Bree Ryback

Vol 9: The Real Life of a Mompreneur – Not Even Close to “Doing It All”


Image: Maggie with Pop! Wed Co

One of the most common things people say to me is, “I just don’t know how you’re doing it all”. I guess my social media life must be showing a slightly altered version of my realty these days, because I couldn’t feel further from successfully “doing it all”. Yes it’s true that I wear many hats, working a full time day job, running this wedding blog & business as my side hustle, and doing the mom thing for just over a year now. And maybe to some of you it looks like I’m “doing it all”, but I am here to tell you today, that I am not. And that it’s likely impossible for anyone to “do it all” without something dropping or your priorities majorly shifting.

A few years ago I watched Shonda Rhimes’ commencement speech at Dartmouth on this very topic. This speech has stuck with me all this time, but I’ve never so fully realized the words she spoke until lately. One of my favorite excerpts is this part:

“Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.

If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff.”

Though for me it’s not as grandiose as un-edited TV scripts or missed scenes, it’s empty days on the blog, un-responded to emails, never started home projects, outstanding wedding gifts for friends, or the standing up of the #CapRoShop that I’ve been trying to finalize since January.

I’ve always been a do-er. It’s my type-A nature that has me feeling anxious when things are incomplete or unfinished and I much prefer to just DO something once the item pops up, rather than take a wait & see or “oh I’ll get to it at some point” approach. But when you become a parent, there’s a whole slew of things that get added to your to-do list, that you can’t really account or plan for. And it makes the to-do list so long, that even I can’t seem to completely cross every item off the list.

So my latest challenge has been to accept this. To understand that “doing it all” is truly impossible, and instead of being upset, angry, or depressed about the fact that I am not doing everything I want to do, to take comfort and happiness in the things I AM doing. Though I might not be blogging every single day, I am working hard at my day job to hopefully be promoted this year. Though I might be missing out on wedding vendor networking events, I am seeing Evie learn to feed herself, climb the stairs (and on the coffee table), and work on her talking skills. Though the #CapRoShop is not yet up and running, it will be, some day and it will be awesome when it is.

I’ll close with this awesome quote I saw on Instagram from a fellow DC blogger, Queserasahra, where she said “life’s been less about blogging and more about loving life…”. Loving and living life these days has felt so much more important than attempting to do it all. Sometimes it’s ok to step back from the doing, and just live instead.

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Enter to Win a Free Month of LIPP Fan Lipstick’s Monthly Subscription Services

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Images: LIPP Beautifully

I feel like I should call this the summer of giveaways because they just keep coming. I LOVE sharing the rad local businesses in the Washington, DC area that are coming out with some of the coolest & most useful products & services. Today’s giveaway is for you lipstick lovers out there. Professional makeup artist & lipstick genius, Aleah, has recently launched LIPP Beautifully – an e-commerce site with a simple mission, to reinvent the way you buy lipstick.

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The beautiful site features 12 ready-to-wear LIPP Matte shades, 95 semi-custom LIPPstick colors (where you choose the finish and tube) and the first EVER monthly lipstick sample subscription service – making it easier than ever to build your lipstick wardrobe, one perfect tube at a time.

To celebrate the launch of this amazing site & service, we’re hosting a giveaway for a free month of the monthly lipstick sample subscription services! All you have to do is leave a blog post comment here, and follow @LippBeautifully on Instagram to enter!

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Last month I got to try a month of the lipstick sample subscription service and let me tell you – it was AWESOME. I got three shades, in the cutest trial packages, and a delicious lip scrub to boot. I really do wear the “everyday” shade almost every day – it’s literally perfect for any outfit I wear to work.

And if you haven’t tried Aleah’s lipsticks before, this might be your perfect introduction. All the lipsticks are mixed by hand and made right here in the DC area! They also smell delicious. So enter away using our Rafflecopter widget below.

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A Dramatic, Vaudeville Inspired Wedding Styled Shoot

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Images: Sarah Price Photography

It’s been a week Romancers. The first week back after vacation is always rough, but let’s throw in a sick child (still fighting a fever!), crazy early work hours at the day job, and a husband that’s about to go on business travel for a week … and well, yeah, I think TGIF is on a whole new level this week. So not much more from me – I am looking forward to a weekend of being in DC, cleaning our house, and relaxing a little before I dwell into a week of single parenting. Also, send us some good vibes that Evie gets better soon.

Here’s a super dramatic & edgy wedding inspiration shoot from Sarah Price Photography & Capital Society.

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For this shoot, we were very inspired by the drama, lighting, and textures of the vaudevillian era. The entire set was very DIY, complete with Ikea curtains and baskets.

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Vendors ~> Planning: Capital Society | Photography : Sarah Price | Gowns & Accessories: Ellie’s Bridal | Flowers: Taffy Floral | Makeup: Izzy B Makeup | Hair: Caitlin Gibbons | Model: Amy Chi | Props & Fun Mystical Gypsy Things: BethKaya Design | Garters: Garter Girl | Snakes: My Animal World

Gillian & Mark’s Personalized & Fun, Washington DC Wedding at Arena Stage

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Images: Anne Simone

Happy Thursday Romancers. I’ve been trying my hardest to get back into a more regular blogging groove and so far I think I’ve been doing pretty good this week (but let’s not talk about the July newsletter which still hasn’t been created … never enough time!). Coming back from vacation has been a bit harder than I thought it would be, but this adorable Maryland & sports-infused wedding certainly helps. Check out Mark & Gillian’s Arena Stage wedding, details & love story below!

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Mark and I met while I was interning at DC United. I had moved to the area for that internship and Mark helping out the Operations team there on game days. After a few months we realized that we lived close to each other in Maryland and decided to start seeing each other outside of RFK Stadium.

Our love of music and going to see live shows played greatly into the proposal. We had discovered Bears Den, a band from the UK, when they opened for Mumford & Sons and I quickly fell in love with them. Through some connections Mark was able to reach out to the band and plan a secret proposal when they were going to be in town for a show. It was a normal Wednesday afternoon and Mark had asked me to stop by his parents house to help out with some things before we were going to head into DC to see Bears Den perform that evening. When I stepped into his parents living room, there was my favorite band playing my favorite song and Mark with a big smile on his face. After many heartfelt words and getting down on one knee I of course said YES! To make the day even better he had my mom fly out from Ohio for the day to be there and be a part of the celebration. We then went into DC where he had organized a big happy hour with all of our friends before the show!

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We got engaged in November and then took a few months off planning and started the process in January. It took about a month and we got all of our big vendors nailed down. With the wedding in October I knew that we wanted to be able to enjoy the summer before having to buckle down and get all the last minute details done closer to the big day. The biggest help was having a wedding coordinator for the last 6 weeks. It took a lot of the decisions and hard work off my shoulders and I was able to be more excited rather than stressed.

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The colors for the wedding were something that came very easy for me. I love a mostly neutral color palette and we threw in some fun colors here and there. Mark and his groomsmen had custom suits made with amazing liners that showed off their personalities. Mark is an alumni of the University of Maryland and currently works there, so the Maryland flag made perfect sense for him.

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We chose Arena Stage as our venue as we wanted something different than a normal hotel or wedding hall. We love going to shows and live performances and our story started in DC, so Arena Stage was a perfect fit. The building is absolutely beautiful and the space that we were able to utilize could not have been better. We held both the ceremony and the reception in the Molly Smith Study while cocktail hour was outside on the rooftop terrace. The building was modern and elegant which also set the perfect background for all of our photos.

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District Bliss Online DIY Workshop: Learn How to Make Giant Paper Flowers!

DIY Online Workshop Paper Flowers

The next District Bliss DIY Workshop is here and this one you can attend AT HOME! Learn how to make giant paper flowers with Doable You at this month’s online DIY workshop! This workshop offers two different types of classes: the first, July 25th is a FREE mini-class that gives attendees a sneak peak at the craft. Then, the second, full class (purchase required) is on July 26th, where Doable You will share LOADS more tips, tricks, and insight. The best part is once you pay for the 26th class, you can access this DIY workshop ANY time you want!

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All the details, including if you want to purchase the longer, more in-depth workshop, are here on the Eventbrite Page. Both workshops are in the evening (for you day jobbers like me!) and both allow you to craft in your PJs. You will need some supplies for your workshop:
-Tissue Paper (2 colors for the flower plus green for the stem)
-Dried Moss
-Roll of Hex Netting (1-inch mesh, 20 gauge wire)
-Wire Clippers
-Work Gloves
-Glue (glue stick, glue gun, tacky glue, your choice.)
-Floral wire (20 gauge)
-Small tub of cement
-Plastic Cups (2)

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Registration information & links:

July 25th Mini Class: FREE —> RSVP link.

July 26th Full Class: $30 —> RSVP link (once you buy this webinar, you have it forever!)

Hope you guys check this one out!

Sarah & Jaimee’s Laid Back & Adorable Washington DC Engagement Pictures

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Images: Duhon Photography

First let me start off with an apology – I had intended on blogging WAY MORE while I was out on vacation, but the lake was too damn relaxing and I really needed the break. July is going to be insane with Andy traveling for a lot of it, and my personal goal to finally get the #CapRoShop up and running by the end, so it was nice to take a pretty big break from emails, blogging, and work in general, and spend time with my family (both immediate and extended) up in Vermont.

So now let’s turn to today’s engagement feature – the insanely talented Duhon Photography, sharing one of the coolest couples I have come to know, Sarah & Jaimee! I have the honor of getting to be Sarah & Jaimee’s wedding coordinator this Fall, but really I knew from the minute I read their inquiry that this was going to be more fun than work. Our initial consult lasted 2 hours as we spent more time talking about DC real estate, home decor, and our families, than wedding planning. But we did get to that – and I am so lucky it did, because their wedding is just going to ROCK. And their engagement pictures only scratch the surface at what awesome, genuinely warm, and inviting humans these two are. Plus the sick scenes around DC only add to it. Can’t wait for your wedding guys!

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How they met:

Jaimee and Sarah met the old fashioned way – on the dance floor. It was the night of the now defunct, but forever beloved, monthly party called She.Rex at the now defunct Chief Ike’s Mambo Room (RIP old D.C.). Jaimee spotted Sarah on the dance floor and couldn’t resist her plaid button down and smooth moves. Sarah was a little more skeptical about Jaimee, but decided to give the hot Filipina with the embellished top and incongruous shoes the benefit of the doubt. They danced the night away and at the end of the night, as Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” played in the background, they exchanged numbers. Jaimee’s first text to Sarah,”Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number so call me Jaimee.” She.Rex and Chief Ike’s may no longer be with us, but their legacy lives on through their love.

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The proposal:

Jaimee and Sarah’s relationship grew over a shared love of food, overeating, pickle- and jam-making, and a healthy obsession with the amazing pickup truck Tim Riggins drove on Friday Night Lights. Fast forward two years from that fateful night when the She.Rex (RIP) dance floor brought them together: Jaimee decided to make an honest woman out of Sarah. And herself.

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During their daily morning coffee, Jaimee presented a make-shift music box that she had painstakingly – and secretly – created out of a Crayola tin to play one of their songs. Inside was the “engagement truck” they had always joked about (because what kind of lesbian wouldn’t want to be proposed to with a pickup truck?) along with the actual ring.

The ring is made of birch wood inlaid with brick from the first apartment where Jaimee and Sarah lived together. After months of reconnaissance, Jaimee accurately guessed Sarah’s ring size. However, she guessed wrong about her own and had to send hers back to be resized. Accounts differ about what Jaimee actually said, but as soon as Sarah figured out what was going on, she immediately said yes. There were tears and celebration and many failed attempts at taking pictures that did not look terrible. Then they just gave up and sang some karaoke together in the living room.

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DC’s Best LGBT Wedding Show: Say I Do Expo! – August 14, 2016


Guys! One of my favorite wedding expos in DC is back again this year – Say I Do LGBT Wedding Expo will be on August 14th at the Embassy Row Hotel! We’ve had the honor of participating at this amazing expo before, and we are thrilled to share all the details with you guys for this year’s expo.

The first 100 couples to register get a SWAG bag & tickets are only $15! (Check out the coupon code below & get them here).SAY I DO FLYER_SIDE2

During the event, thought-provoking workshops will offer in-depth information addressing the needs of LGBT couples. You will also be able to meet more than 20 LGBTQIA-friendly vendors, representing a full spectrum of wedding services and related products: wedding coordinators, photographers, floral designers, cake decorators, skincare consultants, and more!

Everyone who attends this event will have the opportunity to win fabulous prizes from local businesses (including me!!!) and partner exhibitors!

DETAILS: 2016 “Say I Do!” DC LGBT Wedding Expo

Date: Sunday, August 14, 2016

Venue: The Embassy Row Hotel, 2015 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

Time: 1 pm to 5 pm

Tickets: $15 per couple, in advance (& don’t forget to check out the coupon code above!); $20 at the door

*this is a sponsored post as part of our event promotion advertising package. this vendor paid to have this content shared on our blog, however, it was verified that this event was confirmed to meet our requirements and mission*

Angelica & Daneal’s Intimate DC Wedding Ceremony at the DC War Memorial

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Images: Shoot Happens Photography via Two Bright Lights

Greetings from the Green Mountain State! After a whirlwind weekend in Cabo, Andy & I returned to Vermont to continue our summer vacation at my parents new lakehouse. It’s GORGEOUS here (much needed R&R) but I apologize for not getting my butt to my laptop as much as I had planned. For today I have a gorgeous wedding ceremony at the DC War Memorial that was intimate but still packed in some stylish details. Hope you all have a wonderful Friday AND weekend and I hope to get more blog posts up next week!

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Angelica and Daneal knew they wanted to be married and did not want to spend an arm and a leg to do it! To them, it was more important to focus on the marriage of two people in love than focus on the things that don’t last past the wedding day.

Angelica loved the DC War Memorial and thought that would be the perfect location. A host of family and friends and $90 permit later, they were getting married!!! The weather called for rain the whole week leading up to their BIG DAY and that morning, cleared up just for them.

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How They Met: (Her POV) We met…it’s so clic?…but we met at the gym! I went several times a week and sometimes took the group fitness classes. I noticed one of the trainers would somehow find his way to the window of the class and he would just stare!! I thought he was such a creep and it was totally weird. Months later Daneal told me that he mentioned me to one of his clients and told them that he hadn’t had a crush in years. This client encouraged him to approach me and he did just that. After one of my classes let out he made his way to me, introduced himself as the Head Trainer, and told me if I had any questions or needed help with anything to let him know. He then handed me his business card with his cell phone number on the back. I sent him a text the next day and he invited me to dinner. We took it slow for the first couple of months but over time our relationship grew and I came to love his kind and selfless spirit. Plus a little friendly HBCU rivalry never hurt anyone!

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The Proposal: (His POV)Two years after dating, we went ring shopping to get an idea of what she liked, although I was not planning to propose anytime soon. After ring shopping for about three months we found out the the ring style that she liked and I went to a jeweler to get her ring made. Now Angelica is a jet setter and we were planning a trip that next year. She asked me what was one of my top places I wanted to go and I told her Japan. After Japan was decided she would tell me at random moments how romantic it would be to get proposed to on top of Mt. Fuji and I would just laugh in her face. Little did she know I was getting her ring made and was already making arrangements for our Mt. Fuji proposal.

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We did an overnight hike on Mt. Fuji where we slept in a hut before making our final ascend to the summit. On the way up the final ascend it was rainy, windy, and felt like a light hurricane and did not make for a great view or proposal. I thought to myself ‘damn nature you’re scary’ and decided to postpone the proposal. I was scrambling for other ideas of where to propose. The next stop on our trip was Kyoto and I was thinking of locations there with great views. With the help of a few of our fellow Mt. Fuji hikers I decided on the Fushimi Inari shrine. It was a short two mile hike to the top of the mountain, overlooking the city of Kyoto. It is there, at the top of the shrine during sunset, that I got on one knee and asked her to be my wife.

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Vendors -> Photographer: Shoot Happens Photography | Rentals: AAA Party Rentals | Bride’sDress Designer: Allure Couture Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Groom’s Shoes: Cole Hann | Floral Designer: Kelly Yett | Groom’s Suit: Zara (blue suit) | Venue: DC War Memorial | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Giveaway: Win 5 Mini Bottles of Organic Insect Repellent from Naked Botanicals

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Super pumped to share this locally #madeinDC product that is the PERFECT addition to your DC wedding welcome bags or just to have in your bathroom baskets – organic insect repellent from Naked Botanicals! We all know the mosquitoes in DC can be FIERCE and not exactly a welcomed guest at your wedding. So if you are getting married in the DC area and have an outdoor ceremony or reception – this giveaway is for you!

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One winner will receive (5) 1-ounce sprays, perfect for on the go bug protection. They fit in swag bags, purses, backpacks, etc., is TSA-compliant, and safe for adults and children over the age of 6 months (because of the essential oils). Shipping included in the USA.

Details on how to enter are below. Giveaway ends July 1, 2016!

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