You blinked your eyes and just like that it's Thanksgiving week with Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon. If you are anything like me, you've thought about making a Holiday list, but then got distracted and have yet to actually do it. You've probably also been asked by significant others and relatives the age old question, "What do you want for Christmas?" (queue my best grandma voice). So if you are stuck as to what to get friends, family, and significant others for Christmas, here are a couple of my recommendations.
Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf/Wrap
If you know me or have ever seen me in public (hope I had on makeup that day) then you probably know that basically all I wear is Lululemon. While I hate that I love expensive workout gear (at least I actually use most of it given the amount I workout) a few of my favorite staples are my Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf and my Lululemon Vinyasa Wrap. Picture above is the Wrap. It makes a great, elegant piece paired over a dress or even a casual outfit. It also works ell as an extra layer on chilly fall or spring days. When it actually gets cold out, it can be used as a scarf. Lulu's Vinyasa Scarves' are great too. I like my scarf for more casual looks. If you have the luxury of living near an outlet, you can typically find them on a good marked down price. If not, you can find the wrap here ($29 on Markdown mind you!) and the scarf here. These truly make the best gifts for friends and those who you don't want to worry about buying the wrong size.
If you are in the mood to "shop small" this Holiday season, I highly recommend High Tide Designs based here in Charleston. My friend and former co-worker, Lauren, started this business over a year ago and her work is amazing. I love this small Oyster Pendant and Necklace. I bought this for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day (or her birthday, I forget) and she loved it. This is a great gift for those that love the coastal life, but want to avoid the "tchotchke" Charleston gift. Not only will the recipient love this, but you are also helping a small business grow. Check out Lauren's Etsy store for more of her work.
Bernhardt Field Diver Watch
While we are still on the accessories train, if you are looking for an inexpensive watch check out Bernhardt's Field Diver Watch. The watch is only $169. What I really love about Bernhardt is that they are a family run business, with all watches being designed by hand in North Carolina. The product is high quality and Bernhardt firmly stands behind their product. Watches are pieces that are hung on to for years, so when buying a watch it's important to buy a durable, "timeless" (no pun intended) piece. Shop Bernhardt's full collection here.
We recently bought an Amazon Echo and I love it! Alexa is my new BFF. Working from home can get lonely, so it's nice to be able to play music while I work without relying on my phone and bluetooth. It uses our Amazon Prime account and plays music available to Prime users. It's also great to utilize for reminder purposes and just has an overall source of entertainment. Alexa's jokes are quite funny. This is a great gift for the tech junky who seems to have everything.
I love Nectar Sunglasses. I bought the pair above (Rey) over the summer. I wore them basically every day and unfortunately after a few too many drinks at Follypalooza, I lost them. I was heartbroken (like seeing a sick puppy, heartbroken) about it. Well, what I love about Nectar is that the glasses are not that expensive (much cheaper than Ray Bans). I could have gotten the same pair I had for $39.99, but as God would have it, a few days later, I received an email from Nectar with a 50% off offer when bought off of Amazon. I ended up getting the Coltic/Wayfarer style and love them. What I also love about Nectar vs big name sunglass companies, is that Nectar is local. For a fraction of the price you can give someone a high quality pair of sunglasses (with a lifetime warranty) and also support honey bees and a local business Visit Nectar's store here.
Sometimes life gets a little overwhelming and you just want to escape for a few days. I recently had the opportunity to escape the day to day routine and spend a few days alone at Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort. This was the first time I've actually gone on a trip completely alone. I was a little hesitant at first, scared I might get bored, but I truly loved being alone and being on my own time. I got to do what I wanted to do. (Obviously, since I have the luxury of working remotely, I worked during the day.)
I arrived in Litchfield Sunday afternoon. I arrived a little before sunset, so I dropped my things, poured some wine and walked down to the beach. The beach was about a quarter of a mile walk from my room. There are a bunch of properties on the resort including beach houses and condos. My dad purchased his condo in the Summerhouse section earlier this year. He bought it so we can use it as a family. The properties is also available to rent through the resort, so sometimes it can be difficult to snag the condo before it's booked, which is why I planned a mid-week trip. Anyways, the walk to the beach was nice and scenic. There is a walkway that takes you straight there, so you don't have to worry about walking on busy roads.
