Hold me accountable this season.

Sometimes writing things and sharing them really helps keep me accountable. Because this entire brand has become such a community and you all are so amazing at reading and keeping up and following along that I know you'll hold me accountable this summer. 

That's why I'm sharing this post today. Also- I bet it'll resonate with at least a few of you who have a summer busy season. Because let's face it- 4 months of the year- this shit is cray. We love it. And that's why we do it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I also hope that we remember to give ourselves grace. So before I launch into my manifesto about exercise I'm also saying out loud that some mornings 530 is a bit early to hop in the pool- and sleep is important and that's ok. 

Each wedding & farm season it seems that somethings can easily get put on the back burner (cough cough exercise) so today I'm sharing my 'plan' on how to stay in the best possible mental, emotional, physical shape this summer. Oh and also why I don't wanna hang out with you. (hair flip) 

I gotta keep moving. I've been back in the pool a couple times a week which has been awesome. It is a known fact in wedding world that the second we start go go going we go go go away from the gym. I gotta move this summer. Not move like schlep buckets and harvest lavender move, move like - swimming laps- rolling out my yoga mat & catching an occasional pilates class. 

We don't hang much in the summer with anyone. This isn't because I don't adore my friends or wanna see everyone who is visiting up north, its because every time I say yes to a friend thing it means I'm saying no to potential quality time with my husband. Which is important. My girls totally get this- and bonus they are equally as batshit in summer. So it works. It is nothing personal that you are visiting up here and wanna grab coffee and I say no. It's all about keeping our marriage strong- because my idea of 'date night' is not harvesting lavender in a mosquito swam- its the wine and boat ride afterward. :) 

Groceries delivered. Yup. I did it. I signed up for Shipt and I'm never going back. We have an issue in this house with cooking fresh during the summer. I'm only semi-embarrassed to admit how often we end up making a gluten free frozen pizza OR going to my parents and having dinner with them (love ya Rob & Rick) but having our groceries handled has been making me cook, which I love.

Leaving this farm. I've written before how in the Summer I literally have to pry Matt away from the farm. Yes, there is always approximately 2093283 hours of work we could be doing. But sometimes we need to go out to dinner and hold hands. This year we have one planned 3 day stretch we are going on a family vacation - Matt, Maple and I will be outta here. We do have a 'farm sitter' because things need water and the shed needs filling and lots of things like that. But damn if we won't be packing up the truck and headed north for a few days and I cannot wait!

A fab team. I could not do this all alone. No way. We have an incredible team that works with us each week to keep things running smoothly. I cannot wait to introduce Sam, Erin and Emma to you soon! 

So there we have it. I'm gonna keep exercising. I'm gonna leave this place sometimes. I'm gonna order the groceries without guilt. And I'm gonna lean heavy on this team. 

We bought this place to have you here. I started this flower company to be a part of the most important days in your family history. Its not something we take lightly. So I'm taking care of myself so seriously this summer so you can get the best version of Kalin. :)

See you at the farm.

xo

K

 

This is 30.

Today I am 30. It feels so good. On my 20th birthday I drank cheap $5/pitcher beer with my best friends in Chicago and snuck into a bar with someone else's ID and we danced to Miley Cyrus. This celebration has been a bit different. ;)

I keep telling everyone who asks why I’m so obsessed with turning 30, that it’s because I feel like with each decade of our life we come so much more fully into ourselves. And I like that. I like that I am different than I was 10 years ago. I like that so many things I love have stayed the same. I love the new people that I orbit with, and I adore those who have been orbiting with me since that night of Miley Cyrus and bad beer.

You’re probably here for the list. I know I would be. So here it is.

Here are the biggest lessons I learned in my 20’s.

Darling take care of yourself. - Name a fad diet - I’ve tried it. Name a workout trend - I’ve probably tried it. It took me 10 freaking years but I’ve found what works for me. And guess what? It isn’t anything special. It’s eating healthy foods and moving my body around on the regular. I eat whatever the hell I want. But I realized this decade that when I eat good food, I feel SO much better. I spent the years of 20-24 essentially surviving off camp food, take out, pizza, captain morgan’s & cheap beer. And my body was not happy. I also spent those years waffling between a regular workout routine and then not doing anything for months at a time.

I feel better today than I ever have. And guess what- I’m not smaller. This is a key freaking point. I am not smaller. My pant size has not gone down, but I FEEL so much better. Take care of yourself. Sleep. Rest. Move around. Eat something green and lots of things that grew from the earth. Eat the damn dark chocolate. Have the ice cream cone. Don’t beat yourself up. Listen to your body and you’ll be amazed what it’s telling you.  

And the sleep. My god the sleep. It’s so important. Please please please- get regular sleep. It’s not cool that you can function on 4 hours. It’s not amazing that you ‘don’t need lots of rest.’ It’s self-damaging. Lay your pretty head down and close your eyes and just sleep.

Women need women. I am a firm believer that every woman I orbit with, fell into my life at the exact moment I needed them. I don’t care if you’re married to a woman or a man. Women need women. It’s okay that your friendships grow and change and go through seasons. You are not the same person that you were when you were 15. I will not be the same person when I am 40. Having women who come into your life at just the right time is a beautiful fulfilling part of this journey.

