Amber Housley

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!


One Little Word: 2016

“I think I’m just exhausted,” I said simply as we were wrapping up our conversation.
“I can see it in your eyes,” my friend kindly, but honestly replied.

I left our post-holiday lunch date, and on the drive home, thought about 2016 and what I wanted from it. Really, I just wanted to feel lighter.

As this year is wrapping up, day by day it is getting lighter.

I want more of that light in 2016.

Rise Up and Shine


In 2016…
I will feel lighter.
Live with more joy.
Live lighter with less stuff.
Let my heart be more light.
Let more light in.
Spread the light and be a light for others.
Light the fire in my soul again for things I’m passionate about.

And quite honestly, someone who is definitely more fun to be around than I have been this last year.

It’s funny, because I felt pretty smug a few weeks ago that my 2016 #onelittleword “grace” was all tied up with a bow.

But, Joy. Light. Shine…I loved all these words, too.

“Grace” brought me up to this week, but I felt a nagging sense that “light” was going to take me into the new year, and the next chapter.


Later that night, on the same day as our lunch date, I received the letter in the mail that I had wrote to myself back in October at Making Things Happen Conference.

This letter came to mind a few weeks ago and I couldn’t recall if I actually wrote one or not, and if I did write one, I pondered what it contained.

It’s contents were the perfect confirmation and timing:

Amber, you made it!
The sun finally shines again. You are loved and were created to spread joy. Keep taking pauses to take care of you. Self-care is just as important as the love and light you work so hard to give everyone else. May you continue to bask in the light and give thanks for every blessing you are enjoying today.


Floral Quote Inspiration(image source: Kelli Trontel)


So, I close out this year and this season with so much thanks.

2015 was the year of “grow.”

Goodness, I had no idea how that word and this year would pull and stretch me in the most uncomfortable of ways.

As a gardener, you plant seeds and have faith that it will grow. That the rain and sun will come when they are needed. You give thanks even when the harvest is smaller or bigger or wildly different than what you expected. And when the season is over, you’re already imagining and excited about what could be with the knowledge you are now equipped with.

That is 2015 for me.
Eagerly awaiting 2016 with a new season of planting and a whole lot of trust that this might be the best year yet.
Even if it’s not, His grace is sufficient for me.

So, let’s bring on the “light” of 2016!

Do you have a word for 2016? I’d love to hear it.

You can view my Pinterest board of inspiration featuring imagery and quotes I love for my 2016 year of “light.” I also highly recommend you check out my friend Ali Edwards’ workshop created and dedicated to One Little Word.

One Little Word Light

Announcing my new online class: Marketing for Creatives

Since I joined the Studio Calico team, I’ve been excited to have the opportunity to share some of my passions on a larger scale. So of course, I jumped at the opportunity to lead a class on marketing for the creative entrepreneur that the Studio Calico community had been asking for awhile.

This class packs in a ton of content in our four weeks together! I hope you’ll join us if you ready to take your creative blog and online presence to the next level!

Whether you’re a beginner or have been at it for a while, I will help you go from hobbyist to professional with the all-new online class Marketing for Creatives. You’ll learn from myself and a few of my experienced creative friends how to create a marketing strategy for your online presence, generate relevant content that keeps readers coming back, promote your brand using major social media outlets and more!



What comes with this class:

  • Four weeks of lessons and videos sharing some of my expert advice from my 10 years of blogging and professional marketing experience
  • Features from some of my friends who are bloggers and creatives who will let you in on their secrets and give you tips and resources to either get started or take your online presence to a new level
  • Weekly assignments and action plans to get it done
  • Live group Q & A chat
  • Access to a class message board and gallery where you can share and learn with me and fellow students
  • Printable blog planner sheets from Hello Forever, including a content calendar, post planner and a monthly check-in sheet to help you track your stats and set goals (preview coming soon!)



Marketing for Creatives is enrolling now through early September. Class is officially underway on September 1st! I hope you’ll join me!

Class contributors include: Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat StudioAshlee ProffitElise Blaha Cripe of Enjoy It & Get to Work BookJessica Bishop of The Budget Savvy Bride and Stephanie Bryan of Stephanie Makes.