Y’all, I’m no beauty expert.

SHOCKING, I know.

But one thing I do know for darned sure is that I feel my best when surrounded by people with positive vibes and happy attitudes – and sometimes putting my best face forward means taking time for myself.

A couple of years ago, I started noticing my skin changing pretty dramatically. Being a one-woman-show managing several different projects and pieces of my business at any given time was getting stressful. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but over the years I just wasn’t rebounding from the stress and the often dumb things I did to myself in periods of overload. And, let’s face it: Your early 30’s are a time of waking up to several “well, now, that’s a new one” on the daily. And despite my attempts at drinking water like a maniac, slathering SPF 30+ like it’s my job, and the occasional $4 packaged face mask from the drug store, my skin started baring the worst brunt – it felt heavy, rough, dull, and blotchy. While internally I did find a lot of gratitude and happy moments amid the chaos, my face was telling a different story.

A little over a year ago, I was gifted a facial at LUX: A Medical Spa in Bluffton. To be honest, I’ve always had a little guilt around these kinds of things, thinking “self care” was for birthdays and vacations and preparing for special occasions. So, I held off using it – that I didn’t deserve to “enjoy” a “spa treatment” until I had accomplished something or until a birthday or anniversary came around.

After a particularly rough season of projects, shooting weddings, and a hurricane evacuation, my skin was worse than ever – red and irritated from the stress, covered in acne scars and full with that ‘gunky’ feeling. I caved and called to set-up my appointment. I didn’t know much about LUX at that point, but I had heard several friends rave about it, so I was secretly excited for a little “me” time. Instantly, I felt welcomed and far away from the To Do lists and craziness… the space practically glows, feeling inviting but professional. Sometimes the overly ‘relaxing’ spa experiences with New Age flute music and cucumber-basil water and winter pine candle smells makes me ironically more uncomfortable (“Am I relaxing ‘right’?”), so I was grateful that it felt clean and polished.

Upon checking in, I was greeted by the nicest front desk staff – they were just so sweet and made me feel extremely welcomed, even though I felt super rough. I was greeted moments later by Maggie, one of their aestheticians, and she led me to a room that felt clean and calm. She did a good look over my skin and asked me tons of questions about my current routine, my lifestyle, and concerns I had. She listened intently and got to work after completing her summary. With each step she talked me through the process and what she was using on my face to combat my specific problems and dropped knowledge bombs about skin science, skin care, effects of lifestyle, effects of hormones, age related concerns, etc. She also extracted a few gnarly, clinging breakouts, and I could literally feel my skin breathe. She hand-picked several samples of products for me to try and even sent me an email with some recommendations when I left. My skin felt soft and light upon leaving, and overall it felt brighter over the next several days.

Jasmine, LUX Manager, and Maggie, my go-to-gal aesthetician!

And let me tell you what, y’all, these LUX ladies know their stuff. The walls are lined with specialty and professional grade skin care and makeup, and they had their product knowledge down to a science – literally. Nothing was generic or one-size-fits-all, which I found pretty impressive. One of the lines they carry, Lumen, was even specially formulated by the staff doctors, Carmen A. Traywick, MD and Frederick G. Weniger, MD, with a little help from their LUX aestheticians, formulated for “purity, potency and stability.” (I use their “Glow Pads” once a week and OH BOY they’ve made a huge difference and a single pack lasts about a year). And my forever supportive husband, John, noticed just how much better I felt after getting the ‘gunk’ out, encouraged me to return in another couple of months because definitely gave me the boost of confidence I needed and enhanced my current daily skin routine.

 

After my experience, I definitely started noticing LUX’s presence more and more throughout the community. They were always present at major events and festivals and sponsoring tons of local events, often donating several procedures for local organizations to auction to raise money (and they were always fought over at these things… I know because I got into several heated battles at silent auctions). They donated sunscreen to local schools and hosted several educational events at their location. I quickly learned they weren’t an average “spa.”

More-so, I got to know several of the girls through my adventures in the community (including CRAZY early morning workouts together, in which they still looked amazing at 5:30AM), and over and over they were just the nicest people, always encouraging what I’ve been up to and asking how they can support. During one community event run-in, I got on a conversation with Lindsay, their Marketing Coordinator, about how we women, especially younger women, just don’t take to really invest in ourselves like we should. That we wait until problems arise before we take any action or, as I had believed, treated these kinds of treatments as ‘vanity’ driven or only worthy of special occasions… which, of course, is ridiculous when you think about our skin as THE biggest organ of our body and that it’s often the window to other areas we need to attend to. My blotchy, heavy, dull skin wasn’t just its own problem – underneath were the issues of stress, changes, and lifestyle. In another conversation with another friend and LUX lady, Susan, she pretty much hit the nail on the head: “Prevention’s the name of the game – investing a little now means saving so much more to reverse the damage later.” And it sure doesn’t hurt to feel good NOW… because hiding behind makeup and baseball hats was getting pret-tee old.

 

Susan, another bomb-diggity aesthetician at LUX

I also got to know the LUX manager, Jasmine (also at above mentioned crazy early morning workouts), and she constantly gushed about her job, the amazing people she got to work with on the daily, and forever seemed excited about the new things they were adding or the advancements they were making. She genuinely seemed excited about her job, which was always so refreshing amid the “I’m-so-busy’s” I was used to hearing… or guilty of saying myself.

In my usual interrogative nature (I pride myself on getting your life’s story in 10 minutes or less), I had a chance to chat with Jasmine a little more about her experience working at LUX. What was her secret for loving her job?

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Why did LUX choose the Hilton Head-Bluffton area?
Like most of our locals, neither Dr. Weniger nor Dr. Traywick are from Bluffton originally. There is something about this place that just draws you in. Our patients are worldly, they have been to big cities, seen the most luxurious of spas, hotels, and restaurants. Dr. Weniger & Dr. Traywick wanted to bring that feeling to the Lowcountry.

What’s something you’re most proud of being a part of LUX?
We just celebrated our 4th anniversary. In that time we have been able to completely integrate ourselves into the wellbeing of the community. Each year we have been able to help serve over 100 local Charitable Events, including Silent Auctions, Golf Tournaments, and Fund Raisers.

Who is someone who has been a big influence on where you are now?
It’s Dr. Traywick & Dr. Weniger. I am honored to have found them. I am complete “awe” of them both professionally and as strong family and community leaders. They are each the best at what they do and I feel privileged that they trust me to execute their vision through LUX.

If you had to recommend one professional development resource or experience, what would it be?
We try to live by the philosophies taught in the book “Hug your Customers.” Customer Service is the key element to LUX and it is important to us that our patients know that we will always do whatever it takes to give them the best service and product possible. Every new employee is required to read this book during their new hire orientation.

What mantra/quote/concept has been most important to your success?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
People can go anywhere for their aesthetic treatments, new medical spas are popping up on every corner. We know you can get a similar outcome from other providers in the area, but we want to make sure that it is not only the outcome of your procedure that brings you back, but also the way the staff made you feel.

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And JUST when I thought I couldn’t love LUX anymore, I’m at breakfast one morning with Lindsay (because a bout of beautiful weather perfectly called for a creative community chat over coffee and avocado toast al fresco over at Corner Perk), and she mentions their new partnership with Bluffton Self Help to help spread awareness for their mission and be a drop-off location for needed items. Just like LUX, Bluffton Self Help is all about investing in the people it serves with a longterm plan of success and self-worth, not a quick band-aid solution. Their kick-off event was quickly approaching. I’m not sure if it was the coffee kicking in or the exciting sensation of unlikely powers combining, but I basically shouted, “Now THAT’S the stuff!” Y’all, that is precisely what I love about this Lowcountry community – it’s all about the power of meaningful connection and making this area stay true to the people in it. The power of positive attraction is hard at work here, my friends.

If anything, I think it’s still going to take me a lot of time and self-talk to be perfectly okay with investing in myself and knowing it’s only going to make me better in serving others when I feel best in my own skin. At least knowing that by choosing a place like LUX that shares similar values and goals (and a knack for excited fast-talking), then it makes it seem a little more worth it.

