• LIVE & LOVE Archive •

Behind the Tat

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Priscilla Kylee - Lifestyle Blogger

I never imagined myself with a tattoo and certainly didn’t think I would add more ink after the first. But it’s true that you can use your body as a journal – with each tattoo becoming an entry. And each tattoo has layers. The first being the where, who, what and when story. Where did you get this one? Who were you with? What did you do and when did you do it? Every time I look at either of mine, I can instantaneously rattle off those answers. And 100% of the time, those answers make me smile.

The next layer is the why. And for meaningful, purposeful tattoos like mine, the why is a proclamation. My first tattoo was in remembrance of my Meme. If you’re interested in the backstory, feel free to read an old post here. The newest ink was acquired in November last year. And sure, you could look at it and say, “Oh. It’s an arrow with a date in the middle. Cool. Basic.” But every line, dot and stroke tells a far deeper story each time I glance down at my arm.

The short version: an arrow with Coven’s birthday. The below surface level version: goes a little something like this.

the date

3am. Strange bodily fluid wake up call. Stumble to bathroom hunched over. Blood. Why am I bleeding? Call doctor. Nothing to be alarmed about. Due date still days away. It’s all natural. Back to bed. Google everything flying in and out of my brain. Up again. And again. 6am. Lying in silence next to my husband. Watching him sleep. Telepathically trying to wake him up to tell him it’s time. 7am. He’s finally awake. First words. “I think I’m in labor.” Call doctor. Prepare to go in to be checked. Try to get ready in between contractions. Grab pre-packed bags. Kiss Scottie goodbye. Drive to hospital is filled with phone calls preparing family. “I think they’ll send us back home once we get here but just wanted to let you know.” Famous last words.

Doctor checks cervix and says “You’re having a baby today.” Head to hospital to be admitted. Waiting for a bed is like waiting for St. Peter to open the pearly gates. Pace. Puke. Fetal position in the chair. Repeat. An hour passes. Finally a bed. Usual fear of needles has vanished as the contractions have intensified. Nine months of hyperemesis has reached a pinnacle. Give me drugs. Hospital room. IVs. Wires. Monitor. Settle in. Watching heartbeats in sync.

Room begins to fill with loved ones. Dad. Andrew. Mom. Ah, Mom. She’s here. Almost as relieving as the epidural. Back rubs. Cold washcloth. Ice cubes. Hair ties. Pillar of support statued next to my bed. Thumb increases the medicine drip as the pain escalates. Lay this way. Lay that way. Exercise ball between the knees. Check dilation. More waiting. Vitals are good. We’re ready when you are baby boy.

Friends pour in. Donuts. Hand holding. Silent prayers over the process. Laughter. Another check. Time to push. Reality rushes in. Game face on. Long delivery projected. They were wrong. Mom on one side. Chase on the other. Encouragement leaves every mouth. Worship music enters every ear. “Holy Spirit, you are welcome here.” Doctor says “We can see his head. Want to feel?” First touch of the human I’ve watched grow inside my stomach. The top of his hairy head. Motivation to push harder. Be stronger. I am desperate to meet him. Push. Breathe. Push. Breathe. Push. Unmistakable cry. Perfection from within me now being held above me. My arms extended. Skin to skin. Laying on my chest. Our eyes lock. 8:57pm. We pushed the pause button on life. And when we pressed play, nothing was ever the same. Coven Taylor Erwin, welcome to your world. I’m your mom. It’s an honor to meet you.

the arrow

An arrow can only be released by first pulling it back. And sometimes back can be a very long way. 9 years. There were few arguments. Maybe the problem. Maybe if we had been fighting it would have meant there was something to fight harder for. The silence resulted in compounded resentment. Lies guarded with lock and key. Broken vows. Misguided hearts. We watched the life we built burn to smoldering ashes in the hot August sun. Instant strangers with a baby.

Showers are optional. Tears are not. Go to bed together. Wake up alone. Feet on the floor. Straight to the knees. Praying for a miracle. Praying for a change of heart. Praying for a revelation. Praying for forgiveness. Praying for the boy in the next room. The days begin and end with confusion. And regret. Ashamed. Sweep up fragmented heart pieces. Realize every other weekend one piece is missing.

One little boy can only be in one place at one time. The silence is deafening. The void is all consuming. Unable to turn off ‘Mom Mode.’ Leave the handprints on the glass. The toys scattered. Mental note to memorize sounds. Pitter pattering feet up and down the hall. Sing one more lullaby. Read one more story. Rock and told tight just a little longer.

The old life is extinguished. The future envisioned is torched. A new reality sets in. One revolving around color coordinated calendars and pick up/drop off times. Stripped of the spouse titled. Given one of single mom. Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for acceptance. Pray for the boy who is always separated from someone he loves.

An arrow can only be released by first pulling it back. And when life pulls you back, it simply means you’re launching into something amazing. Hardly seems amazing. It’s a mindset. No-one actively chooses to become a statistic. Mutual selfishness has a way of rearing its ugly head and cashing in its karma chips. The daily prognosis is determined completely on how you perceive it and what you make of it. Maybe this is the part of the story you find out who you really are. A situation such as this forces the now. Shifts focus from the past and anchors it to today. I trust through experienced faithfulness that mountains are being moved while I wander the valley. A prayer hasn’t been answered the way I hoped but that doesn’t mean it isn’t being heard. This is us today. Now. And we’ll figure it out as a family unit. Broken together. With grace.

My arrow is permanently pointing in a forward direction. The allowance for looking back is over. And that date nestled in between the beginning and end is a reminder that even in the midst of trails and tribulations, there’s a immeasurable reason to keep straight ahead. My life can be summed up in one sentence. It didn’t turn out how I planned and that’s okay.

tattoo by: Paradise Tattoo

xoxo, Priscilla
Hello, 2018

Orangerie Events NC Wedding Planner

 

As I stayed awake for the first time in years and watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, I welcomed 2018 with open arms and a gigantic, warm embrace. I was happy to see it like a long lost friend. I then crawled into bed next to my baby boy, wrapped my arms around his sleeping body and whispered in his ear, “I believe in you.” And every night since then, right before he dozes off or while he’s bouncing up and down on the bed trying to avoid sleep, I say those same words. I want him to always have affirmation that I believe in who he is – whoever that is and whatever he decides to become. I’ll support him wholeheartedly and despite not being able to give him the life I had envisioned, the life I will give him will still be beautiful.

I’ve decided I should repeat those same words to myself this year. I should break off a little bit of that confidence I have for him and snag some for myself. These last couple years haven’t been my finest. In fact, I’ll just say it, they’ve been the absolute crappiest possible. Now don’t start feeling sorry for me. I’m not saying that to label myself a victim or garner sympathy. I’m simply saying because I’ve had a really tough couple of years in my personal life and with my business and with my self-confidence, 2018 is an opportunity for me to grow through those experiences and come out a better version of myself.

In order to make those improvements, I’ve set 5 realistic goals for myself this year. In the past I’ve adapted the “set it and forget it” philosophy to resolutions. I documented them but that’s about has far as I got. So this year I really spent time reflecting on what areas I want to change and what realistic expectations I could set for myself so these goals become a part of my daily routine and not just words buried in a blog. The 5 goals I’ve set for myself for 2018 are all rooted in making the choice to take the chance to change my life.

 

  1. Spend Wisely
    This goal has two parts – time and money.
    Time
    Spend my time wisely and with people who value and appreciate it. Spend my time doing things that are adventurous and challenging and motivating. Spend my time feeding my soul and my emotional health. Time is non-refundable so I plan to use it with intention.
    Money
    I’m a spender and definitely not a saver. I’m reckless and thoughtless with money. This is a huge goal for me this year. Pay off all of my debt. Invest in my future. Save for Coven. Live within my means. Focus on needs and not wants. Make a budget, stick to said budget and put in the time and effort to maintain it.
  2. Be a Joy Seeker
    Aren’t we surrounded by enough negatively on a daily basis? With the 24-hour news channels and the Facebook rants and the blowing horns and the constant whining over this or that, negativity penetrates us from all angles at all hours of the day. I’m electing this year to train my mind to see the good in every situation. Maybe this means I have to spend less time on social media or maybe it means I have to unfollow certain people who make me feel inadequate. I have enough Prince Johns in my life trying to rob me of joy that I don’t need to willingly subscribe to negatively through social media or friends. Your vibe attracts your tribe and mine is going to powerfully positive.
  3. 250-Day Challenge
    I started routinely working out in September of last year. I quickly became addicted and discovered it was a pleasant escape for me. Let’s face it, I’ve known my entire life the benefits to working out. But there’s something more convincing when a lady in a white lab coat with a stethoscope highly recommends it for your mental well-being. I’m challenging myself this year to work out at least 250 days out of the year. It’s roughly 4 – 5 times a week which is completely doable. There’s something really exciting and challenging about seeing the number 250 as a high yet obtainable goal.
  4. Practice Discipline
    Gross. Who likes discipline? Coven surely doesn’t. Hence the tantrums he throws when he’s told he can’t walk on top of my laptop. In addition to the items listed above, it was very easy for me to identify the areas I need to exert discipline.Waking with Intention
    This means I wake myself up and it isn’t Coven waking me. I wake up and drink water to hydrate. I wake up and don’t immediately check my phone. I wake up with a prayer of gratitude. I wake up setting up my day for success.
    Blog + Social Media
    Social media is a necessary evil for running a business. I did a really poor job of keeping it updated last year. Maintaining my social accounts doesn’t mean I use the outlets as ways to kill time or fill voids. It doesn’t mean I’m on my phone during a conversation with a friend or while playing with Coven. It does mean I schedule posts and keep followers up to speed on what’s going on in my life regularly.
    Emails + Voicemails
    Another necessary evil. And a rat race. Just when you feel like you’ve caught up, you get behind. I’m making a conservative effort this year to stay on top of my emails and improve my response time. I won’t compromise my family time or mental health over it, but I will try to do better. And I’ll listen to voicemails even though I despise them.
    Church + Prayers
    I started going to a new church last August and thoroughly enjoyed each and every service. I want Coven to grow up in church like I did so this year is all about continuing those habits I started last year and growing on them. Morning prayers, prayers before meals and bedtime prayers are all set to become second nature this year as I work really hard to instill values and build positive character traits within Coven and myself.
    Drink More Water and Less Soda
    I’m not a fool. I know I will never give up soda completely. But my goal is to cut back. And where I cut back, replenish with water. This is another habit I started late last year and I hope to improve. I’ve given myself an allowance of three sodas per week. I removed the entire supply of Sun Drop from my fridge and only left three with a sticky note of the date. I’ve vowed to order water at restaurants instead of soda and then put the money I would have spent on soda into savings. (Killing two birds with one stone!) Instead of drinking soda regularly, I’ll now use it a reward for accomplishing some of the above goals.
  5. Do Good
    I am so blessed. Even when in the valley of life, I am fortunate. I am breathing. I have a beautiful, healthy son. I have a business that didn’t crash and burn even though I neglected it. I have my health and I know that today, I won’t go without my basic needs. I don’t have a game plan for how or when I’ll volunteer or what good deeds I’ll complete. I just know it’s an important avenue I need to explore this year in order to feel like a contributing member to society. Don’t get me wrong, I love my career. I love helping people plan their wedding and then watch those plans come to fruition on their special day. But my heart and soul is yearning for something deeper and something more meaningful and impactful.

I’m ready to make some magic this year and evolve from my stage as a hibernating caterpillar and emerge a butterfly. 2018, bring it on.

xoxo, Priscilla
Elizabeth + Chad – Leslie-Alford-Mims House Mad Dash Wedding

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We have to say, the sweetest walk is down the aisle towards your groom! Friends, you are so close to Fri-YAY. Who doesn’t love a gorgeous wedding day blog to help them beat those Thursday blues?! We just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of the amazing vendors who help make all of your wedding day dreams come true. We are so thankful to work with such creative and amazing people.

Now on to this beautiful bride and her groom. What an absolutely perfect day it was. The weather was beautiful, Elizabeth and Chad were gorgeous and we had so much fun styling this day. We hope you enjoy this little sneak peak in to their day through these photographs by Live View Studios.

We couldn’t be happier or more grateful to have been featured on Budget Savvy Bride’s for this beautiful wedding day at the Leslie – Alford Mims House. To check out the feature and for more information on Elizabeth + Chad’s big day click HERE We promise you will be so happy you did.

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Photography:  Live View Studios | Ceremony Venue: Leslie-Alford Mims House | Reception Venue: Leslie-Alford Mims House | Flowers: Brides and Bouquets | Wedding Planner: Mad Dash Weddings | Day-of Coordinator: Orangerie Events | Event Design + Styling: Mad Dash Weddings | Stationery: One + Only Paper | FavorsDIY | Catering: Belle’s Catering | Bakery: Sugar Euphoria and Duck Donuts | Rentals: Homemade Bride | Linens: CE Rental Raleigh | DJ: DJ Rang | Ceremony Musicians: DJ Rang | Hair Stylist: Parlor Blow Dry Bar Cary | Makeup Artist: Parlor Blow Dry Bar Cary | Wedding Cake Topper: TrueLoveAffair on Etsy  | Wedding Gown Designer: Watters Bridal | Bridal Shop: Bella Bridesmaids in Richmond, VA | Jewelry: Family Pieces | Veil: MissJoansBridal on Etsy | Shoes: Louise Et Cie | Groom’s Suit/Tux: Peter Millar | Tie: Macys | Men’s Shoes: Cole Haan

xoxo, Priscilla
Lori + Tim – Leslie-Alford-Mims House Raleigh Wedding

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Oh how sweet it is to witness a love like theirs. From a beautiful ceremony to a wonderful reception, the day was full of love, laughter, happy tears, and family + friends.

Lori + Tim’s day was nothing short of perfect. It may have rained the morning of their big day, but by the time we made it to the ceremony the sun was shining! We cannot thank this sweet couple enough for allowing us to be a part of their day.

We hope you enjoy seeing a little sneak peak into this sweet couple’s day! If you are interested in Orangerie Events for your wedding day or any event you may have up your sleeve, be sure to head over to our contact page to connect with us. Also, be comment down below to let us know what your favorite wedding day tradition is. We love hearing from you!

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xoxo, Priscilla
Cierra + Sean – Leslie-Alford-Mims House Raleigh Wedding

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Happy Fr-YAY friends. Man oh man, do we have the sweetest treat for you. We loved these intimate moments between Cierra + Sean on their wedding day and are so happy we are able to share some of them with all of you.

The day was full of blue skies, laughter, love, mouth watering food, and lots of dancing! We are still crying (happy tears) over how jaw-droppingly beautiful Cierra’s wedding dress was and how amazingly handsome her Groom looked in his tux. This day was certainly one for the books.There aren’t enough words to express how much we enjoyed the opportunity to work with and style this sweet couple’s wedding day.

As we jump back in to blogging, we hope to spark some inspiration for your big day, whether you are planning a wedding, baby shower, engagement party, or any other event you may have up your sleeve.

Also, if you are a past, present, or future bride of Orangerie leave a comment below letting us know what your favorite detail of this day was!

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Venue: Leslie-Alford Mims House | Wedding Coordinator:  Orangerie Events | Photographer: Annie Watts Photographer | Assistant Photographer: Colleen Mathias Photography | Photo Booth: Lil Photo Bus | Florist: Teacup Floral | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Cake: Sugar Euphoria | DJ: Live Action Events | Hair Stylist: Caroline Cartier | MUA: Jaylen Turner of Rated Pretty Girl Makeup Artistry | Wedding Dress: Hayley Paige from Blush Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: Sorella Vita and Hayley Paige from Blush Bridal | Tuxedos: The Black Tux | Rentals: Hobnob Occasions | Linens: CE Rental

xoxo, Priscilla
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