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Wednesday
Apr092014

Kitchens to Inspire...

When I was remodeling my kitchen late last year, I relied entirely on home decor blogs for inspiration. I thought I'd pull some pics out of the folder I created to share some ideas for your own kitchens. And as we all know, it doesn't have to be a full remodel to make a change for the better... 

I love the idea of horizontal boards as a backdrop...as well as traditional subway tile. And I have to say, I'm a fan of open shelving in a kitchen, it just feels more interesting as you can style it like a bookshelf and show a bit of personality. 

It's nice when you can have a white backdrop and then just play with color using all manner of accessories (including the kitchen counter). So many good ideas out there- I hope you create your own desktop folder of kitchen pics you like. In time, you'll be inspired to paint a wall, change a light, put up a bookshelf...like I said, small changes make a big impact. 

 

Photos: My Paradissi; atticmag.com; casasugar.com; kitchenbuilding.com; iidudu.com; refresheddesigns.blogspot.com; john-lewis.co.uk; Door Sixteen; themarionhousebook.com; kitchenisms.com; remodelista.com; thekitchn.com; trinckt.blogspot.com      Content: Sweet Peach

 

Tuesday
Apr082014

A Little Weather

I have a strong memory of my grandmother knitting afghans throughout my childhood. It was something that she loved to do and she did it well. A hand made blanket is infused with so much time and passion, it tells a story unto itself. Lucky for us, Jessica Green, a textile artist from Marshall, North Carolina, is continuing the tradition of our grandmothers and their grandmothers...

As her process is 100% done by hand, Jessica is devoutly true to her craft. She utilizes traditional weave structures and patterns that were common to colonial weaving of 19th century America and Europe. 

Jessica, "I am deeply inspired by the history of 'women's work' and women's place in weaving as well as the way women have carried this history along, lifting it up each time it's almost forgotten. I draw upon those women every day." 

Jessica shears her goats twice a year, which she then mixes with the sheep fleece sourced from neighborhood farms. Jessica, "The mixed fleeces are dyed with natural dyes (sometimes left undyed, and sometimes dyed with a combination of natural dye and a low acid protein dye) and finally I spin the fleece into yarn." It takes Jessica 3-4 months to spin enough yarn for just one blanket. Then the weaving begins...

Jessica researches online and keeps a few historical weaving books closeby for inspiration. Once a creative direction is decided upon, she starts to draft her motif. Jessica, "From the beginning the design starts to feel a little more mine- as human error creeps in. Once I have the gist of the mathematics of the design, then I'm free to riff, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot."

This gorgeous coverlet is part of Jessica's hand spun collection, as all the wool used is from a local sheep and her own goats. Jessica, "I washed and carded the fleece myself and spun it into the beautiful yarn that is the foundation for this blanket." 

I love the world that Jessica has created for herself. She raises her animals, forages for natural dyes, shears her goats and sheep, then spins and weaves her yarn into magnificent pieces to treasure and share. Jessica, "I find deep satisfaction on carrying on an ancient art form that links nearly every culture that has ever existed."

Jessica grew up in Texas but recently moved to North Carolina and feels quite at peace in her new surroundings. Jessica, "I am completely enamored by Appalachia. It is distinct and historic and fiercly guards its culture. It's lawless and wild and storytelling is deeply embedded in everday life." And because of artisans like Jessica, the rich and varied stories imbedded in this ancient art form continue to be told. 

 

Photos: A Little Weather   Content: Sweet Peach


Monday
Apr072014

Drink the Sunshine


If you're like me right now, you could use a Monday jolt. Sunshine, an energy drink made in Winston-Salem North Carolina gives you a good wake up call without all the jitters. Each Sunshine can is filled with electrolytes, vitamin B12, natural flavors and is sweetened with natural stevia and ginger root extract. It's meant to hydrate and awaken our senses the natural way. I like that... 

Sunshine is inspired by legendary moonshiner, Buck O'Hairen. Born on a farm near Boonville, North Carolina in 1837, Buck became famous for his strong and tasty libations. A paranoid, ornary fellow, Buck did things his own way and by 1872 he was producing over 60 gallons of moonshine a day- an incredible feat for the time. As the legend goes, after a series of misfortunes and many a hangover, Buck then concocted Sunshine, his antedote to moonshine. 

Keith Vest and Joe Parrish concoted the current Sunshine recipe in homage to Buck and in response to the Red Bull craze which, truth be told, isn't the healthiest. They found their niche and I'm eager to try it. Click here to find your own bit of sunshine and let the week begin...

 

Friday
Apr042014

White Whale

Two southerners, Dave Staples and Corey Mason of Durham, North Carolina started their company, White Whale with one mission in mind- "To create a unique line of cocktail mixers using only exotic juices and garden fresh herbs." I'm in...

