one down, one up

2015-08-28 one down, one up

It’s been a weird week my friends. I left for Portland, OR on Friday evening and got back very early Tuesday morning. I had Tuesday off from work. Wednesday my work team had a summer party on the Jersey Shore in the afternoon. And today we have a big important work event I’ve been helping plan at 4:30pm, so there wasn’t quite as much work as a normal week, but it’s been good. I also can’t believe all the “going back to school” facebook pictures, is it fall already? Don’t get me wrong, fall is my favorite, but I’m not sure where summer went.

one down
You know when you have one too many glasses of wine and then say things out loud that maybe you shouldn’t have? Yeah, welcome to my last night. There’s definitely a bacon, egg, and cheese from a cart in my future today – and some damage control in store for this weekend. Considering this hasn’t happened in a long time I’d say I’m doing pretty okay for a 26-year-old.

one up
Portland. Man, Nina did a kick butt job showing me around that city. We went to at least 8 breweries, I drank at least 8 different kinds of chai, we did some outdoors stuff, we did some downtown stuff, we saw some fireworks, we saw a movie, I bought a $110 bracelet because I decided I deserved it, I slept in a room full of Buddhas, and overall I just had a blast.

How was your week? Is it still feeling like summer in your part of the world or has it started moving towards fall? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

7 things I learned about event planning from PHLBloggers

7 Things I Learned About Blogging from PHLBloggers

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I love event planning. I somehow find a way to involve event planning in every aspect of my daily life. I plan events at work. I plan events after work. I plan events to relax. I plan events to stay busy. It’s everywhere.

For the past year I’ve been running a little meet-up group called PHLBloggers, we now have +40 people on the mailing list (what?!). We’ve been having an event every month since last September and goodness have I learned a lot along the way. Not gonna lie, I had a lot of fun analyzing what I’d learned (and reaffirmed) over the past year, it’s helping me figure out what I want for the future. Event planning and self-reflection, man it doesn’t get any better than that

There will always be people who need to back out last minute.

This is an unfortunate side effect of planning an event. Any event. There will always be people who have to back out last minute. Things come up. Don’t hold it against anyone, life happens.

If something’s not working, drop it.

This year we tried running a blog for PHLBloggers, about three months in we realized it was just too much work for our small group to handle and that’s okay. (The real bummer was that someone had emailed me about a sponsored post the day after we decided to drop it and I needed to stick to my guns.) The purpose of the community right now is for the community to network with other bloggers and to learn more about how to make our blogs bigger and better. Maybe one day PHLBloggers will need a bigger internet presence, but that day isn’t today. If you’ve taken on something too big, take a step back and ask if it’s really moving you towards your goals. If not, drop it. No harm, no foul.

Share the Guest List

Another useful thing is to know who’s going to be showing up at every event beforehand. It’s important for the hostess to know who’s going to be there, but it can also be important for the guests to know who’s going to be there. That’s why I love using invites like Evite, Google Plus, and Facebook because then the guests can see who else is going to attend the event. This is one of the best ways to get people excited about an event because then they have something to look forward to. (Or a reason to decline if they know they’re going to be way out of their comfort zone, but that’s a hostesses worst nightmare, so let’s not think about that.)

Plan an Event with a Purpose

Sometimes social is a purpose, but sometimes it’s not enough of a purpose. Sure, I love to see and catch up with people, but if there’s not a purpose of an event, sometimes I find it harder to say yes. This is why I have made sure that all of the events we have planned with PHLBloggers (with the exception of a few happy hours) have had a purpose. In addition, I usually make sure that all parties that I plan have a theme (even if the theme is just a type of food). It gives people who come a level to connect on even if they don’t know anybody before they arrive. In addition, you feel like you accomplished something when you leave the event.

Know the Group

This applies to both personal and business events. Know if you have a loud or quiet group, know if you have a group who likes to stay on their feet or sit down, know if you have a group that likes to ask questions, and know if you have a group that’s okay talking to people they don’t know. This helps to know who else you can bring into the group and who you might need to coax into the conversation.

Dream Big.

What’s the harm in trying? In the past year of PHLBloggers we have worked with Sarah Moore from Smoorelovin’, Jess Lawlor from Get Gutsy, Sabir Peele from Mens’ Style Pro, Philly PR Girl, Creative Business Taxes & Accounting, SEER Interactive, and DiBruno Brothers – and we have even more big names to come. When I started this group I wrote down that my dream event was one in collaboration with West Elm and we’re going to make it happen in September. Dream big. If you want to plan a big party or big event find people to help, find places to sponsor you, and find a venue that you have something to offer. Anything is possible, but only if you ask. As for my next big personal party plan? It’s really to have a Vocal Jazz reunion party, I just need to figure out where I can find myself a tenor.

Communication is Key.

No matter what kind of event you’re planning, communication is key. Make sure you answer the who, where, when of it all – but also make sure to include what to bring, where to go, and things you might need to do beforehand. Let people know how to contact you – via phone and/or via email and you can make sure everything runs smoothly from the get go.

What are some things you have learned about event planning? I’d love to hear any stories of what went right (or wrong) along the way. Always looking for new tips and tricks to add to the list.

things I’m working on

2015-08-25 things I'm working on

I’ve already started warning people that there’s probably a breakdown coming when I turn 27 this year. It’s not that it’s closer to 30, it’s just that 27 sounds so adult (which as I’m getting older I’m beginning to realize might not actually be a real thing?). If you had asked me when I was in middle school what 27 was going to look like it was going to involve a husband, at least one child, a house in the suburbs, and there was definitely never a question about whether I was going to own a car. What self-respectable 27-year-old doesn’t own a car?

I’ll tell you who. A non-married, no-kids girl who living in Philadelphia, specifically on a street small enough that cars barely fit down. And don’t get me wrong. 27-year-old Chrystina doesn’t wish she was married or had kids, but considering that was the last “plan” I had and I’m not currently heading that direction, it’s probably time to create a new plan.

On my recent trip to Portland I found myself thinking, I wish I was one of those girls who kept flowers in her house. Which, for anybody who knows me might be moderately shocking because I really dislike the smell of flowers. That said, they can’t all smell, right? And I like what flowers stand for in principle, that they brighten up a room without even trying. I’m at least moderately proud of myself that I realized relatively quickly that all I needed to do to become one of “those girls” was to just buy some gosh darn flowers. I’m going to go do that today.

This morning, at 6:34am, I texted Ben “Chances you’re awake and driving to work? Looking for a discussion about the meaning of life on my walk home from the train station.” He was both awake and willing to humor me. When the conversation was over, we had essentially gotten to the point that it doesn’t matter what you do with your day to day as long as you’re happy. (Admittedly, I told him he made that sound way easier than it was.) But in honor of this conversation and all my self-reflection, today we’re going to talk about some things that I’m working on. Sure, I’m working on my photography, defining PHLBloggers, figuring out what to do with my online greeting card shop, and towards a promotion, but sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and figure out what you’re personally working on too, right? That’s the key to happiness. Or something.

What I’m Working On Now

  • Defining what happiness looks like for me. I’ve realized happiness for me usually entails working towards a goal, I just need to figure out what that goal is.
  • Adding color back into my wardrobe. I have spent a lot of time in the past two years weeding things out of my wardrobe that just don’t do it for me. I’ve noticed a lot of black and white clothing and a lack of personal style. It’s about time for both of those things to chance. In the past few weeks I’ve bought some olive green things, a burgundy top, a burnt orange cardigan, and even a hot pink dress. I’ve also been making an effort to try more things on in stores that I normally wouldn’t to see how they look, some wonderful advice courtesy of the lovely Sarah Moore.
  • Adding more fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. It feels good to eat healthy. And keeping produce in the house usually makes it easier to decide what to have for dinner. As for using all the produce I buy in a timely manner so it doesn’t go bad, that’s a “working on” for another day.
  • Creating a more functional living room space. I took out a large piece of furniture that didn’t belong in the room, got rid of a lot of crap, found a coffee table that fit better, and put the door back up on the hinges instead of a curtain (not before it fell on my head once though). Now I need to figure out how to add more seating and possibly some storage for blankets and pillows that are taking up way too much space in my bedroom.
  • Putting my clothes in the hamper when they’re dirty instead of thinking I can get one more wear out of them. My mother’s going to be so proud (or completely embarassed that I admitted this on the internet. Hey, at least I’m honest, right?
  • Keeping my room clean. I am a much happier person when my bedroom is clean. Having a place for everything in it’s place makes me feel like I can conquer the world. Which means that I should probably get the extra computer pieces off my floor from a few months ago.
  • Making an effort. I’ve been trying to dress a little nicer, add the extra touch of jewelry, and fix my hair in the mornings. I’ve noticed that makes me feel better throughout the day, which is cool. That said, in the midst of my getting rid of things that don’t bring me joy I threw out my 9-year old mirror that was impossible to clean and was $6 from Target, so now I can’t see what I look like while I’m getting dressed. I probably need to remedy this soon.

Things I’m Working On Next

  • Finding a better way to display my jewelry. I feel like if I could see it better I would wear it more.
  • Spending less money. June and July were big spending months for me. Mostly due to the fact that I bought a bunch of camera equipment I don’t know how to use yet. I’m going to try to stay on top of this better in the next few weeks so that I’m not stressed out going into the holiday season.
  • Trying new things. I realized on this vacation that there are very few things that I’m set in my ways about. And by very few I mean a grand total of one. I am dead set on the fact that cilantro will make everything worse. That’s it. Everything else is open for discussion. I also need to remind myself that the way to not get stressed out about trying new things is to do research on them first. I feel significantly less nervous about things if I understand what I’m getting myself into.

Random aside that’s moderately related – Please note that I totally made goals for this year that I have completely thrown out the window. Make a pie? Make a sauce? Reread Harry Potter? I’m not sure any of those things are actually going to happen this year. It’s time to reprioritize. That said, I do think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of living out the word “experience” this year and I’m excited to see what comes next.

What are you working on right now?

 

one down, one up

2015-08-20 one down, one up

What a week. I feel like everything and nothing happened all at the same time. Anybody else have weeks like that?

one down
I was bored this week. So, so bored. A few weeks ago my friend Emily told me a story from her RA training. They played a game where there were lots of objects that were supposed to represent residents – most were balls. Some that are bigger, some that are smaller, some that bounced, and so on. Well, there was one ball that when you threw it, it lit up, but when you held it, it stayed unlit. Emily explained to me that this ball was meant to represent the resident that if you don’t keep them engaged, they’re not going to do anything. That’s me. I need more engagement in my life. I’m working on it. It’s amazing how many things you can have to do and still not feel engaged.

one up
My weekend was pretty rocking. Dinner with a friend Friday night at Frankford Hall, and then I borrowed her car for the remainder of the weekend. Blogger meetup at a coffee shop Saturday morning, salted caramel budino popsicles from Verde (associated with Barbuzzo), and then a barbershop wedding (hence, the photo from above – so much singing). Sunday was a Target and Shop Rite run (so much cheaper than Super Fresh, who knew?), a delicious birthday brunch, and a delicious dinner in Delaware with Ben & his parents. Not too shabby.

What’s up with you?