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Tuesday
Jun242014

Aster + Bay

As I get older, I'm finding myself a bit obsessed with bath and body care products that use high quality, all natural ingredients. Like Aster + Bay, based in Atlanta and founded by husband and wife team, Erin and Glen Hammond. 

As stated on their site, "We believe in the healing energy found in nature, in the ritual of self-care and in the mind-body connection possible through botanical scent. Essential knowledge lives on in the apothecary traditions of Europe, Native American herbal medicine, English kitchen gardens and the lore of old Appalachia." 

Erin and Glen craft small batch, hand-blended infusions and oil blends with organic and wild-harvest ingredients. Their shop includes an ever expanding line of face serums, body oils, therapy oils, hair products and lip stains.

In the market for a good exfoloiator, I think I need to try their Dandelion Face Grains made with clays, resins, roots, flowers and grains. You can mix the grains with six different options, depending on the need. For instance, mix with water to detoxify, yogurt to cool and calm or whole milk to nourish and hydrate. 

Each formula is rooted in history, experimentation and an intention to nourish and treat skin naturally. It's fun to read about each product on their site with highly beneficial ingredients like sea kelp extract, hazelnut oil, Moroccan lava clay, sweet fennel essential oil, tumeric or marshmallow root powder to name a few. 

Beet root + hibiscus lip stain just sounds so tempting and lovely, doesn't it? I like how their stellar packaging matches the quality of their ingredients. Treat yourself to Aster + Bay products sold in seven states or through the online site, here. 

 

Photos: Aster + Bay       Content: Sweet Peach

 

Monday
Jun232014

A manly kind of space...

 

Photos: Remain Simple; The Pursuit Aesthetic; Sorakeem; hypebeast.com; Social Survival                Content: Sweet Peach

 

Friday
Jun202014

Low Country Boil 

I love a good southern party, specifically a Low Country Boil on a nearby front porch. My uber talented friend, nearby neighbor and colleague, Monica Martino drew this lovely illustration and hosted this shindig last month- along with her husband, Chris. It was a no brainer to add this to the calendar. Yes, please!

Monica and Chris make a great team. They used to throw large get togethers when they lived in Los Angeles and have the perfect party formula dialed in. Having just moved here from LA, (Chris is originally from Atlanta) the couple decided to invite the neighborhood so they could get to know everyone. That's the southern spirit...

Now any good Low Country Boil includes crawfish. The trick is you gotta keep 'em alive until right before you boil them. It's a process for sure. As Monica shared, "I'd eaten my share of crays while working on a tv show about shrimpers in Louisiana, but this was my first time buying and cooking them. We bought our crawfish in the morning from the Crawfish Shack and kept them cool until it was time to cook." 

Monica, "While the water was boiling, we 'purged' the crawfish in the cooler with running cool water and rock salt. This makes them release all their impurities. We rinsed them until the water ran clean, then they were ready to cook." 

They bought a 40 quart pot with a steamer basket and a big wooden paddle to mix. Besides the crawfish, the boil included spicy andouille sausage, sweet corn, red potatoes and shrimp- plus a lot of seasoning, lemons, garlic and a bay leaf or two. 

And seasoning is paramount in any Low Country Boil. Zatarain's concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil has been a New Orleans staple since 1889. It adds a lot of spice. As Monica wisely shared, "Don't be afraid to go a little spicy- that's why there is cold beer available." 

It was fun watching these two work their magic so seamlessly. Monica, "Everything must be fresh and the order you add to the pot is important. Start with the seasonings, onions, garlic, lemons, pepper and sausage. Then add corn and potatoes. Then comes the shellfish. Other than that, you really can't screw it up!" 

Chris and Monica essentially followed this recipe, just adding a few tweaks like using shrimp and eliminating mushrooms. Picture perfect...

So if you're going to do this right, get a big long table and cover it in paper, adding hot sauce, fresh bread, paper towels, cold beer and small garbage pails for the shellfish remnants. Then, let the fun begin...

This has to be the very best part. I'm getting hungry just looking at this whole scene again as everything was so ridiculously tasty. Monica, "It's such a dramatic way to serve up the food and it's so fun to eat straight off the table. It's also a great way to get to know people because there's nothing like sharing a meal with strangers to turn them into friends." 

Chris and Monica hope this becomes a tradition every year. Um, yeah...it better be. 

You may remember Monica from our Christmas post where she made Mercy Gumbo with fresh Louisiana Gulf Shrimp- another dish to remember for a lifetime. Good Lord, I miss that gumbo...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach

 

Thursday
Jun192014

Shine Craft Vessel Co.

There's nothing better than finding a company who cares about quality, design and sustainability. At Shine Craft Vessel Co., they craft 64 oz. beer growlers with a portion of every sale to be donated to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. At their headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, they produce the growlers in small batches, never starting the next one until 75% of their inventory is distributed- reducing waste, space and overhead.

Each growler is constructed out of 23 gauge, 304 food grade, single walled stainless steel and goes through a high grade passivation process to eliminate any metallic aftertaste. I'm not sure what all that means but the message is clear - this is a high quality growler to help you savor your favorite craft beer. 

I personally love the clean, minimal look of the bottles, available in ten bright, attractive colors. If you have a beer afficionado in your household, click here to have one delivered to your mailbox. It fits quite nicely...

 

Photos: Shine Craft Vessel Co.        Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
Jun182014

willaby 

I love a good looking shirt, especially on a tiny tot. Atlantan, Kim Woods does too, which is why she has created willaby, a clothing and accessories line with a modern touch. Kim, "I believe in dressing children in a way that is simple and quiet, yet current. I think that small people deserve demure prints and streamlined design." 

Kim has been sewing and designing since she was 12 years old and loves executing everything at willaby from concept and design to overseeing all the local production. As comfort is paramount, all of the pieces are made with 100% natural fibers and meant to be versatile and unisex, which I really love. The dotted and checkered bloomers are just the sweetest....

 

Kim finds inspiration through a myriad of experiences. As she shared, "I tend to look at vintage baby clothing and old family pictures. Both of my parents come from farming families. And although I'm not sure if it's apparent in the designs, I often think about those homemade, simple, functional pieces of clothing they wore as kids. At the same time, I love Japanese design and I think that influences me as well."  

Check out the entirety of Kim's shop, here. And if you live in Georgia, Kim now sells at six fantastic kid shops that you'll want to visit if you have a child- or need a gift. Kim is also teaching a Sewing Craft Camp in Atlanta next month, which is a really incredible idea. Find out more, here.

 

Photos: Willaby       Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Jun172014

Nannie Inez

I always like to think of names other than my own that would be cool to have. Like Nannie Inez, how fun a name is that? Turns out it's a shop in Austin, Texas that's filled with home decor finds as colorful, worldly and stylish as only a name like that could conjure.  

Co-owners, Deeyn Rhodes and Lonzo Jackson (great names too) travel the world in search of items that, as they say, "promote design as a playful tool of expression, no matter the price point." The handsome Horween leather magazine rack is via Makr of Winter Park, Florida. 

This mint colored cart is so Nannie Inez! I love this fresh and fab rolling cart that works just as well as a side table, nightstand or bar cart. It was designed by Simon Legald in collaboration with Normann Copenhagen of Denmark.   

The lovely gradient glass and carafe are truly mini pieces of art and the Wolfum Triangle Tray, made from Baltic Birch has my heart. As stated on their site, "Use as a serving tray, or as a lovely base to style your bits and bobs." How do you say no to bits and bobs? Oh Nannie...

Each item has function and flair. I personally love the laptop brush made of horsehair. My keyboard would be a better keyboard with this brush...

Last but not least, I'm a bit obsessed with these notebooks that make me want to get out my coloring markers and produce a fashionable man in seconds. This is the kind of nonsensical thing that makes me truly happy. That, and changing my name to Nannie Inez.

Find more fresh finds at the shop, either online or in Austin.

 

Photos: Nannieinez.com     Content: Sweet Peach


Monday
Jun162014

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

 

Friday
Jun132014

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


Thursday
Jun122014

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


Wednesday
Jun112014

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


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