Gift Guide: Charleston

My gift picks from some of my favorite Charleston businesses + a fun holiday playlist! 

For the gourmet gal…

1.  Holy Smoke Olive Oil.  Give this as a gift all the time.  It is bacon in a bottle without bacon!  Elevates everything!

2.  Smithey cast iron skillet.  They perform unlike any other and are a work of art!

3.  King Bean Coffee.  The best coffee made by the best people.  Do a variety pack.  They are all wonderful!

4.  Callie’s Biscuits beautiful Biscuit Box.  Delicious and the box is handmade!

5.  Stocking Stuffers and gift toppers…Grey Ghost cookies.  Do not forget to suggest the receiver make a pie crust with them!

For the music lover…

1.  Tickets to see An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Graham Nash.

2.  Any signed photograph from Heart of Gold Fine Art.  He has one of just a couple of these collections of signed rock and roll photos.  Could do my whole house in them!  A must see!

3.  Tickets to High Water Festival which has an unbelievable line up this year.

4. Tickets to see the Blue dogs on December 29th.  This is a must see if you were in college in the 80’s or  early 90’s.

5.  Tickets to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Film Screening at Charleston Music Hall.

For the entertainer…

1.  A copy of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Natalie Dupree.  Everyone who loves to cook and entertain should have this. Natalie is one of the most humble and kind legends out there.

2.  The Open Door Shop is an entertainers dream!  Hard for me to narrow down, but a few of my favorites are the Terrafirma Pottery Large Stack Tray in Opal.  Endless opportunities to entertain with this piece.  I also love the same company’s Wine Coasters.  They are amazing and something I would love to receive but may not treat myself to!

3.  Napkins from Celadon.  Beautiful prints and they are lots of fun for the price!

4.  A bottle of our hometown favorite Darius Rucker’s Backstage artisan whiskey and a six pack of Hooch drink mix in cans to make Darius’s signature cocktail.

5.  Something from Candlefish.  Incredible, unique candles to splurge on!

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 Enjoy getting in the spirit with these holiday tunes! 

Gift Guide: Nashville

My favorite gift picks from some of my favorite Nashville businesses! 

For the gourmet gal…

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1.  Olive and Sinclair Caramels.  They will melt in your mouth and unlike any other.  Pretty packaging.  Great stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

2.  Trubee Honey.  It comes in different flavors- the trio is a fantastic treat!

3.  Christie Cookies.  Fleming,  the owner of CC used to give me a tin each Christmas and it was the only Christmas baked good I would put out that was not homemade.  I still buy them as gifts!

4.  Sunday Morning Pancake Mix.  This mix is delicious and the ingredients are so pure!  Gift this and a bottle of Maple Syrup.  Perfect for Christmas morning!

5.  Cookbook from Parnassus Book Store.  Support a wonderful place filled with the most knowledgeable staff who adore what they do!

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For the music lover…

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1.  Vinyl from Grimey’s.  With owners and staff who live for music, nobody knows it better.  Bonus for you…just being in there!

2.  Hatch Show Print poster from a favorite show.  Still, a Nashville original that is so cool.

3.  If you have any musical talent, go to Third Man Records and record a vinyl album for someone you really love!  Hey, Neil Young recorded in that same booth!

4.  If you have a big gift to buy, you can’t go wrong with a Rob Hendon guitar painting.  They are amazing and he paints each one with so much love.  The only thing bigger than Rob’s talent is his heart!  And if a painting is not on your list, he hand paints the coolest guitar t-shirts!

5.  A rock and roll cocktail table book from Two Old Hippies.  Warning:  you will come away with a gift for yourself as well!

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For the entertainer…

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1.  Any arrangement from Crowell Floral.  The most unique and stunning arrangements you have ever seen, made with so much care and love!

2.  Brie Baker from White’s Mercantile.  They come in white and grey and have an accompanying wooden serving knife.  Bake a brie appetizer and let them keep the baker!  

3.  White wine glasses.  These can also be purchased from White’s.  You can drop them on the floor and they do not break or scratch and they always look terrific! Can you tell I love White’s?  Fabulous overload!

4.  Really cool picture frames for place card holders, pretty and unique kitchen towels, and farm bowls are some of the perfect pieces that can be found at Vignette. A fun bonus – their beautiful pet birds in amazing cages that hang out in the store!

5.  Perfect combination:  A Mcqueen Pottery Charcuterie Platter and a set of vintage cheese markers to go with it.  Warning…comes in 2 colors so you may want one for yourself.  These come from Sanctuary South in Franklin where there all kinds of great hostess gifts.

5 Reason I Love Autumn

Autumn is such a special time for us.  So, what does the Fall mean around here?

1. Decorating  

Even though my son Graham is a teenager now, we still enjoy getting in on the holiday fun.  My personal favorite part of holiday decorating is unpacking the pieces that hold memories- especially those passed down from sweet Momma. I’ve also framed some of my favorite pieces from Graham over the years and can still remember the story behind each decoration- some he made and some we picked out together.  I must admit though, when he was little I did help him gravitate to the hipper stuff!

2.  Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Alan and I had our first date over pumpkin spice coffee years ago and still get so excited to make it our weekend coffee in the fall.  

3.  Fall Recipes  

I love using pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes and spices that smell like fall.  My happy place is definitely coming up with interesting ways to incorporate seasonal flavors and ingredients.  

4.  Giving Back

Graham and I have a tradition where we use his Halloween candy to make treat bags and hand them out to the homeless with a note. We also make “candy cookies” and popcorn balls and deliver them to folks we know who need cheering up and company.

5.  Fall Regattas

We always travel to Augusta for the Halloween Regatta.  The club is decorated and the event is totally geared towards the whole family.  

Welcome

Welcome to Mod Squad Martha!  In true fashion, I’m launching my business during the chaotic holiday season so it’s only fitting that my first blog is about the balance of keeping entertaining simple but also keeping it beautiful and true to your personal style.

Perspective is always important, so no matter how hectic things cans be always remember that this is the joyous season – making memories with loved ones and doing for others is what is important.

A few tips so you’ll spend less time stressing and more time with those who matter most

1.  Keep your spread simple, healthy and interesting.  After catering countless holiday parties, I have learned folks love a break from the ordinary holiday spread which tends to be heavy.  Serve up just a few healthy, unique dishes and listen to the conversation!  You will find my suggestions under recipes.

2.  Create a great holiday playlist and have it going when guests arrive. A playlist with traditional songs and offbeat artists from all different genres is always a hit!  A great playlist makes everyone feel welcome, puts a smile on their face and can make friends out of enemies and strangers.  Pairing this playlist with great food is a gathering that will be talked about at other happenings!  Check out my holiday playlist to get you started!

3.  Keep your table uncomplicated with plenty of room for your spread and people to put their drinks and plates as they mingle?  Make your table a reflection of you and your style.  The holidays are sentimental and decorating with something meaningful and personal is always more interesting than the most perfect store bought tabletop.  I use a really modern white tree decorated with family ornaments.  It may not look perfect but love radiates from it and when coupled with small bundles of white cotton and white candles, it becomes elegant.

Happy Holidays Sweet Friends old and new.  I pray they are filled with crazy amounts of great fellowship, food, music and kind deeds for those in need.

 

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