Designer’s Designer: Rachel Albright of Academy Jewelry Thinks her Leah Goren Dress is Purr-fect
When Rachel Albright of Academy Jewelry first spotted Leah Goren’s line on Etsy, she immediately fell for the fun-loving prints—which happen to mesh really well with her light and colorful necklaces. Here, she shares the rest of the story and the dress that witnessed it all. —julia silverman
“I love Leah Goren’s work, so I reached out to her, and we became instant (internet) friends. My absolute favorite thing about my black cat dress is its shape—it’s like a baby dress for grown-ups! Every time I wear it, everyone freaks. Plus, Leah stamped it and sewed it herself for me, so I feel like it’s something really special and handcrafted. I happened to be wearing it when I met Leah for the first time, and she was wearing my jewelry. It was a match made in internet-girl heaven!” —rachel
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To Recap: Guides to 5 Great American Cities—Including Where to Stay
If you’re still looking for a summer vacation, we got you: Book yourself a roundtrip ticket to one of these cities, and let our designers (residents or former-residents, all of them) show you the way. Oh, and: We have some thoughts on where you should crash at night, too, so all you’re left to do is a Kayak search. YOU’RE WELCOME. —erica
Clyde Commons for eating.
Where to Stay: We love us some Ace Hotel, but we’re really sweating the idea of heading 90 minutes outside of the city and renting this prefab on the water in Oceanside.
Eskell for shopping.
Where to Stay: It’s all about Longman & Eagle. The Logan Square restaurant is one of the buzziest in the city, and, if you rent one of the six upstairs rooms, you can pass out right after stuffing yourself (isn’t that the dream?).
VMFA for arting.
Where to Stay: The Jefferson Hotel has been killing it since 1895.
Barton Springs for swimming.
Where to Stay: The so-cool, just-throwback enough Hotel San Jose and its sister spot Hotel Saint Cecilia are both so rad that it’s hard to choose, but the bar at the former serves what might be the best michelada in town—FTW.
Tybee Island for laying low.
Where to Stay: The Johnny Mercer room at the Dresser Palmer House has its own private second-floor balcony. Yup, it doesn’t get much better than that.
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Rachel Albright’s Insider-y Guide to Richmond
If you didn’t have a reason to head to Virginia before, now you have six.
Rachel Albright has lived in Virginia her whole damn life, and, though she felt a little style-starved growing up, she’s come to really embrace the local spots that fuel her line Academy Jewelry, which has its roots in Richmond but has gained a much broader fan base. These half dozen spots qualify as her haunts. —olivia seely
Lamplighter Roasting Company: “The best coffee in Richmond, hands down. I think almost anyone here would say the same. It’s the place to be any weekend morning—everyone you know will be there with their dogs in tow. The dark roast is my favorite, and they deliver anywhere in town on bikes, rain or shine!” [Ed: Oh, hey! Rachel’s wearing Dusen Dusen!] (lamplightercoffee.com)
Halcyon Vintage: “This is an absolutely amazing locally owned vintage shop here. Angelica is incredible and totally gets my style—she’s always pulling out things that she knows I’ll love (usually weird pants), and she knows so much about clothing, it’s ridiculous. I’ve been eyeing this floor-length sequin gown for months, I’m just waiting to get invited to a fancy soiree!”
VMFA (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts): “This is actually one of the best places in Virginia, I think. There’s such a great art scene in Richmond. I’ve been known to squeal and cry in art museums from excitement and emotion, and this one is no exception.” (vmfa.state.va.us)
Chop Suey Tuey: “Chop Suey Tuey is a small, locally owned, new-and-used bookstore in Carytown, the coolest part of Richmond. Plus, there’s a cool gallery room with work by local artists.” (chopsueybooks.com)
Need Supply Co.: “I spend most days in the studio here, and absolutely love being part of such a cool, creative team. Everyone is so inspired—it’s a little family of really funny, stylish, and smart people. And, there’s always a steady supply of snacks—Need Supply Co. loves snacks.” (needsupply.com)
The Roosevelt: “It’s my favorite restaurant in Richmond, and not just because my man is occasionally in the kitchen. The best part: my favorite drink, called The Shrub, made of gin, apple cider vinegar, blackberries, and cherries and served with a little love from T, the man behind the bar (who has the best beard in Richmond).” (rooseveltrva.com)
Photos courtesy of Cameron Lewis.
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A self-proclaimed art history nerd, Rachel Albright immersed herself in Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonialism while studying abroad in Peru. But when she was accepted to graduate school to do a deeper dive into the subject, she turned the opportunity down…and she’s not entirely sure why. “At the time, I didn’t really know what I was doing,” she recalls.
Instead of pursuing what she thought was her passion, she kept on making jewelry—a hobby she’d been at for years. She was more or less forced to take her work (which she describes as “big and weird”) seriously when her creations caught the attention of Need Supply Co., the way-cool Richmond, Virginia, retailer that now employs her as a copy editor and blogger. The first big steps toward going pro were giving the thing a name—Academy Jewelry—logging phone orders, and reveling in the speed at which she found a following. As she says, “The internet is a crazy place!” One of her early admirers: an Anthropologie buyer who discovered her on a blog and ended up placing a huge order. “It completely took over my life for a few months,” Rachel says. “I didn’t sleep for four or five weeks, I think!” But, then, her alternative grad-program path would have required pulling plenty of all-nighters, too. —olivia seely
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Rachel Albright, BBQ Heiress
The jewelry designer shares her family’s tangy, finger-licking recipe.
The slaw-topped, bun-cradled finished product.
Raised in a very Southern household in a small town outside of Richmond, Virginia, Rachel Albright was the black sheep: “I was the only person in my hometown who cared about fashion and style,” she says. But for her, launching an adorably loud line Academy Jewelry didn’t mean getting the hell out of Dodge: She’s stuck around, making it possible to go on weekly square-dancing outings with her grandmother Nene and to master the matriarch’s secret barbecue recipe (that, er, shared below is secret no more). “It’s a vinegar-style BBQ, and my grandmother loves vinegar—I think I picked that up from her,” Rachel explains. “We’re convinced it’s the secret to health and to square dancing well into your nineties!” —olivia seely
10-pound pork shoulder or pork butt
1 white onion, diced
6 grabs salt (bigger than a pinch)
3 grabs black pepper
4 grabs paprika
6 glugs of white vinegar*
6 glugs apple cider vinegar*
*A glug is a generous pour. There should be enough white and apple cider vinegar to cover ¾ of the meat. Add another couple glugs if you need more after you flip the meat.
1 head green cabbage, sliced thinly
6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 green apples, thinly sliced
3 big spoonfuls mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
2 glugs apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Take the pork shoulder (or pork butt, whichever is less expensive—we’re not fancy!). Put it in a slow cooker with the diced onion, salt and pepper, paprika, or whatever other spices are lying around. Add white vinegar and apple cider vinegar to cover about ¾ of the meat. Put the heat on low and let it cook all day long—seriously: like 8 or 10 hours. Flip halfway through (if possible) and add more vinegar to taste. When the meat starts falling off the bone, take it out of the pot, pull the remaining meat from the bone, and shred it with your fingers. This should be easy to do because the meat should be tender.
Next comes the coleslaw, which is just as important as the meat around here. Mix the cabbage, carrot, and apple in a bowl with the mayo, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and other spices if you want a little kick.
That’s it! The pork is best with coleslaw on potato roll served with, of course, sweet tea.