Sincerely Ginger

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! 

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. 

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

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. :) 

Romantic Northern Michigan Wedding Inspiration

Hooray! I am so excited to finally share the full roster of amazing images shot by my friend Bevin of Eliza Jean Photography. This editorial shoot is such a big piece of my heart and my story, a visual representation of what I love and what my business stands for. In my October goals, I mentioned that I was going to submit this shoot for publication to my favorite wedding blog. What did I have to loose? When Jocey from Wedding Chicks wrote me back and said the shoot was "amazingly pretty", I just about fell off my chair. How amazing to create something beautiful, and be able to share that with even more people? See the full feature right over here

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We decided to shoot in an amazing wildflower garden on Old Mission Peninsula, Hooper Farms! The owner, Terry, is just the sweetest and her location was perfect for what we had in mind. She graciously donated all of the blooms for the shoot, so I tried not to overthink the flowers too much before I got there. My goal was to bring to life a beautiful garden party, with gold details, yummy dessert, and colorful floral arrangements. 

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If you've had a chance to read my philosophy, and how my business name was inspired, then you already have a good idea of why I choose to incorporate a love letter. I was so excited that the Wedding Chicks decided to run with this idea! At each place setting we enclosed an inspiring quote or sentiment and addressed it personally to each guest, which also served as a place card. I love this idea for a small wedding, luxury truly is in the details. Holly did an amazing job designing the whole roster of stationery, I am in love with her watercolor invitations! 

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We strung bistro lights, ate dessert, and soaked in all the sweetness of summer in Northern Michigan. The photos turned out so beautifully! Later this week, I'm planning to do a post about what you don't see, what went wrong, and things I learned from my first shoot. I am so grateful to these amazing vendors who had faith in me and decided to jump in to make this little dream happen. I know Ginger would've approved. :) 

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Concept, Design, Styling & Florals: Sincerely, Ginger Weddings Photography: Bevin Deak of Eliza Jean Photography Cake: Penny Christians Stationery: Holly Thomas Design Venue: Hooper's Farm Garden "Kiss Slowly" Print: Sarah & Bendrix Gold Chiavari Chairs: Sweet Seats Bridal Gown: To Have & To Hold Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month & Why My Favorite Color is PINK

Big dreams are scary. When I was first starting to plan weddings, I had no idea how much my life would change. I didn't know how motivated I would be come to make what matters happen. I named my business Sincerely, Ginger after my grandmother, Ginger Brauer. You can read more about my philosophy on weddings and how she changed everything for me here

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I want to give back in a big way. Ginger was a big supporter of the Race for the Cure in Brainerd, Minnesota. So much so that they named an award after her, the Ginger Brauer Award. Here's a little bit about it... "The Susan G. Komen Brainerd Lakes Race for the Cure established the annual Breast Cancer Support Award in 2000.  The first winner, Ginger Brauer, lost her battle with breast cancer in 2001 and the award was subsequently named in her honor.  Ginger Brauer exemplified the selfless giving of time and energy in support of local breast cancer activities and was an active member of the Race for the Cure committee from its inception." Wow. How amazing is that? Talk about making what matters happen.

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 I remember the day she won that award. I was in sixth grade. We all had matching hats on that said "Team Ginger" and we walked the 5k along with survivors, their families, and community members who wanted to support the cause. I have a vivid memory of my grandma holding my hands and dancing with me to Aretha Franklin's "I Will Survive" after she was announced Volunteer of the Year that summer. It was hot, and she was so happy, and I remember people crying. I didn't know exactly what was happening, but I remember thinking that maybe she wouldn't always be a survivor. I remember hating breast cancer. 

I was thirteen years old when my Grandma Ginger lost her battle. Everyone told me repeatedly how I was too young to lose a grandma... I agreed. I was a child, mourning her death and also trying to help my three younger siblings understand. I didn't cry at her funeral, not because I wasn't sad but I was just so shocked. I have memories of crying hysterically after the funeral next to the pond in front of my Grandpa's house. I thought about my mom, and how sad she was. I prayed that my own mother would live forever.  

