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.

 

Jamie & Treven’s Black, White, & Gold Glitter Wedding

I cannot believe it has been over 6 weeks since my sister’s wedding! The past year was a whirlwind to say the least! It was definitely an adventure and I cannot tell you how many times I have been ‘glitter bombed’ either!

Many have asked how it was going and how it was compared to my other clients. It’s difficult to describe but it was the easiest & most challenging wedding I’ll probably ever have because I was emotionally invested. I joke that the biggest difference is that I actually have to see these people after the wedding. But in all seriousness, I’m happy that I was able to make the entire planning process stress-free for my mother and sister and in the end, knowing that I was able to give her and Treven their perfect wedding.

With a fabulous team of vendors & staff, I was able to enjoy the day as the Maid of Honor & Sister of the Bride (That’s not to say I had a few moments here & there- let’s be serious). All in all it was a great day that went by entirely too fast!

 

Ceremony & Reception Venue  |  Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore
Photographer  |  Artemas Photography
Hair Stylist  |  Stephanie Fearson & Brenda Paulshock
Make-Up Artist  |  Amanda Jung-Vasold
Photo Booth  |  Booth Love 
Cake  |  Baltimore Cakery
Floral  |  My Flower Box
Rentals  |  Rentals to Remember
Lounge Furniture  |  AFR Furniture Rental
Lighting & Drapery  |  EventPro Live
Stationary  |  Allison Barnhill Designs

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.

 

Molly & Drew… A waterfront wedding

Over a year ago, I met with a college friend & his fiance to help them begin their wedding planning. Drew & I worked together in Student Government- he was the President & I, the event chair of a large fundraiser on campus. It was great to work together again after all these years, especially for such an important moment.

After our first meeting, it was quite obvious what these two wanted- classy but laid back & on the water. There aren’t too many venues directly on the water, so it was clear that Molly’s childhood home was the most ideal location for their big day.

The wedding day arrived, even with clouds in the sky, the weather held out and Drew & Molly were able to enjoy their dream wedding on the water.

 

 

Photographer  |  Kyle Bergner Photography 

Hair & Make-Up  |  Kristen Foster Hair Artistry

Caterer  |  Bowl of Cherries Catering

Rentals  |  Rentals to Remember

Tent  |  Rental Works

Decor  |  2 Hands Studio

Personal Flowers  |  Studio H Floral and Event Design

DJ  |  DJ Stylus from DJ D-Mac & Associates

Transportation  |  Atlantic Coast Charters

Restroom Trailer  |  Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers

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.

Summer time and the living is easy, right?

A few months ago, I could have sworn the summer meant I had a brief window to recover, recharge, and relax…. that window is getting smaller and smaller. Even though I wrapped up my last spring event in late June,  my summer is filled with business related traveling and an endless to-do list leaving little room to relax. Last week I was in Raleigh with a client for various appointments preparing for her fall wedding. Even with uncomfortable temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, I was more frustrated that I couldn’t get “a quick cup of coffee.” I lived in North Carolina for four years, how could I forget that getting anything ‘quick’ is practically nonexistent? For someone always on the go, it was definitely a challenge to slow down.

The view from the Cardinal Club in downtown Raleigh, NC.

From North Carolina, I headed straight to Delaware to celebrate the 4th of July with my family. The following day I woke up to dark clouds and the threat of rain- it was not your typical July 4th weather. Even with the rain, my family was able to make the best of the holiday by hitting up a local bar for some celebratory dinner & drinks at Harpoon Hanna’s. Since this establishment is only a few miles from our place, Jamie, Treven & I found ourselves there again the next evening.

Right before we were to call it a night, Jamie says to me, “Wait, I think I just saw Colleen and Natalie walk by.” Two minutes later, we found ourselves sitting with the 4 Kochesfahani sisters & friends. Colleen is laughing, “I told them we would run into the Englert’s here.” The Kochesfahani family is like an extension of ours but we are all so busy it’s hard to get all of us together. It was great to spontaneously run into each other and catch up while sipping on our summer drink of choice, crushes.

Summer concerts, drinks by the bay, tanning on the beach, local baseball games are all things I have to pass on more times than not because of the crazy lifestyle I’ve created. Even when I got a chance to go to the pool, I’ve had to leave because I couldn’t relax knowing I have a lot of work I should be doing. Maybe next beach trip I’ll work on this whole ‘relaxing’ concept.

Classy Glitter- Not your traditional bridal shower

As an event planner, often I am asked what is tradition or proper when it comes to everything ‘wedding’. I offer the same advice to all- it all depends on the couple, situation, and family. I encourage all my brides to make their big day all about them as a couple and not what ‘tradition’ dictates.

As maid of honor for my sister, I made sure she had the bridal shower she wanted. She only had a few requests which were quite easy to fulfill.

-No opening of the gifts in front of everyone

- No cheesy games

- ‘Don’t you dare wrap me in toilet paper’

So you may be thinking, so what in the world were all the guests to do? Easy! Talk to each other! We described it as a cocktail party style bridal shower. This allowed Jamie & my mother to talk and enjoy the company of all the guests without being interrupted by scheduled games & activities. As our family and friends arrived, they were able to grab a Bridal Mad Lib which was custom to Jamie & Treven and everyone could do at their leisure.  The only planned activities was a quick round of trivia, ‘How well do you know Jamie & Treven?’

I know that many people are used to the traditional bridal shower, but I couldn’t be more pleased with our laid back approach. It was perfect for my sister, and fit her personality. Why not break tradition in order to tailor to the guest of honor?

Double Duty: Update on Planning My Sister’s Wedding

A few months ago I posted Double Duty, explaining the pros and cons to planning my sister’s wedding. Now we’re less than 6 months out and thought I’d catch everyone up on where we are at…. It’s done!

I’m just kidding, it’s not ‘done’ but for the most part it is taken care and I’m not nervous at all, but rather excited! The only thing that scares me is my calendar and all the other events I have going on during the fall surrounding Jamie’s big day.

Jamie's Bridal Shower Invitation
Jamie’s Bridal Shower Invitation

 

It’s entertaining to hear both my mother and sister tell me how everyone asks, “How’s the wedding planning? Isn’t it stressful?”  The two of them have the same answer, “Nope. Things are moving along.” Of course it isn’t because I’ve made sure to eliminate as many stressful factors I can- I will never  be able to take away ALL stress from any bride including my sister. I have made sure that the biggest decisions the bride & groom had to make was what music do they want, what kind of cake, and all the other fun little details that are custom to Jamie & Treven, the couple.

Artemas, Jamie, & Treven
Artemas, Jamie, & Treven

Back in February, Jamie & Treven had their engagement photos taken by Artemas Photography, at Clipper Mill in Baltimore. Jamie selected the location and I especially love the contrast of background textures & their dressy outfits. Jamie asked me to tag along so I pretty much was Artemas’s assistant and Jamie’s personal hair stylist. Besides Artemas being laid back and his artistic photography skills, it’s so obvious to see Jamie & Treven’s personalities shine through these photos- both as individuals & a couple.

Sneak Peak of Jamie & Treven's Engagement Photos
Sneak Peak of Jamie & Treven’s Engagement Photos by Artemas Photography

Also- can you tell Jamie likes gold glitter?

Cannot wait until the day comes when I can share the wedding photos! Oh right, and enjoy the wedding too. :-)

A long weekend in the concrete jungle

A long weekend in New York City? Yes, please!

This past weekend, my sister, her friend, my mom and I took the red eye train to New York City for wedding dress shopping. As much as I love Baltimore… New York is easily my second favorite city. All the great restaurants, shopping and more shopping!

We had four appointments all throughout the city over three days… that leaves a lot of time for playing in the concrete jungle. The first three appointments had some potential but we never had “the moment”. When we weren’t in dress boutiques we could be found running about Soho in and out of stores. We all found some great finds… a purse, new coat, and shoes!

I left with these gems- Aldo & Tory Burch

We had late dinner reservations at Toloache 82, a Mexican bistro & Tequila bar. I found my new favorite drink- Cucumber & Jalapeno Margarita! Saturday evening we had dinner with my cousins at The Delta Grill in Hells Kitchen, a Louisiana style restaurant. We closed the bar down after hours of catching up over delicious cocktails.

Sunday came around and we made our way to our last appointment. The shop was perfect…. the dresses were Jamie’s style… a few dresses later….the three of us looked at each other and knew the dress was found. Yet another successful trip to NYC!