A Much Needed Getaway For One
This past week, I prepped a chest freezer full of foods (which went untouched by the way) for my husband to refer to when feeding the kids and left for 3 nights to Las Vegas. I didn’t technically go alone. I went with a girlfriend of mine who was really the main reason I felt compelled to go. You see, I am a hobby stylist for Stella & Dot, which means I sell enough to fuel my accessories addiction, but not enough to consider it a full-time job. When I first became a stylist five years ago, it was that creative outlet in my life that allowed me to satisfy my fashion interests while earning some money on the side. Things got serious with my business in my second year just before I had my first baby, when I earned a decent income for my part-time hours. I invested in my business by attending Hoopla, Stella & Dot’s annual conference and leadership training. I went my first year, second year then after having my baby, my business naturally fell by the wayside as I made the decision to be more hands on with my family. In the last few years, I have stayed on due to my love for the accessories, and the family of stylists I have met along the way. I stay active enough to maintain my business and team, but it is clear that my priority has been my family more than my business. Thus, I haven’t been to Hoopla for almost three years. But in the past year after having my second son, I was starting to feel burnt out and the balance of being a mom vs everything else I identified with was weighing heavily towards the mom side. Something had to give.
A fellow stylist on my team, who I met at a trunk show when I first moved to Toronto in early 2016 expressed a desire to attend Hoopla. I respect this lady a lot. She is both an amazing mom and busy elementary school teacher. She works her Stella & Dot business when it fits in with her schedule, much like myself, and absolutely kills it in sales when she does. When she signed up to be a stylist, she never intended to grow her own team, but people were naturally drawn to her enthusiasm and energy for the business, and before she knew it, she hit Star Stylist (the sweet spot in our business) within her first year. When she mentioned that she was interested in attending Hoopla, a part of me was ready to say “Great! You go, but I won’t be able to make it.” I had to pause and seriously ask myself, why? In past years, I have blamed it on having a newborn or my husband’s busy travel schedule. But I seriously couldn’t use those excuses this year because 1) my baby was over a year old now and 2) my husband was actually not traveling that week. I think the main reason that was stopping me from even considering going was the fact that I was a hobby stylist. I couldn’t justify going because my business was more of an interest, rather than a big money maker in this season of life. In the past, I have attended Hoopla with some pretty fancy titles and been invited to exclusive leadership parties, but this year I would be going as just a stylist. But do you know what? I realized that was okay. In fact, many stylists who attend Hoopla do it without the fancy titles, with many of them returning the following year with a fancy title. I think in some ways, that is the point of Hoopla. Go as you are, and leave inspired.
This year’s Hoopla didn’t disappoint. Sure, I didn’t leave with big lofty goals, but I left energized (which isn’t hard to do when you vacation without your kids), full of great new tidbits of wisdom of living life well (beyond my business), and I left with strengthened friendships. I reunited with some west coast girlfriends and met some faces I had been friends with on social media. So I am grateful to my stylist and now good friend Mikaela for pushing me beyond the “mom zone” and getting away for a few days, sans family. Although we did discuss how fun it would also be to attend with our hubbies in the future. There was enough down time to hang out by the pool and go out during the evenings.
As for Brené Brown who was supposed to be the keynote speaker for Hoopla and another major driving force for me to actually attend this year, she was unable to make it. She unfortunately suffered from a major concussion the day before she was expected to speak, which obviously meant she was in no shape or form to get on a plane and speak to a room of over 3000 women. I pray that she is healing well! Initially, I was disappointed, despite being completely understanding of her situation. But I knew that God had me attend Hoopla for other reasons. It was to get some overdue “me time,” recharge and perhaps even sleep in a little. Stella & Dot was able to bring in another bestselling author last minute. His name is Shawn Achor and he is basically a happiness expert. Watch his Ted Talk on his website here. He had some great nuggets of wisdom that I felt would really benefit my well-being and business. For instance, one of the practices he recommends for increasing overall well-being and happiness is to practice a conscious act of kindness for 21 days in a row: an example would be to write a 2 minute positive text or email praising/thanking someone in your life. I have started with this, and feel that it is a habit I’d like to adopt for every day of my life. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with old friends from afar. Don’t be surprised if you get a text/e-mail from me in the coming weeks!
I’ll end with some advice for moms who are contemplating going to Hoopla next year, or any getaway for that matter. If you are feeling burnt out, or feel a few days away from your kids would probably do you some good, just do it. Once you are there, you might initially find it hard to relax, and possibly even feel bouts of guilt (especially when you get texts from home notifying you that one of your kids swallowed a dime). But hopefully when you are lounging by the pool, or you wake up from a good night’s rest, you will know this is exactly what you needed to be a better mom, wife and a woman overall.
P.S. I am curious what you think of the new Stella & Dot collection? Tell me your top picks in the comments!