Friday, May 30, 2014

MeetMontgomery: Wicks & Willow + Giveaway!

First, we want to say THANK YOU to everyone for spreading the word about Z+M and helping us reach 300+ Facebook likes!  We are simply blown away by the love and support! So, now that we've said thank you...we want to show you gratitude with a giveaway!

This is our first post in a new series we're calling MeetMontgomery where we'll be featuring local business owners right here in Montgomery.

Our first MeetMontgomery interview is with Melissa Warnke who some of you locals may recognize as a reporter/morning anchor for WSFA 12 News, but she also owns and operates Wicks & Willow where she makes stunning candles set in vintage tea cups and mason jars.  Aren't they gorgeous?!

Melissa and her husband Adam both grew up in Cullman, Alabama (where they were high school sweethearts!), attended Auburn University and now live in Montgomery with their two adorable yellow lab/cocker spaniel mixes, Abbi and Cami (who are the sweetest pups).

Here are a few interview questions to help you get to know Melissa!

Z+M: Tell us a little about what Wicks & Willow is and what you offer?

Melissa: Wicks and Willow is a hand-poured soy candle collection I started in July 2012 specializing in tea cup candles and mason jar candles. I also offer a really unique refill program. Customers can bring their own cups, jars or containers to me and I can make it into a candle for them.  That has been one of my favorite things.  People have brought me pieces of their grandmother’s china or their wedding china to make into candles.  It’s a way for them to enjoy and display those pieces, rather than just having them stored away in a cabinet.  Because I use all natural soy wax, it doesn’t harm the container.  The refill program also applies to candles purchased from me in the past; I can refill that same container. 

Z+M: Where did the you get the idea to start Wicks & Willow

Melissa: That is a question I get asked all the time!  It actually was not planned at all. I never set out to make candles.  My husband Adam and I enjoy antique and flea market shopping.  From one of our shopping trips, we ended up with a box of vintage tea cups and saucers – I just couldn’t pass them up because they were so pretty!  They sat in that same box in our closet for several weeks.  One day, I came across a blog about making your own candles, and decided I’d finally put those cups to use!  It took me several tries to get it right.  Most of the first candles I made looked awful!! I couldn’t get them smooth on the top, or the right combination of wax to scent, or the wick to stay in the right place. After lots of trial and error, I was finally happy with the way they were looking.  I posted a picture of one on Facebook, and someone asked if it was for sale.  The rest is history!  About a month later, I created Wicks and Willow, got my business licenses and opened up an online shop. 

Z+M: What is your favorite part about owning/operating your own business? 

Melissa: There are two things I love.  One – I love knowing that something I made, in my kitchen, with my own hands…is something that people enjoy and use in their homes or to give as a special gift to a friend, bridesmaid, mother, aunt, etc.   I have taken a piece of beautiful piece of china that was discarded or not wanted anymore and given it new life as a candle.  It’s so neat that I have been able to sell candles to customers all over the country and other countries as well.  My first online sale went to a sweet lady in Australia!

The second part I love has been the people I’ve met through this process.   There are so many creative and inspiring people who are makers and creators and small business owners in Montgomery.  Many times, they also have full time jobs or they have started a small business that grew into a company that they now operate full time.  It’s been really cool is to have been a part of some cool collaboration projects with those folks.  There is a really supportive community of creators in Montgomery.  And, of course, my customers!  Many of my customers have become good friends of mine.  They have told their friends about Wicks and Willow and even alert me when they see a great set of china for sale somewhere, haha!

Z+M: Where do you get your inspiration? 

Melissa: I love DIY and home décor blogs.  It gets me into trouble sometimes, haha!  I am always wanting to work on new projects around our house.   But, it gives me ideas for styling my candles for photos and events.  I also discover new ways to incorporate them into different kind of home décor.  Wicks and Willow definitely has a certain aesthetic and look, but they appeal to a wide range of tastes.  China is one of those things that can be a part of a very cottage-type or eclectic style as well as a more refined style.  

Z+M: What advice would you give someone who wants to start his or her own business and/or new creative venture? 

Melissa: I would tell that person to go for it!  My advice is to remember that creating a brand is just as important as creating your actual product.  You can start a business with a relatively low start-up cost, but I wouldn’t skimp on your logo design or your photography. Those are things that make a huge impact and can really set you apart.  Also, go overboard with communication, especially if you’re selling a product.  Answer questions in a timely manner, fix something if they have a problem and always go out of your way to make things easier for them.  Word of mouth is so HUGE when you start a business.  If people feel good and excited about your business or product, they will basically sell it for you!

Z+M: What’s your favorite part about owning your own business?

Melissa: I like the flexibility of deciding my own schedule.  If I am busy and want to take a month off from candle-making, for example, I can do that!  And this may be kind of weird – but most of the time, it is relaxing to make candles.  My full time job is very go-go-go with the pressure of constant deadlines.  I do thrive on adrenaline and being around people, but it is nice to slow down for a little bit in the afternoons and focus on making something with my hands.  And I can do it all in my home! 

Z+M: What is your favorite thing about Montgomery? 

Melissa: My husband and I love Montgomery.   It’s such a unique combination of history, southern charm, and everything Alabama!  We have found such a wonderful community of friends here, so it really feels like home to us now.  We have always felt like this city is a place that offers young professionals opportunities to get involved and make a difference.  And, I think that with any city, your experience is what you make it.  We have enjoyed getting plugged in with some non-profits and organizations around the city.

And now it's giveaway time!

One lucky Z+M reader will win TWO candles from Wicks & Willow - one Blue Willow Tea Cup Candle and one Blue Mason Jar Candle (which burns for 120 hours!) in the scents of their choice. Scents offered include:

  • Eucalyptus and Spearmint
  • French Vanilla
  • Lavender-Vanilla
  • Red Currant
  • Gardenia
  • Cotton Blossom

To enter, you must use the Rafflecopter widget below.

If you're interested in purchasing candles from Wicks & Willow, you can visit Melissa's Etsy store, or if you're in the Montgomery area we suggest setting up an appointment to see all of Melissa's inventory - it's amazing! Just send her an e-mail at to set up a time! Her candles are also available at Hue Studio and the Gift Shop at Union Station.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Outdoor Dining Decor

Now that it feels like summer here in Montgomery, we're loving the fact that we can grill out and eat dinner outside on the porch.  It's so relaxing to come home after being cooped up in an office all day and sit outside, play with Maddie and grill out with Zach (mostly I watch him grill while I sit there and sip my wine).  So, in order to inspire us all to spend a little more time outside, I've put together some decor must-haves for outdoor dining...

1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6  //  7  //  8

We're so excited that we reached 300 likes on Facebook, and are even more excited that it means YOU get a giveaway!  Come back tomorrow to enter!  I wish I could win it, but I guess that wouldn't be fair ;)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Swimsuit Shopping

Much to my delight, one-piece swimsuits seem to be having a moment. I haven't worn a two-piece swimsuit in approximately 5+ years. It's not that I'm against them at all...I rocked them circa 1985-2008. I just don't feel comfortable in them anymore.

My super pale mid-section is very thankful that one-piece/tankinis seem to come in much cuter designs these days. 

Since we're officially into summer in the South, I thought I'd show you a few adorable suits I've had my eye on lately. 
Via Shoshanna
Via Anthropologie, ruffle is detachable
Via Nordstrom
Via Zappos
Via Neiman Marcus

What are some of your fave swimsuit trends this summer? Do you prefer the two-piece, or do you rock the one-piece/tankini? 

And, we reached our goal of 300 Facebook likes!! Thank you all for the support. We plan to host our next giveaway on Friday, so be on the lookout!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Art on the Lake

Over the Memorial Day weekend, we visited Art on the Lake at Lake Martin, which is a fundraiser for Children's Harbor.  Artists from all over the state set up shop for two days and displayed various forms of art, ranging from traditional paintings to handmade metal sculptures. The view from the show was perfect!

They had these great seating and dining areas set up by Summer Classics.

We loved these metal pieces and sculptures made by Simply Ornamental out of West Blocton. Isn't that state of Alabama adorable?!

Zelda's lookalike even made an appearance!

Zach almost took this bad boy from Stray Cats Home Decor out of Childersburg home with him.

These crosses and church paintings were beautiful! They're by a group of artists out of Birmingham called It's So You Funky Art.

The beautiful angel paintings below are by a friend of mine named Jane Fleming out of Montgomery. She and DuRhonda Lamb, another friend of mine from Tuscaloosa, created Angels and Antlers. You can see some of DuRhonda's cool antler creations below as well. 

The cute cow and lake scenes below are by Birmingham artist Carol Carmichael.

Joan Curtis from Birmingham had some beautiful work. The flowers below were some of my favorite of the day.

After the art show, we enjoyed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, SpringHouse. Overall, it was a lovely way to spend our Saturday. I hope you'll take time to check out some of these artists and send them some love!

And, keep sharing our Facebook page. We're so close to 300 "likes" we can taste it! We're ready for our next giveaway!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Link Love

Last week, I ran across several things I'm loving (what's new, right?).  So, I thought I'd share some with y'all!

1 ::  This post has me thinking I'll be going bold the next time I paint a room.
2 ::  I purchased this shirt over the weekend and want to buy about 10 more.
3 ::  This solution is great if you have a short window and want the room to look bigger.

4 ::  This guest room update has me itching to redo ours.
5 ::  I'm a huge fan of gingham print, and this outfit is absolute perfection.

6 ::  I'm finding a piece of furniture to do this to asap.
7 ::  I'm super jealous of this Craigslist find.
8 ::  These DIY storage boxes are cute enough to have in every room of your house.

9 ::  I'm loving these spring table settings.
10 ::  Thinking this would be a great addition to our living room.

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Estate Sale Shopping

Y'all.  We made it to Friday.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  Because you I deserve it.  Ok, now on to the post.

One of mine and Maeci's favorite activities is checking out estate sales.  We spotted a good one on EstateSales.NET and went to check it out on Wednesday.  If you haven't used this site before, you absolutely need to check it out.  You can sign up to get updates on the new estate sales every week in your area (and any other area you choose), and majority of the time there are photos that go along with the details of the sale.

The sale Wednesday had some great antique chairs!

The chairs were all beautiful...and had a big, beautiful price tag that went with them!  Sometimes, we know the sales are going to be a little pricey when we go into them, but we still love checking things out and you never know what treasures you might find.

There were also LOTS of gorgeous rugs...

As much as I loved them, I think Zach might have made me live out in the storage shed with the rest of my rugs if I brought another one home.  I also thought this table and the blue and white planter on it were fab...(not to mention the rug!)...

We picked up the planter to check it out (and the price) and although it was only $40, we noticed another small price tag on the bottom from when the owner must have purchased it that read "$19.99" and a little made in china sticker.  Kind of lost its luster after that!

These little bamboo accent pieces were pretty cute, and I could totally see them spray painted and set next to a fireplace to decorate the space, or even add a little cushion to the top and use it as a small ottoman...

Aren't these little gold rimmed bowls great?

There were also a couple great pieces of furniture..

 and don't you love that bowl?!

Although we didn't take anything home with us, we definitely still had fun and saw some great pieces!  Do you guys love going to estate sales?  Or have you been hesitant to try one out?

Also, be sure to 'like' Zelda + Madeline on Facebook - once we reach 300 'likes' we'll be having another GIVEAWAY!