Month: June 2014

Charleston Restaurants and Bars

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View from the Vendue Rooftop

There are so many great restaurants, pubs, and bars that I have visited only a small number of the eating establishments. I was fortunate to have a local foodie friend who took me to great restaurants and suggested others. I hope this list will help you when you visit Charleston.

This bakery and café on East Bay Street has amazing desserts and cookies. I tried the Red Velvet, the Turtle Cheesecake and the peppered cheese cookies.

Kaminsky’s Baking Co.
I had the most amazing Hummingbird Cake on 78 North Market Street. It was so big that we split a piece of the cake, and I still brought home at least half of it.

Pearlz was one of my favorites. It is located at 153 East Bay Street. Pearlz is the go to place for happy hour.

The prices are reasonable. The food is very tasty, and the beer is cold. I recommend the Southern Fried Oysters and the Crisp Fried Shrimp, and the Corn Fritters. I loved the atmosphere, service and the communal tables. It allowed you to converse with other people and relax. Adelia and Michelle both gave it a thumbs up.

This restaurant/bar located at 495 King Street has a great rooftop bar. The Lobster and Grits Dish was amazing. I could have eaten the grits with the vegetables and not have eaten the lobster. good!
….so good!

This was my favorite rooftop which was located on Vendue Range (right off of King Street on your way to the park). It was amazingly comfortable set up, and it had such an inviting atmosphere.

Red’s Ice House
This is a great place to watch the boats, kayaks, paddle boarders, and the fish sandwich was really good.   After a day at the beach or a day in the boat, it has the perfect atmosphere and view of Shem Creek.Charleston 1 108

Charleston Harbor Fish House
This place provided a beautiful view of the harbor.  Charleston 1 089

The duck dish was amazing.

Langdons Restaurant and Wine Bar
Order the pork chop! Great atmosphere!

Shelter in Mount Pleasant is a fun place with good music and a great outside area.

Southern is a laid back relaxing type bar with an older crowd. It was a fun place to end the night.

The East Bay Bar and Grill was a good place to watch the game. Typical bar food.Charleston 1 201
One thing that seems universal about Charleston restaurants and bars is the outside eating and drinking areas. With the climate of this area, it is what most people want to do. They take advantage of the warm weather and in some locations the wonderful breeze to enjoy being outside. Charleston has so much to offer in the way of fine dining and casual dining.  Enjoy!

Internet Addict

FinallyCreative Commons License Kenny Louie via Compfight
Yes, I am an internet addict. Is there a support group for internet addiction? When is the last time you found yourself without WiFi for your computer? Many people use only their phones and are perfectly content with that, but I want high spend internet for my computer. I like to say a lot, and I cannot do that texting. I have it on my phone at all times, but I am accustomed to being at work with two lovely screens and fast internet and at home with two lovely screens and fast internet. At this time, I have only my phone except for when I visit Greg, McDonald’s on Folly Road or Starbucks in Mount Pleasant or the wonderful Charleston Library. I am not handling this well! There are other locations within walking distance, but my laptop weighs a lot, and my back would not appreciate that walk.
I suspected this might happen when I saw a past due bill here at this beautiful old home in downtown Charleston. When I first arrived, there were four other girls, but now there are only two girls. One of the girls that moved home was in charge of the internet bill; hence, no internet at the house for the last week and a half! I have not had tv since I arrived, and I was not missing that at all. It gave me more time to read and write which are my go to time suckers. BUT no internet has sent me in a tailspin.
My part-time job as an online instructor requires hours of internet usage, and there is so much knowledge that I need to be gaining from various sources to move forward. This fuels my internet addiction and makes me want more hours of internet access.
I have discovered that as I look at future dwellings that I am not concerned with the fact of sharing a bathroom with two other people, but only does it have WiFi? If it does, how fast is it?
When I consider a cruise or a vacation location, the first thing I check is internet connections. I feel a cold sweat start to occur when it dawns on me that internet is not accessible. I have been reading Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche (Thank you, Lori-more on this wonderful book later), and I completely relate to Torre’s internet needs and the excitement she feels when she reaches a port with an internet café.

