• LIVE & LOVE Archive •

Baby Must-Haves: Part 2

North Carolina Wedding Planner - Orangerie EventsPhoto by: Six Foot Photography

Is everyone hungover on love today? I hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with hugs, kisses, flowers, chocolates and everything else lovey dovey you could possibly pack into one day. Coven and I had a successful first V-Day. We went to music class, delivered Duck donuts to Daddy at work and had lunch, took a two hour nap snuggled together, played with a Valentine’s balloon, watched plenty of Mickey and enjoyed bath time. We’ve been working on transitioning from the infant tub to the big boy tub and Coven finally had a splish splash time instead of sitting stone-cold frozen with a terrified facial expression. Today and every day, he’s my favorite funny Valentine.

I promised Part 2 of my baby must-haves and folks, I’m here to deliver. If you missed Part 1, click here and spend a few minutes reading about the Honorable Mentions. If you’re following along like a good boy or girl, then you’ve come to the right place to find out what I insist you invest in when tending to the wee little one.

The five following products are staples for baby care. We use them virtually daily and they have proven to be effective in multiple scenarios. Let’s rock and roll!

1. Baby Brezza Formula Pro
I’m not ashamed to admit I knew while I was pregnant that breast feeding wasn’t going to work for me. It was a personal preference and after researching, I felt completely comfortable with bottle feeding from the start. Some vendor friends recommended investing in the Baby Brezza and boy oh boy am I glad they did. We were fortunate that another close vendor friend purchased it for us off of our registry. The machine heats the water to the perfect temperature and then intends to mix the correct amount of formula for a ready-to-serve bottle. Full disclosure though because you deserve to hear the good and the bad. We had issues with the machine not dispensing the correct amount of formula powder, thus making the bottle to thick or too thin and upsetting Coven’s stomach. We exchanged the machine and still had the same issue. We eventually stopped using the powder dispenser altogether and we now use the machine solely for the perfectly tempered water. Even when using the Baby Brezza at 50% of its ability, it’s been a lifesaver. Especially for middle of the night feedings, which Lord knows Coven adores, because the bottle is ready to go in under a minute. Time is precious at 12am, 2am and 4am so don’t waste it trying to use a bottle warmer.

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2. Nosefrida Fridababy Windi Gas & Colic Relief
I knew the cry. And I knew the only way to provide Coven relief was by using a Windi. His stomach was tight as a clam and he was crying from the uncomfortable gas pains. I reached for the box and to my horror, discovered it was empty. In desperation, I went through Coven’s diaper trash, found a used Windi, cleaned and sanitized it so I could provide relief as quickly as possible. The Windi is a hollow tube that’s inserted into the baby’s bottom to instantly release gas. It often results in a bowel movement. Coven is chronically constipated. We rarely have to change a dirty diaper but rather find ourselves initiating one with a Windi. Even if your baby doesn’t have poopy problems like Coven, the Windi is perfect for relief of occasion gas. Here’s the key piece of information, you can’t easily find them in stores. Target doesn’t carry them. You can find them at Toys-R-Us but they are usually out of stock. You can sometimes buy them at CVS but you’ll pay significantly more. I recommend keeping them in your Amazon cart and stock up by buying multiple boxes at once. After rummaging through the incredibly smelly diaper trash, I can assure you we always have a full supply in-house.

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3. NoseFrida the SnotSucker
Another top notch NoseFrida product is the SnotSucker. Forget those old, out-dated snot bulbs. The SnotSucker is the only nasal aspirator you need. It’s a simple tube that you place against the baby’s nostril. You then use your own sucking power to draw the mucus out of the nose. Before you think I’m revoltingly disgusting, you don’t digest any of the snot. For starters, there’s no way the snot would be able to travel the distance of the tube. But most importantly, there’s a filter in place to prevent it from happening. When Coven was a month old, he caught a cold which caused an incredibly stuffy nose. Multiple times a day we would use the SnotSucker to clear his nasal passages and the results were remarkable. At the onset of any sort of congestion, we immediately break out the SnotSucker and get to work.

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4. Baltic Amber Teething Necklace
I had my doubts about the amber teething necklace despite being told by multiple new moms just how essential it was. As soon as Coven started showing signs of teething, I ordered a baltic amber teething necklace and anklet, even if it was a holistic approach that made me seem like a total hippie. I swear, the thing has magical teething powers. The succinc acid contained naturally on the amber helps to boost the immune-system, reduce drooling and inflammation and provides noticeable soothing and calming effects. I don’t have scientific proof but I can tell you I’m able to distinguish a difference in the level of Coven’s fussiness when he’s wearing it versus when he’s not. I also collect far less drool when he’s wearing his beads. One of the first things we do in the morning is put on his necklace and before bed, we put on his anklet and cover it with a sock to make sure it stays put. (Note: You don’t want to leave the necklace on when baby is sleeping due to the risk of choking.) Since Orajel and teething tablets are no longer deemed safe by pediatricians, the all-natural amber teething necklace is the perfect alternative.

