Southern Experiences

Redcliffe Plantation

Only a few miles away from the Georgia state line sits one of the top ten sites to visit in South Carolina, Redcliffe Plantation.

Completed in 1859, Redcliffe Plantation served as the home of James Henry Hammond, who went on to serve the state of South Carolina in the House of Representatives and Senate as well as Goveneror, and his family. The Hammond family lived in the house until 1973 when the property was donated to the state and added to the National Register.

The house is situated on the highest point of the area, and at the time it was built had views of the Savannah River, which is about five miles away.

Be sure to look for the magnolia lane that served as the carriage entrance to the home to the left of the main steps.

When you pull up in the parking lot, you are facing the back of the home and its outbuildings. The property includes the stables built around 1903, as well as two slave quarters that are still standing. This piece of property did not serve as a “working” plantation, but 100 of the 400 acres were for agricultural experimentation including vineyards, orchards, and crops like indigo and sugar cane.

Shirt | Sweater (similar) | Jeans | Booties

The property has seen a lot over the years since it was built, and the stories that are still being revealed to this day are rich and important to remember. I highly recommend taking the tour to get more behind the scenes information as well as a tour of the home.


Do you enjoy visiting historical places?


30 Before 30: 6 Month Check In

Six months ago I shared my 30 Before 30 list of things to accomplish before my thirtieth birthday. As today is my half-birthday, I thought I would share where I am so far with my list today.

  1. Take an international trip – IN PROGRESS
    • I have at least one international trips in the works! 🙂
  2. Visit at least one new state – DONE
  3. Read 30 books in a year (Taking recommendations!) – IN PROGRESS
    • To date, I’ve read 20 books. What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?
  4. Try a new sport – IN PROGRESS
    • I decided to take up hiking as my “sport”. I joined a women’s hiking group for the state of Georgia to help get out more. Unfortunately, schedule and weather has prevented me from making most, but I definitely have more penciled in as spring approaches.
  5. Take a girls’ trip – ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?
  6. Move to a new place – DONE
    • I purchased my first home in October 2017.
  7. Change jobs – IN PROGRESS
    • I decided to change directions with my career, and I’m in the progress of building my own business.
  8. Grow my blog (Thanks for following along!) – IN PROGRESS
  9. Get to know my family history
  10. Challenge my culinary skills – DONE
    • I took a six-week cooking class with Publix’s Apron Cooking School.
  11. Do something that scares me – IN PROGRESS
  12. Work out more and on a consistent basis – IN PROGRESS
    • Thanks to Spotebi I have been able to work out on my schedule and even when I’m on the road!
  13. Take a challenging hike
  14. Relearn to play the piano – IN PROGRESS
    • For Christmas, my parents gifted me a new keyboard. I’m teaching myself how to play again.
  15. Get back to graduate school size and weight – IN PROGRESS
  16. Learn a new skill – IN PROGRESS
    • I started to learn crochet a couple of years ago, but never really got far with it. I decided to pick it up as a fun activity while I’m unwinding at night and watching TV. I’m no expert, but hoping to share a completed piece soon.
  17. Visit a new SEC stadium – DONE
    • I had the opportunity to actually knock out two SEC stadiums (Vanderbilt and Texas A&M) this fall.
  18. Be more spontaneous – IN PROGRESS
    • I kicked off Year 29 with spontaneity by traveling with Pack Up + Go to Denver.
    • I also decided my theme for 2018 is to “say yes to adventures” so I’ve got some excitement planned as the warmer months approach.
  19. Climb another state peak
  20. Learn a new language
  21. Improve my wine knowledge
  22. Get a pet
  23. Participate in a race
  24. Attend another short-term mission trip
  25. Travel somewhere alone – DONE
    • A three-day weekend in Charleston was just what I needed to reset for the 2018 calendar year.
  26. Put more money away into savings – IN PROGRESS
  27. Take on a monthly photography challenge
  28. Expand my food palate
  29. Spend a full day at the spa – DONE
  30. Learn how to show myself grace – IN PROGRESS
    • I’m a work in progress.


Any suggestions or recommendations to help me finish my 30 before 30?


2018 Reader Survey Results

A big thank you to all who participated in my reader survey a few weeks ago. I loved hearing from you all and appreciated your feedback to help me make my little space as great as it can be. My primary reason for doing a survey was to get a pulse on y’all, my audience, and to make sure that my strategy for this year is aligned with my readers.

And now on to the results…

Question 1

It looks like my little corner of the internet has made some new friends lately! I am so happy you are reading!

Question 2

It makes me very happy that half of y’all read this space everytime I publish. I know life is busy, so I really welcome y’all stopping by whenever you can.

Question 3

I was actually surprised by the results of this question. Facebook always seems like a struggle for me, so I’m glad to see it is paying off. Also, Instagram is one of my focuses this year, so it makes me happy that some of y’all are already finding content on that platform.

Question 4

This question was just for my pure curiosity and to make sure I’m investing my time in the proper channels. My goal with this space is to connect with you and build a community, so I want to make sure I’m reaching you where you are spending time.

Question 5

I had a guess that my Southern Travel posts would be at the top of the list, but I’m very surprised by how high Personal Stories ranked. I have been staying away from those, so I’ll work to add those back into the mix since y’all like them.

Question 6

Any post topics you would like to see more of on Southern Exhilaration?
This was an open-ended question. Some of the responses I received were interesting day trips, southern travel posts, and US travel posts. This is exciting since I’m already planning to do more day trips and southern posts this year. So stay tuned because more travel is coming your way in 2018! Additionally, I asked on Instagram Stories about the interest in a home tour posts, and I received a 100% positive response. So, as I finalize rooms I’ll be sharing my decorating tips and tricks!

Question 7

Anything you would like to see less of on Southern Exhilaration?
I was nervous about asking this question, but all of you said you like what I’ve been doing! So thanks! 🙂

Any destinations, in particular, you would like to see on the blog?


How to Have a Spa Day at Home

Do you have those midwinter blues? I don’t know about you, but I am ready for spring and warmer weather that will stick around longer than one day. To help break me out of my wintery funk, and to check another item off my 30 Before 30 list, I decided to treat myself to a spa day at home this weekend. Unfortunately, due to a tight budget this month I opted to treat myself at home.

Below I have provided my full indulgence spa day treatment. The best part it is easy, affordable and beneficial. But before you get started, no spa day is complete without a big, fluffy robe!

Get in the mood.

You can’t just jump into relaxing, or at least I can’t. It takes me some time to wind down after a stressful week. Slip into your favorite plush robe, turn on some relaxing music, and sip on a herbal tea or Champagne. Let your body and mind wind down so you can enjoy the experience.

Facial steam.

Facial steam helps to get you into a relaxed state further, and it helps open your pores and prepares you for the treatments that follow. I simply heat a pot of water on the stove, and then pour the hot – not boiling water – into my sink and drape a towel over my head. Feel free to add a few drops of your favorite essential oils, fresh herbs or tea to the water. Breathe in deep and steam for about 10 minutes before moving to the next step.

Body and face scrub.

For this step, move to the shower and use any body scrub recipe that you love. I love to use the sugar scrub recipe below because the olive oil really hydrates rough winter skin. You can also use exfoliating gloves, if you’d prefer. Exfoliating after steam is a great way to help diminish those pesky blackheads and prepare your skin for the facemask.

Nail Polish

Sugar Scrub Recipe

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
Optional: essential oils of your preference

1. Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight glass container.
3. Use scrub on face, feet, hands, or any rough patches of skin that need an exfoliating or hydrating boost.

Hair masks.

I prefer to do DIY hair masks with ingredients I have at home (I like the avocado and egg masks), but I also love this hair mask for the days I’m feeling lazy. After applying your hair mask, just wrap it in a towel and let it sit during the next step.

Bath time.

It’s time to slip into a warm and relaxing bath. Dim the lights, light some candles, turn on some relaxing music and slip into bliss. When it comes to my baths, I prefer some bubbles added to the mix. My go to is Dr. Teal’s lavender Epson salts and foaming bath kit. I also like bath bombs and love this one from Da Bomb. Can you tell I like lavender? Another good thing to add to your baths are bags of green tea as it is an antioxidant and soften skin.

Nail Polish

Quick rinse.

After your luxurious bath, I hope you are starting to feel all relaxed. Take a quick rinse-off shower and use a clarifying shampoo or hair rinse to remove your hair mask.

Facial mask.

After getting out of your bath, get back into your robe and apply your face mask. Pick a mask that works for you, but below are some of my recommendations based on problem areas.

Foot mask.

This step is the cherry on top that truly makes you feel like you are at a spa. While you are letting your face mask set, apply some foot cream or homemade treatment to your feet and wrap them in plastic wrap. Then wrap them in a warm towel and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.


Remove your face mask and foot masks with warm water. Slip into your comfy pajamas, apply your night moisturize, and I dare you not to fall asleep.

What are your favorite at-home spa treatments?


13 Things to Do Before You Travel

Congratulations! You have booked your airfare, hotels, excursions, etc., and you are ready for your vacation. But before you go, be sure check out this list of 13 things you should do or bring with you before you leave.

1. Put a travel notice on your debit or credit cards.

Every time you travel contact your bank to let them know where you are going. This will help prevent receiving that error message while you are in a foreign country. Additionally, don’t bring all your cards with you – try to limit it to one or two. Also, use RFID sleeves to protect your cards.

2. Always have local cash.

Some places do not take credit cards, so its always good to have some local cash on you. You can convert some amount of cash over at your local bank before you leave. If you’d rather switch some of your cash over once you arrive, be sure to check with your bank on the international ATM fees associated with your card.

3. Obtain international data for your cell phone.

I know we are all attached to our phones, and they indeed come in handy overseas. Contact your phone provider to see if they offer data plans for your destination. If the rate is too high for your budget, bring your phone anyways, and use the WiFi available at the airport, local cafes and your hotel. Trust me – make sure your data is turned off, or you’ll be crying over your next bill.

Another option is just to go device free all vacation long. Enjoy that time with friends/family and soaking up your surroundings.

4. Plan your first and last days.

The first day of your vacation is usually the most hectic. Planning will help you make the most of the difficult day. Try to locate a couple of things to see/do/eat that are within an easy walking distance of your hotel or hostel. Go for the maximum chill factor when you are mapping out your first hours on vacation.

For your last day, keep a packet marked “Last Day” that has all your return flight information, your house and car keys, and anything else to help make the transition to home smooth when you are completely exhausted thanks to jet lag.

5. Pack an extra day of clothes in your carry-on.

Lost luggage is zero fun. Packing an extra day of clothes in your carry-on will help ensure you aren’t wearing the same thing over and over again or those tacky tourist clothes.

6. Check public transit maps.

It is worthwhile to do a little research on the public transit at your destination. Check to see if any lines or stops are not operational, and how they might impact your sightseeing. You may discover that some forms of the transit are free and will be beneficial in cutting down the walking or Uber fares. A bit of research will have you informed on fares, maps, and your itinerary.

7. Find your hobbies in your destination.

You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find at your destination if you do a little research on your favorite hobbies. Like coffee? Find the best coffee shop. Like books? Find a hole-in-the-wall bookstore. The list is endless.

8. Obtain travel guides.

I’m a travel guide junkie and use them for a lot of my research prior and once in country. I find the Lonely Planet versions are extremely informative. If you don’t want to carry the book, you can download it to your e-reader.

9. Check the weather.

The weather is a factor that will either make or break your vacation. A look at the forecast will help with your packing and ensure you are prepared for all your vacation has to offer.

10. Copies of your passport.

Better safe than sorry, and making a copy of your passport is important for two reasons: it’s always good to have a copy in case your passport is lost or stolen and some accommodations require them. It’s best to keep these copies separate from your actual passport when you are packing. Be sure to leave a copy with a family member or friend.

Related: 5 Tips for Taking the Perfect Passport Photo

11. Give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or friend.

In the event of an emergency, it is wise to have someone at home know your whereabouts.

12. Charge your electronics before you leave.

Charing your devices seems like a no-brainer. Also, be sure to pack your chargers in your carryon, so it is easy to access for those layover charges or on the plane. Lastly, don’t forget to pack your adaptor.

13. Pack snacks.

I’m a big snacker when I travel, and airports are not cheap. Throw your favorite snacks in your carry-on and your packed luggage. Traveling is a lot of fun, but sometimes ethnic cuisine doesn’t sit well with you. Snacks come in handy when that occurs.

What are your favorite pre-trip prep tips?