Follow Friday: Hermosa Jewelry

This time last year, I met Haley of Hermosa Jewelry! We both had a booth at a local event, and I was so impressed with her jewelry company! Haley is one amazing entrepreneur -- creative, smart, and delightful to talk to! Learn more about this Charleston native and her gorgeous line of jewelry in the #FollowFriday interview below! 

Hermosa Jewelry Charleston SC

HERMOSA JEWELRY
Owner:  Haley Keisler
Products:  handmade jewelry, custom & wedding jewelry
Follow @HermosaJewelry on Instagram!

TDC: Hermosa is Spanish, correct? Tell us a little about what inspired the name, Hermosa Jewelry.
HJ:  I studied abroad for a semester in college in Seville, Spain.  “Hermosa” means beautiful in Spanish, which in my opinion, I think my jewelry is beautiful but it also makes women who wear it feel beautiful, too.

TDC: Your jewelry is very striking! What led you to designing jewelry?
HJ: At the age of 12, I inherited a large box of costume jewelry from a family friend.  I started taking pieces apart and reassembling them into new designs.  And the rest is history, I’ve been designing jewelry since then.  

TDC: Do you currently have a favorite piece in your collection? 
HJ:  Yes!  My favorite piece right now is the Sansa Crescent Horn (featured above), named after Sansa in Game of Thrones.  It is a colorful statement piece that I have been wearing on repeat lately.  

TDC: What are the best ways for people to purchase your items? 
HJ:  You can shop in person at my studio & showroom located at 1304 Erckmann Drive, Suite D. in Mt. Pleasant.  Local stores in the Charleston area that carry my line include: Charleston Preservation Society, Karen Hagan Fine Art, Stox & Co. Salon & Spa, and The Green Shutter.  My website is open 24/7 as well (www.hermosajewelry.com).  I have a lot of upcoming events for the Fall and Holiday season which are listed on my website.  

TDC: You also had a booth set up at this year's Volvo Car Open Tennis Match. Tell us a little about that experience! Will we see some tennis stars wearing Hermosa Jewelry?
HJ:  Yes!  The Volvo Car Open is my biggest event of the year.  It is so much fun but a lot of work.  I showcase my jewelry for 9 days.  It’s a great way to get brand exposure for people that are attending the tournament.  I have three Tennis stars that rock Hermosa: Bethanie Mattek-Sands (just won gold at the Olympics), Sloane Stephens (won the Volvo Car Open), and Jelena Jankovic.

TDC: You lived in Colorado for a few years after college. Did you have a favorite city or town that you visited? Any recommendations for someone heading that way?
HJ:  Colorado definitely has a piece of my heart.  When I lived there, I skied every weekend.  Steamboat is one of my favorite places in Colorado to ski and visit.  It has a Western ranch feel to the town and the skiing is awesome!

TDC: Having grown up around Charleston, is there a Charlestonian tradition or activity that is extra special to you?
HJ:  I love spending time on the water- fishing, cruising, exploring.  You get to see Charleston from a different perspective.  

TDC: Last but definitely not least...what is your favorite Charleston area restaurant right now?
HJ:  My favorite Charleston restaurant is Muse.  It located on Society Street in a historic house.  It has a quaint yet intimate atmosphere and the food is fantastic!

Be sure to follow Hermosa on Instagram! @HermosaJewelry

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Next week we're introducing two new members of the Texture Design team!!

Best,
Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: Hemming Birds Boutique

This week I was able to grab coffee with one of the founders of Hemming Birds Boutique.  I love when I get to meet other small business owners in town and we can just chat about the triumphs and trials of our businesses! Her one-year-old daughter, Ellie, came to coffee with us wearing her adorable made-by-mom Hemming Birds' bib. The sweet lady serving our coffee immediately commented on what an adorable and well-made baby bib Ellie was wearing. <<-- And that my friends is the truth! You have to check out these precious baby accessories! Keep reading to find out why the owners of Hemming Birds are so passionate about what they do! Happy #FollowFriday!

Hemming Birds

Owners: Yana & Jennifer Wieckowski
Products: Handcrafted Baby Essentials

TDC: In 2014, you two decided to leave your current jobs and start Hemming Birds Boutique. What lead to the decision to go into business together?
HBB: For me (Yana) the desire to leave my current job mostly involved having more quality time to spend with my family.  The decision to not pursue a “real” part-time job was to focus on Hemming Birds as much as possible.  Once we got the ball rolling, Jennifer left her full-time job for similar reasons – to spend more time with her family and also support the growing demands of HB.

TDC: I’m sure the jump into entrepreneurship was exhilarating and scary all at the same time. What has been the most exciting part of the process for you?
HBB: It was, indeed; and continues to be! The most exciting part is watching all of our hard work (blood, sweat, and tears. . .lol) pay off.  We aren’t in this to make a ton of money, we truly love building our business and designing products that new parents adore and love to use.

TDC: Your bibs and burp cloths are absolutely adorable! What would you say is unique about Hemming Birds Boutique products?
HBB: The quality of our products. We are both very particular about quality; both in the materials we use and in the craftsmanship of their construction.  Every detail of our designs are thought-out and meticulously tested.  We’ve been known to count stitches and bust out the ruler to measure distance of top-stitching to the edge of the product.  Some would call us perfectionists ☺  We are also very proud that everything is made locally.  Not only in the USA, but currently all in the Lowcountry.  

TDC: The shop carries two bib styles --The Ollie and the Charlie. What was the inspiration for the names and the styles?
HBB: You know, that is an interesting question.  We started with the Charlie bib, and after that decided to give all of our products human names.  Charlie and Ollie work for bibs, because they can be for either a girl or boy.  Previously, we also had the June and Jane little girl bags, which were named after our daughters (Elizabeth June and Hannah Jane).  

TDC: Customers can purchase your products online. Can they also purchase in any stores?
HBB: Yes they can!  Our bibs and burp cloths are carried in a few baby boutiques and gifts stores across the country.  You can find a list of them here.

TDC: Do you two have a current favorite fabric in the shop right now?
HBB: Ooh, that is a tough one.  I think we’ve both always been partial to the mermaids print. However, in the next few days we are launching a chicken bib, which we are both in love with.  It’s pretty darn cute!

TDC: Any hints on what is in store for Hemming Birds? Any new products or fabrics you can share with us?
HBB:  We have been slowly launching our “Essential Burp Cloth” over the last year.  Currently they are available in retail stores or in our shop as part of gift set, however soon they’ll be available in our shop as single items.  We have tentative plans to launch a completely new item, possibly as a small batch release for the holidays.  These days, though, we are so busy with our bibs that we don’t have too much time for designing new products.  

TDC: All Hemming Birds Boutique items are designed and handcrafted in Charleston, SC. What are some of your favorite family activities in Charleston?
HBB:  We both love taking our families to the beach.  Jennifer lives in Mt. Pleasant, so her family frequents Sullivan’s Island, while we generally head to Folly.  We have a pretty good collection of shark’s teeth that we love to add to.  We also love all of the local events, like the farmer’s markets and Second Sunday on King Street.  

TDC: Always have to ask...favorite Charleston restaurant right now?
HBB:  Another great question.  I think Jennifer is pretty particular to Vickery’s and Red Drum.  I’d say my current favorite is Edmund’s Oast.  Though, we ventured out of our studio to Home Team BBQ downtown a few days ago and both agreed that it was pretty epic.

Be sure to follow Hemming Birds on Instagram to stay up to date with their latest bib colors and patterns! Have a great weekend!

Best,
Emily Kirby

 

Follow Friday: The Tiny Tassel

It's #FollowFriday again! WooHoo! I've been following The Tiny Tassel on Instagram for a few months, and last week Mimi (the designer) popped in the shop. We got to talking, and she told me more about her new tassel jewelry business. She is the cutest thing, and I am so excited to interview her on the blog today! Find out more about her line, where she finds inspiration, and her Charleston favorites below!

The Tiny Tassel

Description: Brightly colored tassel jewelry & accessories handmade in Charleston, SC
Owner: Mimi Striplin

TDC: The Tiny Tassel is about a year old, tell us a little about how the company came to be!
TTT: It all started with a pair of hot pink tassel earrings and took off from there! I made one pair and was instantly obsessed!  I love tying in a little Charleston charm in all of my products, each piece is named after a street on the Peninsula!

TDC: Describe the style of your products in 5 words.
TTT: Colorful, Classic, Southern, Preppy & Affordable  

The Elliotborough Tassel Necklace

The Elliotborough Tassel Necklace

TDC: Do you have a current favorite item in your shop? 
TTT: They’re all my favorites but if I must choose one I’d have to say  that I’m obsessed with my Elliotborough tassel necklace; I literally wear one everyday! Love the matching bracelets too!

TDC: What has been the biggest challenge with starting your own business?
TTT: Taking chances! I’m used to having a plan for everything, but I’ve learned that taking a risk usually turns out for the better!

TDC: Any hints on what is in store for The Tiny Tassel? Any new products or color ideas you can share with us?
TTT:  I add new pieces to my shop each week, but I’m really excited about all of my new fall pieces! Of course there’s also more pieces coming to our Elliotborough Collection (b/c they’re my absolute fave!)

I just love mixing the  sweet Charleston charm with classic colors & designs and I hope that shows through my pieces!

TDC: Have you always had a flare for the creative and for color? Where do you find your inspiration?
TTT: I’ve always loved crafting & cooking (big thanks to  Martha Stewart) but I think I’ve really found my “calling” with my jewelry. I love that I’m inspired by everything from colorful Charleston homes to sometimes even my dessert!

Tassel Necklaces

Tassel Necklaces

TDC: You recently graduated from the College of Charleston! Congrats! What would be an ideal day in Charleston for you?
TTT: I absolutely love living in Charleston!  First on my list would be Saffron Cafe--one of my favorite hidden gems where you can literally eat cake for breakfast! Next, I’d go for a nice bike ride through the city, stopping to snap photos of all the  beautiful pink homes & flower boxes downtown! Next, I’d justify  a grapefruit cupcake from Sugar Bakehouse & then head to Sullivan’s Island for a day at the beach!

TDC: Current favorite Charleston restaurant?
TTT: This is a tough one, sooo many wonderful restaurants in town! I’ve loved grabbing drinks and dinner at The Watch rooftop above The Restoration hotel this summer, I mean who doesn’t enjoy the Charleston skyline & a gorgeous sunset during dinner?!

 

Be sure to follow The Tiny Tassel on Instagram and stay tuned for the next Follow Friday! (We'll be talking baby items!)

Best,
Emily Kirby

 

Follow Friday: Suite 33 Charleston

Today's #FollowFriday features the cutest pillows in town...which we are now carrying in our shop!!! The talented Emily Papuga of @Suite33Charleston designed each fabric to represent an area of Charleston. In today's interview, we are asking Emily about her new business venture, her passion for Charleston and the future of Suite33.

Photo by Danielle Hulsey

 

Suite 33 Charleston
Owner: Emily Papuga
Products: Pillows & More

TDC: Your new pillow line is absolutely adorable! Tell us a little about the inspiration behind the new line.
Suite33:  Thank you!  My goal was to create a collection of prints that celebrate Charleston, the place I’m so happy to call home.  Inspired by the city’s wealth of historic detail and iconic landmarks, I try to keep all my designs understated versions of their familiar counterparts.  By using aerial perspectives and modern minimalist designs, the versatile prints reflect the Lowcountry’s charm which can be enjoyed well beyond Charleston's city limits.

TDC: Which fabric pattern has the most meaning to you?
Suite33:  I’d have to say the Folly Pier holds the most meaning, it was also the first print I thought to create. One of my favorite things to do is to spend a day at Folly beach.  I love the feeling of being on vacation just a couple miles from home.  

TDC: As you continue the line of pillows, do you see yourself staying mostly with a local theme or branching out?
Suite33:  Charleston definitely has a lot to offer and I have only just begun with my local prints. Branching out to other cities is a long term goal, and I’m excited to see where my designs take me.

TDC: I also saw you’ll be adding some table linens including napkins and placemats! Any expected dates for when those will be available for order?
Suite33:  Yes, I am very excited about expanding the product line!  I believe the table linens will be a great addition to Charleston gatherings and the collection will be available to order online August 1st.  

TDC: The patterns of your fabric reflect your love for the city of Charleston.  What brought you to the lowcountry?
Suite33:  Growing up in Virginia I spent many summers in the Outer Banks and always knew I’d someday live on the coast.  I took an internship in Charleston to complete my design degree and the city quickly stole my heart. 

TDC: Soley based on atmosphere, which Charleston restaurant makes you swoon over their decor? 
Suite33:  I love the aesthetic of the Americano - the playful colors and original pieces create a space thats fun and unique to the area.

I definitely recommend following along with @Suite33Charleston as Emily's pillow business continues to blossom! And be sure to come visit the shop to see her pillows in person!

Best,
Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: The Blue Root

One of my favorite aspects of doing local outdoor markets and festivals is getting to know the vendors around me. I meet some of the most talented and interesting people! And today's #FollowFriday is a perfect example.

A few weeks ago at the Cooper River Coffee Roasters local market, I met Melissa Bowman of The Blue Root. Melissa was showcasing her new locally-curated gift boxes. (These boxes are absolutely fabulous...you'll see below!) Upon talking to her, I also found out that she is a personal chef! She is obviously very talented, and yet she is so down to earth and lovely! Find out why you definitely need to be following @theblueroot and learn some local tips in Melissa's interview below.

THE BLUE ROOT
DESCRIPTION: Personal Chef and Gift Box company
OWNER: Melissa Bowman
LOCATION: Isle of Palms, SC

TDC: Tell us a little about your background and how you came to be a chef!
TBR: Deep down I think I always knew that I wanted to become a chef. I grew up in a family that celebrated food. We were always cooking or baking. If we weren’t preparing food or actually eating it we were planning our next meal. I even remember pretending to be sick so I could stay home from grade school to help my grandmother make homemade pasta or can tomatoes from her garden. That should have been my first clue that I wanted to cook professionally, but like many people, it took me a few years to figure it out. I went to Wilkes University after high school and received a BA in Communications. While there, I wrote the food column for our school paper so my love of food never left I just expressed it in a different way. After college I married my husband, Ty, and he encouraged me to follow my true passion. So off to culinary school I went. A year and a half later I graduated and immediately opened my first catering business. 

Photo Cred Hunter McRae Photography

TDC: The Blue Root offers personal chef services. Share with us what that looks like and how people can set that up. Can customers also purchase the services as a gift for someone?
TBR: Right now, our personal chef services are set up to conform to each individual customer. I love to work with people one on one to create a menu that is unique and special for them. For some it’s a health concern or dietary preference. For others it may be a meal that their whole family will enjoy. The first step is to set up a brief consultation so I can gather some information and then I will put a menu together. I shop for all of the ingredients and then prepare the meals in our customer’s kitchens. Meals are packed and labeled and ready to be enjoyed. 

For anyone who is interested in our personal chef services they can call or email me.  And yes! This service makes a great gift for new parents, new home owners or anyone who is just too busy to get a healthy meal on the table. 

TDC: What is one of your favorite meals that you’ve prepared recently?
TBR: Oh goodness! This is a hard question. If I had to pick it would be a low country boil. I love that I can use all local ingredients. Plus my favorite meals are the ones where we have a bunch of family and friends gathered around a table using our hands to eat and talking for hours. The tastiest food is often the messiest.

TDC: Do you have a local ingredient you love to cook with during the summer months?
TBR: Yes, I love boiled peanuts! I’m not a fan of the gas station variety but homemade boiled peanuts are one of my favorite snacks. My friend who grew up in Atlanta shared her recipe with me when we first moved here, and I have been hooked on them ever since. I love how the texture is less like a peanut and more like a baked potato. I think they are fun to serve chilled, shelled and tossed in a salad. They are also delicious made into hummus and I have even thought about making a pierogi filling out of them but I haven’t tried that yet. 

TDC: The Blue Root also offers high-end gift boxes. What gave you the idea for the locally sourced gift boxes?
TBR: I love to give gifts. It is something that truly brings me joy. I find the whole process of choosing the perfect present and wrapping it up in beautiful packaging to be so satisfying. There was even a time when I considered opening a business during the holidays where I just wrapped presents for people. But then I moved to Charleston and I discovered how much talent was in the area and I wanted to support that. There are so many people who craft some of the best products in the world right in our town and I was inspired to share it with everyone. Curating these gift boxes has been amazing! I love learning about what inspires people to make their products and now it’s a little easier for the rest of the world to get their hands on a piece of Charleston.

TDC: Describe some of the themes of the curated boxes. (I think my favorite is the “Lil’ Peanut” box!)
TBR: I knew I needed a few preset ideas to start off with. I chose six box themes that I feel could be the perfect gift for most of life’s special occasions.

  • The Jubilation Box is a great gift to give when someone is celebrating a promotion, retirement or anniversary. It’s filled with some sweet treats, bubbly (aka soda) and of course, some popcorn.
  • The Southern Hospitality Box is the perfect choice when you are going to a soiree and don’t want to show up with another bottle of wine. This set comes complete with olive oil, sea salt and a fresh rosemary plant that can all be combined together to make a delicious dip for bread.
  • The Gent Box has become one of my favorite boxes. It is filled with an impressive array of products that any man (think Father’s Day!) would love to indulge in.
  • I too love the Lil’Peanut Box. The most interesting and exciting aspect of this gift set is that every product featured is made by a woman. I have more ideas for boxes that I am currently in the process of curating and I adore working on custom box orders.
  • View All Gift Boxes Here.

TDC: You deliver the gift boxes locally as well! Is that correct? How long does it take to receive once you order?
TBR: Yes, all of the boxes are available for local delivery. The turnaround for a box delivery is very quick, usually 24-48 hours unless it is a custom order. 

TDC: Your family moved to the Lowcountry a few years ago. What have you come to love about the Charleston area?
TBR: There is so much I love about Charleston. The food, the sweet tea, the hospitality, the sunsets, the beaches, the history, the list goes on. I think it may be easier for me to choose what I don’t like about Charleston. Mosquitos…that’s about it. 

TDC: Last but definitely not least...what is your favorite local restaurant right now?
TBR: I’m glad you said “right now” because it changes all of the time. My favorite local restaurant right now would have to be Leon’s. The food, drinks and atmosphere are always on point.

Melissa, thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions!
Be sure to follow along @theblueroot!

Best,
Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: My Little Bug Boutique

There is nothing cuter than a little baby girl with a precious bow in her hair! Am I right or am I right?! Today's #FollowFriday is a friend of mine who makes the sweetest hair bows for little girls! She sows and assembles all of them at her house here in Charleston, SC. I've already bought a few for my nieces because I think they are the perfect gift! Continue reading to find out more about My Little Bug Boutique.

My Little Bug Boutique

Owner: Avery Raley
Products: Hair Accessories, Bows

TDC: First of all, what inspired the name, My Little Bug Boutique?
MLBB: Like most funny nicknames, this one sort of just “happened”. I think when our daughter, Elliotte, was probably around a year old or so, I started calling her all sorts of variations of “bug”. Little bug, bug-a-boo, silly bug, etc. When I decided I wanted to open an Etsy shop, naming it after her just seemed appropriate. She’s the little bug behind the boutique!

TDC: Tell us a little about your background and what lead you to open up your shop!
MLBB: Ever since we found out we were having a little girl, I was giddy about being able to dress her up in ruffles and bows, even though I’m not super girly myself. It’s just so much fun! We were gifted a lot of bows when she was first born, but as she outgrew them I found myself missing having all the different colored bows to match each and every outfit (high priority, obviously). In an effort to save money, I decided to try and make her some bows myself. I found that as a stay at home mom, I actually really enjoyed the creative outlet of making the bows and how customizable they were. Fast forward about one year and a sewing machine later and I thought opening up my own shop might a great way to help contribute to my family financially while also doing something I enjoy!

Classic Spring Bows

Classic Spring Bows

TDC: Do you currently have a favorite item in the shop right now? 
MLBB: It changes weekly! I’d have to say currently I’m really loving the spring line of “classic” bows! I love the pastel colors and I think they’re also my favorite to put Elliotte in because they really stand out.

TDC: Your daughter is absolutely precious. She is coming up on 2 years! Do you have any tricks for keeping bows in her hair!?
MLBB: You are sweet! Well as I’m sure many other girl moms would say, keeping a bow in her hair isn’t necessarily an easy feat at this age. She’s extremely busy and she’s been known to rip her bow out and throw it on the floor, especially in the car. But I think two things specifically have been helpful in getting her to keep it on. 1) I’ve been putting bows on her since she was a newborn, so really I think she’s just used to it. She knows that if we’re going somewhere, no outfit is complete without a bow! Plus she truly loves to accessorize (hats, necklaces, you name it) so I think she enjoys that part of it too. 2) All of our clip bows in the shop have a rubber grip attached, specifically made to grip onto fine hair like many kids have and keep bows in place. That makes all the difference, especially for little ones! For the bands, the elastics we use are super soft and grow with the child so they won’t dig into their head or feel uncomfortable, making them much less likely to want to pull it off!

TDC: You also just made a very important announcement on your shop’s social media! Do tell!
MLBB: We did! …We are currently expecting our 2nd “little bug”! I am due in September and super excited to find out if we’ll have another bow wearing girl, or if we’ll need to be adding some boy bow ties to the shop!

TDC: What is one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned since being a mom?
MLBB: Oh gosh. I could write a book on that question alone. I think I’d have to say that the biggest lesson that comes to mind is that nothing is concrete! Babies, toddlers, children.. they’re always changing! As soon as you think you’ve become a pro at something, they change. As soon as you think you’ve figured something out about your child, it changes – for better or for worse! It’s a lot of learning and adapting at every age and every baby is different. And as much as I’d like to, I can’t take credit for anything she’s good at, haha. Most of it is just her personality and the way the Lord made her! I think it’s really taught to me to hold an open hand as a mom. To know that I’m not in control of anything that I just have to trust the Lord with every little thing. It’s hard to do when you naturally want to do the best, safest, most beneficial thing for your child 24/7, but it’s also quite freeing. To know that the Lord, who’s much more capable than me, is actually in perfect control!  

TDC: You’ve lived in the Charleston, SC area for about 2 years now. Can you share some of your favorite family activities to do around town?
MLBB: Hmmm. You know really we just love to be outside, especially in Charleston! Elliotte (and of course the soon to be new baby) isn’t really old enough to do a lot of “structured” activities, so the best things for us right now are just being in wide open spaces where we can explore and Elliotte can run around. We love the beach, the parks, going downtown, that sort of thing. We also love the farmers market and similar free outdoor events where we can walk around (did I say for free?) and listen to music and grab something to eat. It’s stroller friendly and no one cares if your child is making a racket!

TDC: Last but definitely not least...what is your favorite Charleston area restaurant right now?
MLBB: How does anyone pick just one? I’m gonna cheat and give two answers (okay maybe three). For me personally I’m a huge fan of Mediterranean food. So I tend to go for places like Zoe’s Kitchen or Tazikis over and over again – I know those are chains but since not everywhere has those options, I’m gonna consider them Charleston perks! For the family, we really like Taco Boy downtown! It’s super affordable, has a really fun atmosphere and it’s kid friendly (aka loud)!

Be sure to follow Avery on Instagram as she continues to grow My Little Bug Boutique! So much excitement ahead for their family. And my personal favorite bow is the green glitter. Is it cool if I wear that one?! :)

Stay tuned for our next #FollowFriday in three weeks! Hint: All the tennis pros are wearing it!

Best,
Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: Emerson Row

I am so excited to introduce you to the Charleston rolling-boutique, Emerson Row! I met Emily Richardson and her airstream last fall at the Charleston Mac Off! I remember telling my husband how much I loved her inventory and her style. Find out more about @EmersonRow in our interview below!

EMERSON ROW

Owner: Emily Richardson
Products: Home decor, children’s items, locally made items from craftsmen and artisans

TDC: Emerson Row is a very unique boutique in the fact that it is mobile! How did you come up with the idea of a rolling retail space?!
ER: I have had Emerson Row since February 2011, and I started out in booths in antique stores. I’ve also had two different store fronts. I was eager for a change and wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and explore a new concept for my retail business. I have seen mobile clothing businesses, but I’ve never seen one that sells home decor and gifts here in South Carolina. Some people thought my idea was insane, others were totally on board with me.

TDC: I believe Charlie is the name for your airstream; did Charlie require a lot of renovation before becoming the home of Emerson Row?
ER: Charlie is the name of my 1964 Globe Trotter Airstream. Charlie is short for Charleston. It seemed fitting to name her that because Emerson Row was “born” in Charleston in 2011, and I decided last summer I had to get back to the Charleston area to chase my “rolling retail boutique” dream. 

TDC: How would you describe the type of products carried in your shop?
ER: When I first started the business, I mostly repurposed new and old furniture. I carried very little decor items. Now, I carry home decor, children’s items, gifts, and lots of locally made items. I represent lots of local craftsmen and artisans within South Carolina. I like to keep it local as much as possible! I’m all about supporting small businesses.

TDC: Do you have a new favorite item that you’ve recently added to your inventory?
ER: Obviously, I love all of my items that I carry. One of my new favorite items would have to be the wire taxidermy pieces I recently started carrying. These are  made in Charleston by the talented Alison Ross. (see below)

TDC: Are there any set hours or locations for Emerson Row right now? What is the best way for people to find you and Charlie?
ER: Right now, I am setting up a few days a week at Brown Fox Coffee’s location at the corner of Simmons Street and Coleman Blvd in Mount Pleasant. We are there until 4pm during the week. I am participating in a lot of events around Charleston and Mount Pleasant. I will soon be adding places around Shem Creek to park this spring and I will always announce ahead of time on my Instagram account and my Facebook page the days and hours and location.

TDC: If followers see something they love on your Facebook or Instagram account, are they able to contact you to purchase? Do you ever ship items?
ER: Absolutely! I respond promptly to both Instagram and Facebook messages. Anyone can contact me via email or phone number that are listed on there. I’m always shipping items to my customers! Online orders are a huge part of my business.

TDC: If someone would like to contact you about having Emerson Row at a function or event, what is the best way to do that?
ER: They can contact me at EmersonRowSC@gmail.com or 843.687.2534.

TDC: Always a hard question for people, but what is your favorite Charleston area restaurant right now?
AC: I could name so many! This is a hard question. I would have to say Red Drum and Tavern & Table in Mount Pleasant, and Edmund’s Oast and Cypress in downtown Charleston.

Be sure to follow along with Emily as she continues the exciting ride with Emerson Row!
Happy #FollowFriday and stay tuned for our next interview in 3 weeks!

Best,
Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: Armstrong Collective

I met one half of Armstrong Collective (Hannah) when she purchased a Texture Design House Portrait! She lives locally, so I was able to hand deliver her portrait and meet her in person. We started following each other on Instagram, and a short while later she started a home decor blog with her sister-in-law! IT IS FABULOUS! I love their story of becoming sisters, friends and now a creative team! These ladies are very relatable in their topics and writing style! Check out their blog and keep reading to find out more on this sweet duo! #FollowFriday

Armstrong Collective

Authors: Hannah & MaryGene Armstrong
Topics: Interior Styling, Hospitality, Home Decor

Photography by: Emily Bolt Photography

TDC: First of all, you two married brothers!? How cool is that! Tell us a little bit about your relationship!
H: We both met the Armstrong brothers at Clemson -- only 5 years apart! We barely missed each other at college but our paths crossed Christmas 2012 when Barrett brought me home to meet his family. It wasn’t until a family wedding in St. Augustine that MaryGene and I really started hitting things off. Not too long after that Barrett and I joined MaryGene and Andrew in Charleston and, as they say, the rest is history!
MG: I feel like we hit the sister-in-law jackpot. It’s not like you have any control over who your siblings marry and I feel super blessed that Hannah and I have become so close over the last few years and that we’ve started this creative endeavor together!

TDC: What led the two of you to start the Armstrong Collective blog! How did that conversation occur?
MG: Well, we basically decided that we were doing all the things on the blog in real life anyway and we might as well share it! Our daytime jobs (I say that loosely, I actually work nightshift as a nurse),  don’t really afford a whole lot of a creative outlet and we both needed that in our lives. And these things are always more fun to do together!
H: We were both thinking we should team up but when I mentioned it I was really nervous she would look at me like I had three heads. Instead she said, “Let me talk to Andrew, but I am 99% sure it’s a yes!”

TDC: What do you hope to convey to your blog followers as they read along?             
MG: Our homes were decorated by us-- and they are in a constant state of evolution. We hope that our readers will see a little bit of themselves reflected in our pages and also be inspired by what they see or read. Who doesn’t like looking at pretty things or finding a new antique store to browse or a fun new instagram account to follow? It’s meant to be a positive in your day and meant to make you smile.
H: I think that so many young women get discouraged by what they can and cannot do in their homes -- whether it’s a money thing or lack of vision. We really want to encourage them that making a home can be life-giving, and we hope to be examples of how to put a beautifully thought-out home together within the means we’ve been given.

TDC: I’m already in love with the colors and textures that I see on your blog! Do you both have a similar style? How would each of you describe your taste in home decor?
MG: I would say our styles are similar in that we both have tried to create a welcoming and soothing sanctuary in our homes. We are drawn more to cool tones and natural elements, so it’s no surprise that our homes are similar in feel!
H:  The only difference I can think of is that MaryGene is more prone to take “risks.” I tend to get set on one idea for a room and can’t seem to break away, while MG rearranges and experiments often.  She challenges me in this way and encourages me to think outside the box.

TDC: What are some of your favorite ways to add a little character and personality to your home?
MG: Two things do it for me--family heirlooms and antique store finds. Things that don’t come from a factory or mass produced items (although I like designer lamps just as much as the next girl). My dad loves antiques and I learned to look for unique, valuable and quality pieces from him. Many of the pieces in my home are inherited from family and have a story and value to me beyond just a piece of furniture.
H: I love a minimalistic approach but at the end of the day I’m not a 2 pillows on the bed or clear coffee table kind of girl. I need different textures and shapes to make a room feel complete. Plants are my favorite accent pieces but my thumbs aren’t as green as I’d like them to be.

TDC: I love how honest you both are about designing on budgets! Is there a piece of furniture or accessory that you are currently saving up for? 
MG: Ahhh, budgets. The only thing I have in the back of my mind right now is that Smith is going to be graduating to a big boy bed soon, and just like dreaming up a nursery, I am starting to get excited about a new bed and room setup for him! I have my eye on a twin antique spindle bed-- and I’m actually going over to the shop later to haggle with the sellers. In antique stores you can always ask for less-- the worst that can happen is that they say no. Not a big deal.
H: I work in a furniture & design store so I have a running list. In reality, Barrett and I are saving up for a new sofa. I’ve learned way too much about sofas since working at the store but I know now the importance of saving and buying a quality piece. My eye is on an organic sofa made by Cisco Brothers in California.

Louis Sofa by Cisco Brothers

TDC: Paint colors can be so overwhelming; what are some of your favorite wall colors right now?
MG: I love white paint. It covers a multitude of sins and you can’t go wrong with white. We covered ⅔ of our house in glorious Benjamin Moore White Dove and I have never regretted it for a second. Especially given that our house is tiny, I didn’t want to break it up with every room being a different color. Our living room is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl lightened by 50%. It looks different throughout the day depending on the light-- from gray-blue to green to almost white. Highly recommend!
H: We went with Sherwin Williams Mountain Air in ¾ of our house and it looks awesome in lamp AND natural light -- that’s the dealmaker. My “wild card” color is Sherwin Williams Slate Tile. It’s almost a dusty navy (if that makes sense), and I’m dreaming of covering  some cabinets in it one day!

TDC: Have you ever had a house project that didn’t go as planned? If so, do you care to share what you learned in the process?
MG: This is not a sexy answer, but we put in our own insulation in the attic last fall. Our heating bill was through the roof, (see what I did there?), so my husband and my brother-in-law (not Barrett, my other brother, Tim) rented a machine from Home Depot and had a very long day of DIY insulation installation. It didn’t go as planned because it took FOREVER and it also blew insulation particles all over the house (read, a layer of dust on just about every surface). They taped sheets and plastic over doorways but that pesky stuff still made into adjacent rooms. It was worth it in the end but what a mess! I also tried to reassemble and paint an armoire someone had given to us that was basically a hunk of junk and the only thing I ended up keeping out of it were the front panels that are now hanging on Smith’s wall in his nursery. So, I guess it worked out in the end.
H: I don’t have a particular example in mind but I can tell you that every single project Barrett and I have tried to take on always takes longer than we think it will. It’s really frustrating. We both throw pity parties and move on. That really is lesson one of homeownership: brush it off and keep going!

TDC: Always a hard question for people...what is your favorite Charleston area restaurant right now?
MG: Fulton Five, hands down. Drooling now as I think about it...mmmm...
H: We love trying new restaurants but when we want something guaranteed delicious, we go to Leon’s Oyster Shop.

Thank you ladies for sharing a little of your story and passion with us! Be sure to follow Armstrong Collective on Pinterest and Instagram. Can't wait to share our next #FollowFriday blog with you! Stay tuned.

All photos in today's blog are by Emily Bolt Photography.

Best,
Emily Kirby

 

 

Follow Friday: Sincerely RoxyJStyle

Back with another #FollowFriday, and today I am interviewing a Charleston friend! Rachel is one of the most fashionable ladies I know, and I will admit that I wish she would come style me every day! :) But I think her best feature is her giant heart! She is so genuine and kind to others. Recently, Rachel started a fashion/lifestyle Instagram account. Continue reading to learn more about Rachel's passion, and check out her account for a little outfit inspiration! {@Sincerely_RoxyJStyle}

Instagram Account: Sincerely_RoxyJStyle
Main Topic: Fashion
Location Base: Charleston, SC

TDC: Briefly tell us about @Sincerely_RoxyJStyle? What do you hope to share with followers?
Rachel: I created @sincerely_RoxyJStyle in June of 2015. I am pretty new at this and didn't know how creating a fashion/lifestyle Instagram account would go. But I knew I wanted to create something that would allow me to share and express my thoughts, encouragement, faith, parenting, fashion, lifestyle, and whatever else came in my mind that day! My hope for my followers is that they will be inspired not just by the clothes I wear but everything in between! 

Left: Peplum top from Forever 21; plum color pants from Forever 21; heels from Banana Republic.  Right: Shirt dress from Tobi (when you #shoptobi for the first time you get 50% off first order); heels from Banana Republic. Photos by @MelissaGriffinPhotography.

TDC: What led you to start the fashion Instagram account? 
Rachel: I definitely have a love for fashion, and I'm often asked where my clothing pieces come from. So I got inspired to start my own account that would allow me to share with others some of my favorite finds! I love trying new things and seeing unique outfits come together! I only want to post something that reflects my own style.

TDC: Can you share with us one of your favorite fashion trends this winter?
Rachel: One of my favorite fashion trends for this winter is the knit crewneck sweater. It is soft, and it comes in classic neutral colors.

Left: Shirt from Teal; jacket from Forever 21; Necklace from 3littlebeads; skinny jean from Banana Republic; booties from Teal.  Right: Blazer from Charlotte Russe; pocket book from Old Navy; necklace from Banana Republic; V-neck blouse from Banana Republic; jeans from Buckle; high-heels from Target.  Photos by @MelissaGriffinPhotography.

TDC: Booties are everywhere! What tips can you give us for pulling off booties with dresses, skirts, and pants?
Rachel: Yes, booties are everywhere, and last year it was the biggest yet! Textured leggings look great when pulling off booties with dresses and skirts. Here are some ankle booties tips: 

  • Do- roll looser fitting pants hit above your boot
  • Do- wear them with midi and pencil skirts
  • Do- tuck tight fitting skinny jeans or roll a little 
  • Do- wear black booties with opaque black tights to elongate the legs. 
  • Do- with them with a maxi, but ensure some legs is showing (through a slit, or the hem should hit a bit above the boot)
  • Don't- tuck looser fitting pants into your boots
  • Don't- wear them with too-short mini skirt 
  • Don't- wear sky-high booties to the office
  • Don't- wear colored booties with opaque black tights--it will create the "stumpy legs" effect.
  • Don't- be self conscious! Ankle booties add an extra dose of style to any outfits. Play around and have fun with it!

Fringe Shirt from Banana Republic. (This shirt is so fun to dance and twirl around! Fringe style has been trending for a few seasons now; it's a swingy trim and will stay for a while!)  Leather leggings from Forever 21; boots from Target. Photos by @MelissaGriffinPhotography.

TDC: What clothing piece in your closet would you consider a staple item?
Rachel: My white tank, denim skinny jeans, booties, leggings, or a "throw on maxi dresses"! 

TDC: Your son, Jaden, is the sweetest little man! Do you have favorite shops for finding boy clothes?
Rachel: Thank you! He is pretty sweet, and I am so blessed to have him in my life! My favorite places to shop for boys clothes are Old Navy, Gap Kids, Gymboree, Target, and Marshalls.

Jaden wearing his favorite church outfit! Shirt from Target; tie from Target; jeans from Gap kids; shoes from Old Navy.  Right: Leather leggings from Forever 21; boots from Target; floral shirt from Target. Photos by @MelissaGriffinPhotography.

TDC: What is one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned from being a mom?
Rachel: One of the biggest life lessons I have learned from being a mom is that spending time with my son is more important than anything else that this life has to offer because parenting matters! The life I live and the decisions I make absolutely matter in the worldview of my son. Also to be humble enough to apologize when I'm wrong because (let's be honest) I am not a perfect mother. So to let my son see when I'm wrong will hopefully teach him to humble himself before others when he is wrong. 

TDC: Favorite places to shop for clothing in the Charleston area?
Rachel: Athleta, Teal, Mainstream Boutique, Marshalls, and Target.

Thank you, Rachel, for sharing some of your advice and favorites! Be sure to check out more of Rachel's style at @Sincerely_RoxyJStyle. Stay tuned for the next #FollowFriday in two weeks!
Hint: It will have an interior design theme!

Best Wishes,
Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: Flood & Print


Today's #FollowFriday is all about screen printing and creativity! I got very excited when I found Flood & Print on Instagram. Why? This Mount Pleasant, SC based shop offers screen printing services, beach-inspired apparel AND SCREEN PRINTING CLASSES. I'm already trying to decide which class I will take! Keep reading to learn more about the shop!

FLOOD & PRINT

Product/Service: Screen Printing and Apparel
Location: 426 Broadway St, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

TDC: Briefly tell us what led to the opening of Flood & Print. What were you doing prior to Flood & Print?
FAP: I was born an old soul, and an overly creative one.  Sometimes I think, and anyone who knows me would agree, that maybe the extra creative juices took up the space in my brain for rational thought and fear and organizational skills.  I wore a lot of different hats before Flood & Print in several different industries, and I have an educational background that began in biochemical engineering and culminated in interior design.  I have always had this overwhelming urge to learn how to do as much with my own two hands as I possibly can. Throughout my work life I learned that what I am most passionate about is people. Take that and fast forward:  I was about to sell my house and move to Atlanta to take on the big city when a nagging in my heart urged me to take the big leap and do something bigger.  Luckily (remember the no fear thing) I'm not afraid of a challenge, so together with my best friends we embarked on this crazy adventure from literally the most humble of beginnings, and here we are less than a year later!

Flood & Print is the melting pot of all of those experiences and creativity.  Here we get to be a part of so many businesses, and we get to help them tell their stories and express their creativity.  Our clients are doing amazing things, and that is why we  strive every day to continue building an environment of collaboration and creative education. There is nothing in the world that beats the look on a kids face when you teach them how to screen print--nothing.  And one day, that little kid will have a dream and a business, and the tools to think creatively and a little more independently in this digital age. So that's the why.

TDC: What types of screen-printing services do you offer? What kind of products/materials can customers have their designs screen-printed onto?
FAP: We print everything here in house.  A majority of our printing is on t-shirts and apparel. We also print koozies, tote bags, towels etc. as well as prints and posters. If you ever have a question about whether or not we can print on something just ask! We've printed onesies, dog shirts, designer fabric and everything in between.  We'll either print it for you or find someone who can!

TDC: You are also going to offer screen-printing classes! How will the classes be set up, and how can people sign up?  
FAP: We will be making all of our classes live this week on the website.  All you need to do is visit floodandprint.com and look at the class calendar, find a class you like and then you can register for the class right there.  We have a wide variety of classes, but most range from 1-2 hrs here in our shop off of Coleman.  Sign up with a friend, bring your own beer, wine, refreshments and learn how to screen print!  You'll leave with some new skills and some really fun swag that you print yourself.

TDC: Love your logo! What was the inspiration for the name Flood & Print?
FAP: Thank you! We actually have a really fun shirt that explains our name.  Basically the flood stroke and the print stroke are the two main motions in screen printing; we combined that with our love for Charleston and the coast, and it seemed like the perfect fit. 

TDC: Your website mentions the companies commitment to “turning the tide.” Can you share a little more about what that means for Flood & Print?
FAP: Turning the tide is our commitment to giving back to the communities we love; one being our physical community, and the other being the growing community of artists, makers, and skilled laborers in Charleston.  Currently our online sales allow us to provide printing, shirts, and classes to non-profits, charities, and schools/churches at free or reduced pricing. Supporting local and small businesses is both important to our local economy and near to our hearts and we have big goals and dreams for expanding this commitment to more directly support and grow the artisan community in Charleston. Our first step in that direction will come with the opening of our new retail shop this month, which will allow us to add some really exciting additions to our program which I can' t announce quite yet!

TDC: Flood & Print also has an online shop stocked with fun coastal shirts and tanks. Do you have a current favorite design?
FAP: I love to have fun with the designs and the humor in our shirts.  My favorites are the ones I get to draw by hand, it's really exciting seeing them come to life in color on a shirt for the first time. The octopus will always have a special place in my heart as our unofficial mascot.

TDC: Favorite restaurant in the Charleston area? (I know it is a very hard question!)
FAP: I know it's old school but I would have to say that my happy place is the back bar at Shem Creek Bar & Grill with an oyster shooter and a fresh squeezed mimosa. 

(Thank you Courtney! Love the concept of Flood & Print!) 
Head over to Flood & Print's Instagram and Website to follow along!

Who do you recommend for #FollowFriday? Any instagram accounts, shop or blogs that you think I should feature? Would love for you to leave a comment below!

Best,
Emily Kirby

Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: Kate Waddell

Do you need some bold, bright color in your life!? If so, get excited about today's #FollowFriday account! A few months ago I stumbled upon Kate Waddell's Instagram feed, and I'm so glad I did! This talented young lady is creating beautiful paintings that are strikingly colorful and fun! Check out more of her story below and be sure to add her to your news feed as well!

KATE WADDELL

Medium: Acrylic, Gauche and Oil (mixed media) 
Studio Location: Charleston, SC

TDC: Briefly tell us what led you to pursue painting. Did you know for a while that you wanted to be an artist?
Kate: I've always been a creative thinker and since a very young age I felt the need to cultivate it. My older sister, who also paints, has a collection of hundreds of drawings I would make for her daily. (Helen Brooks Art- check her out!) So, for a while I knew I would be drawn to pursue a creative lifestyle. 

TDC: How would you describe your painting style?
Kate: My style stems from the Fauvism movement as seen through my color choices, bold shape and lines. Cezanne highly influences my work- studying his technique towards the end of his career is where I really got the foundation for my style. Painting enough for the human eye to detect the subject is something that always has me wanting to paint more and more. 

TDC: When it is time to decide the subject of your next painting or series, how do you make that decision? What does that creative process look like for you?
Kate: Right now I wait and see which subjects sell the most or get the most response. Then from that subject I paint different variations of it & try to push creativity as the series progresses. It's always fascinating to look at the first piece next to the last. It's encouraging! 

TDC: What is your favorite aspect of being an artist?
Kate: You'd never know it from my clothing choices, but color is the main reason that I love being an artist. I remember taking my first real painting class 3 years ago and being in awe at the infinite array of color possibilities. I see the Lord everyday through colors that I will accidentally mix and generally in all the gorgeous creation that surrounds us. 

TDC: You currently paint from the Redux Studios in Charleston, what is it like working alongside several other great artists? Do you all offer each other feedback? Tell us a little about that creative environment.
Kate: Redux is such an inspiring place to paint out of. It encourages all kinds of creativity, and thanks to all the studio artists, it constantly widens the scope for creative possibilities. There's a healthy level of competition, but more so of an encouraging environment! 

TDC: Do you know yet when your next big art release will be?!
Kate: My next online release will be in late November! I'll be doing more variations of fruit & flowers / fruit stand scenes. Currently working on commissions and pieces for my next show in Columbus, GA on October 1st. 

TDC: Having grown up in Columbus, Georgia, how did you find yourself in Charleston, South Carolina?
Kate: College of Charleston is the only college I applied to, and luckily I got accepted early! Then I visited and fell immediately in love with the city. I graduated this past May, and I'll be here for a while I'm hoping. 

Kate Waddell Art on Pinterest

TDC: Always a hard question for people, but what is your favorite Charleston area restaurant right now?
Kate: I love Dellz Uptown more than anything.

(Thank you Kate! Love your work and so excited for what the future holds for you!) Head over to Kate's Instagram and Website to see more of her artwork!

Want to remember to come back to Kate's info? Add this image to your Pinterest board! >>>

 

Who do you recommend for #FollowFriday? Any instagram accounts, shop or blogs that you think I should feature? Would love for you to leave a comment below!

Best,
Emily Kirby

Emily Kirby

Follow Friday: White Pear Interiors

A few months ago, I started following the Instagram account for Bri Robert's company White Pear Interiors. I just fell in love with her style; the spaces are bright, cheery and full of textures. I continuously find decor inspiration from her photos, and that is why I recommend adding her to your list of people to follow! I'm so excited that she agreed to do a Follow Friday interview. Learn more about her life, style and recommendations below!

WHITE PEAR INTERIORS

Service: Interior Styling and Design
Owner: Bri Roberts
Location: Daniel Island-Charleston, SC

TDC: Tell us a little about how you entered the world of interior design. How long have you been designing?
WPI: I've always been aware of how our surroundings can play a huge role in how we feel. A lovely, bright space can make you feel calm and peaceful; while a dark, cluttered room can make you feel trapped and anxious...without even realizing why!

After going to college for journalism, I realized creating beautiful spaces was my real passion. I worked for several contractors, providing client design advice, before launching my own styling company 3 years ago!

TDC: What inspired the name "White Pear Interiors?"
WPI: My grandmother is a gifted artist, and she and I have always been very close. Sadly, age and physical restrictions have made it increasingly difficult for her to keep painting. One of her last paintings was given to me as a gift... a still life watercolor of a group of white pears. I couldn't think of a better name for my business than one that intertwines her passions with mine.

TDC: Give us 5 words that would describe your style?
WPI: I'm drawn to so many different styles..But right now I'd have to say: Bright & Airy, Modern Farmhouse, New Traditional

TDC: White Pear Interiors offers digital design plans. Can you share a little about how that works?
WPI: Digital Design is a great solution for people who need a plan to follow, but want to pull the room together on their own. You'll send us pictures and measurements of your room, along with a quick survey to help us narrow down your style. After a few edits and tweaks, we send you complete plan you can follow to achieve your dream space, in your own time and at your own pace.  It includes wall colors, furniture suggestions and placement, window treatments, flooring options, even the accessories to put on your bookshelves! It's perfect for clients with busy schedules, since all of our communication with you is done by phone or email. (We offer hourly services as well, for those who need a little more one-on-one help!)

TDC: You’re a mom to little ones; can you offer any advice to women who want their spaces to look stylish and yet remain kid-friendly?
WPI: A beautiful room is only as good as the amount of life that's lived in it! I certainly don't have the time (or patience!) to try and keep my kids and my design style separate. Hard-working, stain resistant fabrics on chairs and sofas are a must for me. While they can be a little more of an investment, the extra cost is worth the time you WON'T be spending cleaning up dirty feet or spilled juice! Another tip? Everyone has clutter and junk...hide it in plain sight by using baskets, bins, and coffee tables with hidden storage. There are baskets in every single room of my home...for toys, for unsorted mail, for bathroom necessities, you name it. My favorite splurge source for baskets is Serena and Lily or Land of Nod. My go-to affordable source is TJMaxx or Marshalls!

TDC: What is your favorite wall color right now?
WPI: Crushed Ice, by Sherwin Williams. It's the softest, palest hint of gray. My entire house is this color!

TDC: If readers can only afford to make one change in their room, what do you think makes the most impact? (wall color, windows, rugs, upholstery, art...)
WPI: It's a tie between wall color and window treatments. Both go so far towards making your room feel finished.

TDC: Have you noticed any exciting, new trends in home decor lately?
WPI: I love that mixing high and low continues to be popular. Great design is achievable on any budget! I can't stand stuffy, snobby decorators or stores! 

TDC: If you're like me, you definitely notice the interiors in restaurants! What Charleston restaurant currently has you swooning over the interior design and atmosphere?
WPI: Cannon Green, located downtown! Every element is so well-executed, and the artwork by Teil Duncan and Lulie Wallace are show stoppers.

(Thank you White Pear Interiors! Love your work!)

Okay, so who do you recommend for #FollowFriday? Any instagram accounts or blogs that you think I should feature? Would love for you to leave a comment below!

Best,
Emily Kirby

People to Follow: Rubios Wander

It is Follow Friday again! If you love to travel, then I would HIGHLY recommend you start following the lovely and extremely helpful @RubiosWander! #FollowFriday 

Family picture at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. July 2015. 

Rubios Wander is a travel blog started by a childhood friend of mine! This family has been all over the world, so their advice has been well-tested! :) They also have two precious, little girls, so they offer helpful tips for traveling with kids! Continue reading the interview below to learn more about this sweet family and their recommendations for cities, restaurants, websites, and travel gear!

Blog Name: Rubios Wander
Author: Emily Rubio
Blog Topics: Traveling (and traveling with kids!)

TDC: Briefly tell us a little about your family. Where is home for you all?
RW: I'm Emily, wife to Chris for almost 8 years now! We have two little baby girls - Olivia, 21 months, and Adele, 8 months. We love to learn by experience, so traveling is something we can't seem to get enough of. 

Home base for us is in north metro Atlanta. We like it because we went to school here so we have lots of friends & family around town. We can also fly almost anywhere in the world direct out of our airport! Chris and I have traveled to almost 30 countries together, and have brought the girls all across the U.S. with us.

TDC: What led you to start a travel blog?
RW: My travel blog started because we are constantly on the move with our girls, and we get lots of questions about how we do it and what products we use to make it easier for us (and them). Instead of telling the same information to multiple people, it just seemed easier to let them read all about it in real-time. I also enjoy writing about our travels so that one day I can show it to Olivia & Adele and let them read all the stories from the places we've been together. It's enjoyable to write about a trip we took, and I love going back through all of our pictures as often as I can!

Pregnant me, Chris & Olivia at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA. September 2014

TDC: What has been your favorite country to visit thus far? AND where are you dying to go?
RW: That's a tough one! But I think I have to say New Zealand is my favorite. We spent 14 nights cruising around the entire country and did so much! We bungee jumped in Auckland, took a jet boat in Tauranga, visited a sheep sheering farm in Queenstown, and so much more! If it didn't take so long to get there, we would have definitely been back again!

We have never been to Peru and I would love to visit Machu Picchu someday. Plus, we love Peruvian food! It's not too long of a flight from Atlanta, and an easy time change, so we hope to bring the girls with us in a few years!

Olivia running to watch the airplanes at Point Loma in San Diego, CA. April 2015

TDC: If you were talking to a family that wanted to try a new vacation spot in the United States, what city would you recommend? What are the must-see spots and restaurants for that city?
RW: San Diego, CA! We can't seem to get enough of the west coast and love the weather in Southern California. We visited back in April and stayed in La Jolla, and we talk all the time about when we will go back. 

We hiked at Torrey Pines, visited the San Diego zoo, watched the sunset at Mt. Soledad, saw the seals at Seal Beach, and enjoyed the coastal views at Point Loma. We rented a house for the week and grilled out a lot there. But we had dinner one night at PrepKitchen in La Jolla and loved it! The area is really cute and a nice place to walk around. 

TDC: Do you have any favorite websites for finding flights, hotels, restaurants or activities?
RW: There are several sites that we use for various parts of the trip. We try to use Hotels.com for hotel reservations, and we can earn free nights through them. For booking houses, we typically use VRBO. Since kids don't wait patiently, and neither do hungry parents, we make reservations as much as we can using OpenTable. A lot of our daily activities and excursions are found on TripAdvisor, and sometimes Expedia. Once we arrive, we use Yelp to help us find restaurants nearby. It has never let us down so we are huge fans!

For our flights, we have an American Express card that gives us great mileage points and an annual companion ticket for flying Delta Airlines. When we don't use that, we book straight from delta.com. We are Atlanta natives and can't stray from our hometown airline!

TDC: You and your husband travel with kids a lot, what advice would you give to parents who are nervous about flying or driving with little ones?
RW: My best general advice is to start the trip and planning process with the knowledge that you will be moving at a much slower pace than you did before them. Don't plan to do too many things in one day because it just won't happen. If you are road tripping, try to find a mall with a good food court and indoor play area so the kids can have lunch and some time to run around and get out their energy. If you are flying, bring snacks and quiet toys for the flight to keep them entertained as long as possible. We also download movies onto the iPad and let the girls watch something that we know will entertain them. Traveling with kids gets easier each time you do it so start early and go as often as you can!

One other thing, and we hear this one frequently, is why bring them when we know they won't remember. Olivia and Adele are both under two and we have never paid for their admission in or on anything - so why not?! They fly for free until their second birthday, they get into museums & theme parks for free, and it gets them used to being a little out of the norm of their comfort zone! Plus, with the amount of digital photos that their generation has, it's much easier for them to remember things since they can look back at so many pictures & videos of themselves on a trip.

TDC: Do you have any travel gadgets, luggage, or must-haves that you would highly recommend for making life easier?
RW: We bought an iPad mount for the car headrest and it has made a world of difference for our time spent in the car! I can now play a movie or turn on a photo slideshow for the girls and the time passes by so quickly for them! Here is a link to ours.

For meal time, I have two products that I couldn't live without. Adele is in the baby food stage right now, and we all know that's messy. These bibs are a simple wipe & go. For traveling, you don't want to carry a bunch of dirty, stinky cloth bibs with you each day so these are a lifesaver for messy meals. We also leave these disposable placemats in the diaper bag at all times. They are perfect for babies who aren't ready to eat off a plate yet, but still feed themselves finger foods. This way, you don't have to put their food directly on the table if you are worried about the cleanliness of an outside patio table, and they can look at Minnie Mouse during their meal! (See picture of Adele with bib and placement below.)

TDC: Anything you would suggest people avoid when traveling? Are there any mishaps you've learned from? :)
RW: Chris likes to call these "rookie mistakes" and we have a long list of them. I think at the top of the list should be to avoid long lines and always have food accessible! Kids don't always understand why they're waiting and it usually doesn't end pretty. Airlines let traveling families with babies board first so you have plenty of time to get everything out of your bag and ready for the flight.

We always bring more than enough snacks to last and plenty of water. Well fed kids are much easier to deal with than kids who get 'hangry'! We learned this the hard way when we took a hike once at Snoqualmie Falls near Seattle, WA and forgot a bottle for Olivia. She was about 6 months old at the time and didn't know how to drink from anything else! We were at the base of the falls and the car with the bottle was at the top. Poor Chris had to sprint uphill about a mile and bring it back down to our very upset little baby! We've never made a rookie mistake like that one again!

Also, don't plan on them being able to skip a nap if they've never done it before. It might sound better that they stay awake and participate in the entire day's activities, but that's just not always realistic. Sometimes they'll pleasantly surprise you and be great without a nap all day!

TDC: Favorite place to get dinner with your husband in the Atlanta area?
RW: Atlanta has so many great restaurants and we always seem to go back to Canton Street in Roswell to eat at Table & Main. The entire street looks like a scene from a movie with great restaurants and shops lined up one after the other. Table & Main is in an old, two-story house with a fantastic patio for outside seating. Usually I would order a salad at dinner, but I can't resist their fried chicken and mac & cheese. They take reservations, have a full bar, and have the perfect date night ambience for any couple.

On a few scheduled nights throughout the summer, Canton Street participates in Alive After Five. The street is blocked so that pedestrians have free reign and can wander around listening to live music, tasting some food, and getting discounts at the shops. Many people bring their dogs & kids and make it a fun outing for the entire family! http://www.aliveafterfiveroswell.com

(Thank you @RubiosWander! That is so helpful!)

Okay, so who do you recommend for #FollowFriday? Any instagram accounts or blogs that you think I should feature? Would love for you to leave a comment below!

Best,
Emily Kirby

People to Follow: Melissa Griffin Photography

Happy #FollowFriday! 'm so excited to share this interview with you! Melissa Griffin is an incredible young lady, and I'm proud to call her one of my close friends. She and I started our creative businesses around the same time, and it has been awesome to watch each other grow! She has been the camera behind several of Texture Design's photo shoots. (So I can highly recommend her!) Another side note, Melissa was one of my first logo and website clients--always thankful for those first clients that take a chance on you! Recently, Melissa opened an ETSY SHOP stocked full of stunning photographs! SERIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS! So check out the shop and read below to hear more of Melissa's story! 

Photos of Melissa by Leah's Opus Photography

Etsy Shop:  MelissaGriffinPhoto 
Owner: Melissa Griffin
Product and/or Service: Photography Sessions and Fine Art Prints 


TDC: Briefly tell us what led you to become interested in photography?

MGP:  I’ve had an interest in art for as long as I can remember.  When I was young I’d fill sketch books with drawings.  As I got into high school I began taking photography classes which I loved and continued into college.  I’m not a super creative person who is able to come up with something from nothing.   But I enjoy photography because I’ve learned (and am learning) how to find light, colors, textures, etc and arrange them in a way that creates a striking image.  I NEVER thought I’d take photos of people.  But once I started doing it, I fell in love with it.  A positive response from a mother who sees a candid of their children or a granddaughter seeing a photo of her grandparents smiling at each other makes my day.  It’s so humbling that people let me into these personal moments and milestones in their lives!  And it’s a privilege to know that these photos are one of the few material possessions that they will have forever.

TDC: What types of photography sessions do you offer?

MGP:  I offer everything from engagement and maternity sessions to senior portraits and family photos.  It’s fun to start with a couple when they are pregnant then take pictures of their newborn and again as the baby grows up!  I enjoy having repeat clients who I get to know while watching their family grow.  I just worked with a family for the third time and found out they have to move from Charleston to Seattle soon.  We’re planning on taking family photos in Seattle when I travel there next year!  I love that.

TDC: Now that it is summer, a lot of families are interested in beach photography sessions. Do you work with families coming to Charleston for vacation?

MGP:  Absolutely!  I’ve worked with several families who live out of town.  They found me online and contacted me to take their photos of their immediate or extended family after they all arrive in Charleston.  It’s been fun to stay in Charleston but work with people from Nashville, New York, and other places.  Vacation is a great time to do family photos because everyone is together and there aren’t a bunch of other “real life” distractions around.

TDC: We all worry about what to wear for photo shoots. Do you have any recommendations for outfits? Any suggestions when there is a large group of people? Are there colors or patterns you would recommend avoiding?

MGP:  Definitely wear something that’s comfortable and YOU!  I like layering – necklaces, scarves, jewelry, etc.  I think simple patterns and solid colors work well.  You don’t want a super crazy pattern that takes attention away from your face!  For large groups, coordinating colors and patterns are good but not matchy-matchy.  Don’t put everyone in khakis and white ;)  I like fun pops of colors too like a necklace or a fun pair of shoes.

TDC: Tell us what led you to open an Etsy shop. (And congrats on the new shop!)

MGP:  Thank you so much!  This has been in the works for quite awhile.  I have wanted to open an Etsy shop for some time because I had images from trips that were just sitting on my computer.  Earlier this year I did a series of Charleston church images, and when I started posting them I had a really positive response.  People started asking if I sold them, and I had a few people ask if they could purchase them for wedding gifts.  That was the push I needed to make the shop a reality.  I’m currently selling 8x10 prints on paper and a few metal prints that are unique pieces to hang in your home or to give as gifts.  I’m looking forward to continuing to update my shop and making connections with different people.

TDC: Can you share a little background or history behind some of the photos in your shop? Are the photos mostly Charleston sites?

MGP:  Most of the photos are from the Charleston area.  I’ve lived here for 8 years now, so I have lots of photos that I’ve taken during that time.  There are so many inspiring and beautiful places here to photograph!  I also have a travel bug.  I went on my first trip to Europe in 2007 and since then have been to Australia, India and back to Europe again.  Looking at a photo will bring me right back to the place I took it so my images from my travels are really special to me.  I’ve listed some of these images in my shop as well.

TDC: During your years of photography, is there a picture that you’ve taken that stands out as your favorite? 

MGP:  I really don’t have one favorite image, I could never choose!  But I can think of two that stand out to me right now. 

One is a photo I took of two boys in India [Pictured above].  We visited their school and they were running away from me and giggling while I attempted to take their photo.  They finally sat down at a table in one of their classrooms and both smiled at me.  Their little faces just remind me of the sweet, humble and playful children we met while visiting Kolkata.  I was so grateful that I was able to go on that trip.  It was eye opening and life changing.

The second is the photograph that I took of the Mother Emanuel church back in January [Pictured above next to wood doors]. At that time, of course, I never imagined that such a tragedy could happen in this city in that beautiful church.  As soon as I heard the news I found the image I took and re-posted it with the Bible verse, “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you” from Psalm 55:22.  Now that I look at this image again after these shocking events, the angle of the church reaching to the blue sky symbolizes hope to me.  And I think that HOPE has been represented in the words and actions of the victims’ families and the church members at AME.

I've posted two images of the AME church on my Etsy shop and 100% of the profits I make from the sales of these two photos will go toward the Mother Emanuel Hope Fun.

TDC: Favorite Charleston restaurant right now?  (hard question!)

MGP:  That IS a hard question!  I love trying out new Charleston restaurants and lately it’s been hard to keep up!  Two of my favorites right now are Minero on East Bay Street and Leon’s on Upper King.  Both have a fun atmosphere and everything I’ve tasted at each place is delicious! 

 

Thank you Melissa for your time! Be sure to follow MGP on Instagram as well!

GUESS WHAT ELSE? Melissa is offering a 10% discount to Texture Design Co. followers!
Just use the coupon code below when checking out on Etsy. (Expires 7.17.15)

Coupon Code: TEXTURE 

Who do you recommend following? What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts? I would love for you to share them in the comments section!

Best, Emily Kirby