By Thom Volarath
I have a list of local bloggers that I love and follow with voracity. They eat at the most interesting places. They hang out with the coolest people. They’re always in the know. I mine them for ideas and suggestions daily, and they always make me look cool in front of my friends.
For me, Atlanta bloggers keep the city fresh and show me a side of the city that is overlooked. Though their eyes, Atlanta is anything but slow moving; it’s a hip and quirky place that’s full of little adventures.
I had a chance to meet with four local bloggers to get to know them a little better and talk about what inspires them and their blogs. Not surprisingly, their blogs are an extension of their personalities.
The Asian Cajuns (asiancajuns.com)
Catherine and Lauren Lee make me want to double-check myself in the mirror before I leave the house. I have to admit that I pondered a little bit longer in front of my closet before I met with them. The Asian Cajuns blog stylishly elevates the art of everyday life.
Starting out as a way for friends and family to keep up with their busy lives, the blog has evolved into an eclectic mix of practical living tips and a visual diary of their daily adventures. The name comes from the twin’s heritage: part Chinese, part French Cajun. The blog is unassumingly entertaining. Even the entries where they’re just hanging out at their house are completely charming.
More Anthropologie than Martha Stewart, they present a lifestyle that is attainable and unpretentious. The girls regularly highlight their favorite thrift and consignment shops on the blog. They also feature outings to often overlooked places in Atlanta like the Sweet Auburn Market. They make great unofficial ambassadors.
Photographer Jason Travis is just an all around cool guy. He definitely reflects the hip factor of his various subjects, which he posts regularly on his photo blog at flickr.
A graphic designer by trade, Jason’s design eye is evident in a series of photographs he calls Persona, a split screen photography style called diptych that documents the person and the contents of their bags.
I tagged along on a photo shoot he had arranged for the day. Jason is meticulous in the way he crafts his photos. Moving quickly and thoroughly, he experiments with different combination of objects until the he is satisfied with the composition. The end result is an interesting mix of objects that’s extremely insightful about it’s owner.
The subjects of Jason’s photos are often from his circle of friends or simply people he has met. Browsing through the photographs is always fascinating and sometimes surprising. It’s a great study in modern anthropology.
Jason’s work has steadily grown in popularity over a short amount of time. He has been featured in tons of local publications as well as national ones such as The New York Times and Marie Claire. His book is available online at blurb.com
Tomorrow’s News Today (tonetoatl.com)
“Coming Soon” signs in a storefront window excite Eli Zandman like no one else in Atlanta. Where other people might glance and drive by in their car, Eli parks and begins asking questions.
As the curator of Tomorrow’s News Today, Eli documents the seemingly soap opera world of real estate, retail and restaurants in Atlanta. Eli’s blog is like the TMZ of the local business community and everyone, it seems, has an opinion about it.
Sometimes controversial but always honest, Eli doesn’t mince words when voicing his opinion. His most popular – and dreaded – section is aptly called Deathwatch. Not many things are more disconcerting for a business owner than to find his establishment’s name on this list, and nothing elicits more back and forth comments than the businesses Eli chooses quarterly. Though Eli will readily admit that his predictions have been wrong in the past, it’s still pretty fun to see him poke the beehive.
Ask him to talk about anything covered in his blog, and he will readily come back with insights of a person twice his age (he’s only 23) and experience. Check him out today to find out what’s opening – or closing – near you.
Chow Down Atlanta (chowdownatlanta.com)
Although there are no set rules, Chow Down Atlanta specializes in the delicious, but lesser known cuisine around the Buford Highway and Chamblee area. As her blog suggests, Chloe Morris says she writes for the everyman. There are no pretentious restaurants on her list.
Like most food bloggers, she is fiercely secretive. She made me promise not to reveal any physical descriptions about her or allow me to take pictures. She likes to be incognito.
What I can tell you is that Chloe is a fun bundle of contradictions. She loves to eat, but is super petite. She is a certified scuba diver, but is deathly afraid of the open ocean. She dresses very sophisticated, but considers herself a redneck. At one point in the conversation she tells me that she is a proud card carrying member of the NRA and invites me to go to a shooting range with her. I’m gonna hold her to that soon.
Chloe’s approach to food mimics the way she carries her conversation. She easily moves from course to course, stopping to make a quick comment or so and moves on. She’s direct and knows what she likes and doesn’t like, and isn’t that what you look for in a food blog?
Impress your friends with some of Chloe’s suggestions today. She will make you look cool.