Ringing in the New Year | Hello, 2016!

Happy New Year


Oh, my my my! I can hardly believe it–2015 is almost over, and we are all getting ready to ring in 2016! Goodness gracious! It feels like just yesterday we were watching the ball drop for 2015! Hmm…I guess the old cliche is true–time really does fly when you’re having fun! *wink*

2015 has been an awesome year–one for the books! The year has been jam-packed with lots of awesome things (and some not-so-awesome things) that have helped fill the pages of my imaginary scrapbook *wink* From interviewing The Beekman Boys and John & Whitney Spinks to getting accepted (with a transfer scholarship) to Emory & Henry College, I am excited to say that 2015 has been a good year on and off the VIP blog!

Sure–there are always hiccups and bumps in the road, but it’s important not to dwell on the negatives because, after all, it is (almost) a new year! We have new and exciting and positively wonderful things to look forward to, and we don’t need to focus on the not-so-great things like unfortunate fender benders, slacking on social media promotions, and how the weather is like a guy in a Katy Perry song *cue Hot n Cold*


Now, to ring in the brand new year, what do y’all say we review the most popular and most fabulous VIP posts of 2015?! DJ–hit the music *wink*

Most-viewed posts of 2015–

1. Modeling Shoot: The Modern Day Jack & Diane

(view post here)

2. VIP Interview: John & Whitney Spinks of HGTV’s Flipping the Block

(view post here)

3. VIP Home: Color-Staining Concrete Pavers (DIY Patio Project)

(view post here)

4. Weekly Whistle: Dreaming of a Safari Adventure

(view post here)

5. Weekly Whistle: A Southern Belle in the Snow

(view post here)

In other 2015 news…

 In addition to some awesome blog posts + interviews, I had the opportunity to interview Tracie Potts from NBC on my college’s student-produced television series Direction: Northeast. (I did several more of these interviews, but they are not avaliable on YouTube yet…So y’all will just have to wait to watch until 2016 *wink*)

As mentioned earlier in this re-cap blog post, I was also admitted into Emory & Henry College for my junior year! Goodness–I can’t believe that I will be graduating with my Associate of Science Degree in Broadcasting in May from Northeast State Community College! *happy dance*


Oh–and how can I forget…I TURNED 20! *I may be two decades old, but I wish I still had the responsibilities of a 10 year old *wink*


ALSO in 2015, this blonde experimented with hair color! Remember that time I was a temporary ginger *wink*


AND LAST but definitely not least, in 2015 I started a new creative journey by hand-making bracelets and selling them on Etsy! Please give my shop BlueGrits a view or two and shop around :) Click the banner to shop.


Now, I will say good-bye until next year *wink* I hope all of you have a fabulously fun and safe New Years celebration! :)

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn


VIP Interview: John and Whitney Spinks of HGTV’s Flipping the Block


Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!

While at the 2015 Birmingham Home & Garden Show, John and Whitney Spinks from HGTV’s Flipping the Block sat down with the VIP to chat about how Whitney’s blog, Drab to Fab Design, changed their lives. In addition, we chatted about the couple’s time on the show + big design must haves + Whitney’s obsession with skinny jeans *wink*

Meeting the Spinks and hearing their story (and not just the one from Flipping the Block) was such a fabulous experience, and now I am ready to share all of the details with y’all, the VIP readers. So, without further ado, I introduce to y’all John and Whitney Spinks! Yay!


VIP: What was y’all’s experience like on HGTV’s Flipping the Block?

Whitney: Flipping the Block is probably one of the most intense and one of the most rewarding renovation projects that we’ve ever done. The timelines are crazy, the rules of the show are very strict, and you only have a few days to get these major projects done. It was so crazy, but at the same time, it was so much fun. 

John: And the cool part about it is it all came from Whitney’s blog. They [creators of Flipping the Block) sent her an email inviting Whitney and myself to apply to be on the show. Out of all the teams on the show, we were the only ones not to go to a casting call–mainly because we did not even know it was going on! Other people had been interviewing and going to casting calls while Whitney was over there blogging and got an email about it. 

VIP: I think that’s awesome! Such a lucky opportunity!

John: Yeah, we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Almost everything that we learned from the experience was captured on camera, and that’s one thing I think was really great about Flipping the Block. It didn’t just highlight dramatic moments, it also showed the troubles and the good times. 

VIP *to Whitney*: So what is the name of your blog?

Whitney: My blog is called Drab to Fab Design!

VIP: That’s a super cute name! How long had you been blogging when they contacted you about applying for the show?

Whitney: Well, I started the blog in November of 2011, and they contacted us about November 2013–so, I had been blogging for two years.

John: And who knows–we will see you [talking to the VIP] on TV soon! Like Bravo or the Style Network!

VIP: Hey…I would not reject to that at all! I love the Style Network! *giggles*

John: In all seriousness, a lot of people like you, me, and Whitney get the opportunity to be on channels like HGTV because the shows need good talent and good personalities!


VIP: Y’all have your design company 27 South Design Group–what can y’all tell me about that?

Whitney: Well, 27 South is our design business, and we started it immediately after we were done with Flipping the Block. We always knew that we wanted to open some type of design business, and Flipping the Block was sort of that push to make us actually do it. The show gave us the confidence we needed to start our dream and launch our business….We live and run our business out of Jacksonville Florida.

VIP: Ooo! Warm down there! I live in Northeast Tennessee now, and it has been a bit since I have seen any warm temperatures. 

John: Oh, where at [in Tennessee]?

VIP: Johnson City, Tennessee–up towards the Virginia line. 

John: Johnson City!

VIP: It is warmer here [Birmingham, AL] than when I left Johnson City on Friday. 

John: Well, where we are from in Indiana is about two hours from Nashville, so we go through Tennessee all the time. We take family vacations to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.


VIP: What color would you say best describes each of you?

Whitney: That’s a great question! I am really into blues in design–

John: *motions to Whitney’s outfit*

Laughter among everyone

Whitney: …but I also love grays too. A big part of me really likes deep, sort of moody blues, but I really love bright greens as well.

John: Man…what color? It is so hard to pick one color because when I think of “color”, I think of pink or other bright colors, but when I work with colors, I think more along the lines of leather or steel.

Whitney: He likes a lot of industrial elements.

John: Yes! Industrial–like deep grays. I also like a lot of natural color or color from nature. 

Whitney: Think of like natural textures and the colors that those textures have.

John: Oh, texture is a great thing from a design standpoint…then add some color. 

VIP: So, what got y’all into doing design?

Whitney: I think it really evolved when John was in the Navy. He was deployed, and I was home by myself. I have always been creative and hands on, so I sort of just dived in with the blog trying new things. And after I started my blog, my love for interior design just sort of blossomed, and I started learning more and more about the processes. I got a lot of inspiration from online and other bloggers, and it all sort of went up from there!

John: Yeah, my thing was like we grew up in a little farm town in Indiana where guys are expected to be a “man’s man”. I was in construction working for a custom-home home builder, but I have always been sketching and designing so the seed was already planted, so to speak. Whitney’s blog and the show just watered it and made it grow. I always felt like designing “wasn’t cool” to do, and as I got older, I realized that I have to do what makes me happy–that is what design does for me. 


VIP: Whitney, what is one item in your closet you would never toss out and why?

Whitney: I am a huge, huge fan of a good pair of skinny jeans, so I could never toss out my skinnies! If I find a brand or a style that I really love, I will buy two or three pairs of them. Skinnies are pretty much my staple fashion piece–I am almost always in a pair of skinnies!

John: *joking with the VIP* What? You’re not going to ask me about my favorite clothing piece? 

VIP: *joking back* Okay, John–what’s one item in your closet you would never toss out and why? *wink*

John: Well…these worn-out boots I have on right now…and…Ah, who am I kidding. Whitney still dresses me most days.

Whitney: *joking with John and the VIP* It’s true…but his style is evolving haha I don’t care what he wears though. I like him just the way he is. 

*awh moment–John and Whitney are pretty much the most adorable couple ever*



Facebook | Instagram (John) (Whitney) (27 South) | Blog | Website

Stay tuned to the sister blog for the rest of the interview with John and Whitney coming soon!


Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

VIP Interview: Co-host of Style Network’s Clean House Mark Brunetz


From Cleveland native to Los Angeles celebrity designer, Mark Brunetz has carved out a name for himself in interior design and reality television.  An expert at conveying design principles to a broad television audience, Mark was recently honored with an Emmy® Award as the co-host of Clean House on the Style Network.  

At the creative helm of his LA-based design company, Mark’s body of work has been seen in over 30 countries worldwide.  With a strong focus on aesthetics and functionality, Mark has collaborated with Hollywood’s A-list, launched an eponymous line of home furnishings on the Home Shopping Network and penned his first book Take the U Out of Clutter which was nominated for Best Organizing Book in 2013.

An avid speaker on design and social impact, Mark currently serves as the Spokesperson for the International Design Guild’s Designer Program and is the face of Design For a Difference; a national design contest benefiting local charities throughout the U.S. (www.markbrunetz.com)

Now, without further ado, I introduce to y’all the VIP’s awesome interview with the fabulously acclaimed celebrity designer Mark Brunetz.


Abby: “How many home show events do you speak at annually?”

Mark: “I do about five a year.”

Abby: “Fashion and home décor are a lot alike–there are classic and trendy pieces. What is one classic décor item that everyone should have in his/her home?”

Mark: “I think fashion and interiors are incredibly entwined. They drive each other….I have noticed that [interior] design is certainly inspired by what comes down the runway….When you are building an outfit or a wardrobe, you buy some very timeless pieces like the pencil skirt or the little black dress, and I think the same should go for the home–when it comes to a larger investment piece like a sofa and a bed–that is where you want to go timeless. You do not want to buy trendy items on more expensive things. Don’t get the really cool, funky sofa. Do get something that is a little bit more classic. You want to choose items that have great bones, a great silhouette–so that way if you want to do something funky a year later, you can change out your home décor to fit that style without having to purchase all new furniture…definitely invest in timeless pieces when it comes to your bigger, more expensive pieces.”


Abby: “Describe your personal fashion and interior style.”

Mark: “I am incredibly eclectic. What drives me are things that I love. People ask me all the time what’s my style, or what are the hot trends– but I say the trend right now is to not follow the trends. For me, I have a collection of periods in style. I don’t believe a person can be defined by one period of style. We are three dimensional people so we might love something that is Greco-Roman-Classical, and then we might find a contemporary lamp we like. I believe that once all of that is put together–it creates a mosaic much like a human being, and you get to see the full dimension of who people are. In my interiors and in my fashion, I love mixing and matching things. Overtime, I have been known to have great style and great homes, and I think that is because I have followed my instincts.”

Abby: “What is a good splurge item for the home?”

Mark: “Definitely the sofa and definitely the bed. Those are the two areas that I would say to invest a little bit more money in. Buy a really well-made sofa that you are going to have for twenty years. You can also have it [the sofa] reupholstered or throw new pillows on it. Invest in a really good bed–not only a mattress, but a good foundation. You know, we spend a third of our life sleeping…well, I wish I would have spent a third, but the truth is you have to get a good night’s sleep–so splurge on a good quality bed. I love collecting art, so if you find a piece that you love…BUY IT! It does not matter if it is expensive, because before you know it–you will have a collection of really great pieces.”


Abby: “I am a fashionista with a lot of shoes and jewelry. What are some easy ways to organize these things in my closet?”

Mark: “In the area of shoes, make sure you only keep the shoes you are actually wearing. I like to put shoes in clear containers so that you can actually see the shoes. If you don’t have clear shoe boxes, you can always take a picture of the shoes and put labels on the boxes so that you know what shoes you actually have. You should never have to dig to find the shoes you are looking for. As far as jewelry, one of the things I have done is take really inexpensive bowls and put them in the top drawer of a dresser–instead of going out and buying an organizer.”


To learn more about Mark Brunetz and his spectacular accomplishments as not only a designer but also as an Emmy Award winning co-host, please visit www.markbrunetz.com.

Follow Mark Brunetz via social media to keep up with his latest projects and special events!

Facebook: click here.

Twitter: click here.


Check out Mark Brunetz’s book Take the U Out of Clutter!

“This may not be the first book you’ve read about clutter, but it will be your last.”

To purchase a personalized, autographed copy of Mark’s book, please click here.


Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn