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Weekender Wednesday: Dream Vacations

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This month on Lowcountry Live, I teamed up with Dream Vacations to tell you about the Cruise & Travel show coming to Charleston on June 1.  The Cocktail Bandits will be there serving tropical cocktails, you can taste some travel inspired cuisine, and Wyatt Durette will be performing from 2-4! 

Watch the segment to learn more about the event and to get a code for free tickets: http://abcnews4.com/lowcountry-live/weekender-wednesday-charleston-weekender-dream-vacations

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Weekender Game Night: Salad Bowl

I have your recipe for the perfect game night, weekenders!  Below you’ll find instructions for how to play “Salad Bowl” (also known as fish bowl in some circles): I’ve included a free printable so you can hand it out to your guests.  I’ve also shared some photos from a recent game night I hosted when I was in Palm Springs for Alt Summit.

The location for our game night was the fabulous 2019 Acme West Elm House, “the Seven Eighty”. I cannot even believe I got to play hostess in this fabulous abode for the evening!  My friends at Acme really know how to throw a party, so keep scrolling for some inspiration to help you host a game night of your own.

charleston weekender game night at acme house company in palm springs

Game night attire: caftans & turbans are not required, but highly encouraged!  Below we are wearing Monica Mahoney, who is pictured in animal print.

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What to serve: it’s too messy and time consuming to try to fit in dinner AND games, so we opted for charcuterie & cupcakes. The meat and cheese platter from On the Mark (an amazing wine and cheese shop in Palm Springs) was a huge hit!

Charleston Weekender's Alt Summit Game Night

Make them mingle: Name tags are always a great idea when you’re bringing together friends who don’t know one another, and I incorporated a little ice breaker to help strike up some conversation while we waited for all of our guests to arrive.  In addition to their name, everyone had to write their favorite childhood game. It was fun to see everyone’s nostalgic picks!

Charleston Weekender Game Night ice breaker

Make everyone a winner: Scout Bags provided these delightful wine totes that I used as gift bags for all of our guests. We handed them out before the game and put the game instructions inside; they are under $10 but really make an impact when displayed together!  We had other prizes for the winning team, & it’s fun to show those off before you start you get everyone in competition mode. 

Charleston Weekender Alt Summit Game Night

Next, we divided everyone into teams and then I quickly went over the rules.  For this game, it’s helpful to have the host keeping track of the score and the time. It definitely made the game go faster and run a little more smoothly than other times I’ve played. Download your own copy of the rules below:

Charleston Weekender Game Night
Charleston Weekender Game Night Salad Bowl Instructions Download Alt Summit

Ok, now it’s time to play!

Winner winner chicken dinner! Bonus points if you make the winning team wear matching t-shirts...

Charleston Weekender Game Night

After game night concluded, it was time to head to the Eight Thirty’s gorgeous fire pit area to wind down!

charleston weekender game night at 2019 west elm house in palm springs

A very big thank you to JP, Kim, and Nathan from ACME House Company for making our game night a smashing success of a soirée!

Game night was WAY more fun than most “networking” events I’ve gone to, and it can also work well during a shower or bachelorette party. I hope you’ll follow along on Instagram (@CharlestonWeekender) for more fun as I attempt to make every day feel like the weekend!

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Weekender Workshop: Pinterest 101

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Weekender Workshop: Pinterest 101

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The only regret I have when it comes to my business is that I didn’t spend a little less effort on Instagram and a little more on other platforms along the way. If I had been putting more of my energy into growing my blog traffic, my newsletter audience, or my Pinterest reach this whole time, I wouldn’t have so much riding on my Instagram!

Well, there’s no time like the present to make a change, so lately I’ve been working on upping my game on Pinterest. The platform just went public, so it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon! I’ve rounded up some of the best of the best of the pinners I know & asked them to share some of their top tips that have brought them success on Pinterest. I’ve outlined each person’s follower count, but also their monthly views, so you can see that you don’t have to have a ton of followers to get a good amount of Pinterest traffic (which could equate to more traffic for your blog or your online shop)!

This post contains links that will earn me affiliate commission on Tailwind, the Pinterest helper I swear by! As soon as you sign up for Tailwind, you can apply to be an affiliate, too.


Pinner: Charleston Weekender (that’s me!)

Pinterest Followers: 1,079

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: ~150,000 views

My Top Tip: Start Using Tailwind & Join Group Boards

I’ve always heard that daily pinning is the key to Pinterest success. Well, who has time for that?! My assistant and I have been using Tailwind to schedule out posts, and it only takes us about an hour to schedule a month’s worth of posts to Pinterest! Tailwind is basically just an easy scheduling tool that let’s you schedule pins from your own blog or any other websites on the internet, and it gives you very valuable analytics about which boards & pins are getting the most traffic. Give Tailwind a try here (it has an Instagram scheduling component, too!). Read on for more on Tailwind “Tribes” in a few…

Another thing I’ve always heard is to try to join group boards. This allows you to exponentially expands your potential reach. For instance, a group board I’m on has 14,000 followers (because each of our followers are now following that board). My pins I pin to that board get SO many more views than they would if I was only pinning to my own board. I have a few group boards that you can join, just request to do so here!


Pinner Extraordinaire: Marianne of Basil and Bubbly

Pinterest Followers: 22,371

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: 2.3 million views!

We asked Marianne: What are the two most important things you should do to set yourself up for success on the platform? Below she’ll share about verifying your website on pinterest & setting up rich pins.


Verifying Your Website on Pinterest

Verifying your website on Pinterest is an important way to indicate to pinners and Pinterest alike that you are a serious content creator, plus it gives you access to great analytics on how your account is performing and who your audience on Pinterest is.

  1. If you don't already have a business account, go to your Settings and upgrade your account (there should be a big red button for you to click to do this). 

  2. Once you've set up your business account, go back to the Settings page and click the link on the lefthand menu that says "Claim Website."

  3. Enter your website in the text input, and click the "Claim Website" button.

  4. Select "Add HTML Tag".  Copy the tag and then paste it into the <HEAD> section of your website.  Your web developer can do this for you, or if your blog is on a WordPress site, you can use the "Insert Headers and Footers" plugin to drop the code in yourself under the plugin Settings, in the "Scripts in Headers" section.

  5. Go back to the Pinterest website where you got the HTML tag, and click "Next", followed by "Submit" to submit your site for verification.

It will take about 24 hours for Pinterest to validate your site, but once they do, you should see a checkbox in your settings next to your website address, and have access to all the analytics! 

How to Get Rich Pins

Rich Pins are an important part of a robust Pinterest strategy. They entice users to click through to your site, by giving them information pulled directly from your site right on the pin, teasing them to get the rest of the article directly from the source. 

If your site is using SquareSpace or Shopify, great news! You already have everything you need to set up Rich Pins, simply enter your site into the Rich Pin Validator and click Validate. Once you receive the success message, click "Apply".  Note: It might take several days for your blog to be approved, but Pinterest will be in touch as soon as they have finished the process.

If your site is using WordPress, you'll need to make sure the Open Graph tags needed for Rich Pins are added to your posts and pages.  If you use Yoast SEO, they have some great tutorials on their website for how to do this with their plugin ( you can find them here .)  If you don't use Yoast but are a recipe blogger, your recipe card plugin should handle these tags for you. Once you've added the Open Graph tags, you can follow the same process as SquareSpace/Shopify users by entering our site into the Rich Pin Validator, and then applying for Rich Pins.

As a last resort, you can add them manually into your <HEAD> code of each individual page, and update the information for each post.  This is painful, and I highly recommend choosing one of the aforementioned options instead, but if you insist, the code can be found on Pinterest's website.

Find Marianne’s blog here!


Pinner Extraordinaire: Laura Leigh of Louella Reese

Pinterest Followers: 3,767

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: 1 million views!

We asked Laura: How many pins a day should we be pinning?

The optimal amount of pins per day really is all trial and error. Play around pinning 5-10 pins a day then jump to 15-25 per day. See how that changes things. Are you receiving more engagement or less? If you're receiving more, move on to 30-45 pins a day. If you're producing content 4-5 times a week pinning that many pins a day will be no issue. However, if your blog publishing schedule is one to two posts per week maybe stick around 10 pins per day. That way pins are consistently going out and not paused while you're waiting to publish new content. This will also keep a great mix of pins going out - that way it isn't always 5-10 pins from the same post in order going out. It stretches that content out longer. 

Laura also recommends a mix of pinning multiple pins from your blog as soon as you publish a new post and scheduling your pins (via Tailwind or another Pinterest publishing tool).

Find Laura’s blog, Louella Reese, here!


Pinner(s) Extraordinaire: Michael & Ian of I Love That For You

Pinterest Followers: ~100

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: ~100k views

We asked Michael & Ian: How can I make one of my pins go “viral”?

As the go-to DIY hub, Pinterest users are looking for fun and easy “How-To” pins to try themselves. We’ve found the most success when sharing a popular How-To (but with our own unique spin), such as Cookie Jar Organization with all different types of cookies. Other popular post topics include home decor DIYs & travel related pins. So, just give it a try to add a unique twist on your favorite DIY How-To, because I Love That For You!

Side note: if you’re using Tailwind, it helps you determine which of your pins are “viral” (getting the most repins/views/etc.), so that you can reschedule them again in the future.

