When in doubt order a pizza. That honestly made the cut as one of my top entertaining tips. No kidding people. Raise your hand if you've ever been at an event / party / thing and theres a late night pizza that magically arrives and you're like 'this is the greatest thing I can imagine in this moment.' 🙋🏼⠀

There's also a lot of my favorite other tips. About lighting. About flowers. About music. About a bunch of other stuff. ⠀

I love hosting so much that I wrote a book on it. Calm yourselves, its actually a guide. And its free. For you. Want the tips? Totally free. Because I get regular emails from you sweet people asking the best kind of questions and also telling me your hosting success stories and I LOVE sharing info. ⠀

Flowers, food, expectations - its all covered. And you can snag it all at the link in my profile. My little pre-holiday hosting gift to you. ⠀

Happy Thursday babies.⠀

PS- Shot from #TheGatherSeries this summer from @thecompasspointshere

PPS- just go to our homepage and scroll, you'll get a window that directs you ⠀

PPPS- this guide is only free for a few weeks! So snatch it while you can! ⠀

Happy #fridayintroductions everyone! First, a huge shoutout to @thecompasspointshere for this photo from September’s #thegatherseries dinner. What a dreamy evening it was! 🍰
I’m Christina! I love baking cakes, cookies, tarts, brownies (and probably anything else you ask for) and taking photos of my creations and those of other fine folks in this Michigan food community. 📸
When I’m not baking and shooting, you can find me swimming, hiking, cross country skiing, and watching Gilmore Girls (okay fine, I’m probably baking while I watch). 🌲
Sending all the ladies out there mega good vibes for a weekend of getting shit done and getting plenty of relaxation in!

Last night I had the privilege of joining Kalin of @stemsandsprigs and so many other amazing Northern Michigan business owners at #thegatherseries. And it did not disappoint! It was an evening full of laughter, delicious food and new friends!

Some people seem to think living in Northern Michigan is like living with a bunch of redneck, yahoos, behind in the times, just getting land line phones, and where there's nothing to do. ⠀

Let me tell you - there are people of that caliber everywhere ... and to clarify, there ARE kick ass people living in N. Mi. ⠀

If you choose to surround yourself with boring people, that's your prerogative. But know that there are INCREDIBLE, creative, hard working, inspiring people living right around you that are busting their butts to provide amazing services and cultures right here in this area. ⠀

Don't be afraid to reach out, connect, and support people who you think are doing good things. It feels good giving and receiving. ⠀

Because of a matrix of connections, last night we provided smoothies and energy ball samples to a table of incredible LOCAL people doing really cool things. We were honored and humbled and look forward to continued connections with new friends. 💕 ⠀



#thegatherseries came to me on a cold day in February 2016, when we were knee deep in redoing the floors in the living room and I wanted us to meet new people. So I literally created it to make new friends. ⠀

I remember emailing people for last summer and being like 'Hi, I'm Kalin, we own a small lavender farm and I do wedding flowers do you want to come over for dinner?" ⠀

And somehow, 7 dinners, and over 100 guests and countless bottles of wine and delicious dishes and laughs and weird floral centerpieces later - it still brings me that same joy as it did the first time. And weirdly, people started wanting to be here! Really cool people!⠀

One of my favorite parts of each party is when its just us in the kitchen afterward, reflecting on the night and how it went and what we loved. ⠀

Last night's lineup was incredible with @kingorchards @harwoodgold & @thepurplebeet providing a delicious, nutritious and fun meal. I'm continually blown away by the people who travel to join us as vendors & guests and share their talents and spirit and soul and all the things. ⠀

Can't believe we only have one more left this year 😭⠀

Coffee clinks so hard today my friends.⠀


Oh good morning. I want to remind you today that what you're doing matters. Because there are days, a lot of them, where it feels like its going nowhere. Or it feels stale. Or you suck at being a wife, or a mom, or a sister, or a friend. Or your boss makes you cry, or you dream of a different job, or you wish to god that baby would sleep, or your bank account doesn't ever seem to reflect how hard you work, or you have no idea why the hell you got that degree, or people just 'don't get you.' ⠀

Because even on the crummy days, what you're doing matters. Trust me. There was a time in my life where I entered 6 digit numbers into spreadsheets for 8 hrs a day and I SOBBED every morning before leaving the house. Somehow, it mattered. Because it taught me something. ⠀

Planning your wedding matters. Not because of the napkin rings, because you want to be surrounded by people who are there to surround you in love. And going on that damn trip this year no matter what matters, because you need the time. And starting this 'cute little hobby she has and she's trying to make it a business!' matters, because something inside you is telling you that you have to do this. ⠀

Remember that. ⠀
Remember it today because tuesdays can really suck.⠀
It's true every day. ⠀

