Sweet Allison of West of Felicity invited me to speak at The Joyful Influencer conference at The Kentucky Castle in Lexington, Ky.—and as my Uber pulled in the drive, I had to laugh—it really WAS a castle of sorts (well, architecturally considering the horse farms of Kentucky weren’t poppin’ during the Middle Ages).
… even if I was a *bit* nervous to be the girl speaking on perfectionism & media consumption to a slew of style bloggers and Instagram influencers with tens of thousands of followers.
Read on to hear what I learned from 3 days spent among fashionistas of Instagram!
We clinked craft cocktails (aaaand I tried moonshine for the first time, so I got my Southern gold star) and sipped our way through a bourbon tasting, made new friends over the long dinner table, and cozied up for a quiet evening listening to Jillian Edwards serenade us.
Y’all. Jillian has the voice of an ANGEL, seriously. I somehow found her back in 2011, and would listen to “Songbird” (here’s a link to the song!) driving to work in a cubicle job I desperately wanted out of … I just remember crying and driving to that, so hearing it live and tell her how God used that song to minister to my heart years ago was so sweet. Click here to learn more about Jillian.
Saturday morning I got to speak about my eating disorder story and how I have learned—much like I did through my ED recovery—how to work in media and marketing while setting a digital diet that actually works for me.
Digital messages are intermediated—we know this as content creators! Every image is cut, edited, and produced for a purpose. This is neither good nor bad, it just merits that we (and ESPECIALLY we as online business owners and influencers) have a calling to use discretion and discernment in both what we create and consume.
The parallels of media addition and eating disorders are easy to see, so I used my story to illustrate that.
Speaking about copywriting to creatives is easy for me, but diving into details more so than I usually do about mental illness?
Talk about bearing your heart! Let’s just say I’m always thankful for antiperspirant during these talks, wink.
After my talk—get this—we had high tea for lunch!
Mini-pimento cheese sandwiches, herbal tea out of tea cups, and scones? YES, PLEASE.
In the afternoon, dear Ashley Lemieux rocked a talk about how to stand up and shine right where we are.
If you’ve not heard Ashley’s testimony, I’d urge you to listen. Here’s the best podcast interview she gives on it. The minute you talk to Ashley, you realize her eyes aren’t set on this world, and she and her husband Mike loved on two sweet children as permanent guardians from the Phoenix foster system for 3 years. Heartbreakingly, an unexpected court order stepped in and removed the children from their care.
Ashley’s wisdom and ability to hold joy and sorrow in the same hand—and honestly just keep going while her heart’s broken—is weighty and poignant.
We rested (after hearing Ashley’s story, you almost do have to sit and reflect for a while!) and geared up for a PJ party fireside: Bed to Brunch provided PJs and robes all around, and hostess with the mostess Allison set us up with pillows, palets, champagne, s’mores, and a cotton candy machine.
Dear third grade self: PJ parties get better with age.
As the night rolled in, we dove into a round circle, fireside chat about how to show up as influencers and manage our iPhone world with peace and rest for our souls. Naturally, some of us chatted ’til the wee hours by the crackling fire.
Sleepy Sunday morning started with a yoga class from Om and the City’s Jules Hunt—aaaand drumroll? I tackled my headstand finally! It’s been on my 60 before 30 list for two years, and I finally got it with her help. 🙂 Thanks, Jules!
Sweaty hair brushed back, we brunched, loaded up on Darling magazine, and rolled out.
Being around style and fashion bloggers and influencers was new for me—I’m usually around wedding industry and creative entrepreneurs.
But I loved every bit of The Joyful Influencer retreat.
It changed my perspective on the style blogger and influencer niche: these women come alive helping those of us who don’t know much about clothes/style and hate shopping.
They LOVE being able to recommend things that make us feel confident and radiant.
Seeing women who love their jobs makes ME love my job even more … and Allison, I do believe retreat hosting is in your future.
I think I’m hooked now on “outsourcing” all my fashion questions to these girls who know Nordstrom’s website like the back of their hand. 🙂
What a way to celebrate the start of National Eating Disorder Awareness week—so grateful I got to spend time next to 15 strong, beautiful inside-and-out women!