Find the I Love That For You blog here!


Pinner Extraordinaire: Hillary of Hill Heady

Pinterest Followers: ~1000

Monthly Pinterest Traffic: ~230k views

We asked Hillary to tell us about the “Tribes” feature on Tailwind:

One of my favorite things about Tailwind is their Tribes feature! Tribes are a great way to get your pins out there and increase your reach. Not only are you growing your own account, but you get the chance to connect with like minded users and help each other! In addition to being a communal tool to have your content reach more people, tribes are also a good place to find content to pin on your own boards when you’re not sure what to pin.

If you're a blogger and are interested in Tailwind Tribes, join Hillary’s blogger tribe here!

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A few other pro Pinterest tips I hear over and over:

  • pin only vertical images

  • try to brand your boards and pin content that goes with your overall aesthetic/niche (I don’t cook, so I don’t pin a lot of elaborate recipes, but I love to entertain so I pin easy recipes to my “Weekend Eats & Treats” board

  • don’t only pin your own content! Apparently you should aim to pin about 70-80% other content and 20-30% from your own site or blog

  • add “alt text” to all of the photos on your blog or website; this helps more of your photos be discoverable on Pinterest

  • for your pin description, try to use keywords that people might be searching when they are on the platform. For example, instead of “hair styles”, try to add more details like “best wedding up-dos” or “easy hair styles for summer”


I hope you find those tips as helpful as I did! Don’t forget to check out Tailwind or head here to request to join my group boards. Happy pinning, my friends!

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Weekender Women: The Real Housewives of Palm Springs!

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I’m not sure where to even begin as I try to write this post, which is an attempt to recap the level of “extra” that happened at the end of March with the fabulous ladies I bunked with during the Alt Summit conference! We were lucky enough to be hosted by my favorite Palm Springs vacation rental company, ACME House Company! You know… the rental company I always talk about who I will one day have manage my dream Palm Springs Airbnb ;) ALL of their homes have pools, and all of their properties I’ve stayed at have been in really really great locations (no more than a 5-10 minute ride from wherever I’ve needed to go to eat or shop).

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We stayed at “The Eight Thirty PS” all week and got majorly spoiled by the pool, the proximity to town, and the beautiful mountain view. The only child in me also loved that I had a separate little “casita” all to myself!  As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the fragrance from the bougainvillea & our gorgeous citrus trees.  Heavenly!

The Eight Thirty is only a short bike or Uber ride away from downtown. Andrea and I tried our hand at a tandem bike, and thank goodness she was at the helm!

The pool was probably all of our favorite feature, perfect for sunning & socializing!

During our trip, we laughed (a lot), we cried, we grew, we blossomed! We decided we had fallen victim to “ACME Extra”.  This a phenomenon that happens when your vacation rental is stocked with fresh fruit trees beside your luscious swimming pool and you are living in the lap of luxury. Your most fabulous innermost diva is bursts forth from within you, and you rediscover yourself!  You also feel the need to wear lots of turbans and/or caftans.

Ok, so without further ado, let’s met “the cast” of the Real Housewives of Palm Springs (i.e. my roomies for the week)!

Left to right, top to bottom:

Me, a.k.a. “Weekender”, Andrea, a.k.a. “The Curator”, Jenny a.k.a. “Jenny from the block”, & Julianne, a.k.a. “JuJu Von Fabelhoft”. What do you think, would you tune in to watch these sassy gals? Maybe we aren’t ready for our own show just yet, but we sure are QUITE a scene!

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A very special thanks to ACME House Co for hosting us, Nathan Cox Studios for capturing the essence of our “extra”with his photos, and the below product sponsors for making us feel fantastic!

Heidi Houston (caftans) // Bike Palm Springs // Persifor (bike outfits) // Charleston Shoe Company

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Weekender Wednesday on Lowcountry Live: Wellness pt. 2

Last month on my Lowcountry Live segment, I shared some of my favorite ways to eat well, take care of myself and my skin, and have more fun! Achieving overall wellness (both mental and physcial) is SUCH an important component of what it means to me to be successful, so I shared even more of my favorite wellness- related products and places again this month. Have a quick peek at the companies I featured below, or watch the segment here.

Huriyali

A sunny & happy downtown cafe with fresh, nutritious offerings.

Vegan and vegetarian restaurant Huriyali in Charleston SC
Huriyali vegan and vegetarian food in Charleston SC

Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

The new Lululemon store just opened and is hosting a free “SWEAT” series in May.

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The Yellow Bird

An all-natural skincare company, hand made in the USA.

all natural face oil by the Yellow Bird
all natural beauty products from The Yellow Bird

Don’t miss all the details in the video from today’s segment here, and be sure to check out my other wellness related recommendations from last month’s segment here!

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