Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things 'calm & cozy home.'

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can't wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It's THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️

Posts by this author:

Spring Cleaning Hacks – Quickest Room By Room Tricks For Busy Women

When Spring begins to give a fresh look to everything outdoors, I start itching to freshen up inside, BUT, I don’t want to spend hours doing it! Spring cleaning hacks that are quick and easy as possible are vital for all of us, amen? You’ll be tickled to know that I’ve put my spring cleaning list together of all the cleaning tips like y’all have been asking me to so that we’ll all have a Spring cleaning checklist to go through fast. Now, let’s set that timer ticking so that we can knock these cleaning tips out, okay?!

view of woman cleaning hacks with glass window



I remember the days vividly when I felt like I was completely failing as a wife and Mom. I didn’t have any cleaning hacks or cooking skills to fall back on and I was drowning in it all. I was doing the best I could but unknowingly was putting too much pressure on myself. I worked full time but also ran in circles trying to get it all done when I was at home.

I was completely miserable and overwhelmed!

Finally the light bulb came on and I realized that I needed a few cleaning hacks, easy recipes, and a no-brainer system to start working smarter instead of longer. When I started implementing those home hacks, I started enjoying my home and life again. I’m very passionate about helping other women do the same.

So let’s get to the round-up of those amazing tips. My advice is to choose a couple of the most needed cleaning tips below and knock those out first. Next week, complete a couple more, and do the same the next week. Before you know it, you’ll have a sparkling clean home without all the overwhelm!


  • How to Dust Tips
  • How to Keep House Clean
  • How to Clean Lamp Shades
  • How to always have Clean Toilets
  • How to Clean Laminate Floors like a boss
  • How do you Clean Ceiling Fans without the Mess
  • Easy Recipes 
  • Cozy Home Hacks


I wanted to give a tutorial on how to keep house clean when there are things that never stop piling up in our lives like laundry, dirty dishes, dusty furniture, and grimy floors. It’s an encouraging way to look at the big picture of an easy system to follow daily that will cut down on the mess and the overwhelm.


This cleaning tutorial was created after realizing serious dust allergies in our household. Not only did I want to cut down on the build-up of dust to be clean, but it’s now also a necessity. This how to dust post goes over the quickest way to keep dust AND pollen out of the house!


Since I wrote this post, I’ve had so many people mention that they’ve never thought to look at how dusty their shades are! I think the only reason I’ve noticed is because lamp clean-up was part of my childhood chores. After I’d ignored them so long in my own home as an adult, I wasn’t sure how to remove the layers of gunk without ruining them. As part of an experiment I figured it out and created a tutorial so that you’d know how to clean lamp shades too.


Ugh… I despise cleaning the bathroom. Don’t you? I knew I had to come up with a solution so that I could spend as little time on it as possible. That’s when I came up with my fast toilet bowl cleaner system that keeps toilets cleaner on a daily basis without the work.


One task that I don’t mind doing is mopping our floors. It’s all because of my secret weapon that began as a free product I was sent about how to clean laminate floors. I wrote an honest sponsored post about it last year. I honestly fell head over heels for this cleaning product and am still using it a year later. Game changer, y’all. You won’t believe how easy it makes this job.


  • How do you clean ceiling fans without the mess?

For years, I used a broom or vacuum cleaner which was super messy and took forever – which made me put it off until it was horrible. I finally realized how to clean ceiling fans without the gross dust bunny “droppings.”

  • How do you get the house clean fast?

My simple method to cleaning as fast as possible is to make a game out of it. Whether cleaning alone or by enlisting the help of innocent family members (I highly suggest this!), set a timer for a short-ish amount of time like twenty or thirty minutes and “race” to beat the clock. You’ll be amazed what can be accomplished in a short amount of time when you are trying to beat the timer!

  • What cleaning hacks keep your house clean all the time? 

In short, nothing does. My house is always very “lived in” and in need of cleaning something. But, I no longer feel overwhelmed or depressed about the gobs of things piled up. Most days, there is a general cleanliness overall with several small tasks that need to be done on rotation.


I love keeping my cleaning supplies all together so that when I jump up to quickly clean a space. Just another way I can avoid excuses and get to work! This is the exact cleaning caddy that I have…

Plastic Portable Storage Utility Caddy Tote
One of the major ways of how to keep house clean is cutting down on the dust and pollen in our home, so I use two weapons… dust magnets and dust catchers.  😉

Related posts you may also like:




Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Jekyll Island Georgia: Secluded Island In The US That’s Bucket List Worthy

Can I admit to you that I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made an excuse to visit Jekyll Island, Georgia? I honestly have lost track of how often we’ve been to the Golden Isles of Georgia for day trips and family vacations. Who wouldn’t love a Jekyll Island beach in three unique spots, a beach side shopping village, many Jekyll Island things to do, fabulous restaurants, Jekyll Island camping, and a handful of Jekyll Island hotels, resorts, and cottages to choose from?!

view of Jekyll Island Georgia Entrance



Yes, Jekyll Island history stories about the famous tycoons of the 1880s that had fancy and exclusive winter vacays on this beautiful SECRET ISLAND are pretty intriguing – especially the spooky stories, and the one about the secret meetings that sprang the Federal Reserve into action. But my favorite Jekyll Island, Georgia story is how the hubs and I had a love-at-first-sight moment on a Jekyll Island beach boardwalk, were engaged at that same spot, and have brought our own family to visit for years now. The rest, as they say, is history… our Jekyll history.

As a travel journalist, I’ve stayed at the incredible Jekyll Island resort called The JEKYLL ISLAND CLUB, several Jekyll Island hotels, cottages, and the Jekyll Island Campground. We’ve also visited the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and have eaten at almost all Jekyll Island restaurants.


You would think that the best time to visit Jekyll Island, Georgia would be during the warm weather season. I mean, it is an island with beaches and all, right? While it is GORGEOUS in the spring and summer, many locals don’t want you to know about the Jekyll Island things to do during the fall and winter season that are over-the-top wonderful!

Don’t tell anyone about these JEKYLL SECRETS though, OK? We can’t have the whole world on to our secluded island!


I could literally write a novel about all of the family friendly things to do on Jekyll Island Georgia like visiting Driftwood Beach, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, world-renowned golf courses, and the Jekyll Island water park.

Every time we visit, we have a new experience. Sometimes we come for the food and shopping, while other times we want a beach vacation. Other times, we don’t want to miss the wonderful, family friendly festivals that make this paradise so special.

I’ll make it easy for you and share all of our favorite secret island activities HERE.


If you are looking for a fabulous place to stay, I have reviews on hotels like the Jekyll Island Club, JEKYLL ISLAND WESTIN, a FAMILY GETAWAY in an adorable cottage, and how we had a blast at the JEKYLL ISLAND CAMPGROUND. One of the things that I love most about Jekyll Island, Georgia is that there are not high-rise hotels lined down the coastline or commercialism busting at the seams.

Fortunately, Jekyll Island is protected by a law that protects 35% of the island to remain untouched. However, there are just enough accommodations, luxuries, restaurants, and Jekyll Island shopping opportunities to make it the perfect island getaway! We simply can’t get enough of the way the stress literally melts away as our car cruises onto the causeway.

The legend MUST be true because we can’t get enough!


      1. Why is it called Jekyll Island?

This barrier island off the coast of Georgia was named by General James Oglethorpe who founded the colony of Georgia. He decided to choose the name in honor of Sir Joseph Jekyll, his friend and financier from England.

      2.  How’s the weather?

One of the main reasons that Rockefeller, Vanderbuilt, J.P. Morgan, and the other iconic wealthy men of their era chose this island was because of the sublime and mild Jekyll Island weather. The average winter temperatures from December through March have highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s. Summertime brings lots of humidity with averages that sit at around ninety degrees from June until August.

      3. How much does it cost to get on the island?

There is a $6 Jekyll Island State Park fee for one day, $28 for a seven-day pass, and a 12-month AVI option as well.

      4. Can you share Jekyll Island directions?

When driving from the Jacksonville International Airport and head toward I-95 North to Georgia exit 29 /Jekyll Island/Brunswick. You’ll the turn right onto US-17 North and then turn right onto the Jekyll Island Causeway.

When driving from the Savannah Hilton Head International Airport, it’s a 80-ish mile distance. Merge onto I-95 S/GA-405 S and then take US-17 N/GA-520 E exit, EXIT 29, toward Brunswick/Jekyll Island. Turn left onto US-17 North until you turn right onto Jekyll Island Causeway.


If you can’t get enough of Jekyll Island’s grandeur and beauty, you’ll enjoy this lovely book. I remember being on the island back when the author released it and every page is breathtaking!

Jekyll Island: The Nearest Faraway Place Hardcover 


HAVE YOU BEEN TO JEKYLL ISLAND, GEORGIA? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Save on your hotel -


Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Clean Movies: Best Family Movies Kids AND Grownups MUST See!

I can’t tell you how many times we tried to have a family movie night and watch so-called clean movies that left us red-faced and embarrassed. I learned to quit trusting those movie ratings – they weren’t trustworthy at all. And the family movie reviews I found were typically written by folks who cussed their way through the articles. They didn’t seem to see “family movies” in quite the same way that I did. I made it my mission to find all the family friendly ones that I could – funny family movies, clean action movies, the best Halloween movies, and even some good family movies on Netflix. So buckle up for the ultimate movie list for families…..

view of clean movies reel and popcorn


My hunt for clean movies for families turned into many movie list posts, and today I’m rounding them all into one ultimate article. You and I now have one spot to quickly find the best new family movies list and old classics all in one place (with print friendly button at the bottom if you’d like to print for later).

You’ll find the following genres in the list below:

  • family movies
  • Halloween movies
  • cool movies
  • Romantic movies
  • Christmas movies
  • Action movies
  • Fall movies
  • Classic movies
  • Thanksgiving movies

There aren’t many small kid-focused animated movies listed here because this list is mostly those hard-to-find clean movies for the whole family – to especially watch with slightly older kids – not just little kids. There are scores of animated movies lists floating around the web. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy all the family movie info!


  • What are good clean movies?

There should be plenty to choose from in all of the genres below from the big screen, to Netflix, and more. If you have any to suggest, tell us in the comments!

  • What are some good family movies on Netflix?

It’s hard to list Netflix movies that are on this list because of the ever-changing way they remove different ones each month. My suggestion is to put a suggested movie below into your Netflix account’s search bar to see if it is listed before spending money to watch it elsewhere.

  • What is your criteria to be considered “clean movies?”

Movies without inappropriate nude folks, foul language, or inappropriate intimacy on the screen. I’ll say this, I am more conservative than most people I know, so I don’t allow much to fly under the radar. I am human, however, and may have missed something inappropriate, so I do not claim responsibility of my movie suggestions listed here. The only way to know for sure is to screen these choices yourself before letting youngsters watch them. 🙂


For those on the hunt for some spectacular family movies, look no further. Anyone old enough to remember watching the Wonderful World of Disney in the late 70s that came on every Sunday night? Please tell me someone else remembers! I have such fond memories of watching films like the Shaggy DA, the Sound of Music, and the original Escape to Witch Mountain and others with my Dad. You’ll find others HERE.

Escape to Witch Mountain

Escape to Witch Mountain trailer


Looking for fabulous movies for the fam that have great story lines – without all the trash?! This ultimate cool movies list may have a couple classics but many other super cool films like The Lost Medallion. There’s truly something on this list for everyone – all ages!

The Lost Medallion DVD
The Lost Medallion movie trailer 


I hope you love what I think is the best Halloween movies list. Once again, I was having a hard time finding a family-friendly Halloween movie list to watch with my youngest. There were lists but their idea of “family” and mine were very different. Halloween movies are tricky in my opinion because they easily can cross the line for me when they become “horror” movies, too deep into demon themes, or try to be too sexy. These Halloween movies are some you definitely won’t be scared to watch with the fam (see what I did there?! I crack myself up).

The Halloween Tree movie trailer
Girl vs. Monster movie trailer


A wrote a movie series including Mom reviews on five clean family movies I thought you’d enjoy.

  1. Family Movie Guide
  2. Family Movie Mystery
  3. Mandie and The Secret Tunnel
  4. Forever My Girl movie
  5. The Man Who Invented Christmas movie review


Of course, there will be more full movie reviews coming soon about the new movies 2019 and those newly on DVD. As a heads up, here are a few I’m thinking about reviewing in the coming days (that I HOPE will be considered clean movies):

  • Peter Rabbit (PG)
  • Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase
  • The Kid Who Would Be King
  • Aladdin

Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase movie trailer
Peter Rabbit movie trailer
The Kid Who Would Be King movie trailer
Aladdin 2019 movie trailer

You may also like these posts:

Do you have any clean movies you’d like to add to the list? Tell us why you love them in the comments below! 



Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Homemade Hamburger Helper: Quick One Pot Meal + Healthier

Honestly, I’d never tasted hamburger helper until I was a busy Mama that was desperate to get dinner on the table quickly. I switched to homemade hamburger helper (I bought Betty Crocker brand during my coupon-clipping phase) after I realized that I typically had all of the basic ingredients on hand and that it was just as quick to make this boxed meal myself! I soon realized that it was just as cheap and it’s SO easy to customize to hamburger helper with potatoes, homemade hamburger helper stroganoff, to add rice, or even to create a gluten free hamburger helper version. No need to thank me, just enjoy!

white plate of homemade hamburger helper on wood table




I had no idea how to cook from scratch early in my marriage but now I love it! If you’ve been around THTG for more than a minute, you know that it’s an obsession of mine to figure out the easiest cooking hacks that make recipes easy as possible to get on that table. I remember the days of being so overwhelmed in the kitchen that I love sharing easy recipes with all of you (as well as the best family travel secrets, cozy home hacks, and family friendly entertainment).

Early on I realized how simple the ingredients list was for most of these boxed meals and it’s just as fast to throw together homemade hamburger helper of some variation myself. It’s a wholesome meal that the family enjoys AND the other thing I love is that it’s a one pot meal – which means easy clean up and less dishes to wash!


  • What is hamburger helper?

Created in the 1930s as a super convenient boxed meal, it originally was a skillet dish where you added boxed pasta and packets of powdered sauce and seasonings to cooked hamburger meat. Whether using a boxed meal or my homemade version, it’s a way to stretch that hamburger meat out with other cheap ingredients to feed a whole family. Nowadays, there are chicken helper and tuna helpers that have the same concept with alternative meat choices.

  • What does it require to make homemade hamburger helper from scratch? 

Depending on which version you are mimicking, you just need ground meat, pasta (or rice or potatoes), cheese, a little water, and seasonings.  That’s all that it’s in the boxed mix – along with some additives that may or may not be good for you! For instance, if you want cheeseburger macaroni, use the elbow noodles, ground meat, and lots of cheddar. If you want beef stroganoff, use egg noodles with your meat and cheese, etc.

  • What are the different types of Hamburger Helper?

Really, the sky is the limit on your choice of meal. My advice is to use what you have on hand, but here are some popular ones: Bacon Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger Macaroni, Cheese Lover’s Lasagna, Cheesy Enchilada, and Cheesy Beef & Hash browns.


Again, you can change out every aspect of this recipe as you wish. For instance, you can lighten the meat taste by using ground turkey instead of ground beef. If you need this recipe to be gluten free, simply make a switch to gluten free pasta. If you would like to create a dairy free dish, all you have to do is use an unsweetened almond or coconut milk of your choice.


All the exact measurements are on the printable recipe card below, but here are the ingredients for the original hamburger helper recipe at a glance. ->>>

  • ground meat
  • water
  • milk
  • pasta
  • seasonings
  • cheese


The ingredients and instructions for a printable recipe card on how to make homemade hamburger helper are below but here’s the basic idea:

Just like the boxed version, you do precook the ground meat, but you won’t have to precook the pasta, rice, or potatoes.  You’ll cook and drain 1 lb. of ground beef or turkey, add the water and all the other ingredients, and cook for ten minutes before stirring and cooking for a few more.

Easy Peasy!


You probably know this, but in case you don’t, be sure to drain the extra oil that accumulates while cooking your ground meat. Also, don’t skip the step of bringing all of the ingredients to a boil, stirring well, covering, and then letting simmer for the allotted time. All of those steps are important and don’t let it overcook!


Y’all. This little kitchen set is a couple of brilliant lifesavers. Not only can you chop up ground meat and use the scraper to get every drop, there’s also a little strainer that clips onto the chopper for a hands free way to easily drain the grease.

Yes, please!

Meat Chopper with Silicone Clip-On Strainer


Here are some of the other most popular easy recipes you may also enjoy:

Pork Chops Recipe – Low Carb + Cheap + Easy + Only 3 Ingredients

How To Cook Green Beans – Done in 12 Minutes & Perfectly Every Single Time

Crockpot Italian Meatballs – Low Carb & 3 Ingredients


Here’s the printable homemade hamburger helper recipe:

Homemade Hamburger Helper (The How-to Guru)
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 C hot water
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 to 1/2 C pasta, rice, or small sliced potatoes
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 to 1/2 cups cheese
  • extra water if needed
  1. Cook and drain 1 lb. of ground beef or turkey.
  2. Add l cup hot water, 2 cups of milk, 1 to 1/2 cups pasta, rice, or very small sliced potatoes, 1 Tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon sugar.
  3. Stir the mixture well and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir and add liquid if needed.
  5. Add lid and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, add cheese, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

I’d love to know – what’s your favorite homemade hamburger helper meal?


Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


Things To do In Hilton Head Island + Where To Stay + Best Family Restaurants

I’d heard rumors of fabulous shopping in Hilton Head and I was dying to investigate firsthand the other things to do in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for families. Like you, I wondered: Are there family friendly Hilton Head Island restaurants? Is this an over-the-top tourist town? What’s the weather like? Is Hilton Head Island beach crowded? I adore sharing the southern family travel scoop that women want to know about vacation spots, so stick around for the best things to do, where to stay, and what to eat with the whole family in tow.

view of lighthouse - things to do in Hilton Head Island



Save on your hotel -


Driving onto the island that’s twelve miles long and five miles wide, it definitely felt bigger and busier than its coastal cousin of St. Simons Island, Georgia that we’ve visited before – I wasn’t sure I would like it. We are grateful to the owners of #45 Ocean Club Condo for hosting us. As always, my honest Southern opinions are my own.

The story goes that back in 1949, developer Charles Fraser fell so in love with Hilton Head that he envisioned a peaceful beach community where the structures blended into the landscape and had respect for the nature around them. That’s why we noticed structures no higher than five stories and why even the McDonald’s yellow arches were tiny and didn’t have a neon light.


  • Can you give Hilton Head directions?

Whether you are driving north or south toward this coastal South Carolina island, Hilton Head is located just off of I95.

  • Is Hilton Head close to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina?

There are about 150 miles between Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach.

  • How close is Hilton Head to Charleston?

There are approximately two hours between Charleston and HHI.

  • How close is Hilton Head to Savannah, Georgia?

Hilton Head Island is about a twenty mile drive north from Savannah, Georgia.

  • What airport is closest to Hilton Head?

If you are flying to Hilton Head, the closest major airport is Savannah Hilton Head International Airport and it’s located about an hour away, or you may can fly straight into the Hilton Head Island Airport. Rental cars, taxis, and limos are all available for transportation from both.

  • Is Coligny Beach free?

Yes, parking at Hilton Head’s public beach is free. Yes, and you’ll love the family friendly amenities that will come in handy at this park like benches, changing rooms, gazebos with swings, bathrooms, restaurants, and stores.



A unique little waterfront community hub is tucked away on the south end of Hilton Head Island called Harbour Town. A cheerful, red and white candy-striped lighthouse stands in the center as  an iconic landmark and museum. Hilton Head’s history lines the lighthouse walls as you make the easy walk up to the top for the best scenic views of the Harbour Town Marina and the Calibogue Sound. At the top there is also a tiny gift shop with fun, memorable gifts. The shopping village is a collection of fine apparel boutiques, decor shoppes, and souvenir stores.

aerial view of Harbour Town, things to do in Hilton Head Island

Harbour Town

insider tips: The lighthouse tour is $5 to and actually has great gifts. It’s $8 per car charge to enter the Sea Pines community where Harbour Town is located. Be sure to buy a hand-dipped ice cream from the ice cream shop and chill in the red rocking chairs to watch the boats come into the marina. Kids can play and climb in the treehouse at the adjacent playground with the enormous live oak tree. Stick around for the nightly free performances there for kids there by a local artist.


With over 200 local Hilton Head restaurants, there is a place or two to fit everyone’s palate. The variety of Hilton Head Island restaurants goes beyond run-of-the-mill seafood joints on the coast. Surprisingly, there’s a strong representation of authentic Italian and Mexican/Southwestern neighborhood places also.

view of Aunt Chiladas mexican plate - things to do in Hilton Head

Aunt Chilada’s Mexican Fare

One of our favorite things to do in a new place is to check out the local eateries! Below is a list of our favorite family friendly restaurants in order of awesomeness:

  • Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta House – most incredible stone oven-cooked pizza crust I’ve ever put in my mouth! Fresh ingredients. Family-friendly sports bar atmosphere.
  • Aunt Chiladas – broad range of “Tex-Mex” and Mexican cuisine. Indoor or covered patio outdoor seating. Not your everyday Mexican! Laid-back atmosphere.
  • The Smokehouse – exceptional wood-fired pulled pork BBQ, and wings. Very laid-back outdoor deck seating with a fireplace that was great.
  • Java Burrito – best described as a tricked-out Chipotle counter service & high-level coffee bar. Not fancy – strip mall-style space with roomy seating.

insider tips: One night we had planned to visit the fine dining Italian restaurant, Ombra, but stumbled upon Giuseppi’s instead and fell in love. This place is hopping – don’t wait too close to dinnertime to arrive or you may have to wait a while!


There is no shortage of Hilton Head Island shopping. From the Shelter Cove shopping center to the extensive range of Tanger Outlets, there is an area for everyone. Nestled in woodsy lots, each shopping center has a beautiful promenade and coastal decor.

view of best things to do in Hilton Head - shopping!

Hilton Head Shopping Center – Francesca’s at Shelter Cove


With twelve miles of Hilton Head Island beach to choose from, you’ll find wide stretches of hard-packed sand perfect for walking and bike riding. All along the South Carolina Coast, this area is family friendly and one of the cleanest you’ll find. With several public beach accesses, each have a vibe of their own:

  • Alder Lane Beach Access, off South Forest Beach Drive
  • Burkes Beach Access, at the end of Burkes Beach Road
  • Chaplin Community Park, off of William Hilton Parkway
  • Coligny Beach Park, off Coligny Circle
  • Driessen Beach Park, at the end of Bradley Beach Road
  • Fish Haul Beach Park, off Beach City Road
  • Folly Field Beach Park, off Folly Field Road
  • Historical Mitchelville Freedom Park, at the end of Beach City Road
  • Islanders Beach Park, off Folly Field Road

Driessen Beach and Islanders Beach parks are great choices for families because they have playgrounds and picnic shelters.

beach chair on the beach - things to do in Hilton Head Island SC

HHI’s South Forest Beach

Personally, we thought South Forest Beach, the one-mile stretch of beachfront that begins at Coligny Circle and ends at Sea Pines Plantation (and directly in front of our condo), was the perfect family friendly spot because of the quiet, more secluded feel but with close access to beachside barefoot cafes, shopping, dining and live entertainment options.

insider tips: If you’re torn about where to stay, consider the AirBnB we stayed in (described below) that’s only 100 steps from the patio door to our favorite beach!


It may seem odd to include our condo to this list but it added SO much value to our stay! What we didn’t realize was that this was no ordinary beach condo. Not only was it located on the quietest area of the island, it was also close to shopping and restaurants, and had a fantastic view of the ocean. Literally five steps away from the back patio was a short walkway that led straight to the sand. Equipped with everything we needed, there were many extras that made our stay extra special.

Ocean Front 45 Ocean Club 
Recently renovated with breathtaking Coastal Farmhouse decor, our condo came with two roomy bedrooms, two baths, and the best master shower I’ve ever experienced. Not only was it immaculately clean but we had every possible supply that we needed plus many extras.

The extras included a fully stocked kitchen, modern washer and dryer, beach chairs, umbrellas, beach toys, heated pool, outdoor grill, over-sized Adirondack outdoor furniture, and three smart TVs. Here’s how to book this condo now.





Hilton Head Airbnb: South Forest Beach, Hilton Head, Island SC

Harbour Town Village & Lighthouse: 149 Lighthouse Rd, Hilton Head

Giuseppi’s: 32 Shelter Cove Ln, Hilton Head

Aunt Chilada’s: 69 Pope Ave, Hilton Head

The Smokehouse: 34 Palmetto Rd, Hilton Head

Java Burrito: 1000 William Hilton Pkwy

Shelter Cove Town Centre: 40 Shelter Cove Ln, Hilton Head

Tanger Outlets: 1414 Fording Island Rd., Bluffton, SC

Coligny Plaza/Beach Park: 1 N Forest Beach Dr., Hilton Head

you may also like…



Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


How To Clean Lamp Shades: 3 Genius Ideas For Almost Any Material

Don’t have a clue how to clean lamp shades, so they get ignored in a room that’s otherwise fairly clean? No judging here – I ignored my dusty lamp shades for far too long because I wasn’t sure how to clean fabric lamp shades and if I would rip or ruin them. Finally I’d had enough of those dust collectors and decided to experiment until I figured out cleaning hacks to get the job done and I can’t wait to share that with you. There are basically three methods to choose from to clean almost any lamp shade material and you won’t believe how fast and easy it is!

view of white and silver lamp on bedroom side table - How To Clean Lamp Shades



Growing up as an only child in the house, it was my task to do all the dusting every week. Maybe it was because my Mom owned 562 lamps and they were all fabric or that we lived off of a dirt road and it was especially dusty, but I despised having to clean lamp shades. It seemed to take me forever to get them all free of dust. I’m not sure if I was being a dramatic kid but I did feel like Cinderella. I mean, she made me drag out the vacuum cleaner for heaven sakes!

OK, I am a little dramatic.

I think that’s why dusting my lamps was never on my weekly cleaning list because I avoided it like the plague. When I realized I needed to know how to dust more efficiently because of dust allergies in our home, I knew I had to find out how to clean lamp shades quick and easy too! It was time to put on my big girl britches and get to experimenting! I found out a lot and here are the deets…..


  • How do you clean stained lamp shades?

My favorite lamp shade cleaners for stains have been Dawn dish washing detergent or or shout fabric spray. Start by testing a tiny spot on the inside of the lamp if possible. Spray a tiny bit of shout fabric spray on a damp cleaning rag and scrub the stain gently. Rinse the rag and wipe the spot gently again. Let dry!

  • Can you wash a fabric lampshade? 

Yes, I do all the time by carefully placing lamp shade in the bathtub (like fake flowers and so many other things) and giving it a good, gentle rinse with warm water. Be sure to do a test first where you wet a tiny spot on the back of the shade to be sure it won’t leave a mark. Some lamp shades like paper shades or linen shades may be too fragile so test a tiny spot and be very gentle.

  • What about a “yellowing” lamp shade?

Refer to the three choices of cleaning your lamp shades below according to the fabric, but if the fabric is sturdy enough, you could add a tiny amount of liquid bleach to the bath method below.


Lamp Shade and Fabric Cleaner


Depending on the type of lamp shade that you have and the extent of its dustiness will depend of which method you need to choose below to get it clean. I suggest starting with #1 and working your way through if the first method didn’t work.


As a first step, rub a microfiber cloth across your lamp shade to dust it easily and roll a lint roller across it gently to pick up any remaining particles, especially if the lamp shade is cotton or synthetic fabric. Most of the time, this is all that’s needed to get the job done!


If you have a cotton or synthetic fabric lamp shade that needs a little more attention, wipe it down with a damp rag that’s been dipped in a bowl of warm water and 1/4 teaspoon of Dawn detergent! If your lamp shade is made of a parchment/thin paper material or is especially fragile, use the same method but use a delicate laundry detergent instead of Dawn. Wipe the lamp gently and then rinse and repeat if necessary.


This trick works for so many things in our home that get extremely dusty like artificial flowers and certain decor items that hang on walls and aren’t dusted as often. All they need are a good rinse in warm water in the bathtub, let dry, and then put back where they belong.

view of white lamp shade and side table - how to clean lamp shades


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Do you have any secrets you’d like to add about how to clean lamp shades? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!




Published on HuffPost and Okefenokee Living Magazine and other publications, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist and lover of all things ‘calm & cozy home.’

She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about southern family destinations and creating cozy homes they can’t wait to go home to.

Her hope is that overwhelmed women feel like family travel and cozy home gurus in their own right.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️