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. 

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. 

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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. 

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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

on a rainy july morning.

I've been waiting on this rain. A slow, steady, hours long summer rain. We need it. The grass is a bit crispy and this lovely storm will save us a couple hours of lugging hoses and watering sod and grass seed spots and the garden today. 

But above all else, it reminds me that this weather cannot stay forever. 

For the first time in a long time as I do my morning emails with hot coffee and giant dog laying at my feet, its dark in here. Like so dark I have a light on. I'm reminded of winter mornings, with my blankies on and socks and the furnace chugging along to warm up the house that we let get to 59 overnight. I'm reminded of spending a few hours hashing out an idea, which seems foreign right now. 

This season is for quick decisions. I yearn to sit and work on the Hygge retreat plan for next year, or wreath workshop dates, or some really awesome cool stuff we have planned for Christmas time here at the farm, but instead, survival mode means I clear an inbox and then start all over again tomorrow. 

The other day I had a moment where I got sad that everything felt stale. The website. The blog. The brand. My brain. But then I remembered that routine is not stale, its safe. And I'm keeping myself safe during our busy season. 

The risky out there bizarre 'lets see if this works' stuff is not for wedding season. Because wedding season is not about me. 

And that my friends, is the lesson. May-Oct is about our clients. These incredible couples who love one another and then love what we do and chose to have us a part of their day. The couples who give us so much grace when I write back "I am slammed this week, can we move this call to next Monday?" Our couples who write us thank you notes that make me cry and leave reviews on the internet that prove to the next summer's worth of couples that we can do it and we will and you'll love it. 

My summer is about them. 

So these crazy out there ideas and big announcement about Christmas at Sweetwater (well I just told ya the name) are for later. Because August September and October are right around the corner with absolutely gorgeous celebrations. 

Thanks for choosing us.

Clinks,

xo

K

 

on summer zooming by.

It would be really easy for me to get sad about summer flying by. It's so fleeting. So perfect. So sun drenched and filled with the most beautiful moments. But I'm not sad. Because the fleeting part, is what makes it so special. 

If everyday was Christmas Eve- it wouldn't feel special. Or the 4th of July, or your birthday, or your semi-annual visit with friends from around the country. We need these special snapshot seasons. So instead of being sad, I'm celebrating. 

June was our busiest single month ever for this business. We flowered for 12 events total. And maybe more crucial than getting the events out the door, was finding a flow with our team for the season. I'm happy to report that I could not have chosen a better crew. Anna & Egan hold down the studio in a way that leaves me confident and feeling so good. And Lily manages our orders so that I never worry. There are more people who jump in to help us, with teardowns and setup and processing and bringing us food and smoothies and treats. Constantly reminded that it takes a village. 

June was quick for you too. By the time summer really got 'rollin' we were sticking our flags in the window boxes and making plans for the 4th. You remarked to a friend "can't believe its July already" more than once, and on the high holy day we swam and drank and sang around a bonfire and ate 2 s'mores and stayed up past midnight. 

July is something else at this tiny farm. It's like someone flips a switch overnight and suddenly the days are passing at warp speed. It's 9:45pm and I'm hanging lavender to dry. 10:15pm and Matt is still mowing the lawn. 

The days are jammed with visitors dropping by to see the lavender and studio and this 'place in person' and I'm over that stuff where I sit and worry about what people think of this place. Is it underwhelming? Not as big as they thought? Not as beautiful? Don't care. It is my heart. My heart in physical location form. And I love it. 

In the winter, getting ready for bed is a meditative and slow process for me. I boil the water and steep the herbal tea. I slide into my alpaca socks and fuzzy long underwear. I wear a sweatshirt & knit while we watch Netflix. I read a chapter or two in a book. I click on the space heater. I look at the radar. "How much snow?" "Maybe need to move snow before school tomorrow." And I take my time. The darkness enveloping the farm at 5pm means that by 8 I am in dreamland. 

Last night I fell asleep with no blankets on me, my phone in my hand and glasses on my face. Soaking wet hair leaving a pool of shower water on our pillows. A box fan whirring in the room, Matt found me semi-conscious and pulled a blankie over me and turned off the light. That summer ebb & flow. 

We went on a date yesterday too. Met friends for a drink at 4:30 and I felt like we were cheating on the farm. We both wanted to go for a drive after dinner so we drove from Boyne City to Charlevoix for ice cream. We held hands. Matt remarked how we can never take this for granted, that we live here. 

And then we came home at 8pm and went back to work. I'm a big fan of this time of day to get stuff done because the sun is so much less intense. We are in the middle of lavender harvest and the landscaping fabric is so damn hot during the day that I can only go for a couple hours. But once the sun dips behind the barn, I can crank out 75+ bundles in no time. 

And so, a girl harvests lavender with a giant dog while a guy installs a sign and goes to home depot and then hops on a mower. And I think to myself all the time, "What do people do who don't have this kind of project? This kind of passion they are chasing?" They go out and see a movie, and they cook dinner (a winter time only activity around here it seems) and they cuddle their babies and they decompress after a long day of work. They unwind. 

I'm proud of us for finding the balance. For making it a priority. I know it isn't easy for Matt to leave for 3 hrs of daylight when the weather is perfect. But I need that time. For us to be normal. 

And someone told me the other day I must be so tired. I must be so exhausted. And sure- some days I am. But this is what we do. And hey- January - March, those months are for rest.

 

xo

K

 

on whole30

I'm starting this blog post on my first day of Whole30 which happens to be my birthday. I'm trying to 'reframe my mindset' that this is a gift to myself. I decided to keep this open in my drafts folder all month and bounce in here on occasion for a daily update. It'll be a lot more real than me writing on Day 30 how freaking great I feel because I know this won't be easy. 

Oh PS- I am only slightly embarrassed how many people have texted me Happy Birthday with wine and champagne emojis and notes like 'enjoy all the wine tonight' --- 30 days without is probably way overdue. 

Peace & Blessings. 

DAY 1: Its my birthday I sleep in a bit. I"m emotional because I'm home alone most of today so my piss poor attitude is a little EW. However, I am pleasantly surprised by how delicious NutPods 1/2 & 1/2 in my coffee is. Its the Whole30 version of 'people who are addicted to organic 1/2 and 1/2' its good! Mom and I snort laugh on the phone for a good ten minutes about NutPod jokes like we are 12 years old. I make eggs for breakfast and I'm surviving thus far. Egan just called me and said 'have you quit yet?' I'm 4 hours in. 

DAY 1 UPDATE: Jules and Anne surprised me with a Whole30 birthday lunch here at the house. I almost cried because I was so grateful. Friendship rules. 

DAY 3: I'm doing pretty well. I miss wine. The afternoon is the toughest for me, I get SO FREAKING TIRED by like 4pm I could crawl in bed. I also notice I have a small headache throughout the day.  I also have a sore throat and feel a bit achey. As to be expected I read. The being tired is the toughest part. And wait- I have a sore throat. I almost feel like I'm getting sick if that makes sense? Its bearable, nothing too crazy, but its sort of that malaise you feel when a cold is coming on. Holy smokes the body is amazing. 

DAY 4-5: I'm 'cruising' as I tell Matt.  A lot of people talk about this part of the program being the one where they want to kill everybody and they have mood swings. This evening Matt and I were talking about the chainsaw because I want to take down a tree so I asked him to teach me how to use it and then this happened ----  " I would prefer it if to get started you use the chainsaw when I'm home only just to be safe." I have a moment where I panic thinking maybe Matt is no longer a feminist, I actually snap back at hime "wait- are you no longer a feminist?" and then I realize its the lack of dairy talking. I am ok. I should not be using a chainsaw at home alone ever. I also really want ice cream. 

Day 8: Today is day 8 for me. I feel really really good. No headaches or any other symptoms. I've never eaten so many sweet potatoes in my life. But feeling really good!
 

Day 11: I'm leaving to go downstate this weekend for my sister's bridal shower. I have a bag of W30 approved things to snack on the entire ride down. As for how I feel I can honestly say I feel really good. Its bizarre. I'm sleeping deeply, my weird red rash around my nose is gone, my eye whites are SO WHITE and I just feel really really really good. 

Day 13: Today was marked by our annual "Chicken Sisters" outing. Where myself, and big group of friends of ours pile into a party bus and go to Dam Site Inn for Chicken dinners and general rowdiness. I was the only sober one. Which was hysterical. At one point my friend Pat (who has done Whole30) leaned over to me on the party bus and was like "please blog about that time on whole30 you went to a chicken place with a bunch of loud boys" --- I had blast. The waiter was like "oh god you're on whole30 at this place" and then brought me a special plate of carrot sticks celery and grapes. I love people. 

