Trader Joe’s Must-Haves

Hey y’all 👋🏼, Trader Joe’s regular over here. I used to not understand the craze over this place, and now I’m there at least once every other week 🤣. Several items from there have become staples in our home! I know that there are countless items to try, so I thought I would share about the things that I have tried and continuously buy over and over. I’m always looking for good recommendations, so let me know your favorites too on my last Instagram post!

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Fresh Flowers! :  With Mother’s Day coming up, I figured this would be very appropriate! TJ’s has great prices on flowers. I love having fresh flowers around the house during the Spring/Summer, and I don’t want to pay a lot for them.  Definitely the best priced flowers out of our other local grocery stores.

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Chocolate Almond Granola:  I sprinkle this on top of plain whole wheat cereal every morning! It is so so delicious.  I hate running out of this stuff. I have gone to TJ’s two days in a row once because it was sold out, and now I buy two boxes at a time. 🤷🏼‍♀️Problem solved!

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Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce: Better than any other store-bought brand sauce.  I cook this for a couple hours and add ground turkey and red pepper flakes–For sure a regular dinner item for us.

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Tortellini: Also a really easy dinner item, and much cheaper than other tortellini brands. Pair with the marinara sauce above for quick and easy dinner!

 

Frozen Sides:  My two favorite frozen side items have to be the roasted potatoes and peppers and veggie fried rice.  They are ready in minutes and go perfectly with so many things.

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Turkey Corn Dogs:  Yes, sometimes I eat like a 5 year old. 🙈 So easy and yummy! Perfect for a quick snack and a healthier alternative to normal corn dogs.

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Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup:  I usually eat this more in the colder months, but it is so good, so I’m going to share it too.  Just put it in the microwave, and I add a bit of cayenne pepper–anddd done.  Also wonderful with grilled cheese.

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Dark Chocolate Almonds: No other brand tops these.  I have tried buying chocolate covered almonds from other stores/brands, and none are as good as these in my opinion.  Trader Joe’s has a special rich and unique taste to their dark chocolate, and the almonds are always crispy!

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Dark Chocolate PB Cups:  Also a really great option if you are into dark chocolate. (They have a milk chocolate version as well.) I keep these in the fridge and have a couple for dessert pretty regularly.

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Joe-Joe’s:  These are special because they have actual vanilla bean paste in them–Which is so much better IMO.  Also, I think they are more crunchy than oreos (another plus).

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Seasoning:  I buy several different seasonings, but the two that I constantly have to restock on are the everything bagel seasoning and the chili lime seasoning. My favorite way to use the everything bagel seasoning is on top of eggs or roasted veggies!  We use the chili lime seasoning on chicken for chicken tacos allll the time.

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Laundry Detergent: Made with built in soy-based softeners and lavender oil, so no need to purchase an additional fabric softener.  This product is also more natural and much cheaper than name brand detergents.

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PB Banana Dog Treats:  For all the dog owners out there–these are so great and all natural.  Josie loves them! Great for training.

That wraps up my top picks! I hope y’all got some ideas for your next TJ visit!

Cheers,

Olivia

 

 

No Sugar, No Butter, Banana Bread

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I will get straight to the point on this one so that y’all don’t have to scroll forever to get to the recipe! 😉 Bottom line is this is the yummiest banana bread I have ever tasted, and it’s not bad for you (yay!).  I have made this recipe based off of another recipe I found on pinterest, and this is my perfected version! I hope that you all enjoy! (Blue and white plate linked here. + similar cutting board here.)

What you will need:

  •  1/3 c melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup or honey (I use both–1/4 c syrup, 1/4 c honey)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 medium ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/4 c of milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus additional for swirl on top
  • 1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 9×5 in loaf pan –Link to my loaf pan here (the best!)

Optional:

  •  peanut butter chips (I love this addition, I add about 1/4 c. Can be found in baking aisle), or dark chocolate chips
  • chopped pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds on top!

Instructions:

  •  Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, spray your loaf pan with non-stick spray (I use coconut oil spray.)
  • Melt your coconut oil in the microwave in 20 second increments until liquified, whisk honey/syrup with the oil thoroughly. Add eggs and beat until combined.
  • Next, add mashed bananas and milk, mix.
  • Mix in baking soda, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Lastly, with a large spoon, stir in the flour. Also, if you are adding chocolate chips or nuts, mix those now as well.
  • Pour batter into your loaf pan, and sprinkle some more cinnamon on top. To add a swirl effect, run a fork across the top in a swirled pattern.
  • Bake for 55-60 min. (I like mine to be not as done, so I take it out at 55.)
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Swirl before oven!

**Note that this bread is very moist, so after a few days of sitting at room temperature, I recommend you put it in the fridge. If you’re like me, and the whole loaf is gone after a few days, this shouldn’t be an issue. 😋

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Eat as a side, snack, or dessert!

 

Be sure to tag me if you decide to make it–I wanna see! 🍌🍞🍯

Cheers,

Olivia

 

Photo-Shoot Tanning Routine

Hey y’all!  I’m excited to be writing this post in collaboration with Pink Magnolia!  You can find my post on their website along with other guest bloggers in the future. As many of you know, I have been the model for their website for the past year participating in weekly photoshoots.  We have had so much fun since the beginning, and we continue to learn more and more after each shoot.

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Shop Spring skirts and bottoms!

One thing that has been constantly part of my routine the past year is self tanning (I’ve tried several different types of products!).  After trial and error, I have found a couple of products that I really love and are pretty easy to use too.  I thought that some of you would appreciate me sharing my tips and tricks as the weather heats up, and we are ready to bust out our Spring wardrobes!  I always feel more confident with a little extra color before diving into Spring styles.

 

 

Tan Luxe Body Drops

Clarins Face Drops

I’ll start by talking about the type of tanner I use, which is tanning drops!  As opposed to tanning mousse, gradual lotions, sprays, etc, tanning drops allow for a more custom color that lasts over a week and fades nicely!  These drops also last me a lot longer than purchasing other kinds of self tanners, and no need to purchase a mitt along with it.

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How to use:

I use the Tan Luxe tanning drops and Clarins face drops with my favorite everyday lotion.  I simply mix a few drops in with my moisturizer for each section of my body.  The more drops you use, obviously the deeper your tan will be.  You can also build color over several days if you aren’t comfortable going in with so many drops the first time. That’s why I really love this style of tanning.  You can make it work for you whether you want to be bronzed or just slightly sun-kissed.  The best part of this product is that it does not smell.  I put it on right after I shower, and I’m good to go. There’s no need to rinse it off.  (If applying directly with your hands, be sure to wash your palms thoroughly–This is how I apply it).  You can apply it before bed or the beginning of your day and go about your business.  It slowly develops after several hours just like a spray tan would.

My Tips:

  •  Exfoliate and shave just like you would before any other type of tanner.  Add and emollient lotion to areas like knees, elbows, ankles to prevent dark patches before going in with the moisturizer/drop mixture.
  • Start with less the first time you use it to figure out your perfect amount, and to allow some error your first time applying!  (It’s always worse when you miss a spot and your tan is super dark).
  • Go with the dark drops and not the light-medium.  My skin is pretty fair, and I use the dark version.  I simply use less drops, and my bottle lasts longer!
  • Apply a generous amount of lotion on the back of your hands and less drops than you’d apply anywhere else.  Sometimes I even use the drops I use on my face for my hands.  Simply because the face drops are much more subtle.
  • Keep your skin moisturized each day after applying the tanner, and your color will last longer and fade nicely.

 

I hope this post helps y’all get ready for Spring and all the fun Spring styles coming out as well! I know I’m ready!  If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my blog as well as following me on Instagram! Simply click on “About” from the menu, scroll to the bottom, and enter your email. I love to share everyday fashion, beauty & lifestyle favorites! ☺️

 

Cheers,

Olivia

5 Items I ALWAYS Travel With

Hey Y’all! I haven’t written a blog post in quite some time, and I’m happy to be back! Thanks for stopping by to hang out for a bit. 🙂  In the total chaos of getting ready for our next trip (Leaving for Germany/Switzerland today!), I thought of this blog topic.  Also–I find writing to be therapeutic, and it was nice to sit down for a few minutes to talk to y’all. I always enjoy hearing your feedback, so let me know in the comments of this post or my Instagram post of your must have items when you travel!   If you are interested in hearing about mine, just keep reading!

Impressions Vanity Mirror:  This little light-up mirror is so convenient–fits right in your makeup bag! It has both a regular mirror and magnified mirror on the other side.  I actually received this as a Christmas gift in my stocking this past year (Thanks Mom!), and it goes with me on every trip! I don’t have to worry about sharing the bathroom mirror with someone, poor lighting, etc.  I just sit wherever and whenever to put my makeup on with this handy little thing!

Travel Mirror (currently on sale too)

Nexxus Hair Masque:  First of all, I love Nexxus hair masques.  I always use a hair masque in place of regular conditioner, and this one is so moisturizing.  Secondly, this takes up barely any space in your suitcase! Depending on how long my trip is, I will pack a couple of these (one pack usually lasts me a couple washes, and I have very thick hair.).  If you care to hear more about hair products I love, I’ll link that here. 🙂

Nexxus Hair Mask

Perfect Bar: The BEST protein bar I have ever tasted hands down (with really great ingredients too).  And let me tell you, I’ve tried a ton of protein bars.  You can find these in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores including Aldi and Target.  These can be out of the refrigerator for up to a week and can either be a meal replacement or a snack depending on the person.  Breakfast is super important to me, so I always have these just in case something prevents me from making time for breakfast when traveling!  For example, I know I will be on the plane for 9+ hours here shortly, so having these bars on hand has me covered.

Perfect Bar

Silk/Satin Pillowcase:  This may seem like a “diva” item as my mom would say.  However, if you know me, you know that I am a terrible sleeper!  I started sleeping on a satin pillowcase last year, and recently splurged on a pure silk one.  There are so many benefits of sleeping on silk, and I will not go into all the details.  The bottom line is I sleep so much better with this, and I make sure I’m never without it!  No one has time for sleep deprivation when traveling the world!  I’ll link both the satin and silk pillowcases.

Satin Pillowcase (more affordable option)

Pure Silk Pillowcase

Travel Wet Wipes:  Some of y’all are laughing at this one, that’s okay! Hey, I don’t like germs.  If I’m going to spend enough time on an airplane to eat/sleep/relax, you can bet I’m wiping down my arm rests, tray table, etc. before getting too comfortable!  No one has time to pick up nasty germs when traveling the world either, right??

Travel Wipes

 

I hope that you find some of these items helpful for your next trip!  Stay tuned for a flood of photos for the next 10+ days of our trip to Germany/Switzerland! If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, my handle is oliviaccgreen.

Cheers,

Olivia

 

 

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies

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Hello friends!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful Super-Bowl weekend filled with all of your favorite yummy foods– I know we did for sure.  That’s why I was so glad to get my butt to the grocery store today to buy all the healthy foods I could find. The recipe I’m sharing with you is one that will cure your sweet tooth, and you don’t have to be guilty about it!  I have tried sooo many “healthy” cookie recipes, and this by far is the best I have tasted.  My friends have made theses cookies and love them too!

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The recipe came from Emily Didonato, and I’ll link her video here.  She is such an adorable person to follow, so if you’ve never checked out her youtube channel, I recommend that you do!

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Anyways, here is the wonderful recipe 🙂

  •  1 cup all natural creamy almond butter
  •  1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  •  1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  •  1 egg
  •  1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  •  1/2 tsp baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp sea salt     ( this is super important IMO, do not skip!)
  •  1 bar of dark chocolate chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all together in a mixing bowl. No need to refrigerate, I scooped the batter right onto the cookie sheet (My cookies were larger, and it made about 10).  Cook for 10 minutes! Enjoy!

 

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I hope that y’all enjoy this recipe.  Let me know if you are interested in other healthy recipes that I use every day, and also if you try this one! I’d love to hear from you.  Cheers y’all. 🙂

 -Olivia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty Counter–My Honest Opinion

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Hello there! My first beauty product review coming rightttt up. Many of you have heard of Beauty Counter, and some of you haven’t! Basically, it is a nontoxic skincare/makeup brand that holds themselves to the highest standard with their ingredients.  They even use nontoxic packaging to prevent harmful leaching into their products, pretty awesome! I love brands that truly care about the health of our skin, and don’t just market terms like “glowy” and “healthy-looking,” without having the ingredients to back that up.

I learned about Beauty Counter through a good friend of mine who recently became a consultant.   She educated me a little bit about the lack of regulation in the cosmetic industry when it comes to what goes into our products (pretty scary).  Beauty Counter is working towards changing that, which is a wonderful thing for us all! They have a list of ingredients that they call the “Never” list.  This is a list of ingredients you should stay away from, and they are in many products on shelves everywhere.  I’ll put a picture of the list below, and you can see if your products pass the test!

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I’ll link their website here in case you’d like to read a little bit more about the company.

Now, I’ll tell you what I thought about the products so far! Are they worth the hype??

I used nothing but Beauty Counter creams, cleansers, and rosewater facial spray for a solid week.  Here’s a picture of the lineup: (Essential Nourishing Collection)

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What I noticed:

  •  My skin was so much more hydrated, and stayed that way throughout the day.  (I have VERY dry skin in the winter.)
  • The texture of my skin was smoother, and fine lines around my eyes were much less noticeable. My makeup applied better, and also looked smoother–no need for primer!
  • My skin had less redness, and looked brighter.  I got away with wearing less makeup for sure.

Since these products are definitely on the pricier side, I’ll let you know what I decided to purchase so far:

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  •  Sleep Cream – A step above the night cream that I tested originally (I felt like my skin could use the extra moisture this provides.)  I LOVE this product. I didn’t know how much my skin needed this–I wake up with my skin feeling much softer. Worth the money for sure.
  • Eye rescue cream –  Also a step above in hydration from the eye cream I originally tested from the nourishing line.  I’ve tried a lot of eye creams out there, and I honestly have to say this is my favorite so far.
  • Nourishing cream exfoliator – This stuff does a great job at getting rid of dead skin while still being emollient and not harsh.  I have been looking for a really good exfoliator safe to use multiple times a week, so this is perfect for that.

Overall, I am excited to add these products to my routine mainly because I am confident that every ingredient is healthy for my skin (no nonsense toxic chemicals).  At the end of the day, I believe that what we use to nourish our skin should be a priority over many other beauty products we get caught up in (makeup, tanners, lashes, etc.) Great skin = Wearing less of everything else. 🙂

I hope this helps those of you who are interested in trying Beauty Counter or any other nontoxic skincare!   As always, thanks for reading and talk to you soon.

Cheers,

Olivia

25 (very) Random Things About Me

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  1. The first thing I ever learned how to drive was a tractor! (I grew up on a farm).
  2. I eat cereal every single morning for breakfast–It’s my fav.
  3. I met my husband in high school.  (10 years together now.)
  4. The first time I flew on a plane was when I was 22, and I was absolutely terrified! Now, I have flown so many different places, and I love to travel!
  5. I’m a terrible sleeper. I take melatonin and sometimes wear ear plugs (until recently b/c ear infection, yikes).
  6. My favorite food is Mexican food. My favorite Mexican restaurant in the area is Mi Cancun! $5 Margs on Saturdays, you’re welcome.
  7. I cannot stand ketchup–It’s the worst.
  8. My favorite show is F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I’m embarrassed at how many times I have seen every single episode.
  9. There are streets all over my hometown named after my family–My maiden name is Carpenter! We have so much family history here in Cary.
  10. I love to bake.
  11. I do not watch The Bachelor lol.
  12. I have never lived outside of NC.
  13. Country music is my favorite (Particularly, Alan Jackson and older stuff)
  14. I have a doberman named Josie, whom I am obsessed with. Clearly.
  15. Coffee of choice: Iced almond milk latte or cold brew no matter what the season is.
  16. Wine of choice: Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet!
  17. Coke > Pepsi
  18. My favorite city to visit is Charleston.
  19. I’m going to Europe for the first time in just a couple months! (Switzerland and Germany.)
  20. I dyed my hair brown one time in high school, and it turned orange–FAIL.
  21. I didn’t know how to pronounce “acai” bowl until about 3 months ago. Also, Ive never had one until today!
  22. Favorite season: Fall
  23. I didn’t have braces as a kid, but I got invisalign when I was 20–best decision ever!
  24. I’ve never been in a tanning bed.
  25. A quote that I love: “Experience is the teacher of all things.” I can’t wait to see what experiences and knowledge year 25 brings!

As always, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed learning some very random things about me! Maybe let me know in a comment below something random about yourself lol. 🙂 I love to hear from y’all!

Cheers,

Olivia

Pink Magnolia Christmas Gift Guide

 

If you have missed out on online orders shipping before Christmas (like me), no worries! I have put together this gift guide, and you can purchase everything right from one of Pink Magnolia’s stores (Cary or Morrisville)!  There are certainly so many more options, however, these five items are my personal favorites and I highly recommend them! The best part of these gifts is that they are no brainers–You don’t have to worry about purchasing the right size! All of these items are so versatile for any age as well. I own and love several of these gift options, and my mom and grandmother do too.  Pink Magnolia makes shopping for all of the special ladies in your life easy. 🙂

I hope this helps spark some ideas for your Christmas shopping!

Cheers,

Olivia

5 Nourishing Products for Winter Skin

I have been working mostly from home the past two days due to snow here in Apex (if you’re local, you know that everything here is shut down when it snows lol), and I thought I would write a quick post on winter skin care items that I have loved and used for years now!  I really enjoy posts about beauty products, and I hope y’all do too!

These products will all be great for winter time, or if you’re like me, you can use them year-round (I have very dry skin).  Also–I wanted to note that none of these products have ever broken me out!

  1.  CeraVe Lotion:  I have been using this for years now. It is what my dermatologist suggested when I told her I wanted something rich and nourishing without being heavy and greasy. I put this on my face and body every day.

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2.  Mario Badescu Facial Spray:  This product is so cooling and hydrating.  I spray this product after washing my face in the morning (before moisturizer), and throughout the day if I feel like I need it.  The aloe in it is very soothing as well. IMG_5716MB Facial Spray

3.  Smashbox Primer Oil:  Y’all, this stuff is so amazing.  It is so much more than a primer.  I mix a few drops of this with my cerave moisturizer morning and night.  I also pat extra product around my eyes to act as a serum/eye cream.  This stuff sinks in really well. I tested a different face oil in place of this when I ran out of it last month, and I noticed my skin was getting so dull and dry.  I repurchased this, and I will continue to do so!                                                                           IMG_5717   SB Primer Oil

4.  Bareminerals Complexion Rescue: This is not a tinted moisturizer or bb cream.  This is a hydrating tinted gel cream, and it is so good for your skin! It really does improve your skin’s hydration level, and makes your skin look so radiant!  I love to wear this on “no makeup” makeup days or underneath my powders as a hydrating base when I need it. It does give you a bit of coverage, and it also has spf 30! IMG_5714BM Complexion Rescue

5.  Vaseline Lip Therapy:  The most old school product on this list, and it works so well. I put this on my lips before bed because it is thicker than normal chapstick, and most lip oils I have tried are too sticky. I for sure cannot skip this during the winter, or my lips become so chapped. IMG_5718Vaseline Lip Therapy

Alright, those are my must-have products for the Winter time! I hope this helps y’all out with dry winter skin! Stay warm out there!

Cheers,

Olivia

Charleston Recommendations

Alright y’all, this will be a longer post.  Grab a snack, and stay a while. 🙂 I know that there are so many wonderful options of where to eat and what to do in Charleston, so I hope you enjoy reading about my personal favs! I had the pleasure of bringing my Meme to Charleston for her 70th bday, and showing her around–She absolutely adored it!  This is my favorite blog post yet, mainly because I am so in love with this wonderful place. I hope you enjoy my recommendations!

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Where to stay:

We stayed at the Francis Marion, the oldest hotel in Charleston, located on King Street. This was such an elegant, vintage hotel. You can feel that you are in a historic building the moment you walk in.  The grand lobby with crystal chandeliers, marble floors, and antique blue carpet was decorated in the classiest Christmas decor. (We enjoyed hanging out in the lobby in the mornings drinking coffee before our adventures!) Our hotel room had the same antique-feel as the lobby–It was lovely. 🙂

 

 

Another really great historic hotel is the Mills House–My mom and dad love to stay here when they come to Charleston. This is a smaller hotel than Francis Marion with a beautiful lobby as well.  It is pink on the outside with a gorgeous wrought iron balcony!

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We also got a tour of The Vendue, a more modern hotel. I am for sure staying here when I come back to Charleston with Jordan.  It is so chic and classy.  The rooms have exposed brick and lots of windows, which I love!  Also– There is live music in the “drawing room” at night.   The staff is also so wonderful, and we were treated like queens while we hung out there!

 

 

What to See:

Rainbow Row:  This is pretty much a given when coming to Charleston.  It is the most iconic and colorful street to walk down. The whole street of houses is just so charming to look at.

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The Battery: If you are going to walk down Rainbow Row, you may as well walk down the battery too–it is very close by! The Battery is a defensive sea wall, and also a landmark that stretches along the lower shores of Charleston.  Also a gorgeous scene with grande antebellum homes to view along the way.

 

 

 

King Street: The ultimate street for shopping! Tons of high end shops, and simply another  very pleasant street to walk down.  There really is no avoiding King Street when going to Charleston.

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The Historic City Market: Make sure to walk through the city market as well! (Another historic building of course).  Mostly open on the weekends–not sure about during the week.  So many local vendors come to the city market to sell their goods (paintings, historic tiles, snacks, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, etc). Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s a neat part of Charleston to see.

Rooftop bars:  For sure go to a rooftop around sunset to get a view of the city!  My two favorite rooftop bars are the rooftop at the Market Pavilion Hotel (you can still go to this rooftop if you aren’t a guest at the hotel) and The Vendue Rooftop!

 

 

Plantation home:  I loveeee plantation homes, and I highly recommend going to see one if you have time while you are visiting.  My favorite one to visit is Boone Hall–The oak trees are so incredible to look at, and its a lovely spot for pictures! (It’s actually America’s most photographed plantation and featured as the backdrop in several movies).

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Okay, finally, where to eat!!

Breakfast/Lunch:

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit: You’ll eat a lot of biscuits in Charleston, but these are unique and a must.  It’s the cutest little shop on King Street, and always has a line out the door.  Since the place is so small, there is pretty much only standing room during peak season. I recommend grabbing some biscuits, and then walking down King Street to shop!

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Poogan’s Porch: Located in an old historic home. As classic as a southern breakfast gets. Biscuits, whipped honey butter, eggs, home fries (fried in duck fat), bacon, sausage, grits, and mimosas :).

Dinner:

Magnolias:  Very southern, charming upscale restaurant.  It’s a calm and quiet place to dine.  Order the down south egg roll and brussel sprout salad!

82 Queen: Lowcountry cuisine. This place felt the most private of any place that we ate at–wonderful for a special date night. Also the best filet I have ever had (a very bold statement, I know). You will not regret ordering it.

Revival: This place is only 5 months old!! It used to be a coffee shop, but now is a very modern restaurant (but still southern).  The only place that did not feed us biscuits before the meal lol! They serve an “edible terrarium” instead (olive paste base with an assortment of veggies to dip), which was delicious! See picture below. Order the lowcountry pirlou.  The service here is wonderful–We were served complimentary champagne and a custom dessert from the chef for Meme’s bday.

 

 

Husk Bar:  This bar also serves food, and it is such a cool place to have a few drinks after dinner as well–Go upstairs! Super cozy-feel, brick barn-looking building.  We walked over here from 82 queen to have a few drinks after dinner.

 

I hope that y’all try some of these places when you visit Charleston next! Let me know what you think of them! 🙂

Cheers,

Olivia