Charleston, South Carolina

 

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Growing up Charleston was my second home.  My Mom’s family lives there and has for generations.  So when Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the summer rolled around, I’d find myself in a car headed to Charleston.  There is something special about the low country.  It is like this warm familiar embrace.  A feeling of peace envelopes me when I find myself in Charleston.

One thing I love to do is wander the streets below Broad.  The architecture is spectacular and the secret gardens that peek out from behind iron gates make you want to grab a cocktail and enjoy.

 

Recently I ventured back for the day and enjoyed the Charleston Sympathy Orchestra Design House followed by lunch and shopping on King Street.

The design house was wonderful.  A typical Charleston single house renovated as a fund-raiser.  I walked away with so many ideas.  Next was lunch on the river at Fleet Landing. The food was delicious , location amazing, but service – not so much.  My tip is to call ahead for reservations or pick one of the other fabulous restaurants in downtown Charleston.  There are many.  A long time family favorite is Poogan’s Porch.  Try the crab cakes!

King Street is and has been the center of shopping for generations.  In addition to Louis Vuitton, Talbots, Kate Spade and the usual luxury stops, you can find wonderful boutiques.  This time I discovered Gretchen Scott and J McLaughlin.  If you find yourself in need of a snack while you shop, check out the French Chocolate Cafe on Society Street (think King and Society).

There is so much to do in Charleston. Take a stroll through White Point Gardens and along the Battery.  Jump into a car and make your way to one of the many beaches on Folly, Isle of Palms, Sullivans, Seabrook, or Kiawah Islands.

Finding that perfect gift for the season, a few of my favorite things!

With Thanksgiving  tomorrow and soon to be over, I am ready to dive into Christmas.  I absolutely love Christmas.  Decorating the house, the tree, the shopping, the giving.  I’m funny about gift giving.  I don’t just want to buy something and hand it over for the occasion.  I want to find something special for the individual, something that I think they will like, something that makes them feel like I put thought into purchasing just the thing for them.  This year I’m taking a cue from my Cuz who shared something of herself with me for my birthday.  So this year for my gift guide, I’m thinking of my favorite things and how they might be a special something for one of the dear people on my Christmas list.

A few of my favorite things:

1.  Personalized note pads – who doesn’t need a notepad to jot down a reminder list or a note or message?  Why not make it unique by adding a name or initials?  Paper Source and Horchow are my go to stores for stationary.

2.  Calendars – I still like a fun calendar.  Inslee by Design is a go to for me with three options now, the Calendar Girls (my fav), the animals, and food.  What isn’t to love and they come with their own easel.

3.  Scented candles – Jo Malone and Diptyque are two of my favorites.  What is better for Pamper Sunday than a bubble bath with candle and a glass of wine?

4.  Scented soaps – Jo Malone is my go to but I also look for lavender soaps from Provence.

5.  A monogrammed tote – My favorite is from LL Bean.  Their totes come in multiple sizes and colors and may be monogrammed.

6.  A duffel bag for the traveler – The options abound for a duffel from Longchamp to Louis find the one that will fit your traveler.

7.  Jewel case from Leontine Linens – This is one of my favorite things.  I love Leontine Linens.  Their linens are fabulous.  I have a set of lingerie bags and the matching jewel case.   They are constantly in use for travel and I’ve gifted friends with their own custom monogrammed set.  The best yet is they are made to order so you can design exactly what you want for that special person.  Note they have a lead time so think about this one early.

8.  A comfy sweater or pullover – What is better for a Christmas gift than a cashmere sweater or pullover.  The sweater pictured here is from J. McLaughlin and is soft and comfy.  I also love the Vineyard Vines three-quarter zip pullovers for lounging at night.  This is a go to for those cold winter nights.

9.  Gloves – Who doesn’t need a new pair of gloves for those cold winter mornings?  It is already chilly here.  Those pictured here have the seamed fingers so you can use your phone!

Other favorite things for my list include Moravian cookies or sugar cake from Dewey’s Bakery, poinsettia or amaryllis for those who have everything and will enjoy something pretty for the season, a warm throw for those times you just want to curl up with a good book (so many options are out there from an H blanket to a faux fur throw from Pottery Barn).  A donation to a the charity that your friend or family member supports is another  great option.  The goal is to be creative, to think outside the box, to find that gift that places a smile on your friend or family member’s face.

 

 

 

What’s in my beach bag?

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I love WIMB posts. The feature of what’s in my bag from purse blog at purseblog.com and sharing on purseforum.com. got me hooked. I’m not certain if it is my inner organizer seeking that elusive greater knowledge of a better way to organize my stuff or if I’m just a snoop at heart. Either way, I love seeing what and how people organize what is in their bag. Now is my turn to share what is in my beach bag!

My beach bag must hold everything I need for a day at the beach or the pool.  I constantly try to edit what I carry but that is something of a lost cause.  In addition to those items pictured here I often add a collapsible dog bowl and Swell bottle of water if the quadruped is along for the day.

My beach bag is from Rae Feather customized with painted stripes and my initials. It is roomy and holds everything I need for a day at the beach.

 

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My iPod and ear buds in a waterproof bag, since music and audiobooks are a must.  Yes, I still have a small iPod that I use on the beach and when I exercise. It is smaller than my phone and great for the audiobooks and music I love to listen to while walking or sitting on the beach.

My kindle full of great books to while away the time while I’m soaking up the sun. I prefer my kindle over my iPad when I’m outside. My iPad tends to over-heat after a few minutes in the sun and the kindle’s liquid paper and lighting makes it easier to read in full sunlight.

Sunny the goldfish full of original recipe fish to munch on during the day.

My towel is a monogrammed bath sheet from Neiman Marcus bought during their white sale. The bath sheet is monogrammed with my initials using Neiman’s in-house service. My preference is white for the ability to spot clean but they have many colors and patterns.

I always wear a hat to block sun from my face. I’m a firm believer in sunscreen and cover ups. I have quite the collection of Master’s baseball style caps and large floppy sun hats.

Evian mist! For those of you who’ve spent any amount of time in the low country you know how hot it can get. My trick is to keep spray bottles of Evian in my refrigerator. When I leave the house, I grab a cold can of Evian and I have a cool spray of water to cool off.

I carry baby wipes for cleaning hands and sunnies and anything else that gets sandy.

Towel clips to keep my towel in place are necessary.   It can get windy on the beach! These are part of a set of eight I found on Amazon. I also have a whimsical set that look like whales.

I keep lots of sunscreen in my bag. At the start of the summer I lather on nothing less than 50!

Filling up the rest of my bag is a koozie for my drink of choice, sunnies, Tory Burch swimsuit and flip flops, and a J. McLaughlin tunic as my coverup.

I keep a zip pouch that was a gift from my cousin in my bag that holds the smaller pieces and my keys.

What’s in your beach bag?