Category Archives: Food

Ashley & Nathan’s DIY wedding

Today, I am beyond honored to share the lovely DIY wedding of our good friends Nathan and Ashley. Now, if ever there was a soulmate couple to our own little twosome, this is “the one.” Made up of one part manly musician and outdoor enthusiast, and another part girly crafting extraordinaire, the newlywed Hilbish’s are the yin to our yang. I could sit and chat for hours with Ashley about this and that for the home. Her exceptional taste (no surprise, she works as an interior decorator for Curtains, Blinds and Bath locally) is one that I have come to rely on for bouncing ideas off of. And nothing showcases that taste better than her and her hubby’s wedding day.

Shot by the talented Colling Photography, this oh-so-special May event is just saturated in style and elegance. What I thought a lot of you would appreciate is that, while the wedding ceremony and reception look filled to the brim with exuberance, a large portion of it was created at the hands of Ashley and her family and friends.

Throughout the photos shown below, you’ll find thoughts and memories spoken straight from the bride herself. If you’re planning your own wedding this season, Ashley shares tons of valuable (and practical) advice for tackling the sometimes stressful planning stages. A full list of local event vendors is also included along with links at the end of the post. I hope you enjoy!

Nathan-Ashley-002

Nathan-Ashley-019

I never thought it would be so daunting to recollect a day that was literally just a month ago! Trying to remember your wedding day is like trying to remember your 5th birthday – You know it happened and lots of amazing people were there to share the experience with you, (and yes you have way better pictures from your wedding than your 5th birthday, unless your parents are photographers) but that’s about it! I’ve never been a “focus on me” type of girl, or so I think, so I was all about the details. I had so much fun planning my wedding with my maid-of-honor/sister and mother, it was like I wasn’t even doing it. Also, props to Pinterest because without it I would have been lost.

Nathan-Ashley-018

Nathan-Ashley-004

Nathan-Ashley-005

Nathan-Ashley-009

Nathan-Ashley-011

Nathan-Ashley-013

Nathan-Ashley-014

Nathan-Ashley-007

I really started planning everything like um … a month or two before! I’m a low to no stress type of person so I didn’t worry about stuff (but seriously, take Pilates it will help). I knew the wedding would happen no matter what and that it would be awesome because everyone I surrounded myself with was awesome. So what if I verified flowers a week before, or my caterer had something terribly tragic happen and we had to switch to someone brand new four weeks before. Just wait until you see the food. Yeah, it was awesome. You can be “that girl” who stresses over everything, but what’s the point? You make your vendors miserable AND yourself, along with everyone around you who wishes you were just eloping.

Nathan-Ashley-037

Nathan-Ashley-027

Nathan-Ashley-022

Nathan-Ashley-026

Nathan-Ashley-031

Nathan-Ashley-025

Nathan-Ashley-034

Nathan-Ashley-032

Nathan-Ashley-036

Nathan and I didn’t have any type of ideas to plan; well, frankly he didn’t care. We started out one way but as events fall into place, you can get a sense of direction on your true style. Don’t force it if it’s not meant to be, otherwise you’ll look back and you won’t even be reflected in it. Ours I think was relaxed, vintage-y, fun and personal. We had little details, from Nathan’s squirrel tie (yes, he loves squirrels and I thought why the heck not) and a group dance to break the ice prior to going down the aisle, to really cute things about us on the program to keep people entertained while they waited! It was fun to have fun doing everything, and I think it made it that much more special to the people involved because it made them know you really appreciated them as individuals. If you know your wedding party isn’t filled with “tux-loving” guys, don’t try to put them in one – They will just look super awkward in the pictures. Yes, my girls are girly in 3” designer heels and dresses from who knows where, and the guys were “the guys” with rolled up sleeves and Vans – It just worked together because we were all comfortable.

Nathan-Ashley-038

Nathan-Ashley-017

Nathan-Ashley-039

Nathan-Ashley-040

Nathan-Ashley-042

Nathan-Ashley-044

Nathan-Ashley-048

Nathan-Ashley-049

Nathan-Ashley-052

Nathan-Ashley-053

Nathan-Ashley-054

Nathan-Ashley-051

Nathan-Ashley-055

Nathan-Ashley-056

Nathan-Ashley-057

Nathan-Ashley-064

Nathan-Ashley-065

Nathan-Ashley-073

Nathan-Ashley-071

Nathan-Ashley-074

The best advice I received that every bride should remember is that it’s your wedding! People are going to ooh and ahh over things they find, and  they will bring you magazine clippings from 1999 that make no sense to your scheme, and email you 1,000 photos of dresses you hate with hints on what they “wish” you’d do (but that you actually want to gag over), or tell you how they did it at their wedding; but what you actually decide to do is a different story. I learned to breathe deep, smile, tell them how great their ideas were, and thank them for thinking of me. I only had one huge meltdown before truly embracing that advice, and then it was all groovy! Have fun with it, it’s your day and your adventure, so surround yourself with people you love and who like to have fun, because in the end it’s so great to stand back and still have all of those people around you laughing at how ridiculous you look in a group jumping picture. 

Photography: Colling Photography
Venue: Afton Mountain Vineyards
Flowers: Doyle’s Forist (Bloom)
Dress: Celebration Bridal
Hair: Bliss Salon
Catering: Cater This!
Cake: Willie Payne (former owner of Magnolia Foods)
Coordination: R.S. Exclusive
Entertainment: DJ Mendez of Mendez Music Academy

A Hilton Head Island Recap

I’m so thrilled to share a little bit of last week’s family vacation with you all today! I think that I’m juuuuust about to the point where looking through these photos of our beach house won’t make me break down into tears (slight exaggeration). As for the details, we again made our dozenth trip to Hilton Head Island this year, staying within the same plantation, going to the same grocery store, eating at the same restaurants and spending time at the same beach club that we always have. I know that some people would find that kind of repetition boring (my husband included, which I suspect is why he stayed behind), but my family and I are creatures of habit and enjoy creating a home-away-from-home feeling – which is exactly what we got.

And speaking of that physical home-away-from-home, welcome to our personal little oasis for those blissful 7 days…

IMG_7856

IMG_7861

IMG_7874

IMG_7593

IMG_7580

IMG_7718

IMG_7731

IMG_7760

IMG_7798

IMG_7782

IMG_7552

IMG_7553

IMG_7564

IMG_7570

IMG_7576

IMG_7609

IMG_7639

IMG_7649

IMG_7658

IMG_7676

IMG_7685

IMG_7692

IMG_7715

IMG_7804

IMG_7813

IMG_7820

IMG_7828

IMG_7835

IMG_7836

IMG_7873

IMG_7845

Although we’ve stayed in a handful of HHI homes, this was probably our favorite. Large open spaces, a feeling of separation without a feeling of having too MUCH space, a gorgeous pool and spa overlooking a lagoon and golf course (complete with resident alligator) – It really doesn’t get much better than that…Shout out to Destination Vacations for making this trip such an organized and comfortable success.

Since this post is already too long, I’ll hold off on sharing the spoils of our shopping while on the island. But get excited for a FULL Home Goods recap soon. We don’t have one in our home town, so it’s always a big treat to go in Hilton Head. In fact, we went twice!

Stay tuned.

DGD recipe // strawberry & banana smoothie

Like most women around this time of year, I’m a little fixated on getting the perfect “bikini body” – Although, who am I kidding…I haven’t worn a bikini in 3 years. It’s either a one piece or a baggy T-shirt for this gal. So let’s just say, I’m fixated on getting bathing suit ready. I even went so far as to join Weight Watchers in an attempt to turn things around. Although I lost about 7-ish pounds through the program, it more or less just taught me that I’m already eating well, I just need to exercise more. So I quit the diet…(and took up Zumba)

But one OTHER great thing I learned while on this little quest of mine was the glory of a morning smoothie. Quick, tasty and almost too good to be true Weight-Watchers-point-wise, I’m now addicted and can barely begin my day without one. That said, I thought it would be fun to share the recipe I’ve been using as well as the corresponding point balance in case any of you are loyal Weight Watchers members.

