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  • Writer's pictureGiselle Smith

BIG NEWS, Cabin Updates + Charleston Beach Vacay

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Happy #ChampagneThursday ! It's been a while since my last personal blog post, but I bet you've guessed our announcement by the main photo! ALEKS AND I ARE EXPECTING. This was probably the only time I have ever or will ever take a boy on a girl's trip, but only because he was along for the ride. Read along for more about the upcoming addition to our family, a few cabin updates and tips for Charleston vacations + sweet baby announcement / Charleston trip photos of me, Kenzie and Taylor by Katelyn V Photography.

Baby Smith Q&A

Anyone surprised we're having a baby? I'll bet no one was as surprised as Aleks the day we took a pregnancy test! Not sharing, but I totally have the most adorable photos of his surprised face. We had been trying for months and then one day right after we bought a tiny log cabin in the woods and I launched a new local magazine, we were pregnant. The timing is actually perfect as he will be born between our second and third issues of Elizabethtown Lifestyle Magazine. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

  • When are you due? January 3, 2020. Kenzie was born slightly late, but sometimes second babes come early, so despite having a due date in place, we aren't exactly sure when he will make an appearance.

  • How far along are you? 22 weeks, so right at five months.

  • Do you know what you're having? Just in case you missed the subtle he, we are having a boy. Aleks' wish has come true and our house will be evenly split.

  • Do you have a name picked out? We think we are going with Henry for a first name; potentially Hank for short (it is the short for Henry such as Bill for William or Bob for Robert). Middle name Lane, which is my Dad's middle name. Henry Lane Smith.

  • Why the delay on announcing? We were waiting for our 20-week anatomy scan and ultrasound before sharing the joyful news. We are thankful to announce that Henry is happy, healthy and constantly moving around.

  • Will there be baby showers? Yes and no. If you know me well, you know that I am not typically a fan of gifts and prefer to give more so than receive. That said, my BFF Taylor (Taylor Bible Weddings) has a party in the works next month in Kentucky to celebrate the upcoming birth of our baby boy. Invitations will go out soon designed by Studio W Designs; they will most likely be digital due to time constraints. There will not be a Texas party or shower of any sort until after he is born AND after flu season. If you live in Texas and feel compelled to send us a gift, we are registered on BabyList for things we really need; our log cabin is teeny tiny to say the least, so we do not want a ton of extras.

  • Pregnancy Cravings: Not so much. We are busy busy right now with a remodel, moving and the new magazine going to print in just a few short weeks. I am doing well to remember to eat throughout the day.

  • Baby Moon: Iceland September 28-October 6. Stay tuned.

  • What will Henry's nursery look like? Like a tiny room with pine walls in a log cabin. We have ordered some furniture from FINE House & Garden here in Elizabethtown and then a crib from Pottery Barn. Space is limited. Colors will be a mix of neutrals with pops of color: white, light grey, wood (imagine pine everywhere), Kentucky blue, navy, rust/orange and yellow with fresh greens from (likely artificial) plants.

  • How does Kenzie feel about the baby? Excited for us although he won't affect her lifetsyle too much. I had her my first year of college, so she is nearly 15 and will be driving shortly after he is born then off to college a few years later.

  • Do we need anything? No. Also, please keep the unsolicited advice to a minimum. I am already married to a know-it-all, first-time-dad doctor. I promise he is up-to-date on protocol for everything you can imagine that is baby-related.

  • How am I feeling? HUGE. I have gained 10 pounds in the past five months all in the middle and it's difficult to sleep. I am high-strung and like to constantly be doing things, so I am tired a lot now. I am consistently over-scheduled (my own doing), so I have very little time or energy for anything outside of work.

  • Who is my doctor? Doctor Nethers in Elizabethtown. We plan to have Henry at HMH and we are planning for a natural birth with the exception of some pain meds.

