heart to hearts Archive

On Growing Older and Getting Better

Hi guys! I’ve missed you. I hope you didn’t think I forgot about you.

Because truth is I didn’t. Funny enough when I made my list of New Year’s Resolutions last month not one of them included to blog more. I certainly didn’t plan on blogging less, which is how things have seemingly unfolded, but I planned on making intentional changes and much needed improvements behind the scenes here.  You can catch up a little on my thoughts for 2014 over here. I have so many big aspirations for Hey Gorgeous and what this little empire of mine is to stand for. I’ve learned so very much since I signed up for a blogger account five years ago without any idea I’d be writing this here today. I’ve been battling the glorification of busy but finally being comfortable to admit to myself that I actually enjoy working really hard, sometimes for long periods of time. Guys, five years ago feels like an eternity.

I’ve also grown a lot as a person. In the last four weeks this fact alone really hit me. I’ve grown a lot as a woman. It feels weird to even call myself a woman because in a sense I feel so young, like I’m still just worthy of being called a ‘girl’. Everyone has their perceptions of what’s young and what’s old. I also think the societal nicknames and lingo we have for one another as females (‘girlfriend’ ‘sister’ ‘lady’ ‘gal’) makes being called a ‘woman’ feel so sophisticated. But my heart has softened in my experiences, my goals have changed, my business has continued to exceed my expectations in growth, my personal style has slowly started to evolve, I feel wiser and as a result, all of these things are shaping me into a different woman. And it does have a lot to do with sophistication, actually. Not that I was unsophisticated before, but reflecting on my growth and the change that comes hand in hand is pretty refreshing.

One of my goals for this year was to actually talk less about my goals. And to just do. To be humble in my life as a wife, planner and friend, to work smarter, to challenge myself professionally and keep blinders on as I move forward making my biggest most personal dreams become a reality. I attended Joy Thigpen’s workshop in January and was absolutely changed as a wedding designer, business owner and woman (again back to that woman thing; it’s been this odd epiphany as of late). I think it was there tucked into the quiet of Serenbe that I felt the magnitude of these thoughts of change and growth just sort of come full circle for me. Like an affirmation in my soul that this indeed is the path I’m supposed to be on. Joy you were a true ‘joy’. Thank you for sitting with me on our last day and just listening.

So without being so super random and all over the place on you all, I’ll tell you this much. From here on out there will be more posted via this blog of mine than just one post a month. I promise! I also can’t wait to infuse this space with a little bit more behind the scenes details on a few special upcoming projects, client work, business pursuits and of course final outcomes with the weddings and events my staff (!) and I take on. I’ve been so blessed to be able to pursue what I love and can’t believe it all started here just five years ago. Baby steps always turn into giant leaps.

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And to sum up my feelings for today in the form of a quote I so love: “I love the person I’ve become because I’ve fought to become her.” Rylee Blake. Preach on, woman. And thanks to all of YOU for growing along with me. Have a really wonderful Monday, blogettes! Photo above by Harrison Studio.

November 2013; and a little bit of truth.

A year ago I sat in a Chicago hotel conference room with close to 30 women like me, looking to change their lives for the better. It makes me smile when I think of how very different circumstances and seasons of life we were all in at October’s Making Things Happen. I came in so confused and hurting, and left a changed woman. I left with a mended heart and better sense of self despite feeling a little bit overwhelmed with the hard work and the hard decisions that were set out before me. Last week I returned to Making Things Happen, but this time as a speaker and there’s so much truth to the saying, ‘What a difference a year makes.’ This time around, the intensive and the entire experience was equally as life changing as the first. I am so thankful to Lara for extending the invitation to come along, and to every single person in Chapel Hill those two days who opened up their souls so beautifully and from such a place of vulnerability and fear. There is such power in community and in love. Last week is absolutely a testament to this.

But then this week, I felt like everything that happened last, happened years ago. Scratch that, it felt like Making Things Happen was only a figment of my imagination. The girl who felt like mountains moved inside her heart just last Tuesday couldn’t have been the same girl I felt like I was this week. This week there were too many negatives in my dialect, too many wont’s and cant’s, too much of wishing for what I don’t have, wanting what I don’t need, when I know too well I have everything I need sitting right in front of me. Too much doubt, too many distractions, too much yuck.

Except this is what it is all about. Deep down in your heart knowing something is true and good. Life isn’t supposed to be pretty instagram photos, sunshine-filled days, and business triumphs every single day. Success isn’t measured by how many clients you book, magazine features you land, and the money you have sitting in your bank. Happiness most definitely shouldn’t be measured by social media followers, cute sweaters in your closet and well, I could list off a plethora (love that word) of other stupid stuff that I use as a measuring tool of my joy and contentment. It’s not that these things are bad but life is at times, about the no’s, the let downs, the ugly, the real, the uncensored, the hard, the challenging, and the unavoidable. Yeah, tough times are unavoidable. That’s what makes the journey so beautiful right?

I used to treat obstacles as devastating blows. For those of you at MTH last week, you get it. Life used to come my way and derail me completely. I almost let a few things derail me this week. Things started unfolding around me and like a big black hole I thought it was all too much. And this morning I looked outside and thought, ‘honestly, another rainy, freezing cold day without sunshine?’ How miserable is it living in a place with no sun! Another day of this awful and literal pain in my neck, another day staring at my computer again for hours, another day of worrying about what everyone else is doing, another day blah blah blah. Nevermind, the blessing that I have just that. Another day! Andrew kneeled next to the bed and simply said, “You need a little something to get you out of this funk huh? When’s the last time you designed some flowers?” He’s so grounded and matter of fact like that. Flowers for me = joy. It’s simple.

Happiness is a choice. I can admit emotions are sometimes these tidal waves that knock you down unexpectedly, but happiness is a choice. Oh Lord, I say this, rather I type this, with tears running down my cheeks because I have been so blessed. I am so loved even if it doesn’t always feel like it. I have been given so many gifts to share with others. And I am at times too weak to admit this. To embrace this. To take these gifts and just do. Last week was a gift. Metaphorically for me at least, Making Things Happen is this average wrapped gift, that yields the most intricately and stunning contents on the inside. I would be nothing but a fool to so carelessly throw away this offering. This gift.

So here I am. I’m imperfect and flawed. But I am so many other things too. Good things. Great things. Today I’ll get back in the saddle. Today is a new month. And today I will be kinder to myself and my heart. I will count my blessings for this. We sold out in TWELVE hours! So I added a few more seats and as I write this there’s just one left. Oh my heart. I will call my Mom to tell her I love her today. I will design some flowers so I can gift them to my Mother in Law who just lost her beloved dog this week. I’ll stop loading my body up with donuts and hash browns and cheese starting ten minutes ago (seriously guys, I feel like I’m living in a frat house). And I will be OK. We all will. We are all enough.

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And here are my November goals; that I thought of last week in a big room with 80 plus others. They’re good ones.

• Drink more water. Pure and simple. I can go a full day without liquids. Terrible right?
• Launch the Trouvaille website and ticket sales (guys, we sold out today! oh my word!)
• Schedule once a week date nights for Andrew and I, that do not include our phones.
• Get back into a blogging groove even if it means only one post a week until next year.
• Dedicate one day a week to accounting/budgeting, both personally and professionally.
• Learn how to and execute a cooked turkey and homemade pie for Thanksgiving :)
• Take Zoe for more walks. This dog brings me so so much joy. Walks are important.

I’d love to hear about your goals this month too! Feel free to link below too your goal posts! Happy Friday :)

Photo by the amazing Bradley James Photography.

My Story Part IV

Going away on our honeymoon as mentioned in Part III really gave me some time to find personal clarity and direction. Back home I had a full time coaching job I knew I had to follow through with until the middle of December, but other than my responsibilities there I was a free woman. I was at long last married to my love, confident I had given my heart and soul to the journalism industry only to really find out it wasn’t for me, and ready to make big things happen. I wanted to feel good about my life, the things I stood for, the things I was doing, and the things I was accomplishing.

I remember we returned from our trip on a Friday night and the next morning, rather than snuggle in bed together like newlyweds probably do on any given autumn Saturday morning, I was off to work at 8:00 am (which in hindsight is hilarious because now I wake up even earlier for my job). Andrew on the other hand, loaded up his suitcase and prepared to drive back to Chicago alone. Guys! This was TORTURE. Here I was, a married woman, ready to just live her life and I was sending off my husband by himself to our home over country borderlines. I was coaching two and three year olds that morning in a parent and tot class, and remember trying to keep it together in front of my students. I had a few young parents who would come every Saturday to the class, taking photos of their kids and each other, smiling, laughing, sneaking in kisses here and there, talking about their afternoon plans to go get pumpkins or lay around and watch movies. I’m not entirely sure how I even made it through that day. I was so so sad and broken that entire day.

In journalism we used to talk a lot about storytelling. As a journalist your duty is to tell a story in the most truthful and captivating way. It’s harder to do this than you’d think so we were taught by a few amazing professors in my post grad program (Hi Sherine and Bryan and everyone else at Sheridan!) to search for those gold coins. Those moments, those sound bites, those money shots, those stories of the underdogs; anything that you could infuse into your story or even base your story around, to captivate viewers and keep people engaged until the very end. I was a sucker for gold coin moments. I did a story that fall about a high school kid from my hometown, who was recently murdered at a weekend party gone wrong. He was a big piece of the local BMX community, which my younger brother was also a big part of. My brother was actually friends with the victim. My story was centered on these tough laced bikers and skateboarders doing backflips on their bikes, coming together in the most unlikely of places to grieve their fallen friend. When I was editing a few of my stories I would goosebumps putting those gold coin moments together so intentionally.

The weekend after Andrew left Canada to head back to Chicago, I’d say was worthy of a gold coin moment in this particular part of my story. This was it for me. It seemed no one wanted to give me a chance so I was going to give myself one. My blog (which for the past 10 months had been operating under the new name ‘Hey Gorgeous’) was now an extension of my business. I slapped on an ‘Events’ to the end and started promoting it to friends and family like crazy. My business was now official, to me at least. The URL was purchased. My pricing was set. Cold calls were made to vendors in the area willing to collaborate and work together with me on a then-not-so-popular inspiration shoot. For the first time in many years, and if I’m being honest I’d say maybe eight to ten, I knew something was going to work out. I didn’t even fathom any sort of back up plan. In my head, bless my own heart I suppose, I wouldn’t need one.

The crazy thing is, I didn’t. Hey Gorgeous was built on so much faith and love that the foundation I set then was pivotal to the momentum I’d soon find myself swimming in to keep up with. I grew up a lot that fall. That was when I stopped treating obstacles as devastating blows. I had to really train my brain and my heart to see things differently, to process things in new ways so I could move forward and continue to make progress. I started to feel at peace with myself and my decisions because I wasn’t worried about what was expected of me. I still am training myself to do this now actually. Sometimes when something happens, or is done or said, I have to reevaluate how to handle things best given where I’m at in my life professionally and personally. It’s all about perspective in the big picture. I’m so thankful for whatever sparked that mentality then. A big part of this journey is because my intuition shoved me off the cliff.

Later that winter, just before the end of the year, my coaching position for the fall came to an end (which was a bittersweet day, as I really did love teaching, and inspiring so many students!) it was finally time to make my big move. I loaded up our wedding gifts, my belongings I had accumulated through two plus years of living in my parents basement, my Siamese cat from 8th grade and my born again entrepreneurial spirit/new zest for life. Ready to make the drive and move back to Chicago again, this time hopefully for good, I was eager for change, and change that felt purposeful. I remember getting some of the images back from that first inspiration shoot I ever did with my very dear friend Beth, and tearing up as I looked at my computer screen. I knew on I was on the right track at long last.

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Coming up next will be the final part to my (well part of my :) story; I hope you’ll check back for it!

For Part I click here, Part II click here, Part III click here.

A Little Less

There’s been a shift in my heart recently. A beautifully wonderful shift and it feels like I may explode if I don’t write about it here. This year has been a balancing act of sorts. Actually scratch that. My entire life has been a balancing act. From literal balance as a gymnast to figurative balance as a friend, business owner, wife, sister, and woman, it feels like I’ve spent the past 27 years of my life trying to balance it all in one flawlessly executed performance. And I still haven’t figured it out. I’m not sure anyone ever has to be truthful. To achieve balance you’re often saying yes to one thing which means you’re saying no to another. There’s a reason the phrase ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too,’ was coined. When you’re like me and you hate to miss out on opportunities it can be hard to wrap your head around that. I want to say yes to it all. But I can’t. Now more than ever I can’t. The best part though, is I’m ok with that (and incredibly incredibly grateful for this life I’ve been given. I need to make that crystal clear above all else.)

Lately, I want to just say no. Not to opportunities and new things but to busy. I want to punch busy in the throat and tell it to go back where it came from. Busy has taken away time from my devotional and my God every morning. It’s taken time away from the nourishment of my relationships with others, like my friends and my husband and my family. Busy has stolen moments and memories right in front of my own eyes. I want a little less of busy. A little less hustle. I want more time to cook meals at home. I want time to wash my hair, blow dry it and add a little curl in the morning. I want time to slow dance in the living room without guilt because an email has gone unanswered. I want time to sip tea on my front porch with no worry of what that time could be used for work-wise. I don’t even like tea yet I have cravings to sit on my porch and drink it! I want ten cups of tea before I say yes again to busy. Who’s with me here?

I was running on empty up until last week. And I started this post, then stopped and shut down WordPress to live life a little. Blogging could wait. I mean it’s waiting all summer thanks to ‘busy.’ Instead, Andrew and I went out for dinner; three times in one week. That’s a lot. It’s actually more time together than we’ve spent in the last seven weeks. Then I stumbled across this post from the sweet Gina Zeidler and finally read the exact words I needed to read all summer. I needed a refill. In fact, I’ll need a refill again and again in the future. We all do. We all WILL. In our hearts and minds. Let’s try to remind each other of this. A little less of running on empty and more time spent refilling our numerous cups.

I cannot wait for the rest of 2013. Busy is going to a little lonely all by itself don’t you think?

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This summer was full of so many amazing events and floral projects; I have so many new goals and business endeavors based around florals for the future and can’t wait to tell you more soon! That beautiful senior above was photographed by the amazing Brad and Sam Vanderson of Bradley James Photography. They gifted their subject with one of my floral crowns and I think it worked perfectly with her bohemian-Anthropologie style. Happy Monday, blogettes xoxo

Twenty Seven

Today, I turn 27 years old.

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It’s not a special age by any means. I’m not 25. I’m not in my last year of my twenties or turning the big 3-0. I’m just 27. Yet I feel like this is a good number for me. It fits. I’ve felt so much clarity leading up to 27 and for the first time in a while feel content in my own skin. I have a small business that I adore, goals and dreams I’m working towards, an amazing husband, and a family and group of friends that’s small, but I’m a quality over quantity kind of girl anyways (unless it’s a bunch of blooms; you can never have too many blooms). I can’t emphasize enough how much I mean it when I say my life is far from perfect but leading up to 27 I’ve accepted – and learned to love – the imperfections.

My Mom asked me last night, what my plans were for today. I told her I wanted to take Zoe for a walk, get caught up on some laundry, take a trip to Target for some new foundation (and a new pouf for our front porch that Andrew doesn’t yet know we are bringing home) and enjoy a 3:00 pm surprise that Andrew planned for me. Maybe we’ll enjoy a nice dinner later and then I’ll prep for a new work week starting tomorrow. It’s funny how our birthday celebration desires change from year to year. But ultimately, my birthday wish for this year? To be happy. 27 I think I like you already.

Photo above from the incredible Mindy and Ben at Studio 6.23. Can’t wait to share more from our session :)