Illume Retreat 2016 Recap – Day Three | Creative Retreat in Austin, Texas

September 28, 2016

Perhaps the most challenging part of hosting the Illume Retreat isn’t the all the planning that goes on months in advance. It’s not the nervousness that creeps into my heart whenever I invite a speaker to join us, or even the fear that whispers in my ear when I open registration to the public. The most challenging part of hosting the Illume Retreat each year is my inability to accurately describe just how incredible it is through a blog post, a social media post or even a conversation. Words fail to capture all the beauty and life-change that takes place in the quiet, ordinary moments. The heart-to-hearts that transpire late at night between two roommates, or the ah-ha moments that turn on like a lightbulb at a cabana by the pool. Although so much happens during our speaker sessions and guided discussions, there is so much growth that takes place in the downtime. And while I struggle to share just how amazing that is to witness and to experience myself, let me try one more time as I share a full recap of our third and final day of the Illume Retreat.

That morning, as our darling attendees filed into our meeting room, they were greeted by hand lettered tote bags by the Dream State. Each tote contained all sorts of goodies, from copies of Belong Magazine and Cottage Hill, to art prints by Graceline Art, Lara Casey Shop, Plumtique and more!

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

I kicked things off that morning leading a session of how to cultivate a winning client experience through thoughtful touch points.

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

Jenna Kutcher then inspired us to improve our workflows through outsourcing as she spoke on working smarter instead of harder, and what that means for her business specifically. From outsourcing to strategic systems, Jenna gave us all sorts of great takeaways we could all implement, regardless of how big our businesses were.

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

After an hour of personal reflection and free time, we met back up for another lovely lunch on the patio, followed by another small group session for heartfelt discussions.

That afternoon, we had two more hands-on breakout sessions for our attendees to dive into. Shanna gave a practical mini-workshop on budgeting for creatives, while Laura taught an intro calligraphy class that encouraged us to create beautiful things with our hands while our brains got to take a quick break.

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

Not quite wanting our last day of the retreat to end, we made the most of the afternoon as we shared our hearts by the pool during our free time, as we asked poignant questions during speaker sessions, and as we soaked up everything we could during our creative breakouts.

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

As we gathered around the table for one final dinner, we chatted candidly about what happens next and how we move forward from this one-of-a-kind experience. After three full days of really exploring what it means to create your life’s best work, the kind of work that not only blesses your life but also those around you, how can you go home and get started?

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

We broke bread, sipped delicious cocktails, and braved the mosquitos to enjoy every last moment of that evening together. As dinner wrapped up, we moved inside into the restaurant bar to keep the conversation going until we could barely keep our eyes open.

Illume Retreat Day Three recap | Austin, Texas creative retreat | Photography by Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons

To all of the brave women who gathered around that table with me, you are such a blessing. Thank you for your commitment to doing the work, and most of all, thank you for believing in the power of your dreams enough to give yourself this gift of product rest at the Illume Retreat.

Photography: Shalyn Nelson of Love, the Nelsons | Tote bags: Dream State | Our Heiday floral prints: sponsored by Plumtique | SC Stockshop gift card | Journals: Val Marie Paper | Post-It Notes: Dear Sweetheart Events | Watercolor calligraphy prints: Graceline Art | Christina Scalera template credit | Gold foil desk cards: Lara Casey Shop | Lip balm: Skinfood by Aubrey | Belong Magazine | Cottage Hill Magazine | Macrame wall hanging: Steady Hand Creative | Calligraphy session: Paper & Honey | Day-of Styling: Dear Sweetheart Events | Rentals: Birch + Brass  | Venue: Travaasa Austin

Day One Recap

Day Two Recap

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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