better homes and gardens do it yourself magazine photo shoot

So last week, right before Thanksgiving, our home had a lot of this going on.

The Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication, Do It Yourself Magazine was totally at our house. {Can we take a moment here and jump up and down and do cartwheels and scream like three year olds who were just offered a trip to the north pole via Santa’s sleigh?} Because they sent a dream team, and it was some of the most fun I’ve had since we started this little ‘ol blawgh. If our neighbors don’t already think we’re crazy because of our constant presence in the yard building, painting, cleaning and moving things, the giant diffusers outside the windows and the guys on ladders and the cars and the equipment and the people climbing our bungalow in the back yard… definitely confirmed it for them. They probably just think I’m fickle and that we have a termite problem. The fickle part is true.

I was a spaz on a caffeine overdose before they came, freaking out about baseboards, ironing sheets, stuffing toys in the closet… all kinds of obsessing… There was definitely this pressure I put on myself. I mean, it’s a magazine. And this is me. Good cause to freak, right? It felt like this unrealistic expectation of perfection I was trying to achieve… that I placed on myself. There’s this glamorous aura about a glossy magazine and I felt kinda silly that this big fat faker will be in one. (Do you want to see my closets, again?) I’m still in awe that they actually wanted to come to little old Alabama. As soon as our stylist and photography team arrived, I was immediately put at ease. Brenda (aforementioned stylist) and I went on a mini adventure as it pertains to some Alabama history to obtain some flowers, and we had some fellow Walking Dead fans up in this house. It felt like we were old friends after ten minutes.

I was probably the most obnoxious person in the history of photo shoots. Jamin took the kids so they weren’t under foot when they weren’t needed, (My wonderful sis in law and our sitter watched them a few times so he could work) and for two straight days from 8-5, I was was their nerdy self appointed assistant. Brenda, our fabulous stylist, was so sweet to humor me and I was able to play with flowers… From accessories to moving furniture to helping with anything they needed, I was probably the awkward rambling girl asking “Can I get you a drink?” “Do you want a muffin?” “Squirrel!” My brain was so fried, I may or may not have even used the words ‘self defecation’ in place of ‘self deprecation’ to describe my sense of humor at one point in a conversation. Yep. I was that girl. I’m forever that girl.

Our garage was flower central. This was a lot like inviting someone to your house and letting them see the good, the bad, and the ugly all at once. They didn’t bat an eye at the ugly. I’ve decided people like the ugly, too.

These guys basically made me fall in love with our home all over again. They worked some serious magic, and I was in awe of what they do. They had a tall photo order to fill, and I was absolutely thrilled when they were able to achieve every. single. one. Let me just add, it takes a lot of work to get my kids in line for quite a few shots, and I adore what they were able to capture.

I felt like such a dorky little novice with all of their abilities, and I learned so much just from observing. I was watching these screens a lot as they captured what was on the other side. Here’s a little of what I took away from the entire experience:

• They like the story behind the shot.  They were interested in the story on the other side of the lens before they captured it. Something different from the ‘norm’ in the homes they photograph. They like to bring their readers great ideas to use in their own homes, and I love the real-life approach they take.

• They make it look effortless.  Just like what we do at The Handmade Home, for every pretty shot there’s a whole lot of work behind it. Real life is spilled cereal and laundry piles and dog hair. Pretty shots require a lot of work. Things that might not make sense in real life worked beautifully on screen. Seemingly awkward angles achieved the best look. And there’s a lot to be said for using color in your home. I loved observing the process behind the shots they created.

• Dustbunnies are inevitable, and that’s okay.  I couldn’t clean everything. My parents graciously took the kids the Saturday before our wonderful team showed up, and we were able to get a few last things accomplished before they arrived. I told my mom (after about three days’ worth of work) that even if I had a month to prepare, it would never be ‘ready’. And that’s okay. It kind of has to be. These guys didn’t scoff and point and laugh at my dustbunnies. Dustbunnies are real life, and that’s the beauty behind it all.

• Conversations with your children achieve the best shots. Despite my (forever) first instinct of jumping up and down with stuffed animals and high pitched squealing to get their attention, simple conversation with a little humor works best. When I noticed our children on the shot list, I was determined to do anything it might take to make it happen. As if the fate of the magazine world depended on my offspring gracing their glossy pages. I mean, it kind of does, in my world. I was bribing, and then resorted to empty ridiculous pleading with the kids. (Yes, it was just a magazine. Yes, I was excited.) Dangerous words like “Chuck E. Cheese” and “Wreck It Ralph” may have been thrown around with a stubborn Emerson. I loved the way Adam (our photographer-who also is a dad of three) took over. Emmy wanted me nearby, but it was a natural situation with beautiful results. And our crew is a tough one to capture.

• It was well worth the work, but not the stress.  While it was worth all the prep work Jamin and I put into our home before hand so this talented team wasn’t preoccupied with moving piles of trash or cleaning up the toys I didn’t pick up, I just wish I would learn to separate myself from it. I’m not sure when I’ll grow up and put on my big girl britches and quit freaking out over the little things. It’s part of who I am, and my children and husband are amazing to put up with me like they do, but this was a big lesson learned in accepting the imperfect. It’s easy to talk about it… It’s a little bit of a challenge to carry it out when you’re staring it down one hour to “go time”. I’m just waiting for these Mills babes to release their best sellers at the age of 21 entitled Memoirs of DIY Blogger’s Children. Filled with stories of how mommy and daddy changed their house too often and scarred them for life… We had a great time, and I enjoyed the process once our home was whipped into shape. I just wish I could have avoided the pressure I put on myself in getting there. Lesson learned.

Here’s our fun little team after I may or may not have blurted out “That’s a Wrap!” when the final shot was captured. Yes, I have always wanted to say that. From left to right: Adam (fabulous photographer) Brenda (incredible stylist) Jason (wonderful tech guy/multi talented prodigy) Me (total weirdo above) + Aiden (total weirdo’s offspring/future best selling author/pilot) We aren’t quite sure when our issue will be out, but we promise to keep you posted! We finally feel a little rested after our week of shot crazies and Thanksgiving fun. We hope you had an amazing and safe week as well. Happy Monday!

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Responses to better homes and gardens do it yourself magazine photo shoot

  1. Hi Ashley – I am so excited for you. I bet it will be amazing – I can’t wait to see the issue. Now that it is all wrapped up and Thanksgiving is behind you – Happy Monday.

  2. Danielle says:

    Congratulations! I am huge fans of yours and am so impressed with your creativity! What an inspiration. Hey, if you ever want to come to Chicago, I would love for you to pass on some of your ingenuity and amazing design talents!:)

  3. That is SO exciting! Thanks for sharing, as I always love hearing the stories of bloggers who are featured in real-life magazines (BHG is my fave – talk about a dream come true!). If it makes you feel any better, I’m sure I would be equally insane if I had the same visitors you did. And here my kids think I’m bad when we have a party – this would be off the hook!!

    • HAHA! The sad part is, that when I was freaking out, I looked at Jamin and was referring to parties in the past, and proclaimed that I’ve gotten better. It used to be much worse when it was just a couple of people coming over… It really is getting better with time… I’m working on it. ;} He whole heartedly agreed.

  4. Ahh! How excited. That is like the Mekka of home design magazines. I can’t wait to see it! I think fellow diy-ers understand and agree with the spazzing out. I would have done the same!

  5. Oh how fun!! Congrats to you…. I can only imagine!!! I love your post and the way you described it all. I am sure it was over the top exciting to be a part of that. :)

  6. Tiffany says:

    So jealous and so excited for you all at the same time. And if I had a choice between a ride in Santa’s Sleigh or a BHG feature, there would be no question- BHG for sure!

  7. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is so awesome!!! When does it come out!?!? I laughed out loud so many times reading this post. You. crack. me. up.
    love you girl

  8. Tanya says:

    How cool is that?! I am so happy for you, dustbunnies and all :) The photos are so great, thank you for sharing

    xoxo, Tanya

  9. Congratulations! I’m so excited with you!!! I just love to hear how “real” magazine photo shoots are. Hearing the history behind the pictures makes it so much more fun. I can’t wait to see you in one of my favorite magazines!:)

  10. Wow, super cool! Your home is beautiful and you totally deserve every minute of awesomeness that comes your way. Congratulations! xo

  11. how exciting!!! i would be the same way, freaking out from the minute i found out they were coming… til the minute they left! glad you were are able to relax and enjoy it a bit when they got there. it really sounds like they sent an awesome crew! can’t wait to see the issue myself. :)

  12. Dream come true and you deserve it!

    I was thinking about you last week! I think I would have had a nervous breakdown but I bet they were impressed with you & all your mad skillz.

    I will buy a copy.

  13. Tiffany says:

    I am in pure bliss just knowing dust bunnies are okay. Whew! Congratulations on being featured in BHG, that’s pretty cool.

  14. Barb Lewis says:

    wow- all that and a holiday too! You are superwoman! Can’t wait to see you in “glossy”

  15. congratulations!! that’s so exciting! your home is beautiful and I can’t wait to see it on some glossy pages!

  16. pamela murphy says:

    Loved it!!

  17. Lol! Fun and fabulous all the way around! Congrats!
    xo Heidi

  18. So fun. You make me laugh!
    Thanks for the recap,

  19. Kathryn says:

    One of my favorite magazines! I can’t wait to see you in it!!!

  20. That is just the cutest, most adorable story ever!! How EXCITING that you are going to be featured but I just love, love, love hearing all the behind the scenes stories – they’re the best!! Thanks for taking us “behind the curtain” :-) Hope you get some rest now!! Hugs, Jennifer

  21. Jami Nato says:

    dude. that’s nuts. can’t wait to see it all! :)

  22. amanda says:

    AGGHHH- can’t wait to see you in the magazine! And your lovely house:) I’ll be on the lookout. Home decorating magazines are amazing but they are even more amazing when your favorite blogger is featured in them!!!!

  23. Centsational Girl says:

    Congrats on the feature, but OF COURSE they’d publish your work! So excited to see you both in print, celebration is in order!

  24. Julie says:

    Yay! So excited for you & can’t wait to see it in print!

  25. tara says:

    I can’t wait to see the magazine when it comes out…be sure to let us all know. :)

  26. Andrea S says:

    Congratulations!!! I can’t wait to buy the magazine issue with your photo spread!

  27. Tammy from Ca says:

    I love Do it Yourself mag. I think it might be my fav. !!!! Do you know when your pics will be in there?

  28. Aww, Ashley, I love reading your posts :) They always make me smile (or outright snort into my coffee)

    Our family has started hosting our weekly small group Bible study, and let me tell you, it’s a combination of shock therapy and lightening-round cleaning therapy for me on a weekly basis. I ABSOLUTELY prefer to have people over when my home is beautifully styled and purged of tiny toys, but this new weekly commitment is forcing me to be ok with letting our close friends see the mess, too. I feel your spazzy pain, my friend :)

  29. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!! SO pumped for you, girl! You’re so deserving.

  30. That’s amazing!! Congratulations! I so would have handled it just like you… except I probably wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to make muffins for the crew! Look at you, girl. Keep us posted on when the feature comes out in the magazine!

  31. Katie says:

    Congrats! Your home is so gorgeous – can’t wait to see it in print! And congrats for surviving the stress of preparing. I would have been the same way.

  32. Michelle says:

    Congratulations on the article!!! I am fairly new here and I am already in love with you and your blog! I can’t wait to read what lovely things they have to say about you:) Have a great week …

  33. Congratulations! Can’t wait to see the pictures gracing those glossy pages. :)

    And if it makes you feel better, I would be a total spaz too. 😉

  34. I can totally relate to never being ready enough. When I am having company it’s on the last day that I see the details that I should have done days before. I also will straighten things while I have company. It’s stupid because I’m not like that when it’s a “normal” day.