A Caramelized Conversation with Juley Le

My blogger crush began one year ago upon moving back to Memphis -- I was an avid reader of The Everygirl, where I was introduced to Juley's New Orleans-based site. I instantly fell in love with the refreshing approach to her photography, recipes and daily wardrobe picks. And, even more so, I fell in love with the site's name, which hints back to bed and breakfast memories and fine dining fêtes in Uptown New Orleans with Alex and friends. Juley's charming, you'll see; and she has accomplished incredible strides from Harper BAZAAR's "Fabulous at Every Age" winner to the mastermind behind a Houston, Texas lifestyle shop. Juley is even launching an apron and kitchen line, which I cannot wait to get my hands on upon its summer shipment. We have already planned our coffee date once I finalize the next trip down to the Bayou, and I could not be more excited. Join us for our Caramelized Conversation!


What inspired the launch of Upperlyne?

Before Upperlyne, my original blog was under a different name - one that pains me to repeat! The content mainly focused on my lifestyle in New Orleans and my personal style, but the previous name didn’t encompass what I had wanted for my blog in the longterm, so I relaunched under Upperlyne & Co. Though it’s originally a street name in New Orleans, I decidedly chose it because the word itself doesn’t have a solid meaning. I wanted a name that I could give meaning to. The content itself grew organically from my personal interests. From a young age, I had a strong interest in photography and baking. When I was asked what I wanted to be, I’d boldly answer “a teacher-slash-photographer-slash-baker!” It’s funny to actually say I was a teacher at one point; had my own macaron company at another point; and get to share my photography skills, which is amateur at most, on the blog. Throughout the years, the content has naturally developed to cover style, living, inspiration, and notes on business development from my country mouse meets city mind point of view.

How have you expanded the brand to include kitchen and lifestyle?

The aesthetic that was born from the Upperlyne & Co. brand can most concisely be experienced at Montrose Shop, a lifestyle store I developed with my business partner. It’s a lifestyle destination that houses simple and refreshing products for the rustic chic, Paris-Meets-Texas lifestyle. There, we sell the first products under the Upperlyne & Co. brand, which are functional yet stylish bistro aprons. I had the hardest time finding well-made aprons that didn’t cover my outfit so I set out to create my own! I know a lot of women like myself who might not be the best cooks but want to feel stylish when friends are over or even just toying around in our tiny kitchens. The product line is designed for the stylish woman who appreciates simple things.

How do you constantly fuel yourself with creative inspiration for the site's content?

Since we added three new contributors who cover food, wellness, and design, there is this incredible pool of content. I’m so fortunate to these contributors because they are so great at what they do. They’re constantly inspiring me with their ideas and execution! It keeps me on my toes and keeps me motivated. It’s also very important to me to keep the blog at a personal level. I try to keep readers in the loop with my growth as a person and an aspiring business developer. And with this, content naturally develops as I go through ups and downs, both in my personal and professional life.


Tell us about your role as Food Editor of The Everygirl.

Unfortunately, I’m no longer the food editor at The Everygirl. I was struggling to balance everything since the launch of Montrose Shop and my other freelance projects that I had to step away from the role last December. My time there was incredibly invaluable and I’m so thankful to have had a year with the amazing team. Alaina and Danielle are a huge part of my story and I cannot thank them enough!

Your most unforgettable restaurant experience?

I love taking friends (especially out-of-towners) to Donald Link’s Cochon. It’s all about an authentic but elevated Southern family meal there. We’d order a little bit of everything, which usually includes fried alligator, boudin, an assortment of vegetable dishes, rabbit and dumplings, catfish courtbouillon, and at least two baskets of their fresh baked rolls.

What do you love most about New Orleans?

There is so so much. You’ll have to come experience it for yourself one day and call me when you do! The one thing I love most about New Orleans, though, is that everyone’s experience is different. You might eat at the same restaurant as someone else, but your experience is going to be vastly different than that other person. New Orleans also has a way of making you feel less lonely. I can hop on the streetcar and wander the city all by myself and feel like I had the best company. It’s a city with love beaming from the most unexpected nooks.

The proudest moment in your Upperlyne career (considering there are so many accolades!)?

Oh gosh! I wouldn’t say there are many, but I think my proudest moment would be going from obsessing over The Everygirl (I’ve literally read every career profile since they launched) to working for them to being featured. It’s quite possibly the sweetest dream come true. I’ve learned so much and met so many inspiring people from that experience.


Every home cook needs…

Can I plug here?! A stylish, but functional apron, of course! (See previous questions, and get an exclusive look at the Upperlyne apron by signing up for the Montrose email list!)

