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 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.

In this post...

Britt Bass: Clementine IV, 22x28, acrylic on canvas

Tonight's a fun night for art in Atlanta. First up, Britt Bass Turner is celebrating the grand opening of her new Roswell Rd. studio which I know lots of people are excited to see and share. If you're ever wondered who's behind the pretty paintings on the wall of popular Buckhead boutique W.Port (more on that shop next week), now you know! How exciting that she is growing into her own space now! Also, if you're interested, Britt and her team will be hosting a painting workshop at the studio on September 13. Everyone will get to take home their own original 12x12 painting, plus a few other fun surprises. More info here:

Bradley Gordon: Buck on White, 70x72

Also in Buckhead tonight, Mr. Bradley Gordon's visiting us from Mississippi. I'm such a huge fan of his rogue style and can't wait to sip a little whiskey with him this evening. I was first exposed to his art a couple of years ago when Billy Reid opened over in West Midtown - his art's all over the store and really sets the joint off. His work has such warmth, you really need to see it in person.

Even if you're not in Atlanta tonight, please take the time to visit both of these talented folks' websites - if you're in the market for yourself or (designers!) a client, bookmark them now. They're both going nowhere but up.

Old Crow Medicine Show. Photo (& below): Andrea Behrends (who is a freaking badass)

I first reached out to Crystal Jahnig when I ran across her jewelry line, Southern Strings. I love the story behind her work. Everything is crafted with guitar strings from her husband's band, a little group you may have heard of called Old Crow Medicine Show

In the literal sense, clocking in at seven members, their size makes it laughable to call OCMS "a little group." In the figurative sense, as well - they're a genre-shattering Americana juggernaut and a true blue string band, deeply embedded in the hearts of their worldwide fan base. Who hasn't hollered out the chorus to the stomper "Wagon Wheel" - a song originally sketched by Bob Dylan and completed by the band's founder and lead singer Ketch Secor - at some college bar? Five studio albums later (Remedy hit this year), the band's still out there, touring as aggressively as ever, arriving here in Atlanta next weekend to play what I'm sure will be one hell of a rowdy show with Shovels & Rope

I don't know about y'all, but I'm a sucker for a love story. Once Crystal told me hers, a little ditty about jewelry quickly evolved into a long-form post about how she met and came to be inspired by her husband, bassist Morgan Jahnig

"In 2006, I went to a [OCMS] show with a friend - I was twenty-one, and Morgan and I locked eyes while he was playing. We smiled, and both looked away. This was my first time ever hearing them!" She laughs. "After a couple of times looking at each other, we both started laughing. He was laughing on stage! My friend wanted to meet [opener] Gillian Welch, but we met Morgan instead... we shook his hand and told him what a great show. The next day," she continues, "I messaged him on Myspace and asked him on a date!" She laughs again,  "Twenty-one and bold! He turned me down because he was dating someone else. Two days later, he was single, and he asked me out on a date. We had lunch ...and then dinner, and now we've been happily married for five years."

On life as part of the band, she becomes even more tickled. "I traveled with them this past July on the tour bus from Austin, Amarillo and then to Denver. I'm not tour bus material; this was only my second time ever! I can travel well, but trying to sleep while the bed is moving is just hard on the bones. One night, I'm pretty sure I caught air and landed back in the bunk.  All twelve of the guys were sound asleep, and I was wide awake!"

Crystal hand-crafts jewelry from Old Crow Medicine Show's discarded guitar strings

Life on the road brought her closer to the band's fans though, who inspired her to start crafting jewelry out of Old Crow's old guitar strings. "I've sold merch here and there at a few shows... the fans just keep getting better and better... they love the music... by making guitar string jewelry, I can give them a little reminder [of that]. I've seen these guys play about twenty times in the past eight years, and they make me dance harder each time. Making bracelets out of their strings reminds me how hard they work. With [my jewelry], you can’t help but think  ‘rock me mama, like a wagon wheel…’ and how many crowds of people are singing along when the song was played on these strings.

"Even though Morgan is gone a lot, when he comes home, we pick up right where we left off. He's really encouraged me to make guitar string jewelry, or any of my art, but I think he's the most excited about seeing other people enjoy it as much as I do. We love making others happy."

I asked Crystal and Morgan to make a playlist for y'all. Who's got better taste in music than a professional musician, right? While The Love List has hosted guest playlists from pros like the Apache Relay's Michael Ford, Jr., The Whiskey Gentry's Lauren Morrow, and Shelly Colvin by way of Billy Reid, we've never run one that a couple's made together, which I think makes this one particularly special and personal. It makes me want to tell more stories like this. Don't worry, I've got a few musical couples in mind already ;)

Click here or on cover art to stream this playlist on Spotify

"We picked these songs together," said Crystal "[each reminds] us of the relationship we have built together and continue just to love each other as we have from the first day. It's hard when he travels, so when he's home, we make the most of getting back into enjoying life together and raising our three year old. [The songs are] in no particular order... songs that we have danced to, remind us of each other and [make us] say...'that's so you they are singing about!'"

Old Crow Medicine Show is currently on tour in promotion of their new album Remedy. Be sure to check them out when they land in your city, I fully intend to next weekend when they play Atlanta. 

Necklace, S.Carter Designs

Hey, I don't know if y'all heard, but it's #SharkWeek. I'll be the first to admit I've never watched a lick of the Discovery Channel's mega-hyped annual event. Guess my marine animal viewing preferences have always skewed a little more towards Free Willy and Flipper. That being said, in honor of all you #sharkfans out there, I pulled together some baubles with a bite from five of my favorite Southern-bred independent designers. Bonus, all of these awesome ladies have offered up discounts just for you guys - but only through Shark Week, so swim over quickly! Oof. That last pun hurt a little.

1. Margi Johnson Patenaude, Tiny Wild
Philidelphia, by way of Tallahassee, FL
15% off with code SHARKSARESEXY
P.S. - this line is super sustainable and planet-friendly!

2. Sarah Hovis, S.Carter Designs
Atlanta, GA
15% off shark teeth with code SHARKWEEK

Dallas TX
15% off with code SHARKWEEK
P.S. - football season is looming, she's got gameday goodies too!

4. Molly Jane Gravitt, Molly Jane Designs
Atlanta, GA
20% off shark teeth with code Sale20

5. Mary Kelly Clary, Give a Penny. Designs
Atlanta, GA
15% off with direct inquiry to

More toothy finds...

styling: Ginny Branch

What do you collect? That's a question I'll be posing to some of my favorite photographers over the next few months. Each one will shoot their collection and tell us a little about its sentimental value. In the meantime, here's one of mine: oyster plates, which I first mentioned here. Another obsession? Vintage (*cough* old) books, which you can see mixed in on my dining room shelf with new titles and some of my precious plates, above. 

How about you guys, what do you collect?


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