I want to win!

May 29, 2014

An Alesya Bag that is…

I really hate to admit it but I am a 30 year old gal rockin’ a backpack to carry my laptop and other accessories when I travel. Charleston entrepreneur, Alesya Opelt, has created the ultimate laptop bag for the modern woman and she is giving one away!

alesya bags

via alesya bags

I first discovered Alesya Bags at The Southern C Summit and fell in love with their rich colors and unique style. In the designer’s words, “Part fashion, part function, this stylish laptop bag has plenty of room for your carry-on comforts. Throw in your sunglasses, a bright summer lipstick, your phone and all the other essentials and still have plenty of room for your laptop.” This is exactly what I need.

#winalesyabag

As a travel blogger and social media manager, I don’t work in a typical office. Whether I’m at the airport, an event, or heading down to the coffee shop, this bag would be the perfect accessory to keep my mobile office organized while looking stylish.

I have a busy summer ahead with trips (for work and play) to Chicago, Indianapolis, and down South, so I hope I’ll be traveling in style.

Here’s what I plan on packing in mine.

  • laptop
  • phone
  • chargers
  • shades
  • notebook
  • scarf
  • one love organics skin savior balm

As far as colors go- I love them all!

Want to enter for yourself? Check out her blog for the details.

A stroll through downtown Charleston

May 13, 2014

Charleston After a busy few days at The Southern C Summit, I gave myself an extra day to explore Charleston. So before some last minute shopping and more eating, I set out on an early morning stroll to photograph a few of my favorite buildings. READ MORE

Happy Mother’s Day

May 11, 2014

In honor of Mother’s Day I’m sharing mom’s best advice, memories, and a coveted family recipe. Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom always told me…“You can be or do whatever you want as long as you work hard and put yourself out there.”  My mother gave me this advice at a very young age and continues to remind me of it…probably because I have had several dreams/career aspirations from being a professional horseback rider when I was 8 to wanting to be an art gallery director when I was in college.  I have worn many hats already in my young career and will probably wear several more; I know as long as I remember her advice I will continue to enjoy my career journey and find what “makes me tick.”

Favorite memory… One of favorite memories with my mother is from Christmas 2007.  I had recently moved to Maui that August with my boyfriend Ryan.  The big move was hard for my whole family, but it was really hard on my mother and me because it was the first real time I was moving far away (not to mention halfway around the world).  That December my family decided to come visit us in Maui for a week and spend Christmas and it was fantastic.  For better or worse, daughters always want to impress and gain the approval from our mothers and thankfully this trip went off without a hitch!

For Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we decided to take the family around to Hana on the far eastern side of Maui, spend the night, and then hike to a waterfall in the National Park on Christmas Day.  After a three-hour drive on “the long and winding road” to Hana, the men treated us to grilled kabobs for Christmas Eve dinner followed by the usual story telling and a Christmas Vacation marathon. Christmas morning activities vary in our family, but one thing is constant, a big breakfast.  Even though we were in the land of spam and poi, my mom, sister, and I made our traditional Christmas day breakfast casserole complete with skillet sausage and lots of cheese. As usual, we spent the morning gabbing over coffee, prepping the casserole and other sides, and she told me how proud she was of me for taking a chance on an incredible adventure I’d always remember.  This Christmas will always hold a special place in my heart.

Favorite recipe… In our family, like most Southern families,  good recipes are passed down by the mothers to their daughters as they grow up or after they get married.  My great grandmother’s Chicken Pot Pie is one of those rich and comforting dishes that children would eat everyday if they could, and adults love it because it transports them to their childhood.

Nannie (my great grandmother) surely got it from her mother, and passed it down to her daughter when she got married.  Called “Bunny” by most, my grandmother Nome, made it for her children throughout their lives. The original recipe called for homemade pastry for the crust, and my mother said that sometime in the 1970s, Nome gave Pillsbury pastry sheets a try and passed the test!  Needless to say the scratch pastry was never made again. When we grandchildren came along, so did the chicken pot pie.  Anytime we made the trek from St. Simons Island to Birmingham, she had it waiting for us that first night.   The rich, buttery smell of the pastry cooking instantly takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen; me setting the table, filling the tea and water glasses for everyone and placing the trivets in their appropriate places on the farm table in the kitchen.

mothers day

Me and Nome

Regardless of who was at the table, the vintage recipe always got everyone talking about time gone by.  My aunts would reminisce about growing up, as would my grandparents. As her mother had done, Nome passed the recipe down to my mother and her sisters so they could do the same with their children one day.  My mother continues to make this beloved recipe when we ask (or beg) and she and I go through the same ritual Nome and I did. My mom gets the plates and pot pie and sides ready and I set the table and then call in the others.  Even though we lost Nome several years ago, as we indulge in this classic Southern dish, we always end up talking about her delicious comfort food and the warm memories we have of her and the ones we shared with her.  It’s incredible how much love and history can be within a simple recipe isn’t it?

 

Chicken Pot Pie  -Bunny Hamrick

I whole chicken

2-1/2 c. Water

2 chicken boullion cubes

1 onion, chopped

3 Tbsp. cornstarch, dissolved in milk

Salt

Pepper

I box Pillsbury pastry sheets

2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

Milk

Cook chicken in water with onion and boullion cubes until done. Remove chicken when cool. Remove skin and pull meat from bone. Set aside. Add cornstarch to chicken stock and heat until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cut chicken back to stock.

Line a I3 X 9 X 2 inch casserole dish with 1 pastry sheet, cutting strips to line the sides. Pinch together at seams. Cut second pastry sheet to cover the top. Cut the trimmings off ofthe second sheet into small pieces and stir into chicken mixture. Pour mixture into pastry lined casserole. Add sliced eggs. Top with second pastry shell and pinch together at sides.

Bake in preheated 400 degree F. oven for Io minutes. Remove and cut slits in the top, and pour a couple of tablespoons of milk into the slits. Lower temperature of oven to 350 degrees F. and continue baking for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

This recipe was passed down to Bunny (Nome) by her mother Peggy Brannan Cobb (Nannie). It has always been a family favorite, especially loved by her grandchildren-Sarah, Emily, Keith, Madeline, Trey, Miller, Matthew, Molly, and Reilly.

Related articles:

The Southern C Mother’s Day Compilation

I Remember Mom: Random Storyteller

 

 

The Southern C Summit Charleston

May 8, 2014

Back down South… I like the Midwest but there’s nowhere like the South. To kick off my sabbatical, I spent 4 days in the “Holy City” with some of my favorite people. It was just what I needed to get re-inspired and excited about writing and social media.  I hit the ground running (literally) to the American Theater on Wednesday morning to help set up with the rest of the summit team. As usual rain followed us to Charleston, but if you’ve ever attended a previous summit, you know that rain can’t get us down!

american theater

We kicked off the day with Amy Smilovic of Tibi. Smilovic is a St. Simons Island native, UGA grad, and an inspiration to many. She held her own on the stage giving us many takeaways given her impressive rise to fashion fame and relatable story. She preached about having confidence and staying the course, “Build something great. Believe in it. Do not waver,” she said; it starts with passion.”

The words of wisdom and useful tips continued over the next few days from biz superstars, bloggers, and editors like Tara Geurard, MaryAnn Bekkedahl of Keep, Christopher Lester of Emma Email, Libbie Summers, Katie Armour of The Neotraditionalist and Matchbook Mag, Erin Shaw Street of Southern Living, Hanna Seabrook of Gadabout, Chassity Evans of Look Linger Love, and Jamie Meares of Furbish Studio.

tscsummit

A few more takeaways…

Another from Amy Smilovic: ”Think big on goals and small on execution – focus + simplicity.”

Jamie Meares: “Pimp it out like the rent is due.” “You gotta have swagger like Kanye West. I have no idea what he’s selling but I believe him.”

Christopher Lester: “Your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Images are KEY!”

Katie Armour: “If you do good work they will find you.”

Chassity Evans: “Don’t be afraid to seek out the people you want to work with. The worst they can say is no.”

tscsummit

The Best of Thomasville, Georgia Break

No summit is complete without incredible food, networking, and parties; Charleston was no exception. Throughout the conference we sampled goodies from around the south, traded tips with small business owners and bloggers, and had a great time. My favorite event this year was our farewell brunch at Le Creuset Atelier overlooking the Ashley River. It the perfect ending to a busy but fun few days in the Lowcountry. It also gave the summit team a little time to relax with the attendees. Don’t get me wrong, I was still tweeting and instagramming like a mad woman but I had time to munch on a BBQ sundae (yep- sundae) and craft a flower necklace with the Beauty Everyday gals.

brunch

Le Creuset Brunch

“It starts with passion.” Amy said this during her session on the first day and it strongly resonated with me. At the Summits we come together because of our passions- passion for the South, small business, and connecting with each other. I’m so proud to be a part of this group of creative people and I can’t wait until the next one!

To relive the fun in Charleston or see what the summits are all about- check out instagram or twitter and search #tscsummit.

team tscsummit

Leave Only Footprints

April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

earthday

Friday Five: Vinyl

April 18, 2014

With Record Store Day this weekend, I’m sharing five of my favorite records from our vinyl collection.

5. The Beatles - Abbey Road

4. Rolling Stones - Some Girls

Most any Stones album will do but I’ve been listening to this one a lot lately.

3. Willie and the Family Live – no description necessary

2.  The Band - The Last Waltz

 

1. Allman Brothers- Live at the Fillmore East 1971

One of the best live albums…ever. Fun fact: this photo was taken in an alley in Macon, Georgia

My husband and I inherited quite the collection from our parents and have added to it over the years. Most Sunday afternoons you’ll find us at home relaxing and blaring tunes on our hammy-down yet super loud stereo. We might even be louder than the college kids that live next door.

This Saturday is Record Store Day! Never heard of it?

“Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1000 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally.This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store—the staff, the customers, and the artists—to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet & greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April.” 

Even if you don’t have a record player, you can support your local indie music store by buying a CD (remember those), tshirt, poster, etc. Most stores have special deals, free gifts, or live music so check out the website to see participating record stores and find out what’s happening in your area.

 

 

Bloomington Craft Beer Fest

April 16, 2014

It has been a crazy few weeks here in Bloomington. I have been frantically working on everything Southern C Summit and accepted a new job at the local newspaper here in town. With my new schedule I’m going to try and give y’all one post a week. Hooray! Now that I’ve settled in (sort of) to my new job, over the weekend I was able to experience one of Btown’s favorite festivals – Bloomington Craft Beer Fest.

50 breweries, 3,000 people, a pretzel necklace and a couple of hours to sample some tasty beer…

Bloomington

 

As most know, Ryan and I tend to run late so after a frantic bike ride down the BLine to the Woolery Mill we checked our bikes grabbed our glasses and hit the ground running.

bloomington craft beer fest

The place was packed with tasters and craft breweries from all over Indiana and some from Illinois. With breweries popping up throughout the Midwest, craft beer is a growing business. Word is we’re getting a few new ones in Bloomington very soon (yay)! I’m still learning about the beer culture up here but I was blown away by the number of breweries just in Indiana.

bloomington craft beer fest

I frequent the Bloomington breweries regularly so at the fest I tried to focus on breweries new to me.  Note – arrive on time so you don’t miss out on all the sour beers and 3 Floyds (they go fast).

A few of my favorites:

The people watching was also excellent.

craft beer fest

 

Can’t wait ’til next year! Cheers!  bloomington craft beer fest

Friday Five: No Stress Travel Tips

April 4, 2014

explore the world

With spring here and summer on the way, it’s time to talk travel planning. Planning and traveling can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be.  April is stress awareness month so I’m sharing some of my tips for to ensure your trip has little to no stress.

5. Map out your route: Spontaneous trips are great but it helps if you know a little bit before you head to the airport or jump in the car. Not everything has to be mapped out but you may want to at least have a destination and route planned. Love roadtrips? Make sure you check out the road conditions before heading out on an adventure, as some stretches of road may be closed seasonally or pit stops may be sparse. You don’t want to be stranded on a highway in the desert with no gas station in sight. I speak from experience having tried to cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway a while back in the winter realizing it was closed midway through. Not an easy turn around to make.

4. Activities for kids: To ensure you have a mostly whine-free excursion, have some sort of entertainment for the short attention spans of younger travelers. Ideas: I Spy, road trip bingo, books, mad libs, coloring books, audio books. If all else fails maybe a movie. I have fond memories of trekking to Destin, Florida in the way way back of my mother’s volvo wagon playing road trip bingo with my siblings.

3. Food: Hungry people are grumpy. Couple hunger with a long trip…disaster. My favorites- carrot/celery sticks with nut butter, PB&J, granola bars (I love LaraBars, Kind, Cliff),  and popcorn (homemade or Pirates Booty). These snacks are perfect for road trips or an airplane.

2. Audio: Having plenty of music to listen to will ease tension on any trip. Load up your ipod with the classics or make a Spotify playlist. Check out my latest “Road Trip” playlist here. Audio books are also excellent for traveling because they are entertaining and last for hours. My audio book picks: any of the “Classics” because they’re usually free. I’ve enjoyed listening to the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series too – both are action packed and will hold your attention.

1. Go with the flow: Sometimes the plan is that the plan will change. I like to plan my trips in advance, but sometimes things do not go accordingly. The best way to avoid extra stress when plans go awry is to take a step back a just try and go with the flow. If this is hard for you to do… I suggest packing a lavender infused eye pillow and head phones. Drown out your surroundings and breathe in the soothing smell of fresh herbs and you’ll be placidly sailing along. Inflight and stressed? Do the above and perhaps an inflight cocktail.

Longwood Plantation: Natchez, Mississippi

April 3, 2014

Built in 1861, Longwood Plantation is the largest octagonal house in America, and one of the best remaining examples of Moorish Revival style architecture. This six-story, 30,000 square foot mansion was designed by Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia for wealthy planter Haller Nutt and his wife, Julia Williams Nutt. As the home neared completion, the Civil War broke out and construction halted. Haller nut died in 1864, and his wife Julia, and their eight children, continued to live in the finished first floor of the home for several years.  

Longwood remained in the Nutt family until 1968. After a brief ownership of the McAdams family in Austin, Texas, the plantation and its 94 acres were donated to Pilgrimage Garden Club of Natchez in 1970. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1969, tours of Longwood are given daily every 30 minutes. Beginning on the finished first floor, guides share the Nutt family history as well as pieces from the permanent collection. The tour then moves to the upper levels where visitors can explore the “bones” of this architectural gem.

The completed house was to have had 32 rooms, 26 fireplaces, 115 doors, 96 columns, and a total of 30,000 square feet of living space, but only nine of the 32 rooms were finished. In the unfinished rooms you can see all the layers of construction, tools left behind by workmen, even luggage trunks that arrived for the family are still there just waiting to be opened. You can even see the framework of the sixteen-sided onion dome cupola inside. 

A system of mirrors had been designed to reflect sunlight to the many rooms of Longwood from the windows in the sixteen-sided tower atop the house. The chimney-like shape of the house was intended to funnel warm air up toward the top of the cupola, creating an updraft that escaped through windows high in the building, thus drawing fresh air into the lower floors.

Showing off unfinished and deteriorating architecture, Longwood Plantation is not your typical house museum. In this case, seeing Longwood in its entirety, helps tell the story of the Nutt family and serves as a unique metaphor for the “rise and fall of the Old South.” After touring the mansion, make sure you allow plenty of time to stroll the grounds and get lost under the oaks.

Photo: James Butters on April 14, 1936 for the Library of Congresses’ Historic American Buildings Survey
 

My good friend Claire Cothren, a natchezian and fellow blogger, introduced myself and a few other preservationists to Longwood Plantation several years ago and it is one of my favorite house museums to date. Spring and fall are ideal times to visit and enjoy perfect weather and pilgrimage season. Both spring and fall pilgrimage are month long celebrations of Natchez history with the crown jewels being the dozens of mostly private antebellum homes on tour for visitors.  If you love architecture and history, a visit to Longwood and Natchez is a must.

Sources: The New Southern View, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, and National Historic Landmarks Program

Rainbow Bakery

March 25, 2014

rainbow bakery The new (to me) vegan bakery in Bloomington, Rainbow Bakery, is full of color, mid-century mod fun, and pastries. I’m not a vegan by any means but I am a fan of baked goods. It doesn’t hurt that this new kid on the block is located in a cool historic building downtown.

The building, now called I FELL, was built in 1930 by Isaac Fell. What was originally an Auburn Cord Duesenberg car dealership, is now home to the Rainbow Bakery, the Bloomington Clay Studio, The Collective Press and several other artist studios. More on the I Fell building next week.

Rainbow Bakery has only been open since August 2013, but they seem like a seasoned pros, cranking out a variety of muffins, breads, cupcakes, and donuts each day as well as your coffee bar favorites. Decked in mid-century finds, Rainbow Bakery captures the fun of baking. The decor and logo are just as cheery as their baked goodies.  Retro formica kitchen tables line the cafe and funky globe and paper lanterns hang throughout the space. One of my favorite repurposed pieces is  the 50s stove turned sugar and creamer station.  The bakery nods to America’s kitschy past while their food is an updated version of all your favorite treats. There is something for everyone each day:  jumbo cinnamon rolls, vanilla lavender cupcakes, gluten free mushroom and sage scones, green tea donuts, the list goes on and on. Follow them on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.

rainbow bakery

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