Hello, NYC!

Friday morning, we flew to NYC for the menswear show. Remember when we came to Mrket in January? This trip has been a lot of fun and oh-so busy! James will be working Mrket for the next few days, and I’ll be visiting it as well as a couple other shows while we’re in the city. I’ll blog a full report but here are a couple of shots I took yesterday before things were up & running.

This trip, I’m trying to pay more attention to the details. One way I’m doing that is: less pictures, more doodles. I’ve been thinking a lot about memory since I read this article in the NY Times about some performance art Oliver Jeffers has been doing. 

What we see as individuals is so interesting because it’s often different from what others see. What our brains remember is a totally different story that’s even more exclusive. Fascinating, right?

 But there’s one place k haven’t been able to resist the urge to take more than a few photos. We’ve gotten to take a couple of boat rides, including one that went all the way around Manhattan and right by Lady Liberty. Thus, the rad views in the photos below…


As i said on Instagram, we did pose for some photos, but somehow this felt more realistic 😉


 I love this city!

Mrket Show and Menswear

Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Last week we traveled to NYC for the Mrket show, which is the show where buyers gather to see the offerings from different brands for the next season. At the end of last year, Husband started a job with a local manufacturer of custom suiting that is based here in Knoxville. We have absolutely fallen in love with the people that he works with, and he is enjoying the fact that he officially has an excuse to wear a suit everyday.

Below you’ll find a few snapshots of some of my favorites. My favorite thing about custom suits (aside from the fact that a man in a suit that fits properly is just drop dead sexy) are the details–a beautiful lining and a contrasting lapel hole just really do it for me.

John H. Daniel, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & HusbandJohn H. Daniel, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

John H. Daniel, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

These chambray pants are local designer Marc Nelson Denim. You can find them here.

It’s worth noting that while the custom offerings above are Spring, the majority of companies showed their Fall collections. That’s what you’ll see below.

Nikky, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Men are so predictable. (Nikky)

The first thing that I got totally stoked about was the fact that we saw so many Southern companies! Well-dressed Southerners have a sort of easy-going glamour that is really starting to shine. To elaborate: mixing classic necessities, like the cummerbunds below, with bright patterns and colors can take an item normally seen as a bit stuffy to something fun with attitude.

High Cotton Ties, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Southern belle that I am, I blushed to the point of having to walk away when I met James Hill, co-owner of High Cotton. We love their stuff–all  Southern made by the way! In fact, the weekend before, Husband had purchased three of their bow ties at a local shop here in East Tennessee.

Collared Greens, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Collared Greens: You know I couldn’t resist the name! This American made brand is based in Richmond, Virginia and had a playful take on classic patterns that I dug.

Brooklyn Dry Goods, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

BKYLN Dry Goods had a couple rad displays to show their visual merchandising prowess, and I totally geeked out over the vintage DIY details. You know the sexiest men know how to work with their hands! (*wink*)

Tailor Vintage, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Tailor Vintage caught my eye because they take really high quality old-school fabrics and break them in. So these styles really do look like you bought them vintage without the uncomfortable “How do I get the Grandpa smell out?” question. By the way: Vodka. The answer to that question is vodka.

Bulgarini, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

The fabrics from the Italian company Bulgarini made me swoon! (The accents at the booth weren’t bad either. Do you think that comes with the shirt?)

Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Seaward + Stearn London (left), Edward Armah (top right), Jose Real (bottom left) | Pattern. Bright Colors. Pattern. Bold Colors. Pattern. Trust me. #polkadots

London Sock Co., Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

(More accents!) The houndstooth socks from London Sock Co. really caught my eye. (That was followed quickly by the designer in me adoring their logo.) Their socks are made with Scottish Lisle Thread Cotton (fancy!) and the cool designs come from partnerships with some rad London designers.

Hook & Albert, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Hook & Albert came onto my radar when they teamed up with Alton Brown to make a line of beautiful bow ties and pocket squares. What caught my eye with their fall line, however, were the handmade lapel flowers! Aren’t they fun?

Lazyjack Press, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Finally! Another female that loves men’s accessories and has a sense of humor. Lazyjack Press was started by Miriam Zelinsky and has playful patterns with tongue-in-cheek names. Above: “Chick Magnets” and “Blue Balls”

Shoes, Mrket 2015 | Hannah & Husband

Nikky (top left), Allen Edmonds (bottom left), Carlos Santos (right) | Finally, you’ve seen the bold accessories but bold shoes are also worth noting. My absolute favorites were the double monks by Carlos Santos.

NYC Sketchbook

Hannah's NYC Sketchbook | Hannah & Husband

If you have been on Instagram in the past week, you may have noticed that we’ve been in New York City for Mrket. Anytime we travel, I fill my sketchbook with doodles of where we went and what we saw so I thought I’d share pages from my NYC Sketchbook with you!

Hannah's NYC Sketchbook | Hannah & Husband

I’ll post more about Mrket (& Husband’s new gig) tomorrow.

Hannah's NYC Sketchbook | Hannah & Husband

Debra Shriver: Take It With You

debra shriver portrait

Let me start by telling you about an afternoon in late summer that I spent reading in Central Park. I sat down on a park bench next to The Met, the different languages of the passing park guests were like music, and 2 hours later I looked up and realized I was still sitting in the same spot in the middle of Manhattan. I had been lost in New Orleans–or, more accurately, in a love story to New Orleans. I was reading Debra Shriver’s first book: Stealing Magnolias.

Several days later, I found myself near the top of the Hearst building sitting in front of quite a spread: iced tea, pimento cheese, deviled eggs, & a few of the other Southern delicacies that are so hard to come by in the city. In a city of 8 million people, I’d found a corner of Southern hospitality that made this overwhelmed Southern girl feel right at home thanks to the *lovely* Debra Shriver.

When I asked her about how these Southern roots had influenced her life in New York, she said simply, “I take it with me.” That seems to be her way of saying that the people and places she’s come from–the traditions, the food, the language, the lifestyle–inform her everyday life.

Raised in Alabama, Debra comes from four generations of working Southern women who not only taught her to have a good work ethic, but also taught her to make a mean jambalaya. Whether it’s hosting a dinner party in New Orleans or Southern hors d’oeuvres in her New York office, you know immediately that  this lady is the real deal. She’s the epitome of a belle: poised, driven, and the perfect hostess. “I can leave New York at 7am,” she said, “arrive in New Orleans by 9:30, and feed 40-60 friends a great Southern meal by 6.”

Today, Debra is self-proclaimed “New-New,” she and her husband divide their time between New Orleans and New York City. If you’ve ever been to New Orleans or New York, you know that they both seem to be on their own time table. New Orleans is the definition of laid-back. There you can take your time to enjoy the meal, enjoy the music, enjoy the drink… New York, on the other hand, seems to constantly be running at a quicker pace than the moment before. Why, you ask, would Debra choose to be a “New-New”? Because she has this “art of living a more beautiful life” down. It’s not about where she is, it’s about the lifestyle that she takes wherever she goes.

For example, recently the Shrivers down-sized their New York digs. Why, you ask? To move into a historic building where Debra can walk to work every morning instead of getting caught in traffic. (She had to sell several china patterns in the process from what I understand… tragic, I know, but que sera!) She takes the time to get to know her neighbors. She’s invested in the city. She values living and working in historic buildings–in places that have a history & a story of which she and Jerry, her husband, are now a part.

This is also true of her other home in New Orleans. After the devastation of Katrina, the Shrivers were among the first to buy and restore a home. They’d always loved the city: the people, the pace of life, the history, the food. So it seemed only logical that they would put down some roots there. In her first book, Stealing Magnolias, she writes a captivating story of restoration and a love letter of sorts to the city. Her new book, “In the Spirit of New Orleans,” she wrote for people who want to really experience the city.

