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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
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 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
Woods Inspired Summertime Casual Style

There are fewer things I am prouder of than being a country girl. I’ve evolved and grown to love the city life but my roots have and will always be true to country. I find I am most at peace in the mountains. Secluded from the hustle and bustle. Surrounded by nature and simplicity. I love being able to actually breathe fresh, clean, non-polutted air.

Today’s look is inspired from those summer trips to Chimney Rock with my family. Picking out the perfect piece of turquoise from the gift shop. Sharing a picnic on a Sunday afternoon along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Riding the 4-Wheeler throughout the wooded trails my dad carved. I grew up only an hour drive from Boone and some of my fondest memories are from watching and experiencing the seasons change from the backseat window of the family car.

Throw on your denim, plaid and oversized hat this weekend and go explore. Maybe it will encourage August to speed up so we can cool down with September. Happy Weekend kiddos!

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Everything Else: Forever 21

Orangerie Events - Raleigh Wedding Planner - Priscilla Erwin

NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events - Raleigh Wedding Planner

Raleigh Wedding Planner - NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events

Orangerie Events - NC Wedding Planner - Forever 21

Priscilla Erwin - NC Wedding Planner - Orangerie Events

xoxo, Priscilla
Tuesday Tunes – P’s Picks + Just Say No

Orangerie Events - NC Wedding Planner - Spotify Playlist

Have you had the elation of saying “no” to something recently? I had a conversation over the weekend after partaking in some retail therapy about how we’re programmed to be yes people. We rarely step up and say, “No. This isn’t what I want.” It was a simple question during check out. “Can I have your email address?” My reply is usually yes even though inside I’m screaming like a toddler who doesn’t want to give up his favorite dinosaur figurine. I politely said, “No thanks.” It felt amazing.

Emails tend to bog me down. They are kind of like the monster under the bed. Only the monster doesn’t creep out at night in the dark. It slides out around 7:30am when the sun is shining and it’s time to start a new day. I’ve realized recently that my outlook is directly related to the number displayed on the upper right hand corner of the mail icon on my phone. I can never catch up. I can never respond quickly enough. The emails I’m responding to require action which is then usually dependent on someone else’s action and it’s an endless cycle of always playing catch up. It’s actually something I’m making a conscious effort to change in order to begin my days with positive intentions. So even though it was merely saying no to the option of receiving more promotional emails, the simplicity didn’t negate the satisfaction. It was like standing on a teeny tiny soapbox and proclaiming “I don’t want more nonsense emails to delete. I don’t need junk or promotions or coupons or invites to meet people who won’t make me feel lonely. I want to choose what and who is showing up in my inbox and not let it be a catch all for every retailer, scammer or inter web troll.”Just once I’d love for that number on my phone to be zero.

Maybe you need to experience the pleasure of saying no to something. Maybe it’s saying no in order to save your sanity or saying no to protect your free time or saying no negativity. Or maybe it’s literally as simple as saying no to disclosing personal information to a stranger behind a register. Whatever the reason, do it. You’ll feel empowered.

Just don’t say no to checking out these artists I think you should know. Some have full albums while others are barely surfing the radio waves with a single. Regardless, this playlist is a must-follow on spotify because I’ll regularly update it with artists I think will one day become a household name. Conveniently titled “P’s Picks.”  Not to toot my own horn but this little piggy has discovered and listened to some pretty rad artists who have then exploded onto the music scene. Forewarning: Some of the songs contain words on big kids should use.

Until next time, say no to anything you don’t want to do anymore.

xoxo, Priscilla
The Start of Something Good: The Leslie-Alford-Mims House

MimsHouse_Facebook-profile

You know when people tease you? Leak tidbits of information slowly until they finally reveal their big announcement?  Yeah. It’s frustrating.  All the little ploys to suck you in and pique your interest.  Playing off your curiosity.  Heartless I tell you.  So are you ready to hear my big news?  Are you sure you’re ready cause it’s a doozy?  And for the love of all that’s good in the world, stop thinking I’m pregnant.  Ok.  You asked for it.

My dearest, hippest, kick butt, cat-loving, amazing friend and I are opening up a wedding venue. 

Gosh it feels so good to get that off of my chest and project it into the world. It almost makes it even more real.  As if the town planning meetings and COAs and money searching didn’t make it real enough, this finally solidifies that it’s actually happening.

I’m sure you have lots of questions. And I will entertain each and every one.  Probably not today since it’s my birthday but in due time, I will answer all of those looming and lingering question marks.  For now, I’ve put together a nifty list of the expected questions I think I’ll receive.

Where is the venue? What it is?
The Leslie-Alford-Mims House (affectionately known as the Mims House) is a commanding landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, visible from Main Street in the heart of downtown Holly Springs. It is the most noted historic landmark in town, having weathered nearly two centuries and a two-week occupation by Union troops during the Civil War and having served as the home-place of George Benton Alford, founder of the Town of Holly Springs.  And aside from the historic value of the property, it’s absolutely gorgeous and is presently undergoing a gigantic facelift to make it even more beautiful.  Did I mention it has 24 rooms and more than 7,000 square feet?

