Crew is 5 months old

Five months its been since Crew graced us with his presence! Through his very beginning days to now, I have learned more about life than I thought possible. He has made me see the innocence of children like never before. Crew has been so dependent on me and his family so intensely for these 5 months that it really shows me how important we family are to each other. 

 

After being inspired with all of the art in Charleston, I am working on an oil painting of my own.

 

 

 

I have been settling back into being in Greenville… well not settling. It has been a complete whirlwind of catching up since being back. Jenn and I just went on a trip to Washington, DC to tour major residential apartments and condos with a team of investors in a project we are working on. We were traveling with the  owners and developers in order to understand the style of design they gravitate towards. It was a great learning and bonding experience for Jennifer and me.

Rocky has been in Chapel Hill this month doing an away rotation. Crew, Brumby, and Stetson have been keeping me company. When Rocky came back the other weekend, he planted a Fall garden! It is full of organic spinach, cabbage, broccoli, beets and a some other veggies. That is definitely a favorite past time of his. If he gets a spare minute, I find him out in the garden. In fact, the other night he was out there until way after dark with a spotlight planting his veggies.

Jennifer is hosting a Do it Yourself class this coming Tuesday night at the shop from 6-8. It is a fun filled evening of wine and fun making miniature gardens. We supply all that you need so please come. You can purchase your tickets at our online shop www. ShopCoastalFog.com. 

We are going to High Point Furniture market this week to buy for projects and the shop. If you have any needs, please let us know!.

Day in the Life

Two days in a row, I drug my derrière out of bed to walk the dogs with Crew in the stroller before the commotion of cars and the like gets going here around ECU. Boy can those college kids push their excellerator. I sound like my grandfather but they need to SLOW DOWN.

It is really therapeutic for me to have that time in the morning to control my thoughts and let my day start out on the right foot. The dogs are adorable now that they have had a little over a month of this routine of an early morning, pre-breakfast jaunt. They literally come to the edge of the bed and nudge my hand like, “Come on lady, we don’t have all day”. The pep in their step is so sweet. Stetson has been with us for 8 years now. He has seen every facet of our life. Rocky and I had just met when he got Stetson with the agreement that I would take care of him. Yeah RIGHT!! Rocky lived in the dorm here at ECU, and I lived in a house 8 yrs ago. Rocky and I drove with my sister and my roomate to pick out our Golden Retriever from a newspaper advertising a new litter outside of Bath, NC. I told Rocky that the dog was his, but I would gladly keep him at my house until he moved out of the dorm. Well that was all she wrote…I was in love with the dog and the boy before I could realize what was happening. That dog, as a puppy, watched me make it through the cut throat art and design program and Rocky make it through all the medical prerequisites. He would sit right there with us as we got our work done. Time passed and Stetson witnessed Rocky move out of the dorm, and he stayed my shadow with my all-nighters finishing school projects. He saw us become a family when Rocky and I got engaged and when we got married. Now, Stetson is still with us as we are a bigger family with Brumby and now with Crew. That dog is a trooper. There is no other way to look at him. I hope he knows how special he is and how much he is apart of our foundation. I am sure you can imagine I am tearing up as I write this! That boy still has a pep in his step and a mischevious streak! If I cant find the invaluable pacifier, all I have to do is find Stetson and its in his jaws!!! That dog has chewed up three of the BELOVED, only brand Crew will take, passies. He knows that is the way to get my attention.

Call me weird but I had a fun time personifying the stroller and thinking what it must think being in a different place now. I wore the treads down on its tires using it so much in Charleston… It saw horse poop from the carriages, cobblestone streets, palm fronds laying in the streets… now we are in Greenville and it runs over pine cones, gum balls(From the tree not from the students), and Fall leaves. I love the fact that the stroller just keeps us moving and doesn’t complain.

Rocky has been away for the second full day and night now of what will be a month, as he does his away rotation in Chapel Hill. I am flying solo for the month and not the happiest camper, but it makes me appreciate him being around. I fixed dinner tonight in the way of butternut squash soup with nutmeg and crumbled blue cheese,  and a salad with organic baby greens, poached organic eggs, organic pear and a tomato out of our garden. I feel like a broken record talking “organic this” and “organic that” but I am a true believer that some of our health problems come from the pesticides and chemicals that are absorbed in our food. I want to feed my family less food to be able to afford to feed them wholesome organic food. If you think about it, its not “new age” to eat organic and pure food. My great grandparents feed their family, with numerous children and many mouths to feed, off of their family farm. They didn’t call it organic back then because that was the only way. Farmers weren’t pressured into using genetically modified food so it would tolerate pesticides. They ate pure goodness because that was normal. I want it to be normal again. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong time period…

I am reading a book called “Tout Sweet” Hanging up High Heels for Real Life -by Karen Wheeler. It is biography and the author’s story of signing off of her successful/stressful lifestyle as a fashion editor to pursue a rustic and simple life in France restoring an old house. I am only in the first half, but I will let you know the highlights. Its addictive so far.

I hope you all are finding joy in the simple things. Even if it is just the most basic of things. God gives us joy on the path He created for us. Just open your eyes wide enough to see it.

I wanted to mention to check out our online store because you can now purchase tickets to our Fall Do-It-Yourself classes. Jenn is heading up a terrarium/ miniature garden class in October. If you go to ShopCoastalFog.com, you can purchase tickets. We will have wine and small bites plus all the materials for the class! Bring your friends.

xoxo

Jordan

Back Home

Hello from Greenville…

Walking into my house after this absence was so strange! I felt like I was home, but it I had a different perspective. I had been dreading, dreading this moment wanting to see if I felt good being home or sad to be back, and I am pleased to say it feels great to be home.

I found through your comments about my blog posts that we are all looking for the special things in our lives. You all enjoyed taking a trip with me because I helped you to escape from what you felt was the mundane. Well, I am here back in my normal world making a promise to myself and to you, that we are going to find the fun and the unimaginable in the normal. I am going to push every boundary I have known being from Greenville and living here for so long. I want to do something out of the norm everyday, and make this town suit my big world ideas.

Some of my goals are as follows:

1. Plant an organic Fall garden (we planted an organic summer garden with much success)

2. Teach Crew all the fun things there are to enjoy about Fall and Winter living in the south

3. Walk to the grocery store more than drive to the grocery store

4. Learn how to build and have a backyard chicken coop for fresh eggs

5. Take up yoga so these bones of mine stay youthful

6. Make my mornings, MY mornings and soak up the early hours with a sense of joy and thankfulness to be alive. No more waking up to frantically check my email to see who needs me or has a task for me. I owe it to myself and my family to be confident and happy, and that comes from waking up on the right side of the bed.

7. I plan to take time to enjoy the process of slow cooking and eating. No hurried “fast food” style dinners to get it over with. I want to savor the joy of meal time and having my hands in fresh, organic foods.

8. I want to take time all day everyday to warm up my imagination so I can be a fun and exciting buddy to Crew. I want to be able to flip the switch from “mom” to traveler of magical places and far away lands. My grandmother Sharlie had the most wonderful and wild imagination with me as a child, and it was she that made me love to read and build forts. She also taught me that a gnome may be waiting around the next bend in the path or that a fairy might be flitting around so always keep your mind open!

9. I want to pretend that I am new to the area and travel around eastern NC to experience the beauty here. I know in my heart that it has all the beauty and more of SC. We have rivers, mountains, oceans and all in between. What a blessing to live in such a varied landscape.

10. Last, yet the most important, I want to wake up  committing my day to God, so that He can make me be what he needs me to be for Him. I know that through this surrender, I will be better to my family, to my friends, and I will in turn enjoy the hell out of this life I have been given.

 

Stay with me! If you have any ideas, any at all, please tell me. I want to take my days ahead as valuable as gold

xoxo

Jordan

Final Day

Farewell my dear Charleston… you have been the best thing for which this girl could have asked to rejuvenate, replenish, and refuel her world.

 

I enjoyed the last day breathing in the Charleston breezes by doing a last lap around the city to make sure I witnessed all that I could. My family left today (Friday) and I spent the rest of the day absorbing every minute I could.

Rocky and I went to get a to go dinner from Caviar and Bananas which is a fun deli and bakery in the College of Charleston District. We walked up to the battery from there to see the sun setting. This is the image I snapped as we were walking down Murray Blvd on our way home. Do you think the sky could be any more beautiful?

I will let you know when I am back home and getting in the groove of Greenville. Until then….

Day #25 Thursday

Early morning trek over to the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant. We stopped by Saffron Cafe and Bakery to grab a to-go breafast before we headed of the Cooper River bridge.

We road all around the little residential area and marveled at the old houses. The history and the charm takes you over and is intoxicating. The air today had a cool and crisp breeze. Is it the change of the season with something new that makes us love it so, or is there a potion in the air that makes us fall in love with the Fall everytime it rolls around

We went to lunch at Vickerys on the water. This fun restaurant overlooks the unspoiled marshes as well as has a view of the downtown of Charleston. This area is packed with history and laid back time. Over lunch, we watched the shrimp boats come in and shell out their fresh catch. There is a dock right there on Shem Creek where the boats pull up to drop off their catch catch. Locals go and purchase fresh caught shrimp at the Geechee seafood stand. 

After a wonderful lunch, we headed back to Charleston. On the way, we passed an adorable wedding dress boutique that specializes in consignments. We saw some gorgeous dresses online and had to go since Jenn needed to buy a wedding dress. We asked if we could go without an appoinment and boy are we glad we did! It turned out to be amazing. We found the perfect dress, and Jenn bought one! How much fun is it to have all been together while in Charleston. Fabulous Frocks

Tonight, we went to Blossom to celebrate Jennifer’s purchase of a wedding dress. We got wonderful series of homemade pizzas and cocktails. Such a lovely dinner on their outdoor patio. The sun set over the Church street steeples. The rosy glow of the setting sun, the trickle of the outdoor fountain, and the smell of the wood stove made for a fantastic evening.

My family leaves tomorrow to go home… We leave on Saturday. I am definitely afraid of the feelings I will have when I leave here. It has felt like home. I plan to cope with my departure from Charleston by continuing on with writing to you about things. We are heading into a very exciting time as we will be traveling a lot to go to Rocky’s residency interviews that will take place all over the east coast. Make sure you stay in touch with me and the blog everyday because I will report on all the fun and challenging time ahead.

Day #24 Wednesday

I wanted to show you the pictures and the description of Husk which is the restaurant we went to last night. It is a nationally acclaimed restaurant specializing in locally farmed raised produce. Husk is the link to see all they stand for with their restaurant. They do an exceptional job of making you feel the experience of eating. The way the wait staff interacts with you is more of a tour guide than a waitress. It is wonderful. 

 

We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise here in Charleston. This city never ceases to amaze me with the colors in the sky with the rising and setting of the sun.

We started out today with breakfast at Bull St Gourmet on King St. It is a neat little cafe that specializes in fresh brewed coffee, farm raised eggs, and organic produce. It was a delightful day to start off our adventures.

The day was spent wondering and exploring King st with all of the wonderful shops. I needed to show my family all that I had discoverd since being here.

We went back to Leaf for lunch! Boy oh boy have we patronized that place recently. I got an amazing dish with asparagus and a soft boiled egg on top. It was fantastic!

After an afternoon full of shopping and seeing all of the latest trends, walking the dogs around the area, and soaking in the air, we ventured over to Poogan’s Porch for dinner. They have wonderful food served in a gourmet southern way. It is such a warm and inviting menu without the greasy norm you feel with “southern fried” food. I recommend it to anyone!

On to tomorrow which is Thursday. We plan to go over to Mt. Pleasant and enjoy the little village in the historic section.

Day #23 Tuesday

My wonderful family is still here staying with us! Today, I woke up like normal to take Rocky to school and then took the pooches for a walk. It was blowing a gale outside… maybe a cool system is blowing this way.

I decided that the family needed to go to Hominy Grill for a wonderful breakfast before we drove over to Beaufort to have lunch with my Grandmother Sissie’s sister Carol and her husband John Kellum. They live in Sea Pines in Hilton Head SC. Breakfast was fantastic with all of us there enjoying hominay grits, mile high biscuits, omelets and coffee.

I had never been to Beaufort before… it is AMAZING. I can not tell you how wonderful that quaint low country city is. We drove into the downtown area and I was immediately taken over with the oak trees ,the spanish moss and the salt air. It is fantastic. This area is the perfect blend of farming and salt water. I always thought you had to have either/ or. Being landlocked to enjoy the farming and growing produce on your land / or the ability to enjoy the water. But here, you can enjoy farming and water. It is a dream.

We made it to Beaufort and headed to lunch at Low Country Produce Market Cafe. This is a family that generations back lived in Greenville and were best friends with my grandparents but then moved to SC to start a business in canning and preserving produce. They have since made a wildly successful business out of it, shipping out product all over the world. The building they have their cafe and market in, is a restored and retrofitted government building. They have beautiful cabinets painted a crisp shade of green with a camera marble countertop.

Here is their description… check them out at Low Country Produce

“Lowcountry Produce is a purveyor of regional Southern delicacies from the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. All of our products are handmade and handpacked using only all-natural ingredients.

The seasonal rhythm of family food production and preservation has nearly disappeared, but the memory of those delicious foods of the past still lingers. So about five years ago, Lowcountry Produce decided to collect our own regional and family recipes and produce those special foods to let people have a continuing connection to the way things used to be. Our efforts have been well received, and our customers have been glad to leave the canning and preserving process to us and reap the benefits of our labor by serving foods that are pretty close to what Grandma used to make.

We are an authentic Southern artisan company. We are true believers in our small-batch, hand-packed products. We support our local farmers. We make each product at the time when our ingredients are at their peak. Our recipes represent the best food traditions of the lowcountry.”

After enjoying a day in Beaufort, we made our way back to Charleston. We decided to eat dinner at Husk which is a fantastic restaurant. I am going to put pictures of that night on the next post! I have gotten behind in writing to you with my family keeping my schedule full!

Day #22 Monday

Its a great day! My family has come to town to visit.Yippee!!

Jennifer and Evan (her fiance) drove up from Atlanta where Evan had been taking a medical school exam. He and Rocky are classmates at Brody School of Medicine Fourth Year Medical School students. The boys have to take their final exam in Atlanta before they are ready to interview for residency which starts this coming year.

Meanwhile, Mom, Dad, and my grandmother Sissie drove down from Greenville, NC to stay with us. It is so neat that Evan and Jenn live on the same street as Rocky and I back in Greenville, Mom and Dad and Sissie live in Greenville, and Jenn, Mom and I work together everyday and yet, we all drove from separate states to meet in the middle to have dinner here in Charleston on this Monday night. Also, Jenn and Evan brought their dog Brody who is Brumby’s best buddy. When we opened the door for Brody to come inside, I thought they were going to die of excitement getting to see each other!

When they got into town, we had dinner at Leaf in their wonderful atmosphere. They have floor to 15′ ceiling doors that they open up like a big indoor/outdoor restaurant. It was such a fun time laughing and cutting up like we do back in Greenville but here in Charleston.

It has been a great evening and we have lots planned for Tuesday!

Day #21

I am learning that if you stay flexible and keep your heart, mind and eyes open you will see repetition in your life that you might not otherwise pick up on. I have been very observant since Ive been here… I think it is due to my vulnerability and trying to learn a new place. I see the same people morning after morning. I see the same College of Charleston student parking his car on Murray, getting his bike off the rack, putting the rope lock around his neck, and heading off to school across town, the same  man walking his golden retriever going along the same path with the same rhythm as the day before, the same older lady riding her bike along Murray enjoying the start of a new day. The fun part though is seeing the same people around town and feeling like I know a little bit about them. I could tell you what kind of a dog they have or what time they normally are out and about in the morning. It makes this area feel very neighborly.

 

As Rocky needed to study this Sunday, I decided to head out with Crew. We walked up E Bay to go to Harris Teeter to grocery shop. Its not exactly around the corner, but it is so pedestrian friendly here, that I have no reservations with walking. All cars yield to pedestrians. No questions asked- Its as if that precedence was established when ladies and gentlemen would walk and the carriages would have to wait for them to cross the street. Now, its cars and not carriages, but these streets and sidewalks are made for walking. They were set up as such and the infrastructure of the downtown is for those on foot.

I was walking back home from Harris Teeter along the very commercialized shopping area of King St. I was almost out of that area when I felt the desire to turn around and not head home. Why would I go back inside when there was such a fantastic area to explore and dots to connect? I turned around to walk North on King and just as I did, I looked to my left at a small ( I am talking tiny) window panel and door nestled in between Le Creuset and a bookstore that obviously was a small entrance to an upstairs residence. On a side note, you might recall my post about The Sylvan art gallery and the artist William Berra… well another artist that the sylvan gallery represents is Rhett Thurman. My grandmother had written a comment on the post that she particularly like the work of Rhett Thurman. Mr. Sylvan had told me the other day that Rhett Thurman pieces were one of their all time best selling art. Well, seeing the name Rhett Thurman written on a comment on the blog, it burned that name in my brain. Now back to the window and door I am seeing on my left, there were beautiful paintings lined up just inside the door that looked familiar. As I am trying to “connect the dots” as to why I am standing here looking in the window (with my forehead up against the glass) and trying to recall where I have seen this art before, a man’s voice comes from behind saying , “That is my wife’s artwork”. I turn to look at this man— he is a neat character with a full head of curly gray hair, round tortoise shell spectacles, and carrying bags of groceries. He comes around to the door, takes his keys out and starts to unlock this narrow door. I look at the door and at the bottom it says “STUDIO OF RHETT THURMAN- BY APPT ONLY” . I look up at him and he says “Are you familiar with Rhett Thurman?”. It all “connects” right then and there. I said, “Yes, actually I was with the owner of the Sylvan gallery the other day and he was introducing me to the work of Rhett Thurman. He never mentioned where Rhett was from though.” The gentleman said, ” Well, this is her home upstairs here and her studio. I have a feeling she would be delighted if you came up.” I was flabbergasted!!! Go upstairs? Go through this narrow door, past these paintings, and up the steep steps to this dwelling atop King St? Taken aback, I said I would love to if I wasn’t intruding. So, I take Crew out of the stroller and step inside. It was an immediate atmosphere of 1800’s with the texture of brick walls, creaky heart pine steps, and antique oriental rugs lining the steps. More than anything though, was the beautiful smell of linseed oil and turpentine from the studio upstairs. I look up to the landing I am approaching and the loveliest woman with shoulder length white hair, and the classiest sense of casual style I could imagine. She said, ” Hello there, come on up!” I walked up those steep stairs not sure of what I was doing or where I was. All of this was happening so quickly. One minute I was power walking down King St admiring the historic buildings and wondering dreamily about who lives above these shops and what they must look like inside, and then the next minute I am upstairs of one! What was going on?

I approached the landing, turned the corner into their residence and the chorus started singing. I was standing on the original 12″ heart pine, under a 12′ ceiling, and looking out into her light filled studio where the sun was pouring in the rippled glass of 3 huge original windows. There were oil paintings everywhere! Propped up in stacks, hung on the wall, stacked on tables… it was an artist’s dream to see this. She had an enormous easel with a canvas sketched out in red paint awaiting the oil paints to fill the space. On an antique table, she had her oil paints perfectly squeezed out onto her palette and a cup of brushes just jumping with anticipation of the work they were about to participate in creating. I stood in one place and just spun slowly around taking in every last detail. How was I in the private studio of the legendary Rhett Thurman looking at artwork with price tags of thousands of dollars? I proceeded to start a firing squad’s worth of questions asking her about her passion of art, her journey, and her techniques She was so kind and tolerant of all my questions. It was an extraordinary outcome to a less than extraordinary walk to the grocery.  I’ll tell you one thing, I am saving my milk money to one day have a Rhett Thurman painting. I will want to treasure this forever.

Click HERE to see her work and read her bio

Day #20 Saturday

Beautiful, beautiful day here in Charleston! There is an unmistakable feel and smell of Fall. The humidity is hardly there anymore,and the breeze is blowing off the water with an autumnal grace.

I admit, I woke with my normal propensity for bossiness. It was just getting light outside, and I knew if we didn’t act on it fast, we would miss that magical time in Charleston. Early in the morning, on Murray Blvd  there is a stillness left over from the night. Its a clean start… no noise from cars, no wake from boats, no trash from tourists. You are experiencing a fresh day in Charleston.

So Rocky, Crew, and I took Brumby and Stetson out to greet the day. I normally handle the dogs and Crew by myself as we walk along. This completely stressed Rock out though… with me, the dogs, and Crew, he probably felt we looked like a caravan of gypsies. Just another normal/unusual part of my day.

After hurrying to get ready, we walked all the way up Rutledge to Hominy Grill. They have the best “High Rise” biscuits, stone ground, grits, and fresh coffee ever. I love breakfast, and this just suits my love affair perfectly. After getting our fill of goat cheese, spinach and tomato omletes with grits and biscuit, we sluggishly exited.

We had planned for Saturday to be an art walk day. We love art and have had a goal of starting a collection from travels. Charleston is known for pristine art galleries full of the finest art in the world. We started out on Broad Street and walked East. I love seeing the different styles jumping off of the canvases. The artists are not there, but you can get a sense of them and their personalities through the brushstrokes. You can tell if they are controlled or abstract and where they like to travel and what they like to study. The first gallery we went into, we fell in love with a very colorful and abstract oil painting of the marsh. We took a mental picture of it knowing that we could not have found one so quickly. So, we spent the rest of our day meandering through these fine galleries discussing what we liked most. Its nice to discuss that with each other to see what grabs you in the way of  art. We found out through the art walk that Rocky is inclined to like impressionistic art, but it still needs to have a certain realism. I have always gravitated to impressionism yet find that I can tolerate very abstract takes on nature.

Many years ago when I was in Charleston for an extended time working on the Charleston Designer show house, I went into a gallery where I was first introduced to the work of West Fraser. I was instantly in love with his work and all that it represented. It embodied a loose yet realistic approach to capturing the light and the energy of the low country. Unspoiled landscapes such as marshes and grasslands along with very quirky takes on the Skyline of Charleston. I left that gallery an unwavering fan of West Fraser. 

 

 

Fast forward a couple of years later, I was staying with a “client” of sorts here in Charleston who lives on Murray Blvd overlooking the Ashley in a house from the 1800s. We were visiting her next door neighbor one evening and there on the wall was an original West Fraser. I was floored. These paintings are like fine estate jewelry and I was in the presence of someone who had one in their private collection. It was one more layer to add  to my West Fraser experiences. 

Then, fast forward another couple of years from that, Rocky and I were in the middle of the Caribbean on the island of Nevis at the most removed and isolated inn you could imagine. We were sitting in the open air patio/lobby of the Montpelier Inn when I happened to look at the coffee table. On the table was a huge book on West Fraser and his collections. In the middle of nowhere in the least touristy place ever was a book on a Charlestonian artist??? How was this possible? I sat there and looked through the entire book. One of the images was the painting from the private collection of the house I was visiting in Charleston. I had actually seen in person this painting that was in the book in the middle of an inn built in 1687 in the middle of the Caribbean. What are the odds?

Now, flash forward to this very Saturday. I happened to walk into a gallery and the first thing I see is a West Fraser painting. I look around and there are West Fraser paintings everywhere! I start to remind Rocky about my odyssey with West Fraser artwork when the gallery attendent came out from the back. I started to tell her about serendipitous experiences with the artist West Fraser and realized that this must have been the same gallery I went in years ago yet it wasn’t the same building or location. She confirmed that her gallery had been in another building and had moved here a couple of years ago. She asked me to hold on a second and then she came out with a copy of the book from Nevis! It was still in the wrapper. She handed it to me and said, “Here, I want you to have this.” I was in awe and thanked her profusely. We continued to talk and I asked her where West Fraser resides. She said that he lives right here in Charleston. She told me that he was born right outside Savannah but had spent his youth in Hilton Head Island. I spent all of my summers going to Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island as my great grandmother, grandmother,and great aunt lived there. It has always been such a special place to me and a huge influence on my infatuation with the low country, its marshes and the culture. Since I knew the history of Sea Pines I said, ” A man by the name of Fraser developed Sea Pines.” She said, ” You are right. His father and uncle are the Frasers that developed Sea Pines.” Another “layer” to my series of coincidences with West Fraser. When I told her how much Sea Pines meant to me and how serendipitous I thought it was that I had all of these dots connecting she said, “I am West Frasers wife.” I am sure I looked like a third grader meeting Justin Beiber for the first time. I had to reign myself back in to a sophisticated excitement before I embarrassed myself. We had already discussed our mutual love for organic farming and food, traveling to unfamiliar places, and an overall love of art. But now, I was able to ask her specific quesitons about how West Fraser painted. She told me that he wakes up everyday to paint. That is his life. It isn’t “when he has time” like I paint. He puts his waders on and takes his oil paints and his easel out to the marshes. She told me that you can’t take painting lightly… she said I just need to get out there and paint paint paint. That has been the push I have been missing. I must not save it for a time of idleness because that will never happen. I explained to her how painting was my first love yet I didnt feel that it was the responsible choice. She told me that life is about layers and experiences and you have to do what makes you happy. You cant do the expected because you think that is what is “expected” of you. You have to go to the ends of the earth to experience things and add dimension to your life. She said that there have been times where she thought through having children, running a gallery, owning a farm in Costa Rica, and being a wife that she was going to lose her mind. She told me though, that pushing herself to the edges of her world were really what made her look back with a fullness and fondess for all she had done and been through.

After being completely fulfilled through this conversation, I left there on cloud 9. I made a promise to myself to take her words to heart and not sink back into a feeling of mediocracy and settling for normal. What a wonderful lesson in life.

At the end of the day, we realized we really wanted the original painting we saw in the first gallery. So with an anxious anticipation, we walked to the gallery and purchased our first piece of art together. What a great thing to do! 

 

 

 

Day #19

Friday is the best day to go out and enjoy the scenery in a destination town like Charleston. Everyone is so happy and vivacious! There is a bubbling of anticipation within the restaurants and the stores knowing that all of the people are coming to the city to enjoy it.

When I first came to Charleston years ago, I fell in love with a store called South of Market owned by Kay Douglass on King St. The first time I came here, I had no business or anything of the sort. I was merely a college student finding my way. (Id like to point out that I am still “finding my way” and hope to do so for the rest of my life). I walked through the doors of this interior design store and was changed for the next decade. I was drawn in to this abstract interpretation of interiors. The owner used rustic pieces such as ancient asian wood pieces mixed with crisp white slipcovered chairs. The juxtaposition of oversized rough antiques to the clean lines of white furniture was so moving. I decided to take that with me as I moved forward with my goals in art and design.

Just before coming to Charleston, I read the latest House Beautiful magazine and found that one of the feature articles was about Kay Douglass and an interior she designed. It is the September 2012 issue page 115 if you want to look through it. I knew that I needed to visit this shop again once I got into town. It did not disappoint! You can understand the intense and dramatic mix of abstract and refined when you look at these pictures.

I spent the rest of my day ordering bedding and accessories for the model at the Heritage at Arlington which is the luxury apartment complex I am the lead designer of with developers Taft Family Offices in Greenville at the intersection of 5th and Arlington. I not only get to specify, decorate, and order all the materials, finishes, and furniture for this clubhouse but I also do the same for the model. Today, I ordered all of the crisp and fresh bedding for the model. I can not wait to show you! Here is the website     http://southofmarket.biz

On a different note, I learned a bit more about history today… the classic “Charleston” style house seems to face sideways. If you look at the picture, you can see some interesting elements. The Piazzas face south or west for breezes, the Piazza floors slope down for rain to run off, there is a door on the “Front” or side for privacy… They are only one room wide. “After the earthquake of 1886, homes were retrofitted with long metal rods running the length of the building ad capped with rod covers.”  I recently heard that the very thing that the Charlestonians thought would help hold the buildings together in an earthquake will actually result in the demise of the buildings. It is thought that before the rods, the buildings were flexible and could withstand the tremors of earthquakes, but now with a stiff rod between the joists, it makes them so rigid that they would crumble in a quake. Interesting huh?

Thank you more than you know for reading like you do. It keeps me company.

xoxo

Jordan

Day #18

Ahhh Thursdays are my favorite. It feels like the weekend, but you don’t feel like it is passing by yet. Crew and I had a fun day exploring after we took the dogs for their walk.

On our walk, we see the same people fishing off of the Murray Blvd sea wall almost every morning. I bet they get there at sunrise and start their day this way before work. Its such a neat mix of people. Most of them are in their 60’s or older and I would venture to say they have a Gullah accent. They wedge their fishing rods into the metal bars and can easily fish five rods at the same time!      

I had read about The Gateway Walk  of the Garden Club of Charleston that was established in 1930 in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of Charleston “on its present site”. It is a shaded and very discreet pathway that walks right through the center of the historic area and weaves through cemeteries and church yards. It starts on Archdale St and winds all the way to Church st. It was a tiny bit scary being by myself (Except for pipsqueak in the stroller) going into these cemeteries that are completely covered with oaks and centuries old plants. Some of the grave sites date back to 1600s! Can you even fathom that? I tried to picture what the people were wearing as they walked around the area back then.  In the Circular Church’s churchyard, they had bricks exposed for us to see from 1600’s- that is remarkable!

When we came out of the churchyard on church street, we started moseying around and ended up in the French Quarter which is down by the wharf on the Cooper River. It was the original walled city of Charleston and has history as far back as 1600’s. On the waterfront, is a gorgeous park with oak trees and a huge fountain. This is a part of the downtown I had never explored before but was so glad I did yesterday! 