I arrived to the beach right in time for sunset. The sunset was remarkable! It was also a relatively warm Sunday for October, so I could still enjoy putting my feet in the ocean. I sipped my wine and enjoyed the solitude.
After enjoying the sunset on the beach, I went back to the condo, sipped some more wine and called it a night. I woke up Monday and went for a run on the beach, again enjoying the warm temperatures. However, I was promptly reminded Monday afternoon that it was indeed fall, as thunderstorms rolled in and dropped the temperatures. I hopped on 17 and headed up the Lululemon Outlet in Myrtle Beach to get some retail therapy in. I ended up buying a jacket and scarf because I was FREEZING. I then headed over to the Market Commons where I enjoyed a nice, quiet happy hour/dinner at Co. I have been to the Co here in Charleston and enjoy it; however, I wanted to try the Myrtle Beach Co because I knew they had sushi. The happy hour prices were great and even included some sushi rolls. This was my first time in the Market Common area of Myrtle Beach. It was so cute, far from the touristy Myrtle Beach feel. After dinner, I headed back to Litchfield.
Tuesday was a quiet day. What I really loved about the resort was they had a full Starbucks on site. (Not one of the janky hotel Starbucks that just serves Starbucks coffee, but a legit Starbucks). The Starbucks was just a few steps from the hotel. I also enjoyed swimming laps in the indoor pool. It was a fun change from my normal workout routine. I enjoyed a quiet Tuesday night, enjoying happy hour and dinner at Webster's (the restaurant on site). The food was good, old fashioned Southern food. I am eager to go back in the summer when they have the Tiki Bar outside open.
Overall, my experience was great. I am happy to have this as a place to go and relax when I want to. I love the Litchfield area. It's so peaceful and quiet. It's a great escape from the busy city that Charleston has become. It's only a little over an hour away, so it's a great little getaway.
It's been a little over 24 hours since news broke of the worst mass shooting in US History. Every morning, when I wake up, I lay in bed and do a brief skim of the news of the day, before starting my day. I noticed on Monday morning an alert about a shooting in Vegas. I was half asleep, and paid no mind to it. I then did my daily social media check and saw that not only was there a shooting, there was a mass shooting. Shock, disgust, and how did this happen AGAIN, went through my head. The feeling of being numb to this type of news ran through my body. Hatred filled my mind, because I felt numb to the news. Why, why, why was all I kept asking.
Now let's rewind to the night prior. Sunday night was a somewhat normal night. We had a lazy Sunday. Typically, on Sunday nights, we watch football or something pretty light hearted. Well, as we were skimming the guide, one show caught our attention, Active Shooter: Colorado Movie Theater Shooting (or something like that). What's weird is my husband knows that real crime drama shows cause me intense anxiety and inability to sleep. However, he was intrigued and we both got sucked in. After the show, we started talking about mass shootings. It was a hard conversation to have. The documentary highlighted what everyday people and first responders do in an active shooter situation. We had the conversation of what we would do. All I kept thinking is no matter what, I wouldn't want to be separated from my husband in a situation like that. If I died, I would want him by my side.
Now, all that keeps filling my head is how many people lost their husband, wife, or loved ones and in such a tragic manner. How many husband's and wive's told their significant other to escape only to be gunned down themselves. How many goodbye's that never got said. My heart absolutely breaks.
Last week, was my first week in my new car. Part of the new car package was a Sirius XM radio subscription. I've previously had Sirius and was happy to have it again. Well, during my commute back and forth to the gym on Thursday, Buzz from the Highway was chatting with a woman on the phone who said she was excited to see them at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. On Saturday and Sunday, I listened to the live broadcast from the festival. Now, I can't help wondering, what happened to the lady on the phone. Is she okay? She's a stranger, who I've never met, but to hear her excitement for her weekend in Vegas, that now probably has turned into nightmares and anxiety (at best) and at worst injuries or death, breaks my heart.
