Charleston’s Holiday Festival of Lights 2016


Every year Charleston lights up the town with millions of multicolored lights during the Holiday Festival of Lights.

This sparkling event is something we look forward to each and every year at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, and we highly recommended adding it to your calendar this holiday season.

There are many ways you can enjoy this fun and festive event. If the weather is cold, or if you’re juggling small children, we suggest taking the driving tour. The tour is 3 miles long and takes you through over 700 light displays.

If you want to really get into the holiday spirit, we recommended parking your car and participating in the festival’s family-friendly activities, shopping, food, entertainment, and more!

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the things you can enjoy at the festival:

  • Magnificent sculpture made from over 50 tons of sand
  • An up-close look at the lights via the holiday train
  • Mouth-watering treats from Santa’s Sweet Shoppe
  • Giant greeting cards created by local students
  • Riding the beautiful Victorian carousel

The Holiday Festival of Lights takes place at James Island County Park, located at 871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC 29412. And no need to worry about the weather. It’s open from November 11 to January 1 rain or shine.

Ready to enjoy a trip through the lights? Here’s everything else you need to know to plan your trip!

Festival Hours

  • Sunday – Thursday: 5:30 – 10:00 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 5:30 – 11:00 p.m.


  • 1-15 guests: $20 per vehicle, $15 per vehicle Monday-Thursday with donation*
  • 16-30 guests: $40 Monday-Thursday, $50 Friday-Sunday
  • 31+ guests: $100 Monday-Thursday, $150 Friday-Sunday


Monday – Thursday, get into the festival for only $15 per vehicle (1-15 guests) with the donation of a canned food item or dog/cat food to benefit the Lowcountry Food Bank.

 What’s your favorite holiday activity in Charleston? Comment below!

Produce Tips to Save Money and Maximize Freshness

<alt="Peppers"/>You need fresh produce in your diet. Many of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals keep your body healthy, growing, and healing. The vital nutrients in fruits and vegetables help you ward off heart disease, stroke, and even vision loss. A produce-rich diet also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Eating produce is important. But what about buying it? How much do you know about what to buy and how to find the freshest of the fresh vegetables and fruits?

After reading this post, you’ll have a (lettuce) head’s up on produce shopping habits.

General Produce Buying

Stay clear of anything damaged or bruised; however, a small bruise or dent is okay. Fruits and vegetables are just like us — a little flaw here and there doesn’t mean we’re bad apples!

Another general tip is to choose items surrounded by or near ice if it’s freshly cut, such as half a watermelon or seasonal vegetables. The ice cold temperature maintains the freshness of the produce.

Another tip: bag your fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry, and seafood. These foods have different expiration dates and contaminants, and you don’t want them mixed up.

Lastly: buy fruits and vegetables when they’re in season so you can take advantage of lower prices. If you have access to a local farmers’ market, you should go! The foods are fresher and you’ll find more variations in what to buy.

5 Specific Produce Tips

Now, let’s get into some more specific tips for buying produce:

  • Apples: Fresh apples have firm skin. Test the firmness of the apple by balancing on the palm of your hand. The heavier it feels, the healthier the apple! If it feels soft and light, it’s not a good apple. Store your apples in a cool dark place or in a bag in your fridge.
  • Blueberries: Look for blueberries plump in size and color that have a firm look. If the blueberries look withered or dull colored, they are going bad. When storing blueberries, throw out the bad ones first. Store in your fridge and don’t wash them until it’s time to eat.
  • Broccoli: Good broccoli is dark green to almost blue in color on the flowers with small buds. Avoid limp broccoli with soft flowered ends. Keep broccoli in your fridge in a plastic bag, unwashed until it’s time to use it.
  • Carrots: Quality carrots are smooth and firm. Look for carrots straight in shape with no blemishes, too. The deeper the orange color, the better the carrots’ nutritional content. Store carrots in a plastic bag away from fruits. Remove the leafy top and loose dirt before storing.
  • Tomatoes: Like most fruits and vegetables, look for firm skin and little to no discoloration. Also look for slightly pink coloring. Tomatoes that are partially green will ripen if left out in the open for a day or two. Avoid soft tomatoes or tomatoes with wrinkled skin. Store in a cool place away from the sun. Store sliced tomatoes in the refrigerator.

Now that you’re a little savvier about buying fresh produce, here’s how to prepare your purchases:

Produce Preparation Tips

  1. Keep your vegetable bins as clean as possible. Fragments of old fruit or vegetables may attract germs and other unwanted bacteria.
  2. Rinse fruits and vegetables before eating, but not before storage.
  3. Do not use soaps, detergents or other cleaning solutions on your produce.
  4. Before washing or cutting produce, wash your hands and utensils with warm water.
  5. Use a vegetable brush under running water to clean tougher-skinned produce like potatoes, carrots, and melons.
  6. Wash large amounts of leafy greens by placing them in a water-filled sink. Let them fully soak and let the dirt and other sediments fall off. Then, drain the water and re-wash each leafy green again.
  7. Do not store bruised items. Instead, cut off the damaged area. If the area has spread to most of the fruit, discard it completely.
  8. Always dry your fruits and vegetables before storing. Damp, cool, and dark places are where bacteria thrive.

Got a produce tip to share? Leave it below!

Photo Credit: Martin LaBar

Treasure Hunting: The Top Antique Stores in Charleston

Charleston Antiques

The Charleston Battery Bench, Image Taken From:Geo C. Birlant and Company (

Looking for something nostalgic to spruce up your home? In Charleston, there’s no shortage of fantastic antique boutiques—and each of these local shops is a trove full of beautiful finds you never even knew you needed. Make your next shopping trip a stroll down memory lane, and find an heirloom or two to take home with you. Here are some of our favorite places to treasure hunt:

Geo C. Birlant and Company: Founded by George Birlant in 1922, this historic shop is one of the best places to find exquisite English Georgian furniture and silver. The family-owned business offers the finest in antique benches, dressers, silver, porcelain, crystal, brass, fireplace accessories, and longcase clocks. For those looking for something old-but-new, they even handcraft exceptional reproductions.

Golden and Associates Antiques: Located in historic Charleston, this local boutique has a reputation for dealing with the finest antiques around.  Art, seating, case pieces, chandeliers, mirrors, and tables are just a few of the extraordinary items waiting to take your breath away. You’re sure to find your home’s new signature piece here!

Terrace Oaks Antique Mall: Since 1988, Terrace Oaks Antiques has been one of the most renowned multi-dealer antique shops in Charleston with over 90 booths for every collectors’ tastes. Here you’ll find Victorian jewelry, books, American and European furniture, majolica, oyster plates, antique prints and engravings, original works of art, military items, linens, rugs—and that’s just the short list. Come peruse this storied mall and see for yourself!

Antiques of South Windermere: This upscale antique shop has plenty of furniture, household goods, and art to offer the discerning buyer. With well-preserved, high quality antique items on the main floor to entice your browsing, there is also a back room with a plethora of books to discover. If you’re looking for a nice gift or trying to decorate on a generous budget, you’ll love this gem of an antique shop.

Now get out there,  and find the little piece of antiquity to complete your home’s stellar décor.

What is your most treasured antique find?