Posts Tagged ‘athens’

Connecting people to roots and roots to food and food to people.

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

There are some people that just do it right. And the folks behind Farm 255 in Athens, Georgia, are definitely some of those people.

Over the past couple months I’ve been blessed to get to spend time with Olivia and Jason (two of “those people”) as well as the food that they are dishing out to the fine people of Georgia. I visited with Olivia when RoadHug filmed its pilot back in August (which is STILL in post production…in case you were wondering…) and I fell in love. Not only with Olivia but also with the restaurant, the passion, the people, the food and the concept. After wrapping (I think that’s what they call it when you finish shooting), I went to Farm Burger, the sister restaurant in Decatur, Georgia, and fell in love a little more.

Then, in October, I went back for some more. A lot more. In fact, I was walking in the door of Farm Burger within an hour of entering the Atlanta area. Even better, I was dragging four starving-college-student-vegetarians with me for my little sister’s birthday. Why would I take vegetarians to a burger joint? Because on top of the delectable grass-fed, sustainably-raised, hormone-free beef, they also serve up a mean quinoa burger. Want to know what else they have? Gluten-free buns…if you are feeling so inclined.

Then, I got the mother lode of love from The Farm (as it is known in Athens). In the couple weeks I spent in Georgia, I dined at Farm 255 not once, but twice AND I got to hang out with Jason, his awesome wife, Laura and their adorable little tot on the current site of Moonshine Meats. I roamed with the cows and played with the piggies…from the 600 lb. mama’s to the day-old piglets. It was a dream come true – to see, in person, what can be achieved when a couple people come together with the single intention of bringing you…me…us…closer to our food. Click below and listen to Olivia tell us how they do it, why they do it and most importantly, what “it” is that they do.

Airee Hong of Agora Vintage Recommends …

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Last week we were kickin’ it (and filming it) in Athens, Georgia for the pilot episode of the television show we are creating that is ROADHUG!

As the social media maven of the group (I’m a little obsessed, just check out my personal twitter page for affirmation) I took it upon myself to film as much background as possible with my handy dandy FLIP cam.

Here I talk to Agora vintage store owner Airee Hong (she’s AWESOME!) on one of her new favorite pieces in the store and how it represents vintage style. These boots? Totally unique. Totally hand-designed. And by this crazy awesome conceptual artist “Sam the Artist” who will personally design anything you bring him.

Can I bring my ’99 beat-up Camry to Sam the Artist for some stellar signature style and revamping? According to Airee, YES! Anything goes with Sam the Artist.

I tried Googling Sam, but I couldn’t find the right link. If anyone finds his contact information, lemme know. I’m sure that if I executed some of these tips on how to date clothing as vintage, that I’d learn more about Sam’s magnificent piece and when it was made.

Shoot me a line Or just send me some more suggestions on what to see and do across this country when RoadHug comes to network television near YOU!

Our 24 Hours in Athens, Georgia: Top Picks in Food, Fashion & Music

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Athens rocks and not just in the music sense. When we picked Athens, Georgia as the location for our pilot we knew nothing about the town. Okay, that’s not true. Darla knew that it was the home of the Bulldogs. Sammy knew that it was a college town – what college? No idea. Julia knew that rock legends R.E.M. and B52s hailed from its streets. That was honestly the extent of our knowledge.

Ask us about Athens and good luck getting us to shut up about how much we saw and did in one day. We followed the locals’ suggestions and visited their favorite spots. From sipping coffee at the townie and college students’ alike favorite caffeine joint, to jamming with a staple in Athens’ flourishing music scene to playing dress-up in a warehouse-size store of vintage and one-of-a-kind finds – we definitely gave RoadHug the love it deserves. In return, this tight-knit, creatively caring and local-centric community gave us a warm welcome and introduction to what this Georgia town is all about.

Read on for what Darla, Sammy and Julia tasted, wore and listened to during their 24 hours in Athens, Georgia.

Darla’s 8 step process for satisfying a mean food craving in Athens.

The White Tiger — #3 on Darla’s list

1. Start e’ry day at The Grit. Why? Because being around southern vegetarians is a nice way to start the morning.

2. Visit FarmCart. Not only can you scarf down a bangin’ housemade sausage dog, but you can also polish off a PBR tall boy while waiting for resident cutie Lou to work his magic on the grill. And, honestly, there’s nothing like drinking in the middle of the afternoon by yourself to make you feel like a real degenerate.

3. Pull up a picnic table at The White Tiger (complete with orange floral print plastic tablecloth). Order the BBQ Sandwich and revel in the fact that Ken (one of the Tiger’s owner’s) drop the word ‘righteous’ 7 times in one story.

4. Pork sausage dogs. Pulled pork sandwiches. Alright. If you want to eat something other than a pig or if Porky happens to be a personal friend of yours, go to Clocked and order the Black Bean Burger. Even a flesh loving carnivore like me thinks it’s reason enough to return.

5. Don’t trust my suggestions so far? Forget you. Just kidding. If you don’t like what I’m throwing out there, give Mary Charles a call over at Athens Food Tours. Since it’s her JOB to know where to eat, you know you can trust her. She’ll take you around to some of her local haunts — like La Dolce Vita where you can savor some local heirloom tomatoes with housemade mozzarella.

6. Here’s an old theory of mine: frozen yogurt sucks. Here’s a new theory of mine: frozen yogurt from Yoguri rocks. Instead of tasting like ice cream, owner Vena Kim figured out a way to make it taste like real Greek yogurt. And you know what they say “When in Athens … or Rome … or whatever.”

7. Become a porch dweller at Jittery Joe’s. It’s simple really. Walk in. Order coffee (it’s all they serve after all). Sit on porch. Become BFF’s with owner and head-roaster, Charlie. Done.

8. Finish your day at Normal Bar in … wait for it … the Normaltown neighborhood of Athens. Drink the local brew — Terrapin, eat the boiled peanuts (pronounced “bowled” down here in Georgia) and admire the gorgeous bartenders.

Sammy’s top 10 list for finding fashion in the Athens heat.

Athenians shopping at Agora … Sammy’s #1 on her list.

1. Like some people go veggie … I say go vintage. Go vintage because the town’s shopping district boasts at least four vintage stores (check out Agora for the most awesomely affordable finds in vintage clothing for the ladies and the gents) and because like food, local fashion just feels better.

2. Music isn’t just for listening — it’s for wearing, too. Check out Gigworn for some sweet tees promoting the town’s 400-plus local bands. And unlike that Backstreet Boys shirt that cost you $35 at their 2004 summer tour, the rock shirts at Gigworn cost about the same (if not less) than a ticket to see a show at local venues like the 40 Watt Club. Is that the sweet musical sound of cha-ching that I hear?

3. Fashion from the young and restless. The young and restless college community, that is. University of Georgia is smack dab in the center of downtown Athens. So when you walk from the East Clayton boutiques to East Broad where UGA begins, you’re sure to catch a smattering of styles as inspired by the young academia of America. Sure, fashion isn’t physics (thank goodness), but it’s definitely worth a lesson or two from those young and crazy kids.

4. The town’s favorite color of fashion is green. Sick of your wardrobe and want to make a trade for some new threads? It’s as easy as this: The season changes. Your style changes. Your closet needs a clean-out. You clean out your closet. You bring those unwanted threads to a consignment or vintage store in Athens. You choose new styles at the store, you make a swap, and everybody from you to the owner to the environment are happy.

5. Cowboy hats aren’t just for cowboys. I saw a few cowboy hats and cowboy/cowgirl boots on those down (but not so dirty) Athens’ streets. Did I really see cowboys? I don’t know. Do I care if they were really cowboys? No, I don’t. Did they look good in their southern/western inspired apparel? Yes, they did. Case closed, Sammy D cowboy style endorsed.

6. The store where everyone knows your name. Ever walk into an H&M and be greeted by a personality-less store associate who adds little flavor to your shopping experience other than to acknowledge that yes, you are in an H&M and yes, you would like to know where the $5 sales rack is please?

Not in Athens. First, there ain’t no H&M here. Second, there ain’t no way you’re walking into a store without meeting the store owner or at the very least, an employee who’s passionate about giving you a positive shopping experience free from changing room lines and Rihanna’s “Disturbia” screaming into your ears as you comb the racks.

7. Don’t cross that T and don’t dub that W. I know you shop there. Hell, I even shop there occasionally. But do I HAVE to shop there? No, I don’t. Do you? No, you don’t. And neither do Athenians — and guess what? They don’t.

Big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart exist in Georgia, but nowhere near the downtown shopping district of Athens. So instead of trucking out to the nearest strip mall for their consumerist fix, Athenians turn to local business for their fashion. Urban? H&M? Forever 21? They’re at the mall. And according to Athens, that’s exactly where they can stay.

8. Name that Store. Junkman Brother’s Daughter. Minx. Wuxtry. Helix. Dynamite. Agora. Boogie Dog. I’m not talking in tongues. I’m not making drug references. And no, this isn’t a list of name ideas for a Sammy D alter ego.

All of the above are names of stores in Athens — from new apparel to vintage to records to jewelry to cigars and collectibles — the locals seem to know the nuances of the English language well. Guess I shouldn’t challenge them to a game of Scrabble?

9. Style stories aren’t just for the movies. At locals-endorsed coffee joint Jittery Joe’s, I met this kick-ass UGA student named Parker. And Parker was wearing a kick-ass sterling silver and turquoise wrist band a friend had sent him from Tibet. Apparently, the bracelet was over a hundred years old, quite valuable, and shipped all the way over seas to Parker in Athens.

It’s the conversation (and people) behind the style that makes the fashion most memorable. Or, in this case, at least worth blogging about.

10. The “Something for Everyone” mentality. Call me out on my wax poetic if you want, but Athens is a place where you can truly be yourself with both substance and style. Wear a burlap sack in Athens and the locals would applaud you for your innovativeness. Then they’d ask how they could make their own to contribute to the burlap sack movement, or whatever this progressive, artistically-driven-musical-haven-college-town-hippie retreat-locals-born-and-raised-southern-hamlet chooses to coin it.

Note: Sammy wrote a heck-of-a-lot more about fashion in Athens. I guess it’s just the I-love-to-share mentality in her. (She’s behind our FourSquare, Twitter, and Facebook, if you didn’t sense that already). Read the expanded version of her fashion in Athens recap on her personal blog here.

Julia’s 6 1/2 tips on how to get down in Athens.

Darla, Sammy & Julia smack dab in the middle of Athens’ band Modern Skirts.

1. Go to the 40 Watt Club. Even though it’s moved from its original location and is no longer lit by just a single, 40 watt bulb (phew – as if I didn’t bump into things enough with normal lighting), the new location is THE happening spot in town for music. Cool fact? It was made from things the owners found–even the toilet—and assembled by a group of volunteers. Now THAT is the definition of supporting local music!

2. Walk around Broad Street right along the UGA campus and chat with people. If you are an introvert, fear not. The locals have so much pride in their quirky artist town that they’ll be more than happy to welcome you like a new family member, minus bright pink lipstick on your cheek. Ask them what band you should check out and you’ll be surprised how much everyone in town knows about the local music calendar.

3. Go to Normal Bar. It’s just the cat’s pajamas. Not only do they have gluten-free beer (a must-have for an allergy-fest like me), but the bar’s soundtrack is never dull and the place is packed as early as 5pm on a Wednesday. The owner is a former touring musician and you can find him there almost every day of the week. You’ll be sure to make friends with the locals over a shot (or two…or six). And girls, say hi to the handsome bartender Noel if he’s there. Although rumor has it that he’s taken, a little treat for the eyes never did any harm!

4. Play banjo somewhere. It just seems appropriate. Since I didn’t get to do this on my trip (my heart is still breaking) I’m challenging you to. Please, find a banjo, play it and send me a picture so I can live vicariously through you. Note: My email is!

5. Since you’re going to be brushing shoulders with all the local rockstars, you’ve got to look the part yourself. Stop into Gigworn for a rocker t-shirt sensory overload and choose anything from a $5 shirt sporting local bands like Venice is Sinking to a $150 R.E.M. shirt from their first collection. Local musicians who shop there always get 20% off so with you supporting this business that supports the music business then you’re super supporting the music business and oh, well, you get what I’m trying to say!

6. Watch the Modern Skirts perform if they’re in town. Seriously, don’t ask questions. Just do it. I was lucky enough to catch an impromptu performance in their living room and was dancing on the kitchen floor before they even got to the first chorus. And considering we were strangers only five minutes earlier, it brings new meaning to the phrase “Dance like nobody’s watching.” And they LOVED it; responding with even more energy in their performance. See them and you and your glutes will thank me from all that booty shakin’.

6 1/2. When playing a saw, wedge it deep between your legs. And since you’ll probably have a tough time finding a saw to play I’ll only count that as half a tip.

Did we miss something in Athens? Just because we’ve already been, doesn’t mean we just might return. Drop us a suggestion on what to see and do in Athens and any other area of the country — hey, you just might see us in YOUR town!

Athens Fashion Stop Suggestion: GIGWORN

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

What I love most about RoadHug is its power to elicit suggestions. When we launched this site, we did so in order to get the best recommendations in food, fashion and music for activities around the country from YOU. We wanted to crowd source suggestions from you guys because this isn’t just our road trip … this is our Road HUG.

We’re in Athens right now, prepping to shoot our pilot webisode. We can’t wait to show you what we come up with — and the food, fashion and music we found to profile in this awesome, super inspiring college town.

Last week I received a fashion suggestion for Athens, from the owner of a store downtown called GIGWORN.

I had never heard of GIGWORN before, even from a friend in NYC who was born and raised in Athens. What did Sheridan, the owner of GIGWORN, have to say about her store that has me so excited to meet and greet her and its rad setting?

Music: Gigworn
Location: Athens, GA
Why Should I Check It Out: Because everything in the store is either vintage or supporting local musicians (band tees). And it’s the only store in Athens that targets local mens’ style.



(And I’m two blocks away from Agora!)

I gave GIGWORN’s site a look, and was super stoked to find that when I check out the store today, I can find vintage and new music tees, one-of-a-kind rockwear [perfect for all of the emerging musicians who originate from Athens] and low-key but true-to-you and affordable jeans, shirts, jackets, boots and I’m crossing my fingers on much, much more. It’s totally a 1960s fashion & 1970s fashion look straight out of a rocker’s closet from the era.

The store’s mantra? Rethink, rewear, rock.

Can I say LOVE?

I’m hoping GIGWORN has some vintage Doc Marten’s. It’s been my dream to own a pair. I’m not quite sure how a girlie girl like me would wear ‘em … maybe paired with a Courtney Love-Hole-My-So-Called-Life inspired floral dress number? Hmm. Athens is already inspiring!

The best part about GIGWORN: Some of its designs [namely the tees] support local musicians. I’ll be asking Sheridan just how the tees relate to the local musicians [can you get say, your favorite banjo player's logo emblazed on a soft cotton tee?] and learning more about what inspires this community driven, rockstar girl/guy’s paradise apparel store.

Athens, Georgia — here we come!

A reminder…courtesy of Zeus

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Mike Thomas...trainer extraordinaireI was going to post a cute little recap about a rehearsal dinner I catered last week for my friend Linda’s son. I had some video to upload…some dishes to show you…kitchen tips to share…and then…then I realized that RoadHug is exactly 2 weeks out from filming OUR PILOT IN ATHENS and that my super-strict “I need to look as hella good as possible on camera” eating plan would probably be more interesting at the moment…at least to me and frankly, that matters. So, I took a blog post I had originally wrote for my old blog (pre-RoadHug and therefore pre-fabulousness) and repurposed it here (that was for you Ginger). I may not be working out with Zeus anymore, but boy do I miss those days…

Enjoy reading and while you’re at it…enjoy eating some homemade ice cream for me ’cause god knows that ain’t passing my lips for a couple weeks.

Published January 5, 2010:
I was about to post a cute little recap about the first four days of the New Year.  You know, all those little Darla insights about the weird things she’s been spending her time doing, but…
…then I realized that Sammy and I are one week out from our S&S photoshoot and I panicked.  And as every 30 year old woman does at a moment of panic, I called my personal trainer (who now has a website so you can see how super cute he is).  Duh.  I informed him I need a militant training/nutrition regimen for the next week in order to glow in these photos (good news is that I’ve been told lately that I’ve been glowing anyway – phew, that’s a good start).  Want to know the rules?  Good, ’cause I want to share them.
1. No alcohol.  Did you hear that?  No alcohol.  It’s me for god’s sake.  What is Darla without a little booze?  I guess those of you who see me this next week will find out soon enough.  And I have to apologize to anyone who was expecting me to throw some back with you – perhaps we should postpone until after the 13th.
2. No food after 8 pm.  Who eats dinner before 8 pm?!
3. Very little to no salt.  Oh, that’s fine.  It’s only my favorite ingredient in the WORLD.
4. No cheese.  No dried fruit.  No peanut butter.
5. The food plan is too ridiculous to lay out in detail now because I will most likely jinx myself and not stick to it.  So, in the interest of toning my body to it’s absolute limits in one week I’ll just give the basics.  It looks something like this: green shake for breakfast, salad with animal protein for lunch and steamed veggies for dinner.  It’s starting to sound suspiciously similar to my week in Bangalore.
6. The training consists of turning my regularly tough Zeus sessions into killer circuit hours.  My first one is tomorrow morning (I’ll let you know how I fare).  Also adding an hour of running onto the end of said killer circuit hour.  And on the “off” days, doing 30 minutes of sprints followed by 60 minutes of regular old running.  Add core onto each day and I have myself a week.
This plan makes eating, partying and dating difficult and, well, what else is there?

What’s Style in Athens? It’s More Than Just Peachy-Keen

Friday, July 30th, 2010

athens signIf you haven’t heard … RoadHuggers are heading to Athens, Georgia to explore our country’s great southern land down under.

Why Athens? Because it’s a cultural center & college town. It’s where great musicians were born, bred, and beautified for national & international acclaim [think B52s, REM and fresh indie stars Of Montreal, plus tons more]. Because it’s about an hour from Atlanta [read: easy airport access] and because we have some major hookups in the ATL region [read again: videographers and photographers galore!]

Julia can’t wait to meet local musicians and see the hottest venues where stars are made. Darla can’t wait to taste her way through town and find the most nutritious, satisfying food and meet talented, innovative chefs and tastemakers.

And me? Well, I’m ready to try on whatever you throw at me. Get my hands dirty in whatever vintage/thrift/second-hand store we pull over to check out [and trust, if we pass a thrift store on our drive, we WILL be stopping!]. And most importantly, to meet the locals and college students, along with the up and coming fashionistas/fashionistos, boutique owners and fashion designers, who make Athens the kick ass town we know it is.

We’ve been active on Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare to get the word out that we’re heading to Athens for our first stop. And thanks to that energy, we’ve received a few suggestions on what to do, where to go and what to see, eat, wear, and listen to.

I’m excited to share with you the latest three suggestions for all-things-fashion in Athens, Georgia! Read on to see what I might explore, and be sure to send me a suggestion [or Darla or Julia, too!] on how to experience Athens and relay what’s best back to YOU!

And while we can’t promise anything, we may just have to eat a peach while we’re there. And film ourselves doing it. Comment now if you’re excited to see ;-)

Agora Vintage Store
260 West Clayton Street, Downtown Athens
Recommended by: Lauren from Athens BLVD Magazine

Why Lauren Recommended Agora: Lauren saw that I’m a vintage nut [OK, obsessive may be more accurate perhaps] and recommended her favorite affordable vintage/thrift store in downtown Athens: Agora.

Why I Like ‘Em: I did some research on Agora, which was originally founded by owner Airee Hong as a vintage/antique furniture store to offer affordable home wares/furniture to the area’s bustling college population. A store owner who wants to help customers first and foremost? Now that’s my kind of vintage lady!

Said Lauren to me about Hong when recommending Agora, “She really knows her stuff and is always willing to give a great deal!”

If we end up visiting Agora, it’d be my first official vintage store experience down south, which I hear is the mecca of vintage finds. The inherent problem with the northeast is that vintage is popular. It’s almost mainstream to wear it, thanks to pop culture influences and the what-comes-around-goes-around mentality of fashion-forward NYers. But down South? The trends and mentality differ — therefore more stock exists.

I can’t wait to see what treasures I find — and how I show you where to go for a vintage shopping experience in Athens!

Art & Life Clothing Company
Based out of Atlanta [not Athens, but still worth checking into!]
Recommended by: On Twitter, thanks to @aandlclothingco

Why I Like ‘Em: Their mission statement speaks to my belief in choosing fashion that makes you feel your best — because it speaks to who you are as a person and an art form. “We believe that clothing is more than just what a person wears. Clothing is a direct reflection of individuality, what one thinks, what one feels, and what one believes in.”

I want to meet independent designers who have made a brand and name from their passions. Art and Life Clothing appears to encapsulate just that — the mantra of creating clothing that doubles as art in life is something I wholeheartedly believe in and am inspired by. And you can’t beat a web site that has you jammin’ within seconds — if we have to take a detour from Athens to meet the young, forward-thinking designers behind this urban clothing line, I may take that steering wheel and DRIVE!

R.Wood Studio
450 Georgia Drive
Recommended by: Athens Living, the features section of the University of Georgia’s college newspaper, UGA Today

My Throwback to the Past: One of my favorite events of the summer growing up was the the local arts and crafts festival. I used to go absolutely gaga over the hand made jewelry, paintings, furniture/antiques, pottery and everything else that runs the gamut at a local art show.

With the passing of time and my formative years turning into my college years, I forgot just how much I loved these annual events. And how, if I could build the home of my dreams, it would only include the handmade arts by people I met and formed an artist-consumer relationship with.

Why I Like ‘Em: That’s why I’m so excited by the thought of visiting Athens’ R.Wood Studio, a self-dubbed “potter’s house” selling handmade ceramics made from locally sourced Georgian clay. I love that line! How often do we even begin to think about where the clay is from that makes our dishware?

AT R.Wood, you not only have a team of local artists building your one-of-a-kind product that is made entirely in house [everything from design to firing!], but the clay is quite literally from your backyard. I bet if you asked them, you could visit the location of where the clay is sourced — almost like visiting the farm where your food is purchased and then sold at your town’s local farmer’s market.

I’m ashamed to say, but my dishware currently comes from my local Wal-Mart — but after visiting Athens, I may just be getting my hands dirty and making some of my own one-of-a-kind Sammy D plates, cups and silverware. I swear my food will taste better!