You matter. 😊 Pretty cool. ⠀


PS- #thegatherseries tonight and I'm over here pulling together some MAGIC in this barn ⠀
PPS- 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼allll the prayer hands for the crazy thunderstorm last night that made our old creaky un-air-conditioned farmhouse upper level go from sweat lodge to sleeping magic in a matter of 20 minutes. ⠀

It's hard to know what to do with a salad this pretty! But I can confidently say that it tasted as amazing as it looks. ⠀

Today on the blog are some shots from this fabulous dinner!⠀

Pic: @bearcreekorganicfarm microgreens at #thegatherseries @sweetwaterlavenderfarm in #petoskey

#thecompasspointshere #eatyourgreens #michiganphotographer #northernmichigan #selfemployed #ladyboss #freelance #stock #tcmi #nomi #traversecity #traversecityphotographer #foodie #foodfinds #eatdrinktc #foodphotography #plated #farmtotable #eatlocal #healthy #veggies

I'm still beaming about the event @sweetwaterlavenderfarm put on this week...Everything was perfect right down to every single detail from the creative minds of the hosts Kalin & Matt.

I mentioned yesterday that I would be headed up to #thegatherseries and as usual it was wonderful. Hearing farmers, chefs, and small business owners share their stories, their hopes, their doubts, and their successes is absolutely my favorite part.⠀

Ok, trying the food doesn't suck either. But there is something truly special about the stories.⠀

Here is @tracywthomson telling us about his latest venture, The Bow Tie Baker. Behind him is the fantastic dessert he shared with us - I'm still dreaming about the rosewater and raspberries ❤️

#thecompasspointshere #michiganphotographer #petoskey #farmdinner #baker #dessert #smallbusiness #northernmichigan #traversecity #selfemployed #nomi #macaroons #cake #freelance #foodie #foodfinds #eatdrinktc #foodphotography #plated #lifestyle #weddingdessert #weddingcake #michiganwedding #upnorth

Per usual yesterday before #thegatherseries started I was overwhelmed. I felt like it was never going to come together and sometimes I'm human and I just get sad. ⠀

Ive written before about something I call 'little black cloud' and hormones tending to allow a tiny little black cloud to get me on random days. Yesterday was one of them. Until our friends started arriving. And then I forgot about my lack of decor, or unwashed hair, or mosquito bitten legs being showed off in a mini dress, or the gazillion unread texts, or the messy studio. And mostly I forgot about little black cloud. Because sometimes delicious food, wine & the best company is just what you need. ⠀

Thank you thank you to our friends who joined us last night. A vendor team that was amazing. They are tagged. Support them and the work they do. ⠀

Happy Wednesday. ⠀
xo ⠀

Honored to be a little part of Kalin & Matt's amazing Gather Series at their beautiful property, @sweetwaterlavenderfarm.
So many amazing entrepreneurs.
How cute are our little charcuterie boards with amazing @petoskeycheese !?
#thegatherseries #entrepreneurlife

From our co-owner Stephanie's experience at the most recent The Gather Series:⠀

Do you know what gets me excited? Meeting and getting to know people who truly and authentically love what they do. My soul recognizes them immediately as kindred spirits. It doesn't necessarily mean that we do a similar type of job or have that many things in common even, really. What we have in common is that we are highly passionate people and pour our hearts truly into what we make a priority.⠀

This is what #thegatherseries is defined to me. A truly exquisite evening to share dreams and friendship, and be recognized in a way that is encouraging and inspiring.⠀

Kalin and Matt Sheik, you have created an event at your farm that has incubated a brand-new series of entrepreneurs who are in search of that "nudge". That last little push to take the leap and dive in fully to what they believe will be a special and wonderful experience for their future clients . ⠀

By testimonial I'm here to say that one year ago I exclaimed at the very first Gather Series dinner that I wanted to have my own restaurant, and one year later on Summer Solstice we opened our doors to our breakfast restaurant @s2s.sugar2salt

Sweetwater Lavender Farm has a permanent marker on the map of this journey. I also know I'm not the only one who has experienced this wonderful growth from attending this dinner as a vendor.⠀

I'm a citizen of a particular group and place that isn't technically recognized on a proper map. From the moment I was born until now reaching almost 39 years -I can honestly say that I know the place around me and more importantly that I'm here because of choices I made, and they are choices that I love. ⠀

I'm proud to say that an amazing friend of mine invited me to be a part of her dream to have a special dinner series at her farm, and in the process it helped my own dream become a reality too.⠀#entrepreneurlife

Last year after the deer ate ALL the hostas we planted in front of our house, I learned that lavender likes lots of sun, sandy soil, doesn't need to be watered all the time, and the deer don't like them.⠀

A year later, this is the harvest I've gathered from only 6 plants! This is also a timely post, because tonight I get to head up to Petoskey to see thousands of lavender plants @sweetwaterlavenderfarm

I can't wait to see how much Kalin & Matt's plants have grown since last year when we were there to watch them all go in the ground! ⠀

#thegatherseries that will be held tonight is one of my favorite Summer events, so stay tuned for pics of a beautiful dinner at the farm. Cheers!⠀

#thecompasspointshere #michiganphotographer #traversecity #northernmichigan #petoskey #upnorth #lavender #harvest #stock #stockphotography #selfemployed #ladyboss #tcmi #nomi #traversecityphotographer #freelance #foodie #foodfinds #eatdrinktc #foodphotography #summer #summervibes

Early American stain on pine....always a win. Our first
#thegatherseries tonight. So excited to be a part of it all 🌿

We toured someone at the farm yesterday. I sometimes feel ridiculous explaining how this idea developed, or why the hell we bought a tiny house, or how its gonna help us, or why we took out that tree or what it'll be like when people buy their Christmas decor here, or how flowers is my full time job, or how I need the 'flow' to be just right, or how the flowers and the lavender all go together.⠀

It's a lot. A big big mouthful. And it overwhelms people. Heck, somedays it overwhelms me. And I see the doubt sometimes from people. The 'those kids are crazy' look. The 'ah it'll get old someday' look. The 'that's never what I expected for Matt & Kalin' look. ⠀

Those looks don't bother me. They never have and they never will. The only look I'm searching for is the one in my husband's eye when he winks at me when we are outside each doing our own thing. I'm hustling flowers and styling tables and he's out here moving hoses and watering and mowing and weeding and keeping this place running. ⠀

And every so often, someone gets it. A lot of times they get it. But I mean like reallllyyy gets it. Gets it so much that they say something like "you two really have it happening here, its a big creative unique entrepreneurial journey this is gonna be crazy to watch unfold" and I'll smile and be like 'yes- yes you get it.'⠀

Happy Tuesday⠀

PS- #thegatherseries tonight! stokkkedddd⠀

image: @rusticrefresh

Individual mini charcuterie boards being made for @stemsandsprigs #thegatherseries

About 90 minutes up the road from Traverse City you'll find Resort Pike Road ascends up and off to the right of US 31. In seconds this road exits you from the coastal and breezy scenic lake views to the whimsical and simple scenes that indicate farm land and cultivation. It's also the passage that delivers you to a little piece of heaven on earth called Sweetwater Lavender Farm - and their special event named #thegatherseries
One year ago the owners Matt and Kalin invited Jonathan and I to be a part of this special dinner as one of the featured chefs for the evening. As we introduced our dish that night one year ago we exclaimed "it's our dream to have a restaurant of our own someday as we are super passionate about everything we are able to create in the kitchen and to serve the guests who trust us to deliver it". One year later we were invited to this table again, and this time to report that our restaurant had just opened successfully five days ago.
Here is a great big shout out and cheers to Matt and Kalin (pictured here at there own dream come true farm) our friends who believed in us and gave us opportunities to do what we love in preparation for even larger opportunities that we now possess every single day in our new place at S2S Sugar 2 Salt!! #entrepreneurlife #breakfastrestaurant #dowhatyoulove #newrestaurant #tcdining #entrepreneur #cheflife #cheftalk #traversecityrestaurant

What a beautiful spread and a wonderful meal at #thegatherseries @sweetwaterlavenderfarm this week! It's so exciting and energizing to talk to other creative people who are creating so many wonderful things in northern Michigan! Thank you to @s2s.sugar2salt @that_french_place and @briansicecreamexperience for the wonderful food! Thank you Kalin @stemsandsprigs for planning and hosting! @fieldguidefarmhouse @foxandfernevents @307events

barn + flowers + gourmet dinner + new & old Friends + great conversation = #thegatherseries Thank you for hosting @stemsandsprigs y'all contact Kalin for the opportunity to gather around this table. It's ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨
Photo by @sweetwaterlavenderfarm

You know those friends who connect you with good people? Keep them. Hold them close and tell them how appreciated they are.⠀

Our girl Kalin over at @stemsandsprigs is the bosslady of connecting good people with good people. We braved the rain to trek over to @sweetwaterlavenderfarm for The Gather Series last night and it was well worth it.⠀

So many new friends. An amazing meal compliments of @s2s.sugar2salt and @that_french_place. It was one of those nights where you just leave feeling full of all the warm feelings.⠀

So, when you see that friend who goes out of their way to introduce you to people who enhance your life in some way, thank them (or at least put them at a table near the bar at your wedding).⠀

Thank you Kalin. You da best.

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