Invite design by Sage Paper Co.

Invite design by Sage Paper Co.

You are invited to join us for an evening of yummy food, corn hole, sweet conversation, and tons of surprises at our first ever Summer Bash at the Merrimon-Wynne House in Raleigh, NC on June 23rd!

We want to see you and all of your creative friends there. Why? Because we truly believe that the best connections and conversations happen over a glass of spiked peach sweet tea lemonade :)

You have TWO options!

Snag an all-inclusive ticket (limited availability!) and join us at 5:00 for check-in and then at 5:30 to begin two 30 minute mini-sessions of your choosing! This is a great option if you want a taste of the TSOS experience, desire to grow your business and knowledge, or want to try something new with friends!

After a full hour of a few surprises and a lot learning, we'll head to the lawn for a night of meeting new friends at the cocktail party! Our class list includes:

Hands-On Flat Styling
with Kaitlin Holland of The School of Styling

Brush Calligraphy
with Alexa Behar of Sage Paper Co.
*1 hour session

Collaborating, Networking & Brand Partnerships
with Lauren Hooker of Elle & Co.

What Makes an Image Great
with Perry Vaile

Can't join us for the classroom sessions? No problem!

We have a limited amount of cocktail party tickets available! Join us from 6:30-8:30 for a night of yummy food, great conversation, and tons of summer fun!

To give you a taste of just how sweet this party will be, here are a list of some of our amazing party sponsors:

Sugar Euphoria
Paisley & Jade
Oh To Be Happy
From Sir with Love


We will also have some AMAZING giveaways that you will have the opportunity to win throughout the night! Here's just a few:

Moon & Lola
Kendra Scott
Marigold & Grey

Tickets will be available for purchase next Tuesday - mark your calendars! 

We hope to see you and your friends at the Merrimon-Wynne House on Thursday, June 23rd!



Outdoor Wedding Reception Tablescape Inspiration. The School of Styling - How to Style a Beautiful Table. Photo by Maria Lamb.

Kaleb Norman James is the founder of Kaleb Norman James Design, a full service event design firm that specializes in wedding planning, floral design and event decor. Today he shares his top four tips on how to style a beautiful table!

Whether you are throwing a fancy dinner party for a few close friends or you are designing a wedding for a client, knowing how to style a table is a must-have skill.  And more than it being a great skill to have in your back pocket, it is so satisfying being able to create something beautiful!  The reason for making a table look amazing goes beyond getting a positive crowd reaction.  When we style a table, we want each person to gain an experience where they feel like they are important enough to be treated like royalty.  This means that the small details are the most important ones.  And often times are the things that make a person feel most loved.

Before talking about the actual process of styling a table, we always come up with a theme and color palette.  This will be helpful for you in the occasion that you are stumped on which piece of decor you should use or which flower choice you should go with.  You can always come back to the original theme and color scheme, which will give you a seamless design.  It is important that all elements of your table flow together.  This doesn’t mean you are prohibited to mix and match!  But, be mindful of the style of things that you are putting together.  In order to successfully relay to your guest what theme you are going for, things need to coincide with each other.

We will break it down into four main components that are necessary pieces in creating a stunning tablescape.


First of all, take into account the setting you are designing in. Are you designing al-fresco, for an outdoor patio, or are you in a formal dining room? Are you working with a rustic, exposed wood table or something more elegant with a floor-length linen? These pieces are the foundation of what you are building off of and should ultimately set the tone for your theme and color palette. You want the decorative pieces you add to your table flow, so it feels consistent and intentional.

In our world, flowers are a key piece in creating a tablescape.  It is such a natural decoration that brings life to the table. One of the things we like to create is some sort of floral arrangement that goes down the center of the table.  This makes a natural divider between the two sides and also makes the table look more complete. If you want a table to look lush and full, have your arrangements set between each of the place settings across from each other. So for a table of 8, you’d have 4 mini arrangements down the center, in between each set of plates. We love adding different heights to our centerpieces. It gives a nice contrast that especially looks brilliant in pictures. Put together a few shorter flower arrangements, paired with tall candle sticks interspersed throughout and you have your first part finished!


The second key component are your place settings. We have a serious addiction to incredible plates and chargers here at KNJ. There is something about a stunning tiered stack of plates, mixed with unique glasses and a custom menu card that just gets us excited. We like to add a personal touch to each person’s seat, whether that be as simple as a hand written place card or as detailed as their favorite treat. This small gesture shows that you thought of them amidst creating this space.  

To break down what we think a top notch place setting includes, we will start with chargers.  A lot of people underestimate the beauty of a charger. This is the larger plate that your dinner plate actually sits on. Chargers can make even a simple white plate look fancy!  Next we have the dinner plate. Depending on your color scheme, find a fun patterned plate that will make the table pop!  Since every seat has a charger and plate, you want to make sure that the design of them is the main color in your palette, due to the fact that there are so many of them.  To top off your plate, finish it with a folded napkin and a menu card. The menu card should always make a great statement and match well with whatever piece makes the loudest statement. If you have a bold color in your dinner plate, re-introduce that color in the menu card. If your napkin has a floral pattern, have your menu card tie in the same colors. Nothing should compete with each other, but rather enhance it.


One final piece you will need for your place setting is your flatware and glassware. Don’t let your mind be fooled in thinking that coordinating your theme stops at the flowers or chargers.  Even your flatware and glassware have the potential to complement the rest of your table. Our personal favorite for flatware is going with something that is different than the usual silverware you have at home. Flatware can be so boring and typical. We love using mismatched vintage silver, or finding more ornate pieces with pearl handles or wood accents. These add character and charm in an unexpected way. Next we have glassware. Glassware is really fun to play around with! We are always a fan of mixing different types. Our recommendation for finding these gems is looking high and low at your local antique shop, or even browse through places such as eBay. We’ve found some of our favorite pieces that way. We love it when we come up to a table and every setting is cohesive, but features mixed-and-matched elements. It’s like each guest is sitting down to their own piece of art, and it causes your guests to take the time to look at each place and take in the entire design.

Overall, a well designed table really comes down to how you choose to pair the items you have available. Make sure you combine pieces that make a bold statement with items that don’t overwhelm the design. If you wanted vibrant plates, we recommend choosing a softer toned tablecloth. If your plates and chargers are on the muted side, this makes room for the tablecloth to have more color or a fun pattern. Don’t be afraid to throw in some personal elements and play to your guests. They’ll love that and remember the efforts.

We hope that these tips are helpful for styling your next tablescape! Remember, it is so much more than pulling off an incredible event or well put together table. Your friends, clients and guests are going to feel so loved by the time and thought you put into the design and style of your table.  

Happy styling! We love hearing the style and ideas that other people have. Comment below with your favorite style of table or your next event that you are designing!


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Wedding floral arrangement inspiration. The School of Styling - Tips for Small Businesses. Photo by Maria Lamb.

Kaleb Norman James is the founder of Kaleb Norman James Design, a full service event design firm that specializes in wedding planning, floral design and event decor. After experiencing his own successes and trials in starting a small business, Kaleb shares today what he has learned and his tips for other entrepreneurs!

What if I ran my own business? This thought has crossed every person’s mind at one point in time. And for good reason! Owning your own small business is a lot of fun and has quite a few perks. There is also good reason for why people let that thought pass onto the abyss of their thought life: running a small business is hard work! And if you don’t have a strategic plan for how to start your business, there are very small chances that it will be able to thrive.

Now, by no means do we hold all of the answers! We have definitely messed up many times and learned the hard way of how not to do things. But those mess-ups have allowed us to grow as a business and become stronger. And the times that we have succeeded led us to receive the confidence to keep pushing forward! There are always little reminders along the way that let you know you are going to make it. At the end of the day, if you are stressed out of your mind, hating your life and wondering whose grand idea it was to make you start this whole business venture, you’re right there with the rest of us who own their own company. But if that feeling isn’t majorly outweighed by the love of pursuing what you’re passionate about, it’s probably a red flag that you shouldn’t continue. Not to say that at the first sign of stress you should drop everything and run. But the overall experience should be fulfilling. If it isn’t life-giving, you are not the only who is experiencing that because your clients will too. This ultimately leads you to an inability to gain clients which equates to your business hitting a roadblock, which adds only more to your stress levels already bursting at the seams.

