Five Loves Handmade – Where functional meets stylish

If you’re a fan of functional + stylish, then get ready for Five Loves Handmade to become your new favorite small business. Stacy began crafting her rope bags and baskets four years ago after the birth of her fifth child (hence, “Five Loves”), and she quickly discovered that she wasn’t the only one who valued the combo of practicality and style.

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Stacy’s big, roomy tote bags are perfect for holding ALL the goodies. Ideal for tucking away books, journals, tablets, etc. for a day at the coffee shop. PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy hand-dyes the colored ropes she uses, gravitating toward earthy color pallets that reflect the natural resources she uses in her products (cotton rope, leather, wood, etc.). The concepts behind the bags are simple, tasteful, and timeless—a product that can be used for any occasion or décor, and will remain stylish for years to come. And Stacy’s products are made to last—she uses durable materials, blending in that function element alongside the beauty.

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The darling AYLA bowls are Stacy’s most popular — they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. They make the perfect “catch-all” for keys, wallets, spare change… PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy’s favorite part about running a small business? The freedom and flexibility to work at her own pace. With (now six!) children in hand, Stacy loves that she has the freedom to either slow down and focus on family, or ramp up production for an extra income boost, which Stacy describes as “really empowering for me!”

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Sturdy yet elegant, Five Loves Handmade baskets make beautiful home accents. PC: Five Loves Handmade

You’ll find a variety of products at Five Loves Handmade, from rope baskets and bags to leather clutches and macrame artwork. Stacy intentionally designs each piece to complement the materials, which is apparent in the gorgeous textures and tasteful simplicity of each piece. Her baskets make the perfect, versatile home accent piece, and her totes and clutches are great to accessorize any outfit. If you gravitate toward her stylish HOPE bag, then you can feel extra good about your purchase: Stacy annually selects a ministry focusing on rescuing sex traffic victims to receive all proceeds from her HOPE bag sales.

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The oh-so-chic HOPE bag. It’s easy to see why this bag is popular. PC: Five Loves Handmade

Stacy is always designing new styles and experimenting with colors and details. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for sales announcements and shop updates, and also follow her on Facebook and shop on her website!

Asheville Anniversary Trip

Better late than never, right? Benjamin and I had a short but peaceful weekend getaway to Asheville, NC for our anniversary in May, and we visited some really excellent small businesses while there. With Asheville so close to Greenville, it’s a great day trip destination, and these places are certainly worth visiting.

Corner Kitchen

Nestled right on the cobblestone sidewalks of the Biltmore Village, this home-turned-restaurant is a charming dinner destination. While the atmosphere is cozy and intimate, you’ll find the food to be unexpected and perfectly prepared.

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Unexpected, indeed, to find this mind-blowing bowl of ramen in the cottage-like atmosphere of Corner Kitchen. The broth was rich and flavorful, and the pork belly was perfection itself.

For the thirsty, there is an impressive wine and beer menu, along with many signature cocktails. Corner Kitchen is casual enough for a laid-back lunch, but is certainly special enough for a fancier occasion.

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For dessert: a fresh raspberry souffle with lemon and cream sauce. To DIE for.

 

Malaprop’s Bookstore

You can tell a lot about a town by the quality of its small bookstores, and Malaprop’s Bookstore represents Asheville with good taste and plenty of charm. Something I appreciate in a bookstore: good organization. Malaprop’s offers a wide variety of books, and they’re all labeled and organized. Such a pleasant shopping experience.

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Malaprop’s had an excellent collection of regional books and authors.

Curate

One of the most exciting experiences we had in Asheville was at Curate…and, we got so wrapped up in enjoying the food and atmosphere that we forgot to take photos altogether (face palm). As one of the hottest restaurants in Asheville at the moment, we were lucky to get a table—literally grabbed the last lunch reservation, and we were reserving a week in advance! There’s a reason Curate is so popular, though: the Spanish-style tapas cuisine is not only delicious, but unique and unexpected. We ordered a variety of dishes, from a tomato bruschetta (very simple, but so flavorful), preserved white asparagus with lemon vinaigrette, shrimp with sherry, and fried eggplant with rosemary and honey. It was unbelievably scrumptious, and I would return in a heartbeat (and take pictures, next time!)

French Broad Chocolates

The place I probably wanted to visit the most in Asheville was French Broad Chocolates, the ultimate Mecca for any chocolate lover. They offer hand-crafted chocolates (anything from truffles, chocolate bars, hot cocoa mixes, and more), baked goods, coffees, ice creams, and more. I tried their legendary liquid truffle while there (I can’t describe how decadent and delicious it was), then we returned for a box of truffles, which were an incredible experience.

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Smoked salt, raspberry, strawberry & balsamic, earl grey…just some of the flavors we picked out for our box of truffles. French Broad Chocolates has a wide variety of flavors, including seasonal  themed collections.

There are dozens of other restaurants, bakeries, shops, and more that we could have explored, but we were so pleased with the taste of Asheville we experienced. It’s a beautiful vacation spot with lots of fun activities, not least of which is, of course, the spectacular Biltmore house. Give these spots a try, and let me know how you like them!

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Celebrating one excellent first year of marriage with Benjamin. What a great weekend!

Chasing Rabbits Tea – A refreshing change from coffee

People who know me quickly find out that I am a tea fanatic. While I enjoy coffee, I’ve often been disappointed by the few options and poor quality of teas offered in cafes and coffee shops. You can imagine my joy, then, when I discovered Chasing Rabbits Tea in downtown Greenville, only a couple short blocks from my workplace.

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Order a refreshing tea in-store, or take a bag of loose leaf tea home with you! PC: Chasing Rabbits Tea

Chasing Rabbits Tea is owned by Tracie and Allie Combs, a mother-daughter team who both have a passion for tea. When Allie discovered that regularly drinking green rooibos tea healed her skin issues, she and her mother both dove into research about other teas and their health benefits. They soon discovered that tea offers a wide range of benefits, and they developed a passion for sharing this knowledge with others.

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Allie and Tracie have a great relationship and love working together, which is immediately obvious as soon as you meet them. PC: Chasing Rabbits Tea

When you walk into Chasing Rabbits Tea, you’ll immediately be captivated by the whimsical decor, influenced heavily by classic literature and popular fandoms (think: Harry Potter, Doctor Who, etc.). The name “Chasing Rabbits Tea” came from a brainstorm session that combined a nod to the local Swamp Rabbit Trail as well as Alice in Wonderland, which inspired the fun, topsy-turvy store theme. Besides tea, you can purchase all manner of teacups, tea pots, posters, note cards, and more at Chasing Rabbits Tea. You might find anything from a print of the Cheshire Cat to a Darth Vader figurine tucked between the shelves of tea paraphernalia!

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Whether you like a lightly-sweetened tea latte or a decadent blended bubble tea like the one pictured above, Allie and Tracie have you covered. PC: Chasing Rabbits Tea

When ordering a drink at Chasing Rabbits Tea, you might be a little dazzled by the seemingly endless options available. From traditional hot tea, to tea lattes and fraps, smoothies and tea sodas, protein shakes and bubble tea, there are limitless combinations to choose from. Personally, I adore the Lady Gray latte, and I’m also partial to an iced Bon-Bon Bonita tea (Chasing Rabbit’s rooibos blend with strawberry, peach, and citrus) with strawberry boba. Can’t bring yourself to choose? Just ask Allie or Tracie behind the counter—they have a knack for recommending just what you’d like.

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Trivia Nights are a big hit at Chasing Rabbits Tea. This is just one of many events that Allie and Tracie put on, much to the joy of the community. PC: Chasing Rabbits Tea

Allie and Tracie are both genuinely knowledgeable about tea and are incredibly friendly. I find it refreshing to discover a place that focuses purely on tea: offering high-quality blends for purchase, creating delicious drinks, and providing insightful knowledge about tea’s benefits. To quote Tracie: “My hope is that CR Tea Co. will become a source for information, open discussion, and empower others to make choices to live better and smarter while they drink something delicious!”

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You’ll find your favorite blends like chai or jasmine-green tea at Chasing Rabbits Tea, as well as many innovative blends, many of which rotate seasonally. PC: Chasing Rabbits Tea

Definitely follow Chasing Rabbits Tea on Instagram for stunning (and sometimes wild-looking!) pictures of tea concoctions, and also follow them on Facebook to see all their fun upcoming events. Next time you’re in downtown Greenville near East McBee Avenue, pop into their store—you won’t be disappointed!