Tastemaker Tuesday – Kalyn Johnson Chandler of Effie’s Paper

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Kaylyn and her favorite accessory!

This month, we’re introducing you to one of our favorite new friends, Kalyn Johnson Chandler of Effie’s Paper::Stationery&Whatnot, an energetic lifestyle authority who is setting the trend on lifestyle accessories, travel style, and the power of Black Girl Magic

Kalyn and I met at a recent Black Southern Belle conference in Charleston.  Her enthusiasm for female entrepreneurs , her smile and love of stationery and pretty things made us fast friends.  With her signature pops of pink and encouraging words, she is a chic and engaging tastemaker, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Three words that describe your style?

Downtown, chic, hip

As a fashionable city woman, what’s the source(s) of your inspiration?

Believe it or not, walking down the streets of Manhattan and riding the subway are a font of inspiration.  New York city has some of the most fashionable people I’ve ever seen. I take my cues from the people around me.  What I love about New York is that each neighborhood has it’s own style – for example, on the Upper East Side, people are generally classic dressers with clean lines and solid colors.  While downtown, in Tribeca, the vibe is decidedly expensive hipster.

Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…

Agatha Christie – I’d love to spend the evening with AC, as I affectionately call her, to get a sense of how her mind works because I love a good murder mystery.  In fact, growing up and to this day, my parents, sister and I read murder mysteries voraciously.  Lately, I’ve become addicted to all of the British murder mystery shows on Netflix and Acorn – Vera, Midsummer Murders, Broadchurch, Unforgotten and the like. What I love about the British shows is all of the twists and turns, they’re quite cerebral. Who knows, at a dinner party with AC, there might be a murder in the drawing room that needs to be solved!

Maya Angelou – I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. One of my fondest memories is spending the weekend at my grandparent’s house and finding a copy of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I was probably 11 or 12.  I read it cover-to-cover that weekend and she instantly became one of my sheros.  Maya Angelou had an amazing life, was a generous soul, a prolific writer and an extremely wise woman.  I think she’d be the dinner guest everyone would be clamoring to sit next to just hoping to gather a few nuggets of her vast knowledge.

Michelle Obama – I just kind of love everything about her!  She brought a level of class, graciousness  and openness to the White House that I haven’t experienced before in my lifetime.   Her infectious smile and her ability to make fun of herself with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show will forever endear her to me and many.  I would love to sit down and chat with her about what it was like to become a part of the upper echelons of society while not losing who she is at her core.  She’s a woman I admire greatly; she stepped into a role she was very hesitant to take on … it took her a minute to figure out how to make it her own, but that she did and then some!

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Pretty and professional stationery

A pieces of/type of accessory you couldn’t live without

I never leave home without a silk scarf or a bandana.  For some reason my neck tends to get cold, so I learned a long time ago that rather than be uncomfortable, it was just easier to always have a little something to put on my neck.  And I’m super excited because I just designed the some really chic bandanas that we’re selling now.   In addition to keeping your neck warm, they add the perfect pop of color to your outfit, look great tied around purses and do double-duty as a hat on bad hair days!

Do you recommend people follow a particular set of rules when writing letters?

My only rule when it comes to letter writing is sit down and write!  I find that people love to receive handwritten notes in the mail, but rarely take the time to write them.  I’ve heard all sorts of excuses from I can’t find nice stationery to I never seem to have stamps.  These two “problem” are easily solvable – you can buy both stationery and stamps online nowadays.  Of course I think everyone should be using Effie’s Paper to write their notes on, but whatever you have – please use it!  A simple note with just three sentences can make someone’s day.  And, the satisfaction derived from taking a minute to express one’s gratitude to another is priceless.

What would be the one thing you would have to have if you were stranded on a deserted island?

My Kindle and some kind of super duper charged battery pack. I love to read.  So, being stranded on an island with nothing to read would be a kind of purgatory for me.  I’m often reading more than one book at a time, which is why I’m partial to my Kindle, although there’s nothing like holding an actual book in your hands.

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Write it down, in a pretty book of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to an aspiring stationery creator.