They want to "conjure prohibition-era sophistication without any of the pretension." All you need to do is pick a mixer and add the recommended spirit. Finish off with a complementary garnish and you're enjoying a cocktail with history, depth and a really nice kick in the pants. It's Friday after all...

Their mixer descriptions are making me want a cocktail right now- and it's just 8 in the morning as I write this. Your Older Brother adds hints of lemon, Siberian fir, sweet orange to an ounce of vodka. The Filthy Liar offers hints of lychee, lime and clove to be mixed with gin while Auntie's Old Fashioned blends exotic youngberries with an infusion of rosemary to be combined with a couple of ounces of my favorite spirit, bourbon. I'm salivating. 

I always love finding new well designed and intentioned products that make the perfect, unexpected gift. I can think of so many who would love a three pack of White Whale's speak-easy inspired goodness. Each bottle makes eight delicious cocktails for your next Friday afternoon happy hour. Learn more about where to buy White Whale, here and enjoy your weekend everyone...

 

Photos: Mike Gilger, White Whale    Content: Sweet Peach


Thursday
Apr032014

I wanna crawl into bed...

I'm one week into producing on this latest reality show in the Dominican Republic. I've actually taken a good 9 month break from TV (my longest ever) and now I'm back in the thick of it, working 12 hour shifts, surrounded by reality madness. Right now, all I can envision is a big old bed to crawl into as sleep is the only thing I'm in the mood for right now...

These images conjure up sleep in the best way possible, don't you think? I just love lots of layers and pillows- a place to sink into and disappear for a bit. 

I'm drifting away to sleep as I finish writing this. Tonight, I sleep- not in anything as wondrous as found in these pictures. It's the standard hotel bed, but the sliding door is open and I can hear the breeze through the palm trees, and in the far distance, ocean waves. Exhuasted, I close my eyes to sleep.

 

Photos: My Paradissi; Decorology; Desire to Inspire; somethingsiknow.wordpress.com; erinterior.com; Traci Zeller; the designtabloid.com; House to Home      Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
Apr022014

Glass and Steel...

Steel framed windows were made famous by the UK based company, Crittall Windows. You'll find them featured in thousands of buildings throughout England (including Houses of Parliament and Tower of London) and these windows also became a notable feature in the Art Deco and Modernist movements. It's hard not to fall hard for their home decor reinvention as a room partition. 

Crittal Windows was founded by Francis Henry Crittall, (1860-1935) who was an English businessman and philanthropist. He started the production of these windows in 1884 and quickly became the leading manufacturer of all steel framed windows and doors. With a little research you'll find lots of old ads and pics from the period- I especially love these vintage Crittall books. 

It's been interesting to see a resurgence of these steel windows here in America, perhaps a natural evolution to industrial modern design. Besides their aesthetically pleasing look, these windows allow in gobs of light while the steel adds drama and sophistication. 

I'm not sure which is more amazing in this last pic, the steel windows or the floor? In any event, a photo of steel and glass windows as a room partition is now a central feature on my inspiration board. Believe it be...

 

Photos: agentofstyle.com; blog.terryfabrics.co.uk; House to Home; keltainentalorannalla.blogspot.com; kepoon.com; livablemachine.blogspot.com; Michelle King; mymillieu.com.au; Remodelista; Summerfield Design; clickinteriors.com     Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Apr012014

B By Brandie

As spring is finally here, I'll soon be having some get togethers on the back porch- which gets me thinking on pretty ways to style a table. I always do a mish mash of vintage and new but these table settings by B by Brandie are a nice alternative too.

Brandie Gehan of Dallas, Texas founded her home accessories line in 2012. It's modern, colorful and made to mix and match. I particularly love her collection of turquoise plates, (includes appetizer, dessert, dinner and charger plates) many of which have a touch of gold. It adds that hint of fun sophistication. 

I like the idea of playing with all these pretty patterns, including the tablecloth. What a great style combination to inspire the rest of us. The gold flatware is a perfect complement too.

 

 

Although I have fallen for everything turquoise in her shop, Brandie's collection has so much more to offer. See the entirety of her home goods shop, which includes dinnerware, flatware, vases, candles, glassware and more, here.

 

Photos: B by Brandie     Content: Sweet Peach

 

Monday
Mar312014

Otis James, Spring 2014

When I think of Nashville, I think of Otis James. To me, he represents that innovative, artistic spirit that I can always feel when I visit the city. Plus, he just makes the most luscious manly apparel and accessories for the modern man with a touch of classic nostalgia. It's just all so good...

For spring 2014, Otis is offering his latest collection of fabrics for his trademark bow ties. These handcrafted gems come with hand printed labels and are each individually numbered. 

I bought my dad one of Otis' brawler caps last year and I have to say, it was probably my favorite gift I ever got him. He appreciated the handiwork (the way they used to make 'em) as well as the high quality look and feel of the fabric. Which is why I'm thinking of getting this slugger hat for him next. It's a throwback ball cap with a hand stamped racing flag logo and paisley handkerchief cotton lining. Only 50 were made so it makes for a special gift. 

One of the most fun accessories to add to a guy's wardrobe is a pocket square. It's such an easy way to add a sophisticated flair, either inside a jacket pocket or as a backpocket hanky. I mean, there's always a need for a hanky, why not make it stylish? 

A good tie bar is hard to find. As men often wear them wrong, there are two simple rules to follow- Tie bars should be 3/4 of the width of your tie and be worn between the third and fourth button of your dress shirt. These vintage tie bars are the perfect size, plus pretty darn cool. I love their old school feel and that hatchet is just the coolest thing ever (sold out). Yet, there are so many great ones to choose from as items and fabrics are constantly in flux at the Otis James shop. Check out all the goods, here.

 

Photos: otisjames.com      Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Mar282014

Revolution Doughnuts

It's a funny thing- if you live in Atlanta and mention Revolution Doughnuts among friends, there are always a few people who start salivating on the spot. They shout out their favorites, "the Almond Joy Nut,"...  "Nutella Cream Puff" or "Raspberry Sprinkle," and all this enthusiastic talk of scrumptious doughnuts reminds you how good this place really is. 

Maria Moore Riggs has always loved to bake. When she moved to Atlanta from San Francisco, she started selling her homemade scones, muffins and cookies at the local farmer's markets and quickly found a following. When the thought came to try something new like doughnuts, the response was very encouraging...

And so, with all of her savings and a lot of hard work, Maria opened Revolution Doughnuts in Decatur, Georgia during the summer of 2012. Maria attributes the shop's success to a tried and true product that also has good timing. Maria, "These are nostalgic treats offered during a downturn in the economy. A doughnut offers that feeling of comfort and happiness." 

Maria is also a smart business woman. After listening to all the diet restrictions and flavor preferences of her customers over the years, she created a variety of doughnut options including Cake Style, Yeast Style and Baked Cake. Cake Style is tender but also dense and moist with a slightly crunchy exterior. The Yeast Cake is fluffy and puffy with a bit of a chew...

And the Baked Cake has a texture like a pound cake or a muffin. The dough is a little sweet and vanilla like. Because every day the crew bakes from scratch, Maria has the ability to offfer various options in the doughnuts, many of which are vegan and gluten free. But it's important to note this is an open kitchen and as Maria shared, "We can't guarantee these doughnuts are trace free from cross contamination." 

What she can guarantee is a fresh, delicious doughnut that is made from scratch that day. There are no hydrogenated oils, no synthetic flavors or colors. Instead you'll find ingredients like organic flour, local dairy and produce and 100% trans-fat free vegetable oil. Above is their popular, Big 'Ol Cinnamon Bun.



When I visited the shop, it was an all girls day in the kitchen. Together they began their day at 4am to create the mainstay of their menu, including seasonal and daily specials. On this day, the special was a Coconut Creme Brulee...

One of their most popular treats is the Caramel Bacon doughnut. Maria was inspired to make the glaze because of her father-in-law, who grew up eating southern cakes. He remembers fondly a boiled caramel icing that his mom used to make. Once Maria perfected it, she realized it would make the perfect glaze for a doughnut. She then adds bacon via The Spotted Trotter, an excellent, slow food style charcuterie business here in Atlanta, whom she got to know while working the farmer's markets.

If the menu is a bit overwhelming, it's only because she has created something for everyone, including savory options like the ridiculously good, Crunchy Mister...

As spring has just sprung, keep an eye out for the Fresh Strawberry Slider and then in the summer, the Peach Slider. Plus, every holiday gets a doughnut and new concoctions pop up from time to time like the popular S'mores doughnut or the Bar Snack, made with crushed salty peanuts and pretzels atop a beer caramel glazed yeast doughnut. Their slogan is "Put something good in your mouth." It's funny, I couldn't of said it better myself. 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach   1st pic: Whitney Ott   Last 2 pics: Instagram/Maria Moore Riggs


Thursday
Mar272014

Fly, fly away...

I'm going to keep it short and sweet today as I'm headed to the Dominican Republic in a few hours. I'm off to produce another reality show. I don't know much about this one, I just said yes after I realized it would be taking place on an island with palm trees and hot weather. I'll also be working with my favorite tv boss in a country I've never visited before. As I'll be there a good month, please leave any comments of places I should visit or things I should try (I'll be staying on the eastern shore). I will have very few days off but the first chance I get, I'll be exploring the island and sharing finds via my Instagram feed. Blog posts will continue here at Sweet Peach- in fact one of my favorites will post tomorrow about Revolution Doughnuts. Enjoy your Thursday everyone, it's time to fly, fly away...

 

Illustration: Meredith P Designs     Content: Sweet Peach