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February 2013 Archive

Introducing Our Guest Speaker, Amber!
Amber Housley Making Things Happen Speaker

We’ve made it to the end of the week, y’all! Happy Friday! We hope you’ve accomplished all that you set out to do this week.

We’d like to wrap up the week by introducing you to our Making Things Happen 2013 Conference guest speaker, Amber Housley. Amber founded her creative studio in 2007 which encompasses her many passions and talents. Her wedding and design work has been featured in notable media such as Southern Weddings, Southern Living, Bridal Guide, Style Me Pretty and Martha With a passion for helping other small businesses succeed, she shares inspiring content, strategic business coaching and community building through her Amber Housley Inspired workshop series. Raised in Southern California and Las Vegas, she and her husband moved to Nashville and haven’t looked back. With a full-fledged southern plantation wedding and a sweet little boy born one year later, they truly feel like they are living the sweet life each day. Amber also enjoys sharing home entertaining, recipes, decor and gardening how-to on her lifestyle blog at

We asked Amber a few questions to see what fired her up:

What have you made happen since you first attended MTH?  What has changed since then?

Amber: In the two+ years since I attended MTH, I feel like I’ve been on an amazing journey that is just getting started! The most significant, I relaunched my business from Sweet Life Designs to the Amber Housley brand. I’ve doubled my business year over year. I challenged myself to get my work published and since then I’ve appeared in Southern Living, Southern Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Munaluchi Bride, Bridal Guide, Wedding Planner Magazine and the Sage Wedding Pros blog. I continued to better myself and my business by attending many conferences, workshops and seminars, some of which I later returned as speakers for. I was featured by as a ‘Dreamer Into Doer’ and also developed and launched the Amber Housley Inspired national workshop series for creative women entrepreneurs. Most importantly, I’ve learned to embrace my gifts, celebrate them, and focus on what matters – which is a huge shift in my thinking prior to MTH. 

What is your best piece of advice to those who want to make things happen?
Amber: There will never be a perfect time for anything. I tell this mantra to myself and my friends all the time: “done is better than perfect.” So many times we hold ourselves back from this or that because we think there is some magical perfect time when the stars align and we will finally be ready. We say to ourselves, “if I just do A, B and C, then finally, I’ll be ready for D….” Guess what, if you are always waiting for the perfect time, you’re never going to launch anything.

What are you most looking forward to about the MTH2013 Conference?
Amber: I’m most looking forward to connecting with other creatives. I get so fired up being around other creatives who want more out of life – for themselves, for their businesses. I look forward to new friendships to be made through the MTH connection. Many of my closest friends are those that I met through the MTH network and I’m so grateful for the experience that has brought these talented and driven people in my life. 

What fires you up?
Amber: My family, giggles from my son, designing weddings and developing new products, throwing great parties, southern culture, authentic + fearless women, growing flowers and vegetables in our yard, ballet flats + pretty dresses, swimming in the caribbean sea, afternoon coffee breaks, smart + creative marketing campaigns that speak to my inner geek, receiving a sweet note or card in the mail, helping others with their creative businesses

What’s next for you?
Amber: Continuing to embrace my many passions and talents. Professionally in 2013 I’m going to launch a wedding invitation line as well as many other products for weddings and social parties. I also will be a more active blogger and share many projects and articles that speak to the core of the Amber Housley brand: weddings, parties, entertaining and entrepreneurship. I am looking to partner with some lifestyle brands in the development of content for the Amber Housley blog and I would also like to challenge myself to work in the TV medium in some way. I’d like to develop my Amber Housley: Inspired workshop series in an online webinar format. Personally, I am going to continue to find ways to be a supportive and encouraging wife to my husband and an attentive mom to our son by giving uninterrupted time and scheduling ‘family fun days’. I will continue my on-going pursuit of eating healthier and goal of looking awesome in a bikini as well as setting aside time for new creative experiences and classes with friends. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Introducing Our Guest Speaker, Emily Thomas!
Emily Thomas

Happy Valentine’s Day! We know the holiday is not about chocolates and flowers but about faith, hope and most of all, genuine love. It’s about making what matters happen and taking the time out of our busy schedules to encourage one another. We like Valentine’s Day around here!

Nobody encompasses that genuine love and innate grace better than our Making Things Happen 2013 Conference guest speaker, Emily Thomas.  Emily says her job as Creative Director of Southern Weddings Magazine is her dream job. She thinks weddings are magical and believes that anythings that brings people together with such a pure focus deserves to be thoughtfully and joyfully celebrated. When she is not working as a creative super-force for Southern Weddings Magazine, she works to inspire others toward a rich, full life through her personal blog, Em for Marvelous. She is passionate about serving God and loving people, personal finance, the outdoors, and her husband, John. 

We asked Emily a few questions to see how she’s made things happen:

What have you made happen since you first attended MTH?  What has changed since then?

Emily: I have actually attended MTH twice – the first time was in Dallas in 2010, and the second time was in Chapel Hill in 2012.  Since 2010, I have been part of a sea-change at Southern Weddings that brought an entirely new mission to the work that we do.  I might not have thought it possible at the time, but I love my job even more now than I did then!  In 2011 my personal blog went through a complete overhaul from Peach & Pearl to Em for Marvelous, and I’m so happy to now have a place to write that’s a perfect reflection of who I am.  Oh yes, I also married my high school sweetheart!

What is your best piece of advice to those who want to make things happen?

Emily: Put yourself out there with boldness and confidence, but first, make sure that you have the goods to back it up – whatever that means for your situation.  If, for example, you’re asking for a job, make SURE you have what the company needs and MORE before you ask.  Be over prepared in every way.  If you’re not objectively ready for it (aside from just wanting it), then don’t ask for the job – perhaps ask for a learning opportunity instead.

Also, stop worrying about things that don’t matter.  I know that might sound impossible or even a little harsh, but I think most people who let worry consume them LIKE wallowing in it just a little bit because there’s safety in paralysis.  

What are you most looking forward to about the MTH2013 Conference?

Emily: As an attendee, I am looking forward to having a time to refresh and refocus my attention squarely back onto the things that truly matter.  No matter how “good” we are, I think we all need a restorative pause at least once a year!  As a speaker, I am hoping to challenge some of the ways “things have always been done” and encourage attendees to forge their own path – one that makes sense for them and is inspired by what fires them up.

Emily: What fires you up?

Oh my word, lots of things!  Being productive and efficient with my time; creating work that resonates with others; saving money and giving money away; writing thank you notes and letters; feeling content and satisfied; delighting and surprising others; budgeting; work that has a larger mission; the smell of freshly-cut grass; exploring new places; laughing with John; weekend hikes; singing old hymns; an afternoon spent reading a book; the outdoors; being prepared; and the ocean.

What’s next for you?

Emily: Honestly?  I already have my dream job, and I have no plans to change that anytime soon!  I know there are always changes around the corner at SW (the beauty of having Lara Casey as your boss!), but I am content professionally.  In the world of Em for Marvelous, I’ve challenged myself to branch out with the products in my shop this year, so keep an eye out for some new handcrafted goodies coming down the pipeline over the next few months.  The biggest “what’s next” for me, though, is (fingers crossed!) moving into a house!  The one we are hoping to buy is definitely a fixer upper, so I foresee lots of weekends spent painting and ripping up linoleum in my future!

Remember, TODAY is the very last day to register at our early-bird rate. Come and make things happen with us! 

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Introducing Our Guest Speaker, Stefanie
Stefanie Miles

Photo by Lauren Larsen

Each of our guest speakers for the Making Things Happen 2013 Conference are truly remarkable women. One thing they all have in common is that they have made their businesses AND their lives happen. We promote a balanced lifestyle and these ladies are quite the role models.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Stefanie Miles of Lavender Joy Weddings. With a background in public relations, graphic design and counseling, Stefanie began Lavender Joy Weddings in 2010, with a special passion for intimate and family-style events across Texas. She brings a thoughtful curator’s eye to event design, seamless planning in event management, and a passion in the joy found in the refining journey of marriage. She’s married to her husband Patrick, and they love traveling, supper club and their doxi, Ripken. 

We asked Stefanie a few questions about how she’s made things happen:

What have you made happen since you first attended MTH?

Stefanie: I first attended Making Things Happen in 2010, and again as an alum in 2012. Since that first MTH, I have taken intentional time to transition careers by building a values-based brand and business, pursued mentoring from people that have given invaluable advice and guidance, incorporated better daily processes in both my personal and professional life, launched a networking group in my home city that encourages and supports collaboration in our industry, and sought to put the Lord and my marriage first, always. I’ve been blessed to have my work featured on Style Me Pretty, Southern Weddings, Rue Magazine, and numerous other online publications, and to have experienced wedding days with amazing clients that I now call friends.  

What has changed since then?

Stefanie: Life has had quite a few ups and downs since that first MTH – good days and the kind of days we don’t want to ever admit that we have (you know what I’m talking about!)…but I consistently feel more confident in my ability to take action towards the life I want to live. Sometimes this means very practical steps and sometimes this means the very difficult steps to be still and breathe and trust the Lord with where I am in the process. I’m building a business that I’m truly proud of – that I believe serves couples and their families well during a very meaningful season of their lives. 

What is your best piece of advice to those who want to make things happen?

Stefanie: Fight fear and comparison!  Don’t give your thoughts or energy to what others are doing or what you feel like you ‘should’ be doing. Listen to your heart and give yourself room to be truly authentic in your choices. Lasting change has happened for me when I get gut-level honest with MYSELF about how I need to grow + change. It’s not always about changing your circumstances or looking for the next thing to DO…but getting a change in perspective, and then taking steps towards that, bit by bit! Making things happen is about identifying what matters most to you, and taking the steps that will help you live the life you want to live. 

What are you most looking forward to about the MTH2013 Conference?

Stefanie: Listening to and coming alongside the attendees as they do the work, doing the work again myself, and dance parties with Gina!! Honestly, I can’t wait to hear the stories of the attendees. The process and journey of clarifying what really matters most to you and moving towards those goals – these stories inspire me to no end!

What fires you up?

Stefanie: Time reading the Bible & in heart-encouraging community, supper club with friends, listening to clients’ desires and interpreting their ideas into a beautifully curated design and experience, snuggling with our doxi, investing in people, fresh florals, chatting with Patrick in the kitchen while he adds his own flavor to a new recipe,  championing marriage – even when it seems impossible, a hot cup of clean coffee, and noticing and appreciating the simple joys in the midst of everyday life.

What’s next for you? 

Stefanie: Saying yes to the right things and the things that are most important! Continuing to clear clutter and organize and create spaces + processes that reflect who I am – in my home and in my business. Adding the right people to our team, and making prioritizing living well and with contentment over the to-do list. Creating more through product + food styling. More date nights. More dinner parties. More laughter and love and gratitude and joyTake a peek at my Making Things Happen in 2013 Pinterest board here:

Ever heard that the early bird gets the worm? Well TOMORROW is the last day for early-bird registration and there are some huge savings. Register now! 

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Introducing Our Guest Speaker, Nancy
Nancy Ray

We consider ourselves so very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet so many extraordinary people since Making Things Happen began. One of these friends is our MTH 2013 Conference guest speaker Nancy Ray. Nancy is a talented photographer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Nancy’s passion for photography is feuled by one thought: that the moments she captures are the very first records of a marriage, a heritage, a new family tree. They are the moments that will be passed down from generation to generation – all in the form of photographs. We adore that idea!

We asked Nancy a few questions so you, too, could get to know her!

What have you made happen since you first attended MTH?  What has changed since then?

So many things! I re-branded my business, raised my prices, learned the importance of valuing people, photographed magazine editorials, hired team members, had work featured on several wedding bogs, taught 4 photography workshops, paid off my house, set office hours, and have grown my business to a place I never imagined it would be in just a few short years.  In all of this, I would consider my greatest accomplishment this: achieving a greater work-life balance. Time with my husband and family is more intentional and meaningful than ever.

What is your best piece of advice to those who want to make things happen?

Know that what you get out of this conference depends on what you are willing to put into it. During the conference: get ready to be real and vulnerable.  Afterwards: stay consistent with your decisions for the days, weeks, and months to come. Small changes over time = a big change.

What are you most looking forward to about the MTH2013 Conference?

Nancy: Being in a room with inspiring, uplifting, authentic women who live their lives to the full!  I have so much to learn from each of you.

What fires you up?

Nancy: Scripture. Running. Feeling sun on my skin. Painting my nails. Coffee. Open windows. Lit candles. Beautiful light. Worshiping Jesus with a new song. Creating new meals. A clean home. Organization. Setting goals with William. Waking up early and being well rested. A cold glass of whole milk. Local produce stands. Fresh flowers. Completing a journal. Snuggling with Will on a cold night. A clean car. Freshly baked bread. Water skiing. Reading a good book. Doing a budget. Creating music with my youth group kids. Handwritten letters. Dinner parties. Completing a Dave Ramsey baby step. A good pen. Homemade ice cream. Public speaking. Swimming laps. Laughing until my stomach hurts with my mom and sister. Laying down on my back in the sunlight. Walking Winston. Movie nights. The smell of clean laundry in my neighborhood. Antiquing. Giving a meaningful gift. Giving a life changing message. Giving my excess stuff to ministries. Giving.

What’s next for you?

Nancy: Reading more. Growing more. Loving more. Teaching more. Giving more. As I look ahead at what the future holds, I simply want to effect more people. I want a stronger marriage, I want adventurous travel, I want my life and business to bless others. I’m not interested in accumulating more stuff, but instead I want to embrace what matters. With that in mind, I am so excited for what’s to come!

We can’t wait to see y’all in March!! Remember, this Thursday is the very last day to save over $1000 with our early-bird registration!


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