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Columbia, Beaufort & Hilton Head; Part Two of our Road Trip through South Carolina

Our Road Trip with Atlanta Food & Wine Continues
Filed Under > Everyday

As you read yesterday, we recently set out on a pretty epic road trip throughout South Carolina, eating and drinking our way through a handful of the state’s must-see cities.  And as we were driving from Greenville to Hilton Head and then onto Sea Island for The Southern C Summit, Columbia was a no-brainer for a pitstop.  It was my first time in town, though Kat had been during college for a game or two to visit friends.  It didn’t take me long to see that this was one FUN town on a college game day.  The plethora of local breweries, great spots to catch some good grub, and the overall setup of the town really built the scene for a perfect weekend in the south.  And as someone who didn’t have college football at their school, I can appreciate that more than you know! 

We really lucked out with our itinerary on this part of the trip and our time in Columbia; the AFWF team powwow’ed with the state of South Carolina for must-eat, must-drink stops for us to get a feel for the place, setting us off in the fanciest Lexus SUV to roll us around in style.  And after we were done in Columbia, we had our eyes set on a quick stop in Beaufort and finally settling in Hilton Head for the night. 

The first on our list for the day was Rise Bakeshop, which was named Columbia’s Best New Restaurant last year by the readers of Free Times. Owned by Chef Sarah Simmons (who also owns CITY GRIT and Birds & Bubbles in Manhattan), the place boasts a big menu of southern staples at a fast-casual frequency.  It’s the perfect place for a great biscuit, drool-worthy breakfast or lunch sandwiches and top quality salad bowls… basically everything they serve (minus the cheese) is prepared in-house using only the best ingredients.  It was totally right up our alley; the team piled up on sweet and savory treats for later, only after talking to the lovely Chef Sarah and hearing her story.  This talented lady really knows her stuff; she’s been recognized as one of the most creative people in business, a new and notable chef, and one of America’s best new cooks, and many more accolades by Food & Wine, Zagat and Fast Company magazine just to name a few.  Her drive and passion for the industry was contagious, too; she told us about her big plans to continue paving the way in Columbia for top-scale dining.  We definitely plan to keep an ear out for her next endeavor…with Columbia only three hours away from Atlanta, it would be a great excuse to come check out a new restaurant of hers and have a little weekend getaway.  

After our stop at Rise, we piled back in the car to make our way to 2Fat2Fly where friends/owners Ramone Dickerson and Cory Simmons have in all seriousness, changed the game with their absolutely, ridiculously awesome stuffed chicken wings.  That’s right; you read that correctly…stuffed chicken wings.  The name may be my favorite part about the biz too with a play on the stuffed chicken that are too fat to fly!  We arrived hungry, because we didn’t want to waste this chance at this when-in-Rome experience here in Columbia.  And a side note, the guys were sweet to let us come in; they were actually closed for dining because it was Super Bowl Sunday and the team was busy in the back preparing catering orders all day long.  But the boys showed us the utmost southern hospitality as they brought out some of their finest stuffed wings for us to enjoy (with the place to ourselves!).  And man, the lineup was creative, innovative and irresistible: mac & cheese, chicken & waffles dunked in maple syrup, jambalaya rice & sausage, collard greens & rice and lastly, jalapeno, bacon & cheese.  Insane, right?!  They were some of the best wings we’ve ever ate…I mean just mind blowing how they actually stuff them.  We definitely put a dent in the platter in front of us, but alas we did go home with some wings that we knew would be just as good heated up later that night! 

We knew we wanted to pop around Columbia for a little bit longer, and since the city has a great brewery scene, we stopped by River Rat Brewing next for a flight of craft beers. The brewery was super laid-back and welcoming; one of those places where you’d want to hang out with a few of your friends for a few hours.  It had a great, large outdoor area that would be so perfect for sunny weather and a good #SundayFunday.  The space was awesome, and one we’d definitely recommend visiting for yourself. 

Before we knew it, it was time to hit the road again, and we wanted to swing through super charming Beaufort on the way to Hilton Head.  Whenever you’re passing through South Carolina, it’s really worth your while to stop through here; the quiet streets of antebellum homes nestled on the water make it the most idyllic little town.  If you have time, be sure to rent bikes and meander the streets covered in Spanish moss; they’ll take your breath away!  And if you have time to catch a quick bite, you must go to Q on the Bay for some of the best BBQ around (with Alabama white sauce of course), and homemade strawberry cake (recipe stays in the family…don’t worry I’ve already tried to get it). 

