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Jan 23

The Year of Content Week 3

MarriageTheYearOfContentment

Happy Friday, friends! If you’re just joining us in this series you can go here first and here second.

And if you’ve been following along for the past few weeks, welcome back. I’m excited to jump right in today with a part of my life that feels like it has (and should have always) top priority; my marriage to Mr. Apb. Guys, can you believe our five year anniversary is coming up this year? I swear it feels like we just got married. But then some days it feels like we’ve been husband and wife for a lifetime! After nearly ten years of having the absolute biggest crush on Andrew I have to say I’m pretty darn lucky to spend my forever with him. Onto my debrief!

Week Three

What has not been working: Expecting my husband’s extreme and selfless kindness to be a 24-7 thing has not been doing much for my contentment. And while my husband is so selfless to me everyday let me explain: Rhi works overtime past 6:30 pm. Rhi doesn’t get up for dinner. Rhi gets her dinner made and delivered to her desk by Andrew. Rhi loves not having to cook, get up or clean up after dinner under the guise of work. Rhi starts to expect this every night. Rhi works late into every night. Rhi starts to get upset when she’s expected to cook/doesn’t get dinner delivered. You see the cycle here? It’s not OK. Sitting at my desk past 6:30 pm at the latest (with the exception of wedding weeks and emergencies) is not working for the cultivation of a healthy marriage and it’s making me feel very far from content. And expecting to be waited on in the frequent moments where it feels like business trumps respecting my marriage has not been working.

What has been working: Andrew and I recently switched back to a paleo lifestyle and I hope to share more with you soon. But I will say that our collective improved eating efforts have forced us to spend more time in the kitchen together, finding contentment in nourishing foods instead of take out, processed food or things that are full of empty calories. Cooking paleo friendly meals requires us to invest more time in the kitchen, cook mostly from scratch, with the use of many dishes and tools (so there’s lots of clean up involved) and in turn has allowed us to appreciate our culinary efforts more and to enjoy our creations together as a team. When we cook together, we eat together, and when we eat together, we sit together and have real grown up conversations that seem mindless but actually are a healthy part of any adult relationship. It’s a win win right? Contentment in our relationship for me (specifically with who has cooking responsibilities in our home and with my expectations regarding meal times) has been a work in progress since January 1st. Baby steps.

Short term goal: Andrew and I love phone-free date nights and unless they are scheduled ahead of time (reservations made, tickets purchased for a show or class, etc) we often find excuses not to go. Winter here in Michigan requires bundling up, driving to the action takes gas and time (whose car do we take!?), parking is a hassle and well, you get the picture; we make a lot of excuses. Part of the goal is not to make excuses for much needed date nights and to follow through with them. The other part of the goal is to find contentment in date nights that might not actually involve leaving the house or racking up a big bill!

Long term goal (well this is another short term goal but it’s going here): Start a family. Lord willing.

Feel free to leave your experiences below and to share them with the hashtag #theyearofcontent

Happy Weekend friends xoxo

Jan 17

The Year of Content Week 2 (and some ground rules!)

Happy Friday, guys!

If you’re just joining me today you can check out last Friday’s post where I talked a little bit about my goal to find contentment and joy in 2015. This is my big overarching goal for the next twelve months and one that hopefully with hard work, time and prayer, will become a subtle yet major lifestyle shift for me. In the past I’ve focused so intently on solely being content with where I’ve been (so, a place I can’t change) and being excited about the potential of further contentment upon arrival at any destination I’m headed to (which is honestly mostly an unknown.) The thing is though (and it’s way cliche), contentment is totally about the destination and how your heart and spirit is while you’re making the trip. Keeping that in mind you can see where I’ve been creating a bit of a problem for myself. While I feel tremendously blessed in various capacities and feel lucky to have so many things to celebrate at any given time, there’s been a lack of something over here and it was until the end of last year that I really felt a shift to do something about it. To work on fixing myself inside out.

