Scouted: Bespoke Slippers

SCOUTED_LetaFoster_PalmBeach These customizable smoking slippers are preppy perfection. Available in a variety of color combinations and fabrics and in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes, the Hadleigh’s Bespoke footwear is a must-have for fall.

Leta Austin Foster  //  Palm Beach, FL  //  561.655.5489


Pearls and Perspectives: Photographing Children

tsg-photographing-children-christy-ford There’s something about this transitional time that makes us feel like we should be capturing moments. Very soon we’ll be in the midst of the frenzied pace of fall, and taking a moment to snap a picture of the kids enjoying the sunshine or finding time to get everyone dressed up for a family shot will seem nearly impossible. Plus, while the holidays may still seem far away, there’s no time like the present to attempt the perfect, card-ready photograph (like the above by TSG co-founder Christy Ford) that will come in handy come late November.

With visions of perfectly lit, beautifully composed, and thoughtfully framed portraits of our children already dancing in our heads, we reached out to Charlottesville-based photographer Danielle Hill, Durham-based portrait artist William Branson, and Wilmington-based photographer Anne Liles, three experts in the field, to find out their tricks of the trade and what they enjoy about the process of photographing children. Whether you’re thinking about getting behind the camera yourself or hiring a professional—which we highly recommend—you’ll enjoy and appreciate their perspective and pearls of wisdom.


tsg-photographing-children-danielle-hill-2 How long have you been photographing children?
I’ve been photographing children and families for over 5 years. I started off shooting engagement and wedding photos for friends, and then eventually, their children. Over time, I became more serious about lifestyle photography and realized I could create a business out of it.

Any special tips that you’ve discovered?
I’ll often have one of the parents (or both) stand behind me or to the side (depending on the frame I want) and do anything to make their kids smile. Parents know their children best, so they know what tricks work! But don’t let that become a rule…sometimes the in-between expressions are my favorites. I’m able to get more artistic shots not posing my subject and just letting them run around and pick wildflowers, or chase butterflies.

What are your favorite locations?
I started my photography business in D.C. and am now based in Charlottesville, so my choice locations have changed somewhat over the past few years. I tend to gravitate towards wide open spaces with pretty backdrops. In D.C., those were of course harder to find…in Charlottesville, though, there’s no lack of beautiful fields from which to choose. For me, it’s also about the time of day and the quality of light. I try to schedule all my shoots either early in the morning or the last few hours before sunset.

What do you enjoy about working with children?
I love how spontaneous children are. They don’t let their inhibitions hold them back from expressing themselves, however they’re feeling in the moment (which isn’t always a good thing!). There’s the potential for a pure, true photograph, in which you know what you captured is truly authentic.

tsg-photographing-chidren-daniellehill-1 Have you had any particularly memorable shoots?
I love creating set designs for shoots whenever I get the chance. I was hoping for a snowy backdrop for a shoot last winter, which I didn’t think would be too hard since it had been snowing the whole week prior. Of course the day of, there was no snow… so I needed to create some. I managed to wrangle a PVC pipe and some fake snow, rigged it up and let it snow. Improvising can sometimes lead to your most unique images!

See more of Danielle Hill’s work here.


tsg-photographing-children-william-branson How long have you been creating portraits of children?
I opened my studio in Durham in 1972 and have been working with children ever since. Portraiture is a way of capturing the moment, of freezing a portion of someone in time. For parents, it is especially meaningful to have a keepsake of certain moments in their children’s lives; I get a lot of clients who want to preserve those moments in the form of a painted portrait.

Any special tips that you’ve discovered?
I always suggest that you get down on their level and talk directly to them. Don’t talk to them through their parents, or as though you are the adult, but as though you are on the same plane as them.

What are your favorite settings in which to photograph kids?
I build the majority of our sets in the studio specifically designed for each portrait I create. Sets are built based around a child’s personality, level of energy, and their “look”—whether they are blonde or brunette, blue or green eyed, for instance. I also work with parents to create the perfect setting. I like to personalize each portrait by bringing together my eye with parents’ ideas of how best to capture their child’s personality.

tsg-photographing-children-williambranson-2 What do you enjoy about working with children?
I love how honest they are. Children have very little filter, they don’t protect their emotions or their thoughts. That is a beautiful thing to see and I love conveying that fresh honesty in my work.

