9.30.2012

{monday's mantra}

I can't lie, some of my best ideas come to me in the shower. Like this week's mantra. I really do come up with something every week that epitomizes my life at the moment, and the same goes for this one. 


I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a problem constantly looking toward the future. I'm always waiting for that next chapter to start, for the next good thing to happen, when my life right now is absolutely amazing! Good things are happening, and I really don't want to let them pass me by while I wait for life to get even better than it already is. And now, as fall begins, I really want to savor the season, and the moment. 

9.28.2012

{not five things]

I didn't really find five things this week that I felt the need to share with you, but I still wanted to stop by to let you know that I'll be back next week! I said it already, but October is my number one favorite month during the year, and I'm going to make it my best blogging month too.



Be excited.

It's starting with a reintroduction post on Monday, and I'd really like to know if you have any questions that you'd like me to address about me/my blog/my company. Leave them in the comments or email them to me at joelle@acharmingoccasion.com.

Oh, and be sure to enter to win a custom headpiece from the Jem Boutique! You have until next Wednesday to enter!

9.27.2012

{on negativity}


Taylor Swift is one smart lady...

If you put yourself out there on your blog, there will come a day when you face negativity. There's a pretty infamous site, known for their snark about bloggers. Some of their content is legitimate constructive criticism, and some is just plan, unnecessary meanness. But if they made me realize one thing at all, it's this: not everyone is going to like you. And that's okay. 

Sometimes it will come in the form of blog comments, and sometimes you might happen to stumble upon some not-so-nice things written about you in a forum, but it will happen. I promise. Maybe you should feel thankful that people are actually noticing you, I know I eventually came to that conclusion. That doesn't always make it any easier. Here are a few things I've learned from negativity on the internet:

Constructive criticism is good.

Though there are a few books and blogs about how to blog, there is no bible to blogging. It's all so subjective. You can read all you want, but it all comes down to personal experience. I think that's one of the best parts about blogging: it's a constant learning experience. I know I learn something new everyday, whether it be from other bloggers or things I come across in "real life." And the truth is, you will make mistakes. You live and you learn, and wouldn't you rather be told that something you do isn't necessarily appropriate or correct instead of making the same mistakes over and over again?

For example, I will respond to "follow me" comments every once in a while, pointing out that what this blogger is doing isn't really appreciated in the blogging world. Usually I'll do it if I see that they don't have a lot of followers, because they probably just don't know any better {though some bloggers build their entire following by this and don't care if it's polite or not}. Sometimes they email me back, thanking me for pointing it out. Sometimes they don't respond at all, and I can only assume it's because of embarrassment. 

Requesting that a blogger include sources for images or pointing out that they made a typo or spelling error isn't bad. We should all appreciate those that take the time to point these things out to us, in my opinion. They're taking time out of their day to help us improve our own sites, and they don't have to. But it's really all about how they do it. If someone leaves a rude comment, snarking about how you used an apostrophe in the wrong place, I don't think you necessarily need to respond. Fix it, and move on. But if someone is sincere about their criticism, and it's truly constructive, then don't feel so bad. Like I said, we all make mistakes. 

Some people are just trolls

According to Wikipedia...
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
I've found that these people who post anonymously tend to just be trolls. They complain about anything "bloggers" like or do {because, you know, we're all the same...}, including, but not limited to: pumpkin spice lattes, top knots, using Twitter for promoting your blog posts, and especially making money from your blog.

The thing about trolls is that they WANT to be mean. If they seem something negative about you already written, they're going to your blog already knowing that they will hate it. They aren't going to see all of the amazing things you've written, they are just looking for things to be mean about. That's what trolls do. And there's nothing you can do to stop it.

If I've learned anything from the meanness that can come from anonymity on the internet, it's to just not feed into it. Defending yourself just gives them more ammunition, something I saw recently when the boyfriend of someone brought up in one of these forums came over to defend his girl. They tore. him. apart. And it was not pretty. If you just ignore it, they'll forget about you and move onto the next person.

Remember that what you do is important.

I said it above, but I'll repeat it again here: not everyone is going to love what you do. Every person is different, and we all have different styles. Just because I don't like a blog doesn't mean that I think it shouldn't be out there. Everyone always says to blog for yourself. Putting yourself out there is really difficult, and I highly doubt that many of these trolls understand that. They think that if they don't like it, there is no value to what you do, but please don't believe that.

If you ever get caught off guard with the negativity that can come with having a blog, I encourage you to write down all the reasons why you blog. I blog because I need a creative outlet. I blog because I run a business, and I love writing as an extension of that business. I blog because it's a form of therapy. It's important that I blog, because of these things. What I do is important, even if it's just important to me.

What you do is important. We're creating a community of amazing people, setting trends {it's true!}, and sharing innovative and creative ideas. People who don't blog may not understand these things, but we do. So don't forget it. 

You will encounter some negativity in your blogging life. It happens to everyone. But when I ended up in a mean forum a few months ago, I tweeted about how sad I was. And you know what? The response I got from people who honestly love and care about me was a hundred times more powerful than those few comments about how "dumb" I was.

The same goes for you. I appreciate what you do. So please don't stop. 

9.26.2012

{the jem boutique}

Can you believe we only have a few weeks of September left? As much as I love this month, I love October even more, so I'm kind of really excited. I even went through and planned about eighty percent of my posts for October, which is crazy to me. I typically only have about one week planned out, if that.

And to make things even better, I have an amazing shop for all of you today!



From The Jem Boutique:
Each piece is carefully handcrafted and many include a stunning vintage embellishment. The ultimate goal of JEM Designs is to create gorgeous, handcrafted head pieces that make you feel special. They want everyone to feel as though they have a JEM.




Aren't their designs beautiful? They even have a gorgeous wedding line, made specifically for the classic bride. And now, here's the fun part!

The Jem Boutique is giving away a headpiece, bridal or the ready to wear headpieces, or a fall hat of your choice. Enter below via rafflecopter, and good luck!


Oh, and one more thing! The Jem Boutique is offering 15% any items over $25 in their shop! Just enter  GR99MGUR1A at checkout through October 25, 2012.

*     *     *     *     *

Interested in sponsoring Something Charming in October? I would love to have you! I have so much content planned for the month already, and I am so excited to promote some amazing shops and bloggers. Definitely check out my Sponsorship page or contact me for more information! I offer a variety of sponsorship opportunities that are affordable and beneficial for both of us. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

9.25.2012

{wedding wednesday: the cake}

So, I know I was going in some order for these wedding posts, an order that actually made sense in wedding planning, but I was feeling somewhat creatively stifled. So, I'm posting about cakes today. And answering a reader question. 



Now, I'm not the biggest fan of eating cake, but I just can't get over this obsession I have with wedding cakes. Just because they are so beautiful! Don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of terrible wedding cake, and I much prefer pie or cupcakes at a wedding. There's just something about a traditional wedding cake that I love!


1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Here's a tip about wedding cakes that all the bakers out there probably don't want me to tell you: you don't need a piece for each guest. I know, gasp! But it's really a great way to save money. Don't have slices served to each setting {unless you're having a really formal wedding, and people expect to be served}. Instead, place pieces out on a table to take as they please. This way, you can get away with getting fewer pieces than the number of guests. Am I so terrible for saying that? No, don't answer that...

And now, a question that is completely non-wedding cake related, asked by Ashley from Ashley Nicole Catherine:
What has been your worst experience with wedding planning? 
I don't know if I've told this story here before, but I'm telling it again. I honestly feel very fortunate that my worst wedding experience was my very. first. wedding. 
It was summer in Santa Barbara, which can be pretty finicky. The day before the wedding, which was in the bride's parents' backyard, it was cloudy. And of course, it started raining on the wedding day. They didn't want to spend the money on a tent, so everyone got wet. The ceremony itself took place on the beach, but I couldn't be there to help with anything, since the groom had forgotten to pick up appetizers and I had to run to the grocery store to pick up as many veggie trays as I could.
Robert bartended with me {it was his first experience bartending too}, and they bought a lot of vodka and wine, but nothing else. Not even water. Oh, and then there was the champagne favors. By the end of the night, the guests were shaking champagne bottles and popping them at each other, including the bride {who was actively participating}. Needless to say, they sent me home around eight o'clock, for which I was entirely grateful. I really didn't want to witness the moment the bride got too drunk and fell in the pool. 
So there it is. My worst wedding story. But again, I'm thankful that I experienced something like this. I did the wedding for free, so I didn't really feel all that bad about not fixing everything. And everyone was actually having a good time, which was the important part.

Do any of you have terrible wedding stories? I'd love to hear!


There are no real rules for Wedding Wednesday, I just ask that your post be wedding related {it doesn’t need to be the same topic that I’m posting about}. I also ask that you try to visit a few other blogs to say hi. Oh, and if you’d use my button, that would be fantastic!

{pinterest people}

Like most of you, I'm on Pinterest a lot. Like, pretty much every day. Like, I usually have Pinterest open in my browser, even if I'm not pinning anything right then. That being said, I thought I would share some of my favorite pinners with you, just in case you're looking for more people to follow! Or, you can always follow me since I'm constantly pinning pretty things from these lovely ladies!


Need hair and makeup inspiration? The Beauty Department is one of my favorite beauty blogs, but it's easier to reference their tutorials from Pinterest!


Now, I'm no graphic designer, but I absolutely love Bri's blog, Design Love Fest. That being said, her Pinterest is full of design inspiration, perfect for a design junkie like me!


Centsational Girl always has great home and DIY finds!


Elsie's blog is one of my favorites anyway, so I'm obviously going to love her Pinterest! It pretty has everything you're looking for.


If you're looking for fashion inspiration, you should definitely follow Glitter Guide. Taylor knows what she's doing!


Need wedding inspiration? I would recommend Wedding Chicks for lots of pretty and pink, obviously why they are one of my favorites!

Who are your favorite pinners? I'm always looking for new people to follow!

9.24.2012

{blues jean bar}

So, have you guys heard of the Blues Jean Bar yet? I hadn't either, not until I'd stumbled upon it while spending a nice Sunday walking along State Street in Santa Barbara with my husband. Now, I'm not typically the type of person to get all excited about shopping for jeans. I'm also not the type of person to spend much money on jeans, mainly because I've never found the right type. 

You see, I have skinny ankles, a small waist and hips, and average size thighs. That makes for jeans that fit me well in the legs, but like to fall off of my hips. I have never before found a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly. Until now. 

The great thing about the Blues Jean Bar is that they find jeans specifically for you. They carry dozens of brands, and the employees know so much about what types of jeans would look good on you. I couldn't not try to find a pair while I was there. And? Success.



The winner? The James Twiggy. All I needed to do was fold them up {which I think is adorable}, and perfection!



I really never thought that the brand or type of jean mattered, but I was definitely proven wrong. They helped me find something that actually fit {two sizes smaller than I thought I was!} and actually made my butt look good. I can definitely say that they made a customer for life!

9.23.2012

{monday's mantra}

Side note: This is my very first post written and posted on my brand new MacBook Pro! I've always been a PC person, so it's going to take some getting used to. But I just have to say that it feels damn good to have gotten myself a new computer from the money that I've earned from my company. It really feels good. And now, onto our regularly scheduled post...

Here we are, Sunday night again. It's going to be a busy week, of course, and I struggled with what I wanted my mantra to be. And then it came to me.


I love the word extraordinary. I don't want to be ordinary, in anything I do. I want to be extraordinary in everything, which I think is possible. I think that as long as you have passion and a love of what you do, you're extraordinary, regardless of how well you do it. So do everything with passion and intention. It will mean that much more in the end.

9.21.2012

{five things: serious style}

For the past few weeks, my Five Things posts have been lighthearted and fall related. Today I wanted to do something a little different.

Note that I’m not posting these to be controversial. I found these five links over the past few weeks and I thought they were interesting enough to share. I’d love to start a dialogue here on Something Charming, but I won’t tolerate mean or negative comments. You’ve been warned.

Before we get started, have a laugh.

{via}

And now, onto five serious things…

1. Josh Weed is Mormon. and married. and gay.

2. I’m very grateful I’m not poor, but this post still makes me feel.

3. If infertility treatments are controversial, what about uterus transplants?

4. I have no problem admitting that I have a big problem with Chris Brown. and now he does this.

5. This makes me think about what it means to be a woman in 2012. It makes me think a lot.

*     *     *     *     *

See, that wasn’t so painful, was it? I’m pretty opinionated about things in “real” life, and I just wanted to share some of the things that I have an opinion on without sharing my opinion {though if you guess/know what my opinions on these things are, I won’t apologize}. A few other things, before the weekend begins.

Did you see me over on Jess’s blog?! I’m SO excited to be sharing some of my life intentions with you this week!

Also, having trouble commenting on blogs that use Disqus? Then you’re probably using Internet Explorer, and there’s a solution for that. You should need to disable compatibility view, which you can see how to do here. I really like Disqus so far too, and I’ll be posting my thoughts soon. What do you all think?

Happy weekend everyone!

9.20.2012

{caramel apple martini}

I think that when I first heard of a caramel apple martini two years ago, all I could think was “ew.” And then I tried it.

It’s been a year since I’ve had one and let me tell you, it was just as good as I remember.

Caramel Apple Martini

Yes, I know Elsie and Emma post a recipe for a caramel apple martini recipe recently too, but in my defense, I’ve been planning this post for a while! Their recipe uses gin too. And as much as I love gin, I just can’t imagine using anything but vodka in my recipe.

Anyway, just shake it all together with ice {minus the caramel sauce and apple} and serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnish and enjoy. Yum.

What’s your favorite fall drink?

9.19.2012

{fall bucket list}

You knew this was going to happen sooner or later. I figured that since fall starts on Saturday, it was a perfect time to post my fall bucket list. I’ve actually had this list written down since Labor Day, and I’ve even crossed a few things off already!

Fall Bucket List

{via}

What’s on your bucket list this season?

Oh, and caramel apple martini recipe coming tomorrow.

9.18.2012

{wedding wednesday: how to budget}

I guess this post is a long time coming. I may have written something similar before, but it’s definitely time for another Wedding Wednesday post about how to have your wedding on a budget.

I tweeted recently  that I almost wished some wedding blogs would post the budget of the weddings that they feature, and it seemed like most of you agreed with me. We’re constantly bombarded with beautiful weddings, so don’t you think it would be nice if we knew what the cost for such luxury and elegance was?

On a Budget

{via}

If you know flowers at all, you might realize that the picture above is a little ironic for a post having to do with weddings on a budget. That’s because peonies, the number one flower requested these days {to me, at least}, are one of the most expensive options out there. I’ve seen them as high as six dollars a stem, and that can go even higher if they are out of season. Yeah, they’re gorgeous {definitely one of my favorite wedding flowers these days}, but using peonies definitely can add up. Here are a few tips on how to save on your wedding, starting with peonies:

  • The great thing about peonies is that they are a really large flower. They bloom so big, that an entire bouquet doesn’t need to take a whole lot of stems. That being said, you can easily use a few peonies in full bloom and use another type of flower, such as garden roses or tulips, to fill things in.
  • I’m all about prioritization when it comes to weddings. That means that when you first start planning, write down the elements that will go into your wedding in priority order. For example, photography may be number one, food number two, and the music very last. When it comes time to compromise, look back on this list and make your decisions accordingly.
  • If you want a nice reception without having to sacrifice the design or food, I would highly suggest having an alternative reception. Options include a food truck, brunch reception, or cocktail/dessert reception.
  • The easiest way you can save money on your wedding is cutting the guest list, compromising on location, or having your wedding on an off day or season {i.e. a Friday night in February}.
  • You don’t need to offer a full bar at your wedding, though I don’t necessarily condone a cash bar. You can definitely offer only beer and wine, or a few signature cocktails. Also, ask if you have the option to provide your own alcohol. Or, if it isn’t important to you, forego alcohol completely.
  • Don’t feel as if you have to send out Save the Dates, which can be costly to design, print, and ship. They are really only necessary if you’re getting married over a holiday weekend or during the peek of vacation season {i.e. during the summer or New Year’s Eve}. Another option is to email your save the dates.
  • I do not feel that favors are necessary. In fact, in my opinion, they are a superfluous expense and one of the first things that can be cut from your budget. Especially if you choose something that is just going to be thrown away later anyway.
  • Do toasts with drink in hand rather than champagne.
  • If you really want cut a cake, order a small cake and supplement it with a sheet cake or cupcakes.

So those are some of my favorite budget tips. Here are a few things I suggest you don’t do to save money:

  • Cash bar. I’ve heard it’s a cultural thing, but I’m really not a fan.
  • Use your iPod instead of hiring a DJ. People don’t necessarily understand this, but the DJ is a really important part of keeping the party going. You don’t necessarily want breaks between songs, and a good emcee {which is often the DJ} can make or break a reception.
  • Please, please put a stamp on your RSVP envelopes. Not paying for the postage so that your guests can RSVP to your wedding is a sure way to not get RSVPs in on time.
  • Be very careful with providing your own flowers. You might be surprised at how much they can cost if you don’t have a wholesale license, and they definitely take up a lot of time to put together. You really need to evaluate whether or not it’s worth your time, and understand that a professional florist will do it better.
  • Get a planner! I promise, it’s worth the money if you don’t have to worry about who is doing things and if it’s all going to come together.

What are some of your favorite budget tips?

Link Up

9.17.2012

{on sponsorships}

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to have a monetized blog, and the pros and cons of opening up your blog to sponsorships and advertising. Maybe it was Blog Brunch a few weeks ago, or maybe it's just the controversy in the blogging community that keeps making me think about it, but I felt like I needed to say something. 

It seems like everyone has an opinion on it. Some are ardently against it, and take every opportunity to voice their displeasure at blogs that do decide to get paid for their writing, and some are just fine with it. Most are in between, I think, and don't mind when it isn't too conspicuous, but hate when bloggers only put content out there that they get paid for or complain when they don't get enough sponsors. Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.

TIME IS MONEY

I can only speak for myself, but blogging does take up a significant amount of my time, at least twelve hours a week, at the bare minimum. That's a legit part time job right there! And yeah, I could potentially work part time somewhere else, at a store or waiting tables, but I don't want to. I feel like I have more to offer than that, and I love being able to share my voice and my opinions and my style with all of you. If I did have a part time job, I wouldn't be able to blog anymore, and that would suck. For me, at least. 

My time is valuable. It may sound arrogant, but when you own your own business and work full time, you have to come to terms with these things. I do not make a lot of money from my blog. I'm going to be really honest and say that at this point, I make maybe $200 a month from it, which may not sound like a lot. But it is $200 more a month that I can put toward my bills or clothes or into savings. And it means that I'm $200 a month closer to working for myself. That's a powerful thought right there, and I'm not sure why someone would want to take that away from me or anyone else. 

INFORMATION IS MONEY

Think about it. Most of the information that you consume has to be paid for in some way. Websites and TV shows and magazines are typically funded by advertisements. Some require that you pay to access the content and information, and some are funded by donations alone, like Wikipedia. 

This really comes down to the value that you as a consumer place on blogs. You may feel that they are for pure entertainment, but you pay to be entertained in a lot of other ways, whether it be by buying a book or paying to see a movie. And if you really feel that you get a lot out of blogs in other ways, and consider them to be a form of useful information, then that speaks for itself. If you feel like blogs are not, in any way, a form of useful content, then really? Why are you here?

I'm not going even going to try and put a value on the different types of content that bloggers put out there, because it's really subjective. Some people really find a lot of value in curated lists or posts that are based purely on things they found on Pinterest, and some only like those that offer some type of information or tutorials that improve their lives in some way. But your personal opinion on the matter shouldn't dictate whether someone else should monetize their own content, because it's up to you if you read it. If they can make money off of it, that means that someone else finds value in it, and that's what matters. 

Tips on sponsorships:

  • I’m of the mindset that you have to start small. Even if you think you don’t have a lot of readers, offer sponsor swaps or free spaces on your blog. Ad swaps are a great way to generate buzz about your own blog as well.
  • I also don’t feel that once you hit a certain number of pageviews, you’re automatically ready to start offering paid sponsorships on your blog. It’s a different experience for everyone, and you really need to evaluate where you are and whether or not you’re ready to monetize your blog. Start small, but don’t undervalue yourself.
  • Going along with the point above, you need to be careful with how little you charge when you start approaching companies and other potential sponsors. They won’t take you seriously if you aren’t charging what you’re worth.
  • Definitely approach people you’re interested in working with! But be genuine about it. Please don’t copy and paste emails, because it’s really obvious. Let them know why you like their products or services so much, and why they should work with you.
  • Create a media kit! I’ve spent quite a bit of time on my own media kit, and it’s definitely paid off. Here is a really great post about creating a media kit, and here is a good example. If you don’t know how to create one on your own, then definitely hire someone to help you out. And let me know if you’re interested in seeing mine.
  • Sponsorships are about relationships, and aren’t just one sided. I try to promote my sponsors not only on my blog, but on my social media sites as well. Also, I try to stay in touch with all of my sponsors and make sure that we get to know each other.
  • Only accept sponsorships for products or services that you honestly love. I think that’s one of the reasons why I actually like sponsorships on other blogs. I’ve found a lot of good Etsy shops and other small businesses that I really like.

