A Weekend in Charleston

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A couple of weeks ago, Billy and I hopped in our little Prius and traveled to the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina.  Each year, we dedicate a weekend away to celebrate our anniversary. It’s a sweet tradition we’ve come to look forward to so much.

I had been wanting to go to Charleston for…I don’t know…a really long time! So my little photography-lovin’ heart couldn’t wait to capture all the historic adorableness of Charleston.

We wanted to make this trip all things southern–sweet and simple.  And it was just that! We also wanted to try to keep this getaway as cost-effective as possible, so throughout this little travel diary, I’ll share my budget friendly tips.


Where We Stayed

A huge part of what made this trip so easy on our wallets, was staying at an Airbnb. This was our first time staying at one, so we were a little skeptical.  But we did our research and chose a place with amazing reviews.

I gotta tell you–I am officially hooked on Airbnb. We LOVED our little Charleston home away from home.  It was so relaxing! Bright, airy, minimal, and clean.  And the best part–only $100 a night.

Staying at an Airbnb allowed us to save so much money on food! This was a HUGE bonus.  We had a full kitchen, which enabled us to eat out way less.  We went to the local Publix and stocked our fridge for the weekend.  And I must say—being able to make my nightly cup of green tea made me feel so at home and peaceful. Yet another, wonderful perk.

Oh and I must mention–this Airbnb had a vintage Nintendo! We played Mario Brothers every night and it was a complete blast.  Pretty sure I’ll always remember that. 🙂

Where We Ate

Our favorite restaurant was Poogan’s Porch.  We went there for brunch, and the food was delicious, and the charm! Ah! Adorable.  It’s basically a restaurant that used to be a house.  “Poogan” was a stray dog that used to hang out on the porch. *heart melt*

For breakfast one morning, we ventured to the renowned Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. Oh my. It was just the cutest little hole in the wall. And it was packed! Not hard to tell why–their assortment of biscuits were melt-in-your-mouth amazing! Comfort food at its finest.  Reminded me of a little place in New York.

Now let’s talk coffee.  There’s little that Billy and I enjoy more than a really good coffee shop. You know, the ones that have that perfect balance of aesthetic and warmth. Black Tap Coffee has come to have such a special place in my heart.  It was so relaxing, the atmosphere was really awesome, and the COFFEE! No words. I literally had the BEST latte of my life there. Not exaggerating. The Lavender Latte. *sigh* So smooth and flavorful. We hung out their twice. Can’t wait to go back one day.

My best friend recommended Carmella’s, and oh how happy I am she did! We fell in love with this darling gem.  We selected two mini cakes to go, and enjoyed them at our Airbnb. The cakes were so moist and flavorful! A perfect pairing with our tea!

Where We Shopped

I was immensely impressed with the quality of shopping in Charleston.  There was a delightful balance of big chain stores, as well as local boutiques.  Shopping along King St. could easily take a whole day.  Not complaining… 😉

There are two shops that you absolutely must visit if you go to Charleston.  The first is Candlefish.  It really is the most divinely beautiful candle shop.  They even offer candle making work shops.  The service was exceptional, and the candle library kept you lingering and enjoying all the scents.  Quite the experience indeed.

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My second favorite shop was an adorable boutique called TheSkinnyDip. They had everything from sweet little dresses to darling local souvenirs.  I purchased the cutest coffee mug of my favorite site in Charleston: Rainbow Row! Upstairs, they have a fun coffee/lounge with a co-work space.  A rooftop patio made this place such a memorable stop.  Highly recommend!

What We Saw

The lovely thing about historic places, is that you can just wander. For hours. And wandering is free. But oh the memories you will make!

One of my favorite things about Charleston is how vast it is. The streets keep winding, and every little nook and alley was so picturesque.  Everything was blooming. Cobblestone streets lead to homes with darling shutters, window boxes overflowing with flowers, statement wood doors, and vintage gas lights. It is a lovely feeling knowing that everything your eyes happen upon, has a story.

Here are some pictures from our brick-lined explorations . . .

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It was such a joy celebrating 3 years of marriage with my hubby in Charleston.  It is honestly a new favorite city of mine.  I eagerly can’t wait to return!

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Three Years

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:: Written for Bill-Bill ::

I remember our wedding day so vividly. Weeks. No, months in advance I was so worried it would rain. (Our wedding was completely outdoors.) I literally looked up the weather probably two months in advance, and kept doing so til our day arrived. lol. God blessed us with the most beautiful spring day I’d ever seen. The sun sparkled over the bay, there was a gorgeous breeze, and I had never felt to peaceful and excited my entire life.

