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Sullivan's Island & Mount Pleasant

When planning our spring break trip, Emily and I decided that we wanted to make an effort to see more than just historic downtown Charleston. So, we decided to explore the surrounding neighborhoods of Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island. We also headed north to explore a couple historic plantations, but more on that next week.

Sullivan's Island and Mount Pleasant are idyllic places that look more like a movie set than real life. In fact, much of The Notebook was filmed in these two locations. Everywhere we turned we felt like we were in a Nicolas Sparks novel.

We started our morning on Sullivan's Island. As west-coast Floridians, we are accustomed to sunsets at the beach, but this was the chance to appreciate a sunrise. Unfortunately, our ambitious plans were thwarted by the time change and a crazy cold snap. We still arrived early, but had to endure freezing temps. No seriously, it was 32 degrees! Neither of us had packed appropriately. Emily was walking around in a sundress and sandals. I had at least packed this adorable yellow ruffle sweater and sailor jeans (size down in these jeans, they stretch a ton). I could see the jealously in Emily's eyes in between shivers!

ruffle sweater // sailor jeans // J.McLaughlin bag (available in store, and similar here) // wedges

We only lasted about an hour on the beach before we ran back to the car and headed towards Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant was definitely my favorite area (technically it is a town). It is beyond cute and charming. We strolled the picture perfect neighborhood, picking which picket-fenced, pastel house we wanted before heading to the main street for a little boutique shopping and coffee.

After such a picturesque morning, Emily and I headed back towards Charleston to meet our fabulous friends Louis and English for lunch at The Park Cafe (you can check out all of the fabulous places we ate here). After lunch we returned to historic downtown Charleston, since there is so much to see and do there. But, I am happy we took the time to see some of the gorgeous surrounding areas.


Ashley B
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Charming Charleston

Y'all, I am completely charmed by Charleston. Every step I took and every corner I turned I was stopped in my tracks and struck by the city's beauty, history, and charm. The only other city that stops me in my tracks like this is Paris. I know it seems like a weird comparison, but Charleston reminded me of Paris in many ways. Very few cities are so consistently beautiful and aesthetically pleasing.

Originally settled in 1562 (by a Frenchman) and then resettled in 1670 (by the English), Charles Town (as it was then known) is one of the oldest and most important cities in American history. Not only was it the first successful English city in the south, it was the fourth largest colonial city, not to mention the wealthiest. Needless to say, American history is alive and well in Charleston. Furthermore, despite being the birthplace of secessionism, Charleston (along with Savanah and New Orleans) was one of the few southern cities that was not burned by General Sherman. So the city not only offers interesting colonial history, but a rare glimpse into the antebellum south.

Last minute, Emily and I decided to head to Charleston for spring break. Neither of us had made any real plans for our week off. With my summer abroad fast approaching and a conference in Chicago in a week and a half, I couldn't afford a big trip or anything out of the country. Since Charleston is only a 6.5 hour drive from Tampa, we decided why not?!

As it turns out, our timing was perfect. We arrived just at the beginning of Charleston Fashion week, which was super fun and also meant that there was a lot going on in the city. Weather wise we were less lucky. It was so freaking cold all week! Neither of us had really packed appropriately, so we just kind of grinned and beared it. Fortunately, with each passing day temperatures rose.

Per usual, Emily and crammed as much as we could while we were in town (so brace yourself for lots of posts and pictures), most of which centered on eating (again, per usual). It seems like everyone is visiting Charleston at the moment, and with good reason. It is a charming little city with great food and lots to see and do. I thought I would share where we ate and what we saw/did.

Where we ate:
Zero George
This place is very fancy and very conceptual. Emily's stracciatella cheese was served blown up like a balloon! While Zero George offers a unique culinary experience it is not the type of place you want to show up hungry or in a rush.

The Park Cafe
Great breakfast and brunch options. I highly recommend the avocado and egg breakfast sandwich. 

Black Tap Coffee
Three words - Iced lavender latte.

Caviar and Bananas
Delish breakfast options, great quick lunch bites, and a fancy grocer all in one.

Le Farfalle
Think southern meets Italian. I loved the buckwheat pasta calcio e pepe.

Adorable bakery just off Canon.

Definitely the place to go if your looking for some comfort food.

