Authenticity has become the buzzword of 2019, and few embody this concept better than Monica Farber. She is the face behind the blog Love Fancy Pants and @fantsypantsfarber Instagram account, and she is refreshingly, unapologetically herself.
Monica predominantly writes about fashion, but she also knows home décor, travel, and food. And there’s one common thread running through all of her content: From a vacation in Santorini to a Derby-themed home brunch, it’s got to be fancy.
She has a great eye for it, too, whether she’s planning a dinner party or picking out her outfit for a new restaurant opening. Monica doesn’t shy away from fanciness – she fully embraces it. And that is precisely why it’s so fun to follow her online and to hang out with her in IRL.
I had the pleasure of having brunch with Monica at Parish recently, where she opened up about her favorite Atlanta restaurants, how she finds where to eat when traveling abroad, and how to throw a restaurant-quality dining experience at home.
Anna: Hey Monica! Tell us about yourself!
Monica: My name is Monica Farber, I grew up in Atlanta, and I am the digital marketing manager for SouthernProper hospitality group, so I manage all the social media content for a number of restaurants here in Atlanta. Outside of the 9 to 5, I manage my persona blog. It’s called Love Fancy Pants, and I focus on fashion, food, travel, and fancy shit.
Anna: What drives the aesthetic behind your blog?
Monica: I have a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts), and I took every art course – photography, oil painting, and all of these different things, so [the blog is] every single creative outlet meshed into one. I’ve always been all about fashion, but outside of that, I’m all about creating a beautiful table scape or doing a super crazy Pinterest party or building a gallery wall. I also throw in some travel, my favorite brunch place in Atlanta, oh, and hey, if you want to throw a brunch party at your house for all your girlfriends, here’s what you should make. It’s easy and you can only spend this much money and actually do something that looks like you pulled if off Pinterest. So it’s all the stuff that I enjoy doing in one place. It’s extra, it’s very extra.
|Monica Farber, hostess with the mostess|
Anna: What are some of your tips for throwing a foodie party at home?
Monica: I like to pick a theme and stick to it. And more is more. So if you’re hosting a spring brunch, I’d probably go to the farmer’s market and see what’s in season. I work with a lot of chefs, so I’d probably see what they recommend, and I would have everything themed around that. Let’s say it’s near the Derby, so we’re going to have cucumber finger sandwiches, pimento cheese finger sandwiches, deviled eggs, mint juleps, champagne. I’m going to send out a paper invitation, and I’m going to be very specific that you have to wear a hat. Don’t show up to my brunch in sweatpants! Because it’s going to be a fancy brunch. A fancy pants brunch.
|No sweatpants at this fancy brunch!|
Anna: What about eating at a restaurant – what makes for a great dining experience, in your opinion?
Monica: The service. If you have food that’s phenomenal, but the service is shit, it kind of makes you think, “Great chef, shitty restaurant.” And vice versa. So, I like to incorporate a lot of photos of what the inside of the restaurant looks like [on my blog]. Some people think it’s more important to post the food, and it’s just a close up of the cinnamon roll or the close up of the BLT at Parish. Eh, I can get a cinnamon roll and a BLT at the Southern Gentleman and it’s killer, so why am I going to Parish? Well, because the restaurant is beautiful and because it backs up to the Beltline and because I’m going to picture myself being in there, including what kind of outfit I’ll wear. So it’s more than just the food – I think it’s everything from the service, to the food, to the ambiance.
Anna: What are some of your go-to restaurants in Atlanta?
Monica: I really like Gio’sand Antico. More specifically Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano. You can literally make a half a day of it. The coolest thing about Gio’s is the food; the second coolest thing about it is BYOB. There’s no corkage fee, so we’ll go there with a whole group of friends, bottles of wine, and enjoy a ton of food. Their lemon chicken is delicious, but the best thing at Gio’s is the chicken parmesan, hands down. I’m obsessed with it! And then they have the gelato place next door, so you can just hang out there. So, I love Gio’s and Antico, and I know I’m biased because I work for Southern Proper, but I really like Gypsy Kitchen.
|A side salad comes with every entree at Gio's Chicken Amalfitano|
|Top: Amalfi chicken, bottom: Chicken parmesan, both from Gio's Chicken Amalfitano|
Anna: I love Gypsy Kitchen!
Monica: Right?! It’s what I was saying about the environment and the ambiance – yeah, the food is fantastic [at Gypsy Kitchen], but sitting on that patio in the spring, it’s just so much fun! Drinking the rosé or the sangria, eating olives and marinated mushrooms, charcuterie and cheese. I literally could live off of cheese.
Anna: Speaking of cheese, that whipped feta cheese at Gypsy Kitchen is so delicious!
Monica: Yes! Oh, and another one is Bocca Lupo. It is SO good! I ate there for my birthday this year – it’s Italian-American, with a touch of southern. All the pastas are made in-house, and it needs to be the very next place you go. I promise.
Anna: Do you have any tips for picking restaurants when you’re traveling? It can be overwhelming to go to a new place and have hundreds of restaurants to choose from.
Monica: You can look to a lot of travel bloggers, search hashtags for different cities, and just wander around. I’ll tell you what my absolute favorite thing to do is while traveling – don’t make reservations anywhere, but stop at one restaurant and have an appetizer and a cocktail. Stop at the next restaurant and have an appetizer and a cocktail. Stop at the next restaurant, maybe share an entrée, maybe go walk some more, or have a coffee or dessert. And I literally just at three or four different restaurants instead of having one big meal. Maybe if you find some place along the way that’s phenomenal, you can go back on another night and have a full meal, but I’m all about traveling and eating a little bit here, eating a little bit there. Basically, I just like to eat and drink all day!
|Monica Farber in Santorini, Greece|
Anna: A little traveling food party – I like that a lot! Back home in Atlanta, what is your favorite neighborhood to get inspiration?
Monica: Oh, Inman Park! Or Old Fourth Ward. About three years ago, I was asked to do an insider’s guide to Atlanta for Paprika Southern magazine, which is based out of Savannah. I spent a whole day hopping around different places [in Atlanta], Parish being one of them, and I put together a guide for someone who doesn’t live here if [they want to] spend the whole day eating and drinking and shopping in Atlanta. And when I was done, I looked at it, and I thought, “Oh my God, this entire thing is Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward!” And that’s because this is the best place for art and food and people watching and day drinking. If you want to day drink, hang out in Inman Park.
|Monica Farber picking out treats in an NYC cafe|
Anna: What is next for you? Anything exciting coming up?
Monica: In my professional career, we just opened a new restaurant called Street Taco at Marietta SquareMarket. And we have another restaurant that will be opening at the end of summer or early fall. It’s going to be called Hog Island in a development very similar to Avalon in Alpharetta. It’s going to be very fancy. Personally, I’m going to Italy in May, so I’ll be going to the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Florence, and Venice (I’m planning all my outfits for that now). And in either June or July, I’m going back to New York to see Moulin Rouge on Broadway and to have a photo shoot in Central Park. I’ll try to squeeze in the beach sometime this summer – with us being five hours away from Destin, we can’t not do that. And then I’ll be back at fashion week this September.
Thanks for chatting with me, Monica!
P.S.: All photos in this blog post are courtesy of Monica Farber.