach Area: Springmaid

The Springmaid Pier is away from all the avenue beaches that bring in hoards of tourists. But don’t think Springmaid is full of locals either. Whenever we go, the beach is never full but it is always very well maintained. With plenty of free parking available, it is the most convenient place to go to take full advantage of the beautiful beach. Don’t pass it up.

This is Glen and I at Springmaid Pier

This is Glen and I at Springmaid Pier

Best Breakfast: Johnny D’s Waffles

Go up and down Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach and you will see probably around 30 different pancake houses. Many of them taste the same but Johnny D’s Waffles is in a league of its own. From their red velvet waffle to their cinnastax pancakes to their filling skillets, nothing matches Johnny D’s in terms of unique variety and freshness. The restaurant isn’t huge and there is usually a wait but it is definitely worth it.

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So there you have Brent’s Best of the Beach. Perhaps next year or in a couple years I will do a second version with other categories included. If you aren’t one of my Myrtle Beach readers, I apologize for boring you. If you are a Myrtle Beach reader, please let me know what you think of my list. Have a great week, everyone! Don’t Blink.

My Top Ten Photos From Our Wedding Day

When we received our wedding pictures back, it was a little overwhelming. Hundreds of photos and hundreds of memories were suddenly under our noses. We took our time looking through them, taking a break, looking through them again, taking a break, etc.

I am now at the point where I am well-acquainted with the beautiful work that Nicholas Gore Weddings took on our special day. For today’s blog post, I thought I would highlight my top ten favorite photos from June 11, 2016. Please keep in mind that I didn’t pick out the top photos that a photographer probably would if he/she scanned the album. Rather, I just picked the ones that I enjoyed and that meant something to me. So, in my best attempt to go in chronological order, here are my ten favorites.

Behind the Scenes – Our photographer went to the house of my sister-in-law prior to the wedding to capture Sidney and her bridesmaids getting ready. This photo of Sidney with her robe still on but her hair and makeup done really shows the excitement of what is about to come. I love the behind the scenes aspect of it too.

Sidney getting ready for the big day to come (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Sidney getting ready for the big day to come (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Sid and Her Mom – This photo is cool just because it is the point of no return. Sid is getting in the car to go to the church. With her mom helping her, it is both a sweet and serious photo.

My mother-in-law, Brenda, helps her daughter into the car to go to the church (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

My mother-in-law, Brenda, helps her daughter into the car to go to the church (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

We Did It!! – The look of joy and relief on our faces as we walk up the aisle after our ceremony says a lot. This is one of my very favorite photos that Nick took.

Now that looks like one very happy couple! (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Now that looks like one very happy couple! (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Making It Legal – After the ceremony ended and we embraced our family, we went back to the altar where we signed our marriage certificate. This shot is meaningful because it shows Sidney and I with the man who married us, Father James LeBlanc.

Fr. James LeBlanc, pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Myrtle Beach, looks on as we sign our marriage certificate (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Fr. James LeBlanc, pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Myrtle Beach, looks on as we sign our marriage certificate (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

The Wedding Party – How can’t the wedding party photo be one of my favorites? You might have seen it on my Facebook page yesterday but here it is again. Not a bad looking group, right?

This was our wedding party (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

This was our wedding party (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

A Picture Says a Thousand Words – In an earlier blog post I featured a photo showing the profiles of both Sid and I during our first dance. However, this one focused on Sidney just expresses so much more. All you need to do is look at Sid’s eyes to learn everything you need to about the photo. And even though the picture is of the back of my head, you can still see that I am smiling.

No caption needed for this one (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

No caption needed for this one (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Reaction Shot – This photo captures a special moment as it was when my brother was giving the best man’s toast. We loved it how Nick scanned down the whole head table and focused in on the reactions of Sidney and I.

When Glen delivered the best man toast, the camera focused on the reactions of Sidney and I (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

When Glen delivered the best man toast, the camera focused on the reactions of Sidney and I (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

It’s All About the Kids – The Coin Dance is an Italian tradition where reception attendees throw coins on the floor while the bride and groom dance. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it also produces the best photos. I love this shot of Sidney and I laughing while the kids scramble to pick up coins. Coin Dance photos serve as the best historical record because they manage to capture most of the kids at the wedding. About 20 years from now this photo will be a lot of fun.

Kids get on hands and knees to pick up money during the Coin Dance (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Kids get on hands and knees to pick up money during the Coin Dance (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Cutting the Cake – I really enjoy this artistic, vivid photo. The way Sidney gently guides my hands as we cut the cake is captured perfectly.

Sid's hands guiding mine as we cut the cake (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Sid’s hands guiding mine as we cut the cake (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

The Moment Before – This image was taken the second before Sidney threw the bouquet. You can really see the contemplation running through her head. The fact that she looks absolutely beautiful in it makes the photo even better.

Sidney getting ready to throw the bouquet (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Sidney getting ready to throw the bouquet (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Additional Special Moments…

The Ceremony – Fr. LeBlanc officiated a great wedding. The images below are a couple of my favorite from the ceremony.

Some shots from the ceremony, including our glamour shot up at the altar.

Some shots from the ceremony, including our glamour shot up at the altar.

The Little People We Love – Nick made sure to get some awesome photos of our nieces and nephew. On the left is my sister’s little girl, Mikayla. On the right is Harrison, the son of my sister-in-law, Stephanie.

Great shots of Mikayla and Harrison.

Great shots of Mikayla and Harrison.

Embracing Russell – Not forgetting our other niece, Sidney and I each shared special hugs with Russell (Stephanie’s daughter) after the wedding.

Sharing a moment with our niece, Russell.

Sharing a moment with our niece, Russell.

Family Is Everything – After both of us said “I Do,” we officially became parts of new families. On the left I am with the Mathis Family and on the right Sidney is with the Reser Family.

Sidney and I with our new families.

Sidney and I with our new families.

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Thanks again to Nicholas Gore Weddings for doing such a great job. We will cherish these images forever. Don’t Blink.

My Wedding Week Thursday Rundown

Three weeks ago I noted that I was writing my last Thursday Rundown as a bachelor. Well today I get to write my first Thursday Rundown as a married man. However, tonight’s rundown is a bit different. This evening I will be touching on five topics/events related to my wedding week that I didn’t write about for feature posts. Here we go…

Golf With Dad and Brother – A big reason why I took up golf so fervently over the past several months was because I wanted to play with my family when they came to Myrtle Beach for the wedding. On the Tuesday before the big day, I took Glen and my dad to Coastal Carolina University. We looked around campus and then I took them to our institution’s golf course, Hackler. We played nine holes on a gorgeous late afternoon. It was so nice hitting the links with them and showing off my game. I had a fabulous time…even if my brother won.

Hanging out on the golf course.

Hanging out on the golf course.

Charleston Trip – On that Wednesday, I got to take my family to an historic Southern city. Early in the morning we departed Myrtle Beach for Charleston so we could pick up my brother’s girlfriend, Ashley, from the airport. Once we arrived and got Ashley in the car, we headed to downtown Charleston. It was a hot day but we got some sightseeing in. We looked through the art in the park, toured a church, and shopped at the market. We couldn’t spend too much time in Charleston so after we ate lunch we headed back to Myrtle Beach. I know my family enjoyed exploring a new city.

Look closely and you can see my dad. It was a hot day in Charleston!

Look closely and you can see my dad. It was a hot day in Charleston!

Bachelor Party! – I wanted a low key, relaxing bachelor party. Thankfully, my father-in-law was more than happy to help out. On Thursday, after all my groomsmen had arrived, we went cruising on the Intracoastal Waterway. Mr. Sid was gracious enough to take us all out on his boat. As the sun beat down on us, he took us up and down the unique body of water as we enjoyed some adult refreshments. We made a stop at the Boathouse for lunch, a popular restaurant right on the water. We ate, drank, and played corn hole. We arrived back on solid ground in plenty of time for that night’s festivities.

I got exactly what I wanted out of my bachelor party.

I got exactly what I wanted out of my bachelor party.

Wedding Weekend Kickoff BBQ – When I said we finished the bachelor party in plenty of time for “that night’s festivities” I was speaking of the BBQ held a few hours later. Sidney’s sisters organized an opportunity for the two families to get together right before the big wedding weekend was set to start. The party was held at the brand new house of Sidney’s sister, Steph. The function started with a professional photographer on hand to take family portraits. After the photo ops, everyone moved to Steph’s living room/kitchen and backyard. It was a fun and chill evening as the two families got to know one another. On the menu was my all-time favorite Southern dish, chicken bog! My west coast family and friends now like it as much as I do. My dad was impressed and humbled that Sidney’s family had stocked one of the coolers with PBR bottles, his favorite.

At the BBQ, us groomsmen put on the shirts that my brother had made.

At the BBQ, us groomsmen put on the shirts that my brother had made.

The Proposal – What an awful person I would be if I didn’t mention the moment that set all the other events above in motion. A year ago on this date, I asked Sidney to marry me on the MarshWalk in Murrells Inlet. She said yes, thus starting a wonderful engagement that has led to our marriage. As Sidney and I lay in bed tonight we will no doubt think back to that special evening 12 months ago.

That magic moment.

That magic moment.

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Hope you didn’t suffer too much over the past couple weeks with no Thursday Rundown. Have a great night and enjoy your Friday. Don’t Blink.

The #SidAndBrent Wedding Timeline

When Sidney and I became engaged last June, I quickly became acquainted with wedding magazines. After I popped the question, Sid and I flew to Spokane the next day. For the long flight and the two week trip, she loaded up on a variety of matrimonial magazines. I became familiar with the layout and features of these publications.

One mainstay of any wedding magazine is a monthly or weekly timeline. The pages will tell you how far along you should be in the planning process at eight months, six months, two months, etc.

Recently I realized I essentially had created my own wedding timeline over the past year. For most of the weeks over the last 12 months, I have given a weekly “Wedding Update” in my Thursday Rundown blog posts. The idea occurred to me that perhaps I should lay out all of these updates in one grand blog post. With the start of our wedding week tomorrow combined with the fact that I wrote my last Thursday Rundown (and thus last Wedding Update) a few days ago, now is the perfect time.

Starting with the first update I wrote and ending with the 37th one I wrote, I give you the #SidAndBrent Wedding Planning Timeline.

Wedding Update #1 (July 9, 2015) – Sidney and I met with a representative from St. Andrew Catholic Church yesterday to begin preparation for our big day next June. We are excited to start the journey that will help us grow as a couple and lead us to the altar in 11 months. In related news, by next week we will have a specific date selected.

Wedding Update #2 (July 16, 2015) – Today at our second marriage meeting we expressed the date we want for our wedding and submitted it for approval by the priest! Also related to our wedding, I am amazed at the amount of planning that Sidney and her mom have already devoted to the big day. Although we won’t say our vows for another 11 months, important things still need to be done this early in the game. Shout out to my fiancé for picking out her dress this week!

Wedding Update #3 (July 23, 2015) – It is official! Sidney and I were granted our first choice for our wedding date. On June 11, 2016, we will become a married couple. This past Friday, the pastoral associate at St. Andrew called me with the good news. We can’t wait!

Wedding Update #4 (July 30, 2015) – Sidney and her mom have done such a great job wasting no time at all getting things squared away for our June 11 date. Our reception venue, caterer, and photographer are now all booked. As all of these developments became official late last week, it has allowed Sidney to relax a little bit more this week. She deserves it!

Wedding Update #5 (August 6, 2015) – This is a big development…Sidney has selected her dress! Actually, she has had it picked out for a few weeks now. But do you know what she is waiting on?! Tax Free Weekend!! The purchase, minus the sales tax, will be made this weekend.

Wedding Update #6 (August 13, 2015) – I have a couple informative updates from this front. First, if you look at a countdown clock, we are now at single digits month-wise until our big day. On Tuesday it was exactly 10 months until our wedding. Now we are at 9 months and 29 days! Also, my parents booked a beach house for the week of my wedding. Technically it is a three-bedroom condo but this news got me really excited. It makes me feel good that my parents and other family members will have the opportunity to come down to Myrtle Beach and have a memorable vacation while staying in a nice place.

Wedding Update #7 (August 20, 2015) – You can now check wedding invitations off the list! Sidney and I decided upon our design last week. From the Reser family front, my mom and dad explained details of the trip to Myrtle Beach with other immediate family members over dinner last night. My mom also went dress shopping at Nordstrom and I hear she found something that she liked.

Wedding Update #8 (August 27, 2015) – I am told this one is a big deal…Sidney has picked out the bridesmaid dresses! Hopefully she doesn’t make me wear one. In other news, earlier this week my parents went ahead and bought airfare for the big wedding week!

Wedding Update #9 (September 10, 2015) – The biggest update I have for you is that tomorrow it will be exactly NINE MONTHS until Sidney and I tie the knot. Also, the flower girl dress that Sidney’s beautiful niece will wear has been picked out. For those in Myrtle Beach who have an idea of the area, we will be having our reception at Waterway Palms Plantation.

Wedding Update #10 (September 24, 2015) – Our beautiful flower girl, Russell, now has her dress! Also, our Pre-Cana classes start October 13. In case you are wondering, just 261 days remain until our big day!

Look how pretty Russell looks in that dress!

Look how pretty Russell looks in that dress!

Wedding Update #11 (October 15, 2015) – This past Tuesday, Sidney and I had our first Pre-Cana class. We have an absolutely wonderful sponsor couple who welcomes us into their home for these classes. Tuesday we talked a lot about our families and how they have influenced us to be the people we are today. Yesterday, Sidney and I went to the community center of St. Andrew where our pastor, Father James LeBlanc, discussed holy matrimony in the Catholic church. He went over marriage, divorce, and annulments in great detail. While of course we are just focused on marriage, we wanted to get an idea on specifically what the church teaches about it all. It was also a great opportunity to hear the questions of others and to personally chat with Fr. LeBlanc.

Wedding Update #12 (October 22, 2015) – Sidney and I enjoyed our second Pre-Cana class on Tuesday. We talked more about our upbringings and family traditions. It is important that two of us understand how we were raised and how that has shaped us into the people we are today. The main takeaway lesson is that we can’t focus on changing each other, rather, we need to concentrate on changing ourselves.

Wedding Update #13 (October 29, 2015) – Last night, Sidney and I attended our third Pre-Cana meeting. The past two weeks we talked mostly about family and where our influences came from. At this latest meeting, we touched on different subjects. Sex, money, and communication were prominently discussed! Don’t think it was awkward or difficult, though. As I have said before, our sponsor couple is absolutely incredible and obviously these issues are critical to a strong marriage so it is very important to talk about.

Wedding Update #14 (November 12, 2015) – We are in the process of trying to choose the venue for our rehearsal dinner. Sidney and I want to get our restaurant selected so we can make a reservation and beat out the swarm of engaged couples that will sprout up over the holidays. Best way to make a quality decision? Treat yourself to dinner at each prospective location! Last Friday we ate at Sea Captain’s House, a Myrtle Beach favorite that is on our short list. After we ate we were able to ask questions. To all my Myrtle Beach readers, Sidney and I would LOVE suggestions on other good places to consider. Keep in mind that we want a restaurant that isn’t too far from St. Andrew Catholic Church.

Also, we had our fourth Pre-Cana meeting on Tuesday. We only have one meeting left but that will be on hold next week. Why? Well, our sponsor couple is graciously having us over solely for dinner! The books will be put away as they prepare a meal for the four of us. Sid and I love our sponsor couple!

Sidney and I with our sponsor couple, Tim and Kathy McCormick.

Sidney and I with our sponsor couple, Tim and Kathy McCormick.

Wedding Update #15 (December 10, 2015) – Tomorrow will be the six month countdown until Sidney and I get married! Speaking of six months, this also means that we have now been engaged for half of a year. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we recently finished our marriage counseling classes. Lastly, our initial choice for a rehearsal dinner venue is not going to work out so I have to figure out an alternative. But all is good!!

Wedding Update #16 (January 7, 2016) – We are now just five months out from the wedding! I have narrowed my choice of our Mexican honeymoon location to two resorts (thanks everyone for the suggestions). I hope to book by mid-month. As for the rehearsal dinner venue, I am still struggling on that front. You would think that in a town of over 1,000 restaurants it would be easier. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, our initial desired location did not work out. On a lighter note, Sidney’s dress arrived this week!

Wedding Update #17 (January 14, 2016) – Earlier this week, Sidney put three cloths of different colors in front of me and asked which one I liked best. I picked wrong. She was showing me colors of bridesmaid dresses (unbeknownst to me at the time) and I don’t think I exactly chose what she was hoping I would. It is all good, Sidney has more intelligence than to ever take my advice on fashion anyway.

After announcing last week that we had two finalists for the resort we will stay at for our honeymoon, we decided over the weekend our ultimate choice. Booking will take place very soon.

Wedding Update #18 (January 21, 2016) – I do have a significant item to report in this latest update…I booked our honeymoon!! After much research and discussion about what we exactly wanted, Sidney and I will be staying at the Sun Palace in Cancun. We ended up booking with the Sun Palace because it is a couples only resort and it consistently appeared high on lists ranking the best hotels in Mexico. I depend on Instagram to gain honest feedback on hotels/restaurants/venues/etc. and everyone I messaged remarked that Sun Palace is nothing short of superb. Take a look for yourself if you want, we can’t wait to go!

Wedding Update #19 (January 28, 2016) – When I booked our honeymoon a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. However, another important groom responsibility was still on my plate….a rehearsal dinner plate that is. At times it was a frustrating process trying to find a venue for our rehearsal dinner but I finally found a spot. Our wedding party will be dining at Thoroughbreds the night before the big day. Thoroughbreds is a steakhouse and seafood grille located on Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. The restaurant is beautiful, it is close enough to church, and it can handle a group of our size. I am glad to have this selection made.

After we chose Thoroughbreds we went and ate dinner there. It was amazing.

After we chose Thoroughbreds we went and ate dinner there. It was amazing.

Wedding Update #20 (February 4, 2016) – It is at that point where Sidney’s birthday is like my birthday! This past weekend we celebrated Sid’s special day with her extended family. When it came time to open up gifts, she received several items off of our registry such as dinner plates, mugs, casserole containers, and a skillet. Of course these items will be shared by both of us as we start our life together.

Wedding Update #21 (February 11, 2016) – The biggest item I have to mention in this latest update is that we are exactly four months away from the big day! That means Sidney and I are now 2/3 of the way through our engagement (I popped the question in June 2015). This past weekend my mom called Sid’s mom and they had a nice long discussion about wedding developments. The day will be here before we know it.

Wedding Update #22 (February 18, 2016) – Sidney and I met with the pastoral associate at St. Andrew yesterday. During the meeting, he gave us a book for us to make our selections in regarding the readings, prayers, responsorial psalm, etc. to be said at our wedding service. How exciting! This past Saturday, Sidney and I sat down and rounded up the final addresses we need for our wedding invitations. With under four months to go, things are really starting to heat up.

Wedding Update #23 (February 25, 2016) – Last week I mentioned that Sidney and I received the book to choose our readings/prayers for our wedding. This week we actually chose them. You see, in this book you have around 6-10 different bible passages or prayers to choose from for each reading or blessing that makes up a Catholic wedding service. The two of us decided to review the options individually and then mark down our two top choices on a separate piece of paper. We then compared our selections. For pretty much every one, we overlapped with one of our choices!

Wedding Update #24 (Marh 3, 2016) – We are now counting down from just DOUBLE DIGITS until the big day. Only 99 days remain until our wedding. Sidney sent all the invitations across the country for my dad to address. Why? Well, my dad has a thing for calligraphy. He writes in beautiful script and ever since I can remember he has had friends and co-workers ask him to “lend a hand” with their Christmas cards or documents. However, he had never received a wedding invitation request up until this point. He gracefully accepted by saying he would be honored to do it. He has already finished them off and will be sending the invites back to Sidney and her parents to mail off.

I remember well when we were 99 days away.

I remember well when we were 99 days away.

Wedding Update #25 (March 10, 2016) – Lots of fun things are happening! My dad mailed us back all the invites he addressed and they look beautiful. Additionally, Sidney, her mom, and I chose the type of stamp we will use (I never knew the Postal Service offered so many options!). With so much fun getting the invitations ready to go, Sidney was a little disappointed when her mom gently reminded her that we still have several weeks to go before we actually mail them out.

However, Sidney was feeling anything but disappointed when she was able to bring her wedding dress home this past Saturday! After her final fitting, the ensemble was released into her possession. Adding even more excitement to this loaded wedding update, Sidney and her mom also met with the florist we will use for that big Saturday in June. Just 92 days to go.

Wedding Update #26 (March 17, 2016) – These updates just keep getting more and more significant! This past Saturday, Sidney and I went to Jos A Bank and picked out the tuxes for me and my groomsmen. Even when it comes to details such as what the guys will wear, I still claim complete ignorance. Luckily I had Sid there to run the show and pick out what would look the best. In an additional development, Sidney’s mom received our wedding stamps yesterday. I have never had my name on postage before so I definitely think they look pretty cool.

Wedding Update #27 (March 24, 2016) – I detailed our meal at our rehearsal dinner venue earlier in the week, but I saved the most important wedding development for this update. This past Saturday, Sidney and I went to Zales in the mall and bought our wedding rings for each other. It was a nice outing and much, much easier on my wallet than the engagement ring experience. Sidney’s ring was in stock and we took it home but mine is being ordered.

Wedding Update #28 (March 31, 2016) – A couple items to report on for this update. First, Sidney went to Charleston yesterday to get her bridal portraits done. At her parents’ house there is a large framed photo of Sid’s oldest sister in her wedding gown. Pretty soon there will be one of Sidney too. Secondly, as a wedding gift my parents are paying for Sidney and I to spend our wedding night in a Myrtle Beach hotel of our choice. After some research and after determining which venues actually have vacancy (Myrtle Beach is a tourist destination after all), we have narrowed it down to two choices. A decision is expected by the end of the night.

Wedding Update #29 (April 7, 2016) – The other day, Sidney handed me the bag full of wedding invitations she had recently stuffed into envelopes. I took that bag full of invites and carefully handed it over to the lady at the post office to send out. In the next couple of days, people will start receiving the request from Sidney’s parents to attend our big day! Also, yesterday, Sidney received a call from Zale’s informing her that my wedding ring has arrived (we had to order it). It just keeps getting more and more real.

Me holding our wedding invites right before I brought them into the post office.

Me holding our wedding invites right before I brought them into the post office.

Wedding Update #30 (April 14, 2016) – Yesterday evening, Sidney and I met with the music director at St. Andrew Catholic Church to pick out our song selection for our wedding. We sat up in the choir loft with the director as she played different melodies for us. After about 45 minutes, we had our music picked out. It was quite fun.

Here is a look at the inside of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Myrtle Beach. I took this photo last night before our meeting with the music director.

Here is a look at the inside of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Myrtle Beach. I took this photo last night before our meeting with the music director.

Wedding Update #31 (April 21, 2016) – Sidney keeps telling people that the major responsibilities are taken care of. Now it is just handling the smaller things that will come up over these final 50 days. This past weekend, Sid’s mom finalized the reception dinner menu. Relatives of the bride are also now in the process of planning Sidney’s bridal shower. Little or big, each new development is exciting as we inch closer to the date.

Wedding Update #32 (April 28, 2016) – We are just 44 days away from the big date. Sidney’s bridal shower invites went out in the mail this week. Items are disappearing from our registry. My mom bought her dress. It is all very exciting and hopefully other big developments will transpire between now and my next update.

Wedding Update #33 (May 5, 2016) – I have a few things to share. Sidney received her wedding portraits back (of course I wasn’t allowed to look). Also, with the invites sent out a couple weeks ago, we recently figured out the probable number of guests we expect to have at our wedding. Finally, I was very honored when my cousin Cody accepted my invite to serve as a groomsman in my wedding party. At the last minute, an original groomsman unexpectedly said he couldn’t make the trip, sending me into crisis mode. Luckily Cody graciously answered my request and I couldn’t be happier to have him standing up front with us on our wedding day.

 I received this from my parents. It is so nice to have a framed wedding invitation! Thank you to my parents.

I received this from my parents. It is so nice to have a framed wedding invitation! Thank you to my parents.

Wedding Update #34 (May 12, 2016) – Was my month countdown post not enough yesterday? I don’t know if I have too much more to update you on but we are now officially 30 days out from the big day! This weekend, Sidney’s relatives will host her bridal shower. Also, wedding presents have started to trickle in. It is fun to watch Sidney get really excited when she opens them.

Wedding Update #35 (May 19, 2016) – Sidney had her bridal shower last weekend and in addition to the lawn mower we received some fabulous gifts. We met with the church last night to finalize our liturgy. Now, when it comes to St. Andrew (where we are getting married), we just have our meeting with the priest and the rehearsal to go before it is showtime. Also, earlier this week we narrowed our song choice for our first dance to three finalists. And, believe it or not, we just now decided on which one we will use! It is a special melody indeed. Only 23 days to go!

Wedding Update #36 (May 26, 2016) – The biggest news I have to report is that Sidney and I requested and received our marriage license! In South Carolina you have to visit the courthouse and formally apply for the license. After you pay $50 and fill out paperwork, you then must wait 24 hours until you can pick it up. I snagged it yesterday and this afternoon Sidney delivered it to the church!

In other news, the teachers at Sidney’s school threw her a special bridal party. She left work that day with a super nice vacuum. I also received a nice surprise in that my aunt and cousin will be making the trip to Myrtle Beach to enjoy the wedding festivities. We are just 16 days away from the big date!

Sidney and I outside the courthouse on the left and our wedding license on the right!

Sidney and I outside the courthouse on the left and our wedding license on the right!

Wedding Update #37 (June 2, 2016) – What can I say, we are almost there! Sidney and I had the distinct honor of meeting with Fr. LeBlanc, the priest who will marry us on June 11. Aside from the rehearsal a week from Friday, we have now done all the prep work for the ceremony/spiritual part of our wedding. Let me say this: when it comes to marriage preparation, the Catholic Church is incredible. I don’t think we could be anymore ready for this commitment.

I talked with our DJ today and earlier this week I sent out information packets to my groomsmen. Sidney, her mom, and sisters are extremely busy doing all the necessary tasks that can really only be done a couple weeks before the wedding. This upcoming Saturday evening, Sidney will be treated to a bachelorette party. Then Monday will roll around and my family will start arriving from out west! What a blessed time it is.

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What an incredible journey it has been. I would like to thank Sidney, Brenda (Sidney’s mom), Sidney’s two sisters, my parents, Tim & Kathy McCormick, Father James LeBlanc, and Greg Allen for all they have done. Because of their efforts, June 11, 2016, will be an extremely special day. This timeline will be something that Sidney and I will be able to show our kids and maybe way down the road we will even use it for their wedding planning. Don’t Blink.

