R and R Travel Guide to Charleston: Southern Charm in the Low Country

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Guide to Charleston

Southern Charm in the Low Country

I recently had to do some traveling for work, and was sent off to the lovely Charleston, South Carolina. My cousin got married in Charleston when I was in college. I hadn’t been back since; so, I’m so glad that I got this opportunity. I was there for three weeks (God, I missed Pepper), so, I tried to make the very best of it. Since my employer provided meals, I only really dined out on the weekends. I have no idea how I was able to complete everything on this list but I did. Charleston is not only gorgeous, but it is a food haven. If you’re watching your weight or dieting, this is not the place for you. As a daughter of a Georgia born and Florida raised man, I’m pretty accustomed to coastal seafood and soul food recipes. What makes Charleston so great and different from all of the rest, is truly its charm. It may sound cliché, but you’re immersed in it.

What fascinates me about the city is their dedication to preserving as much architecture and aesthetic of the pre-Civil War era as possible. When I walked the streets of downtown, I was in awe of the different architectural styles of the homes, dependent upon the year it was built. Walking down King Street, south of Broad Street, you’re surrounded by single family “carriage houses,” where the double porches were designed to face the side of the house to allow more airflow from the winds blowing from the harbor. Even when I would enter some restaurants, the interior designer would make it a point to incorporate traditional style with coastal elements, paying homage to Charleston’s harbor and the history of shipping merchants.

Here is a full list of where I stayed, ate and found things to do during my three week work trip.

Where to Stay

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French Quarter

I loved staying at the Elliott House Inn. Built in 1861 as a private residence, this charming bed and breakfast has 26 hotel rooms, fully renovated. The gorgeous coral B&B is located at 78 Queen Street, next door to the treasured 82 Queen Street, which offers room service. The inn sits at the intersection of Queen Street and King Street, near dozens of antique shops. Full disclosure: the antique stores in Charleston are significantly expensive.

Where to Eat

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Downtown Charleston

The Palmetto Cafe was by far the best meal I had in all of Charleston. Located in the Belmond Hotel at Charleston Place, the cafe offers a delicious brunch on the weekends. The brunch buffet is $31 each, with traditional menu items. I opted for the Seafood Club, which consisted of lobster, shrimp, applewood bacon, smoked salmon and tomato. The bread was perfectly toasted and buttered, probably with one of their house made butters. I paired this amazing sandwich with a mimosa and found my happy place. The lover of home design was also obsessed with architectural design, with plantation shutters all around and a gorgeous mirror wall. The menu is pricey but the food and experience were worth every penny. If you’re going to have lunch anywhere, have it here.

 
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Historic French Quarter

Poogan’s Porch is a true Charleston style restaurant, offering everyone’s favorite brunch option, shrimp ‘n grits. The restaurant is located in a Queen Anne style single family home, initially built in 1891. The home was converted to a restaurant in 1976. According to their website, the restaurant was named after the neighborhood dog, Poogan, who previously belonged to the last residential owners, who chose to leave him behind. Although he roamed up and down Queen Street, this porch was his favorite place to lay his head. The owner of the new restaurant named the establishment after him. I love their story! In terms of the shrimp n grits, I gave it a B+, as I tasted a few other Charleston style shrimp ‘n grits, and Poogan’s seemed a little runny that morning, and wasn’t as flavorful as expected.

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Historic French Quarter

82 Queen, located right next door to The Elliott House Inn, is your go-to Lowcountry bistro. I had initially planned on dining at another restaurant, but the weather had other plans, with a torrential hurricane like downpour. So, I opted to stay close and dine next door. So glad that I did! I ordered the Crispy Roasted Duck over toasted pecan rice pilaf in a raspberry orange glaze. It paired very well with their Muddled Creek cocktail item, which consisted of bourbon, orange slices, orange liquer and a splash of ginger ale.

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Downtown

Prohibition is one of those places, that if you ever come back to a city, you’d make it a point to visit there each time. Quite honestly, I need a Prohibition in Baltimore, D.C. or Orlando, because it was the ultimate food, drink and cool jazz combination. I went to the restaurant on a late afternoon, enjoying tapas until the jazz band came out later that evening. Reasonably priced, you can enjoy several shareables with friends, with live jazz in the background.

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Folly Beach

Gillie’s Seafood and Soul Food is your mom and pop shop, that no one tells you about unless you’re a local and true foodie. My brother found this place and couldn’t stop bragging about his locating skills. LOL. It was delicious! I got the catfish and shrimp over grits, with their special sauce that has a little kick to it — but not too spicey. If you go on a Sunday, just know it does get a little crowded with the after church crowd. The menu prices are very reasonable and the food is truly flavorful.

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The Battery

Pearlz Oyster Bar is near the Battery district. Known for their raw oysters and cocktails, this place is typically crowded during their daily 4-7pm happy hour. The Charleston location is very small, considering it is located on the first floor of a former Charleston carriage house. Thus, seating is tight and you will likely have a wait. I tried the fried oyster slider, which was amazing.

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Park Circle

Park Circle Creamery is an adorable ice cream parlor in a small suburb of Charleston. Park Circle has a little downtown area with eateries, a wine bar and a yoga studio. After you’re done having a yummy flatbread pizza at EVO Pizzeria, walk across the street to the creamery and order one of their homemade items. I’m slightly obsessed with their banana pudding, peach pie (cobbler) and Mexican vanilla flavors.

 

What To Do

Shopping

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Historic French Quarter

The Historic Charleston City Market first opened in 1804. The marketplace offers numerous vendors with a variety of crafts and goods. Most tourists check out the market in search of souvenirs, usually after sweetgrass baskets, where a basket the size of your palm will set you back $100.00. Since I had visited the Gibbs Museum and fell in love with Jonathan Greene’s Corene, I opted to purchase a framed giclee print of this painting, which was also signed by the local Charleston artist. #SCORE.

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King Street Antiquing

Historic French Quarter

If you’re like me and love antiques, and your options of gorgeous chinoiserie ginger jars, then walking up King Street is the place you’ll want to be. There were several antique shops on King. Full disclosure: antique stores in Charleston are immensely overpriced comparatively to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Shop at your own risk.

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Historic French Quarter

Book lovers should be sure to stop by Buxton Books, an independently owned bookstore on King Street. This adorable spot features tons of local authors and books on the low country.

 

Architectural Walking Tour

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South of Broad Homes

South of Broad

When you’re done shopping on King Street, continue on King, walking south of Broad Street, towards the Charleston harbor. While walking on King, south of Broad, you’ll find your variety of Charleston homes in all architectural designs beginning from Georgian homes built in the 1700s, to single family “carriage houses,” with piazzas or porches on the side of the homes. Enjoy the many pastel homes covered in ivy, with amazing front door envy. Best part: this costs nothing except the camera in your hand! For more information on the many historical architectural styles in Charleston, click here.

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Rainbow Row

The Battery

When I got to Rainbow Row, it seemed like every one had a professional photographer in hand and was having a photoshoot in front of the pastel homes. It’s a very popular location to check out homes. Street parking is available.

 

Museums and Other Must See’s

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Anson Borough Homes

During my stay, the city hosted their annual First Day Festival, where they encourage families to come together to receive school supplies, find school support resources, and enjoy live entertainment. On the day of the festival, held every year in August, admission to the South Carolina Aquarium is free. I’m not one for crowded places with hundreds of children (my inner introverted self was screaming), but it was free so I definitely was not going to pass up the offer. The aquarium is nice place, if you’re traveling with small children, as they have dozens of animals and exhibits. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the aquarium is not that large and will cost adults $30 each.

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Historic French Quarter

You cannot leave Charleston without visiting one of their many art museums. Charleston is an artsy city with almost as many art galleries as they have churches. With that being said, check out Gibbs Museum of Art, a short distance from the Elliott House Inn. It’s only $12 to get in; and if you’re frugal and remember to buy your ticket online before you get there (unlike myself), you can get up to $2 off your ticket purchase price. I recently was able to catch their exhibit, Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem. Gibbs Museum received various artworks from African American artists, on loan from the Studio Museum in Harlem, with art as far back as 1930 to present.

Charleston has several house museums, where descendants of former slave owners have maintained and retained their family properties. The Edmonston - Alston home, which overlooks the Charleston Harbor, was originally built in 1825 for shipping merchant Charles Edmondston and his large family. The home has both features of the “carriage house,” with three piazzas appropriately located on the side of the home to allow airflow; but, was built to reflect English regency style architectural design with influences from Greece and Rome. Edmondston eventually filed bankruptcy and sold the property to Charles Alston. The property was maintained by their two house slaves, George and Warley. When the Alston family returned to their home after the Civil War, the house was occupied by members of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Charles Alston had to request (and receive) a pardon from President Andrew Johnson to obtain the return of his property. Since then, the home is one of many family properties of former slaveowners in Charleston, where the homes are passed down via family wills, to the oldest family heir (the homes are not left to widows or widowers as the Alston-Middleton-Smith families only pass down the properties to descendants to keep the properties in the family names).

