Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On the Cusp of a New Year 12.31.14

(Photo by Bridget Levi & Brianna Meyer of Still Life Studios)

It's New Years Eve.
 And oh wow....the crazy amounts of possibilities that come with the start of a fresh new year!  My mind has been spinning...and I've made ridiculous amounts of notes in the past 48 hours. 

My word for 2014 was "LEGIT"....I was all about legitimatizing all aspects of my business and making sure that I was doing everything correctly in terms of insurance, accounting, taxes, contracts...ya know all the SUPER DUPER "boring" stuff.  Well, at least it was stuff that I found to be boring...because I'd much rather be doing anything CREATIVE, FUN, involving PEOPLE. order to set myself up for a scalable successful business I knew I HAD to embrace all of my unknowns...and while yes, I knocked off several "to do list" items...I'm not done...with my "legitness" nor will I ever be, it's just part of entrepreneurship.  My hopes are that one day I'll be able to employ an Office Manger to rock this part of the biz...until then it's all me baby. (and my amazing tax accountant, thank goodness).

  So what's next...I thought I'd be brave and post a few goals of mine for 2015...because sharing helps me stay accountable. 

1.)  "Domestic" ~ yes. domestic, that's my "word" for 2015.  I've been a mama for 2 years now, and that word still scares me.  This past year, I was told a few times that I was a "super mom".... that just made me cringe.  Because I'm far from that.  Yes, I run a growing business, yes I have two little rock star baby dolls, and yes I share the highlights of my life online that many "appear" like I'm "doing it all"....but lemme tell ya, I'm not a "super mom."  I rarely cook, never meal plan, don't grocery shop consistently, and there are constantly piles of unfolded laundry in our home.  I took a personality test recently and it indicated that "my type" becomes "easily bored when things repeat themselves and too much detailed work and care is required." (this also explains my struggles with book keeping.) So...learning that made me feel a little less "guilty"...but in order to create a home more cozy and functional for my sweet family I know this is an area I need to put more emphasis on.  I just need to find ways to make cooking and laundry more fun.  Like....trying to bust out a load of laundry out while watching a new show after the babies go to bed...if I could do one load a day, that's all it would take.  Or cooking twice a week and setting up the dining room table like a mini party (because I do LOVE entertaining, that's for sure). 

2.) "Using My Voice More Authentically" This year I felt like a held back a lot, and second guessed myself way too much. I spent too much time comparing myself to others in my industry (something everyone is guilty of doing at certain points of their life).  My eyes were certainly opened to a bigger spectrum of this wedding/event management world and I met a lot of really cool peeps...but I also pulled back (somewhat unconsciously) on being "me".  And the truth the end of the my line of work...people want/need to see who "YOU" really are....because I'm selling "myself."...which is super weird to begin with, but it's part of the business that I've accepted and embraced...and I'm ready to rock my "J.Starr"ness more :)

3.) "Blog Changes" And here's where goals 1 & 2 collide.  I'd like to "change" up things on the blog.  As a part of embracing more of my "domestic" and "authentic" sides... I'd like to share a new series on the blog....a "Stylizing Series." This is where I'd like to showcase people and highlight their talents...and offer more tips on how to better "stylize" or "inspire" day to day living.  This can range from goal setting, fashion, home improvements, health & wellness, entertaining, managing money, etc.  I'd like to stick with all topics that interest me personally.  So if you'd like to be featured or would like to nominate someone for this series please let me know. 

4.) "Business Book Club" Yep. I'm starting one.  Because as I mentioned in goal one, I get easily bored with repeated I need to make reading FUN and social.  So, if you're an entrepreneur and would like to join...please let me know. 

And with this, I will wrap up...As always I appreciate you reading and supporting... and I encourage you to share your goals....feel free to share them in the comments below...

I sincerely hope to use this blog more to write and share about all things creative, ideas to "stylize" and & "inspire" life's journey.  Until then....


