Oct 22, 2015
Gah, I am such a Francophile, especially once Fall rolls around. Give me smooth jazz and Francoise Hardy records. Give me trop coffee and novels set in Paris. It literally happens every Fall as the leaves begin to turn colors and the breeze gets chilly. And without fail, I start dressing like a French girl. Not ashamed.
(these images via Pinterest.)
(This is a tear sheet from Vogue, I believe, that I have held onto for like five years. Because this seriously happens EVERY FALL.)
GET THE LOOK:
Oct 19, 2015
Kirby Cox is a stylist, writer, blogger and traveler from Birmingham, Alabama. She's also lived in London, New York City and Atlanta. "I feel very connected to the South, but I also feel very much connected to England and the UK. It's my second home," she says.
"I grew up traveling, painting, dressing up, rescuing animals, dancing and putting on shows for anyone who would watch. I don't feel like much has changed in that way since I was little. I still hold that sense of wonder even though at times the world feels heavy."
ESSENTIALS: KIRBY COX
DRINKING// In the words of Auntie Mame, "...bring me a light breakfast-- black coffee and a side car." Auntie Mame is one of my all time favorite movies and I kind of want to be Auntie Mame when I grow up. But other than those two drinks... lots of Earl Grey, red wine & sparkling water.
READING// I'm an obsessive reader. I'm currently reading Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. But up next I have a few CS Lewis books, Willie Nelson's Autobiography, Grace Jones' Memoir & Patti Smith's new book M Train. I can't get enough of biographies and autobiographies.
LISTENING// Right now I have Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Prince & Serge Gainsbourg on heavy rotation. And every Sunday I listen to Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service on BBC Radio 6. It is my favorite radio show ever.
MASTERING// French. I'm hoping to become fluent in the next few years. I'm also trying to master my writing skills. Writing is a passion of mine. I write short stories as well as the blurbs on my blog. I want to master my communication skills so I can go deeper in certain subjects.
LEARNING// How to take time off.
WORKING// All the time! I work full time as a Senior Stylist at Free People and I work on my blog when I'm not at work. I'm always planning or photographing something. I'm constantly gathering inspiration as well. I feel like I never turn off.
TRAVELING// I'm going back to Ireland in November and Spain in the Spring. I'm hoping to go to Asia sometime in the near future. I want to go everywhere!
PLAYING// Dress up. I never grew out of my dress up phase.
WANTING// Roger Vivier Polly Suede Side-Buckle Ankle Boot, available here.
Oct 8, 2015
This is me on a good hair day. And lately I am having day after day after day's worth of good hair.
Here's a little background info... I have ALWAYS been borderline obsessive about my hair. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the first time I radically cut it off, my eccentric mother made me sign a contract promising to work in the potato fields if I didn't like it. (That's a real story and you can see the contract here.) I want it long. And I want it blonde. (Again, for the record, I am a natural blonde, but just not quite as blonde as I prefer.)
Here's the irony of my hair obsession: I only go to a salon maybe once a year, and it's mostly on account of the fact that the chemicals are SO HARSH for me. To get a really good blonde, I have traditionally ended up with actual blisters on my scalp and a migraine from the fumes. Yeah, that's actually what happens to me.
Without options, it's just something I was willing to forgo because the end result, pretty and fresh hair that boosts my self-confidence and helps me feel a little more like me, was worth more than the detriment it caused to my body.
So that's the back story... Right out of the gate, I am just going to tell you that the beautiful hair pictured above was created without use of harsh chemicals, without blistering, burning or pain. And I have to thank Sheri Bagwell for it.
Birmingham's wellness community is just beginning to grow, so right now you could call it a close community with only a couple degrees of separation between holistic practitioners, yogis, nutritionists, therapists, energy workers, meditation guides, etc. Sheri and I were actually Facebook friends before meeting over coffee one day. I LOVE her blog and had been reading it for several months before realizing that she had moved to Birmingham from Atlanta. She's a wellness coach, meditation guide, Reiki master AND SHE DOES HAIR AT THE ONLY ORGANIC SALON IN BIRMINGHAM!
After having a long coffee and talking about all sorts of things, Sheri and Studio Red Salon invited me to experience their services at a generously discounted rate. (I share that detail in the spirit of full disclosure.) While the decor and clientele read a little older, the results I got were phenomenal and worthy of being called a Secret Source.
Here's the deal, the salon products have zero ammonia, zero parabens, are 100% vegan and the colors have no PPD, a seriously toxic chemical found in tons of hair products and cosmetics. What struck me immediately is that there was NO ODOR WHATSOEVER. Furthermore, once we got started, there was no tingling, burning, itching at any point in the entire experience before, during or after. WHOA.
I was super nervous about how the color would be and how I would like Sheri. I had this wave of anxiety come over me with the realization that I previously ahd only known this woman for a hot minute and I was trusting her with something really, really important to me, my hair. And let me tell you, Sheri was AWESOME. She totally put my mind at ease, recognizing how nervous I was and gently redirecting my thought pattern with some really awesome conversation about family, nutrition, wellness journeys and so much more. Let's be honest, a great hairstylist does great hair and great conversation.
Sheri's got it all.
I also want to mention the salon uses two product lines called Neuma and Soma. I have been using Giovanni shampoo and conditioner in an effort to eliminate chemicals (though I do still use some Oribe Dry Texturizing spray because, DUH), but Giovanni has really sucked. And it made me wonder if natural hair care products just suck in general. NEWS FLASH: Neuma products are amazing. They get my hair clean. They give me moisture and incredible body. There's no weird smells and no bad chemicals, and it may be another thing worthy of calling a Secret Source.
I mean, look at that. The cut is so good that she didn't even have to use a brush or curling iron to style it. This literally came from blow drying with her fingers. No burns, no blisters, no migraine. I walked out the door with a giant smile, my head a little higher with a great boost in confidence and one of the best cuts and colors I have ever had. At no expense to my health.
I highly, highly recommend Sheri on a lot of levels.
To book a consult or appointment, you can call Studio Red at 205.991.2099
Aug 6, 2015
(photo courtesy of Garden & Gun)
Last year we had the pleasure of going to Garden & Gun's Jubilee in historic Charles Towne Landing in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the first weekend in December, and our little family loaded up in the car and hit the road. The road trip, the weekend on a historic plantation, exploring the little gem of Charleston and getting to take our then 10 month old son to the ocean for the first time, it was AMAZING.
So amazing that we are totally going to do it again this year! Get your tickets now to experience a really beautiful and distinct slice of Southern. There are only a few hundred tickets to experience the finest Made in the South craftsmen and craftswomen, chefs, sporting legends, musicians and the people who appreciate it all. We really hope to see you there!
Below are some favorite photos from the weekend...
Apr 8, 2015
1/ Satya Jewelry Mandala Sun Necklace. This mandala symbol represents unity, balance and harmony, and the sun symbol represents leadership, vitality, life. I think it's a nice reminder of the things that matter. And it's really beautiful.
2/Olga Prieto Brass Coin Kyanite Stone Long Necklace. Spanish designer Prieto is based in Mexico City and works with local artisans using Old World techniques. This necklace feels ancient and modern at the same time.
3/ TWO Khadi caftan in blue. I love this brand, TWO. Don't know much about them (hello future post!) but they're made in the USA and each one is just stunning.
4/Tatiana Choremi bracelets. Choremi says, "The All Seeing Eye is what gives you a vision, a dream, a clairvoyance." These hand made bracelets have an ancient vibe with their symbolism and iconography. I want multiple.
5/ Two white Khadi caftan with blue. Obsessed with these. I could have a closet full.
So how is everyoen doing? I have been INSANELY busy in the best way possible. This past Monday I launched the web site I have been working on for the past several months. OUR ESSENTIAL LIFE is an organization of wellness and health experts who want to change the world through awareness about your body's structure, nutrition, your environmental and emotional health and through the use of essential oils. It's a game changer and something I am so proud to be a part of as Creative Director.
Check it out, here.
Have a beautiful day wherever you are.
Feb 11, 2015
Duquette and I have been loyal Malin+Goetz customers for YEARS. What started out as a small family apothecary with a desire to provide products to men and women with sensitive skin, Malin+Goetz has maintained its mom and pop vibe while growing into an internationally recognized name. While the products aren't 100% natural, they're pretty close. You can choose to get a little less chemically while scoring an even better product for your regimen.
The scents are pretty amazing, too. If you've known Duquette for a while you know he has always had a signature scent. For years it was the Malin + Goetz Cannibis oil. Everyone loved it. It was subtle and powerful and musky and slightly sweet. And then a whole bunch of people started wearing it so he moved on. (They also slightly reformulated it, so there's that too.) NOTE: Open Shop doesn't carry the oils.
The brand hasn't been available in Birmingham since our favorite store ever, Bellwether closed its doors two years ago... until now. OPEN SHOP in Woodlawn, a historic neighborhood of downtown Birmingham, now carries a wide, wide selection of Malin + Goetz.
There's a huge assortment of candles. We are burning Vetiver at home; it's super crisp and clean. Check out the Cannabis candle for a really intoxicating scent. And the votive trio includes Tobacco (which is simply one of my favorites).
If you're into travel sizes, there's a really great sampler/travel pack that would make a great gift for someone. Or yourself.
Somehow I didn't get a photo of the deoderant. Look, if you're needing something aluminum and chemical free that actually works throughout the day... this is IT. Thank me later.
Be sure to check out OPEN SHOP in Woodlawn. Follow along on Instagram at @openshopwoodlawn to be in the know about all the amazing happenings going on down there. If you stop in, be sure to mention Rugged and Fancy sent you!
Feb 5, 2015
I am sitting at my writing table, gazing out the window at grey sky, grey trees, grey BLAH as my feet are warmed by the hot air pouring out of a vent. We had this three day spell of 65+ degree weather last week. We went to the park. We drove with the windows down. I wore a tank top one day. It was blissful.
And then it was gone, poof. Every February I start getting that ache for warm weather, abundant sunshine, conversations of whether we should just drive to the beach. (Because when you live five hours from one of the prettiest beaches in the world, that's a real option.)
So until this is a reality, I will be fantasizing about sandy beaches, blue skies, bathing suits, caftans and giant sunglasses. Thank you very much.
I/ THE CAFTAN COVER UP. I suppose sometimes you have to wear clothes. I traditionally live in a wardrobe of all black everything. Until it gets really, really hot, and then I just want to wear white and striped caftans.
from left. 1/ Lemlem Amash striped maxi poncho 2/ Lemlem Amash coverup dress 3/ Lemlem Amash maxi dress 4/ Talitha embroidered silk caftan 5/ Mes Desmoiselles Donis gauzy caftan 6/ Lemlem Amash maxi poncho
II/ THE BATHING SUITS. I love a simple black swimsuit. It's chic and sexy and always reminds me of a Bond girl.
III/ THE STRAW BAGS. I am a big believer in carrying everything in a straw basket. And you definitely need a smaller straw bag to hold the important stuff: ID, money, lip gloss.
left: 1/ Muzungu Sisters Sicilian basket tote 2/ Dolce and Gabbana Coffa Kendra straw and fur beach bag 3/ Sensi Studio maxi straw tribal print tote right: 1/ Kayu Baha dot clutch 2/ Kayu St Tropez clutch 3/ Anya Hindmarch handbag 4/ Kayu Watermelon clutch
You guys. I need sunshine BAD.
Lead Photo, here.
Jan 21, 2015
My wardrobe has gotten super minimal in the past several months. I've confidently come to the realization that I just love having a predominantly black wardrobe. It's been that way since I was a child. Seriously, ask people I went to junior high with-- I've always worn black. Depending on my mood and the weather I may add in a white top, something grey and usually something striped, but it's a super minimal palette to simplify my process, make me feel chic, put together and powerful and cuts out so much noise.
So with my constant rotation of black pants, favorite black tops and sweaters, a perfect leather jacket or pea coat, a beanie or fedora and motorcycle boots, black flats or brogues... both Duquette and I have concluded that my ultimate style inspiration is that of a French burglar.
GET THE LOOK.
1/ THE SUNGLASSES. Nasty Gal kitty shades.
7/ THE BAG. Mansur Gavriel Saffiano large tote.
Dec 31, 2014
So the Rugged and Fancy Bag Dumps have been pretty popular, and it got me thinking about how we all secretly love to see the people's spaces that are typically hidden from view. The contents of a bag, the inside of a medicine cabinet, the bathroom drawers. So I want to explore this more and I might as well start with myself! Here is my vanity...
My vanity is an old chest. It belonged to my husband's great great great aunt a couple hundred years ago. It's beautiful and enormous and was sadly serving no function at all because the inside reeks of mothballs. We have aired it out so many times, but you just can't store stuff in it. With its enormous surface though, it makes a great vanity. (Can I just point out that I JUST noticed you can see our really ugly ceiling fan in this photo?! Haha, it's awful and from when we bought the house. The light fixture is actually blue neon. Eww. Hahaha) The mirror was a gift to my husband's grandparents when they got married in the 1940s. There's a really sweet wedding wish scrawled on the back of it.
