Monday, June 29, 2015

Life as a Mamapreneur Vol. 2

Life as a Mamapreneur Vol. 2:
My "Must Not" List

In my post last week, I shared a few things I do that help me to better balance my "Mamapreneur" life. (If you missed it, you can find it here!) Today I thought I'd continue with that theme and share a few things that I try really hard not to do. Trust me, I've learned the hard way!  If any of these tips can help you have better days, then that would make this blogger happy!
  • Attempting to work or take calls when I'm with my kiddies ~ No way, no's just not possible.  Sure, every now and then I can slip in a business related text message or answer back quickly to a time sensitive email...but even those are on rare occasions.  I explain to my clients up front that I have set business hours when I can be reached.  This in turn makes me better handle my business in a controlled, professional, and focused manner.  But even more importantly, it really helps me to enjoy quality time with my little's.  I saw a quote once that was an arrow straight to my heart and shook me a little said, "Children are not the distraction...." Ouch, so true.  I keep reminding myself to soak in as much time as possible with these little humans (even if it means I go a little nuts sometimes.)
  • Comparison ~ This is something we all do. Sadly, I think it's inevitable... and especially with social media. It's hard not to compare ourselves to others, and this can make you feel inadequate. When you see someone else's life looking the way you want yours to look, it can be difficult to get it out of your mind.  "She's booking more clients. She's doing fun mom stuff with her kiddos. She's an amazing cook. She's got a rockin' body....Just Shut it Down. Everything you (we) see online, for the most part, is a highlight reel of everyone's're only seeing the best of the best (mine included!).  At the end of the day we're all human...We all have our struggles and strengths. I make an effort to remind myself not to spend precious time comparing myself to's so unproductive.  Rock your strengths, help others... and put some effort in your weaknesses.  We're all in this together.

  •  Negativity Online You will rarely ever see me post anything negative or "whine-y" on social media.  I often feel like sometimes I come across as the "Marcia Brady" of the internet, but that's one wants to hear negative stuff, especially online.  It's just too darn dangerous and can be misinterpreted very easily (especially when it comes to business peeps). Sure I have my low moments and difficult days, just like everyone does, but I save those conversations for my family and close friends. phones still make phone calls?  :)

If you would like to read more about my life as a mamapreneur, check out these past posts!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

{Guest Blogger} Bridal Fashion Debut Experience

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

            My name is Emily! About two months ago, the lovely J. Starr hired me as an intern for this summer. She gave me a fair warning right off the bat that the internship would be at sometimes crazy one, filled with twin girls, wiener dogs and occasional chaos. But she promised it would be a fun one, and so far, she has kept her promise.

            Jennifer asked me to be a guest blogger on her blog today and to tell you all a little bit about my experience at the Bridal Fashion Debut, the Arizona Bridal Show that took place at the beginning of June!
         The show started with set-up day, which was that Saturday.  I had never been to a bridal exposition so I had no idea what to expect. Upon first arriving at the Phoenix Convention Center, all I saw was booths. Rows upon rows of booths. There had to have been hundreds of them with signs advertising florists, photographers, venues, caterers, DJ’s, and a strange amount of Brazilian Waxing and hair removal studios (I was especially not expecting that!)

            Jennifer was there to design two of these booths; one for Phoenix Bride & Groom Magazine and one for Seville Golf and Country Club. We first made our way to the Phoenix B&G booth, along with Dawn, who works with the magazine (and is a TON of fun to work with!).

            I had no idea what the plans for the booth were. All I saw were about a billion pink, white, and gold balloons (small exaggeration), and about a thousand of the newest editions of the Phoenix Bride & Groom magazine (not an exaggeration). I knew that the theme was a party, since it was the 15th anniversary of the magazine (Congrats Phoenix Bride & Groom!) Jennifer immediately had me get started on creating a super cute paper tassel, while her and Dawn began blowing up balloons.

