The Basics of Event Planning

At some point in our lives, event planning becomes a necessary skill and unless you are planning to outsource it – you will need to throw one for something! A child’s birthday party, dad’s retirement party, fundraiser for your local school, New Years Eve party… The list goes on. Here are some key steps to start planning your event:

What do you want to accomplish with your event? Are you throwing a fundraiser? Are you celebrating something/someone? i.e. Wedding, Baby Shower, Retirement. Is this event just for fun? Perhaps a holiday party or theme party.

Who is your ideal guest? The importance of knowing your audience. I can’t imagine a situation where this advice isn’t applicable. If you want someone to attend, what would that person appreciate?  This will effect 90% of your decisions. If your attendees all prefer to drive, does your venue have parking? If they are the kind of people who go to bed at 10 on the weekdays, maybe a weekend event is more preferable. Can they afford to attend your event (if you are planning to charge)? Is it a family event? Weekends during the day may get you more attendees. The more your event can accommodate your ideal guest, the higher your attendance rate will be. Are your guests the type of people who go away on holiday weekends? Maybe a Labor Day Weekend event isn’t in the cards for you.

What can you spend? Establishing a budget. At the end of the day, what you can afford gives you the final say on everything. It determines how many invitations you can send, the venue, any activities you have, food and beverage, and decor. What can you realistically spend to pull this off. Based on your audience you can determine things you can skimp on and things that should definitely be included.

After you have these three questions answered you can worry about the details. How do you want the invitations to look? What kind of centerpieces are you interested in? What favors you give out? Theme, decor, dress code, etc.

Suggestions? Questions? Comments? Leave Below

Two Weeks A Mommy

Hello Everyone,

On July 27th, I gave birth to the love of my life, Halley Rose. Nothing I have learned over the past 25 years could ever prepare me for how much I love and adore her. All I know is that every day I count my blessings that she is happy and healthy – and I pray that I will be able to keep her that way from here on out.

As the first of my core group of friends to have a baby, I had a lot to learn on my own. The last time I really dealt with a baby was when my sister was born 20 years ago and I was 5. So here is some advice from someone just starting out as a mom.

  1. As a pre-labor prep option, it definitely helps to have pre-made meals in the house. Baked ziti, any kind of casserole, etc. I really didn’t have the energy to do this but if you do or know someone who will make some stuff for you – that’s great and it will make your life easier pp. I personally barely had any energy to even think about food so we ended up ordering in a lot.
  2. Labor is scary and painful. Hopefully this is not true for you but it definitely was for me. I had planned not to get the epidural and let’s just say – anyone who chooses not to get the epidural should be immediately wheeled to the psych ward. JK! More power to you but it did not work for me. Be open to changing your birth plan if you need to. At the end of the day, your babies health matters more than anything.
  3. There is a recovery period after labor. I assumed that I would be up and running the next day because I gave birth vaginally – not true. I felt like I was hit by a truck and I learned that for some things, it is worth it to get hit by a truck. Not to mention that you can have some postpartum infections, so if you have a fever/chills go in to your doctor and get that taken care of stat. Unfortunately, I fell into this category. Taking care of you is very important during this time. Your baby needs you so make sure you try to take care of yourself as well. BTW: You can’t have sex or go swimming for 6 weeks – I literally had no clue about this so I was disappointed about no swimming for the rest of the summer, I had an idea about the no sex thing but I didn’t think it was for a whole 6 weeks. #lame. 
  4. You decide when it’s best to bring your baby out. When you get home, half of the people in your lives will expect you to stay in your house for 4 weeks and not come out, the other half will be trying to come over / call / talk to you all the time. Find your balance and don’t worry about everyone else. Everyone will eventually get to see your bundle of joy and if you wanna take the baby out 2 days post delivery – go ahead. I wouldn’t bring them anywhere there would be a lot of children (germs/colds) but do you.
  5. YOU WILL BE JUDGED. Everyone will try to give you their 2 cents. Take it and then decide later what you want to do with it. Don’t let other people’s remarks bother you because you are doing what you think is best for your child. Everyone has an opinion on parenting and there is no perfect, right course. As long as you are thinking about your babies best interest, you will be fine. Haters gonna hate.
  6. Breastfeeding is almost impossible for the first five days. If you want to breastfeed (from the breast – not pumping) you are going to have to diligently work at it. The baby will be crying and starving and you will be crying with breast milk leaking all over the place but I swear that in a few days everything will come together. It’s very trying to get through that initial period and postpartum emotions are not helpful but it’s a dance. They are learning and you are learning. The more you work at it, the better you both will get.
  7. Postpartum emotions are insane. As a husband/wife/fiance/boy or girlfriend/sig. other if  you think PMSing is bad, postpartum emotions are 1000x more intense. I do not easily give into my emotions in general but I was hysterically crying just looking at the beautiful/perfect/amazing baby we made. Just let things flow and you will be fine. These should start to get less and less intense over the next couple of weeks and supposedly by 3 weeks pp you are back to normal hormonally. If you are feeling depressed, definitely let someone know as pp depression is not something to make light of.
  8. It’s important to have your partner around or a significant person who will be in the babies life. We were lucky that B was able to take off for two weeks to be around to help. I honestly don’t think I would have survived without him around. It really made things better and I think it’s great that they are already off to starting a wonderful father/daughter relationship.
  9. Be prepared to do laundry. Something that is always suggested when attending a baby shower or buying baby gifts is “don’t buy newborn clothing, parents always get too much and they barely wear them before they are the next size”. Expecting an 8 lb baby myself, I was happy that we only received a few outfits in NB. Halley was born about 6 lbs so we really ended up needing some of those outfits and everything I put her in for one reason or another managed to get poo, pee, or spit up on. Don’t buy more clothes, just do the laundry. Save the $$$ for something you really need.
  10. Enjoy these moments. Don’t stress to much, your baby can feel it. Your baby will never be this tiny again. Take a million pictures, have a million snuggles and really cherish every moment you have with him/her. It will go by so fast. Just like these past two weeks did.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Leave below.

Why You Can’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

For me, it’s hard to imagine working a job where I don’t get out until 10 or 11 pm every night. A job where I can’t make weekend plans because I never know if something is going to drop and I am going to have to be on hand to pick up the pieces. Where making plans with my friends and family is something that can’t happen on a regular basis and my only social communications involve a phone or the internet.

I also can’t imagine a life where every day is mine by choice and I have no responsibilities (regardless of whether or not I am making income). A life where I could party all day and all night. or sleep all day. Or sit around and wait for a phone call.

I can tell you one thing though, if you fall into either of those categories there are some unnecessary challenges that will come with the territory. You can’t get all of your fulfillment/satisfaction out of one thing. Because, if that one thing should ever disappoint, it will be much harder to deal with it. If you spend all your time, kicking your ass at work and no time enjoying yourself, there will be times when you are overlooked or didn’t get a promotion that you wanted. If you don’t have the social life or outside activities to focus some time and energy on, this can be seriously depressing and damaging to your mental health. Likewise, if you are only looking for social fulfillment – you will eventually be left out of the conversation when your friends have work the next day or talk about moving up a corporate ladder or how their business is doing.

It’s important to spread your eggs out. You should have meaningful relationships and you should have a career or volunteer activity that you can also throw your efforts into. No matter what, you should be working towards something whether it’s creating content or art, etc or managing and making a household more efficient or volunteering to be part of a community garden, it’s important to be an active participant in life.

How did you establish your work life balance? Was it difficult? Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Leave below.

Gossip Cop and “Friends” at Work

At work it can sometimes make things seem more bearable to talk about what’s going on in your coworker’s personal lives or personnel issues in the office rather than work or fluff conversations about the weather or what you did this weekend. We have all fallen into this trip whether it was intentional or not. Although, it may seem nice to know everything that’s going on around you: if so and so received a warning or blah blah is having issues with another coworker. It may make you feel good to know that you’re not the only one with issues in this work environment. It may make you feel somewhat empowered to know that you are not in this bad situation.

