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Friday
Aug292014

Pick a Pickle

Whenever I visit Empire State South in midtown Atlanta, I always like to see what goods they have for sale behind the hostess stand. It's either baked items, the softest t-shirts, cool kitchen accessories or my new favorite, a pickling swatchbook by Restaurateur and Chef, Hugh Acheson. He offered a sample recipe for Sweet Peach readers- Pickled Okra. Yumminess. (pretty pic by Rinne Allen) Pick a Pickle is the perfect book for the pickling fan, plus it's a nice way to preserve summer veggies... 

 

Thursday
Aug282014

Nisolo

The one thing my wardrobe currently lacks is an array of good shoes. I tend to spend my money in every other direction but my feet. That's not to say I wear flip flops every day of the summer but I dare admit, I find a bit of bliss in their cozy simplicity. Yet, truth be told I do aspire for something more- something eye catching, well designed and if I'm lucky, made by a true craftsman...

Nisolo in Nashville, Tennessee was founded in 2011 after Patrick Woodyard took a job in Trujillo, Peru. During his stay, he met shoemakers who shared an exceptional talent as well as an inability to find a foothold in the industry. Although highly skilled, they were unable to find consistent work. 

Inspired, Patrick brought in designer, Zoe Cleary, whom after seeing the quality and passion of the Peruvian shoemakers firsthand, quit her job with a major fashion label to help create a company that would empower this group of craftsmen. Their work collectively would have purpose, meaning...and great style. To their credit, Patrick and Zoe have started one of the world's first social impact fashion labels. 

Besides shoes made for both men and women, their fashion label includes classic essentials like bags and accessories. I'm a bit head over heels for these leather totes, all priced under $200. The small leather clutch is $44...

For their producers, Patrick and Zoe facilitate sales, offer skills training, safe working conditions plus pay an average income increase of 300%. These are craftsmen who should be proud of their work and not worry about inconsistent employment or a savings for their family. As I aspire to find more meaning in my day to day work, this special group of artisans offers incredible inspiration. Now, about those shoes...

 

Photos: Nisolo      Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
Aug272014

Southern t's...

I love a soft and cozy t shirt done right, especially one with a southern touch. I couldn't help but smile when I recently saw Jerry Slater of H. Harper Station wearing one of these Bitter Southerner tees. I have a friend in Alabama whom this would be absolutely perfect for. It's on sale now for $35. 

Billy Reid always makes a good tee. They have that worn in look and feel with a homage to someone or something southern. See his current collection, here. 

This Make Cornbread Not War tee is no longer available online but I have seen it available in the Billy Reid stores. It's a good dad gift actually as my dad likes any clothing item that starts a conversation. Click here for the Cornbread cap. 

 

Photos: Bitter Southerner; Billy Reid     Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Aug262014

Leon's Fine Poultry & Oysters

Fried chicken and oysters served in a down home southern type of restaurant just steps from the ocean...yeah, that's my kind of perfect. 

At the newly opened Leon's Fine Poultry & Oysters Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, you'll find a cozy local spot with food so tasty, you'll be licking your fingers clean- which is how co-owner Brooks Reitz (of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. fame) likes it. Brooks, "This is a place where you can down a dozen oysters and a Budweiser at the bar and be on your way." 

As far as the decor, nothing was purchased ready-made. Brooks, "We either had something made or found something."  You'll find 14 taps at Leon's, 12 for beer, 2 for wine and the gorgeous bar was handcrafted by local artisan, Cole Flodin. 

You need to go to Leon's just to meet Mike Rogers. He's been shucking oysters since he was 13. It's an art form that he mastered during his 32 years working at Uglesich's in New Orleans. On the menu, you'll find raw oysters, char-grilled oysters and oysters rockefeller...

...and then so much more. Charleston native, chef Ari Kolender (via The Ordinary) has perfected a menu that makes me salivate from my couch as I read it online. Sides and snacks include hush puppies, fried clam wraps, charred radicchio and old school scalloped potatoes. Then for dessert, vanilla soft serve ice cream. 

Leon's is owned by Brooks and veteran restauranteur, Tim Mink. The team they've assembled certainly appears like a restaurant's kind of perfect. Learn more, here.

 

Photos: Margaret Houston; Leon's Oyster shop; Wesley Verhoeve      Content: Sweet Peach


Monday
Aug252014

The Carraway Concept

A well dressed southern man always has my attention. And if I notice a lapel flower, I'm smitten, appreciative, happier, knowing there are men such as these...

Rashon Carraway of Charlotte, North Carolina has a love for design- both in home and fashion. Rashon was a regular guest expert on The Nate Berkus Show and has both an interior design blog and an online shop where he sells these colorful, cheerful lapel flowers. 

These handcrafted lapel flowers, which range from $10-$20, are a quick way to complement an outfit. It's a fashion accessory with the added benefit of spreading a little joy- for it's gals like me that may notice you from afar, smile and think, 'Now, that's a good man...'  

 

Photos: The Carraway Concept site; Donald Wilson/ first pics    Content: Sweet Peach

 

Friday
Aug222014

Mails Woodwork

I'm a sucker for a good bench. The textures and coloring of this one had me at first glance, so I was happy to learn that the craftsman behind this lovely piece of work hails from Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Ryan Mails of Mails Woodwork has had a passion for architecture and woodworking his entire life. He utilizes traditional furniture making methods with tools one may have found on workbenches of the 18th century. Then of course, he adds a modern twist. The Gullwing Bench is a Danish influenced design with a woven cord seat that conforms to the gullwing shap of the frame. 

