Hey Gorgeous, The Blog


Apr 22

FAQs: Work From Home Schedules

Keeping in line with my January post on social media free weekends, I wanted to talk a little bit about my work schedule and what I’ve found works for me as a work from home professional. A lot of you have been asking for more wedding industry business advice and that makes me so happy! Around this time last year, I was struggling to keep balance between my personal life and my business. I was working a part time job to make a bit of extra money leading up to my wedding season and was coming home every night exhausted from my full day of work. Sometimes I’d work until 3:00 am handling my own business responsibilities and more than often, I’d schedule consults and Skype dates with clients as late as 9:00 pm; when I just wanted to be in bed winding down from my day. Andrew took a backseat to it all and I found that life caught up with me; and not in a good way. Rhi needed a schedule intervention really bad.

In May of 2012 I finally decided to leave my part time job and take on Hey Gorgeous full time. For the second time. Best. Decision. Ever. Within just two weeks I booked two more events for my season, which surpassed the amount of money I would have made working my part time job for six months. I was able to work during the day and do things like eat dinner with my husband at night. Or go to a movie and not feel guilty about it. But I also learned really quickly that I’d still need to put in the hard work at home with Hey Gorgeous if I wanted to be successful and get my work done. I write a lot on this blog about what I do to stay motivated and on task. I think any business owner or creative professional can attest to the difficulties of staying on task 24/7 even more so when you wear so many different hats.

These days, I stick to a loose 9:00 am to 5:30 pm work schedule that’s done wonders for me. I work Monday to Friday, meaning those times and days are when I am accessible to clients (unless of course an appointment is made outside of these parameters and I certainly do work overtime when it’s necessary like the week of an event). I wrote a bit about a typically work day over here. And then I also wrote about a typical wedding day of work here. Just reading that post gives me this weird combination of exhauastion and excitement because my job is pretty demanding but absolutely and 110% worth it. I also usually spend Sunday nights prepping for my work week ahead, and once my weddings start each season I take Mondays off. When you work on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays you need to give yourself a little break.


That’s just the tip of the iceberg on work schedules and office hour boundaries (as learned from the incredibly smart Lara Casey herself) but I’d love to generate a discussion here (over Starbucks lattes of course!) If you’re a business owner who works from home or not, I’d love for you to dish below on what you like and dislike with your current work schedule. Maybe your comment will inspire other business owners to make changes with their current routine! Which also leads me to the exciting news involving my hunt for a perfect office space for the 2013 and 2014 Hey Gorgeous season. More on that soon though, soon. Happiest of Mondays, to you all! Photo by Kelly Braman xoxo

Apr 12

Instalove Friday

If there’s anywhere I could be on this Friday afternoon, it would probably be back here….


I’m back finally from Jamaica, guys (that paradise I’m enjoying above in the always gorgeous Ocho Rios), and man that trip ended up being one whirlwind of a nightmare with customs and immigration on our way home. More on that later because as our good friend Bob Marley would say, “Every little thing, is gunna be alright”. And really despite the travel woes I had a lovely time away. I’m so grateful for the five days to reflect and recharge a bit and am literally bursting at the seams with the fun and exciting things coming up with Hey Gorgeous over the next few weeks and months. So off I go tonight to celebrate Andrew’s 30th with some good friends and this weekend will be spent catching up on some spring cleaning (read this here), prepping for a fun little shoot with these guys, and searching for the perfect office space here in Grand Rapids. Yeah. Just typing that out feels stellar. And it holds me accountable a little :)

In the meantime, is there anything fun on anyone’s agendas? Spill the beans below, bloggies xoxo

Apr 2

Pep Talk Tuesday {You Are Enough}

I have to write this today. And just let the words flow out, yo!


Not to sound like a broken record here, but last year around this time now I was an emotional mess. I had a hard exterior and everything in my life put together but inside I was sad, sad, sad and frustrated more than ever. Did I mention sad? One day I’ll share more on why I felt this way but for now it’s not important. What’s important is what I am about to tell you below. Forgive me for so many words but I’m a big advocate for making decisions in life that are in line with living your best life. I didn’t always think this way but I do now and it’s a good thing. I’m a super sensitive, wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of girl and can easily get upset over something insignificant or temporary so I’m often thinking of ways to maintain my positivity and focus on the good. Sometimes, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes life sucks and you have to kick yourself in the ass to regroup. Here’s what I think and wanted to share.

Define What Matters. You know what matters to me right now? My husband matters. Our marriage really matters. The third year of marriage is the hardest. I know this because that’s where we are right now in our journey together. Marriage is like the female body in a sense. Yeah it sounds wacko but stick with me here. In high school some girls have these rocking bodies and a metabolism that can process McDonalds and late night pizza runs like a boss (I wasn’t one of those girls FYI). We buy teen mags with airbrushed women posing provocatively on the front and constantly feel like our worth is determined by how we too look; in real un-airbrushed life that is. Then we get a bit older and life catches up with us. Our hard as hell work outs don’t seem to do much. We think man I had it GOOD in high school and didn’t even have to walk a mile before dropping five pounds. As time goes on you realize you can’t just sit around and expect to feel or look good. You have to WORK at it. Marriage is like that to me. You want to reap the benefits of a healthy and loving marriage? You have to WORK. And the work is so so worth it as I’ve learned in the past month. Do. Work.

My family matters. My future family and whether or not it involves babies matters. My job and my business and my clients matter. My home and how it feels and looks matter. Yup how it looks matters to me. This doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It doesn’t mean we have the nicest or most expensive things. It just means it’s where I am the most physically, as a working-from-home-professional and self-proclaimed home-body, and if I’m going to live here and make memories here, I want it to be in a way that makes me happy. My health, our crazy pets, our well-being, our space, our free time, all of these things matter. My close friends, the ones who call to check on me, who listen to me on the phone, who send sweet notes and give me love love love, these people matter. Everything else? Does not matter. Not important.

You Are Enough. Why do we tell ourselves we’re not enough? Why do we let others make us feel like we aren’t enough? This sweet thing wrote a post on instagram yesterday that reminded me of the post I wrote over here. I’m ALWAYS feeling like I’m not enough guys. Maybe I don’t share it publicly but it happens often especially as of late. I’m not skinny enough, pretty enough, rich enough, successful enough, my two college degrees are somewhere out there (seriously, I don’t even have them framed and couldn’t tell you where they are right now. I’m embarrassed) and not doing much for me, I’m not saving lives, I’m not making serious bank, I’m shopping at Hobby Lobby during my business hours looking for the perfect shade of soft ble ribbon for a ceiling treatment. What? I can’t cook a carrot cake from scratch, I can’t wake up at 5:30 am to go to the gym like some women do. I can’t stay up past 11:00 pm because I get sleepy like a baby. I can’t remember my times tables past the 5’s. I can not run a mile if I tried. I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t. I’m sick of it.

Because I am. I am more than enough. I am a good wife. I am a good fur baby mom. I’m not a real human mom (ha that sounds funny doesn’t it?) because right now wouldn’t be a fair time to bring a life into this world and I think that means I’m enough in and of itself. That’s a decision Andrew and I have made together as a team, and that’s enough too. I’m not saving lives but instead I’m enriching them. And helping people make beautiful and special memories. I’m not rich but I’m fulfilled. I’m so creative and have so much to give it hurts sometimes. That’s plenty. And those Hobby Lobby trips, as trivial as they feel, are what I’m paid to do. So I should embrace it and know that I am enough. Enough already with not feeling like we’re enough as women, business owners, moms, wives, teachers, people, friends, whatever. We are all enough. More than enough most days. We need to start believing it and telling others to know and believe it too.

Define Your Own Version of Success. I was on the phone with my sweet friend Leah this morning for almost an hour. God I love that girl and am so thankful our paths crossed early last year because she’s become a true friend and such a bright spot in my life. Leah is a perfect example of focusing on what matters. She inspires me DAILY to just let go. New followers? More weddings? More overtime in the office? More superficial being? Hell no. Ain’t nobody got time for that. We talked today and I told her the only thing holding me back these days is MYSELF. Because I have this stupid crazy hard time defining my version of success sometimes. Success so often is what everyone else makes it out to be. Success to some is more followers, more features, 25 weddings a year, more comments on a post, more money, more friends, more more more. I’m sick of that too. Because more is further away from enough and the only way you’re going to live a fulfilled, happy and menaingful life is to define your own version of success. Write it down. Memorize it.

With that being said I’m off tonight to the airport with my husband. We are meeting my parents, my brother, and an old neighbor friend of ours, in sunny, beautiful, Jamaica. I had to write this post before I left because the jumble of words above has been heavy on my heart. I hope whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do or are planning to do, that you know you’re enough. The photo above was taken in Chicago by my sweet friend Shalyn. Who just announced her business’ new name. Hooray! Head over to her blog to check it out. Enjoy your day and I’ll be back next week xoxo

Mar 26

Pep Talk Tuesday {Pay It Forward}

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pay It Forward movement. You know, cover the cost of groceries for the teary eyed mom with three kids in front of you when her two cards decline. Or help carry the elderly man’s groceries to his car in the pouring rain. Or my personal fave because it’s so easy and unexpected, pay for the person’s Starbucks drink behind you in line just to make them smile. What’s a couple extra bucks every now and then, right? They always say, the best way to lift your spirits is to lift someone else’s first. It seems an unlikely truth but one that certainly holds its own weight.

This morning my sleepy behind ventured out to my local Starbucks nice and early to tackle a pile of work that needs my attention. I stood in line behind seven people, with not one person coming in behind me. It wasn’t until I gave my card to the cashier that I felt someone finally step in line at my back. I turned around and asked the middle aged man standing there what he wanted. I had to actually ask him a few times because he was so surprised I wanted to cover his order. “Why are you being so nice?” he asked carefully. I simply told him that it’s important to pay it forward in life.

I come to find out that this man was buying a Skinny Caramel Macchiato for his wife. His wife just lost her Dad and was feeling really down so he was getting a drink for her. I told him that I hoped her drink brought her a sliver of comfort in this tough time. And when I sat back down at my table to open my laptop I saw him stand in front of the Starbucks window and wave bye to me. He mouthed ‘Thank you’ again and nodded his head to me before hopping in his truck to leave. That’s when I noticed he was wearing my alma mater’s mascot and letters on his sweat shirt and hat.


The world has the potential to be so so great. I believe it and know it’s possible with something as simple as buying a stranger’s coffee. So whose with me? I encourage you too to pay it forward somehow today whether it be a big or really small gesture of kindness and love. Let me know below what you love to do to pay it forward! Above photo from the amazing Shay Nelson who is one of my faves to enjoy coffee with. Go give her a hello! Happy Tuesday, guys xo

Mar 25

FAQs: Ceremony Planning Tips

In a wedding world that places so much emphasis on all the pretty things and little details (which I obviously and absolutely adore!) some soon to be brides and grooms can forget the most important part of their big day; you know, the part where you officially become married to your significant other. I know from my experiences working with my clients, that finding that balance between ceremonial tradition and a uniqueness that won’t bore your guests to sleep, can be tough. The good news is there are so many endless options for making your ceremony reflective of you and your fiance. Here’s my thoughts on what you can do to make your ceremony be the best part of your wedding day!


Engage Your Guests If having your guests fall asleep as you say I Do has you dreading your current ceremony plans, think about involving them into the act. There are so many ways to do this and the best part is your guests will appreciate the honor and be more likely to stay awake and alert. For those non-church weddings, you could have your guests sit in a circular formation around your alter, signifying your audience completing the union between you and your soon to be spouse. Consider passing your wedding rings around the room, inviting guests to ‘bless’ each ring as it is passed along (we did this ourselves and our guests absolutely loved it). Or have your officiant invite three to five guests at random, as they wish, to stand and share advice on marriage in lieu of a traditional reading or verse. Guests will love the change of pace and are sure to stay engaged in your ceremony especially if they know you’re depending on them.

Skip Tradition Maybe you’re a nontraditional kind of couple. Sand ceremonies? Yuck. Unity candles? No thanks. Singing your vows with your musical-lover fiance? Awesome. Someone do this and hire me to plan that celebration please and thank you! So many brides and grooms fear the nontraditional. It’s an unspoken rule that ceremonies have to be done a certain way (which sometimes they do) but truth be told you can do whatever you’d like as you and your spouse make a commitment to on another (pending church/religious rules). Maybe you’d like to walk down the aisle alone. Or walk down the aisle with your soon to be husband! As long as your sign a license and follow your country’s or state’s guidelines on what must be said and done during the ceremony (In Ontario our officiant had to say by law “by the power invested in me” part) feel free to do whatever best represents you and your fiance’s love, relationship and style.

Add A Bit Of Tradition With that being said, if you want to still follow some sort of tradition, there are a few things that are totally fun and traditional to do it would be a bummer not to include them. My personal faves both personally and professionally? Walking down the aisle, kissing your new spouse for the first time, or even giving your husband the best accessory he will ever own :) As much as you want your ceremony to stand out from the others your guests have seen, it is a wedding ceremony and you’ll want some components to reflect that (and believe me so will your parents and if applicable, your sweet grandma). Your guests are there to love and support you, and regardless of how you say I Do it’s a given they’ll cheer you on as you walk back down the aisle as husband and wife, sand ceremony or not.

Married chicks, what did you do during your ceremony that was unique? What about tradition? What ideas can you share with brides to be? The gorgeous photo above is from an amazing HGE summer wedding last year at The Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Amy Carroll shot that beautiful celebration. That dress gets me every time! xoxo