Thrive Creatives Retreat

If you follow @conflictedpixie on the insta, you know I spent this past weekend at the Thrive Creatives Retreat in Bluemont, VA - inside my dream home, Retreat at Cool Spring. 8 other creative lady bosses and I were treated to inspired workshops, amazing meals, and girly relaxation by the dream team of Alyssa, Lauren, Rachel, and Rebecca - women I've admired from afar but now am so very happy to call friends. 

The retreat kicked off a little early due to Winter Storm Jonas with a lovely winter soup - Rebecca's go-to recipe and homemade bread. And although we had all started to get to know each other, the cheeseboard and wine at our official 'meet and greet' was a welcome centerpiece to our introductions. We were a group of photographers, handmade business owners, event planners, stylists, dreamers, and doers. As you can imagine, dinner that evening was filled with lively conversation and a delicious risotto prepared by our chef for the weekend, Alyssa's incredible mama. 

We were up bright and early on Saturday morning to enjoy a delicious breakfast (dreaming of the savory scones from Buttercream Bakeshop) and Madcap coffee brewed in a Chemex pot - the best ever!  After being gifted a Day Designer and Appointed Co. Notebook, Lauren and Char (another amazing presenter) walked us through a creative business workshop. We covered finance, marketing, taxes, spreadsheets, motivations all before we broke for lunch knowing we would need to return to some topics later in the weekend. 

After lunch, Alyssa and Rebecca led us through a hands-on styling workshop where we got to play with props to create a visual story. I brought along my new necklace design and some raw materials and I really enjoyed styling, shooting, evaluating, re-styling, re-shooting and ultimately admiring the finished image. Special thanks to Rachel (our in-house photog for the weekend) for her expertise and hand modeling skills! After another amazing dinner, we all gathered in the great room (with a caramel white russian!) to learn how to arm knit. Our handmade chunky scarfs proved a perfect cozy accessory for the chilly weekend. 

Brunch on Sunday morning was incredible...a girl could really get used to being spoiled like this. But there was more work to be done. I really enjoyed the time we spent in small groups - I learned a lot from Rebecca on blogger collaborations and Alyssa gave me a crash course on SLR photography. I think I gained a bit of confidence and won't shy away from using the 'big camera' this year. With our heads spinning over all things business, we took a break to meet Laura Hooper via Skype for an introduction to calligraphy. I became slightly obsessed with the spinach balls (I promise to get the recipe and share!) we had for dinner on Sunday evening and I couldn't think of a better way to end the day than a hot chocolate + popcorn bar and Bridesmaids viewing party. 

Monday was supposed to be our final day but we knew we weren't going anywhere because the road out was still under 3 feet of snow. So we had a leisurely day working and chatting. Our gracious hosts even snapped some headshots for the group - I opted for the underrated chin/necklace shot! Man, we sure got a lot of snow in Bluemont. By Tuesday morning, we were all ready to dig ourselves out so we headed to the parking lot and began the process. After a few hours of shoveling, an angel (with a plow on his four wheeler) appeared and helped get our cars out of the yet-to-be plowed parking lot.

The term 'self-care' is being used a lot lately and for me, this retreat defined it. I AM my business and it will not succeed unless I invest in the care of it. I am so grateful that I was included with this group of women and forever thankful for their shared knowledge and wisdom. I can't wait for the reunion!