Our final stop on deck for this epic South Carolina road trip: Hilton Head.  It was such a treat to get a little taste of springtime weather here, and the cool ocean breeze and sand between our toes put a smile on all of us.  We had a ton of recommendations to go check out Hilton Head Brewing Co., the island’s first brewery located on the north end.  We were so glad we did; after getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery, we enjoyed tasting several of their finest IPA’s at the bar.  The new-to-town brewer, Nick Farstad, impressed us with his drive to get the brewery back to booming post-Hurricane Matthew, and he was great to teach us about the diverse flavor profiles of some of the brewery’s most beloved beers. We left there wishing Nick and team the best in his efforts to “put HHI on the [beer] map.” We know we’ll be back for another round soon! 

Our last (and maybe my favorite) reservation found us at One Hot Mama’s, the culinary brain child and family-friendly BBQ joint by the talented Chef Orchid Paulmeier.  You may remember Chef Orchid from season 7 of The Next Food Network Star!  Chef Orchid sure knows what she’s doing; the spread set us back a few lbs. probably (because we just couldn’t leave any bites left behind), and we all settled into a comfortable and happy food coma after we devoured what was on the table.  I think my favorite dish was the juicy-wet ribs, but I know that Kat couldn’t stop talking about those wings and Kathryn loved the macaroni & cheese.  The one thing we could all agree on though; the chocolate, bacon pecan pie.  Bold statement here, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a better dessert! Definitely worth a visit when you’re on HHI.  

Whew!  To say we had a great time meeting these talented chefs, eating this fantastic food and enjoying these drinks throughout South Carolina is a major understatement.  Big thanks to AFWF, Discover South Carolina and Lexus for making it all happen.  I know I can speak for the team in saying how fortunate we felt to have had the chance to see some of these hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems around the state.  It’ll make it even more fun to meet up with the chefs at this year’s Atlanta Food & Wine Festival during the first weekend in June!  Early Bird tickets go on sale 3.24, so be sure to set a reminder in your calendars…it’s one of my favorite events all year!  Check out a few peeks from last year’s festival below (but most importantly, read about the tasting tents you’ll want to visit first!) to see what all of the buzz is about.   Truly, MKR

P.S. Here’s an elegant southern themed private dinner I styled for the festival last year, along with a stunning Asian inspired rooftop dinner and the jaw-dropping farm table set up in the vineyard! xo  

PHOTOGRAPHY, KATHRYN MCCRARY FOR WAITING ON MARTHA | THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL, DISCOVER SOUTH CAROLINA AND LEXUS.  ALL OPINIONS ARE 100% OUR OWN. 

A Roadtrip through South Carolina with Atlanta Food & Wine

How to spend 24 hours in Greenville, South Carolina
Filed Under > Everyday

We recently had the most amazing time in South Carolina, as I’m sure you can recall from our posts on Instagram and Snapchat (username WAITINGONMARTHA).  Coming back from the whirlwind of a trip (we were gone 10 days in total), I was officially convinced that South Carolina is probably my (second) favorite state.  With its incredible geographical delights, drool-worthy food and great drivability from us here in the A, it makes for a wonderful getaway and worthwhile trip – however long you can go.  

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival teamed up with our friends at Discover South Carolina and Lexus to send us on a food-and-drink filled 3 days-2 night road trip.  And man, the itinerary was GOOD.  There’s a lot to cover, but in today’s post, we’re talking about where to visit in Greenville. 

First on our itinerary was Six & Twenty Distillery, where founders David Raad and Robert “Farmer” Redmond welcomed us with open arms after a morning of road tripping north from Atlanta.  David and Farmer’s passion for their craft was apparent from the second we walked through their doors; we had a wonderful time hearing about their unique process in making a variety of handcraft whiskies, bourbon gin and vodka. The homemade touch was obvious with everything we saw (and tasted!); every bottle was meticulously filled, hand corked and labeled on site, and the batches of bottles were numbered and personally signed. The team left with t-shirts and bottles of Six & Twenty’s crowd favorite, Carolina Cream, in tow. 

We were enamored with the story behind the Six and Twenty name too.  Legend has it that before the Revolutionary War, a Choctaw woman was captured by the Cherokee and made a slave. She overheard the Cherokee’s attack plans for the trading post where her British lover lived. She escaped captivity to warn him of the looming danger, and traveled 96 miles to save him. She set geographical points along the way, based on her distance from the Cherokee village.  The distillery is located approximately 26 miles from the original village, giving it its name! Check out more on this love story that made history (and one heck of a great name for a distillery). 

Next on the itinerary: lunch at Grits & Groceries, which is located at Saylors Crossroads at the junction of 185 and 284.  Its closest town is a little place called Belton, about 30 minutes away. As we pulled up, we found cars lining both of th roads, seemingly at the only establishment around.  We knew we were in for a treat seeing how busy it was in the middle of the day.  We grabbed Bloody Mary’s at the outside bar and eagerly waited what we knew would be a feast to remember.  And we were right; Chef Heidi Trull sent out her fried country ham balls with homemade pepper jelly (AMAZING) and we scarfed them down in practically one bite.  When the place cleared up a bit, Chef Heidi sat us right at the bar so we could have a front-and-center view of the kitchen.  She then went and served us the royal treatment, bringing out samplings of all of her mainstays on the menu: her famous praline bacon, “Eggs Elizabeth”, fried cheese grits with tomato jam, “Three Little Piggies” sandwiches, shrimp and grits, the Palmetto Burger (possibly the best grassfed beef burger we’ve ever had with a big ole scoop of homemade pimento cheese on top), and of course (somehow we found room) for her husband Joe’s homemade fried apple pies.  I mean they had to roll us out of there, but not before they sent us on our way with more fried apple pies for later and plenty of homemade pepper jelly. 

Happy food comas set in, and we headed back to Greenville to check into the Westin Poinsett, which has a great central location in the downtown. We took a bit of a breather to reset, explore the town and gear up for dinner at the wildly popular Willy Taco Feed & Seed.  With two locations (the other in Spartanburg, SC), the “Willy” of Willy Taco, William Cribb, has knocked it out of the park with this full-service, upcycled cantina concept.  This location in particular is inside a renovated, historic Feed & Seed building that’s had a special place in Greenville residents’ hearts.  The owners did a fantastic job staying true to the historical details, while ushering in cool, modern details that fit the funky vibe. And on the menu: a great mix of conceptual tacos, burgers, sandwiches, salads, house-made chips and fresh juice margaritas. The vibe was electric and funky; people everywhere happy to be there, joining friends for a few drinks at the bar and noshing on some impressive taco creations at the tables. 

 This wasn’t our first time in Greenville, and it certainly won’t be our last.  We absolutely adored having this chance to see more of this great town, and highly suggest these spots if you’re wondering where to visit in Greenville.  A big thanks to AFWF, Discover SC and Lexus for showing us a few more must-visit gems, and introducing us to new faces and friends that we’ll be sure to seek out come June at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival!  Stay tuned for our recap of Day 2 and 3, where we stopped in Columbia, Beaufort and Hilton Head.  Amazing lineup, right?!  Truly, MKR

P.S. Next time in Greenville and Traveller’s Rest, we’re hoping to check these off the list: Dark Corner Moonshine, Copperhead Mountain Distillery, Quest Brewing, Brewery 85, Grape and Grains of Greenville, Swamp Rabbit Trail Brewery and Blue Ridge Brewing Company.  Spread out, in moderation, of course! xo 

Photography, Kathryn McCrary for Waiting on Martha | This post is in collaboration with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Discover South Carolina and Lexus.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

The 10 Best & Safest Ways to Make Your Home Smell Good

Our Favorite Candles, Diffusers, & Incense With The Least Amount of Harmful Chemicals
Filed Under > Everyday

The best non toxic candles, diffusers & incense for your home.

Nothing beats walking into a good-smelling home.  Since memories and sentiments are so closely tied to the power of scent, it’s no wonder that we all enjoy noticing wonderful fragrances in a space. But fragrance has recently become one of the dirtiest words in beauty because of a loophole that allows brands to not have to list the ingredients actually included in a fragrance.  In fact, according to The Environmental Working Group, the average fragrance product contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label.  But thankfully, many are starting to take notice and there’s more natural, and safer fragrance options than ever.  Which means you can still light your beloved candles, diffusers or incense, to make your home smell good as long as you choose wisely.

A few things to keep in mind: candles are least “toxic” when poured with soy, coconut or beeswax, and when they have wicks that are made from cotton rather than toxic lead.  Double bonus if the candles are using organic, all natural essential oils (like the ones we swear by and diffuse all day long, learn more about those HERE) rather than perfumes.    

In searching out some more natural candle options, I found plenty, but I would be amiss if I didn’t point out that I was thrilled to find out my favorite Volcano candles were soy based with cotton wicks, and fragranced with essential oils.  I may have had a breakdown if that wasn’t the case.  I mean, any post about the best smelling home candles would be incomplete without mention of the Capri Blue Volcano.  There’s a reason why it’s a cult-classic!  

And just like Volcano candles, any post about what it takes to make a good-smelling home without all the toxins would be wrought without me including our favorite essential oils for diffusing, easy incense sticks and palo santo wood (spoiler alert: palo santo is not just for the hippies).  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the beautiful aromas created through these more all natural, eco-friendly options than your go-to candles (though we’re not going to lie, we’re never going to stop burning candles). 

While we know that you’ll be hard pressed to find any candles that are completely toxin free, we think we rounded up a great bunch of safer options which you can browse via our scrolling widget below.  Then be sure to read about our top ten picks, including why we love each one.  I’d love to know what your go-to method of home fragrance is!  Cheers, Kat 

SHOP THE STORY  / CLICK LEFT & RIGHT ARROWS TO EXPLORE

 

  

Signature Blue Volcano Candle

Capri Blue, $34

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Ask anyone; this signature soy wax blend and crowd pleasing scent is one of the most popular candles around. It’s poured into recycled glass vessels, which can be reused long after burning.  Volcano is one of our go-to scents; think tropical fruits and sugared citrus. 

Why we love it:
This candle is a cult-favorite for a reason, and its fragrance is second-to-none.  We just learned that it’s actually all natural too, so we’re beyond excited about the fact that we don’t have to be worried about lighting our favorite candle. It also has a whopping 85-hour burn time, ensuring we can enjoy it for a lovely, long time! 

Bamboo & Ceramic Aroma Diffuser

PurSonic, $102.99

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Here’s a high quality diffuser for an affordable, all natural approach to home fragrance with essential oils. By diffusing essential oils, you’re able to create an environment you love; many blends offer mood-boosting effects, as well as increased productivity, purified air and more. 

Why we love it:
This diffuser is a beautiful way to diffuse our favorite oils (ylang ylang, lavender, orange, lemon, etc.); it’s made with sustainably sourced, hand cut bamboo and elegantly crafted ceramic. Bonus: it has BPA-free plastic inside the design. 

Learn all about joining us on our “oily” journey HERE!

Woodlot "Recharge" Coconut Wax Candle

Woodlot, $26-$36

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This scent is perfect for GSD’ing with aromas of rosemary, mint and peppermint essential oil.  It’s also petroleum free, GMO free, phthalate free in a recyclable class with a 60 hour burn time.

Why we love it:
Not only does this candle meet the ultra-chic criteria for our countertops, it smells absolutely divine. Double bonus for a solid burn time!

 

 

Wellspring Handmade Wood Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

Welledia, $106.99

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Not only can they make a room smell great, diffusers and essential oils can silently purify and humidify the air, creating relaxing, calming, uplifting and energizing effects in the room.  silently purifies and humidifies the air and has an optional night light, making it perfect for night time use and for traveling.

Why we love it:
This one is high quality and aesthetically pleasing; the dark wood blends in well with home decor.  It’s also light and convenient for travel. 

Learn all about joining us on our “oily” journey HERE!

Palo Santo Incense Stick Bundles

Woodlot, $12

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Palo santo is known as “Holy Wood”, and is an eco-friendly incense stick that is harvested from naturally fallen branches off the Palo Santo tree in Equador. To burn, you simply light the end of the stick, spreading the smoke to cleanse and energize the space. 

Why we love it:
Palo santo sticks are an affordable, all natural way to clear your room of negative energy and bad smells. It’s also a great, nontoxic way to ward off mosquitoes! 

Bed & Bath Aroma Diffusers

Enviroscent

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These solvent-free air fresheners use pure essential oils, paper and natural materials to give off a subtle, yet wonderful scent. The Wild Lavender includes “citrus notes carried on a warm breeze waft through lavender tufts, with hints of forest wood and amber.”

Why we love it:
These diffusers are an even easier, more affordable way to enjoy the smells of essential oils without batteries or electricity and sans oil or flame. They’re made with recyclable, compostable paper that’s infused with the oils. With one stick, the smell can be enjoyed for 30+ days in the room. 

Soy Wax Wine Bottle Candle in Rose

Rewined, $29

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These super popular soy wax candles are made from repurposed wine bottles and handcrafted in Charleston.  The rosé candle, in particular, includes notes of rose petal, white peach, pink peppercorn and crisp minerality.

Why we love it: 
It’s a clean, fresh scent that nobody can resist. And the light, feminine feel to the candle makes it a great and easy gift for a friend. 

Lavender Dreams Aroma Diffuser

EcoCandleCo, $32.99

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These easy reed diffusers can’t be beat. They look just as lovely as they smell; this one fittingly titled “Lavender Dreams.”

Why we love it:
The diffuser sticks give off a subtle, natural scent that is exactly what we love for a bathroom, laundry room and bedroom. The beautiful vessel is great to reuse, to. 

'Skylight' Fragrance Candle

Kai, $48

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kai brings us a light, fresh and airy scent that brings none of the toxins (#score). It has notes of gardenia, jasmine, tuberose and lily. This one is the largest of the collection, offering a slow burning, 60-hour wick. 

Why we love it:
This one’s crafted with an all-natural proprietary blend of soy, palm and coconut wax, so we feel good about burning it.  Its intoxicating yet light scent is just the subtle loveliness a room needs.

Jasmine Incense Jar

Waiting on Martha Home, $36

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This jar of 100 incense sticks is a great alternative to candles and diffusers. Each stick has a 30 minute burn time, allowing you to fill the room with intoxicating scent at the drop of a hat. 

Why we love it:
These are SUPER affordable and easy.  The engraved wood lid actually doubles as a burner/holder for the incense sticks too. 

Featured image, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha in Nightstand Essentials

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