Vision Board

I was completely one of those twelve year old girls who cut up magazines and created collages of cell phones, lipstick, ballerinas with perfect form, and the word "sexy" and glued it all together, stuck it on my wall. Back then it was for fun, but I can see now how creating those collages helped me refine what I loved and wished for. As an adult, I've been creating vision boards on Pinterest for several years now. You can see 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and now... 2017

 Photos are not my own, for a specific source for each image, please see this  link . 

Photos are not my own, for a specific source for each image, please see this link

It's fun to see how my dreams and tastes have changed. The constants: family first, inspiring work, energetic social life, travel, healthy living. This year, in my quest to rise, my hope is that these other dreams will naturally follow. For the first year EVER, I started out January 1st without anything I wanted to change about myself. 

I woke up on January 1st with no weight I "needed" to lose, no credit card debt, no goal to buy a home (ZING), no resolving to create a healthy boundary for work, no urge to have another baby, or to plan a specific trip, or to grow my hair out or, or, or. 

Accept yourself, and expect more from yourself. -- Gretchen Rubin

How freeing is that! I'm excited to rise to the next level this year. To find more flow in my creative work, to get to the next level in with my fitness goals, to put my phone down more often. I don't know about you but I see zero social media in that vision board! 

So, CHEERS! To squeezing more life out of everyday. 

2017: My Word for the Year

Good Morning! Reporting here from my dining room table at 7:00 am. How is your new year going? For me, I definitely feel the renewing energy that comes with January 1st. In the past, I've done every right of passage for the new year. Resolutions, vision boards, letters to my future self, extremely intense goal setting with tracking, a word of the year, and simply defining the values I want to operate from. Clearly, I am big on self development and genuinely find joy in this process. 

Some may say that resolving to make a change or set a goal arbitrarily on January 1st is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure, but I disagree. My personal view is that the tradition of starting a new year is a gift. For a clean slate, fresh start, new page. I don't know about you, but I am always interested in an extra chance to extend grace to myself. 

I usually start thinking about my goals for the new year at my birthday (November 20th). It gives me a trial period for my new goals and gives me a jumpstart on the year. :) A few weeks ago a friend asked if I had any specific goals for the year. For once in my life, I said, "I actually only have one goal! To wake up earlier than my kids every day". If this strikes you as funny, take a look at the below quote. 

"Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become" ---Jim Rohn 

Let's look at that again. Success is something you attract by the person you become. I realized this year more than ever that taking care of myself and devoting TIME to my personal development was the key to the improvement of my business. As a mom of two little guys, time is hard to carve out. A few years ago I resolved to wake up earlier and I loved it. But then, I was pregnant, and tired, and then wedding season, and then, and then... you get the picture. 

My word for 2017 is rise. I want to literally rise, earlier everyday. Figuratively, I want to rise to the person I want to be in every area of my life. What better time that 6:00 am to spend 90 minutes doing things that will directly improve my well being? For the past two weeks I've been rolling out of bed around 6:00, brushing my teeth and heading straight to the coffee grinder. You may remember me posting about The Miracle Morning. More than just a book, it's a program with a simply designed morning routine (the SAVERS). I do not follow this exclusively, but most days I incorporate all six activities. 

Here's what my morning looks like currently. But unlike my prior, my rigid self, I am open to changing this as the morning unfolds. 

1. Brush teeth, get warm clothes on and brew coffee. Drink a giant glass of water. Turn on a playlist on spotify. I can't stand a silent house!

2. Fill out the Five Minute Journal. I write the best things that happened the day before, 3 things I'm grateful for, what would "make the day great", and my personal affirmations. This knocks out "scribing & affirmations" for the Miracle Morning Routine. (p.s. I used to use the 5 minute journal app, but I have a strong preference for the physical journal!)

3. After I do my affirmations, I pour the coffee and get seated for a guided meditation. I currently am using aaptiv, but there are a million guided meditation apps. I only meditate for about 10 minutes. Currently, I suck at this but that clearly means I need to do it! When I put music on, I connect to my bose speaker. When it's time for the meditation I simply switch the app. The simplicity of it makes this much less of a hurdle! 

4. Visualization. Admittedly, this is something I am still getting comfortable with. Visualizing yourself achieving your most coveted goals is scary, actually! Remember this quote? BYE. It's perfect and I am obsessed with it. 

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson

5. I read for as long as I want to, or can from a non-fiction book. I love non-fiction so this is so fun for me! Here is what I've been reading lately. :) 

Then, the kids wake up and chaos ensues! No, really. Remy just woke up so I'm going to hit publish and change a diaper. Love and peace to all! 

 

Joy Comes in the Morning

The first rule of blogging is never to say, "oh my goodness it has been so long since I've written on this blog!". But hey, it's true. Hi everyone! I've felt a subtle tug to return to writing, to return to sharing more of the behind the scenes of my life and entrepreneurial journey with you all. In the last few months I have had several new friends (clients, team members and acquaintances) comment on how they first discovered my work and story through this blog. It's been about two years (!) since I've posted anything personal on this site but I'm really looking forward to finding my footing again. 

If you're new to this space, welcome! My name is Rachel, I am a wedding planner, designer, mom, wife, red wine drinker, people-pleasing introvert, aspiring morning person, vegan, dancer, self-development junkie, and hopefully your BFF. I founded Sincerely, Ginger back in 2011, with not much else than a dream. A dream to spend my days serving engaged couples, sharing what little I knew about weddings and design. A dream to have more time with my soon-to-be-born son, Rowan. A dream to build a legacy for myself that was focused and driven by the things that matter to me. 

I thought it would be fun to start this new series by reflecting on 2015 and 2016, looking at past goals telling you about my new ones. A little preview... it's been so much more of a wild ride than I ever could have imagined. Amazing clients, financial success, recognition in my field, a new baby, but also there has been tragedy, illness, client relationships that haven't been what I expected, nights of working where I didn't see my kids or husband, and a serious bout of anxiety. It hasn't all been perfect, but it's been joyful. Thank you for your encouragement. I am 100% positive I couldn't do it without you. 

 From Remy's newborn session with Cory Weber. Those boys are my life!

From Remy's newborn session with Cory Weber. Those boys are my life!

Holiday Table Feature

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This week I'm spending some time with my in-laws, taking naps, drinking wine, and of course baking my favorite dinner rolls (seriously, so good. from here.) Wanted to pop over to the blog to let you all know about my first television appearance! 

