Love is worth it. If there is one thing I learned over and over again this last year is just that.
It's funny, Joe and I were just chatting about how much has changed in just a year – how much we have grown and how much we went through in order to grow. 2013 brought a lot of surprises and change – despite all of it – I'm sure glad we went through it all in order to get to this happy place we're at now.
2013 was a really great year. It wasn’t spectacular like 2012, (hello married life!) but it was great in a way that only hindsight can give you. I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for it. It was a year of growth, change, gratitude and as the year began to close, immeasurable blessings.
So without further ado, let's walk through it as friends, hand in hand.
January greeted us happy and motivated fresh from the Jersey Shore. We started, (unknown at the time), – a long, exhaustive and disappointing adventure of house-hunting. I started the process of legalizing my little business under my new and much loved married name. I designed a logo from scratch using inspiration from the mother/daughter hummingbird sun-catchers I found for my mom and I back in 2011 and my lovely hummingbird tattoo that I had inked on me after their divorce to remind me to be strong - as strong as these little precious creatures are. Hummingbirds are solitary and extremely fierce fighters. My hummingbird sun-catcher hangs from my rearview mirror and the way it catches the sun so beautifully just inspires me to live like a hummingbird. Not only does it remind me of her (since our relationship isn’t as close as it use to be) but it reminds me to be patient and strong. Read about my journey here.
In February, we celebrated seven years together. I surprised JD with his 14 Days of Love -14 handcrafted love cards sent to his little apartment everyday via snail mail. He surprised me with my ticket to the Making Things Happen Intensive and we celebrated with a bottle of Moscato at our favorite little Italian joint.
That same week I held a Valentine's Giveaway, and had more entries than I ever expected. For all those who entered thank you so much for all your support & love. Read about that here. My heart is overwhelmed by your encouragement. (Honestly, 2 entries would of surprised me!)
March rolled in and I took the craziest and longest road trip of my life. My loaded down Celica and I hit the highway full-speed to Chapel Hill, NC, to attend Making Things Happen. I left that conference room two days later with a happy heart and a head swimming of hopes, desires, aspirations, big BIG dreams and more lists than imaginable. I made lists of what fires me up, lists of what distracts me, lists of who does and does not support and encourage me and I made a very long and very scary list of my fears. I admitted in my small group that I’d rather lose a happy husband, than have a miserable one. I discovered the only person who needed to be happy about me adding florals to my services: was me. I admitted that I fear what parenthood will do to our marriage. I discovered that I’m terrified of not being happy – I fear turning 40 and feeling as if life just passed me by.
I drove home that weekend a little slower taking in the scenery with a full heart, a big to-do list, a big dream and my head held high. You can read all about my MTH Experience here.
I got my new and much adored IPhone in April and joined the wondrous world of Instagram.
I learned ever so quickly the importance of quality photos and learned what a hashtag was. I am humbled everyday by my growing followers. I love that I have made so many new friends and connected with so many talented like-minded creatives from this little world of photos. You can view my feed and see some behind the scenes snapshots of what's going on here. (Don't forget to say hi!) A big hug and a heartfelt thank you goes out to all my beautiful and encouraging followers, who inspire, support and encourage me every day. Your sweet comments, hearts and kissy faces just make my day!
I also attended a small SBA workshop for new business owners as well as a workshop for aspiring florists here in Springfield. I learned very quickly that competition and scrutiny in our area is fierce. I also learned that my love of different textures, blooms and colors is really not the "norm" around here - so I guess if you're looking for a quirky gal, that likes to combine lots of different blooms and textures, spray glitter on em and toss confetti - I'm the gal for you.
I brought home my little brother’s Pomeranian, to take care of him while he was going through some changes and that foxy ‘lil ‘pom has brought so much joy, excitement and laughter to our lives ever since. (We are hoping to permanently adopt him! Fingers crossed!)
May brought thirty to my attention faster than a speeding bullet. I started worrying more about time ‘marchin across my face, rather than time just ‘marchin on. JD took some time off and we celebrated my birthday with kick ass tickets to see the amazing and gorgeous Carrie Underwood and dancing completely sober under the stars. I didn't wear cowboy boots but we held hands and hoped for our own "All American Girl."
Mother’s Day came and I hosted a small and sweet styled shoot. See the pics here.
I spent the following weekend pampering my little sister for her Junior prom - it's crazy we were matched so long ago and I get to see her become a lady - lil Miss I am so proud of you and grateful everyday you came into my life.
And then just like that Cassandra Dattoli Events became legal and an official business -- I received all my licenses and legal materials. Then wham - I met several potential clients, both beauties asking me to do their florals. I decided to step into my fear – and said yes. I hit the ground running with several clients and lots of big dreams for the rest of the year.
June and July came in and out in a blur. I decided to re-brand my little boutique business and open a shop for my handmade and love crafted items. (Coming Soon!) The more I dove into the branding process, the more I realized I wanted it all. A brand you can recognize and want to come to for inspiration and know how. The summer brought too many flowers for far too long in our kitchen.
I helped a close friend throw a bridal shower for her sweet sister with nothing short of peonies everywhere! Oh Christine I loved helping you with this amazing shower. You put your trust in me and I will forever be grateful.
JD's bestest friend came to visit for the Fourth of July and we stayed up a little too late and I heard way toooooo many Seinfield and Dave Chappel jokes in a 3 day period. (Seriously, tho..the two of them finish each other's sentences) We took a break from house hunting and made our scary first appointment with a fertility specialist.
We took a long weekend and drove out to the lake to celebrate a 45th wedding anniversary. The weather was perfect, we kept our phones in the car and vowed to make it 45 years together. Big congrats and much love Aunt Joyce and Uncle Butch—you are so giving, loving and supportive. You are what family is meant to be and inspire and encourage Joe and I every single day. We can't wait to host you in our new house!
August brought JD home for the annual IL State Fair and I spent a good portion of August prepping for my amazing Labor Day couple and helping a sweet mother organize her daughters' bridal shower. (Photos coming soon.) I tied too much burlap & stuck too many “eat, drink, & be married” stickers to mini favor bottles of wine.
JD and I had a rough go when he was sent to the south Fair for 2 weeks. Through friends, family and lots of tears I managed to let go of my fears, trust my instincts and my husband. I learned just because a person is a sworn officer and friend doesn’t make them loyal, respectful, honest or faithful to the sanctity of marriage. Rebecca: I am so, so grateful for your friendship I wouldn’t of gotten through this without you. Miss Cheyenne, big hugs to you for being my rock, little sister. You both are such huge, huge blessings. Dad – you supported me through it all. I am so lucky to be able to call you dad and best friend at the same time. I love you.
September started with a hot and sweaty bang. I had a huge Labor Day fete (read 200+ guests) with the cutest couple who were such a joy to work with. Their day was truly a joining of new family and their unconditional love for each other reminded me of all the reasons I started my little business.
I worked the hardest I’ve ever worked and sweated more than I thought was humanly possible. I successfully saw my Labor Day couple jump the broom with big smiles in the blistering summer heat. Shannon and Ollie: I am so blessed to have been a part of your amazing day. You two were a joy to work with. Your love for each other and sense of family completely inspire me. P.S. Shannon - I still haven't told anyone the rad dance moves your dad rocked outside of the tent. Yupp! - he's still got it! Just love you guys! (Posts are forthcoming as we are still awaiting submission permissions.)
The following weekend I had my first ever florals only wedding for a chic & rustic couple that know more about lumber and wood-grains than you could possibly imagine.
Shay & Graham: I loved being a small part of your beautiful wedding. Your personal vows still move me to this day. Thank you for your faith in me; you two are destined for greatness. Miss. Cheyenne, words cannot begin to describe the gratitude I feel for you and how blessed I am to have you as my little and as my amazing assistant. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
October greeted us with a sweet smile and we celebrated our first wedding anniversary by wandering through a huge pumpkin patch and eagerly cutting into the top tier of our wedding cake. My wedding-anniversary post and video are over here.
Tears of joy sprang, when the long awaited call came that brings JD home Spring 2014. God is so good. We resumed our house-hunting with a fury and cried happy tears when we found out we were pregnant, and cried even harder 6-weeks later when we miscarried. For all of you who have prayed and sent your encouraging love we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Then in November, JD turned another year older, another year wiser, his eyes became a little bluer and he grew ever more handsome. I watched him go to work more, we spent more time together and in the midst of the blessings we had already received, we came across a builder at an open house.
We fell in love with the floor plans, with the location and with the ever so spacious lot & layout. We signed on the dotted line & began making grown up decisions for a home we will close on in early 2014. Read about our journey here. We spent Thanksgiving just the two of us in JD’s little one bedroom apartment, with a turkey that looked burnt to hell, but tasted like sweet honey heaven.
December came with a burst of snow and ice. The MidWest was hit more than once with the "polar vortex" and Snowpocolypse was upon us. We ran too many errands for the new house. We spent way too many hours at all the home improvement stores and dare I say; I think I jumped up and down in pure uninhibited joy far, far too many times. We played in the snow, we built a pitiful snowman and we watched foxy ‘lil pom frolick like a mini deer in all the snow. And just like that it was Christmas Eve and we were rushing around trying to see our loved ones – waking up Christmas morning like little kids to our traditional cinnamon rolls and JD leaving far too soon to go on-duty. In a blink of an eye- I’m sitting in the ER barely able to breathe with a fever of 103: Bronchitis. I slept through the last days of 2013 and the first weeks of 2014.
It seems so strange to be so prepared for a New Year. I think in so many ways, JD and I have been prepping and planning for a new year, a fresh start and a whole new life for months now. We are so ready to start this New Year bright eyed and bushy tailed.
In 2014, I want to love myself a little more and if it's even possible love my husband a lot more. I want to grow my brand and my business and take Cassandra Dattoli to all new heights. I want to set great goals in every aspect of my life both personally and professionally. I want to get my feet wet and my hands dirty. I wanna put my best foot forward and throw comparison out the window.
With that lovelies – I leave you – to be your best self EVER.
2014 I am so ready to make you all mine!
From my little white space to yours: Happiest New Year! Much Love