Another great option for southern cuisine.

The Darling Oyster Bar
I think the name says it all.

The Ordinary
A great spot for drinks.

Rue de Jean
A cute but unassuming French place for when you're tired of soul food.

Poogan's Porch
Amazing weekend brunch! The mascarpone and raspberry french toast is life affirming.

What we did/saw:
Rainbow Row
A must see row of candy colored house that has become the unofficial symbol of Charleston (the pineapple is the official symbol).

The Mills House
A historic pink hotel, need I say more?

Shopping on King Street and Canon Street

The Market
The historic town market is alive and well. It offers an eclectic mix of food, souvenirs, and crafts.

Pineapple Fountain and Waterfront
Gorgeous waterfront park and from here you can walk to the battery and gawk at the stunning historic homes.

Milford Place (Plantation)
Stunning grounds and gardens (and plenty of adorable farm animals), but offers a sterile more white-washed history (but more on this later). 

McLeod Plantation
Smaller plantation than Milford, but gives a fascinating account of slavery and plantation economies.

Mount Pleasant
Absolutely gorgeous neighborhood that is well worth a stroll.

Sullivan's Island
Beautiful beach area.

I wish we had even more time in Charleston, because I am sure there is so much more to see and do. One thing is for sure, I cannot wait to return to Charleston! Please share your favorite sights and restaurants below.


Ashley B
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15 Most Instagram-able Spots in NYC

Hey y'all (can you tell I am in Charleston?), apologies for the lack of a blog post Friday. I had hoped to get this post up then, but frankly, I was having too much fun in Charleston. I finally, however, forced myself to put down the biscuits and pralines and get some blogging and photo editing done (Charleston pics coming soon)!

I am very excited to share this post. Sure, there are lots of posts out there on Instagram-able spots in NYC, but everyone's aesthetic is different and I love seeing what people think are the most photogenic spots. Not surprisingly, my picks tend to be pink and more soft and romantic than industrial. It is amazing how the same city can be interpreted in so many ways.

Gay Street

Sweets by Chloe

Pietro Nolita

While We Were Young


Top of the Rock

Central Park Bow Bridge

15 Most Instagram-able Spots in NYC:
1. Top of the Rock
2. Pietro Nolita
3. While We Were Young
4. Gay Street
5. Central Park Bow Bridge
6. The Met (Steps and the Temple of Dendur)
7. Brooklyn Bridge
8. Dumbo
9. Two Hands
10. Café Henry
11. Sweets by Chloe
12. do (pronounced dough)
13. Colorful Townhouses on Macdougal St.
14. Washington Square Park
15. Cha Cha Matcha

Ok, now it is your turn. What are your most favorite spots to Instagram in NYC?
Ashley B
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What's Old is New

We all do it. We stand in front of our closet full of clothes and proclaim, "I have nothing to wear."

Obviously, we have something to wear. What we are really saying is that we have nothing new or exciting to wear.

I am particularly bad about this. In a world of fast-pace and disposable fashion, I often lose interest in clothing items I once loved and couldn't live without. I find myself always searching for the next best thing rather than appreciating and styling what I have.

In an effort to control my consumerism, I have developed a love of pattern play. Mixing prints and patterns in new and interesting ways breathes new life into my older clothing items and transforms pieces I was once bored with into new and exciting looks.

Take for example this look. I purchased this skirt in Paris last summer. At the time I loved it, you might even say I was obsessed. And I wore it a ton. But last week as I was giving my closet a little spring cleaning, I stumbled on this skirt and realized I had not worn it in months. Sadly, I was already bored with it. I felt like I had worn it in every possible way -- with the matching top, a leather jacket, and a white blouse. But, I was determined to breath new life into my once-favorite skirt. So, I turned to my usual trick - mixing prints and playing with patterns (you can read more about how to mix prints and patterns here).

I rediscovered this floral print Juicy Couture (that should give you an idea of how old it is lol) silk top in the back of my closet. The colors worked perfectly together and I could not wait to wear my new look in NYC. The end result is a fabulous, fun, and new look... without purchasing anything!

So, the next time you stand in front of your closet, with nothing to wear, challenge yourself to start mixing your old pieces in new and excited ways.


Ashley B
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A Day in the Hyde Park Village

Last week I basically had the best day ever! You all know how much I love the Hyde Park Village, so when they asked me to partner with them to create my perfect day in the Village, I jumped at the chance. I had no idea that when I submitted my dream day, they would make all of it happen!

Here is the thing about the Hyde Park Village it is the perfect blend of small, local boutiques and large, well-known brands. Throw in amazing dining, luxurious beauty retailers, and a gorgeous outdoor space and you could easily craft the perfect day on your own, with your girlfriends, or a significant other.

Naturally, I began my perfect day in the Village at Buddy Brew Coffee. If you aren't familiar with Buddy Brew, it is a local specialty coffee roaster with something of a cult following in Tampa. Not only is the coffee amazing, they have established four hip and modern Tampa locations (Oxford Exchange, the flagship on Kennedy, a recently-opened airport location, and, of course, in the Hyde Park Village). There are three things I have come to expect from Buddy Brew -- excellent coffee, great design and aesthetic, and the friendliest people. Their motto after all is "brew good, do good."

Once caffeinated, I headed over to the Aveda salon for a blow out. Becuase my perfect day definitely does not include doing my own hair! After a luxurious blow out, I checked out the new arrivals at Anthropologie before meeting up with Kelly for lunch at On Swann. Remember when I said the Village has amazing dining options? Well, the latest edition, On Swann, does not disappoint. I love the Mediterranean charcuterie and shaved brussel sprout salad. And when I am feeling naughty, I indulge in the prosciutto, fig, and fontina grilled cheese with truffle fries. Other great dining options in the Village include: Goody Goody, bartaco, the Wine Exchange, Timpanos, and Piquant.

After stuffing our faces, Kelly and I headed over to bluemercury for makeovers! I must admit that I was not familiar with bluemercury before my day in the Village. But now, I am a total convert. Think of it like an upscale, less crazy and overwhelming Sephora. The service and the samples are amazing. I am still mad that they sent me home with La Mer eye cream samples, because now my eyes know exactly what they have been missing! My session included a skin consultation (they also offer skin treatments and facials) and make up application. I found so many fabulous new products for spring, which I promise to share soon.

Looking fab, Kelly and I had our sights set on some shopping. We started with two adorable local boutiques, Juxtapose and Scout and Molly's. I found this Chloe-esque orange crossbody at Juxtapose and this perfect-for-spring dress at Scout and Molly's. I also discovered the unimaginable at Scout and Molly's -- boyfriend jeans that are actually flattering! I know, it was a big day. We also hit up lululemon, Kendra Scott, the Paper Source, and J.McLaughlin before ending our day on a sweet note at Sprinkles. I told you it was the perfect day.

I love living so close to such a community driven space. Whether it is the weekend farmer's market, out door movie on the grass, or Friday's at the fountain, there is always something fun going on at the Hyde Park Village. You will basically find me there at least three times a week!

If you're not local, make sure you don't miss the Hyde Park Village on your next visit to Tampa (and you can see all of my local favorites here)!


A very special thanks to the Hyde Park Village for sponsoring this post and generally being amazing people to work with!

Ashley B
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Top of the Rock

No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the Top of the Rock. Hands down, it is the best view of the city. And if you are willing to get an early start, the light is stunning!

Emily and I got up before dawn my last morning in the city so we could be the first to the top. Crazy, but as you can see, totally worth it. To avoid waiting in line, be sure to pre-book online and download the ticket on your phone. This will let you bypass the crowds and head straight to the top.

Although the Empire State Building is far more iconic, you can't see the Empire State Building from the top of the Empire State Building! This is why I prefer the view from the Top of the Rock. It is like in Paris, the view from the Eiffel Tower is my least favorite.

After several unseasonably-warm days, the temperature plummeted and it was a very chilly morning. I bundled up in my J.Crew Oxford check coat and my favorite gray beret. Underneath, I wore this gorgeous floral Club Monaco dress that just happen to have the same color palette as my coat. Keeping in the neutral gray, black, and beige theme that had developed, I completed the look with some pearly statement pieces.

As sad as I was to leave NYC and Emily, we are headed to colorful Charleston for Spring Break, I cannot wait!

What is your favorite NYC view?


Ashley B
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