I keep running through my head, that this could of been me, my husband, my friends, my family. We love country music, we love traveling. I was preparing to ask my husband if we could go to the festival next year. I try not live in the panic and fear the world. But it's hard to feel like you can trust anyone any more. A simple beep of the horn at someone who almost hit you in traffic, can turn into a gun shot. A trip to the grocery store, can end badly. It's scary to see how close to home these shootings have become. The Mother Emanuel shooting was right next door to my office at the time (and I was the last one there late that night). The Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting happened three weeks to the day that we flew in and out of that terminal. I just can't help but live in fear. Anxiety protrudes my mind and makes it hard to sleep. I want to live in a world that mass violence and terrorism aren't a daily occurrence. I want to bring children into a world where they can go to school and my only worry is if someone pushes them in the hallway, not shoots them.
I grieve for the 59 people who went to a concert and never came home. To the people who walked out the door of their house, with kids, pets, and family inside, never to return. I celebrate those who risked everything to ensure a fellow human was safe. I applaud the law enforcement and first responders who responded to the scene and probably still have yet to get more than a hours sleep. To the doctor's who went into auto pilot and just tried to save as many lives as possible knowing that the odds were stacked against them. I celebrate the people who held the hands of strangers so they didn't have to die alone.
These are just my thoughts as I process all that has occurred. An event that occurred thousands of miles away, yet feels like it occurred in my own backyard.
Sorry for no updates lately. Work has been crazy, life has been slightly hectic, and all the other excuses I can throw in this sentence to make you believe I wasn't neglecting my blog. Anyways, I say life has been hectic, but really nothing big has been going on. The biggest adventure we have gone on as of late was a Labor Day weekend trip to NYC/Brooklyn. I had been looking forward to this trip since we came back from Europe. I love NYC. This was my 6th trip in 10 years. My 4th trip in three years.
I was super excited to see my best friend, Elizabeth, but this was also a "Moore Family Vaycay" as my in-laws were in town for a wedding that we all attended that weekend. Anyways, our trip started super early on a Friday (seriously I think we took the first flight out of CHS). We got into JFK a little after 8. Took the train (my first time taking the train from the airport) to our hotel. It saved us a load of money. Since our hotel was right in South Brooklyn, there was a subway station less than a quarter of a mile away. I would advise to really study the train system from JFK because it got quite confusing fast (and that was after I had already had the route planned). Anyways, we got in and were able to check into our hotel early. We stayed at the brand new Hilton Brooklyn. The hotel was quite nice, and it was one of the cheaper options (outside of a crappy Hampton Inn we were originally supposed to stay at in Manhattan).
Anyways, after checking into our hotel we hopped a train to downtown Manhattan. We were starved, since we had been up since 4 am. I spotted a Shake Shack at Fulton Station and hightailed it over there. I got to enjoy my first Shake Shack experience and it was worth every penny and more. After, we finished our breakfast/brunch, we tried unsuccessfully to meet up with my in laws. Finally, we were able to track them down and head up to One World Trade Center Observatory.
Let's be honest, I hate heights. HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE them. Anyways, my palms were sweaty, as we shot up 100 floors in 60 seconds. They played a movie in the elevator, which would have been cool, had I not been having a slight panic attack. Anyways, we reached the top floor, and omg, it was amazing. The views were indescribable. You could see every borough of New York, Jersey, the Statue of Liberty. Everything. I realized my fear of heights is only if I look down and not out. My mother in law made reservations at the restaurant on top of One World Trade Center. One of my favorite memories, is seeing my husband's face after ordering two Amstel LIghts and the bill was $30 before tip. You definitely are paying for the views.
Anyways, after lunch, we wandered back to the hotel, napped, and got ready for the Yankees vs Red Sox game. We met up with my friend, Elizabeth, at a little dive bar on the Upper East Side. We had a couple drinks before wandering to her place of work (she's a bartender, I didn't wander my drunk self into a random place of business.) We had a few more drinks and off we went to Yankee Stadium.
I would say the game was quite memorable, but that would be a lie. Let's just say I pre-gamed a baseball game a little too hard. It was fun, and awesome to go. I remember most of the game, and it went by fast. We pretty much just hung around the bars in the stadium. We bought a hat to show proof that we were there.
