I’ve written about Mansfield Park on the blog here. It was also the topic of my senior thesis for my undergrad English degree, in which I wrote about how Fanny was a model of femininity to be embraced, not ignored. One of these days I’ll upload it to the Internets and share it.
So if you are an email subscriber to this site, you already know this. But if you’re not:
I’ve combined my blog and my author site into one lovely page at emilymdeardo.com
I really love the new home and it’s so pretty! I can’t wait to share it all with you.
So if you are following me on wordpress, please go over to the site (linked above) and sign up for the newsletter over there, so you don’t miss any entries and updates.
Thanks for all your support!
(Yes, I had my quasi-yearly cocktail at Edel. )
So let’s walk through this lovely city, shall we?
(Although walking when it’s over 100 degrees with the humidity….yeah. Not so much for this Midwestern girl.)
We stayed at the gorgeous Francis Marion hotel at the intersection of King and Calhoun Streets.
My room had a vanity, a desk, an incredible bed, and a nice, deep tub for soaking (which I did just about every day, because you NEED to after being out in the heat. You feel so much more human after.). I called it a “princess room” and it’s exactly what it was. Blue is my favorite color and I’d love to be able to paint my room at home this color. (I’ll have more on my room renovation plan later.)
The hotel did have some water problems during Edel, but it was rectified, and I always had water for my showers and baths.
The attached Starbucks and gift shop were also plusses, and the beautiful lobby was great for relaxing and talking with other Edel guests.
Also, the location right on King Street was great for shopping and catching the CARTA DASH bus (the free trolley that takes you around Charleston). There were three pick-up points within a block of the hotel, so win right there. And being across from Marion Square meant simple access to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning, where I got my sweetgrass basket.
This is what you need to know about CARTA’s DASH trolleys: The “stops” on the map aren’t the real stops. You have to look for the signs that have the appropriate numbers. They stop a lot more than the map suggests they do. This isn’t a bad thing–it just means you have to be aware where the appropriate stops are for your bus. (Route 210, 211, or 213) Together, the three of them will take you to most of the city’s main areas. We took the trolley all over the city and since it’s free, it’s very economical. Your other options are walking, your own car, a pedi-cab, or a taxi.
While they usually ran pretty well, note that they don’t run much past 8 Sunday-Thursday, so plan accordingly. And also, the buses can stop at weird times/places for no apparent reason (we stopped at one point for no reason, and the bus driver just left us at the curb….it was tres strange.)
One can’t talk about Charleston without talking about food.
We went to a few restaurants, so let me break them down for you:
Hominy Grill: This was our stop on Friday for lunch. The shrimp and grits were amazing, as were the fried green tomatoes. For dessert, I had Carolina Jam Cake, and my parents had the Hummingbird Cake. The food more than made up for the fact that they don’t take lunch reservations, so you are probably going to have to wait outside. Fortunately, they have beverages so you don’t die of heat exhaustion, and there are benches. My advice? Get there EARLY, and make dinner reservations.
But really, it’s all worth it for that food.
Poogan’s Porch: Anytime I walk into a restaurant and see “Hail to Pitt!” scrawled as part of an autograph, I get happy. Poogan’s, on Queen Street, has had a number of distinguished guests, including Bill Cowher, Jodie Foster, Jim Carey, Barbara Eden, Barbra Streisand, and Giada di Laurentiis. And let me tell you, the food and atmosphere tell you why immediately.
The biscuits are the best biscuits I have had in my entire life. I am not exaggerating. They are like clouds with delicious honey butter. I can’t even tell you have amazing they are.
Mom and I chose the buttermilk fried chicken for our brunch option, and this was also the most amazing fried chicken. It wasn’t greasy, it was crisp and crunchy, and it was so moist. It was basically amazing. Everything about this meal was magic. (Yes, I know, I used “amazing” a lot. I’m sorry. I can’t help it.)
Also–collards are spicy! I had no idea!
Queen Street Grocery was home to our first Charleston meal, and it also did not disappoint. I had cold-pressed coffee and a delicious crepe with ham, goat cheese, and dill. It’s very local and very friendly, and this was one heck of a crepe.
Carolina Ale House was our last meal in Charleston (Sunday night). I wanted a burger by this point, and this was recommended by the hotel staff, so we went and enjoyed. They have a patio and since they’re three floors up, you’d have a lovely view of Marion Square and the surrounding King Street area. It’s a sports bar with a diverse menu and great burgers.
Speaking of King Street–let’s talk about shopping, shall we?
We went up and down King Street a few times, and here are some of my favorite stores/places:
Blue Bicycle Books: used, new, and rare books, with a store cat (!) and lots of signed books by Southern authors, especially Pat Conroy. A small, but fun space, and a must for book lovers who want to indulge in some Southern Literature.
Rewined Candles: You like wine? You like candles? Look no further. This local company takes used wine bottles, cuts them in half, and fills them with candles that smell like wine tastes. The sangria is so fragrant!
(A lot of the rest of my souvenir grabbing I did at Edel, and you can find my recommendations here for some great Catholic companies!)
If you’re looking for a place to go to Mass, The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a beautiful choice, and they also have a great organ and organist.
The Charleston City Market was fun and was located near Poogan’s Porch. It’s one of the oldest city markets in the country, and parts of that are evident (no air conditioning except in one area), but it has some fun things.Are parts of it touristy? Well, yes. But some parts are also really neat. Definitely come and explore.
My parents also enjoyed visiting the parks by the waterfront, which they did while I was Edel-ing, and they took a carriage tour via Palmetto Carriage.
Yes, it’s true–the South is a very friendly place. I liked having doors held for me (even if no one called me ‘ma’am’ this trip, sadly!) All of our waitresses and the people in the hotel were super friendly and helpful, which made the trip that much more enjoyable. I enjoyed my time in Charleston and I hope I get to go back soon!
~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!
I’ve never done this before, because I normally don’t take enough pictures every week to do this weekly. But I sure did when I was on vacation, so here we go!
There’s a lot of pretty here, guys. Edel+ Charleston= pretty overload. So let me walk you thought it.
Carolina Jam Cake with lovely, simple flowers at Hominy Grill. The cake has caramel icing. Say no more, people.
This lovely St. Therese necklace made by the Fantastic (And Cincinnati-based!) On This Day Designs.
Goodies from the conference: St. Thomas card (also from On This Day), a St. Catherine of Siena medal, and a lovely print from Hatch Prints. Dominican power was strong!
The cutest houses–and wonderful restaurants!
Seriously, a hat shop! A REAL HAT SHOP! With such a pretty sign.
That about sums up happy, right?
L-R: The tomatoes at the Charleston Farmers’ Market; buttermilk fried chicken at Poogan’s Porch (DIVINITY), and Passion fruit iced tea, so I don’t melt in Charleston humidity.
Describing last weekend requires a lot of superlatives. Awesome. Epic. Fantastic. Amazing. You know, all those words that teenage girls like to use in squealing tones of voice.
But in this case, they’d be well-deserved. It really was all those things.
My family and I arrived in Charleston on Thursday, and the conference kicked off on Friday evening. On Friday morning, I received an email from Jen Fulwiler asking me if I’d be a guest on her radio show that night. Now, I’d sort of hoped I’d be a guest, but I didn’t think I actually would be, because those sort of things don’t happen to me. I don’t win the lottery or even the church raffle. I’m not lucky that way. But today, I was.
I did a little happy dance and replied that I’d love to. I do love to talk, after all. And I wasn’t nervous, because I’d be talking about–well, OK–me, not nuclear policy or sanctuary cities. If I don’t know about my life, who does?
I was worried that I wouldn’t talk to anyone else all weekend–that people would think I was a weird blog fan girl and think “danger, Will Robinson!” But the women were all welcoming, funny, and friendly. As the weekend progressed, I realized that a lot of us often felt the same way–that people wouldn’t like us, or would think we’re “weird”. But Edel is a great example of CS Lewis’ definition of friendship: “You too? I thought I was the only one!” There was a lot of that at Edel.
But back to the radio show. Mary Lenaburg (pictured above with the fantastically funny Kelly Mantoan, one of our speakers) was first, and she talked about her sweet Courtney. There was a need for tissues after she was done talking. Fortunately, I didn’t have to follow that.😉 I was on in the six o’clock hour (we were on from 5-7) and to be honest, I have no idea how long I was interviewed, and I have a vague idea of what I said–adrenaline just totally took over.
