The Year of Peace

Out of all the times I’ve picked yearly guide words, ‘intentional’ and ‘disciplined‘ are the only two I can remember.

I think it’s because with both of those years I really sat down to dive into a snapshot of what I wanted my year, and ideally my life, to look like. When you have a big picture in mind it’s easier to figure out how to get there, yes? So in both years I did a great job living out those select words, especially last year in 2018, which looking back now was really, really full. Really full of amazing and big things I’ll forever give praise for, but also full of hard stuff too. Things and circumstances I didn’t include in my wrap up post since that was meant for celebration, but things that were tangible results of discipline and going after my best life with Dave Ramsey-inspired gazelle intensity.

When I sat down to ponder my word for 2019, it didn’t take much reflection to stumble upon it.

Which is interesting, not because of indecisiveness on my part but because I think there’s an unspoken pressure in the creative sphere, or in the sphere of women (men too I suppose?), at least the one I’m privy to, for goals, yearly words, sharing accomplishments, and all we put forward, to be revolutionary, incredibly polished, and rich in take away value. Share something! But only if there’s a beautiful ribbon (silk, with frayed edges please!) tied around it. Oh, and make sure it’s a flat lay photo too. Now how can this ribbon be tied, not literally of course, to some huge life lesson that will get all the ‘amens’ from anyone? I am JUST as guilty as anyone else.

For some, this may be true intentionally or otherwise. But for me, I think the last few years have made me realize how overly complicated I’ve made some areas of my life. How these complications have led me down a rabbit hole that is dark and anything but peaceful. I’ll share more on that next week though because I have an inkling there’s many people who are in that same hole, and holes are dark enough we probably don’t even see the person sitting right next to us down there.

And so ‘peace’ made itself present the day I first started thinking of a word for the very day to day I am in as I type this to you. Intentional? I am, through and through in my professional and personal life. Disciplined? Absolutely; I have to be especially now with two dear littles who depend on me with their very different needs. Content? Joyful? Rested? Check, check, check. Over the last, oh, let’s see, nine years, I’ve done so much ME work. So much work on my business. Family. Travel. Goals. I’ve really really lived.

But at peace? That word fits nicely over my psyche like a favorite familiar sweater.

Staying true with my loose goal to keep things uncomplicated, I’ve set six goals for 2019. A couple are concrete numbers and a few are more general with sub goals beneath them. So it feels like there are a lot more than six. But in 2019 I want to live my life with uncomplicated peace. The simple short definition of peace sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Someone get a frothy beverage in my hand please.

What this means for 2019 Rhi (and this is just a sampling of my thoughts):

• Peace from within. Which means inner peace will likely come with some self acceptance. And that means there’s some work to be done but nevertheless it’s work I’m down for. I see it a lot in the realm of self help and go-getter culture where the oxygen mask story is shared as a metaphor for helping oneself first. Put your mask on first before helping others! If you’re not at your best how can others around you flourish? Sure, there are times where my needs are put last because my children have to come first or serving your spouse has a place. But generally speaking, serving your own needs first before helping others ensures everyone benefits in the end. It’s a ripple effect of servitude. Here’s to strapping on an oxygen mask of peace this year. Inhale. Exhale.

• I want to share, inspire, and connect in new strategic ways. I want to be careful with the delivery of my words and thoughts so that they can get to the right recipient in the right fashion. I’ll have an entire post on this for you next week which talks about my biggest radical goal for 2019 but it’s unapologetic (a very close second to my word ‘peace’ and very inspired by one of my favorite friends). The ‘quiet and tranquil’ part of peace’s definition feels so refreshing to me. Like a big glass of cold water on a hot summer’s day. And I am thirsty you guys.

