In last week’s blog post I disclosed a tad about my struggle with anxiety and how sometimes doing “big girl” things can petrify me into a heart racing ball of crazy. I also talked a bit about how I’ve decided 2016 will be a year for growth and self-improvement, a year to push myself outside of my comfort zone. For me, that means facing my anxiety head on.This time last week I was on one crazy, awesome adventure. One that my friends and I have begun to refer to as my “big girl” adventure. No, I didn’t trek the Pacific Crest Trail or climb Mount Everest like a total badass. However, what I did do pushed me way outside of my comfort zone, made me extremely anxious, and left me feeling pretty darn boss. This time last week I was surrounded by a bunch of boss babes and gaining some killer small business knowhow at The Creative Counsel Conference in Austin, Texas. This conference for creative entrepreneurs was lead by a particular favorite boss babe of mine, Sarah of Chalkfulloflove. Not gonna lie guys, I definitely had a fan girl moment when I met her for the first time. She’s sweet, funny, super talented and an all around rad chick. Okay, enough swooning over here. But really…The conference was held at the Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom, and let me just say, “wow”. Because that’s all I really can say when I try to verbalize just how magnificent this venue was. I mean jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I mean picture perfect, literally. It was an absolutely stunning juxtaposition of natural and industrial elements. The gardens and grounds were breathtaking, the outdoor covered barn/patio hybrid was incredible. The main room was insane with its vine covered wall of windows. Seriously though, I want to live here. I want to get lost in its boundless quirkiness and beauty and call this place home. For real.
Already enthralled with the beauty of this place I didn’t think it could get much better, that was until I saw what awaited in the outdoor patio area—morning yummies and endless bubbly! Holy mimosa bar! I was in heaven. We ate, drank and chatted until our first workshop session with the brilliant Meredith of Bristol Lane.
Meredith is seriously such an amazing florist, business woman, and human. She lead a fun and creative floral lesson where we each created our very own mini floral centerpiece. She was also the brain behind the truly beneficial Basic Business Finances lesson, where she taught us how to set sales goals and a business budget that includes a personal paycheck. She shared some serious brilliant business knowledge that I’ve already begun to implement. (Well, as well as my mathematically challenged brain will let me).
After some serious flower magic we moved on inside for our next lesson. All of our new floral arrangement friends looked pretty darn cute at our seats. But real quick, um, can we just look at how adorable these little touches (by Chalkfulloflove) were!? That hand-lettered name plate is definitely finding itself a home on my desk.
Stephanie (another fan girl moment here guys) from Olive and Tate taught us how to consciously curate and style our Instagram feeds to match our brands. And let me tell you, she is queen! Her Instagram (and her brand in general) is swoon worthy. Not only is she totally boss at what she does, but she is such a fun and lively woman who I really enjoyed getting to know.
Next up we had a DSLR Basics + Styling session with the extremely sweet Angie of AngieLPhotography. This girl is SO dang cute. Embarrassingly enough, I’ve taken upwards of four photography classes throughout my college years and still don’t quite understand it all. Angie helped break down the basics of DSLR camera use in a way that was manageable and that I could actually wrap my head around. Also, how sweet is it that she took all of our headshots? Obsessed with her photography style and so incredibly excited and thankful for this! I LOVE me some Angie.
Samantha of Wondrous Whimsy is beyond talented. She led a modern calligraphy workshop where she taught us the basics of calligraphy in her very cool, very modern writing style. She also showed us a neat way to digitize hand-lettering using Photoshop and Illustrator. I’ve dabbled in brush pen calligraphy a bit, thinking it would be easier and that I’d like it more than calligraphy, but after this lesson with Samantha I can safely say I have a new favorite hobby. Unfortunately for me, the calligraphy ink we were given exploded in my carry-on during my flight home (that was fun...), but I’ll definitely be purchasing some more soon because I’m already having calligraphy withdrawal. After the calligraphy fun, Sarah from Chalkfulloflove (girl crush!) shared some awesome Photoshop how-to’s. We learned how to put together some fun graphics that can be used for our websites, marketing material, etc. I usually use Illustrator for this sort of thing, as my Photoshop skills are, eh. This tutorial definitely taught me some new and useful skills. One of the most inspiring and genuine people I think I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, Deb from Society Letters talked about creating a business that doesn’t fall victim to trend, and that allows you to stay true to your mission statement and to yourself. Through her entire lecture I found myself jotting down notes in earnest, nodding in agreement and smiling in admiration. Deb is such an inspiration, from her personal story, to her words on “finding your why” and staying true to yourself. I was in awe of her wisdom, caring and supporting demeanor, and just her overall vivaciousness and zest for life. Lastly, the fun and outgoing Alexandra of Heart Love Always gave a little presentation on her #GoalSetPlanDo goal setting techniques. We learned how set ourselves up for success by correctly setting goals that allow for some ultimate goal crushing! This girl is the goal setting queen! Oh, and I forgot to mention my favorite friend of the day…
This is Raylan, The Creative Counsel Conference mascot (or so I’ve decided to call him). Isn’t he the cutest little nugget? He was the baby pup of CCC attendee, Shanna. AKA Barr Mansion event planner who helped make the day so amazing. AKA Awesome Lady.
After our fun-packed and super educational day of awesome workshops and lessons, we moved the party back outdoors (Side note: I saw my first lightning bug as the day faded into night. I swear they’re magic). Here we chowed down on some incredible wood-fired pizza, sipped on some delicious vino and partook in Sarah’s open discussion on the best ways to use Instagram for business growth and success. Some killer content!
As we sat around, chatting about what it means to be a boss babe and how we all can totally do this entrepreneurial thing, I suddenly felt so incredibly blessed. Here I was, in Austin, Texas, sipping wine with women that I had been following, idolizing on Instagram for months. These women that inspired me to start my own business, that gave me the courage to dream big and chase those dreams full force. Sipping wine with likeminded, hardworking creatives, with new friends. I’m still so in awe of all of them. Although this experience was undeniably terrifying for my anxious self, it was definitely one of my best. I learned so much, met so many beautiful and genuine women, and have some truly amazing memories that will last a lifetime. So was I scared on my “big girl” adventure? Ugh, heck yes! Would I do it all over again? In a Texas minute!
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