Other Blog Posts Written About Our Wedding:
The Proposal
The Best Way to Prepare for Marriage
The Proposal (Her Side)
An Excellent Rehearsal Dinner Preview
Wedding Countdown: Two Months Out
The Pre-Honeymoon

Last Thursday Rundown As a Bachelor

It is June and that means it is our WEDDING MONTH. Tonight’s Thursday Rundown will also be my final one as a bachelor. Here we go with the topics…

Ice Cream Disappointment – This past weekend, Myrtle Beach was home to Bike Week. Taking place every Memorial Day weekend, thousands of bikers come to the city to have some fun. Sidney and I decided to observe the spectacle by watching the participants go up and down the busiest street in Myrtle Beach from the back of Sidney’s vehicle. To make the experience more enjoyable, we stopped at Kirk’s Ice Cream Parlor to get a treat to enjoy while we watched the motorcycles cruise by. I couldn’t resist getting this flashy cone with birthday cake ice cream. Unfortunately, while the ice cream itself was good, the cone looked better than it tasted.

This was the ice cream cone I ate from Kirk's Ice Cream Parlor this past Friday.

This was the ice cream cone I ate from Kirk’s Ice Cream Parlor this past Friday.

Back on the Air – Our television/web show at Coastal Carolina University, Coastal Now, came out with a new episode recently. That meant I was back on the air with my segment! In this latest show I talked about our award winning “Inside the Classroom” social media campaign. To watch me give you the low-down, just click here.

Watch my latest Social Circle segment on Coastal Carolina University's Coastal Now program.

Watch my latest Social Circle segment on Coastal Carolina University’s Coastal Now program.

Interesting Dear Abby Question – Although I did find the below question interesting, I still found Abby’s answer obvious. If you and office mates or a significant other set a spending limit for a gift exchange, it means you spend as close to that amount as possible. If I have a $20 limit to buy my brother something, I am doing everything I can to make all 2,000 pennies stretch as far as possible. If you are able to buy a $20 item for $10 then buy two of that item (or use the remaining $10 on something else). In my opinion, a spending limit is based on actual money spent, not the actual retail price of something.

Although I found the question interesting, I thought the answer was very obvious.

Although I found the question interesting, I thought the answer was very obvious.

Major Haircut Change – Most people know I pride myself on going to Great Clips for every single haircut I get. However, with my big day coming up I decided to my wedding haircut at an actual reputable salon. Yesterday I went to Madison Avenue Salon, a place right next to where I live. When I told my stylist that I usually just go to Great Clips, she responded, “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

The time she took and the hair styling tools she used definitely made me realize that there is a certain difference between a place that sets a goal to cut as many heads of hair as possible in the least amount of time versus a professional salon where the goal is to actually make you look good (not that I am saying I look good by any means). Thanks to Hailey for cutting my hair!

How about a quick lunch hour selfie to show off my haircut?!

How about a quick lunch hour selfie to show off my haircut?!

Wedding Update #35 – What can I say, we are almost there! Sidney and I had the distinct honor of meeting with Fr. LeBlanc, the priest who will marry us on June 11. Aside from the rehearsal a week from Friday, we have now done all the prep work for the ceremony/spiritual part of our wedding. Let me say this: when it comes to marriage preparation, the Catholic Church is incredible. I don’t think we could be anymore ready for this commitment.

I talked with our DJ today and earlier this week I sent out information packets to my groomsmen. Sidney, her mom, and sisters are extremely busy doing all the necessary tasks that can really only be done a couple weeks before the wedding. This upcoming Saturday evening, Sidney will be treated to a bachelorette party. Then Monday will roll around and my family will start arriving from out west! What a blessed time it is.

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I will be back Sunday with a special blog post and then that could very much well do it for the next two weeks as we get married and go on our honeymoon. As always, thanks for your readership. Have a fantastic weekend. Don’t Blink.