Friday, February 14, 2014
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you’re enjoying the day with someone you love!
Several months ago, I had a fun opportunity to put together a sweet little Valentine’s Day crafting party for the February 2014 issue of Emma Magazine. If you have little ones, this is the perfect no-fuss way to celebrate. To see the feature, click here or on any of the photos below. You can also read the entire February issue online by clicking here.
Have a love-filled day!
Event planning & styling: JORDAN MCBRIDE | Photography: Erica Velasco | Large balloon: SUCRE & CONFETTI | Tassel garland: The Flair Exchange | Mini mailboxes: Amazon.com | Valentine notecards & scrapbooking paper: Target | Confetti: Tucker Reece, Swoon Party Shop | Scrapbooking cuts: JK Imaging & Craft, Scrap Cuts | Twine: Scrap Cuts
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Friday, January 10, 2014
I’m so excited to share that the Teddy Bear Picnic is featured over on Hostess with the Mostess today! To read the heartwarming story of Teddy’s rescue and check out all the fun details, click right here!
Hope you all have an amazing weekend – I’ll be back next week to share Part 5 (the actual goals!) of the 2014 Goal Setting Series by Lara Casey.
Event planning & styling: JORDAN MCBRIDE | Photography: MELISSA JILL | Linens: LA TAVOLA FINE LINEN RENTAL | Dishes, platters, beverage buckets, large jars, small balloons, & favor bags: TARGET | Large balloon: SUCRE & CONFETTI | Cake stand & stripey straws: SHOP SWEET LULU | Kraft paper tent cards: PAPER SOURCE | Dog treats, edible pet grass, & bowls: PETCO | Pupcakes: RECIPE | Puppy polos: RALPH LAUREN
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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Earlier this week I completed Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the 2014 Goal Setting Challenge by Lara Casey. Onto Part 4!
To read Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the original Goal Setting Challenge on Lara’s blog, click here, here, and here. To read Part 4, click here. The three steps in Part 4 are:
- Plant seeds. Create legacy.
- Do something radical this year.
- Sing loud.
Here we go:
1. Plant seeds. Create legacy.
From Lara’s blog: “What little seeds can you plant in others? What legacy can you pass on to those you love now? What can you teach to others? What traditions can you pass to them? What gifts of love can you sow?” Here are mine:
- A marriage that inspires others (including my future children) to create one just like it
- A home where others can feel love and memories
- Financial security that promotes and teaches smart saving and spending habits
- Photo albums that document love, fun, and adventure
- Traditions that reflect a happy, loving home
- Daily routines that give a sense of stability in an otherwise chaotic world
- Creativity that enhances the body, mind and spirit
- Graciousness and poise that teach responsible self-awareness
- Kindness and generosity that remind others that not everyone has had the advantages they’ve had
- Relationships that reflect the kind of person I am or want to be
2. Do something radical this year.
From Lara’s blog: “The kind of radical that changes everything for the better. That thing that has been set deep in your heart. That thing that scares you. That thing that feels impossible right now. That thing that you know would help you and everyone around you.” Here is mine:
I want to stop worrying about the amount of time it’s going to take for me to get my little business to the place where I want it to be, and just focus on progress. This morning, Jess Lively blogged on a topic I’ve been shouting from the proverbial rooftops for a year now: Getting it right is better than getting it done. It is so important to me that my business is reflective of who I am – my personality, my heart, my values. More important than just putting it out there without defining what’s at the core of it. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by it. I don’t want to rush it. I want to be okay with starting small and moving slowly (but steadily!) – taking great care of crafting it in a way I can be very proud of.
This year, my radical is learning to become content with my business path, and secure in knowing it will result in a brand I’m truly proud of. (Does the butterfly photo make sense now?)
3. Sing loud.
From Lara’s blog: “Choose a song for this year! A song that lights your heart on fire and makes you feel alive and connected to what you want most. Music has the ability to connect us to what matters most in an instant. Music can lift us out of a slump fast. Music can fill our should with goodness on days that nothing else seems to get to our hearts.” Here is mine:
As much as I didn’t want to pick something trendy, I really like the message (and the video) of the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. The lyrics touch on so many themes I’ve blogged about this week: honesty, self-doubt, insecurity, bravery (duh), comparison, contentment… the list goes on. So it just makes sense that it’s my song of 2014!
