Pep Talk Tuesday {Today’s Potential for Happiness}

Do you ever dream so big your head – or heart – could burst? Or better yet, do you ever feel heavy with overwhelm?

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I’ve been on the verge of bursting lately. And today I woke up feeling a bit tired, not physically, but mentally because the hopes and the dreams inside this head of mine feel too big some days. It’s not a bad thing per say but it’s a little bit overwhelming when you have a hard time turning the brain off and being ok with just being in the now. I read something the other day about our purpose in life and how our purpose is really to just be in the moment, living the now, doing what’s in front of us. In theory this is simple and doable if you break the now (whatever that is for you) down into tangible steps. Think about that for a second; it’s simple!) But here we are (and I generalize when I say ‘we’) rushing around, panicked, stressed, sad even, trying to get to the next best thing, trying to out do ourselves, and trying not to feel like a disaster when the next best thing or the next level really, falls short of our grasp and worse our expectations. Raise your hand if this cycle feels real. I’m over here with both hands high up in the air mind you.

I took this past weekend off. Three days off. No work. No emails. No phone calls. No ‘let me sneak upstairs for an hour of work!’ or ‘let’s swing by Hobby Lobby for a few work related items.’ This hasn’t happened since probably last year. That was a hard pillow to swallow when I was able to realize how badly I needed a break. That the gift of time for myself isn’t something I’m able to give to myself. Those three days were full of the things my heart needed. Plain and simple rest and relaxation doing this things I love most with the people I love most. I’m fairly certain that in 10 or 20 or even 50 years, I’ll love back on these things, these days of rest filled with joy, and feel like it was worth my time to indulge instead of scurrying to achieve anything beyond myself and my capabilities. So today:

Be easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. That’s all you can do.

Take five minutes. Really. Go take 5 minutes. And do something for you.

Write down two things that you’ve done well recently. Write them here.

And remember tomorrow will come; but today is full of potential for happiness.

Go seize the day, friends! Xoxo

P.S. Trouvaille tickets are on sale at the early bird rate for four more days! Eeeek!

Trouvaille Workshop 2.0

Guys! It’s here. Registration for Trouvaille 2.0 is now open! Happy Birthday to me indeed.

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A funny thing happened. April’s Trouvaille Workshop (which was the first) surpassed all of my expectations and then some. I remember feeling so nervous and overwhelmed with emotion just an hour before opening sessions while I prepped in my hotel room, thinking, “What am I doing? I can’t run a workshop like this!” I prayed real quick, slipped into my nude heels and figured if I was called to create an experience like Trouvaille then I surely was going to deliver. And then some. The three days of workshop material just flew by. I met some amazing and inspiring women. There were 5:00 am to 1:00 am days that were packed with happiness, hugs, wisdom, friendship, LEARNING (my goodness the stuff shared those three days blew me away) and so much more. As I drove home from the airport on Wednesday after dropping Alicia off for her flight home, I thought, ‘Well, that has to happen again.’ And in that exact moment I received a text from Jodi saying I’d be crazy not to get on planning the next Trouvaille Workshop. So here we are.

Trouvaille Workshop 2.0 is going to be equally as amazing as the first but of course with some improvements here and there because I learned a lot the first time around. While some of the speakers, the timeline and the material shared will be similar, there will be many new speakers, new topics and new surprised for the next class of inspiring Trouvaille attendees. This Trouvaille brand has meant so much to me in the short span of time it’s been around and being able to share this journey with such an incredible community is beyond fulfilling and rewarding. I feel so lucky, guys.

You can head over here to Eventbrite to grab an Early Bird ticket before they go to regular pricing on June 1st.

Photos and a video from April’s workshop are coming soon. Believe me, it’s going to be worth the wait.

Xoxo

Making Things Happen Recap Spring 2014

Last month I had the pleasure of travelling to North Carolina to be a part of my third Making Things Happen intensive (and my second as a guest speaker). Being a part of this amazing community for over a year and a half now, and having the chance to experience it all in different capacities has been life changing and good for my soul. Like really good for my heart. So often I’m asked what the intensive is really all about and what to expect. While it’s hard to fully comprehend the magic that happens in the group, I’m going to give it a go and simplify my thoughts below for you.

