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Your Last Minute Gift Guide: Kids

I'm a last minute kind of person. Even when it comes to doing gift guides in the first place, here I am, a week out from Christmas. But I finally have some spare time on my hands and I want to share! Without further ado, my last minute gift guide for kids! The plan is to do women & men next... hopefully today, so you'll still have a week to put your trust in Amazon Prime and Target next day shipping.

Green Toys Parking Garage: Green Toys are my favorite brand of toy products. Easy to clean, green, and simple enough to not overwhelm the developing mind. This is something recommended by Bodie's Special Education Teacher. They play with them at his speech therapies as well, "Going up up up! Down down down down!" The perfect toy for your littles.

Kid Made Modern Arts & Crafts Library: Georgia could craft for hours and I recently saw this at Pottery Barn Kids and knew she had to have it. It was cheaper on Amazon for now, but it is in-stores at PBK!

Osmo Little Genius Starter Set: another special education recommendation. This connects with an iPad or an Amazon Fire. Great to learn the alphabet and numbers. Another great option is to purchase an ABC Mouse subscription, both of my kids love it, and it's done wonders for Georgia's sight words. There is going to be screen time. It may as well be productive screen time.

Digital Camera: honestly just check out the price. Your kids will love taking photos!

Barbie Dream House: the old stand-by. We got Georgia a different dream house-esque dollhouse last year and we grabbed her the Barbie Camper this year, but these keep them busy and playing and who can argue with that?

Lego Classic Brick Box: again, imagination can run wild, great for stacking and developmental play for all ages.

Beautycounter Jellies Gift Sets: I'm mostly including this because I feel so strongly about children using pretend makeup. Spring for the jellies, I promise your little one will be just as pumped without potentially digesting anything harmful! The perfect stocking stuffer.

LOL Dolls: I don't think LOL mania will ever end.

A Lacrosse Story: a friend of mine shared this book to Instagram this week and I learned it's from a local Pittsburgh couple! We hope the kids will play lacrosse so this feels like a great intro!

THE AMAZON JACKET BUT FOR KIDS: I had no idea there was a children's version!! This jacket is so stinkin warm and cute! The perfect gift and mine has withstood being washed as well!

So there you have it! The other great option are those experience-based gifts. I plan on taking my niece to make a build a bear, you can get a giftcard for swim lessons, take a child to the movies! Whatever! The last thing any of us really needs is more junk, but I know these gifts are pieces my kids will play with over and over.
Molly Knorr
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Compost Cookies

I'm back to my much-neglected blog to talk about cookies. Our Neighborhood hosts a cookie exchange each year and while I always push it to the last minute, it's fun to bake some cookies. This year, Jeff and I had been watching the Chef's Table on Netflix and we were SO inspired by Christina Tosi, of Mylkbar. Her Instagram is adorable. With that in mind, I set out to make some of her cookies. I found the recipe on Brown Eyed Baker.

This recipe will yield 20 or more cookies and it did take some time to prepare, as well as a lot of ingredients... but if you love sweet and salty, I promise this is perfect for you.

For the Graham Crumb Mixture:
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
For the Cookies:
  • 1 1/3 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons glucose (alternative is 1 tablespoon light corn syrup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini butterscotch chips
  • prepared graham mixture
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee (do not use instant coffee or expresso powder in place of the ground coffee)
  • 2 cups potato chips (preferred brand: Cape Cod)
  • 1 cup mini pretzels (preferred brand: Synders Mini Pretzels)
Cooking Instructions
  1. Prepare Graham Mixture: in a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt. Whisk together the butter and heavy cream, then add to the dry ingredients. Toss with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened, set aside.
  2. Prepare the Cookie Dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. Combine the butter, both sugars and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and continue to beat for 7-8 minutes.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham mixture, oats and coffee, and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and again, mix only until barely incorporated, 15-20 seconds.
  6. Using a 2 3/4 ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3 measuring cup), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Bake the Cookies: preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment or silpat-lined sheet pans (6 cookies per sheet).
  8. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that's not the case.
  9. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before serving or storing. The cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.
Molly Knorr
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Amazon, Lately - October

As always, I'm here with my favorite Amazon finds. I love putting these together and I love watching Amazon try-ons on Instagram - would that be something interesting for you guys? I could always snap photos and share them here, too!

Here's what I'm loving for October:

Booties - Dying for these. Amazing knock-offs and totally perfect to wear the trend. I'm loving these with just about everything this Fall.

Puffy Sleeve Velour Top - This is a personal favorite. I'm obsessed with wearing texture and I especially love the puffy sleeves on this. Adorable with high waisted denim but also cute with the skirt on the bottom left.

Cardigan - I had a similar option last year and I lived in it. The price is right on this and perfect for every pumpkin patch outing.

Purple Sweater - This is such a fun color to ease into Fall with. Try it with distressed denim and the booties above! 

Bats - Can't stop. We put them on the front door. This is my third year buying bats and I've purchased these the last two. I'm planning to add some on our mantle and around the television too. Since every blogger in America seems to be sharing these, I had to include them!

Striped Sweater - hits all my favorite things: chunky oversized knit, yellow, and stripes. Would be a fun Steeler option for those local to Pittsburgh.

Skirt - I scooped this up and I'm dying to wear it with over the knee boots. Would be really cute with the purple sweater too or maybe with a moto jacket.

Oversized Blazer - I've had my eye on one of these since last year and this is the perfect price point to try the trend. Great with denim or fun faux leather, and again... the booties up top!

Striped Dress - I picked this up back in August and I'm loving it with my oversized denim jacket and sneakers. It's an easy look that's really comfortable and cute. Would be ideal for travel as well!
Molly Knorr
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Currently Coveting: H&M Fall

Now that it's September, the kids are back in school, and the weather isn't super hot immediately in the morning (but it is after 6pm?), I'm looking at Fall clothing. I've seen a few favorite bloggers finding amazing pieces at H&M so I perused the website this morning and wanted to share my personal favorites. While all of it really appeals to me, the faux leather pants, tiger cardigan, and the blazer in particular, I'm feeling especially fond of... a trip to H&M is in my future. Lots of mix & matchability in this round-up, too!

Molly Knorr
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Living Room Updates

It has taken forever to get some pictures taken of our family room but I'm finally ready to share EVERYTHING! With two kids and toys everywhere... constantly, I had to wait for the perfect combination of no kids around and find the time to actually get the space clean. Good news, it finally happened and I'm happy to share our updates!

As I mentioned, we really live in this space. It's never going to be perfect (i.e. that crooked window shade UGH), but I love the texture of the room and finally having it "officially" finished. I went back and forth about how to configure this space. I tried the navy couch on the left for a few weeks as I really didn't want to lose the natural light gained from the windows here, but the navy couch found it's home, and I really love it over there without losing too much light or worrying about furniture in front of the window. Staring at the back of the beige couch isn't great, so eventually, I sprung for another glass console and it ended up being a place to house the textured poufs too.

Despite building this house ourselves, there is a lot of wire issues in terms of where we had the outlets placed. I'm not a HUGE faux greenery (or real greenery) person, but it works nicely to hide some of the wiring, especially when you love acrylic and glass pieces as much as me. I've had good luck between Hobby Lobby and Target for those. All that to say, if you have the opportunity to actually plan where you're going to put all of your furniture prior to deciding electrical outlet placement, it's probably not a bad idea and you can avoid some of the electrical hiding issues I've had! I also would have purchased one size larger in the rug. I think we have an 8x10, 9x12 would have made it feel a little less crammed.

Bodie still loves to adjust this gallery wall for some reason, so if you walk into my house, there's a great chance one of these is super crooked. They were just printed on Snapfish straight from my Instagram, though the bottom right option is from Rachel Rowland Photography - we just signed up for another one of her mini sessions and I honestly cannot wait! 

So this is it, for now! I'd love to get a larger piece of artwork for the wall behind the chairs, but other than that, I'm considering this space done... which feels like a huge relief! We hosted family in between a wedding ceremony and reception a few weeks ago and it finally pushed me to finish our family room.

Let me know if I miss anything in the links, and if there's anything you might have tried differently, I'm all ears!

Ikat Chairs and Beige Couch (Couch is Custom) | Navy Couch (on super sale!) | Faux Fur Throw PillowsLarger Euro Cream Throw Pillows | Smaller Cream Oblong Throw Pillow | Shibori Fringe Throw Pillows | Faux Leopard Throw PillowsRug | Coffee Table (sale!) | Rattan Side Table (similar, no longer available in white) | Acrylic & Gold End Tables | Table Lamps | Poufs | Console Table | Acrylic Tripod Floor Lamp (total steal!) | Bookshelves | Artwork | Chandelier | Window Shades | Pom Curtains
Molly Knorr
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Our Deck

I couldn't be more in love with our current outdoor space, and while I know we have a ways to go in terms of landscaping and a patio out of the basement, getting our deck completed this summer was definitely a big strike off the to-do list for our home.

I have already talked about this a little, but I asked for suggestions for contractors on my Instagram and a Pure Barre client (thanks, Ashley!) recommended a local teacher who does amazing wood work. When we reached out to him, we learned he didn't do this type of a large scale job, but he recommended another guy who we came to find out worked for Lowe's. Typically, I wouldn't want to reach out to a big box retailer for this type of work, but it turns out it was just perfect. They subcontract to a local contractor who had already worked with my sister, Decked Out by Don, and we couldn't be more happy with the results. If you're local to Pittsburgh and want specific names and numbers, please let me know, and tell them I sent you their way!

My goal for this space was black and white with color mixed in. I wanted a boho feel and while that didn't come as easily as I had hoped, mostly due to Pittsburgh weather and my fear of buying pieces that aren't going to last, I'm still happy with the results!

As for furniture, I knew I wanted a great lounge space and a place to have a meal. As per usual, I wanted something a little different and I drew inspiration from Seersucker and Saddles. I actually had her exact set from World Market in my cart, but shipping was no longer available on like half the items. From there, I went to Wayfair!

The table and benches are currently on sale, and honestly I love them. I was unsure about such a dark wood because I definitely lean lighter on all things, but paired with the white it looks really great. I added chairs to the ends from Target, also on sale. The Minnidip pool has been a nice touch this summer - our kids love to hang out there while Jeff and I try to get a tan! You guessed it, also on sale right now. Rest assured, the blow up pool isn't always on our deck.

The sectional is a bit different for me too - I loved the white paired with the fun rattan detailing, and the fact it came with a coffee table to match. Surprisingly, not on sale, but I'm sure it will be soon! All of the other details came straight from Target and Homegoods. I picked up the rug on sale at Target on Sunday, as well as the umbrella. The rug is no longer online from what I can tell, and the umbrella is linked here. The pink chairs are my absolute favorite. I had to scour every Homegoods in Pittsburgh but eventually found two at the Wexford location.

We purchased covers for both the sectional and the table through Amazon, and we're able to get the coffee table underneath the dinner table, which is a big win for our storage space in the basement this winter! We'll be able to store everything but the big furniture down there, but so far, so good with the covers.

I'm looking forward to spending more time outside the next few months. What would you add to the space? I feel like I still have a lot of zhushing up I could do!

Molly Knorr
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Easy DIY: Name Bracelets

I'm hopping on to share an easy DIY I've been doing with Georgia this week. A few weeks ago one of my favorite blogs posted about these bracelets she had purchased for the other blog author and I was like, well I need to get on this and it looks easy enough to do myself!  I scooped everything from Amazon aside from the string, which I got from Michael's, but I linked up a similar option as well.

