The cold has finally stopped teasing us down South. Looks like she's finally setting up residence for awhile. Who doesn't love that first opportunity to bust out all your cozy sweaters and chunky heels? Recently I've been playing around on Lyst and put together a little collection of some of my favorite fall-ish items - ones that pair perfectly with the season's best (and most ubiquitous) booties, Rag & Bone's Newbury and Vince's Brigham. Here's a fun high (Burberry) low (TopShop) mix of knits, leather and denim to keep you cozy and looking sharp. You can check out the full Fall Lyst here for product sources and a few more chilly weather staples as well.
Earlier this week I was so excited that Apartment Therapy shared photos of my living and dining room with their readers. Almost a year ago now, Caroline shot these photos that Ginny so lovingly styled and they are finally seeing the light of day! Even though lots has been changed around my house since (an excuse for more pictures?) it is still fun to share the final results of that day with y'all. I got LOTS of questions about the house on Apartment Therapy, twitter and email so I wanted to write a source post for anyone who had questions on what came from where.
It is always worth mentioning the wonderful, warm organization that Maggie came from, Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta. I still keep in touch with her sweet foster Katherine who let me adopt my Maggie girl not long before this photo was taken. She took to her new home right away.
When I was buying my couch, I knew I wanted a dog but also thought all the natural light called for white upholstery. IKEA's Ektorp sofa to the rescue! I love how I can take all the covers off and wash them - very handy for an animal that can't seem to stay off the furniture (and my friends who spill drinks.) The pillows I bought off the now-defunct HomeMint. The sisal rug is from Natural Area Rugs, and the needlepoint Monkey pillow is from the Tory Burch home collection. Probably the only thing Tory Burch I own. The blue and white ginger jars are from One King's Lane, and the blankets and baskets are all from HomeGoods, also known as the greatest store ever.
The wicker table was a hand-me-down and the settee I found at an antique store in Blue Ridge, GA called Blue Ridge Antiques. They always have amazing things and the shop owner, Mrs. Liz, is a hoot. She roasts delicious coffee beans and is always down for a cup and a chat. I think that's where I also found the old Hardy Boys books and the big mint julep cups. All my lamps I get at HomeGoods.
Every time I instagram my coffee table, someone asks me about these trunks! I wish I had a great source for y'all, but they were a HomeGoods find in college and have been everywhere with me since. They were my bedside tables in Palm Beach and sat at the foot of my bed in Gainesville. Most of my candles, lotions and matches I buy from Ona Atlanta, which is a gorgeous bath and gift store here in Buckhead that my girl friends Sarah and Jenny Bronczek own.
Ona candle, One Kings Lane ginger jar, the blogger-ubiquitous classic books.... someone on Apartment Therapy asked about this painting, and I'm ashamed to admit I do not know the artist nor can I even remember when or where I bought it. If you recognize it, please let me know!
The cute monogrammed lucite tray is from me & re design. This thing constantly moves around my house, right now it's hosting an orchid pot at my entry, but I also use it tons for entertaining.
And onto the dining room...
Readers at Apartment Therapy were very quick to point out how big the flower arrangement is for entertaining - I agree! I think I was thinking more about the photo than the table's real function. Lesson learned. Of course this arrangement is now almost a year old and I'm over it, especially the table cloth and those place mats. Someone asked about the paint color, and I want to say it's a Better Homes & Gardens color from Lowe's. Nothing fancy. The only Farrow & Ball in this house is on the front door! The art is by Helen Strom and called "Le Chagrin." My light fixture is by Roost Home, you can find it at Anthropologie.
Read more about the custom matches here. I'm sure I missed things, so if you have any questions feel free to ask! Thanks again Ginny Branch for your magic styling touch, Caroline Fontenot as always for being the best photographer a gal could ask for, and to Apartment Therapy for giving these photos a place to live. Onto the next project!
1. Painterly patterns are really catching my eye lately. Athens, Georgia-based Hable Construction does these crazy awesome printed envelopes for under a dollar a pop - great for sprucing up anything you have to dash off on a standard piece of 85.x11. Artist Kate Whitley is in nearby Nashville - she's responsible for the gorgeous hand-painted silk scarf you see above, and this just scratches the surface of all the incredible pieces she has on offer. The dreamy blue and white print is the work of famed interior designer Jeffrey Alan Marks, who we had the treat of meeting today when he spoke at ADAC as part of their #DiscoverADAC series, which is going on all week long. If you're in Atlanta, it is definitely worth your time - check out the full schedule of remaining events here. I love that this print was inspired by Jeffrey's college water polo net!
2. To say "I had the pleasure of meeting" someone sounds too quaint to express how I felt talking to Chef Jared Hucks and Barman Adam Fox last week. These guys are an incredible wealth of knowledge - but they're hungry (pun intended) to not only share that with other people, but to continue learning on their own. It's always inspiring to have a conversation with passionate, knowledgeable people who lack affectation despite their obvious talent. You'll be hearing more about them on The Love List in the future, but I just wanted to put Dogwood Table on y'alls radar now. Dogwood Table is a high-end, intimate pop-up restaurant concept the guys have teamed up to execute that takes place here in Atlanta once a month - this time at Gallery L1. This month's event is two nights, but Friday is already sold out. A few tickets remain for Saturday, so I'd advise you to grab one while you still can. You can do that here.
3. At Bocado over the weekend, I drank the best glass (okay, two glasses) of wine and honestly just want to go and tell that, you know? So if you guys run across Viña Alberdi Reserva '07 Tempranillo, trust me, you want a glass.
Every so often I get approached to give a service or app a test-run, and usually I turn it down. I just feel like, why do The Love List's readers care about yet another way to get a blowout? Why am I wasting y'alls time with that? Just to get free stuff? But every so often, something comes along and I'll be like okay, this actually seems cool. If I were a blog reader, this is something I'd want to know about. So I'll give it a shot. Sometimes these services just don't deliver on what's promised - and y'all never hear a peep about it. Other times (like today) I get pretty stoked to share something because it's honestly like, why didn't I think of this? Where has this been? Think Uber, think GlamSquad, think delivery juice cleanses... and now, think Fetch.
Full disclaimer: I have a few things in the coffer that I've been giving the old trial and error that will continue this post series that I'm dubbing "Guinea Pig." Stuff I think you guys would care about using, sort of the way I've shared True & Co and Club W with you in the past. And I want to be 100% transparent with y'all - yes, companies do send me stuff for free to try out. Sometimes, I get a kickback if y'all sign up. Sometimes, the company pays me.
In the case of Fetch, they paid me for my time testing out the app and for writing the review, but like with anything on The Love List, they didn't have any input on what I said about them - they knew they were assuming risk by allowing me to be totally honest. But it's important that you guys trust what I say here, and they got that. That being said, maintaining The Love List is lots of work and just like with any work, it's got to generate income to be worth continuing. I'm pretty sure most folks who read blogs understand that by now, you guys are a pretty savvy crowd after all. That being so, I know you guys don't need me to tell you that I'm never going to endorse something that I think sucks, no matter how much free stuff or money a company offers me.
Fetch is a shopping app unlike any other, primarily because it acts as a straight-up personal assistant. You tell it to "go Fetch" something - dry shampoo, plane ticket, egg poacher, flowers for your Mom, that scarf the girl in line in front of you at Starbucks is wearing - and not only will Fetch find it for you, they'll find it for you at the best possible price.
So how does Fetch do that? How does some little app scour the internet for the good deals and the best prices AND the little promo codes the company mentioned once on twitter a week ago and oh yeah, deliver it to your door no sweat?
I'll tell you how: when you sign up, Fetch will ask for your credit card info and mailing address and store it, much the way Uber does. Then, you snap a photo or send a text of what you're looking for. When your handy in-app assistant finds the stuff you want, they green-light it with you and have it sent your way. Literally no sweat off your back.
Here's the coolest part: Fetch is powered by actual, real, living and breathing human beings. I tested it myself. So when I said on Wednesday "Hey Fetch, find me a cheap plane ticket from Atlanta to D.C. for Friday evening", a person responded to me in a cute little chat bubble similar to the texts we're conditioned to seeing on iPhones.
I couldn't find said D.C. plane ticket for less than $600.00 bucks so I thought hell, let's see what Fetch can do. Fetch found one for under $300.00 in under 15 minutes, and since it was my first purchase, I got 10% off the flight. They purchased it for me, emailed me the info, and off I went to D.C. two days later. It was literally that easy.
I pondered if Fetch has agreements to favor certain companies over others, and if that influences the integrity of the recommendations they make to their users. I asked Tom Hadfield, the company's CEO.
"We don’t have any deals with specific companies." He assured me. "We always place the order with whichever retailer is offering the best deal - we don’t give preference to specific companies because we think it’s really important that users trust us and know they’re always getting the best deal." And how does Fetch make money, anyway? Kinda the same way a blog does, actually - via commission, from the sales they orchestrate.
And what about the people working there, are they just mailing it in at minimum wage, sending you the first thing they find, baking on the hope you're not going to double-check their bargain hunting skills?
"We embrace the living wage principle for our team." Said Tom. "Because the centerpiece of the service is a huge team of personal buying assistants (not an algorithm), we realize how important it is to make sure that they're paid fairly. In most cases, they're paid double the minimum wage, and given health benefits. We're finding that it's very possible to do the right thing, and to do good business at the same time: we're attracting better personal assistants for our users."
