Styled Shoot with Kaitlin Holland Creative

Earlier this month, I had the complete pleasure of assisting Kaitlin Holland (of Kaitlin Holland Creative) on a styled photoshoot for the Clic Conference in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia! It was absolutely wonderful working alongside Kaitlin and her creative design genius for the day, and I felt so fortunate to be able to do so. Kaitlin was both a speaker and the stylist at the conference, and I loved being able to listen to her presentation when I arrived to help. The Clic Conference is a photography conference, and about 40 photographers attended in Old Town Alexandria at the gorgeous Athenaeum. And, of course, the photographers all needed something to photograph/shoot once their conference wrapped up! styledshoot3

Kaitlin’s inspiration came from the Greek-revival Athenaeum building itself, and check out her design and inspiration board here – I am obsessed! I love that she emphasized the teal color of the door and the peach facade in designing her styled shoot, as she really worked with elements already there. Such beautiful, dreamy wedding inspiration! It was fun making that dream a reality and creating the shoot throughout the day. Her inspiration design really came to life, and I loved each and every element Kaitlin styled and incorporated into the design.

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Of course, there was an absolute downpour almost all day, so we had to revert to Plan B and stage the entire styled shoot inside of the Athenaeum instead of outside in the gorgeous garden. But Kaitlin made it work flawlessly! The styled table (with a gorgeous pink centerpiece, feather accents, teal plates, and calligraphy placecards) was just beautiful, and I’m a little obsessed with all of the pictures the professional photographers captured of it! The stunning bride and groom (a married couple – and yes, the bride wore her own wedding dress!), the beautiful teal-clad bridesmaids, the regal Maxie B’s cake, the lush bouquets, the calligraphied paper goods and invitation suite, and the vintage champagne bar cart were the perfect accessories and accompaniments to the styled shoot, and it was all so beautiful and inspired. styledshoot2The whole photoshoot was a feast for the eyes, and Kaitlin pulled her vision together seamlessly and effortlessly, it seemed! The photographers even had the famed photographer, Katelyn James (see her recap and photographs on her blog), on hand to assist in directing the models and how to make it all happen. styledshoot4

It was so fun to be behind the scenes all day, helping Kaitlin bring her vision to life for the photographers. The sun even managed to come out at the end of the day, capping off some stunning outdoor portraits with great lighting. It was a busy whirlwind of a day, but I had the best time, and it further reaffirmed that this is something that brings so much joy and happiness to me. I left feeling so inspired and motivated!
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Kaitlin, thank you so, so very much for the opportunity to work and learn alongside of you! You are a gem to work with, and it couldn’t have been more fun and rewarding. Thanks for being such a joy and continuous inspiration!

styledshoot6[all photos are simply my own iPhone pictures captured throughout the day]

 

Penguin Classic Books with Rifle Paper Co.

Just a quick find of something I’m loving – beautiful new covers of many of my favorite classic reads! Anna Rifle Bond (of Rifle Paper Co. fame, one of my favorite stationery/design lines) recently created updated covers of four classic childhood books, Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Little Women, and A Little Princess. I have long loved the look of anything and everything designed by Rifle Paper Co. – and these new book jacket designs are no exception! It doesn’t hurt that three of these four books (sorry, Heidi!) make my “top fifteen books of all time” list!

 

These new book designs are available for pre-order from Penguin (their Puffin in Bloom line), and I’m excited to see these new covers released! Children – and adults – of all ages would benefit greatly from reading these books, and the covers are the perfect way to draw new readers in. What do you think? And do you have a favorite book among A Little Princess, Heidi, Little Women, & Anne of Green Gables?

 

Pineapple Passion

Pineapples have always been one of my very favorite fruits – both to eat and to use in design. Not only are pineapples so pretty and unique looking, but they’re the symbol of Southern hospitality and welcome. I’ve seen pineapples pop up all over the place recently in design, art, interior decorating, and the wedding industry – and I love it! Here are some fresh, fun, and colorful pineapples I’ve been inspired by lately…

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Charlottesville Winery Weekend

Last week was an epic girls weekend in Charlottesville, which boasts countless amazing wineries and gorgeous mountain vistas. Bridgette invited a group of girlfriends to town for a summer soiree weekend, and we had the best time together.

6 girls + 4 wineries + 1 brewery + gorgeous mountains + copious amounts of wine + chick flicks + picnics galore = one incredible weekend!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

 

Afton Mountain Vineyards

 

Veritas Vineyards & Winery

Blue Mountain Brewery

 

King Family Vineyards & Polo

Renting Bridesmaid Dresses

As I mentioned here, I’ve been a bridesmaid a time or two – ha! Thankfully, my friends have excellent taste and are great at picking out relatively affordable bridesmaid dresses. But sometimes you just don’t need another dress in your closet. Enter… bridesmaid dress rentals!

I’m not sure why it took women so long to get on board with the concept of renting bridesmaid dresses, since men have been renting tuxes for decades. But it’s about time we utilized this market more. With online stores like Rent the Runway proving to be a raging success, I think bridesmaid dress rentals can be the next big thing. Bridesmaid dresses don’t have to be boring or expensive or a waste – they can be inexpensive, easy to order/receive/wear/return, and they can still be stylish and unique! And the cost savings to bridesmaids would be incredible, especially if you’re a chronic bridesmaid!

I’ve done some research and suggested bridesmaid dress rentals to some of my brides, and my two favorite bridesmaid dress rental companies are Vow to be Chic and Little Borrowed Dress.

 Vow to be Chic

With Vow to be Chic, an online designer bridesmaid rental shop, it’s easy to rent bridesmaid dresses for the big day! It’s a seamless, easy, stylish option, and they’ve thought through everything. Designer bridesmaid dress rentals begin at $95, and there are so many beautiful dress options to choose from., from Lula Kate (a Southern favorite of mine!) to Watters to Jim Hjelm to Nicole Miller.

Vow to be Chic has even outlined the steps to renting a bridesmaid dress (the styling is so cute!), and I agree with them wholeheartedly – why didn’t I think of that? What’s not to love?
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Little Borrowed Dress 

Another great option for renting bridesmaid dresses is Little Borrowed Dress (LBD – how appropriate!). Similar to Vow to be Chic, renting bridesmaid dresses isn’t a chore, and there are fifteen versatile, popular styles to choose from with eighteen color choices. Long dress rentals are $75 and short dress rentals are $50. What amazing prices! You even have the option to purchase the dress, should you choose. There aren’t quite as many dress styles to choose from, but I like the selection of dresses here (all made in NYC!), and the prices and ease of ordering a rental is ideal.

little borrowed dress

So, what do you think? Brides, would you be okay with having your bridesmaids rent dresses? And bridesmaids, are you on board the rental train? It seems like such a sustainable, stylish, and easy option, and I’d love to see more bridesmaids using rentals for a friend’s wedding day!

Books | The South’s Best

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Clearly, I love to read & I love the South! Here’s a list of some of my very favorite Southern books and Southern authors (and books about the South) throughout the years. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all Southern books and authors, but these are ones that I know and love. I just love books about the South… the culture, the people, the landscape, the food, the history, the ways of life…

Best Southern Books:

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Best Southern Authors:
Flannery O’Connor
William Faulkner
Pay Conroy (Charleston)
Rick Bragg
Nicholas Sparks
What do you think? I’d love to know your favorite Southern books and authors, too, as I’m always on the prowl for new books to add to my reading list. Check out more of my favorite book picks: herehere, and here!

Recipe | Eataly’s Lemon Pistachio Ravioli

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Have you ever been to Eataly in NYC? If not, you must! It’s one of my very favorite places to go for good food and drinks in the city, and so many people agree.

A brief description of Eataly, according to their website:

“We cook what we sell, and we sell what we cook”. Eataly is an original “marketplace” model inviting consumers to be active participants in an innovative food and beverage experience where they shop, taste and savor high quality traditional Italian food products and beverages along with local produce and artisanal products; a multifunctional marketplace that includes a premier retail center for Italian delicacies and wine, a culinary educational center, and a diverse slate of seven boutique eateries.”

I’ve only been once, but I’ve been awaiting the day I’ll go again – soon, I hope! I love that there’s an expansive Italian marketplace, a gelato bar, a Nutella bar (yes.), a wine & cheese bar, and several fabulous restaurants all in one amazing space – it’s so versatile and fun! I went with Bridgette and Rob when they lived in NYC, and it was one of those meals – where the wine flowed, the food was unforgettable, the company and conversation amazing, and the laughter abundant. We had an epic meal, and I’ve loved Eataly ever since!

One of their signature seasonal pasta dishes is a lemon pistachio ravioli, and it is heavenly. It’s a unique combination, but it’s utterly delicious! Bridgette did a little recipe digging and research, and she came up with an amazing recreation of our favorite dish at Eataly. I must give credit where credit is due, of course, and the below recipe re-creation is all Bridgette’s doing. I made it a couple days after she did (such simple ingredients!), and it is divine. The leftovers are just as wonderful, too, which is always a huge plus. I can’t recommend this easy, flavorful, fresh, and addictive dish enough. Thanks for sharing, Bridgie – and thanks for dreaming up the original dish, Eataly!

Lemon Pistachio Ravioli

On low heat, stir together one tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup of olive oil, one clove of minced garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, the zest of one lemon, the juice from one lemon, and a small handful of crushed pistachios. Combine these ingredients and let simmer, then toss together with cooked four-cheese ravioli. Top with more crushed pistachios and lemon zest, and voila! Italian heaven.