Camp Sweetwater

Alright, this is a big deal. When we got this farm I never in my life thought we would get to a point where I was comfortable inviting people from near and far to see it. Even though it was always the goal, it always felt--- so far away. 

But after lots of hours and sweat equity and realizing that city people find chippy old shit charming- we are ready for you, with a FULL events schedule for the summer, including our most special event yet......

Camp Sweetwater: this one day extravaganza will be held on July 21st this summer. Save the date. Call up your bestie, grab your sister, come solo, leave your kids at home and come join us.

I created Camp Sweetwater for you. It's purpose is to allow women to have fun, leave behind their real life for a day & spend time creating, relaxing, and enjoying the best life has to offer (which I firmly believe is a combination of Northern Michigan, lavender, good food, good wine, being creative and more).

All too often I find that my friends and women I admire go through the entire summer never really doing anything but schlepping themselves and their families to events they 'had to be at.' Family weddings, reunions, a camping trip with a black fly incident, an annual college friends weekend... you name it- I've heard it. But what I realized I was never hearing was "I spent an entire summer day that was just for me." 

So here it is. A day that you can make your own. We'll have the programming ready for you. There's movement. Creativity. Learning. Lounging. Lavender. Food. Wine & lots of good vibes. Naturally I'm gonna makesure this thing looks beautiful and feels comfortable- because thats pretty much all I ever want for celebrations. 

What I want most for this day; is for you to be able to relax, feel like yourself & step back and see real life with a new, fresh set of eyes. 

Your ticket gets you: 

-A curated welcome bag with t-shirt.

-Yoga in the lavender.

-A lavender wreath workshop at the farm that day lead by myself. 

-A hand lettering workshop at the farm that day.

-A seat at the table for our edition of The Gather Series that evening, a 3 course locally inspired meal- with wine pairing. 

-Exclusive access to the farm for the entire day to run wild and free and treat yourself. 

When I dreamed up this event, I threw everything I would want in one day at the farm together. You'll come in the morning, we'll do some gentle, beginner yoga in the lavender, we'll hang for a bit, you'll take a lavender wreath workshop with me, you'll learn to hand letter with Ampersand Lettering Lab, you'll wander the farm and relax in a lounge area, hang by a bonfire, and we'll all meet until the bistro lights at a beautifully styled table for dinner. 

Monstrey MacDonald & 307 Events are both being incredible sponsors of this event. I am so grateful! 

You've got questions, I've got the answers: 

What if I don't live up north? A LOT of people attending don't live locally, we recommend staying at any of the nearby motels / hotels / airbnbs in our wonderful area. If you want a personal recommendation, just shoot me an email! 

What city should I stay in? We are in Petoskey,  just a 5 minute drive from the downtown area. Charlevoix is 25 minutes. Boyne City is 25 minutes. Harbor Springs is 25 minutes. And Bay Harbor is 10 minutes. 

But can we actually 'camp?' Not this year. We are calling it 'day camp' for our first year out of the gate, with plans to open it up to camping at the farm in the years to come.

Will there be any free time? YES! We are scheduling in a break in the afternoon. This is so you can run to the beach, shop downtown, grab lunch with your bestie, lay in the lavender and take a nap, run home to let your dog out or just sit and chat with a new friend --this is your day to enjoy. 

I wanna come, but I can't make it to everything, is there a discounted ticket for just the workshops or dinner? No. Your ticket includes the entire day of activities. 

Is this appropriate for my young daughter? We are recommending that this event is best for adults. 

What if it rains? It won't. ;) But if something happens and it does, fear not! We are event professionals, we will be under a tent if that happens and make the best of it! 

But I don't own a creative business, is this what that's about? Absolutely not. This day will have zero business sessions or talk. It's about women supporting women and taking time for themselves. You deserve this. 

So I buy my ticket and I'm good? Yup! We will have vendors / food add ons that you have the option of purchasing. So if you want a fresh smoothie, delicious crepe or to purchase some goodies from the day, please bring a wallet.

I am mean and nasty and a bully, should I come to this? Please stay home. We are all about Good Vibes Only.

So what's this gonna run me? The ticket price for 2018 is $299. We've worked to make this an incredible value for you, purchased separately each of these items together would run you well over four-hundred dollars. This will be a highlight to your summer. 

Ready to join me? Maple is so excited to see you! I am too. This is a big deal for this tiny farm. 

Did I mention that seats are hella limited? They are. Snag yours today. 

Northern Michigan Favs: Hotel Walloon

It's no secret that I adore Walloon Lake. It's my favorite place on the planet. My favorite blue, my favorite smell, my favorite feeling. We got married on the lake, my favorite days are spent on this lake and my favorite place for a cup of coffee is on the porch at my parents. 

So it's obvious that Hotel Walloon would make it into my Northern Michigan Favs category- but first we had to stay there! 

Look, we all wear busy as a badge of honor. Trust me. As much as I despise it I've found myself saying 'so busy' when asked how I am lately. But are we too busy to make time for what is most important to us? 

So Matt and I wanted to go away for a night and stay at Hotel Walloon, and yes it was a weeknight, and yes it was only a short stay but it was something I didn't realize how badly we needed it until we got there.

What impressed me most is the staff, design & attention to detail. Hotel Walloon is small, which I love because it feels intimate and special. We had a lot of fun just sitting in the lobby by the giant fireplace enjoying a glass of wine. The rooms were perfect and we walked to dinner at The Walloon Lake Inn that night, which was delicious.

"But you live so close!" I know. We laughed about how the car wasn't even warm by the time we arrived. Sometimes a staycation is all that you need. Nothing compares to a great hotel and one with impeccable service and design is just a bonus. 

If you can swing it. Go. Book a midweek night in the winter and rates are surprisingly affordable. Enjoy yourself. Step away from the badge of busy. Busy is comfortable. Busy is something that we define ourselves with. You know what was better? Spending 50 minutes not on a screen, next to a beautiful fireplace, talking to my husband. Walking to dinner hand in hand and leaving my phone behind. 

Sneak away. And let me know how you like Hotel Walloon. 

For more information on booking a stay, head here

xo

K

Winter Survival + Favs

Good Lord people. The plague. I feel like everyone has it. And I'm over here just washing my hands for the 2392832938th time today and eating every fermented food ever. 

Winter is the time of compromised immune systems. Trust this, when your husband works in a public school, everything known to man has made it into our house. Even better, when I worked in TV news traveling to new places every day and shaking 2323 hands our house was germland. 

Now I'm no doctor, (I know, I'm shocked too) but I do have some very strict 'Kalin hates being sick' workflows in place. You see, I'm a BIG fan of prevention. Before you get into this, I'm warning you, you may look at this and think 'how am I supposed to do all of this? There is no way.' I am not saying do all of it. But hopefully you'll find one or two things in here that help ward off the sickies. 

Your Body: Ya gotta move it. I do not think you have to run 15 miles a day. But ya gotta sweat and stretch and move. I'm all about working out in a way that I feel like doing. So between snowshoeing, yoga, pilates and Florida beach walks (the best) I try and move 4-5 times a week. When I gave up working out like everyone else and started doing things that I LOVE it changed the game for me.

Also, massage. If you have the ability to get a massage from a great therapist I suggest doing do so, stat. Massage has some incredible benefits for our immunity but also helps our lymphatic systems move some gunk around and gives our hard working tissue a real break. Treat yourself my friends.

Your Eats: FERMENTED FOODS. I cannot say this enough. Just google gut health and pour yourself a glass of kombucha and start reading. My fermented obsession really stays with kombucha, probiotic kimchi shots (I know, I just typed that) and sauerkraut. However there are tons! Get yourself some fermented food everyday. (I aim for 1/2 cup at least). You already know this but here is where I type ya gotta eat veg & fruits too. Ok. All done. 

