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Tuesday
Dec242013

A Christmas Eve Cocktail, served cold

When I asked my friend Andrew about a good Christmas Eve cocktail for the blog that was easy and delicious, his first thought was a Mint Chocolate Martini. I was sold immediately as that's exactly my kind of drink and it sounds perfect for a festive Christmas Eve. Enjoy...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Monday
Dec232013

A Tacky Christmas

Although many of us are stuck on our own Christmas traditions, it's fun to mix things up a bit. So this year, while I'm visiting my close friends in Hermosa Beach, California where I used to live, I embraced whatever came my way, which just happened to be all things tacky and fabulous...

Bryce created a Tacky Christmas window in his popular beachside shop, Curious. Throughout December, his boyfriend Andrew took customer pics in front of the tree, (with a big bin of vintage sweaters and props for everyone to choose from). The room is full of tacky Christmas decor, all of which Bryce and Andrew found this fall during a road trip from Louisville, Kentucky to Wilmington, North Carolina. 

The idea was to find items that provoked nostalgia and Christmas comfort. They stopped at dozens of thrift stores along the way, piling up incredible finds. I especially like their Christmas tree ornaments that remind me of the ones I had as a a kid.  

How amazing is a rug made out of bad demin jeans? Bryce actually found this while perusing a magazine from one of his product reps. He knew he had to have it. It may be the tackiest rug ever made. 

Many try to make Christmas Martha-Stewart-perfect but where's the fun in that? Plus, it's all a bit pricey. Collecting items like these from yard sales and thrift shops allow for an unexpected experience, invoking lots of conversation and memories of a Christmas way back when. 

This picture Andrew cut out of a GQ Magazine and framed it. It's a perfect centerpiece for a tacky mantel. 

A good tip is to take items found that make a strong statement and then add silly things - like felted santas and elves and Christmas bows. Layer the textures and wackiness and enjoy. There's a lot of leeway when you're creating tacky decor...

May you all have a fabulous Christmas, no matter what your tradition. I just hope this inspires you to have a little fun with it. Thank you to my boys- Bryce, Jeremy and Andrew, and the animals- Jennifer, Fulton and Clyde. 

 

 

Friday
Dec202013

Shotguns & Mistletoe, A Southern Tradition

When I was telling my friend Beth of an upcoming blog shoot I was doing about mistletoe, she asked, "You know how they harvest mistletoe in the South, right?" When I said "no," she replied, "a shotgun." This was a happy blogger moment. 

I had no clue. Apparently mistletoe can do a lot of damage to trees. It digs through bark, sucks out sap and nutrients, sometimes killing the tree. In the South, you'll find it in big bundles high in the treetops...and as many a southerner will tell you, "best way to get rid of it is to shoot it out with a shotgun." 

Mistletoe has a storied past. The ancient Druids found value in the plant as when seasons changed and every other plant turned brown, its leaves stayed green. They believed it could ensure fertility, cure illnesses and ward off poisons and witchcraft. Although it's been considered an invasive parasite by many, it's actually an ecological keystone species. A large array of animals depend on mistletoe for food. It attracts various birds and increases diversity rather drastically wherever it grows. 

The idea of kissing under the mistletoe seems to date back to 16th century England. Other records show a Scandinavian origin- and I like their custom which includes plucking a berry every time a kiss is made under the mistletoe and when the last berry has been picked, the privilege ceases. 

Liz Gudmundsson is part owner of Adaptation Floral Design in Atlanta. When you walk into her lovely shop, you can immediately tell there is a talented designer at work here. Her floral collections are thoughtful, one of a kind and gorgeous so when I was thinking of a post about mistletoe, I knew to ask Liz. It turns out she has bunches of them for sale in her shop, all with pretty holiday ribbons of course. 

If you're in the Atlanta area this weekend, stop by Adaptation (open till 5:30) for your own bunch of mistletoe ($7-$15) or check out one of her many other lovely Christmas creations. From top, 6" cedar and eucalyptus wreath, $15;  12" Magnolia, olive and bay leaf wreath, $35; Moss decorative trees, from $10. 

Wherever you are, I hope you buy some mistletoe this season- or shoot it out of a tree with a shotgun. Tied with a pretty ribbon atop the doorway, the end result is festive and fun, especially if you happen upon the right person under its spell...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach  Shotgun photos: randrflyfishing.com; janetsmart.blogspot.com; kimraff.blogspot.com 


Thursday
Dec192013

A Sensible Habit

Brandy Schuman of Atlanta likes to make things pretty and playful. I first met her through Blabla, where she works and then found her again through her side gig, crafting stamps. My neighborhood wine shop, 3 Parks, utilizes her stamps for their bottle tags and with a bit of time, her collection has grown and grown...