Day 16: Real talk: my period started yesterday. I have never in my life felt more hungry. Its a weird little blip in this challenge for me. I was CRUISING- and while I still feel amazing, I am eating cashews and avacados like its nobodys business right now. I'm typically snacky when Aunt Flo is visiting for all the things that I can't have right now; chocolate; a chocolate muffin, dark chocolate peanut butter cups (holy shit my mouth is watering) and a fat glass of red wine. During a weak moment last night I laid in bed and watched Giada make some 'farmers pasta' dish. It was essentially a recipe that goes like this: boil pasta. melt 34232 cheeses together in a pan with parsley and garlic, toss in the pasta, cover in bread crumbs drenched in butter, bake. "Oh screw off Giada." then I went to bed. 

Memorial Day weekend is soon but I have a few things going for me: A- my parents are out of town, meaning our family rowdiness will be way toned down and not as many temptations B- the weather looks 'meh' at best. I'll be sipping my la croix and pom mocktail on the boat all weekend but soon I shall feel like Beyonce...... 

Day 17: My snackiness is so bad at night right now (aunt flo) that I power cleaned the entire first floor of the house the other night. But oddly enough around this time in my cycle every. single. month. I have a breakout. Like a gross cluster of acne (sorry if you're reading while sipping your coffee.) Not this month. My skin is so clear. So thanks W30- for forcing me to deal with a pile of crap I tucked in a corner of the den like 3 months ago & for letting me not have a giant zit this month.... I've searched the entire internet for people writing blogs about being on their period during Whole30- WOMEN WHY AREN'T WE TALKING ABOUT THIS-- this is my biggest challenge so far. I want to cheat so badly. SO BADLY. 

Day 18: I had a dream last night about being at a winery in Italy with my  family and it was so beautiful and then suddenly the waiter turned to me and was like 'none for you Whole30 girl.'  That's nice. One of the biggest takeaways I've had on this entire thing is how good I feel in the morning when I DONT drink wine the night before. Even a glass with dinner (okay also while cooking dinner) seems to leave me a bit bloated in the morning or I don't sleep well at all. Thinking hard about how I may need to seriously re-visit how many evenings I have vino once I'm back to real life. It might be something I try to save for weekends only.  Matt is very sweet and called me on his way home from work to ask if "I would mind if he had a beer tonight" --- a spectator came in the dugout at baseball and called him a dick. I think he needs like 4 beers. He's sweet for asking. 

Day 19: I'm so burned out on eggs. I can't eat another egg. For a few days at least. I stopped eating them like 4 days ago and the memory is still fresh. I hate you eggs. While I'm taking time off I'm realizing that I need so little food to function in the day now. It's bizarre. Some nuts, an avacado, a lunch salad and some veggies and salmon for dinner. Weird. But hi- my jeans are so much comfier. 

Day 21: I can see the finish line but shit it feels far away. I feel amazing. I have great energy, I'm sleeping SO DEEPLY and the weird rash on my scalp is gone. Not to mention (ladies take note) my period that just ended was SO MUCH EASIER TO HANDLE. I'll leave it at that, but like, serious improvement on the pain management side. But holy shit I want to be done with this. Not for any reason other than wedding season being in full swing means I am so hard pressed to prep tons in the kitchen. I didn't grocery shop this week which isn't helping. 

Day 21.9 UPDATE: I'm over this shit. I have weak moments - like right now- where I seriously just want it to be day 30. 

Day 23: I have never in my life seen how much I equate 'accomplishments' with a food celebration. This food - emotion relationship is deep seeded shit people. We finish a tough day in the studio and I am seriously like 'I need a cookie right now because I did a great job today." WTF. I walk with Maple instead, I'm like one of those cheesy PSA ads on the radio about healthy living but once I go do something instead of having the cookie I forget about the craving. 

Day 26: We did a double wedding yesterday. I call the day after weddings my 'wedding hangover' day. I usually just sit bra-less on the couch answering emails all day. I feel so freaking good. It is ridiculous. LIke I can't remember the last time my stomach was upset, or bloated, or my joints hurt. Jesus Christ what is in our food? Wake up call friends. WAKE UP CALL. I'm excited to be done though, there is a cold glass of rose with my name on it. A friend texted me today who asked about W30 and we chatted a bit on the phone about it. She says she can't imagine going 30 days WITHOUT an upset stomach, I tell her its possible. Its really hard some days, but its possible. 

Day 29: I can't believe tomorrow is my final day! The month has flown by some, and crawled by on other moments. I will admit, and this is so weird- I'm a little  worried about the end of Whole30. I've chosen not to do the full 'reintroduction' thing because basically its wedding season, summer, I want wine & all the things rolled into one. So my plan is to slowly check out and see how my body reacts to things, first up being that cold glass of rose, DUH. (Like dead serious I have the bottle chilling in the fridge right now.) But I am seriously dreading a stomach ache or bloating. I love this entire thing of living with a happy gut. My money is on the dairy- but only time will tell...... 

Day 30: *mic drop*

My thoughts / opinions & the part where I try and convince you to do this: Do it. Do it for yourself. I have truly never in my life felt better. Its weirdly one of those silly things that is SO true when people say, 'you don't know how shitty you felt until you feel this good.' I'm serious. 99.9% of it- is a mental challenge. And I liked that. For some reason I feel like this month made me tougher mentally. The food wasn't the tough part, not the prep, not the shopping or the cooking or the planning- its all a mental game. Its a mental game when you're out with friends and family and at social things and its a mental game when its the freaking most beautiful weather ever and you're sitting by the bonfire. It's a mental game when you are travelling away from home. Its a mental game on long days when you have been sweating your ass off working outside and Scoops (cute ice cream place) is calling your name. its a mental game. 30 days. Not a sip of alcohol. Not a bite of a treat. Not an ounce of dairy. You can do it. I promise you. 

So what changed? Whole30 has this thing called "Non Scale Victories" which I love.  Here are mine: clearer skin, weird rash on my scalp - gone, crazy amounts of energy (kicked in around day 20), better cycle this month, dry skin- gone, my eye whites are SO WHITE, my skin is legit glowing, zero bloating (the bloat is what sent me on the Whole30 train, long story about my visit to the doctor where she mentioned I may need a 'reset' to balance my hormones), cravings for anything- gone. And perhaps best of all- I'm tougher than I thought. 

You are not allowed to weigh yourself on Whole30. I loved this part. I didn't do this to lose weight. I legit went down this journey for one purpose: I needed to get rid of this bloating issue. I felt like I had swallowed a balloon for all of March / April.  I actually said to Matt the other day, "I feel so good, I don't care what the number on the scale is." I'm down 14 lbs. Thats insanity to me. I feel like I was never hungry and I ate ALL THE TIME. But your body really thanks you when you stop fueling it with sugar.

Sugar is pretty messed up: Holy shit. Its. In. Everything. And once my body stopped requiring it to function, (this is the ugly part, the first 8 ish days) I felt more in control. 

Fast Tips: Before you start, read the book. Give yourself a full 10 days AT LEAST before your first day - it'll help you mentally prepare. Tell everyone- accountability. Have a buddy -shout out to my girl Meaghan who did this with me and who at multiple times I texted for support. Try and have zero social events the first week. Once I got really comfortable with it all we resumed our normal life, but for the first 5-7 days we pretty much chilled at home lots. We had people over a few times and I would just make a W30 dinner. But it does take a few days to get in the swing of things. 

When in doubt, fry up an egg, mash an avacado on it, throw in some sauteed veggies & then go to bed. 

Cheer my friends.

xo

 

 

 

on when this place actually looks pretty good.

Something REALLY big happened on Saturday night last week. Something that NEVER HAPPENS. Matthew Paul Sheick, the toughest of critics, the most detail oriented, goal driven human I know.... was walking into the house with me, back across the lavender and said, "This place is looking pretty good." 

Before we go any further let me please say this. Here is an example of our life on this farm working outside. 

K: "WOW ITS LOOKING GOOD!"

M: "um we just shoveled one thing of dirt, the project hasn't even really started yet."

K: "YEAH BUT I CAN TELL! GONNA LOOK AWESOME HONEY I AM SO PROUD OF YOU YOU ARE SO AMAZING!"

M: (putting his earbuds back in) "okay yeah- see ya in a while...."

(((move to next project space)))) 

K: "HOLY SHIT! HONEY! THIS LOOKS AWESOME!" 

M: "we are getting there, still a lot to do." 

((((next project)))) 

K: "WE ARE AMAZING! LOOK HOW FAR WE HAVE COME!" 

M: "project list is still really long." 

Matt is the reason this place looks good. But he's a tough critic. This is one of the reasons I love him so much. Our yin and yang. I don't know many flower bosses who have a significant other who can come in the studio and say "That looks really awesome, just put it down now, its done." Or "wow honey, good stuff this week. I like the color." OR "I'm being honest with you because I know you want me to be- this is not your best, start that over." 

Now some of you who are soft might be sitting there being like "omg Matt is so mean, thats so mean." UM NO. Y'all YOU WANT SOMEONE who raises your bar. Who wants it to be perfect. You also want someone who is like "I cannot envision where this is going, but I trust you, so I'm gonna go rip that tree out for you." Someone has to have the vision. The other one has to be able to help execute. 

Okay so, its been 18 months since we moved here. And Matt Sheick has admitted its finally really actually coming together. We spent all of last summer focused on the lavender, so the 'landscaping' and 'maintaining' was a side project. But suddenly, being able to focus on things like grass seed, and the overall 'look and feel' and FLOW of our space has it feeling like something really special. 

And so when we walked back in from our fav little spot on the property and the sun was setting behind the barn and everything is green and blooming and mowed and the random piles of shit are gone and the 3 structures we had moved out of here are now just a grassy lawn space and the trees have been pruned and it feels sorta perfect --- you can see it all. WE CAN FINALLY SEE IT. 

So when Sheick says, "This place is looking pretty good." Well damn. I wanna have a party right then and there. I want everyone to come over. Because if Sheick says it looks good. Trust friends, it looks good.

So yeah, I'm writing an entire blog post about how finally our place looks good. But you have to understand, we make it look this good because we freaking LOVE sharing it with people. And when you come here, for dinner or a wedding or yoga in the lavender or to buy your christmas tree or to do manual labor for me because I've convinced you thats a good idea- I want you to have this little moment that I have everyday, "this place is something special." 

Matt Sheick- thanks for being our project manager and forever my lead design assistant and for jumping in head first on this life project with me. Even when we had the cutest little house on the corner in town with the tiny yard. Our cutest little farm with a giant yard is a lot more fun. :) 

xo

K

on may.

I'm happy May is over. Just being honest. It's a tough month for me because it's absolute insanity in our house. 

May means wedding season prep, and a shit ton of outside work. And it also means varsity baseball kicks into overdrive, so my time actually seeing Matt is limited. And then I feel like a total brat because every time I do see him all we talk about is when we are going to get stuff done on the farm and the project list.

BUT MAY IS NOW OVER. May also has a lot of burn piles going, all the time. We are so country. At least we are NEVER the people randomly shooting off fireworks or guns (I love safety). 

May kicked off with a week full of client meetings. I got to meet with 3 of our brides and it just makes me so damn excited for their wedding. Because when I get to meet them actually in person, so much clicks. Plus I get to introduce myself before I drop their bridal bouquet off to them and I'm crying into a paper towel. #truelife

May also kicked off with my final weekend on the wine and turning 29. We went to Cafe Sante for dinner with my parents and celebrated another trip around the sun for me. It was a perfect little celebration. I started Whole30 around this time. (Full blog post coming soon)

We taught our Mother-Daughter workshop at Bowers Harbor Winery that weekend and it was our last workshop until wreaths! I'm a little emo as I adore this time with our clients / blog readers but no worries- it'll be wreath time before we know it. 

On Mother's Day we sold flowers at our popup shop at North Perk Coffee and I got to see so many hilarious and awkward 13-15 year old boys walk into a coffee shop sort of panicked and say to the barista "DO YOU SELL GIFTCARDS" and they say "yup" and then the boys go "MAY I PLEASE HAVE ONE FOR $20" ---boys and gifts. So funny to me. When in doubt- run to the coffee shop for your mom on Mother's Day. 

We kicked off the following week with a big styled shoot at Fieldguide Farmhouse. It was a giant undertaking with a bunch of vendors, we were a small small part of it- however I did get to trial run the '5 golden rings' as an install. Learned a lot. Cannot wait to show you the images from this. 

My sister's Bridal Shower was the next weekend and it was a blast. I loved seeing so many people who have known us and loved us for so long. My sister is the best, as you all know we are very close, so it was fun to watch her get showered in love. The big wedding is SO SOON! 

We had another styled shoot the following week, it was a fun challenge to play with ridiculous color, like bright vibrant neons and pastels and yellows and orange and blue and cherry reds. These are not your 'typical' wedding colors, so I trialed a few different things with the bouquet. Not just color, style of design, a trick I'm trying to incorporate into structure work and some other weird stuff. When I am set loose on bridals they end up being enormous in the best way, this one was no different. Pics soon! 

The month ended with a Memorial Day weekend for the record books. The entry would read like this: On this weekend in 2017, thanks to Pilates and Moskal Chiropractic and eating healthy Kalin Elizabeth Sheick pruned and weeded lavender & laid landscaping fabric without her back being injured. Let it be known her back survived. I'm serious you all. Pruning & weeding the lavender is no joke. But its done. 

We also learned in May our lavender will be featured ON TAP at a brand new "cidery" going in on our road in July, an apple-lavender hard cider. YUM. Details soon!

Alright June...... show us what you got. 10 weddings and Egan's Bachelorette Party..... we can handle that. 

See ya! 

on april.

Note: This is part of my year in review series so I can better remember and detail 2017 for our family. You can scroll back a bit to read the other months. :) 

April made me happy. It was my time to shake the dust off and remind myself that I can actually design flowers & start putting some wheels into motion for the season. 

We kicked off the month with a workshop at Fieldguide Farmhouse filled with a whole lotta cool ass women. We designed centerpieces and then enjoyed a fleeting perfect Spring day on the porch with a glass of wine. 

The following week I zoomed off to Charlotte for a few days to see Piper, my god-daughter and her mama and papa who happen to be two of my best friends. It was a full 2 days of snacks, walks to the park and rose on a patio. As fast a trip as it was, I was so happy. You know you are where you need to be when your best friend is like "I found these mini cans of rose at Trader Joes lets drink them during naptime."

When I was back on the farm I fell right back into it with leading two amazing women for the day in a private instruction here at our studio. They are both learning to design for weddings this season and so I helped them refine a bit on bouquet work, littles, and fun other weird things we do for weddings. The studio was bursting with blooms with always makes me happy. 

I also got to spend a magical day in Traverse City connecting with some Northern Michigan Event Professionals as I was a featured speaker at a 'lunch and learn' about telling your story. I was reminded standing up there with a microphone in my hand how much I love connecting with people and it was a double triple bonus it being a talk about my biggest passions in life. 

We had one April wedding, Jenny and Austin said 'I do' on a beautiful Spring day in Traverse City. I flowered solo which is always a fun challenge and Lee helped me with install. Friends, I cannot say enough about having a woman tribe who want you to succeed and give up their Sunday to schlep flowers just because they love you. 

I also was fortunate enough to finally meet Megan in person this month. We've been internet buds for a year and she invited me over to her home for a ladies evening dinner. You can read all about it right here, but it was good for the soul and I felt right at home. 

But then- the month was over! It blew in just as fast as it left. April was also a month I started to get REALLY worried about the lavender. But low and behold- Mother Nature is always way more powerful than my stupid ass worrying- and before the calendar flipped to May- those babies were greening up fast. 

April, just like this blog post, a lightning fast blur. 

xo

K

on the lone peeper.

Lately every night when I head upstairs for bed I lay for a few minutes and listen to our lone peeper. 

Spring Peepers are a frog here in the northern reaches of this country that 'peep' at night to attract a woman frog to do adult things with and make a million little peeping babies. It literally sounds like a bird. Its so high pitched and sweet and we have ONE. And he literally makes his peep all night. 

These frogs are pretty amazing. You can hear their call up to two miles away. They can survive subzero temperatures in early Spring. They hide all day under logs and shit sleeping until they are hungry for insects and sex so they emerge from the log and away we go.

We have one single peeper here at the farm. Usually, they are in groups of hundreds, or at least a couple dozen. Not our guy. He stands alone out there. And its oddly relaxing to me. From everything I've read- he will keep peeping as long as he wants to mate, doesn't matter how many lady frogs come by for a visit, he'll just mate, and then start peeping again. I could make a lot of inappropriate jokes here but I'm gonna let you fill them in on your own time. 

Now I'm not one to judge another's story- but I often wonder why this guy is out there alone. Peeping to the beat of his own drum. Its like he looked at his frog posse of bros and was like 'screw this- y'all are bringing me down with you- i'm out to peep in my own land" and he just hopped away to a small old 10 acre farm on a country road in Petoskey Michigan.  Most often peepers stay in these huge groups and sort of take over a swamp or pond, there can be thousands of them, and (surprise surprise) all the men try and peep louder than the guy next to them. (again, fill in your own jokes here.) 

 And now he's out there. Every. Freaking. Night. Chirping away like a little bird. But he's a frog. And his neck blows up into a huge balloon which is what makes the noise and it impresses all the lady frogs. -_-  Regardless, I'm just fascinated by him. 

It's become a part of my day. To lay in bed, and listen to the Spring chorus that is unfolding here in Northern Michigan. I listen to bugs fly into the dining room window most of the day (my office) and a sex crazed frog call out to women all night. A glamorous life indeed. 

Peep to the beat of your own drum. You do NOT need to follow the crowd or live in the swamp with all the other humans you're here with. Find your own water hole and make it your own.

xo

K

 

 

on the day it all came full circle.

I had a ridiculous day Tuesday. So fitting that it was a Tuesday right? Because usually, I hate them. But it was- a day that I could not have orchestrated better myself. The universe was into some seriously crazy shit. Let me tell you. It was a day of everything coming so full circle my heart nearly burst. I was wired until past midnight (y'all know this means it was intense for me).

I didn't really even see it coming. As with most of the best things in life- it took me a bit by surprise. I woke up to realize that it was the 2 year anniversary of our first wedding we ever flowered for. Stems & Sprigs was made to be a flower company that didn't do weddings, just arrangements because I actually thought I could never do a wedding (like, how the hell do you even do that?) but I'm friends now (surprise) with our first bride ever and she posted an anniversary pic on Facebook and I remembered that day. 

Matt and I were clueless. But I consider one of my strongest talents that I can really appear to have my shit together when I need to. So we decided we would flower a wedding on a beautiful Spring day in 2015.  Many of you know the story from here. Designing in the old Cadillac house. At the ping pong table in the basement. I stayed up until 1am (again, very intense for me) making the bridesmaid bouquets and got up at 5am to do the boutonnieres because I had no workflow or clue what I was doing. But we did it. The wedding was beautiful, the couple was happy, and Matt got his first taste of hauling a lot of 5 gallon buckets and handing things to me while I'm on a ladder. #romance 

So I woke up yesterday and got all emo that it had been 2 years since that day. And as fate would have it I was driving to Traverse City that morning to give a presentation on 'telling your story.' On how your story is such an important part of the business you build that it shouldn't be hidden behind gimmicky marketing and weird sales pitches. That wedding- is SUCH an important part of our story. This story. Without it- who knows what this business would look like today. #fullcircle

I spoke to the group without a filter and did not follow a script. When I left TV the only thing I worried about was that I would feel like a small part of me was unfulfilled. The part of me that loves being able to reach a large group of people and connect with them, inspire them and just make people happy. That little part was filled right back in yesterday as I got to see the 'aha' moments happening.

After the luncheon and a couple hours of working at the coffee shop I went to meet some creative badass women for a chat at a Traverse City happy hour spot and low and behold when I walk in the door what do I see? In the foreground- an entire table of my old coworkers- including ONE who is our bride this weekend #fullcircle. There are hugs and 'how are yous' and 'im so happy for yous' and support. General kindness and love. I think about the hours I spent agonizing over 'letting everyone at the station down' or 'will they all be mad at me.' And I'm embraced by people who weren't even in my department but follow the blog and believe in me. And in the background a table of new friends who have all come to me through this weird internet storytelling medium and all own creative amazing businesses and inspire me daily. The juxtaposition yall --the melting together and the universe-- I literally was looking up at the ceiling like - "wait- is this all for real right now?" #sofullcircle #butwait #imserious

 

Later that night Taylor (T Swift) and I were invited to the Brys Estate Wine Dinner at the Cooks' House in TC. You remember Taylor, she worked with us for 6 months and kicked ass last summer in ways I could have never imagined. But what you don't know is that on the longest of long design days in that leaky old part of the barn Taylor and I would talk a LOT about what was next for her. I pushed her (sometimes too much) to talk out loud about her dream job. One that if she could design it herself -- what would it look like? We discussed her strengths and what we knew were her 'non negotiables' and it looked a lot like- a hospitality management position for a family owned business that focuses on wine and events and is well branded and is in northern michigan and allows her to be creative and still play with flowers and be social but also be a workhorse (shes one of those people that needs to be busy, like for real). Okay- still with me? So we design this dream job. And I set out hell-bent on finding it for her. 

We need to time travel again. But hang with me.

4 years ago reporting for the morning show I am assigned a liveshot one morning with a 'guy representing a winery.' He shows up for the live-hit and we are instantly hitting it off. Like so much so that I go over my time for the live shot- and my mom texts me afterwards "who was that guys- your best friend?!" I immediately form a connection with Patrick and later get to meet and equally begin to love his husband Erik. The rest is friendship history- filled with adventures and wine and a lot of 'good lord I'm grateful the universe brought us together' moments. 

Time travel again- September 2016- for The Gather Series I invite Pat and Erik to join us as a vendor and represent their winery "Brys Estate" which is in Traverse City (you see where this is going right?) I'll spare you all the details--- but thanks to a lot of people believing in one another and knowing who needs to meet who- Taylor starts her dream job next Wednesday at Brys Estate as their Hospitality Manager. To say I am proud is an understatement. And to say I am excited for the incredible Brys family to welcome T to their team is an understatement. 

So last night Taylor and I joined Pat and Erik for dinner as their guests. A 'passing of the torch' if you will. I watched as Taylor represented her new brand with pride and my little heart almost burst that the girl who found me on Instagram and reached out for an internship and helped run our company last summer was all grown up. And the friends I met at a liveshot are now her coworkers and it's all so damn perfect.. #fullcircle. 

