Anti-Networking Holiday Party

One of the best birthday presents I received last week was sitting in my inbox. The photos from the Anti-Networking Holiday Party from December! I was thrilled!

Well over a year and half ago, my friend Ryan, of Mixing Maryland and I had discussed put together an event…what kind? We had no idea. We threw around the idea of a giant New Years Party, a fundraiser… you get the point. Finally, I had an opportunity when I was talking with a venue about hosting an industry event to help them get the word out. I tossed the idea to Ryan if he wanted in on it and as we brainstormed, he came up with a genius concept- ‘Why not a anti-networking party? We are always talking shop so why not just have fun for once?’

This was when we agreed to host a ‘Anti-Networking Holiday Party’ for our fellow event industry friends. The entire point of this party was to for once just enjoy ourselves and not sweat about passing out business cards. The best part was the response from everyone & their excitement that made it all worth it! Plus, it didn’t hurt that the evening ended in a dance-off!

Ryan & I had a great time coming up with fun aspects to the evening such as a ‘Selfie Wall’, Holiday Cornhole, Ice Sculpture, Hot Chocolate Bar, and much more. Don’t you worry though! We are already working on the 2015 Anti-Networking Holiday Event to make it even better than the first!

Big Thanks to our Sponsors!

Venue | Byzantium
Caterer | Custom Catering
DJ | Mixing Maryland
Photo Booth | BoothLove
Photography | J Thomas Photography
Live Music | Winship
Linens | Rentals to Remember
Mini Cupcakes | Cakes by Rachael
Donut Holes | Dudley’s Desserts
Cookies | Cookie Gals
Floral | Studio H Floral
Give-A-Ways | Melissa & Sam Huston 
Paintings | Kathy Dennin-Meagher 

Big changes for 2015!

Instead of writing my typical holiday posts, I choose to simply enjoy the holidays with my friends & family and put work on the back burner for once. I spent time going out to dinner with friends, shopping, and just taking in all that the holidays have to offer. I’m basically a 5 year old when it comes to Christmas and guess what? 5 year olds do not post blogs about what they are up to.

In 2015, I plan on being selfish personally & professionally. Ok how is this even acceptable as a goal? I look back on the past few years & realize that I allowed my calendar to rule my life as I made it my mission to sacrifice personal time for my company. Well, 2015 is the year that will all change! Well… sort of. Instead of focusing on ‘building’ up my company, I’m going to be focusing on my brand, it’s values and overall vision.

Personally, I plan on making more time for me. It’s my ‘Golden Year’ which means I’m turning 27 on the 27th! Woo! This may have sparked the ‘Year for Me’ mentality. I don’t plan to strive for a ‘balanced’ life but a more healthy one where I focus on taking better care of myself physically & mentally. I hit that wall where my mind & body hate me and I’ve lost that drive and motivation because I hadn’t given myself time to regroup throughout the year.

Less of this                                                                               More of this

                               

So how do I plan on making this big change? I have created a list! Imagine that, a planner making lists.

It’s my hope that a year from now, I can pull out those lists & see all that I’ve accomplished and set out to do, actually happened.

 

Where did the Fall season go?

I knew I had a chaotic fall but thinking it and living through it was just not the same…

Here’s a quick glimpse of what I’ve been up to!

Sponsored A Night to Remember …proceeds to Kennedy Kreiger Institute

Hosted my sister’s Bachelorette Party in downtown Baltimore

Shopping in NYC…. 3 weeks before my sister’s wedding and I still did not have a dress…whoops

Baby Shower in Long Island, NY

 20141011_183744  

Whimsical Woodsland Wedding and the first time at a wedding I had to build a bon fire

[Click here to Elizabeth Fogarty Photography for the photos]

My Sister’s Wedding…formal post to follow with the professional photos!

  

Welcome Home Mr. & Mrs. Meyers!

Mascarade Networking Event

Halloween Rehearsal Dinner

Chic Wedding in Raleigh, NC

Surprise Birthday Party/Viewing Party

As the winter sets in, events are slowing down a bit but the admin work, and networking are picking back up.

While I try to regroup and begin planning 2015, I can’t wait to make the time to enjoy the holidays!

Rediscovering forgotten passions

While I had some time at the beach a few months ago, I made it a point to work on some art projects. If I think back to the last time I had done any type of project, it was two years ago when I painted my coffee table. Since the beach, I have worked on various projects small to large and for personal & professional purposes.

Painted Canvas Project

This was the first project I started while at the beach. It’s not complete yet but when I find the time I hope to add one of my favorite quotes to put on the large canvas. ‘If it is both terrifying & amazing, you should definitely pursue it.’ – Erada

Tone on Tone Accent Wall

My newest home improvement project is Operation Home Office. Both my roommate & I never use our dining room as a dining room. I think I can count on one hand how many times in two years we’ve sat down to eat in there. So my brilliant idea was to turn it into a home office. The first step was adding an accent wall. Let’s just say I’m thankful it’s complete.

 

Entry Way Table

At the non-profit, I’ve been assisting with updating the office decor & look. Instead of going out and purchasing all new furniture, it made sense to just take some items we already had & update them. This table was tucked away in an office but was perfect for an entry way table. With a couple coats of paint & some new hardware, it looks completely different.

  

Glitter Champagne Glasses

For my sister’s wedding I thought it would nice to add a few small details such as these glitter champagne glasses. These will be for the girls while everyone is getting ready on the wedding day. Someone asked if it was for the reception and no, I’m not that crazy to make over a 100 of these.

Cocktail Recipe Table Tents

Details matter to me in case you couldn’t tell. These cocktail recipe cards will be perfect for an upcoming party’s champagne bar. Behind each recipe will be all the ingredients to make your own champagne cocktail!

  

I know what you may be thinking, “She’s crazy!” OR “A bit much, eh?” And yes, I know that. My roommate & sister both think I’m crazy and always go a bit overboard. My roommate even thought I purchased the canvases I painted. But at the end of the day, I enjoy all these projects because they allow me to be creative.

 

Val’s 5 Must-Have Items for Every Event!

event planner must-have items

Since I plan a variety of events, there are still many similarities when it comes down to day-of affairs. No matter if I’m preparing for a wedding or a 5K fundraiser, I always have the same 5 items with me. I really could have created a list of 25 but that is because I’m ridiculous and always prepare for those over the top circumstances.

Change of Clothes

Set Up & Clean up is always easier in gym clothes than it is in a cocktail dress, plus you never know if someone (or yourself if you are clumsy like myself) will spill or make a mess of your outfit.

Trail Mix or Protein Bars

I am known for not eating on event days (besides breakfast) and yes, I’m 100% aware this is not a good habit. When I’m in full event mode, it’s difficult for me to remember to eat, so I try to always have a couple bars in my bag to keep me going.

Wrist Watch

I am guilty for relying on my cell phone for the time even though I could be wearing a watch. I never know if my phone will last so it’s better to have a watch just in case so I can stay on top of the event timeline.

Iced Coffee & Water

In case you aren’t aware, coffee is basically my lifeline. It’s how I function & survive ….especially those 14 hour days. It wouldn’t be pretty if I went without and obviously, I always have water to stay hydrated while running around.

Mobile Power Bank

The last thing I want to happen is for my cell phone to die during an event because more times than not I have to be accessible to clients, vendors & even my own team. I don’t always need to use the power bank but I know that it doesn’t hurt to have it so I don’t get into that situation where something goes wrong because I couldn’t be reached.

Why chasing the dollar doesn’t always pay off

Even though every business wants to make money, there are a lot of factors that can go into making the decision to take on new jobs, clients, or projects.

Over the last few months, as new opportunities have presented themselves, I have had to think long and hard if the best decision for myself is to take it on or not. It isn’t easy for me to say no (especially when I know I could take on some of the burden) but I understand I need to always weigh the pros & cons.

In the back of my mind, I always have one of my father’s sayings, ‘Don’t chase the dollar’ buzzing in the background. He has always emphasised to us that there is a lot more to making a decision than looking at just the dollars and cents. Ask yourself some of these questions. . .

