Tag Archives: Holiday

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

My island shopping haul

I promise this will be my last post about our Hilton Head vacation…Okay, maybe that’s more like a soft promise, but for the MOST part I’ve already told all that there is to tell. All except for a companion piece to my HomeGoods tale – plus a few extra beach shop goodies thrown in for good measure.

As you saw last week, my mom and I had a blast browsing the island’s HomeGoods store (twice, in fact). We laid eyes on TONS of fabulous treasures during our multiple tours of the store, but could sadly only bring home a few armloads each. So what did I end up grabbing for myself? The cat is finally out of the (shopping) bag – Scroll on.

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The first thing I just haaad to have was the ikat patterned Cynthia Rowley box for $9.99. The price was too good to be true, plus the on-trend pattern in a classically bohemian color palette was irresistible. You may have caught sight of it in yesterday’s studio redesign reveal (thanks for all of the love and support on that, by the way!)

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To continue our “Where’s Waldo?” (or should I say, “Where’s The HomeGoods Treasure?”) in yesterday’s reveal post, one other piece ended up making the cut in the final design. The $12.99 burlap basket you see above filled with my growing everday wrapping paper collection was yet another HomeGoods steal (figuratively) that serves as great storage for the multi-functional space. Oh, and if you’re thinking it looks a little boring now, I definitely plan on adding some kind of paint treatment to the burlap down the line…

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But let’s take a break from the studio for a moment and move on to a couple of kitchen-y items. That yellow patterned drying mat (for only $4.99) was just what our sink had been begging for. The old one had seen much better days, plus we could use the upgraded color and pattern – I so love when I can find utilitarian pieces in fun and perky colors/patterns, don’t you?

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Okay, so the can of dog biscuits shown above didn’t actually come from HomeGoods…But I DID buy it during our trip – just at a local beach shop rather than my go-to chain home accessory mecca. I loved the color and the old school pattern seemed like the perfect fit for our retro-filled kitchen.

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The glass bowl shown above is another departure from HomeGoods specific souvenirs, although it DID come from T.J.Maxx, which feels like it’s at least related. If you can’t tell from the bag of beach-scooped rocks beneath it, I plan on turning the pint sized bowl into a mini terrarium. More on that project soon!

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The two pieces pictured above, the agate pendant and silver horse, both came from another of our favorite beach shops on the island. As seen in this post from 2 years ago, we always make a point to stop in at Black Market Minerals, and this trip was no different. It was a struggle to leave with just those 2 pieces in hand…

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Remember how I was describing an idea for one of the inexpensive table cloths in my HomeGoods recap? Well I plan on doing exactly as announced – in other words, add velcro to the edges of the summery vinyl tablecloth pictured above, and then wrap it around the dingy glass tabletop of our outdoor dining set. I’m hoping it will act as a slip cover of sorts. We’ll all see how that turns out soon enough.

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I also mentioned this sculptural gold and white frame in my original store recap last week – At just $7.99, I just had to have it. I could stand to start upgrading my frame collection, and this metallic beauty fit my style too perfectly to leave it behind.

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While hardly functional in the normal sense of the word, my new $9.99 gold filled hour glass is one of those really cool signature styling pieces that I’m more than happy to welcome into our collection. The “sand” in this particular hour glass is actually tiny fine beads, making the sound a little more unique in comparison to others like it – it’s sort of dull and heavy, rather than soft and whispery.

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Last but certainly not least, we have my favorite take of the day – This Moroccan style side table. At $49.99, it was the most expensive piece I bought that day, but I have some pretty grand plans for it, as I’ve hinted before. A big name brand has claimed it for a specially hosted project and review, and I can’t wait to share more in the coming weeks. So mysterious…

Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. I’ve announced the winner of the SIGG Active Top bottle – Click here to see if it’s you!

P.P.S. In today’s Friday Feature Round Up, we’ve got 2 posts over on Le Papier Studio – a “Pin of the Day” post focused on picnicking, and an “Inspired by…” post central to the new “Children of the World” collection that was recently released. Over on Glitter Guide, I designed and wrote a feature all about 4 ways to add pink to your home. Enjoy!

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Our next HHI house?

