Outdoors

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!

Six Interior Design Trends to Look for in 2016

If you're planning any changes to your home in the coming year, check out these trends to get inspired before you begin working. 

Photo of a version of my dream home...

Photo of a version of my dream home...

 

From state-of-the art kitchens to smart appliances, prefab modern modular homes to airstream trailers, this year’s Dwell on Design conference was not to be missed. Everything from the latest in smart home technology to the latest innovations in textile manufacturing could be found in this 650,000 square foot venue celebrating its 10th anniversary. For the rest of 2015 and beyond, here are the trends that will be driving retail globally:

Interior Design Trend No. 1: Bringing The Outdoors In

From decorating compact apartments with greenery to turning expansive backyards into glamping adventures, consumers are experimenting with how to bring nature into every aspect of their homes. HGTV’s David Bromstadexplained that this means that consumers will be buying furniture they can use indoors and outdoors. In terms of interior decor, lifestyle expert Justina Blakeney shared that wall decor, accessories and small plant life inspired items are going to be hot. Great resources include Grandin Road and Apartment 2B.

Interior Design Trend No. 2: Source Artisan Goods

From tassels and basketry to macrame and crochet, weaving is in. To embrace this trend, lifestyle expert Justina Blakeney advises consumers to be inspired by local finds. LG Studio artistic advisor Nate Berkus encourages shoppers to buy locally made and globally crafted goods. Berkus also states that consumers should not be afraid to mix vintage and artisanal items with mass produced goods. Consumers should not miss the opportunity to pair a Mongolian lambskin pouf and Moroccan rug next to a Target coffee table, for example. Great resources are for the design trade to explore include Nova FiberSource Art, YP.com, Deny Designs, and Saatchi Art.

Interior Design Trend No. 3: Minerals Are In

While polished geodes attached to lucite bases have been all the rage, minerals are going au natural now. Watch for bowls of pyrite on tables, big chunks of quartz used as display pieces and unpolished semi-precious stones turned into door pulls. Great resources include Lost & Found in Los Angeles or Casa Forte Studio.

Interior Design No. 4: Tiles Are Going Geometric

Decorative backsplashes have gone strong for a long time. Designers are expecting to see consumers gravitating towards more geometric patterns that feature fluid movement. Cement and even wood are going to play a significant role in achieving this. Whether it is a backsplash, an intricately patterned floor or a countertop, fluid geometry is coming in strong. Great resources include Astek Wallcovering by Thelma Valenzuela or a design professional from Decorist.

Interior Design Trend No 5: Mix Metallics and Metals

The 1950s and 1970s are hot trends in fashion design collections right now, and it is no different in interiors. Midcentury Mod with brass, gold and metallic finishes are popular right now. Get ready to embrace some retro bling. Great resources include Midcentury LA or Urban Colony.

Interior Design Trend No. 6:  Make it Sustainable

From the foam in our couches to the the foundations that prefab homes are laid on, Dwell president Michela Abrams noted that sustainability is at the heart of anything that is being manufactured today. Recycling, repurposing, reinventing and reusing are all things that consumers are beginning to consider when they make purchases today. Great resources include Resource FurnitureCustom Comfort Mattress and Living Homes.

 

Today's post is reblogged from Macala Wright. I added photos to illustrate, but all text (aside from captions) after the first photo come from Macala Wright's blog. Click through images for sources.

Home Free Episode 1: Before and After

I've announced this once before, but this summer, I took a little leave of absence from life and took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to be on FOX's new show, "Home Free" hosted by Mike Holmes.  Home Free is a competition renovation show featuring nine couples in the Atlanta area who don't currently own a home, but really want to!

Victor and I entered the casting process and were selected to be on the show, so with much thought and planning, we took the chance and joined the cast. You can read more about the competitors, watch clips, and see the schedule of programming on FOX.com

The competitors were broken into two teams and tackled different areas, and the amazing design and build teams took over the rest of the areas of the home, inside and out. 

My team on week one tackled the backyard area. The challenge was to create an "entertainer's yard", including fixing the pool, building and designing a structure, planning and executing some landscaping, and building projects out of reclaimed and found objects, and of course, all styling. The other team was tasked with the kitchen and living room area (open concept), redesigning the fireplace, and making projects out of reclaimed materials. 

Here are the photos of house 1, inside and out. 

Before: Exterior Front

Before: Exterior Front

After: Exterior Front

After: Exterior Front

Before: Living Room

Before: Living Room

After: Living Room

After: Living Room

Before: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen Area

Before: Kitchen Area

After: Kitchen Area

After: Kitchen Area

Before: Bathroom

Before: Bathroom

After: Bathroom

After: Bathroom

Before: Enclosed Garage (turned to Master Bedroom)

Before: Enclosed Garage (turned to Master Bedroom)

After: Master Bedroom

After: Master Bedroom

Before: Guest Bedroom

Before: Guest Bedroom

After: Guest Bedroom

After: Guest Bedroom

Before: Backyard

Before: Backyard

After: Backyard

After: Backyard

Before: Pool Area

Before: Pool Area

After: Pool Area

After: Pool Area

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

We hope you've been watching Home Free on Wednesday night, FOX at 9pm/8c. Episode two aired last night. You can catch a rerun on Friday night or watch online at FOX.Com  or on Hulu on FOXNOW. 

Mother's Day Soiree

With Mother's Day coming up on May 10th, it's time to celebrate the moms in our lives. Hopefully you can be home with your mom to celebrate and throw her a party like the one we had. If you can't be with her, you can party with friends who have children, too! Motherhood is a wonderful thing. I can only imagine the amount of love a mother is able to feel. My own Mama came and helped me and Christina put on this pretty little dinner party. Someday, I hope to be as loving and selfless a mama to my children as she is to me. 

We are so excited to share this party with you. It was a beautiful setting (Thanks, Susan!) with wonderful people all around and yummy food. If you're looking for tutorials, recipes, or DIY decorations for Mother's Day, we have that, too! Here is the post from last week detailing some of our projects to celebrate mothers.

If you're a mom, thank you for raising your children and loving them well! We appreciate mamas!

All photos by Christina Wedge, Styling by Susie Roupe

Costa Rica: What to See & What to Do

Starting this post is difficult because I could write a 50 page essay on all of the things you should see and do in Costa Rica. Rather than doing that, I'll give you the rundown of what we did each day that made this the best trip ever.

Photo via Susie Roupe

Photo via Susie Roupe

1. Visit Playa Conchal

It is an absolute dream. Playa conchal gets its name from the sand, "conchal" comes from the Spanish word for a type of shell. That's right, the sand is made up of tiny bits of crushed up shells. It exfoliates your feet and may hurt a little but it's totally worth it. There is a luxury resort right on the beach and massages for excellent prices at the top of the beach. To get to Conchal without paying for parking, go to Brasilito and drive on the beach towards Conchal to the free lot. 
Come for the view, stay for the snorkel trip, which brings us to 2.

Photo via Victor Prince

Photo via Victor Prince

Photo via Victor Prince of a starfish found on the snorkel trip

Photo via Victor Prince of a starfish found on the snorkel trip

2. Go Snorkeling/Spear Fishing 

I must admit this part of the trip had me seasick for a while, but it was still incredible. Why? Well, we struck a deal with a salesman on the beach for the four of us to go out on a tiny boat and snorkel while our guide spearfished. The boat was tiny but it took us out to a part of the coast we would never have seen otherwise. Huge caves with waves crashing into them, water a deeper blue than I have ever seen before. The cliffs above the caves towered above us and it was awesome! Tyler and the guide dove into the water and speared fish which we then ate (more on that in the next post) while Victor and Sarah went snorkeling and I sat in the boat feeling sick. Take dramamine if you decide to be adventurous on a tiny boat. 

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

3. Watch the Sunset Every Night

This is the sunset from Brasilito, a small beach right beside Conchal. You can have your dinner directly on the beach and watch the sunset and people ride by on horses. Have I mentioned that it is paradise?

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

4. Visit Playa Negra & Bring a Snorkel Mask

Playa Negra is a black sand beach with tons of volcanic rocks all along the shoreline. The day we went, there was hardly another soul on the beach besides us and professional surfers. It's worth going if only to watch these amazing athletes ride a wave to a break in the rocks and not get injured! We brought snorkel masks with us, not knowing what we would find. As you can see above, the rocks hold little tide pools between them in low tide, and that is where the magic is. In these small pools is a world of small creatures, crabs, eels, fish with legs!, brightly colored fish, octopi and we even saw a fossil!
 

Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

5. Take at Least a Day Trip to a Volcano

We went to Monte Verde, a more inactive volcano for a day trip. Tyler and Sarah were able to get us a great deal by negotiating ahead of time in the town where we were staying, so we had a full day of adventure for an excellent price! There are many volcanoes in Costa Rica, but the two most famous are Arenal and Monte Verde. Arenal would have meant another 4 hour drive, and I'm not disappointed that we chose Monte Verde because it was incredible! We went to an adventure resort called Buena Vista on a day pass. 
On that adventure pass we were able to go zip lining through the jungle, down a more than 1/4mile long natural waterslide, horseback riding, and we were even able to enjoy the spa which included volcanic mud baths, sauna, natural hot and cold springs, and lots of animal sightings*. 

Images via Victor Prince

Images via Victor Prince

After you've enjoyed the adventure and the spa treatment, do not miss out on the bar overlooking the valley. This is THE spot to see a sunset. We could see for miles and miles, including the ocean which was a two hour drive away. This valley is the set for the Jurassic Park chase scene and is absolutely gorgeous!

Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

*We saw iguanas, toucans, "the crested one", and howler monkeys. A howler monkey peed on me and then pooped on me while we were in the hot spring. Gross, but also once in a lifetime experience!

This is just a small taste of the things to see and do in gorgeous Costa Rica. You should definitely start planning your trip now!