I knew this was going to be big. I KNEW this was going to be inspirational. I knew my job was to be there for Kat and Taylor, spread the word about this conference and their mission, show up and tell them how I do my best to rock motherhood and busy business.
What I didn’t expect was to go as a panelist and leave feeling not only that I fully contributed and helped enhance others lives for the better…and to leave feeling completely and utterly inspired myself! Like– SO driven and uplifted and happy tears all day long!
You guys– this was a NEW dynamic because it didn’t just unite photographers, it brought together ALL KINDS of small businesses and that added so much value to the experience! If you want to see who was speaking and on the panel, visit THIS link! From photographers to graphic designers to professional bloggers, it was diverse and beautiful!
The night before everything started, we were able to sit together at a candle-lit meal styled perfectly and have an official welcome by Kat and Taylor. Instantly, I felt home. The girl from the Outer Banks that’s way too happy and sometimes can’t find vendors who understand my intense levels of life-loving-joy was suddenly surrounded by some she knew and already loved, but some new friends who were on the same level of creativity and life-loving-excitement! We all LOVE people, we all LOVE SHARING, inspiring…giving back to an industry that just a few short years ago was quick to shut out new “competition” and often still is. What does that word even mean? I don’t feel that the women at the table with me that night believe in that word and I believe that THAT is why were are where we are in our businesses and season of life. I can’t imagine being a struggling business with not a real vendor friend to my name because I felt like shutting out my competition or put stipulations on sharing, and frankly I’d feel pretty admittedly insecure for it. HELP ONE ANOTHER. SHARE. GROW. INSPIRE YOUR PEERS and like Natalie said, a rising tide lifts ALL ships. Love that “nauti” quote from my fellow water lover! 🙂
I would indulge TONS of details about this conference experience but I’m not even kidding, I couldn’t fathom writing a blog THAT huge! Ever! It’d be a book on Amazon you’d have to go buy haha, kind of like the awesome one Rachel Brenke my amazing beautiful inspiration of a mother and friend and business owner gave me hehe! 🙂 Shamelessly plugging my woman! You’ve heard of the LawTog right?! Hearing her speak is the BEST- she is KEEP-IT-REAL to the core and makes me laugh until I cry! 🙂
Instead..I have to leave you with this…the one common message across the board from all of the talks I heard. This isn’t ALL about us. Yes– we are the face of our business and we should share our lives, our kids, our favorite things. We SHOULD talk about the features and publishing and the good things we earned. But– are you being kind to your clients? Are you loving them for who they are and realizing that during engagements, emailing, wedding days, the whole business process you go through with them– they deserve respect and kindness because what you’re doing for them is SO much greater than you? Using your gifts that were given to you by something greater than yourself to do GOOD in this world..that is what this is about. It’s the bride that emails you her wedding dress picture before anyone sees it. It’s the bride last year who didn’t think her daddy would be there to walk her down the aisle when he got very sick previously and I knew that before the wedding, because she knew she could tell me. It’s the adorable grandma who was in the hospital before the wedding but made it and shined like a diamond the whole time..and I knew that. It’s the couple that calls you a friend and the once hesitant groom that says you made it SO easy for him. It’s the legacy. It’s the PURPOSE in life of SERVING YOUR CLIENTS and NOT only YOURSELF. You guys have eyes, you can see the difference between someone who does and doesn’t! That room of creatives left that cold Monday evening completely inspired and they will go and make sure they take care of people’s hearts while taking care of their own and rocking out business like only a BOSS LADY can!!!
My goals coming from Creative at Heart (see? saying them out loud is making myself accountable!) are:
*To be more intentional and thorough
*To continue to focus on client treatment and experience and how I can get BETTER at it, they deserve the best!
*To pick my “word” of the year
*Aim to tweak branding to represent salt air + salt water, completely representative to my heart and soul
*To come up with a MISSION STATEMENT
*To be my SELFIE lol, Alexandra!!!
*To be a birthday candle that won’t blow out 🙂
*Recognize that balance looks different for everyone..and oh my gosh, where is my credit to myself? TWO SMALL BABIES (yes Cammy is still a baby to me haha, even if you guys did see in her the lobby shaking those hips!! LOL) and a business? And moving? And oh my gosh I have really survived all of this haha! 🙂
*To write more by hand, continue the journal I started last month, to find my connection to God that has been missing for so long after going through life events that traumatized me and caused me to throw a serious wall up that I thought protected me but turns out, I feel more free than ever tearing it down (love, love, LOVE you Katelyn James – what a powerful friend and mentor speaking to my heart and crying with me, haha! clean up on Aisle 3, we turned into puddles!)
More cell phone pictures below– I did NOT use my camera this entire time! I couldn’t believe it!!!
Don’t judge hahaha! There are some funny ones..get ready 🙂
Sometimes when I get out of the shower and it’s time to start my day, I write myself little warm fuzzies… snaps for Amanda!!!! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you may not know who I named my second daughter after!!!! :))
OH this girl! You know we had never met before this, but we felt like we knew each other! I knew I would love her, but the connection was so incredible and her heart is one of the most beautiful I’ve EVER seen!!!! Natalie I know you love it up there but I’m telling you an Outer Banks visit is calling your name!!!! A coastal soul! 🙂
Kristi is THE greatest and one of the moms I can text ANYTHING to during the day without judgement..and then of course, we don’t text back for a few days because that’s “mom texting” for you! I love this one of her..and then we squeezed Hope between us later hahaha! 🙂
OKAY GIRLFRIEND — you did it! You stole everyone’s heart like I knew you would!!! LOVE the power of social media in creating these connections before you actually CONNECT! The beauty and brains behind Hello Love Weddings, Lacoya!!! 🙂
Loved EVERYTHING about Natalie’s talk..she is the real deal and I had plenty a good emotional moment listening to her and talking to her! Thank you for reiterating what I already feel is so important and live by, it’s nice to hear someone else REALLY enforce it!
Oh my gosh. You don’t, even, know. She is just the greatest friend and mentor anyone could ever ask for. She uses all of her talent, spirit and wisdom to help enhance OTHERS lives and there is so much beauty in that! I LOVED spending this time with you, Katelyn!! 🙂
Ellie LOVING running in the halls!! 🙂 Haha! Did you see THIS video of her laughing? Oh- you’re SO welcome! 🙂
I can’t take credit for the styling..that was Natalie haha..but we do wanna take a minute to embrace the mom life I brought to the conference in my purse..diapers, nail polish, Peppa Pig DVD and the princess bandaids Cammy snuck into my glasses case hahaha!
ALEXANDRA!!!!!!! I held her and hugged her and loved on her because we are both FUN size!!! 🙂 Her talk was amazing, her message resonated with us all and she is the power lady behind Heart Love Always! 🙂
I wish I would have gotten a picture of Abby and I but this is all I have…and I love it!!! Abby and Cammy played chase each other and scream really girly around the lobby and we OWE HER for tiring her out hahaha! THANK YOU ABBY!! 🙂
Cause one is not enough 🙂
Kat had us laughing and crying…and then both at the same time..we got a dramatic interpretation of what business owner life looks like from day to day and THIS was my favorite hahaha! LOVE YOU GIRL!!
Ashley has always been a light in my life but she spoke words to me she didn’t even realize I NEEDED to hear so badly and I hope you know how much you mean to me friend!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂
AND THIS HOPE SANDWICH! Oh my gosh she is my sweetheart and I loved spending MORE time with her!! First Jasmine Star Workshop, then MY workshop..and now PJ party at Creative at Heart hahaha! She’s CRAZY TALENTED and so young!! Kristi and I loved the girl talk!! 🙂
Last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST– this girl found the photo booth 🙂 I love my incredible family for traveling with me, I need them and they are there for me literally <3