Hygge Retreat 2017

“ ‘hygge’ a Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Pronounced “hoo-guh,” the word is said to have no direct translation in English, though “cozy” comes close.”

-The New Yorker

This past summer I was scrolling through Instagram and stumbled across a picture of chacos and flowers (two of my favorite things!) and saw it was a Northern Michigan florist (then known as Stems & Sprigs and now known as Sweetwater Floral). So I started following the journey of Kalin’s business through Instagram – reading her truthful posts, laughing at her videos and secretly hoping she would share more pictures of Maple.  One day, feeling extra vulnerable and exhausted from trying to balance my creative business on top of my full time job I reached out to Kalin (who at this point was still a complete stranger to me as I was to her) with a word vomit of all my feelings.

I was fully expecting her to be like “Whoa! Crazy girl alert” but instead she took the time to respond to each question and statement of my email novel with nothing but advice and words of encouragement. A few months later, Kalin sent me an email with a question. She asked if I would be interested in a creative business retreat for women to talk about all the feels – and all I could say was where to do I sign up?!

There were so many good feels from this retreat and I wanted to take some time to share my big takeaways from the weekend.

Saying No

I’m sure most of you have heard this concept of giving yourself permission to say no. In theory this sounds great – not feeling that pressure or burden to say yes to things that will actually complicate your life more – but for someone who is a people pleaser like myself, this isn’t an easy thing to do. But what the amazing ladies at Hygge opened my eyes to is the when you say yes to something, you are also saying no to something else. For example, if I say yes to designing and executing styled shoot then that means I am also saying no to more quality time with friends and family.

The other piece to saying no, is not having to justify why. If friends ask me to go to dinner and I am just not in the mood I shouldn’t have to make up excuses of why I don’t want to go, I should just be able to say no. Kerrie Lee Brown has a quote that goes “Saying no is a one-word sentence.” and that resonates with me more than ever now.

Disclaimer: use the ‘say no’ rule at your own discretion. In most professional settings it is not appropriate to say no without justification (i.e. to clients or your boss). Make sure it’s the correct time and place.

Life’s Hand

You know when an opportunity falls into your lap – well that’s what we call life’s hand. Life will lend you a hand here and there and it’s important to grab it. It could be a loan from the bank to start your dream business, someone asking you to manage a pizza store, a friend asking you to do their wedding flowers, or a florist from Northern Michigan emailing you about coming to her retreat. And don’t get me wrong – life’s hand can be scary – but sometimes it’s important to be comfortable with the fear and grab the hand because you never know where it could lead you.

Shouting Into the Wind

Listen up all you amazing creative business owners! The reason why you started on this journey is because you are a unique person with a creative mind – so why are we all trying to sound like everyone else and speak to the same people? We should make sure people know that there is a real human behind that perfectly curated Instagram account and not just a bunch of pretty pictures of flowers and linens with short phrases like “swooning over these blooms”…GUILTY!

We should find our niche, find who is interested in our niche and speak to them. You are shouting into the wind unless you find your niche audience and not much good comes from shouting into the wind.

A Goal Is Just A Goal

I’m a huge believer in goal setting and love how they keep me on track and my eye on the prize. But when a goal is not reached in time, it feels like the end of the world. It hurts my pride and confidence. What I learned is a goal is just a goal. Goals are meant to be hard and challenging and supposed to knock you on the ground. They are what you make them. Your goals could be something like: brush teeth, drink coffee, check email, make dinner…but where’s the challenge in that!? If that were my list then I would still be a girl working her 9-5 job that wants something more.

So make them crazy, make them out there, make them so far beyond your knowledge of how to get there. But most importantly, understand that it is okay if you don’t reach that goal. The world will still go on and there is a new day to make it happen!

Recognize Those Who Sacrificed For You

I’m not a big crier but this topic (and talking about my dog that recently died) pulled on my heartstrings. There are so many people in my life that have sacrificed a lot to get me where I am. My dad holding a well-paying job that he absolutely hated, just to make sure my sister and I made it through college and found careers that we loved, so we wouldn’t be at a job we hated. My mom who has spent endless hours helping me with any and every task for a wedding; from staying up till 2am making floral garlands to rolling whiskey barrels through a venue. My boyfriend who has sacrificed a lot of quality time with me because I have had my nose in my laptop responding to emails, or am sleeping for 12 hours straight after a wedding. He has pulled me off the floor when I was having a nervous breakdown and folded napkins till the wee hours of the night.

There are so many other people that have sacrificed for me on this journey: my sister, best friend, friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. And I could write for days about these amazing people but I want to make sure they know they are appreciated because no one had to do any of those things for me, but they choice to.

If you are reading this and saying “yes!” and Legally Blonde snapping in approval then you I encourage you to consider joining the Hygge Retreat in 2018. You can find more information about Hygge from Kalin here.

Check out some of the pictures from the weekend by the talented The Compass Points Here.




Happy Friday friends.

Brooke Dumas

Brooke is the owner of Stellaluna Events and a top Michigan wedding planner. She is a lover of celebrations by the water, with extensive experience with Lake Michigan and other lakeside weddings. Brooke believes in tossing away the trends and creating fulfilling experiences for her clients and their guests.


  1. Ajab on April 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you for this Brooke. It was lovely reading this and I’m honestly considering the Retreat. I hope the universe works it’s magic and makes it happen for me next year.
    I’m glad that you have such an integral support system that helps you make it through those difficult moments. What would we do without them, right?
    Continue the wonderful work that you’re doing- the best is yet to come.
    *insert Legally Blonde snap*

    • Brooke Depauw on April 12, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thank for your continual kind words lady! If the universe wants it to happen it will. Xoxo

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