Hosting & Toasting: Charleston Bachelorette Bash

Charleston has quickly become one of my favorite cities - the food {oh, the food!} scene is one of a kind, the people are incredibly nice and welcoming, the views and scenery will take your breath away and the history of the city is fascinating! I am sure it won't shock you but...I've already started to plan my next trip to Charleston. :)

My beautiful, sweet, big sister is getting married in 10 days and we made sure that she celebrated in style during her Bachelorette Bash in Charleston a few weekends ago!
I had been planning this weekend for months so by the time Friday morning rolled around, I was ready to get in the car and go! I was in Charleston by 11am and started counting down the hours until my sister's flight arrived around 1pm. As you can imagine, I was ready to get the weekend started so those 2 hours seemed like 10.

The entire weekend was a surprise to her so I created "date cards" that contained clues for every event {if you watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette than you know where I got this idea}. It was a lot of fun to have her guess what the next adventure was going to be! 

Sara's Bachelorette Bash Overview: 
On Friday, we ate lunch at Fleet Landing Restaurant which has been voted as one of downtown Charleston's best waterfront dining destinations. We had their crab cake sandwich and pasta salad, it was delicious! My sister and I love blow dry bars so we headed to Tease Blow Dry Bar on King Street. We enjoyed a glass of wine and chatted while their stylists pampered us. It was the perfect start to the weekend! Then we headed back to the house on Upper King Street that I rented through HomeAway to enjoy cocktails and appetizers on the porch while everyone arrived. I made reservations at The Grocery for dinner, it is located in a former furniture warehouse but now resembles a small-town grocery. The menu was full of seasonal ingredients from the local and regional farmers and fishermen.  
Saturday morning, we all slept in and slowly gathered in the living room to enjoy mimosas before brunch. Every bride-to-be needs a few surprises for their honeymoon so I hosted a catered brunch and lingerie shower at the house. Duvall Catering and Events did an outstanding job, I am still dreaming about the Quiche Lorraine and Apple Bread Pudding with Bourbon Glaze.
The rain decided to hold off for us {thank goodness!} so we spent the afternoon walking and shopping on King Street. I was in heaven, every store that you could imagine can be found along King Street.
I have been reading Natalie's blog, Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers, for a long time and she has the best Charleston recommendations {along with an impeccable style and an abundance of creative recipes, you will love her!}. She mentioned that Goat.Sheep.Cow had an amazing selection of meat, cheese and wine so we had to check it out. She wasn't kidding!  
We bought tickets for the Saturday afternoon Charleston Culinary Tour - Upper King Street, it was tons of fun! We had a wonderful tour guide & tasted a lot of flavorful food from HOM, R Kitchen, Lana Restaurant and Jeni's Ice cream. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone that is visiting Charleston. You won't be disappointed!     
Later that evening, we enjoyed dinner at The MacIntosh followed by cocktails at The Cocktail Club and Stars Rooftop.

Before we said goodbye on Sunday, we had to have one last meal together. Can you tell that we like to sip and eat {a lot}?! Poogan's Porch was another perfect spot. When you sit down at your table, you can request the story that explains Poogan's porch. Of course, the house is haunted! But what I loved most about the story was it said that, "we believe in conversations on porches, Sunday brunch, old Southern dogs, ghosts, seersucker, biscuits, homemade and handmade, sweet tea, handwritten recipes, friends old and new, great stories, gracious hospitality and our Moms." I don't think anyone could sum up the South any better than that!

Have you been to Charleston? If so, I would love to hear your recommendations for our next trip!

Five on Friday!

It is Friday and I couldn't be more excited! We have a weekend full of fun activities and events so I am ready to get the weekend started.

I am linking up with AprilChristinaNatasha, and Darci for Five on Friday and Amanda for Friday Favorites!
We saw Eric Church last night at PNC Arena in Raleigh and let me tell you...he did not disappoint!  We went to New York City in October to see him perform at Madison Square Garden and we were so excited to see him again! It was such a fun afternoon of tailgating, soaking up the beautiful weather and catching up with friends before heading in to see one of our favorite country music artists.
Our One Room Challenge was full of painting this week! We painted the floor, walls, fireplace, trim and doors. We will spend the final two weeks of our challenge painting and decorating! It has been so refreshing to walk upstairs to see the door open, the sunlight pouring in and a clean guest room that will soon be ready for our guests.