I challenge y'all to challenge Fetch. Go ahead and get weird with them, send them on the hunt. No matter what you buy, they're going to give you 10% off it, whether it's a $20.00 book, a $200.00 pair of jeans, or a $2000.00 laptop. Literally anything, 10% off, just for trying it for the first time. Order a big-ticket item like your iPhone 6+, new TV, or honeymoon plane tickets and that could be a sweet little discount.
So go ahead and make Fetch happen. I'm endorsing this one with two emoji thumbs-up.
Guests L-R: Walter Shamp, Ashley Van Der Lande, me, Christopher Selem, Mary Logan Bikoff, Vena Kim, Sean Suarez
Photos: Caroline Fontenot
I don't think it's any secret that one of my favorite things to do is round up a bunch of friends and have some fun. I'll generally use just about anything as an excuse to throw a party at my house. So when Fred came to town for a mutual friend's wedding a few weeks ago, I thought it was as good an excuse as any to invite some people over for (literally) bread and wine. Caroline and I teamed up to put on a mini shindig with a biscuit bar and good drinks. If you read Caroline's blog Back Down South, then you know she's a pretty badass home barkeep, so she was in charge of the really delicious John Dalys we put out in a punch bowl. The biscuit bar was also her idea, one borrowed from Jay and Lindsay's wedding, and it was a big hit. I made pimento cheese and chicken salad, and we stocked up on good jam and honey so everyone could soak up all the boozy cocktails they were taking down. It was a small group and a wonderful night. I thought y'all might like to see some of the pretty pictures Caroline took.
If you've never tried Emily G's jams, do it now. She's based here in Atlanta and aside from being extremely hilarious and whip-smart, she makes freakin' great jam. You can get it online!
Fred playing DJ.
My Maggie girl.
Thank you Mary Logan for our collective obsession with Oyster Bay wine.
Next up: Christmas party!
Oh, and as a bonus, here's a photo I snuck of Caroline when she pooped out from party prep ;)
My Gram Gram used to make the best Halloween costumes. And when I say the best, I really mean it. Yes, she could whip up just about anything on a sewing machine, but her real talent was in how she translated kidspeak to costume. What do you do when a little girl tells you she wants to be Kermit the Frog for Halloween? Paint her face green and buy her a Miss Piggy doll? Naw. Not if you're Gram Gram. If you're Gram Gram, you sew a bright green onesie with a hood. And just so everyone knows it's Kermit you're going for, you then take a ping pong ball, slice that puppy half-ways, doodle an eyeball on it with a sharpie, and whipstitch it onto the top of the kid's head. Et voila, Kermit. It's easy being green, after all.
What about your other granddaughter, the eldest, a smart mouth with a messy mop of dark, tangled hair, who provided you without subsequent art direction when she flatly said she just wanted to be "a jungle cat?" Like, what - a lion? Tiger? Jaguar? What, kid? No matter. You make her a catsuit. Naturally. But since the indecisive spawn of your youngest child gave you little else to go on, you non-discriminately comprise said catsuit of many, many patches of all the many big feline spots and stripes - tiger, jaguar... hell, why not a little zebra too? Just go crazy. Some eyeliner whiskers and a black nose later, you've got one happy, sassy little brunette named Jess on your hands. Little did Gram Gram know, she had it easy - one year later, that same granddaughter would be fighting her Mother about wearing a body suit with her Little Mermaid costume because she couldn't see that she was clearly far too young to rock a shell bra by itself.
That same little jungle cat grew up to be the author of this very blog you are reading, one who still loves and delights in all things fall-ish. "Is it time for a grouping of heirloom pumpkins on my porch," my friend Chris texted me today, "or should I wait until at least October first?" "Mine are already out." I said. Then, quoting Colin Nissan's now-infamous McSweeney's essay, "It's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers!" So, like Chris' and my premature porch pumpkins, here I give you the October playlist, just a little early. Because as far as this cat's concerned, it's officially fall, y'all. Me-ow.
Friends and contemporaries Kiki Slaughter and Sally King Benedict have teamed up for a stunner gallery show here in Atlanta. Both celebrated abstract artists, Sally is debuting her mural work and Kiki is showcasing her paint-covered, upholstered furniture and paintings.
While Sally hails from the A, Kiki just moved here, and I think this is a fabulous way to make her mark locally. Of course, you can drop by anytime and view the show at your leisure, but there is also a string of related diversions, including a ticketed dinner with the artists on September 26, prepared by 4th and Swift's Chef Jay Swift. The show is currently running at Gallery L1 and will close out next week, on September 27.
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.
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."
"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."
"Our small team of bakers are keeping the tradition of Southern biscuit making alive - no machinery, made-by-hand, heirloom recipes."
"Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. identifies overlooked classic bar mixers and reinvents them for a modern, discerning drinker."
"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."
"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.