Lowcountry Experience Gift Guide 2018

Thanksgiving is a few days away and so we find ourselves quickly rushing into the holiday season. Originally, this post was meant to follow the previous year’s gift guide format, where I listed out fantastic local wares that would make great gifts. Then I glanced around my house, got overwhelmed with the amount of ‘stuff’ sitting around, and thought back to a tip a friend of mine shared years ago, “Experiences, not things”. And while, yes, I still enjoy the occasional physical gift, there is no lack of experiences to partake in Charleston, so I’ve listed my favorites below for all ages.

Memberships
All of these experiences are staples of Charleston. My son was gifted the Children’s Museum Membership for his birthday and it’s made a great get away for our entire family. Cost, benefits and details in link to each membership association.
Gibbes Museum of Art
South Carolina Aquarium
Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
The Charleston Museum
The Charleston Friends of the Library

My son, Grant, at the Lowcountry Children’s Museum

My son, Grant, at the Lowcountry Children’s Museum

Outdoor Adventures
From a kayaking to see a sunset to finally running the bridge to taking advantage of all of the parks Charleston County has to offer, this gift really keeps giving and lets your recipient have some flexibility in how they want to use it.
Coastal Expeditions
Cooper River Bridge Run (or another 10k or 5k)
Charleston County Parks
Charleston ZIp Line Adventures
Wild Blue Ropes

Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant

Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant

Health & Wellness
Yoga studios and gyms abound, so maybe check with the recipients personal preference of location. Spas are a-plenty, as well, but these are my favorites. Also, “Hi” to my husband.
Woodhouse Day Spa
Urban Nirvana
Yoga Studios
Gyms

At Serenity Now Yoga with some friends

At Serenity Now Yoga with some friends

Musical & Theatrical Performances
There is no lack of talent in our city and many acts travel to town throughout the year. Summer and winter are a great time to enjoy performances at any of these venues.
Charleston Music Hall
North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center
Spoleto Festival USA
Pure Theatre
South of Broadway Theater
Charleston Stage
The Footlight Players
Theatre 99

Groundhog Day Concert at Charleston Music Hall

Groundhog Day Concert at Charleston Music Hall

And because it was this post’s original intent, here are some additional gift ideas:
Charleston Magazine Holiday Gift Guide
Traveler of Charleston Holiday Gift Guide
Explore Charleston Holiday Gift Guide
Christmas in Charleston Gift Ideas
Upcoming Buy Local Markets

What’s your favorite experience in Charleston? Would love to add to this list for future years.

Self Discovery & Care in the New Year

Emily:

This past week, I read an entire book, mostly in one day. Not a children's book, but a 300+ page fiction novel. This is quite the achievement for my new mom status. Finishing that book did not come without guilt. The dishwasher really needed to be unloaded, the dog walked, notes needed to be put together from my 8 showings earlier in the week, and there was an email from my broker I needed to follow up on. Truly, the list goes on and on, so why not pause, decide what can wait (I mean, the baby has to be fed), and take some time for yourself? Below are some ideas on how to concentrate on your self care for the New Year. 

THE GIVEN
If you're reading this post to be encouraged to get your nails or hair done, get a massage or head to a yoga class, go for it, but the suggestions below are a little more outside of the box. I'm sure someday in the next couple of years, I'll have a few hours to spend at Earthling Day Spa and it will be fabulous. 

GET OUTSIDE
If you live in the Lowcountry, you have access to some of the country's best county parks and beaches. On the days I only have 30 minutes to spare, I tend to take a stroll around our neighborhood. It's the ultimate mood changer and especially rewarding now that my husband and I both have a FitBit (thanks, Santa). Our dog doesn't mind it and it's a major calming resource for the baby. Recently, I discovered a hiking group called Hike It Baby and once my little is old enough, I'd really like to try out Loblolly Adventures

Our littles, Ruby and Grant, enjoying Hampton Park in downtown Charleston

Our littles, Ruby and Grant, enjoying Hampton Park in downtown Charleston

LISTEN TO PODCASTS
For the busiest of people, a podcast is always a good idea. We're all in the car on and off throughout the week, so why not use that time to listen to a 30 minute segment on your hobby or lose your mind in fiction? Serial was a big hit a couple of years ago, but I've been sucked into Limetown, Presidential, TED Radio Hour, and Love + Radio. The lists for good podcasts go on and on. The library also has free downloadable audiobooks through the Overdrive and Hoopla.

GO TO THE LIBRARY
Speaking of books; When is the last time you went into a library and got lost for a while? One of my favorite activities is to walk to the New Book section in my local library branch and leave with a few, free to check out, non-fiction books to leave laying around the house. Do I really need to own The Tao of Bill Murray? Probably not, but it is fun to pick up and read a few lines when I have a moment or two to spare. Commit to spending 20 minutes walking around the library (apply for your library card online). It's mind-opening. If you're lucky, the bread making book you bring home for your husband might turn into his newest hobby that will keep an endless supply of baked goods in your home. 

DISCOVER NEW FOOD
Which leads us to cooking. Full disclaimer; Cooking is not my thing. Sure, I can bake a pre-made mix with the best of them and my mom's recipe for potato salad is a real winner, but it's not something that calms me. That being said, eating good food does heal me. Some days good food is comfort food and others it's a big, fresh plate of veggies, but either way, staying nourished is a good way to care for yourself. The library has an endless selection of cookbooks and our favorite time-sucker, Pinterest, still has all those recipes you saved back in 2013. We're lucky to live in a place that supports many farmer's markets and farms. Buy a veggie you've never cooked with before (watermelon radishes, anyone?) or stop at the farm stand you've been passing for years.

SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN
Rest doesn't come as easy for me as sleep. The day before I went into labor was spent at a nearly two hour yoga class after cleaning up one of my listing's back yards from Hurricane Matthew. These days, when my son goes to sleep, the electronic devices and lights get turned off and I commit to getting in as many hours of sleep in as I can. All these phone and computer items I've suggested above? Well, there's a time to stop. Tonight, pay attention to how long you spend doing unnecessary phone scrolling instead of sleeping. If there's anything motherhood has taught me in these first couple of months, it's that I can be incredibly unpleasant without sleep. Need something to keep you focused on cutting screen time? Try the app Moment.

BE YOUR BEST SELF/MOM
Since both becoming moms this year, Angela and I have both discovered a few resources to help along the way. Local entrepreneur (and friend), Gervase Kolmos, runs Shiny Happy Human, an online and in-person resource to moms. The Facebook group makes me laugh on a daily basis and helps me feel sane in this motherhood ride that somedays threatens to steal every brain cell I've worked so hard to cultivate. Posts on MotherMag and PopSugar Moms also help to relinquish some of the squishy brain functions. Alone time is absolutely necessary, so why not check out a morning program once or twice a week for those kiddos that aren't in school yet?

@gervasekolmos

What are some of your favorite things to do to encourage self-care? 

Wishing you great health and happiness in 2017!

 

Farewell Summer: Labor Day To-Do List

Angela:

Summer is nearing its end and the relentless heat is subsiding (just barely). The end of summer means different things to different people. To parents, it’s that busy time that the kids go back to school. To the kids, it’s the bittersweet end of break freedom. To everyone else, it's the end of a glorious summer.  The last days of summer are marked by the Labor Day holiday weekend and we've made a list of things to-do to end summer with a bang! If you're planning to move here or have recently relocated, you'll notice there's never a day your calendar can't be filled with something fun! (Note: Be sure to read to the end for our giveaway!)

Labor Day Weekend To-Dos:

I'm planning to spend at least part of my holiday weekend on the beach. One of the best parts about living in Charleston is that there's always a beach nearby!
Photo: @angelawicke

Get your tickets to the 8th Greater Lowcountry Jazz Festival, September 2-4.
Photo: @lowcountryjazzfest

Set sail on the Palmetto Breeze, Friday, September 2nd for the Firefly Friday Charleston Harbor Sunset Sail benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Photo: @palmetto_breeze

You don’t want to miss the Labor Day weekend fireworks on Folly Beach, September 4th at 9 p.m. near 3rd Block West.
Photo: @edgeofamerica

IMG_0188.JPG

Other upcoming Lowcountry events to check out:

Photo: @chasriverdogs

As always, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has a great ongoing calendar here

*Now for the giveaway- Leave a comment with your favorite Lowcountry Labor Day activity for a chance to win two free general admission Riverdogs tickets to this season's last regularly scheduled game on Thursday, September 1 at 6:35 p.m. Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 31 at 12 p.m.

 

Beat the Lowcountry Heat

Angela:

I have a serious case of the summer heat blues and with a new little one on my hip, getting out and about is nearly impossible. A few weeks ago we posted Charleston Magazine’s “Explore: A Cooler Walk in the City” guide to our Facebook page and it motivated me to find fun activities (read: activities that take place in air-conditioning) that would get me and baby out of the house.

I started by researching activities that I enjoyed pre-baby to see if I could find anything that would be baby inclusive. I started to create my list of things to do and to my surprise it grew long!  Here are a few of my favorite ways to beat the summer heat with baby in tow:

The Yoga House of Charleston’s Love, Baby & Momma class is a great way to stretch and bond with baby all while beating that heat! Don’t worry if little one has a melt-down, it’s all peace and love in this safe space.

Follow @yogahousecharleston on Instagram:

Terrace Theater Lowcountry Parent Family Film Series happens every Wednesday at 11am throughout the summer and kids under 10 are free!  Best part is that they serve wine and gelato so you can spend the extra cash that you saved on your little one’s ticket on “mommy juice.”

The Charleston County Public Library offers numerous activities and events for all ages!  We have enjoyed the Babygarten at our local James Island Library branch each Wednesday.

The South Carolina Aquarium offers daily programs and events sure to keep everyone entertained. They offer a stellar membership benefit package that makes it affordable for the entire family.

Follow @southcarolinaaquarium on Instagram:

And of course we had to list The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry!  Check out their upcoming events and family membership package options. BONUS: If you purchase a CML membership, you also get a discount on your SC Aquarium membership!

Follow @explorecml on Instagram:

And if you don’t have to worry about a little one, but just want to stay cool, these could be fun options:

Opt for a therapeutic massage with Michael N. Livingston, LMT at Live for Wellness Chiropractic Center. He’s not your typical masseur and he will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Plus while you are there, why not get an adjustment from Dr. Jen Perdue?

Oh to be baby free for a day; I might check out one of the many classes offered at the Gibbes Museum of Art. They offer a variety of classes and programs for all ages and skill levels. They also recently went through a major renovation, which has been gaining praise from locals and visitors alike.

Follow @thegibbesmuseum on Instagram:

If you have to be outside and you’re looking to cool off, check out one of the many Charleston County Water Parks.  Choose from Splash Zone, Splash Island, or Whirlin’ Waters. Get your Splash Pass to save on entry fees all summer long.  

Follow @charlestoncountyparks on Instagram:

Drop us a comment to tell us how you plan to beat the summer heat, and be sure to stay cool out there my friends!