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Hi guys! I had a busy day of finalizing the plans for the styled shoot that’s happening next week (so excited!), so sorry this post is super late today.
Earlier this week I completed Part 1 and Part 2 of the 2014 Goal Setting Challenge by Lara Casey. Onto Part 3!
To read Parts 1 and 2 of the original Goal Setting Challenge on Lara’s blog, click here and here. To read Part 3, click here. The four steps in Part 3 are:
- What is your 2014 vision?
- What are you saying “no” to in 2014?
- What are you saying “yes” to in 2014?
- My word for 2014:
Here we go:
1. What is your 2014 vision?
Clarity. Confidence. A schedule that works. Progress and growth. Celebrated accomplishments. Contentment. Experience. Purposeful everything. Love, health, and happiness.
2. What are you saying “no” to in 2014?
- Eating poorly - It just doesn’t feel good.
- Comparison - I touched on this in Part 1. It’s so easy to get caught up with what other people are doing (or have) in life and in business. But when I’m doing that, I lose sight of the things I’m striving for and that matter in my own life and business.
- Procrastination - I will clean my desk and the kitchen before bed each night. (Or at least, I’ll try.) Which brings me to…
- Perfection - My constant strive for perfection in everything I do is borderline unhealthy. Without compromising the project at hand, I need to relax a little bit and see the beauty in imperfection.
- Taking on too much – I’m still working to find a
perfect good balance. Instead of looking at what others are doing and trying to keep up, I need to put up some blinders and focus on doing what works for me (my health, my happiness, my family, my business).
- Clutter - This year I’m going to simplify my home in a major way; a way that feels personal, practical, livable, and thoughtful. The purchases I make will be very intentional. I will try my hardest to keep my desk looking like it did in the photo above, all year.
3. What are you saying “yes” to in 2014?
- Authenticity – I meet all the best people when I’m being myself. And plus, it just feels better.
- Gratitude - My absolute favorite thing about my Day Designer is the “Daily Gratitude” space at the bottom of each page. Even on busy days, I will be reminded to count my blessings.
- Progress - Progress in and of itself is an accomplishment.
- Snail mail - Because really, is there anything more refreshing than handwritten correspondence these days?
- Opportunities that scare me - They always end up being the most rewarding.
- Opportunities to learn and grow – Whether it’s from a person, a book, a workshop, or a conference, I want to take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow in life and in business.
- Batch scheduling – I want to create (and stick to) a more efficient schedule (i.e., meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays, office days on Tuesdays and Thursdays).
- Volunteerism - It’s a great way to gain perspective.
- Fresh air – I have a tendency to let hours go by without getting up from my desk. Inspired by this recent post by Emily Ley, I’m going to get out more.
- Me time – I’ve been told by several family members and friends lately that I’m not good enough to myself. You know how the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask before putting on others’? (That sounded like a really stupid analogy, so I decided to Google it. I found this, feel less stupid, and will now continue.) How can I take care of others if I don’t first take care of myself? This year I’ll try to go to Bliss and Drybar without feeling bad about it!
4. My word for 2014:
I want to use the goals I’ve made to simplify my life, home, and business. I’m a super organized person, but everything feels cluttered right now. My word for 2014 is simplicity!
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Yesterday I completed Part 1 of the 2014 Goal Setting Challenge by Lara Casey. To read the post, click here. Now, onto Part 2!
To read Part 1 of the original Goal Setting Challenge on Lara’s blog, click here. To read Part 2, click here. The three steps in Part 2 are:
- What did you learn from what worked?
- What did you learn from what didn’t work?
- What fires you up?
Here we go:
1. What did you learn from what worked?
- Honesty wins.
- Nothing motivates me more than public accountability.
- I can get so much more done when I’m focused on progress instead of perfection.
- Slow and steady wins the race – in home, business, and life.
2. What did you learn from what didn’t work?
- The distractions have to go. Not just the tangible ones – but the intangible ones. Specifically fear, insecurity, self-doubt, comparison, and overwhelm. These are the ones that keep me from doing all the things I want to, and deep-down know I can, do. (Take the photo above, for example. Flying isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I’m so glad I got on that plane to Bermuda. I cringe when I think of all the things I’m missing out on by letting my fears hold me back.)
- Family time, health, and happiness are too precious to sacrifice for anything business-related.
- I’d be happier if I focused more on where I am, instead of where I want to be. Everybody has to start somewhere.
- Less is oftentimes much, much more.
3. What fires you up?
- Strong marriages
- Fresh starts
- Dates with my husband
- Committing to doing something that really, really scares me
- Being authentic and vulnerable on my blog
- Reading the blogs of others who are authentic and vulnerable
- Learning (I’m a sucker for business books, conferences, programs, workshops, etc.)
- Meeting new friends
- Mustering up the courage to ask, and then getting a “Yes!”
- Getting organized (I love a good trip to Staples)
- Knowing that I’ve inspired someone
- Inspirational quotes
- Handwritten correspondence
- All the great business ideas swirling in my head
- Traveling (especially to places I’ve never been before)
- Being near (or in) the ocean
- A blanket of undisturbed snow (though I don’t get to see it very often)
- Surprising others
- Hosting holiday meals for our entire family
- A moment I had recently in which it became very, very obvious that there was someone bigger in charge of my life, and the peace that came when I accepted that (if you’re a control freak like I am, you can probably related to what a big deal it was)
- Watching my husband laugh hysterically
I could write about things that fire me up all day long, but I’ll leave it at that. This challenge has already got me feeling inspired and confident about what I’m going to do in 2014. I hope you decide to join in the fun – and if you do, please share your own answers in the comments. Get excited for Part 3, coming up next!
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Monday, January 6, 2014
Happy Monday, lovely! How’s January treating you so far? Have you been working on a list of 2014 goals? I would love it if you would share them with me – just leave a comment below. Last Wednesday, I blogged my list of 101 things I’m going to do in the next 1001 days. Then, I took the rest of the week off from blogging to begin tackling #80 on my list – the 2014 Goal Setting Challenge by Lara Casey. (If you’re not familiar with this Southern belle, go check her out now.)
Oh, you thought you only had until 11:59pm on December 31, 2013 to set your 2014 goals? Nope! That’s not how we do things around here.
In case you haven’t already noticed, I’m in love with the month of January and everything its promise of a fresh start has to offer. So I’ve decided to devote this entire month to setting goals, getting organized, and preparing for an amazing year. (Because as Lara says – microwaving a list of goals just doesn’t work! If you want to really accomplish something – anything! – this year, you need to make some time to sit down and really think deeply about it.)
So! If you haven’t quite nailed down what you hope to accomplish this year, relax – it’s not too late. I hope you’ll hang out with me here this month as I get personal and share how I hope to make 2014 amazing, and get inspired to create (and share!) your own goals. Otherwise, I’ll see you back here in February for all things wedding- and event-related.
I took the photo below on my honeymoon as my husband and I walked to Steps Beach on Nantucket. Perfect visual for a fresh start, right?! (And in case you were wondering, there’s no better place to relax and reflect than Steps Beach! But I hope you’ve found somewhere almost as good to create your 2014 goals.)
To read Part 1 of the Goal Setting Challenge, click here. The three steps in Part 1 are:
- What worked in 2013?
- What didn’t work in 2013?
- Get visual!
Here we go:
1. What worked in 2013?
- Waking up super early - I found that I’m most productive in the very early hours of the morning, when everything is quiet (i.e., my email isn’t chiming every minute). I also felt better throughout the day if I’d had a chance to wake up, have a latte, and hang out with my husband for a bit before jumping right into the workday.
- Having the courage to ask - Asking is the hardest part, but the worst they can say is no! Making the ask demonstrates confidence and self-worth, and who doesn’t want to say yes to someone with those qualities? I’ve gotten many more yeses than nos this year. And the nos stung a lot less when I focused on the learning experience instead of taking it personally.
- Having the courage to say yes to things that scare me – The best experiences in life are almost always the scariest, in my experience. In 2014, if it scares me, “yes” will be my default answer.
- Attending conferences - Conferences are definitely one of the things that scare me. So I registered for and attended two in 2013 (Alt Summit and Engage!13), and I am so glad I did – learning and meeting new people was the best thing I did for my business in its first year. This year I hope to attend two more conferences.
- Honesty – In general, being honest works if only because it’s easier not to have to remember all the
lies stories you’ve told. Okay, but really. Pretending you’re someone you’re not (or that you’re business is in a place that it’s not) is exhausting. And feels really, really bad! I’m honest simply because I’ve met all my favorite people while being my authentic self.
- Sharing my struggles and challenges - In 2013, being honest meant sharing my struggles and challenges, even when I didn’t want to; when I thought I’d be judged, made fun of, looked down upon, or not taken seriously. But when I did open up about things that weren’t going so well, I found people to relate to. More on this in just a sec.
- Organization - My days are so much more productive when my house is clean and orderly. Have you ever tried to get work done at a messy desk? Or cook dinner in a messy kitchen? When I took 15 minutes in the evening to make sure my desk and kitchen were spotless before hitting the sheets, I noticed a huge difference in my productivity the following day. This is something I hope to be more consistent about doing this year.
- Tracking accomplishments, no matter how small - Do you ever get to the end of the month and wonder where it went and what you actually did? Keeping a monthly list of goals (small, attainable ones), has helped me feel accomplished at the end of each month, and each year. This is something I’m going to continue to do in 2014.
- Stopping my workday at 4:00pm sharp – This is something I didn’t start doing until halfway through the year. I like what I do, so I find it easy to keep working after the sun goes down. But when I don’t stick to a schedule, my personal life sort of falls to the wayside. The housework doesn’t get done and my husband and I don’t eat dinner and spend enough time together. Not okay! About halfway through the year I realized this wasn’t working, so I set an alarm for 4:00pm on weekdays. Forcing myself to start and stop the workday earlier ensures that I get through my to-do list more efficiently (I only have until 4:00pm!), that things get done around my house, and that my husband and I enjoy the evening together. I’m going to continue to work to make this a perfect routine in 2014.
- Taking long walks with Teddy Bear – Speaking of scheduling, a mandatory break every day to take my sweet rescue pup for a long walk (i.e., not just down the street and back) is an activity I’ve prioritized. If you have a dog, don’t view his daily walk as a chore. It may sound like one, but when you see how happy he gets when you pull out his leash (and how good it feels to get some fresh air after being cooped up in your home all day), you’ll realize it’s not. Walking my dog is like a mini midday therapy session. I love it.
- Keeping my office in my office – At the beginning of 2013, I replaced my trusty laptop with the first desktop computer I’ve ever owned. And despite all the times I’ve wanted to work from the comfort of the couch or my bed instead of sitting upright at my desk, keeping my office in my office is one of the best things I’ve done for myself, and my marriage. When you work from home like I do, it’s sometimes difficult to separate your workspace from the rest of your home. But when work travels into the bedroom, for example, it’s never good. So when I’m in my office, I’m working, and when I’m in the rest of my home, I’m not. Period. There’s a lot more advice on this topic in a great book I read at the beginning of 2013, if you’re interested.
2. What didn’t work in 2013?
- Procrastinating – Nothing gets my buns in gear like a fast-approaching deadline, but the stress and sleepless nights aren’t worth it. In 2014 I plan to be much better about doing the easy things when I’m thinking of them, instead of waiting until they absolutely have to be done. Case in point: Realizing I can’t fit eight gold Chiavari chairs in my trunk on the day I need to take them to a shoot, because my trunk is jam-packed with stuff I’ve been meaning to drop off at Goodwill for weeks. (This has not happened yet, but will if I don’t finally run that silly errand.)
- Worrying – Ask my husband, I worry about everything: About being the very best wife, daughter, friend, business owner, about the health and safety of me and my loved ones, about my home being organized and decorated perfectly, and about a million other petty things that I’m sure would confirm everyone’s suspicions (including my own) that I have mild O.C.D. Worry breeds negativity, and I just don’t like how I feel when I’m worried.
- Eating poorly – It feels good at the time, but not later. I will remember this in 2014, and eat healthier.
- Having too much stuff - I’m paring down in 2014, for sure. I have way too many things that aren’t useful or special enough to hold onto, so I’m getting rid of them. (Some are already in the trunk of my car, remember?) My head feels so much clearer when I’m not surrounded by clutter, and despite being a very organized person, I have my fair share of it. Along the same lines, this year I’m resolving to only purchase things I need or that I’m absolutely in love with. I’ve got to simplify this place.
- Comparing - It’s so easy to get caught up with what other people are doing (or have) in life and in business. But that’s gotten me nowhere. Instead, I want to remember this quote by Jim Elliot: “Wherever you are, be all there.” I need to accept where I am in life and in business, enjoy it, and realize that it’s a necessary part of the journey. When I’m being fully present instead of looking to the past or the future, I know I’ll be better at whatever it is I’m doing.
- Having too many house projects at the same time – My husband and I purchased our first home at the very beginning of 2013 and quickly started projects in practically every room. I do not recommend this. This year I plan to work on one project in one room at a time, so that the
disasters works-in-progress are contained to one area and the rest of my home still feels like a home, not a construction site.
- Working in December – I’m never doing it again. Ever. Thanksgiving was later than usual in 2013 and I had projects going on through December 17. Suddenly it was Christmas Eve and I felt like I hadn’t had nearly enough time to sit in front of our historic wood-burning fireplace and enjoy the Christmas decorations, go shopping, bake Christmas treats, enjoy a seasonal activity or performance, listen to Christmas music, etc. (My husband would say I listened to plenty of Christmas music, but whatever.) I live for Christmas and I simply did not get enough of it in 2013. Lesson learned – I’m taking December off from now on to fully enjoy Christmastime with my family. I know it’ll be worth it.
- Being too busy for family and friends - Along the same lines, I hate realizing it’s been a little too long since I set foot in my mom’s house (two minutes from mine) or picked up the phone and called one of my best friends (all whom unfortunately live out of state), makes me feel like such a bad person. This year I will make it a priority to see and talk to everyone more – whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via email/snail mail. Family and friends are so much more important than everything else, and I need to remember that.
3. Get visual!
You can find my Pinterest board of inspiring images and words for 2014 right here. Please go follow, and share the link to your own 2014 Pinterest board in the comments so I can follow back!
One last thought: It’s about 3:00pm as I’m writing this. So far today, a meeting with my friend Kelly at La Tavola to confirm a linen order turned into a refreshing, hour-long chat about handling life’s struggles with honesty. And on the way home, one of my best friends, Kate, called to tell me she was going to start creating monthly goal lists in an effort to become more organized. Both of these girls told me I had inspired them. Their words meant so much to me and I felt a renewed sense of purpose for sharing my life on my blog. The purpose is firstly to help and inspire others, but it’s also to help myself. If I could narrow down one big takeaway lesson of 2013, it would be that good things come from sharing. Especially sharing struggles. Because only when I muster up the courage to share the not-so-great things in life (and trust me, there are many) do I meet people who are going through something similar – and then suddenly, neither of us are going through it alone. Try it! As soon as you open up about that thing that makes you cringe with insecurity, you’ll learn that everyone (yes, even that girl who seems like she has it all together) is going through something.
Happy New Year! And get excited, Part 2 is coming up next!
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Happy New Year! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to see 2013 come to an end – looking back, it was a rough one. But the bad only makes the good that much better, so I can’t help but feel grateful for each and every challenge I’ve been given over the last 12 months.
January is my favorite month of the whole year – a fresh start, snuggle weather, and my birthday… it doesn’t get any better! I’m filled with inspiration and so much energy for creating an amazing 2014, and I’m so excited to finally hit “Publish” on this post (which I’ve had in the works for a few weeks now). Nothing motivates me more than public accountability, so I was inspired by Mackenzie of Design Darling to create and blog my very own list of 101 things I want to do in the next 1001 days. And what better day to kick off the list than January 1? (If you’ve never heard of this challenge before, read about it here. I encourage you to create a list of your own – and if you do, leave a comment with a link to your post!)
