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Feature Friday: Artwork by Sahar

Happy Feature Friday!

We’re heading to the world of fine art for this one! We are so excited to share Artwork by Sahar’s story and give you all a look at some of the incredible pieces Sahar creates. We love how she’s always pursued art in her life and has constantly found an outlet for her creativity. Her outlook on her own work is amazing as well, and she truly wants the viewer to see her pieces in their own way and create a personal connection with it. We are always huge fans of artwork that can be interpreted however the viewer sees it! Sahar has a lot to share about her personal creative journey as well as her process for crafting her original artwork. Keep reading to learn more about Artwork by Sahar and see some of her pieces!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Hi! My name is Sahar. I work full-time at an advertising & marketing agency based in the Washington, DC area, but I’ve been an artist my entire life. I started taking art classes at the age of 6, and studied Studio Art (with Painting & Photography concentrations) at the University of Maryland, College Park. #GoTerps!

I am huge, huge Terps basketball fan and Washington Capitals fan – I love repping where I’m from! I live with my fiance – our wedding is this fall! – and our blue heeler mix, George Costanza. We love to spend time outdoors and veg out with Netflix marathons.

Between my full-time job, planning a wedding, and well – life in general – launching a business has been quite the endeavor.

: Since you were a child you’ve taken art classes. What about art made you stick with it into your adulthood?

: My parents put me in every kind of class you can think of – piano, tennis, swimming, tap – but nothing every really felt right. I wasn’t passionate about those other hobbies, and to be completely honest, I kind of sucked at them. Drawing, painting, creating in general – it made me happy. Everything made sense in my head.

Fast-forward to today, and it is truly my version of meditation. I am so grateful for painting in my life.

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Feature Friday: Soft Bloom Tapestries

Happy Feature Friday!

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Today we have the amazing, whimsical works of Marissa Long from Soft Bloom Tapestries. We are in love with how beautiful and organic her weavings are — and just plain soft and fuzzy looking! The fact that she incorporates so many natural elements into her work (all foraged herself from the Pacific Northwest!) makes her products even more unique and truly have a story behind them. She has a ton of great insight into the world of creating, so keep on reading to hear all about her brand’s start and what she’s learned along the way!

Castle Logo: Tell us a few things about yourself!

unnamed-2: I am 22 and I currently live at the foot of Mt. Hood (Oregon’s highest mountain!), right outside of Portland. When I was a child, my parents were constantly taking my brothers and myself camping and hiking. Getting outside recharges my soul and is still one of my favorite things to do, except now I have a fur-child to come along! I have a golden retriever, Theodore, he goes everywhere with me. I adore plants, I try to be always surrounded by them and that’s why I currently work at Portland Nursery. I also work with Foraged Blooms, creating floral arrangements and helping as needed. I realized early on in life that my heart is fullest when I have a creative outlet, and I love working with mixed medias and trying new things!

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Castle Logo: We are absolutely in love with your tapestries! How would you describe your brand and the products you create?
unnamed-2: Thank you! Yikes, that is not an easy question. I describe Soft Bloom as warm, and creative! It’s all about the process of creating something by hand, something that encourages you to touch and explore and experience wonder and warmth. I like to think (hope) that the hangings I create convey my heart, my love of this art form and the way it grounds me and encourages the journey of growth, softness and transformation. I would like to inspire those concepts in the beautiful people that purchase or admire my hangings!

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Feature Friday: Ever After Enchanted Decor

Happy Feature Friday!

FullSizeRender(1416)Today we’re excited to hearing from Rosanna of Ever After Enchanted Decor! She works alongside her husband to create beautiful reclaimed wood decor to really spruce up your home! Their pieces are the perfect way to show what your family is all about or add some inspiration to your walls. We love how passionate Rosanna is about creating pieces that are of amazing quality and bring joy to customers just by looking at them! The way her and her husband transform these pieces of wood, there’s no way they wouldn’t bring joy! We think you guys are going to love what the two of them create and we can’t wait for you to hear their story! Keep on reading to hear more about the brand and see some of the amazing creations Ever After Enchanted Decor offers.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself!
ever after: Hi, my name is Rosanna, I’m 39 years old and I have two boys, a 6 year old and a 19 year old. My husband and I have always been big dreamers and have wanted to have a business together where we could create beautiful things, express our creativity, and spend more time together. I’ve always wanted the freedom and excitement that come with having my own business. In 2015 I decided to open an Etsy shop. I wasn’t happy at my job and I wanted to start this shop with the hopes that it would grow and that I could do it full time. The company that I worked for was bought out and I ended up being laid off from my corporate job. To me this was the perfect opportunity to put all I had into the business. Our goal is to take this business on the road: travel in our RV, book shows all over the country to bring our décor to people, and have fun doing it. My husband Eric currently has a full time job and is in a punk band with his brother and friends called TLB.

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Castle Logo: How did Ever After Enchanted Decor get its start?
ever after: I had the idea for my business when my husband and I were finally able to purchase our home. My goal was to have a home before my oldest son Ethan would leave for college. This did happen! We purchased our home his senior year of high school. I was so happy and I didn’t want to go to the store and buy just anything to fill our home with, I wanted to create beautiful décor that was special and meant something to me. I purchased some pieces from other makers on Etsy that I really loved, but I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I was inspired to create my own pieces. Once I started painting and creating things I just kept finding more inspiration, and one day it just hit me: start a shop that has beautiful décor, inspirational, magical, feminine pieces that are close to my heart.

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Feature Friday: Mo Milligan

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetHappy Feature Friday! 

