Carolina Blue for The Carolinas

I lived in Charleston over ten years and throughout that time, watched several hurricanes clip us and dealt with what looked and felt lite catastrophic levels of flooding (we almost lost a car just parked on the street to a freakishly heavy overnight rainstorm!). Thankfully the water would always quickly recede, but I felt the panic each fall when hurricane season began, wondering if this would be “it”, waffling on weather to board up the shop or evacuate. When Hurricane Florence was barreling towards the East Coast Charleston collectively held it’s breath until we knew we were well out of harms way, but it was heartbreaking to see the way it raked the North Carolina Coast, reeking havoc on coastal cities like Wilmington and its surrounding beach towns and caused inland flooding in towns like New Bern, NC. The news loves to cover the storms relentlessly in the heat of the moment, but quickly loses interest in the aftermath. We did some research into organizations that were assisting heavily in the clean up efforts in North Carolina After Florence and consistently came back to Direct Relief. Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. Because you are able to earmark your donations for a particular relief effort, we have decided to donate $25 from the sale of each of our limited edition Carolina Blue Necklaces to their organization. This is a color that has been requested over and over again so we figured what better time to release it than now? You can shop them here.

We love you North Carolina! Get well soon.

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La Habana

Havana, Cuba (or La Habana in the vernacular) has been on my bucket list for a long time as I am fascinated in equal parts by its political history and its time-capsule-esque character. Traveling even further south in August, perhaps not always on my bucket list… but the way our schedules worked this summer, last month turned out to be the perfect time for my husband and I to finally explore Havana as a nice last hurrah of summer.  After our Thrift Store Adventure down the Florida coast, we parked a car full of antiques at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and flew off to Cuba. It wasn’t an impulsive trip – there was research and planning involved and after seeing my friend Grace’s incredible trip (you can read her really helpful Cuba Travel Guide here) I was inspired to finally pull the trigger on ours.

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Even so, I felt a little out of my depth and also per Grace’s recommendation worked closely with the organization Cuba Educational Travel to execute our first Cuba adventure. After what we learned on this trip, I would totally feel confident winging it more next time and planning things more independently, but this gave us psychological security with the big details – like securing our visas (more on that here), arranging our accommodations, and coordinating all of our transportation. But more than that, through them we saw a side of Havana I don’t think we would have seen otherwise – and got a more local, and in depth perspective on the city via our fantastic guide who was with us nearly the whole time and helping our trip to run smoothly. We actually started referring to him as “the fixer” as he seemed to possess an innate ability to get cabs (the old cars are always breaking down) procure cigars and secure dinner reservations. It is important to remember, however, that it was and still is a communist country. Therefore Cubans are all on a government wage – less that $20 American Dollars a month. The US Government has also not allowed trade between our two countries since 1960, which has to a large degree economically paralyzed a country whose proximity to the United States could otherwise be a huge economic and trade advantage. It also means the vintage American cars that Havana is so famous for are quite literally stuck in the 50s and 60s, because they are built and rebuilt over again as a result of the lack of new automobile inventory and parts. This definitely contributes to the romantic perception of Havana and its famous aesthetic,  but is also disheartening because it represents both a desperation and a resourcefulness that is characteristic of day to day life there.  All to say, remember that this is far from an affluent country and you will feel silly and disappointed if you are looking for a polished and glamorous experience, But, what you get is far more interesting and beautiful.

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Our first stop was at La Plaza de la Revolución, the one of the largest city squares anywhere, where most of Cuba’s political rallies take place and from which the various government ministries are run. The contrast of the colorful American vintage cars with bleak architecture the many-stories-high Fidel Castro and Che Guevara sculptures is striking. This was our sweet guide who was absolutely incredible, and even if he was sick of us after four days of non-stop hanging out, never showed it.

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Also an important stop is the Museo de la Revolución which is, as it sounds – a museum of the Revolution. In the old presidential palace, the building is dramatic and beautiful and the narrative of the exhibits give an interesting window into the story Castro’s revolution.

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So much of the architecture and interiors you see are breathtaking and have this air of faded grandeur. Some of the washed out, Caribbean colors actually reminded me of historic Charleston. But, as mentioned – August – sooooooo hot. Especially because exploring old Havana on foot is the most interesting and fun way to do it, I would suggest going in a cooler month. Charleston summers only had me somewhat prepared to handle the Havana summer heat.

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Those last two photos are the interior and exterior of the Ambos Mundos Hotel where Earnest Hemingway famously wrote part of For Whom The Bell Tolls. You can stay there and you an also tour the room he had. We actually stayed in local accommodations, which I highly recommend called a “Casa particular” which is a private home owned by a Cuban family who rent out rooms – like a bed and breakfast. It was in Vedado, a suburb of Havana that was not very touristy but still had a lot of color and character. And in that neighborhood, through our guide we were able to tour a beautiful and privately owned Mansion from the 1920s which was pretty jawdropping.

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Though a bit gritty, another major highlight was going out to the beach one afternoon in Tarará, a gated resort town with crystal blue water. We were definitely the only non-Cubans there and you can drink mojitos on the beach in actual glasses and watch people swim-dance to really loud Cuban rap music that was being played by a DJ on the beach. Kind of heaven!

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Music is everywhere and radiating from everything. We even took salsa lessons. A single salsa lesson will really only prove to you how little rhythm you actually have, but also give you enough of a desire to learn more. Against the advice of our guide, we went to the touristy Buena Vista Social Club. It was fun but I suspect a much better version of a this type of  thing is The Tropicana Club, which is more like a dinner club with elaborate performances and music. We started to get anxious towards the end of our trip that we did not have enough cash so we were afraid to splurge on this. You cannot. Get more. American Dollars. Anywhere in Cuba. You can’t use American credit cards and will have no access to your American accounts. There are no exceptions to this so I recommend bring more in cash than you even think you’ll need.

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Two final spots I would not miss were also where we had our two best meals. One was at La Guarida, a restaurant on one of the upper floors of an old, shelled out building. You walk up these marble stairs into this quaint romantic restaurant that was featured in the movie Like Water for Chocolate. The food was really, really good (for real, because we did not find that to be the case in general) and the view of the street from our balcony seats was incredible. There is also a fantastic bar on the roof that overlooks the city that you can have a drink at without even going to the restaurant. But the best part is (though there is no photo to prove it since we were tech free on this trip) we sat next to Donald Glover who was eating at the next table! Apparently in Havana to film a video with Rihanna, kind of magical as Atlanta is one of my favorite shows.

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The second spot was less of a restaurant and more of a mixed use space that evolved throughout the evening. Fabrica de Arte Cubano (or The Cuban Art Factory) is an old factory building (run by the Cuban government) that consists of multiple bars and restaurants as well as areas to eat, drink and dance. It houses a number of rotating contemporary Cuban art shows. You can go for a drink, then dinner and spend all night there into the early morning. Havana really does not sleep.

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We were only in Cuba four days and really mostly in Havana, but somehow it felt like time slowed down. I think this had something to do with not using our phones (another great reason to travel there – you will truly unplug!). If I could end with a few thoughts and suggestions about traveling to Cuba they are as follows:

– Bring plenty of American cash. Then bring even more.

– Cubans do not have direct access to things we take for granted – toothpaste, toiletries, make-up, even socks and underwear. Bring extra toiletries with you and leave them with your hosts or whomever wants them. Bring host/hostess gifts if you go to someone’s house. Anything you can offer will be much appreciated. 

– Tip often and well. The tourist economy is essential to Cuba and it has definitely been negatively impacted in recent years. Plan for this in the amount of cash you bring.

– While not an affluent country it is incredibly safe. You can walk on any street at any hour of the night and feel totally secure!

– Stay local – the Casa particulars are a wonderful experience, often nicer than hotels and help support Cuban families.

– The tap water is not safe to drink, but also don’t worry too much about getting sick. We were absolutely fine, we just stuck to bottled water and ate everything that was served to us.

– Dance and don’t feel silly. The sheer amount of music and dancing makes you realize no one is looking at you, no one cares, everyone is just enjoying themselves

– Hop in a cab and go to the beach – they are beautiful! It is worth the ride!

– Turn you phone off! Even if you can get service here and there, why do you need it? If ever there was a place to disconnect and be in the moment, this is it. 

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May Events

It’s spring in Charleston which means events galore! This is always my favorite time of year – the whirl of of socializing before the summer heat descends and everything slows down. This Saturday, I am excited to participate in this year’s annual Makers + Shakers events at Cannon Green, just up the street from us in Downtown Charleston. It runs from 5-7PM and includes some of my favorite fellow makers and shops including Blakely MadeCeladon HomeCitrine SwimCharleston Artist Collective, Goldbug , FlowershopHARTSuite 33 Charleston and 42 Pressed.

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Then, Saturday at our shop at 9 Cannon Street we are hosting a trunk show for Savannah designer Sunshine XOXO maker of these fab denim jackets. Select from her collection of one-of-a-kind vintage jackets or bring your own to customize! During opening hours 10AM-5PM.

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Save The Date – April 19th!

Spring has spring and so have all of the spring events! We are excited to be launching a few pieces to celebrate the Kentucky Derby in April. Look out as we release one new piece each week next month! We will also have a selection of vintage hats and headpieces available at Candy Shop On Cannon in Charleston starting the Monday after Easter and we will be popping up for a Mint Julep infused celebration at Garden & Gun Fieldshop in The Dewberry Hotel on Thursday, April 19th so save the date! More details and information to follow.

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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

THANK YOU.

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From the bottom of our hearts, thank you not only for a wonderful year and gifting season and supporting a small and growing local business, but especially for supporting our campaign to raise money for the MUSC Children’s Hospital Fund. This season we were able to raise $2,130 through the sale of our limited edition Charleston Rice Beads in Kelly Green. Thanks to all who gave or received these as gifts this season. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We are excited for a new year and have lots of sweet things in store both at our shop and online.  And I am personally grateful for the support of every single one of our customers, near and far who appreciate what we are putting out there. See you in 2018! – Deirdre Zahl

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Christmas Is Here and so Are The Shipping Deadlines

Well, you’ve likely survived the holiday party gamut and are seeing the Christmas break light at the end of the workweek tunnel! If you are like me, you are really maximizing these last few days to wrap up – haha – your Christmas shopping. We know a lot of lucky people out there are getting Candy Shop Vintage under their trees and in their stockings and we couldn’t be more thrilled! But we do want to share our shipping deadlines so you don’t want to find yourself without a gift on Christmas Morning…

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Tuesday, December 19th (TODAY!)

NOON today  is the cutoff for our regular, standard shipping ($4.95 or included if your order is over $100) 

Wednesday, December 20th (TOMORROW!)

NOON is also the cutoff for orders but you MUST select Priority 2-3 Day shipping at checkout ($8.95 regardless)

Thursday, December 21st and beyond

You can  select 2-Day express shipping for $25 until noon. Chances are, you’ll have your order by end of day Saturday. But of course at this late date there are no guarantees.

Holiday Hours at Our Shop & Local Pickup

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Our shop in Downtown Charleston at 9 Cannon Street will be open through Saturday 10AM – 5PM and closed Sunday (Christmas Eve). If you want to order something online to pick up in the store, just enter LOCALPICKUP at checkout and all shipping charges will be removed and pickups must be completed by Saturday night. We will package and hold your order for pickup during retail hours. It should be noted that we are CLOSED in between Christmas and New Years for some minor updates to our retail space – stay tuned & Merry Christmas!

All of the Holiday Sweetness in One Place

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Every year we get a lot of questions – what kind of sales are you doing, what kind of events you are having for the holiday season. So here they are all in one happy, sweet place. So save the date(s) for some great sales, fun events and merriment in general:

Gifts That Give Back

Our first and most important holiday special is our Kelly Green Charleston Rice Beads promotion. We teamed up with I Heart Radio’s Y105 in Charleston to create a special color in our popular Charleston Rice Beads this season. $20 from every Kelly Green Necklace and $10 from every Kelly Green Bracelet go to benefit the MUSC Shawn Jenkin’s Hospital Project in Charleston, SC. You can read more here, or shop them directly here.

Black Friday  Friday, November 24

There will be one special for Black Friday and it will be a Buy One Get One at 50% OFF (!!!!) any of our Charleston Rice Beads. It will be one day only and it will exclude the Kelly Green Rice Beads we are selling to benefit MUSC Children’s.

Small Business Saturday  Saturday, November 25

There will be and in-store (in Charleston) only promotion. 25% OFF everything in the store one day only. There is no online special but if you can make it into the shop, you get a free Whisky Sour and I promise they are good. Also, a lot of our neighbors like J. Stark and Mac&Murphy are having their own Small Business Saturday specials and events so check them out.

Cyber Monday  Monday, November 27th

As it is Cyber Monday, this is an online only special (our shop in Charleston is closed that day anyway). There will be 20% OFF site wide – that means everything. Code will be sent out first thing Monday morning on the 27th and be valid for one day only. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Junior League of Columbia Holiday Market  Thursday, November 30th-Sunday, December 3rd

We will be popping up on Columbia, SC at the Junior League of Columbia Holiday Market. Last year it was so busy and I was so tired driving back to Charleston I accidentally put diesel fuel in my car and had to get it towed most of the way home. This is very bad for your car, by the way, I will not be doing that again. But we are very excited to be back this year!

Neighborhood Holiday Sip N’ Shop  Friday, December 8th 5-8PM

Cannonborough/Elliotborough in Downtown Charleston is hosting its second annual Holiday Sip N’ Shop. Neighborhood stores and business will be open until 8PM offering libations and specials. We are doing a “Draw a mystery discount” of up to 50% OFF at Candy Shop On Cannon, a free braid bar, complimentary French 75s and a Beauty Counter Pop-Up.

That covers it for the rest of our holiday events! Make sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter at the bottom of the page for reminders and other treats in your inbox this season. xo

October’s Featured Retailer: The Skinny Dip

Skinny Dip Charleston opened late this spring with a frosé infused party on the second store of their newly renovated bi-level store at 345 King Street, a fabulous fête that was featured in Town & Country. Bringing New England flair to King Street, his retail brand collective founded by two girls who know what it is like to launch their own start-up fashion brands (Ellsworth and Ivey and Beau & Ro respectively) and the retail struggles that can entail. The Skinny Dip concept launched in Nantucket and decided to move south and add a location at the split level retail space on King Street. We have been selling our jewelry with them since they opened, first in their “Local Vibes” section upstairs and now downstairs – and they are killing it! I chatted with owner and co-founder Sara Rossi (pictured below, left with business partner Taylor Ivey) for a bit more behind the scenes look at our featured October retail partner:
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Skinny Dip was born somewhat organically as a way to showcase your own brand (Beau & Ro). Can you elaborate on that? 
My business partner Taylor and I were each designers before we opened The Skinny Dip, I own Beau & Ro Bag Company and she owns Ellsworth & Ivey.  I grew up vacationing each summer on the island, and the way that little girls dream about their Nantucket weddings, that’s how I had dreamt about opening a store on the island. Two years ago we decided to take the leap and open a retail space together, but when we found the perfect space on the docks it was 2,000 square feet and far too big for just our brands. Our solution was to invite brands from other innovative designers who you can’t find on Nantucket. It turned into an incredibly unique and collaborative collective style  boutique with an ongoing events calendar and a strong focus on story telling and educating consumers on the brands, the designers and inspiration behind each company in the store.

 

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Skinny Dip Owner & Co-Founder Sara Rossi in front of her Bo & Reau display on the first floor of their Charleston store.

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The first floor of Skinny Dip Charleston located at 345 King Street.

What inspired you to choose Charleston once Nantucket became a successful platform? 
There were the obvious reasons including strong tourism, wealthy locals and a great college town. We also heard from a lot of our brands in our Nantucket store that there was a need for a retail experience like ours on King Street. When we found the 2-floor Boone’s Bar location it just felt right. We saw the potential for a unique, experiential retail environment with a wine and coffee bar, outdoor space and lots of Instagramable moments. We have been overwhelmed with the local support from customers and local brands and businesses who have reached out to collaborate and work with us, all reinforcing that Charleston was the right choice!

 

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Upstairs and the “Local Vibes” section at Skinny Dip in Charleston (345 King Street).

Do you find it hard to juggle managing a product centric brand and a retail centric brand? 
Not as hard as you would think. I really re-focused Beau & Ro once we opened The Skinny Dip to be very synergistic with the store and The Skinny Dip customer. I design a lot of the collection specifically for the Nantucket and Charleston markets. At the end of the day both businesses hinge on creativity, collaboration and being scrappy!

 

What are some of your favorite brands/products that have come through Skinny Dip?
Candy Shop Vintage, obviously!… I am very lucky to not only get introduced to amazing emerging and established brands but also the designers and founders behind these brands. We just got a bunch of new fall brands in for fall in Charleston! I am currently obsessing over Birdies, a new slipper brand out of San Fransisco that has rubber soles so they can be worn outside. Unemployed Denim is the definition of cool, the designer takes vintage denim and adorns it with patches. I just bought myself one of her vintage denim jackets with angel wings on the back.

 

What is your favorite thing about Nantucket that Charleston doesn’t have? 
Charleston and Nantucket are actually surprisingly similar — great restaurants, beautiful beaches, cobblestones, historic preservation, strong female business owners to name a few. One thing that Nantucket has that is completely unique to the island is it’s isolation. Being 30 miles out to sea, it is never an easy task to make it to island, so people always arrive with a sense of gratitude and happiness. Whether you’re pulling into town on ferry past all the boats in the harbor, or walking through the cutest airport in the world (that’s not official, but I would bet on it) it’s hard not to have a smile on your face.

 

What is your favorite thing about Charleston that Nantucket doesn’t have? 
Chicken and waffles (just kidding, sort of). I love the permanence of Charleston. When I first started spending time in Charleston this past spring I described it as  “Nantucket in real life, aka with an apple store”.  It has so much of the charm of summering on Nantucket, but we all get to enjoy it year round!

 

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The outoor patio upstairs at Skinny Dip Charleston where you can take a shopping break and enjoy a glass a frosé.

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Rudis Caffe e Vino located on the second floor of Skinny Dip Charleston.

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Myself, artist Sam Malpass and Sara Rossi at the party for Sam when she completed the octopus mural upstairs.

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Skinny Dip owners and founders Sara and Taylor celebrating the opening of the Charleston location.

Skinny Dip has quickly become more than just a retail space. You can find our Candy Shop Vintage jewelry on the first floor, grab a snack or glass of frosé at Rudi’s Cafe E Vino on the second floor of the store or pop by for any of the free events happening weekly at the store. Definitely save the date for the next Girls night out that I will be DJing as #CANDYCAT on Thursday, October 27th featuring a Sail to Sable Trunk show, a manicure bar by Mylk and hair braiding by The Dry Bar Charleston.