In her online shop, A Sensible Habit, you can find dozens of stamps to play with. I particularly like her holiday impressions which have a relaxed, flirtatious vibe to adorn cards, packaging, promotional materials and more. And they're stamps, they'll last forever.

I have a handful of stamps I've collected over the years. I keep them in my top kitchen drawer and am always surprised by how often they come in handy. Check out Brandy's site to find your favorites. Thanks to her pretty, playful ways, there's no need for boring packaging anymore...

 

Wednesday
Dec182013

The Mason Shaker Boys Pick their Holiday Favorites...

I've been a fan of Eric and Josh ever since they launched their Kickstarter campaign for their ingenious Mason Shaker. With a smart promotional campaign and incredible packaging, you just knew they were on to something good. But it's safe to say life has been better than good for these two. They've expanded their barware collection and no matter where I travel, I see the Mason Shaker for sale. Eric and Josh have always been so gracious to Sweet Peach but I still couldn't help smile a big smile when they agreed to share their Holiday Gift Picks with us. Thank you boys, much obliged...

1. Imogene + Willie Barton Jeans, $250. Eric, These are simply put, the best pair of jeans I have ever owned. 

2. Billy Reid Savannah Wingtips, $395. These are great looking dress shoes that go with everything. 

3. Pointer Brand Barn Coat, $127. This is a perfect everyday jacket made in Tennessee. Can't beat that. 

4. Old Try Prints, $40. They're all great, but we're both suckers for our home state, the Old Dominion. 

5. The W & P Cocktail Kit, $279. This kit will help you stock your bar, while the canvas and leather mason bag doubles as the perfect weekend accessory.  

 

Tuesday
Dec172013

Books! Selected by Nan Myers

When I walked into Nan Myers' shop, Firefly, last month, I was thrilled to see such a beautifully curated selection of books for both kids and adults. So when I was thinking of doing a day of book posts, I knew I had to include Nan's picks. Below are her current favorites, all of which would be amazing to give or to receive. And happy reading...the best present of all. 

1. A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life  2. Smoke  3.  Jasper Conrad, Country  4. Beauty Everyday  5. MAPS  6. Steal Like an Artist  7. Shake  8. Remodelista  9. The Kinfolk Table 

IF YOU PURCHASE MORE THAN $75 FROM NAN'S SHOP TODAY, RECEIVE 15% OFF WITH THE CODE: peace2013 

Nan has a soft spot for kid's books. She loves to find ones that are beautifully written and illustrated...plus allow the imagination to run wild. Which may be why she's a tad obsessed with her favorite children's author and illustrator, Dahlov Ipcar.

Dahlov has been creating incredible stories and adventures for kids for over four decades. She still lives and paints in the 1860's farmhouse in Maine that she shared with her husband Adolf for nearly seventy years. Her work is now part of collections in numerous museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. My Wonderful Christmas Tree is a book to treasure and pass down, generation to generation. 

 

Here is a collection of lovely gifts Nan picked out that are inspired from My Wonderful Christmas Tree. From top left, Lavender plush unicorn; Gwendolyn Racoon; Woodland Ornament Collection; Flying Bird Botanical Herbal Teas; Plush Bunny; Tree in a Candle

Dahlov has over 30 books to choose from and they are as magical as the artist herself. Find your favorite and share with your little one. And may this bring a little magic to your Christmas...thank you Nan! 

 

Tuesday
Dec172013

Books! My Go-To Picks

Last night I had the idea of sharing my favorite go-to books for gifts. I have lots of books, I love books, so when picking these selections, I kept getting worried of all the great ones I may be forgetting or leaving out. But, as with anything, you have to learn to just let things go and do the best you can in the moment. All of these books below are currently on my shelf or have been repeated choices for gifts. I believe any would be a wonderful present to wrap under the tree. If you have any suggestions to share, please do so. A long list of wonderful books is a good thing... 

From top left to right, each row: The Sartorialist;  Le'ts Explore Diabetes with Owls;  Walking Through Walls;  Mr. Wilkinson's Vegetables Cookbook; The Best American Travel Writing 2013;  Secret Ingredients;  The Book of Good Cheer;  Flower Recipe;  Love Poems;  Where I'm Calling From;  A Confederacy of Dunces;  Shake;  Soil Mates;  Hotel Honolulu;  The Dog Chapel;  A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters;  Il Viaggio;  The Abstract Wild;  The John McPhee Reader;  David Gulden;  Try This At Home;  Modern Rustic;  We Love Madeleines; The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook;  The Selby;  The Design Hotels Book;  Nashville Field Guide;  Austin Field Guide;  Maddie on Things. 

***STAY TUNED AT 12pm FOR A SECOND POST FEATURING NAN MYERS' BOOK SELECTS FOR BOTH KIDS AND ADULTS

 

Monday
Dec162013

Brooks Reitz Shares His Favorites...

