So there's one drawback to this experiment. I'm sort of feeling compelled to shop, an activity I normally avoid.
On Saturday, I woke up thinking I'd hit the Farmers Market with my daughter while my husband and son went to basketball tryouts. Surprisingly, the girl was very excited at the idea. This is a new development in my little 7-year-old. All of a sudden, she likes clothes and shopping and denim jeans too.
I had a wedding to attend that evening and needed a new pair of shoes, so I thought we could hit the Farmers Market and look for some gifts and then walk down King Street in search of denim and heels.
It didn't take me long before I found a cute locally made handbag from add libb designs. Libby Ganong crafts clutches and bags from her storefront studio at 47 Spring St. and sells them at the market on Saturday mornings. I bought one, mainly because I was shopping local and I needed a new accessory for the wedding!
At the next booth, I found a nice wedding present for my friends who were getting married at Bowens Island later that night. The bride is all about being green and local, so I thought she'd appreciate the pieces from Charleston Views. They take old, discarded windows and frames and create artwork using natural materials like cattails, pussy willows, starfish, and the like. Their tagline: one man's trash is another woman's treasure.
At this point, I hadn't even made it halfway down the first row, and I'd already spent more than $100. This was going to be an expensive day.
We dropped our first purchases back at the car and ducked into Blue Bicycle Books to grab a copy of the hot new release Beautiful Darkness, the sequel to Beautiful Creatures, a young adult series set in a fictional Lowcountry town. All the 11 year olds I know absolutely love this book. Bookseller Jonathan Sanchez says the authors will be coming to town in November for an event.
Next up was a dozen eggs from Chucktown Chicken, a farm in Santee where the hens roam and the eggs are fresh with nice bright yolks. We grabbed a dozen, stopped by Meathouse next door and said hello to new dad Jason Houser, and then jumped in line for those ridiculously addictive mini donuts.
After filling up, we decided to hit King Street for shoe shopping. First stop? Bob Ellis. I thought it would be great to use this buy local thing as an excuse for splurging on a pair of Jimmy Choos or something equally ridiculous from the best shoe store on King Street. Turns out, I just don't have the stomach for it. $695 for a pair of kicks is just beyond my comprehension. We kept moving.
I stopped in Copper Penny Shooz and Phillips Shoes, and then I realized that without Pete Banis anymore, it'd be really hard for me to find a locally sold pair of stylish pair of shoes for less than $100. What a bummer.
And then I went to — horrors — the Gap. For kids clothes, I almost exclusively shop online. When Gap emails me a coupon and the school uniforms are worn out, too short, or the wrong season, I order in bulk. My daughter is an odd size that's virtually impossible to find, but at the Gap.com I can order as many as I want. It's a habit that's going to be nearly impossible to break, at least until they don't have to wear uniforms anymore. But it's not like we have very many kids clothing stores. Most of them are boutiques with high-end clothing and prices to match.
After buying a couple pairs of jeans at the Gap (and eating a very local lunch at Monza), we headed over to Mt. Pleasant, looking for less expensive shoe options. First, we stopped in the Shops at Houston Northcutt, a little gem of a strip mall with all kinds of locally owned shops. Southern Belles is one of the very few kids clothing stores around, and one we visit for baby presents and party dresses. We really weren't in the market for either, but my daughter found some shoes she liked. And then I found a little dress that was so cute, I couldn't stand it. I was a sucker for this mom-and-daughter shopping experience, and ended up dropping $170 on a dress and shoes — FOR A KID. See what I mean. This buying local thing is turning me into a monster.
Then, we ambled next door to Copper Penny where I bought a bracelet, ring, and earrings for my outfit that night. I was quickly slipping into crazy Housewives of Mt. Pleasant territory.
The wedding was in 90 minutes, but I was determined to find a pair of shoes. I went in search of the Shoe Fairy, a place that advertises in the paper and has lots of fans among the girls in the office who wear heels to work. After getting lost (why is every street in Mt. Pleasant named after a guy? Ben Sawyer. Chuck Dawley. Johnnie Dodds. Very Confusing.) I finally found my way to the little shop behind CVS. After Bob Ellis, the Shoe Fairy's prices were bargain frikkin' basement. I tried on a bunch, settled on a pair, and then realized I had an hour to get home, get changed, and get out to Bowens Island.
Whew. It was a whirlwind day of overspending. In the end, only 12 percent of my budget-busting shopping spree was spent at a national chain store, the rest was dropped like a bomb on the local economy.
As for eating local, I ate a locally handmade snack at the Farmers Market, had a delicious cauliflower soup and pizza at Monza, and enjoyed a spread from Fiery Ron's Home Team barbecue at the Bowens Island wedding.
Next up: farm fresh eggs for breakfast and a kayaking trip to Crab Island.