Have you had any particularly memorable shoots?
My most memorable session was with a young girl who was about to begin cancer treatment at the Duke Children’s Hospital. I created a portrait of this child in the prime of her youth. She was healthy, happy, wonderful to work with. As her treatments progressed, her parents brought her back every few weeks so she could see the progress on her portrait. The portrait came to serve as a reminder of what she was capable of, an image of hope, a goal to aim for when her treatment was over. I loved working on that portrait, the deep meaning it held for her and her family stretched beyond the canvas.

See more of William Branson’s work here.



How long have you been photographing children?
I have been photographing families for over 14 years.

Any special tips that you’ve discovered?
Photographing children is all about letting them have fun; as long as they are engaged and enjoying themselves, all should go well. My key is to never discipline a small child, but to distract them. It works every time. A little backstory on this concept: I had a 2-year-old this summer who did not want to take his shoes off. We were on the beach, so shoes were fine for the beginning of the session, but as we were nearing the ocean at the end of the session we tried again to get the little guy to take his shoes off, and this kid was not going to do it. So, I asked the mother and father to pick him up—twirl him, toss him up, toss him in-between and tickle him and get his shoes off in the process—it worked like a charm. Here’s the end product:


What are your favorite locations?
My favorite location is anywhere outside, where kids are free to be themselves, to run, play, get wet and have a great time.

What do you enjoy about working with children?
I love working with kids because they light up over the silliest of things—noises, words, actions. To see them fall apart giggling makes it for me. Kids aren’t afraid to get dirty, wet or enjoy themselves. These are the moments that will be looked back on and most enjoyed!

See more of Anne Liles’s work here.


Scouted: Anaconda Crop Jacket

SCOUTED-AnacondaCropJacket-TheLittleBird-Aspen Utterly stylish and undeniably statement-making, this Bottega Veneta crop jacket, available from Aspen-based luxury consignment store The Little Bird, will be your favorite go-to come fall. Ideal for wearing over a cocktail dress or paired with jeans and heels, this wild find is wonderfully versatile and will feel right at home in any wardrobe.

The Little Bird  //  Aspen, CO  //  970.920.3830


Red Stick Spice Company’s Roasted Tomato Recipe

tsg-Red-Stick-Spice-Tomato-Recipe At markets, tomatoes are practically overflowing from produce displays right into our baskets (and, for those of us who have green thumbs, they’re falling off the vines in our gardens), creating a late-August abundance of fresh deliciousness in our kitchens that we can barely keep up with. While we do our best to take advantage of the raw fruit at its peak via salads, BLTs, and other tomato-friendly dishes, sometimes we find ourselves having trouble keeping up with our purchased or homegrown bounty. Therefore, having a simple recipe on hand that can utilize a lot of tomatoes and help them reach their full potential goes a long way toward satisfying our taste buds while also assuaging our guilty consciences, and Baton Rouge-based Red Stick Spice Company‘s recipe for roasted tomatoes definitely fits the bill.

Created by Red Stick Spice Company owner Anne Milneck, the recipe is wonderfully simple, and can be used and adapted in a variety of ways. Milneck recommends using the roasted tomatoes in their “chunky, salsa-like state” as a side, a stir-in for pasta, a topping for chicken or fish, or pureed into a homemade version of a jarred marinara. Be sure to check out her tips below for spices and blends that will tailor the recipe to a few specific dishes or suit your personal tastes.



Tomatoes (enough to cover a baking sheet)
Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Optional: 1/2 sliced onion, 6 peeled garlic cloves, loose handful of fresh basil


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Quarter medium and large tomatoes, halve cherry or grape tomatoes, and place cut-side up on a baking sheet. It’s okay if the tomatoes are crowded.
3. Drizzle tomatoes with a heavy dose of olive oil and season with two generous pinches of salt and several generous grinds of black pepper
4. Add optional aromatics and herbs.
5. Roast tomatoes uncovered for two to three hours, until they are blistered and bursting and releasing their juices. The tomatoes should be shriveled, very soft, and fragrant.


Anne Milneck’s recommendations for additional spices:
Red Stick Spice Company uses local ingredients and fresh spices and sources custom blends and rubs from local chefs, grill masters, regional farmers, and their own in-house experts, so you can rest assured Milneck’s recommendations will truly take things up a notch.

To give the tomatoes a spicy or mediterranean kick: Tuscan Blend would be great to add to the tomatoes when used with pasta or as a dipping sauce with a nice warm, crusty loaf of focaccia. For those who might not want as much spice, our Vegetable and Pizza Seasoning would be a great choice. For something really rich and savory, Soprano’s Deliza fits the bill. Walnuts are ground into this Mediterranean blend, which gives it a meaty richness.

For some smokiness: Simply add a little Smoked Sweet Paprika. According to Milneck, this ingredient is the “in” thing right now…and for good reason. “This is a must-have for the kitchen,” Milneck says. “It would be a great addition to this sauce. And I guarantee cooks will find many other ways to use it. Paprika is naturally sweet, so the smoking process leads to a very sultry, smoky-sweet end result.”

Red Stick Spice Company // Baton Rouge, LA // 225.930.9967



Words We Love / 22



Before and After: Arco Avenue’s Modern Transformation

tsg-arco-ave-after-2 We love a good before-and-after design story almost as much as we love hearing about TSG businesses collaborating, so when we heard that TSG Jackson’s SummerHouse recently transformed shoe and accessory boutique Arco Avenue, we asked them to share the behind-the-scenes details. Here’s how the design re-do—part of which can be seen in the “after” shot, above—came about….

tsg-arcoave-before The History: In 2011, Katie Miller bought a space in The Township, a shopping center in a suburb of Jackson, Mississippi, where she planned to open Arco Avenue, a women’s shoe and accessory boutique. Previously, the 1900-square-foot space had been home to a clothing shop, and Miller was able to quickly and easily create an overall look for her shoe store using the existing furniture and fixtures (shown above, in a photo from TSG Jackson taken before the design update; additional “before” photos appear below).

A couple of years later, however, the successful shop owner decided it was time for a refresh. Ready for a more modern look that would also allow for more display space, she reached out to her Township neighbors, the designers at SummerHouse, an interior design firm and furniture store, for guidance on how to achieve her vision.

tsg-arco-avenue-before-3 Lisa Palmer, SummerHouse owner and principle designer, quickly began work on the project, and pulled in designer Elish Phares, who she calls “our little fashionista.” The collaboration was a success. From the paint color to the furniture to the fixtures to the lighting, the design that the SummerHouse team came up with based on Miller’s goals for the project “Couldn’t have been more perfect,” Miller says.

“We wanted a clean and tight color palette, so eventually, a design featuring modern displays, mixed metals, statement lighting, and complimentary neutrals evolved.” —Elish Phares

The Vision: In addition to feeling more spacious and fresh, Miller and the designers wanted the store to have a well-traveled feel that wasn’t “too anchored in Southern small-town style,” Phares says. The desire to give the boutique a current, cosmopolitan vibe but still honor its local roots led to the custom-designed map of an imagined Jackson transit system that hangs behind the cash wrap (last image featured). Miller’s sister-in-law Laurel, who also happens to be SummerHouse’s Social Media Director, was behind the design of the artwork, which Miller says exceeded her expectations.

tsg-arco-ave-after-4 The Elements: Details and decisions both large and small contributed to the drastically different new look. For starters, painting the khaki colored walls in Benjamin Moore’s Dune White “transformed the space immediately,” Miller says. “It makes our shoes and accessories really pop.”

Custom-made pieces also reinforce the boutique’s lighter, more modern appearance. Perhaps the best example of this is the striking geometric window display (above), which, according to Phares, developed after extensive research into innovative displays in cities known to be fashion meccas. Knowing the importance of the window display in terms of conveying the store’s brand to passersby, Phares was committed to making it outstanding, and she worked with craftsmen Mike Williams, a metal worker, and Frank Wells, who specializes in custom furniture pieces, to achieve the ideal look, finish, and function.

“Arco’s new design scheme married an industrial and international look. I felt the unique lines, lacquered shelves, and gold sheet metal [of the window display] created a signature look for the store.” —Elish Phares

tsg-arco-avenue-after-1 One of Miller’s favorite new pieces is a display table situated near the back of the store that Phares designed. “I had an idea of a three-level cantilevered display for the shoes,” she says. “A sleek antique cloud mirror top with gold veining on the tabletop gave it an added edge.” Despite having to make a few alterations, the piece, on which she worked with local craftsman Dennis Deister, turned out exactly as planned.

Clear glass shelving, which optimizes the overhead lighting; two metallic benches by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; a brass and Carerra marble coffee table by Jonathan Adler; jewelry display and gold-and-white shelving piece from Worlds Away; the chandelier, pendants, and sconces from Arteriors; and sofa re-covered in Mitchell Gold cognac velvet complete the airy, contemporary look that Miller calls “chic perfection.”

“It’s exactly how we envisioned it: light, bright, product-focused, and sophisticated. And because Katie’s our neighbor and the sister-in-law of Laurel, there was something extra special about working with her. She really is like family! This project was a dream project.” —Lisa Palmer