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5. Baby Bum Brush Diaper Ointment Applicator
This was one of those purchases I was certain would be an impulse buy and a waste of money. I was wrong. We use this applicator for every single diaper change. The concept is so simple. Put the ointment on the rubber applicator and use the applicator to put the ointment on the bottom. Your hands stay ointment-free, you can easily wipe clean the applicator and the bottom suctions to a base. This is one of those products you never knew you needed until you did.

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There are definitely a few other products we use on a daily basis (Baby Brezza Bottle Sterilizer, Fisher Price Kick & Play Piano Gym and the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit to name a few) but hopefully this overview will assist as you decide what to add to your registry or purchase for your little one. I’m always looking for suggestions from fellow moms so if you have products you think I need to add to our repertoire, please pass them along. Especially for the 6-12 month range.

Even if you don’t invest in a single thing I’ve suggested, the most important thing to have readily available is love. Unconditional, immeasurable and earth shattering love. That’s really the only thing your baby needs from the moment you scoop him from the crib until you kiss his forehead goodnight. Shower that precious babe with all the love you can possibly give, even when he’s pinching your arm and almost drawing blood during a diaper change, taking his shoe off for the 17th time, sneezing carrot baby food all over your white shirt or throwing a tantrum fit for a toddler. Love.

xoxo, Priscilla
Baby Must-Haves: Part 1

NC Wedding Planner - Raleigh Wedding Planner - Coven Erwin

Photo by: Live View Studios

I was there, too. Resembling a zombie and aimlessly wandering the baby section at Target. The ice in my Starbucks drink had melted and I was pushing around an empty cart and had been for two hours. I had no clue what I was looking for or what I was looking at. Bottles. Bibs. Diapers. Wipes. Formula with non-GMO. Formula with Soy. Formula for sensitivities. A cream for this. A cream for that. A cream to put on top of your cream. With each item I picked up, I felt like I was on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and was using one of my lifelines. Should I “Ask the Audience” by googling the product to find the meaning, rating and purpose? Should I “50:50” it and just eliminate the ones in a certain color or price point? Or maybe I should just pull the old trusty “Phone-a-Friend” and bug one of my girlfriends with another I’m-clueless-about-being-a-mom question.

I scoured every mom blog, Pinterest post and forum I could find to try and figure out exactly what I needed before Coven’s arrival. What were the things that would significantly make a difference to the daily routine? What were the products I would have stored in my Amazon cart at all times for instant delivery? What was something that would actually help to soothe or ease Coven when he was in discomfort?

Maybe you feel the same way or perhaps you have a friend on the verge of motherhood. I’m certainly not an expert but I thought it might be helpful if I shared some items that are staples in the Erwin household when it comes to Coven’s care. These are tried and true and have at times been lifesavers.

For Part 1, let’s address and acknowledge the Honorable Mentions. While these aren’t products you can technically purchase, they may be more valuable than anything found on the shelves.

1. Prayers
Out of everything you think you need to prepare for a baby, nothing is more important than prayers. Not just the goodnight, sleep tight prayers. Constant ones. Ones of gratitude. Ones of guidance. Ones of comfort. Sometimes you may be praying over a sleeping baby and sometimes you’ll be praying for a sleeping baby. You’ll pray to get through another day and you’ll pray for another day. I find myself praying unlike I ever did before. Praying for wisdom and strength to be a gentle and compassionate mother. Praying for his family unit and the childhood I feel he deserves. Praying for his safety. Praying for his health. Praying for his future spouse. I pray he’ll be a sweet and kind boy who grows into an honest and forgiving man. Day in and day out, I survive by the prayers I give.

2. Sleep
You’ll find yourself mourning the loss of sleep. It will become a loving memory. And as the days and nights begin to run together, you’ll become crazier and crankier. I’ll be honest, sleep comes at a price. About $25 – $30 an hour. But I promise, you’ll never regret paying the amount of a monthly mortgage for something free you once took for granted. A few weeks after Coven was born, I knew I wasn’t going to be my best self if I didn’t get one night of uninterrupted sleep. I decided it was time to hire a night doula and it was quite frankly one of the best decisions I made for both Coven and myself. She would come just once or twice a week at 10pm. As soon as she arrived, she headed to the nursery to be with Coven and my job was to turn off the baby monitor and peacefully sleep until 6am the following morning. I would always wake up feeling refreshed and looked forward to Tuesday and Thursday each week because I knew I would be able to sleep without trying to shush, bounce or Jedi mind trick a baby to do the same. The night doula we hired was a recommendation from a friend and was the sweetest, most loving woman. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll gladly pass along her information.

3. Mark Chestnutt
This one certainly won’t work for everyone and honestly probably won’t work for another single person but there is an underlying point. When Coven was about two months old, he became fussy with my dad while I was running an errand. Having raised me under the influence of country music, my dad decided to play some Mark Chestnutt to try and soothe Coven. To his surprise, it worked and Coven instantly stopped crying. When dad told me the story, I was a skeptic. A hardcore one. Until it worked again. And then again. And then became my go-to baby pacifier. I now know every word of every song on the “Tradition Lives” album by Mark Chestnutt. We’ve tried other artists and other genres and nothing stops Coven in his tracks or tears like “Oughta Miss Me By Now” or “I’ll Think of Something.” I highly doubt Mark Chestnutt will work for your baby, but if you do find something that comforts them, no matter how crazy or country, use it.

I assure you Part 2 of this blog will feature legitimate products that can actually be purchased. I’ll leave you with the best advice I’ve received and could possibly give. Every good mom thinks she’s screwing it up. I’m reminding myself of that very thing as we embrace Round 2 of sleep training and I have to listen to thirty minutes of bloodcurdling screams coming from a perfectly healthy baby who thinks he has to have a bottle every three hours at night. Hang in there, mama. You’re not alone.

xoxo, Priscilla
The Blog is Back

Hear ye, hear ye! My stagnant and stale blog has been resurrected. It’s alive again, folks. Thank goodness for autosave and bookmark bars because otherwise I don’t think I would have remembered how to even access the backend of my blog. I think it’s appropriate I only documented one thing from 2016 because 2016 was a big pile of poop. Like a huge, heaping pile that kept accumulating as the months went by. I spent the first half of the year too sick to blog and the second half too hurt. I lived through the expression, “Life can turn on a dime.” It was not my finest year.

I’ve had people send Facebook messages and make comments online asking about how we’re enjoying the home we were building in Wendell.  The answer is we’re not because we’re not living there. In July, we decided not to move forward with the construction and we pressed the pause button on our life. We became that blinking cursor on the screen. It was either hit the delete button and erase everything that had come before or hit the return key and start writing something new. I can tell you with complete certainty that there’s only one reason Chapter 8 of our lives didn’t come to an abrupt “The End” mid-story. Coven.

If I had to relive one day from 2016, I would choose August 1, 2016. I would happily puke, lay in the hospital floor in the fetal position, clinch through painful contractions and push a human being out of my hoo-ha because that entire experience was not only the bright spot from 2016 but was the best day of my life. Oh Coven, you have no idea the depths of my love for you.

So where are we now? We’re in the re-building phase in every sense of the word. We’re re-building our life and adjusting to the addition of the cutest baby boy I’ve ever seen and coping with the subtraction of our favorite furry friend, Scottie. And then we’re literally re-building a 1971 ranch home in Raleigh. We’re currently under contract with an anticipated closing date the beginning of March. I’ve been blowing up my Pinterest boards with renovation ideas and channeling my inner Joanna Gaines.

I am excited to share the renovation journey and document the progress. You can follow along on my personal Instagram page or the hashtag dearjohnsdale. I have accepted that I can’t make and keep many promises anymore because a little chunker demands my undivided time and attention, but I can guarantee I’ll blog more this year than I did last year. There’s no doubt, motherhood has given me material to blog about and has changed absolutely every aspect of my life. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. For right now, we’re going to do some “Jolly Jumper” exercise before the nightly routine kicks in. Talk to you soon, friends.

xoxo, Priscilla
North Carolina Wedding Planner Branding Video

I knew it was time for a new branding video. My life has changed significantly since the last one was filmed. And as with life, it is ever-changing. However, I no longer work out of the office in Wake Forest which means I don’t ride my bike down the middle of Main Street (not that I really did any other time than the day of that shoot), the style of weddings I plan has evolved and I no longer live in the house featured in my last film. I do still wear a fedora, shop at Forever 21 and I still ask Scottie to do spins for treats.

When I started thinking about the meaning I wanted the new branding video to portray, I kept coming back to the fact that I’ve really always known this is what I wanted to do. I really didn’t need to look further than my own memories.

As soon as the idea was conceptualized, everything else came naturally. I sat down to write the script and the words poured out of me because I was speaking from experience.  As a little girl, I would frequently look through my parent’s wedding album and dream about my own wedding. I would dress up my stuffed animals and orchestrate an entire wedding day for them and their fluffy friends. I embarrassingly but specifically remember a night in college acting out a mock wedding with some friends. And no, alcohol wasn’t involved. I just really liked weddings.

And now it’s my every day. I eat, sleep and breathe weddings. I get to work with awesome couples and plan one of the most meaningful days of their lives. I’m a front row spectator to their First Look and the last one to tell them goodnight. I’m able to utilize the detail-oriented side of my brain to make sure the place cards are straight and the favors are all facing the same direction and yet I get to use the creative side of my brain to do something unexpected like suspend a three-tier wedding cake.

When I say I was born to do this job, I mean it. I wouldn’t do it day in and day out if I didn’t love it and if it didn’t evoke an immense amount of joy and satisfaction with each conclusion of another wedding. And while I was in my twenties when I ultimately decided what was my life’s purpose and how to fulfill it, if I look back on my life, the clues were always there and I was destined to be on the path I am on today.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped to pull off this video shoot. I couldn’t have done it without their support. And that little 8-year-old star you see pretending to be me as a child is none other than my cousin’s darling little girl Madi. She did such an amazing job and was the most perfect little actress. If you know her and see her after watching this, please be sure to tell her what a movie star she was in this video. (Cute side note: She texted me on Friday and asked “When will my movie be available for the world to see?”)

I hope as you watch this video created by the masterminds at Heart Stone Films, it stirs a fire in you to go out and do what you love. Don’t chase money. Don’t chase recognition. Don’t chase conformity or complacency. Chase your dreams. Life is too short to not do what you know in your heart you should be doing. So turn up your volume and enjoy a snippet of why I do what I do. I hope you fall in love with this little slice of perfection titled “Wide Eyed Little Girl” as much as I have.

 

Orangerie Events from Heart Stone Films on Vimeo.

Videographer: Heart Stone Films

Venue: The Mims House

Hair: Joanne Maye + Blown Away Raleigh

Make Up: Perfection by Patricia

Cake: Ashley Cakes

Linen: CE Rental

 

xoxo, Priscilla
We’re Hiring

View More: http://almondleafstudios.pass.us/hannah_evan_wedding

Photo by: Almond Leaf Studios

I have been so fortunate over the years to have had many talented individuals join the Orangerie family. It has been bittersweet to see them come and go but I have always been proud to provide them with tools and experience and to then watch them succeed. Even now, I feel grateful to have the team surrounding me that I do and I treasure their loyalty to the business.

With the huge change taking place in my personal life, the time has come to officially bring aboard a part-time team member to help efficiently and effectively run the OE Headquarters as a part-time Wedding Coordinator.  This is an exciting opportunity for someone hoping to gain real-world wedding experience from a variety of platforms.

If you are interested in this position, or if you have a friend that would be interested, please thoroughly read the guidelines below and use the link at the bottom of the post to apply.

I am so excited to grow this team and am looking forward to hearing from you!

Position Requirements

  • High degree of creativity and passion for wedding and event planning
  • Someone who is organized and extremely detail-oriented
  • Someone with strong work ethic who is able to work independently, responsibly and can be trusted to complete tasks timely
  • Someone who can effectively handle and prioritize multiple clients and stay calm under pressure
  • Ability to be resourceful, troubleshoot and think creatively
  • Someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and contribute to the Orangerie family
  • Strong familiarity with Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest
  • Ability to quickly learn new software to manage clients and records
  • Strong writing skills, as contributing to the Orangerie Events Blog regularly will be required
  • Experience planning and orchestrating special events and/or weddings

Important Information

  • This position will be compatible with another part-time or full-time job
  • You will be required to work Saturdays and weekends as well as some evenings for networking events, client meetings and team outings
  • This position will require in-office administrative work but the schedule is flexible
  • You will be required to commit to a specific timeframe in order to accommodate clients who have already  booked weddings through the remainder of 2016
  • Being a wedding planner is not glamorous and requires someone who can handle multiple projects, tasks and brunt work
  • You can expect a surplus of Sun Drop slushes

If you have read the above and feel you are the perfect fit, please apply here.

All applications are due by March 7, 2016 and interviews will take place the following week. We are looking to hire and have the right candidate begin work by the end of March.

 

xoxo, Priscilla
We’re Having a Baby!

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Pregnancy Announcement

Oh baby is right. There’s one growing in my belly. This entire experience has been an unexpected surprise and quite frankly, surreal. Baby Erwin is officially due August 3, 2016. The timing is a blessing considering August is a much slower wedding month for me compared to the craziness of Fall. Our whole little world is about to be shaken up and changed, what I feel, for the better.

If you would have told me a few months ago I would be writing a blog about being pregnant and expecting a baby, I would have suggested you check yourself into a mental facility. Although I started to feel self-induced pressure because I was getting older and felt as if time was running out, I never expected to be pregnant so soon. But as with life, and thankfully so, I don’t always get to make the plans even though I’m a planner. There’s someone else responsible for that and I’ll leave it in his fully capable hands.

Our sweet little peanut is a result of me taking my birth control pills more like candy rather than a regimented means of actually controlling birth. And while not intentionally planned, it only further confirms just how meant to be it is and I actually treasure that even more. I’m sure I would have made countless excuses about it not being the right time had I been in control of the timing.

The pregnancy thus far has not been easy. I would even go as far as to say it has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to experience. It’s involved weeks of little to no food, daily vomiting, doctor and hospital visits for fluids, countless hours spent in bed, multiple emotional breakdowns and throwing up in Moe’s, Target and even a shoe. I was diagnosed around week 6 with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Eventually I’ll blog about HG and offer my tips for anyone experiencing the ruthless effects of the condition, but for now we’ll keep this post focused on the things that have brought joy to my life over the last 15 weeks.

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences like telling our friends during a game night, my parent’s wildly candid and utterly surprised reactions captured on video, my best friend’s and brother’s genuine excitement during an ultrasound, seeing a blob on a screen with an audible heartbeat, tears of joy watching said blob transform into the shape and form of an actual baby over mere weeks and learning that my best friend of 28 years is pregnant at the exact same time as me and realizing we’re able to share this journey together. Those are moments in time I’ll never recapture and I will certainly never forget.

I have felt an outpouring of love and support from family and friends and have been so appreciative of their excitement for our growing baby. We decided (or maybe I decided and forced Chase to agree) to style an announcement shoot and were fortunate enough that Inspired by This decided to feature it on their blog. To see the feature, visit this link.

Now that the secret is out of the bag, we’re onto the task of finding a home for our expanding family. As much as we have enjoyed and valued living a simpler life in a one-bedroom apartment, we’re very skeptical the space will be suitable for adding a fourth member. We’re on the housing hunt and excited about the next chapter.

So before you pick your jaw up from the floor, I do want to send a huge thank you to my clients who allowed me to disappear for two months. I was physically incapable of answering emails or keeping up with work and they graciously gave me the time to rest and recover. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for their trust in me and for giving me the necessary time to focus on not only my health, but the health of Baby E. And now you can resume your shock and awe facial expression. Looking forward to blogging and sharing all of the exciting changes to come! Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

Photography: AJ Dunlap
Venue: The Glass Box
Flowers: Serendipity Designs
Cake: Sugar Euphoria
Calligraphy: Bella Joviality
Make Up: Perfection by Patricia
Hair: Blown Away Raleigh
Dress: Rent the Runway
Nails: Paintbar

P.S. – Although we are having an early gender 4d ultrasound this weekend, the pink included in these pictures do not indicate we’re having a girl. The colors are solely for Valentine’s Day.

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Priscilla Erwin

NC Wedding Planner - Priscilla Erwin - Orangerie Events

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Valentine's Day Styled Shoot

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Baby Erwin

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Raleigh Wedding Planning

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Baby Announcement

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Valentine's Day Shoot

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Baby Announcement Styled Shoot

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Styled Shoot for Valentine's Day

 

xoxo, Priscilla
Crafted Coordination – A Kick Butt Workshop for Wedding Planners

crafted_coordination_logo_web

 

November 21 – 22, 2015
Mims House – Holly Springs, NC

Register Now!

You have two options at this very moment. Option #1 is choosing to be lazy and read the CliffNotes as to what this blog is about. If that sounds up your alley, the next paragraph will give you the highlights and you can stop reading there resting assured you could at least make a “C” on the test. Option #2 is choosing to be a curious little kitten and wanting more than just a summary. You have full permission to be nosey, read the entire blog and get the inside scoop.

I am proud to introduce Crafted Coordination, a kick butt workshop for aspiring wedding planners and budding entrepreneurs in the wedding industry. The first conference will be held on November 21 – 22, 2015 at the Mims House in Holly Springs, North Carolina. The website will be live very soon and registration is already open. It’s really easy. Just click this link, sign up and learn how to ditch that day job and fulfill your dream of becoming a full-time wedding planner. And because I’m sweet as sugar, there’s a special discount for those early birds who register prior to October 5th. In summary, if you are toiling with the idea of becoming a wedding planner, if you are a new and aspiring wedding planner, if you’re someone in a creative field, if you’re wondering about how I started and have maintained a growing wedding planning business, you should sit your tush in one of the available seats at this one-of-a-kind workshop for wedding planners, by a wedding planner.

For those of you who decided to stick around and learn more, welcome. I feel like you deserve to learn a little bit about the motivation behind hosting Crafted Coordination. Starting any small business is tough. Starting a wedding planning business isn’t ridiculously difficult. Making a living by owning a wedding planning business is the tough part. I started Orangerie Events in 2008 with very little support. I closed my eyes and jumped feet first into an industry I knew little about and without a mentor. I had no clue what I was doing or what was in store.

I learned quickly how competitive the wedding industry is and specifically how protective wedding planners are in regards to their businesses. It was a waste of a good email to ask a fellow planner in the market for advice on getting started. To be quite frank, breaking into the industry is a lot like high school. Like changing schools in the middle of the year and becoming the new kid in class. You’re timid. You’re a bit clueless. You’re immediately judged and classified. And you’re very receptive to the divide between the outsiders and the cool kids. Finding where you fit in becomes the first hurdle and often times the first taste of rejection.

I made 3,423 mistakes. I tiptoed around the feelings of other planners in order to not make them feel threatened or betrayed. I listened to the gossip and frequently became the subject of it. I disappointed clients due to growing pains and poor judgement. I lost money. I cried, a lot. I barely escaped getting a divorce. And this past year, I was betrayed and burned by people within my industry and to an extent that made my head spin and question every single decision I had made in starting the business. I let it temporarily drag me down until one day I decided that I wouldn’t continue to succeed in spite of them but I would succeed despite them. And that’s when the little flame of desire to help others ignited into a full fledge inferno.

I don’t want to be like my predecessors. I don’t need to hold my secrets to success hostage. I want to inspire and encourage a new generation of wedding planners that fire each other up in a positive way and not in a “I’m going to burn your business cards” kind of way. I want to be transparent with exactly who I am and not hide behind a deceiving facade I’ve led everyone to believe is the truth through my pretty Instagram pictures and cute quotes. I guarantee this workshop will be open, honest to the core and full of real talk. I’ll discuss what I’m doing, how I do it, how to break into the industry, how much money I make, the tools I use, where my business is going, how I’ve made mistakes and how I built a brand that attracts my ideal clientele.

There will always be cliques within any industry and especially within the wedding world. And if I have to be in a clique, I want it to be a compassionate one full of people boasting community over competition. I receive hundreds of emails each year from girls in college, stay-at-home-moms and people working unfulfilling jobs who want to know how I did it and what they should do. Well now’s your chance for an unfiltered look behind-the-scenes and a rare opportunity to become BFFs with someone who has been where you are and is still swimming after jumping off the deep end.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out via email at hello@craftedcoordination.com. Registration is officially open and stay tuned for the website launch announcement. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to keep up with the latest and greatest happenings! I can’t tell you how excited I am to make a tiny contribution to the uprising of a community of connected and positive planners. Let’s do this! (And yes, Sun Drop slushies for everyone!)

P.S. – If you’re a vendor and would like to participate, please reach out! At the very least, please feel free to share this so it can spread like wildfire!

xoxo, Priscilla
What to Do When You’re in Iceland

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where my extra money goes. There are a few recurring categories.

1. Dining
2. Concerts
3. Forever 21
4. Traveling

That pretty much sums up my free time. And quite frankly, I have zero complaints about it. I’m a sucker for a decadent cheese tray, a front row view of my favorite artist, a new chic outfit and exploring somewhere I’ve never been. I’ve been fortunate to travel to some incredible places over the last few years. This can really be attributed to firstly, selfless and giving in-laws and secondly, Groupon.

Someone recently asked me what sparked a desire to visit Iceland and I jokingly responded, “Groupon.” It’s true. Iceland had never been on my radar as a bucket list destination. But luckily it appealed to Chase’s parental units and discovering an amazingly priced vacation package, they booked a trip.

Most people are hesitant to purchase a Groupon Getaway because they’re fearful of what they’ll really get after investing the money. Well I’m a walking testament that utilizing Groupon to book your vacation is actually a very wise and budget-friendly method. Specifically, using Groupon to book a trip to Iceland is a no-brainer. They frequently post the deal which can sometimes be obtained for as little as $700 per person for both the flight and hotel for the duration of your trip. Don’t like which city the flight leaves from? No problem. You can call and have the airport changed for a very minimal fee.

Just in case you succumb to temptation and decide to take some time to explore beyond your county lines, below are my suggestions for what you should do when you’re in Iceland. I’m not an expert by any means, but I have a passion for placing my feet on foreign soil and I can create one mean travel itinerary in a mere matter of days.

1. Explore Reykjavik
If you purchase a Groupon, your hotel will be assigned for you and will most likely be located within the city center of Reykjavik. For our trip, we stayed at 22 Hill Hotel which was a quick 15-minute walk to the hub of the city. The city itself is quaint, compact and bursting with coffee cafes, shops and restaurants. You’ll definitely want to navigate to Hallgrimskirkja which is the largest church in Iceland. Take in the cinematic experience of the reflective glass on the facade of the Harpa building which is located by the old harbor. Be sure to take advantage of the photo opportunity next to The Sun Voyager. If you’re dedicating a day to walking around the city, you’ll want to make sure you have an umbrella or hooded jacket. The weather in Iceland is bipolar. It goes from sleeting rain to sunshine to blizzard back to sunshine in the course of about four minutes. Given the city is condensed, we never had to take a taxi or public transportation and were easily able to navigate throughout by foot.

Reykjavik Iceland - Travel Tips for Iceland - Orangerie Events

2. Take a Tour of the Golden Circle
When booking day excursions for trips abroad, I commonly use www.viator.com. I have found them to be a highly reliable source for securing adventures, arriving on time and exceeding expectations. I enjoy having an English-speaking tour guide, someone to offer insight and comfortable transportation, which picks you up and drops you off at your hotel. The Golden Circle includes exploration of ancient volcanoes, shooting geysers and breathtaking waterfalls. You’ll visit Thingvellir (the oldest functioning parliament in the world), Geysir and Strokkur hot springs, Skalholt church and Gulfoss waterfall. It’s an easy way to pack in a variety of Icelandic must-sees.

The Golden Circle Tour - Iceland Travel Tips - Orangerie Events

Iceland Travel Tips - Golden Circle Tour - Orangerie Events

Iceland Waterfall - Golden Circle Tour - Orangerie Events

3. Try to Catch the Northern Lights
I went into our trip to Iceland with extremely high expectations for seeing the Northern Lights. I had convinced myself it would happen and that it would be one of those defining moments in my life. Instead, our excursion to see the Northern Lights was cancelled twice because of bad weather and when we were finally able to give it a shot, we rode a motor coach into the wee hours of the morning, chasing them through a snowstorm with no avail. And just because we didn’t have success (Don’t worry. We were frequently reminded at how abnormally bright they were the weekend before we arrived. Insert shoulder shrug.) doesn’t mean that I don’t encourage you to try. I can only imagine how incredible it would be to catch those dancing lights in action. And even if you miss out like we did, at least you’ll enjoy a premium dinner at a gas station and hear some of the most unbelievable (Like they seriously had to be made up.) stories from your Icelandic bus driver.

4. Go Snowmobiling on a Glacier
I have never felt so small in the world as I did when we went snowmobiling on a glacier. It was a spiritual moment for me. Reminding me how incredibly microscopic we are in the grand scheme of things. The ride from camp up to the start of the track in a “Super Jeep” (as they call it) was an adventure in itself because you’re crammed in like sardines, dressed in full thermal gear from head to toe and your head is repeatedly hitting the top of the vehicle. Once on the snowmobile and after a very brief instructional speech, you’re led up the mountain by an instructor in a single file snowmobile line. Reaching the top of the glacier is mesmerizing. You’re surrounded by a sea of white and stillness. Imagine how quiet and peaceful the world is when it snows and then multiply that by a thousand. It’s incredible. It’s also a bit worrisome once a snowstorm begins because you can’t see your hand in front of your face, feel your fingers or let alone drive a snowmobile. My mind started to drift to one of those “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” shows and I may have internally panicked when a few vehicles in front of us ventured off course and we had to wait like sitting ducks for the instructor to come and find us. Nonetheless, do it just so you can experience the range of emotions.

Snowmobiling in Iceland - Orangerie Events - Iceland Travel Tips

Snowmobiling in Icelande - Snowmobiling on Glacier - Orangerie Events

Snowmobiling on a Glacier - Iceland Travel Tips - Orangerie Events

5. Spend a Day at The Blue Lagoon
Let’s say you hate everything I’ve suggested so far. That’s fine. If you do one thing I recommend and one thing only, visit The Blue Lagoon. I have never experienced and I highly doubt I’ll ever experience anything like it. In a nutshell, The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa. An elongated explanation is that it’s a man-made lagoon which is fed by superheated water vented from the ground near a lava flow. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur. Now listen closely and heed my advice. Buy your tickets in advance and buy a premium ticket. Don’t go cheap on this. You won’t want to wait in the ridiculously long line and you will most definitely want the bathrobe that’s included with a premium ticket. After you arrive and check in, you will be given a wristband, which acts as a key for your electronic changing room locker. You can also use your wristband to buy drinks and food while you are in the spa. It works like an in-water credit card in the sense the you just pay for anything you charge to the wristband when you leave. Before entering the lagoon, you’ll be led to a changing room and instructed to shower. They’ll provide you with special conditioner to use on your hair. Do it. Trust me. The lagoon water will cause your hair to become dessert dry and brittle. Once you’re actually in the water, forget about everything else going on in your life or in the world. Enjoy the steam baths and saunas, apply the silica mud mask, redeem your drink credit at the swim-up bar and relax. If I had it to do all over again I would have allocated more time at the Blue Lagoon than just a few hours and I would have indulged in a spa service like an in-water massage. The Blue Lagoon is sensational by mixing cold weather with warm water, blue waves with black mountaintops and relaxation with exploration. A true wonder of the world.

Blue Lagoon Iceland - Iceland Travel Tips - Orangerie Events

There you have it. My five tips for visiting and soaking up Iceland. Now, go forth young adventurers. The world’s waiting on you.

xoxo, Priscilla
Tuesday Tunes – Country Summer Playlist (And other ramblings about soap operas and birth control.)

Country Playlist

My grandmother loved watching soaps. I can remember walking to her house after school, stopping for a Sun Drop slush and a bag of Funyuns, and finding her lounging on the couch with her favorite “stories” on. Ironically, the characters never progressed regardless of how much time lapsed between my visits. Victor was still sleeping with Phyllis who was married to Michael who thought Nikki was his sister but was really his mother and his real sister Abby was still being held captive by Jack who really wanted to be Jackie. Sounds too absurd to be real life, huh? Don’t be so sure about that.

I can remember hearing in the background, “Like sands through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives.” My twelve year old brain couldn’t grasp the concept of that quote but it stuck with me. Even the imagery is burned into my recollection. An hourglass with teeny tiny molecules of sand that steadily drip into a base of memories. Once that grain of sand, representative of a moment or a day, lands into the pile of the ones before, it’s gone. You can’t flip it and start over.

And this is thirty. A staring contest with an hourglass. Watching the shift from the top portion being larger to the bottom portion steadily gaining ground. I’ve had some extremely meaningful conversations lately. They’ve been enlightening and thought-provoking. Some challenging. Some surprising. But the truth is when you’re in the position I’m in and at the age I am, you feel an unspoken amount of pressure. Pressure to make concrete choices. Decisions aren’t as care-free as they once were. They cause consequences and ripples and can put you on a detour or even a dead-end.

Prime example for you. Birth control. It was an easy decision for me when I was 18 and my doctor suggested that a simple pill would cure me of the unbearable cramps. Even an easier decision at 25 when I transitioned from a pill to the IUD. It took no time at all to conclude having a more permanent preventive plan in place to avoid having a child was the best bet for me. I welcomed the pain associated with insertion in order to go five years without ever having to think about birth control. But here we are. Five years later and things are drastically different than my mid-twenties.

Slow your roll. (I’m talking to you Mom.) I’m not confessing I’m ready to have a child. But I’m also not professing I don’t want to anymore. I’m falling right into that stereotypical trap I was warned about all those years. “You’ll change your mind when you get older.” I cringed every time I heard someone use that reply to my statement, “We’re never having kids.” I now know what they were forecasting. I’ve been dragging my feet going to the doctor to have my IUD replaced because quite frankly, I felt the decision held more weight than it once did and I was trying to buy myself time. I just can’t imagine going through the pain of having another IUD inserted when in a year (give or take) it may be time to have it removed (which is more pain) and see what unfolds.

My appointment is on Thursday. I have my pain pills lined up and music for mental distraction. If you’re in need of some tunes to get you through your work day or a wildly uncomfortable doctor’s appointment, I’ve put together my must-play Country Summer Playlist to blast as this season quickly fades into yet another Fall. I warn you. It’s country. Which means there’s twang and talk about riding backroads and beer references. It’s male-heavy (Not really feeling many women country singers right now.) and mostly new songs with a few classics sprinkled in. It also contains every song off of the Old Dominion EP because I’m obsessed. Nonetheless, Keith, Eric, Sam, Billy, Dierks…the gang’s all here! Happy listening!

 

xoxo, Priscilla
SkinnyMint Teatox Review

Raleigh Wedding Planner - Priscilla Erwin

Photo Credit: AJ Dunlap Photography
Shirt, Overalls + Necklace: Madewell | Shoes: Forever 21 | Hair + Make Up: Joanne Maye

While I enjoy the simple pleasures summer totes, I am not a fan of the heat.  My obsession with feeling clean causes me to take at least two and sometimes three showers a day while my aversion to drying my own hair because of the additional heat it produces causes me to frequent the local blow dry bars.  If the sun could just take it down a notch, that would be much appreciated.

And didn’t July just sneak up on us? It feels like yesterday we were selling our home and coming to terms with moving out of 2,000 square feet and into 700. And yet here we are, almost a year into our drastic downsize. I remember rolling my eyes when Chase suggested we would stay in the apartment for more than a year. I now see that as completely doable. We’ve adjusted and honestly, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected. I think Scottie has had the most difficult time because he’s developed the strangest behaviors and has contracted the most bizarre illnesses. Granted he was in much better shape at our last emergency vet appointment than the dog who had been bitten by a snake or the hamster who got stuck in the air conditioning vent and had practically frozen to death.

Heat wasn’t the only thing the summer had in store for me. It decided to unleash a mountain of stress. So much so I expressed my feelings in a blog that had estranged family members calling to check on my well-being. I never intended to scare people or garner sympathy. I was stressed. I was unhealthy.  I was hurt. I had made a plethora of decisions based on fleeting feelings and uncontrollable factors. And despite the fact I can’t undo the things that were done and I can’t un-see the things I saw, I am in a much better place. And while my honesty made me extremely vulnerable, it also served as a tool for other people who are struggling. Because let’s be honest. We all have something going on in our life and sometimes it just feels good to know you’re not alone.

A few weeks ago I started the SkinnyMint 14-Day Teatox. I’ve had numerous people ask about my experience and I thought a small recap would probably be beneficial. If you’re thinking of giving it a try, here are my notes, feedback and recommendations!

  • I opted to start with the 14-Day Teatox because commitment to something healthy and good for me isn’t my strong suit. I held myself accountable by posting a chart on our fridge and checking off each day I completed. I don’t feel the 14-Day journey was long enough to see real significant results in my body shape but I certainly felt a difference in my energy level and general overall wellness. So much so, I’ve already ordered the 28-Day to give it another go. I was also really silly and didn’t document my start weight so I can’t speak for any weight loss but will definitely track it during my next teatox.
  • The tea actually tastes good. I’ve never been a big fan of green tea or any tea other than incredibly sugary, slap-yo-momma sweet tea but I actually loved the taste of both the Morning Boost and Night Cleanse. I started to look forward to my “tea time.”
  • Be aware that it does take a bit longer than normal shipping to receive the product. They were excellent about sending emails and keeping me informed on the status of my order, but it’s not something you’ll get in a few days.
  • I felt clean. Like from the inside out. Even if I ate a not–so-healthy meal, I felt cleansed from drinking the tea. This could possibly be attributed to the night cleanse which certainly does it role. Without divulging too much grotesque information, prepare to become best friends with your toilet on the mornings after you consume the night cleanse.
  • Bye bye bloating! Seriously, say goodbye to that little stomach pooch. Your tummy will be flat and happy.
  • The stomach issues I had have dissipated. I can’t attribute it solely to the tea but rather a combination of small changes that have led to bigger ones. De-stressing. Essential oils. SkinnyMint teatox. Re-focusing. A new perspective. Mind over matter.

Overall, I give the SkinnyMint Teatox my stamp of approval. I would and am doing it again because I was so pleased with the results. I can’t tell you how frequently I used to say “I don’t feel well.” or “My stomach hurts.” to Chase. I also can’t tell you how much money we spent searching for answers we already had. We sometimes ignore the impact our mental health can have over our physical health.

I would love to hear about your experience if you gave or are going to give SkinnyMint a try. Here’s to getting healthy, cutting the cord to the things dragging you down and to being as genuinely happy as Scottie is in the picture above! Seriously though. How adorable is my pup? Stay cool friends!

xoxo, Priscilla