Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am a big fan of cardigans. You will proably hear me say this again... and again. (I stand pretty firm in the thought that a cardigan can pull its weight in "dressing up" almost any casual afternoon ensemble. I'm also a teacher so what can I say, it goes with the territory.) I'm also a pretty big fan of Nordstrom -- while they lean toward the pricey and mainstream, I cannot put a count to the number of times I've been surprised by a thrifty and unexpected find in either clothing or shoes (and even baby!). (Also, the closest one to Athens is at the Mall of Georgia in Buford.)

So, it comes as no surprise to me that I am really loving Nordstrom's Point of View post on the "versatile" cardigan. They styled three different looks -- casual, work and "out" which, minus the "work ready" for most college students in this town, is pretty parallel with the work-to-home-to-evening transition that a lot of Athenians go through in a typical day.

Click here to view their stylings.

What's your take on the cardigan? As versatile for you as it is for me? Do you find it's an easy (and often fun) office-to-casual transition or do you like to leave it to one or the other? Or do you totally shun it on the whole?

Monday, October 19, 2009

street style, first edition

Finally, the monsoon ceased and we can see some local Athens street style! First up: downtown. The sun warmed us all up a little by the afternoon and some Athenians let me snap a couple of photos.

The late afternoon was cool but sunny and not cold enough for a full-on sweater. So my first lovely Athenista (who was sweet as pie) belted a gray chunky knit vest -- perfect for the cool-but-not-cold afternoon downtown. I love those boots.

I must have passed this couple at least twice before I stopped them for a photo. Aside from their glowy happiness (seriously, these guys just radiated happy), it's hard to pin down exactly one thing that made me do a double-take... I love the combination of colors between the two of them and her clutch? That's love right there.

My last Athenista seemed hesitant but I'm so glad she indulged my whim. Everything about this is my taste. Perfect for an afternoon around town and how easy would it be to throw on a cardigan or a trench in the later hours?

Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

places i love: ike & jane

Yes, yes, I KNOW, this has been a verrrryyyy slllooo....ooooo...wwwwwww start. I assure/promise/sign-my-soul/cross my heart and hope to die that things will really get rolling very soon. I know you are probably itching to get to the street style. (You can attribute most of the lack of street style posting to the Noah-amounts of rain we've been getting. I'm a paranoid party pooper and refuse to take my camera out in the rain. But I must say, you Athenistas got some serious rainy day style!)


In the meantime... what better way to start than to touch on a few of my own (and many, many others') favorite local haunts? Let me introduce you to (hands . down) one of the very best, most delicious and certainly most stylish bakeries in town: Ike & Jane.

(all photos courtesy of ikeandjane.typepad.com)

See those cute window flowers? They're made of tissue paper. And they look awesome in the mid-morning light. And the logo (which features Ike & Jane's signature "cuffin")? So cool. Their place is full of so many neat little touches that are cost-efficient and also make the space so calm, unique and stylish.

Corie was a doll and let me bug her with a million and one questions (some serious, some probably silly) for you guys. She gave me so many fabulous answers it really deserves two posts! This place and these ladies and gents really know what they're doing: the atmosphere is super comfy, the coffee and the lattes are YUM and ohhhh, THE PASTRIES!

Why did you decide to open Ike & Jane? And why, specifically, did you choose Athens?
My partner offered me the opportunity to help him out with a new business idea he had. And by idea I mean cafe, and by cafe I mean DONUTS! hah. I spent most of my adult life in, around, and running cafes... so it was a good fit, I suppose. I also love love love people. Which is a lot of why this particular job appeals to me so much. Long story short, the space opened up, we jumped on it and ran with it. I've lived in Athens for several years (longer than I care to elaborate on!) and live around the corner from Ike & Jane with my husband. I love Athens. Which is why I was still here in the first place ;)

Tell us a little about what you do at Ike & Jane.
I guess what we do at Ike & Jane is provide a little bit of happiness to the people that come and go. A lot of what I feel a cafe should be is kind of like Cheers. Eventually you get to know more and more about your customers, your staff, and every day is a little different. You can chit chat with your customers, give them a smile and send them on their way with a warm drink in hand and a delicious treat on its way to their belly. So, in order to provide that we have breakfast sandwiches, donuts, lunches, soups, smiles, coffee, espresso drinks... you know, cuffins... so on and so forth.

Who dreams up all of the interesting (and delish) ideas for your unique selection of donuts and pastries? (Really, guys... these folks KNOW donuts!)
The donuts and other assorted goodies are a collective effort. All of the employees (and some bolder customers!) throw out ideas and we give them a shot. If it works, we keep it! if it doesn't, we modify or try something else. I think the most successful customer idea was fruity pebbles on a donut... I'm not sure we've hit on a donut idea that people didn't love quite yet. There's really nothing to hate about a donut! Which is why the GIANT donut is so amazing (employee idea!) The non-donut pastries are mostly the brainchildren of our baker, who spends 10 hours a day dreaming up desserts and bringing them to sugary life.

(Ike & Jane got festive for St. Patrick's Day)

What is your favorite time of day at the shop?
My favorite time of day at the shop is probably 8am. or right before. It's usually pretty busy, but manageable; the sun has the best angle into the cafe and the customers are all running a little behind to work. Getting them in and out and keeping them happy is one of my favorite things to do. I also enjoy the lunch rush around 12:30 because the customers are endlessly excited about their food. Always puts a smile on my face to see people excited about what we do.

What kind of style or atmosphere do you try to achieve and/or maintain? Is it intentional or mostly happenstance?
As far as our atmosphere goes, I wanted i&j to be as comfortable as possible. Selfishly, because I knew I'd be there everyday, and because if the employees are comfortable in a space, the customers invariably pick up on it. And what I'm most most most interested in is making sure that i&j is somewhere that locals (and their non-local counterparts) can go, and feel at home whether they've been there once or 400 times. So I chose colors, equipment, furniture, art, logo... etc that felt home-y and cheery to me. I like to think that the design was partially happenstance with a lot of intention. Ike & Jane is my life. Literally, my house looks almost exactly the same. Which is mostly unintentional. Once all the colors were on the walls I realized that 90% of what's in i&j is in my home and wardrobe and makes me feel comfortable... which I think makes other people feel comfortable.

What do you notice about the culture of style (fashion, home or otherwise) in Athens? (I loved her answer to this one. Right on.)
One of my favorite things about Athens is that it's a moderately sized city, with a very distinct lifestyle. Not too many people take themselves too seriously. It's relaxed, you can get to know your neighbors, your co workers, random people you see at the grocery store all the time, and it's nothing abnormal. There's a certain small-town quaintness to Athens, despite the fact that so many people live here. I'm glad Athens has managed to maintain a lot of it's home-grown appeal. And with that home-grown appeal comes a lot of homegrown style. The houses in my area are mostly older re-finished homes that have the marks of their owners in one way or another that lend themselves to relaxing, taking a step back, and enjoying your home life. That's what Athens is to me. Family & friends relaxing.

Do you find that the style of the friendly people behind the counter at Ike & Jane are kind of an outpouring of the heart of your business?
As far as the style of my crew goes... I'm not sure I'd say it's an outpouring of the cafe every day. Sometimes they're a hot mess! BUT!!...I think it's important for employees to wear what's most comfortable for them. The more comfortable they are, the happier they are and that's very important. They have to be kind and polite, of course, but I like for it to be genuine... People are way more comfortable in their own styles! Especially when you consider how many strangers they have small conversations with all day!

I'd say my personal style is an outpouring of what I want for the cafe. I'm into basics with a smile. Solid shirts, jeans, flats. I think your personality is more an expression of you than your clothes are on any given day. But maybe that's the school uniforms in me talking! Hah.

THANK YOU, Corie, for being so generous with your time, answers and, of course, the caffeinated and sweet deliciousness you provide us with! What a fantastic portrait of Athens style!

(I should also mention -- because you aspiring business owners might be interested -- these guys came a looooong way to get this place up and running. To view the evolution of Ike & Jane from drywall to cuffins, you can go to their blog (ikeandjane.typepad.com) and start from the beginning. Incredible!)
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