Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Memphis Style: The Attic

I've mentioned before that, when I moved to Overton Square in 2009, there was...not a lot. 

A couple of bars and restaurants.

A head shop.

Lots of abandoned store fronts and lots.

There was certainly no place to buy cute clothes or jewelry.

But that all changed in late 2013 when The Attic came to the Square.

Located on the corner of Madison and Cooper, between Bar Louie and Lafayette's, The Attic is one of my favorite places to shop.

I've bought a ton of jewelry, several dresses, jeans, tops, sweaters, and even tees from The Attic, and loved every single piece!

Plus it's a great space, with some of the friendliest staff in the neighborhood.

I mean, look at all this (reasonably priced for a boutique!) jewelry! And that huge displace of WoodWick candles!

I'm like a junkie with candles. I can not stop smelling them.

They have beauty products.

And I'l support any place that has local t-shirts!

I desperately wanted that Zach Randolph one but they didn't have my size. The street names one is great too - all from a local artist and carried locally!

In addition to the great candles and jewelry, they also have some really cute soaps and small gifts. This would be the perfect place to shop for graduation or birthday gifts!

They also have, for being a smaller store, a really big selection of clothes.

I'm seriously lusting over this dress.

I have a patterns problem.

The Attic also has a surprisingly large plus size selection, something that's almost unheard of in boutique stores.

I am a very short, curvy person and I almost always find something I want AND that fits in The Attic. I actually bought this dress (and proceeded to take a really awful selfie, clearly) right after they opened and wear it all the time. 

(It's definitely me that's awkward. Not the dress. Also this was in The Orpheum restroom, and it was so damn cold outside I was still shivering.)

I want to buy all the summer clothes they have now, but I'm a broke grad student. Anyone who wants to contribute to the "Buy Amber Some New Clothes" fund, please email me. :)

They even have guys clothes!

(Look for a men's fashion post coming soon!)

And, my favorite place, the sale rack!

Although, honestly, the prices at The Attic are insanely reasonable. I think that awkward selfie dress was $40, maybe, and all the jewelry I've bought has definitely been under $20. So great for a gift or a little treat yo' self day!

(My spirit animals.)

Finally, I'm so in love with this idea, and can't wait to get one of these. Anyone who knows me knows that I am CONSTANTLY running out of battery on my phone. I need this.

This just shows that The Attic is both in tune with national trends (because we're all playing SimCity and taking too many selfies) AND loves Memphis. The local flair with the availability of great boutique brands makes The Attic one of my favorite places to shop! 

Alex and Ben, the co-owners of The Attic, are both super friendly, and have a great story as active members of the Memphis fashion and retail community:

"Alexandra Nicole and Benjamin Scharff, couple and co-owners of The Attic men's and women's clothing store in Overton Square, share an entrepreneurial passion. With Alexandra owning Adel Amor Cosmetics, The Ivory Closet, The Cedar Room, and a partner of Pageboy Salon on the Island and Benjamin owning IronJaw Dental Labs this couple has taken on the challenge to start a successful enterprise in Memphis, TN. When taking on their first business project together, they discovered that their plan had even a deeper meaning to both of them. They wanted to be a part in helping to renovate a piece of Memphis', almost forgotten, history. When the Loeb's took on the renovation of Overton Square and began looking for tenants, Alexandra and Ben were the first retail shop to sign on."

Plus, if you check in on Yelp right now, you can get 15% off any accessory or cosmetic item!

Please go and support Overton Square AND Memphis fashion!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recipe: The World's Easiest Marinade

Last weekend, one of my good friends and his friend from out of town sent me this text:

"Wanna grill out?"

Obviously the answer was yes, because I love to grill. 

And because "Wanna grill out" was followed by "I'll get some beer."

I love grilling. Add beer and it's a party!

I rooted through the fridge and found some chicken breasts (they were bringing lamb and steak), some asparagus, and some zucchini. I have a couple of tricks for the vegetables (like bringing them to room temperature before grilling, and my number one grilling tip below), but what to do with that chicken?

I needed a marinade.

A marinade that would only take as long as it took the grill to heat up and the veggies to get started.

I need The World's Easiest Marinade.

This marinade is so easy I didn't even take any pictures of myself making it.

But...here's a picture of a beer, the main ingredient!

(Yes, you can even use the worst of beers, Bud Light!)

Ingredients for 4 chicken breasts worth of marinade:

1 12oz can of beer (or a tall can - do you!)
1/2 cup olive oil
A few shakes each of black pepper, garlic powder, Cavender's, and cajun seasoning.
2 pinches of kosher salt

Then mix it together and plop your chicken breasts in.

Basically you can adjust these measurements for however many chicken breasts you have - you just want the marinade to almost cover whatever you put in the bowl.

I probably let this marinate for about an hour, and then just put the chicken on the grill. It turned out super tender and with a great flavor, and no one could believe it was such a simple marinade!

On the grill:

On my plate:

(Lamb, steak, chicken, asparagus, zucchini, and brussels sprouts. Oh yes.)

My one big tip for grilling anything that you're putting directly on a grill is kind of a pre-grilling step. Rather than washing the grill grate, or just oiling it with a brush, dip half an onion in olive oil, or in some reserved portions of this marinade, and run the grate down with the onion. Then throw it on the grill with your food - you'll get some great flavor!

Anyone else have quick and easy grilling tips? It's still so nice out in Memphis I'm using the grill a lot!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Memphis Nosh: Belly Acres

I've lived in Overton Square since I moved to Memphis in 2009. It was honestly in kind of a sad shape at that point, but watching it evolve and grow over the last 6 years has been amazing.

One of the best new additions to Overton Square has to be the amazing decor, food, and people at Belly Acres.

It's a cute place to get great food, which is exactly the kind of place OS needs!

The menu is huge, so I definitely haven't tried everything, but my friend Kyra and I went one day and I had to share the AMAZING food we got.

All of the options look good, but I think the "Build Your Own" option is the way to go - I mean, look at all the ways you can customize your burger!

I went with the grass-fed beef patty, sourdough bun, white cheddar cheese, tomato, red onion, pickles, and the "acre sauce" - sort of a spicy barbecue meets mustard meets heaven.

Belly Acres is an order at the counter place - there were quite a few people in front of my friend and I, so I took a couple of minutes to take some pics of the gorgeous and fun interior.

I mean...they have have a room that has a giant moon in it. 

I'm in.

The interior reminds me of one of my favorite TV shows of all time, Green Acres.

Except in super technicolor.

Eva Gabor = my BFF.

The inside is like a barn meets a farm meets Overton Square.

I especially love the huge panel that looks like a farm!

They even have a tractor!

Lots of cool exposed pipes, along with a great local social media presence!

Even the booths and seating area are bringing this idea of farm fresh food in the city - "Citified Farm Fresh" - in!

And I love the Memphis flair - when you order, you get a street name for your table.


Now it's time to talk about the food. 

The glorious, delicious, amazing food.

I actually have a little confession to make.

I'm in love.

With the milkshakes at Belly Acres.

They're amazing. 

And huge.

And so obviously handmade from quality ice cream and ingredients, and so delicious, and just...go get one. 

Go now.

So while I was slurping my shake, my burger showed up.

I didn't think I could love this much.

Kyra and I got a basket of fries to share. The fries are amazing, and there are a TON of them in the basket. We definitely didn't finish them!

My burger was perfectly cooked, and huge, and so good!

Basically, what I'm saying here is you need to go eat at Belly Acres.

And you need to take me with you.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Memphis Style: The Paisley Rooster

Y'all know I love shopping locally, and that I love color, especially in the summer.

I've found the perfect place for both.

The Paisley Rooster has locations in Collierville and Arlington, plus you can shop online, so there's really no reason not to check it out!

And it's just...fun.

Everything is super colorful, and the prices are great.

Plus, they do custom monogramming, on their own products and on things you bring in!

They have a huge selection - tops, bottoms, skirts, dresses - in a great variety of colors, and the Flying Tomato skirt on the left side of this picture? I paid WAY too much for that a few months ago from Piperlime. It was $42 at The Paisley Rooster!

Plus, I'm a sucker for a cool space.

They have Piko tops, which my young and stylish friends tell me are a thing.

They also have candles, bath bombs, and a ton of jewelry at The Paisley Rooster.

And all the jewelry is REALLY reasonably priced. I got this necklace for $8!

They have everything from leggings...

 To formal dresses!

And if you REALLY love monograms, they arrange all their monogram jewelry by letter. Which is GENIUS.

I'm gonna need this "All I need is coffee and mascara" tank.

 Even the less fun part - they paying! - is colorful!

And, for the old-school Ole Miss fan? You're covered too! 

(I personally disagree with that mascot, but if that's your thing, that's for you and your conscience to deal with at this point, since it's officially the Black Bear. And, well, go Hogs.)

They also have gift cards, and a pretty reasonable return policy.

 And, maybe best of all for you non-Memphis folks, you can order online! 

I love small boutiques like this - enough variety that there's a ton to look at, but not so much of each thing that everyone else is going to be wearing the same thing. Plus I love supporting local businesses!

They've been in Memphis about a year, so check them out on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, then get down to their stores and enjoy! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Life is Beautiful

Life is beautiful. 

Sometimes, actually, it's kind of shitty.

But then, you wake up one morning, after weeks of being sad, and decide to get breakfast and work on your (woefully incomplete) dissertation chapter.

You decide to forget about the boy who broke your heart, the award you didn't win, the sunburn that you got because you were lazy and didn't want to put sunscreen on.

You get up and go.

And then you sit on a patio and you write your dissertation, and drink grapefruit juice and eat croissants, and you look around and realize that life is not only beautiful, it's also really damn good.

Because that boy who broke your heart? He wasn't worth all the sadness, especially since he had checked out of the relationship months before it finally ended, before you finally demanded an answer. And being alone is far, far better than being with someone who doesn't want to be with you. And you have amazing friends who will never let you be truly alone, and have already been on dates that made you smile more than in the last six months with that boy.

Because that award you didn't win? Well, yeah, that would have been nice, but now you can form friendships and relationships without the caveat of "oh yeah, but I'll be gone for 2 months - hope that's okay!" And, really, you should probably spend more time writing and less time "getting ready to write." But really.

Because that sunburn is your own fault. And you know it. Wear sunscreen.

Because you get to wake up every morning and know that you are exactly enough, but never too much, for the one person in this crazy, mixed-up, hateful, beautiful, exciting, terrifying, hurtful, so funny it hurts your side world that really matters.


(Tart, Memphis)

Monday, April 13, 2015

#30PhotosInBetween: Pops of Pink

I promise this is the last "look at my cute outfit!" post for awhile!


At least a couple of days.



It's finally warm in Memphis, and that means it's time for my favorite colors, my favorite weather, and of my favorite articles of clothing.


Especially pink shorts.

I mean, I'm a Phi Mu. I wear a lot of pink anyway. As Shelby says in "Steel Magnolias" (a movie about a fellow Phi Mu!), "Pink is my signature color." 

Plus, it's just a fun happy color!

These shorts from American Eagle are perfect - dressed down with a tee or dressed up with a blouse, plus they don't wrinkle or stretch out badly.

And, really, who doesn't love a pop of color, especially in the spring?

I have them in khaki (which run a little larger, oddly), black, pink, and white, so they're clearly my faves!

I wear the shortest twill shorts they have (which seem to be available only online right now, but these are similar if you want to try them on in store), "shorties," and they are pretty short. If you like a longer short/are a normal height unlike me, I tend to wear midis in jean shorts from AE, and they have twill ones of those too.

For reference, I'm 5'3" (and very long-legged/short-torsoed) and wear a 12 in AE shorts!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Memphis Life: Flowers at the Dixon (#30PhotosInBetween)

Memphis in the spring is, in a word, gorgeous.

One of the best places to experience the beautiful weather (after it warms up and before it becomes hot hot hot) is the Dixon Gallery & Gardens.

The Dixon was founded in 1976 and contains a large collection of French and American Impressionist paintings, quite a bit of British and German porcelain and silver, and very good and diverse temporary exhibits, all housed in an elegant building on 17 acres of gardens, forest, and lawns, laid out in an English style.

The exhibit right now is "Hail, Britannia!: Six Centuries of British Art from the Berger Collection" and, given the subject matter, it's clearly a great one for me! It's also just a fantastic exhibit, with a little something for everyone.

They have some great programming with the exhibit, and for the Dixon in general, but one of my favorite things is to go, walk around the exhibits, and then wander into the gardens.

Pick up a map at the Gallery entrance, and then set off!

I definitely recommend checking out the exhibits - but the garden is so pretty right now (and photographs much better than paintings!) that's what I'm going to focus on!

The tulips are in bloom right now, and they're gorgeous.

Grape hyacinths are some of my favorite flowers, and they're all over the place at the Dixon.

The lawn behind the museum has benches to sit on, and they have events back there as well. 

One of the best things about the gardens is that they're gorgeous for events, like weddings, but they're also perfect for just sitting and reading a book.

And on April 15th, at noon, the Tennessee Shakespeare Company is having an outdoor performance!

"This brown-bag lecture series features local artists, experts and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens staff sharing their expertise on a variety of topics. Free for members and students with ID.
Starring Rachel Brun and Joey Shaw, Created and Directed by Stephanie Shine, Tennessee Shakespeare Company Bring your picnic blanket or lawn chair for this special outdoor presentation. William Shakespeare coined thousands of words and phrases that have become staples in the English language. In Tennessee Shakespeare Company's lively Shakespeare Said It! theatrical context for Shakespeare’s linguistic inventions is shared, illuminating the genesis for phrases that we use every day.  Imagine we all are quoting Shakespeare, even when we don't know it!"

I also love just walking through the woods on the grounds. And they have a Little Free Library!

The Dixon is an amazing gem in Memphis - and the best part is, it's incredibly affordable to be a member!

An individual membership is $45, a family starts at $60, a Young at Art membership (great for couples!) starts at $100, and so on. They also have an e-Membership, which is what I have, for $20. This gets you free admission to the grounds and gallery, but not discounts in the shop or some other benefits that I wouldn't use much. Great value, especially for students!

So, next time someone says "There's nothing to do in Memphis!" smack them upside the head (or don't - no one wants assault charges) and send them to the Dixon!

(Also, I'm a day off/behind on my monthly blogging challenge - sorry about that! Crawfish Festival, what can I say!?!)