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Tuesday
Dec252012

Merry Christmas! 

This Christmas, I'm at my good friend Bryce's home in Hermosa Beach, California, where we used to be neighbors. I love his orange wall that he just finished...

He was inspired by a trip we took a couple years ago to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Made of a couple hundred slats of wood, the wall is perfect for hanging anything you desire. 

Bryce cut, sanded and placed these slats over a white wall and window that desperately needed a facelift. The natural light can still filter in during the day and by choosing the orange paint, it gives the room a bold look that completely transforms and uplifts the space.

It's a festive Christmas this year at the beach. I'll try and add a few pics throughout the day. Enjoy your holiday. Much love to all...

 

Monday
Dec242012

Cocktails that taste like Christmas...

Mixologist, Jason Kemp from The Family Dog in Atlanta was nice enough to concoct some tasty holiday drinks for Sweet Peach. The amazing thing was how much they tasted like Christmas. That can be attributed to the Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, an all natural liqueur traditional to the Alps. It gets its pine floral aroma and mildly sweet flavor from freshly picked fruit off the Swiss Pine tree. A bottle of Zirbenz is a great holiday gift because it's unexpected and so so good... 

 

Jason's second creation was a celebratory one, made with Chambord, sparkling wine, Zirbenz and ginger liqueur...

Champagne in a can is just fun. Jason chose this Francis Ford Coppola variation which makes this next holiday cocktail quite tasty, bubbly and festive. Plus, it's an excellent hostess gift. ($20 for a 4/pack) Thanks Jason! 


Friday
Dec212012

The Christmas Table 

As the annual Christmas dinner is a celebratory occasion shared with our immediate and extended families, Beth from the indie-pendent wanted to share some of her ideas for a festive table that's nostalgic, playful and kid friendly. 

Christmas is an excellent time to decorate with your favorite hand-me-downs. Beth added these wonderful animal ornaments handmade by her great aunt. As she shared, "I think it's important to bring back ornaments and have the memories from childhood." (I smile at this thought, as my mom recently informed me and my siblings that she gave all of her vintage ornaments to the cleaning lady. Sigh...)

The napkins were cut from a piece of vintage fabric Beth had in her workshop and the tablecloth is a painter's drop cloth you can buy for cheap at Home Depot. The white plates and mugs are handmade by Tourne and the gorgeously textured plates are handcrafted by Brigitte Bouquet. Play with the different colored dishware you have as noncomfority makes things interesting...

The centerpiece is made of her grandmother's vintage ornaments, using just a dinner plate and glass dome. The bottlebrush trees work great here too, adding color, height and that feeling of Christmas.

Beth decided to decorate the ends of the table with a garland of cranberries. This is quick and easy to do and is a great way to include the kids in the decorating process. 

Now this is a dinner table that starts with a big smile. I hope this offers a little inspiration for your holiday get togethers...thank you Beth! 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Thursday
Dec202012

The Winter Solstice Table 

Tomorrow, on December 21, the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn, making it the shortest and the longest night of the year. Winter solstice is an opportunity to honor this time of rest before the rebirth of spring and the return of light. It's the perfect time to reflect and set intentions for the New Year. If you're in the mood to celebrate new beginnings and to be a bit creative, I'd love to inspire you to set your own winter solstice table tomorrow...

My friend, Beth Lord of the indie-pendent came up with this idea and shared her own version which included a mix of what she had on hand and outside the front door. This is a fun table to put together and one that kids can play an active role in. Everyone go outside- find pretty pods, stems, pine cones, pieces of wood for the centerpiece. Let your imagination run wild. 

Beth used glass globes she had for the centerpieces, which she then filled with raw cotton, dried eucalyptus, bottlebrush trees, fake snow and pine cones. I love the added touch and texture of the Spanish moss along the center of the table. She used a simple painter's dropcloth for the tablecloth and burlap runners to add texture. A grapevine wreath hangs from the ceiling. Beth and I secured little mason jars atop the wreath, filled with white beans and tea lights. 

I love how Beth used raw cotton stalks as decorative pieces next to the silverware. You could also use acorns from your backyard, pieces of driftwood or shells from a nearby beach...whatever is in your outdoor world can be brought in to celebrate this unique day of the year. 

Candles make a nighttime dinner table cozy and warm, and on this night, they also remind us of the return of light in the coming spring. It's a nice idea to set intentions or goals for the New Year here, which could become a fun, yearly ritual. Be creative and let the lights shine on...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Wednesday
Dec192012

DIY: Peanut Brittle

I love to make gifts, especially around the holiday season. My friend, Stephanie in Charlotte always makes me one of my favorites- peanut brittle. It's easy, addictive, delicious....

Ingredients include 1/4 cup water; 1 cup sugar; 1/2 cup corn syrup; dash of salt; 1 cup dry roasted peanuts; 2 tablespoons butter; 1 teaspoon baking soda and a candy thermometer. 

Mix first five ingredients in a sauce pan, cooking on high heat. Stir constantly until it reaches 300 degrees on your candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Add butter, mix a bit and then quickly add the baking soda. Stir quickly, then immediately pour onto a buttered cookie sheet and spread out. 

Let stand for 30 minutes, then simply break the brittle into pieces. 

And don't forget the pretty packaging. My mom and I found these festive cartons at a TJ Maxx in Greenville, SC. Michaels or Target may carry them as well. Have fun making this, your friends and family will be more than grateful...promise. 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Dec182012

Easy Peasy Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Chocolate, bourbon and pecan pie are three of my favorite things so I was immediately on board when Beth Lord of the indie-pendent offered to make a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie for Sweet Peach. This one is easy and comes straight from Cynthia Ann Briscoe of Birmingham, Alabama, as featured years ago in Southern Living. It's tried and true...

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts; 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans; 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels; 1 cup dark corn syrup; 1/2 cup granulated sugar; 1/2 cup firmly packled brown sugar; 1/4 cup bourbon; 4 large eggs; 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted; 2 teaspoons cornmeal; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

Fit piecrust into a 9 inch deep dish pie plate, according to package directions. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of piecrust. Set aside. 

Combine corn syrup and next three ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Whisk together eggs and next four ingredients. Gradually whisk about one fourth hot mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. 

Pour filling into prepared piecrust. Pinch and fold the crust edges as you like, then bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack. 

Delicious. Without supervision, I could eat this whole pie in one sitting...

Just for fun, Beth made some brownie mix and added the same hot mixture used from the pie and poured it on top. Then baked it. Amazing. Come up with your own chocolate, pecan and bourbon concoctions, you can't really go wrong. Thanks Beth! 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach


Monday
Dec172012

Gift Sets

They say it's better to give than to receive...which is especially true with this box of manly goodies. Guys tend not to buy the best skin care products so make it easy for them with this Shaving Gift Package from Prospector Co. in Savannah, Georgia. It includes a rag soak, shaving oil, shave creme and aftershave. ($60) 

Another great option is their Sampler Pack, which includes beard oil, shaving oil, aftershave splash, shaving and absinthium cream. ($48) 

Who knew with a bit of vodka, juniper berries, spices and botanicals, you can craft your own gin at home? This Homemade Gin Kit is a fun gift that comes via some creative folks in northern Virginia. 

Each kit contains enough ingredients to make two bottles of handcrafted gin. As stated on their site, users "have reported that their small batches rival the mass produced, store bought gin brands in aromatics, flavor and complexity." ($80)  

The quick way to any man's heart is food. So may I suggest a gift set from one of my favorite people in the world, Emily Myers. She crafts the best jams and sauces. And I love her suggestion of combining Almond Butter with her Peach Marmalade Jam to make PB & J Wings. Wings and football sounds very Manly Monday...

Click here for the Almond Butter and Jam gift set ($33) or here for your favorite mix of three ($30) or two. ($24). And it's hard not to please any man's taste, as you'll have 21 options of jams and sauces to choose from- which include Peach Ginger Hot Sauce, Strawberry Chipotle and Berbere Sauce.  

 

Photos: Prospector Co., Homemade Gin Co., Sweet Peach    Content: Sweet Peach


Friday
Dec142012

This Christmas, Buy Vintage...

All of these southern vintage shops are fun to peruse and wonderful to support this holiday season. Besides, adding vintage items to a room adds a layer of personality that just can't happen when everything is brand spanking new. Here's some ideas... Vintage Santa (just sold), vinyl suitcase set and enamelware mug/pitcher set from The White Pepper;  vintage Christmas tree cookie cutter from The Cupcake Kid. 