This week we are featuring Mo Milligan of Destiny City Threads! We just love her fun, unique and quirky embroidery art. Among her embroidery hoops you can find bright colors, pretty botanicals and sassy sayings. Mo is currently getting her Etsy store up and running and after you guys see her work you’ll be happy she’s setting up shop. We can see all her pieces being the perfect little accents to brighten up your space. To learn more about how Mo started Destiny City Threads read on!

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself.
isla_500x500.20505935_8suw99oq: I’m a Pacific Northwest native, but I love to travel and have had the opportunity to go on some amazing adventures stateside and abroad. I have always been an avid reader, but have found that since having two young children my attention span has been reduced to that of a gnat and I don’t read as much as I used to. I love music and try to see a few live shows every year, although a lot of my favorites aren’t around any longer. I have a sweet tooth, I’m a coffee addict and I love pickled foods.

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Coffee Hopping in SoCo

BY CAILIN BURKE

As Tara mentioned in one of our previous Texas posts, South Congress, otherwise known as SoCo was one of our favorite areas of Austin! On our first full day in Texas, we started off by grabbing coffee and breakfast burritos at Jo’s, an Austin staple. They’re famous for their Iced Turbo which is a delicious combo of hazelnut, chocolate, coffee and cream. We had to try it and as the contents elude to, it definitely didn’t need any sugar added.

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Plan a Winning Super Bowl Party

BY CAILIN BURKE

T-minus one week until the Super Bowl and if you’re planning on hosting a Super Bowl party, there’s a lot you have to do before kickoff!

First, you have to decide who’s coming. For me, I generally stick with family because I know they’ll understand that I rather watch the game intently and not speak. In my Sports Media class the other day, we were talking about Super Bowl parties and how they generally involve friends trying to talk to you, ask you what’s happening, or who you think is going to win during the middle of something important.

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Courtesy of emotiongifs.com

In the Super Bowl, even commercials are important so there’s not much time to talk! If you own two TVs, a good solution is to have one area where the intense watchers can see every second of the game, and another area where the people that want to socialize can watch.

Now… how should you decorate?  Some people like it simple, but for those of you who want football decorations everywhere, you can get plenty of cool items to make your party stand out.

If you’re not a fan of either of the teams go for some decorations with the Super Bowl XLVIII logo on them. I love these balloons from Party City, but the balloon bouquet is definitely my favorite! Party City in general has a lot of great Super Bowl decorations so you can check them all out here.

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You can get NFL tablecloths, football shaped confetti, banners, or basically anything shaped like a football. If you want to save money, dollar stores often have football party supplies and Dollar Tree in particular has a football shaped chip and dip tray. If you want to spend a few more dollars though, you can get one at Party City too that’s a little fancier.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.25.08 Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.26.02I’m also a fan of themed dinnerware and there are a ton of football paper plates and cups at dollar stores, party stores, and even some sports merchandise stores. The coolest thing I saw were these football shaped napkins:

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.45.20If one of your teams is in the Super Bowl, you can have even more fun with the decorations and supplies for your party! Again, balloons are great for any party, especially tied to the back of each chair, or placed in the corners of your house with balloon weights. Whether you’re a Broncos or Seahawks fan, these helmet shaped balloons from birthdaydirect.com are awesome!

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.55.07 Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 22.05.20Broncos and Seahawks fans would also both love these Party City “bottle jerseys” to spruce up any drink and represent your team. ‘Cause what’s better than you and your drink both wearing a jersey, right?

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Next, we can’t forget the food. You can go the classic route of store/restaurant bought pizza and wings, nachos, or chips and dip, but you can also try something a little different. You could cook up something yourself or to make it easier on you, give your guests a “serve yourself” option. With frozen yogurt and ice cream toppings bars becoming more popular, why not make a Super Bowl toppings bar! Whether your guests top their nachos with whatever they want from beans to jalapeños, or choose their own pizza toppings, this will definitely make your party more fun! As for dessert, I love this idea from domesticfits.com… Football chocolate covered strawberries!

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Another simple, but fun dessert you could have at your party, is a frosting decoration station for brownies and/or cookies. Your guests can design whatever they want on their desserts whether they choose to draw their team’s logo or Richard Sherman’s screaming face. There are so many options, everyone will have something cool to show, and you can even make a contest out of it.

Speaking of contests… if your Super Bowl party is going to be more social and interactive, why not add some party games?  You don’t need anything too fancy, but this inflatable ring toss game is a funny way to pass time if there’s a free moment during the game (you know… if a black out or anything else happened like that). If there are going to be any kids at your party, I’ve also seen football shaped pinatas which would keep them entertained for at least a part of the game.

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Last, but not least, what are you going to wear to this party of yours? If you own any Broncos or Seahawks apparel, definitely throw that on, but if not, there are ways you can root for a team without buying a $30 shirt. When the NY Giants were in the Super Bowl in 2011, my whole family bought the NFC Championship shirts and wore those, but we also got Giants face tattoos. If you’re rooting for a particular team, buy a $4 pack of tattoos, throw a few on, and you’re all set!

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You could also get team eyeblacks or draw a #18 on your face if you’re a Peyton Manning fan. If you’re not into either team, wear the apparel you own from your favorite team in spite of it. Not going to lie, I definitely wore a Giants shirt during last year’s Super Bowl and will probably wear my Peyton Manning Colts jersey this year. Whatever sporty clothes you have in your closet would probably do fine, but if you want to really represent, there’s nothing better to wear than an AFC or NFC Championship shirt or a team jersey.

As for those of you who want to just focus on the game and not deal with all of this party craziness? There’s no way you can go wrong with a room full of cheering family and friends, surrounded by a ton of delicious food.