My secret Weapon.

There comes those weeks when you feel the never ending weight of to-do’s. And while you move at lightening speed, placing every task to bed, the list seems never ending.  On those weeks, I want nothing more than to scream to the conductor,

“stop the carosoul and let me off!”   “Can I stop the world for even one day?!”  I beg. Please tell me you can relate!

I could blame the work load, my demanding projects, or simply complain about busyness, but reality is, no one but me can help myself. It’s in my hands to change my perspective and make my days count. And count they should!

After all, I’ve been blessed immeasurably so that I may be a blessing to others…. to you! 

And without fail, each and every time, like a defeated dog with my tail between my legs, I find a quiet corner to reflect, regroup and reignite.

Meet my secret weapon…..

 

 

While this beautiful image may be new, it’s principals are tried and true- the backbone to my rebirth with “Making Brands Happen.” I find, that when my weeks bare even the smallest resemblance to that above, I’ve slipped in one of these areas and lost focus on what really matters.

Anxiety. Comparison. Twitter (aka: my arch nemesis). Pinterest. TV. Long lists. Expectations.

________ Insert your energy sucker here. Because really, that’s what they are.

Rather than staying focused during the hours of “getting things done” you waiver, leaving the hours meant for “living,” a time for playing catch up. Meet the carousol!

So today, I encourage you: Get it out- Let it go-Focus- DO- and cut yourself some slack.

Do whatever you need to do, to be the best YOU, you can possibly be.
Because today is precious- it’s time to make it count!

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This is our Day and Age..

With a background and education in Brand Management, I can’t count how many times I find myself trying to emphasize this day and age’s market to other entrepreneurs. And when it comes to the wedding industry, I feel like many vendors still live in the stone age and refuse to see the changing market.

Reality is, things are different, including the client. Their wants, expectations and ways of doing business are vastly different from that of even 3 years ago. You either adapt or fall off the map… it’s blunt but true. 

And after reading this article, I thought it noteworthy of sharing for all those entrepreneurs, specifically within the wedding industry. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

 

” What does the term millennial mean?

Millennials are the generation born between 1979-2000, also known as Gen Y (but they hate being called Gen Y).

Millennials are the largest generation alive (1/3 of total world population) and are 33% larger than the Boomers (the second largest generation).

Millennials account for more than 70% of weddings today. Up until 2007, the majority of couples were Gen X.

The oldest millennials are 33, the youngest are 12, so they’ll be the majority wedding consumer for a long time.

Millennials remember Princess Diana’s funeral, not her wedding. AIDS has always existed & Barbie has always had a job.

Why should wedding pros no longer focus on just marketing to the bride?

75% of millennials had a working mother and consider women and men equals. Traditional wedding duties are now seen as sexist.

65% of grooms today are actively involved in their wedding planning and their decisions carry equal weight.

95% of today’s grooms are actively involved in the registry process. It’s “our” home, not just the “bride’s” home.

Since more men cook now (no longer a stigma), wedding registries are seeing a spike in specialty kitchen items.

Using “it’s all about the bride” or “clueless groom” stereotypes in today’s marketing turns off millennial clients.

Same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies are also increasing. Only saying “brides” doesn’t do you any marketing favors.”

 

Now ask yourself: Is my business’ message, branding and practices sitting where they need to be?! I suggest you re-work and re-evaluate where needed. 

Have questions? Feel free to email me. I’d be happy to offer feedback!

 

For more on what millennials think, buy, value, their level of education, worldview and how this all effects how they plan they’re wedding, read the full post here.

 

 

She eats take-out on Fine China.

Yes. This is me.

I  light candles when I brainstorm. I savour chocolate when Im creating. I use china for my omelet and love crystal for my water. I give favors at my parties and eat hamburgers on lace. I wear heels to the market and crank jazz tunes for dinner prep. 

I make fancy out of everything, because I want to and it makes me happy. In my world, every occasion is one worth celebrating and every moment is the perfect time to do it. And no matter how silly it may seem to some, to others it’s refreshing, appreciated and admired.

We are unique, each of us in our own way. We eat, sleep and breathe originality, but at times, we choose to shy away from that. Instead, we dare to see ourselves through others perspective,  carefully editing our actions, to produce a desired outcome… but, who’s desired outcome? 

Yes, at the heart of life, we all crave love: to be accepted, adored and maybe even cherished… both personally AND professionally. But, when we desire that more than authenticity, we shadow and stifle our own light. People see us not for who we really are, but rather a facade, that will eventually fall.

At times, it proves more difficult and warrants courage beyond belief,   but I’d rather be the best ME possible, than a decent second best of someone else!

So, I ask you today:

Who are you trying to be…… you or someone else? 

It takes courage, my love.

What does it take?

….to dream big and choose action over fear

… to work smarter and harder than you ever dreamt possible

… to have passion and never apologize for it

… to find balance when you’re riding the carosoul, afraid you’ll never catch up

…. to be authentic to your soul, your values and your beliefs

… to lend a hand, when it’s the last thing your capable of doing

… to reach out, when your prides too big seek it

… to be wife, mom, friend, family, employee, entrepreneur, disciple

… to hold on tighter, have faith and choose gratitude….always! 

 

All these things take courage, my love, but in Christ, all things are possible.

“When work, commitment, and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.”  ~ Nancy Coey

Quality over Quantity

As I pondered my New Year’s resolutions, the list kept building; including the usuals that tend to last a total of 48 hours, along with others that weigh heavy on my heart. From 3, came 5 and from 5 came 10.

As many know, I take resolutions quite seriously. Goals are my middle name and I’m one to stick to things ’till the job gets done… and well! (or mastered; whichever comes first) So, as I sat there staring at my pressing desires, I began to reflect on the heart of the matter. What did all these things have in common? 

Quality over Quantity

Whether its my personal life or my business, I tend to be gung ho! All in or nothing. I devour myself until Im chest deep in whatever it is Im doing. And while this is a wonderful asset, that lends to the over-achieving, persistent self starter that I am, it’s also, all consuming.

Let’s be frank…. “Balance” seems far from normal for this lady. 

So, as 2012 knocks on the door, I open, with favor for quality over quantity.

Business

  •  I will choose to take on select projects that stir me from the inside, rather than every little thing that comes my way.
  •  I will focus on fewer projects at one time, to give each my absolute best and the extra attention each deserves, to fly and be fully appreciated/ savored.
  •  I will choose to supply quality content to my clients, rather than keeping up with the rat race, just to say I post 5 times a week.
  •  I will choose to focus on building select, strong networking relationships, with like minded professionals who share my values and passion. 
  •  I will choose efficiency over busy-ness.
  • I will choose to take breaks throughout the day and turn work off at 5…like the rest of the world. 
  • I will learn tomorrow comes quicker than I think, and leaving things until then, is OK!
  • I will choose slow, steady growth that can survive the times and favors longevity.
  • I will not be ashamed of my BIG DREAMS and will give myself what I need to achieve them 
  • I will not compare myself or my work to others and will instead, focus that attention of being the best ME I can be. 
  • I will not allow others hesitations, negativity or outlook, to affect my own heart, passion and dreams
  • I will choose vulnerability, openness and being raw: and not be ashamed if others don’t approve 

Personal 

  • I will be intentional about setting date nights with my girlfriends and initiating mid-day coffee  breaks more frequently.
  • I will choose to be away from the computer, when my husband is home and wants to play “house”.
  • I will choose start my day with prayer, reflection and education, before emails, tweets and posts. 
  • I will choose to speak up about my faith, even when its uncomfortable and makes me feel like an outcast.
  • I will be OK with not working out, if I don’t have time for the 3rd day in a row and will NOT feel guilty about it. 
  • I will be OK with splurging on myself every now and again; I’m worth it! and the well won’t run dry because of one nice piece of clothing or one fancy dinner out.
  • I will choose my pumps over my boots ever now and again, to embrace the me I’ve known my whole life and deeply missed this past year.
  • I will set boundaries between people and things that have a negative impact on me; acknowledging their potential for long term hurt/ damage. 
  • I will put my family first: our needs are more important that always trying to keep peace or doing what others think I should or is “best”.
  • I will accept that there is no one model to be a Christian and will continue to carve my path and deepen my relationship with God (no matter how different it may look for others).
  • I will own the fact that I constantly change and evolve as a person. Some may deem that “re-invention,” I see it as “growth!”
  • I will embrace me and love her, flaws and all 

And finally, going back to where my journey all began…

“I will hold myself to a standard of Grace, rather than perfection!”  Emily Ley 

The “Jug” ornament.

 

Each year, we add an ornament to our tree.

We make a special effort, to set out on an annual festive date and along the way, select our new addition. Typically, we choose something from the actual place of our date and today was nothing less.

This year, my wonderful husband treated me to that which I adore most; afternoon high tea. We ventured to the Little White House, an ultra swoon worthy heritage building, containing both a boutique and a cafe parlor. I was in heaven!

The lunch was delectable (not to mention the signature tea and hand-made sweets), but what was even more memorable was our time together. To be perfectly honest, this Christmas season has been anything but relaxed and fun filled. We’ve been burning the wick at both ends, trying to keep our business strong and our commitments and responsibilities in order. This weekend, after having  both arrived home close to midnight, we flopped down on the couch and stared at the wall.

We felt tired, emotional, disconnected and some-what ba-hum-buggy. (so every unusual for us holiday lovers) And the usual fixes like christmas movies, carols and baking, just weren’t cutting it. When you’re mentally exhausted and the things that normally fill you up aren’t working, you know its time to step back. In these times, we tend to loose light of the beauty that’s around us and the blessings we’ve been given. We both knew what needed to come first for a day: us. 

It took nothing more than a few connected hours and all felt right in our world again. We recounted this {astronomical} past year, dreamed about the future and counted our blessings twice. Almost finishing each other’s sentences, we expressed how full our lives are;  an outpouring of God’s love, grace, compassion. The result is two lives, now one, wonderfully rich in blessings. So, to represent this outpouring, this years ornament is a pitcher or a jug. Ours is full and for that, we’ve so grateful.

It’s safe to say, we fell in love all over again.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at your from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” ~ James 1: 2-4

 

Authentic Leadership

Many us were meant to lead, but not in the traditional sense of the word.

Yes, some of us were meant to stand at a podium, speaking out to thousands of eager ears. But others, in greater number, were meant to lead those around us; our family, friends, workplace and even community. In areas where people trust us enough to listen and act upon our words AND our actions. Whether it’s a a difficult time in someone’s life, a bad habit they wish to break, a way of life or even in day to day motions, we can help guide, inspire and lead people in a positive direction; towards authenticity and a place where their inner self, matches their outer self. {for me, this place is a place where God the Father lives, in our hearts and helps to mold us each and every day, into the people we were meant to be.}

At times, we fail to see this as a wondrous opportunity and without purposeful intent on our part, we can turn this gift into a curse.

“You cannot create an outer life that’s any/more ______, than your inner life’s______.”

You can apply this statement to any character trait or adjective you wish to present to this world; Bigger, Stronger, Successful, Influential, Graceful, or even Godly.

To authentically lead, we must look inward first! If our inner self is not parallel with our outer self, our facade will eventually break, many times, leaving us vulnerable to hypocrisy. We’ve all met these people: you meet them and they seem to have it all together: the loving, connected family, the successful and thriving career, the strong moral values, the lively and active church community, the centered wholeness. (Insert whatever desires of your heart you look for in other people. Don’t kid yourself, we all do it!) 

Time goes by and what appeared to be, is slowly falling to the ground; the connected family eats separately and the equality in partners, is realistically anything but. The thriving career is a financial success but it takes away from family time and comes first, always. The moral values separate them from those who think differently, creating a barrier of un-acceptance. The admirable church community is a group of self motivators, that fail to reach out and touch the lives of those who need it most. And finally, that centered wholeness is nothing but a cover up. Deep down is a host of insecurity and inner brokenness.

For those of you with your mouths wide open, shocked at such boldness, hear me out…. each of us, in one facet or another can be grouped into this scenario, including me. It’s not because we’re terrible people or that we wish to disceve the world. I believe it to be shame and due to this shame, we choose to push it out of sight, hide it under the rug and look forward. We choose to present our desired selves to the world, before we’ve looked inward and worked to overcome our brokeness.  We must first forgive ourselves of our iniquities and our past and present that to a God who will mold our hearts a-new. must  We must simply ask! 

Sure, we’re all a work in progress and never will we have reached a place of “perfection,” but by looking inwards first, we are being truly authentic in our approach. By accepting ourselves with forgiveness and a desire to change/grow, rather than ignorance and denial, we pave the way for a genuine portrayal. We begin to see that brokeness as beautiful and present our true selves to the world. And in doing so, we begin to know compassion and mercy, just as we’ve come to know of ourselves; in turn, we will treat others with such grace. We will come to know acceptance and will encourage others, just as we do ourselves. And inevitably, we become equals, with no division, where there’s a sense of community for all.

Because in reality, we are all a broken people. But when our hearts change first, we change. This is to lead authentically.

How beautiful is that?!

Treasured Advice

As entrepreneurs, business owners or even as a talented individual, we carry within ourselves a wealth of powerful information; skills, abilities, techniques and know-how that have been learnt and put into practice, through years of blood, sweat and tears.

Through mine, I’ve encountered many who hold this information so close to their heart and shield it by a barrier of personal space and mystery; as if someone finding it would be theft and a threat to their success. I’ve never understood this. I’ve always desired to share my knowledge with others, inspire them and help to lift them up in their own endeavors. After all, no man is an island! and two heads are ALWAYS better than one.

“No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own two wings.”

I apply this theory to my own business, daily. I’m always asking questions, seeking advice and looking for inspiration from mentors. I put myself out there and ask the questions many dare never ask. “What were your biggest struggles in business and how did you over come them?” “Here’s my situation. How would you go about resolving it?” “Where do you get your inspiration and how do you continue to grow in your profession/talent/business.”

Insert the question on your heart.

You’d be surprised the answers you’ll receive, free of charge and the network of individuals you’ll build.

Recently, I emailed a few of the individuals that continuously inspire me in new ways; these individuals were a source of aspiration through my company re-brand. Their responses warmed my heart and today, I wish to share their advice with you!

Shoot to inspire others: “It truly is the greatest compliment one can receive.” ~ Amanda K of Amanda K Photography

“The real moment of success is not the moment apparent to the crowd.

You’re never alone: NEVER give up! Because everyone gets discouraged at some point or another. ~ Heather Cook of Carter & Cook Event Co.

“The difference between the impossible and the possible, lies in a person’s determination”

Dream BIG, not BIGGER: always strive to be TRULY unique, even when it’s tough. Never reproduce the already-been-seen and finally, HARD work is bound to make a business soar! ~ Vania Barbieri of Simply Bloom Photography

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it!”

Have Faith: Keep your thoughts in check and in line with God’s word. Hold onto His promises and pray like your life depends on it. ~ Bianca Juarez Olthoff of In the Name of Love

“Be the kind of woman, who when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the Devil says, Oh no. She’s up!”

So, today, I encourage you to reach out. Not one of us is perfect, nor will we ever have all the answers. But together, we’ll shine a whole lot brighter and build a warm community for budding talent, like ourselves.

An Eternal Perspective

An Eternal Perspective

This is something I struggle with.

I find myself, frequently getting caught up in my present situation, eagerly anticipating  the future, crafting my next step and focusing on bigger, better and stronger. My expectations of myself are overwhelming and while I’ve come leaps and bounds in this department, I still get down and frustrated when things don’t move as quickly as I thought. “I’m better than this.” I tell myself. “Why aren’t you there yet, as oppose to here, staring at yourself in disappointment?”

And what follows are sleepless nights of tail spins and anxiety ridden mornings. I wake up determined to prove myself wrong, rather than leaving that to God. So I run, faster than they day before, only to complete another cycle of frenzy, more crushed than the day before.

The last week has been this cycle and last night, (or rather early 4am this morning) I finally turned to my devotions after 4 hours of spinning.

“When you are younger, you think certain things are always good, while other things are always bad. For example, success is always good, and hardship is always bad. But when you have lived life for awhile, you can look back and realize that success actually can be bad for some. And hardship actually can be good for others. You begin to see things differently. And sometimes the things you thought were really good things turned out to be bad things. And the things that you thought were bad things turned out to be good things.

We must realize as Christians that God is in control of all circumstances surrounding our lives. God takes all of the events of life, the good things and the so-called bad things, and works them “together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).

We must also realize that God loves us and is always looking out for our eternal benefit—even if what we are presently going through is difficult. We are told in 2 Corinthians 4:17–;18, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Are you thankful for what God has blessed you with? Have you given thanks recently for your health? For the freedom to worship openly? For the clothes on your back and the roof over your head? We need to give thanks to God—because there is so much to give thanks for.” – Greg Laurie

And As my eyes left the words, my heartbeat fell still for for first time in 7 days. I got down on my knees and thanked God for all he’s done in my life; for all the greatness he’s delivered thus far; and for the simple luxuries of  shelter, food, clothes and great friends.

The beautiful thing I hold on to, is that these times are only temporary and few and far between. But when they decide to creep up, it’s a living nightmare. I truly believe it’s evil forces at work in our lives. But, it’s up to us to recognize it for what it is and put a stop to further hurt and pointless frustration.

For in God’s hands our future lies and by worrying we add not a single minute to our lives! And regardless of where we are or where we hope to be, we must remember that in HIM, we can do all things…but the key lies in His timing. Not ours.