Your soul: For me this is yoga. For some its church. Meditating. Reading spiritual books. Skiing. Whatever. For the love of god, put down your phone and go somewhere and do something quiet. For an hour. When you focus on breathing, and you aren't distracted, magical things can happen- like suddenly you are in a better mood and NOT biting everyones head off. 

Your skin: Between the furnace inside and the zero moisture outside, the winter is tough on our skin. I'm currently obsessed with this facewash & this moisture stick. I am also in love with Blue Ridge Hemp Co. products. I use the essential oil roll ons for the occasional headache and the 'breathe easy' for stuffiness. FUN FACT: Use the promo code "STEMSANDSPRIGS" at checkout for Blue Ridge Hemp Co. for a discount! (not a paid ad, I just love them)

Over the last year I've worked to clear out anything from our home that has toxic chemicals, especially the stuff I'm slathering on my skin. Do your homework on your products friends. I love the Think Dirty app for this. 

Your sleep. We are probably never gonna stop talking about sleep on this blog, because I will never not believe it is the most powerful wellness tool we have available to us. My mom laughs at my sleep obsession considering my horrendous colic as a baby had me really not ever interested in sleeping, like, ever. BUT people change and damn do I love some good shuteye. 

I've talked about this before but if you haven't read "The Sleep Revolution" you're missing out. It'll share with you the science (in a fun enjoyable way) about why we need more sleep than ever. When in doubt, go to bed.  Our bodies are able to perform functions while we sleep that they cannot do when we are awake, like scrubbing our brains, and helping to prevent disease and fight off immune system attackers. 

And lastly, 

Something to look forward to. No matter where you're reading this, even if it isn't freezing cold and dark, you need something to look forward to. It may be seeing an old friend for lunch on a Saturday, or a 2-week trip to somewhere tropical, regardless- make it a priority to have something on the calendar that excites you. I firmly believe it helps keep us healthy and positive. Someone to love, something to do & something to look forward to.

I would love to hear what you're doing to stay healthy this winter / any both products you are loving! 

xo

K

 

 

Joining the 2018 Stems Squad

Every year I get more excited for this post. Because as we grow these companies, things just get SO much more exciting!

Our team is the core of this operation during wedding & events season. We are obsessed with serving our clients real deal hospitality, which means remembering names, genuinely caring about them and going the extra mile to make everyone comfortable and blown away at their event. 

The team we put together each season becomes a family and Matt and I open our home to this family on the daily (like, literally, we each lunch in our kitchen and the dog thinks it has like 3 new moms and very often I'm outside cutting flowers in my jammies when the team gets here each day and you'll get to know my entire family really well because my mom brings snacks).

So without further ado, since I know some of you have been waiting on this, below is who we are looking for this year. Please read the descriptions carefully including the paragraph right below this one that covers every position and how to apply. 

REQUIRED for team members: Valid driver's license with a clean driving record. 2 references (one personal, one professional). Serious work ethic. Always on time. Enjoy being outside. Attention to detail. Able to shake someone's hand and look them in the eye. Physically able to perform job duties: lifting, carrying, schlepping, can stand for long periods of time. Friendly. Kind. Able to make quick decisions under pressure. Always meets a deadline. 

A note on flowers: we will train the right people in these positions to acquire the design skills they need. We do not train people to be hard workers, ya gotta come to the table with that one.

BONUS (not required, but definitely awesome): You like snacks. Love Northern Michigan. A passion for flowers, lavender and events. You don't tailgate people. You love dogs. You yearn to be a part of something that is growing and gaining momentum and you're up for a challenge. 

PLEASE DO NOT APPLY IF: you don't work hard, you are a bully, you are a mean nasty person who doesn't work well with others, you hate beautiful things and being outside.

Marketing / Events Intern: We are seeking a college student who is looking for an internship for school credit, that focuses heavily on marketing, events & hospitality here at the farm. You will be responsible for the farm's social media, helping organize on-farm events, client management for farm schedule & executing a design plan for each event that has been pre-approved. This person absolutely needs to be able to work independently and is a team player and self starter with good time management skills. This team member will work closely with me. Your day may look like this: giving a farm tour, writing a farm Facebook post, organizing for an event later in the week, answering farm emails, bundling lavender for guest favors, and then welcoming everyone to the farm that afternoon for yoga. This position will run for the summer months and flexibility is an option based on school / travel schedule. Ya gotta have housing within commuting distance to Petoskey. 

Designers: Our designers are in the studio with us Wed-Sat each week. You MUST BE ABLE to work Saturdays. We start early so being a morning person is an added bonus. We are willing to train but a passion for flowers is a must. Yes, we get to play with flowers, but there is also a ton of sweeping, bucket washing, processing, cardboard box breaking down and general studio cleanup. Designers come with us to weddings and must be able to thrive under pressure while maintaining strong vendor/client relationships. This position runs full steam ahead from the last week of May - mid-October. If you are flower obsessed, and more importantly- obsessed with making beautiful things, come join us. We are open to working with schedules with this position. (we get that school may start back up for you in September and you gotta bounce)

Studio Manager: Do you love a clean, tidy & organized space? Do you enjoy setting up, tearing down and rearranging things? We are looking for a studio manager this year. This unique position will help us keep a 'flow' going in the studio Weds - Friday most weeks. Candidate must enjoy organization, flow, helping others, and be willing to take on a 3-car garage as their 'home base' for the summer. Job duties may include, design day management, picking up lunch, processing flowers, prepping vases, stocking and managing our flower shed, running our studio recycling program and organizing for big weddings. Often the studio manager will be the first one there each day and the last one to leave (alongside myself). With this position our goal is to allow our designers to have shorter days so they are fresher for wedding work on Saturdays. 

Interested in any of these positions? Have more questions? Really wanna come work here but first you want to tell me your life story of how you live across the country and have a full time job already? Don't see a position for you but feel it in your bones you need to come here and be a part of this? I welcome all of it. Please email me directly & attach a resume if you have one: 

kalin@stemsandsprigs.com

To the Stems Squad!

xo

PS- it goes without saying but I'm putting it here because its important, we never ever ever make team member decisions based on your race, religion, sexual orientation, looks, voting party or any of that jazz- all are welcome here, and we treat our clients the same. 

The Crusty Stuff

The snow started melting a week or so ago. We had freakishly warm weather, the kind that felt like late April. It smelled like mud and rain and the air felt like the kind that tulips poke out in. And the gazillion (give or take) inches of snow started melting, fast. 

And when it melted, it uncovered the ugly parts; dog poop, leaves, a forgotten flower vase, a branch that came down in a wind storm, a wreath that must have flown off the barn. And the whitespace of a winter wonderland gave way to projects and to-dos and peeled back the layers. 

And then it all froze. 

And when it froze it became this crusty ass brown grey gross weird stuff. And it reminded me that beneath the surface, there's always crusty ass gross stuff. 

I had a little business meltdown last week. It's NEVER about flowers, or clients, or creating, or hosting, or dreaming. It is ALWAYS about numbers and laws and taxes and paperwork and 'rules.' I was frustrated that I'm not the best at that stuff, mad that while I can book clients and fill a schedule and create things people love, I cannot for the life of me seem to get to a point with my data organization that is at a level I'm proud of (read: perfect).

We follow the rules and yes pay our taxes and file and have insurance and all that stuff. The bases are covered. But damn I am not the best at it. It always feels SO reactive instead of proactive. It's crusty. 

And yes, this is why we have an accountant and a bookkeeper and professionals who love this kind of stuff who help us, but somewhere between when the crust appeared and then the snow fell and covered it again I realized how pissed off it makes me that I'm not really good at every aspect of this business. 

But wait. Newsflash: I preach all the time to ladies I mentor to be really freaking good at one thing, and then get help with what you need help with. So where the hell am I to come off mad that I'm not a floral designer who grows lavender and coaches women and throws great parties AND a CPA? 

Relinquishing control my friends. Loosening the grip. Admitting our faults and shortcomings. Remembering we are human. Asking for help. 

I always push the flight attendant button on an airplane. Matt and my siblings are always mortified. "No!" they whisper yell between gritted teeth. A nice woman comes over and clicks the button, "yes?" "Hi, can I please have a glass of water? I am really warm and uncomfortable and just sorta having a moment" "Of course!" (READ: "Hi, can I please have a glass of water, I am having a hormonal sweating thing because my period just started and I'm gonna lose my freaking mind here and suddenly my dry-mouth might kill me.)

And sure enough, moments later, a cup of water arrives. "Thank you SO MUCH" I whisper and the woman says "of course, I am HAPPY TO HELP." 

Happy. To. Help.

People hire me to do their flowers for events that mean a lot to them because I can do them better then they can. I can alleviate a stressor, I can make it more enjoyable. I pay someone to cut my hair, fix our cars, wire a new outlet, train me in Pilates - because they can do it better and it makes all these things more enjoyable. 

I'm no longing sweating the crusty stuff I'm bad at. I'm asking for more help. I'm relinquishing more of my white knuckle grip. 

Join me?

xo

K

 

Northern Michigan Favs: The Yoga Cave

I got pretty into yoga a few years ago. Even hot yoga (I know, intense). I found myself loving the challenge and I felt myself quickly getting stronger. 

But suddenly yoga turned into a competition I wasn't all about. And I realized that if I was going into class with a mindset of competing against everyone else in the room, that wasn't the practice I wanted. In turn, trying to beat everyone in the room, my back started hurting, bad. Bummer. 

Right around that time I discovered Pilates and dropped yoga like it was hot. Pilates made my back feel so good and I found an amazing place to train with great instructors and loved the workout. It was sweaty and I felt taller when I left. A win win.

But the woo woo spiritual universe listening side of me missed yoga. Because let's face it. No matter how many times I tell myself I'm gonna roll out my mat at home and stretch and focus for an hour, it doesn't happen. The dog is farting in my face, I can hear the dishwasher needs to be emptied. The dryer buzzed. My computer is right there and I'm sure there's an email that needs me. Home practice is not for me. 

So I found The Yoga Cave in Petoskey and the rest is sort of history. And it's today's Northern Michigan Favorite. 

Let's be clear why I love this place:

1.) ZERO ego. Come as you are. Come as WHO you are. Just show up and magical things happen. Y'all I go to class in the famous tattered grey sweatshirt multiple times a week, no judgement zone. Beccy is always saying 'your body your practice' and I love this. 

2.) Props galore. Good lord I love me a block (or 3) and bolster. When your hips are as tight as mine (read: tightest ever), you need every prop in the book. The essential oil game is being tossed in here with props because somedays Beccy is on another level with oils being used in class and it's SO good. Oh did I mention that during savasana there is a lavender eucalyptus hot towel given to you? #praisehands

3.) VIBES.  its dark (because it's a cave, duh) and quiet and small and intimate. Something about the space being small makes me feel less vulnerable. 

4.) People Make a Place and Beccy (owner) is an incredible instructor. She's there with loads of modifications if you need them (raising hand) she knows your name, she remembers what you have going on. She is also funny when everyone needs a laugh and serious when we need to focus.  She genuinely freaking loves yoga and wants you to love it too. So if you're running late to class just send a little text and you arrive to your mat and props all set up. #hospitality goals. And lastly,

5.) its like a little cave family. I was kinda late to the cave party and the regulars opened me with welcome arms. This is the difference between other studios I've been at. Lots of love happening in the cave. I genuinely look forward to class because I know how many people I adore are going to be there.

Another reason this made the favs list? Beccy puts on loads of special events of stuff you want to try and she keeps it really affordable. On New Years Day Matt and I went to a 2 hour event that had an hour slow-flow practice and then an hour of Yoga Nidra, something I've been wanting to try for so long! 

Do yourself a favor, and just try a visit to the cave. I promise it'll be worth it. It's a magical little yoga place with good ass people who really are walking the walk about what yoga is really about. And that's why its my fav. 

For more information on The Yoga Cave Petoskey you can head here. 

Namaste y'all. 

xo

K

 

2017 In Review.

In 2017 my little mantra, line, goal, whatever was 'tell your story.' You can read about why I picked that right here. And so I set out to do just in every avenue of life. Including keeping a monthly rundown of life here on the blog. 

And yes, I promise that my 2018 mantra is coming on Jan 1. But until then, we need to look at 2017 in review and see what happened. It was an awesome year, with a lot of steep learning curves for me personally and the farm did incredibly well and the flower business knocked it out of the park, so to say I'm happy is an understatement. 

Here we go.....

January: January started off with a hell of a bang. Meaning for Matt and I, as it does most New Year's Eve nights, we made a huge delicious dinner, drank some wine and went to bed at 10pm. That month the  snowmobilers drove on the lavender, we had supper club, we started on a new home improvement project (our upstairs) and I went to Grand Rapids and we found Egan and wedding dress. Matt had surgery to remove a weird tumor on his hand. It had been bothering him for years and the doctor was concerned so we went in for hand surgery a full 4 weeks earlier than expected. All good! I also spoke at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference that month. It's a great event. All that chatting about telling my story got me invited back this year to talk about 'how to tell you story' I can't make this stuff up. Grab a seat right here. 

February: We went to Napa! And we absolutely fell in love with Northern California and I want to go every year. We drank so much good wine, laughed so hard and stayed in the cutest inn. Such a fun trip. I taught a floral workshop at Fieldguide Farmhouse, we hosted a winter edition of The Gather Series and I cooked a gazillion new recipes. It was awesome. The biggest news of February was I left my full time job as a television reporter. You can read my most read blog post ever right here. What a month. What a journey. 

March: Hygge! I hosted my first ever Creative Women's Retreat and it changed my life. Truly. So much so that we are hosting two weekends this year. You can read all about it right here. But basically starting this month off surrounded by women who inspire me was a prescription for winter healing. This was also the month of the insane, truly- INSANE wind storm. I was so pissed. Read about it right here.  In March I also shared with everyone about my 'little black cloud' and was met with some incredible reactions, it seems we ALL have a LBC. March is the time of the year when I get so jittery to be back outside. We went to Florida for Spring Break which always helps, but I really just wanted to be in our yard. So we turned the corner to April and I was revving to work with flowers and be in the dirt. 

April: I bounced down to Charlotte really fast to see Moll and Piper. Although the trip was way too short, I'm glad I made the time to see my god-daughter and best. I came home and immediately hit the studio to lead some private students in some design work, had a couple speaking engagement thingies and one of my most loved and read blog posts of the year was published, "The Day It All Came Full Circle." I also got to spend a night with some pretty incredible women business owners and share a meal, thats the kind of stuff that makes my heart flutter. I had an April wedding which I flowered for completely solo, always an adventure and it felt SO good to get back in the studio. April, LOL, Matt and I were CONVINCED one day that all the lavender had died. Matt was like 100% convinced and I was not all the way there but just a touch worried. April is tough. The snow was gone but good LORD we have a long way to go to green. Patience patience patience.

May: I turned 29 and did Whole30. I loved it so much. SO MUCH. I also taught a Mother's Day workshop in Traverse City which was so fun, we had a great turnout. A lot of May was spent preparing for what was just around the corner, our busiest season of the year. Which before I could blink it felt like we were right in the middle of it. 

June - October: Yes. I am making this one part of the year. You know why? Because it felt like it. Wedding season was incredible. We flowered for nearly 50 events and our couples once again proved to me that Stems & Sprigs gets to work with the most incredible families in the world. They love us like their own, which to us makes all the difference. Our clients challenged us to think outside the box and come up with some of the best stuff I could ever imagine. Lily, Egan & Anna were a perfect team this season. Knowing exactly how to execute events with an attention to detail, and the ability to laugh at ourselves at all times. Aside from wedding work, the lavender bloomed like crazy and we welcomed hundreds of people out to the farm with dinners, parties, yoga in the lavender and special events. We got to flower at Faster Horses Country Music Festival downstate. We hosted Egan's wedding here at the farm. We had friends visit from all over. We swam in the lake, rode on the boat and took lots of porch naps at Walloon and we enjoyed our summer, despite the crazy work. It was magic. It always is. 

November: November was nearly a total focus on our Wreath Workshops (5 sold out!) and the opening of Christmas at Sweetwater. I put in a ton of hours outside and in the studio making wreaths and special items for clients who wanted a bit more for their holiday decor this year. We escaped to Florida for a few days with our best friends and had the time of our lives, but as with anything the trip was WAY too short and we were back at the farm ready to rock before we knew it. We could not have had Christmas at Sweetwater without the help of so many amazing friends and family members who jumped in on short notice to provide us labor, love and goodness. We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and then opened to the public the next morning! It was an amazing first weekend and ended up being our busiest ever at the farm. 

December: The first half of the month we wrapped up Christmas at Sweetwater. By our count over 300 people visited us at the farm those weekends. We are so honored. It was a fun way for us to meet so many locals and we can't wait to see so many of you this summer for lavender love! With the slowing down of things over here we closed up the farm for the season and I started volunteering a bit more at school to help with athletic events. Between holiday parties and general merriment, I also spent a lot of time this month cooking and taking a nap or two here and there and just slowing down. It's what I plan to do for most of the winter, and I'm glad to have you here along for the ride. 

2017 was an incredible year for us. It was also a busy year. I'm committing that no matter how hard it seems in 2018, to slowing down a bit more during our crazy season, even if this means jumping in the lake a bit more and taking a few more porch naps. ;) 

Thanks for being here. 

Happy New Year

xo

K

 

Happy Merry Everything

This season can be insane. Truly. I feel like the second the calendar flips to December so many of us begin to unravel a tad. It's easy to feel like our holiday will never be 'enough.' We won't cook enough, or gift enough, rest enough, decorate enough, celebrate enough, visit enough, you name it- its a ripe time for feeling like shit about your ability to spin 20392832 plates. 

And this season is only made tougher by social media. As much amazing incredible good it can do, it can also leave us in a comparison spiral. I can picture you now, sipping a glass of wine, sitting on the couch and scrolling through Facebook. Filled with the perfect tree, celebrations, roasts, gift wrapping, holiday outfits, engagement announcements, baby reveals and general merriment. 

Behind every freaking perfect photo you see this season. There's a shitstorm. Trust me. Let us ALL remember how we too are sharing the most highlighted and curated moments. The ugly ones when you are sobbing in your bed and pulling the covers over your head and wishing it just to all go away don't make your facebook home page. 

So this week. These next 10 days. I challenge you to please remember the shitstorm. Both your own, and everyone else. The holidays can be a tough time for a gazillion reasons. But lets both commit to knowing that photos and moments shared are highlights and our real life is still beautiful, its just messy and unedited more often than not. 

I find that if you acknowledge this. If you can openly say that your life is not perfect and that there's a raging shitstorm, you're in a good place. I worry when I see people who can't admit it. Cannot let anything go wrong, or not be perfect. Who cannot lessen the death grip of control and edited perfection. That's where it can be trouble. It's ok. 

And a note on shitstorms. There are major ones. And minor ones. A major one can be suffering through a holiday season when you just lost someone you love. A minor one can be having to sit at the Christmas table and someone has 2 drinks and asks you once again if you have a life plan, are dating anyone at all? anyone? or has the nerve to mention what they think you should do with your life.  

Regardless of how major or minor a storm you're in. You've got this. Because remember- it really is a special time of the year. 

Chances are you have a few days off work. Chances are you'll get to see people you love. Perhaps you'll enjoy a delicious meal together, or get to watch a movie, go for a walk, visit people or explore together. Not into the people thing? Sleep in. Have a cookie. Go to bed early. Snowshoe. Go for a swim. Read a book. The list is neverending. 

Keeping the holidays simple for us this year was important to me. In year's past, I've seen how perfect everyone else's holiday is and started to unravel a bit. 'Holy shit I should have bought more gifts, decorated more, had a party,' you name it- I've thought of it. 

Instead, I committed to only allowing myself ONE TUB of Christmas Decor. Thats it. And I bring the tub up from the basement. And I fill it with the stuff that is going away for the season (helps with clutter) and I set everything up. It takes me 20 minutes. The tree is MOST important to me. So we decorated the tree really early this year. And that is that. The wreath on the barn is also super important to me. So we put that up. No more. 

For gifts. I keep it simple too. Buying early for everyone who I need to buy for. Wrapping everything in the same wrapping paper as last year, and calling it good. 

I know one day when I'm a mom I will need to reread this post. Because hell if I won't be batshit crazy with trying to make the most perfect magical holiday ever for my kids. My mom did that for us. It was like a movie. But one thing I'm really proud of is that it always came back to family and food and loud music and good lighting. We didn't go to see santa 10 times or make cookies, gingerbread houses, orange garland AND snowflake garland. We made cookies some years. We saw Santa one time each year. But we always always had a tree with lights and a big meal and watched "Its a Wonderful Life." 

Be easy on yourself my friends. Please. Remember that you won't remember the stuff that you're having a hard time making happen right now. You will remember who you were with and how present you were. 

Let's put down our phones a bit more and go for long walks and make a strong cocktail and sit by a fire and let's be gentle to ourselves. 

It is afterall just a week. And then, we'll wait until next year. 

Happy Merry Everything my sweets 

xo

K

 

How To Tell It's The Right Floral Designer For You.

You are engaged and ready to rock baby, it's wedding planning time! Or maybe mom turns 70 this year and you and your sibs gotta pull off something special at the lake. Whatever your situation may be you want flowers and ya want them to be special. 

There are TONS of options for getting floral for an event. And yes, flowers are one of the most difficult things to anticipate costs for, especially for a wedding! But fear not, I'm here with some tips about hiring the right floral designer for you, and it's not rocket science my friends, it's just a matter of finding someone you vibe with. 

That brings me to my first point, you need to vibe with this person.  Nothing can be tougher than working with someone you just dont really enjoy. Hire a designer that you can work well with. You have a *spark* with. You'll know from the emails or first call. Trust your gut. If it feels 'off' chances are they feel it too. 

Ask them what they specialize in.  Every designer is known for something different. Maybe they specialize in keeping your budget exactly where you want it. Maybe its larger installations. Maybe its bringing in exotic tropical blooms. Maybe its designing a bridal bouquet you are obsessed with. Regardless of what it is, ask them! 

 I'm here to tell you that you need to be upfront about your expectations in order for the designer to be able to share theirs. If you want to check in with your floral designer 2 times a week all year, that is something worth mentioning. If you want this to be pretty hands off and you fully trust them, let us know. We take our cues on communication and flow from you. You're the client!

 Your styles are similar. If you're looking for something tight and structured and every photo on Instagram happens to be something loose and garden inspired, perhaps skip on the inquiry. We share what we love doing for a reason. 

And lastly, ask your friends. Read reviews. Do your homework. Ask your venue who they enjoy working with, read reviews on a website like The Knot and see what people are saying. Did you LOVE the flowers at your friends wedding last summer? Ask her who she worked with! The information is out there. 

I hope this helps some of you in the process of choosing a floral designer. Northern Michigan is full of talented flower people who are killin' the game every weekend. And bonus: we genuinely all love one another and some of us are REALLY good friends. 

Life is good Up North.

Can't wait to hear from you.

xo

K

PS- now is the moment where I tell you that if you are considering having a really tall blonde girl who is loud and has a small lavender farm flower for you this upcoming summer of 2018 I ask that you inquire right away. Our Summer is booking faster than ever. Yes, Mom who knows the engagement is coming but can't say anything and it's killing you, you can email me and let me know ;) 

My Northern Michigan Favs: Pour

Note: I do not get paid or compensated or anything for my Northern Michigan Favs. 99% of the time the establishments don't even know I'm writing about them. These are honest to goodness just my fav spots. The end. 

