We have finally firmed up #thegreyhousebuild‘s layout and we couldn’t be more excited!! There has been a lot of back and forth with the Imagine Your Home team over the measurements, shifting windows, adding real dormers to the bedrooms, etc., etc. They have been amazing at tweaking our house design and getting it just right- thanks guys! And since I’ve been keeping a few of these 3D renderings to myself for a little while, it’s about time to share them with you guys!
A few weeks ago, the whole family (Brent, Jack, Max and I) loaded up the car to the brim, botanical props and all, and headed down to Leon’s Furniture headquarters in Toronto! The reason why:
Leon’s is introducing something better than ever… CUSTOM COLOURS! Woo! Woo!
Wow, it all feels so surreal that we are actually doing this, building a house. From the beginning we have been working alongside Imagine Your Home to build our house from scratch. There have been many changes that have led us to this point. And though it may look like we haven’t shared much as we won’t see any physical work happening until we break ground in June…. I kid you not, there has been SOOO much thought and dedication that has went into the planning and designing of our future home #TheGreyHouseBuild. As I mentioned before, we decided to build our house from an exterior inspiration photo we found on Pinterest. Brent and I both designed the shell of the house (aka a drawing that looks like a 10-year-old did, lol) and we have been shaping it to fit our family from start to finish.
Once we handed over our juvenile floor plan during our introductory meeting back in December, we visited Lester, Kendrick and Riley the guys behind the Imagine Your Home team a month or so later where they shared the preliminary 2D drawings. The preliminary 2D drawings are engineered correctly, ex. compared to Brent and I’s small scaled stair placement, and they were displayed for us to review on the BIG screen at Imagine Your Home headquarters for all of us to get a good visual! We focused a little on the design direction, clarified any details such as room layouts, room measurements, problems/solutions and so forth.. all the nitty-gritty finer details to move closer and closer to the final detailed construction drawings.
As we designed the template of our house, we filled each space with our essential list of wants/needs within in interior.
- 2 storey house
- Approx. 4 bedrooms with the master bedroom on the main level
- Open concept kitchen, dining and living room area with a fireplace
- Fireplace built-ins
- Vaulted ceiling in the living room
- Office on main level
- Mudroom and laundry room combined off of the garage and to one side of the house
- Main floor powder room (something we currently do not have, weird I know)
- Future golf simulator location in basement (Brent’s dream, of course)
- Laundry shoot
- Covered back patio with large patio doors off of kitchen
- Contemporary staircase (open concept)
- Walk-in master bedroom closet
This list may seem long and profound to some people or this list may seem short and moderate to others. Basically we came up with a floor plan that ended up being the perfect fit for majority of our essentials. And to be honest, I know I could live in a 12 x 12 box-shaped house and make it feel like home… By that I mean that from the day we moved into our current 1997 city house, I have loved decorating, creating and finding new ways to re-vamp our home. It’s taught me a lot about myself over these past 5 years. It has motivated me and opened doors for opportunity by stepping foot in the home design world, which I’m not necessarily a pro on paper, but in my heart I know I have the passion and drive to do it! Which is exactly why I believe I can turn almost anything into a heartfelt home 🙂
So when it comes to crazy little details like a floor plan… remember:
It’s always good to have a list of wants and needs, number them from most to least important so you have a starting point. When you have a general idea of what you want within your home, the floor layout becomes that much easier to piece together!
Something that I highly recommend when it comes down to finalizing the floor plans, are the room measurements!
I have had multiple measuring tapes out, I’ve measured friends and families rooms within their homes just so I could BE SURE that the room and functionality are going to work for us. The scary part is that because I measured out rooms, we have made a few very IMPORTANT changes to help with the flow of our house plan. We ended up moving the powder room from the kitchen/dining area into the master bedroom/office wing to make the kitchen area bigger and also to create more privacy- thank goodness Brent’s dad pointed this out to us… we don’t think it would be very fun for someone to be using the loo while the others were sitting at the dinner table next door!
Which comes to another point:
Have someone other than your Home Designer/Architect and partner to look over the floor plans. Sometimes we pay attention to other details so much, that we end up overlooking certain aspects of the layout! It’s always good to question every room, ask for multiple opinions and give it a double √
Seeing our home in 2D has really put everything into perspective, we have a better visual of the flow within, it raises questions and it helps us better understand how we can plan the millwork and functionality of our future home. At one point we had a looong hall starting from one end of the master wing going all the way into the master bedroom (where the master bath is located now). Lester convinced us to start with the master bedroom and walk into the closet and master bath instead (which is our current floor plan). Simple changes like that Brent and I wouldn’t have realized if it wasn’t for Lester helping us to maximize our square footage!
Brent’s dad has also played a huge roll in our house build. For that we are so grateful to have him guiding us, attending meetings, organizing the trades, talk construction + all the building technical stuff neither Brent or I understand! Brent and I have never done this before, but we have amazing people helping and guiding us along this building journey. We may never do it again, so we want to make the most of this experience and share that story with you.
Right now we are in the mist of picking out our exterior finishes aka the MOST stressful decisions yet (well for me)! I will be sure to share a post revolving around that aspect as soon as we finalize our exterior finishes.
Thanks for stopping by,
A few weeks ago I shared a campaign Leon’s Furniture created, called #ProjectSmartFurniture. Project Smart Furniture is an experiment to make people more aware of the time they spent together, so they could make the most of it! Moving forward, #ProjectSmartFurniture has made me re-think how much quality time our family actually spends together. To be completely honest, I do feel like my family does spend a lot of quality time together right now, and here’s why…
Both Jack and Max are under the age of 5, yes they love watching shows on the ipad, which Brent and I keep an eye on, but when dad get’s home around 5pm the boys are all over him! They wrestle, sword fight, build forts, play outdoors, you name it these boys are busy! I do think because they are on the younger side, distractions like iphones and texting, play stations and tv don’t consume them toooo much yet… Also, my boys from an early age have loved being outdoors, Jack more so than Max, but because these guys do everything together, Jack usually drags Max outside with him (even when a storm is a-brewing!), lol its pretty cute though.
I work part-time from home throughout the week while Jack is in school. Max is at home with me and I do find he watches a little bit of the ipad while I’m in work mode. However, Max is also much more independent and he is willing to play alone with his toys for hours, where as Jack is more social and needs company. When Jack is done school for the day, the boys are usually busy playing together or in the kitchen with me while I’m preparing supper until Dad gets home!
In time, I know our little family dynamic and quality time will change, the boys will have more friends, be into the digital world more and more and that’s when family time will begin to feel sparse. With that being said, I wanted to share a few ways we can all take advantage of quality family time!
10 Ways to Spend More Quality Time With Your Family
1. Cook + Eat Meals Together • My kids love cooking and making a mess while doing so, haha but I can’t complain. If cooking is going to strengthen their learning skills, I’m all for it! Plus the boys are more likely to eat their food knowing that they helped me cook it. Also eating and praying together as a family is something we do almost every night. We also enjoy chatting about our day, sharing stories and sometimes we have to focus Jack to be quiet so he can finish his food (he’s Mr. Chatterbox ’round here).
2. Reduce Off Screen Time • Set a scheduled time so that family members can have on-screen time. This also allows everyone to be on the same schedule making it easier to spend quality time together. The boys usually watch a show when Jack gets home from school, this allows for me to get a few extra things done or prepped before Brent gets home + the Jack is usually tired from a busy day at school.
3. Create New Traditions • Create new traditions by planning pizza night every Friday night where the kids help make pizza, followed by a family movie. We love pizza nights in this household! Also, Saturday breakfast with homemade egg, bacon and english muffin sammies are the specialty.
4. Join Extracurricular Activities • Get the kids involved in sports, this is a great way to get the kids to interact with others and be apart of a team. It’s also great for the whole family to watch and cheer on one another! Jack joined soccer last year, but this year we’ll be putting both boys in- we cannot wait!
5. Church on Sundays + A Day of Rest • On Sunday we go to church and we like to have a lazy day relaxing at home afterwards. Sometimes we have family or friends over. It’s also another great way to show routine and for our kids to learn about something we should all value and have faith in.
6. Do Household Chores Together • A great way to get the house cleaner, faster is if everyone helps out! Sometimes when I fold laundry the boys will help put it away. When we are all helping out, it definitely shows accomplishment and that we are all on the same page 😉 😉
7. Play Board Games • Our kids love playing board games, even if they don’t play the game right, they still love the idea of us all sitting around the table together. Plus its a great opportunity to make some hot chocolate and play on a cold day!
8. Vacation/ Weekend Getaways Together • Weekends are definitely busy around here but I think that’s because we are a go go goooo family. I usually like to leave the house on the weekend (especially if our house is clean, lol!) so we can come back home to a clean house. By planning day trips or vacations we are creating new memories together and those are priceless!
9. One-On-One Time • Do something special with each kid. I’m a firm believer that spending one-on-one time with each kids, helps to strengthen your relationship with them. It’s also great because they don’t feel the need to compete of attention and a wonderful opportunity to do something you know they love!
10. Go Outside • This is probably our number 1 thing to do in the warmer months! Our kids live and breathe the outdoors (even in the winter). They boys love getting wild with their imagination outside and the activities are endless! We love to turn on the sprinkler and run around, eat popsicles on the patio, pull weeds out of the garden, go for four-wheeler rides and etc. There is SO MUCH to that can be done together outside + fresh air makes everyone happier 🙂 We are outdoors people 🙂
Now, do you ever keep track of how much time you and your loved ones spend together?!
#ProjectSmartFurniture has opened my eyes to something we may not realize affects us in North America… at the end of the day, we are all consumed by the digital world. If I could have it my way, I would love to live back in time before phones ever existed- life would seem so much less complicated. What do you think!?
Thinking back to when we had our first meeting with Lester from Imagine Your Home, it must have been mid November. It was right after we took the kids out for Halloween in the community Brent grew up in. We have always enjoyed stopping in at Brent’s parents before we headed into town so they could see the boys all dressed up! Afterwards, we would make our tick or treat rounds knocking on our friends and friend’s parents homes. There’s just something different about a small town, something I tried to shy away from as a teenager, but now it’s a place I want our boys to grow up in… funny how that happens.
As we reserved our lot, it was time to look into Architects around the area. Since we are going the custom build route instead of hiring a builder, we needed to find an Architect to plan and design our home. Neither Brent or I have ever worked with an Architect/ home designer nor really knew what to expect from one. We did a little research and the Houzz website seemed to be our best bet where we were able to “Find Professionals”, narrow them down and view by a specific location. We came across Imagine Your Home, and to our surprise was located in the same area we were moving (obviously we needed to learn more about them!). From there, Imagine Your Home was our first choice and we set up an appointment to learn more about the house designing/planning process.
A few weeks went by… I did a whole lotta pinning before we met with Imagine Your Home to give them the best vision of our future home, #TheGreyHouseBuild. Brent and I eventually narrowed down on a house exterior we both loved (you can read more about that here), and created a “floor plan” that suited all of our wants/needs, not knowing if our floor plan was realistic by any means!
Sidenote* Brent, myself and Imagine Your Home have designed our house from scratch, and by doing so (in a humorous way), we understand why people buy house plans online already thought through and planned accordingly in which tweaked to fit needs!! Thankfully I feel like I have a little familiarity and confidence within home design to go from scratch- but would I do it again!?… I will save that whole experience for another post!
Guys, it’s kind-of a big deal to give your dream home ideas that you’ve drawn up 100 times + imagined over and over in your head (for weeks or months or years) to a stranger, in hopes of them making these dreams realistic. We really had no idea what Imagine Your Home was capable of at this point but we had high hopes!
This floor plan became the starting point for us when we met with Imagine Your Home.
This is one of many, MANY floor plans Brent and I drew up. (You guys should have seen the first one…)
And let’s not forget about Jack’s ADORABLE house plan!!
So far though this whole experience, it’s been so much fun imagining with the boys and letting them “help” plan out our future home. One day I hope the boys can look back and remember how much of an impact they had on our home 🙂
Finally after lots of anticipation, the day came when we sat down with Lester the visionary of Imagine Your Home…
After meeting Lester and Riley (who also helps Lester with the detailed floor plans) and showing them all of our house inspirations, starting from one area of the home and going onto the next, talking about interior finishes and contemporary farmhouse exteriors, Lester knew the interior style we were going for, which definitely is such an IMPORTANT feature when you are planning to build a home! Lester seem to hit the nail on the head, he knew were to source products that I loved but had no idea existed here in Canada, because you know, we usually just shop at Home Depot. He opened our eyes up to all of the possibilities we were unsure of while keeping our budget in mind, he showed us places we could save money and still have the same aesthetic look we loved (like in our staircase design!). He shared the “Imagine Your Home” process where we could potentially see 2D and 3D renderings of our home, which you may have seen a peek of on my IG stories! We had so much fun sharing our ideas with Lester, it was definitely one of our favourite parts of the process.
If you are planing to build, I would strongly recommend calling Imagine Your Home to see where your visions go!
Lastly, I just want to express how blessed I feel to be doing something like this that I absolutely love. Working closely with Imagine has really brought out my passion for the whole process of building a home, and yes decorations really dress up a home, but there’s so much thought that goes into the layout of a home, it’s definitely overlooked as it really defines the home you live in. And although it is a blessing to build a home, it isn’t about the house, the finishes or having all those dreamy things we think we need. It’s really about the memories we create within our homes, the people we share it with and a place where we feel comfort and love, always! So far this process has involved our whole little family; Jack and Max have been talking about their future home and all the things they have been looking forward too. I smile every time I picture the boys playing in our backyard, the kids they will grow up with and the humble community they’ll be surrounded by. Finding a place to plant our roots is what we have been looking for… it’s looking at the big picture and knowing where you see your family, where you’ll all feel happy and secure.
Today I’m sharing the last of Autumn and I’s trip to Myrtle Beach! It was the perfect getaway mid-winter with the help of Porter Escapes! Now I’m
patiently awaiting spring to arrive… In the meantime I’m going to share some warm weather via photos!
Our last day at Myrtle Beach was spent enjoying the Hilton DoubleTree Resort’s backyard, which reeeeeally does feel like a resort! The beach view from our room was absolutely gorgeous and it’s a view you never tire of seeing every morning. Once we had our bags packed, we headed down to the beach to capture that true Myrtle Beach experience- guys, it did not disappoint (though I wish it was hot enough to take a dip in the ocean)!! The sound of the waves, the seashells along the shore and that feeling of sand wedged between your toes, gosh, is it summer yet!?
DoubleTree also has a pool right beside the ocean, amazing right!?
I also want to give a shout out to Eve Cork because this little Montana Backpack was so convenient during our trip. My passport easily fit in the back zipper (where the backpack rests along your back) so I knew it was secure the whole time. I was able to fit my DSLR, a sweater, some girl stuff and wallet all inside as well. It’s such a soft and durable material aka the cork… it even looks cute when the boys carry it around for me 😉 Another beach essential for all those mamas + beach lovers out there: The Gathre Mat! These mats are wipeable, waterproof, compact and simply amazing for the modern family (or gal)!! While we were busy taking photos, the Gathre mat was the dumping ground for all of our stuff + if you have a love hate relationship with sand, these mats got your back 😉 (PS. I have the Tannin colour!)
Open Front Sweater with Tassel Details: Thistle & Finn
Doesn’t this place seem so dreamy!? The boys would love it here!
After our beach time, we headed on down to the DoubleTree Resort main lobby/restaurant where we enjoyed our last meal in Myrtle Beach: a breakfast buffet with its own omelette station *winning!! Guys, I could have eaten at this buffet the whole trip, IT WAS THAT GOOD! + I have a slight food obsession…
Though our trip was on the shorter side, it was well spent! It was a great opportunity to meet some lovely Southern people, find beauty and inspiration along the way and spark up my love for photography… oh, and dip my toes in the ocean 😉 I will never get enough of the ocean… now to convince my hubby to move to here!
If you are ever looking for a quick getaway, Porter Escapes has some perfectly planned trips for you!
Did you know that the average family spends 14% of their time together?
For my family, I feel as though we spend a fair bit of time together, again I also think it depends on the stage of life your children are in; the younger they are the easier is is to do things together as a family. But with this statistic, Leon’s came out with something pretty cool…
Leon’s recently came out with #ProjectSmartFurniture, furniture that tracks family time.
Leon’s created Project Smart Furniture as an experiment to make people more aware of the time they spent together, so they could make the most of it. How much time do you think you and your family spend together?!
Here is a short video giving you the inside scoop on Project Smart Furniture!
So how does Smart Furniture work!?
