While I Was Out

Three years ago (in January) I moved to the city of my dreams. A “kingdom come” kind of place full of beauty, history, promise, and yes… cobblestone.

I prematurely left a little mountain town full of dear friends for the opportunity of a lifetime- to be “finally Charlestonian.”

Being the new girl in a new city with no pre-existing roots has both allure and challenge. You always leave 20 minutes earlier than you should in case you get lost. You come up with creative ways to remember the names of large groups of people. You put on a brave face and save the fear for a daily phone call to mom.

And you pray for “just one person” that feels familiar.

If you are lucky, you walk into a dreamy job behind the iron gate of a beautiful historic building and you catch your breath as you step through the courtyard towards the next three years of your life. That morning, divine intervention will have stepped in and given Kleckley Legare a serious case of car issues. The “new girl” version of yourself will offer to give her a ride because, let’s be real, you have no plans and James Island sounds interesting.

And just like that, the city of your dreams becomes home. Four girls become the sisters you never had. And like any great family, they welcome you, they show up for you, and they color your life with a friendship even a wordster cannot justly portray.

It’s a dream come true.

The recent “white noise” status of Cobblestone Diaries can only be explained in one way- it is incredibly hard to write a diary (that people read) when you are wrestling with dreaming another dream.

This week, I was offered another opportunity of a lifetime- to be the new marketing manager for a stunning music venue called Iron City in Birmingham… as in Alabama.

Cue scared, excited, bright-eyed Lowndes from three years ago. The difference? Cobblestone.

Just like actual cobblestone, we have history. My Charleston memories have been built to withstand the wear-and-tear of time.  These girls will always fit. And they will make the road ahead one I can confidently travel- even with the occasional “cobble wobble.”

So, CHEERS!

To the fact that your favorite blog now features dual-locations.

To road trip playlists that need to be 7 hours long.

To tasting new queso and swearing they do it better at La Caretta.

To finding a new nail salon and them not having your color… yet.

To being late, lost and flustered and knowing it won’t last long.

To Facetime and discounted flights and having a weird area code.

To opportunities that make your heart skip a beat and the people who know it.

To dreaming new dreams, and cherishing the old.

To Cobblestone Diaries and enjoying the ride because, as a legendary girl once told me, “Life would be a bore without the ups and downs.”

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If You Are Reading Our Diary…

We are so sorry it has been so long. Life has been busy…happening. The silver lining of our MIA status? Lots to write about (soon, we promise!)

While you anxiously await the product of that bold statement (and we try to uphold the expectations of it), here is a little glimpse of what is inspiring us this month.

Mad props to Elite Daily for being so on point lately. Like that song you put on replay for spin class, this article has us wanting to sign up for the Tour de France of life- we do love French wine.

Here are the highlights in case you don’t like reading (and Cobblestone Diaries is an exception to your rule).

  1. Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you.” There is no paraphrasing this piece of dynamite.
  2. “It’s not in the dreaming, it’s in the doing.” A dream is a wish the heart makes, when you’re fast asleep. So wake up and make it a reality.
  3. “Doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water.” How’s that for a perspective change?
  4. Wherever I see people doing something the way it’s always been done, the way it’s ‘supposed’ to be done, following the same old trends, well, that’s just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.” Said every successful person ever.
  5. “Every no gets me closer to a yes.” Imagine a world where Michael Jordan was like “You’re right, I’m not any good at basketball.”

…it’s good to be the exception.

Friendship Anniversaries

Nothing says Cobblestone Diaries like Darius Rucker. On stage. In the rain. Playing “Only Wanna Be With You.” Every August, the Hootie & the Blowfish concert marks the anniversary of the night I became friends with Kleckley & Jenni (and set myself up for a lifetime of memories with four sisters from another mister).

They say the third time is a charm. And while this year’s Homegrown concert was definitely a homerun in terms of fun, that first show two years ago will always hold a special place above the rest- and I have been to A LOT of concerts.

So, why Hootie & the Blowfish you ask? Sure, there are thousands of other bands that could sweetly echo the sentiments of life into our young ears. There are plenty of venues that are better prepared for rain. But there is no trump card for tradition, and Hootie never lets us down. Long after we have moved on to different seasons of life, this will be the concert that calls us back to the place where it all began. And in another thirty years, I fully expect all of the below to be true:

IT ALWAYS RAINS HOOTIE NIGHT
Humid, sticky, August rain. The kind of downpour that mocks your straightener and makes a fool of anyone who wore white. But, you haven’t lived until you have stood in a summer rain to the melodious tunes of a band that has been around for thirty years.

TO THE FAR RIGHT & HALFWAY UP
That’s the not-so-specific geographical location of our spot. You will NEVER find us in the boring, seated rows that cost double what we paid. And Lord help us if an unsuspecting group ever settles into this hallowed ground before we get there. At least we already know our given roles for a bar fight.

HE SINGS “LET HER CRY” & SOMEONE ALWAYS DOES
Which has nothing to do with the libations we may or may not consume. Hootie & the Blowfish gets us. Just like they got our parents. The first friend to give in to the water works usually creates quite the domino effect for the other four of us.

WE KNOW ALL THE WORDS
Most (if not all) of the videos I have saved on my phone from three years of this legendary event will come in handy as an audition tape if Kleckley ever decides to try out for American Idol. I’d say she has even improved. Since Hootie & the Blowfish are no longer actively creating music together, there is no chance we will ever be robbed of the sing-a-long factor.

NO MATTER WHERE WE GO, CHARLESTON LOVED US FIRST
It’s good to be homegrown.

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PDA: Public Display of Aggression

A recent Cobblestone trip to Jeni’s Ice Cream left us witnesses to a severe case of couple angst gone wrong. In reality, we should have chosen an alternate corner as soon as we heard the 90-pound girl say, “I feel so fat in this outfit” to her unsuspecting boyfriend. But, then there wouldn’t be a blog post.

Like watching a wreck, we couldn’t help but look on as he anxiously tried to make “You look so thin with that double scoop waffle cone + sprinkles in your hand” sound convincing. The conversation ended in a dramatic storming of King Street as he joined the ranks of Marie Antoinette (Off with his head!)

While coping with our post-traumatic stress disorder, we dreamed up a few Charleston inspired “I’m Sorrys” that are a thousand times better than the predictable Rom-Com-inspired stuff he probably ended up resorting to. Take our word for it Mr. Insert-Foot-In-Mouth; you wont be sorry (for long).

The Taste of Forgiveness

Do: Purchase her favorite thing to eat.

Why: Because she’s not fat. And because you are super attentive to all of her favorite things.

Cobblestoned: Jeni’s (or Talenti) by the pint. Sweetwater Cafe for brunch (heavy on the hollandaise). Chick-fil-A (it’s your pleasure).

If Looks Could Kill (her anger)

Do: Locate a beautiful Lowcountry scene and use it to your advantage.

Why: You wanted her to have the best view in the city because you always do.

Cobblestoned: Sunset at the Battery. Botany Bay from a paddleboard. The Cooper River Bridge at basically any time of the day.

Sounds like Hallelujah

Do: Incorporate tunes.

Why: Everything sounds better to music.

Cobblestoned: Live music at Vendue. A well-planned driving soundtrack. Anything that involves The David Higgins Band.

Getting Out of the Dog House

Do: Love Animals

Why: Because you have a soul (despite your actions) and people with souls love dog-friendly activities.

Cobblestoned: Sully (Kleckley’s canine child) is your new favorite co-pilot. Enjoy the Farmer’s Market, Second Sunday on King Street or a walk on the beach with a fury friend in tow.

 

For best results we recommend mix and matching. 

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10 Obnoxious Hashtags for the Perfect Day

Hashtag (n): a word or phrase proceeded by a hash and used to identify messages relating to a specific topic.

‘Cobblestone Diaries often uses a hashtag as commentary to the specific topic of living in the best city on the planet.’

#splishsplashbirthdaybash
Ya’ll know we can’t resist a good birthday celebration- and every millennial knows any great activity needs its own hashtag. The irony is this is Porter’s birthday hashtag. Any other CSD member would love the sing-songy nature of this personalized sentiment. Porter would be better suited with something like #ihatehashtags or #canwejustpaddleboard. Which is exactly why she got this one. The best part? She insta-shares it with a one year old’s first birthday (his mom planned a photoshoot to design his invitations and put them all on the gram) #epic

#couplepics
Two of our favorite couples joined us for our paddleboarding adventure. Former #MCM spotlight Macon + his better half, J Elliott & our other birthday girl, Bay Johnson + her main squeeze, Alexander Gadsen. They gracefully defy the stereotypes “couple friends.” We never have to witness excruciating fights, they can participate in activities without one another, and we LIKE to take couple pictures of them because they look so great together.

#dolphins
Oh yes, we went there. Dolphins are the trump card of all water activities.

Would you rather…
A. Splash around in the creek beside Red’s Ice House.

B. See a dolphin from atop your paddleboard and hope it comes back up so your friends can see it.

C. Swim with dolphins (plural- to include baby dolphins) in Shem Creek as the pelicans fly above your head towards a recently docked shrimp boat.

Answer: C

#avettnation
Porter: “You know how I knew it was going to be the perfect day? When we walked into Coastal Expeditions ‘Paranoia in B Flat Major’ was playing.” (that’s Porter’s favorite Avett Brothers song for those of you who are still getting to know us)

#YOLO
You only look out. If you occasionally experience coordination challenges like myself, looking down is just asking to end up in the water… but there are dolphins.

#caughtintherain
As if Nicholas Sparks himself was writing us into one of his too-good-to-be-true scenes; the ominous skies held out for our entire trip. Just as the last of our 13 had docked her paddleboard, a warm summer rain began. If you have never sipped a cold beverage underneath the tin roof of Red’s Ice House with your best friends during a summer storm, you haven’t lived.

#thankfulfor
It’s a Cobblestone tradition to begin each meal with something you’re thankful for. While most of our gratefulness was some version of “great weather”, “beautiful wildlife” and “the perfect day;” I think the prize for best answer goes to our kickball friend, SS York. His “I am thankful to kickball for bringing us together” brought a unanimous “aww” around the table. SS, we too cannot imagine the “perfect day” without you and Bennett Burns.

#selfie
Kayaking Kleckley was the keeper of the dry bag. By default, she was also our photographer. Her dedication to capturing the dolphins was nothing short of a Disney World mom finding her daughter’s favorite princess. Also, I am not sure anyone has ever made a kayaking selfie look so good.

#ootd
Jenni had to work during our adventure. We missed her; but she sent us with not one, but two pair of her chacos. Which leads me to the necessities of looking like you know what you are doing: Active wear that is quick drying. Chacos. Sunscreen and/or a hat. The perfect allusion to “sporty, paddleboard pro.” Just don’t try to give anyone else instruction. The outfit isn’t THAT effective.

#sorrynotsorry
To “identify” messages 1-9.

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Beach Etiquette According to CSD (watch out Emily Post)

Fun Fact: I am a beach baby.

My childhood is riddled with seaside problems only kids who grew up in the sand will understand. A collegiate attempt to “diversify my surroundings” began with confusion on the definition of “winter coat” and ended with a one-word descriptor for my entire college career on a mountain: “cold.”

Post-grad, I have finally come to my senses and kissed land-locked problems goodbye; because nothing says home like an all-consuming breath of salty air.

I say all this to combat any misconstrued interpretations of the following list. At our core, Cobblestone Diaries ladies are not a condescending bunch. But, there are exactly two things I am unapologetically a snob about: seafood and beach etiquette. My defense? You are the expert on your childhood.

7 PEOPLE WHO NEED TO RETHINK THE WAY THEY DO THE BEACH

Stadium Seaters

Did you think this was a baseball game? Do not be fooled by our boiled peanuts, the beach does not have assigned seating. Since you are not required to sit directly in front of me, please don’t. When the tide comes up, you will soon realize we are perfectly positioned just above the highest point of the tide, which means you will have to move and I will not. Let’s just avoid this interaction entirely.

Pregnant Women in Bikinis

Cute maternity sundresses? Glowing. I am now a direct witness to the harsh repercussions of growing a child inside of you? Not so glowing. Your husband (and maybe your parents) are the only people who think that is beautiful. It’s only 9 months, please invest in a tankini.

Fishermen Chums

See that cute little boy who just rode his first wave on a boogie board? Yeah, so did the hungry sharks you have been chumming the water for the past three hours. We love shark fishing as much as the next Shark Week enthusiast, but please do it appropriately so we are not The Discovery Channel’s next leading story.

Petting Zoo Enthusiasts

Sea gulls are not a rare, exotic bird. They fly. They eat garbage. They make awful sounds. Do not teach your children to hold a Cheetoh in the air to see if they will come. There is only one end to this experiment. They will flock, and everyone around you is suddenly forced into a “duck, but don’t look up” game. Congratulations on your new title as the most hated family on the beach.

Windy Day Novices

Umbrellas are genius. They make the beach feel festive and protect responsible people from harmful UV rays. They can also be very dangerous. Windy days have a way of turning this useful beach accessory into a deadly weapon. Do not set up your umbrella on a day that your towel will not stay on the sand. I would prefer not to dodge a flying parasol and its corresponding metallic stake.

Unaware Parents

The ocean is grand. Taking your children on their first trip to the beach is one of the most beautiful experiences a family can share. But like anything magnificent, the ocean should be respected. That means watching your child at all times, teaching them to get out of the water when the current is too strong and making sure they know how to find their way back to your set up. You wouldn’t let your child cross King Street at rush hour without you, treat this experience the same way.

Towel Shakers

There is sand on my towel. I am leaving and don’t want it in my car. There are 5 girls down wind from where I am. I should walk further inland so they are not in direct line of fire and taking sand to the face. Enough said.photo-227

Mr. Cobblestone Mondays featuring Captain America

If you don’t like George Strait, men who grill and all American studs- stop reading now.

Ladies who Tender within 30 miles of the Charleston area, you’re welcome. Cobblestone Diaries brought you Rutledge Morris this past weekend, and we completely understand your infatuation.

It seems only appropriate that the post-fourth of July diary post would highlight our favorite man in uniform. For his day job, Rutledge is a specialist for the United States Army (think Top Gun but with explosives). But don’t let his rough and tough, EOD-school-graduate exterior fool you- the only thing in danger with him around is a woman’s heart.

Simultaneously dreamy and grouchy, “ladies’ man” doesn’t quite do this Mr. America justice. When he is not defending our freedom, you can find him slow cooking ribs in Chubbies shorts, and sipping bourbon on the rocks to the tune of George Strait radio. And if you like a man who sings, his rendition of the Blue Bell ice cream theme song will have you actually envisioning his “mama hollering through the screen, ‘would you kids like some homemade ice cream?’”

He is an early-to-bed, early-to-rise, no-nonsenser who will put you in your place and tell you he loves you in the same breath. Enjoy shagging? One dance with this Southern gent will have you feeling like you won the lottery- and bonus points if he’s your wedding date (enjoy the resentment of every single girl in the room). The ultimate man’s man, he’s the heartthrob that will make your Mom swoon and your Dad say things like “Son, take care of her.”

We proudly salute the woman who finally lands our closeted romantic. She who captures the heart of this combat-pro can join the Cobblestone team any day.

And while he adamantly claims he doesn’t read Cobblestone Diaries, I’d say there is about a 98% chance there is a grinning officer in Fayetteville right now that is already missing his Southern belles. #mcm

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