And the cherry on top of it all? That bride 2 years ago? Jesi? Taylor found us because Jesi was her instructor at CMU and Instagrammed a photo of her wedding and tagged us as her flower tribe. Thats it. #fullcircle

So who knows where 'person zero' is in all of this. It's maybe a news station in Northern Michigan. Or an instructor at Central Michigan University. Or maybe its a guy who moved back from california to run his family's winery on Old Mission Peninsula. Perhaps its my husband who said he would 'do whatever I need to do to make this wedding happen for you' when I told him I was too scared to do a wedding. Maybe its the manager that took the chance and put me on a morning show. Maybe its my mom always telling me I was 'destined to be in front of people.' Perhaps its instagram leading Taylor down a clicking frenzy to find a small company in Petoskey that needed help for a summer. But I do know this- never in my life have I realized how connected we all are. 

Not on our screens. Not at happy hour. But this human element. We are all scared and overwhelmed and finding joy in little things and dreaming of something different for ourselves, and saying 'out loud' what that dream looks like just might be the difference.

You need people to take a chance on you and believe in you. It makes all the difference in completing the circle. 

xo

K

on why I chose to do it this way.

Oh good lord this is nice. The coffee is hot. I'm writing to you from the couch. Pup at my feet and its a movie-set worthy grey and rainy day. I feel like I should be wearing a petticoat and running across and English moor to my beloved on horseback. You get the visual I'm sure.

 I spent much of yesterday designing alongside two awesome women. They are growers and designers and farmers and all the flower things I love- but they are looking to move into weddings this season and wanted to see first hand how I do things. 

When I started the business, I had read a LOT of books and blogs and watched all the youtube videos about what NOT do to when you own a business. There are obvious ones like - screw over your customers, lie cheat and steal, be untrustworthy -those are pretty clear not only in business but also in life. 

But one thing I see as a reoccurring theme over and over in this creative sphere is this obsession with not showing all of our cards. Being helpful but not TOO helpful. Mentor people but don't tell them EVERYTHING. It's interesting because I feel I get more when I give more. 

When one of us does well locally in the wedding industry - we all do well. Its simple as that. I am all about helping and teaching and connecting and sharing and answering the weird text and instagram questions and empowering everyone. One of our beloved #StemsSquad ladies from last year is flowering her ass off in Detroit right now and actually killing it. The weekend of her first wedding I was answering all the questions- happily. I want others to succeed.  She nailed it. Not because I helped her. Not because I taught her. Because she did the work herself. But you know what helped? That I believe in her. Can you imagine trying to build something up you love and believe in yourself but know that others out there don't want that for you? EW. The energy you put out towards others is real people, and reflected in their ability to do the work and call it awesome & it also reflects back on you about the success you have in this world.

NOW. I am not all butterflies and rainbows. We all know this. I hate bullies and baddies and assholes and people who are two-faced and wanna start shit for no reason. Not cool. I'm also a businesswoman so I'm not out there giving away all the keys to the castle for free- but I'm not 'forgetting' to answer a text asking me where I get my vases from. I'm not charging people who email me asking for advice. I'm not billing women who want to meet for coffee and discuss their business plan and I'm sketching out package ideas on a napkin for them. Because I love this. And because I believe in everyone having a fair shot at being able to do exactly what it is the hell they want to do. 

All of our behavior is learned. And here is where I want to tell you why I am this way. My parents are the two most generous amazing people on this planet. They would literally do anything for anyone and not expect an ounce of anything in return. They are smart, hilarious, funny, hardworking & total #lifegoals. I grew up watching them host and love on everyone in their inner circle in a way that is SO authentic that it was authentic before using authentic was like the coolest most authentic word. 

But they are also private. And I love that. 

Someone in town the other day told me 'you must have a gazillion people over all the time!' I smiled and told them- not really. As much as I love, at my core, hosting special events with people and bringing people together to connect. I really love my family time. My inner circle. My sibling time. Thanksgiving when its just the 7 of us. My friends who see me bringing them a roast into the dining room while I'm crying from period cramps and wearing my yoga pants. When its just Matt Maple and I sitting outside burning a pile of brush and drinking wine. When its just me and my god daughter going for gelato on a warm Spring day. Yes I am wildly public about all of it -- but please know, that a lot of it is still just for me. 

I chose to do it this way because I love watching others succeed. I love saying "you know who you need to meet...." and then months later they are collaborating. I love at The Gather Series strangers meet at a table and the next week are hugging at the farmers market.

Connection is one of the most beautiful, fruitful & easy human elements. Thanks for letting me connect with you right here. 

xo