Last week I celebrated my birthday and the next day was invited to share tips and tricks for hosting Thanksgiving. It was so much fun to put together seven affordable projects using natural elements and things you likely already have around the house. Live TV isn't my strong suit, please be gracious. 

Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Grateful for each of you! 

 

Run

 My Favorite Photo from Lo & Jason's engagement session with  Lauren Kinsey . 

My Favorite Photo from Lo & Jason's engagement session with Lauren Kinsey

Run and chase your dreams, friends. Don't look back. Life and love are abundant. 

Inspired By...

Back from our East Coast vacation and feeling just enough refreshed to make it to wedding season. I've come back to little stacks of paperwork and the opportunity to do my best work for my brides. With wedding season coming at full speed, I'm finding the need more than ever for balance and boundaries. Yesterday, while browsing Pinterest, I came across this blog, and fell in love with this set of images. Natural but refined. Old but bright. Calm but still encouraging. 

 

Happy Spring, all of you. I hope your season is filled to top with fresh flowers and coffee dates in the rain. 

Rachel's Happy Plan

Anyone else around here feeling the winter blues? Feeling stressed or like you're working so hard and "nothing is happening"? This winter I have been dealing with a lot of that, and while it's tough to be candid about it sometimes I think it's good to be honest. Recently I was also told by my doctor after extensive blood work that I have a sluggish thyroid, low vitamin D levels, low iron, and too much stress. It was a reality check to hear from my doctor that if I didn't manage my stress level on a daily basis, no nutrition based solutions would help my tiredness and anxiety. The current Rx is a blend of micronutrients, rest, and things that make me happy. 

I've been doing my best to "activate my parasympathetic" as she calls it. :) To me this means boundaries with work, time to laugh with Rowan hands free, dates with my handsome husband, deep breaths and flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. :) It will be a process to figure out my balance between working hard (because I love it so much), and taking breaks to breathe and unplug a bit. Here are some things I've been doing so far, if you're interested! I think that no matter your situation, we all need to spend more time focusing on self care. Self care is not selfish, as so many of my closest tell me. :) You can follow along on Instagram at #rachelshappyplan to see the things I'm (trying) to do each day. 

1. Rising early. I purchased the e-book, Early to Rise to help me with this goal! I think a major roadblock I was having was feeling pressure to exercise first thing in the morning, when I really do much better exercising in the afternoon. I've been rising around 6:30 (a far cry from 8:30) and giving Rowan his morning bottle, then heading back to bed with my coffee and a book. No work, just play. 

2. Letting go of goals. It's hard for me to do, as you know I'm a big goal setter. Recently I let go of my goal to run a half marathon in June, and just let others fall away. It's okay to let go of goals when they no longer serve you. 

3. Expressing Gratitude. As part of my rising early habit, I fill out my gratitude journal! I use an app (The 5 Minute Journal). It's a transformative practice to write out what you're grateful for and what will make this day go well before anything is in my way. Before bed, I write what good things happened with a photo. It's great for a visual person like me. 

4. Powering down. I am slowly reading Hands Free Mama and experiencing the power of being more unplugged when playing with Rowan, cooking, or working. Less scrolling on my phone and more stacking blocks with my little one. Less Netflix, more talks with my husband. Sign me up.

5. Exercising only for fun. Part of the reason I gave up my goal to run a half marathon in June was because I was feeling so much pressure to run long distances that I wouldn't exercise at all! How silly is that. On Saturday we went on a family fun run and I've been enjoying daily yoga. 

6. Asking for help. SO hard for me. But when I know there are things that I have to do and I'm just straight up overwhelmed, I'm getting better at asking for help. On Saturday I had a trillion meetings and I asked my friend to watch Rowan for a few hours, she happily did, just like I would have! My in-laws are always willing to help if we ask and know we wouldn't take advantage of that. Rowan's starting daycare and it was uncomfortable for me to admit to Isaiah that it was something I needed.

7. Planning a vacation. I won't be able to do this all the time, but right now we are excited about our trip out East! Isaiah and I are planning surprise activities for our mini trip to Boston. 

8. Not pushing my limits. Giving clients realistic deadlines is helpful in so many ways. I would stay up all night designing floor plans and reorganizing spreadsheets, but I don't have to. They don't expect that and it's not a balanced way to work. 

9. Prioritizing and writing it down. Most nights I tend my to-do list by migrating unfinished tasks to the next day and prioritizing. I sleep better knowing exactly what I have to do the next day. 

10. Spending time with friends. Simple and easy, yet so easy not to do. Yesterday I called up my best mama friends for a spur of the minute brunch and they said YES! I was so pumped. We're all so busy that it's easy to forget how nice it is to have some girl time. Grateful. 

Maintaining happiness is a work in progress but it's the most rewarding work. Guess what? Since I've set more boundaries and let go a bit, my business hasn't started to fail, I haven't gained 10 pounds, I'm not spending thousands of dollars. I've noticed in a short time my clients starting to respect me even more, my family rising to the occasion, my spirit more open and generous, and my metabolism getting back to normal. I've been working on a routine that works instead of holding myself to old expectations of "perfect".

It's Sunday night and I've organized my week in my planner, drafted 40 e-mails, written out my to-do list, and blogged this post. It took me about an hour (or the time we would've spent watching Netflix and eating gelato a month ago). When I reflect on the harder weeks, they were the weeks that I wasted time feeling overwhelmed instead of doing something proactive. 

Hope you all have the happiest week ever! Fill it with things you love, and nothing else. 


April Goals

Hooray, it's April! You may have noticed that I skipped my March goals, and in fact I'm a day late for April, but I say progress not perfection. Am I right? How was your March? Mine was busy and honestly filled with sickness and not a lot of fun. It's astounding to me, as always, that we are already through with the first quarter of 2014. Rowan is almost 10 months old. Wedding season is on it's way. This year has been fruitful in more ways than one. Counting my blessings and trusting that our hard work and dedication is paying off each day. 

In April, my focus will primarily be on work for SGW. We are headed to the East Coast for what I'm calling my "Sincerely Ginger Spring Break" for the first 10 days of May and I want to be able to enjoy that much needed break but still exceed my client's expectations. For that to happen, it will take some planning! Rowan is going to continue with daycare 1 day per week, and Isaiah will have 1 or 2 days per week off, which will give me 2-3 focused work days each week. 

  • Continue to work on perfecting my morning routine by rising early (6:30), reading and pouring into myself before my day starts.
  • Start each weekday by emptying my inbox, logging into client management software and identifying my most important things by writing them down in my Simplified Planner.
  • Donate and sell a bunch of clothes and things to lighten up my closet for spring.
  • Launch my new monthly client newsletter to keep in touch about behind the scenes happenings even further.
  • Finish reading Early to Rise, Hands Free Mama, and Worth Every Penny. 
  • Launch a new little personal project Mid-April (coming soon!)
  • Plan Rowan's Birthday Party and send out invitations! (AHH!)
  • Shoot my office for the blog with Courtney (hooray!)

It will be a full and fulfilling month ahead. So excited to head downstate for the weekend with one of my brides, enjoy countless cappuccinos at Morsels and prepare for my first few weddings and a spring editorial shoot in May. Desperately hoping for some warmer weather so I can take Rowan out for walks with friends. Oh that's another thing, more friend time in April! Do you set monthly goals? Tell me about them below or send me a link to your blog! Would love to encourage you this month. 

 

Business Goals... An Update!

Last night I was at a family friend's house, Mary, with her and my mother in law. Cultivating relationships with women in other generations is so important to me, and these ladies make it so easy with their openness. I am always amazed at their generosity and how easily they give heartfelt advice. Over my third glass of red wine, I started to talk about the reality of my day to day life, the stress, my business, being a mom, and just how challenging the balancing act was. Diane (my mother in law, who is honestly the most supportive woman I've ever been blessed to have in my life), reminded me, for not the first time, to recognize the gravity and the intensity of everything I'm doing right now. Caring for Rowan, running a blossoming business from home, balancing self care, friendships, and a household. It's true. It's intense, but it's everything I've hoped for. 

 Image from our Garden Shoot with  Eliza Jean Photography

Image from our Garden Shoot with Eliza Jean Photography

Last year I wrote out my business goals for 2013. Reading those back today I was really excited and surprised at the transformation this little venture has gone through in the past year. My father in law said to me that he was skeptical about the viability of this business at first, and I'm sure he wasn't alone. He then followed up with such a nice compliment about how he can't believe how much progress I've made in a year. I don't say any of this to toot my own horn, please know that! I do believe in recognizing a job well done and boosting my confidence when things feel hard. It's easy to forget all the good things happening. 

So, let's review the goals, shall we?

1. Create an amazing wedding experience for Amy & Jonathon in May. On the water, incredible florals and some of the nicest people I've met to this day. I can't wait for their celebration. Yes! This wedding was amazing. I was super pregnant, but it was such a great accomplishment. I can't believe we're coming up to their anniversary already! Did you see the post?

2. Write my business plan. I've been working on it for a while because I want it to work for me, and not be homework. It'll be very detailed and outline every aspect of the business ranging from finances to client experiences and marketing. I want to outline my packages once and for all and write meaningful and thorough content for the website. Hooray! I don't exactly have a business plan, but I have streamlined things SO MUCH and have a clear understanding of my brand and finances. I outlined my offerings clearly, designed a website and it's all full of content. :) 

3. Book two more weddings for this fall. There are a few leads I've been working with and trying to figure if they'll be the right fit. If it's meant to be, it will be! This is an amazing testament to setting goals and knocking them out of the park. When I set this goal I was so scared. So so so scared. I did work another wedding in 2013 and am fully booked for 2014 (12 weddings). The best part is, I feel deeply connected to all of my couples and truly like we are a good fit. So blessed by this. 

4. Quit my day job, once and for all. This is a big one because my time is so valuable. The more time I can put into my work the better quality it is. Without the 9-5, I won't be as mentally exhausted to work hard when I'm home. I am open to working at a part time job that is more fulfilling. This might be the most amazing of all. Quit my job at the bank May 31st, and never looked back. All sorts of craziness happened with a PT job, but I am so happy to say that I'm working from home full time. Spending Rowan's first 9 months with him was so meaningful to me.

5. Host two editorial/ inspirational shoots. This is multi-purpose. I envision these events as a way to connect with other vendors in my area and also to showcase my work and build my portfolio so that I have some solid content on my website. I want to show future clients that I am good at what I do! Check! These were crucial to getting my website up. You can see the first one here (featured on Wedding Chicks), from August, and the next over here, which was recently featured on Style Me Pretty! Hosted a third early this year and am planning a spring shoot that will make you fall on the floor for this May. Yay! 

6. Build a website. I don't know at all how this will play out without a web designer, because I'm not one at all. But I did invest in a logo designed by Chelsea (oh my deer), and will hopefully have some good content by the time this transpires. With my business name change, I got a new logo designed which I adore, by Juliet Lapham! I spend this fall designing my website with Squarepace and am so very pleased with it. 

7. Practice floral design so I am comfortable offering full service florals by the time of my official launch. I've partnered with a local farm and florist who is amazing to work with. So excited about this! Oh goodness yes. I've become more and more in love with flowers as time has passed. I am currently only offering floral design to my clients who are also planning/coordination clients. Flowers are so life-giving. More of this please. 

8. Connect with local vendors. Making it a goal to sit down and meet with the primary vendors in the area and put together a resource guide for myself and future clients. Luckily we have some of the nicest people around, so this hopefully won't be too tough if I get over my fear of putting myself out there. Cue the happy tears. I was so scared about this. I was hanging on to so much fear about putting myself out there but I am so glad I set this goal. The relationships I've made in this industry are some of my most cherished. 

9. Finish my office. On our tight budget this will be tough, but I live with a handy husband who's pretty good with his tool box. This space is so important to me. Our house is small and we are sacrificing a guest room and a TV room for a nursery and an office, which I am grateful for. I want to make this space functional and beautiful! I love my office!! Isaiah built me some amazing furniture, I bought a new computer and this space is so me. Planning to shoot the space soon as a little time capsule. :) Here's a little peak, if you're curious! 

10. Launch Occasions Event Design... officially! Can't contain my excitement on this one. December 1st, 2013 is my launch date. It's a really long ways a way, but good things take time and patience. I'm giving myself lots of time to finish goals 1-9 (and have a baby too) so I don't get too stressed. More details to follow, but it will be amazing. Hooray! As you know, I changed my business name to Sincerely, Ginger Weddings, in my grandmother's namesake and it feels so right. I launched in September and never looked back. Praises. 

This was a good reminder for me that goals are helpful, they give me a vision for the future! I am planning to do a "part 2" post on my business goals for the rest of 2014. I am so proud of this businesses! Are you a goal setter? Leave your link below! xoxo

Just Saying Hi

I've missed writing in this space. The past few months have been dull but busy at the same time. Working tirelessly at providing an amazing client experience for all my brides for this summer and trying to be the best mama I can be. Today is Rowan's first day of daycare (insert simultaneous sobs and sighs of relief). He's just going to be going one day a week. I know so many other parent's put their babies in daycare and swear it's the best thing they've ever done, but I'm still nervous! Thankfully Rowan is such an independent and happy little guy. I'm sure he's going to have so much fun. :) I'm also grateful for an extra day a week to bring laser sharp focus to my work. One of my goals this year was to work smarter, not harder. 