I talk all the time about the importance of friendship. And to me, friendship is NOT someone who makes you feel insecure or less than. So the person in your life you are calling a ‘friend’ who makes you feel  that way needs to be dropped like a hot potato.

Sit at a table with the women who get you. Bonus points if you aren’t wearing a bra and you’re sobbing into a tuna fish sandwich while your bestie is breastfeeding her child and pulling chips out of the cupboard for you. (may or may know this from experience). Triple bonus points if months later the one who you sobbed to is sobbing to YOU while you fetch snacks and she blows her nose into the same napkin you just ate donuts off of. Because life is hard, lady. And your friends are the ones who will be there for you with snacks and tissues and blankets on the couch and will say ‘this is shitty and sad and hard, and we are gonna figure it out. We always do.”

Mom was right. I wish I had the smart idea at 20 to start a list in my phone entitled “things mom was right about” it would probably have 100 items by now. If you read this blog on the regular you know that I am extremely close with my parents. They literally are the damn greatest. And while I am very similar to my dad, (We don’t take shit. We are insanely loyal. Screw us over we basically hope you die. We love sleep.) my Mom was right about so many things. She is the reason our family can function. She is our queen. And she was so freaking spot on about my 20’s. She’s answered countless sobbing mess phone calls. About work, about school, about my health, about my goals, about stress, about my period, about the business, you name it- she can handle it. And damn was she right. Her lessons always come down to patience. Everytime. And she’s almost always the first one to be able to tell I’m running myself down, “I don’t want you to get sick.” Her classic mind reading lines include: “You sound tired.” “It’s okay if you’re upset.” “I want what is best for you.” “Honey, this is part of life.” “Take a deep breath.”

Whoever plays a ‘mom’ role in your life- they’ve got mad lessons to teach you. Listen.

You don’t have to be who you thought you were. -Why am I sobbing right now? I used to tell everyone that by 30 I would be living in Paris, working for CNN. I would never marry. Never have kids. And wasn’t ever going to end up in Michigan. I was a great television reporter. But it’s ok that I’m not that anymore. So much of our 20’s is spent obsessing over our jobs, our careers. Working our way up ladders and shattering ceilings and landing big contracts. And I thought for so long that my path was set for me. Until it wasn’t.

The biggest struggle I had in starting the business wasn’t that I knew absolutely freaking nothing about starting a business, it was that I wasn’t going to be who I thought I was. And that is scary.

But today I see - there were so many lessons in all of this. So many teachable moments. I learned invaluable skills climbing that ladder. I was given incredible opportunities. And it’s okay- that it went in another direction. I’ve written before how without my first career I would never have found my second. This is life people. Take the lessons you are being taught and use them to create something that makes you a better version of yourself.

We are fluid. We are changing. It is ok that you are not who you thought you would be. It’s ok that you are doing something different. Its ok if you want to be doing something different, you can start taking the steps.

Creating will save you. This winter I had a miscarriage. It was, without a shred of doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. It happened to fall the same week I had to teach a workshop. “Can you cancel?” a friend asked me. “I can go teach it” a flower friend offered. “The show must go on” I replied from a blanket hut on the couch, I looked like the Mucinex characters- just setting up shop for 6 days of sobbing in some weird dingy room with no lights on and food scraps everywhere. I hadn’t showered, left the house or worked. I splashed some water on my face and put on an apron and marched my ass to the workshop.

By some miracle Anna was in town and able to work. To this day I don’t know what I would have done without her that night.

“I can’t do this” I thought moments before people started showing up. I was a shell. A ghost. There is this moment at that workshop that I don’t know if I heard her wrong or she really said it but at the moment I wanted to run for the door, Anna was arranging the buckets and I swear to god she said “We. Are. Okay.” who knows if it really happened. But it mattered.

She had set every single thing up. I had just stood there and drank a smoothie with my eyes glazed over fidgeting with my hair and nervously playing with an earring.

And then people started walking in and I reminded myself to breathe air into my lungs and I opened my eyes real wide to stop them from making more tears and I smiled and I started teaching.

I do a demo at each workshop. I talk and explain and show and crack some jokes. And when I finished that demo, I turned it around to look at it and in absolute total shock I said “Oh my god this is  really good” and everyone laughed. Because it is funny. It’s so Kalin. But you know what- it was really good- and for a brief moment- everything was ok. I made something. And it worked. And I was going to be ok. The flowers saved me in that moment. Creating. I’m sobbing as I type this.

The next day I woke up and for the first time in a week I got out of bed and did something. It was like creating had started putting me back together. The flowers had reminded me I’m really talented. The flowers had fixed it a little bit. Creating will save you.

Having a teammate is the best. I’ve spent this entire decade dating / loving on / partnering with / marrying / cohabitating / arguing with / dusting a farm off with / laughing with & smooching on Matt Sheick. We talked the other day about how he has known me this entire decade. We are so different now than we were 10 years ago, but the important stuff has remained unchanged - and only gets better. I freaking love doing life with this man.

Like how we change. Relationships change. Growing together is an artform. When I was 20 you know why I liked Matt? He was fine as hell, he made me laugh and being together was exciting. Everything was fun. Our adventures. Our trips. Our travels. He was fun to hang out with. He was smart. 10 years later he is all those things- and so much more.

Even when he drives me crazy. Even when we are both SO stubborn and so first born and hard working that it can lead to sometimes what I call ‘not so cute’ moments. He is the yin to my yang. I am not an easy person to be married to. I am fun, and funny, and ‘special’ as I always say. And sure- you wanna impulse buy crab legs at Costco, let’s do crab legs! But I am also demanding AF. My standards of human kindness are so high that sometimes I am reminded that I’m too hard on people. But Matt Sheick blows me away on the daily.

Being on a team with him is the best part of this decade. Even when that team was on opposite sides of the globe (true story). Even when that team was broke as a joke. Even when that team didn’t have a single shred of an idea of what it was doing. We were a team. I love you babe.

Moments matter. Things don't. Look, I drive a 2008 Honda Odyssey Minivan with nearly 200,000 miles on it. But I don’t think twice when I’m opening a nice bottle of wine to share with friends. These are my priorities. I don’t care what gets me down the road as long as it has airbags (and preferably cruise control) but the candles burning down and glassware clinking is important to me. Moments. The people who surround you.

I will also inform you that I made my husband drive me and my best friend around town to get late night food last summer when we were drunk and we sat in the third row of that minivan and called Matt our Uber driver and were being ridiculous and the leg room back there is AMAZING. Did I mention it was 8:30 pm? Because #thisis30. But seriously- look into a van all you 30-somethings who are still resisting.

I’ve written before that the carats on your ring finger don’t mean you are more loved and upgrading your lease is not as important as upgrading your standards of happiness. At the end of your life on your deathbed you won’t be reflecting on that handbag- but sure as shit you’ll be remembering the faces you spent time with.  

I’m only just getting started. That’s the best part of all of this. I feel like I am JUST getting going. It’s like wearing shoes that were a little bit too tight, so you get a new pair and they are a bit too loose, and one pair hurts your heel, and another is weirdly not breathable - but then, you get that perfect pair. And they fit just right. You are just now getting going.

I have such big dreams for myself that a rational person would laugh in my face if I spoke them outloud.

Not me. I do not laugh or think I am over dreaming or think any of what I want is not possible. Even on the shittiest of shit days- I can still remind myself its gonna be ok. It will work out.

30 is a blank page. A new chapter. This decade will surely bring everything I want, nothing I am prepared for, everything I’m scared of and things I only dreamed of.

But I freaking cannot wait.

Happy Birthday to me.

Thanks for being here

Xo,

K

The April Blizzard

If you're living under a rock then you may have not heard about the actual bat shit crazy insane 'historical meteorological event' everyone in Northern Michigan lived through 10 days ago. 

It started on Friday. But I was that annoying girl, on Friday I literally was like "this is nothing, its not gonna be as bad as they predicted." 

Saturday Morning: I wake up to a winter wonderland. At least a good 10 inches of snow is everywhere, I'm woken up by the plow truck which is flying down the road, decapitating every mailbox in its path. I start some cinnamon rolls (typical) brew some coffee and think how nice it'll be to cozy in for a day. 

That morning we watch the new version of "Pete's Dragon" and I am crying so hard at one point that I make Matt pause it and look up the ending to make sure Pete and Elliot are reunited because for some reason this is really impacting my ability to function. Spoiler alert: it all works out. 

The wind picks up that afternoon, it's still snowing, sleeting, raining, icing and its dark outside. DARK. We burrow further into the couch, the dog hasn't moved all day from her bed. We drink some champagne. Blizzards are fun! 

Saturday Overnight: The wind is literally howling through our house. At one point I'm convinced this 1880 farmhouse is gonna blow over. I listen to the plow trucks all night and ice hitting the windows. I'm over the blizzard now. It was cool for a day. 

Sunday morning: Holy S*** there is more snow. Like a lot of it. Matt heads out to move some of it, just to get a head start on life whenever we decide to shower and leave our home again. We had the bright idea over Spring Break to take the blower off the tractor because you don't really think you'll get 27 inches of snow in mid April, so he is moving snow with the bucket and its working but not fun. 

We are still watching TV. I haven't changed my clothes since Friday night. So there's that. I look like a swamp creature my hair is so greasy. 

Matt is weirdly motivated to clean our entire house so we spend most of Sunday doing that. While folding laundry I throw my back out. #thisis30 I immediately head to the couch and we start binge watching some weird show on Netflix about people who make their junker cars go 150 mph. It's fine. 

We are talking in the living room when Maple starts going CRAZY. She's barking non stop. We are both annoyed. I walk into the kitchen and glance out where she is barking out the den window- 2 giant trees have fallen in the yard. The wind is howling so badly and has been coming straight out of the east for 2 days. The trees have grown their entire life with prevailing wind from the west. I'm sad. It is however some kind of miracle that both trees missed the studio, house and covered porch. Grateful. 

Sunday night: Matt has school cancelled at 7pm. He opens a beer. I take an advil. We have eaten almost everything in our fridge. At one point I'm putting arugula into cheese quesadillas and calling it delicious. The power keeps flickering. Bless. 

Monday Morning: I eat a Costco frozen organic burrito for breakfast. We leave the house and the roads are the worst I've ever driven on. We go back to the house. While out and about Matt acquires a rotisseire chicken and more la croix. #provisions 

Monday afternoon: at this point I just decide the only thing I can do is nap. It's snowing so hard I cannot even believe this is a place where people live year round. I am convinced it will never melt. The sun will never shine again. It will be winter forever. My phone is just a constant stream of texts from my friends all around the north saying 'is this for real?'

Monday evening: It's blowing so hard and snowing so intensely I cannot see our neighbors in either direction. They aren't that far away. The window in the bathroom upstairs has so much ice accumulated on it its seeping in through some weird phantom home design issue. I want to curl up in a ball and wake up on the 4th of July weekend. We eat more Costco frozen burritos. Send help. 

Tuesday morning: Matt has school cancelled again. He goes out to move snow. Again. Maple has been on bed rest for a little shoulder sprain so that's one positive side of the blizzard- she hates wind and rain so she literally has no moved in days. The only thing I am grateful for over the past few days aside from our house not blowing over is that I don't have to go outside to pee. 

Tuesday afternoon: I think the worst is over. I see cars driving on our road again. Good thing, because if I watch one more hour of Netflix my head will explode. Matt actually seems happy that he'll go back to school the next day. We haven't seen anyone but one another in 4 days really. That's a LOT of quality time. And not like 'we are in Napa wine tasting' quality time, its like 'sorting laundry' quality time. I take a shower, expecting I might be required to be a functioning human again in society soon. 

Tuesday night: it's so quiet outside! It's because the wind has stopped. It's eerily quiet. I'm worried Maple might have bed sores. Is that a thing with dogs? 

Wednesday morning: We wake up and the sun is shining. I shit you not. Sun. It's illuminating the entire house. It's. So. Weird. Matt and I are both outside trying to get stuff in our cars and we look like people emerging from living in a cave. It's so bright I can't even open my eyes. What the hell is this?! Light?! Sunlight?! Even Maple is looking up to the sky and smiling. I swear. Matt leaves for school. I've really never seen him drive out of the driveway so quickly. He claims he's really behind on work. I understand the truth is that I talk non stop and that was a a lot of time to spend locked up with me. 

That day the snow started melting. It was slow and still cold. But the sun was out. Matt and I went out to dinner that night and everything in town was packed. It was like everyone needed to stretch and get out and stop eating the weird freezer burned shit they uncovered underneath the ice cube trays. 

The April Blizzard of 2018 was no joke. I don't think I'll ever forget it. I've never in my life seen weather like that. So relentless. So dark. And for SO long. We are totally used to a snowy day here in the north, but to have something that lasts 72+ hours without a break was pretty crazy. 

I thought maybe I was imagining how bad it was until I started seeing things on social media like "I've lived up north for all my 73 years and never seen anything this bad." "My dad has been plowing driveways since I was born and says he can't remember anything like this." "Northern Michigan is experiencing a historical meteorological event" "Travel on roadways is expected to be impossible, please stay inside." 

Someone messaged me on Instagram saying 'you people in the North are tough!' She's right. We are. The April Blizzard was one that tested us all in a way nothing else have because it wasn't the snow that was the hardest, it was the emotional blow of what the calendar said while it was happening. 

But I'm happy to report that most of the snow is  gone. It was 63 degrees and sunny here yesterday. Mother Nature always knows what to do, she just does it all on her own time.

xo

Broken Vases

The boxes were stacked taller than me on the porch. Vases. They come in big shipments like this because shipping is so damn expensive that I just wait until I can make enormous orders, then curse myself because its so much to unload and inventory. 

The super tall ones are new this year. They are 28 inches tall and heavy and glass. They are so beautiful.They come packaged in an individual box, tons of bubble wrap, more wrap, more tape, a cardboard box. Fragile is written all over that box. "This end up." "Careful glass!" "Set down gently."

Matt loaded them up in a van and drove them around to the studio, "some of those are broken" he told me when he came back inside. "Damnit" I mumbled with a mouthful of scrambled eggs. 

You can tell when they are broken the moment you pickup the box. It makes a musical little melody of glass shards all clinking together. 

I waited a week or so and finally got to unloading and unpacking everything. I ordered 5 of those super tall glass vases. I opened 5 boxes and 4 of them were in a million pieces

It's from setting them down too hard. They are cracked from the bottom up. The top of the vase looks perfect but its dangling on a shattered base. Like so many people I know. 

This has been a weird year for me. On one hand its the most successful year for our companies to date, we are planning and working on an incredible season ahead, a relaunch and rebrand, the tiny house project is one I'm so excited for (come on weather) and the summer calendar of events here at the farm is full and amazing. 

Our clients blow me away on the daily. They make me laugh and they trust us. It's what I literally dreamed up for this company years ago. It's here. It's now. We will kick an unfathomable amount of ass this summer. That's a fact.

And yet, damn there is still so much undone. I thought by now I would have so many things; designers who stick with me, the ability to lessen the work burden on Matt because he already works 239823 hours a week, a new baby, a larger studio space, a pickup truck so we can stop abusing the flower van on the daily at Home Depot, a more organized system for vase storage and inventory, the ability to power through weekends without needing a nap and so much 'me time.' 

But alas. I am still working on so many things. I've been jostled around a bit. Like the vases. But I am not broken. In fact, I'm probably that one vase that made it through shipping. I'm sure she was bounced around, thrown for a loop and banged up- but she is not broken. She's standing in that studio (garage) and ready to work. Ready to hold flowers and make people happy and celebrate big life moments. 

Right now I'm the vase that made it through shipping.

A continuous work in progress. I will never ever in my life think this company is done growing or getting better. I do not settle. I do not lose. I take this so seriously because guess what-- it's serious. 

I built this company with one single goal in mind; create a life that I really loved. I've done that. And yet there's so much more to do. There are really big things ahead for this company. So big I can't even imagine them yet. But I just know it. Because I built it myself. Standing tall. Even after being bounced around a little bit.

Thanks for being along for the ride. 

xo

 

 

A Little Rant

I've written on my Instagram before how much I am sometimes frustrated with the 'highlight reel' our lives have become. I've been trying like hell to put my phone down more and live a little more in the moment and share even more real life, but at times it seems the pressure for it all to be too perfect is insane. 

No matter what freaking stage of your life you are in. You are sad or missing or wanting for something. And with the swipe of your thumb you can spend hours in a rabbit hole looking at the 'perfection' achieved by others who've got it. 

I'm writing today to remind us all that it's a highlight reel. It's not real life. It's a snapshot and one second of an entire day. It's curated and chosen and planned. 

Someone reached out to me the other day about how her business feels like a failure because everyone else is 'so much further ahead than her.' I have a friend who has a literal perfect seeming life on the outside but struggles to get out of her bed in the morning. 

I don't know where we go from here. We are all a part of this problem. One one hand social media has grown my business and brought me such incredible friendships and connections -- one of the other hand- I find so many women who are so consumed by this pressure to be something that it makes me sad. 

Know this. You're enough. You're doing enough. Your wedding will be amazing. Your kids will not be axe murderers because they ate fries and watched a movie. Your have a roof over your head, its ok that it doesn't look perfect inside. That girl with the 'most amazing job' has bad days. The wedding that she had was not perfect, I promise you. Their marriage takes hard work. 

I cruised Target for a little bit the other day, it's easy to see why the hell everyone is miserable, because unless your life is freaking perfect- you need all these things to get you there. You need new clothes and home decor and makeup and shoes and the latest watch and this and that. When you have these things you will be happy. --Not true. And trust me- I LOVE ME a target trip. But damn y'all. 

When you have people to love on and love on you in return. When you have passion. When you have time spent doing something that makes you feel good. When you have connection. When you have experiences - that helps to make us happy. In my mind it all comes down to this human element that brings us together. 

That's it. For today. My little rant had no real point or direction but I feel better. Maybe you do too? We are all in a shitstorm. We are all working to be better. We all need more connection with people we love and less time spent obsessing about what other people have. 

Hey thanks for reading this.

xo

K

 

 

Seasons in Our Marriage.

I have a confession. I have blown off a LOT of plans this year & said no to a lot of things - to just hang out with my husband. 

We aren't doing anything magnificent. We are more than likely watching Netflix, wearing sweats & something is simmering away on the stove. 

Sometimes we head out, and look at real estate we will one day buy, and grab brunch and go to Costco and impulse purchase king crab legs and go through the carwash, but most often- we are just at home. 

We lounge in our little nest (aka the den) we share a quilt on the couch and hold hands underneath it and drink way too much la croix mixed with pom juice. We take a saturday nap AND a sunday nap.

And on occasion we will say 'should we hang out with someone?' 'should we visit people?' and then we look at one another and decide not to. 

I'd rather hang out with my teammate. I think this is a good sign. And this time of year, each year, I begin a little (sorta emo) season of weaning myself away from it just being us. 

You see, when we 'get going' around here. I'm like a bat out of hell. Dinner is sometimes me bringing a bowl of food outside to him, flagging him off the lawn mower and we sit at the rose table and inhale eggs and hashbrowns. More often there is no dinner. We order a pizza or we eat 3 day old pasta salad my mom dropped off. 

We still see a lot of one another, christ we sleep in the same bed everynight, but its different in the summer. My energy is different. I'm always always always talking about a wedding. It is so rarely just us two. There's someone visiting the farm, the team in the studio and then my family on the lake. We are a part of a larger circle in the summer.

And that's why I blew you off this winter. 

It isn't because we don't love our friends, it's because we love one another and this little weird cuddle fest that runs from Jan-April is one of my favorite seasons of the year. I adore the seasons of our relationship. 

And just like the real seasons, the conditions change- but the core of what you're looking at stays the same. 

I adore summer. Nothing makes me all heart eye emoji more than Matt looking around the farm on a summer night during golden hour and commenting on how cool our place is. My happiest days are the ones where we work at the farm all day & design flowers, then drive to my parents for dinner on the porch and yard games or a boat ride and all the dogs are there and we drink wine. 

Without a shred of doubt the hardest time of year for me is September. When Matt is pulled back into his (no exaggeration here) 72+ hr work weeks. I often can be mean and nasty for a few days during my 're-entry' into the school year I am an actual nightmare to be around. Throwing out terms like 'well I don't know why we bought this farm' and 'do you even care about this business?' (I know, you don't have to slap me, I know, its bad.) On a particularly rough Friday in the studio last September I started crying while making a euclayptus wreath, not because of the design work, because I had committed to helping Matt at the football game that night and I can't be in two places at once and my time management had failed me and I was tired. 

(Editor's note: Perks to working with your real sister and then a lady who becomes your sister because Eg & Anna just KNEW what was happening and no one said anything and then they told me to leave and go to football and they handled it. Bless them)

There are seasons in any relationship, and they are beautiful. Even the stressful ones. As we gear up for the next season around here there is less cuddle under the quilt time and more go time. Less simmering pots and more buckets of flowers. Fewer Saturday naps & more Sunday swims. There is no other life I would rather be living.

The routine and seasons will ebb and flow and change as our life does. But it will always remain the two of us as a team tackling each project head on. For every time I've said "can we even do that with our tractor?" or Matt has said "wait what is your plan here with these flowers..." we have surprised one another and cheered one another on. 

I married someone who understands the periodic table of elements and how to measure things so they fit squarely and evenly. He married someone who 'can't really explain it but I can see it in my mind' and can talk to a wall for 3 hours if needed. 

We work together. And I welcome each new season knowing that at the end of it- there will always been winters to cuddle under a quilt. 

xo

K

 

 

 

My Northern Michigan Favs: That French Place

First off, thanks SO much for all your kind emails and words about last week's blog. It seems we are all into 'behind the veil' posts that illuminate the real side of all of this, I appreciate the love! 

I'm back this week with another edition of My Northern Michigan Favs! Whenever we do these I highlight one of my fav spots up north for you to try next time you are in this neck of the woods. 

This week I'm chatting about That French Place in downtown Charlevoix. Emily & Brian are amazing people who just so happen to have an AMAZING little french place where you can get the. best. crepes, sweet treats and coffee. 

I'm a sucker for the Sweetwater Latte (made with our lavender) and a pan au chocolate. What I love most about this spot is their commitment to making food from scratch. Like real food the real way. Where you make things from start to finish (such a concept, I know). 

My absolute favorite thing that Brian makes is his coffee ice cream, and their ice cream became so popular they had to open a spot just for it! Brian's Ice Cream Experience is just across the street from their location of That French Place on Charlevoix's main drag and is open during the summer months. 

In the winter months TFP provides 'dinners to go' during the week, but more often than not I am in there to grab a crepe. Pro tip: go with savory- with swiss cheese, onion & spinach. My mouth is watering! 

Tell Emily I sent you, and plan a visit, you won't be disappointed. Their obsession with all things French comes through in the tiny cafe tables, the effortless atmosphere and their commitment to quality ingredients done simply. 

Crepe Clinks! 

 

 

Where I'm At On Things...

"You aren't doing it like anyone else."

That's what she said to me. An amazing fellow flower sister who I met at a conference last week. She's followed along with this business since we began and her comment meant the world to me. Because I'm not out here trying to be anyone but me. 

My trip to Orlando to learn with Team Flower was both incredible and overwhelming. It lit a fire under my ass for this season. A week ago I would have told you we would going to knock it out of the park this year, but after this conference I can tell you we are going to blow people away. The education, connection and idea exchange was the best part. It has brought to my attention areas we can improve, and it has also affirmed what I'm doing right, the best of both worlds in business ownership. 

One thing I have been really really trying to do since I started all of this is keep it real and take you along with us, the journey in dusting this farm off and bringing it back to life, alongside growing the flower business hasn't been easy- but it is incredibly fulfilling. 

That's why today, I wanted to give you an update of sorts on where we are business wise. I know there are many of you who read this who want to own your own business one day, and some of you who already do! I write these kind of quarterly updates on occasion to keep everyone up to speed with our brand, hold myself accountable and also be able to laugh at myself and how insane my ideas are somedays.... without further ado a good old fashioned "behind the veil" post.... 

2018 Wedding Clients: are so amazing its ridiculous. I have never felt so creatively fulfilled with the stuff on our wedding calendar. We are done taking new weddings for 2018. I'm at a number I feel comfortable with and know that our team will kick ass at. These families that take us in as their own surprise me daily and I'm honored we get to serve them. 

Summer Programming: April kicks off with registration opening for our Summer Programming here at the farm! Eeks! Flower design workshops and lavender workshops are ticketed so if you plan to attend act fast! I chose to limit each one to a very small number in order to be able to: remember names, love on you properly & be able to REALLY give you the attention and time you deserve. Big workshops are fun, but small ones are even better. Read all about it right here. (PS: set a calendar alert for April 2!)

The Squad: A lot of you already know that Egan & Anna are not returning this summer. (Actually still convinced that one of them will show up in August, so it's fine) I got stopped by multiple people at that conference last week who were like "those girls who work with you are so funny." I know people. I know. And while their shoes will be hard to fill, we have offered spots to 3 really amazing women who I can't wait for you to get to know! Bringing on more designers and a studio manager this summer is allowing us to take on more and get this place rocking like never before. Yay! Woman power! 

The garag--(whoops) studio: Holy shit do I have a project waiting for me in the studio. When we finished Christmas at Sweetwater I was so tired I just shut her down and went back into the house. I'm pretty convinced there is an entire family of squirrels just lounging in piles of evergreen and having babies inside urns and compotes. God bless. It's also snow removal season so the tractor is in there and that means that all the shelving got moved for the tractor. I want to take this moment to tell all the little flower dreaming souls out there- if you can avoid making your garage a garage AND studio do it. If you can't, have fun. But in all seriousness- one of my biggest 2018 season goals is organizing a better flow in the studio. I know myself well enough to understand last year I wanted it to look cuter more than I wanted it to function. Well kids, all it took was one year. This year that thing will function. Probably still be semi cute, but holy smokes is that 3 car garage gonna blow us away with its ability!

A cooler: I know a few of you who have a jaw on the floor right now. Because lordy have I ran my mouth off about coolers before. And how we don't need one, and blah blah and blah. Well, when I was at the conference last week and had lunch with a new friend who designs in an equally cold part of the country and she told me that the cooler is allowing her to design weddings on Wednesdays I nearly fell out of my chair. So yes. We are going the coolbot route. I am more than likely about to turn a garden shed into a cooler, becauseeee one day when we build the new studio (a story for a later day, the day after it rains $100 bills on me) I want to be able to move the cooler quite easily. So yay for a spring project! 

The Tiny House: it's happening! Everyday that the ground thaws a little bit my heart skips a beat because the tiny is one day closer to completion! This will be a really fun project to document on social media throughout the spring and early summer. We are aiming to have her open for you to stay in by mid July! 

Camp Sweetwater: is selling so well! It makes my heart swell to think of the group that is coming together for this special event. I can't get over it. I hope to see you there. And to answer a few questions: yes this is the biggest thing we've ever attempted at the farm, no I am not scared, yes there are still tickets. 

Saint Matt: is the freaking best. No real update here except I'm literally madly in love with him and couldn't picture doing all of this alongside anyone else. I also want to publicly thank him for putting up with me on the days I am so annoying I cannot even believe someone married me. Like when I made him watch me for 10 minutes as I popped my head out behind a pillow repeatedly with a new 'character' introduction each time. God bless Saint Matt. 

The barn: It's so funny to me that when we bought this place I thought the barn would be our first big project. I hated it. And now, nearly 3 years later, I cannot imagine it any other way. Sure, one day we will clean her up a bit inside, but if I'm learning anything its not what the floor looked like that people remember when you host them, its how you made them feel. 

The giant wreath: is still up on the side of the barn. It's March. Just keeping shit real here people.

Kalin turns 30: on May 9th. But as Saint Matt reminded me the other day, "you really love your birthday." I talk about this day as if magical things will happen. The skies will part. World peace will happen. Hunger will end. I will find a mysterious package on my doorstep with $100,000 cash in it, red wine will begin burning calories, maple will stop shedding, my knee won't click walking upstairs, the lavender will prune itself. But really, is it time to start celebrating yet? 

The shed: last summer I REALLY neglected the shed when the lavender started blooming. I was overwhelmed and so I started just selling lavender from the shed and completely stopped florals. Not this year. I am officially handing off the 'shed' to the squad for the summer, my goal to loosen the white knuckle grip of control on my business is happening and I am here right now to tell you flowers in the shed this summer, with lavender, and it'll be magic. 

September 23rd: the final Walloon Lake swim of 2017, think we can beat it this year? 

Lavender plants: we have a goal to put a couple hundred new plants in the ground this summer. I'll admit its lofty. Baseball season makes it nearly impossible for Matt to work outside until mid june which will mean most of the ground prep is up to me. I just choked on my kombucha typing that sentence. Jesus take the wheel. I can do this I can do this I can do this...... 

The cutting garden: I'm growing dahlias again this year after taking 2017 off. Please light a dahlia intention candle & prepare for beauty... 

You: yes you! I can't thank you enough for being here. Being a creative entrepreneur can be incredibly lonely some days, but your unending support of this weird ass brand means the world This is a wild ride to be on, and I'm glad you're on it with me! See you at the farm this summer hopefully.

xo

K

Sharing This Place With You

There once was a couple that bought an old farm that needed some love and they worked for 2 full years to shine it up and although it wasn't perfect yet they realized they were ready to really share it with everyone. 

They also love wine and each other and pizza. 

The end. 

What a cute story! Wait! That's our story! This is officially the weirdest and most cheesy intro to a blog ever, who knows, lots of coffee today. 

You read that right. We are opening the farm to groups this summer in a way like never before. We have a full summer program. Just typing that made me so excited and nervous and ready for mosquito bites and dirty hands. 

Putting together a regular events schedule open to you this year was important to us. I can't tell you how often I have people message me asking to visit the farm, or come by in the summer. And for the last two years I've been swamped with wedding work in a way that made events at the farm tough to pull off. 

But this year is different. Because, we have more designers in the studio, we have awesome people helping with the farm side, and because I'm releasing the white knuckle grip of control on every part of this business and realizing that in order for it to be everything I want it to be, I need to ask for help and let things unfold organically. 

When we bought the farm I really pictured it as a place that would be open for business daily with special events on weekends and a gift shop. But what I soon learned is that its too special to be open daily. It needs to be open for small groups who are ready to invest their time and creative energy into absorbing all this place has to offer. 

It needs to be open for yoga, and meditation and working with flowers and cutting lavender. 

It isn't meant to be a regular ol' tourist spot. It's more than that. 

I write about it all the time but it seems everyone who comes here can feel it but there aren't words that describe it. But when its golden hour in the lavender and the long shadows from the pines have enveloped the reception yard and I'm sitting underneath an apple tree having a glass of wine and the breeze is perfectly blowing up the hill and the grass is literally waving in the wind and the sun is setting behind the barn and the lavender smells so good... that's the moment. That's when its so so special. 

Anyone who has been here in this hour of the day gets it. Anyone who has been to a gather series  gets it. Anyone who was at my sister's wedding gets it. This place has some weird magic to it, and we are ready to share it with you. 

The brown earth spotted with snowpiles will turn green. I promise you. And it'll be light out at 10pm. And the bistro lights will be swinging overhead and we'll design flowers and make lavender wreaths. And we'll yoga and focus inward.  And it'll be magic. 

If you're interested in magic at a lavender farm, you can read all about what our plans are right here. Registration for all these evenings will open April 2. I made a really adult decision and capped the workshops at tiny numbers like 10, because small groups are better. There are a couple evenings for each, because I know your time up north this summer is limited. 

A couple of questions I'm already getting:

Why are these events on midweek nights? Because our wedding clients are our priority on weekends. 

Can I stay in the tiny house on the night of my workshop? YES. That is actually an amazing idea. We are not opening tiny house reservations until it's absolutely finished, if you're on our mailing list, you will be first to know when it's ready to reserve. But hell yes, come to a flower workshop, walk out to the tiny that night when we finish and sit around the bonfire with someone you love. It sounds so dreamy I wanna do it. 

Can I schedule a private one of these? For just me and my friends & family? Yes, email me directly for the info / pricing. We can discuss dates! 

Wanna start getting an idea of when you'll visit? Head here for the listing. A reminder that nothing goes on sale until April 2, in the meantime if you've got questions I'm here!
 

Thanks for being here,

xo

 

 

The In-Between Season

Something weird happens each year here at Sweetwater that is hard to explain but I'm gonna try like hell right now. 

I call it 'the in between' and it's early this year. This thing happens where most of the snow melts, the sun starts shining, everything turns into a mud pit, but its still winter. 

And your heart says 'get out there! let's get to work!' and your body says, 'holy shit I'm not ready' and your brain says 'everyone calm the hell down we still have months.' 

But I feel it in everything. We get 3 days of sunshine here in the North and everyone thinks it all starts tomorrow. Because all of us up here are anxiously waiting for go time. 

Living in SUCH a seasonal location has its perks. Matt and I are big fans of going out for date night in the winter and never waiting for a table, never having trouble finding parking and never feeling rushed. The 'fringe season' which to me is Sept - Oct is the best time of the year to live up north; the water is warm, the lake is empty. Other off season perks include; everyone knowing you by name, supporting small local businesses through the winter, and the most obvious- an entire 6 month period with a way more normal and laidback work schedule. 

But this life that revolves around weather is an odd one too. It's insane to me that I make my entire living for a year between May-October each year. It also (sometimes) makes me sad to think about how quickly it all goes by, but then I am reminded of how if it didn't pass quickly I would probably perish. We all know I also thrive on deadlines and insanity so having a dedicated busy season is what I live for. So it all works. 

And so during the 'in-between' each year, we are restless and anxious and ready and a bit nervous. But we've got this, it's what we do. 

And so while I'm dreaming of the days the studio is organized and bursting with flowers and it's light until 10pm and the farm is filled with amazing people and the van is headed to weddings each Saturday morning, I am also enjoying these last few windy, muddy, snow filled days of the in-between. 

It will snow again. Big time. But you see- we've crossed over. The worst is behind us. It'll come and then it'll melt and the base is gone so it won't seem as bad. And it'll get cold again. But it won't be -28 degrees multiple mornings in a row again. And it'll ice again, and Matt will have more snow days- but it isn't here to stay. It's almost like it'll revisit to remind us who is really in control. 

And suddenly, the tulips will poke out and the ground will thaw and the lavender driveway will be back open and I'll dust off some work clothes and head outside. 

The Spring list is insane. Prep the cutting garden. (I can't plant until close to Memorial Day weekend) Landscape fabric / holes for the new lavender bed (aiming for 300 plants). The tiny will have hella progress happening. Re-organize / re-set the entire studio (last year we had some flow issues so it's back to the drawing board with layout) And oh yeah, a giant beautiful enormous incredible wedding in May (happy dance). 

So the in-between list is prepare as much as I can for these projects and then wait patiently (the hardest part) and rest and relax and realize that its early March, NOT early May. 

We'll get there. 

In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be in the in-between. 

xo

K

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 ;)