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Eyes up, heart open

Carla Ten Eyck

Engage Luxury Wedding Business Summit Solaz Cabo San Lucas Mexico

Pool bar at Solaz Los Cabos Mexico at the Engage 18 Cabo Conference

Last week was the Engage Luxury Wedding and Business Summit’s last event of 2018 at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I have been to Mexico many times before, it’s my father’s native country and also, hello it’s MEXICO and it’s warm and beautiful and colorful and my soul loves it! Cabo was amazing and even though, regrettably I didn’t get to explore the area much at all (save for our pre Engage dinner with some of my most favorite people EVER) I have to say I would come back for the Solaz resort alone. It was MAGNIFICENT. I arrived and left feeling so inspired and like, visually woke AF by the design of the space. The textures, the light, the patterns of the stone! The boxy and kind of weird feeling exteriors sang in my heart in a fresh, new way. My go-to love is smaller more intimate cozy spaces, lots of color, warmth, places to get lost. Ferns and waterfalls and jungle and woods and green moss and like… nooks! This is making me even happier to go to Scotland next year (I am waving my hands in the air theoretically, even though I am literally going!) So the Solaz rocked my world a little bit here! There were giant cactus, and little to no color, wide open spaces, and lots of no walls, hence: no nooks.

And yet!

Cozy spots amongst the space and the breeze did in fact, exist. Texture, and light was considered and from a photographers perspective and lover of beautiful design… the space was magnificent. Honestly I found it a little hard to relax because I was so photographically inspired, if I am being honest! I did end up allowing myself moments to just take it all in, from the thoughtfully considered landscaping at every turn (there was greenery on some of the roof tops!) to the textured rope that was incorporated into the design of the ceilings, and to the basket chairs swaying gently in the Mexican breeze.

Meanwhile, back in reality, I was here to photograph Engage with a talented team of photographers for the third event (of 4)  this year! In June I photographed at The Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff Canada, and October was Adare Manor in Limerick Ireland- both posts are coming, I promise!

This Engage was Frida Kahlo inspired and I was excited beyond reason, to say the least… check out these fun Frida beaded rings! Props to Charla Storey, my hand model 🙂

Beaded Frida Kahlo rings at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

In addition to all of the amazing speakers, swag and locations, are the friendships that form here. It’s been said before that Engage is like a summer camp, and I could not agree more. At my first Engage at the Mandarin Oriental in Vegas, I went begrudgingly… I felt left out before I even got there, and I was going with three of my closest friends! One of which told us all sternly (as she had attended two before this one with us, and served as our guide) that she would not be hanging out with us, and that it was our responsibility to break free from the safety of our group and connect and engage. That was the whole point, right? As harsh as I thought she sounded then, I thank her heartily now, and pass along that same advice when I see two people who came together hunkered in a corner being shy. Break free, friends! Then reconnect later and introduce your new friends. Divide and conquer!

This foursome below of Aimee Monihan / Tropical Occasions, Ali Phillips / Engaging Events by Ali, Jennifer Stein / Destination I Do Magazine, and Harmony Walton / Jet Fete are a power foursome in the most amazing way. Talk about the potential to feel intimidated by these powerhouse women- one of which- Harmony- has attended ALL 26 ENGAGES!! They have allowed me into their circle of love graciously, have shared villas in the boonies of Ireland happily, or in Grand Cayman! We have work events together in May and I could not be happier so see them all again in Colorado with Aimee at the helm. They are accomplished AF, humble, warm and funny beyond anything you can imagine. Jen and Harmony just showed up here and they happily reunited and I was so moved watching these old friends reconnect!

THIS is how you hug!

If this fella Gonzalo aka Todd Fiscus‘ beautiful husband-walked into a dark alley I may have robbed him of his shirt….because WOW. I had to snuggle Miss Cynthia from the Montage right up to him, her hat was magical! Also, she is.

Go Emily Campbell!

“The Engage! Foundation has officially launched! ???? We’re excited to announce support for The Sarahuaro Foundation, a Cabo charity dedicated to delivering life-skills and workforce training to empower impoverished women and children of Los Cabos. We’ve asked our attendees to bring art supplies for us to donate to their cause by “Packing with a Purpose.” In true Engage! style, they did not let us down. Much more to come from this newly formed part of Engage! in 2019! #EngageFoundation

Aimee called it. This sweet fella, Cesar, is legit the Mexican Brian Leahy! So I had to get them to meet since poor Cesar was hearing about Brian for days before he arrived!

My co-teammate, Jennifer Domenick and I took a quickie portrait break in between working because… HELLO!

Gotta shout out my homie Theo Milo for sharing this sweet spots location! My roomie for life, Lara and I had to head there for some magical stuff!

Woman in blue jumpsuit at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas Mexico at the Engage 18 Conference

The Welcome Party was right by the pools and beach, and it was the most perfect weather!

“Annnnnd welcome to our welcome party at the Erizo Terrace (or should we say welcome fiesta?!) ???? All 3 of #Engage18 @SolazResortLosCabos’ nighttime parties were inspired by art in Mexico! ???????? The welcome party is inspired by huichol art with bright colors, embroidery & fun patterns! ???? Host Hotel: @solazresortloscabos + @solazloscabos | Creative Direction, & Event Planning, Event Design,  Decor +Florals: @elenadamy | Music & Entertainment: @elanartists | Art Direction, Event Branding + Gifting Design + Curation: @TPDDesignHouse | Graphic Design: @TrishaHay | Lighting, Backline and Dance Audio: @trilogy.produccion.cabo| Lighting & Audio for After Party: Encore Event Technologies | Band Stage: @vvrproductionhouse Photo: @c10ike #10YearsOfEngage

Ribbon detail at the Solaz Los Cabo in Cabo San Lucas Mexico at the Engage 18 Conference Sunset by the pool at the welcome party at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas at the Engage 18 Conference

This one in the middle. My Kreckelpuss. Vanessa Kreckel leads her team from TPD Design House and does all of the event branding, menus, art direction and gifting. She is a power house and one of my closest friends who also did all of my branding and website stuff! I am beyond lucky to know her and bask in her greatness. Just wait until you see the menus she and her team did! OY!

I had to put all 4 images up of this…. it was my friend Dani’s FIRST TIME EVER DOING A SHOT! Beth Chapman, one of my besties and my co-author instigated this, and honestly she looks like it’s her first time doing a shot! ha ha ha ha

I am so taken by the architecture. le sigh.

Friends making faces at every turn! Char + Victoria!!

A highlight: seeing Carlos bust out singing with the Mariachi!! He crushed it!

This dynamo aka Cindy Novotny is one of my favorite parts of every Engage experience I have. She always delivers the most inspiring talks and kicks my ass into action, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of her message and her seemingly never-ending well of energy. She is the real deal, always ready with a hug, eye contact or an ear. I am lucky to know her!

Love doing some quickie head shots / personal branding stuff with my roomie Lara Woolfson! She sure knows how to work the camera!

Jill from Elan Artists is such a chameleon! In Ireland she was a fairy at the lunch and then later in Cabo was throwing some fire in a bikini! I mean, I totally was too, but it was from all of the beans! (booooop)

My BTS pal, Miss Shira, styling up the table for me to snap a shot for social before the crowds descended for lunch. I love her energy and despite us having a ton of things to style and shoot together (in Ireland particularly) we still laughed and had such a fun time. It always feels good to be able to lean into a friend when you are tired or hitting a creative block and can work things out together. Boop!

“Do you hear that? It’s the lunch bell! ????The décor was inspired by the desert colors, including these shades of orange & green and the pops of red & yellow! ???? ???? Host Hotel: @solazresortloscabos + @solazloscabos | Creative Director, Event Planning, Stage Design, Furniture & Florals: @elenadamy | Music & Entertainment: @elanartists Art Direction, Event Branding, Menus: @TPDDesignHouse | Linens and napkins: @latavolalinen | Audio: Encore Event Technologies Photo: Engage18 #10YearsOfEngage “

After attending 15 Engage conferences, I would have to say that hands down the dine around is the best part. You get randomly placed at a table with a speaker who leads and makes sure that everyone introduces themselves and we can all connect. Luckily for me and our table, my buddy Beth Chapman was our host. Jonathan, Christy, Cynthia, Kayleigh, Adriana, Cherish, Erika + Jaclyn were so open and welcoming with their stories.

One of my most favorite things to do is to ask questions and make sure that everyone has the space and time to answer honestly. This group was fabulous and so invested in getting to know each other’s stories. Leave it to me to go last and just cry into my margarita – but hear me when I say that I felt so safe sharing how I felt with this group. It’s the power of Engage, and I truly believe that I have deeper connections with each person here because of it!

When Nadia Duran presented, she shared a clip from a commercial that was really powerful. I knew I would cry if I committed to fully listening, and so I dug into shooting and not listening and not crying but my boy Ben Finch let his emotions out while editing and I just adore him for it!

Yes Emily, my girl, I got you crying and using your blanket swag to mop up those tears!!

Our friends at @mintedweddings gifted attendees with these embroidered Turkish towels that read “Buenas Vibras,” which translates to ‘good vibes’ ???????????? Thank you #MintedWeddings???? Host Hotel: @solazresortloscabos + @solazloscabos photo: @c10ike Photo Styling: @_shiramisu #Engage18#10YearsOfEngage

The location for our pool party…. it was aiiight

People dance at the pool party at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas Mexico at the Engage 18 Conference Pool party at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas Mexico at the Engage 18 Conference

It’s time to enjoy the sunny & warm Los Cabos weather and hang at the pool party! ????Grab your suit and meet us by the pool! ☀️ Host Hotel: @solazresortloscabos + @solazloscabos | Event Planning: @elenadamy | Art Direction, Event Branding: @TPDDesignHouse | Music & Entertainment: @elanartists | Audio: Encore Event Technologies #Engage18 #10YearsOfEngage

Old Friend + New Friend!

Love me some Jeremy Whited. OMG. We both cried at registration when we saw each other- it had been a few years and we have had the pleasure of working with each other on Vanessa Kreckel’s wedding a few years back and it was just the sweetest reunion!! He was so on the DL with Simon I didn’t get any pics of either of them and I am so mad!

Yes girl!

Wait! I totally lied! Here is Simon, who worked tirelessly for Elyssium videoing all of the things! But then he knew when to join the dance circle…

The Gala:

A closer look at the beautiful centerpieces! Host Hotel: @solazresortloscabos + @solazloscabos | Creative Director + Event Planning + Event Design + Floral Design + Furniture & Decor: @elenadamy | Music + Entertainment + Stage Design & Multimedia @ElanArtists | Art Direction + Event Branding + Escort Cards + Menus @TPDDesignHouse | Fireworks: Cabo Fireworks Company | LED screens + Lighting, + Audio + Backline: @trilogy.produccion.cabo | Staging & Dance Floor: @vvrproductionhouse | Lighting and Audio for Cocktail & After-Party: Encore Event Technologies | Linens & Napkins: @latavolalinen | Chargers: @BBJLinen Photo: @C10Ike #Engage18 #10YearsOfEngage

Frida Kahlo menu at the Engage 18 Cabo gala at Solaz Los Cabo in Cabo San Lucas Mexico Frida Kahlo photo backdrop at the Engage 18 Gala at Solaz Los Cabo in Cabo San Lucas Mexico Sunset at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas Mexico at the Engage 18 Conference

The theme of the #Engage18 @SolazResortLosCabos is Mexican Modern Art ???? One of the most famous painters of this era was Frida Kahlo! ???????? Host Hotel: @solazresortloscabos + @solazloscabos | Creative Director + Event Planning + Event Design + Floral Design + Furniture & Decor: @elenadamy | Music + Entertainment + Stage Design & Multimedia @ElanArtists | Art Direction + Event Branding + Escort Cards + Menus @TPDDesignHouse| LED screens + Lighting, + Audio + Backline: @trilogy.produccion.cabo | Staging & Dance Floor: @vvrproductionhouse | Lighting and Audio for Cocktail & After-Party: Encore Event Technologies | Linens & Napkins: @latavolalinen | Chargers: @BBJLinen Photo: @C10ike #10YearsOfEngage

Frida Kahlo inspired floral decor at the Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas Mexico at the Engage Conference The Frida Kahlo inspired Engage 18 Gala at Solaz Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

Don’t forget to grab your escort cards! ???? Host Hotel: @solazresortloscabos + @solazloscabos | Creative Director + Event Planning + Event Design + Floral Design + Furniture & Decor: @elenadamy | Music + Entertainment + Stage Design & Multimedia @ElanArtists | Art Direction + Event Branding + Escort Cards + Menus @TPDDesignHouse | LED screens + Lighting, + Audio + Backline: @trilogy.produccion.cabo | Staging & Dance Floor: @vvrproductionhouse | Lighting and Audio for Cocktail & After-Party: Encore Event Technologies | Linens & Napkins: @latavolalinen | Chargers: @BBJLinen Photo: @C10Ike #Engage18 #10YearsOfEngage

Frida Kahlo backdrop at the Engage 18 Gala at the Solaz Los Cabo in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

My buddy Gurminder Banga! He set up for the entire gala and did portraits of guests in front of this gorgeous backdrop! We had to get a pic together. Banga is one of the sweetest souls, hardest worker and just allaprund talented photographer. I was proud to be on the team with him!

 

 

Another Photographer who I adore and admire, Andre Maier! So kind, always ready with a big smile and a hug. He is the real deal!

 

Who is this FOX?? haaaiiiiii

Carla Ten Eyck at the Solaz Los Cabos Cabo San Lucas Mexico Engage 18 Gala

 

These women are the ones I choose to be my family.

 

Rebecca and Kathryn, I cannot thank you enough for the continued love, support and opportunities you have given me to be a part of Engage, whether it’s as an attendee, a speaker or a photographer. My life has been forever changed not only by all of the far corners of the world I have been able to see, but more importantly by the friendships that I have made and maintained from Engage. I am forever grateful! Excited to see where 2019 takes us all! XOXOXO

To see my coverage of Engage’s from the past click the links below:

Sea Island, Georgia

Engage Nizuc 15 Riviera Maya Mexico

Engage 14 Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman

Engage 14 Bachelor Gulch Colorado

 

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