Smoothie

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:
5 frozen strawberries (0 points)
1/2 banana, sliced (0 points)
1/4 cup fat-free milk (1 point)
1/4 cup water (0 points)
1/2 cup crushed ice cubes (0 points)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (0 points)
1 tbsp. honey (2 points)
1 container Yoplait light peach yogurt (2 points)
.

Directions:
Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Makes 1 and 1/2 servings. (Total Weight Watcher’s Points: 5)

Enjoy!

P.S. We are coming home from the beach tomorrow…A sad sad day to be sure, but I’m glad to be coming back to reality and a routine. I can’t wait to share all of our adventures with you next week! Stay tuned…

“It Started With Yum” Blogging Exchange: Let’s make a pie!

Notice a little something different around these parts? Nope, You’re not crazy…DGD has undergone a little facelift in honor of its 2nd blogiversary!!! To celebrate the milestone, I’ll be back this afternoon with stats, talk of the future and a heartfelt thanks for all that you guys have allowed this blog to accomplish in the past 24 months. But first…

It’s that time again! Time for fellow blogger, Jessalyn (of It Started With Yum), and I to get together to exchange our own personal expertise with the other – It’s our little way of expanding our creativity into new realms, AND a good excuse for two friends to meet up and talk shop. In the past, our seasonal exchanges have consisted of shelf styling basics and DIY green cleaning solutions and, later on, DIY Christmas bunting flags made from holiday cards (hers|mine).

Here’s a photo of the two of us back in December because, of course, the one thing we FORGOT to do this particular trip was snap a photo. Before I jump into our collaboration, be sure to open a new tab with Jessalyn’s post explaining the basics of screen printing fabrics – My contribution to this fun blogging exchange of ours.

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 9.22.03 AM

When Jessalyn and I began to coordinate this trip (she and her husband live an hour away in Charlottesville, Virginia, thus the “coordination”) I immediately knew what I wanted her help with. I’ve never been much of a baker, preferring kitchen adventures like stir fries and pasta, but it was high time that I learned. My pastry of choice? Pie…

While the thought of pie alone sounds generally fantastic, Jessalyn took things one step further by suggesting strawberry pie. This was a whole new level of excitement. Is it just me, or does strawberry pie sound a bit exotic and unusual? Those little red berries happen to be my all time favorite variety (I eat them like chips, one after the other), so to say I was an enthusiastic student is an understatement – And Jessalyn’s tutorial did not dissapoint.

IMG_4931

Jessalyn’s Incredible Strawberry Pie

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup ice-cold water

Whisk together dry ingredients. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender/cutter, working your way around the bowl until the butter is incorporated as pea-sized dots into the dry ingredients – This is a great arm workout, as I discovered! Next, add the ice water slowly in portions, using the pastry blender to work it into the dough. Once it starts to stick together, dust the counter with flour and dump the dough out of the bowl to work. Gently knead it together into a ball, then divide in half with a knife. Wrapping each in plastic wrap, refrigerate for one hour. Keeps in fridge for 1 week; freezer, for longer.

Pie Filling:
6 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine pie filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir together to incorporate. Set the mixture aside and roll out one of the dough rolls, laying it across the bottom of a pie pan. Continue to stir the pie filling as you do this – The frozen fruit will start to thaw, which gives the sugar its chance to dissolve a bit.

Once the dough is laid out in the pan, dump the pie filling into the pan. Roll out the second dough ball and, using a floured rolling pin to transport, roll it out on top of the pan. Then use your fingers to fold the edges of the dough up and over one another, squeezing as you go to seal it. Poke a few holes into the top of the dough using a knife to allow for ventilation.

Place the pie pan on a baking sheet (used to catch overflow) and put it into the oven on a low rack. Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!

DSCF1401

DSCF1407

DSCF1409

DSCF1414

DSCF1418

DSCF1415

DSCF1438

DSCF1434

IMG_4872

Was it tasty? Oh, MY yes. The balsamic vinegar secret ingredient is the little POW that takes this pie from amazing to gone-in-five-minutes finger-lickin-good. Jessalyn sent me home with two pie dough rolls of my own and I ended up baking them right up at 9 pm. last night – All this pie talk has me ravenous, so I think I’m gonna go sneak a slice for breakfast. Don’t judge.

Before I sign off for the morning, here’s that link again so that you can check out Jessalyn’s post, all about how I taught her how to screen print. I was pretty new myself to this inking process, but managed to create something worth sharing AND showing off! Believe me, no one was more surprised than this gal.

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 9.21.07 AM

And don’t forget to come back this afternoon for a bonus post in honor of DGD’s 2nd birthday!

Peek-a-Boo {February/March 2013}

It’s high time we mix things up here on the blog. While I love me some consistency, publishing the same 3 features every Monday/Tuesday/Thursday can burn out even the best of us. Don’t get me wrong, I adore each in their own special way, but I think it’s time to digress just a TINY bit from the interior design talk. It’s time for you guys to get to know ME – You know, the gal who churns out 1,200 home focused words every weekday. One thing I’ve struggled with over the past two years of writing this blog is making sure that I set aside the shop talk for a bit and get real about my life. It may be hard to imagine, but I really DON’T think about DIY projects, painting rooms and rearranging furniture 24/7 – Sure, it’s about 80% of the time, but I do have other interests and priorities. Are you curious?

So in comes a new feature. No, it’s not going to be weekly. No, I’m not getting rid of “Pinspiration Monday,” “One Word” or “All in the details…” This tiny peek-a-boo into my life will only happen about once a month, but I needed a new outlet to share all of the none-house-related stuff with you. The events, the restaurants, the movies, books, coffee dates and (the 1,453,872) pet pictures.

Without further adieu, this is a peek into what our February and March looked like in Instagrams

Feb Mar 2013

1…Remember my “No Buying Clothes in 2013” resolution? Well I’m still going strong, although it’s been BEYOND tough with all of the spring fashions coming out to play in my favorite stores. One loophole I interjected was that family gifted ensembles were fair game, so my mom sweetly bought me this gorgeous floral dress perfect for job interviews and a friend’s wedding coming up in May. If I could wear it everyday, I would.

2…Back when I worked at the newspaper, I met a group of wild, crazy, change-your-life-forever girls. It was that kind of instantaneous group friendship where everyone had their own dynamic and it was impossible to stay out of each others’ business. Every day at work, you’d find us huddled around one of our desks gossiping and screeching over someone’s ex boyfriend’s new girlfriend on Facebook. Someone should have turned our lives into a sitcom, it was that ridiculous. But then our department was split up and each of us went our separate ways…One to Charlotte, one to Richmond, another to Texas and one more to New York. Another of us, Heidi, moved back to her hometown in Iowa, leaving myself and Alyssa (the resident Lynchburg-ers) here to miss what was. But over the weekend, Heidi made it back for a much-anticipated visit and we enjoyed a delicious brunch complete with catch up and, of course, gossip. I miss those ladies and our tenacious, powerful friendship…

3…While visiting the Charlotte transplant, Sarah, Alyssa and I enjoyed our very first taste of a macaroon. Admittedly, it’s so NOT what I expected, but I love the unique flavor and that tell-tale artful exterior. More please!

4…Speaking of sweets…That gorgeous little bowl of ice cream is actually a Waller family tradition. John and I are both lactose intolerant, so each week as an after-dinner treat we pick up a carton of dairy free ice cream and enjoy two scoops before bed. He takes his with a touch of chocolate syrup, I take mine with sprinkles and touch MORE chocolate syrup. It’s the perfect way to end the day.

5…This little sneak peek vignette is a little taste of a basement room redo we’re working on. I can’t wait to share details soon, but we’ve essentially transformed the basement into a swanky, white and black movie-watching, video-gaming oasis (I HATE the phrase “Man Cave,” but that’s essentially what it is). I love watching movies and TV with John, but hated the mismatched furniture and lack of design in our finished basement. So we finally flipped it around by Craig’s Listing the old stuff and filling it with fun new pieces. Now we spend almost every evening down there enjoying ice cream (see bullet #4) and an episode of House. Details soon!

So what’s been going on in YOUR life?

One Word: Hearts

Hearts

Source | Source | Source | Source | Source | Source | Source
Source | Source | Source | Source | Source

Truth be told, I’ve never been a big fan of hearts as a shape. Well, I suppose I thought they were pretty cool back in middle school (especially with some crush’s initials curled inside the lines), but that’s a given. That said, they’ve taken on a new meaning for me as of late – More graphic than cutesy, and more modern than archaic. The thing that, excuse the pun, recently changed my mind and stole my heart was sweaters sporting the shape in bold scale and color. Me (can’t help but) likey. So here’s to Valentine’s Day 2013 and embracing this quirky little shape as part of our lives for the long haul.

d76970c815b7df7a0ef5efa1a7131d11

2323f58cb6ead78719a557278f0ca17a

ba5364b0758c20da6e35dc4ea0ee7aa6

1-DIY-Pipe-Cleaner-Heart-Pancake-Topper

img16o

ead5b514fb7937b2a7af9120c7745058

bb53fdf44db1ccbfcc6b59e5aea6898e

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 9.46.23 AM

^^^ (sorry…A little shameless self promotion of the cake and heart
toppers that I made for my OWN Valentine!!)

57df77ca9de1b1d7a9a403663d7fc80d

32886ba36bf5d2d5177e6265f50ba7b4

Conversation-Heart-Cakes1

ad80bcdc1e0707f7826d1136efb525a4

For more holiday inspiration, click over to my Pinterest board here

Girl’s weekend getaway to Winston-Salem

I think I owe you guys an apology for all the Instagram photos that I posted over the weekend. Hate to be “that girl,” but I just couldn’t help but overshare our mini getaway to Winston-Salem, NC. The reason for our trip? My sister is a grad student at Wake Forest University and, alas, her winter break has finally come to a close…Time for her to pack up and head back to school – But mom and I weren’t ready to say goodbye yet and decided to invite ourselves along for the ride, turning it into a mini girl’s weekend.

First stop after the two and a half hour ride? Simply Yummy – A simply yummy place to grab some lunch. Mom and I split a delicious panini – We’re talking procuitto, sliced apple, cheese, YUM. Oh and pasta salad too. And coffee…

702113_881945417469_2130230679_n

566178_881688766799_311743711_n

Feeling officially revived (I’m not a big fan of long car rides), we set out on foot to tour the local shops in the area. We randomly decided to check out an inconspicuous record store, where I unearthed a clearance Christmas compelation that can only be described as “perfection.” The Carpenters, Judy Garland, Bing, Frank, Barabara – It was worth my $1 and THEN some. But beyond that, the store was jam packed with limited edition records and original movie and band posters. I felt like I was in the ultimate man cave.

730641_881945232839_348985178_n

After departing from there, we strolled over to a specialty olive oil and vinegar shop – Quite a departure from the records store, that’s for sure. We were able to sample all sorts of delicious oils and vinegars, from butter and tangerine to mushroom and even chocolate! I ended up buying a bottle of lemon olive oil because I absolutely adore any meal with a citrus flavor. My stomach is grumbling just imagining what it will be like to dump fresh chicken and penne pasta over a sizzling pan of my new olive oil…

566432_881944863579_621118422_n

When my parents moved my sister in at the beginning of the semester, they were able to squeeze in a little exploring. While on said maiden voyage, mom couldn’t help but notice the white building below. It’s no surprise that, with a name like “Nekkid Dave,” she was intrigued, but the windows are hardly inviting or even offered any inkling as to what the store contained. She did a little researching when she got home and was a little taken aback at what she found. Knowing that I would flip head over heels for what turned out to be a super unique home goods store, we made a bee line from the olive oil shop and, as predicted, I fell hard.

711461_881944604099_10388441_n

711076_881944319669_524066841_n

So hard, that I barely took any photos I was so distracted. You would have found  me running from that big beautiful gallery wall shown above, to a luxurious seating area complete with vintage-inspired couch and animal fur rug. There was a giant, life size horse sculpture made from discarded wood and tables and tables of mirrored trays, dainty bird cages and round pieces of carved wood the size of bowling balls. And then there was the ceiling…

566389_881943616079_563160968_n

566288_881943431449_727370159_n

Yeah, those are architectural drawings. On the ceiling. It was incredible and I can’t wait to go back. Although I wanted EVERYTHING and the prices were surprisingly reasonable, my practical sister shooed me away from the register and I left empty-handed. I don’t really need anything at the moment, but I sure wanted something…Maybe next time.

Speaking of those architectural drawings, did I mention that the homes and historic buildings in Winston-Salem are captivating? Check out the hotel/conference center below. My mom is thinking about booking a room NOW for Kat’s graduation in a year and a half. I’m certainly not going to complain if I can come as a guest. I would feel like royalty driving up to this place for the night.

565568_882005991079_1819782173_n

But that wasn’t our only stop to admire building perfection. We also made a point to save room in our day for a tour of the Reynalda house. This sprawling estate was the home of the town’s most influential family back in the day. You’ll have to forgive my lack of explanation as to this particular family because my mind was wrapped so closely around the incredible art collection, that I hardly had time to think about the people who owned it.

711569_881812678479_1812766372_n

Once inside, we toured opulent room after opulent room, pausing to admire the original woodwork, furniture and decor (and, as big fans, imagine for a moment how similar the lifestyle was to an American version of Downton Abbey). They even still had Christmas decor up for us!

711104_881848531629_1741631955_n

702616_881848287119_451882205_n

730566_881848127439_1982923065_n

702564_881813776279_1625033516_n

702067_881843586539_697443573_n

Please forgive my iPhone photography…But I had to make a point about this one painting. As you can clearly see, it’s the portrait of a woman, but look closely and you’ll see a second hazy portrait of a young boy beside her. Apparently the boy died and his face was painted out, but how eery that he is still visible through the pigment.

711515_881843262189_1434358235_n

711471_881842393929_2127207300_n

The art history buff in me was doing back flips when we discovered this painting by Martin Johnson Heade. I don’t think it will ever get old to come across paintings in the flesh that we studied back in school so many years ago. It’s like stumbling upon an old friend, as cheesy as that may sound. I know all its secrets…

702548_881842169379_687502574_n

My sister was more than affronted by the modern art displayed in the house, but I was like a kid in a candy store. I love this stuff. Love it SO much that I was taking photos of it with my phone when I got yelled at by the guard because there was no photography allowed. So sad…But at least I had already snapped a good bit of the home to share here today.

565931_881813382069_129035944_n

Despite breaking the rules, I couldn’t help but grab a secret shot of the indoor pool and the basement hallway of framed original Vogue covers, circa 1920. Probably my favorite parts of the tour.

565810_881813002829_1635719872_n

702270_881812828179_158727729_n

Exhausted and hungry from the tour, we eventually made our way dinner (at the Village Tavern) and later to bed. But the next morning we were up and at em again, this time for breakfast at some place I can’t remember downtown, and then a tour of Old Salem and Wake Forest campus.

702176_882005776509_173874929_n

710898_882005352359_508115656_n

We had an absolute blast visiting my sister and I’m super jealous of all the history surrounding her. Can’t wait to visit again soon – I miss her like crazy already.

Have you guys ever been to Winston-Salem before? Live nearby? I’d love some recommendations on where to go on our next visit.