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  • Writer's pictureEmily Gustafson

Lainey Drew Blog/Knox Ladies Night!

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Image courtesy of Ashley James

Good morning everyone! I hope that the back to school month is going well for everyone. My kids are the very last kids in the state of Tennessee to go back to school due to renovations at their preschool. And I think it's safe to say that everyone is ready! But, with back to school comes lots of great events that get us all back into the swing of things after a nice, slow July.

My big kickoff return to work after a very relaxing July was Knox Ladies Night hosted by Ashley James of the Lainey Drew Blog. I met Ashley at a networking event earlier this year and she is such a sweet person and a talented designer. Her home, her style, and all of the projects on her blog are adorable, accessible, and affordable (the 3 A's that matter!). By all means, go check it out here:

Ashley shared her vision for a Steel Magnolias themed ladies night earlier this summer and I knew that I had to be part of this event. It was a simple concept - a fun, carefree night for women, organized by women. A place to dance with your friends, eat yummy food and enjoy delicious drinks, see a fashion show, shop local boutiques, all in one place for one amazing value.

Ashley had already laid much of the groundwork when she brought me on to help her coordinate the timeline, troubleshoot the layout, and run day-of logistics. She did such an incredible job of recruiting an amazing group of vendors who made the night so special.

All in all, it was such a fun night and I hope that you were able to party with us! If not, follow @Knoxladiesnight on Instagram for posts about upcoming events and don't miss your chance to attend the next one!

Here are some more photos and a special Q and A with Ashley James of the Lainey Drew Blog after the gallery! Scroll on down!

The really beautiful photos are courtesy of R Photography. Thank you, Rachel!

Now on to a #Proprofile of the lovely Ashley James! I asked Ashley to share a little bit of her story and how she fell in love with mamahood, her community, and design.

Q: Tell us a little about you? Where are you from? How did you find yourself blogging?

A: I’m Ashley. The creator of Lainey Drew Blog. The blog is named after my daughter who is now 13 months old. Her name is just way cooler than my own 😉

I grew up in Friendsville/Maryville, TN. I still live on the same street where I grew up! I love my home and can’t imagine living anywhere else. After attending Pellissippi Community College, I started work at the ripe age of 19 at a local attorney’s office. I worked as a paralegal for 10 years before becoming a full-time mom and part-time blogger.

Q: How did you become interested in design?

A: My earliest memories of designing are ones of decorating my play house when I was around 6 years old. My dad built what was similar to a tree house only on stakes in the ground. My uncle was an electrician who gave me an old wooden wire spool to use as my “kitchen table.” My mom gave me hand-me-down linens. I loved hanging curtains on my little play house window and placing tablecloths on my wire spool table. I picked flowers to put in a vase as my centerpiece. I really have no idea who and/or what planted this seed in my brain. I just always had a desire to make things prettier.

Q: Who are your biggest design inspirations?

A: This is a tough one. I can’t think of one particular major inspiration. I follow a lot of talented designers on social media and I get ideas from all of them. Of course, Joanna Gaines is an inspiration. I don’t think there’s a woman in America who isn’t somehow inspired by her. I also really love Nicole Curtis from Rehab Addict.

Q: How did you decide to create the ladies’ night event at Adara on August 16th? Tell us about the event…

A: I actually attended a ladies’ night event at a similar venue a few months prior. I looked around and loved the whole idea of it. My wheels started turning. I brainstormed with my sister and a couple close friends about creating my own ladies’ night out in my own style. I knew I had some extremely talented friends in businesses that could come together and bring my vision to life. After consulting a few of them, things just started coming together.

I love the idea of getting women together for a night out that isn’t in a bar or club setting, while still having a dance floor and good drinks.

My goal was to ensure tickets were affordable to everyone. I think a lot of times we turn down fun opportunities due to cost, especially wives and mothers. We often don’t feel right spending money on ourselves.

I wanted an extra form of entertainment at the event so the fashion show idea was born.

The theme of the event was “Steele Magnolias.” My designers and I used things from the movie including quotes, and the iconic armadillo cake, but we also wanted to embrace the entire essence of the movie and the meaning behind it (southern charm, strong feminine women supporting one another) while incorporating my love for vintage décor and modern trends.

The theme was absolutely perfect for me because my mom was the epitome of a “steel magnolia.” Not to mention it was her favorite movie. Ironically, she passed away from diabetes three years prior the ladies’ night (almost to the date). It was nice to pay tribute to her along with having fun. She would’ve loved this.

Q: Where do you hope to see you’re blog and brand go in the next 5 years?

A; This is tough. I can’t say I have actually set out goals for my blog which I know is a mistake. I know it’s important to set goals. Maybe this question will push me to finally address that! Of course, I hope to see more opportunities open up. I’d love to work with Goodwill or another well-known thrift store on a project.

Q: If you can take a ladies night to anywhere in the world with no budget restrictions where would you go and what would you do?

A: I don’t even know where these places are… but you know the tropical resorts you see on TV and movies that have the tiki torches, string lights, and dancing on the beach after dinner? I want to go to one of those places! We would spend a lot of time in the spa, go snorkeling and exploring, have amazing dinners, and dance all night. I love sampling different foods so I would sample everything on the menu!

Ashley, that sounds like my kind of ladies night! Thank you so much for chatting with me, for your friendship, and I can't wait for the next @KnoxLadiesNight event! Don't forget to follow Ashley on Instagram at @laineydrewblog for design inspiration, DIY projects, and my favorite her expert thrifting skills!

Happy planning,

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