Lifestyles

Marietta Traditional Project: Family Room

Starting from scratch is not alway necessary in design. In fact, sometimes the nicest results come from blending together new and old and updating the old to feel like new. That's just what we did with the Marietta Traditional Project and I love the results! 

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BEFORE

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As you can see, the room was not bad! It has good seating, solid, good quality furniture, and lots of storage. BUT, it also has dare I say too much storage and the built-ins with the large cabinetry visually overlap one another (their lines do, not physically overlapping). This space is just off of a porch so the window is shaded and there is not much natural light at all. Because of that, it feels dark and the darker colors on the furniture feel even darker than they are. 

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My client did some smart things to try to get more light in the room with lighting and a mirror to bounce light around. There are 3 points of light (table lamps, overhead, and floor lamp) but it still felt dark and the cabinet on the left feels heavy and a little oppressive for the space. 

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As you can see here, the window is a little odd. It's sort of a bay window but the wall does not follow the shape of the windows at all. The crown moulding all around makes the walls feel shorter with the vaulted ceilings being minimized by the horizontal line of the crown. 

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Yes, the cutest family ever lives here. This area is technically a part of the family room but feels almost more a part of the breakfast room. Just off the backdoor and between the family room and breakfast room, this space did not have much function. The kids have grown up a lot since this portrait, and while they're still small, they're not using a tiny table this small anymore. This space needed functionality and purpose. 

THE PLAN

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The plan started with electrical. We needed to get more light on the subject so I drew up a plan for the layout of the room and added can lights across the ceiling to distribute more even lighting. We kept the existing wiring for the ceiling fan and swapped the fan out for a really pretty light fixture. In the South, we need fans. They're not pretty but they're often very necessary. However, in this room, due to a very good HVAC system and a nice shady situation thanks to the porch, a fan was not needed so so we could ditch it in favor for something much more attractive!

You'll notice a few other pieces have changed in this floor plan, more on those later. 

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Next, we devised a plan to address those windows. This expert drawing above (ha!) shows the plan: to make the window feel like it was supposed to be that way with drapery. I determined that the layout of the space was actually the best layout to use in this case, so the sofa was to stay put. We selected this gorgeous fabric with some embroidery detail to span the space as both a valance and drapery panels on either side. Now, I know most of the time a valance is used, it's over the top of the panels and hardware but I really wanted that pretty hardware to show and to put the valance as flush against the wall as possible to minimize the look of that gap between the window and the wall. 

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My clients really like their existing rug, so we kept it and used it for the basis of the color scheme. The walls were yellow with white trim and a popcorn ceiling. To start, we selected a very soft neutral with a bit of pigment in it. It's not a great idea to paint a dark room too white--it will look sad and lonely and cold. SO we chose Sherwin Williams Conservative Gray. We used this color on nearly the entire first floor of the house to create a nice flow from room to room. The color has a little blue, a little green, and is a nice neutral backdrop that still holds its own. The painters took down the crown moulding, skimmed the ceiling, and painted the walls and ceiling Conservative Gray and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

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Like I said earlier, you don't have to start from scratch. While we were making some big changes in this space, we did not replace and of the upholstered furniture! When you buy good quality pieces, they'll be an investment up front, but you'll have some serious quality that lasts you for years and years. If your tastes change, great--just re-cover it! And that is just what we did. Using the rug as inspiration for the color scheme and our new soft neutral walls, I selected a beautiful tan and cream stripe for the wingback chairs, an animal print for the ottoman in a hardwearing stain-resistant material, and some splashed of green on the pillows. Pretty trims tie it all together for a complete look. 

The sofa is a nice leather that was still in great shape. However, the cushions had taken a bit of a beating of the years and were looking a little sad and saggy. My awesome upholsterer came to the rescue and reformed the cushions with a nice foam interior that will stand up to lots more sitting and maybe even a little jumping! After that, the sofa looked as good as new. 

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Remember the little area with the tiny table? Well, to make it functional, I suggested we create a little mudroom. As you can see in this hyper realistic drawing ;) we did just that with a piece of custom made furniture. It has hooks for coats and hats, baskets to keep shoes in, and cubbies for homework and mail so that it can be hidden away and off the kitchen countertops. For comfort when taking shoes on and off, we added a cushion on top. 

AFTER

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Now we have a smoothed ceiling, more light throughout the room, new decorative light fixture, reupholstered ottoman and wingback chairs, all new pillows, new chair in corner, basket for blankets, new side tables, drapery, media cabinet fitted to the room size in a dark finish to balance the color of the sofa, restyled bookshelves, custom artwork over the mantel, moulding and large cabinetry removed, new hardware on the doors of built-in cabinet doors, and a very functional family space. 

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Our gorgeous custom piece for keeping shoes and coats and homework serves its purpose well and keeps things tidy and functional. The cushion is upholstered in the same material as the wingback chairs across the room to create some continuity. We actually had these baskets custom made to be stained in the same finish as the wood on top of the cubbies and fit perfectly into each cubby and I love them! It's so satisfying how perfect they are. 

As you can see, it is very possible to take what you have and make it work for you. Use a little imagination, be willing to make big changes, and be honest with yourself about what is working and what is not in your home. Is it too dark, too crowded, too hot, too cold, too loud? Whatever the issues are that are bothering you, use that to begin your redecorating and then let your favorite pieces inspire your look going forward. We loved all of the furniture my client already had, it just needed a fresh look. They love their rug, so it was the inspiration for the color scheme and just like that, we were on our way to creating a beautiful and well loved space that is the heart of the home for this sweet family and you can do the same with your home. 

If you need help making the best use of what you have and you want your home to be the best it can be, contact me today to schedule your consultation!

Design, concepts, and written content by Susie Mae Design.

All completed room images by Christina Wedge Photography

A Wedding in the Land of Fire and Ice

In January of last year, Victor and I decided that we wanted to get married and have a wedding somewhere beautiful and different. Somewhere that combined our love of adventure and the outdoors. We live in Atlanta, but no place here really felt like the place we wanted to say "I do", because it didn't feel special to us and also an appropriate setting for a wedding (I guess we could have a wedding at Big Lots of Takorea? Yes, we do love those places that much). We discussed options like maybe renting a mountain cabin and having the wedding there and inviting friends and family to come and go as they pleased for a full wedding weekend, but that felt limiting because we wouldn't be able to include as many people as we wanted and where would we find a house that could comfortably accommodate like 75 people? 

 Saying our vows

Saying our vows

 My bouquet by   Blómabúðin Upplifun

We thought about a destination wedding, but we didn't want to have any guests feel like they couldn't come due to cost of travel, or have it be too difficult for family to travel to be at our wedding due to restrictions of time off if it was further away. 

 Walking around Seljalandsfoss

Walking around Seljalandsfoss

So after a lot of thought, we chose to elope. That way, we could have our ceremony be intimate and "us" and then enjoy a party with family and friends after we returned to celebrate together. We chose Iceland, a place both of us had always wanted to see, and it was the perfect setting for our wedding. I've dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights for as long as I've known they existed. Iceland has the most amazing landscape. You can be standing in a hot river while looking at a glacier while listening to sheep chat with each other as they scale the side of a mountain made of volcanic rock. We were able to say our vows to each other and commit our lives to one another privately, in the most beautiful setting and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

 The most handsome man you've ever seen getting ready to get married.

The most handsome man you've ever seen getting ready to get married.

 Can you even believe someone this handsome exists?!

Can you even believe someone this handsome exists?!

 Youtube tutorials helped me to figure out how to do my hair so it would stay put. It did stay up, but the wind had other plans for the curls and helpfully straightened them out for me.

Youtube tutorials helped me to figure out how to do my hair so it would stay put. It did stay up, but the wind had other plans for the curls and helpfully straightened them out for me.

 Thankful for these warm boots and wrap! And I love how my custom sleeves turned out on my dress!

Thankful for these warm boots and wrap! And I love how my custom sleeves turned out on my dress!

The first thing to do when planning a wedding abroad is to decide where exactly you want to have it. And obviously make sure they have cute animals near by. 

 Icelandic horses are super friendly!

Icelandic horses are super friendly!

 Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

My first choice was Landmannalaugar which is stunningly beautiful, mineral streaked mountains in the Highlands of Iceland. Unfortunately, we weren't able to have our wedding there (or even see it during our visit) because the Highlands are totally inaccessible starting at the beginning of October. So next time we go to Iceland, we'll have to go in the summer when we can get into the Highlands and maybe even camp at Landmannalaugar!

 Image via Maupintor

Image via Maupintor

Our next choice was SeljalandsfossIt's a waterfall in the Southern Region of Iceland that YOU CAN WALK BEHIND! That is almost too cool, so we made our choice and started planning to have our wedding there. Thankfully, Christina had been to Iceland the April before, then went again in August, so she was able to do a little scouting and figure out the best places to set us up. Sadly, a wedding behind the waterfall wasn't possible, and she broke the news to me early so as not to crush my wedding day dreams when we arrived. Maybe if we were wearing ponchos and it was summer--but it was about 45 degrees and windy. 

 The AirBNB we got ready in on our wedding day. 

The AirBNB we got ready in on our wedding day. 

 First look--yes, we both teared up.

First look--yes, we both teared up.

 You'd stare too if you were me. He's the best.

You'd stare too if you were me. He's the best.

Once we determined the location of the wedding, we contacted the officials for that region and began getting our paperwork together. You really can't go wrong anywhere in Iceland. Even in the towns, you round a corner and there's a beautiful waterfall or glacier, or adorable fuzzy ponies, or huge fields of chubby sheep. The fishing villages are also beautiful, so even if you're not surrounded by wonders of nature, you're around colorful little houses and sculptural artwork.

 Saying our vows. Isn't our officiant, Kristin, adorable in her official uniform?

Saying our vows. Isn't our officiant, Kristin, adorable in her official uniform?

We got ready in Reykjavik the morning of the wedding and had our first look in the garden in front of the building where we stayed. It was such a great morning! Christina took our photos individually as we got ready and then set up outside (in the VERY windy cold) to take first look photos. Since we had to drive to the wedding site, there was a lot of first looking before the wedding. Riding together in the car, thinking about what we were able to commit to each other was really special to experience.

 Caves at the Vik beach.

Caves at the Vik beach.

My friend Carly taught me to do my makeup for the big day so that I could confidently do event makeup on myself, that was a gift that I treasure! I still use the tricks she taught me on everyday looks now, just lighter on the application for day-to-day. She is extremely talented and has a way of making everyone look and feel their best and like themselves on their wedding day! 

 Just outside Seljalandsfoss

Just outside Seljalandsfoss

Thankfully, Christina had a curling iron with her that would fit the plugs. Phew! Word of advice to the traveling bride, be sure your conversion outlet will accept your hair tool plugs! Mine would not fit in the converter so I was about to have to go sans-fancy hair for our wedding. 

 Waiting at the office to sign our marriage papers

Waiting at the office to sign our marriage papers

Before we got to Seljalandsfoss, we had to stop at the South Iceland regional office to sign paperwork and to have copies made of our passports and birth certificates. Victor even had to make a trip to the bank downstairs from the office to get Icelandic cash to pay our officiant. So, if you're planning a wedding abroad, you may want to have enough of their cash on hand in case of a situation like that. 

 Seljalandsfoss in the background and just casually leaning on a volcanic rock

Seljalandsfoss in the background and just casually leaning on a volcanic rock

 The wind here took the boutonniere right off of Victor's lapel!

The wind here took the boutonniere right off of Victor's lapel!

We headed to Seljalandsfoss after we signed our papers and read our vows to each other, exchanged rings, and sealed it with a kiss! It was COLD! Beautiful, but very cold, and I can tell you that my wrap, while warm, wasn't a parka. So between shots I was wearing my big down coat over my dress. Slightly less glamorous than my wrap, but certainly very effective for warmth. I wore snow boots and over-the-knee socks with my dress which kept me fairly warm from the knees down. Victor's wool suit by Ted Baker (with the coolest lining of all time) kept him nice and warm as well, but when the wind picked up, we huddled up. The winds in Iceland are STRONG! It's one of the first things you'll learn traveling there. If you rent a car, which you will need to, they'll tell you to hang onto the car doors when entering and exiting the car because they may be pulled backwards by the wind and snap the hinges. THIS IS NOT A DRILL! It almost happened to us once. And the wind took Victor's lovely boutonniere very shortly after the ceremony. RIP, little floral guy. 

 Top left of this photo is the Christmas ornament my wonderful seamstress gave me. She did the alterations for my gown to make it fit perfectly and she did an amazing job if I do say so myself.

Top left of this photo is the Christmas ornament my wonderful seamstress gave me. She did the alterations for my gown to make it fit perfectly and she did an amazing job if I do say so myself.

 Here we are standing just below the volcano you've probably heard of,  Eyjafjallajökul,  which erupted in 2010.

Here we are standing just below the volcano you've probably heard of, Eyjafjallajökul, which erupted in 2010.

It's easy to feel like you're the only ones in the world when you're promising yourself to the love of your life, even when tourists are watching--which they did. It was pretty fun, actually. We heard a round of applause just after the kiss! People were very sweet to congratulate us in English, or just smile and look excited for us if they didn't speak English. We felt warm and lovey-dovey inside all day. A couple of people approached and asked if we were Icelandic. I guess that would make good since because we are very pale and were getting married in Iceland. There are more foreigners than Icelanders in Iceland as far as we could tell. Tourism there is booming!

 Tiny hillside turf houses at drangshlíð

Tiny hillside turf houses at drangshlíð

 At the farm just at the base of Eyjafjallajökul

At the farm just at the base of Eyjafjallajökul

Victor and I would not have had the wedding of our dreams without Christina. She knew where to go, how to get there, made sure we were comfortable, braved the cold, and hung with us all day long as we made the trek around the Southern Region of Iceland, taking advantage of every pretty place we saw for a photo. 

 Just off the beach at Vik. A mist was rolling in and the winds were fairly strong.

Just off the beach at Vik. A mist was rolling in and the winds were fairly strong.

 The beach at Vik. How handsome is he?! I mean!!!!

The beach at Vik. How handsome is he?! I mean!!!!

After the best day ever began to wrap up with hot chocolate at the Vik coffee house, we got in the car and headed to Hotel Grimsborgir for dinner and a perfect evening. We ate a delicious meal of Icelandic fish and lobster. While we were eating our dessert, a man ran in from outside yelling in Italian. Victor went out to see what was going on. IT WAS THE NORTHERN LIGHTS! So everyone in the dining room of the hotel, including the staff, went outside to stare up at the sky in awe. 

 Christina will be horrified that I put up a dimly lit screenshot...sorry Christina! This is our dinner at Hotel Grimsborgir.

Christina will be horrified that I put up a dimly lit screenshot...sorry Christina! This is our dinner at Hotel Grimsborgir.

It was the most perfect night. Victor ordered champagne and we sat in our private hot tub, drinking champagne, looking up and a brilliantly colored light show. You can't even script that! It was absolutely perfect. 

Speaking of hot tubs, every place we stayed in Iceland during our week long stay had hot tubs. Icelandic homes and businesses use geothermal energy and route naturally heated water to spas and baths. It may smell a little bit Sulfuric, but it's not that noticeable, and it will leave your skin feeling smooth and hydrated. 

 Again, she will be horrified. Sorry! Also inside the dining room at Hotel Grimsborgir.

Again, she will be horrified. Sorry! Also inside the dining room at Hotel Grimsborgir.

