September Goals

a recap of my August Goals

1. check things off of my summer to-do list (I have my eye on: peach picking, an outdoor movie, a new vineyard, a boat cruise, & a polo match!) – Done! I saw an outdoor movie, tried several new vineyards, went on a boat cruise of the Potomac, went to a polo match, and spent the weekend at the beach. It’s been a fun summer!
2. enjoy a girl’s weekend in Charlottesville + a quick vacation in Charlotte – Done and done – I love my mini-vacations visiting my favorite people!
3. play tennis and run outside as often as possible – Nope. I will try again for September – I don’t know where the time went, but I think I only went on two runs outside and didn’t play any tennis this month!
4. assist with a styled shoot in Old Town Alexandria with Kaitlin Holland (so excited!) – Yes! See my post about the gorgeous styled shoot here.
5. expand my Etsy shop - Apparently this also was put on the back burner – I’ll have to expand my Etsy shop in the next month or two!
6. continue working with several brides on their weddings – I have a big wedding coming up soon! – Yes! And so fun!!
7. volunteer - I had the best of intentions to volunteer with the DC Public Schools, but I went out of town at the last minute and had to cancel. Volunteering is so important, and I’m determined to get back into this habit ASAP.
8. book a new calligraphy client and practice using gold calligraphy ink, too – I purchased both gold and white calligraphy ink & have had so much fun working with it!
9. not wish away summertime (it’s too early to be talking about pumpkin spice lattes, people!) – Shockingly, I’ve been great at this – soaking up every bit of summertime and not wishing it away! It may have helped that my first 2014 beach trip was just this past weekend, but I have been embracing all things summer… I’ll be ready for Fall soon enough, I’m sure!
10. continue reading through the New Testament – Yes! I’m loving read every single word and verse of the New Testament instead of bouncing around from book to book.
sept goals
I’m going to go with the whole “grace not perfection” theme again for the month of September, as it’s far and away my busiest month of the year for my full-time job (hooray for the beginning of the school year!). I’m hoping to just survive – ha!
1. Send at least one handwritten card/note each week this month.
2. Plan, coordinate, AND enjoy Leslie’s sure-to-be beautiful and meaningful wedding!
3. Send out my annual “Fall in DC” to do list, and begin having some autumn fun.
4. Volunteer.
5. Expand my Etsy shop & continue practicing calligraphy.
6. Enjoy a trip to Wrightsville Beach with friends.
7. Be intentional about my time & balancing it well.
Did you make monthly goals? If so, I would love to hear what yours are, so feel free to share!

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.


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!

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?
vow to be chicvow to be chic2

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

Southern books2

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!