Building a Gallery Wall

For the past several months, I’ve been collecting frames to build a gallery wall. I knew where I wanted it and what I wanted it to look like, but actually building it was another story. For one thing, I didn’t have the right combo of photos to fill the nine frame setup I envisioned.

That changed in November when I contacted my friend Amanda with Mermaid Lake Photography and had family photos taken in December. They were beautiful and perfect for my gallery wall vision.

I selected nine of the images and had them printed by Mpix in black and white. The frames I selected were gallery frames from Target that are sized for an 8×8 photo, which is a size Mpix offers. (Ignore the terrible quality of my cell phone pics below)

I placed the photos in the frames and then pre-arranged them on the floor before hanging them on the wall. To get them evenly spaced on the wall, I used a measuring tape and a ruler. I’m pretty intense about things being even so that took a little time. I used the backs of the frame boxes as templates before placing the actual frames on the wall. To attach them, I used my old stand by, 3M Picture Hangers. They’re the velcro strips and they work great, plus they don’t mess up the walls which I love. It’ll also be easy to take them down and switch out photos as Hartley gets older and our family changes.

 

All in all, the entire project was around $150 (not including the photo session costs) and ended up amazing! If you don’t already, print your photos. Children today are going to have their memories living only on electronic devices and that’s not as stable as having them printed. All it takes is one phone or memory card breaking and the images are gone. Don’t make that mistake.

If you’re interested in creating your own gallery wall, here’s a list of products I used and a cost breakdown:

 

Winter Wedding Inspiration | Raspberry Plain Manor, Leesburg, VA

There’s something about winter light that I love and Raspberry Plain Manor in Leesburg, VA is full of it. Although it feels like we don’t get many hours of sunlight in winter, what we do get is glowy and gorgeous especially in the afternoons. This shoot, organized by Shannon Ensor Photography, definitely took advantage of the winter light and offers tons of winter wedding inspiration.

The shoot was held at Raspberry Plain Manor, a wedding and event venue in Leesburg. The brick manor with massive white columns was built in 1916 by John G. Hopkins. A previous home was built on the property in 1771 by Thomson Mason, the brother of George Mason, but was destroyed in 1910. The current home has been sold several times, most recently in 2016 to Rose Hill Manor owners Antonio and Bobbi Jo Cecchi.

The manor features a gorgeous event space that has tons of windows, something this window-loving girl can’t get enough of. The windows allow for a view of the rolling hills behind the home, something that’s easy to forget is part of Leesburg if you just stay in the commercial areas. The grounds have several gardens which are perfect for portraits.

This particular shoot featured berry tones with shades of white and gold to create a romantic winter feel. The bride wore a beautiful white dress with a full-length veil while the groom opted for a classic black tux. The florals featured shades of pink and red along with purple berries.

 

Vendors:

Venue: Raspberry Plain Manor

Styling: Ruie + Grace

Hair and Makeup: All Aglow Beauty

Florals: Intrigue Design and Decor

Coordination: Birds of a Paradise Events

Stationary: Chelsea B. Design Studio

Host: Shannon Ensor Photography

Colorful Beach Wedding Inspiration | Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, NC

I love all things beach, especially the Outer Banks. My husband and I usually visit a few times a year–once in the on-season for a week with family and then again for a few days in the off-season, either spring or fall. It was during one of our fall trips that I was able to attend Amanda Hedgepeth’s Salt Air Workshop. Amanda is an amazing wedding photographer located in the Outer Banks who hosts a workshop each fall. During this particular workshop, she hosted a wonderful styled shoot full of colorful beach wedding inspiration with bright colors, beachy vibes and plenty of Outer Banks gorgeousness.

The shoot was located at Jennette’s Pier which is an eco-friendly pier located in Nags Head. It’s a rebuild of a former 754-foot long pier by the same name that was destroyed in 2003 by Hurricane Isabel. The new version, which opened in 2011, is 1,000 feet and all concrete. It features a variety of educational exhibits and the walkway is lined with fish plaques dedicated to various friends, family members and beach lovers.

The pier house is a multi-story building with the top floor dedicated to an event space, which is where most of the shoot was held. It has a wraparound deck and is a great location for weddings and parties with a beautiful view of the beach and the pier below.

The shoot made excellent use of the deck space with a biscuit bar, sparkly tablescape, cake table and more. The bride wore a gorgeous dress complimented by beachy waves with a bright, colorful bouquet featuring a mix of real and paper flowers. The cake was adorned with the same flowers and hand painted vases and seashells completed the tablescape.

I loved everything about the setup and love the bright colors. They offer a great inspiration for brides wanting a bold, bright, fun beach wedding and the Outer Banks is the perfect spot to do that.

Vendors:

Hosted by: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography

Planner: Sterling Dawn Events

Floral Designer: One Sweet Day in May

Bakery: Cakes by Chelsi Davis

Rentals: Distinctive Event Rentals and Waterford Event Rentals, LLC

Dress: Maya Couture from Pure English Couture Bridal

Invitation: Paperdolls Design

Paper Flowers: Sweet Pear Paper

Caterer: The Handsome Biscuit

Rings: Adele Diamond

Jewelry: All Washed Up

Hair and Makeup: Beauty by Sharra

Venue: Jennette’s Pier

Welcoming Hartley Grace

Just over three weeks ago, Hartley Grace entered our lives. I feel I should start off by noting that my labor and delivery experience is not the norm, so if you’re thinking about having children or even awaiting the birth of your first, please don’t let my story scare you away. That said, I had the best and easiest pregnancy. Aside from some horrific acid reflux which began around 14 weeks (hello Zantac!) I had no issues. I had very little morning sickness and really only felt a little off when I hadn’t eaten. A constant supply of crackers and mini candy canes helped with that problem, as well as some ginger candy, Preggie Drops and Sickless which is an all-natural magensium, B6 and ginger blend that helps stave off that unsure stomach feeling. I maintained a healthy weight (21lbs. gained from start to finish), kept moving and worked right up until labor began. As someone who had always been unsure about the idea of being pregnant, I was absolutely blessed.

Like other first time moms, my due date came and went with no baby. I was adamant about avoiding a c-section and knowing that inductions can increase that risk, I was hardcore against being induced. I know c-sections are unavoidable for some and absolutely support that, but the idea of major surgery was more than I could handle. That following Monday, after having a non-stress test and ultrasound to make sure everything was okay (which it was), I reluctantly agreed to setting an induction date of 41 weeks and three days–my doctor’s ideal deadline date. Thankfully, I ended up going into labor the Wednesday prior at 41+1 so no induction necessary. But she was obviously sold on that Friday date.

I went into the hospital Wednesday night, a little before midnight and didn’t welcome baby girl until Friday evening. Friday evening! I went through five doctor shifts and I can’t even tell you how many nurses. Thankfully, my doctor’s office, which is a large practice with multiple physicians, is into low intervention births. They don’t push things on you and all of them are so sweet and kind. I absolutely don’t think I would have made it through those two days without them. The hospital I delivered at is also into low intervention births which really helped. I was able to walk around and encouraged to lap the halls in order to move things along. I totally hit my Fitbit step goal that Thursday. Even so, I couldn’t seem to hit past that 4 centimeter mark. Family members were camped out in the waiting room, watching women come in, have their babies and then leave. Apparently, I was in it for the long-term.

Friday morning, I was started on Pitocin, received the most amazing epidural ever (seriously, best anesthesiologist ever!) and had my water broke. By 2 p.m., it was time to get her out. And then came the pushing. Four hours! Hands down, delivering baby girl was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I tried to just focus on things as they came and I kept that same attitude during delivery. IV? Not a fan, but I can get through it. A gazillion rounds of antibiotics? Okay, let’s do it. Those horrible checks? Ok, but don’t tell me nothing has changed because I’m going to lose it. Four hours of pushing? Good grief. I will say I watched a lot of Million Dollar Listing and House Hunters during those two days. Mindless tv that you don’t really have to pay attention to is helpful believe it or not.

At 6:34 p.m. Friday, July 28, Hartley Grace was (finally!) born. She came in at 7.89 lbs. and 20 5/8 in. with a head full of hair (thank you acid reflux!). As soon as they laid her on my chest, she reached up and snatched my glasses off my face. Oh yeah, she’s going to be a wild one.

 

Special thanks to Jackie Fitzgerald for Hartley’s amazing handmade outfit. It’s perfect!

Fiesta Wedding Inspiration | Snead’s Asparagus Farm, Fredericksburg, VA

It’s Cinco de Mayo and what better way to celebrate than with a fiesta? I’m a taco girl and I love bright colors so this fiesta wedding inspiration photo shoot was a dream come true. The shoot was held at Snead’s Asparagus Farm in Fredericksburg which is one of my favorite places. If you’ve never been, check it out. I’ve been visiting since I was a young child back when you left money in a box on the front porch for your pumpkins. That’s changed a bit, I think they take credit cards now, but the welcoming feel of the place is still the same and the barns and fields made for the perfect backdrop for these photos.

Darling D’s Events went all out, channeling the fiesta theme through the table decor, colorful pinatas and more. Florals from The Floral Palette added to the theme along with a bouquet from Virginia Flora and paper flowers from Something Borrowed. Caroline Street Catering put together an amazing taco bar, complimented by a dessert bar from Erin Lozier and an appetizer display from Elegant Cuisines Catering. The cake was made by Sorby Sweets and had the best decoration along with little sombrero cake toppers. It was perfect!

Grab yourself a margarita and a taco and check out the highlights below. They will leave you completely inspired to throw your own bright, colorful fiesta inspired wedding complete with pinatas and all. And then email me, because I’d love to capture it.

 

Vendors:

 Coordinator, rentals and designs: Darling D’s Events

Venue: Snead’s Asparagus Farm

Dress: Ava Laurenne Bride

Hair, makeup: Bangz Salon

Seeing eye nails: Holy Chic Nail Bar

Table florals: The Floral Palette

Bouquet: Virginia Flora

Paper Flowers: Something Borrowed

Taco Bar: Caroline Street Catering

Dessert Bar: Erin Lozier

Appetizer display: Elegant Cuisines Catering

Cake: Sorby Sweets

Caligraphy: Caligraphy by Michelle

DJ: Virginia’s DJ Service

Videographer: Anchor Images