Go for it!  I get asked this question a lot and as I result, I wrote an e-book to help folks who are thinking of starting their own product-based business.  There are a lot of players in the marketplace, so do your research and figure out what will distinguish your products from those that are already out there.  Identifying your target audience up front – know who she is, what she buys and why up – will save you a lot of time and energy.  Then before you jump in, learn what you can about the industry to make certain it’s a good fit for you.  Next, think about your strengths and weaknesses to determine which gaps you’ll need to fill.  I have a great team of young women I work with, I LOVE my girls; your tribe is your vibe! And finally, assess the direction the industry is headed in to determine where your products will fit in best and come up with a strategy to court those customers and retailers.

Bonus:  Here’s a quick round up of some of our favorite ‘whatnot’ from Effie’s Paper, just in time for summer hostess gifts and even Father’s Day gifts!

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Who else needs this coffee mug?!

 

 

 

 

 

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Go ahead and stock up for your Fourth of July summer hostess gifts

Now get going and don’t forget to write to someone. You’ll make their day.  Thank you to Kalyn of Effie’s Papers for being part of our Tastemaker Tuesday series!  We can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon for you and Effie’s Papers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motivation and an Update

Sometimes We Need a Little Motivation

This year, we are motivated to be present in the moment, thanks to a recent sermon from   our minister, Dr. Bill Burch.  Present in the moment means focusing your attention on your companion, your conversation, your surroundings, and not checking your phone.  All kinds of good things happen when this happens – better listening, better thinking and better relationships.  The 2018 focus for our church is “All In”, based on the book All In by Mark Batterson.  I plan to read it purposefully and mindfully.

On the flip side, sometimes you can’t be present with someone because they aren’t here.  Perhaps they moved across the country, moved on with a new job, or are gone forever.

You may remember our post last spring about our son’s fraternity brother, Weston Lee, who was killed in action.  This young man is sorely missed by his family and friends.  That’s an understatement, I know.  Now here’s the update — our son, Carter, is running the Publix Half Marathon on March 18th in memory of Weston with a GoFundMe and all money donated will benefit the University of North Georgia  scholarship in Weston’s memory.

The irony of this? Carter admittedly hates running, which he readily admits, and hopes to motivate others to keep Weston’s spirit and his dedication to service alive.  He knows Weston would be urging him on as he doggedly trains for this race.

Another reminder to cherish the time with your friends and family…

That’s what life is about, isn’t it? Connecting, making friends, having adventures together,   motivating each other to be your best self.

On a lighter note, preparations are underway for our son’s wedding in two weeks!  We’re motivated by love to host the rehearsal dinner for this wonderful couple, their supportive friends and family.  Casual, comfortable and special is the mantra for the evening with the Southern Crust food truck, table decor by Steve and more surprises.  Stay tuned for details!

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New Year’s Sale on ALL Holiday + More

Happy 2018 to all! Kick off the new year with a big sale, 70% off all holiday and more.  That’s right – 70% off ALL Holiday and more, now through Saturday, January 6th.

This includes discontinued patterns from Royal Crown Derby, April Cornell and more.  Call or email for details.

See you soon!

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As always, we’ve got our eyes on new products and trends, bringing you the best and latest in design and home.  Follow along on our blog and Instagram as we scope out AmericasMart and Maison et Objet this month.  Cheers to a fabulous month!

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“Black” Friday Shopping Fun

          Friday                                  noon – 5pm

#ShopSmall Saturday   10 – 4pm

Plus some of our fashion favorites are on sale…we hope you enjoy!

Burberry – Balmoral Packaway Hooded Shell Trench Coat – Black • Burberry • $795Bp. Foldover Crossbody Bag – Black • BP • $39
Women’s Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Stretch Ankle Skinny Jeans • Wit & Wisdom • $68
Women’s Sam Edelman ‘Penny’ Boot • Sam Edelman • $149.90
Women’s Michael Michael Kors Cowl Neck Sweater • MICHAEL Michael Kors • $58.96
Women’s Steve Madden ‘Ecentrcq’ Sneaker • Steve Madden • $59.95

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Have You Heard?

It’s our End of Season Sale this week with 20% off the entire store, special furniture pieces at deep discounts, a 75% off Table and lots more.  Spruce up your outdoor living space, office, home and don’t forget to stock up your Gift Closet!

Stop in soon or email us for details as we love to ship to our clients far and wide.

Quick look at some crazy deals on some amazing furniture pieces…

We look forward to seeing you at steve mckenzie’s, and bring a couple of friends because friends are fun!

 

#FlashbackFriday steve mckenzie’s edition…

We’re throwing it back a bit on this Friday, featuring some recent happenings here at steve mckenzie’s. As always, we’re beyond grateful when McKenzie Designs is featured or when the happenings here at the steve mckenzie’s showroom are brought into the limelight!

steve mckenzie’s appears TWICE in the April 2017 issue of House Beautiful!

That’s the Le Cadeaux “Havana” plate right in the center!

We are pinching ourselves here to have been featured two times in the most recent issue of one of our very favorite shelter publications, House Beautiful – especially to see Steve’s name in “The Experts” section!

McKenzie Designs “Bold, Bright and Beautiful” renovation featured on StyleBlueprint

Click here to check out the full feature of our recent Candler Park renovation and let us know which part is your favorite in the comments below. You won’t be surprised to learn that French Blue range from La Cornue was the top feature for us!

It’s a “Garden Party” in the April 2017 issue of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

We’re delighted to see our Jardin Extraordinaires collection by Gien in this absolutely gorgeous spread in the latest issue of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. This feature is putting us in the spirit of springtime!

You’re invited to our Spring Tea & Open House!

Last, but certainly not least, is our Spring Tea & Open House event at the steve mckenzie’s showroom this Wednesday. As you can see from the details above, it’s going to provide an extraordinary time! We hope you can join us – please share your RSVP with us by clicking here or on either of the event images.

Thank you for joining us on this little #FlashbackFriday of recent press and look ahead at what’s sure to be a pretty fantastic event! We hope to see you in the steve mckenzie’s showroom soon.

2017 Color of the Year + Selamat Designs = Greenery

So you’ve probably seen the Pantone Color of the Year ” Greenery” by now.  You might also be wondering how this zesty yellow-green shade applies to your surroundings, as you may not be ready to swap out all of your furniture.

Let us show you how to incorporate some home accessory items from Selamat Designs  in your home, re-vitalizing your palette, much like updating your wardrobe with a new trendy necklace or coat.

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Revitalize your home with shades of “Greenery”!

Visit the showroom or email us for more details.  Looking for more assistance with your interiors?  McKenzie Interior Design is at your service!

Have a wonderfully fresh week!

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide: Fabulous Book Roundup!

Instead of doing a general holiday gift guide for our readers as we’ve done in the past, this time around we’re focusing on fabulous books for everyone on your list! After all, who doesn’t love a good (or beautiful) book?!? Even if your loved ones aren’t avid readers, we promise there’s a wonderful read out there they’ll love to receive!

book gift guide

As you probably know, from our “Library Friday” posts, we’re book fans around here. Although those posts generally feature reads focused on art and design, we’re also fans of beautiful and informational cookbooks, so this list includes some fantastic finds for the foodies in your life too. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite books we think will be top gifts for everyone on your list this year – and here’s the best part… They’re all in stock and ready to be gift wrapped at steve mckenzie’s:

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My Stylish French GirlfriendsMeet 20 beautiful, creative French women who live with passion; work every day; and love to take care ot their homes and families. Visit them in their grand chateaux or charming little country cottages or Parisian apartments. Learn where they shop, where they work, where they play, how they dress, and how they entertain. Absorb each girlfriend’s style and joie de vivre.” This will be a favorite gift your best girlfriends will absolutely adore!

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The Night Before Christmas in The South/Paris – Join Santa and Mrs. Clause on alternative “night before” adventures to two of our personal favorite locales… South of the Mason-Dixon line and Paris! Each of these is less than $10 and would make an ideal gift for a teacher, friend, hairdresser – even your postman or postwoman would delight in these fun reads!

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“All Aboard” books – “This board book series written by the husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers and illustrated by Haily, celebrates the unique qualities of each city while employing a fun primer element to tell the story. A wonderful and cherished item in any little’s library, these books are as fun to look at as they are to read. And they offer wonderful inspiration for learning more about our world and all the wonderful places there are to visit!

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Monograms for the Home – “While monograms have a rich history going all the way back to the sixth century BC, they’re anything but outdated. Luscious photography and Whitman’s expressive writing peppered with quotes from etiquette experts shows that monogramming is still very much in vogue.” Monogramming… a way of life for some of us here in the South, this book explores the history of this beautiful art, as well as how they can be used in homes today. Include a beautifully monogrammed tea towel with this book and you have a gift that won’t soon be forgotten!

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Fifth Avenue Style – “In this gorgeously illustrated volume, Slatkin, an interior designer and founder of the iconic home-fragrance and lifestyle brand Slatkin & Co., opens the doors of his legendary Fifth Avenue apartment and invites readers to accompany him on an intimate tour.” We love this inside look at a seriously luxurious space located in NYC’s most prized location, but what we love even more are the practical tips shared on making spaces functional as well as lovely.

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In With The Old Peak of Chic blog author, Jennifer Boles, “presents a charming encyclopedia of 100 of the most stylish decorating details (chintz, striped walls, and orangeries) that were favored by the great tastemakers of the twentieth century. Best of all, Jennifer gives helpful tips on decorating with these traditional flourishes today.” If you enjoy Boles’ blog, you’ll love this book, which will be a perfect addition to just about anyone’s coffee table collection.

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Modern Mix – “In this richly illustrated style guide from an unabashed hoarder of all things beautiful, design editor and entertaining expert Eddie Ross reveals his insider secrets to creating exciting interiors, table settings and parties with chic and accessible finds that celebrate who you are and what you love.” We’ve shared this book on the blog before, and even held a book signing soiree with authors Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kochar, but this vibrantly styled book should be at the top of your list for anyone who enjoys searching for treasures for the home.

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Poolside with Slim Aarons – The timeless photographer, Slim Aarons is back, offering “images of jet-setters and the wealthy, of beautiful, glittering people living the glamorous life … The main character is pools and everything that goes with them—magnificent, suntanned bodies; well-oiled skin; bikini-clad women; yachts; summer cocktails; sumptuous buffets; spectacular locations; and most of all: fun.” Here at steve mckenzie’s we’re big fans of Slim Aarons photography and this stunning book does not disappoint. It would make an unbelievable gift for any of your loved ones whose favorite season is summer… Now they can enjoy it all year long!

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Fortuny Interiors – “Manufactured in Venice, Italy, textiles by Fortuny have borne the standard of quality and excellence for a hundred years. For walls, sofas, pillows, draperies, bed coverings, tablecloths, and even napkins, the sumptuous art of Fortuny textiles has been decorating old world and new world homes for generations.” Fortuny makes some of the most beautiful textiles available today, and in this gorgeous read you can see them in some of the interiors they grace. An ideal book for the artisan or interiors appreciator in your life.

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French Comfort Food – “Collected here are recipes from friends and acquaintances Hillary Davis has made while living in France, recipes handed down through the years as well as modern family remakes of the originals.” French. Comfort. Food. Need we say more? Literally anyone on your list will love this book, whether they’re gourmets or just enjoy looking and salivating over amazing food creations.

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Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables – “Building on their reputation as James Beard Award winners, Dupree and Graubart have excerpted their best vegetable recipes (plus added some new ones) in this timely collection.” A wonderful addition to any southerner’s cookbook library, we love that this book is organized alphabetically by vegetable and offers the basics of cooking each one, along with both new and classic preparations.

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Shrimp & Grits Cookbook – “Nathalie Dupree was ahead of the curve eight years ago with her classic book Shrimp and Grits. Now this Lowcountry comfort combo is found on restaurant menus all around the country―from top to bottom, coast to coast. All-new photography, new recipes from southern chefs, and a fresh design revamp a southern food cookbook for gift giving or one’s own kitchen library.” A revised edition of a staple in any southern kitchen library, this book would be a wonderful gift to newlyweds, or someone wanting to get to the heart of this classic southern coastal dish.

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Sweet & Vicious: Baking with Attitude – “An irreverent cookbook filled with inventive recipes for baking that deliver a punch.” A gift for any eccentric in your life who enjoys a unique sweet now and then. This is a fun cookbook, which could even inspire someone to start baking!

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The French Cook: Soups and Stews – “Holly Herrick loves France and French cooking. And in this cookbook (her third in The French Cook series), she jumps into bowl after bowl of glorious French soups with inspired abandon and a generous dose of classical technique.” A great book for any mother – or mother at heart – who enjoys bringing her family together around food. Is there any other food that brings folks to the kitchen like soups and stews?! We think not.

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The French Cook: Cream Puffs and Eclairs – “Classically French trained author Holly Herrick dips into the marvelously versatile world of choux pastry, or pâte à choux. The buttery, nutty, even-flavor of this dough invites myriad flavors, in both sweet and savory categories and in many shapes – cream puffs, éclairs, rings, and more.” For the decidedly more advanced foodie in your life, this is one glamorous and appetite inspiring cookbook will encourage them to try something new. And, who knows, perhaps they’ll share their trials from this book with you!

After that book gift guide roundup can you tell we enjoy just about anything and everything French and Paris?!? But truly, there are some seriously wonderful books on this list, which have the potential to inspire travel, decor, art and so much more! Tell us, what’s your favorite book you’ve ever been gifted?

And don’t forget, we do complimentary gift wrapping in store, so stop in and put a BIG dent in your gift list with some fabulous books!

Shop Small & SAVE all day Friday & Saturday!

This weekend, forgo the crazy mall traffic, and support your local community by shopping the small businesses in your neighborhood! After all, November 28th is Small Business Saturday…

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To celebrate ad thank you for your support, steve mckenzie’s is offering shoppers special savings this Friday and Saturday ONLY:

15% off a purchase of $100 or more
20% off a purchase of $200 or more
30% off a purchase of $300 or more

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Our shelves are stocked with all kinds of special gifts, books and home accessories and more for you to save BIG on this weekend! Come on in and see for yourself why Atlanta Magazine voted steve mckenzie’s “Best Home Accessories” for 2015.

Our Top 6 Favorite Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Head’s up – Mother’s Day is just around the corner… In fact, it’s exactly nine days away, on Sunday, May 10th!

If you’re looking for a little gift inspiration, we’re here for you. Here’s our rundown of six fantastic Mother’s Day gifts to give the special mother (or in some cases mothers) in your life:

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A beautiful, one-of-a-kind picture frame, complete with a picture of her favorite child!

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photo by Nicole Sloan

A fantastically scented, handmade candle – and how about some bubble bath and a sponge to accompany it, so she’ll be ready for a relaxing bath?!?

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photo by Nicole Sloan

These sweet Blenko glass carafes are ideal for all sorts of uses… A small vase (presented on her breakfast-in-bed tray), a bedside water pitcher, or just a pretty sun catcher on a windowsill.

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Here’s a great idea… Gift her with a book as beautiful as her! Beauty Everyday is choc full of stunning images of homes and gardens throughout the south and is currently 20% off at steve mckenzie’s!

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photo by Nicole Sloan
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photo by Nicole Sloan

No mother will be disappointed with a piece of handcrafted jewelry – especially when you tell her it’s as unique as she is!

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These custom state flower artworks will help to bring out her sentimental side. Consider pulling a grouping together and include the state she was born in, the state(s) where her children were born, and the state in which she currently resides. These will tell a beautiful story!

***Bonus gift ideas – here are some thoughtful gifts you can create for mom yourself:

  • Plant a Potted Flower/Herb Garden
  • Author a Thoughtful Poem
  • Create a Book Full of Favorite Family Recipes

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to gift the special mother(s) in your life with something equally as special for her. And to all the moms out there, happy Mother’s Day!