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The 7-Ups

7-Up may be a carbonated soft drink, but the 7-Ups are also a great guide on how to approach life.

A friend, Simon Guillebaud, shared something that is worth passing along.  For several years now, he, along with his wife and three young children, have been serving as missionaries in the war-torn African nation of Burundi.

Simon has a way of encouraging others even as he lives amidst tremendous strife and suffering on a daily basis.

A while back, he shared a list of resolutions written by the Reverend Walter Schoedel. They have to do with our basic attitudes and actions.  He calls them “7-UPS for the New Year.”

While the 7-Ups were originally written to offer sound guidance at the turn of the calendar, they equally apply as we sail ahead into the unknowns of a world with COVID.


Following is an adaptation of the 7-Ups:


And I could add a last one to the list.  Cheer up.  This will all be in the rear view mirror at some point.  A good way to do that is to daydream of vacation times ahead, with loved ones in a luxury house on Isle of Palms.

Just give us a call at EP, and we’ll help make your daydreams come true.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Ideas on how to survive lockdown

Recently a former U.S. Surgeon General put together a list of simple ideas to survive lockdown.

It’s a great list.  In fact, the advice is so good, you could not only survive, but actually thrive during this unprecedented time in our history.

Dr. Richard Carmona was U.S. Surgeon General under President George W. Bush.  He was appointed to the position of America’s top doc in 2002.

Today, Dr. Carmona serves as Chief of Health Innovation at Canyon Ranch.  Canyon Ranch runs wellness resorts in Arizona, California, Nevada and Massachusetts, as well as on Celebrity and Cunard Cruise Lines.

He emphasizes as an overall goal, “Aligning the mind, body, and spirit,” understanding the importance of physical, mental AND spiritual health.


8 Simple Ideas to Survive Lockdown


Dr. Carmona has pinpointed eight things in particular that will help you have a successful experience during quarantine.  Even though many things seem out of control these days  –  which they are  –  there are concrete steps we can take to make the most of this time.

Basically, they include:

Who knows  –  you could come out of this whole COVID thing healthier and happier than ever.   You can read the full story from Fodors here.

So put into practice some of these great ideas on how to survive a lockdown.  And how to thrive in it.  And when you are ready to visit one of our beach rentals Charleston, just give EP a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Adopt a pet during COVID

It’s one of those win-win ideas that makes sense now more than ever: why not adopt a pet?

Most people are stuck at home under stay at home orders, if not in actual quarantine.  Here in South Carolina, as in the vast majority of states, stay-at-home or shelter-in-home orders are still in place.

Nothing here on earth provides the companionship, unconditional love, and pretty much constant comic relief like a pet.

Dog or cat, or something else, it doesn’t matter.  They are simply the best, and they make our human lives life so much better.  Nuerous studies have shown they improve your physical health in a myriad of ways, not to mention your emotional and psychological state.

This COVID stay at home time is a perfect time to adopt a pet.  You’ll have plenty of time to bond with and train your new little buddy.


Begin your Adopt a Pet search online


Seems like we’re doing just about everything else online these days.  Why not use the internet to find your new best friend?

I found my precious rescue pup Periwinkle online, via adoptapet.com.  They are a wonderful web search service, sponsored by the good folks at Purina, Petco Foundation, Chewy, and Bayer.

In fact, they are “North America’s Largest Non-Profit Pet Adoption Website.”  They connect you with over 17,000 shelters and rescue groups with some of the world’s most amazing animals just waiting for a loving home.

If you have your heart set on a particular breed, gender, or size, you can filter by that.  A great way to search is to sign up for email alerts.

We had owned Jack Russells before, so I signed up for email alerts for any JRT mix within 3,500 miles (LOL).  Each day I would get at least one email with loads of adorable dogs ready for adoption. One day a photo popped up, and it was love at first sight.  I knew that was my next dog.  Early the next morning I drove to the rescue group in North Myrtle Beach and brought her right on home.  The perfect match!

Another great online service is Petfinder.  They’ll help you locate adoptable pets in your area.  You can connect with dogs, cats, rabbits, “small & furry,” “scales, fins & other,” birds, horses and barnyard.


Some good news…


There is no shortage of animal shelters and rescue groups across the country.  Check your local listings.  Most have an active presence on social media, where they regularly post available pets.  Several, including the Charleston Animal Society, are adapting to COVID by offering drive through adoptions!

Many folks have simply stopped watching the news or checking their news feed, due to the vast quantity of depressing news coming down the pike.  And it’s no wonder.  There’s a whole lot of bad news out there.

Here is some great news  – a clip worth watching.  It’s a video of volunteers all clapping and cheering at the Friends of Palm Beach County Animal Care Shelter  –  which for the first time ever, is completely EMPTY of pets needing homes!  What a happy sight!  A silver lining to this whole weird COVID time.

So if you think you might want to adopt a pet, act fast!

Also, shelters and rescues are in need of foster homes.  It’s an excellent way to ease into adoption, see how a dog would mesh with your lifestyle, and help out on a temporary basis.  It will also provide you with an ideal COVID buddy.


Other ways to pass the COVID stay-at-home time


There are some really good ideas out there, and I’ve covered several of them in previous blogs.

You can….

So hang in there during this very unusual time in history.  It just may be the perfect time to adopt a pet.

And remember, when it’s time to go on vacation, many of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals are pet friendly.  Just give us a call and we’ll connect you with the perfect one.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Go on Virtual Tours

Since the whole world is basically still in COVID quarantine, virtual tours are a great option to travel and explore via the internet.


Get Cultured: Take Virtual Tours of 12 of the Best Museums Around the World


Travel + Leisure Magazine has pulled together a list of some of the best museums in the world, who are now welcoming people to visit virtually.

Take virtual tours of…

You can see some of the finest art in the world, all in the comfort of your own home.  Access the whole list and all of the links here.


Armchair Virtual Travel


Marriott has assembled a great Virtual World Tour, thanks to Google Arts & Culture.

As far as cultural landmarks, you can explore Versaille’s Hall of Mirrors and its famous gardens.  Google Earth lets you check out Rome’s Colosseum, Giza’s Great Pyramids, and the Taj Mahal.

They also link to virtual tours and online exhibits in some of the top museums in the world.  Check out several parts of The Louvre in Paris, the Getty, the British Museum and the Uffizi.

AirPano has amazing videos and 360-degree aerial photos of top spots around the world including the Great Wall of China, Petra, Dubai, the Sahara Desert, the Northern Lights, Yellowstone and other national parks.

Access all the links of their armchair virtual travel here.


Or, check out homes on the IOP…


Last but not least, you can take virtual tours of our beach homes, from the comfort of your own home.  Check out our website and start planning your trip to the beaches near Charleston.  Just give us a call if you have any questions or when you’re ready to book.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger


Try these Secret Recipes

Certain corporations have decided to help make the COVID-19 quarantined world a better place  –  by sharing some secret recipes.

It’s a humanitarian gesture, not to mention something fun to try while we are quarantined at home.


Secret recipes from Disney


First up, Disney gets in the spirit of secret recipe sharing.

Disney World and Disneyland sell some delicious treats to fuel kids of all ages as they tackle to parks.

One of the most refreshing is their tropical Dole Whip.  This frozen pineapple confection is surprisingly easy to make.

It’s a perfect way to recreate some of that Disney magic on a hot day at home.

Basically, for a single serving, all you have to do is blend 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream, 4 oz. of pineapple juice, and 2 cups of frozen pineapple chunks together in a blender until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy.  That’s it.

Read more about it here.

Churros, anyone?

Disney also has shared the recipe for their very popular churros, in a cute bite size serving.  Click here to see how to make this favorite Disney treat, in yet another of their secret recipes made available to fans.


Try DoubleTree’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


If you’ve ever stayed in a Doubletree, you’ve probably been greeted at some point by their homemade signature chocolate chip cookies at the front desk.  They’ve been giving them away ever since 1986.

How many cookies do they give away?  It comes to 75,000 per day, or 27 million chocolate chip cookies in a year.

Shawn McAteer, Senior Vice President and Global Head of DoubleTree by Hilton, had this to say: “We know this is an anxious time for everyone.  A warm chocolate chip cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness.”

It has a couple ingredients that are a bit different from your standard chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Here is the list of ingredients to make 26 DoubleTree chocolate chip cookies:

You can find the full recipe on Vimeo here.  You can also make the cookie dough ahead, freeze, and bake a few at a time.  Warm cookies on demand!


Reddit to the Rescue


Last but not least, there’s a recipe that’s taken over Reddit by storm.  It’s not exactly one of these corporate secret recipes so much as an easy recipe that you can make at home, using ingredients you probably already have.

It’s a recipe for No-Yeast Peanut Butter Bread. As Food & Wine describes it, “It tastes like a giant peanut butter cookie.”

Get the easy to follow recipe here.

So try out some of these fun and no longer secret recipes at home.  And for future fun getaways and stays in a beach house Charleston, just give EP a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Photo credit: Hilton


Animal webcams galore

Thank goodness for internet access, because it gives us access to cuteness across the planet via animal webcams.

In these days of corona quarantines and social distancing, you come to realize just how important web connectedness really is.

Of course you can Netflix and chill, watch Amazon Prime or Hulu to your heart’s content.  You can work or worship via Zoom, and check in on loved ones wherever they may be.

Virtual activities abound.  There are Zoom game shows, craft class, and story time with a Disney character or a bedtime story read by Dolly Parton, as I covered in that last blog.

Getting out in nature is one of the most healing, beneficial things there is.

With most states under stay at home orders, many parks and recreation options are shut down.  Here in Charleston, that includes White Point Gardens at the Battery, and Waterfront Park with the giant pineapple fountain.  Charleston County parks are all closed, as is Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant.  Governor McMaster has closed all public access to beaches and waterways in the state.

The next best thing to being in nature is watching it.  And thanks to animal webcams, you can get a glimpse into the real lives of adorable and majestic creatures of all kinds.  It’s both fascinating and relaxing at the same time.


Animal webcams everywhere


Recently, both Fodor’s and AFAR came up with great lists of animal webcams that emanate from land and sea, all over the planet.

Fodor’s brings us “15 Animal Live Streams Better Than Anything on Netflix.”  You can check in on:

That sounds like some major cuteness right there.  Apparently the baby panda cams are off the cuteness meter.

You can access all the animal webcams here.


Yet more great wildlife webcams to check out


AFAR also assembled a great grouping of animal webcams.  They take some of those above and add to them Atlantic puffins in Maine, brown bears in Alaska, more elephants in South Africa, and Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They also link to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Home Safari.  You never know what might pop up there.  They’ve featured Komodo dragons, aardvarks, manatees, and Fiona the Hippo.  She’s the one who was born premature and is the smallest ever to survive.  As a bonus, they even feature a virtual spring tour around the lush gardens as well.

Find their whole list complete with webcam links here.

So check out some of these amazing animal webcams.  And when you are ready to start planning a stay in a luxury house on Isle of Palms, be sure to give us a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Global
Virtual Activities for All Ages

Now is the perfect time to go headlong into some fun virtual activities.

South Carolina has officially joined the ranks of states with official stay at home orders.  Yesterday, Governor McMaster made the declaration.

There seems to be so much bad news at the moment, be it on TV or social media.  Notifications with increasingly grim statistics pop up at a rapid pace.  Each day seems to bring more closures and folks try to flatten the curve.  Yesterday brought he announcement that Boeing here in Charleston is shutting down, the last Boeing facility to do so.  MUSC Hospital is laying off 900 people.

For sanity’s sake, it’s good to focus on the positive.


Virtual Activities for Kids


The good folks at Hulafrog are experts on wholesome activities for kids.  They have assembled some virtual fun for children staying at home.

Here’s a link to the week’s activities here in Charleston.  Of course, since it’s virtual, you can enjoy it from wherever you may be.

Some of the options include Storytime with Anna or Rapunzel, from Curiouser Entertainment, on Facebook Live; Wednesday Craft Time with Michael’s, also on Facebook Live; Daily Activities with The Little Gym (Mount Pleasant) on Facebook, with fun things like crafts, stories and dancing for little ones; and ways to celebrate National Siblings Day, happening this Friday, April 10th.

Lowcountry Parent from the Post & Courier has pulled together some fun virtual activities for families.  Options include:

Check out the whole list with links here.


Dolly Reads a Bedtime Story


Eternal optimist and all-around great person Dolly Parton reads a bedtime story every evening at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

It’s called Goodnight with Dolly.  Each night she reads a different title from her Imagination Library.  Watch it here.

Fodor’s has some other great ideas for virtual activities, which you can access here.  They file it under #NotBadNews.


Accentuate the Positive


Along those same lines, People has brought together what they call 80+ Heartwarming Stories to Come Out of the Coronavirus Crisis to Make You Smile.

As they put it, “If your Twitter timeline is feeling a little bleak, check out this list of dozens of happy, heartwarming, funny and inspiring moments showcasing the best in humanity during a difficult time.”

So keep on the sunny side.  And start making those plans of a getaway to one of our luxury beach house rentals SC.  Just give us a call, and we’ll get you on the calendar.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger

Stay at home amid COVID-19

Most states now are under a stay at home order due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Although technically South Carolina isn’t one of them, it’s basically a de facto stay at home situation.  Governor McMaster has ordered essential businesses closed.  He has shut down all public access to beaches, lakes and waterways.  People can’t congregate in groups of three or more and should practice social distancing of six feet or more.

Individual cities like Charleston and Mount Pleasant have issued stay at home orders.  The Isle of Palms has a police checkpoint on the Connector, only allowing residents, workers or caretakers onto the island from 7:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m.  Sullivan’s Island is doing the same thing.  So is Folly Beach, although their checkpoint is 24/7.


Stay at Home Activities


Many people have embraced the stay at home time to tackle projects under their own roof.  It’s a perfect time to clean out that garage, drawers or closets that have been bugging you.

Goodwill says that donations are up.  Stores are closed and they are now selling online, but outdoor dropoff locations are open.  They have streamlined the donation process to ensure health and safety of everyone.  Read more about it here.

Gardening or working in the yard, if you have one, is an ideal option.  It gets you out of the house into the sunshine but still socially distant from others.  This time of year, the weather tends to be lovely, and there are genuine health benefits to being out in nature.  You get good exercise, the therapy of having your hands in the dirt, getting something accomplished with positive results to show for it.  Plus you get away from electronic devices and the plethora of COVID-19 news.

Home improvement centers and hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot are considered essential and thus remain open.  A word of caution: I’ve seen photos of crowded parking lots at these places.  One person said it was worse than Black Friday.  So do be wise, try to go at off hours, keep your distance, don’t tough your face, and wash or Purell those hands often.


Tips for Travel Lovers


My inbox has been flooded with tips and lists of things to do as you stay at home  –  especially for those who love to travel.

From the Discoverer Blog, there’s 7 Things You Can Do to “Travel” From the Comfort of Your Home.  In a nutshell, it suggests:

AFAR suggests 18 ways to survive a stay at home quarantine.  Read them all in their blog entitled, “Save Me From Myself!  A Travel Lover’s Guide to Staying Sane When You’re Stuck at Home.”  Ideas include flaneuring and embracing dolce far niente.

Speaking of dolce far niente, or the Italian appreciation for the sweetness of doing nothing… here’s another one.  It’s “5 Things To Do Under Quarantine, According to an Italian.”   Italy has been in serious quarantine for quite a while now, as the coronavirus hit the country hard.  This is a simple list, but it’s a good one, and very doable.  Read it here.

It’s an uncertain time for us all, but this too shall pass.  It’s a good time to be dreaming of time at the beach.  If you’re planning for a stay in a Charleston beach house down the road, just give us a call.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger