The Living Room was incredible, I wish you could have been there. Next time, definitely next time.
I guess I should start by telling you what it was, and how it began. It began (as many great ideas do) with my cute fiancé Carl.
We were talking on the phone (from our houses 5 minutes apart—I don’t know why we do that), and it was one of those great conversations that ends up all dreaming and scheming and lasts way longer than we intended it to.
He asked me what I want to be when I grow up, which is a question I’m going to ask myself until I’m 99, I’m convinced. And I honestly couldn’t tell him.
He pressed though, and I started talking (the verbal processor that I am), letting whatever was in my brain fly out for him to organize into something that made sense.
And I think what came out went something like this: I just want to hang out with my Lipstick Gospel girls!
To which he replied, “you should invite them to come hang out with you in Atlanta.”
I wont bore you with the rest of the conversation except to tell you that I thought it was a far-fetched idea, until he finally dared me to do it (a weak spot for me), and that my timeline was before our wedding day.
Before!? Are you insane!?
But a dare is a dare, and so I agreed.
I hoped he’d forget about it, but then I made the mistake of bringing it up to one of my girlfriends. Her reaction was the same: “Stephanie, you have to do it. I’ll help you!”
And several other friends echoed the sentiment until I finally took the plunge. I put a post out there just seeing if anyone was interested, and much to my shock, a bunch of you were!
The weekend was fabulous. My sweet friend Suzy transformed a suite at the Georgian Terrace Hotel into a total masterpiece. The weekend was called The Living Room, because that’s how I think of The Lipstick Gospel, and in front of my eyes, that’s what Suzy created.
She brought The Lipstick Gospel to life. It was spectacular.
Lacee flew out from Texas (making me cry the second I saw her), and took gorgeous portraits to use on the girls’ blogs.
Carl became our resident chef, serving up the most delicious food ever, and spending the whole weekend with 14 girls. (The things we do for love…)
I prepared for the weekend a lot, and prayed about it a ton, but the weekend that unfolded was so much greater than anything I could have done on my own.
Not only were Suzy, Carl, and Lacee (Emily showed up too!) the best team a girl could have asked for, but seriously, God stole the show. It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about blogs, it was about him, and his girls, and telling his story as they live it.
It was amazing.
There’s something electric that happens when like-minded people come together for a common purpose, and that weekend, our purpose was to tell our stories.
We came together to talk about blogging practices, what to do when you get rude comments, which is better: WordPress or Squarespace, how to use Social Media without being a narcissist, and how to make an impact through your words.
It wasn’t a conference: it was a conversation—all of us curled up in various soft places, journals and minds open and ready to receive.
We laughed and talked and told stories, and every single person there was brave.
That was my favorite part—the bravery was palpable, feeling cool and refreshing and like lemonade on a hot summer day.
A group of women from all over—women of different ages, and backgrounds, and experiences—convened in this one place and opened themselves up to each other—allowing people to hear their stories, but even better, to influence them.
They were honest, and tearful, and confessed the things they were afraid of, and the things that made them feel insecure. They opened their pasts to each other—the events that had marked them, and the people they wanted to go love as a result.
Then they opened up their futures to each other. They opened up notebooks and ideas and creative spaces previously left closed, and dreamed together about the spaces they could create, the stories they could tell, and the impact they could make. And the best part is: they did it together.
I was nervous about this weekend. I went in cracked and dry and tired—bruised from the events of the last month, and in possession of a new story I never wanted to have to tell.
But these girls were soft places for each other, and for me, as they asked me gentle questions about the layoff, about my story, and about what I’m doing next.
They offered me grace when I needed it, and encouragement, and they offered me their belief. They jumped off the high dive next to me into something new and previously uncharted. And I’m so glad they did.
I am so proud of each and every one of them for the bravery they showed that weekend and for the bravery they’ve shown since. They’re telling their stories, really and truly, and I’m so grateful to be in their corner as I watch them change the world. (You can see their new blogs in the comments below: I’ve asked them to post links there!)
You can request your city, and maybe the Living Room will come to your home next time (in the future, NOT before the wedding.)
And before I close, I want to say a few MAJOR thank yous to the people who made this happen:
Suzy the Sojourner: A huge thank you for doing such a beautiful job creating The Living Room. She’s a stunning stylist, and event designer, and if you are anywhere in the south, I urge you to get in touch with her for any of your styling needs. You can follow her here, and keep an eye out for her blog, Suzy the Sojourner. It’s coming soon!
Lacee Peloquin: A huge thank you to my favorite photographer for doing such a stunning job on their portraits. Lacee (Elle Pea Photography) took all of my Lipstick Gospel photos (including my beloved header image), and took all the photos for The Living Room as well. She just moved to Dallas and if you’re in her area and need photos of any kind, she’s your girl.
Carl Wilson: A huge thank you for being our chef extraordinaire (and the person who dared me to take the plunge). When he opens his first restaurant, I’ll be sure to tell you about it. He’s a fantastic cook and I’m a lucky, lucky future-wife. (And if you want to follow his witty Instagram adventures, you can check him out here.)
Emily Tuttle: A big thank you for showing up and making my heart so happy. I’m so glad you got to offer your wisdom to all of us. You’re a fountain of it, truly.
Heather Reed: A special long distance thank you to my sweet friend who gave me a swift kick into actually doing this thing. We miss you fiercely and cannot wait for you to come home.
And a great thank you to everyone who came. It was my honor to spend the weekend with you. I’m so proud to call you all friends.
Don’t forget to check out their new blogs: I’ve asked them all to comment with links below. And to see more from the weekend search the hashtag on Instagram #LGLivingRoom.