Friday, August 31, 2018

TCB's 2018 Fall Bucket List

With autumn less than a month away (and the first day of September tomorrow, whatttt?!), I can't help but crave all the fall things right now! You know, tailgating, pumpkins, PSL's, and all the cozy leggings and sweaters. There is something about fall that just gives you all the feels, which is what makes it one of my favorite seasons! To capitalize on my fall cravings, I thought what better time than to put my 2018 fall bucket list out there to help you get into the spirit too! This is a list of my favorite activities that will help you make the most of all this season has to offer.

1.  Visit a Ciderie 

If you're looking for all the fall feels, look no further. I visited my first Ciderie last fall and vowed to never not make it a fall tradition again. Hard Cider is one of the fastest growing alcoholic beverages in the country! Combined with offering Apple Cider donuts, tastings, and live music - this makes for the perfect fall activity for all ages. If you're in the New England area, check out Flaghill, Whetstone, or Cold Hollow Cider Mills!

2. Attend a college or NFL football game

Does anything scream fall like tailgating and football? I think not. We attend at least two Clemson football games a season (so fun), and being that my husband is an avid Panthers fan - we are regulars at Bank of America Stadium as well. It's the perfect opportunity to gather the crew together for a social event, pull out your favorite chili recipe, and celebrate the return of fall at a classic event. 

3. Take a fall foliage road trip

Hands down one of my most recommended activities on this list. Last year was my first time traveling through New England during fall, and it was stunning. It's so special to see the different bursts of color against the cool fall air. If you're located in Charlotte you can find round trip flights to Boston in the low $200's. From there, rent a car, grab a PSL and a cider donut and visit Vermont and New Hampshire for a full foliage road trip. For more information on where we stayed during our foliage trip last year, see this blog post.

4. Go apple picking 

Apple picking is something I'm really looking forward too! It's great half day activity for friends and family alike - and the apples are half the price of the grocery store. Not to mention, since you're picking them straight off the tree, they are also much fresher. Fill up a 15 lb bag of Honeycrisps for $20 and bake the perfect apple crisp to share with your neighbors or at your next Friendsgiving! If you're local to Charlotte, SkyTop Orchards has great feedback!

5. Go to a pumpkin patch 

While this seems like stating the obvious, nothing makes October feel like October like a trip to the pumpkin patch. Shane and I make this a tradition every year, and of course we never leave without the obligatory pumpkin patch photo for the mantel. We even like toting the pup along for a few candids! Whether you're interested in using them to carve, or for filling up your front porch with all the harvest vibes, this activity never seems to disappoint.

6. Take a weekend getaway to the Ritz Carlton Reynolds with your significant other

This has been on my bucket list in general for quite some time now, but doing it during fall seems most appropriate. Waking up lake side, roasting marshmallows by the fire before bed, and walking or biking through the trails sound like the perfect weekend get away spot to me!

7. Rent a cabin and have a "Mountain Weekend" with best friends

Our group of friends tries to get together every year for a group trip! Last year our trips were bachelorette based since a large majority of us were getting married, but this year I'm looking forward to throwing things back to old times and gathering the group for a cozy weekend in the mountains! There is nothing more fun than waking up with your best friends, grabbing a cup of joe in your leggings and flannel, and watching the Blue Ridge yawn its greatness. 

8. Cozy up our surroundings

Does anyone else enjoy roaming the aisles of Home Goods for the perfect fall decorations as much as I do? I get the urge to do this right around September every year. I feel like it's kind of therapeutic. There's nothing cozier than submerging yourself in an environment that feels very fall like. This year, I want to totally transform my living room and porch into all the cozy feels! Giant mums, pumpkins, burnt orange and plum tones, and fall foliage center pieces. 

9. Find a way to give back

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I've been brainstorming creative ways to give back to our community and those in need, and what better time to start than during fall! It could be as simple as paying for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop, dropping off a bouquet of flowers at the hospital for the nurses, or helping the homeless. Find a way to positively impact someones day! 

