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HI FRIENDS!

As most of you know, Nick and I purchased a fixer in the country in November. I’ve been talking about blogging our progress since we bought the place… It’s almost April and this is my first one… But hey, I delivered! Late, but still:)

I can’t believe how long these projects take when you are doing 95% yourself! (Meaning your Dad is helping with every single project) I remember when we closed I thought we would have most everything inside done at this point. HA! We’ve decided to push the Kitchen to late Fall or early Winter now. With the weather warming up we are excited to start on outside projects (and there’s a lot of those!)

The bathrooms were my first priority. Growing up in a very clean and well-kept home, I just about died having to live in these bathrooms for a month. I decided to just share our downstairs half bath today… We did the exact same finishes upstairs, new tub and tile and such… But honestly, they’re so similar I didn’t feel like perfectly cleaning the other one:)So you just get one bathroom today but its about the exact same just add a shower!

The photos you see below are the BEFORE. So much brown, lots of dirt, and very dated fixtures. My style is white and clean and crisp with a little Joanna Gaines farmhouse to top it off.

My before photos aren’t incredible… They are from my iPhone and were taken in an absolute rush while we viewed the house. We had 36 hours to move in and I started ripping things out right away… So my before shots could be better, but you get the gist!

Scroll down to see the before and after shots and my explanation of what all we did!!

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We changed, everything! If we didn’t tear it out, we scrubbed it and painted it. We removed wallpaper, painted the walls gray, tore out the countertop and faucet, removed the mirror/light, removed the dated towel racks, used grout refresh on the floors, replaced all of the brown doors with brand new two panel white, replaced all knobs/hinges/hardware to brushed nickel, added quartz countertop with a white under mount sink, added white subway tile with gray grout, painted all trim white, added new outlets and covers, new mirror from target and mason jar light fixture, new toilets, new heat registers, painted the cabinets white, and of course hung my “toilet” sign from magnolia market! (Love Joanna Gaines!!)

This bathroom has been mainly done for about two months, but we just finished the final touches. When you do a reno project, its all in the details. You have to be sure to finish the job right! It’s finally 100% done!! We’ve learned so much in the past four months. Mainly that projects take triple the time you planned for. We have worked so hard for this dream and it makes me so excited that we are that much closer. I know when we are finished we will feel SO accomplished, like its our very own. We would absolutely not be able to do this without the help of my family… Who have volunteered their time almost every weekend to help us out. Every time I walk in this bathroom I go “HOW IS THIS MINE!?!” I am so proud of it. All of my dream finishes and something I never knew I could really have. So, enjoy these shots of the one room in our home that can be fully checked off our list!

AFTER!

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I have plans to blog at least a few times this year of the progress we have made. We have been working NON STOP!! Painting rooms. Adding new trim, replacing every single door inside and out with hardware and hinges, working on ceiling and flooring in our mudroom and sunroom, and so much more! I spent two hours last week hanging a hammock… and I love it!! We have so many trees on the property I feel like its a little oasis. I bought rocking chairs for the front porch… Literally my dream!! I live for sitting on that porch with family in the sunshine. After a couple more projects inside, we are focusing mainly out. I drug the patio furniture out of the barn… I’ve been begging my father and husband to help me build a tree swing, can’t wait for that one! We have some major fencing to fix on the property. It’s 4 acres completely fenced in but needs some repair. And we are going to replace the front with a nicer wood fence and hopefully a new mechanical gate. I want to plant a huge garden and hopefully a mini fruit tree orchard as well! So many projects!! But the sun is shining and I will just be happy to be outside working. I am making zero promises on when the next post will be:)Wedding season really picks up for me in about a month so I won’t have as much time to devote to the house, so we will see what we get done before then!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at what we’ve been up to!!

 

XOXO – Ashley West

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Say hi to the super sweet Kelly and Chris!!

These two got married over 6 months ago, but I am so excited to share their wedding with you today!

They grew up in Granville… a town that just makes my heart happy! We did their engagement photos in the village and I had so much fun getting to know them there.

It made perfect sense that they held their wedding in a church in Granville… And then we headed over to a family farm for their portraits. Barns, cornfields, ponds, balloons, soft romantic bouquets…. SIGN ME UP! I loved photographing this beautiful couple and their fun bridal party. It was a gorgeous early Fall day and I am so glad I could be a part of it.

Congrats again to Kelly and Chris!! I hope puppy parenting and married life is treating you well!

XOXO

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Early last year I started blogging personal life updates every few months, and it’s something I’ve really enjoyed! Today just felt like the right day for an update.

We’ve been in our new home 3.5 months now. Somehow that time has felt like it’s flown by, and moved in slow motion at the same time. If you asked me in December how I was loving the new house, you may have gotten immediate tears. We bought a true fixer upper on 4 acres in Pataskala, OH. When we moved in, the house had no heat. Thankfully our Winter was unseasonably warm, but I’ll tell you what – when the thermostat in your house says 48, ITS COLD. Lets just say I’ve learned to light a pretty quick fire and I suddenly understand why people put heated floors in their bathrooms:)

We also lived without internet for 6 weeks (and currently still have very slow internet!! Yikes! Time Warner is working on it!) and when you own a business and work from home that presents its challenges. You could definitely say my control freak ways got a run for their money. I’m learning to live with certain things and adjust quickly. We are in a much better place now! Warm and cozy, internet running, and the bathrooms brand new and refreshed. I can sleep at night!

I will update you more on our reno projects below!

 

As I scrolled through content to add to this post, I realized this Winter has really just been busy around the house! We did go on a ski trip that was unfortunately cut short because Nick got really sick. We had a couple beautiful snow falls at the house but it took forever this year to come! I was so excited to see the property covered in snow and it just didn’t want to come. Our best friends had a baby girl in February and we’ve been spending tons of time with them. This Winter has been a lot of house work, snuggles by the fire, movie watching, and playing outside with the pups. Here’s some updates in iPhone photos…

 

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I did take on a new hobby this year, knitting! I have been loving it. I am a crafty person. Love doing things with my hands and trying new things. I’m really excited at the opportunity to make really cute things! Right now I am finishing up a sweater for my best friends baby. It’s so cool to watch a ball of yard become a shirt! I’ve impressed myself I must say:)

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We inherited barn cats with the property… And I have to admit… I’m a little bit in love with them. My whole life I have been a total dog person (and still am!) but these little kitties have absolutely stolen my heart. They are so friendly and really enjoy our company. When I pull down the drive and see them laying in the grass together in the sun it makes me so happy.

And not to mention our puppies are loving it here. 4 fenced acres and its like they died and went to heaven. Wondering if I should adopt 15 more…

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And with living in the country you’ll find that your dogs almost always find something disgusting to roll in. So every day is bath day around here. But we also get to have outdoor bonfires and share smores so I won’t complain! (Sneak peek at our new subway tiled shower! I’ve always had a love for subway tile and I feel so lucky that we were able to put it in the house!)

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Meet, Kate Love (my best friends baby!) She entered the world on February 1st and literally stole my heart right out of my chest. I was lucky enough to witness, and photograph her birth and it truly made me look at life differently. An absolutely miraculous thing. I was just blown away. I am so proud of my best friends for bringing such a beautiful bundle into the world… And for how well they are doing this whole parenting thing. I love her so much. Any time spent with the Schreiber’s is time well spent.

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Here are a couple shots from the house renos! I have plans for a before and after blog – but since we’ve been working I’m realizing just how long it is going to take to finish a lot of these projects! If you saw the before shots of these rooms you would die! Imagine everything literally the exact opposite and super 1980’s. The bathrooms have been the biggest transformation so far. I LOVE them! I’ve always been an HGTV super fan, and being able to bring some of my favorite styles to life has been so much fun. TONS of work. But so much fun. We would absolutely die without the help of my family. Since we have moved in we have done one millions things, and we have another two million to go. But we are far enough along now to know the end is in sight. There has been progress made and our dreams are surely coming to life.

With the weather warming up soon we have so many plans for the outside of the property. We’re super excited for these changes as well! And to get to enjoy the reasons we bought this home to begin with. Stay tuned!

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Many of you may have noticed my recent posts… 2016 has started off a little bumpy for Nick and I. I’ve gone back and forth in my head on whether or not to share this news… And I decided that sometimes it okay to just be your true and honest self. We are all human, and its often inspiring and endearing to show our raw selves. Maybe we could touch someone with our story. Make someone else feel not so alone…

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The day after my best friends baby was born Nick and I got a positive pregnancy test. We had been trying for some time, so we were SO excited for this news! A million thoughts went through my head when we saw the two lines – Excitement, happiness, worry, nursery decor, clothing items, (duh!) how we would tell our friends and family, and so much more. We spent weeks swept up in the excitement. I found myself guarded at times, filled with so much worry, but tried to push those thoughts away and just focus on this amazing time. Almost two weeks ago I had some cramping and terrible feelings that something just wasn’t right. After several phone calls to my doctor, googling, and endless amounts of worry, we finally got in for an ultrasound. And quickly realized that our nightmare was coming true when the doctor said “I am so sorry, but this is not what we expect to see at almost 8 weeks.” We were crushed. Completely overwhelmed. And quite honestly, the past two weeks have been an absolute blur. Some days I can hardly get out of bed, other days I feel more like myself. It’s been an agonizing roller coaster of emotions. My situation is not exactly black and white, so I am still dealing with the physical affects of loosing a baby. When I heard of women loosing pregnancies in the past, I always felt terrible, just so sad. But I can say now that my compassion has tripled. This is the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I also feel very fortunate to be able to say that. But even as positive of a person as I try to be, this has really gotten me down. The worry, anxiety, physical affects, emotions… It’s just been awful. Most days I don’t feel like me, and I’ve spent so much time crying and overthinking. It has been so hard.

But something today compelled me to write this post. I know there are so many women who have struggled with getting pregnant, staying pregnant. And I can say now that I understand. My heart aches with you. It is so hard not to plan your entire future when you see those two lines. It is the most exciting and rewarding thing we will ever do, becoming parents. And miscarriage is unfortunately something that just happens. Its hard for me to understand that I have no control over this situation. That I have to just let go. I am learning about myself, going though things I never thought I could. Overcoming fears and growing stronger every day.

Something that had made our burden much smaller is the outpouring of love and support from our friends and family. We’ve gotten cards and gifts and flowers and texts and messages and calls. This makes these hard days move by faster and our hearts a little warmer during this hard time. My mother has been over almost every day to clean, do laundry, help with things I’m finding especially challenging right now. It’s been so wonderful. Thank you, all.

I’ve had so much understanding from clients, I could just cry. The patience and understanding that has been shown to us is something I will never forget. And if you are anything like me, when I am not 100% for any reason, I have this immediate worry for my job, my amazing clients. My career is so important to me, my clients mean the world to me, and the thought of letting them down is something that gives me a lot of sleepless nights. But then I watch my fellow photographer friends step up to help. Whether I have to refer out a session, or Ashley Wallace has to handle some office work, or I need 2nd shooters lined up and extra help. Its been amazing. This situation has shown me how much good there is in the world. How much good there are in the people in my life. These selfless acts do not go unnoticed and I will be forever grateful.

Its easy in these hard times to feel so down. Forget all the good we have. Worry about the future. But I went back through and read some old personal blog posts and realized our life could not be more rich. Looking back at all the dreams we’ve had over the years and seeing so many of them having now come true. It’s unbelievable to me. We are so lucky. We will get through this time and we will be okay. We have each other and the support of so many. It’s so important for us to forgive ourselves, be easy on ourselves. We are human. Things do and will happen. But if you stay strong, work hard to overcome them, lean on your friends and family, stay positive, and ask for help when you need it, you can overcome it all.

This blog is for my photography over 90% of the time. I hope it’s okay that I decided to be personal here today.

My email answering and office work has been a tad slower and will continue to be until this is behind us. I do appreciate all of your understanding more than you know.

Please remember to….


 

Be Gentle With Yourself, You Are Doing The Best You Can

 

Love, Ashley West

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Meeting Kailen and Alex was so much fun. Kailen is the owner (with her sis Kristen!) of The Blow Out Bar – A place I absolutely love to go for a fun beachy waves kind of hair day. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend you grab your girlfriends and get a blowout before a night out or a fun event! Seriously, can’t say enough good things!

I will not be shooting Kailen and Alex’s wedding unfortunately, because they are getting married in California… However, a photographer I have admired literally for YEARS, and who has been a major source of inspiration for me, JOSE VILLA will be shooting their day. When they casually told me this during their engagement session my jaw actually hit the ground. I was so flattered/excited/humbled/honored that I am in a small way sharing a client with a photographer who has given me so much inspiration through my career. It was a great moment, and one I will never forget.

These two were so fun to follow around. We got drinks at The Guild House (a Columbus favorite!) and then headed over to German Village and shot in one of my favorite neighborhoods. We had some gorgeous November sun that just warmed up this Fall session.

I can’t describe my excitement for their wedding photos!! I will be following along their wedding journey. I wish you two nothing but the best! Congrats!

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