After a while, we had a beautiful, glamorous white tent set up, and amazing, clear, hollow tables, which we filled with balloons. We stacked tons of copies of the Phoenix Bride & Groom magazines on them for brides to take home. It came together absolutely beautifully and getting to see the transformation was really exciting.

These tables are such a cool concept! Table by Kool Party Rentals

While we had been working on that, Jennifer had been buzzing back and forth between that booth and the Seville booth. I headed over to check that one out and found a similar white tent going up. Just like at the PB&G booth, I had no idea what the plans for this one were. But, I started noticing some really pretty arches, Astroturf, amazing hedges, beautiful linens and sets of chairs being brought in. I realized that she was creating an actual ceremony similar to one that would be available for couples at Seville.

            This booth came together quite easily. The only little hiccup was that the tent was not quite the same size as the booth, but Jennifer thought quickly on her feet and came up with a slightly altered design plan that was just as amazing as the original. It was incredible! It was unlike anything else at the convention. I wanted to get married there!

The ceremony set-up at the Seville Booth!

Isn't it beautiful? (Lovely Linens by Southwick Linens, Florals from Blume Events, Rentals from Classic Party Rentals)

We were all very confident that the two booths would be a success at the show.  Set up was over at 6 p.m. that night, and it was just barely 5 when we were informed that our beautiful, glamorous tent at the PB&G booth was going to have to come down (due to some visibility concerns) . Jennifer tried to convince the manager of the show to let us keep it (or modify it a bit), but unfortunately, the tenting had to come down.  We then arranged for the tent to be taken down later that evening. However, they were going to leave the white draping in the back up so that it wasn’t just black. We unfortunately couldn’t be there when the tent came down, so we left and hoped that it would still look as beautiful in the morning as it did when we left that evening….

Fast forward about 14 hours…

The day of the Bridal Show, we arrived at the convention center extra early in the morning so that we could make sure the Phoenix Bride & Groom booth was still as amazing without the tent as it was with the tent. We rushed to our booth, only to find out… the draping at the back of the booth was accidentally taken when they took down the rest of the tent. We were left with the plain black draping.

            We were all a bit stunned at first, but Jennifer quickly came to a decision on how to spruce it up; we were going to create a "balloon wall" on the black draping. It was a party after all! Kendall (Jennifer’s other intern) and I quickly got to work on that while Jennifer checked with the Seville booth to make sure everything was perfect. Kendall and I rocked out that balloon wall in record time, and luckily, it still looked absolutely amazing!   

            By then, it was about 8:45am, and the V.I.P. brides would be arriving at the show in about fifteen minutes. We started taking some marketing photos of the two booths, as well as all of the lovely people who work for each of the companies. (Jennifer let me use her husband’s super fancy camera to take some pictures, and I am not going to lie, it was pretty fun!)

Jennifer and the lovely ladies from Seville!
And there she is again, with the three PB&G covers that she coordinated and designed! Aren't they beautiful!?
And there's Kendall and I in the booth! (That's me on the right!) I think it turned out really fantastic!

By the time the clock struck 9am, we were ready to rock the show! Jennifer, Kendall, and I set out on an adventure of our own. We made our way through the show and Kendall and I watched as Jennifer did her thing; networking and talking up almost every vendor in the place! I was amazed at how on she was during the whole show. We handed out some amazing J. Starr cookies that Kendall had made, (which were amazing, by the way).

P.S. Isn't that sequin tablecloth amazing? You could say I'm obsessed!

Here's the lovely Dawn Peterson and Kristen Butler of Phoenix Bride and Groom Magazine
Kendall and I also got to walk around the show on our own to see what we thought and meet some of the vendors. (We were mostly interested in sampling as many cakes as possible. Shh, don’t tell Jennifer!)

            Soon, we decided to call it a day for the J. Starr team, and let everyone run the booths on their own. We headed home and I was left with a cool swag bag, aching feet and a new impression of the words bridal show. In the end, I realized that that weekend was a very good lesson on an important part of this industry; be ready for things to go wrong. After realizing that, I think it’s safe to say I am spending the summer learning this lesson from the best of the best!

Thank You for Reading,

Guest Blogger: Emily
J.Starr Summer Intern

Monday, June 22, 2015

Life as a Mamapreneur


Happy Monday Friends, 

Special thank you to my intern Emily.  I've put her in charge of making sure my marketing stays consistent this summer. I received a text from her about an hour ago reminding me that my topic to write about today is "Life as a Mamapreneur." Deep sigh... I'm digging deep, here we go.

Well for starters, what is a "Mamapreneur,"  you may ask?
A "Mamapreneur" is a women who is the primary caregiver of her children and also runs her own business.  Does that sound ambitious with a touch of crazy?  Well, you nailed it.  It is.

I often have a hard time relating to "stay at home moms" and also "corporate/working moms".... That's because I'm stuck somewhere right in the middle, I identify with both and neither...all at the same time.   And honestly, I really wouldn't have it any other way.  But there are certainly times that are very any role is for any parent. 

I'm often asked, "Do you have a nanny?" Nope.  "Do you have an assistant?" Nope.  "Do you have a house cleaner?"  ...ha ha ha, you're funny. My children are still small and growing just as my business is, so I'm not in a place where I'm able to bring in hired help (yet).  So how do I do it?  (here's where the touch of crazy comes into play.)

I'm often told "Wow, you do so much! How do you do it?" I never really know how to answer that question, because I've always enjoyed being a busy person.  And truth be told, "time management" isn't something that comes easy to me (ask anyone who knows me really well.)  I'm a dreamer/creative type, so I'm very easily distracted if I suddenly become inspired by a new idea.  Having children has definitely forced me to sharpen my time management skills and through this process I've learned a few "musts" that have helped me, so today I thought I would share a case they help to inspire you..... regardless of your profession or season in life. 

"J.Starr Mamapreneur Musts":
  1. List Making/Scheduling Out my Day the night before ~ Every night I make a list for the next day and divide it into 4 quadrants: Health, Babies, Home, J.Starr.  This helps me to visually have awareness for a better balance of life on a daily basis.  I also write out a daily timeline.  This has helped me immensely to stay on I'm easily distracted.
  2.  Waking up 2.5 hours earlier than my kiddos~ always.  It makes me feel like I've got a much better handle on the day.
  3. Running ~Not everyday, but ideally four to five times a week.  If I can get in a 30 minute run before I do anything else, my days so much more productive. 
  4. Coffee~ Enough said.  Warm in the morning, Iced in the afternoon.
  5. Eating Breakfast~ Before the kiddos wake up.  Otherwise I forget to eat and start to feel lethargic.
  6. Social Media Time Blocks ~Huge time saver! HUGE.  Like I said I get easily distracted so scheduling only three blocks a day to check in, update posts, publish blogs, etc. The internet can be take up a ton of time.  I always sign out of my accounts completely, so I'm not tempted.
  7. Tracking my Food ~life changing habit that I learned in Weight Watchers (amazing program by the way).  I track, and measure my food, the best I can.  It's like balancing a check book, after it becomes a habit it becomes a's not always fun..but it's super powerful in making good decisions and being able enjoy indulgences from time to time.
  8. Answering Emails in Blocks ~ Same as social media. I try and answer/send emails in batches rather than every time I get a new email (again too distracting).  I also just recently started to answering emails from the bottom to the top (oldest to the newest).  Maybe the rest of the world already does this. 
  9. Interns~ My interns help me immensely and really help to keep my daily office hours consistent.
  10. Office Hours~ Speaking of office hours, five days a week (1.5 in the morning + 2.5/ 3 hours in the afternoon).  This is perfect for my current workload.  These areas are devoted strictly to office hours...I'm really good about never wavering, because I really can't.  This is when I bust out emails, contracts, marketing, accounting, special projects, clients, prospective leads, etc.
  11. Scheduling Something Creative (Non Work Related) The best way to work in a creative field is to allow yourself time to be creative (just for you!) I try and do something, each home design projects.....or currently I'm loving creating personal photo albums with "Project Life."
  12. Date Nights ~ The reason I stay sane (most days) is because my husband is an awesome supporter of my goals.  I'm so incredibly grateful.  Being parents and having careers isn't always easy....for anyone.  So date nights are the best thing ever.  Wish we could do more of them, but I'm thankful for the times we can escape a bit and catch up (have actual interrupted conversations). 

Stay tuned as I hope to share my "Mamaprenuer Must Nots" soon....I've learned a lot, lemme tell ya. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

"How He Asked, in Her Words."

How He Asked....In Her Words....
It was around our 3 year anniversary.  It felt like "that time" when that BIG important could be asked, right? Two weeks before our anniversary Nate took me to Shane Co. to look at rings, and I found one that I loved!  Sure enough, it was going to be our anniversary!  We went out to a lovely dinner at an Italian restaurant, and sure didn't happen.  I told myself to stop wondering when it was going to happen and just enjoy the moments with Nate. 
A few weeks later we had a planned trip to Las Vegas because Nate had a friend in the NASCAR Truck Series and was going to be racing that last weekend in September.  We left Friday morning and got to Vegas that after.  After checking into the hotel, we went out in search for some lunch...walked the strip.  We were having a nice time.  Later on he mentioned how he had never seen the water and music show at the Bellagio.  I got excited because I had seen it before and wanted him to see it.  So finally after getting directions and making it over there...we were waiting for the next show to start. 
As we were waiting it started to rain, it was odd that Nate didn't want to inside somewhere.  But I didn't think much of it, I was just happy he wanted to wait to see the show.  Right after it had started he had asked this guy standing next to us to take our picture.  So we turn to pose for the camera, and the guy mentioned that it was on video mode instead of photo mode.  Nate replied that's okay, it doesn't matter.  I gave him a funny look and was so confused so I just stood there waiting for our picture to be taken.  I then realized Nate wasn't standing next to me.  I glanced over and saw a small white box.  I still didn't think anything of it, I thought he was grabbing a tissue to clean off his phone so a the guy could take the picture. wasn't until I looked back at Nate the second time and saw the same ring that I saw about a month and half ago.  Nate had always said that he wanted to make sure when the moment was right, it would be the least expected moment.  That is just what happened. 
 Well, it wasn't until I looked back at Nate the second time and saw the ring I saw about a month and a half before this moment. Nate always said that he wanted to make sure when the moment was right it would be the least expected moment. That is just what happened. I had no idea Nate was going to propose. He got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. Of course I said YES!! :)  


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Confessions of a Wedding Planner, Vol. 1

Confessions of a Wedding Planner ...

(Photo By Still Life Studios, Floral by Flower Bar, Linens by Southwick Linens)

Rewind to nearly 9 years ago… to the day I was in charge of running my very first wedding ceremony.   I had been working at a private golf club and had been recently promoted to the Private Events Department as an Assistant!  We had two weddings on property that day; they were just about 30 minutes apart from each other, however, on different sides of the venue.

This was my time to shine as I took on my own wedding ceremony. Everything was up to me this time.     To say “I was nervous,” is a complete understatement! However, there was a slight ease of pressure knowing that it was a vow renewal rather than a first time ceremony.  The couple was older, much more relaxed, and much easier going than, say, a first time bride and groom. 

I was so proud of myself; I had my checklists checked and completed, I had all of the guests seated… Everything was going perfectly.  There was only one issue… This particular client wanted to be brought in with her husband (remember: it was a vow renewal ceremony) by golf cart to the far off side of the ceremony.  This took quite the extra shuffling on my part because it required me to get all of the attendants down the aisle and then run (behind the scenes, I might add) around the building to where my couple was stationed in the golf cart and then drive them up to the ceremony site.