10. Perfect the art of baking Harvest Bread

Growing up, my mom always made a loaf of Harvest Bread during fall. The house would fill up with all the yummy fall scents, and it's relatively healthy! Now if I can just master the art of actually replicating hers, my fall season would be complete! For healthy pumpkin related recipes, see this blog post.

11. Take a hike or walk through a state park with the pup at peak foliage

There's something so beautiful about the rainbow of colors nature creates. I love grabbing our Husky and a PSL on a Saturday morning and heading over to Freedom Park or Grandfather Mountain for a brisk early morning hike/walk through natures beauty. Plus, can you ever really have too much leaf peeping? I think not.

What's on your fall bucket list?! Leave me a comment and let me know, I'm always looking to add new activities to my list!


Photography by Rachel Red Photography

Friday, August 24, 2018

How To Spend the Perfect Weekend in Charleston, SC

Welcome to our weekend getaway recap at the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina! It's no secret that Charleston is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country, and top rated amongst foodies. Travel & Leisure readers have voted it the best city in the country for six years in a row now, and I'm right there with them! Being that it's literally in Charlotteans backyard (it's a little over a three hour drive from us), I've spent quite some time eating, sleeping and exploring my way around the Holy City. So much so, Shane and I even got married in Charleston! See our wedding details here

Today I will be walking you through where we stayed, what we ate, things to see and do, where to shop and what to wear! Charleston is the perfect place for a weekend trip, and here is why:


As mentioned above, I've spent a lot of time in hotels in Charleston but the Belmond Charleston Place is truly one of a kind and probably my favorite hotel stay in the city thus far. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a beautiful bronze fountain, marble floors, a Georgian staircase and staff who truly understand the southern mentality (Jimmy was fantastic in helping us with our bags/check-in).

Rooms // No matter what room type you book, you can expect the finest luxury. Each room is equipped with Carerra marble vanities, a cozy reading nook and a large armoire for storing your clothes. We stayed in a club level room this go around and if you have the option, I highly recommend going this route! These rooms are located on the 7th and 8th floors and give you access to the Club Lounge. Wondering what that means? The Club Lounge offers all day complimentary food and beverage service, including a fully stocked bar, continental breakfast, tea, appetizers and desserts. Essentially, you never need to leave the hotel for food with this option! It was amazing.


Believe it or not, this small city is home to world famous chefs, and restaurants that have been around long before my existence. Despite my many trips to Charleston, I still haven't tasted all the flavors Charleston has to offer because the food scene is just that good! Every corner, and every street is lined with the best low country cuisine I've ever tasted. However, I have definitely hit the big hitters and can recommend tourist and local favorites alike. Here's what we tried out this trip:

-Hanks Seafood - number 1 seafood spot in Charleston
- Magnolias - get the shrimp & grits
- Rise Coffee Bar
- Basic Kitchen - try the Avo Toast & Carrot Juice

Belmond Charleston place also has two great restaurants on site if you're looking to hang around the hotel! I heard the brunch at Palmetto Cafe is fantastic. For additional Charleston restaurant recommendations by yours truly, check this blog post. 


Great food isn't the only thing Charleston has to offer for a weekend getaway! The city is packed with activities of all sorts. If this is your first time visiting, here are my recommendations on what to see and do over the weekend to get the most out of your experience:

- Take a walk down King Street and explore the local antique and home goods stores - it's walkable from the Belmond!
- Walk over to Rise Coffee Bar - grab an iced latte, Charleston is hot.
- Or, grab a drink at the Clocktower Terrace at the Belmond before dinner - If you prefer to hang at the hotel before dinner and still want the views - great rooftop vistas and snacks. 
- Take a Rickshaw to dinner - this will give you a little tour of Charleston's historic homes and the riverfront. 
- Eat dinner on East Bay Street -You'll find some of Charleston's finest eateries on this street.
- Visit a plantation - I recommend Boone Hall, Magnolia Plantation, or Middleton.
- If your into food, try the Chefs Tour of Charleston - go behind the scenes with Charleston's most renowned chefs. 
- Take a walk on Rainbow Row - one of Charleston's most iconic streets lined with pastel colored homes
- Stroll through the Battery - features beautiful historic oak trees and multi-million dollar waterfront homes. 
- Head to the beach - I recommend Folly beach, it's about a 25-30 minute drive from downtown but has lots of fun beach bars, and local fare. 
- Take a late night dip in Belmonds heated pool - don't feel like leaving? Belmond Charleston Places pool is heated year round!
- End the weekend with a trip to the market - If you're doing this on a Saturday, head to Marion Square! If you're doing this on a Sunday, check out the market off Meeting Street. 


