Life Lately, Vol. 22

View More: http://matthewmoorephotography.pass.us/kozmoralexis-wed-2017

that moment when you are now pronounced “husband and wife” 🙂

I’m not gonna lie y’all, this week on the blog was super fun – recapping our wedding took me down a rabbit hole of hundreds of pictures and loving every moment…

Searching for the perfect place to make my wedding album (speaking of pictures!) Any suggestions? I’ve heard stellar reviews about both Artifact Uprising and PikPerfect…I’m looking for a thick coffee table book with great quality photos and a mix of pictures and writing. I know it will be expensive so I’m willing to spend more for the best product. Send over your faves!

Cooking some homemade meals for some of my new mama friends (fun fact: I have 4 gal pals due with babies within this next two week period..4!) I’m thinking some good options that they could eat or freeze & reheat are chicken enchiladas, butternut squash lasagna, chicken tamale pie, or some pumpkin muffins + fresh fruit (new mama’s need breakfast, too!)

Spending one afternoon this weekend carving pumpkins. Do I have kids? No. So I shall act like one myself! We bought  two monster pumpkins, a carving set and are ready to go to town. I’m really liking this goblin, this scary dude or one of these silly guys. Stayed tuned to my Insta story as I’ll be posting updates…fingers crossed!

Excited to share some big news on Monday…partially related to the blog and partially related to my life. Some changes are coming and they’re exciting…any guesses?

This Week on South End Style:

Our Wedding, Part 5: Ceremony + Reception

Baby Boy Nursery

Life Lately, Vol. 21

What’s on your weekend agenda?

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Our Wedding, Part 5: Ceremony + Reception

SO…now that you’ve see our vision, our hotel, our day at the track & our rehearsal dinner, let’s talk about the big day! In fact, I think I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. All I’ll say is this: the day was absolutely perfect – better than I even dreamed – and I was so sad for it to end. The food, the drink, the music, the flowers, the people, the weather, the clothes…everything was perfect. Terry & I were on cloud nine the entire day and looking through these pictures takes us right back there. The day flew by (as everyone said it would) but we did our best to soak it all up. So, without further adieu, here is our wedding day:

View More: http://matthewmoorephotography.pass.us/kozmoralexis-wed-2017

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Fine Art Wedding Photographer Matthew Moore

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T&I wedding

View More: http://matthewmoorephotography.pass.us/kozmoralexis-wed-2017

A special thank you to our fabulous vendors: Venue, Saratoga Polo Club; Catering + Cake, Old Daley Catering; Florist, Blooms for Rooms; Musicians, All Seasons Trio; DJ, Cool Hand Luke; Chairs, Total Events; Photography, Matthew Moore; Videography, The Pros; Invitations, Wedding Paper Divas; Dress, Sweet Elegance Bridal; Tuxedos, Ludlow; Event Design, BellWether Theory; Accommodations, Pavilion Grand Hotel + Hilton Garden Inn.

 

Baby Boy Nursery

Lately, I’ve been helping a couple design the nursery for their third child – a sweet baby boy. You may remember my gender “neutral nursery design” post or my “one nursery, three ways” design (<<– I still love this design SO much, I’m going to be stealing these ideas in the future for myself!). While both of those rooms were gorgeous, this one is going to be a bit different. I’ve actually helped this couple with their entry way, living space, and dining room so I’m very familiar with their style. The home has a lot of charm and the interiors are mainly monochromatic – classic with a twist, if you will.

Here are a few inspirational spaces that we pulled – take note of the color pallet, patterns, key furniture pieces & overall style.

animal prints

animal prints + neutral color pallet

2 accent wall

 glider + wall detail

3 arrows and rustic feel

 rustic vibes + patterns

4 wall detail

 accent wall + natural elements

{ 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 }

From these images, we had a few key takeaways for baby boy’s new nursery: a color scheme of gray/navy/brown (the crib & dresser are ones they already had & wanted to use again), a rustic/natural feel (rope, wood, etc) and a few nods to animals and patterns (hence the artwork and bedding). Here is the design board I presented:

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{ accent paint / main paint / ottoman / mirror / bedding / animal prints / glider / pillows }

What do you think?!

I’ll be sure to share more pictures as the room is installed.

Life Lately, Vol. 21

Happy Friday the 13th Y’all!

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Killer view from hiking in Franconia Notch this past weekend

Hiking all over New Hampshire & Vermont lately. The official “leaves are changing” Fall season is so brief here that I always try to do my best to take full advantage of it every year. We spent last weekend at a friends house in Lincoln, NH and enjoyed hiking around Loon Mountain & Franconia Notch. Between now and Thanksgiving, we are hoping to hike a few more areas. For those of you in New England, check out this article on 55 great hikes in New Hampshire.

Watching all of the scary movies! I’m not typically a superstitious person but for some reason Friday the 13th gets me – especially in October! Last weekend we watched Halloween and holy crap I almost had nightmares – that kid is SO creepy! Tonight we may go for the more traditional “The Shining” or “Scream” – any recs?

Running more now that it’s cooler out. I completed the Tufts Health Plan for Women 10K on Monday. While the weather wasn’t on our side (75 degrees with almost 100% humidity), there were thousands of runners and we had a great time! Shootout to my friends Amy and Christine for running with me and kicking ass! I didn’t have my best race, but I finished in 57:00 so I’ll take it. Better next time!

Working really, really hard on a new website for SES! I’ve been working piece by piece the past few weeks (trying to save a few bucks and do it myself) and hoping that the new website will be ready to launch by November 1st. I’ve ordered some new business cards to match and I’m excited to have all of my branding updated & aligned with my new logo. I can’t wait to share it with y’all!

This Week on South End Style:

Spotting “the big five”

White Painted Fireplace: Before & After

Life Lately, Vol. 20

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Spotting “The Big Five”

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Thornybush, Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park, September 2017

When I first started dreaming of an African safari (many, many years ago) all I knew was that I wanted to see “the big five”. You know, lions, tigers & bears (oh my!). HA…well, I quickly came to realize that I didn’t even know what the big five were! Or why they were called that. A little nature lesson: the “big five” game animals were coined that by hunters, referring to the five most difficult animals to hunt on food. Yes, some of these animals are huge, but they’re also camouflage, quick, and always one step ahead. They’re also five of the most dangerous. By the time you would spot them on foot, it would be too late. They are now the gold standard by which all safari tours operate – it was most definitely our goal to spot the big five during our safari and I am so thrilled to say we did!

African Elephant

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We always saw them in herds of 5+

This was very first animals we saw as they were at our lodge’s watering hole when we arrived. And holy crap they are HUGE! Being the largest land mammal, the average African elephant is over 10′ at shoulder height and weighs around 5 tons, with the largest being over 7. It’s so crazy how much they blend into the trees, given how large they are. Over the 4 days, we came across 5-6 different packs. I must admit, to me, they were the most frightening in person. Their behavior is typically calm but they’re a little unpredictable and we heard a lot of stories about them charging at people. They were the only animals that I felt a little uneasy around – though the babies are beyond adorable!

Fun fact: Mama elephants are pregnant for 22 months and at birth, babies are already 3 feet tall and 200 lbs.

Black Rhinoceros

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I mean, look at all that muscle!

Oh, the rhino. Looking at pictures of these pre-historic beauties makes me equally happy and heartbroken. They are the most unbelievable animals to see in person – I truly felt like I was in Jurassic Park. At the same time, it’s devastating to know that they are being closer to extinction by the day. Our guide estimated that at the rate they’re being killed (for their horns by horrible, ignorant poachers), they will likely be extinct by 2020. That’s only 2 years away y’all! I won’t get too much into my “save the rhinos” rant but you can read more about the animals here, the poaching crisis here, and how you can help here.

We were lucky enough to see one on our first drive & saw four more throughout the stay. They were typically alone and usually just chillin’ – eating some leaves or bathing in the ponds. They are unbelievably strong, travel alone and are very territorial. I feel so blessed to have seen these beautiful creatures in person. 

Fun Fact: Though they’re large, they are speedy! A rhino can run up to 40 miles per hour – over twice as fast as the world’s fastest human. So finding a tree to climb is your best strategy to stay safe!

Cape Buffalo

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These guys were so creepy – always watching us watch them

Considered to be the most dangerous for hunters, the cape buffalo are notorious for being aggressive & ambushing. So, naturally when we learned that a group of 20 were lounging around a mere 50 yards from our front door, we were a wee bit nervous. At first glance, they just look like a cow or normal buffalo but then you hear stories of how quickly they charge and you’re on high alert. When we saw them, they just sat around eating grass for about 20 minutes and then we drove off. Uneventful – the way I like it on safari ha!

Fun Fact: Actually, crazy story – our guide told us how he accidentally stumbled upon a cape buffalo while walking back to his lodge one day and it started to charge him. He had to sprint the other direction & climb a tree to hang out there for a few hours until the buffalo left. He said it was the scariest experience he’s had in the bush!

African Leopard

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The male leopard waiting for the female to give the “ok” to begin mating

The smallest of the big cats, and solitary by nature, these look like sweet little cats that you just want to cuddle up with and pet…until you realize that they will quickly eat your face off. (as evidenced by the feeding leopard we saw). The Sabi Sands area is known for their leopards so we knew we had a great chance of seeing them. What we witness though, blew us away. Days 1 & 2 we saw a pair of leopards mating – a very rare occurrence to see – and it was fascinating! We were total creeps and watched them for a while and took videos. Our guide told us that in his 10 years in South Africa, he’s only come across this three times. How lucky are we? On day 3 we also saw a female leopard feeding on a recently killed kudu. We watched her try to carry this 80# dead animal…in her mouth… up a tree. Nature is fascinating, y’all!

Fun Fact: Female leopards birth 2-3 cubs at a time and they stay with their mama until about age 2 when they’re old enough to hunt on their own.

