My oh my, shopping season is upon us! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe it’s over already and we’re on to the gift-giving holidays!

Since time starts to run so short at this time of year and gift ideas are always helpful, we put together a few bright and colorful gift ideas for the girls in your life – mother, daughter, hostess, girlfriend, etc. – that you can find right here in Charleston. We do love to support the #shopsmall movement, of course!

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1 – Turquoise Stud Earrings by Birdsong Designs, $50 | 2 – Moroccan Woven Basket by Proud Mary, $78 | 3 – Lemon Chevron Cardholder by Myla’s Bags, $7 | 4 – Yours truly, letterpress recipe cards by dodeline, $14 | 5 – Sand Blooms Print by artist Teil Duncan, $50 | 6 – Signature Candles by Southern Protocol (shop in store or call to purchase)

Stay tuned, we’ll be posting a few more roundups of gift ideas from some of our favorite small and local businesses over the next few weeks. How are your holiday preparations going? Do you like to shop more in person or online? Do tell!

A few weeks ago, the Charleston Wedding Planners Association put on a great seminar on etiquette. I know, I know – it doesn’t sound like a thrilling topic – but for this crowd, it kind of is. Etiquette questions and guidance are a huge part of our day to day work.

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Coleman Hall – formerly Tidewater Chapel – hosted the event and it was beautiful. We got there in style via Lowcountry Valet’s awesome restored vintage buses.

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{via Instagram}

Before the seminar, I was so glad to see Brit Croft there photographing. She grabbed a quick shot of Kellie and me – Laurel managed to dodge the camera! We’ll get her next time. She was sweet enough to provide the beautiful photos for this post, so pop over to her blog and say hi if you have a second.

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After mimosas and delicious pastries, Peggy Post from the Emily Post Institute spoke and signed copies of her lovely new book. I loved her spin on things and it’s one I fully endorse – etiquette is about considering other people as much as possible. Thinking before you speak. Considering how your words and actions could be perceived. Loving any idea for 5 minutes before raising opposition.

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The presentation was followed by a fabulous lunch by Cru Catering. And desserts by Christophe Artisan Chocolatiers arrived on a gorgeous stand.

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I could get used to this.

Lovely, lovely day and so much fun to bring the whole Dodeline team (even though I can hardly believe I have a team ;-)). Happy weekend!

Thursday looked like this:

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Sunny and 74. With the sunroof down and music playing all the way home, I was all set to run upstairs, throw on my running shoes, and soak up some sunshine and fresh air. I grabbed my water bottle and made my way downstairs to leave it in my bicycle basket during my run, after which I would retrieve it for my cool down walk.

Ponytail bobbing and humming away, I tripped energetically out of the apartment, down the three flights of stairs, and around the corner to where my bicycle lives in the corridor.

My bicycle was gone. My beautiful blue bicycle with the brown leather seat.

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I swear I stared at it for a few minutes because, with the week I’ve had, I was sure it was much more likely I’d lost my mind than that it was stolen. Let’s just say I literally had a 20 minute conversation with the wrong Monica this week. So anyway, I finally realized it was in fact gone and I hadn’t lost my mind.

I scouted around our apartment complex and didn’t come across it in any of the other bike racks. So, to the office I went, where one of the girls in the leasing office promptly exclaimed, “I saw something about that on Facebook!”

Huh?

Apparently someone (whom I must not be friends with because I didn’t see it) posted something about coming across a blue bicycle abandoned in the woods a few days ago. We reached out but didn’t get an answer, and since I knew it was apparently in the area, I decided to turn my run into a recon mission. We have a few trails in and around the road on which we live, so I traipsed around for a good 45 minutes trying to spot my lovely blue bicycle, to no avail.

As I dejectedly walked back home, I passed by my former apartment complex (which is literally a mile from my new one) and I decided it was worth a try to walk into the clubhouse and ask them if they’d seen it. Upon telling my story, the maintenance man there said, “yeah, with a brown leather seat? I saw it this morning in the woods and leaned it up against a tree!”

“Perfect!” I said. “Take me there to rescue her!”

…to which he promptly replied it had disappeared not an hour later. Really?

Jason the maintenance man was kind enough to show me where he had seen my bike, and then we walked down the trail to see if perhaps it was there somewhere. During our walk, Jason told me all about the unruly teenage boys causing trouble in my former apartment complex. He seemed confident that they had something to do with it. It seems teenage boys are still picking on me even at 26.

We ventured over to where they hang out – under a bridge on the interstate, I mean what is it with boys? – no bicycle. At this point, I figured I’d done my due diligence, and Jason promised to let me know if he happened to find it.

Walking home with my dead I-phone, I was most annoyed. I love riding my bike and I was so looking forward to moving into a neighborhood soon where I would be able to ride it more. It was my graduation present from college and it seemed like such a shame to lose it in literally my last month of apartment living after all this time.

As I pondered all the woes of bicycle ownership, guess who should come cruising up the road on the most beautiful blue bicycle I’ve ever seen? Jason, the world’s best maintenance guy! Apparently, some well meaning resident at the complex had recovered the bike and placed it in the breezeway with a sticky note that read, “put your bike away.” I will, thank you.

And thus ended my Nancy Drew adventure for the week, and the case of the blue bicycle was resolved with a mostly happy ending. She’s a bit worse for the wear, but I got her back and that’s all that matters.

Happy Friday, friends!

This was such a fun project because it really brought together two of my favorite things – clever “business” design and awesome paper products. We did these really amazing letterpress posters celebrating the mission statement of the Lowcountry Local First organization, and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.

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It’s a manifesto I can definitely get behind, and I am proud & honored to have gotten to “represent” it!

Yummy food is always a good gift in my book. Luckily, in Charleston, we have no shortage of good culinary treats!

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One of my favorites is Sweeteeth, made right here in North Charleston. And I’m sure I don’t even have to tell you that one of the best parts is that awesome packaging! I love that the company started out of one person’s experimentation and drive and that it quite literally grew out of one awesome restaurant’s kitchen (EVO) into having its very own.

It’s the last weekend before Christmas, can you believe it? My how the time flies. I cannot wait to show you guys some of the cool pictures we took in NYC! Stay tuned & happy weekend :-)

Rewined Candles is an awesome success story. I remember setting up in markets when I was first starting, and now I’m amazed to see them all over the place. Such a simple, elegant idea presented so well that it’s not a wonder it’s a resounding success.

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They redid their website fairly recently, and one thing they included was this great slideshow about the process of how it all works. Great touch and really well done.

You’ll find them at most of our local markets it seems, but then you can also check them out on their website. Great gift for candle and wine lovers, made right here in little ole Charleston!

Happy weekend!

{Photo from the Rewined Candles website}

Inspiration struck yesterday after my session with Terra Locale…I’m loving my involvement with Lowcountry Local First and all the cool local vendors I know, so why not celebrate it here on the blog? So to take us all the way up to the Big Day, I’m going to do a series of 12 days of local Charleston Christmas gifts, and to kick us off, I’m going to start with my old office-buddy, Alesya Bags.

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Alesya saw a common problem for women and took it into her hands to fix it. We simply carry too much stuff nowadays. And more often than not, we need our laptops, our folders and papers, our normal purse stuff, chargers, etc., resulting in our traveling like pack mules with zillions of bags all the time. So, she invented a bag to fix the problem.

It’s a wonderful and chic piece that would be a great gift for any woman. Check out the demo on her website to see how it all works. And plus, they come in fun colors, which is always a bonus!

Back in our days at Spark – the summer of 2011, wow, has it really been that long? – I got to spend some time with Alesya as she was getting ready to launch the very first bag. It’s so neat to see how both our businesses have come along since then.

So that’s it for day one…stay tuned for more fun Charleston Christmas gifts!

Image Credits: Alesya Bags

When I attended the Lowcountry Local event last week, I was fortunate enough to meet the Holy City Popcorn Company, who very kindly offered (after I gushed about my popcorn addiction) to bring me some samples to try as we are practically neighbors.

So yesterday was a good day.  A happy text arrived announcing a popcorn delivery which I was more than willing to accept.

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With flavors like Rainbow Row and Rebel Ranch, I love that they are putting a true Charleston spin on my favorite treat.

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I can’t wait to try them all and see where their popcorn business adventure takes them!  I know they will be sharing storefront space downtown with a few other gourmet and local vendors, so more details should be coming soon on that.  In the meantime, I’ll be here, snacking away, devouring what’s left of my samples (which isn’t much).

Happy Thursday!  Can you believe it’s only a week to Thanksgiving?  My oh my, where does the time go?

I had the best time on Wednesday night spending time with some of my favorite locals. The Lowcountry Local First event at Dwelling was held to promote the beginning of Buy Local month, which is something I can definitely get behind.

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Even though I am a very new member, I got to get a bit more involved with this event since Leigh and Tim at Dwelling are friends and longtime clients. I always love working with them, and any excuse to hang out in their gorgeous store is fine by me! To top it off, the wonderful Jeni from Seastar Arts was taking photos which she was kind enough to share with me.

A good time was had by all. I love any event where I can meet financial planners, people who make wool socks on their alpaca farm, health coaches, popcorn entrepreneurs, caterers, and more all in the same place.

Happy weekend!

I am such a fan of this event as it was a big help in getting me started with this business. So it was a huge honor & a lot of fun to create a website for the Lowcountry Artist Market.

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Kristen had been doing a great job with a blog but had decided it was time to move to something with a little more room to grow and customized to the event. It’s easy to apply, see when the next market is taking place, and pretty to look at too. And now the blog + all that information is all in one place.

I love clean and modern websites like this, especially when we have those amazing posters Kristen commissions to utilize as part of the artwork. Fun bright colors & awesome designs by Mark Lawrence.

Check it out, and if you’re in Charleston on December 7th, visit the Market! We won’t be vending this time around, but there are many amazing vendors that you just can’t miss!