Here at Studio Calico, we've been blessed to be able to collaborate with designers and creative individuals who are daily chasing their dreams and living with inspiration in their hearts and minds. One such creative we're so happy to have joined forces with is Lara Casey, a creative entrepreneur, wife, mother, and motivator whose goal is to encourage and equip other women from all walks of life to be successful. Her drive and vision led her to found the annual Making Things Happen Conference, where women from across the globe converge in a weekend full of creativity, motivational content, and so much more. Studio Calico is prod to be a sponsor of the conference later this month, where our own Marketing Operations Manager, Amber Housley, is returning as a guest speaker!
Join us this month to get inspired and have the chance to win a signed copy of Lara's new book, along with some other amazing prizes. Lara's also designed some gorgeous Making Things Happen journaling cards that will be available in our shop on Reveal on March 27! They're only available here, and we promise they're totally worth their weight in gold.
Lara has stopped by our blog today to let you know a little more about her story and the conference that has sparked a movement in women to get out there and turn their dreams into reality.
Hello from Chapel Hill, North Carolina! I'm Lara and I am over-the-moon excited and grateful excited about collaborating with Studio Calico on something fun that will be released on March 27th. I can't wait to share it with you soon!
I'm a mama to one and two more on the way this year — one in my belly and one through the gift of adoption. Mamas of multiples, I welcome your wisdom : ) I don't know what going from one to three children in a year will be like, but I do know this: I want to soak it all in with intention and gratitude. I want to be present and I want to record these memories ahead for these precious littles. Memory-making and keeping have played a priceless role in my life. In capturing my thoughts, memories, and feelings, and recording them, I've cultivated gratitude in a deeper way. This has changed my life.
And that's why I love Studio Calico. Thank you SC for making this fun and easy!
It's so easy to coast through life and not stop to be still. It's so easy to just let the blessings pass and not give thanks for them. I don't know about you, but I don't want my life to move so fast that I miss the good stuff.
Ten years ago, right after college graduation, I made the decision to leave the path everyone thought I would take. Not knowing what I was going to do to pay off my college debt or pay my bills, I left theatre and became a personal trainer in New York. I wanted to help people transform themselves from the inside out. Fast forward to two years later when my family’s home was ravaged by Hurricane Ivan, my brother lost the ability to walk in a snowboarding accident and I, fresh off of a failed relationship, had left NY and moved in with my very disappointed and depressed parents. Then, one Sunday afternoon, a tall, dark, handsome Navy gent walked up to me in the gym and introduced himself. Ari was the first person to make me feel loved, not despite my flaws, but with them. He helped heal my family’s heart. Little did I know that I would fall in love with Ari and we would be married just five months later (in Vegas, but that’s another story!).
I started a little event planning company and fell in love with the world of weddings. On our one year wedding anniversary, Ari was deployed to Iraq. I was so afraid for him and needed something to keep my mind occupied. So, one night I found myself dreaming of pretty things – anything to keep my mind off bomb threats. I started mocking up a wedding magazine cover on my little 13-inch PC.
Fast-forward to today. Ari and I will celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary this month. I've been the Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings for seven years, founded the Making Things Happen Conference, have a shop full of inspirational goodies, and I recently released my first book, Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live On Purpose.
While, at first glance, it may look like I do a lot of different things, to me they are simply different paintbrushes on the same canvas. At Southern Weddings, our mission is to inspire brides to focus on what matters: planning a meaningful beginning to married life. The wedding day is just the beginning of a much bigger picture. All I do comes from the same heart — encouraging others to spend their minutes here on this earth cultivating what lasts longer than us.
My Book, Conference and Why I Do What I Do
I started the Making Things Happen conference seven years ago after being inundated with requests for consulting and coaching advice. At first, it was a way to meet a great need I saw in the creative industry to help others make things happen. Over the years as my own heart and life have been changed, it has grown into far more. Now, the goal is to encourage people to make what matters happen. That may not mean "big" dreams in the traditional sense, but rather chasing after what lasts longer than us.
We've now done the workshop over 45 times and seen thousands of fears met, leaps of faith taken, and new paths paved. The book, Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live On Purpose, was born out of the many stories women — mamas, students, business owners — have shared with me through the years. I wanted a way to hand women a collection of lessons I've learned and have learned from the many brave women I've encountered. Thomas Nelson publishers approached me about writing the book after they came across my yearly goal setting series that I run on my blog. The goal for the book and conference is the same: help women live on purpose and make what matters happen — in work, motherhood, marriage, and in their communities. And that's the heart behind this exciting Studio Calico project we'll be sharing with you soon!
A Typical Work Day
Every day is completely different for me, which I love! The majority of my work is a desk job. I spend a lot of time answering emails. About .01% of my job entails glamorous things like photo shoots and wearing beautiful dresses for team shoots. Most people think owning a magazine is glamorous all the time and, while I am sincerely grateful for every aspect of what I do, the majority of my days are far from glamorous!
My activities include being on the phone, doing consulting for small business owners, making editorial decisions with our creative team, creating new shop products and doing magazine layout with our Art Director, managing challenges that arise, managing finances, speaking, motivating our amazing team, and -- among many other things -- replying to a whole lot of email. We work from the second floor of my home, so a typical work day also includes going downstairs to have lunch with my daughter Grace.
The Biggest Lessons I've Learned as a Creative Entrepreneur
1. Failure is fertilizer. The times I've fallen flat on my face and have been humbled have been the greatest times of meaningful growth. Now, I welcome failure and trust that it's going to refine me.
2. Doing things God's way always wins. To me, the Bible is the best business book you could ever read.
3. Goals happen when they mean something to you — when they are connected to what matters most. Our Studio Calico project is designed to help you make that happen!
What Keeps Me Inspired
Looking back at how different my life was several years ago! I used to chase "success" in the traditional sense — more money, followers, business, etc. I thought those things would bring me contentment and happiness. I was wrong. Money and business aren't inherently bad things, but when they become the measuring stick for your worth, it's time to put on the train brakes. Chasing elusive "perfection" ran me into the ground. So, what inspires me daily is looking back at how much my life has changed over the last years as I slowly let go of the chase for perfection and started living on purpose for something bigger than me. Now I know that the impossible is possible when we focus on what matters. That inspires me to no end! It makes me want to work hard to help many live on purpose, too. A huge part of this for me is cultivating gratitude throughout my journey through memory-keeping. Eeeeeek — I can't wait to share this collaboration with you! It's a good one. It will help you focus on the good stuff and take action.
As a part of this collaboration, Lara wanted to share some love with the community! Stay tuned for details about how to win the prize bundle below, including a signed copy of Lara's book, a Make It Happen t-shirt, a set of Making Things Happen PowerSheets, and three prints of your choice from Lara's shop! You'll be able to find the exclusive journaling cards she's designed in our shop on March 27 too! Of course, we've been known to give cool stuff away during chats...so...join us during Sneak night chat tonight at 11pm EST, and Reveal chat on March 27th at 11pm EST for a chance to win a copy of Lara's book! There will be more chances to win during the month too, so keep an eye out for more chances to win!
Let's make March the month of motivation. Let's get out there and get things done. Let's find encouragement in each other and this community that we can share with others. We hope you'll keep an eye out this month for updates about Lara's work, and check out the Making Things Happen Conference (March 30-April 1 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina).
photo 1: Nancy Ray Photography; photo 2: Gina Zeidler Photography; photo 3: Landon Jacob Photography; photos 4 &5: Emily March Photography; photo 6: Cyn Kain Photography; photo 7: Landon Jacob Photography; photo 8: Faith Teasley Photography