Friday, June 23

Liked and Lonely



How many likes did you get on your last Instagram post? What about on your new Facebook profile picture? Do you remember how many people commented on your last post? We're a very "liked" society. If we're not careful, we can get caught up in basing our worth and value in the likes  by others (and often thee others are strangers or people we barely know). How is it then, that we can be "liked" by so many  people yet still feel lonely? How come we fill our Facebook event calendar with "interested" stars but when it comes to actually going out you can't find anyone to go with you? Or what about when you're having a rough day and need someone to talk to, can you call the last person who liked your post? Probably not because we're liked and lonely.

I admit it: I have placed a lot of my self-worth and value in whether or not people like me. Do the popular girls in high school invite me to their parties? Does that University want to accept me into their school? Will the super cute guy down the hall notice me? Will the company I interview with hire me? I have always been wrapped up in one way or another if people "like" me. I wanted to be liked so badly and even when I was affirmed and 'liked' by others, I still felt horribly alone.

I had some great friends in high school but still struggled with self esteem and worth. In college I was involved in clubs and sports and even a sorority but still struggled with confidence and depression. I thought that once I graduated and started my 'real' life it would be better, I would be happy and have wonderful friends and wouldn't face the throngs of loneliness. Well let me tell you, as a woman in her late 20s, I still feel liked and lonely. This isn't  something I'm going through alone, and do you want to know why...because I see women all around  me struggling with this epidemic in silence too.

The epidemic
Look around you; sit in an airport or Starbucks without your cellphone or laptop in your hand. I dare you for thirty minutes to not be plugged into something and just observe. Our technology is our defense mechanism, our walls. If we appear busy, no one will notice that we're ______ [fill in the blank with the thing you're dealing with, the emotions you're feeling, the issue you're avoiding]. I bet I know how you'll feel as well: UNCOMFORTABLE. Being vulnerable is so uncomfortable and awkward and that is exactly why after about ten minutes of sitting unplugged you'll start itching for the safety net of scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. It's uncomfortable to be without your safety shield; the one that can deflect a situation and allows you to shut yourself off to the world. It's uncomfortable--- but so is being lonely ladies!

I am going to have an honest moment here: I am miserably lonely. If you look at my IG profile you wouldn't guess it but that's because it's a P-R-O-F-I-L-E! It's my highlight reel not reality. (Another newsflash, probably 99.9% of my pictures are edited #ILoveThatValenciaFilter). My career allows me the incredible opportunity to travel the country for a living and it's an amazing adventure but it can be quite the lonely affair. I fly by myself, I travel by myself, I eat by myself, I adventure by myself. There are times where I love the solitude and don't cross me because I'm one tough-butt-independent-woman-solo-traveler but still it gets lonely out there. 

I long for real friendships and relationships but it's been really hard to cultivate these meaningful relationships. Anyone else out there feel the same? I have hundreds of virtual "friends" but months ago when I was having an incredibly difficult day, I scrolled through my contact list and literally felt like I couldn't call one single friend in that list. How can that be?! I was devastated. In a moment where I needed someone the most, I had no one to call on. I was completely friendless in a "friend"-filled world. I realized that there was this epidemic around me and I was involved in it as well. I've become so numb to the virtual world of friendship that I realized I wasn't sure how to cultivate real friendships around me.

The cure
I don't know a cure, so if you're looking for a 3-step prescription plan you unfortunately won't find one here. Unfortunately, I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I started volunteering at a charity, a got involved in an association at work, I joined a new church, I joined a Bible study, I've put my phone away at the coffee shop and yet I'm still sitting here liked and lonely. I know that these enriching friendships are out there because I see other women in them. I know that God places people in our lives for specific seasons and reasons. I also know that Satan's main goal is to keep us isolated and lonely. If Satan can keep us separated and feeling alone, we won't be able to flourish and live out God's plan for our lives. 

I wonder though, if there was a way for us women to come together to connect and really form relationships how the world would change? This isn't just a disease that affects the Millennial generation or those women who are using social media- it knows no age or socioeconomic or race limitation [and  on that same thought, I'm sure men go through these same things but I'm just speaking from a female perspective]. Women in their 70s who have lost their husband and suddenly feeling very alone in the world are feeling the same thing as those of us in our late 20s, 40s and 50s. What if these women banded together and took a stand against Satan's attempts to isolate and devour us in depression? What if we created a Sisterhood of women who decide enough is enough, we are done being LIKED AND LONELY and are ready to be LOVED AND LIVING? I think it'd be a life changer for all of us living in loneliness in a liked-age.

Sunday, June 18

One Year Debt Plan: How I Paid off $24,000 in One Year



Tackling debt is no easy matter. It's also a bit of a daunting matter. About a year ago I decided I didn't want to be a slave to debt the rest of my life; I wanted to live in financial freedom but wasn't quite sure where to begin. I am by no means a financial expert or super experienced in the intricate details of finances but I do know what God says about being a good steward. Two verses that really encouraged me to start this journey were:

Luke 14:13-14 | "No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money"

1 Timothy 6:10 | "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs

God has called us to be good stewards of our gifts and resources. I wanted to be faithful with the finances God has given to me. I wanted to live a life in which I could give where God has called me to and not be stressed out about paying the bills. So I decided to take some steps towards setting myself up for a life of financial freedom. Here are some of the tools and tips I used to help pay off about $24,000 of debt in one year.

1. Moved home
The biggest blessing in my journey has been moving home. My parents were amazing to let me come home and live without paying rent for a few years to help me get on my feet. Now, I know that either that isn't an option for everyone and/or it sounds miserable, but it has been the biggest blessing in saving money. Rent can be incredibly expensive, so being able to move home and save that rent money has been instrumental. 

2. Weekly debt payment
At my company we get paid every week so every Friday morning I sat down and budgeted and paid my bills. I was incredibly aggressive on the payments of my debt (car loan, credit cards and student loans). By paying every week, I was able to cut down on some of the Interest as opposed to doing my previous monthly payments. Even if you get paid once a month, calculate how much interest you would save if you pay once a week smaller increments versus one large payment a month. 

I loosely followed Dave Ramsey's 'snowball theory' on paying off debt. His idea is to attack the smallest debt firsts. Once that debt is paid off, roll that amount you're paying and any extra into the next smallest debt. So lets say you're putting $50 towards your $500 credit card debt a week. Once you're finished paying off that $500, take that $50 you've been paying and start paying your next smallest debt. Is there an additional amount you can add to that payment? Can you spare $55 or $70 maybe? His idea is that you keep rolling your amount towards the next smallest debt. 

I pre-planned in an Excel worksheet what I would pay each week ahead of time so I had an idea of what I would be paying and the projected date of pay off. I found that this was helpful to visualize an end-date and help me strive towards making those payments.

PS: Dave Ramsey is an amazing resource and wrote "Financial Freedom". Check out his website for his classes, curriculum and texts.

3. Live off $100 a week
Speaking of Dave Ramsey, I loosely followed his idea of the envelope system. To learn more about the envelope system, read here. My adaption to his method was instead of budgeting $30 for gas and $70 for groceries and putting it in an envelope, I just lumped it all into one envelope. For the past year I've loosely lived on $100 a week in cash. It sounds strict, and that's because it was. That $100 was cash in my wallet that I allowed myself to use during the week for anything other than my bills.  It included: gas money, going out to eat, Target runs for necessities, gifts or just other spending money. It takes a lot of discipline to live off $100 a week, there are times when I had to say no to going out to eat with friends or stopping into TJ Maxx because I knew I only had a few dollars left. Any extra cash I would carry over to the next week for "extra" money.

Now there were times I would have to use my debit card online for things, but I would just budget that into the following week's budget. If I had to pay $30 for something on Amazon, the next week I would only take $70 out of the ATM. It was a give-and-take.


4.  Cash is KING 
Like I said before, I lived on cash. 95% of the time I used cash for things. I would take $100 of cash out of the ATM on Friday and that would be my 'extra' money for the rest of the week. By using cash I was able to physically see how much I was spending and how much I had left for the week. When you're using a card it's easy to swipe mindlessly; but cash makes you really stop and think if it's worth it. 

I did keep one credit card on hand for emergency purposes. Over the year there were definite times I had to use it because a purchase was over $100 or close to my limit for the week. I just made a point to pay off the card within that week or the next. Again, it just takes discipline to be diligent to not use plastic all the time when we live in such plastic society 

5. Keep the change.
Some people claim they hate to carry cash because they hate the change. What I did was get a large mason jar and every day I'd dump any change I collected into that mason jar. All that change adds up, so don't let it go to waste! I saved up all my changed and cash it in towards the holiday season, viola- a few hundred extra bucks for holiday shopping!

6. Reward Programs
I signed up for basically any and all rewards programs. Bing (the search engine) has a rewards program where you earn points with every search you do, and with those points you can turn them into gift cards. This is how I get my Starbucks fix! After earning 2,000 points (usually takes me about 2-3 weeks) I get a free $5 gift certificate which means a free latte for moi! 

I also signed up for the rewards programs and/or email notifications for all the shops I go to frequently. They send out discounts, coupons and freebie codes frequently so I'm able to still go to Anthropologie occasionally and purchase a cute top but I just do it when I get the 20% email. 

7. Plan for special occasions
You know when birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries are coming--- put them in your calendar and plan ahead! You know your best friend's birthday is going to come around every March, so plan ahead! Buy her card when you have a coupon to Hallmark and a birthday gift a few weeks before. Spread the spending out over a few weeks so you're not cramming it all into one week.

Again,I am by no means a financial expert but these are some of the tricks and tips I implemented into my life that really made a difference. It's been a learning curve, trying to save and pay off debt in such an aggressive manner. Lord willing, I will be 100% debt free in the next year. I want to be able to use my talents and gifts for the Lord and not have to worry about the financial aspects. As one of my favorites, Lara Casey, always says... little by little, progress adds up. So start today! Start small. It's okay to grow slow as Lara says. I pray that this helps you take a small step towards your own financial freedom path. Comment below with any questions you may have and I'll try to point you in the best direction!


Monday, May 29

Summer 2017 Goals #CultivateWhatMatters



Well Memorial Day is officially upon us and that means it's the unofficial official start of S-U-M-M-E-R. Yes, it is finally upon us! Break out the sunscreen, the watermelon and the sandals because winter (hopefully) is gone. 
I recently took part of a podcast with the fabulous Lara Casey who is the fabulous mastermind behind Cultivate What Matters and the Powersheets. She went over her top 10 tips for setting summer goals. Setting summer goals is not about having this "perfect" summer out of a movie script; it's about being intentional what your intentions. What do you want to achieve? What do you value? What are going to be the important things at the end of the day?

I've loved changing from a 'to do' mentality to a 'what matters' mentality. Will it matter more if I wash my car on the weekend or if I spend some quality time with a friend? At the end of the day will I find my joy in checking Facebook or hand-writing a note to a friend? Restructuring my mentality has been a shift, but a refreshing one at that. 

If you want to find out more about Summer Goals, check out Lara's blog here and here. I thought i'd just take a few minutes and share some of my summer goals to make Summer 2017 a joy-filled and life-giving season. Maybe you can relate to some of these goals, or they'll inspire some other goals to pursue. 

1. Read a book (just for fun)



2. Reconnect with nature - going for a hike, a bike around a lake, paddle boarding, or just some outdoor yoga at least once a week


3. Get to the beach - I only live a few hours from the beach and I've decided it's ridiculous that I don't take more advantage of it!


4. No Instagram at night - I crawl into bed at a decent time and before I know it, an hour has passed by of mindless scrolling through Instagram. I'm making it a point to not mindless scroll at night.



5. Take up a joyful hobby - I have neglected doing things that are fun and give me joy such as horseback riding, dancing, and writing. I'm making a conscious effort to start one of these again



I'm keeping my goals simple but joy-filled. I want to be intentional with my time, energy and friendships this summer. It doesn't need to take long, but take a bit of time to write down (physically write down) some of your goals. Once you write them down, you're more likely to accomplish them! Share in the comments how you want to spend your summer!

Monday, May 22

Quick Trip to Tampa

Itinerary for a 2-day weekend in Tampa


If you're looking for a quick weekend getaway, Tampa is an awesome place to explore, get a little sand in your toes, and taste some of that authentic Cuban flavor. I recently flew down to Tampa for a quick trip, and really loved this laid back but totally filling itinerary.



Friday

I landed in Tampa during mid afternoon and rented a car for the weekend. To find a good deal on a rental car, I use kayak.com to search and sort for the best options for my trip. Instead of going to the hotel to check in, I decided to drive around Tampa to get a lay of the land. I drove downtown by the convention center and found this fun area by the water called The Sail Pavilion. There were tons of people there for happy hour sipping on fruity cocktails, playing life-size Jenga and corn hole as well as people sitting on the dock and paddle boarding.

Photo credit: Facebook
Tip: Parking is limited by the Pavilion. There is a parking garage by the Convention center and a parking deck by the hotel across the bridge. You can pay to park at either of those locations and it's a short walk to the Sail Pavilion.

After having a cocktail and soaking up a few rays, I went down to Ybor City which was just about a 5-minute drive from 'downtown Tampa'. It's definitely got a Cuban flare. It's really seeing an up-and-coming vibe with lots of bars, restaurants and clubs at night. Don't venture too far off the main drag though, it can get a bit dodgy.


Ybor City Streets

I parked on the street and just walked around the streets absorbing it in. You can definitely tell there is a college presence in the town, very geared towards partying and drinking but nonetheless, there are still some cool spots to stop and snap a picture of some photo murals and random roosters running around.

I decided to come back to Ybor City for dinner but wanted to go check into my hotel and change. For dinner I'd suggest to head to the famous Columbia restaurant for some classic Cuban flavors and entertainment.
Columbia Restaurant
Gaspar's Grotto
 Or if you're looking for something a little more casual with live music, check out Gaspar's Grotto. You'll find your typical bar food with a Cuban flare- definitely sit outside for some chill vibes and sounds. 


Saturday

One of my favorite spots for brunch in Tampa is the Oxford Exchange. It's absolutely charming inside and the food is fabulous. I had the lavendar earl gray lemonade last time and it was like springtime in a drink. Get there early though, as they are quite popular and get full quickly. 

Photo credit: Google
After brunch you can spend time shopping around the Oxford Exchange and stock up on unique and ecclectic items such as books, jewelry, kitchen towels, candles and local-made goods. 




After a little shopping and bumming around, it'd be a perfect time to go back towards the Sail Pavilion and rent a paddle board, a 2-passenger boat, or hitch a ride on the water taxi for a view of Tampa by the water. 

Once you've worked off your breakfast-- it's time to eat again! If you want an authentic and local Cuban sandwhich, look no further than Brocato's. Whenever we come to Tampa, we have to stop here. It's truly a whole-in-the-wall-nothing kind of place but there is always a ridiculously long line. Order inside and then grab a bunch of napkins and a picnic table under the shaded shed and enjoy. 


After lunch take the short drive to Clearwater Beach and soak up some sandy rays. Clearwater is an adorable ocean town. Be patient getting onto the island because there is always traffic. Grab a public parking spot, your towel, a water bottle and sun screen and park your rear in the sand. 



After hanging at the beach in the afternoon, head back to your hotel to change and for dinner head to Whiskey Joe's. It's a tiki-inspired restaurant with an awesome view. You can have dinner inside or on the outside deck and then after dinner head down to the sandy tiki pit for a spot by the firepit on the water. It's the perfect way to end an evening! 



Sunday 

Grab a coffee and some fresh fruit and head out to the Manatee Viewing Center in the morning.
Physical address: 6990 Dicman Rd. Apollo Beach, FL 33572
It's literally right next to a power plant, so it may seem like you're driving into a place you're not supposed to be...but you'll be ok! Depending on the time of the year you may or may not see the manatee's in action but it's still a pretty view and hey, it's free (donations welcomed). There is a nice little walking path around the area to spot nature and learn more about the Florida ecosystem that is worth a leisurely stroll!





Finally before your flight in the afternoon, go to the Wat Mongkolratanaram Temple and food market. It's one of the coolest things I've stumbled across while visiting Tampa over the years. It's a Thai temple but on Sunday there is also a Thai food market right on the river. Tons of Thai vendors are there with traditional food, drinks and crafts for you to enjoy. Bring cash! 



Enjoy your time in the Tampa area! Let me know if you have hit up any of these spots. 



Tuesday, April 25

Control

When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what's happening.  That's. where your power is.:

You only have control over three things in your life— the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take. — Jack Canfield:

When you see someone who needs power and control and will not stop until they get it, you are actually seeing someone who is deeply afraid of life. Fearful people can only have things their way.:

"Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't." - Steve Maraboli // #words #quote:

Quotes Of The Day - 14 Pics:

Fruits of Self-Control: Mastering of moods, watching your words, restraint of reactions, sticks to a schedule, manages money wisely, maintains good health. #FruitOfTheSpirit:

Pastor Steven Furtick quote from Crash the Chatterbox.:

100 Encouraging Bible Verses                                                                                                                                                                                 More:

I put my Faith in you., faith of jesus, trust on god, faith of a mustard seed verse,Famous Bible Verses, Encouragement Bible Verses, jesus christ bible verses , daily inspirational quotes with images,  bible verses for inspiration, Leadership Bible Verses,

Letting go of control: http://theblissfulmind.com/2016/11/03/letting-go-control/

I started to explore how control played out in my life in order to get clarification on what was holding me down. I asked myself where this need for control came from.
I narrowed it down to three things: my ego, perfectionism, and lack of trust.

My ego was telling me that things needed to go exactly as I wanted them to or else I was a failure, and it was telling me that people should do exactly what I wanted. Perfectionism was putting me into a place where I felt there was only one way to do things. Lack of trust reared its ugly head when I was afraid things would fall apart if I did not force them to be a certain way.

Part of the problem was that I wanted to make other people happy. I was forcing myself to do things because I wanted a specific reaction from people. I essentially wanted to be in control of their reactions. I forgot that focusing on myself doesn’t make me a selfish, unkind, or uncaring person, it just means I’m not forcing relationships or prioritizing other people above my own needs. I started to realize that it’s not my responsibility to take care of other people, nor should I be trying to change anyone.
So how can we let go of wanting to be in control? How can we stop focusing on the outcome we want and instead let things flow as they are supposed to?
By focusing on the things you can control. Remind yourself that you are in control of your own life, and believe that things will happen as they are intended to. Of course you can set goals and strive to get a particular outcome, but do not force something that doesn’t feel right. Realize that there needs to be space to flow.
In figuring out the role control plays in my life, I’ve come up with three tips that have helped me tame my inner control freak. Here they are:


1. Make a list of the things you can control.
Think about a time when you felt totally in control of your life. What was happening? What were you in control of? This is one exercise that really helped me realize that I do have power over many aspects of my life. Here’s what I came up with:
My health: I can eat more fruit and veggies, less cheese, and less bread. I can drink more water. I can choose how often I workout. I can choose how much I sleep (it’s hard, but it is ultimately a choice). I can choose my skincare routine.
My appearance: I control what I wear. I control the makeup I put on my face. I control the way I style my hair and the nail polish color I wear.
My mental stimulation: I can read a book when I want to. I can learn something new every day.
My productivity: I can decide if I want to snooze my alarm or not. I can decide when I take breaks from tasks. I can decide if I want to follow a routine or not.
My emotional well-being: I can choose what I focus my thoughts on. I can choose how often I meditate or practice mindfulness. I can choose to write when I feel upset and need to clear my head.
And most importantly, I can choose how I react to situations. This is probably the most powerful thing you can ever learn. The next tip explains how to do this.
2. Break the reaction pattern.
The way we react to situations ultimately leads to either harmful or beneficial consequences. When we are feeling like we don’t have control over something, we are likely to experience anxiety, mood swings, and frustration. All of this comes from the thoughts we have about the situation we’re in. In order to break the reaction pattern that often leads to harmful consequences, we can learn how to change our reaction patterns.
Typically a stressful reaction pattern looks like this:
Stressful trigger -> Stress reaction -> Negative thoughts -> Negative feelings -> Reactive harmful behavior -> Harmful consequences.
In order to break this reaction pattern, there are a few things we can do:
  • Be aware of the trigger.
  • Breathe when you feel your body start to tense.
  • Practice self-compassion when your thoughts begin to turn negative.
  • Recognize that your thoughts and feelings are nothing more than thoughts and feelings.
  • Avoid over identifying with your thoughts.
The next time you feel stressed out because of something you can’t control, try practicing the things above.
3. Write down or recite affirmations.
One powerful tool you can use to help you feel more in control is to write or recite affirmations. I find these are most powerful in the morning to get your day started on the right foot, but they can also be helpful if you’re in the midst of mini-breakdown. Here are some affirmation ideas:
  • I am 100% in control of my own life.
  • I go with the flow and accept what comes my way.
  • I focus my energy on what is most beneficial for me.
  • I am safe and secure in myself.
And there you have my tips for dealing with an inner control freak! Though I haven’t quite perfected the art of letting go, I know what I need to work on and how I can cope a little better. I’d love to hear from you about the role control plays in your life. 


Wednesday, April 19

Facing the Mountain


Image result for facing a mountain

Standing at the foot of a mountain is daunting. The incline is steep and treacherous, the rocks posing a possible threat to security and safety. The mass that is in front of me appears so ominous and dark; it feels so terrifying and discouraging- how will I ever overcome this mountain?

Yet looking behind me I see the long journey I have trekked to get to this point and although what lies ahead of me is scary, going back down the same worn and rugged path is depressing as well. I have two ways to go- I can either try to walk around the mountain or I can climb the mountain little by little. 

I am definitely scared that I will fail; that I won't be able to make it up the mountain- that it will kill me trying. The mountain seems so big to tackle, what if I can't make it? The journey will be long and potentially emotionally and physically exhausting. Another fear that grips me is the fear of the top. Getting to the top of the mountain is an exhilarating moment; it's a moment where you can see the accumulation of your dedication and hard work pay off for the epiphany and glory of defeating the beast of a mountain. Yet, what fear that holds me captive is what is on the other side of the mountain? What if I get to the top of this mountain only to find that the mountain just continues, or worse, there is a bigger mountain ahead? The fear of the unknown is sometimes scarier than the fear of the known. 

I've made the decision to climb the mountain, no matter how small the steps may be. As I climb this gigantic black mass in my life, I need to take each step as a victory and a step in the direction towards the top. When I get to the top, I'll deal with the top and what I may see; it may be another scary mountain of darkness or it may be the prettiest sunrise I've ever encountered. Only God knows. 

Image result for top of the mountain

Monday, April 17

Gluten Free Guide to Eat: Charleston



This past week dad turned the big 5-0! It also happened to fall on  Easter weekend this year, so the whole family converged upon Charleston to have a long weekend together. I have been to Charleston before but the rest of the family experienced this sweet Southern town for the first time. I love Charleston for it's culture, it's history but most importantly...it's food! If you're a foodie you have to make Charleston a top destination. Even if you're cursed with a lovely gluten intolerance like me, you'll find some amazing options for you as well!

Here is a list of some gluten-free or gluten-free places to stop in Charleston

Fleet Landing
186 Concord St. Charleston, SC 29401
What to get: seafood with a view
Menu  - they have a specific "gluten free" menu in house, just ask!
If you're here in the spring, bring a jacket and sit outside on one of the only waterfront restaurants in Charleston. Their menu is predominately seafood but they do have a chicken, pasta and red meat option for those who aren't sea-dwellers. 





Another Broken Egg Cafe
99 Market Street #4, Charleston, SC 29401
What to get: gluten free pancake
Menu - they have 'gluten free' items on the menu
Another Broken Egg is a chain in the South, great traditional Southern breakfast staples. I've found that each one is a tad different with their gf options, so just ask; some have gluten free bread and others don't. However the pancake was as big as the plate- literally HUGE! I couldn't finish the whole thing, so you may want to split it.





Magnolia
185 E Bay St. Charleston, SC 29401
What to get: shrimp and grits -- some of the BEST I've ever had
Menu - they have a physical gluten free menu and went above and beyond to make sure my meal was safe,  the chef even came out to my table! A++
Literally can NOT recommend this place enough. The atmosphere is charming and elegant with Southern touches. The food was phenomenal and the staff was outstanding. Pricey but worth a splurge if you're looking for an amazing evening out in Charleston. 








Five Loaves Cafe
Multiple locations
Bakery Downtown: 43 Cannon Street, Charleston, SC 29403
Cafe: 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd #100, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
What to get: 1/2 a gluten free sandwich and 1/2 a fabulous salad and save room for their yummy desserts- get the blondie if they have it that day
Menu- They have daily specials + normal menu items. Salads, sandwiches (with gluten free bread options) 
We drove to the Mt. Pleasant location (just a short 5-10 minute drive from downtown) and it was an absolutely adorable location. The cafe is so funky and zen complete with outdoor seating. Even my non-gluten free people found things they enjoyed as they have 'normal' bread options as well. I love that you can do 1/2 and 1/2 with gluten free bread, salads, soup etc. so you can try a little bit of both.





Nothing Bundt Cake
1145 Johnnie Dodds Blvd #105 Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 
What to get: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Bundt 
Menu- only one option, but that's better than none right?!
Nothing Bundt Cake is a national chain I discovered about a year ago and they only have one gluten free option at the moment (chocolate chip bundt) but it is d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! Seriously, you wouldn't know it's gluten free in my opinion (or maybe I just don't remember what gluten stuff tastes like anymore). It's right next to Five Loaves Cafe so it's worth it to bop in and grab one for later!




Hominy Grill
207 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, SC 29403
What to get: the "vegetable" plate with gluten-friendly choices (which a.k.a are so not 'healthy' veggies but so good) 
MenuThey had a specific GF menu so ask for that when you sit down
We walked from downtown which was about a mile walk (you can walk it but warning, you may  walk through some not-so-great parts of town). Get there for a cocktail outside on the patio while you wait for your table to be ready. It's a perfect spring evening spot. Inside is rustic, Southern and country. I love it!



Palmetto Cafe (Brunch)
Inside the Belmond Hotel - 205 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401 
What to get: We did Sunday  brunch which had plenty of gf options for morning including mimosa's! 
Menu - Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch only

I've been eyeing this place for a while to try, and Easter brunch seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it. I'm glad we did. Brunch was a tad pricey but the atmosphere is breath-taking, the food was delicious and the staff was friendly and attentive. I'd recommend a nice dress attire: men in slacks and button up, women in something other than workout clothes or jeans. Not required, but recommended! 






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You could spend months and months here and not try every amazing restaurant they have on King Street and East Bay Street (and everywhere else in between) but I hope this helps give you a little insight to some great finds! You can be gluten free and not have to sacrifice flavor or options!