I have one million more things to tell you about Iceland, and Christina has a lot to SHOW you! We'll be posting more about our travels soon, but in the meantime, mark your calendars for a beautiful show of Christina's photographs from Iceland. 

Icelandic Images by Christina Wedge
Gallery Opening

April 27th @7-9PM
BALANCE DESIGN
1653 McLendon Ave
Atlanta, GA 30307 

Y'all come see us and stay tuned for more!

PHOTOGRAPHY: Christina Wedge  |  WEDDING GOWN: Custom Pandora Gown by Modern Trousseau  |  HOTEL: Hotel Grimborgir  |  GROOM'S SUIT: Ted Baker  |  GROOMS WATCH: Shinola . |  WEDDING SITE: Seljalandsfoss  |  OTHER SHOOT LOCATIONS: Vik i Myrdal Drangshlio, Skogar Hvolsvollur Reykjavik

Spotlight On: Melissa O'Boyle of Bow to the East

Webster's Dictionary defines macrame as "a coarse lace or fringe made by knotting threads or cords in a geometrical pattern; also  :  the art of tying knots in patterns". See also, pretty, stylish, relaxing, and useful

I kid. I'm not about to make this spotlight into an 8th grade running for class president speech. What I AM going to make this post about is Melissa O'Boyle, her beautiful face, and her lovely macrame stylings. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa with our new and improved set of "Spotlight" questions, did the ole' snappity snap with the camera, and came away totally inspired. Her work is gorgeous and we couldn't wait to find out more about what makes her tick--I bet you can't either. OK, on to the interview!

 Gimme! Photo by Christina Wedge

Gimme! Photo by Christina Wedge

Who is your design or art crush?

The artists and designers that I crush on the most are my peers and emerging artists I find on Instagram and at local shops, festivals and galleries.  They inspire me to showcase my work and to think outside any limits I have created.  It is amazing how much amazing talent is out there all around us.

 Again, gimme. Photo by Christina Wedge

Again, gimme. Photo by Christina Wedge

What three words would describe your aesthetic?

Organic, Rhythmical, and Tranquil

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Which of your career milestones makes you most proud?

I was very proud when I was asked to put my work up in the Downtown Seattle West Elm in 2014 as well in the West Elm Ponce City Market in Atlanta in 2016.

In 2015, I was commissioned to make 8 large window hangings for a restaurant in Austin, TexasIt is an excellent Latin Coastal Kitchen in Austin’s SoCo neighborhood with great exposure. www.alcomaratx.com. Everything on the menu is amazing including fresh squeezed fruit margaritas.

In 2015 I was also asked to host my first workshop.  Teaching workshops opened a whole other door for me. I absolutely love sharing my passion for macrame. I have two workshops coming up in Atlanta.
March 8th - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/intro-to-macrame-at-west-elm-tickets-31595057668
April 12th -  http://garagedoorstudio.com/events/intro-to-macrame/

How did you take the leap towards a creative career?

The way that my macrame work came into fruition is an interesting and serendipitous story.  One day I found an old book at a used bookstore that gave instructions on macrame.  This refreshed my memory of what I had been taught by a high school art teacher.  At the time I was living in a lovely little cabin-like cottage on the Puget Sound in Seattle.  All the walls were wood paneling which was pretty outdated although it has some charm.  I made my first large scale macrame wall hanging for myself to soften the space. I had a friend from Atlanta see a picture of it on social media and she asked me to make her a wall hanging.  Once I was finished I had it all wrapped up and I went to a custom shipping spot, The Sip and Ship, to get a custom box made.   www.sipandship.com.  The owner asked what was in my wrapped up fabric.  I showed her a picture. She loved it and directed me to go to West Elm and show them my work because they feature local artists. West Elm asked me to make a wall hanging to put up in the store as well as have a pop up shop.  That prompted me to make a number of plant hangers and smaller wall hangings.  The ones I did not sell I put on Etsy. About 6 months later a marketing manager for a restaurant group in Austin Texas found me on Etsy and commissioned me to make eight 6’ x6’ wall hangings that are permanently on display in the hip restaurant. I’ve gotten a number of jobs from people that see my work in that restaurant and ask me to commission work for their homes.    The beauty of the unfolding of these events has me feeling very blessed.  It’s amazing how things happen so much easier when there is no pressure to make things work.
When things started happening for me and my macrame without much effort and mostly through word of mouth, I eventually started to put more and more energy into marketing my work. It’s very gratifying to be able to work for myself being creative.

How do you balance work and play?

 I have learned in my travels and soul searching that anything that feels like you are a fish going up stream is a waste of energy.  Of course, we have to put a certain amount of effort into our lives, but things are for the most part supposed to feel good. One of my favorite ways of balancing working and playing is to have a free day and have a little local adventure. To me, that means picking a neighborhood in the city I haven’t been to in a while and just walking around with no plan or expectation. I might walk in the boutiques to get inspiration and design ideas, browse through a used bookstore, and sit at coffee shop reading and people watching. Almost anytime I have a day like this I meet the most interesting people and find the most amazing little treasures.

If you could live in any place or era, what would it be?

 I would love to live in the seventies. I’m admittedly a little bit of a hippie at heart. Music was revolutionized at this time as were so many other parts of American culture.  The style was characterized by *playful embellishment and radical experimentation with form*. The women’s rights movement made significant strides in the 1970’s and took a prominent role within society.   All in all, it just sounds like a lot of fun!

Chocolate or wine?

Why can’t I have both? haha. If I had to choose I’d go with wine.  It could be red, rose, or a bubbly.  I like them all!

How did you come up with the name Bow to the East?

On one of my little day adventures I came across an amazing book called the Woodstock Craftsman’s Manual. This book is straight out of the seventies and gives instructions, with great hand-drawn pictures teaching Weaving, Pottery, Macrame, Beads, Leather, Tie-Dye & batik, Embroidery, Silkscreen, Home Recording, Candles, and Crochet.  On the cover is a drawing of hands making macrame and it looks just like something I made in high school when I first learned the technique.

In the section on macrame it starts out with this great tidbit:

“It’s emphasis on rhythmic control has a stabilizing effect that has led some of the world’s foremost statesman like Churchill and De Gaulle to find soothing relaxation in both knitting and knotting. It can be satisfying therapy for those who see their larger problems in terms of confused strands and loose, fraying ends." ~excerpt from Paul Schwartz in Woodstock Craftsman’s Manual

The chapter goes on to list everything you will need to start the process of macrame such as tools, materials, accouterments.  On the section on Planning and Preparing it states simply: Bow to the East. I just loved that. The East represents new beginnings and to me it represents home. So when I am starting a new project I seek out my old compass among my raw gemstones, I find East and do a ceremonial bow.


Thank you so much, Melissa, for your beautiful work and for your time! We are so excited to have turned the spotlight on you today and can't wait to get one of your wall hangings in our own homes!

Xoxo, Susie & Christina

The Real Cost of a Wedding

As a newly engaged lady (OK, now I'm married--I started writing this before the wedding), I've been thinking a lot about what everything for weddings cost. The venue, which vendors you use, the catering costs, the decorations... Do you hire a wedding planner, or do you do it yourself? Do you hire a videographer and a band? Can you do all of it without causing major stress on you and your future spouse? The photos your friends will like on Facebook need to be envy-worthy, right? So you need to spend all of your time, energy, and money on this one day. The wedding is the most important thing, isn't it?? I mean, how are people supposed to value your decision to marry the one you love if they don't either attend or see THE MOST fabulous party pictures on social media?? It's way too easy to get sucked into wanting a picture perfect wedding and letting that desire overtake your happiness. It's your marriage that really matters. Yes, your wedding is the first day of your marriage, so it's very important, but don't let the cost (literal or figurative) take over what matters most. 

 Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

The truth is, things WILL go wrong, whether you spend $100,000 on your wedding, or $1,000, so spending more doesn't mean perfect. Right after we got engaged, I was in an airport in Ohio and wanted to treat myself to a bridal magazine while I waited for my flight. I opened the pages and practically drooled over the perfect floral arrangements and the gorgeous table settings for formal and funky receptions alike. I started getting knots in my stomach because I knew I wanted my wedding to be the most beautiful and special and memorable, and from what the magazines tell you, you'd better be willing to sell a kidney to pay for it. For instance, this particular issue had an article titled "Spending Wise - Budget Friendly Weddings". The wedding they highlighted was a $50,000 party!!! That, dear friends, is a nearly $3,000 more than the average household income in Georgia for our current year. Perhaps for some, $50,000 on a wedding IS budget conscious, and in that case, good for them! But for the overwhelming majority of people, that either is not possible or feels wasteful. The average cost of a wedding in Atlanta is a little more than half that $50,000 price tag at $28,659. And $28,659 is nothing to sneeze at! That's quite the investment!

 Actual crazy beautiful place setting from a Style Me Pretty featured wedding

Actual crazy beautiful place setting from a Style Me Pretty featured wedding

Keep it Low Key

There are a lot of options for keeping your wedding low-key and high style while not spending more than more families make in a year. And there's good reason for doing that. Here are a few things to remember to keep your budget and sanity in check while you plan a wedding.

  • A wedding is a celebration, not a competition. I know this is insanely obvious, but you can do low-key without feeling the need to outdo the couple that got married before you. The less stress, financial and otherwise that you put on yourselves, the better off you will be to start your marriage as a happy, well-adjusted couple.
  • It is worth an investment. So yes, it's crazy to spend your life savings and then some, but it is the most important day in your lives together, so it's worth making a fuss and setting aside some time and money if you are able, within reason of course.
  •  Keeping it small means more time with your guests. A bridal party of 30 people is going to be more expensive. A guest list of 600, even more so. The smaller the party, the more special details you can add without breaking the bank, and the more you'll be able to talk to everyone.
  • Keep it casual. A backyard barbeque can be every bit as special as a fancy affair. Keeping it casual may mean you can afford more guests, and who doesn't love a good backyard party?!
  • Stop feeling obligated. You cannot invite every single person you've ever met nor should you feel obligated to make everyone happy. I'm a big believer in general etiquette. If you don't know an etiquette rule, you can almost always figure it out by thinking "Am I being greedy?" "Am I striving to make people comfortable?" "Am I providing for the basic needs for this event?". BUT there some exceptions. You can't feel so tied down by what is expected that you get yourself into a bind. Whether that be that you feel like you HAVE to have personalized wedding favors for each guest or maybe that means your MIL expects filet when your budget is more like Chick-fil-A. Do what is true to you!
  • DIY is more fun. It's more work, but you can make your decorations, invitations, etc, and not only save money, but it gives you more control over the look of your party--you just may need more friends to pitch in to help :) For our reception, we're having various friends and family to help us set up and we could not be more thankful! Some of those same selfless loved ones, all of whom are EXCELLENT bakers (I've taste tested their baked goods, so I know!) are making desserts for our cake table. Homemade is best anyway. 
 Image via MOD Weddings

Image via MOD Weddings

Pick Your Venue Carefully

  • Select a venue that doesn't pin you in. The wedding industry is hot. Anything titled bridal or wedding is about 5 times as much as that same item without "wedding" in the title. Ex. Wedding cake: $3,000. Birthday cake: $600. Many venues require that you use one of their selected caterers, you can't bring any food of your own in and they require you hire a bartender. Some even have rules about the photographer you can use! Be sure to check out all of the requirements and the vendors they recommend before signing on the dotted line. If you have a healthy budget and want to be hands off, this type of place is less stressful to use, so it may be a good option for you.
  • Have a party size in mind before booking. This part is really tricky. How do you know who can come that far in advance? You can't. But what you can do is have a maximum number in mind and stick to it. It will be hard, but everybody has to do it--even weddings with a party of 350 feel like they've left someone out. You will be much happier with a venue the appropriate size than feeling cramped or one that feels vacant.
  • Select a venue that gives to charity. Maybe not applicable to everyone, but to me and Victor, this was important. We feel very fortunate to have the opportunities we do and want to give back as much as we can. An added benefit when you rent from a charitable organization is that part of your rental fee is tax deductible. Win win! 
 Via Junebug Weddings

Via Junebug Weddings

Elope!

If the thought of making everyone happy with the type of dress, ceremony, music, etc. stresses you out, do what's best for you both. Elope! My husband and I chose to do this, not because anyone was pressuring us to do anything we didn't want to do, or because we don't love our family and friends, but because for us, the best thing was a private, intimate ceremony between the two of us. We could focus on our love for each other, and apart from all other distractions, commit our lives to one another forever. We chose to get married in Iceland, where we also wanted to honeymoon. A two for one! Now, when we celebrate with family and friends at our reception this month, we will be able to enjoy our party in casual style and we'll be able to even set up some decorations ourselves since we'll have a little more free time that day. Elopement isn't for everyone, but it's an option that you can consider for a meaningful, intimate wedding ceremony between you and the one you love most. 

The real cost a wedding varies greatly from couple to couple. For some, $50,000 is reasonable, for others, a simple courthouse wedding. My point is to please, do what makes you happy and what feels right for you as a couple. Your wedding day is the first day of your marriage, it should be all about your love, your relationship, and who you are as a couple. Don't let trends or Pinterest or other people's expectations change the way you marry your spouse. Everyone will be supportive if you're true to yourselves.

 Photo by Christina Wedge Photography

Photo by Christina Wedge Photography

Next week, we'll post some of the "how tos" for how to elope, specifically to Iceland. It's easier than you think, but having a little guidance helps even more! 

Icelandic Adventures Through the Seasons

2016 has been a very exciting year for us here at Ends In Style! Christina has now made three trips to beautiful Iceland, one with me (Susie) and Victor for our elopement which she photographed!
Clearly, Iceland is near and dear to our hearts now and we want to share with you why we love it so. We also encourage you to book a trip and see if for yourself! We do our best to take beautiful pictures and to describe things in a way that makes you feel like you're there--but they cannot do the real thing justice! 
We'll help you prepare for your trip and have the best time possible. We're bringing you a series of posts in the coming weeks about traveling to the country that droves of people are flocking to, and with good reason! 

Posts you can look forward to are:

Iceland in Spring: 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  • What to do 
  • What to see
  • What to pack
  • Where to stay
  • Advantages of visiting in the spring
  • Preparing for your trip and more!

Iceland in Summer: 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  • How to make the most of the warmest Icelandic weather
  • Capturing the golden light
  • Places to visit while you can (some places are only open in summer)
  • What to eat
  • Maybe even a stop in Greenland :)
  • Advantages to visiting in summer
  • Best short hikes and more!

Iceland in Fall: 

 Photo by Susie Prince

Photo by Susie Prince

  • What to pack
  • Getting around
  • Best ways to see the Northern Lights
  • Tours that are worth the money
  • Self-guided tours you HAVE to take
  • Advantages to visiting in fall
  • Where to stay

And Finally....

Eloping in Iceland:

  • Why we chose to elope (and why you may want to as well)
  • Best places to take wedding photos
  • Pros and cons of wedding sites
  • How to get paperwork in order to make your marriage legal in the US
  • Gorgeous photos by Christina of me and Victor (she's a wiz with light!)
  • What to wear and what not to wear for an outdoor Icelandic wedding
  • Luxury stays for your honeymoon 
  • Flower options, and more!!!

We look forward to sharing all of this with you and hope you'll be inspired to take a trip to a country that has captured our hearts and is beautiful and magical enough to make us want to go back in the dead of winter!

Yo, Semite! I Think I Love You!

This year is the 100th Anniversary of the United States National Parks Service. Our big, beautiful country is home to volcanoes, waterfalls, HUGE mountains, canyons, caves, geysers, pools of bubbling colorful goo, and pretty much everything else in between. There are 58 National Parks in the US, so it's time to start checking them off your list if you haven't yet been to many. 

Until mid-July, I'd only been out west once. In 2013, I went to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Both of these were incredible! Never before had I seen such high mountains, and I'd never seen mountains that just came out of nowhere, surrounded by plains and soaring up thousands of feet into the sky.  This July, Victor planned a trip to Yosemite National Park in California. We flew into San Francisco (my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean in the USA), which was beautiful. We will be back when we have time for more than just lunch. 

After driving through countryside speckled with windmills, we arrived at a Bed and Breakfast we found on AirBnB. It was very cute and had two dogs on staff helping our sweet hosts. We mapped out a basic plan of attach for our trip before we left, so we chose an AirBnB that was equidistant from each of the entrances we'd use to get into the park while we were there. Since we planned our trip without tons of notice, most of the camping in the park was booked up. But I'm not complaining because the AirBnB was super comfy and the breakfasts were HUGE and delicious--perfect for fueling up for long hikes each morning. 

 On the way in, we stopped off the side of the road and I lifted this boulder just to warm up ;)

On the way in, we stopped off the side of the road and I lifted this boulder just to warm up ;)

Day 1, we did a tour-de-valley. We drove around a little, parked, and started our full day of hiking. We hiked so long on day 1 that we came back to the car and it was pitch black for some time. We had tired feet, were a little sore, but very happy. 

From the valley, you can see the very famous El Capitan and Half Dome. We walked along the meadows, hiked up to Yosemite Falls and bouldered to the bottom of the falls. The boulders were hot as they baked in the sun, but it was way worth the reward! A fine mist of cool water from the falls blew around and was so refreshing. We did kick ourselves a little for not wearing swimsuits. The pool at the bottom of Yosemite Falls was filled with swimmers--and we were instantly jealous. We made our way down, headed to Bridalveil Falls, which was almost dried up for the season. The bouldering here was a little more treacherous. The rocks looked like polished metal and were super slick. Though we went for somewhat more challenging routes and climbed up rocks for better views and less crowd, the park really is accessible to everyone. There are handicapped ramps, viewing platforms, and buses to help those who may be less able to get around still be able to enjoy the park fully.  

 We finished our day after Hiking to Mirror Lake to see the sunset over Half Dome.

We finished our day after Hiking to Mirror Lake to see the sunset over Half Dome.

 We saw Yosemite Sam, too! 

We saw Yosemite Sam, too! 

Our second day in the park, we headed first to Glacier Point. If you're going in the summer, get there early or stay in the park. We took a more leisurely approach to our morning on our second park day and so we had to park in a far off lot and be bussed to the Glacier Point trailhead. That was the only thing about that day that wasn't perfect. 

Naturally, these photos don't even come close to doing the view justice. Victor is braver than I am with heights. I crept to the edge and the took pictures from a "safe" distance. The photo above of Victor on the scary edge is at Sentinel Dome. The wind whips around so fast and so hard up there, it's a thing to behold. 

 On our way from Sentinel Dome to Taft Point, we found this huge cluster of solid quartz. Everywhere you look, flowers and trees find their way to root between rocks and on the side of cliffs. They're determined!

On our way from Sentinel Dome to Taft Point, we found this huge cluster of solid quartz. Everywhere you look, flowers and trees find their way to root between rocks and on the side of cliffs. They're determined!

Once we got to the top of Taft Point it looked like this: 

And then...THIS HAPPENED

WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!

Next, we hiked around the Giant Sequoias. They're incredible. Unfortunately, the portion of the park with the largest and oldest tree in the world was closed while we were there. Everything feels bigger in Yosemite. 

Our final night in Yosemite, we stayed at May Lake High Sierra Camp. It's a fairly steep hike in, full of prehistoric looking petrified wood and tumbled rocks with twisted trees forcing their roots between the rocks and just dealing with the rocks around them by bending and squeezing around them. The High Sierra Camp was awesome! Little huts with tiny fireplaces in each one were shared by 4 people in each. There's a food tent for dinner and breakfast. The manager of the camp blows a conch shell to call everyone for meals and hot beverages. It was 96 degrees in the valley and got do to a very cool 34 degrees at the camp that evening. I was not prepared for that--but a fire, hot cocoa, and layering saved the day. 

Victor LOVES the water. He even swam in the 54 degree May Lake. I watched from the warmth of the beach. He's a champ! After dinner, we hiked to the top of the ridge to watch the sunset. It was so beautiful that Victor wished he had held onto the ring for one more night. We met a very active pair of grandparents who gave us marriage advice and life advice--to keep active and stay interesting. They've been married for 54 years, are in their 70s and hiked up to the nearly 10,000ft elevation with us!

We hiked to the same ridge for sunset the next morning, then we heard the conch shell call and enjoyed breakfast. The views and hiking around the camp were gorgeous, but we loved the company equally. Everyone was so friendly and kind! We got to talk with people who had grown up coming to Yosemite each summer along with people like us who were just visiting for the first time. It felt like grown up summer camp in the best possible way. 

 Because of the elevation, these cuties are the cargo haulers who bring the food and supplies up to the camp. 

Because of the elevation, these cuties are the cargo haulers who bring the food and supplies up to the camp. 

Also worth mentioning, we saw MARMOTS! They were so cute and fluffy and not afraid of us being nearby. 

For our final day (we flew out late that night), we made our way to Tuolumne Meadows which is where we saw the most Yosemite residents. It was pretty clear who had been backpacking for weeks on end. They even have a post office at the store for those who have supplied shipped to them to extend their trips. We definitely looked like the "squares" among all the dreadlocked hair, but at least we hadn't showered in a couple days either. In Tuolumne Meadows, we saw lots of little ground squirrels that very cutely popped up like prairie dogs, we saw the biggest hawk I've ever seen flying just over our heads (yikes/cool), and even some mule deer bedded down in the reeds along the river. It was peaceful, cool, and beautiful. 

 There's the deer! 

There's the deer! 

I highly encourage everyone, no matter what your hiking skill level or comfort with camping to go and enjoy Yosemite. It is now extra special to us and we plan to be back soon! Next time, we will plan further in advance and camp in the park each night in tents and perhaps another visit to the High Sierra camps-it's worth it!  

Happy National Parks Centennial!

You Are SO WORTH LOVING

We are in an era of negativity in so many ways. It's so easy to get sucked into political smear ads. So easy to start with the self-loathing when we look at the magazine's covers in the grocery store check out lines with some gorgeous model or actress who just had 3 babies but also somehow has abs and you have lemon bars in your cart...for example. This didn't happen to me last night...of course not!

These are the really small negatives that come at us compared to the bigger problems in the world. Some people deal with so much more! Domestic violence, racism, bigotry, depression, political oppression, poverty, hunger, the list goes on and on and on. But we have been so encouraged by what is happening in response to all of this. POSITIVITY! And the permission to love yourself and to know that YOU ARE SO WORTH LOVING!

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Did you ever think there could be a store that sells love and positivity? East Atlanta Village just welcomed the So Worth Loving to its eclectic streets and you definitely need to stop by. The name may sound familiar to you because we've gushed over them before: here and here. So yeah, we like this brand.

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

It's such a beautiful store and their message is really great. It's pretty simple, too. By wearing your heart almost literally on your sleeve, you're reminding everyone you pass that they're worth it. Encouraging others to consider that they matter, no matter what they're going through or how they've been treated. That's a message and a store we feel really good about supporting and hope you will, too. Plus, the t-shirts are incredibly soft!  

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Not only does the store carry their own brand of clothes that encourage and inspire, but they carry many other brands with a similar mission. Brands like Sseko Designs, handcrafted in Uganda. This brand inspires young women and provides them with a good income. So far, each woman who has worked here has gone on to go to college! They are such talented ladies, too. The pieces are gorgeous!

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

The Giving Keys, founded by Caitlyn Crosby, is a company selling unique and beautiful necklaces with a message stamped onto old keys: "we are all like these keys - unique, flawed, scarred, and sometimes discarded by others.". Repurposed and celebrating the little "flaws" make these necklaces extra special.

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

So Worth Loving also carries TOMS, which you are likely very familiar with. They're a 1-for-1 company that donates one pair of shoes to people in need for every one pair purchased. One of my good friends from college interned with TOMS after graduation and designed a pattern for Mother's Day shoes, so if you see those, buy them! Still so proud of her! 

Korchet Kids is a non-profit and an unexpected mix of men who know how to crochet and teaching others the craft as well as giving them an opportunity to earn a decent living doing so. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Also check out Luxe Apothecary, for women, by women, Belong Magazine, which celebrates creative entrepreneurship, Conscious Magazine, which changes the tone of typical magazines from surface-level to thoughtful conversation that can actually bring about change, and Happy Socks, a colorful and fun brand that brings happiness to ankles and smiles to faces all over.  

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

You're going to love So Worth Loving! Stop by and see them in East Atlanta Village at 535 Gresham Ave Atlanta, GA 30316. Tell them we sent you!

Oh, BABY!

Hi everyone! 

Yes, we are still here. I must apologize for the absence of posts lately. We've had a whirlwind of events (including Christina visiting gorgeous Iceland!!! We'll have that post for you soon), but that's no excuse for neglecting our baby, Ends In Style.

SPEAKING of babies (how was that segue?!). I, along with my co-host, Amanda, threw a baby shower for my sweet friend Suzanne last weekend just before her first Mother's Day. She is such a dear friend! We grew up right around the corner from each other, played on the same volleyball team in high school, and were just acquaintances until we bumped into each other in college and decided to be roommates. Now I cannot imagine life without Suzanne in it. She's the kind of friend everyone needs. Caring, sweet, genuine, funny, and full of life! It was an absolute joy to host a shower for her!

 Styled by Susie Roupe

Styled by Susie Roupe

Baby Charlie is already so loved! We showered Suzanne and Charlie with gifts and also with lots of yummy snacks, because no party is complete without snacks. My sister always says that if you've had children, you love lemon desserts. She has to be right even if you haven't yet had your child because when I asked Suzanne what kind of cake I should make, lemon was a top choice. I made a 4-layer "Luscious Lemon Cake" with lemon curd filling and cream cheese frosting. Here's a recipe for a similar cake and filling via Southern Living. My recipe is from a very old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (couldn't find it online) and I frosted it with a simple dyed-blue cream cheese frosting in a star-tipped piping bag. Topped with cute letter candles from Target's party department, it was really a cute cake! I love Target! Great prices and really good selection of stylish party decor.

 Styled by Susie Roupe

Styled by Susie Roupe

I made coffee punch, which is an absolute must if you're having a party for a coffee lover. It's about 50% ice cream, 50% coffee. Here's a great recipe if you'd like to try it!

COFFEE PUNCH

  • 1 pot very strong coffee, cooled
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir together coffee, milk, and vanilla. Float half of the ice cream on top until it melts in. Just before serving, float the other half of the ice cream on top and enjoy!

We also enjoyed some Baby Boy Blue punch made from Hawaiian Punch, Pineapple Juice, and Lemon/Lime Soda. It was blue sugary heaven! Keeping all of the snacks pretty simple and keeping the decorations cute and easy makes for a more fun party for the host, guests, and most importantly, the mother-to-be! If you're not sweating and worrying about too many little details and how many dishes you'll have to do after the party, you'll definitely have a better time and be a better hostess. 

After snacking and talking, we took the time to play some games. One gross one not-so-gross. I'll spare you images from the dirty diaper game! We melted various candy bars in diapers and had party guests guess which candy bars were in them. The winner got a little gift bag and the pride of knowing which candy bar looked the most identifiable when looking mostly like poop!

The second game we played didn't turn any stomachs. We guessed the size of Suzanne's pregnant tummy and the closest guess won a prize! Suzanne was a great sport!

Adding little cute touches of decorations (like this polka dot table cloth, the pennant banner and chalkboard food markers, and the baby bootie mixed nut cups) adds a touch of whimsy to the party. And who doesn't love a little whimsy ;) By the way, if you're interested in making the baby booties, here's a good tutorial. We made ours with little ketchup cups, tissues, cotton balls, and ribbon. 

And no baby shower is complete without a diaper cake! I made one by just tightly tying rolled up diapers together in a 3 layer cake shape without any glue or cardboard, but if you like instructions, which most sane people do, here's a tutorial for making a diaper cake!

To thank everyone for coming, we made little bags of popcorn as favors with gold and silver rimmed tags we labeled "Ready to POP!". Cute, right? 

We hope you had a great Mother's Day and feel inspired to take on throwing a shower sometime! Keep each thing sweet and simple and don't worry too much about all of the little details--it's about enjoying the moment with your loved ones. 

Many Fold Farm (LAMBS!)

If you have been reading our blog for very long, you know that there are a few things we absolutely LOVE! Animals, beautiful places, and delicious food, specifically cheese.

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of enjoying all of the above in one day. We drove just a little south of the city and visited Many Fold Farm. It's a beautiful place filled with sheep, baby lambs, chickens, cows, a few cats and dogs--so yeah, we were in heaven!

Many Fold Farm  is the creation of husband and wife team, Rebecca and Ross. They're even high school sweethearts! Can this get any dreamier? Oh just wait until you see the lambs

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

With a strong desire to do something real and to ethically treat both the animals and the land, they got educated on cheese making, farming, and even worked with Heifer International (if you aren't familiar with that organization, click here, it is awesome!). They took their time learning the ropes of farming and cheese making with strong ethics in place to be sure they did things right! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

When you buy products from Many Fold Farm, you can be sure that you're supporting a great local business that is truly doing good. They also offer educational programs in order to teach children and adults alike with cheese making tours, farm tours, school educational programs, workshops, and more! We definitely recommend a visit! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Interested in seeing some baby lambs? I know I am at all times! They are so cute and they hop around! Not only do we have photos of them for you to enjoy, but there is a LAMB CAM!!!! Many Fold Farm has a lamb cam set up so that you can watch the precious babies do adorable things all day long. If you boss asks why you're watching lambs all day, tell him/her this is important mid-week therapy to keep your endorphins going strong!

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Come for the lambs, leave with some cheese! Check out their beautiful shop! We wanted one of every kind of cheese, kitchen item, and t-shirt!

We hope you have a great week! To help ensure that, we leave you with more lambs...

Spotlight On: Studio M

We at Ends In Style love to support and highlight other creatives in the Atlanta market. We love to see other people succeed in their chosen field and to be inspired by their work. Today, we're turning the spotlight an inspiring girl power design duo, Studio M Interiors! Just try not to be inspired by their work in the photos below. Just gorgeous and vibrant! 

Let's get to know them a little better:

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Which of your career milestones make you most proud?

Marni: The upcoming 10 year anniversary of Studio M Interiors. I saw a quote recently that said 'I once went job hunting. Hired Myself. Never looked back'. Growing my own company and making a name for it has been incredibly rewarding. We're proud of the awards we've received including several 'Before and After' Contest awards and we were excited to be nominated for an IIDA BOB award this year for our Cambria Showroom project. Also, several years ago I was recognized as one of The Atlantan's 'Women of Power and Influence.’
Jennifer: Being able to stay busy during the downturn of the economy is a ‘milestone’ that we are very proud of. We are a unique firm in that we do a combination of projects ranging from residential, multifamily, and boutique commercial which means that we are able to flex with the markets in the Southeast depending on which sector is busiest at the time. I have also participated with several charity organizations to offer my design skills and time to help others which is the biggest blessing and accomplishment I can think of.

 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 

How did you become a designer and where did you learn your skills?

