Black ties, polka dots, and fish fries 

Plus One

Since we're constantly looking for an excuse to dress up, we jumped at the opportunity to attend Thursday's March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. Of course, the black-tie optional event wasn't just about donning a tuxedo; we were also raising money for a non-profit that touches the lives of new mothers and infants. Another draw for the event was the generous spread of samples from local restaurants. Hamby's Catering traded their popular crustless sandwiches for Kobe beef and fried chicken sliders, while Hall's Chophouse offered a somewhat healthier option with a chopped salad we liked so much that we went back for seconds. A favorite of the evening was Rita's Seaside Grill's barbecue and homemade pickles. We love the down-home food, even in black-tie attire.

Guests gathered their plates and headed to the Crystal Ballroom at the Charleston Marriott to listen to first-hand accounts of how the March of Dimes helps local families. The altruistic tone was set and everyone was eager to bid on the auction items to benefit the organization. The starting prices were above our pay grade, but it was fun to watch the back and forth of the eager bidders.

Though not black-tie, we still needed to dress to the nines for the opening of the preppy-chic Kate Spade boutique. Local lifestyle blogger Chassity Evans of looklingerlove.blogspot.com teamed up with InStyle to host a kick-off for the new shop on King Street. Evans was in perfect party attire, a little black dress accented with a rhinestone collar from the new Kate Spade collection. Shoppers drawn to the store with the promise of a 20 percent discount were further encouraged to stay and sip on champagne or nibble on mini grilled cheese or ice cream sandwiches. The staff was perfectly in tune with Spade's polka dot collection and many sported bright orange heels in anticipation of the upcoming fall season. Before exiting, we entered to win a new handbag and grabbed a free copy of the latest InStyle.

We finally got a break from all the finery on Sunday at the Cannonborough block party and fish fry hosted by Friends of Dereef Park and Charleston Peace One Day. It seemed as if everyone was out enjoying the beautiful Charleston weather, from families with strollers to hip young professionals to an older lady who walks her cats on a leash. The first stop was Simonton Park, where we grabbed a popsicle from Sugar Bakeshop and gathered some literature on the other activities going on around the block. We spotted neighborhood milliner Leigh Magar strolling and later excitedly learned that she contributed to the silent auction at the Cannon Street YMCA that day. We stopped in to see what else could be won at the auction and admired the exhibit of photographs and paintings from the historic building in the area. We ended the day by grabbing a box lunch from the lovely ladies of the United Order of Tents. They also encouraged us to tour their building, a 2012 Preservation Society Seven to Save site. It was a neighborhood revival in full swing.

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