Find what brings YOU to life & follow it, however little or silly it may be

Designing and creating beautiful things makes me feel happy, period. I’m not a pro by any means, but I do have that creative fire somewhere deep down that has come to life here recently. And I’m rolling with it!

I’ve been learning calligraphy and hand lettering, designing, planning and executing full-out weddings, creating simple yet elegant handmade, hand-lettered tote bags for soon-to-be brides & bridesmaids, cultivating personal hand-lettered stationary and the list goes on. I’m not making a million dollars on this by any means [hardly anything actually!], BUT it makes me feel good. It brings me a lot of joy, actually.

It’s funny – when you seem to find what lights your fire and makes your heart happy, and you follow it incessantly and live it passionately [day in and day out], it’s like you slowly start to see yourself and your life around you transform. Your heart probably feels a little lighter, you probably smile a little more, day-to-day activities seem less of a drag, you have a sense of excitement for each day, you carry around more positive energy that ends up infecting those around you, the feel-good feeling you have on the inside starts to glow on the outside, you feel less stress and anxiety overall, you have a calm about you that most would be jealous of, and I could go on and on. Am I right?

What brings you to life can be ANYTHING – not even your actual full-time career [sometimes you even need something extra]. It can be little everyday hobbies and talents, like running, reading, professional development, self-help, meditation, yoga, design, home decorating, rescuing and restoring furniture, building things, planning events/parties, trying new foods, trying new/weird beer, blogging, helping people, charity – literally, ANYTHING. If it makes you happy, no matter how weird, expensive, time-consuming or challenging it is, FOLLOW IT.

For me, one of my silly hobbies lately [like I said above], is learning hand-lettering and designing simple, yet fun bags for soon-to-be brides & bridesmaids [goes hand-in-hand with the wedding planning I do]. Some would say I have way too many interests and hobbies, but is that really possible? ;).

Check this bag out that I made for FMB readers ONLY! You can find more at my Etsy Shop: Vintage Bella Boutique. Hope you enjoy & always remember the message on the bag [and the message within this blog] 🙂

XoXo,

C

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Sometimes life’s little things can surprise you, awaken you and change your direction entirely

If you always do what makes your heart happy, you’ll never work a day in your life, right?

The problem for me is, at almost 30 years old, I’m still trying to figure out my true purpose and passion[s]. I think, as you move through life, these tend to change. You change. What you value changes. And thus the direction you are taking shifts. And that’s OKAY! I’ve been so hard on myself not being where I thought I’d be career-wise at this point in my life, but you know what? SO many other people aren’t either! If you are at least following what your gut is telling you and your heart is confirming it along the way – through the feeling of joy, satisfaction and contentment – then I honestly think, you [and me] are doing just fine.

I graduated with a degree in public relations. I’ve worked for seven full years in public relations. I’ve also done stints in journalism, editing, blogging, personal training, health coaching, wedding planning, design, home decorating and the list goes on. All of these make my heart happy. Literally, ALL OF THEM. But what I’ve learned the hard way is this: You CANNOT be successful if you don’t pick one [or two ;)]. You have to find your TRUE passion and run with it. The one that brings your soul to life, creates a fire inside of you, challenges you day in and day out and motivates and excites you to get up and get at em’ every darn day. It starts with what makes you happy and then it continues with fully immersing yourself in this life, in this talent, in this industry. It’s only when you FULLY commit yourself to ONE thing that you can fully reap the benefits of your passion, hard work and persistent dedication. You don’t find happiness OR success from hopping around from one thing to the next. You actually find yourself lost, disappointed, hopeless, unsuccessful and TIRED. And I don’t mean BODY tired, I mean SPIRIT tired.

TAKE IT FROM ME. Yes, I have a whole lot of really cool talents. But I’ve gone nowhere fast. So, guess what? I think it’s time to really sink my heels in and pick one that’s going to take me through this life, or at least the foreseeable future.

Where am I going with all of this, you ask? I think this weekend and this one SPECIAL bride made that choice a little easier for me. I’ve planned more events than I can count – trade shows, sports events, book tours, media meet-and-greets, red carpet showings, corporate parties – you name it. But weddings, I’ve found, are where my heart is. And the wedding this weekend – the bride, the groom, the family, the venue, the flowers, the wonderful vendors, the special experience – it was the highlight of my whole month. Yes, it is hard work, stressful, tiring, detail-oriented, blah, blah, blah. But it is SO WORTH IT! It is fully true that the one thing that tries you the most, is the one that is the most rewarding.

So today I’m sharing the culmination of everyone’s hard work this weekend. I loved being able to help plan and coordinate Alex & Mike’s big day. I gave my all for their big day, but what they don’t know is that they gave me MORE. The gratitude I received from the family and the vendors, the smiles and ‘thank you’s’ from guests I didn’t even know, the fun the bridesmaids & groomsmen included me in [when they didn’t have to], the confidence the FOB instilled in me doing his boutenier & pocket fold [not my specialty…], the laugh I got when the sheriff showed up because we were all having way too much fun – it all warmed my heart more than they know. And that’s what life is about. That is what following and living your passion SHOULD feel like!

So to Alex & Mike and their entire family and friends, it’s not you who needs to thank me, it’s me who needs to thank YOU.

Hope you enjoy the pics from yesterday! If you’re getting married in the Triangle, NC area, be sure to holler at me 🙂

XoXo,

Carrie

PS: KUDOS to Alex for her beautiful vision and all the vendors for bringing it to life [Rocky Top Catering, Simply Elegant Floral Design, Jay Rogers DJ-ing, inContrast Images, Cakes by Chloe, The Bradford, etc.]

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This is our white wedding easel that Alex rented. It showcases my very own hand lettering that I’m still practicing and perfecting. It’s getting better by the minute but still has a long way to go 😉

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Our rustic crates that Alex also rented. Love how she used them as a picture display surrounded by simple, but elegant bud vases, single-stem flowers and votives.

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I’m OBSESSED with this vintage chest that’s part of The Bradford’s every day venue decor. We utilized it for the guest’s escort cards.

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More signage. Easels also rented via yours truly.

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Wedding favor = koozies. Always a winner. Another rented easel to let guests know they can take a favor from the bar.

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The full table look. Centerpieces done by the talented Anna from Simply Elegant Floral Designs. I’m just in AWE of what she can create. Be sure to check out her Instagram for all of her lovely creations. When I’m bored and need a pick-me-up, I just look through her feed 😉

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The terrace post ceremony / during reception. We utilized this space for a cocktail area / bar / seating area. It ended up being slightly breezy and oh-so-beautiful last night so this space was used quite a bit!

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Aren’t you OBSESSED with this sofa? Another everyday piece featured at The Bradford. We had to use this as part of our decor!

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Buffet table. Small, but elegant, not to mention DELICIOUS. All done by Rocky Top Catering. Bravo. They have an AMAZING team that’s so in sync and that makes every little detail a breeze to get through.

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Do you know that florals are just THROWN AWAY after EVERY wedding? That should be a crime. So they come home to be with me for the next week or two. These are all of my arrangements spread across my house, thanks to Alex & Anna 😉 Happiness everywhere for sure.

A little calligraphy & a lot of pretty makes my heart happy

It’s time for #calligraphyyall [check out that Insta #]! Last night I spent time with some lovely ladies at The Doodling Bug of Apex learning calligraphy with the beautiful & oh-so-talented Maghon Taylor. Maghon is the owner of the [now] famous All She Wrote Notes that I found out has been alive and thriving for only two years. She is full time & big time now, running this business as her sole career! I’m always super amazed and inspired to see other lady entrepreneurs rockin’ the thing they love the most. If you work your passion day-in & day-out, you’ll never work a day in your life, right? Go Maghon!

On another note, you’ve got another calligrapher in the house! What a great night full of positive energy, lots of laughs, a little wine, a million swirls and ink, ink, ink, everywhere!! Life is about finding the little moments that bring you joy, and this was definitely one of those moments for me!

Everyone always says:

do one thing every day that makes your heart happy.

Well, calligraphy is one of those pretty things that can always make you smile [in my humble opinion]. If you’re needing a little pretty in your life, find Maghon and take her class. She does weekly classes at cute shops that are like secret gems [The Doodling Bug!] anywhere from Burlington to Garner. You won’t regret it – promise!

For now, check out how I did and my morning-after trial run…

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The morning after…

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Not too shabby, right? This was with a sharpie too, not even the calligraphy pen I got to take home [eep!]. PS – She gives you ALL the supplies you need in a cute little pink pen case [gosh, she’s the best].

Stay tuned for more practice and new things coming down the pipeline for Ramsey’s Rustics. Hint: a little #calligraphyyall has a lot to do with what’s up next!

Have you taken a calligraphy class? What did you think?!

Happy Friday!! Have a great weekend.

xoxoxo,
Carrie

Change the energy in your home with one simple update

Self care is a huge part of staying present and living life to the fullest. Sounds cheesy – I know. But it’s so true.

Self care can be anything:

  • buying a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store to warm your home
  • making the bed with purpose every morning
  • taking a hike in nature
  • doing laundry
  • practicing meditation
  • consuming a good self-help book
  • continuing professional development
  • cleaning your home
  • walking your dogs
  • sunbathing
  • washing your face
  • eating whole, nutritious foods
  • …you get the point.

For me, when my home is clean, refreshing and pretty, I feel on top of the world. It’s been proven that your home can give off positive or negative energy that directly reflects your well-being – mentally, physically and spiritually. If there’s bad energy running through your home, it’s going to effect anything from your…

  • personal wellness – maybe that’s eating habits, sleeping routines, weight loss or gain, skin issues, etc.
  • relationship health – tension, stress, resentment, conflict
  • hygiene – if your home is unorganized, messy and dirty, you are likely to feel the same way
  • everyday life – your day starts and ends at home. In between, your job and social life may take a beating if you’re feeling off balance or unfocused
  • …and the list goes on.

For example, when I moved in with my husband, we combined fur families and ended up with 4 animals and 6 fish. Guess what we also adopted? FLEAS. How awful, right? It was. But not why you think. Yes, the usual process to rid your home of fleas was traumitizing – the extra chores (after a 9-hour day at work), constant cleaning and laundry, every-other-day animal baths and stacks of cash used to get top-of-the-line flea meds. However, the worst part, was the effect it had on the energy or emotional state of our home, our relationship and ourselves. The filth I felt knowing our home was infested with insects, the humiliation from friends getting bit while visiting, the stress of extra chores after a long day’s work, the hurt my heart felt knowing our animals were suffering, the anger towards my husband for who know’s what (it’s easy to blame others during frustrating times, which was wrong!) and the frustration with each other as we constantly had to team up to tackle the cleaning necessary to detoxify our home for good. The conflict I felt internally led to me not even wanting to be in the home or at times, in the relationship. And why? Because of FLEAS.

It sounds silly, but it’s not. Your home can make or break how you feel about yourself, the ones you live with and essentially how you live your life. Your home has the power to either support or cripple the life around you. Make sure your home’s energy is positively supporting you, your spouse, your animals and your world.

How do you do that, you ask? You practice SELF CARE, and you practice it passionately, day in and day out. Whatever you do, do it with purpose. Make your bed every morning, not sloppily, but clean and neat. Make your bed in a way that will make you feel calm, peaceful and grateful at the end of the day. If pretty things make you smile, outfit your home with the season’s prettiest flowers. Put mason jars with baby’s breath, white roses or pink lilies in your bedroom, bathroom, living room and dining room table. One look at or smell of these eating dinner, enjoying company or dozing off will completely transform how you feel. If your every day outlook is tied [unfortunately] to food or external appearance, help negate those negative feelings by turning to your kitchen for positive experiences. Make a new, nutritious recipe. Keep fresh fruits & vegetables in a hanging basket [if healthy is in your face all the time, it will reinforce your healthy goals and feelings about yourself that you are yearning for]. Garden with your husband out front in the sunshine. Go on a hike in nature [exercise + nature is fantastic for your serotonin levels!]. You get the point. Without a ton of money or maintenance, you can make a simple shift in how you perceive yourself and the world around you.

