Photography

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

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!



Across the USA

Across the United States, Christina and her friend Danielle made the trek from Northwest to Southeast, stopping at beautiful locations along the way. It's amazing to see the photos of our beautiful nation. 

If you've ever said the USA is boring and lacks beauty, you should plan to drive across the country and then prepare to eat your words. America is home to deserts, plains, mountains, coastlines, cliffs, and everything in between. There's so much to see, it would be a shame not to get out there and enjoy it! 

We've prepared a little photo journal for you so we can all follow along as they drive through San Francisco, San Luis Obisto (Hwy 1), LA, Salton Sea, Joshua Tree National Park, Phoenix, Sedona, Sante Fe, Taos Pueblo, Texas countryside, El Paso, Marfa, Austin, Houston, Louisiana, and Panama City, FL. Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

PAWS Atlanta Cards

Hello everybody! We are so pleased to announce that the cards benefitting PAWS Atlanta are officially in production and they are so adorable! The dogs and cats we worked with for the photoshoot were such a joy. If you're looking for a four-legged buddy to add to your family, we encourage you to visit a shelter to find them. The cuteness levels are off the charts at PAWS with pets of all shapes and sizes so you're sure to find a pet matched to the needs of your family

The note card sets featuring these precious pets will be available starting Black Friday, but you can start donating today! The Go Fund Me page we've set up will prompt you for your address when you donate, so be sure to include it so we can get your cards to you!

Donating is simple! We accept cash donations as well as donations via our Go Fund Me page which you can find by clicking here: https://www.gofundme.com/pawscards. Donate any amount you like! For your $10-$29.99 donation, you'll receive one beautifully packaged card. For $30-$59.99, you'll receive 5 assorted beautifully packaged cards, and for a donation of $60 or more, you'll receive 10 assorted beautifully packaged cards! 

We welcome donations in any amount! Proceeds of all donations will go to benefit PAWS Atlanta in order to support the work they are doing to save the lives of so many animals in our city! 

In addition to the cards, you can have your pet photographed in this same setting! Our pop-up shops (coming in early December) give you the opportunity to have your pet's picture made on this same gold chair with blue background for the great price of $25 for two digital images! 

Why give? Your gift will touch the lives of thousands of homeless and abandoned animals. Below are a few examples of what your financial support can provide.

$25 Microchips a homeless dog or cat

$50 Provides preventative flea and tick medication for three homeless dogs or cats for one month

$75 Covers the cost of X-rays for an injured dog or cat

$100 Spays or neuters two homeless cats or one dog

$150 Provides insulin treatment for a diabetic dog or cat for six months

$250 Vaccinates a litter of six homeless puppies

$500 Feeds our long-term residents (those who have been here for more than one year) for one month

$1000 Provides hospitalization and treatment for a puppy suffering from the deadly Parvovirus

 

Thank you in advance for your generous donation! We look forward to sharing these adorable cards with you as a thank you for your support!

Woof! Woof! We have an announcement!

We are pawsitively thrilled to announce that we are partnering with PAWS Atlanta for a very special Ends In Style project, coming to you just in time for the holidays! 

Christina and I are both absolutely crazy about our dogs (some friends say I'm a crazy dog lady, but I prefer "dog enthusiast"). We are especially fond of rescue and shelter dogs. My sweet and perfect angel baby, Weezy (see? I'm not a crazy dog lady!) was adopted from a rescue society, STARS, just outside of Statesboro, GA and Christina adopted her sweet pup, Hershey from PAWS Atlanta.  Our pets have given us so much love and happiness over the years, so we wanted to do something to give back and to help those dogs and cats who haven't yet found their furever homes. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Hershey is pleased to help us announce that we are creating adorable paper goods featuring precious adoptable cats and dogs from PAWS Atlanta. All proceeds from the sale of these products will benefit PAWS Atlanta! Just in time for Christmas gifts, our cards and calendars will be for sale with the cutest little models you ever did see! This year, give your friends and family a gift that gives back! Add Ends In Style's cards and calendar to your wish list and know you're helping dogs and cats find homes this Christmas season!