African Lion

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King of the Jungle

I think my husband said it best: “when you see a lion for the first time and you know exactly where you stand on the food chain”…this was the one and only lion we saw (we did see a lioness but the females don’t have the manes) and it was spectacular. This was the only animal that took my breath away, which was such a surprise! For some reason, the sheer presence of a male lion is surreal – they are so regal and grand. Lucky for us, we saw him on our last drive of the trip. My hope is to see more on our next safari. They travel in prides so there’s usually a good chance that you’ll spot multiple.

Fun Fact: A lions roar can be heard for up to 5 miles away. One night at dinner, we all heard a lion roaring in the distance. The next morning, our tracker noted that a male lion had walked through our camp while we were all sleeping. So scary!

And just because these other animals aren’t part of “the big five” doesn’t mean they’re not incredible to see. A few of my personal favorites…

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The zebra, so cute with that little mohawk! While their skin appears to be white with black stripes, rumor has it that if you shave them, the skin is actually black. The mystery continues!

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A personal favorite, the warthog. So ugly that they’re cute, these silly fellas are always frolicking around the bush and chasing each other around. They totally reminded me of our French Bulldog, but with horns!

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The hyenas are mangy, mean & big bullies. But they are a little cute at times. We had one visit our BBQ site on our first night and I swear, he looked like a little teddy bear.

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Given their height, the giraffes are always watching from afar and curious what you’re up to. They are long, lanky, clumsy & adorable. Especially the babies.

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Fun Fact: African cash is also known as “The Big Five”, with each having a picture of one of the big five animals on the front.

All I can say is – if you’ve ever considered going on a safari, do it now. Time is of the essence with these animals and nothing is guaranteed. This was the most humbling experience and I am just itching every moment to go back.

Africa, I love you!

White Painted Fireplace: Before & After

Fireplaces can be one of the most beautiful, anchoring pieces in any room. They’re grand, warm, inviting & often the centerpiece of the room. While there are many styles of fireplaces, we often find that when doing a home renovation, the fireplace has to be updated as well. An inexpensive, but impactful option for updating a fireplace is to paint it white. Now this certainly isn’t the best option for every space but if you’re trying to update your traditional home to a more modern, bright feel – this may be just what you need. For instance, take my most recent home renovation project with a family in Georgia. See this beautiful white washed fireplaced with shiplap all the way up to the ceiling:

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cabinets still need doors (going on this week) & shelves need to be styled

Well, this was the before:

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That tv is blocking a half-built shelf. And that undersized mantle? This room was screaming for a makeover!

What a transformation, right?! When my clients wanted to make their large, vaulted ceiling living room feel more modern & bright, while keeping it family friendly, I knew exactly what to do. For starters, we painted the entire home interior (yup, every last bit) SW Repose Gray (the perfect greige!), added crown molding where needed, evened out those massive bookshelves shelves, also painted them white, and then revamped the 1990s looking fireplace. We first added shiplap the entire way up (and wrapped it around the sides), we added an 8′ reclaimed wood mantle & lastly, we had the fireplace white washed. The clients are so, so SO pleased with the finished product. And we had the entire project done in under 1 week!

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 Progress pics of the shiplap – don’t you love the dark bookshelf backdrop we did?

Here are some more examples of beautiful white brick fireplaces – there’s a mix of white wash and full white paint.

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{ 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5}

What do you think of white painted fireplaces? Are you impressed with this before & after?

Life Lately, Vol. 20

Happy Friday Y’all! This week has been all work, no play. Needless to say, I am ready for the weekend! My dad was in town on Wednesday night so we headed over to Burro Bar and bite – tacos for a quick bite. Anyone been there? Their spicy marg is to die for!

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Another photo of these adorable penguins…I mean, aren’t they just the cutest?!

Cooking a lot more than usual and loving it! Since I started the Whole30 three weeks ago (that’s right, in the home stretch!), I have been in major cooking mode. A few successful recipes I had this week included PaleOMGs buffalo chicken meatloaf, Jamielyn’s hearty vegetable soup (this was SO good!) and, of course, my beloved zoodles + meatballs. To be honest, all I’m missing is a sweet treat here and there. I’m really looking forward to my first round of fall baking so as soon as my 30 days are over, I’ll be whipping up a batch of my favorite pumpkin bread and paleo pumpkin muffins.

Reading about what these US theme parks will be doing for Halloween. This list highlights 7 main ones across America and the scary events they have planned. When it comes to Halloween, I love an over-the-stop haunted house, a scary movie, all sorts of decorations etc. Plus, who doesn’t love a good theme park?

Searching for a place to stay in LA in your next visit? I may be heading out to SoCal for work in January and, if so, we’re tacking on a long weekend to explore. Sometimes it’s more fun not to stay in hotels and stay somewhere that makes you feel like a true local. Check out this list from TPG for various style & budget Air BnBs in LA. While I’m not super familiar with LA, #1 seems like a steal,  #5 is pretty awesome and #7 is perfect for beach time! Side note: how incredible is #3? #loftgoals

This Week on South End Style:

10 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Visit South Africa

Our Wedding, Part 4: I Do BBQ

Coffee Tables + Coffee Table Books

Life Lately, Vol. 19

What’s on your weekend agenda?