A Year of
Date Ideas: An Honest Update

Ocean view from Cliff House in San Francisco

At the start of 2014, Vitaliy and I filled 12 envelopes with 12 unique date ideas that we hoped to enjoy together once a month for the entire year.

We felt like our date nights were too routine: dinner and/or a movie. The majority of our date nights still revolve around this scenario. However, the envelopes of date ideas were our way of making a more conscious effort to add a little more investment and adventure to our time together. The way we would have prior to marriage. We’re not yet to the end of the year, but out of those 12 envelopes, guess how many we’ve done so far this year? Only three.

About halfway into the year, I was super down about how few we had enjoyed. I felt like a failure and in some ways a hypocrite since I also shared the idea here with you. But I recently had a change of heart as I reminded myself that life is about progress not perfection. The true is same for marriage. It doesn’t matter what happened earlier this year. What matters is right now. I took October’s envelope and decided it was feasible and worth us dropping other things in order to make it happen.

Last Friday we worked a few hours in the morning and then took off for an adventure together. We explored artwork at the Beach Chalet, ate lunch at The Cliff House, and walked the beach hand in hand. It was exactly what we needed and I’m so happy I put all of my “responsibilities” to the side for the day. Because honestly, isn’t my marriage my responsibility? Doesn’t it deserve to be a priority in my life? And the answer to both is undeniably, yes.

P.S. Today is the 10 year anniversary of our first date. Happy Halloween indeed!

Growing, Inside and Out

Vitaliy and Candace Selfie

With wedding season in full swing, along with this pregnancy, it has been near impossible to find the extra time to write.

My days are filled taking care of our clients and the little one growing inside. On top of that, Vitaliy and I are working behind the scenes at streamlining our systems, refining our brand, and working to create an even better client experience come the 2015 wedding season. Running your own business is a never-ending learning process. The minute you feel you master one area, a new one awaits your creativity and attention. But my entrepreneur heart welcomes the challenge!

I used to get overwhelmed by all the areas of our business I needed to learn, but after doing this now for 6 years, I’m finally starting to understand its all part of owning your own business. It’s been fun to look back and see how much we’ve grown. And equally as exciting to brainstorm where we want to go. During a recent #fridayintroductions on Instagram, @jessaconnolly and @thetinytwig asked the question, what are you most excited about this fall? I’m really excited about our upcoming coaching sessions with brand specialist Kathryn Duckett from Creme Brands. I met her last year at the Making Things Happen conference and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I’m confident she’s going to challenge us and help us take Pictilio to new heights.

We recently did a little assignment on our own to figure out where we were getting the majority of our referrals. We went back to our very first wedding and tracked the source of each one. We discovered that Word of Mouth referrals were by far the dominating source of how our clients were finding us. We have our clients, friends and family to thank for helping us get to where we are today. As we begin booking out our 2015 calendar of weddings, we want to thank each one of you for your continued support over the years. You make this dream of ours possible every day.

Hope this will be the start of getting back into the swing of things here. I miss filling this space! And connecting with each of you.

Fall, My Favorite Time of Year

It’s that time of year again! Fall is definitely my favorite.

I love the anticipation of the holidays, the change of the weather, and most importantly the comfort and coziness of getting to pull out my sweaters again. The past few months, Vitaliy and I have had to readjust our date nights. With the nausea and fatigue I experienced my first trimester, I was definitely more inclined to spend relaxing time together in the comfort of my own home. But now that I’m starting to feel normal again (minus my growing belly) and have more energy, I’m starting to daydream and brainstorm some more exciting outings with my husband. I’m pretty sure he’ll be grateful!

I’ve got pumpkin picking on my mind, but before that, I’m hoping to make a trip to an apple orchard in the near future. We went last year on a trip to St. Louis and it was the perfect double date. Whether we go on a upcoming trip to the Midwest or here in the bay area, I hope to squeeze something in before it’s too late. It’ll be the perfect excuse to finally try baking a pie together too.

What are your traditions this time of year? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

Eckert's Belleville Farm apple orchard