~ J.Starr

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"May Your Christmas Be Filled with Chaos" 12.24.14

Dear Friends & Family,

Merry Christmas to you.  At the current moment this girl is pretty beat and this iced coffee is not doing the trick. But this could be because I just bathed my littles and got them down for a nap.  I don't know why "bath time" is so exhausting...but's a workout (like bathing spider monkeys)   But all and all life is pretty grand... our halls are decked (ya know with many "we have 1 year old twins" modifications.)....Christmas songs are playing...almost all the Christmas gifts are wrapped (just gotta bust out the birthday ones too) Because...oh yeah...who had twins the day after Christmas....THIS GIRL....wouldn't change it for the world...just have to remind myself to start much earlier on everything next year. I LOVE the holidays....especially I struggle "not to do" all the fun traditions.   So my friends...that's why I haven't been blogging much in the past three weeks (plus lots of great J.Starr Stylized happenings!)...we've been busy, it's been amazing.  I'll catch up soon. 

I sincerely hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and are able to spend some down time with your loved ones. Also please keep in mind all of those who don't have their loved ones with them ..... We will be honoring my late mother-in-law tonight by indulging in one of her old "Starr Family" traditions by ordering Rosati's pizza (deep dish, Chicago style...."the kind of you have to eat with a fork" according to my sweet hubs) and watching Christmas movies with our littles, in our jammies of course.

 Much Love,

Until then...I leave you with the photos from this year's: Starr Christmas Card:

Merry Christmas...

 Because Parenting is Humbling...
 ...May Your Christmas Be Filled with Chaos.
Love, The Starrs

P.S. Somehow I ordered far less cards this if you're a normally a receiver of the "Starr Card", but didn't get one, it's not because you're not's because I need to hire a full time office manager/personal assistant :) And to my past and upcoming clients & industry vendor get your surprises around Valentine's Day instead!  xoxo

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"The Weekly Wednesday" 11.26.14 + 12.3.14

(Zoo Lights on Thanksgiving Night}
It's been BUSY around here.  BUSY. Wow.  Therefore this "Wednesday Weekly" covers two weeks rather than one.  Hang in there I've got lots to catch up on. 

Monday November 17th, 2014 ~ Sunday November 23rd, 2014  

Highlights of last week included:
 ~I finally became an official "WIPA" Member.  Pretty stoked about that.
~We took our First Family Vacation (EVER) to the Beach!  (I'll post more about this on Friday)
~Thanksgiving, due to our "Beachgiving" the previous week our "Thanksgiving" was a little less traditional this year. 
~My Birthday, yes another year wiser (let's hope)
~Addie & Derrick's Wedding....Addie Jo, one of my very best girlfriends (since 8th grade!) got married!  AND she married a REALLY incredible and FUN guy. 
Fab finds:
~(Comes from April Warner this week) Fluff it Marshmallows
~The Hanger Café at the Chandler Airport, fun times.
Yes this actually happened:
~My Grandpa received an amazing honor, just one day after his 87th birthday! Pinal-Gila Council's Senior Foundation is naming their new center after him. He has volunteered in various capacities for over 35 years for his home town of Casa Grande. He's BEYOND cool. 
Something Inspiring:
While on vacation, I actually uninstalled all of my social media apps...and didn't log in until we got back home...this really helped me to RELAX more.  I highly recommend it.  Especially if you love connecting and sharing with people via the web as much as I do. 
Baby Moments I Want to Remember:
~Seeing my little girls run on the beach was one of the best moments of my life...the sun was setting...they were was a moment (come to life) I had day dreamed about way before they were ever born.  Heavenly. 


 Highlights From the Last Two Weeks....

Not only is my Grandpa Jim accomplished, he's also one of the happiest people you'll ever meet.  His love for life is so inspiring.

Too Legit to Quit.  THIS YEAR.  This was the year I told myself I needed to attack all of the "not so fun" aspects of owning my own website & blog (coming soon), purchased business insurance, upgraded my business from a "Sole Proprietorship" to an "LLC", hired an accountant, and basically just forced myself to better understand all of the expensive, legit, necessary MUST HAVES in order to run my business efficiently and correctly.  YES, I still have MUCH more to learn and embrace...but I'm proud of the many steps forward I've taken...(especially considering they weren't fun, and definitely not creative or sparkly.)
"If you want to know how much I love you, count the waves in the sea."

I spent one hour alone on the beach by myself and it was amazing.  I hope we can make this trip an annual event....because there's no place I'd rather be...than by the ocean.
My World. 

Emma was cracking all of the shoppers up....and loving every moment. 
 The Imperfectly Perfect Family Photo...

The day after we returned from the beach...Christmas preparations begin...Hannah was pumped!

Emma on the other hand, was just fine hiding in the cupboard. I said "Thanksgiving" was a little untraditional for us this year.  I believe it was my first Thanksgiving ever being "away" from home.  (home as in "with" my Mom, Dad, and Brother)...and let me just say...DANG we missed my Mom's cooking. We decided to go SUPER simple and hit up the oh so fancy "Village Inn" for breakfast.  I was all set on the pumpkin pancakes...but then I realized they were already serving up their special "Turkey Dinner." And....I just couldn't pass it up (Justin either)...and well... the 1st bite was good...but the 2nd and 3rd bites started to taste exactly like elementary cafeteria food.  Umm..never again.  But it was funny.  And the babies threw food all over the restaurant, so we were happy we didn't pay big bucks at a fancy resort. 

 After our "Village Inn" Thanksgiving we stared in on the Christmas Decorating...the babies were having a BLAST.  They don't quite understand "Christmas" yet...but they loved the Christmas music, loved that we were moving new stuff around, and ultimately I think they just loved us all doing a project together. 

We ended our Thanksgiving at Zoo Lights.  It was Hannah and Emma's first time!  They really enjoyed it.  (except the "talking" giraffe, Emma was NOT a fan.)

We let them eat way too much kettle corn and then let them run all over the Zoo...Justin had one, I had the was insanity but a ton of fun. 

On Saturday morning, I woke up a year older.  And these two must have sensed that it was a special day...because they just hugged and loved on me "extra."
And yes, on My Birthday...Addie Jo got MARRIED!
I LOVED that Addie chose to have an "Unplugged Ceremony" especially because my husband was the photographer. (The 3 photos below are ones he took)
And would you believe this BEAUTY did not let me be her Wedding Planner! :)
And that was perfectly okay, because her Wedding Day was 100% authentically "Addie & Derrick."  She genuinely wanted me to relax and enjoy...(although she did let me create a wedding day timeline...simply to ensure that I didn't have a heart attack). And their Wedding Day was truly incredible.

You see, Addie herself is very experienced in the Event Industry...she's been working in the corporate event world for many years...she's just not a fan of the "wedding/social" side of event planning...which made me love seeing her as "The Bride" even more!

But seriously, seeing my childhood friend look SO HAPPY on her Wedding Day was truly an amazing experience.  AND...she IS allowing me to do a "Styled Photo Shoot" in a few weeks... stay tuned!
The next day we somehow ended up at the Hanger Café at the Chandler Airport...we recouped from the busy day before by sipping bloody marys and watching the planes take off.  (P.S. the breakfast is delish!)

And lastly...that evening we "officially" trimmed the Family Christmas Tree. 
 The Babies were LOVIN it!

 So Shiny...

 Hannah gave her sister just enough smooches to completely piss Emma off.

We ended the night with an "Eggnog" Toast by the Tree.... they LOVED Egg nog...and even clinked their little glasses with ours and said "cheers"...


Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Thankful 11.27.14"

Happy Thanksgiving All.

As I sit here typing right now...I'm fighting with some mixed emotions.  I'm feeling a little melancholy.  But this is normal for me around the holidays.  I definitely struggle a bit with holidays and worrying if they're going to be special enough.  I blame it on my profession, as I'm in the business of "memory making."

So when it comes to creating special "moments" in my personal life, sometimes I feel a bit panicked.  I often times have a hard time letting things just "happen."

But these are the times when I need to let go and enjoy and savor more than ever.  I often think the reason Justin and I were ridiculously gifted with two babies at once...was for this very reason.  I remember when I was pregnant one of my best girlfriends told me.... one baby wouldn't have slowed you two down enough, you needed two do try and do that.   
We have had many conversations this past year about "keeping things real." Case in point today....Last week we had the most amazing time at the Beach Cottages along with my mom, dad, and brother.  Together we celebrated "Beachgiving"..a term that I came up with and I thought was completely brilliant...until I hash tagged it and saw that several other goons in this world had already thought of this idea.  Anyways...since we already celebrated "Beachgiving" (complete with an outdoor meal consisting of muscles, swordfish and steak) we decided that "today" the four of us would stay home. 
So Justin and I had many talks about what "today" would be.  At one point we even called up The Royal Palms and considered making dinner reservations... after a few minutes of a  "keeping it real conversation" we decided that at 80 bucks per person...the idea of one of us sitting at the table while the other one chased Hannah & Emma around the restaurant sounded...ridiculous. 
So my the plan is to go out to breakfast...most likely the glamorous "Village Inn" (they better be serving pumpkin something for breakfast).  Followed by a day of decorating our home for Christmas....I have no idea how this is going to happen with twin toddlers...but we WILL find a way...somehow.  And if we can muster the energy the goal is to take the babies to Zoolights tonight. 
And that my friends is my morning confession of the day...thank you for letting me share, my heart feels lighter.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  And cheers to "letting each situation be what it is instead of you think it should be."
And the reason I feel so thankful......
~The perfectly imperfect family photo~

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"The Wednesday Weekly" 11.19.14

(Fun Times at the Anthropologie Party with April}

Monday November 10th, 2014 ~ Sunday November 16th 2014  
Morning All! 
Wanted to send a shout out to my Mom & Dad who are celebrating their 37th Wedding Anniversary Today!  Amazing.  Love you so much.

Highlights of last week included:
~Time with almost our entire extended Norris Family in celebration of my Grandpa Jim's 87th Birthday. Sadly Justin and I didn't get the chance to talk to anyone because we were chasing our littles around the entire time and trying to keep them from running full speed into the pool.  Wow. Oh well, hopefully next time.
~Addie Jo came over for a means SO MUCH to me when my amazing friends make the extra effort to accommodate this season of life right now.  Taking the babies out in public by myself right now just isn't feasible, it's just the stage we're in right now.   I don't think Addie minds too much, especially because she got not one but two "Emma kisses" on her way out the door.
~Great meeting + conversation with my girl Renata...talking big plans and ideas.
~Met up with my dear friend, Erin Rohr to also catch up and talk business stuff, Erin was the very first person to "officially" pull me into the Wedding Industry, it's so fun connecting again.
~Had FAB night with my girl April.  I was invited to an "Anthropologie Birthday Party, in My Honor".... (brilliant marketing), just sign up to be on the mailing list, they'll throw one for you too).  They offer great "birthday" discounts, champagne, treats, photo booths, little giveaways, it's cool.  April (little mama to be), who after a rough first trimester is feeling a little better. We had the best time catching up on nearly every subject in the world.  (Oh how I love me shop talk & life convos)
~Justin took last Friday off...and the four of us had the BEST time just hanging out....took the babies to "Story Time with Bears" & "Wiggle Worms", went for a long walk...let the babies roam the empty baseball fields as the sunset, watched the movie "Jumanji", the babies love it...weird kids.
Fab finds:
~A FAB Anthropologie dress to wear to Addie's wedding!  She will be proud, it's her style. 
Yes this actually happened:
~My Brother called last minute with VIP Passes the Macklemore Concert! It was SO GOOD!
~So, after a super fun but late night with April, we walked up the valet at Kierland Commons to find that my car was the last car there and the valet was packing up to leave.  We said hi to the valet guy, told him we had to make a quick stop in the ladies room, and hurried back.  As we car was all opened up and ready for us to load in the shopping bag and such...doors open (nice and welcoming) I tip the valet and start loading into my car...the valet drives away QUICKLY.  The next thing I realize is that I DON'T have my keys.  The next twenty minutes of life were crazy stressful....we talked to the manager of the restaurant we dined at and she had called the valet company and explained that there was nothing they could do....we'd have to take a cab and come back in the morning to pick up our car.  Uggh.... just as were getting ready to make arrangements the valet guy came flying up in his car with my keys.  THANK GOODNESS.  He was so sincerely apologetic, he even tried to give me back the tip I gave him.  Oh well.. a sincere apology goes a long way in my book, we're all human right?
Something Inspiring:

Loved seeing these words....I needed to see them, this week especially.  My mind has been full of new ideas and nervous thoughts.
Baby Moments I Want to Remember:
~Hannah tells me I'm a "good girl" when I give her crackers
~Emma holds her little fist up in the air and says "hook, hook, hook" when she wants to watch the movie "Hook"


 Highlights From Last Week....

The only decent photo we captured for the "Norris Reunion" Night....and this was afterwards at our home, right before the girls went to bed.  We were celebrating survival.

