Tag Archives: Outfits

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!



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.









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 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.





















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


Behind the Scenes: My BHG photoshoot

Now, as much as I WANT to, I’m not going to give away all of the details today. My full run down of the day, complete with anecdotes and virtual breathless excitement will all be documented later on, a la this column. But I couldn’t wait to share just a tiny peek into how the day went and just how thankful I am that this moment happened in the first place.

BHG sneak peek

I was surprisingly calm the morning of the photo shoot. It may have helped that I had kicked John out of the house for the day (which he was all too happy to go along with). You know how it can be exceptionally nerve-wracking having your family in the audience? Well that’s how I felt, so it was just me, the dog and the cats roaming around the house that day until the crew arrived.

Speaking of “the crew,” it consisted of a stylist from L.A., Char Hatch Langos, and NY/NJ photographer, John Bessler (plus John’s nephew as assistant). Each was incredibly talented in what they did, both in making the shoot a success, and in helping me to remain cool, calm and collected.

I haven’t said much about WHAT they were actually photographing though, so here’s a rather big hint…


Even though my girlish ankles can be seen perched on that piece of furniture above, the REAL star of the show is our thrifted and refinished dresser. I’m so excited to share this piece with the readers of Better Homes and Gardens, and am so indescribably honored that they chose me and one of my DIYed projects to feature.

This is the stuff of dreams, folks…

More to come soon!!

{Must Have Shoes} “Flatwear”

Happy Friday, everyone! What are you up to this weekend? Got spring shopping on the brain? I have been out and about this week filling my arms with fun new patterned additions to my wardrobe. Don’t worry – I didn’t blow my New Year’s resolution. These shopping excursions were made possible by a check from consigning my old clothes (which I ALWAYS put back into my closet – seems only fair) and a little Easter money from my sweet mom-in-law specifically meant for the upcoming dress season. I was able to get a bunch of new pieces for my wardrobe and spent only about $115. The loot? 3 dresses, 2 tank tops and a belt. Not bad, huh?

Thankfully, shoes are NOT part of my resolution and are fair game for my meager freelancer’s budget. I am always in the market for new flats and, after a quick trip to my best friend’s family-owned store Must Have Shoes, I met my new favorite pair…The OKA b. Taylor Flats (seen below on the left).

Jelly Flats

OKA b. Taylor Flats | Tory Burch Jelly Bow Ballet Flats

I ADORE the pretty coral color and the fact that these (machine washable!!) flats are a grown up throwback to my girlhood jelly shoes, but of course the best part for my budget-conscious brain is the value. At around $40 and some change, I can enjoy this spunky springtime look AND be able to afford groceries. What really sealed the deal for me was that quick comparison above. I’m loving the fact that I was able to stay on trend AND keep $80+ in my pocket.


If you’re wishing the OKA b. flats came with a little embellishment like the Tory Burch pair, you’re in luck – There are a couple of other styles in the store that feature glittery appliques crowning the front of each shoe. I want one of every color please! (please forgive the quality of my iPhone photos below)


Locals, you MUST go try a pair out in person. While living in D.C. for a couple of months right after college I developed a righteous fear of blister-inducing shoes – These form fitting flats though feel instantly worn in, and I could tell right away that blisters wouldn’t be an issue. In fact, I slipped the shoes on and then proceeded to wear them the entire duration of our visit to the shop. I didn’t even take them off to pay for them!

Speaking of the shop…Here’s a little virtual tour for those of you not in Lynchburg.


Oh and just so you know, although this sounds like a bonafide advertisement, I am not being paid or perked to write this little post up. Of course, I’m always looking to help out my best friend and her entrepreneurial family, but I also just genuinely love these shoes. I hope you find YOUR flats soulmate this season – But if you’re having trouble finding “the one,” you know where I’m going to send you…

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. Since it’s becoming a bit of a tradition…Here’s yet another installment of “Friday Feature Roundup,” where I gather up links to my other Internet projects/collaborations from the week. We’ve got two new weekly features over on Le Papier Studio (read up on my new internship with the designer silhouette line at the bottom of this post). The first is a mood board inspired by the Floral Wreath Silhouette Print, and the other is a “Pin of the Day” feature where I mulled over the concept of a “Little White Dress.” Enjoy and, as always, thanks for the support!


Pinspiration Monday: DIY Wooden Bead Necklace

In my quest to discontinue buying clothes throughout the entirety of 2013, I’ve been focusing a lot on how to make my existing outfits more versatile. One of the easiest tricks I use to change up the look of my clothes involves jewelry. For example, a simple long gold necklace worn with a white button up blouse and skinny jeans gives off a relaxed casual look, while the same white button up with skinny jeans can be dressed up instantly with nothing but a sparkly statement necklace.

