Sweet Sensation

With holiday season in full swing things can get overwhelming with events and gift shopping.  I love featuring ways to reduce the stress of hosting and gift giving.   Whether your throwing the party or attending one,  these Cupcakes from Cupcake Down South are always a hit.  Why attempt to make these yummy treats when you could have someone bake them for you?  Each one is a work of art and living in the age of instagram, you want to make sure your food is looking on point.

Cupcake  makes ordering so easy online.  Just click on SHOP ONLINE at the top of the page and select a store and order time. If your ordering more than a week in advance then you can always call one of their locations.  Downtown Charleston @ 433 King Street :: 843.853.8181, Mount Pleasant @ Belle Hall Shopping Center :: 843.856.7080,or Downtown Columbia @ 1213 Lincoln Street :: 803.212.4949

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday so I have to acknowledge the many great things Cupcake does for the community. Kristin Kuhlke Cobb and her team have supported dozens of nonprofits from animal shelters, breast cancer, children, homeless, and veterans.

For every pupcake pack (dog friendly treats) they donate $1 to the Charleston Animal Society and Columbia Animal ServicesThey also deliver donated cupcakes to patients, nurses, and volunteers at local hospitals.  They created limited-edition cupcake flavors after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, donating $1 from every one sold to storm victims.   

They’re an active and enthusiastic sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure each year. Every October, they create a limited-edition Cupcake for the Cure and donate $1 from every purchase of these pink cupcakes. Their bakery crews also participate in the annual Race for the Cure. 

Through their Yesterday’s Cupcakes program, they’ve donated more than a half million cupcakes to nonprofits over the years, including Boys and Girls Club, Carolina Homeless Veterans, the Charleston Center for Women, Delancey Street Foundation of South Carolina, The Dream Center, ECCO, Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina, Hospice of Charleston, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), MUSC Children’s Hospital, Neighborhood House, One 80 Place, Share Our Strength, St. Andrew’s Parks & Playground, The Arc, United Service Organizations (USO), the Washington Soup Kitchen, Wings for Kids, and many others.

                   Spartina 449 on King Street is a treasure trove of goodies for every woman on your list.  From whimsical stationery,  bags for every function, to the prettiest jewelry, they have everything for every price point.  This localish brand started in Daufuskie Island, SC and have sprouted stores all over the southeast.  If you can’t make into the store, then shop online 24/7 at your convenience.  There’s still time left to shop Cyber Monday deals at Spartina 449.  They’re offering 25% off everything online until 11:59 p.m. EST tonight with coupon code THANKS.

                                        Evening Swing Earrings $38 and Around the Moon Cuff $49 from Spartina 449

Spartina 449 is also big on giving back with their MERMAIDS FOR MAMMOGRAMS initiative.   They support Pledge the Pink, a local charitable non-profit devoted to breast cancer awareness and prevention. Annually, Pledge the Pink hosts a three-day, 30-mile charitable race event on three beautiful South Carolina islands. They also host a number of charity events at their stores for other local causes.  I attended a great one over the summer for Sara’s Cure, benefiting Sara Woods, a young James Island girl who is battling Clear Cell Sarcoma.

Siren Top Handle Crossbody $298 from Spartina 449

This gorgeous bag right here won’t be available until December 3rd, so stay tuned for their new releases because it’s coming in 3 different color ways for only $98.  I hope you got some great gift ideas and ways to make your holidays sweeter.

Photography by Nicole Mickle, on location at Hotel Bella Grace, Dress by Dolly Pearl from Bella Bridesmaids Charleston

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Fuji Freshness at Freshfields

This Thursday is another Sip & Stroll at Freshfields Village from 4-7pm.  Take advantage of sales and promotions at select stores and restaurants including Scout & Molly’s who will be serving Spooktacular Cocktails and offering 20 % off any black clothing including this dress I’m wearing.  Click here to see the full list of participating stores and restaurants.

Freshfields is also giving you two more reasons to come out and play this month.   Their monthly Cars & Coffee is this Saturday 9-11 am and features local unique and antique cars.  Then Dogtoberfest on Saturday, October 27 (1-5 pm), will feature fun activities for your four legged friends.  Hosted by the Charleston Animal Society, there will be pets available for adoption, wine tasting by FortyEight Wine Bar, live entertainment, blessing of the animals, a pet costume contest at 3 p.m., and exciting prizes and giveaways!

If your craving for some amazing sushi then Fuji is your place.  When I dine out I like eating dishes I know I can’t make at home and this over the top platter of sushi is something I will never whip up myself.

Fuji is one of my favorite places to eat sushi because they are so creative with their dishes, everything is super fresh, and everything tastes as good as it looks.  Other than their spectacular rolls they serve hibachi, ramen noodles, poke bowls, and apps like this avocado dream and spicy tuna wontons.