My list is broken down into six categories, and thanks to my sweet husband (the best Christmas gift-giver ever), I’ve already gotten to check #16 and #101 off my list! As for the others, I’ll be checking them off as I go, and in an effort to get a little more personal around here, will blog about as many as possible. Get excited!
Start date: January 1, 2014
End date: September 28, 2016
Love & Family
1. Re-implement date day/night with my husband | March 2014
2. Have a picnic
3. Go on a staycation
4. Send 10 handwritten notes per month (even if they’re all to my husband) | January 2014; February 2014; March 2014; April 2014;
5. Have a couple of custom monograms designed
6. Have family photos taken, and frame them
7. Create an Artifact Uprising book of Instagram photos
8. Create a new wedding album
9. Go to Christmas Eve mass
10. Introduce Teddy Bear to the snow and beach
11. Get pregnant and have a baby | November 2013 and August 2014
Health & Food
12. Muster up the bravery to undergo surgery for my arrhythmia
13. Drink four bottles of water every single day for one month | June, July, and August 2014
14. Convince my husband to try some sort of class with me
15. Master the art of meal-planning
16. Buy a juicer, and use it | December 2013
17. Perfect my aunt’s recipe for bread and butter pickles
18. Learn how to can something delicious (besides bread and butter pickles), and give it as a gift
19. Learn how to cook or bake something delicious, sans recipe
20. Try one new recipe per month | January 2014: Mom’s Hot Fudge Sauce;
21. Learn 10 new Cuban recipes
22. Take a cooking class at Sur la Table
23. Bake something for my husband to take to his coworkers
24. Visit a farmer’s market | April 2014
Fun & Happiness
25. Visit 10 places I’ve never been before | 1. San Francisco, January 2014; 2. San Luis Obispo, March 2014; 3. Carmel, May 2014; 4. Monterey, May 2014; 5. Bronx, November 2014
26. Visit 100 local (to wherever I am) restaurants
27. Visit the Grand Canyon
28. Visit a friend out of state
29. Visit a museum I’ve never been to before
30. Read 12 books | January 2014: Love at First Bark; April 2014: The Meaning of Marriage; May 2014: Husband-Coached Childbirth; May 2014: Cannery Row
31. Watch a sunrise
32. Watch a sunset | May 2014, Roy’s at Pebble Beach on our babymoon
33. Go sailing
34. Play more golf
35. Take more photos | August 2014
36. Record more videos | August 2014
37. Re-learn how to petit point
38. Answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind in a blog post
39. Take an online photography class to brush up on my skills | March 2014
40. Save for and purchase a Leica camera
41. Inspire someone else to make a “101 in 1001″ list of their own
42. Try doing at least 10 projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest
43. Buy a bike | March 2014
44. Create an Instagram photo challenge
45. Participate in an Instagram photo challenge
46. Go antiquing with my mom | April 2014
47. Go apple picking
48. Go to a football game | November 2014: 150th Anniversary Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry Football Game
49. Join a book club (even if it’s online)
50. Subscribe to a magazine I love
51. Go one week without swearing
52. Make a new “101 in 1001″ list
53. Donate to 10 charitable organizations | 1. Junior League of Phoenix; 2. Delta Gamma Foundation;
54. Participate in 10 charitable events | 2014 Junior League Rummage Sale, February 2014;
55. Donate old clothes to Goodwill | January 2014, March 2014, September 2014
56. Mail Christmas cards on December 1
57. Go toy shopping for Phoenix Children’s Hospital at Christmas
58. Leave a 100% tip | January 2014 at Beckett’s Table
59. Donate event planning and styling services | 2014 Junior League Valley Impact Luncheon, November 2014;
60. Buy coffee for a stranger
61. Surprise someone | January 2014
62. Remodel our kitchen
63. Remodel the staircase
64. Furnish our living room
65. Furnish our dining room
66. Furnish our master bedroom | June 2014
67. Furnish my office
68. Paint the family room
69. Extend the patio in the backyard
70. Buy patio furniture
71. Clean out our storage room, which will one day be our nursery | June 2014
72. Buy a new car | March 2014
73. Frame more photos
74. Use up all my beauty products; replace with only what’s great and necessary | May 2014
75. Organize a recipe binder
76. Leave the kitchen spotless before going to bed every day for one month | April 2014
77. Reorganize all my file cabinets
78. Reorganize my holiday decorations | January 2014
79. Invest in 10 gorgeous coffee table books | January 2014: Winter Cocktails; October 2014: Elements of Style;
80. Complete Lara Casey’s goal setting challenge
81. Redo Marie Forleo’s B-School
83. Attend three conferences | December 2013: Engage13! at Montelucia;
84. Reach out to at least one new venue/vendor per month
