Elizabeth Arden is a brand I have worked with in the past and a brand that I’ve always liked. The White Tea fragrance remains one of my favorites (and was what I wore on my first date with my boyfriend so it brings back the best feelings!) and the 8-Hour Cream is a holy grail.
I was looking forward to traveling down to Charleston with the Elizabeth Arden brand/team and a few other influencers. I go on brand trips all the time and they can be good and they can also be bad. I have had all kinds of experiences, but this trip was perfection. Every detail was well-executed and perfectly thought out. They hired an amazing photographer (if you’re getting married, hire Marni! I loved her!!) who emailed us photos within six hours, sent us to the airport with boxed lunches, etc. No stone was left unturned and I walked away with a greater appreciation for the brand. I thought I knew a lot about it going into the trip, but learned even more throughout the course of the trip.
The one theme of the trip, though, could easily be summed up as “inspiring women.” Elizabeth Arden herself, Judge Goodstein (who hosted us at her house one night), Dr. Dendy (a celebrity dermatologist who consultants for the brand), the entire PR team and brand representatives… I walked away with a huge sense of girl power. The crazy part was that I felt like so much of the inspiration was natural and just came out due to the people involved. There wasn’t an agenda or a script… it was totally authentic. And in today’s world, where even authenticity is manufactured, it felt special. I know I wasn’t the only person on the trip that walked away thinking, “Wow.”
I’ve been to Charleston quite a few times. I always love re-visiting a city that you “know” really well because the pressure of orienting yourself is gone. You can just be there and explore a little more without feeling like you have to hit a bunch of spots in a short amount of time. This was a particularly fun trip because everything seemed new. Other than walking down King Street, everything was totally new to me.
We stayed at the Spectator Hotel and I was blown away by it. The location is great as you’re close to all of the main spots in downtown Charleston, but it’s tucked away ever so slightly so it’s nice and quiet and, dare I say it, serene. The two downsides are that there isn’t a restaurant or gym on site. But who needs a restaurant when there are too many restaurants to count in Charleston? Plus, you can order coffee and a light continental breakfast before you hit the town. They also have a partnership with a gym down the street should you want to work out.
The best part is, hands down, the service. I’ve never experienced better service at a hotel!! As a guest, you have a butler who can help you with everything from steaming a dress to planning your itinerary.
Every time we went back to our rooms, there were more goodies and treats for us to try. Pajamas, riding boots, an embroidered vest, silk eye masks, etc. Not to mention all the Elizabeth Arden products to try and test out. It was insane and I’ve never felt more spoiled.
The first official event of the trip was out in Summerville, SC, home of Sweet Tea! We drove out to Elizabeth Arden’s summer home for a cocktail party hosted by the current owner Judge Goodstein. The home was also owned at one point by Lilly Pulitzer’s mother. We got a tour of the property as well as the interior! The crowning jewel though is the red door, which you might recognize as the main symbol/logo of Elizabeth Arden!
We then made our way back to Charleston for dinner at Pawpaw. Can we talk about the gorgeous flower arrangements?! I wanted to take them all home with me, ha. I had the fried chicken (so flipping good).
The next morning, we made our way out to Middleton Place. It’s a gorgeous property… but it was also a rice plantation and has a dark history. I was apprehensive about going but went on the tour with an open mind. I have to say, I thought the tour was phenomenal. I was very curious how our guide would address slavery and the plantation’s past. Middleton Place clearly doesn’t try to sweep the issue under the rug or pretend like slavery didn’t happen. They don’t celebrate slavery, but they have incorporated the stories of the enslaved people into the tour and overall site. I had a couple of readers DM me about the plantation and I wanted to make sure I brought it up here. I didn’t think taking photos during the tour was appropriate, but I did want to say that I was impressed with how they handled/addressed it. You can get a sense of it on their website.
We then made our way down to the Middleton Place Equestrian Center for horseback riding. We were allllll decked out for it. It took quite a bit of time to get everyone on their respective horses and then, well, the skies opened up. It was a torrential downpour and I hopped right off the horse to take cover. We all changed shirts (haha) and then had a great lunch from Jim ‘n Nick’s BBQ.
(Had to include that one so that you don’t think that everything was picture perfect ha!)
After freshening up and showering back at the hotel, it was time for dinner. We had dockside drinks and took in the sunset before dinner at Nico’s.
We had lipsticks in our hotel bathrooms and I immediately fell in love with “Desert Rose.” It’s a pretty nude perfect for everyday wear during fall.
It was such a fun night and we shared so many laughs at the table. I had tears rolling down my face at one point. I think we were all kind of thinking that we wished the trip was longer! Sometimes after a press trip, I am ready to go back home. But I was honestly having a great time and didn’t want it to end!!
Everyone had different flight times the next day so that was really the last bit of everyone being together. The remaining group met for breakfast at Millers where we couldn’t not use the photobooth 😉
A huge thank you to Elizabeth Arden for inviting me on the trip. It was so well done and, as I’ve said, every detail was so perfect.