A voracious learner with endless curiosity, I am always on the hunt for a good story.
I place value on meeting new people and hearing their stories or discovering something
new about a place we all thought we knew. If the subject is food or travel or maybe
even an upland adventure, count me in. I'll take these experiences and retell them in
engaging and compelling ways, to a broader audience.
I also do private content production for brands I admire.
I enjoy the challenge of distilling a message into an easily accessible tag line or product description.
References available upon request.
Standing on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama, you can feel moments in history collide. Look one way, and you'll see the Court Square Fountain. Built in 1885, it sits on a site that once held a market where enslaved people where bought and sold.
ADAIRSVILLE - There is an instant when the English Setter that had just been gamboling by your side, goes suddenly stock still. In that moment, a single front paw is raised, a swishy tail is now stick-straight. And that wet nose twitches as it points dead ahead, into the wiregrass.
Garden & Gun Magazine
Last year, in Birmingham, Alabama, Rebecca Simon taped the floor of her garage with regulation court lines so that she could practice her pickleball shots between Zoom calls. The sport became her favorite respite from endless work-from-home days. When she joined a league that met at nearby public courts, Simon relished the chance for rare face-to-face contact.
When faced with the sale of the building that had held their beloved Hot & Hot Fish Club for twenty-four years, James Beard award-winning chef Chris Hastings and his wife Idie were forced to contemplate the future of their Birmingham, Alabama, culinary institution. As tenants at the Highland Avenue location, they had known a move might come.
In Birmingham, Alabama, Black Sheep Kitchen regulars start clamoring for chef Julie Grimes' tomato pies in early March, even though the best tomatoes from local growers are still months away. In one form or another, the pies have been on the summer menu at Grimes' grab-and-go dinner shop since she opened it four years ago.
Good Grit Magazine
Words by Christiana Roussel Photos from The Big Book of King Cake On a recent trip to New Orleans, I had the good fortune of sitting down with La Boulangerie co-owner Donald Link and Pastry Chef Maggie Scales to sample a few king cakes.
Beech Mountain's Avery Quilt Trail Words by Christiana Roussel The history and beauty of quilts lives on today in a new iteration, as painted quilt patterns that prominently dot the western North Carolina landscape, providing a kind of hide-and-seek-style scavenger hunt that is as enjoyable as it is honorific.
Words by Christiana Roussel The holidays are synonymous with tradition-we bake together, we layer the mantel with garlands and Christmas cards, we pull out family china for special meals together. Perhaps it is time for a new tradition.
Not unlike Elwood Blues and Joliet Jake, Dan Fowler is on a mission from God Words by Christiana Roussel Photos by Taylor Galmiche, Dan Fowler, Monwell Frazier Whereas Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's seminal Blues Brothers characters wanted to save the orphanage in which they were raised, Dan Fowler aims to ameliorate the harsh realities of homelessness in New Orleans, one amazing pair of sneakers at a time.
The iconic tomato salad is back on the menu at James Beard Award-winning Birmingham restaurant, Hot & Hot Fish Club. Words by Christiana RousselPhotos by Christiana Roussel, Chef Hastings, and Hot & Hot Fish Club After twenty-seven years in business, there is one constant at Chef Chris Hastings' Hot & Hot Fish Club-the annual arrival of THE Tomato Salad.
At the terminus of Nashville's past, present and future lies the Nashville Yards Words by Christiana RousselPhotos by Grand Hyatt and Emily Dorio Primely situated on Broadway, across from the Frist Museum, there is a story and a magic to this location that deserves to be captured, bringing it forward and making it relevant once again.
Words by Christiana Roussel As any musician will tell you, timing is everything. For Javier Solis and his family, timing has been everything with their Nashville coffee shop, Tempo. Located in the edgy south side of Nashville, Tempo is more than a family-owned-and-operated coffee shop.
Words by Christiana Roussel Photos by Nadia Wilder With the number of restaurants that have shuttered in 2020-some reports put that number above 100,000-many restaurateurs have had to become creative in their business plans.
Words by Christiana Roussel Eloise had The Plaza. You have BentoLiving. No one disputes that travel became super strange in 2020. International vacations were scuttled. Red-eye flights became sparsely populated. And let's not even get started talking about the state of room service.
Words and Photos by Christiana Roussel When the Southern chefs come to Montana, they pack heavy: Grits.Flour.Butter.Buffalo.Hot sauce.Smoked onion jam.Homemade mustards. Recently, The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, MT hosted their 15th annual Montana Master Chefs event where several Southern chefs took center stage.
You might not expect that the literal handbook on the topic of ethical meat would come from a former vegetarian/vegan. But then again, maybe you just need to get to know Meredith Leigh who addresses the topic in very thoughtful ways, through the analytical and scientific lens that is the hallmark of her approach to any subject.
Nashville native Bettina Bryant found a piece of home in the rolling hills of Napa. Words by Christina RousselPhotos by Gentl & Hyers 2020 Any great Southern story starts with grit, and grit, along with phenomenal soil, a temperate climate, and acres of luscious grapes, is at the very heart of Bettina Bryant's story.
The story of Peachtree City, GA's innovative closed loop hydroponic Alō Farms and the architect who created this project.
Recently, we got to spend time with Stacy Lyn Harris, lawyer, blogger, and chef to her family. Stacy spent the morning harvesting vegetables from the garden and the afternoon and evening creating dishes full of game.
Food & Wine Magazine
Velvety-smooth chicken liver mousse, caviar-topped deviled eggs, and pimiento cheese headline this ultimate appetizer board. Get the recipes at Food & Wine.
This portion of the Florida panhandle has long been popular with families seeking a beach getaway, and with good reason: the sand is sugar-white, the accommodations are plentiful, and there is so much to do - even beyond the beach.
A few months into COVID-19 quarantine, frequent travelers began to determine what their limits would be when it came time to venture out. Some were comfortable wrangling a Winnebago for extended cross-country sightseeing while others preferred to hunker down at home, crafting detailed itineraries for where they'd explore "once the world reopened."
With its wide open beaches and lush landscape, Kiawah Island is the ultimate surfside playground. There are 10 miles of uninterrupted beach giving you ample space to stretch, walk, run, bike, and castle build. Off the beach, there are world-class golf courses, plus tennis, kayaking, and biking.
Road trip itinerary for a fantastic weekend in Birmingham, AL
Sporting Classics Magazine
If you've ever had the notion to take a woman hunting, you're onto something pretty special. As K.J. Houtman illustrates in her book, Why Women Hunt, it is almost always a man who introduces a woman to hunting, which is only the beginning of the journey.
Rachel Carrie is a passionate woman - passionate about educating people about the importance of hunting as it relates to conservation. With her cookbook, Game & Gatherings, she puts into action the fruits of her skilled shooting, one delicious dish at a time. Growing up in the U.K.
If there is one word we have heard used time and time again over the past several months, it is "pivot." Businesses of all sizes, industries of all types, have had to completely imagine and, in some cases, re-imagine how they operate.
My first column for a sporting magazine, this is a first-person account of falling in love with quail hunting (and subsequent purchase of my first shotgun) was a treat to research and write.
Birmingham Home & Garden
Abbey Roy will be the first to tell you that she never saw herself as a farmer. She just knew she loved flowers. Today, the McCalla, Alabama, farm that has been in her husband's family for more than a century is home to a thriving floral business. How did you get started?
There is just something special about a big bus. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend knew it, when their band, The Who, released the song "Magic Bus" in 1968. Jessica Watts, co-owner of House Plant Collective, knows it too.
Rich in history with creativity built upon thrift and tradition, Alabama is replete with phenomenal makers. Artisans working in the mediums of clay, paper, leather, marble, and wood are today's caretakers of our collective sense of place.
The city of Birmingham is teeming with culinary talent. From the national spotlight of such award-winning, decades-old establishments like Highlands Bar & Grill and Hot & Hot Fish Club to newer, stellar standouts like Le Fresca (whose pizza was named by Food & Wine Magazine as the best in the state) and wine-merchants-cum-tapas-bars (such as Aviné and Golden Age), the Magic City knows a thing or two about good food.
Palmetto Bluff, located a mere 25 miles from the Savannah airport, is a true gem on the Carolina coast. Here in the Lowcountry, an authentic community has been intentionally created to coincide with not only the history of the area but also the preservation of the natural landscape.
Garlic is not an unusual scent to encounter in a chef's kitchen, but in Becky Satterfield's garden, the minced cloves aren't going into a salsa or marinade. Scads of them are steeping in hot water to make garlic tea that Becky will use to organically combat the Japanese beetles trying to lay waste to her beloved roses.
Take the backyard of 100-year-old Homewood home with a new-to-look-old carriage house. Add a layer of found treasures from two talented designers. Style those finds in well-curated vignettes that others can picture re-creating in their own spaces. Layer in scads of vintage and antique rugs.
Cashiers, North Carolina, may be the most well-known town in Jackson County, but the nearby communities of Sylva, Dillsboro, Cullowhee, and Tuckasegee are equally eager to show you what they've got. So grab your best friends or extended family and head north. Here are our picks for a fun-filled, long weekend.
Plenty of Over-the-Mountain communities are beloved, fiercely defended by their residents. Beyond neighborhood-centric Facebook pages and elementary school stickers emblazoned on bumpers, passions for home run deep. Some might argue that nowhere else is this more true than in Homewood.
A mere two-hour drive from Birmingham, Barnsley Resort promised equal parts intrigue, adventure, and downtime for my three-day girlfriends' getaway. Upon arrival, we settled into our individual cottages along the property's village green and reconvened for afternoon cocktails at The Woodlands Grill, overlooking a wide swath of the Fazio-designed golf course.
Huntsville-based floral designer Charlotte Wessel has found her gift and uses it to the delight of those around her. Where some see an empty ceramic pot, Charlotte sees a vessel, ready to be filled with the beauty of her garden, no matter the season.
You won't find any tacky beer posters or bean bag chairs in this home where Jill and Lyle Cain's daughters live while attending The University of Alabama. Outfitted by interior designer Jenny Edwards, this is way more than just a game-day destination.
Situated in the heart of English Village in the site of a former gas station, Gallery 1930, with its clean lines and airy space, belies the fact that oil paint now reigns where the oil pan used to. Laura Vogtle opened the space with her mother, Kathryn Keith, in the fall of 2011.
Any realtor will tell you that after location, location, location, it is the kitchen and master bath that will sell a home at a higher price. These are the spaces buyers really notice. Think about the last dinner party you went to-you probably spent more time in the kitchen with friends than at the dining room table.
Some twenty-odd years ago, a tornado made its way through Dadeville, Alabama, taking down almost every tree on Jim Scott's property on the south side of Lake Martin. Undeterred, Jim distilled beauty from destruction by creating a fantastical garden around what remained-his Bobby McAlpine-designed home and a whole lot of red clay.
Feeling landlocked in Birmingham? Miss the sound of gentle ocean waves or the quick splash of a bass on the lake? Alabama Aquarium & Pond Services can bring the water back into your daily life, setting up home aquariums, outdoor water features, and more.
More destination than conventional plant nursery, Shoppe is the chic new garden spot in town. With design experience and deft green thumbs, owners Mark Thompson and Jay Draper put a lot of creativity and sweat equity into upgrading a corner of their Forest Park neighborhood.
ABOVE David, Ellen, and their three girls lived at The Orvis Farmhouse before their twin boys arrived. Fertilizer may have been the official family business, but it is true Southern hospitality that grew Pursell Farms , setting it on the course it's on today.
The title for this feature started as Super Moms. And while that moniker certainly fits the women we interviewed, they are a representation of the legions of Birmingham women-not just moms-who are working to create better lives for the people around them.
Longtime Birmingham residents who had the good fortune to have their portrait taken by photographer Barbara Harbin may find these images of the Roth home vaguely familiar. The home and garden on Dell Road served as a studio for many children’s and family’s portraits. Embracing the good aura, Kathleen Roth and her family purchased it and set about creating a backdrop for their own life.
Long before the State of Alabama declared 2016 as The Year of the Maker, creativity has been pouring forth from our home. The rest of the country has already discovered our beloved designers Billy Reid and Natalie Chanin. But look in our own backyard and you’ll find the next generation of makers in a smartly renovated Avondale warehouse.
Imagine living in a city where you awaken in a sun-filled loft, grab a quick shower, take the stairs down to your bike, and pedal a few blocks to the office. At lunchtime, you pop into the grocery store less than a block away for some dinner essentials.
Time was, the word ‘catering’ conjured up visions of sterno-powered chafing dishes and mounds of fussy white linen tablecloths. Large events might have meant bland food of the rubber chicken-and-rice-casserole variety or anything served on a stick. News flash: Catering has come a long way, baby. Here in Birmingham, we have a slew of talented outfits to call upon when you are planning that next fete. In fact, you don’t even need to wait until you’re hosting a big event; these caterers...
The Local Palate
There is a particular type of alchemy that happens when flame hits meat; when hot coals coax a slab of ribs into utter relaxation or smoke wends its way between the fat and muscle of a well-marbled piece of beef. Chef Rob McDaniel is privy to that alchemy and whole-heartedly welcomes the advent of grilling season.
Everyone needs a happy place. That destination where we go-whether mentally or physically-for a reprieve from the everyday, where we hit the pause button on our routines, where we retreat, relax, and get centered again. For the James Beard award-winning chef Frank Stitt and his wife and business partner, Pardis, that place is Paradise Farm.
Head due south on I-65 toward Bayou La Batre. Follow I-10 to County Road 39. The horizon begins to get flatter, but keep going. Take a few more turns until you find the exact dirt road you are looking for. Drive until you almost run out of land, and when you begin to see telephone poles again, start counting.
Mountain Brook Magazine
By Christiana Roussel Photos by Kathryn Bell Longtime Mountain Brook residents have seen more than a few changes to the Crestline retail scene over the years. Some of those changes have been met with outrage or raised hackles (we all remember the brouhaha over the CVS pharmacy and Piggly Wiggly relocations).
By Christiana Roussel Photos by Mary Fehr Sit with Christie Lowe at her English Village restaurant for more than a minute, and the conversation is likely to stop and start a half-dozen times. Her smile is wide and bright as she greets regulars and new customers at the former Bobby Carl's Table eatery.
By Christiana Roussel Photos by Mary Fehr "If you build it, they will come." We're all familiar with that famous line from the Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams, referring to the baseball diamond he constructs, smack dab in the middle of his Iowa corn fields.
Owning and operating a restaurant in normal times can be thrilling but challenging. Throw in a pandemic, and what used to be exciting can become nerve-wracking or downright scary. The best restaurants will not only survive but thrive when there are a number of hallmarks in place: location, location, location (of course); experienced leadership; a well-honed concept; and great staffing.
Imagine the fear and trepidation of opening a new business. Now multiply that ten-fold, and you might have an idea of what it was like to open a new business in the midst of a pandemic. But with a strong customer base and an ability to "give the people what they want," Vaughan McGehee has the recipe for success.
Years of magazine recipe development are fueling Nourish Foods' deliveries and selections at The Pig.
When Mauricio Papapietro opened brick & tin restaurant in downtown Birmingham nine and a half years ago, he had an inkling that it was a concept that might work just as well in his own backyard of Mountain Brook. He just had no idea how well.
Mountain Brook, Alabama, is a long way from the rolling verdant hills of the glorious English countryside, but for Crestline resident Rebecca Williamson, it couldn't taste any closer. Her bespoke chutney line, Holmsted Fines, certainly has definitive British roots, although Rebecca has also found a way to translate that ubiquitous condiment to our Southern way of eating.
And the award goes to... Anyone in an industry where awards are handed out annually has dreams of hearing their name at the end of that sentence. But for Mountain Brook native Hannah Black and her restaurant partner, Carla Perez-Gallardo, they could not have been more surprised at hearing their names as one of the James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalists earlier this spring.
We've all seen the lists of best places to live, best places to call home, best places to raise a family. Hands down, the City of Mountain Brook usually tops those lists in our state and always ranks high nationally. But it could also be argued that it is the relationships here are what truly make it what it is.
Once upon a time, Will Haver was just a guy who owned a cool neighborhood burger joint, Otey's in Crestline. The beer was always super cold, the guy manning the grill (Rodney Davis, our favorite!) could fire up a mean chili cheeseburger, and classic rock bands played on Friday nights.
There is a running joke amongst some Mountain Brook restaurant owners that Crestline Village is the food court of our fair city. Given the population density and younger demographic of this area, it is easy to see why so many food retailers are attracted to Church Street.
Shoe polish. It is an unusual "ingredient" to find in a commercial restaurant kitchen. But once you get to know the story behind that shoe polish, you'll want to know if every chef has some in their work pantry.
Not since the Piggly Wiggly location on Euclid Avenue shuttered has there been such a public hue and cry over a village staple closing.
Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles
It might seem like an unlikely destination-in the seat of the marble capital of the Southeast-but Pursell Farms is ideally situated to be the most turnkey weekend getaway you've ever had. Located on 3,200 acres of family property in Sylacauga, Alabama, just 45 minutes southeast of Birmingham, proprietors Ellen and David Pursell have deftly created a most welcoming escape.
Vestavia Hills Magazine
By Christiana Roussel Photo Contributed Creativity and entrepreneurship have deep roots in the family where Alexandra Stone Flowers and her sister Fallon grew up. Their parents, Deborah and Russell Stone, raised their girls to trust their instincts, follow their dreams, love deeply and share their talents.
By Christiana Roussel Photos by Cary Norton You can imagine that there might be nothing better than living year-round on gorgeous Lake Martin in nearby Eclectic, Alabama. You helm the kitchen at the most coveted dining spot for miles. You're married to your best friend who is killing it in the second home real estate market.
The first thing you notice upon meeting Barbara Kenyon is her smile. Her easy smile looks effortless and that may be true but, she has also built a business upon the science of delivering happiness. As the owner of Happy Event Company, Barbara has more than two decades of conceiving, designing, creating and executing events-for brides, corporate get-together and gatherings of all sizes.