• A consistent nudge towards a life of ownership and acceptance without apology. Being unapologetic requires boldness and acceptance with your decisions and circumstances so it feels almost chaotic to me to even think about this shift in my behavior. Like will being bold and shaking my business up, saying what I want without justifications, and doing radical things my own way, really lead towards PEACE? That feels messy and uncertain. But on the flip side it also feels like taking responsibility for what I have and want in my precious life. And the acceptance that comes along with my circumstances, stagnant or ever-changing, is where peace is found. The quiet, I believe, is rooted in an unapologetic acceptance for X. And I’ll be continuing to cultivate my ‘X’ over the next 12 months and beyond.

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I have two questions for you today. First, are you a ‘yearly word’ kind of person, and if so, what’s your word for 2019? Link to your post below or let me know how I can join in on your conversations. Secondly, do you share your goals publicly? Do you enjoy reading other people’s goals and if so, why? I have my answers and they are all positive but I would love feedback from you as I ponder over the sharing of my own goals for this year.

Sending love as we settle into 2019! Xo

Photo by Kelly Sweet. Isn’t that quote delightfully eye-opening?

 

Au Revoir 2018

Here we are again, friends! The end of another full year. A very full and wonderful year. As I sit an anticipate the start of 2019 it brings me great joy to reflect back on the last twelve months. Let’s roll back all the way to January, shall we?

I was determined the kick start the year on a better note than how 2017 began. I shared my word for the year the first week of the month and then at the end of January shared one of my biggest goals, one I’m happily still committed to heading into 2019. I also shared my reading list for the year which became #rhireads2018 and was part of my efforts to read more, invest in more personal quiet time, and actual USE the books collecting dust around our home. While my pregnancy exhaustion and sickness put reading time on the back burner half way through the year, you can catch the full collection of posts here.

Lachlan turned TWO! I blogged my thoughts on both having a toddler and mamahood here. We then hosted a second birthday party and celebrated with our dearest family and friends at the end of the month. I had too much fun with an awesome puppy theme and it was a special day bringing everyone together.

Private workshop students also poured in from all over the country throughout January and I was delighted to love on, educate, and inspire many different women. Andy and I celebrated 12 years of dating. And what better way to celebrate than signing up to tackle Financial Peace University! We spent many nights at our kitchen table meal planning, crunching numbers, and feeling eager about the next 11 months to unfold.

February was such a short but full month.

I blogged so much fun Valentine’s Day content which you can find here, here and here.

Andy and I celebrated a few nights early by decorating cookies at a local bakery, but the best part was finding out we were expecting our second baby on the evening of Valentine’s Day. I felt a little off for most of the day so it was no surprise (or was it?!) that the news we had been hoping and praying for was coming to fruition. I took this photo the morning of Valentine’s Day before finding out our special news and it captures such joy.

We hosted a beautiful mock up for a July client, met with new clients in Indiana, and I hosted some more incredible one on one workshop students.

I finally shared Arden and Jeremiah’s summer wedding from 2016 (!).

And Sarah and Phil’s end of summer wedding from last year!

I also shared the results of my first ever blog reader survey. It was awesome!

Finally, I shared one of my favorite posts; The Art of The Fuss Free Dinner Party. Have you hosted your own yet?

In March Andy and I enjoyed a quick 48 hour getaway to Florida to tour the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island. And as soon as we were back home I was off again but to Raleigh for my ninth Making Things Happen experience. This one was by far my favorite! While I’m sad I won’t be attending again next spring after making the hard decision to be home with my boys I know it was the right decision in this season for our family.

At long last I shared my go to breakfast recipe (even though at this point in my pregnancy I was sick as ever and could barely keep a bagel down let alone a heavy breakfast!). It was a hit across Instagram which made me smile!

I shared some of my student’s work from recent one on one workshops, along with testimonies and feedback. This was one of my favorite parts of 2018, cultivating relationships with talented and centered women. It’s been a joy watching them go home and do intentional things in their professional and personal lives.

My studio is in my home and I used to feel ashamed of this. That all changed. So I blogged about it here. I also shared some updated photos of my space and why it’s the best for me.

April brought us a celebratory and special Easter. Nothing extraordinary happened on Easter, we simply had a sweet day celebrating both Jesus AND the commercial side of the holiday (we are pro-Easter bunny around here). As a purveyor of celebrating and doing so in unapologetic ways, I blogged this post. And in full transparency we ate WAY too much sugar that weekend.

I celebrated my husband as he turned 35. I had planned a big surprise birthday party at our favorite coffee shop with our favorite people. But as luck would have it a giant snow storm knocked out power that day and sadly I had to call many friends and family and tell them the party was cancelled. There were a lot of tears to be had but we still managed to squeeze in a nice dinner with some friends that night.

Throughout the first quarter of the year, Sam and I hosted a series of four Instagram lives, with the fourth consisting of a behind the scenes into our creative process as both a team and respective planner and photographer. Our fourth was such a hit! The work I showcased actually doubled as a mock up for a client and the good news is she was thrilled with the results.

We also shared our BIG news while we were in our most favorite place on earth! #raisingboys

May is one of my favorite months. Not only did I get to celebrate another birthday but we had a team RBC retreat, lots of client calls, mock ups, one on one workshops, a savored Mother’s Day weekend, and a webinar with If I Made. We also had a beautiful mock up for the wedding we executed when I was 38 weeks pregnant. But more on that below!

Here is a glimpse into Beth and Alex’s wedding from the summer of 2017. It was a very special celebration.

I finally gave a tour of our yard and surrounding gardens just as my peony plants were at their prime!

June was packed. We kicked off our wedding season with two beautiful weddings. Megan and Lou’s wedding at the new Notre Dame stadium ballroom. And Dea and Chris’ wedding on Lake Michigan which will be featured online in the new year. That navy, French blue, blush and gray color palette was such a beauty. And as always working with Sam was a delight.

Between Father’s Day, celebrating Zoe’s birthday, two weddings, and an end of the month trip to Atlanta for a business mastermind all while 24 weeks pregnant, I’d say I was ready for a bit of a slower July. In anticipation of July, Sam and I joined forces to share this simple but festive holiday spread. And the post paired together with a behind the scenes look into how we manage our businesses and projects with kiddos. The response from other working moms was overwhelming!

I also finally shared more from Sarah and Albert’s Sea Island, Georgia wedding weekend here and here!

July brought many long summer days which were blissfully sweet and certainly savored.

We worked on Ev’s nursery. Took lots of growing belly photos. Visited the market almost every Saturday. We also had our next wedding of the season and it was a beautiful celebration that ended up on Martha Stewart Weddings. You can see more here with beautiful photos from Kelly Sweet Photography.

In August I was honored to be a guest on the Work From Your Happy Place podcast, which you can listen to hereKelly and Pete’s Italian wedding was also featured on Martha. When I wasn’t cooling off in the studio meeting with new 2019 clients, there were many afternoons spent at the splash pad with Lachlan and my growing belly. And finally at the end of the month, we headed back to Florida for a final trip as a family of three doubled up with a speaking gig at WedAtelier. It was a HOT trip south but a fulfilling and fun one with my boys. We spent many hours at the pool, on the beach, and walking around in the Florida heat enjoying each other’s company.

In September we celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary just days before our final wedding of the season, and less than two weeks before our second son was born. By September I was very uncomfortable and very pregnant sort of wishing the month away but not too fast because I had so many sad moments realizing my time alone with Lachlan was coming to an end. So we spent as many weekends as we could at the farmer’s market (our favorite weekend activity), most work days prepping for this final celebration, and then most of my spare time was making cold process soap in the studio.

October was the best. We were given the biggest blessing on October 5 at 8:02 am.

Here’s more about Everett’s birth story.

In November, I brought Ev to work with me to help a client pick out the perfect wedding gown.

I also took some time away from social media to focus on those newborn days that feel so long yet so short all at once. Everett turned one month old. I was a part of a craft show where I had a solid showing selling many of my handmade soaps and bath products. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my sister in laws where the five cousins made too much noise and we all ate too much food. We snuggled the chunkiest little baby as much as we could.

December was sweet and slow. At first I resisted the simplicity but about half way through the month I learned to let go and embrace the transitional season we’re in. From sharing our favorite holiday tradition with you, including a recipe sent out to my funmail friends, and sharing some sweet holiday photos of Ev and Lachlan with their dear friends Emery and Rowan (oh my goodness), it was a really good month. I’m grateful for the holiday that didn’t feel like a holiday. I’ll never forget it.

And on a business note, a photo from Kelly and Pete’s wedding was selected as one of the Top 30 Wedding Photos of 2018. What an honor! But even more rewarding and humbling was to round out the year being picked as one of BRIDES Magazine’s top wedding planners in the nation. I am in the company of many talented and seasoned men and women on that list making it very fun to call my dad and show him the magazine spread over facetime the day before Christmas eve.

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The year was full of such awesome blog content, if I do say so myself! One of my 2018 goals was to nurture the lifestyle facet of my brand (which I also blogged about here) and nurture I did with this very post being the 63rd of the year! In addition to the posts scattered throughout the above post, I wrote about our family’s Healthy Meal Planning Strategies, 5 Fool Proof Ways for a Successful Editorial Shoot, and my go to recipe for Pico De Gallo (it’s the best!).

In the business realm, I wrote about the importance of inspiration boards and how pivotal they are to my clients and creative projects like this editorial inspired by ice cream. I also blogged about the enneagram test and how it was a big part of our team RBC retreat in the spring. If you’re up for a post on time management and how we’re looking at it all wrong, then this is for you here! Here are my tips and tricks for organic floral design. The last twelve months were packed with incredible businesswoman who I welcomed into my home for private workshops in the studio. Their stories and talent is highlighted in these posts. I’m so eager for 2019 and to welcome and work with more inspiring women.

If you’re looking for my favorite tidying up hack, that’s here.

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep your home tidy when you’re busy, that’s here.

I blogged about Finding Your Own Contentment, which was a reader favorite. This was a favorite post of mine too. Managing motherhood with running a business is something I’m pretty passionate about. So I shared a little and certainly need to add some updates now that our sweet Ev is here. Speaking of Everett, he was the highlight of 2018 and there are so many posts about him and navigating those early newborn days.

Leading up to Everett’s birth I shared so much about preparing for him, both emotionally and physically. From packing an intentional hospital bag, giving a tour of the new nursery, and sharing our fresh take on maternity photos with an in home session (and peek into Lachlan’s toddler room!), the later half of the year focused on a lot of personal content as we entered a new season in our home. Here are my candid thoughts on becoming a mother to two.

I wrote this post too, and I’m happy to report our little (well, not so little at almost 16 pounds now!) guy is doing so much better. He is such a joy and I’m seeing so clearly now as we enter into the baby stage from the newborn one, how carefully God how woven this new son into our story, ups and downs included.

2018 was astoundingly full and wonderful. I’m most grateful for hard work and iced lattes, morning sickness and insomnia for nine months which led to the best gift, incredible friends and FaceTime, a job I love that allows me to live my best life, a home we’ve cultivated in personal ways, my physical and emotional health, a thriving toddler and sweet new baby boy, my selfless husband and the marriage we work heartfully for, and most of all the promise of 2019 and new adventures ahead. Thank you for reading the things I share here, friends! It’s because of you I have such a love for my blog, knowing putting myself out there through this space somehow inspires and connects with you, the same way I’ve done just that with countless other writers, bloggers, men and women, business owners, mamas and wives out there for the last near decade.

Cheers to a fresh new start, whatever that means for you! The best is yet to come.

Love, Rhiannon

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Year in Review 2018
Year in Review 2017
Year in Review 2016
Year in Review 2015
Year in Review 2014
Year in Review 2013
Year in Review 2012
Year in Review 2011

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