• LIVE & LOVE Archive •

We’re Having a Baby!

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 - Valentine's Day Styled Shoot

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Raleigh Wedding Planning

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Baby Announcement

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 Icelande - Snowmobiling on Glacier - 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
Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

I’m on a quest. An adventure riddled with obstacles and roadblocks.  It’s not one of the cartoon-type adventures filled with silly looking characters who are witty and kooky and I’m not stumbling upon a treasure chest filled with gold. It’s the “Naked and Afraid” type of adventure where I’m trying to find food and water to stay alive and trying to avoid the very things that can and will kill me.  In some ways I signed up for it and in other ways, it’s not at all what I want to be doing right now.

I’m generally a very happy and positive person. I try to encourage others. I try to speak softly and with empathy. I want to be pleasant to be around. I try to surround myself with reminders of how blessed I am to have this incredible life. But sometimes no matter how strong your fortress is, negativity finds a way to sneak through the back door. And that’s where I’ve been. Graciously entertaining negativity and a crew of his friends like comparison, self-doubt, jealously and depression on a daily basis.

Most of us put on a brave face for the world to see. We post the amazing places we’re traveling to or the most incredible concert shot or a perfectly staged snapshot of our picture perfect family.  It’s all about perception.  Only showing what you want others to see. And I’m guilty. I’m not suggesting we put on display our dirty laundry and goodness knows we tend to block those habitual complainers, but what I’ve been feeling and going through is real and raw and I can’t imagine I’m the only person in the world who has felt or is feeling this way. And if letting one of my skeletons out of the closet helps someone else to find peace or seek a resolution, then it is worth it.

I’ve been incredibly sick lately. I’ve been to numerous doctors and have had a slew of tests performed to try and figure out what’s causing my nausea and my body’s rejection of food. I’ve lost the joy of eating because I know what the outcome could and probably will be. I’ve started to find that one of the only places I am happy when I’m not living inside my head on Fantasy Island is in my bed. So I stay there for as long as possible. I wake up not wanting to get out of it and go through my day looking forward to when I’m in it again.  When I am doing something else, I’m distracted. I’m checking my phone. I’m carrying on conversations with everyone but the people I’m actually with. Last Friday we were invited to dinner with friends and while I love my friends, I found myself just wanting to be alone and in bed. I was irritable. I was honestly being a brat. And as soon as I took one bite at dinner, I was sick. I found myself lying in the fetal position on the dirty bathroom floor of a restaurant. The sequence of events from last weekend was a huge wake up call for me.

None of the tests so far have given any insight into what’s going on but someone else offered a very realistic possibility. (This is a different hypothesis than my Mom’s theory that I have a parasite.) She said that it’s scientifically proven that when we carry around the weight of stress and discontent, it physically takes a toll on your body and the first system to malfunction is your digestive system. I was so vain to worry that the stress I was enduring on a daily basis would cause a few extra wrinkles that I never stopped to think how it could possibly consume and damage my insides.

And so it’s started. A road to recovery from the inside out. Rediscovering myself. Redefining who I am and what I want. Refocusing on who and what is actually worthy of my time, energy, plans and dreams. Redirecting the next five years of my life with purpose instead of a lingering question mark. And hopefully learning and accepting that letting go doesn’t equate to losing. Letting go of the things I can’t change, no matter how hard I try or how perfect I perform or how hard I love, doesn’t mean I lose. It means I start to heal my mind and my body and learn what to do to prevent myself from unlocking the door to an extremely dark and lonely place. Overcoming how I’ve been allowing myself to feel lately is a lot like overcoming an addiction and it’s going to take time and tasks and reminders and even “sponsors.”

I’ve converted our apartment into a spa zone. Last night I thoroughly cleaned, I created a motivational gallery wall, bought oil diffusers with essential oils and filled the space with instrumental music. My next step is to regulate my sleep pattern so that I go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day. To go to bed believing I can and to wake up earlier with a zest and excitement for what’s in store. To fill the voids with droplets of positivity and to focus on everything I do have instead of what I don’t. Let it be as small as a mustard seed but if there is faith, anything can be done. Nothing changes if nothing changes, right?

xoxo, Priscilla
How to Tie a Bow Tie Video Blog

Have you ever needed to hit the restart button? Like completely start a day over.  You aren’t sick. Nothing catastrophic has happened.  You’re just off. And you have a gut feeling the rest of the day is headed down a crooked and uneasy road.  So for the sake of salvaging the rest of the day, it would probably be best to just slide back into bed mid-morning, take a quick snooze, wake up and pretend you’re just starting the day. You aren’t alone.

I did just that this past week. My friend has nicknamed me “Positive Polly” because the majority of the time, I see the glass half full. I see the good intentions in people. I believe in a favorable outcome. It takes an army tank to permeate my happy thought bubbles.  But even Positive Polly cracks.

I woke up cranky. Nobody else had a clue but they were annoying me. And it was really trivial and silly things. Like the fact that Starbucks didn’t have the green straws that fit my drink and I had to settle for the extra long black one. I mean seriously. That’s a bad case of waking up on the wrong side of the bed. So after getting up and getting ready and venturing out and having one meeting, I marched myself back home and put myself back to bed. It was time for a redo.

We all need to hit the refresh button every now and then. It doesn’t mean we’re failing or that we’re insensitive or selfish. It means we’re human. It means sometimes the world around us doesn’t seem so colorful and it’s up to us to fill in the grey. It means we can’t work 24 hours a day and live off of soda and yogurt bites. It means the stress of making enough money is tangible and sometimes drives you to consider becoming a stripper. It means we need a change of perspective and that contrary to popular belief, each of us is in fact in control of our feelings. We have the ability to change the way we feel if we just try.

If you’re like me and feel like you have a one-way ticket on the struggle bus, pump those brakes and get off. Take control of your feelings so you have control over your actions. And by all means, look at some other options to make money before deciding to work the pole.

My above soap box has absolutely nothing to do with the video below. I just needed some writing therapy. Our March video blog is up and is all about learning how to tie a bow tie. I talk about being embarrassed at weddings when a groomsman would ask me to tie his bow tie and I would have no clue how.  Worse than that was at my grandmother’s funeral when no one in the family could figure out how to tie my brother’s bow tie and despite our extensive YouTube research, we couldn’t find one that helped. Hopefully I’ve solved that problem for you.  Take a look at our video, which I believe is hands down the easiest bow tie tutorial, and feel free to leave any and all helpful tips you have!

xoxo, Priscilla
Five Tips for Attending a Bridal Show Video Blog

There’s an adorable video of four-year-old me singing “If I Had a Little Black Box” for my friends and family. Even at a really young age, I loved performing and being in front of a crowd. I was fortunate to have a best friend growing up who enjoyed the spotlight as much as I did and the two of us devoted all of our free time to writing songs, creating routines and dominating whatever talent show we possibly could with our in-sync dance moves and blended harmonies. (Shout out to the Hudson Middle School and South Caldwell High School cheerleaders who forced us to sing “Plane of Love” repeatedly on every bus ride.)

We honestly didn’t care what anyone thought about our performances. Hence the reason we dressed up as jailbirds and performed “Jailhouse Rock” or decked ourselves in army attire and performed “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” We frequently sang at local festivals, at church and even auditioned for a reality TV singing competition on CMT when we were in our twenties. Although we only made it past the second round, I was incredibly proud of us for trying and for putting ourselves out there.

I’m a bit more critical of myself than I was back then. It’s easy to watch yourself on camera and pick apart the flaws because they’re so visible. I cringed when I showed this pre-edited video to a friend to get their opinion. I was legit sweating. Like sweating to where the armpits on my shirt were wet. I’m a professional at hiding behind my words on a blog but a video blog is different.  It’s exposing. It’s vulnerable. It’s easily subjected to ridicule and judgement. It’s challenging. And that’s the very reason I’ve decided to embark on something that pushes me outside of my comfort zone.

So here it is. The very first of many video blogs. Go easy on us. We’re newbies and still learning how this is going to work. I can’t promise perfection. We’re going to stumble over our words, make weird faces and our country twang is going to be very evident. But I can promise we’re going to give you some helpful information with a fun delivery style in order to help you plan your wedding or maybe even just plan a weeknight dinner. Every month we’ll post a new short and sweet video for your viewing pleasure or perhaps for your comedic relief. Since we’re in the midst of engagement season and lovebirds are in the beggining stages of planning their wedding and more than likely going to bridal shows, we’ve decided to center our first video around our “Top Five Tips for Attending a Bridal Show.” We filmed this video while participating in a local bridal show and sincerely hope it gives couples some tips before they embark on the wedding show frenzy. Until next time.