Brooks Reitz of Charleston, South Carolina has a good thing going. As the mastermind behind the Jack Rudy Cocktail Company, he has created a legion of avid fans across the country. His small batch tonics are incredibly good and his care for product quality and design is truly inspiring. Featured in the NY Times, Garden & Gun, GQ and Bon Appetit to name a few, Brooks was kind enough to take a little time to share his favorite Holiday Gift Picks with Sweet Peach. Thank you Brooks...

1. BILLYKIRK CARD CASE WITH SNAPS, $74. Billykirk, a collaboration between the very talented Bray brothers, has been around for quite some time. This wallet, which is the only one I carry to this day, is streamlined and thin. The leather has gotten softer and more supple with each passing day and it never fails to invoke a compliment. 

2. CREAM-NUT PEANUT BUTTER, $6.49. Surely peanut butter is one of the most widely consumed foods in our fair nation, but most brands are packed with all manner of terrible sugars, preservatives and chemicals. Cream-Nut is BY FAR the greatest peanut butter ever made. Crafted by the same family for over 80 years in Michigan, this stuff is so good, it's worth buying by the case. 

3. ROPE KNOT DOORSTOP BY THE-COMMONS, $45. The Commons, a brilliant pop up shop in Charleston, focuses on American made objects for the home. I recently picked up a doorstop made from nautical rope (in pic above) that I use as a paperweight. The cool thing is they used technical rope to give it a modern feel. I love it. 

4. CERAMIC ASHTRAY BY HOTEL SAINT CECILIA, $25. I don't smoke but on a recent trip to Austin for my girlfriend's birthday, I picked up this ceramic ashtray from Hotel Saint Cecilia. Liz Lambert, the owner, is one of the most exciting hoteliers in the nation, as this hotel is a dream. I use this ashtray atop my bedside table for change, my watch and other crap I accumulate each day. 

5. QUILTED FLEECE CPO JACKET, $275. David Mullen, the owner of Save Khaki, designs beautiful, understated clothing that is produced in the USA. His clothes are made for guys that like nice clothing but don't have a taste for too much trend or fluff- like me! This jacket is perfect for Charleston, where it never gets too cold. You can toss it on when you leave the house and it carries you through the day.  

As a big fan of Brooks' wares, I had to include some pics and links to his incredible creations, the Small Batch Tonic and the Small Batch Grenadine. You'll find these in stores across the US or on his site, here. They make an amazing holiday gift- made better when you can share it with friends and family on a cold, winter's night. Enjoy. 

 

 

Friday
Dec132013

Root City Market 

I'm excited to play a role in the next Root City Market, a quarterly event held in Atlanta that showcases some of the most talented artists of the South. I've joined forces with Jen Soong of Soma Goods to add some of my favorite vendors to her lineup- all of which have been featured before on Sweet Peach.  


Together we'll have over 25 vendors at the Stove Works building at 112 Krog Street in Atlanta, Dec 14 from 10a-2p. A DJ, interactive booths, crafts for kids, tasty treats and hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows too! Please come by and say hey if you're in the neighborhood. Plus, it makes for some great holiday shopping as so many of the items sold are one of a kind, made by hand. 

I'm particularly excited to have some out-of-state artists make the trip for the event, including dcoybrand of New Orleans, Loyal Stricklin of Opelika, Alabama and Billiam Jeans of Greenville, South Carolina. Come on by, avoid the crazy mall crowds and support these incredibly talented artists....and buy some gifts to remember! 

 

Thursday
Dec122013

Richard Blais' Culinary Picks for the Holiday...

Last year I had the privilege of working with Richard Blais as his producer for Life After Top Chef. Myself and two camera crews followed him around for a couple months as he opened up The Spence in Atlanta. I've done many tv shows in my day, but this one was definitely in my top three. I just had the best time working with Richard and hanging out with his adorable family. I recently asked Richard to share his top 5 culinary gift picks with Sweet Peach and he graciously sent 18 instead, adding the message 'pick and choose.' I think I'll just share them all. Enjoy...

1) Cheese from Star Provisions  2) The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson  3) Maximum Flavor by Aki Kamozawa   4) Blis Maple Syrup   5) Vitamix  6) Vintage spoons (I've yet to see Richard without a spoon in his back pocket. He finds many of his favorites at Paris on Ponce in Atlanta)  7)  Sous Vide Supreme  8) Ras el hanout spice via Terra Spice Co.  9) JB Prince surgical tweezers  10) Njuda and Lardo from Boccalone 11) Cook Your Ass Off, Season 1  12) Apron from Hedley & Bennett  13) Tavern Vinegar  14) A Work in Progress by Rene Redzepi 15) Lucky Peach Magazine  16) Seafood Watch App (free!)  17) Minus 8 Vinegar  18) Fruit from Frog Hollow Farm