We are just over a month away from our trip and I feel like it might be time to share more about this place I keep gabbing about and why I’m always so emotional about it.

I strongly believe everyone has a place that makes them get a little weepy. Whether it’s a memory of your Granny’s garden in the summer, full of veggies she’s tended carefully since they were fledgling blooms. Maybe it’s your high school baseball dugout after a big win your senior year. I don’t know what form this achingly beautiful feeling takes shape for you but mine is Villa Selvamica (and Italy in general).

Seven years and a different person ago I I set off on my own with a suitcase a passport, and my handful of precious belongings (mostly books and one beautiful planner that I still think started my attachment to paper planners. Those same books almost got me left behind in the Paris airport for a too heavy carry on, yes they weigh them.).

I won’t say that I was in a phase of life where I was making the best choices. The choice to study abroad may have been the one that changed my life, though who knows I may have smartened up eventually. But that’s not how the story goes. I was about to hop on a plane to a place where I knew no one and I definitely didn’t speak the language. I remember being a little teary landing and feeling SO small and so far away from everything I knew.

I’ll spare you most of the details to keep from boring you to death. It went probably like you think. Cheap wine, a group of artists/college kids in a foreign country. Learning how to manage money and lots of emotions as we adjusted to life in a new country that would likely be tattooed on our hearts just as deep as the tattoos we gave ourselves on the last night in our beloved Cortona. I told you…my decision making wasn’t great at 22. The crescent moon on my foot hasn’t faded at all, contrary to what I thought would happen…

Another quick fast forward and we come to the weekend that changes everything. My suite mate Sophie had two of the most beautiful grandparents who at the time owned a beautiful villa in Orvieto. On one of our weekends free of organized class trips five of us hoped on a train with a backpack each and the feeling of true freedom. The kind of freedom you feel at twenty two with no responsibility and an adventure on the horizon. We spent one of the most beautiful Saturdays at Selvamica. Dinner at a tiny restaurant where food was served family style. Gelato on the steps on the cathedral in Orvieto. A night spent talking all night until we all fell asleep in our day clothes in a full sized bed.

The next morning we were heading back to the real world, or at least our current reality of living in a beautiful old buidling on the top of a mountain. We had breakfast with Walter and Mary. Somehow it seemed magical. I remember looking out over the vineyards and thinking “this is what I want for my life.” They were so gracious and warm and welcoming. And they had this life in a beaufutl vila together in this beautiful country. I got to know them as much as one can in a 24 hour visit, but to me, it seemed like a dream. One I’ve been plotting since I left.

At the time Ben and I weren’t together. We had dated for a few years, called it quits but kept closely in touch both of us with the idea we’d be getting back together at some point…until we weren’t. Again, I’ll spare you most of the details here. If not for the feelings of my family and respect for my hubby’s version of the story that might not be as sugar coated and serendipitous as mine, at least not to go on forever. Basically I was a jerk who thought he’d wait on me until I got my act together.

What instead happened was this beautiful weekend, which did in fact get my act together. Just barely on the edge of being too late, this place brought us back together. And just like that Villa Selvamica would be etched into my heart forever, the starting point of a new adventure.

In 2017 Ben and I visited Italy, married and pregnant with our now bubbly, loving one year old. We had recently discovered we were pregnant for the third time after two heart breaking loses, the loss of my Granny, and a big move across the state. I was a bit nervous about all the travel and the walking but I was determined to make it work. Of course we were nervous. Ben and Mav’s first trip to my Italy.

Now, we are just a few weeks away from a trip I never could have imagined. We are heading back to Villa Selvamica in what feels like one of the most beautiful examples of how God works in ways I can’t fathom. I’m taking with me my mom, who visited while I was in school along with my Granny, Ben’s mom, and my dear friend Sophie is making a trip back to her Villa Selvamica with all of her memories I can’t even begin to imagine. We are also bringing along my aunt and a handful of sweet friends from our adventures here in Charleston. There will be LOTS of tears and laughs and wine and cheese and some really beautiful memories made!

Together we get to help tell the story of the next beautiful chapter for Selvamica! Honestly, I can’t think of a dreamier experience.

“Amid vineyards and olive groves, Selvamica seduces with centuries-old charm in its perched location near medieval Orvieto.

We invite you — and your family or group of good friends — to enjoy a relaxed stay in our classic Italian villa on the Umbrian-Tuscan border. Enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace as the sun sets over the vineyards. Discover local bakeries, wineries, trattorias and markets that we can personally recommend.

Set out for the day to such fabled destinations as Florence, Assisi, Rome, and other enchanting villages and cities. Or simply sit by the sparkling swimming pool, taking in the lulling hum of birdsong and cigali. Embrace the best of villa living in the Heart of Italia.

As beautiful and relaxing as the villa is, you are here to immerse yourself in Italian life, to connect with the heart of Italia. We don’t offer a cookie-cutter menu of packaged excursions. As locals ourselves who know the best people to share the local way of life, we sit with you to create a personalized itinerary that will make your stay unique and extraordinary.”

You can find more information about Heart of Italia here.

Or, feel free to reach out to us! We can’t wait to share more about our trip and this incredible new travel option for those who want an authentic Italian experience (FROM actual, real Italians!!!)

More soon!

xoxo,

Josie

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I met Shana at her letterpress studio on a sunny Tuesday morning to document her in one of her other workspaces. When she isn’t hanging out with her Letterpress Iris, she’s in her studio doing anything from hand painting wedding invitations, working on designs at her computer, styling her pieces to be photographed, or putting together designs for her clients.

Shana is bringing beautiful custom wedding paper goods to brides (and creatives) in the Columbia area and beyond with the best taste!

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Last week I had an absolute blast hanging out with this lady in her downtown Charleston studio.

Just a hop skip and a jump away from upper King St, Harrison’s studio will greet you with a front door the perfect shade of “Charleston Pink”. The fun doesn’t stop there. All of her paintings are so full of color, beautiful line work, brushstrokes you can’t help but want to reach out a finger to trace.

You can see more of Harrison’s work on her website. You’ll find the link below!

Click here for Harrison’s work!

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This gem of a human stepped in front of my camera recently for some updated portraits and I could not be more thrilled with what we were able to create for her.

When you meet Alex you feel comfortable right away and her warmth and joyfulness are so contagious. She’s always a voice of encouragement and her brides are in the best hands!

Love cheering this one on! You can find her website here!

Alex, you are such a treasure of a friend! Thank you for trusting me to show your light through these images!

Alex Thornton Photography

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Planning and Direction | Eddis & Co.

Styling | Kate Malpeli

Interior Design | B. Berry Interiors

Small Figure Drawing | Haley Matthews Fine Art

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Matt and Rebecca welcomed me into their home in December for their engagement session. When we first spoke on the phone Matt and Rebecca talked about how they really connected with lifestyle type imagery over traditional posed engagement photos. So, that’s exactly what we planned.

On a Sunday afternoon, I met them at their townhouse in Columbia for an intimate photo session which included making some winter updates to their garden. We spent the first part of the session planting onions, harvesting one teeny baby carrot, planting rosemary and an abandoned rose that Rebecca lovingly saved from being thrown away. The rest of the session was spent sipping coffee while listening to music, chatting over some of our favorite books, and taking a quick trip to one of their favorite spots downtown for a handful of posed photos “just in case”. This session might just be a top favorite of all time because of how Matt and Rebecca’s relationship was able to shine through in a comfortable environment.

xoxo,

P.S If you’re looking for a different spin on the traditional engagement session. Or if you’re coming up on a big milestone (a new house or an anniversary for instance) and you’d like to document those big life moments with a session. I would LOVE to chat with you about planning one together. I can tell you from experience, you will not regret the tangible reminder of the emotions you’re experiencing right now in this one life you’re living! Let’s make it happen!!!

You can book your own session here! 

Thanks SO much for stopping by and for following along!

Photo Lab | Photovision Prints

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