I've realized that the first, obvious step (that I've heard too many times before), is to separate work & home life. One challenging thing will be that Rowan isn't going to go to daycare the same day each week. We'll see how it goes! I'm currently reading Hands Free Mama and my work (rather than social media, tv, or my to-do list) was keeping me from enjoying so many precious moments with Rowan. I don't want to live in this daze of working and parenting. I want to do both well. Is that possible? Would love any advice you have on this balance! I loved listening to Jess Lively's little video on this topic. She always knows what's on my mind, I swear! 

 

 

But What Will I Wear?

As we are approaching wedding season, there has been a lot of talk about attire. Silk chiffon for the bridesmaids, bowties for the gents, fancy robes, you name it. I love it. I have always loved clothes that are made well and fit well. Who doesn't? Lately I've been so intrigued by the idea of simplifying my closet down to a certain number of items that I would want to wear every day. I've actually given away over 100 articles of clothing since January. You know what? I don't miss them at all. What happens next is that I start to see the big gaps in my wardrobe. My "go-to" black pants that I haven't worn since I was 6 weeks pregnant because they are still too tight, flats worn too thin, zero bras that aren't designed for nursing... you catch my drift. Between now and my first 2014 wedding on June 7th, my goal is to curate a small wardrobe of go-to items to wear on wedding days. 

Clothes must be comfortable, professional, lightweight, modest, and fit the essence and style of my brand. I've been having some fun on Pinterest pulling styles that catch my eye. I've noticed in my own closet, the items that get worn the most are fitted black ankle pants (these are my favorite, in petite), tight tank-tops for wearing under everything, black flats, sleeveless blouses with a long lightweight sweater, and long sleeve tops with tight arms and a loose body. I also tend to wear black leggings and tunic length tops. For wedding season, I don't want my team to blend in with guests but I'd like us to still appear pulled together and formal. 

I can't wait to invest in some D'orsay flats, a new pair of Sloans, and a few lightweight blouses! While I was pinning I realized that I gravitate towards similar boutiques and brands. Some of my favorites to window shop are Steven Alan, Sosie & Cuyana. Have you been thinking about spring and summer wear? When I'm not designing floral arrangements or coordinating a wedding, you can usually find me in leggings, a swimsuit, or pajamas. :) 

Coffee Talk: Health & Wellness

So, you all know my work for the year... cultivate. If it matters to you, cultivate it. Great. Yep. Tilling away over here, but also doing a lot of nothing. This morning I was exhausted, couldn't get out of bed until 8:30, and Isaiah kindly woke up with Rowan and gave him his early morning bottle before he went back down. I said to Isaiah, "I am dead", to which he replied, "no you're not", and I responded, "I don't feel alive". Partly I was joking, but exhaustion is no joke.

  via

Last week I went to the doctor, as I mentioned in this post, to help figure out my exhaustion issue. I was convinced it wasn't just "Oh you have a baby, you work so hard, no wonder you're tired!". It felt like something that could be fixed- since I wasn't feeling rested unless I had 10+ hours of sleep. With a 8 month old and a growing business, I can't afford to be needing that much sleep or being tired all the time. So I had some blood work done. Turns out my vitamin D levels are dangerously low (hello polar vortex), low iron, low iodine, sluggish thyroid... you get the deal here. As someone who really tries to take care of my body by eating well and exercising, this was frustrating and comforting at the same time. Food is medicine. Sleep matters. Yoga helps. Real food, people. Eat it. If you're reading this post and you also feel exhausted, or like you're living in a constant state of stress, or you're overweight and uncomfortable, or anxious without knowing why... there is a better way to live. I can do better, I can be more consistent, I am choosing to cultivate what matters, and my health shouldn't come last. 

This goes without saying, but I am NOT a nutritionist or professional in any area of health. I am a wedding planner. ;) But I am passionate about health and wellness, and I want you to be too! Feel like you need some more inspiration? Recipes? Workouts? Stress Relievers?

The Lively Show: the second podcast from Jess Lively's new venture talking about plant based eating with One Part Plant. So interesting and inspiring! 

Laken's Blog. Both her personal coaching and real food 101 series are so amazing and important. 

For the Glow: Jenn is my guru for workouts and fitness. I have never felt strong like I do when I follow her program. 

Honest: Need a company that provides natural products for your family? Completely love getting our diapers and cleaning products from this company. 

Zen Habits: Another favorite blog that actively helps me process stress and focus on what matters. Hint: do less. 

Other ideas... Take a bath with epsom salt, nap, express gratitude, make a green smoothie, skip the drive through, read a book for 10 minutes. Above all, if you feel like you have a medical issue, please see your doctor. Seeing mine and starting to take supplements in addition to healthy food and exercise has helped my fatigue immensely in just one week. How are you working to be a healthier you? 


Tangible Love

My sweet friend Laken, who just happens to be my soul sister, runs an amazing blog. You've probably heard me sing her praises before. She is kind, smart, and one of the biggest dreamers & doers I've ever met. She has been working on a series on Tangible Love- which I adore, and asked me to be a part of it! Since habit has been on my mind lately, I wrote a little bit more about how Isaiah and I love each other, tangibly, every day. Here's a little excerpt... 

tangible love post.jpg

Oh, if I could only count the ways my husband shows me love. I like to say that Isaiah and I were love at first kiss. As crazy as that sounds, I knew the moment he kissed me on our first “date” that we would be husband and wife. Almost five years later, two cross-country moves, career changes, a wedding and a baby, I still think about our first kiss and it gives me butterflies... For the rest of the post, hop on over to Laken's blog

The Power of Habit, Part 3: Defining Habits for Entrepreneurial Success

Last week was so much fun for me, I've been discovering more and more how passionate I am about personal and business development. On Monday, I talked about defining your personal philosophy, Tuesday I jumped the gun and wrote a lengthy post on my daily habits and how I track those. Today I wanted to go a little deeper into the reasons behind those habits, and what you can do as a creative entrepreneur to push yourself out of "survival mode" and into success. I'm going to approach this topic from my own perspective: a 25 year old wife, mom, wedding planner, coffee drinker. 

madewithOver.jpg

Be consistent. The most basic contribution you can make to your life, and business, is consistency. Show up everyday and DO the hard work, plain and simple. I'm definitely not saying that I am 100% on target with this goal (far from it, actually), but I strive to stick to the schedule I've created for myself and my family. While I was pregnant, I was really concerned about how to do this, and for a long time, just didn't. But even over the past month and a half of working towards a streamlined family schedule has transformed my business. 

Practice integrity. One chapter of The Slight Edge that really rocked me was the part about Slight Edge Integrity. It's doing the small habits, that nobody would care if you skipped just this once, when you are the only one in the room. "Serving as your own boss, day in and day out, takes an uncommon degree of Slight Edge Integrity, and frankly, many business owners just don't have it. They become intoxicated by the freedom of being their own boss and fail to maintain the structure it takes to become successful". Yes. Consistency & integrity go hand in hand. I've found this to be 100% spot on. You have to show and and do the work, day after day. 

Write out a to do list every morning. For me, I practice this habit under my "simplified" habit on Lift, I write out my little to-do list in my Simplified Planner. This has everything to do with what Olson calls The Power of Completion. "Each and every incomplete thing in your life or work exerts a draining force on you, sucking the energy of accomplishment and success out of you as surely as a vampire stealing your blood. Every incomplete promise, commitment, or agreement saps your strength because it blocks your momentum and chokes off your ability to move forward, progress, or improve. Incomplete things keep calling you hack to the past to take care of them." Who else feels like this? For me, the only way to zap this feeling is to just take ACTION. I start with writing a to-do list in my planner every morning. The next day, I "migrate" things not yet done to my current list. 

Use social media with a positive attitude and tone. Olson cited a study in The Slight Edge that displayed the correlation of positive language, higher happiness, and reduced risk of heart attacks. The words that were most charted as positive? "morning, fabulous, helpful, share, running, forward, great, interesting, lunch, discussion, seems". Isn't that interested? Example tweet: (What a fabulous morning reading TSE- so helpful and shared such interesting, forward thinking content. Discussion over lunch, anyone? #running) Okay so that's kind of a joke, but you can see the point. Positive language increases your happiness. People gravitate towards happy people. And happy people just don't shoot their husbands. One spot that it's so easy to be positive is online, especially through social media. I aim to use Instagram, Facebook and this blog as a platform to share uplifting and interesting content, express gratitude, document life & work, and support others. What's your social media philosophy? As business owners, social media is a part of the gig. Why not infuse every area of your life with goodness?

Take care of your basic needs. As a new mom and business owner, if I don't eat well, sleep enough, and exercise, I am a mess. Don't know where to start? I suggest talking to Laken for a personalized approach, or here, for a life changing program. Honestly, just do it. When your energy is higher, you are more productive and positive. It's as simple as that. As habits, these can range from exercising for 30 minutes to cooking everyday, to just 10 pushups. Make small steps for your health, you are worth it. 

Find an accountability partner. This can be another small business owner, friend, family member, I don't care (just not a pet). Connect with someone who sees the best parts of you and wants to make those even better. You'll need someone to check in with, to text and say "I'm sooo tired I don't want to go to the gym! :(" and they will say, "I'll come with you!" or... "But you LOVE the gym!! :)" Support is key, in life, and in business. If nothing else, join Lift and you'll be joined by a fun group of like-minded humans who enjoy habit forming and personal development. Check in daily. 

Alright, how are you feeling? What steps are you going to take today to be in charge of your business and life? Show up, everyday and take action. Think positive, take care of your physical self. Do the things that are hard when nobody is watching, and when it's hard (and it will be), call a friend that will get you back on track. 



February Goals

What a wonderful month January was, the perfect 31 days to welcome the new year. Like I do every year, I cannot believe how fast time goes. Only 4.5 months until Rowan's first birthday, less than that to my first wedding of the season, and even less until our east coast trip this spring. January was so lovely. The first half of the month was spent in Mexico with Rowan and my in-laws. It was relaxing and so needed. When we got back from Mexico I jumped head first into planning and designing our upcoming 2014 weddings. 12 weddings in 4 months. We went to tastings, visits with floral designers, plenty of coffee dates, design proposals and so much more. The last day of the month was spent prepping flowers with my girl Shelby for our Fishtown editorial shoot (can't wait to tell you more about this!). For a few sneak peaks, follow the hashtag #fellinloveinfishtown on Instagram. (!!)

On Saturday the 1st, Shelby and I joined forces with the girls from ElizaJean Photography, Thistle & Bur, Gatherings Vintage Rentals, Floral & Frayed, BHLDN, and Traverse City Wedding Cakes to make beautiful things happen at the Leland Lodge. My oh my was it fun (and cold!). I hope the rest of February is just as sweet as Saturday. :) 

I was catching up on blog reading this afternoon after church, and I just had to share what Nancy posted about February Goals... "If January is the month of change, February is the month of lasting change. January is for dreamers... February is for doers -" [Marc Parent / Runner's World Mag] Isn't that amazing? So true, and just what I had on my mind, after all, habit has been on the brain, and habits aren't just for January. 

February Goals

  • Figure out my tiredness issue by having blood work done, to at least rule out thyroid and vitamin deficiencies. 
  • Celebrate Valentine's Day with flowers and a baby-free date
  • Take Rowan to the library for baby time. 
  • Post on the blog about my breastfeeding journey 
  • Take 8 month photos of Rowan with my "real" camera 
  • Continue tracking habits daily on Lift
  • Send long overdue thank you notes (so embarrassing)

Do you set monthly goals? I would love to hear! 

The Power of Habit, Part 2: Defining & Tracking Habits for Success

On Monday, I started talking about the powerful transformation that can happen when you commit to a particular habit. The first step is defining your personal philosophy or mantra- the feeling and motivation behind your small daily actions. Personally, I've always craved routine and habit. Growing up, I was committed to my dance schedule and practiced several times a week. Although we had tons of fun, I didn't always want to go to class. At the end of the season, we started winning. A lot. It was a direct result of the hours we had committed to our art. You might have experienced this with saving money, practicing an instrument, or committing to your career. The beauty of the slight edge is that time is on your side if you use it wisely. 

 Nothing to do with this post, but isn't is beautiful? From Here. 

Nothing to do with this post, but isn't is beautiful? From Here. 

The next logical step after you create your personal philosophy is to actually cultivate the habits that matter. Olson recommends starting to implement positive habits in seven areas: health, happiness, relationships, personal development, finances, career, and your positive impact on the world. Since I had already been using Lift, I had some habits in place already but decided to build on them after finishing The Slight Edge. I also went through my Year Designer to identify any goals that could benefit from daily action and added those. 

I use the Lift App to track my daily habits. It's a brilliantly designed app that is simple, clean, and effective. You could also just write your habits as a checklist, journal daily, or have an accountability partner. With Lift, you can have "friends" to support and encourage your goals. Isaiah and I both use it and daily ask each other how we're doing. 

Currently, I have 16 habits that serve me and my family. They are all extremely simple. Easy to do, and easy not to do. I know that doing these small daily disciplines is what will help push me out of survival mode and into success. My habits below are listed in order of my day, how I would typically structure my day. 

  • WAKE: rise at 7am, before Rowan and Isaiah. 
  • SIP: drink a glass of h20 first thing upon rising, bonus points for adding lemon & sea salt
  • BRUSH: brush and floss, morning and night 
  • SIMPLIFY: start my work day by sitting down at my office desk, opening my Simplified Planner to look over my schedule for the day and write a to-do list. 
  • BREATHE For me, this can mean either a guided meditation, a pause for a few deep breaths or anything in between. The focus is on centering myself and focusing on the present moment. 
  • CLEAR: Getting my inbox to zero by offering responses that are quick, marking longer replies as to-do, and categorizing e-mails from clients that don't need a response. 
  • THANK: At this point in my day (around 10 or 11), I like to send an e-mail with a thanks, make a phone call, or just express gratitude.
  • COOK: one of my goals this year is to cook something every day. Doesn't matter which meal, but I've been cooking around dinner. 
  • MINT: we use mint for our budgeting and personal finance. I've found that it's easiest to keep up with categorizing spending if I login to the account everyday on my phone or iPad. 
  • PLAY: Now before all of you who aren't parents jump on my case, read this article. It's a goal of mine to spend an hour a day playing and reading with Rowan. No phone, TV, or secondary activities. I'll talk more about this when I go over my daily schedule next month. 
  • TIDY: if our kitchen is 100% clean at least once a day, it's always manageable. I also like to do a quick clean of my office and living room daily. 
  • SWEAT: this habit is strictly for vigorous exercise like running, a For the Glow workout at home, or Pilates. 
  • TRACK: I've been tracking my daily intake and exercise with My Fitness Pal since before Christmas. It's so easy for me to justify just one more glass of wine, so this app helps keep my portions in check. At the end of the day I check this habit if I've accurately logged my intake.
  • KISS This habit helps me to remember to pay attention to my marriage, think about what Isaiah needs, and how to nurture our relationship. Kissing always helps. :) 
  • STRETCH: we have been doing a 15 minute relaxation yoga and found that our sleep is more restful and muscles more loose (surprise, surprise!)
  • READ: any book, at least 5 minutes. It's not much but I've already finished three books this year. Blogs and magazines don't count. 

Easy to do, easier not to do. You don't need 16 habits to start, or any magic number. Identify your goals and the habits will almost jump out at you! Habit creates momentum, remember that time is on your side even when your habits feel draining or mundane. Since I've been tracking my habits, I've quickly noticed the ones that are the hardest for me (waking up at 7? seems impossible). Plus, I try to remember this and that helps. ;) 

I hope this mini series is helping you think about the seemingly insignificant actions that make up your day to day life. On Friday I will be posting the final segment on this series on the power of habit, this time from the perspective of an entrepreneur and work at home mama. Make your day count! 

The Power of Habit, Part 1: Creating your Personal Philosophy

Over the past year my husband and I have both been interested in the power of habits. For health, taking care of our home, making it through the day to day monotony of a "day job", eating well, you name it. We both have read the blog Zen Habits for a while now. I find Leo's posts so inspiring and motivating. Last year I started using the Lift App and went back and forth determining which habits I wanted to track and stick with. One of my strengths is being a "strategist". I love tracking, seeing progress, and being efficient with my time and energy. Sometimes I think I could create my whole day out of small habits. 

Last week I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, which I can't recommend highly enough. Goal setting, dreaming big, and personal development are some of my biggest passions (hence this blog), so I've been working my way through some of Jess Lively's book suggestions for the top 10 resolutions. The Slight Edge focuses on daily practices that, compounded over time, will drive you directly to your own definition of success. Olson says that "People who live with huge, vivid, clearly articulated dreams are pulled along toward those dreams with such force they come practically unstoppable". The author brings up the incredible point that you don't have to be a genius to be happy, successful, healthy, or anything. All you have to do is be consistent about the things you already know how to do. 

The first step, according to Olson, is to create your personal philosophy. I had been thinking about this for a while now, even before I read the slight edge. Thanks to my inspiring words board, I had a good place to start. Have you ever thought about your personal philosophy or mantra? Olson says, "by your philosophy, all I mean is changing the way you think about simple everyday things. Once you do, then you will take the steps you need to take, to lead you to the how-to's you need". He says it's the attitude behind your habits that have the power to create lasting change. Sounds easy enough! 

Some quotes, philosophies, if you will, I've been thinking about are... "She designed a life she loved", "Do what matters, forget the rest", and, "How you spend your days is, of course, how you spend your life", among others. As I continued reading through the philosophy chapter, a few sentences jumped out at me immediately. "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. There is a natural progression to everything in life: plant, cultivate, harvest."  Once I read those few lines, my personal philosophy was self evident. 

"If it matters to you, cultivate it"

Cultivate has many definitions, one that says, "to foster the growth of, to raise or grow something under conditions you can control". This is a philosophy that can stay in the back of my mind when laziness or fatigue set in. When I don't feel like waking up at 7, even though I know it''ll start my day off right. I can think of this philosophy when I'm watching TV instead of playing with Rowan, even know I know I value quality time with him. When I'm tempted to order a pizza instead of cook, start my workday late, let too many days slide without flossing. These things are important to me! They are so easy do do, but just as easy not to do. On Wednesday I'll be back with a post on my 16 daily habits for success & how I track them. On Friday I plan to post about how you can incorporate simple daily disciplines to drive your success as a creative entrepreneur. Have you read The Slight Edge? Are you intrigued? 

Coffee Talk... How to Relieve Anxiety on Vacation.

Hi everyone! I hope you've had the best start to 2014. Rowan and I jetted off to Mexico for a few weeks to soak up the sun and spend some time with my in-laws. It was definitely a refreshing start to the new year! However, I sometimes felt this sense of urgency to get home, and start working on my goals for the year. My anxiety sky-rocketed around day 3. For a couple days I couldn't shake the feeling that I had things to do! Workouts, bills to be paid, e-mails to be written, calls to be returned, dishes to do, laundry to fold, you name it. After that I realized how lame that was and started to just enjoy myself. 

