We are so excited to introduce you to the star of our next Holiday Tastemaker introduction, the fabulous Ashlyn Carter. As an entrepreneur, international speaker, mentor, and marketer, Ashlyn is the premier expert for copywriting for creative entrepreneurs. She’s the founder and CEO at Ashlyn Writes®, a copywriting business and marketing curriculum source for creatives. She has worked with major brands’ marketing efforts, including Delta Air Lines, Synovus Banks, and Ford Fry Restaurants to name a few. Ashlyn has been a contributing educator with Creative Live, ConvertKit, and HoneyBook, and has been featured in Forbes, Southern Living, Style Me Pretty, and more. She lives outside of Atlanta where she weekly convinces her husband, baby, and toddler to go with her to grab tacos.
For her Magnolia Garden Tastemaker Collection, Ashlyn partnered with Dogwood Hill artist Vaughan Spanjer whose beautiful artwork graces each of the collection’s finished products. Having been born and raised in the deep south of Montgomery, Alabama, it’s no surprise that the magnolia is near and dear to Ashlyn’s heart. The flowering tree was a must when brainstorming what to include in her holiday collection. Continue scrolling to see the beautiful cards that our design team created with Vaughan’s painted artwork and to read our Holiday Q&A with Ashlyn below!
To see Ashlyn’s full Tastemaker Collection, click here.
What do you love most about the holiday season?
I’m a sucker for the ritual of it all! I love being able to mark years and time by all the traditions and stories.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
100% keeping an advent candle wreath on the kitchen table – I love the way it marks time during such a hurried season.
If you had to pick one holiday movie to use as inspiration to decorate your own house, what would it be?
Does Nancy Meyers have a Christmas palette in any movie? Let’s say a mash up of the wintery English cottage in The Holiday with a healthy dash of the 90s decadence of Home Alone… I would say I was grand millennial before it was cool, but I just grew up in an antique loving family and its comforting to me!
What is a holiday tradition that you wish you could do all year long?
Reading my Bible with a Christmas candle and my Spode Christmas Tree mug in the hushed, early mornings with one of my two German Shepherds is so precious to me. I treasure those quiet times each year!
What is your most memorable holiday and why?
Easily the first Christmas with my husband! We lived in a tiny, sweet little ranch house, and the live tree we got scented the entire home. We also took a jaunt up to NYC that December (he took me to The Nutcracker; total husband points score).
Which cards will you be sending out to family and friends this holiday?
Oh my goodness. I’m still debating! As a words lover, it will definitely be ones that say Merry Christmas in calligraphy – I don’t think I could ever send a card that didn’t have words taking up half the design….#writerprobs
What is your go-to holiday hostess gift?
Wine, but the past couple of years I’ve pulled in my toddler to help me make pot simmer potpourri packages. It’s so cozy, and easy to dump on the stove to freshen up your kitchen during company coming and going.
What kind of holiday shopper are you – Black Friday, Christmas Eve, or yearlong stasher?
Black Friday. For sure. I am the most organized forgetful person, and if I don’t make extensive lists and cross check them, I forget really, REALLY important things.
What keeps you inspired during the busy holiday season?
Starting ahead of time – I’d rather finish gifts, pop cards in the mail & decorate the weekend right after Thanksgiving (with the Ironbowl on, of course – War Eagle!) so I can kick back and enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas!
What brings you a sense of calm during the busy holiday season?
We started The Giving Manger (worth looking up!) in our family last year. It was calming to watch my child place little pieces of hay in the manger for Baby Jesus every day – with the world rushing around, it marked this tiny, character building moment for him day by day. It was so simple, so small.
Are you team real tree or faux tree?
Real, and you cannot change my mind that they’re the superior option.
Are you team white lights or colored lights?
Colored lights stress me the heck out!
What is your favorite holiday dessert? Would you be open to sharing the recipe?
I’m not much of a baker, but I always make a batch of that chocolate/saltine cracker brick stuff – I like to have a bowl of that and some sort of dip around for last minute gatherings.
48 Saltine Crackers
1 cup granulated sugar
½ pound unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Heat over to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan or large cookie sheet with sides with heavy duty aluminum foil. Arrange saltine crackers side by side in a single layer on the foil.
Use a small saucepan to melt the butter and sugar together (watch it, it goes fast!) until it starts to bubble. Turn the heat off, dash in the vanilla and stir. Pour slowly over the crackers ‘til they’re covered, and then spread the mixture with a spatula to cover every inch. Bake immediately. After about 7 minutes, pull the pan out & dump the chocolate chips on top…. they’ll start to melt, so spread the chocolate evenly with a clean spatula. Allow the pan to cool, then pop the entire pan in the freezer over night. Pull it out the next day and snap up the brickle into chunks (you may have to peel off some foil along the way).
Who is on your dream holiday party guest? If applicable, please share their Instagram handles.
James Farmer, zero questions. I’d spend a full 7 days studying and perfecting my magnolia swags before inviting him. A born and raised Southerner and reader, I’d have loved to have seen Julia Reed in her holiday party mode, too!
Photography by Mary Margaret Smith Photography