Swoon |  Old Village Boutique
Out of Hand | Old Village Boutique
Ooh! Beautiful
ooh! events | Event designs, event coordination
South | Old Village Boutique
Out of the Garden | Florals

The Art of Creating Press

Borrowed +& Blue
04-22-2014 | website

Jessica and Jim at Boone Hall Plantation!

The Wedding Row
04-18-2014 | website

A beautiul day at the Daniel Island Country Club

SMP - Little Black Book
04-08-2014 | website

This rustic plantation is a stunner, filled with personal touches and romantic details.

The Wedding Row
04-07-2014 | website

Kristina and Ben at the Legare Waring House

The Wedding Row
04-04-2014 | website

This romantic wedding at Boone Hall is just to die for and featured on Charleston Wedding's The Wedding Row.

Ruffled Blog
03-28-2014 | website

Romantic and southern wedding at the Creek Club.

The Wedding Row
03-28-2014 | website

Style Me Pretty
03-26-2014 | website

Emerald green wedding at William Aiken House.

Smitten
03-26-2014 | website

Carly and Tre at Boone Hall

Michelle & Matt
03-21-2014 | website

Their Legare Waring wedding featured on Wedding Chicks.

Carrie & Andrew
03-20-2014 | website

Their Upstairs at Midtown wedding featured on The Wedding Row.

Magnolia Plantation
03-18-2014 | website

Featured on A Lowcountry Wedding

Kristin & Scott
03-12-2014 | website

Their William Aiken wedding on the Wedding Row.

Borrowed + Blue
02-25-2014 | website

Borrowed + Blue has shared Kayce & Marcus's special day is and even features our special little Sweet Pea.

Borrowed + Blue
02-25-2014 | website

Shelby and Chris's special day is featured on Borrowed + Blue!

A Coastal Bride
02-19-2014 | website

Features one of our most colorful weddings to date!

The Wedding Row
02-18-2014 | website

A wedding at Walnut Hill Plantation featured on The Wedding Row

A Lowcountry Wed
02-17-2014 | website

One of our weddings from William Aiken was featured as a Top 20 pick.

A Lowcountry Wed
02-17-2014 | website

A beautiful winter wedding at the William Aiken House featured on A Lowcountry Wed.

Mary Elizabeth & Bradford
02-17-2014 | website

Their Walnut Hill Plantation featured on The Wedding Row.

Grey Likes Weddings
02-12-2014 | website

Features on of our lush white southern weddings with magnolias that are to die for.

Debut of Ooh! Beautiful
01-31-2014 | website

Charleston Shop Curator visits Ooh! Beautiful in the Old Village!

Ginny + Zach
01-30-2014 | website

This Boone Hall wedding is featured on A Lowcountry Wed.

Sara + Greg
01-30-2014 | website

Featured on The Wedding Row

Shelby + Chris
01-28-2014 | website

Featured on Grey Likes Weddings

Amanda + Derek
01-18-2014 | website

Featured on A Lowcountry Wedding

Bridesmaids Dresses: Best of 2013
01-14-2014 | website

3 of our lovely brides bridesmaids were chosen for the Best of 2013 by A Lowcountry Wed.

Corl Wedding
01-11-2014 | website

Featured in Weddings Unveiled Magazine

Lauren + Johnny at the Cotton Dock
01-03-2014 | website

This beautiful shabby chic wedding is at a Charleston favorite, Boone Hall's cotton dock, featured on The Wedding Row.

2013 Best of Bouquet
01-03-2014 | website

Southern Weddings Best of Bouquet for Kristen + Clint gorgeous wedding!

The SoGood
12-20-2013 | website

Out of the Garden listing on The SoGood featured on St. Frank.

The Lovely Find
12-20-2013 | website

Rustic farm tables paired with gold chivaris featured in The Lovely Find's styled photoshoot.

Erin + Steve
12-17-2013 | website

Our feature in the first A Lowcountry Wed  magazine.

Polished!
12-12-2013 | website

Our sister company Polished! is featured on Unveiled.

Kristen + Clint
12-11-2013 | website

Two of our very own married at Legare Waring featured on The Wedding Row.

Kristen + Clint
12-01-2013 | website

Featured on Southern Weddings.

A Lowcountry Wed
11-27-2013 | website

A graceful, elegant affair at the William Aiken House.

Swoon for Charleston Shop Curator
11-25-2013 | website

Holiday Hostessing
11-20-2013 | website

Chassity Evans details her inspiration shared at Style Mavens. 

Out of Hand for Charleston Shop Curator
11-18-2013 | website

Fall/Winter 2013 Feature. Styled by Andrea Serrano. Photos by J. Balliet.

Style Mavens
11-14-2013 | website

Deirdre Zahl of Candy Shop Vintage shares her holiday inspiration at Style Mavens. 

Bridal Bliss
11-12-2013 | website

Kelli and Anthony's elegant contemporary wedding featured in Essence Magazine. 

Natalie + Matthew at Kiawah
11-11-2013 | website

Wedding featured on Carats + Cake

Flower Picking!
10-28-2013 | website

We share some insider knowledge on florals with Scout Magazine.

Bohemian Rhapsody
10-15-2013 | website

Styled candy bar photoshoot for Charleston Magazine.

Carats + Cake
10-08-2013 | website

Lauren and Ofer tie the knot at Kiawah, a lowcountry favorite.

The Wedding Row
10-04-2013 | website

The Wedding Row features a bouquet from Out of the Garden.

Just Dandy
10-04-2013 | website

Lucky Magazine Contributor Charleston Shop Curator feature of Swoon. Styled by Andrea Serrano. Photos by Jonathan Balliet.

Storyboard Wedding
10-02-2013 | website

Featuring Cistern Yard and Gibbes Museum, two of Charleston's most historic and beautiful sites. 

Kristen + Clint
09-30-2013 | website

A truly southern wedding and a gorgeous couple to boot.

Lucky Online
09-23-2013 | website

Swoon Worthy.

Borrowed + Blue
09-12-2013 | website

Boone Hall Wedding
09-12-2013 | website

Jessica and Jim wed at the magical Boone Hall. 

Photos by amelia + dan.

Pleasantville
08-21-2013 | website

Lucky Magazine Contributor Charleston Shop Curator feature of Swoon. Styled by Andrea Serrano. Photos by Jonathan Balliet.

 

 

Enchanted
08-16-2013 | website

Andrea Serrano from Charleston Shop Curator features Swoon on Lucky Community.

OHH La La
08-16-2013 | website

Andrea Serrano of Charleston Shop curator features Out of Hand in the Old Village on Lucky Community.

The Wedding Row
08-14-2013 | website

Featuring the nuptials of Elizabeth + Matt at a private residence.

The Wedding Row
08-08-2013 | website

Kayce and Marcus share thier vintage and rustic wedding at Magnolia Plantation.

Mariana + Jacob
06-10-2013 | website

Featured in Southern Weddings

Classic Plantation Wedding
04-16-2013 | website

Wedding Chicks featured this beautiful Lowndes grove wedding.

Snippet & Ink
03-13-2013 | website

Photos by Virgil Bunao

Charleston Weddings Magazine
02-15-2013 | website

Nice Wheels! Our truck, affectionately dubbed Sweet Pea, is a featured getaway car in Charleston Weddings Magazine!

Photography by Virgil Bunao

Ktimene & Mike on Style Me Pretty
02-06-2013 | website

This amazing William Aiken wedding was not only stunning, but came with an ultra special story! Truly from the pages of a fairytale 

A Lowcountry Wed
02-06-2013 | website

This styled shoot at The Thomas Bennett House was fun and whimsical!

Photographed by Virgil Bunao

Laura & Colby on Style Me Pretty
02-01-2013 | website

The ladies of Style Me Pretty fell in love with Laura and Colby's wedding, and so did we! This adorable couple were a memorable pair!
Photography by Lauren Jackson

Angela & Tom on Southern Weddings Blog
01-31-2013 | website

Angela and Tom were all about comfort and fun! From the custom pizzas to their turquoise getaway car, each touch was tailored to the bride and groom! 
Photography by Riverland Studios

Morgan & Kyle on The Wedding Row
01-30-2013 | website

Morgan and Kyle were traditional meets vintage. With an elegant affair, this couple said "I Do," in style! We're thrilled to have this wedding published on The Wedding Row!
Photography by Riverland Studios

Erin & Jason on The Wedding Wire
01-08-2013 | website

Such an amazing fall wedding at a place like The Cotton Dock ... stunning

Becca & Russ on The Wedding Row
12-21-2012 | website

Becca & Russ' summer wedding at Sewee Preserve was a sweet affair
Photography by Riverland Studios

Blake & Ryan in Martha Stewart Weddings
12-20-2012 | website

We were so happy to provide rentals for the nuptials of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds at The Cotton Dock in September. Such a stunning couple and a stunning wedding!

Kinsey & Coley on Southern Weddings Blog
12-12-2012 | website

Kinsey and Coley said "I Do" in June at Lowndes Grove in an affair washing in whites, navy and lilac 

A Lowcountry Wedding
12-10-2012 | website

We're so proud of our floral ladies for creating these artful blooms!

Fido's Friends in Lowcountry Dog Magazine
12-01-2012 | website

Owner Lisa Thomas and her pup Leah are never too far apart! They were the perfect pals to be featured in Lowcountry Dog Magazine's Fido's Friends.

Lowcountry Dog Magazine
12-01-2012

Wyatt's Wishes was a fabulous holiday feature with some of the most precious rescue dogs we've ever seen. We were thrilled to design a feast fit for a furry king on four legs!

The Scout Guide
11-20-2012 | website

The Scout Guide is found all over the country ... but Charleston's Scout Guide is quickly becoming a legend!
Their local holiday gift guide honoring Small Business Saturday is a treasure trove

Charleston Grit
11-13-2012 | website

Charleston Grit picked up Chassity's post on us!

Look Linger Love
11-07-2012 | website

Charleston based blogger Chassity Evans knows style!

Leigh & Lander on Southern Weddings
11-06-2012 | website

Leigh and Lander's amazing wedding at Litchfield Plantation was highlighted by gorgeous weather, beautiful readings and a lot of love. We were thrilled to be a part of it!
Photography by Tim Willoughby

Lydia & Clay on The Wedding Row
11-05-2012 | website

Lydia and Clay's "I dos" at a private residence was romantic and spirited ... just as our couple!

Sarah & Billy on The Wedding Row
10-31-2012 | website

Sarah and Billy's jaw dropping wedding in January 2012 at The Aquarium was a night to be remembered!

Laura & Jacob on The Wedding Row
10-08-2012 | website

Laura and Jacob's Legare Wedding Day was washed in gorgeous pastels and was a party for the books!
Photography by Hyer Images

Charleston Weddings Magazine
09-24-2012

Our boutonnieres and floral arrangements were featured in Charleston Weddings magazine.

The Daily Front Row
09-14-2012

In the publication's coverage of NYC Fashion Week, The Daily Front Row covered the Ooh! and Rachel Gordon Flower Dress in a piece about Charleston Fashion Week.

Brides Magazine
09-01-2012 | website

On Location, Brides prefers Ooh! Events and Sewee Preserve!

The Wedding Row
08-27-2012 | website

We loved being part of the trunk show at Fabulous Frocks! 

Stlye Me Pretty
07-16-2012

"And when it comes to coordination, don’t worry! Our LBB has you covered there too with teams like Melissa A Panico Events, Grace Leisure Events, Italia Celebrations, and Ivy Robinson Weddings and Events. And finally, we have a group of the best designe

Charleston Weddings Magazine
05-18-2012

Carrie & Jonny in Charleston Weddings Magazine
05-18-2012

This gorgeous wedding was featured in an equally gorgeous spread in Charleston Weddings Magazine's Summer 2012 issue. Ooh! Events loved designing the decor and flowers for this San Francisco couple.

Weddings Unveiled
04-02-2012

Tailored Spring Bouquet featured on the covered of Unveiled 

Green Wedding Shoes
03-15-2012 | website

Virgil is such a genius, and styling this shoot was amazing. Sewee Preserve is one of our absolute favorite spots!

Lauren & Steven in BRIDES
12-01-2011

The English garden-themed celebration, awash in tone of green, was exactly as Lauren says she's envisioned it: "fresh, springlike, ethereal - like a dream."
Photography by Corbin Gurkin. Floral and Event Design by Out of Hand & Ooh! Events.

Cayt & Eric on Style Me Pretty
10-05-2011 | website

Bringing vintage and rustic beauty to life, this wedding was truly stunning ... almost as stunning as the sweet bride.

Nicole & Liam
10-01-2011 | website

Shannon & Jake in Charleston Weddings Magazine
10-01-2011

The Cotton Dock provided a beautiful backdrop for this couple's Halloween nuptials.

Charleston Weddings Magazine
09-06-2011

Ooh! Events joins Charleston bakers and confectioners to show how to streamline all the sweet treats at your wedding Charleston Weddings Winter 2011
Ooh! Events collaborated with Charleston Weddings in stylizing 3 themed dessert bars.

Paige & Scott in Charleston Weddings
09-06-2011

All Hands on Deck
Photography by Landon Jacobs Productions. Florals, Decor, and Rentals by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

Haley & John on Style Me Pretty
08-08-2011 | website

preppy pink and green
Photography by Virgil Bunao. Florals and Event Design by Out of Hand & Ooh! Events.

Cameron & Chan on The Wedding Row
08-02-2011 | website

true southern style
Photography by Leigh Webber. Event Planning, Rentals, and Florals by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

The Wedding Row
06-22-2011 | website

Oh So Stylish. A girl needs more than one dress for the big day!
Photography by Virgil Bunao. Floral, Clothing, Accessories, and Jewelry from Out of Hand.

Charleston Style & Design
05-01-2011 | website

One Love A force of divine inspiration, freedom, and nature
Various jewelry provided by Out of Hand for a photo shoot styled by One Love's Rachel Gordon.

Phoebe & Scott on Ruffled
03-03-2011 | website

make my heart pitter-patter
Photography by Amelia + Dan Photography. Coordination, Event Design, Rentals, and Floral by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

Charleston Weddings Magazine
02-24-2011

Bound to be Beautiful woodland wonderful inspiration
Bouquet of lilacs, lisianthus, lotus pods, mini green hydrangea, star of bethlehem, succulents, scaboisa pods, and fern curls wrapped in a bark twine for an organic look

Katie & Justin in Charleston Weddings
02-24-2011 | website

Retro Glam Rocks
A Tennessee couple's destination wedding compliments their Southern roots and vintage taste at Legare Waring. Photography by CVI Photography. Event Design, Rentals, and Floral by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

Sarah & Colby on the Wedding Row
02-15-2011 | website

"this gorgeous fete"
Florals by Out of Hand. Rentals by Ooh! Events. An elegant affair at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Downtown Charleston.

Charleston Style & Design
01-14-2011 | website

Behind the Curtain
A behind the scenes peek at Anna Lassiter's 2011 premiere of Lassitera. Props provided by Ooh! Events. Embroidered choker with turquoise stones from Out of Hand

Jamila & Aaron in Real Simple Weddings
01-14-2011

Aaron Curry of the Seattle Seahawks said I do to the love of his life, Jamila, in an affair washed in stunning clementine and fuchsia hues! 

Skirt of the Month
12-16-2010

Didn't take too long after we started carrying clothing for us to be featured in Skirt! for December's "Skirt of the Month". Just like a mug of hot cocoa on a cold afternoon, this bold rusty orange tiered skirt by Burlapp warms up any winter outfit.

Paige & Scott on Southern Weddings
10-27-2010

heirloom plantation wedding
Photography by Landon Jacob Productions. Event Planning, Rentals, and Floral by Ooh! Events and Out of Hand.

 

Charleston Weddings Magazine
10-01-2010

Jessica & Joey in Charleston Weddings
03-18-2010

Home is Where the Heart Is
A sophisticated affair rife with homespun touches at Prospect Hill on Edisto Island, SC. Photography by Virgil Bunao of CVI Photography. Florals, Rentals, and Event Design by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

Jennifer & James in Charleston Weddings
03-18-2010

Garden Variety
A bright fun summer wedding on a budget at Alhambra Hall. Florals by Out of Hand.

Jackie & Tyler in Charleston Weddings
03-18-2010

Green Tea
Jackie & Tyler at the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island. Florals by Out of Hand

Charleston Weddings Magazine
03-18-2010

Pretty As A Princess A photo shoot with a trove of fresh classics and vintage finds debut at the Governor Thomas Bennett House.
Various jewelry from Out of Hand.

Heather & Chris on Style Me Pretty
01-26-2010 | website

October wedding charm
Photography by Jensen Larson Photography. Floral and Event Design by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

Jen & Eric on Style Me Pretty
01-23-2010 | website

This is the definition of sheer elegance.

Lisa & Jake on Style Me Pretty
01-21-2010 | website

Featured on front page of style me pretty! Check us out!
Lisa & Jake at Lowndes Grove. Photography by Tracy Turpen. Florals, Rentals, and Event Design by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

Lisa & Jake in Unveiled
12-01-2009

easy, low-key event with an elegant muted palette
Real Wedding at Lowndes Grove Plantation. Coordination, Florals, and Event Design by Ooh! Events & Out of Hand.

Southern Living
09-16-2009 | website

Charleston: Where the Locals Go. Come with us for an insider's guide to this charming Southern city.

Charleston Weddings Magazine
08-13-2009

Homemade Haute Cakes Dream of a well-dressed wedding cake?.....Here we paired with The Cake Stand and Ooh! Events to show us how
Fabric Rosettes.... Using vintage lace, fabric, ribbons and buttons, Anne Melvin-Girault of Ooh! Events crafted a bounty of rosettes. We ran floral wire through a handful of blooms, then mounted them on a foam semi circle to create the cake topper. Next, we scattered rosettes about the layers and used several to fashion boutonnieres. Paper Bands & Liner....... A pretty paper garland is much easier to create than a fondant one. Here, we spray mounted flower-patterned paper to wax paper and cut out two strands, which we then placed directly on the iced cake and affixed to the stand with glue dots. To repeat the theme, we lined an invitation envelope in the same pattern, then asked local calligrapher Elizabeth Porcher Jones to address it in purple ink. Last, she made a "happily ever after" banner for the cake topper. For step-by-step instructions, visit Charleston Magazine's website. Organic.... Simple birch and oak stump cake stands gathered (and cleaned) pinecones and nut cake toppers, and a tiny ring bearer's next filled with Spanish moss create a fairy tale of a fall wedding.

Martha Kent & Michael in Charleston Weddings
08-12-2009 | website

Down by the River
Two Christmases ago, Michael Runey tied a ring to the collar of Pawley, the Boykin spaniel he raised with Martha Kent Jensinson, and aimed the pooch in her direction. Martha Kent caught Pawley, and after 10 years of dating, gave Michael a resounding "Yes!" The South Carolina natives and College of Charleston graduates then planned a fall wedding, as it's their favorite season, and looked for a waterfront location, because their lives revolve around local waterways. (Michael captains offshore fishing charters.) When the pair visited the newly restored Lowndes Grove on the banks of the Ashley River, its grand lawn, live oaks, river house, and surrounding marsh made it the ideal- and obvious- choice for their special day. Martha Kent signed on Lisa Thomas of Ooh! Events to fashion a reception in green, white, and chocolate with touches of yellow. Lisa credits the bride's "big picture vision" as a great starting point for their collaboration, and the pair dreamed up lounge areas with slipper chairs and settees, florals paired with heirloom china vessels, and tents lit by dainty chandeliers. The overall look was just the swank-meets-vintage vibe Martha Kent wished for. When the actual day rolled around, golden October light streamed through the windows of downtown's Church of the Holy Communion as the couple said their vows. Shortly after, the newlyweds arrived at Lowndes Grove and were greeted by the Plantation Singers just as the sun began to set over the reception. "it was unbelievable!" says Martha Kent.

Charleston Home + Design
08-04-2009 | website

Where Hollywood Shops in Charleston Lifetime Network's hit TV show Army Wives pays homage to the Holy City by playing Charleston for Charleston
Speed Dial Client Out of Hand (843)856-3585 www.shopoutofhand.com At this chic shop, the air is thick with the heady fragrance of fresh flowers, which fill the freezers and cover the large table in the work space. Several women are busy at work, crafting centerpieces that will undoubtedly contribute to some bride's dream wedding. "People probably just think, 'Oh these people have flowers in their kitchens.' But so much more than that goes into it! I spend time looking at samples, choosing colors. The women at Out of Hand are so gracious and easy to work with," iterates Brooke. Florist Naomi Wallace looks forward to Brooke's visits, stating, "Brooke always comes in with something unique and specific- it is kind of like a design challenge every time." In addition to buying flowers for the set, Brooke drops into Out of Hand "whenever I need a cool little gift for someone."

Nicole & Michael on Style Me Pretty
03-16-2009 | website

Absolutely Southern and a true example of true love.

Martha & Michael on Style Me Pretty
01-19-2009 | website

Such a sweet fete! 

Elizabeth & Ryan on Style Me Pretty
01-06-2009 | website

This truly glamorous wedding shows a new side of the Cotton Dock!

Charleston Home + Design
12-09-2008 | website

Silver Lining besides a silky ribbon, no adornment is needed for this luxuriously simple wreath made from shimmery tree leaves
Materials: Five branches of silver tree leaves, 18" square floral foam wreath form or dried wreath form, floral adhesive, pruning shears, scissors, floral U-pins, and approximately three yards of ribbon. Step 1: Gently strip leaves off one of the branches. You'll need these leaves to create a flat cover over the inner edges of the form. Step 2: Use floral adhesive to glue leaves along the inside of each of the form's edges, creating two rows so entire surface is covered. Step 3: Lay a branch of leaves on the top of the form so that any bare branch hangs off the end. Use pruning shears to clip off the overhanging branch. Step 4: Pull back leaves so that branch is visible, then push a U-pin over the top of the branch and into the floral foam, securing tightly, insert at least three U-pins along length of the branch. Step 5: To cover the second side of form, position another branch that starts at the corner where first branch ended (you'll want leaves to face in a continuing direction all the way around wreath). Pin in place and repeat to cover other two sides of the form. Step 6: Decide where you want to display your wreath and the length of the ribbon you want to attach. Cut ribbon to size. Loop ribbon around one side of the wreath and tie it in a bow at the top.

Better Homes and Gardens
12-09-2008 | website

Color Them Happy Zesty colors and simple, unexpected touches brighten the holiday decorating for this creative family.
About this time every year, it's hard to tell who's more excited in Lisa Thomas and Peter Wofford's home- Lisa or 9-year-old-daughter Emma. When the holiday season hits, there's an eager dash to the crafts store. At the top of the list are papers for the ornaments and chains they'll make for the family tree. The mother-daughter crafters have the routine down: Lisa cuts, Emma assembles. Their secret weapon is roll-on tape instead of messy glue. "It's simple, and the cleanup-hello," Lisa says. Paper chains may be as basic as decorations get, and that's fine with Lisa, a florist and special events designer. For her, the holidays are meant to savor, not to stress. "It's my time to keep family and friends close, be in the moment, and have fun," she says. Lisa and Emma grab those moments when they can, then knock out the decorating on a weekend. "Less is more," Lisa says, who likes a clean, unfussy look. "But let's talk reality. Sometimes less is all there's time for." Less doesn't mean spare, though, at least not to Lisa. This year, Christmas colors in her South Carolina home are turquoise and orange, and a little of the lively combo goes a long way. "I love to shake things up," she says. For a change of pace, she put the tree in an urn that Emma lined with oranges. "I'm big on improvising- just looking around the house, seeing something, and saying, "Oh my gosh, this could work!" Lisa says. When it comes to wrapping gifts, Lisa color-coordinates packages and makes sure each looks impeccable. "A lot of times people just go through the motions of the holidays, so a beautifully wrapped gift is something special," she says. "It's giving of your time and creativity." She might layer different papers on a package or crisscross ribbons in a lattice-inspired pattern. Or maybe Emma will round up a shell found at the beach or an acorn from the yard to embellish the top. "I always say that you can't be afraid to try things," Lisa says. "You might just love it."

Brides Book
11-24-2008 | website

2008 Bride's Book Reader's Choice Award! we are so honored!

Charleston Weddings Magazine
08-26-2008 | website

Posh Spice A fusion of cultures heat up an early evening reception overlooking the bluffs of the Stono River
With the Lowcountry's unpredictable weather, tents are a necessity for most local outdoor weddings. But shelters don't have to be boring, says Lisa Thomas of Ooh! Events. "We have 32 amazing tents designed just for us," she says. With an exotic oasis in mind, Lisa let the Indian-born tents lead the way and designed this fantasy fusion reception at Hollywood's Wide Awake Plantation on the Stono River. PAPER GOODS & FAVORS Spicy Indian, Middle Eastern, and Northern African colors, scents, and tastes informed the entire event from start to finish. Fuschia and orange orchids headlined the florals and established the palette for the invitations, place cards, and menus. Those same shades also graced the handmade paper that served as gift wrap. For favors, Lisa bundled short incense sticks with ribbon and paired them with matchboxes wrapped in more of the same special paper. SETTING & DECOR "Wide Awake Plantation is so spectacular- seven acres on the water- so we had a great opportunity to create outdoor rooms and special areas," say Lisa. Lanterns hanging from tree limbs lit up the bar, a billowing enclave of tents created the alfresco dining room, a separate alcove tent formed a lounge, and a sette by the water gave sweethearts a place to nuzzle. The overall effect was a warm and welcoming enchanting setting. On the tables, paprika-colored fabric overlayed with sheer organza set a base for intentionally mismatched china and crystal, napkins bound with saffron ribbons, and chairs swathed in shimmering sashes. The overall effect was that of spicy sophistication. FOOD Middle Easter, Indian, and Northern African cuisine are known for fantastic spices. To fuse those flavors with the event design and Lowcountry location, appetizers ranged from Tandoori Carolina shrimp and Moroccan scallops with watermelon and mustard oil to lamp sandwiches with Indian cucumber raita, and a zesty salad with squid and green papaya. Entrees included fresh fish, as as a pomegranate-lacquered roast duck with Swiss chard and lentil cakes

Lowcountry Brides
02-19-2008 | website

Tie Your Own Knot Ideas abound to help put your signature on the big event.
excerpt: Tradition with a twist Some brides are reluctant to engage help in personalizing their affair, but wedding planners are fabulous resources for ensuring your event reflects your style and passions. Michele Sharpe choose Ooh! Events in Mount Pleasant to add unexpected touches to her reception at a fishing cottage in Bluffton. "This bride had a gift of pulling out people's talents, "says event planner Lisa Thomas. "She gave an overall feeling of what she wanted and then let us come up with ideas. When people do this they always get more than they imagine." Starting with the couple's love of the outdoors and a Lowcountry theme of marsh grass, Lisa and her staff went to work to make sure the bride's vision would come together in an upscale event with a rustic patina. Vintage wine tables were set in long rows and adorned with antique medicine bottles repurposed as bud vases. LIghting on the screened porch included hundreds of votives as well as large lanterns with burlap shades. The cake was nestled amid horsetail, reeds and grasses on sliced logs that served as a cake stand. Small chandeliers were hung on branches of mossy oaks as the rhythms of Gullah singers echoed over the creek. As a final touch, an old red wheelbarrow filled with sand held dozens of sparklers. Friends and family encircled the couple with a festive arch of light as the newlyweds bid farewell and depoarted in a boat. "When you hire creative people," says Thomas, "point them in a direction and let them work their magic."

Charleston Home + Design
02-11-2008

Haute for the Holidays Event designer, weedding florist, and nationally lauded boutique owner Lisa Thomas welcomes you into her Old Village labor of love, freshly decluttered and (uncommonly) dressed in holiday best.
A pink nose, followed by a black and white furry face wedges through the barely open front door chez Thomas. Oreo, one of two resident cats here, wriggles his way in and bolts toward the sitting room as the door swings back in place behind him. He hops into owner Lisa Thomas’ lap and begins kneading her leg; she laughs, loud, long, and easy, and says, “No cat door needed here. He does that all day long, in and out, in and out.” The open-door policy—and generous laughter—is par for the course in this two-story white clapboard house in the Old Village. Lisa, the maven behind Out of Hand—the boutique on Pitt Street that’s a quirkily brilliant blend of handmade jewelry, stationery, fresh flowers, and whatsits galore—wouldn’t have it any other way. Like her just-around-the-corner shop, Lisa’s circa-1860s home is welcoming and comfortable, while keeping up all chic appearances. “We all live here,” says Lisa, of cats Oreo and Bella, husband Pete, and eight-year-old daughter, Emma, “and as much as every room’s got to be beautiful, it’s got to be comfortable and functional, too.” The latter is something Lisa’s been reveling in more since she enlisted Cobalt Interiors owner Rozlyn Cmiel to edit out the extras that inevitably pile up when one is exposed to the many one-of-a-kind must-haves Lisa finds in her line(s) of work. “You might think that someone with an eye for design doesn’t need any help, but I have a lot of favorite things,” admits Lisa. “Now I know they can’t all be out at the same time.” Make a Clean Sweep “We went room by room,” says Lisa, who bartered with Roz (doing the flowers for Roz’s wedding in exchange for the interior design work), “and she helped me declutter and rearrange things. It was one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done. You settle into your environment and you get it just so, but then the stuff starts piling up; I kept bringing things in without taking things out.” Post-clean sweep, Roz and Lisa liberated the sitting room from its former chocolate-colored days and transformed it with its present-day cream, sepia, and turquoise palette. Today, for instance, Oreo can be found snuggling with his blonde, barefoot caretaker on a late-1800s French love seat covered in an ivory- and sepia-patterned linen from Pindler & Pindler, Inc. Ivory silk wallpaper envelops the walls, and about 12 feet up, an ornate ceiling medallion gives way to golden branches and a cluster of crystals. Roz dressed the towering windows with bold saffron-hued swags of cotton and linen. A large piece of cast iron painted a sassy turquoise serves as a coffee table, and Lisa’s PowerBook, ousted from her lap by her cat, now sits atop it in sleep mode. In the dining room opposite, Roz focused on fabric again and swathed the dining chairs in ivory sprinkled with a taupe dandelion pattern. Lisa, who admits to painting the room six times over the six years she’s lived in the house before settling on her dream shade of lavender, had already dressed the space with its corner cabinet, freestanding whitewashed columns, and antler collection. Still, Roz convinced her to “funk it up” a little more with a furry white shade for the room’s main light fixture. “Blending in more modern elements, like the shade and the fabric on the chairs, made an interesting contrast to Lisa’s antiques,” says Roz. “Not only that, it reflected the fun and funky side of her personality.” Room to Play Getting Lisa to have fun with the decor wasn’t a tough sell. “What’s the harm in trying something new?” she asks. “If people could just play, in decorating and life both, they could have a lot more fun. As for the fur shade? I’ll keep it a while and when I’m ready for something new, I’ll change it. “People have a tendency to get stuck in what they should do, how things should be, and I say, ‘No!’” she continues. “Instead, I try to think of the most obscure, unlikely pairings for things and how they might work. When I do flowers, that means succulents with soft blooms. When I play with color, it’s opposites on the color wheel. In furniture, it’s old with new pieces. In style, it’s masculine with feminine, aggressive with demure. That’s how I make things fresh and keep it all interesting: I try something new and unexpected.” Oreo stretches and meows loudly. Lisa, fired up on conversation, momentarily stopped rubbing his head and apparently he’d prefer she stay on task. She gently goads him and, insulted as cats can so easily get, he jumps down and haughtily scoots off. She looks, shrugs, and laughs yet again, filling the house with that easy-going vibe that makes it a haven for pets, people, and personal style.

Charleston Weddings Magazine
02-11-2008 | website

Country Fresh Country Fresh bouquets featured
Country Fresh For the Bride Green hydrangeas, white garden and cabbage roses, freesia, fresh lotus pods, lilacs, lisianthus, paperwhites, hypercium berries, "Parrot" tulips, and sweet peas wrapped with horsetail and fixed with pearl pins. $168 For Mothers White garden and cabbage roses, freesia, lilacs, lisianthus, paperwhites, "Parrot" tulips, and sweet peas wrapped with horsetail and fixed with pearl pins For the Groom Cabbage rose wrapped and accented with horsetail. $15

Charleston Weddings Magazine
02-11-2008

Raise the Roof Turn up the glamour with imported handmade tents
Whispering oak leaves and a wide-open Southern sky are perks of outdoor Charleston weddings-until a twig falls into a guest's mushroom Gruyere quiche and either thunderheads gather or a boiling sun melts bride, groom, guests, and buttercream, all. To keep open-sky disasters at bay, wedding planners turn to save-the-day tents. But instead of the been-there, seen-that white or clear plastic numbers, check out the newest chicster on the block. Ooh! Events specializes in unique rentals (their warehouse holds an army of farmhouse tables, oyster-shucking shanties, and scores of patterned china you can mix and match for a cottage-cool look), and recently, owner Lisa Thomas has imported a series of luxurious, ornate tents from India. Crafted of waterproof canvas and lined with cotton sheers, the tents can be configured in a myriad of ways to create singular spaces: Link large tents to build everything from a dining hall to a pavilion, or use small ones to mask a portable loo or even fashion a powder room. And if you crave a color palette of your very own, Lisa can accomodate that, too. The only possible downside? Camping will never be the same. For more information, contact Ooh! Events at 843-881-7576, or www.shopoutofhand.com.

The Post & Courier
11-19-2007 | website

Global Marketplace Exotic accessories add international flair to any decor
They're distinctive. That's what the treasures at Out of Hand have in common. The store carries such a range of home accessories and gift items that it's hard to put it in a category. But it's easy to see that the shop's owner, Lisa Thomas, favors lighting. The shop has an antique gold leaf chandelier with a wheat design, a new set of candleholders with inverted antlers, a smooth iron candlabrum and a beaded black chandelier. There also are candleholders with "blessing candles" that can be burned for a variety of needs, whether you want to be fertile or would like for your garden to be fertile. Out of Hand originated in Thomas' Connecticut garage, where she did home shows, then moved to a Beaufort schoolhouse before relocating to the Old Village in Mount Pleasant. The shop has been there for seven years. "If it speaks to me artistically, it could wind up in the shop," says Thomas, who looks for items as far away as Belgium, Italy and London, and as close as the Brimfield Antique show and Flea Market in Massachusetts and her favorite haunts in San Francisco. In addition to lighting, you'll find colorful egg vases, horn-framed mirrors and matching picture frames. You'll also find some stylish purses that can be hung on a wall in lieu of art. In all three local shops, the selection of merchandise is diverse. And you needn't purchase the most expensive item in any one of them to get the feeling that you have acquired something special.

Charleston Weddings Magazine
10-17-2007

It's a Family Affair Some kind of Wonderful
Charleston-native Katherine Parker and fiance Ryan Clark of Mandeville, Louisiana, shared a six-year romance so strong that even survived his one-year trek around the world. The pair, who both share a great love for the outdoors and being on the water, as well as a deep devotion to family, let the latter rule when Ryan popped the question. Katherine said yes, and the two began planning their big day. Although both wanted a large formal wedding, every detail the couple chose for their 500-guest affair was resplendent with family tradition, Old-World romance, and antique elements. "A lot of the inspiration came from looking at old photographs of my parents' and my grandparents' weddings and bringing back the details that played an important role in each of those events," says Katherine, adding, "Even though ours was a big wedding we wanted it to feel intimate." To capture that feeling, Katherine turned to Lisa Thomas of Out of Hand, who wove in classic, time-honored details that would achieve a polished, nostalgia-driven evening. At the reception site, the look came to life with intimate gathering spots anchored by coffee tables topped with antique mirrors, passed hors d'oeuvres on vintage sterling platters, and softening accents like an Oriental rug. Last, hundreds of candles-some set in custom fixtures-situated throughout the entire space cast a hushed, mellow glow on the festivities. "The candlelight made such a big gathering seem less overwhelming and made for a very warm and welcoming atmosphere," says Katherine who now lives in Chicago with her husband. By the night's end, the thoughtful, romantic ambience seemed the only fitting way to fete a couple whose reverence for familly and the past so auspiciously marked the threshold of their future.

The Post & Courier
08-27-2007 | website

It's My Party Fancy birthday festivities fueled by MTV
It's My Party By Tina Mao INK Contributor Tuesday, August 21, 2007 Fancy birthday festivities fueled by MTV’s ‘My Super Sweet 16’ Meleny from Long Island, N.Y., made her grand entrance to the party with a snake wrapped around her arms, reminiscent of Britney Spears in her 2001 MTV Video Music Awards performance. But Meleny is neither a Britney impersonator nor an exotic reptile handler. Rather, she's just another teenager featured on MTV's hit show "My Super Sweet 16." Following its debut in January 2005, "My Super Sweet 16" became a cultural phenomenon, propelling traditional "coming-of-age" parties into the public eye and highlighting bashes marked by a huge price tag and over-the-top entertainment such as circus performers and hit rappers. Meleny's party, for example, was an Egyptian-themed bash that cost her parents more than $300,000, making it one of the more expensive parties on the show. Most other parties featured on the show don't get much cheaper, with the average shindig easily costing $100,000 or more, about four times the average price of an American wedding. In Charleston, some teens say that sweet 16 birthday parties have always existed in some form, but MTV has increased pressure for girls to have the "perfect" night. "I don't think it's a new thing, but since that show started, people are trying to make these bigger and better parties," says Runala Jaglal, a rising junior at Ashley Hall. Runala, who had her sweet 16 party in May at the Embassy Suites in downtown Charleston, decided to weave cultural aspects of her background into her celebration, settling on the Indian-inspired theme of "Runala's Enchanted Evening." With the help of an event planner from Ooh Events in Mount Pleasant, the party took about five months to plan. After she decided on the color scheme of red, pink, purple and gold, Runala decorated the ballroom where her party took place with traditional Indian sari material, using the cloth to drape the room's walls and accompanying spotlights to illuminate the colors of the material. A henna artist was flown in from Atlanta to paint partygoers with authentic Indian tattoos, and local disc jockey "Special Ed" of 95SX spun music for the party. Although Runala and her family wore traditional Indian clothing sent by relatives overseas to fit the special occasion, Runala didn't have a grand entrance or attention-stealing moment of any sort. "I'm so shy," she says, laughing. "A friend of the family was like, 'Yeah, I can get some Citadel cadets to carry you in,' and I was like, 'Oh, no, I don't want that!' " Runala tried to stay relatively low-key during her party, but she doesn't deny that a sweet 16 fulfills every girl's dream to shine for the night. "People will say things if you have a big party like, 'Oh, you're so spoiled,' but I don't think that's true," she says. "It's one night when you can feel like a princess and feel special. I'm just really glad that I got to share this big event in my life with my friends and that everyone had fun." These fancy fetes are increasingly extending to parties for teen boys, too. It might be less common to find a teenage boy who throws a birthday dance, but Hunter Durham wasn't deterred when it came time to celebrate his 14th birthday. The rising freshman at Porter-Gaud School spent an entire year conjuring up ideas for his most recent birthday in May, building up the hype with all of his friends. "It was a dance and feast in honor of myself," he says. Held at the Marriott Riverview, about 300 people were invited to the party, and friends ranging from sixth-graders through high school seniors showed up to celebrate with him. Not all Lowcountry teens, however, view elaborate sweet 16 birthday parties as favorably. Kevin Abrams, a recent graduate of Porter-Gaud School, believes that MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" provided a catalyst for the recent obsession with elaborate parties, but he ultimately puts blame on the parents for allowing, and even lobbying for, these parties to happen. "The parties have steered away from their original point as a rite of passage," he says. "It feeds into the corporate want of things, of possessions, of having the coolest things, and of being the most popular." Despite these beliefs, Kevin attended the sweet 16 dances for Porter-Gaud's Class of 2006 and 2007. He thinks that throwing a party as a group forces the girls to share the limelight. "When each girl has her own party, everyone tries to outdo each other," he says. Group parties, in fact, are not uncommon in the Lowcountry. Every year, the girls in the sophomore class at Porter-Gaud organize and hold a sweet 16 dance for the entire high school. Since it's not sponsored by the school, all of the responsibility for planning and funding the dance falls on the girls and their parents, and each girl typically contributes from about $250 to $300 for the dance. While Ashley Hall typically doesn't have a classwide party, some groups of friends band together to throw sweet 16 together. Tory Corless and Claire Kruse, two rising juniors at Ashley Hall, had their party together in May at the Seabreeze Marina. Tory and Claire wanted a beach-themed party, so they booked Island Trio to play music and included an abundance of leis, a smoothie bar, barbecue, an inside sitting section and dancing on the dock. Because the girls were so busy with schoolwork and other activities, their mothers took over the planning. But Tory draws a sharp distinction between herself and the girls shown on MTV. "I definitely think that kids with that much money shouldn't be spending it in the certain areas that they do. My parents would never let me be like that," she says. "If I started crying over the fact that I couldn't have a certain rapper at my party, they would never stand for that." The coming-of-age parties have even spread to more cultural and religious roots. More teenagers are throwing elaborate bar mitzvahs as a way to celebrate their own emergence into young adulthood. Molly Kalinsky, a rising sophomore at Porter-Gaud School, had her bat mitzvah in December 2004 on the second floor of the Charleston Place Hotel in downtown Charleston, renting the ballroom and using a horseback-riding theme. From stable decorations to chocolate mousse presented in trophy cups for dessert, the party reflected Molly's love of riding. With about 300 guests invited, the entire party took about a year and a half to plan. For the Kalinskys, Molly's bat mitzvah was special because she was the first one in the family to have one. She agrees that bat mitzvahs have been becoming more like traditional sweet 16 birthday parties, but sees the positive and negative side to that. "It's bad because bat mitzvahs are supposed to be more religious, and now the parties are becoming more and more important to the kids," she says. "But the parties are fun and people enjoy them, so it's good in that way." Tina Mao, a graduate of Porter-Gaud School, will be a freshman at Duke this fall. E-mail her at tinamao89@gmail.com.

The Knot
08-14-2007 | website

The Knot awards Ooh Best of!
The Knot has awarded Out of Hand the title of "Best Of" in Florists of the Southeast.

Southern Living
07-24-2007 | website

Charleston's Coastal Villages Cross the river to explore a charming, more casual side of this iconic city.
Beyond the steeples of Charleston, South Carolina, the silvery span of a new bridge leads to Mount Pleasant, Sullivan's Island, and Isle of Palms. You'll find the same hospitality here as in neighboring Charleston but with a breezier style. Leave the seer-sucker image behind on King Street, and change into shorts and sandals to enjoy shady sidewalks and sand-between-your-toes places. Up the Creek As the day winds down on the Cooper River, locals head to Shem Creek. This meandering stretch of water reaches into the heart of Mount Pleasant. Once a watermen's area, the creek holds as many pleasure boats as shrimpboats parallel-parked these days. If you don't have a boat, it's no problem. You'll find ample parking off Coleman Boulevard. Settle into a creekside table at Red's Icehouse. Rustic and casual, it dishes up seafood and knockout sunset views. On Wednesday evenings, Red's offers party cruises. Or you can make your own meal with fresh shrimp from C.A. Magwood & Sons Seafood. The Village Vibe Pitt Street in Mount Pleasant's Old Village feels as serene as ever. Oak-shaded streets embrace neighborhoods cozied up to the river. Cute boutiques and eateries fill old storefronts. Stop by the timeless Pitt Street Pharmacy, and slide onto a well-worn stool at its soda fountain. Order a cherry Coke to wash down a homemade chicken salad or pimiento cheese sandwich. Afterward, walk to Out of Hand, a gift store with handbags, jewelry, handmade accessories, and stationery. Next door, check out the stone sculptures from Zimbabwe in Utonga Gallery. Sweet temptations fill the Village Bakery nearby. For a more substantial meal, try the Old Village Post House. Owned by the folks who run High Cotton and Slightly North of Broad in Charleston, this restored inn serves lunch and dinner of equal quality to its big-city brethren.

Charleston Magazine
08-25-2006 | website

Flight of Fancy A touch of whimsy for a Garden party
Charleston is such a popular destination for weddings that it can often be a challenge for the even local couples to find a venue. One creative bride decided to bypass a swanky locale in favor of a personal paradise – her own backyard. A local artist, who reside in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village, asked Lisa Thomas of Out Of Hand to design an evening to remember in her favorite setting. Invitations Thomas created an avian affair, a nod to both the garden setting and a common motif in the bride’s paintings. The custom invitations featured watercolors of birds on Italian paper in a single chocolate folder with a pocket. “I like to weave the bride’s personality into the event,” says the veteran planner. “The bird theme was subtle but tied everything together, showing up on the invitations, throughout the décor, and on the cake.” Setting & Décor The quite front walk under a canopy of oaks became the aisle, and the front porch – each column and shutter swathed in Monstera leaves, blue hydrangea, and glowing lanterns – the altar. “Instead of chairs or benches, we had signature A Charleston seating – joggling boards – for the ceremony.” Following their vows, the newlyweds invited their party to join them in the side garden for dinner and festivities. There, the reception went to the birds, elegant and colorful birds, that is. Thomas found antique alabaster birdbaths for the centerpieces and vintage china painted with birds for the place setting. “Modern brides have many choices besides traditional gilded white china; for smaller weddings, borrowing china can really stretch a budget and create a personal feel and conversation point for guests,” she says. “And larger parties, using different china at each table adds a unique touch.” Food & Drink For the garden bar, Thomas lined one of the bride’s three tiered iron planters with Spanish moss and filled it with bottles of sparkling water, white wine and beer. For a colorful and sparkly specialty drink, she served an aptly named “Bird of Paradise,” a delicious concoction of Prosecco, fresh mango juice and blue berries. Before the newlyweds flew the coup for their honeymoon, they enjoyed a plentiful buffet dinner with guests. The menu from J.B.C. Catering was as colorful as the décor, starting with a next of crab and mango relish with a tortilla “spoon.” Guests then enjoyed paella studded with shrimp, mussels, clams, and chorizo over saffron rice and tantalizing tapas, including roasted cauliflower salad, artichoke tomato confit, roasted peppers and a bean salad. Tips An elegant event doesn’t always have to be costly, says Thomas. She recommends borrowing china from your mother or grandmother or joggling boards from a neighbor. “It’s the simple but unexpected touches that make the most impact.”

Lucky Magazine
05-10-2006

Shopping with LUCKY! Lucky shops Out of Hand!

Charleston Weddings Magazine
04-28-2006

He Loves Me... OOH's Lisa Thomas offers crafty daisy ideas...
Event designer Lisa Thomas of Out of Hand offers crafty ideas on how to use the plucky daisy as your wedding theme. 1. a daisy wreath for a sweet welcome. 2. Fig branches and maidenhair fern make a lovely presentation for die-cut daisy butter cards. 3. Trim a plain headband in daisies for your flower girl 4. Give vintage daisy necklaces to your bridesmaids. 5. Personalize t-shirts with an iron-on transfer to give as favors. 6. Create custom wrap with a scanned image printed onto oversized paper. 7. A favor box is adorned with ribbon and a button. 8. A special gift box is made pretty with embossed paper, ribbon, and a button (see how-to on page 96). 9. Scan and print a daisy image, paste onto a bag, and drop seeds inside as a favor. 10. Cardstock with a die-cut window makes a fun save-the-date. 11. Ribbon and a silk daisy turn a plain purse into a clevber corsage for the mother of the bride.

Charleston Weddings Magazine
04-28-2006

Enchanting True Romance
"I love weddings that are outdoors," says designer Lisa Thomas of the winsome woodland bouquet she created for just such an occasion, using dahlias cymbidium orchids, antique green hydrangea, chocolate cosmos, and dark burgundy hyacinth, accented with curly willow, chives, kumquats, fern curls, and tiny dried flowers coated with copper stardust. "It's got a real fariy-tale feel to it," she adds. "It's Old World, but with a touch of modernity.."

Charleston Home + Design
04-28-2006 | website

La Dolce Vita Event designer Lisa Thomas warms up a winter evening with an inspired outdoor fete
For Lisa Thomas, owner of the eclectic Old Village gift emporium Out of Hand and an event design company of the same name, throwing a fabulous party is all about finding the right inspiration. “Whether it’s a movie, a book, or a place that I love, I try to remember all of the details that make it special–the décor, colors, foods, and setting–and then translate them into my own event,” she says. For this evening’s affair, inspiration came from the birthday dinner at the end of the 2000 film Chocolat. “I was so touched by that scene, and I wanted to share the feeling with my friends,” Thomas says. In doing so, she set out to create a party that felt comfortable and casual, yet entirely enchanted. “I really try to take my guests out of the everyday and into a completely different place,” she says. “For example, I light the entire house in candlelight–it has an old-fashioned ambiance and comes across as totally unexpected.” The real party is outdoors thought, in the invigorating chill of a Lowcountry winter. While she incorporated elements from the film’s dinner, including good friends and a chocolate theme, Thomas offers this reminder: “Don’t feel like you need to re-create something exactly. Use your favorite details from whatever inspired you and then fill in the rest with your own ideas to really make it yours.” HOSTING HINTS: • Take advantage of mild Lowcountry winters. “We’re lucky that here, we can entertain outdoors even during the cooler months,” says Thomas, “Just throw on a sweater, light the fire pit, and make some warm drinks.” • Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the big picture. “Pick 10 things that you want to stand out and only focus on those 10 things,” she suggests. • Lighten your load by assigning something to each of your guests. “You can still keep your theme a secret,” says Thomas. “Everyone can bring a different piece of the party, making for a fun surprise whtn they see how it all comes together.” • Get the kids involved. Enlisting eager helpers can make a simple project much more fun, and if your guests have their own children, invite them along as well. “I always hire one babysitter to watch all of the kids in another part of the house,” says Thomas. “That way, everyone doesn’t have to get separate sitters and my friends don’t have to hurry home.” THE MENU Chocolate Martinis Chocolate Bruschetta Cocoa-Hazelnut Beef Filet Dutch Mashed Potatoes Chocolate-Cherry Salad Cocoa-Hazelnut Beef Filet (serves 6) 1 1/2 cups unsweetened organic cocoa powder 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, coursely ground 1 Tbs. sea salt 1 Tbs. pepper, freshly ground 6 three oz. portions of beef filet Stir together cocoa powder and hazelnuts until thoroughly mixed. Lightly salt and pepper filets. Sprinkle cocoa-hazelnut mixture on a plate. One at a time, place filets on plate and pack mixture onto them until all pieces are heavily coated. Cover filets and place in refrigerator for one hour. Remove beef from refrigerator and let sit until they reach room temperature. Grill over medium heat to desired doneness (about seven minutes per side for medium). Serve immediately. Dutch Mashed Potatoes (serves 6) 6 medium Yukon gold potatoes 1/2 stick butter 2 oz. Clemson blue cheese Dash of milk 1/2 tsp. Sea salt Cut potatoes into one-inch slices. Boil rapidly until tender (about 12 minutes). Drain. In large bowl combine potatoes, butter, blue cheese, and milk. Mash together until well-combined. Sprinkle in sea salt to taste. Chocolate Bruschetta (yields approx. 24 slices) 1 baguette, sliced 1/2 cup hazelnut oil 2 Tbs. Sea salt 6 oz. Dark chocolate, ground 2 oz. Milk chocolate, ground Lay baguette slices out on cookie sheet. Lightly drizzle with hazelnut oil. Sprinkle sea salt across top. Mix dark and light chocolate together. Pile into the center of each bread slice. Place in broiler for five minutes or until chocolate is melted and bread is slightly toasted. Serve immediately. Chocolate-Cherry Salad (serves 8) 1 container mixed field greens 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped 1 cup tart cherries, dried 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette 1 cup air-puffed cherries, dried 1 cup dark chocolate, broken into small pieces Toss greens, hazelnuts, and tart cherries together. Add vinaigrette and toss again. Plate salads individually and add air-puffed cherries. In center of salad, place a small handful of dark chocolate pieces. Chill for eight minutes. Serve. Chocolate Martinis (serves 10-15) 1 bottle Triple sec 1 cup cocoa powder 1 bottle Three Olives Chocolate Vodka Crushed ice MarieBelle Almond Brittle Candy olives Wet rim of martini glass in triple sec and lightly dip into cocoa powder. Mix three parts vodka with one part triple sec in cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice. Stir gently until thoroughly chilled. Strain into martini glass. Add a few MarieBelle chocolate olives.

Victoria Magazine
04-28-2006

Creating a Stir "I've wanted to own a store since I was five..."
"I've wanted to own a store since I was five," says Lisa Wofford. Once she discovered beautiful Beaufort, South Carolina, and a gracious old house to restore, she unleashed her imagination in two delightful shops that awaken the artist in others. Beaufort hasn't been the same since Lisa Thomas came to town. Bubbly and energetic, a professional events planner from the sophisticated Northeast, she arrived six years ago to run a tennis tournament nearby - and never left. "It's such a wonderful, peaceful little town," she says, settling on the lower piazza of her 1880's house, just blocks from the Intracoastal Waterway and its ramble of islands. "There are artists, painters, really good food and a great collection of early houses. Some, like this one, have been renovated, others haven't." Porch-sitting, however, is hardly Lisa's style. In short order, she married Peter Wofford, a writer, and opened her first store in the historic center of town - a delightfully eclectic blend of high-end antiques and handmade hats, jewelry, soaps and body products. "I've traveled a lot, and I saw no reason why Beaufort shouldn't have the fashionable, well-crafted things you can find in larger towns," she explains. In honor of her artists, she dubbed this first shop Out of Hand: The Art of Living - though Peter sometimes claims that "I'm the one who's out of hand," says the entrepreneur with a laugh, reaching down to lift their baby daughter, Emma Claire, into her lap. Motherhood hasn't slowed Lisa's front of ideas. At her newest Out of Hand shop, subtitled "The Art of Creating," you can not only see and buy fine papers, jewelry, floral arrangements and scented candles, you can also learn to make your own and find all the best materials to do so. "I'm the kind of person who thinks - Hey, I could do that! Now we've got people all over town feeling the same way." The Beaufort house Lisa fell in love with - a classic four-over-four-room structure, with a master bedroom and separate cottage added later in the back - had already been partially restored. Unfortunately, all its solid old doors, claw-foot tubs and some fireplace mantels had vanished; so the first thing Lisa did was hunt through salvage and antiques shops to replace those fundamentals. "I feel it's important to keep the historic story line of a house," she says, "then shake it up!" In decorating, she's no stickler for period accuracy, believing that "furnishings should be a reflection of who you are. And I like the unexpected." In genteel dining rooms, for example, the regional tradition inclines to dark mahogany Chippendale or Queen Anne. Lisa prefers honey-toned tiger maple chairs, left, around her table - "a mix I collected in ones and twos." To set off the tall, shuttered windows and crown moldings in cream, she chose a bleu for the walls "that's formal yet light and airy." A trio of pale columns, matched by three more in the opposite corner, serve as perfect pedestals for flowers and candelabras. For Lisa, a significant part of the renovation was replacing all the lighting in the house with the antique bronze, gilded and crystal-drop confections she collects. "I've been a treasure hound for years," she admits. As if being the creative force behind her two shops along with planning parties and events (including that annual tennis tournament) for her clients weren't enough, she already has her eye on other fine old houses throughout the low country that need a Lisa-lift. "I love restoring old houses, and there's so much potential here," she sighs happily. Lisa Wofford's second idea-crammed shop, above, is housed in a Beaufort schoolhouse built in the 1860's for free blacks. And once again, it's something of a school. Wander into Out of Hand: The Art of Creating to order invitations on beautiful papers or find a unique piece of jewelry for a gift, and you'll see a wonderful selection right next to the materials needed to make your won. Want help? The shop offers classes, too. "When I felt the urge to do these things," says Lisa, who insists she's a "dabbler," "I could never find the right supplies: the glycerin for soap, say, or semiprecious stones and nice clasps for jewelry. We have it all. We see what's in fashion, whether it's bookbinding or stenciling floorcloths, and resource the best materials immediately." Lisa's concept in retailing combines what she calls "perfect ambience" and "getting people to explore their own creativity." And it has the place hopping at all hours. As music drifts through the store, a bride might be planning her flowers in one corner while a group of youngsters paint lemonade glasses at a table. In appealing vignettes, ribbons and wrappings, antique tables and planters, body oils and dried wraths tempt the browser. Baskets hold such little finds as natural skeleton leaves, ideal on gift tags or cards. Someone is bound to pop in to get help with a project from Juli Mills, who is the shop manager and also an accomplished jewelry designer. Many an evening, light and chatter pour from the schoolhouse windows, as small classes meet to learn floral arranging or paper-making from an expert."Friends like to sign up together," says Lisa. "It's the perfect girl's night out."