85. Brainstorm five substantial ways to give back through my business
86. Create a client gift
87. Launch a paid email program
88. Have a video done for my website
89. Do at least six styled shoots | January 2014: Pink & Gold Styled Wedding;
90. Get at least two styled shoots published
91. Establish an editorial calendar to organize my blog posting
92. Blog every day for one month
93. Post an office tour on my blog
94. Host a giveaway on my blog
95. Make my blog more personal by sharing my stories and experiences
96. Contribute to a well-known blog
97. Open an online boutique
98. Do two events for free
99. Have business stationery made
100. Purchase an external hard drive | March 2014
101. Purchase a really nice tripod | December 2013
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Thursday, December 12, 2013
Rebecca of Darling Cashmere is an east coast girl with a closet that would make you green with envy… if she wasn’t as sweet as she is stylish. She has you covered with what to wear to all your holiday parties this month (like these adorable tartan pants – how cute would they be dressed up with a sparkly top and black stilettos?!) – but what to bring for the hostess? I had the sweet privilege of sharing my Timeless Holiday Hostess Gift Guide over on her blog today! Click the photo above to read all the details!
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Friday, November 15, 2013
If you know me in real life, you already know how much I love to volunteer for and donate to organizations that are close to my heart. From the time I was a little girl, my mom impressed upon me the importance of using my advantages to serve others before myself. As a Girl Scout in grade school, I collected leadership opportunities (and patches) like it was my job. As a high school student, I never missed an opportunity to attend a walk-a-thon (even going so far as to create t-shirt designs for them), and made it my personal mission each November to transport my mom’s entire pantry to school for the canned food drive. And at the beginning of my senior year, I was invited to be a Board of Visitors Flower Girl – a privilege that entails a year of fundraising and volunteer responsibilities that concludes with a debutante ball for charity. In college, I joined Delta Gamma (my mom’s sorority and the first in the United States to establish an independent philanthropic foundation), and participated in hundreds of volunteer hours benefiting Service for Sight.
After graduating from college, I bounced around the country quite a bit, which made it difficult to volunteer on a committed basis. I almost never missed an opportunity to volunteer when presented with one, but missed the regularity of doing it through an organization. So when my husband and I finally decided to settle back down in my hometown of Phoenix, one of the first things I did – predictably – was join the Junior League. If you aren’t familiar, the Junior League of Phoenix is an organization of women who provide volunteer services throughout the Valley. You can read more here.
Anyway, the Valley Impact Luncheon is one of the Junior League’s biggest fundraisers, and this year I’ve been placed on the VIL Committee. And appropriately, I’m in charge of production and décor. Over the past several months, one of my responsibilities has been securing auction items for the silent auction that occurs before the Luncheon.
And guess what?! (I’m getting to the point of this post, I swear.)
One of the auction items is a basket that’s stocked with certificates for everything you’d need to put on a stylish celebration – photography by Amy & Jordan Photography, flowers by Camelback Flowershop, calligraphy by Moira Ink, bakery goods by Urban Cookies Bakeshop… oh, and $2,000 worth of event planning and styling services by yours truly!
The Luncheon is tomorrow, so our committee gathered earlier this week to put the auction baskets together. And looking around at the huge mess of ribbon and cellophane we’d made, I was happy. My little auction basket is going to serve in more ways than one. It’s going to help raise money to support programs that positively impact my community, and it’s going to help the generous winner celebrate a special moment with family and friends.
You guys, this is what life is all about.
Giving back is at the core of my soul, so it’s only fitting that it be at the core of my business, too. As Jordan McBride Events continues to grow, it’s my goal to continue to seek and foster business partnerships that promote generosity. I like perfectly-styled details as much as the next girl, but that’s not why I started my business. I started it because I like to help people celebrate the very best, most important things in life. Because life’s short, and after you strip away all the “fluff,” does anything else really matter?
If you want to learn more about the Junior League or are interested in joining, shoot me an email – I’d love to chat! Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Last weekend, I hosted a party for my dog. Yep, I’m that girl. But before you roll your eyes and call me crazy, I’d like to tell you the story of why he totally deserved it.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’re already familiar with the real-live Teddy Bear that lives with me and my husband. He’s a white ball of fluff/purebred Bichon that literally wandered into our lives last October. October 20, 2012, to be specific. I remember the day so well. My husband and I were leaving our apartment to run errands, and we almost backed our car over the little guy. Realizing he was on the loose, we hopped out of the car and chased after him. When he finally let us near him, we realized what bad shape he was in. He was matted to his skin and muddy from running through irrigation. His fur covered his sweet brown eyes and his nails looked like they’d never been trimmed. He had no collar or microchip.
I cried and lost sleep worrying about the poor family who was missing this little guy, so we spent the next week doing everything in our power to find his owners. You name it, we did it. But no one came forward. And as the days passed by, my husband and I began to fall in love with him. In Arizona, the law states that if you have a pet for six consecutive days, it legally becomes yours. On the sixth day, it came as no surprise to anyone that we made Teddy Bear an official member of our family.
Then came the emergency.
Teddy had an almost-complete urinary blockage that required immediate, emergency surgery. Our hearts broke. I cried and lost more sleep worrying about how he must have thought he was being kidnapped and tortured. The surgery was successful, but the recovery was long. He spent three nights at the vet. I visited him at all hours, desperate to help him understand that we loved him.
When he finally came home, he slept between us in our bed with his adorably sad little lampshade on until he was fully recovered. And one night before we fell asleep, my husband said out loud what we’d both been thinking for weeks.
“Teddy wasn’t lost. He was dropped.”
As much as I don’t want to believe there are people who would do such a thing, I know it’s probably the reality. But we choose not to focus on that. We choose to focus on how lucky he was to find us, and how lucky we were to find him.
Today, Teddy Bear is happy and healthy. And I’m 500% positive he knows how good he has it here. But just in case he had any doubts, we decided to throw a party for him. A Teddy Bear Picnic, to celebrate the first anniversary of his rescue (since we don’t know his birthday).
The party was held in our backyard on a
crisp fall sunny, 88-degree day in November.
I arranged two tables of treats on my back porch – one for pups and one for people.
The people treats included a bowl of “pupcorn,” Scottie dog-shaped shortbread cookies, Oreos in dog bowls, chocolate-covered pretzel “fetch sticks,” bone-shaped “peanut butter bites,” doughnut “chew toys,” and a rawhide bone-themed cake with the guest of honor’s name! Teddy was all about it, obviously.
The pup table was fully stocked with rawhide bones, tennis balls, treats galore, and homemade carrot and peanut butter “pupcakes.”
The pupcakes were a huge hit.
Each pup took home a bag full of good (and good-for-you) treats!
There were beverages for everyone.
Edible pet grass made for fun (and functional!) décor.
Teddy looked positively thrilled to greet his guests in a dapper green polo. (Not!)
He snuck in a few zzz’s in preparation for the canine chaos, and even tried to sleep through some family photos!
He finally perked up when the guests arrived.
And wasted no time finding the only guest willing to share a peanut butter sandwich!
Hilarity ensued when everyone realized my mom, my brother, and Lusso (my brother and his girlfriend’s dog) all matched. And do I even need to address the adorableness of Teddy and Lusso in their colorful polos?!
Here are some of the other special pups in Teddy’s life:
Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate our sweet rescue pup’s special day! We love you!
Event planning & styling: Jordan McBride | Photography: Melissa Jill | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Dishes, platters, beverage buckets, large jars, small balloons, & favor bags: Target | Large balloon: Sucre & Confetti | Cake stand & stripey straws: Shop Sweet Lulu | Kraft paper tent cards: Paper Source | Dog treats, edible pet grass, & bowls: Petco | Pupcakes: Recipe | Puppy polos: Ralph Lauren
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