Happy birthday to my main man. I’ll spare this blog the sappy stuff, so just let me say: My life is more beautiful with you in it. You make me laugh more than anyone else in this world. You’re awesome, and I love you. Here’s to the next 26 – may there be garages full of gear, tables full of friends, fridges full of beer, seasons full of UNC wins, months full of travel, and moments full of love.
Did y’all watch the Golden Globes last night? My mom, aunt, and I watched it; our favorite thing to do is text each other commentary the entire time. Best or worst dressed, who should have won, whose speech was the best. I think my favorite part of this year’s awards was the choice of host – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hilarious. Here are my picks for this year’s best dressed.
Anne Hathaway in Chanel Couture
I actually hated this dress when I first saw Anne on the red carpet. But the more I’ve looked at it, the more I love it. It fits her perfectly and is just the kind of understated elegance I love. And her hair! I love her hair. Maybe I’m biased since I just saw Les Mis and she is such a moving Fantine in it.Lucy Liu in Carolina Herrera
I’m guessing that Lucy Liu will end up on some people’s worst dressed list. But I loved this gown. The print is old world, the gown is ultra femme. I think the look could have gone the other way if Liu had done her hair in curls or had worn too much makeup. But she pulled it together perfectly – that fishtail braid, simple makeup. She’s stunning.Jennifer Lawrence in Dior
Oh, Nicole. She is usually among my favorites. This photo hardly does the dress justice. On screen, this black gown was a show-stopper. The simple silhouette paired with the intricate fabric work on the bodice and the gold hardware is perfection.Jennifer Garner in Vivienne Westwood
Again, I don’t think this photo does this gown justice. Also, Jennifer’s makeup was beautiful. Very soft and feminine. Loved this look.
Who were your favorites? What about least favorites?
When I begin a styling concept for a shoot or event, I’m usually first inspired by a piece of artwork. Perhaps it’s an abstract painting using deep colors and bold paint strokes or maybe it’s a photograph of a softly lit Parisian terrace at dusk in springtime with a palette of neutrals and dusty greens. Vision begins with an image. Sometimes a single image can then inform an entire event – the drama, tone, and tempo.
For the new year, I’m going to try a couple of new series posts. Art & Event will be one of them, so stay tuned for more! I’ll be pairing a piece of art with a photo from a styled event or wedding.
My dad loves goals, and if there’s one thing I’ve heard him say about goals, it’s that the best way to achieve them is to write them down. So it’s with that in mind that I’m ready to put finger to keyboard and share my 2013 list. I’ve tried to keep them somewhat realistic (so maybe I can actually overachieve this year?) and I’m trying to remember grace, not perfection. So here goes.
- Read 25 books this year, including at least 5 non-fiction.
- Rejoin the gym. Exercise 3 times per week.
- Use my Canon at least once per week. Learn how to use the dang thing.
- Run another race, maybe a 10-miler, and train for time (not just for survival).
- Finish 10 pieces of jewelry and post them.
- Keep up with my Bible-reading plan.
- Post more regularly on this blog. Include moodboards. And more outfits?
- Style another photoshoot.
- Take a weekend trip with Michael.
- Go camping with friends.
- Lend my styling skills to a non-profit event.
- Organize the blogs I read in Reader or Bloglovin.
- Attend a skills-improving workshop (ideally, one of these) or volunteer on-site with another professional.
- Give this blog a facelift.
- Acquire artwork for our home.
- Plan meals each week. Learn basic kitchen skills (help, anyone?).
Do you have resolutions or goals? Leave a link in the comments. I’d love to hear them.
Image by Jose Villa
New Year’s Eve has never quite lived up to its rad and rowdy reputation for me. I think Christmas takes it all out of me, so by the time NYE rolls around, I’m out of energy to plan a party. So this year, we decided to do things differently. We ordered Chinese take-out, bought some ice cream and headed home to build a romantic fire. We were going to keep things low key. I was skeptical at first. (Doesn’t NYE require a fancy dress and glitter? Won’t I be missing out on all the crazy fun and smooching that everyone else in the world is having at midnight?) But then I thought – shut up, brain! Here is the man you love, building you a romantic fire and lighting candles! There’s General Tso’s and Ben and Jerry’s to be had! You can spend the evening snuggled up together, dreaming about the future and talking about how awesome 2012 was. This started to sound more and more perfect.
… And then our house filled with smoke.
Lights on, food put to the side, candles blown out, windows and doors thrown open, and throats burning, the next hour or so of our NYE was spent aerating our home in 30 degree weather.
Ah, isn’t that how life is? The best laid plans go awry. Our lives are interrupted by wrong turns and things don’t go as expected. I tend to hold tightly to plans. I like things to turn out exactly like the perfect picture I imagine. But this NYE (and this year) I tried to remind myself: Grace, not perfection. Grace allows me to move forward more quickly, grace allows me to love more fully, grace makes room for the unexpected.
Once the fire had subsided, we had to laugh. We got into pj’s, grabbed the ice cream and champagne, and climbed into bed. Our house smelled like a dirty ashtray. There were no candles. I wasn’t wearing a pretty dress. And we fell asleep at 11pm. But we did have a great conversation about our past year and our hopes for the new one. We laughed over memories and thanked God for our blessings. We drank all the champagne. NYE 2012: It was a good one.
How did you spend New Year’s Eve? Got a great story like mine?
*image source unknown
Our presents are shipped, our bags are packed, and I’m counting down the hours until I’ll be home for Christmas! This year we are heading to Chicago to spend Christmas with my family. I can’t wait to wake up in my parents’ house in the quiet of an early morning (hopefully with snow!) and come downstairs to find the coffee already brewed and my mom keeping a seat warm for me on the couch in the reading room. My parents have only been back in Chicago since I left for college, so I’ve technically never lived in this new house, but they both really know how to make it feel like home. I love that.
Earlier this week, I shared our Christmas Card. I thought I’d also share some of the other ways we’ve made Joyce family Christmas traditions. Traditions are important to me, and even though we’re only in our second year of our marriage and we’re only a ‘family’ of two, I’ve wanted to be really intentional about creating memories and establishing our own family customs. I think traditions say something about what we value and, in a way, shape who we are over time. In the middle of the busyness and cacophony of shopping malls and Santas, I want us to have places that we come back to each Advent that remind us of what we believe and what we love most. Some of them are defining moments that really point to the core of who we are and some of them are simple and light-hearted – small joys that speak of love and goodness in a world that can seem so dark sometimes.
I also had to learn that we, the two of us, are our own clan. So we can’t just take the traditions of our own families and mash them up and expect them to be just as meaningful. I come from a family of three girls. One of our traditions growing up was to watch White Christmas and traipse around the living room, singing “Sisters, Sisters” with our very own Butler Sisters lyrics. I tried this with Michael. He didn’t look as pretty in a blue feather boa as we’d both hoped.
This year our traditions included:
1. Getting our first Starbucks holiday drink and heading out to pick out our tree, then decorating it while listening to our favorite Christmas tunes (Otis Redding is high on the list).
3. An Advent Calendar. This year I made an Advent Calendar for Michael. I took 25 paper bags and numbered them, placing a small surprise (Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s) or a note of love or appreciation or an outing (tonight we’re going to drive around and look for the best Christmas lights or let’s bake cookies for our neighbors!) in them and tying them up with twine. This was a great way for me to love Michael and for us to love our friends and community. Some days we were too tired to do what was written in the bag, so we gave grace when needed.
4. Behold the Lamb. This Andrew Peterson & friends concert has become a must for us. The music is beautiful and the different artists he brings on tour with him each year are so talented.
Do y’all have special family traditions? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Merry Christmas, bloggin’ friends! I hope this season of Advent has brought you a bit more hope in this time of grief, a bit more light in this present darkness. As part of our little Joyce family Christmas traditions (if you’ve done it twice, it’s a tradition in my book!), we sent out Christmas cards. I love Christmas cards. This year, we’ve hung them all up on the back of our front door so every time I leave the house, I’m bid farewell by all these beautiful friends and families. I love watching families grow through Christmas cards – new babies, graduations, weddings. This year when we finally had a moment to sit down and choose our card through Minted (we use them every year!), we realized that shoot! Not a single decent photo of the both of us from the whole dang year? Good thing I have such amazingly talented photographer friends. I quickly thought of Lucy of Lucy O Photo, and I’m so glad I did. Lucy graciously offered to take our photos one Sunday morning before church with one condition – she wanted red lips. My response? Duh.
Lucy was amazing. If you’re in need of a family photo or a wedding photographer, Lucy is one of the best. And – major bonus – she shoots film. In the 30 minutes we spent with her, I think we got some of my favorite, most authentic photos as a couple. Lucy made us feel comfortable in our own skin, and she just knew what poses were going to work and what backdrops were best. Ah, Lucy, I love you!
Now before you peruse our pics, I must warn you: my hubs is smokin hot. Like, I might have fallen in love with him all over again looking at these. So just be warned – you might develop a crush (it’s easier to do so than you might think). But… he’s taken, ladies.Gosh, I love that last one. My man is so handsome when he laughs. Such a perfect moment.
How absolutely breathtaking are these photos? The human form is just so beautiful. I stumbled across these images and have found myself captivated by them – equal parts grace and strength. The photographer has a pretty wonderful statement about these images, which are called Aloft: ‘In a world borne of the artificial, Aloft expresses the beauty of dance in elegant simplicity. Absent of any gimmicks, the photographs are purposely bare save for the line, the shape, the dance and most importantly the dancer. My sensibilities as a dancer allow me to distill the strongest and most unique qualities of each dancer into each photograph, drawing upon my own work as a choreographer.’
Do you all keep a list of alternate lives? You know, the things you could have been and sometimes dream about. Just me? Ah, well this is indeed my blog so I guess you have to indulge me here. So on my list is dancer. Yes, I watch So You Think You Can Dance. And yes, there was that one time that a bunch of old ladies beckoned to me when I was waiting tables at this restaurant in high school and asked me which dance company I was with. Because I looked like I should be a dancer. Yes, still relishing that moment. And yes, mom, if you are reading this I know you are laughing because, as you have told me many, many times, I was a dancer once. When I was five. And I was so uncoordinated and so ungraceful that you were happy to let me quit when the ballerina phase was over. Well, mom, some blue hairs in Virginia Beach say otherwise. I could have been great.
Part II of the photoshoot with Joy Thigpen, Eric Kelley Photography, and Lora Elaine is over on Once Wed today. My two favorite parts of the shoot are the bride’s wild, loose bouquet and the incredible reception table glowing with more than 200 candles. The evening candlelit shot was one of the last, and it was so rewarding to sit back and watch the magic unfold.
Joy offers some great tips on how to best make indoor venues work well for photos and for your wedding. It’s well worth the read!
PS – Recognize the girl on the right? It’s me! At the last minute, we decided to feature bridesmaid bouquets and well… it was hard work, but I couldn’t really turn down getting my hair and makeup done by Lora, could I? And when they brought out that fabulous gown! Somebody had to do it.
Y’all! So many exciting things to post about. Great things have been happening these past few months, and I’m way behind in the blogging. First up, a feature on Once Wed! This moment… y’all, it’s huge for me. I got a call one day with an inquiry to be an extra set of hands on set for a styled shoot with… wait for it…. Joy Thigpen. In the world of styling and event design, Joy is my idol. Her work is impeccable, thoughtful, soft and creative. Way before I ever started styling, I knew who Joy was and went to her website and blog almost daily for inspiration. So after a little happy dance, I composed myself and headed out to Early Mountain Vineyards for a two-day shoot.
The design – completely conceptualized by Joy and Lora Kelley – was dramatic and autumnal with bright, warm fall foliage and a pretty astounding amount of candlelight. But the photos – by the ever-inspiring Eric Kelley – speak for themselves. Check them out here.
The best part (besides being incredibly humbled that I’m listed as assistant stylist)? Joy is just as rad in person as the images that she creates in photos. She is genuine, friendly, and encouraging. She took my ideas and she even gave me creative freedom on a few projects. I got the sense that for her, styling is just the creative overflow of all the loveliness she embodies. I hope if I continue to work diligently, hone my skills, and keep gracious people like Joy at the forefront of my role models, I too might be like that someday.
If you don’t know Joy’s work or Eric’s, please do check them out and give them some love. And, of course, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shoot.