VIP Interview: Ahmed Hassan, DIY Network’s Yard Crashers Host

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Have you ever watched Yard Crashers, the show with the really cute landscaping host, on the DIY network? I have a lot…especially during the reno.

During our year-long renovation, my family and I lived the DIY network. We were surrounded by things that needed to be done everywhere–even the yard was a hot mess. 

Every time we went to the home improvement store, I kept hoping that Ahmed Hassan with his camera crew would pop out and ask to go crash our yard. Sadly, our landscaper in shinning armor never came to our house in Birmingham; however, he did come to the Birmingham Home and Garden Show 2014 where the VIP got to interview the expert yard crasher, who is also a contributor to the CBS Early Show and NBC’s Today Show

Okay, that is enough chit chat for now. Are y’all ready for the VIP’s interview with Ahmed Hassan of DIY network’s Yard Crashers? *drum roll* 

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VIP: What is your favorite part about being a TV host?

Ahmed: My favorite part about being a TV host is that because I host reality-based TV shows, I get to just be me–I get to do what I want to do and build off of my own inspiration. Landscaping is something I have spent most of my life doing, and it has always been interesting to me even when I was a little kid. Now, it is really cool to see other people being interested in what I love doing–which is landscaping. To be able to share my passion for landscaping on TV, to be in the limelight, and to get paid TV dollars is a heck of a lot better than just being your average gardener!

VIP: And you get to be you!

Ahmed: Yes, I get to be me, and it works–that’s the best part about it!

VIP: Exactly! If you weren’t Ahmed Hassan, playing Ahmed Hassan, it would not be nearly as entertaining to watch.

Ahmed: I do not think I am the best actor–I can act like Ahmed everyday, all day long, and I know all the lines! I can even put on a little extra for TV because as a host, you have to learn how to spice up things. You are always slightly amused, and you have to come in with a lot of energy at the beginning of the show–things like that are a little bit of a stretch, but not so much that it pulls me away from my authentic self.

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VIP: Who inspired you to start landscaping?

Ahmed: My inspiration was really my dad. He was a landscaper, and I grew up watching him work. He soon moved on to do construction and truck driving. I grew up around blue-collar work and around learning to work with your hands. Through that, I sort of evolved into that type of work too…I had a wake up call that people who work a lot with their hands typically do not make a lot of money–and I knew that I wanted to make good money and be highly respected. I knew that I did not want to just be a lawn jokey. So, that’s when I decided that I needed to become more educated in the field. I have been able to build a career where I am interacting with people, problem solving, and creating beautiful spaces, and I love doing all of those things. I never imagined that doing the things I loved would have developed into the career that it is now.

VIP: Absolutely! You have to do what you love–if you don’t, you will never be truly happy!

Ahmed: I agree. I am seeing if I can prove this in my lifetime…if you love what you do, you create such an energy and such a passion around what you do that people want you and want to be around you. It’s not so much what you’re doing that attracts them, but it is the love and the passion behind what you are doing. That’s how I went from being a gardener to being a television host and probably the country’s most popular landscape expert.

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VIP: When it comes to landscaping a yard, what would you say is the most important element?

Ahmed:  It’s like most things, it is a lot of conscientious planning. If you want to build something, you really need to take the time to think about what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Planning and doing research in today’s day and age is really easy because we have Google right at our fingertips, and we can find out everything we need to know right on our mobile phones….If you do not want to do the research, pay the right people who have the knowledge to assist you with what you want to do before you go out and waste a bunch of money on something you do not know how to do.

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VIP: What landscaping advice do you have for homeowners that are looking to spruce up their yards for spring?

Ahmed: Sprucing up your yard is really no different than sprucing up your house. You have to clean it up–mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, rake the leaves, put some fresh mulch in the flower beds, plant some new flowers, and add other things that make your yard work for you. A lot of times, I joke how I am like a glorified outdoor janitor because we always clean up people’s yards before getting started with the “crashing,” and they are amazed at how such a simple task really makes their lawn look amazing.

VIP: What color best describes you?

Ahmed: Oh, Lord…ahh!