Marni: I always knew I wanted to be a designer. When I was 10 years old I wrote a paper on what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said 'a successful residential designer in Dallas, TX.' I used to shadow an interior designer cousin of my Mom's for fun. Coincidentally, I ended up going to The University of Texas at Austin. Unlike most of my friends, I knew from day one what my major was going to be and actually stuck with it through college. Somehow I persevered trying to land my first job at a design firm during a very bad economy and the rest is history!

Jennifer: Being an interior designer is just something I innately knew I wanted to be, even as a child. My parents were often displeased at my incessant need to rearrange my room, whoops! I attended Valdosta State University to study interior design, embarking in design immediately out of school in 2010 after moving to Atlanta. I began working as a designer at a high-end home furnishings retailer until I was offered a full-time position at Studio M in 2011. So many of the skills I’ve acquired have been learned in the field while practicing. Design is ever-changing and your roles can range from pillow-fluffer to full-on counselor, so being able to think on your toes creatively is crucial.

 

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 

What's your secret for running a business and maintaining your personal life?

Marni: This is a loaded question! Seriously though, it's a constant process of trial and error. Mainly, I have to set boundaries and stick with them. I try my best to remember to make time for myself. Sometimes I go as far as blocking out an appointment with myself in order to make it happen.
Jennifer: The world of design is very tricky. It has a way of blending into your everyday life, sun up to sun down, particularly in a small business such as ours. There is always something to be done and never enough time in the day to do it all. I have tried (successfully, after much trial and error) to set a schedule each day and stick with it. Having a regimented work time schedule means nights and weekends are mine to spend on other things without feeling guilty. I do frequently attend industry events and am on the board of Design Collective Atlanta, but I always try to leave myself enough time and energy to do things that I enjoy outside of design. 
  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 

What's your favorite destination?

 

Marni: I am enamored by Rome, Italy. I find it inspirational from a design standpoint and I love wandering the streets aimlessly. You never know what you are going to stumble upon.

 

Jennifer: Although my list of future places to visit is extraordinarily long, my favorite place I’ve visited thus far is LA. It has such cool blend of historical sites, outdoor landmarks, and a great food/music scene that we end up doing completely different things each time we visit. On our last trip, we stayed in a early 1900’s Bungalow right off Abbot Kinney which meant we were within walking distance to the beach, wonderful food, great art galleries, amazing coffee shops, live music bars, and the fun people-watching on Venice Boardwalk. 

 

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

  Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 

 

 

All the Rain Was Worth It

Well, everybody, we survived the weeks and weeks of pouring rain! Winter and rain seemed to drag on there for a bit, but then, suddenly, as if by magic, little colorful blossoms started popping up all over my yard! First it was the bright yellow daffodils, then the deep pink camellias, then the entire yard seemed to burst into a variety of beautiful colors that I couldn't help but cut and put on my tabletop. 

All of this blooming got me inspired! So often I feel like to have a decent looking arrangement for my own house or especially to bring to a friend, that I need to either order from a florist or go to a flower shop and get one that was pre-made. But what i love so much about the flowers in my yard is how natural they are. Nothing is dyed an unnatural color or trimmed to perfection. They're wild and unruly and glorious. So I thought to myself, why not make wild, unruly and glorious flower arrangements for Ends In Style? So, that is what we did! I called up Christina and we devised a very simple plan. Walk around my yard, take photos and make something beautiful. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Flower by nature in Susie's yard

Photo by Christina Wedge, Flower by nature in Susie's yard

  Photo by Christina Wedge, Flower by nature in Susie's yard

Photo by Christina Wedge, Flower by nature in Susie's yard

Let's go through my yard together and create something pretty! You can do this, too. I do have a lot of flowering plants in my yard, and I'm lucky, for sure., but if you open up your options to grasses, weeds, vines, etc., any yard is a treasure trove! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge Arrangement by Susie Roupe

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Christina had the idea to make an Easter flower arrangement, so we kept it simple and sweet. The wreath is made of long, soft flowering weeds and some twisting branches. I wound them into a wreath shape in a trifle dish and nestled 3 hard boiled eggs in the center. A beautiful arrangement made of weeds! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

  Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Next up, another beauty for your tabletop made of a more flowery mixture. I used two types of Camellias, Loropetalum, and Eastern Redbud. I love the mixture of perfect bloom on the Pink Perfection Camellias and the long, wild looking Loropetalum and Redbud branches. Keep it casual and natural for the best look with these pieces! I made a very similar arrangement to this for a friend who recently had a baby. I had a glass peanut butter jar I was going to put in the recycling bin that made the perfect vase! It doesn't have to be fancy to be beautiful. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Arrangement by Susie Roupe

Finally, we know that while you may like the rustic looking arrangements you can make with all kinds of wild plants, you may not have access to big, beautiful Camellia blooms like I have in my yard to make it look a little less unruly. So, it's OK to mix in some nice store bought flowers! In this last arrangement, we mixed in some nice full white roses with an assortment of other plants I found in my yard. I LOVE how the Oregon Grape Holly looks in this arrangement. Is it not the coolest? It's the one that looks like a big bunch of grapes. Bring it all together with a small white tree flower and ta-da! Beauty and it only cost us the couple of dollars to get those beautiful roses. The neutral palette of this arrangement would look so beautiful on an Easter table.

 

We hope you're inspired to go in your yard and make something pretty. Enjoy!

Bar Cart Styling

Every magazine, catalog, Pinterest page, and blog now is filled with photos of gorgeous bar carts. They're a great addition to your patio, dining room, or even bedroom if you like! A junky looking or bare bar cart looks sad, though. So how do you style it so it looks great even when you're not shaking cocktails for a party?

We'll show you!

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

The incredible design team of Parker Kennedy Living invited us into their studio for this project. All of the pieces (aside from alcohol bottles and flowers) are from their amazing warehouse of goodies. I could have made a home in that warehouse and lived there happily for a while! So many beautiful things!

  Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

Things you may want to have on hand for a pretty bar cart:

  • Gorgeous bar cart you love even when totally bare
  • A tray to contain small items
  • An assortment of libations
  • Pretty glassware
  • Flowers 
  • Drink making accessories
  • Fruit
  • More flowers
  • Non-drink-making-related accessories
  Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe    

Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

 

  Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

Like any other styling project, creating balance is key. You don't need things to be the same heigh on both sides, or even two of anything. What you do want is repetition of a few elements. For instance, we repeated gold and green and white throughout the cart to create visual balance. Add in a few elements that are just for fun! 

  Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Susie Roupe

Now that you've gotten a quick tutorial on some elements you need and some balancing tactics, check out this swoon-worthy bar carts styled by Parker Kennedy Living themselves!

Photo by Christina Wedge, Bar Cart Styling by Parker Kennedy Living

Flower Power

Last spring, we had the pleasure of working with Floral Designer, Amy Osaba of Amy Osaba Events as well as Annette Joseph, stylist and producer, and writer of her style blog, Annette Joseph Style

As we get excited for the beautiful colors of spring, we hope you'll feel inspired to put together a nice lunch or dinner with friends to enjoy this perfect weather!

We gave you the behind the scenes look at this late spring/early summer, and now we're showing you the gorgeous photos Christina took for Muses and Visionaries Magazine with styling by Annette Joseph and florals by Amy Osaba. It's a beautiful story! Enjoy!

We hope you feel inspired by this gorgeous shoot! 

PAWS Atlanta Valentine's Day Pop-Up A Success!

We are continuing to raise money for PAWS Atlanta and are thrilled with the results from our recent pop-up shop! If you'd like more information about the fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/pawscards where you can donate today! PAWS Atlanta is Atlanta's longest running no-kill shelter. They're celebrating 50 years of helping to save lives and making families complete by adding a tail or two! 

