January 2016

Professional Design: Parc Reston Business Center

Office Space and Conference Room Actually Ashley Blogs

Good Morning!

I wanted to give you guys another sneak peak into my day-to-day design world at work. If you missed the first few professional design features you can catch up here and here! You can also visit my collaboration with a house flipper, Rocks Rehabs, here and here! My first few professional design work features showed my wheel house, designing model homes for builders to show off their homes. In addition to models, I also help to sign commercial spaces. They can range from leasing centers, amenity spaces in apartment complexes, and also office and conference spaces. For this Design Feature I want to show you guys on of my favorite conference and business centers I designed with my old firm Carlyn and Company Interiors + Design.Harrison Apt Actually Ashley Business CenterHere is the entrance into the Business and Conference Center. Use used a base of tans, browns and grey to create a warm feeling. In my experience, office spaces and feel “cold”. We used pops of reds, oranges and golds to help warm up the space. Harrison Apt Actually Ashley Conference CenterThis large conference room can comfortably seat 10 people and is equipped with touch screen smart TV, WiFi and a smart table including power to charge your devices.
Harrison Apt Actually Ashley Conference

We tried to lighten up the space by using fun artwork from across the globe. One of my favorite sources is Saatchi Art, a website that allows artists sell original artwork online to be shipped anywhere in the world.

Harrison Apt Actually Ashley Business Center ComputersThis is an area where the general public can come in to use the computers, printers and phones fee. We are calling it the Business Center. This area had to be tough as nails as it will take some abuse over the years. We used custom built ins to create computer cubbies. This area had no windows, so to create the illusion of some natural light we added there mirrors behind each computer. Harrison Apt Actually Ashley Conference RoomThis last space is a smaller board room for more private meetings. Again we used oversized artwork to help fill the large walls and add some much needed color to the space. We used simple pendant lighting and wall sconces to help brighten the room. I totally love how the chevron red and orange fabric turned out on these modern office chairs!

I hope you enjoyed a sneak peak into my day-to-day design life. I love that I am always getting to design something different and new. I hope you liked it!

Until Next Time,


Wedding Planning: How to Plan a Wedding in SIX Months

Hello Friends!

Thank you so much for reading about how I am keeping the wedding costs down (under $7,000!).. YIKES! Another tricky part to our wedding will be the TIGHT timeline. We got engaged at the end of October 2015. We will be married at the beginning of May of 2016.  We have just over six months to pull off the wedding of my Pinterest dreams!

I’ve created a chart to help along the way:

6 Month Wedding Planning TimelineSix Months:

  • Time to announce your engagement to friends and family, if it is on Facebook, by phone or in person make it quick. We only have a few more months!
  • Make your budget, and stick to it. Whatever your financial ability is, make sure you stick with (or be under) that number. A wedding is no reason to be broke five years from now. You can make a inexpensive wedding beautiful too.
  • Pick a venue. This can be hard because of your quick turn around, and some of your first choices might be booked out for the next two years. This is when you need to Think Outside of the Box.  Maybe you can swing having your wedding on a Sunday night, or even a weekday ignored to get the venue of your dreams. Consider a friends backyard, a local park, campground or barn for a wedding day. Picking your day will be determined by the venue.
  • Choose your wedding party. Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Ring Bearers and Flower Girls should be made aware as soon as you can. I’ve opted to skip this and have my dogs as “Best Dog” and “Dog of Honor” so it was pretty easy to let them know..
  • Start a diet and exercise plan if you’d like (not necessary, you’re already beautiful and amazing)
  • BUY A WEDDING DRESS. I was shocked to learn it takes between 4-6 months to get a dress. In my head, I could go in, buy it and walk out like I did with a prom dress. Boy, was I wrong. My dress will take 5 months to arrive from the date of ordering it, then another 2+ weeks for alteration. Luckily, I will get my dress two weeks before the big day. I’m happy I didn’t wait too long to start looking!
  • Create your guest list. Don’t be afraid to go small, or tiny like us.
  • Pinterest Planning.. Create a board or reference your existing wedding boards. Start to narrow down your ideas. Maybe even start to create subcategories like “wedding diy” and “wedding cake ideas” to be more organized.

Five Months:

  • Now is the time to select and order bridesmaids gowns. Start thinking about their jewelry, hair, and shoes now too
  • Start a skincare plan. I am drinking A TON of water, and taking better care of my skin. I have purchased lotions and potions in hope of  being blemish free in May..
  • Schedule and take engagement photos if you’d like. This is another way to cut major costs, but I am a sucker for a good photoshoot so we went ahead and did it!
  • Book your event. From florists, photographers, DJ, videographers, Officiant, Caterers, etc… book everything you need as soon as you can.
  • Send out save the dates (We used and two engagement photos for ours)

Four Months:

  • Regester for gifts. Registering at 2-3 locations is ideal. One location should have a “real” location, because grandma hasn’t gotten the hang of online ordering just yet. Remember to register for a wide range of price points!
  • Order grooms and groomsmen’s attire. If you’re renting or buying, now is the time. Don’t forget shoes, belts, and ties!
  • Order your wedding cake. Select a baker, print out your inspiration photos and have a taste test.
  • Book and test-run your hair and makeup artists. I am going to DIY my own hair and makeup, but if you’d like to be in the hands of a real professional, now is the time 🙂
  • Finalize your menu selections with the caterer
  • Book any hotels that are going to be needed. If it is just you and the groom for the wedding night, or an entire wedding guest list from out of town, make sure you get this part covered.
  • Plan and schedule the rehearsal dinner (if you’re having one)

Three Months:

  • Send out your official invites. Brian is DIYing ours, but there are amazing ones on sites like minted and etsy!
  • Once you get the RSVP’s confirm your headcount and make a seating chart.
  • Schedule any needed vacation time off from work. I suggest taking a few days before and after if you can!
  • Whiten teeth and continue beauty/skincare
  • Buy wedding shoes and accessories.

Two Months:

  • Write your wedding vows and meet with the Officiant to review. If you’re going to do pre-marriage counseling, now is the time to start.
  • Start on and DIY wedding projects, hello Pinterest!
  • Do your final wedding fitting and break in your wedding shoes. I do not have the luxury of having this step 2 months out, but boy would I. I am a plan ahead kind of girl so 2 months for the dress would be my sweet-spot!
  • Email or call all of your vendors to confirm and finalize any outstanding details.

One Month:

  • Finalize and DIY projects, and order any remaining items like decor, favors and guest books
  • Attend Bridal and Bachelorette Parties.
  • Plan and book the honeymoon, and airfare if needed.
  • Obtain the marriage license (please check state and local laws for exact timing)

One-Two Weeks:

  • Schedule a hair appointment about 2 weeks out. This allows time for any dye to fade and to have your hair seem more natural on Game Day
  • Pack for the wedding day. If you’ve made most of the decor, make sure this is all together and ready to go.
  • Confirm date and time with all of your vendors. Better safe than sorry.
  • Set aside envelopes with tip money for the vendors. Don’t forget payment for the officiant.

Day Before:

  • Got get that mani-pedi. You need to have pretty hands for all of those ring photos 🙂
  • Stay hydrated. Do not forget to drink a lot of water before the big day.
  • Do any other day-before beauty preparations like a spray tan, or teeth cleaning
  • Organize your gown, shoes and accessories
  • Pack the grooms big-day needs (If you don’t trust them to remember it all, lol)

Do you have suggestions on what to add to the SPEED DEMOND wedding timeline? Leave me some tips in the comments below!

Until Next Time,



Wedding Planning: How to Keep Wedding Costs Down

Good Morning Friends!

You might remember that back in October, Brian asked me to marry him.  I excitedly said yes and have been planning ever since. Originally we had considered eloping.. I know, gasp! My mom but the kibosh on that really quick, so now we are planning a very small, simple and relaxed wedding for 20 guests. Yes, just 20 people total including Brian and Myself. We want to really enjoy the day, not have any extra stress and be able to really celebrate with each other on our big day. We also are trying to keep the wedding pretty cheap  cost effective. We set our budget at around $7,000.00 all in. We are doing a semi-destination wedding so its going to be tight! Along the way I’ve found ways to cut some corners to keep our costs on the lower end. Keeping Wedding Costs Down

Limiting Your Guest List:

Once you’ve given yourself a budget, you need to stick to it. One of the most simple ways to cut some wedding costs is to cut some wedding guests. This is such a tricky thing to do though. No matter how careful you are, or how large of a wedding you have,  someone will ALWAYS have something to say. I think the best way to handle a small guest list is to be upfront from the get-go. As soon as we got engaged, I put the feelers out that we were not going to be having a large wedding. As people looked at the ring and shouted about 100 questions about the wedding.. I made sure to include tidbits about how it will be a very small and private event (and maybe even an elopement) I’ve found out that feelings get hurt when a loved one assumes they will be attending a wedding but in fact they will not be. The sooner you get the word out the better. Brian and I decided to draw a firm line in the sand. We were ONLY inviting immediate family. This includes our moms, dads, siblings and grandparents. This was so hard. I very much wanted to have my best friends there, and wanted my extended family to be there.. but we had to be firm with them and ourselves. Our grand total of guests will be 20 including Brian and myself.

Think D.I.Y:

I don’t know how people planned weddings before Pinterest. Seriously, how?? Pinterest hosts thousands of wedding ideas, most of which are DIY’s. I have planned to do most of the decor and details myself for our wedding. I will used faux silk flowers to make my bouquet and isle decorations. I will be making some DIY wood directional signs. I will also be making some DIY favor baskets. Our wedding will be a semi-destination (about 2 hours from our home, some guests driving about 6 hours). Because of this, I will be making welcome wedding baskets with treats and favors for them when they arrive. DIY projects can cut some major costs!

Think Outside of the Box:

Being creative can be hard, but ignored to cut some wedding costs you almost have to. Try looking into alternative venues. A friends backyard, a local park or a barn can make amazing backdrops to your big day without breaking the bank. Brian and I are renting a campground on the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia for our off-key small wedding. This is a double bonus… Not only do we have a beautiful rustic backdrop but we also have cabins to host all our of guests. We wanted privacy, so we went ahead and booked the ENTIRE campground out for the two nights we will have the wedding. This costs us a total of $3,500.00 for the venue and lodging for 20 people for two days. Huge cost savings. We also saved big by having our wedding mid-week. We will be wed on a Wednesday, which cut the venue cost in half. After the “I Do’s” we will host our small party at a local restaurant in lieu of having a caterer, band, DJ, ect. The bill for 20 people to dine (and eat what they want instead of dry chicken) will be so much cheaper than the more traditional route. After the dinner, we will head back to the campground for some s’mores by the bonfire! Lastly we are having our dogs be “Best Dog” & “Dog of Honor” instead of a large bridal party. Part of this was the ‘line in the sand’ of family only, the other part was a big cost savings.

Ask for Help:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from those attending your wedding. Brian’s brother is a chief, so we are asking for his help in cooking our rehearsal dinner. Brian’s mom is an amazing baker, and she will be making our wedding cake. Think about the skills of your friends and family, it never hurts to ask! Maybe your neighbor is a great wood worker and can DIY some of those wedding decorations. Maybe you have a handy dad that can construct that wedding arbor of your dreams! It could even be asking to use someones yard as your venue! I’d just suggest inviting whom ever has helped along the way!


Until Next Time,



Daybed Guest Room: Big Reveal

Hello Friends!

Daybed Guest Room RevealOn Sunday I got you up-to-date on my life in the last month, and also showed you the paint detail progress in the Daybed Guest Room. Previously I also showed you my plan, and the sources I was buying from for this project. Now for the big reveal!Daybed View 1

What do you think of the subtle grey stripe? Remember I used Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray Sw7019, in flat and high gloss to create the stripe. In person you don’t really notice it until the light hits just right. I love it! Also notice a frame (Home Goods) with the WiFi password typed out for our guests! Whenever I stay at a friends home, I am always asking for the WiFi password.. so to make it easy I already have it waiting for them! This was a really simple project I got from Bloglovin’. To check out the post, visit here!  Simply save her image, then type over it in Microsoft Word!  Here is what mine looked like:9712528939_8b77b4ece6_oDaybed View 2Daybed Nightstand DetailDaybed Dresser DetailDaybed View 3

Willow loves a good photobomb!

I took the opportunity to store towels and some extras for guests in the glass cabinet nightstand from Target. I like to add those mini bottles I steal  borrow from hotel rooms and put them into a simple basket for any overnight guests. I also like to leave out towels for guests so they don’t have to ask when they would like to freshen up. I also love to add “life” to a guest room. I did this with the faux greens and flowers in the room. I also always try to add a simple candle to the room. I supplied guests with matches and a lighter in the basket in the nightstand!


The Daybed // The Comforter //Art Over Bed: Home Goods Steal // Accent Pillow // Accent Pillows // The Dresser (we already owned but added some fun hobby lobby knobs for $5!) // The Lamp // The Curtains // Art over Dresser: DIY // Books on Dresser: Books-a-million Clearance // Flowers on Dresser: Home Goods // Nightstand: Target // Ottoman // Throw Blanket

Until Next Time,


Back on Track for 2016

Wow! Where do I start?Back on Track 2016

First of all- I’m so sorry for my unexpected month hiatus. Brian looked at me the other day and said “So, are you not going to blog anymore?” I had not really even realized a month had gone by since my last post. Life really got away from me with the holidays, travel, wedding planing and being extra busy at work. I commute 2 hours each way for my job, so on a normal day I do not get home from work until 7:00 pm. When we get crazy busy at work and I stay even a little bit later… I run into major traffic and get home around 8-8:30. that simply leaves me little to no free time during the week. On top of that, we set a wedding date! We will be married on May 11, 2016. Yes, you read that right, 2016. We have just a few short months to pull together a simple and sweet wedding. But I’ll fill you in with all the wedding stuff in a post soon. Anyway, I’m truly sorry I’ve been MIA. I never planned to take a month off but it did and I am sorry. Now I’m back on track for 2016.

I want to fill you in on what I’ve been up to in the last month! Christmas was great. Brian and I traveled to visit his family for a week over Christmas. It was the first time I didn’t go home for the Holidays in my life. It was sad to not wake up at my childhood house on Christmas morning but non-the-less we had a fantastic holiday. We stayed with his dad for a few nights then went to his brothers home for Christmas morning and watched his two nephews open gifts which was a hoot.

Actually Ashley ChristmasAfter that we went to my parents house for a short and sweet visit. We had a great family dinner and opened gifts with mimosas in hand. Brian got a new saw (to help make some awesome stuff for you guys!) and a trail camera. Brian got me a Silhouette Cameo. Which is an amazing-ly-awesome-tastic thing. Here is the official description:

The Silhouette CAMEO®
is your standard in electronic cutting. Like a home printer, it plugs into your PC or Mac® with a simple USB cable. However, instead of printing it uses a small blade to cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric, and other material up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long.




So, like a printer you send things from your computer to the Cameo, but instead of it putting ink on something, it uses a blade to cut out the shape. So far I’ve used it to cut vinyl to make decals which have all turned out so well! I have some major DIY wedding plans that feature the cameo, so stay tuned for some future projects!

Now, do you all remember back when I shared the Daybed Guest Room Plans?

Actually Ashley Daybed Guest Bedroom Plan

I know it seems like ages ago, because it was.. Sorry! Over the break we completed the room. It turned out so great and I can’t wait to share it with you (post coming so soon!) First, I’d like to give you just a sneak peak of the feature wall. Remember I said I’d like to do some sort of subtle accent wall in the room. I decided to go with a stripe. I purchased the main color of the room, Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray Sw7019, in flat. I then got a small sample size of the same Gauntlet Gray in high gloss… After painting the entire room in the flat paint, I taped off the walls using my green frog tape. Be sure to use a level. I actually took a level with a pencil and made a faint line across the entire wall. I then carefully placed the tape to align with the pencil mark. I took a credit card to scrape the edges of the front tape to confirm they were sealed tightly.  I then used the high gloss paint in every other stripe.

Grey Stripe Bedroom Acutally Ashley

This photo was taken before I started the high gloss. I can’t wait for you guys to see how it turned out! It adds just a slight bit of detail when the light hits the room. Its nothing too forceful, but adds some much needed interest.

Okay, that should catch you up to speed. Stay tuned for the big Daybed Guest Room reveal, awesome DIY features for the wedding and so much more. I’m happy to be back for 2016!

Until Next Time,