Flash Update: VIP Travels to Biltmore Estate for Photo Shoot

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

I just got home from a fabulous photo shoot at the gardens + touring of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina! I am all tuckered out, but I had to share just a few of the fun photos with y’all before hopping off to bed *wink* 

Stay tuned to the blog TOMORROW where I will be sharing the awesomeness of my adventure at Biltmore Estate! Woo hoo!

The mom and I taking a break before the next set of photos.
The mom and I taking a break before the next set of photos.
Running up the stone stairs at Biltmore feeling like a princess :)
Running up the stone stairs at Biltmore feeling like a princess :)

IMG_0600Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

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VIP Home: Dapper Dreams of Biltmore

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

Ah…have you ever dreamed of visiting some place so much, and then you finally get the opportunity to visit? Oh, it’s a pretty amazing feeling, isn’t it *wink*

The VIP team and I have been talking about taking a VIP road trip to the ever-elegant Biltmore Estate for the Downtown Abbey exhibit + to take fabulous photos at the gardens. AND…after lots of planning, we have marked the calendar…AH! *happy dance* The VIP and her team will be going to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina in May! Yay!

My mom at one of the gorgeous gardens at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. She told me not to mention how long ago this was *wink*
My mom at one of the gorgeous gardens at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. She told me not to mention how long ago this was *wink*

My parents visited Biltmore for their 10th wedding anniversary where my dad gave my mom an anniversary ring. The main reason I remember them even taking that trip is because my eight-year-old-mouth almost spoiled my dad’s surprise gift to my mom *wink* Ah…childhood! Ever since they took that trip, my parents have talked about the beauty of the estate and how much I would love it. So, it feels pretty wonderful to know that I will be getting to experience the beautiful Biltmore all for myself soon. Y’all stay tuned for updates :)

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Now, speaking of Biltmore–this week’s VIP Home is inspired by my dapper dreams of Biltmore, and its killer architecture. So, take a look at the video tours below and dream away with me…ah…Biltmore…I will see you soon enough *wink*

Want to join the VIP in a visit to Biltmore Estate? Well, click HERE to plan your trip and/or purchase tickets!

Want to learn more about Biltmore Estate? Click here.

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Blue Plum Festival 2014 Johnson City, Tennessee

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

I am so excited to share with y’all all the fun at Blue Plum + the fabulous people I met that I could not wait until Monday to post this blog! Oh–Blue Plum was plum-ty of fun–see what I did there *wink*

Now, before I get started, I must ask--are you ready? *wink* Note:  That was my shameless way of including this photo I took at the festival *wink* I loved all the sidewalk writing at the Urban Art Throw Down.
Now, before I get started, I must ask–are you ready?
Note: That was my shameless way of including this photo I took at the festival *wink*

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To start out--the ice cream to my right in this photo wins the "Most Adorable Food Truck" award. I could not get over just how precious it was! Oh, it was love at first sight *wink*
To start out–the ice cream truck to my right (in this photo) wins the “Most Adorable Food Truck” award. I could not get over just how precious it was! Oh, it was love at first sight *wink*
Speaking of food...this, in my opinion, is taking bacon a little too far. Personally, I prefer my bacon at breakfast with eggs *wink* I am sure my mom will also have something to say about this interesting festival food on her blog *wink*
Speaking of food…this, in my opinion, is taking bacon a little too far. Personally, I prefer my bacon at breakfast with eggs *wink* I am sure my mom will also have something to say about this interesting festival food on her blog *wink*

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WOWZA! This is just a peek at a few of the terrifically talented graffiti artists that were at Blue Plum 2014. Be sure to check out Sweet Sorghum Living for interviews with some of the artists + photos.

A beautiful street shot of some of the booths at Blue Plum.
A beautiful street shot of some of the booths at Blue Plum.
Speaking of booths at the Blue Plum Festival--big shout out to Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone Jewelry for virtually introducing me to jewelry artisan Jessica  Klaaren! Oh, Jessica is so extremely talented, and I cannot wait to share the VIP interview with y'all soon! Whoo hoo! Meanwhile, check out Jessica Klaaren Jewelry online here.
Speaking of booths at the Blue Plum Festival–big shout out to Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone Jewelry for virtually introducing me to jewelry artisan Jessica Klaaren! Oh, Jessica is so extremely talented, and I cannot wait to share the VIP interview with y’all soon! Whoo hoo! Meanwhile, check out Jessica Klaaren Jewelry online here.
Also while Blue Plum-ing it up, I met local blogger Fifty, Not Frumpy. Susan Street and I have never met each other; however, we started chatting like we had known each other for years! It was a plum good time--see what I did there *wink*
While Blue Plum-ing it up, I met local blogger Fifty, Not Frumpy. Susan Street and I have never met each other; however, we started chatting like we had known each other for years! It was a plum good time–see what I did there…again *wink*
Doesn't Susan look absolutely stunning?! Learn more about her trip to Blue Plum  + a helpful outfit hint on her blog here.
Doesn’t Susan look absolutely stunning! Learn more about her trip to Blue Plum + a helpful outfit hint on her blog here.
In addition to the amazing graffiti art, vendors, and snacks--the music was UNBELIEVABLY great. Here are clips from some of my favorite performers.
In addition to the snacks, amazing graffiti art, and vendors–the music was UNBELIEVABLY fabulous. Here are clips from some of my favorite performers.

Josh Oliver

http://instagram.com/p/o60tJQtJpk/

 Humming House–I love this band…LOVE!

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John Cowan Band

http://instagram.com/p/o9TO1ctJpR/

A selfie while enjoying some of the mid-day performers. It was so very hot outside, but it was so very worth the sunburn *wink*
A selfie while enjoying some of the mid-day performers. It was so very hot outside, but it was so very worth the sunburn *wink*
And...another selfie while watching some of the afternoon performers. Of course, I had to change my outfit for the night activities *wink*
And…another selfie while watching some of the afternoon performers. Of course, I had to change my outfit for the night activities *wink*

I had a total BLAST at Blue Plum 2014. Next year, I hope to see my two favorite music artists/bands there–Gabriel Tajeu and The Bonfire Orchestra *wink* Now, that would make for an absolutely blissful Blue Plum *wink*

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Want more Blue Plum fun? Check out Sweet Sorghum Living tomorrow for interviews + pictures + more!

http://instagram.com/p/o9OG4oNJvy/

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Adventuring in Kingsport and Jonesborough

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Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

Today, the parents and I went adventuring in Kingsport and Jonesborough, Tennessee and concluded the evening with gluten-free pizza on their 1920 wrap-around porch + The Doors via Dad’s Sonos. Needless to say, it has been a delightful day. 

On our adventure, we visited a number of antique stores where I did not find anything particular that struck my fancy; however, my mom lucked up at a Jonesborough antique mart where she found some killer stained glass windows, which were from an old building in Kingsport. Oh, I cannot wait to see what she does with them–she hinted at a few ideas, but said that I would have to stay tuned to her blog–which she is currently revamping–to find out. *wink* I guess I set myself up for that…considering I use that line at least once a week *wink*

Well…readers, I must be going–my new curtains aren’t going to hang themselves! Please enjoy some random photos from today’s journey and stay tuned to VIP Home on Monday for a sneak peek of my marvelous curtains! Tah tah for now! Enjoy the rest of the weekend :)

The theater in Kingsport, Tennessee.
The theater in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Amen.
Amen.
The Kingsport Art Crawl!
The Kingsport Art Crawl!
Life Goal: Design a kitchen around this retro, diner bench! Oh...I think I'm in love *wink*
Life Goal: Design a kitchen around this retro, diner bench! Oh…I think I’m in love *wink*
We stopped to eat lunch at The General Store in Jonesborough, and it was absolutely AMAZING! Next time, I am saving room for hand-dipped ice cream *wink*
We stopped to eat lunch at The General Store in Jonesborough, and it was absolutely AMAZING! Next time, I am saving room for hand-dipped ice cream *wink*
My mom and I being our typical selves--she is throwing a peace sign, and I am...well...being silly as per usual.
My mom and I being our typical selves–she is throwing a peace sign, and I am…well…being silly as usual.
Selfie success! After nine bazillion takes, she finally approved for this one to be on the blog *wink*
Selfie success! After nine bazillion takes, she finally approved for this one to be on the blog *wink*
Christmas in May? Okay.
Christmas in May? Okay.
This sweater was by far the most interesting thing  I found today...and I think it speaks for itself...
This sweater was by far the most interesting thing I found today…and I think it speaks for itself…

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Louisville Begins to Recover after EF4 Tornado

 

Photo Credit: Tyler Wright
Photo Credit: Tyler Wright

My hometown of Louisville, Mississippi is in the beginning stage of recovery after the EF4 tornado ripped through several areas of  it and the county of Winston on Monday. With the help of FEMA, MEMA, The Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, The National Guard, Mississippi Highway Patrol (State Troopers), Mississippi State University (MSU), Tyson Food INC., Atmos Energy–just to name a few–the residents are seeing a little light of hope. Not only have we received great attention from national corporations, but we have also received immediate and overwhelming support from our local fire departments, churches, police, and businesses. Everywhere I look, I see someone volunteering, donating, organizing, cutting up fallen trees, removing debris, and distributing supplies to specific locations–that is what I have been doing all day…*SIDE NOTE* If you have ever doubted the amount of room in a Volkswagen Beetle…let me tell you, doubt no more. How much did it hold? A ridiculous amount…an awesome kind of ridiculous! My little car made it easy to zip around the debris and to get supplies to those in need. Thanks, Sugar (yes, I also named my car…I digress.)

I love this photo Amberle Rogers snapped of me in the mirror while we were distributing supplies throughout Louisville.
I love this photo Amberle Rogers snapped of me in the mirror while we were distributing supplies throughout Louisville.

While making deliveries on Brooksville Road, I stopped and asked a woman if she needed any water. She took several bottles gratefully and before I pulled away, she asked, “I know this is probably a stupid question, but I really gotta’ ask–Would you happen to have a cup of coffee or know where I could get one? A cup of good coffee would be really nice right about now.”  I had no coffee…nor anyway to get her any…my heart was breaking as I explained to the woman I had no coffee…BUT then, something fabulous happened. A  man came up to where I was parked and exclaimed, “I can make you a cup of coffee! We will have to do it one cup at a time–but I can get you some coffee.” The woman’s face lit up with joy. “Really? You can do that! Oh, thank you, thank you!”

Photo Credit: Tyler Wright  This photo was taken on Armstrong Street in Louisville.
Photo Credit: Tyler Wright
This photo was taken on Armstrong Street in Louisville.

I gave the strangers–I wish I would have gotten their names–more bottled water to make coffee and stay hydrated. *SIDE NOTE* Louisville is currently under a boil water notice….Driving away, all I could think was, “Wow…who knew a cup of coffee could make someone smile so big. Thank you, God, for working a quick little miracle just then…Thank you.” I then continued my mission…I must have shouted “Do you need any water, sunscreen, and chapstick?” a million times today…That simple question brought smiles…at times tears…to those receiving the basic supplies…and to the giver….

Photo Credit: Amberle Rogers Volunteers working hard at the Louisville Coliseum.
Photo Credit: Amberle Rogers
Volunteers working hard at the Louisville Coliseum.

Those affected by the storms are not the only ones who need food and good ole’ Mississippi Hospitality…right? Right! That is why I have been on a mission the past two days to not only volunteer, but to also chat with those caring for the first responders, utility workers, and the many volunteers here in Louisville, Mississippi and Winston County. 

The VIP with the Atmos team in Louisville.
The VIP with the Atmos team in Louisville.

We [Atmos Energy] are all about helping during situations like these. When we heard the news, we got food together to feed the first responders in this area because the workers and volunteers cannot work efficiently if they are hungry. It is important for your power/electricity to work efficiently just as it is important for the first responders here to be fed and working efficiently to help clean up Louisville,” explained Stefan H. Lehnerer, P.E. (Operations Manager at Atmos Energy) as we chatted at their tent on Tuesday, April 29. At this time, the tent was located in the Walmart parking lot. *Side Note* There are a lot of good things happening at the Walmart parking lot for the tornado victims…from food to medical help…even potty johns.

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Tyson Food INC. is also in Louisville feeding the victims, volunteers, workers, and first responders. I had a chance to speak with Mark Smith (Manager) today about what Tyson was doing to help–“As soon as we heard about the storm that came through, we contacted corporate and mobilized a team from Carthage, Mississippi to come down and help feed everyone. We have a community service department and disaster relief team who helped us reach out to this area and get cookers out here–we also spoke with The Red Cross about what their needs were in this situation so that we could find out how we [Tyson] could help,” explained Mike Smith at one of their cooking stations at the Louisville Walmart. “We are running vehicles in and out of the hardest hit areas–hand delivering meals to the workers, volunteers, and victims. We have a total of four vans and a ton of people helping us distribute these meals and get them to who needs them. In fact, we have an order for two hundred meals being filled right now that will be distributed shortly…At about 10:30 today, we had already served five hundred plus people, and we are expecting to feed around twenty-five hundred to three thousand people today. We will continue to stay here working in conjunction with The Red Cross and Walmart to help feed and distribute food/water to the areas that need it most.” Before calling it a day, I stopped back by the Tyson truck at Louisville Walmart to get a count of just how many people Tyson had served today in Louisville. “I do not have a exact amount, but overall, we [Tyson] have served about twenty-five hundred people today. We are expected to feed about three thousand plus people tomorrow,” stated Mike Smith.

The VIP chatting with Mike Smith and Cyd Landing of Tyson Food INC.
The VIP chatting with Mike Smith and Cyd Landing of Tyson Food INC.

Also from Tyson Food INC. I chatted with Cyd Landing (Chaplain) about how Tyson is getting involved to help the Louisville tornado victims. “We have two chaplains here today, and we will have another one in tomorrow [Thursday, May 1] to set up a crisis relief for people who come in and need help. There has been a lot of devastation here, and people have seen a lot of devastating things–and we want to help them overcome it. We have special team members that are going to be helping people deal with PTSD, trauma, and the crisis of this overall situation. We are a team here at Tyson, but we are also a family. When we see our people in need, we are there to take care of them. So, we came here, we set up, and we are here to help as many people in this area as we can. I am so thankful that Tyson is a company that cares enough to help out and provide the need of a hot meal in a situation like this,” explained Cyd Landing.

The beautiful sunset over Louisville, Mississippi tonight. This is a silver lining to the tornado tragedy.
The beautiful sunset over Louisville, Mississippi tonight. Stay strong, Louisville and Winston County. #PrayForLouisville

Recapping some of the things that happened over the past two days has me in tears right now…I cannot believe the destruction I have seen–but I also cannot believe the amount of love and support I have witnessed. Yesterday, I had a hard time processing the entire situation. Part of me knew it was real…and another part of me was just hoping it was a bad dream that would go away. Unfortunately…when I drove into town today…it was not a dream…it was real…a little too real. The stories that I have heard…the miracles that happened…the loss of loved ones…search and rescue accounts…stories about which I cannot write because there are no words to describe the tragedy…to describe the miracles…to describe the tears…the fears…no, I am unable to write those stories…but this I can tell y’all, beloved readers…these stories are being shared…and the tears are being wiped…and hugs are being given.

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Please stay tuned for a big story about a little community…inside a little town…that will have you reaching for a box of tissues. 

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn