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Best CHS Bachelorette Weekend Ideas

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One of the questions I get DM'd about the most on Instagram is, "What should I do for my bachelorette party in Charleston?"  I've given this one a LOT of thought, so I have a great round-up of ideas that I think you and your girls will love.  Also be sure to get in touch if you want to set up a private sip & shop or workshop at our store, Cannonborough Collective!  

all images c/o Sean Money & Elizabeth Fey


Enjoy a Group Activity

One of the best ways to really create some memories with your bride tribe is with a fun group activity. You can find lots of workshops offered around town, or create your own private event or spa day!  Below are a few of my faves:

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Group Workouts

Bachelorette Yoga with Serenity Tree Yoga

Private Barre Class at Barre South

Pamper Yourselves!

Dry Bar for blow outs or braids

Mylk Bar for Manis/Pedis (cutest nail salon for a group!)

Learn a Little

Flower Crown Class by Petaloso

Candle Making Class at Candlefish

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Wine & Dine

There are SO many restaurants to choose from in this foodie haven of ours!  Here are my recommendations for the best restaurants to accommodate larger groups.  

Harold's Cabin // Rarebit // Miller's All Day // The Watch

Elevé at The Grand Bohemian // Butcher & Bee // Lewis BBQ

 CHS bag available at  Cannonborough Collective  

CHS bag available at Cannonborough Collective 

Shop 'Til You Drop

There are SO many adorable shops around town. You and your best gals will be in Instagram heaven at any of the following spots.  I linked to their Instagram accounts so you can see what I mean ;)

Cannonborough Collective // Toss Designs // The Skinny Dip (get some frosé while you shop!)

Candy Shop Vintage // Mac & Murphy // Candlefish


Don't Forget the BALLOONS!

Call ahead at Cannonborough Collective to line up a balloon pick-up, or shop below for some cute options you can fill yourself with air (the following links are affiliate links which will earn me a small commission). 

Letters for banner (gold or rose gold) // Jumbo Letters // Jumbo Ring // Hot Pink DIY Balloon Garland, Rose Gold DIY Garland // (* do yourself a favor and buy this pump! It makes balloon garland life a breeze)


-Shop This Post-

Andrea, Cayleigh & I have on a floral print that comes in several styles: High Rise Midi, High Rise Cut Out, Matching Bra // The twins' High Rise Track Leggings // Escape bag // Kelsey's Top & Bra


-Photo Credits-

Images by Sean Money + Elizabeth Fey // Yoga led by Melora of Serenity Tree Yoga // Flower crowns by Petaloso // Event Coordination: @CharlestonShopCurator // Yoga apparel gifted by Onzie // Pictured bloggers: @KC_Doubletake, @ThePetalReport, @KelseyJHill

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How To Get Yourself Into a Funk (& back out of it!)

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I originally planned to wait and share this when I was riding high on cloud nine once again, very far removed from my doldrums with plenty of superb wisdom in hand.  However, by the time I'm out of a funk I have usually forgotten just how bad it stinks and likely will have moved on to sunny & motivating topics once again.  So instead, I'm coming at you just a day or 2 out of a major funk- one that has been with me off and on for weeks and might not be completely gone!  The only word to describe it is just "blerg", a term often used by my favorite TV character (Liz Lemon), written so beautifully here by my friend The Town Serif.  

Here Are Some Funk-Inducers:

Not Exercising

My decline in physical activity has been slow and steady since opening our shop last April.  I got to a point where I was excited about being tied to my computer all the time, and slowly but surely working out fell by the wayside.  I am only successful with exercise when I am doing something truly enjoyable or being held externally accountable.  I'm currently on my second of 6 weeks working with a trainer to get myself back in the habit.  On my off days I try to get 10k steps a day.  A trainer isn't something I necessarily have extra room in my budget for, but I know it's an invaluable gift I can give myself to help me get back on track and reinstate good habits.  I'm training with Victoria from Glow Body Health & Wellness, & loving working out with her in the park!


Setting Goals

Some people thrive when they are held accountable by goals, but I tend to get easily overwhelmed by all of the things I could be/should be doing.  For right now, I'm just concentrating on tracking my business "wins".  If I work with a client I'm excited about, had a good sales month, etc., it gets added to the list.  It's nice to have a list you actually want to look at for a change!  

Eating White Foods

The three biggies that always get me are flour, sugar, and dairy!  Our bodies don't actually need these things and for some people, they can really cloud up our brain!  No, I don't have any fancy studies to back this one up, but if you start doing your own research you will be amazed. A lot of times when I find myself bloated, fatigued, or anxious for no good reason at all, it's usually because I haven't been keeping these things out of my diet. I also eat WAY too many white potatoes (in all forms) and am trying to sub sweet potatoes- white ones can be inflammatory and have a chemical called lectin that is apparently no bueno.  I have noticed most of my funks happen around my period, and to me that still points back to the foods in question here. None of them are known for being great for hormonal imbalances!

Playing The Comparison Game

For me, the girl I compare myself to the most? MYSELF. circa about 2009- working as a speech-language therapist in DC, making about 80k a year.  Plenty of money to have fun with and plenty to save.  The path to that career took 6 years of school, so why am sitting here thinking I'll get the same paycheck after just 2 years of hard work at Charleston Weekender?! Rome wasn't built in a day, duh!  It seems more common to compare yourself to what you see on social media.  I'm usually good about not doing that, but occasionally I'll see another blogger working with a brand that's turned me down and I get a little FOMO!  That's when it's time to head back to that "wins" list and refocus energy on what I DO have going on.  That energy could be spent in such better ways and we are better than that, friends!

 image c/o Kim Graham

image c/o Kim Graham


Ok, Let's Fix Our Funk! 

In addition to some of the suggestions I offered above, here are some strategies that have usually helped me.


Seek Outside Help

Sometimes I can work my way out of my own depression (which for me doesn't actually feel like sadness, just lack of motivation and lethargy/apathy).  Other times we need real professional help.  For right now that means hiring a trainer, and at times that has also meant I've worked with a talk therapist.  Occasionally, outside help is as simple as reaching out to a friend.  Simply scheduling a phone date with a gal pal is all it takes for me to get moving a lot of times.


Pat Yourself On The Back!

I bet you don't say mean things to your friends like "you really should be making more money" or "you really could be a better parent", right? Ok, then why are we letting ourselves say such mean things sometimes!?  If you heard the things I said to myself lately- about my job, about being a wife, or even about being depressed, you would think it was terrible!  I noticed when I was reading daily affirmations and writing down what I was grateful for as part of my 30 days of habit making that it was easier to stay positive with my thoughts.  Practice thinking, writing, or talking about the good things you have going on!


Take a Chill Pill, Literally!

When all else fails, I turn to medication.  This is NOT my first choice if I'm being honest. In general I am working toward having an all-natural approach to what I put on and in my body.  However, sometimes my anxiety zaps my energy and turns into depression if I don't nip it in the bud.  That means after a few too many nights of waking up at 4am I just might need a Xanax the next night.  I have also tried Prozac in the past but didn't like the side effects.  What works for me might not work for you, but sometimes it can make a world of difference.  Good news is I think I have found an all-natural substitute for Xanax that I've been trying- the essential oil vetiver! I've been rubbing it on my big toe at night and my husband and I both experience much less restless sleep that lasts all night (until Maddie snores, ugh). 


Like I said in my latest IG post, you can actually have ZERO things to complain about and plenty to be grateful for and STILL find yourself in a funk.  I hope this helps us get us out of it once again, my friends!  I'd love for you to share what helps you- leave a comment here or on over on Instagram.

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A Foolproof Guide to Conquering Your New Year's Resolutions

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Every year "New Year's resolutions" become a less and less trendy concept.   People have shifted their dialogue to instead reference their "2018 goals" or even having a "word of the year".  Anything you do to attempt to create a change is awesome, except when you wind up not changing anything at all, which is what I do with Resolutions year after year.  This year I'm hopping on the anti-resolution band wagon & taking a new approach, and it's all about one simple word: habits.  Below I've listed some common resolutions & some ways you can instead turn them into habits.  Whatever you try, commit to doing it for 30 days (more on that logic below).  

Note: This post is partially in partnership with Pivotal Fitness & also contains affiliate links that help earn me a commission! 

Instead of a resolution to "lose weight", try one of these habits:

-get X steps per day, do X minutes of exercise a day, X number of (squats/pushups/etc.) a day

Starting January 1, I'm committing to 30 days of getting 10k steps a day (I track my steps with the Fitbit Alta & I just got my mom the Garmin Vivofit 3)!  The only problem is I LOATHE the cold weather, so I decided to join Pivotal Fitness.  I used to go when it was Eco Fitness, and they still have my favorite cycling instructor but it's even better now!  They just did a giant renovation and have cycling, barre, yoga, & some HIIT classes.  You can wind up spending hundreds & hundreds of dollars a month if you go to a separate barre, yoga, & cycle studio, but Pivotal has all of the classes I like under 1 roof.  I asked them if we could team up so I could give you guys some perks, too!  They will give you a free week pass if you mention Charleston Weekender when you go to any of their clubs.  They'll also offer 30 days free when you sign up for a year!

Instead of a resolution to "eat healthy", try one of these habits:

-eat X every day (something green, a vegetable, a smoothie instead of a meal, etc.), avoid X for 30 days (sugar, alcohol, bread? you pick!), or commit to keeping a food journal for 30 days

I have a wheat allergy and dairy sensitivity and occasionally I completely ignore this.  (Why is pizza SO good?!)  However, I definitely feel my best mentally and physically when I avoid white foods (dairy, flour, sugar, & potatoes). Our bodies just don't need any of those!  I did this about 85% successfully in December, and I know if I can do that over the holidays January will be a piece of cake.  I know it's worth it to stay away from these foods because I feel less anxious & don't have stomach problems.

Instead of a resolution to "keep the house clean", try one of these habits:

-make your bed every day, spend X minutes straightening up (I would start small with about 5 minutes), immediately clean your dishes after you eat

I used to make up my bed every day and then just got out of the habit.  It takes 30 seconds, so we got this!!

Instead of a resolution to "unplug more", try this:

-put your phone in a special place at a certain time each evening and don't pick it up again until the next day

I'm trying this one out- my phone is going to bed at 8pm and I'll plug back in the next day after I have done my morning exercise.


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Next, combine all your new habits into one routine:

The habits I'm hoping to implement are getting 10k steps a day, not having my email/social media be the first thing I look at in the morning or last thing I look at at night, avoiding white foodsmaking up my bed every day, and doing a 6-10 minute "miracle morning" routine (involves a combo of silence/reading affirmations/journaling, etc.).  I think new habits are easiest if you can combine them into one routine, so here's what mine will look like:

1.  by 8pm put my phone in my bathroom to charge

2.  next morning: get up & go to bathroom to turn my alarm off, brush/floss, then come back and make up my bed

3.  go to the dining room table to complete a 6-10 minute "Miracle Morning", part of which will be completing a food journal from the previous day.  You can get a Miracle Morning crash course here

4. either head to Pivotal Fitness if it's M/W/F, or go for a 45 minute walk on the other days

If you're motivated to start the year off with some new habits, a book I'm reading recommends doing those things for 30 consecutive days.  Those first 21 days are the hard part, but apparently you need those extra 9 days to really solidify a habit.  Will you take this 30 day challenge with me?  Start with just 1 new habit or aim for 5.  I can't do this by myself, friends!  I'll be sharing my progress in my Instagram stories, and I'll check back in early in February so we can see how we did!   

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shop my look: earrings // pop the bubbly necklace // lipstick // nail color

See ya in 2018, friends! 

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5 Lessons 2017 Taught Me

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This post is a little bit about remembering to take some time to stop and ENJOY the fruits of our labor from the past year.  It's also about sharing some of the things that I've realized along the way so that I can hopefully help you, too.  I've included some photos of some of my favorite moments of 2017 and I hope you enjoy!  

1. Invest in yourself.

A big part of taking yourself and your business seriously involves spending money and carving out time for yourself.  In 2017, I attended conferences in February (The Southern C) & August (The School of Hustle).  There were times this year (end even this month!) where I had so much doubt and anxiety, but these conferences are truly what kept me going & kept me inspired!  I met new people to work with and heard speakers that gave me a fresh take on approaching my business.  Before I even budgeted for buying new product for my shop, I purchased a ticket to The Southern C & The Maker's Summit.  Let's connect if you'll be there too!

Don't put yourself in an irresponsible position, but don't always be so practical that it becomes detrimental to your growth.  Justify spending money on childcare so you can devote time to exercise, hire a photographer to photograph your products or services, or book that conference or trip that will contribute to your overall wellness or build skills in your career.  Don't be afraid to take a little risk, but know that it's ok to proceed with caution and do this in small doses.  We opened a shop this year, but did so without taking out a bank loan or taking on very much financial responsibility.  I do believe that the greater the risk the greater the reward, but it's ok to start out in shallow water if you're not ready to jump into the deep end.

2. Don't put all your eggs in one opportunity basket.

Remember how Rome wasn't built in a day?  In 99% of cases that applies to your business, too.  Aside from that .0001% of people that have a "Shark Tank" moment, it's going to take the combination of a lot of opportunities to get you where you want to be. You aren't going to have 100k Instagram followers or be a recognizable brand overnight- @OhJoy has been blogging for a decade!  Being in an awesome magazine feature or having a mention on a big blogger's Instagram account are fabulous and exciting, but those things don't usually cause immediate success.  The first time I was published in Style Me Pretty Living I thought it meant big things were going to happen right away!  A few publications later- which I am super grateful & stoked about- I now look at these opportunities as something to help my SEO, build my reach, and slowly contribute to growing a brand.

 teaming up with Palm Beach Lately

teaming up with Palm Beach Lately

3. Ask and ye shall (sometimes) receive.

Here is a little secret for you: every awesome thing you see someone doing on Instagram isn't necessarily getting handed to them.  Sure, some people don't have to work as hard as others to be noticed and given opportunities, some people pay for a PR team to help them, but a lot of great opportunities come from people taking good old fashioned initiative.  When I did some work for the Draper James blog this year?  Reese Witherspoon didn't just discover me and decide I'm awesome and call me.  When Maddie & I were on the West Elm blog, it wasn't because they thought I was the coolest blogger with the cutest dog.  I do some projects for free, I reach out to a lot of PR teams, & I send a lot of emails I never hear back from or get rejections from.  On the other hand, a few times this year I was asked to team up with some fabulous folks & also heard "YES" from some really awesome people- Houzz, Charleston Food & Wine Festival, Kelly Golightly, Charleston Fashion Week, Gray Malin, A Lowcountry Wedding, Charleston Inside Out, The Aqualillies, Palm Beach Lately, ACME House Company, Kimpton Hotels, Talbots, & more.  Most of these people didn't know me from Adam until I reached out to them. Who do you want to work with? Just ask them! 

pictured above: a Charleston Wine & Food Festival event & feature I styled for A Lowcountry Wedding

4.  I can't keep going at this pace!

Anyone else trying to do more than one 9-5 job? Nowadays it's becoming the norm to have a side hustle, or maybe you're like me and your business is comprised of several parts.  When this is the case, it's SO easy to never. shut. down.  Before you know it you're either super stressed, super tired, or super lame and don't spend as much time on the important relationships in your life (even the one that involves taking care of yourself)!  I've learned that I have to make myself a schedule and stick to it; I actually have to write in exercise and turn down even really awesome meetings that interfere with my yoga class.  I have also broken down the various aspects of my income in order to help me see how to spend my time in 2018.  This blog doesn't bring in 50% of my income, so it shouldn't take up 50% of my time.  Let some simple math help you determine how to spend your time.  I can already tell I've got a happier year ahead!  

 hanging with the Aqualillies at ACME House Co. in Palm Springs

hanging with the Aqualillies at ACME House Co. in Palm Springs

5.  Habits are our friends.

Habits often have a negative connotation; for example, the adage "old habits die hard" makes me picture how often we struggle to give up bad habits.  I've recently realized I could be using habits to my advantage!  If I want to prioritize exercise or finding more enjoyment in my day, I have to create permanent habits instead of making goals that may or may not get accomplished.  Check out my post on the best way to head into the new year ready to form more good habits.

 in Sea Island for The Southern C

in Sea Island for The Southern C

Sianara, 2017!  It's been real, but I'm ready to take on 2018 with some better strategies in my back pocket.  Check out my year in pictures below, and follow along on Instagram to see what I'm up to in the New Year!

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Best Window Boxes & Doors of Charleston (Christmas Edition)

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I bet you've noticed Charleston doors popping up all over Instagram lately- there are pretty wreaths and garlands galore!  If you're looking for a short route to pack in a lot of great doors and window boxes, here is what I suggest:

1. Start at Rainbow Row (East Bay & Tradd).

2. Head down Tradd Street.

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3.  Make a right to go north on Meeting, but first cross to the opposite side of the street & stand in front of the orange door that's flanked by palms.  From there you can look across the street and see the house with the Santa hat!

4. Walk up Meeting & make a right on Broad.

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5. Make a left when you get to East Bay & head to Vendue Range. 

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Head to my Instagram if you'd like to see more pretty Charleston sights & recommendations!

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