making things happen

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,


MTH Recap Part 3: I am here to ____________.

Core.  Core values.  Core of an apple?  The middle.  Definition below.

core /kôr/ 
     noun: core; plural noun: cores
     1. the tough central part of various fruits, containing the seeds.
     2. the central or most important part of something, in particular.
         the part of something that is central to its existence or character

See?  It fits.  Your core is intrinsic to you, and while it may change depending on the stage of life you are in, it is solidly in place as a foundation in your life.  At Making Things Happen, we were encouraged to define this for ourselves and to solidify the meaning.

So, Alyssa.  What exactly is your core?

I believe that awareness, education, and preparation can defeat disorder.

I believe that devotion and dedication are fundamental to a fruitful marriage.

I am here to clarify any process that you find to be an obstacle.

I am someone who strives to focus on meaningful essentials.

...and I am revising this as needed.  But I am happy with the current statements, and satisfied by the many revisions it took me to get to this point.

What is your core?

(Sneak peek from the Trouvaille Workshop that I just returned from!)

MTH Recap Part 2: Authenticity Is Key

In creating a business, in creating a brand, making something tangible and easy to explain, it is so hard to not look to others and straight up copy them.  Seeing success, or at least what looks like success, and wanting it so badly stifles the creativity that I had when I began dreaming up Demure Birch Design.  Not only would it be poor form to copy anyone's anything, but it would be a lie to myself and to prospective clients.  It would be a disservice to those who are pushing me and cheering me on to be anything but myself.

Authenticity is key - one of the many things that was discussed at Making Things Happen.  Once again, Lara Casey said it succinctly and well:

"Consider the opportunities that you are losing by not being authentic to the world."

This one hit me in the gut.  Showing my true self, being authentic and sharing what matters most to me with my clients and with my loved ones is a scary and dangerous move.  The thoughts immediately play out in my head.  What if they don't like me?  What if they change their minds?  What if they disagree with my thoughts?  What if they are not accepting?

And that is where the real human connection is made - in the vulnerability of authentic interaction.  Getting a true glimpse of who a person is, sharing what drives you, communicating your core to others.  This is the heart of true interaction that is authentic.  But it takes a leap of faith and some real courage.

As a person who truly detests small talk, the point of being authentic really rang true to my core.  As an introverted person, I thrive on deep conversations about ideas and things that people think about.  Small talk bores me.  It gives me nothing to latch on to, and it does nothing to spark my thoughts about how I relate to others in this wide world.  But deep conversations, about life and love and the things that you hate and adore, and what changes you think should be made to the world?  Those are just the best.  Those talks tell me who you are.  Those talks develop me as a person.

This is what being authentic is all about.  Sure, small talk is never going to disappear.  But I can't help but think that sometimes the small talk is really just nervousness about judgement from others coming out in word form.  If we stick to the insignificant, we don't necessarily open ourselves up to the criticism or scrutiny of others.  We stay safe.  And the vulnerability of authenticity is so scary!  Why would we venture there?

I need to venture there, and stay there because it feeds my heart and soul and lights my mind on fire.  Authenticity and the deepness of people is amazing territory and I want to explore it all.  

For my business, my authenticity is crucial to offering clients a person who cares deeply about their experience, and not just a person making a buck.  Authenticity is where the love story comes out, the details spill forth, and the day is reflected back to you as, well, you.  Not the perfect painting, but the imperfectly perfect reflection of love.

Love and Light,


MTH Recap Part 1: Filter the Noise

After attending the Making Things Happen Workshop in lovely Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I took several days to process what I had learned and what I heard others say.  Making Things Happen was an emotionally intense goal setting seminar, and attendees were encouraged to stay in focused head space throughout the daily talks from various creatives and also throughout meal times.  The primary focus of this workshop was really diving in and getting to the core of what matters, and harnessing your core to put changes and plans into action.

The quote from the gracious and open founder of the workshop, Lara Casey, particularly resonated with me.  The quote states;

"Don't fall into the trap of seeking approval.  
Do the thing things that you want to do, and then tell people."

This quote hit me because I feel like it relates strongly to my personal life.  I proposed to Chris because I wanted to, and we celebrated with family via webcam on Thanksgiving way back in 2010.  We continued our engagement despite the hard and downright cruel things that came our way and we came through happy and together on the other side, despite the hurtful advice that people gave.  Me, learning to say "I'm not happy about _______" to others, and subsequently trying to change my circumstances, even though it may be considered a foolish decision to those with their eye on the compensation rather than the quality of life.

