Kristin invited me to come a couple of months ago, and asked me to be on a panel to discuss the topic of this year's retreat which was Self-Care Through Storytelling.
I was also thrilled at the idea of representing everything our podcast stands for and meeting a bunch of crafty ass females in the wild, in our natural habitat. That's exactly why I decided to go.
I arrived Thursday for setup, and helped Kristin with things around the house, like this magical floor-to-ceiling pegboard wall she has in one of her spare rooms. It's #craftroomgoals for sure!
Fast forward to the next day, Friday evening, when on the agenda was a 'Meet-and-Greet' at Kristin's house. We decided to match and both wore a red, white, and blue party dresses for the occasion.
I opened the door for each awesome lady that arrived, and greeted them with Cindy Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. Upon entering, they filled out a name tag and joined the party.
I loved getting to meet new friends - the kind of crafty ladies that "get it" you know - but who I was most excited to meet IRL was my very good internet friend & total #plannerbabe, Juli!
Juli has been such a kind commenter and encourager and supporter of every creative thing I've put out, from the podcast to my May movement challenge, and most recently my Summer Bucket List. She has always made me feel like my creativity has a purpose, and I'm so so grateful to her for that.
It was even her birthday weekend, and she decided to spend it with the Awesome Ladies! What a doll face!
The ladies also signed Kristin's chalkboard ROLL CALL, and the night ended with Tracey Fox's card game called Scraps Incite Calamity (a play on Cards Against Humanity) with all scrapbook references and craft & hobby prompts! It's great, and you can download it on her etsy shop.
Saturday: Workshop Time!
Once everyone arrived, and found our places, and got settled, Kristin took center stage. She did a great job teaching her workshops, inserting many impromptu 'story time' sessions, and keeping everyone engaged and involved.
Girl knows her crafty get-togethers, let me tell you. That was one of the major differences I've learned since I started co-hosting the podcast with her: she's always been a part of 'group' crafting workshops and I've always crafted solo.
It's awesome that she can use all her experience in workshops to create one that she wants to see in the world, and that's just what Awesome Ladies Live was.
Right before lunch, Kristin & I recorded our first ever LIVE episode of Crafty Ass Female (which will air Monday: August 27th). With my new Blue podcast mic mounted in front of me, and the tables of awesome ladies working' on their collages, Kristin & I got to doin' what we do...
That episode will be the finale of Season 2 on the podcast, and we'll return on the first Monday of Fall (September 24th) with the start of Season 3. How cool is that?!
Stamping was the second workshop, and I made a mini book to use for all podcast-related notes and things.
Juli - who was my tablemate along with Meg W (we were The Three Craftskateers!) - stamped her mini book with her name, and then realized Kristin's square 'LADY' stamp fit perfectly in the space right before it. We three had ourselves a chuckle, and joked that Lady Juli was her title!
Lunch was next. Lady Juli & I made sure to take our daily selfie 'cause DUH...
...and we had lunch on the rooftop terrance of the Mexican spot with Margaritas, ships, spicy salsa, and the sunshine! We each related our story of how we first started scrapbooking. It was fabulous!
After lunch, we returned to the hotel and started the third workshop: WATERCOLOR! We got little tiny palettes that Kristin & her helper Melissa made themselves the weeks leading up to the retreat.
Lady Juli turned to me and said, "I've never used watercolors before. I'm not going to be any good at this."
I turned back to her and said, "I've used watercolor for years, and I'm STILL not any good at this."
Even still - this was probably the workshop that all the awesome ladies concentrated on the most. I came out of it with four watercolored tags of circles (a.k.a. planets) which I plan to 'galaxy' or 'constellation' on top of (inspired by Studio Katie) in my new Field Notes book. Ahem ahem...morning pages, anyone?
Anyway, I was a truly inspiring discussion (and there might have been some tears). Nicole talked about completely deleting her Instagram account and all the positive effects she felt from that. Alisha talked about dealing with the root of an issue (the 'dead cat'), and how embracing the messy parts of your human self is self-care.
My main point was about connecting to something bigger than yourself. That's been a major theme for me this year: to not ground my identity in all the fleeting things, like job, appearance, "followers", relationships, success or failure... and I'm still learning.
The last workshop of the long day was working on our Field Notes, kind of like mini art journal. We had collaged, stamped, and watercolored, and for this workshop, Lady Juli reached into her bag and pulled out a couple of Happy Planner™ sticker books.
This cracked me up because once she did that, Lady Juli came alive! Haa haa! TOTAL COMFORT ZONE! Juli ended up creating four beautiful pages with selfie shots and stickers, and declared that this mini book would be for that! SO GOOD, LADY JULI!
Sunday: Dairy Store Farewell
Sunday morning's plan was to wake up, get ready, meet the ladies in the hotel lobby to walk the local collage campus to the Dairy Store for ice cream &* our final farewell!
Some awesome ladies had already started on their trip home, but the above bunch of us were ready for a sweaty stroll through the campus, a few of Kristin's 'story time' breaks, and ice cream for lunch!
Juli & I on our third day of selfie-taking, and the massive cone that I got from MSU's Dairy Store. The flavors I chose were: Blueberry Pie and Banana Chocolate Chunk. OMG!
After standing in the air-conditioned lobby of the Dairy Store, slurping down our gourmet ice cream cones, one by one, the girls set off on their journeys home. Thanks to Kristin, and all her efforts and hard work, I now have a whole new set of crafty ass females as 'real life' homegirls.
Job well done, girl, and truly a butt ton of fun! xoxo