Category Archives: Vacations & Travels

Caribbean Island Time at Sandals Barbados

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados

One of the many perks of my job as a wedding planner is the opportunity to work directly with Sandals and Beaches Resorts through the Association of Bridal Consultants. The incredible relationship allows me to sell honeymoons, vacations, and fun-in-the-carribbean-sun experiences. Therefore, I visit the various resorts to be able to truly match each client with the perfect resort for them. When Sandals Barbados called, I immediately packed my bags and husband!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados pool

Sandals Barbados, an all-new retreat in the spirited St. Lawrence Gap area, offers undeniable luxury with inventive accommodations spanning three unique villages, world-class cuisine with international appeal, including a festive Indian cuisine restaurant, and innovative bar and pool designs.

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados

When we landed at the Barbados airport, we were greeted by smiles and friendly citizens. Although there was not a Sandals Lounge at the airport, we easily found the desk outside the airport to get our bags ticketed and onto the bus. After a short 15 minutes, we arrived at the gorgeous Sandals Barbados resort.

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados

Upon arrival, our Butler greeted us at check-in with a cocktail and escorted us to our ultra swanky suite that overlooked the river pool. We stayed in a “Crystal Lagoon One Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub” and I never wanted to leave. Two soaking tubs! A sitting room! A fully stocked bar! That bathroom! From the first moment on the property, we were treated like the most important people on the island.

Sandals Barbados Crystal Lagoon One Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Barbados Tranquility Soaking Tub

Sean is no stranger to the Southern Glam Weddings & Events team but this trip made him even more official in the business. During our time on the island, he took the Sandals Certified Specialist training for the first time to expand our Sandals services. He’s now the official Southern Glam’s Groom’s Concierge to assist the sometimes neglected groom in the wedding planning adventure. We all know how much grooms love wedding planning (ha!) but now Southern Glam grooms have another guy on their side. They can grab a beer and chat Caribbean honeymoons instead of linens and centerpieces.

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados

We absolutely adored all three of our butlers. Demar and Juliana were the most amazing Butlers treated us like pure royalty! Utina, who isn’t pictured here was also on Team Phillips and we loved her too!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Butlers

We’ve never experienced the Butler level of service before at Sandals so it was a real treat this vacation. During our VIP check-in, we were given a cell phone to call on our Butlers whenever and wherever we needed them on property. They also took care of all our dinner reservations, scheduled excursions, and customized menus for me since I am vegetarian and gluten free. I have never had so many food choices available to me before. To say I ate well, despite my dietary restrictions, is an understatement!

A fun memory was when we asked Demar to have dessert with us before he left for the evening. Chatting with him about his life, ambitions, and the island of Barbados was a conversation I will always remember.

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Gluten Free

I told you I was able to eat while on vacation! Sandals and its Culinary Concierge take dietary restrictions seriously; I was able to find gluten free pasta, bread, cookies, pizza, and brownies! Sandals also had vegan butter too. I was one happy gluten free vegetarian!

See the video here on how those with dietary concerns can sit back and relax at Sandals and Beaches Resorts.

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Butler

Although this photo is a bit blurry and dark, these two incredible people hold a special place in my heart. Utina, one of our amazing Butlers, truly went the extra mile. In addition to the amazing service, Utina had many surprises up her sleeve. One of them: Sean told her about this delicious sauce he had at Sandals Grande St. Lucian on our honeymoon almost five years ago. The next day, it magically appeared with his chicken tender snacks. #TheButlerDidIt

From time to time, we would see Abhishek sneak into restaurants to check in with me to ensure I had enough to eat and enough variety. The level of service and his compassion completely blew me away. That is what Sandals is all about!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Quiet Pool

Each evening, one of our Butlers would ask where we’d like to spend the next day. We absolutely loved the main pool, so each morning, the Butlers would reserve the best lounge chairs for us and filled a cooler with our favorite beverages and water. Throughout the day, they would bring us drinks before our current ones were empty in addition to  snacks.

I discovered my new favorite cocktail was a Bajan Lemonade. First, muddle limes and add lemonade, raspberry vodka, a spritz of Sprite, and a splash of cranberry. It was a perfect pool drink. Sandals Barbados knows what’s up!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados

I am a sit by the pool or on the beach kind of gal. Yet, Sean on the other hand, likes a little more action and every afternoon at 3pm, you could find him in the pool playing volleyball. He also took full advantage of the Scuba diving program. As a result, each of us happily enjoyed our afternoons.

Sandals Barbados Scuba Diving

Another #TheButlerDidIt moment! Bubble baths with champagne and snacks? Yes, please!

Sandals Soaking Tubs

One of my favorite restaurants was Kimonos because I love hibachi! It’s a vibrant restaurant that serves up Japanese cuisine in a most captivating way. Kamal made our dining experience superb! And the saki cocktails where delicious!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Kimonos

While Sean went scuba diving, I went pampering. The first time I ever visited a spa was on my honeymoon at the Grande St. Lucian and the Red Lane Spa certainly set the bar. Each time I visit another Sandals or Beaches property, I make sure to make a spa appointment for a luxury treat!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Red Lane Spa

One of the eleven restaurants at Sandals Barbados is Soy Sushi Bar. Since I’m not a big sushi fan, the restaurant wasn’t high on my “to visit” list but Sean had never had it. One of the main amazing benefits of the Sandals brand is the luxury included discovery gourmet dining. Why not try something different? Sean did and actually found out that he liked sushi! This remarkable sushi house offers exciting flavors and exotic sushi creations made-to-order. Sushi Chef Gilbert was amazing to watch at preparing each roll.

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Soy

Almost each night we found ourselves at the Merry Monkey Pub. With cozy traditional décor you’ll feel as if you’ve ventured across the Atlantic to England and entered into another reality completely. Bartender Shane mixed amazing cocktails and kept the bar entertained all night with laughter.

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Merry Monkey Pub

The Caribbean and Sandals Resorts are an Instagramer’s paradise! As a result, the number of gorgeous natural light photo opportunities are endless!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Instagram

On our last morning, we enjoyed breakfast on our terrace thanks to our amazing Butlers. Definitely, it was the perfect end to a wonderful vacation!

While it was incredibly sad to leave paradise, Sandals is our home away from home so we know we’ll be back soon!

Southern Glam Weddings & Events Sandals Barbados Butler

And now, who wants to visit the gorgeous Sandals Barbados?

Do you want to visit Barbados or any of the gorgeous Sandals or Beaches resorts? Let’s chat and make it happen!

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So Glam Goes SoCal

The Association of Bridal Consultants’ annual wedding planner conference was held in sunny Southern California and I was ready for a dose of inspiration, motivation, and education. It’s been a wonderful year for Southern Glam Weddings & Events but right around the Fall, I’m in need of new and fresh ideas in the wedding industry. My California loving husband tagged along with me so we extended our time to make the most of our time while we were across the country.

Tampa to Los Angeles

Redondo Beach, California

The first time I met my surfing husband, he looked straight out of a Hollister store. He was completely shocked I had never seen the show, The O.C., so our first summer together, we binged watched every season. And I loved it. Naturally our first stop in California was the Redondo Coffee Shop where MANY scenes were filmed for the show.

Redondo Coffee Shop

 

The Redondo Pier was great for a laid back afternoon of local eats and sights. It’s a hardcore fishing pier so at times the smells were … authentic! Be sure to snap a photo with the resident pelicans!

Redondo Pier at Redondo Beach California from the show The OC

 

Huntington Beach, California

On the way to the conference hotel, we stopped at Beach City Brewery so Sean could add another pint glass to his collection.

Beach City Brewery in Huntington Beach California

 

Costa Mesa, California

Conference was held in Costa Mesa and opened with a party and let me tell you, parties for wedding/event planners planned by planners are always amazing! It started at 7:30pm and at 9:30pm, the DJ’s music went silent and the headphones turned on to continue the party. This is a fabulous option for venues that have noise ordinances or those looking to bring a fun tech-savvy touch to an event!

Silent Disco wedding reception planner from the Association of Bridal Consultants

The next two days were filled with education, motivation, and inspiration. It’s always SO great to catch up with fellow planners around the country who I met a conference many years ago. I was incredibly lucky to meet Sasha Souza (!) and learn from other luxury wedding and event planners.

Southern Glam Weddings wedding planner of the Association of Bridal Consultants

Also, I re-took the Certified Sandals Specialist training again to learn about the new and exciting things Sandals and Beaches has to offer couples and families. I’ve helped many newlyweds honeymoon in paradise so who’s ready to travel to the Caribbean next? Let’s chat!

Sandals Honeymoons planning from Southern Glam Weddings & Events

 

Laguna Beach, California & Newport Beach, California

Costa Mesa was right down the road from Newport Beach and Laguna Beach and oh my gorgeous, if I wasn’t set on living in the South, I would live in Laguna Beach, California. The views, the boutique shopping, and the restaurants were incredibly amazing! I was convinced that I was coming back to Tampa alone because Sean was seriously in love with this part of California.

Crescent Bay Point Park in Laguna Beach California Southern Glam Meagan Phillips

Does it get any more gorgeous? The photo above was taken at Crescent Bay Point Park. Another photo opportunity is Top of the World (top right photo below.)

Top of the World in Laguna Beach California

Places I’d recommend dining:

Cucina Enoteco

SOL Cocina

GG’s Bistro

The Cliff – BEYOND GORGEOUS views but be prepared for a wait!

The Deck on Laguna Beach

And for delicious gelato, pop into Gelato Paradiso!

Laguna Beach California

 

Los Angeles, California

When my conference had come to a close, it was time to head up to Los Angeles for the next part of our West Coast trip because it had been too long since I had seen Hollywood and Sean had never experienced it. Our first night we had a laid back dinner at Golden Road Brewing which had SO many vegetarian/vegan options for me so I definitely give it two thumbs up!

It’s no secret I like the Kardashians and watch TMZ, and read People magazine; it didn’t shock Sean much that I wanted to take one of those tours around Hollywood and Beverly Hills to see the stars’ homes and maybe see someone famous. Finding the right tour though took a bit of research. We settled on Glitterati Tours and called to make a reservation . A friendly answer by a Jeremy confirmed our “Whirlwind Los Angeles” two hour tour and gave us directions to meet at The Grove.

On tour day, a classy black Navigator picked Sean and I up for our tour with Colin as our guide. I felt like a celebrity riding in style!

Glitterati Tours in Los Angeles California with Meagan Phillips of Southern Glam Weddings and Events

Up first, we drove through old Hollywood to see the original filming studios which included the neighborhood where Lauren Conrad’s house was used for filming The Hills AND Jamie Lee Curtis’ house used for filming Halloween. Then we drove into the hills to take a photo with the iconic Hollywood sign followed up by seeing celebrity homes. Y’all, had we taken a tour by bus, we would have never been able to get into the hills. Some of the homes we drove by are owned by Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Matthew Perry, Rhianna, Jennifer Aniston, Keanu Reeves, and Ashton Kutcher. We then drove down Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue to see famous restaurants and bars. We ended the tour driving through Beverly Hills and through Rodeo Drive. Colin was an amazing tour guide and I highly recommend Glitterati Tours!

Hollywood Sign with Glitterati Tours in Los Angeles California

Sean and I wanted to go back to Hollywood Boulevard to see the Walk of Fame so we asked Colin if he had any suggestions as to where to park. He recommended parking off of Orange Street in the Hollywood & Highland Center parking garage. We took his suggestion for easy parking and it lead us right in the middle of the action on Hollywood Boulevard.

We saw a group of people standing at the exit and I overheard someone say, “I cannot believe he’s here!”

I tapped her shoulder and asked, “Who’s here?!”

Her: “Daniel Radcliffe!”

Me: “Daniel Radcliffe? THE Daniel Radcliffe? Like Harry Potter?!”

Her: “Yes! He’s here getting his star on the Walk of Fame!”

Oh man, our first celebrity sighting and we had a front row seat!

Daniel Radcliffe at the Walk of Fame in Hollywood California

We had lunch at the original Mel’s Drive-In and found both Audrey Hepburn’s and Britney Spears’ stars on the Walk of Fame!

Hollywood Walk of Fame and Audrey Hepburn Star in Hollywood California

After Hollywood, I was on the hunt for cupcakes and not just any cupcakes, the original Sprinkles Cupcake ATM which just so happened to be in Beverly Hills. It was life changing and the song is the now the theme song of my life! I love Sprinkles! Yes I do, yes I do!

The original Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM in Beverly Hills California with Meagan Phillips of Southern Glam Weddings and Events

I might have spent a little time shopping off those cupcakes on Rodeo Drive.
Tiffany & Co on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills California with Meagan Phillips of Southern Glam Meagan

While driving on Sunset Boulevard, I spotted Duff’s Cakemix – I’m always down for cupcakes so on we went and discovered Bravo was filming inside. We decorated cupcakes and signed a waiver to be in the background of the show. Could this day be anymore “Hollywood?”

Duff's Cakemix in Los Angeles California

Actually yes,  because we ran into Fred Savage at our hotel where another show was being filmed!

Fred Savage on set filming The Grinder

Our last day was spent on the Santa Monica pier, driving through Malibu, and Sean surprisingly taking me to Calabasas to see if maybe, just maybe, I’d run into a Kardashian. No such luck!

Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica California

I’d say it was a successful trip to the other coast!

Charleston: A Southern Gem

“I’m going back to Charleston, where there is still a little grace and civility left in the world.” – Rhett ButlerTampa, FL to Charleston, SC

Charleston, sweet Charleston, you captured my southern heart and I will never be the same now that we’ve officially met. This Georgia gal has a great love for Savannah and had never been to Charleston. When an opportunity was given to visit this southern coastal city, Sean and I hopped in the car.

Imagine Savannah on severe southern steroids and you have Charleston. It’s that insanely amazing! Our trip was a Thursday-Sunday itinerary and I wish we had squeezed in one additional day.

Day 1

Before checking in to our downtown hotel, I just had to visit Lowndes Grove Plantation, an amazingly gorgeous plantation turned wedding venue. Being it was a Thursday, I was hoping I could sneak a peek without being a wedding crasher. I called the ladies at Lowndes to see if I could tour the property and without hesitation, they welcomed Sean and myself. Just as expected, set-up was taking place with gorgeous chandeliers being hoisted up as I wiped a dab of drool off my lip! Southern Glam has arrived!

Lowdnes Grove Wedding Venue in Charleston, South Carolina

From there, it was Sean’s turn to cross a destination off the list, Holy City Brewing. A local favorite, we saw these brews all over Charleston throughout the weekend.

Fact: Charleston is known as the “Holy City” because of the prevalence of churches on the city skyline. Charleston boasts over 400 places of worship of many different denominations throughout the city, and religion is deeply embedded in the city’s rich culture.

Holy City Brewing in Charleston, South Carolina

After brewery #1, it was time to head downtown to check-in at our hotel. We stayed at the gorgeous Lodge Valley Inn since we were apart of a trial BlueGreen membership. Greeted by ‘Hi yall, how was your drive up?’ I felt right at home. This 18th century restored warehouse had original pine floors and offered fresh baked cookies with sherry in the afternoons. How charming! It was located off of East Bay Street which is one of the main streets downtown.

I had been yearning for Fall for weeks now and I was SO excited to see a fireplace in our loft room – even though it couldn’t be used until October.

Lodge Valley Inn in Charleston, South Carolina

Fact: High Cotton, a restaurant part of our hotel, is where a scene in the Notebook was filmed. (The scene in which Noah looks through a restaurant window and finds Allie dining with her fiancè.)

Dinner was at the Southend Brewery and Smokehouse a block away from our hotel. I had the most delicious green beans I’ve ever had with of course, a much needed helping of pimento cheese! We walked across the street to The Vendue for drinks on the rooftop bar. There were lots of pretty things that caught my eye in that hotel! But, believe it or not, this rooftop bar ranked second to the one we visited later in our trip.

Southend Brewery and The Vendue in Charleston, South Carolina

Day 2

Early the next morning, we walked down a few blocks to Rainbow Row … insert massive swooning here! Rainbow Row is the name for a series of thirteen colorful historic houses in Charleston, South Carolina. It represents the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States. The pastel gorgeous homes just make you smile!

Rainbow Row in in Charleston, South Carolina

Just a few blocks back towards our hotel was the Waterfront Park where my must-see pineapple fountain can be found.

Waterfront Park and Pineapple Fountain in Charleston South Carolina

We walked over to Toast for breakfast – oh my goodness, those biscuits were divine! Afterwards we drove over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to Mount Pleasant to visit Boone Hall Plantation. A plantation I have been dying to see since I feel in love with oak trees. The Avenue of the Oaks, the dirt road leading to Boon Hall is just plain gorgeous.

IMG_5628 Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Fact: I might’ve waited for.ev.er. to get these two shots without people in them! #worthit

Fact: The Notebook, North & South, and other movies were filmed there.

Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina

Back over the bridge we went to visit Fort Sumter where a ferry boat takes you to the fort. During the 40 minute boat ride, a storm moved in which you can imagine, this gal wasn’t too happy about being stranded on boat surrounded by lightning! It cleared up enough to run off the boat soon after arriving.

Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina

And the day wasn’t over yet – we walked over to Poogan’s Porch for dinner and sat on the porch upstairs.  Yall, it was a delicious southern dinner! I made friends with the birds and may or may not have shared my biscuit with them. See that blue ceiling – lovely! Did you know, many southern porches are painted blue to keep evil spirits away? It’s an old southern thing!

Poogan's Porch in Charleston South Carolina

Tip: Make reservations in advance. We actually didn’t have reservations but luckily was able to walk right in and sit on the upstairs porch.

After dinner, drinks and dessert took place at the Market Pavilion Hotel rooftop Pavilion Bar which was SWANKY! When you walk out of the elevator, Charleston’s only rooftop cascading pool greets you.

Rooftop bar in Charleston South Carolina

Tip: Depending on the time you visit in the evening, there is a dress code to enter the hotel.

Day 3

Happy game day for college football! I recently went back to school at the University of South Florida to pursue a Master’s degree and newly enrolled at the University of Georgia for an online certificate program. ALSO – the university I attended in Georgia, Kennesaw State University, was playing their first ever football game. S0, GO BULLS, GO DAWGS, and GO OWLS! … I’m happy to report all my teams won that day!

Time for breakfast (can you believe we were hungry?!) As we were walking out of our hotel, we were told we must try Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe for breakfast which was next door to our hotel. It was literally a hole in the wall, next to a gas station, but it was visited by Guy Fieri of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. Don’t be intimidated by the line out the door, it goes fast! The amount of food you receive for the price was incredible and delicious! We took ours to-go and walked back to our hotel’s courtyard to eat.

The Charleston City Market was a block from our hotel which was the perfect location for local shopping. We continued over to King Street for more of the everyday shopping, ahem, Kate Spade and we found a store that had way too many pineapples for me to carry!

Football

On the agenda next was walking around the College of Charleston; I almost enrolled on the spot. It’s full of historic houses that classes are held in. Excuse me?! We kept strolling down King Street and bumped into Cupcake Down South – a little slice of heaven! I had the Black Bottom, bottom left, and whoa! And that photo on the right – that’s from Moon and Lola. A boutique store that I could take up residence in!

Cupcake Down South in Charleston, South Carolina

By the time we made it to Cupcake Down South, it was a good hike back to the hotel. It was still early in the afternoon so we drove over to the Palmetto Brewery. Which was a great time to wait out a monsoon that decided to make an appearance.

Palmetto Brewery in Charleston, South Carolina

Dinner was back on King Street at Prohibition. I was SO SO SO excited for this dinner because I am a forever fan of the Roaring 20’s decade. Time to party like a Gatsby and enjoy one of the best meals we’ve had in Charleston! We walked around King Street after dinner and shopped a bit more.

Prohibition in Charleston, South Carolina

Tip: Street parking is a rare find in Charleston. It’s metered so be sure you have coins in case you find it. There are garages scattered around that accept credit card payments too. As you can already tell, we were able to walk pretty much everywhere so you really won’t have to drive too much if your destinations are in the downtown area.

Tip: Most of the streets of Charleston are uneven and have cobblestone here and there. This glamorous girl left her heels at home and still had a few trips here and there!

We dropped our car back with the hotel valet and decided to walk back down to the Southend Brewery and Smokehouse for one more round of green beans and pimento cheese! I told you there were amazing!

IMG_3007

Day 4

Since this was departure day, we wanted a quick breakfast and the Bull Street Gourmet Market was recommended to us. Amazing cheese grits and a latte followed. I might have been kicking and screaming out of that place because I didn’t want to leave Charleston, and those dreamy porches and that authentic charm and those delicious meals.

Until the next time – because I will be back soon!

College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina