July 24, 2018
It was a day I’ve been looking forward to for what feels like *forever* … one of those days you hype and hype and refer to as “the event of the summer” all year long and then think… oh no. Will this day live up to my unrealistic expectations?!?!?! (Spoiler alert: IT DID.)
Let me back up. Two years ago Hope Taylor and I had the absolute honor of creating and hosting The Gathering: an event designed specifically for young women in business. This year, when it was official that we really were (!) bringing it back again (what Hope and I lovingly refer to as The Gathering 2.0) I knew there was no chance at even *trying* to suppress the tears for the joy it is to unite 100+ young women all in the name of chasing your calling wholeheartedly (no matter your age).
Whether in middle school, high school, college, or beyond… the girls who joined us blew us away. They drove 8, 12, 14, and even 21 hours (I CANNOT WRAP MY MIND AROUND THIS!!!), booked flights, skipped work (oops), and just generally sacrificed so much to be there with us.
I so clearly remember what it was like balancing algebra homework by day and editing by night. Having my mom drive me to and from sessions because I didn’t have my license yet (bless her). Working so hard for a dream that some days felt so far off. And having to push past my insecurities, build trust with my clients, and prove that age really was nothing but a number. It wasn’t a walk in the park by any means, but it’s been one of the most rewarding journeys I’m grateful every day for. Now having the chance to speak into young entrepreneurs’ lives as they embark on their own journeys (watching your business grow liiiterally as you do too) is a privilege and a blessing all rolled into one.
This day will forever be close to my heart for a million reasons, but my prayer above all is that my simple words and (very humbling/embarrassing) stories from those early days will continue to sink deep and empower each girl to live out their unique calling, walk in confidence, and be exactly who they’re created to be… long after 2018 has passed by.
I’m so excited to share this day with you and yeah ok I’ll admit I’m a little teary sitting here writing it. Something about seeing a recap of a day that still feels like a dream (Pretty sure my 14 year old self would be like HA yeah right someone wants to learn??? From me??? Then I’d probably go running into my hot pink childhood bedroom to hyperventilate LOL) just gives me so much gratitude to the Lord for being in it so completely and walking with Hope and I through every detail. All glory to Him!
This post wouldn’t be possible without Erika Lynn… a millionnn thank you’s to her for shooting these behind the scenes and also for just being our right hand girl all day long! Erika, thank you will never cover it… you went so above and beyond. We’ll love you forever for supporting us 100% in this!!
Prettiest bags by Paris Chic Boutique who just always comes through and ALWAYS WOWS. Same goes for Courtney Inghram who was our magic-making florist! This day would be nothingggg without our amazing vendor team that so generously spoiled the attendees!! Some of my fave companies (linked at the bottom of this post) who I couldn’t do business without! MY GIRL <3 Opening the doors to 110 girls who traveled in from 25 different states PUTS CHRISTMAS TO SHAME. Nonstop hugs and smiles. My kinda day. Having my best best friend (and business partner!), Anna, there meant the whole entire world. There aren’t words. Like she could forget my birthday for the next 50 years and we’d be cool (lol) because her support in driving all that way with Gray (my obsession) just to smile from the back and pray with me before my talks is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my days. She’s a keeper. <3
THREE OF MY FAVES in that image on the left. <3 Love you, Jen, and so grateful for your belief in me and Hope from the start! And for your kindness in laughing at my jokes all day long. You never fail and your prayers and support were so felt!
Hugging friends, old and new!! Just one of those days you never want to end. <3 HERE WE GOOOO! We believe that everything is either a good time or a good story (or an opportunity for growth) so what better way to kick off the day than getting vulnerable from the start and leveling the playing field: sharing some of the far from glamorous stories that our businesses have survived. Next, we taught everyone our exclusive one of a kind #babybosslady choreographed dance (JUST KIDDING)!! Hope’s definitely just reminding me here to KEEP IT TOGETHER, CAROLINE. Hope kicked us off and both of her talks were filled with two of the best things: pages of both practical + inspirational takeaways *AND* lots of tears. Just a proud mom back here listening to her crush it!! And share her beautiful heart and perspective. Honored to have gotten to do this by your side, Hope. <3 Did I mention we had CHIPOTLE CATERING. Thinking about making these next two images my new headshots because they really capture the real me. SWEETEST THING getting to meet so many Light & Airy Preset Collection members in person with Anna!! What a dream and honor!!! These girls inspire us so much and make us so thankful to do what we do. And of course Gray stole the show… shocker. :) So grateful for the opportunity to share my heart. Also grateful for the opportunity to work Justin Timberlake into my slides. Alsooo grateful for the opportunity to share some of my most embarrassing and h-u-m-b-l-i-n-g stories. “Soak it in, people.” Though I’m nearly eight years removed from that fourteen year old girl who started her business with little to show for herself other than passion, I remember those early years so clearly. Sharing about my lessons learned along the way (to help others feel like they’re not alone) just fills my heart up!
Nothing short of thankful.The potential in this image… staggering. <3 So proud of and inspired by each of these girls!And just a few (ok ok a little more than a few) IG posts I stole from #thegatheringevent hashtag that have me melting…
I caaan’t think of a better way to end this post than to share the highlight film Joshua Bryan Cinema created!! He was there filming all day and to have this to remember such a special day is *already* something I’ll treasure forever. THANK YOU, Josh, for perfectly capturing the heart of this event and for sharing your time and talents so generously!! Forever grateful.
And one final thank you to our wonderful sponsors who made this day possible!! : Tonic Site Shop | Showit | KISS Albums | CG Pro Prints | The Light & Airy Photographer| BlogStomp | Honeybook | Creative at Heart Conference | Erika Lynn Photography | Joshua Bryan Cinema | Courtney Inghram | Paris Chic Boutique | Twila & Co | Monkee’s of Fredericksburg | Get Sugar & Spruce
While we aren’t currently planning another Gathering, you can sign up to learn about future educational opportunities here!