Call me old fashioned: Hearkening back to centuries-old Irish farms and the rainy wilds of British isles, something about the storied construction and classic look of a well-made waxed cotton coat gets me every time. As romances tend to go, though, I’ve found good waxed canvas can be awfully tough to find — made more difficult if you’re on the hunt for hardworking, ethical options that are tailored for women.
Gina Moyano and I first crossed paths six months ago. As I was gearing up for a balmy summer in Atlanta, she was beginning to dream up fresh handbag designs for her luxe collection of sustainable accessories, Chakanu, which she creates in collaboration with a selection of hand-picked artisans in her home country of Ecuador. Through Chakanu Gina combines sustainability and ethical working conditions with modern, high-quality accoutrements. Chakanu is a labor of love born outside of working hours — Gina is a fellow brand manager with an affinity for sustainable practices, and, like me, she cares an awful lot about making things that are good for people and for our planet.
Sevilla Smith Sandy D’Orsay Flats: In review I can’t go a few days of wearing these without someone asking who made these beautiful shoes by Sevilla Smith so I’d like to share a little review: Know that each pair is made according to your exact specifications, from leather type to width to the occasional Midas touch. When these flats arrive they should feel very tight for the first couple of wears, but won’t leave a single blister — scout’s honor. Give them two days to loosen up and they’ll melt into the softest, buttery leather socks that have ever adorned your sweet feet.
All you really need in the summertime is a tall iced coffee, a mountain to climb, waterfalls and forests to explore with your favorite people and pups, and a few solid outfits that will breathe with you through the afternoon breeze. For a recent weekend getaway wandering the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, I packed a few trusty wardrobe staples along with some new favorites I’ve picked up this season.
Between unwinding along Ireland’s quiet northwest reaches and enjoying copious helpings of Scottish whiskey, we took the train down the Irish coastline for a weekend of adventures along the southern reaches of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,500 mile scenic route speckled with jaw-dropping views and castles along Ireland’s rugged westerly shores. With much to do and just a few days to soak up Ireland’s first national park, centuries of history, a gorgeous peninsula, and some incredible seafood, my husband and I hit the ground running as soon as the train slowed into Killarney station. Our first stop would be the surreal sanctuary of Friar’s Glen, a small bed and breakfast nestled away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Killarney in an ancient valley between the mountains of Killarney National Park.
When you marry a whiskey man (or whisky man, as they say in Scotland) with whom you share an affinity for first editions, bedroom slippers, bran cereals, Ken Burns documentaries, gardening, and heavily peated scotch (we are essentially grandparents in the chrysalis) it’s tough to decide on a honeymoon destination. Oddly enough, we both landed on a tiny island off the coast of Scotland through independent research (another beloved Hunt-Ralston hobby) and soon realized it would be the perfect spot to unwind after exploring the wilds of Ireland and bustling Brussels.
After a few weeks abroad I’m back home, unpacking, sorting out photos, and catching up on beauty rest. Three countries and three times as many plane and train rides later I’m missing one city in particular. Nestled along the northwest coast of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Galway is a relaxing train ride from Dublin (with wifi and wine) or just an hour’s drive from Shannon airport. The city holds an extra special place in my heart as likely 1700s stomping grounds for my great-great-great-you-get-the-idea-grandfather who immigrated from North Ireland to North Georgia and opened a tippling parlor only to be eventually killed by local Native Americans who would also become part of my Appalachian lineage – but that’s another story for another blog.