Headbands of Hope celebrates their 3 year anniversary tomorrow! Beginning tomorrow through May 1st, you will receive free shipping by using the promo code "happybirthday" at checkout. If you missed the post from Wednesday, you can read more about this amazing organization here.

I have loved wearing my Couture Gold Sheer headband the past few days, I will definitely be purchasing a few more this weekend!  
Tenley was not too excited about having her picture taken with me. :)
Recently, I have been dreaming of bathing suits, the beach and enjoying the summer sunsets from the boat. I have my eye on this Mara Hoffman bathing suit and this maxi too! 
How delicious does this Champagne Mojito look by FoodieCrush?! This would be the perfect cocktail to kick-off the weekend while sitting on the porch this evening. 
Cheers to the weekend!

Happy Birthday, Headbands of Hope!

I love supporting a good cause so when I read about an opportunity to share the amazing things that Headbands of Hope is doing for childhood cancer research, I was over-the-moon excited!
Jessica, the Founder and a NC State Graduate (Go Pack!), launched Headbands of Hope in April 2012. In just 3 years, they have donated over 30,000 headbands to girls that need a little hope and sparkle to brighten their day {and they have recently started a boys line of buffs}.
For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to a childhood cancer research organization of your choice! I am in awe of Jessica's passion and determination to make a difference in these children's lives.

Who doesn't love a reason to celebrate?! On Saturday, April 25th, Headbands of Hope will be celebrating their 3 year anniversary but what makes this anniversary even more special is that they are SO close to donating to every single children's hospital in the United States. Let's make it happen!

Visit their website to browse all their different collections for adults, kids and baby. From April 25th to May 1st, when you checkout use the promo code "happybirthday" for free shipping.
A few of my favorites:
Happy Birthday, Headbands of Hope!

One Room Challenge: Our Guest Bedroom

Shew, the past 5 days have been crazy so I apologize for the lack of posts since Wednesday! My sister's bachelorette bash was this weekend in Charleston, {as you can imagine} I was running around like a crazy woman last week trying to pick up all the last minute items before I left bright and early on Friday. We had an absolute blast, I will be sharing the details later this week!

I had this post ready to go for Thursday's One Room Challenge update but completely forgot to hit publish. Go figure, right?! I still want to share the progress that we made last week before another big update this Thursday.

Our To-Do List for last week was lengthy but we were determined to get it all done. 

Week of April 12th:
1. Scrape carpet pad
2. Sweep and vacuum carpet pad sand
3. Sand hardwood floor
4. Remove carpet tack strips
5. Kilz the hardwood floor
6. Remove wallpaper
7. Repair the cracks in the wall
8. Kilz the walls
9. Repair the rotted window framing 
10. Caulk around the windows and fireplace  

I am confident that last week will go down as my least favorite week of the entire makeover. We spent multiple days on our hands and knees, scraping and sanding the floor. The carpet pad was glued to the hardwood floor and had deteriorated because it was about 50 years old. When carpet pad deteriorates, it turns into a dust/sand mixture. When I walked downstairs to take a break, I realized that there was a layer of this dust on everything in our house {and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g}.
Once the carpet pad was removed, we sanded the hardwood floor and removed the tack strips. Whoever installed the tack strips put a nail every inch or so along the entire wall, which means that we had the fun of removing 100's of nails.
Next up, two coats of Kilz to seal and protect the hardwood floors before we paint them. Eventually, we will restore the floors back to their natural oak color but we will have to save that for another rainy day.
Looking much better already, right?! At this point in the project, I had to give myself a major pep talk. We've made HUGE progress but I know that we still have so much more to do before May 7th.

We took a few days off before we started removing the wallpaper. Once the wallpaper was removed, TC was able to repair the rotted window framing and the cracks in the wall. We put two coats of Kilz on the walls and spent the rest of the evening caulking around the windows and fireplace.
And just like that another week is complete! I can't believe that we are half way through our six week challenge. Thank goodness for the constant inspiration and support from all of the other ORC participants.
If you didn't see our Guest Room before, you can check it out here

Liebster Award: Discover New Blogs!

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Ashley from Baseball-Diamonds and Hairspray and Ashley from Hanging with the Hirsts. Thank you, ladies! Be sure to stop by both of their blogs, they are incredible women!

1. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Our family has always loved to travel yet I still have a lengthy list of places that I want to visit. One of my favorite trips was a girl's trip with my mom and sister a few years ago. We traveled to Barcelona, Rome, Monte Carlo/Cannes, Florence/Pisa and Provence. It was an amazing experience!

2. Do you have one book you recommend us to read?
I can't just pick one so I picked a few based on what you are looking for...
Relationship-Based: The 5 Love Languages/ Career-Focused: Mistakes I Made At Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out Of Getting It Wrong/ Easy Read: 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30

3. What is your nemesis?
I have a really difficult time saying "No" to people. I am working to get better at this but it takes time. I know that I need to be able to balance everything in life and the first step is being able to say No.

4. What is your favorite part of the day?
Walking in the door from work - Thomas is always right there to say hello & give me a kiss and the pups come running to me and will jump up and down until I say hello. Then, we take a few minutes to catch up on the day and plan for the upcoming day(s).

5. Tell us your biggest to-do on your bucket list.
I have always dreamed of having the opportunity to visit and volunteer at an orphanage. This remains on the top of my list and I am aiming to check this off very soon. An awesome benefit that my company provides is the opportunity to volunteer for 5 days each year for a charitable organization and we are paid for our volunteer service. I think I will be using these 5 days to head to an orphanage!

6. What is your favorite beauty product?
I have to admit that I am not the biggest beauty product person. I have used the same products for many years and rarely change my beauty routine. You could call me a creature of habit {I definitely am} but I've never had a huge interest in trying new products since the ones I use seem to work well for me. The one product that I can't live without is my Chi straightener. I have thick, wavy hair and this thing works magic. It is a bit more expensive but it is well worth the investment, I am going on 3 years with the one that I currently have.

7. Have you been keeping up with the Master's this weekend? If so, who are you cheering on?
I grew up in Pinehurst, North Carolina and if you watch golf than you are well aware of this small, quaint town tucked away among a sea of pine trees. But for those of you that don't have an interest in golf, Pinehurst is home to one of America's greatest golf courses and resorts, Pinehurst #2. Being from Pinehurst, I have enjoyed watching golf and attending golf tournaments {playing is a different story} so the Master's is one of my favorite tournaments each year. Phil Mickelson will always be my favorite but I had to cheer for Jordan Spieth. Jordan is an amazing golfer but an even more amazing brother and son. See more about his story here.

8. If you could hold/be around/pet one animal/reptile without it harming you, what would it be?
Beluga Whale - they are beautiful!

9. What is your favorite hobby or thing to do in your free time?
I love being active outside. You will most likely find me playing volleyball, soccer, running on the trails near our home, or working in the yard.

10. Why did you start blogging?
It has always been a dream but I wanted to make sure that when I started blogging that I could give it my all. After getting married, I found that I had some extra time on my hands now that I wasn't planning our wedding, I knew this would be the perfect time to start, Read more about why I started blogging from my very first blog post.

Joining the blogging world has been everything that I imagined and more - the people, the stories, the friendships, and the information that we share are just a few reasons why I love this community.

11. Do you have any pets? Introduce them to us!
We have two dogs, Tenley and Bo, that we love and adore. They bring us so much joy each and every day! Tenley is a Lab/Beagle Mix and Bo is a Boykin Spaniel.
12. What's your favorite holiday?
I enjoy everything about Christmas - the meaning of Christmas, the lights, the festive decorations, the excitement it brings to children, finding the perfect presents for our families and friends, the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree, and spending time with our loved ones.

13. What is your favorite store?
Ek! This is tough but I would have to say J.Crew for clothes and Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware for our home.

14. Do you like chocolate or vanilla better?
Hands down, Chocolate!

My Nominees:

Your Questions:
1. For 2015, what is your biggest goal?
2. Who is the one person that you wish you could meet?
3. What is your biggest fear?
4. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
5. Do you prefer sweet or salty snacks?
6. What has been the most rewarding moment in blogging?
7. Would you prefer to swim in the pool or the ocean?
8. What is the one item that you can't live without?
9. What would your perfect day look like? 
10. Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

I can't wait to learn a little bit more about each of you and discover a few new blogs too!

Weekend Highlights

Being a newlywed, there are so many things that I love about marriage but one that is on the top of my list is having someone that embraces and supports your ideas or aspirations {even if they are absolutely ridiculous} regardless of the situation. TC has done exactly that and this weekend was a perfect example of his selfless personality.

We had a lengthy to-do list to conquer in 48 hours {even prior to my additional ideas}. Warm weather means that we spend most of our weekends maintaining the land that has been in TC's family for many decades. In the midst of all of this, I mentioned that I would like to participate in the One Room Challenge by updating our Guest Bedroom in 30 days + I want to plant a garden again this year. No questions asked, he agreed and we got started.
After work on Friday, we met at Lowe's for our first of many trips that would end up taking place this weekend. We picked up everything that we needed to work on our Guest Room makeover since we wanted to start bright and early on Saturday. Then we opted for an impromptu date night at Doherty's Irish Pub in Apex. Their Pimento Cheese Fritters are my favorite, they melt in your mouth!

On Saturday, we woke up early to begin working on the Guest Room. Keep in mind that it has not been updated since approximately 1960. You will have to stop back by on Thursday to see the full update from this weekend but I will leave you with a few thoughts...
-From head to toe, I was covered in dust and dirt from a 55 year old carpet pad. 
-We went through many, many face masks in 24 hours.
-I went to work today with white speckles all over my arms and hands, Kilz doesn't come off easily.
-I would be perfectly content if I never saw carpet tack strips again.
Sanding the old carpet pad that was glued to the floor and had started to disintegrate.
I took a mental break and met a few girlfriends for much needed coffee talk at Benelux Coffee in Cameron Village. If you love coffee as much as I do then you will enjoy this coffee shop and their drink selections that have been inspired by their travels to Amsterdam and Brussels.
Later that evening, my mom came over to see our progress and cook dinner for us. It was a special treat that we enjoyed so much!

We were up bright and early to begin working on the rest of our to-do list but I was in desperate need of something sweet. My cinnamon roll craving hit me and it was all that I could think about. I solved that quickly and whipped up these to enjoy with my coffee.
After breakfast, we spent the morning trying to finishing the last few items for our One Room Challenge update. After lunch, we worked in our yard until about 7pm. By that point, we felt like we were struggling to walk or formulate sentences because we were so tired. It was well worth it since we'll have a garden with fresh herbs and veggies to enjoy this summer, our grass isn't as tall as my ankles, the weeds aren't taking over the driveway or our flower beds any longer and we made HUGE progress in our Guest Room.

Once I put the lawn mower in park and TC finished working on his projects, we sat on the porch to enjoy the Spring weather and remind ourselves that we are thankful to have this view to wake up to every day. It may be a lot of work but it is totally worth it.
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Linking up with these sweet ladies, Biana and Meghan.

Five on Friday

Hello, Friday! I am so happy to see you. 
Garden & Gun has quickly become one of my favorite magazines. Their most recent issue features "five perfect island escapes" and our honeymoon location made the cut! Grenada was beautiful, the natives were extremely friendly, the weather in September couldn't have been better and the resort was very nice. We give Grenada our stamp of approval and can't wait to go back! 
About a month ago, I mentioned that we had {finally} found fabric that we liked and wanted to use to recover our antique couch in our living room. It's finished and has been delivered, oh happy day! I'm in love with it. Premier Fabrics in Raleigh did a fabulous job!

The past 48 hours have been rough for our pups. We've had horrible thunderstorms and Tenley & Bo have not been all. Bo only wants to be in a dark place by himself when it rains. On the other hand, Tenley will not leave our side and would prefer to be on top of us until the thunder and lightening stops. 
Am I right?
As many of you know, we are participating in the One Room Challenge, we have until May 7th to completely renovate our upstairs Guest Room. This weekend will be dedicated to making some major progress, follow along on Instagram {stephaniechalk08} and stop back by on Thursday for a recap on what we were able to get done.   

I am linking up with AprilChristinaNatasha, and Darci for Five on Friday and Amanda for Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend, everyone!