Summer in Charleston is hot! Pack your sandals for exploring the markets and downtown, and switch over to a strappy heel or wedge for the evening hours. Charleston also has a ton of cobblestone, so be mindful of the heel thickness! Flirty dresses and rompers are encouraged for night life, but the day time vibe is pretty casual. Think shorts and a cute tank! You definitely want something light and airy to combat the sweltering day time heat. Evenings typically cool down to the low 70's, so ankle pants and a cute blouse are appropriate too! 

So there you have it friends, the perfect weekend guide for a trip to Charleston! We couldn't have been more impressed with the service and amenities at the Belmond Charleston Place, which is key for setting the tone of your trip. I highly recommend checking it out if you're in the market for a stay, and know we will be back again in the near future!


Photography By Rachel Red Photography 

*In partnership with the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

11 Habits for a Healthier Lifestyle

One of TCB's most frequently asked topics is about health and wellness, so today I am sharing 11 habits I've personally adopted to help me live a healthy lifestyle. I am by no means an expert on the topic, but these are things I have learned to incorporate into my daily life to help keep me on track - and they work. Keep in mind, it takes 21 days to create a habit, so give yourself at least three weeks of repetition before giving up! I have found that once I've created the habit, it doesn't feel like a chore anymore. It just becomes part of life and you don't really have to think about it, kind of like brushing your teeth - you just do it. Here are 11 habits to help you live a healthier lifestyle:

1. Drink Water 

I am the culprit of not drinking enough water, and used to go all day with only taking a sip or two with my meals and that was it. Water is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body, and skin. Once I realized the importance of drinking water, thirsty or not, I figured out a way to make drinking enough water a habit. Each morning I wake up and fill a YETI cup up with sliced lemons and water. This cup goes everywhere with me, and I refill it as I go. Another great way to make sure you're getting enough water is by using this Healthish bottle. It has each hour of the day labeled on the bottle, so you can measure where the water line should be at whatever time of the day it is. It's basically an accountability tool for drinking water! Genius.

2. Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night 

I used to think I was getting enough sleep, although I always felt exhausted. I calculated the amount of sleep I was getting simply by what time I went to sleep and woke up. Little did I know, I'm awake for over an hour each night! I invested in a Fitbit prior to finding this out which calculates your sleep for you. It includes time spent in light, deep, and REM sleep and calculates how many hours or minutes you spend awake each night. I've adjusted my bed time and alarm in the morning to allow for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep and I feel a world of difference in terms of alertness, concentration, and energy levels. If you're not in the market or ready to spend money on a Fitbit, apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Better can help track your sleep patterns as well.

3. Put your phone away 1 hour prior to going to bed

I used to be that girl that curled up in bed with my phone. It's so easy to get caught up in scrolling on Instagram and Facebook, but it's actually a stimulator and can disrupt your sleep. A few months ago I decided I was going to put the phone away 1 hour before bed and trade in my scrolling time for a TV show with my husband, or a few chapters of a book I enjoy. I feel so much more relaxed, I fall asleep quicker, and I sleep better! Most days, I also wake up on my own prior to my alarm sounding. Studies show that the blue light from your phone is proven to disrupt Melatonin levels, which in turn affects the quality of your sleep.

4. Remove processed sugar from your diet

I know, I know - you're probably thinking this sounds crazy. But hear me out! When the owner of HSM proposed this as an idea during my wedding training last year, I thought she was nuts. But, I also thought it would work - so I gave it a try and it was a total game changer. Because you're only removing processed sugar from your diet, you can still have natural sugar (in moderation).  Meaning, you can still have a glass of wine, berries, etc. Processed sugar has zero benefit for you. It isn't a healthy fat, it doesn't carry natural anti-oxidants, it's not a source of protein etc. It is merely an empty carb with no value. I will admit, the first two and a half weeks of this challenge were extremely difficult. I had headaches, I felt super fatigued, and slow. At around the 3 week mark (or 21 days as mentioned above), my body got used to functioning without the sugar I was previously putting into it daily. The headaches went away, I started to feel much more energized, I wasn't experiencing sugar cravings at all anymore, and I felt super clean. If you can't commit to this 100%, try removing it from certain parts of your diet in spurts. I started by reducing the amount of sugar in my coffee in the mornings, and then slowly moved on to removing it from other parts of my diet before I completely removed it all together. Every step you take, is a step in the right direction.

5. Invest in a tracker

There are lots of trackers out there these days. Some more affordable than others, but nonetheless - they're an excellent tool for accountability. I personally own a Fitbit and track all of my goals in the Fitbit app. I set a goal for steps, stairs, calories burned, workouts per week, hours of sleep per night, and active hours (number of hours with 250+ steps). If I'm not meeting my goals, the tracker alerts me periodically throughout the day that I'm behind, and helps motivate me to get up and get moving. I'm a super goal oriented person, so these small daily goals help keep me motivated! It's also fun sharing personal highs with your friends who own a tracker in the app!

6. Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day

Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably already know that fitness is something I commit to six days a week (I take Sundays off). Studies have shown that just 30 minutes a day can result in various health benefits, including weight loss. It's so easy to tell yourself you don't have time, but at the end of the day - 30 minutes is nothing and there is no excuse to not make it a priority. Find a time of day that you can commit to regularly, and stick to that for at least 21 days. For example, if you prefer to workout in the morning, tell yourself you will do 30 minutes of cardio Monday - Friday at 6:00 AM for at least three weeks. I have found that eventually your mind builds it into your day as part of your routine, and the actual act of getting to the gym becomes much easier. Not to mention, the health benefits of doing this are exponential.

7. Measure out your snacks

Since I left my job in corporate America, my snacking has minimized. However when I do snack, which is typically to bridge the gap from lunch to dinner, I measure out my snacks to match the serving size. Snacks like almonds, pistachios, hummus and carrots etc are all deemed healthy, but it's all too easy to eat until you feel full if you don't measure out the proper portion. Snacking is not meant to replace a meal. A super easy way to make sure you are eating the appropriate portion is to pre-plan your weekly snacks on Sundays. I used to measure out 1/4 cup of pistachios and put them in a sandwich baggy to take to work. Other alternatives are the 100 calorie snack packs of almonds or hummus singles.

8. Plan/Prep your meals

Meal prepping is one of the best ways to stay on track and works exceptionally well if you work a traditional 9-5. If you're anything like me, once you're hit with hunger and you have nothing on hand to eat, the nearest food item is your next victim - healthy or not. Having a meal already prepped and ready to go removes this temptation! It allows you to have total control over what's in your food. Sure, it's easy to order the "healthier" item on the menu at a restaurant, but lots of times that "healthy" item may be cooked in butter or drenched in a fat laden sauce you aren't aware of. Meal prepping lets you limit the usage of unwanted ingredients, saves time, money and removes bad temptations.

9. Find a routine and stick to it

While this may sound monotenous, it doesn't have to be. Routines offer structure and organization that allows you to improve your health. I am an extremely regimented person, and feel the healthiest when I am at home and my routine is in full swing. Traveling throws a curve ball in this as my sleep pattern is typically disrupted, I workout at different times of the day or don't work out at all, the food I'm eating isn't what I would normally eat at home etc. This is always when I feel my worst. Finding a routine can be as simple as waking up and going to sleep around the same time every day, working out at the same time every day (it doesn't have to be the same workout, choose different classes or options to keep it interesting), eating within the same time frame daily etc. We are creatures of habit, and routines can offer better health benefits along with efficiency. Try it out!

10.  Improve your relationships 

Living a healthier lifestyle isn't just limited to diet and excercise. Who you surround yourself with can be a big factor in how you feel. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and lifestyles as you. You are so much more likely to connect and feel close to someone who relates to your openness, goals, and like mindedness than someone of the opposite nature. Relationships also require deposits. Deposit positivity and make an effort to surround yourself with positive people in person, not just online. My dad always said, "you can only count your best friends on one hand" - take care of them. A great way to stay connected to your close circle of friends is to have a standing dinner date or happy hour once a month. For example, the third Thursday of every month is girls night. And lastly, get rid of toxic people in your life. This is easier said than done, but we all have that one person wether it be family or friend, that does nothing for us in the way of lifting us up. Studies have shown that when you feel rejected by someone, your mind and body can actually register that as pain. So in that case, make a choice to remove them from your life.

11. Write down what you eat for a short period of time to observe patterns 

I use the MyFitnessPal app for this. A few months ago, I decided to switch out some of my foods with healthier options. For example, I switched milk to almond milk, peanut butter to almond butter and eggs to egg whites. However, I started to feel really bloated and my stomach was cramping constantly. When I wrote down my symptoms in a note in my phone as they would happen, I would go back to the MyFitnessPal app to see what I had consumed that day and almonds were the common denominator. This allowed me to realize I had an almond allergy, and that they make me feel awful. If you are experiencing constant headaches, bloating, or any type of symptom on a regular basis - try writing down your foods for 21 days to observe a pattern of behavior. This will help you eliminate items from your diet that your body does not process well. 


Thursday, August 16, 2018

6 Beauty Products I'm Currently Obsessing Over

 PJ Set (sold out, similar here) // Silk Sleeping Mask

I've spent a lot of nights in hotels this summer, and it isn't slowing down anytime soon! I wouldn't trade the travel opportunities for anything, but with that comes a toll on my hair, skin and nails. Traveling typically means a less restful nights sleep, a deviation from my normal eating habits, styling my hair more often, and a continuous full face of makeup. Combine that together with approaching 30, and you get a girl constantly on the hunt for the latest and greatest in the beauty industry. Whether you're in my same shoes, or just looking for some fresh new adds to your routine, I've rounded up six products that will keep you looking and feeling your best! Trust me, they're worth it. 

1. Shu Uemura Silk Bloom Restorative Hair Treatment 

Single handedly the best hair mask I've found to date. After badly damaged hair due to over processing, and quite frankly, combined with severe stress - I was losing hair quicker than I could ever imagine. I had a ton of breakage, and was willing to try anything and everything to restore the silky sheen my hair used to have. After venting to the girl who waxes my eyebrows in Seattle, I found this product and have never looked back. It's formulated with Argan Oil to replenish damaged hair cuticles. I apply this to my hair once a week, and sleep with it in overnight. The following day my hair is silky soft, and full of body! It's been a game changer. The 6 oz. pot has lasted me one year. 

2. Beauty Counter Color Pinch Cream Blush in Hibiscus

This has been the newest find in my beauty routine and quickly takes the cake as my all time favorite blush! I'm always looking for ways to create that radiant flush dewy glow, and this does just that. In addition to featuring a pop of color, it also hydrates and conditions the skin (unlike a powder blush) via jojoba esters and carnauba wax. And if that alone isn't enough to convince you, this line is paraben and toxin free - so you're making your beauty routine safer by adding this one to the collection!

3. OPI Somwhere Over The Rainbow Mountains

I've gone back to back mani/pedi's with this new color from OPI's Peru collection. It's the perfect nude with a hint of mauve for the upcoming fall season and matches everything! 

4. Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid Lotion

I recently switched out my Chi Silk Infusion with this product and I won't be going back. I don't have anything bad to say about the Chi product, but Aveda's formula is better. Wondering what it is? It's a fluid styling formula that adds shine and movement to your hair. You can apply it to damp hair prior to blow drying, or to dry hair to tame fly aways and frizz. I love using this right after I wash my hair as I usually wear it straight that day. My hair looks so silky, shiny and feels soft to touch from this! This is another paraben free product, and lasts forever! You only need a small amount per use. 

5. Neutrogena Moisturesmooth Color Stick in Pink Nude

There's nothing prettier than a bare, sun kissed face, with a pretty pink lip. When I'm at home (and not on the road), I typically opt for the au natural look and minimal makeup. The one thing you can usually find me using though, is this Neutrogena Color Stick. Flying sucks the moisture right out of my skin, especially my lips, so having this on hand is handy for when I don't want to wear lipstick, do want some color, and need to restore moisture.  It's a balm like formula, that provides a sheer layer of color and moisture! Lasts for hours, and is easy to apply.

6. Magsoothium Recovery Cream

I recently injured my neck pretty severely while working out. I've always had odd aches and pains in my neck from a previous car accident, so I think the injury was already there and I just happened to flare it up while working out. Needless to say, I have been trying everything under the sun (including a chiropractor) to make it feel normal again and this cream has worked wonders. It has fantastic reviews, and has really helped my muscles relax. You can use it for any type of minor ache or pain, or even soreness from working out. If it's been a long day in heels, and you're dogs are barking - try rubbing this on them. It should reduce the swelling and alleviate the muscle fatigue. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Our First Look + Why We Recommend It

How on earth has it been 7 months since our wedding day!? Time is flying by, and I'm way behind on  completing the rest of our wedding posts - however, today I'm sharing our first look photos and why we chose to do a first look! 

First of all, can we talk about how sweet Shane's reaction was!? He had a face full of tears before he ever even turned around. I'll never forget that moment, or his reaction, and I'd choose to do it over and over again. Doing a first look can be a controversial topic amongst couples and their families. My family was super supportive of the entire wedding planning process. However, their only hesitation in our decision making was to do a first look. My mom wasn't keen on the idea, and felt it should be traditional in that the bride and groom don't see each other until the ceremony. I disagreed. Being that we got married on New Years Eve, sunset was at 5:15 PM. I knew that the second the ceremony was over, we wouldn't have any time to just enjoy each other for a few minutes between bridal party photos, family photos, and getting to the reception before sunset. I wanted to see Shane's reaction and be able to feel his emotions with him in private, and be able to enjoy our cocktail hour with family and friends.

 Doing a first look allowed us all of these things. We got 90% of our pictures out of the way, we got a really special private moment together where we just let it all out without judgment, and we got to enjoy our friends and family after the ceremony. And guess what? Shane's reaction was still authentic and emotional as I walked down the aisle. The feelings don't change. If the emotions are really there, they're going to show regardless of a first look. Shane was still in tears as I walked out of those double doors with my dad, and that moment was still pretty dang special. So in my eyes, we got to experience it twice!

#HowWeWed: Most of you know that I worked with WeddingWire throughout my wedding planning process to provide you girls with updates on where we were at, how it was going, vendors I picked and why, etc. Well today, I'm super excited to announce that I'm pairing up with them again on a new campaign to share all the creative ways couples have made their weddings unique! So here's how it works:
  • Couples, vendors and guests have the opportunity to submit their favorite, unique, wedding elements via the Wedding Wire landing page or on Instagram with the #HowWeWed hashtag and tagging @WeddingWire! Your profile must be public.
  • Submissions will be accepted August 1 - September 14
  • There will be 6 superlative categories (Venue, Decor, Entertainment, Food + Bev, Style, Stationary + Favors)
  • At the end of the submission window, Wedding Wire will select the top 5 finalists in each of the superlative categories based on creativity, and individuality. 
  • Finalists will be revealed on Wedding Wires landing page on September 18th
  • From September 18 - September 25 people can vote on their favorite finalists in each category
  • Winners will be selected and announced on September 28
  • There will be 6 winners (1 for each superlative category)
  • Winners will receive $1,000 cash prize + gallery wall from Framebridge (3 options available) 


Planning: Candice Lorraine // OOH Events
Photography: Jessi Nichols Photography 
Hair & Makeup: Ash & Co Bridal Hair
Dress: Pronovias
My Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Rentals: OOH Events 
Location: Lowndes Grove // Patrick Properties Group
Videography: Knotted Arrow 

*In partnership with WeddingWire. As always, all opinions are my own.

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