October 2, 2013

The Shoes Spills // Designer Vaca 2013

2013 Designer Vaca | grownupshoes.com

(all photos by Grown-up Shoes)

I spent this past weekend at the sun-dappled Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, against a backdrop of swaying palm trees and sleepy mountains, with about forty-five incredible designer gals as part of Designer Vaca.

This trip couldn’t have come at a better time. As I’ve mentioned, these first weeks of freelancing have been a big adjustment (hence the lengthiest blog hiatus I’ve ever taken!) and, coupled with my computer crashing, made for a challenging September. It was so wonderful to take a breather and be with a group of girls who has gone through exactly the kinds of business growing pains that I’m going through and to hear them speak so candidly about their own experiences. I’d love to share some photos from the trip + a few notes on our adventure with you:

2013 Designer Vaca | grownupshoes.com

(The branding at the Ace is so cool; I took about five of these coasters with me)

Early Thursday morning, Chelsea and I hopped a plane to Palm Springs and landed around 10 AM. It was so nice to check into the beautiful Ace Hotel, hang out by the pool, and eat the best fish tacos I’ve ever had (I literally ordered them three times over the weekend; on our last morning when I was deciding what to get for breakfast, Chelsea laughed and goes “Fish tacos?”). We even got massages and went into the steam room! First steam room I’ve ever been in; I had my glasses on and as soon as we opened the door they fogged up:)

Later, our darling roommates Emma and Julia arrived (loved meeting these girls!) and we hung out with all the other gals over dinner and sangria.

2013 Designer Vaca | grownupshoes.com

(Emma, Chelsea and Julia at our breakfast table)

I loved having breakfast the next morning in the pretty, sunlit restaurant before heading into Q&A panels for most of the day. In each session, three or four girls would get up front and talk about a particular topic: when to quit your day job; client relations; alternative careers in design. And in doing so, they shared their story of how they got to where they are. I was surprised by the number of self-taught girls there were just like me, and it was so wonderful to hear everyone’s personal story of how they got where they were and the difficulties and unexpected turns they faced in getting there. I think everyone’s story from the outside, especially if it’s a successful one, seems like it somehow just came to be; we forget that inside every person’s story there are many other stories of tiny successes and failures that all built up to where they are now.

2013 Designer Vaca | grownupshoes.com

My favorite message that I took away from the weekend was simply to trust your own path. To be wherever you are wholeheartedly and to trust that every opportunity, client and even mishap is part of your own journey. There have been moments in the last eight weeks where I’ve felt overwhelmed by my workload and unable to see the bigger picture or even mentally get past a mountain of a to-do list; but after Designer Vaca I feel differently. What once looked insurmountable now  looks manageable (especially with the help of my two new wonderful interns!). I feel more confident in my abilities and in my gut to do what needs to be done and to create the business and the life that I want for myself.

After this weekend I feel really clear on where I’m headed, but also happy to take my time getting there.

Want to read more posts on Designer Vaca? Check out posts from
Veda House (Cassie makes a great point in this post, that was also one of my favorite moments of the weekend)
Jane Reaction (cutest pregnant lady ever!)
& Kathleen (this gal was such an incredible wealth of knowledge and confidence; wanted to soak up every word she said)
Love this Resources Post from sweet fellow Austinite Becky that details some of the books/apps/products that were recommended by girls over the weekend


  • On my Reading List  / 

    […] Carvalho Ana Perkins Ashley Cadaret Becky Murphy Brianna Burton Cassie Pyle Erin Jane Riley Heylen Thienes Jaymee Zeller […]

  • patti  / 

    Love reading your recap and everyone else’s. I hope next year to make it! Loving that floral tunic you were sporting : ) xx – Patti


Leave a comment

Go back to previous page