Antique Treasures.

I love just about all things vintage – cars, music, furniture, dinnerware, clothing, shoes (particularly vintage Nikes), accessories, jewelry trays, you name it. 

When I lived in Memphis, one of my favorite weekend pastimes was shopping for antiques with my mom. We'd wake up early Saturday morning, grab breakfast and then spend the rest of our day traveling through Midtown on the hunt for some of the most quaint, one-of-a-kind, charming and inexpensive pieces we could find. 

I've sort of gotten away from my hobby since I've been in Nashville.  But this past Sunday afternoon, I made it a priority to head to Wedgewood and check out the flea market as well as a few antique shops in the surrounding area.

Now I wouldn't call myself an expert just yet, but I can say that there is a technique to this kind of shopping (I've done my research).  If this is something new for you, here's a routine that guarantees me the best experience:

  • wear comfortable clothing and dress appropriately for the season

  • bring a cold bottle of water during the warmer months

  • don't be afraid of the dust (as many things can be dry cleaned, polished, etc.) 

  • have patience to sift through cluttered merchandise

  • throughly inspect items for discoloration and other unfixable things before purchasing

  • avoid wearing blatantly expensive clothing as this may affect your ability to bargain with vendors on pricing (remember almost everything is negotiable), plus you don't want to risk getting dust on your clothes

  • create a budget beforehand and take cash to ensure staying within budget  

  • have a mental list prepared of things you are looking to buy but keep an open mind to other items that may catch your eye while there

And as far as the flea market, if there is absolutely something that I am looking for and have to have no matter the cost, I try to get there as early as possible on the first day of the market for first dibs. Otherwise, I wait until the last day of the market to shop as my chances of negotiating prices may be greater.

Source: http://lifeonfortywest.com/antiquetreasures

Summer Blooms.

Having fresh flowers on display in my home is a must. The instant elegance they add to any room in the house (bedroom, living room, kitchen, office etc.) as well as the natural fragrance they exude bring about such positive energy, which is very necessary for a homebody like me. 

My weekly routine usually involves purchases from the supermarket, where I can find flowers at bargain prices (3 bunches for $12). 

Side note: Not all supermarkets are created equal, as far as floral quality. I definitely have my picks!  

If my husband and I are expecting out-of-town guests or maybe hosting a get-together, I'll make a special trip to a local wholesaler or a flower shop for the more exotic or seasonal blooms, which tend to be more on the expensive end but worth the price, since they can make quite a statement.

My floral arrangement style is very similar to my personal style – neutrals, neutrals, neutrals! Even when it comes to nail polish and makeup, I go for mostly anything that's understated and minimal. Every now and then I like to step outside of my comfort zone and go for something a bit more daring, offbeat and multi-chromatic, especially in the summertime.

This past weekend, I grabbed my straw tote and just shopped around. I had a few ideas but I didn't have a set look in mind (and I don't really follow the rules when it comes to floral arranging).  I knew that I wanted to include a mix of florals with variations in size and that white peonies would be the base flowers. I picked up a bunch from the wholesaler and then headed to a flower shop and the supermarket for a rose, some carnations, gerbera daises, mini hydrangea, delphinium and a few fillers (leather leaves). 

As soon as I got home, I unpacked the flowers and lined them up by size, snipped the stems accordingly and bunched them together (starting with the largest flower). Then I secured them with a medium sized rubber band (pushed up far enough where it was not visible) and immersed them in a vase full of fresh water. I keep a collection of vases stored to fit any type of arrangement.  I even use mint julep cups and Mason jars as vases whenever I want to create a more Southern feel. 

And voilà! I can get at least a week of life (two weeks for hydrangea and carnations) out of most blooms by trimming the stems and replacing the water in the vase every two days. 

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/summerblooms

Nashville Fashion Week Part 2: Ready-to-Wear Runway Showcase

Religion

More stunning looks were presented Friday, April 10th for Nashville Fashion Week's second runway show at the Bicenntenial Mall Ampitheater.  Sponsored by Opry Mills, the show featured the collections of five local and national designers: Alfredo Bove of Religion, Megan Huntz, Lagi Nadeau, Michael Magnone of Circle of Gentlemen and Timo Weiland.  And former Executive Director of Council of Fashion Designers of America/New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis was in attendance for the second year in a row!

 

Megan Huntz

Lagi Nadeau

Circle of Gentlemen

Timo Weiland

Nashville Fashion Week Part 1: Nashville Designer Showcase

A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation to cover Nashville Fashion Week as a photographer and I couldn't have been more excited!  Everything about this brand new experience for me was amazing, mainly because I was surrounded by so many insanely creative and inspiring individuals.  The entire week was a non-stop celebration of Nashville's advancing fashion industry, including panels, retail-based events, parties and exhibits.

Sponsored by YP Nashville, the first of the two runway shows took place opening night (April 7th) at Acme Feed and Seed, with world-renowned fashion photographer Nigel Barker (America's Next Top Model) in attendance. The collections of seven local designers were featured: Van Hoang of Van Hoang Designs, Maria Silver of Black by Maria Silver, Leslie Stephens of Ola Mai, Eric Adler of Eric Adler Clothing, Truly Alvarenga of Pink Elephants DesignsAmanda Valentine and Ashley Balding of Ona Rex

 

Van Hoang

Black by Maria Silver

Ola Mai

Eric Adler

Pink Elephants Designs

Amanda Valentine

Ona Rex

There are more photos to come!

Rock Paper Scissors.

Whenever an occasion that involves me giving someone a gift arises, I get excited, mainly because I love making people smile.  And since I aim to make stylish statements with everything that I do, delivering a beautifully wrapped box is just as important to me as what's inside of the box, if not more.  

Unfortunately, I'm not a "do-it-yourself" kind of girl and wrapping gifts is not my specialty.  But hey, that's what chic gift and paper boutiques like Rock Paper Scissors are for. 

Not too long after we moved to Nashville, I had a bridal shower to attend. I was in a bit of a frenzy about no longer having access to Ménage, which was my go-to stationery shop in Memphis. Attempting to wrap the gift myself at the last minute or being lazy and throwing it in a gift bag were just not options for me, so I searched Google and came across Ménage's sister store in historic Downtown Franklin. 

Let me stray away for a second and talk about how charming downtown Franklin is. When I arrived to Main Street, I was in awe of the aesthetics — brick sidewalks and Victorian architectural style buildings that housed antiques shops, restaurants and a general store or two. Little did I know, it's acclaimed by many major publications as one of the best towns in the nation. 

I walked into Rock Paper Scissors and I was wowed even more. Clean, colorful, undeniably feminine and softly lit — it was absolutely gorgeous.  On display throughout the shop was a variety of cute custom monogrammed notepads, some jewels here and there, party accessories, as well as non-traditional wedding and birthday cards with the wittiest sayings on them. 

Then I met Lauren, the creative mind behind this concept, and it all made sense why this place was full of such stunning details.  

A Jersey girl with a degree in Texture and Clothing (as well as a lover of all things Kate Spade like me), she relocated to the Nashville area some years back with the desire to "open a modern, New York inspired stationary store in a Southern town." 

She took my gift box and spontaneously came up with a really neat and festive idea for the wrapping, which included bold-colored and whimsically-patterned wrapping paper, accented with a hint of sparkly ribbon and an oversized bow. 

Ever since then, Rock Paper Scissors has been the source of my luxe paper goods for all occasions, even Christmas.

Source: www.lifeonfortywest.com/rockpaperscissors

Lauren Irene.

Not too long after I launched my blog, I received an unexpected email from this girl who had found me via Instagram.  She told me how much she admired my photography and that she was willing to travel from Memphis to collaborate with me for an up-and-coming project of hers called The Cultured Goddess, a website she was designing to promote and showcase female artistic expression.  Of course I was thrilled! But since I am still quite the amateur at this photography thing, I was somewhat hesitant about whether or not I could seriously do this.  I was willing to take on the challenge, though. 

To my surprise, when we spoke on the phone a few days later, it was as if we'd known each other for quite some time. High-spirited and wise beyond her twenty-something years, she shared with me her love for old-school music, classic literature, as well as her appreciation of cultural feminism. She defined herself as a "girl on a mission," which ultimately became the inspiration behind this photo shoot. I envisioned her effortlessly strutting the city streets while styled in something vintage modern chic, traveling to various spots located in the heart of downtown Nashville, such Dunn Bros Coffee shop, 5th Avenue of the Arts, and the historic Printer's Alley.

The morning of our shoot, I grabbed a pastry from another one of my many go-to coffee shops, Frothy Monkey, and waited for her to arrive. From a block away, I see a petite and seemingly self-confident chick amidst a crowd of people, sashaying in my direction while eagerly waving her hand in the air.  As she comes closer, I'm falling in love with her look from head to toe, from the pixie-like haircut underneath a cinnamon toned floppy hat, to the cerulean blue jumpsuit that was cinched at the waist with a built-in belt, and the cutest leather cut-out, peep-toe sandals.  Her accessories were minimal — a couple of pieces of small, dainty jewelry, a pair of aviators, and the illuminating smile she wore on her pretty face.   

Our chemistry was instant, and as a result, I didn't have to do much directing.  We laughed and connected so much that people kept stopping me, asking if I wanted to hand them the camera so that they could take a photo of us together, as if the two of us were just friends and I didn't have a job to do.  

To Lauren Irene: Thank you so much for this amazing experience and for believing in me! I wish you much success.

Source: www.lifeonfortywest.com/laurenirene

Champagne Toast at Watermark.

It's no secret among my friends and family that I absolutely love to sip champagne.

So there was no better way for my husband and I to celebrate my new blog than to grab a bottle from our bar cart at home and toast it up on the rooftop patio of Watermark, a stylish and contemporary restaurant in Nashville located in an area downtown known as The Gulch. 

Of course, no celebration is complete without good food. What I love the most about this restaurant is how the chef prepares these Southern dishes in such a creative, non-traditional way, without sacrificing their great taste.

To get us started, we ordered a stone ground grit soufflé that sat in a creamy mixture of goat cheese, smoked bacon butter sauce and shittake mushrooms. Then we had pan seared scallops served with a medley of corn and lima bean succotash in a warm bacon vinaigrette sauce, with a side of grilled asparagus.

And each dish was every bit of delicious. 

Cheers to new beginnings….

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/champagnetoast

12 South.

12 South is probably my favorite of Nashville's up-and-coming neighborhoods.  When I visited it for the first time, it was like taking a deep breath of fresh air — the boutiques, the coffee shops, restaurants, music stores — almost everything is local and I was amazed at how they all seemed so innovative and anti-cookie-cutter.  

What's also really cool about this place is the Nashville B-Cycle station, a bike-sharing system that allows you to rent a bicycle for up to 24-hours and ride it anywhere in the city.  I decided to stay in the area with my bike and meet my husband for lunch at The Flipside

One of 12 South's newest restaurants, the interior has a modern 1950s diner flair, with powder blue banquette seating and vintage fire engine red Big Chill refrigerators.  The walls are combination of white tiling and transparent garage doors that allow natural light to shine through, giving this place a soft and airy feel. The bar is stocked with an abundance of options and they also have quite a few local draft beers on tap. 

The menu is centered around chicken breasts coated with seasoned bread crumbs, pan sautéed in olive oil and topped with various unique combinations that you can order as a a sandwich or standalone.  I enjoyed the Popeye sandwich, which includes spinach, tomato, mozzarella cheese and a balsamic drizzle. 

There was an inevitable sweet tooth that followed soon after, so we headed to Las Paletas, a gourmet ice pop shop also located in 12 South.

They are made with fresh ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavors, which gives them a subtly sweet taste that's just right and not overwhelming.   And although the shop serves many traditional flavors, such as peach, strawberry, and vanilla chocolate chip (shown above), they also have more exotic ones, like pineapple chili, honeydew and Chai tea, which makes this experience more fun.  I just haven't built up the courage to try the fun ones yet!

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/12south