Monday, August 31, 2015

A Few Life Lessons....


This morning I thought I'd share a few life lessons that have been weighing on me lately.  I learned these from my Granny.  I hesitate to blog this for fear that I might leave something important that she taught me out...but I guess I can always write a follow up if need be.  I'm just gonna let my heart spill out a bit.

You see, she was incredibly important to me. But in a way, that I never really realized how much before because it was buried so deep.  It wasn't until recently, as she lived her final days, that her role in my life has became more magnetized. 

1.) Love Hard. 
She taught me to love hard.  She made sure everyone that she loved, knew they were loved, deeply.  She never held back the chance to say "I love you." She never hesitated to give big hugs.  When ever I left her home, she insisted on walking me out.  Even the very last time I visited her.  She would wait until I was in my car, just to have the chance to wave goodbye and blow me a kiss.  She always expressed love abundantly, and without hesitation.

2.) Sharing & Giving.
She shared everything.  She struggled accepting gifts, because sharing was so much more important to her.  Life wasn't easy for her growing up, she didn't have much as a child, and lost her mother at the age of 12...and then lost her father a few years later.  She was the eldest of her four siblings and had to take on a lot at a very young age.  She learned early on what it meant to stretch a dime.  That always stayed with her.  She was uncomfortable with large purchases for herself, but always wanted those around her to have it all.

3.) Approachability
As my mom wrote in her obituary "She never knew a stranger." She talked, laughed, and joked with everyone.  Going to the grocery store with her was an experience.  She hugged strangers, she gave random children cookies, she called cute young boys her "boyfriend." She was a hoot.  She never cared much about social norms. She just saw goodness in people.  And that was just on the surface.  For me she was incredibility approachable because she shared her stories with me.  She told me all about her first love, the birth of her babies, her many travels (as my Papa was in the air force).  The common theme in all of her stories was about "the people".  She loved people and all their differences.  She allowed me to share my life with her. I could tell her anything, and she would always respond back with a caring tone.

4.) Warmth & Kindness
The moment someone stepped foot in her home.  "Can I get you something to drink? Can I get you something to eat? You look tired.  Why don't you go get up on my bed and cut the fan on." She wanted to make sure you felt as comfortable as possible in her home.  And in her glory days...she could cook. Wow, the best food I've ever tasted.  The moment you were in her presence (even strangers) you immediately felt loved. 

5.)  Sense of Humor
She never took herself too seriously.  She loved to laugh, tell wild stories, and she was famous for her random sayings in her Tennessee accent.  She joked around a lot, and cracked herself up a lot.  She knew the power of a good laugh.

6.)  Building Memories
Whenever I left her home she would always tell me "I love you Jenny Girl, go build some memories." My eyes tear up just typing those words as I can hear her voice so strong.  She constantly encouraged me to "do fun things." She always reminded to build as many memories now, because memories are all you have towards the end of your life. 

Happy Monday My Friends.....

Cheers to loving hard and laughing along the way.  xo

~Jennifer Starr

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Introducing Emily...

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I wanted to stop and take an official minute to formally introduce Miss Emily Bollinger.  After interning me for the summer, I'm excited to announce that I've offered her the position of J.Starr Marketing Coordinator.

Emily will take on a lot of my marketing scheduling, editing (thank goodness, we all know how many typos I make) photo/content collecting, linking and posting.  I will still write everything...all my marketing will still be in my voice, that's incredibly important to me.  Emily will just save me tons of time making sure that I stay consistent and typo free :)

I'm incredibly excited and grateful to bring her on board as my business is growing quickly and I think she will be a great addition to my team.


I asked Emily to share a little bit about herself:  

My name is Emily... You might remember me from a blog post that I wrote a few months ago about a super fun event I did with Jennifer.

I'm a student at Northern Arizona University, studying Hotel & Restaurant Management, with a certificate in Event Planning!

All summer, I worked with Jennifer as her intern. I got to learn some of the ins and outs of the wedding industry. She also put me in charge of managing her marketing, which I realized I really really enjoyed! That actually is the reason that I am now going to minor in Marketing!

Over the summer, I got to experience lots of different parts of the industry. I got to help Jennifer with a few different amazing events this summer, as well as tour some of the valley's most beautiful venues with her and a bride to be! There were lots of early mornings, late nights, and I worked my butt off! But this summer was so much fun and has really helped me to make up my mind about what I want to do with my life.

Apparently, I was pretty decent with the whole marketing thing, because as the summer came to an end, just a few weeks before my move back to Flagstaff, Jennifer asked me be her Marketing Coordinator. She wanted me to help her manage her social media, her blog and a few other things from Flagstaff!

When she told me this, I was so excited... I started thinking about how scared I was to start this internship at the beginning of the summer. I was afraid that I would be getting coffee and picking up dry-cleaning for someone who wouldn't actually give me any opportunities to learn anything about this industry. (I think I might have just watched The Devil Wears Prada...)

But if I hadn't decided to go for it, even though I was terrified, I wouldn't have learned as much as I did, I wouldn't have met so many amazing and talented people, and I wouldn't have this opportunity to continue working for someone who inspires me to follow my crazy dreams in this crazy industry.

Photographer: Rachel Solomon Photography 

Want to read the last post that Emily wrote? Click here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Checking In: Reflections + Standing Still


I've often said to Justin "I wish I could capture emotions and bottle them." Just open up a pretty little glass bottle grasp an emotion from my heart, label it, and put it on the shelf. 

The bottles could be labeled a variety of things...

"Doubts + Fears about my Business" {Summer of 2014}
"More Joy than I Ever Imagined Possible/Birth of Babies" {December 2013}
"Exhaustion Upon Exhaustion" {Spring 2015}

But the best part would be...that once in a great while I could take off the cap to the bottle and "feel" that exact same emotion that I once felt at that time.  I could use this to make myself feel better at the present moment, and truly appreciate life. 

For example on the days that I feel so exhausted and defeated by motherhood, I could inhale a little bit of "More Joy than I Ever Imagined" bottle and be instantly reminded of how amazing life is, (even while I'm scrubbing magic markers off the wall...)

Or like this summer for's been rather stagnant and definitely sad as my sweet Grandmother (known as Granny) passed away a few weeks ago.  It's been a time period in which I just didn't have my normal energy, excitement, and momentum.  Instead, my heart and mind have been in a more reflective and contemplative place.

I remember last year at this time feeling so much self doubt as a business owner.  But over the last month I'm really starting to see all the "seeds that I planted over the last year start to bloom." (thank heavens!) I'm so grateful and excited for the future of my business.  It's on days like today I wish I could visit my little imaginary shelf of "bottled emotions" and  inhale a little bit of "last summer" to truly appreciate the new place I'm at now and really appreciate it. Before jumping full force into "the next" stage of life.

Sometimes I think life forces us to stand still for a moment, whether we want to or not.  And in those moments, we begin to see things more definitively.  So here's to the past, the present, and the future ~ whatever your goals might be.  May you be able to "stop" once in awhile, be okay with standing still for a bit, and be proud of how far you've come.  And if you need a high five, I 'm sending you a virtual one now. 

Happy Monday My Friends.

With Lots of Love and Big Dreams,
Jennifer Starr

Friday, August 7, 2015

{Featured} J. Starr Planned & Styled Cover Shoot for Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine

Happy Friday All!

How is it already August?! This summer is flying right by, but get excited, because August 1st brought some exciting J. Starr news!

I recently had the chance to style and coordinate a series of cover shoots for Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites magazine. And on August 1st, the first of the covers was released! I couldn't share the photos until they debuted and being patient was a struggle! But now these beautiful images are available at your fingertips.

As I have said before, the work that goes into an editorial shoot is absolutely insane. But, when you get to see the final product, the work is well worth it. This shoot was a ton of fun, and thanks to my wonderful creative partners that I had the pleasure of working with, the end result is incredible.

Thanks again for everyone's hard work! Without you, the shoot would not have been the same and the outcome would not have been as beautiful. And a very special thank you to Teri Ambrose and her wonderful team at Arizona's Finest for allowing me this incredible opportunity.

Stay tuned! I will be sharing more of the beautiful photos and some behind the scenes details from this shoot very soon!

Check out this previous editorial cover shoot that I stylized for Arizona's Finest in the past!

Creative Partners:

As Featured In: Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites
Designer & Coordinator: J. Starr Stylized Weddings
Floral Design: Flower Bar
Gown & Jewelry: Suzanne's Bridal Boutique 
Hair & Makeup: Shannon Thomas
Groom's Attire: Mr. Formal 
Paper Products: The Event Essentials
Specialty Linens: Southwick Linens

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

{Engagement Story} How Vince Asked Cassy

How He Asked, in His Words....

"It was our first time ever staying in a hotel together. It was a change from the norm whenever my girlfriend (now fiancee) and I visited California. We pulled up to the front entrance of the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa in Disneyland, her favorite park to visit for vacation. I couldn’t help feeling excited and nervous, knowing that I was only hours away from asking her one of the biggest questions of her life. Little did she know, this was no ordinary vacation. She looked in awe and amazement at the resort I had planned for us to stay in.

Our room was stunning, as if the hotel wasn’t beautiful enough. I intended on asking her the big question in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle when the park was minutes away from closing; hoping that at that time we could be alone. As she took the time to freshen up and get ready, I took the opportunity to rest and think about what I wanted to say to my girlfriend of a few years when the big moment arrived. Troubled, I thought to myself, what can I say that hasn’t already been said to someone that you have been with for 5 years! I began to worry that I would say something stupid or ignorant; I’ve never been much of a good speaker. I wanted to stay away from writing a speech because saying how I felt when I looked into her eyes was important to me. I was sure it would come to me as the time neared.

