Moonflower Designs

Editor’s Note: Remember a time when it wasn’t gloomy and rainy and horrid outside? This terrible weather is making us dream of spring flowers and warm afternoons. What a better way to brighten up your day than reading this great archive piece about Moonflower Designs, and bask in the beauty of their wonderful floral arrangements.

Words by Eva Claire Schwartz & Catherine Dolaher. Photos courtesy of Moonflower Designs.

We had the chance to sit down and speak with Mandy O’Shea of Moonflower Designs about her passion for the art of floral arrangements and why she has chosen to make her art right here in Athens.


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Athens Eats: Specialty Cakes

Cake Art

Editor’s Note: It’s finally time to take a crack at making your holiday desserts, or sneak off to the store for one. As we all know, cakes are fundamental in all celebrations, and we at My Athens love remembering how much talent is behind Athens’ locally made treats. This story from this past spring is a great place to start taking notes before family starts knocking on your door!

Words and Photos by Christy Rogers.

Before you bite into a giant slab of cake, take a minute to stop salivating and pay to its presentation. From pies topped with latticework to artful swirls of frosting, pastry perhaps has the strongest tradition of combining visual art with sugar crash-inducing deliciousness. And with the use of natural ingredients, seasonal garnishes and an eye for beauty, Athens bakers are redefining what it means to make a specialty cake. 

Cake Art
(Photo/ Austin Steele)

One of the major players in Athens’ specialty cake game is 5 & 10’s Mike Sutton. Starting as a busboy for the restaurant in college, Sutton moved his way into the kitchen, wholeheartedly embracing the chaotic world of pastries in relation with the restaurant’s seasonal menu. Continue reading “Athens Eats: Specialty Cakes”

Athens Eats: Sweetie Pie by Savie

Love in the Time of Boxed Brownies

Words by Sarra Sedghi. Photos by David Choe.

For Savie Arnold, proprietor and mastermind behind Sweetie Pie by Savie, embracing her passion meant moving to the other side of the world. Arnold grew up without an oven in her house – in Thailand, kitchens are typically outdoors, and bread is seldom eaten. She learned stovetop basics and prep work from her mother, who ran a restaurant, but discovered baking via television. Unfortunately, as a scholarship student, Arnold had neither the means nor the time to bake until 2005, when she came to the University of Georgia to develop her thesis.


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Athens Eats: Athens’ Milkshakes

Words & Photos by Christy Rogers.

In a town literally pouring everything it has into crafting the perfect alcoholic drink, you’d think that Athens, Georgia would also be known for its magnificent milkshakes. Foregoing chains to the like of Cookout and Chick-Fil-A I set my sails towards Clocked!, Grindhouse Killer Burgers, The Grill, Groove Burgers, Condor Chocolate, and ADD Drug in order to find out which of these local spots carries the tastiest treat. In order to keep the competition even, five of my friends and I only tried out vanilla shakes. Here’s what we determined:



Frothy and light, this perfect balance of vanilla flavored melted ice cream slips through the straw as swiftly as a river. Spun in a retro machine, old school vibes surround this treat which was delivered in an old-school metal container. For $5.25 it was a bit pricey but delightful – possibly even made better with the optional malt.

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AthFest: Kishi Bashi Interview

Words by Connor Gruver. Photos by Connelly Crowe.

AthFest 2016: Interview with headlining musician Kishi Bashi.


Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting with the wickedly engaging Jill Helme, AthFest Executive Director and administrative champion, so that we could get a solid picture of the three-day music festival’s beneficent spirit. But logistics is only half the story, so Jill immediately connected us with someone who knows a thing or two about the music itself.

“Well, that’s what attracted people like Kevin. People just move here. Because they hear it’s a cool town; I think it’s a cool town. It’s cheap, and it’s pretty pleasant.”

K Ishibashi has been a fixture in Athens since he moved here in 2012 to play violin with psychedelic pop act Of Montreal during their tour that year. That was a little bit of a conversation that took place in K’s personal studio, which sits just behind the house where he lives with his wife and daughter.

K was telling me that bands such as R.E.M. and the B-52’s inspired many rising musicians, such as Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes, to take up residence here. He said that his tenure with Of Montreal had a heavy influence on his writing as he made the jump into recording as solo act Kishi Bashi.