“In the Spirit of New Orleans”  will be released by Assouline next month. Whether you’ve been to New Orleans a million times or are just beginning to plan a trip, this is a book you’ll want on your shelf mainly due to the fact that it gives you a real feel for the city. Shriver’s writing is so vivid, so descriptive. You can almost hear a horn player wailing on the high notes in the corner of a smoky room. She paints a beautiful picture of the mysterious spiritual aspects of New Orleans. And, perhaps a favorite feature of mine, she has loaded the book with resources. Everything from what restaurants to eat at, how to mix a sazerac, and how to translate the language of Mardi Gras. (After all, your first New Orleans cotillion is not to be taken lightly, my dear.)

picture of the book and a sazerac

Where to Read It: on the front porch where you can watch the world walk by
Reading Cocktail of Choice: Sazerac

Get the book, read about the traditions and the history, and then “take something with you.” After all, that’s what the art of living a more beautiful life is really about. What choices do you make that allow you to live a beautiful life regardless of your location? Perhaps it’s walking to work in the city like Debra or turning on a little Louis Armstrong while you cook a big pot of gumbo for dinner (recipe on page 94). Read Debra’s books and then take something from her story of New Orleans. Me? Well, I’m probably going to spend the afternoon listening to a little Ella and learning to make a Ramos Gin Fizz (page 106).

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You may have seen my live tweets from the book release party at Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant in Harlem. If not check them out.

You may also want to follow @DebraShriver on twitter… obviously, she’s fabulous!

Snapshots of NYC

So far this quick trip to NYC has included:

– A visit to The New York Public Library… of note: Lunch Hour NYC and seeing the original Winnie-the-Pooh (I always have to pay him a visit.)

Martha Stewart’s American Made event in Grand Central Terminal

Ari Meisel’s talk at Grind: The Art of Less Doing

The Century of the Child at MOMA

– Lots of wandering around the city with my honey.

– – – – – – – – –

One more day in the city, and I’m topping it off tonight with a book release party for Debra Shriver that is sure to be swoon-worthy. If you don’t already, follow me on Twitter and Instagram to see Live tweets from the event!

A Tale of 2 Michaels

For those you that follow me this isn’t news, but, for the rest of my lovely readers, I should probably give some background. I have been flying back & forth between East Tennessee & NYC all summer as Husband does an internship with Michael Bastian. It has been an absolutely amazing opportunity that I’m sure I will elaborate on at some point, but, now that Fashion Week has come to an end, we are heading back to Knoxville so he can finish up his MBA in December. However, before we come home, I couldn’t resist sharing some of my favorites from Michael’s two Spring collections: his flagship and Gant by Michael Bastian.

The thing that caught me the most off guard about Fashion Week really had nothing to do with the fashion at all. It was the feel. Every event we entered had a different feel and no 2 were more contrasting than Michael’s presentations. The runway show was enveloped in white: white walls, bright white lights, even a white carpet. And when the music started and those models walked out, we were transported into several minutes of white-hot sexy. The cuts of the sweaters were bold, the beachwear was hot, and the suits were owned by those men. (When the linen dinner jacket entered the room there was literally a collective gasp from the audience, because it was that perfect.) The man that wears Michael Bastian knows exactly who he is, where he’s going, and what (or whom) he’s going to do when he gets there. Umm… did I mention Husband has ordered several of these pieces? Lucky me.

snapshots from Michael Bastian's Spring, 2013 collection

Snapshots from the third row of the Michael Bastian runway.

Fast forward 3 days, and there was a party going on in the west village complete with greenery, dancing models, and an insanely tasty rum cocktail. The pieces I simply cannot get out of my head? The bold new takes on the Southern belle’s favorite: seersucker.

Party in the Galapagos

I cannot possibly express what an amazing whirlwind of a week it has been. This entire experience has been absolutely incredible both for Husband and for me. To think that a short six months ago, I had never even been to New York. We were reading fashion magazines and dreaming of being a part of that world. When Husband started the MBA program last Fall, Michael Bastian (fresh off his CFDA win) was his favorite designer and the *ultimate* internship to put on top of the dream list. Now we’re lucky enough to call the Michael Bastian crew friends. Isn’t that just crazy? As my momma always says, “God works in mysterious ways.”

But alas, all good things must come to an end. Tomorrow we will make the 12 hour drive back to Tennessee and reality. See you on the other side!

The Launch of Social Primer

Have you ever met someone via Twitterland and known immediately you would be friends? Well, that’s how I felt about Cooper Ray. I just couldn’t help it. When I first met Cooper in person, he was a month out from his now much-lauded premier presentation, and he was a true force of energy. Cooper is one of those rare people that can pour you a glass of scotch, invite you to sit down at his table, and immediately make you feel like you’re one of his oldest & dearest friends.

So when we got the invitation to his show, an invitation “from the men of Social Primer… to join the brotherhood,” it was not only an invite to a New York Fashion Week presentation, it was a chance to support Cooper. If you read his blog, Social Primer, you know Cooper as an etiquette expert, a successful businessman, and a designer that has recently partnered with Brooks Brothers to produce a line of reversible bow ties & the classic tailgating blazer. (Can you tell he was raised in the SEC?) You will also know him as a quintessential Southern gentleman, born and raised in Alabama, and now hailing from ‘the Holy City’ of Charleston, South Carolina. If you follow him or read him, you know him. So it should come as no surprise that when he put out the call to his band of faithful followers to invest in the future of Social Primer, they responded by the thousands. ($25,742 to be exact)

You see, there’s just something about that spirit… maybe it’s Southern, perhaps it’s preppy, maybe it’s ‘the brotherhood,’ but, whatever it is, Cooper has it. He didn’t just give a presentation, he gave a presentation in one of the most venerable settings in the city. As guests entered, we were handed a book of “Pledge Rites,” a special edition of his Bill of Rites for the American Man and a Scotch. (Note: I’m sure there were other drinks, but for the Southerners in the room, that was all that we needed.) And, as we walked over to view the collection, we were greeted by none other than his *lovely* mother, a sweet lady donning pearls and beaming with pride. The looks were fantastic as modeled by a ‘pledge class’ rotating intermittently on risers. I’m still swooning over one particular red sport coat. The contrast fabric ties that made him famous are really cranked up a notch. His details were spot on: notice the SP tshirts… his logo was even embroidered on the shorts. But, of course, you’d expect nothing less… That’s just how Cooper does things.

Please Note: Some images are mine. Some come courtesy of Mr. Ray.

Rocky Top in the Big Apple

I was born in Tennessee, but, for the first few years of my life, my family didn’t actually live here. Then, when I was 9, we moved to East Tennessee. I was less then thrilled at my new surroundings, and this was only exacerbated when, on the 1st day of school, I was shoved into a large group of singing 4th graders. They had just burst into a song about a girl that was ‘half bear the other half cat’ and something called ‘corn from a jar.’ I was appalled.

Husband and I in 2005. We actually used this picture for the ‘guest book’ at our wedding, and it now hangs in our bedroom.

Fast forward 18 years and my husband & I are both UT graduates, two of our best friends actually said their wedding vows on that ‘hallowed hill in Tennessee,’ I have been known to partake of ‘corn from a jar,’ and I have seen for myself the original written lyrics of “Rocky Top” hanging in the home of the esteemed former Pride of the Southland director WJ Julian. (For the record, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant literally crossed a few other animals off the list before deciding she would be ‘wild as a mink but sweet as a soda pop.’)

Now, I will be the first to tell you that football is not my thing. Sure, I love picking out a cute outfit and tailgating for a couple of hours up the hill from Neyland stadium. I appreciate the spirit & talent of the SEC, but the main reason I go to football games is to see the band form the Power T. I am known to leave football games after the halftime show because, by that time, I have usually lost interest whatever it is those boys are doing on the field.

However, today, football may have been just what I needed. Around 4, Husband and I made our way to a bar in Midtown Manhattan called Traffic and watched the game with a room full of other Big Orange fans dressed, of course, in orange and singing “Rocky Top” loud and proud. In a week full of high fashion, busy streets, and hot subway rides, it was exactly what I needed. New York City is fun, but it can get overwhelming and make a southern girl like me feel very alone. Isn’t it funny how a song that at one point in my life I found so alienating can now make me feel so at home.