des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

2017 Year in Review


The past few years since our move to Dallas have gone the exact opposite of what I envisioned for HHE and our family. We have grown, learned to slow down and prioritize a lot over those two years. I am so excited for where this business and our personal journey are headed in 2018! Each year when I sit down to write this post, I am in awe and overcome with gratitude for the opportunities, work and joys that transpired the previous 12 months.

I write these posts each year for perspective and to encourage you, my sweet readers. For any of you who think you have let a full year pass with no progress or you creatives who feel like your business will never be what you envision – these are for you. Honestly, I feel that way sometimes, too. However, this exercise allows me to see and celebrate the progress and lessons from the year. I might not have achieved my original goal of having a full time wedding business by the 3 year mark. We haven’t accomplished some of our ‘benchmark’ personal goals either, but you know what? I am right where I am supposed to be and so are YOU! This wonderful thing we call life is a journey and we have to stop to appreciate it along the way to fully live it. If there is anything I’ve learned this year, it is to let go and enjoy the ride. To savor and rest in each season as it comes – make the most of it. You will find so much more contentment and joy in your life if you do that.

So, what happened with Harper Hadley and our family this year? As usual, so much more than I remember (and I’m not even posting it all here!). Come with me down my annual memory lane walk, will ya?

The year started off the way I anticipated the entire thing being – full speed ahead. After a short holiday break, we were in full planning mode to celebrate Lane and Mo’s marriage day on January 14th!

Amidst all of their beautiful preparations and celebration, we also met some new vendor friends, who are still wonderful coffee dates and artists I admire! I also attended the DSE Planner’s Intensive and am still gleaning so much knowledge every time I revisit the content! Planners – you NEED this education – I promise, it’s a game changer!

February was a fun month, both for Harper Hadley and our family! It started off with a working retreat with my sweet friend, Ellen, over Super Bowl weekend. We had so many amazing chats and did a lot of dreaming and scheming!

A few weeks later, we executed my favorite editorial to date out at Dove Ridge Vineyard in Fort Worth! At the time, I didn’t know it would be my only one this year. It was so exciting to have it featured on The Perfect Palette last month!

A few days after the shoot, which also happened to fall on our first angel, Love’s heavenly birthday, we found out we were expecting and the rest of the year changed!

When I say changed, I mean those first trimester woes hit me HARD. It was different than our first two pregnancies, which I took as a good sign. However, it made doing anything besides going to work near impossible. I was up at 7:45 and back in bed by 5:30 pm. Talk about rough! So, we had to reevaluate what the rest of the year would look like overall. That took some letting go on my side, but looking back, it was the best decision for us. I did muster up a bit of energy to spend a day in Waco at the Magnolia Silos with my sister. It was such a fun day!

With the changes in priority for the year, I spent the next few months focusing on our June clients and serving them the best I could. I also was going through A LOT of education behind the scenes and trying to figure out our new direction for next year, as we attempt to balance (ha!) parenthood and Harper Hadley Events with everything else. It was so lovely to attend the DFW Fine Art dinner at 60 Vine and get out among my creative colleagues in May. My dear friend Kristen, of Ivory and Lace Events, hosted that particular gathering and it was beautiful! Not to mention the company was stellar!

We wrapped up May with a styled engagement session for Mark and Dita, that they won in our January giveaway! Working with them was a dream and the day was SO much fun! Our vendor team was also amazing and helped make them feel so special. M & D will be tying the knot in Ohio next year.

Oh, June! I spent a lot of this month meeting with Kaitlyn and her sweet mom to get ready for their Five Oaks Farm wedding at the end of the month. Their wedding was absolutely beautiful, I got to work with some of my favorite vendor friends and we had so much fun!

The end of the month brought my 30th birthday and a host of family celebrations. It was the perfect way to wrap up our ‘season’ this year as I quickly approached my third trimester with munchkin.

Kicking off the second half of the year, we shifted gears a little bit. I started going into family planner mode getting all of our ducks in a row for Baby P. We got our registry knocked out and started settling the house a bit more. On the Harper Hadley front, I attended the second DSE Planner’s Intensive, which was just as amazing as the first! I also began planning out what my 3 month maternity leave would look like.

I think August was our busiest month so far. It kicked off with me attending Creative @ Heart in Raleigh. It was such a wonderful 4 days. You can revisit my recap here and here. It was just what I needed at that time, as I was trying to really get to the meat of what this transition meant for us. Also, there is no substitute for being surrounded by people who get you, as a creative!

We also hosted my mother in law, best friend and her beau for our family baby shower! It was such a wonderful weekend! Then the next week, my colleagues threw us a couples shower. Phew, are you tired yet?

September, my favorite month! It didn’t bring fall in Texas like I prefer, but Labor Day brought my first PSL of the season, which kind of counts, even if it’s still 90 degrees, right?

I also welcomed a new, wonderful couple and their family to the HHE family! We spent September working on their wedding design and I cannot wait to share it with you in the coming months. Let me leave you with this – military, classic, aquarium!

We also had our maternity session with Liz Novi Photography and got most of the remaining baby prep done, including ALL the classes at the hospital. It’s amazing people had kids before those, right!?

Not only were we winding down for the rest of the year, but we got to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. When on earth did that happen?

October was the month we’d been waiting for. Our sweet baby was going to come into the world and our lives would never be the same. While I was on maternity leave from HHE, I was working my day job up until I was admitted to the hospital. I won’t be sharing a full birth story publicly, but a quick synopsis. I was admitted on Monday October 16th for high blood pressure and preeclampsia symptoms (which I did not have my entire pregnancy). Then, after a lot of prayer and waiting, Ainsleigh James was born at 5:27 am on Wednesday October 18th (our due date). The rest of the month was filled with getting to know our sweet baby girl, having Liz come over for her newborn session, and lots of family time with my family and Adam’s mom visiting.

November was a fairly slow month trying to get the hang of this parenting thing. Though, we did make a trip home to Iowa for Thanksgiving week! We road tripped the 15 hours (2 days each way) and Ainsleigh was a champ! The trip was a full week, but it flew by like the wind. We got to take a date day to visit campus and feel like kids again, introduced Ainsleigh to our best friends and Adam’s side of the family and watched a handful of Hallmark movies as a family. For our first trip as a family of three, I would say it was a success – even though mama and daddy were exhausted when we got home.

Alas, here we are in December. It was so fun to dream up new traditions as a family that included finally ordering family stockings (even though they are mammoth!), a tree for Ainsleigh’s room and starting her Christmas Eve box! I’ve always loved sending out Christmas cards, but this year’s was extra special. We doubled it as a birth announcement and it was a different color palette than usual, but that suited us just fine.

Amidst the excitement of the season, I was also so excited to style an editorial with a wonderful team. It was just what I needed to feel more like myself and get into a creative headspace. I’ll be blogging the full shoot soon, but here are some sneaks!

I come back from maternity leave next week and will be diving into wedding and floral designs for our March couple, bringing a few things to fruition and finding the ever elusive balance between parenthood and work. I’m in the process of working through my 2018 Powersheets and goals, which I’ll share soon!

Wishing you all a wonderful and restful last few days of 2017 and all the joy, health and love 2018 will bring!

xoxo, Jenn


Previous Years | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

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