A Kitchen Engagement Styled Shoot

View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment
View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment

They say a way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and I say the way to a woman's heart is a man cooking for her.

In my seven years of marriage there have been a handful of times when Ryan has cooked for me, or shall I say "attempted" to cook for me. All of those times I have felt so loved and cared for because I know that's not a strength of his, and yet he was doing it purely to help me and show me that he was thinking of me. Those acts of service in our marriage are the sweetest things to me and to many women.

View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment
View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment

The way Ryan feels the most loved is good espresso or coffee and conversations with me. That's exactly how our dating relationship began, and that's something that has stayed with us over the years. I have a gold member card at Starbucks to prove it to you. haha.

This engagement shoot is all about the simple ways we love one another in relationships - making food together, reading the paper together, drinking coffee together, cuddles and conversations.

View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment
View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment

As a stylist, I have styled many engagement sessions for real couples and for inspiration, and lately I've just gotten tired of trying to think of the next coolest, most-unique shoot to do. When Melissa Jill approached me to do a styled engagement session to celebrate her new branding I started to think of a unique concept and nothing really came to me...and then it hit me, why not just do it a beautiful home, with good food and keep it simple and authentic.

View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment
View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment

I gathered some wonderful women in my life who are SO creative and also value simplicity and realness. Coley Arnold and Lindsey Holt created a beautiful environment, Jessica Helgeson style and made the tasty food, Stephanie Neiheisel created a natural face, Malori Maeva gathered wild flowers and green that you could pick from your backyard, and I gathered comfortable and beautiful vintage pieces from GrowOp to style Liz and Cesar. Liz and Cesar are a married couple, so the emotion in these photos is totally real. I think that makes a huge difference.

View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment
View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment

Melissa did an amazing job capturing the shoot and intimacy. She used film for the first time, and I'm so proud of her. The light and warmth is gorgeous. Go read her blog post and check out her brand new website!

View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment
View More: http://melissajill.pass.us/kitchenengagment

A Peek at What I Have Been Up To

You may have noticed my blog posts have been a bit inconsistent over the past two weeks. It's not because I don't have anything to share or say, but rather I have SO much to share and I just haven't had a moment to sit down and write it all out. So here's peek as to what all has been happening in the realm of AVE Styles... 1. Rory Brinker - I had the chance to pull some simple wardrobe for a look book shoot with scarf company, Rory Brinker. Kym Ventola Photographed the GORGEOUS scarves. You can see more of a sneak peek on her blog, click here. I can't wait to see how the look book and shop comes together. I will definitely be buying one of these scarves!

2. I worked on a fun style bridal shoot with Melissa Jill Photography that has been in the works since 2011. It looked MAGICAL!!! Here's a pic of me in action taken by MJ.


3. Went out to a dude ranch to do some testing with an Agency Arizona model, New York Makeup Artist Tonya Cameron and photographer Eric Cassee. Here's an awesome beauty shot!

4. FINALLY got a change to collaborate with Miss Andria Lindquist - a photographer from the Seattle area. We put together a desert fashion shoot. Sadly, I forgot to take some pictures with my cell phone. I've seen a couple images, and they are GORGE to say the least!

5. I've been styled 5 different engaged couples this month, and I can't wait to see how all of the photos turn out. Hopefully, I'll get to share some this week! EEK!

6. I tackled my first children's fashion photo shoot with Kym Ventola. WOW! WOW! It is definitely rewarding, but it is a totally different process than anything else I've worked on. I can't wait to share more. Here's a peek at the wardrobe...

7. Wrote an article for Wonderfully Made about quality vs. quantity when shopping. Click here to check it out!

Additionally, with growing a baby, working for Promise Tangeman, four fashion shows and some other AVE Styles gigs I am pretty darn exhausted but sooooo happy to see all of the hard work paying off. I think April is going to look very similar. Whoa baby!

Keep checking the blog to see releases of all of these projects and of course MORE style trends!

What NOT to Wear - A Personal Example

Okay, so I'm about to completely make an arse of myself, but it's for YOUR benefit that I'm doing this! This is how much I love you! It was back in 2006 (six years ago mind you) when Ryan and I hired our wedding photographer, Melissa Jill. I'm so glad to say that we're all great friends to this day and I get to work with her all of the time. YAY!!! But back to the story...Our engagement shoot was approaching, and I was freaking at as to what to wear for our session. So, what did I do? I looked online to see what other people were doing.