Overall we're excited! I love feeling the baby move throughout the day and my wedding-planner soul is excited to finally start working on all things baby towards the end of September kicking off with the party celebrating baby Henry followed immediately by Iceland Baby Moon 2019. My 32nd year is one to be forever remembered between marrying Aleks, buying a cabin, nearly a dozen cool trips with Kenzie and my family / friends, gorgeous weddings and getting pregnant with Henry.

One uncomfortable question that I have gotten a lot of lately is what I am doing on the wedding-industry front. I am not taking any weddings for the remainder of 2019 or for 2020 as of right now (this does not affect 2020 weddings already on the books). Living in Elizabethtown is wonderful and relaxing, but none of my family lives in Kentucky, so traveling for weddings will not make sense in the next year or so. It would take a serious number of weddings to turn a profit AND cover a live-in nanny to assist with Henry and travel with us while I am working on weddings.

In addition, Kenzie is in high school (Bethlehem High in Bardstown) and I want to be available for anything she may need. As a teenager, I have to force her to hang out with me every day, but I am winning with at least an hour of quality time chatting in the car to and from school every day. At this time, it doesn't make sense to accept weddings unless a bride happens to have a lucrative budget and want a massive floral installation which would fill my heart with joy to design. Creatively, I am focusing on Elizabethtown Lifestyle and will be sharing more blog posts both personal and on wedding planning. I am also designing some websites and branding locally in Elizabethtown.

What IS Going On with the Cabin?

Haha. Cabins are not my style, but ours is slowly shifting towards a luxury vacation cabin. It started out being hotel room-sized, so there's that. I am joking, but not really. Our bedroom and master bath definitely resemble a nice suite somewhere. Hotels are my favorite. The cabin as a whole needs A LOT of work, but we are living in it, so it's one room at a time for now. Here's what has been recently completed / is in the works now:

  • Modern Master Bath - The best view in the house is from my modern, freestanding tub set in front of a 5'X5' window overlooking the cliff and fields of our property to the Rolling Fork River. I am looking forward to winter for once when the leaves fall and I'll have a clear view of the river from soaking in the tub. Our shower is like a cool fish tank; it is glass on three sides with herringbone marble up the wall. All fixtures and lighting are chrome and the space is finished with clean black tile for a modern feel. Thanks to Smith Family Homes and Hub City Glass.

  • Master Bedroom - Nothing big going on here, but we do have the coolest IKEA freestanding closet system. Very similar to hotel closets, each unit was custom-designed with shelving and drawers to meet our separate needs. In the future, I would love to have our fire place re-created in stone.

  • Kenzie's Bathroom - Clean, white with marble subway tiling and black faucets and fixtures. This bathroom is more simple, but nice. Perfect for a teenage girl.

  • Kitchen Reno Wonders - "Wonders" as in I am left wondering how this is going to go. Granite countertops in Bareclona Cream (think white and pale grey) are coming in the next few weeks plus black cabinets, new hardware, white beveled subway tiles for a backsplash and open overhead shelving. Once pine boards, the walls are now a bright white resembling shiplap. We are on the hunt for a modern, yet cohesive chandelier. New stainless appliances are on my Christmas-list if Santa happens to be reading along.

  • Loft - The loft recently got a facelift with slate concrete tiles. Next up: Walls because Kenzie plans to move in once there is privacy. New light fixtures are also on the list for this A-frame space. The loft features the coolest balcony overlooking the property.

  • Nursery - Kenzie is moving from this bedroom to the loft upon loft completion. The nursery will be getting fresh drywall and clean white paint along one wall (the others are pine). We are looking for non-gas heating solutions because babies and fire seem scary.

We have tons of "before" shots that I plan to withhold until we have professional "after" photos done. The timeline is looking like spring 2020 completion with the exception of landscaping, a paved driveway and a new roof. I hate the green shingled roof and definitely want to upgrade to a modern silver or black tin. Pray with me for a hail storm everyone.

Charleston in a Clam Shell

Above and below, check out these Charleston vacay photos with two of my very favorite people: Taylor Bible and Kenzie. Katelyn Lakey you're probably reading this and you should know that you were sorely missed and I hope you have all the FOMO and fly to Kentucky to see me soon. Here is everything you need to know when planning a Charleston trip:

  • Girls Trip - This is the perfect city for a girls trip. Whether you love shopping, sightseeing or lounging at the beach with a good book, there is something for all of the ladies. Many of the tourists are women and shops and restaurants are overflowing with fun-loving females. It could just be me, but I didn't get a romantic vibe from this much-loved Southern city. The culture is rich and while there are tons of amazing restaurants, I wouldn't choose Charleston for a weekend date.

  • Hotel Choices - Charleston is home to some fabulous historic hotels. Looking back, I think The Dewberry would have been more my style as it has a modern, luxe feel (we did go check it out). We choose The Mills House becuase it hands down has the best pool in Charleston and lounging by the pool each afternoon with classy umbrellas, fresh towels and a bartender a few floors down from your room is easier than lugging things to the beach every day.

  • Dinner Reservations Are Required - Obviously we went during peak season, but we would not have been able to eat at even one of the restaurants we chose without reservations. I love OpenTable in case anyone is wondering how I make reservations with ease. Some of my restaurant faves were 82 Queen, The Darling Oyster Bar and Husk (shown here as part of our vacation shoot). We have tons of restaurant photos on my Charleston Insta Story. Charleston is a seafood-lovers paradise; the saddest part of the trip was that I couldn't have any raw oysters at all. Fresh seafood is available at every restaurant nonetheless.

  • Dress for Heat & Humidity - This seems obvious, but being near the beach with high temperatures calls for cool clothing and comfortable shoes. Sunscreen is necessary even if the skies are overcast.

  • Sullivan Island Beach - As if the charming lighthouse and sandy wooden deck to the beach aren't enough, Sullivan Island is far less crowded than Folley Beach. Located near historic Boone Hall Plantation, the proximity of this beach is perfect for a day trip from downtown: Tour the plantation in the morning before it gets too hot and then grab some lunch on the Sullivan Island strip and cool off at the beach. Be sure to pack your own beach chairs and umbrellas as they are not available for rent.

  • Boone Hall Plantation - I know there is some controversy on touring plantations which once housed slaves prior to the Civil War. Boone Hall Plantation is different than most in the way that it respects the history and recognizes the role that slaves played in the early United States plantations. There are slave cabins standing on site to give insight into the lives of those who once worked the plantation. Side note for all of the wedding fanatics: Blake Lively got married at Boone Hall Plantation. One of the most Insta-worthy Charleston images are the gorgeous oaks draped in Spanish moss at the plantation.

  • Sightseeing - Rainbow Row and the Pineapple Fountain are MUST SEE attractions. That said, there is no need to allot more than an hour to see both even if you are planning a quick photo shoot. We also went on a sailboat tour and got to see dolphins. Weather-permitting, I would suggest the sunset boat tour.

  • Transportation - Ubers are plentiful, but so is parking. Hotels require valet parking, but most tourist attractions and parks have ample spots if you want to drive or rent a car. Ubers get pricey and fast. The city is structured in that most attractions are within walking distance if you like walking in the heat and humidity; I do not. The airport is 20-30 minutes from Downtown Charleston if you are flying in.

Thanks so much for reading along today on my life update! I would be glad to answer any more baby and cabin questions or give out specific recs on Charleston if you're going in the near future.

More updates to come over the next few months! XOXO

Lovely images by Katelyn V Photography at The Mills House Hotel, Husk Restaurant and around Charleston. In addition to delivering digitals which I cannot wait to have blown up and hang on the wall, Katelyn sent me the sweetest client gift of images printed on matte photo boards and tied with a bow in a beautiful white box.


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