I know I'm not the only one with a story about breast cancer. I'm sure most of you reading this post have a story of your own about a loved one, or someone you knew. This month, in honor of my Grandma Ginger, her life and legacy, I am pledging to donate $1 for every person that shares the following image on Instagram or Facebook. I plan to raise $1000 to donate to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Brainerd this summer, under my family's team, Team Ginger! I also hope to be present to race this year! 

If you would like to make a separate donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, you can do so here. For more information on early detection (for us younger gals) check out this amazing organization, Bright Pink. And be sure to check out my friend Nicole's new business, Thistle and Bur! Thank you so much for creating this beautiful image to spread awareness.

I can't wait to see you guys sharing your stories this month. Hop on over to Instagram to see the post and start spreading awareness!  

Welcome!

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Hey everyone! Thanks for making the transition with me over to this new platform. There are still lots of kinks that I need to work out, but we are here regardless. Please bear with me as I figure out how to make this space as pretty as it deserves to be. Eventually this will be the site for Sincerely, Ginger with links for service offerings, galleries, and all the info you could ever want to know. I'm still working on developing the content, but will be rolling out phase two sometime this summer! 

So just like this little photo I snapped for Instagram last weekend, I'm embracing the perfect imperfections. The potential. The drive to make things better and more beautiful. I'll be back later this week posting about my post-partum meal plan!

xoxo

Rachel

Surprise! A new look for Sincerely, Ginger.

Today I got my final logo proof from Juliet Jones (aka my new BFF) and it looked so stinking amazing that I have decided to re-work my whole launch. Details tomorrow, but for now just enjoy the beauty above....

UPDATE: Good morning, lovelies! As you can tell, I got pretty excited to see my final logo yesterday. I joked about Juliet being my new bestie, but truly honestly I wish I could just hug her. I hired her knowing how beautiful her work was, but feeling pretty anxious and vague about the concept I wanted. Not only was she so open to my ideas, but she made them better than I expected. We're still working on a few final touch-ups, but you guys, Sincerely, Ginger is coming to life. And it's better than I imagined.

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So in honor of being way too excited, not being able to keep anything mysterious or build any type of excitement or hype around anything as a blogger, I'm going to launch my new site early. It's going to be a "soft launch", meaning that I'm going to switch over my blog to my new domain sincerelyginger.com, and start using the new business name. This blog will reroute to the new domain so expect to be redirected! Hopefully monday. :)

I can't wait to share all about the little strawberry, it's significance, and the big story behind the name and why it's so important to me. The small version is that it's my heart & soul in the form of a business. I've spent a lot of time thinking through each little aspect of my brand. By the time it's finished, it's going to be big. I decided early on that I was never going to enter this field and be mediocre. Average isn't for me. If I'm going to do something, I do it full out. It's the reason I've been putting off an official launch for so long! I didn't want to start until everything was just right.

True love is a big deal. Celebrating marriage is important. There is no wayI am going to settle for a so-so planning experience. It has to be amazing, filled with joy, trust, inspiration and encouragement. It needs to be beautiful, better than you'd expect- but somehow exactly what you'd hoped for. Weddings are a big deal. Being a part of the journey to marriage, at least for me, is sacred. It's exhilirating, exciting, and really FUN. Sincerely, Ginger was inspired by natural light, summers along the coast of Lake Michigan, locally sourced & farm fresh food, love letters, putting a spin on tradition, the first blooms of spring, soft & romantic color palettes, gorgeous calligraphy, and of course... a little bit of sparkle. It's a blend of meaningful and beautiful, just like a wedding.

I don't have it all figured out. I'm still working on branding, designing a website and building an office with limited time and a super limited budget. It's worth it though. Some days I wonder if I should just let the business go. I would have more money, more time with my husband and baby (once he gets here), less stress. I could just work my part time job at the flower shop! But then my heart sinks and I think about my long term goals and why they are important to me in the first place.

By planning and designing weddings, I'm fulfilling my calling. My business is worth the time I'm spending right now figuring it all out. Eventually it will get easier and I won't be working 60 hours a week, pregnant, juggling 3 jobs. We won't always be sharing one car, sacrificing food for sleep. I won't be at my full time job forever (even though it feels like it some days). There is a brighter future ahead. It's closer than I realize. So that is why I'm not wasting any time on getting the elements of my brand in place. I'm doing this my own way, taking physical steps to make what matters happen.

Thank you so much for reading and sharing with my in my journey! I can't wait to show you the rest of what I've been working so hard on. Juliet, thank you a million times for the thought and care you put into designing my visual brand. It's simply perfect. Current & past couples, you keep the heart of my business beating. You inspire me daily, and seeing your wedding day come together makes my heart sing. So much love!

Sincerely,

Rachel

Inspiration for Sincerely, Ginger

Good afternoon, everyone! As you probably know, I've been working mega-hard on branding my business under my new name, Sincerely, Ginger Weddings & Events! The name fits me and my personal brand perfectly, and it's so important that visually that's represented. In my last post I talked about finding inspiration, and here I wanted to share more specifically how I was doing that for this huge project I'm working on. As Lara said in the webinar I attended, "A brand is not your logo!". I couldn't agree more.

I'm aiming to showcase who I am, and what I can offer brides as a wedding planner & designer. A logo is just part of that equation. Colors, images & how you write are just three little pieces of the equation. There's lots to thing about!

Sincerely, Ginger is about love. It's about appreciating and celebrating the little things that make life so special. Once I understood this, everything became more clear. I plan weddings in little Traverse City, Michigan to bring real love to the forefront of our daily lives, and I do it beautifully! I'm so proud to be able to do that for my clients.

All Images Sources on  Pinterest

All Images Sources on Pinterest

Here's a little snippet of my brand inspiration board. Before I even got to this place, I wrote my story. I thought about my grandma Ginger and what matters most to me. From there, I honestly just started pinning images that stood out to me, things that I evoked the feeling I wanted brides to feel when they're first introduced to me & my brand. Miraculously, a cohesive board came together... and I was like "this is the best thing ever". Looking at these images makes my heart burst.

Friendship, love, lightness, anticipation. Big smiles, happy hearts. Soft colors and big bold blooms screaming with color. Those peach juliet garden roses get me every time. :) I asked a few people for feedback about the board. I heard things like, "it's so YOU", and words like happy, feminine, inviting, pretty & pink. I think I got it right. Celebrate with me?

I could have probably made a smaller board to make it more aesthetically pleasing on the blog, but I didn't want to leave anything out. :) I can't wait to tell you all about who I hired to design my logo. She's pretty much the coolest, and I know she'll do a great job with such an important task. Because even though your logo isn't your brand, it IS a big part of it!

What do you think?

On Finding Inspiration as a Wedding Designer

In the past few weeks I've had the privilege of creating design boards for a few of my clients. In doing this I've realized how much the process of gathering inspiration, organizing it, piecing out details and finally presenting it to my clients truly does fire me up! Each stage has been so much fun for me. Color palettes, big blooming florals, perfect paper products... be still my little wedding planner heart.

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I wanted to chat a little bit about where I find inspiration. Obviously Pinterest is great. I know for a fact I'm not the only one who spends hours browsing through boards and organizing images to my liking. I'm also a pretty big fan of tumblr, which is where I save images that I'm going to use for this blog. Of course, there are other blogs out there that are regular reads. From fellow event planners & designers to Once Wed100 Layer CakeStyle Me Pretty and you name it, I check them almost daily. Photographers are a great source of inspiration for my work too. Rylee HitchnerJose Villa, & Tec Petaja are easily my top three.

Most of the time, though- I need to get offline to find authentic inspiration. I get inspired when my husband and I take time for dates- away from our iPhones and other distractions. Relationships fire me up. Real conversation spurs real creativity.

I like books and magazines that I can hold in my hands. Exercise clears my mind, especially when I'm outside. A good hike in the woods does wonders for my creativity muscle. Relaxing is vital for me, especially when I take the time to do it right. A bubble bath and a good night's rest leaves me restored for the next day. And everyone knows that the best ideas are concocted in the shower!

Stories inspire me to get inspired. I love hearing love stories. I like telling my own. More often than not, clients inspire me with their own ideas.

Flowers get me fired up. The colors, textures and endless arrangements and opportunities. I also enjoy grocery shopping, my favorite is Oryana (our local co-op) or the farmers market in the summer. Picking and choosing fruits, vegetables and flowers season to season is a blast for me. (Note to self... peonies are coming soon!)

So essentially that's the first stage. Meeting with clients, hearing their ideas, getting out and about in the world to gather authentic inspiration. Once I do that it's easier to refine my ideas and source images to put together a cohesive design board, that's where pinterest comes into play for me. How do you do things? Where do you find your best sources of inspiration?

xoxo

Rachel

Saying Yes to What Matters.

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Today I wanted to share a little bit about a fear of mine. Although I'm not in the place yet with my business where a branding experience is necessary or even financially feasible, I have invested a little money, time and effort into a few branding webinars hosted by the Making Brands Happen ladies, Emily & Lara. To say they struck a cord with me is a vast understatement. They've taught me to be my authentic self, to examine what fires me up and then to translate that to business. Choosing my business name was a big step for me. Sincerely, Ginger Weddings represents my story authentically and I hope it shines a light on the type of service I provide.

One step in the process of designing my own brand, encouraged by MBH is to list your biggest fears in business. Well let me be the first to say that I have a lot of fears. I'm afraid of letting down clients, of not serving them to my best ability, of missing the mark somewhere. I'm fearful of being unhappy, of not making enough money to support my family or of dissapointing myself. I'm scared of putting myself out there in my community. While I was writing down these fears last night I wrote something down that didn't surprise me at all.

I'm afraid of starting before everything is perfectI've written about this before but it still scares me because it's such a paralyzing fear. It actually stops be from making things happen and doing what I need to do to more forward. So I decided to get over it and do the hard work.

Obstacles are a natural part of life, and definitely expected in business. It's clear to see what's working against you and so difficult to focus on your abilities and strengths. To get over my obstacle and fear of perfectionism, here are a few things I'm going to do.

I'm saying NO to focusing on what I don't have. I don't have a brand new iMac, an office, photoshop, a gazzilion airline miles, 5 years of experience, 60 hours a week, a finished website, newly designed logo, business cards, collateral, vendor relationships, legality.

Most of these are a work in process, and I am saying YES to optimism and positive thinking. I do have a great attitude, brides who love and respect my work, a strong business education, a laptop that functions, a new opportunity to design florals starting this month, the ability to priorotize, ideas up the wazoo and passion. Boy do I have passion. Instead of staying home and pouting about my office not being finished I'm choosing to head to the local coffeeshop and set up camp for 4 hours and dream big for my clients. That's what matters.

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So that's a lesson I've learned and I know I'll have to learn it again. Choose to focus on what you do have, and not what you don't. Say yes to your future and it'll unfold right before your eyes.

And a note to myself... nothing will ever be perfect. There will always be new technology to buy, trips to lust after and people doing bigger and seemingly better things. It doesn't matter. Keep dreaming big and putting on your big girl pants every day. Work hard and authentic, true, lasting success will follow. Don't let your fears paralyze you.

With a sigh of relief,

Rachel

p.s. How amazing is Lara Casey? When I saw these downloads I immediately pimped out my phone, iPad and desktop with this inspiring image. What a positive message to look at several times a day. Thank you, Lara! You encourage so many of us with your wisdom and ability to sense what we're going through as creative entrepeneurs, moms, and women with hearts for dreaming big. xoxo

On Dreaming Big... & Seeing Results!

As I was saying, miracles started happening. :)

Isaiah got a promotion at the hospital that will raise our income significantly, not enough that I don't have to work but it will at least give me some more freedom in what I'm looking for part time as far as pay. This new job, along with being a boost to our finances is something that he really wants to do long term. It will be easier for him to go back to work after we have the baby. Wow,

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. He worked hard and I am so proud of him. He starts his new position on April 1st, about two months before baby mo is born.

A week ago today a friend came and saw me at the bank and shared an opportunity for a part-time job that I might be interested in. I am endlessly thankful for the people in my life and how they look after me. Stacy, thank you from the bottom of my heart. The position was for a part-time floral designer at a local shop here in Traverse City that specializes in weddings and special events. Clearly I called immediately! I went through a series of interviews and eventually landed the job.

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It's the perfect position for me. I mean perfect in ways that I can't even describe all of the ways. I had prayed for a job that would pay enough for me to work part time so I could spend more time with my son and wedding clients. That's it.

Instead, I was blessed with an opportunity that's better than anything I could have imagined myself. Not only is it logistically perfect (enough pay, flexible scheduling, downtown TC), but the women themselves are amazing. I can't wait to start working with them. They understand that a job is important to support your life, and not the other way around. They appreciate my skills and love the fact that I plan weddings so the connection will truly be mutually beneficial. But even crazier is that I'm pregnant, and due right at the beginning of wedding season. They are working with my schedule until I'm available because we are a good fit. Can you believe that? A true miracle.

In this new season of motherhood I am also going to be able to grow my business with this new found freedom and connection in the wedding industry. I'll be able to offer my floral design services through the shop here in town and connect with so many new faces in the industry. The position will strengthen and refine my floral design skills and allow me to work around my clients schedules. The owners know how important it is to stay home with a sick baby and be there for the things that matter. Meanwhile the "work" will be pure bliss for me. Have you ever noticed that I post photos of pink roses in 85% of my posts? Yep, I do. It's because I love them unapologetically. Arranging flowers all day will be the biggest dream come true ever.

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You know the craziest thing? I'm not a professional floral designer. I'm self taught, but they were really impressed with my work. For my interview I was asked to through together an arrangement and apparently I did a spectacular job. I am so proud of myself and thankful for those wedding clients that helped my pursue my dreams and led me to this reality. Without their confidence I wouldn't be where I'm headed.

I am amazed at the work God is doing in our lives. He hears our prayers and I am humbled to receive such an enormous blessing. I'm ready for this next phase of life, to work and love even harder.

On Dreaming Big!

Starting to write this series of posts is giving me butterflies. It's a huge deal to me. As you know, it's my intention to be 100% real and authentic here on this blog, sharing my true life experiences (the good and the bad!). You may have read my tweets earlier this week that hinted at something big happening this week and I am so excited and ready to share the news with you all!

A lot of life had been packed into the past few years. Since 2010 I've figured out what to do with my life (kind of), completed an internship with an event planner, graduated business school, gotten engaged, moved across the country, stepped into massive student loan debt, married my best friend, had most of the debt paid off (a miracle), launched a businessgotten pregnant, and I am still dreaming bigger than ever before. I've had my fair share of obstacles in life and there are always things that stand in my way of pursuing my dream of planning weddings and designing florals full time. This is real life, people. We don't have unlimited money and we get really stressed out. 

We are on a mission to pay off the rest of our debt by January 2016 using Dave Ramsey's snowball method so we can save for our forever house. Financially, I need to be working at the same income level that I am now at the bank for that to happen. The time I spend at work completely diminishes the potential I know I have for my business. I was just about to the point where I was generating enough business that we could afford for me to leave my full time job and pursue weddings with all of my time when we found out we were expecting. Obviously with the added costs of a baby it just didn't feel right to leave my job at that point. Not to mention I need the full coverage medical insurance.

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I was scared that I would be in banking forever just to get by. Even after the amazing gift that my grandpa gave us last summer, our bills were too high and our income too low for me not to work. We are both really smart, multi talented and have applicable higher education degrees but the fact is that we live in a small town and the economy is not in a good place. Traverse City is a prime location for weddings and I knew if I had the time I could be making a livable income once I got started.

I don't want to send my baby to daycare five days a week. It really works for some women but I know myself, and I know it would break my heart to leave him every morning for a job I hate. Isaiah, who is my number one cheerleader has always encouraged my dreams. We made the decision that I wouldn't go back to the bank no matter what the circumstances were. We would make something work. I prayed for an answer, for the perfect part time job that would allow me more time to be a mama and more time for Sincerely, Ginger. It seemed impossible that anyone would hire a pregnant girl who couldn't start a part time job for nine months.

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My fear was that I'd spend my maternity leave worrying about what I was going to do for work, applying for jobs endlessly with no results and eventually going back to my job as a personal banker. All I wanted was something secure for September, that wasn't at the bank. I prayed and prayed, I meditated on my dreams and I worked my you know what off to make something happen. And then, almost out of nowhere, miracles started happening.

The second half of the story will be up Monday! I'm excited to share where we are headed as a family. It's truly amazing to see your dreams coming true. I am so thankful!

To dreaming big and never looking back,

Rachel

Team Rachel... Part Two!

Like I mentioned in the first post on Team Rachel, I am surrounded by amazing people in my life. Really it seems greedy to be looking for any other type of support. I want to emphasize that it goes both ways! I have certain skills and talents that I know can help people, I just need to be connected to them first.

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my team gets cake. :)

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I would love a mentor. Throughout school I had various mentors through the business school which I found tremendously helpful. At this stage in my life it would be amazing to connect with an older women who has experience with entrepreneurship. Anything I can learn I am open to. I am a sponge for knowledge! An added bonus would be a women who is also a mother and is comfortable talking about personal life and navigating through it's challenges, not just business. I'm looking for someone who can see the big picture and talk through it with me. Do any of you have mentors that you love? How did you connect with them? I recently signed up with our local SCORE organization to meet with a business mentor. I figured this would be a good place to start.

A best friend! This might seem horribly sad to some of you, but I promise it's not. I have lots of friends! What I'm really searching for is a person who understands me, who really

gets it

. The girls I'm closest to live so far away. I want someone with a creative drive who wants to work on projects together, who will inspire me, and who lives locally. I've been hoping that this person comes into my life. How amazing will that be!

A strong team of vendors. I mentioned on my action plan for Sincerely, Ginger this year that I want to build a network of vendors. This is crucial to my business as a wedding planner. I strive for healthy, respectful relationships with those in the industry and I can't wait to see where those relationships go!

A community of bloggers. One of the main reasons I started blogging was to connect with other bloggers! I've seen friends cultivate great relationships with other women online. I crave that sort of connection! Many of my friends are like "You do

what

? You started

blogging

?" They're just generally confused. :)

The thing is, these relationships are mostly in my control! If I put forth the energy to make these connections they will happen. It's just a matter of time. Trying to remain confidant and optimistic, reminding myself that my future is bright! My mother in law reminded me of something so important this weekend. Her mom always said

have

faith

like God is in control of everything and

act

like you are

. Thank goodness for Grandma Mary. :)

xoxo

Rachel

Taking Steps on Team Rachel!

Something I didn't write about in my

letter to my future self

was an important lesson that I learned at MTH and want to implement in 2013. A huge goal of mine is to surround myself with inspiring and loving people. When thinking about Team Rachel a few important people came to mind.

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First of all my husband, Isaiah. He is without a doubt my number one cheerleader, best friend, and person I want to smooch. Not only was he basically my inspiration to start planning weddings, but he's supported me the whole way. He doesn't just

say

he supports me either- he actually comes to the coffee shops with me when I have to work, cuts out burlap flags by my side and is letting me turn our former TV room into my office (meanwhile his "office" is the guest room closet...trust me it's strange, not even a walk-in.) It's so nice to know that he supports my dreams and is helping me take realistic steps to get there. When I come home crying from my day job he's the one to catch me and say with certainty that I won't be here forever. I am so thankful for him in every aspect of my life. Anyone who knows him wishes they had their own Isaiah. I feel pretty lucky. (Side note: someday I'll post our love story and wedding photos... someday. :)

Next up is my family. My parents, siblings, grandparents, in-laws, brother in law, everyone! We don't live close to our family which is a huge bummer most days. Especially with a baby on the way I've been missing my mama. But I can always look forward to encouraging e-mails from my mother in law, sweet texts from my dad and even just seeing instagram photos of my sisters makes me happy. I cherish those heart to hearts I get in person with my family. Especially after our wedding I have a whole new appreciation for what family means. I feel so happy that my family doubled in the past year. :) I can't wait to bring another Moger to the planet in June!

Callie & Brittany. Sorry but these two really just go hand in hand. We met in college, living across the hall from one another and the rest is history. They've been there for me through everything the past 5 years we've been friends. From listening to my cry in my dorm room to taking me for coffee & driving me around all through college to standing up with my at our wedding, I cannot express my love for them enough. Really it deserves a whole series of posts. I know that through thick and thin they will be there no matter how far away Seattle really is. My one big wish is to support them as much as they've been there for me. Girls- I hope you know how invaluable you are.

So I've got a pretty good team going so far. But I'm working on making it better. There are people I'm around during my day to day who are toxic to my happiness and success. I want to be around people who will support me, and who I can love and support in return! In Part 2 I'm going to touch on what I hope that looks like this year. I hope it's appropriate to list a baby boy in Team Rachel. :)

Guest Post on I Love Farm Weddings

Today you can find a guest post by yours truly over on I Love Farm Weddings! Emily runs this super cute blog that I was immediately in love with the first time I saw it. We connected throught Making Things Happen- I love how Lara and MTH movement bonds people in such a unique way.

I had so much fun writing about how to incorporate feminine elegance into a rustic setting. This is essentially my style preference for weddings. In Traverse City we have a ton of beautiful, rustic settings for events that I just love! Wineries, barms, farms... my favorite. Down to earth and they lend to so many design styles. Check out my post here!

Here's a little teaser from my inspiration board...

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Image by Jose Villa, Styling by Easton Events as seen on Once Wed.

Thanks again for having me, Emily! :)

Wow... Thank You!

Can I just say how good it feels to really put yourself out there? Posting my huge news, being authentic, and working from my core really does what they say it will do. It attracts the right people. It felt amazing to hear your support of Sincerely, Ginger.

I can't wait to learn more about her throughout this process. Currently I'm working on having a new logo designed and getting some housekeeping work done. Changing e-mail, URL and all that is a lot of work! I would love to design my own logo but am having trouble figuring out how to digitize my calligraphy. (If you have insight in this area, please enlighten me!)

Keeping on pace with my 2013 Business Goals, I am planning a brand inspiration shoot for early spring. The goal is to collaborate with other vendors and create something to showcase my work for my website. This will provide a good framework for the other weddings I have to showcase. So excited about this!

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Like I said in my previous post, I want to share some memories of Ginger and talk about how they inspire my work. She and my grandpa had always lived on lakes in Northern Minnesota. My sister and I (even before my other brother and sister were born) looked forward to going up north to grandma and grandpa's to swim in the lake and sleep in big beds with fluffy down comfortors. Every summer we looked forward to a real vacation, an escape from our day to day. Ginger always encouraged our creativity. There were mornings spent jumping in the lake and searching for shells, afternoons picking strawberries from their garden and evenings painting and helping her cook dinner. Whatever we did was lovely, because we were together. We also spent a lot of time outside.

The landscape of Nothern Minnesota is a lot like it is here in Traverse City. Beautiful lakes, lots of trees and amazing sunsets. At Ginger's we were encouraged to pick wildflowers and create arrangements for the dinner table. We didn't fight. We focused on loving eachother and creating things together. Summers with grandma and grandpa were my absolute favorite. Of course this is just a peek into some the experiences that shaped who I am and eventually what I envisioned our wedding day to represent. Our tradition is closeness, love, and relaxation. We value fresh flowers and local food. It's the way we lived and what better way to celebrate a lifetime ahead of us than doing those things with our closest family and friends.

Weddings are about stories. They are about tradition and love, and bringing memories to life in a whole new beautiful way. When I meet a couple for the first time, my first question is always tell me your love story. That's the only place I know where to start. I'm so excited about this new future. Thank you for being a part of it!

Sincerely,

Rachel

A Heaping Dose of Huge News!

Once I had the revelation that I was meant to be a wedding planner, an obvious step was choosing a business name. I knew that using my name (Rachel Moger) wasn't the path I wanted to take. It just didn't feel right. I also new that I wanted the name to be timeless, classic, and explain what I was doing! So I settled on Occasions, later Occasions Event Design and just said that's that. It was easy, communicated what I needed to say and also feminine (which is a big component of my brand). I had a logo designed (see above) and thought it was good enough.

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It was good enough, but I always had the feeling that it just wasn't me. It didn't explain my brand and my journey- Occasions was too vague and not unique at all. I had an itch to choose something different but nothing came to mind. For MONTHS I prayed about it and thought about it, did research, chose 15 words and tried to combine them into some trendy, girly business name. (Remember when they did that in Julie and Julia, for the book title? It worked for them!) It wasn't a good idea. My "ideas" were a product of my culture and surroundings, just mimicking event planners that I admired with my own special "twist". They were all too trendy, too posh, too something. They were just wrong.

After I attended a webinar hosted by the Making Brands Happen girls (Emily & Lara), the new business name that I'd been working on just hit me, and it was like nothing I had thought of before. Learning more of the importance of building your business from your CORE was so obvious yet extremely tricky to put my finger on.

I started thinking about what I valued about our own wedding (family & friends, flowers, Northern Michigan, local vendors) and what the most important thing of all was. LOVE. Joining in a sacred union with the absolute love of my life, celebrating the day we were joined together in Holy Matrimony so we can love each other and those around us even better. A beautiful marriage. That is what I want to inspire couples to aim for in their wedding planning process.

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I mentioned on the blog before that on the day of our rehearsal dinner my sweet Grandpa gave me a letter to read. It was written one week before my Grandparents' wedding. My Grandma Ginger wrote the sweetest note about LOVE, and GIVING, and how exited she was to begin their lives together. It was the sweetest thing. She passed on a beautiful June day from breast cancer when I was in 7th grade. Her life impacted me more than almost anything else, and her legacy is so strong.

In honor of my late grandmother, her beautiful life, her love for family and her love for love, my new business name will be Sincerely, Ginger. The name represents everything I love about wedding planning. It reminds me of what matters. Our memories together are my most cherished. She was so beautiful. Obviously, the exact name of the business I got from the letter I read, which is my most recent experience feeling the depth of her love for me and our family.

Over the next few weeks I'll be writing about some of my favorite memories with her and how they relate to my mission as a business. I'm so excited about this news- I could just burst! It's all coming together for me in a big way. I can't wait to share more.

Sincerely,

Rachel

Boundaries + Structure: Part 2

Looking back on yesterday's post, I was pretty much all over the map there with my writing. CHAOS. Rightfully so, because it's truly how my life felt. I've worked out a schedule that will work for me. It will need to be re-worked often, but the key is to keep re-working it until it sits comfortably in our week. So here's a photo that has nothing to do with scheduling and everything to do with my idea of peace, simplicity, and beauty, which is what I want my life to look like. :)

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For some accountability, I am posting my office hours here. My client load at the moment is light, so I only need 8-10 hours per week to meet my deadlines and even exceed client expectations. Keep in mind that I also work 40 hours a week at my "day job" and I'm also pregnant. This girl needs her sleep!

Tuesdays: 5:30- 8:30

Wednesdays: 1:00-2:00

Saturdays: 9:00- 1:00

Sundays: 5:00- 8:00

So obviously they are very sporadic when you look at them, but for Isaiah and I, and our schedule it works the best. Tuesdays will be at the library directly after work, Wednesdays are reserved for phone calls since it's one of the only times I'm available during business hours throughout the week. Saturdays will be a big power day for client work, and Sunday nights will be reserved for business planning and development. I will take meeting anytime I am available on a wee by week basis. My clients are flexible with meeting times but I like to let them choose the time and place.

So there you have it! I hope this new schedule makes me feel more productive during business hours and less guilty during non-business hours. Hooray!

On a different note, I have some really exciting news to share this week! Cannot wait. Hope everything is going well in your lives.

Sincerely,

Rachel