 

 

So go on, friends – put on a happy, helpful face. 🙂

Hugs and High Fives!
-C

 

PS. I’m sure I almost broke Google trying to spell “aesthetician.” That is NOT an easy word to spell, folks.

 

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Do you ever have those days when you are getting a very direct message from all corners of your Universe and get it all at once?

Y’all, my word of the year, “Space,” is no accident.

I’m equal parts woo-woo girl (not to be confused with “whoo girls,” How I Met Your Mother Fans) and Lord-fearing lady, fascinated by divine energy and cosmic forces. We can wander down that conversation another time later, but the point is, there is “something” there that can neither be touched nor seen — but it can be felt. And OH HONEY, the longer you resist it, the deeper that feeling hits you, and more-so when you least expect it.

I’m not saying y’all have to believe me, but hear me out.

The last several months have been incredibly difficult. The worst/annoying part is it’s not for anything major; on the surface, everything was “fine.” We had a roof over our heads and food on the table. Our health was relatively good, our family was doing fine, and there were definitely some “high” points sprinkled in there. But there was that muddled sense of that “something” being off. I chalked it up to the forever lingering winter (yes, even here on Hilton Head it’s been cold and MEHHH for much longer than normal). But the truth was, I felt at odds with that “something” in my business, in my community, and that “who am I?” in the grand scheme of it. I hate that we put so much value on what we do and the impending titles and responsibilities that go with it, but truth is, that’s where I was. On the brink of something new and exciting while also very much feeling stuck and unable to keep up. I could hear my intuition screaming through that muddled “something,” but I became too exhausted to seek her out, to really even care.

I was the Captain of the Struggle Bus, and I was taking a one-way trip to Befuddled Town.

And yes, I was the Captain. No one else but me was steering that friggin’ bus. I was letting everyone and anything get on it, pretending they’d find their own places to depart along the route. But there I was, driving in circles with a whole lot of crazy.

 

(And yes, I know there aren’t “Captains” on busses, but it’s my metaphor, so we’ll just go with it.)

Worse, I felt like I wasn’t able to give that quality experience to the people who truly were put there to be on this journey with me, letting the noise and mounting needs overshadow their steadfast presence and the opportunities they so graciously affording me.

Everything felt like too much and not enough at the same time.

 

This past weekend at Mass, the gospel (John: 15), one I’d heard many times, suddenly seemed so poignant:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does He prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.

The priest talked about how we’re “pruned” so that our strong, fruit-bearing branches can be even more robust and productive. These branches (us) need space to grow and time to develop. And it’s okay to let that “stuff”, that dead-weight go; He’s already taken care of it, for it no longer serves. The priest also gave the example of Michelango’s quote: “I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set it free.” That where most people see a hunk of material, the art of careful removal can reveal the true beauty hidden in there – and then become a real work of art.

 

This past weekend, too, was also a significant full moon in the Sun Sign calendar: Scorpio, or the “Pink Moon”. I’m not as much into the whole horoscope thing (although I am painfully spot-on with my Scorpio personality profile), but the idea of the sun and moon and stars and tides having these energy patterns is wildly fascinating and all too often coincidentally on-point. Supposedly, the energy around this particular full moon is one of great reveal and transformation – but only when we learn to let go of the metaphysical junk. The energy can’t fill those spaces if we keep them full of the crap: the worry, the guilt, the commitments yielding no results or joy, the jealousy, the “yes’s” that should’ve been “no thank you’s”, the control, the judgment, the fear-based decisions.

 

And between those two great messages were enough little signs and moments and conversations that could fill a whole other blog post, slowly chipping away at that muddy wall I had created around my intuition who was still screaming her little head off.

 

In a world that tells us to do more, to give more, to BE more, to experience more, to take on more… everything was telling me to pull back. To quit trying to figure everything out. To whole-ass the opportunities I told myself I wasn’t good enough for instead of half-assing a lot of things “in case they (the things I REALLY felt called to do) didn’t work out.” To believe in people. To quit waiting for some ridiculous sign and let the trust be enough. To gently tip my Captain’s hat to the characters that needed to finally get off on their stop and tell ’em to quit their free-loading.

 

To make space for the magic and people and moments so patiently waiting for their turn to enter.
And more importantly, the space to fearlessly be still.

And how exciting to know that even when I’m being the moody AF Scorpio, control freak, overcommitted Captain of the Crazy Bus that I know I can be, that The Big Guy is waiting with open arms with a smile and the Universe continues to ride along with us until we’re ready to say “thank you, friend – let’s DO this.”

 

To those of you who hung on for the ride amid the bumps and detours and chaos, I can’t thank you enough.

To those of you who waited until there was enough room on my Crazy Bus to share your journey with me, you’re appreciated so much.

To those of you who shared your love and were steadfast landmarks of trust, excitement, and “we GOT this,” I’m forever grateful.

To those of you reading this and thinking it’s time to start sculpting your life, I’ve got room on the Crazy Bus if you want to join.

To those of you reading this and think to yourself, “Yep, C has officially lost it,” you’re probably right – but honestly I’m not interested in going back to find “it” because I’m feeling pretty good for what’s next.

Hugs & High Fives, my friends.
-C

 

Side note: Major shout out to my main squeeze, my comrade, my business partner, my dreamboat, and my eternal optimist, John. There is no greater joy than knowing you accept my special brand of enthusiasm and encourage me from a place of love, faith, adventure, and a helluva good cocktail. Here’s to a lifetime of gin-filled sunsets on the porch, handsome.

 

 

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I’ve lived my life in wonder and search of unexpected pairings; I was the first girl in line for bizarre and unique infusion restaurants and am obsessed with designers who blend radically different vibes into a seamless look. I love when someone discovers these things aren’t just merely complimentary, yet fuse so fantastically in spite of their contrast.

 

And I found all of that in Java Burrito.

 

© Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

 

Those who follow along on Harbour Affair know that Java Burrito is a happy place within my happy place of this blessed little island; it’s where I schedule most of my brainstorming meetings with clients and fellow creatives. The vibe is hip. The coffee is outstanding. And the food… I mean, Y’ALL.

 

My weekly (okay, maybe every other day…) visits to Java Burrito started early in our arrival to Hilton Head. It was lonely running my business out of our tiny condo. Not having much luck with big chain coffee places, a quick search brought up JB Company. A coffee AND Mexican fusion eatery? SIGN ME UP. I’ve always been a “local coffee shop gal” when it comes to getting work done – the white noise and hustle of the patrons’ busy lives makes me feel connected and oddly focused when it came to remembering what it’s all for. And again, the food (seriously: Y’ALL). Even when I went through some nutrition counseling with a dietician recently and was put on a bizarrely restricted diet for a time, Java Burrito was my little oasis: I could get an approved lunch there without feeling like a weirdo (have I mentioned I’m a sucker for customizable food?). Over time, it became that neighborhood spot I would run into friends, clients, and community leaders – I find myself saying “Hi!!” to someone I know pretty much every time I go these days.

 

© Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

 

And the best part?

I don’t feel like a beached whale after a good meal there; the ingredients are fresh and mostly locally sourced. They have unique things to add to your tacos or burritos like zesty diced peaches and rosemary potatoes. And if I’m going to splurge on a fancy coffee beverage, that’s where I go. My recommendation? The Honey Lavender Latte, made with real lavender from France and local honey. Not bad – just perfectly boujee.

 

The Honey Lavender Latte from Java Burrito || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

 

As my hiney began to leave an imprint from my frequent visits to Java Burrito, I got to know the employees and the owners there (most who know my invasive questioning know it leaves you no choice). I was weirdly fascinated by Frederika, the hip, savvy blonde behind the magic of Java Burrito (and of course her husband, Michael, too). We’d find ourselves among the other local lady entrepreneur circles and eventually began chatting more and more about #BFGs (“big ‘effing goals”) and young professional/self-employed life on the island. Our stories were eerily similar in how we came to “find” our place here, from seemingly “once in a lifetime” opportunities that horribly fell through (and them turning out to be BIG blessings in disguise) to eloping to a seaside escape to constantly wondering “what DOES this little coastal community need now? 10 years from now?”

 

Frederika & Michael Fekete of Java Burrito || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

 

I finally got to schedule a time to chat with Frederika and Michael and talk more about their business practices and what gets them excited to come to work every day. And they are pretty much there EVERY DAY (I know this because I always see them there… and I’m there pretty much… well, you know…). It’s evident that it takes a LOT of work to run a business like this and that it took even more work to get it off the ground (when they started Java Burrito, it was right after the economic downturn). And now, it’s one of the THE local hangouts while also a “must do” for visitors.

What’s their secret?


Happy Hour, anyone? || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

 

What’s something you’re most proud of?
We are most proud of being able to support local agriculture and local businesses through keeping our farmers close!
Who is someone who has been a big influence on where you are now?
An amazing man that we are so lucky to have in our lives, Alan Wasserstrom. His wealth of knowledge in business and the food and beverage industry is an incredible resource that we are beyond grateful for.
Describe what success means to YOU.
Don’t wait for opportunity, create it! Success is not what you have, but who you are.
What is something you’re really excited about with the store?
Excited for this next chapter of Java Burrito…the staff, the growth, the reputation…there is so much excitement coming our way. Stay tuned!
If your business had a theme song, what would it be?
Spice up your Life -Spice Girls
Describe your perfect day in the Hilton Head-Bluffton area.
Hanging out with our dog, Bouvier. Cooking, gardening, drinking coffee and working out.
What mantra/quote/concept has been most important to your success?
Nothing worth having comes easy. That applies to everything. It’s all in the details.

All the colors of the (healthy!) latte rainbow: Blue Majik, Green Matcha, Tumeric, & Beet Root || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


 

It’s true – no detail goes unnoticed at Java Burrito. Frederika and Michael are also incredibly humble, always insisting their success is largely due to their rockstar staff and dedicated patrons. The friendly vibes radiate through the little cozy restaurant; and as a lonely new-comer to this island, it was needed so badly at that time. Even moreso now, between the chaos and mile-a-minute pace of life currently, knowing I can pump the breaks and get a fresh lunch (or breakfast… or dinner.. or #alloftheabove) with an authentically friendly smile has become so important. Indeed, it’s a big reason I constantly run into friends and make new ones. Okay, and the food is a serious plus.

 

So, I welcome one and all to come enjoy the comfort, wonder, and deliciousness that is Java Burrito.
Because coffee, margs, tacos, and wifi are all we really need in life, right?

 

This bag is TOTES adorbs… and can hold approximately 32 tacos. || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

See y’all there, fools. Literally.

Hugs & High Fives,
C

 

{Visit Java Burrito at Village at Wexford and check out their Instagram for the latest news on new concoctions.}

 

UPDATE: Check out this article in the Island Packet where “Best Things South Carolina named Java Burrito the #1 place to get a margarita?
I must say, I whole-heartedly agree; happy hour just got a little more special, y’all.

Cheers! || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

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In moving to the Lowcountry 2.5 years ago, I found myself in a place that was beautiful and generally pretty friendly; but having come from a city where I spent years building friendships and getting involved, it was tough not having that “community.” Trying to figure out my business in a new place was daunting, and I felt I was forever “on.” You know what I’m talking about – that sense of smiling through the anxiety and never letting people know you’re totally FREAKING out on the inside and asking internally Pleeeeease be my friend. (And putting on pants – I didn’t go into #creativeentrepreneur to put on PANTS so much!)

In navigating the social media landscape of the area, I stumbled on a page for Gigi’s Boutique of Bluffton. Their stuff was ca-yute. And it definitely had a special touch of the Lowcountry style I was so eager to adopt. After an early morning of meetings and errands in Bluffton, I decided to pop in there and check it out.

Instantly, I felt welcomed. And relieved.

It felt familiar, cozy, and with no pretense. After so many interactions that felt stiff with a Botoxed looking smile, I felt a sense of ease walking through the door at Gigi’s. There was no judgment when I admitted I just wanted to aimlessly browse and no pressure when I eventually did take a handful of items to try on (because, c’mon). They gave me honest opinions when things jusssssst weren’t working. The “small talk” wasn’t forced or weird – I felt like they really wanted to know more about me.

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And of course, THE CLOTHES. And the shoes. And the accessories.

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The styles felt fun and effortless. The prints were bold and colorful while their collection of neutrals felt classic and chic. And duly impressive are the more upscale styles seamlessly paired along more youthful pieces – and price points for us gals on a budget but also to #treatyoself. I found it amazing the variety in there while also feeling so cohesively “Lowcountry chic.” I also loved they supported so many small and local brands in their store.

I began to find myself popping in there more regularly, of course to explore their new goodies (my girl Katie who works there will get you in BIG trouble with all she posts on Instagram stories) and also to get the latest on what’s going on with the ladies there and the Bluffton area in general. The more I got to know them, and specifically the owners and also sisters, Anna and Emily, I discovered more and more of the Gigi’s story.

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They grew up in Bluffton, surrounded by family and loving life in the Lowcountry. However, something was missing in their little coastal community, and they saw an opportunity to bring a unique shopping experience to the area. Armed with a love of family, the community, and fashion, Gigi’s came to be. Wanting to know more, I recently had a chance to spend the morning in the store with them and ask them more about their “success story” and what they love most about what they do.


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Emily, Gigi’s of Bluffton

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Anna, Gigi’s of Bluffton

Why did you choose the Hilton Head-Bluffton area? – Bluffton was an easy choice. Being born and raised here, we wanted to open something our small town didn’t have. This town is our home.

Describe what success means to you. – We love our store, but we’re family first. Success can take on different meanings different days- getting laundry completed and dinner on the table is definitely a success to us. Making it through a challenging parenting day is success!

What is something you’re really excited about with the store? – Our 10 year anniversary is this Fall and we’re so excited! We opened in 2008, right before the recession really hit. Those were some hard times and we honestly weren’t sure if we would be able to make it. But going through all of that makes this 10 year anniversary even sweeter so we’re planning on a big Lowcountry style celebration.

If your business/store/product had a theme song, what would it be? – “Life’s a Dance” – John Michael Montgomery: Life’s a dance you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know… The longer I live, the more I believe you do have to give if you want to receive. There’s a time to listen, a time to talk and you might have to crawl even after you walk.

What mantra/quote/concept has been most important to your success?  – There are a few we could choose from here, but we wouldn’t be able to keep up the business without the employees. So, though it may sound simple, “treat people the way you would like to be treated.”


 

In collecting their answers, it confirmed what I already knew in my little blonde heart about Gigi’s: Treat everyone like family. The guests, the employees, the vendors, the mailman… y’all, when I was there that morning, they were wishing Good Morning! to the lawn people blowing the leaves outside with a big smile.

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And, of course, they just “get” my favorite looks:
(*major probs to Katie M. who helped get me in-front of the camera)

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Little did I know that over the course of the last 2.5 years I would be able to shop for pieces that were just perfect for events and travel, but also that I’d feel supported in my endeavors and make new friends. It truly is the best time of way to feel fabulous. Because being nice never goes out style.

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Hugs & High Fives,

C

 

PS. Bonus: This scarf pattern is called “Celia” – I think it’s pretty on point. 😉

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I was recently in conversation with my friend, Katie, who manages one of my favorite boutiques in the area (heyyy Gigi’s Bluffton); we were doing the usual gushing over upcoming possibilities and life in the Lowcountry at our mile-a-minute pace, her end sounding far more sophisticated with its hint of Southern charm. I rattled off all the #hashtag2018goals and word-vomited my ideas and thoughts I had for the New Year all over her (sounding more muppet-jacked-up-on-too many-lattes), and eventually turned to her and said: “Katie, what about you? What are ‘Katie’s big goals’ for 2018?”

With a big breath in, she eventually breathed out:

“I really just want to be the best at my job.”

With the tires of my thought train screeching to a halt in my head, I asked her what she meant.

To be a great manager, a productive team member, a good steward of the boutique’s brand, to love on her clients, to enjoy the process, to make processes better and stronger, to “be” in the day to day of her work.

Whoa, Katie. Whoa.

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Y’all, I’m a notoriously creative personality with too much access to coffee and information. Thanks to the world wide web and social media machines, it’s only gotten worse over the course of my life. I constantly have about 15-20 creative/product/event ideas raging through my head at any given time. What’s more challenging is that I can I can almost “see” – y’all, sometimes even “feel” what those ideas could be in real life… and it’s gotten to be exhausting, almost debilitating. Repeatedly I’ve “wasted” late nights researching and long drives home in the car thinking through action steps and ideas and marketing (you wouldn’t believe how many times my brain wants to incorporate used-car-sales-wavy-arm-tube-guys, which I discovered, are called “air dancers), but then I quickly get snapped back to reality with a glance at my already overflowing To Do’s and disaster of an email inbox. So I file the idea away in the already overstuffed “Someday” tab, trying to refocus on the tasks at-hand while the ideas keep creeping in my head like Gremlins fed after midnight.

In years past, I was “that girl” who treated every job as a “pit stop” to the next big promotion or finally getting to #soloprenuer status once I made the decision to go out on my own. Reflecting on my past job lives, I’m not sure I wholly gave of myself or really enjoyed the opportunities to learn and grow from those jobs because I had my head in the clouds and one foot out the door. Sure, I worked hard to produce the best work and most efficient results, but I’m not sure I “enjoyed the ride” (or having a paid-for benefits package).

And yet, I always demanded more of myself. I never felt like I “made it” or was truly accepted in those realms – and more so, even now. It seems today in my current “job” that everyone else is constantly announcing something “exciting” or “cool” or “special” in their meticulously minimal studios in an effortlessly J.Crew styled ensemble drinking an $8 dollar coffee with a foamy silhouette of Beyoncé on it while I’m frantically trying to maintain my current workload at a messy desk like a muppet-meets-air-dancer chugging stale coffee out of a cracked tumbler I refuse to throw out while in my 2nd (3rd?) day old stretchy pants.

And to be quite honest, I thought that was part of being a “successful” person.

I thought unless I had a million ideas and said yes to everything and continuously kept churning out new ways to do things and adding more to my plate and doing a million things at once, I wasn’t doing “it” right or satisfying my “creative” self. When asked about what I was up to or plans for the upcoming frame of time, I felt and spoke in such a way that I was doing was working towards the next big thing – never really realizing that I very well could be in that space already, missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the current “big thing.”

And because of that, I felt this constant need to do more, caught between saying “yes” to things that maybe I shouldn’t have but yearning yet so fearful of putting in the work towards the ideas I was REALLY excited about with a collaborative entity, or that I just couldn’t get out of my head – or more importantly, out of my tiny, weird little blonde heart.

It was a big reason my word of 2017 was “Responsibility.”

It’s a bigger reason my word for 2018 is “Space.”

While I’ve long contemplated Katie’s sentiment, I never really gave it pause nor attention. Yet hearing the words out-loud suddenly hit home.

How can I capitalize on the knowledge, growth, experience, and relationships I’ve built over the last few years and take heart in knowing big things ARE happening?

How do you “enjoy the process” without freaking out about the future?

Why is it a bad thing to actually like our job or our role or be happy in the process?

How do you live life like an air dancer, throwing your hands in the breeze with an excited smile, letting go of trying to “make it” and focus on bringing joy to those around you?

These are serious questions I have with myself, people.

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I’m still figuring it out, but I will say this:

I believe the Universe does want us to succeed, if our hearts are in the right place. It wants us to hear the message whether in a quiet moment catching a spectacular sunset or an excited, mile-a-minute conversation. Happiness and joy are not exclusive to those who seemingly have endless resources and it all “figured out”; but until we can learn to appreciate it, cultivate it, and send it back out in the world or share it with those who need it, the journey’s like paddling upstream (which yes… I have done… and it’s no fun). This includes appreciating and getting excited for my fellow #bossfriends in their meticulous studios with artistic coffees, because we’re all in this journey together – and I think I like my worn-in, dog hair-covered stretchy pants just fine.

To all of you inspiring me to be the best at what I feel I’m here to do and be okay with just “being” once in a while, I give you my very best air dancer salute.

Hugs & High Fives,

C

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