Okay by now we are all well aware that I do enjoy a good glass of vino or bubbly on occasion. So naturally as we are in the thick of the holiday season I wanted my Northern Michigan Fav this week to be my go-to spot for wine, Pour. 

Pour is located right in the heart of downtown Petoskey on Mitchell St.. And aside from a gazillion (give or take a few) wines by the glass, they have a full bar, craft cocktails, beer, and a freaking delicious menu. 

Matt and I rely heavily on Pour as our spot to take all out of town guests who venture north to see us. Here's why: we can count on great service. We can count on delicious food. We can count on everyone finding something they love on the menu. We can count on people being like "omg this place is so cute for Petoskey!" 

I don't ever really get that last line. A lot of our friends are often surprised we have Home Depot, to die for restaurants, amazing shops and a working economy up here. But we do. I imagine some people watching from a far on Facebook and IG thinking that I ride a horse to the hardware store in town where I sit with a piece of wheat in my mouth talking local gossip with the good ol' boys. 

I know, food and bar reviews are tough, because how much can you count on me? Ya gotta try it for yourself. Tell Todd I sent you. And please please people, do not be intimidated or scared by the term 'wine bar.' #1- wine is not scary or something that only people with turned up noses drink, the best part about a place like Pour is if you say 'I don't know what kind of wine I like' they will lead you through the process in finding something awesome. 

Cheers my friends. Enjoy.

xo

K

2 Years That Feel Like 20

Dear Farm, 

Today, we have lived here 2 years. Last weekend when we were selling Christmas Trees from a weird corner of you that used to be overgrown with an old fence, some man asked Matt how long we've 'had the place?'

Matt and I couldn't believe 2 years. It had to be 3 right? There is no possible way that in 2 years we could have done this much, or learned this much or swore this often? 

But it's 2. Confirmed. I even called the insurance agent to ask. I also paid the insurance bill while I had her on the phone. #adultthings

2 years ago we moved here on a mild day in December. Since that day we have... (pour yourself a glass of water) ((maybe wine)) ripped out all the carpet, laid a new floor, stripped the floral wallpaper, painted nearly every room, filled countless dumpsters, uncovered a lot of fences, ripped out a lot of fences, cleared out a room in the barn, cleared out the garage, taken out a lot of trees, pruned every tree that remained, put in a driveway, put in a parking pad, planted 3,000 lavender plants, gotten a real farm sign, put in a flower garden, bought a tiny house, bought a tractor, revived an old riding mower, prayed the mower would keep working, prayed harder, mowed for countless hours, weedwacked countless hours, so much mulch, jesus christ so much landscaping fabric, put in a path behind the garage, planted a row of hydrangea and planted 5 peony shrubs. 

But Farm, sweet Farm, do you know the best part? People really LOVE coming here. Like, a lot. It's crazy how many people have visited you and basked in your natural incredible beauty and that weird 'feeling' everyone has when they are here. 

We've had; countless dinner parties, 8 editions of The Gather Series, 9 sold out workshops, one big Christmas party, one amazingly perfect wedding, one giant planting party, 2 bridal luncheons, countless private events, 3 networking events, and hundreds of people stop to see the lavender when its blooming. 

We've also had so much help. SO MUCH. Way too many names to mention here. But you wouldn't believe how many people come here, and put on work gloves and do really shit ass jobs because deep down they care about you. Well, they care about us. And they see how much we love you. So they do gnarly jobs like put in fences and rip out fences and plant and prune and all the outside work you can imagine. 

We named you Sweetwater because of the freshest most perfect water on the planet that we are sandwiched in between right here on this tiny little 10 acre parcel. Walloon in one direction and Lake Michigan in the other. 

One really good thing about this birthday you have is that it nears the time each year when we get to do nothing for a little bit. I always say that not being able to see what was awaiting us (due to winter) that first year is the only reason we stayed. I remember the first Spring weekend just crying for hours and telling Matt I wanted to tear down the barn and give those guys the wood and they said they would give us money and maybe it'll help. 

But no. We just keep chipping away at you. Slowly. Dear god its so slow some days. But then on others I look at this place and can't believe what we've done. The days are long but the years are short or whatever inspirational quote you want to think of. 

You see, there are really bad moments. Garage door incident. The day of 40 MPH non stop wind when the landscaping fabric ripped OFF the lavender and was blowing around like a freaking 100 foot long magic carpet. The giant wreath situation each year when we hang it. The day the tractor caught on the bistro lights and bad things happened. The afternoon Matt and I were pretty much convinced every single lavender plant had died. The back injury. The furnace that sounded like a dinosaur waking up. The snake I found in the basement. (taken care of people, please do come visit still) The window with moss actually growing in one of the cracks. The pond we still need to rip out. The squirrel living in the bunkhouse. 

But for every single moment I want to quit. For every single moment I say to Matt, "sorry we left the tiny corner lot with the redone kitchen" for every moment that I regret signing that stack of paperwork, there is countless moments it doesn't get any better. 

When the lavender is in full bloom on a breezy day. When the entire farm has been mowed and its golden hour. When the apple orchard blooms. When the lights are on and the table is in the field and theres nothing to do but drink more wine and let the candles burn. When the snow is so perfect the cedar branches touch the ground. When I'm walking Maple on the path and look back from the top of that little hill and can see the entire farm. When Egan's wedding seemed like a dream. When we sit with our best friends at the rose table and stacks and stacks of lavender bundles are surrounded by wine glasses. When I open the door to let the dog in and can see people who I don't even know standing in the lavender taking photos. When we found the secret morel spot and picked hundreds of the biggest morels you've ever seen. When our dining room table has no more empty seats. When the sun is just coming up over that ridgeline and I'm watering the garden. When its too cold to do anything but sit under a blankie in the bright living room and watch a movie and the house creaks with the wind. When we are around the bonfire pit. When the new furnace kicks on and its quiet and works. When the lilacs bloom. When we are walking outside with Maple and the only sound is apples falling to the ground. When we snowshoe back in the pines. When the barn is overflowing with people and Christmas music is blaring. When the giant wreath is lit and people honk. When you can see the water (just barely) from the guest room in the winter. When the 2nd floor shower magically gets hot again without the plumber coming. When the house has the freaking perfect Christmas Tree spot. When the mailman knows your name. When I see people stopped in an old outhouse we found and painted white to buy flowers. When its just us here and its golden hour in August and it smells like lavender and the weather is damn perfect and its glowing here and I say to Matt, "hey, we did it."

Farm, you have kicked my ass. You will continue to do so. But we love you. We really really do. 

Cheers to 2 years calling you home, there is no place I'd rather be. Pinky swear. 

xo

K

 

10 Things I'm Grateful For This Year.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. (But it's tied with 4th of July, so I have two.)

There is just something about there being no gift pressure, no decorating pressure, no 'sending out the cards' pressure, its just about food and family, which happen to be two of my favorite things! 

Each year I like to write a little blurb about what I'm most thankful for. It's crazy how as I age like a fine wine I'm finding the things I'm most grateful for are things that have been here all along but I never really could fully appreciate.

So without further ado, here are 10 Things I'm Grateful For This Year

This body.     I can honestly say I've never taken better care of myself than I did this year. A LOT of body acceptance and love has happened this year for me. This body, it's amazing. It is my temple. This grateful attitude is not without its tough moments, where I was frustrated or thought my body wasn't working the way I wanted it to. But at the end of the day, its pretty freaking amazing that after all I've put it through (um, College eating habits anyone?) it still gets me out of bed each morning, moves me through my day and makes me feel good. Pilates, eating a mostly organic / no hormones diet & treating myself right mentally have made all the difference. So yeah, a woman who is nearly 6 feet tall and wears a size 14 can really love her body, it's beautiful, its mine and I think its lovely. 

My woman tribe. Dear lord, what would I do without my women. My bests. The ones that 'get me.' I'm continually amazed at the power of female friendships. I'm not talking about the girl who you say hi to if you are in Meijer if she's in the same aisle. I'm talking about the girl who if you see her in Meijer you're talking for 45 minutes with your carts pulled to the side and one of you is crying and blowing your nose in a box of tissue that the other one ripped from the shelf and opened. I'm talking about your bests who sit on the beach with you in Florida and crying one minute and laughing the next and saying things outloud you haven't ever said out loud and you don't really care what time your husbands are done golfing because 'it's like they aren't even here.'  My women get me. They lunch with me. They text with me. They cry with me. They celebrate with me. The ones in my inner circle, it seriously feels like a part of our souls are shared. I'm grateful for them. They are incredible creatives, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, business owners and more. And they know who they are. And they literally kick ass. 

The seasons. Northern Michigan isn't here to mess around. The seasons are fierce. Fiercely beautiful and very much require you to be prepared. This is NOT the place for you if you wanna wear a polo shirt each day. But it is the place for you if you wanna wear a polo shirt, a pair of carhartts, a snowsuit, and shorts all within the same week. The seasons of our businesses allow me to ebb and flow with the weather and I'm grateful for this. I'm grateful for blustery days in November that remind me to slow down and for the upcoming frigid days in winter that require me to not move much. The seasons impact everything I do from what I'm cooking to how much I'm working. Its awesome. 

My family. My family is weirdly close. I am so grateful for this. We have NO PROBLEM expressing our emotions, calling one another out on our shit, loving on one another extra hard and spending lots of time together whenever we can. Many of you know that my sister and brother-in-law were at the festival in Las Vegas were the shooting happened last month. This terrible, gut-wrenching week reminded me how precious everything is. My family keeps me sane. Tells me when I'm being ridiculous. Rolls their eyes at me when I'm being dramatic and laughs at my terrible jokes. They are the best. They are weird and artsy and creative and hard working and annoying and they are all mine. 

Our brides.  Our clients push me to work harder, create more beauty and strive to an even higher level. They also happen to be some of the most loving, kind, beautiful people on this planet. They get what its about. They are not divas, they love their families, they love Northern Michigan and they love flowers that are not roundy moundy. I'm grateful for them. 

Wreaths. There are sometimes people who attempt to give me snark ass shade about the wreath thing. "Wow really into those wreaths aren't ya?" (dead serious face during reply) "I actually am, I love them, wreaths are the international symbol for 'welcome' and have been used for centuries to hang on the door to let people know their home is a place of peace, love, and can provide food and shelter to all." (snark ass commenter) "oh wow. ok. yeah. keep up the great work." Wreaths make me happy. It is important to have one during the holiday season especially. The act of making them is very meditative to me. Plus I believe that literally everything is in a circle. Seasons. Life. Relationships. So the circle is big to me. That's it. 

Matt. If you've met Matt you know how different we are. But as the first decade of our relationship wraps up, I find us becoming so similar in ways, growing together. Matt, you are the greatest light of my life. No one makes me laugh harder, is a better audience, understands me better, or loves me more. You bring me so much damn joy that at times it feels unfair to me that not everyone has a Matt. Thank you for being you. I'm so grateful. 

Our community. Northern Michigan is made up of a few simple ingredients: natural beauty, freshwater, kind people & unique places. The people who surround us up here are those who appreciate the best things in life; family time, lake time, a beautiful sunset, food and fun. There is no more 'Up North' moment than when a grill is sizzling away and you're playing yard games with your siblings and drinking a beer and your lake hair is still damp and dogs are everywhere and no one is sucked into a screen. That's my northern Michigan. That's my community. In the winter when it slows down up here I find community in my monthly "Ladies Night at The Farm" events, spaghetti and board games with friends and a slow pace of life. Get up here, you'll get it. 

Saying No.  I got reallllllll freaking good at saying no this year. It. Was. Amazing. I'm grateful for this skill that seems to have taken me 28.5 years to perfect. Saying no to projects, commitments, photoshoots, pop-ups, trips, events, etc has helped me create a calendar filled with things I'm excited for. No more coming up on an event only to be crying in the studio the night before. Say no. 

The TV job. It's been almost 10 months since I left my full time job as a television reporter to flower and lavender and teach and write and do all this beautiful stuff for a living. I am so grateful for that job. The 6 years I spent in television news taught me more about myself than perhaps any other season of my life, and it gave me invaluable skills. I never realized how 'trial by fire' live news is until I started running my own businesses. In addition to the skills, the life experience, the friendships and the stories I met along the way helped me to be who you read each day. I'm grateful for this beyond words & the people who gave me believed in me during that season. 

I hope that your holiday is one filled with things you're grateful for. Its that simple. I'm so grateful for you being here and reading these words. I write them to remember this crazy story we're crafting and you taking the time to absorb them is just an added bonus.

Happy Thanksgiving.

xo

K

Getting Ready for Christmas At Sweetwater

Christmas at Sweetwater is for sure one of the biggest projects we've had at the farm to date. Our first one right out of the gate was our giant planting party in June of 2015, when we got all our lavender plants in the ground with the help of 65 of our friends and family, followed by my sister's wedding here this summer in July. 

We dreamt up this event last holiday season when SO many people were stopping to snap a photo of our barn with the giant wreath on it. I recognized the need for a place that was convenient for our neighbors to grab a tree, wreath and a bit of holiday cheer. Plus, let's be honest, if you know me you are well aware that I am actually obsessed with making wreaths. 

Matt and I started working on this project in August, which feels like it was approximately 3 days ago. We first had to decide the flow of this event and where our checkout space would be. 

I knew that we wanted to have the trees / wreaths & decor outside in the yard space between our parking area & the barn, but I didn't want people having to fumble with credit cards and wallets in what could be some gnarly Northern Michigan weather. We thought of every possible idea: a farmers market type of tent, people could check out in the flower shed, people could walk up to the main barn entrance by our house, we could get a camper and people could come in to check out in that, we could build a shelter, we could blah blah blah - we just gotta clean out a scary part of the barn.

Let me preface this by reminding you that we bought a farm with a barn full of shit. There is no other way to explain this. And so, we decided that the cute little wood door right by the parking area that leads into an old animal pen that had become a trash pen for what seems like the last 30 years would be our retail space. I know, I know, nothing can ever be easy. 

We got to work clearing it up. Here is a before shot, the piles of hay, trash, wood, and old grain sacks where 6 -7 ft tall in spots. 

IMG_6766.JPG

It took a few weekends, a lot of dust masks and podcasts but we got it cleared out around mid-October. Matt had thrown together a little partition wall with all the wood we found to close the space off and we went about ripping out the poultry netting in the windows and replacing them to just keep water and snow out. 

IMG_8150.JPG

If you know me, I do not handle the grit well. Messy jobs and shoveling old hay and tedious slow jobs are not for me. I am OBSESSED with instant gratification. This is why I love houses, because a coat of paint or moving the couch can totally change stuff. But spending your time just shoveling and raking with no change is tough. Matt is my biggest encourager and if anyone was with us during these work sessions you would actually laugh because he is literally my coach. "You're doing great honey." "You are doing amazing babe!" "Keep it up we are making progress!"

Alas! It was time for my FAV part, styling. My dear friend Kelly from Serradella Weddings came by and got to work with me on creating a retail space. We used our bar in the shop and started playing around with some cool pieces Kel brought from her warehouse. 

Looking for a picture right here of it fully styled and perfect? Come on! I'm not giving everything away! 

If you've been following this insanity for any amount of time you know that if I won the lottery tomorrow I would pay off the mortgage, buy Matt a brand new Toyota Tacoma and hire someone to be my professional lighting expert at the farm. If you ever wanna see Matt and I come to blows, just come on by when we have to hang lights somewhere. For some couples its the calendar, others its money, some its fantasy football, but for Matt and Kalin Sheick- its lighting. 

It's so common that we argue while hanging lights that when we walk outside to do it I say outloud and very passive aggressively to Maple, "Maple, please remind Matt that after we hang these lights we are still married and I am the funniest most cool wonderful wife ever." 

Good news: I was able to light the retail space on my own. #winning Hilarious News: Our biggest 'lighting' project for this event is getting our 8ft wreath up on the barn, which is literally happening tonight. So- god bless and I'll keep you posted. 

This project literally could not have happened without Julie & Ryan two of our closest friends who not only prepped and trained us on Christmas Tree care but also got us the hookup on trees (Thanks Stempky Fam). Kelly from Serradella has been a godsend, my creative friends inspire me and encourage me every step of the way.

So we are ready for you! Pretty much! It all starts at 10am the day AFTER Thanksgiving. We run Friday, Saturday & Sunday for the following 3 weekends. Daily from 10am-4pm. Come early if you want a tree (limited number) and the wreaths and all the goodness will be cranking. RSVP on Facebook right here. Or more details can be found right here.

Matt and I CANNOT WAIT to share this with you! 

xo

K

PS- Someone asked me the other day if I'm nervous about this, I replied "duh" but I live for this kind of stuff. So, do stuff that scares you people.

My Northern Michigan Favs: Fieldguide Farmhouse

I'm super excited to launch My Northern Michigan Favs here on the blog. This will be a monthly little tidbit letting you know one of my favorite spots in the region. There is no rules to this so we may just do an entire year of coffee shops and wine spots and airbnb's, keep your eyes here for more. Trust this: any place I put on here is a spot I would tell you to go to. I get countless emails a year asking for Northern Michigan recommendations and these are the places that always top my list.

A few weeks ago on a night that was dark, with freezing rain splattering the windows, 4 friends met in a house. 

And then unloaded from their cars the kind of stuff friends to show up with when they see one another for a special evening, wine, chocolate, grocery bags & pjs. 

And they light a giant fire in the fireplace and put on their wool socks and started with hot apple cider and then moved to wine. And outside it was nasty, but inside 4 women bared their souls and laughed and laughed and laughed. And the oven was turned on and squash was roasted and on the stove risotto simmered. 

And in the living room talks of business and marriage and friendship. Discussions about creativity and where we head next in this adventure. And upstairs perfectly made beds with warm flannel sheets waited for them. And candles going everywhere.

It was all happening at Fieldguide Farmhouse. 

I chose Fieldguide for my Northern Michigan Favs this week because when I think of Northern Michigan I think of spots that make you feel welcome. I think of Lee, my dear friend who owns this magical place, and her ability to make anyone feel special. I think of the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I'm there. Whether its sitting by the fire on a rainy fall evening, leading a wreath workshop near Christmas, or sipping my coffee on the porch in the summer. Fieldguide Farmhouse has become a sort of escape for me. 

It's perfectly Northern Michigan. A small business that does many different things. Events, retreats, romantic getaways, you name it- it's happened at Fieldguide. And each time this place seems to mold itself in a way to perfectly support the event vibe and goal. This is due to Lee. Because people make a place and she's damn special y'all.

It's also unique. Aside from a beautiful setting, this place forces you to slow down a bit and forget about the real world. Which we could all use a bit more of. 

I encourage you to check it out. You can see more and read all about this favorite place of mine right here. And BONUS for Stems & Sprigs readers Lee is offering 15% off your stay in Nov - February this year. Just mention you found her through this blog in your request to book. (Note: not applicable to current reservations)

Make it happen. Grab your girlfriends and rent the entire house and bring the groceries and settle in by the fire and open the wine and let the candles burn down low and dive into the part of yourself that gets pushed aside. I know you won't regret it. 

Clinks and things

xo

K

 

on the 2017 wedding season.

There are 48 couples out there who are newly married and we flowered for this season. They are husband and wife, wife and wife, husband and husband. They are in their 20's 30's 40' and 50's. They are at this for the first time. They are trying again. They are reborn from heartbreak. They are buying homes, and back in school, and waiting on babies, and switching careers. They are waiting in lines to change a last name. They are realizing that marriage is officially the moment where you go to make a decision and remember 'oh yea- this isn't just about me anymore.' 

They honeymooned in Italy and Thailand and Petoskey and Chicago. They didn't honeymoon and instead went back to work on Monday. They had giant celebrations with 300 people and they had tiny weddings in the backyard with just the kids. 

They cried and moms cried. Dads too. They danced and ate and drank and laughed and ate late night tacos. They sorted through cards and gifts and a dress was piled on the floor in the corner. 

They woke up the next morning married. Not thinking about the escort card table, or the violin player or who sat together at table 14. But when they opened their eyes, more often than not- they looked and saw a bouquet. 

And although its a bit tattered, and beaten up now, they still love it. And so many people held it, your husband, your wife, gram, mom, your bestie, your sister, Aunt Diane, the photographer, the planner, your new sister in law. They held it while you fixed your shoe, your hair, your lipstick, while you attempted to go pee, while you hugged grandpa, when you danced with dad.

That bouquet. We held it first. It started as one stem. And Kesha was blaring on a bluetooth speaker, and while I worked on it Anna & Egan designed your centerpieces and bridesmaids bouquets and before the flowers even arrived Lily and I talked about it and she ordered the ingredients. And while we designed we chatted about you and your wedding. And even though we make a few each week when every single one is finished we go 'ooooooh.' 

And I fretted over it. I always do. I woke up the morning of your wedding and crept into the studio and fixed a few things, checked on it. Made sure it had water and was happy and doing well. 

And some say 'they are just flowers' and 'they are gonna die anyway.' But its your bouquet. And its so important to me.  It is why I started this company. It is the most important piece of your wedding day 'decor.'

And then we loaded up the van, often times both vans and we drove to where it was all happening. And we stopped at home depot, and for coffee, and we were all a little stressed. But we laughed and got there. And we searched for cottages. And we illegally parked. And even though I have delivered dozens and dozens of bridal bouquets, I still get the teeniest little butterfly in my stomach when I knock on your hotel room door. And I hear 90's rap music playing and the laughter of women and my heart glows because this is about so much more than the flowers. 

And you're standing there, or sometimes (often times) sitting in a chair with someone doing your makeup and I walk over and you see it and smile and I want to cry and sometimes you cry and sometimes we both do! And your sister mentions how much she loves it and your best friend from college is pouring champagne and attempting to take a photo of it and your mom is doing that weird things moms do when they like fan their eyes. And I give you a little tutorial on how to hold it, and I show you and then I ask you, 'do you like it?' And you respond 'I love it." 

And then it's yours. A little piece of my weird creative heart sits in a hotel room, or your cottage, or your bedroom and then it travels all day with you as you marry your best friend. A piece of this team. 

And we go and make the rest of the magic happen. Shuffling ladders and moving buckets and zip tieing things (omg so many zip ties) and fluffing the last of the blooms, and snipping and trimming and moving and adjusting and hanging and styling and then its ready. I imagine it's how moms & dads felt all those years setting the stuff under the tree around 11pm on Dec. 24 and smashing a cookie and glass of milk and creating magic. Boot stains in the carpet, and boot prints in the snow outside, and assembling a bike and making everything look so perfect. When you're 7 on Christmas Morning you don't notice how the helmet was just hanging from the bike handle so perfectly. When you're in your wedding dress you won't notice that ONE rose that so freaking perfectly looked at you from the table your parents were at and that we chose the best centerpiece to go right in your line of vision. But I'm not out here sweating my ass off and managing a team and working every weekend of the summer to have you notice that stuff, I'm out here- because the helmet on the handle and the rose facing you and the dahlia that stole the show on the arbor --those details--- they are done in love. 

When you create from a place of love, that's what makes magic happen. 

And we go get lunch. And we are exhausted. I sleep the entire ride home. We unload the van and joke about next week. And the girls go home. And here's the weirdest part, I go about my normal life that night you are married. Walk the dog, have some wine, hang out with Matt. Go to Meijer. Make dinner. And that entire evening I think of you. And sometimes Matt has to tell me to get off my phone, because I look for signs you are happy. I search your wedding hashtag and see your friends having a ball. One night we went out for ice cream and drove by one of our own weddings, and I saw you out there on the dancefloor, dancing SO HARD with your friends and your new husband was dancing too and I looked at Matt and said "omg she's so happy." It's all so worth it. 

And I wake up on Sundays. And sometimes you've texted me at 2am, or emailed me or somehow gotten a message to me and they are short and sweet and perfect and the fact that you think of the tall loud girl who designed your flowers at the end of the day tells me our clients are the best. And the messages say the most incredible things, "today was perfect." "Best day ever." "Thank you SO much." And I pour coffee and let the dog out and a new week begins. And we get ready for the next group of celebrations.

And now, we clean up a studio, we change it over to produce Christmas wreaths. I put away the special toolkits and mugs and buckets and boxes and boxes of vases. And our 2018 brides are waiting. We even get to flower in January this year. And then in May the busy season begins again, with dozens and dozens of love stories we get to be a small part of. 

2017 you surpassed any expectation I ever had. Anna, Egan, Lily, Matt, thank you for being on this team and making this happen. To the dozen freelancers who came in and flowered your butts off to make magic on a special weekend or two, thank you. To our incredible couples; y'all are the best. 

2017 Wedding season.....

Done. 

xo

K

on why you started.

I get a couple messages a day from women who have businesses, or dream of one day having one. I also get a couple messages a day asking about headbands, hair braids, and what kind of dog Maple is. (Note: wherever I can get them, thanks for the comments, and she's a Bernese Mountain Dog.) 

Most of these messages ask me for advice, for which I am flattered. Because I'm a girl who knew absolutely nothing about owning a business and started one. We had to SAVE UP the $800 we put into a business checking account to start Stems & Sprigs. It's really easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of it all during wedding season. 

I feel like May - September I am on autopilot. One wedding to the next, onto the next, the next one. Our house is littered with lists and notes reminding me of simple things that October - April I can actually remember, "pay energy bill" "get 1/2 and 1/2" "close gate tonight." I still have a birthday gift to send someone. Their birthday was in early July. 

But on Sunday, by myself in the studio. I remembered why I started. 

If you attend Hygge with me this winter, you'll get the whole story. It involves this weird dream about Christmas morning and breaking news and being sad a lot and all that jazz. And thats all true. But at its most simple level, this all started because I freaking love flowers. 

But you see, in Mid July, I don't think of this. I cannot. We are operating at such an intense level that I cannot stop and smell the roses, literally. 

So on Sunday, I shuffled out to the studio and brought Maple with me and she laid on the cold cement floor and I started to make a bridal bouquet. 

And there were no rules. The bouquet was for a styled shoot. Given total creative freedom is like someone saying to me- here's a hunk of cheddar cheese, a bowl of buttery popcorn, a really nice ass glass of red wine & a blankie. It's bliss. 

Wedding work is fun, but there's a ton of pressure. Have you talked to her enough about what 'blush' really is? Will she be mad if the ivory is a bit more white? She doesn't enjoy a lot of greenery, it needs to be wild, she would love something small.... it's a LOT to remember. 

But when there are no rules, no guidelines, no requests- just buckets of flowers and lukewarm coffee and time.... I remember why I started. 

So I made some weird shaped dahlia heavy creation. With dried ragweed and dogwood and a vine I cut off the side of the barn. And as I stood in the studio designing in the silence I was taken back to designing on a ping pong table in a (nearly) windowless basement in an old ranch house in Cadillac, Michigan with no one, in particular, to design for, just a flower order to 'practice' on. And I remember telling my wholesale account manager that the order couldn't be more than $60. And I cut ivy off the backside of that house that day and tucked it in a bouquet and it was weird and I liked it. And I put that bouquet in a vase and set it on our kitchen counter. And my alarm went off for work the next day at midnight and I flipped on the kitchen light and saw that bouquet and smiles and I went to work and couldn't wait to get home and work on it some more, change the shape, practice some new weird idea I had. And I was so excited just to get to create with flowers.

And that's why I started. 

xo

K

 

 

on summer 2.0

I know I know, its all anyone is talking about if you live Up North right now but with good reason, this weather is INSANE. 

It has been so hot. SO HOT. And I've been calling it Summer 2.0. 

We left the farm on Friday night and haven't been back, we've moved into my parents cottage (it has AC) and it feels like we are on vacation. It's really really nice. The mermaid in me swam most of yesterday. It was one of those days where you jump in, then 5 minutes later you jump in again. 

Our three brides this week had their 'fall weddings' without a hitch, and they'll remember them for a million reasons, one of them being their sweltering hot day.

I often get asked if we have a cooler in the studio, we do not. Unlike most florists, we rely on our garage space to do the work. The garage is built into a hill and the doors face north. It stays incredibly cool in there at all times, but on Friday we had to move the operation to the AC. First time all season I moved flowers, and coincidentally it was the first day of fall.

It's weird. Weird to have the temp be this high and the lake is empty. Weird that on the most incredible night of the season we were the only ones at the swimming hole. Bizarre that the traffic in town is basically zero but the water is sparkling. 

As much as I've complained about it. I'm now seeing it as a gift. (Note: this would not be happening if I wasn't sleeping in AC this week) You see, everyone who lives up here, we work like crazy in the summer. It's just our life. It's something we do in order to live in this incredibly beautiful place. And so this little tiny Summer 2.0 is a gift. It's letting us sneak out on the water, and swim, and nap and do all the things our amazing visitors do when they come here. 

Because after Labor Day, even though weddings still happen every weekend, it feels a bit slower. A teeny tiny small little bit slower. Slow enough that you can jump in and jump in again. 

And that's what I'm headed off to do. Until mid-week, when the high is in the 50's. No place I'd rather be. 

xo

K

 

on good enough being just perfect.

In early June this summer we all starting itching for a 'ladies night.' Jules has a 3 week old baby, I was gonna be off Whole30, the weather was turning PERFECT and we just needed some heavy apps and vino. 

So we tossed around the idea of 'going out' for a while. Text threads buzzing and email chains formed. "Lets go to dinner!" "Lets go to that new winery!" and finally, after looking at my schedule at realizing I would be designing all day on Thursday and the last thing I ever want after sweating in the studio all day is to be 'out' I texted back, "6:30 at the farm next Tuesday. Wear comfy clothes, bring an app & wine. Be there."

A year ago I would have gone all out for this. Florals, a 'tablescape', plates that matched and fancy napkins, bistro lights and the whole 9 yards. I would have slaved over some App tray and styled everything just right. And then in the course of a year I learned that sometimes good enough is just perfect.

So I plopped a table in the apple orchard, tossed some weird ass IKEA lanterns in the middle with citronella votives, brought out a stack of plastic app plates and the exact number of wine glasses we needed, cut up some bell peppers, opened a thing of guacamole and that was it. 

And guess what? It was damn perfect. People make the place, and while this is a pretty dang cute farm to look at while you sip rose, the group made it better. I always think of Dina, my wise sage of wisdom in the form of one liners when she once said "I don't really care what we end up doing all weekend, the 4 of us could sit in a church social hall and have a blast." And its true. 

Your life is going to be defined by the people you surround yourself with and making the time to be with them. NOT your tablescape. 

The Gather Series and weddings and private events --- all the other 'hosting' we do at the farm is when we pull out all the stops. Those nights are MADE to be that special. But this random Thursday night in June with a newborn and a 3 year old running through a sprinkler and my husband mowing the lawn while we all scream-talk over the mower sound and a bernese mountain dog eating everything that falls off the table and someone showing up late and someone leaving early ---that's what I live for. 

Hosting can be scary and overwhelming. Trust me. People seem to think I'm some perfect hostess when really I'm far from it. I just know what our basic needs are as humans; food, drink, shelter. And when the food and drink are there, and you're sheltered by the souls of your besties, it can't be beat. 

xo

K