New City, No Friends (yet)

 

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When I said that I would have some time alone with my thoughts, that’s exactly what I’m getting. Without knowing anyone here, I’ve got lots of time to myself. I’m trying to keep myself busy, knowing that as soon as I have some friends, I’ll feel more like a local.

Confession: I’ve lived in Philadelphia for almost 10 years, yet I still have absolutely no idea where I’m going. I mean, I recognize things and locations, but I still need a GPS to get me everywhere.

My mission in Chucktown (that’s for you, Dad) is to learn this city and figure out how to get around without relying too much on my GPS. When my Dad and Other Mother🙂 stayed downtown in April, we walked everywhere and just that one week here really helped me to feel comfortable coming down this time. I’ve been walking everywhere and am starting to know where I am! Downtown Charleston is pretty small and so it’s getting easier everyday.

Here’s what I wore yesterday while strolling around downtown:IMG_9719Ruffle Top: Ann Taylor LOFT Outlet

Striped Green Skirt: Greene Street Consignment (and then tailored, of course!)

Striped Navy Cross-Body: Francesca’s, a birthday present courtesy of Iron Man specifically for my Big Trip!

These lovelies are from a shop called Alexandra AD, which sells beautiful French antiques.


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This lovely campaign chest was over $9,000 and spotted in David Skinner Antiques & Period Lighting. The rest of the lighting was in the same shop.

IMG_9721 IMG_9720This fab ship chandelier reminds me of the one featured in Lilly Bunn’s beautiful apartment. As my lovely friend, Elise, would say, “swoon”🙂

Finally, you KNOW I couldn’t go shopping without trying a few things on…This super cute dress was from Vestique. SO cute, right? It was a tiny bit short, so some minor alterations would need to occur, but that doesn’t usually deter me, since I’m a big fan of tailors!IMG_9728

Then later on, I quickly walked through the Charleston Home Show, which ended up being a bust…the good part was that it was a 5 minute walk from my apartment. Here’s what I wore for my short stint there…

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Dress: Japna via TJ Maxx

Black Clutch: Charming Charlie (originally $22, but purchased with a 10% off coupon from a previous purchase!)

Earrings: Target

Today, I went to Folly Beach! It was really easy to drive there, but surprisingly much harder to find your car when you’re ready to go home…After a minor freak-out (cue massive sweating episode and wishing I had “dropped a pin” on my iPhone…), I found a very nice man driving a buggy wearing a Folly Beach County Park t-shirt who literally drove around all of the side roads to find my car for me. He was so thorough, I thought he drove away and wasn’t going to come back! But, he found my car and I sat inside with the AC turned up, petting the steering wheel and telling her I’d never lose her again…

Before the panic:IMG_9744

Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

*Disclaimer: So many wonderful people have reached out to me saying that they have a friend here, or have put their friends in touch with me. I truly appreciate everyone’s efforts to help me socialize and acclimate to a new city. I feel so loved!

Hanging Out At…Quirk Hotel

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I split my Southern journey into 2 parts.

Part 1 took me on a 5 1/2 hour drive to Richmond, Virginia, where I spent the night at the  FABULOUS Quirk Hotel. This was generously made possible by Iron Man’s loving parents. So I have to give a shout out to them! E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g about this place was customized, down to the pale pink ice bucket:

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I originally heard of Quirk Hotel a few weeks ago when YoungHouseLove posted their photo on Instagram:

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I didn’t read the caption, only the location, which I quickly investigated, since I was trying to plan my route to SC. Lucky for me, my route ran RIGHT THROUGH Richmond! Fast forward a few days, and I was lounging on the beach in Long Beach Island, NJ and reading the September issue of House Beautiful (I don’t usually buy magazines…) While reading the cover story, I realized that it featured the Quirk Hotel owner’s home on the cover! Had I read YHL’s caption, I would have known this, but after seeing all of these instances come together, I took it as a sign that it was meant to be!

Check out my photos from my glorious stay🙂

Lobby:

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That beautiful “tapestry” is made of discarded coffee lids. Some of which still have coffee stains on them…

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Maple & Pine Restaurant/Lounge:

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I had the Ms. Crenshaw cocktail and the Roasted Chicken Breast. This was anything but boring-the pesto was amazing! And although the portion looks small on the plate, it was definitely filling and really, really good.

The Courtyard:

This may have been my favorite place! I would have sat out here with a book much longer if I didn’t have to drive 6+ hours the next day.

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Outdoor Rooftop Deck:

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My Room! I actually stayed in 301, but it was easier to take the photo of the door across from my room🙂

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Basement Elevator Lobby:IMG_9693

My only regret is that I didn’t check out the Quirk Gallery when I first checked in. I was so tired from driving! By the time I realized that it might be closing soon, it was closed. It didn’t reopen until 10 and I headed out at 9am. Lucky for me, I can order from the online store if necessary🙂

Bottom Line: If you get the chance to travel to Richmond, then stay here

Happy Travels!

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Greetings from Charleston!

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Hello Ya’ll! (OK, I’ll stop)

If you follow me on the ‘Gram (sarahashley612), you will see that I have been heading down south. #sarahdoescharleston

I have long contemplated moving to Charleston, South Carolina for 4 years. Why Charleston? Why not Charleston…the vibe of the city is just *heaven*. Every building has a story to tell and is maintained so beautifully. The old cobblestones, bricks, lanterns, piazzas, weather, palm trees, shops, and award winning restaurants are all reasons why it’s been ranked The #1 City in the World by Travel + Leisure in 2015. I’ve always loved the South, so when I talked about moving here, Charleston was constantly suggested. Not to mention, every time I saw a dreamy photo of a place I felt like I needed to go, the caption always confirmed the location…Charleston.

