A Delicious Jaunt in Jackson – A Visit to Cathead Distillery!

On our trip to Jackson, Mississippi to visit Kristen Ley and Thimbelpress to learn how to letterpress, we also had the opportunity to learn about Cathead Vodka. Steve loves a nice vodka, and to learn about a small maker was exciting; we couldn’t pass it up!

As you’re well aware by now, we love all things southern, and a southern-made vodka is no exception. Located on the edge of downtown Jackson, near the Mississippi Museum of Art, Cathead distillery was fantastic!

Mississippi ushered in prohibition in 1907 and it was not repealed until 1966. Fast forward to 2011, when Austin Evans and Richard Patrick first opened as Cathead. These boys not only love their vodka, but they love the delta blues of the region. In fact, the distillery is named after the legend, Son Thomas, known for his cathead sculptures he sold at his blues performances.

Because of their love of Delta Blues, Cathead’s founders incorporated a fantastic philanthropic element to their business, which makes the story even stronger. They support many foundations by giving a portion of their sales to different organizations, which support preservation of the blues heritage. In fact, on the Cathead website, you can view some of the amazing blues videos and see great commercials featuring legends of the Delta region.

Some of the southern flavors being produced by Cathead are Pecan and Honeysuckle. They’re absolutely delicious, and over the next few weeks Steve will be sharing some new recipes he developed using their vodkas. In the meantime if you are in a hurry, you can check out other recipes here.

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Jackson, take a tour of Cathead and try a tasting Thursday – Saturday. Until you can visit,  here is a photo-tour of the distillery…

We’ve also sampled their Gin and it makes the perfect Summertime Gin and Tonic! Next up is the Hoodoo Chickory Liqueur (barrel pictured above). We are excited to see where this spirit will take us.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Distillary photos by Richard Patrick

Our Top Five Takeaways from The Southern C Summit

You may remember we introduced the founders of The Southern Coterie in this blog post last year, after returning from presenting at the Charleston Southern C Summit. Well, we had the opportunity to attend the most recent summit, just last month at The Cloister on Sea Island… The location alone had us swooning. Add in some top notch online personalities, business owners and all around creative entrepreneurs and we knew we were in for a treat!

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The stunning solarium ceiling at The Cloister on Sea Island

The summit was absolutely jam-packed and the amount of inspiration we’re feeling = unparalleled. We were thrilled by others who are following their passion and shared a bit about their journey with us – including Gray Malin, Lizzie Fortunato, Libbie Summers, Darcy Miller and many more.

Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit

Here are our top five takeaways from what was an unforgettable event:

  1. Tell your story. We all have a story. Listen to another’s story. That’s what connects us as neighbors, people, shop owners, entrepreneurs, etc.

    Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
    Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
  2. “Community over competition,” says Darcy Miller (from Martha Stewart Weddings) – value your industry relationships and be open to new ones. (Watch for some new steve mckenzie’s collaborations!)

    Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
    Catching up with the founders of Dear Keaton – Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
  3. Shoppers want experiences – the smells, tastes, textures, and learning opportunities they encounter all build the greater picture of what our brand means.

    Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
    Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
  4. Think outside the box. This may sound obvious to some of us creative types, but what’s considered “out of the box” in our industry changes often and this bears repeating.

    Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
    Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
  5. Follow the Golden Rule. Sounds simple, right? In our everyday hustle and bustle, the golden rule may not be top of mind. But, if we can always remember to treat others as we’d like to be treated, a positive influence we will be.
Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit
Photo Credit: Teresa Earnest Photography for The Southern C Summit

We’re so honored to have been a part of this fantastic summit, along with so many inspiring individuals. We cannot wait to begin putting all our takeaways to good use, so be prepared for some pretty exciting things happening in the near future for steve mckenzie’s.

Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit
Steve’s workshop “Plan B:  Reinvention” – Photo Credit: Grey Owl Social for The Southern C Summit

If you weren’t able to attend The Southern C. Summit at Sea Island, we hope our top highlights aid you in your journey. And, we highly recommend you make plans to attend the next Summit; they’re not to be missed!

Plan an Atlanta staycation!

WalletHub recently shared a listing of 2016’s best and worst cities for staycations… And Atlanta came in as the 6th best city for a staycation!

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Now, we know Atlanta is pretty fabulous – there’s lots to do, a deep sense of history, fantastic restaurants and shopping – the list could go on and on. Obviously, the folks at WalletHub agree. Their number crunchers compared the 150 largest cities across 28 key metrics. WalletHub’s data set includes such metrics as movie and bowling costs, golf courses, frozen-yogurt shops and spas per capita. Pretty neat Atlanta earned the spot as the 6th best staycation city on the list!

And we couldn’t agree more… Here are our thoughts of the top places to stay and things to do as you plan your in-town staycation:

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The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta promises luxurious, fabulous accommodations and is currently in the #1 spot on TripAdvisor’s top Atlanta hotels list. The rooms are sumptuous and the attention to detail is stellar.

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Now, if you’re searching for a cozier place to stay, look no further than the Stonehurst Place bed and breakfast. This hidden gem is located in Midtown and it will truly serve as your home away from home. The rooms there feature stunning furnishings and museum-worthy original works of art! Bonus – you don’t have to make the bed.

Atlanta Westside illustration by Nik Neves
Atlanta Westside illustration by Nik Neves

In addition to shopping at steve mckenzie’s and exploring all Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood has to offer, there are tons of amazing tourist attractions our team recommends…

GA Aquarium
Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Oakland Cemetary
Oakland Cemetary
High Museum of Art
High Museum of Art
Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market

And there you have it, a quick rundown of where we’d stay and what we’d do on our Atlanta staycation! Thanks to WalletHub’s listing of best/worst staycation cities for inspiring this post… We hope we’ve inspired some of our local readers to become tourists in our own city – or if you’re from out of town, we hope to have sparked some interest in planning a visit to Atlanta. Remember to stop by steve mckenzie’s while enjoying Atlanta. We promise the tea here is cool, as is our current selection of unique, authentic souvenir options!

Berlin in October – a Photographic Dream!

Building on his WCAF Bloggers Tour success, Steve is joining acclaimed stylist and entertaining expert, Annette Joseph on a once-in-a-lifetime photographer’s retreat to Berlin as the tour’s Branding Expert!

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 Annette enjoys sharing the many ideas, tips and tricks she has gained as a nationally recognized photo stylist/producer specializing in lifestyle editorial images for magazines.
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Annette Joseph

With over 20 years experience, her expertise includes photo styling for interiors, food propping and special production projects. Check out Annette’s fabulous book, “Picture Perfect Parties,” to gain a sense of Annette’s signature style.Marrakech

Throughout Annette’s Berlin photography workshop, guests will be immersed in one of the hippest urban landscapes in the world. They’ll mingle with other creatives, relax and enjoy an educational photo styling experience.

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Also joining Annette and Steve will be Christina Wedge, an amazing lifestyle and interiors photographer.

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Home base for the group will be the stylish Honigmond Garden Hotel.

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The workshop is for all levels of photographers, as long as they have a basic knowledge of how to operate their camera and place it on a manual setting.

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Steve is thrilled to have the opportunity to provide social media and branding tips to such a creative group, and you can be a part of it… Please join us and be a groovy Berliner – there’s a great team in place to show you the ropes!

The McKenzie’s & Blogger Friends at the West Coast Art & Frame Expo

Next week, Steve and Jill will be hosting an extremely talented group of design industry insiders at the West Coast Art & Frame expo in Las Vegas!

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This “bloggers tour” is comprised of four design tastemakers who all understand the importance of art in a home, and who are looking to learn more about what’s new in the world of art and framing, as well as share a bit about their unique perspectives on art and framing…

Cathy Austin of Bespoke Banter
Cathy Austin of Bespoke Banter
Vicki Gladle Bolick of The Ace of Space
Vicki Gladle Bolick of The Ace of Space
Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room
Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room
Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Jennings Ramsay of Cloth & Kind
Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Jennings Ramsay of Cloth & Kind

We are absolutely thrilled about this lineup and encourage you to follow everyone here on social media, so you may be a part of this event, and take advantage of all we see and learn along the way!

In addition to hosting this fabulous crew of bloggers, Steve will also be an educator at the expo. As a longtime member of the art and framing industry – his former gig was serving as Chief Designer for Larson-Juhl for the last 20 years, and as CEO for the past decade – he’s looking forward to sharing his thoughts on small business success and his favorite, mid-century modern design during two sessions at the expo.

If you’ll be at the WCAF expo, consider attending one of Steve’s classes. And if not, please keep an eye out for a recap of this exciting trip! Viva Last Vegas!!

 

Five reasons you should plan a visit to the Cashiers Designer Showhouse…

Late last week, Jill had the pleasure of visiting the Cashiers Designer Showhouse and came away, not only with some fantastic ideas and inspiration, but also enjoyed an all-around wonderful time!

2015 Cashiers Designer Showhouse
2015 Cashiers Designer Showhouse

She shared some thoughts on the showhouse and why you should plan a visit very soon:

  • It’s a beautiful, scenic drive up to the Cashiers Designer Showhouse
  • You get to meet plenty of fun folks, as well as old friends, such as Patricia McLean, who Jill was lucky enough to sit next to on a bus ride* up to Cashiers
  • In addition to the showhouse, you’ll also have an opportunity to visit the Zachary Tolbert house
The Historic Zachary Tolbert House
The Historic Zachary Tolbert House
  • You’ll be sure to learn something you can incorporate into your home; be it a new color combination or ideas on how to style your cocktail table
  • The showhouse is only open until the 30th of this month – so plan a trip soon, it’s an ideal day, or even weekend, getaway!

Here’s a bit of design inspiration Jill found especially exciting…

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Mark Williams & Niki Papadopoulos of Mark Williams Design Associates designed bedroom in the Cashier’s Guest House, which featured an amazing metal framed and agate flanked headboard.  This space highlighted some very soothing colors, ideal for a guest space.

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In this image, Jill found the juxtaposition of abstract art and traditional wallpaper to be exceptional! It was a highlight in the space by Douglas Hilton of DWH Interiors LLC.

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This creative headboard by Gretchen Edwards, of Gilstrap Edwards Interior Design, was a fabulous focal point in the Cashier’s Guest House. It offered such a bright and cheery accent to the room.

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This amazing green chair was only one example of how C. Weaks Interiors used color expertly on the expansive porch of the showhouse.

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Jill so enjoyed this detail of the contrasting tape along the seat and back cushions of this chair in the showhouse space by Cathy Kincaid Interiors.

And there’s so much more to see. We encourage you to make a quick trip of it and check out the Cashiers Designer Showhouse for yourself – you’ll enjoy a refreshing trip to the mountains, as well as plenty of design inspiration for sure!

* Although there aren’t any additional bus trips from ADAC to the Cashiers Designer Showhouse, you can go ahead and make plans to visit the upcoming Serenbe designer showhouse, and take advantage of the bus ride from ADAC – it’s so fun and simple!

Exploring Atlanta: Old Fourth Ward Splash Pad

Recently Jill’s brother, sil (sister-in-law) and 3 young children came to town for a fun summer visit. As you all probably know, Atlanta is not at a shortage for fun activities for kids of all ages, but in our search to find things we’d all enjoy and haven’t done before, we discovered the fabulous Old Fourth Ward Splash Pad!

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If you’re not already familiar with Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward Park, here’s a bit about this fantastic local amenity:

Historic 4th Ward Park was one of the first redevelopment projects undertaken by the Atlanta Beltline, Inc. The park connects directly to the future 22-mile Beltline loop and has become a catalyst for additional redevelopment and reinvestment within the surrounding community. The brownfield sites were transformed from a barren contaminated site near Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthplace into a vision for sustainable redevelopment. The area was redeveloped into civic open spaces complete with open lawns, flowing walkways and a city greensward, a splash pad and playground, a recirculating stream, wildflower meadows, a multi-purpose recreation field and Atlanta’s first skate park. In addition to all of the amenities, the park also demonstrates the value of sustainable, collaborative design, and positive social, environmental and economic impact it can have on a community.

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At Old Fourth Ward Park there are tons of family-friendly surfaces, benches, and pergola shaded areas. Not to mention restrooms conveniently located near the play park and splash pad – a necessity when enjoying the park with little ones!
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The ground cover was also well thought out – someone certainly considered wet kids running over to the playground area barefoot and had a super soft, cool surface material installed. So smart! The splash pad really had something available for all ages and abilities to enjoy the water, and when we were there, there had to have been a half-dozen birthday parties taking place – brilliant!
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A few tips – bring your own towels and maybe a camping chair and/or picnic blanket, as the benches fill up quickly. Consider bringing your wagon for hauling kids and supplies, since there’s a bit of a walk from parking to the splash pad and playground. GO EARLY! Parking and features fill up quickly.

We hope you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy this fun splash pad before summer comes to an end – and please let us know about your favorite Atlanta activities for little ones, we’re always looking for great ideas for when family comes to town!