Cuff Links, by Block and Hammer

I'm always impressed by a well dressed man. So when I saw these handsome cuff links by Dean Olaya of Block and Hammer in Atlanta, I was an instant fan. They add that nice final touch to a manicured outfit. 

Dean runs this shop along with his girlfriend, Lauren Miller out of their home office in the Grant Park section of Atlanta. They started the shop after a need for a fashionable pet tag and without any luck, Dean decided to make the tag himself. (they no longer sell pet tags but check out Fetching Tags if you're in the market for one) The Block and Hammer shop now offers a variety of manly accessories, including three styles of cuff links. The first two are aluminum or copper. As Dean has mastered the art of stamping with a 'block and hammer,' either style can be personalized with initals, an icon or short phrase. 

Their third style of cuff links may be my favorite. Each of these sets of wooden cuff links are one of a kind, finished by hand, offered in walnut, shedua, cherry or oak. Dean, "I love spalted wood varieties because each piece is so unique and has so much character." 

I like Dean and Lauren's passion to create stylish, affordable accessories for the modern man. As Dean shared, "They hit a reasonable price point that makes them easy for gifting and won't hurt your wallet." Check out the Block and Hammer shop to see all the manly offerings which include tie clipscollar stays and luggage tags. 


Photos: Block and Hammer     Content: Sweet Peach



Ollie Cantos, A Father's Day Story...

A few months back, I heard a story on NPR that has stayed with me to this day. I made a mental note to write about it for Father's Day as it showcases what it means to be a good dad. The tale begins with Ollie Cantos, who has been blind since birth. As Ollie shared, "I had a lot of trouble growing up because I didn't have any friends really. I was made fun of a lot. There would be people who would put their hands in front of my face and say, "How many fingers am I holding up?"

One day, Ollie heard about triplet boys in his neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia who were also blind since birth. The boys, Leo, Nick and Steven, lived with their single mom and were fairly sheltered from the community. They would go to school, yet come straight home after class. They had very little contact with the outside world. Ollie decided to knock on their door one day in 2010, when the boys were 10 years old. The brothers didn't believe other people could be blind too and Ollie proved it to them by revealing his cane and by reading braille. Nick, "It just made me feel like I had a person that I could trust because I couldn't trust anyone." 

Ollie decided to help the boys assimilate better to the outside world. With permission from their mom, he taught them to use their canes better, to explore their neighborhood, local museums and shops, and of course, Dave & Busters, where the kids love to play games by sound and touch. One day at the local corner store, an employee asked Ollie if Leo was his son. Leo replied first, "Yeah it's my dad." When Ollie asked Leo if he knew what that meant, Leo responded, "Well, you take us places, you protect us, you help us with our homework. Sounds like a dad to me." 

An accomplished civil rights attorney and former Vice President of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Vice-Chairman of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Ollie is now Special Counsel to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Dept of Education in Washington DC. Ollie is an incredible mentor to the boys, proving by example how much potential they each have in life. They no longer have to live in an insular, sheltered world. They can do and be anything their heart desires. 

Ollie is now in the process of formally adopting the brothers. He has been their friend, their mentor and their dad for the last four years and it has brought Ollie an immense amount of joy- to him, as well as to these three young brothers. It makes me think of how grateful I am for my own dad. He also has protected me, taught me valuable lessons and encouraged every hairbrained idea I've had since I can't even remember. I am a better person because of my dad. Hope you get to celebrate your pops this weekend, in whatever form he comes in...

Hear Ollie Cantos' story on NPR, here


Rifle Paper Wallpaper

Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. of Winter Park, Florida is a favorite artist of mine. Over the years, she's created some incredible stationery as well as a variety of home goods that are hard to resist. So I was elated to see the debut of her wallpaper collection a couple weeks ago...

Anna has collaborated with Hygge & West to create 6 different styles with 26 color options. All showcase her signature style and knack for fantastic color combinations. 

Peonies in yellow is cheery and bright. Anna, "I orginally made this pattern for a Rifle Paper Co. wrapping sheet and I've always thought that it would work great as wallpaper. It was one of the first patterns that we incorporated into the collection." 

Anna, "The pineapple patterns was the last one that we designed and it's turned out to be one of my favorites. I really wanted a more formal pattern that was in a grid rather than organic like the rest of the collection. Pineapples seemed like a fitting subject and we added signature florals around each one." 

The cityscape paper is one of my favorites. Here, Anna has created sketch-style illustrations from around the globe, including NY, Rio, Sydney, Istanbul, London, Paris and Cairo. It's like one big inspiration board...