Our wedding portrait. Our wedding was photographed by the incomparable Don van Cleave. You know, the guy that managed Lenny Kravitz and Soundgarden while taking photos on the side. He's an old, dear friend of ours and it was the most special gift in the world to have him there with his cameras. (If you look at his Flickr page you'll see really amazing photos of rockstars...and our wedding.) I love to have it on the vanity. We each see it several times a day, and it serves as a reminder about our priorities in life. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day and start to neglect one another. We always bring it back to our love for each other and the joy and laughter we can choose when we just let the other stuff go. The candle is Imogene+Willie x Apothia SOUL candle. It's basically my favorite scent ever. African ginger, mahogany, taboti wood... HEAVEN. The glass pyramid box is something I've had since I was in junior high in the 1990s. Funny how things come back around in style, right? You can find similar styles, here.
These little things here are constantly changing. The Apolis Global Citizen candle is citrusy and smoky and warm. I keep my Young Living oils all over the house. This Joy blend instantly lifts and lightens my mood and totally turns the husband on so it stays pretty close. Bergamot, ylang ylang, geranium, lemon, coriander, tangerine, jasmine, roman chamomile and rose oil. Mmmm. The lotion is Goē Oil and it's pretty luxurious and totally natural with like 38 plant oils. I use it on my hands, body, a little in my hair. And it smells great. The little dish holds bobby pins and my wedding rings if they're not on my hand. The earthenware wine glass holds rings I wear often.
The opposite end of my vanity tray... a silver bowl of crystals. Because I love them and think they're a beautiful natural element to have in a space. Like $3 from taking on my jeans last night. A little French clay bowl of the bracelets I wear the most. Cheap and amazing enormous sunglasses from NYC. And Persian rose water that I dab on myself as a toner after a shower.
I keep my grandfather's giant humidor on my vanity. It contains very special mementos including an old toothpick of his, his yamulke from a bar mitzvah in the 70s, a story about him from the New York Times and many notes and letters that have touched us through the years, these handkerchiefs that were my grandmother's, special passes and this tiny unicorn that I played with and stored on my grandmother's vanity when I was a kid. I broke the horn when I was seven so we replaced it with a toothpick. Ingenuity my friends. I try to contain super sentimentality to this box. However, the hundreds of love letters between me and my husband are kept in a safe. Seriously. They're my most prized possession.
A few bracelets I have been wearing in constant rotation. The silver bangle was a gift from the inlaws. The inside is engraved "Live Your Dream." I wear it a lot. The wire bracelet was my mother's when she was very young. The gold medallions were a total thrift find and feel very Byzantine and amazing. The blue paste bracelet has been in my family for a long time. And the Victorian slide bracelet means the world to me. My father gave me the bracelet with the diamond charm on it for Christmas of 1998 with the intention of adding to it throughout my life. He added the second charm for Christmas this year. It means a whole lot to me.
And lots of photo booth photos I have recently found from over the years. I am not actually a sentimental person, so it's really interesting to me that in the course of writing this post I apparently am really sentimental! Ha. How funny that comes out in the items I surround myself with on my vanity. I guess it is a pretty special place.
What do you keep on yours?
And Happy New Year's Eve! Be safe and kiss someone you love!
Dec 22, 2014
Woodlawn has really been seeing a Renaissance in the past few years. It's a historic district with beautiful old buildings, lots of character and some people who really believe in it. Maybe you've been down to Communicating Vessels to buy some records or to participate in a scratch class offered by DJ Supreme. Maybe you've ventured down to the Warehouse/Made in the Magic City to see an album release show or to work on a video production. Maybe you danced at the street fair alongside the Woodlawn High School marching band and ate BBQ in the streets. Or maybe you attended one of the amazing pop up "happenings" produced by Armand Margjeka/Pipe and Gun, called OPEN SHOP. Those were amazing happenings. With craft cocktails, fine coffee, food by the Knife Party, amazing goods from around the world that you just wouldn't find anywhere else. And music. So much music.
Well now you can get that experience six days a week. In the former location of Sound & Page, OPEN SHOP is a place to experience a different kind of happening. It's an experience that changes depending on the day you may stop in. The environment is highly textural. Vinyl will be on the turntable. A coffee or an occassional fancy cocktail will be placed in your hand. You can peruse the clothing, sample the products, read an art book or just sit and take it all in and maybe meet some new people. And every time you go in, something may be different. The concept is that there is no single concept. It's a living thing. I can dig that.
OPEN SHOP also stay open a little later on Thursday nights for people to swing by and have a casual evening hang. We stopped by last Thursday night, met up with friends, had a couple cocktails and tried a bunch of amazing products on. Here are the photos...
OPEN SHOP is located at 5529 1st Avenue South and is open Mon-Sat 10a-5p with special hours on Thurs 10a-8p. I love seeing people pin and regram my photos, just please remember to give proper credit and links!
Dec 18, 2014
We Johnstons love a giant Christmas party. So several years ago, when Stephanie Granada showed up to one with a group of girlfriends and a tupperware full of baked goods we simply said, "Come on in." Introduced to me as "The Colombian," I have been endlessly fascinated with this exotically beautiful, impeccably stylish, incredibly astute lady. Our paths cross at laid back social events where we get to catch up on milestones, travels, share inside tips on the next best "...." So of course I want to know what is in her bag. Here it is...
1/ THE BAG.I got this backpack by Charleston brand Proud Mary earlier this year, and I love it. It’s such a practical way to tote a bunch of stuff and still have free hands for juggling the million other things that come up as you get from point A to point B. I have taken this bag everywhere from Nice, France, to Marfa, Texas, and it never fails to get a ton of compliments.
2/ THE SUNGLASSES. I’m amazed I have not lost this pair of Prada sunglasses yet. My mom gave them to me for Christmas last year, so I am trying to be extra careful.
3/ THE EYEGLASSES. These Prada lenses were what pushed me over the edge into getting spectacles. I’ve had a sense for a while that I might need glasses, but kept delaying. My whole world is so much clearer now.
4/ THE LIPSTICKS. I am always stocked with lip options. Burt’s Bees is essential, as well as a couple reds (right now I love Tory Burch’s “Scoundrel” and Laura Geller’s “Cranberry Glaze”). Fresh’s Sugar in “Ruby” delivers just the right hint of color and goes on easily.
5/ THE BOOK. I travel a lot, so reading material is crucial. I can’t put down Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. I didn’t think it would be my type of book, but it’s so immersive.
6/ THE NOTEBOOK. This little red Moleskine is with me all day. It’s mostly just filled with work to-do lists, but I love looking through and finding the occasional note from a meaningful day. It also has a little pocket that gets filled with receipts and bar napkins scribbled with travel recommendations.
7/ THE PENS. Pilot Precise V7 is the best pen, hands down.
8/ THE HAIR TIES. My hair might start out down, but my 2 p.m., it’s always in a bun. You have to get the no-damage elastics that won’t break or dent your hair. I also sleep in a top bun to wake up with wavy hair—no styling needed.
9/ CELL PHONE AND WALLET. Truth be told, these are the things I forget the most. I need to start doing the typical guy “phone, wallet, keys” check.
10/ GUM. This is one of those habits I need to break. I can go through a pack of Orbit gum entirely too quickly.
You can find Stephanie Granada at the style helm of Southern Living, appointed its first Style Editor last year. Be sure to follow along on her travels in the print publication as well as on The Daily South.
Dec 16, 2014
Nothing smells better than walking into a warm home at Christmas with that perfect winter candle's scent floating in the air. Here are my top ten Christmas candle scents.
1/ DIPTHYQUE HIVER, $34/$68. Wind, fire, chestnuts. Super elemental.
2/ DIPTHYQUE FEU DE BOIS, $30/$60. Rare woods, a crackling fire.
3/ DIPTHYQUE RESINE, $68. Pine, bark, resin, crushed needles. Very green.
4/ DIPTHYQUE MYRRHE, $60. Ancient oil, a gift for a king. Rich, warm, a little ambery.
5/ VOTIVO CHRISTMAS SAGE, $15. Juniper berries, hemlock, spruce. Traditional.
6/ THYMES FRASIER FIR, $28. Straight up evergreens, as if you brought the tree lot to your living room.
7/ APOTHIA CHRISMUKKAH, $52. Green fir, warm clove and a little bit of the ocean. The California take on a candle.
8/ VOLUSPA SPRUCE CUTTINGS, $10. Blue spruce, my favorite evergreen.
9/ BYREDO TREE HOUSE, $80. Super complex with myrrh, labdanum, leather and lots of woods. Totally luxe.
10/ GREAT BEAR WAX CO. FOREST, $15. A log cabin in the woods.
Dec 12, 2014
I get overwhelmed with all the gift guides. We are want to get something really well intentioned, thought out and meaningful for everyone in our life. Several people have messaged me asking for some suggestions for gifts under $100. I get it, you want something really cool but at price points at $10, $25, $100. So here you go, choice stuff for everyone on your list.
1/ i+w Apothia Soul Candle, $55. This is my favorite candle of all time. And you get a great box and can reuse the votive long after it's gone.
2/ Aesop deoderant, $35. My husband is the pickiest deoderant shopper in the world. This stuff is all natural, smells like vetiver and other essential oils and works reallllllly well.
3/ Moon Phase Earrings, $60. All things celestial are still super hot. This is a great gift for the hip teen/twenty something or just hip whoever. Like me. I would totally wear these. And the packaging is great.
4/ Japanese All-Brass Pen Case, $69. For the design obsessed, the student, the jet setter. This little case is so good looking and is sure to age really well.
5/ American Bison Leather Moccasins, $98. I LOVE a moccasin. The msot comfortable, stylish and surprisingly long lasting. Great for guys and the ladies.
6/ Dennis Hopper: On the Road, $55. Just get this. Period. For your boyfriend, husband, your coffee table.
7/ A Kitchen in France, $40. For your mom, the Francophile, the foodie, ME.
8/ Big Dipper Earring, $22. It's the more grown up version of the celestial thing.
9/ Black Pyramid Glass Display Case, $55. One hinge opens up for you to store little secret things inside.
10/ Painted Leather Convertible Clutch, $88. Indigo will be everywhere the next couple of years. Be ahead of it with this amazing bag/clutch.
11/ Victorinox Swiss Army Card, $40. I once received this in my Christmas stocking and have carried it with me everyday since.
12/ Imperial Fiber Pomade, $22. It's all Duquette uses anymore.
13/ Another Feather Pearl Cuff, $98. This is one of the top contemporary jewelry designers and she's making amazing minimal pieces. Get one now before it's too late.
14/ Jack Rudy Jack Pack, $60. Small batch tonic, grenadine, bitters and an Alabama Chanin bar towel. It's worth it.
15/ Juniper Ridge Trail Crew Soap, $35. Distilled by the mountainmen who go out sourcing the ingredients in the mountains of California. These are as natural as it comes, and it smells heavenly while actually getting you clean. We love Big Sur.
16/ Rafe Abulon iPhone Case 5, $98. This one is a little excessive. Especially since it's for an iPhone FIVE. But it's just so pretty...
17/ Aesop Jet Set Kit, $37. It's the best way for someone to get to sample these awesome products. It's super luxurious but such an amazing price point.
18/ Hide & True Men's Leather Watchband, $55. We know the guy that makes these and he's the real deal. We know a bunch of guys with the watchbands and they're going to last forever and look amazing as they age.
Dec 15, 2014
I am obsessed with exotic beauty secrets. Cleopatra wore what on her skin at night? Ancient Greeks made their skin soft how? Indian women have always done what? So I thought it would be cool to talk to some of my friends with exotic origins about beauty secrets passed down from their mothers. Today, my dear friend Tonia Trotter, wife, mother, art curator and gallerist is sharing her mother's Korean beauty secrets.
Tonia Trotter, 2014.
Suki Newman, 1979.
Since I can remember, I've known my mom is beautiful. Now, well into her fifties (though she won't let me specify exactly where in her 50s), she still turns heads with her petite figure, shiny black hair and dewy skin. More fox than tiger mom, her unique brand of beauty is surprisingly simple and goes back to her early days in Korea.
Here are her top three beauty rules:
1/ Garbage in, garbage out. This is a phrase my mom applies to all kinds of things, especially when she catches me watching any kind of Real Housewives show. But in terms of beauty, this means that you have to start with good nutrition. A multivitamin every day was the earliest beauty routine I was taught. Room temperature water and hot herbal teas to banish bloating, a diet low in sugar for clear skin and rich in veggies for healthy hair and nails and kimchi to flush out toxins. (Seriously, Google the benefits of consuming raw garlic. Bad for your love life maybe, but great for your health.) And she's right. Whenever I get into a funk where I'm not eating well, I notice it on my skin long before I notice it on my waistline.
2/ Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! My mom's skin has the kind of glow you see in backstage photos of 19 year old models about to walk the runways of fashion week. Korea is known for its obsession with skincare: serums, oils, masks and moisturizers are key to that dewy look. Rose or Argan oil is my go-to when I need an extra boost of moisture. Staying hydrated is important as is treating your skin gently. My mom always taught me to care for my skin like a fine silk top. Don't overscrub. Don't wash with hot water or use products with harsh ingredients. Don't crank the heater in the winter; instead, use an electric blanket or heating pad. Your skin and pocketbook will thank you!
3/ Be a natural beauty. I wasn't allowed to wear makeup until I was a sophomore in high school. My mom said it would ruin my skin (and make me look like a tramp). My grandmother didn't allow my mom to wear makeup until she moved to the United States at the age of 19, and even then I bet my mom washed her face before taking pics to send back home to Korea. My grandmother only wore makeup on her wedding day and looked a good twenty years younger than her age for as long as I knew her. My mom rarely wears makeup today unless she's out and about. And she never ever wears powder. Still a facial virgin, my mom swears by regimens handed down from her older sisters who used rice water to brighten skin and cucumber slices layered all over the face, neck and eyes as a mash to depuff and hydrate.