There were two amazing things about this property: the slaveowners kept a log of slaves and have actual diaries of the slaves’ names, years they were born and years they were baptized. However, the books are badly worn due to their age. Secondly, I couldn’t believe the craftsmanship by slaves that built the property’s library, fireplace mantles and door frames. Since Edmonston was a shipping merchant, it is believed that he had the slaves carve roping like features into the wood to replicate boat rope.

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Northwest Charleston

Magnolia Plantation was established in 1676 by Thomas and Ann Drayton, two English colonizers who resettled in the lowcountry swampland along the Ashley River. The Draytons cultivated the land for rice and purchased slaves from Charleston’s “Old Slave Mart,” the oldest slave port in America, to grow the plantation. The Drayton family continued to pass the plantation down to male descendants over the years, including Thomas’ great great grandson, John Drayton, who owned and maintained the property during the Civil War. The Draytons had 41 slaves at one time, cultivating the rice fields. According to the tour guides on the property, only 45% of Black males were expected to reach the age of 20 years old, due to the strenuous and life threatening conditions working as a slave on a rice field. After the South lost the Civil War, Drayton offered the now freed slaves paid work to assist him in the planting and maintenance of his garden. Many slaves stayed and agreed to work, and Magnolia Gardens opened for public viewing in 1870. The property, now reduced to approximately 500 acres due to previous sales, offers $20 general admissions, and additional $8 tours for their gardens, antebellum home, slave quarters, rice fields, swamp garden and nature tram.

I only participated in viewing the main gardens (general admission), the mansion and slave quarters, costing approximately $36. I arrived early (8:30 am), did the house tour and slave quarters tour immediately (finished by 11:30 a.m.), and then toured all of the gardens until 2:00 p.m. I highly recommend wearing sneakers, hat, sunglasses, and BUG SPRAY. I didn’t realize that the actual property was in the swamp. I swatted mosquito, that had clung to me so well, that when I finally realized I was being bitten and killed him, I was covered in blood all over my hand. (GROSS!) If you remember anything, remember bug spray.

 
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Saint Phillip’s Cemetery

Historic French Quarter

The historic cemetery sits across the street from Saint Phillip’s Episcopal Church. The cemetery has graves dating back pre-Civil War, including the seventh president, John C. Calhoun, a South Carolina native.

 

Parks and Beaches

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Joe Riley Waterfront Park

Historic French Quarter

This gorgeous park has views of the Charleston harbor and a nearby dog park area for your fur babies.

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White Point Garden

South of Broad - Charleston Harbor

White Point Garden is South of Broad along the harbor. There is plenty of street parking at this park and is well shaded during the hot and humid summer.

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Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island was my favorite beach because it was the least crowded. I parked near the Sullivan’s Island lighthouse, where there was free street parking. Sullivan’s Island is surrounded by beach houses and feels very private. There were dogs allowed on the beach; however, pay close attention to beach rules which address months and times dogs are permitted.

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Isle de Palms

Isle de Palms is a gorgeous beach and quite popular, as it was more crowded than Sullivan’s Island. There are beach resorts available for lodging, as well as local restaurants.

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Folly Beach

Folly Beach was the most crowded out of all three beaches that I visited. Folly Beach also features a large fisherman’s pier, and has signs on the types of fish often caught along Charleston’s beaches. I hung out on the pier one evening and was able to catch glimpses of a dolphin, but forgot to bring my zoom lens for some awesome shots (*sigh*).

 

I hope you enjoyed this ultimate travel guide to Charleston. I found myself dreaming of living there, but then came hurricane Dorian, which is hitting Florida as of the date of this post. I left Charleston with Dorian’s not-so-friendly reminder that the area is called low country for a reason. Hoping that the hurricane doesn’t put the entire city under water, as the place truly is beautiful.

On that note, prayers to all those affected by this massive storm. May you all be safe!

