Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley Talks Style, Cooking Turkey, and How She Fell in Love with Franklin, Tennessee

She's taking Tennessee's Volunteer State nickname to heart.

Tennessee feels like home," says Kimberly Williams-Paisley. But when she first moved to Franklin 16 years ago, the New York-born star had a little culture shock. "People drive by and actually stop their cars, roll down the windows, and have a conversation in the middle of the street here," she says. "I remember thinking, 'Why are we talking right now? Don't we both have to go places?' But now, I understand that this is just what we do in the South." While Kimberly may have learned to slow down her afternoon drives, the mother of two is as busy as ever. She produced and starred in Hallmark Channel's Witness to Murder: A Darrow Mystery movie that came out in September; will appear in Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, a Netflix anthology series produced by Dolly herself; and will reprise her role in The Christmas Chronicles sequel, set to stream on Netflix in November.

And those are just the acting gigs. Along with her husband, country music singer Brad Paisley, Kimberly has also been hard at work on starting The Store, a free grocery market in Nashville that will provide individuals and families in need with an encouraging shopping experience. "People are really excited about this concept of dignity around food insecurity because so many people don't feel comfortable when they have to ask for help," she says of The Store, which is set to open early next year. "I take for granted that I can go and pick out what I'd like and what my family needs. We want to give people that short-term solution as they are trying to get back on their feet."

Between her nonprofit and acting work, Kimberly's plate is piled high, and she's quick to admit that she doesn't have a magical method for juggling it all. "I have a very messy kitchen," she confesses. "But honestly, it's all something I want to be doing. That's such a luxury, that my life is busy with stuff that I've chosen to do. It's amazing." Here, the actress shares her effortless beauty routine, her aunt's unusual turkey-cooking trick, and the motherhood lesson she's most grateful for.

Kimberly Williams-Paisley on Front Porch
Robbie Caponetto; Hair and Makeup: Marz Collins; Wardrobe Styling: Molly Russell/Amax

Everyday Chambray Shirt, $78;

10" High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Hayes Wash, $128;

Women's Original Tall Rain Boots in Dark Olive, $150;

XS Rockless Dominique Posts in 14K Gold-Filled, $138;

My Personal Style

"Comfortable and colorful. It's become a little more whimsical since I had my two boys [Huck, 12, and Jasper, 10]."

Memorable Misstep

"I've shown up in those fashion-police-type pictures a few times. But I was in the magazine, so that was something—and they spelled my name right! I think I was wearing brown shorts and boots; the shorts were baggy, and so were the boots. It was a really bad combination."

Simple Beauty Routine

"It's all about the face: lots of sunscreen and night cream. I just started using Beautycounter for my makeup. Unless I have a photo shoot or something, I'm trying to use the most natural products I can find. I like Juice Beauty mascara and Thistle Farms lip balm."

Kimberly Williams Paisley Headshot
Robbie Caponetto; Hair and Makeup: Marz Collins; Wardrobe Styling: Molly Russell/Amax

Mini Dog Tag Necklace;

Our Thanksgiving Tradition

"We love watching the Macy's parade and cooking all day, slowly. We do some of it the day before, so there's less stress. Then there are the good smells that come from the kitchen...hopefully! I'm not the best chef, and neither is my mother-in-law, so we just try hard to tackle it. But if my sister comes, we're golden, because she's amazing."

An Unconventional Turkey Trick

"My Aunt Diane is a phenomenal cook, so I'm always on the phone with her at Thanksgiving. I need tips and reminders on how to do a turkey. Last year, she told us to pour a whole bottle of Sprite into the belly of the bird, and it was fantastic."

Kimberly Williams-Paisley with Dog Annie
Robbie Caponetto; Hair and Makeup: Marz Collins; Wardrobe Styling: Molly Russell/Amax

Collection Floral Smocked Peasant Dress in Deep Berry Multi, $225;

Prisilla boot in Whiskey, $190;

Brass Hoop Earring, $39;

The Family Pets

"I never thought we would have a donkey, but we do! His name is Oliver, and he's a sweetheart. We adopted him; he's a rescue donkey. We also have two rescue dogs (Hoot and Annie...Get it?) and a bearded dragon."

A Lesson I'm Thankful For

"My mom taught me to seek out adventures and come back with stories. The spirit in me that goes out and does things (especially with Huck; he is my risk-taker) comes from her. The reason I went to Guatemala and Haiti—and why I'll go on a 50-foot-high ropes course—is my mom. She said yes to so much in her life. If she was at the beach, she was in the ocean. She was not the kind of mother who would sit it out. I think Huck would say I'm that kind of mom to him."

A Favorite Quote

"Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

—from "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen

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