And as my mother's daughter, here are two Korean beauty products I use:
Dec 10, 2014
We had such an insanely good time at the second annual Garden & Gun JUBILEE in Charleston that I can't even pack it into a single post. Here is a slice of some of the amazing style we saw over the weekend. While the scene was set distinctly in the South, the attendants of the event came from all over, representing nearly every state (and even a few from Canada). I love that there's no single style to Garden & Gun. Both the magazine, its people and its readers are really unique. One of my favorite points of the weekend was simply walking around the grounds of historic Charles Towne Landing and snapping photos of textures, colors and the way people make their style.
Nov 21, 2014
My entire life I've had bad skin. Acne prone, flaky dry yet greasy at the same time, large pores, scarring. I've been sensitive about this my whole life. Pregnancy was great for my skin. The increased blood volume and blood flow, extra hydration, extra collagen production, that pregnancy glow is a real thing. As much as I had wished to keep my beautiful pregnancy skin, it didn't happen. I also turned, ahem, thirty a few months ago and have really started caring more about my skin and its future.
I totally took this selfie this morning and thought, wow, my skin looks pretty radiant. So I thought I would share what I am doing that apparently is going well!
1/ THE FACE WASH. Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash is one totally snagged from my husband's medicine cabinet. It's all natural, gets all the makeup off my face easily (including thick eyeliner and mascara), tones and leaves me feeling fresh, super clean and not dry at all (it has aloe in it along with a bunch of great essential oils). I just can't beat this stuff.
2/ THE CREME/MOISTURIZER. This is a recent discovery, Neal's Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense. In the week I've been using this, my three wrinkles that I really stress over (and make worse) have really filled out. The early breakout I felt coming on was totally remedied, and my skin just looks and feels so hydrated without being greasy. I put a little on either at night or in the morning (if I forget to put it on the night before). Frankincense is a miracle oil, you guys. (I'll talk more about this soon.)
3/ THE FOUNDATION. This is the product that I use that has totally questionable ingredients but looks amazing on my skin- Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup in Fresh Ivory. It evens out my skin tone amazingly and looks dewy without ever looking greasy. It lasts throughout the day and a little goes a long way. I hate heavy makeup and am way more of a tinted moisturizer girl, but the latter basically rubs off before the end of the day. I used to use the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua, but I think they reformulated and it ruined my skin for a while. As much as I want to replace the Clinique (I mean who wears Clinique past the age of twelve or beyond the year 1995?!) I can't beat the results. Bam.
4/ THE BRONZER. I have this enormous compact bronzer that Tom Ford did for Estee Lauder before Tom Ford did his own cosmetic line. It will hopefully last me another decade so I don't have to ever think about dropping Tom Ford prices on something that simply makes my cheekbones look hotter and the bridge of my nose look thinner. Pictured above is the Tom Ford bronzer because when he quit partying with Estee, their bronzers quit rocking.
5/ THE CHEEKS. I used to be really obsessed with looking super pale all over, but in the past year or two I have fallen hard for a flushed cheek. I wish I had that natural rosiness from pulsing blood and bashful flirting, but it just wasn't in my genes. I stayed away from cheek stains because it sounds terrifying. Remember that first time you put on too much blush and mistakenly tried to wash it off only to look like sudden onset of rosacea? Well, don't fear. The key to the cheek stain is really light handed application. Pat the fingers gently on the tip of the stain, smile and gently pat said fingers on the apple of your cheek. Pat gently until blended. Yes, it's that easy. I love the Tarte Cheek Stain in Tipsy. It's just a sweet natural pink for my skin tone.
6/ THE HIGHLIGHTER. I'm not a super contourer. I don't spend twenty minutes creating news shapes for my face with bronzer, concealer, highlighter, etc. But the last thing I do in my five minute skin care regimen is swipe this glowing magic stick along my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose and in the bow above my upper lip and blend by running my finger over it. It's just glowy and great. Benefit Watt's Up! highlighter.
So that's my super simple skincare for someone with super NOT simple skin. How much time do you spend on yours? What's your regimen. Let me know in the comments. I LOVE hearing about new products!
Nov 20, 2014
I've been back and forth about writing about gifting products to your man or woman this season. There are so many gift guides out there, and that's not really what this season is about. But-- there are some great things on the market right now from great companies and individuals, so I might need to do a few posts to cover everything.Here are a few different items I am digging on during this early winter season.
I live vicariously through the Juniper Ridge crew on Instagram on so many occasions. Spending the most memorable years of my childhood in the Bighorn Mountain range of Wyoming is why I naturally gravitated toward this company, their beliefs, their process, their packaging and most importantly the small batch products. I grabbed my first bottle of the Big Sur Trail Soap from my friends at Imogene and Willie during a visit last year. The first time I smelled the soap I was instantly transported back to being bathed in a creek as a kid in the mountians and drying off by a fire. These folks live on the trail and make their products on the trail. Plus all the art is done by their own Obi Kauffmann which is an added bonus. Grab a bottle for your loved one today.
Speaking of Obi Kauffmann, he recently put out a limited edition book of wilderness poetry and trail paintings available through Cold Splinters. Obi is part of the Juniper Ridge crew, but he very much has his own thing going on with all of his trail paintings and writing. Just as Juniper Ridge products remind me of my childhood, the way Obi is living out his life reminds me of all the hours I spent on trails and mountainsides and beside streams during my teenage years. There was no social media, no cell phones, we just went out and dissappeared into the wilderness any day we could. Besides him selling the book through Cold Splinters you can also purchase his paintings through his store. I think they are beautiful and are one of a kind presents for the loved ones in your life or a stranger who needs a light to be shined upon their life.
Go out and explore the wilderness around you and turn off the phone while you are at it.
Nov 26, 2014
So this year we aren't buying any gifts. BUT if we were, this is totally what I would dream of getting...
1/ BYREDO PARFUMS BIBLIOTHEQUE CANDLE. The inspiration for this candle's scent is an old dusty library. With heavy leather and vanilla notes, it sounds like the perfect candle for cozy times. And the packaging is so incredibly good!
2/ BRUNELLO CUCINELLI V-NECK PULLOVER SWEATER. Cashmere opulence! I am totally that person that wears the same sweater for years, beyond the point of holes and fraying. So I randomly scored a Brunello Cucinelli cashmere cardigan a couple of years ago at a random thrift store. Two dollars for a $2,000 sweater. (It was a shining moment in thrift store history.) I have worn that baby to near death.
3/ BKR WATER BOTTLE, KITTEN. I drink A LOT of water. Like two to three liters a day. Buying plastic bottles just isn't an option for me in terms of cost, waste and chemicals in the plastic. I have bought many reusable water bottles over the years but haven't been pleased with one. Too much condensation. Too hard to wash. Too small. Too heavy. I'm the Goldilocks of water bottles, I know. I've seen these BKR bottles around and I think it might be love. Silicone over glass in the prettiest colors.
4/ KAWECO CLASSIC SPORT ROLLERBALL PEN. I LOVE the look of this pen. Super classic. Chic. Good design. Probably writes amazingly.
5/ NINA SIMONE, MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME, VINYL RECORD. Nina Simone and the Velvet Underground are my two favorite musicians ever. And Duquette, duh. We are a vinyl record family, opting to use the turntable 9/10 times. Somehow I don't have any Nina Simone. That's insane. I would wear this record out!
7/ FREDERIC MALLE COFFRET COLLECTION FOR WOMEN. Every once in a while I come across something that I just kind of obsess over. This year, it's Frederic Malle fragrances, and this is the perfect collection to sample, mix, figure out what suits me. Of course, we are talking fantasies here, right? With scents like L'eau d'hiver (winter water), Carnal Flower- which is a tuberose scent, my fave- and Lipstick Rose and more, I dream of these luxe scents.
I also want to say that this season isn't about what we buy or what we receive. It's about giving and loving. This year we are thankful to be together as a family and with our health and full hearts. If you're able, consider giving to someone who may need that extra love this season in whatever shape or fashion that may be. And if you'd like to give a charitable donation, here are two organizations we really have a spot for-- Pablove Foundation, fighting childhood cancer with love and Every Mother Counts, making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women around the world.
Nov 7, 2014
It is probably a significant understatement to say I have an obbsession with barber shops. Several years ago while touring in a band called Gum Creek Killers, my band mates joked I should start a blog called Barbershop Junkie. Well I have not done that, yet. But I do want to start sharing some photos and ramblings about barbers I trust who are keeping the trade alive. See your barber is one of your inner circle, one of those people you trust with your life. Because it's the one man you have confidence in with a razor to your neck. The old timers are harder to find, hell for a while in some areas barbershops all but disappeared and some cities just had salons. Babrbershop culture remained largely unaffected though in black communities and rural areas and today through social media you can follow barbers from all over the world and the small towns and communities where you live, whether black, white, hispanic, indian, whatever. And you can find some very passionate folks sharing thier craft with the world.
I've been to barbers young and old and to several old timers who will just not give the cut you ask for, "Oh you don't want it that short!" or "Why do you want the top messy?" So it's been cool to watch some of the new barber movement use classic techniques mixed with some modern style and the attention to detail amounts to providing a great experience. Recently in Florence, Alabama a young man returned home from NYC to open a classic barbershop with some modern touches. This is why I fell in love with Austin Shirey's Greasy Hands Barbershop. It is the perfect use of an intimate space in a uniquely intimate town.
If you follow Austin Shirey online you can tell how passionate he is about being a barber. Meeting him in person and getting a cut from him leaves no doubt that he is living his life in his purest form. I'm a freak about the blend on a high and tight or someone's fade. You see lots of guys going to salons and walking out with such a straight line it could be used in a DUI checkpoint. Austin not only gives the sides texture, his blend is flawless.
There is something about a barbershop work station set up right. The smallest items are cared for so delicately that you know you can trust the man with a haircut, beard trim or shave. These are a man's tools, and how a man treats those items says a lot about that man and his craft. Plus, the Imperial barber products are some of my favorite out for men right now.
I've always believed that going to a barber shop with your dad is a rite of passage. The day you go from the booster seat to the big chair is monumental in the journey from boyhood to manhood. While Tennessee hasn't had a haircut yet, it was special to have him there watching his dad get a cut. And one day I will take him in to Greasy Hands to carry on this family's tradition. You trust your barber with your life, and that ends up creating a relationship that you feel able to open up to the guy. Many barbers are advisors and confidants to people. Hell some are like a therapist for clients with a little extra pampering thrown in-- hot towel service among my favorite.
If you are ever in Florence, Alabama whether for the music, shopping at Billy Reid or going to the river, be sure to make time for a visit to Greasy Hands barbershop. You will be taken care of right. I know I am, and I look forward to many future visits.
Nov 4, 2014
While in NYC I had the pleasure of stopping by the showroom of Mega Mega Projects. My dear childhood friend Meghan Folsom started the fashion showroom and consultancy firm after years spent in the fashion industry and it's grown into one of the coolest homes of superstar brands like Lady Grey, a favorite of Beyonce. The showroom is the perfect place to visit, talk life, play with perfect jewelry and take a little respite in the amazing couch forest.
Thanks to Meghan and the Mega Mega team, I have discovered two of the coolest accessory brands ever-- WWAKE and AISH. And I just want to wear them all the freaking time. Check it out and thank me later.
WWAKE's fine jewelry line is the perfect classic piece for the edgy woman. It is also the perfect edgy piece for the classic woman. What I love about these delicate, minimal pieces is the understated luxury of gold, opals, black diamonds and more. The luxury is subtle and the artistry is undeniably apparent. There's something so enticing about something precious and tiny. It's like your little indulgent secret, though paired with a sleek ponytail and a clean neckline, the jewels are a powerful statement. That gold crescent and opal earring is calling my name.
The WWAKE rings have an incredible sculptural quality. With nontraditional settings, the gems are displayed on their own pedistals, catching and refracting light in a way that begs the attention of any eye. I love this! The rings are so dainty/delicate but so commanding. It's these dichotomies that I am so obsessed with in this line.
AISH is one of those lines that has a great story and has such timeless pieces that once you try it, you're a brand loyalist. Creative Director Nupur Goenka lives in India and works directly with the artisans who handcraft these scarves, caftans and tunics using traditional methods of production. Inspiration comes from deconstructed saree designs and ancient Indian motifs and production takes two people up to seven days using centuries old techniques and no electricity. The end result are these exquisite muslin masterpieces that each have a story, connecting you and your style to timeless tradition and to a company and artisans that you know you can support.
Seemingly weightless yet perfectly warm and cozy, everyone needs one of these and there's a perfect pattern for everyone. It folds down to nearly nothing and is perfect to carry in your bag all the time.
A very special thanks to Mega Mega and AISH for this beautiful scarf that I have lived in nearly every single day for the past week and a half. I certainly hope this is the beginning to a lifelong collection, because they're totally going to last that long.
Oct 31, 2014
I am at a place in life where I have really honed in on my style-- a uniform of black and grey with minimal adornments and really well made-- but my budget is still in the shopping mall and outlet range. I just cannot shop at places like Forever 21 and H&M as I have concerns over manufacturing and design processes and it's just SO poorly made. Zara is a favorite, hitting great price points and is most always well designed and produced, but it's hard to only have that one lone wolf...
Enter & Other Stories, my new great fashion love. Designed in Paris and Stockholm, the clothing, accessories, shoes and beauty products are created as beautiful items to be combined, creating your personal style story. What's my story? French classic meets rock and roll, think Francoise Hardy plus Brigitte Bardot circa 1960s.
New to the States, this H&M owned brand (hey, whatever) just opened its first US store in NYC's Soho-- and I totally got to shop it in its first days. (Thank you Jana Mobley for the perfect recommendation!) I was so amazed and wholly consumed in the really perfect shopping experience that I totally forgot to take photos. The considerable ground level store is really organically divided into four "boutiques" two ready to wear salons with small display racks hanging only five or so units of a small number of designs. It creates capsules, subtle suggestions at how to build your story. A rack may hold a wool coat, a leather pencil skirt, a bold patterned monochrome sweater and accessory options. It's subtle and smart and gives the shopper the space to have a boutique experience without feeling the immense crows that inevitably surrounds you in a Soho store. The center salon is products, presented so beautifully and with scents that are somewhat similar to olfactory obsession Diptyque but with a $20-$30 price tag versus the cost of your student loan payment. And then there's the shoe boutique, and just let me say, their show game is on point. They're very well made, too.
This is a must bookmark brand and a definite must stop spot if you're in NYC. Here are a few of my favorite things...
Scarf ($75) and Wide Brimmed Hat ($50), here.
Merino Wool Sweater ($90), here.
V-neck Top ($40), I totally bought this shirt and it immediately became my favorite black tee. Here.
Rhinestone Stud Earrings ($11). I've been looking for the perfect baby proof earrings and these are the best! They have perfect backs to them so they don't fall out or feel tight. Love them. Here.
Slim Leather Ankle Boots ($195). I tried these on and they are goooooood. Here.
Check it out and let me know which pieces you're loving.
Oct 30, 2014
Happy Halloween! May your day and night be filled with loving trickery and a lot of imagination. Have fun and be safe!
Morgan, Duq and Tennessee
Oct 29, 2014
Oct 28, 2014
We just got back from our one week trip to New York City! We have so much to share and are excited to do it over the next several days. But today we rest! Here are so photos of interesting things on the street people.
Oct 14, 2014
So apparently National Geographic has started a Tumblr, called Found. They post amazing photos from their archives, and I love checking it out for perspective from different decades, major cultural events of the time, different cultures and even the fashion. The Internet can be such a cool thing when used as a resource.
1930s club members on the ocean front.
A Colombian matador, 1939.
A runway model in Belagio, Italy 1968.
Boy at watermelon festival in Florida, Dec 1963.
A sailor gets tattooed in Virginia.
A fortune teller in Marrakesh, Morocco 1971.
A boy sells lemonade in his front yard, Aspen, Colorado 1973.
Oct 3, 2014
Sep 17, 2014
I'm a little busy today! So I want to share a couple images of Tennessee that my dear friend Hailey Farris sent me late last night. Hailey and her best friend Katie are amazing photographers, capturing really unique style in the streets of Birmingham and posting it to their web site, Birmingham Street Style. I love the perspective they have on life, style and art. Oh, and they're sixteen years old.
And here are a few from their amazing project, Birmingham Street Style.
Have a beautiful day!
Sep 9, 2014
I'm not really big on keeping up with fashion trends, but it's been hard not to notice that the 1990s are back big time. There's flannel shirts tied around waists, round glasses, burgundy lipstick, sunflower motifs and, I shudder, mom jeans. While the aforementioned weren't really my style in the 90s, there are a few things happening lately that make me nostalgic about those years.
I was a tween and young teen in the nineties. I went to see Clueless in the theater and pretended to be Cher Horowitz for all of fifth grade. I obsessed over my grandmother's Bazaar magazines in elementary school, dogearing photos of the big supermodels: Shalom, Naomi, Linda, Cindy, Claudia. I wanted to be Shirley Manson, Gwen Stefani and that dominatrix/yogini incarnation of Madonna all tied into one. My music came from the radio and from movie soundtracks (hello, The Craft and The Crow!). And all I wanted was to be a little older and cooler.
And now I am. Haha. I never would have thought that I'd ever want any sort of reincarnation of this fashion period (um, can you say overplucked eyebrows and gel crunchy hair), but here are a few things I am revisiting and am really excited about!
I remember having a burgundy crystal rosary necklace in 1996. It was my favorite piece of jewelry. Ever since Pamela Love issues her dagger rosary a year or two ago, I've been pulling out my actual rosaries and wearing them occasionally. Pictured here from left, Natalie B Roma rosary necklace, Ettika beaded rosary necklace, Pamela Dagger rosary.
I had so many pairs of chunky heeled black platform boots. I honestly wish I still had this one pair that were like black Blundstones with a rubber platform heel. I think they were made by Stuart Weitzman or DKNY or something. They were super comfy and gave me an extra two or three inches in height, which a twelve year obviously wants... and so does a thirty year old. I love these boots for the same reasons today. They make you taller and your legs look longer and you can totally wear them all day without pain. So tough looking, too. From left: River Island black cleated sole platform ankle boots, Acne Studios Flaire suede ankle boots, Jeffrey Campbell Mulder boot.
Oh, the black backpack. I never would have ever thought I'd talk about this again, let alone be carrying one myself! When I was fourteen I went to Europe for the first time. In Florence, Italy I bought a knockoff Prada nylong backpack and thought it was the greatest thing EVER. Years went by and the backpacks faded into 90s obscurity. Until lately. And just yesterday I totally found the exact backpack and I am totally carrying it (and without the awful tension headaches I get from carrying heavy shoulder bags). They're so functional and hold a lot of stuff. These are actually great bags. Top from left: 1/2/3 Middle from left: 1/2/3 Bottom from left: 1/2/3.
Sep 5, 2014
1. MANSUR GAVRIEL BAG. It's this season's "IT bag" but it's such a classic with durable leather and clean lines. I love this brand and look forward to seeing how they grow!
2. SOMETHING LEOPARD. Every time cooler temps roll around I have this urge to don leopard print. It's powerful and sexy but classic at the same time. From left: MANGO leopard faux fur coat, Manolo Blahnik Soussaba Leopard Calf Hair Flat and Vince Camuto leopard clutch.
3. THE ANKLE BOOT. It's been a thing for a few years now and is obviously going nowhere. I mean, it's a staple of the cool girl's wardrobe. I love this season's spin on the new classic with studded embellishments and luxe materials like suede and hair. It's comfortable and edgy at the same time. Totally pulls together the jeans and t-shirt standard. Pictured here clockwise from top left: J.Crew collection Remi calf hair boot, Golden Goose zip ankle boot, Anine Bing gold studded boot and Lanvin ankle boots.
4. THE STRIPED SHIRT. It's the one thing that I am really obsessive over. I will go weeks in a row, rotating striped shirts. It's an obsession. Really. From top left clockwise: Proenza Schouler Striped Tissue Tee, R13 Sid Striped Boy tee, R13 Striped Slub Cotton shirt, WOOD WOOD Adrian Striped longsleeve.
5. THE POINTED BLACK FLAT. I am obviously a big believer that a shoe can make an outfit. I love the look of a sexy heel, but I just can't work them into my lifestly. Enter the pointed toe black flat. It's sexy and pulled together and totally works with the jeans and tee, too. From top left clockwise: Chloe ballerina flat, Pierre Hardy Arletty flats, Lex Calf Hair flats, Chloe classic ballerina.
Aug 19, 2014
What do I pack for a camping trip? Well, let me preface this by saying I am no stranger to the great outdoors. I grew up on a horse farm. I lived in a primitive cabin for a summer in the Cascade Mountains north of Seattle. I lived out in Wyoming for a while, too. I've hiked Zion National Park. I feel closest to God when I am near the ocean, along a mountain range or under a dense canopy of stars...Not let me confess that I hate camping. Little tents and sleeping bags make me claustrophobic and sweaty. My husband Duquette on the other hand lives for it. He lived in a tent with his family in Wyoming until age three. His favorite bathing conditions require ice cold creeks. And he has a lot of stories about backpacking trips so long and difficult they ate butter to stay alive. Eww.
Life is about balance, right? So we find this balance in our relationship, too. We've camped together a couple times. Probably only a couple times because I insist on bringing down comforters and pretty lanterns and sleeping in a tent that may technically sleep twelve. Go ahead and laugh at me. I laugh at myself already. So this road trip (with hotels along the way) will plant us in the woods, at beautiful Camp Wandawega with its "Low Brow Manifesto" of don't expect anything fancy but do expect something magical. And to be perfectly honest, I am really excited about camping like my grandparents did with little cabins and picnics and a lakeside beach.
So what to pack for something that I may not know what to fully expect? Temperatures sound perfect with highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s (can I get an amen?!?). I know to be comfy and I know that for me to really be comfy I want to preserve my personal style. Here are my road trip staples.
Jul 31, 2014
Right now my mind is compeltely consumed with my upcoming show in Birmingham, Alabama at the Alys Stephens Center in the Sirote Theatre on September 12th. This will be the largest canvas I have had the pleasure of playing on live as a solo artist. When preparing for the show everything runs through my mind from how stripped down to get during parts of the set to how large can I make my band for the night and pull it off to my approval and what can I actually afford to do. While the music is the forefront of my thoughts so is the entire experience of the evening sonically and visually. Morgan and I have been sketching out my stage for the last several days and I think we are headed in the right direction. Through this process I have spent a lot of time watching concerts of other artist looking for inspiration for my stage plot, lighting and more. So I thought I would share a couple of those videos while we prepare for this event.
Hope to see you all in September.
Jul 23, 2014
Oh, that quest for the perfect t-shirt. Some people make a lifetime of it. Brandon Gardner is just one of those guys. You may know him from run-ins in every thrift store/estate sale/warehouse closeout conceivable or you may know him by the name 8onRepeat Vintage and his traveling t-shirt shows. This guy's business is t-shirts. This Saturday July 26th at Rojo, you can come out, drink a margarita and peruse hundreds of the coolest t-shirts ever. Be sure to tell him Rugged and Fancy sent you!
1. British Embassy Soccer Club shirt: "My best day ever shirt. It's like magic. It's worthless but to me it's worth a million dollars. It reminds me of my wife."
2. Old drag racing shirt: "The guy I got it from, if he walked down the street in Tokyo, people would know who he is. Because he's an insane high end collector. John Gluckow. It's real American. It's dangerous."
3. Margaret's Lounge: "The lounge is no longer there, but my uncle remembers it being there. It's a favorite because it's trashy as hell. Somebody hand drew this lady. Daisy Duke with a pool cue. And my aunt's named Margaret and she's my favorite. You look at it and want to smoke a cigarette with the windows rolled up."
4. Alabama: My fat shirt. Before I had a lifestyle change I was fat. This was the only shirt that fit me well. I thought it looked good on me. It didn't. The shirt was trying to fight its way into my belly button."
5. Cats: "The vintage t-shirt that's so bad it's good. One morning I had to take our cats to the vet. My wife said, 'Be sure you wear something appropriate.' I wore this. It's gotten more 'likes' than I've ever seen."
Be sure to check out the vintage t-shirt show this Saturday and you can now follow him on Instagram @8onRepeatVintage.
Jul 17, 2014
The fine folks over at Eidé magazine sent me a copy of their latest issue to check out since I have recently gotten back into printed magazines. I was particularly excited to check out Eidé as they're based in Atlanta and their motto is "World Culture, Southern Style." That's something that immediately grabs my attention. Aaaaaaand this issue is all about Adventure, so it's practically singing to my heart. With a stunning cover that had me immediately transported somewhere tropical, hidden, lush and luxe, diving in was pretty easy.
The front portion of the issue is food. With stunning photography, perfect styling and easy recipes, it felt like a more real and accessible Kinfolk. Not knocking the beloved Kinfolk, y'all, it's just that it can seem a bit, um, lofty sometimes. I lingered over many of these pages, dreaming of summer tartines that remind me of living in the French Riviera, feeling bold reading about foraging the Southern U.S.
The fashion spreads are so strong. This particular "Roman Holiday" story nestled in between stories about scavenger hunting in Panama, yurt glamping and the importance of sacred spaces through the lives of designer/artists/entrepreneurs Alisa Barry and Smith Hanes. You know, those power houses behind Bella Cucina and the interiors of culinary heavy weights like The Optimist. There was one line in that article that has really stuck with me:
Before leaving, Barry gave me a set of contemplation cards that are part of her latest work with inspirational, creative words and ensos (in Zen Buddhism, hand-drawn circles expressing a moment when the mind is enlightened and free to create). Near the top of the deck was one that simply states, "Find your sacred space."
It's important to me that the content be beautiful visually and have a sense of something that just sticks with you. Another piece, "Cup by Cup," a talk with Oliver Strand was more about clinging to a more pure life and tradition than it was about coffee.
This invisible thread of adventure twists and winds effortlessly through the entire issue. I closed the back cover wishing there was another 130 pages of beautiful and exotic images, stories, morsels of wanderlust and wisdom. It's a tome that you keep on your coffee table or beside the guest room bed because it just needs to be shared and enjoyed. If life is about simple pleasures, Eidé certainly has it going on.
Jun 24, 2014
We saw this posted over on Imogene+Willie's blog. It's so good, we have to share it, too.
Do awesome stuff today, y'all.
Duq, Morgan and Tennessee
I used to have a magazine addiction. I would buy about ten magazines a month, cut out the beautiful things, paste them in a giant look book for inspiration and then be left with a giant, heavy pile of printed paper to trash. It got kind of ridiculous, so I gave it up a couple years ago. (I do still have a collection of look books I made over the course of ten years or so, and they're so beautiful and capture a decade of fashion and lifestyle and I love them.)
Anyway, with the pool opening up for the Summer and with this exasperated feeling that I am CONSTANTLY on my iPhone (emails, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) I just wanted to slow down and flip through the glossy pages of a magazine.
Enter Porter magazine, the new venture of Net-a-Porter, my new darling. When I gave up magazines a while back, I didn't miss them-- Vogue had become celebrity and advertisements only, Bazaar had this AWFUL redesign and the rest were just meh. Maybe I half expected the new Porter to be all of these things, yet as I flipped through pages I was captivated by the stories, flowing along with the stride set by such great layouts and then, THEN...the single greatest fashion story I've ever seen ever.
They set up the story of a woman's desert fantasy, a heroine in Marrakech, AKA basically what and where I pretend to be in my stare off into space moments. I got so excited about this spread, the beautiful photography and PERFECT styling and locations. I want to frame every single page of the 28 page spread.
Here are a few of my favorite images. Maybe I'm looking forward to checking out a few new magazines these days...
These images are originally printed in Porter's Summer 2014/Issue 2. Photography by Tom Craig; Fashion editor Melanie Huynh.
Jun 18, 2014
Summer is upon us and I am longing for some days in the mountains of my childhood home of Buffalo, Wyoming. Standing in a cool stream flowing down from the Big Horns, casting for trout over and over from sun up until sun down. Now if I could make this trip happen on a motorycle, I'm sure I would have found heaven on earth. Of course it has been some time since I rode a bike or fished for trout so I think I'll get to practicing. In the meantime I will let this great video from EDWIN denim and Blitz Motorcycles help me escape to nature, until my son wakes up and we get in the car and hit the road today. Huge thanks to my pal Danny French from French and Sons Motorcyles in Gulfport, Mississippi for sharing this the other day. Get out and enjoy nature this summer, one way or another.
Jun 3, 2014
It all started with that Kinfolk Home issue. I've never read Kinfolk before grabbing that issue with a minimal doll house on the cover. So there were all these really dreamy pictures and stories of what home is to people. That's important stuff. And it's beautiful stuff and kind of fulfills that curious dreamer part of us, that wants to look into other people's lives and escape for a minute. There was this one feature, "California Dreaming." This beautiful, free spirited family in their golden sunned, verdant, sort of minimal and definitely magical home and life just made me excited.
Hannah is a really inspiring mama, which you can see and read more about on The Glow.
You can read more about her personal style, of fashion, of life, of creativity at Madewell.
Here's a great Q+A about Hannah's style and running a shop with her significant other, at Refinery 29.
On her "haute bohemian life"...at Moda Familia.
Hannah Henderson and John Moore and their little tan babies are the people behind General Store, my fantasy world all wrapped up in an awesome little shop in Venice Beach. Go check it out.
Jun 2, 2014
There's nothing sexier on a woman than a great pair of jeans, hot boots and the perfect t-shirt. I am constantly on the hunt for the perfect tee, rejoicing big time when I find THAT. PERFECT. ONE. Because we all need, like, twelve perfect ones. Sharing perhaps the same level of obsession with the quest is Katie Ford Kelly. She's my total girl crush, super babe and model, wife to musician Garret Kelly of Red Harp, mama of two sweet girls: Harper and Zara and she loves serving tequila at Rojo. She is t-shirt obsessed, so we sat down and looked at her top six shirts (because she couldn't narrow it down to five).
1. Men's grey tee from H and M, similar style here. "My absolute very, very favorite t-shirt."
2. J.Crew men's slim tee, similar to the one found here. "Just feeeeeeeel this."
3. James Perse white tee (in size 3), similar to this. "If I'm gonna wear a white tee."
5. Modern linen heathered muscle tee, from Madewell. "God, I love it. I've got it in white, black and grey."
6. H and M Linen T-Shirt, from here. "I know it wants to be the linen Isabel Marant shirt."
So let's hear it. What shirts are your faves? Check out one of mine here.
May 27, 2014
Good hair. It's really important. When I was nine months pregnant and on bed rest, I had my hair cut and highlighted so it would look good when my baby arrived. I also got up at 3:30am in the hospital so I could make sure my hair looked impeccable before being induced. And after twenty hours of labor, four hours pushing and a C-section, I insisted on brushing my hair before anyone came in the room. I really do care about my hair looking good. And I still do.
(Literally, this pic was taken at 3:30am before being induced in the hospital!)
Whether you have a baby or not, we are all pressed for time. That's the nature of life these days, right? Don't sacrifice good hair or your sanity, reasoning that you can't make it work. You can. You just need a few key products and tips.
1. DRY SHAMPOO. I only wash my hair once or twice a week for as long as I can remember. Supposedly it's better for your hair to wash less often. For me, it's a massive time saver. I hate feeling oily though, so I use dry shampoo on the roots. It soaks up the oil, gives me great volume and texturizes. Batiste (pictured above) is an old favorite and is super cheap! I get it for a few bucks at the drugstore. Batiste also makes tinted dry shampoos for darker hair colors.
2. SEA SPRAY. This is my secret weapon that makes my hair amazing. John Masters Organics Sea Mist (pictured above and also available at Whole Foods) is the ONLY sea spray I will use and is, most days, the only product I use PERIOD. It's organic and the only ingredients are water, salt and lavender oil. It gives you the perfect texture, not crunchy, not dry and exactly like a day spent on the Mediterranean Sea. After washing my hair, I let it air dry all or part of the way, then i generously spray all over hair from a distance, focusing on the length of my hair and tousling as I go. It gives it that piecey, mermaid look. If you want more wave/curls, twist your hair into a bun, pin it for a while and then take down, spraying it again. In between washes, I wake up, brush my hair and then spray with this stuff again.
3. BOAR AND NYLON BRISTLE BRUSH. I'm sure you've heard of the Mason Pearson brush, the holy grail of brushes with a nearly $200 price tag. They're dang good brushes. And so are the no name ones that have boar bristles and nylon and look exactly the same (like mine, pictured above). The bristles redistribute the oil in your hair, and the brush doesn't cause breakage. I also use it to back comb (tease!) the crown of my hair for added volume. Think Brigitte Bardot hair, y'all. Here's the Mason Pearson and for a knock off, go to Sally's Beauty or Ulta!
4. CURLING WAND. Occasionally I want more defined curls or waves and I reach for my Conair Curling Wand. I used to use a curling iron, but I found that it puts so much heat on the ends of your hair that it eventually ended up fried and breaking. I love a curling wand because they taper down and I can get really beautiful waves. There are two ways I do this: either I section off the hair, wrapping one to two inch sections and curling then brushing out, or I just randomly wrap bits and peices of the ends for the mermaid hair. I wouldn;t necessarily say that my hair holds curl well, but there's something about the curling wand that makes these curls/waves last for days. I just wake up, brush through them, then spray salt spray or hairspray and voila.
5. HAIRSPRAY. Sometimes you need hairspray and natural stuff just isn't gonna cut it. For those days, I LOVE Dove Flexible Hold hairspray. It's not crunchy. It smells pretty good. And I read that the Olsen twins use it. Sold.
6. THE NATURAL NATURAL CONDITIONER. I hate conditioners. They smell weird. They leave a residue. You have to use them or your hair is a rat's nest. Right? WRONG. I have a friend who has the most amazing LOOOOOOONG hair ever. And it suddenly started looking like crazy amazing bombshell hair. Her secret? She started using Apple Cider Vinegar (pictured above) instead of conditioner! ACV is like a panacea. Drink a spoonful for constipation. Apply to skin with a cotton ball for an astringent and toner. And for your hair... take about four ounces ACV, mix with equal parts water in a cup. After shampooing, dip then length of your hair in the cup of vinegar water and then pour over roots to tip. Let it sit for a couple minutes, then rinse with water. It is going to smell, but when your hair dries the vinegar scent is completely gone. It makes your hair shinier, restores natural and chemical color and detangles like a BOSS. Get it at your grocery store. And make sure it's APPLE CIDER VINEGAR.
7. BOBBY PINS. Not all bobby pins are created equal. Go to the hair store, Sally's or one of those ghetto fabulous hair stores (for real). And get you some bobby pins! It's the only hair accessory I use. No kinks or crimps. Top knots, half knots, braids, etc. BOBBY PINS.
So what are your secret arsenal products? The can't live withouts? And do y'all want to see some hair tutorials? Let me know!
Apr 3, 2014
You know when your brain just feels sucked dry? That's the place I am at right now. It's nota bad thing, just a super exhausted state that leaves me walking circles a little bit. I do believe that exhaustion can cause breakthroughs though. Like you suddenly get this spark or something and burst through to a whole new level. I'm ready for that. Sometimes you need a little kickstart, and color and pattern are totally getting me going. I am sure it has something to do with the arrival of Spring and warmer weather. Dig it. (And all images come from my Pinterest and link to original sources there).
Y'all have a great day. Go be inspired. Go inspire someone else.
Morgan and Duq and Tennessee
Feb 5, 2014
Well obviously we have been on a slight break, not completely intentional, but still and break and there will be some missing days on the blog as well in the near future. Our son Tennessee Wolf Johnston will be joining us very, very soon. Hell by the time you read this we might be at the hospital, well hopefully not until the 17th.
While we have been running around getting ready for the baby we had a sudden blast of serious winter weather last week in our hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. If you did not see it on the news then you must have been hibernating in your winter cave. In a very short period of time our city was brought to screeching halt by ice and just a few inches of snow. It was truly wild. All the videos and photos on the news and even more so on our friends social media feeds were very apocalyptic. Streets, highways, interstates were littered with abandoned cars, people were stranded all over the city at work, doctors offices, schools and more.
Of course people from around the country had many laughs without realizing the scope of what are city was in the midst of. What they did not realize was that our city was in the midst of doing what we do best and that is coming together in a time of crisis. I could write page upon page of stories about strangers helping each other on the roads, taking in stranded motorist to their homes, teachers staying with students who were stranded at schools, businesses sheltering customers and feeding them and a city that stepped up to the plate when they needed to the most.
So out of this Morgan and I wanted to make a few shirts to remember the events during the winter storm the news called Leon. We have been wanting to collaborate with our friends from Yellowhammer Creative and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. So we sketched out some ideas, exchanged some quick text messages with Brett from Yellowhammer and by the next morning the shirts were available for pre-order. We even made one for our neighbors and friends, and Killer Mike, in Atlanta.
Many people have asked why not Snopocalypse 2014 or Snowmaggedon 2014. I will tell you why not. People did pull together during this, but several people died, people were hurt and to some it was a negative event. We do not want people to remember the bad but to remember the good. To remember the total strangers who offered shelter, to remember the new friendships forged, to remember that even though to the rest of the world we looked helpless we were in fact stronger than ever. Here is to a great 2014 with more positive movement forward for our incredible city and its citizens.
We love y'all.
Duq, Morgan and Tennessee Wolf
Dec 20, 2013
Right now I am sitting in the recording studio waiting to rehearse for an event tomorrow, wondering when my son will be born, planning for his arrival and more. So my writing might be rather scatter brained, just being honest here.
I am very fortunate to be a part of Pipe and Gun and get to record and write in an such an inspiring and incredible space. From my vantage point Pipe and Gun is an art house. I will not try to go into what all Pipe and Gun is doing. This about an experience, it is about art, the art of music, the art of clothing design, the art of food, the art of painting and beyond. A Pipe and Gun event is a living thing.
So tomorrow in the neighborhood of Woodlawn, at a new venue Sound and Page, will be the first Pipe and Gun open shop. There will be clothing from LyonState out of Fairhope, Alabama, Bushsmarts camping gear, grooming products from Baxter of California, food from the kind gentlemen of Knife Party, libations from Joseph Yancey and music by Armand Margjeka, Noel, and myself. I hope you can all make it out.
Dec 12, 2013
I'm back, two days in a row. Who knew it was possible? We are making progress getting our home ready for the arrival of the little man, well the doctor says "big baby." I am so curious to meet him, but I do pray he waits until his due date to join us here in this world. The whole thing is straight alien... but aren't we all?
I know Morgan and I are not the only ones with too many tasks scribbled on paper, typed on apps and calendars, for ourselves and loved ones to help us remember them all. I know I never do. Hell, if it were not for my wife I would probably be a complete mess, just being honest. One thing I am very down with is getting rid of clutter, simplifying and being able to focus on the important things in life instead of running in circles. With that, I believe in using quality and buying less. Sometimes this means spending a little more money up front. It's just worth it, and we discuss and think through all purchases together, usually.
We believe in quality skincare products 100%. I've given my rambling speech about why I use what products I use on one than more occasion. Right now, here on planet earth in the year 2013, we are so fortunate to have access to so many incredible small businesses,independent businesses, people making a difference in their community and creating quality goods and services. I wanted to share just a few with you today and encourage you to support them as you're considering what to buy for gifts this season.
