Details Details - Bridal Shoot with Mandy Blair Tuesday, April 30

I recently received an email from a wonderful photographer that I finally had the chance of meeting about 2 months ago. Mandy Blair is her name and I have to say, her name alone sounds like she is a renowned photographer traveling the world! We met on set of another bridal shoot and could tell right away we would be friends and collaborators! She is confident and smooth. Her attention to detail is seriously out of this world! The above picture is her studio, which honestly, I could move right on in. Beautiful natural light, high windows, brick walls and can you see the floor to ceiling gray sequence! Simply magical.

When Mandy asked if I wanted to be featured in her magazine she is working on which will go out to all of her brides, I squealed! I am known for doing that and am kind of crazy when exciting things happen! I said yes yes and lets get to work! What I loved about working with Mandy, is she trusted my skill 100%. She said go for it and that I did! The first thing was the dress! I knew the dress would dictate the model and the accessory designs and so when I landed on the perfect dress it just so happened to by my moms! Yes!!! You can see all the details on that in my story.  I then knew the model would be Chelsea Raymer and hair & make-up would be Rachel VanGilder. Once all that was landed on, I started designing the bridal pieces for the shoot. This is the fun part, creating one of a kind, unique pieces, but also free reign to dream up new and fun ideas. Here are some behind the scenes pics of the shoot!  Mandy could not have picked a more perfect location. Old buildings and interesting textures, it looked like european ruins. Here is just enough sampling to let you in on the amazing results to come!

photo credit: Mandy Blair Studio
Wardrobe Styling: Ahndea May
Accessory Designs: HeirBloom
Hair & Make-up - Rachel VanGilder

Details Details - Blogging Monday, April 29

I have recently been doing some research on blogging from some of the top leadership guru's. of my very brilliant friends is filling my inbox with the research from some of the top leadership guru's! The how to's when owning a business in conjunction with a blog. I have to admit, I love blogging when I have time... which quite frankly, I don't have much of these days. With my twin toddlers running the house and all the sporting events with the other 3... most of my time is spent in the shop designing and packaging orders, replying to emails, updating photos, creating promos and of course blogging. 

So as my friend and I were on a recent weekend trip spilling my frustrations and uncertainties as to how to tie everything together, my business, my branding, my blog, all while reflecting who I am best, she simply blurted out with no hesitations... "you need to keep things simple, blog less, be more specific, create constancy for your followers and keep the blog focused on your business not your life." Ok! So I guess I could have paid hundreds to go to a blogging conference to learn that, but again time of is of the essence and when you pray for direction and clarity, it can often come in the least expected ways! Now, what does that mean?  Well, lucky for me, within days she had already emailed me a video from renowned leadership author and speaker Michael Hyatt, who recently posted "The 3 blogging Mistakes Killing Your Traffic." I am a huge fan of leadership and the principals behind that type of business model. I learned so much working for John Maxwell and he is still one of my favorites. 

In Michael's video, he shares the 3 things killing your traffic. I was honestly surprised by what he said, as everything I have read and heard up till now has suggested the more blogging the better and to create the traffic you need for a successful business you need to be in front of your customers every day. The video is literally 3 min so make sure to watch it. 

1. Be predictable - often enough to build up a rhythm, shoot for 3 times a week, and be consistent. If you can't do 3 times, start with 1 good post a week and then build up to 3. 

2. Don't overpost - why post 5 times a week if posting 3 provides the same amount of traffic. This allows you to devote those 2 extra days to the business. It also keeps your content fresh. 

3. Keep your posts to 500 words - people who are blog followers don't want to read a manifesto, they want to stop in, see what you have to say, digest and move on. 

So here are my take aways for Style Story Blog! 

1. Goal - Post 3 times a week 

2. Keep the weekly posts consistent and somewhat predictable. My goal, to keep the three posts under these sub headers - 

Details Details - behind the scenes of photo shoots, details of styling, and tips on how the details matter.

You Pick 3 - Giving you creative and smart style boards, where by just adding 3 accessories you can change your entire look.  Showing how 3 different wardrobe styles can wear the same accessory. 

Celeb Style - Showing you how the celebs are wearing and styling accessories and how to get them. 

What about you? Have you noticed any certain advice or tips that have really helped keep you organized and successful? Any blogs you follow that seem to have it down?  One of my good friends Trina McNeilly author of LaLa Lovely was recently interviewed as a "mom who blogs" for All Parenting .  She has curated a unique voice, filled with wonderful photos, inspiration and interesting ways to design and style your home.  This is great read if you are a lifestyle blogger or writer or just want to know how she manages it all with 4 littles of her own! 

The Wrap Dress... for your shape Monday, April 22

The Wrap Dress
The wrap dress has been deemed the most flattering and comfortable type of dress for many years. I have in fact rocked several wrap dresses in my day, but have found there is no such thing as "one style fits all," even with an easy and accessible shape like this, you are still dressing for your body type. Hopefully by now, you know what body type you are, but if your not sure or need a refresher you can read about it here when I posted about the little black dress. 

Here are a few tips when searching for your go to wrap dress:

1. Understand your shape as it is right now. Not how it used to be in college, or how it was after you had a baby, or when you ran that 10K. What is your shape today, and how can you play up your best assets. 

2. Try on, try on try on. Even expert stylists don't know exactly what wardrobe will look like until the model or client tries it on. This processes becomes easier, the more comfortable you are with your body and learn the shapes that flatter most. 

3. Remember to fit the smallest part of your body.  

Athletic shape, you are fit, lean, and usually have a smaller chest. You want to focus on giving a nice line across the shoulder, allowing a v at the neck, and really emphasizing right under the chest, creating an hourglass shape.  

Bootylicious is my word for the pear shape, as I really wouldn't want to be compared to a pear rather embrace that I have a booty and make it look fantastic! This body type is typically smaller up top, which allows for tank top straps, or A line type styles. Really fitted at the waist line and then a bit more fullness on the bottom. Again, giving that hourglass and focusing the eye on that tiny waistline. 

Petite, this is actually one of the harder body types to style, as you need to avoid bulky materials and fabrics.  Keeping it simple with small print and details will allow you to look womanly.  Even though you are able to fit into more youthful styles, you still need to make smart choices.

Long and lean body types typically have longer torso's and legs. This can be a problem when looking for shorter style dresses. You would look amazing in a longer to the knee or right below fitted style with a wrap tie, but I wanted to give you a shorter option as well.  This dress has some detailing with the pockets and the small ruffle which will allow room for a longer torso. Also be prepared to grab a fun colored tight or legging as sometimes the length becomes tricky. 

If you are curvy your goal is to synch that waist allowing for a balance between a broader shoulder, large chest and a curvy hip line. Look for the v neck or a nice neckline showing the collar bones and a small amount of cleavage. Narrow at the waist and then a fitted bottom skimming the hip and thigh to really accentuate your shape.  Be careful, you can easily add unnecessary bulk by choosing wrong fabrics and styles. 

Natural Wave Hair + Neutrals Tuesday, April 16

natural wave hair and make up

Now that the sun is out, I can't wait to have wavy sun kissed hair. Soft braids and a fresh face is kind of my go to for every day. I like using neutrals and some peachy tones and then either throw up the hair in a tussled bun or maybe a side braid. I want to try that upside down braid with the bun on top. So cute. 

Right now I have bridal on the mind, which made me think of this lovely bride. She had a soft side braid and it looked so effortless and beautiful. I designed her a simple enhancement to an already stunning landscape. 

Layered Style Tuesday, April 9

Layered Style

It is always wonderful spending time in Chicago. The weather was beautiful the lake blue and we were busy shopping at Bridal Market and Style Max. In a sea of top designers, beautiful lines, and buyers, I found myself thinking it is not in the budget to spend top dollar for an entire high end look. In fact, if I were to have a store front some day, I would organize my store by how I style wardrobe. Combining classics, staples, statement pieces, accessories and of course a steel or 2.  This is what I wore to the city. I needed to be comfy, but stylish as well. Didn't buy anything new, actually designed the necklace I have on first, and then styled around that. I wanted layers, and love the kelly green and blue pin stripe combo. My signature was the Halogen jacket, also my neutral, bringing it all together. The cropped boyfriends will be my staple this spring. Express always has coupons going, so use one and grab these. You can wear them with flip flops, heels booties, super versatile. 

The necklace became a conversation starter, which was super exciting! "Where did you get that necklace?" I handed out several business cards and sold one on the spot to a trendy bridal designer who will be sending me some vintage jewels to use in the design. Remember, it is all in how you put it together.. you don't have to spend top dollar to have the look. 

Layered Style by ahndeamay on Polyvore

Scouting Jewels Monday, April 8

Although running a small business and juggling littles can be very difficult there is also a wonderful, freeing feeling that comes with using your gifts and talents.  Creating, designing, helping people to feel at their best and accomplishing goals bring me a sense of solace during this season of my life. It's funny how with each new phase/stage we have to reevaluate and set new priorities and challenge ourselves in new ways. Growth is something we all strive for, and as a mom we are faced with an amazing opportunity to help shape our littles growth in the process. I heard the perfect quote this weekend "Begin to think with the end in mind." Instead of thinking short term with our lives, think in the long term, how do we see this ending, what do we see for our children's futures, where do we see our lives in 20 years? Then begin making choices and living life based on the long term.  This thinking could really change things up a bit, create more intentionality, more purpose. The importance to lean into God and his word for insight and wisdom and growth would all the sudden become essential as what ever life we are modeling for our kids is in turn what they will follow. 

I am now more than ever choosing to trust vs control. Since launching my online shop, things are already evolving in ways I would not have been able to think up on my own. I thought I would share an update on a few projects I am working on. As a designer, I am always scouting new concepts, ideas, jewels, etc. My esthetic is mixing old with new and I have to say the old has so much more quality and workmanship these days. Scouting bridal jewelry, vintage or estate pieces, or events, it is hard to find unique pieces that bring a story along with it. Have you seen my story a little background of how and why HeirBloom was created and a peek into our family. When scouting for clients, I am thinking of their needs, their style and what will reflect those the best while also making a statement. I am getting such a thrill out of seeing all this coming together. Here are a few designs I am working on and a few scouted jewels. Have an idea? Email me what you are looking for. 

Fit Mom's For Life + Yummi Pouch + HeirBloom Giveaway Friday, April 5

As a mom, I know just how difficult it is to get back in shape after babies and stay in shape! Right, I mean after you loose the weight, it is really hard to keep it off, while making snacks for the kids all day and not getting much time for yourself. You can read more about my weight loss after the twins here . My friend, Dustin Maher has done a fantastic job coaching 31 mothers through his 5 pillars of fitness focusing on mindset, nutrition, strength training, burst training and environment. In his book Fit Mom's for Life How to have endless energy to outplay your kids, he gives us the personal stories and photos documenting these empowered mothers and their journey. 

Dustin teamed up with some great companies to offer you a fun way to win not just a copy of his book but also some other great products like Yummi Pouch. Why am I just learning about these now! Perfect for moms who are making baby food and a major money saver too. Simply fill the reusable pouches with your puree and off you go. And the best part, you can wash these over and over! When you are spending up to $2 per pouch on the disposable brands this is an obvious choice! 
HeirBloom's giveaway is a custom spring flower, perfect for sprucing up any tank top, sundress, denim jacket or sunhat! Adorned with a unique one of a kind jewel and embellishing of your choice. 

Also, just for entering... I am offering 50% off a any single item in the shop all weekend. Like my facebook page and get the code. Enter to win all three Here

Spring Table Scape & Brunch Wednesday, April 3

Hello pretty table, why yes I would like to sit and enjoy brunch with youThere is something very calming about an inviting table scape. The way the flowers drape, the colors of the vases and little details which simply create a perfect backdrop for family, friends, and conversation.  A place to connect, catch up, unwind, and learn. Yes learn, more about the people you live life with.  Breaking bread has been a ritual held in high regard for thousands of years, a way of fellowship and community. Thinking about our life with 5 kids and all the busyness that brings I wanted to begin our own weekly gathering. An intentional time to enjoy our favorite meals which for us, happens to be brunch.  I truly enjoy creating new recipes and have a slight addiction to savory and sweet combos, hence brunch. On one hand I love smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, red onion and cream cheese on an everything bagel and on the other I love brown sugar glazed french toast with creme fresh and berries. One of my dreams is to open an adorable farmhouse hosting small intimate gatherings with themes, and beautiful tables and fabulous menus. So until then, we will brunch. 

This weeks menu was inspired from Easter. Herb roasted chicken thighs that I seared in a pan with olive oil and then slow cooked for 4 hours. Hands down the most delicious brown sugar mustard carrot and onion dish which made a fabulous gravy for the dill smashed potatoes and warm italian bread. The sweet came with a carrot cake that I made with banana and mango. by adding the fruit, it made the cake as dense as a bread pudding and then I topped it with a cream cheese mango frosting. I have to say, mom got lots of compliments and it felt great to make a special meal for my special family. It may only happen once a week but it is a tradition and memory that will carry on. 

At the end of the night after the kids were down and the kitchen cleaned (well partially), I sat down and enjoyed a piece of my yummy cake and gave a few minutes of my day to being thankful to the Lord for family and values and priorities and perspective. 

Spring Bedding Tuesday, April 2

Spring Bedding
I was recently commissioned to help a friend make a few changes in her bedroom decor. Adding some color, a new duvet, maybe some fun pillows. I myself have had the same duvet in my master for going on 9 years now and so I'm thinking that may be a wonderful anniversary gift! Making some simple changes can really give your bedrooms a new look and feel. My trick has always been pillows. It can be a very inexpensive way to add some sparkle, color, texture or pattern. I have created a very detailed style board with lots of options.  Some very budget savvy and some very elegant and luxurious. Romantic and whimsical has typically been my style, but I am looking for something very fresh and clean for this next purchase. Happy spring face lift! 

Waterfall Ruffle Duvet Cover

Luxe Wooly Pillow, Pink

Sky Dip-Dot Pillow

Floral Watercolor Duvet Cover

Georgina Duvet

Isla Duvet

Quilla Duvet

IKEA Stenklöver

IKEA Brunkrissla