Cherry Blossom Photos in Washington D.C. at the Jefferson Memorial

As a collector of experiences, I wanted to see what it felt like to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and arrive in D.C. an hour later to experience a cherry blossom photo session. It actually felt pretty good! I am not a morning person by any means, but it was thrilling to join the other photo seekers at the Jefferson Memorial. Luckily for me, I was joined by Brittany Branson, Nika Smirnoff, and our photographer Casey Marie Windsor. After seeing these photos, I think the early wake up call was worth it!

Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
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CherryBlossom-8402.jCherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquetpg
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet

J.Crew Fashion Night with Erica Natal and Leigh Heiserman

Have you seen @ericalnatal on Instagram lately? She is hustling - and making some real headway - by generating creative and compelling content. Recently, she partnered with J.Crew in Georgetown for a spring shopping party and asked me to design some flowers for the event. Her buddy Leigh Heiserman from Lauryn Prattes Styling and Events stopped by to share in the fun which made for great photos.

Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms

All photos by Erica’s company, Solely In Focus. Daisy macaroons by Buttercream Bakeshop.

Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms
Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms
Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms

Erica and Leigh

Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms
Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms

Cherry Blossom Photos Washington DC a DIY Guide - Parking and Photography

While notorious for meticulous planning when it involves my clients, when it comes to fun projects just for me, “Spontaneous” is probably the nicest word that could be used to describe me.

When I heard peak Cherry time had been moved up a couple of days, I wanted in on the action, and I wanted in now. My first thought was to ping a couple of my professional photographer friends to see if they had any “Cherry Blossom Sessions” left, but most were completely booked or couldn’t work within my last minuet time frame. Most professional photographers only guarantee a handful of time slots because of the unpredictability of the Cherry Trees blossoming.

ashley-spring-blossom-bouquet-jefferson

Following so many #igdc photographers I realized that I could probably get some great photos with just my iPhone and good lighting. So next I tapped a few people I identify as “creative hustlers” who would probably be down for an early morning if it meant some good content. I also put a flyer up on my Instagram Stories asking if anyone wanted to join me in the joy of waking up at 5:30.

Brittany-iphone-cherry-blossoms

Within a few hours, By Brittany Branson, Calligraphette & Co, and even a real photographer, Marie Windsor Photography were all on board! Now technically there are rules to taking photos at the monuments, and if you are working with a professional photographer they need to apply for a permit. Since we were going as friends, and working mostly with our iphones we thought we were probably ok. Just no props and no tripods, I have haerd that fines can be issued in the thousands of dollars range.

cherry-blossom-friends

Never having been part of a Cherry Blossom session myself, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would there be parking, how early do we really need to get there?

I have heard that the best time to be there is before sunrise, so since sunrise was at 6:59 am we decided to meet at 6:30am. This was a good idea, and meeting at 6:15am might have been an even better idea, but really that is just way too early!

Coming from Alexandria, VA I took the parkway over Memorial Bridge, bore to the right and then turned left to follow the road along the water towards the Jefferson Memorial. My idea was to park in the lot closest in front to the memorial but it was closed. I continued to follow the road closet to the Jefferson and eventually saw a sign for Public Parking. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing, but decided to trust the signage and turned left. Just a little down that road there was a parking lot with lots of spaces at 6:28am. It is pay parking and I used my Park Moblie App, zone 5811 and was on my way. The walk from the lot to the steps of the Jefferson is about 10 minuets.

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Brittany had been the first to arrive and remarked that waiting alone at 6:25 in the morning had been kind of creepy, but that in the time she had gone in to use the ladies room (so yes there are some restrooms) and come back out, 2 couples were already in the midst of their engagement sessions.

Having been admiring Connor Studios portraits, for a year, I wanted to try and get the same angle so we walked clockwise around the water from the memorial. By 6:55 another photographer and family, were in the spot I had spied on our walk in. Trust me, jockeying for position gets real, which is why you may want to come even earlier than 6:30. I guess it’s just human nature, but sometimes I forget to be all zen and polite.

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By 7:05 the sun was making its way up, and the sky was showing signs of brilliant yellow and red. We took turns posing in pairs of two and as a group. We captured the cherries with the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson and then took a few through the blooms themselves.

We photographed until about 7:30am which by then the place was drawing with couples, families, photographers, instagram models, joggers and bikers!

JEFFERSON-BOUQUET

Brittany and Nika had appointments to head off too and Casey Marie and I wandered a little further down the path. Eventually we were tired and felt we had enough photos, by 8:00 I was back in my car and heading home.

marie-windsor-photography

The Cherry Trees were not quite a peak, and something about being up and in the presence of such powerful elegance is intoxicating, so I may just have to do this again!

Ashley-sPRING-bLOSSOM-bOUQUET

















Cherry Blossom Photos Washington DC a DIY Guide - Parking and Photography

While notorious for meticulous planning when it involves my clients, when it comes to fun projects just for me, “Spontaneous” is probably the nicest word that could be used to describe me.

When I heard peak Cherry time had been moved up a couple of days, I wanted in on the action, and I wanted in now. My first thought was to ping a couple of my professional photographer friends to see if they had any “Cherry Blossom Sessions” left, but most were completely booked or couldn’t work within my last minuet time frame. Most professional photographers only guarantee a handful of time slots because of the unpredictability of the Cherry Trees blossoming.

ashley-spring-blossom-bouquet-jefferson

Following so many #igdc photographers I realized that I could probably get some great photos with just my iPhone and good lighting. So next I tapped a few people I identify as “creative hustlers” who would probably be down for an early morning if it meant some good content. I also put a flyer up on my Instagram Stories asking if anyone wanted to join me in the joy of waking up at 5:30.

Brittany-iphone-cherry-blossoms

Within a few hours, By Brittany Branson, Calligraphette & Co, and even a real photographer, Marie Windsor Photography were all on board! Now technically there are rules to taking photos at the monuments, and if you are working with a professional photographer they need to apply for a permit. Since we were going as friends, and working mostly with our iphones we thought we were probably ok. Just no props and no tripods, I have haerd that fines can be issued in the thousands of dollars range.

cherry-blossom-friends

Never having been part of a Cherry Blossom session myself, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would there be parking, how early do we really need to get there?

I have heard that the best time to be there is before sunrise, so since sunrise was at 6:59 am we decided to meet at 6:30am. This was a good idea, and meeting at 6:15am might have been an even better idea, but really that is just way too early!

Coming from Alexandria, VA I took the parkway over Memorial Bridge, bore to the right and then turned left to follow the road along the water towards the Jefferson Memorial. My idea was to park in the lot closest in front to the memorial but it was closed. I continued to follow the road closet to the Jefferson and eventually saw a sign for Public Parking. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing, but decided to trust the signage and turned left. Just a little down that road there was a parking lot with lots of spaces at 6:28am. It is pay parking and I used my Park Moblie App, zone 5811 and was on my way. The walk from the lot to the steps of the Jefferson is about 10 minuets.

IMG_1392.JPG

Brittany had been the first to arrive and remarked that waiting alone at 6:25 in the morning had been kind of creepy, but that in the time she had gone in to use the ladies room (so yes there are some restrooms) and come back out, 2 couples were already in the midst of their engagement sessions.

Having been admiring Connor Studios portraits, for a year, I wanted to try and get the same angle so we walked clockwise around the water from the memorial. By 6:55 another photographer and family, were in the spot I had spied on our walk in. Trust me, jockeying for position gets real, which is why you may want to come even earlier than 6:30. I guess it’s just human nature, but sometimes I forget to be all zen and polite.

IMG_1393.JPG

By 7:05 the sun was making its way up, and the sky was showing signs of brilliant yellow and red. We took turns posing in pairs of two and as a group. We captured the cherries with the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson and then took a few through the blooms themselves.

We photographed until about 7:30am which by then the place was drawing with couples, families, photographers, instagram models, joggers and bikers!

JEFFERSON-BOUQUET

Brittany and Nika had appointments to head off too and Casey Marie and I wandered a little further down the path. Eventually we were tired and felt we had enough photos, by 8:00 I was back in my car and heading home.

marie-windsor-photography

The Cherry Trees were not quite a peak, and something about being up and in the presence of such powerful elegance is intoxicating, so I may just have to do this again!

Ashley-sPRING-bLOSSOM-bOUQUET

















DIY Cranberry Topiary - Perfect for Your Last Minute Holiday Decor

Down from DC we are spending this week in sunny Sarasota, Florida. Without access to my normal flower suppliers it had me thinking about what was easy and festive to create. Having just had an opportunity to visit the White House, I was inspired by their long tradition of cranberry topiaries and thought this would be just perfect! If you didn’t have a chance to tune into Suncoast View, ABC 7 here is everything you need to DIY your own holiday topiary.