For the rest of the day, we meandered around and looked at the history. Short of being in Europe, I could not imagine being in a place with more layers of history in one place. What fascinates me the most is how the buildings are built so close to each other with tiny little alleys in between. Some are not even passable so how did the workman even get in between there to finish the outside walls? I bet there are some real treasures buried under some of the layers of stone and dirt in these alleys.

There is an art gallery called the Sylvan Gallery  (click on link) located on King St that I wanted to go in and see. The other night on the way back from dinner, I saw a gorgeous painting in the window and made a note to go back and see it when the gallery was open. I was able to interact with the owner while there, and he explained the artist and the painting to me that I was in love with. The artist is William Berra and is based in Santa Fe. The art exhibit is called White Out and it features blurred yet vivid figures of women and children sitting in the sand at the beach with such luminosity of the sky and the sand that they run together without a notable horizon. They are breathtaking! It makes me remember how art was my original passion yet I never save time for it. Shame on me. I want to make that commitment to myself to try it more and more. I did complete an oil painting recently that just sold at our shop. I guess that means I need to keep up the work.

After the art gallery, we walked down Murray Blvd again and saw a sailing school taking place off of Lockwood. It was like a little fleet of water bugs zipping around out there enjoying the beautiful afternoon. The green marsh grass against the blue and sparkling water was so inspiring. The water has a magnetism that can not be described. It feels like I am at the center of myself when I am the waters edge. 

We walked to dinner at the Blind Tiger which served as a speak easy during two different times when achohol was banned in the city. The story goes that people would pay to come see the mythical beast the Blind Tiger and then refreshments would be served! Their courtyard dates back to the first decade of the 1800s. The bricks are weathered with many layers of vines having grown up the walls.

What a wonderful day this Thursday turned out to be. I never doubt that each day will be wonderful, but they seem to get better and better!

Day #17

Wednesdays are always fun days as you’ve made it through the tough Monday and Tuesday rigors and you can see the horizon  of the weekend. This Wednesday was a bright and cheery one here in Charleston. The air lets me know it is bringing in the Fall.

I am beginning to realize I am on a routine here… I did what I normally do each morning which is drop Rocky off at the hospital at 7:30 and then walk with the dogs and Crew. Between their walks and the dog park, they are more active than they have ever been. When I get back to Greenville, I need to be sure to keep it up or they are not going to be happy with me. In fact, I think there are many things I am going to do differently when I return to Greenville. First, If I do not have to get in the car, I am not. I have always preferred walking to places but felt like I was the only one. Now, I see that most people here do that. Second, I am going to cook with what is in season. Rather than buying all the forced, imported produce, I am going to buy whats fresh for the time of year we are in. With that being said, I will need to read about different recipes and cooking techniques for seasonal veggies and such in the fall and winter. As Americans, we lose touch with “seasonality”  because we can get all produce all the time. It has been beet season recently which means in all the local markets and cafes, beets have been all over the menus. It makes sense that they are delicious, because they are right out of the soil. Its such a great concept to go from farm to table. Look at this from Cooking Light. It discusses what you can use that is in season and how to prepare it. I look forward to winter squash, apples, pears, pumpkins, cabbage, broccoli, arugula, and figs to name a few.

From this little book called “Very Charleston”, (click link to see book) I have been learning about neat little facts about the area. This book is so perfect for realizing neat quirks about the city that you otherwise would pass right by. One of the neat stories in the book is about the East Battery and the DeSausure House. “The second owner Louis DeSaussure was living here on April 12, 1861 at 3:30am when the first shots of the civil war were fired on Fort Sumter. The shelling continued for 34 hours. DeSaussure invited guests to gather on the roof and piazzas of this house where  they toasted and cheered the “Fireworks”. ” Little did they know what had just begun. Another interesting note is that the shutter color known as “Charleston Green” originated when, after the civil war, the north donated black paint to spruce up the buildings that suffered damage from the war. It is said that the southerners and Charleston locals were hesitant to use this paint because after all it was “yankee” paint. “They found that mixing 2 parts Black and 1 part “Rebel” yellow produced a dark green that has become Charleston’s signature color.”

Brumby and Crew are buddies . Stetson is too, of course, but he doesn’t snuggle up with Crew like Brumby does. Crew now realizes that they are interesting to look at and reach out to touch. Its amazing watching him explore new things every day!

Day #16

It has been a wonderful Tuesday. The air is so crisp and Fall like here! Very hard to imagine it is that time of year already but it is always welcome in my book. There is nothing as exciting as fall leaves, cool days with sunny skies, autumn spices, and the coming together of family.

Crew and I started our Tuesday by taking Rocky to work at 7:30 and coming back to take the dogs for a walk. It is so much fun to have Crew in the stroller and Brumby and Stetson there beside me. They are so well behaved that it is amazing. They stay on my right hand side with Brumby on the inside and Stetson on the outside, both staying right in step and nose to nose. We get quite a few comments like,”You have your hands full!” or “Thats quite a bunch you have there”. We always start off by walking around Murray Blvd to the Battery and back home again. Like I have mentioned before, its so neat to see the same locals doing their same routine each morning. Some folks are on their porches looking out at the water with their cup of coffee, others are running the same path at the same time, and then you have the pups that are walking their owners along the same route morning after morning.

Rocky was able to take a lunch break so Crew and I walked over to meet him at Rutledge tower where we then walked to E Bay St to get lunch at Saffron Cafe. This is their bio “Saffron Cafe & Bakery has been serving Charleston locals since 1986. It was opened to provide quality baked goods for its two sister restaurants, but quickly became the favorite bakery for locals. The owners’ Persian roots and taste for international goods brings in an abundant selection of hard to find groceries like pickles imported from Jerusalem, grape leaves from Lebanon, lamb from Australia, dates from California and the Middle East, and Harrisa sauce from Algeria to name a few.” We enjoyed lunch out on their patio, then walked Rocky back to  MUSC.

We made our way back via the College of Charleston. I know we stuck out like sore thumbs being the only people dressed in work clothes and with a stroller! The students running back and forth to classes, people were skate boarding, bike riding, and roller blading. So lively and energetic. Living in a college area like ECU or CoC really makes you feel youthful and so happy to be alive in the Fall. At home, Rocky and I can hear the band practicing in the evenings and you can witness the students getting used to campus again for the start of a new semester.

After the day was done, we went and met Rocky at MUSC to walk home together. The amount of people out and about walking, running, and bike riding is wonderful! Here, cars take second row to the pedestrians. I love that!

We felt like it was time to get out and get a bite to eat rather than staying inside. A lovely and cool evening called for dinner out on a patio. Leaf Cafe on Beaufain Street has a wonderful patio with a fantastic local vibe. We ordered the arugula salad with roasted beets, gourment cheese, and fried oysters. It was fantastic!

What a wonderful day in Charleston. I will never forget these weeks of being immersed in the low country among southern folks with a wonderful mix of culture all around me. 

Day #15

This has been the best Monday I can remember. I realize every day how wonderful this city is and how uplifting all of the walking and moving is. The only time I have to get in the car at all is to take Rocky to work- he could ride his bike or walk very easily but he can never get out the door with enough time to do that. I normally rush up Rutledge to get him to work by 7:30. This house could not be any more perfect with location. We can leave the house at 7:25 and he walks in the front door right on time at 7:30! I normally come back and take the dogs and Crew on a walk up Murray Blvd (which is the waterfront). It makes it perfect for me to get back about 8:30, the dogs are exhausted, Crew naps, and I get to do my work. I am so lucky to be able to work with clients through eDesign and do our company’s bookkeeping remotely as well!

I spent today walking around and soaking in the history and design of the area. I am so intrigued by the level of intricacy of the little gardens and the porches here. It must be because the weather is so agreeable to enjoying a porch. People have their porches decked out- there are little fountains, potted herb gardens, adorable outdoor furniture, outdoor draperies, and perfectly manicured landscaping.

Like I have mentioned, this is restaurant week in Charleston. Rocky and I decided to go to a market called Caviar and Bananas to get their 3 for $20 dinner and take it to the Battery (White Point) to have a picnic at sunset. We got their gourment cheese plate which consisted of honey with the honey comb, homemade strawberry preserves , fresh strawberries, garlic olive oil brushed toast points, and lovely cheese assortment. It was wonderful! Then for the dinner portion we had seared wild caught salmon with root vegetables. Desert was a homemade strawberry and preserves bar.

The best part was that White Point Gardens is an off leash dog area so Brumby and Stetson were able to run around and play while we ate dinner. Everyone is so happy around us that it fuels our enthusiasm.

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Day #14

We had a wonderful time with our friends that came to spend the night with us this weekend. When they got here at noon, we walked over to a restaurant called Leaf on Beaufain Street. They have incredible food and a really great atmosphere. I tend to be way too picky about the interior of restaurants. In fact, I am noticing an unfortunate idiosyncrasy to alway request to go to restaurants that have outdoor seating so I do not have to be “uncomfortable” inside a restaurant that doesn’t feel right to me. It doesn’t have to be fancy by any means… actually I prefer a rustic and laid back place. But, it needs to be clean and have a certain ambiance so that nothing feels awkward. When I sit outdoors, it feels like a neutral environment that makes me feel at peace like a street cafe in Europe. I know I sound absolutely crazy like I need to talk to a shrink, but it is what it is. Thats why, in Greenville, I only eat at Starlight. I feel comfortable and relaxed inside that restaurant. So back to Leaf…. I ordered a dynamite Mint Julep (yes it was mid afternoon hehe) and a fried oyster Po Boy with Truffle Fries. Holy mother of pearl it was a memorable meal. The fries weren’t drizzeled with truffle oil- they had to have been fried in it. I was in hogs’ heaven.

After lunch, we strolled back home via the Battery and relaxed for a bit. Right before dinner, we took the dogs to the dog park which basically is our back yard. While we were there, our friend Taylor happended to know the only other person at the park. The girl Taylor knew was from his home town. It was so serendipitous. My favorite person to share a serendipitous moment with is Mrs. Means and guess what kind of dog the girl had??? A miniature Grey Hound which is the bread of dog that the Means had two of while I was growing up. It was very neat to consider that out of all the strangers in this area, Taylor knew this girl named Hunter. She moved to the peninsula to work in a floral store that focuses on event planning. She was saying that she lived in a studio apartment in a carriage house South of Broad. I was like a drooling baby hearing her talk about being a floral designer and living on the peninsula doing weddings and events down here. Wow that sounds amazing.

We finished up the evening by going to Poogan’s Porch. I absolutely get weak in the knees thinking about their southern biscuits with honey butter. We sat outside on the porch which is hard to beat. We ordered their Restaurant Week special of 3 for $30. I got an arugula salad with country bacon and a bourbon honey vinegarette. Next, I had Pork belly & english pea risotto, arugula, pickled radishes & sweet potatoes, basil emulsion. Hold me back!! It was amazing. To finish it off, I had a fudge cake and mint wedge. You cant beat it anywhere.

Today, for breakfast, we went to breakfast at the Marina Variety store. I mentioned this last week and said how it was a local place and today proved that more and more. We sat among locals who all knew each other and talked about church and tennis that they had played this morning. Rocky ordered an amazing eggs benedict over pimento cheese! It was off the charts. Only a southern restaurant could put poached eggs with hollandaise sauce over pimento cheese!

This afternoon, we went to Second Sunday on King which is when they close off King Street and make it a pedestrian friendly area. It was like a festival! We shopped around and walked among a ton off people enjoying this event. The restaurants bring their tables outside and put them in the middle of King Street. The waiters come outside and serve people. It is such an unusual sight seeing folks drinking wine at a linen covered table in the middle of King.

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We ended the day by going on a run up Murray Blvd to the battery and heading home via the Post Office on Broad and Meeting. Its really fun being able to take our letters to be mailed up the post office on foot.

Tonight, we are watching the Steelers play against the Broncos. Rocky grew up in a family where the Steelers ruled and that continues today. I obviously am writing to you and not watching the game. Don’t tell Rocky but I really would rather be doing the dishes than watching football. But, I do enjoy his enthusiasm. Ill never live it down that when I was a freshman at NC State and at a home football game, I looked over to my friend Katie Lilley and asked her what inning it was because I was ready for it to be over. “INNING ????” she said, “Dont you mean Quarter?”. I think the entire section we were in stopped talking and looked at me dropped jaw. I not only embarrassed myself but all the people I was sitting next to. Haha. Ever since then I have accepted that football is not my strong suit.

Ok well I am going to sign off. You have a good night!

xoxo

Jordan

Day #13

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I can not help but be nastalgic for at least one post and talk about our history with Charleston. This historic area has always had a special place in my heart.

When I was a senior in Interior Design at East Carolina, I was asked to participate in a very well plublicized designer showhouse in Charleston. The address was 105 Bull St and within the house, about 15 designers picked spaces to decorate for the public to view. Click this link to read about it  2007 Designer Showhouse.

 

RIght after that experience, where Rocky and I were only dating at the time, he proposed to me. We were given the chance to do our engagement photo session with Walters and Walters in Charleston. Take a look at these photos taken all around the peninsula and very close to where we are staying now. If I had known back then, that Rocky and I would be spending more time here and would have a baby, I would have said you were crazy. My what a wonderful journey life is. It makes me realize how little control we actually have and it really is best to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Positive and uplifting attitudes will do wonders and really allow good things to come your way.

Our friends Jenny and Taylor are driving over from their hometown of Greenville, SC to visit us. I will have lots to share about our time with them.

Until next time

xoxo

Jordan

Day 12

Today, was another day of work for me. I did quite a bit of ordering for The Heritage at Arlington. I am posting some of the furniture that you will be able to see in the Clubhouse and the model. 

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This week is Charleston’s Restaurant week where fantastic restaurants create special menus and fix the prices so people can enjoy stellar food at affordable prices. Tonight, Rocky and I (and Crew) went over to Mt. Pleasant to Shem Creek restaurant. This is a very simple, low country seafood place that is nestled right in the marshes of Shem Creek. This area is known for its laid back coastal atmosphere. Because they fixed the menu, we were able to enjoy prime rib, crab legs, fried green tomatoes, and peach cobbler. Wow wee, were we so full we had to be rolled back to Charleston over the Cooper River Bridge. Believe it or not, Crew was a perfect little angel.

Charleston Restaurant Week

It is such a wonderful time being here in the low country.

Day #11

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Today I put the long distance working to the test. I spent my day working on the commercial job The Heritage at Arlington picking out furniture and finishing up final specifications. I have been able to do all the normal book keeping through using a program called GoToMy PC.com to log into our network back home. It has allowed me to really start to branch out to what is called eDesign which is where I work with clients from all over without even meeting them. The clients can send in pictures of their room, dimensions, and ultimate desires for the space. Then, I work on my digital presentation along with all the recommendations and we go from there. It is much less expensive for the client this way. Even if you have a project locally and want to try to do it through eDesign, let me know. We can work on your project together!

Crew had a huge mile marker today! He rolled over all by himself from back to front and then front to back. Then, he kept rolling and rolling all day long. I have a little mover on my hands. It is so exciting to see him change every day.

Crew and I ended the day with a walk around Murray Blvd. We watched the sun set over the bridge to West Ashley.Manywonderful sailboats headed into the sunset at full sail. It was a glorious sight!

Tomorrow will be a bit more exciting I hope. If you have any suggestions for things we need to do, please let me know! I cant thank you enough for reading and writing comments. It makes me avoid a homesickness that would be bound to happen otherwise.

On to tomorrow

xoxo

Jordan

Day #10

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Today was wonderful! Crew and I took Rocky to school bright and early, then we came back to the house and got the doggies leashed up for a walk. We started out by heading over to Murray Blvd which is the road that takes you to the Battery. It was before 8 am when we were out there and we were walking with all the other locals and their dogs. It was so special to see people out right from their houses and not a tourist in site.

Brumby and Stetson got dropped off at the house to cool down, and Crew and I got in the car to head to Mt. Pleasant. I had several places I needed to see. First, I stopped at GDC home which is a wonderful interiors store and a LEE Industries dealer.http://www.gdchome.com/index.php. This is their website. I just drooled as I walked around the store. They obviosly have a killer business because they had so much in stock I couldn’t believe it was all in one place. I just stood there in awe of the clients they have on Isle of Palms, Charleston, Sullivans Island, Kiawah, Mt. Pleasant, and Folly Beach to name a few. This area is so dense with a coastal atmosphere that makes everything feel fresh and light. It is intoxicating!

After GDC home, Crew and I went to the  antiques market in Mt. Pleasant. I dont think he was much too happy to stroll through the aisles but it is a wonderful place to go. It is right on Coleman Blvd.

I had heard about this neat market in Mt. Pleasant called Kudzu Market and Bakery so I had to go.  Kudzu Bakery  is  wonderful place full of homemade pastas, sauces, breads, pies, and every thing else possible. I brought home homemade pimento cheese, a lime and cilantro pesto, and a homemade peach pie. I used the pesto on an heirloom tomato salad we made tonight. It was amazing. I also used the pimento cheese on baguette rounds. Boy oh boy was it amazing! We bought fresh caught scallops and seared those tonight and served them with chiffonaded spinach. Nothing like fresh food picked up from a local fish market and a local farmers market. I feel spoiled to have this around us here.

Crew and I finished our afternoon by walking in the Old Village of Mt. Pleasant.  I can not express enought how special this neighboorhood is. You MUST go here sometime and just walk and pretend that you live there. It is untouched by the hustle and the bustle and oozes southern coastal charm. We went back to the little bakery on Pitt St and purchased a couple of items to bring home. I could live there at the snap of my fingers. We sat down at the end of one of the streets that runs into the waterfront, and noticed a huge old ship sailing by. Also , you could see the landscape of downtown Charleston in the distance. There was a sailing school taking place around the waterway and all of these little sailboats were zipping by. They looked like white bugs flying around in the distance. What a privelged crew to be in a sailing school off of downtown Charleston.

Rocky, Crew and I ended our day by going on a sunset run around E Bay street and the Battery. It is such an energetic area in the evening. There were some beautiful boats on the Ashley and Cooper Rivers enjoying the sunset. Take a look at the pictures from today. 

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Talk with you tomorrow

xoxo

Jordan

Day #9

Even in the most exciting place ever, you have to have a day to unwind and get some things done. After sleeping in and enjoying the relaxing morning, I spent most of my day doing normal “at home” things. I washed both dogs, cleaned this cute little house, and caught up on laundry. I know, I know… this is not an exciting blog post, but it is the real thing.

One thing that I value so much about this area, is that you can walk anywhere to get anything done without feeling scared of thugs or traffic. Pedestrians rule down here. That being said, this afternoon, Rocky and I walked with Crew to the grocery store. We are all the way at the bottom end of the peninsula and the Harris Teeter we go to is near the Cooper River Bridge. It was a nice jaunt and really rewarding to come home with grocery’s without having to have started the car!

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Day #8

Today was another day of holding Rocky prisoner. I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to have another day with a buddy to explore things. Today I wanted to get out of the tourist trap that Charleston seemed to become with the calendar turning to the weekend. You would not believe the amount of fanny pack carrying, mini van driving, tube sock wearing, t-shirt buying tourists that flooded this historic area with it being a three day weekend. I could feel the original Charlestonians rolling in their graves.

We started out bright and early to get breakfast. Right here near our house is a restaurant called the Variety Store. They have been in business 40 years making local “greasy spoon” breakfast food. It is incredibly delicious. If I could give you a taste of the grits and the biscuit through this screen, I would do it in a heartbeat. It overlooks the marina and simply takes your breath away as the sun comes up over the sailboats moored out. Rocky got an omelet made fresh with spinach, shrimp, goat cheese, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Delish!

Next, we swung back by the house to pick up the hounds. They needed some fresh air. They jumped in the back of the suburban and we headed over to Sullivans Island to explore. My favorite author, who happens to be a local to this area, is Dorothea Benton Frank. I have been reading her books for years and have fallen in love with the way she describes the low country. The latest one I read was Return to Sullivan’s Island. That being said, I had to go explore the area she describes in her book. This island doesnt allow hotels or commercial bed and breakfasts. The only place to stay is house rentals. That rule alone has preserved the original integrity of this place. It still feels old school, untouched by commercial development. This is home to Dunlevy’s Pub and Poe’s Tavern.

Next stop was old village Mt. Pleasant. It is absolutely the most quant spot I have ever been in my whole life. Pitt St is home to The Pharmacy which is an old town pharmacy and diner. The best way to learn about it is to visit this site. http://www.townofmountpleasant.com/index.aspx?NID=294. These untouched houses fromt the late 1700’s onward, sit atop bluffs overlooking the water with views of the peninsula of Charleston. To really get the feel of the area, you need to read the books by Dorothea Benton Frank. She is the best writer! Visit  http://www.dotfrank.com/index.html

After that little tour, we swung back by the house, dropped the exhausted pups off, and headed over to Folly Beach for lunch. I was bound and determined to eat fried shrimp. Yes, fried shrimp would be mine by the end of the day. We parked the car and made our way to Folly Beach Crab Shack. We apparently didnt get the memo that you need to be boozing it in a bikini or board shorts to blend in. We were wearing regular “Charleston” clothes, which consisted of a collared shirt and shorts. Wow were we over dressed. You could hear crickets chirp when we walked in with Crew in the baby Bjorn carried by Rocky, who might I add was carrying an umbrella to shield Crew from the sun. Can you say loser tourists?

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haha. Rocky being the future dermatologist, has me so paranoid about sun on Crew’s skin that I am like the little Asian woman who carries the umbrella on a perfectly sunny day. I am not trying to be derogatory with that analogy because I obviously do the same thing. Seeing that we actually had clothes on, didnt have a faded tattoo or lobster red skin, we got some funny looks. But, it was all worth it because I got my fried shrimp!

Later that day, we returned home, thankful to be staying in such a nice area. South of Broad is so chill and classic. I will take this any day! If you want to see where we are on a map, here it is http://maps.google.com/maps?q=301+Broad+Street,+Charleston,+SC&hl=en&ll=32.776568,-79.943401&spn=0.005665,0.009645&sll=33.624497,-80.926614&sspn=5.743741,9.876709&oq=301+north+broad+st&hnear=301+Broad+St,+Charleston,+South+Carolina+29401&t=m&z=17&iwloc=A

After a wonderful run, watching the sunset, and with Crew in his stroller, we returned home to make Shrimp and Grits. I used the stone ground yellow grits grown right here in the low country that I got from the farmers market plus fresh shrimp that we purchased on Sullivans Island. I seasoned it with scallions, peppers,and green onions all from the Charleston farmers market. It was wonderful!

On to tomorrow

xoxo

Jordan

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Day #7

Up and at ’em, I told Rocky and Crew. Every other day I fly solo (with Crew of course) while Rocky is at MUSC, and today I actually had a buddy to go explore with. I am sure Rocky would tell you I talked his ear off and acted like a complete ‘know it all’ about Charleston. I have spent quite a few hours over the past week hitting the pavement and seeing the city. So, to be able to share that with any one willing to listen and capable of responding (unlike Crew), I was thrilled.

I packed up the boys, and we headed out to the Farmers market at Marion Square. Ever Saturday vendors from the low country set up their tents and sell their produce and wares. You would be in awe of the deep colors of the heirloom produce that these farmers brought to sell. Gorgeous and quirky heirloom tomatoes, deep purple beets, summer squash, and much more that I couldn’t even recognize. The vendor that had the prettiest produce seemed to have Gullah roots. They were obviously an old black woman and man with deep seated low country roots that were sitting back watching people handle their goods. They even had a Gullah accent. They all had weathered hands and deep dark skin that definitely was used to the sun from farming.

We decided tonight to make roasted root vegetables and to take a picnic up to the battery for dinner. After two nights eating at a restaurant with a screaming baby and aggrivated fellow diners, we needed a relaxing experience tonight. We bought homegrown carrots, scallions, white and red beets, onions, plus butternut squash. Barefoot Contessa has a recipe to toss the chopped vegetables in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and time put it on a baking sheet and roast it at 475 for 40 minutes. It is a wonderful meal with rice or quinoa and white wine. Grate fresh Romano cheese on it, drizzle more olive oil and serve.

We walked from the market and made our way to spread out a blanket at the battery. The breeze could sell for millions if I could have only bottled it. The cool salt air was coming in and rustling between the live oak branches. Billowing white sails of the sailboats reflected the sunlight and looked majestic going along the Ashley River.

A picture I wanted to show you is a perfect example of the layers of time of Charleston. This residence was constructed with the classic brickwork that was done in the colonial era where they would put plaster over the brick and then draw in lines to resemble limestone. Back then, it was much more desirable to have a limestone house than brick. So, all the beautiful colonial brick is under the plaster of all of these houses.

A friend pointed me in the direction of a really great NY Times article about a professional mandolin player who fell in love with the idea of building a small, small classic home in Charleston. This link will do a better job of explaining it than I can, but the gist is that he purchased a tiny lot in historic Charleston for 65,000 and then put in 200,000 to build an 870 sq ft home. He collected reclaimed ‘trash’ to use for the structure itself. I am in awe of this article. I have always preferred living in intimate spaces with tons of character and detail versus a sprawling home. This suits me perfectly. I am going to try to find it before I leave Charleston!

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/08/30/greathomesanddestinations/20120830-LOCATION.html?ref=greathomesanddestinations#1

 

Ok well I better go get started on the roasted root vegetables. Have a glass of wine with me while you read this! (unless its morning when you read it ;o)

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Day #6

Its Friday! The start to the Labor Day weekend. I started the day with taking Rocky to work at 7 and making my way back to our little abode. I took Stetson, Brumby, and Crew to the “Horse Trot” which is the dog park and open field directly behind our place. I kid you not, there was a man with two dogs identical to Stetson and Brumby in color and even in age, respectively. They ran and ran and splashed in all of the puddles left over from the crazy amounts of rain we’ve been having. Happy dogs, happy me.

So after I brought the dogs back home, Crew and I went out to explore. Just up from our house is an old family owned grocery store call Burbages. I stopped in to pick up a homemade lunch, and then Crew and I went to the battery. It has been a great place for me to spread out a blanket and get some work done. I spent most of the day laying there with Crew picking out light fixtures for a residential project I am working on back in little Washington. It was great to be productive on a project all the way here in Charleston.

The most wonderful aspect to the battery or White Point gardens are the centuries old live oak trees. They stand there so solidly but also gracefully bend with the breeze. Sitting under their huge branches, you can see what vital role they play. They keep this huge area completely shaded so that animals and people alike can sit in the cool air. They show the signs of age through their curled and contorted branches that have rough, wrinkled bark. They are treasures of Charleston as much as the historic architecture.

We went out to dinner again tonight. Boy oh boy we must like taking a beating. This will be the last restaurant experience with a 4 month old for awhile. But crying baby aside, we had a wonderful meal at Poogans Porch on Queen st. We sat on the porch of this historic house and enjoyed the cool southern breeze that came over us. Honestly, it felt like we were sitting on a family porch enjoying an intimate meal. Rocky got a Chipotle glazed BBQ pork rib over creamed sweat potatoes and roasted cauliflower. WOW it was amazing! The pork fell off of the bone and the sweet potatoes were obviously fresh out of the garden. I had a trio of appetizers with a she crab soup drizzled with garlic infused olive oil and fresh green onions. Next dish was fried green tomatoes with a pecan rolled goat cheese and a beet relish. Final dish was heirloom tomato salad with garden lettuce, and a balsamic reduction. I was in tomato heaven. To top it off, they served fresh homemade southern biscuits and a home churned honey butter. The biscuits were as good as the ones my grandmother Sharlie makes. That my friend, is saying something.

It was another magical day for me as I explored a new place. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

xoxo

JordanImageImageImageImageImageImage 

Day #5

I didn’t think this would happen so quickly, but I miss you all and home. It definitely makes me have a new appreciation for the familiar by being away and experiencing new unfamiliar things every day.

Today was a very overcast day in Charleston, but it gave me a chance to get some work done for both residential clients and my big commercial project. Crew, Brumby, and Stetson are the best buddies for which a gal could ask. I never feel alone when I have a giggling baby, two panting, smiling goldensImageImageImageand a creaky old house to keep me company.

I went and picked Rocky up from work this evening and then we made our way to a sushi place on King St. Boy oh Boy why in the world does a southern gal like me love sushi so? Is there something in it that lures me in? I could eat it all the time. This place was name Sushi Hiro right on the main drag of King St. The highlight of the evening was a beer Rocky got that was infused with Ginger. I actually left there thinking I might try to make ginger infused beer. I don’t want to go to the trouble of actually doing a home brewing setup as I dont know that I am capable but maybe I could try some other way? Any suggestions I would enjoy.

Crew slept the whole dinner until Rocky signed the check— as the pen tapped the paper, Crew screamed bloody murder. Diners that did not know a baby was in the building about fell out of their chairs at the sound of it. Literally it brought the establishment to a grinding halt. It was FRIGHTENING! The sushi chefs stoped chopping to check on the diner that just experienced an exorcism. One southern guy said, “Well damn, I didn’t know a baby was here- I thought that was an emergency whistle”. I wanted to melt away and never be seen there again! When I got home, to sooth my “nerves” I made chocolate covered cherries and had a glass of red wine. ImageImageAs the picture depicts, Brumby is the Guinea pig for Crew’s new exploration. It is obvious that Brumby and Stetson can sense that Crew is an extension of us. It is so neat to watch how they interpret his actions and sounds. Goldens are the sweetest most loving creatures. They have heart of “gold”. 

Tomorrow is going to be another day of exploring the culture of the low country. Saturday, we plan to go to the Francis Marion Farmers Market and then over to Sullivans Island to see the simple side of the coastal Low country.

Good Night!

xoxo

Jordan