I have a strong love for this gorgeous slant desk, made from quartersawn walnut. Ryan, "I had the form of the desk in mind for years before I found a way to build it with continuity of vertical grain across the sides. The shape dictated that storage would be accessed by moving the writing surface rather than withdrawing a drawer." 

Ryan primarily works with ash, walnut, red oak- hardwoods from the surrounding forests in the piedmont region of North Carolina. 

This Floating Desk is built from quartersawn red oak, with a hardware-less drawer. There is an expert's hand at work here and these are certainly pieces to be handed down, admired, coveted. Learn more about Ryan's impressive collection, here.

 

Photos: Mails Woodwork site     Content: Sweet Peach


Thursday
Aug212014

Grady's Cold Brew

 

Although I'm not one of those people that need a cup of coffee everyday, I do enjoy a tasty cold brewed coffee from time to time...

What I like about Grady's Cold Brew is how they get their inspiration from New Orleans. Their special ingredient is chicory, whose origins begin in Egypt but the root has been mixed with coffee in France since the early 19th century. When French colonists established New Orleans in 1718, coffee crops were one of their big exports and contributions to the city. It quickly became an integral part of the local culture.

During the American Civil War, naval blockades cut off the port to New Orleans, hence the locals access to coffee. To stretch their supplies, New Orleanians began mixing their coffee with acorns, beets... or chicory. Chicory coffee was cheap and used in times of coffee shortage or an economic downturn. This surprising combination of flavors in coffee has become a New Orleans tradition as well as chicory in a 'cafe au lait' or hot milk. 

All of this colorful history makes Grady's Cold Brew so much more of a good idea. It can be mixed with water or milk, served over ice or steaming hot. Chicory has a nutty, mellow flavor and when added with milk, tastes like hazelnut. Learn more about Grady's through their site, plus find their recipe for a New Orleans Iced Coffee (and other tasty coffee concoctions), here.

 

Photos:Grady's Cold Brew; Food 52     Content: Sweet Peach


Wednesday
Aug202014

Designed by Artists 

Insun Hong is the creator and designer behind Designed by Artists, based in Houston, Texas. As she recently shared, "As a full time designer, one of the biggest tasks I have is to make marketable products that sell and this rule often conflicts with what I desire to do as an artist at heart." Her philosophy is to design products that are made with the soul of artists. 

Insun's plan is to introduce new designs every six months with special editions for popular holidays. Her current series features toddler blankets... 

Insun, "My blankets are made with 100% cotton, super soft fabric that is perfect for toddlers." Her 30" x 36" lightweight blankets have an original design (unlike traditional repeat patterns) that catch your eye with their color and originality. Her blankets are for moms (and babes) that care about good style. 

This is a fun concept and I look forward to seeing what Insun's next lineup will be. An artist to watch- keep track of her work and whereabouts, here.

 

Photos: Designed by Artists    Content: Sweet Peach

 

Tuesday
Aug192014

West Elm Local Grant 

My friend Bradley Odom, the Director of Design Education at West Elm, recently shared something fun from his employer....This fall, West Elm will be offering a $25,000 small business grant to one local artist, maker or designer. 

As you may remember, West Elm kicked off their nationwide initiative, West Elm Local, late last year in Atlanta. Our southern city was the test market and after a successful run, it was launched in almost two dozen other cities across the country to date. To continue their commitment to local makers, this grant has the potential to truly enhance one person's artistic career.

Submissions close September 9, with finalists being selected by a team of judges. The public will choose their favorites online from September 30 - October 14. 

As every struggling artist trying to jumpstart a career in their garage or living room workspace knows, $25,000 can ease the burden of budget concerns, freeing up valuable time and stress. This is such a great opportunity, plus it's so easy to enter. If you could use an extra push in your career to help get you to that next level, enter to win the West Elm Local Grant, here.

 

Monday
Aug182014

Noah Marion

Oh, vacation is over...such a sad sad thing. But, alas, I'm refreshed and refocused on the blog and ready to share some wonderful new finds from the South. There's a lot I have in store for part two of 2014 including some fun collaborations and more editions of the Sweet Spots paper. But first, I begin with these handsome leather goods that recently caught my eye, by Noah Marion of Austin, Texas. 

Noah has created a rather impressive collection of bags, belts, home goods and accessories but I particularly like his wallet selects for the men. Each one is classic, clean, durable, attractive... 

After inheriting a sewing machine from his dad, Noah taught himself to sew using found fabrics and other recycled materials. Having a love for timeless, well made goods, his leather line was born organically. 

Oh how I love a good dopp kit. These are smartly made from a simple one piece construction, available in natural or black. You can add a cool monogram too...nice holiday gift actually. 

These manly goods are made with untreated, undyed, natural vegetable tanned leather. Check out the entire line, here or if you happen to be in Austin soon, check out Noah's brick and mortar shop at 2053 S. Lamar Blvd. 

 

Photos: noahmarion.com     Content: Sweet Peach

 

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