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5 Happiness Hacks for Your Home

Margaret Wright Photography for Apartment Therapy

Margaret Wright Photography for Apartment Therapy

It seems like so many people are in need of more happiness! I’m finally getting out of a several month funk, but I want to continue to share things to help you sprinkle more joy into your life. Your home is where you probably spend the majority of your time, so this is a great place to concentrate your efforts when it comes to manifesting more happiness. Below I’m sharing a few things that stick out when I think about what makes our home a happy place. I hope this helps you make every day feel like the weekend!

Some of the links I’ve shared in this post are affiliate links that earn me a small commission, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra. Thanks for helping support my blog!

-Tidy Spaces-

I bet you’ve heard about the trending “Tidying Up” Netflix show by now. Host Marie Kondo shares organizing tips from her book, The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. This is one of those books that stuck with me more than most, and I still implement many of her strategies years later. It’s all about having less, and really narrowing down your belongings to those things that give you joy. The less you have the less you have to worry about organizing, but she offers great tips for storage and folding for those items that make the cut.

Margaret Wright Photography for Apartment Therapy

Margaret Wright Photography for Apartment Therapy

Other books that might help you spark some joy:

You are a Badass, The Happiness Advantage, & The Happiness Project

-Good Smells-

I sure do love lighting a candle or having a diffuser going when we’re hanging on the couch. When it comes to candles, I recommend opting for brands containing fragrance that comes from essential oils (so you don’t get all of the carcinogens that can come from synthetic fragrance). My favorite local brands are Park & Madison, & MacBailey Candle Co., & The Contents Co.

I found a range of cute diffuser options on the high, medium and lower end of price ranges. But let’s be honest, you really need this pineapple diffuser!

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-Plenty of Music-

Amazon Echo (or Google Home) is such a game changer! The sound quality is great, and we love being able to control the volume or change a playlist from across the room. Sure, it’s laziness at it’s finest, but we definitely listen to music twice as often as we used to. Beware, you may even be prompted to have the occasional kitchen dance party for two!

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-Statement Seating-

Our hanging chair is probably my favorite spot in the house. It feels like a treat to get to sit here while I read or when we have friends over. It’s playful & chic all at the same time. The one shown is from Serena & Lily, but I found an option for about half the price here.

The style below has a similar vibe, and it also has legs so you don’t have to deal with hanging it!

-A Fun but Unnecessary Accessory-

Of course I don’t really need a yellow phone in my house, we don’t even have a landline number! However, i’s such a fun statement piece that can really spruce up a shelf or end table. Cute right? We also have this pink payphone version in our shop, and it just makes everyone so happy!

Margaret Wright Photography

Margaret Wright Photography

Another fun accessory option could be one of those retro cat clocks or a colorful record player or a quirky pillow.


Thanks for stopping by my blog! Come see me over on Instagram, and I’ll try to share more tips to help you with your happiness hygiene.

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21 Days of Happiness Habits

We’re 21 days from jumping for joy!

We’re 21 days from jumping for joy!

I recently shared in my Instagram stories that I’ve been living over here in funk land lately. What?! That girl that is over here trying to spread cheer and help you “make every day feel like the weekend” isn’t living in a constant state of joy? Not so much. Yes, overall I consider myself to be an optimistic person, and in person I am pretty outgoing and energetic.  However, since October I’ve been feeling pretty darn apathetic, lethargic, and unmotivated!  Just stuck! I call it a funk, but by medical terms I think it’s really a mild depression that I sometimes find myself in when I haven’t been managing my anxiety over time.  Lack of regular exercise, letting trigger foods (wheat/dairy/sugar) creep back into my diet, and not spending enough quality time with friends having fun outside of work all add up.

So yeah, my rose colored glasses seem to be lost, and frankly it’s all been very confusing!  I don’t actually feel sad. I don’t cry or sleep all day or do a lot of things you may think a depressed person would do.  I have SO much to be genuinely thankful for, and in so many ways life is better than ever! Our shop is doing great, I’ve had a couple great recent features about our lovely new home,  my marriage is really solid, and I have some truly amazing friends!  I have all those things and still feel just “meh”.  So I have been beating myself up about feeling this way, because what do I have to complain about? Well let me share some of my negative thought loops that keep creeping in:

I wish I had more energy! Life’s not that hard.