While typically today would be reserved for “The Options” feature, I’m suspending my normal schedule in lieu of catching up. In the past few months I’ve often struggled with coming up with projects to fill my weeks here but, as predicted, after coming back from vacation a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been on project overdrive – Now I have too MANY projects to share! I’ll take this problem over the former any day though. So instead of “The Options” this morning, I’m sharing yet another little sneak peek into that aforementioned vacation we just recently returned from.

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One of our family’s (namely, my mom’s) favorite pastimes while vacationing in Hilton Head is planning which house we’ll stay in next. There are so many beautiful options across the island, I can certainly see why it would be a bit of a treat to imagine what our next rental property will be like. Thankfully though, mom’s tastes are pretty superb and we just sort of follow along, no questions asked. This year though she let us in on the decision making for future visits, taking us on a quick tour of a new home we’d never been to before. While wandering the hallways, I was able to snag some shots with my iPhone that I thought were worth sharing.

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Frankly, it was love at first sight for me. I adored the streamlined modern-meets-traditional look of this house, with its stone floors, high ceilings and monochromatic color scheme. As you can see from the tour I posted last week of the home we actually stayed in, we typically go with warm, traditionally beachy homes with lots of color and styling. This house though felt almost like an Elle Decor spread (which I know is hard to picture through these grainy, dark iPhone photos, but maybe you can get a sense…).

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This home was actually on the end of a cul-de-sac, with a lagoon in front and a golf course behind. It was incredibly private with neighbors on only one side, the pool nestled behind high walls and trees curtaining off the rest of the neighborhood.

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The best part if you asked my sister and me was the guest house – attached to the main house just by an extension of wall (no shared walls – more like a fence) was an extra room, complete with its own bathroom and bed. No matter how old we get, we will always love to watch movies together in bed after our parents fall asleep, so the idea of having our own private little room to giggle in is very tempting (speaking of this little tradition, I saw “When Harry Met Sally” for the first time this past trip – SO good).

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After our quick tour of the home itself, it was on to the back yard to investigate the golf course and water views. They clearly did not disappoint, and neither did the pool and patio. It’s hard to be critical of your own private pool, outdoor dining and upholstered lounge chairs.

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As is typical of these post-beach posts, I’m entirely depressed that we aren’t still there…But as a comfort, there are only 347 days until we go back. I can handle that. Oh, and although I was 100% on board with this house, I think the rest of the family was a little unsure about the modern look and feel. We’ll see if I can convince them for 2015’s adventure…

Where do you guys vacation?

P.S. Don’t forget! I’m giving away one of SIGG’s brand new Active Top bottles just in time for summer – Click here to enter.

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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…

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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.

Pinspiration Monday: Travel Keepsake Box

Well, we are back safe and sound from the beach! “Safe and sound” but also more than a little depressed to have traded in our shorts and sandals for work appropriate slacks and flats…There is very little worse than driving back over the bridge towards home when it feels like we were just driving OVER it towards our island oasis. Yet, on a happy note, I’ve been reunited with my lovable hubby and our three furry kiddos so life ain’t all that bad.

I’ll be recapping our trip throughout the week, including a full tour of the house we rented and a review of one fun, HANDY new product I tested out, but today I’m sharing a little project I managed to whip up yesterday afternoon after everything was unpacked and I was ready to do a little reminiscing…

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Source: Martha Stewart

The inspiration image above (snagged from Pinterest, of course) caught my eye right away. I’m definitely the sentimental sort, saving everything from receipts and candy wrappers, to ticket stubs and those little cardboard restaurant coasters – Anything to encourage a little walk down memory lane. As I’m sure you can imagine, I came home with quite a few new pieces of memorabilia to commemorate our latest trip to South Carolina.

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Although this is something like the 12th time we’ve visited Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, a quaint southern plantation my parents discovered on their honeymoon almost 30 years ago, we’re always discovering new places and picking up new treasures. Instead of tossing it all, I loved the idea of filing it all away in a special labeled box. Luckily, I was able to pick up all of my supplies pre-vacation and just had to set aside 15 minutes of my Sunday afternoon to put it all together.

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As to those supplies, I bought two hinged wooden boxes for less than $5 apiece at my local craft store, one for this recent trip to Hilton Head and another for our honeymoon to Punta Cana last May. The stencil I also picked up cost next to nothing and helped my confidence to stay on point as I drew out the letters on my first travel keepsake box.