While I haven’t taken accessories and new jewelry off my shopping list for the year, I AM always open to a little DIY to give me something new (albeit handmade) to play with in my wardrobe. So when I noticed this little beauty via Pinterest, I knew that I had to try my hand at it.


Source | Yesterday’s Sweetheart

Most of the supplies for this project I already had on hand, like the paint, brushes and pallet, but I went ahead and picked up the wooden wheels, beads and natural fiber necklace string at our local craft store – All came in under $10.


Because of the amount of beads I ended up with, I was actually able to make not one, but TWO necklaces. For the first one, I mimicked the pretty mint+mustard color scheme of my inspiration image, while the other got a pink and mint combo.

This is where my tedious Color Theory class in college came into play…For the mustard, a little bit of yellow with a lotta bit of white and a TOUCH of blue. For the mint, a little bit of blue with a lotta bit of white and a smidge of the mustard I had mixed. And finally, for the coral, this called for a little bit of red, a lotta bit of white and little bit of the mustard again.

My advice for anyone new to mixing paint is to just play with it, but the number one rule is to use a tiny amount of paint to begin with – I have started off one too many times with huge globules of paint only to watch that grow exponentially until I got the right color. A little goes a long way. And if you make TOO little, a few drops of water helps spread a color’s reach.



The first step was obviously to paint the wooden beads. Following my inspiration image, I painted 5 mustard beads, 5 pink beads and 8 white beads (so that I had 4 for each necklace). I also painted the wooden wheels that light mint color.

My technique was pretty straightforward – I held the first bead in my hand and painted the top half, set that one aside and painted the others to give it a chance to dry and then picked it up and painted the unpainted side. I gave each bead two coats on each half to make sure they were good and covered.



A last minute addition to the supplies was a handful of square washers. These little metallic beauties hail from a collection John’s grandfather passed down to him – I love the sentimental value and the fact that I could use them as beads rather than simply utilitarian hardware.


After giving the beads an entire night to dry completely, I strung them onto my string – 2 white beads with washers in between on each end and alternating colored beads (the pink and the mustard respectively) with mint wheels in between.



Since we were graced with such gorgeous weather over the weekend (26 degrees above average!), John and I decided to head for the hills, trekking up to the mountains for the day. John stole a few hours to do some fishing, while I caught up on my pile of Elle Decor issues. I also decided to take advantage of the pretty scenery and shot my new necklaces in action.





Do you guys DIY anything for your wardrobe? I’m open to ideas!!

One Word: Layers

When brainstorming this morning’s “One Word” feature, I’ll admit that I briefly debated doing an entire board dedicated to fall. But since last week’s feature was all about the best of summer, I figured it was a little too soon to jump the gun to the next season (before it’s even officially begun).HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about ways to craft a wardrobe in preparation for autumn’s chill.

Although a board all about fashion seems a bit of a diversion from what this blog is all about (namely home decor and DIY projects), my style pins on Pinterest are some of my most-frequently perused. Just like I save money by doing my own home decor projects, I save money by doing my own outfit styling via these inspiration images.

I’ve chatted about it before, but I use these pins every day to inspire looks. How? I only archive images of designer outfits that I can put together using similar pieces that I already own. It won’t look EXACTLY the same, but it takes the guess work out of laying out a pulled together outfit, plus I’m encouraging myself to go “shopping” in my own closet.

Layering is my absolute favorite way of styling DIYed ensembles, so I’m celebrating that concept here this morning…Layers allow for more texture, more color, for accessories, more OOMPH!

How do you style your outfits for the transition from warm to cold weather? Feel free to share links to posts!

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For all of my style pins, click here.

Pinspiration Monday: DIY Neon Bib Necklace

Happy “Pinspiration Monday” to you! If you are just tuning in, this is a weekly feature where I share my journey transforming Pinterest pins into reality, complete with a few of my own little tweaks and adjustments here and there. Today, I’m chatting about my DIY neon bib necklace.

Confession: I am a little obsessed with fashion. Not so much on my own body (because I simply can’t afford to), but on the pages of Vogue, up on the big screen, on blogs, etc. etc. The colors, textures, patterns and silhouettes are just so captivating. I think probably the main reason why I love fashion so much is because it’s easily synonymous with home fashion. Take chevron and ikat for example. These two patterns have swamped home fashion – upholstery, curtains, paint treatments – you name it. But they are also seeping into clothing fashion. And, hello? Anyone ever heard of a little thing called color blocking? Yeah, that’s happening EVERYWHERE.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of fashion trends hitting the DIY circuit on Pinterest, namely jewelry. Creatives are coming up with fun, affordable and ACHIEVABLE ways to recreate designer jewelry pieces for people like me who want the look for a fraction of retail price. This is what led me to pin this image:

Source: P.S. – I made this…

Now THAT’S a neat idea – Rubber key I.D. rings made into a neon bib necklace? I was all of over it in no time.

First stop – Our local home improvement store to pick up some key rings. The ones I found came in a pack of four, each in a different neon hue – So I bought four (at 92 cents apiece) to make sure I had enough of each color.

After dumping them on my work table, they sort of read a little “Fruit Loop” cereal to me. I decided to nix one of the colors, pushing the green ones to the side.

Next I needed the metal parts to actually construct the necklace. I picked up a big spool of gold chain at a nearby craft store for $9.99 – I know, that’s not the CHEAPEST thing in the world, but the spool holds a whopping 7 yards of chain, so I am going to be able to make dozens of necklaces from this one purchase. I’ve already got an idea for a second necklace design – More on that in the coming weeks.

The last supply needed was a pack of split rings – This little package from the same craft store only cost me $2.99. I went with a gold that matched my chain for a seamless look.

When I sat down to put the necklace together, I grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers and wire cutters from our toolbox. These were only two tools that I ended up needing and they worked like a charm, especially the pliers. It sure beat having to open all of those split rings by hand…

Using the wire cutters I cut a 20 inch length off of my spool of gold chain, but (spoiler alert) ended up cutting it down by about an inch and a half once I finished the necklace and tried it on for size – You’ll see why as you scroll on.

While my Pinspiration image showed a necklace composed of only two colors, I had three to work with. I wanted to copy the orange/pink color scheme, but would have needed to run out for more packs of the I.D. rings and I just didn’t feel like it at that moment. So I incorporated the happy yellow rings too.

I tried several different combinations before settling on the final look…

The one I chose (below) seemed a bit less chaotic and all-over-the-place compared to the first thoughts.

After that, it was just a matter of connecting the “O”s using the split rings. My process was fairly methodical – Using my thumb nail, I pried the two halves of the split ring apart (think how you thread keys onto big keychain split rings). Then I pushed the nose of the pliers between the metal to keep the ring apart and slipped the rubber key I.D. ring onto the split ring. A few twists and pulls later and the rubber ring came free inside the metal split ring.

I went down the line and connected each ring to the next in the three rows. After a little bit, the process became sort of methodical and I didn’t even have to think about what I was doing. It was definitely fun to see the shape come together at this point, and the little sparkle from the gold was just what the colored rings needed to make them seem less like cereal and more like jewelry.

Once the rows were connected, I started connecting them vertically with more split rings.

A couple extra split rings later to connect the ends of the top row to the ends of the gold chain, and I called this project DONE.

Once I snapped that finished photo though, I noticed that it seemed just a tad long – It was simple enough to fix by detaching the chain and shortening it by about an inch or so using the wire cutters. The shorter chain makes the “bib” part of the necklace design spread out more and you can see all of the colors and circles better.

I love the color, I love the drapy shape, I looooove the hint of gold sparkle and, costing only about $4.46, I’d say it was a job well done…

For more “Pinspiration Monday” projects, check out the full list of links here.

P.S. This project was also featured as a guest post for Breathe Magazine. Feel free to click over and take a look (especially if you’d like to see an extra oh-so-cheesy photo of me in the necklace…) – Enjoy!

P.P.S. This project is also being linked up on Young House Love, Centsational Girl, Bower Power and Ten June as part of their Summer Pinterest Challenge – Click the links for their own fabulous Pinterest DIYs!!

One Word: Mint

In honor of our newly minted studio/guest room, today’s “One Word” feature is all about my favorite shade of blue (or is it green?). I know mint has been getting a bit of a trendy rap lately, but I think this color is actually pretty classic, here to stay.

I am DYING over that vintage mint rotary telephone (#4)…What’s your favorite?

(For full-size images, scroll past the sources)

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Have a great weekend!

P.S. In case you missed it yesterday, click over to ReadBreath.com for my latest blog post – I shared a quick tutorial on DIY clothespin pushpins, an adorable way to liven up a run-of-the-mill bulletin board. Enjoy!