Galentine’s Day Party Tonight!

We are really excited to be hosting two other fabulous jewelry designers for trunk shows tonight at Candy Shop On Cannon in Charleston. We have carried local designer Hart Hagerty’s famous tassel earrings for awhile now and can hardly keep them in stock! And, returning for a second trunk show after being a successful guest designer at our Holiday Sip ‘N Shop earlier this year, is Mary Kent Hearon of The Heart Knot! We could not think of two more perfect girls to have with us for a Valentine’s Eve event, so come join us at Candy Shop Vintage (9 Cannon Street in Downtown Charleston) from 5-8PM this evening for shopping, sweets and champagne cocktails. If you bring a friend, you both get 20% OFF anything in the store (trunk show items excluded).

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ABOUT THE DESIGNERS

Hart Huguet Hagerty creates timeless statement pieces that blend her love of Asian aesthetics and the bohemian side of her hometown Charleston. In addition to luxe, one-off jackets, Hart is known for her tassel earrings: the perfect “everyday statement earrings” featuring a featherlight tassel, chic silhouettes and rich colors.

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After majoring in Chinese at Vanderbilt, Hart lived in Shanghai for 5 years, working as a fashion editor and trend researcher before launching the line in 2013. Hart was a travel curator and contributing writer for Vogue‘s and Travel + Leisure’s Shanghai city guides. While Hart now lives in a classic Charleston single house, China will never leave her. She uses her Mandarin skills to work directly with Chinese artisans and suppliers to proudly produce her earrings in small batches in Shanghai, where she returns to annually to get her fill of greasy jianbing, wild Bund nightlife and tone-deaf karaoke.

 

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Mary Kent Hearon weaves her beautiful and chic statement necklaces from French twine, all hand sewn and in the shape of a heart. When I met Mary Kent we were fast friends and I purchased a necklace of hers last year and it is one of my go to’s. Her bright, warm and creative energy is infections and we think this is the perfect time of year for her to show off her designs, which now include cast and plated pieces as well as woven. From Columbia and a SC native, she is rarely in one place for very long – regular jaunts abroad keep her occupied and inspired.

Hope to see you tonight! xx

Charleston Beauty Spots

I moved to Charleston ten years ago and since then the city has grown exponentially. However, my go to pampering spots have more or less remained the same and I find myself giving newcomers the same list over and over. And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and self love (because you certainly don’t need a Valentine to pamper yourself!) I thought I’d share some of my fav go-to Charleston beauty spots. All accessories, ours and all clothes from local Beckett Boutique!

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SKIN

HUSH Skin Salon – 10 Exchange St. Ste. 302 (843) 793-8799 I met Zach from HUSH skin salon when he worked at a larger practice in Mt. Pleasant. But when he moved his practice downtown I quickly followed him. He is the master of keeping your skin fresh and bright – my favorite service of his is probably his dermaplane facial. And going to his office just feels like hanging out with a good friend!

Charleston Glow – 708 S Shelmore Blvd #103 (843) 277-0924 I am not a huge spray tan person but I also look like I crawled out from under a rock in the winter with my Irish skin, so every now and then I like a little bit of a glow. Charleston Glow BlushPro Studio is all organic. They have express options and the girls who run it are super sweet, plus parking is a breeze.

Urban Nirvana Day Spa My favorite location isucked away in South Windermere (West Ashley) this intimate, full service day spa as accessible and cozy with a full menu of spa services. My favorite are their body scrubs. You really feel like you are getting away from everyday life in there and it is less than ten minutes from Downtown Charleston. They also have a location Downtown in the Wentworth Mansion in in Mt. Pleasant off of Long Point Road.

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HAIR

Dry Bar – 556 King Street, Charleston (843) 872-3570 I was thrilled when they finally decided to open a location in Charleston. Once my go-to for New York Blowouts, they now have locations nationwide and the Charleston Dry Bar is a hop skip and a jump from our Cannon Street Shop on Upper King. Also great for large groups!

Salon Vari Olivia Banks at Salon Vari on Spring Street weaves magic with hair. She is a triple threat with cut, color and styling. She has hosted a few braid bars at in store events and I continue to see her regularly to keep my locks fresh.

Patrick Navarro Patrick is truly one of my fav people in Charleston. He gives a killer cut and color but he is in very high demand and splits his time between New York and Charleston, so if you can catch him, jump on it!

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SLATE Salon – 615 Johnnie Dodds Boulvard, Mt. Pleasant (843) 813-7757 n Erica at SLATE has been my colorist for over five years, recommended by fellow blond Jessica of Bare Beauty. She is great with blondes but has a tight schedule so book in advance!

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NAILS, FITNESS & MORE

East Bay Nails – 334 E Bay St, Unit N (843) 724-0856 East Bay Nails is the closest thing I have found to a walk in New York Style Nail salon. It can be hit or miss until you find your favorite nail tech, but when you do, stick with them. Also, even though they are Downtown, they are in a shipping center so so parking is easy.

Mylk Bar – 920 Houston Northcutt Blvd. (843) 388-5877 Charleston’s first eco-friendly nail salon with and equally Instagram friendly interior.

Exhale Pilates – 360 Concord Street #1 (843) 813-6191 A wonderful Downtown Pilates class done on machines only, which I much prefer. And a little bird told me they are working on a second location. Well located on the water off Concord Street.

Redux Yoga – 137 President Street Unit A (843) 723-2313 The perfect hot yoga class that is a combination of relaxing and invigorating.

MUSC Wellness Center – 45 Courtenay Drive(843) 792-5757 I am not a gym person but this is a more wholistic approach to wellness owned by The Medical University of South Carolina. Even if you don’t want the commitment of membership you can pop in for a day rate. They even have an indoor pool, racquetball courts and indoor track plus a great selection of classes and camps.

Retailer Spotlight: Natalia Castillo and Escapada Living

Today, we are chatting with the owners of one of our favorite Candy Shop Vintage retailers Escapada whose bright colors and patterns already have us dreaming of a tropical vacation even though it is only the end of November. You can find some of our Candy Shop Collection pieces as well as our Charleston Rice Beads in their Escapada Signature Store in Mt. Pleasant, SC. We asked the owner and founder Natalia Castillo about Inc. Magazine’s second fastest growing company in South Carolina and the travels that inspire her prints and patterns.
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Natalia Castillo, CEO and owner of Escapada Living at home

1) I know you like to travel a lot to find inspiration for your colorful prints. What are you top three favorite travel spots? What is next on the list?

Yes, I love to travel! My favorite destinations are Brazil, Bali, and the French Riviera. Brazil is such a unique, vibrant country – the culture and lifestyle are full of energy, and my favorite cities there are Rio and Buzios. Bali’s natural beauty is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. From the beach to the rainforest, everything is bright, colorful, and tropical. Finally, the French Riviera is where I was first inspired to create the Escapada Living brand, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. With its beautiful coastline and chic style, its effortless elegance is hard to beat. “Escapada” means “escape” in Spanish, so it’s no surprise that those beautiful destinations have served as the inspiration for the brand!For my next trip, I’m heading to Peru with my niece – specifically Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu. I have some family in Lima, and it’s a wonderful up-and-coming city that’s growing really quickly. With its vibrant colors and rich culture, Cusco is another incredible source of inspiration. Many of the people there still wear traditional Peruvian garb, which is full of amazing colors, textures, and details. I visited Machu Picchu years ago, and I have a feeling this time it will be completely different. Back then, everything was totally unregulated – you could wander around anywhere, and it was totally free to visit. It will definitely be interesting to see it again now, and I’m so excited to share such a special place with my niece.

 2) Did you always envision going into brick and mortar retail or is it something that happened organically?

It was always my plan to have a brick and mortar location that worked as an extension of the Escapada Living brand. My career actually began as a buyer for Macy’s department stores, so I’ve always been passionate about brick and mortar, and I had experience with retail in that format. I love having our own store, and it’s truly a place where the Escapada Living brand comes to life. It’s incredible to have the opportunity to connect with customers, hear their feedback, and see them interact with the brand. It makes my day when I see a happy customer get really excited about their new purchase!

 3) What are the other lines you carry outside of your own Escapada designs?

Our Signature Store is full of brands that complement Escapada Living and hang well with our line. We carry clothing lines like Tori Richard, Julie Brown, Just Madras, Gretchen Scott, THML, and Barbara Gerwit. For jewelry and accessories, we’re proud to sell several local brands, including Candy Shop Vintage! Our customers love the Charleston Rice Beads collection, and we also carry pieces from Hart Studio, The Tiny Tassel, Sangria, and more. Our store has completely different inventory than our website, so it’s been really fun to tailor its selection to fit our local customer.

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The Escapada Signature Store

 4) What is your most popular print?

We initially introduced our Jungle print for the summer 2017 line, and it became an instant favorite. It’s a fun, abstract palm print with a playful, hand-painted feel and lots of movement. We’ve created a few versions of it in different colorways, and will feature it in our upcoming resort 2018 collection as well. That collection will be available starting in December – just in time for a winter getaway!

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Our Charleston Rice Beads paired with a tropical Escapada ensemble

 5) Have you ever thought about venturing beyond apparel design into other products? What is next for Escapada (maybe for Spring 2018)?

I’d love to create an Escapada Living home collection with pillows, blankets/ throws, placemats, napkins, etc. Customers always tell us that our brand makes them smile every time they see it, and I think a home line would be a natural next step – extending that happiness beyond the closet and throughout the rest of the home.

For the immediate future, we’re thrilled to debut our new plus size collection for resort/spring 2018. This line, called Escapada Living Curve, features our best-selling styles and prints in sizes 0X-3X (numeric sizes 14-24). It’s been available to our wholesale retailers for a little while, but this is the first time that it will be sold on our website and in our store. Those new sizing options are truly an instance of “ask and you shall receive.” Customers kept telling us they were looking for more sizes in our clothing, and we couldn’t be happier that we’re able to fill that need now.

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An Escapada model in a summery Escapada dress wearing our Summer White Charleston Rice Beads wrapped as a bracelet.

 

Join Us for Small Business Saturday

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday and we are celebrating at Candy Shop On Cannon. We’ve had almost three wonderful years in our shop and are really looking forward to three more! Tomorrow is a day to kick back, toast, maybe eat some doughnuts or drink a whisky sour. We will be offering 25% OFF storewide plus coffee and doughnuts in the morning and whisky sours all afternoon. Join us for the fun at 9 Cannon Street in Downtown Charleston!

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In case you can’t make it, or you don’t live here you don’t want to miss our on our whisky sour recipe – it can be found here in our blog archives. Mix up a few pitchers and you will be the toast of the party!

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Thank you to everyone who supports Candy Shop Vintage year round. We are extremely grateful to our friends and customers! xoxo

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A Gift That Gives Back

I am excited to share that we are bringing back our popular Kelly Green Charleston Rice Beads for a limited time this season. $20 from the sale of each Charleston Rice Bead Necklace in Kelly Green and $10 from the sale of each Charleston Rice Bead Bracelet in Kelly Green will be donated to the new MUSC Shawn Jenkin’s Children’s Hospital Campaign in Charleston, SC, thew new state of the art facility being built in Downtown Charleston. You can also visit their website and donate directly there and learn more about their mission and building project. Any one who has children in Charleston or has had the unfortunate experience of having to visit the MUSC Children’s Hospital, long or short term, knows what an incredible place it already is. But this new building and its facilities will continue to elevate the level of services they are able to provide to children around the country. We will be promoting this campaign in partnership with I Heart Radio and Y105 Charleston.

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Each necklace and bracelet comes in one of our Charleston Rice Bead bags with an insert card printed with a lovely illustration by local artist The Town Serif with a description of the partnership on the bag. This makes a great gift for any Charleston lover who also wants to contribute to the community. They will be available until Christmas or until we run out of inventory!

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Retailer Spotlight: Gwynn’s in Mt. Pleasant, SC

Marshall Simon, the owner of Gwynn’s in Mt. Pleasant was one of the first people I met when I moved to Charleston ten years ago. His well loved department store Gwynn’s, was hosting a charity run benefiting the MUSC Children’s Hospital called The Stiletto Stampede that I was participating in. His name is familiar around town and always associated with different philanthropic endeavors and Gwynn’s quickly became of of my go to stores that had a wonderful combination of local hospitality – he is almost always in the store greeting his customers – and sophisticated merchandising. You can find anything from local brands he supports to luxury bath and beauty products, high fashion lines and even vintage CHANEL handbags. When I started Candy Shop Vintage, Marshall was one of the first people I went to for advice and of course, to try to sell my line. Before he owned Gwynn’s, he was one of the sales reps for the original, vintage lines of Charleston Rice Beads ours are modeled after. He was the first person to tell me the story behind them!

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The entrance to Gwynn’s at 916 Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant.

Since picking up the Candy Shop Vintage line three years ago. Gwynn’s can hardly keep it in stock. I am so grateful for them as a retail partner and to have Marshall as a friend. So it seems only fitting they be the first retailer in our monthly retailer partner spotlight. It also happens to be their 50th anniversary and they recently underwent a huge renovation inside and out. He runs the store with his beautiful daughter Madison and I met with them this week to take a peek in the store and learn a little bit more about his successful family business.

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Marshall and Madison Simon, the owner and his daughter who jointly run the department store.

Any special pans for your 50th Anniversary year?

Our 50th Anniversary was actually on July 27th, but we will celebrate in September with a party at the store.

Has Gwynn’s always been in the same location?

No, Gwynn’s was in 3 other locations in Mount Pleasant, but has been here for the past 25 years in a spot that we own.

Was Gwynn’s your first venture into retail?

I bought this store 27 years ago, but I grew up in the industry and my family had a store in Greensboro, North Carolina called Laurie’s. It was very similar to Gwynn’s, so it’s always been in my blood. In my early days (after college), I was a wholesale manufacturer’s representative for women’s apparel and jewelry where I traveled and worked with stores in the South East. 

What is your favorite thing about owning a store?

I love meeting our interesting and talented clients. They all have such intriguing stories to tell. It’s always been fun getting to know these people. My talented employees makes it all worth while too.

Where do you do most of your buying?

Mostly NYC. A little in Las Vegas and Atlanta.

What the best selling small designers you carry/top three large brands you carry?

The top three small designers are Candy Shop Vintage, Leo + Sage, & Christy Jervey. Our top three larger brands are: Lafayette 148, Trish McEvoy, & Emenegildo Zegna.

What is your history with selling Charleston Rice Beads? (i.e. the original ones then ours)

In the early ’80s I worked for a large costume jewelry house selling rice beads, which was our most popular item, especially here in Charleston. 36 years later and I’m still selling rice beads!

Marshall told me how he used to walk up and down King Street selling the Rice Beads to almost every boutique Downtown. They were hugely popular in the Southeast until the original company making them was acquired and discontinued that line!

What is your favorite time of year/season at Gwynn’s?

Spring when everything comes alive, and also Christmas when business follows suit.

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Our Charleston Rice Bead display in the Gwynn’s jewelry department.

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I think this jewelry box is just about the right size for me…

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Thank you Marshall and Madison for having us! We’ll be back this holiday season for our annual Holiday Trunk Show just before Christmas. Stay tuned for the dates later this fall… Photos: Clay Austin

The Madonna Inn: A Vintage Inspired Retreat

For our tenth anniversary, my husband and I decided to take a trip to the west coast. We have a lot of friends in Los Angeles, but also I have been wanting to check out this totally crazy hotel that was recently featured on BuzzFeed called The Madonna Inn. We spent a few really fun days in LA catching up with friends and checking out the best LA spots like LACMA below (featured in an earlier post) and then rented a car (ironically we were given a pick up truck – they must have seen we were from SC!) and drove North up the Coast to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.

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The drive from LA is absolutely beautiful, and doing it at the end of the day watching the sun set over the mountains was especially peaceful. You can read about the full history of the Inn here, but the short version is that it was built in 1958 (possibly one of my favorite eras in design) by a highway contractor named Alex Madonna and his wife Phyllis as a retreat marking the halfway point in between Los Angeles and San Francisco. With Alex’s construction knowledge and his wife’s quirky and fanciful design sense they created a quirky, fabulous and unforgettable retreat.

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And when I say unforgettable, I mean that literally. Every single room is different – each has a different theme and its own unique features (you can see them all here). We stayed in two of the dozens of rooms (one each night) and both of them had glitter wallpaper which seemed to be a common thread in many of the room designs. There was a heavy handed use of pink – their trademark ice buckets are cotton candy pink and a bottle of their house champagne was waiting for us when we arrived.

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I am not sure if “romantic” is precisely the word I would use to describe the first room we stayed in – Carin – it was more like a spectacular pink palace or a ride at Disneyworld, in a good way. There was literally a huge gold cherub hanging from the lofted ceiling – this is the room frequently used as the bridal or honeymoon suite.
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This is the full view of the glitter wallpaper – I think this was one of the original 1950s features so the Madonnas gave the glitter wallpaper industry some big business.
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Every nook and cranny of the bathroom was consistent with the room’s theme – I especially loved the sort of damask pink and white ceramic sinks (where do you begin to source something like that?!):

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We ate at the Inn’s trademark restaurant, The Gold Rush Steak House, the exterior of which is lit with rainbow lights at night and the interior filled with winding, pink tufted leather banquettes and thick, floral pink hued carpet. They gave pink balloons to us and anyone celebrating something (which turned out to be a good portion of the restaurant) and (not pictured) was a dance floor and a live band which really made you feel as thought you had stepped back in time and had sort of a Dirty Dancing vibe (remember that mountain resort?).

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The food was all really good – classics like a baked potato wrapped in foil and filet mignon. But my absolute favorite thing was their trademark pink champagne cake, which is one of their many fabulous cakes you can buy to-go in their bakery which also caters weddings and events. I mean how amazing would it be to have the Champagne Cake as your wedding cake?

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After dinner, we had a drink in The Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge and I ordered this drink called “The Pink Cloud” which is basically how you feel when you are staying at the Madonna Inn. Oh, and it’s made with half and half… Their cocktail menu was pretty great, full of vintage favorites.

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The next morning we woke up to this pretty view from our balcony. We ventured over to the stables and took a trail ride which went up the mountain next to the inn

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Basically the whole Inn looks like a gigantic, ornate cake. It is sort of “Swiss chalet meets Boogie Nights meets The Parent Trap” in its aesthetic and time period.

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It was actually really nice to be back on a horse. I rode for years and I really miss it. The horses were all named after famous singers like Johnny (Cash) and June (Carter).

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And their pool and Spa, a more recent edition to the retreat, was the perfect place to cool off and relax after a trail ride:

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Our second room “Merry” was similar to the first room but a little bit smaller and less pink.  It was kind of like being inside of a bottle of champagne…

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I love their logo/coat of arms featured on everything from their wine to their ice bucket to their golf carts. And there were just touches of pink everywhere you looked – even the lamp posts were pink!

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PINK

But the thing I most wish I could have taken on the plane was the Champagne Cake. I will be dreaming about it until our next visit because for some reason, I don’t think I can easily recreate this at home:

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These are all my own photos, it was hard to even edit them down but I highly recommend just googling “The Madonna Inn” you will not be disappointed. Really, it was a magical step back in time – to a time and place that I didn’t even know existed! Madonna Inn loyalists, like a gentleman who joined us at the bar one night, go back again and again, staying in different rooms each time. They have their favorite cocktails and collect their signature, colored wine glasses and seemed to have been bitten by the insatiable need to experience the magic over and over again. It must be something in that champagne cake, but visiting definitely makes you want to come back for more!

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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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