After the game, we went back to the Upper East Side and after a pit stop of buying dumplings at a random Chinese restaurant because I had to pee in their bathroom, we made it back to the bar we started at. After a few more drinks that I don't recall, we headed back to Brooklyn.
Saturday, I woke up feeling rough, but managed to throw on some Lululemon leggings and a tank and head to breakfast with my in laws at Tavern on the Green. That restaurant was breathtaking. Dinner at Tavern on the Green is now on my bucket list.
After breakfast, I prayed to God and everything holy to make me feel like a human again. He responded after a nap and a heavy dose of Tylenol. We headed to our friends wedding in Brooklyn. The wedding was a TON of fun. Great music, awesome food and drink. Overall (and I'm pretty tough on weddings, I only give my own a B+), I gave this one an A. After the wedding, we headed to the after party at a speak easy. We decided we were starving, and desperately wanted some NYC pizza, so we headed next door to a pizza joint, called Sizzle. OMG OMG OMG so good, and so needed. I finally felt human after going through the worst hangover of my life.
Sunday was a quiet day, met up with the newlyweds at a local Brooklyn bar, grabbed a bite, and jetted home. It wqs a fast trip, but VERY memorable (from everything that I can remember). Here are some pictures from the trip.
I'll admit, I was a bit critical initially of the eclipse. Unlike many others, I started hearing about the eclipse last November while working at my previous agency. We were doing 2017 planning and it came up in conversation. We knew then it was going to be a big deal. I remember the date distinctly because August 22nd was my second wedding anniversary and I remember the eclipse being the day before. (I also kicked myself and said why didn't we do a four year engagement and get married on eclipse day?!...haha).
Anyways, as the months passed and word spread, I started to care a little bit less about it. I felt cool knowing about it so early on, but as everyone else knew, I didn't feel like it was a hot secret. Then the panic phase of the eclipse hit where everyone started to buy the glasses and then only certain ones were approved. Initially I was against buying the glasses because I saw it as a big conspiracy for people to turn a quick buck. (I'm in marketing and should support that, but I don't like schemes). I opted to not get involved in the hoopla and thus missed out on buying the glasses before it became totally impossible to find certified glasses.
Because the next day was our anniversary and we are going out to dinner, we opted to just stay home, work, and enjoy the eclipse. I went out to get the mail when the partial eclipse started. I looked up for a brief second and saw the partial eclipse and that's when the realness/ coolness really hit me. I then wished I had the glasses so I could look longer. My neighbor was laying across the street on the lawn with glasses, camera, and tripod in tow. I opted to join him and saw the last bit of the partial eclipse before totality.
Totality hit and you could hear people from Charlestown Landing and across the neighborhood cheering. It was truly an awe-some experience. (I was literally in awe the whole time). I instantly regretted all the crappy things I said about the eclipse and realized why people travel hundreds of miles for two minutes. The neighborhood went dark. The temperature dropped. The craziest thing about it was how cloudy it was just prior to the eclipse. It was as if God opened up the skies just in time. Once totality ended, rain clouds followed and storm followed suit. I remembered what I heard on tv (and what was reiterated when I was in the Sistine Chapel), take pictures with your mind and not your phone. I tried to put my phone down for a while and just enjoy it. (Hence my crappy photos below). I wanted to live in that moment, since I will never get that moment back. It was truly an experience I will never forget and the fact that I got to experience at my own home, in my own neighborhood, made it that much better.
September marks my five year anniversary in Charleston. Five years and four apartments/condos/houses later. Some days it seems like the time has flown, and some days I think back to five years ago and feel like that was forever ago. Anyways, in my five years of living here, I've never really had a "night out" on Folly. I've spent many-a-beach days on Folly and have dined and partook in many-a-drinks at the restaurant and bars around Folly during daylight hours. I had never ventured to Folly at night just because (except for NYE which was a for a house party).
This past Saturday, on a whim, my husband and I decided to go to Folly. We wanted something different, outside of our usual West Ashley joints. We act like Folly is so far away, when it reality it's less than a 20 minute drive. We decided we wanted it to be a low key night so we threw on our shorts and t-shirts and headed over to Woody's on Folly. We were those people who brought our computer to a bar/restaurant since we wanted to stream the Crossfit Games (this is the Super Bowl for us Crossfitters). Woody's was just the spot for that.
Woody's is this little pizza joint a block from Folly Beach. It is a dive, by all definitions. It has plenty of outdoor picnic tables on their deck. It was shaded, and you could feel the ocean breeze. What I was amazed about Woody's was how cheap the food and beer was. I've long complained that in the five years I've lived here, I've seen Charleston go from a reasonably affordable drinking town, to an upperclass, expensive city. I was fascinated to see Woody's had Bud Light on draft for $2.75 regular price (non-happy hour). You can also get bottled domestic beer for $2.95. I couldn't tell you another Charleston restaurant/bar where you can get a bottle of Mich Ultra for under $3. The pizza was good (it's not gourmet), but for $2.50 a slice (and a decent size slice at that), it's a worth it. (They also deliver to houses on Folly, which we found out on NYE). We ended up with a salad, three slices of pizza, and like five beers (between the two of us) and got out of there for less than $40.
After Woody's we decided to venture over to Snapper Jack's and take in their rooftop deck. This was my first time on top of Snapper Jack's. It was nice to feel the ocean breeze from the top deck. I was surprised to see that Snapper Jack's and the Irish Bar across the street, turns into quite a party spot on a Saturday night. Again, I was surprised at the how cheap the drinks were for a beach bar. I paid $4 for a vodka soda. I will say I'm not one to write negatively about a place, but the bartender had quite the attitude and it took me 10 minutes to flag her down after she intentionally skipped past me multiple times and to attend to people who had just walked up to the bar. (My husband and I joke that I am maven of bad service!).
Overall, it was a nice cheap night out. It was a break from our norm. When you live this close to the beach, you sometimes get spoiled and forget to sit back and take it all in.
This time last week I was soaking up the sun at the Marriott Resort at Hilton Head Island. I joined my mom and my grandmother there for a few days while my mom attended the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Conference. (For those that don't know, my mom is a Cayce, SC Councilwoman and is also President of the Lexington County Municipal Association. Yeah, she's kinda a big deal!) Anyways, I spent last Wednesday-Saturday taking a much needed break, while enjoying time with my family. Here is a recap of my little vaycay.
I arrived Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday night we had a pre-planned dinner with the City of Cayce and some additional colleagues at Red Fish in Hilton Head. Red Fish was amazing! First you walk in and you are surrounded by wine, which makes the wine-o in me very happy. We started by ordering some cocktails and apps for the table. My mom got to experience her first Moscow Mule (which I think she enjoyed). I also ordered the Moscow Mule and it was delicious. To eat, I ordered the Bronzed Mahi Mahi. It was perfectly cooked. Very light. The perfect meal for those looking to indulge, but still fit in their bikini the next day. For dessert, my grandmother and I shared the Creme Brulee and OMG it was probably the best dessert I've ever eaten. If I wasn't in public, I would have licked the bowl dry. After dinner, we went back to the hotel bar and enjoyed some cocktails before calling it a night.
Thursday my mom was in meetings all day so I hung by the pool and the beach. The resort is nice, but not my favorite. It could definitely use a facelift. (A little nip and tuck every now and then never hurt anyone). The pool was large and open. I loved that they had poolside food and drink service. The drinks were a bit pricey, but I guess you are paying for the location, not the alcohol. What I thoroughly loved about the resort is being to bounce from the pool to the beach with ease. The beach was right next to the pool. Only a few steps away and you were enjoying the white sandy Hilton Head beach. l loved that the resort was bit secluded so the beach wasn't overly crowded. I must admit, as much I love Charleston, the beaches at Hilton Head have our beaches beat. They are so much wider and sandier. Anyways, after spending the day in the sun, my mom, grandmother, and myself had a low key dinner at a restaurant near the resort.
