Hey friends! If you read my last post, then you might remember me saying that I had something fun to share with you all today! A couple of weeks ago I attended The Joyful Influencer retreat at The Kentucky Castle with a handful of other bloggers and content creators for a weekend full of uplifting conversation and endless sweet treats :) I was invited by Allison Murray, the blogger behind West of Felicity, who was the most amazing hostess; if you're ever invited to something from her....GO! haha She made sure the weekend was filled with everything positive, and relaxing, and yummy, and fun, and basically everything and anything joyful you can think of.
To be perfectly honest, as excited as I was to attend the retreat, I was also pretty nervous. It kind of felt like the first day at a new school. Even at 27, meeting new people and making those connections can still be intimidating when I'm by myself. Even though I was nervous, I went in with an open-mind and just wanted to be myself. As expected, all of the women were SO sweet and easy to chat with.
We all have this fun, weird, confusing, exhausting, rewarding, overwhelming, etc. etc. thing in common called blogging and content creating that many people don't understand and can't relate to. So when you're with a group of people who "just get it" and have the same highs and lows as you in this field, it's an instant connection.
It'd be very easy for me to blab on and on about the weekend, so I'll try to keep it brief and give you a peek into what we did each day!
The weekend was hosted at The Kentucky Castle just on the outskirts of Lexington. When friends and family come to Kentucky to visit, Justin and I usually get asked about the random, beautiful castle nestled in the rolling hills down the street from us, but before this weekend, we had never been there so there wasn't much to tell! The castle was most recently purchased by a group of new owners who renovated and lifted it to it's full potential.
When I arrived to my BEAUTIFUL suite, I was greeted with a welcome box full of amazing goodies like a gorgeous hand-stamped bracelet from PS46, a cozy pajama set and robe from Bed To Brunch (ALL Sold Out, but they're coming out with a spring collection), yoga wear from Beyond Yoga, and a gorgeous itinerary/paper goods from Jen K. Calligraphy!
After diving through my welcome box, I went downstairs to meet the ladies who had already arrived. We were treated to fun cocktails and delicious appetizers, PLUS a very educational bourbon tasting. I, of course, didn't participate in the tasting because I don't drink alcohol (fun fact if you didn't already know that about me). Living in Bourbon Country, I've been to my fair share of distilleries in Kentucky, but I learned SO much from this tasting!
It was then time to sit for our farm-to-table meal, which was delicious, but the company was even better. I think we all (or maybe just me?) spent cocktail hour getting all of our nerves out, so dinner was much more relaxed and the conversations were endless.
To end the evening, we had the pleasure of hearing Jillian Edwards grace us with her beautiful voice. I think she managed to make everyone cry at some point during her set, haha. I highly recommend giving her song "Songbird" a listen; it's beautiful and my favorite!
Saturday morning was spent chitchatting with some more new faces at the retreat over a delicious breakfast followed by a PJ party photo shoot....so fun! We all were a little obsessed with our pajama sets, so we were looking for any reason to throw those back on and snap a few pictures :) We had the pleasure of spending the rest of our morning with Ashlyn Carter from Ashley Writes share her story and words of encouragement.
The afternoon was spent with another delicious meal AND gorgeous tablescape by White Cat Weddings (they did all of the amazing flowers and tablescapes for each meal)! Ashley Lemieux from The Shine Project also spoke joyful words of encouragement to all of us. We spent the rest of the afternoon snapping pictures around the castle grounds.
We had a long break before dinner, so some of the girls went off to explore downtown Lexington, others opted for a nap in their hotel room. I took a few of the ladies who had never been to Lexington before around town for some good coffee and snacks, followed by a driving tour through downtown and UK campus :)
We spent our last evening with yet ANOTHER delicious dinner followed by a slumber party in the ballroom. There was everything from cotton candy and cake, to donuts and milkshakes...my happy place. Besides indulging in the endless treats, we stayed up extra late talking about anything and everything in front of the roaring fire and my heart was full!
It was time to say farewell on Sunday morning, but not before a yoga session (I opted out, haha) and one last delicious breakfast. The Kentucky Castle sure knows how to treat their guests; there was never a bad meal or service during our weekend there.
I cannot express enough how thankful I am to get the opportunities I do, including being part of The Joyful Influencer retreat. I'm so happy to have met these wonderful ladies who are beautiful inside and out. I left feeling more motivated and encouraged than I've felt in a long time, and I can't wait to pour all of that joy into Basically Bronwyn!