HAPPY DECEMBER 1ST! I’m so ready for this month! I feel like all of the decorating started pretty dang early this year, but now we can all go full-fledged Christmas. Here is The December Dress FREE mobile and desktop download for this month! I hope you love it as much as I do! Both options are linked below…
It’s officially fall!! It might not always feel like it in Pasadena, but our nights are starting to get a bit chillier and I’ll take it! Today I’m sharing free The October Dress mobile and desktop wallpaper with you. If you’ve been here for a while you know this was the very first dress I started with in The Monthly Dress Series. You can check out all of the pictures of The October Dress here.
If you download any of The October Dress wallpapers take a screenshot and DM me a pic of it! I would love to see!
Happy first day of July! That means our free July Dress mobile and desktop wallpaper downloads are here! If you want to go back and see The July Dress in all its glory click here to see the full post.
We are in full Fourth of July swing over here! My brother and sister-in-law are coming into town for the holiday and we will be swimming and heading to the beach this week. I’ve told the boys that their job is to put out our American flag in the morning and take it in each night and they feel so cool getting to be in charge of the flag, its so cute!
If you download any of The July Dress wallpapers take a screenshot and DM me a pic of it! I would love to see!
May is here which means it’s time for a new Monthly Dress wallpaper release. I hope you are loving these wallpapers as much as I am. I love seeing the dress when I pick up my phone, and the calendar is really convenient because I never can remember the date.
If you download any of The May Dress wallpapers take a screenshot and DM me a pic of it! I would love to see!
Happy April Fools Day! No jokes happening over here today, just a cute April Dress digital download for your phone or desktop. I loved having The March Dress on my phone all last month. And the calendar was super helpful too (because I’m constantly wondering what the date is).
If you download any of The April Dress wallpapers take a screenshot and DM me a pic of it! I would love to see! I hope you all don’t get tricked too badly today 😉 Garrett hates April Fools Day and made me promise not to trick him.
All the books and prints are going to be available to order from today until this Thursday the 28th at midnight! We are just making these available for a few days so grab yours quick! All the books will be shipped out within 2-3 business days (US and Canada residents only).
I loved playing with paper dolls as a little girl! It brings back so many fun memories of using my imagination and swapping out different dresses and accessories. I loved getting to see the little girls at the tour bringing their paper doll books with them as they went from dress to dress!
The Monthly Dress Paper Doll bookscome with four different doll options and all 12 of the dresses from The Monthly Dress Series. Each dress has a description that talks about the inspiration behind the dress, and how long it took to make.
TheMonthly Dress Paper Doll books are great for little girls, but it’s also fun for women of all ages! Lots of the women I met at the tour grabbed a book for themselves. One girl purchased a book for her grandma who collected vintage paper doll books!
The Monthly Dress Paper Doll Books would also make such great gifts! They are perfect for:
An Easter Basket gift (Easter is right around the corner)
A little girls birthday (stock up and grab one to wrap whenever you are heading to a party!)
A baby shower (think how darling this would be wrapped up with a cute little dress to go with it)
A gift for Mother’s Day (coming up!)
Something fun to display in your office or little girls room
We had such an overwhelming response when I posted The March Dress phone calendar wallpaper, that I wanted to add it here for those of you who missed grabbing it on my stories. We created a phone version as well as a desktop version for your computer, and you better believe I have both of them download on my devices.
I had lots of you screenshot your phones with the backdrop and DM them over to me and it’s been so fun to see! One of you said it was like getting a little present each time you open up your phone, and I love that! Such a fun way to love The Monthly Dress Series all year long. We will be rolling out a new phone and desktop wallpaper for you at the beginning of each month!
If you download one of these Monthly Dress wallpapers screenshot it and sent me a DM! I’d love to see it!
THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR, DAY 4: MY FAVORITE MOMENTS, MY GOAL FOR THE TOUR, AND WHAT I LEARNED
The last day of The Monthly Dress Tour was just as magical as all of the others! It has been so amazing to reflect back on the tour and all of the wonderful women I’ve had the opportunity to meet. Today I wanted to share some of my very favorite moments from The Monthly Dress Tour.
One sweet mother and daughter talked with me at the beginning of the night, and stayed until the very end. The mother came back up to be and hugged me and said, “I wanted to hug you one last time, you have no idea what you have done for us.” The daughter messaged be later that night saying they had had a very difficult day and that the dress tour helped to cheer their spirits that night.
One husband forgot to buy tickets for his wife and panicked when he saw it was sold out. He shot me a frantic DM and I opened up 2 slots for them so he could get tickets. He sent me a DM of him waking up his wife surprising her with the tickets and she started crying! They were so fun and so cute!
One husband flew him and his wife to the tour from Pennsylvania. He arranged for sitters for their kids, a hotel, places to eat, everything. He pretended it was for a work trip and she didn’t know they were actually there for The Monthly Dress Tour until she walked up to the doors and saw where they were! Makes me emotional just thinking about it!
One sweet girl was in her mid-teens and told me how much she loves fashion and designing clothing but didn’t know if it was something she should pursue. I chatted with her a bit and encouraged her to continue working hard at it because she loved it. She had tears streaming down her face and thanked me for believing in her! Sometimes all we need it someone to tell us they believe in us!
One cute aunt drove her 2 nieces from Arizona to come to the tour. They were the first ones waiting for the doors to open and were so cute having a blast on their girls trip!
One woman came to one of the speaking nights and told me how her husband had just started law school and they had two small kids at home. I gave her a huge hug and thanked her for coming. I told her I knew exactly how much paying $50 for a ticket feels like at that point in life and how much it meant to me. She said her husband saw my segment on ABC and told her that she had to come here me speak. I loved how many supportive husbands there were!
< cute Cash came along the second night!>
One adorable group of older women walked up to me and they looked so chic! They were all wearing fascinators and had incredible outfits on. I commented on how amazing they looked and they said, “we never get an excuse to dress up like this anymore and we are so happy you threw this tour so that we could dress up and feel beautiful for the night!”.
One mom of three boys left them with her husband and flew to Pasadena from San Francisco for a fun little solo trip. She was so excited to see the dresses and it was her first time away from her kids. She said she felt rejuvenated and refreshed and I was so flattered and impressed that she decided she wanted to come and made it happen!
I got to meet one of the sweetest readers in real life and it was such a treat. She talked to me about what she was going to wear at the tour and the dress she was most excited to see for weeks leading up to the tour. She was one of the first ones to arrive and brought a photobook of all of my dresses she had made for her coffee table that she wanted me to sign. She also had a section with all of Jills drawings and a spot for Jill to sign! She said “Everyone at my work knows how excited I was for this dress tour and I’m going to be talking about it all week long!” I loved getting to meet her in person and thank her for her kind words!
I had a handful of really special moments with my team throughout this tour. We had worked so hard and so long to prep for this! In Utah I remember Jill walked in my dressing room right after getting her makeup done and I had just finished putting on my dress and we just stared at each other freaking out. We couldn’t believe it was actually happening!
I mentioned on my instagram about how the tour was a little bittersweet for me because I had wished my dad were still alive to see it (he passed away from prostate cancer 12 years ago). One special thing we talked about before he passed was that he would send us a rainbow to let us know when he is thinking about us. Since his passing I have had some really special experiences seeing rainbows in the sky, or reflections from a mirror at significant times in my life. On the first night of the tour in Utah I had just finished with hair and makeup and I put on my dress and walked into the ballroom to see the final set up of all of my dresses before the night started. As I entered the ballroom the light hit the chandelier just right and there was a rainbow reflection along the floor as I entered the ballroom and I knew he was there with me!
The other really special experience I had I was lucky enough to catch on film and shared it in this post. As a little girl my dad sang the song “Edleweiss” to me every night. He passed away from cancer 12 years ago, and I always sing this song to my boys at night and tell them it’s a lullaby from Grandpa Hafen. After the final guest had left and we wrapped up our very last night night of the tour, Garrett asked me to dance with him before we left the space. For some reason, my playlist I had playing ended at that exact moment, and Spotify just plays random songs when it’s over. We started dancing and the most beautiful version of Edleweiss started playing out of nowhere. Truly one of the closest times I’ve ever felt to my dad since he died. It was like he was there with me telling me how proud he was. A moment I’ll never forget.
MY GOAL OF THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR
I had a few different goals going into this tour, but one of my main goals was to be able to connect face to face with women I’ve only chatted with over social media. I wanted to be able to hug these women and look them in the eye and thank them for all of the encouragement they have given me during The Monthly Dress Series.
My second goal for the tour was to inspire my guests to be creative. I wanted to show them that you don’t have to have the right degree, a big following, or tons of money to be able to create something that they are passionate about. I have seen how much joy creating dresses has brought me, and I want that same joy to be felt by others for diving into their own creative passion!
WHAT THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR TAUGHT ME
I was absolutely floored at the number of women who came to the tour. This taught me most of all about how important human connection and tangible experiences are! Seeing something online and connecting online is amazing, but to be able to travel and experience it first hand is so powerful!
Women out there are craving creativity and femininity. My guests wanted a reason to dress up and feel beautiful and feminine. They also want to create. There are plenty of women out there who are just as passionate about their interests as I am about creating dresses, and I really hope this tour gave them a little nudge and the permission to express themselves creatively simply because of the joy that creating brings.
THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR, DAY 3: MY CHALLENGES AND ADVERSITY I HAD TO PUSH THROUGH
Creating and planning The Monthly Dress Tour was a huge undertaking. I knew the scale I wanted this event to be, and there were plenty of challenges and setbacks along the way.
< we completely transformed the space and gave it a fresh coat of white paint. We also hung all the posters on the wall gallery style which looked so cool and freed up more space for the guests >
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.
The part of planning the tour that took the longest, was securing a location for Pasadena. We started looking for a venue to hold the tour back in June of last year! I was very adamant about having it in Pasadena. I wanted to invite guests to my city! I wanted them to experience how magical Pasadena is. We researched every venue option in Pasadena. We met with venue after venue (hotels, wedding venues, churches, City Hall, everywhere!). There were some places that felt right but were way out of our budget, and some places that weren’t a good fit.
After realizing that most venues in Pasadena were out of our budget and/or not the location I wanted, we ended up working with a commercial real estate agent who showed us some store locations for lease at The Paseo (the outdoor mall location we ultimately used). The location was perfect and the budget was right. This meant that we had a lot more prep work for the space than booking a traditional venue, but this also meant that I could mold the space into exactly what I wanted it to be.
MY BIGGEST CHALLENGES WITH PLANNING THE TOUR.
Working with the city of Pasadena is NO JOKE.
There are rules and lots of people you need to jump through hoops to get approvals from. We worked for 2 months on trying to get a max capacity number from the city. I had to get a max number of people that could fit in the space before I could sell tickets. Could you imagine if the fire department shut down the tour because it was over the capacity number? I knew I was going to have guests flying in for this, so I needed the number I had to work with.
Tracking down the right contact was tricky, then getting him to listen to me was harder! I didn’t want to annoy him..but he was also very busy.
If you remember I shared this story a little on my instagram stories a few months back. I called and called and emailed and emailed. I finally got him when he was in his office and I ended up bribing him with a pizza and a beer if he would just give me a number right there on the phone! He ended up being really great (but did not understand why people would want to “just come look at dresses”). I finally got a max capacity number from him!
A few days before we were supposed to get our original location painted, we got a call from the management saying that there was a leak in a previous space and that another store needed to take out location (which was contractually legal for them to do). This was a day after we had finally gotten a max capacity number for the space! So we had to change store locations (which ended up working out better in the end), and push back the dates of the tour by 2 months.
I kept pretty quiet about these setbacks on social media, mostly because I wanted to keep everything surrounding the tour positive. I didn’t want to get on and complain, or express any worry. That was something I needed to keep between me and my team.
The tour was happening regardless. When front doors closed, that just meant that I needed to work a little harder to find a back door or open window to use instead.
< The boys knew just what to do! I loved having them walk me onto the stage! >
< I really wanted to display January a little differently, to make her look like she was under water! >
< let’s talk about the acrylic podium for a minute. I was adamant on finding an acrylic podium and when I found the only place that rented one I had to have it! I loved it SO MUCH! >
THE TWO COMMENTS THAT ALMOST MADE ME QUIT.
I didn’t have very many people saying “You can’t do this!” to me. For the most part when I talked to people about the tour, it was well received. But many people were confused. Venues, potential sponsors, paninters, management offices said
But at the very beginning there were two comments that really got to me. I toyed around with the idea of having an exhibit where people could come see them. I posted a survey on my blog back in June asking if people would be interested in seeing my dresses. 3000 responses in 24 hours. 2998 responses from women wanting to see my dresses in person. But there were 2 that said no. And I can quote word for word those 2 comments.
“You do realize that this is a vanity project, just a way for you to show off”.
That hit me hard. It had not crossed my mind that this could appear a little vain. This whole time, I was just making dresses! I was thinking how much fun this was and why not have a big party when they were done! I also know how many women were inspired by this series and had lots of people ask if I could display them somewhere for people to see them!
< my best girlfriends from high school + my best Pasadena girlfriends. It was so much fun getting to see them all! >
The second comment of a woman who wasn’t interested in coming to the tour said,
“There was a Dior exhibit not too far from me, and it cost money to go see. I didn’t even want to pay to see Dior’s dresses. There is no way people are going to pay to see your dresses.”
I had 2998 women telling me they would buy a ticket to see my dresses, and all I could think about was how nobody would want to buy a ticket.This comment almost killed the whole project. In all honesty when I got that comment, I stopped. For a moment the light was out. There is no way. What if she was right? What is nobody buys a ticket.
BUT THE DRESS TOUR SOLD OUT.
Everyone bought a ticket. What if I had listened to that one voice? What if I had let that stop me?
<I made my dress the night before in 5 hours. Mood Fabrics graciously gifted me the fabric. I knew that I wanted a blush pink fabric with feathers for the first night of the Pasadena tour!>
< my amazing group of volunteers! These women were so incredible! All so hardworking and happy to be there. I’m so grateful for their help with running both nights of the tour! >
< Dots Cafe (the bakery where we shot The April Dress) was kind enough to provide cupcakes to each guest the first night. But these weren’t any cupcakes..they were CUSTOM Monthly Dress Cupcakes with an image of a monthly dress on each cupcake! I absolutely died when I saw them and guests were freaking out over them! >
< I love that the fabric was embroidered along the top and the feathers gathered at the bottom. I wanted to keep that same effect with the dress! >
< My incredible assistant, Jill >
< my sweet friends surprised me, Jill, and Jordan all with flowers! >
< he is the greatest >
To me, being creative includes ignoring people who just don’t get it. I had to ignore these voices, and keep moving forward in planning this tour. And I am so incredibly glad that I did!
GET MY SIMILAR LOOK:
Stop by later this week as I share photos from my last night of the tour along with some of the most touching interactions and stories I had with my guests! These moments are so special to me, you won’t want to miss it!
Catch up on my other Monthly Dress Tour night recaps:
THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR, DAY 2: THE LOGISTICS AND THE DISPLAYS
The exhibit-only night of The Monthly Dress Tour was a slightly different experience, but still just as magical. In many ways, it felt a little more intimate, because I had a longer time to spend chatting with my guests.
The exhibit-only night was full of little girls!! I just died getting to meet so many darling little girls all dressed up with their moms, aunts, and Grandmas. In Utah we had five little girls dress up like The May Dress (complete with a floral crown). I loved having each little girl twirl for me in their pretty dress. They felt so special!
HOW I PICKED WHAT CITIES TO BRING THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR TO
Planning this scale of a dress tour really felt a lot like planning four separate weddings. I posted a survey six months earlier that gave me a good idea of the location of where women would would want to attend lived, and about how many were truly interested.
Most of my survey responses came from women living in Southern California and Utah. I was relieved so many of them were in California, because I was dying to show off my home city, Pasadena. I was equally as happy to pick Utah as a location, because I lived up in Provo, UT for 10 years while I was in school and while Garrett was doing his undergrad and law school years, so Utah felt very much like home. I also had a lot of really good connections still up in Utah that I knew I could ask for help.
THE LOGISTICS OF BRINGING THE MONTHLY DRESS TOUR TO UTAH
We started by securing the Utah venue (the Pasadena venue took much longer and was so incredibly complicated). Then we broke down the tour piece by piece. We went to downtown LA and bought 12 mannequins to display each of the dresses. I was incredibly picky and specific about how I wanted my dresses displayed. We got the mannequin toppers and bases at a different location from the actual bust forms because I liked the busts at one location and the toppers at another location.
I’m glad that I was really picky. I had a hand and a say in every single part of this tour, and I think that played a big role in having it turn out exactly how I envisioned. I wasn’t afraid of working hard and taking on tasks that I wasn’t super thrilled about in order to bring the tour to life properly.
ONE THING I LEARNED TO BE REALLY GOOD AT:
Asking for help! Ahh! Many times I hate asking for help, but I had so many friends and readers reach out and ask how they could help with the tour. If I didn’t have something specific for them to do right then, I would make a mental note and you better believe I reached out when something came up later on down the line! I learned the importance of relying on my community. There are so many talented and connected women that wanted to help!
For the past year, I had spent a lot of my energy trying to keep my dresses, locations, and shoots a secret. I love the concept of doing a big reveal without sharing much behind the scenes with my community beforehand. I think that was a big part of the magic in The Monthly Dress Series..the reveal.
For the dress tour, everyone had seen the dresses and everyone knew it was coming. I didn’t need to hide many things. There were some aspects of planning the tour where my instagram community showed up for me in MAJOR ways!
I learned very quickly how to lean on my community and ask for help! When we had exhausted every possible option in LA, I turned to my readers on Instagram to ask for help find someone to custom make the dress pedestals for me. One reader’s husband is a talented woodworker, and when I asked about who could help me make these pedestals to display my dresses on, a handful of women recommended him!
In Utah so many people reached out and volunteered to help with set up/take down, flowers, treats, etc. I have to give a huge thank you to Rebecca from Rebecca Creative for organizing all 16+ amazing volunteers to help set up/work/and take down the Utah tour. She helped me find a florist, videographer, photographer, makeup artist, and really helped put my mind at ease in pulling the tour together when I was states away!
MY GOAL FOR MY GUESTS
My goal for my guests at The Monthly Dress Tour was for them to be able to walk into the ballroom and have a way to experience each of the dresses and relive each photoshoot. The dress on it’s own is an amazing display, but I needed a way to incorporate the shoot.
I was lucky enough to partner with Mixbook who instantly saw my vision for this exhibit and really pulled through with bringing the dress shoots to life. Mixbook offers high quality completely customizable photo books, cards, home decor, photo prints, etc.
When each guest entered the venue they received this Monthly Dress Guide that I created with Mixbook. I selected a customizable folding 5X7 card which was perfect so that I could load each page of the guide. The cards were printed on thick high quality matte finish paper with crystal clear printing.
The Dress Guide walked each of my guests through all of the dresses starting with January. We had them displayed in order when you first entered the room. The guide featured all of Jill’s drawings of each dress and talked about details about each dress- the inspiration, how long each one took to make, how much fabric was used, etc. The customized cards were a hit with the guests and they were the perfect take home souvenir from the event.
THE PERFECT DISPLAY
Using Mixbook’s incredible easy to use software, I also created twelvePhoto Books that were 11.5 x 8. Most of the images from the dress shoots were vertical, and I was so excited to find a Photo Book printer that offered this size of book! I displayed each book next to the corresponding dress, and the books displayed all of the shots for that particular dress shoot! We displayed them on tall bistro tables at both locations. I loved having something eye level that my guests could pick up and flip through. I wanted someone to enter the room who had never seen my dresses before, to grasp the full concept of each shoot, and I love that Mixbook helped me achieve that.
MY FAVORITE PART ABOUT USING MIXBOOK FOR MY DISPLAYS
The dresses wouldn’t be complete without showcasing a large print from the actual shoot. Mixbook has a 20 x 30 Mounted Poster Print option that is totally customizable. I actually screamed out loud when I got them in the mail. They are incredibly crisp clear quality for being so large, and they come mounted on foam board with a backing that makes them super easy to hang. Truly blown away by the quality of Mixbooks products!
I’m absolutely sold on the quality, ease of use, and customer service that Mixbook offers. They offer fast shipping (it took less than 5 business days to receive over 600 of my custom cards). I can’t recommend them enough!
Next week I will be sharing all about the Pasadena Monthly Dress tour, what I learned from this tour, and some of my most memorable moments with the guests at the tour!