Any entrepreneurial advice?

If you're tinkering with the idea of starting a business, take time to consider and analyze what's most important to you. 'Working for yourself' sounds glamorous but it's a perpetual passion project. Though different and albeit more meaningful, there's a deeper level of stress that is inherit in self-employment. You've got to let your natural passions guide your business development. To this day, I try not to commit myself to projects that I'm not in love with. It took a long time before I had this luxury, but it's one that I don't take for granted.

How do you add sweet touches to everyday experiences (the mantra of Caramelized)?

By buying myself flowers, phone-free morning walks with my puppy, and ending each day with my boyfriend. Those two - the pup and the boy - make me the happiest girl alive.

photos by buff strickland for camille styles and Upperlyne & Co.

A Caramelized Conversation with Abby Larson

I'm so thrilled to share my conversation with the exquisite Abby Larson, Founder and Editor of Style Me Pretty and Style Me Pretty Living. The sites reflect her stance on creating sweet touches to everyday experiences -- effortless, elegant, and approachable. I personally have found myself pinning images from SMP on my Pinterest boards for dreamy wedding decor or whimsical, girly DIYs. I hope you'll take away a thought or two from this admirable lady who manages to do it all (with a memorable flourish, of course) with style and poise. Join me and Abby in our Caramelized Conversation... photos courtesy of white loft studio

Abby Entertaining II _ White Loft Studio

What inspired the launch of Style Me Pretty? 

I started Style Me Pretty 8 years ago in a world where inspirational blogs were just beginning to pepper the web. As someone in the wedding community, I saw that brides were waiting three months for the next seasonal wedding magazine to come out. Within those coveted magazines, perhaps five weddings were actually shown. I decided to create a space for the hundreds upon thousands of other weddings that weren't being shown in the glossies, but that in terms of style and taste, most certainly should have been.

How have you expanded the brand to include, home, kitchen, and entertaining? 

The goal of launching Style Me Pretty Living was to create a field guide to inspired living; a home for all things after (and before) the ring. A place where SMP girls how to throw a seamless party, how to decorate their home no matter what their budget, how to cook the VERY best chocolate cake and what to gift on every occasion. Style Me Pretty Living content ranges from parties and celebrations, DIYs, recipes, travel, home tours and more.

Abby Entertaining_ White Loft Studio

How do you constantly fuel yourself with creative inspiration for the site's content? 

I don't have to leave home, that's for sure. Just clicking around the web to the amazingness that is out there - with most of it coming from novices who are overjoyed to be creating - is more inspiration that I could ever hope.

Your most unforgettable restaurant experience? 

Great question. The lasagna at Da Silvano in New York is absurd. I'm not sure whether I was just starving or it really was purely divine but it definitely left a good mark. Sorrelina here in Boston is another where I never eat a bad meal. Same with House in San Francisco. I dream about their simplest appetizer, pickled cucumbers and my husband and I still talk about it 8 years later as one of the best. But my most craved food experiences are usually by way of food truck, Mexican dive bar or by these two hands. The funny thing is that most of my favorite meal memories also include my favorite people, my favorite moments or one helluva party. So there's that too.

Every home cook needs...

A wooden spoon.

Abby Cooking_ Whit Loft Studio

Any entrepreneurial advice?

Someone once told me to always hire people that are smarter than you. Give your business that gift. I thought that was kind of a clever outlook. It’s important to acknowledge that you aren't good at everything. Not even close. Sometimes the best investment is in hiring people that are good at the areas that you aren't.

How do you add sweet touches to everyday experiences (the mantra of Caramelized)?

I put my kids to bed at 6:30pm. People think I'm joking, especially in the summer when it's still light out. But those 2 hours on the couch, computer in hand, hubby beside me, glass of wine on the table and the TV playing Homeland or Shameless or Orange is the New Black. Priceless.

Food_ White Loft Studio

A James Lee House Affair for ArtsMemphis


Master Chef Jose Gutierrez explained his ArtsMemphis culinary series menu inspiration wisely: “Let the space inspire you.” This “space” – the historic James Lee House – was recently renovated into a state-of-the-art bed and breakfast, reserved on a Wednesday evening in January exclusively for ArtsMemphis dinner guests. The vast white mansion, with storytelling facets in every nook, now houses five bedrooms of varying size and design. As guests entered the home and picked up a cocktail, they were whisked throughout the two floors to explore and discover such architectural beauty.


Because of the existing furniture’s fine detailing, stylist JJ Keras added small, complementary pieces to tie the evening together. Candlelit tables, gold dishware, and Ashlye McCormick floral design created a breathtaking backdrop for the four courses.

Prior to the first course, seated guests enjoyed a performance by the Prizm Ensemble, a mixed chamber ensemble committed to chamber music education and young musical development. The program has been introduced to schoolchildren in underserved communities, where, in strong partnership with ArtsMemphis, lives have been transformed and impacted immeasurably.

As one student musician proclaimed in the James Lee House parlor: “I had a spark—Now I have as spectrum.”

The James Lee House’s classic and elegant atmosphere, paired with a mature audience who admires the classic arts, prompted Chef Gutierrez to reflect his surroundings on his plates.



The butternut squash bisque, served in gorgeous white china with gold spoons, introduced a slightly sweet first bite. Yet with studded mozzarella squares and basil ribbons, savory tones came through to create a beautiful balance of taste and texture.

The crispy, almond-crusted mild trout posed atop a “pimientos de piquillo piperade,” which reminded me of a ratatouille with an enfolded lightly scrambled egg. The burst of flavor in the roasted tomatoes, onions, ham, and spices was addictive.


Beef bourguignon has been Chef Gutierrez’s signature dish since Julia Child sealed it with approval upon first bite at the Peabody Hotel. The beef is braised for 12 hours on low heat (Chef places it in the oven at 10 p.m. at takes it out at 10 a.m. the following morning!) to bring out the natural juices and flavors. Caramelized pearl onions tasted like fine sugar, and a wild mushroom medley brought hearty earth tones to the table. All was served on a bed of house made fettuccine, which held the medallions of beef nicely. The accompanying pinot noir was divine.

As guests settled before dessert, globally renowned soprana Kallen Esperian and organ prodigy and concert pianist Gary Beard (now an artist-in-residence at Lindenwood Church) provided a jaw-dropping performance of pure artistic talent. Guests demanded an encore upon hearing her rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” which rang richly throughout the James Lee House.

The echo of Kallen’s voice complemented River Oaks Pastry Chef Frank Oysdel’s quince and golden raisin tart with rich, buttery almond ice cream and caramel sauce. The dessert placed everyone on a much-deserved high note.

Bravo to ArtsMemphis, Chef Jose Gutierrez, Chef Frank Oysdel, PRIZM Ensemble, Kallen Esperian, Gary Beard, Jay and JJ Keras, Cara Greenstein of Caramelized, Ashlye McCormick, Melissa Sweazy, Kathy Buckman and J.W. Gibson, Gwen and Michael Driscoll, and Sasrah and Philip Spinosa.

Passed Hors d’oeuvres

Chorizo with potato crisps

Biscuit croque monsieur

Basil wrapped potato lace shrimp

First course

Butternut squash bisque with fresh mozzarella and basil

Qupe Bien Nacido Cuvee

Second Course

Crispy trout with pimientos de piquillo piperade

Qupe Bien Nacido Cuvee


Beef Bourguignon with housemade fettuccini, pearl onions and wild mushrooms

Clos Pegase Pinot Noir


Quince and golden raisin tart with almond ice cream and caramel sauce


Photos by Melissa Sweazy

A Spin on Super Bowl Classics

This post was originally featured on Southern Living's blog, The Daily South! Who else is planning a Super Bowl Sunday gathering? You’ve found the right place! Luckily, our entertainment is accounted for; but inevitably as an entertainer, I am thinking about the table.

8730ae44704fa7324b7933f02c56a741 image via style me pretty

I find it intriguing and absolutely appropriate to bring football game day vibes into one’s home. My friends and I collectively crave a jumbo pretzel with mustard, or cheese nachos with a beer. Why not bring those elements into your own cozy living room? Although prosciutto bites and crudités would be much appreciated by guests, think about the reason for the season: It’s the Super Bowl, after all!

Rather than stressing over specialty drinks, understand that your party guests are perfectly content with a beer (or three)! Script a chalk label with “New England Ale” and “Seattle Golden” beers on galvanized tins. Provide frosted mugs within reach. The game day spirit will effortlessly transcend from the screen and into the hands of your party-goers.

img_0013 image via love and lemons

For touchdown-worthy snacks, homemade soft pretzels with your favorite spicy brown mustard (or beer cheese dipping sauce) will satisfy the most nostalgic of fans. Personalized craft paper bags with assorted popcorns will entertain the kids, and a gourmet nacho station with guacamole, fresh jalapeño, and all the fixings will elevate a game-time classic.

No matter which NFL team your guests are rooting for, they’ll be rooting for you before the first time out!

Caramelized Food-Inspired Resolutions

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I'm currently writing this post on a couch at Manhattan Jack in Uptown New Orleans. In the past week, I have traveled through Nashville, Jackson, and now New Orleans, and the multiple, peaceful car rides have given me a meditative opportunity to look ahead to this new year. Resolutions are a funny thing; cynics note that they typically lack in execution, but I value them any way. Resolutions are not just another list to me. They're a driver of change in perspective and creativity.

1. Explore the South. Now that I live in the hub of Memphis, fine food cities such as Oxford, Atlanta, Greenwood, Nashville, and New Orleans are at my fingertips! I will value weekend road trips with an effort to discover new culinary inspirations and charming neighborhoods.

2. Learn more about cheese. I just left St. James Cheese Company in awe of the dozens of fine cheeses, three of which I enjoyed on the patio with my friend Riley. I'd like to arrange a cheese board beyond basic brie and cheddar. Bring on the good stuff!

3. Exercise on pasta days. Rather than give up the delicacy completely (since I crave it almost daily), I've decided I must cancel out the carbs with a good cardio workout. Let's see how this works out.

4. Cook with one new ingredient each month. I tend to stick with foods with which I'm most comfortable: spinach and artichokes, basil and thyme, pastas and fish. I admire eccentric menus and tend to try new ingredients at restaurants, so why not bring them into my own kitchen?

5. Start a supper club. After hosting a Christmas brunch for some girlfriends with an oatmeal topping bar and mimosas, I have decided to make this gathering deal a reality. I am excited to be a hostess with the mostest!

A Caramelized Conversation with Ricki Krupp


I still remember the weekly errand to Ricki Krupp's home as a child. During winter breaks, Mom would let me pick out my favorite loaf of challah among the hundreds lining her living and dining rooms. Ricki's challah has been the epicenter of our family dinner table for over a decade; and while apart from my family in Austin, an occasional surprise delivery of Ricki's cookies, challah, and biscotti would grace my doorstep, much to my excitement. With tonight marking the final day of Chanukah, I find it appropriate to feature the woman behind the family celebrations, holidays, and sweet moments: Ricki Krupp. Join us in our Caramelized Conversation -- and if you haven't visited the Memphis store before, head over to Eastgate to stock up on Christmas staples, holiday presents, and treats for yourself! You can order online, too.


How did you first discover your love of baking? Did it begin with challah?

I grew up watching my mother bake and busy herself in the kitchen. Since baking and cooking were her passions, we always had company, especially for Shabbat meals. The menus were always lengthy, and the desserts were always a-plenty. She also made her own challah. My four-year-old granddaughter, Abigail, already bakes with her Mom, Aviva, who works with me everyday at the bakery!

At what point did you decide you could no longer bake challahs in your own home?

The idea of baking for a living came out of desire to stay home more with my kids, giving up my office job, and still bring in some income. I really started with cookies for the Christmas season. I did corporate gift tins. A cousin of mine asked me to bake challah for her family, and somehow it grew from there. People would stop by every Friday to pick up challah – my 12-foot-long dining room table would be covered in orders until right before I had to light my Shabbat candles. It got to be so busy, that I decided I either had to move the business out of the house or give it up. So I took the plunge and never looked back. We doubled the size about 8 years ago. I have been here for almost 15 years.

What do you love most about Memphis?

I was born and raised in Memphis, so it is truly the only home I have ever known. Both my daughters married Memphis boys, so they also still live in Memphis. Because of that, I have six grandchildren that live close by! I like the fact that there is, relatively speaking, very little traffic in Memphis compared to other larger cities. I also really enjoy the closeness of the Jewish community here. If you hang around my bakery on a Friday you will meet Jews from every congregation in Memphis. I also have many other wonderful and devoted customers from all walks of life who buy baked goods all week long. One of the best bonuses of living in Memphis is the pleasure of working everyday with my daughter Aviva. We have a very unique relationship, and it makes my "job" a pleasure.


Let us in on your daily routine.

When I am not in "Holiday Mode,” I prefer to start my day exercising at 6:30 am before work. I leave the bakery by 7 p.m. on most weekdays, but Wednesdays are later since we sell pizzas. On Wednesday nights we sell pizzas, so it is a late night for me and my husband, Mike. Right now, since we are busy preparing for Christmas, I start baking at 6 a.m.

How do you add sweet touches to everyday experiences?

Personally, I like to have a little something sweet every day! Some days more than others! We bake so many different types of goodies, that you can always find a bite that will put a smile on your face. One of the best things about being in this business is that, usually, everyone leaves here happy. Either they have purchased something for themselves to enjoy, or found a gift to bring or send someone. We love brightening customer’s days.


photos from the commercial appeal and rickis's cookie corner