I think some of this comes from being a type A personality who wants to do a good job and wants all of those items on the to-do-list checked off. When you are an online instructor, internet accessibility is the name of the game in order to meet the needs of the students and to meet deadlines.
What do you look at every day on your computer? This is what I look at first:
• Work e-mail: answer questions and then post.
• Weather – I love Thank you, Mr. Lindsey!
• Facebook – Yes, I must see what my friends are doing especially My Vault girls, and as much as I do not like to read some of the rants and post that really should not be shared or should in my opinion only be shared on Twitter, I do enjoy reading the motivational quotes and keeping up with the moments of life that mean something to my friends.
• E-mail: I have four. Job e-mails, g-mail, and Comcast e-mail.
• Banking business: I must look occasionally at my statement to make sure that everything is as it should be. As the cartoon I read stated, “They would not steal from your account, but they might make a deposit when they saw your balance.” I am not sure why I feel the need to keep a check on this account, but there is a fear of someone getting my card number and lowering that balance.
Everyone has his/her own sites that he/she feels should be checked often:
• Sports updates- Rebel news- Daddy, Jordan, and Tyler
• Pinterest- Kelley and Jade
• Instagram- Everyone but me
• Twitter- constantly everyone but me. I have had a hard time embracing Twitter because I want to just talk and not hashtag everything, but I am making an effort.
• Travel sites and blogs- Lori
How do you handle not having internet access? I think you probably handle it better than I do!

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No Gray Hair for Me

carriage-tourI color my hair to look younger.  There will be no gray for me  Is it vanity or should we try to be as attractive as we possibly can be? Are we trying to be attractive because it makes us feel better about ourselves, or are we trying to make someone else happy? I like to think we have an obligation to look our best, but it may just be pure vanity guiding my thought process, or it could be the media who encourages us to do whatever we must do to look attractive.

Why do I color my hair? Why have I been coloring my hair since I was 30?  Well, I am genetically prone for sprouting gray hair early, and I have not exactly lived a stress free life, so when you combine those two things, I guess graying early is a given.

All of these thoughts came to my mind since my recent fall on the sidewalk on Sunday.  I had discovered it was time for a little touch up, and since most of the time I do this myself, I started the procedure.  To avoid dying my shirt, I stripped down to a sports bra and gym shorts then I applied the color.  I could not sit in the house for the thirty minutes processing time that is required, so I went out to the back porch totally forgetting about my new friends in the carriage house, but fortunately they missed the incident and did not call 911.

I was talking to my daughter, Jade,  while enjoying the breeze and then as I proceeded to walk to the front porch, I saw a horse head peeping through the driveway opening, and I knew a carriage ride was coming by the house. I could not let these tourists see a woman with gym shorts, sports bra, flip flops and a plastic cap on her head coming around the side of this beautiful antebellum home.  They would remember that sight  even if they forget what the historical guide was sharing with them, so I darted back around to the porch. I made it then I paused and let the carriage tour go by and then I started around the house again and that is when I missed the last step. I jumped up and surveyed the damage. Everything was working, but my knee was bleeding. My strong bones held together one more time, and the stretched tendons and ligaments in my ankles from my sports days just stretched, and there was no pain anywhere else. I was really lucky.  As soon as I realized no doctor’s visit was warranted, I started laughing.

Then I remembered after chemo, when I started growing my hair back. I could see the gray shining. Of course, no one else could. I tried to color the ½ hair and not only did I color my hair, but I also colored my scalp. I wish I had taken pictures of that.

When you can laugh at yourself, you can always be entertained. Laugh at yourself and forgive yourself quickly when you make mistakes. No one else keeps up with your strikes, why should you? If they do keep up with your strikes then maybe you need to eject them from your game. ( Yes, I am in baseball lingo. Hotty Toddy!)

I always said I would let my hair color be gray when I was a grandmother. Well, that will happen in September, and I have changed my mind- I will see what my natural color is when I am a great-grandmother.

This sexy girl- soon to be a grandmother- has her gray covered!

Love to all!

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Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy

Dad in NOLAA father’s love is a special gift that he bestows on his children. A man who loves his children unconditionally and teaches them to love their children unconditionally gives his children the best gift that he can give to them. This gift will carry them through life with an open and loving heart. A child will be more willing to embrace the changes and challenges of life if he/she knows that his/her parents are always in his/her corner cheering for his/her to survive, thrive, and enjoy this life.  It is unfailing support that some children are given just because they were born. It reminds me of the love of God because we did absolutely nothing to deserve it.  I know that all children do not have this love, and my heart goes out to them because I do not know what I would have done without the support and love of my Daddy and yes, when I say it, I make it two syllables!

There is a reassurance and a confidence when you know that love and support is only a phone call away. When you know that your father will not judge you for whatever road you choose to take in your life, it allows you to make choices that were what you needed or wanted at the time- granted, they may not have been the best choices, but the support was still there. I am sure for my dad at times it was like watching a slow train wreck (and may still be), but he never left my side, and he listened. I am sure there were times when he put down the phone and said, “Jane, you are not going to believe this.”

His love for his grandchildren is also the same as his love for me and my sister. They know that Pops always has their back, and he will do whatever he needs to do to help them. Their love for him is so strong.Dad- Hotty

Other things I learned from my dad:

  • A good book is a treasure and should be devoured and learned from on a daily basis. Yes, Whistle and The Godfather were read by me at a young age. (You did not know I found them in the bookcase.)  We can both escape to another time and place just give us a book. Be patient because you can talk and talk or a great show my be on tv, but we do not hear you or comprehend what is being said on the tv.
  • Education is a treasure. Not all people have had the opportunity to receive an education. It is not something that should be taken for granted. You can never be too educated, wealthy or wise!
  • Seeing different places and meeting new people enriches your life and your viewpoint of the world.  New York – my first real Italian food, Miami – the guy who brought me carnations at the airport, Europe – I was a pain in the ass, but you did not leave me over there!  The Nutcracker in Atlanta on Peach Street- Daddy worked during the day, and I played in the hotel. My love of travel began, and it is stronger now than ever which reminds me, I need to buy that lottery ticket today!
  • Being willing to take a chance to make something happen takes strength and confidence, and you took a chance many years ago to better our lives. I know now how much courage that took.
  •  The love of good food, good company, the Ole Miss Rebels- Yes, we love our team, but the people you share that love with is what makes memories. I hope they win tonight!

Dad Thanksgiving

  • The cabin- Provide a place where away from home that is like a family retreat where the doors are always open and love will abound for family, friends and our adopted family members.

As I sit here writing this on this beautiful Sunday morning in a beautiful antebellum home in downtown Charleston, I can hear the church bells ringing, and I am so thankful for all of the bumps, hills, mountains that I had to climb to get here, and I am so thankful for my daddy- the strong man in my life who has always been there for me, and I know with one phone call he will provide that one way ticket home.

I love you, Daddy, and I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope your Father’s Day present blooms beautiful red flowers for many years.

Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy

Patricia Neely-Dorsey

Magnolia flower in September 1 Piers Nye via Compfight

I have always been fascinated by the motivational forces and inspirational forces of writers. I had the privilege of chatting with a Mississippi writer who loves the South. Patricia Neely-Dorsey is a Mississippi writer who embraces her heritage and portrays in her poems the love and rich lifestyle of the South. The titles of her books are Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia- A Life In Poems and My Magnolia Memories and Musings -In Poems. She refers to her books as “a celebration of the south and things southern”. She feel that there are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south, in general, but through her poems, she attempts to give a more positive glimpse into the southern way of life.

With the simple language and relatable themes, the poems can be read, enjoyed and understood by readers of all ages from 8 to 80. There is definitely something for everyone. I personally could relate to all of her poems being a Southern girl.  There is a memory that comes to mind as you read each poem. The news from the “Beauty Shop”, the first love portrayed so descriptively in “Tell me Again”,  the acceptance of who we are in “Loving Me”- there is something for everyone. Older Southerners will love the books because the poems bring back wonderful childhood memories of growing up in the south in a simpler time. They are reminded of a way of life that is rapidly becoming just a memory.

For the younger readers, Patricia wants to instill in the youth of our state a pride in the rich heritage of the South. She has received wonderful feedback from places as far away as Spain, France, and Germany. The “Magnolia Tree” poem seems to be a fan favorite around the globe. One gentleman from India asked for permission to translate it to post on an Indian site. A blogger from Austria also used the poem on her blog which featured photos of magnolia trees in her neighborhood in Austria. Overall, I think that the books/poems make entertaining (and educational) reading for anyone from the North, East, South or West!

The poems of her books are reflections on beautiful, happy childhood memories, growing up in Mississippi, so the title was decided because the magnolia tree is the state tree of Mississippi and the magnolia flower is the state flower. Also, Mississippi is known as the “Magnolia State”.  Women of Mississippi are also often referred to as Mississippi Magnolias. Patricia feels that she is deeply rooted and grounded in Mississippi as the strong, ancient magnolia tree. She describes herself as a beautiful Mississippi magnolia flower. The titles of both of her books incorporates the strong feelings of love for her state.

One thing that caught my eye immediately was graphic art of the magnolia on the cover of both books. They were designed by Rainey Scott, a graphic artist/designer from Vicksburg Mississippi. He worked closely with me to bring about my vision. The magnolia on the first cover is by Marty Kintrell, a photographer from Vicksburg and friend of Rainey Scott. The magnolia on Magnolia Memories is by one of my very favorite photographer friends, Bob Franks from Fulton, Mississippi.
February is the month where I buy eight birthday presents, but not Patricia. February is a special month for her because it plays a special role in the life of her “book babies”.

  • First of all, she was born in February.
  • She wrote her very first poem February 14, 2007.

“I woke up out of my sleep on Valentine’s Day 2007, with a poem swirling around in my head. I quickly got up and scribbled it down. After that the poems just started to flow and flow.”

  • Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia was published in February 2008.
  • My Magnolia Memories and Musings was published February 2012.

When asked what her favorite poems are, she said they were all truly like her “babies”.

“I think the signature poems of my writings are “Southern Life” and “If Mississippi’s In You”. I think that they sum up the feel and theme of my all of writings. ‘Southern Man” continues to be a big reader favorite. One of my personal favorites is “Let’s “, because it kind of captures my philosophy in life of enjoying the simple things.”

She plans to publish a third book of poetry in 2015 or early 2016. It will be titled Mississippi In Me- Poems and More. This book will be the last installment of what is essentially a trilogy – Mississippi Magnolia Poems.

If you would like to purchase the books, please click on one of the links below:


Name Your Link

If you would like to contact, Patricia please go to these websites:

I would like to thank Patricia for sharing her love of the South and her love of poetry with all of us.

Have a great day, my friends!

Morris Island: Guiding Light

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I left the house early on Thursday for a needed beach day. One of my roommates had talked about James Island and another person mentioned James Island to me, so that was my destination until I was introduced to the Morris Island Lighthouse.

I stopped by a convenience store to get my big cup full of ice, and I asked about James Island and the James Island Park signs. I was told that it was a state park with a water park but not a beach; I knew immediately that was not my destination for the day. He said that I needed to go to Morris Island and see the Lighthouse. He told me to drive to Folly Beach and take a left and go until the road ended. Everywhere I go I am showered with kindness and patience. If I ever meet a rude Charlestonian, I may cry.

I was tempted to stop because the beach was nice before I got to the end, and there was free parking, but I continued to the end. A nice family was unloading their mini-van, and they answered my questions and allowed me to walk with them to the beach. It was a long walk carrying all of my stuff.

After you park, you walk through the end circle and down a paved road for around a quarter of a mile and then you decide which path you want to take. I went to the left and found a nice beach with very few people and with a great view of the lighthouse. The lonesome light house looked very regal with sea gulls flying around it. I started looking around me and I spotted a fisherman who was having a great relaxing day just watching his fishing poles.  I think he was the smartest person on the beach because he pulled all of his stuff in a little red wagon. He said the fish was not biting that day, but we both agreed any day on the beach is a good day.

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I then started to unload and set up the stuff! I stopped and purchased an umbrella holder thing on the way to the beach. I always struggle with getting the umbrella not to fly down the beach. I test my reflexes with this every time, so far, I can still catch it before it plunges in the ocean.  This was a big fail.  It did not work, and I was still constantly trying to keep it stable. My next trip to this beach will be soon, and my load will be lightened, and to hell with the umbrella. I will drown myself in SPF 50(as always) and hope for the best. Every time I looked up from my writing and reading, I was looking at the majestic lighthouse and appreciating the quiet and the seclusion.

While looking at the lighthouse, I could not help but wonder, how many people had this lighthouse guided to safety?morris island--lighthouse 048

At this point in my life, I have not needed a lighthouse for navigating actual water, but I need several lighthouses daily to guide me through the waters of life.  For many people, their navigational “light” comes from a religious or spiritual presence that soothes and caresses the heart and soul. To get to that presence or to find that presence is a never ending journey. Besides a spiritual presence, I need my girls, my family, and my friends who surround me with unconditionally love and support. While they may not understand my thought process, they are always there to listen and pick me up when I am moving toward a dim light.

What is your lighthouse that helps you to navigate this great journey called life?

FYI- Eating yogurt by dipping pieces of watermelon in  the yogurt is very tasty but very messy. Note to self: Remember the spoon next time.

Downtown Charleston: My Eat Pray Love Journey

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“….my shadow has not darkened the doorway of a church or a museum, nor have I looked at a guidebook. But I have wondered endlessly and aimlessly,…..”
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, page 37 .

I love living in Downtown Charleston. Yes, it has only been a little over a week, but I love everything about it. I can sit on the porch and watch the constant flux of people walking down the street, the horse and buggy tourist groups, the bicyclers, and the people walking to work.  There is an energy that you can feel.

I can start walking in any direction and see amazing architecture and pretty flower gardens. I have wondered aimlessly throughout the downtown area. I like having no plan, nowhere I have to be or no tourist site that I must visit. It is a great feeling to ask yourself, what do I want to do today when your life has been dictated for the most part by the restraints of societal responsibility.
Some times by choice, sometimes because I would walk out of a store and go the wrong way, I have toured downtown. You know sometimes left or right is tough, but you always have a fifty percent chance of making the right decision.

“My shaky sense of direction and geography mean I have explored six continents in my life with only the vaguest idea of where I am at any given time.” Page 40

As I went the wrong way when I came out of Victoria Secret (bikini looking a little old- sales staff was amazing), and walked a long way in the wrong direction, I discovered King Street Cookies.

The House Specialty  and the Georgia Peach were absolutely amazing. I sat in the big orange chair and enjoyed every bite.morris island--lighthouse 005

As I continued to walk in the wrong direction, I also found the Blue Bicycle Books which was featuring Dorthea Benton Frank’s new book Hurricane Sisters.  It was a quaint bookstore and one guy did come through pushing his bike.  Battery Park is my favorite destination, and I actually know how to get there from the house.  It is beautiful and the breeze and the sight of the harbor helps me to relax and let go.

“People ask me before I left for Italy, “Do you have friends in Rome?” and I would just shake my head no, and say, ”But I will”.   Page 42
I have made some friends, and I will make more because if you stand still long enough, I will talk to you, and I can converse on many different subjects, so changing the subject will not deter me.  I do not watch the news, and I have not watched tv or anything on the computer  since I arrived, but I can still talk or more importantly I can listen; as Lori and I have discovered, most people just need someone to listen and to allow validation to occur for his/her ideas and existence.

“Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.” Page 56
I am being polite to myself and forgiving of my directional screw ups. I have no plane to catch or life threatening appointments to keep at this time, so I will learn as I go and continue to find the hidden treasures of Charleston.

As you can tell, I am re-reading Eat Pray Love. I found it under my bed when I arrived at the house.  I think that was a sign that it should be read again. My friend keeps it close to her to re-read again and again, and she is a very wise lady. There are so many parts that speak to me now and it is not only the new destination parts. The parts about life and love and spiritual presence speaks to me in a different way than it did several years ago when I first read the book. I could not relate then but I can now. Many times we are not ready for a message that we are supposed to take away from a book or from a person, but I think I am ready now for the wisdom of Elizabeth Gilbert. I would encourage you to read this book even if you have read it, read it again. Her posts on Facebook are also inspiring and insightful.

Folly Beach

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The drive over was not bad at 11:00 a.m. The highlight of my drive was this huge boat on the side of the road that someone had written a congratulatory announcement for a couple who had made their second anniversary. I applaud their enthusiasm, but really….  I had been warned that getting from downtown to Folly Beach could be hectic with traffic slowly moving, but it was a nice drive. As I drove down the main drag, there were restaurants and cute little shops on each side of the road.

I took a left and followed the crowd to a sign that said $10.00 parking. The guy in charge was an impeccable salesman. He said it was for all day and the beach was right across the road, and there were bathrooms close to the entrance. I was sold, but I looked at my skin and thought I will not be here all day!

I stopped by this bar because I have realized that carrying a cooler is a waste of enormous strength. Two Styrofoam cups of ice and two bottles of water and I am set for the day.  The bartender was really nice, and the drink concoctions at the back of the bar really caught my eye.

What concoction would you choose?
What concoction would you choose?

Public beaches are awesome for people watching, Ages range from 1 to 80, but everyone is relaxed and in a playful mood. I choose a spot behind the lifeguard station for two reasons: the firm scenery and the safety of my “stuff”.  I was entertained by the gallon jug of sunscreen that the lifeguards applied to each other over and over. I am the Sunscreen Queen, and I started to volunteer to be the sunscreen application girl, but I resisted the urge. I was rolling in SPF 50 all day!

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When you are with a group, you do not have to worry about your stuff. You can go to the bathroom, walk on the beach, or go for a swim,   but when you are alone, you must consider locale before you pick your spot. As I got situated, I realized that I had left my book and my magazines in the car. At first, it was almost a panic attack because this is the girl who reads a magazine and checks e-mail while she eats breakfast. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” I sometimes take this to the unhealthy extremes. I reverse it and never take the solitude to rejuvenate and reexamine my life. It is forge full speed ahead in the darkness! I did have pencil and paper, and I remembered from reading Virginia Woolf that this was all I needed to entertain myself.

Lunch was a turkey lunchable, yogurt, and a granola bar. Everything tastes better on the beach! There is a no alcohol law on the beaches here which was a hard concept for me to grasp. I am not a big in the day drinker, but I do think it should be an option for the beach if you follow the no glass and red solo cup rules that we enjoy during football season.

Warning: The sand will blister your feet. I was not prepared for that. I jumped up and did not put shoes on before walking. I will not do that again! Put your shoes on in South Carolina if you are at the beach and the sand is not wet. The tide goes out further during the day than I have seen at other beaches. I looked up and the lifeguards were pushing the lifeguard stand closer to the beach.

After I left the beach, I went back to Rita’s where I got the ice and ordered a Jalapeno Cilantro Margarita- Do not do that unless you like a hot spicy alcoholic drink. The bartender was a really nice lady who consoled me with a Rum Punch, and it was delicious. She answered my questions with kindness.

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After this I walked up and down the street and enjoyed the shops and the people. I was very amused by this sign. What a hard choice this would be. Do I want to go to the dentist or the liquor store?

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I was tempted to compare this beach to other beaches, but I stopped myself and realized that comparing people, places, and things does not always bring a positive outlook. Every situation, destination, or person is unique and should be valued.

“Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.”   Virginia Woolf

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