Gingham & Rosé: The Perfect Summer Combo

I was not always a fan of Rosé, but it’s dramatically grown in popularity over the past few years and now it’s more of a #basic Summer beverage that anything.  Sometimes overly sweet for my taste, but then when you find that perfectly balanced, sparkling pink libation, it’s perfect for toasting to a beautiful Summer night.

Here I am doing just that, while wearing one of my absolute favorite finds this Summer… An off the shoulder floral-lace and gingham dress from Revolve.  That’s right, floral, lace and gingham… how cliche for a Southern girl, amirite?  I actually bought this little number to wear to a specific restaurant in Athens, Greece this Summer, but fate had another story in mind.  So I wore it out one Saturday evening to 8Arm, and then frolicking around the Old Fourth Ward.  No fancy occasion, but who needs an excuse to wear this dress, or any dress for that matter?   I certainly don’t.

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You can find this dress for $95 here.

photos by KVC Photography

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A Fun Summer Jacket & Quirky Boutique

I like to have a go-to Summer jacket for evenings out and this light satin bomber from Fab’rik boutique is just perfect.  The print is a pretty, Summery floral on white, with a sparkly gold striped trim.  Coupled with glittery, gold striped espadrilles, this is the kind of look that can take you from a casual day of shopping (at Paris on Ponce), to dinner without skipping a beat.

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Fab’rik Floral Bomber Jacket, Hudson Signature Bootcut Jeans,  Ray-Ban Aviators

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Paris on Ponce is a quirky antique shop located on the corner of Ponce De Leon Ave and Ponce Place.   The Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail runs behind the store where travelers are invited to roam the 30+ unique shops/booths, or just stop by for water and to use the restrooms.  Here you can shop for an array of gifts and oddities including art, antiques, cool letterpress cards, records, clothing, and even tarot readings.  They close at 6pm, so head there early and get lost in the possibilities.

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photos by KVC Photography 

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Sweet Georgia Peaches at Jaemor Farms

Jaemor Farms is a locally owned 500 acre property, located in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.  Here, you will find fresh grown produce, local cheeses and honey, and Jaemor Farms original homemade baked goods (baked pie, fried pie, cakes, breads), sauces, pickles, jams, jellies, ciders, ice cream and boiled peanuts.

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Harvesting crops on this land has been a family tradition for more than 105 years.  Today, members of the Echols family work in the fields, bakery, and market.

Saturday, August 5th, they hosted the annual Peach Festival.  Attendees were invited to pick their own peaches for $30 per half bushel.

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I am dressed head to toe in J.Crew.  I found this Summer’s collection to be perfect for the outdoors and easily dressed up or down (picking peaches on a farm or dinner al fresco in the city) with the addition of jewelry and wedge heels.
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Jaemor Farms honey is delicious specifically because the pollen that is gathered by their bees to produce the honey is from a combination of peachappleblackberrystrawberry and varieties of squash plants.

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Shelly (with Jaemor Farms) helped us navigate the orchard and find the best peaches, ready to pick.

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After picking our peaches, we headed to the market for peach ice-cream and a variety of other peachy delights.

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Among the smorgasbord of peachy varieties, they offer many more beverages, baked goods, sauces, and jams, all featuring fresh local ingredients.  I picked up some Vidalia Onion BBQ sauce, a jar of artichoke spread, and of course some hot boiled peanuts.  The entire market smelled sweet of the peach and cinnamon pecan bread.

Look to their website for events this Fall including “Date Night”, pumpkin patch and corn maze.

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Atlanta Steeplechase

Where:  Kingston Downs, located between Rome and Cartersville, Georgia.

When:  April 22, 2017 (it takes place each year, mid-April)

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A very southern soiree…  The bigger, the bolder, the better.  That’s our motto.

Here are a few hats I’ve made for Steeplechase this year and last.  All you need is a good hat, some wired ribbon, flowers, feathers, tulle, WHATEVER you like.  Mine are quite conservative compared to some that you see there.  If you shop Target, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls for a good discounted hat, these range from $60-$70 each to make.  You can certainly do it for less, but I spend more on the realistic silk flowers.  It really makes all the difference and $70 is a fraction of what you would pay to order one at this same quality.

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There is much to see throughout the day… Parade of the Hounds, the Budweiser Clydesdales, bagpipers, a hat parade & contest and of course the races!  Also, there are artist’s tents set up throughout the grounds, and you can even take a ride on a camel!
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Be sure to bring the party with you.  This is tailgating to the extreme.  Our spread consists of pimento cheese, cucumber sandwiches, deviled eggs, chicken tenders, a variety of desserts, endless dips, chips, and a full bar- everything you could imagine.  Don’t forget tables, chairs, an awning, and a corn hole set.
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My “Garden floral asymmetrical dress” was made by STYLESTALKER.  Compliments of Rent the Runway. Because I made the hat the year before, I had to find a dress to match.  When in search of a dress for a specific occasion, color, or something last minute that you don’t have time (or the budget) to shop for, Rent the Runway is a lifesaver.  I rent more dresses than I buy…  Do I save money by doing so?  Probably not, but you rarely see me in the same dress twice and it is sure to be perfect for every occasion, unique, and within a current collection by a highly regarded designer.  Click here for $30 off your first order.
The men also dress to impress in linen, pastels, and bow ties.  This is just as much a fashion show as it is a cocktail party… as it is a horse race.
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San Francisco (be sure to wear flowers in your hair)

San Francisco, the city by the bay with endless offerings.  What a lovely place it is!  The streets are lined with pastel Victorian town homes, trolleys, cafes, and all within a short driving distance to the infamous Redwood Forest, as well as Sonoma and Napa Valley.

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There really are too many sights, restaurants, and shops to mention, but here are a few gems that were highlights of our most recent trip:

Near Union Square:

Blue Bottle Coffee.  This is by far the best coffee I have ever had.  They specialize in siphon coffees – a centuries-old technique that is done mostly by hand, requiring precise temperature, time, attention and skill. The results are well-worth the effort, and more like the consistency of tea than coffee.  Meant to be consumed black and never with the addition of cream or sugar.  Their breakfast items are just as fantastic.  If only I could start out every day with a stop at Blue Bottle…

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And right on the edge of Union Square, you will find a quaint little cafe and wine bar called La Marsa.  The owner, Rafik Bouzidi, serves as host, waiter, bartender, and chef.  He’s a one man show.  Do not let this discourage you.  This is a very small space and he offers high quality, inventive dishes with a Tunisian flair, and a side of conversation.  If you’re out and about Union Square, stop and see Rafik for a glass (or bottle) of wine.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Haight Ashbury:

Possibly the most famous neighborhood of the 1960’s hippie movement. The Haight was home to many artists and musicians including The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin.  Here you would find people dancing in the streets and preaching free love to all.  The year is 2017 but the vibe remains the same.

Love on Haight

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You can now find eclectic boutiques, bars and cafes serving everything from coffee to rum punch served by the bowl (see Hobson’s Choice).

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One of my absolute favorite boutiques is Decades of Fashion, selling authentic vintage clothing and accessories from the past 100 years, separated by decade.  It’s no wonder that many Hollywood costume designers come here for authentic pieces, as well as inspiration.  The store is owned by fashion designer, Cicely Hansen.  Amongst the vintage collections, lives one line of 1920’s flapper style (inspired, not original) beaded dresses, designed by Cicely.  A few of these dresses were made for the 2011 movie, “The Artist”.  She sold me the most beautiful hand beaded cocktail dress.  I can’t bear to put it away in my closet, so it’s still hanging on display in my office.  After all, it is a piece of art.

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Muir Woods:

A short trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, and just past Sausalito, you will find Muir Woods.  This protected nature reserve is home to some of the world’s largest redwoods, ranging  between 600 – 1200 years old.

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Wine Country:

We have visited both Sonoma and Napa, and I have to say, I prefer Sonoma.  On both occasions, we traveled with a tour group (approx. 10 people), and so we were taken to smaller, family owned wineries.  A few of my favorites include Larson Family Winery, Cline Cellars, and Jacuzzi Winery (all located in Sonoma Valley).

What is the difference, you may ask?  Sonoma Valley is located along the coast and has a slightly cooler climate, largely producing more white wines such as Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays, sparkling wines, and also Pinot Noirs.  Napa is on the opposite side of the mountain range, which aids a warmer climate and produces more Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots.  Napa is more known for their Michelin star restaurants and more expensive tasting rooms, while Sonoma is less expensive and more like a traditional visit to country vineyards.  I do of course, recommend you visit both.  Unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity to dine at some of the finer restaurants, but it is on my list for future visits. See the video below for some aerial footage taken in Napa just a week ago (no grapes yet on the vines)…

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50 year old vines.  At age 40, they produce far less grapes. However, vines this old make for the most delicious wines.  You can spot them by their burley, gnarled appearance.

Recommended Tours:

Green Dream Tours– Mark was fantastic!  The price is well worth booking a tour rather than adventuring out on your own if you happen to be staying in the city, like we were.  They will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel and the tasting fees are included.

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Many tours are available, Sonoma, Napa, or a combo of both, Alcatraz Island and wine country, food/wine combo tasting, private tours, etc.  Take a look at their website and decide which fits your interests best.  And ask for Mark.

San Francisco is lovely in the Spring, but I would recommend anyone traveling to plan their trip for the Fall.  You will experience the best weather that San Francisco has to offer, and the grapes will be fully ripened and ready for harvest.  Do some research or just wander about the city.  Either way, there’s a breath taking view and happy-go-lucky locals on every steep and winding turn.  Cheers!

(make sure to view the above video in 1440p HD for maximum quality… thanks for watching!)

 

 

My future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.

Hello, Spring! 

In conjunction with New York Fashion Week, the PANTONE Fashion Color Report provides a comprehensive overview of fashion designers’ use of color in their Spring 2017 collections. Featuring the top 10 shades seen on the runway, the PANTONE Fashion Color Report is your essential color guide to the season.

Drumroll, please…

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PANTONE Fashion Color Report- Spring 2017, including the “2017 Color of the Year”, Greenery.

Unless you dress in all black (I’ve been guilty of that from time to time), this palette really has something for everyone.  I love the fact that it isn’t too pastel, or too neon, just a nice medium array of jewel tones that in my opinion, are reminiscent of fashion of the nineteen sixties.  I believe that we will be seeing more sixties inspired prints this season as well, thanks to styles recently re-introduced to the runway by Roberto Cavalli

As stated in studies of color psychology, color can manipulate mood.  Think about the weather and the seasons… With the exception of the oh so glorious Christmas season, is Winter not the dreariest time of year?  There’s something about that first glimpse of Spring that puts a smile on everyone’s face (similar to this lovely palette of naturalistic hues).  In Atlanta, the masses flock to patios all over the city, moving the party outside.  Piedmont Park is bustling with dog walkers, picnickers, frisbee throwers, and Mimosa drinkers.  My husband says that when he sees the first bumblebees, he knows we’re out of the dark.  So bring your shades, because we’re about to have another “Summer of Love”.

Supporting Local Art: Spotlight on Sarah England

A couple of years ago I was looking to have a portrait made of our dog a.k.a. “our little pumpkin spice puppy”, Kobi.  I knew that I wanted a watercolor, and preferably something quirky.  I found Sarah on Etsy, and it was a complete coincidence that she hailed from the ATL. Sold.
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Sarah captured Kobi’s sassy demeanor to a tee.  She’s painted people’s dogs, cats, and other pets.  Many people buy them as gifts, perhaps even for a loved one who has lost a pet and would like to memorialize them in the form of a watercolor painting.  You can find more information, including prices on Sarah’s Etsy page: ArtbySarahEngland
Born and raised in Georgia, Sarah graduated with a BFA from University of West Ga and unlike many, can proudly say that she makes a living as a full time artist.  Although she has several side “hustles”, such as assisting a jewelry maker, and selling clay sculptures of the moon, Sarah is a painter, specializing in watercolor.
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“I am so thankful that with an inspired mind, my left hand, and just a paint brush or pencil, I can be self-sustainable.”
Besides her own mother, who is a talented watercolor artist in her own right, Sarah says that seeing work by local artists inspires her most to create more work of her own.  Sarah’s studio lies within her apartment.  Above her workspace hangs a map of the U.S., with a pin in each city where her work hangs.  What a cool reminder of what she’s accomplished and to just keep moving forward… There are a lot of pins on this map and from what I’ve learned, she needs to upgrade to a map of the world.  Maybe soon…
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Much of Sarah’s recent work has had a moody tone, characterized with a darker neutral palette.  I knew that Sarah was the one who should paint our family portrait.  But we didn’t sit for her.  This is her tribute to our love of Halloween.  All I can say is that I couldn’t be happier.
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I can tell you from experience, watercolor painting is not an easy medium.  This girl has talent.  You can find existing work for sale, or commission her for a portrait of your pet via her Etsy page.  She also posts new work to Instagram.  Look, share, follow, SUPPORT local artists.  Sarah hosts shows in local coffee shops and even hair salons, but most of her work is sold via word of mouth.  So spread the word.
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