A Mad Fantasy Tea Party

This past Monday we had a spring tea party to launch our new Fantasy Garden Collection, a vintage inspired capsule collection and collaboration with New York based jewelry company Ciner. I don’t know if it is the recent release of Beauty & The Beast, spring in general, or the fanciful nature of this new collection but I have had a tea party craving for awhile now. Talented Charleston-based illustrator Daniel Velasco did our invites and we purchased teacups that doubled as party favors for all the guests and turned Candy Shop Vintage on Cannon Street into a tea room for the afternoon.

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Thanks to Ooh events, we were able to squeeze in seating for 18 people down the length of the store. We served Charleston grown tea from The Charleston Tea Plantation in three flavors – Charleston Breakfast, Peach and Earl Grey. Frampton’s Flowers provided some beautiful fresh ranunculus for us in shades of pale pink.

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Out tiered tea towers were brimming with homemade goodies from local bakeries and caterers – Hamby’s, Sugar bakeshop and scones from Wildflour:

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And one of the best details were the beautiful, hand painted unicorn macaroons from Mercantile & Mash:

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The centerpiece of our new collection, The Unicorn Fantasy Necklace:

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Our floral selfie wall was also a lot of fun:

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As were the unicorn horn party hats from Meri Meri party:

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I only slept about two hours the night before but still had a blast:

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Thanks to all who came and contributed to a magical afternoon in Charleston!

Some Bunny To Love

This weekend is Easter and this cake has been a long standing tradition in my house – both growing up and since I became an actual adult to make a coconut bunny cake. It was the first dessert I brought to the first Easter brunch we were invited to in Charleston. Even in the South amongst the stiff competition of easter puddings and the fruit trifles, this cake became a major topic of conversation. Something about it makes me and everyone who sees it just… happy. My cousins used to spend every Easter at our house and after tearing through our Easter baskets and several pounds of candy, this was the sugar high we looked forward to after Easter brunch just as we were coming down from our Peeps. I think the recipe was torn from some early 80s magazine and though I now have it memorized, I remember the way it was stapled to an index card in my Mom’s recipe box, We were fiercely loyal to the bunny cake – not so much for its flavor (although it is pretty good) but for its look, its texture and its comforting consistency of presentation year after year. The acid green coconut “grass,” the jelly bean eyes, the chocolate chip trim… My Mom would store it in what she referred to as the “cold closet” after it was prepared and the cream cheese frosting had a great chill to it when you finally dug in to it. It was even good as leftovers a couple days later with a cold glass of milk. It is remarkably easy to make… and of course, fun.

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Also, proof that I am not lying when I say I have been making this forever, this is me at age 7 or 8:

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What you need (for the cake):

  • A box of chocolate cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • two 9″ round baking pans
  • two bags of sweetened coconut divided into three bowls
  • jelly beans
  • Twizzlers pull and peel
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips

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After baking two 9″ chocolate cakes (and banging them loose from the pan – Daphne’s favorite part) keep one fully intact for the “head,” then, cut the second cake in three pieces, the “bowtie” that is the middle part of the circle and the two “ears” that make up the negative space once you cut out the bowtie.

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All four pieces should then be carefully transferred onto a separate tray or platter. If it is not done perfectly, it is not a big deal because it all gets covered in icing.

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What you need (for the icing):

  • stick of butter
  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 box of confectioners sugar
  • vanilla extract

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We always made it with cream cheese frosting (ingredients listed above, basic recipe can be found here). It seems to go best with the flavor of the coconut and chocolate once completed. The entire head, ears and bowtie should be covered in frosting. Then, take the white coconut first and cover all the frosting in a layer of white coconut. Once a layer of white coconut has been added, pink coconut should be used to fill in the ears and bowtie. (This should be made in advance in a separate bowl using red food coloring). Once sprinkled inside the ears and bowtie, use the chocolate chips (evenly spaced) to outline the pink areas:

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The most fun part is the last step… sprinkling the “grass” – the dyed green coconut – around the giant bunny head:

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And our finished bunny!

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Good enough to eat… Happy Easter!

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The New Fantasy Garden Collection

I am so excited to finally announce our collaboration with 125 year old jewelry company CINER and the Spring collection we have designed together, The Fantasy Garden.

Because CINER has been around for so long (over a century!) I became used to seeing their name and mark on one-of-a-kind vintage pieces I collected, like these fabulous giraffe earrings. The quality of their pieces is always unparalleled. Through a friend visiting Charleston, I came to find out that CINER was still manufacturing and producing their beautiful line out of their New York City showroom and factory. So, I flew up from Charleston, SC for a meeting with CINER V.P. Kris Ciulla and owner Pat Ciner to learn more. Needless to say, we all had a lot in common and it was absolutely magical to see their showroom and production facility where so many of my favorite vintage pieces had been born. We decided to come together to produce our own capsule collection with me pulling designs from their archives and refashioning them into a modern, whimsical collection with a candy colored color palate. And so our collaborative collection, The Fantasy Garden was born:

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The Fantasy Garden Collection is available exclusively through our website, our store and cinerny.com.

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On my two visits up there I say down with Pat and Kris and curated this collection of pieces which is a combination of Southern, botanical themes, one of their classic Ciner bees and an element of fantasy – the unicorn (based on a vintage brooch they once produced):

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Ciner has remained in the same family for all 125 their business as been operating. Pat Ciner, left, the third generation of the Ciner family, remains at the helm of the business which is celebrating its 125th year in 2017. It was such a pleasure working with Pat and her team:

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Their showroom is filled with beautiful pieces, new and old – a virtual treasure trove of costume jewelry complete with vintage advertisements dating back to the 40’s and 50’s.

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Behind their showroom is a full manufacturing facility with jewelry artisans who paint enamel, cast, and set stones by hand.

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Below, a member of the Ciner team dedicated to polishing pieces during production works on a design.

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We are thrilled with how the collection turned out! You can see it and shop it here. The wonderful combination of southern botanical influences and elements of fanciful creatures. All behind-the-scenes photography by Lydia Hudgens.

A Vintage Inspired Kitchen

Ever since we moved into a new house in Charleston last fall and have been sharing snippets of our home renovation on Instagram, there has been universal appreciation for our somewhat retro looking kitchen. So, I thought I’d share a few more photos. Not unlike the process I follow with designing jewelry, I tried to take the best elements of our vintage kitchen and bring them out with timely, but updated details. We left wonderful features like the breakfast nook, the original oven hood, the mint green tile (in the most perfect shade of mint I just cannot imagine we would find it again) and most of the solid wood built ins. We took out some of the worst features – the accordion door to the pantry, the dark paint, the chair rail molding and the old appliances. I did have to scrub the tile within an inch of its life but the bright white paint we used all over really helped make it look much more recent than it is (1948!). We also added these fun, retro custom height light fixtures from Schoolhouse Electric that I loved for their chic simplicity. Sarah Yoder’s contemporary painting brought from our previous house and reframed brightened up the breakfast nook perfectly and this fun, vintage pink dining set from Indigo Market (State of Grace Collection) in Charleston looks like it was always meant to be in our kitchen. Olivia Brock of Torrance Mitchell Designs absolutely nailed the paint colors and the updated yet classic brass hardware we put on all the cabinets. I loved working with her because she really honors the spirit and era of a house in her thoughtful, sophisticated selections. Here are the photos – if you scroll to the bottom of the post you can click see the “before” pictures too.

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We only removed cabinetry in two places – the wall behind the sink and the righthand side of the wall in between the kitchen and dining room. The later we did in order to open up a window to the dining room, which brought so much more light in and is great for serving. The cabinets above the sink were also removed to let more light in from that window and help it not to feel so boxed in. Also, I like seeing all my vintage glassware in display.

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The pass through window to the dining room probably made the biggest difference in feeling open. I also found those great, vintage pink storage canisters on Etsy and a new marble kitchen island really connects the space.

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I absolutely love the House of Antique Hardware knobs and pulls we went with thanks to Olivia. Plus, how great is the towel bar? We changed out the fixtures on the sink to gold (but kept the original, enamel sink). And Olivia was also able to perfectly match the paint on the side door – Douglas Fern Benjamin Moore – with the mint tile.

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Mix and match vintage glasses.

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Adding a glossy chartreuse to the swinging kitchen door was a fun detail.

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The island is so great for storage and giving us space to spread out when we are cooking.

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The original vintage hood is still amazing, it just needed a little cleaning. Our appliances are all new but from the GE Artistry collection that has a great vintage look.

As you can tell from the before photos (click below) the floors were also refinished. For a kitchen that had to be done quickly and on a budget I am really happy with the way we preserved the integrity and charm of its original design and updated only the necessary details.

click here for before photos

Skinny Dipping in Charleston

It’s rare these days that a new retail store opens on King Street in Downtown Charleston that isn’t a national chain, so when I heard about Skinny Dip: The Charleston Edition, a collective retail concept that already found its sea legs after launching successfully in Nantucket I was immediately intrigued. And after drinks with one of the founders and designer behind accessory line Beau and Ro – Sara Rossi – I was totally thrilled to be invited to be a part of it. The brand collective shop represents both emerging and established designers from around the country in one, chic space – brands like Society Social, whose beautiful furniture makes the upstairs “local vibes” section feel both homey and luxurious, Ellsworth and Ivey, founding partner Taylor Ivey’s lifestyle brand, and Kiel James Patrick to name a few.

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The second floor of Skinny Dip Charleston’s King Street retail space bedecked with furniture from Society Social.

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Founders Sarah Rossi and Taylor Ivey – how cute are they?!

Plenty of Charleston based designers and brands will also be represented – you can find our Charleston Rice Beads upstairs as well as Lauren Lail’s beautiful vintage inspired line Library, colorful tunics and dressed by Escapada, even Shep from Bravo’s Southern Charm’s quirky line Shep Gear and many more. You can even relax and have a glass of wine in their upstairs bar run by Rudi’s – a satellite location from their Old Village wine shop in Mt. Pleasant.

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Artist Meredith Hanson hand paints a mural of Rainbow Row in Skinny Dip Charleston at the hard hat opening.

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The official opening party is this Friday, April 7th where I am also DJing but the store is open for shopping as of Tuesday, April 4th. There are so many goodies in there you definitely want to be one of the first to check it out. Congrats to the Skinny Dip team for all of their hard work and looking forward to celebrating on Friday!

Designer Showhouse in Charleston

It has been a beautiful couple weeks in Charleston…cool, mostly clear and sunny with the exception of only the last day or two. The last of the glory days before summer settles in (PS this Southern Living piece is both hilarious and true!). So, if you are looking for something new to do in Charleston this weekend, consider visiting the 2017 Symphony Designer Showhouse at 36 Society Street. Over a dozen designers have taken over a the beautiful historic property and each has designed or collaborated to design a room or area of the home. Some of my favorites are participating this year, like The English Room, Catherine M. Austin and Taylor Burke Home who makes my favorite chair of all time. You can walk through the whole house and see every colorful nook and cranny and well-informed volunteers are on hand to answer any questions you might have. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite spaces in the house (there are many more rooms not pictured and it is really worth the in person visit!):

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This charcoal grey living room designed by Mitchell Hill Interiors, with the gorgeous pair of Hollings Chairs from Taylor Burke Home.

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Holly Hollingsworth of The English Room’s Incredible dining room with an Iris Apfel tribute piece…

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…which is actually made out of many bottle caps by Charleston artist Molly B. Right!

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Chic, monochromatic upstairs porch by GordonDunning. I always love when indoor furniture, especially floor lamps are on outdoor porches, it is so luxurious.

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This adorable upstair laundry room by Kandrac & Kole Interior Design complete with a “Haint Blue” ceiling, a color paint traditionally used on Charleston porches.

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The upstairs “teenage hangout” room by Meg Caswell – black wicker, gold and bright pinks – very fun…

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…complete with a bar cart stocked with candy.

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And a mounted unicorn. What more could a teenager want?

Definitely pop in this year’s Charleston Designer Showhouse if you can, there’s even a little courtyard cafe where you can sit an grab lunch with your friends. It is a great way to spend an afternoon downtown and it’s up for two more weeks… Congrats to all involved!

 

Best Coast

I am a pretty big fan of the East Coast and grew up here all my life, but I have to say a recent vacation to California had me rethinking where my loyalties lie. Also: NO HUMIDITY is a pretty nice feature coming from the southeast. My husband and I decided to take a West Coast trip for our tenth anniversary (he’s never been!) and I was in dire need of a real vacation – not just a work trip. At Candy Shop Vintage, we go from the busy Holiday season – if you work in retail then ya’ know, to market in January to producing and shipping all of our spring wholesale orders in January/February plus running the store and website in between. It is just a whirlwind from late October to March and it can often feel difficult and guilt inducing to take some real time off. Nothing like some laid back California vibes to cure you of that! Something about the architecture there – particularly the 1950’s and 60’s era apartment buildings and homes is just RIGHT to me. And it is literally ALWAYS sunny. These are just a few we saw on Beechwood Canyon Drive where we were staying, a neighborhood I love – and one of the few walkable roads in Los Angeles:

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Love this regency style entrance of this apartment building called “The Olivia”

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This retro gem called “The Monroe” is really fun.

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Though this building has some “cold war era” vibes, I love the name and the font it’s in.

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And yet there are still some cozy, sweet family homes in the hills like this one.

We ate breakfast our first morning there at low key Beachwood Cafe at the top of Beachwood Canyon Drive. It was an easy walk from where we were staying and the food is fresh and filling. It has a great updated vintage vibe. This is my first trip to LA where I actually have NOT seen a celebrity. I did randomly run into my old friend Pete in The Beachwood Cafe and he informed me Jason Segel walked in about five minutes after we left. Devastating.

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The Beechwood Cafe: cute, local vibes & great breakfast.

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Typical LA breakfast? Black coffee, green juice & water. And my Sarara Couture purse we just started selling at Candy Shop On Cannon.

After a good breakfast we ventured up the hill for the obligatory Hollywood Sign shot (it looks mini in this photo – promise it was the real one) and a visit to The Griffith Observatory which has the most incredible panoramic view of Los Angeles and of course featured heavily in La La Land. You kind of have to navigate the traffic and hoards of of tourists doing the exact same thing you are but it really is worth it for the view. And the even had a VINTAGE CELESTIAL JEWELRY exhibit waiting for me in The Observatory (what?!).

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THE BEST SUGAR COOKIES EVER

I have been meaning to share this recipe for a long time and with Valentine’s Day around the corner I thought it was a perfect time to spread the love. These are, quite simply the best sugar cookies you will ever eat. I used to have bad associations with sugar cookies… you know the buttery stale kind you get in a red plaid tin at Christmas or the ones that are passed out with apple juice in elementary school? The worst. I will almost always take a chocolate chip cookie over a sugar cookie, but…

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…when I friend of mine shared this family recipe with me I was a total convert. My daughter Daphne and I have made these at least half a dozen times and she is only four. Baking is one of our favorite mommy daughter activities, and even though these taste gourmet they are incredibly easy to make. You can also make the dough far in advance and freeze it and just pop it out when you are ready to make your next round of cookies.

ingredients

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For the dough:

SIFT: 3 cups of flour + 1 teaspoon of baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon of salt

CREAM: 1 cup of butter + 3/4 cup of sugar + 3 tablespoons of milk + 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla + 1 egg

Refrigerate for an hour or freeze and thaw before ready to use. Roll out and cut, bake for 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees. Allow cookies to cool to room temperature before frosting.

For the frosting:

1 box of powdered sugar + 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract + 1/4 cup of milk until desired consistency. Food coloring and decoration as needed.

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The best part… taste testing. We really have to make these in small batches, otherwise we just inhale them. And PS, my pink Charleston Rice Beads will be available for pre-order online next week!

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Treat Yourself this Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day…one of those sometimes amorphous holidays that prompts relationship questions – do you give a gift? Do you get a gift? In eighth grade when we were in that phase of “going out” and then “breaking up” (often in the same afternoon) I had my first Valentine’s Day ever with a “steady” boyfriend. I was so excited I went to CVS and bought him one of those gigantic chocolate Hershey kisses. I couldn’t wait to give it to him and when we found each other by the lockers in the morning, I gave it to him and in return he gave me… a card. Needless today, I think our relationship lasted a total of three or four days. So if you want to skip the drama and hint dropping and just go out and get a little something for yourself, I’ve rounded ten of my favorite Valentine’s Day treats:

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1. If you cocktail this pink ombre glass Oh Joy for Target Shaker will make you smile

2. Fashion (and critter) friendly fur from BURU White Label

3. The perfect tassel, big, bold yet lightweight ruby red earrings from Hart Studio

4. The worlds most whimsical chocolates from Maggie Louise Confections

5. Our special edition Charleston Rice Bead stud earrings in 14K gold at GG Mercantile & Co

6. The most darling cast iron pot of all time from le creuset

7. Our vintage inspired perfect pink poodle pendant

8. The I Heart Charleston (and who doesn’t?) necklace specially made for us by Gunner & Lux

9. We are about to start carrying these amazing vintage inspired wristlet bags (all made in the U.S.A.) from Sarara Couture in our shop, but you can snag one here in the meantime.

10. The perfect set of Valentine’s Day cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma.

Because We Love You

And with Valentine’s Day coming up… among other reasons… we could all use some extra love right now! So here is something sweet… Take 25% OFF any order. Until Friday. Period. Until supplies run out! Just enter code SWEETSALE at checkout on candyshopvintage.com. Bon Appétit!

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