 Blurry iPhone pic, real vaca recap soon! 

Blurry iPhone pic, real vaca recap soon! 

I've seen other bloggers have a coffee talk section of their blog, and truthfully I just love the idea of coming to this place and writing about whatever is on my mind. Besides, anyone who knows me knows that the instant someone suggests a coffee date at Morsels I am already there. After I was stressed and anxious on vacation, trying to "just relax" doesn't quite work for me. I like scheduled relaxation, things to do. Naturally, I set some goals for myself.

What could I do  our of my normal sphere to continue working on my goals and also just enjoy my time away?

1. I stopped working, completely. I was scared this would backlash but honestly not one of my amazing clients wrote to me while I was away. They knew I was on vacation and wanted me to enjoy it. How lucky am I? Best clients ever.

2. I continued cooking, eating clean, and logging what I ate into My Fitness Pal. This didn't feel like work to me, I love numbers, tracking, and seeing progress over time.

3. I went on four runs to the beach! This was lovely. It was cloudy and rainy a few days but there is nothing like running outside. I felt strong and my head clear. 

4. I read two books. Keep in mind, my goal for the year was to read one single book. I'm on a roll now! While in Mexico I read 7 and Women, Food & God. Highly recommend both! Even with internet access I chose to read instead. 

5. I stayed off of social media. Of course I had to post some cute #rowaninmexico photos on Instagram, but I didn't spend time scrolling through the endless pit of social media. 

This might seem like simple stuff to some of you who are good at relaxing, but I'm so glad we stayed for a few weeks! It took me a few days to get the hang of it. Now that I'm home and rediscovering my rhythm, I'm starting to incorporate more of these relaxing and anxiety lifting techniques into my life at home. Even though I'm working, I am sticking to my schedule (which includes adequate rest), eating well, exercising, reading, and laying low on social media. 

Do you ever suffer from anxiety or nervousness? Even on vacation? I would love to hear from you in the comments below! 

xo 

2013 Letter Review.

Happy 2014! How did you spend New Year's Eve? We had fun with some friends eating Thai Food, drinking wine and playing with our babies. Last year, one of my biggest goals was to make make new friends- primarily close girl friends here in Traverse City. I am so thankful for my new friends! 

Today I wanted to spend just a minute reviewing last year's letter

Dear Rachel,

It is January 1st, 2014. Life is more wonderful than I could have imagined. I thought that 2012 was a blessed year, with a new husband, financial freedom and the conception of a perfect baby boy, but 2013 exceeded my expectations. Absolutely astounding. I was able to focus on what matters, and forget the rest. YES. Everything was better than I expected. I refocused after Rowan's birth and am getting better everyday at forgetting the rest. 

 easily the highlight of our year. :)

easily the highlight of our year. :)

We brought our beautiful son into the world in June who Isaiah and I cherish and love above almost all else. We make bonding and family time a top priority. We were able to visit my parents and grandfather, and took time in the summer to visit family in ConnecticutWe spend time together everyday, even if just a few minutes. We visited Minnesota twice, and Isaiah's grandparents came to Michigan! We have a trip planned to CT for May. 

After I gave the natural, med-free birth that I trained and prepared for, I never returned to the bank full time. We are wise with our money and as a team developed a budget and found a way to support our family the most efficiently. Birth was not med-free, but it was just how it was supposed to go. You can read the birth story here, if you wish.

Each month we review out budget and statements. We do not use our credit cards and are working on diminishing our debt. I feel comfortable and secure financially and Isaiah and I are constantly on the same page.  We have been working on our budget- empowerment and transparency. We have started using Mint and continue to reduce our debt. 

We established a workspace for Occasion that is the perfect place to build my business. It is clean and allows me to think and create freely, without clutter (mental or physical). I feel peaceful in my office. Yay! I love my studio so much. I will post photos this year, but you can see some previews over on Instagram

My blog is picking up with regular posting and gaining meaningful readership each month. I write about my business, family, inspirations and intentions as I approach and experience motherhood. Yea! I still love blogging so much, and am grateful for the friends and connections I've made through writing. Ultimately, this is a perfect space to express myself and share more about my little life. 

I have found a way to generate income while working from home in some capacity. This could be through calligraphy, floral design, or another extension of Occasions. Working creatively with my hands has been rewarding and helped me define where I want my business to go in the future. I've developed a business plan and am so satisfied with where I'm at. I went above and beyond the expectations of my clients and this only deepened my sense of gratitude for amazing clients. This was an intentionally "slow" year for me, but I was still able to produce a photo shoot that I'm proud of and grow Occasions behind the scenes. I am ready for 2014! My oh my! 2013 was incredible. I changed my business name to Sincerely, Ginger Weddings & Events to truly reflect the core of my heart & business. I knocked out 2 amazing weddings and 2 editorial shoots that I'm very proud of, and have 10 weddings booked for 2014. I've generated enough income for the year and can be at home with Rowan. (I want to stress how much I did not think this was going to happen. Put your biggest dreams out there, you will be blown away.)

During pregnancy, I made the best use of my time. I gained a "normal" amount of weight and ate healthily and exercised throughout. We eat a balanced diet and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. After I gave birth I continued to focus on my health and wellness as I easily achieved my pre-pregnancy weight. Yes! I gained a little more than ideal, but after Rowan was born I started slowly exercising and eating well. I joined the Postnatal Project and have been cooking at home much more. Not to my pre-pregnancy weight yet, but I'm trying to be patient. 

I designed baby's nursery on a budget and we love the way it looks! It is organized and simple, perfect for nursing, changing, and letting baby sleep. We took tons of photos this year! We printed them out and even framed some! I love Rowan's room! It's organized, easy to clean, and perfectly neutral. I printed about 400 photos this year, and indeed, put a few in frames. Hoping to continue this next year! 

During my maternity leave, I learned to maintain the house and clean regularly. We have "systems" and organization in each area of our home. It makes cleaning and finding things a breeze! Isaiah and I feel like our responsibilities are divided equitably and fairly. As I write this, Isaiah is folding laundry (good sign, right?). I did pretty well this summer, we are sharing responsibilities. This year we are focusing even more on streamlining our home so this is natural. 

I strengthened my relationships with Brittany, Callie, Natalie and Bk this year. I made an effort to remember birthdays and call more often. Friendship took a new role in my life. I was able to balance relationships with my oldest, greatest friends with some new ones too. I'm working on building up "my team" of supporters, and in turn I am more fully present with others. Some relationships didn't grow the way I imagined they would, but that only left room for lots of new friends. I am so grateful for my new girlfriends and industry friends. I honestly have like 4 coffee dates a week. I love that! 

This year I read more and watched less television. It was a good example for baby and great for my brain. I read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction that included baby books, business development and cookbooks- some fiction too. We also read to our little babe almost every night. Could've been better about this. I know part of it is our new TV, and nursing. It's so easy to watch TV a lot when you have a newborn who just wants to sleep in your arms. We did read a lot, but we watched more TV. I do read to Rowan daily! 

I felt beautiful this year. Pregnancy was healthy and I took care of myself. During pregnancy I practiced yoga and walked outside regularly. Afterwards I hit the gym harder and got back into running at a comfortable pace. Even through early motherhood, I made myself feel great by taking relaxing baths, and made "getting ready" in the morning a priority. I am grateful for an uneventful and healthy pregnancy. We walked a lot this summer, and now I'm just starting to get back into vigorous exercise. 

We were very picky about how we spent our time. When given the chance to travel, we focused on visiting family and friends. During that time it was relaxing and stress-free. Lots of time outdoors, at the beach, eating together. It was lovely. I was so happy to make more trips downstate this year, to see Isaiah's parents and grandparents. We also went to Minnesota as a family, and Rowan and I took a separate trip to see my parents. It truly was lovely, and something I hope to do each year! 

Above all, I showed Isaiah how much I love him, and I put family first. Together we lead a household with a foundation of love. Our marriage serves to show our son what's really important, because we focus on living out those intentions daily. We supported each others goals wholeheartedly and went after what we wanted fiercely. We are learning to dream bigger. If you read my 2015 letter yesterday, you might recognize this little passage. I didn't add it to my 2015 letter because we didn't do this last year, but because we DID and it was AMAZING. I love this mission. I love our marriage. I want to continue focusing on our intentions, supporting each other, and showing love. 

Letter to my Future Self: 2014 Inspiration & Goals

Dear Rachel, 

 

Welcome! It's January 1st, 2015. Can you believe what a crazy beautiful year it was? Rowan is a year and a half old now, he's running all over the place, keeping you so busy. He is so smart, curious and playful. You were able to balance working from home with caring for Rowan, and felt balanced by using your time wisely and sticking to your family schedule. Aren't you glad you created that last year? 

 2014 Inspiration. Sources on Pinterest (click through).

2014 Inspiration. Sources on Pinterest (click through).

Balance and streamlining home & work was extremely important this year. I used my Simplified Planner daily to prioritize for the day and plan for the future. I am using tools that are at my disposal to track, record, and form habits for the things that are important- of note: I use Lift, My Fitness Pal & Runkeeper daily. As a result, I have stayed on track with my habits and goals. On Sundays, I prepped smartly for the week by cleaning the house, grocery shopping & meal planning. We went to church as a family most weeks and feel even more deeply connected to our community at Watershed. 

We took two amazing trips this year! In January, Rowan and I visited Grammy Di Di & Grandpa G in Mexico and had the sweetest time! I recharged, spent time in the son, and relaxed for a whole 12 days. When I returned from the trip I was rejuvenated and excited to work smartly for my brides. I jumped right into our family schedule and felt productive and energized as a result. That feeling stayed throughout the year. In May we visited our family in Connecticut for 10 days! It was wonderful to spend time with family, and Isaiah and I even got away for a night or two to celebrate our wedding anniversary early. 

Every morning, Isaiah and I wake up at 7 am. He cleans the kitchen & preps breakfast while I go to the gym on weekdays. The first half of the year was spent training for the half marathon I completed in June and finishing the Postnatal Project. I love going to the gym in the morning! When the YMCA opened and Isaiah switched to the day shift, I got a new membership. We all leave the house at the same time- Ro & I drop Isaiah at work and go to the Y where he has childcare provided.

We eat at least 1 meal together, as a family, at home, every day. I usually cook dinner for us while Isaiah plays with Rowan. I am very focused on clean eating and feeding our family nutritious and yummy food. For other meals, I try to follow Jen's Superfood Diet because it leaves me feeling energized and fueled. For breakfast we usually have a smoothie or eggs & veggies. Lunch is leftovers, salad, or a wrap, and dinner is our time to experiment or eat lean and green. I was so happy in November when I reached my "happy weight"! Consistency with healthy food, exercise (especially running), and daily tracking was beneficial and left me feeling empowered. I never felt like slave to food, overly hungry, or like I had to exercise. 

Sincerely, Ginger is growing and changing to even more strongly align with my core. I feel like I am serving the clients who I can help the most, my brides are my friends! I love the work I do daily, feel appreciated, respected, and paid appropriately. I executed 10 amazing celebrations of love, and am currently working on 8-10 more for 2015! I put together 4 editorial shoots with different wedding professionals, resulting in quality relationships, elevation in each of our craft, and recognition within the industry. I also wrote my business plan with the hard numbers and had a meeting with my mentors to review it. I hired a bookkeeper who is the best. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to run a successful, purpose driven business from home. Entirely blessed. 

When the wedding season was really busy, I felt calm and peaceful. Thanks to a supportive husband, my in-laws, two fabulous interns, and a full time nanny for Rowan, I was ahead of the game all season! Our house stayed manageably clean, I continued to eat real food, exercise, and had plenty of quality time with Rowan. Isaiah and I maintained our monthly dates, and I surprised him with something awesome for his 30th birthday! We celebrated birthdays in style this year. :)   I also was better about sending Thank You notes... embarrassingly, I finally got the hang of this. 

I worked smarter at managing our household. We have peace of mind and transparency with our finances, with a huge thanks to Mint! We worked at eliminating the remaining portion of our debt, and also started to save more money. We purchased a second car when the time was right, and are so glad we waited for the right opportunity. I streamlined as much as I could and continually cleared the clutter. We simplified majorly at home. I cut distractions like crazy. I use social media more purposefully and blog often. I have fresh flowers in the house every day. Yep, every single day. 

Above all, I showed Isaiah how much I love him, and I put family first. Together we lead a household with a foundation of love. Our marriage serves to show our son what's really important, because we focus on living out those intentions daily. We supported each others goals wholeheartedly and went after what we wanted fiercely. We are learning to dream even bigger.


Happy New Year's Eve, friends! Can you believe another year has passed (well, almost)? Tomorrow I will be posting my January goals, and the review of last year's letter. xo