Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gardner Village Shop Spotlight: Aunt Elsie's Antiques & Consignment Store

Brrrr... It's been a cold winter. I've been huddled up indoors for much of 2016 and now find myself longing for some time out and about. Perhaps you can relate. If not, and you need a little extra push to get you out the door, I've got just the eye candy you're after. Join me for a little window (or Windows, if you will) shopping inside Aunt Elsie's Antiques & Consignment Store at Gardner Village.

Beginning with this post, we're going to host monthly Gardner Village Shop Spotlights, where we'll get to know the warm faces behind The Village shops as we take a look at some of the awesome things they have in store. Consider it your private, behind-the-scenes tour of the stores.

About Aunt Elsie's
This adorable Salt Lake area consignment and antique store has been a part of Gardner Village since 2010. In fact, the store's six-year anniversary is next month. Happy anniversary, AE!

The shop is named after an actual Aunt Elsie who lived the prime of her life in the 30s, serving as a military nurse helping wounded soldiers.  As if this weren't cool enough, some of her belongings are actually available for purchase in the shop today!

Setting the Stage
Walk in the shop, and you'll see treasures around every turn. It's such fun wandering through the store and seeing what you happen upon.

You'll also hear two lovely sounds:
1. Light, often nostalgic music.

2. The friendly staff offering to help. They're so knowledegable and kind! This is Susie. She has worked for Aunt Elsie's for two years. Another fun fact: She looks GREAT in blue! (Matches her eyes!)

What's Popular?
Customer favorites include the impressive assortment of Heritage lace and other antique linens, the gorgeous dishes and teapots/cups, and the vintage home decor pieces.

As a crafter, some of my personal favorites include the smaller knickknacks. I wanted to buy some of everything for my various projects. So fun!

Meet the Manager/Owner
This is Denise Dubek, the owner of Aunt Elsie's. She bought the shop in 2009 and has loved being a part of it over the years.

Denise personifies "small business owner." She's kind, extremely knowledegable (I swear she knows the back story behind each item in the shop), and beyond personable. When I asked her about her consigners, her eyes lit up and she began to tell me story after story about people who've been consigners (those who sell in her store) of hers for years.

This table was painted by Muriel, Denise's first consigner and the one who has been with her since the beginning. Denise just beamed as she discussed how talented Muriel is--in addition to painting, she sews, embroiders, and more (even does custom orders)--and how hard working she is. I heard all about how she still irrigates all of her land and actually keeps burros (which she hand waters every day, snow or not, because they don't care for the water in the heated troff she installed). I'm now a fan of Muriel too, and I haven't even met her. LOL That's because of Denise. She clearly loves what she does and those she does it with!

When I asked Denise why antiques, she kept coming back to the stories behind the items. She loves that antiques are unique, have history, and make any surroundings more distinct. As she showed me things around the store, she handled them as if each item were her own cherished heirloom. She truly loves what she does!

I just love this quote from her: "If old mirrors could talk..." She was passionately discussing how fascinating she finds old mirrors because they once hung in someone's home. "How many faces has that mirror seen?" she asked. What a cool point. And one I'd never really thought about in quite that way before.

On The Aunt Elsie's Calendar: Downton Abby Party
There are many fun things going on this year at Aunt Elsie's, starting with their Downton Abby Day. This open house party celebrates all thing about this popular TV show, including period specific attire and plenty of picture taking to capture the look of that era, the serving of tea and scones, Downtown Abby trivia games, and plenty of prizes.

Downton Abby Party Date: Saturday, Feb. 20
Downton Abby Party Time: 10am to 5pm (Come any time!)
Downton Party Dress: Come dressed in your best show-inspired attire or try on some of the clothes in the shop while you visit. Great photo opps await!

On the Aunt Elsie's Calendar: Quarterly Painting Classes
Come discover the tricks of the trade for refinishing furniture and other home decor pieces. Classes are offered each quarter. Visit the Gardner Village events page or call the store for more info.

Whether you can make it to a class or not, you'll want to visit the shop to see their impressive assortment of Rethunk Junk paint and products. As well as the many lovely pieces that have been refinished and are now for sale in the shop.

On the Aunt Elsie's Calendar: Fairy Garden Design
This spring, as the weather warms up and the mystical fairies come out from their winter hibernation at Gardner Village, Aunt Elsie's will be hosting four Fairy Garden Design classes--two in April and two in May. Unlike other garden ideas you may have seen, this one incorporates the found-item/repurposed concept that antique stores are known for. Gardeners will have the option to create a fairy scene in unique pots and containers, giving them true character, perfect for those fairy dwellings and gnome homes.

Aunt Elsie's Specials
In honor of Valentine's Day AND the Downton party, all Valentine's Day decor and small gifts are on sale now through the end of February, including all tea-related items.

Oh, and here's a happy little extra--they gift wrap!

The Handmade Side
In addition to the antiques, Aunt Elsie's carries a lovely assortment of handmade delights, including jewelry, clothing, refinished furniture, signs and more!

Interested in consigning? Come by the shop to fill out a contract and learn more about being a part of the Aunt Elsie's family.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name
It truly is a bit like Cheers inside this charming shop. In the short time I was there, I saw Denise and Susie help a grandmother find the perfect gift for her six-year-old granddaughter (a sweet yellow gingham apron!), I saw them help other customers in search of "new" furniture, and I watched as they lovingly greeted each guest with a smile. The words on the wall of the store couldn't be more true. Come by and see for yourself.

Megan Hoeppner

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

14 Sweet Valentine's Day Treats: You'll Love #3! (+$75 candy gift basket giveaway!!)

You know what they say. The secret to one's heart is through their stomach. And boy do we have that secret sauce when it comes to winning your sweetheart over--14 secrets, to be exact. Chocolate Covered Wagon is where it's at.

But first, speaking of winning, make sure you see the end of this post for details on how you can win a loaded-with-love candy basket valued at $75 from Chocolate Covered Wagon!

Now, let's take a look at 14 ways to show your Valentine they're divine.

1. Caramel Apples
Believe it or not, I'm eating one of these as I type this post, and I assure you it will win that special someone over with ease. 

2. Caramel
Want your caramel without the apple, try one of the sweet treats Chocolate Covered Wagon is known for--the handmade caramel. 

3. Chocolate Pops
Here's an idea that doesn't suck--chocolate on a stick. 

4. Popcorn
The candied variety, of course! 

Flavors include caramel, toffee and white.

5. Spokes
Also known as chocolate-dipped pretzels 

6. Taffy
Show your love you're stuck on them with freshly-pulled taffy.

7. Toffee
Get a little saucy with toffee. 

8. Truffles
Do the truffle shuffle. 

9. Chocolate Covered Raspberries
These bitty berries pack a big punch! 

10. Bagged Brilliance
Want quick cuties for your friends, coworkers, neighbors, classmates... anyone, really? These delights are already bagged and bowed and ready to go. 

11. Dipped Twinkies
Yes, you read that correctly. America's favorited sponge cake is now chocolate-covered. Kids will crush on this Twinkie the Kid!

12. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Is there anything more romantic?

13. Chocolate Hearts
Forget a heart-shaped box of chocolates and go for the heart chocolate. These are about the size of a pancake and oh, so pretty! 

14. Gift Basket
Can't decide on just one delight? Get them all! Create a custom gift basket. Select your favorite sweet treats, and let your friends at Chocolate Covered Wagon gift wrap them for you. 

Want to make any of the ideas unBEARably cute? Pair it with any one of the soft critters available at Chocolate Covered Wagon for the win! Did you know Chocolate Covered Wagon was named one of the Food Network's top 50 candy stores in the country? This sweet award was given during October 2015.

Bonus Bites 

Want one more taste-bud-approved option available at Gardner Village? Check out the gorgeous Valentine's Day cookies available at Naborhood Bakery

Win a $75 Candy Gift Basket!
How's this for showing some love? The Gardner Village location of the Chocolate Covered Wagon is giving one lucky blog friend a gift basket loaded with candy, valued at $75 dollars! Winner will be contacted February 12. Good luck, love!

To Enter
1. Either leave a comment on this post;
2. Or email
3. To increase your chances, visit the Chocolate Covered Wagon (Gardner Village location only) and enter a second time in the store.

Happy Valentine's Day
In this season of expressing affection, please know how much we at Gardner Village love you. As fellow members of the Utah community, it's a joy serving you, our friends and neighbors. 

Megan Hoeppner & the Gardner Village Family