Mistake #1 - I didn't stay true to myself. I copied other people - other people that had NO style, apparently.

I saw that most people were wearing black and white in the photos. BORING snooze fest colors that are the WORST colors for the camera by far. NEVER, ever wear black or white for a photo shoot. Promise?!

Mistake #2 - Thinking that the only color in the world that is slimming is black.

Both Ryan and I wanted to look our best, so of course, that meant looking our thinnest, right? Sure, black does make people look slimmer, but it's a terrible color for photographers to work with and doesn't pop in a photo. Other colors like red and purple look great with my skin, are dark, and complement the camera. Prints would have also been a fabulous choice because the right one will easily hide any love handles.

Mistake #3 - We MATCHED! M-A-T-C-H-E-D!!!

Why, oh why, did we think this was a good idea?! Just combine mistake 1 and 2, and you have your answer. Thankfully, the fact that I'm Greek and Italian and he's Norwegian kept us from looking like siblings. Praise the Lord!

So, now when I say don't wear black, white, match, etc., you know I'm not just saying that because I read it somewhere. I'm saying it because I made the mistake of doing it myself and confessed it on this blog for the whole world to see.

I seriously can only share this now after having a well established respect among the lifestyle, wedding and fashion photographers in my area and a portfolio to back my taste up! haha!

Modern Wedding Featured on June Bug Weddings

This past summer had I the wonderful opportunity to work with some AMAZING people, and contribute to a styled wedding shoot with a modern focus. Melissa Jill Photography and Outstanding Occasions were the big masterminds behind the project, and I was brought on to select the bridal gowns and the menswear for the shoot.

I'm very proud to share that this shoot was featured on June Bug Weddings last week, which is a great blog and wedding resource for brides, photographers, and any other industry related professional.

Mariee Gallery and Saks Fifth Avenue were the two places where I pulled the clothing for the shoot. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Mariee is a fabulous local bridal salon, and they were very generous in lending us a WTOO pocketed wedding dress and Matthew Christopher bridal gown.

From Saks Fifth Avenue, I found some gorgeous Chanel and Christian Louboutin shoes for the bride.

For the menswear, I really wanted to create a layered, patterned look.

I think it's a fresh take on what men can do with plaids, hounds-tooth and gingham prints. Why not use it for formal wear too, right?

We had beautiful jewelry by Emmaquist and Laura Eva Designs.

I think this shoot is a great example of how to create modern wedding for the city gal, and one that definitely resonates with someone like me.

Below is the extensive list of everyone that played a part in the project:

Event Planners: Outstanding Occasions Photographer: Melissa Jill Photography Floral Designer: Camelback Flowershop Reception Venue: W Scottsdale Invitation Designer: Idieh Design Dress Store: Mariee Modeling Agency: The Agency Arizona Cake Designer: Classic Cakes and Confections Linens and Coverings: Classic Party Rentals Phoenix Makeup Artist: Bliss Spa Hair Stylist: Organic Hair Lounge Shoes: Saks Fifth Avenue Jewelry: Laura Eva Designs, Emmaquist Personal Stylist: AVE Styles

As you can see, it takes a lot of amazing people to create something so beautiful, and I'm so glad to have been a part of it all!

Make sure to check out June Bug's post to see more photos!

Photography by Melissa Jill.

Melissa Jill's Style Session

I mentioned Melissa Jill in my last post, so I'm sure you're already aware of what an amazingly talented photographer she is. Well, she needed some new photos for her website, so she asked me to help create some looks for her photo session with our mutual good friend, Gina Meola.

We had an absolute BLAST! Melissa really wanted to portray her every day style this time around since I helped glam her up for some photos with Promise Tangeman last year (click here to see last year's session).

Melissa wanted to also show off her cute dog Dixie (one of Wendy's bff's). So, we put her in some colored corduroys, which are very hot this season. Melissa found her purple pants at Ann Taylor Loft. Love 'em!

To make sure we showed variety in her photos, Melissa wore a patterned skirt and complementary cardigan.

I thought her cute watering can was too perfect of a match not to take some shots with it.

Lastly, Melissa really wanted to wear her boots with faux fur because those are her comfy shoes in the fall and winter. So, with a bright top and earrings, we made a fun casual outfit perfect for looking cute while taking Dixie for a walk. =)

 Click here to see more photos of Melissa's photo shoot on Gina's blog.