I started using the Ursa Major Skincare line earlier this year and I see no reason why I should ever quit. Based in Vermont, they have incredible ethics and run the company with the utmost integrity. I wrote a post last year about a different skincare line and it did not last. Morgan usually laughs about the number of times I have changed products. Those days are DONE, my friends. I started using it in Spring, through the heat of late summer, and now it's just as good in 20 degree weather. Ursa Major, it lasts a long time. This gift set comes with a dopp kit from Topo Designs another phenomenal American made company, but more on them later.
I am not sure how may times we have posted about Malin and Goetz and if you know me then you know how obsessed I am with one of their oils (that I try to keep close to my sleeve). They are based out of New York and have the best customer service around. I have been ordering from them for a few years and have never had a single problem. For me, the deodorant is well worth the price. It does an incredible job and is NOT full of aluminum or other crap. Trust me, the life you will get out of one stick of deodorant will shock you, and your friends and loved ones will be glad you don't stink like a monkey cage.
I have followed Juniper Ridge for a bit, but just recently picked some up while visiting Imogene and Willie in Nashville. I was originally drawn to the soap because the packaging reminded me of my childhood in Wyoming. I spent a better part of my early childhood getting bathed in creeks in the Big Horn Mountains and the soap was all natural and packaged very similar to the Juniper Ridge. So I dug into the company and how they are making their incredible soaps and colognes and you can not help but want to support them. They are artists in my eyes. Much like the time and effort I put into making albums, these folks spend many hours harvesting and making these products. I'm currently hooked on the Big Sur trail crew soap. You can nab it online or at some stores across the country like Imogene and Willie.
I hope this helps with some Holiday Gifts for men. Or women. Or yettis. You will be supporting small businesses and American owned and made companies. There are so many incredible, passionate people creating quality goods right in your hometown. Go meet them, support them and shop with them this holiday season.
Dec 11, 2013
Well I have been off the radar for a minute or two and wanted to jump in and say hello. While I want to write daily the only thing on my mind is the birth of my son Tennessee Wolf Johnston. With the thoughts of his pending arrival comes the overwhelming desire to get our home as prepeared as we can in this time of waiting. Are we 100% prepared? No. Are we 100% ready for our son? YES! Our desire is to raise our son and future children in a home filled with love, that is encouraging, creative, safe and that dreams can be achieved.
One thing I've been doing is cleaning out rooms, decluttering, rearranging furniture, simplifying, and painting rooms. I have several paintings to finish for my pledge music campaign, but I am focused on our home. In the late hours, after long days I still try to create small pieces of art even if it is all done through some digital technology right now, or a combination of mediums. I hope I can be a source of inspiration for my son and for any of you as well.
Nov 20, 2013
Nov 8, 2013
This week has just flown by! All we've got for you today is this video. It's the trailer for Fade:A Clean Cut Documentary, and it's one of the greatest things you'll ever see.
Y'all go do great stuff this weekend! Be good people. Be happy.
Duq and Morgan and Tennessee
Oct 30, 2013
Do you ever have those moments where you are just so crazy excited to be a part of something? Last night there was a huge street party in Woodlawn, officially part of a community development initiative but, more importantly, a chance for the people who live there and have lived there to get out, share music and dance and food and dance like wild in the middle of the street. It started with Woodlawn High School's marching band, marching from the high school down the street and around the corner to an empty parking lot. It was amazing. They are amazing. I got really emotional between the deep thud of the bass drums and seeing the intense pride and ownership these high school kids have when they play.
It was something hopeful to me, a beacon of the future and possibilities. And it inspired me so much that I picked up my old Canon for the first time in over a year. I was flying around the crowd like a crazed woman, and let me tell you, I crouched down low for some shots and definitely forgot I have a considerable pregnant belly to mind.
My favorite images from the night are of the dance team. These girls are beautiful and talented and sassy, and the lines created by their movements and hair are really dynamic. And the facial expressions, too. Of course. Come on.
This image above has this Charlie's Angels slash Beyonce vibe. It also reminds me of when I was a little girl and thought the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders were the most beautiful and most important women alive. This is a true story. I was three.
I am just really proud of this image above.
I am really obsessed with street style, especially inner city style. And these young kids totally have their own thing going on. I was psyched to get to hang out with them and take some photos in between dancing.
If you're in Birmingham, y'all come down to Woodlawn this week. There's amazing stuff going on all weekend. If not, get out and walk around the streets of your city. There is so much inspiration everywhere.
Oct 21, 2013
Let this just mark the moment we told you so. THIS. IS. IT.
Oct 3, 2013
So you probably know that this week we are participating in the Revive Birmingham downtown week. For Birmingham, this is a first time experience with putting multiple business owners/vendors in multiple empty properties in a concentrated area. We have had a blast sharing a space with Big City Brand, Made in the Magic City and Yellowhammer Creative. We have this huge semi-constructed space in a former department store and each of us has worked to create an experience for shoppers, but the coolest thing has been how we have gotten to know each other, planning for future collaborations, blasting ridiculous music in that afternoon stretch of time where there just isn't traffic in downtown Bham...
And the after:
Duquette and I went into this really having no idea what to expect other than an interesting market test, and every day is getting better with increased traffic, repeat visitors who come to sit and talk and listen to music, and all I could ask for more would be that Revive lasted a month in one location with lots of vendors and shared locations and store fronts...and I would love to serve a good glass of Whiskey in those 5pm to 8pm hours.
So what really is a pop up? And where did this all come from? In the late 1990's a company out of California wanted to see what would happen if they got niche retailers with limited edition products, put them in a space temporarily and each stayed open until they ran out of their product, then moving to a new targeted space to do it all over again. That company, Vacant is still around today creating unique shop experiences putting it really well, "Not all shops are created equal." I agree.
So the pop up shop hit NYC in 2003, with heavy hitting names and cool people brands. This incarnation of the pop up is what we are all pretty familiar with. There's also a crew of people utilizing the pop up experience for do it yourself urbanism. Popuphood is a great example of this working well, revitalizing neighborhoods block by block by getting small businesses in empty spaces.
So what is this whole concept? It's the idea that suddenly a well thought, good looking shop/space/experience opens its doors, when only the day before it was a dark, vacant space. And just as quickly as it came, it would one day suddenly disappear. It's great for a brand in that it creates a whole new relationship with the consumer, often gaining new customers and fans...and it's great for the consumer in that it's a full experience, customized to the location and the people. It's engaging. It's non traditional. And as a pop up shop participant, it's really cool to think that you are building relationships and helping people see things a different way through your created experience.
For us, Rugged and Fancy, it looks like a cabin inside a cypress forest, with a ceiling of branches and boughs that carves out a large-ish alcove in which we have a Lookout Mountain Rocker, bench and a couple other chairs set up to encourage sitting a spell, relaxing, enjoying the moment. And walk around a bit and see the vintage military pieces we have from around the world, the deadstock 60s Ray Bans that sit on a table with great vinyl and woodwork and the best smelling candle ever. Oh, look over there are these really great long, thin tables with some really cool gift books that totally go with the vibe of the forest shop, some great jewelry for men and women and man, that rosemary smells great. Price points range from $20 limited edition t-shirts to $200 Rhodesian military jackets (ask me the story, it's REALLY cool). And all we want is for you to come say hey. It's not about the sales this week, necessarily. It's about building relationships. Just like we have with the other shops sharing the space.
So after this? We are launching the official Rugged and Fancy online store. And people keep asking about a brick and mortar... I will just say we are believers in strong foundations and longevity. But you'll see us around. And be sure to say hey.
Love, Morgan and Duq
Oct 1, 2013
We just wanted to check in before going down to the shop to open up for the day. They're trying to figure out Internet for us, but until then we've got our phones and iPad and a Square if you feel like picking up something.
Here are some photos of our space. Come down and see us 1914 Third Avenue North, Birmingham, AL. We will be there through Friday, 11am-8pm. Come take a seat in the little forest cabin we've built.
Sep 19, 2013
Last night in the humid concrete valley of downtown Birmingham, Alabama 100+ people gathered by twilight on one city block, amidst cabbages and kale, arugula and seven foot wild flowers. The smell of city exhaust disappeared once crossing onto Jones Valley Teaching Farm, where the thick billows of barbeque smoke and fresh turned dirt filled your nostrils. It was the 8th Annual Twilight Supper, a tradition that goes back to the farm's first incarnation, a large-ish lot on a busy street in the Southtown Projects.
Duquette and I have had the honor a few times to attend the Twilight Suppers, on the original farm, out at Mount Laurel and now in The Gardens at Park Place. The Twilight Supper has evolved from a very small gathering with some good food to a select and intimate event for JVTF's greatest visionaries and supporters, with some fantastic music, superb cocktails, a spectacular live auction and a meal prepared by some of the greatest chefs our country has to offer.
It's the Benevolent Order of the Long Table, BOLT, and the people gathered at that long table, only a foot from the very foods they sit and share together as a family, are there to share in the joy and hope of the night's festivities and fundraising and tomorrow's education of young minds. The people that gather at the table are taking responsibility and investing in the future of children and their education through school food and farming programs in the inner city. At the hands of director Grant Brigham, JVTF has achieved its goal to educate 10,000 students in 2011 and launched the Good School Food program to bring hands-on food education into schools. In 2013 JVTF has educated another 10,000 students and is in multiple schools across the Birmingham Metro area. Grant is really inspiring to me and Duquette-- inviting people not to give or donate, but to invest in a long-term vision and to spread the gospel of good food. This really is community.
And last night that community included The Fatback Collective, a group that now includes chefs, restauranteurs, thinkers and entrepreneurs from across the country. They strive to challenge the average, to build community and to support farmers, artisans and good causes.
Who They Are:
These are the heavy hitters in food, y'all. You need to know them, you need to eat at their restaurants. You need to follow them-- online and to the events they put on.
The meal was ridiculously indulgent, with rounds of red snapper and corn salad, followed by whole pork porchetta and black eyed peas, followed by BBQ chicken and the most delicious potatoes I've ever had. I got so excited about the courses, so caught up in the process of clearing room on the table to help each other portion out this delicious fare, I forgot to take photos of the food. But I think that is a strong testament to just how good something is-- you forget about chronicling it and you just EXPERIENCE it.
This is a whole pig porchetta. You take the bones out, roll it up in itself and let it cook over hot coals for a really long time. It was beautiful.
After dinner we all made our way to a rolicking live auction featuring 20+ year old bottles of Pappy van Winkle, trips to Brazil and a personal 10 guest dinner prepared by Chef Frank Stitt. Following the auction, Nashville musician Nikki Lane took the stage as revellers grabbed anyone in the vicinity and danced into the night.
And as you made your way to the outskirt of the farm, before crossing that threshold back into the sights and sounds of the city, you once more passed the giant glowing "BOLT, " shining brighter than the full moon above. JVTF graciously gifted each attendee with a copy of Rohan Anderson's Whole Larder Love, a treasured tome about hunting and gathering and changing your life with food. Rohan spent some time in Birmingham and with Jones Valley earlier this summer, which you can read about here. He came all the way from Australia, and it just goes to show that community is so much bigger than your geography.
Join us in spreading the message of good food, in taking back our health and in helping bring up a new generation of people connected to their land, connected to their health, connected to their food.
Sep 11, 2013
When I was a small child my favorite movie was Disney's Sleeping Beauty. There is this scene where the three fairy godmothers need to talk in private, so they shrink down teeny tiny and have a meeting inside a jewelry box. I would rewind and play, rewind and play this portion of the VHS tape over and over again. I wanted to live inside that jewelry box, where everything was so precious, where a pin cushion became a giant velvet tufted ottomon, where you had just enough room to lavish yourself in beauty and spin wildly in front of a mirror.
This formative memory, paired with the influence of two wildly stylish grandmothers who let me drape myself with antique costume jewelry and diamonds for dress up resulted in a life long obsession with jewelry. I have been fortunate to have amassed a large collection of antique pieces, from my Bubbe's family of costume jewelry stage coach peddlers, from my Red's Cinderella story collection, from estate sales and favorite holes in the wall, from beloved jewelry stores and beyond.
I would say that I am insatiable in this area, though I have admittedly never spent a large sum on a piece of jewelry for myself. I believe that your first piece of jewelry for yourself is a milestone and rite of passage. When the day comes that I am able to invest in something for myself and for future generations, I will turn to Arik Kastan.
A collection of modern pieces that take their cue from antique craftsmanship and tradition, Kastan creates pieces that nod to our grandmothers' greatest pieces but are made for people, well, like us. The ones who mix gold tones and stack rings four deep, the ones who invest in pieces that are going to be as beautiful (and sturdy) in 25, 50 or 100 years.
There's a definitive Old World quality to it, like you might have seen one (or three) of these rings on the fingers of Empress Theodora or forever commemorated in the frescoes of Greece and Constantinople.
Mosaics of Justinian and Theodora in Ravenna.
If you're now in a rush to go out and acquire these breathtaking pieces, they're available online at Greenwich Jewelers, and if you're near Birmingham, Alabama, stop in Etc. in Mountain Brook Village.
If you get a piece or already own one, I would love to see a pic! Feel free to comment below or email me at email@example.com. And be sure to go "like" Arik Kastan at Facebook, here and follow along on Instagram, @arikkastan. It's one of my favorite photo feeds!
Aug 26, 2013
There are good days and there are, well, pretty crappy ones. Now getting into my second trimester, I am SO READY for this crazy energy and feelgood free for all that everybody tells you about. Good news: I had a couple awesome days last week-- I pressure washed the marble patio, the back of the house, the sidewalks and the adirondack chairs. Bad news: The next day I blew my nose and puked everywhere. Good news: I got to go to Billy Reid's Fifth Annual Shindig this past Saturday and spend about four hours floating in a lake with awesome people. Bad news: The following day I felt like I had the worst hangover ever, and all I drank was water. There's no rubrik for any of this.
On the days that are kind of 'ehh,' I like to look at images that inspire me. Visuals are such a huge part of what I do, what Duquette does. Someone recently commented that my life "is so picturesque," which I was deeply flattered to hear. My response to this is that anyone can have a picturesque life-- surround yourself with beauty and take good pictures!
So today, a 50/50 pregnant day, I just want to share some images that inspire me, pictures of beautiful pregnant women that are powerful, peaceful, stylish.
I hope this reaches you well.
Morgan (and Nugget)
Andria Lindquist, via here.
Underwater Maternity Photography, by Kevin Beasley. I am totally doing this for my maternity photos.
Jaime King pregnant, via PopSugar.
Aug 23, 2013
Well I had all these great things to write and show y'all about the Sidewalk Film Festival going on in Birmingham, Alabama this weekend, but my computer or this website is not letting me add links so I will just tell you to get off your ass this weekend and go explore your city. Shut off the computer, turn off the phone and go do stuff with friends and family, hell make some new friends. If you are in Birmingham Alabama or nearby go check out the Film Festival, or one of the many incredible shows or music shows going on. Like tonight the album launch party of my friends and label mates Shaheed and DJ Supreme at Parkside Cafe, or War Jacket at Workplay, or tomorrow night my friends Joey and Kelly from Glossary are playing a house show in Birmingham. The list of this weekends events are pretty endless, there is something for everyone.
I'll be heading up to Florence, Alabama for the Billy Reid Shindig. I love Billy and his entire team and the events they put together. Billy understands community and supports it like few people do. First I might have to hit up my barber for a quick tune up. Gentleman don't forget to see your local barber and if you do not have one email me and I can connect you with the right person.
Have a beautiful Blessed weekend.
Aug 22, 2013
A year or so ago I met a man who goes by the name Basement Fox. I began following him online and was blown away by his creativity. Not only how creative he was, but the different outlets in which he used his gifts, music, photography, and film. The work ethic which he puts into his craft, very purposeful, very provocative is so inspiring. On a recent trip to Nashville I went to hang out at my friend Eric Masse's studio the Casino. There is always incredible music coming out of this spot in the middle of a neighborhood, Rayland Baxter, Caitlin Rose, Escondido and much more. Add to that list the work Basement Fox has been doing with his music.
The day I went by Basement Fox was working on a music short film. The story for the film came from a song he had written, then he deconstructed it to make the soundtrack for the film. I was just blown away by his entire process. When you get around people who do not waste their days on this planet it is infectious. I love to be around people who might wait tables or bar tend or something, but when they get off work they are honing their craft, working on personal projects and sometimes paying projects, but either way they always creating, not being complacent or content with where they are.
So with less rambling from me I will let the music short film presented by Basement Fox showcase just a peek into the mind and creativity of this great man.We will have more from Basement Fox in the future.
Aug 21, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to my best friend, my soul mate, my beautiful wife Morgan Jones Johnston. She has had quite the year and is currently 14 weeks pregnant! The first few months were very tough and she was very sick, but watching her handle herself with such strength and grace makes me love her even more. So today I wanted to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and to share a video by one of our favorite artists Jessie Baylin, who has inspired Morgan more than any other modern day female musician, her style pours out in everything she does.
So cheers to my wife Magoo! I love you Darlin! You inspire me everyday and I would be lost with out you.
Love your husband,
Aug 19, 2013
So there's a whole lot of stuff out there to scare you about what products you use because of potential harm the ingredients can cause your baby. Let me say, I do believe in eliminating these harmful things from my routine, but I also acknowledge that I don't even pretend to know it all or have researched it all.
So here are a few really great products that I am using, Mommy tested and Nugget approved:
Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter, via Mama Mio . So stretch marks are hereditary to a certain degree, but taking the extra measures to guard your expanding skin against them will make a difference. This cream contains no harmful chemicals, making it safe for you and baby during and after pregnancy. You apply one to two times a day from boobs to belly to thighs and booty. It eliminates that crazy itching of dry skin, moisturizes like no other products I've ever known, and smells amazing (it's like a natural citrusy smell that doesn't flare my nausea). It's $35 in a modest tube, but goes a long way and is totally worth it.
Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil, via Olio Lusso. My skin has gotten strange. I am so BLESSED to not have horrible acne or melasma right now, but I'm having the occasional breakout and the dryest skin ever. Where is the dewy pregnancy glow??? So here is how I moisturize-- Rodin Olio Lusso is a blend of 11 essential oils from flowers and botanicals. I use it morning and night on my face and neck (a few drops on moist skin is all you need) and it has this heavenly light jasmine scent. Here's the setback: it's $150, but I've had my vial for a year and am only halfway through it.
Butter London nail polish in Pillar Box Red, Navy Blue, and Metallic Gold. So nail polishes seem to be the most dangerous beauty offender when it comes to pregnancy, and I cannot live without my nail polishes! Butter London is among the few nail polish companies that take pride in no formaldehyde, no toluene, no DBP. They're $15 a pop, which is less than your Chanel but more than your Essie or Revlon. My advice is to find three colors you love for the seasons of your pregnancy and get them. Keep in mind what you could pair for fingers and toes. Or hit up your girlfriends to use their Butter polishes. I am loving these three-- you always need a classic red. Deep navy nails are so hot for Fall and Winter, and you can never go wrong with a metallic nude. Also check out Zoya nail polishes and Deborah Lippmann, all pregnancy safe!
John Masters Organics hair care: Evening Primrose Shampoo and Sea Mist, also available at Whole Foods. I only wash my hair every three to four days, using dry shampoo in between washes. When I do wash my hair, I use John Masters Organics. It's all natural and smells amazing and happens to be pregnancy safe! The Sea Mist is one of my secret power arsenal tools that I am now sharing with you. Forget Bumble and Bumble, y'all. This stuff--all natural and scented with lavender oil-- gives you real mermaid hair, like you just washed up on shore from Mediterranean waters looking PERFECT.
If you're curious about the other products I use or info/style/products for pregnancy, follow me on Pinterest here! Have a great Monday!!
Aug 16, 2013
The black boot is a wardrobe staple, regardless of where you live or what season it is. Wear them with jeans, cigarette pants, leggings, dresses, black tie or no tie. It's the best shoe ever. Here are my black boot picks from Bluefly-- check out the site. Amazing discounts on really luxe treats. And check back on deals, some may be 40-70% the already marked down price depending on the day!
Matiko black calf hair hidden wedge "Kain" boot, was $196, now $119, here.
Joie black leather stacked heel "Bright Fire" ankle boot, was $325, now $211, here.
BELLE by Sigerson Morrison marble effect suede "Scarlett" bootie, was $305, now $279, here.
PRADA sport black grained leather monk strap military boot, was $1,025, now $820, here. (Be still, my heart!)
Y'all have a great weekend! We are in the home stretch of Summer, so make it count!
Morgan and Duq
Aug 14, 2013
It's been a while since we have done a Five Things post-- Five Things is a great way to just get your creative mind moving through visual inspiration. It's something I turn to when I am feeling tired or bored or disconbobulated. It's something we tell our clients to do to generate engaging content, to better communicate their culture or even to simply indentify what that is. It doesn't have to be long (or short). It doesn't have to be related (though I believe there is strong relationships between the five things on some level). And it doesn't have to be the pinacle of taste or interest-- that will emerge on its own if you're doing it with a good creative, open spirit.
Alright. My five things for now:
1. Algae Green:
Via Instagram user @damarcand, here.
"Swan Underwater," photo copyright of Viktor Lyagushkin.
Photo via here.
Green tiles and brass taps, via my Pinterest.
"The End," via Kathryn Sutcliffe.
3. OLD Illustrations:
Hans Christian Anderson collage illustrations, via Le Divan Fumoir Bohemien.
"George Washington" illustration by Pennsylvania Dutch artist in the style of medieval manuscripts. Via Schmookie.
A Brazilian capybara eating a banana, 1699. Via VIVRE!.
4. White Interiors and Wooden Furniture:
Via Fleaing France.
Via Chicago Home Mag.
Home in Brazil, via 79 Ideas.
5. Beautiful Food:
Pear Thyme Mimosa, via Glitter Guide.
Purslane Pistachio Pesto, via Local Milk.
Blueberry Galette, via Na Krachym Spodzie.
Aug 12, 2013
Duquette and I just returned from a photo shoot at Alys Beach. It's this incredible community on scenic Hwy 30A, right on the Gulf of Mexico's white beaches and indigo waters. All the homes and buildings are bright white in styles that feel like a cross between a small Greek island and the small palaces of Morocco. We were really blessed to have been offered a gorgeous home right in Alys to stay in while we were there. All the walls are white with Venetian plaster, decor is rustic/minimal, and the standout feature is the private courtyard central to the home, with manicured vines growing up the high whitewashed walls and a saltwater wading pool. I was so thankful to have had the time to really relax in moments, floating in our wading pool, the ocean, or the breathtaking Caliza Pool.
This is the view from our upstairs patio of the neighboring homes. Stunning.
This is one view of the Caliza Pool, where one is 360 degrees surrounded by these incredible high white structures, cabanas for napping and massage, multiple pools and restaurants and a gorgeous little bar. We had spent our free time at the beach-my happy place is the ocean- and on the night before we left, a fan of Duquette's reached out to us via social media, inviting us to visit the Caliza Bar and have a drink (thanks Emme!). We even went back at 8am Sunday morning to swim--we had the place all to ourselves-- before hitting the road home.
This is our private courtyard, a feature that I think all the Alys Beach homes have, a central area to the homes with wading pools, fountains, outdoor kitchens and plenty of privacy. This pool was a piece of heaven for me. I am not ashamed to talk about my difficult beginnings to my pregnancy. I was bed-ridden for two months with around the clock nausea and vomiting. Living in the South, the heat made it so much worse. I was miserable. I was angry with my girlfriends who had perfect pregnancies (or had simply forgotten to tell me how bad it could be). I was angry that my life changed overnight. I had always dreamed that this period in my life would be marked by gorgeous thick hair, amazing cleavage, a sexy tan round belly and confidence like nothing else. You know, I expected to be a goddess. And while I was so excited to finally be expecting (I wondered if I would even be able to have kids), I was miserable every day, missing my "normal life."
Look, I am telling you it is okay to go through this--it does not make you ungrateful or a bad mom or a bad wife. It can suck. Thankfully, I began to feel less ill practically overnight (at about 11.5 weeks). And now with the beginning of my second trimester, I am feeling even better. While I was still tired, easily overheated and mildly nauseated at certain times in the day, I could get out of bed, do small tasks, drive myself somewhere, eat a small meal--and exercise again, even if it was brief walks!
That little wading pool in Alys Beach was where I first fell in love with this time in my life. The weightlessness of water allowed me to literally take a load off- of my back, my joints, my little but present belly. I waded in that pool at 6am, in the afternoon and at night before going to bed. It was my meditative time. Without the pain, I could tune into my body, float and pray and honestly, commune with this little person growing inside me. I suddenly felt like that powerful goddess woman I dreamed of.
Point being, you need to RELAX. Quit holding yourself to some standard of energy levels, daily accomplishments, doing and being IT ALL. I struggled with not being able to keep up the pace of my life, going all day, doing everything, going going going. One of my biggest obstacles was overcoming this standard I was holding myself to. I had to realize and acknowledge that growing a baby is SERIOUS WORK, twenty four hours a day. Remember that, you are working nonstop. And feel good about that- this is a pretty amazing job that only you can do.
Relax, and take small moments for simple pleasures. Every morning I would walk to the neighborhood shop, Fonville Press and have a few sips of coffee, the most authentic croissant I've had since being in France, and I would read. Whether it's a moment like this, or taking a bath with music and the best candle ever, or walking every day at sunset, or even just buying yourself a really awesome lipstick, do something luxurious for yourself. And revel in the fact that you're getting this really sexy body, you're performing a miracle inside you all day, everyday, you're getting ready for something really BIG.
And consider keeping a journal through this time. I write to our little Nugget a lot, knowing that one day he or she will be an intelligent and curious individual and will love to know about that time that Mom and Dad went to Alys Beach for work and ended up bonding with that yet-to-be-born baby.
Aug 5, 2013
We are coming up on the end of my first trimester with Nugget, and it is certainly starting to make an appearance. It seems like practically overnight I had a round bump to suddenly accommodate. I am very particular about my style-- function reigns supreme with a mix of classic, edgy and bohemian pieces. I will not compromise my tastes during this time in my life. Seriously, what is up with maternity clothes?!? Ninety percent of your options out there are school marm-ish with high necklines, poor quality fabric, bib ruffles, ewww. I can't keep going. The second maternity wear dilemma is the price-- I can't reasonably spend $300 on a dress that I will only wear for a year. I can't spend $200 on a pair of stretch waisted designer jeans that I might not even be able to wear the whole pregnancy. (Side note: DO make friendly with your girlfriends who are pregnant before you. Be there for them, because they need the support...AND when you get knocked up, they've got maternity clothes to loan you!)
So in the face of these dire pregnancy style issues, I want to give some alternatives that are quite stylish and so much easier on your pockets. Today, I want to show you some choice pieces from Forever 21-- they are more free form to accommodate your belly (just size up one or two sizes), they're wildly inexpensive so you can try something trendy if you want or simply wear it out and not feel guilty about getting rid of it in a few months.
1. Wear it with leggings:
I can't wear anything but leggings. They make me feel thinner and more mobile, so pair them with great basics for chic and casual days. (And it has a distinctly French vibe, too.) I love the high-low style because you can get it in a larger size to cover your crotch and your butt. Kind of perfect.
French Terry Striped Top, $19.80, here.
Strappy High-Low Top, $22.80, here.
2. The Flowy Bohemian Floral:
These pieces are great for layering over a tank, whether a kimono style or a top that will be a little cropped. Show off your new curves. Seriously. And with a nice late Summer breeze, it's going to be pretty sexy!
Dreamy Draped Kimono, $22.80, here.
Floral Flutter Top, $22.80, here.
3. The Structural/Geometric:
Add some interest with strong lines. Those lines will balance the visual weight of the bump. It's a great look for the creative career woman and the super chic. Wear with leggings or a cigarette pant.
Must Have Georgette Tunic, $22.80, here.
Sleeveless Georgette Shirt, $19.80
4. The Parka:
Wear it over anything. Of course, you're most likely not going to be able to zip or button it, but it's going to help narrow and lengthen your torso. Yes, we all can look like preggo Gisele. Almost.
Desert Cool Parka, $34.80, here.
Studded Faux Leather Utility Jacket, $42.80, here.
Kepp coming back on Mondays for more maternity style, and be sure to follow my Pregnant! board over at Pinterest for day to day style inspirations. I love y'all and hope your week starts out with great momentum and style!
Jul 31, 2013
Morgan, here. I think it comes as no surprise by now to explain why I've been a little MIA-- I am pregnant with a little nugget who has made me sick as a dog for a spell. Exciting! I am thankful for a day when I feel good, so let's roll with it. Everyone talks about a babymoon. I thought it sounded pretty lame and ridiculous until the realization hit-- holy crap, this is the last bit of time that it's just me and Duq. **May I just note that our approach to parenting is that Nugget will not dictate our lifestyle. It's a cool little addition that is going to learn to hang our way...ish.
Okay, so babymoon. I want to go somewhere tropical and exotic. I want to walk around barefoot in a bikini and kaftan with a round, tan belly and a giant sunhat, sipping out of a coconut. Give me ocean and palm trees and sand and street markets with local fares for a steal.
Here are some pics that in no way portray the beach getaway I am speaking of, but deeply inspire my quest to make the 'moon a reality.
A couple being photographed in Mexico City in the 1950s, via here.
Cantina hang time, via here.
Hat weaver in Tunis 1920s, via here.
"The Mysterious Maya," National Geographic 1977, via here.
I am pretty thrilled to be posting again! And will be checking in more regularly now! Oh, and anyone have any suggestions for a destination for our trip??
xoxo big time,
Jul 29, 2013
We always try to keep our eyes, ears, hearts and minds open for inspiration. I love when you get turned on to people who are living their calling daily and as you dig through the crazy world wide web you can get lost in a rabbit whole of inspiring people. You may find inspiration all the way on the other side of the world with someone like Rohan Anderson of Whole Larder Love, or you may just need to keep your eyes and ears peeled in your own back yard in the free state of Winston County Alabama.
Fortunately for us we have known the Cochran brothers, Keith and Dylan, from Wood Studio for an extremely long time and they are family. They learned from their father Randy and have been honing their skills since they could reach a work table. We will be talking about them a lot more over the course of the rest of the year, but today I just wanted to give them a shout out and let y'all drool over their Lookout Mountain Rocker. These brothers live, eat, and breathe their craft. People around the globe are finally taking notice. Last year they were Garden and Gun magazine's made in the south awards overall winner, and then this past Friday they were featured on ValetMag. This only scratches the surface, but take note as these gentlemen mean business and deserve every bit of recognition they get.
We Hope you find great inspiration from these fine gentleman and that you will support their family business. Be on the lookout for some future collaborations between Rugged and Fancy and Wood Studio.
Duq and Magoo
all photography by Brian Francis Photography
Jul 19, 2013
When I was a kid we lived in Wyoming until the 80's and then I spent every summer there with my father until I graduated from High School. My childhood surroundings in the Big Horn Mountains have been a major influence on my style and my father has played a big role in that as well. So many people think men should not wear jewelry and I compeltely disagree. My father has always been a tough, hard working man and always had some incredible rings. A man that used to race motorcyles, ride in the rodeo, worked our ranch, worked construction, yet still had his own style and yes wore jewelry. The one thing I remember most were the rings he wore. Most anyone that knows me well knows I always have on my grandfathers Mexican ring he bought in 1942 and my turquoise wedding ring, which is not a standard wedding band. Here a few I've found that are available online. Find your style and do not be afraid to wear it.
Hope you all have a beautiful weekend.
Jul 17, 2013
So far this summer has been very mild for the south, a rare treat. But now we are getting into the middle of July, the heat is increasing, the humidity is on the rise, and I dream of floating down my childhood creek, Clear Creek, in Buffalo, Wyoming or as we pronounced it CRIK. While I can not jump in Clear Creek right now I can let you know about a few items that are must haves for me during the summer heat.
1. Up first is my Imogene and Willie bandana. Of course I refer to these as Preacher Cloths. There is nothign better than a soft bandana to wipe away the sweat from your brow or dipping it in ice water and wearing around your neck.
2. Recently I ran out of the skin care line I had been using and I finally decided to pull the trigger on trying Ursa Major, after reading about them for sometime. WIth my order I got a couple of the face wipes to try out and now I'm hooked. It is perfect reboost for your face after an Alabama summer day and before going out into the warm southern evening, cleaning and rehydrating. More on this great company soon.
3. Next up is Malin and Goetz eucalyptus deoderant. I know both Morgan and I have mentioned it before, but this might be the best deoderant on the market. Yes the price is up there, but it last for months. No Aluminum, smells great, and the eucalyptus extract helps kill the bacteria which causes the summer funk, and we have all been guilty of that.
4. Most of my friends during the summer in Alabama are always on the hunt for a cold pool or creek to jump in. For most of us, except for the critters who prefer jorts, you need a great swimsuit. There are obvisouly many, many options, but why not support a great company like Apolis who are helping bring postive change to the communies around the world they work with on all of their products.
5. Finally, both men and woman can use a great straw hat to block the sun from scorching your head and keep the sweat from burning your eyes. This one from Sunbody is very similar to the one I wear. There is an abundance of options out there, but if you get through Nashville go pick one up from Gigi at Hatwrks and consider getting a custom made hat for the rest of the seasons.
What are your favorite summer essentials? Hope these help y'all stay cool this summer.
May 17, 2013
If you know us, or know my husband Duquette Johnston, you know we have spent the past year and a half working on his first new full length record in three years, "Rabbit Runs a Destiny." I say "we" because it has been a family affair between us as husband and wife, Armand Margjeka of Pipe and Gun, the family at Communicating Vessels, a group of the most talented musicians from around the country, Pledge Music, Peter and the entire Toolshed Media family, Standard Deluxe, Matt Lane Harris, Jason Hamric, and our community, including all of you.
Being a musician today, or the partner of a musician is hard. It's not all glamorous and it's definitely not as easy as just writing, recording, touring. You have to work really, really hard and really believe in your calling and your message, and lay everything on the line for it. It's scary. It's stressful. It's the most laborious thing you could imagine. But it's gratifying and emotional and exciting, too. But you do it because it's something you believe in. It's scary, but it's exhilerating, and it can only come from a place of true belief and dedication.
Part of what is making it really meaningful for us is partnering with Pledge Music. Maybe you're familiar with crowdsourcing platforms, like Kickstarter or Pledge Music. It's a really exciting, kind of new way for musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, organizations to raise money to fund their endeavors by asking YOU to partner with them in making something come to fruition. By investing in someone or a project, you become a part of the community surrounding it, with some really cool incentives, personal updates, and essentially a stake in a project's success.
We chose Pledge Music as the platform for getting "Rabbit Runs a Destiny" out there because we get to partner with an organization, giving 10% of our money raised to Pablove Foundation, who fights childhood cancer with love. It is something really important to us. We believe in giving, and Pablove is something really close to our hearts. Why? Pablo Thrailkill Castelez was five when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. In the year that he fought that battle before losing his life, we followed the blog that documented his journey and his family's journey. It was personal and honest and invited total strangers from around the globe to become a part of that journey. It touched us and spoke to some really personal places in each of our lives: Duquette's childhood mentor fought cancer for decades and he witnessed a dear friend's little brother valiantly fight and succumb to cancer at only 17. For me, I befriended a girl when we were five and she already had cancer. It was a part of our friendship. She passed away a year later. I also lost both of my grandparents to cancer, the people who raised me and I looked up to the most. Pablove is a legacy and is helping and changing many, many lives, and we want to do anything we can to ensure they get to keep doing this.
And it's that same sentiment that we come to you with. We need your help to keep doing what we do, what Duquette does, and in turn, we get to help others. Something I have learned in this year long process is that you can't rely on the notion that someone else is going to do it. If you want to see something happen for someone else, you have to get up, take part of it, and help. With the convenience of technology and the ease that it offers us to do things, we need to actually take the 30 seconds to retweet, email, follow a link, click the button. I've been guilty of putting it off until later, telling myself that there's someone else doing it so it's okay if I don't. No, it's not okay.
We need community, all of us. And there's something so exciting about having actually played a part in it. Take pride in it. Take ownership in it. Build a relationship. Just like we feel this way about partnering with Pablove, we want you to partner with us. Because we need you.
And here is how you can help:
Become a part of this record, our life, and Pablove via Pledge Music, here.
Tell people about it via Facebook, Twitter, email, word of mouth.
And here is some free stuff for you:
Free Rebel King EP on Noise Trade, here.
Free download of song "Rabbit Runs a Destiny" on NPR, here.
We thank you so deeply, for your support, encouragement and belief!
With so much love,
Morgan (and Duquette, too)
May 15, 2013
I will admit that I have never been one for embroidery art. There, I said it. It has always felt a little too craftsy for me. UNTIL I saw the work of Japanese artist, Junko Oki. It is really difficult to find information on her and her work, as all the sites are in Japanese. BUT I have gathered that she calls her work, WOKY SHOTEN, referring to the free movement of the line to make a simple repetition of work. And the forms and patterns and repetitions touch on her grandfather's memories.
It's beautiful and chaotic and peaceful all at the same time.
I just want to keep looking at it.
March 2012, via Woky Shoten.
February 2012, via Woky Shoten.
February 2012, via Woky Shoten.
May 14, 2013
It's no secret that we are HUGE fans of Imogene + Willie, over in Nashville. It has been such a tale of excitement and inspiration and just JOY to see them grow and become a true AMERICAN FORCE! And as we said a few years back, TAKE NOTE. I+W have expanded into home goods and I am delighted!
I remember the first time I walked in their shop and felt at home on their comfy leather sofa, petting shop mascot and boss Lale, freaking out the first time I smelled the heady scent of the Apothia Soul candle. Every time I go in the shop and subsequently leave, I think how I want my home to have the feel of that little old gas station, with mementos of my family and travel and inspiration everywhere I turn.
Here are a few of my favorite, favorite pieces. And if you stop in the shop, tell them that Morgan and Duquette sent you!
Vintage African Indigo Textile, here.
Vintage African Indigo Textile, here.
Turkish Hammam Towel Light Blue Stripe, here.
Turkish Hammam Towel Red Design, here.
Vintage Bolivian Rug, here.
Sea Salt Soap, here. This is the ONLY soap I have used for the past year. It has actual grains of salt that exfoliate and refresh beyond belief.
I+W x Apothia Candle in Soul, here. African ginger, mahogany, taboti wood, grains of paradise. We always have one of these babies burning in the house and EVERYONE comments on the scent. It is a comforting and inspiring scent, my top fragrance in a long time.
Don't miss out on these really great items!
Have a super blessed day, y'all!
-Morgan and Duquette
May 10, 2013
Hello friends! It sure has been a long time since we have posted here on the blog, and it's all due to exciting things that we look forward to sharing soon! I must admit that while blogging and maintaining social media can be so exhausting, it can be a great source of connecting with people and being inspired. I've missed that, and I've missed you! The past week I have been bed ridden with the FLU, and I am in need of creating and connecting and inspiration!
Pinterest can be a time suck, yes, but it can be a beautiful companion while in quarantine. I've found myself pinning a lot of really interesting jewelry pieces that are minimalist with a tribal kind of flair. A delicate piece is like a secret treasure or a tiny bird that you just want to cherish and take care of.
Check out these pieces. I am sure you'll love them!
This is the parrot bracelet from Tassia Canellis, which you can find here. The discs are gilt brass and remind me of old metal sequins and the grey yarn reminds me of tying thread around my wrist as a kid, fashioning my own bracelets.
Tiny rose gold and silk bracelets by Vivien Frank Designs. Elegant yet rugged, delicate yet tough. I just imagine the flash of light bouncing off this piece on a sunny day! Get it here.
Lagos necklace via Need Supply. Gold and ocean tones, can you smell the salt in the air??
I'll be excited to debut new pieces from my own jewelry collection shortly and will be offering some giveaways and "family discounts," so keep your eyes peeled here and on our Facebook page!
Have a beautiful dy, y'all.