- What else do I have going on during this time frame? What would I be giving up if I took this on?

- Does the client’s expectations match the reality of work load?

- How much stress could this add? Will it be worth it? Would it take things to an unhealthy stress level?

- What other obstacles or challenges come with taking this on? Is the client easy to work with? Will communication be clear & timely?

It’s never easy to pass up an opportunity, but sometimes in the end, it’s for the best.

Entrepreneur or Walking Circus Act?

“HOLY MOLY” on repeat for two days… that was my weekend while I was doing my taxes. I headed to the beach because if I have no choice but to work on my taxes, it might as well be at the beach. Later, I realized this was a pointless relocation of work space since I did not see the beach, let alone be able to enjoy the nice weather.

And over these two days was when it hit- my reality check…

 

Like Selby, all I wanted to do was go outside and enjoy the weather.

It was not the fact that I had to do my taxes, but just the amount of administrative work I have overall as a business owner. It’s one thing to know, “Hey, this is going to be a lot of work” and to actually having to do the work. One can read as many articles on entrepreneurship and talk to all the small business owners they know, and still, the full impact won’t hit until you have to do it yourself.

While chatting with a friend and fellow business owner, we got on the topic of how small business owners have to wear so many hats to run a company. By no means was this topic new to me, however, after this past weekend it has definitely been on my mind. I started to think about all the roles I have to play in order for my business to operate and grow… I counted up to seven and I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few.

Accountant                           Marketing

CEO/President                     Human Resources

Admin/Secretary               IT

Oh right… let’s not forget– all that it takes to be an event planner.

 

I’m still trying to see how I can juggle it all and not drop any of the balls. Basically, I’m a walking circus act.

 

Running with the Devils

For as long as I can remember, I have made it a point to be involved with charities or nonprofit organizations. To me, if you can give back to the community (local or globally) whether it be through giving donations, attending events or volunteering– you should. Volunteering and taking part in various charitable organizations has always been a huge part of my life and I cannot see that changing anytime soon.

Most recently, I have started working with an amazing charitable organization that supports Maryland breast cancer families, The Red Devils. There is a lot of  publicity for breast cancer awareness and that is fantastic, a lot of that can be contributed to organizations like Komen. Unfortunately, I don’t think everyone thinks of the family of those diagnosed and how it can have a ripple effect. This organization realizes that families might lose an income if someone cannot work or that daycare is now required if mom is too weak from treatments. The Red Devils have recognized these challenges families face and so they do their best to provide a variety of services to these families. The services can range from transportation, catering, home care agencies, and even complementary therapies practitioners.

I’m currently working on their 5K event, Running with the Devils that will be held on Sunday, June 8th, 2014 at Goucher College.

Interested in registering for this event or becoming a sponsor? Click Here!

Not a runner? Training with The Devils might be for you!

A new venue in Annapolis? Yes!

Finally! A venue in Annapolis that can accommodate over 150 guests! Byzantium can entertain 400-600 people depending on the event, which makes it the largest venue in the historic town. The Byzantium is connected to Saint Helen and Constantine Greek Orthodox Church, it’s size is very deceiving and is easily overlooked.

A week ago, I put together a quick bridal showcase to show off the new space.  In order to do so, we needed some amazing local vendors to join us. I worked closely with Val at Rentals to Remember on the four different tablescapes- nautical, vintage, earthy, and elegant. It helps to show various table set ups for brides that are visual people as well as showing what colors look good in the space.

This venue has not only two great rooms, but there is also a huge lawn that gives the place endless options for outdoor events! I’m looking forward to working closely with this venue on not only events but marketing too.

Enjoy some of these wonderful images by Kyle Bergner Photography!

Special thanks to the amazing local vendors that contributed!

Rentals: Rentals to Remember

Catering: Custom Catering 4 u

Photography: Kyle Bergner Photography

Cakes & Desserts: Cakes by Rachael & Cookie Gals

Floral: Studio H Floral and Event Design

Entertainment: Mixing Maryland & Boothlove

Stationary: Allison Barnhill Designs

Beauty: Behind the Veil

Transportation: Limousines, Inc