1. The furniture acts as a family time hotspot, constantly searching the area for family members.
2. wristbands track which family members and together and send a signal back to the furniture.
3. Each indicators light is associated with one family member. They turn on and off to display who’s around.
These days, families are spending less and less time together. So Leon’s helped one family track what’s most important to them: family time. They created Project Smart Furniture as an experiment to make the The Ahluwalia Family more aware of the time they spent together, so they could start making more of it.
View the full story with The Ahluwalia Family, below.
After the #ProjectSmartFurniture experiment with The Ahluwalia Family, these were some of their results:
So, what do you guys think of #ProjectSmartFurniture!? Does it make you wonder how much time you really spend with your family? Even though the sofa is tracking family time, there are also so many other ways we can/do spend family time together.
Over the next little while, I will be sharing a post with ideas on how we can spend more “family time” together!
Thanks for stopping by,
The last few weeks of February in Canada have been amazingly mild, mild enough that Jack, Max and I have walked to and from school a few times… but now that the mornings are back to the negatives, there’s no chance we’re walking in the am- Jack is pretty annoyed about that I must say. Which brings be back to Myrtle where a tee and boyfriend jeans were on repeat, making me so excited for spring! In Part 1 of our trip to Myrtle Beach, I shared the arrival and first full day…but I think the last few days of our trip were my fav!
Autumn and I started our morning a bit later on the second full day. We both slept in a little, which btw is rare when you have kids, am I right parents!? It was a luxury to swing those blackout blinds across the patio door and sleep like a baby. Our first stop of the day was the Collectors Cafe and Gallery where we enjoyed some fine Colombian Supremeo Bean coffee… and then we indulged in the Pasta Du Jour (with chicken) which is penne noodles in a cajun rose alfredo sauce- it all tasted AH-mazing! After lunch we toured the Collectors Cafe and admired all the art within each of the 6 rooms. Yep, 6 rooms full of fun and unique artwork but I think my favourite was the mosaic tile on the washroom floor- now that was so cool!
After our delicious lunch we Ubered on over to Broadway at the Beach, which is known as the most popular tourist destination in the Myrtle Beach area. There’s something for everyone from shopping, arcades, food, entertainment and attractions, the selection is full of endless fun! After a loop around Broadway, Autumn and I decided to walk around Myrtle and check the town out for ourselves… Two girls, some palm trees, a vintage RV and our cams… thats all we need to have a good time!
Did I mention that Myrtle Beach has so many colourful houses and buildings!?
Kirk’s Ice Cream Parlor
Aut and I ended spotting this little 1980’s ice cream parlor on our way to another attraction. We couldn’t help but admire how cute this vintage place felt, so we ended up stopping in here for some ice cream! When walking into Kirk’s, it’s like a typical ice cream parlor with coolers full of ice cream, and I swear they had over 40 different kinds to choose from. Then there was a second part which was filled with retro tables and chairs, arcade games and ride on toys, you know the ones that kids sit on in the mall- it was like we were living in the 1980’s era with forest green walls (which are actually on trend btw), and stained glass chandeliers… even the smell of this room reminded me of my Grandma’s house. We got into conversation with the ice cream scooper and in turns out Kirk’s is a family run business + there are two locations in Myrtle Beach!
Ice cream + sunshine!
After our ice cream and little photo sesh, we headed to the Alabama Theatre where we watched ONE The Show, which is voted the #1 Live Entertainment Theatre by Myrtle Beach by visitors and locals. Combining extraordinary talent, sizzling visual elements and extravagant costuming with hit songs from many exciting musical genres (like Tay Swift’s “Shake It Off”), I was impressed with the entire show! There was also a co-host comedian, Ricky Mokel, who was hilarious! Unfortunately photos were not allowed during the show, but if you are looking for a night activity, this is one I would visit again. After the show, most restaurants were closed so we went with the best late night food our Uber driver recommended, The Waffle House. Autumn and I both devoured a bacon cheesesteak melt served by our girl, Rhonda. Rhonda was such a hilarious go-getter at the Waffle House. She told us a little about her DJ service she does on the side and she also made it very clear that NO females should be walking alone at night (she called us a cab once we finished our meal- thanks Rhonda!)