I remember excitedly peeking out of the window of my dressing room, watching the staff decorate the tables. I remember walking down the aisle to the theme from Anne of Green Gables.  I remember his face, filled with tears, as I walked towards him. I remember our friends and family laying hands on us.

I remember the happiest moment we both realized–we’re married.

The dance floor was full the entire night, and it was on our wedding day Billy realized his mad dance skills. lol.

It’s been three years since that day.  The crazy thing is– I love him even more now. I’m so thankful to the Lord. The best part is– I know I’ll only keep loving him more.

Here is our beautiful wedding video.  Pull up a chair and welcome to our wedding day.

I love you, Bill-Bill. Thank you for the three best years of my life. Here’s to forever more.

Love,

Jules

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Nonna’s Dress


Little Julia, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, had a huge imagination.

In her closet was a large plastic bin. A bin of possibilities. What some may call a bin of dress up clothes.

There was a Pocahontas costume. A shawl (that also doubled as a “net to catch fish”). A little house on the prairie outfit. A gypsy costume. Among other things.

There was one dress that was particularly beautiful. It was white and blush pink with a flowing cape. It was little Julia’s favorite. While it was much too big on her, she loved wearing it around the house, pretending she was a princess.

That dress was her Nonna’s.

…………..

Now I’m all grown up. Well, at least on the outside. On the inside, I’m still the same little Julia, with the wild imagination.

And now Nonna’s dress fits me. Nonna is in heaven now with the Lord. (And my Nonno ❤️)

When Billy and I decided to do a photoshoot for our 2 year anniversary, I knew exactly what I wanted to wear. Nonna’s dress. The usual “what should I wear?” dilemma never occurred. I knew it would be a lovely way to honor her.

You see, the beautiful dress in the pictures is more than just a beautiful dress. It is Nonna’s dress. The dress that little Julia couldn’t wait to grow into. The dress that reminds me of the beautiful person that my Nonna was, on the inside and the outside.

Wearing her dress made the photoshoot that much more special.


The above photo shows me holding a picture of my Nonna wearing the dress. 💗

I often wish Billy could’ve met my Nonna. She passed away before I ever knew Billy. But, sometimes I wonder if maybe in heaven she and my Nonno can see what’s going on down here. Perhaps one day they’ll say, “Billy! It’s nice to finally meet you in person.” Probably followed by, “Try this, it’s yummy.” Because that’s the Italian way. 😉


* All photographs in this post were taken by Stephanie Gamble.

2 Things We’ve Learned in 2 Years of Marriage


I am very excited about this blog post for a couple of reasons. For starters, this post is in honor of my two year anniversary with my husband! That’s right! As of March 15, we’ve been husband and wife for two years! I love that. I can finally say years. haha. Secondly, throughout this post I am sharing a selection of our anniversary photoshoot pictures! They were taken by our lovely wedding photographer, Stephanie Gamble. She has become a dear friend of ours, and is truly a remarkable person. So much love for her. Lastly, my husband Billy will be a guest writer in this post, as we both share 2 things we’ve learned in 2 years of marriage! This is sure to be a treat!


~2 Things I’ve Learned~

Obviously, in marriage every day offers some sort of lesson to be learned. I’ve learned many things in the past couple of years. However, I decided to narrow it down to two.

1. Be joy to each other.

I say this time and time again. Life is too stinkin’ hard to be another source of pain to your spouse. Stuff happens in life. Hard stuff. Stress. Jobs. Finances. Kids. Sickness. Grief. Depression. You name it. The last thing we all need is to top off all that stress with being bitter, rude, mean, insensitive, or even just absent in your spouse’s life. No one’s perfect, but honestly if you try to make this a goal in your marriage, it will have a beautiful effect.

Throughout the day, Billy and I send each other sweet, encouraging texts. Sometimes it’s something simple like, “You’re so fun! You make me smile.” Or sometimes we will send each other a typed out prayer.  We always try to uplift each other throughout the day. In our actions and our speech.

We also love just being goofy together. Disney songs are belted out quite frequently in our home. Dance parties can break out at any moment. Laughter is such a gift, and we indulge in it often.

People grow as they go through life. We are choosing to grow together and in the Lord. Sometimes we ask each other silly questions like, “What’s your favorite song right now?” Because sometimes you just need to stop, and get to know your spouse some more that day.

Don’t be a nag. Don’t be snippy. BE JOY.

2.  Communication is ALWAYS the right decision.

I always say, “When in doubt, talk it out.” Don’t hold anything in. Don’t bottle things up or tuck it away.  If something is bothering you, communicate that. Right then and there. Communication will never be the wrong choice. This is something that couples can always work on, but something we’ve gotten a lot better about, especially in our second year of marriage.

Communication isn’t always about conflict. Sometimes we think something positive, but don’t bother expressing it out loud. Your spouse did the dishes. Thank them. You liked how they stood up for you. Tell them. They look nice in that new outfit. Compliment them.

Communicate if you’re stressed about something, even if it has nothing to do with your spouse. Because, honestly, if you’re stressed, and your spouse doesn’t know you are, they won’t be able to help you, encourage you, and pray for you/with you.

Most importantly, communication is most effective when done with love and respect. Kindness and patience. Openness and good intent.


~ 2 Things Billy’s Learned~

Hey guys, Billy here! So this is what it feels like to write for a blog, ay? I have to be honest, I’m experiencing a little bit of stage fright, being this is my first time writing on here. Is that a thing?-“Writer’s stage fright”? Because, you know, I’m not exactly standing on a stage. I’m probably just getting worked up for nothing…

Is it hot in here?

Anyways, Julia asked if I would contribute some thoughts to this post. And after a few “Yeah, maybe tomorrow” replies, and a couple “But, babe, I don’t know how to write” excuses, here I am.

1. Be the ultimate team.

Julia and I do virtually everything together.

*Deep inhale.*

We shop together. Do chores together. Brush our teeth together. Go to appointments together. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Read together. Travel together. Sit silently together. Dream together. And when Julia needs some more makeup, you better believe we’re walking through Sephora together.

Julia and I have been living this way since the beginning of our marriage. I’m not trying to brag about it, but we somehow kept it up for so long that it became habitual. I’ve found that, instead of tiring us out from each other, this has really helped draw us closer to each other. Investing this time in my wife has brought about so many fun moments and conversations that would not have occurred otherwise.

I’m not implying that couples need to spend every waking hour with each other for everything they do. But couples should certainly invest plenty of time in each other.

Be a team.

Tackle the daily chores together. Budget your monthly expenses together. Pray together. Work together. Enjoy accomplishing as many things in life together as you can.

No earthly relationship you have in this world will ever be as strong, driven, intimate, and meaningful as the relationship you have with your spouse. You are literally one living body.

Gen. 2:24; “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

How can you find a better teammate than that?

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2. Be the ultimate teammate.

As our spouse’s teammate we should be doing everything we can to encourage, support, inspire, and uplift our spouse in everything they do.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Especially when you don’t agree with what your spouse is doing. Those situations will require prayer and seeking God’s direction. But for the day-to-day things, there’s no reason why we cannot lend our support.

For me, I love bringing joy to my wife. And I love seeing her happy.

When Julia first had the idea to really tackle this blogging thing, I stood right beside her and cheered her on. I still do. I want to see her pursue a meaningful hobby that brings joy to her and others, and brings glory to God. Honestly, it was hard not to support her.

Of course, I have my shortcomings. I’m not perfect. But I’ve learned to seek out these opportunities where I can encourage, support, inspire, and uplift my wife.

This has had a big impact in how I approach my role as the spiritual leader of our household. That sounds so epic doesn’t it?

“I am the spiritual leader of my household!”

But if you’re a husband, that’s exactly who you are. God calls us to lead our wife and family by the instruction of The Word.

I would recommend giving Ephesians 5:21-33 a quick read for reference.

By seeking opportunities to support and encourage my wife, I am in turn seeking opportunities to lead her along God’s will for the dreams and pursuits that come her way.

……………….

It’s Julia again! Thank you for reading what’s been on our hearts. We’ve prayed over this blog post for quite some time. If even just one person benefits from our marriage lessons these past two years, our prayers have been answered.

 

A Weekend in St. Augustine

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I love traveling. Tasting new food. Taking in new scenery. Exploring. Experiencing history. Making memories.

Sometimes I forget that traveling doesn’t always mean going very far.

Often, there is so much to see in your very own state. Billy and I have really been trying to take advantage of that lately. So for our 2 year anniversary trip, we drove 4 hours (although it felt longer lol) to St. Augustine, Florida.


Being the oldest city in the country, St. Augustine is rich in fascinating history. You can feel the spirit of adventure in the air. With beautiful architecture and scenic views, it’s hard to believe St. Augustine exists in the U.S. It has such a Spanish flair. I fell absolutely in love with it.


We stayed in a bed and breakfast for the very first time (pictured above). It was called Bayfront Marin House, and we loved it. In fact, I wouldn’t stay anywhere else in St. Augustine. The room was gorgeous, it was right on the water, the staff was friendly, and the amenities were thoughtful. We really enjoyed the complimentary cocktail hour. And the breakfast was uhmazing. 

Staying at a bed and breakfast is an entirely different experience than staying at a hotel. I found it to be much more personal. While we loved being out and about sight seeing, we were always eager to come back to the B&B and enjoy the environment.

We ate at SO many delicious restaurants! Like seriously, oh my foodness! Here’s a list of our favorites.

1. The Floridian (great casual, farm to table style restaurant) Pictured below is their cuban sandwich.


2. The Columbia (classic Spanish food, with a beautiful environment)


3. Costa Brava (middle eastern food in the gorgeous Casa Monica Hotel) We selected a few items from their tapas menu. Absolutely delicious.


I could go on for days about the food and the beautiful sights! But in efforts of not writing a novel, I’ll show you the rest of our trip through pictures.


Whenever we travel, I typically type up a schedule of where we will go throughout the day. While this is handy, I decided to not plan so much for this trip. Other than a few restaurant reservations, we just kind of walked and saw where the day took us. It was so relaxing. We really wanted to focus on making this trip more about resting and not being on a schedule. We ate and we looked at stuff. Pretty stuff (We really enjoyed the Lightner Museum). And it was perfect. It was nice to just take some time to soak up the history of St. Augustine, and not feel rushed to get to our next stop. It made for a very special trip. A trip filled with laughter and just enjoying each other. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate 2 years of marriage.

A Weekend in New York City


It doesn’t take long. Falling in love with New York City happens quickly and unexpectedly. Amidst the chaos, you simply cannot help yourself. Somewhere between dodging people in Times Square and shopping on 5th Avenue, you’ll find that it’s too late. You’ve fallen for the city, and there’s no going back now. 🗽

Maybe it’s the old buildings and ornate architecture. Perhaps it’s all the local eateries and coffee shops. It could be all the sounds and bright lights. Or, possibly it’s the countless buildings that have you always looking up into the clouds. I can’t tell you what my favorite thing is about New York, but I can tell you that it was an amazing experience–an experience that everyone should have in their life. At least once.

My husband and I spent 4 days in New York City for our one year anniversary! (I’ve officially been “The Young Wife” for a year as of March 15!) While 4 days is hardly long enough to even make a dent in the city, we got to see quite a bit in our short stay.

In today’s blog post, I’d like to share with you our weekend in New York. ❤️

~Our Hotel: Eventi~

I can’t say enough wonderful things about our hotel: Eventi.  It was a very “hipster”, trendy, stylish boutique hotel. The staff was very friendly and conversational. We had a corner room with an amazing view of the Empire State Building. Floor to ceiling windows.  When we retired to our room for the night, we loved opening the giant windows and letting in the cool air and the city sounds. It was peaceful amidst its chaotic hustle.

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~The view from our room at night~

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Waking up, feeling like a princess. Major heart eyes over that natural light!

~New York Eats~

I am all about eating local. New York is all about eating local. I’d say it’s a match made in heaven. 😉 The pictures above are from brunch at our hotel at “The Vine” So delicious.

The pictures above are from our pre-broadway dinner at our hotel at the restaurant L’Amico. Amazing food, lovely interior design, and open kitchen. Highly recommend. Oh, and that New York pizza–its worth all the hype. The one we had was topped with soppressata. An Italian WIN!

Ahhhh, Beecher’s. Take me back. This place was recommended by my cousin, who used to live in New York. They make their cheese on site, and you can watch them prepare it! The cellar is where the restaurant is. The most delicious mac n’cheese I’ve ever had. This one is so worth trying if you’re ever in New York!

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 Serendipity 3. I absolutely love the classic rom-com, Serendipity.  This restaurant is from the movie, and known for their famous frozen hot chocolate.  A little hole in the wall, this place was a blast and absolutely worth it. The chicken salad sandwich was awesome, as was the BLT. We would totally visit again.

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Of course, you can’t go to New York without getting a hotdog! Great way to grab a bite to eat on the go. Very fun!

~The Sights~

This was my favorite trip so far. Such a special way to celebrate a year with my hubby! I think it’s rather safe to say, we have the travel bug. In fact, we booked our next adventure for September: St. Lucia. Love soaking up every blissful moment with my adventure buddy. The Lord is so good.

Now, go book your flight to your next adventure! It’s a big beautiful world, this place God created! Go see it ✈️⚓️⛰

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Be sure to follow me on Instagram for daily posts, and “like” my Facebook Page, for more content.

Coming soon: Video Blogs, AKA “Vlogs” in the blogging world. I gotta get with the lingo 😉

p.p.s.

Dressing New York (On a Budget)  and How to Pack for New York City in a Carryon go really well with this blog post. And green tea. With a scone. And a blanket.

You’re welcome.