VIP: I know, what color best describes you…crazy question *wink*

Ahmed: Well, I going to go with burnt-orange, and the reason I say that is because it is a color you will find in nature, and I am mostly a natural guy. That burnt-orange/rust color has a little bit of bling and a little bit of interest–it is a natural pop of color–and I think that color best describes me because I have a little pop of this and a little pop of that, but when it comes down to it, I am just an average guy like everyone else.

Special thanks to Nature's Edge, LLC for letting the VIP hold the interview with Ahmed Hassan at your beautiful display at the Birmingham Home and Garden Show 2014. You guys are awesome!
Shout out to Nature’s Edge, LLC, where the VIP held the interview with Ahmed Hassan– your display was absolutely beautiful!

Stay tuned for more of this interview in an upcoming Abby In the City column on www.thisisrealmedia.com!

Also, stay tuned for the VIP Interview with Retro Rad diva Emily Ellyn coming this Friday. Yay!

Look! Ahmed and the VIP matched! Did we plan it? Nope. Great minds think alike *wink*
Look! Ahmed and the VIP matched! Did we plan it? Nope. Great minds think alike *wink*

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Project Runway Season 12 Episode 10 L’Oreal Makeover Challenge

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Tim Gunn: The designers don’t know you’re here.

Superfans: *chattering with excitement*

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On The L’Oreal Challenge, each of the remaining designers were assigned a Project Runway superfan to give a glamorous makeover–hair, makeup, custom outfit–the whole kit and caboodle.

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With a GoBank spending budget of $200-$400, the designers and their superfans went to Mood to shop for their materials. Oh, how I wish I could have a designer create me a custom garment using fabric from Mood with a GoBank spending budget of $200-$400…that would be so fabulous!

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How would you feel if someone came into your temporary home, intentionally knocked your iron off the ironing board, and ruffled your feathers with a sassy comment?

Hmmmm…in my opinion, it appeared as if Alexander were trying to pick a fight with Ken…or was it just made-for-TV drama?

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You may know Ken as the designer who has been showcased in a negative light, but for those who know him best, he is a true Southern gentleman and a self-taught fashion designer with a passion for creating chic, tailored garments. “Reality TV creates characters, and I’m not the person they make me out to be. I can be sassy, but I am also silly and love to joke,” stated Birmingham-native Laurence.

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I cannot argue with the winning look of this challenge. Helen did a fabulous job of transforming her superfan from blah to glam! Kudos to you, designer Helen! P.S. I would like to have this dress in my closet.

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The losing look of this challenge was Ken Laurence’s garment; however, you cannot argue with how happy his superfan was on that runway! You could tell that Susie was truly confident and in love with her custom dress.

Even though I was sad to see designer Ken go home on Episode 10, I know he was super happy to be back home in Birmingham, Alabama. “Coming to Project Runway and coming this far in the competition was reassurance of myself as a self-taught fashion designer…I am relieved [to be going home]. This [Project Runway] was such a boost of confidence for me. I came in intimidated as hell because of my lack of experience and education in design,” explained Ken on Episode 10.

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No matter how some people, especially the press, paint Ken Laurence’s image, one has to admire his determination to push through life’s hardest moments as well as his self-taught design ability in such a highly-competitive and educated competition. “Project Runway is only the beginning,” stated Ken Laurence in the VIP’s interview at his premiere party for Project Runway.

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Check out my “Abby In the City” article on www.thisisrealmedia.com about the modern Southern woman with exclusive commentary by Project Runway’s Ken Laurence. Click here to read the article.

 See today’s 30 Day J.Crew Challenge here.

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

The Outlet Shops of Grand River Grand Haul Girl Video 1

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Hey there, fabulouses! I am so excited to announce that my Grand Haul Girl “Transition to Fall” video is published to The Outlet Shops of Grand River YouTube channel! Can you believe it? I got almost $400 worth of name brand apparel items for only….only how much? Come on, Abby! Tell us! Nope…y’all are going to have to go watch the video :) Click here to watch now.

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Who said the number 13 was not lucky? Pish posh! On my first clothing haul, I got six fashion pieces and four accessories that I am going to use to create thirteen looks. Stay tuned to the blog and VIP YouTube channel for the “Lucky 13” ensembles reveal. Y’all are not going to want to miss it!

