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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Bringing Back Print…With Artifact Uprising


Photographs. Real, tangible photographs. The kind that can send you straight back to another time, another place, another era…with just one touch.

I remember going over to my Nonna and Nonno’s house as a child and spending hours looking through boxes of photos. My tiny fingers perused the photos with admiration. Their adventures in Italy made me dream. Their stories of moving to the United States fascinated me. Pictures of my mom and aunt growing up warmed my heart. (And made me laugh.)

It’s amazing how a simple photo can freeze a moment.

We live in the era of smartphones. We are taking pictures constantly, and with ease. Which is awesome. And yet, we are seldom printing these photos. They are at the mercy of our camera rolls. Lost in infinite scrolling.

This is honestly heartbreaking. There is a rather large chunk of my life that I have little to no tangible photos. If I had continued down this path, I would have very little to show for my kids one day.

Unfortunately, there’s something so utterly unappealing about drug store prints. The quality is rubbish and this takes away from the art of the photo. And I think this is why people don’t bother printing their photos anymore. Because the quality is so low. I was taking beautiful photos, yet I had no beautiful way of bringing them to life.

Then one day, I was introduced to Artifact Uprising.


Beautiful, thick prints. Matte finish. With an eggshell texture. A classic white border. Rich color. Timeless and quality. From the moment I held an Artifact Uprising photo in my hands, I was hooked. And a new habit was formed: ordering prints.

I think all it really takes is seeing these photos in person for yourself. My husband has a few prints on display on his desk at work. His coworkers were instantly intrigued, and one of them even ordered some for himself. That’s the power of displaying the everyday.

Bringing back print is something I am quite passionate about. Getting a box of Artifact Uprising prints in the mail is a little like Christmas. They come housed in a lovely box that allows you to label the collection. I am now in the regular habit of getting my pictures off of my camera roll and into my home.


My heart beats so greatly for the #bringbackprint movement, that I’d like for you to experience these divine keepsakes for yourself. Now through October 9, 2017, you can use my code JULIA10 to receive 10 free everyday prints, any size, excluding shipping. Everyone is a winner with this one! Get started HERE.

If you choose to order your ten free prints, please reach out to me and tell me how you love them! It would certainly make my day!

Remember the soccer game. The anniversary trip. The late night icecream run. The selfie you took by that funny looking statue. Get it all off your phone and IRL. ✌🏼

I hope I’ve inspired you to bring your Instagram feed to life. To display the everyday. To #bringbackprint

*This post is in collaboration with Artifact Uprising.


My Road Trip Tips

Ahhh road trips. There’s something about them. Perhaps it’s the slight adventurous edge they have. Or maybe it’s the old fashioned simplicity of being on the road for awhile. The slow change of the scenery. The unexpected memories that are made.

I’m no travel guru. However, over the past few years I’ve come up with some road trip habits that have made traveling so much easier. It being summertime and all,  I thought I’d share them with you! Buckle up-let’s go!

1. Have dinner ready for when you get back.

This can go for any trip you take, but always have a meal in your freezer that you can heat up when you get home. There’s nothing worse than having been in a car for 10 hours and having to figure out what to eat when you get home. I just love knowing that a frozen pizza is waiting for us, no matter how late we get back home.

2. Healthy Food Stops

There’s nothing worse than eating a bunch of greasy fries and sitting in a car all day. Eating healthy is important everyday, but especially on the road. We love a light sandwich/sub on the road. Either pack some in a cooler (Time saver! Hello, rest stop!) or stop by Publix or Jersey Mike’s for a refreshing sub.  If you want to save on time, figure out which Publix you will be near around lunch time, and order your subs online! They’ll be ready for you the second you arrive. Yesssss.

3. Stay comfortable.

By this I mean, wear stretchy material and breathable clothing, pack blankets and pillows, and whatever else keeps you feeling at ease on the road! Since I’m typically the passenger on road trips (thanks, babe!), I love to pack a sleep mask. It helps block the sunlight so I can get some decent beauty rest! Hehe

4. Pack lots of healthy snacks

Making sure you are well stocked on snacks is an easy way to save time. No need to stop for some eats. Here’s a list of my go to snacks on the road that keep me refreshed and full:

  • Apples (My all time favorite road trip snack!)
  • Homemade popcorn (recipe here)
  • Bananas (keep you full)
  • Grapes
  • Granola bars
  • Raisinets (for a little chocolate fix)
  • Hawaiian Rolls
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter

5. Stay hydrated!

We all love a nice hot cup of joe on a road trip, but coffee can dehydrate you. Make sure you drink plenty of water too! Billy and I love our Swell bottles. They keep our water so cold for up to 24 hours! A road trip must! #refreshing

6. Keep your car well stocked.

Make sure you have everything you may possibly need! Umbrellas. Car phone charger. A portable phone charger. Trash bags. Paper towels. Tylenol. Pepto-Bismol. Tums. Motion sickness medicine. (To help you during the packing process, check out my travel pack-list here!)

7. Leave your house clean for when you return.

Billy and I just returned from Georgia, and let me tell you–coming home to a clean space is well worth it! Our bed was made. Everything was tidy. It makes the return home much more peaceful.

Thanks for reading! I hope you find these tips helpful and enlightening! Where are you headed on your next road trip?

My Travel Pack-List


My husband and I love traveling. Whether near or far, a little getaway does the soul so much good. 

As much as I love to travel, packing always puts a damper on my pre-travel buzz.

“BABE, I almost forgot to pack my phone charger. Again.” A reacurring statement in the Brown Abode.

That’s why I’ve come up with some ways to make packing easier, quicker, and less stressful. Because who wants to be stressed before a vacation?!

I started keeping a small packing list on a scrap of paper that I would pull out each time I travel. It contains an all inclusive list of everything I need. Just recently, I decided to create a printable pack-list I could print each time I venture to a new place. SO HANDY.

With all that said, I am giving you my free travel pack-list printable! This list is geared towards women, and you can add other specific items on the blank spaces provided. This allows you to personally tailor your list for what you will need in a specific destination. For example, if you’re going skiing, you may want to write in “snow boots.” This list is a general list of what you might need.

Click below to print your copy! (Or maybe a few. 😉)

Travel Pack-List Printable

Where are you traveling to next? Comment below and tell me how you like the printable!

Happy Travels,

Julia

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 ✈️⚓️⛰

p.s.

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.

 

Dressing New York (On a Budget) 

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When I was planning our trip to New York, part of that planning consisted of what to wear. I know, I know. I’m such a girl. 😉

New York is all about the fashion. I didn’t want to look like a tourist, yet I wanted to be comfortable and warm. I was happy with the wardrobe I put together, and someone even asked us if we lived in New York! I guess we passed as New Yorkers?! I’ll take it.

Choosing what to wear was hard because it’s technically spring, but still really cold in New York. I didn’t want to look like a cold winter’s day, but I wanted to dress warm. I am all Florida girl. That’s for sure.

Furthermore, I decided to implement a lot of light colors and pastels to achieve a springtime look. I packed blush, mint, and cream sweaters with light colored scarves.  I also packed white pants and a light grey coat.  This way I didn’t look too dark or festive.

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About that light grey coat.  All of my warm peacoats are very dark. I have a red coat and a black coat.  Both looked far too wintery for my liking.  Therefore, I started an online hunt for a lighter New York coat.  Thankfully, almost every store at the time was putting all of their winter coats on sale.  I came across the grey wool coat pictured below.  It was only $39 and the quality was really great! Warm and fully lined. I love the classic look of it! If you’re interested, my oversized coat is still on sale here.

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Another challenge I came across was finding a formal outfit for the broadway that I wouldn’t freeze in. The idea of a jumpsuit hit me! So that’s when the online hunt for a jumpsuit began! I came across a sleek and classy one online at H&M on sale for only $25.  It fit great, was made well, and once I had it hemmed, it was perfect! Although it’s no longer available for purchase, I found a similar one here. Happy shopping!

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It is not uncommon for New York to rain rather often.  Come equipped with an umbrella and rain boots. I purchased my Hunters back in October. If you’re looking for some classy rain boots, look no further. I absolutely love my Hunters. (Side note: While I can survive an 8 hour work day wearing these boots, they did give me blisters the first day we were in New York.  However, we did walk about 6 miles that day! Literally! So I guess you could say, these boots aren’t made for (excessive) walking! haha.)

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Solid white tennis shoes are super in right now.  I’ve been wanting a pair of white converse for awhile, but it just wasn’t in the budget with all the expenses a trip to New York entails. So, I got the look for less. You can purchase a similar pair to mine here. They are super comfy. Although, they would’ve felt comfier had I not had a million blisters. Ugh. I limped a majority of the trip. Oh well, we still had a blast!

Other Details: My jeans are Abercrombie and Fitch and my purse is Ralph Lauren.

Coming soon: I’ll share what we did, our favorite eateries, our first time broadway experience, and much, much more! If you haven’t already, check out my post How to Pack for New York City in a Carryon . It is my most read post to date! 😀

Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for (almost) daily pictures 😉 and like my page on Facebook! I’d love to connect with you all!

Happy weekend!