coffee in charleston

Earlier this week, I spent two-and-half days in Charleston. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but if you know me then you know that I can pack in a whole lot of sightseeing into one day. This was my summer mini holiday and so I wanted to go somewhere new and do all the things I love with the person I love. Those things include: eating, drinking, walking, marveling, and taking photos of it all. I’m breaking down my trip into categories so I can share every little bit of inspiration with you! And one of my new goals for the rest of this year is to make more time for short trips to nearby cities so that I can continue finding beautiful places and sharing them here.

Anywhere I travel, I have to visit coffee shops. Multiple coffee shops. Partially because I need coffee to function, but also because coffee shops are local cultural landmarks. No matter where I go, if I find the right coffee shop then I can get a glimpse into what it would be like for me to live in that city. So in a way they make me feel at home.

I would never consider myself a sophisticated coffee connoisseur, but I know what I like and what I don’t like. I visited a total of 4 coffee places in Charleston (narrowed down from many internet searches) and here’s what went down.

Black Tap Coffee
The vibe: quiet neighborhood, minimal interiors, a place to sit and work/read on your computer
What I got: black julep (a refreshing espresso, honey, mint concoction) & a blueberry lemon scone
How it made me feel: not cool enough. It was extremely quiet and anonymous inside; there were plenty of people around, but everyone was into their own space which is really good if you want to stay and linger for some peace. Great natural light coming in.

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Would I go back again? Yes. I didn’t try their traditional coffee drinks because I had read about the Black Julep online prior to the visit. I would probably go back if I were alone and wanted to sit and think. They do play music so it’s not silent, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a private conversation in the shop.

The Daily
The vibe: easy parking, more of a market/lunch place, meeting up with friends for a chat
What I got: cold brew and a cherry pistachio pastry… thing

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How it made me feel: Casual. Definitely a great weekend spot or breakfast meeting place. They have a wide array of items for your pantry and dishes made to order, but it seemed bustling and perhaps a little more tourist-y. Loved the little patio seating area outside (but it was too hot to partake) and the decor shops right next door.

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Would I go back again? Definitely. Delicious delicious pastry – which makes me think the rest of the food will probably done just as well. A place to go with family or friends to enjoy brunch and browsing.

The Rise
The vibe: Accidentally happened upon this while walking around sightseeing. Found out it was actually a hotel cafe (there are many in Charleston), attached to The Restoration.
What I drank: another cold brew! it’s an easy go-to.

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How it made me feel: I don’t know how I feel about hotel cafes. It was a lovely small space, completely empty and seemed like maybe only made for tourists or hotel guests.
Would I go back again? Probably not. My drink was sufficient due to my need for refueling, but it’s not a coffee destination for me. Totally acceptable though!

Kudu Coffee
The vibe: Easygoing. It makes you want to stay a while, except there’s no wifi.
What I drank: vanilla latte

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How it made me feel: really really good. As the last coffee visit in Charleston, it ended up being perhaps one of my favorites. The side patio is absolutely darling and this spot could easily become a staple in my life if I lived in Charleston.
Would I go back again? Definitely for sure. The patio was lush and serence, and my latte was just what I wanted.

That’s all I got! Did I hit all of the good spots? Probably not. But I think for two days, four coffee shops is definitely a good run. Next time I visit Charleston, I might find it hard not to go back to some of these!

friendship

Friendship. It’s a tricky thing, ain’t it? I thought it was tricky in high school, but it continues to grow more elusive with every passing stage of life. I’ve come to a point in my life where a true friend is quite a rare find. And still even so, those true friends you do manage to keep end up being compartmentalized. That’s where I find myself, at least. I’m not sure if everyone else does the same or if it’s just the circumstances in which I’ve found myself (please do tell).

My college friends and I scattered after we graduated. Some stayed in my home state of FL – although all over up and down the state – and others went to opposite ends of the country. I slowly acquired new friends in Atlanta through work, craft, networking, and the like. You know, the adult ways. Yet still I’m quickly approaching the ripe age of 29 and often feel very lonely. Continue reading

it’s written in the stars

It’s been much too long since I last wrote. Much much much too long. But these things happen and all I can do is just forgive myself and move forward. The main reason I haven’t written is because I haven’t gotten the chance to really discover things the way I usually do. As I get older, that play time shrinks more and more. I feel guilty for blaming my age, especially when I’m not a mother yet, but it’s true. You get older and you just feel… tired. Tired of playing the game, looking for the next thing, and living on the edge. It becomes more appealing to sit back and enjoy what you got. There’s merit to both really.

While I do want to be a little bit more careful in how I spend my days, I don’t want to lose my sense of curiosity and urban exploration. It’s part of what really keeps me feeling alive and relevant. I haven’t met any new friends in a long time and I think that’s one of my priorities now – ensuring that I’m strengthening the little connections I have to people. And this blog is undeniably a part of that.

As per usual, this blog post doesn’t really have much of a point except to raise my hand and say I’m still here. I promise, I’m still here. Obviously, you can catch my instagram to see more frequent updates, but I do fully intend for the next few months to have more photographs and artwork and updates and all the good things coming to this page again. Until I can gather up some more content, I’ll just look to inspiration.

First inspiration, a new playlist to take me through summer. These songs take me everywhere from studio, to driving with the windows down, to hyping me up for work, to pining for the good ole days.

Second inspiration, a sneak peek at a piece I did randomly at the beginning of the year and has been sitting in a pile of pieces. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to turn these into prints but this is yet another priority on my list.

finally some new paintbrush to paper… sometimes practice becomes a new piece!

A photo posted by Christina Kwan / tide & bloom (@tideandbloom) on

 

Hopefully more to come very soon!

 

creative makers: anna oh

Something that I really love and want to get back to is interviewing other creative and stylish individuals. The connections I get to make in this city are more inspiring than anything else could ever be. I do tend to make connections with other women, not because I particularly choose to, but because there’s a deeper understanding between us about how our creative pursuits really affect the trajectory of our success – both professionally and personally. As women we are carriers of the responsibility to nurture families and raise the next generation. That added layer of pressure on top of trying to chase our dreams makes every step feel that much more crucial; every success and every failure is that much more important. Anyways, I digress.

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Today I introduce you to Anna, a fellow artist who is brimming with talent and just trying to make her way up in the world. She’s already got the hard part down, I mean just look at her illustrations. Now all she has to do is be patient and wait for the world to pay attention. I have no doubt that soon this girl’s IG followers with explode and I’ll be seeing her drawings all over the industry. Her work is effortlessly precise yet loose, a striking balance of form and free strokes.

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When did you start illustrating? How did you decide that pen and paper was your destiny?
I started drawing early in grade school–really the same time anyone else starts drawing. Nothing else really “clicked” with me like art did… and I threw myself into it wholeheartedly. Maybe art found me 😉 I haven’t stopped drawing since. Continue reading

just one piece

One thing about me that (I hope) will always be true is that I love a good jumpsuit. I own like, 10. No that’s not an exaggeration. They are all different! This new one caught my eye immediately and though I didn’t want to like it, I just knew I couldn’t live without it.

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I am also obsessed with this hair cuff because.. well, it was made for hair like mine. Absolutely adore having my ponytail look more than just an afterthought.

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tell me the point

“the trouble with everything always is nothing’s just right,
just to figure out nothing could keep you up half the night
not to know what you want is a terrible thing you should fight
you just suffer the face of the dark while you wait for the light”

I’ve been trying to dig up bravery to write something real for a couple weeks now. The problem is that I’m not quite sure how to put into words exactly what I’m feeling. I don’t know if there’s truly a point because I haven’t figured it all out yet. I guess maybe that is my point? …That I don’t know what the point of anything is right now.

Maybe part of growing up is accepting that your grand purpose in life isn’t so grand. And maybe not so purposeful either. I know I’m really like… ALWAYS spewing crap like this, but it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this aimless. Over the past year I think I was pretty much always motivating myself – there were ideas, there was connection, there was hustle. It dissolved with the passing of the new year and I’ve yet to find it again. I mean, is that possible? Have I lost my hustle?  Continue reading

dish dive

With what limited time and funds I have to spare, I’m having to be a little more careful about how I spend both. As much as I would like to, I can’t go to every new little shop or corner cafe and take pictures and drink lattes all day. I make careful choices about where to go in Atlanta and sometimes that leads me to sticking with the good ole faves. Other times, my cool friends take me to low key spots like Dish Dive and remind me that there’s still some awesomeness to be found.

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Didn’t know much about this place, but immediately liked what was going on when I pulled up… namely, nothing. I met my friend Elizabeth for weekday dinner at 6:30 which makes for a pretty quiet restaurant, but the perfect time to linger and not annoy patrons awaiting a table or a bartender who wants to turn a tab (Dish Dive is BYOB btw).

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We sat at the bar in the rear of the room which puts you right in the middle of the action, as if pulling up a chair to the kitchen island at a friend’s house party. Best seat in the house, right? The only real dilemma in this whole experience was picking our dishes. We ended up going with dive fries, braised pork belly, tagliatelle, roasted squash, and mom’s homemade cheesecake.

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The squash was a surprising highlight… Continue reading

an evening at the aquarium

Ah, the Georgia Aquarium. Who doesn’t love aquariums? They allow you a glimpse into a whole other world beneath the surface of the water; the glass that stands between you and the ocean life only amplifies your sense of wonderment.

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I don’t get to visit the Georgia Aquarium that often so when they invited me to their media preview of the new sea lion exhibit, I was pretty excited. If you think the GA Aquarium is awesome, let me tell you that it’s 100x better at night when no one is around and there are free cocktails and food. It was so quiet in comparison to daytime that it felt all the more like you were underwater observing.

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Now onto the fun stuff. We saw the first go at their new Sea Lion show and oh my gosh. They’re so amazing. These sea lions are rescues from California and pretty much your new best friends. If you feel like you have an inkling of wanting to work with animals, these guys will seal the deal for you (see what I did there)!

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In addition to the new sea lion exhibit, Georgia Aquarium has revamped the Dolphin show. I’ll be completely honest with you… I’ve hated the dolphin show in the past. Continue reading

makes my heart go bloom

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Flowers are EVERYwhere in Atlanta right now, which is why my nose is completely stopped up. Plus side? Lots of photo opps. Top, Citizen jeans, hat, and necklace are all Anthro of course. And then that beautiful golden leather bag is one of my newest, care of the one and only Neva Opet.

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