We had such a great day being tourists and exploring Myrtle Beach. There is so much more I would love to go back and see!
Stay tuned for Part 3 of Aut and I’s #EscapingToMyrtle adventure.
Over a month ago I got a text from my girlfriend, Autumn, which read “you wanna come to Myrtle with me!?”. Instantly I was like YES YES YESSSS, I’ll do anything to escape this cold Canadian weather! Then, I took a step back, being a mom and all, I had to make sure the boys were looked after while I ventured out of the country. Thankfully I have wonderful parents and an awesome hubby who took care of the boys while I was away for 4(ish) days.
On Wednesday early afternoon, Autumn and I took an Uber to a little island known as the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. This ended up being my first time flying out of Billy Bishop with Porter Escapes, and let me tell you, I had such an amazing “laid back” experience! First off, I’m not the greatest in airports; I get stressed, I have major anxiety, my stomach flips and flops from the minute I leave the house until I’m sitting on the airplane. I guess I always get nervous that I might get too rushed and miss my flight, which really is not the end of the world. This time around, I knew I was flying out of a smaller airport (Billy Bishop) so my nervous didn’t get the best of me. When we arrived at the airport, the atmosphere was mellow and there weren’t 1000’s of people in every direction, MAJOR thumbs up! The check-in, security and line-ups were so short and smooth- I felt great! Once we had cleared security, we waited in the lounge. This lounge is unbelievable, I felt like royalty with the complimentary latte/espresso/cappuccino coffee makin’ machine. And on top of that they have a cooler full of pops, juices and water (my kids would go nuts), ohhhh and let’s not forget about the cookies and snacks- this is definitely the way to win a coffee lovin’ gal over 🙂 The wonderful service does not stop there… Onboard the plane, super cool retro-looking flight attendants bring free wine, beer and snacks- now this is definitely the way to kick off a vacation if you ask me!
So, what is Porter Escapes?
Porter Escapes offers a simple and streamlined approach to packaged vacations, a curated menu of flights, hotels and unique leisure options to plan the perfect holiday. Porter Escapes is paired exclusively with Porter Airlines flights, so travellers will enjoy a seamless end-to-end experience, at any budget!
… and that is how we managed to Escape to Myrtle Beach!!
Once we arrived in Myrtle, our Southern friend Keith (who planned our outstanding Myrtle Beach itinerary- thank you!) took Aut and I out for lunch at a restaurant called Tupelo Honey Cafe located at The Market Common, home of exceptional shopping and dining 😉 I definitely recommend trying the Fried Green Tomatoes, they were delicious! I also had the Wicked Chicken Cobb Salad with bleu cheese, “Wicked” which translates to hot n’ spicy dressing- soooo good! Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time (or money) to explore The Market Common, haha, but I would definitely recommend checking this adorable village-like area out if you love shopping and food.
After lunch we headed to our hotel, the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton (located along the coast of Myrtle Beach) for check in. At the main lobby, we were greeted with warm DoubleTree cookies, yes MORE cookies! They said if we wanted more during our stay, to pop by- oh yeah! It felt so good to finally get checked into our room, throw our luggage on the floor, kick our feet up and even enjoy the OCEAN FRONT VIEW from our balcony- sooooo beautiful, I wanted to run out to the beach ASAP. Though our schedule was packed, I had to hold off and on the beach while Autumn and I headed off to visit another cool spot.
While we had a few ideas as to what the chemist was all about, click here, the whole atmosphere blew our minds! We were welcomed with such Southern charm by our server behind the bar, Phil and Becky the media manager. They made us feel right at home while we awe’d at the cool industrial design of our surroundings and sipped on numerous cocktails! The Mad Scientist, Professor’s Punch (Aut’s fav) and Bourbon Flask were a few of many we enjoyed. Phil always gave us our drinks in the famous “liquid nitrogen” form (shown below) which we couldn’t get enough of– Thank you Phil for your chemist cocktail expertise!
If you are visiting Myrtle Beach and you enjoy a little happy hour, The Chemist is a must!!!
Happy hour was wonderful, but two girls and a whole lotta cocktails were in need of some sushi and burgs! Let’s be honest for a sec, I definitely didn’t just come to Myrtle for the beach + sunshine, I also came for the seafood n’ SUSHI!! ART Burger is just a hop, skip and a jump from The Chemist, they are also owned and operated by the same family, pretty cool. Art Burger specializes in sushi, burgers, a liquid nitrogen bar and some pretty cool art surrounding the restaurant! Our waitress Sonia was amazing and we made it a habit to ask what Art’s speciality was on the menu. Also, let’s not forget to mention that Autumn is such a picky eater- sorry Aut, but we have to make note of this… her taste buds have been evolving out of her little foodie bubble during this trip! We ended up ordering the Art burger (obviously) + sweet potato fries, the Tiger Roll and another specialty roll “Omakase”, which means the Sushi Chef concocts their own creative “surprise” roll for you *eeek… but don’t worry, it tasted AMAZING- just make sure to tell Sonia everything you reeeeallly like in your roll! After a satisfying and delicious fill of Art Burger, we called it a night.
The next morning was our first full day in Myrtle Beach. We had breakfast reservations at a local favourite called Croissants Bistro & Bakery, where Heidi, her daughter and our server, Mike spoiled us with such delicious food and gifts- thank you so much guys 🙂 The bistro was full of amazing desserts, cakes and the smell was phenomenal! To start the day off, Autumn and I request XL lattes with an extra shot of espresso; that is one way to get the ball rolling in the AM, haha. For breakfast I ordered the Croissants’ Benedict which literally melted in my mouth and to top it off, Mike brought out one of their house favourites, Banana’s Foster French Toast… and I will never look at french toast the same way again because nothing will ever top Croissants’. But of course Mike didn’t stop there, he also brought out Coconut Custard Cake, a huge Strawberry Tarte and a Caramel Fudge Brownie- ALL SO AMAZING, and I literally walked out of there 10 lbs heavier! I would definitely recommend stopping here for breakfast and make sure you save room for dessert 🙂
After breakfast, we Ubered on over to Georgetown which is approx. a 40ish minute drive from Myrtle Beach. *Heads up: if you are planning to do a lot of traveling from one area to the next, we would recommend renting a car for $50 a day instead of Ubering or cabbing (we may have learned the hard way). When we arrived at Hopsewee, this Historic Southern Plantation was absolutely stunning! I loved the enormously large trees which outlined a path while moss and vines draped each branch as they invited us in. There were also frose bushes that bloomed in December and we were just in time to catch the last of their beauty! Part of this excursion at Hopsewee was to have lunch in the tea room, but because we arrived a little later than planned, we toured this 1740 Colonial Home. This house used to be owned by a rich Southern rice plantation family who brought Gullah Africans over to help produce and perfect rice. We learned a lot about the rice plantation history in Southern Carolina. Though pictures we not permitted during this house tour, the interior detail of this home was incredible. There is actually a couple that live in this home today!
Continuing on into the River Oak Cottage tea room, which is still apart of the Hopsewee Plantation, we gathered with Vera Manigault to spend 3 hours making our very own sweetgrass basket! Guys, 3 hours may seem like a long time, but kid you not, this little baby took 3 whole hours! Vera is such a sweet soul, spending 3 hours with her was so much fun. We also heard that Southern women will say the term “bless your heart” what really translates to an expression of sympathy or pity. Well well, my two boys came up in a conversation with Vera, she looked me up and down as if I had 5 heads, she possibly thought I was much younger than I am…she said “oh darling, bless your heart”, I looked at Autumn and smiled. It was one of those “you had to be there” moments, ha! To end the evening, we headed to Murrells Inlet where we ate dinner at The Wicked Tuna another grill and sushi bar! The lobster was so fresh and amazing, plus it was Autumn’s first time trying a lobster- I think she’s hooked! Afterwards we explored the MarshWalk and made a pit stop at a little place called Budda’s Love Shak for a drink. The MarshWalk is basically waterfront dining with live music nightly, water sports, charter fishing, sightseeing tours, shopping and seasonal events. It’s a very popular place to visit in the summer months, so keep this area on tabs! This place is jam-packed full of things to do! Unfortunately for us we were visiting in the off (winter) season, so the BoardWalk was fairly quiet during the evening.
All in all, our first full day at Myrtle Beach was full of some pretty amazing food, history and incredible people! It has been such a pleasure to meet so many kind-hearted and welcoming people during our stay in Myrtle.