Today’s The Day

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Today’s the day! Join me and the other Cannonborough/Elliotborough shop owners in Downtown Charleston for our annual sidewalk sale. Starting at the opening bell (10 AM for us) we will be offering discounts on discontinued Candy Shop Vintage/Charleston Rice Bead colors and styles and our popular $5 vintage table is making a return this year as well. Get there early for the best picks and if you aren’t local, feel free to check out our sample sale online.

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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!

Holiday Events and Trunk Shows

Our trees at Candy Shop On Cannon are already trimmed and we have a few Holiday events and trunk shows lined up over the next few weeks. Of course you can catch us at our Charleston store at 9 Cannon Street Tuesday-Saturdays 10AM-5PM but we will also be at these fun events and trunk shows:

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The Holiday Sip ‘N Shop

Shop local businesses and enjoy specials at local restaurants in Cannonborough/Elliotborough in Downtown Charleston.

When: Neighborhood wide shopping event from 5-8PM on Friday, December 2

Where: Candy Shop Vintage at 9 Cannon Street and participating Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood businesses in Downtown Charleston, SC.

 

The Junior League of Columbia Holiday Market

Holiday market and fundraiser for the Junior League of Columbia, SC.

When: 9AM-5PM starting Thursday, December 1 – Sunday, December 4 

Where: Cantey and Goodman Buildings at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds, located at 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201.

 

The Gibbes Museum Holiday Trunk Show

The Gibbes Museum holiday trunk show. Shop from a variety of curated local vendors after their Wednesday evening program.

When: 6-8PM on Wednesday, December 14

Where: The Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC

 

Gwynn’s Holiday Trunk Show

Holiday Trunk show at Gwynn’s in Mt. Pleasant with our Charleston Rice Beads, Candy Shop Collection jewelry and vintage jewelry as well as other featured local vendors.

When: 10AM-7PM on Saturday, December 17th and 12-5PM on Sunday, December 18th

Where: Gwynn’s at 916 Houston Northcutt Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC.

 

Happy Halloween From Charleston!

Happy Halloween from Charleston, SC (where it is a balmy 80 degrees out – seriously, I am ready for some real fall weather!). Today is the last day to play “Guess The Number of Candy Corn” in the champagne glass (below). The closest (or exact) guess wins a $100 gift card to Candy Shop Vintage that can be used online and in store. If more than one person guesses the correct number then they both get a gift card! Comment on this blog post with your best guess and your email address! Winner is announced tomorrow.

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This year my daughter Daphne asked me to dress as a rainbow unicorn with her. I figure that the number of years she wants to wear matching costumes are going to be limited so I should jump on board. It is pretty cute wearing a matching costume with her (although she shed some of her unicorn accessories for a pony ride in the park because it was just so hot!).

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And for some adult treats, don’t forget to check our our One-of-a-Kind Vintage section where we’ve just added some fresh vintage treats!
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24 Hours in Savannah

Savannah, Georgia has long been considered Charleston’s “sister city,” a rival in Southern, urban historic beauty. While it’s only two hours from Charleston, I’ve visited less than a handful of times, and only passing through. This time was not different, but I was determined to at least scratch the surface and pave the way for future visits on our way back from Florida last Thursday.

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We stayed at The ANDAZ (owned by Hyatt) in Downtown Savannah and really enjoyed it. The location was excellent, the staff were super friendly and it has a fun lobby bar, a nice pool and great restaurant where Daphne and I enjoyed a Southern style breakfast buffet yesterday morning. (Girl loves a breakfast buffet!) Across the way was a city park with a fountain for kids perfect for this steamy weather we are having, plus the waterfront, shopping on Broughton Street and lots of restaurants were also just a few steps from the front door.

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We met some friends who recently moved to Savannah for dinner at The Wylde, a beautiful waterfront restaurant overlooking the marsh. It has a perfect view and excellent cocktails and a really well-priced, daily rotating seafood menu and some of the best fish tacos and cocktails I’ve had in the south. Highly recommend this spot which felt like a real local haunt, and not a tourist stop!

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We woke up on Friday and enjoyed the hotel pool then walked to Paris Market for coffee and shopping. With everything from taxidermy, to home goods to fresh macaroons and candy, it was just perfection.

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We drove up the street to check out some local antiques shops before lunch, towards Ardsley park which is an adorable, quiet residential neighborhood that reminded me a lot of Wagener Terrace, where I live in Charleston. Daphne and I, appropriately hit up an antiques market called Two Women and a Warehouse where I found some fun inspiration for my Candy Shop Vintage windows…

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For lunch we went to The Grey, housed in a former Greyhound bus station, predominantly a dinner spot they do serve day drinks, a small lunch menu and daily blue plate specials in the front bar area… I’ll be sharing my drink in the next cocktails edition on Cannon for sure!

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Finally a stop on my way out of town was Emily McCarthy’s beautiful home and design shop. She and I have been “insta friends” for awhile and I’ve always admired her taste and style. I loved stepping into her world for a bit and picked up some goodies to bring back to Charleston!

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Next trip to Savannah I really want to see some of the historic homes – Savannah style – and walk around more. Have you been? Do you have any Savannah travel tips and recommendations?

My Favorite Charleston Oyster Spots

Today happens to be one of my new favorite holidays, National Oyster Day! Charleston is rife with good oyster-eating spots so I thought I would share a few of my favorites, each with its own recommended oyster dish…

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#1) The Ordinary  at 544 King St, Charleston, SC – Best for: raw oysters

My number 1 oyster spot, this upscale seafood hall right down the block from our Charleston shop has some of the best seafood on the East Coast and is famous for its oysters, incredible raw seafood towers and wide selection of rums. And with daily “Oyster Hours” from 5PM – 6:30PM with half priced oysters I frequently find myself boomeranging to their bar when I get off work. Also, check out the amazing rum infused cocktail they mixed up for us recently.

#2) Leon’s Oyster Shop at 698 King Street, Charleston SC – Best for: the char-grilled oyster appetizer

A perfect no-reservations hip oyster spot on the Upper Peninsula. For non seafood lovers they also have excellent fried chicken and other non-seafood options on the menu. But my absolute favorite dish of theirs has to be their buttery char-grilled oyster appetizer and they have a great private label rosé called “Oyster Shed.” He he.

#3) The Darling Oyster Bar at 513 King Street, Charleston, SC – Best for: oyster shooters

The Darling is a well designed, fun filled new addition to King Street. Always busy and serving up great cocktails along with their trademark oyster shooters, this is a fun place to start a night out with a whimsically designed interior.

#4) The Wreck of Richard and Charlene at 106 Haddrell St, Mt Pleasant, SC – Best for: fried oysters

This local friend seafood spot has a water view where you can see the shrimp boats docking and dolphins jumping. It is a low-key, cash only establishment and the best place for fried oysters in Charleston.

#5) Bowen’s Island at 1870 Bowens Island Rd, Charleston – Best for: DIY oysters

Off-the-beaten path on the way out to Folly Beach, this casual seafood spot is known for throwing a big pile of steamed oysters down on your table. I used to think opening oysters was dirty business but having lived in Charleston almost ten years I have come to fully appreciate and enjoy the satisfaction of popping them open by hand. It is not fancy but it has an incredible sunset view.