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To label my box with “HHI” (for “Hilton Head Island”), I simply held the stencil in place and traced the shape with a pencil. Now here’s where I know a lot of you will think I’m crazy, but really I’m just impatient…I knew that black paint would have given me a cleaner look, but I had just finished cleaning up from a spontaneous closet purge and didn’t have the energy to paint my letters. So instead I grabbed a Sharpie pen and merely colored inside my traced lines.

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Sure it bled a little bit but, since it only took me .5 seconds to complete whereas it would have taken me at least 20 minutes to paint it on, the uneven lines were worth it. I can always go back over with black paint to clean up the edges if I feel like it, but frankly, I don’t mind the drawn on look. This is one of those projects that’s just for me and my desire to remember a wonderful family vacation – Perfection was never my goal.

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That said, my ultimate goal of creating a special sanctuary for all of my collected paper memories was easily met, and I can’t wait to move on to my second box reserved for Punta Cana memories!

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How do you make the most of YOUR vacation memories?

The Options: Beach or Mountains

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Option 1: Style Me Pretty | Option 2: Taylor McCutchan Photography

In honor of our family vacation this week, I’m shying away from home stuff JUST for a little bit. And since I know we all have our own opinion when it comes to a vacation destination, I want to know…Are you a beach bum when you have the opportunity to get away? Or are you more interested in a mountain retreat?

Option 1: I’m pretty picky myself when it comes to beach vacations. I can’t stand over-commercialized places like Myrtle beach (a biggie around these east coast parts), preferring a more secluded and relaxed vibe. But there’s also the idea of a super glamorous exotic vacation to somewhere like Punta Cana or Mexico. Even if I had all the money in the world though, I still think I’d choose our current location in South Carolina.

Option 2: If John were to vote in today’s post, I’m pretty sure he’d choose the mountains. While his excuse for not joining us this year was a lack of vacation time available at work, I have a secret theory that a beach vacation just doesn’t interest him much. He’d rather take off for a long weekend away in the mountains – a cabin, a fishing pole and a campfire are all he needs to have a good time. And I can definitely wrap my head around that notion…

I’m torn!

Our family yearbook via Artifact Uprising

Photography is such an incredible thing…And while that minuscule statement hardly gets across just how important photography is in our daily lives, I’m not going to hop up on my soap box with bullet points on how it has changed history. What I AM going to do though is talk about how it has changed and shaped OUR history.

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It all began with Instagram. Of all forms of social media, Instagram is hands down my favorite. It’s how I stay up to date on my friends, family and favorite bloggers and, more importantly, it’s my little way of documenting the simple things in life. John laughs at me whenever I snap a little square shaped shot of things like my plate of eggs and bacon at brunch downtown, but this is my way of capturing special moments. No matter how mundane they might seem, I’m a visual person. These tiny digital photos catalog our memories, which clearly you guys don’t find too mundane thanks to your sweet “likes” and comments (I absolutely can’t get enough of those, by the way).

But that brings me to my latest product love – Artifact Uprising (and no, I’m not being paid or perked to write this!). I’ve already fallen in love with StickyGrams as a way of getting my favorite Instagrams out of their digital dungeon and out in the open, but I wanted to take things a step further and get an actual album printed – And thanks to a well composed Artifact Uprising review over on decor8, I quickly snapped one up for myself.

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Although a bit belated given that it’s now May of 2013, I decided to start a tradition with annual albums – Thus, this first one was aptly dubbed “2012.” In it, I chronicle everything from those everyday-yet-special meals out, photo after photo of our pets, lunch dates with my sister, a favorite record picked up on a spontaneous trip out of town – Anything at all worth remembering from last year, which turned out to be a lot.

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By the way, it’s worth noting that the Artifact Uprising site was very easy to use and allowed me to populate all of my favorite Instagrams with ease. In a nut shell, it comes highly recommended by yours truly.

Although you won’t find me flipping through this little album every single day, or even every single week, I know it’s there sitting on the shelf beside our bed ready for me to take down on a whim. And that to me is priceless.

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Thank you, Artifact Uprising, for helping me to document my beautiful little life…

How do you chronicle YOUR favorite memories? If you’re on Instagram too, feel free to share your username in the comments section (so that we can stalk you, of course!)