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

So, look out for the adorable paper goods by Ends In Style coming soon to benefit PAWS Atlanta!

Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

As a photographer and a photo stylist, we are obviously pretty big fans of pictures. It's an art that is close to our hearts, and is one that can so clearly capture love, pain, joy, and the full breadth of human emotions and creations.

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photos are such an important part of our culture. After all, when someone gets married, they have photos taken, when someone completes a work of art or design, they have it photographed for their portfolio. And when we see images of people in need or of historical events, we are moved and connected to the story. 

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

If you love photography like we do, you're in luck! Atlanta Celebrates Photography has hit the scene. Our city's heartbeat is our thriving art scene thanks to the Art Institute and SCAD, along with other colleges and universities drawing creative minds to Atlanta. In addition to the local art schools, Atlanta's culture draws people from near and far who are art enthusiasts or artists themselves. 

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Photo via Atlanta Celebrates Photography

Atlanta Celebrates Photography is happening throughout the city this month. You can find works of art, attend lectures, check out some films, and enjoy all that this festival has to offer no matter which area of the city you live in. Check out the festival guide here to find out where and when to be for all of the best of Photography in Atlanta. 


The Recipe for an Inviting Home

You know when you open the pages of a design magazine and find yourself face to face (or face to page, rather) with a home that is so thoughtfully curated and put together that you just want to walk right in? The vibe in a home like that feels collected and handed down, and yet somehow still cohesive. This is my very favorite type of design work! It's hard to achieve a look that appears like it's been 20 years in the making even if it only took a designer a matter of weeks to pull off.

This, friends, is why you hire a designer! It's easy enough to walk into a store and buy everything that goes together or that comes in a set, but to have a home that feels so inviting and warm, one that has been very thoughtfully crafted with pieces that may not even be in the same specific style but create that inviting appeal, that's something a designer can help you achieve with their expertise, time, and talents!

Today, I want us to take a tour together of a home by designer Mary Margaret Nevin of Nevin Interiors to illustrate the recipe for an inviting home.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Texture
  • Pattern
  • Cohesive Color Palette (plus pops of others!)
  • Rhythm
  • Eclectic Mix of Styles
  • Something Funky
  • Something Playful
  • Something Serious
  • Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Bl...wait a minute, wrong recipe!
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

This room has each of the ingredients needed for your recipe. The rug has a soft pattern, as do the pillows. There's a rhythm created by the warm straw tones in the side tables, rug, and upholstered pieces. Texture is found in the rug, side tables, window treatments and upholstery. The eclectic mix of furniture is the real hero in this room! Bringing in elements from different eras of design in an intentional way makes the room look like a worldly collection, lovingly gathered over the years. The design isn't obvious in its newness, but is obvious in its success.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

PATTERN! PATTERN! PATTERN!

RHYTHM! RHYTHM! RHYTHM!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Something fun and a pop of color are both represented in this painting. Artwork is a great way to bring in one or both of these ingredients AND support local artists. Original artwork cannot be beat and sets a much more personal and unique tone in a space.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Speaking of something fun, a light fixture isn't a piece that has to take itself too seriously. Lighting that is a little custom and funky gives this breakfast nook a little oomf! Who knows? Maybe oomf in a light fixture is just what we all need to wake up a little while eating breakfast.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

A well-appointed and thoughtfully put together home is possible! We suggest hiring a designer as it will save you time and money in the long run, and will leave you with a home you'll love for years and years to come!

M & V Mag: Behind the Scenes

A few months ago, we had the pleasure of working on a photoshoot with the lovely and extremely talented Amy Osaba and Annette Joseph. If you aren't already familiar with these two, let me introduce you! 

Amy Osaba is the brains behind Amy Osaba events, a floral and events styling business. She creates some of the most stunning arrangements along with her staff of floral designers for weddings and other events. Amy Osaba Events has been published in many wedding magazines and blogs for their florals and overall event styling. 

Annette Joseph is a stylist, producer, and author who has been published in countless magazines and is featured on The Today Show regularly to share her ideas and tips on entertaining, styling, and cooking. 

BEHIND THE SCENES

Together, Amy and Annette  put together a gorgeous party right in Amy's King Plow studio to be featured in the August/September issues of Muses and Visionaries Magazine. Christina and I were able to go and work on this shoot and it was an absolute joy! Here are some behind the scenes shots of the beautiful scene, along with some of the goings on of a set--like ironing napkins just outside of the camera frame, laughter, and fixing lipgloss.

A little laughter on set

A little laughter on set

Getting the natural light to bounce around just right

Getting the natural light to bounce around just right

Christina acting like a normal party guest!

Christina acting like a normal party guest!

If you like these behind the scenes photos, hop over to Muses & Visionaries and check out the article by Annette Joseph with Christina's gorgeous photographs featuring the beautiful Amy Osaba and get inspired to throw your own late summer party. The article is pages 68 through 75. Enjoy!


Spotlight On: Gina Sims

If you read our blog regularly, you know we love to put the spotlight on movers and shakers, especially those in creative industries. Highlighting people whose talent is immense and evident is a joy for us, but more than that we want to put the spotlight on those whose personalities are vibrant and kind, and those who work with integrity and grace. 

Today, we're highlighting just that sort of person. Designer, Gina Sims of Gina Sims Designs.

Let's get to know Gina!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

How did you get your start?  

Growing up, we had a home that had beautiful custom draperies on every window. We didn't have a lot of money BUT, my mother had an impeccable eye for design, was resourceful, and learned how to sew. My grandmother, like my mother, took tremendous pride in her home and saved her meager means to buy the highest quality she could afford. Our home wasn’t the biggest but it was beautiful, and it was where everyone wanted to be. This is certainly where my appreciation of interior design came from! I'm sure it's a generational thing. I look at design as a puzzle. There are reasons and tricks to why and how things work and putting those to play with the client's taste and personal story is incredibly inspiring. I love my job!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Was there 1 job or contact that set the course of your career?

I had been designing homes on the side of my daytime gig for several years before a friend, one Christina Wedge, said to start a blog. I had suffered from perfection paralysis for far too long. She told me not to worry about it being perfect or even concerned if anyone reads it. She said to just get my goodness out there! That really was the first step of anything. I hired her to take beautiful pictures and once I had something to show prospective clients, good things started happening! She's a good one, that Christina. :)

Note from Ends In Style: (PS. We did not even pressure her to say this! haha)
 
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite/most successful way to advertise?

I am a member of a business networking group in Virginia Highlands called BNI. It's been a good referral source - we call each other our sales team! As far as social media goes, I like to advertise in places that I enjoy spending my time - places where I get to see what others are up to and places where I am inspired. For me that's Instagram and Facebook. I am most successful with these avenues because it's fun and it does not seem so arduous a task. There are certainly a myriad of other places I need to be (or currently am but seriously need to work on!) but there are only so many hours in a day. Amen?

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If there were 1 thing you could change about your career, what would it be?

Is there anything I'd change? I wish I'd started earlier! 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite stress reliever? 

I have to say, I really look forward to cooking dinner at night. It comes after homework help (not a fan) and right before wrangling kids into bed (quite stressful), so a moment where I can step away from everything that went on in the day and focus on how to make this stew more delicious is somehow really wonderful to me. And sometimes we just call Papa Johns. Cause, you know, the yellow peppers and garlic butter. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite destination?

There is this wonderful place called Antigua, Guatemala that charmed me years ago and has since been close to my heart. It's a beautiful, Spanish-colonial town nestled beside twin volcano peaks in the central part of the country. We were there during Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the town lit up with thousands of people coming to see dozens and dozens of handcrafted "rugs" - flowers laid in amazing patterns on the cobblestone streets of the city - where centuries old hand-carved wooden "floats" were carried on the backs of citizens in a rhythmic motion, depicting the Passion of Christ. It was breathtaking. The colors! The textures! The history! The food! If you get a chance, go! And take me! Vamanos!

Costa Rica: Where to Stay & What to Eat

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

When planning a trip to Costa Rica, HomeAway.com is an asset. They were voted one of the most trustworthy companies by Forbes, so you can book with confidence. HomeAway is a network of vacation rental homes all around the globe with photos and reviews to help you make your choice. 

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

We stayed in Tamarindo, a quarter mile walk from our door to Playa Tamarindo. It was a little touristy for us, but we had a nice house with our own pool and most everything in town was written in English, so it does make grocery shopping and ordering from a menu a little easier. 

Photo via Christina Wedge

Photo via Christina Wedge

Most rental properties require a seven night stay, but if you have more time to spend or want a little more variety in your vacation, choose cabinas which are very affordable little cabins clustered together with the essentials like bed, bathrooms, and sometimes kitchens. Choosing to visit a volcano is a must! Whether you choose one of the smaller ones, or the most recently active volcano, Arenal, you're sure to have a great time staying at the resort nearby.

Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

Remember the adventure pass for Buena Vista I was talking about on Wednesday? Well, it includes a delicious 4 course meal with pineapple juice to drink! We had pumpkin soup to start, followed by the traditional fried plantains with hummus to dip them in, steak with a delicious Costa Rican sauce, salads, and mashed cassava and finished it off with a coconut flan. It was the fanciest meal we had while we were there! 

Image via Susie Roupe

There are a number of beachfront bars along the Costa Rican coast. You can sip on your favorite island cocktail, topped with a Costa Rican lemon (green outside, orange inside) while watching the sun set into the water. Be sure to stop at all of the roadside stands you can and enjoy empanadas, burritos, fried plantains. The ceviche we enjoyed oceanside was the best I have ever had in my life!

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Playa Brasilito is a great place to eat! There are many small restaurants and convenient stores with hot foods packed into a small area. The prices are cheaper here than in the more tourist towns, and the food is high quality. The restaurants with little or no English on the menus were the best, we found.

Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

Remember the spear fishing trip I wrote about in the last post? This is the meal! We had 3 fish in hand after our trip and walked over to a restaurant our guide recommended (we later learned his family owns it) and had them cook our fish. It was $20 total for beers, rice and beans, salad, and 3 beautiful fresher than fresh fish. For five dollars per person and a fantastic seafood meal, that cannot be beat!

Image  via

Image via

Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Last but not least, eat as much pineapple as you can, and drink as much coffee as possible. If doable, bring back bags of coffee and hoard it. Even if you're not a pineapple lover, a fresh, juicy pineapple tastes like dessert and is at the very least worth a try. Look for those with yellow bottoms, they're the ripe ones! 

I cannot stress enough how much you need to drink the coffee in Costa Rica. It has a hint of chocolate, it's warm and rich and smooth. It is the exact opposite of break room coffee, it is perfect. No cream needed! 

We hope you've enjoyed our little tour through Costa Rica and that you will plan your own trip there, soon. PS. Please bring us back a bag of coffee beans :)


Spotlight On: Angela Beaver

Since it is the new year and everyone is focused on taking care of themselves, we decided to put the spotlight on someone who specializes in just that! Today is a spotlight on Angela Beaver, yogi, and yoga instructor. Let's get to it!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

How did you get your start?

I started practicing yoga in 2006. I was hooked as soon as I stepped on the mat! I started to play with the idea of teaching several years later. I held off for a while due to my fear of public speaking and just the idea of me teaching a class was terrifying. I decided 2012 was the year! I threw all that fear to the side and signed up for teacher training. I began teaching in spring that year. I still get nervous from time to time but I love what I do!  I would not change it for anything! Being a yoga instructor is challenging sometimes but it is also very,very rewarding.
Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Was there one job or contact that set the course of your career?

Nirvana Yoga! This was the studio I started my practice at also where I trained. I taught my first classes there and I still teach a class there!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite/most successful way to advertise?

I prefer social media and SEO (search engine optimization) AKA a Google search.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If there was one thing you could change about your career, what would it be?

That the business side of yoga was just as Zen.

What is your favorite stress reliever?

Well…let me think about that...yoga! I would say specifically a yummy restorative class with lots of props, hands on adjustments and essential oils. I also find meditation to be quite magical. Last but not least, massage!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite destination?

ITALY! ITALY and more Italy.

 

Angela owns her own business, Atlanta Yoga Instructorswhich is a service offering private yoga whenever and wherever throughout the Atlanta Metro area. Atlanta Yoga Instructors comes to you to help you achieve your goals on your time, at your place. Made up on an accomplished pool of certified yoga instructors, they're well-suited to guide you on your journey from where you are, to where you want to be.

If you are interested in learning more, go to the website above or contact Angela via Instagram. She is even hosting a retreat in Puerto Rico this October if you are interested in practicing yoga in paradise!

Local Artists to Watch

There are so many things to love about Atlanta; the southern charm, the history, the food! But did you know there is a thriving art community in our fair city? Atlanta is home to SCAD Atlanta and The Art Institute of Atlanta, and the Portfolio Center as well as a number of museums and galleries dedicated to showcasing art. 

In previous posts, we've told you about art walks and festivals you can attend, but today we want to introduce you to three local artists you want to follow. Please welcome Alison Tallman, Ted Freeman, and Wanda Frey! I asked each of them to tell us a little about themselves and their work. 

Alison Tallman

Alison Tallman. Clockwise: "What I Think Italy Looks Like", "Streets of Richard Dr.", "A Memory Loss", "Slum Hill"

Alison Tallman. Clockwise: "What I Think Italy Looks Like", "Streets of Richard Dr.", "A Memory Loss", "Slum Hill"

I met Alison in 2010 when we worked in an office together. I distinctly remember when we met and she said "What are you doing here?" I knew she was going to be someone to keep me on on my toes! She was meaning to ask me what job I had accepted and explained that she is a native New Yorker, so sometimes things come out differently than your typical southern girl may say them. Alison is a good friend, motivating those she cares about to do what they love, work hard, and be their best. I appreciate her direct nature and admire her talent! 

"I've been making art since play doh. I was one of those kids with paint in my hair and crayon all over the walls in my bedroom. My mom, who is creative, naturally told me to latch on to that and ride the wave till college- where I went for a Fine Art degree.
I love mixed media. I love art that thinks outside the box and creates un-expected beauty. Maybe even trick us or blows our minds through materials. I guess thats why I find it amusing that I use craft glue to create fine art."
 
Alison Tallman, image at right recently won 2nd place from the  Marietta Cobb Museum of Art juried art show

Alison Tallman, image at right recently won 2nd place from the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art juried art show

"My inspiration [for my collage pieces] comes from my bad vision and memory actually. I remember light or a feeling more than what things looked like exactly. Im not interested in realism but how life makes us feel or how we perceive it."
Alison Tallman, Inked Girls series

Alison Tallman, Inked Girls series

"My art right now is in my upstairs storage room or in various friends homes. Maybe one day soon Ill have another show. My last one was two years ago at a hair salon in Inman Park." 

Interested in Alison's work? You can find her @ARTinATL on Instagram and Twitter.

Ted Freeman

Ted Freeman, "Atlas Robot" Bartender at left, Fernbank Museum at right

Ted Freeman, "Atlas Robot" Bartender at left, Fernbank Museum at right

Ted is one of the more interesting guys you might ever want to meet. He is the life of the party (and also usually the host!), welcoming, always buzzing with what to do next and has a contagious enthusiasm for the city and art. Do you recognize the Atlas Robot from anywhere? He is featured on The Big Bang Theory! Pay close attention when they are in the comic book store for a cameo.

Ted Freeman, "Hotlanta Fan", Five Points Marta Station

Ted Freeman, "Hotlanta Fan", Five Points Marta Station

"Since childhood, I’ve had a fascination with space exploration; on car trips I began drawing rockets, but once I experienced Star Wars I was constantly drawing that imagery all over my homework.  As I got older, love of music with its many graphic components was another focus of my inspiration and output. At Auburn, I studied Industrial Design, Art and Architecture while also immersed in music and cultural groups outside of class.  Since graduation, I’ve worked in various capacities in the built environment and graphic design, and held leadership positions in design groups across Atlanta.  I currently do package design work at Home Depot and consult as Creatometry Design Lab; a part of this is FunnerThan Furniture and the Atomic Playrooms furniture line.  I love taking planar media and creating 3D solutions to defy the sense of flatness inherent in that material." 
Ted Freeman, "iCrow", Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Ted Freeman, "iCrow", Atlanta Botanical Gardens

"For inspiration I visit a mix of design blogs and sites, and love to travel for added new experiences.  I have always appreciated mid-century and cold war era ads and styling for authenticity and ideas. And - to keep current on Atlanta creative trends, I organize events for two meetup groups; Art Openings Atlanta for fine art galleries, and The Dayglow Technicolor Actionpack for anything else exciting, right-brain, and artistic.  Join us anytime!
Along with industry recognized Point of Purchase and Tradeshow Exhibit design, my furniture and sculpture has appeared in major media outlets and blogs, with favorites being the MoMA, the NYT, and the set of The Big Bang Theory. Locally, my designs have been seen in the 5 Points MARTA station, along Peachtree Street, at the Museum of Design Atlanta, and the Botanical Gardens.

Interested in Ted's work? Check out his website and contact him to find out where he will be next and how you can join in on some of the art events he hosts!

Wanda Frey

Wanda Frey, "Sandhill Cranes"

Wanda Frey, "Sandhill Cranes"

Wanda is a true lady. She is gentle, kind, loving, and an absolute role model. She is a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, active member of the community in both outreach programs to help those less fortunate, and within Christ Church Presbyterian where she is a member. Her art represents life--it is realism with feeling and it moves the viewer. I am happily the owner of one of her pieces. It's proudly displayed at the entrance of my home and it brings a smile to my face each day when I walk in and see that beautiful scene on my wall. 

Wanda Frey, "Plein aire, South Georgia" and "Missouri River"

Wanda Frey, "Plein aire, South Georgia" and "Missouri River"

"I have been making art since I could hold a pencil, so, over 50 years. My Mom's books were all colored in at the front and back where the blank pages are, I was so desperate to draw. I like to do some water color botanicals, but my favorite mediums are graphite and oils. I have been known to color in my 5-year-old granddaughter's coloring books in crayon with her though.....STILL fun." 
Wanda Frey, "Hog Jowl Road"

Wanda Frey, "Hog Jowl Road"

"I find inspiration in all that I love. Nature provides lovely landscapes, (in England, Montana and GA.) and pinecones, flowers and wildlife. Children, dogs and loved ones get corralled to become models, though our dog is camera shy and the children want to make monkey faces. Photography by stealth ensues. Better still, I'll draw from life. Inspiration is like an energy that must find expression. God made people that way, I think.
I hope to display my art at the Genema Gallery at the new Christ Church PCA building that opens in a couple of weeks on Peachtree Street conveniently across from Sam Flax. I work mostly by commission from home."

Interested in Wanda's work? We can make sure you get connected! Email her at wandaffrey@hotmail.com for inquiries.