I do know I said it’s OK to get mad at God, because he can take it–this was tweeted a lot, apparently. (It’s so weird to have things you said be tweeted. This happens to other people. Not me.) But I had a blast talking to these amazing ladies.
And when I say amazing, I mean they were all, really, amazing. Every one of us is fighting the good fight at home, moving toward holiness one load of dishes at a time. It was so refreshing to be with like-minded women!
In self-care, one of the things that gets talked about is “filling your well”. Edel did that for me. Not only did I get to meet women whom I’ve admired for a long time (Mary, Kelly, Jen, Hallie, and Ginny, for starters), but I got to meet new friends. And we really felt like friends who’d known each other a long time. It was easy to open up to these women.
Hugs and laughs were shared in equal measure. Let’s not even talk about the spectacle of lots of Catholic women dancing and doing karaoke after imbibing cocktails.
But the biggest thing I took away was that none of us are alone in what we’re doing. And we might be scattered all over the world, but we are united in what matters. And that might include shrimp and grits and karaoke, as well as more serious things.
In the gospels, Peter doesn’t want to leave the site of the Transfiguration. He wants to stay up there always with Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. But he can’t; Jesus leads them back down the mountain. Things like Edel are the moments of the transfiguration. As much as we might want to stay on the mountain, we have to bring what we’ve seen there back into our daily lives, and transfigure them, based on what we know now.
And the title of this post? That’s from Kelly Mantoan’s talk: “Every time you bless yourself, it’s like punching Satan in the face.”
A lot of us left Charleston ready to do just that.
Outside my window:: Sunny but also cloudy, if that makes sense. I guess the weatherman would call this “partly sunny”? Or “partly cloudy”? (I never did understand the distinction.)
In the CD player:: 1776 soundtrack.
Wearing:: My PJs. I know. So unexciting. But all my pretty clothes are packed away for vacation!
Reading:: Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching; The Whole World Over; Mansfield Park; Lisette’s List. I also have a bunch of books packed for vacation, including Middlemarch, The Forsythe Saga, The Girl On A Train; A Memory of Violets; Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and a few more.
Yes, I bring lots of books when I go on vacation. It’s often like this:
Crafting:: I”ve got some knitting packed for Edel, because there are going to be excellent knitters there, and I need someone to teach me to purl consistently! I’ve also got my scarf and washcloth still on the needles.
From the kitchen:: Not much, since we’re leaving soon! I’m looking forward to excellent Charleston food!
Keeping House:: Cleaning before I leave–making sure all the trash is out, and things are generally tidy, so when I come home it won’t be a disaster. And of course, packing.
Fitness: Today is a yoga day, and tomorrow is a gym day. I am packing gym clothes for vacation (the hotel has a gym), but I think the normal run of things might be enough! We’ll see, though. Better to be prepared, right?
Prayer:: Really trying to keep to my “horarium”, as I’m calling it. That means prayer in the morning (lauds) with some devotional reading; midday prayer (noon) if I don’t make it to Mass; Divine Mercy chaplet and Office of Readings at 3:00 (and rosary, if I have time); Vespers between 5 and 5:30 (with rosary after, if I didn’t get to it already), and compline between 7:45 and 8:45, depending on what’s going on. This is, actually, a copy of a few monastic schedules. It’s not every hour of the office, but it’s a majority of them (It’s four, and there’s seven hours of the office). As a Lay Dominican, lauds, vespers and rosary are required every day. But I really like the office of readings, and compline is special to Dominicans. And of course, Daily Mass when I can.
There will be an adoration chapel set up at Edel on Saturday, which makes me crazy happy.
This week:: Um, vacation? Edel is Friday and Saturday. So excited for that. 10 Year Anniversary is on Saturday as well! Rejoice!
Some cuteness: Princess Charlotte and her family at her baptism yesterday. The baptism was held at St. Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham.
I do this every Fourth of July, because more people need to know what the Declaration says–it’s short, sweet, and important. In 1776, Ben Franklin says to John Adams, “No colony has ever broken from the parent stem in the history of the world.”
Guys, it was crazy. It was—revolutionary.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.