All About Charleston Blonde: April Q&A
April 1, 2021
One of the greatest things about this blog and my Instagram is getting to share my real life and showing more about the woman behind “Charleston Blonde.” If you didn’t know, hi! I’m Jaime Huffman, and today I’ll be answering some of the most-asked questions about my life! I would say 75% of the daily questions I receive are Charleston-related. Where to go, what to do, what to eat. I’ll touch on some of those and a few others that pertain to my personal life.
Q: I know you mentioned you don’t post as much as you’d like to because you are busy with your real job. What exactly do you do?
I have a social media and marketing firm here in Charleston, SC. I work primarily with small local businesses to help them with their advertising efforts. We do a little bit of everything. Social media management, copywriting, styled shoots, content creation, ad design, graphic design, e-mail marketing, and even some SEO and website development.
I am very thankful for my wonderful team. I have been working with my graphic designer, Ryan, for over 10 years, so we just get each other. Often times I send him graphic ideas that would make absolutely zero sense to anyone else, but he somehow knows exactly what I mean. Haigler has been my creative assistant for 3 years now. She is brilliant on-set and helps make all of our content creation shoots run smoothly. Sarah is my jack of all trades. She is one of the most impressive individuals I have ever met. Her writing style is my absolute favorite and she can literally solve any problem we are faced with.
I also have a team of photographers that I have worked with for over 4 years now. I truly believe beautiful imagery is one of the most important factors in a successful marketing campaign. I am truly blessed to work with such talented individuals. Exciting news: I plan on hiring one or two new employees in May. If you are interested in a marketing position at Charleston Blonde, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How is your mom doing? What type of cancer does she have? How long has she been battling cancer?
We found out my mom had laryngeal cancer a few months after I graduated from college in 2009. She has been battling cancer for over 12 years now. They misdiagnosed my mom’s cancer for months. She was never a smoker, so when she first when in complaining of a sore throat, they actually treated her for acid reflux. At first, we thought it was stage 2, but she went in for surgery and while they were operating, they realized it had metastasized to her esophagus and she was stage 4. They performed an emergency laryngectomy and removed her voice box. This was particularly difficult on our family because she went into surgery speaking and came out of surgery without a voice. We didn’t get to prepare for that. I wish I could have recorded her voice. I actually saved our old home voicemail for a really long time because it had her speaking on it. Unfortunately, I no longer have that recording.
Ever since that surgery, things have been tough. Cancer is a bitch. It is a complete emotional rollercoaster. You’re constantly preparing yourself for the worst and then when you get good news, it’s tough to celebrate because as soon as you get excited or let down your guard, you get bad news again.
My mom will never be healthy again, but at this point, we have prepared for her death at least nine different times, so we just feel really lucky that she is still here with us. Initially, she was not supposed to make it to see Harper’s birth. Now, Harper is 10 years old and my mom has seen him grow up.
Since her initial diagnosis and surgery, the cancer has metastasized to both of her lungs. She was given six months to live and somehow she beat that. Just a few months ago, my dad called and said he didn’t know if she was going to make it. I flew down to Florida expecting the worst, and she pulled through once again. I always had a hard time dealing with my mother’s stubbornness (if you know my mom, you know exactly what I am referring to), but now I am pretty sure it is that exact trait that has kept her alive this long. I know her journey is unlike most people in her position, and I feel really blessed to have this extra time with her.
Q: You mentioned your mom cannot speak, how do you all communicate with her?
This is one hundred percent a God thing. Right away, my entire family could read my mom’s lips. It didn’t even take us a week to figure it out. So when I am physically with my mom, I can just read her lips. The coolest thing is that Harper started reading her lips too when he was really really little. So they communicate with each other very easily. It is difficult when I am driving and my mom wants to talk because I cannot take my eye off the road long enough to know what she is saying. It is also tough when I want to just pick up the phone and tell her something and I have to usually text instead. FaceTime is good to smile and wave and show her home renovation projects, but I can’t seem to read her lips over video. When she goes out by herself, she brings a small whiteboard in her purse and writes messages to people. She was not able to get one of those mechanical devices to help her speak. They tried it several times, but she had too much damage in her throat from the surgery, chemo, and radiation to make it work.
Q: If you only have one day in Charleston, what would you do?
Let’s be honest, one day in Charleston is just not enough time. I always say try to get at least 3 good days in if possible. But if I only had one day, I would start with breakfast at Millers All Day. From there I would stroll down Broad Street, make a right onto East Bay Street and check out Rainbow Row. I also think everyone should make their way to Tradd Street. It is one of my favorite streets in all of Charleston! Then, head to The Battery. I love sitting on the benches in The Battery and just people watching. The trees, the water, the scenery… it’s perfect! From there I would walk back down East Bay Street, grab some Italian ice from a street vendor and explore Waterfront Park. This is the home of the Pineapple Fountain and it is a beautiful spot right on the water. Harper loves to swim in the Pineapple Fountain. I know that sounds gross, but it is what it is. I usually put my feet in and splash around a bit, too.
Then I would head to Maris Dehart to shop. It is the cutest boutique right near the fountain. Follow that up with lunch at SNOB. The lunch express deal is my favorite and the menu changes every single day. After lunch I would head to King Street for more shopping. I love Beckett Boutique and so many of the fun shops on King. If it happens to be a Saturday, you can hit up the Charleston Essentials Market located in Marion Square. It has been closed due to COVID, but is supposed to open back up on Saturday, April 10, 2021 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
For happy hour, I love to go to Uncork on Upper King Street because they always have live music. They also have killer charcuterie boards and wine on tap. For sunset I usually hit up The Watch at The Restoration Hotel. It is a rooftop bar and the views of the Holy City at sunset are absolutely incredible. For dinner, you should definitely go to Leon’s! Best fried chicken, Brussels sprouts, chargrilled oysters, and scalloped potatoes EVER! Honestly, I know I’m leaving so much out. Y’all, don’t come to Charleston for only one day! LOL.
If you’re looking for a different itinerary, check out my 24 Hours in Charleston blog. Headed to the Holy City for a girls’ weekend? Don’t miss this getaway guide packed with recommendations for treating yourself and your favorite ladies! And of course, if you’re looking for my absolute best recommendations for all things Charleston, look no further than my Ultimate Charleston Travel Guide and 2020’s Best Businesses of Charleston!
Q: Where do you consider “home,” Charleston or Greensboro?
Honestly, both. Our historic Greensboro house is my lifelong dream. I have always wanted a historic home with a lot of character. I love gorgeous magazine-worthy homes but personally, I prefer the ones that are a little funky and just feel comfortable. Growing up, my favorite place to visit was my grandparents’ home in Canada. My Nana and Papa always had beautiful antique furniture, pretty plates, and it just felt comfy and cozy. I find myself gravitating to a similar aesthetic and feel now.
The Greensboro home needs a TON of work. I am pretty much going to have to paint every room in the entire house. All of the bathrooms need to be gutted and redone. The kitchen needs a total makeover. It stresses me out just thinking about it because let’s be honest, renovation projects are EXPENSIVE, but I know when we finish the house it will be an absolute dream. Right now it doesn’t really feel like “home” per se because it is one gigantic construction site. But when I walk through the front door I still get excited because I can see its potential. It has the coolest layout, amazing bones, and so much character. I already feel really connected to the house.
Charleston, of course, is incredible. I’m a beach girl at heart, so I love the close proximity to the ocean, I love incredible restaurants (I think we have some of the best food in the entire world), and the downtown historic district is an absolute dream. We have really enjoyed our apartment at The Merchant, and living there is just so easy! We are like 6 minutes from King Street, 7 minutes from Mount Pleasant, it’s just so darn convenient. The community has a resort-style pool, gym, yoga studio, and clubhouse. The clubhouse is the perfect spot to work from home.
When we are staying at our place in Charleston we are completely happy and content. When we are in Greensboro, we are happy and content. I feel really blessed that we are able to call both places our home. I know it is no the conventional lifestyle for most families, but our family has never been normal. We love to travel and are always on the go, so this set up is absolutely ideal for us!
Q: When you flipped the home in Pinehurst, did you enjoy the area? Could you ever see your family living there long-term?
The house we flipped was technically in Southern Pines, which is a small town right next to Pinehurst. It was absolutely adorable and extremely safe. But honestly, we never really got a real feel for the area. Most of our time there was during the pandemic, and even before the pandemic, we spent most of our free time working on the house. We met a handful of awesome people. We found a restaurant right down the street, 195 American Fusion, that was amazing! But we didn’t find time to play a single round of golf; total bummer. I don’t think we would ever live there long-term. I need a Publix, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and most importantly, a Target! The closest Target was an hour away! The town was a little too secluded for our lifestyle and we always need to be close to a big airport. But we would definitely consider purchasing a home there again to use as an Airbnb property. I think it is a great area to invest in!
Q: What are your go-to songs on karaoke night?
- “Ho” – Ludacris
- “Forgot About Dre” – Dr. Dre
- “The Real Slim Shady” – Eminem
- “Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio
- “Juicy” – The Notorious B.I.B.
- “Hot in Herre” – Nelly
- “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-a-Lot
- “In da Club” – 50 Cent
- “Still Ballin” – Tupac
- “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
Q: What’s your drink of choice?
If we’re talking non-alcoholic drink, Arnold Palmer or sweet tea with a lemon. If we mean cocktail, I love Firefly Sweet Tea vodka with lemonade, Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola, Moscow Mule, sangria, and Piña Coladas. Random, I know! I also prefer sweet wines, like I drink Moscato with dinner. My favorite local drink is The Barn Raiser at SNOB. It has honey-infused bourbon, Blenheim’s ginger ale, and orange bitters.
Q: Are you all planning to travel this spring and summer? Where are you going?
We are! One of the main reasons we decided to purchase a more affordable home rather than going all-in and buying a big fancy house was so we will continue to have the means to travel and see the world. Erik and I don’t gift each other material things for holidays; we invest in experiences. For Christmas every year, we get Harper a trip rather than a bunch of toys. This year, his exact request was, “When COVID is over, I want to go to NYC to see the Statue of Liberty.” We plan to take that trip, but I am still not quite comfortable with traveling to New York City. I prefer traveling to places we can drive to right now, so I think we’ve decided on a fun trip through the Sunshine State! We want to surprise Harper with a stop at Legoland since he’s really into Legos right now. I grew up in Florida, but I haven’t been to so many of the cool cities there, especially in Northern Florida. I just started planning the trip, but I am really excited about it, and honestly traveling right now is extremely affordable!