What are your thoughts?

{ronan}

This might be old news to some, but I wanted to share it with all of you, just in case you haven’t heard.

I was sitting on the couch last weekend, watching Taylor perform and reading this blog. Needless to say, I was in tears.

And this is reason #51273 why I love Taylor Swift.

9.16.2012

{monday’s mantra}

I am almost embarrassed to say that I saw A League of Their Own for the first time yesterday. Which is coincidental, seeing as I just saw this quote on Pinterest the other day.

Monday's Mantra

I’m definitely keeping this one in mind these days. I have to, with the multiple proposals I have out and overwhelming number of calligraphy projects I have going on. It’s supposed to be hard. That’s what makes what I do so special.

And in case you need an extra reminder, you can put it up on your desktop. I know I need to.

What’s your mantra this week?

9.14.2012

{five things}

You know it isn’t going to end for a while, right? I mean, fall hasn’t even started yet. I still have three months left of fall posts. And you best believe that I’ll be taking advantage every every single day until winter.

Five Things

1 // How adorable is that pine cone garland? I’m considering trying this, which is saying something.

2 // I really wish I had a porch or balcony or something where I could decorate outside. I’d love to get lanterns like these and use them seasonally. Obviously, there would be pumpkins in fall.

3 // I absolutely love seasonal table settings! I’m still on the hunt for the perfect centerpiece, but I’m seriously loving this one. I might be trying this as well.

4 // I know you can’t see below the mantle in that picture, but it’s really just a shelf! We obviously don’t have a fireplace in our little apartment, but I really love the idea of creating a faux mantle. And I’ve been looking for some pretty fall bunting too, just like that “Give” sign.

5 // Pumpkins are always my favorite decoration for fall, so I love to see how other people use them in their own homes. This is such a simple and pretty way to use a pumpkin as decor, don’t you think?

What are your favorite ways to decorate for fall?

9.13.2012

{the top knot}

I may be late in this argument, since I know the top knot has been in the blogging world for a while now. And recently, there was this post. This one too. But to be honest, I’ve been wearing my hair in a bun on the top of my head for about ten years now. Does that make me ahead of the trend? Or just lazy?

The Top Knot
1 // 2 // 3 // that’s me…

I asked my husband recently what he thought of my bun. He looked at me strange and said, um, it’s a look? It’s just you.I was probably wearing a top knot when I met him eight years ago. He doesn’t know any different. It’s my thing, proven by the fact that I’ve been recognized by people just because of my bun. I think that’s pretty impressive.

What do you think? Not a fan?

{be back soon}

Sorry friends, I couldn't post last night. I was too busy dealing with this. 


We thought we were picking up an entertainment unit from someone on Craigslist yesterday, so Robert sold our bedroom dresser, bedroom TV stand, and living room desk (we're moving the dresser that our TV is on into the bedroom and replacing it with the entertainment unit). But when we got there, we realized that it would take about five strong guys to move it upstairs (the unit wasn't big, but pure wood, and the guy online failed to mention how heavy it was). Needless to say, we have things in bags and boxes all over the apartment. And last night, I came home to the contents of our bedroom dresser dumped onto our bed. 

Wish us luck finding a unit ASAP. I'll be back to posting tonight!

9.11.2012

{wedding wednesday: why hire a planner}

It recently occurred to me that while I’m a wedding planner, I’ve never actually explained to you why you need a wedding planner. So, here it goes.

Need a Wedding Planner
via

If you’re as obsessed with weddings as I am {doubtful}, you probably have quite a few wedding blogs that you subscribe to and read every day. It’s through these blogs, and other social media like Pinterest, that we’re constantly bombarded with beautiful weddings. But something needs to be said about these weddings: they’re the best of the best. And more likely than not, there was a wedding planner behind it all {minus the one above, since that was an elopement…}.

What I do

Even if a potential client comes to me, knowing that they want a wedding planner, they still ask me what I do. Every wedding planner is different, and it’s really important that you ask your potential planners what sets them apart from others in the field.

I usually tell my clients and potential clients this: that my number one goal for the day is for them to enjoy their wedding, stress free. If I can get through the entire day without having to bother them with anything, I consider it a major success.

My Day Of Planning Package typically starts one month before the wedding, when I schedule a meeting to go over everything {though I include unlimited contact via phone and email from the moment they contract me as their planner}. At this time, we’ll typically have a walkthrough of the venue/venues and talk about their schedule for the day. After this meeting, I’ll put together a preliminary timeline for the day, and send it out to all the vendors so that they can review it and confirm their time, as well as let me know what their expectations for me for the day are.

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, I’ll schedule a few meetings and phone calls with them so that they can tell me their vision and their expectations. My goal is to get to know them as a couple, so that I can make decisions on their behalf when the wedding comes. On the day before the wedding, we have a rehearsal {hopefully}, and then it’s wedding time!

I have a lot of different roles for the wedding day, but I typically like to consider myself the main point of contact for everyone involved. At this point, all of the vendors know who I am, and know that I am the one to come to if any issues arise. I’m also responsible for ensuring that everything is laid out according to the wishes of the couple getting married, and that the day flows smoothly. Other random things I’ve found myself doing in the past {but obviously don’t advertise as included in my package}: assistant bartender, cake cutter, emcee {I now include in my contract that I do not  emcee}, photo booth and/or bathroom attendant, catering staff, and therapist {of course}.

Why you need me {or someone like me}

Not convinced? Would you answer a few questions for me:
  • What would you do if the day before your wedding, you found out there was a 75% chance of rain? Do you have a tent rental company in your vendor contacts?
  • What if your bustle came undone? Would you have safety pins to pin it back up? Do you even know what a bustle is?
  • What about if you got red lipstick on your dress? Hope you have that Tide-to-go handy!
  • What if the florist came with one less boutonniere than you ordered? Would you have the contract with you to remind her how many you needed? Do you have the materials to make a boutonniere on the spot?
  • Do you really want to spend your day putting out place settings, alphabetizing place cards, hanging banners, pointing vendors in the right direction, and keeping people from drinking too much? Do you really want a family member responsible for these things, someone who should be enjoying your wedding day as well?
I have multiple tent rental companies that I’ve worked with. I have an emergency kit that includes not only safety pins and deodorant, but power tools and floral tape, which takes care of that missing boutonniere as well {true story: I’ve had to create a boutonniere from an extra flower on the cake before}. And that last question? Well, those are the things that someone has to do at every wedding, and I promise that you don’t want to be doing it. You should be too busy drinking mimosas and getting beautiful to worry about whether or not each table has the correct number of plates and chairs.

All planners, or all good planners, have a plan B. We know what to do when things don’t go exactly as planned. We know weddings like nobody else, because it’s our job! Florists may know flowers, and photographers may know what the best shots are, but we know it all. We have extensive lists of vendors for you to use, but more than that, we know what works for you. We don’t want to take over your wedding; we want to work with you to make sure that your wedding is just as amazing as you imagine.

So that’s that, really. I could go into more specifics, but I’d like to think that I’ve convinced you already. If not, here are a few other posts from other great sites that might be able to do the job for me:
What do you think? Did I convince you?

{a fall freebie}

I love everything about fall. You know this. So it should come as no surprise that I love decorating for fall as well! I have quite a few things I’ve collected over the years, but this year I wanted to try something different. I wanted to make something. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I’m terrible at almost anything DIY. So instead, I made a pretty quote to put in a frame.

IMG_2014

I found that quote over the weekend, and I absolutely loved it! I knew I wanted to put it out there, to remind me how much I love this season.

I thought you might like to put it up in your own home. You know, if you’re as obsessed with this season as I am.

Delicious Autumn

You can download your own copy (8 x 10) by clicking on the image above.

Happy fall! Again…

9.10.2012

{look at her: shannon from the simply luxurious life}

Last week was my first week with this new series, and it really seems like you all enjoyed it, so I’m excited to keep going with it! I have another amazing blogger for all of you to meet this week for Look At Her, and one of the very first blogs that I found when I started this crazy journey.

Simply Luxurious Life

What do you do for a living? What made you decide to choose that career path? How does it reflect who you are as a person?

Currently, I am high school English teacher, as well as a lifestyle and fashion blogger/writer who founded the blog The Simply Luxurious Life. As far as what determined my career path, it was my passion for writing, reading, fashion and my endless curiosity of how to live a fulfilling life. Both of these jobs allow me an opportunity to continually learn and pass on my knowledge, and ultimately, I believe that it is our responsibility to contribute something positive to society in a way that is alignment with our talents and passions. I feel fortunate to have found both of these occupations.

What made you want to start the Simply Luxurious Life? How do you find inspiration for your posts?

In 2009, I found myself living in a small town for a few years after having moved from a metropolis area, and I wanted to share with others that regardless of where you live, you can always live luxuriously. It doesn't matter how much or little you make, with the tools of living simply, a luxurious life is possible for everyone. And my inspiration for communicating with my readers is available every single day. It's simply a matter of living consciously and paying attention to what's around us every single day - the beauty of season, a magazine article, a newspaper opinion piece, interactions with people I care about, a delicious meal I had for dinner or a glass of wine that impressed me at a wine tasting.

via

Why are you so passionate about sharing tips for "simply luxurious" living?

Even as a young girl, I adored things of beauty, but I also appreciated it the most when there was less of it - meaning less clutter, therefore instilling more appreciation. And even as I progressed through college, and then living on my first paycheck as a teacher in my 20s (which wasn't much), I realized anyone can live luxuriously if they choose to surround themselves with less (which ultimately creates more tranquility), thus freeing ourselves to purchase items or experiences of quality that will last much longer. In the end, the fulfilling life is a life that is lived knowing what we value most, and savoring it after working so long and hard to achieve it. More doesn't necessarily mean better. In fact, after a certain point, it actually decreases the quality of one's life. What increases our fulfillment is determining our purpose, eliminating the unnecessary and enjoying the journey.

via

How do you live out the values you write about on your blog?

Everything I write about on the blog comes from experience. Often, my Monday Motivational posts come from either a lesson I've learned or a question I want to have answered. I am not perfect and continue to make mistakes, but I live each day trying to do better than the day before. As far as living simply luxuriously - I value quality - food, clothing, experiences, relationships, etc -  and prefer less of everything. I may not go out every night, but when I do, I've saved up for a lovely evening and prefer to wear a stylish outfit that I love wearing that took time to purchase as I had to save up for it.

What is one piece of advice you have for those who want to live more intentionally, and with more luxury in their life?

First get to know who you are, what you value and what you're passionate about. Let these three dictate how you will edit your life, so that you can enjoy the luxuries associated with them.

TrademarkHeader

I’ve followed Shannon’s blog for a while now, and I always love reading her tips on how to live simply yet luxuriously. It really isn’t as difficult as it sounds, as long as you’re willing to put in a little time and energy! You should definitely go check out the Simply Luxurious Life. You can also find Shannon on Twitter and Facebook.

9.09.2012

{monday’s mantra}

I’ve been having some issues these days with the idea of being perfect. I thought I’d given up my {detrimental} perfectionist tendencies in college, but they’re definitely coming back at full force now. I was feeling as if I need to be perfect in every area: my home life, my business, my social life. It was getting to be overwhelming, and this weekend I finally realized what exactly I was doing to myself.

And then it occurred to me.

MondaysMantra

My life is amazing, even if it isn’t perfect. I need to stop working toward the goal of perfection, and just focus on making myself happy. Once I accepted that, my weekend got a whole lot better.

What’s your mantra this week?

9.07.2012

{five things}

So now that you all know how much I love fall, and why, be prepared for quite a few fall posts in the next few months. I’m thinking that the next few Fridays might be dedicated to Five Things for fall, and I’m definitely going to be sharing my fall bucket list soon, probably next week. But this week is dedicated to fall and food, two of my very favorite things.

Five Things

1 // Pumpkin bread is always a must for the season, and I will make it multiple times. Definitely trying this version of pumpkin cream cheese bread this year!

2 // What would fall be without apples? And we can’t forget about breakfast, of course!

3 // A few years ago my in laws made the most amazing pumpkin soup to go along with Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been thinking for a while now that I should try it, and this recipe from the Kitchn looks just delicious

4 // One of my very favorite dinners to make during the fall is butternut squash pasta. It’s so simple, yet so yummy. I typically serve it with a salad that has goat cheese and pecans and cranberries on it. Can’t wait to make it for the first time!

5 // I do love caramel apples {especially caramel apple martinis}, and these ones are just adorable!

What are your favorite fall foods?

9.06.2012

{burgundy trench}

So we all know that burgundy is the color this season, so I just had to share this gorgeous coat from J. Crew with all of you.

Obsessed

trench // scarf // boots

For me, pair that with a leopard scarf and leather boots and I’m most definitely for fall. What’s on your fall shopping list?

{a fall story}

IMG_8754
I'm sure you've read a lot of posts already about why people love fall {even though fall doesn't officially start for a few weeks}. For me, and for a lot of people, it starts unofficially the day after Labor Day and goes all the way until the weekend after Thanksgiving. I love this long season, for quite a few reasons, many of which I'm sure you haven't heard before. 

Three years ago, in May, I graduated from college. It was the middle of the recession and you can imagine how difficult it was to find a job. So, I moved back in with my parents. Summer was good. I finally found a job, and I was able to enjoy time with my fiancé and my family. But the last week of August, Robert moved back to school, two hours away, to finish his senior year. 

It was fall, and I didn't have my fiancé with me, I didn't get along with my parents, and I had no friends left at home. I was miserable. 

But then. 

It was fall, and that's when I discovered Taylor Swift, Twilight, and pumpkin spice lattes. These were the things that kept me going.

It was fall, and I became best friends with the sweetest, most creative woman I've ever met. We started our first event planning business, and spent nearly every day together drinking Starbucks, eating McDonalds, and making wedding cakes. 

It was fall, and I got fired from that first job. I spent over a month racking up credit card debt while I desperately tried to find another one. 

It was fall, and I started writing my book. I would stay up all night long, listening to Taylor Swift and Muse and Owl City, my headphones all the way up and drinking red wine while typing away on the computer. 

It was fall, and I finally started to plan my own wedding. 

Most people talk about how they love the short days, cool weather, and warm clothes that come with fall. I love all of these things, but for a different reason. 

I love these things because it reminds of that time, that time when the leaves changed and I changed. I grew up that fall. I grew into the person I am today. This is why I love Taylor Swift so much, and why I have such stress over that still-unfinished book. It's not just a season of the year for me. It was a season of my life, probably the most difficult and most rewarding season of my life. I'll always be grateful for that time. 

I look forward to this time every year now. It's a time for scarves and hot drinks and comfort food. But it's also a time for me to look back and be proud of how far I've come since then. 

And this is why I love fall. 

Joelle Something Charming

9.05.2012

{clay bouquet giveaway}

I just did an Etsy post for Wedding Wednesday this week, and now I have an extra special surprise for all of you! Clay Bouquet Shop is giving away at $25 credit to one lucky reader!

This shop is full of gorgeous clay bouquets (see below for an example) and beautiful brooch bouquets, as well as sparkly headpieces and sashes. It’s shops like these that make me wish I were getting married again so that I could take advantage of these pretty pieces.

Clay Bouquet Giveaway

Clay Bouquet Giveaway Collage

Enter to Win

I’m using Rafflecopter this time for the giveaway, but I’m sure you know how it works. The only mandatory entry is that you “like” Clay Bouquet Shop on Facebook. The rest are all optional, but will get you an extra entry. Good luck!

Please note that The Clay Bouquet Shop’s bouquet orders are full for 2012, so you’ll need to use the credit for a 2013 order. She is available to create your headpiece or sash whenever you need it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

9.04.2012

{wedding wednesday: etsy finds

I’m sure you know that Etsy has a really amazing wedding section already, but I thought I would share some of my favorite Etsy wedding finds this week! I’m constantly amazed at the quality and design that I see on Etsy, especially when it comes to wedding items.

Dresses

1 // 2// 3 // 4

Accessories

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Decor

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Paper

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Do you have any favorite Etsy wedding vendors? Let me know! And I’m really excited because they just announced that they are starting to offer gift cards soon. I know what I want for Christmas…

Link Up

9.03.2012

{look at her: allie from be up & doing}

I’m really excited to announce a brand new feature series for all of you today! I used to do Happy Hour, but decided it was time to start something new.

There’s just something about the women in the blogging community that is so inspirational to me, and I always love reading stories about those working to reach their fullest potential. Some quit their jobs to find a career that is perfect for them, some just talk about living intentionally.

I knew that I wanted to share some of my favorite bloggers with you, those who are making that decision to live for themselves. And I’m starting with someone that I know you’re just going to love!

Look at Her

SONY DSC

Allie

What do you do for a living? What made you choose that career path? How does it reflect who you are as a person?

I am an independent designer and small business owner. I work with amazing companies, organizations and individual people to solve problems through design! I have always been an artist but it wasn't until AFTER college that I fell in love with the idea of solving problems and working with people. What I do, day-to-day, really reflects both my creative and analytical sides. I'm really blessed to be doing this.

You just went freelance full time. When did you know that you wanted to work for yourself full time? Can you tell us a little about what that journey has been like?

Yes! I was able to quit my full-time day job in early August and am now running my own business. It's pretty exhilarating and sometimes I can't believe it really happened. In college, I always thought I needed to work at an agency or firm and climb my way up the ladder of success but as I started working with my own clients…I realized that my goals were shifting. I didn't choose to become my own boss because I don't like being told what to do or working towards others' goals. As a full-time independent designer, that's pretty much all I do! It's easy, as an artist, to get into the mindset that your way is the best way. I love working with my clients and learning about their industry and listening to them (as I would a peer or a boss). 

Cards

What advice do you have for those who want to work for themselves full time (like me)? What qualities do you need to succeed in this way? What qualities do you have that make it so you can work freelance full time?

If your goal is to work independently and freelance full-time, I would advise the following:

  1. Make sure that your personal finances are in order. Adam and I paid off our debt and found a cheap apartment in order to keep monthly costs low (which leads to less pressure on me to bring in an extraordinary amount of cash.)
  2. Love people. If you don't love working with people and taking criticism, then working independently isn't a solution to your issues. You're going to wear many different hats and business development is one of the most important things you'll need to do!
  3. Do good work but, most importantly, make deadlines. I remember one of my college professors saying that if you're an amazing designer, but you never make deadline, you won't get hired. You MUST follow through on your promises and do good work too.
  4. Keep it small. While I was attending WMC Fest (www.wmcfest.com) in Cleveland, Glen Infante of iLTHY said: "Keep quantities low and demand high." While I'm not selling product, the same can be said of any small business. It's really easy to upgrade all of your tools/software, buy the best desk and rent out a studio space but if you can keep those costs low upfront…it will free you up to take on projects that you're exited about.

cards3

How do you deal with the self-consciousness and doubt that come with putting yourself out there like you do? Being creative can be terrifying. Any advice for getting over that fear?

Oh it's incredibly terrifying. I try to keep everything in perspective and remind myself that I still have lots to learn. When I'm working with a client on their project…I don't worry about others' opinions! They're not paying me or involved in our processes. Needless to say, I do try to put a certain amount of work out there for critique because, as a designer, I am a part of a community. I'm learning that if I don't put myself out there and fail…then I'll stay stagnant and who wants that? 

What other dreams and goals do you have for life and for your career? How are you working toward them?

Personally, Adam and I would love to buy a home sometime in the next year but instead of prioritizing that we decided to take a tropical vacation in October and really let my business take off without the pressures of a mortgage. It's still one of our biggest goals but we were okay with being flexible. Professionally, I would love to (someday way in the future) have my own studio to work but also use it as place to give back to Columbus. I dream of using it as a small gallery space, to host small seminars, or open the doors so other independent creatives can co-work! Small goals? Upgrade my iMac and sponsor WMC Fest next summer! 

photo 3

Can you see now why I love Allie so much? As someone who does want to work for herself full time, I think it’s really important that I learn as much as I can from those who’ve gone before me. Following along as she does it is really inspiring as well, and makes me feel that maybe, just maybe, I can do it someday too.

You should definitely go visit Be Up & Doing {she just changed her blog name and design} and get to know this awesome lady. I promise that you’ll be glad you did!

Do you know of someone I should feature for Look At Her? Email me and let me know!