I needed an energy fix this week. I just felt off balance, mentally, and I knew that making something better, prettier and more put-together in my house would do the trick. For some reason, nurturing my home fulfills my heart more than anything else [who would’ve thunk I would say that in my early twenties…guess that means I’m getting old ;)]. It makes my hubby happy too, which makes us happy.

So what did I do? I painted my front door! Even a little tweak can have a revolutionary impact on your inner spirit. And let me tell you, it did for me! I’ve been wanting to revitalize the outer look of our house for a long time, but haven’t wanted to take on a complete overhaul – budget and work-wise. So I grabbed a quart of paint and got to work. And guess what? It had the same effect as a complete makeover. In a change of color, I was not only able to re-energize the look of our house from the outside, but completely transform the energy I was feeling internally.

Kyle jokes that we don’t need a front porch light anymore since our door is so bright, but that’s why I LOVE it! It brings brightness and sunshine into our home and our lives! What could be better? He would say otherwise, but happy wife, happy life, right? 😉

Check out the before and after’s!

BEFORE

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PROCESS

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Well there you have it! My new front porch 🙂 What do you think? Are you Team Kyle or Team Me? [Pick carefully…;)]

What are some projects you have taken on at home that have completely changed your life [you think I’m joking, but energy doesn’t lie!]?

Until next time,

XoXo

Create beauty in your life

Creating beautiful things makes me feel beautiful. And that’s why my husband and I do it! We enjoy dreaming and designing beautiful pieces of work, and then bringing them to life. And obvi, the QT we get together too 🙂 It’s somewhat of a bonding experience for us – we are able to connect on a deeper level and laugh the whole way through it – which makes me feel truly blessed to have him, this life, and this fun hobby [and now business!] together. It’s a pretty cool thing, wouldn’t you say? I would.

Remember, it’s the small things in life that bring the greatest joy and fulfillment. The reality is, I have some pretty challenging things happening in life right now and I could’ve spent Sunday moping, dreading and feeling anxious that Monday was about to hit full force. But I didn’t. I stayed present, did something I’m passionate about, surrounded myself with love [my hubby and fur babies], and soaked up the sunshine [that can make anyone happy!]. And guess what? I was able to savor every moment. I definitely went to bed with a happy heart full of gratitude. And that’s what life is all about.

So the FUN part: I’m sharing our creations from our Sunday Funday!
Wood1How BEAUTIFUL are the striations in this wood? Weird that it gets me excited, right? 😉 But this texture gives the pieces character. Depending on the texture, the paint or stain we apply will take on different looks, giving each individual piece it’s own unique personality. Today, we chose paint!

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Today, we created some new designs for our Etsy Shop! We are super faithful people so we love to use bible verses for inspiration. Thus why one of my favorite creations has one of my most beloved verses: “Live in love.” We also designed wall art for a little girl’s room, other love-inspired pieces and a full-on wedding sign package [which I am SUPER pumped about]! If you can tell, every piece we create comes from a special place. We make sure to infuse our own little touch and more importantly, lots and lots of love. We truly love designing these pieces, but we get more pleasure out of knowing they will soon warm the hearts of others, too! [Corny, I know ;)]

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This is my husband getting our designs ready to apply to the wood! Sometimes we apply vinyl, sometimes we paint, sometimes we hand-do our designs – it just depends on the look and feel we are going for. Today we did a combination of it all!

And now for the grand finale…drum roll pretty please…

Some of our final products, ladies and gents:

Who else feels beautiful creating beautiful things? If you’re wanting to be crafty, but don’t know where to start, let us know. We are always willing to guide creative beginners!

Welp. Successful Sunday, I’d say. Now, let’s make Monday just as productive! Have a fantastic day, ya’ll!!

XoXo,

FMB

Carrie