Friday was kind of a lazy day. We all went to a luncheon hosted by the Municipal Association at the resort. The speaker was probably one of the funniest men I've ever met. He had me almost peeing in my pants at times. After the luncheon, we enjoyed sometime by the pool and then got ready for dinner. MPA Strategies and LandPlan Group hosted a wonderful Lowcountry Boil (aka Frogmore Stew aka Beaufort Stew) at Skull Creek Boathouse. The views from the restaurant were amazing. The food was just as good. From the BLT sandwiches and pimento cheese appetizers, to the Lowcountry Boil, mac and cheese, and the rest of the fixin's it was a beyond delicious. It was truly the perfect way to end this little mini vaycay. I enjoyed the sunset and called it a night. I was excited to head back to Charleston to visit with some friends who were in from NYC.
Anyways, here are some snaps from the trip. Hilton Head Island was a great little getaway. It was only a two hour drive from Charleston. It was nice to experience the beach life outside of Charleston and just relax and renew my mind and body for a few days.
The 4th of July has come and gone....sigh. I love the 4th of July. It's the middle of the summer when the temperatures go up and the tourists go down. When you can go to the beach, without sitting in hours worth of traffic. (But prepared to sweat your buns off). Anyways. what an amazing 5 day weekend we had. We started our weekend by celebrating a friends' birthday at Hall's. We got to do things we haven't ever done including tubing down the Edisto River, had a pool day, enjoyed Sullivan's Island on the 4th and Fireworks at a friend's house on James Island after.
Tubing the Edisto
If you're a local and haven't had a chance to tube down the Edisto River, I highly recommend it. It is fun, long day. We packed the car and tubes (deflated of course) and headed to Givhan's Ferry State Park. Being rookies, we made a lot of rookie mistakes. We were initially supposed to meet some other people who would be our second car, but didn't realize how far out the park and the other people didn't make it in time. So with our one car, we ventured out.
We went out of our way to find an ATM because we thought the park admittance of $5/person was cash only. We learned two things about this. First, there is a gas station right there, so you do not need to go out of your way to find one. Second, the park accepts debit cards.
Once we arrived and parked we had the mission of blowing up all of our floats. We brought a bicycle pump thinking that would be efficient. Lesson learned, it is worth the couple extra bucks to buy an electric pump. Luckily, some kind people camping at the park let us borrow theirs. It still took a good 20 minutes to fully inflate our tubes with the electric pump.
Once we got on the river, all was well. It was actually quite peaceful. There were other groups floating as well. One house left the music on really loud so we had some jams. We cracked open some beers as soon as we hit the water. (You can't drink at the park). The float lasted a good 3-4 hours. The river moved pretty fast (for the Edisto atleast). The water levels were high due to recent rainfall. We stopped at a beach, which we thought was close the end. DNR was out in full force, so we decided just go on with our float. We ended up paddling a good bit to get to the end, just because we were tired, a bit sunburnt, and needed to ensure there were people at the boat landing (the finish point) who could take us back.
We managed to find a ride, deflate our floats, and head home. I am absolutely looking forward to doing it again before the end of the summer. The bigger the group the better! So grab your friends and let's go!
Working from home is great. I don't miss office life at all. BUT I do miss people. When you work from home you have to make a conscious effort to get out the house and be a productive member of society. Thankfully I have my gym friends, so that usually gets me out the house for an hour a day. Some days, I crave more than just an hour of civilization. I like a good happy hour, but some days I don't feel like drinking. That is where the coffee shop comes in handy.
I have to admit, I am bit of Starbucks junkie. Gold card member since 2015. There is literally a Starbucks right across the street from my house. As much as I love Starbucks, it gets noisy, and crowded. It's also not a local business. I realized there are so many other local coffee shops that I was missing out on. So I went on a journey to discover all the local coffee shops in Charleston. Here's where I went.
Sojourn is a quaint little coffee shop located across from the Starbucks near my house. Sojourn is not your modern/techie coffee shop. It is family owned and provides a very nice atmosphere. The coffee is good. I like that their ice coffee comes with the "good" crushed up ice. Their breakfast sandwiches are to die for. Literally, my favorite breakfast sandwich. The pricing is relatively close to Starbuck's pricing ($4 or so for the sandwich, $3-4 for coffee). It serves as a central gathering spot for politicians and those involved in the West Ashley community. It can get quite noisy when they are having their roundtable discussions.
Vintage Coffee is located across the bridge from me in Mt. Pleasant. I really like Vintage Coffee's outdoor space. I decided to venture to Vintage Coffee on a nice day to get out the house. I had my roof of my Jeep so I wanted to drive a bit and ended up there. It was a weekday early afternoon when I went. I was taken back by how crowded it was. It wasn't even lunch time or a prime time. The parking lot was full and I had to park next to the shopping center next door. All the picnic tables were full, so I grabbed my iced coffee and sat outside. The coffee was okay, nothing remarkable, but as I looked around me, people were ordering food. The food looked amazing. I have had their avocado toast there in the past and it was great. I enjoyed sitting on the porch looking out at people and cars passing by. It is definitely a family friendly place, so if you have kids, I would recommend taking them there. (They have a playground out back). I would definitely go back. (Maybe when the weather is a little cooler, with a laptop it can get quite hot outside and feels like my laptop is literally baking).
Collective Coffee was probably my least favorite coffee shop, although I hit it right before it closed for the day. I ordered an iced green tea. It was okay. I've heard the food there is fantastic, but haven't had a chance to try it out. The inside is a little quiet and stiff. If you are truly looking for a place to hunker down and study or churn out some work, then this is the place. They have a couple tables outside. I met a friend there and it was nice to be able to sit outside and chat for a bit.
Black Tap Coffee
Out of all of my coffee ventures, Black Tap was probably my favorite. The only downside is the lack of parking right there. I did the park and pray and at a meter with no change. I managed to get away with parking for two hours with no ticket. Anyways, the space inside is small. The day I went it was raining so everyone was inside. There was a small outdoor place to sit. I grabbed a latte. I typically don't drink hot drinks in the summer, but I was wet from the rain and it was a bit chilly, inside so I went with it. I found a small little spot with my own table. I liked how the crowd was diverse. You had working professionals (like myself) and some college aged kids (it is downtown, so that makes sense, although college was out at that time). The latte was AMAZING. Probably the best cup of coffee I have ever had. I slurped it down and debated getting another. I was able to work for a few hours from Black Tap. It did get a little loud and crowded at times, with people literally sitting on top of each other. Other than that, I HIGHLY recommend.
Other Honorable Mentions
Although, I did not visit these places during my coffee journey, I have visited both Kudu and Normandy Farms on Broad Street. Kudu is a great spot to grab coffee and a beer. It is on a highly trafficked area of King Street, so it's not ideal for parking. If you are within walking distance, I highly recommend going.
Normandy Farms also deserves an honorable mention. When I worked at the Brandon Agency on Broad Street, I would walk to Normandy pretty much every day and get a shot of espresso or an Iced Coffee. The sandwiches there are to die for. I would highly recommend it for a grab and go spot, but not necessarily one to sit and stay for a while. Although, there is a group of older gentleman who gather their daily and chat about politics and current events.
So I've been doing Crossfit for about year now (I started late July of last year). Crossfit has transformed my body (hello traps and lats). However, I have hit a point with Crossfit that I'm realizing working out alone isn't going to help me achieve my goals. I desperately want to be able to lift heavier and just have more endurance and strength throughout workouts. I knew my diet was a major factor holding me back from this. Let's get real personal, I'm 5'2". I weighed 110 pounds up until my 26th birthday. In 2016, I switched some medication and gained 10 pounds. I've been weighing roughly 120 pounds since then. When I arrived back from Rome, I realized I had dropped nearly seven pounds, and felt incredibly weak. This was when I realized, I needed to supplement my workouts with an adequate diet. I want to be strong, and fit. Being lean isn't necessarily my main focus.
I looked around for the "perfect" diet for me. I didn't want to lose weight, I wanted to gain, but healthy mass, not fat. My gym started an RP Challenge in April. I knew would be traveling in May and wasn't quite ready to commit to this diet. What is RP, you ask?
