Prepping for Fall

Even though the high temperatures don’t agree, fall is just around the corner.  As we begin to think about the change of season, we are bustling with activities.  Whether we are tailgating, shopping, exploring nature, or just commuting to work, it’s time to Prep for Fall.  With trends and styles ranging from ridiculous to the expected, it’s difficult to know which direction to head.  A staple classic, but popular trend for fall 2014, is directly in line with my personal style aesthetic…the preppy look.  Regardless of your autumn adventures, The Stylish Steed has some preppy looks to bring your fall fashion forward.

Weekend Prep

This casual, yet put together look is perfect for any weekend outing.  By layering classic pieces, you are able to maximize your look.

Weekend Prep

The foundation of this outfit, a denim button up from Gap, can be used in a multitude of ways.  Top it with a graphic sweater from J. Crew Factory to add personality and fun to your look.  Don a great quilted vest (J. Crew Factory) and a pop of color with these rustic gold straight leg pants from Talbots, and you are ready for any excursion.  Consider a tall riding boot (DSW), a staple from recent seasons, to elevate this look to the ultimate level of prep.

Casual Prep

For those events that require a little more refined look, consider a comfortable ensemble with refined details.

Casual Prep

The navy blazer is a classic item that is really trending this season for women.  A traditional masculine item, this blazer (H&M) is tailored for a woman.  A multicolored button up from J. Crew Factory brings life to this polished look.  Pair with a lighter wash straight leg jean (Gap), a colorful statement necklace (Charming Charlie), and a great flat with gold detail (DSW) to complete the look.

Business Prep

It’s bad enough to have to go to work during these beautiful fall days, let’s not add insult to injury by doing it in a bad outfit.  For those of us in the daily grind, a business prep look is exactly what we need to cure those boardroom blues.

Business Prep

A classic khaki pencil skirt with a pinstripe button up, both from J. Crew Factory, can be quite a bore, but you can excite this look with a few added details and accessories.  A great cranberry cardigan (Gap) adds a polished collegiate feel, while the leopard skinny belt provides just a peek of pattern to your waist.  You can never go wrong with pearls, and if you’re going to wear pearls, more is more.  This layered pearl necklace from Charming Charlie gives a big impact while still maintaining a traditional, preppy feel.  Finish off with pearl detail earrings and you’re destined for the corner office.

Incorporating prep into your wardrobe can bring a breath of fresh air to your tired duds.  Polished, yet casual.  Refined, yet a touch rugged.  The preppy look is fully encompassing fashion at its best and always a classic way to stay stylish!

Pushing His Buttons

Virginia Beach native, Jason Button, is keeping things tied up in Alabama’s capital city. The son of a skilled woodworker and a cross-stitching mother, Button has set out to create a business that provides the gents with quality bow ties and pocket squares.

button's bow ties

Button’s Bow Ties, a new development that began earlier this year, was never an initial plan for Button. With a career in industrial distribution, one doesn’t need a necktie for the office, but Button established his love for ties years ago. As a wardrobe requirement during his collegiate years, Button grew tired of donning an average necktie and found bow ties to be a fun alternative. However, even with his love for bow ties, Button says that fashion is not his forte.

So how does a man with no background in fashion set out to create a men’s line of bow ties and pocket squares?

By accident, of course! It all started with a search for watercolors. What was planned to be a creative weekend of painting ended up as a business venture that is opening doors for this busy, family man from Montgomery. While trying to locate the watercolors from storage, Button came across an old tie of his wife’s grandfather. After a brief tutorial from his sister-in-law, a very able seamstress, and some online research, Button quickly discovered how he could convert this old neck tie into a functioning bow tie. Through trial and error, paired with his parent’s influential work ethic and attention to detail, Button’s Bow Ties was born. It also doesn’t hurt that Button spent some time in his college art department, even considering Graphic Design for a career. You can definitely see his natural artistic ability in his products, down to the vintage button hand sewn on each product. Thoughtful details like that are found throughout a customer’s interaction with the dapper and creative owner.

button detail

Although it’s not a family business, Button says that his wife, a native Alabamian, and his two children are very supportive of his work. Tiffany, his wife, will advise in the fabric selection department, but leaves all the creating to her sewing sweetie. His son, age 12, has reached the age where he wears his father’s custom pieces, and his daughter, age 14, has been inspired and enjoys sewing and creating her own designs as well.

Not to neglect the Junior Dapper Gentlemen, Button also has a line of onesies that include two pre-tied, snap on bow ties.

Not to neglect the Junior Dapper Gentlemen, Button also has a line of onesies that include two pre-tied, snap on bow ties.

Drawing inspiration from the creativity of designers like The Cordial Churchman and Otis James, Button strives to create pieces that are unique and focused on details.

Conveniently packaged and delivered, your high quality bow tie has a built in tab for easy closet hanging.

Conveniently packaged and delivered, your high quality bow tie has a built in tab for easy closet storage.

A customer will find the process of purchasing a custom creation from Button’s Bow Ties to be an absolute pleasure. From the initial contact to the delivered package, Button is completely committed to personalized customer service.

A southern gentleman with an entrepreneur dream, creative mindset, and focus on customer satisfaction…it’s a recipe for success if you ask me.

Button also offers his services in converting neckties into a custom made bow tie.

In addition to his creations, Button offers his services in converting neckties into a custom made bow tie.

What’s the future for Button’s Bow Ties? Currently he is focused on bow ties and pocket squares, but has ideas of expansion which I am confident will continue his reputation of quality products and superb customer service.

Available for viewing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, interested customers can contact Jason Button through private messaging for inquiries or to make purchases. Like and follow him to stay up-to-date on new developments and support a local creative designer.  It’s the dreams and ambitions of individuals like Jason Button that help us men of the world stay stylish!

Hot Food in the City

Summertime is filled with so many activities and events that it’s easy to find something to do almost every weekend. As a busy boy about town, I am always in search of those unique events that provide a fun, memorable experience with the opportunity to move away from the norm. The Atlanta Street Food Festival (ASFF) was nothing short of that.

asff logo

An annual event that showcases the top food trucks from across the southeast, ASFF occupied a large portion of beautiful Piedmont Park to provide the masses with entertainment, fun activities, and the main attraction…all the culinary creations. With over 40 food trucks present, you could have your feel of anything from juicy hot dogs and hamburgers with a twist, fall off the bone smoked BBQ ribs, or cross-cultural cuisine with maximum flavor.

Creativity was abounding as workers tirelessly produced orders for the endless lines of festival attendees. It is extremely difficult to choose a favorite, but I have narrowed it down to my TOP 5 FAVORITES OF THE DAY!

In no particular order:

firewall

1. Homemade Lemon Basil Italian Soda from FIREWALL, a wood fire oven food truck. Amidst the orders of wood fired sandwiches and pizzas, I discovered a refreshing beverage that quenched my thirst in the Hot-lanta heat. Light and flavorful, this lemon beverage with robust, infused basil was the perfect concoction for a summer day in the park.

Bar Meatball

2. Fried Risotto Balls with Pesto Sauce from Bar Meatball. Bar Meatball knows what their strengths are and capitalizes on them…meatballs and ice cream sandwiches. With variations of homemade meatballs and delicious sauces, you choose your desired combination and wait for the excellence to be served. In addition, you can also satisfy your sweet tooth with their homemade ice cream sandwiches. Simply choose your ice cream flavor and the type of cookie and the friendly staff at Bar Meatball deliver an awesome dessert that makes you feel like a kid again.

Bento Bus

3. Kamikaze Nachos from Bento Bus paired Japanese flavors with Mexican preparation.  A bed of fried wonton chips was covered and smothered with teriyaki chicken, fresh romaine lettuce, Asian pico de gallo, roasted sweet corn and queso sauce. I cannot say enough about these!  Had the line not been so long I would have gone back for seconds.

The Filipino

4. Pancit and Lumpio (Noodles and Rolls), from The Filipino held true to their mission of providing southern pacific comfort food. With perfectly prepared flat noodles covered with flavorful vegetables and a side of Filipino egg rolls, this intense pairing was the perfect dish to share while we rested on a grassy hillside.  The rolls were amazing with a flaky and crispy shell.  Subtle heat with Filipino flavors was definitely a home run dish.

Atl Burger Company

5. The Little 5 Burger and Baked Potato Salad from The Atlanta Burger Truck was a great twist on two classics.  The unconventional dressing of pimento cheese and bacon on a juicy slider was a great addition to this beef patty.  The baked potato salad was very much a pleasant surprise and change from old-fashion mustard and mayo potato salad.  Cubes of baked potatoes were mixed with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and bacon crumbles to create an explosion of flavor.  Served cold, like the traditional version, but flavored with a nod to a loaded baked potato, this was the perfect pairing with my burger.

After eating their fill, event attendees had the opportunity to wander around the park and visit great vendors set up with anything from clothing and drink mixes, to cooking gadgets and jewelry.  Keurig even had a mobile bus to provide with you an afternoon pick me up with a huge assortment of beverage options.

My favorite vendor was Pork Clouds, a company showcasing fried pork skins with intense flavors.  With three flavors available at the festival, I purchased a sample pack with Rosemary Sea Salt, and my favorite, Malabar Black Pepper.

asff 057There was a mission behind all the excitement though.  Partnering with Atlanta’s The Giving Kitchen (TGK), proceeds from the event went to support the efforts of this great organization.  Focused on providing crisis grants to members of Atlanta’s restaurant community facing unanticipated hardships, TGK embraces the opportunity to support its own.  TGK had a booth at the event and the volunteers were overjoyed to share about their organization.  Through donations and special events, TGK is able to reach out during times of sorrow and multiply joy.  To find out more about The Giving Kitchen, or to make a donation to their efforts, visit their website.  There’s nothing better than a party with a purpose.

A fun event for all ages, the ASFF was a huge success.  If you didn’t make it to the 2014 event, keep your eyes open for next years festivities.  The summer is still in swing and there are plenty of festivals and events coming up, so grab your crew and head out for some fun and fellowship at a local festival as you stay stylish this summer!

asff collage

 

Perk Up Your Picnic

There is nothing more enjoyable that spreading out on a grassy knoll and throwing your own little party at an outdoor festival or event.  Summertime is bustling with activities to draw you and your crew outdoors for a little fun and Vitamin D.  However, I always find it difficult to know what to take on such an excursion.  If you struggle with the same, I have a great checklist of items that are sure to satisfy all your needs and desires as you enjoy an afternoon out in the open air.

This weekend on July 12, Atlanta is hosting the annual Atlanta Street Food Festival.  This awesome event featuring food trucks from all over the southeast is full of fun and activities and is a perfect outing for you and your friends.  With amazing food and drinks, live music, and even activities for the children, it’s the perfect event for you to try out your picnic checklist.  Gather up your best buds and these awesome items below and let the good times roll.  Piedmont Park is a great backdrop for your picnic, and you’ll be lounging in style with unique and fun items that are sure to please.  While you’re stretched out on the lawn, take a look around…you might just see The Stylish Steed there!

Picnic Spread

1.  Rid Rite Pest Repellents – Bed, Bath and Beyond, $19 (set of 3)
These are such a lifesaver!  No need to swat the mosquitoes and gnats all day.  Place these around your party pad and you’ll be pest free!  I wonder if they have these for people too?

2.  Throw – West Elm, $34.99
If you are going to lounge, then you might as well lounge in style.  This great color blocked picnic throw adds personality and color to your picnic area, while providing you a functional sitting area.

3.  Portable Round Cheese Board – Brookstone, $27.20
These pivoting cheese board has all your tools conveniently stored inside.  Bring along some nice, crusty bread and an assortment of meat, cheese, and fruit and you have a light afternoon snack to enjoy while basking in the rays.

4.  Plastic Picnic Tumblers – Amazon, $9.35 (set of 12)
Why waste money buying disposable cups?  These bright and sturdy tumblers are the perfect fit for your lawn party.  Toss them in your cooler (#7) when you are finished and they are ready to wash and reuse.

5.  Melamine Dinner Plates – Target, $14.99
Another reusable item, these durable and colorful plates capitalize on both fancy and function.

6.  Cloth Napkins – Target, $19.99 (set of 4)
A little more expensive than paper napkins, but you save in the end because you can toss these in washer and they are ready to roll again.  These simple cotton napkins have a fun detail that accents the tribal look of your plates.

7.  Ice Master Cooler Basket – The Grommet, $54
Keep everything cool and contained in this unique cooler.  The appearance of a picnic basket, this cooler is functional and spacious and is sure to accommodate all your picnic packings.

8.  Disposable Wooden Cutlery – Joanne Hudson, $4.99 (set of 24)
These disposable forks, knives, and spoons are the perfect addition to your picnic spread.  Constructed of bamboo, these conversation pieces will be a hit with your entire group.

In addition to your picnic spread, you can’t forget the fun in the sun games.  Wide open grassy spaces are the perfect playing field for some yard games.  Three of my favorites are Yard Dice, The Washer Game, and Croquet.  All three games are portable and can be enjoyed by both young at heart and small in stature.  Plus, a little competition never hurt anyone.

Picnic Games

So whether you’re headed to an outdoor festival or creating your own event with a picnic in the park, you can pack with confidence, knowing that The Stylish Steed has you covered!  With beautiful, summer weather and lots of wonderful people in your life, a group outing and picnic is the perfect way to stay stylish!

Hot Dog, It’s A Holiday!

I love summer holidays for one reason!

HOT DOGS!!!!!

As a hot dog connoisseur, it thrills me that July is National Hot Dog Month .  What better time to enjoy a staple, American food than during the 4th of July weekend!

With favorites like the slaw dog, chili dog, junkyard dog, or even regional selections like the Chicago or New York Dogs, it very easy to find your true love.  However, it’s time to venture out and explore nontraditional creations for your summer dog!

In my opinion, the best way to begin your journey to Hot Dog Heaven is with the preparation of the all beef frank!

The Drunk Dog

Asked for by name at the home of The Stylish Steed, my friends expect this drunkard to make an appearance at least twice during the summer.  Purchased at a local butcher shop, these bun length beauties can really hit the spot.  I prefer charcoal grilling over gas, however, the cooking method is only half the battle.  Victory is secured in the pre-grilling ceremonies and in the dressing room!

After securing your favorite frank foundation (the weenie), belly up to the bar with your beefy bud and buy him a beer.  After piercing the hot dog with a fork several times, let him party overnight in a beer bath.  Any beer will help to achieve this amazing flavor, but I would stray away from flavored beers.  A simple domestic beer will do the trick.

When party time arrives, grill the hot dogs over indirect heat to maintain maximum juiciness.

The Bun
I am a big fan of the top sliced hot dog bun.  These are easy to find and create an excellent base for your grilled greatness.  The integrity of the bun is important as well.  Consider placing the bun on the top grill to toast it or in a steamer to soften them.

*The Drunk Dog and Top Sliced Bun will be the foundation for all three varieties showcased below.


Dressing your Dog

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Dog 1 – The Cream Cheese Rhapsody
This first dressing option will blow your mind.  I know you will be hesitant, but I assure you that it will not disappoint.  Push away the ketchup and mustard and dress your dog with a smear of cream cheese and some raspberry jelly.  Top it with some chopped jalapenos and you will never look at a hot dog the same.  I know you are skeptical right now, but trust me!

Dog 2 -The Posh Squash Dog

A huge perk of summers in the south is the abundance of fresh vegetables.  Everyone and their momma plants a garden and it’s never difficult to find a basket of homegrown goodness.  A great friend and local beautician here in Centre capitalizes on her homegrown produce by creating Squash Relish.  Pam’s sweet and spicy relish is amazing with anything from pintos to tortilla chips, but it really shines atop a juicy drunk dog.  The simple preparation of a little mayo and the relish is all you need.  The tangy flavors, subtle heat, and the crunch of the squash make this creation something to relish!
(Local folks – Pam is at Hi-Fashion Beauty Salon if you’re interested in purchasing some.  You can thank me later!)

Dog 3 – The Kevin Bacon Dog

Named for the bacon, of course, and the fact that Kev-o can be a little a cheesy at times, this homemade Punched-Up Pimento Cheese and crumbled bacon topped dog is sure to deliver the flavor and impact you are looking for.

Punched Up Pimento

8 oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
Minced Onion, 1/2 of a large sweet onion
Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Seasoning, to taste
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, liberal amount
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
4 Tablespoons of Mayonnaise
8 oz. Pimentos, diced

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate to allow flavors to marry.

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And now for dessert!

Give Me S’More Pizza

Smores Pizza Ingredients

With simple ingredients and minimal preparation, this dessert is reminiscent of a camp fire cookout, but kicked up just a touch.

For the Give Me S’more Pizza you’ll need:

1 Package of Pre-Made Sugar Cookie Dough
Nutella
Graham Crackers (3), crumbled
3 cups of Mini Marshmallows

On a greased baking sheet, form the entire package of sugar cookie dough into a pizza pie shape.  Bake the dough as directed on the package.  When dough is completely cooked, spread a generous layer of Nutella, leaving room around the edge for the “crust.”  Cover the Nutella with the graham crackers and marshmallows.  Return to the oven long enough to make the marshmallows gooey.  I even suggest turning on the broiler for a moment to add the ultimate “toasting.”

Smores Pizza Slice

Your guest will be asking for S’more of this sinfully sweet pie!

The 4th of July is a great time to celebrate with close friends and family.  As you enjoy your spread of decked out dogs and super simple sweets, remember the brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight for the freedoms that we hold dear.

We salute you for your sacrifice and service!  Keeping us the land of the free and the home of the brave is an act we can never repay!

Stay Stylish!

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