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I made 2 trips this past year to explore downtown and the suburbs, and I still felt like I needed to see what this path meant for me, so it was about time that I bossed up and made it happen! Don’t get me wrong, I have everything going for me at home, but I felt like I couldn’t move forward with any of it until I figured out what role Charleston would play in my life. It may just be a fun experience to tell my kids about (lesson: have courage), a good time to continue some emotional healing (yep, still working on it), and also give me more confidence in being independent (get it, girl!), or solidify why I need to own a home here at some point in my life (which means I need to become a multimillionaire AND also marry a multimillionaire…)

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In order to “test” it out and really take advantage of the experience, I decided to come down for 2 months. I figured out a way to continue working at my spectacular company, found an incredible FURNISHED apartment in a “Charleston Single” house right downtown, and hopefully made a connection to help a local interior designer (fingers crossed!) So far, it’s been just the kind of trip I thought it would be. A chance to be alone with my thoughts and fall in love with where I am in my life now.

It’s working.

❤

Iron Man’s House Updates!

Because these are SO overdue, I’m posting the Before and After, so you can see the real transformation. These are “true to life” photos. No “staging”. You know that was KILLING me!!

LIVING ROOM:house 3 newIMG_9331

 

DINING ROOM:house 8 new13600036_840172962779439_4937101599743631401_n

 

KITCHEN:house 4 newIMG_9327

MASTER BEDROOM:house 5 newIMG_9332

My Sweetie loves his home, and I love it too. It makes visits even more enjoyable!

 

For more info on the finishes and colors, check out this Before post and this During post!

 

Iron Man’s House Updates

So much has been happening at I.M’s homestead!

There has been so much progress, these photos are probably out of date already…

I Photoshopped a little sumthin sumthin for him here, so here are the “During” photos.
You can really see where the kitchen doorway, wall, AND soffit were removed, making the kitchen feel SO much bigger!

Before:house 3 new

During:
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LIVING ROOM Before and During…house 3 newIMG_8796IMG_8978

DINING ROOM Before and During…

 

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KITCHEN Before and During…

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Paint: Behr, Tanglewood N320-3U(Paint + Primer) via Home Depot

Trim: Semigloss White

Wood Flooring: QuickStep, Reclaime Collection, Heathered Oak Laminate via Lomax

More updates coming soon!

Photoshop Fun: Iron Man’s House

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Iron Man bought a house!! I am so proud of him for accomplishing one of his life’s goals. It’s such a cute, sweet place, all it needs is just a little love and care🙂

Here are some of the Before’s…

Living Room:house 2 newhouse 3 new

Dining Room:
house 8 new

Kitchen:house 4 new

Master Bedroom:house 5 new

Main Bathroom:house 7 new

Guest Bedroom:house 6 new

I had to slightly photoshop them (quickly and sloppily), for image security purposes, but this is generally how each room looks.

IM has been so kind and let my creativity run wild. I know his style and made sure that whatever I whipped up, was something that he would like. Even if he doesn’t end up using it exactly, it makes for good blog posts!

Here is his Living Room and Dining Room reimagined:

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Here are the details:

Flooring: QuickStep, Reclaime Collection, Heathered Oak Laminate via Lomax

Curtains: West Elm, Sheer Diamond Curtain

Dining Chandelier: Shades of Light, Multi Glass Orb Chandelier

Dining Table: CB2, Dylan Dining Table

Dining Chairs: Modway Furniture, Amish Wood Armchair via Domino

Cacti Print: Etsy, Vertical Cactus Print

Driftwood Floor Lamp: World Market, Driftwood Floor Lamp Base

Sofa: West Elm, Andes Sectional

Coffee Table: West Elm, Emmerson Reclaimed Wood Block Coffee Table

Rug: West Elm, Boho Textured Wool Rug

Entertainment Center: West Elm, Modern Buffet

Raven Image: Deviant Art, Raven Ink Sketch

Since I.M. has 2 months until his current apartment lease is up, his contractor has already gutted the kitchen, ripped up the heinous carpet, installed the crown moulding in the Living Room, and started painting the ceilings, trim, doors, and walls!

I’ll update shortly with some progress shots per room🙂

What I Wore: Tribeca Film Festival/Rent the Runway Review

RentTheRunway_logo1Hi! Long time no see🙂 That’s how you know I’m busy doing fabulous things like going to the Tribeca Film Festival a few weeks ago.

Ironman lent his expertise to a documentarian whose film was being featured, so we went for the premiere. Obviously, I needed something chic to wear! Rent the Runway came to my rescue with Trina Turk’s Gizella Dress:

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It was perfectly polished. Not too over the top (I’m not a celebrity), but still made a statement.

Pros: 

-It fit exactly as pictured and exactly as the reviews described (which was slightly boxy)

-They give you an extra size for free-just in case. I didn’t need it, but it eased my mind!

-It arrived exactly when they said it would and was super easy to return.

-It was only $60 to rent vs. $400 to own

Cons:

-I couldn’t keep it🙂

IMG_8565A few minutes before this photo was taken, a lovely woman came up to me wanting to know ALL of the details of my ensemble right down to my shoes (which are Ellen Tracey, similar)IMG_8567 I sent this photo to my cosmopolitan cousin who lives in NYC and she said I looked “Manhattan” with my all black. Rent the Runway for the win!

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Don’t you just love a good train station bathroom photo?

I would DEFINITELY use Rent the Runway again. Now, I just need to find another fabulous occasion…possibly the big 3-0, which is coming up much sooner than I would like to admit. Eeek!