Hi! : ) You may have noticed that I didn’t post a new blog last week, but I needed to take an purposeful break. The week prior, I found myself working past midnight almost every night. By Friday, I nearly had a panic attack. I was beyond simply wanting to sleep in over the weekend. I felt as though I didn’t want to do anything at all once I had sent my final email. Any type of activity seemed like far too much, which if you know me is really rare. I thrive on being active. I rarely want to just be, but that’s exactly what I needed to do. So I did – I took a complete step away if for no other reason than to simply self preserve.

But, I’m back to blogging! So, an update on what I’ve been doing and what’s to come:

Rebrand: Other than being sincerely exhausted, one of the other main reasons I decided to step away last week was to work on a project for myself. I’m so excited to share I’m going to be updating and relaunching my website! I LOVE my blog, but since I started it two years ago quite a bit has changed. I have new photos to share, updated services I’m really excited about, and an overall refresh coming down the pipeline. Last week, I took some serious time to write all of my own copy for my relaunch. 1200 words later and a lot of time spent scrolling through about 300 photos, and I’m definitely on my way. I’m so excited to share more soon! Hint: Carly is Inspired will no longer just be a blog…you’ll see it as a brand very soon. Brace yourself. Or maybe I should just do that. ;)

Carly-is-Inspired-Bridal-Bouquet

Flowers: I love flowers. They’re always my favorite event detail, and I love creating centerpieces and bouquets. When my friend, Megan, mentioned she was taking a class to learn more, I knew I definitely wanted to do the same.  I loved the class I took because it forced me to work with flowers each week and be creative with what I made. I designed bouquets, centerpieces, and floral crowns. And I really, really loved the challenge of making each my own.

Blogging: Every Last Detail is seriously my favorite. I love the mix of information and real weddings Lauren makes sure to have on the site. I’ve been having so much fun writing for her audience, and a few of my most recent posts can be found here, here, and here. On another note, I want to live in the inspiration shoot that was posted yesterday.

Instagram: After reading Rhi’s post about social media, I decided I wanted to stop going on Instagram for a while. I haven’t placed an official time limit on it (maybe a week?), but I was feeling as though every time I popped onto the site I slipped into comparison mode. The site was taking away some of my joy and love for the wedding industry, so as of Monday I haven’t been on. Instagram has so much value. Seeing what other people are up to should be fun and inspiring, and posting my own content should feel the same way. But until I’m feeling as though I have stopped thinking in terms of what I would post on Instagram (or Twitter or Facebook), I need to take a break. So far, I’m loving it.

Journaling: I always update my planner each week; however, I’m not one to keep a journal.  But I felt a crazy need to dump everything – the good, the bad, and the just plain frustrating – into a journal on Monday. I didn’t have an agenda while I was writing. I just wrote…for a solid hour…with a pen and paper. I was shocked at how much I was holding onto, and I felt myself gaining more and more clarity as I turned each page of my May Book. Ask yourself what you want – not everyone else, but you – and write it all down. I cannot recommend this enough! Thanks to my friend, Chelsey, for the suggestion.

That’s my (ever so slightly longwinded) update for now! I still feel as though I’m in self preservation mode, because I  truly want to be back in a place of feeling and being much more positive. But sometimes taking a step away is the very best and only way to come back stronger than before. Is anyone else in the same boat?

P.S: My goal, as always, with my blog is to be as transparent as possible. Real life isn’t as pretty as what you see on social media. Overwhelm happens. Sometimes things that are supposed to make you happy…don’t. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is to lean on friends and keep going. This too shall pass.

I crave white space and clear days, and I’ve been craving both even more lately. One of the most important things to me is to focus on the fact that I “work to live” not the other way around. But my Type-A-overachieving-self likes to flip into doing the opposite. When that happens, I become overly stressed. I realize I’m not sleeping correctly even though I know I’m exhausted. I do less of what I want to do, and I focus so much more on what needs to get done in order to stay afloat. I say yes to far too much because I want to do (and feel that I need to do) all.of.the.things. It’s a terrible cycle, and one that makes me feel relieved to just write here. I sincerely hope one of you can relate!

I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love reaching higher than I thought I could and meeting my goals. Being busy is great, but feeling as though you’re being swallowed whole by busyness is really terrible. When I find myself wanting to respond with “I’m super busy”, I know it’s time to reevaluate. It’s time to create more margin, or perhaps just create margin in the first place.

Creating margin to me means not going on social media (something I find really difficult). It means fighting the urge to check my email. It means not responding to messages really late at night and trying even harder to not feel as though I need to respond on the weekend. It means getting together with friends who will make me laugh. It means that I need to stop working and do something – anything – else that will allow me to clear my mind and stop thinking.

Carly-is-Inspired-Margin-Ski-Bear-Creek

In the winter, that means that I ski. And I become super protective of the time that I know I have available to ski. I will shuffle my schedule, stay up late to finish work, and force myself to say no in order to ski (this is the hardest thing for me to do). Being active is the best way I’ve found to relieve whatever stress I’m feeling, and skiing is one of my favorite activities.

My ski days are as challenging as I make them. I can opt to attempt black diamonds, or I can stay on the beginner and intermediate slopes in order to stay relaxed. My time is completely my own, and most often I lose track of time while I’m there. I have to be focused to avoid getting hurt (something I learned the hard way). I have to look from one side of the slope to the other to stay on track and avoid patches of ice. I have to push through fear that I’m not ready to try a harder slope because I know that I can slowly make my way down. With each passing run, I realize I’ve become markedly better at this sport since I started a few years ago…on a whim…because I knew then I needed a winter outlet that I crave now.

I love everything about skiing. But the thing I love most is that I’m forced to be completely present. If I’m not, I’ll miss the fact that I’m smiling as I make my way down the mountain. I’ll miss the fact that I’m skiing on a completely clear day, and even though it’s colder than cold, the sun is out and the view at the top is beautiful. If I’m not present, I’ll miss the fact that I’m doing one of my very favorite things.

This sport is an expensive way to force myself to create margin, but it works because I can’t be at my desk and ski at the same time. But I want to work to cultivate that same margin in other areas of my life. I don’t want to feel as though the only way to refocus is to be active (though there’s obviously nothing wrong with exercise). So, how do you force yourself to stop and slow down? How do you avoid the urge to work? How do you create margin? I need help, people. :)

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One of my favorite blogs is The College Prepster. I love Carly’s name (obviously…), her fashion sense, and the way she talks about her life. She’s so relatable, and I would love to meet her in person in NYC. : ) Last week, she wrote a post about her favorite purchase from 2014. After reading it, I naturally starting thinking about what I would choose. I love fashion. I love shopping. But my favorite purchase wasn’t something I set out to buy. And I realized my favorite purchases are one in the same.

Carly-is-Inspired-Nana

I’ve talked about her before, but my Nana has always had a huge influence on me. She’s one of the single greatest people I’ve ever been privileged to know and love. She influenced my drive to do well in school, and she was always eager to hear about my classes and grades. She also always made sure to attend every school event I invited her to. Pushing myself to graduate Summa Cum Laude from college was something I did for her when the idea of taking one more test, studying one more night, or trying even harder to perfect a paper seemed like way too much. But I knew she would be proud. So I finished strong, and it’s something I’m so happy I did for myself and as a way to honor her.

My Nana developed dementia four years ago during my senior year of college, and it’s as though my greatest fan and one of my best friends has been robbed from me ever so slowly much too soon. She wasn’t able to see me graduate from college, I’ve never been able to talk to her about my career (and receive advice from her that I would do anything to hear), and she now only sometimes knows who I am. But, she still influences me because, even at 93 and ailing, she is one of the strongest people I know.

She reminds me to fight for what I believe in. She reminds me to attempt to be as fearless as I can be because she immigrated to the U.S from England with my Poppy and my aunt. Together, my grandparents knew two people in this country, but they constantly believed that the best was yet to come. And her marriage to my Poppy serves as the reason why I work in the wedding industry. My grandparents have been married for over 70 years. It’s an epic feat, and their’s is an epic love story. Simply put, they never ever gave up on each other. Now, even as my Nana leans further into dementia, my Poppy won’t give up on her. Years ago he said he wouldn’t, and he hasn’t. They are my favorite example of love, and one I will forever hold onto. Side note: This song by Ed Sheeran is my favorite. It’s like he knows my grandparents. 

My favorite purchases from 2014 aren’t traditional purchases. I had my Nana’s 50th anniversary ring turned into a necklace, and my mom happened to bring home an opal ring after visiting my grandparents that I fell in love with immediately. I had both pieces altered and fitted by a local jeweler, and I almost hugged the woman and cried when I saw the results. I now wear both almost every day, and it’s as though my Nana is with me, especially on the days when I would do just about anything to really talk to her again. I’m forever inspired by my Nana, and I’ll forever believe the best is yet to come because of both of my grandparents. Wearing my Nana’s jewelry serves as a sweet reminder to keep going and know I’m still her “girl” whether she remembers or not. And she’s mine.

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I’m a natural go-getter. When I decide I want to do something or I have an idea for a crazy dream I want to make happen, I start taking steps to make it into a reality. But that never ever means it’s smooth sailing. When the going gets tough, I start to doubt myself in a really big way. I wonder why I started in the first place; I start thinking that whatever I’m trying to accomplish won’t ever happen; I’ll even be filled with thoughts that I’m not good enough or talented enough. Side note: I loathe that word enough. To anyone who thinks I’m perfect, think again. I’m fairly confident…until I’m not. But I try to hide it to the very best of my ability.

Find-Your-Creative-Tribe

When I’m feeling confident and when I’m fighting being enough, the importance of my tribe comes into play. In my head, I call them my girl gang. :) These ladies (…and my dad) are all business owners or best friends or family. Their affirmations that I should, in fact, keep going even when I’m in the trenches of frustration are usually what get me back on track to believing in myself. They’re all kind, savvy, talented in their own ways, and have the great ability to make me laugh. Oh, and they listen to all of my crazy. That last part might be the most important.

But there’s more. Because there’s always more.

The wedding industry is highly competitive. I’m sure that’s true of just about any industry. If you’re not feeling as though you’re competing against someone else, you likely feel as though you’re competing against yourself to be better, more fulfilled, enough. Aside from all of the aforementioned qualities of my greatest industry friends (and actual friends), there’s one more that should be absolutely noted: competition is tossed aside.

It’s freeing to know I have a group of people I can contact at a moment’s notice who will answer all of my questions without hesitation because they want me to understand the “how” and “why” behind the task at hand. They all want me to succeed, and I feel the exact same way about them. Tossing aside the feeling that you can’t help someone else for fear that they might actually be better than you is freeing because you realize you have company as you’re walking your road whatever road that may be. Company is more important. But you have to push yourself to ask questions and offer to answer them.

So how do you find a tribe?

  • Be the one who listens and offers advice…freely and without hesitation. Look for those opportunities because the person on the other end will be forever grateful to know there’s someone who wants to help. In the past week, I’ve been the one asking questions of others and the one being asked. Both sides are just as important.
  • Search for industry groups on Facebook and find likeminded people on Instagram. Even though you may be chatting online and not face-to-face, you’ll quickly realize they’re there and you’re all experiencing the same problems and achievements.
  • Attend an industry conference and network around the room. It’s always awkward to talk to people you don’t know, but it’s so worth it when you find common ground and realize you’re very much alike.
  • Surround yourself with the right people from your existing group. There are friends who are fun and then there are the ones who really get you. Have the ones who really get you on speed dial. And contact them often.
  • Contact people you admire. If you admire someone’s career, send them an email telling them exactly that. They’ll likely be flattered, and one conversation after another may lead to an awesome friendship (and a mentor).

Once you do find people you can contact at a moment’s notice, appreciate them always. Truly giving people are rare – hold onto the ones who believe in you. And always believe in them, too.

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This year, I’m trying to anchor myself much more to being content. But this week, I forgot about that goal. HA! It’s just about the middle of the January. Logic might tell you that I just might be in trouble if I’ve forgotten about my word(s) already. ;)

I haven’t been content with where I live for a long time. I love my family and friends who live in the area. I really do love my hometown. But, I started saying I wanted to move away when I was a sophomore in college. I had dreams of living in a town I’ve always loved and being surrounded by a different group of people. I liked the idea of a new community and a new challenge. But I’ve had opportunities to make that dream happen, and I’ve turned them down. The opportunity hasn’t been what I wanted it to be; I haven’t felt ready; my financial goals were different than what I would be able to accomplish by moving; and if I’m being really honest with you (and myself!), it’s truly never felt quite right. I’ve learned dreaming and doing are different.

Be_Content_Lao_Tzu

I’ve slowly but surely become hyper aware that I’m chasing two dreams….in two separate places. It’s hard enough to accomplish one goal, but it’s even harder when you’re not entirely focused on accomplishing it in one place. One conversation lead to a handful of others this week, and then I sat down and completed part 1 of Lara Casey’s goal setting series. There are few things that will make you feel better than writing down all of the good things that happened to you in a year. My list has over 50 grateful things on it because I wanted to keep going when I realized I was starting to feel better. Seriously, bad day? Write down what you’re grateful for or as many good things you can think of. #gamechanger

In doing this, I realized a lot of the things I’m grateful for from 2014 center around people, places, and opportunities that only exist because of where I live. I realized that I don’t need to move away in order to make things happen. In fact, it might even be far better to stay where I am. That, right there, made me feel as though a weight had been lifted. Is moving something I’ll never do? I have no idea. Honestly, I don’t think that far ahead! But I couldn’t quite place the feeling I had until I realized I was feeling content and happy and hopeful. One of my words, and half of its definition, for 2015. So, for now, I’m content with my path and even more so with where I live. I’ll take it because it’s progress.

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Through listening to The Lively Show and seeing posts pop up on Instagram, I’ve heard (and seen!) a lot of people talking about choosing one word to define their year. At first I thought it was strange. Then I decided I thought it was strange because it’s truly difficult to choose one word to anchor a year. And then I decided it was something I really wanted to do. Plus, two words came to mind almost instantly. So, I’m going with it.

CarlyisInspired_2015OneWordChallenge

I want to anchor 2015 to purposeful and content. Yes, I have two words. Go big or go home? The truth is I couldn’t decide, and they both have separate meanings to me.

I could feel the difference between 2013 and 2014 last year. But I couldn’t pinpoint the actual reason why I felt the year was different. My conclusion: 2013 was more purposeful. Don’t get me wrong, last year was filled with tremendous professional growth and the opportunity to see a number of new places. But I felt like I wasn’t choosing my own direction. I felt as though I was delaying making independent decisions in an effort to see how other people’s choices would impact my own. The result: that’s not a very good idea.

This year, I’m reverting back to how I acted in 2013. I had major goals that year that were not entirely centered on professional growth. That’s exactly why I loved that year. I flew by myself again, I ran a half marathon, I attended an awesome conference, and more. I made those choices because I didn’t want to be so focused on my career and where I was or was not headed. I want to remember my motto that I “work to live” not the other way around.

So, purposeful and content:

Purposeful – having or showing determination or resolve; having a useful purpose; intentional

Content – in a state of peaceful happiness

I love that intentional is part of the definition of purposeful. I definitely want to be intentional with my choices and my time. Much more so than I have been in recent history (I’m looking at you, social media). And content – that has possibly the best definition ever. Being content with my life and it’s direction is very difficult for me. I want to know if things are going to work because I’m working hard to make them happen. And I get frustrated when I don’t feel or see the growth that I think should be occurring as a result. I’ve already been reminding myself of both words for just over a week, and so far so good.

I’ll share more on how they relate to my goals for the year once I finalize what those look like. I will share one though that I know will stay in place for sure: stay off of social media in the evenings unless there is a defined purpose in visiting Facebook or Instagram (i.e.: I’m posting something relevant to an event, asking a pertinent question, or responding to someone.)

Are any of you taking part in the One Word Challenge? I would love to hear what word(s) ;) are defining your year and why. Let me know in the comments!

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© Dana Cubbage Weddings 2014

Photo by Dana Cubbage Weddings

I haven’t blogged for a while, and just logging in for the first time in a few weeks made me happy. I miss this site because writing is cathartic and creative to me, so a quick post about 2015. :)

This past year has been the biggest one for me professionally. I made a ton of contacts, I worked a number of weddings, I was able to design floral arrangements for weddings with a local florist (a serious highlight!), and I realized why I truly enjoy marketing and events. I said “yes” countless times, and I’m forever grateful for all of the opportunities 2014 brought my way. In fact, many of those opportunities are continuing into the New Year. I’m forever grateful. Really and truly.

But if you read this post from last year, you’ll remember that I love New Year’s Eve. It’s hopeful and fun and in my case usually really relaxed. My favorite years are when I’m able to ring in the New Year by watching fireworks over my favorite beach. What I don’t love about the New Year is my fear of turning the page…to a completely blank one. January 1 overwhelms me because I have an intense desire to set goals and have new dreams in place for the year. I feel as though I need to start striving and doing instead of just letting myself be. In reality, there’s nothing special about January 1.

So, I’m going to let myself be. However, the other overwhelming thought I’ve had as I approach 2015 is I don’t want to lose sight of what’s important to me at my core.

There was once a time when I had to be busy all of the time because I couldn’t risk having the ability to think. Now, I crave space and free time. I value it because space and free time allow me to rest, recharge, and come back stronger. But space and time don’t happen if I’m not intentional about them.

Lara Casey’s new book just launched yesterday, and I cannot wait to read it. But my biggest takeaway before I’ve even purchased my copy or read the first page is I need to revert back to living my life on purpose.

Writing and reading and running and traveling and walking on the beach and spending time with friends and family (all of the things that mean the most to me at my core) do not happen by chance. But at times in 2014, I feel as though they did happened “by chance”. That’s what I want to change in 2015. I want to live on purpose again.

I want to say no to saying yes to all of the things. I want to be intentional with my time, so I can say yes to more space and time doing those things that allow me to feel like the best version of myself. I want to carve those things into my schedule first and work around them (not the other way around). I want 2015 to feel just as fulfilling professionally, but I want it to feel equally as fulfilling personally. I don’t want to simply check things off of a list. I want to make sure that list has direction.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten in terms of goals for 2015. To all of you who read my blog, comment, and cheer me on, I love. Always. Creating space and living on purpose will allow me to write more. Because this my blog is something I love. It’s also something that’s going to be getting a small makeover very soon (that picture at the top is your sneak peek ;).

Happy 2015. I hope you ring in the New Year doing something wonderful. As my best friend told me, your new year starts when you want it to. If that’s on January 1, go get ‘em. If not, sit tight. I’m right there with you…on purpose.

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Happy Monday! I have so many things I want to blog about (my thoughts about not shopping in November, a gift guide, the list honestly goes on), but I decided the very best thing to post today is an update. Read on for a few thoughts and a few links. :)

1. The Styled Bride:

Holiday-Gifts-for-Brides

Photo via The Styled Bride

In lieu of a gift guide from me this week, this post from The Styled Bride is so awesome if you’re searching for a holiday gift for a bride-to-be…or if you’re searching for a few things to add to your wish list. Also, I’m always curious about how creative professionals spend their days, so I loved this post about bridal designer Callie Tein. She’s the designer for Modern Trousseau, and meeting her was a highlight of Bridal Market for me.

2. Linea Mae:

Linea-May

Photo via Linea Mae

I’ve learned so much about the act of following one path only for it to lead you in a slightly different (far better!) direction. This year has been the first year where I’ve combined my love for social media and my love for writing to help creative businesses as a marketing consultant. There’s so much more to share about this (i.e.: I’m revamping my website…slowly); however, one of the highlights of my year happened on Friday.

Liz from Linea Mae launched her new website, and I was able to work with her as a copywriter to create all of her copy on each of her site’s pages. Working with Liz was a joy, and I’m so honored to have my writing featured in a way that tells her story and why she has a huge heart for wedding invitations and branding. Telling other people’s stories is my favorite. Liz’s new site is beautiful, so make sure to check it out!

3. The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg:

The-Woman-I-Wanted-to-Be

Photo via Amazon

I bought three things for myself on Black Friday, and this book is by far the best purchase. I’ve always thought Diane von Furstenberg was really interesting (she built a fashion empire…girl power!), but I’ve never known very much about her. I really like reading biographies about creative people, so I picked up her new book. I was also very swayed by the fact that it’s signed – coffee table book forever! I wasn’t sure what I would think, but it’s quickly become one of the best books I’ve ever read. Do yourself a favor, and read it.

4. Every Last Detail:

engagementparty

Photo via Every Last Detail

This year, I’ve also written a few posts for Every Last Detail. I love that Lauren’s message isn’t just to provide inspiration. Instead, she wants to provide brides with a resource to use while they plan their weddings. And, ELD is a serious resource. I’ve written a few blogs for Lauren this year, and I’m really proud of my post about planning a bridal shower (my styled shoot is featured) as well as last week’s post about planning an engagement party. We’re officially in engagement season, so a how-to guide for planning an engagement party is so fitting right now!

5. A dose of reality:

I’m going to Disney World on Wednesday. Exciting! But, keep reading. Basically, I’ve wanted to go to Disney World at Christmas for almost my entire life. I’m not joking…at all. What this dream come true moment means is while I’m so excited to have the opportunity to visit with my parents (the two people I’ve always wanted to go with), I’m really struggling with perfection.

From what to wear (dumb…because I’m the only one who cares) to how I spend my time, this is one of those trips where I feel like I won’t get a do-over. I have just a few days to see all of the things I’ve always wanted to see and do all of the things I’ve always wanted to do. It’s 26 years of ALL OF THE THINGS! It’s just a little bit of pressure. So, I keep reminding myself to calm down (ha!) and experience this trip as it happens (aka: let go…fitting). I’m so excited and so grateful, but sometimes perfection threatens to become blinding.

My blog may be a little quiet this week, but please follow along on Instagram! I hope you have a wonderful week. xo

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In September, I happened to walk into a bridal boutique in Charleston where I met Taylor. My mom and I were welcomed with open arms because we loved a gown in the window, encouraged to walk through the store even though I’m not engaged, and then Taylor promptly asked that I stay in touch with her. Taylor and I have exchanged emails ever since, and I’m thrilled to introduce Hayden Olivia Shop to you!

Hayden Olivia Shop is the online boutique for Hayden Olivia Bridal. The brick and mortar boutique is based in Charlotte, and I always think of them as the bridal shop where Bachelorette Emily Maynard purchased her gown (side note: Emily’s wedding was beautiful!). They carry a host of gorgeous designer gowns at a range of prices, and they saw a void in the market for brides (and bridesmaids!) who would prefer to shop online while still receiving wonderful customer service for luxury items. YES! So, they launched Hayden Olivia Shop, where Taylor is the Director of Operations, earlier this fall!

All of the products they carry are handmade in the US (high-fives all around!) and are handpicked by the Hayden Olivia team. I love that the pieces mix girly and preppy together with a dash of glam and vintage. The shop has a curated selection of dresses, veils, jewelry, bags (!), gifts, and more. Their branding is so on point, and I decided I just had to choose a few of my favorites:

Hayden-Olivia-Shop-Bride-FavoritesClockwise from right: Brinley Gown, Eleanor Statement Post, Wooden ‘The Newlyweds’ Stamp, Gold Beaded Hair Bow, Bailey in Navy Dress 

Obviously, I love any and everything with a bow on it, so the Brinley gown and Gold Beaded Hair Bow caught my eye right away. The Hair Bow would be so sweet to wear for your reception if you’re planning to wear a veil during your ceremony. The Bailey Dress is by Camilyn Beth, and it would be so perfect for your bridesmaids! PS: The back is sequined, which makes it a great option if you’re considering metallic dresses. Let’s not forget the Eleanor Statement Posts, which you can totally wear to another glam event (or on a Sunday just because :), and the stamp is perfect to gift to The Newlyweds.

Hayden-Olivia-Shop-MRS-Bride-Bag-MS-Bridesmaid-BagLeft: Mrs. Bride Bag, Right: Ms. Maid Bag

Both of these bags are my all time favorite pieces from Hayden Olivia Shop! The Mrs. Bag is perfect to carry to meetings with vendors, tote to get ready on your wedding day, and use for all of your essentials for your honeymoon carryon. The bridesmaid bag is a great gift idea! Your ‘maids will be carrying just as much on your wedding day, and they’ll love having a chic spot to stash it all.

Make sure to take a peek at all of Hayden Olivia Shop’s pieces, especially right now as they’re running a sale all week! Each of the items I included are on sale for up to 50% off (hello, Mrs. & Ms. bags!). You can also follow along with Hayden Olivia Shop on Instagram and Facebook!

This post is not sponsored by Hayden Olivia Shop. All opinions are my own. I simply adore the brand.

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I had a completely different post in mind for today. But then I read Kat’s post yesterday, and I realized I had to echo so many of her thoughts from my perspective. The biggest thing I want you to take away is this: create change; build and be part of a community.

Carly-is-Inspired-Inspire-Change-Community-Wedding-IndustryPhoto via Style Me Pretty; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

One of the most striking things I learned in college and continue to experience is there are far more people who aren’t interested in creating change for the better and being part of a community. Instead, they strongly believe in doing the exact same thing that those before them have done whether it’s right or wrong. I believe in continuing trends when what is happening works in a great way, but if there’s something better – a way that’s more helpful – you should do that instead. Even if it’s just you following that new path, change course and see who follows. Those who matter will believe in the same thing too and may have already changed their course. Go find them. They’re out there.

Kat mentions in her post that she contacted planners in her area to introduce herself as someone new to the field. Some responded, some said rude things, and some said she had to “pay her dues” just like everyone else. From my first internship in college until now, I’ve experience so many of the same experiences as Kat. My biggest takeaway, just like Kat, is this: I don’t believe in simply paying your dues. And the greatest people I’ve met in this industry don’t either.

There are a host of things I’ve experienced that have been terrible. They’re things I never want anyone else to experience even though they may represent time at the bottom of the totem pole. Did I learn things through those experiences? Yes, I learned exactly what I don’t want, which is definitely valuable. But instead of saying that someone else needs to experience the same “bottom of the totem pole” things as me, I say something instead. I want to stop the cycle because, while some people don’t believe there’s another way, I do. Always. Do you need experience? YES. But should that come at the expense of doing something that won’t provide as much potential to learn, grow, and see yourself as someone who has both value and worth? NO. You may feel that another opportunity won’t present itself, but it will. When one door closes, another one opens. But only if you’re hustling to make that other door open.

The greatest way to find another open door is to find a community. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it 5,000 times more, but attending Making Things Happen was the greatest introduction into the importance of community. Since then, I’ve met even more creative people who I love calling my friends. I’m part of a group of amazing ladies (and a few gents!) who are all trying to better their businesses and their lives by sharing what they’re doing and experiencing. Sharing is so much better than staying silent and working away with your head down.

The biggest thing I want to fade away, and that I see fading away in some areas, is the idea of competition. Like Kat mentioned in her post, be genuine and be you. Do YOUR thing in YOUR way. Don’t copy what someone else is already doing because they’re already doing it. At the same time, don’t be afraid to share what you’re doing out of fear that someone else may copy you. Share when you love a vendor, share when you find something that works really well, share when something goes terribly wrong. Basically, learn to love talking and emailing about what works and what doesn’t. When you see someone is frustrated because something isn’t working and you’ve experienced that it doesn’t work either, SAY SOMETHING. There’s something to be said about the importance of trial and error and learning from your mistakes, but there’s also something to be said for skipping a potential error and starting your next trial much earlier.

Kat mentions it, and I believe in the same thing wholeheartedly: we’re all playing for the same team. We all want to succeed whether we’re working in the wedding industry or another (equally awesome) industry. But success is much sweeter when you help someone else along the way, and when you have a community of people cheering you on. Don’t follow the same path that everyone else is following. Change your course, find your community, and bring new people on your journey with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!! :)

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