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Making Things Happen is about community. Community is defined as, ‘a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.’ How incredible and fitting is that for an endeavor like Making Things Happen? Considering the amount of ways we connect with one another in our digital age, and how easy it is to confuse acquaintances with friends, I know I’ve really struggled with identifying my true fiends from just those I ‘know’ over the years of my adulthood. And this isn’t meant to sound negative or mean. It’s a hard thing to just type out here to you. It’s an even harder thing to wrap my head around because most days thanks in part to social media it feels like I have friends by the thousands. By the tens of thousands! But a sense of community (and within that realm some even deeper and more remarkable friendships) is truly what I’ve been most grateful to get out of the intensive experience.

Making Things Happen is about perspective. And clarity. Clarity is the best word I can possibly come up with based on my latest trip to Chapel Hill. The previous two times I attended were no doubt amazing and wonderful and better than the last, but this most recent intensive silenced a lot of the noise I had happening around me. I was able to get shockingly honest with myself and go places within me that I had been avoiding. On the other side of fear is success. There’s also balance and joy. And facing some of my fears and the things I knew to be true those couple days I sat with close to 100 sweet souls, ultimately helped me realize how I was running myself into the ground, focused on more of this and more of _____ (followers, perfection, late nights, a better portfolio, insert whatever materialistic or trivial thing you’re chasing here). Having the ability to see everything in front of me and knowing in my soul what I can afford to remove or purge and what I can afford and want to actually pursue (like a family) was so incredibly freeing for me.

Making Things Happen is about the work. The hardest work you’ll ever do to make your best life happen. It amazes me how when you’re sitting in that room going through the intensive’s content, you’re absolutely digging into the first chunk of hard work you’re about to face. Being honest, getting to your core, writing our your fears, learning to say no to things and processing this all into actionable steps IS hard work. I leave Making Things Happen often feeling an odd sense of being hopefully exhausted. But as Gina always says, when you leave that room life will hit you right in the face. It’s inevitable. It’ll knock you on your ass too. Life is going to pick right back up where it left off and it’s up to you to put in the hard work to cultivate change and get whatever it is done, to reroute your habits, routine, life, whatever. Did you know 40% of our daily routine is done out of pure habit? (I’m reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg right now; brilliant!) If a good chunk of your habits could stand to change a little that’s a lot of hard work. But it’s encouraging, and I speak from experience here, to know how possible that hard work is when you leave such a powerful workshop, and how fulfilling it is to life a life with purpose when you have a community genuinely cheering you on.

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To everyone at all three intensives I’ve been to, thank you for sharing, encouraging, teaching, listening and loving on not just myself but the rest of the brave souls sitting in those three diferent spaces, yearning to change and be their best selves. To those of you who have wondered and thought about coming one of these days but have yet to purchase a seat, give yourself the gift of this experience. The gift of time. The gift of grace, discovery and enlightenment.

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You can purchase your seat here. Scroll down on that page to read more about the intensive and FAQs.

Have a beautiful Tuesday, friends and thank you to Robyn Van Dyke for the gorgeous photos. Xoxo

Jamie + Ryan {HGE Wedding with Harrison Studio}

Goodness gracious. I’m not sure where to start with this one, my friends.

Jamie and Ryan had one of the loveliest (and most labor intensive) weddings last Labor Day weekend on the shores of Lake Michigan. Set against the bride’s parent’s beachfront property, complete with miles of white sand, blue water and soft green dune grass, this event was the stuff wedding dreams are made of. I’m thrilled to announce this event in all its splendor is featured in a five page spread via the national issue of The Knot out on new stands now. Pinch me, guys. And I’m even more overjoyed to finally be able to share this labor of love with you all. From the gorgeous bride’s killer gown, that amazing tent set up directly on the beach thanks to Fairytale Tents, all of the understated but lovely coral and peach florals my staff and I created, the driftwood arch made by the bride’s family, the dreamy images captured by my colleagues and friends, Ben and Laura of Harrison Studio, the soft seating lounge areas set in the sand; oh I could go on and on. But I’ll quit typing now and let the stunning imagery do the talking from here on out, deal?

Did I mention there was a 60% chance of thunderstorms all day the day of the event? Not one drop fell from the sky.

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The day started out with the sweetest first look between the beautiful bride and dapper groom.

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Halfway en route to the beach, was a pit stop station to ensure guest’s comfort during the event.

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The bouquets were made up entirely of huge, oversized, and fluffy looking florals with no greens as per the bride’s request. A selection of orange Free Spirit roses, David Austin garden roses in ivories and peaches and Michigan grown dahlias, made up the oversized bouquets. Paired together with the girl’s navy and polka dot Jenny Yoo gowns, the colors were downright delicious. Jamie has a love of monograms so we hired on McKay from Oatmeal Lace Design to embroider some grosgrain ribbon with every girl’s monogram to fasten around the stems of the bouquets.

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The most perfect wedding ceremony; everyone’s toes in the sand just like the bride has always dreamed of.

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My dear friend, Laura Hooper was the creative genius behind the stationery and calligraphy. From the custom box mailer invitations, custom wedding map, gorgeous white ink calligraphy, custom flag stir sticks, menus, table numbers and programs, she went above and beyond to make sure her work tied together the Kate Spade meets nautical meets preppy vibe and design aesthetic we were after. The couple’s custom monogram (with nautical flags!) was a detail used throughout the event from the cocktail napkins to the Thank You cards the couple sent after the wedding.

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The simple but textural compote centerpieces were arranged in gold mercury glass stemmed bowls. We had to keep the centerpieces fairly small to allow room on the King’s Drape tables for the four course, family style tapas meal (which was absolutely amazing thanks to Hearthstone Catering). I also put a small touch of geranium leaf in each arrangement to soften them up a little and help lend to the preppy vibe Ryan really loves. And those dahlias! Can we talk about those dahlias for a second? Grown in Holland, Michigan they were literally picked off the stalk two days before the wedding for ultimate freshness. They stole the floral show that day would you agree?

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Some other fun details incorporated into the event? Mini Tabasco sauces at each guest’s placesetting in honor of the bride’s love for spice. Also at each table was a bell to ring for those who wanted to toast to the couple or for those who wanted the bride and groom to embrace. I love an alternative to the tradition of clinking glasses, especially when it ties in with a wedding theme. The tablescape rentals from Special Events Rental were just perfect and so lovely.

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Stripes and Swiss dots. Is there anything better?

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Remember the rain forecast I mentioned above? Yeah this happened instead.

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The couple actually had seven wedding cakes made by a family friend who owns Grand Finale Pastry and Cakes. Once the sunset and the lights came on in the tent, the couple cut their main wedding cake before letting guests decide which flavor of the seven they most wanted. You had to see this tent in person that night. Fairytale Tents did a stellar job with the draping and lights and you could see the lit up structure from miles down the beachstrip that evening.

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My team and I also placed hurricane vases and pillar candles in the sand randomly around the beach for am ambient glow post sunset. You can see this a bit in the above photo off to the left. Tied together with the bistro lights over the cocktail area lounges, the string lights in the tent and then of course the sparkler send off at midnight, I have to say this wedding ended with quite the bang. Happy bride and groom? Happy Rhi indeed.

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Jamie and Ryan, it was such a pleasure being a part of your celebration. Thank you for trusting my team and I to pull off what I hope was your absolute dream big day. I wish you a lifetime of happiness, summer days on the water and more oyster than you can imagine. Below is an extensive e list of the vendors who helped pull this wedding off. I owe so much to everyone for their talents, hard work and dedication. This wedding was a logistical challenge, one that everyone handled so gracefully. You can also view more over on The Knot’s home page. Happy Monday, friends!

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Photography: Harrison Studio / Full planning, design, florals and direction: Hey Gorgeous Events / Paper and calligraphy: Laura Hooper Calligraphy / Hair and make up: Renue Salon / Bridesmaid’s gowns: Jenny Yoo Collection / Bride’s gown: Ever After / Lounge furniture: AFR Event Furnishings / Catering: The Hearthstone Bistro, Bar and Grill / Rentals: Special Events Rentals / Tent, lighting, flooring and draping: Fairytale Tents /Wood tables, mason jars and misc rentals: The Rental Co / Monogrammed ribbons: Oatmeal Lace Design / Cakes: Grand Finale Desserts and Pastries / Linens: I Do Linens and La Tavola Fine Linen Rentals / Videography: Wedit / Band: The Empty Pockets

Alexandra + Josh {HGE Wedding with Mango Studios}

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There’s not much I can say to really give this wedding the justice it deserves. I get goosebumps just looking over these gorgeous photos from Mango Studios, reliving this day, all these moments, over and over again. Alex and Josh exemplify true love, that selfless, knock you off your feet, I-want-that kinda love. I shared a bit more about these two and the process I went through getting to know them over on Ruffled where the entire wedding is featured. And I encourage you to go read what I shared so you too can catch a glimpse into the world of Alex and Josh. It’s a beautiful, musically inspired, incredibly raw, imperfectly perfect world that I was utterly and absolutely honored to have been a part of.

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When a bride asks for a crown of bay leaves to pair with her Jenny Packham gown, you don’t argue.

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Alex and Josh prepared for their wedding in their respective childhood homes, with their families and bridal party members surrounding them and helping them calm their nerves. The couple decided to see each other for the first time when they met at the alter. There’s magic in this folks. Magic I tell ya. The couple’s faith and belief in the Lord combined with their deep admiration and respect for their family’s culture was very inspiring to me.

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Boxwood greens, white wax flower, bay leaves and brunia berries made up the boutonnieres.

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The church was breathtaking. What a perfect place to start your married life in right?

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In the next photo you’ll see Josh in the church, and beside him his father who also served as his best man. This photo was taken the second the church doors opened, revealing Alex and her Dad beginning the bride’s processional. Oh, and beside Josh’s dad is the bride’s brother. Don’t get me wrong, I love a gorgeous detail photo as much as the next person out there, but THIS is what weddings are about. The longer I’ve worked in this industry the more I find I’ve grown to focus on and appreciate what’s really important here like the emotion that’s undeniable in this photo.

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Best ‘Just Married’ photo I’ve ever seen!

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Between the ceremony send off and the traditional Italian cocktail hour starting back at the venue, the bridal party hiked out to the woods for some amazing photos and video footage. The natural surroundings and Canadian autumn weather were the perfect compliment to the wedding aesthetic and couple’s personal style, am I right?

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Each girl’s bouquet was made up with a variety of different blooms including chocolate cosmos, white anemones, David Austin garden roses, pink astilbe, white veronica, privet berries, jasmine vine, bay leaves and two varieties of ferns. The bouquets were understated but romantic to compliment each bridesmaid’s style of dress. Aren’t these girls so stunning? They were  so sweet throughout the day, making me feel welcome while making sure Alex felt like a million bucks.

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This.

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Josh is in an amazingly rad band and music is a huge part of the couple’s lives. Naturally this happened.

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It’s customary at Italian weddings for each guest to take a shot once they make their way through the receiving line. Not a bad tradition to follow through with right? Even better, after your choice of shot, you make your way to the dance floor, where an impressive display of Italian antipasti selections await. Towers of breads, meats, cheeses and seafood, chefs stations and platters of appetizers, followed by a four course meal, late night food display and dessert table all ensured each and every one of the 220 guests were satisfied and well taken care of.

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It’s always such a pleasure to work with Jocelyn of Sugarbelle Cakes. She’s a true artist and joy to work with whenever I have the pleasure of working back home in Canada. Her trio of delectable cakes were surrounded by cake stands with authentic Italian cannolis made at a little bakery that Alex’s family frequently visits and homemade custard tarts.

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Then after the couple cut their cake, we ushered everyone out to the lake front for a sparkler send off under the guise of it being a fun photo opportunity. Which it was. However, just as the couple exited out of the tunnel of guests the first firework shot off into the sky from the nearest lake pier off the property. Guests quickly gathered around the couple and took in the 12 minute surprise show, clapping and cheering with every firework that lit up the October sky.

I hate to be redundant here but this was magic. Absolute magic.

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Oh and please watch this video. Like right now. It’s the most remarkable wedding production I’ve ever seen. Outside In Studio just gets it. Between being an absolute pleasure to work with (Ric and Vic I adore you guys), being true artists with their craft and giving people like Alex and Josh these hand crafted memories to treasure forever? Fine fine fine, I’ll shut up now. You probably get it. Watch the video. Love on this couple. You’re welcome :)

Alexandra & Joshua – Mountains are made molehills. from Outside In Studio on Vimeo.

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Photography: Mango Studios / Partial planning, design, florals and coordination: Hey Gorgeous Events / Videographer: Outside In Studio / Venue: Liuna Gardens / Wedding dress: Jenny Packham / Groom’s suit: Harry Rosen / Wedding cake: Sugarbelle Cakes / Fireworks: Firemasters Productions / Vintage rentals: Fancy Fray / Linens: La Tavola and Luxe Event Linen / Stationery: done by the bride