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And Still I Rise: An Unforgettable Weekend of Growth

April 15, 2018

Last week, April 4-8, 2018, I had the coolest experience of my life.  5 girlfriends and I left our kids with their dads, hopped on a plane, and headed to Los Angeles to attend the Rise Conference with Rachel Hollis. I first came across Rachel when I was watching The Kitchen, as I do every […]

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Last week, April 4-8, 2018, I had the coolest experience of my life. 

5 girlfriends and I left our kids with their dads, hopped on a plane, and headed to Los Angeles to attend the Rise Conference with Rachel Hollis.

I first came across Rachel when I was watching The Kitchen, as I do every Saturday afternoon. The guest was this firecracker of a woman making a pretzel salad. Something about her was so magnetic.  As she was talking, I found her on Instagram and started scrolling her feed. I saw that she was a mom, started her own company, and had a bunch of catchy one liners that convinced me we would be instant friends.

I was sold.

The more she kept posting, the more her words had power. She then started a challenge to finish the end of 2017 strong.  I started following the challenge, changing my habits little by little, and even convinced some of my friends to start following her too.

Finally, she released her book, Girl, Wash Your Face.  It’s the book you need when you know something has to change, but you don’t want to admit it.  It’s the kick in the ass you need from a friend you trust that will get you determined to change.  Grab it here if you haven’t read it already.  It really is a giant game changer, and I believe in my heart that it should be required reading for all women.  It’s that good.

Fast forward a couple months and I somehow convinced 5 girlfriends to buy tickets to the Rise conference, and go to LA with me for 4 days.  I’m still not totally sure how it all happened, but it did, and I was so happy that I didn’t question it. None of us were totally sure of what we were in for, but heck, 4 days spent with girlfriends and no kids? Let’s just say we couldn’t have gotten to the airport fast enough.

The VIP Rise x Evereve Garden Party

You better believe I bought my VIP ticket to Rise the day they were released because one of the perks was a garden party at the Hollis house! You know there’s no way I’m missing out on a party…especially one with a theme! Floral print, here I come! After an intense morning at Universal Studies living out all my Harry Potter fantasies, I hopped in a Lyft and whizzed to DryBar.  Thank God I did this btw because I 100% forgot how soaked you get on Jurassic Park. With my new hair, a second coffee, and so much excitement, it was time to dress up and party with my girlfriends!

Any party I attend, I enjoy myself and meet new friends, but I also scour the party for adorable details I can share with my party tribe!  I feel as though I have a pretty distinct party style, so I am constantly inspired by how others execute their parties and what little special touches they include.

My 3 favorite details of the Rise x Evereve VIP Garden Party

1. This insanely adorable and clever welcome mat! It was a piece of turf with faux daisies hot glued on it to spell RISE!  From the second we walked in the gate…I knew the party would be adorable!

Photo Credit: Vanessa Todd 

2. The floral details threaded through the entire party.  I love when the party theme pops up in simple but unexpected places, like these adorable flower drink stirrers!  Other cocktails has flower petals in them. Super easy to execute, but made a huge impression! The giant paper flowers from North Elm Designs were simply stunning.  They made the perfect backdrop for a photo opt!

3. The most beautiful donut wall I’ve ever seen! This one was such a stunner! I love the diagonal stripe on the board, the donut color choices, the size, and the flowers and greenery draped on the top.  #partygoals

Photo Credit: Vanessa Todd

The Garden Party was the perfect way to kick off a magical weekend!  I met so many amazing ladies with inspiring stories. It really did set the tone for what was to come, and you could feel the gratitude everyone had for being there.  I went home with a very full heart and lots of new friends made already!

Photo Credit: Vanessa Todd

The girl who started it all, Rachel Hollis! I’ve met Rachel a couple times now and she is just as lovely and down to earth in person as she is on her Instragram Stories.  She always challenges my thinking and pushes me to believe in my heart that I truly am made more more and my dreams are worth fighting for.

Food Network Star, Melissa d’ Arabian and I totally hit it off over her epic muffin tin potato gratins! I’m so happy I get to call her a friend now!

A girl ready to RISE and get her heart set on fire.  A girl ready to change her life, and in doing so, change her family’s life.  A girl that was made for more.

Day 1: Rise Conference at the Alex Theatre

May Designs custom notebook from the VIP gift bag, the Rise Conference booklet, and another notebook from Target because I didn’t want to miss a thing!  I came to play. 

Here we go! My girls and I spent months planning and dreaming about this moment and it was finally happening! We were officially at the Rise 2018 Conference!  None of us had attended before, so we were all unsure of what we just got ourselves into. We knew it would be emotional because we were warned that we would be dealing with a lot of past issues on Day 1.  Armed with waterproof mascara, tissues, and a good Philz coffee, we were ready to roll. Bring it, Hollis! Below, I share my top 10 takeaways from Day 1!

Photo Credit: Vanessa Todd

After an intense dancing morning warm up, Rachel Hollis took the stage and lit us all on fire. We confronted habits that are holding us back, learned quick ways to find motivation, and practiced a simple trick to pull you out of a funk and take on a new mood! Details below! We also experienced an incredibly emotional exercise where we heard and witnessed each other’s stories and struggles and helped each other let them go.  To be hit with so much pain and power is very impactful. Looking around the room and being in the presence of about 800 warrior women is something I will never forget. Good thinking on that waterproof mascara because that morning was a doozy!

I will never again listen to Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” without thinking of Rise.  Throughout the conference, Rachel and speakers would yell, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and we would launch ourselves out of our chairs and dance for a bit.  The burst of energy felt so good and completely gave you a mind reset. I started to crave it if we hadn’t gotten up for awhile, and it’s something I brought home and am doing throughout my day with the kids also! I don’t know about you, but I get massively stuck in a bad mood.  It’s hard for me to move past it sometimes. Whether the kids are driving me nuts fighting, I’m pissy at my husband, or just hangry, I need to consciously force myself to suck it up and move on. More times than not, I don’t do it.

At Rise, Rachel taught us, “same you, new mood!” When you’re about to yell at the kids, or pick that tit for tat fight with the husband, you stop yourself (harder than it sounds but I’m getting better), and you say, “same you, new mood!” and clap.  Something about the physical clapping tells your brain to move on. I was pretty positive and in a sunny mood when I got home from Rise but with a 4 and 1 year old, a stay at home mom only has so much patience…the kids and I have been clapping and slowly seeing a difference! Try it out!

Jen Hatmaker’s speech was directed toward me, I swear.  It’s like she researched who I was and what I needed that hear at this moment in my life.  (I wish, right?!). Jen talked to us about our bullshit committees. You know the ones that are constantly telling you lies about yourself? “You’re not talented enough” “You don’t have the knowledge needed to make this a success.” “You aren’t capable of having it all.” Those are just a couple of the BS committee meetings that go on inside my head, and I’m sure you have ones too. These committees are lies.  They do not define us. We are not stuck just because we have been stuck before. We are not unworthy of building or creating. In fact, Jen said, “we need builders who are making new beautiful things. And the reason is right now, we need more beauty, hope, empowerment, and creativity in this world.”

Preach, sister. Last one, you are not in competition with other women.  This ones drives me up the wall. I definitely get caught in this trap, but everytime I do, I feel so gross.  There is room for everyone to chase their dream because there is no scarcity in creativity.  No one will do exactly what you do in the way you do it.  It’s time to celebrate other women.

One of the reasons I was passionate about going to Rise was because I want to turn this dream of mine into something huge.  In doing so, I get to impact more and more women around the world. My job revolves around giving women the confidence and freedom to make memories with their families.  The gift of an experience is priceless, and I’ve had it with people skipping out on that because it’s too overwhelming, expensive, or time-consuming. I left Rise with a crystal clear goal and vision for the future of this business.  A goal I’ve already taken steps into reaching, and so many exciting things are ahead. I needed the final kick in the butt and motivation to really get over some personal hurdles, and wholeheartedly believe I can and will do this. Because of that, I am able to change a mom’s life!

In keeping with the theme of no competition among women, my friends and I made it a point to stand for and with one another no matter what.  We are able to love each other unconditionally. One of the coolest things about coming to a conference like this with some of your favorite women?  I now know exactly what each of them are working toward, and what I can do to help them reach those goals. I shared my goals and visions with them, and the support and encouragement I get from them pretty much daily gives me goosebumps.  I love that I got to share this unforgettable experience with my sisters.

Top 10 Takeaways from Day 1

1. I am in control of how I act and how I feel.  If I don’t like the feeling, I can change it.

2. Life to happening for you, not to you.

3. Women are freaking warriors and some have walked or are walking insanely hard paths.  Be there for them.

4. I am not unworthy of creativity or building something. It is my calling and I will make it happen.

5. Own it, flip it, and reverse it. If I think something negative-flip it and believe the opposite. “I’m not good enough” turns to “I am a huge success” -therapist, Elise Snipes

6. “If you aren’t growing, you’re dying”- Dave Hollis

7. The only way to change someone else is to change yourself first.

8. “If someone doesn’t care about your personal growth, they don’t deserve a front seat to your life.” -Dave Hollis

9. If there is an absence of failure in the thing you are doing, there is no opportunity for growth.  Constantly go for the challenge.

10. From here on out, I promise to celebrate my wins and be proud of myself.

Day 2: Rise Conference at Alex Theatre

Day 2, here we go!  Day 1 was much more emotional that we anticipated.  We left with a lot of feelings and thoughts that needed to be processed.  Let’s just say our grand plans of a wild mom’s night out in LA didn’t go as planned, and early sushi and bedtime was more fitting for the day we had.  We arrived fresh and ready to tackle our futures and make some plans for what we’ll do once Rise is over. Time to put our money where our mouths are.

Rachel has a gift of being a force of nature that tells it like it is, while still coming across like you’re best friends sharing guac at happy hour. She has forged a path in her professional life that I dream of, and even though she barely knows I exist, I’m proud to call her a mentor. I won’t say that Rachel changed my life, but I will say that she gave me the tools to change my life.  Only I can do that work. I can’t give that hard work and power to someone else. I sat in it, I grew, I pushed, and I changed. She is a coach, not a cheerleader in that process.

We started the morning learning how to achieve a goal. In order to do some, you need to set yourself up for success. That means really evaluating your life and making some changes in habits and environment that aren’t helping you achieve what you want.

1. Physical Environment: you need to take care of your body.  If you aren’t, you will never be able to succeed. Move, drink water, and take in the goodness that is coming to you. Don’t give it to everyone else- take it and it will spill over to them. That was a powerful image for me because as a mom and wife, I am constantly giving to everyone else. If I learn that accept all the good I have, they will get it too without me breaking in the process.

2. Personal Environment: if your house, car, and spaces are chaos- your life is chaotic. Clean your life.

3. Community: You are a combination of the 5 people you spend the most time with…better make sure those people are bringing value, support, and love to your life! Rachel also said if you are the smartest or most motivated in your friend group, you need a new group.  I loved that because it ensures you are always learning and growing with the community you choose you surround yourself with.

4. Habits: You let them control your life. Evaluate bad ones and cut them one at a time. It takes 30 days to change.

5. Morning Routine: Start your morning with intention. If you conquer your morning, you will conquer your day. I’ve been getting up an hour before the kids to set myself up for the day for awhile now and it’s been a total game changer. I notice a huge difference in my mood, and how productive I am on the days that I do this. If you don’t have a morning routine, I highly suggest you try it out for a week and see how you feel! 6. Attitude: You get to choose! Things may happen, you can’t change that, but you can change how you act when they happen.  Take control of your life.

The Influencer Panel was one of the things I was most looking forward to because it was made up of 4 women that were currently in various stages of building something creative.  They each had success in different fields, and different perspectives to give. I loved hearing their stories, and being inspired to one day sit on a panel and talk to other women about building something impactful. Micah May, of May Designs, talked about sacrifice and how real it is, especially as a mom.  Understanding that there are seasons of life. Seasons to hold back and pause to catch your breath, or seasons to sprint and go full out toward your goal. Both are okay, but you can’t be sprinting constantly. Great reminder for all the working moms out there.

Then I met Landyn Hutchinson on the street! She was a DOLL and people even said we looked like sisters. Uh what.  I just about died. I love Landyn and her website, Living with Landyn.  She has the best style and is just such a fun gal!  Fun fact, she had her daughter at the same hospital the girls and I did! #Evergreenbabyclub!

Photo Credit: Vanessa Todd

Top 10 Takeaways from Day 2

1. Stand tall and let your vase be filled with everything good.  You don’t need to spill your vase to give to others. If it’s being filled, it’ll start to spill over.

2. Have a crystal clear vision for your future and visualize it over and over.  What are you wearing? Where are you? What are you doing? 3 years? 5 years? 10 years from now? Close your eyes and keep thinking of what when you need that motivation to get to that goal.

3. If you don’t treat your relationship like the beginning of your relationship, why are you surprised by it ending?

4. Make a list of every possible thing that needs to get done in your life (work, personal, schedule, chores, etc.) and delegate tasks.  Make sure they are getting done by you, your partner, your kids, or outsourcing if necessary.

5. Ask for what you need with less wishbone, more backbone.

6. Never climb alone, we lift as we climb.

7. Dress the way you want to be addressed

8. You can only chase one goal at a time.

9. Create a roadmap for achieving your goal.  Reverse engineer what needs to happen in order to achieve it, and tackle one small step at a time.  Work toward your goal for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week.

10. Nobody cares about your goal. Nobody will work toward achieving your goal like you will.  It is your dream to dream, so chase it hard and go all in.

Image Credit: letsrise.co

90’s Hip Hop Dance Party

One of the most fun ways to end an epic weekend? A 90’s hip hop themed all female dance party.  What.  We had matching, personalized shirts made with a Rise design by Twisted Sister Shop, paired these with the Made for More hats we got at Rise, baggy pants, fanny packs, gold hoops, and some ridiculously awesome light up sneakers. The music was on point, the photo booth didn’t know what hit it, and the weekend was perfectly wrapped up with a community of women singing and dancing their hearts out. Rise 2018, you were good to us.  You pushed us, taught us, motivated us, and brought us even closer together. I can’t wait till next year! Drop any comments or questions you have about Rise below! I’d love to chat more and convince you that you need to be there growing with me next year!

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  1. Carly says:

    Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing. I found your top “takeaways” to be really helpful and encouraging!

  2. Christine Muenz says:

    I loved reading about your trip with your Parent Baby sisters!! Also, I make those Melissa D’Arabian potatoes ALL THE TIME!!!

    • Aren’t they the best? It was the first thing I said to her when I introduced myself! And thank you for bringing us together, Christine. I’m so lucky I found my tribe. We had an absolute blast!

  3. Jeen-Marie says:

    Oh my goodness!
    This recap/takeaway summary is the best!
    Thank you.

  4. […] Rise in LA. We didn’t really know what to expect, but man were we excited! You can read all about my takeaways from Rise Weekend LA in this […]

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