Find the colored beads here, the letter beads here, and the string here. Easy enough!! Georgia and I will be making these for everyone we know, but I'm enjoying layering mine with other jewelry and my Apple Watch!
Molly Knorr
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Easy Dinner: Carolina Gold Barbecue Chicken Salad

As I mentioned on Instagram, Jeff does the majority of our cooking - he took over when the kids were much smaller and never really returned the reigns (fine by me), but I still love to share easy recipes where I can! We didn't have dinner plans last night and I was heading to Trader Joe's anyway, so I picked up a few things and it turned into a super filling and delicious salad that's perfect for weeknights and for leftovers.

Carolina Gold Barbecue Chicken Salad (serves 2)

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 bottle Trader Joe's Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce
  • Trader Joe's uncured bacon, cooked and sliced (we like to bake ours!)
  • Blueberries
  • 1 Bag of Trader Joe's Herb Mix Salad
  • 1 ball of Burrata Cheese
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Olive oil (to drizzle for dressing)
  1. Place chicken breasts in the crockpot with 3/4 of the bottle of the Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  2. After 6-8 hours, shred the chicken with 2 forks and leave in crockpot while you're preparing the salad.
  3. To prepare the salad, toss the Herb Mix Salad (our favorite!) with the blueberries, sliced bacon, and sliced cucumbers.
  4. Plate salad onto 2 dishes and add 1/2 of the ball of Burrata to each salad. Drizzle olive oil on top.
  5. Add your preferred amount of shredded chicken on top and enjoy!
This made enough chicken to have plenty of extra for Jeff's lunch the following day. Would be great in a wrap!
Molly Knorr
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Sale Alert: Tuckernuck

Tuckernuck is running a sale on purchases over $200! Take 20% off with code summer20. I've talked at length about how much I adore the swing sweatshirt and now I want it in every color.

Molly Knorr
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This Time Around: Charleston

I've been meaning to put together a post about what we did on this particular Charleston trip. We really lucked out in terms of weather, like Jeff and I kept saying, "what did we do to make this turn around," weather. The hourly forecast LEGIT showed rain starting the hour we arrived on Friday and finishing up around the time we left on Monday. I'm not saying it wouldn't have been a great trip but certainly, if you're leaving Pittsburgh for warmer weather, you want some decent weather! All that to say, we lucked out and generally didn't get caught up in bad weather too many times!

This was an awesome trip to Charleston for a few reasons. Other than one wedding weekend away, Jeff and I haven't been on a trip alone together since before deciding to build our house! We were overdue and I was so excited to see what new or different options Charleston had to offer us. I've highlighted my favorites previously, but here is what we did this time that we really loved. Also bear with me, all of these photos are from my iPhone!

The Restoration. Jeff had previously stayed at this hotel for work before but I hadn't been. It was beautifully decorated and really unique, as well as being pretty easily accessible in terms of location. The rooftop pool was a nice touch on Sunday when I didn't want to do much else and started to get super anxious about being away from the kiddos (anyone else as nuts as me?). We also had this amazing long hallway to get to our room, I love something a little different! The hotel also offers a free breakfast basket that's delivered with biscuits or croissants, fruit, and coffee. We took advantage. Definitely a nice touch.

167 Raw continues to be our absolute favorite meal. They're moving to a bigger space on King Street this fall and I'm really interested to see how they scale. It's admittedly pretty awesome now, they don't take reservations and it's all pretty quick, an awesome oyster bar.

We didn't hit too many new places, but there's nothing wrong with heading back where you love! Our first stop was Lewis BBQ and that never disappoints. We also had brunch at the Obstinate Daughter and it was just awesome. Darling Oyster Bar (can we take a second to admire their incredible branding?) and Leon's Oyster Shop were both wonderful too. Can you tell we ate a ton of oysters? We had a super late reservation at FIG, but we were dying to try it. They had an appetizer that had house-made cottage cheese with grilled peaches and mints that we are trying to replicate - so light and amazing. We stopped by a few new-to-us bars, breweries and restaurants, Revelry Brewing and Bourbon n Bubbles, as well as a few we've visited: Minero (incredible wings!), Husk (you should absolutely visit their bar if you can't get a reservation), and the Rarebit. We also swung by Bitty & Beau's which I can't get enough of. Their "reason" means so much to me. I couldn't help but sob my eyes out because it's just so amazing.

We are kind of insane when we travel because Jeff and I don't get a lot of time to work out together. We arrived Friday and went on a run to Lewis BBQ, close to four miles, so when we arrived, we were the sweatiest humans ever. That was a common theme on this trip. We walked back and stopped by a few shops before we had to get ready for our dinner reservations at Darling Oyster.

Saturday morning we stopped by Miller's All Day for coffee and then reserved bikes from the Restoration. We allotted over an hour to bike the "45 minutes" Google Maps was estimating to get to our reservation on Sullivan's Island at the Obstinate Daughter. It took closer to an hour and twenty minutes and once again, we were so freaking sweaty. After brunch we spent the afternoon at Sullivan's Island and enjoyed the beach. We stopped by Saltwater Cowboy's on the way home and I really loved the casual, water-side vibe there! We biked home and it was a lot less stressful but wouldn't recommend taking beach cruisers without gears over the bridge. It was a lot!

By Sunday morning I was pretty tired of eating and we took it easy with lots of walking and shopping. There is a Pink Chicken location there and that's one of my absolute favorite children's clothing brands we carry at Mac & Mia. We scooped up some gifts to bring home for the kids. We ate and drank all evening and ended our night at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream which was heavenly!

