The Shop Tart has had a busy season, full of unexpected trips, much welcomed freelance assignments and plenty of impromptu fun. A while ago, she signed up for the Southern C Summit, produced by the Southern Coterie, a fun social network for southerners and southernophiles (is that a word?), and she had every intention of arriving prepared and well-rested. Stop laughing. The morning after one of her favorite galas of the year, the Shop Tart woke up bright and early, so she could leave by 5:30 and make it to the beginning of the second day of the summit. She didn’t quite make it to Southern Living Travel Editor Erin Shaw Street’s morning talk, which was a big disappointment, because she was really looking forward to it. Good thing Southern Living will be at the next Southern C Summit, coming up in August!
She did get there in time to hear Leapfrog PR’s presentation, “The Art of Storytelling: Give Your Brand a Voice,” featuring a panel of speakers including Melissa Blanchard of VanJean and Pout, Carrie Morey of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, Libba Osborne and Jackie Thompson of Leapfrog, Amy Pastre and Courtney Rowson of STITCH Design Co., and moderator Haskell Harris of Haskell Harris Creative. Dynamic founder of Dig South (and friend of Mr. Shop Tart) Stanfield Gray was next. It was all very interesting. Unfortunately, the Shop Tart was finishing a post for The Kitchn and was only able to lend half an ear.
By lunch time, she was ready to jump into the action…and realized she had forgotten to bring any business cards. So, while it may be that no one remembers her, she had some interesting conversations. Lunch was fun and Summit organizers Whitney Long and Cheri Leavy (with help from their husbands) were charming and helpful as they dealt with torrential rain, necessitating a few changes of venue. They handled it all with grace and good humor. A tent in the rain is an exciting place to be.
And now, this post will get quick, dirty and visual. After lunch, the Shop Tart and Shani checked into what is one of the largest hotel suites the Shop Tart had ever seen at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. This is a tiny portion of one of the bedrooms. The bathroom was so big the Shop Tart could have taught a Pilates class to 15 people while soaking in the large tub.
The hotel and grounds really are this beautiful. Actually, more.
Around every corner, there’s something else pretty and inviting, like this sun room just outside the reception area.
They returned to the conference center for more great speakers and bonding, including a lovely break for Goo Goo Cluster inspired desserts and coffee.
Back at the hotel before dinner, Shani and the Shop Tart relaxed in the gorgeous lobby bar, enjoying the sounds of a piano player rocking some gorgeously mellow versions of eighties pop songs.
The gimlet was just right and the service was insanely lovely.
And there were delicious and satisfying passed appetizers. Seriously, this is kind of what the Shop Tart thinks heaven will be like.
Back at the conference center, the ladies enjoyed dinner and more great speakers. And some lovely, funny bonding moments with other attendees. (Seriously fun people, y’all!) Each table had a different centerpiece. They were all fab, but the Shop Tart was too busy yammering to snap photos of them all.
The ladies stayed up too late, laughing too hard and drinking maybe a little too much wine. After dinner, back at the hotel, they couldn’t resist “just one more” at the lobby bar. You know how it is. Some of the most fun Summit speakers and attendees (we will not call them out here) were there and the conversation was lively.
The ladies had so much fun, they overslept. (Hey, they are both mothers with multiple children, they are both busy and April was a huge month for everyone!) They made it just in time to catch the last part of Ryan Dohrn’s presentation. Y’all! if you ever get a chance to hear this guy speak, just do it. The Shop Tart and Shani were particularly impressed with the way he made his tips relevant to freelance writers like themselves. They left feeling all kinds of inspired, with various goals, which they hope to actually accomplish! Yeah!
Back at the Jekyll Island Club for check out, the ladies decided to enjoy lunch in the Grand Dining Room. Shop Tart Tip: Ask to sit in the pretty round room to the left of the entrance and take in the beautiful grounds while enjoying your meal.
Another Shop Tart Tip: Get the flippin’ JP Morgan Crab Melt. Two awesomely crabby crab cakes served over grilled tomatoes and lightly buttered croutons with a delightful mornay sauce.
The bread basket was worth the carbs. Besides, the Shop Tart can’t resist sculpted butter.
And the chenin blanc was perfect.
A few more words about the Jekyll Island Club Hotel: You should go. It’s beautiful, welcoming and staffed by some of the most professional and warm people the Shop Tart has ever encountered, from the valets and front desk hosts to the waiters and bartenders. Staff can make or break a vacation experience and this one was above and beyond. They smiled in the face of nasty weather, semi-dumb questions and somewhat silly requests, and they made it all happen. Flawless. The Shop Tart will be working hard to try to find a way to fit a family trip there into her budget.
And the Southern C? Love it. Not only is the Shop Tart hoping to become a more active member on their forums, she also has not-so-tentative plans to attend the next Summit in Athens in August. See you there!
Happy Shopping and don’t forget to tell them you read it on the Shop Tart!
Full Disclosure: The Shop Tart is on the board at the Nickelodeon Theatre. But part of the reason she joined that board is because Indie Grits is so flippin’ cool. So there you have it!
Y’all! It’s Indie Grits week! This is seriously one of the Shop Tart’s favorite weeks in Columbia and, as excited as she is to be going to Haiti in a few days, she hates to miss the end of it. This weekend, she caught the VIP screening of We Cause Scenes, enjoyed the opening party, hung out for a little bit of Hip Hop Family Day after hitting Soda City, saw two movies on Sunday and enjoyed the heck out of herself at Slow Food at Indie Grits yesterday afternoon. She is spending a lot of time on Main Street this week. (She also found the time to go see this lovely lady on Saturday, right there on Main, and a total necessity before she leaves for Haiti, even if it is for work.)
Speaking of Main Street, y’all do know about the parking garage behind the Nick, right? Free on nights and weekends.
The Shop Tart has also eaten some food on and around Main this week. Last Wednesday, following the USC Fashion Board symposium with Amy Flurry, she made it down to Oak Table with Amy (who is mad cool and smart, by the way), where they met Shani Gilchrist and a couple of other people who weren’t there for work, so don’t deserve to be called out on this blog. But they were lovely. So was Oak Table’s Spring Salad. Radish rules!
And hooray for beef carpaccio!
On her way back to the car, the Shop Tart and her sis stopped in Hampton Street Vineyard (which had been their original choice, but their friends were already ensconced at the bar at Oak Table). They had to stop in to say hi to Michelle, because you don’t know fun until you’ve spent time with the gang at the HSV bar.
Michelle was pouring an absolutely delightful sancerre, which the Shop Tart sancerrely enjoyed. Nine bucks a glass and worth it to the last drop!
On Friday night, the Shop Tart was still craving Hampton Street Vineyard, so she stopped by with Shani, post-movie, pre-party, for some fried oysters.
BY THE WAY, DID YOU KNOW THEY SERVE PERRIER JOUËT BY THE GLASS? Because they do! Awesome!
Once again, the Shop Tart was sitting at the bar, in part to enjoy the Masters people watching. She was intrigued by her neighbor’s dinner, and this is what she’ll be ordering next time for sure, though it’s possible she may need to share with a friend. Want to join her? Behold! The stuffed pepper “Lambrinos Style” with pork, veal, and beef, topped with mozzarella and served over a light tomato ragout with sausage. The Shop Tart knows what you’re thinking. “Put it in my head right now!”
Another fun reason to sit at the bar: You can guess who’s in the house by what drinks go up in the servers’ station. Anyone recognize this one?
First person to identify the drink and the drinker in the comments section will get treated to one Indie Grits flick — with a friend — buy the Shop Tart. She’ll email you to find out what you want to see and buy the tickets. Check the schedule here and get guessing.
On Saturday, la famille stopped in Sammi’s Deli for a late, quick lunch. The Greek salad with lamb was darn tasty. The service was exceptionally friendly and they reminded the Shop Tart to tell her friends that Sammi’s delivers within a five mile radius. So there you go!
The menu, in case you want to keep a copy at your office.
And one more thing! Though the Shop Tart hasn’t eaten one this week, she is a huge, HUGE fan of Paradise Ice ice cream sandwiches. They have different featured combos, and they’re all good. So go get one.
Tonight, the Shop Tart will be heading to Cinemovements, which she enjoyed immensely last year. She and Mr. Shop Tart are eating out with friends before the show, probably somewhere in the Vista, since the show is being held at 300 Senate Street, thanks to the generosity of Dupre Catering. See you there! (Tickets, both seated and standing, still available.)
In today’s post…
- Hampton Street Vineyard, 1201 Hampton Street, 803-252-0850
- Oak Table, 1221 Main Street, 803-563-5066
- Sammi’s Deli, 1621 Main Street, 803-255-0001
- Paradise Ice, 1627 Main Street, 803-251-3311
- Indie Grits Film Festival. For daily updates, check out their blog.
Happy Shopping and don’t forget to tell them you read it on the Shop Tart!