Living life unapologetically is something I will be doing more of.  I will resist the impulse to apologize for decisions that I make for my benefit and the benefit of those I love.  It is simply nobody's concern whether I make the "right" choices.  Who is anyone else to know what is right for another person?  

We were charged by Lara with the task of filtering the "noise" of distractions and negative influences in our lives.  Many people started by committing to clearing out their social media feeds of those who spread negativity.  Personally, I was amongst this group regarding Facebook and Instagram.  I also proceeded to unsubscribe from an embarrassing amount of listservs and store newsletters.  

In terms of business, acknowledging that seeking approval of others often comes from comparison.  Comparison can kill your heart, and make you squander your creative talents on the already-done.  If I spend hours on social media and I see that the internet has collectively deemed something as interesting and successful in that moment, it's harder to be willing to take the leap into crazy-awesome creative.  Being innovative is harder when little voices in your mind say to just give it up, that's not what the people want.  But we should give the previously un-done a try.  

This is what brings light to the world.

Want to hear more?  Just wait for Part 2: Authenticity to come later this week.

Love and Light,


P.S. Already feel inspired to attend?  Check our the fall registration for this intensive and get the earlybird pricing!  It is worth it, I promise you.

Making Things Happen - Prelude

As I write this post, I am on my layover in the airport in Atlanta, Georgia, waiting for my connecting flight to Raleigh-Durham.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be sitting here, waiting to arrive in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the Making Things Happen Intensive, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.  I say “probably” because it’s really hard to think back to where I was a year ago, and what I was doing, how I was feeling, and what I wanted to do.

I bought my ticket for Making Things Happen on December 12, 2013, which wasn’t really all that long ago.  I’ve known and been prepared to attend for about 3.5 months, but I still don’t actually know what to expect.  I’ve read some wonderful recap blog posts from various attendees from last year and years before, but nobody has the exact same experience in anything in life, so it’s pointless to compare.  The only constant that has appeared across the anecdotes and reflections that I’ve read, is that transformational change occurs in some way.

In terms of goals and outcomes from MTH, I have no idea what I am wanting.  I also don’t know about making friends at thing conference – large groups of adults are generally discomforting to me, for whatever reason.

Things that I do know: our hotel, The Carolina Inn, is going to be absolutely homey and comfortable, my roommate is sweet and kind already, and that this will be an event like I’ve never experienced before. 

I’m looking ahead and looking to grow, and I’m looking forward to telling you all how the conference went.  Stay tuned later this week for a recap about the entire MTH experience!  Wish me luck.

Love and Light,


Making Things Happen in 2014

Ever since signing up for the Trouvaille Workshop and speaking with the kind and personable Rhiannon Banda of Hey Gorgeous Events, a seed was planted in my heart.  I had emailed Rhiannon with questions regarding Trouvaille, and while answering those questions, she pointed me toward the Making Things Happen intensive in March.  I had heard about MTH before, but had not seriously looked into it, because I was still unsure about how and in what way to find the focus for my goals.

Making Things Happen is all about finding the core of what makes you move.  By combining some serious goal setting and soul searching with branding and business essentials, MTH seems to be a huge turning point for the attendants.  I am ready to be one of those people!

I bought the ticket after learning via Lara Casey's Instagram feed that there were only 19 tickets left for the intensive.  Despite the huge popularity of the intensive, the event is capped at 70 tickets to ensure that the gathering is still intimate enough for major interaction and change among attendees.  I realized that if I did not make that leap to attend this conference, I would be left wondering.  I would wonder what pushed the other attendees to purchase their tickets.  What changes are they hoping to make?  I would have wondered what topics and planning would have been covered during the conference.  And I would have been wondering how the lives of the attendees would be changed after the conference.

Things became really clear after that.  I had to attend.  Pure and simple.

I bought my ticket, and I booked my hotel.  I am rooming with another sweet attendee at the event, and I am so happy to have already spoken with her and several other people involved.  We are all so excited!

Chapel Hill, I am coming for you!  I am ready to learn and be challenged, and I am ready to make positive changes in my life.

Love and Light,