Hannah stood looking out the window for five minutes after Addie left.
Great chats with THIS girl...I call her "Renata So Hotta"
THIS Girl, Erin Rohr.
Meet My Newest J.Starr Couple, Amanda & Nate!
Ems, so proud of herself
THESE TWO at Wiggle Worms
Hannah Girl  
 "I'm Gonna Pop Some Tags"


Saturday, November 15, 2014

{J.Starr Feature} "Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Glass"

 Eric and Vanessa's opulent Wedding Day took place on Saturday October 4th, 2014.   Vanessa was absolutely luminous in her custom tailored Brides by Demetrios gown.
Her shoes were full of sparkles, much like Vanessa's personality... and her choice of scent to wear on her wedding day was Dior J'adore Eau de Parfum.
Eric looked oh so handsomely dapper in his custom fitted tux by Celebrity Tux and Tails

The bride (and her dancer legs, umm wow) had carefully planned out every part of her day.  Upon entering the Bridal suite at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, I saw that Vanessa had thought of every little "comfort" item to make sure that all of her bridesmaids and family members felt welcome. She had created a sparkly welcome sign with all the girls names, had music playing, the room was filled with scented candles, trays of delicious food and of course mimosas for all.
Eric was cool, calm, and collected. He was excited to spend time with family, friends, and didn't even mind having to dress in his tux rather early in the day,  to ensure the photography timeline wasn't rushed. (thank you again for trusting your Planner on this suggestion ;) 
Vanessa was all a glow...and ready to marry her love.
The Bridesmaid's were all strikingly stunning.  It amazed me how they barely needed any instructions on posing from the photographer....they just did it, effortlessly. 

 And the Groomsmen....definitely kept the day fun and lively.
Oh my, no words.   Vanessa had asked her best friends daughters to be her flower girls.   They each held a letter as they walked down the aisle, stealing everyone's hearts. 

Vanessa took her walk down the aisle at the glorious St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

Eric's smile lighted up the room when he first set eyes on his Bride. 

And together hand and hand they walked back down the aisle for the first time as Husband & Wife.

 The reception took place among three different areas at the ultra modern yet classic Arizona Science Center.
Cocktail Hour took place in the "My Digital World Gallery". 
 A very high tech fun filled area...complete with innovations and digitized walls and screens that augment reality.
Dinner took place up on the Solar Terrace.

Guests were seated in a cross shaped feasting table.  The table was covered in candlelight and low floral centerpieces atop a sparkling metallic table runner. 

 The cake was classically glamorous, complete with hand sculpted flowers. 
One of the most breathtaking design elements of their day was the candle staircase.  As guests entered the private entrance for the Wedding they were greeted by a stair cased filled with gold dipped candleholders and a glow of enchanting lit candles. This was completely Vanessa's vision....and wow it was incredible. 
Vanessa is a former Phoenix Suns Dancer, a former Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad, and a former dancer for the  Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team. And now,  Vanessa owns and operates a dance program for kids of all ages in Phoenix called Lime Lite Dance So, it only made sense that their Glass Wedding Reception was full of amazing dancers!
  Vanessa and Eric surprised their guests with a special dance performance by one of their friends, Natacha Bachour.  Natacha just wrapped up the show "VEGAS" at Planet Hollywood and is now rehearsing for a brand new show taking place at The Wynn.
 Eric and Vanessa were mesmerized by each other as they danced to their first song "By Your Side" by Sade.
At the end of the night, guests lined the exit and tossed sparkling gold sequins at the dashing couple.  Just before loading into the Mercedes getaway car, Vanessa hugged me with tears in her eyes and said "Jennifer, it's all over"... and my response to the beautiful bride was ..."It's only just begun!"
Vanessa and Eric later honeymooned at the lovely The Regents Palms Resort in Turks and Caicos. 


WEDDING PLANNER: J.Starr Stylized Weddings
VENUES: Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, St. Xavier Catholic Church, Arizona Science Center
FLORIST: Lori Elliot
CATERING: Santa Barbara Catering
RENTALS: Event Rents
CAKE: Custom Cakes
RINGS: Shane Co
MEN'S TUXS: Celebrity Tux and Tails
BRIDE'S  GOWN: Brides By Demetrios
BRIDE'S SHOES: Nordstrom Rack
HAIR: Lauren Simpson & Kaylon Brunot
MAKE UP: Katie Theulen, Janice Bulger, Kayla Oberg

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