 Photo by Polly Nance

Photo by Polly Nance

As an animal lover, doing these pop-up shops is such a treat for me! We hope to do a few more to continue raising money for PAWS as well as awareness of the need for funds for shelters like them. The beautiful shop, CityDog Market, hosted us again, and we could not be more grateful. If you haven't ever shopped with them, it's time to make a visit! They've got amazing food, treats, toys, training tools, and even a self-serve dog wash! 

 Photo by Polly Nance

Photo by Polly Nance

Unfortunately, Christina couldn't make it to the pop-up last minute, but fortunately, the very sweet Polly Nance said yes to fill in! So HUGE thank you to Polly for helping out and being so positive and fun!!! It was a pleasure to work with you and we couldn't have done this without you!

 Photo by Polly Nance

Photo by Polly Nance

We made $710 at the pop-up shop! Add that to the previous pop-up and all of the donations for the cards, and we've raised over $1500!! If you'd like to be a part of the fundraiser, donate here!

 Photo by Polly Nance

Photo by Polly Nance

Thank you so much to everyone who came out and participated in the fundraiser and thank you to CityDog Market for hosting us again! It was a great day!



Simple and Relaxed Valentine's Day

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

A few Valentines ago, Victor and I had reservations at a nice restaurant in the city. It was a place where we had one of our first dates and so it was special to us. Unfortunately, it must've been special to everyone else in Atlanta also, because even though we had reservations at 8pm, we waited for our table for over an hour. Once we sat down to eat, the entrees we each wanted to order were sold out. 

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

This year, I think we'll keep it a little more low-key and have the entrees we pick to make at home. While going out is nice, keeping it simple at home can be just as special, if not more. Christina came up with this nice meal and how to enjoy it with the one you love, or with your closest girl friends! 

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Dinner doesn't need to be fussy to be special. Make your favorite salad, appetizer, and pasta dish for a hearty meal that isn't too heavy. Making multiple, simple courses gives dinner a fancy feeling without having to spend hours in the kitchen. More time to make moony eyes at each other!

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Make dessert fun and unexpected by dipping yummy snacks in chocolate! Refreshing orange or clementine wedges and pretzel sticks hit all the sweet, salty, and tart notes you crave!

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Having a Galentine's night instead? Pick up some cute V-Day tags like these from Target for serve as wine charms for your best friends.

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Keep things simple and make it buffet style. Everyone will appreciate that you've made a delicious meal, even if it was super easy to make! Using basic pieces you already have and adding in some sweet Valentine themed accessories add a really special touch. You can find these pretty heart napkins at West Elm.

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Dress up easy appetizers by making them bite-size and individual! Who doesn't love a ball of cheese on a stick, right?!

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Easy pasta keeps it low stress. Make your favorite one-pot pasta dish to make clean-up a snap so you and your friends can enjoy more time chatting and eating and less time scrubbing pots and pans. A fresh salad is a breeze to make and will add brightness to your dinner. 

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

What's better than a cupcake? A NAKED cupcake! Cupid goes around naked, so it's only fitting your dessert do the same on Valentine's Day. Top some rich chocolate cupcakes with these pretty little hearts from Target for an extra special presentation. 

We hope you have a sweet and Happy Valentine's Day!

DIY Sugar Scrub for Your Sweetie

  Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Valentine's Day is just around the corner! What could be sweeter than making something for those you love to let them know you're thinking of them? Chocolates are a sweet gift, but what about something that pampers a little more? What about if you just want to pamper yourself? The perfect gift for your Valentine, Galentine, or yourself: DIY Sugar Scrub!

 Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup sugar (we used white sugar, but you can use raw sugar, organic, or brown as well)
  • 5-8 drops essential oil (we used lemongrass)
  Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

  Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and oil. Add in the essential oils one or two drops at a time for the level of scent you desire. 
  • Put in an air tight jar and wrap with a utensil to scoop the scrub and you're done!
  Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Style by Susie Roupe, Photo by Christina Wedge

Personalize your gift with a pretty tag, ribbon, and instructions for use. Use about 1 tablespoon in the shower to exfoliate by gently rubbing in and rinsing away excess. Dry by patting with a towel rather than rubbing. Use caution in the shower as the coconut oil will be slippery!

We hope you'll love making this sweet pampering treat for your loved ones and for yourself this Valentine's Day!

Spotlight On: Paige Minear

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If you follow design in Atlanta at all, you've probably already heard of Paige Minear. She writes the design blog, "the pink clutch" which is a great read and you should definitely subscribe now! Paige has a style that cannot be denied in all of her work. It's colorful, vibrant, bold, and inspiring! We have the joy of taking a peek into the perfect reflection of Paige's design style--her own home! And we're bringing you with us! 

Join us as we turn the spotlight on Paige Minear! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Define your personal design style and perspective.

I am most definitely a preppy chic girl.  Most everything I am drawn to in fashion leans toward traditional with an edge.  It is the same in my style for our home. Very classic and preppy with an edge.  Lots of color with texture and pattern. 
 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Which of your career milestones make you most proud?

The past year has been out of control.  My brand has tripled and the opportunities that have been offered to me blow me away.  Being an invited participant in the One Room Challenge was the biggest opportunity so far and definitely the one I am most proud of. Growing my Instagram following has really been exciting.  I love my followers and their incredible support!
 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

How did you become a design blogger and where did you learn your skills?

My passion and background is fashion.  For me I see our home as an outfit needing to be put together.  You start with a piece that inspires you and you grow from there.  In our dining room it was the pink walls and an antique table that my in laws received as a wedding present.  The table provided the traditional and the pink the edge and it just grew.  I don't think it is hard to transition from fashion to design, it just seemed to be an easy transition.  I have been blogging since 2007 and love the creative outlet it provides.  I get to write about all the things that inspire me. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What's your secret for running a business and maintaining your personal life?

I have learned in the last six months to pick and chose projects.  I say no a lot and I am good with that. Saying no also allows me to pick the right projects and opportunities for me.   I can't do everything and when the day is done I have to be true to me.  My family always comes first and that gives me the greatest comfort and joy. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What's your guilty pleasure?

My love language is quality time.  Any time given to me by those I love fills my soul.  All my best friends know that I love their time and of course a fabulous meal! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What's your favorite destination?

New York and Palm Beach.  I think I was meant to live in both.  I could have an apartment in the city and a home in Palm Beach.  It might be the perfect combination! 
 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Leave a comment below and tell us which of Paige's rooms we've featured is your favorite! Like what you see? Follow Paige Minear on Facebook, Instagram, and her blog!

We hope you enjoyed this spotlight as much as we did! 

Citizen Supply: A Truly Unique Retail Experience

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Have you been to Ponce City Market yet? If you haven't, YOU NEED TO GO NOW! It's a gorgeous selection of shops and restaurants and beautiful things. Take a moment this weekend to wander the hallways and stroll through the shops. It's really an inspiring location.

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Citizen Supply is one of the awesome shops located at Ponce City Market. They're a unique store featuring all artisan goods. Here's what they're all about:

"Citizen Supply is an artisan marketplace that brings quality handmade and small-batch goods to Atlanta’s urban shopper in a truly unique retail experience." 

Pretty cool, right?! they feature many of our favorite vendors like East Atlanta's own Brother Moto which is a super cool shop with a unique take on the motorcycle experience. 

"Our goal has always been to provide those with a DIY spirit like ourselves the necessary tools, environment and knowledge to work on their motorbikes themselves. We believe in empowering riders with a space to learn how to fabricate, experiment and repair within a community of really really good people."
 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Remember the post about the drapey cardigan and the super-soft-really-want-one-t-shirt? Welllll, the love affair continues! So Worth Loving is a vendor at Citizen Supply! Go on and feel the shirts. I dare you to even try to resist their siren's call! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Whether you're looking for housewares, decor, clothing, or gifts, you'll find beautiful, unique, and handmade pieces lovingly created by artisans and brought to you at Citizen Supply

So stop by, shop, and enjoy the beautiful pieces available at Citizen Supply. You'll love it, we're sure of it!

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge