Inspired Retreat

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Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Inspired Retreat, a getaway for creative women entrepreneurs to grow, connect and be inspired. It was such an amazing experience that will has forever changed me and Pearly Gates Designs.

I am so excited to be featured on Inspired’s blog for Makers Monday. Check it out by clicking here. Below are just a few photos taken by the amazing friend and photographer, Brandi from Alexis June Weddings.

I was lucky enough to have this gal as my roommate for the weekend! I cannot wait to share with you all the magic she is creating and launching soon!

 

Otomi Invitations for Baby Shower Fiesta

I loved getting to create these baby shower otomi invitations for one of the sweetest soon-to-be Mama I know! The design incorporates softer pink and turquoise pastel colors to keep with gender neutral baby theme. The Otomi design was based off of the traditional Mexican Embroidery pattern, but we used child like animals and silhouettes.

For the party decor, I hand painted the otami design with acrylic paint on dark wood. The sign was lovingly displayed over the guest book welcoming the guests to Sweet Baby Statton’s celebration!

 

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Business Bombshell: LovelyB

Why did y’all decide to start your own business?

Well… it’s kind of a crazy story! I graduated TCU in 2011 with a Masters of Accounting and an undergrad Business Administration degree. I LOVED accounting (huge nerd, I know). I am a very organized and methodical person who loves math, so it was kind of perfect. After graduation, I married my husband, Andy, and I worked at an accounting firm for a year as a tax accountant. I learned so much while I was there and I loved the people I worked with, but I felt like there was a part of me that was being help back. I didn’t feel like I was using all my gifts. Busy season was also pretty rough. Andy and I didn’t see one another very much, and I could see how this job could negatively affect our marriage and quality of life. So, after my first busy season Andy thought it would be fun if we tried to pursue my jewelry hobby more seriously. After one small trunk show out of our home in Fort Worth, we took the leap of faith and started LovelyB!

How did you decide to leave your day job and take on LovelyB full time?

It was a really hard decision! I definitely did not make it over night! I got counsel from my family and my husband’s family. Andy and I prayed together about what to do – fully knowing that God had everything in his hands. It is funny because I remember the exact moment I felt at peace about quitting. I was at work sitting at my desk (in my awesome cubicle) working on an Excel spreadsheet, and I was color coordinating every cell. I was more focused on making the spreadsheet look appeasing to the eye with colors that complimented one another and with a balanced design than I did about the content. At that point I was like ok… what am I doing here?

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What is the best advice you received when starting LovelyB?

It came from Andy and it was to “dream big”! I have learned from Andy the joy of dreaming. Sometimes we dream about living on land somewhere. Sometimes we dream about having a house full of kids. Sometimes we dream of retiring in Hawaii… it goes on and on. When we started LovelyB we dreamed of me having a flexible job that would allow me to stay at home when we had children. Then, we dreamed of starting our own business together. And then, we leaned into the Lord together for guidance and direction.

How did you start making bracelets?

While in high school, I would play around with wire and beads with my best friend. I started making my bracelets as birthday and Christmas gifts, but never took it seriously. While at TCU I ventured into game day earrings and continued to work on my bracelets. My roommate would tell me that I was crazy to not be pursuing this more – I was focused on school, and didn’t really realize what I had!

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Where do you pull inspiration for your designs? 

Everywhere! I love playing with color and any kind of bead. I have boxes and boxes of beads that I have collected over the years. From the changing leaves between seasons, to any interior design magazine (Veranda is my favorite!), to the current and future fashion trends, to wrapping paper, to fabric swatches… my eye is always inspired!

What has been your biggest success with LovelyB?

We are currently in two major market showrooms and have sold to hundreds of stores! We also sell to various big chain stores in the US, which is so exciting! We gain most of our business from Dallas, Atlanta, and Vegas markets – we have so much fun with it! Andy always travels with me to Atlanta and Vegas. It is a blast! We love meeting our storeowners, and I enjoy having a good business relationship with them. “Success” is hard to define. We don’t really keep count of stores or pride ourselves on that. Truly the best feeling and when I feel “successful” is seeing a stranger out and about wearing my pieces. It’s the best feeling in the world. I always introduce myself and want to hear their story of how they found LovelyB. I also always give a bracelet off my wrist to my new friend, so be on the look out!

What is it like to work with your husband?

It’s THE BEST! I am the luckiest girl in the world. Andy is one of those people who never has a bad day. Ever. Truly, we just had our 4 year anniversary and everyday when he calls me on his way home from work and I ask him how his day was he always says, “Today was great!” It’s his spirit and outlook on life that makes working with him the absolute best. He still works for his family’s corrugated box business, but he helps me with orders after work and on the weekend. I am pretty impressed with his beading skills! He can proudly say (and I would not argue) that he can make any bracelet in our line from start to finish. All by himself! Ha! But, I am the more creative one, and Andy is more of the business oriented one. We are the perfect duo! I come up with a design, and Andy produces the most efficient method to create the pieces and finds the most sustainable suppliers.

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What color combination has been your favorite go-to bracelet stack this summer? 

Definitely all the neutrals! I usually wear all gold jewelry, so the gold neutral bracelets are my all time favorite and my most worn!

In your opinion, what are the three things someone should consider before starting their own business? 

  1. Have faith! Deuteronomy 31:7-8 is a verse I go to frequently. “ Be strong and courageous… do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you!” LovelyB would not be where it is today without Andy and my steadfast faith and trust in the Lord. He is the first person we talk to every morning and the last person we talk to every night!
  1. Be ready to sell yourself! People want a story behind your product or service. It’s always more fun to invest in a product or brand that has an interesting and fun story!
  1. Stay true to your dream! You may be told you are “crazy”, but use that to fuel your determination to gain momentum and grow. My parents were not exactly excited when I told them about my desire to start my own jewelry line. I was so blessed to get a sustainable and reputable job right out of college, and they just couldn’t imagine me risking the loss of that security. I think any loving and caring parent would have that thought or worry in their mind. It was scary and it was a huge risk, but it was so worth it. My parents are totally on board now, and see how much fruit has come from me starting LovelyB!

What projects are you currently excited about? Any big plans for fall? 

We just recently launched our Fall line, Marvel, in July this year! We have had an awesome response! Our blush bracelets have been the customer favorite! I am starting to work on Spring now! It’s crazy how in the current season you are always working on the next season. It never stops, but I enjoy it! Besides the big rush for Christmas, we do have BIG plans for fall! We are having a baby in December! AH! We are so excited and are looking forward to LovelyB + Baby!


Thanks Allison for being this month’s Business Bombshells!  I am so excited to see Andy and your family growing!  Check out her website here: http://www.thedefineddish.com/ and you definitely want to follow her for the latest trends and new designs on  Instagram .

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Cabo San Lucas First Birthday

Cabo San Lucas Watercolor Invitations by Pearly Gates DesignsThis custom invitation was created for my nephew Lucas’s very first birthday! The inspiration for the birthday invitations were inspired from Lucas’ namesake- Cabo San Lucas.  We wanted to reflect the fun and laid back feel of the beach town while incorporating some of Lucas’ favorite beach activities. The maracas were the perfect illustration to bring in the Mexican influence as well as one of Lucas’ favorite things to do right now- playing with anything that makes noise!

 

Cabo San Lucas Watercolor Invitations by Pearly Gates Designs Cabo San Lucas Watercolor Invitations by Pearly Gates DesignsI love how Lucas’ hand lettered name on the back of the card came together. It also worked as an illustration that Lucas’ mom could tie back to the party through reusing it in her party decor.

All of the illustrations were individually hand painted with watercolors and india inks. The hand lettered text in ocean blue sets the tone for the sunny fiesta celebration to come! The cards were printed on a beautiful cotton card stock to compliment the playful watercolor nuances and bleeds.

Cabo San Lucas Watercolor Invitations by Pearly Gates Designs

Cabo San Lucas Watercolor Invitations by Pearly Gates Designs

And I most definitely had to include a picture of the man of the hour!! Isn’t he the cutest?

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Hailey + Ryan

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Hailey and Ryan were married on Hailey’s family ranch in Kerrville, Texas. The ranch holds a special place in her heart with it’s long family history and many childhood memories. While Hailey and Ryan dated, the ranch became a meaningful place in their relationship and many of their favorite memories together were created there. With the sentimental meaning, the beautiful rolling hills and the blooming cactus, the ranch served as the perfect backdrop to their big day! Brooke Schwab did a beautiful job capturing how the beautiful Texas hill country surroundings created the perfect setting for the romantic rustic designs.

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We designed the invitations to set the mood for Hailey & Ryan’s guests and to give them a taste of the intimate ranch wedding to come. The invitations were printed on cherry wood and were accompanied by a custom map, reply card and accommodations card printed in chocolate brown on a beautiful ivory cotton paper.  We used the monogram and the wood veneer to play up the Texas theme, while the soft calligraphy and traditional layout gave the suite a romantic and elegant feel. The illustrated map of Kerrville captured the couple’s favorite landmarks in the charming hill country town. To pull everything together, the wedding suite was wrapped in twine and finished off with a coordinating cherry wood tag.

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The couple’s illustrated monogram was used throughout their wedding day paper. We branded everything from monogrammed koozies to the custom monogrammed “yay” signs  guests waved in the air after the couple was announced husband and wife. We also reincorporated the cherry wood in the couple’s wedding day menus.
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Printer: Cards of Wood http://www.cardsofwood.com/ and Stationery HQ (http://www.stationeryhq.com/)
Photography: Brooke Schwab http://www.brookeschwab.com/#/home
Florist & Day/Reception Coordinator: Viridian Design Studio http://www.viridiandesignstudio.com/

A Garden Party Baby Shower

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This Garden Party Baby Shower was so much fun to put together to celebrate our friend and new mother-to-be, Sara. The soft pastel and green florals kept the shower gender neutral and gave the room a fresh airy ambiance- full of joy and new growth! Plus, who doesn’t love loads of flowers?

blog_photoDavis_Shower1Since this was a morning shower, we had a coffee station to help people wake up for the day’s festivities. These “Baby is Brewing” coffee cups make great gifts for new mothers and will be available in our shop soon. For custom orders, contact me here.

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Each cupcake was potted in it’s own terra cotta pot and frosted to look like an array of flowers. They were obviously a hit with this little guest!

Davis_Shower2 As people left the shower, they were given a small succulent favor. I love the idea of watching these grow as everyone counts down the days till Sara’s little one arrives!IMG_0026 Floral crowns are the best new accessory and what is more appropriate then a baby’s breath flower crown for a baby shower! We set up a table with all of the fixings for guests to come make their own floral creation.IMG_2070IMG_0040

 


Venue: The Midland Racquet Club

Cupcakes: Whisk Away Midland

Paper Items: Pearly Gates Designs

Letterpress Printing: Helen Sledge

Paper Flowers: Especially for You by Y. W.

Succulent Plants + Pots: Stella Designs Shop

Balloons: Studio Pep

Special thank you to all of the hosts that helped bring everything together!

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Business Bombshells: The Defined Dish

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Why did y’all decide to start your own business?

Madison is a personal trainer and works at a Pilates studio. Her life and job is health and fitness focused while Alex has always loved to cook and entertain. Over the years, we have influenced one another: Alex taught Mada the ropes in cooking, Mada made Alex get off her Mom butt and workout more, so we have become very well rounded in both healthy cooking and fitness. With that being said, a blog was something we talked about doing for a while and once we were in the same city living only 10 minutes from one another, we started The Defined Dish and have loved every minute of it!

What is the best advice you received when starting The Defined Dish?

Choose a target audience and create recipes/workouts that work for their very specific lifestyle! Trying to please everyone is nearly impossible and if we stick to what our target audience wants, we will have a much more satisfied following.

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Where do you pull inspiration for your recipes? 

Family recipes that we adjust and make healthier, from dishes that we love at restaurants and recreate in our own kitchen, traveling, following other foodies on instagram, watching The Cooking Channel and Food Network, and of course Pinterest.

What has been your biggest success with The Defined Dish?

Getting feedback from readers telling us how much they love our recipes! What we hear most from people is that they never used to cook and now do all the time thanks to us. That is SO rewarding! Our target audience is beginner cooks that want to cook simple and healthy meals for themselves/their families.

What is it like to work with your sister?

We are best friends and spend an abnormal amount of time with one another, so doing this together has been so much fun! Plus, we love having a couple of glasses of wine together and then talking about fun new recipe ideas!

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If we were to look in your fridge or pantry, what ingredients do you always have on hand?

In the fridge- eggs, fresh herbs, garlic, onions, cherry tomatoes, some sort of fresh fruit, spinach.

Pantry- Canned diced tomatoes, quinoa, chicken broth, TONS of spices.

In your opinion, what are the three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

Time, time and time. If you are doing something on the side and have another job, like we are right now, you have to make the time to do what you started. There is no point in us having a Food and Fitness blog if we are only going to post once every week or two weeks! We know that if we want to grow, we have to stay consistent and passionate. Which means putting in some time and effort!

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With Memorial Day around the corner, do you have any favorite recipes for whipping up for a weekend at the lake with friends?

One of our favorite, festive dishes for Memorial Day or any day of Summer Grilling is our “Street Corn” recipe. We healthified it by making a Greek Yogurt Cilantro-Lime Aioli sauce (typically you use mayonnaise as the base). Also, to keep it simple yet still serve something outside of the box, try our Chimichurri Steak Kabobs and save the Burgers and Hotdogs for any other day! Lastly, we don’t go a Memorial Day or Fourth of July Weekend without this Arugula, Feta and Watermelon Salad by our favorite chef, Ina Garten. (Recommendation: Make the Chimichurri and the Greek Yogurt Aioli before and keep it in the fridge over night to make your Memorial Day cooking super easy!)

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What projects are you currently excited about? Any big goals for 2015?

We are going to do a “Thai Week” soon with all Thai influenced recipes! We love Thai food and have really been learning to cook with Thai ingredients lately and want to share all our fun, healthy recipes. As far as big goals go, we just would love to see our following continue to grow—we’d like to have at least 10k followers on Instagram by the end of the year! Wish us luck!


 

Thanks Alex and Madison for being this month’s Business Bombshells!  Check out their website here: http://www.thedefineddish.com/ and you definitely want to follow these girls on Instagram for delicious recipes and great workout tips!

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Visiting Marfa, Texas

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I grew up in West Texas and the rolling tumbleweeds, beautiful panoramics and charming small towns hold a special place in my heart. This past weekend, G and I decided it was high time we packed up and took the road trip to eclectically wonderful Marfa, Texas. From the delicious food trucks to the quirky teepees, this place is a must-visit hidden gem!

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Breakfast/Coffee

  •  Marfa Burrito – this place feels like you walked in to someone’s kitchen and you can smell the homemade tortillas down the street. If you are looking for a simple yet delicious no-mess-around breakfast burrito, this is your place!
  • Frama/Tumbleweed Laundry– The coffee could be terrible (fyi it isn’t) and I would love this place just for their branding. The joint coffee shop and laundromat has a friendly staff, delicious lattes and quirky flavors of ice cream (rosemary and olive oil is a favorite).
  •  Do your Thing Coffee– This is attached to the Marfa Book Co. It is a great place to stop in and grab a quick pick me up! Follow their facebook and instagram to see what treats they are cooking up that day.

Lunch

  • Food Shark– great lunch spot! It is a food truck serving mediterranean food in the desert. Major plus for being vegan/vegetarian friendly!
  • Pizza Foundation– Unfortunately, this place was closed during our visit, but the reviews make it sound incredible! They are currently moving to brick and mortar and are looking to open mid July 2015.

Dinner

  • Maiyas – We loved the food here- super fresh and great menu. The ambiance is a a perfect place to relax and reminisce about the day’s adventures in Marfa. Reservations are recommended and I suggest requesting one of their window tables!
  • Museum of Electronic Wonders & Late Night Grilled Cheese – You cannot miss this place! It is an wacky rarity that you can only find in Marfa. It opens around 9:30pm and their staple is the classic grilled cheese- think gooey, toasty deliciousness. Also, enjoy being surrounded by old bubble tv’s, 8- tracks and other old school electronic marvels.

Drinks

  • Planet Marfa – Enjoy cocktails in a teepee or with their mascot/bar parrot, Isabella, who stole my heart the moment I saw her! Order one of the local brews from the Big Bend Brewery and you will not be disappointed!
  • Padres – This is a great place to find live music, play an old school game of air hockey or meet some local artists. We were lucky enough to catch a Selena cover band that did not disappoint and the whole bar was on their feet dancing!

 

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  • El Cosmico– this is a must see! From teepees to airstreams to pitching your own tent, there is no other hotel like it. We booked the eccentric yurt and every little detail of the interior was perfect! Even if you do not stay here (it books up quickly), go check it out and peruse their gift shop which has some great prints and treasures. Side note: be ready for no air conditioning and communal bathrooms (but I promise it is so worth it)

Marfa_yurtHotel Paisano– a beautiful historic building well known for housing the cast and crew from the James Dean film, Giant. They have a nice patio where you can enjoy happy hour with a great cocktail menu.

 

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  •  Prada Store- I had always wanted to see this and it definitely lived up to my expectations. It is a permanent art installation by artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. I love the playful exploration of how our surroundings affect and influence our perspectives.
  • Marfa Book Co.– This was definitely one of G’s favorites! It is a cool minimalist space with a great selection of art and design books as well as carefully curated books on West Texas. They also hold popular events with authors traveling from all over the world so be sure to check their event’s calendar.
  • Chianti Foundation – On entering Marfa you will start to notice quite a few signs reading “Judd”, find out why by visiting the Chianti foundation and enjoying one of their guided tours of Donald Judds work held in an old POW camp. We were only able to catch a tour for Judd’s work, but I suggest trying to do a tour of the full collection (usually held in the mornings).
  • See West Texas- The road trip to Marfa is one of the highlights of the trip. If you have time, try to plan on hiking in the Davis Mountains in Fort Davis, a quick dip in the springs of Balmorhea, or a scenic drive through Valentine and Fort Davis.

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*Big shout out to long time friend Erin Peircy for all of her suggestions and insider tips on planning the perfect visit to Marfa!

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Rebekah + Joe

Rebekah and Joe were such a wonderful couple to work with! I loved their creative spirit and they had the sweetest love story. The two of them met while hiking in Kilimanjaro and from these gorgeous photos (thanks to Caroline plus Ben) you can see how deeply in love and inseparable these two are! For their designs, we drew a lot of our inspiration from african shields, tribal art and we even used the trail map of Kilimanjaro as the background on their gift tags. We love how they used their monogram throughout the wedding– from their sweet honey party favors to the muslin bags of lavender for their getaway! Thank you to the fabulous creative team Whimsy and Elegance Events for putting together such a beautiful event!

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Stay tuned to see photos of their wedding invitations- cannot wait to share them!

Photography – Caroline plus Ben
Event Coordination – Whimsy and Elegance Events
Wedding Venue – Private Ranch

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Business Bombshells: The Fox Society

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Why did y’all decide to start your own business?

We both had full-time desk jobs at great companies, but we weren’t feeling satisfied or highly engaged at the end of the day. Eileen had the idea for the Fox Society and wanted to make it happen, and Audrey jumped at the chance to join her in a creative venture. After several months of working on nights and weekends, we both quit our day jobs and haven’t looked back since!

What is the best advice you received when starting your The Fox Society?

You’ve got to choose a narrow target market instead of trying to create something that everyone wants. Doing so will give your company a clear vision, prevent wasted marketing efforts, and create a better experience for those that the service is truly meant for. We originally wanted the Fox Society to cater to both singles and couples, but narrowing our scope to just couples was the right decision.

Where do you pull inspiration for your dates?

Talking to friends, driving around town, scouring Austin blogs, sites, and newspapers–we’re always on the lookout for new venues for our dates. We’ve both lived in Austin for almost ten years as well, so our favorite hidden gems are now becoming our clients’ favorite date spots.

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What has been your biggest success with the Fox Society?

We love celebrating small milestones (like being in business for a year this past September!) and watching our numbers grow, especially through clients recommending us to their friends and family because they’ve had such a great experience.

As the date gurus, how would you describe YOUR perfect date?

The best dates we’ve been on have been completely novel experiences where you can bond over trying something new together. Before the Fox Society, neither of us had been to a drive-in movie, taken a dance lesson, or had a private cooking class, and now those are all fond (and often hilarious) memories.

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In your opinion, what are the three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

  1. Do you genuinely believe in your business? Can you pitch it to strangers all day long with a smile and feel great about the value of what you’re selling?

  2. Have you thought through your business model? Make a lean canvas here and take it to a mentor for polishing.

  3. Does your business partner (if you have one) have a complementary skill set? We have different strengths, weaknesses, and educational and professional backgrounds, which makes us a good team. If you and your partner are both trying to handle the same half of the business, then you’ll run into problems from the start.

What projects are you currently excited about? Any big goals for 2015?

Our main goal is just to keep growing and perfecting our business in the Austin market, but we’ve also been asked about franchising…we’ll see what 2015 brings!


Thanks Audrey and Eileen for being this month’s Business Bombshell’s!  Check out their website here: http://www.thefoxsociety.com/

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