creative living sisterhood

on creatives, safe spaces, and sisterhood

atx west elm blogger dinner

On Sunday night I was invited to join a small group of Austin bloggers for an intimate dinner at West Elm. Each blogger brought a dish (I made these lemon bars and, y’all, they were AMAZING. Thanks to Meg for the recommendation!) and the conversation was just as good as the food. I didn’t know I could form a crush on a tablescape, but West Elm changed my mind on that real quick. I also didn’t know West Elm was such a committed resource to creatives, especially women, in the local area, and again the evening provided a pleasant surprise.
Before the official topics of conversation even began, each table was deep in discussion about our community: how it’s changed over the years, where it’s going next, and what we can all do to be more engaged and involved. I love events where I get to connect with bloggers outside of my “genre” because it’s so interesting to see how these different, yet so closely related, communities interact with each other. I’m still not confident where writes like a girl falls as far as niche; there isn’t a body posi style blog option in most drop down menus, I usually go for lifestyle or fashion. Though, I think this is one of the big things about blogging that has changed in the last four years I’ve been utilizing this corner of the Internet; we don’t have to fit into a box someone else defined because no two blogs are truly the same and everyone has a uniquely beautiful story to tell. Alright, I know it sounds cheesy, but if you read the title of the post and didn’t think you came here for a whole tray of cheese, you were mistaken. Blogging has, in a lot of ways, gotten back to the roots of the whole thing. Like Livejournal and Xanga from days of old, we’re back to sharing our hearts online and having those “me too” moments bonding over something deeper than owning the same pair of shoes. There is an inherent Sisterhood in what we’re doing here, so we better celebrate it.

So we’re eating our lemon bars and fried chicken and watermelon-feta-basil salad when the conversation shifts from how we can support each other to how West Elm can support us. Our local West Elm, as well as others around the country, have grown to host events lifting up creatives in the community, from popup shops with local artisans to workshops bringing city-dwelling strangers together over the love of crafting. Our West Elm wants to take things a step further, and they’re including the city’s influencers in on it. We were asked to write down what event we’d like to host at West Elm in our wildest dreams, no holds barred. After a few moments of quiet nervousness, we started scribbling and explaining our visions for city-wide co-working, book clubs, personal styling events, and speaker-led discussions. Hearing what all of these creative, smart, inventive women were coming up with was unbelievably inspiring, and West Elm’s enthusiasm for making it all happen could not have been more empowering. Having a safe space to grow and learn and be creative while being a successful and respected woman is something we need more of, both in Austin and in the world, so the whole evening was the definition of cool.

Hosting events is something I have wanted to get up to for a while now, but it’s something that causes me endless anxiety. About a year ago a new thrift shop opened in town and I went to the grand opening with business cards in hand in hopes of convincing them to allow me to host a styling event. Sure, I handed out the cards, but I did absolutely zero follow-up because the idea of inviting a bunch of people somewhere with the purpose of seeing me is terrifying. So maybe I don’t need to put on a styling event, maybe there’s something else I should be doing to share my…whatever it is you come to this blog for with my community in person, offline. I have some ideas, but I’m extremely curious what it is you’d be interested in meeting me for, hearing me speak about, watching me do, etc. I love telling people what it is I think they should do (Host a book club! Design a calendar! Document your journey! are just a few recent suggestions from yours truly), and while I mostly do it because I want to partake in whatever it is they create, I also hope for reciprocation. What should I be doing? What do you want from me? (But like, in a really cool, positive way.)

I have some awesome ideas that I’d love to be able to bring to fruition, and I’m so grateful for the support of West Elm and my Sisterhood here in Austin for helping me sort out how to make it happen.

Speaking of support, be sure to check out recaps of the event from Jesse Coulter and Chelsea Laine Francis (and follow their wonderful blogs!). Also, if you’re local and interested in getting in touch with West Elm to A. host an event or B. be on the West Elm planning team, let me know and I’ll hook you up!

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