So here we are. You and me. Hi! I had a really eye opening and encouraging talk with my dear friend Kathryn today. I called her feeling a little stuck on where to take things after a strong start out of the ambitious-blogging gates last week. I needed an honest sounding board about this quest of mine and how I could proactively share it best with my blog readers every week for the next 12 months. That’s a big task! And a big project to make ‘presentable’ every week. As a creative and a perfectionist, I feel inclined to only ever share stuff when there’s a solution to conflict. When I can summarize my feelings, cross off a to-do, reach a goal and wrap things up in a pretty little perfect bow, THAT’S when it feels easiest to write, share, and be honest with others. Right?

But the in between is where life happens! The in between is the part people rarely share. And it’s the part where I most lack contentment. We know where we are coming from and what we’ve been through. We have an idea of where we want to go and how we should get there. But the NOW. The IN BETWEEN. The in between is where I think contentment is found, or at least for me where I want to start seeking it more actively. It’s EASY to be content with where you’ve been because it’s the past and good or bad it’s a learning lesson. And it’s EASY to be content with an end result especially if you get your way. Contentment can translate to happiness if the results are what you anticipate, and if you don’t you circle back up to step one of learning a lesson of some sort and shooting again for the best possible outcome. But in the moments, days, months, and even years leading up to IT, when you’re not quite there but you’re doing your best, succeeding and failing along the way, where you’re able to find peace in the in between, that’s when you’ve found true contentment.

That’s what I’m after.

Each Friday I’ll be sharing a bit of my journey pertaining to the seven areas life as put so wonderfully by Dave Ramsey in The Legacy Journey; family, career, spiritual, physical, social, financial, and intellectual. I’ll share short snippets on things that are working and things that are not working as I attempt to not only find contentment throughout the next 12 months but also reach my short term and long terms goals I so heartfully, prayerfully and purposefully set for myself on January 1st. Instead of one massive blog post with a laundry list of lofty goals to have hanging over my head (that you’d probably just skim over anyway), I’ll sprinkle them throughout my posts and while I’m doing my best to make it happen, I’ll be sharing honest accounts of my success and failures.

I just wanted to lay a little ground work down for this series so I can make sense of it all and so I can hold myself accountable in the process too. Catch you all next week with my first instalment of #theyearofcontent :)

Happy Weekend!

Jan 12

FAQs: Five Creative Business Essentials

Since Hey Gorgeous Events will officially celebrate five years of business this year, I’ve had some time to reflect on the things I’ve grown to depend on and be grateful for in my day to day operations as a business owner. These are things that have taken me time to find and establish but they are things on any given day I depend on in various capacities. I’m a highly creative person and started my business in an effort to create for a living.

FiveBusinessEssentials

I laugh a little because I often picture myself as a gypsy painter in a old warehouse somewhere, effortlessly tossing colorful buckets of paint onto a blank canvas, hair dishevelled, making a bigger mess with every movement, destined to make her big break with some new abstract classic! But this is real life and there’s a serious business side to any entrepreneurs efforts; one that requires systems, upkeep and essentials.

Here are my top five!

A Bookkeeping Strategy

You can read this post here where I talk a bit about my bookkeeper, who is honestly my number one business expense I would hate to see go. I’m a big believer of outsourcing tasks you do not love and do not have to do (assuming it’s affordable/worth it to you) and for me, bookkeeping has been that one task for the past two plus years. One of my goals for this year is to get better on sending my monthly receipts to my bookkeeper (instead of sending her three to four months at once when I get behind) but over the past two years, Pat and I have worked out a lot of kinks on the back end of my business so I can spend more time dong the creative things I love. I’m always so thankful for her and her hard work in organizing my expenses come tax time.

Oh, and a great CPA who can work in tandem with your bookkeeper is another bonus essential.

Project Management Systems

I also wrote a great post last year on how I manage my emails but when that system got to be too much for keeping up with messages and my business and clientele really grew, I added on an account with Basecamp (mainly out of my familiarity with it and for the affordable price point.) Basecamp helps me keep up to speed with my clients, allows me to create multiple and accessible to do lists I’m able to edit with ease for each client, and best of all, frees up email real estate for both the client and me. There are many options available these days for online project management but for now Basecamp is a big essential I rely on daily.

Team Members

Oh goodness! This one I so love because I really love my team and couldn’t execute my events without them. In the past I’ve made poor judgement calls on bringing in the wrong people to help build my business and those were the very hardest lessons to learn. But as with most lessons in life there are good things to come from the, and for me it was if I don’t trust ever learn to trust a potential team member to come on board and help, my business will stay stagnant. I’m just one person. I can do anything but not everything! Betsi, Jess, Andrew and Pat are my four regular event team members and I can’t wait to introduce you all to them later this year. Teamwork makes the dreamwork. My 2014 season was a testament to that statement.

An Organized & Designated Work Space

I’ve only been working in the new studio for about a week now and it’s not completely finished (the stairs need to be done, the bathroom has no sink or toilet, no door handles, etc) but and here’s the BIG but, I feel like a new woman! I do love the mentality of ‘work with what you have right now’ and I certainly lived by that motto for a few years but having my own space for my inventory and my desk, a space to meet with my team and clients, and a space to both get creative in and house all of my essentials is a game charger. Keeping my work space away from our bedroom (my old office in a spare bedroom) and living room (the couch where I would often work) has also done wonders for keeping better boundaries between work and personal life. I’ll blog more on how I organize my actual desk, inventory and so forth later this spring when I’m settled!

Your Tribe

Andrew helped me think of this essential and I saved it for last because it’s a really important one. Your tribe is so essential for so many reasons. When I say tribe I don’t mean your social media followers, and I don’t mean your best girlfriends from high school. What I mean is the group of individuals that you can lean on for support, guidance, and friendship in the avenue of business. Running a creative business and sharing that experience with those in different avenues can potentially be underwhelming. But having a tribe of accountability partners, friends you can grow with, mentors you can call on for advice, and people who will have your back, can help guide you though your toughest creative business endeavors with a sense of being understood while finding solutions for moving forward.

What are some of your creative business essentials? I’d love to hear them below!

Jan 9

The Year of Content Week 1

Friends! Happy 2015. I know we’re about a week into January already but I feel like I haven’t done a proper introduction to the new year. If you’re the kind of person who isn’t into goals, resolutions, making changes or reading about other people who get pumped up about the above mentioned, this post won’t interest you! But if you are, then welcome! I’m so happy you’re here today and I’m honored to share what’s been on my heart.

But first a confession: I’ve bought Lara Casey’s PowerSheets on three separate occasions since they became a product in her shop. And guess what? I haven’t used them once. Ha! Lara, I love you! On one occasion I had gotten as far as filling out the first few sheets of the goal prep process but quickly became bored and distracted, and finally determined my goals didn’t need this sort of work. Oh my I can’t believe I just typed that out. I figured since I really know what I want in life I’m going to just do it! Really reflecting over actionable steps to make it all happen seemed silly and wasteful to me. I’ll never get that time back, I thought! Oh and this comes from a girl whose life has changed considerably thanks to Lara’s work and my involvement with Making Things Happen so please know this is me being honest and me sharing with you that I’m very imperfect.

I would actually cringe a little every time sometime mentioned or posted about their PowerSheets. Because my PowerSheets happened to only look pretty in the Target binder I assigned them to, collecting dust in my closet.

Oh sweet Rhi, I tell myself, please know this: pretty doesn’t do. Pretty just looks good. Pretty isn’t actionable.

Pretty is safe.

So I bought some PowerSheets again this past December. I told Amber I bought them again in one of our phone calls and she laughed with me. Maybe a little at me and that’s ok too. But last month when I finally had some time to just THINK to myself after the craziest year yet, I felt like an animal hungry, thirsty for ANYTHING that I could get my hands on to help me prepare for the new year (hi new year!). Andrew and I planned a semi-surprise trip to go home to Canada for five days, and so I brought along my pretty binder and unused, new fourth set of Powersheets with me. And a pencil. And a promise. That’s it.

This year next month will mark my sixth year blogging. And I really love this old thing. But I’m always hesitant to share, fearful of sharing too much, nervous about not sharing enough. frustrated I don’t always have visuals to match my words that often feel so powerful and real. Visuals that aren’t ‘pretty’. Ugh that word again. Why does everything need to be measured by the pretty? Pretty makes me feel inadequate and unworthy and tired.

Chances are you may feel the same if you’ve read this far.

I went to bed at 10:00 pm on New Years Eve. I chose to do that. And I woke up at 7:00 am January 1st with that hunger, that thirst, to make some changes. Not to make this year the best year yet because I’m a big believer that every year has highs and lows, but to really enforce some changes that are near and dear to my heart. For seven hours my Dad and I sat at the kitchen table and I set goals while he worked on his business and prepared a presentation for his 150 employees on goal setting. Ironic? Maybe a little. But he even set a few goals too. And guess what? I filled out all of the pre goal setting pages this time. Fourth time is a charm I guess.

My word for this year is content. It’s a goal to live a life full of joy and content. That feels really powerful when I reread that sentence to myself. That’s sort of the overarching goal for the year which may seem pretty easy to some of you, but below it are other goals, more specific ones that mean a lot to me. I’m going to share them here with you too. Successes and failures in all, each week as I journey to live my life with purpose, with joy, while being content. I encourage you to join if you’re doing your best in 2015 to be more content and joyful too.

FindingContentment

So are you ready? I am :)

Jan 5

Brogan + Doug {HGE Wedding with Harrison Studio}

This is the stuff magic is made of. Brogan and Doug, Doug and Brogan. I’m so lucky to work with such incredible souls. When Brogan had first come to me to potentially be a part of her and Doug’s big day, she had just lost her sweet Mom. We talked on the phone for a good amount of time about her wedding dreams, her relationship with Doug (they are highschool sweethearts with a really special love story), and a few tears rolled down my cheek as Brogan told me about her Mom and how she needed someone to work with in planning her special day. Because without her Mom she wasn’t sure who would help. While I certainly didn’t fill those shoes and couldn’t never come close, it was beyond a pleasure getting to play a tiny part in such a monumental day.

Brogan and Doug, you two are a treat. You and your family welcome me and my staff into your lives. You were trusting, kind, patient, gracious, respectful and beyond that, so deserving of a wedding full of love and grace. Congratulations on your marriage and happily ever after. This is just the beginning of all that life has to offer you two. And with that, I share with you some of my favorite images from the day, captured by Harrison Studio. Enjoy the gorgeousness that is Mr and Mrs Hayden.

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The bride has a love of anything equestrian related and that love is deep rooted in as early as her childhood. The family business handles equestrian related products as well so it was only fitting that we used this as a driving force behind the wedding details and aesthetic. Brogan and I called the wedding, ‘French Country Equestrian’ in the year before the big day and I loved thinking of clever ways to infuse this into the event. My favorite was the escort card display made up of equestrian ribbons with guests names written in calligraphy in the center. The tails of the ribbons (and ultimately the names of the reception tables) were named after horses the bride showed and owned growing up.

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Brogan’s bouquet was made up of ivory and white peonies (they were stunning in May!), soft cream garden roses, camellia buds, white ranunculus, jasmine vine and bay leaf. It was so simple and lovely and complimented that stunner of a gown she wore. The long champagne colored silk ribbon streamers blew softly in the wind that day. And the finishing touch was a necklace the bride gifted her late Mom with years ago. It was fastened around the stems so a piece of her sweet Mom would be with her throughout the special day.

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The leather coasters were favors created by the bride’s Dad. How wonderful and personal is that right?

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You can view more over on Style Me Pretty today including the couple’s wedding trailer which ranks high on the list of my favorites ever! Thank you to the SMP team for the wonderful feature.

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Photography: Harrison Studio / Planning, Design and Florals: Hey Gorgeous Events / Videography: Coastline Studios / Stationery: Sarah Drake Design / Catering: The Farmhouse Deli / Calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy /Bride’s Shoes and Earrings: J. Crew / Bride’s Gown: Ulla Maija / Cake and Macarons: Sweet Heather Anne / Linens: La Tavola / MOH Belt: BHLDN / Makeup: Morgan Myers, MoMichelle Makeup Artistry / Tent and Rentals: Special Events Rental / Veil: La Jeune Mariee / Venue: Greencrest Manor / Wood Sign: Made by MOH / Hair: Lola Hair Artistry