goals

When I Am Ready, I'll Know

Let's get ready to ramble.

Feelings of inadequacy are really hard to get rid of.  The worst thing about those feelings are that they're kind of self imposed at this point.  I look at the those folks who have attained some level of notoriety in the design and floral community, and I think, "They're about 30 years old.  What do I need to do to get to that point in five years?"

I talked about this with my boss on Sunday, when the two of us banged out one wedding in the morning for that afternoon.  She is one of the most real embodiments of the notion that if you put a lot of positivity and generosity into the world around you, it'll come back to you tenfold.  She's a great role model in that sense.  I shared my thoughts with her, and she completely understood where I was coming from - no matter who you are or how successful you've been, it's hard to push away the negative self talk sometimes.


She said that it's a matter of deciding what you really want in life.  What is really important for you, and your definition of success.  And how it fits in with the rest of the things that you want in life.  

I think the hard part for me right now is that I can't imagine having anything more in life than what I already have.  I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am right now.  Aside from student loans being the worst thing ever, I have what I need.  I was able to make a change in career while making minor lifestyle changes.  I married my best friend.  He is healthy.  I am healthy.  We want for nothing.

So what do I want in the future?  I don't know if I want to have kids, I don't know where we want to live, I don't know if I want to open a brick and mortar flower shop, and I don't know what changes are just going to get thrown at us out of nowhere, out of life itself.

Today I'll be working through some of the information that I received at Making Things Happen as an attendee back in April.  If you're interested at gaining some clarity into yourself, check out this link to go along with me.

Love and light,

Alyssa

Carry On

Sigh.

Between working at the flower shop (I opened the store all by myself yesterday!) and doing fun things in my personal life, like cooking delicious soup and relaxing with my husband, it's been a good time around here of late.

Despite all the goodness, I've been feeling either stagnant or deterred in the journey to one day being a florist under my own management.  I suppose the stagnant feeling can stem from routine, any routine.  But I like routine.  It just takes me a moment to remind myself that the routine of my hours at the flower shop is important to my growth as a florist and as a future business owner.  And then I instantly remember why I made the change.  And I'm happy again.

Deterred.  This one came on big time the other day.

After I quit my teaching job, I went on one other teaching interview.  I did this to just give it a go, and to appease several friends who were still pulling for me to stay in the classroom.  They made great arguments about why I should stay in education, and I truly see where they are coming from.  So, off to the interview I went.

In short, I did not receive an offer for that job, due to politics between charter schools.  But they still to this date need a teacher.  So they've been courting me to take a job with them.  While their interest in me is kind of flattering, I will be sending their CEO an email today stating while the offer is competitive, I will not be taking the job.

Normally, I wouldn't really care about turning down a job offer.  I have a job, and having two full-time jobs wouldn't work in this situation.  I left teaching for a reason.  But the hard part in this, is that it feels like the offering school is trying to stomp their feet all over my happiness in my current place.

In our conversation (I'm really way too accommodating - I shouldn't have agreed to talk to them yet again.), they attempted to sway me with a big salary, benefits, and other "perks" to the teaching job.  One of these being a cell phone to be reached at.  Presumably any time.  No.  Thanks.

I was told over and over again of the great purpose that the CEO felt in working with students.  Of the groundbreaking change that is the result of teaching.  And of how I could join with them and do that noble work.

But is the work I'm doing now so self-indulgent and petty?

I'm trying to achieve a dream.  I'm learning about small business ownership and about plants and flowers.  I'm happier than I've been in two years.  I'm helping to make someone's wedding day/birthday/just-because-day beautiful.  I'm effectively helping to make magic happen, as in the case of a seven wedding weekend we just pulled off.

In the end, nobody can force me to do anything I don't want to do.  But I suppose that my thick skin will just have to toughen up some more.  I am not apologizing for my choices.  Mostly because it wouldn't change anyone's mind anyway, but also because my happiness and well-being is essential to my life.  And since I only get to do this once, I'm going to choose the best way for me and my family.

And that is with flowers.  Always, with flowers.



Love and light,

Alyssa

The Making Things Happen Experience: Applying What I Learned in Chapel Hill to the Now


If you'd like to read my MTH recaps, look no further.

If we look at the image above, the due date for registration has already passed.  Yet, I still posted the picture.  I'd also like to point out that the conference is sold out already.  So why did I use that image?

I'm not so sure, really.  When I see the above image, I think back to the distinctive branding that is used to market the conference, and it just kind of clicks.  

I attended Making Things Happen in April.  It's September now, so that was 5 months ago.  Almost half a year, and yet I can still remember it all perfectly (or as well as our imperfect human memory will allow me to think).  And through the challenges and trials that the conference presented, I loved every minute of it.  I am changed because of it.  And I have learned a great deal through it and afterwards.  

It's easier if you just attend, rather than to have me explain it.  Ask anyone else who has attended, and 90% of the time, they'll say the same thing.  I'm not just being tight-lipped.

Because of the work that I did at this conference and the changes I've made in my life because of it, I wanted to share some things that I've learned or found to be true.  If you've previously attended Making Things Happen, you might have some input into my thoughts that resonates with your experience, or you may have a different list entirely.

  • Encouragement is sometimes all it takes for a person to jumpstart the change to their life, or continue on the path to change that they've already started.  
  • Living out and talking about the things that you are doing and changing inspires others to do the same, and to simultaneously root you on.
  • Networking is a benefit to small business owners.  However, if you are outwardly quiet or introverted, this can be a huge obstacle and even possibly make you feel like you don't belong. Find those other introverts.  They exist.
  • Re-evaluating your core and your purpose is essential to moving forward in life.  Your core is why you do the things that you do, and while it can be challenging to truly flesh out, it makes decisions easier to make.

Do any past attendees out there have any additional thoughts?  Everyone has a different experience at MTH, so I'd love to talk about this, and hear what other people are experiencing.  

I'm also realizing that I've changed a lot since April, and that it's a good idea to check in with how I'm really doing and feeling about life.  This includes re-evaluating my core and my mission in life.  Some people might get freaked out thinking about such big life things, but I actually really enjoy it.  It's hard to turn my mind off most of the time, so in this venture, I'll just be focusing the thinking more steadily.

I'll let you know what I figure out.

Love and light,

Alyssa


Goal Setting: June/July

My days of late have looked pretty much like this:


The horse above is named Lark, and he's my mom's new baby.
He has the sweetest, softest nose.


Ducks at the farm where I'm volunteering.  
They splash around in the water while I get to plant seedlings and harvest flowers.

Other than those things, I've been socializing our first cat, Clover, with a new cat, China.  It sounds easier than it really is, believe me.  Those of you who have multiple cats that are unrelated know what I'm talking about.

I've also been working on final wedding details, some with Chris and some without him.  We've divided some of the tasks, to better use our individual skills, which has been a good move so far.  But for the marriage license, we both were required to be present for paperwork.  It only took 30 minutes, after finding the right door to go into!  City Hall in Philadelphia is undergoing some major construction, and it just happens to have about 57 different entrances.  Most of which are not the one you want for obtaining a marriage license.  If you're getting a marriage license in Philadelphia, I can help you out now.

Let's review:

June Goals:
  • Bridesmaid jewelry and groomsmen tie selection
  • Parent gifts for wedding (This is tough!  Suggestions please!)
  • Vow writing and ceremony drafting (Work in progress...)
  • Organize our hall closet and get rid of anything that is just taking up space
  • Organize teacher things once they're all brought home from work
  • Donate large bag of clothing that has been sorted out of closet
  • Final wedding dress fitting!
  • Decide on a hairstyle for the wedding (I have an idea of what I want, we'll see if it's possible at the trial run mid-July!)
  • (Plus a million other small wedding details.)
And the seventh month!

July
  • Final rehearsal dinner selections
  • Pick up dress from gown shop
  • Decide on a nail polish color for the wedding
  • Post once per day for Amber Housley's Instagram challenge
  • Work on improving cat socialization between our new cat and previous cat
  • Visit Longwood Gardens at least twice
  • Continue to keep blogging regularly!  I'm enjoying it a lot.
  • Determine specific short and long-term goals for floristry.
What about you all?

Love and light,

Alyssa

Goal Setting: May/June

Before I share any goal setting, I want to share a stunning image from Sam and Brad of Bradley James Photography, taken way back in April (!) at the Trouvaille Workshop.


They made my arrangement look super pretty.  Thanks, Sam and Brad!

I just realized that it is the seventh of June, and I hadn't posted any goals yet.  I hadn't even thought of any yet.  The end of the school year is a pretty hectic time for any teacher, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel: 8 more days, only 7 with students.  Sighing of relief right now.

Let's recap.

May Goals:
  • Apply for an EIN in order to obtain access to wholesale florist
  • Bridesmaid jewelry questing (Still prowling, getting closer though.)
  • Bouquet of the month for May (I think this series is over.  Expensive, but also doing a lot of work in design classes.)
  • Remember to relax as the academic year winds down.  Don't get crazy stressed out.
  • Enjoy and learn from my upcoming floral design workshop at Longwood Gardens (This was an AMAZING workshop.  Look for the recap soon!)
  • Mail invitations to wedding guests (Doing this in a few hours once the post office opens.)
  • Decide on gifts for our parents for the wedding
  • Work with our sweet friend who is officiating to craft our ceremony
  • Begin drafting wedding vows with Chris!
Judging from what is not crossed off here, vows are going to be at the top of the list.  Our officiant is away camping this weekend, but we can work with her soon to make something sweet.

June Goals:
  • Bridesmaid jewelry and groomsmen tie selection
  • Parent gifts for wedding
  • Vow writing and ceremony drafting
  • Organize our hall closet and get rid of anything that is just taking up space
  • Organize teacher things once they're all brought home from work
  • Donate large bag of clothing that has been sorted out of closet
  • Final wedding dress fitting!
  • Decide on a hairstyle for the wedding
  • (Plus a million other small wedding details.)
Those million other small wedding details can be knocked out pretty quickly.  Many of them are simply things like ordering table numbers, finding photos of relatives for our ancestor table, writing out place cards, and other tiny things.  I am fortunate to have several weeks off of work before the wedding, and will be trying to be efficient with my time.  There's no reason that I can't make sure it all gets taken care of, with that kind of time off of work.  But if something slips through the cracks, it's also not the end of the world.

Love and light,

Alyssa

Goal Setting: April/May

What a busy month.  I feel like I didn't work a day in April at my day job, since I was away so frequently for workshops and other learning.  But what a productive month it was.  We just finished our state testing at my school, and let me tell you something.

State mandated standardized testing takes a toll on teachers too.  It's so frustrating to not be allowed to pronounce words for my students who speak Spanish at home, and only English at school.  It's frustrating that we're not allowed to drink water while proctoring tests for 3 hours at a time.  It's frustrating when I can't ask students to reconsider answers that I know and can obviously see are incorrect, but could be corrected with a little pushing.  And it's also just plain boring.  Not allowed to read or write, or really do anything while the kids are testing.  Which means, I must walk in a continuous circle (since we aren't permitted to sit) for the entire testing time.  Blegh.

But it's over.  And it's May!  Glorious.

Let's recap.

April Goals:
  • Craft and refine what exactly my client experience will include for multiple packages (This is a huge work in progress!)
  • Find jewelry for my bridesmaid gifts (Proving to be challenging.  Any recommendations, ladies?)
  • Help Chris to choose a tie for the wedding, also as a gift to the groomsmen
  • Take invitations to the post office to weigh them, and buy stamps
  • Apply to an interim job for the summer season I'll be volunteering somewhere awesome!  More on this soon!
  • April's bouquet of the month (This didn't happen.  But I did play with a ton of flowers.)
  • Enjoy the Trouvaille Workshop with all that Rhi of Hey Gorgeous Events has to offer!
  • Recap MTH and Trouvaille on the blog MTH: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.  Trouvaille: Part 1.  More on Trouvaille will be headed to the blog soon!
Some wonderful MTH photos below were posted to our Facebook group.  Aren't they lovely?  The awesome conference photographer, Robin Van Dyke Photography, did an excellent job!  Their team was hustling the entire two days to get some great images of all the happenings going around at The Carolina Inn.


There I am, writing some really personal info on a whiteboard for all attendees to see.  
But it was so good and necessary.


My breakout group, led by Amber Houseley and Karen Stott, pictured above.


Karen, leading us in the important work of the conference.


All of us together on a sunny North Carolina afternoon!

Onward to May!

May Goals:
  • Apply for an EIN in order to obtain access to wholesale florist
  • Bridesmaid jewelry questing
  • Bouquet of the month for May
  • Remember to relax as the academic year winds down.  Don't get crazy stressed out.
  • Enjoy and learn from my upcoming floral design workshop at Longwood Gardens
  • Mail invitations to wedding guests
  • Decide on gifts for our parents for the wedding
  • Work with our sweet friend who is officiating to craft our ceremony
  • Begin drafting wedding vows with Chris!
May is going to be a sweet, sweet month.  More sunshine, more outdoors time, more wedding excitement, and more iced coffee and flowers!  I can't be stressed in a world with all that.  And my cat.

Goal Setting: March/April

 We are a bit late about posting our April goals...but for good reason, I promise!

I just returned from the Making Things Happen intensive in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on the 2nd, and had to work during standardized testing (blegh) on the 3rd and 4th, leaving me little time to regroup, recoup, and recap.


Perhaps March's bouquet will make everything better.  Yup, I feel better already.

To recap...

March Goals:
  • Bouquet of the month for March  Check out the blog post here.
  • Find Chris' wedding suit!  It is a slim cut, medium blue dream!
  • Order invitations and response cards for the wedding.  They have arrived, and I'll begin addressing them early to avoid running out of time.
  • Twice per week blogging presence.  Trying harder!  (I think it's time to re-evaluate this one.  My day job is not helpful in this aspect.)
  • Create and refine core values for Demure Birch Design  (More to come on this soon.)
  • Make Chris' 26th birthday on March 22 a wonderful day!  Dinner and the new Muppet movie and lots of candy and movie theater popcorn.  We had a great time!
  • Register for wedding gifts  Now, deciding on a color of KitchenAid mixer will be tough...
  • Ask a dear friend to officiate the wedding  She said yes and we couldn't be more honored.
  • Go see the movie Divergent and try not to scream/cry/explode from excitement.  Saw it, not pleased.  I've read the series about 7 times and am a stickler for sticking to details.
March was pretty successful!  The big things happened, and I'm not beating myself up over the blogging goal.  I am doing what I can with the time that I have, and that's all that matters.

Looking forward, I have two more things on my radar this spring.

Countdown to Trouvaille Workshop: 8 days (Check out the #trouvailleworkshop on social media to get giddy with me about this event!)
Countdown to Floral Intensive I and II at Longwood Gardens: 54 days

April Goals:
  • Craft and refine what exactly my client experience will include for multiple packages
  • Find jewelry for my bridesmaid gifts
  • Help Chris to choose a tie for the wedding, also as a gift to the groomsmen
  • Take invitations to the post office to weigh them, and buy stamps
  • Apply to an interim job for the summer season
  • April's bouquet of the month
  • Enjoy the Trouvaille Workshop with all that Rhi of Hey Gorgeous Events has to offer!
  • Recap MTH and Trouvaille on the blog
Enjoy the rest of the weekend, friends!  

Love and Light,

Alyssa

Goal Setting - February/March


February was not my month.

Between having copious amounts of time off of work and getting my days all mixed up, and having the winter blues in a hardcore way, February was not my month.  I played with flowers a few times, and I learned lots of new things about business licenses and advertising, but I didn't DO a lot of anything.


I did make this lovely bouquet for a work friend's girlfriend though.  
Ranunculus, wax flower, and gerbera daisies.

February Goals:
  • Bouquet of the month (I sadly dropped the ball on this one.  Short month, right?)
  • Find a wedding suit for Chris! (We know where we are purchasing it, and just need to go try a few on at the store.)
  • Enjoy a weekend jaunt to Pittsburgh to get more wedding plans taken care of.
  • Research business plans for advertising, branding, and licensing.
  • Maintain a twice per week blogging presence. (This fell apart at the end of the month, but was really good for the first 2.5 weeks of February.)
  • Comment on at least one photo per day on Instagram. (I am terrible at this.  I need a better way to track doing this, since I don't have my tending checklist with me all the time.)
  • Ask a dear friend to officiate our wedding. (There is no rush on this, and it will be happening in March.)
  • Nail down a rehearsal dinner venue.

March Goals:
  • Bouquet of the month for March
  • Find Chris' wedding suit!
  • Order invitations and response cards for the wedding
  • Twice per week blogging presence.  Trying harder!
  • Create and refine core values for Demure Birch Design
  • Make Chris' 26th birthday on March 22 a wonderful day!
  • Register for wedding gifts
  • Ask a dear friend to officiate the wedding
  • Go see the movie Divergent and try not to scream/cry/explode from excitement.

Anyone else have some great goals out there, big or small?  I'd love to hear them!

Love and light,

Alyssa

Goal Setting - January/February

January has been an extremely cold month for us residents of the Greater Philadelphia region!  I realize that it is, in fact, still winter, but I think the record-breaking 13.5 inches of snow that we've already received is enough for the season.  I do feel pretty lucky that I have access to some beautiful flowers, despite the snowy weather!

As the first monthly goals post, I've come to the decision that I'd also like to share how I've done on my goals of the month, and update you sweet readers on my goals for next month.  I've been doing Lara Casey's Powersheets goal setting since December, getting geared up to make 2014 an eventful and successful year of growth.  What better way to be accountable for my goals than to share them publicly?  I'm hoping the my monthly bouquet and goal setting is done at the end of each month, so that I can maintain some consistency in the manner in which I share my progress.  Here it is for January, and looking forward to February!

January Goals:

  • Begin a monthly bouquet series on my blog (Here it is!)
  • Post at least twice on the blog each week (I did posts on 1/1, 1/12, 1/14, 1/18, 1/20, 1/22, so I ALMOST achieved this goal.  Pretty dang close!)
  • Post twice to Instagram each week (Check out my Instagram feed to see some pretties.)
  • Drink a healthy smoothie each morning before work (Spinach, pineapple, and flax seed are pretty popular here.  This will continue every single day!)
  • Compile addresses and send save-the-dates (They're all mailed as of Friday!)
  • Purchase wedding shoes (They've arrived and are gorgeous.)
  • Find a wedding suit for Chris (This can happen in February, as long as it happens soon.  Not too time sensitive.)
All in all, not a bad month!

February Goals:
  • Find a wedding suit for Chris!
  • Enjoy a weekend jaunt to Pittsburgh to get more wedding plans taken care of.
  • Research business plans for advertising, branding, and licensing.
  • Maintain a twice per week blogging presence.
  • Comment on at least one photo per day on Instagram.
  • Ask a dear friend to officiate our wedding.
  • Nail down a rehearsal dinner venue.
I'm trying to build a presence on social media in an attempt to network and show future clients that I'm here and seriously ready for their beautiful event.  I have some exciting things in the works for my personal and professional life, and thankful for some big changes along the way.  

Do you have any big goals for the month?  For the YEAR?  I'd love to hear more.

Love and light,

Alyssa