So what are you waiting for?   Freshfields Village  is so worth the trip out to Kiawah for a relaxing day of of shopping, fun, and eating your heart out.

Dress from Scout & Molly’s and earrings from GDC Home

Photography by Libby Williams 

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The Toast of the Town at Edmund’s Oast

I know it’s only September, but I’m already looking forward to being a part of the Charleston Wine and Food Festival Street Team again in March 2019.  What better way to get prepped and wet our palates than to join the newest #CHSWFFStreetTeam members Michael Stettner and Ian Palacios of  I Love That For You and Libby Williams of Plate South for a wine tasting at Edmund’s Oast Exchange and dinner next door at The Library at Edmund’s Oast.

If you drink beer and wine and you don’t know about Edmund’s Oast Exchange then your living under a rock.  Apparently I was one of those people because I had no idea that it has been there for a year, right next to one of my favorite restaurants – Edmund’s Oast.  The gorgeous two-story shop offers over 1,000 different varieties of beer and wine sold in cans, bottles, growlers, and even kegs. Edmund’s Oast is legendary when it comes to their in-house beers on tap and now you can purchase it next door to go.  I’m not a beer drinker but I have sipped the peanut butter and jelly beer and they nailed it with the authentic taste.

Seasoned Sommelier Sarah O’Kelley schooled us on wines with her blind tasting of 3 different varieties.  Most of you might not know this but I’m not a big drinker because I get the Asian Flush.  Yes, it’s a real thing guys.  My Filipino side does not mix well with alcohol and I get hot and my face turns bright red.   But I do love me some red wine, especially with cheese and a baguette.   Luckily a wine tasting is the perfect portion for me so I was up for this game of guessing.  We learned so much about wines and where they come, and for someone who doesn’t drink a lot I guessed a few answers right.  Also, apparently there’s a description for wines that have stronger tannins in them.  It feels like tiny sweaters on your teeth when your sipping certain wine.

We hopped right next door for dinner at Edmund’s Oast in their newly unveiled Library.  This private room is old world romantic and the perfect place for an intimate event or just a dinner for 4 of course.   I was excited to wear my new jumper from World Ink Project by Carrie Beth Waghorn.  She just launched her line of sustainable, season-less, one of a kind clothes and she donates a portion of her sales to local women’s shelters.  My jewelry is by Naked Eyes and Emily Hill, the co-designer,  is a major team member at Edmund’s Oast.  She juggles the high demand events and inner workings at the restaurant by day (and probably night too) while juggling her wildly successful jewelry line with boyfriend Alex Klaes.

How cute are these boys Michael and Ian from I Love That For You ?  4 hours of drinking and eating flew by way too fast!

We sampled everything from the charcuterie plate, pork belly + peaches, a tomato salad, mouthwatering mushrooms, and a grilled veggie plate.  The Salt Chicken and the Red Curry Eggplant were my all time favorites.  I don’t do red meat, but I know the boys were all over the burger.

Just when I thought I couldn’t stuff my face anymore, our lovely server April threw some New Orleans flavor our way with the Beignets, Benne Seed Wafers and Ice Cream.

If you want to experience a special Edmund’s mash-up at Charleston Wine and Food Festival then don’t miss out on An Ale of Two Cities: Blackberry Farm + Edmund’s Oast.  Two of the South’s most beloved breweries join forces for a hoppin’ happy hour, perfect for any time of the day. Edmund’s Oast  Brewing Co. welcomes James Beard Award winner Roy Milner of Blackberry Farm Brewery from Knoxville, TN for a malted masterclass in brewing the perfect pint. Guests will follow the process from tap to table as you sip on frothy favorites.  There’s already so many W+F events that are sold out so don’t wait too long to snag your tickets for this one.

In honor of Pride Week in Charleston I interviewed Michael and Ian for my #PrideTV IGTV series on Instagram.  It was more of a conversation than an interview and their fun facts at the end cracked me up.  Their blog I Love That For You started organically because they love sharing their recommendations on what to do and where to eat in the lowcountry.  I might start my own fan page called I Love Them for That because their spirit is contagious!

Photography by Libby Williams of Plate South

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Step Up Your Game at The Riley Park Club

Just when you think you’ve seen all the beautiful venues in Charleston, the people from the Indigo Road Group have wowed us again with The Riley Park Club.   Situated on the second floor club level at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, this scenic view has everything you would want for a private party.  The obvious would be an exclusive gathering to watch a RiverDogs game, or think outside the box by hosting a rehearsal dinner, wedding reception, corporate event, or a swanky holiday party with the stadium all to yourself.

I had the opportunity to take a tour of the The Riley Park Club and sampled the delicious tasting menu from Mercantile and Mash, the exclusive caterers to the club.  Keeping up with the Indigo Road Group ethos, all of the food is sourced from local farmers and everything is fresh.  The menu also includes some of the most popular dishes from their other restaurants like O-Ku and Oak Steakhouse, and all of the food is made on site.

These tuna bites with an avocado puree was so delectable, I could’ve easily inhaled all of them myself.

The hors d’oeuvres kept on coming and these oysters did not disappoint!

The other perks of hosting your event at The Riley Park Club is on-site parking,  in-house rental items, built-in A/V equipment, banquet seating for up to 100 guests,  and reception space for up to 200 guests.  Perfect for any medium size event, which can be hard to find in Charleston.  

The floor-to-ceiling windows offer breathtaking views of the RiverDog’s field, as well as the Ashley River marsh.  Where else can you experience a view like this at a swanky soiree?

Want to pretend like your Bill Murray and have free range of the ball park?  You can use the scoreboard for non-game day events, have cocktails on the field then dinner in the club.  Now that’s what I call ballin’.

 So if your looking to step your game up (pun intended) and want to host an event that’s unique and unexpected, then The Riley Park Club  is your venue.  

Dress by Mason Hosker, Earrings and rings from Gold Creations, Bangles from Croghans Jewel Box,

Photography by Nicole Mickle, Makeup by Bellelina Studio, Hair by Drybar Charleston,  Rentals by Event HausFlorals by Stephanie Gibbs Events

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Staycation at The Restoration

Having a staycation with my family is just as fun as hopping on a plane and experiencing a new city.  The beauty of jumping in your car and driving a few miles to your destination just means you have more time to experience your vacation, and less time traveling.  We do after all, live in one of the top travel destinations in the world.  Me and my crew had the opportunity to stay at The Restoration Hotel downtown, one of the most dynamic boutique hotels in Charleston, offering everything from vintage car rentals, shopping, dining, baby sitting services, and grocery delivery to your room.

 You can rent a vintage car at The Restoration Hotel by the hour or by the day from Dream Classic Rentals.  It was so much fun riding in this 1966 Mustang over the James Island connector to Folly Beach.  I didn’t realize how much attention we would get, everyone loves a vintage convertible, especially in this bright turquoise.

Hat by San Diego Hat Co. from Shoes.com $44.95 // Bag by San Diego Hat company from Zappos $32.99 // Romper by L’Atiste from Toss Designs $48 // Sunglasses from Sunglass LA $12 // Jewelry by Barracuda Moon  // shoes by Serverde

It doesn’t get anymore convenient than The Curated Coastal Package which is a great service The Restoration Hotel offers to make your trip to the beach extra easy.  They packed a yummy picnic for all of us which included sandwiches, cheese, crackers, fruit and water. Plus they throw in beach chairs and a game of paddle board.   As you can see here we throughly enjoyed our care-free day at the beach thanks to The Restoration.

Turkish towels by The Charleston Weekender from Cannonborough Collective // sunglasses from Sunglass LA // and swimsuit from Citrine Swim 

After all of the saltwater and sand we were ready to get back to The Restoration Hotel and take a dip in the pool.  The 5th floor private pool has the most amazing views of Charleston in an intimate setting.  We lucked out and got the pool all to ourselves.  You really feel like your in another city when you get to experience all of the amenities of a boutique hotel.

Sun wrap worn as a head wrap by Zags x Goldbug Collection from Croghans Jewel Box // Goldbug Collection Bee Mine earrings $85 from Croghans Jewel Box // ZAc Zac Posen sunglasses from Nordstrom $85 // Swimsuit from Old Navy $44.99

View more to check out the rest of our hotel stay including the incredibly delicious dinner at The Watch restaurant, cooking breakfast in our suite, and squeezing out the last moments of our staycation at The Restoration Hotel. If your looking for an escape this summer, I’ve teamed up with The Restoration for 15% off a hotel booking with promo code FAMILY now through August.  Click here to book and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Straw from Cannonborough Collective

Photography by Clifford Pate

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Tu Good to be True

Tucked away on the busy Upper Meeting Street is the oasis called Tu.  Innovation and concept melt together in this new restaurant brought to you by the owners of Xiao Bao Biscuit.  Joey Ryan, Josh Walker, and Josh’s wife Duolan Li are always one step ahead of giving Charleston what it’s been lacking in flavor.  They’re always on the cutting edge with bringing bold ethnic flavors together in an ultra hip setting.

If your expecting more Asian infused dishes at Tu, you’ll be surprised.  Their menu is all about multicultural influences and unexpected pairings.  Duolan Li describes it as “New American” which means it’s a melting pot of flavors from South America to the Middle East.  Of course presentation is everything, just look at this Fennel Salad topped with edible flowers.

After living in New York I was spoiled with access to any ethnic food I wanted and it’s so nice to see a place that embraces many cultures and celebrates it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the food in Charleston, but there’s always room for another quality restaurant, especially one that offers diversity.

I’m not a strict vegetarian, but I always gravitate towards the veggie focused dishes.  This beet dripping with chimmichurri and griddled provolone had my name written all over it!

The other surprise at Tu that I’m obsessed with is it’s decor and overall vibe.  First off they have parking in their courtyard, and to the left of the parking is a traditional Charleston home with two dining rooms downstairs.  One room is their private party room, ready for a karaoke sing off or a dance party, or both.  The blush walls paired with the glossy green ceilings would make any interior designer drool.

The other dining room is painted a matte black, lit by only a few dim sconces and a neon light.  The mood is sexy date night.

Adjacent to the traditional house is the modern building that they custom built.  The orange velvet banquettes set against the pink plastered walls have a 60’s throwback (my favorite era in design).  Every detail is so well thought out and so unique to Charleston.  It’s what we’ve been wanting, but didn’t know it until it arrived.  This place is perfect for a date night, girls’ night, or when you want to impress your friends or family who are coming into town.  Thank you team Tu and Xiao Bao Biscuit for continuing to elevate the southern dining experience and always bringing the flava!

Green jumpsuit and red floral jumpsuit from Traffic People // Annabelle circle crossbody $105 from Duex Lux // Jewelry from Jtv

Photography by Libby Williams of Plate South

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Street Teaming at the Charleston Wine & Food Festival

It was such an honor to be a part of Charleston Wine and Food Festival’s Street Team again this year.  The festival knocked it out of the park, outdoing themselves with bigger and more innovative ways to share food culture.  With well known chefs and alcohol brands from all around the world every event was an experience stimulating all of the senses. My round up of events covered everything from baking biscuits with Carrie Morey of Callie’s Biscuits to a decadent brunch entertained by drag queens.  Besides getting to indulge in the best food and drinks you can consume in one sitting, I love the sense of community these events evoke.  It’s so refreshing to see a gathering of people of all cultural backgrounds come together because we all believe that eating great food with a drink in hand, is our happy place.

What does is mean to be on the street team for Charleston Wine and Food Festival?  I was able to attend events that I wanted to highlight and promote on my social media.  Since I’m not a big drinker I went to food focused events that were both hands on and had some entertainment value.  My partner in crime was Liz Martin AKA the Charleston Weekender.   We got to play Instagram wifey and provided each other with some comic relief.  I’m so glad I got to bump into a lot of my fellow street teamers this year like The Cocktail Bandits, Charleston Food Writer, Jai Eats, Holy City Handcraft, Queen of the Foodage, Sweet Southern Prep, and Snoop Natty Nat.

Photos by Libby Williams, Bus from Lowcountry Valet, balloons from Cannonborough Collective

I’ll start with the last event (and maybe my most favorite) and work my way back.  The Queens on King drag brunch was out of control amazing!  Set at the William Aiken house, it was southern decadence at it’s best.  Monica Van Pelt of Lips Atlanta was the host of the show and brought the flashiest girls from Atlanta to Charleston.  We started out with cocktails topped with cotton candy from Pure Fluff Co. and breakfast bites from soon to be open Daps.

What do you wear to a drag brunch?  Me and the Charleston Weekender opted for a monochromatic look – suit and PJ’s.  My outfit is from from Rachel Roy – Mint leaf blazer $139, Sailor Jogger Pants $99, Tarah Top $79.  You can shop the links and when you use CHARLESTONSHOP20 at checkout you receive 20% off!  These sunglasses by Blue Planet Eyewear are my new favorite and they’re only $55.

Brunch is my favorite meal of the day and Saturday was another breakfast bonanza for the #brunchsquad event at The Workshop.  What does a brunch squad entail?  We divided up into teams headed by a well known chef and learned how to cook/bake a dish enough for hundreds of people.  Once those dishes were ready they were brought out to us on the great lawn and we stuffed ourselves while we enjoyed sweet beats by a dj. The inspiring Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett was the host along with sponsors Cherry Bombe Magazine and Williams Sonoma.  Talk about a lot of girl power!

Innovative food like these ice cream drumsticks were just some of the fun dishes on the line up.

The only bad thing about the Charleston Wine and Food Festival is coming off that high. After days of eating my heart out I’m already going through withdrawals.  The reality of cooking for myself at home has set in, but thank God I have plenty of my favorite local spots I can always treat myself to.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the 2019 festival has in store!

View more to find out about my all food adventures.

Photo by Jonathan Boncek

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About Charleston Shop Curator

Charleston Shop Curator serves as a fashion blog and shopping guide to showcase the incredible diversity of style in Charleston, South Carolina. We continually strive to expose local creative talents from designers to stores. Here you can find all of the treasures Charleston has to offer, and more.

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