RP, stands for Renaissance Periodization. This diet is from what I can tell, relatively new. It's highly promoted in the Crossfit/Weightlifting industry. RP is an individualized diet/exercise program designed to help you "cut" (or lean out) or "mass" (gain muscle/mass). It works in conjunction to your workout program. To get started with RP, you buy a template online. Each template is specifically designed for your body and your goals. RP is designed to be no less than a 90 program, with new "cuts" or cycles occurring every few weeks. RP is very stringent. You have to eat certain foods at certain times of day. It's designed to give you optimal fuel for your workouts. RP is a pretty serious commitment, but can bring you great results if you stick to it. Our gym has divided up into teams and are competing against each other for prizes and bragging rights. I am still learning to "clean" up my diet (getting rid of fast foods and processed foods), so I wasn't quite ready for RP. I hope to be able to do it later in the year and document my results.
Paleo is probably the most popular "Crossfit" diet. Paleo is essentially the "Caveman" diet. It is designed to rid your life of processed foods and eat foods straight from the Earth. One of the pioneers of the Paleo diet is Dr. Lane Sebring, The Paleo diet includes lean meats (even those of wild animals), nuts, fish, eggs, fruits, and root vegetables. The Paleo diet excludes dairy (a staple in my life, unfortunately), salt, processed oils, processed grains, and refined sugar. I've wanted to go Paleo for a while, but I am not sure I can go cold turkey excluding those foods from my diet.
Growing up my mom was a single mom. Between baseball games and practices with my brother and cheerleading with me, our diet was more grab and go. We were not healthy eaters growing up. Most everything we ate was processed. (I loved me some Beanie Weenies out the can...haha). Trying to transform my diet to a more mature, whole diet has been hard. My current goal is just to try and avoid as much processed food as possible.
Whole30 seems to be the latest craze in dieting and healthy eating. Whole30 is similar to the Paleo diet, with more food restrictions. With Whole30 you cannot eat or drink: sugar, alcohol (a major game changer for me!), grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites, You also can't recreate "junk" food with healthy ingredients. Whole30 is designed to be done for 30 straight days. It is not designed for as a weight loss program, however, most people I know who do the program and do it right experience some type of weight loss. Whole30 is not for me, at least at this point in my life. I enjoy eating out every now and then, and having a drink or two. Being that restrictive on my diet, may not be the best fit for me mentally. Whole30 can cause some people to experience some psychological and mood problems due to the restrictive nature of the diet. Unlike RP, with Paleo and RP you do not have to weigh or count your food.
Recently, I started tracking my macros. I used Macro Calculator on IIFYM.com (IIFYM stands for it If It Fits in Your Macros). This calculator gave me the amount of Fat, Carbs, and Protein I should eat each day based on my goals and how much you work out. It is referred to as Reverse Dieting, because you can essentially eat what you want as long as it fits within your Macros (Carbs, Protein, Fat) for the day. It is very similar to RP, with RP being more targeted as to what you can eat and when you eat it throughout the day.
I've been tracking my Macros for about 10 days. I've noticed it's impossible to track on the weekends, if you go out to dinner or have a couple drinks. However, for me, I want to focus on controlling what I eat Monday-Friday for now. Obviously, you can tell I am not hyper-intensive about diet. My philosophy on it all is balance. Eat well and enjoy life. I will say I have noticed a change in my workouts since I have begun tracking my Macros and thus eating more. I haven't jumped on a scale lately so I do not know my weight, however, last week we tested out on some of our lifts and I PR'ed or tied my PR with all of my lifts. I am noticing I am stronger and have more endurance throughout my workouts. Below are some photos of when we tested out these lifts.
Overall, I think you should chose a program that fits within your lifestyle. Even if it is not an actual diet program, but rather just cutting out processed foods, eating less fast food, or dining out less. I think there is a happy medium out there. I think you truly can enjoy being healthier.
Haley Parler Moore
A girl with who overthinks everything and made a blog to put all of her excessive thoughts on. 20 something. Charleston resident. Marketer. Work out junkie. Bulldog mommy. Wife. Gamecock fan. Lover of football and Lululemon.