For sneak peeks of the “Lucky 13” reveal, check out the VIP’s Facebook page (click here) and NEW Tumblr (click here).

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I would like to say a special thank you to all of my fabulous supporters who have helped me get to the point I am at today…Grand Haul Girl is only the beginning! Words cannot express how blessed I feel to have such dedicated “Abby” fans on my blog and Real Media.  I cannot thank y’all enough for helping me win The Outlet Shops of Grand River Grand Haul Girl shopping video series! *BIG HUGS FOR EVERYONE*

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Me? nervous? Nah…not at all. *sarcasm* I call this nervous look “Deer In Headlights”…

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Y’all do NOT forget to check out The Outlet Shops of Grand River Facebook page (click here) for upcoming sales, events at The Shops, and the releasing of more Grand Haul videos! I cannot wait to see what the other Grand Haul Stars got on their clothing hauls!

Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Weekly Whistle: TWT Luncheon 2013

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Hello, my fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog! It is that wonderful time of the week again…Weekly Whistle time! Whoop Whoop!

Brenda Caradine and Melissa Duncan at the Tennessee Williams Tribute Luncheon at the Tampico Bay Restaurant in Columbus, Mississippi.
Brenda Caradine, Melissa Duncan, and the VIP at the Tennessee Williams Tribute Luncheon at the Tampico Bay Restaurant in Columbus, Mississippi.

On August 27, I was invited by Brenda Caradine to attend the Tennessee Williams Tribute luncheon in Columbus, Mississippi. Mrs. Caradine not only manages the functions of the Tennessee Williams Tribute, but she also owns and operates the Amzi Love Lincoln Homes Bed and Breakfast with her husband, Sid Caradine (aka Captain Sid).

To learn more about the Amzi Love and Lincoln Homes, check out the VIP YouTube videos here:

  • Amzi Love Antebellum Home history, click here.
  • Amzi Love Home circa 1848, click here.
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Throwing it back to when I met Brenda Caradine for the first time….

I am so very thankful to have such a fabulous fan like Brenda Caradine–she has been with the VIP since the very beginning! Thank you, Miss Brenda, for not only supporting me, but also for pushing me to follow my dreams! I love you very much:) You are a tremendous fan!

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Want to learn more about the Tennessee Williams Tribute?  Check out all of the amazing write-ups by Real Media by clicking here.

Y’all are absolutely going to want to attend the Stella Shouting! The what? Exactly…go visit Real Media to find out more:)

 

Barbara Broach and I at the TWT luncheon at Tampico Bay in Columbus, MS.

Barbara Broach, Director of the Florence Alabama Arts & Museums, and I at the TWT luncheon at Tampico Bay in Columbus, MS.

 

Now, let’s see what fabulous frock the VIP wore! Come on, fashionistas, let’s go!

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Dress: Banana Republic

Belt: Anthropologie

Heels: Michael Kors, Belk

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To see more pictures from the 2013 TWT Luncheon, please visit the VIP Facebook page here.

Check out the Tennessee Williams Tribute on Facebook to keep up with upcoming events! Click here.

Like Real Media on Facebook to stay up-to-date with new article posts and events! Click here.

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

Weekly Whisle: Summer Slouch Series Outfit 2

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Hello, my fabulouses, guess what day it is? Fashionistas, what day is it? Oh, come on! I know you can hear me! Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, what day is it Mike? hahahahahah Leslie, guess what day it is! “It’s hump day.” WHOOP WHOOP! …

Sorry, I just had to do that–I absolultely adore that camel on the Geico commercial….ANYWAY it is WEEKLY WHISTLE TIME! Yay! So, without further ado, let’s see what the VIP’s outfit of the week is!

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Blouse: Belk

Skirt: Belk

Shoes: Lucky Brand, Belk

Hat: Cos-Medi Center, Columbus, MS

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Check out more of my writings and photo shoot stylings here:

Real Media: The Adventures of the VIP–Summer Color Crush: Hello, Yellow! http://thisisrealmedia.com/2013/06/19/the-adventures-of-the-vip-summer-color-crush-hello-yellow/

Town and Gown Magazine June Issue: http://www.townandgownmagazine.com/#!current-issue/c113z

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn