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:

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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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Growing up, I tried just about every sport. The only one that stuck with me is tennis. I’ve played since I was six, and I think I love it more now than I ever did before. I realize the benefits of the workout I’m getting when I play, and I also always have fun on the court. Having fun is definitely the most important part!

Aside from tennis, there aren’t too many workouts that have made it past the first few weeks. I tried yoga and Pilates, but realized that I didn’t like or look forward to either. I had a gym membership, which I technically still have but it’s frozen because I would rather run and walk outside. And I run. That one I really do like and have continued to do. Winner! :)

My best friend raved about Barre, but I was so nervous to try it. So I avoided it. Because avoidance allows you to workout and build strength. Just kidding. I was nervous to go to my first class because I’m really not very coordinated. The word “barre” brought me back to my ballet days, and I was so nervous we would dance across the floor. But I was completely wrong. There’s no dancing. Bless the hearts of the inventors of Barre.

I went to one class, and just like my best friend said, I was hooked. Here’s why Barre is different:

5-Reasons-I-Love-Barre-WorkoutPhoto via Cody; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. I make the class convenient: If it’s hard for me to attend, I don’t always want to take the steps to go. So I schedule my class on Mondays because it’s one of two days during the week when I’m in the area where my studio is located. I look forward to the class while I’m teaching tennis, and I don’t want to face the regret of not attending when I literally drive past on my way home.

2. The studio is beautiful: As someone who loves interior design (and design in general!), one of the best ways to make me want to visit is to design an inspiring space. I would move into this studio, or at least take a chandelier with me, if the option ever presented itself.

3. The exercises are simple: When I used to go to Pilates, I always found myself getting confused and frustrated at some point. We spent so much time on our backs that I ended up annoyed and in pain wondering if I was doing the stretches correctly in the first place. Barre is totally different. Part of the class is spent in the center of the floor, part is spent at the barre, part is spent on a mat, and we stretch at the end. I’m never confused (yay!), plus the classes are small and the instructor offer tips if she sees you’re doing something completely wrong. I know I’m working out the entire time.

4. Strength > burning calories: Barre is the bomb for this reason. The classes aren’t about how many reps you can do, how many calories you’re burning, or when you will transform your body. The entire class is centered around building strength at your speed. There’s always a mention of honoring yourself, noting that you’re enough, and encouraging you to keep going. My instructor also openly mentions that her legs or arms are done too toward the end of the class. Misery likes company! I leave knowing that I’ve done enough, but I want to go back each week to work better (not harder).

5. I’m forced to forget and focus: Somewhere between doing pushups at the barre and focusing on balancing on a mat at the end of the class, I’ve forgotten about everything else that happened that day or that will happen that week. I’m too focused on making sure I’m doing each stretch correctly, remembering to breathe, and keeping my posture in check. I can’t think about anything else than the present, and I don’t want to.

I’ve been going to Barre classes for the past month, and I can already tell it’s a workout that will stay with me. Oh, and I offset the cost by only going once per week. I’m hoping as Barre becomes more and more popular, the cost to go will lessen to the point that I can go more each week without ruining my finances. Until then, Mondays are my favorite.

Do you go to Barre? Why do you love it? Sound off in the comments!

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Happy Friday! It’s always a little difficult to kickstart a new week right after such a fun weekend. I celebrated my birthday (and my parents’ anniversary!) with an entire day in NYC, and I finally was able to meet a work friend who I talk to constantly on the phone and through email. I love meeting people in person! This week was filled with copywriting consultations (so excited!), marketing, and playing tennis for the first time in months.

I’m a little too excited about this week’s collection of links. I’m sharing a few snaps from last weekend, an episode of The Lively Show I loved, a video I can’t stop watching, and more! Take a peek…

Staten Island Ferry // New York City:

Carly-is-Inspired-Staten-Island-Ferry-2Carly-is-Inspired-Staten-Island-Ferry-3Carly-is-Inspired-Staten-Island-Ferry-1

A few snaps from my trip to NYC last weekend. My parents and I had originally planned to bike in Central Park, but it was far too cold for that. The next best thing: the Staten Island Ferry. A roundtrip on the ferry takes about an hour, you’ll see some of the city’s best landmarks (One World Trade, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Libery), and it’s free. It’s one of the best hidden gems, but be careful if you plan to take the ferry on a weekday because it’s very popular for commuters. Obviously, heart sunglasses from TomKat Studio are a birthday must. ;)

67 Collection Judit Booties // Anthropologie:

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I am staying very true to my vow to not shop for the month of November except for these booties. I’ve been searching for a pair, and I spotted these at Antropologie on my birthday. Ground rule #1: shopping on my birthday was allowed if I loved the item. LOVE these! I love the detailing on the sides of the boots, there’s a gold zipper in the back, and the heel height is perfect (read: essentially nonexistent). A quick tip: Browse Anthropologie online and then visit your local store. Their shipping is so high ($13+), but if you order in the store you don’t have to pay it. Game on, shipping. Game on. 

The Art of Relaxation & Creativity with Jen Gotch // The Lively Show:

TheLivelyShowJenGotch

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again: The Lively Show is my favorite thing about Thursdays. I haven’t listened to this week’s episode, but I was so excited to hear Jen Gotch was the guest last week. She talked all about her career path; creativity; selling her business, ban.do; as well as how and why she values relaxation. Ban.do’s branding is so on point – I always know it’s something they created when I see a post on Instagram – so it was awesome to listen to Jen’s story.

Lily Dress Fuchsia // Camilyn Beth:

Camilyn-Beth-Lilly-Dress-Fuchsia

I have several events to attend next year, and I’m already thinking about what to wear. I would much rather invest in a piece I can turn to again and again than purchase something that’s less expensive. Quality over quantity is something I’m valuing much, much more as I think about my goal to continue to shop less. I’m coveting Camilyn Beth’s dresses. I love that they’re feminine, preppy, and in this case…PINK. Aside from the Lily dress, I also love the Madeline dress because it has bow details on the back. All of the dresses, please!

the waiting game // Kate Spade:

This video is everything. I’ve watched it five times since yesterday. Let’s get real. Anna Kendrick is perfect, and the clothes are beautiful. Plus, Christmas. Need I say more?

I’ll be setting up my final wedding of the season tomorrow, and as much as I adore weddings and events, I’m so grateful to have a bit of a break. I hope you have a wonderful Saturday and Sunday!

PS: Monday, we’re talking about Barre thanks to my best friend! Stay tuned.

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Fact: I have three email addresses. One address is strictly for personal use. A few friends and family use it, and it’s the address I always use for shopping. My second address is still personal, but it’s one I look to for all of my business emails. My third address is reserved for my blog. It sounds crazy to have to keep track of three different addresses, but I love my setup. I’m able to keep each area completely separate, plus I’m able to easily search and find emails that I need to reread down the line. It’s one of my favorite ways to stay organized!

Just like I have different emails for different purposes, one of the simplest (and most powerful!) tips I can offer when planning your wedding is to create a dedicated email address.  It can be a variation of your personal email or one that ties both of your names together with a nod to the fact that you’re getting married (i.e.: JenandJoeGetMarried{at}gmail.com). Here are my three tips for managing your wedding email address:

Create-a-Wedding-Email-AddressPhoto via The Glitter Guide; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Create your email early: Just before you contact your first vendor, create your email address. All of your communication will be in one place from the very beginning, so you won’t have to search at all down the line. Feeling uncertain about where an email is filed is one of the worst feelings ever.

2. Use your wedding email for all communication: Whether you’re attending a bridal show, chatting back and forth with one of your vendors, or answering questions from guests, plan to always use your wedding email. Like I mentioned above, you will keep everything in one place, which is particularly important once you start receiving initial and finalized contracts. You can also easily add your address to your wedding website as a way for guests to contact you. Lastly, because your communication is in one place, you will be able to disconnect from planning when you need to.

3. Keep your personal email personal: Having a separate email will help to keep you organized, plus it’s an easy way to create a joint account you and your fiancé can both easily access. However, the core reason to create a wedding address is to keep your personal email personal. Because you will want to receive everything in writing, you will receive more emails than you may realize when you start. Knowing you have too many emails waiting for you to read is the quickest way to avoid it altogether, and it’s also such an overwhelming feeling if you’re simply looking for a work reminder or a note from your best friend. So, don’t give out your personal address…ever (unless you have a surprise planned you don’t want your fiancé to see)!

PS: Don’t create an email address and forget to check it! That would be the opposite of the organized goal. :)

Have you created a wedding email? Do you have any simple tips for staying organized while planning? Leave a comment below!

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Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ve debated whether or not to write a post to commemorate it. I’ve decided to press onward with pressing “publish” mainly because I’ve been reflecting so much on growth. And maybe someone else might benefit from my own experiences.

I tend to cry right before (and usually on) my birthday. Sometimes I’m reacting to getting older, sometimes I’m reacting to the unknown, and at some point I cry because of an overflow of joy. I’m also just super emotional. :) I view my birthday as the one day each and every year when I’m special. I stay up until midnight the night before my birthday and am super cheesy in that I say happy birthday to myself…usually by myself. I tend to reflect for a few minutes, and I’m always excited to see what the rest of the day will bring.

Celebrating-Growth-26-Birthday

Last year, I spent the day in New York City (one of my favorite places!), and in the middle of Times Square I became super overwhelmed by the unknown. And started to cry. At lunch. Classic New York moment right there. I became hyper aware of the many questions that I had been wondering – what would happen over the next year; who would I spend the year with; would I still be living in the same city? All of the questions. But the year started to look up when I pressed onward with my day…and won Lady Antebellum tickets hours later.

A year later, I still wonder about many of those questions. And I still love Lady Antebellum. But the questions don’t consume my each and every thought as much as they used to. This year I’ve learned about the power of resilience and believing in my personal mission. I’ve learned how to believe in myself more fiercely – to believe in my worth both personally and professionally. I’ve learned the importance of having a plan, but being willing to leave some of it up to chance and “we’ll see how this goes”. The leaving things up to chance part is really hard for me to do. I’ve learned even more about the joy of taking chances on people, opportunities, and places. And the joy I feel when others take a chance on me. I’ve learned that creating my own opportunities does, in fact, take years sometimes, but when I see things coming to fruition, it’s SO worth it. I’ve learned that part of the reason I struggled with anxiety is so I would one day experience the fearlessness I felt when I finally shared part of my story and helped others at the same time. I’ve learned that one bad day is just that – a day – it’s not a sign that I should give up. I’ve learned that when all else fails, the best idea is to find joy in my family and friends (who are basically family). This year wasn’t perfect, but it was filled with progress. And that’s far better.

25 allowed me to start to find true joy and happiness. And it’s one of my best years yet (maybe even the best!). I’ll likely cry tomorrow, but it won’t be from not knowing about what will happen next. It will be because I’m so grateful to celebrate my day (…in New York City…again) and the journey that I’m on wherever that leads me next. Here’s to 26!

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The Everygirl, which is one of my favorite sites, announced their new #TEG30DayChallenge on Friday – wear your wardrobe for 30 days. I haven’t participated in any of The Everygirl’s 30 Day Challenges yet, but when I saw this one I was immediately interested and on board (with ground rules – see below). The focus of this challenge is to save money and be creative with what I already own. It’s the creativity part that truly won me over because I find myself reaching for the same pieces over and over again. They’re things I love (chambray!), but I also think I’m reaching for the pieces that are easy to style. I want to wear more of what I own because I have to, and I also really want to let go of things I just don’t like at the end of 30 days.

I love layering, plaid, scarves, and denim during the fall (…all of the time), and I’m taking notes from Pinterest on a few new ways to style my favorite pieces:

Stripes-Plaid-Scarf-Fall-Style UnFancy-fall-outfit-ideas-40 Sweater-Chambray-Fall-StylePlaid-Fall-StylePlaid-Scarf-Fall-StylePolka-Dot-Sweater-Gingham-Fall-StyleUnFancy-fall-outfit-ideas-671Carly-is-Inspired-Chambray

Photos: 1. Southern Charm via Bloglovin’ // 2. Un-Fancy // 3. Caroline’s Mode // 4. With Love From Kat // 5. Pearls & Twirls // 6. Pinterest // 7. Un-Fancy // 8. Carly is Inspired (aka: me + one of my go-to styles)

A few of the outfits shown above are Caroline’s. She writes a blog called Un-Fancy, which I talked about here. My ultimate goal is really to determine which outfits and pieces I look forward to wearing the most over the next month and then creating my own version of a capsule wardrobe. That may mean having 37 pieces (the amount in each of Caroline’s seasonal wardrobes), but I have a feeling it will likely mean focusing more on only owning pieces I love (however many that may be). It should be interesting; I’m bound to hit a wall at some point; but I’m excited to see what I choose to do if shopping isn’t an option.

*I have a few ground rules for this challenge. Mainly, there are two days that I’m not counting as “challenge days” – 1.) my birthday because birthdays are international holidays not to be messed with, plus I’ll be in NYC, and  2.) Black Friday because I look forward to this day every.single.year. The reasons for the ground rules: a.) both days are special to me, and b.) I don’t want this to just be a challenge. My goal is to make modified shopping a way of life long after December 1.

Do you want to or are you already participating in this challenge? Let me know in the comments because we can cheer each other on! I’ll be sure to offer an update towards the middle of the month.

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While I was at Bridal Market, I realized how much I’ve grown as a young professional, and I’ve been thinking about the idea of growth ever since. As much as I would love to say I work full-time in the wedding and lifestyle industries – whether it’s writing, marketing through social media, or planning events – I don’t (yet). But it’s because of the network of people I’ve built that I work in the wedding industry much more consistently than I ever did three years ago. And it’s because of this same network that I will be able to work in this industry full-time as long as I continue to connect, work hard, and never give up. Whether you’re trying to build up your roster of contacts or switch industries entirely, here are my top five tips for building your network of go-to industry pros:

How-to-Build-a-NetworkPhoto via: Lace and Locks; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Start a blog: Blogging has reinforced my love of writing (and weddings), and it’s also taught me how utilize social media to my benefit. (Hint: If you mention a company or industry professional in a post, send it to them. Twitter works best!) It’s because of the volume of posts that I’ve written, and the fact that I always include a link to my blog when I connect with someone new, that other industry professionals have noticed me. They can sense the knowledge and passion I have for my industry, but they can also see my writing, marketing, and planning skill set at work before we start talking. If you blog consistently, you’ll come to mind when an industry professional has a need they think you can meet. Long story short: starting a blog is singlehandedly the greatest thing I ever did.

2. Brand yourself on social media: Are my photos perfectly styled on Instagram? No, but I try to make them relevant to the things I’m passionate about. I mention companies if I’m wearing a piece I really love, I try to make the subject clear and bright (Pictapgo! is my go-to app to quickly edit photos before I post them), and I caption photos exactly how I would on my blog to continue to showcase my writing style. I include a link to my blog in my bio, share posts on Twitter, and use hashtags. By having a consistent feed and using hashtags, you’ll slowly start to see your network build. Plus, I always click over to someone else’s profile when they’ve liked a photo. That’s how I’ve found and followed people who truly inspire me. Whether it’s someone who is known or just starting out, don’t be afraid to leave a comment either! Writing back and forth is how someone you admire from afar will get to know you. All of the above is applicable for Twitter and Facebook too! PS: Notice that you’re in the same town? Ask to meet for coffee!

3. Send a note: Sending an email to let someone know I love what they’re doing or going further to say I would love to collaborate with them has led to informational interviews, conference calls, and/or working together consistently. Stopping myself from wondering what the person on the other end will think because I’m sending an out-of-the-blue email has been worth it almost every time. I’ve gained contacts, friends, opportunities, and confidence as a result. By reaching out to one person, they’ll likely point you in the direction of a few more. Over time, you’ll have slowly built up a group of go-to people! PS: If someone suggests that you keep in touch, do it.

4. Attend industry events: Networking online is easier in some ways because you’re able to edit yourself as you go. Talking to people in person is definitely completely different! But if you can up your confidence level to the point where you’re able to talk to one person and then another, it’s truly to your benefit. This group likely has the same interests as you, so you should be able to find common ground. Piece together an outfit that you love, bring business cards, always follow up, and say yes to attending even if no sounds more comfortable. When a friend asked if I wanted to go to a dinner two weeks ago with a number of industry people she knew, I said yes even though it meant commuting back into the city for a three hour meet up and getting home late. Everything about that night was completely worth it particularly because I was able to put a face with a name and talk in person.

5. Go to a workshop or conference: Each week it seems like someone else is jumping on the workshop bandwagon, especially in the creative industry. There are so.many.workshops to choose from. Oftentimes they can be really pricey, but if you’re budget allows, try to attend at least one. Ask other people in your industry if they’ve attended a workshop or conference they’ve loved, follow hashtags on Instagram, and see if anyone you admire is hosting a one or the other. My favorite conferences for creative + wedding industry professionals are Making Things Happen (I attended and LOVED it), Pursue: The Workshop, AH Inspired, Creative at Heart, and Engage!. Most conferences will allow you to meet likeminded people in person and join a private group on Facebook where you can connect and ask questions. The right conference is invaluable.

This post is long, y’all! But I sincerely hope it helps at least one of you to start or continue to build your network. The process is long and never ending, but the people I know and have met mean the world to me. It’s because of them that I’ve grown and will continue to do so. Networking – all of it – is so worth it. If you have your own tips and tricks to add, leave a note in the comments! We can make networking a team effort. :)

Stay tied to Carly is Inspired…

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Happy Friday! For the past month, I’ve had something to do every single weekend, so I am overjoyed to have an almost clear slate this weekend. Never underestimate the power of rest. :) With that said, I’m truly looking forward to snapping a few pictures of one of my closest friends from college and her fiancé in a local park filled with the prettiest fall foliage. Engagement photos are fun! I’ll be sure to post a sneak peek on Instagram.

A few of my favorite recent links, purchases, and inspiration:

1. Blush & Ivory Philadelphia Wedding // Junebug Weddings:

Chic-Philadelphia-Wedding-The-Styled-Bride

Photo via Junebug Weddings

I love when friends are featured, and receiving an email saying this chic Philadelphia wedding planned by The Styled Bride was featured on Junebug Weddings made my day. I adore this bride’s style, and I love that she wore her grandmother’s veil paired with two strands of heirloom pearls.

2. The Transport Tote // Madewell:

Kendie-Everyday-Madewell-Transport-Tote

Photo via Kendi Everyday

I. Love. Bags. I cannot wait until my new Transport Tote arrives in the mail. I love its chic simplicity, and I naturally had a small monogram added in gold foil. It’s a bit more of a spurge, but I plan to use this for years and years for meetings, vacations, you name it. Professional and pretty are a win-win.

3. Birthday Gifts for Her Under $50 // Carly is Inspired: 

Birthday-Gifts-for-Her-Under-50

Gift giving is my thing. However, in an effort to find something memorable and affordable, the search for a sweet gift for my closest girlfriends can become daunting and frustrating. Do you ever feel the same way? From jewelry to flowers, I realized there are 10 gifts that I turn to all the time. So, I created a top ten list of gifts under $50! I hope it’s helpful for at least one of you.

4. Bow Cake // Pinterest:

Pink-Gold-Bow-Cake

Photo via Pinterest

Your friends know you really well when they start messaging you perfect pins on Pinterest. I adore this bow cake! It’s pink, gold, and absolutely on brand. It’s a lovely inspiration point for a birthday or shower cake! PS: Are you following me on Pinterest?

5. Out of the Woods // Taylor Swift:

I am a huge fan of Taylor Swift. When I heard she was changing her sound and becoming a pop artist, I was so disappointed (to put it lightly). I love country, and I thought she put such a unique spin on her country sound. Plus, she’s a killer writer (something that can get lost on a pop song). But her pop music? It fits her perfectly, and her writing is still just as awesome. 1989 comes out on Monday, and I’ll be listening to the album on repeat for the next month. Join me?

Have a wonderful weekend!!