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Bringing the Chesapeake Indoors: Nautical Home Decor in 8 Easy Steps

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Bringing the Chesapeake Indoors

Nautical Home Decor in 8 Easy Steps

I’ve spent my entire life living on the East Coast, from Jersey down to Florida. But, Maryland is probably the closest that I’ve lived to water, in terms of mileage. Since moving to Baltimore, I noticed that Marylanders take tons of pride, living on the Chesapeake. When I went to Saint Michaels and Tilghman Island, so many homes were painted different shades of blue to replicate the Atlantic Ocean, with bright yellow, coral and red doors. Even the rooms at the Wylder Hotel and common areas, maintained the blue and white nautical theme. As time goes on and I think about the next place I liked to relocate, I know that I want to be close to water (near someone’s lake or beach), and I want to incorporate beach and nautical elements into my next home.

But how?!?

Let’s talk about which design elements can give any home a nautical vibe!

 

Step One: Blue or White Exterior

Numerous homes in Saint Michaels were painted different shades of blue, often with white trim.

Sherwin Williams offers a selection of preselected blues, whites and tans in their Northern Shores and Seaports collection. My favorite is Storm Cloud, which speaks for itself, offering a beautiful grey undertone. Another one of my favorites, Comfort Gray, is more of a sea green and both are complimented with Alabaster.

 

Step Two: Choose a Bright Colored Front Door

Another thing I loved about the homes in Saint Michaels is that so many of them painted their entry doors a bright and bold color. I suppose this made me excited given I painted my front door this past Spring in a gorgeous Benjamin Moore Dutch Tulip. For those that painted their home a neutral cool blue, generally chose a warm toned door with reds, corals or yellows.

 

But, for those that opted a cool color instead, mostly chose teal frond doors.

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Try Benjamin Moore’s Aura Grand Entrance , in a high gloss finish, to replicate these gorgeous entries.

BM Dutch Tulip | BM Coral Gables | BM Hawthorne Yellow | BM St. Lucia Teal

 

Step Three: White, Gray or Blue Interior Walls

Another mental note while checking out homes and interior studios in the local area, designers chose classic white walls, calming grays or deep navy paints.

 
 

Step Four: Woven Natural Fiber Rug

At least one of your rooms should have a woven rug, made out of natural fibers, pulling beige and tan tones of beach sand, with the roping texture of boat dock lines.

 

Step Five: White Bedding

Think classic, crisp minimalism, with simple white bedding to compliment your cool blue and natural tones.

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Step Six: A Blue Sofa

With a natural fabric woven rug, you’ll want a blue sofa as your main focal point in the living room. Dress the space up with a gorgeous painting of the Atlantic right above.

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Step Seven: Accessorize with the Ocean

Every decor store had blue and white ginger jars, rattan stools, and coral accessories. Dress up your side tables, coffee tables and mantles with the beach elements.

 

Step Eight: Maritime Lighting

Lastly, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to the lighting hardware style. I noticed that in addition to the “fisherman” wall sconces, a popular decor option was a brass gooseneck or barn style wall sconce.

 
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DIY On a Dime: Summer Nights Citronella Candle

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Summer Nights Citronella Candle

Make Your Own Luxury Candle

A few weeks ago, I attended a candle making workshop by a local candle maker and it was so much fun. I saved the instructions but had yet to actually make one. Now, Pepper and I sit outside every morning while I drink my coffee. We also sometimes sit outside when I come home from work, or on the weekends when I’m enjoying a new book. It never fails, but I am always feeling attacked by every mosquito in all of Baltimore.

Fed up, I went online searching for a citronella candle I would actually like. I enjoy using essential oils. They help me sleep and make my home smell fresh, so I’d like to think that I’m familiar with a lot of scents and what I like (or do not like). Well, every candle I found was either too boring (e.g., citronella only) or too expensive.

Of course I wanted the expensive one at Nordstrom; but who feels like paying that kind of money for an outdoor candle, that you’ll have to buy again after you’ve burned it all? Sigh. Then I stared at the ingredients for a moment and thought, well, I can totally make that. And I did….so I thought I’d share!

Now granted, collecting the tools may seem like too much money at first, and you’re better off buying the $100+ candle. Well, not really; because a $10 bag of 3lb soy wax is going to last you a few more candles for sure; and, there’s nothing wrong with having the below oils tucked away in your cabinet (I spray Eucalyptus and Lavender oils on my sheets to help me sleep). So, you’re getting much more use out of the list below than one expensive candle.

