We Believe We Already Won

Natalie recently spent an entire car ride from Sullivan’s Island to her downtown abode (about 20 minutes) providing commentary to a “13 Things That Americans Do That The Rest Of The World Just Finds Bizarre” article.  Wal-Mart, cheerleaders & alma maters made the list- three things we vehemently defended to the co-byliners that couldn’t hear us from their Business Insider desks (imagine a SEC tailgate without one of the three… that’s what we thought.) Our conclusion? Guilty as charged, but not sorry.

In honor of today’s World Cup game, the Cobblestone ladies can’t help but proudly wave our number one pick for “bizarre American obsessions”- flags.

When it comes to Old Glory, we are convinced nothing compares to watching our three favorite colors blowing in a Charleston harbor, or atop the American Theater. Sure we grew up unanimously reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school, and singing the National Anthem before every sporting event, but there is nothing that says “amped” like a crowd of people united under one visual.

The 39 days between Memorial Day and Fourth of July are prime opportunities to partake in patriotic bliss for Charleston natives. Flag adorned gear might as well be gold- and showing up at a social event with the most unique thrift-store-find wins you major points. From chubbies and bowties, to coozies and PBR cans, we just can’t get enough. And when it comes to music festivals, beach days, boat rides and selfies- there is no better accessory than bringing our own flag (#cobblestoneswag).

So, you non-Americans of Reddit, if loving our flag is strange, we don’t want to be normal. But maybe that is just because we are “obsessed with being the best country in the world.”Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.33.01 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-26 at 3.33.03 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.33.53 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.36.07 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-26 at 3.25.23 PM

The Profile of a Broken Heart

Okay you cynic. I see you on the Nicholas-Sparks-sucks train sporting your best “I hate long walks on the beach” face. One look at my title and you probably thought “Oh, great! Another sobby story about a girl getting over her ex.” But wrong you would be, my friend. See, I am an advocate for not judging a post by its title… and I don’t even like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

This is not another 25 things to do when I’m 25 and this is my 25th break up article. The reality is, it’s been done. If you can dream up a breakup, someone in history has been there first. She probably went to happy hour with her four best friends and they never looked past the cause:  He was so charming and full of potential. Then he wasn’t. He didn’t know how to handle his own feelings. So, he forgot about yours. He got the last word, and he chose “Alrighty.” Or worse… you did and it wasn’t that nice. Maybe he needed too much; maybe he didn’t need enough.  Did he stop calling? Did he change his mind?  Were there things left unsaid? Anyone feeling better…?

We all know, no sane woman is clamoring to sign her name to the timeless ritual of feeling brokenhearted. But perhaps a closer look at the light at the end of that tunnel would change the way we saw things.  The Cobblestone Diaries happy hour table has spoken. We think it’s time Mr. Broken Heart updated his profile and got a better PR girl. (luckily, that’s my day job) So, we wrote him a personal ad:

Looking for a woman who is not afraid to reimagine her passions:

I can offer you a clean slate, a new love of adventure and the envy of every girl who has ever settled. Life with me only gets better from the moment we meet. I enjoy sunsets over the water, and any other activity that makes you feel alive and free. I have a way of making you appreciate what you have.  I’m a family and friends guy, so I tend to bring out the best in both. I believe in serendipity and perfect timing. When we outgrow each other, (and I should probably be up front that we will), I will only walk away when someone or something you love replaces me. FAIR WARNING: my past girlfriends have tended to end up with a better version of themselves after knowing me.

For references: please contact Cobblestone Diaries.

What can we say? He had us at sunsets.photo-15

Wake Up with Pandora

Although I’m not exactly sure what makes a “morning person,” I’m pretty sure I don’t have it… and neither does Porter. Which actually works out quite well as far as roommates go. We both understand that the “I hate you” look will fade into our normal dispositions after about twenty minutes.  Some things just take time.

To fill the corners of the silence until minute number 21, we turn to Pandora for our mood-setting needs. If you can get around the occasional ad for the new Asiago Ranch Chicken Club at Wendy’s, this musical discovery algorithm is pure dynamite when it comes to combatting the wrong side of the bed.

On rainy mornings look no further than City & Colour or The Civil Wars Radio to soften the blow of your alarm. In the summertime the musical stylings of Darius Rucker or The Alabama Shakes guarantee you will do nothing but dream about outdoor activities while you sit at your desk. In colder months we stick to the classics: Mumford and Sons or Coldplay.

Recently, a weekend trip to the mecca of musical inspiration led me to the trump card of Monday mornings. Nashville gave us Thong Song Radio, and for that we will forever be grateful.

90’s kids: this is the throwback sensation that puts every other Pandora station you once loved to shame. A gem like this is too good not to share. So, in an effort to redefine this Monday morning, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite feel-good playlist. Childhood nostalgia at its very best.

From that third “sleep button” this morning, to locking the door behind me, and everything in between; this is the sound of a week starting out right.

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This is Your Captain Speaking

The last time I attempted a team sport for more than Greek-affiliated bragging rights was elementary school. Strangely, our first Cobblestone Diaries kickball game (3/5 edition) triggered a familiar nervousness and nostalgia of recesses of the past notorious for their team-pick-heartbreak.

Luckily, post grad life is nothing like that. Let me start out by saying, our team is the best. No, we didn’t know each other before. No, we don’t have matching camouflage t-shirts like our opponents. No, we don’t quite know all of the rules of the game. And none of us are millionaire athletes. But, we did have pre AND post game happy hour. We did bring our own sound system to the field. And Kleckley might be the best pitcher I have ever seen. Put her in coach, she is ready to play.

So, here are a few things our first kickball game of the season has taught us.

  1. Naming your kickball team is not for the weak of heart. Recruit a wordster for this part. While we are still technically on the roster as “IND” because our league keeps forgetting to change it, our given name is “Pitch, don’t kick my vibe.” Punny, right?
  2. If you are the organizer in your group of friends be prepared to be named captain (regardless of the serious lack of athletic ability you may bring to the table). I may purchase a hat to make it official.
  3. Don’t be intimidated by body-builder, camo-wearing opponents. They are just there for fun too. And if you’re nice, sometimes, they will even argue with the ref in your favor.
  4. Use a bathroom before you show up. Port-o-potties placed near a children’s playground are 1000 times more disgusting then the ones we used at an 11-hour music festival.
  5. Playing a team sport teaches you things about your friends you never knew. Example A: Porter was born to coach. She wont let me not kick for the sake of the score because it is “abandoning our team.” She subscribes to the “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” stuff. Example B: Our friend Ladson Wilkes was born to win. She never told us she was a kickball ninja.
  6. Take wins where you can get them. A forfeit is still a win. We are 1-1 right now because we showed up last week, and they didn’t. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
  7. Take everyone out to the ball field. We had alternates on alternates for last night’s game. Mostly because there is truly no better way to spend a Thursday night, but also because we have serious fan dedication. Without Macon DJing the game, or the rest of the Blue Hose backing us, our field-cred would have been non-existent.
  8. Temporarily putting the names of teammates in your phone as “Kickball + First name” will only double your work when you become real friends and want actual names.
  9. Loyalty is surprisingly an easy thing to build in athletic situations. While we have only known our teammates for about 6 hours, I feel confident that it would be game over if an opponent decided to get aggressive. Teamwork makes the dream work.
  10. You can wear whatever you want. Neon pink spandex, hydration packs and colorful bandanas are all fair game and completely socially acceptable. I know, it’s like an alternate universe.

As for the team who beat us last night, we will see you at the championship.

kickball

13 Country Songs for our Memorial Day Weekend (one for every star & stripe)

Memorial Day weekend is one of the three summer holidays we spend the other 49 weekends looking forward to. A close second to the Fourth of July, it marks the beginning of a season non-Charlestonians think we make up.   One look at my favorite social platform and you would chalk this four-day weekend up to an epic case of Pretendstagram. Which is why I think the only way to break it down is to the tune of country music- the most authentic storytellers we know.

1. It’s Five O clock Somewhere | Jimmy Buffett

Our Jamaican staycation started right here. The Thursday before Celebration Nation weekend is always a tough one.  The sun truly is hot, and that clock is absolutely moving as slow as I am. Daydreams of the next four days pranced in our heads and by half past twelve we were avoiding the “What would Jimmy buffet do?” thought process. Don’t worry; we kept it between the navigational beacons until it was 5:00 here.

2. This is How We Roll |  Florida Georgia Line

Pedicabs. The best transportation in Charleston. Especially when your wearing evening gowns and arriving at the S.C. Aquarium for a fun filled night. The open-air factor is ideal for burning down the night & shooting bullets at the moon.  So, this is how we roll.

3. Fishin’ in the Dark | Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The days are getting’ long and we waited all winter for the time to be right…for Charleston Water Keeper’s Fifth Annual Waterball– a fundraising event we look forward to every year. Because who doesn’t love a six-piece reggae band, a glass tank of tropical fish at the Aquarium and a drink called “The Keeper” that is rightfully named for a tendency to keep ordering it? Down by the (Ashley) River in the full moon light, we all fell in love in the middle of the night. (And not just with Natalie’s grad-school-aquaintence cutie taking my ticket). Between the Cobblestone Diaries initiated dance party, about 500 pictures in the photo booth and a quick hello to our favorite lemurs, these memories are hook, line and sink some of our favorites.

4. Downtown | Lady Antebellum

Trio is an old bar with a new idea: exclusivity. We met Elliott Kennedy (with her key) about the time all the parties on the streets were talking and the storefront mannequins were sleeping in lights. We drank out of the plastic aquarium cups in evening gown attire,  put in DJ requests and made new friends well after midnight- there was no pumpkin time for these Cinderellas.

5. Beachin | Jake Owen

Friday some of us had the day off. So while Kleckley, Jenni and Porter reported for their 9-5’s; Natalie and I were just a summertime strolling at our favorite Sullivan’s station. Nothing like a little sunshine and sand to make sure we don’t worry and remember to be happy.

6. Farmer’s Daughter | Rodney Atkins

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter, we fell in love with the Avett Brothers. Saturday’s shenanigans were the highlight of my Memorial Day weekend.  We came packing for the First Flush FesTEAval at the Charleston Tea Plantation in Wadamalaw. There is nothing quite like enduring  93 degree heat with 8,000 of your “closest friends” to remind you of the extent we go to for a good show.

7. Friends in Low Places | Garth Brooks

Once at the festival, our group of 9 picked a spot based on the amount of shade the VIP tent would produce as the sun set. (decisions like these are best made with a “what would my Eagle Scout father do?” perspective) We then proceeded to become friendly with our neighbors (and their 6 children under the age of 6). We also found ourselves ruining the VIP tent’s black tie affair (note to FesTEAval: don’t place all 200 of the port-o-potties on one side of the event. This will cause people in lower places to become creative with attempts to enter the VIP tent for the facilities.)

8. American Saturday Night | Brad Paisley

There is nothing more American than a tea plantation overflowing with people from all walks of life on Memorial Day Saturday. Especially with that guy from Stoplight Observations rocking a pair of overalls and an American Flag bandana. You know everywhere has something’ they’re known for, and in Charleston this is just another American Saturday Night.

9. Even if it Breaks Your Heart | Eli Young Band

Something about a front row seat to the Avett Brothers  with Kleckley by your side and Porter + Natalie singing every word behind you makes you feel like it is okay to dream. Every note just wraps around your soul. And in this case, every note packed into the two hour set was a total dream come true. A VIP backstage tour brought to me by Natalie’s wing woman skills, had me completely convinced that some dreams keep on getting better and you gotta keep believing if you wanna know for sure.

10. American Honey | Lady Antebellum

We grew up good; we grew up slow- like American Honey. One of my favorite childhood memories is watching Top Gun for the first time with my Dad. And, boy, was this movie calling’ out my name like a long lost friend as Porter, Kleckley, Natalie and I patriotically recuperated from the festival on Sunday morning. There is nothing sweeter than summertime and a Maverick + Goose team, right? Volleyball scene? Enough said.

11. Knee Deep | Zac Brown Band

Sunday afternoon’s beach session went a little something like this:

Mind on a permanent vacation,

The ocean is my only medication,

Wishing my condition ain’t ever gonna go away .

Cause now I’m knee deep in the water somewhere,

Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair,

Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair?

 

12. Suntan City | Luke Bryan

This leads us right into the main event. The bus left early (by Cobblestone time zone) to the beach for Memorial Day Monday. It is always bumper-to-bumper when we hit that road to Sullivan’s. Since Natalie woke up on our couch, Porter and I proceeded to pack the most well planned beach bags known to beach-goer history: Tunes. Check. Water. Check. Snacks. Check. Towels & Chairs. Check. Is that lemonade or Lime-a-rita? Check.

And our car ride was even more successful: Windows down. Check. Tunes way up. Check. Ravenel Bridge. Check. Rutledge Morris sighting. Check.

After a two-hour effort to make it on the beach, we were sitting pretty in suntan city with the best view in the world for the rest of the day.

13. God Bless the USA | Lee Greenwood

Sun kissed and happy, an end-of-weekend meal left us to the Cobblestone Diaries pre-dinner routine. One round of “I am thankful for…” and a strict no-cell-phone policy later, we reflected on the incredible weekend we shared. Add in a killer Charleston sunset, an acoustic cover of “Brown Eyed Girl” and a blue moon + orange slice, and I was absolutely thanking my lucky stars to be living here today. As for Cobblestone, we could not be more thankful for the freedom we have from the shore of our shining sea.

sunset

Stuff CSD Says: Group Text Edition

(Hey ladies, does this title make you nervous?)

When it comes to social commentary on first world problems, I will always choose “IPhone for 500.” The 2010 demise of my dumb phone left a very happy collegiate with an upgrade that promised me a new set of “inconveniences” I had never dreamed of. For example, “Why can’t I name my group text messages so I don’t send this selfie to the wrong people?” (Natalie- I’m looking at you).

And on that note, there is no distraction greater than a group text between the hours of nine to five. One text can be silenced in a sea of to-do lists but two or more and… game over. My phone is having a conversation with itself, and I wasn’t invited.

Some of my favorite mid-day smiles of 2014 come from the archives of this no-filter stage for our day-to-day activities. In the spirit of sharing the laughs, here’s your backstage pass to half a year’s worth of Cobblestone group text gems:

(J) Check out this link: “23 things to do instead of getting engaged before you are 23” HallelujeR! Praise the LorT!

(L) I will be unavailable this evening. As to be informative, but not to incite additional questions.

(J) I just saw a girl wearing apple bottom jeans. I never knew those were a real thing.

(K) My meteorologist icon, Jim Cantori with the weather channel is broadcasting live from the battery- I’m going to go take a pic with him. Look for a bald and kind of attractive old man.

(N) “Always be my baby” is playing at Midtown… realizing that all the freshman here were infants when this song came out…total buzz kill.

(J) Why are tater tots so hard to cook?

(K) I heard the Hunger Games mockingbird outside my window as I woke up (scary/awesome). May the odds be ever in your favor today.

(P) The voice starts tonight. May my odds be ever in Blake’s favor… or Usher’s.

(P) Do ya’ll ever wonder if other groups of girls are screen-shotting our Facebook posts and writing out our futures?

(N) Nah, we’re not that interesting. The most interesting thing I have done all week is find cases of diet coke at Target 5 for $10.

(K) P, I think you should have a water ocean birth.

(J) Bohemian Bull for dinner?

(N) Can I wear Yoga pants?

(N) Just hit a parked car- Is it Friday yet?

(J) I’m about to crawl under my desk and nap my head hurts so bad.

(N) What’s everyone up to tonight?

(L) Just stepped out of the state for a moment- BBL.

(P) Just hanging out with this sea turtle at the aquarium and he told me he can’t wait to see us at Waterball.

(J) I think he saw quite a lot of us last year #rippedpants #lemurs Maybe he knows where my slip is?

(N) We need to stop losing our delicates at parties.

(L) #thehyattmassacre

(N) Everyone’s feet were so cut up and bloody.

(P) Not mine.

(L) Well I will forever have a scar that will remind me of SS2014.

(N) Same boat, my friend.

(L) Can’t wait to tell your children, “Your mom and I have matching scars from when we walked on glass when we were twentysomething and fun.”

(L) Dibs on buying your children their first pairs of J’s.

(N) I don’t even know what that is.

(L) J’s on my feet, Jordan’s… as in Michael.

(N) Yeah, yeah. White boy swag.

(K) J: first Colehans, P: first basketball shoes, L: first Jay’s, K: first white stride right sandals, N: baby Frye boots

(L) Sounds about right.

(N) Kleckley and I just bought Sonic happy hour in all pennies #pgp

(N) I just fell down an entire flight of stairs at the house. That’s going to leave a mark.

(J) That feeling of success when you open a pack of starburst and they are all pink #allIdoiswin

(N) Y’all, I’m hiding in the bathroom at work. There is a mime here and he is scaring me.

(L) Mimes are people too, Natalie.

(N) Did you know there is a 50 shades musical???

(L) There is a $5 off on Groupon today.

(K) Is it starring Rhianna? Chains and whips excite her.

The Shopping Habits of a Twentysomething

Every girl who grew up in the 90’s has wished at some point in her life that Cher Horowitz’s virtual reality closet was, well, virtually a reality. There is nothing worse than needing an outfit for an event and leaving the store clueless.

This is where like-mindedness ends. Anyone who thinks group shopping is a bonding experience has never perused the sale rack with five different personalities. Or marathon shopped with Kleckley Legare.

Fashionistas across America can identify, you know you know that girl.

The Grab and Go

Kleckley can cover every corner of Target in about 20 minutes flat. Dressing rooms are a unnecessary stop. She frequently maxes out her “return without receipt limit” on her card. Her ability to systematically pack lawn furniture into the same shopping cart as a red, power-blazer & frozen chicken for dinner would make even the most seasoned soccer moms do a double take. Impulse buying and returning is her MO, but she always walks out with everything she needs. And, sometimes we get a baby pool for the backyard out of it.

The Justifiably Big Spender

Natalie is the kind of girl who could convince you to buy $50 worth of handmade, tobacco-scented soap because it’s a great hostess gift, and “it’s very local-chic.” Compelling, right? Find it here. Our Birmingham native has taught us you can never have too many little black dresses, and fur is a necessity (for that one sub 40-degree day in Charleston). She is the best cure you can find for buyer’s remorse.

The President of Procrastination Nation

Porter could make an Olympic Sport out of pulling together everything she needs for a wedding with just two hours until she is supposed to walk out of the door. She is infamous for trying on that bridesmaid dress for the first time the night before she packs and hoping she has shoes, jewelry and the appropriate undergarments to pull it off. Miraculously, she always manages to be just as lovely as the other four girls who were packed for this event a week ago. Although, the occasional “I forgot to get my nails done” Snapchat reminds us she’s human too.

The Carrie Bradshaw

Jenni likes her money where she can see it, on her feet. She believes shoes are the focal point of any well-put together outfit and a walk in hers would probably prove her right. The only kind of retail that brings her therapy is at the intersection of “strappy or wedge?”

The Goose Chaser

Confession: I am a sucker for the hard to get game. When I was in high school, I searched high and low for the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days dress for prom. In college, I spent three months finding the scarf from the dock scene in Sweet Home Alabama. Cotton’s Fabric of our Lives campaign? One look and I needed that Anthropologie knit from Hayden Pannettier’s closet that left her dancing around a bonfire on a tailgate. I am a situational fashion girl. I love stalking street style blogs. I think there is a perfect outfit for every single one of life’s moments, and I’m not afraid of a little challenge to find it. Some of my favorite pieces in my closet took hours of online investigation. But every time someone tells me they love my boots, you better believe it is worth every moment.shopping