See Rifle Paper Co.'s entire wallpaper collection, here. And if you missed it, here's my wallpaper guide featured on Sweet Peach last year that has some fantastic wallpaper options, no matter what you're in the mood for. 


Photos: Rifle Paper Co.    Content: Sweet Peach


Handmade Studio TN 

If you believe in love at first sight then you may believe in my complete adoration for this platter. At first glance, I was smitten. 

Morgan Williamson discovered her clay obsession in Atlanta and now works out of a collaborative artist space in Nashville, called Fort Houston. It is here that she sculpts, fires and glazes incredible pieces for the home that are simple, beautiful, imperfect. 

Morgan offers three equally gorgeous textures for her ceramics: burlap, smooth or lace. You can choose between three glaze options as well: sand, buttercream or white. All of her pieces are dishwasher and microwave safe and each one is meant to be used, admired. 

What fun to have a dinner party with all of her lovely, sophisticated wares. See the entirety of Morgan's work at her online shop, Handmade Studio TN, here. Maybe you'll fall in love too...


Photos: Handmade Studio TN     Content: Sweet Peach


Custom Wedding Toppers

It's hard not to fall in love with whatever artist, Sarah Neuburger does, but I have to say, her custom wooden figurine wedding cake toppers are one of my all time favorites. 

These are custom cake toppers for the traditional and untraditional bride and groom. Figurines can be clothed in your wedding day attire, as well as include your pets, babies or any props signifiying hobbies or interests.  

Sarah works from her home workshop in Decatur, Georgia. To create the toppers, she uses wooden clothespins for the bodies, then adds a neck, head and arms. Polymer clay is applied and she paints as needed, then adds all sorts of fun add ons. I just can't handle the bouquet of succulents...such gorgeous fun.  

As Sarah has completed over 800 wedding cake toppers to date, it's safe to say she's a bit of a pro at this. These are really just the perfect, personal addition to any wedding or anniversary cake- a special keepsake to last a lifetime. She includes a drawing of her creation as well, to be used on invites, accessories or party decor. ...Adorbs. 


Photos: The Small Object      Content: Sweet Peach


Mitchell Bat Co.

I like anybody who takes time to make sports more stylish. I mean, baseball is boring enough, but alas, I perk up at the idea of a well designed, colorful baseball bat. How can that not be a good thing?

Jeremy Mitchell is a visual artist and filmmaker living in Nashville, Tennessee. With a strong love for baseball and design, he's combined his passions to create Michell Bat Co. With his handiwork, the ubiquitous beige bat is finally getting a makeover.

Jeremy hand paints dozens of bats and gives each one a name like The Nashville, The Tampa Bay or The Southsider. Each bat is made of solid maple and is 33" long. Plus, as the bats are made to order, Jeremy can create custom colors of your choosing.  

A portion of the proceeds from all sales will go to, an organization that revives baseball in Inner cities. Love that. 

I love this creation too. It's the Lemon Ball Baseball made from Horween Chromexcel leather. As stated on the site, "Lemon Ball baseballs are classic baseballs inspired by the original lemon peel style base ball from the early 19th Century." For $38 bucks, it's a pretty cool gift.

As I haven't thought about baseball in quite some time, I'm thankful to Jeremy for bringing it back into my awareness with style. If you have a baseball fanatic in your life, may I suggest one of these bats or baseballs to upgrade their game. They may not necessarily play better, but it'll make me (and possibly you) keep from uttering the phrase 'baseball is boring' ever again...


Photos: Mitchell Bat Co.     Content: Sweet Peach



Get Your Paper!

They have arrived. 10,000 newspapers on my front porch. I will be dispersing this Atlanta map and guide (Illustrated by Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object) over the next 5 days around the city. They are currently available at 3 Parks, Gunshow,        H.Harper Station and after 9am this morning, Friday June 6, Octane Coffee/The Little Tart Bakeshop in Grant Park. Tomorrow, Saturday June 7, I will drop off more papers at shops featured throughout the Westside Provisions District as well as a few others. Follow my social media for updates.

Click here to download some fantastic discounts offered online or in store by selected Sweet Spots as well as a PDF of the entire paper including the full Atlanta map and guide, which is perfect for those about to visit the city. These PDF's work well on your mobile phone and tablet as well. For a quick reference, you can access any feature of the Sweet Peach Sweet Spots paper by clicking on the newspaper image in the left sidebar of this blog. Please share the paper, get out and explore Atlanta and don't forget to Instagram your personal favorite Sweet Spots. Enjoy! 



Sweet Peach Summer Cocktail 

Living in Georgia, I must admit peach season is my favorite fruit season of all. To help celebrate their arrival this year, I've concocted a refreshing, fruity cocktail I'm calling the Sweet Peach Summer Cocktail. This recipe is meant for two. Enjoy...


Photos: Whitney Ott Photography     Content: Sweet Peach


Sweet Peach Layer Cake

With peach season upon us, I wanted to make something sweet, scrumptious and pretty. After a bit of research, my friend Monica and I created the Sweet Peach Layer Cake with peach ombre icing. 

This is a three layer cake. You can pick your favorite sponge or white cake recipe. We liked this one and this one but ultimately gave it a go with this version. It's a butter cake recipe, tripled. 

I let the cakes cool overnight, then Monica came over to make our vanilla buttercream frosting, via Martha Stewart. Monica trimmed the top of each cake to even out each layer. (I'm a fan of this amazing video by Libbie Summers, How to frost a layer cake, both informative and adorable) 

Between the layers, Monica applied a coat of icing, then topped it with a mix of one chopped sweet peach and a couple tablespoons of peach jam (we used Emily G's Peach Marmalade). Experiment with your favorite sweet peach concoction. 

Next, she applied a crumb coat of icing around the entire cake. 

I wanted a peach ombre icing for this sweet treat. Monica found this tutorial and it worked perfectly, no matter which ombre colors you desire. 

All you need is a bit of patience and this type of icing is easy and fun to do. For the final touch, we added a sweet peach on top. But of course...

Instagram your own Sweet Peach dessert with the hashtag #sweetpeachsweetspots


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach    First and last pic: Whitney Ott Photography



The making of... "Sweet Peach Sweet Spots"  

If you've been following my Instagram feed, you may have seen a picture or two teasing an upcoming summer project of mine. Well, by this weekend it will come to be. It all started last year when I picked up a mini newspaper in Los Angeles by Linus Bike. I loved the look and feel of it. Always wanting my own paper of some sort, I came up with the idea of one incorporating the Sweet Peach brand...

I'm calling it Sweet Peach Sweet Spots and it highlights 50 of the most scrumptious shops, restaurants and hangouts in Atlanta. I've been mulling over this idea now for about a year but it wasn't until six months ago that I got a team together to make this happen.  

When dreaming up this map, the only person I wanted to illustrate it was Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object. She's the creator of all things adorable. When we met for a coffee one winter morning, she said yes, without so much as a second thought. I was thrilled. It was a ton of work and dedication to not just create icons for a map and the main logo, but to figure out how the design can all work together in a cohesive format. She is supremely talented and a true professional. How lucky am I? 

And then there's Bob. Oh, how I love Mr. Bob Conquest. He created the Illustrator file for this paper and then we began, minute detail after minute detail, putting this paper together. Hours and hours and more hours over the last five weeks we spent side by side. I made dinners, we drank wine and we built it, one day at a time. I so appreciate his tireless efforts that came from a place of friendship and wanting to make this paper a success. Forever, I am grateful. 

Vanessa Dina, who designed my Sweet Peach blog (and named it) is one of my closest friends since grade school. She is a Design Director at Chronicle Books living in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco. I am so appreciative of her impeccable art direction along the way.

I also need to thank my sweet friend, Monica Martino for helping me frost the Sweet Peach Layer Cake, to be featured on the front of the paper (it's peach season after all) and Whitney Ott, the talented Atlanta based photographer who came over to take a bunch of pretty pics against a white backdrop. Plus, the lovely Elena Buckley, my ever faithful editor who has my back at every turn, thank you too!

I will be approving the first ever Sweet Peach Sweet Spots paper at the press tomorrow morning and then, on Friday, June 6, 10,000 copies later, they will arrive on my front porch, ready for distribution around the city. How fun is that?  By Friday morning, I plan to have a printable PDF available here on the blog for anyone to print. I'll be working this weekend, but in those free hours and next Monday and Tuesday, I'll be delivering the paper to all 50 locations listed on the PDF.  

Oddly enough, about a month ago, my mom sent me some old editions of my first newspaper I did in grade school, called Pam's Digest.

Each edition I shared friends and family gossip, fun games, interviews and general advice like where to buy the best ice cream. It was 10 cents an issue or $2.00 for a year's subscription. Most were sold to aunts, uncles, my parents' co-workers and a bunch of others I coerced with child guilt. 

A huge heartfelt thank you is in order for the ten companies who advertised on the back of my first Sweet Spots paper. I asked all of them if I could design their ad on a paper that has yet to prove itself and each one of these companies gave me an enthusiastic yes. Please check out their shops or websites- all of them have been featured (or will be in the next month) on Sweet Peach blog and each one embodies the best of the Sweet Peach brand. So mark your calender, Friday is coming up fast...