Thursday, June 2, 2016

The French Quarter | Charleston

Jake and I visited Charleston for the last time this past weekend (cue crying emoji). We only stayed one night, but we managed to fit a lot in just over 24 hours. We arrived on Sunday around noon, just in time for our brunch reservations at Cannon Green. The funny thing about this place is that we randomly drove by it on our way to another restaurant last time we were in town and I fell in love with the exterior. You might remember my Instagram that I posted of the outside of the building. Anyway, I just happened to look it up and it's a really cool event space and restaurant. So, I decided to make a reservation and I am so glad we did. Add it to your list if you are ever in the area. I had a delicious mimosa (for Jake, a 'Sunday Struggle' mixed drink) and they even had a DJ playing some great R&B. Perfect for Sunday Brunch on a long weekend.

After brunch, we headed downtown to King Street to walk around and finally checked out CandleFish. I had been wanting to visit this new-ish shop for a LONG time, but it never made it into our itinerary -- until now, that is! Candlefish has 100 scents you can choose from and they are numbered instead of having names to confuse me. So, I chose number 88 after smelling probably 25 candles. So much fun! and the prices are affordable -- I could have gotten a bunch of candles, but since we are moving in a few weeks, I told myself that it would be better if I just purchased one and we could get more the next time we visit. More on that later... 

We did not have dinner reservations which is very unlike me. But we ended up having drinks and dinner at Edmund's Oast -- and it was so incredible! I made a last minute reservation via opentable (LOVE opentable! Have already gotten 2 $50 gift certificates just from making reservations) and we even managed to sit at the Chef's table. That is my new favorite thing -- so cool to see how the restaurant works -- up close and personal. 

Finally, I have been wanting to stay at the newly opened Spectator Hotel in Charleston, but we've been saving for the move, so we had to opt for a free night via our starwood points in North Charleston. Anyway, we wandered into the hotel for a night cap and ended up staying for 2+ hours, just chatting with the bartender and another couple. I even tried a drink with a raw egg white (Bee's sneeze, BTW). I mean, when in Rome, right?! 

The next morning, we grabbed coffee (my favorite lavender latte) from Black Tap and headed to the French Quarter to drive and walk around. So much fun! If you haven't been to Charleston, definitely add it to your list. I was thinking about putting together some City Guides to my favorite cities -- let me know if you guys would be interested.

Lastly, we visited Obstinate Daughter -- a great restaurant on Sullivan's Island. Amazing shrimp roll + geechie fries. Yummmm!!! 

So, back to the goodbye.  Since we've been in Charlotte, we've easily visited Charleston the most out of any other city. Asheville is a close second.  But, we really grew to love this place. It's like the Portland to our Seattle.  When we lived in Seattle, we would visit Portland at least twice a year (always Memorial Day weekend for the unofficial start of summer). So, for the past 3 years, we've visited Charleston for Memorial Day... and I'm really going to miss this place! The only thing left to figure out is... where will we go next Memorial Day?!





Saturday, May 7, 2016

Escape to The Sanctuary

When I first heard about Kiawah Island (which is in South Carolina, near Charleston), I thought the name sounded Hawaiian almost.  I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the island. Turns out the name comes from the Kiawah Indians and dates back to the 1600's.  One of my favorite things about being on the East Coast has been being able to explore and check out places with so much rich history.  Things don't quite date back as far as they do in Europe, but history seems to go several more hundred years back on the East Coast as opposed to the West, which makes sense. But living on the West Coast and in Hawaii for so long, you kind of forget about these things. 

On another note, you probably know that Jake is really into golf.  So, when I discovered The Sanctuary Hotel which is a golf resort on Kiawah Island, I knew we had to plan a weekend getaway to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get some relaxation time in.  So that is just what we did.

A few snaps from Charleston on the way there... 

We arrived at the beginning of a long, somewhat rainy and stormy weekend which isn't the best for golfing.  But, after several rain delays, Jake was able to golf just a few hours later than originally planned. I went to the spa and got a southern classic massage -- my first time ever going to a hotel spa! -- it was heavenly and amazing and I was super relaxed. We decided that I would ride along on the back 9 holes so I could see the Ocean Course which is right on the coast, surrounded by huge homes and lush scenery.  It worked out perfectly, as it began to thunder right at the end of the 18th hole. We then had dinner and watched the Sunset at one of the hotel restaurants, overlooking the 18th hole. My first 'golfing experience', if you can call it that was pretty fun. I got to drive the cart and I saw an alligator! So, all in all, it was a great trip.  We also stopped in Charleston on the way there and back, because... I am completely obsessed with that little town. I think if we weren't moving to California, I would want to move to Charleston.   Honestly, the history, architecture and food are enough to just blow your mind.  I am hoping to make at least one more visit before we head out West. and yes, people on the East coast really do say 'out West'. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2016


So, you've been anxiously awaiting the announcement. Where are we moving to next? You probably remember this post I did, announcing that we were moving to Charlotte about 3 years ago. Well, in the past 3 years, Jake has almost gotten his doctorate.

Cheers to that! 

#phdwifeproblems #amiright

He'll defend his dissertation in mid-June and then we will pack up all of our belongings and move...

Somewhere near the L.A. area, we're not sure exactly where yet. And I'm not sure if my placement on the above map is correct, either. Give or take, right?!  Jake got a job as an assistant professor at a university near L.A. and we could not be more excited. The other great news?!? I will keep my current job and work remotely from home.  I'm not sure it could have turned out any better than this.