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Curating Time: 1 - 2 Days

What You’ll Need

 

Step One: Prepare Your Candle Container

Preheat your oven to 150ºF — 170ºF, or the lowest temperature setting for your oven. Heating your container ensures that the wax adheres to the glass or ceramic and will reduce sinkholes.

Step Two: Melt the Wax

Pour 1 — 2 inches of water into a medium pot or saucepan. Bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, pour wax into pouring pot and place metal pouring pot in the boiling water.

Use metal stirrer to continue mixing wax until thoroughly melted.

As you can see from the pictures further down below, I ended up using both the metal pouring pot from the candle kit, and an old measuring cup that I don’t use anymore, since all three cups of melted wax couldn’t fit into the pouring pot at the same time.

 

Step Three: Add Essential Oils

Using thermometer, check temperature of melted wax. You want the wax to reach between 170ºF and 180ºF. Once the melted wax reaches the desired temperature, add your essential oils. For the 3 cups of wax for the ceramic planter that I used, I measured the following:

  • 30 drops of Citronella

  • 10 drops of Coriander

  • 10 drops of Thyme

  • 15 drops of Eucalyptus

  • 15 drops of Peppermint

  • 10 drops of Lemon

  • 5 drops of Vetiver

Using metal stirrer again, mix fragrances into melted wax thoroughly.

Remove the wax from the boiler and continue stirring for approximately 2 — 3 minutes, stirring slowly to reduce air bubbles.

 

Step Four: Wick Your Container

Remove the container from the oven and place on an even work area or counter. Using the wick sticker from your candle making kit, secure the cotton wick to the bottom of the container.

 

Step Five: Pour the Wax Mixture

When the wax has cooled to 125ºF, slowly pour the wax into the container. Do not pour beyond the widest part of the jar (pour close to the center of the jar, where the wick is placed). Depending on the width of your container, you can use the wick holders in your candle making kit. The ceramic planter I purchased from Lowe’s was a little wide, so I used chopstics to secure the wick in place.

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Allow the candles to cool completely and trim the wick to 1/4 inch.

Because I’m extra, I also added a few lavender seed buds I had leftover from my Himalayan bath salts.

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I’m sooo happy with how it turned out. Now, every afternoon and evening, I light the candle as Pep and I sit on my front porch and i can honestly say that the bugs have stayed away.

Anything to reduce bug bites! I hope you like this fun crafty DIY project!

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My Favorite Target Finds for Fourth of July!

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My Favorite Finds for 4th of July

All Your Red, White and Blue Options at Target

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I recently did a Target run and there were still a bunch of Vineyard Vines for Target finds. I noticed that some of my favorite Target brands also had some really gorgeous Summer pieces, including Magnolia’s Hearth & Hand, Threshold and Opalhouse. Lots of rattan, rope materials, and blues giving me all the nautical vibes and wishing I had a little beach cottage. I listed all of my faves for your convenience. AND….a lot of the Vineyard Vines pieces are 30% off and some of the other brands are 5-15% off! You still have time to pick up some amazing stuff before the dinner parties and BBQs next weekend! Happy Shopping!

Dining

 

Living

 

Decor

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DIY on a Dime: Summer Floral Arrangement

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Summer Floral Arrangement

Easy Steps Using Grocery Store Flowers

It is officially summer!! I am really starting to enjoy summer in my home, thanks to my growing garden, full of Knock Out Roses, a butterfly bush, pink peonies and hydrangeas.

This past Spring, I really enjoyed creating my Spring floral bouquet. So, I wanted to create another one with even more vibrant colors. BUT!! This time, instead of heading to the Potomac Wholesale Floral, I opted to pick up a few stems at my local grocery. I was able to get all of the flowers — with the exception of the hydrangeas, which came from my garden, for a total of $22!

 
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What You’ll Need:

 

First, cut your stems to the desired length. Remove leaves to allow more room in the vase for more flowers.

 

Once the stems are cut at their desired length, group them together, placing the peonies at the center, cupped by the lilies, then the hydrangeas, and finally the veronicas and craspedias on the outer most layer.

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Finally, instead of using a flower frog, I simply tied a rubber band around the flower stems (at the base of the flowers). I decided to do this instead of using a flower frog, like I did for my Spring bouquet simply becuase the vase I am using is smaller than the one I used last season.

Place bouquet in vase and enjoy. I placed new water in the vase every 2 - 3 days. These grocery store flowers lasted two weeks! I love how they came out.

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Pet owners, please remember that lilies are poisonous to dogs and cats. So, if you have a cat that is permitted to climb atop tables and / or counters, I would opt for another flower.

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DIY on a Dime: Colorful Spring Porch Refresh

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Colorful Spring Porch Refresh

My Bright and Budget Friendly Porch Makeover

My front porch has been such a drab these last two years. Although I have had my bench and coffee table for awhile, I’ve been completely laxed on decorating the space and making it an extension of my home.

 
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First, I painted my burgundy chipped door “Dutch Tulip” red by Benjamin Moore. I used the Aura Grand Entrance line in high gloss finish. I’ve seen this front entrance in Dutch Tulip circulate all over Pinterest for years, and i finally bit the bullet and decided to go for it. I knew the color would look great on my little row house.

According to the paint expert at my local Benjamin Moore location, I did not need a primer because my door was already painted a red base with the burgundy. However, if you need a primer, I really like using Zinnser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.

Source:  Benjamin Moore
 

First, I poured liquid TSP cleaner into a bucket of warm water and used a textured cloth to remove dirt and pollen from the door. Once the door was dry, I sanded down any nicks and imperfections.

If you’re using primer, you will want to prime the entire door next (and allow to dry 24-48 hours before painting).

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Next, paint the panels of the door first.

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Then, focus on the remaining trim of the door. I decided to paint three coats, using a single stoke with the paintbrush to reduce the appearance of brush strokes up close.

Please allow at least 24 hours between each coat, so that it may dry properly.

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Next, I worked on my concrete floor. Per the instructions for the Behr Granite Grip and Behr Concrete and Masonry Bonding Primer, I needed to strip the porch paint previously applied. Honestly, there was no way that I was going to get all of this porch paint off of the concrete floor. So, instead, I focused on stripping just the areas that were already peeling badly. Then, I sanded down the areas that were peeling to smooth it out before applying the concrete bond primer.

 

The concrete bonding primer needs a minimum of 2 hours to dry. I allowed mine to dry for approximately 3-4 hours. Then, I applied the first coat of the Granite Grip. Behr recommends at least two coats of Granite Grip for complete coverage. I applied three coats, allowing a minimum of 24 hours to dry in between each coat.

 

I’m really glad that I covered this porch with the Granite Grip. it’s hiding all of the imperfections. And, thanks to the primer, it should last for a few years.

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Shop My Outfit

Midi Dress: ASOS | Headband: Nordstrom | Earrings: Baublebar | Fallon & Royce Straw Tote: Rue La La.

 

Shop My Front Porch

Outdoor Bench Cushion: Hayneedle | Outdoor Floral Pillow: Grandin Road | Outdoor Pink Pillows: Michaels (old), similar here | Door Mat: Kirkland’s | Outdoor Area Rug: Grandin Road (old), similar here | Outdoor Bench: Target | Paris Bistro Side Chairs: Frontgate | Chinoiserie Garden Stool: Home Goods (old), similar here and here | Pink Candle Lantern: Pier 1 Imports (old), similar here and here | Outdoor Coffee Table: Amazon | Wreath: Target (sold out), similar here.

 

Shop my Planters

Tub Planter: Amazon | Chinoiserie Planters: Homesense, also available here and similar here.

 

Shop my Paints

Porch Floor: Behr Granite Grip in Tan Granite | Front Door: Benjamin Moore Aura Grand Entrance in Dutch Tulip (high gloss finish).

 

Shop Miss Peppermint

Dress (old), similar here | Woof Cliquot Plush Bottle: Haute Diggity Dog.

 
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8 Ways to Incorporate Florals into Your Home Decor Without Using Flowers

All this month, we’ve been talking about flowers and how to arrange beautiful grocery store bought flowers (or silk flowers) just like a professional florist.  But, I know some of you have expressed that buying real flowers (or even some silk ones) can get very costly, which is true.  I usually buy a bouquet of fresh flowers once a week, when I do my grocery shopping.  That can get costly!  So, I thought I’d share some other ideas on how you can incorporate florals into your home, and obviously get more bang for your buck as these décor options aren’t going anywhere.

Floral Wallpaper

I’m currently on the hunt for wallpaper, and one thing that I noticed is that floral wallpaper has no intentions of going out of style.  Even better, some designers have opted in creating a new trend – large scale floral wallpaper.  I like these much better, than the smaller scaled floral wallpapers because they are much more dramatic, becoming the focal point in the room.  They look like beautiful murals, once completed.

 

Floral Upholstery

You can also use floral fabric to bring blooms into your home.  I bought these beautiful floral chinoiserie pillows from Tonic Living. But, you don’t have to stick to pillows! You can upholster a headboard, for example, with a beautiful floral print, to give your room that pop.

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Floral Stencils

If you’d like to go with something a little less permanent than wallpaper or upholstery, try stenciling.  Royal Design Studio Stencils and Cutting Edge Stencils have great stenciling options, including these floral damask patterns.  If you ever get tired of your stenciled blooms, simply paint over them.

 

Floral Scented Candles

Nothing screams, flowers than a lightly scented floral candle.  I sometimes will burn a floral scented candle, and a light linen or fresh laundry scented candle so that the floral scent isn’t too overpowering in the space.

 

Floral Art Prints

This is another option for those of us who don’t want huge (or small) flowers plastered all over the walls.  I love this botanical diagram print from McGee & Co.  Once again, the large scale floral becomes the beautiful focal point, drawing your eyes to the print.

Source:  McGee & Co.

Source: McGee & Co.

 

Floral Dinner Plates

A common Spring theme is incorporating floral dinnerware into your home for seasonal celebrations like Easter and Mother’s Day. Here are some beautiful floral dinnerware options that I’m currently obsessing over.

 

Floral Decor Accents

 

Floral Lighting

Floral lighting is in and it is quite whimsical. West Elm, Potter Barn and Horchow have some great options!

 
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DIY on a Dime: How to Arrange Your Spring Flowers Like a Pro

If you haven’t noticed by now, I enjoy having both silk and fresh flowers in my home.  It’s a habit I picked up from my Dad, who buys a bouquet of flowers from our local grocery store when he does his weekly shopping.  I usually have a small bouquet of silk flowers in each room, including the bedrooms.  I place the fresh flowers in my gorgeous brass vase in the kitchen, and sometimes an extra bouquet in the dining room.

In 2018, the University of North Florida conducted a scientific study in conjunction with the Society of American Florists.  The study provides empirical evidence showing that flowers can reduce stress.  So, it’s no surprise that buying yourself flowers boosts your mood, especially when you come home from work and you can smell the fresh floral scents.

I wanted to share some tips on how I arrange my pretty – and reasonably priced flowers – with all of you (I can find beautiful flowers at Harris Teeters or your local market).  You don’t need to purchase expensive bouquets for everyday flowers, and still get the look of a professional floral designer.  Since it’s Spring (YAY!), we’re going to focus on making a beautiful and colorful Spring arrangement, so you know exactly how to make your momma, wife, or girlfriend a bouquet just in time for Mother’s Day.

What You’ll Need

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Step One:

 Place your vase on a flat surface.  For this arrangement, I chose a dark navy ceramic vase (approx. 18”) to give my arrangement a modern and sleek look.  Next, place your flower frog on top of the vase opening. If you use Easy Arranger’s flower frog, you can bend the outer parts of the flower from to hug the vase opening.

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Step Two:

First, add your peonies.  I chose beautiful pink peonies to distribute first. Your peony blooms she be open.  If not, use your fingers to help open the flowers.  Remove any outer petals that are worn or damaged. If you need to cut the stems, remember to cut at an angle.

Since I used the Easy Arranger flower frog, I also removed some of the leaves.

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Step Three:

 Next, add the roses and ranunculus in groups throughout the vase.  For my roses, I used off white / light peach cabbage english garden roses, and bright yellow ranunculus. Remove any leaves and/or outer blooms that are not appealing.  You should also remove any thorns, if present.  You can prep your roses with a knife or your garden shears. Again, remember to cut the stem at an angle.

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Step Four:

Then, add the sweet peas.

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Step Five:

Finally, continue to remove any worn or damaged petals from your arrangement.

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Voila!  Your first floral arrangement is complete and beautiful as ever.

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After you’ve completed your floral arrangement, be sure to maintain so that they last a little longer (and you get your money’s worth).

  • Change the vase water every other day.

  • Mist petals with spray bottle.

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