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Society for Creative Founders: Spring 2018 recap

At this very moment 27 women are gathered in Pensacola, Florida in a beautiful oceanside home building into themselves, their businesses and creating strong foundations for their passions to continue to grow and support them through their creative business. I was one of those women just 6 months ago during the Society for Creative Founders Spring 2018 conference. The impact it has had and continues to have on me and my business has been huge!

Building a creative business is exhausting both mentally and physically. It is often lonely and isolating working at home, out of the library and coffee shops. It feels like most people think I am just pursuing a fancy hobby and don’t quite understand what I am actually doing, why it matters and the hard work and hours that go into it.

When I finally said “Yes!” to going to The Creative Founders Conference after many conversations with Kristin, the owner and leader, as well as my husband—I said yes to not only pouring into my business but pouring into myself. I was incredibly nervous to go to a house for three days with women I didn’t know, in a town I had never been to, to learn and grow a business I sometimes questioned why I was still pursuing.

Leaving The Creative Founders Conference renewed in me a sense of purpose, equipped me with a community and resources I use weekly (if not daily), and continues to be a marker of growth in this crazy adventure of being a business owner. Here are a few take aways of why this conference was so impactful for me:

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Community is key.

Walking into the The Lee House that first afternoon I was nervous and intimidated to meet all these talented ladies. Stepping into the lobby I was instantly relieved because I could feel it in everyone—we were all nervous and intimidated because we didn't know how the next three days would go! Despite where we were at in our personal businesses, we all started with fresh slates for the conference. As the hours went on and we got to know one another, connections were created and joy was a top emotion in every session and meal. It was so refreshing to be around others who understood my daily feelings about what I was doing and why I was doing it and had the same doubts and worries I battled. Though we have physically been removed from one another since the conference, the community of these women is very real and authentic. We continue to connect with one another through social media, video chats and emails. This alone was worth going to the conference!

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Growing and learning is necessary and you shouldn't do it alone.

With such a solid group of ladies around, you will be immersed in the 6 pillars (Your Core, Your Client, Your Brand, Your Marketing, Your Money, Your Plan) of SCF with incredible speakers (who I will add sat in the session with us as peers when not teaching) who go in depth about their topic and how to apply it to your business. Like most creative entrepreneurs, I taught myself almost everything about business/being an entrepreneur I know through countless webinars, books and mostly Google. I felt the most important part of this conference was getting to learn side by side with the other women in the room. Could I have done these same topics through a book or webinar? Of course—but the benefit of sitting in a room full of others walking the same road during each session and personally hearing and learning from all the different perspectives increased the experience tenfold. With the resources of new business friends, I also left with a workbook full of notes I refer to weekly, and information that has impacted my business acumen greatly.

Taking advantage of the abundance of knowledge.

I often find personally I don’t know what to ask at conferences or classes when the question time comes around because I am still processing the information I just heard. Many of my questions come to me after the session is well and done. The sessions were chalk full of so much amazing information but what I found was different from other conferences was the speakers and my new friends genuinely were open to answering questions during after the session time or topic was “finished”. I never felt like I was burdening them when I would ask my questions and they always answered them with genuine, honest and full answers. Even now, as a part of the SCF online community, I know I can reach out and ask questions or bounce ideas off these friends and get thought out and encouraging answers.

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You will be surrounded in beauty and resources.

Kristin, the owner and leader of SCF, is a former event planner and current wedding invitation designer. With that in mind she did an incredible job from start to finish creating a relaxing but stimulating atmosphere in every environment we were in. From the moment we walked in the conference room the delights and surprises kept coming from each session to each session. My little designer heart was so full with the well coordinated details and the excellent use of branding! We were spoiled with goodies of all shapes and sizes. It is a true testament to the power of the SCF community wanting to build one another up and cheer each other on as we all left with suitcases overflowing with products donated from alumni who have growing businesses touched by the teachings of SCF and conference sponsors who desired to see us have the best products possible. It was a sweet reminder that there is so much room for each of us to spread our magic in the creative world.

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Being apart of The Society of Creative Founders and attending the Creative Founders Conference has been a key growth mark in my business and has helped me focus more on the areas I need to grow in. I left with a sense of direction, accountability partners, and friends that I love cheering on as we build our businesses side by side through the unity of being Creative Founders.

Interested in seeing more of my time at the conference? Check of the conference recap for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. Learn more about the 2019 conference here! Plus follow along this week as they go through round two at the Fall conference on Instagram!

Modern Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

When thinking about Thanksgiving, it had me dreaming about the whole holiday season. I thought it would be fun to imagine a table that could transition from Thanksgiving day  to a more universal table for the winter season. 

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To add dimension and a special touch, each napkin was wrapped in gold bakers twine with lavender and a watercolor leaf with the word "thankful".

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I love the idea of mixing patterns and using the nontraditional fall color of blue to create a fun modern Thanksgiving table. This table and many of the elements could transition to a winter/Christmas table with some simple color and floral changes through out the season. (I'm thinking maybe wine colored tapers and adding glittery baubles among the pine cones).

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To keep the warmth of Fall present and the table relevant to Thanksgiving, I included warm metallics like the gold chargers, flatware and the brass candle holders.

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To include the theme throughout the room, I added a simple chalk-board sign to the sideboard pulling in the florals and pinecone. These signs are perfect to quickly change simple greetings, add a favorite holiday drink menu, or keep score for a family game after dinner!

Decoration:

Calligraphy: Lina Lulu Paperie | Dinner Plates  | Bowls | Salad Plates | Silverware | Table Runner from T.J. Maxs | Place Mats (Similar) | Brass Candle Holders (Family Heirloom ) Simular Item | Blue Glass Candle Holders (Family Heirloom ) Similar Item | Pine Cones | Napkins,Target Dollar Section | Chalk Sign, Target Dollar Section | Wooden Server

Five Years Strong

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Five Years ago, I nervously slipped on my white dress, clutched on to my father's arm and walked down the aisle to my future. The day was beautiful and I remember being so filled with joy and adrenaline. I can still hear that hotel clerk's voice the next morning as I ordered room service repeating my new name back to me, Mrs. Hutchison. 

We will celebrate with a trip in October, but took the time while up at our family lake house to capture some photos with my sweet and talented sis-in-law, Ema.(She was a champ and even floated out to get some amazing water shots (like the above)!) Minocqua was where we honeymooned and the place that has held a special place in my husband's family for over twenty years, and now in our family of two for the last five years. I love that we get to return to such a special place, that we get to experience it with our loved ones, and one day in the future we will take our own expanded family there too. 

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Happy anniversary Reid. You will forever be my always and I would have it no other way. 

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Life Lately: Family History

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 In late August, we headed up to Chilton,Wisconsin to celebrate my grandmother Emma's family at the Big Schmahl family reunion. My grandmother was one of 10 children from German immigrants, Anna and Peter Schmahl. We gathered in the Eagles Club in their hometown with family I both recognized and family, to be honest, I didn't. On one side of the room, several tables were filled with picture, albums, certificates and the above painting. I knew exactly whose hand produced the work without even seeing the piece before—my father. The line strokes felt familiar and it drew me in as so many of my father's sketches over the years have. The picture is of my great Uncle Peter Jr.'s hotel that still stands in the downtown area of Chilton, now renovated to apartments. I loved that my dad contributed so many years ago to the legacy of his family in the best way he knew how, capturing it in art. He has so many memories going to the hotel when visiting his grandparents, aunts and uncles during the summer, and of the hotel being the hub of large family gatherings and a staple in the town. I loved that he and my mother have past this love of black ink and paper to me, and the desire still lives on in my hands to capture family moments.

I leafed through the pictures showing off the family my father knew and cared for, and I knew only through stories. I read through memories of my grandmother as a young girl growing up in the town, stories from her sisters and brothers and I saw the naturalization certificate my great grandfather was so proud of. He and Anna made a bold choice to move from the country they knew to raise a family in the United States at the turn of the century. My father told me it was one of my great grandfather's most cherished possessions, and now it is mine too. 

Life Lately

This time of year I still feel the need to travel (It must be that internal ingrained Spring Break schedule from school for so many years). Between Reid going back to Africa in May, our role at our apartment, and just life in general—there have been few weekends that have given us time to travel this year, let alone sleep-in. Thankfully, this last weekend was a surprise, slow weekend full of sleeping-in, a refreshing day trip to Milwaukee Art Museum, and even time to cook more than just a meal. 

If you have never been to the Milwaukee Art Museum, it is a must! The Quadracci Pavilin by Santiago Calatrava alone is worth going for. On the more beautiful days the roof actually opens up to resemble wings—stunning! The collection as well is incredible. The galleries rotate out the works every 6 months and the museum itself owns over 30,00 pieces of work! I was particularly in love with their collections of Georgia O'keeffe (pictured below) and there modernism collection. Definitely will be making another trip back when the weather is nicer.

Letters for Love Songs

I have been doing a small challenge on my Instagram this month to post a love song lyric each day called #lettersforlovesongs. I compiled a list of my favorite love songs lyrics and have been giving myself 30 minutes to pick, sketch and (if need be) computerize the text. Some of them I feel so good about in person and then I photograph them and feel subpar—does that ever happen to you?

Despite the feeling of subpar work, I post it anyways as a challenge to myself not only to follow through on posting everyday, but to start getting my work out there and making bench marks for myself. Practice makes perfect—and I really do love practicing. It is just picking the lyrics that are hard! So many GREAT love songs out there.

You can hear the playlist of all the songs I have picked so far on Spotify, just click here. Remember to follow along on my Instagram and the hashtag #lettersforlovesongs

Welcome Christmas Time!

If there is a time I love more than birthday's (especially mine) it is the Christmas season! For me shopping is fun, but getting to shop for others is even better! Here are three of my favorite ways you can spread the holiday season this year:

1. Goody Goody Gift Swap

Crafters and Bloggers and cute presents — oh my! This swap allows anyone interested to sign up and then be paired up with another interested gifter to create, gather, paint, construct or shop for a thoughtful gift for them! This is so fun to see what you will get - who knows, you might even be paired up with someone from across the world!

2. World Vision Gift Catalog

World Vision has had a special place in my heart for  a long time now, and what I have loved every Christmas season is when their Gift Catalogue comes in the mail. You can choose a gift or gifts for people around the world to be blessed with this Christmas —including ducks, goats, cows and even clean water. Pick something out with your family, or gift a few chickens in a friends name, either way this is a gift that can't go wrong. 

3. Operation Christmas Child

Another great way to get multiple people involved is Operation Christmas by Samaritans Purse. Grab a few friends and head to Target or Walmart and fill a shoe box with gifts and life necessities for a child in need. Don;t forget to write a note and send a picture - this could be a fun way to have a pen pal! Feel like you don't have time to shop for all the items, let Samaritans Purse do it for you by building a shoe box online here.

Don't forget that today is #GivingTuesday!  Now that Black Friday has past and Cyber Monday is gone, find the charity or company of your choice and refocus on the holiday spirit of giving by donating today. Not sure where to give—check out the site for a list of companies or head to your favorite charities site to give.

Let the Christmas Season begin!

Life Lately

I look at my life this year and am in awe in the direction the Lord has pulled myself and my husband. If you would of told us in January of the steps, leaps and step-backs we would have this year I would of thought you were talking about some one else's life. Just like most things in life, the sweetest things come slowly and surprise you when they finally arrive. 

In the course of the year we have committed more to growing in to taking so many steps in our lives. Steps into improving our marriage and relationship, steps in our walk with Jesus, and steps in relationships with friends. I took steps away from a secure, wonderful job into the unknown of self-business to take steps back into an office part-time. Reid took steps to a healthier lifestyle in both meals and working out, and in conjunction we both took steps to run races along side church members in partnership with World Vision to bring awareness of clean water. 

That decision has changed our entire year and our hearts forever.

In the last few weeks we took steps out of our comfort areas and had the privilege to visit Kenya and Uganda along side church mates and World Vision staff to see where the money we raised was being used and how the Lord is working in both these countries through World Vision. I will have to write more later on our amazing trip, but I know for the fact the Lord is doing a mighty work to change lives through the resources World Vision is helping to provide and the amazing staff they have all over the world, and specifically the Buliisa, Uganda team. I am in awe of how He uses people as mighty vessels to bring about change and how deep His love runs through his children. 

Then in a matter of hours we will be taking steps to move, yet again, to a new apartment. We now have the privilege to work with the organization Institute for Community by being apart of their Community Life program to help promote community and belonging within a specific apartment complex in Arlington Heights. We can not be more excited to meet our new neighbors and get to do life alongside them all! 

And just like that I look back and see that all these steps have created such an interesting and exciting journey that I am thankful I could have never imagined for myself. I often think what my 18 year-old self would say knowing she would be here at 25 and all the layers that led me from that freshman college version to the version I am today. She would be shocked, but not concerned; It wasn't what my 18 year-old self planned, but when is it ever what we planned? I thank God that his plans are sweeter and far more expansive than mine will ever be at any age.

Here's to many more steps, step-backs and directions changes ahead.