Jun 082015

Feels like balance

I had intended to blog at least once a month and have found my intentions are weak at best. Not because I am lazy or undisciplined, but because I have a business that requires most of my time and a family who does as well. There’s that icky problem of balance once again. It is something we all seem to chase after and sometimes, in sporadic moments, achieve it. I always visualize the juggler with too many balls in the air or the spinning plates whirling on top of sticks…you young ones more than likely can’t picture the latter…showing my age :)
Being a perfectionist at heart creates a dilemma when it comes to balance. I still get caught up in the “If I want it done right I have to do it myself” mentality. Of course I have learned to delegate more lately with only a small amount of angst.
The details of my floral design will always take precedence over outside pressures as I have a reputation to maintain and clients who are counting on me to WOW them. In the wedding industry there aren’t any “do overs”!
My name is attached to every single blossom I present and it has to be gorgeous.
I am still thrilled to be following my dreams, and working with flowers is definitely my passion.
I have been intentional as the years marched on with taking time off to be with my family and not miss important milestones with my kids. Of course every once in awhile it happens and the Mommy guilt kicks right in and cuts deep.
All I know about balance is it is something I am constantly running towards. If I happen to catch it, keeping it is almost impossible.
That’s all my thoughts for now…no promises that I will be here more often just acknowledging I have been amiss for quite awhile.
Love the one you’re with and be thankful for another day!

Oct 272014

It has been so very long since I have blogged! Thankfully, my wedding and event business has kept me so busy it’s been almost impossible to do anything else but take extra special care of my brides!

Recently, I collaborated on a styled shoot and open house to market a gorgeous new venue in North Georgia called 2400 On The River. Styled by the uber creative Blue Eyed Yonder, and shot by an incredibly talented professional, Vue Photography, gave way to landing in one of the publications I have had  on my bucket list..Weddings Unveiled!

I recall the afternoon I received the images in my Dropbox file and truly wept with satisfaction and pure joy!

Designing usually  comes from a vision in my head which hopefully will transpose through the eyes of the client or  the lens of the photographer. When it happens, it is MAGICAL!!!! Most of us as professionals constantly reach for  higher goals for ourselves. Learning anything and everything new in my industry is not only exciting, but definitely challenging. The day I am unable to learn anything else is the day I lay down my flower cutters and walk away. I always want to remain teachable and open to the next new thing. The professionals in my circle are so very generous with their knowledge and talents, which is ever so refreshing in comparison to other groups I have come in contact with throughout my 14 years of creating. There is more than plenty of work to keep all of us busy and succeeding! I don’t see my peers as competition, but as companions on a similar journey. Some days they reach back and pull me forward and other days I do that for them. Kindness in this crazy business is like food for the hungry…completely necessary!!

I love what I do and do what I love ….following my passion is not only a blessing, but the reason I enjoy my work and all of my clients so very much! I am humbled and honored for this feature in Weddings Unveiled Fall 2014 publication! Once again I learn that hard work and perseverance does pay off!!












Jan 312014


If you have been a fan of Gertie Mae’s from the beginning  you know the business has continued to change and evolve.  I am truly excited to announce another new adventure! Gertie Mae’s Floral Studio will be joining forces with Atlanta Made in the Westside Provisons District of the city. I will be creating gorgeous bouquets and designs onsite all day, February 14th, which can be coupled with locally made artisan gifts from the Atlanta Made showroom. Hence creating an easy, you have “NO Excuse” environment for sweetheart shopping!  This will be  a festive event supporting locally made and  small businesses, while making it ever so easy to get it all done in one location!   Also featuring Yours Is the Earth and Charlotte Lane

For more information and to reserve your flowers click on this link  http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d9b15b197492b29e475737e46&id=8156c84536


*cash and carry along with credit card service

*pick up only

Can’t wait to see you there!!




Nov 182013

Where did the time go is so cliche’ but completely relevant to me at this moment. The last post I made was in June…what?? Thankfully wedding season was completely crazy-busy and is still going strong, thus my excuse for not writing. I do believe as I grow older the clock runs faster. I just marked my tenth year in business and so much has  evolved for Gertie Mae’s since the early days. I am completely thankful for the opportunities that continue to come my way  enabling  me to remain in business and be successful. I have worked kind of hard too! :)

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

Gertie Mae's 2003

Gertie Mae’s 2003


When I opened my original store front, my children were in the  first and fourth grade. My oldest  is a sophomore in college now and her younger brother is a Jr. in high school. In the afternoons, they used to ride the school bus downtown into the historic square and walk along the businesses greeting all the shop keepers on their way to Gertie Mae’s, their mama’s shop. So much time has passed since then and now. My oldest, Grace, is part of my staff working weddings with me.  I wasn’t sure how well that would go…you Mom’s with daughters know what I mean…she amazed me with her hard work and attention to detail! I am not sure if I would ever drive again or make a call without her. She constantly keeps track of my keys and my cell phone when we are on site for a wedding set up….I know you can relate!

Little Gracie...see her?

Little Gracie…see her?


Recently we worked a wedding where three of the main vendors all had their child working along side of them. I am not sure that happens as much now, as it did for past generations, but it made me smile!  The time spent together, even if we are working, is precious and I cherish it more now since she  is away at college. My son was added to the delivery team for Valentine’s and Mother’s day this year. He’s not available much  for “wedding schlepping” as he plays soccer and his games are usually on Saturdays. His work ethic is awesome too and his care for each design in the delivery process is meticulous. Cooper will be great for some of our photo shoots very soon!

All grown up

All grown up

The heaviest part of the season is winding down, along with the year, as the  bareness of winter sets in.  Memories made so quickly while time flashes by. I am finally at the age where the slow march of time has become a full on sprint. Each moment counts, each experience is precious, and to be completely trite, I continue to remind myself, to stop and smell the roses. Linger there and take the fragrance in thoroughly and completely….let it permeate my memory…for I know not when I will have that opportunity again.

Taking a moment Buffy Dekmar Photography

Taking a moment
Buffy Dekmar Photography

It’s gratitude month….just  simply grateful to be alive!

Happy Thanksgiving folks…yes that’s early, but I know in a blink it will be here!




Jun 072013

I was so honored to be a part of this styled shoot and even more elated to have it featured on Style Me Pretty!!! Thanks so much to our fabulous photographer Paige Jones and  the creative mind of Kristine Cholakian from  Simply Charming Socials for their amazing talents. So many artistic  professionals made this come to life. The images have been back for sooo long, but having submitted them, we couldn’t share a single one!  One more big  THANK YOU to Style Me Pretty for the platform…..please go to the link below for more eye candy and all the info on the collaborators!

Photography-Paige Jones

Photography-Paige Jones

“Escort Wall”

Escort Wall-concept from Kristine with Simply Charming Socials- photography Paige Jones

Escort Wall-concept and design  from Kristine Cholakian with Simply Charming Socials -Photography Paige Jones

Had fun with this bouquet!

Photography-Paige Jones

Photography-Paige Jones

Here is the link….


Happy Friday…I am still smiling from Thursday!


Jun 042013

Oh Happy Day …another progressive blog brought to you by the Chapel Designers, a group of floral artists founded by the ever so talented and generous Holly Chappel! We have come together today to bring you beautiful images and ideas for your aisle flowers, also known as pew markers. I am featuring a few of my own and then head on down to the links below  for more lovelies!

Jar full on shepherd's hook

Jar full on shepherd’s hook



Grapevine wreath, sunflowers, and Fall leaves-Vineyard wedding

Grapevine wreath, sunflowers, and Fall leaves-Vineyard wedding


Mountain top wedding -wood stumps with vessels of flowers-Achor and Eden Photography

Mountain top wedding -wood stumps with vessels of flowers-Achor and Eden Photography








Affair with George


Colonial House of Flowers http://colonialhouseofflowers.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/wedding-aisles/

Celebration Florals http://bit.ly/18HYVQF

Fleur:ology http://fleurologydesign.com/?p=795

Posh Floral Designs www.poshfloral.com/posh-aisle-decor






Until next time….






Apr 292013

I am thrilled to be a part of the Chapel Designers group and today we are offering up a progressive blog featuring favorite bouquets from talented designers across this nation. We all met in NYC for the Chapel Designers Conference, which was  started and nurtured by the one and only Holly Chappel. I can’t wait to see all of my new friends again in NYC next year!! So here are three of my latest favorites…my favorites list changes so quickly as I am lucky to have  the opportunity to create bouquets on a weekly basis for my brides…each with unique personalities…but for today…these are my three favorites!

Haley Sheffield Photography

Haley Sheffield Photography

This sweet bouquet was created just last week with several of my favorite elements…Passion Flower vine, Coral Charm Peonies, and several shades of Ranunculus. I love loose, organic styled flowers.

Next Bouquet…..


Haley Sheffield Photography

Haley Sheffield Photography

This bouquet was created for one of my dear “friendors”, Jamie Jimenez, owner of Julias Poppies. She is the talent behind my logo and website design. She requested some of the elements and asked for it to be “Big”. I think that was achieved! Several of the blossoms included Fritillaria, Patience garden roses, Pieris Japonica, and Jasmine vine. This wedding will be featured in print December of 2013.

Third and final choice…..

Laura Deas Photography

Laura Deas Photography

I loved this bouquet even though it wasn’t as wild and woolly as my typical look…the colors, the feminine feel, the softness….the combination of the Sarah Bernhardt Peony, the mini green Hydrangea, and the stunner in the foreground,Ornithogalum Dubium, made this lovely spring bouquet  a breath of fresh air!

Please continue on this progressive blog by going to each of the links below….links to my Chaple Designer family members…some of the most talented floral artists in the industry!





Holly Heider Chapple Flowers LTD: http://thefullbouquetblog.com/?p=25873

Celebration Florals:  http://bit.ly/11Bc48t

Gertie Maes: http://www.gertiemaes.com/blog/

Soiree Floral: http://blog.soireefloral.com/

Colonial House: http://colonialhouseofflowers.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/bouquets/

Stacy K Floral: http://www.stacykfloral.com/blog2/?p=4489

Wild Bunch Studio: http://wildbunchstudio.blogspot.com

Passionflower: http://www.passionflowerevents.com/main/blog.jsp

Alicia Jayne Florals:  http://aliciajayneflorals.com/blog/?p=162

Goodness-Gracious! Florals: http://tulipiere.com/2013/04/29/46/

Urban Petals: http://myurbanpetals.wordpress.com/?p=3233

FloressenceFlowers: http://floressenceflowers.blogspot.com/2013/04/my-favorite-bridal-bouquets.html

On Butterfly Wings:  http://onbutterflywingsblog.com/?p=356

Fleur:ology : http://fleurologydesign.com/?p=721

Alluring Blooms: http://alluringblooms.com/chapelbouquet/.html

Posh Floral Designs: http://poshfloral.com/memory-monday-favorite-bouquets

Francoise Weeks: http://francoiseweeks.com/2013/04/bouquets-2/

Exquisite Designs http://www.exqdesigns.com/blog/?p=2225

Sherwood Design and Events: http://www.sherwooddesignandevents.com/a-few-of-our-favorite-bouquets-and-meet-our-friends/

Courtenay Lambert Florals, Weddings, and Events: http://courtenaylambert.blogspot.com/2013/04/bouquets-with-chapel-designers.html

Affair With George: http://www.affairwithgeorge.com.au/blog/?p=80



Happy Monday!





Mar 252013

OMG!!!  I just returned from the most incredible journey…I know that title  has been used before, but it was!! Long story short I met Holly Chappel through twitter conversations about the floral industry and found myself headed to NYC for a conference with The Chapel Designers! I hadn’t been to the city in almost 25 years and was thrilled to be going!

The itinerary was packed full along with some last-minute surprises and offered us the opportunity to spend time with the best of the best in our industry!! If you want to see all that we did and each days photos /videos, you can get access to that on Holly’s blog   here http://thefullbouquetblog.com/

a.k.a."Flower Mama"

a.k.a.”Flower Mama”

We were treated to a trip to David Beahm’s Studio/warehouse where we spent the day learning and styling with David, along with the infamous Karen Tran.

The most gracious man and me!

The most gracious man and me!

The exquisite Karen Tran

The exquisite Karen Tran

We all shared a recipe for a bouquet and amazingly enough there were 65 different versions of the same flowers! We CAN reach out and help each other…we are all unique in our own ways!

Too many bridesmaids!!

Too many bridesmaids!!

The next day we were toured through Martha Stewart’s empire with none other than Naomi DeManana and had lunch and styling instruction with Ariella Chezar…does it get any better?! Oh yeah…lunch and instruction was held on the rooftop of our hotel overlooking Manhattan!! WOW!

No photos past here!

No photos past here!

A few other perks were guest speakers Abby Larson creator of Style Me Pretty and Anne Chertoff  social media guru! I was able to meet some of my mentors I follow on Facebook which was wonderful…Francoise Weeks the infamous woodland designer , along with the creators of Flirty Fleurs and Bare Root Flora!! It was kind of like a young boy getting to meet his major league baseball heroes…these floral friends are major league!   I will definitely be making the trip annually to experience all the gifts from the celebrity talents, but most of all I want to spend time with my new-found family of Chapel Designers…giving, selfless, loving artists who are willing to share fearlessly with one another!!

I will cherish the memories from this conference for a very long time!


Feb 222013
nw2013 badge

I feel like a child anxiously waiting for Christmas morning to arrive. I LOVE being a part of The NotWedding!! This will be my third rodeo with them and sadly, my final one for awhile….bittersweet….I have benefitted from the exposure and vendor networking beyond my wildest dreams!!  My business has soared to the heavens since making the first trepidatious decision and financial investment to join the team for my very first one in July of 2011. Participating was the single best business decision I have made to date. Several of us compare it to summer camp… seeing each other again after being apart, with a comradery that is irreplaceable! The squeals of excitement upon seeing one another continue throughout our set up. Helping each other with install or lending some supplies are common practice within The NotWedding team.

So many friendships for me and connections in the wedding and event industry were birthed there. I have the joy of being involved in a community of “friendors” that love and support one another genuinely and generously. Even other professionals that design florals…we bounce things off each other, refer each other, and hang out together!

This is a very unique and special group of people and one I am proud to have been a part of…I call this one my “graduation” and will continue to support the event as a guest and as one of their biggest fans!!

Kuddos to Callie Murray and Michal Whitlock for their vision, belief in marriage, and the support of small business owners! Thank you for choosing me the first time and believing in me!

So much NotWedding LOVE here!! xoxoxo

This is a must attend event on the 2013 calendar!

Click the link below…Video by White Dress Media…my first NotWedding…I am partial to this one!


The NotWedding 2011




Feb 092013

Here it is almost Valentine’s Day 2013 and the last time I was here blogging was right before Christmas. I wasn’t aware that so much time had lapsed, as I have been trying to keep up with the whole world getting engaged recently! Literally, and you can ask my industry buddies…everyone got engaged all at once for a wedding in 2013! I didn’t realize either that there existed companies that blog for you…really?? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? It was brought to my attention through a solicitation email that slipped past my firewall…..have you ever seen one of those?? I can only imagine it is quite intimidating to those spammy messages! Anyway, this blog company that was soliciting and spamming me all at the same time, then added a dose of  shame on  me about how long ago I had actually blogged. I have plenty of issues with guilt, shame, etc. on my very own and I really don’t need some cybespace entity adding to the heap! I have been very busy attending to my future brides and their desires, putting all else, including my “blogsta” skills on hold.



Mental image of a Firewall!

Mental image of a Firewall!


"Secret Blogging" Police?

“Secret Blogging” Police?



So I gather that there is actually a blog monitor out there that gets paid to read our blogs and report if we fall behind. Resembling something such as  a secret police….The “Secret Blogging” Police! I wonder what their uniforms look like? Or maybe they are computerized robots following our blogs….are we in the Matrix?  It must be that the monitors report to the police and the police report to the company that writes blogs for other people and that’s where the shameful, spammy email comes from. Did you follow me on that?  The blogger writing company that has hired the “Secret Blogging” Police after receiving the damning evidence,   reaches out to those of us who are not as competent as other bloggers and calls us out on our slackyness!  Thus this “call out” of sorts should entice me  to hire the nebulous cyber-bully who has just shamed me, to write my inner most personal thoughts on my  site as if he/she was me  writing it and then pay him/her  for it…really?? Absurd!

I will write again soon when I am so moved…this was most fun as it really is quite ridiculous that such jobs exist….

Hope you are treated ever so well on Valentine’s Day which in turn will give you something to blog about!! :)