What I learned: A weekend free from social media

I have never done one of these social media free weekends or weeks. Golly, I don't even know if I've intentionally gone a day without opening one of my frequently used apps on my phone. It's not for everyone or every weekend, but I'd like for social media strikes to become a thing.  

I learned that I'm really only picking up my phone to scroll. On Friday night, as Cal and I ate pizza and hung out with June, I caught myself picking up my phone at least once every 5 minutes. The very first thing I did EVERY TIME was visit the app folder labeled "Social Media" only to find it empty. When I decided to do this, I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone. I never go on Twitter or Snapchat, so they weren't a temptation. Every time. Guys, that's ridiculous. Not once did I pick up my phone to text or call someone.  

And that brings me to my next lesson learned. I'm not really using my phone to connect with people. I rarely send texts just to say hi to my friends. I hardly ever call anyone, besides my mom and Cal. When was the last time I made an effort to check on someone who I knew was having a rough go of things? 

Thirdly, I use my phone too often when interacting with others. Five years ago, I would have thought you the rudest person if you texted while I talked to you. Now, I do that and then some. Email, scroll social apps, answer texts. Someone could be talking to me (like, real human interaction!!!!),  and I'm just chugging along, looking at my phone. Maybe I do it because everyone else does it and we are numb to it now.

There are apps one can use to track phone pick ups, data usage, activity, and more. Amanda Hedgepeth just wrote about excessive phone use on her blog. (She had a wonderful challenge that I've linked at the bottom here.) I had not really considered monitoring my phone usage until I put social media away for a few days. My biggest enemy in all this is my addiction to social media. In order for me to spend time with my family, hear from the Lord, and rest, I need to break off my dependency from it. 

Maybe you have not considered your social media usage. It might be you haven't ever had a real problem with it. I sure do. And because of that, I'm going to pick one weekend per month to be social media free. I challenge you to do the same. If not an entire weekend, try it for at least one day. You might be surprised to see how many times it crosses your mind. 

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Have thoughts about this? Leave a comment. I would love to hear what you do to limit your social media consumption.  

Link to Amanda's blog post: https://amandahedgepethblog.com/2017/08/03/three-day-phone-use-challenge-salt-air-entrepreneur/

Jennifer & Chad | Williamsburg Winery | Wedding Day Recap

Surrounded by so many warm, kind people, Jennifer and Chad were married on Saturday at Williamsburg Winery. Jennifer and Chad have been together since they were 13 and their wedding day was evidence of a long, developed, meaningful love story. The ceremony was my favorite part! Jennifer and Chad served communion to their guests. It was a precious picture of the kind of love they have for God and for their friends and family. I think I can honestly say I have met one of the nicest people on the planet after interacting with Jennifer throughout the planning process. She is a gem and I'll never get over watching her love on her guests, the vendors, and her new husband. 

It was an honor to work with so many wonderful vendors, all of which worked so diligently to make the day happen. Thank you, Perry Vaile Photography, The Herrintons, East Coast Entertainment (Forest Hill Band), Incredible Edibles Bakery, Evan McKeel, Pastor Tommy Moore, and Williamsburg Winery for providing the BEST service to our clients. I cannot wait to see the photos and video!

I hear there's a video teaser coming SO SOON from the Herrintons. You will NOT want to miss it!!! For now, here are some iPhone snaps to tide you over. :)

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Incredible Edibles did their cake and it was HEAVEN! 

Incredible Edibles did their cake and it was HEAVEN! 

Jennifer has the cutest nieces and I understand why she talks about them so much. ;) 

Jennifer has the cutest nieces and I understand why she talks about them so much. ;) 

Fact: There are a lot of teeth in this picture. Fun fact: Chad is a dentist.

Fact: There are a lot of teeth in this picture. Fun fact: Chad is a dentist.

Jennifer and Chad, thank you for letting me be part of your love story. It was a JOY and I will cherish this day always. Enjoy your honeymoon!!! 

Special thank you to my amazing assistant, Kelsey. You went beyond the call of duty and I could not have done this day without you. 

Meet the Couple: Jennifer & Chad

There are some people you meet in life you never want to forget. Jennifer is one of those people. She came to me through falling in love with this stunning wedding and immediately, I felt like we have been friends for a long time. She is bubbly, sweet, and is an big time encourager. She and Chad's wedding at Williamsburg Winery is going to be meaningful, Christ-centered, and will celebrate the start of their new (and highly anticiapated!) life together!

They have quite the love story. Young love, a time apart, sweet reunion. I'll let them share in their own words...

How did the two of you meet?
Jennifer: Oh, the history we have! 7th grade is where it all began. He stared at me in Mr. Door’s civics class. I was intrigued by his humor and sincerity, even as a teenager.
Chad: I don’t remember the first time we met exactly. It was sometime during 7th grade. I fell pretty quick and hard. It took her quite a bit longer. I did everything I could to have some type of interaction with her during the day. I would like to think my hard work and persistence paid off.  

What has been the best part about being engaged?
Jennifer: The comfort of knowing Chad will forever be by my side.
Chad: One of my favorite parts of being engaged has been when Jennifer and I dream about what our life is going to be like in the future or things we hope to accomplish as a couple.

What is your favorite quality about one another?
Jennifer: Chad is an undercover sweetheart, and I love that about him. I say undercover because he has never been the type of guy full of grand gestures or large expressions of love. However, he expresses his love for people in such a sweet way. He’s going to be such a good dad.
Chad:  My favorite quality about Jennifer is her heart. She has the most beautiful, loving and thoughtful heart of anyone that I have ever met.

What are you most excited for on your wedding day?
Jennifer: I am most excited for the ceremony! I cannot wait to see Chad’s sweet face as I walk down the aisle, with my parents on either side of me. I cannot wait to hear the beautiful music and to feel the love from everyone in the room. I look forward to sharing communion with Chad, my family, and friends. And, I cannot wait to say vows to Chad and become his forever person.
Chad:  I am really looking forward to the moment where we can look one another in the eye and say, “We did it!"

If you had to pick a word for your relationship, what would it be?
Jennifer: Optimism. When Chad and I tackle the world together, we have been able to see the good in humans, situations, and each other. We lean on each other for comfort, empathy, and support during moments of joy and sadness. Having one another as a constant cheerleader and partner, I know the future will be bright.
Chad: Team. I feel like Jennifer and I are meant for one another. I feel like we bring out the best in each other, we push one another and we have a great time through it all. 

Three dreams/goals for your marriage?
Jennifer:

1.     To cherish our time together and focus on the positives in life and one another.

2.     To grow together, while embracing the other’s individual journey.

3.     To embark on an adventure together that serves others. I’m not sure what this will look like – potentially medical missions, volunteering together, or even opening a non-profit one day.

Chad:

I want to continue to fall in love with her a little more each day. I want to be her very best friend for the rest of her life. I want Jennifer and I to make a positive impact on the people and world around us. 

I love this one from waaaay back!

I love this one from waaaay back!

Jennifer and Chad, I am SO EXCITED for the two of you! Thank you for letting me be part of your special day! It is going to ROCK!!!!

Meghan & Zach | Norfolk Botanical Garden | Wedding Day Recap

It is a great stressor for any bride: rain. Meghan and Zach had perfectly planned their wedding at Norfolk Botanical Garden. Their ceremony was to be held outside at Renaissance Court, but Mother Nature had other plans. A last minute opportunity to hold it inside Baker Hall proved to be a lovely plan B. Surrounded by a massive bridal party, family, and dear friends, they said their vows as rain pelted the glass roof. It was cozy, comfy, and fit Meghan and Zach's personalities to a T. Both of them handled the changes with such grace. 

The highlight of the day was watching their friends cover them with love and gratitude from the time they arrived to the moment they all loaded on the bus. SEVERAL times throughout the night, I heard people mention how deserving Meghan and Zach were of a long, happy life together. I couldn't agree more! 

I would like to give a shoutout to the entire bridal party! Not only did most of them travel from afar, but all 20 of them were EARLY to rehearsal. Pat yourselves on the back! I love you guys and hope to see y'all at another wedding! 

You'll see the professional photos from Valerie Demo in the future, but for now, enjoy my iPhone snaps from the day. 

This arbor was legit!!!! Courtney did an amazing job!!! 

This arbor was legit!!!! Courtney did an amazing job!!! 

I wanted to hold flowers while standing next to Courtney hahaha

I wanted to hold flowers while standing next to Courtney hahaha

Photographer Valerie Demo giving some posing notes to the girls.  

Photographer Valerie Demo giving some posing notes to the girls.  

We were soooo thankful for the indoor option of Baker Hall! This building has become an extremely reliable place for me and my little business! It holds such happy memories. 

We were soooo thankful for the indoor option of Baker Hall! This building has become an extremely reliable place for me and my little business! It holds such happy memories. 

Rain plan perfection!!! 

Rain plan perfection!!! 

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Stage Right Lighting and Chef by Design turned this bare room into a wonderland! 

Stage Right Lighting and Chef by Design turned this bare room into a wonderland! 

Ah! Loved Meghan's vision for her centerpieces! Courtney did a great job executing!  

Ah! Loved Meghan's vision for her centerpieces! Courtney did a great job executing!  

They cut a cheesecake instead of choosing a traditional wedding cake. Mini cheesecake pops made their grand entrance after dinner.

They cut a cheesecake instead of choosing a traditional wedding cake. Mini cheesecake pops made their grand entrance after dinner.

By the end of the night, no one could contain their merriment! The Bachelor Boys Band kept everyone moving all night! Love those guys!!

By the end of the night, no one could contain their merriment! The Bachelor Boys Band kept everyone moving all night! Love those guys!!

The happy couple and bridal party left via Truffle Shuttle. The owners happen to be Zach's family and made sure to send one of their best rides!  I am so thankful for Kelsey. She is the best right hand I could ever ask for! 

The happy couple and bridal party left via Truffle Shuttle. The owners happen to be Zach's family and made sure to send one of their best rides! 

I am so thankful for Kelsey. She is the best right hand I could ever ask for! 

To Meghan and Zach, thank you for including me in your special day. I am fortunate to know you and have had the best time over the past 10 months. Best wishes for your new life together! Xoxo 

What it looks like to work from home and how to make it count

Working from home is something I never thought would happen for me. Several years ago, I felt trapped in a job where I sat at a desk all day. I would come home and cry, sometimes hyperventilate from the dread of going back the next day, or decide I was too sick to go in. Finally, I decided enough was enough. I told my boss I quit about an hour before noon, left, and was home in time for lunch.* Flash forward a few years, I started my business and found a company that I wanted to be a part of...I now (mostly) work from home. I must say it is the most wonderful and challenging career change I have made.

*Side note, I would not normally condone just walking out of a job. However, this was a unique circumstance.

Our neighbors probably think we don't have jobs. I mean, more often than not, my car doesn't move from the driveway. I have no clue what most of my neighbors do for work, but I hear their cars leave at 7 or 8 or 8:30 each morning, and I see them return that evening. Maybe they think we are living off our inheritance from our granparents (nope) or in the witness protection program (nope). 

One of the best parts about working from home is getting to stay in whatever clothes I want all day. I wear leggings without a long enough top to cover my bum. I drink coffee back to back to back all day, with a few splashes of ice water in between. It's exactly the kind of work environment I've always wanted. Comfortable. Also, not having to sit in traffic. BUT there is a downside...

Working from home sometimes feels sloppy. Crumbs from my 8:30 am toast on the coffee table at 1 pm remind me I haven't stood up in at least 3 hours. Sometimes, I forget to open the blinds and feel the sun on my face. I trick myself into thinking there are more minutes left in the day and wind up cramming half a day's worth of work into a measley half hour. The quality of work I produce isn't always the best. My self discipline lacks about 50% of the time and I kick myself for not taking advantage of our babysitting hours. 

So, how do I make it count? There are a few tips I can offer that work well for me, but I'm no expert.

  • Make a list every single day. I am a person who writes things down. I have a paper planner. I have paper to do lists. I LOATHE electronic lists and workflow apps. That's not to say I don't use them, but going to my Trello board doesn't feel quite as good as crossing off items on a piece of paper.
  • Give yourself free time. When I worked 8-5, I didn't work every second I was in the building. SHOCKING, I KNOW! ;) I probably took anywhere from 5-10 minutes every hour not doing work stuff. Plus lunch. Get up, stretch your legs, just like you would at any job. 
  • Pick a time to stop working for the day. Sometimes, I have to work after June goes to sleep. That's okay, but I do not do this every night. On most days, though, I aim for a time to put away work and do life stuff. 
  • Get out of the house once in a while. Since my mom keeps June most days, I started picking a few hours here and there to set up shop at Starbucks. All of my meetings with my brides are outside of my home, so I try to schedule my out-of-home working hours with those.

Those aren't groundbreaking tidbits, but they are ways I keep myself on task. I'm a realllllly bad boss to myself and it takes very little to disappoint the boss. Be proactive! Impress your boss (you).

Importantly, I used to talk about getting out of the 8-5 job structure and people told me it was not ever going to happen. Well, look at me now.

Don't let people tell you that you can't. Try hard and make it happen.

Photos: Of Fate and Chaos