My Favorite Part of July

calligraphy, friendship, travel, updateVirginia HartComment

It's hard to believe we're about to say hello to August, but as I look back on this month, I wanted to share my favorite part of July. A couple of weeks ago, I attended my first IAMPETH Convention in Franklin, Tennessee. IAMPETH stands for International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting. The convention was basically one-big-week-long-calligraphy-art-camp-heaven. People flew in from Canada, Kuwait, Japan, Italy, Great Britain, and from all four corners of the U.S.

Highlights included meeting one of my first online calligraphy teachers in person (she was/is a huge inspiration to me!), meeting people I stalk on Instagram (some people even knew me as @ihartvirginia which cracked me up!), taking classes from talent that blew my mind, and being surrounded by people who were excited to talk about all the things I never get to talk about. Being an artist and working from home can often feel incredibly isolating, but I left there feeling so inspired!

Not to mention, I had an amazing roommate and got to spend time with one my best friends in the world. Here are a few snapshots from my week!


^I quickly learned how to pack all of my supplies including a whole lotta ink! Check out that nifty container of mine :) That's my girlfriend, Mimi, who was on my flight down to Nashville (she lives there, and was up here celebrating her birthday!) and she found those cookies in a store in LGA. Her real name is Minnie so we always say we need a brand together called something like, "Minnie Ginny" -- so you can imagine my excitement when she pulled those out!

When we arrived at the convention, we received a goodie bag and binder full of all the class notes (even the ones we didn't take - score!), and I had to take a picture of the box holding my binder :) Also, this may not excite many people reading this, but LOOK AT ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT NIBS!


^My roommate, Jenny, and I walked to get lunch every day. (Yep, Jenny and Ginny - ha!) It was crazy hot, but it felt like a nice break from the hotel's air conditioning and a good way to stretch our legs. That's her showing me how to use the magical fountain soda machine that has a million different choices and flavors. (Things like that don't exist in NYC.) I don't normally drink soda, but after really early wake-up calls/class all day/late nights of trying to squeeze in work, it was necessary.

Oh, and then that's some majuscule practice and the prettiest washi tape I've ever seen, and I had to document that our teacher recycles communion glasses from her church for ink. Ha!


^Here I am learning flourishing! I took another class on wedding invitation design and was flipping through my instructor's work, saw the "Ginny and Patrick" piece, and had to document! :)


^Here we are with that teacher, actually! She was one of my absolute favorites. Not only has she been designing wedding invitations for over 50 years, she writes calligraphy on animal skins...! My oldest brother (my very first calligraphy teacher!) would love her. And then there's my attempt at some brush lettering and shadow work in another class.


^My roommate for the week lives in DC with her husband (and hedgehog!) and we met in a class in Brooklyn and immediately hit it off. Do you ever meet someone and you're like, "they're a good egg" and you know that you could talk to them for hours on end? That's what happened. We exchanged cards, and kept in touch, and that rooming situation could not have worked out better! And thennn we found out, after both of our friends picked us up separately one night, that they knew each other! Such a small world.

Also, the first image is a beautiful Nashville boutique my girlfriend helped style - love!


^So, after we figured out that our people knew one another, we all hung out at as a group and went to the cutest little town in the middle of nowhere. I drank sweet tea out of a mason jar and ate the best pesto chicken salad I've ever had.

iampeth-7^Oh, Mimi. Good friends love you even when your laugh looks like THAT! (What is my hand doing?!)


^She moved from NYC to Nashville a little under a year ago so when I booked this trip, I knew I wanted to set some time aside to spend with her, and I stayed a couple nights with her in her adorable loft after the conference wrapped up. She is a stylist and visual merchandiser and the fact that she has a separate coat rack, styled all pretty, made my day. In boarding school, I used to show up to her room and be like, "I have nothing to wearrrr." And she was all, "Oh girl. I'll hook you up." I adore her home decor, too, because she doesn't just fill her space with cookie cutter pieces. She also works for a furniture company and knows the deal, making her home personal and unique.

Not only is she creatively talented, she is a little chef and made the best homemade pizza! We lived together in NYC years ago and one year she made me a birthday cake from scratch, and my mind was blown! I had never seen someone not use a box or a tub of pre-made icing. The girl of many talents, that one.


^In related Mimi-is-so-cool news, she busted out some leather samples and wood glue and declared that we should make tassel keychains. Can you see why I love her? :)


^After a day of exploring Nashville and an artist flea market, we ate fresh peaches, grabbed a raw snickers bar and smoked coconut ice cream made with almond milk from a new restaurant in town, and sat outside her building (and pool!) on our last night.

Tennessee, you were tremendous. What a wonderful week!

Beach Bachelorette Bash

friendship, weddingVirginia HartComment

beach bachelorette bash I wanted to share a few snapshots from my beach bachelorette bash! That's me up there in my prized sandbox. (Remember the days we were entertained by shoveling sand into a pail, only to dump it out and repeat?)

I had an unusually busy summer and there wasn't much time for enjoying the sunshine so I can't even tell you how nice it was to get away for 3 days with girlfriends and head to Virginia Beach.

bachelorette 1

I added a little bling to my nails (had to!) and my girlfriend presented me with a feather boa at the airport. I felt like a mix between a princess and Big Bird. And I loved it.

A sneaky special delivery from the sweetest coworker and the greatest swag everrrr. A monogrammed tumbler + metallic temporary tats + baby bottles of Jack Daniels?!!! These girls know the way to my heart, I tell you what. The best!

bachelorette 2

some of my favorite ladies in the world. ^^^

Thank you to Fancy Freebirds for helping me gift some fun tassel bracelets to my girls!

bachelorette 3

We did fun things like eat ice cream (it got ALL OVER ME  because I am a spaz), attended a surfing expo, and went on a dolphin viewing cruise! Do you see them? They surrounded our entire boat. The water was super choppy, but we thankfully didn't get sick. I made sure to down some motion sickness tablets with my pina colada ;) And those are some of our tats! I may or may not still have a pineapple on my foot. It looked great with my wedding dress I tried on last week 5

getting ready! They made me a giant banner card with inside jokes (that I already have tucked away in a keepsake box) and threw me a lingerie party -- oolala! -- because they seriously are the best. I don't think I've ever been so excited about my pajama collection. My hole-y tshirts are gettin' the boot!

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...that moment when your girlfriends get the restaurant to blare, "Oops! I Did It Again" by Britney Spears and force you to perform a choreographed dance from high school in the middle of the room. YES. I performed that thing as a senior at a lock-in talent show and won our class an entire week of casual dress (a huge deal in boarding school!), but I think my high-kick was a liiittle rusty 11 years later hahaha! There's apparently a video from the latest performance floating around as someone texted it to the groom... oh boy, I wish I could have seen his face when he received that gem :) The girls wrote down dares for me to perform that night -- everything from "propose to a stranger!" to "climb on a bar stool and pretend you're surfing!" Oh yes ;)

photo 33

...'twas a night for the books.

After coming back from the dead the following morning (it's a miracle what Ginger Ale & a Pop-tart can do - thank you, Mother Hen, you know who you are!), three of us had a good part of the day before we had to catch our return flight. We splashed around the pool like we were 10-year-olds and sprinted to the ocean and laughed so hard our bellies hurt. I know weddings are all about celebrating the couple, but I swear - behind every great relationship is a group of friends that support you no matter what. These girls and a crew of others have been there through it ALL, loving me before Patrick entered the picture - loving me when they introduced me to him - loving me when we first started dating - loving me when we broke up and I was an inconsolable puddle - loving me when I explained "guess who's baaack" - loving me when we moved in together - loving me when I felt undeservingly happy - loving me when he proposed - and loving me now & always. Without their friendship & support, I'd be a whole lotta nothin' and incapable of loving Patrick back. I hope they know how much they're cherished!

Cheers to girlfriends! Thank you to everyone who made our trip SUCH a blast.

xo, Britney