On Monday, Jeff dropped in to Holy City CrossFit and he really loved it! They get a ton of travelers and the owner actually took class with him. I'll be sure to take class next time! I was hoping to squeeze in a Pure Barre class while I was down there but opted to sleep in instead : ). Jeff grabbed a breakfast burrito at Basic Kitchen and we took a long walk along the Battery before leaving town!

It's always so great to visit our favorite city. It's insane to say, but I follow so many people that live there that it feels like we're visiting something totally familiar. I have enough "Internet friends" that it's comforting to get recommendations directly from them and you don't feel like as much of a tourist. There are always a few things we miss, we'd love to explore Mt. Pleasant a bit more, so we are hoping to get the kids down there for another trip soon. I think Georgia and Bodie would fit in just fine!
Molly Knorr
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Can't Miss It: Aerie

A friend of mine recently turned me on to Aerie. They've been around forever and it doesn't hurt that it's a Pittsburgh-based brand, but honestly I am blown away by these easy, comfy outfits. She got me an awesome set for my birthday (the cozy beach set pictured below), and I wandered into their new store at the mall last weekend and was so pleasantly surprised. Here's a few easy to grab pieces that take the brain work out of getting dressed as a mom, always a win!

Molly Knorr
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House Plans and Projects: Where are We?

Ready for a massive update on our house? We moved into our home in September of 2018. Since then, I'm honestly impressed with what we've been able to furnish. We came from a townhouse that had a decent square footage, but it was a completely different style (SO many stairs) and we essentially started over from a furnishing standpoint with the exception of a few area rugs and the kids' rooms. The whole home needs to be painted (I'll probably stick with white since the last house was all grey), but we wanted to wait until we were here for a year so we can properly deal with nail pops from the house settling. The plan is to walk you through my tentative plans, and hopefully these photos serve as the "before" and I can do a proper post for each update as we finish the rooms!

Starting with what I'm currently most excited about: we recently finished our deck and I couldn't be more obsessed with how it turned out. I KNEW I wanted horizontal rails (inspired by all things Charleston - we saw so much of this down there!), and we were able to find a contractor that could do it! This was only the second time this particular contractor did the horizontal rails and they said it was super labor-intensive, but man, I love it, so happy with the little risk. We were on the fence about adding a roof to our deck and we decided not to invest in that and instead made the deck a little larger. We don't get a ton of direct sunlight in the back of our home. I recently purchased an L couch with a coffee table for the seating area, and a pretty simple dining table with benches. Plan is to go bold with the accessories (rug, side tables, umbrella, maybe chairs at the head of the table?). Hoping to share this soon!

Living Room:
I shared our plans for the living room months ago and haven't updated a ton. I ordered a great navy blue velvet couch from Amazon, and it turned into a whole THING. Amazon recorded it as delivered, it was never delivered, and eventually I had to file a police report in order to prove to Amazon it wasn't stolen or hidden in my house. Moral of the story: don't buy furniture from Amazon. So, I still haven't filled that void in the family room! I'm now entertaining something a bit more casual - a lighter blue or even the love seat version of our couch. I need to replace the throw pillows soon too - they've worn pretty quickly, and I feel like that's an opportunity to introduce some color into the room and maybe coordinate with the additional love seat or couch. I'd also love to add a great console for the back of the couch so you're not staring at the back of my couch, leaning acrylic there.

I'm ready to admit that I goofed up not having a pendant light installed during construction. I can't even really figure out why I wouldn't have, but I definitely messed up here. We've found an awesome electrician we really love, so here's hoping he can install something fun there and I can stick with the coastal modern theme we've started.

I also need a new rug for underneath our table. This has proven to be a tough call for two reasons: one, my kids still throw stuff on the ground when they're eating - how much do I invest?, and two, I honestly can't decide on a color. It needs to coordinate with the runner in our kitchen, but our current runner was a big time budget buy and I feel like I can replace it if necessary. Since there's SO much blue in the house, I'd love to go a different direction. I initially wanted a deep green theme in the kitchen, so maybe that's the way to go?

We need a runner. Another one of those construction errors. As soon as the stain was finished, I knew I went too dark for our super light floors. I honestly thought the construction crew messed up. A runner will generally mask or resolve this, and I definitely want to go funky neutral here, and I'm leaning the antelope route by Stark if all goes to plan.

Dining Room:
I need to do a deep dive into everything I've found for our dining room and I'm so excited to share the details. Next up is plans to wallpaper the room and our entryway. I'm leaning above the chair rail only, but who knows. Loving the Palm Wallpaper by Serena and Lily. Again, wanting this bold and loud but in a more neutral tone as to not totally overwhelm since the rest of the house is all blue. Not sure of the plan for that awesome chair just yet. It may live in our bedroom permanently!

Powder Room and Office/Playroom:
These are easy projects we can knock off in the Fall/Winter. The powder room is boring and I replaced the mirror and light ASAP, so it's livable. Next up is replacing the sink fixtures and wallpapering! We scooped some inexpensive peel & stick wallpaper from Target - we had some good luck with that in Georgia's room.

Turns out we don't really need a playroom. The kids play in the basement for the most part and the playroom is just always a mess. I'd rather keep a basket of toys hidden in the family room and the majority of their toys in the basement, and turn the office/playroom into a proper office so Jeff can work from home when he'd like, and I can work from the office in solitude and not surrounded by toys : ).

We've got Bodie's big boy room on the horizon, and we also should really finish up our room and paint the master bathroom. I know Jeff would have that done by now if he could and I've been dragging my feet. Georgia's room is looking pretty good, need to hang some curtains, spray paint her wardrobe gold, and get rid of some typical 4-year-old girl garbage : ), then will share that!
Molly Knorr
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What I'm Packing: Charleston

I joke and say that Charleston is the only place we go on vacation but it's kind of true. You can visit my travel guide here, and I'm looking to add to it on this trip! The weather looks less than stellar, but I haven't been in over a year so I'm still looking forward to it.

Speaking of Charleston, a blogger I follow had highlighted a cute little clothing store called Pitt Street Kids and I ordered a tee - they were sweet enough to include a pair of Babiators sunnies (another Charleston-founded brand!) for Georgia. Come to find out they're also Pittsburghers and so many people know one of the owners! How sweet?! Check out their shop, here.

While we generally have our trip planned completely, I know the humidity is a huge factor and this is all subject to change based on weather over the next few days, but here's the general packing plan for Charleston, with links below! I plan on forcing Jeff to take my picture so I'll round up what I end up in when we get back!

one | two - similar | three
four - originally purchased @ nordstrom | five | six - mine is a cream color
ten - originally purchased @ pure barre mt. lebanon! | eleven | twelve
Molly Knorr
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Why Do I Blog?

In what is my first TRUE Motherhood post, I had something I wanted to share. I read this article today and man, did it speak to me. Why do I blog? Why do I generally share (maybe too much) on Instagram? The short answer? It provides me with personal growth. Reading through this article, it put to words what I've been feeling for ages:
For me, putting myself ‘out there’ has created both a channel of connection and a means of self-reflection, a time for self that has helped me grow and accept myself more, as a mother and as a woman, in ways I am still surprised by. 
"I’ve connected with women and mothers in person and online, both of which have brought me support and helped me feel less isolated, and surprisingly, much more confident in my own skin. I think isolation in various forms is one of the things that women struggle with regardless of how they navigate the lifestyle and work shifts in their life in the earlier years of motherhood. Certainly so for me; isolation from others, isolation from community and in some ways, isolation from parts of self that you aren’t sure how or where they fit."

When I owned my business, blogging was a necessity, a way to share my work which ran through word-of-mouth. But even prior to that, I ran a Tumblr. I've truly been blogging in one form or another since just after college graduation. I received my MBA in digital marketing and this is not only a way to market me, my brand, but it provides me a way to feel a little more confident in my own skin. I feel really great when I put together a sales collage, or share my favorite athleisure looks, recommend a few treadmill intervals that a follower or two tags me in after they've completed it, asking for more. There's a reason some people are more popular than other people on the Internet, just like some people are better at working the room during a cocktail party - and while I'll likely never be a super popular blogger, it's something I really do for me - and I'm grateful for the friendships I've made through Instagram or blogging. I feel a little silly mentioning my blog or frankly, my Instagram to people I know, but what's wrong with putting yourself out there a little?

It's really easy to feel isolated when you have young kids, and by no means is the Internet a replacement for in-person conversation (and that's actually why I found Pure Barre, I really needed to talk to an adult or two after I had Georgia), but used as a tool of connection and inspiration, it is a big plus.

"For all the negatives that social media can get, and I agree with a lot of them, but I have found the experiences and connection I have been able to foster to be overwhelmingly positive as long as I focus on balancing my time and energy, and ‘unplugging’ when I find myself treating online networks less as a tool of connection and inspiration and too much as one of a measuring stick. The worst is falling into the impossible always to outrun, fomo but I would like to point out to that point, that feeling like you are missing out or aren’t as great as someone else, that isn’t because of the internet, it just surfaces it faster and more furiously, because I have felt the exact same thing when I go to a meetup or meeting of minds and meet impossibly chic mothers with gorgeous children or killer businesses. Which is all to say, the internet isn’t the enemy, but it is a tool, and it is how we choose to use it and don’t use it."

I enjoy sharing my life, style, food, interior recommendations, and everything else with you, whether 3 people are reading it or many more, I'm taking the pictures, I'm thinking of the content, I should share it. Blogging encourages me to make a recipe I've wanted to write down for friends, it encourages me to finish decorating a room and share the links, and it gives me a medium to share articles like this that might improve someone's day. It's not always the most timely and I do a better job of updating my personal Instagram, I'm still super uncomfortable with sharing photos of myself, and I'm not making a killing from affiliate links, but I genuinely LOVE to share the things I enjoy in the easiest way possible (if only Instagram would get rid of that lousy 10k follower rule for swipe-ups).

All this to say, I'm looking forward to growing a bit more and continuing my dive into blogging over the next decade. Thanks for sticking with me! Check out the article and let me know what you think.
Molly Knorr
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Easy Dessert: Dirt Dessert

A few months ago my friend hosted a dinner party and made a dirt dessert for all of the kids and I genuinely hadn't been able to get it out of my head since then. Memorial Day served as the perfect excuse to make dirt again. We followed Brown Eyed Baker's recipe but did substitute regular Oreo's for Double-Stuffed. What a world. It's definitely not a healthy recipe but it's totally worth it. I'll have a smoothie today. I didn't get a nice photo of the dessert so I should probably make it again!

Dirt Dessert
Makes 16 to 20 servings

  • 14.3 ounce Oreo Cookies (one package - we used Double Stuffed)
  • 7.8 ounce instant chocolate pudding (two small packages)
  • 4  cups milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounce container Cool Whip
  • Gummy worms (optional)
Cooking Instructions
  1. Crush the Oreo cookies into fine crumbs using a food processor (or, place the cookies in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin); set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together both boxes of the instant pudding with the milk for about 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the powdered sugar, then gradually increase the speed back to medium until a fluffy texture is reached.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate pudding, then fold in the Cool Whip until completely combined.
  5. Assemble the dessert in a square glass pan or in individual cups. However you plan to serve it, layer the dessert with alternating layers of the crushed Oreos and pudding mixture, beginning and ending with the crushed Oreos. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) before serving. Decorate the top with gummy worms before serving, if desired. They'll get soggy if you refrigerate them in the mixture too long!
Truly so easy and so delicious, which is the name of the game!
Molly Knorr
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MDW Home Sales

I love that retailers have started their MDW sales a little bit early this year, mostly beginning on Wednesday. Here's a roundup of where I've been finding most of my favorite home finds, and my favorite pieces available now, on sale.
Serena & Lily is offering 20% off everything with code SUMMERPREP.

The Ryder Rug is easily the question I get most on Instagram. We have this in our family room and it's love. Totally worth the money and while it does shed a little, it's such a great statement piece and I feel like I'll love it forever.

When we moved, I knew I had to have the Riviera Counter Stools. I honestly planned the color of my kitchen cabinets around the black & white barstools. Easy to wipe clean and they haven't scratched our floors.

I tried to go with a budget-friendly version of the Riviera Side Chairs for our kitchen table and was sorely mistaken. These are worth the money, trust me. Opted for the all-white so we can change the rug as our kids grow and get less messy.

Biggest new-build regret? Not having a light put in above our kitchen table. Thankfully that can be changed and I'm leaning towards a longer statement option like the Sorrel Chandelier.

Lulu & Georgia has a spend more, save more sale happening. Check out their website for specific codes based on what you spend!

I've lusted over the Empress Rug for way too long. This would be great in a dining room but I'm leaning towards this for underneath our kitchen table. I love green & blue combination and I've obsessing over all things emerald right now.

We've had the Lalita Rug in our bedroom at both houses but it's definitely way too small for the space now. I think it will make it's way to the office when the time comes! Obsessed with the bold color and this is another frequent question I get on Instagram.

Rylee & Cru has a new line of kid's home pieces for Lulu & Georgia. I'm obsessed with their clothes and now I'm obsessed with their home line. This print is a great gender neutral piece for nurseries or bedrooms.

This is a bamboo kid's chair. I don't think I have the words. Definitely an investment piece but so perfect for a girl's room at a vanity. Worth the splurge with the discount!

 Anthropologie has a ton of new fresh cuts for the weekend with an extra 40% off some of the items in your cart.

We have the Fela Tassel Chandelier in our family room and I've talked about it before. It's so much fun and awesome for a bedroom too. This is easily the cheapest I've seen it.

Never met a fringe chandelier I didn't love and the Aloha Fringe Chandelier is no exception. Super funky & modern, would be great in a bathroom that has other lighting maybe? 

I've been on the hunt for great wallpaper in our dining room and this might be perfect. I initially wanted to go dark but one of the things I love about this house is how light and bright everything is, maybe I should keep it going with the Lake Stripe Wallpaper?

More bistro chairs, how great would these be on a patio? Especially with some of the Target pieces below.

Target's home sale is pretty great - prices are marked. I often find that they're cheaper in-stores for some of the bigger items. So check out that in-stock option if you can!

Our deck probably won't be done until the end of summer but I'm still checking out all of the fun patio furniture! Love this Opalhouse set

This outdoor rug would actually be really great on our front porch, I love it with the darker furniture, and the price is incredibly reasonable.

Had to include the Egg Chair. I saw a couple taking turns sitting in this at our local Target the other day and finally the man said, "You deserve something nice," and I was like heck yes pal! She does! So I hope they actually bought it.

I couldn't find out actual planters to link but I'm really loving these boho planters

What are you finding on sale this weekend?! So many good home finds!

Molly Knorr
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Amazon, Lately

Amazon is a lifesaver for all of us and I've been finding so many awesome pieces lately. I seem to refer back to my last Amazon post all of the time, if only for the awesome kids' GG dupes, so you can check that out here. Here are my recent buys and what I've been loving, especially as we get ready for the summer!

cow chair - this isn't so much of a recent purchase, I bought it over two years ago, but recently had a few questions about it and surprisingly it's still available but way cheaper! This chair has survived a move and is still super comfortable to sit and work in all day, plus it's an awesome statement piece in neutral colors, a big win.

henley tie front tee - comfortable, easy mom wear that you can easily dress up with any of the earrings in this post.

straw clutch - half of my house is rattan and I can't seem to stop the trend from entering attire. Perfect for a wedding or night out!

rattan earrings - see above!

rainbow earrings - I love these because they can give the simplest of outfits a much needed and super fun boost! Pair with a solid maxi dress or the henley tee above and jean shorts! Also I think these are a full on dupe of something more expensive, but who needs to invest in rainbow straw earrings for anything more expensive than this?

emerald earrings - this color seems to be creeping into my life hard these days. Dying to get some emerald into our dining room and I love the addition of this color to really any outfit.

pearl hair clips - I'm obsessed with accessories dressing up simple looks and I was seeing these everywhere before Easter. I searched and Amazon provided - these are fun and definitely added an on-trend preppy vibe to my Easter look.

boho dress - a few bloggers I follow picked up this dress and I am obsessed. It runs tiny, I got the medium, I can't wait to wear this all summer. Tons of colors available.

panama hat - I was forced to retire my 6-year-old J.Crew panama hat I took on our honeymoon last summer and I'm realizing now isn't the time in my life for investment hats. Again, Amazon saves me!

tassel clip - fun addition to any beach bag or keychain, I love the idea of tossing this on a gift bag for an extra little something.

high-waisted bathing suit - I got this in black and it's love. Apparently if I see an Instagram ad 2,592 times I will finally purchase it, but I promise the results are pretty great.

clear zipped pouches - I was hoping to put together an awesome pool bag round-up and these were definitely on that list. Great to toss your keys/money in, keep sunscreen at bay, or even toss wet suits into!

Do you have any Amazon finds you're loving lately? I'd love to hear!
Molly Knorr
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I've been MIA on the blog lately and generally I have no excuse other than life has been a little crazy! Yesterday, I turned 32 and I'm thrilled to take this space back. I love blogging, I've been doing it in one form or another for almost ten years now. Sharing our lifestyle posts, fashion finds, fitness fun, travel recommendations, and especially the home tips as I'm still working hard on furnishing this house, it's one of my absolute favorite things about the Internet! I'll be back next week with new posts for sure and I have a few requests in particular, so I can't wait!

 Stay tuned, and as always, I'm sharing my favorite things and real life on Instagram and especially on Stories, over at @mollyknorr.

Photo by MBW Photography.
Molly Knorr
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My Pittsburgh Kids' Favorite Activities

When I first re-started my blogging journey I asked on Instagram what people wanted to see from me. One suggestion was kids' activities and places to eat in Pittsburgh, today I'm hitting those activities!

It worked out nicely because we recently were invited to Studio Make for their grand opening and then again for a Valentine's Day event, it is SUCH a sweet studio! I love that they have so many different options for visiting, family studio, play groups, parties and private sessions - it is just adorable. Georgia had never been somewhere where she could just free play. There are sensory tables, crafts, painting, you name it. In particular, Georgia went to the Valentine's Day event with Jeff, and she got to give screenprinting a try. I got home from work that day and she was SO proud to share it with me. I just love any activity that is going to give my child a confidence boost, and Studio Make really left her feeling great. They are kind people running a business, I feel lucky to know them.

In terms of our amazing Pittsburgh museums, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh naturally came to mind, as did the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History & the Carnegie Science Center. One great thought is to ask your parents or in-laws for a museum membership for a birthday or holiday, so much more beneficial than giving a toy. In the same way, I always ask for Goldfish Swim School gift certificates or request the accessories for a season of sports or an outfit for dance. Grandparents ALWAYS want to know what to buy your kids, make it something that can stretch throughout the year and doesn't end up in a bin in the corner!

When I asked for suggestions on Instagram, there was a lot of input! Some other great options include Play Town Square in Mt. Lebanon which JUST opened. We visited and had such a fabulous time! Liliput Towne Center, Gymsport, Hatch, Snapology, and Kidzville. I also wanted to note that Lindsey's Tumbling School in the South Hills has walk-in play hours for $5 throughout the week! We love ending our week there after breakfast at my parents' house!

A special thank you to Studio Make for inviting us to play, we can't wait to come back as a family - I know Bodie will get a kick out of all of the sensory tables!
Molly Knorr
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Wallpaper Wonderful

Since deciding to build a house I've been firm on one thing. I want tons of wallpaper. I could easily wallpaper every room. I'm full-blown obsessed. We wallpapered Georgia's room and it totally transformed it into something we can feel happy with until we decide to really deck out her big girl room. I plan on wallpapering the powder room, the ceiling of our office, and our bedroom as well!

Currently, I'm trying to tackle our dining room which has been sitting empty since we moved in, in early September. I recently purchased a table, chairs and rug (more on those later), and they're all pretty neutral, so I know my next move is a bold wallpaper. Since the rest of the house has so much blue, I want something really different. This room totally greets you when you walk in the front door, and I love the idea of essentially having bold artwork throughout the entryway & dining room. Autumn from Steel City Farmhouse did an awesome job in their entryway with a Serena & Lily number, you can see here!

Here are a few I'm loving, either for the dining room or beyond!

Molly Knorr
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Most-Loved Baby Essentials

This is one of the topics I've been dying to blog about - our most-loved baby essentials. Friends ask me for recommendations pretty regularly and I feel like it'll be so beneficial to have it all in one place, now that Bodie is almost 2.5! By no means is this a complete or perfect list, but it's what I can remember loving and using, or wishing I had at the time!

1. Dock-a-Tot - I didn't co-sleep with either of my kids, but we used the Dock-a-Tot with Bodie for travel! So much easier than hauling a pack-and-play when you still have an infant. These are a bit controversial for use in cribs, but we really loved ours, especially for travel.

2. Slumber Sloth - such a great gift! These come with an adorable book and Bodie still sleeps with his every night.

3. Boon High Chair - easily the biggest question I get to my Instagram when someone spots this high chair! Love it. Easy to move, easy to clean. You can't submerge the tray completely in water or it's a little tough to get all of the water out, but you can easily wipe it down. I also love that you can buy replacement parts (chair pad, straps, tray), all on Amazon.

4. Aden & Anais Wearable Swaddles - these are the perfect weight and they wash really easily. Tons of fun prints, too!

5. Dohm Sound Machine - there are tons of sound machines on the market but I love this because you toss it on and know it's at a safe volume. Been running strong for nearly 2.5 years in Bodie's room, this goes everywhere with us.

6. Boon Grass - for bottles & other hand-washed items that need to dry.  The clear is a little more visually appealing than the green!

7. OK-to-Wake Clock - we got this when we switched Georgia to a big girl bed. It lights up at 7am every morning telling her it's okay to get out of bed.

8. Cuddle & Kind Doll - another great gift option. These are heirloom quality and I used Bodie's for each of his monthly photos the first year! You can even check out their hashtag #BodieandEverest. The purchase of one doll = 10 meals for the needy.

9. Tubby Todd All Over Ointment - learned about this about a month ago, wish I had known about it for the last 4.5 years. It's the only thing that has really helped with my kids' seriously dry skin!

10. Skiphop Activity Center - Bodie LOVED this thing and it's simple enough to not look awful in a family room! 

11. Honest City Backpack - with two kids I made the switch to a diaper bag backpack! This is still my go-to for travel as well - so comfortable and looks great. There are definitely lots of backpacks available now, but this is what I used & loved.

12. Copper Pearl Bibdanas - both of my kids wore a ton of these! They're so cute and perfect for drooling, feeding, and they wash really well too!

13. Honest Diaper Subscription - a bit of an overspend when it's not totally necessary, but I loved receiving this subscription each month. The cute prints elevated my every day and my kids generally had no issues with diaper rash!

14. Green Toys - obsessed with this brand of toys! Totally green and also dishwasher safe! Perfect!

15. Booster Seat - we don't have this exact model but it looks so easy to clean! These are so critical when you just can't look at your high chair anymore and your child wants to be a part of family dinners.

16. Skiphop Bath Spout Cover - your child will stand up in the tub and will fall in the tub. May as well cover the spout so they don't injure themselves!

Did I miss anything? What are your must-have baby essentials?!
Molly Knorr
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Travel: Charleston

Anyone who knows Jeff and I knows we have the BIGGEST soft spot for Charleston. Bodie's middle name is Charles and that's a family name, but we really love that it hits on our favorite city, too. We make a point to travel there once a year, try new options, and we've been lucky enough to really hit our favorite spots multiple times. So much so, we have an aggressive Google Sheet I share with just about anyone visiting there. Well, it's time to take the spreadsheet into blog form.

I first traveled to Charleston with my family when I was little, on a trip to Isle of Palms, then used to regularly vacation on Kiawah Island with a friend and her family. I was reintroduced to Charleston through my first job after college where I was lucky enough to work with a digital marketing firm located right on King Street in Charleston - some of the coolest & most talented people ever.

I follow tons of bloggers from Charleston, my Instagram is full of Charleston posts, it's kind of ridiculous. We adore our hometown, but it's truly the only other place I can imagine us living as a family. Talk about polar opposites, especially given the Pittsburgh snowfall today!

Where to Stay:
Jeff and I were lucky enough to stay at Zero George shortly after it opened in 2013. Total chance and we booked on Expedia based mostly on price, had no idea the quality of the hotel and how amazing it would be! We were lucky enough to return here for our 5-year anniversary last year, and they really took such amazing care of us. We can also recommend the Grand Bohemian Hotel, Hotel Bella Grace, the Dewberry, and Jeff's personal favorite (I missed our last trip because of an awful stomach bug!), the Restoration. We love staying at these cool, boutique hotels, but I'm sure more traditional hotels are wonderful as well, just make sure you can walk where you want to go! We've also loved the Andell Inn on Kiawah Island, and I'd easily make a return trip there! It's worth noting we had one bad experience with a random Expedia booking, similar to an Airbnb, so I would try to take advantage of one of the fabulous hotels there!

Where to Eat Breakfast:
It might be hokey to recommend the Hominy Grill but honestly, it's always one of my favorite meals. Prepare for a heavy, delicious breakfast and long lines if you're there on the weekend - tourist trap? Perhaps, but worth it. Callie's Hot Little Biscuit is a must for grab-and-go biscuits. Jeff actually smuggled some home for me on his last trip! Glazed and the Daily are awesome, and Hall's Chophouse has a fabulous brunch. Miller's All Day is a newer spot that Jeff loved and I see popping up on Instagram regularly, I'm so in love with their branding. We like to hit up the Farmer's Market downtown if we're there over a weekend, too!

Where to Eat Lunch:
We usually try to make time for some activity of some sort after a filling breakfast in Charleston, and it's totally necessary to keep the amazing food coming. Last visit we jogged from our hotel to Lewis BBQ and their food is just on another level (see above!). There is a lot of outdoor seating (good for families) and a great selection of draft beers! We love Rodney Scott's BBQ, Taco Boy, HomeTeam BBQ, Butcher and the Bee, Basic Kitchen, and Husk for lunch. Husk is nationally-known for it's incredible, James Beard award-winning chef, Sean Brock (whom we essentially worship in the Knorr house), but it's SO filling for dinner! We usually try to do lunch here so we can either easily grab a reservation or sit at the bar adjacent to the actual restaurant, the bar is so cool.

Where to Eat Dinner:
One of my favorite places on earth is 167 Raw. The overall vibe and liveliness in this place is just amazing. We always joke that Jeff is ready to move to Charleston and get a job shucking oysters here. Currently they don't take reservations and there's nearly always a wait, but if you can get in, I highly recommend it! We saw that they are moving to a larger space and we are so pumped. Other faves include Darling Oyster Bar (again, such great branding!), Leon's Oyster Shop, FIG, and The Ordinary.

Where to Drink:
To be honest I'm always so stuffed from eating and drinking at restaurants, we rarely make it out for more than one drink, but we really love Edmund's Oast Brewery, Stars Rooftop Bar & Grill, and the Rarebit has incredible Moscow Mules. Maybe use your booze calories on Jeni's Ice Cream instead?

Where to Grab Coffee:
Coffee is critical to us, and while I'm coming around to more mature coffee options (Dunkin' 'til I die), Jeff is the connoisseur so these recommendations come directly from him. City Lights is a favorite and Bitty & Beau's obviously gets a glowing recommendation.

Where to Shop:
King Street has an incredible shopping district that's so fun to walk through. Hampden Clothing is an upscale win, with lots of adorable boutiques like Skinny Dip Charleston, and a personal favorite kids' store and brand, Pink Chicken.

What else can I do there other than Eat & Drink:
While we're always happy to play tour guide to ourselves, there are plenty of historic tours that are look awesome. The Straw Markets are super cool to walk through. You can easily rent bikes from Holy Spokes to see downtown on bike, and we were lucky enough last time that our hotel provided bikes we could take over the Ravenel Bridge to Mt. Pleasant. I've taken lots of classes at the Downtown Pure Barre location and it's amazing. If you want to see a beach, we have visited Sullivan's Island (love Poe's burgers!) and Folly Beach is on our list too. Dying to spend more time on Mt. Pleasant, getting my nails done at adorable Mylkbar, and completing my BlenderBomb obsession by visiting Hustle Smoothie Bar.

So there you have it, my first overly-aggressive travel post! We've never visited Charleston with a group of people and I'd love to try that. Here's hoping we can make it back in 2019 and I'll be sure to update this post with anything I visit or hear is a must!

Did I miss anything? What's your favorite place to visit in Charleston?
Molly Knorr
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