I love Huckberry. My friend Caroline told me about them ages ago, and since she and I have such similar taste that we often have to double-check with each other before we meet up that we aren't wearing the same shirt, it was pretty much a guarantee that if she liked what they were sellin', I would too. Up until now, it's technically been a site geared towards the dudes, and most of my savvier guy friends are already onto it, but I've always been able to find lots of stuff on there I love.

I'm really happy that the gang over there is doing more to embrace their female customer, namely by establishing a women's shop, which is chock-full of sexy wares. Do I really need a hot pink pocket knife? I mean, no, probably not. But am I going to buy a hot pink pocket knife? Duh. Of course.

Shop the Huckberry Women's store here, and let me know what you find.

There are so many friends of The Love List in the running for Martha Stewart's American Made awards! Very exciting. I culled through the pages upon pages of entries to shine a little spotlight on my favorite folks  - if you've been reading for awhile, I'm sure you'll recognize some names! Please help these folks win $10,000 bucks to put toward their respective business and of course, the game-changing exposure that winning would grant. 

Some deets via team Martha: "Through American Made, Martha Stewart and the editors of Martha Stewart Living are spotlighting the next generation of great American makers: entrepreneurs, artisans, and small-business owners who are creating beautiful, inspiring, useful products; pioneering new industries; improving local communities; and changing the way we eat, shop, work, and live."

I particularly love and agree with this part: "We believe we are in the midst of a shift in our culture where creative entrepreneurs are defining a new American economy. From Detroit to Des Moines, Spokane to St. Louis, people are choosing Main Street over mini-malls—supporting the local and the handmade.  Our country’s makers are sparking this change by taking a leap, banking on their creativity and craftsmanship, and living their version of the American dream."

Read McKendree

"Huxter was created with the idea of marrying luxury and utility in to a brand that is representative of its birthplace: the New England coast."

Carrie Morey

"Our small team of bakers are keeping the tradition of Southern biscuit making alive - no machinery, made-by-hand, heirloom recipes."

Brooks Reitz

"Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. identifies overlooked classic bar mixers and reinvents them for a modern, discerning drinker."

Putt Wetherbee

"Since 1946, Pride in pecans from start to finish. It's truly from our tree to your table - we grow, harvest, shell and candy our pecans."

Margi Patneaude

"Wild-inspired wearables for creative spirits & adventuresome beauties, proudly crafted in Philadelphia, PA by the hands of humans."

I'm a teeny bit miffed with the level of street cred the "Southern style" space gets in publishing, both in print and digitally. So I want to publish a little mission statement about The Love List, what it's about, and why I think using it to lend my little voice to a much larger conversation is important. 

Style is an is an especially pivotal cavity in the South right now. It is only beginning to emerge, and thus, define itself on the national stage. That means every person invested - editor, blogger, writer, designer, or shop owner - is someone who can contribute to setting a precedent. We are collectively carving something out here, and believing in it is the only way to keep pushing the proverbial stone up a very steep (and bias) hill. Is that an easy "cause" to call silly? Sure, but (paraphrasing Sofia Coppola) one can certainly be substantial and still interested in frivolity. 

Just to draw a little comparison for y'all here, I expect there was a time where recipes only appeared in magazines for women who cooked dinner for their husbands every night by 6:00 P.M. Boy, have times a-changed. Now, chefs are the proverbial toast of the town - revered and respected - and the food writers covering them sometimes take their 800-word meals with a side of self-flagellation. Recipes? Now served with a bio, an elegant photo, and a twee artist's rendering. Don't get me wrong, I'm just flatly observing, not hemming and hawing. I know Southern food is as vital to the fabric of this place as oxygen, and I heartily revel in Atlanta's food culture on the regular. The mission these folks are carrying out is important on nearly every significant social level there is, so I intend no disrespect. My point is that it is space that gets every last lick of legitimate coverage you could dream up, and I think the scales are tipping.

So why don't the arbiters of Southern style (especially those operating outside menswear) often get the same respect - or pages? The idea that we're a bunch of silly girls covering dresses and lipstick is about as antiquated and disparaging as saying Southern food writers only talk about grits and bourbon. That's why I think I belong in the fight, and that's pretty much what The Love List has been about for the past nine years.

A Southern woman doesn't open the pages of Vogue or nearly any other fashion magazine out there to use as a handbook for dressing in her everyday life. By and large, it's awful pretty, but there's not much in there that's practical. There's a highly revered conservatism here that probably won't ever entirely go away. It's part of what defines Southern women. That's a discussion all its own, but it's a reality, whether you subscribe to it or not. So how do we keep that in mind when writing for women who, by and large, are our peers? How do we strike a balance between staying relatable and aspirational? How do we stay grounded, but start to edge Southerners out of their comfort zones, little by little,  not only showing them what else is out there, but showing them how it works in their day-to-day? How do we do it with taste? And how do we do it all without pandering or speaking down to them?

I'll tell you one thing; it ain't going to be accomplished by alienating them. 

If you present yourself as a "Southern" publication, you have a responsibility to cater to both men and women without talking to the ladies with your tail between your legs, apologizing to the men for that page with a skirt on it in the same breath. I mean hey, if you're only going to cater to dudes, go for it. But just admit that you're a kettle and start calling yourself black. 

Recently, I have seen magazines like Southern Living, Eidé and Atlanta Magazine embrace the style space and push it forward in massive strides. To that I say hell yes! Not only are they tapping into a huge, hungry pool of readers, they're making money doing it. Dollars are dollars, and like it or not, advertisers make the print world go 'round. Not only is it the smart thing to do for their subscribers, it's just plain good business.

I am a reasonably intelligent girl with enough substance to fill more than one thimble, and I happen to like writing about clothes and home decor and all sorts of other perceivably two-dimensional things. Am I saving the world with my pen? Naw. But maybe I'm changing it a little. Yes, I think all writers feel a little tug when we publish fluff, because we want to be taken seriously and write things that matter. But I think you can make style matter when you shift the focus to the folks behind it, because they are a huge part of the fabric (pun intended) of the "New South". Telling people's stories and celebrating their work is never foolish or trivial. There is such a thing as Southern style with substance. That, my friends, is the precedent. Over the course of my career, I intend to help prove it. 

This notion was why I started The Love List almost ten years ago. I've struggled with what this website is a time or two in the past, but I've always arrived back at the same conclusion: it is intended to help fill the space that I know women down here want, because I want it. Style, sure - but style with roots and yarns and heartbeats behind it. Style that is practical and meaningful. Style that obliterates the cliché that we are all walking around down here in Lilly Pulitzer sundresses, clutching our big-ass pearls. We all come from something, and whatever that may be, we get up every day and put ourselves together in a way that gets it across to the world. So let's keep talking about it, because every single holler chips into a bigger, cacophonous roar that one day, hopefully, will be impossible to ignore. 

For those of y'all staying home to shop online and indulge in a good tv binge watch, Waiting on Martha (shop owner Mandy Rye's based right here in Atlanta) has tons of great stuff to make your home a little cozier on those lazy days, plus she's running a great promo through the weekend. Type in SOLONGSUMMER for 20% literally anything in the store. Oh, and if you're struggling for a good Netflix recommendation, my new favorite thing is abetterqueue.com - it digs up all the amazing stuff available on Netflix Instant, then files it by genre and ranks it by Rotten Tomato rating - meaning you'll never be recommended a bad Miley Cyrus movie again. My queue favorites right now include the Muscle Shoals documentary, 80's classic The Big Chill, and in honor of football season, Rudy.

In this post...

The long weekend is here, huzzah! Huzzah! Are you headed out of town or enjoying a quiet weekend at home? Labor Day means lots of things: honoring the working man, yup, but also the end of summer, the beginning of football season, and lots o' good shopping. 

Maddie on Things / Joshu + Vela Weekender via Huckberry / Clay + Bros. sandals

Getting away? Despite the "end" of the season, it's still hot as Hades out, so wherever you go, my money's on your need for a swimsuit and beach towel. Oh, and a cool weekender to haul it all away in, right? All of this stuff swings both ways, meaning guys and gals can carry 'em off with equal aplomb. This rad duffle came from Huckberry, which I guess is technically for guys, but girls, there is tons of super cool stuff you can use, too.

Victorinox pocket knife / Smathers & Branson flask via Tuckernuck / Basil Hayden & small-batch bourbons via Caskers

All travelers not headed to the coast are likely pointed to their respective college towns, off to watch the first football kickoff of the season. Let's be real, there are plenty of you who plan on being drunk from this afternoon until the smoke clears on Sunday. And not that the smell of Natty Lite won't ever not make me sentimental for the Sigma Chi house, but above are a few suggestions for growing up your flask a little. 

Happy long weekend! Enjoy it, fall is oh so near.

photo: Gray Benko for Southern Living

There is something really feminine about spindly fingers full of delicate stacked rings, don't you think? I'm so into tangles of teeny thin jewelry piled over simple clothes, but ring stacking is such a gentle statement it goes with just about anything. It can be a little tricky making sure you put together the right combination of depths, textures and styles though, so I pulled in the expertise of Stacy Smallwood, who owns two of the best stores in the South, Hampden Clothing and James, both located on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Stacy was part of our "Southern Style Is" story with Southern Living last week (thanks to Chassity Evans over at Look Linger Love) so I thought she was the perfect brain to pick on the subject. 

1. As long as the rings are delicate, you probably aren't going to creep into overkill territory. "Don't be afraid to use all of your fingers" Stacy says. "The more the merrier!" 

2. The fun's in the mix - sentimental and new. You want it to look collected. If you think mixing your metals is a faux pas, Stacy says no. "Stack a few different types of metal to show off your own style" she emphasizes. 

3. Pretty rings and ratty nails are a bad combination. Keep it neutral, or, Stacy adds "if you want to be on-trend for the season, finish your look off with white nail polish."

Our favorite rings and polishes:

A few months ago, I saw Aerin Lauder speak at ADAC in a talk moderated by Veranda's Clinton Smith. It was an interesting hour, most notably when she spoke on the topic of personal branding. In her case, the AERIN brand was very much an evolution of her polished pre-existing lifestyle. But I suppose that's second nature when your grandmother is Estèe Lauder, eh? Aerin is beautiful and her presentation, from beginning to end, is flawless. I mean, irritatingly I kind of hate you because you look good with no makeup on but I actually want to be you when I grow up flawless. She is just lovely, and chic, and once I saw her standing outside Bergdorfs bare-faced in workout gear and even then she looked good and oh hell what effing moisturizer is she using?!

Obviously, this makes her the perfect person to shill out makeup.

AERIN (the brand, not the person) sent me some goodies awhile back and I have tested them thoroughly. The one thing I wouldn't recommend are her highlighter pencils (the eye pencil is fine) because the tip snaps off way too easily, but everything else is kinda great. I keep the rose hand cream on my coffee table to mindlessly rub into my cuticles while watching Bachelor in Paradise. My favorite is the rose balm - it lacks the thick consistency of old-school lipstick, which is, if you ask me, like diamonds; something you can't truly pull of until you're past 40 or happen to be Jenna Lyons. Instead it's sheer and (brace yourself, squeamish readers) moist. Dewy, if you will. You can stain your lips with it just a little or use a heavier hand for more pigmented color. But it still comes in the glam gold tube of big girl lipstick.

You go, Aerin. Estée would be proud.

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My name is: Read McKendree

What I do: Founder + Creative Director, HuxterPhotographer. 

My collection is: A wide range of books on photography, painting, interior design, architecture, and sculpture as well as poetry, fiction, and nonfiction - and one single Boxcar Children. 

It's special because: My freshman year photography professor always stressed the importance of understanding our inspiration before we began to actually make images.  Even though it was a photography course, we studied countless artists - painters, sculptors, authors, poets, filmmakers.  To him, the act of learning about other artists, what inspired them, how they conceptualized that and what materialized from their process was just as important as our own work.  I began collecting art books as well as fiction and non-fiction.  Even if there was just one sentence that meant something to me, the string of words, bound within its carefully designed covers, became an important relic to hold onto.  It was sort of an early version of Pinterest with a hoarding twist.  To this day, I have stacks of books with just one or two pages folded in, marking the few words or images that I can’t seem to let go of and would hate to ever forget.

Collection is an eight-post series featuring the personal collection of one photographer every other week. Read more about this series.

Today, a story I helped produce for Southern Living went live called "Southern Style Is." Click on over to SouthernLiving.com for all the rad folks included from not only Atlanta, but Austin, Birmingham, New Orleans, and Charleston thanks to the contributions of other awesome stylish Southern ladies Camille Styles, Stephanie Granada, Juley Le, and Chassity Evans, respectively. Seriously, go give it a read and come back, I'll wait for you. I guarantee you'll come across something or someone new that makes your heart go pitter-pat. 

Done reading? Cool.

Two of the stylish Southerners featured in the Atlanta story are Emily Bean Livezey and Kirk Stafford, both no strangers to retail in the South, having been separately involved in the industry for years. Emily owns a popular women's boutique here in Buckhead called W.Port and Kirk, a founding partner of the men's store Tweeds, is now striking to out create a line of his own (more on that to come), so I asked them both where they like to spend their dollars around town:

Photo: Caroline Fontenot for Southern Living

Emily Bean Livezey, W.Port

Lucy's Market
102 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW

"Either me or my husband are there practically daily. They have one of my favorite salads. Great fresh produce. Hands down the best strawberry cake. Cool knick knacks like birch logs. And they just got their wine license!"

Scott Antique Market
3650 Jonesboro Rd. SE

"I love strolling through the aisles at Scott, especially on a rainy Sunday. Some of my most favorite treasures were found here. This is the joint where I scored my vintage Zuni turquoise squash blossom necklace that I just adore." 
200 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE
Peachtree Hills

"Everyone there, especially Anthony is AWESOME. They're a Peachtree Hills (my neighborhood) gem. Oh, and you've gotta check out their wine tastings every Saturday from 2:00-4:00!"

DEKA Atlanta
3600 Around Lenox Dr. NE

"I was actually one of the managers there before I opened W.Port. It's the perfect shop for the coolest athletic apparel, like Stella McCartney for Adidas. This is also the spot where I score my favorite running shoes, Newton. I'm addicted and own about 15 pairs!" 

3210 Roswell Rd. 
Buckhead West Village 

"DTox is a 6 days a week am ritual. You hear people say their day just can't start without coffee - I do agree there - but my day reeeaally can't start without my gingerGIZER and Turmeric Elixir shots and a green juice to go in a plastic cup! And here is a little secret; this winter, when you get slammed with a bad cold or the flu, try a hot bath with the Dtox Ginger Eucalyptus Bath salts. You'll sweat all that bad stuff right out of you. Promise."

Photo: Caroline Fontenot for Southern Living

Kirk Stafford, formerly of Tweeds
(new project slated for fall 2014)

2357 Peachtree Rd. NE
Peachtree Battle

"Awesome hard-to-find and small batch bourbons. You can pick up bar tools, signature cocktail recipes, and the staff is extremely helpful."

993 Marietta St. NW
West Midtown, Howell Mill

"This is where I go for any and all paper goods. They've got hilarious greeting cards, retro prints, and cool little antiques."

876 Huff Rd. NW
West Midtown Design District

"Incredible furniture shop tucked away on Huff Road. Almost everything is Danish from the 1950's and 60's. You pay for what you get, but what you get is incredible."

209 Edgewood Ave. SE

"This little gem is walking distance from my house, and has an awesome spread of meats and produce from local farmers."

1154 Euclid Ave. NE
Little 5 Points

"My favorite place to buy music in the city. Mostly vinyl - everything from James Taylor to Jay-Z."

Clay court queen? Pavement pounder? Crossfitter? Soul Cycler? Zen yogi? Barre devotee? Here, some sporty picks to up the ante of your workout wardrobe - no matter what your weekend grind.

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