Art Deco Ashtray circa 1931 via Route 11 Vintage; Green tea pot from Cast & Crew. 

Vintage Pendleton throw from Bellalulu; American Red Cross first edition First Aid book from Myra Melinda; Christmas mugs from Bergen House and Adrian Pearsall mid-century lounge chair via The White Pepper. 

Vintage pink baroque dish towels from Barking Sands Vintage and an industrial basket from Lovintage Finds

 

Thursday
Dec132012

Rattles, Mobiles, Hats and Booties.... (And a Giveaway!) 

Once you touch and see a Blabla Kids creation, your heart can't help but melt a bit. This company began when two friends, Flo Wetterwald and Susan Pritchett, took a trip to Peru. They fell in love with a group of community knitters they just happened to meet and decided to launch their own line of cuddly creations. Their goods are all made with the finest natural fibers and handknit by Peruvian artists. I love this Owl Dream Ring, which makes such a great gift for a new babe. 

Earlier this year, I blogged about their very popular knit dolls. Since then, they've expanded their offerings to include these adorable rattles.

 


Flo and Susan also expanded their line of clothing. Their hats and booties are just too sweet. They are many creatures and colors to choose from. If you're going to keep 'em warm this winter, may as well make 'em stylish...

Their line also includes blankets and pillows. (Rattles also featured here) What's great about Blabla is they are a no brainer for a kid gift. The quality is high, the design is top notch and the receivers are all too happy to receive...

Pop into their shop if you're in Atlanta or peruse their entire shop online here.

 

Photos: Blabla Kids    Content: Sweet Peach

Wednesday
Dec122012

HollyBeth Organics... (with a special discount offer!) 

One of my favorite artisans to meet this entire year is HollyBeth Anderson. She's the creator of an all organic skin care and natural body care product line called HollyBeth Organics. She takes up residence in the cute StudioPlex building in the Old Fourth Ward area of Atlanta. 

It is here that she single-handedly creates organic, scrumptious recipes for body wash, bubble bath, face and neck elixir, body silk and cleanser....just to name a few. 

I was quite content to sit and watch HollyBeth happily create. When I asked her what she loves most about this business, after leaving a big paying corporate job, she responded, "I love the creative part and working with essential oils. It's liberating and it is such an honor and delight when I make something that people love." 

Many may not realize what it takes to be a certified organic company. It takes more effort to source the right materials, the costs are much higher and the standards are incredibly strict. But for HollyBeth, she wouldn't have it any other way. 

The first product that really caught my eye was her Grits & Honey Scrub. My first thought... 'Grits?' But it makes sense. As HollyBeth shared, "My mother used cornmeal on her face as an exfoliant when I was a child. After her radiation treatment for breast cancer, I wanted to make a product about and around her. She suggested adding grits to the cornmeal. I added honey and Vitamin E and voila!" HollyBeth explained that honey is the oldest humectant and moisturizer on the planet and has no expiration date. It's a perfect (southern) combo to moisturize and exfoliate. 

I'm currently writing this blog entry before I go to sleep. I just washed with the Chamomile Cleanser, exfoliated with the Grits & Honey, moisturized with Rose Geranium lotion and delved into her luscious Lavender Hand Cream, which may just be my favorite. Oh, and I seriously just spritzed my face with her Rose Gernanium Toner. I guess you could say I'm a HollyBeth experiment... (so far, so good) 

I have spent a lot of money on my current skincare products and they are not organic. When I asked HollyBeth what makes her eye cream better than the one I just spent $50 on, she shared, "It's handmade without chemicals and synthetics from pure, effective ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba, camellia and sweet almond oils." And you know, she's right, it feels good on my skin and it feels even better knowing that I'm choosing to use something that is 100% good for me.  

Once you start delving into essential oils, you can become an instant convert. They are truly powerful, wonderful ingredients that have proven to help all manner of ailments such as hormonal imbalances, asthma and sore throats as well as improve your mood, energy and immune system. It's worth learning more about, and thanks to HollyBeth, I'm starting to... 

 

Such a great Christmas gift...thank you HollyBeth! 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach