Charleston, SC favorites.

I found myself looking through my Charleston photos the other night, and I got really sentimental. I feel incredibly lucky that we got to live in such a beautiful city. Downtown Charleston is full of so much charm and history. And some of my favorite memories are of walking around downtown with H when I was pregnant -- and later with Violet getting lost looking at old houses and gardens. I can't wait to come back and visit with Violet so I can show her the city where she was born, and visit all of my favorite spots.
I would encourage anyone who wants to visit a walkable, friendly, and beautiful city to visit Charleston, South Carolina. Below are my favorite things to do and places to eat - Enjoy :)

My favorite things to do downtown:
WALK! It's the best way to really explore downtown and get a good look at all of the historic homes and beautiful gardens. Don't miss all the pretty homes along Rainbow Row!

White Point Garden (the Battery) — This landmark park has a great view of the Charleston Harbor and some of most impressive mansions in the city. There are monuments, statues, and war relics all over the park including canons from the Civil War. I love the white gazebo in the center of the park -- it would be the perfect place for a small wedding or family photos.

City Market — This is a pretty touristy spot, but it's worth visiting at least once. The four-block market is full of local artisans and vendors, and it's a good place to grab a souvenir or a sweet treat.

Waterfront Park — This is my favorite park and where you'll find the famous pineapple fountain and swings (!!) overlooking the water.

Shop on King Street — You'll find lots of major retail shops on this street: Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, JCrew, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, West Elm... and also some great local stores: Candlefish (the best place to shop for candles and gifts!), Sugar Snap Pea, and Pink Chicken (both cute places to find gifts and clothes for children), Candy Shop Vintage (beautiful jewelry!). Bonus: If you visit on the second Sunday of the month don't miss Second Sunday (1-5PM), the city shuts down car traffic on King Street to allow shoppers to walk on the street without cars and there are usually street musicians and food vendors.

Charleston Farmer's Market — Charleston has an impressive Farmer's Market on Saturdays 8-2PM (April - late November) at Marion Square (King + Calhoun Street). You can shop for produce, flowers, arts and crafts and there are lots of great breakfast and lunch vendors.

Visit a Plantation — Charleston has a number of historic plantations within driving distance of downtown. My favorites are Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation and gardens and Boone Hall.

Walk (or bike!) the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge — The famous white bridge is a great way to get a little exercise while you take in views of the water and the downtown peninsula.

Visit the beach! Sullivan's Island Beach and Folly Beach are two of my favorites. There is a long pier at Folly Beach which is perfect for fishing or people watching. Sullivan's Island is less touristy, so it has less of a "beach town" feel, but it has beautiful beach homes nearby. 

Favorite places to eat downtown:

Bull Street Gourmet And Market — This is H's favorite lunch spot! They also have a breakfast/brunch menu. My parents love the almond french toast and I always order the "Mozz" sandwich (marinated tomatoes, vine-ripe tomato, walnut pesto, balsamic reduction, ciabatta roll).

Callie's Hot Little Biscuit — I'm pretty obsessed with this TINY spot. It’s on upper King street and they have really good fiery, spicy pimento cheese biscuits and cinnamon biscuits. Prepare to wait in a long line during peak hours. 

Caviar & Bananas — This neighborhood gourmet market and cafe is located on the College of Charleston campus (there's another location in the City Market). They have the BEST avocado toast and a really good caprese panini. 

Cupcake Down South — I've loved this cupcake shop for years. They have a ton of sweet flavors -- my favorites are Lemon Blu and Southern Red Velvet.

Poogan's Porch — This cute little restaurant on Queen Street is inside an old house. It is a great brunch spot with delicious cinnamon french toast (and free biscuits -- yah!) It's also a nice place for a smancy dinner.

Queen Street Grocery — This is my favorite sandwich shop and probably our most visited restaurant while we lived in Charleston -- it's a great spot for a casual lunch. I always order the Happy Houdini sandwich (ham, avocado, goat cheese + red onions on ciabatta bread). 

Verde — If you're in the mood for a salad, this is a fast, casual spot where you can make your own. There are a ton of toppings and something for everyone. It's right on King street, making it the perfect spot to stop for a quick lunch. 

and the surrounding areas: 

The Americano (Mount Pleasant) — This restaurant has a fun 1960's Miami decor and the best Cuban sandwich and steak tacos I've ever had. It looks like a fun place for drinks too! 

Crust Woodfire Pizza (James Island) — This pizza place is in a strip mall next to a great independent movie theater, so it's a great date night spot. But back to the pizza -- it's really good and they use super fresh and unique ingredients. 

Poe’s Tavern (Sullivan's Island) — This is my favorite burger place, and we visited a LOT when I was pregnant! The restaurant is in an old house decorated with tons of Edgar Allan Poe stuff. It's a fun spot to visit after or before a day at the beach (which is only two blocks away).

White Duck Taco (James Island) — A restaurant with JUST tacos is such a fun concept and they offer lots of interesting options on their menu like Banh Mi Tofu, Duck with Mole, Thai Peanut Chicken and my favorite Lamb Gyro.

If you ever decide to visit Charleston and you have any questions about the city please don't hesitate to email me! 


greek sandals for summer.

Full Disclosure: Thank you to Ananias Sandals for sponsoring this post and providing me with an item to review. 
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
When we visited Greece a few years ago I was determined to find a pair of great leather sandals. I saw sandals everywhere but I didn't find any that I loved -- and of course after the trip I totally regretted not buying a pair. The Ananias shop has a ton of different styles of handmade leather sandals for men and women and over 1,000 (!!) positive reviews on Etsy. The sandals are all reasonably priced (just a fraction of the price of similar designer sandals). I received this pair (#2 below), in black and they are perfect! (fyi for sizing I went with a size 38 and I typically wear an 8). Here are a few other styles that I love: 
one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight

Shop for Ananias sandals online here or on Etsy.


friday five.

Happy Friday! Here's a few things on my mind:
ONE: I probably should have done a trip recap earlier, but our trip Chicago last week was successful -- we found a rental in the suburbs and we ate everything. I was pretty bummed that it SNOWED in April, but we made the most out of it and took Violet to the Shedd Aquarium and Children's Museum at Navy Pier. She had the BEST time looking at the fish, and running around with other kids. 
TWO: I'm loving springtime in Charleston - the flowers are in bloom and it's not too hot or humid yet. It's the perfect time to walk around downtown or visit the beach!

THREE: I just started the last season of Parenthood, and I'm really sad it's almost over. Any suggestions on what to watch next?!
FOUR: I took advantage of a coupon I saw on facebook for Beauty Counter (which I can't find anymore!) and I stocked up on some bath products. I can't wait for this set (it includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion) and hand wash to arrive. I'll do a full review post with the products after I've tried them.
FIVE: We have one last week in Charleston! I want to make the most out of it and visit with friends and stop by all of my favorite places.

Have a great weekend!


spring shopping hits and misses.

It's been awhile since I've done a shopping hits and misses post... and I've kept the post office busy lately with my online shopping addiction, so here it goes:
the hits: 
Gap cap sleeve pocket tee in blue heather - ok full disclosure I'm still waiting for this top to arrive, but I really hope it's a "hit" because I love the light blue color and it gets me out of my navy and black comfort zone. I also ordered this embroidered yoke tank in white and I'm praying it's not a tent! (update it ALL went back.. both shirts were huge and sheer -- ugh).

Jcrew ballet cap-sleeve t- shirt - Another blue t-shirt, but this one is cobalt so that's totally justifies the purchase.

Madewell anthem tank in heather coast stripe - I love this tank. It has a cute curved hemline at the bottom and the fabric is really nice.

Frenchi surplice slipdress - Despite on my tomboy tendencies ( t-shirts + jeans on repeat) I really like feminine floral prints-- like the print on this dress. Plus the cross-over top is really flattering and you can't beat the $46 price tag. Note: the fabric is a little thin, but I think it'll work for a summer dress. 

Ananias Greek sandals c/o - I received these handmade leather sandals and I plan on doing a review post with them soon (spoiler: I love them!) I have them in black, but the nude color would be very versatile for spring and summer. 

Beauty Counter hydrate body lotion - This is the first Beauty Counter product I've tried and I really like it! It has a fresh and light citrus scent and the lotion absorbs quickly and it keeps my skin hydrated for hours. I really admire Beauty Counter's mission to get safe beauty products into the hands of everyone.

Smith & Cult regret the moon nail polish - I've heard such good things about this nail polish (and at $18 it better be worth it!) The polish is non-toxic and it's made from a 5-Free formula without all those nasty ingredients. I already have my eye on a few more bottles: Kundalini Hustle (bright red), Pillow Pie (light pink), and Above It All Top Coat.

for baby:
Baby Gap floral flutter one-piece in blue iris - Bubbles + Ruffles are two of my favorite things! I really like the floral pattern on this one.

eyelet flutter one-piece in pink - Vi just wore this bubble to the beach! The eyelet detail is really pretty in person.

pointelle cardigan in blue iris -  I love Baby Gap sweaters! Vi has a similar sweater in hot pink and she wears it all the time, so I know she'll get a lot of wear out of this one in the fall.

Old Navy ruffle-trim twill shorts - Vi has these shorts in denim and pink twill and the little ruffles are so adorable!

Old Navy sleeveless sheath dress - I felt like a candy striper in this red and white dress... yikes! and it has a mini-mock-turtleneck collar thing going on...not cute.

Button-front romper - this romper got a ton of great reviews so I had high hopes, but I wasn't for me. The cinch waist looked weird and there was too much fabric in the torso area.

Leith floral print keyhole romper - the colors on this romper were darker than I expected -- and the open sleeves made me feel like a golden girl old lady. return.

ASTR sleeveless black romper - the shorts on this romper were really wide and they gave me a major wedgie. So yah - I think I've officially given up on rompers :/



Friday five.

Thank you for all of your sweet comments on my last post! We are SO excited to be moving back and I really appreciate all of your support. It's already Friday so I'm linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha today to share five things:
ONE: I made some healthy banana bread the other day and I can't stop eating it. I used this recipe -- it calls for Greek yogurt -- no butter or oil!
zoya polish: madisonlo / carey / caitlin / lake
TWO: My mom and I got our nails done for Violet's birthday party and I got gel polish for the first time since my wedding. Two weeks later I remembered why I don't do gel-- it's so annoying that you have to go back to the salon to take off the polish!! I ended up picking all the polish off :( and now my nails are looking rough. I want to start doing my nails at home and I would love to try a nontoxic nail polish. I've heard good things about Zoya -- the line does not contain nasty ingredients like formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, or dibutyl phthalate. 
THREE: I'm loving everything at Madewell. I just bought two tank tops (in hthr coast stripe + chocolate raisin). And I have my eyes on these sandals (my sister-in-law has a pair and they are really cute in person). I like crisscross version too.
FOUR: I have some fun plans for Violet's playroom for our new rental. She received a lace teepee from grandma for her birthday, and I want to add some fun throw pillows to it. Vi started picking at her wicker toy baskets so I switched them out with striped fabric bins from Target. I loveee them and I need to order another one. 
FIVE: We're leaving Chicago today to visit family and friends, and look at rentals. Thankfully we have a direct flight, but it's still tough to fly with a one-year-old. I'd love to hear your favorite toddler-friendly apps to keep Violet entertained on the flight.

Have a great weekend!
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