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Tianna Faulkner

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A traumatic injury inspired this Atlanta doctor to create Abraza Skin Studio

Abraza Skin Studio Atlanta
Natasha Welch

Photograph courtesy of Abraza Skin Studio

Eleven years ago, a tragic birthday trip forever changed Dr. Natasha Welch’s life. While on vacation in St. Croix, she was in a near fatal car accident, suffering severe trauma to her face and body. Thrown through the windshield, her nose, eyelid, and left eyebrow were all displaced. Multiple plastic surgeries and procedures followed, including laser treatments, microneedling for scar revision, microblading for brow touchup, Botox, and platelet-rich plasma for a thinning hair line.

A nurse practitioner with a doctorate in nursing practice, Welch had formerly specialized in cardiology and emergency medicine. But her obsession with minimizing hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and scarring during her own recovery led her to focus on skin care. She says her “aha moment” came when she saw how much having her missing left eyebrow permanently tattooed did for her self-esteem.

In August 2017, she opened Abraza Skin Studio in Buckhead and launched a skin-care line. Abraza is Spanish for “to embrace.” Dr. Welch urges clients to accept their natural beauty and imperfections. “What you see in a magazine doesn’t define your beauty,” she explains. “When we see women in mainstream media on TV or in publications, the everyday woman usually doesn’t look like them. I want to offer services that enhance a woman’s natural beauty and make her feel beautiful.”

The salon offers a variety of services, including hydrafacials, hair restoration, anti-aging injectables, permanent makeup micro blading, vampire facials (a treatment using plasma for skin rejuvenation instead of fillers), micro needling, and areaola tattooing. Welch also practices palliative care and hospice. Her medical-grade, plant-based skin-care products range from $33 to $122, avoiding potentially harmful ingredients like parabins and sulfates.

Atlanta’s Sweet Grass Weddings specializes in a growing trend: tiny weddings

Sweet Grass Weddings

Weddings made easy

Their own elopement on an overlook off Blue Ridge Parkway inspired Anna and Justin Holladay to launch an event-planning service that specializes in tiny weddings—a growing trend that’s caught the notice of the Knot and the Wall Street Journal.

The couple launched Sweet Grass Weddings in 2015. Now, they facilitate smaller nuptials, where the guest count is usually fewer than 30. To date, they’ve planned 75 weddings, 35 percent of which have been elopements—which are not so much secret as small. Venues have ranged from the Biltmore in Midtown to Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest point.

After a brief consultation, the planners use their clients’ style preferences and ceremony choices to design, plan, and coordinate the occasion. “We do everything for the couple,” says Anna. “All you have to do is show up.” Packages start as low as $1,500.

Why do you need a planner for such a small event? “There’s so much emotion that it actually is kind of hard to plan a wedding, even if it’s just you and your guy going down to the courthouse,” she says. “It’s a trying time. Things are running hot.”

Ivy & Aster

In other Atlanta wedding news . . .

Eulyn Hufkie is building on her seamstress grandmother’s legacy in South Africa. Known for costume design (she did six seasons of The Walking Dead), she got into bridal when a friend married. “Believe it or not, I love making pretty dresses,” Hufkie says. She likes to dress entire wedding parties and, inspired by her own wife and business partner, enjoys menswear style, too.

Ivy & Aster, an internationally distributed bridal label started in 2010, launched IxA last spring and added to the collection for 2019. “Ivy and Aster has always focused on romance and vintage,” says founder and designer Jessica Mason Brown. “IxA addresses the same strong, independent female.” But it also features pared-down, modern lines and comfortable fabrics.

This article appears in our May 2019 issue.

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