Holiday Peach Picks: Hugh Acheson

This past summer, I produced my first Sweet Spots paper for Athens, Georgia. I was thrilled to have Hugh Acheson be one of the first to buy an ad for it and I have to say, he's always been the kind of great guy we see on TV. I've appreciated his support and am a huge fan of his recently released cookbook, The Broad Fork- which by the way, just got listed as the best cookbook of the year by Epicurious (great gift idea). As an added plus, Hugh is an avid traveler and stylish dresser, which makes him fun to follow on Instagram. It's just another way to let this fun and talented, guy-next-door chef into our lives. He's a good man- and I'm as happy as can be to share his stellar Peach Picks on Sweet Peach this holiday season. Thank you Hugh! 

1. Phil and Sebastian Coffee, from $18.50. Phil and Sebastian is a phenomenal coffee roaster in my native Canada, based in Calgary, Alberta. Brilliant packaging but even better sourcing and skilled roasting of the beans. It's also sold at Spiller Park Coffee in Atlanta. Save on that shpping $$$!

2. Vintage Cast Iron Pan. Some great cast iron is available on Etsy and Ebay. Look for Griswold brand. And if you find a well seasoned cast-iron (I mean seasoned like you can see your face in it), don't think, just buy. You will never regret it. 

3. All Clad 12" inch stainless collection fry pan, from $95. This is one of the most used pans in my kitchen. And it's also one of the oldest- a testament to the durability of the All Clad product. 

4. Chubo Utility Knife, $195. This has become one of my favorite knives. And I have a lot of knives. It's pricy, but worth it. 

5. McEvoy Ranch Olive Oils, from $29. Olive oil has such a presence in my food and I love showing off the wonderful producers in our midst. McEvoy Ranch produces award-winning, clean and truly delicious olive oil.

6. R. Wood Studio Ceramics, from $22. Rebecca Wood is an iconic Athenian artist and for good reason. Her ceramics befit the most elegant Southern table, but also find a happy home in well-used kitchens. 

7. Condor Chocolates Truffle Gift Box, from $8 (in store only: Athens, GA) or chocolate bars from the online shop, $9. My buddy Peter Dale is serving up delicate, carefully crafted (by the talented Shae Sims) chocolates and confections that will put a smile on anyone's face. Several seasonal truffle offerings make for an elegant and fun gift box.  

8. Gift Certificate to Bikram Yoga Studio, Athens, from $18. Mary, my wife, enjoys a regular practice at our local Bikram yoga studio. It's a state of the art facility that beginners and seasoned practitioners alike patronize. 

9. Subscription to AFAR magazine, $20. Beautifully laid out, stunning graphic design and a great resource for the eclectic traveler, of which I am one. 

10. David Hale prints, from $15. I wear David's art on my arm, but if you're needle-shy, you can get a print instead. His work is vastly intricate and very stylized. He's a dedicated artist. 

 

Image of Hugh: Taylor Oxendine    Content: Sweet Peach/ Hugh Acheson 


Philip Juras

In search of more artwork for my home, I had to take a moment to admire the work of painter, Philip Juras of Athens, Georgia. I spied his work on my friend Nan's Instagram account the other day... 

What I love most about Philip Juras' work is that the majority of it showcases my favorite place on earth- Little St. Simon's Island, Georgia. Through my work at TBS, I've been so fortunate to visit this magical, private island a multitude of times. Whatever the reason, (which I gather has a lot to do with how protected and untouched this southern wilderness is) I feel nothing but happiness when I set my feet here- and I get the feeling Philip feels the same way. 

As shared on his site, "Philip focuses primarily on remnant natural landscapes that offer a glimpse of the Southeast before European settlement." Through my dozens of hikes with friend, Kathryn Kolb, I've come to learn first hand how special and fragile our Southern ecosystem is...it is artists like Philip (and Kathryn) who remind us why it's so vital to stand up and protect it. 

See more of the lovely, southern inspired work of Philip Juras, here.

 

Images: Phillip Juras      Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Forged and Found

Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of these stoneware wind bells on Instagram, and I had to stop and stare for a moment. They're quite beautiful and unique and because of that, I'm forced to add them to my wish list...

Regina Mandell of Forged and Found in Athens, Georgia spends her days crafting beautiful things for her online shop and a handful of eager retail shops across the country. I like how her collection includes not so obvious things like potion bottles, wine chillers, this lantern or even a series of four cups in different sizes. 

Such lovely things. I bookmarked her site today and look forward to seeing what she's up to next. Click here to see Regina's entire shop, and look out for the bells....hopefully arriving in her online shop very soon. 

 

Images: Forged and Found     Content: Sweet Peach

 

The Sara Lee Parker Pouch

Ever since I first blogged about Sara Lee Parker's adorable napkins and tea towels, I've been an avid fan. So I loved receiving an email from her last week showcasing a new item in her repertoire... pouches. 

Sara resides in Athens, Georgia with her husband Simon, where together they screen print her fabric designs. These cute pouches, all individually lined in complementary fabric, are made from their off-cuts so every one has its own unique look. 

The prices are good too. This small chicken pouch is $15, the larger fabric pouches featured above are $28. Check out Sara's site to see her expanding textile collection, which includes table runners, cards, prints, aprons and buckets. 

 

Images: Sara Lee Parker      Content: Sweet Peach 


Leccare Lollipops

It's Friday and I want a lollipop...but only one as tasty and adorable as this one. It's the Birthday Cake lollipop and it tastes like birthday cake with a pinch of cinnamon. But if that doesn't appease, Kimberly Hadlock of Athens, Georgia offers 32 other flavors like Cherry Basil, Salted Caramel, Pear Ginger or Raspberry Lemon Cream.   Yes, please. 

I love how inviting and layered each and every pop looks. Her pretty heart shaped pop (also available in a diamond shape) is Rose & Honey, made of rose water, Georgia mountain honey and fresh ground rose petals. 

I think my heart belongs here though...with fluffy marshmallows and lavender. The pops are well priced (12 of this flavor for $14) and all pops can be made larger, have custom labels or be made for large events such as birthdays or weddings. As Kimberly gains fans, she also continues to expand her selection to over 200 pops that are either sweet, fruity, spicy or savory. As two of my nieces head to college this fall, I think these will be inside their first care package. Pick your favorites, here. 

 

Images: Leccare Lollipops    Content: Sweet Peach 


Treehouse Kid & Craft

I love a good kid's shop and Treehouse Kid and Craft in Athens, Georgia is one of the best. Owner, Kristen Bach curates a bevy of products that are meant to nurture the imagination and soothe the soul. It's a mix of design friendly toys, organic bath products, vintage and handmade kid's clothes, furniture, decor, artwork and my favorite- clever games and activities. 

An I love Athens diorama, how fun is that? This is something I'd love to open and start coloring and assembling. Kristen creates and sells these herself... now we just need an Atlanta one. 

What stands Treehouse out from the rest is their classroom space where they offer a variety of DIY classes, workshops and summer camps. Classes include drawing, super hero, collage, sewing, knitting, printmaking, puppetmaking, stop motion animation and so much more...

Kristen opened Treehouse in 2010 and the good news is she's expanding to Atlanta by the end of the year. A new Treehouse will spring up in Inman Park to showcase all her wares and include lots of cool workshops for the kids. It's a place to explore and to play... all imaginations welcome.  

 

Images: Sweet Peach; Treehouse Kid & Craft      Content: Sweet Peach 


Double Dutch Press

If you're taking a visit to Athens anytime soon, it's always a good idea to make a stop in Normaltown. For it is only in Normaltown that you'll find the Normal Bar, the Normal Hardware and the not so normal print shop.

Double Dutch Press is a print shop, rental shop, workshop and art store all in one. Plus, they just have really great taste...

The ladies of Beauty Everyday recently introduced me to this shop and its owners, Amanda Burk and Katherine McGuire. It was quickly self evident that this shop would land a coveted spot in the new Athens Sweet Peach Sweet Spots paper. An avid fan of paper products, I loved this bright and creative place the moment I stepped inside. For more about the wonderful work they do, just click here to check out what Rinne, Kristen and Rebecca had to say... 

 

Images: Rinne Allen     Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Sweet Peach Sweet Spots Athens

After many a long night, it's nice to be able to say that 10,000 copies of the Sweet Peach Sweet Spots Athens paper will be arriving in Athens, Georgia this afternoon. Inside, you'll find 50 Sweet Spots curated by the ladies of Beauty Everyday- Kristen Bach, Rinne Allen and Rebecca Wood...and myself. There is just so much to love about Athens right now- from stellar restaurants, vintage shops to cool bars and hangouts, it's the perfect weekend destination about an hour northeast of Atlanta. 

The papers will be delivered to Treehouse Kid and Craft today and over the coming weeks, will be available at all 50 Sweet Spots. Or, if you're not planning to visit Athens anytime soon, download and print the PDF here. A big thank you to Kristen, Rinne and Rebecca, as well as Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object for her amazing illustrations, Bob Conquest and Vanessa Dina for their incredible design aesthetic and direction. I'm such a lucky one... enjoy the weekend everyone. 

 

R. Wood Studio

If anyone has spent some time in Athens, Georgia, then you need no introduction to R. Wood Studio. In this large retail shop and workspace housed in an old produce warehouse, Rebecca Wood has created one of the largest, most recognizable pottery studios in all of America. 

Every piece of pottery found here is made and painted by hand and instantly feels like an R. Wood creation simply by its shape and color. It all began in 1987 when Rebecca, always an artist and maker of things- from jewelry to clothes, tried her hand at pottery. After purchasing an old kiln at a yard sale and creating pretty dishware with her hands, buyers began to notice...and place orders. The business, like her newfound passion, was organically born. 

When you walk into R. Wood, one of the first things you'll notice is the 1st tables, where a variety of dishware is available for sale. You'll find everything you need to set a table here- from rice and dipping bowls, creamers and cups to baking dishes and antipasti plates.

Then there is the Seconds Room where you'll find slightly flawed pieces sold for discounted prices. All the colors complement each other as Rebecca's pieces are meant to mix and match if so desired. It's more fun that way anyway...

With retailers all over the country and demand for her work for photo shoots and gift shows, Rebecca depends on a steady stream of artists to help her designs come to life. You'll often see them hard at work when you walk in the large front doors...

There are currently eight artists that work full time in the studio, from 30-40 hours per week. This is Michele, who is crafting bowls using a slab and her own handiwork. It's kept southern and local here, even the clay is from just up the way in North Carolina.  

From top left, Michele, Michael and Caden were hard at work the Saturday afternoon I stopped by to take a few pics. As Caden shared, the work here is disciplined and thorough, as many dishes are hand painted with as many as five coats. 

Rebecca is just as you would think- kind, thoughtful, full of vibrancy and creativity. It's been such a pleasure to get to know her a bit as she just recently helped me curate the Sweet Peach Sweet Spots Athens paper, which will be out and available within a week. I hope you check out the Sweet Spots, particularly #49. It's a goodie...

 

Images: Sweet Peach  Final pic:Design Sponge      Content: Sweet Peach

 

Mimi's Peach Gazpacho

Mimi Maumus is a chef after my own heart. When I take a seat in her lovely, inviting restaurant home.made in Athens, I know I'm in for a delicious meal. So I was thrilled when she decided to share her Peach Gazpacho recipe with us. We all need to make this tasty dish before peach season ends. Thank you Mimi... 

 

 

Image: Kristen Bach    Content: Sweet Peach     Recipe: Mimi Maumus

 

Athens Road Trips!

In the upcoming Sweet Peach Sweet Spots paper, Athens edition, the women who helped curate the paper- Kristen Bach, Rebecca Wood and Rinne Allen of Beauty Everyday, share some of their favorite nearby road trips. Below are some of their favorite getaways. These spots are a mix of good food, picturesque sights and fun locales to dig around for low cost treasure. I like that I have some new spots to check out. Thank you gals. In their own words...

 

Neat Pieces is one of our favorite junk shops. It's housed in an old downtown strip and is layered with treasures. Building after building, we love to meander through and see what we can find. It is always worth the trip and...

...is just a few miles away from one of the most picturesque covered bridges around. 

 

A great way to spend a Saturday is browsing for plants at one of Georgia's best nurseries and...

...eating good BBQ on the way home. Just to note, Paul's is open only on Saturdays. 

 

Everyone knows how photogenic Madison is but we also love the tiny town nearby called Bostwick, especially in the fall when the cotton fields come in and the little town holds its annual cotton festival.

 

At Georgia's biggest flea market there is truly something for everyone, from plants to antiques to tacos! Located just six miles from downtown Athens. 

 

Athenians head to this nearby river when they want to cool off. You can bring your own kayak or canoe, or rent one and float on down...

 

Images: beautyeveryday.com; roadtrippers.com; Online Athens    Content: Beauty Everyday 

 

Condor Chocolates

As if there was not enough reason to visit Athens, Georgia, brothers and business partners, Nick and Peter Dale recently opened a chocolate shop in the historic Five Points neighborhood that's a must-see. It's called Condor Chocolates and it's a homage to the birthplace of their mother. 

Peter and Nick's mom is from Ecuador and they have visited the country countless times over the years. Their ties to this region has given them a strong appreciation for the flavor and quality of Ecuadorian chocolate, which Peter describes as "sometimes a bit spicy but rounded out by notes of fruit and citrus." At Condor, the brothers showcase producers that are growing the country's traditional cacao variety called nacional. Inside the shop you'll find all sorts of tasty concoctions including bars, truffles, hot cocoa, sipping chocolates, gelato and more...

The few times I've had a chance to visit, I've ordered the popular truffles. The dark chocolate with sea salt has my heart but I'm a fan of the Bourbon, the Caramel and the Honey Lavendar. I'm sure I'd be a fan of more, I just keep ordering the same ones because they're so good...

The shop is open and bright and you can watch the chocolate making process from the counter. Plus, they have a few select gifts you can buy, many from Ecuador. A chocolate shop sounds fun no matter what but this one is quite special- not only for the owners attention to providing quality produced chocolate, but for caring about the visitor experience and sharing it all via stellar interior design and product packaging. (The package patterns were sourced from local artist David Hale and fabric engineer, Susan Hable) Condor Chocolates is well worth a visit next time you're in Athens, just click here to learn more. 

 

Images and Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Starlite Showroom

In preparation for the unveiling of the next Sweet Peach Sweet Spots edition, I'll be posting quite a few stories on shops in Athens, Georgia. Starlite Showroom is one of my new favorites as it's full of well curated vintage finds at great prices. 

Mark Opel and Dan Beynart opened Starlite this past March. They met playing semi pro baseball and realized quickly their combined admiration for vintage home decor and mantique shopping. Mark has been an antiques dealer in Athens for ten years and Dan has owned local businesses there for years. Together, they realized they could make a good team, as long as they could find the right spot....

With a lot of vision, the pair decided to renovate an old mechanics shop and used car store they found on Broad Street. The space, with half a dozen rooms, initially was a complete mess. It took the pair three months to renovate it, tearing down paneling, rewiring the electrical, adding centralized heat and air and repainting the entire place. Luckily plumbing and contracting is something they both have done on the side and were able to do all the grunt work themselves.

Subsequently, they have low rent and low overhead so they've passed on the savings to us. Their prices are much better than you'll find in many other southern cities- with the large, vintage maps starting as low as $80, the working General Electric AM tube radio is for sale at $81....the ceramics are priced to move and the lattice side table is just $174.

As deer and antlers remain popular sale items, you'll find a plethora of choices here. I particularly liked the large velvet deer painting for just $23. 

As the boys know how to restore antiques as well, all items in the shop are home ready. It's an incredible find and so happy I was directed to it by the women who helped me curate the upcoming Athens Sweet Spots paper- Kristen Bach, Rinne Allen and Rebecca Wood. Next time you're in Athens, you'll have to pop in and check it out. (It's good to note they accept consignment and select items from dealers as well.) With a philosophy of showcasing well-curated retro home goods at great prices in an open, uncluttered space, Mark and Dan have created a shopping experience you're really gonna dig...

 

Images: Sweet Peach     Content: Pamela Berger

 

Playing Cards by Karla Pruitt

I was lucky enough to hear from one of my favorite artist's recently, Karla Pruitt of Athens, Georgia. The last time I featured Karla on Sweet Peach, we shared her gorgeous wallpaper and art prints. So I was smiling ear to ear when I saw her latest creative endeavor...playing cards. 

Karla designed her first card set from a few of her prior patterns for a beach trip but after receiving much fanfare, she realized the retail potential. Karla, "The biggest challenge was finding the time to draw out all the numbers and characters. It's almost like creating 52 little pieces of artwork." 

I love it when an artist finds their niche in the market place. I've never had a set of beautifully designed playing cards and I can't wait to order some. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Karla raised enough money to design two different packs that incorporate original hand painted patterns and illustrations. 

These Windsor Playing Cards showcase the loveliest floral pattern while featuring a regal queen, king, jack and some mischievous corgi joikers. 

Her second option is just as eye catching and fun. The Islet Playing Cards are comprised of queen flamingos, seagull jokers and king alligators. The remainder of cards show off more of Karla's illustrative skills as the back of the deck is covered in banana leaf prints and colorful geometric designs that happily remind me of my favorite vacation spot- anywhere tropical. 

I just can't love them enough. Karla's cards are so beautifully done and what an inspiration it is to have an idea, fund it on Kickstarter and then produce them for all the world to see. To add a pretty card pack to your purse or coffee table, just click here. And thank you so much for sharing with Sweet Peach Karla! It just makes me wonder... what's next? 

 

Images: Karla Pruitt    Content: Sweet Peach