 

xoxo, Priscilla
Orangerie Events Internship

Orangerie Events Internship

I wish I was brave enough to post a picture from the first bridal show I ever participated in. It’s incredibly sad. I had one little tabletop display made from left over wood at a landscaping company with only a handful of weddings to display. But at the time, it was all I could do and I was proud of it. My business and brand have gone in a completely different direction since that tiny show in 2009 and we’ve grown and matured and honestly, it’s better than I could have ever imagined.

Some things haven’t changed since that first debut. And that’s the passion to do better and be better than the year before. I want to be the most responsive person on the planet but sometimes I’m drowning in emails and running out of non-sleeping hours and I need time to detox before imploding.  I want to be the most efficient communicator and spell out all of the expectations for the process and give more information than what’s needed but sometimes I get caught up in trying to get things done and forget that the only person I’ve told is myself.  I want to be the most creative and hippest and progressive planner in the market but then there’s finances and contracts and tedious day-to-day operations that consume my time and stall my artistic juices.  I’ll never be perfect or even close to it but dang it I’m going to try.

I know what works and I know how to fail. And this year, I’m going to strive to implement the processes I know are fool-proof and skip over the ones that have caused me to crash and burn. Our plates are full. Spilling over really. Too heavy to carry alone. So we’re seeking your help. The search for the perfect Spring/Summer Intern has officially begun.

We’re looking for an intern who is highly motivated and looking to learn all about the wedding and event industry. We need help with the boring stuff like excel spreadsheets and budgets out the ying yang. We need help with the hip stuff like posting to Pinterest and creating social media initiatives. And we need help with the real stuff like working alongside us at weddings and events.

Don’t get it twisted. It’s definitely exciting to work a wedding but it’s not all fun and games. You have to be cool with working 14-hour days, taking 20,000 steps, climbing on ladders, babysitting the flower girl and figuring out how to apply icing to a 3-tier wedding cake that has toppled over onto the floor. We want someone who wants to learn and who is accepting of a career that requires you to work nights, weekends and literally around the clock.

If this is you or someone you know, please send them our way. We’ll be accepting applications until January 23rd, interviewing the week of January 26th and will have someone in the office the first of February. See below for specific requirements and instructions. Bonus points if you love Sun Drop slushes.

Requirements

Must receive college credit or real-world experience as this is an unpaid position.

Miminum commitment of 4 months.

Weekly schedule is to be determined but you must be available to work weekend weddings.

Must be able to multi-task, problem solve and communicate efficiently

Must love working in a rad office space in downtown Raleigh with the cutest little Westie you’ve ever seen.

Instructions

Please send your resume along with a brief introduction to info@orangerieevents.com.
Applications are due Friday, January 23 at 5pm.

xoxo, Priscilla
30 Things to Do for 30 [ Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden ]

Welcome to the year 2015. My parents were right. Time flies by so much faster the older you get. It’s really unfortunate we can’t push a pause button on life. With every new year comes a sense of reflection, refreshment and revitalization. But don’t worry, I’m not going to waste my breath or your time by posting any of my resolutions. I am, however, making some impressive progress with my 30 Things to Do for 30. Like seeing Billy Joel in concert. The real Billy Joel playing his real piano in New York City at Christmas. It sounds too good to be true and in all honesty, it was almost exactly that.

My cousin and I took a really quick trip to New York City before the holidays for the sole purpose of seeing Billy Joel in concert. It didn’t frighten me that we were in the cab on the way to our hotel and didn’t yet have tickets to the show because I almost feel like scouting out the best ticket deals on StubHub and online is my second profession. During the 45 minute drive, I found an individual on Craigslist selling the exact tickets I wanted for significantly less than what I had been able to find. Now I know that immediately sounds sketchy and trust me, I had my reservations. So I stalked the guy. Before I sent the money via PayPal, I knew when this guy graduated college, where he worked and his favorite TV shows. If he tried to scam me, I was going to hunt him down Catfish-style.

It wasn’t a scam. Within minutes, I had legitimate tickets on my phone and excitement in my bones. Our hotel was right across from Madison Square Garden so the night of the show, we got all dolled up and headed to the bar next door for a quick pre-concert adult beverage. The show started at 8pm so at 7:40pm, we left the bar and started the exhausting process of getting through the two security lines to enter the venue. I know this totally sounds like a police report but details are extremely crucial in order for you to fully appreciate this story.  After searching our purses and then scanning our bodies for metal, we made it into the arena. And then we enjoyed a blissful night of listening to all of our favorite Billy Joel songs. The end.

Just kidding. This story wouldn’t be good if I didn’t pull a total Priscilla. After passing through the second security line, I retrieved the tickets on my phone to prepare for the final leg of the entrance process. It was in that very moment, at 7:55pm that I realized the tickets I had purchased for Billy Joel were for 2/18 and not 12/18. Are you comprehending that? I flew to New York at the busiest time of year to see one of my favorite artists only to realize five minutes before the show that I had bought tickets for the wrong month.

Cut me a little slack. I was only one (very important) number off and in my excitement must have totally overlooked the date. So at 7:58pm and in a matter of one minute, I got on StubHub and bought the first set of tickets I could find. The new and correctly dated tickets were on my mobile by 8pm which is the exact moment StubHub closes all sales. After a mild panic attack, we were finally in the last line and had the correct tickets only to be told by the attendant that for that particular show they wouldn’t accept mobile tickets and that we would need to have ours printed.

I would now like for you to picture the two of us running out of Madison Square Garden, into the crowd of people trying to get in, across the street, into a wrong locked building where the security officer thought we were crazy, back across the street, into the right hotel, searching aimlessly for the business center, finding the business center and having to enter a card into a machine to get a card to then enter into a computer in order to use the internet. And might I add, all of this while wearing 3-inch heels and the most fabulous glitter jumpsuit you’ve ever seen.

After going through the entire security process again, we grabbed a drink for each hand and planted our sweaty butts in our seats before the opening act finished. And for the following two hours, I watched an idol and reminisced about the impact Billy Joel had on my life at such an influential time. Such an impact that my love for his music will outlast the very reason I listened in the first place.

Was it the most amazing show I’ve ever seen? No. Was it one of the most memorable concert experiences? By far. Am I a total blonde? Absolutely. In the words of the Piano Man himself, “And so it goes.”

In case you’re a Billy Joel fanatic like me, there’s presently an amazing set of tickets on StubHub for his February 18th show in New York City. Not to be confused with his December 18th show. And just as a selling point, hearing him sing “New York State of Mind” while in New York is pretty surreal.

  1. See Billy Joel in concert.
  2. Visit a theme park I’ve never been to.
  3. See Garth Brooks in concert. Garth’s concert ranks as one of my all-time favorite shows. It could have something to do with the fact that the drummer gave me both drumsticks at the end of the show. 
  4. Go to a hookah lounge. 
  5. Step out of my comfort zone for an experience.
  6. Take piano lessons.
  7. Go camping.
  8. Pay off my credit card.
  9. Take pole dancing classes.
  10. Volunteer.
  11. Start a journal.
  12. Indulge in an unusual spa service.
  13. Go fishing.
  14. Own a Louis. Happy Birthday to me! By far, the best present Chase has ever given me. (Runner up was the three oil change coupons he gave me one year.) 
  15. Go have an eye exam. 
  16. Attend an aerial class. I’ve never been so sore from a class. It was incredibly fun and one I’ll definitely want to go to again. In Raleigh? Give Cirque de Vol a try!
  17. Send my grandmother flowers unexpectedly. 
  18. Go to church.
  19. Get in crazy good shape.
  20. Go to hot yoga.
  21. Write a letter to myself to open in ten years.
  22. Plan a fun trip with my close friends. 
  23. Pay a stranger’s restaurant bill.
  24. Go skinny dipping.
  25. Swim with dolphins.
  26. Transfer old home movies from VHS to DVD.
  27. Host a dinner party.
  28. Ride a train. 
  29. Create a family recipe book.
  30. Dance in the rain.

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events

Garth Brooks Greensboro Concert - Orangerie Events

Raleigh Wedding Planner - Priscilla Erwin

Billy Joel Madison Square Garden - Priscilla Erwin - Orangerie Events

xoxo, Priscilla