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
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.