Heather & Reb on Style Me Pretty

What a treat to have Heather & Reb's wedding featured on Style Me Pretty! They had a picture-perfect day on Arbutus Lake, complete with a rowboat exit and hand made details by the bride infused every where you looked. Was delighted to have Cory & Megan from Weber Photography by my side! See below for more photos from the day and here for the feature on Style Me Pretty. 

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Wedding Planning, Coordination & Styling: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings | Photography: Weber Photography | Venue: Camp Hayo Went Ha | Floral Design: Premier Floral | Cake: Adriana's Cakery | DJ: Mr. Music DJ's | Catering: Catering By Kelly's

Northern Michigan Trillium Inspiration Shoot

Hi, friends! Wanted to pop over the blog today to let you know that this editorial shoot is being featured over on Wedding Sparrow today! You all know I have a deep love for film photography and beautiful flowers, this shoot was a dream to work on with Weber Photography, Bloom Floral Design and Tableau Events. And that dress from Kendal Leonard Designs? Simply perfect. 

Creative Direction & Styling: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings | Film Photography: Weber Photography | Floral Design: Bloom Floral Design | Design, Decor & Paperie: Tableau Events | Bridal Gown: Kendal Leonard Designs | Model: Shauna Shattuck 

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. 

Intern Orientation 2014

Last week, I carved out an evening to officially welcome my summer interns! We celebrated and got to know one another better over dinner at 9 Bean Rows in Suttons Bay (definitely one of my favorites!). Even with only two events behind me this year, my interns are indispensable. 

At our dinner I went over the history of SGW, our brand story, my goals and a huge piece of my heart. It's huge for me that these girls know that they are valued and appreciated. 

More than anything, I wanted these girls to know that their primary "duty" this summer was to learn and ask questions. I can already tell that they will follow through. I'm sure you will see these lovely faces throughout the season! 

My internship with an event planner in college was transformative in my journey. How amazing that I might play a tiny part in someone's path to a meaningful career? 

We definitely had some amazing food and wine. Organic Cabernet? Rabit Ragu? Warm olives marinated in citrus olive oil? Earl Grey Panna Cotta? Oh yes we did. 

I'll end this post with dessert, like most good things, and a huge thank you to my friend Courtney from The Compass Points Here for joining us for dinner! It was amazing having you there to document and share your expertise. We are grateful! 

First Look... Amanda & Justin's Wedding in Elk Rapids

Oh Happy Day! These past few weeks have been a blur: so many flowers, bottles of wine, crazy dance moves and late nights. The wedding industry is a blast but truly emotional, one of a kind in my opinion. This past weekend I had the pleasure of designing flowers and coordination for dear Amanda. Both Amanda and Justin, and their families, are just a joy to be around. So blessed to have one another. Here's a few sneak peeks from Instagram

 

 

Just a little Preview

On Tuesday I celebrated the beginning of wedding season with four incredible interns and my friend Courtney who took some amazing images. I can't wait to introduce you to each of these ladies and tell you more about the dinner we had at 9 Bean Rows. But for now, a little preview of some of my favorite things: wine, cheese, flowers, and community. 

First Look... Heather & Reb's Rustic Northern Michigan Wedding

Oh my goodness. This weekend was so much fun celebrating Heather & Reb in the woods. Perfect weather, nice people and some seriously smooth dance moves. Here are few sneaks of the day from Instagram. To see more, come on over to #heatherandrebsittinginatree. :) 

Happy Memorial Day! This week will be busy for us here at SGW prepping to welcome our 2014 summer interns in style on Tuesday, style a spring shoot on Wednesday, and prep for another amazing celebration of love next weekend! 

xoxo

Amy & Jon... Happy Anniversary!

To two of the kindest and most in love people I've ever met, Happy Anniversary! I can hardly believe it was one year ago Amy and Jon were married in the most picturesque setting in Elk Rapids. The rain cleared for the most beautiful ceremony and friends and family danced the night away. Thank you for letting me be a small part of your love story, here's to forever! 

To see more photos of their celebration, courtesy of my girls at Eliza Jean Photography, go here

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. 

Kalin & Matt... Engaged!

Kalin was one of my brides that was an instant bestie. I remember our first coffee date at Morsels and feeling like I had known her for a lifetime. Kalin and Matt live in a sweet farmhouse and wanted their engagement photos to show the natural beauty of the area, even in winter! These two are so special to me. Be on the lookout for their amazing wedding this summer on Walloon Lake! A big hug to Tom from Two Twisted Trees for allowing me to share his amazing work. Can't wait to work alongside you in August, Tom!

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Kalin, you are a babe and seeing you on the journey marrying the love of your life is such a joy. Matt, you know I love you! Honestly you guys, we're all going on a double yoga date on Friday. That's much we love each other. :) (or maybe it really just shows how much Isaiah and Matt love Kalin and I!) 

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! 

 

 

Winter Editorial Shoot at Snow Moon Ranch

Couldn't be more excited to announce that the winter editorial shoot I styled is being featured on Style My Pretty! Cory and I had so much fun with our team out at Snow Moon Ranch in December. It was snowy and cold, but we made the best of the conditions. All of these images were shot on film, which I completely adore. I'll let the images speak for themselves. Enjoy! 

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Such a huge thank you to all of the vendors who contributed to this shoot! Especially to Kenna and Juliet. When I arrived onsite I promptly got my car stuck in the snow on the way up the driveway... everyone was so sweet helping me out. Goodness gracious. :) Now, don't forget to check out the whole post, along with a full description over on Style Me Pretty

Creative Direction, Styling & Floral Design: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings

Photography: Weber Photography

Venue: Snow Moon Ranch 

Dessert Bar: Everything Gal

Rentals: Gatherings Vintage Rentals

Paper: Mo Diggity

Bridal Attire: Bay Bridal Boutique

Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab

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.

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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... 

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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. 

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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!