Amber Housley

Inspired Maker Monday: Amy Johnston

Category: AH Inspired

It’s #InspiredMakerMonday! On Mondays, we’ll introduce you to some of our past Inspired Retreat attendees and their wonderful creative businesses. From launching new products, checking off big goals, to gaining national attention, we’re cheering these ladies on long after our goodbye hugs at the retreat.

Today we are featuring Amy Johnston of Johnston Style, who recently opened an online boutique to share her love of parties and interior design. Read on to find out more about her experience at the Inspired Retreat and what she has been doing since her time there!

Amy Johnston of Johnston Style

When did you attend Inspired Retreat?

My first Inspired Retreat was September 2014 and I attended again in October 2015.

Where were you in your business journey when making the decision to attend Inspired?

I had just started blogging when I attended my first Inspired Retreat. The second time, was a year later- I had already decided to open an online boutique.

What is one action item from your Inspired Retreat experience that has changed your business and/or mindset?

I really can’t think of just one! I learned so much, both professionally and some life lessons as well.I guess you could call these my ABC’s of my Business :)…

ASSURANCE- I confirmed who/why I am in this Business,
BRAND- Be yourself, your product and brand should be- YOU!
COLLABORATE- If you love something someone else is doing, let them know! Maybe you can work together in the future?


With the abundance of noteworthy creative workshops offered, why would you recommend Inspired Retreat over another? 

September 2014 Inspired Retreat was my VERY FIRST conference I ever attended.Throughout 2015, I made it my goal to attend as many different conferences I could, averaging about one  every other month. I decided to research and learn what I needed to know before diving into where I wanted to go with my business. It wasn’t until the middle of 2015 when I realized that I had truly been blessed to to have attended such an upscale conference as my first. I love the intimacy of the Evins Mill location. I loved the food. I love that you are able to speak and talk to all the Speakers. I love Tennessee. I love that the Retreat is very small in size. The speakers and staff that Amber Housley hires are the BEST in their industry.Amber had a dream and she puts her hearts and soul in every conference! I would go back every year if I could!

So, what’s next for you?

I launched my online boutique in March 2016. I am working on collaborations with other companies and working on some styled photoshoots throughout the year. In a few months I will add more products on my site. I look forward to a FUN and eventful year!

Follow along with Amy on Instagram @johnstonstyle!

Illustrated Faith

Illustrated Faith Proverbs 3:5
Sharing a pretty page from my journaling bible I created last month. I was feeling in the Valentine’s Day mood with the hearts and the pink. At church that week we sang the older Methodist hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. It was the first time I had heard it and it was so simple, sweet and pure. A good reminder to lean and trust in Him.


Illustrated Faith StickersCrossway Journaling BibleStudio Calico Acrylic Paint


Savvy Business Owners Conference Speaker

Amber Housley Savvy Business Owners Conference

I am thrilled to have been chosen as one of the speakers for the Savvy Business Qwners Conference, a conference hosted by my dear friend Heather Crabtree for female entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least one year to help you uplevel, shift, find clarity, grow, focus and take action in your business! Mark your calendar for August 28-31 for this amazing event.

I will be speaking on a topic near and dear to my heart – Marketing for Creatives! There are so many platforms and channels to keep up with these days, so how do you decide which marketing channels have the best return on investment for your business? I’ll be sharing how to make marketing meaningful for your business and where to focus on your sweet spot in the marketplace rather than trying to keep up with every shiny new idea or tactic everyone else is working on. There is so much I want to share to help other women feel empowered and EXCITED about marketing their business. I can hardly wait for August to get there!

I’ve personally known Heather for years as she has returned several times over to speak at Inspired Retreat. She was very influential in the growth of my wedding planning and design business and I love her heart for encouraging and supporting other women. This inaugural gathering of Savvy Business Owners is going to be so impactful!



I would love for you to join me this August in Arizona and have a sweet incentive to share! You can save $200 registration by clicking here and using code SAVVY when you check out.  The $200 off works for both the full payment AND the payment plan options.


Savvy Business Owners Speakers-IG


What an amazing line-up of speakers! Hurry and grab your seat soon, (don’t forget to use code SAVVY to save $200!) there are only a few seats left! I can’t wait to meet you poolside this August in Scottsdale and talk all things business in a gorgeous sunny setting!

Inspired Retreat 2016 Registration Opens Today!

Inspired Retreat

Registration for our May 1-4, 2016 Inspired Retreat experience opens in just a few hours at 1pm CT today! HOORAY!

The first 6 registrations will also receive a bonus gift of (the sold out and very sought after) 2016 Emily Ley Simplified Planner pineapple edition! This gift will be a great way to keep you, your business, and family on track long before we meet in May. Our attendees in October were gifted these fabulous planners by our sponsor, supporter, and former Inspired speaker, Emily Ley!


Inspired 2015 Tuesday-0160


A heads up: we’ve made a few updates to the Inspired Retreat site in the last few days. See our video below that dives a little deeper into the Inspired experience. 314 Productions did an amazing job producing this at last Fall’s Inspired Retreat.

Inspired Retreat – Experience from Amber Housley on Vimeo.

We’ve also added 20 love notes and testimonials from past attendees. I’ve included some of these testimonials below for you that help answer our most common questions received from those considering on attending Inspired Retreat!



I’m just starting out on my business journey, is Inspired a good fit for me?

You won’t regret it no matter where you are in your business journey. I am in the very beginning and I found this retreat to be filled with great materials that I can use now and years down the road. The speakers were all well prepared and helpful to share any information that the attendees were curious about. It was helpful to me to just learn about people’s personal journeys and to learn about tools / resources other creatives are using to make their creative lives stand out and work. Amber was an amazing host and so gracious and loving the entire trip! – Amanda Shaver

I’ve been in business for a few years, is Inspired a good fit for me?

I came to Inspired concerned that I might no longer love my chosen career. However, just being around other creative women quickly reignited my enthusiasm. I came away with a renewed passion for my creative business and concrete ideas to apply right away. Inspired gave me the much-needed chance to focus on the core values of my business and reshape my vision to once-again match those values. I also loved the chance to get away for a few days, to make new friends, and to feel supported in my goals as a creative woman. Amber’s attention to detail was wonderful; she made every moment feel like a special event. It was a wonderful 3 day event – I only wish it could have lasted longer. – Catherine McEaddy Holmes

This is a big investment for me. Is it worth it?

Attending the Inspired Retreat was one of the BEST things I have done for myself and my business. Amber and the team of speakers create an environment that is warm, open, inclusive and makes you feel willing to be yourself, share your successes as much as your failures. It is a learning experience like no other and has me energized to implement positive change to help me grow, make more money and save time! You deserve this time, you will appreciate this time, you will be changed for the better. The investment you make is beyond worth it and your return on that investment is priceless. – Katie Maloney

There are a lot of learning options available to me. How is Inspired different?

Inspired Retreat is like no other professional retreat/conference you’ve ever experienced. The content doesn’t just apply to how to run a successful creative business, but it gives you the tools and suggestions on how to do it without losing sight of what’s really important in life. You won’t regret a penny spent on this amazing experience, no detail is left untouched. – Heather Kirks

Will I leave Inspired with tangible knowledge and content that I can implement?

This retreat was such a wonderful gift to myself – both personally and professionally. I am now part of a tribe of women ready to support one another, cheer each other’s success, be a sounding board for new business ideas and lift us up when we are feeling alone. I came away with an entire notebook (and brain) filled with ACTUAL concrete steps I can take to build my business – and I have already started implementing them! I will be back! – Beth Kingston

I won’t know anyone else. Are the other women and speakers friendly?

Amber has created something truly special. The name says it all; Inspired is exactly how I felt after this retreat. Being surrounded by such knowledgeable, creative women in this intimate setting leaves you feeling ready to take your business to new heights. Everyone is eager to help and build a sincere community. I highly recommend attending Inspired. You won’t regret it! – Valerie McKeehan

Read more Love Notes from past attendees here.

See you here at 1pm CT for the speaker unveiling and registration opening.

I can’t wait to see your smiling face this May in Tennessee!

2016 Goals + Powersheets

I held back tears as I walked around the gym in the last few minutes of the workout.

I was frustrated.

My head was all there, but my body could not simply lift my feet more than an inch between the two wooden boxes. Even then, I could barely hold them afloat for more than a few seconds. My arms would shake from the weight and I glanced at all the others around me enviously.

How could this be?! I was all in. I showed up again today, even when my aching arms and legs could barely walk down the stairs to shuttle the kids to school. I came anyway for another grueling day, and here I was ending it feeling disappointed. “Why won’t my body just cooperate?” I screamed in my head.

The trainer reassured me, “this was a hard work-out. You will get stronger. We all started here.”
I left a little broken but with more resolve to show up again tomorrow.

You see, I had core strength before, I could do this in the past…but I had let ALL of it go on an unspecified length of a vacation. Not just my health, but a lot of areas of my life.

Wednesday’s workout reminded me that I can’t snap my fingers and be wherever or whatever I want to be. I have to work at it.

you make all things new

(image above by and the current lock screen and desktop on my phone)

So begins 2016 and a new set of goals and a humbling start line! I share all of this from a good, happy place. A place where I’m all the more wiser and hopeful of a new chapter in many areas of my life. My one little word for 2016 is LIGHT and I’m feeling it very much so day by day.

It was fitting that I started my Lara Casey Power Sheets in November, with an intention to start the tending lists in December. I went through all the exercises of what worked and what didn’t work in 2015, lessons learned, and what I was saying yes and no to. I got all the way up to the big grand goal setting piece and LIFE then happened those next few weeks and I didn’t pick them up again until late last week.

Lara Casey Powersheets 2016 Goal Setting

In the end, it was the best plan of all: and His plan I believe, to reset a few things in my heart to prepare for this year.

Yesterday, I said a bittersweet goodbye to my Studio Calico family. It was an honor to help lead the marketing at this amazing company and I will miss these lovely ladies and many others so much! I will share more about the next chapter in the coming weeks, but for now, I’m just so grateful I had the opportunity to work among such incredibly talented friends, artists, and brands this past year and a half, including not just Studio Calico, but also Ali Edwards, TomKat Studio, A Beautiful Mess, Brene Brown, Baby Boy Bakery and Big Picture Classes.



A few lessons I learned from what DID work in 2015:

1. Faith – This grew greatly in 2015. God put so many faithful women in my life this last year and I’m grateful for their examples. Reading devotionals and the First 5 App. Regularly attending church on Sundays. Listening to worship music in the car. All of it carried me through a very tough year of growing.

2. Creativity – making this a priority in my life worked well. I was grateful that my work at Studio Calico inspired me to start scrapbooking again. I enjoyed this year finding small bits and ways to incorporate creativity and “making” every day – from my planner to my journaling bible. My days are so much better when I have created something. It’s definitely a fuel for me.

3. Relationships – putting more effort in my marriage and my little family has done wonders. “High and Low” daily shares at the dinner table, more date nights, more conversation all has been wonderful. Making regular phone calls with friends like Carli, Nicolle and Rhiannon on my many drives to Kentucky were a life raft at times in this past season.

Other things that did work: Ending the chapter for now on Amber Housley Weddings, volunteering as Room Mom at school, Inspired Retreat, being okay with knowing I can’t do it all, Jesus Calling devotional, Making Things Happen conference, organizing the first Inspired Coterie Mastermind group, family beach vacation, new dahlia blooms and zinnias in the garden, our family scrapbook album, journaling bible, morning coffee dates with my husband, healing and forgiveness in a friendship, GRACE.

Illustrated Faith Journaling Bible Flowers

Lessons I learned from what DIDN’T work:

1. Dwelling on my circumstances and not taking action to change or affect them. Leaning in often to worry, anxiety, and way too much guilt.

2. Not making my business a priority. I spent a lot of 2015 going with the current but not actively paddling anywhere. It felt wasteful and I felt pretty unworthy at times. All of us have been given these gifts and when we lay them to the side without giving the proper care and attention, we are doing a disservice. To realize I am capable of serving and impacting so many and not being intentional or taking action felt pretty crummy. I held onto that feeling for a long time until I realized at the end of 2015 I didn’t want to sit in that shadow anymore.

3. Self-care. Imagine that with three underlines underneath it. I left the Making Things Happen conference in November and had at least a dozen people over the next few weeks text me to ask if I had taken my massage appointment yet. You see, I was gifted a certificate TWO YEARS AGO and another one for my past birthday, and I had done nothing with them. Always justifying I had no time, and there were other things needed me more. Everyone and everything needed me more than myself. This was more than a massage, this was me procrastinating on life (my health, my family, everything) and putting myself last.

God prunes us watercolor quote

I could share my “no’s”, but let’s get on over to the light part shall we and talk about what I’m saying “YES!” to in 2016:

self-care, prayer & faith, my husband, my family, my goals, my business, reading, writing, creating, worship music, phone calls, mail, relationships, grace, encouraging others, getting outside, my health, gardening, Bloom Garden Journal, beach vacations, budgeting, Southern Styled, BELIEVING I AM CAPABLE.

Amber Housely Living

A few of my high-level goals for 2016:

1. Live lighter. Cultivate a life and home with less physical and mental clutter. Revisit family budget. Monthly purges.
2. Refine & rebuild my business. Realign my mission and be intentional with my business activities so they align to my core values. Finish past business learning investments. Simplify. Refine and refresh Inspired Retreat so it serves well and even more so than past gatherings.
3. Live a healthy lifestyle. One the promotes activity and nourishment so I am stronger, lighter, and have more energy for my family.
4. Continue to grow in my faith, learn more, and seek Him more. Dig deeper into our small group study. Memorize verses monthly. Incorporate serving into our family activities.
5. Shine in my role as a wife and mother. Intentionally plan date nights and activities. Find ways to bring more joy to our home and less stress. Simplifying and saying yes when it counts.
6. Make self-care appointments weekly. Massage, pedicure, lunch dates with friends, movie watching, book reading, gratitude journaling.
7. Make “creating” a habit. Weekly scrapbooking and illustrated faith journaling times. Gardening. Cooking. Find a new creative workshop or class to take.
8. Launch Southern Styled. My new online home for sharing business learning and creative making will debut this Spring 2016.
9. Launch the Bloom Garden Planner. My passion project: part garden journal, planner, and memory keeper. I’ve wanted this for two years now and it is finally being developed in time for the new growing season.

Southern Living Dahlia Nashville Tennessee Garden

There’s a lot more to share in the coming weeks, including a ‘bucket list’ of action items that relate to the above goals. I’ll give you a hint to one of them: climbing the rope at the gym I mentioned above.

I look forward to updating you here on the blog monthly as we navigate 2016 together! Do you have your goals for 2016? I’d love to see them! Do know there are no rules to goal setting – you could have 1 goal or 10 – but the main point is to set goals that are rooted in what matters. Share a link or post in the comments below.

The Inspired Retreat October 2015 attendees received a set of the Power Sheets as a wonderful sponsor gift from the Lara Casey Shop. I’m excited to see everyone put them into action these next few weeks!