Step 1: Gather together all of your materials. You are going to need:

Styrofoam Shape

Spanish moss or Tinsel

Scissors

Spray Glue

Toothpicks

Cranberries

Step 2: Coat your shape with spray glue

Hint: It is easier to cover if you cut the moss/tinsel into smaller pieces.

Double Hint: You can make a spray booth out of an Amazon Box by just cutting one side. This helps to contain the mess and makes clean up easy!

Step 3: Re-apply one more coat and roll your shape over the moss/tinsel one more time.

Hint: If you are using Spanish Moss you might want to use Design Master Just for Flowers Spray paint to coat the moss red and create a richer texture.

Step 4: Cut your toothpicks in half

Step 5: Insert your toothpick into the bottom of your shape half way. Pop cranberry on!

Note: It is much easier to put the toothpick in first, rather then putting the toothpick on the cranberry and then trying to push it in. Trust me! Or try it for yourself:)

Note: It is much easier to put the toothpick in first, rather then putting the toothpick on the cranberry and then trying to push it in. Trust me! Or try it for yourself:)

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Step 6: Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

Place your next toothpick half about 1/3 an inch to the left of your first cranberry.

Note: It looks best if you place the second row in-between the cranberries of the first row, this helps to keep it natural looking.

Note: It looks best if you place the second row in-between the cranberries of the first row, this helps to keep it natural looking.

Step 7: Garnish with a few touches of peppery berry and pepper berry leaves tucked in.

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If you still want more cranberry decor, check out my DIY Cranberry Candle!

DIY Over The Top Wreaths! As seen on #GoodDayDC @Fox5dc

Just like yours, my holiday season has been busy! Lots of designing fresh flowers for parties and plenty of homes to decorate. So far, my December favorite has been making what I call the “Over The Top” wreath.

This is a close up of the wreath I made for  @blonde_inthedistrict  which started this season’s trend!

This is a close up of the wreath I made for @blonde_inthedistrict which started this season’s trend!

For this wreath, you glue on every holiday bauble you can find and call it a day. Keep reading if you want a little more instruction on how to do it.

Step 1: Gather materials. You will need a wreath form (can be fresh or faux), scissors, fabric scissors, wire, glue gun, extra glue sticks and lots of baubles! Note: A wreath is a great place to use any broken ornaments that you have been saving and just can’t stand to throw away!

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Step 2: Glue your biggest ornaments first.

Step 3: Wind beaded garland or tinsel around your big ornaments.

Step 4: Add your fun and/or special ornaments. I always try to choose ones that match the personality of the recipient. Dani’s (@blonde_inthedistrict) wreath reflected her fun and royal personality!

Step 5: Add any “picked” decorations. Hint - Cut them into pieces so you can get a lot more out of them.

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Step 6: Hang it on a door and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! Here are a few more “Over The Top” wreath designs from this season.

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This wreath hangs on my front door and is made from broken ornaments. I talked about it on my 12/11/19 appearance on Fox 5 - Good Day DC with @producer_stewart and @hollylivefox5

For more on that check out my Insta Stories!

Two More of my favorites! The light pink one was for Julie at @strawberrymilkevents - @Studiomilk_ holiday decor and the other for @lucysyarnpocket.

Children’s National Hospital and Light Up The Season on December 16, 2018 at The Four Seasons Hotel, Washington

The holidays are fast approaching and I wanted to take a minute to shine a light on a cause near and dear to my heart. It’s called Light Up the Season and it benefits Children’s National Hospital. The event (formerly known as The Georgetown Jingle) raises money to support the Hospital and is held every year at The Four Seasons Hotel. Each year, 12-15 of Washington’s top interior designers and florists are invited to decorate a tree or holiday item, like a wreath, menorah or mantle piece, that is then auctioned off at a fun family-friendly afternoon event (buy tickets here). Last summer, I was excited and honored to receive an email from the event’s organizers asking me to participate for the second year in a row.

Atelier Ashley Flowers -Light-up-the-seasons-+ Four Seasons Washington DC+ DIY + Craft Project + Felt Flowers + Blue Flowers + Purple Flowers + Community Over Competition + Charity + Children's National Hospital

The process works like this: Every designer is partnered with a Children’s National Hospital patient and together the patient “artist” and designer work to come up with a fantasy holiday theme. This summer, I had the pleasure of meeting a sweet young lady named Annabelle.

As I talked to Annabelle about what she would like to see on her tree, she drew the small picture below. Her favorite color is blue, her sister’s favorite color is lavender, and, of course, mine is purple. Naturally, we were already in harmony!

Annabelle very much liked the idea of woodland animals and an enchanted snowy forest. We also agreed there should be some bells on the tree as a nod to her name. After combining Annabelle’s ideas and my vision, I decided the theme of our tree would be “Over The River and Through The Woods.”

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The next step was to begin the work of decorating a tree. In recent years, I have found myself missing the camaraderie and aesthetic kismet that comes from working with a large group of volunteer designers. Heavily influenced by my time in the White House Floral Shop under Former Chief Florist Laura Dowling, I wanted to recreate this experience and feeling. So I reached out to all my creative friends and asked them to help me #craftforacause. The response was incredible; I am so warmed by the generous people in my creative community!

I hosted the first #craftforacause party at my home in mid September. As the saying goes, “many hands make light work” and the attendees produced dozens of floral hoop wreaths made out of yarn and felt. Thanks to Anne Kelley, Carleigh Smith, Emily Alyssa, Jasmine Ellesse, Maria Kessel and Vicky Choy for kicking off #craftforacause!

Photo by Marie Windsor Photography

Photo by Marie Windsor Photography

The second #craftforacause party was held on a beautiful late September day at Periwinkle, a lovely clothing boutique in Old Town, Alexandria. Marie Windsor Photography joined us and took lots of detailed photos. Pamela Vetrini of Cheats and Meeses brought us a delicious cheese board extravaganza to fuel our designs. The designers for our second party included Elizabeth from Periwinkle, Kelley Cannon, Janice Carnevale, Lindsay Kidwell, Jasmine Ellesse and Nicole Nespor. It was fun to see how unique everyone’s designs were and how different they were from the first party.

There was one more #craftforacause party this weekend and I can’t wait to show you those designs too!

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The finishing touch on my tree comes from Accent Decor who generously donated dozens of beautiful glass and felt ornaments. These handcrafted ornaments are just what I needed to complete the tree’s wintery woodlands theme. While it is not guaranteed that Annabelle can attend the event, I sure hope she can because I think she will love what we have created.

Atelier Ashley Flowers -Light-up-the-seasons-+ Four Seasons Washington DC+ DIY + Craft Project + Felt Flowers + Blue Flowers + Purple Flowers + Community Over Competition + Charity + Children's National Hospital + Craft Party + Accent Decor Inc

Thank you to everyone who came out to #craftforacause. And thanks in advance to those will help set-up and decorate the tree in preparation for the big event on December 16. I’ll make sure to share pictures of the finished product once it is complete!

Washington Wedding with Japanese Design at the Ritz-Carlton

This past Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of designing for an artistic couple who blended culture and color to create a wedding masterpiece. Bride Karina and Groom Ibrahim were absolutely stunning in every way and their attention to detail added an extra level of beauty to the day. I had a chance to flex my artistic muscle by designing one-of-a-kind boutonnieres and corsages accented with hand-made Japanese Mizuhiki knots; creating a floral arch complete with origami paper cranes and flowers; and hand-painting berries peacock blue for a unique bridal bouquet. Photographer Violet Short did an expert job of capturing all the details and created so many beautiful images it was hard to choose a sample to share with all of you. Thanks to Wedding Coordinator Lynn Nelson of Bridal Silhouette who strung together all the details of the day with ease.

The lovely Karina.

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

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The dapper Ibrahim.

Mizuhiki is an ancient Japanese art form and traditional decoration for weddings symbolizing affection, warmth and togetherness.

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Late summer light made for perfect Georgetown portraits.

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Karina’s dress, designed by Made With Love, fit like a glove. Her bouquet featured Garden Roses, Cally Lillies, Orchids, hand-painted berries and greenery.

It was all about the details for this Ritz-Carlton wedding ceremony and reception - a romantic floral arch, intricate origami paper cranes and flowers, submerged flowers inside vases with floating candles and a peacock blue cake.

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Best wishes Karina and Ibrahim for a beautiful life together.