Archive for the ‘life as an event planner’ Category

Sunset Weddings and Late Guests

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

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I was recently informed of a question posted on a well-known wedding forum.  I happen to have nothing against the website at all, except that at least in this specific case, the answer to a Bride’s inquiry regarding the timing of her sunset wedding was completely off-course.  Exhibit A:

Q.

My fiance and I are having an outdoor wedding at sunset. We had planned on a 4:30 p.m. start time, since the sun will go down at 4:45. But several of the wedding professionals we’ve spoken to have told us that the wedding ceremony most likely won’t actually start until 5:00, since many wedding guests are likely to be late. Should we put an earlier start time on the wedding invitations or just begin at the time we specified, whether or not everyone has arrived? We don’t want to say our wedding vows in the dark.

A.

Exchanging outdoor vows at sunset is a great idea. Your wedding professionals are right: More guests than one would like to think do show up late to wedding ceremonies, but there’s a simple solution: as you suggested, your invitations should have an earlier start time — say, half an hour before you actually want the ceremony to begin. If you want things to get going at 4:30 p.m., simply invite your guests for 4:00 — and enjoy that sunset.

Because 98% of the weddings I design, plan and coordinate take place on the beach at sunset, I feel both confident and qualified to answer this question correctly.

First of all, because you are most likely paying for some really gorgeous photos of your ceremony, you want the lighting to be perfect.

Lighting, after all, is everything, right?

If you wait until the sun is ACTUALLY setting to walk down the aisle, your lighting is already nearly gone. Starting your ceremony one to one and a half hours before the actual sunset time will give you the most amazing photos because the sunlight will be perfect.

Most beach ceremonies last somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes, after which the guests usually head to the cocktail hour while the photographer does some fun, casual post-ceremony shots with family, the wedding party and/or just the Bride and Groom.  If you start your wedding at sunset (or even 30 minutes prior, as suggested in the Answer above), you will all be in the dark by the time you’ve said, “I Do”, resulting in dim, dark photos, to say the least!

The second part of this Q & A that is completely errant is the assumption (and acceptance) that your guests will show up late to your wedding and you should, therefore choose the time of your wedding to accommodate their tardiness.  This is absolutely appalling to me, and should be to anyone planning a wedding!  You should set the ceremony start time for whatever time YOU want, not based on how late you anticipate your guests will be!

Again, because the vast majority of our weddings are Destination Weddings, EVERYBODY is on vacation (or as I refer to it, “on Beach Time”).  I am very upfront with my Brides about this but I also let them know that their ceremony WILL start on time.  The reason for this is that not only is that what I am being paid to do, but every single element of the rest of the night is based on the time the ceremony is to start.  You are paying every one of your vendors to perform a service to the best of their ability and have told everyone from the officiant to the musicians, from the caterer to the photographer what time to be ready.  If the ceremony starts late then the reception starts late, which puts every carefully planned and coordinated detail of your event behind schedule as well.

During the rehearsal I emphasize to the family and Bridal Party how important it is that everyone be on time and I am sure to have them on site on Wedding Day early enough to ensure there are no close calls.

Occasionally there will be a late guest or two but their lack of punctuality, whether due to unforeseen circumstances or just plain bad manners, should NOT be what you base YOUR Wedding Day around.

So, are you planning a sunset wedding?  What are your thoughts? And Photographers….I’d LOVE for you to weigh in on this matter too!

photo of Mix Mingle Glow wedding courtesy of Kate Crafton Photography

Gift Closet How-To!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

giftcloset11.jpg A few years ago, weary from running to the store every Saturday morning to find a gift for one of the 750 birthday parties we attend each weekend, I decided it was time for a change.  I decided to create a Gift Closet…one that would be well stocked with just enough hostess, birthday, anniversary, housewarming and teacher gifts to keep me prepared for the next event.

It took a while to get the closet to where I feel ready at a moment’s notice, and it does require a bit of updating, but once it was set up, I didn’t stress over last minute party invitations.  Here are some tips for you to get started on your own:

First, consider your greatest gift-giving needs.  Because I have 3 daughters, children’s birthday parties are a huge part of our lives right now.  At some point the oldest one stopped getting invited to boy parties (ewwww), but the two younger ones still do, so I consider the age and gender of the gifts I anticipate we will need to have on hand.  We currently have some cool Spiderman and Superman items for boys, but we also have art supplies, a couple fun stuffed animals, books, and DVDs, which are all perfect for a boy or a girl.  In the event of a very girly-girl, there are some fun Hello Kitty things, pretty jewelry sets and makeup kits.  For the bigger girls, I have a couple of items that are perfect to have personalized like denim bags and beach towels.  I just call one of the ladies in town who monograms a few days in advance and we are good to go!

Also, I often need” just a little something” for my girlfriends who host dinner or some other gathering, so a smattering of hostess gifts are included.  Bottles of wine and wine stoppers, cute ruffly aprons, sets of coffees and flavored syrups, Mom’s Organizers, scented candles, favorite books and CDs are perfect.

Of course over the years I have also included a few gifts that can be used for a variety of friends like mystery novels, moleskin journals, sports items, grill accessories and frames.

Keep your eye out for sale items, as well as the ever-so-popular Dollar Spot in Target and Michael’s.  And if you live near an IKEA, well….lucky you!  I find I can put several inexpensive items together so that it makes a rather impressive basket of themed goodies.  In the event that I purchase something that needs to be returned but I don’t get around to it (ugh) or have misplaced the receipt (ugh), items have been known to make their way into the Gift Closet that way, too.  Sometimes when I’m traveling I’ll come across something for the Closet (like the time the Four Seasons gave me an extra pair of very cozy slippers to keep).  Sales are the BEST place to look.  Keep your eyes peeled and once you get into the habit of looking, you’ll know a good Gift Closet item as soon as you see it.

Here are a few other inexpensive ideas to get you started:

reusable water bottles

baking/cooking supplies (this is great for children too!  Throw in a cake or brownie mix and it’s a big hit!)

board games

baby items

seasonal items on clearance (holiday, warm/cold weather related things)

gardening kits (seed packs, gloves pretty pots)

notecards, gel pens & stamps

crayons, coloring books & markers

small tool kits

“spa” items (facial masques, pretty polish, foot soaks, bath items)

 perpetual calendars (especially the inspirational/thought/word/joke-a-day kind)

Keep some wrapping paper, tape, ribbon and scissors on a shelf in or near the closet, along with small blank gift cards and you’ll be ready go.  My girls LOVE to “go shopping” in the gift closet and I always feel prepared when we are blessed enough to be invited to celebrate any occasion with  our friends.

Do you have a Gift Closet?  I’d love to know what items you keep on hand and any tips you can share too! 

The Post Heard ‘Round the World

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

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I just feel the need to let my faithful readers know that I have not fallen off the face of the Earth following my last post.  I could never have anticipated the level of response I would receive when I wrote about my Birthday Random Acts of Kindness.  The comments left on the blog are just a teeny-tiny sampling of the phone calls, emails, Tweets, Facebook comments and online links left on various message boards, blogs and forums I have been inundated with.  (I wouldn’t use a word like “inundated” lightly!)  Literally every day something new from someone I don’t know and yet feel spiritually connected to now, sharing their joyfulness as they retell how they were inspired to do something nice (usually more than one time) for a perfect stranger.  Just when I think I can’t shed one more tear…it’s almost too much for one heart to hold.

Sooooo, the “problem” was that most if not all people out in the WWW were linking to my blog website address and not the individual post, so I felt compelled to leave the post up as the most recent for all those link-followers to find easily.  I’m gonna find a way to put a special link up on the sidebar for those who still stop by for a look-see.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming…

How I Celebrated My Birthday (aka 38 Random Acts of Robyn)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

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***Due to the awesome, unexpected response since I originally posted this, I have started  The Birthday ProjectThe website is www.thebdayproject.com and we have started a great community of amazing like-minded people on Facebook too (please jump over to “Like” it and say “HI!”.)  Thanks!***

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago my birthday wish was to complete one Random Act of Kindness for every year of my life thus far, as well as asking friends, readers, Facebook fans and fellow Twitter-ers to each perform one Random Act of Kindness and to let me know about it throughout the day.

I planned out 38 things ahead of time just in case, but really was praying for opportunities to present themselves throughout the day. It was absolutely freezing and windy but we were not to be deterred!  My husband, three daughters and my husband’s parents joined me in the most favorite birthday of my life!

OUR 38 ACTS:

1.  Returned grocery carts back inside the store from the parking lot for shoppers.

raok1.jpg 2.  Loaded bags of groceries into cars for shoppers (received a hug from one adorable elderly man).

raok2.jpg 3.  Handed bottled waters out the car window to joggers/walkers/bicyclists we passed by (felt like we were support for the Iron Man triathalon or something…lots of laughs from people on this one).

4.  Inconspicuously dropped coins on the playground for children to find while they played (my girls are really good at this apparently.  No, no one choked on a random found penny.  Yes, LOTS of squeals of delight floated through the air as we walked away!)

5.  Fed parking meters.

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6.  Paid for the  next two cars behind us on the toll bridge. (Toll operator said, “You gotta be kidding me”).

7.  Handed out Tootsie Pops to children (asked parents permission first of course!).

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8.  Bought a gift card for groceries and turned around  and handed it to woman in line behind me.  I wasn’t prepared for the look on her face.  I immediately left before I started to cry.

9.  Walked up to a family eating lunch at a local restaurant, placed a gift card on their table and walked out.

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10.  Dropped off several hand written thank you notes and doughnuts at the police station.

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11.  Gave a dozen hot doughnuts to a very cold crew working on the power lines.

raok7.jpg 12.  Took  a large bag of clothes to the local homeless shelter.

13.  Left 3 gift cards with notes hidden amongst books at Barnes & Noble.

14.  Paid for the woman’s coffee behind us in line at Starbucks.

15. Chased down and caught runaway Happy Birthday balloon and returned it to the owner’s unlocked car (then secretly watched as he returned and was completely baffled at the balloon sitting in his front seat!)

16.  Tucked happy notes in car doors in parking lot wishing people a good day full of God’s blessings.

raok8.jpg 17.  Handed out mylar balloons to children shopping with their parents.

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18.  Took art supplies to the Family Waiting Room of labor & delivery floor of the hospital for new big brothers and sisters to be.

19.  Dropped off stuffed animals on the children’s floor of the hospital.

raok10.jpg 20.  Delivered balloons to hospital patients.

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21.  Handed out water bottles to very appreciative nurses (who knew they were so thirsty?).

22.  Taped change to vending machines (I actually saw passersby stop and take pictures of the machines without taking the money).

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23.  Pumped woman’s gasoline so she didn’t have to get out of her car in the cold.  (We also added a bottle of some sort of additive since she asked. I should find out what that stuff was.  I never add stuff to my gas tank.)

24.  Left quarters at a laundromat.

25.  Delivered handwritten Valentine cards to the local assisted living facility.

raok13.jpg 26.  Phone card to young woman in need. (I asked the owner of a store I frequent if he knew of any customers who might need it and he got a big smile on his face.  He looked at the girl working there and told me she had just confided in him yesterday that she couldn’t afford her minutes on her cell phone to call her family back home.  It was a suuuper cool moment.)

27.  Handed out hot chocolate at ice skating rink.

raok15.jpg 28.  Left free Krispy Kreme doughnut coupons on coffee table at church.

29.  Gave coffee to a toll booth worker on our way home.  (He seemed the least affected or appreciative of the day.  I feel like he might have needed it the most of everyone.)

30.  Walked into McDonald’s and asked the cashier to use my free coupon on next person in drive through line.

31.   Wrote a letter to old friend and mailed it (yeah, the total old fashioned way).

32.  Took plates of cookies to 2 neighbors I don’t really know and spent some time talking with them (no, I did not bake them myself but no one seemed to care).

33.   Read a story to children in Barnes & Noble (I think people thought I worked there!  The kids liked it and the parents loved it!).  BONUS:  My 8 year old daughter found a little guy and read him a book too.

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34.  Took pictures of two tourists in front of Hard Rock Cafe and a family in the park.

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35.  Brought in the neighbor’s garbage can for them.

36.  Gathered a newspaper that a woman who’s hands were full dropped at the grocery store.

37.  Left a small treat with a note of thanks for the mailman.

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38.  Read an entire Junie B. Jones book (all 9 chapters) to my children before bed, instead of the usual two chapters.  (Happy girls indeed!)

**************************************************************************

I was overwhelmed by the number of texts, emails, Facebook messages and Tweets I received from family, friends, colleagues and people I don’t even know, telling me a Random Act of Kindness they did in honor of my birthday.  I cried several times throughout the day from how touched I was.  Here are the great RAOK other’s did:

Jeanette:  I am so glad to hear that you had an amazing birthday!  My ROAK – My assistant teacher was having a rough week so I baked her a box of her favorite cookies… Snickerdoodles!!

Heidi: we collected old towels, washcloths and newspapers and am donating them to the local animal shelter!

Debbie: Just paid for the order for the car behind me at the drive thru lane….

Kimberly: Happy Bday! We just taught an older lady how to use the automated postal machine from start to finish ;o) (everyone deserves to learn how to avoid the postal line!!!)

Will
:  Called a new colleague to tell her a press release had a major typo on it before it went any further! Handled it graciously and with understanding that we all make mistakes.

Becky:  Happy Birthday Robyn! I let someone use my discount card at the grocery store since they didn’t have one…not major, but I thought of you and smiled! Hope you get all of your Random Acts of Kindness fulfilled! Enjoy your day! Xoxo

Deanne
: I didn’t kick the %$#* out of someone who drove me crazy tonite~~~ does that count?

Sandi
:  I collected something from Freecycle (electric Hannukah menorah) that I donated to an Adult Living Facility. I know that they prefer electric over real candles. Does that count towards your 38? I love your post!

Heidi
:  In honor of your birthday i cleaned out our closets and have donated 7 garbage bags of clothing to haiti!! (this was on my radar and i needed a little incentive, thank you!) happy birthday sweet friend!

Traci: We bought a box full of medical supplies, food, etc to donate to Haiti. O. was thrilled to help me pick out band-aids, gauze pads, tape, etc. Love you friend…hope you had the best birthday ever!! XOXO ♥

Mara: Happy Birthday Robyn!  A. and I are making valentine cards to send to the military troops today! Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Shandra: My random act was that I just paid for the bridge tolls of strangers behind me in line coming back from Logan airport. :) Also gave the toll taker a coffee from Dunkin Donuts. It’s WICKED cold here today. :)

Stacy: This pay it forward thing is an amazing idea. Wow. I am going to have to do this on my next bday. You have inspired me!!! Giving away free food randomlly to people at our (pizza) place today in your honor…probably shouldn’t say where, huh? xoxo

Lara
:  Today we spent the morning at the school doing yardwork and then came home and cleaned out closet/garage and donated everything to The Bargin Box!!!

Cameron
: I let a mother with two squirmy kiddos ahead of me in line, even though she had way too much stuff :)

Lynn:  Does it count if the lady next to us in “Avatar” was crying her head off and I gave her some tissues? She was most grateful…:)

Nicolle: My RAOK in honor of your Birthday…but, before I share, I have to say that you have started a tradition…and I, too, will use this request on my Birthday in August! I just LOVE this, Robyn…it is right up my alley and has filled me up today with good cheer and warm vibes and in turn has brightened the worlds of complete strangers~ matter-of-fact, I had such fun doing so, that I did it twice today! Ok, ready?
RAOK #1: Walked up to an elderly man in the mall today and simply smiled, asked if I could bless him and was surprised to find how open he was to the occassion…rested my hand on his shoulder, said a silent prayer, smiled and told him he was a special addition to this world of ours~ he, in turn, had tears and a smirk all in one. My heart was fulfilled~
RAOK #2: On the way home, stopped in 7-11, a little girl was glaring at the big cookies…asked her Mommy if I could, she said yes, so we (D. delivered) bought her a BIG GIANORMOUS cookie and some milk to go with it….D.’s little heart was fulfilled and his cheeks were rosy~
Thank you, Robyn!!! YOU, my friend, have made MY day! I adore you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY all over again!!! xoxo

Lara:  My raok today, I bought coffee for the man behind me at Starbucks today!! And I just read that you did the same thing! How fun!

Amy:  Bought tea for the lady behind me in line at the coffee shop declaring “it’s Robyn’s RAOK day.” Granted she has no idea what that means but my new friend, Betsy, declared that I must be the nicest person in the whole city. : ) I do stuff like this at the Holidays all the time. Thanks for the reminder to keep it going all year long. Love to you! (And I’m totally stealing this for my 38th in 2 weeks!)

Alexandra
:  In your honor, spent 2 hrs counseling a past acquaintance in his new walk with the Lord. Happy Birthday….

Claire: Hey Robyn- RAOK took $40.00 worth of quarters into Magic Kastle Laundromat and asked the lady behind the counter to pass out to all customers for a day of free laundry. Guess great minds think alike!

Diana:  WOW ROBYN! I have never been so excited to have my Bday! You have inspired our whole day! My husband got involved we cleaned my 96 yr old great grandmothers house then went grocery shopping for my cousin who is currently unemployed! My acts werent randon but they were kind! Thank so much for a wonderful day!HaPpY BiRtHdAy my friend!

Michelle
: had to call a maintenance guy out to my place yesterday (friend of a friend) – his 7yr old daughter was tagging along with him everywhere on Sat – when I realized I didn’t have any goodies for her, I stepped out & bought some Little Debbie Zebra Cakes & her very own bottle of milk – when I brought them back they were both blushing & smiling when they received them – the whole time I was thinking about your day! Thanks Robyn. B-)

Laura: RAOK We boxed our pizza up and handed it to two guys on the street in NYC. They were so excited.

Corinne
: I pushed wayward grocery carts up to the front of the store so the bag guys/gals didn’t have to.  :)

Carlos:  RAOK – A boy came to the house selling chocolate bars so that he could earn money for him and his baseball team to go to Cooperstown. When I paid him, instead of picking out the bars I wanted, I told him to take what he wanted for himself. His face lit up! Not the biggest deal, but it was nice for him. And plus, it was for baseball!

Lynn:  While visiting the freezing cold restroom at the Outlet Mall, I realized that the lady cleaning the area must really need lunch and a hot cup of coffee. Her sweet face and shocked response when I handed her the cash REALLY made my day! Thanks for inspiring us, Robyn!

Sean:  After purchasing our tickets at the theatre, we purchased the next in line’s tix too! The Mom and her two teenagers were completely floored. “WHAT??? WHY????” then…”thank you so much, thank you!!!” We were giddy with having made their day and saved them a buck or two!

Joanna
:  Our random act of kindness on Saturday in honor of your birthday… At R.’s cheerleading competition we met a girl from Pensacola who was competing as an individual. Her coach, her family and her friends weren’t able to go to the competition, so she didn’t have anyone to cheer her on. We all yelled our lungs out for her. She placed 1st in her division :) Happy Birthday Miss Robyn!

Kylene: Inspired by your RAOK so I paid for the ladies’ coffee behind me at Starbucks this morning. She seemed excited. :)

Julie: In honor of your bday I treated the stranger behind me @ Starbucks to their morning coffee. Thanks for the inspiration!

Amy
:  Just bought gift card for lady behind me @DSW shoes. :)
Lindsay: not that creative but I paid for a girls cookie at the great cookie co at the mall:)

Amanda
: RAOK – paid for the person’s meal in the car behind us.

Michelle:  Hi Robyn – hope ur having a great wkend!  Reached out 2 a troubled teen 2day-thx 4 the inspriration

Kate:  I paid for the next two people behind me at the coffee shop this morning in honor of your bday.

Elisha:  I’m organizing an event with friends to help raise money for a friend that has lost 5 members of her family in Haiti and is trying to get money together to send to other family members who are in need of a tents that are ranging in price from $500 -$700 each.

Kylene: Me & my hubby took pictures for 6 different groups of people at Millenium Park in Chicago yesterday. We’re both photogs. ;)

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CELEBRATED WITH ME.  With the exception of my wedding day and the days I gave birth to my children, my 38th birthday was by far the best day of my life.  We were both exhilarated and exhausted but mostly reminded how opportunities to help others are all around us all the time; we’re just usually too busy to notice.  And thank you again, Kimberly, for the inspiration.  You, my dear, are the original Rockstar!

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Real Wedding: Tiffany & Alan

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

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Tiffany is ridiculous: RIDICULOUSLY sweet and unassuming, RIDICULOUSLY gorgeous, RIDICULOUSLY kind (she’s an ER pediatric nurse).  People adore this girl.

Alan is painful:  PAINFULLY gracious, PAINFULLY hard working (he’s a successful entrepreneur), PAINFULLY in love.  Everyone loves him.

Seriously, a Match Made in Heaven.

I had so much fun planning this wedding with Tiffany.  She was open to all my ideas and knew just what she wanted.    Tiffany and Alan decided to have their ceremony overlooking the Bay side of Sandestin with lots of traditional roses in shades of pink and touches of tropical green cymbidium orchids.  It was the perfect complement to their Kentucky roots and their Florida beach nuptials.

After the ceremony, we arranged for a shuttle to take the wedding party over to the beach where Candice K captured some of my all time favorite shots while the guests enjoyed an amazing outdoor cocktail hour.  The salmon colored bridesmaid dresses from JCrew looked spectacular on the beach right before sunset!

Some sweet personal touches included the Bride’s brother officiating the wedding and her sorority sisters gathering around the Bride and Groom during the reception, hand in hand, serenading the happy couple.

I’ll let Candice’s gorgeous photography tell the rest of the story, but since everyone loves to hear the behind the scenes stories, here are a few reasons we were glad Tiffany had a Wedding Planner!:

~ The Bride and Bridesmaids were enjoying a lovely pre-ceremony photoshoot outside of the Bride’s vacation rental, when we discovered the Groom and Groomsmen were going to be driving right by on their way to the ceremony.  A quick phone call to the Best Man’s cell kept us up to date on their location so I could quickly grab the bride and hide her behind a bush as the guys drove by, completely oblivious!

~ The wind picked up before the ceremony, causing concern for the rose petal aisle that was planned.  Not to be deterred, our rockstar floral team whipped out a can of spray adhesive and those petals didn’t move one bit!

~ The assistant to the pastry chef inadvertently placed the cake on his standard cake plate and delivered it during the ceremony.  During cocktail hour, before the guests had come into the reception, I realized the oversight.  I don’t even want to know how, but he was able, in less than 2 minutes, transfer the cake, completely unscathed, to the cake plate the Bride’s mother had dropped off to the kitchen earlier in the week before anyone was the wiser.

~The adorable flower girl, although prepped and rehearsed, caught a case of stage fright at the very last second.  Without hesitation, we calmly instructed the rest of the Bridal Party to casually walk right past her and continue the processional without any incident or commotion.   Amazingly, Miss Flower Girl stood perfectly still and let everyone pass her, and then calmly walked to her mother and sat down.

LESSON:  Nothing is perfect and things WILL happen, but your Wedding Planner will save the day!

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My 10 Favorite Things #5 – Last Day to Enter!!

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

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Gift wrapping can be a tedious job and unless you have a lot of time on your hands, creativity can start to feel stifled with the run-of-the-mill essentials.  Enter DECORATIVE TAPE to spice up the boring routine of wrap, ribbons and bows!  Available in countless colors and patterns, this fun addition to your gift wrap (and craft) collection makes it fun to wrap again!  Simplify by keeping a few solid colored rolls of gift wrap and several of these tapes on hand and you’ll be able to create a myriad of pretty packages! DECORATIVE TAPE is definitely one of My Favorite Things (Check out your local craft stores or visit Fancy That or Happy Tape online to order your own.) 

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Remember on the first day of the My Favorite Things posts when I featured the invitations and mentioned everyone was asked to bring a gift for a specified child in their WALLET-SIZED REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG

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When guests arrived, they dropped off their item in the Gift Wrapping Room.  This room was where they could not only pick up their complimentary SCOTCH POP-UP TAPE DISPENSERS and DECORATIVE TAPE, but also receive some fun, clever gift wrapping tips and wrap the item they donated. 

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Boxes, cutters, wrapping paper, tissue were all available, as well as unexpected items like colored labels, funky mohair yarns, tiny ornaments and glittery pipe cleaners.  Guests could also experiment with the DECORATIVE TAPE and their new POP-UP TAPE DISPENSERS (with plenty of refills on hand).  Some of those ladies showed off some mad wrapping skills, I tell ya!

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The end result was a room filled with wrapped gifts to be donated to local families at a domestic abuse shelter.  I felt like The Big Guy himself delivering all those giant bags of toys and clothes! 

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OK, now TONIGHT at MINDNIGHT, I will randomly draw a winner to receive all Ten Favorite Things (we still have four more good ones to cover here on the blog!) so don’t forget to click HERE to read about my first Favorite Thing and scroll down to the bottom of that post to leave a comment .  Don’t miss your chance…it’s a very fun prize!  In response to the emails, yes, if you attended the My Favorite Things event you are still eligible to win another bag for yourself or a friend…what a fun hostess gift THAT would be!!

Come back tomorrow to find out who won and to see My #4 Favorite Thing from this great party!

My Favorite Things in Ten Days PLUS a GIVEAWAY!

Monday, December 14th, 2009

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Just coming off of my annual Christmas Holiday Party planning buzz.  This year’s theme was My Favorite Things and what a fun time we had planning it!  Guests received my first Favorite Thing as part of their invitation (more on that in a minute).  The event featured nine other Favorite Things from the practical to the delicious, as well as Favorite Food, Beverage, Decor, Favor and Entertaining ideas. 

Readers of this blog know how important the invitation to any event is to me.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just eye-catching, novel, fun,or different but most importantly, memorable!  The invitations to the My Favorite Things event was Target’s wallet sized, foldable REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG.  I love reusable bags (“Ecofriendly, meet Chic.”  “How do you do?”) but I have a bad habit of forgetting to bring them into the store until I’m at the checkout counter!  BLERG!  Well, blerg no more my friends!  Target offers this adorable bag that folds up to the size of a wallet so you can keep it in your purse!  LOVE IT!  The design is super cute and not overtly commercialized. 

P.S.  It costs a dollar. 

Yep.

So we tucked these happy little totes into envelopes with the invitations:

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We “adopted” several children from a domestic violence situation for the party and divided them up amongst the guests and then asked everyone to bring their bag to the party filled with a gift for their assigned child.  You should have SEEN all the gifts (more on that later this week!).  One of My Favorite Things Ideas is ENTERTAINING THAT GIVES BACK.

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NOW ONTO THE GOOD STUFF —->  Would you like to win a bag filled with all ten of My Favorite Things?  You would???  Perfect, because I saved one for ONE *LUCKY* READER.  Leave a comment telling me one of YOUR favorite things, and I’ll randomly draw a winner on Saturday, December 18 at midnight.  The gift will be shipped the next morning.  GOOD LUCK AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

Stay tuned for the next nine Favorite Things