I knew I had to hurry and put the ring that had been secretly hidden in my bag into my pocket as she shouted, “Almost finished babe!” I wore khaki shorts with oversized pockets to conceal the ring in its box; I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to hide. As she finished getting ready and stepped out of the bathroom, I sat and looked at her in awe.

            We then started to make our way to the park, just outside the hotel, not forgetting to leave anything important behind. The sun had already begun to set. We reached the entrance of the park and we were happily greeted by one of the employees who worked there.

The smell of churros and fresh made popcorn began to surface the air. We got past the array of people standing and walking near the entrance of the park on Main Street, and began to take our usual route, working our way clockwise on the park map. The night had already fallen and the whole park lit up like a bed of fireflies. We got through most of the rides in the park before the shows began. Time seemed to slow down as the park got closer and closer to closing. 

Typically, during the shows, we usually rode the popular rides while everybody else was too distracted and amazed by Mickey slaying a dragon from Fantasmic or the firework display that shows at the end of every night. We do that to defeat the perpetual lines that Disneyland is famous for, but not this time. In attempts to speed things up, I suggested we view one of the shows that we often never see and catch the train ride around the park. She seemed to notice a change in my mood, and she mentioned it on the train ride.

“You don’t seem like yourself today, is everything alright?

Worried that I was making it obvious, I had something to hide, I quickly responded with a smile, “Of course babe, I’m, umm, just fine! Why would you think that?”

“Well, you seem rushed, you’re quieter than usual, your hands were clammy when I was holding them earlier and you seem to be sweating a little bit.”

“Oh, I might be catching a cold! No need to worry Hun! I’m sure I’ll get over it.”

Concerned, she responded, “Well I hope you’re okay, I’ll make sure to get you some medicine from the convenient store in the hotel”

I sighed with a breath of relief that she believed it. The train was departing after we rode on it for two passings through the park. The worker on the train yelled, “New Orleans Square!” notifying us of our departing location. I knew this was our stop. The time was near, and the pressure started to build faster than my heart could handle. We made our way to the back of the castle as a woman over the intercom was notifying the guests that the park would be closing soon. I forced my girlfriend to use the restroom as she thought I would do the same, but little did she know that I was quickly going to take a stroll by the castle to see how many people were standing there. To my surprise, there were still groups of people walking and standing around the castle taking pictures.

My heart sunk, and in a panic, I hurried back to the restrooms to see that she hadn’t finished yet. I stood there wondering what I should do. I didn’t have many options and the park was about to close. I thought it may be a good idea to walk around the castle and wait until the guests cleared. We stumbled upon Snow White’s well just east of the castle. It was close to a bridge, a waterfall, and it had a perfect view of the castle! That’s when it struck me; this was it, this is the spot, and it couldn’t be any more perfect. We were completely alone and it hit me that this was really happening; the sudden reality of giving your life away to the one you love. I got nervous, but when I turned and looked at her, she smiled, and I knew this was surely what I wanted. She is the woman that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We walked over to the bridge and glanced at the blue lit castle and its reflection in the lake surrounding the castle. I gathered myself together and took a deep breath; I turned to look at her, I began to speak very softly.

“There has been something that I’ve wanted to ask you for a while now.”

“What do you mean?” She looked puzzled.

“I love you, I have always loved you since the day I got to know you in our history class back in high school. It’s been a few years and I know that we are ready to take things to the next level. I didn’t want to give you this big speech, so I’ll just let everything that I’ve done for us and everything we have been through together speak for itself.”

My heart was pounding and I couldn’t stop shaking. I wiped the sweat from my hand on my shorts. I reached in my oversized pocket and pulled out the box that had the ring in it. I got on my knee, and then I proceeded to open the box. I knew I was ready.

“Cassandra Patrice Gloria, would you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?”
  In a state of shock she replied, “Are you serious!?!?”
 “I have a ring in my hand don’t I? Would you spend the rest of your life with me and marry me?” I asked again.
“Of course I will marry you! Yes!” She responded in tears.

Still in tears, she managed to help me up off my knee as it seemed like I had been in that position for a while. She gave me the biggest kiss and hug she has ever given me. For a moment time seemed to stop, and all seemed right in the world. I did it, I told myself; I managed not to mess up one of the most important moments in our lives. My heart had seemed whole, and I was happy. I knew then this was the start of something special to come; a new chapter in my life was about to be written. I wasn’t alone this time, and it started with me and my future wife...."

Dear Vince & Cassy,
You two are adorable.  I'm beyond thrilled to be a part of your Wedding journey.  Thank you for trusting me.  I can't wait for your November 7th Wedding!  Congratulations, let's rock this out!
Love, Jennifer

Feeling All Warm and Fuzzy now?  View some previous J. Starr couples' engagement stories below!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...