For most of my life, I've dreamt of seeing Charleston, South Carolina. Dan and I booked our long weekend in October and it was honestly one of the greatest experiences.
October 11, 2017 | Overnight Amtrak
We had the hardest time finding a flight out of Philly, and so we decided to give the train a try. It was kind of difficult to get a good nights sleep, but it was still well worth it.
October 12, 2017 | Arrive to Charleston
6:00AM Train Arrives to Charleston. We took an Uber to the only thing open at this hour in the South ... IHOP. We load up on coffee and call our B&B to check-in early.
We checked into our B&B, the Plantation Oaks Inn which is located in Mount Pleasant. Seeing the plantations was a high priority for us, and so finding this gem just outside of the city was perfect. I can't say enough good things about the Inn - the staff was super accommodating and friendly, the breakfasts (and snacks) were amazing and the rooms were gorgeous. When we go back, this is where we look forward to staying again.
After a much needed nap, we headed out to the Center for Birds of Prey. We knew that we'd be tired on this day, so we planned a low-key and nearby activity to occupy our time. So glad that we decided to venture here ... what a neat experience! Dan and I are fans of wildlife and nature, so to be able to see this facility that works to rescue and rehabilitate birds of prey was really incredible. We also really enjoyed the live flight demonstrations and learning more about these impressive creatures!
After the Center for Birds of Prey, we headed to dinner at a local hot spot and chain, Burton's Grill. I was so impressed with their gluten-free menu ... they even had a special GF dinner roll! Our waiter here was actually a Philly-native from Media. This sort of started to become the joke on the trip because around every corner we met someone who lived near us (a couple from Kennett, this gentleman from Media, fellow guests in our B&B from Reading and even a friendly stranger who we got to talking with who lives all of five minutes down the road... such a small world!). Back at the B&B, we sat on the dock and watched the sunset.
October 13 | First Full Day
After a delicious breakfast provided by the Inn, we ventured up the street (we actually were able to walk, that's how close it is!) to Boone Hall Plantation. If this looks familiar to you, it might be because you've seen it in Forrest Gump, The Notebook and it was the setting for Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' wedding a few years ago. I don't blame them ... what a fabulous spot!
To be totally honest, this was my #1 priority when I came down here. I can't even tell you how long I've wanted to see this spot and it's gorgeous oak-lined drive. Though it was kind of a hike to walk down, we are so glad we didn't miss out on this experience by driving past it all. To stand in the middle of it all and take it all in ... that is something I will never forget. Boone Hall dates back to the 1600's, and is still a functioning plantation today. We did the House Tour, strolled through the Garden and watched the live Gullah Theater presentation.
After spending most of our day here, we decided to head into Charleston to grab an early dinner before our evenings festivities. Being foodies, we wanted to get some real Southern cooking, so we headed to the renowned Jestine's Kitchen off of Meeting Street. We're big believers in "Go big, or go home" so we ordered the following:
Starter Pimento Cheese with House Benne Crackers
Allie's Entree BLFGT (Fried Green Tomato BLT) with Cole Slaw and Fried Okra
Dan's Entree Steamed Shrimp with Cole Slaw and Fried Okra
Dessert Pecan Pie + Coca Cola Cake
We also both got the "House Wine" aka Sweet Tea
Y'all. My heart was so happy.
We had to walk this meal off, so we decided to get lost in the alleys of Charleston before our plans for the evening. Honestly, I highly recommend doing this because this wound up being one of the best things we did in the city. It's so beautiful!
Being the lunatics that we are, we booked a Haunted Jail Tour through Bulldog Tours for Friday the 13... ah! We joined the group tour at the Old Jail and saw one of the creepiest buildings I've ever been in. I'm a huge scaredy cat, and I was OK doing this; however, I did have a strange experience in one of the rooms. Glad that I saw it? Yes. Will I go back inside? NOPE!
October 14 | Second Full Day
On day two, we started our morning off with another incredible breakfast at our B&B. I have a new appreciation for Hashbrown Casserole.
We headed back into Charleston for a low-key day of adventuring. First, we visited the Charleston City Market where local artisans sold their wares. There was such a fun energy here! On our next trip we're going to get one of the sweetgrass baskets of Gullah tradition. It was mesmerizing watching these folks create something so beautiful so quickly! We did pick up a handful of postcard prints from a local artist we liked to frame and put in our bathroom (coastal themed). I'll make sure to share those via Instagram once we're set up.
I couldn't go to Charleston and not stop at Callie's Hot Little Biscuit (my obsession). I ordered from their City Market location and even though it wasn't GF, I was completely OK with indulging. SO. GOOD.
The rest of our day was spent walking around and just enjoying seeing The Battery and more gorgeous architecture. Time well spent! Back at the B&B, before packing up our bags, we spent a few hours on the porch watching the sunset and drinking wine with fellow guests who were celebrating a birthday. We wouldn't have had this trip end any other way.
Five Memes You'll Spiritually Connect With If your Overly Festive About Fall | Philadelphia Housewives
If you know me, you know that I have literally no chill when it comes to the holiday season. Case in point, I consider Halloween the start of it all.
Are you overly festive too? See how many of these memes you identify with and share below.
1. You were planning your Starbucks order and fireplace mantle while sitting in a beach chair.
2. You have enough candles for every room in your home to represent a different Fall activity. Falling Leaves, Bonfire, Mulled Cider ... it's endless and you want (and own) them all.
3. It might still be occasionally 80 degrees, but you're going to wear your flannel and boots anyway.
4. We get to savor this goodness once a year, and gosh darn if we're not going to take full advantage of that on August 31.
5. We're not amused. Pumpkins, candy and great movies? What's not to like?
Last year, I went with a couple of my best girlfriends into the city for the day to explore and get our holiday festivity fix. We had so much fun, and I encourage you to do the same thing with your girlfriends this year too! Need some inspiration? I'm sharing some of the top traditions and events our city (and surrounding suburbs) has to offer.
At Christmastime, the Wanamaker Building comes to life, or at least the Center City Macy's does which is housed inside. Each year, Macy's puts on a memorable light show featuring over 100,000 LED lights that depict a variety of holiday images. The show runs daily every other hour (check their site for this years schedule).
Tip: Get there a little early to claim a good spot, especially if you're taking kids who might have a harder time seeing over people.
While you're at Macy's, head up to the third floor to see "Dickens Village", a 6,000 sq. ft. life-size replica of the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Open daily.
An open-air, Europen-style village can be found beneath City Hall featuring a variety of vendors from local artisans to tasty winter treats. Grab a mug of mulled wine and stroll the village as you do some holiday shopping.
Whether or not you're an ice skater, you'll enjoy the festive sights and sounds at this attraction. Grab a bite to eat at the Rothman Cabin, which is a heated tent adjacent to the rink.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love Longwood Gardens (a membership is well worth it if you're local). My favorite time to visit? The holiday season! The outside is beautifully adorned with lights of all colors and the Conservatory is not to be missed. Each year they choose a different theme ... can't wait to see what this year's will be!
Whether you're in the city or the 'burbs, you'll have an opportunity to see The Nutcracker performed live. In the city, the Academy of Music hosts the Pennsylvania Ballet and in the the suburbs you'll find the Brandywine Ballet's performance in Chester County. Regardless of where you watch, it's an enchanting tradition in our area.
Oh how Philly loves it's Mummers Day Parade! This is one that I've not actually seen in-person myself; however, it's on my list. So many of my family and friends line the streets to watch the Mummers march in exquisite costumes and play beautiful music. A fabulous way to start the New Year!
When it comes to your lashes, you want to make sure you're working with a team of true professionals who have mastered the art which is why we're thrilled to be sharing the ladies of LashBee in Philadelphia with you.
This beauty salon located at 1126 Walnut St., 2nd Fl. in Center City offers lash extensions, lash lifts, face and body waxing and even makeup services. LashBee has been the recipient of several awards, including the Best of Philly for lash extensions and brow services, Philly Happenings for lash extensions and recognized for their entrepreneurial efforts through the Penn Innovation Center, I Corp and the Mayor's office. As if that wasn't enough, their clients leave shining reviews!
To top it off, these pros have developed their own line of products and retail them to other salons throughout the country as well as lash extension trainings and most recently, are launching their training programs on the national level. LashBee is committed to investing in and developing technology and products that make their services more consistent, safe, and speedy in comparison to other providers of eyelash extension supplies.
Anjali Bhatia came up with the LashBee concept after visiting South Korea and seeing the prevalence of eyelash extensions. She tried the extensions herself, and fell absolutely in LOVE with the look. Anjali then shared the idea of starting a similar concept in the United States with Erin Soletski, who also shared an interest in the beauty industry. These two boss ladies met at a retreat for high potential entrepreneurial candidates at Wharton's MBA program and saw the potential of creating a lash extension salon with high quality products. In 2015, they launched LashBee after training in extensions and have since expanded their empire with an incredible team. For them, their motivation comes from seeing client's reactions to the lashes and hearing from stylists who love using their LashBee products!
Describe yourself in three words
"Energetic, passionate, warm".
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
"In two years, we have gone from LashBee just being the two of us to having a team of 15. It has been an incredible for us to grow our LashBee family".
What are your professional goals for the next six months?
"We are so proud of the professional products we have developed over the last two years. We are currently looking to expand the presence of our LashBeePro training and products down the East Coast and also to the West Coast".
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
"From conducting trainings for LashBee, we have seen a huge need for better educational tools for ongoing support. We would love to launch a tech platform that better enables trainers to give ongoing feedback! Accordingly, we would love to learn stronger coding skills".
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
"We strongly believe in the power of working remote when needed. It allows you to spend time with your family while also being able to get things done"!
What websites do you visit every day?
"Primary news sites: New York Times, BBC, CNN, etc".
What are your top three favorite people/places/things to do in your city?
"The LashBee team absolutely loves to eat! We highly recommend trying the Salted Caramel Budino at Barbuzzo, the Spicy Noodles at Dan Dan and the Cheese Curds at Bud & Marilyn's".
What is your goal for retirement?
"Hopefully we never retire! We want to be entrepreneurs for life".
Do you have any advice for women who'd like to start their own company?
"Brainstorm ideas, research, and keep narrowing till you find the one that has great potential. Take some time to test out concepts before you decide on an idea to launch. One quick way is to buy some ads on Facebook or Goggle and see what the response is"!
Anjali & Erin's last thought: "Lash extensions will change your life! Try them once to see what we mean. Also, if you are thinking of opening a salon or adding lashes to your existing salon, please don't hesitate to reach out! We love working with other female entrepreneurs".
For many, waking up early the Friday morning after Thanksgiving and shopping for holiday deals is a tradition. I am personally not one who is able to do this, as I am usually still in a hardcore turkey coma at 3:00AM and exhausted from hauling Christmas decorations out (yes, one of those people). There was literally one year where I crawled out of bed and allowed myself to be trampled by women in pajamas and that was when I realized that Black Friday just wasn't for me.
A couple of years ago, when I started my wedding planning company I heard fellow entrepreneurs talking about Small Business Saturday and I was intrigued. Folks, this is a big one. If you're not familiar, Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving (the day after Black Friday) and is all about putting your holiday spending dollars towards local businesses in your own community instead of large corporations. You see, supporting local businesses doesn't only create jobs and keep your tax dollars local, but it can help to foster community.
Depending your age you might be able to think back to a time when if you needed groceries you went to the local market where the butcher always saved your favorite cut of meat. If you needed paint, you went to the hardware store in town. More often than not, you knew the families who owned these establishments and it made you feel even better about shopping with them because of the friendship you developed and knowing where your own hard earned dollars were going. We've strayed from this world, but those opportunities still exist.
Cue Small Business Saturday. It should come as no surprise that the holiday season is one of the biggest shopping periods of the year and small businesses everywhere are gearing up. I encourage you to shop at one or two locally owned stores in your area this Small Business Saturday, November 25. Not only are you helping the business and local community, but it's likely that you'll find more unique products.
If you've been a Philadelphia Housewives guest or follower, you know that we try to embrace this concept year-round by bringing in local businesses to our events that are specifically from the area's we're hosting in. We'll continue to do this, as we want to keep introducing you to businesses and organizations in your area. This holiday season, we'll also be launching a Shop Local Holiday Guide on November 15 to give you a preview of some of the businesses in our area and to help you make your plans for Small Business Saturday. We hope that you'll check it out, share it with friends, and make a point to #ShopLocal this year.
Are you a local business owner and interested in learning more about our guide? Please email email@example.com for more information.