This is going to be a long one folks…thanks for indulging me.
It started two months ago with an email. The irony of it all was that I was on the phone with my mom who had finally got ahold of a copy of our At The Picket Fence feature in Romantic Homes Magazine. We were discussing how cool the whole thing was, when I happened to glance down at an email that came through on my phone….and I might have screamed a little in the phone…sorry mom.
It went a little something like this:
“….Hi this is Kit from Better Homes and Gardens…I showed your project (kitchen island) to our editor-in-chief, and she would like to feature it (for an I Did It! Feature) in an upcoming issue. To do this, we would like to send a photographer and a photo stylist to your house for a day to photograph you and your island. Would that be possible?”
Would that be possible?! Um….so I screamed and screamed and jumped up and down, and my poor mom was screaming, “what?! what?!” and I couldn’t even breathe…and I might have started crying. Cause see…I ADORE Better Homes and Gardens, like seriously there has been decades of BHG love in this home. I keep every issue and have them categorized by year. In fact, I even get TWO copies of BHG every month because in my enthusiasm subscribed twice this year…haha!
So after calming down, I replied to Kit’s (assistant editor at BHG) email and welcomed them with open arms into our home. After an exchange of emails, Kit informed me that it would be late May/early June before they would be traveling to Kentucky. And then I waited, and waited, and tried to guess when they might come. I piddled a little here and there to finish up some kitchen projects I had been putting off, knowing I had plenty of time.
Until two weeks ago…when I received an email from Kit stating that the photographer had an opening and was available the 26th/27th of April!! Um, heart attack! She was so sweet and said if it wasn’t convenient they totally understood…but seriously who says “no” to Better Homes and Gardens!
So after panicking for about three hours, I emailed back and said, “come on out to Kentucky!”
I spent the next two weeks completing the kitchen…and about twenty other major projects in the house…I mean c’mon BHG is spending two days here, of course I wanted everything to be perfect even the parts they weren’t photographing. I walked around with paint down my arms and in my hair and a look of panic in my eyes for these last two weeks and all of my friends were so sweet and understanding and didn’t tell me I was a crazy woman….at least to my face. I also was helping to plan a prom in the middle of all this…just to add a little excitement into the mix.
I want to take a moment to thank a couple of dear friends who came over to help me with a couple of projects I couldn’t complete in this timeframe on my own. My friend John who is a contractor and came over and added extensions and crown molding to the top of my cabinets. Also, my best friend Robin, who is an incredible seamstress, for finishing my seat cushion on my window seat. Both took several hours and I appreciate them so much! I will share more of their gorgeous work in a kitchen update post next week.
Besides working fast and furiously to get the kitchen ready, I also had to get myself ready! ugh! My least favorite part of this whole thing. I hate to be photographed, especially when I don’t have control of the editing. My sweet friend, kept telling me to “stop fearing man, and what man thinks…and worry about how this can give glory to God” Amen!
I was in contact with Stacey the fabulous photo stylist about what to wear and in what colors, and hit the stores for a whirlwind shopping spree. On Wednesday, I rushed in for a color touch up and cut, where my hair stylist proceeded to pick paint out of my hair!
Wednesday is also when “the boxes” started showing up. Big boxes. Huge Boxes. Boxes marked from “Better Homes and Gardens” eek! This was really happening.
Stacey arrived first, after a flight into Louisville, lugging in several bags from a stop off at Whole Foods for staging. We quickly began to unload her bags and the boxes that had arrived full of props.
My dining room quickly began to look like we were moving.
The first thing we did was unload my kitchen, all of it. into the living room. So much for that perfectly cleaned living room.
Then Stacey began staging to get a jump start on the morning. I can’t show you pictures of any of the kitchen too close up staged for the shoot or anything that looks too much like the final feature, but I was given permission to share lots of behind the scenes shots.
Edmund Barr (the photographer of many, many amazing BHG features) came breezing in from Los Angeles a few hours after Stacey, looking hip and cool, but so down to earth and fun and funny. I couldn’t have asked for nicer, kinder, people to spend two days with. We laughed, and joked and just hung out. They made me feel so comfortable and relaxed and for that I thank them so much!
Edmund dragged in several bags of equipment, it’s amazing what they have to bring with them! He began to set up for the shoot the next day.
We went over my wardrobe and discussed what outfits to start out with.
I steered them to a great little Mexican restaurant nearby and then they left for the evening, around 7:30 pm.
It was a miracle that I slept that night.
The next morning the sun rose bright and early, and so did I!
Stacey and Edmund showed up to the house at 8:30 am and got busy right away. My friend and former student, Allie, arrived to take these behind the scenes photos for me (thank you Allie!). I on the other hand sat. and sat. and sat. I truly had no idea how much preparation went into setting up a room for a shoot. Everything had to be just perfect.
Edmund worked on getting his equipment situated and spent over an hour on just the lighting, this takes setting up a shot to a whole other level! It’s serious business, and makes my little blog photo shoots look like child’s play!
Stacey worked on getting the food and plants prepped for the photo shoot.
I sat and visited with my best friend, Robin. And I drank coffee. And she fixed my hair for me, with Zoe at my side..
And we drank some more coffee. And listened to Edmund and Stacey swap stories about all of the different jobs they had worked on and showing us which recent features they had done in BHG…and we were in awe. and drank more coffee.
My sweet mom-in-love had prepared a wonderful brunch and then a delicious lunch of chicken salad sandwiches for us, and Stacey and Edmund were so appreciative!
We were informed that doesn’t happen very often, but hey we’re in the south and that calls for some good ole’ southern hospitality!
When everything was just perfect it was time for me to jump in the shots.
I was so nervous but Edmund and Stacey helped me to relax. Edmund loved to say things like, “Hi America!” “Hi everyone in my doctor’s office!” I told him that wasn’t helping my nervousness. ha!
They would occasionally stop to make a quick text or phone call with BHG Headquarters, to get instructions or to run different shots or ideas by them.
Stacey and Edmund would pause to view the photos in this cool big picture viewing thing..
Of course, the best way to enjoy this whole process…is to not take yourself too seriously!
After taking several different shots I changed clothes and my sweet puppy Zoe showed up at my side. My daughter suggested we should include Zoe in the photos if we wanted them to be realistic since Zoe never leaves me. Edmund and Stacey thought that would be a great idea, so we did several shots with Zoe….and in my opinion those were the best ones!
I sure hope she shows up in the feature, that would make it just perfect!
After hundreds of photos and a few hours, we were done! It became a whirlwind of activity, since Edmund and Stacey were flying out that afternoon.
We all chipped in and worked hard to get them packed up…there was even some sillinness at the end, I think we were all a little tired.
Stacey taped up all of the boxes and left them for Fed Ex pickup and then after chatting a little, a hug goodbye…
…and a quick picture together…they were gone.
My special day was over, but I have so many amazing memories. Edmund and Stacey were a dream to work with, and it was a dream day for me. I feel so honored to have had this opportunity and now it’s just a matter of waiting now to see the results in print. Because we don’t have a definitive month yet, I will just say for now that it will most likely be fall before it’s out.
I want to thank Better Homes and Gardens for such an amazing opportunity and for their professionalism from beginning to end.
Thank you for allowing me to share this special moment in my life with you all, my friends here At The Picket Fence. This is an opportunity that any one of you talented women and men could have, so if this is something you dream of…keep putting yourself and your hard work out there, you never know who’s watching and paying attention!
Thanks for meeting me today…and Better Homes and Gardens…at the picket fence!
Don’t forget we have a great giveaway going on right now from My Memories!
Also, we’re in the middle of our fabulous Derby Day Series this week hosted by the gals at The 2 Seasons. Today they are sharing the most important feature of the Kentucky Derby…the hat of course!
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