State of Mine

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Embroidered blouse, Groovy's in Rockwall. MOTO Girlfriend Jeans, Topshop. Zara leather boots (similar). Guatemalan textile tote bag, Ten Thousand Villages. Tennessee and Texas "State of Mine" bracelets, c/o Loll-le Gaggin Jewelry

     People always ask me when how I ended up in East Tennessee if I'm from Texas. But here's the thing. I'm from East Tennessee, I've just quickly adopted Texas as my second (but equal) home. After my mom and step dad moved there last summer, I have quickly come to realize just how much I love the big ole state. 
     That's why I could never really just choose one state to represent. I've definitely acquired Tennessee merchandise over the years; but I've certainly made up for lost time with Texas themed goods. I feel a bit ridiculous when I'm wearing my Texas flag running shorts (totally a thing), carrying my phone which is equipped with a Texas flag case, and holding my keys which feature a "Come and Take It" bottle opener.
     But all of this state (well, adopted state) pride reminds me just how important a sense of home is. East Tennessee is and always be where I came from and I will never give that up. I'm a Southern girl. But allowing myself to love Texas is just an added bonus. My love of both states made the State of Mine bracelets from Loll-le Gaggin that much more appealing. They're wholesale only, but be sure to follow Loll-le Gaggin on Facebook to see all the happenings and find out your closest retailer!
      I was lucky enough to get to meet the founders, Lisa and Brenda, for coffee and talk about their entire process. Let me say, this is a high quality good. I love the stories they told me about everyone from their leather supplier to the process of how their alpaca is custom dyed. All handmade. All in the United States. All small businesses. A dream come true really, and just another reminder of a sense of locality and home within the states.

Vagabond: A Roaming Boutique

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     Sometimes, something so cool comes along in Knoxville that I fall in love with where I live all over again. Not saying that I don't want to get out there and explore, but my roaming heart still loves the city I grew up near. The explorer mentality fits in perfectly with my most recent find, the Vagabond truck. Vagabond is a roaming boutique founded by the lovely Alisha Schuett whom I had the pleasure of meeting while at the Rhythm N Blooms festival.
     Everything from the branding to the collection of items available just felt right. I immediately clicked with the aesthetic because of the bright Tiffany blue of the truck and the typography used (yes, I'm a type nerd). Then I saw the merchandise and well, the rest is history. Emma and I spent quite some time searching for the racks and taking pictures. While I was in love with the white dress pictured above, I ended up going for the vintage lace top I'm wearing in the pictures. Alisha was even able to tell me the exact origin of the piece: it was custom made for a woman in Ohio and I think it's too cool that I get to continue the story.
     You can say that I'm just a little bit excited to welcome Vagabond to Knoxville and surrounding areas. Be sure to like them on Facebook to keep up with the whereabouts or even book your own shopping party! And keep your eyes peeled because I'm sure this vagabond will be pairing up with that Vagabond very soon.

Rhythm N Blooms

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     There are days, and in this case weekends, that make me fall in love with where I live. While I don't live in Knoxville proper, it's about a twenty minute drive to downtown from where I live in Maryville. To be honest, I prefer the location of my college because it's pretty much right in between the Smoky Mountains and downtown Knoxville. I truly do get the best of both worlds.
     That being said, the urban backdrop of Knoxville's Old City was perfect for the Rhythm N Blooms festival. This growing festival celebrates local and regional music with a focus on American roots. Basically, it's the perfect line up for my musical taste. What's more, I actually got to go home each night and sleep in my own bed instead of camping out all week. Yes, Tennessee is home to the much bigger Bonnarroo, but the urban setting is much more my scene.
     I got to see about fifteen shows with a weekend pass that only cost $60. A few acts that I got to see were Ben Sollee, The Black Lillies, River Whyless, John and Jacob, Langhorne Slim & The Law, The Wild Feathers, and Shovels & Rope. I've actually made a playlist on Spotify of some of my favorite songs from the shows, so feel free to take a listen here:

     Aside from the great music, I had a hell of a time showing my roommate, Emma, around Knoxville. This year I lucked out and got paired up with Emma, an international student from Sweden as my roommate. We have a lot in common when it comes to our interests. I'd like to think that's why Maryville College paired us together. Little did I know that I'd end up with a friend for life out of a random roommate selection. Seeing just how fun a Southern town like Knoxville can be through someone else's eyes is definitely gratifying. 
     Although Emma won't be able to join me next year, I'm definitely going to be attending Rhythm N Blooms for the rest of my time in Knoxville. And who knows? I'd say it's worth traveling back for even if I do move away.
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