Ann Arbor Art Center

This winter I was lucky enough to be able to meet some lovely ladies at the Ann Arbor Art Center at a local networking meeting and was able to see their beautiful spaces they have for parties.  After seeing their digs I just knew I had to do a stylized shoot before little miss was born.

However Eowyn had very different plans (and came super-de-duper early!) but my pal Miranda over at Inner Circle Photography swooped in and helped me out BIG time!   I will be posting the stylized shoot soon but in the mean time I  wanted to post some shots I took of the Art Center’s building and it’s newly renovated spaces!  If you are looking for a space for a wedding or party check these guys out, honestly it is amazing and so conveniently located!  2015-05-24_0012The Art Center is nestled right downtown Ann Arbor on Liberty Street between Ashley and Main and over looks the beautiful restaurant district. 2015-05-24_0013It is the perfect space for small to mid sized weddings, corporate events, parties and Mitzvahs!  Your guests would be surrounded by art in the second floor galleries as well as have the options of the beautiful 3rd floor studios with exposed brick and newly renovated wood flooring.  2015-05-24_0014 2015-05-24_0015The 117 Gallery is a rotating gallery but Stacey  has a good idea of what type of art will be displayed in advance! 2015-05-24_0016Each floor has beautiful lighting as well as windows that overlook the town.  2015-05-24_00172015-05-24_0018Downstairs on street level is the Art Center’s store as well as a pottery studio. 2015-05-24_0019The galleries are above are by way of a beautiful original wooden stair case.  2015-05-24_0020After doing the room shoot for the website update I also had the privilege of shooting their Vine and Dine fundraiser later the following week.  2015-05-24_0021Seeing the spaces decorated and full of guests was beautiful.  The evening was just perfect.  2015-05-24_0022 2015-05-24_0023Guests were able to admire art as well enjoy the evening.  2015-05-24_0024If you are in need of a space to host your event and are looking for a venue give Stacey Bodner a call or fill out the contact form!

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Feature Friday: RydeOn Cycling Studio!

 

March’s feature has taken me a little while to finally get my thoughts down on paper err, keyboard? Any of you that know me personally (or have read my emails) know that I LOVE running and being active; hence my sign off, ‘Run often, smile more’. 🙂 It is something that I acquired a love for in high school (thanks to the fantastic SalineXC crew!) and has followed me through life and has shaped me greatly! The benefits of running are vast but the one I have most enjoyed is being physically and mentally fit allowing me to accomplish whatever I set out to try. Aside from being passionate about running personally, I also love to inspire others to be active too.

2014-03-31_0007two of my favorite running routes captured by my FANTASTIC hubby!

Because I loved running so much, I decided to try spinning back in 2007 during a cold winter shortly before our wedding. I figured it could keep me fit during the winter months while helping me avoid my necessary nemesis the ‘dreadmill’. I instantly fell in love with it and soon was saving up for my first road bike. Much like running, people will tell you about the training, the mental battle and the endurance that is involved with spinning/biking but every single person will tell you about the endorphins and how they outweigh all of those obstacles.

Often the hard part of beginning a fitness regime (or lifestyle as I like to think of it) is the inaccessibility to equipment and a support system. How many times have you said ‘when I lose ten more pounds I’ll go to the gym’ or something along those lines? Or how many of you have signed up for a gym membership only to walk in and feel much like this video (please continue reading after watching! Hah!)

Enter Brigid Lossing! Brigid has an amazing story apart from the start up of the RydeOn Studio. A mother of two, wife to a local firefighter and a cancer survivor, Brigid took what life threw at her and used it as fuel to take her journey to the next level of awesome.

2014-03-31_0001Brigid found herself much like many of us often do; overweight, working a day job and wondering if this was really all of what life could offer. After receiving her stage three colon cancer diagnosis and treatment she decided to not only take control of life but to run (well, spin) with it. Shortly after her second round of chemo Brigid signed up for a six week spinning class at the Saline Rec Center.

 

“Personally I can relate to the struggle signing up for your first class.” As a self titled ‘Type A’ personality Brigid so beautifully stated what so many people wrestle with. “When you know you’re type A, it is so easy to not begin something simply because we don’t want to push ourselves to do something that we know we cannot do very well.”

 

At 320 pounds Brigid took the leap of faith and went to her first spin class. She readily admits that she only returned because she had paid the money and didn’t want to waste it. But week after week she returned and not only saw progress but fell in love. Within the year she was encouraged by her spin instructor to consider getting certified to also become an instructor and that was when a seed was planted for a different kind of studio, RydeOn.

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There are many gyms and studios in the area that boast their success for weight loss and training. However the dream for RydeOn was not simply a successful studio for the elite to frequent but instead to create an atmosphere of accessibility for people from all walks of fitness to come together and continue on their road of fitness together. The facebook page has the quote ‘Training for Life’ and Brigid hopes the studio will embody exactly that.

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“You never know when that seed [of fitness] will take root, but I like to provide a fertile ground.”

 

And that she does. RydeOn is staffed by knowledgeable instructors who are as passionate about the people who come to workout as they are about fitness. When you walk into the studio there is always one person to help you check in as well as the instructor for the class. The studio is outfitted with 25 top of the line Kesier bikes  and each instructor is Keiser certified in order to help everyone get the best fit for their bike. Spinning classes, like many fitness classes have several different methods of instruction. RydeOn is outfitted with a variety of instructors as well as classes to help meet your individual needs. One of the amazing aspects of spinning is that it is an individual sport that makes room for the positive dynamics of group exercise. With each bike individually controlled you are 100% in control of your own ride. So regardless of your level of fitness you can come and participate and without worry that you cannot keep up!

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“Spinning is so different than any other group exercise class because if you walk into a Zumba or Jazzercise class as a new participant it will be obvious that you are new or if you have trouble keeping up with the group. Spinning isn’t like that; here you are only in competition with yourself. With spinning you get all of the benefits that are derived from working towards a similar goal but each goal is personal and you never have to worry about letting anyone down” Brigid shares.

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So many people have different reasons for beginning their fitness regime, for some it is a major life event that helps them decide to make a change, for others it is simply a goal (like a wedding or class reunion) regardless of why you want to begin, take that first leap of faith! Register for a class using their online system (it will let the instructor know you are new so they can help you get your bike fitted correctly, the first step to a successful class!!) show up about 15 minutes early, bring your water and settle in for the ride of your life! Walk in rides are $16 and the new client special is $39 for the first month of unlimited rides (your $16 can be applied towards that!) Most clients end up riding 2-3 times a week but some more and some less!

“I wanted to be able to wiggle my nose like bewitched and change my life [for the better].  In a way I did, it just took a lot more energy. Everyone has the ability, you have to figure out how to light the flame and more importantly that you are worth it.”

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Hope to see you soon at a ride!!! I love the early morning ones personally! 🙂 Until then, Run Often (spin often) and smile more!

-Amanda 🙂

 

Feature Friday: Gwen’s Cakes

For February’s Feature Friday I bring you Gwen from Gwen’s Cake Decorating!!

I met Gwen last year at the Saline Bridal Show and reconnected with her this year as I began planning local featured vendors!2014-03-02_0001

Random fun interesting fact- Gwen lives on (and operates!) on the same street as my mother in law!! She has an industrial kitchen right in her garage, how awesome is that! Gwen first began decorating cakes for her kids which grew to family and friends and then eventually it grew into strangers and then into a licensed business!  What began as birthday cakes and cupcakes has grown into beautifully elegant wedding cakes (she won the Best of Weddings from the Knot in 2013!) 2014-02-26_0002Because Gwen has her fantastic studio/kitchen right in her home she can bake cakes anytime of day (or night!)  When you meet for a tasting or consultation you walk into her beautiful sprawling ranch located right outside Saline.  Once inside you can see many of her sample cakes, photo albums of past cakes as well as other examples of her exemplary work! 2014-03-02_0002

She said there have been many weekends where her and her two assistants will be delivering 8-10 wedding cakes in addition to the ump-teen birthday cake and cupcake orders!  And if that isn’t impressive enough she once filled an order for St Joesph Mercy Hospital for over 1,000 cupcakes!  Aren’t these cakes just beautiful!! And these are just sample cakes!  Her real cakes are even more impressive!2014-03-02_0003Another fun random fact is while Gwen loves to bake and decorate cakes her favorite hobby is scuba diving!! How neat is that!?  She was certified in Cozumel and regularly takes scuba excursions!2014-02-26_0001If you are in need of a wedding, birthday, graduation or just a regular old cake Gwen is the place to go!  Not only does she do typical cakes, ones with fruit fillings but she also can accommodate gluten free (I know where my birthday cake is coming from 🙂 !!)

Feature Friday: Maureen’s Designs

I have been hoping to incorporate blogging into my off season more (and let’s be honest, my busy season too :p ) So I began brainstorming some good topics to include during my ‘less’ busy season.

Most of the Wedding Industry is much like a blind date.  You hear good things about vendors, maybe a friend or an acquaintance knows them but in all reality you are showing up to a coffee shop or their store front with little to no background information about them.  So- enter Feature Friday!  I work with these vendors on a very regular basis!  So what greater way to get to know them then through a blog post with pictures of them and their work! 🙂

My current goal is to blog vendors once a month, but I may try to add more too that as time allows!

For January, meet Maureen of Maureen’s Designs!

You will find Maureen’s Designs on the corner of Ann Arbor Street and Michigan Avenue in Saline right behind Mac’s Acadaian Seafood.  A true mom and pop shop, Maureen opened in March of 2007 with her husband, Jack.  The two moved to Saline in 2006 with their four boys, all of whom are in college now.

2014-01-31_0003Image courtesy of Complete Luminance

Like many vendors located in Saline, Maureen appreciates the small town feel, “I really enjoy the courteous and friendly clients who recognize quality work.”

As you enter her shop it greets you warmly with not only the smell of flowers but an absolutely enchanting atmosphere.  She has some products available ready to be purchased as well as all of the necessities to make handmade arrangements.  There are several colorful vases to choose from as well as baskets and just about anything you could imagine to make a memorable bouquet.  She has a sitting area that resembles a garden patio to look over photos and ideas from clients.

2014-01-30_0003Then as you continue around her shop you will see every detail of the shop pairs perfectly with her work.  Enchanting, fresh and lively. 2014-01-30_0004I was so excited to find my floral favorite, succulents (and the most difficult potted plant to kill 😉 ) are also available for sale!

2014-01-30_0002One of the things I admire about Maureen’s work is everything she does has a personal touch.  From the arrangements you order over the phone to your bridal bouquet she has a knack of hearing what you’re looking for and creating the perfect visual masterpiece!  Maureen designs many of the pieces herself, unlike larger flower shops.  She does have on assistant that she will bring on during busier seasons but she personally oversees all creations.  Another awesome thing is how she educates her brides.  In the advent of Pintrest, many industry professionals will simply recreate what the bride brings, but Maureen is able to create from scratch some amazing artistic arrangements (as she did for my husband’s and my wedding!) as well as what you can find on Pintrest!

Here are some photos from our wedding, they really do not do the flowers JUSTICE!  I had a simply stunning Calla lily bouquet and each of my bridesmaids had these amazing handmade flower balls!!! This is a perfect example of describing to Maureen an idea and precise execution!  They served as head table decor as well with the aid of stocking hangers!  She also arranged some beautiful pieces for the front of the church too!2014-01-31_0002Photo credit to the *amazing* Sarah Lugo Photography

Below is Maureen assembling an arrangement ordered for a client’s wife’s birthday! 2014-01-30_0005Jack is there to help with more of the business end of things as well as deliveries and moral support!  You can see their love for each other in how they work together, which is pretty rare in husband and wife run business!  As you can see they are adjusting to business– and an empty nest very well! 2014-01-30_0007 Maureen is still booking for some 2014 Weddings and Events!  So get in while the gettin’ is good!  Also she is an excellent choice for Valentines Day, or just because!  While located in Saline, they deliver to all of Washtenaw County!

If you have had any work done by Maureen make sure to leave some love on the blog or on her facebook page!!

Maureen’s Website

Maureen’s Facebook