The Lazy Goat – Riverside Dining

I make no claims to be a food writer–I’m not good at taking fancy food photos, I’m not a wine connoisseur, and I have no professional training–but I DO love food and love sharing great restaurants!  Which is why, on the heels of my last post that was primarily discussing restaurants in Charleston, I want to share my favorite Greenville restaurant: The Lazy Goat.

the lazy goat dining

The sunny windows combined with the tabletop candlelight, plus the mismatched wooden chairs, all make The Lazy Goat both elegant and playful.

I’ve tried many items off The Lazy Goat’s menu over the years…the crispy Brussels sprouts with Serrano ham, which will radically change your opinion of sprouts; the Moroccan lamb, deeply earthy and swirled with cool yogurt sauce; the “Lazy Paella,” a piled mound of chicken and seafood over fragrant rice; not to mention their constantly rotating seasonal dishes, which include mouth-watering desserts such as Mexican hot chocolate ice cream with churros (spicy ice cream with crispy doughnut sticks…it’ll knock your socks off) and a lemon-berry cake that tastes of pure summer.

sangria

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve even tasted alcohol, but on my birthday I splurged on a white wine sangria, made with grapefruit juice and Triple Sec.  It was a taste of summer!

Knowing how much I love The Lazy Goat, my husband treated me to a birthday dinner there this past Friday, and I could not have asked for a more enjoyable gift.  My favorite thing at The Lazy Goat is actually an appetizer, and one they’re famous for–fried goat cheese balls, drizzled with vanilla honey and sprinkled with bits of pistachios.  Naturally, we started off with this delicacy, followed by the “Duck, Duck, Goat” pizza.

goat cheese

I could eat these fried goat cheese balls for the rest of my life and never tire of them.  Absolutely addictive.

If, like in my description of the gourmet hamburger at Cru Cafe in Charleston, you think that pizza is a humble choice for a classy restaurant–allow The Lazy Goat to change your mind completely!  The Duck, Duck, Goat pizza–with duck confit, goat cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, and a sour-cherry reduction–has incredible, flavorful finesse all presented in the familiar vehicle we all know and love: pizza.  Each bite was mouthwatering, with a perfectly crispy, chewy crust.

duck duck goat

This is why I could never be a real food writer…I always dig into the food before remembering I’m supposed to take a photo.  The Duck, Duck, Goat pizza was incredible.

The Lazy Goat’s menu items all lean strongly toward Spanish-inspired cuisine (such as their “Graze and Nibble” dishes, which are similar to Spanish tapas), as well as flavors all along the Mediterranean.  In addition to their beautiful and exotic food, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more lovely atmosphere.  Built right alongside the Reedy River, the large windowed walls of The Lazy Goat give you countless views of the beautiful river, as well as pleasant outdoor dining options.

Convinced yet?  Personally, I think the fried goat cheese on its own is reason enough to head over to The Lazy Goat…but don’t take my word for it!  Hop on over and experience an unforgettable meal.

Charleston – A Small Taste

Contrary to popular opinion, I have not abandoned Ivy&Branch–instead, I’ve been savoring my time as a newlywed as Benjamin and I begin our “normal” lives together.  It’s been a blissful few weeks, but I’m glad to be somewhat reentering a routine.  I’m in the process of gathering new ideas for the blog, and there’s certainly plenty to discover here in Greenville!  In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the excellent places Benjamin and I discovered on our honeymoon in Charleston, SC.  While we’re not seasoned locals (or even cultured tourists), we did stumble across some phenomenal eateries and small businesses!

Wild Olive (John’s Island) – Fantastic Italian

After an afternoon touring the Charleston Tea Plantation (possibly our favorite tourist stop…a wonderful place to explore if you’re tea fanatics like us), we had a roaring appetite, and Wild Olive not only delighted us with wonderful food but a romantic, seaside cottage-like environment.  We enjoyed some scrumptious charred octopus as a starter, followed by a grilled swordfish entree: both provided all the fresh seafood taste that could be desired.  By far, however, the highlight of our meal was (of all things), the side dish: “smashed fried potatoes with truffled aioli, scallion, and Parmesan.”  Both Benjamin and I can say this with total confidence: those potatoes were the most luxurious, close-your-eyes delectable potatoes we have ever tasted.  SERIOUSLY–you have got to try them.

wild olive

Took a picture of my handsome hubby instead of the food…eh, can you blame me? (But you get a tiny glimpse of the warm charm of Wild Olive).

Cru Cafe – A Special Gift

This restaurant was particularly special to me because my Uncle Tom-Tom (who personally knows Cru Cafe’s owner) arranged for our lunch there and had us treated like royalty.  Sitting down in Cru is like sitting down in someone’s house (not surprising, as the restaurant is actually a converted home).  The environment is casual yet offers some truly exceptional food that you’d expect to find at a swanky bistro.

Before Benjamin and I had even ordered, the waitress brought out a platter of fried oysters (courtesy of my uncle), which we devoured in a matter of seconds.  From there, I ordered the Asian-glazed salmon with a pear and pine nut salad, and Benjamin ordered their specialty burger–and if you’re thinking a burger is a low-brow item, you’d be totally wrong.  Not only was this burger cooked to perfection, but was layered with maple-glazed pork belly, goat cheese, and sauteed mushrooms…and did I mention the truffle Parmesan fries that came with it??

flourless chocolate cake

Even my crummy iPhone photo couldn’t make this flourless chocolate cake look less delectable!

We were more than delighted with our entrees, but as soon as the waitress took our plates away she told us to hang tight as a special dessert was on its way.  A minute later and she came sweeping in with a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and fresh whipped cream–another surprise from my uncle, who knows I’m crazy about chocolate and raspberry together.  I’m not saying I hogged that dessert…but it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Benjamin did not get many bites out of it.  Uncle Tom–THANK YOU!

Blue Bicycle Books – For the Literary Soul

If you’ve been to Charleston and love books, you’ve probably managed to sniff out Blue Bicycle Books.  Having a mutual affection for used book stores, Benjamin and I navigated our way to this bookish hideaway and were not disappointed.   Browsing through the many shelves of books (used, rare, and local) was wonderfully relaxing, not to mention a great way to escape the Charleston heat that afternoon!

blue bicycle

There are all sorts of cozy alcoves and reading rooms at Blue Bicycle Books.

Circa 1886 – A Final Meal to Remember

During our last night in Charleston, Benjamin made reservations for a truly special restaurant–Circa 1886, a beautiful restaurant built into an old carriage house and acclaimed by multiple culinary magazines.  We got dolled up for the occasion, and as soon as we pulled up to the restaurant I knew we were in for a treat.

sea bass

My entree: sea bass with prosciutto, zucchini noodles, and Parmesan bubbles.

As we perused the menu, we were brought multiple “teasers”–not quite appetizers, but small bites of food that were, arguably, my favorite part of the whole meal.  We had warm rolls with orange-oil butter, a spoonful (literally) of herbed goat cheese with radish, and an espresso-cup of roasted vegetable soup with truffle oil (I could have eaten a bowlful of this and been more than satisfied).

antelope

Benjamin ordered the antelope with roasted vegetables and key-lime grits, along with mango sauce and coconut milk emulsion.  Sounds exotic, but it’s probably one of the best entrees I’ve ever tasted.

We were both more than wowed by our entrees–I went with seafood, he went for the red meat, and we enjoyed stealing tastes of both.  Not only was the taste exquisite, but the plating was just beautiful.  We had ordered the peach souffle for dessert, but we were in no way expecting the masterpiece that was brought out.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that souffle–with peach creme anglaise, crunchy streusel, and brown sugar ice cream–was probably the best dessert I’ve ever ordered.  It was absolutely delectable…and the complementary champagne didn’t hurt, either!

peach souffle

A truly special end to a phenomenal meal, and great way to finish off our honeymoon.

Can’t Wait to Return!

All in all, we had the time of our lives in Charleston.  It was Benjamin’s first time in the city, and I loved getting to experience it afresh through his eyes.  My grandmother was incredibly generous to us and paid for our accommodations at the Lodge Alley Inn, which was only a block from the Waterfront Park and just down the street from the market.  Needless to say, we stayed in a prime location and were able to enjoy just walking around the prettiest parts of the city.  For myself, however, I think the food just might have been the highlight, and I’d love to return (soon!) to experience it all over again.

A Gilded Line – Wearable Truth

As a writer, I’m a long-standing believer that words have a huge impact on humans day in and day out.  What you read and repeat to yourself can drastically shape your attitudes and convictions, which is why Allie Pust’s shop A Gilded Line offers an incredible medium for both truth and beauty.

Allie began stamping bracelets as she helped her eldest daughter raise money for a field trip, but friends and family continued to request personalized cuffs long after the mother-daughter pair had reached their fundraising goal.   It didn’t take long for Allie to recognize the incredible potential of the bracelets to spread truth (namely Scripture) simply by wearing the personalized cuffs.

Cuffs shot

I love the variety of widths, colors, and fonts of Allie’s bracelets, and how great they look paired together.  You can even add a trendy tassel to your cuff!

I discovered A Gilded Line when I was searching for bridesmaids gifts for my girls; I wanted to stray from the current fads, yet still present them with something meaningful and personalized.  I had Allie stamp words from my bridesmaids’ favorite hymns on their bracelets, and they turned out beautifully.  Allie has an ever-growing list of customization options, from different metals and widths, as well as a variety of beautiful fonts.  She also makes bookmarks, key chains, and luggage tags that can also be personalized!

Allie and daughter

Allie with her “business partner” (aka, eldest daughter Lexie).  Family businesses are definitely my favorite businesses of all!

A Gilded Line is a real passion for Allie.  Speaking with her, I was struck by her bubbly and outgoing personality–she loves people and she loves sharing the gospel.  Allie shared that she will approach just about anybody in order to share the love of Christ and often offer to give away whatever bracelet she’s wearing on that day.  I so respect her courage and vivacity as a go-getter, and I believe this combined with God’s grace is what has made A Gilded Line grow exponentially since Allie first opened her Etsy shop last January.

unfinished cuffs

There are so many options to make each bracelet unique and meaningful at A Gilded Line.

The bracelets are functional and easy to wear; the metal is pliable, so it’s easy to adjust to the width of your wrist.  They’re a perfect vehicle for reminding yourself of important truths–much like looking at a watch, you find yourself glancing at the cuff multiple times a day, which makes it easy to remember whatever special words are printed there.

“I’ve never doubted that it’s an affordable way for people to see a truth daily when they need to stay encouraged.  It’s an awesome way to wear words of truth and tell others about it.  I think it’s a great way to break the ice.  I love seeing people talk about why they’re wearing what they’re wearing.” -Allie Pust

assorted bracelets

Whether you’re making a fashion statement or quoting a portion of Scripture: Allie’s got you covered.

One of Allie’s favorite things to do with A Gilded Line is to join forces with those fighting cancer or some other hardship, using the bracelets for a fundraiser.  The cuffs are a wearable way to keep a loved one in mind, a way to spread a slogan, and a reminder to pray for those in need.  Allie hopes that A Gilded Line will continue to grow so that she can do more and more of these fundraisers.

The concept behind A Gilded Line is simple–metal cuffs printed with words–but they have a potent impact, whether its keeping its wearer grounded in truth or spreading support for someone in need.  Check out A Gilded Line on Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy!

Mother’s Day Gifts – Four Unique Ideas

Are you finding yourself running a little behind on purchasing a special gift for good ole’ Mom?  You’re not alone (I’m not just saying that…seriously, I have been putting off Mother’s Day shopping for a solid two weeks now).  I have some awesome, one-of-a-kind gift ideas to show you that come from previous Ivy&Branch featured shops!  Check out these top-notch Mother’s Day products, and be sure to look closely for the promo codes included for each shop!

Mama Bear Necklace by The Artful Sojourn:

Mama Bear necklace

If you use the code “ivyandbranch” on a The Artful Sojourn order over $25, you’ll get $5 off your purchase!

This brass necklace would make the perfect accessory for a mama who wants to be chic yet functional.  I have a soft spot for this piece, as the hand-stamped “Mama Bear” on the bar makes me think of one of my favorite nicknames for my own mother.  Furthermore, you can customize the necklace with birthstone charms that correspond to all your Mama Bear’s children–a sweet and subtle touch that is sure to please your detail-oriented and fashionable Mama Bear.

Each Mama Bear necklace will come beautifully wrapped in a darling drawstring bag–and don’t forget that 20% of ALL The Artful Sojourn products goes directly to Big World Project, an organization that rescues orphaned children in India.  The donation card included with the necklace is sure to be as meaningful to your mother as the necklace itself.

Read my full interview with The Artful Sojourn here!

Mother’s Day print by Grace Under Pressure:

Mother's day print

Use the code “IvyandBranch” in the Grace Under Pressure shop for free shipping on your order!

Does your mom have an eye for art?  For the calligraphy-loving, beauty-seeking, elegance-filled mother, nothing could be more tasteful than this Mother print from Grace Under Pressure.  The print is filled with both touching and playful words associated with motherhood, featuring everything from maternal virtues to fun nicknames.  When placed in a pretty frame and displayed on a desk or beside a favorite reading chair, this would be a well-cherished gift for a thoughtful mother.

Read my full interview with Grace Under Pressure here!

Essential Oil case by Cotton and Cursive:

Oil bag

For Cotton and Cursive, “IVYANDBRANCH” will give you 10% off your order through all of May!

If your mom has caught the essential oil craze, then she doubtlessly carries a few bottles of her favorite oils with her wherever she goes.  Instead of having the bottles clinking around loose in her purse, give her this precious essential oil bag from Cotton and Cursive.  Not only is this little bag absolutely beautiful, but it’s quilted to protect the essential oil bottles.  These bags can be customized to fit different sizes–this little beauty will fit five essential oil bottles at a 5ml size, but Rachel makes others that fit 15ml bottles and roller-top bottles.  This would make the perfect gift for a mama who loves both fashion and function (and holistic health!)

Read my full interview with Cotton and Cursive here!

Woodburned Spoons by Being Sara Dixon:

spoons

You can get a hefty 20% discount on your Being Sara Dixon order with the code “ivybranch“!

For the culinary mom, these gorgeous woodburnt spoons by Being Sara Dixon are absolutely perfect.  Each spoon is woodburnt by hand with a unique design, so not only are they functional, but they’re a fun way to spice up your mom’s utensil drawer.  Or, better yet, take Sara’s suggestion and display them in a snazzy vase as shown in this photo!  They are simultaneously the perfect kitchen tool as well as an elegant decorative accent–your mom will love them.

Read my full interview with Being Sara Dixon here!

Whatever gift you end up buying for your mother, be sure to make her feel precious and loved.  Pull together a nice meal, round up all your siblings, and create a real tribute to the amazing woman who raises you, sacrifices for you, and is always ready with a piece of advice and a warm hug.  Happy shopping, and happy Mother’s Day!

 

Oak Leaf Pottery – The Elegance of Rusticware

I’m always excited to introduce a new kind of shop on Ivy&Branch, and I couldn’t be happier to introduce Oak Leaf Pottery as the first ceramics shop on the blog.  I first encountered Oak Leaf Pottery through my friend Sarah Collins (co-founder of Modern Forestry Candles–reread my post on them here).  Sarah is good friends with Allison Gross, the potter behind Oak Leaf Pottery, and I had the chance to see Allison’s work at Modern Forestry’s “Forestry Friday” event in early April.

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I love the earthy tones on these mugs and plates–characteristic colors used in Allison’s work.

Allison began to fall in love with ceramics during college, and she graduated with a degree in art education.  She taught art for several years, but when she and her husband moved to South Carolina three years ago, she began to think seriously about doing ceramics full-time.  Today, she has her own home studio and runs Oak Leaf Pottery as her full time job.

While interviewing Allison, I was blown away by her powerful work ethic and the sheer magnitude of responsibilities she has day in and day out.  Not only does Allison run Oak Leaf Pottery, but she’s also a stay-at-home mom for her eight-month-old son, Levi. Balancing work with motherhood is no small challenge, but Allison has managed to tend to both with dedication and lots of love.  She works around Levi’s sleep schedule and manages her tasks with the help of her husband, Dan.

The Grosses

Dan and Allison Gross with their precious baby boy, Levi.

Despite the hectic aspect of being  a full-time wife, mother, and working woman all at once, Allison expressed the serenity she experiences when creating pottery.  Her favorite process is forming the clay on the wheel and shaping it into a piece that will be a functional and cherished ceramic in someone’s home.

“I think that people are drawn to pottery…each potter has their own style.  No two potters are alike.  People like to find their favorite style and then they sort of stick with you.  Potters are earthy and welcoming and there’s a parallel between them and their work.  It’s really important to have a connection with people.” -Allison Gross

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These vases showcase the breathtaking “wood streaking” stain that Allison uses, not to mention the incredible carving and hints of color.

While no two potters are the same, Allison also shared that, as a potter, you have to spend a lot of time brainstorming in order to create your own distinctive “look” in order to stand apart.  After experimenting for a couple of years, Allison achieved the signature style that is iconic of Oak Leaf Pottery: by applying red iron oxide to white clay, Allison achieves a beautifully unique wood-like stain to her ceramics.  Along with the characteristic stain, Allison loves to experiment with stamping and carving her works, another rustic detail that sets her work apart.

Fairy houses

I can’t get over these precious “fairy houses” that Allison makes with leftover clay scraps. They would be adorable nestled in a backyard garden.

Allison makes multiple different pieces to sell, though some of her favorites include teapots and her lovable “fairy houses.”  She also makes ceramic jewelry and does a lot of wholesale work, oftentimes throwing upwards of fifty mugs in one night.  Allison is certainly an exceptionally hard-working woman, dedicated to both her art and her family.  Follow Oak Leaf Pottery on Instagram and Facebook, and you’ll see for yourself the incredible drive of this family-run business, as well as the distinctive elegance of Allison’s ceramics.

 

Grace Under Pressure – Inspired Art and Calligraphy

When I think of the Etsy shop Grace Under Pressure–and my friend and mentor, Nancy Campbell, who runs it–it’s hard to separate the product from the artist behind it all.  Mrs. Campbell is the embodiment of everything worth loving about the South: grace, hospitality, charm, and an impeccable sense of style.  When I visited Mrs. Campbell’s home to interview her for the blog, she laid out a whole afternoon tea spread–and sent me home with a slice of her delectable Lady Baltimore cake.

Rainbow Row

If this doesn’t say Southern Charm, I don’t know what does. I’m IN LOVE with this Rainbow Row print from Grace Under Pressure!

The artwork and calligraphy you’ll find in Grace Under Pressure are distinctive and spellbinding–but if you detect something vaguely familiar about Mrs. Campbell’s watercolors and graceful creations, it’s for a reason: Nancy Campbell is the mother of Meg Sanders, who was my first featured artist here on Ivy&Branch (reread my article on Meg’s shop here)!  Though you can clearly see the mother-daughter influence in the works of Grace Under Pressure as well as I Say Grace Art, you’ll also notice that each have their own unique flare that is wonderful to discover.

Nancy

To me, Mrs. Campbell perfectly represents hospitality, generosity, and kindness–qualities that are reflected in her artwork.

At Grace Under Pressure, you’ll find no shortage of beautiful prints to browse through.  Nancy Campbell’s style blends tasteful subtlety with fanciful details; she has a unique talent for complementing quotes (written in lovely calligraphy, of course) with inspired images rendered in watercolor.  Mrs. Campbell says that sometimes the quote inspires the artwork, or the artwork brings to mind a quote; either way, she certainly has a knack for pairing perfectly words and images.

Celtic Crosses

This Scripture and Celtic crosses print provides a perfect example of Mrs. Campbell’s gift for combining beautiful words with powerful imagery.

Art has been a part of Mrs. Campbell’s life for as long as she can remember, though she explains that it’s only been in the past few years that she’s really expanded her techniques and mediums, playing with different kinds of pens, color schemes, and enjoying the extra-special touch of embossing.

“It’s good to develop different facets of your life.  I would encourage people, if they see something beautiful or good or true, to just import it into their life.  Try it. Do it.   There’s worthiness in exposure, not just mastery.” – Nancy Campbell

Journals

Painted journals are another delightful item in Grace Under Pressure.  The florals and the glint of metallic make a gorgeous combination.

Grace Under Pressure is a treat for both the eyes and the soul: you’ll find prints that share Scripture, embody the cozy loveliness of a Southern home, or simply provide a beautiful image to frame and enjoy.  Be sure to find Mrs. Campbell on Etsy, as well as follow her blog, The Grace Under Pressure, where Mrs. Campbell discusses a range of edifying subjects, ranging from artwork to culture to parenting.  A visit to Grace Under Pressure–whether you’re perusing the blog or shopping on Etsy–is a sure source of enrichment.

Student Artisans – A Discovery Worth Making

Probably my favorite thing about running Ivy&Branch is discovering great new shops and the creations of talented makers, which is why the Andie Craft Fair at Anderson University was such a treat for me.  AU only launched this event for the first time last semester around Christmastime, but it was so wildly popular that they’ve hosted it again this spring.  As a small but prestigious School of the Arts, Anderson University has plenty of reason to show off their talented, artistic students and the beautiful creations they make.

Paper beads

These handmade paper beads (Anna Tabor Jewelry) are mesmerizing. There were several gorgeous pre-made necklaces available, or you had the option to make one yourself.

Andie Craft Fair is an outlet for student artisans to showcase and sell their handmade wares, whether that’s art, jewelry, woven goods, or anything in-between.  Many of these products are the result of skills acquired in class, such as ceramics and photography.  Others are the product of long-practiced hobbies that have been transformed into marketable goods.

Milltown leather table

Hey there, Milltown Leather! They had some beautiful new products to present.

In college, when funds are notoriously short, it is so important for students to be given resources for using their incredible artistic skills to make a profit.  Last semester, at the first Andie Craft Fair, several of my friends said they were able to make a few hundred bucks off of their sales–that goes a LONG way for a college student!

Madi's table

One of my Interior Design friend makes very chic jewelry, prints, and hand-stamped canvases made into pillows, bags, and wall art. I’m begging her to open an Etsy shop!

Andie Craft Fair–and similar student markets you may very well find at other universities–are far from half-baked events with trinkets for sale.  These students churn out beautiful, carefully-crafted goods that are a credit to their skill.  Here’s hoping that Anderson University keeps up this fun and beneficial event, supporting their talented students and providing an excellent shopping outlet for everyone involved!

Shelby's table

My good friend Shelby is a prodigious jewelry maker–her table was very popular!

The Artful Sojourn – Jewelry with an Impact

Lisa Gum, founder and designer of The Artful Sojourn, does more than make beautiful jewelry: she’s a visionary with a mission to relieve the suffering of impoverished children in India, and she does this all the way from her home in Virginia.  The story and passion behind Lisa’s business is well worth learning about (and supporting!)

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The Artful Sojourn founder & desinger, Lisa Gum: a lovely creative who makes lovely things (check out the sweet little choker necklace she’s wearing!) Photo credits: Hilary Hyland Photography

I met Lisa two years ago at my (soon-to-be) sister-in-law’s wedding.  My fiance’s family has been close friends with the Gums for many years, and it only took a few minutes with Lisa and her family to feel like I’d known them my whole life, too.  Lisa has a gentle, heartwarming personality that immediately places one at ease, so it made total sense to me when I learned that her jewelry business, The Artful Sojourn, is partnered with Big World Project.

Etsy Favorite Message

Lisa feels a heavy burden to support needy children in India, and she makes a significant contribution through The Artful Sojourn.

Lisa began The Artful Sojourn just before starting college five years ago, making jewelry to raise funds for a mission trip.  Lisa quickly realized how much she enjoyed working with her hands and began to develop The Artful Sojourn as a business, while at the same time searching for a missions-focused charity that she could support with her profits.  One Sunday, the founder of Big World Project came to deliver a sermon at Lisa’s church, and she felt immediately that this was the ministry she wanted to support.

View More: http://gaudiumphotography.pass.us/artfulsojourn

Geometric shapes are a favorite design element in The Artful Sojourn. Photo credit: Gaudium Photography

The Artful Sojourn’s jewelry style has evolved since its beginning, reflecting Lisa’s taste and lifestyle over the years.  Lisa laughingly describes her style as “a little Bohemian,” but you’ll also find that her pieces are minimalistic, easy to wear, and highlight Lisa’s favorite natural elements like tumbled gemstones and hammered metal.

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This pendant necklace features a stunning coin of marble; a clean, sophisticated look that’s reflective of The Artful Sojourn’s aesthetic. 

As both an artist and a missionary, Lisa shared that she’s about to embark on “living the real sojourner life.”  During the fall of 2016, Lisa began to feel called to make a gutsy move: to buy a van, pack up her shop, and travel nationwide to participate in missions work and expand her range of craft shows.  Though Lisa is still searching for a van, she’s pursuing this vision full of faith, booking craft shows and making plans to leave her much-loved hometown.

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I love the subtle details in Lisa’s work, like the tiny blue gemstone in this knuckle ring. Photo credit: Hilary Hyland Photography

Lisa was able to take on The Artful Sojourn as her full time job back in 2016, so I asked her what she found to be the hardest part about running a small business.  Laughing, Lisa immediately responded that motivation is oftentimes the most difficult aspect.  Beginning a business is full of excitement, but not everything is glamorous, exciting, or immediately rewarding.  But Lisa was quick to add that she absolutely loves what she does, and finds motivation through faith:

“I think the biggest thing is continually remembering that this is not about me.  Every day, I’m giving The Artful Sojourn to the Lord and saying ‘Okay God, this is for you.  Whatever you want to do with this, it’s in your hands.’  That’s the biggest motivator and encourager.” -Lisa Gum

The Artful Sojourn brings an entire new meaning to jewelry that is both beautiful and functional; not only is Lisa’s jewelry conducive to an active lifestyle, but it’s functional in the sense that each piece of jewelry works toward rescuing children in need in India.  Follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and have fun browsing her beautiful jewelry through Etsy or her website!

Forestry Friday

Spring has sprung!  The Southeast seemed to skip winter altogether, but now plants are actually sprouting up, turning green, and blooming.  If you can ignore the pollen, spring is truly a beautiful time of year, made especially exciting by the advent of spring markets, festivals, and other local events.  I jumped into spring market season by attending Modern Forestry’s “Forestry Friday” event this past weekend, and I can’t resist sharing a little of my experience with you all!

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Modern Forestry had a “make your own candle” station set up.  My sister mixed up her own concoction and got to make a custom label.  Excellent fun!

After a VERY tedious day in the office on Friday, I was 100% ready when I got home to hop in the car with my sister, Savannah, and head out for a bit of weekend fun.  We had both been hearing about Forestry Friday for several weeks and were excited to meet new makers, sample some tasty food, and enjoy a time of relaxation.

Forestry Friday turned out to be a really enjoyable and laid-back event.  For those who may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by massive craft markets, Forestry Friday offers the perfect balance of variety and intimacy.  There were plenty of vendor tables to explore, but I was also able to pause, browse, and talk to different vendors without being jostled by a massive crowd.

Southern Bliss

Forestry Friday had all sorts of wonderful vendors set up.  Southern Bliss designs did custom wood-burning specialties on the spot!

The thing about seasonal markets, fairs, and events is that they’re truly there to serve the community.  They create an opportunity for makers/vendors to share their goods while also providing entertainment for everyone involved.  And yes, most makers have an online presence and you could easily view and order their wares through the internet; however, you can never beat actually interacting with the people behind the business and getting to view and handle their products in person.

Modern Forestry

Of course, we couldn’t resist digging around Modern Forestry’s sale basket. The Collins always seem to have such a blast working together (with baby Peter in tow!)

Furthermore, these types of events offer something tangible to place on your calendar and look forward to.  In this busy, bustling world, it’s well worth it to commit to a community event, gather up a band of friends, and make a memory.  I look forward to many Forestry Fridays in the future, along with the advent of all sorts of different festivals, markets, and fairs coming in the next few weeks.  Be sure to follow Modern Forestry on social media to keep up with more details about upcoming events!

All In – Amazing Coffee and House-made Pastries

For every small town, there’s the local gathering place.  For some towns, this may be a favorite diner or pub, but in Clemson, South Carolina, it’s All In Coffee Shop.  All In opened in April 2012, and as a high school junior I fell in love with the place and have been going ever since.  So many things set All In apart as a coffee shop that it’s hard to know what to describe first: the house-made pastries?  The outstanding coffee?  The homelike atmosphere?  All these things are what make All In a local favorite, but to understand what makes All In work, you’ve got to know the beautiful vision behind it.

Vernon

My awesome sister tagged along to snap pictures while I chatted with Vernon, the kind-hearted owner behind All In Coffee Shop.

Vernon Bacher, along with his wife Maria, started All In with the desire to serve the community, first and foremost.  Vernon is a residential contractor by trade, though he and his family have traveled around the world doing missions work for years.  After a while, though, Vernon began to feel a frustrating conflict between his desire to minister and the language barrier he often encountered during mission trips.  Around this time, he began to realize that his long-time hometown, Clemson, supported a large international population, all of whom spoke English.  This was the spark that got All In started; the Bachers began to feel the need to create a warm, inviting gathering place where both locals and homesick internationals could gather, connect, and enjoy each other.

Mural

A friend of the Bacher’s has been working on this mural over the past few years, Michelangelo-style.  It’s truly a stunning feature when you walk in.

When I asked Vernon what he believes sets All In apart, he just smiled and pointed to the ceiling, which is beautifully covered in a stunning mural that includes landmarks from all over the world.  As you explore All In, you’ll notice other little nods to international culture, such as international bills tucked under glass tables and a massive map on the wall with hundreds of pins stuck into it where international students have marked home.

Caramel bars

I’ve spent many years drooling over All In’s pastry case.

“We’re here to represent something bigger than we are. We want to be a light here in Clemson–that’s been my prayer.  We want to run a business, but more importantly, we want to provide a sense of belonging.” -Vernon Bacher

The atmosphere at All In feels more like a home than a cramped coffee shop, and the food and drinks are spectacular.  Vernon believes strongly in the difference that fresh coffee beans make, remarking that ground coffee begins to taste stale after just seven days.  Because of that, All In only ever uses the freshest coffee in their drinks, and the difference is noticeable.  And not only are their drinks delectable, but they’re also beautiful.

coffee and lemon bar

A Chocolate-Covered Strawberry mocha (one of my favorite All In drinks!) and a scrumptious lemon bar.  All In’s “coffee art” is just delightful.

All In is as much an outstanding bakery as it is a coffee shop.  All of the pastries and desserts at All In are made on-site, usually by Maria Bacher, the genius behind All In’s incredible baked goods.  From dessert bars to cheesecakes, fresh scones and muffins, layer cakes and cookies, All In provides copious options for the sweet tooth.  Having spent years sampling All In’s sweets, I can testify: all of their desserts are out of this world delicious, though Vernon says that the cinnamon rolls are a constant favorite.

If you’re in the Clemson area, you’ve got to stop by All In coffee shop.  Try one of their signature drinks, like the White Tiger (white chocolate and chai), or stop by on a Tuesday afternoon for Bubble Tea Tuesday.  While you’re at it, order one of Maria’s mouth-watering sweets and find a cozy armchair by the fire to read a book or catch up with a friend.  While you’re there, I guarantee you’ll notice something besides the outstanding food and coffee–you’ll discover a place where people from all over the world can gather and find a sense of home.

Go Find ‘Em!

106 Earle Street

Clemson, SC 29631

http://allincoffeeshop.com/