What is the point of having lots of Instagram followers if I’m not making a positive impact? Why am I not figuring out a way to make more of a difference?  

Should I be trying to have a family? I’m 35! I want a family one day but it isn’t something I want today. What’s wrong with me?!

I’m a smart person, why am I not making more money!?

What should I do next? Instagram might not be here forever, so maybe I shouldn’t make that such a big component of my business. 

I should get off the couch and go do laundry! My husband works really hard AND cooks for us so why am I not motivated to do more?! 

Feeling stuck :(

Feeling stuck :(

I definitely recognize the power of self talk, but getting myself into this pattern of negative self talk really crept up on me! It’s easy to tell yourself positive stories until it’s not.  Before you know it, your brain is noticing the negative more than the positive, and then it’s REALLY difficult to get back in a truly positive mindset.  My friend Brenda recently reminded me that our brains really are like computers and sometimes they need just to be reprogrammed.  So, enter a 21 day plan to help myself and anyone else with a little reset...

Awhile ago, I read the “Happiness Advantage” and was recently reminded of it again on this podcast.  In his books, Happiness researcher Shawn Achor (you can also hear him on this Ted Talk) shares some strategies that yielded improved long-term happiness in his studies.  I’ve shared these techniques below and decided I can definitely do all of these things for the next 21 days.  If you want to join me January 1-21 (or on your own timeline if you’re reading this later), let’s do this!

-What’s the daily game plan?-

1. Walk (at least 15 minutes)

2. Doubling Journaling (1+ minute)

This concept is explained better in this podcast episode or in this book, but basically you write down a positive experience you had that day (or previous day if you’re journaling at night). Then you note 3 specific details to help this memory solidify in your mind. 

3. Meditate or pray (2+ minutes) 

Quiet time of any kind can be pretty challenging! I’m using the Headspace app’s guided meditations to make it a little easier to accomplish. Even just 5 minutes are helping me improve my relationship with my thoughts and help me live in the present.  

4. Name your gratitudes (~3 minutes) 

The key is to a) name 3 new things you’re thankful for each day and b) share why you are grateful for that thing. Feel free to fit this in while you’re brushing your teeth, or commit to sharing with your spouse or roommates at dinner.  Or, join my Instagram accountability group (more on that below).

Example: Yesterday I had an uplifting phone call with my good friend.  I was wearing mismatched socks, the weather was pretty warm, & I noticed lots of gorgeous camellias in bloom while I was walking.

5. Social outreach (2+ minutes) 

Achor suggests to spend 2 minutes and email or text someone every day and thank them for something.  That sounds like a good way to connect and focus on appreciation, and I say go for it if you want!

I’m trying this in a slightly different way.  For one, I’m trying to just spend more time with friends having FUN (at least once a week).  Daily I have another plan: Since social media is such a big part of my job, I’m going to try to be more social with it. A lot of what I do is strategy and growth and blah blah, and social media is a place that has become triggering for my anxiety as of late due to the comparison game (I’ll never have that many followers as so in so, I’ll never get as much work with brands as she is getting, etc. etc.).  For a long time I was able to keep my eyes in my own lane and be happy when I saw others doing great things too, but I’ve noticed the more uncertain I am about my career, the more these comparison thoughts creep in for me.  Anyway, for this part I will be doling out likes and compliments (via comments or DMs) to people I come across in my feed (who I often just scroll past).

Feel good bonus: if you’d like to join me avoiding dairy/gluten/sugar for the next 21 days that always helps me feel way better. Our body really doesn’t need any of these things and they are often linked to anxiety/depression and even dementia. 

-Total daily time commitment-

20-30 minutes. 

-Get social for max success-

Why do we feel like tackling the chore of fighting depression/apathy/a funk is something we have to do alone?  The more people I’ve shared with lately the more my friends and spouse have been checking in with me.  The more people you share your struggles with, a) the more people you’ll encounter also having trouble and b) the more people you’ll have supporting you so you don’t have to go it alone.

The first 15 people to DM me on Instagram and say “I’m in” can join my 21 day accountability group- where we will share our gratitudes with each other daily from January 1-21st.

-Why 21 days?- 

As a speech therapist who has helped patients learn memory strategies and other cognitive functions, I’ve always heard that it takes 21 consecutive days to make a new habit. The Happiness Advantage research seems to reiterate this principle. Besides, this doesn’t sound like too insurmountable of a commitment, so let’s run with it!

-Have I tried this and know it works?- 

Yes and no. I have already noticed a big difference when I walk for at least an hour a day, and days I’m sedentary really contribute to my feelings of “blah”.  This summer I found that journaling really helped me get clarity and get thoughts out of my head so they don’t get stuck in a loop there. And so far, I have definitely noticed a greater awareness about my thought patterns from meditating just 5 minutes a day.  So no, I haven’t tried all of these things for 21 days straight, but from trying individual components of this plan I can tell there are going to be benefits!

Should I have tried this before I roped you into this with me? Sure. Are we going to give this a shot together anyway? Yessss! 

-Let’s measure our success-

If you do anything for 21 days in a row, you’re a winner in my book!   However, I do want you to rate your current status now and again on January 21.  In your journal, give yourself an overall numerical happiness rating on a scale of 1-10 (1=misery, 10= ecstasy) & take inventory/jot down details of some specifics of how you’re feeling recently. 

-Disclaimer-

I’m obviously not a mental health or medical professional, and I’m currently working with a therapist and medical doctor to develop my own overall treatment plan.  If you are experiencing depression, I definitely recommend that you also seek professional help- it’s a wonderful thing!  Please email me if you are in need of any local resources!

images by:  Kim Graham Photography

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Weekending at Home: Holiday Hostess Tips

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Yikes, the holidays are almost upon us! You may have gathered by now that I’m not into a lot of fuss when it comes to entertaining, just keep it simple and low stress! Head to my recent feature in Skirt Magazine for some easy holiday hostessing tips (including my favorite Christmas Potpourri recipe).

This post may contains affiliate links that earn me a small commission, but all opinions and recommendations are my own.

click here for potpourri recipe

I had some fantastic help with desserts thanks to Julie from For Heaven Bakes, & Jenny Batt was there to help me style up my bar cart (BTW, how cute is her Charleston Doors wrapping paper!? So cute for year-round gifting). Thanks to Updos for Idos for hooking me up with some awesome hair and make-up!

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Have a very Merry Christmas, friends!

images by Abby Murphy Photo

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2018 Weekender Gift Guide

That time of year has come for my 3rd annual 12 Days of Christmas on Instagram! It’s a combo of 12 days of giveaways plus amazing gift guide recommendations! There will even be some discount codes sprinkled in, so read on & make sure you follow along on Instagram (just follow the hashtag #WeekenderGiftGuide2018) so you don’t miss any of the goodies I’m giving away!

This year, I've tried to find products that work for both men & women on your list, for ages ranging from your teenager to your grandma (smaller kiddos will just tell you what they want anyway, am I right?!). Many of these products are made or designed right here in Charleston, and I've also listed some great local stores for those of you that prefer to shop in person.

This post is sponsored by the listed brands. 

All images by Kim Graham Photo // Location: Grand Bohemian Hotel


-For Online Shoppers-

1. Happy Go Lucky Workshop Map

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The sweetest local couple has created your new favorite Charleston art! They designed over 80 rubber stamps with local icons/landmarks & then meticulously hand stamped them on this adorable map of Charleston. Check it their 18 x 24 print, framed or unframed!

Use code WEEKENDER25 to get 25% off your purchase here // Enter to win a framed print here (Dec 7-12)!

2. Holy City Lip Gloss

Did you know Charleston has it’s very own lip gloss brand created by a local make-up artist!? My favorite part is that all of the names are based off of different areas of Charleston, so cute! As a lipstick lover, I appreciate that these can be layered over any lipstick, but they are also all great year-round colors to wear on their own. “Daniel Island” is the best choice if you want a sheer or if you want to give a crowd-pleasing gift to someone of any age; from your teenage cousin or mother-in-law. P.S. Don’t worry, they’re Paraben free and aren’t sticky at all!

Use code WEEKENDER for 20% off here // Enter to win a set of all 6 colors here (Dec. 6-12)!


3. Rheos Sunglasses

If you’re a Charlestonian, you probably spend a lot of time by the water!  How brilliant are FLOATING sunglasses that you don’t have to worry about losing in the ocean?  Meet Rheos, a Charleston-based brand offering 6 styles of polarized sunglasses.  Each pair has 100% UV protection, which is crucial since UV damage is TWICE as dangerous when you’re out on the water!  They have unisex styles, so this is a great gift to give to any adult on your list!

Use code BOGOCHS to buy one & get one free here // Enter to win 2 pairs of floating sunglasses here (Dec. 5-12)!

4. Riceland Gift Box

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Give the gift that gives back! For every purchase of this Riceland Gift Box, $5 will be donated to Feeding America, which helps provide at least 50 meals to those in need! The word’s largest miller & marketer of rice, Riceland has been providing rice for the world since 1921. Rice obviously makes for the perfect holiday side dish, and this adorable gift box is the perfect way to gift it in a cute way. It includes a wooden cooking spoon, branded pot holder, & kitchen towel, and comes packaged in an adorable gift box.

Enter to win a $45 Amazon gift card & Riceland gift box here (Dec. 8-12)!

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-For Locals-

5. Celadon Home

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You have probably seen me tag Celadon on Instagram a lot, because some of our furniture and some great plant stands came from them! A lot of people know Celadon for their furniture, but they are always one of my favorite places to get gifts & cards as well. They have everything from candles to coffee table books, and their greeting cards are always 50% off. You can shop in store or check them out online!

Enter to win a $50 Celadon Gift Card here (Dec. 3-12)!

Address: 1015 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Mount Pleasant

6. StyleDwell

I’ve loved this store for awhile, not only because of their clothes but also because of their adorable gifts they always curate so well. They recently expanded to a huge space in the Citadel Mall, and it’s gorgeous! You’ll find everything from clothing & accessories to decorative items, & they even have a great selection of local products like Old Whaling Company & Oysters All Around. You can shop them online, too!

Shop my cardigan here // Enter to win a 14k gold Charleston coordinates necklace here (Dec. 11-12)!

Address: 2070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd (Citadel Mall)

7. Historic Charleston Foundation

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You may be familiar with Historic Charleston Foundation because of their local preservation advocacy, but did you know they have an adorable shop, too!?  You can find so many great locally made items for men, women, & children; everything from local tea to home goods to jewelry.  Pictured above are a couple of products I’m going to be getting for some people on my nice list!

Address: 108 Meeting Street // Enter to win this Charleston scarf here (Dec. 12)!

8. Anne Bonny’s Lash & Skin Boutique

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Who doesn’t love a spa service for Christmas!? Anne Bonny’s is an Avondale spa with tons of service offerings and skincare products. They offer modern techniques to provide both men and women with outstanding services including: relaxing and corrective facials with the highest quality skincare products, microdermabrasion, eyelash extensions, eyelash perming, eyelash and eyebrows tinting, waxing/threading and skin care! Stop in to pick up a product to pamper your loved ones, or grab a gift certificate.

Get 20% off when you call or stop by, just tell them Charleston Weekender sent you! // Enter to win a $320 value gift basket (which includes a facial AND a massage) here (Dec. 4-12)!

Address: 829 D Savannah Hwy

9. See Eyewear

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See is one of my favorite glasses & companies for statement frames!  They offer high quality eyeglasses & sunglasses, in all kinds of unique styles that are made from the highest quality materials.  They have an adorable King Street store with super friendly staff, so it’s a great place to pop in for a gift card or a pick up a pair of $99 sunglasses for both men and women.  You can also order online!

  • WEEKENDER
  • Dates: 12/10-12/12
  • Discount: 20% off, sitewide (online only

Use code WEEKENDER for 20% off on online orders Dec 10-12! // Enter to win a pair of See sunglasses here (also Dec. 10-12)!

Address: 355 King Street

10. Cannonborough Collective

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Last but not least, I’d love for you to come shop in the store I co-own with The Tiny Tassel! This is the only place downtown you can find my products, from Turkish towels to canvas weekender bags. We also carry over a dozen local brands, so this is THE perfect place to find something for everyone on your list! We have everything from candles to skincare products to local art.

Enter to win some goodies from our shop here (Dec. 1-12)!

Address: 185 A St. Philip Street (corner of Cannon & St. Philip)


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Don’t forget to check out my 3rd annual 12 Days of Christmas on Instagram! It’s a combo of 12 days of giveaways & even more gift guide recommendations beyond what you’ve seen here. There will even be some discounts codes sprinkled in, so read on & make sure you follow along on Instagram (just follow the hashtag #WeekenderGiftGuide2018) so you don’t miss any of the goodies I’m giving away!

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Weekending at Home: 5 Ideas for a Date Night In

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I was quite inspired by my recent Palm Springs stay at the Wexler Fishbowl in Sunmor Estates to bring you some fun ideas for a “date night in”. When we go to Palm Springs and stay at an ACME vacation rental like this, we typically want to stay home as much as possible! Heck, we stay at home as much as possible back home in Charleston, too, but in mid century Palm Springs homes the surroundings are especially dreamy for an at home date night. Some of you gave me your fabulous date night in ideas on this Instagram post, so thank you for the brilliant inspiration! Read on if your date nights have become a little mundane, and know we’re right there with you with far too many Netflix & takeout-filled evenings.

Note: this post is partially in partnership with ACME House Company, but all opinions are my own. The post also contains some affiliate links that earn me a small commission and help keep this blog up and running.

1. Say “Cheese”!

Personally, I find it fun to take photos or videos for no good reason at all! Capturing memories is always a good idea, especially at home since that’s where you likely spend most of your time together. Take turns taking pictures of each other in your element (i.e. I could snap Jonny in the kitchen and he might capture me reading a book in my swing chair). Or perhaps you could interview each other and record that on video (i.e. share 5 things you like about the other person or asking each other about your dreams for the future). We made a private Instagram account that we hope to share with our kids one day, so that’s a great place for these pictures and videos to live!

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2. Get Creative in the Kitchen

Likely one of you does most of the cooking, and thank the Lord that’s my husband in our relationship! The kitchen isn’t a place I enjoy very much if I’m being honest, but there are plenty of ways you can both have fun in the kitchen: find a new recipe to bake and take turn adding ingredients, be your own mixologist with whatever ingredients you have on hand for craft cocktails, or break out one of those wedding registry items you never use (I’m looking at YOU, pasta maker & Kitchen Aid!).

3. Start Your Own Book Club or Game Night for Two

Head to your local bookstore and pick a book together- it could be an old classic, something set in your city, or a book on relationships (I highly recommend the 5 Love Languages!). I loved this idea from the owner of ACME’s Midcentury Deluxe: Take turns reading out loud to each other for 30 minutes each, then individually progress to your agreed upon point by the next read-aloud meeting. You can take a few minutes to discuss something new you learned, or wait until you’re finished the whole thing and chat about the book’s discussion questions.

If friendly competition sounds more exciting, hit the Target aisles or Amazon and find a new game to play, and I bet you have friends or neighbors to swap with. It could be a trivia game, board game, or card game (but I find most card games to be boring with just two people). Heck- you can turn your game into a strip version if you want (I won’t tell you who recommended that one!). Get it on the calendar, and don’t cancel!

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4. Make a Playlist Together

It seems that mix tapes are a thing of the past, so the updated version of that is creating an online playlist! We use Spotify, so it could be fun to take turns adding songs to the list and then listening to it together. Just sitting in each other’s company with background music & no TV on can be so refreshing, and you might even wind up having a living room dance party!

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5. Change Your Scenery

When we’re at home together, we often tend to turn to couch potatoes! While staying at the “Fishbowl”, we were still able to relax while avoiding the couch. Take your cocktails outdoors if you have a fire pit or porch, eat at the dinner table or create a living room picnic, or go for an evening stroll. Mixing up your surroundings can definitely spice things up in your relationship!



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Each Palm Springs trip we’ve been on has given us time to reconnect and made us a lot closer, largely due to the fact we aren’t spending as much time in front of our screens. I hope you’ll treat yourself to a little Palm Springs getaway with your love, too! Use code WeekenderLove to get $100-200 off your stay at any ACME property when you book it in 2018 (valid for any 2018/2019 stay). Click HERE to browse/book (and to see which home I’m dreaming of staying at during my next visit)!

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All images are c/o Nathan Cox Studios for ACME House Company


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