Because the world doesn’t need more stressed out people, we wanted to share with you a few helpful tips that we think are key in getting your small business up and running (and thriving!).

Tip #1: Plan

First off, come up with a plan. This sounds pretty straight-forward, but you’d be surprised how many people skip this part. This plan should consist of a few things. Number one is a mission statement. What do you want your business to be founded off of? What do you want your business to accomplish? What do you believe in and how do you want that to effect your business? This is great when confronted with hard situations and as you begin to question things such as how to deal with that customer, what to put your money towards, how to handle conflict with an employee and how to use your time. If you already have something written down as the foundation, you can use that as a lens to help get you through whatever your current circumstance is.

The next piece of your business plan should be dreaming and coming up with goals. If you neglect this part, you will end up sitting in limbo and be heading in a purposeless direction.  Make a list of these goals and how you can practically accomplish them. List them out in order of reality. Which ones are able to be accomplished now? Which ones are not able to be accomplished until the first two are done? Which ones can’t happen until 10 years from now?  Realistic expectations are SO helpful. This helps you not feel disappointed when you have yet to reach a certain level, but wish you were already in that next stage. It is also huge in battling comparison with other businesses. If you are able to see yourself in the proper timeline of reality, you won’t get caught up in chasing your tail! And what I mean by that is you will spend time accomplishing the realistic goals which ultimately lead you to your dream goals, instead of putting time, money and effort into things that don’t actually allow you to spring forward to the next stage.

Tip #2: Budget

Small business tip number two is to come up with a budget. Budgeting is powerful. It actually brings freedom to your finances. I have heard a lot of people say that they feel confined by the boundaries of a budget, but I feel quite opposite! Knowing how much money there is to spend on specific things allows me to spend my business’ money on whatever I want. Once that “bucket” from let’s say, “New Inventory” runs out, then I will be done for the month until that “bucket” gets filled again. Not only does this make me not feel guilty about buying something nor leave me with anxiety about how much money is in the bank, I can confidently make a purchase and still accomplish my goals, which brings us back to the business plan. Majority of your goals are contingent off of you making money. But in order for you to make money, you have to make or produce something. In order for you to do that, you have to spend money.  But if you are spending money left and right, you can’t cover your costs, which ultimately leads you to being unable to move forward as a business. You might be able to make it for a little bit, but you will never get to the top unless you are wise with your finances. One of my goals was to hire an accountant because I hate handling the finances. But to do so, I had to prioritize those finances to accommodate bringing in someone to do it for me. Reaching this goal was a huge win because things were handled for me professionally, giving me major peace of mind, and I also got to spend my times and efforts focusing on the part of the business that I love - the creative side. It took self-control and determination, but has majorly paid off.

Tip #3: Boundaries

The final tip is to make healthy boundaries for yourself.  If you own a small business, it is normal to work out of your home. It is actually quite smart to run it from your home because it is a simple way to cut costs of renting a space. However, when working from home, work and home blend into one. It is very important to make a distinction between the two. Whether that be you only allow yourself to work on work in your office and when you leave the room, you are “off” of work, or maybe it means turning off your mail notifications on your phone after 5.  Maybe it is choosing one day of the week and not doing anything work-related. No checking emails, no taking calls, no sitting on your phone. But you make space for yourself to get refreshed. Your business is going to thrive if you as a person are thriving. Do whatever it takes for you and your family to thrive.  You will reap the benefits in the years to come, if you choose to be disciplined in the beginning stages.

Why not start today! It is never too late. Whether you are toying with the idea of starting your own business or you are 5 years deep, sit down and think about these areas of your business.  Come up with a business plan, set goals for yourself, steward your finances well and instill healthy boundaries for work and play.  And don’t forget to reward yourself every once in awhile as your goals are accomplished. Whether it’s something small, like an afternoon happy hour with your team or a trip to the spa after completing a long event. These add incentive and drive to your workflow, as well as help you remember that you are worth taking the time to feel appreciated.

From one small business owner to another, you’ve got this!  We want to see you make it!  We would love to hear what type of business ideas you have and the dreams that you want to make a reality!  Comment below with dreams, goals or questions about what step to take next in your business.


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