Garden and Gun: Made in the South Awards

Garden and Gun's fifth annual Made in the South Awards

There are a few magazines I chomp at the bits waiting for and Garden and Gun is at the top of my list. I savor every edition, filling my soul with all things Southern. I look to them for advice, new stores, places to visit, stories of Southern life, and, let’s face it, what I consider to be some of the best writing in print. Which is why I’m sharing Garden & Gun’s fifth annual Made in the South Awards.

”The Made in the South Awards continue to be a wonderful way to shine a spotlight on the talented artisans and entrepreneurs throughout the South. It’s been extremely gratifying to watch some of our past winners launch onto the national stage, and as we enter our fifth year, I’m delighted to offer a $10,000 prize for the overall winner. It’s a great addition to the attention the print coverage brings these brands,” says David DiBenedetto, vice president and editor in chief, Garden & Gun.

If you’re a Southern artisan or business, and you’ve not entered, the entry process ends August 1st at midnight. This years grand prizewinner will receive a $10,000 cash prize in addition to a prominent feature in the magazine’s December 2014/January 2015 issue. The Made in the South Awards were created by Garden & Gun to celebrate and encourage Southern craftsmen making products in one of five categories: Food, Drink, Style & Design, Outdoors, and Home.

Who should enter:

Any Southern artisan or business with a product in one of Garden and Gun’s five categories Food, Drink, Style & Design, Outdoors, Home whose product will be available for sale through January 2015 may apply.

How to enter:

For entry forms, category descriptions, and rules, visit First-round judging will be based solely on photos and product descriptions. Do not send product. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET on August 1, 2014. Winners will be announced in the December 2014/January 2015 issue, which hits newsstands November 25, 2014.

To follow the conversation on the awards, use #madeinthesouth on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as on

Garden and Gun’s 2014 Made in the South Awards judges:

Chris Hastings (Birmingham, AL), owner and executive chef, Hot & Hot Fish Club, as well as a James Beard Award winner (Food)

Brooks Reitz (Charleston, SC), founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. and owner of Leon’s Oyster Shop (Drink) — If you’ve never tried Brooks Small Batch Tonic or Grenadine, you have no idea what you’re missing out on

Natalie Chanin (Florence, AL), founder of Alabama Chanin, a design company with a strong commitment to using sustainable practices and local production in fashion, and winner of the 2013 CFDA/Lexis Eco-Fashion Challenge Award (Style & Design)

T. Edward Nickens (Raleigh, NC), expert sportsman and author of The Total Outdoorsman Manual, and a frequent Garden & Gun contributor (Outdoors)

Celerie Kemble (Palm Beach, FL/New York, NY), renowned international interior designer, partner in Kemble Interiors, and author of Black and White (and a Bit in Between) (Home)

The SCAD Connection

In addition to boosting the grand prize, Garden & Gun has partnered with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a leading art and design university headquartered in Savannah, Georgia. SCAD will host the first-ever Made in the South Awards Gala, to be held on the SCAD campus in November 2014.

“Partnering with Garden & Gun on the Made in the South Awards is such a natural fit for SCAD. It’s the latest chapter in a great friendship between a trend-setting magazine and an art-making university. Like Garden & Gun, SCAD is dedicated to creating opportunities for designers and entrepreneurs to elevate their visibility and showcase their work,” says Paula Wallace, SCAD president and cofounder.

About Garden and Gun and SCAD:

Garden & Gun is an award-winning national lifestyle magazine that covers the best of the South, including the sporting culture, the food, the music, the art, the literature, the people and their ideas. Reaching a national audience of more than 1.25 million passionate and engaged readers, the magazine has won numerous awards for its journalism, design, and overall excellence. Visit

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors.

This post wasn’t sponsored. I just really love Garden and Gun magazine. 

Scenes from the weekend

Charlotte, NC Light Rail After Dark

No Paparazzi

Downtown Drinking Fountain -- Mount Holly, NC

Life in a small town

Light Rail, Charlotte, NC at night

My friends are Super Heroes

Sunday mornings are my favorite. I’m filled with optimism as I sit in bed, cup of coffee on my nightstand, iPad in my hands, and read The London Times Sunday Edition. It’s a good way to decompress after a long week, catch up on what’s been going on in the world, and just be. Today, I’ve found myself thinking of others in my life and their lives. It’s just now I realized — all of my friends are Super Heroes.

I want to be the best friend I can possibly be. And sometimes, being the best friend I can be means not hanging out, contacting others, etc., due to my own issues. I love having the support, but there are times when you have to work through your own problems without dumping them on others. My friends have acknowledged that, and at the same time, been there every step of the way.

One friend who’s been here every step of the way for me this year lost her mother unexpectedly this morning. She lost her sister earlier this year. Where we started off as friends, we’ve become lifelines to each other in a storm of unexpected and overwhelming WTF? since January. It’s been comforting and unsettling, knowing someone else has been experiencing so much of what I’ve experienced and I can only support and follow along as she experiences things far worse due to always precarious health of her children (both transplant recipients due to rare genetic disorder).

Another friend texts every day to check on me. I check on her. We send each other goofier photos by the day. Trust me, you’ve not lived until you’ve circulated a photo of yourself wearing a pair of your son’s tightie whities on your head.

There are more, just like this. My best friend and I have been taking off at a moments notice. Four hours one way to go dress shopping? Not a problem. Three and one-half hours to get a pedicure? A no-brainer. We go knowing our husbands are the most supportive men on the planet.

There are times I’d love to sit here and just cry, but there have been few tears this year. Because no matter how bad it’s been, I know I have  people who’ve willingly carried these burdens right along side me. Too many people to write about here and whose anonymity I’ll protect. While that doesn’t sound like much, it’s like knowing Wonder Woman is out there holding the falling building up just long enough so you can scramble out and then it comes crashing down.

My hope this Sunday, when life is always eternally optimistic, is that I can be their Wonder Woman when it’s my turn. Until then, I’ll keep my tiara and bracelets polished.

The Great Housing … Purchase

We’re buying a house. Let me rephrase that; we’re building one. The mortgage info came today and somewhere around January, our new Home Sweet Home will be ready. Frankly, I’m surprised I’ve not thrown up yet.

My husband is in the financial business. We’ve never purchased due to the overwhelming boom when we first married and then when he saw the writing on the wall regarding the crash. As my friend Cat would say, “He’s SMAHT.” It has also been a long time coming.

But now, I have to think long and hard about color schemes. New furniture (some). Plumbers. Electricians. AC maintenance. Homeowners insurance. Lawn maintenance. ALL THE THINGS.

You know that panic attack I wrote about? Guess what I’m trying not to do right this very minute.

So, I’ll be writing more about homes in the future. It’s more for my sanity and your entertainment — after all, the things I write under stress, and with high emotion, are entertaining and really good, if I say so myself.

There is one thing I can guarantee. There will be no taupe or beige. Every subdivision in Charlotte is filled with McMansions which are either bricked in the front, with vinyl on the sides and back, or a beige vinyl siding. In fact, the only room without color will be my office/studio. The rest — y’all, I have no idea. I do know it’s time to hit up Pinterest and create new boards. You can find me on Pinterest here if you want to follow along.

And Mom, might want to get busy on those paintings I’ve commissioned.

Thank you for shopping with us — Email Marketing Gone Wrong

Retailers are doing a great job of making sure we don’t lose our receipts and bulking up their email marketing lists by offering to send us our receipts electronically. For the most part, I love this format as I’m self-employed and I don’t have five billion pieces of loose paper all over my desk. My email hates me.

Currently, I have oh — never mind. I’m not going to shame myself by telling you how many emails I have sitting in my inbox. It’s enough to make you go fetal and suck your thumb. I could take a week off and still not be caught up on email. One day, I’ll have the funds to hire a personal assistant to help me clean it all up. I really think that’s what all bloggers want for Christmas — someone to handle the admin.

I digress. As someone who is a little (a lot) friendly to the environment, I don’t shop very often, nor do I like having so much paper floating around. Electronic receipts are great. I add them to my spreadsheet and BOOM! have everything filed away in case I ever need them.

What’s the catch?

My coffee grinder finally gave up the ghost on Friday after 13 faithful years. (I know — that’s just coincidental, I hope.) My husband informed me of this bad news and after deciding he wasn’t going to be a cave man and use my mortar and pestle to pulverize the beans into something brewable, informed me we were heading to our local store where you buy gadgety kitchen things. As the clerk rang up our purchase, she asked if we’d like to have our receipt emailed to the email address she had on file.

This is where I get twitchy with email marketing.

I promptly received the email before picking up the bag to head out the door. Then I received another one later that day thanking me for my purchase. Yesterday I received another thank-you email. Today I have received two emails saying “thank-you” and did you hear about our sales?

Have you ever seen Elaine do the dance in Seinfeld? That’s what all of those emails do me. While she’s experiencing some form of deranged ecstasy, I’m cringing and convulsing, shouting nonsensical things in this world of overwhelming e-paper.

If, perchance, you’re reading this email in San Francisco and work for this store where I have to stop myself from doing the Meg Ryan “When Harry Met Sally” Big O in the diner scene every time I walk through the door, read an email, or receive a catalog, please rethink your email marketing practices. I don’t want to unsubscribe, because your email and catalogs are my pronography (Gratuitous intentional misspelling for the filters.)

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