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Jan 18

Happy One Year, Lachlan Rue

I’ve typed and deleted this post numerous types trying to express how I feel about this day yet nothing has felt eloquent enough or as monumental as how I’m feeling about this day. One year ago everything changed when a perfect, almost nine pound baby boy was placed next to my swollen and tear stained cheek on an operating room table. I remember very clearly thinking in that moment, this is IT. This is what I’ve been preparing and waiting for. This mama thing? I am ready and prepared and this is what I’ve been called to do here on earth.

How odd to feel such sure feelings in the first few and raw moments of a very new role, right? Yet I knew.

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It’s been a palms up, humbling, inspiring, and simply put, joyful year being Lachlan’s mom.

Sure, there have been hard moments, sleepless nights (months?), days where I’ve failed at balancing things. But the truly memorable and magical days have far, far outweighed the trying ones. I’ve learned to move a bit slower as a mama. Not any less intentional but slower. Relishing in simple tasks like rocking in a glider mid afternoon or soaking in a tub with a happy baby even if the water is getting cold have made me very happy. Days have at times blurred into weeks, and those weeks into months, but now as I look back, all I feel is an acute sense of fulfillment for the blessing I’ve been given both in my son as a person and in this journey as a parent.

Lachlan is home from school today and I’ve scheduled the day off of work because I want to fully celebrate him and all that this past year has been (even if he doesn’t realize it). We will go get donuts for breakfast and of course there will be a nap or two (for Lachlan, not me!), but below are some of my thoughts on mamahood. My intention is to share thoughts on motherhood each year on Lachlan’s birthday in an effort to not only inspire others in this similar season of life, but to look back and see that my life was lived as deep as it was wide.

Oh, what a year it’s been!

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In no particular order:

1. Motherhood is what you make it. Being a mom is rewarding and wonderful and special and many many other things, but it’s as much of those things as you let it be. You have a choice to choose. Each and every day.

2. Last weekend, Andrew and I went out to dinner for our 11th dating anniversary. It was our fourth date night out alone in the span of a year, and while that fact alone should be its own reflection, what I’d like to say here is this: at dinner I asked Andrew what his favorite Lachlan memory is. And with the exception of a few small milestones that happened at distinct times, it was hard to pinpoint exact ones. So we spent a good chunk of our dinner sharing little stories that revolved around the REALLY small moments but the moments that stood out most to us; listening to Lachlan’s rare giggle, watching him discover something for the first time, the smell of his neck or the way he puffs out his little lips. Before you knew it we were THOSE parents out on date night looking at photos and videos of our kid over our tapas. Some say parenthood is a big blur yet somehow it’s made me acutely more aware of memories and my ability to make them and file them away.

3. Any way you give birth (scheduled c-section, in a forrest surrounded by fairies, at home in your tub, in an ambulance, whatever) is special, wonderful, and truly, miraculous. I felt nothing but shame and guilt over my birth story for a good six to seven months. And I hated every second of the self-imposed shame. I’ve only ever written the entire ordeal out in a journal so I make sure I don’t forget every detail. Then one day, something changed. I realized it doesn’t matter how Lachlan came into the world because the point is he’s here now and he’s perfect. I’m so grateful there are people like doctors, and places like hospitals, and things like medicine and tools, because without them my story may have been a little different. Your birth story does not define you or determine what kind of woman or parent you are. I wish someone would have told me that sooner.

4. Yes, time flies by. Or so it seemingly does. Yes, the days are long and the years are short. Yes, I am ‘soaking this all up’ because everyone tells me I should do just that. Much like my friend Emily declared ever so boldly, for me in this mamahood journey, I’ve tried to avoid falling prey to the ‘time is ticking’ trap because guess what? Of course it is! Whether you’re a parent, student, single person, Beyonce, teenager, in your 80’s and retired, or living on an island somewhere drinking mojitos all day (in which case I’d love to join you for a hot second), time is moving at the exact same pace, each and every day. This pressure to somehow frantically preserve every single thing as a parent because ‘they grow so fast’ left me really anxious the first few months L was in the world because I was afraid I was savoring it all in ALL the wrong ways. But it turns out when you slow down, get present, and get after grateful, the time we have in front of us is just the amount we need. When we can savor life without being rushed we can really live our best lives. Who knew having a baby would reveal this.

5. I’m VERY biased (clearly) but to all the mothers who told me having a little boy would be the best, I salute you with tears in my eyes. It’s not lost on me that God/the Universe/some divine intervention/aligned stars/alltheabove, blessed me with exactly what I needed when I needed it the most. During a tremendously hard personal season in my life, here in front of me was and IS this GIFT, this precious, intelligent, inquisitive, and gentle baby boy named Lachlan. If this is what year one had in store for me, then bring on the next.

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Can I tell you how I saw this photo above when my friend Laura sent me the gallery of our birth images and my heart sunk because I did not look the way I had imagined? I didn’t have on a pretty robe, my hair in soft curls, and a skinny face covered in beautiful but natural make up like you see on Pinterest or mama blogs (which don’t get me wrong; those things are lovely and wonderful! If that was your birth story then own it!) There wasn’t natural light streaming in from our corner hospital suite or my mom next to me holding my hand. But I saw this photo and quickly flipped past it looking only for the ones that did not include me.

I almost didn’t recognize myself in these photos because I looked SO, well, different. And tired, and swollen, and emotional to be more specific. I had just had major surgery after 24 hours of labor so perhaps that’s a given. But that’s exactly it! I SHOULD be different after this process of becoming a mother. This is the stuff that changes you. Funny enough, when it came time to find some photos to share in this post I opened up the file on my desktop labelled Lachlan’s Birth and all I could see for the first time since looking through all the images was a really beautiful and really GOOD mother staring back at me.

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Lachlan, I hope one day you read this. I am so grateful you are our son. You bring purpose to my days, and joy to my life. I cannot wait for family and friends to celebrate you this weekend with a fun dinosaur party I’ve been planning for you for months (OK maybe longer), but more importantly, I can’t wait for more of the everyday and the in between with you. You are my light and I have a hard time remembering what made me feel so whole before you came along. Celebrating you is my favorite and I’ll do it for a lifetime.

All of the photos in this post are a few taken by my dear friend Laura of Harrison Studio who graciously came to the hospital at 2:30 am the night/morning (?) Lachlan was born to capture our family in recovery. These are a select few of such deeply treasured photos as are all of the images we’ve had taken by talented friends over the last year. You can review all of motherhood, Lachlan, and parenting blog posts here.

I also owe a big thank you to all of you who have read this blog or commented on social media with love, support, and all around niceness over the last 12 months. Your encouragement, prayers, love, and even gifts, have been so memorable and sweet. I’ve loved sharing bits and pieces of the personal side of my life with you all.

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And finally, Andrew; you’ve made this chapter in our lives one worth fighting for and one worth savoring slowly. I would make a million babies with you if we could in this lifetime. Lachlan is lucky to have you as his dad.

Xoxo

Jan 17

Lachlan Rue at Eight Months

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Tomorrow my baby finally turns one. So I thought today would be the the perfect time to finally share some of the photos from our family session we scheduled last October with Kelly Sweet. My plan was to schedule a family session when Lachlan was six months old to get photos of the half way mark leading up to one year. But life got busy and the six month session ended up being a session to celebrate eight months, which actually worked out in our favor because L was a little bit more engaged at that age.

I wanted our session to be really natural and fuss-free. While we’re a family that’s big on celebrating almost everything, we are also keen on simplicity. I think these photos illustrate how incredible of a little boy we were blessed with, and if it’s not clear how mild tempered and sweet his personality is, well I can tell you he’s my little dream. While I miss some of the moments that came hand in hand with having a newborn at home, many have said it only gets better and there’s a lot of truth in that. I look at the growth and milestones L has hit (and we’ve hit as a family) even just since this session and it’s humbling to know we get to do this life thing alongside him.

These are some of my favorite images from the session. Three of these now hang over our bed in beautiful FrameBridge frames, and one was used on our family holiday card. Tomorrow I’ll be back with some thoughts from year one of being a mother but for now enjoy a little slice of my most favorite people ever.

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Can I tell you just how much Lachlan loves his dad?

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A note on Zoe:

Many people have emailed and asked about how Zoe reacted to us bringing home Lachlan. As per our doula’s suggestion, since I was in the hospital for four days post labor, Andrew brought home a baby hat and blanket for her to get used to L’s ‘scent’. We hadn’t really done much more than that other than trying to use specific words around her in direct ways leading up to his birth (like, ‘This is the BABY’S room,’ or ‘Is this where the BABY will go?’) We really just hoped for the best. Even though Zoe is a rescue pup, we adopted her when she was seven weeks old and I believe we taught her most of what she knows including her calm and snuggly demeanor.

Zoe was never mean or threatening to Lachlan. However, she wasn’t incredibly excited when we came home probably because a lot of puppy snuggles became baby snuggles, and a lot of the everyday focus on her was replaced with time focused on Lachlan. We had to try and find a system for making it clear what toys belonged to Zoe and what toys belonged to Lachlan once he started to be mobile, and that included teaching L to leave Zoe’s bones and squeaky toys alone (and out of his mouth!) If we physically brought Lachlan close to Zoe in the first six months, she would calmly get up and relocate to a new spot in the room. It was almost as if she just wasn’t comfortable being close to him but if we ever firmly told her to ‘Stay,’ or ‘Zoe, you are OK,’ in those moments, she would stay put and endure the baby torture (as I’m sure she would tell you!)

But now!

Now that Lachlan is super mobile, crawling everywhere, standing up against things, and much more aware and in tune to things around him and in our home, these two have a special sort of friendship. When I nurse Lachlan at night, Zoe always finds her way upstairs into the nursery and nestles herself in between our glider and foot pouf. And without fail, Lachlan senses her in the room and always looks for her. Getting her out of his room when it’s time to sleep is another new battle now. Usually she has to be lured out with treats. We are also incredibly confident that Lachlan has been trying to say ‘Doggie’ for a few months. With his mouth shut, he grunts out what sounds like ‘Doggie’ and this would make sense seeing as we’ve been calling Zoe his ‘doggie’ ever since we brought him home from the hospital. ‘Lachlan, where’s your doggie? Where’s Zoe?’ ALWAYS ends up in his little ‘doggie’ grunts and him looking around the room or to the door to see where Zoe is. And without fail, Zoe’s presence into any room where Lachlan is results in a big cheesy grin and sometimes a rare giggle.

For many people their pets are considered treasured family members. Zoe actually still sleeps in our bed with us as I was pretty set on crib training L from an early age (sleep is important to us here!). We make sure to love on her and make her feel as special as we did before we became parents even if those first few months were mostly focused on Lachlan’s needs. If you’re worried about how your pet may transition into having a baby at home my advice would be to have patience, and use your intuition to guide you into making decisions if you feel like something is off (any sort of growling or rough play would have been of concern to us). I had craved a baby-pet relationship like this but the reality is every circumstance is different.

Now if only Zoe would let Lachlan grab her tail and yank on it whenever he pleases!

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This was our holiday card choice. That little face!

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If you go to the bottom of this post you’ll see an identical photo of Andrew and Lachlan that Kelly took when L was three weeks old. I have it blown up and framed in our home so I figured it would be a fun photo to recreate as he gets older. The way he has grown in those first eight months and even from October to now is fascinating.

I could get lost in those big eyes of his!

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I hope you enjoyed these photos as much as we treasure them! I did my own hair and make up for the session, and my top is from Old Navy (an oldie but a goodie). My shoes are from Aldo and are one of the few pairs of heels I am comfortable enough to wear and also tote around a busy almost-toddler in. Can I also brag on my handsome husband who seems to just get better with age? I’m so lucky to do life with him.

Xo

Jan 6

Looking Ahead to 2017

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encouraged to help me make the big choices in life. No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

– Steve Jobs, 2005 commencement speech, Stanford University

Steve Jobs’ legacy has inspired many people, myself included. His tenacity for bold decisions and inevitably inspiring ways have always made me tick. There’s a torn out piece of a Restoration Hardware catalogue which I have kept in my planner for years now, and on it is a note from the chairman and c0-chief executive officer, Gary Friedman. He shares how Steve Jobs’ famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University has inspired his team which is pretty cool if you think about it. A guy who revolutionized how we digitally operate and use electronics, inspired a high end home furnishing company! Of all things. That’s the awesome thing about impressionable people and the impact we can have on others.

The tear out is weathered and the catalogue paper soft now. I think a lot about that speech and read Gary’s note quite often. The part at the end of his note has always resonated with me the most, ‘…those people who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world are the ones who usually do.’

I love that so much. Maybe I won’t change the world as a whole but I can certainly strive to change parts of it and it starts within my own world. My world at home with my family and my son, my world within my business which extends to my clients, their families, and friends, my world here online and the influence I have on readers, people who comment, people who share my posts, and like, engage, or pin images, my world through my workshops, my world with each of my friendships. Even my world when that very space collides with others out at the grocery store or in line to get coffee. We are given endless opportunity in life to change the world or at the very least, to believe we can. The key is understanding that the ‘world’ starts within.

. . .

I made a lot of goals for 2017. They are tangible, detailed and measured. Some are achievement goals and others are habit goals. Some will be pretty easy to achieve and others will be flat out difficult even if I give it my all. Some will also include a little bit of luck but more on that later this year. I took all of December to work through Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Yet modules to do the ground work in uncovering the kind of life I want to live. Then I broke down what I need to do little by little to get it done.

In 2017 I want to spend more time with my head down, working smarter to cultivate my ideal life. And less time talking here and online about what that looks like. We can all talk the talk, but can we walk the walk too? Meaning, writing out my ambitions and talking about how wonderful they are is great but that will be so much more rewarding to share when those things become my very own reality throughout the next coming 12 months (and in some cases beyond because many of my goals are actually things I hope will become habits to enrich my life for the next 50 years).

So my encouragement to anyone looking to set goals this year or anyone who has set goals and already feels like they aren’t good enough compared to everyone else’s, is to get out of your own way. Log off social media for a few days, forget about being accountable with others if that feels like too much to keep up with, don’t worry about having the latest and greatest way to track what you want to get done, and just go forth and do. Be crazy enough to believe you can change the world. Keep your head down, open your heart, and take that first step.

I’m right beside you.

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Happy 2017, everyone! Cheers to a fresh start and endless opportunity to pursue what matters.

Photo by Samantha James Photography from this day.

Jan 3

What To Gain from The Trouvaille Workshop Experience

It’s 2017 (!) and chances are you want this year to be your best yet.

If you’re a multifaceted wedding planner, I want to encourage you and equip you with the tools and insight to be the best business owner you’re capable of. I may have been in your shoes before. Where you feel stuck, uninspired, overwhelmed, burnt out, or even a bit lonely and left out. There’s nothing worse then feeling lost when you know you have responsibilities to meet and big dreams to bring to life, and sometimes the mere realization of being stuck is enough to leave you feeling paralyzed to make that next move.

I created the Trouvaille Workshop because I wanted people who felt like I did at one point, to have a place to to turn to to get unstuck. A place that offered answers. Well, so much MORE than answers. A place that offered education, inspiration, relationships and much more; the ‘answers’ were really such a small fraction of what I ended up creating. I along with a mighty and always changing team of speakers and contributors have watched almost 100 different business owners experience the Trouvaille Workshop and as a result make really incredible changes and strides with their brands and companies. THAT is pretty powerful in and of itself.

Our fifth workshop is quickly approaching and below is more on what you can gain from the experience.

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TAILORED EDUCATIONAL CONCEPTS

Each Trouvaille experience is given a specific curriculum. From the back end of business (think legalities, contracts, and pricing) to the mechanics of design (how you build design proposal, trying new floral approaches, working with unfamiliar product), I strive to create sessions for multifaceted planners and designers which are content rich and applicable to common pain points. Then I market the workshop to that type of attendee so there are not missed expectations and the workshop is full of women who can indirectly lift one another up. Each session at Trouvaille is assigned to a seasoned professional who can best teach, present and discuss on the respective topic, giving you a very specific and in depth look at all of the parts of your business and not just one.

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INTENTIONAL TIME FOR ENGAGEMENT

Some call it networking. I call it relationship building. I’ve been to workshops before where making connections is hard especially for an introvert like me. As someone who works alone for most of the day in a basement studio, I know how isolating it can feel to try and run a business solo and even more so, not know who to turn to for answers in the day to day. While I now have a tight knit group of colleagues and friends I can turn to as needed, I was once in a place where that wasn’t available to me. And I needed those connections desperately.

The schedule at Trouvaille and the intimate guestlist size allows for ample engaging time between attendees, speakers, and contributors. At the sit down dining experiences, seating is assigned not to pigeon hole you in sitting in a specific spot, but to allow you to strike up conversation with a person you may otherwise not connect with. The speakers I Invite to be a part of Trouvaille are requested to stay the entire duration of the workshop because the in-between is sometimes more valuable then the presentations; the small talk in between sessions, the passing on the way back to your room, or the connection made during a late night fireside chat when you realize a professional you admire loves the same type of wine you do. The workshop is as many days as it is because I believe in the power of relationships and you too can expect to see that same result from Trouvaille.

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A FRUITFUL AND INTENTIONAL EXPERIENCE

While it’s obvious the Trouvaille Workshop is meant to inspire your business and provide you with intentional and educational concepts for your business, what may be less obvious is the way the experience as a whole is structured to make you feel. As planners and designers we love well on our clients. We are in the business of serving, catering to, and going above and beyond for our many clients. Our jobs can at times be emotionally draining but we do what we do because we enjoy and excel at it.

Do you ever watch your clients leave their wedding day and they look almost weightless and clearly full from the emotionally fulfilling experience they just went through? It’s because you served them well, their senses were catered to, and they were above all else loved on and appreciated. I love striving for that same effect with the guests at my workshop. From the intentional items gifted to everyone, surprises tucked in throughout the schedule, the way my team and I welcome, speak to and interact with every attendee, our goal above everything else is to make it apparent each person truly matters. You can expect to leave not only inspired to make your business stronger but inspired to do so because you know you’re worth it.

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A CURATED GROUP OF CONTRIBUTORS 

For the first time in the history of hosting the Trouvaille Workshop, I myself will be leading and teaching the entire hands on day and floral portion of the curriculum. I feel confident with where I am in with my business and the skills I have under my belt. I look forward to sharing more insight on how I design for my clients, how I approach my floral arrangements, and how I bring together a concept to reality. 

Furthermore, the group of professionals coming together to join me in teaching, serving and giving back at the next workshop is incredibly diverse and very talented. I feel very proud of the women who have agreed to be a part of what I’ve built. From Liene Stevens of Think Splendid and Shira Savada of Martha Stewart Weddings, to Ashlyn Carter, Shanna Skidmore, and Christina Scalera, and then of course my support and encouragement crew, we have a really strong group of women on board. All of these professionals cater to wedding professionals and provide services and products that serve as tools for success. I won’t give away too much of what our attendees will experience in May but it’s going to be a remarkable experience.

Will you join us? You can make it official here.

All photos via Nancy Ray Photography.

Dec 30

Au Revoir 2016

Oh 2016! You were quite the year.

A wonderfully, life-changing year full of milestones. I want to remember you forever, learn from you always, and give you thanks indefinitely for all you brought and taught me. While it’s bittersweet to bid farewell to the year that made me a mother, it’s refreshing to say hello to a new year and with it all of the exciting adventures ahead. Plus, I selfishly am looking forward to waking up on January 1st and not feeling a million months pregnant like I did last year. Even if Kelly Sweet did happen to make me feel beautiful when I was full term with our Lachlan I was mighty uncomfortable with that big belly (and a babe that waited 8 days longer than anticipated to arrive!)

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January was my favorite month of the entire year.

Andrew and I welcomed our son Lachlan Rue into the world and our lives were changed forever (as we expected). I never wrote my birth story out in a public place and probably won’t as it was a really emotional experience but motherhood is my thing. I’ve loved every second of this new reality and can confidently say when Lachlan was born so was a new version of myself. I blogged about Lachlan’s nursery here and shared his birth announcement here. We are so incredibly blessed and have loved being mum and dada this year.

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I worked really hard the second half of 2015 to make sure I would be able to take a three month maternity leave. I hustled with my clients, prepped my team, and assured all of my couples their wedding planning process would not suffer as a result of our growing family. So in February and March I did a lot of this, this and this. And I loved every single minute of getting to know my son and forming a bond with him that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the whole world. I learned a lot about self care and what sets my heart on fire.

In March this happened. What an exciting milestone for my company! We also took a trip to Chapel Hill for Making Things Happen which also happened to be Lachlan’s first plane trip. It was so sweet introducing my son to my closest friends that week and also, having Andrew by my side to help manage all those late night feedings.

In April, Andrew turned 33. I can’t believe this is the 10th time I’ve celebrated a birthday with him! And Sarah and Michael’s 2015 Labor Day Weekend wedding was featured on Martha Stewart Weddings. This celebration was one of the final events I took on during my pregnancy and was one that brought me a lot of joy. That color palette, all those blooms and of course such a gracious couple made it one for the books.

View More: http://bradleyjamesphotography.pass.us/mcauliffewedding

May is always my favorite month for so many reasons.

First of all, I started sending out a newsletter! You can sign up here if you’d like. I got back into the groove with work. I also turned 30. So I celebrated by creating a 40 Before 40 bucket list and have loved referencing it from time to time as it’s always a simple reminder to live both an intentional and fun life. While the day of my birthday was spent getting my hair cut and colored before a simple dinner with Andrew and Lachlan, what I wasn’t prepared for was the surprise dinner party he threw for me the very next day. While I spent most of the dinner tending to a cranky baby, being surrounded by family and friends all there to celebrate me was a memory I will cherish forever. Andrew, I love you and your selfless heart for me.

BRIDES featured Kristina and Josh’s 2015 Seattle wedding in May, too. Kristina and Josh, we love you!

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And finally at the end of May we took a road trip down to North Carolina for Trouvaille 4.0. And what a trip that was! You can read more here and view the website for next spring’s retreat here. I’m so proud of what Trouvaille has evolved into and even more proud of all the women who have been a part of the workshop. I just sent out new year cards to all former attendees and can you believe I sent out nearly 100 cards? It was a humbling realization that this workshop experience IS making a difference in the wedding industry.

We returned home from Trouvaille and hit the road again but this time for Seattle to visit this gal. I got to design with the most beautiful product while I was there. When we got home, Sam and I also started working together on a few simple lifestyle projects including this one here and here. June is when I started to feel like I had my groove back as Lachlan started to almost sleep through the night at this point. He also started going to school three times a week which was the best choice for our family. June was really good.

July marked my first night and trip away from Lachlan to head to Chicago with the team for Christine and Nick’s wedding. It was refreshing to work with a bright red and blue color palette. July also brought a second Martha Stewart Weddings feature. Christine and Dagan had a magical destination wedding in Tuscany, Italy and I feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to be there for it. Plus, as I mentioned in last year’s review, this was the trip we got to make with The Nelsons (who now have their own sweet little boy too!)

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And I think August was the busiest month. From Arden and Jeremiah’s gorgeous soiree, Michaela’s bridal shower (oh, what a hot day!) and Megan and Graham’s beautiful Saugatuck wedding (oh, what another hot day!) we were busy making the magic happen. I’m so proud of my team and the way we worked tirelessly over the summer to not only meet expectations but exceed them as well. I get to work with the best people and the best clients and I truly mean every little bit of that.

Again, I can’t show too much but here’s the beautiful Arden and her maids before the ceremony, photographed by Sarah and Rachel. Have you ever seen such a radiant bride? I certainly haven’t and I’m sure Arden’s kind groom can agree with me there. We worked tirelessly to set an ENTIRE wedding in three hours. It was crazy!

View More: http://linnealiz.pass.us/jeremiahandarden

September marked the end of our wedding season with a beautiful Northern Michigan wedding. I can’t share much more than the following photo from Jen and Jonah but this was a celebration for the books and I must add, for the kindest and most gracious family. Working with this family to plan this special wedding will forever be a memory I cherish and hold close to my heart on both a professional and personal level. I had a team of 11 with me that week and it was rewarding to end the season on a high note.

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We also celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary in September. One of my few goals for 2016 (since I didn’t set too many) was to gift something unique and special to Andrew for the occasion. So I had my favorite chef and caterer Christine of The Farmhouse Deli come to our home and cook our favorite food for us. Andrew came home from a work trip right before dinner so while Chris cooked our meal for us I picked Andrew up from the airport and brought him home to delicious home cooked meal. It was really lovely and perfect.

We rounded out the month with a family session photographed by Kelly Sweet. These photos are the best.

I can’t wait to share more but we did use one on our holiday card this year!

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October brought a trip to this magical place for Trouvaille Five prep, an annual trip to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for another incredible Making Things Happen, and Lachlan’s first Halloween which was equal parts hilarious and memorable (he dressed up as a dinosaur if you’re wondering; or better yet, a Lach-a-saurus. I’ll share more once we celebrate his first birthday in a couple weeks). I also had a chance to put on a beautiful new black dress and head out to the Grand Rapids Business Journal Forty Under 40 gala. Being selected as a 2016 honoree was a complete surprise in 2016 but nonetheless a wonderful way to celebrate my success with my biggest cheerleader by my side. I slowed down a bit too, which was much needed.

Oh! And the October BRIDES issue brought this wedding with Vienna Glen to the public at long last!

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In November I brought a Masculine Elegance concept to life with the support of the Style Me Pretty editorial staff. It was an incredible editorial with both my friend Sam and a team of talented vendors. That skirt from Carol Hannah was one of my most favorite details and paired together perfectly with the modern floral designs.

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And then December was here in a flash.

Between making new traditions with Lachlan, savoring the smell and sight of our real tree, making sure our 2017 clients were off into the holiday on a good note, wrapping gifts with Sam, and prepping for holiday floral orders, the month came and went so quickly. Thankfully we found many ways to soak up the season!

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I’d also love to mention I wrote a ton of business blog posts this year including Three Business Resources to Outsource, How to Maximize Floral PrepWhy Your Client Experience Matters, Small Is The New Big, The Magic of Mock Ups, How to Be OriginalWhy You Need Whitespace In Your Life, and most recently, The Process Behind Largescale Floral Design. I loved blogging this year even if it wasn’t often because the posts I did share were intentional and content rich. I look forward to doing more of the same here in 2017.

I also not surprisingly wrote many blog posts about maternity leave, my newborn essentials, and life with Lachlan. I want to be an example to women everywhere that you can have it all it’s just a matter of wisely selecting what your ‘all’ is. I used to think I had to pick between being a joyful mother or being a powerful business woman, and I know now that hindsight is 20/20 because the life I have now is far from perfect but it’s full, fruitful, intentional, fun and full of all of the things that matter most to me.

Which, I may add, 2017 is going to be really good. Last year I went into 2016 with really low expectations. I knew becoming a mother would be a big transition so I didn’t want to add more to my plate. I set some small goals, loaded up on grace, and sort of powered through the year. But already over the last few weeks there’s been a sense of clarity and direction within that’s left me feeling fearless and excited for the next 12 months to come. I’m hoping to make a few bold moves in 2017 and can’t wait to share those with you.

May you too, pursue those same virtues of courage. Wishing you all the best!

Year in Review 2015
Year in Review 2014
Year in Review 2013
Year in Review 2012
Year in Review 2011