But I knew I could do it. I’ve got this thing, I told myself.  Well it turns out I was so focused on my shuffling that I forgot to check for one very critical component to a ceremony (…wait for it!)

So there I was, so relieved that all was going according to plan, everything was going so smoothly. I was driving the golf cart, slowly creeping up on the ceremony site, and awaiting the last bridesmaid to take her spot before pulling up with the bride & groom when all of sudden my bride says to me… “I don’t see the minister…” 

My heart stopped, my stomach dropped… I didn’t see the minister either.  As a matter of fact, I had never seen the minister. We had never even had so much as a conversation, and I had no clue if he was even on site (rookie mistake, a BIG rookie mistake.)  I quickly searched the grounds and, nope, no minister! That’s when I remembered there was another ceremony that had just finished on the other side of the venue.  Keep in mind; all of the guests are still awaiting the bride & groom to make their way down the aisle.  And worse, I had already sent the entire party down the aisle and they were all standing up there waiting.  They were waiting for what seemed like an eternity to me.

At that point, I had made contact with my coworker (the lovely, Erin Rohr) and she remained incredibly calm, collected, and reassuring (an absolute MUST as a planner). Together, we located the other minister on property who had just finished the previous ceremony. We threw him, somewhat forcefully, into the golf cart; poor guy!  He agreed to perform the ceremony… although he fudged a little on the names! (To which the bride & groom laughed hysterically at, thank god!)

Long story short, I survived, and I’ve NEVER made that same mistake again (knock on wood!).  After that incident, I became a watch dog on ministers. I make sure they check in and out with me before they so much as use the restroom. (I’m kidding… Kind of.) 

Minister, What Minister?

Monday, June 15, 2015

{Monday Mix} May Highlights

Happy Monday All!

(I was completely awestruck attending the  past WIPA event at the Arizona Biltmore! Hats off to fellow Wedding Planner: Rhonda Rush for creating this stunning look!  The theme was "Iconic Fashion" and every table was designed in the theme of a fashion designer! Photo by Jenn Wagner)

Confession, my blog has been super inconsistent over the past few months.  The reason being is I've recently made some changes with how I desire to blog moving forward, and that took an adjustment period. 

 I'm at a place now in my life where my personal life is wildly busy and my business is growing quickly ~ which I'm incredibly grateful for.  Resulting in many changes and adjustments.

The reality is, this blog started more as a personal blog ~ it served more as a place to document my life (virtual scrapbook), both personal and professional.  I've recently discovered a better way to document my personal life and create a tangible album to share with my sweet little family.  It's called Project Life. I'm a big fan.  For years I've pondered over how to bring today's digital world + my "sentimental memory keeping" heart together ~ I've finally found it.  

Long story short, I'm changing up my blogging process. I hope I can provide my readers more insight into the wedding world, I hope I can provide some useful wedding education to couples going through the challenges of planning a wedding.  I hope to share some inspirations on goal setting, life lessons and perhaps a touch of ridiculousness.   I also hope to still share some highlights of personal/professional life documentation....starting with this post. 

Here's a few highlights from May:

*The biggest highlight that occurred this month was my husband accepting a new job!  This is truly life changing because our schedule now is so much better, and his commute is super short. So thankful for new opportunities! So proud of my guy.

Other highlights included:
Attending Mother/Daughters Tea for the first time with my littles. 
Fun at the Zoo

Another fab shot of the WIPA Event, have I mentioned how much I love this industry?

Memorial Day Cook Out
Loved rocking out this wedding for fellow industry rockstar: JBarry Designs
Having family in town and getting to spend precious time with the Starr Crew
Wigging Out with my little ladies!  Aren't these dollar store wigs hideous!?!  These two crack me up!

Thank you for reading, Cheers to more blogging!

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