“Kevin was really trying to get me to do newer sounds… And I started realizing that the one thing I’m really decent at is the violin.”

However, the result of this partnership had an effect that — for both K and the Athens community — went beyond sound. After the dissolution of his indie pop project ‘Jupiter One,’ K made the move from New York City to Athens, where he began recording and touring.

“I mean, the musicianship and artistry level in New York City is incredible. It’s probably the best conditions in the world. But there’s so little time to just be creative because you’re so dedicated to playing in other projects and making rent. Every time I go back there, I see people and they’re so stressed out.”

Once he was settled in Athens, it didn’t take K long to gain recognition, and in 2014 he was invited to headline AthFest alongside acts like Reptar and Drivin’ N Cryin’. This year, Kishi Bashi will join Family and Friends as well as Mothers in leading the festival. K’s involvement with AthFest doesn’t end there, though.

“I love playing with kids. They’re like drunk adults.”

K was talking about his experiences playing for hundreds of students in what AthFest calls ‘classroom concerts’ at elementary and middle schools across Athens. He says he loves playing the violin for children in that age group and introducing them to what is, for many of them, a new form of creative expression.

“Music is so important on so many levels for kids, or even playing an instrument – socially, academically; there’s just so many benefits to it.”


K is able, perhaps, to put more emphasis on childhood music education than most because his daughter is a student in the Athens public school system. When I asked him which aspect of the Athens community was most valuable to his family, he told me that an attitude of support has been refreshingly noticeable here.

“It’s really safe. Everyone is friendly and supportive. There’s always the mindset of just being creative and supporting local artists. I think that’s really important, and it’s kind of kept Athens the way it is. A lot of cities don’t necessarily have that as part of their way of thinking.”

He said that, for as hard working as people are in New York City, the support system left much to be desired “It’s a cutthroat community. I felt like it was a chore to go see somebody’s show. It was expensive. New York is crazy expensive.”

Fortunately, since relocating, K was able to visit New York, as well as Chicago and Atlanta, when he organized a national orchestral competition, sponsored by D’Addario Strings. Four high schools from these cities were chosen from a number of video submissions, and allowed K to provide workshops that were aimed at teaching and encouraging the young musicians who played there.

“The kids were awesome, and they were really excited.” K has undoubtedly fostered a passion doing something much bigger than himself. “It’s the kind of thing I want to do. I think there are two levels: I want kids who are thinking about playing music to start, and I want people who already play music to continue to be inspired.”

Kishi Bashi will play a free set at the Pulaski St. Stage on Sunday, June 26 at 7pm.

Community Spotlight: Zach Brendel of Oneta Woodworks

(Editor’s Note: Contributing writer Meg Taylor wrote this piece back in 2014 and today we are dusting it off from the archives. Oneta Woodworks continues today to exemplify the creativity and community that we seek to celebrate in our city.)


If there is one thing that makes Athens the creative town that it is, it would have to be the innovative thinkers that make the mundane extraordinary. Oneta Woodworks, a small business based in Athens, specializes in utilizing reclaimed millwork to transform old wood for creative new uses. The heart and soul behind Oneta is the recovery of old wood that is going to waste. As Zach Brendel, owner of Oneta, said perfectly during the interview, “it all started from not wanting the wood to go to waste and recognizing that it had another life in it.” Continue reading “Community Spotlight: Zach Brendel of Oneta Woodworks”

Tuesday Takeovers | April

Every Tuesday, we feature photos from some of our favorite local photographers in a series we call Tuesday Takeover. We like to think of it as a chance for everyday Athenians to tell the story of what Athens looks like through their eyes. These are our Tuesday Takeover photos from April.

Tuesday Takeovers | March

Every Tuesday, we feature photos from some of our favorite local photographers in a series we call Tuesday Takeover. We like to think of it as a chance for everyday Athenians to tell the story of what Athens looks like through their eyes. These are our Tuesday Takeover photos from March.

Tuesday Takeovers | February

Every Tuesday, we feature photos from some of our favorite local photographers in a series we call Tuesday Takeover. We like to think of it as a chance for everyday Athenians to tell the story of what Athens looks like through their eyes. These are our Tuesday Takeover photos from February.