20 Things to Do in Charleston Before the End of 2019

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20 Things To Do Before the End of 2017

By Minta Pavliscsak

1. Call an old friend who you haven’t spoken with in a while.
It may take you a few minutes to dial that number. Take your time, just don’t back down. Someone has to open that line of communication; it might as well be you.

2. Go for a sunrise walk on Folly Beach.
We have some of the most beautiful sunrises you will ever experience, and if you haven’t yet you are missing out! So drag a friend out of bed, or just go spend some time by yourself and enjoy the majesty of the morning. (Roasted is a coffee shop inside of Tides that opens at 6am. I like to stop by there first and take my coffee on the beach. Plus, on these chilly mornings it will help to keep your warm!)

3. Send Christmas cards.
Everybody loves getting mail! …as long as it’s not a bill. Sure you could just send an email or a text, but doesn’t your loved ones deserve a personalized, handwritten card that they can treasure for years to come?

4. Forgive that person who may not deserve it, but needs it most.
This ain’t easy, but believe me when I say you need this too! We all make mistakes, we all forget things, and it honestly might not have even been on purpose. The past is the past and as long as it’s not habitual or destructive to the relationship, forgiveness may be the only thing keeping you from having that amazing relationship.

5. Hug your parents.
Do we really do this enough? I feel like hugs are things we tend to take for granted. Humans need touch, and sometimes this is the only way we know how to communicate our emotions towards each other. A simple hug can go a long way.

6. Visit at least one touristy attraction.
This is the best time of year to do it! Places aren’t as crowded, it’s not blazing hot, and some places will even have discounts on admission.

7. Pour a glass of wine or pop open a beer, crank up the music, and dance around the house in your underwear.
Yes, this is just as fun as it sounds! Don’t worry about how you look, you’ll be alone so who cares. Just move your body in a way that feels good. You might just find yourself carrying this tradition over to the New Year!

8. Make the decision to Let It Go!
We carry so much with us from one day to the next. Most of it we cannot control, or is not our burden to carry in the first place. Stop worrying so much, things have a way of working themselves out without any input from you. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, just let it go.

9. Do one random act of kindness.
This can be something so simple like paying for the next person in line’s coffee, or putting $10 on a pump of gas. There are also many opportunities around the community, such as donating to Toys-for-Tots, volunteering at The Lowcountry Food Bank, The Ronald McDonald House, or at an animal shelter, and many area businesses are collecting canned food for the local food bank.

10. Watch Love Actually.
This film is about an eclectic group of characters who all seem to be connected in London during Christmas time. It is charming, funny, and will pull on your heart strings all at the same time. Trust me on this one when I say it is a must see, and even better when you watch it with a good friend or loved one. Doesn’t sound like you? Then make sure you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special instead!

11. Take a “me” day.
Although they do not happen very often, I absolutely love having my “me” days. You can do anything, or nothing for that matter, that you want to, as long as it is stress free and makes you happy. I prefer to get a nice massage, then take a stroll down King Street or the Market to find something, no matter how small, for myself. My favorite “me” day trinket is a small ceramic dragon with a silly smile on his face. Enjoying a nice light lunch outside somewhere and people watching is also a great idea.

12. Change the batteries in your smoke detector.
This is your friendly service reminder courtesy of Charleston Daily. Come on, when is the last time you checked those batteries?

13. Get outside of your comfort zone.
Do something you wouldn’t typically do. Go somewhere you wouldn’t typically go. Sing karaoke with friends, climb the ropes at Wild Blue Ropes, put on that sexy dress you never wear and have a night on the town!

14. Finish that project.
We all have some project, big or small, that is sitting somewhere waiting for us to complete it. Slow down, make the time, and finish that project.

15. Choose to be happy.
This can be tougher for some than others, and that’s OK! Surround yourself with things, and people, that make you happy. When those negative thoughts come up, replace them with positive ones. Practice self-love, such as telling yourself that you are enough, reminding yourself how beautiful you are, and say daily affirmations. Don’t forget about the simplest thing you can do…smile.

16. Re-evaluate your priorities
Life has a tendency of taking over and we tend to get off our course from time to time. It is important that you bring your priorities to your conscious and see if where you are is where you want to be. This is how we stay connected to ourselves and move forward in life and in love.

17. Eat at a great Charleston area restaurant.
We are so lucky here in Charleston to have so many amazing restaurants. How many have you been to? No more excuses not to go to that one you have always wanted to go, but have never made it.

18. Disengage from the opinion of others.
You are you, and you are wonderful. Who cares what others think about you?! Here’s a little secret…if they make you feel bad when you are around them, then they probably shouldn’t be in your life. Once you learn to separate who you are from who you think everyone else thinks you should be, you will be amazed at how much happier and stress-free you will be.

19. Go play.
We have easy access to tennis courts, basketball courts, Frisbee golf, putt-putt, laser tag, paintball fields, trampoline parks, and open fields where you can play a pick-up game of whatever middle school/high school sports that you can think of.

20. Tell somebody you love them.
We don’t say this anywhere near enough. You never know what tomorrow may hold. Today is the day to tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. And keep it up; personally I have never gotten tired of hearing someone say they love me, nor do I tire of expressing it. Both make my heart smile every time!

Bringing a Bit of France to the Low Country with Brasserie Gigi

By Robert J. Jenks
By Robert J. Jenks

When drawing up a list of places to eat in downtown Charleston, it is more than likely that a local’s list will differ greatly from that of an out-of-towner. Unfortunately, geography plays an integral role in determining which crowd will visit which establishments. Though there is a great deal of overlap, the Market certainly takes the cake when it comes to attracting the most out of town clientele, and because of that, locals tend to avoid the area at all costs.

One restaurant—with a unique interior reminiscent of a Parisian bistro, stands out amongst its Market Street competition to deliver delicious French food and top-notch customer service. Having only been open for just under a year and a half, Brasserie Gigi is on its way to the top of Charleston’s culinary charts. In fact, Brasserie Gigi is under the same ownership umbrella as some of the town’s long-time favorites, such as Hank’s Seafood and Peninsula Grill.

With a seasoned hospitality team behind the scenes making and implementing service standards and expert menu decisions, Brasserie Gigi sets the bar high in terms of guest satisfaction. To hear a little bit more about the great service and cuisine offered here, I sat down with the General Manager, Johanna Jenkins for an inside scoop:

Q: What are the top three things you aim for guests to take away from their dining experience at Brasserie Gigi?

A: As a manager, I don’t want my guests to ever want for anything. When they leave they should have had impeccable service and delicious food in a lovely and enjoyable atmosphere.

Q: With food culture being so prevalent in Charleston, how do you adjust your menus to remain competitive in the restaurant scene while still giving the public what they want?

A: At Brasserie Gigi we definitely face those challenges being French and on the Market. We have an extraordinarily diverse menu that will cater to almost everyone while keeping a little French flare in every dish.

Q: What changes would you like to see in Brasserie Gigi within the next year of operation?

A: For me Brasserie Gigi is top notch in all areas and because of that we have an amazing return clientele business. I just hope to reach more guests both local and visiting so we can pack the house every night.

Q: Tell me about a recent all-star experience with a guest.

A: I make a point to try and visit each table and make sure they are enjoying everything and learn a little about their visit. More times than not I hear that this is their favorite experience in Charleston. You can’t top that.

Q: What do you think sets Brasserie Gigi apart from Charleston’s other top restaurants?

A: The fact that behind closed doors Brasserie Gigi is steeped in hospitality history from the owner to the chef. It is truly a privilege to be a part of such an establishment and respected team.

As you can see the staff at Brasserie Gigi, from the owner to the front-of-house team, strive to create the best experience for their guests. In addition, the French bistro dining style is fairly unique to the area, making this establishment stand out amongst our local culture of grits and seared pork belly. Though the food is French, the hospitality and service speak with a loud voice to the Southern standard our great city is known for around the world.

Charleston Black Tie Affair Brings Charm and Elegance to Fine Dining

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Catherine Welborn is a three time cancer survivor whose strength; a foundation of personal vitality in a community that has defined itself on perseverance and hope is a remarkable example of what Charleston stands for. In November of 2009, Catherine and her husband started a small intimate community of diners. Each quarter, they would dress to the nine’s; gowns and tuxedos and spend an evening at Charleston’s finest restaurants. Some of the original members have since moved on due to health issues, but this small group of six has grown to a cap of twenty (20) couples and an annual holiday event called simply, A Black Tie Affair. Their web address is CharlestonBlackTieAffair.org.

The importance of community, comfort and friendship is a near and dear part of the mission of this group of dining enthusiasts. Couples are only welcome by invitation and must be in a solid loving relationship. Each February, May, August and November, if you look closely, you will see groups of adoring couples walking the streets or Charleston or laughing inside as you pass by our finest dining foundations.

Each evening begins with a champagne toast to celebrate life followed by three hours of banter, laughter and smiles leaving all of the pressures of life behind for just one night.

For Catherine, the concept of A Black Tie Affair was nothing more than an escape from the overwhelming hours she was dedicating to a political PAC. She needed a break and a moment to step away and take in the simple pleasures of one of the things Charleston does best: amazing culinary creations.

Mark Feldman, Elaine Cuthbertson, William Dion
Mark Feldman, Elaine Cuthbertson, William Dion

For many, this society of diners, joined for the same it was created; a temporary escape. This group consists of many prominent Charleston citizens including doctors, lawyers and politicians. From 7:00 PM until the last couple leaves, all that is put aside and the night is about connections and relaxation.

Each event is carefully designed so that all the members have an opportunity to learn about each other. When they arrive, the tables are donned with white table clothes and linen napkins and each couple randomly chooses a number. That will determine their seating arrangement. Thus, each event will situate them with new people to engage with. Once everyone is settled, a group toast is made and the night officially is underway.

Now six years running, Black Tie Affair is only getting stronger. Over the years, some members have been stricken with health issues that have forced them away, but when the time was needed, compassion stepped in. During one of Catherine’s treatment sessions, members would stop by and spend time with her and provide her with food and comfort. This group goes much deeper than four annual dinners and a holiday party. They understand the meaning of community, love and devotion. That may be the true underlying reason why the only rule of A Black Tie Affair is that you must be part of a couple.
Several months ago, I noticed that my core friends were slipping away. Life was moving in different directions and we were going months without spending time together. I insisted on a bi-monthly brunch rotating hosting homes to make sure we stuck together. A Black Tie Affair is a reminder to each of us that we need to stick together. Making connections can be difficult, but if you find a group of individuals that you can relate to, confide in and find tranquility with, it is a rare gift that should be embraced.

Mike Miller, Marie Miller, Mary Ann Taylor, Eddie Taylor
Mike Miller, Marie Miller, Mary Ann Taylor, Eddie Taylor

A Black Tie Affair is another reminder that Charleston has a rewarding culture of community, compassion and fun. With the backdrop of incredible fine dining, A Black Tie Affair and Charleston have found the perfect combination of community, comfort and friendship. As November approaches, another birthday for A Black Tie Affair rolls around; continuing their perfect combination of community, comfort, and friendship.