Whatever feelings it makes you feel, positive or negative know that there is absolutely no benefit to participating in office gossip and more than like, it can get you in trouble. If you know something you are not supposed to and make the mistake of mentioning it to the wrong person, it can make things seriously worse. If you have a connection with an Executive but are working for his/her direct report it may cause them to worry about their position and change their attitude towards you. They may feel threatened or uncomfortable which will trickle down to you. Or they may treat you differently in order to look good to their boss, only to have your coworkers resent you for it.

Any personal relationships you maintain at work can eventually even be a risk and in general, it’s better to not talk about work at work or home at work with your coworker/friend. It is very important to keep things professional in the office because you never know when your “friend” will become your boss or when you will become your friend’s boss. You don’t want to have to fire someone who is your friend, because that will hurt your relationship.

If you start at work with no connections, its best to make sure that throughout your time at this organization/office you keep your friendships to a certain level of closeness. When one of you moves on, you can develop the relationship without all of the added risks.

My advice, keep your lips sealed when the gossip starts and keep a distance from your work friends (until you or they move on of course!). If they are good enough to keep around, they will understand this mentality and it will help you keep things professional in the office. It’s a tough decision to make but ultimately, it’s for the best.

Advice? Questions? Comments? Leave Below.

standing up for yourself

Hello Everyone,

Today is #BossLadyWednesday and initially I struggled about what to post. Yes, I am new to blogging and my editorial calendar is still very much in the works. What I have promised myself is that at minimum I will post my Boss Lady Wednesday posts every week. So as I was sinking about what to write to you on my weekly post about how to be a boss lady, I realized that there was an issue in my professional role that I needed to address recently.

After the issue was mentioned to me – I immediately reacted but it did not express my true sentiments about the situation to the person who brought it up. I got on the train, read my book and on the walk home I realized how much this issue upset me. It served as a reminder to me that even though we have no formal rules against X, because you are one to bend when we ask, we are asking you to limit doing X.

I was pissed. I spoke to B about it and decided that I would write an email – which he attempted to convince me not to do. Then, I spoke to my mother about it. Finally, I sent an email that I would not regret. The response I received lacked heart but addressed that the issue should have never been brought up in the first place, as it was not an issue with our organization.

There was no negative backlash, no dramatic results, just an admission that “hey this should not have been brought up to you when there is no formal policy about it”.

It is hard to stand up for yourself, especially when it means standing up to a supervisor or even a higher entity, but it is so important to address something that makes you uncomfortable, or is inappropriate as long as you handle it in the appropriate manner. If you have an issue with your boss and it’s the first time this has happened, I think it is important for you to talk to them about how you are feeling. If it’s the second time, I would bring it up to them again in an email where you reference that this is the second time the issue has happened. Email trails can help you if anything goes sour one way or the other but we are hoping that this issue is minor. If it comes to this, three strikes and you are out. I find it would be most appropriate to speak to your HR department and if you don’t have one, I imagine that their boss would be the next place to go.

Standing up for yourself is not easy but it will help you appreciate yourself, be appreciated by others, and most importantly keep you happy. Stewing over an issue without addressing it will cause you extra stress and is bad for your overall well being. So if you are reading this and realizing that there is something that you need to take care of, use this as a source of inspiration to make things better in your life. If you have any questions about how to handle a situation, please feel free to comment below or email me.

Thanks for reading!

“You only have one face” & an ode to pregnancy

As I am sure is the case with most of you, sometimes, a statement is made in front of you that resonates. You may not agree with it, you may not act on it but for some reason, you can’t forget it. A while ago, a co-worker made a comment to me about her very serious (and very expensive) skin care routine. In the defense of the expense, she added “you only have one face”. This is true, we have one face and one chance to keep it looking good because at some point age will set in and change things.

At first, I didn’t really think much of the idea of spending a lot of money on taking care of my skin. I love the sun, I love to tan and in general, my skin is pretty sensitive about products I use on it. Therefore, I have spent most of my days refraining from using drug store skin products and wearing little to no makeup unless I had a special event to attend. Sure, I like to wear makeup occasionally but I could never and have never gotten into the habit of wearing make up regularly. I happen to think this is for the better, but I am sure there are others who don’t agree.

About half way through my pregnancy, I was struck with the idea that I need to start taking better care of myself. (Aside from the beginning of remembering to take my vitamins and trying to eat enough vegetables) I realized I needed to start taking care of my skin. The only product I had been using on my body up until this point was Palmer’s Tummy Butter, thanks to the good advice of another friend. Did it stop me from getting stretch marks? Unfortunately, it did not but I definitely feel my skin is in a better place than it would be without my daily tummy lathering.

Moving on, I read an article where Jennifer Aniston mentioned her use of Aveeno as an every day moisture (with 15 spf) and that she had been using it for years. This could be a total crock of crap (as no one knows what her real daily routine is and if she felt like spending money to buy La Mer or some other expensive product, we all know she could) but her argument was enough to get me to spend $15 on this day time face cream.  Long story short, I started using Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 on my face every day. The way my face started to feel and look encouraged me to add to my routine a night time cream and this time I looked no further than Aveeno: Positively Radiant Intensive Night Cream.

So Ladies, this accounts for my current skin routine (keep in mind that I am 24 and have combination skin, so this may not work for you) . I have been able to keep this routine for about the last month and I know I will have to add some additional sunscreen with the weather warming up in NY.

This routine has been working for me and I recommend doing something to take care of your skin. If not for you for your loved ones. Skin cancer is no joke and who wants wrinkles anyway?

What routines do you use? Do you have any recommendations for facial sunscreen? Did pregnancy help you come up with a different routine?

Organizing 101: Home and Office

Last week, on Boss Lady Wednesday, I posted about some introductory Management Lessons that I felt were very relevant to the multiple jobs I have held.

This week, I would like to post about some organizational tips/tools that have helped me to manage not only my 9-5 but my home in a much better way. Keep in mind these tips are very simple, but if you had not used them previously, it will make a huge difference in your keeping things together.

  1. Lists! If you want to get anything done, whether it’s chores around the house, grocery shopping, etc. Making a list helps you in one of two ways. Just writing down what you need to do will help you recall it later on – even if the list is unavailable to you. If you leave a list for your husband (or children, I guess) it is easier for them to see what you want rather than having to remember it before you come home. What makes this even more worth your time is making the list as soon as it comes into your head – I need to do blank tomorrow. Write it down and then tomorrow you know you can reference your list to get everything done.
  2. Calendars. I used to be terrible about this but honestly, I will not make any plans or appointments without checking my iCal (on my phone) which is automatically populated with my work calendar. Say goodbye to missing dates with friends or doctor’s appointments. Note: If you do not have a smart phone, using a date planner or mini calendar that is easy to carry around will also work. I personally use my cell phone – and I back it up on my iCloud in case anything happens to it. 
  3. Doodle.com. This website is a great way to schedule events, lunches, dinners, meetings, etc. with a group of friends or clients who have various email clients (i.e. – they are not all on your blank.com exchange server). Doodle allows the host of the event to choose a few dates to meet up and then each person can vote on which day works for them. This tool has really helped to make last minute meetings and dinners work swimmingly.
  4. Filtering your emails. If you only use one email or you use one email for multiple purposes, it makes your life so much more efficient to filter out your emails by a specified category. This way you can check the ones you know you need to look at and save the other emails for another time, if they are not so important for you.
  5. Pinterest. Forget your favorites bar -it’s a thing of the past, pinterest is one of the most incredible websites you can use. Find a recipe online that you want to try? Pin It. Find a decor piece that you like? Pin It. Personally, I even have the Pin It button right on my browser so I can pin any website whenever I want. It’s great for more than just lifestyle/home websites, you can pin anything so reading tips online about how to run your business or a great tool that you can use to make your life more efficient really helps and it’s all in one place and easily accessible with internet access.
  6. For my hoarders/collectors: Keeping your life organized is much easier when you don’t have things you don’t need in the way. My advice is to start looking at things from the point of view – “is this functional? how often do I use it? do I use it at all?” This step is much more complicated than the other 5, but if you can get yourself to a point where you are only keeping this around that are beneficial and removing clutter from your home it is much easier to keep things looking nice.

These tips are designed to help you manage your time and your life. What helps you keep your life organized? Are any of these tips helpful for you? Other questions or comments? Leave below.