Here's the plan:

June 15 - 20 - We'll visit the area and find said place to live. Since I will be working from home, I am totally open to living anywhere! I am more concerned with finding a neighborhood that we like rather than living in a certain area that is close to the university. Easy for me to say, right?!  Similar to when we moved to Charlotte, I spent hours and hours researching neighborhoods online and I am so glad we picked South End! I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in this city. So, I think my countless hours of research will ultimately pay off again. I'll probably document this more on the blog as it gets closer... now that it's all out in the open!

July 1 - Officially move. Moving Pods and car arrive in California.  We'll have the weekend before I go "back to work" on July 5th, but it will be nice to unpack a few things and get our bearings. So, that's it! We are turning in my Volvo before we move so we have one less car to ship and we are currently debating if we want to get another car once we get there or maybe we can survive on 1 vehicle if we live in a walkable area. We'll be flexible on that front. What are we not being flexible on? Space! We need at least 3 bedrooms so that I can have an office and Jake will likely need his own office too. The crazy thing is that I've lived in a studio or 1 bedroom apartment for most of my adult life (except for senior year of college when we lived in a house) but I am so excited for more space! I am already planning how my (don't worry Jake will have his own closet, too) closet will be organized... It's the little things!

Are you surprised? Excited? Relieved? I am actually not all that stressed about doing another big coast to coast move, mostly because we've done it before and I truly think that we'll be on the West Coast for good now. So, there you have it! The Best Coast, it is!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

5 Myths about Living in Charlotte

This post is a continuation from my post earlier this week, titled 5 Truths about Living in Charlotte.  It is so nice to be able to reflect on the past 3 years and think back to when we arrived here. We had no idea what this city would bring, how it would change and shape us, how we would shape it, what we would learn from living here and I'm just guessing here -- how much we would miss it. 

When we first arrived here in Summer 2013, we were excited to explore and check out the area. Jake visited once prior to the move and I had actually never been here until we moved here.  That might sound crazy but I've moved around quite a bit in my 31 years so far and moving is just very exciting to me -- It's almost like a new challenge.  Heck, at the age of 18, I moved to Spokane, WA to start college sight unseen from Hawaii. How is that for putting yourself out there?

Just for fun, a little chronology of where I've lived (so far): 

1984 - 1992 | Port Huron, MI
1992 - 2003 | Lihue/Kapaa, HI
2003 - 2007 | Spokane, WA
2007 - 2008 | Olympia, WA
2008 - 2013 | Seattle, WA
2013 - 2016 | Charlotte, NC
2016 - ??? |  Stay Tuned! 

This is not a foodie city. 

I probably would have said this up until about a year ago. When we first moved to Charlotte, we were not impressed with the restaurant options. Coming from Seattle which is a huge foodie town, we were like, where is the gourmet pizza, ramen and boba tee? Since we've been here all of these things have sprung up and even more! We recently put together our Charlotte Bucket List and I honestly can say that I will miss so many of our faves: Kindred, Alino Pizza, Carolina Smoothie, Luna's Living Kitchen, Food Truck Friday, Futo Buta, Greek Isles (RIP), Foxcroft Wine, Duck Donuts, Bakersfield, Summit Room, Soul, Maki Taco, Fourth Ward Bread Co. (RIP), Stagioni, the list goes on and on... Many of these places were not here when we arrived. So crazy! 

The weather is too hot. 

Since we've been there, there have been less than (5) 100 degree+ days. I mentioned before that I was worried about my hair frizzing up and looking like a crazy person (I am semi-obsessed with straightening my hair to be pin straight). But, honestly, except for a few times the weather has not really been an issue. Heck, we moved here in mid-July and it was in the 70's so it was basically perfect.  I am not sure if this is a temporary thing, but I promise it's not as hot as you think it will be. 

There is no water around the city. 

I will say that there is no easily accessible lake, river, ocean near the city. But, we visited some friends who live on Lake Norman a few summers ago, and I was very impressed with this man-made lake. Now, this is hardly the Pacific Ocean or Elliott Bay (google it), that I've been used to but it'll work. Also, there is the National Whitewater Rafting Center which we have yet to visit (see: Charlotte Bucket List, above). I've heard really excellent things about it and we are hoping to get in a visit before June. I'll keep you posted but I'm sure we will love it! 

It's just a city full of NASCAR Fans. 

I have a confession, we have never been to a NASCAR event and I am sure a good chunk of the Charlotte population has not either. What do we spend our time doing besides traveling, eating out at restaurants and working? The Charlotte Knights (Baseball Triple-A Affiliate of the White Sox) recently debuted a new field, which is basically in the middle of Uptown and its the coolest thing ever! Do I pay attention to the game? Not really, but I love the fun atmosphere and I am always down for a baseball hot dog or Queen City Nachos (complete with pulled pork). We've also started going to a few Hornet games which are also very fun and festive. I'm starting to learn the player's names (Jeremy Lin, anyone?) and I just heard they are going to the playoffs! So, there is a lot more to Charlotte than just NASCAR. I think I forgot to mention the Panthers (I didn't go to any games this year, but Jake did) but they had a nice little run this year, if you're into that kind of thing... 

It's not a big city. 

Sure, it's no New York City, but Charlotte is definitely bigger than I thought it would be.  There is a bustling, but compact downtown (lovingly called Uptown) with retail on the way.  All of the stores I would ever shop at are here (except maybe Celine, am I joking?!) and it was just named the 16th largest city in the country. Charlotte was recently ranked No. 2 among fastest growing large cities.  Surprisingly, Charlotte has a similar population of Seattle, although it's spread out more over here. 

Hopefully I was able to clear up some misconceptions you may have had about living in the Queen City. If you have anything to add, be sure to post in the comments section below. Not to keep you hanging, but I do promise to announce where we are moving to on the very next blog post.  Are you on the edge of your seat yet? 

Have a great weekend, 


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