Are you quitting Orangerie Events?
Absolutely not.  Orangerie Events is my baby and my passion and will forever be my number one priority.  However, I have decided that in order to give my couples a better experience, I will limit the number of clients I personally work with each year.  By taking a select number of brides, I will be able to better serve them while balancing the beginning of a new venture. And Orangerie Events isn’t just about me. I have an incredible team behind and alongside me ready to take the reins and grow the business. I’ve recently brought on board a partner, who you will be introduced to very soon, that I’m literally pinching myself that I’ve been able to land her. She’s going to become a recognizable and resounding face for the company and I can’t wait to see where she takes it.

So, as a wedding planner you work at a lot of different venues and are even on their preferred vendor list. Does this mean you’ll stop recommending those venues to your brides?
I won’t lie. The Leslie-Alford-Mims House is stunning.  And with options for an outdoor ceremony, indoor/outdoor reception, custom-design bridal and groom’s suite, it’s an amazing location to host a wedding. But it won’t be for everyone. And it might not be the right price point. Or in the right location. Or the appropriate style. And as a planner, I do what is best for my clients and what fits their needs and desires. So no. I’ll never stop recommending the other amazing wedding venues in the area because this spot won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

I’m getting married. Can I get married at your venue?
Yes. Absolutely. We would love to give you a tour (as long as you don’t mind a bit of construction) and introduce you to the Mims House. We’re officially accepting bookings for 2015 and you’ll be able to meet and greet with us at the Forever Bridal Show in Raleigh in January.

I know there are millions of other things I didn’t address but I hope I’ve at least made you a teeny little bit excited about what’s in store.  Our website is in progress but our email is up and running so feel free to reach out if you’re interested in setting up a tour, asking a question or if you just want to high five us.  And while you’re at it, and since it’s my birthday, would you please like, love, hug and kiss all of our social media outlets?  Not to give you a guilt trip or anything but it is my 30th birthday.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Now go and run and tell your friends to tell their friends that there’s an awesome new spot to get married or hold a conference or a rehearsal dinner or a luncheon and then blast it all over your social media because we all know someone who knows someone who is getting married.

And here’s to waking up a year older. Starting a new adventure that I have tons of experience with and yet am clueless all at the same time.  Blowing out the inferno of candles and realizing I already have everything I could ever wish for.

xoxo, Priscilla
30 Things to Do for 30 [ Update ]

Where do I even begin? To say things in my life have changed would be a drastic understatement.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s no excuse for the massive length of time stretching between my last post and this one, but it does at least offer a little insight into my negligence.  Evolution. The only word I can think of to describe the last few months of my life.

The most pressing and impending change happens in a mere few days when I shed the “2” before my age and pencil in a “3.”  30. Years. Old. How is that even possible? When I mention it to people who ask, especially those older than I am, they look at me as if I have no idea what’s in store.  Like I’m oblivious.  Like I’m overreacting.  And maybe I am.  But all I can really compare it to is how different I am than a decade ago. How a lot happens in the span of ten years. People get married and divorced. Babies are born and loved ones depart. Career paths divert and twist and turn. Houses are sold and homes are built. Bed times get earlier and eye circles get darker. Life happens the same as it did when I was twenty, only my risks are a bit more calculated, my decisions more selfless and my rose-colored glasses a little tarnished with experience.

Contrary to the underlying tone of fear, I’m extremely excited about my birthday and facing a new decade head on. I just also feel a strong sense of pressure. Pressure to grow up. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”  It keeps replaying in my head. As if 30 is a wake up call that some tough decisions need to be made because wasting time is a waste. As if it’s time to put away the childish games and foolishness, focus on what’s important, create a tangible future and stop pretending that I don’t know any better.

That picture of the future has changed dramatically now that we sold our house. That’s right folks. I no longer live in the middle of Egypt. We sold our oversized house, a lot of what we owned and simplified our lives down to a one-bedroom apartment.  A concept we intend on carrying into our next transition which will be building a tiny house. Not like a smaller house but an actual tiny house. 700 square feet of purposeful and intentional space filled only with the things we use and need. No wasted rooms. Environmentally efficient. Not too big. Not too little. Just right.

But for the foreseeable future, I plan to celebrate the dawn of a new age.  Set aside my fears about outgrowing my twenties. Stop worrying about the changes that have happened and the changes to come. Instead, I intend on surrounding myself with the people I love dearly, escaping the formalities of every day and indulging in all of the things that make me happy. And live in those moments. Soak them up like a sponge. And yes, I’ve already started celebrating and will probably spread it out for at least a few weeks.

And remember my “Thirty for Thirty.” Wait. You thought it was “Thirty before Thirty?” My bad. You were probably under that impression because that was my grand plan before my life got tossed into a blender. So I spent some time the other day and went through the items on my list, made some necessary modifications and decided completing the thirty items while being thirty was just as good as completing them before November 5th. So below is the revised list with some additional strikethroughs such as:

  1. See Billy Joel in concert.
  2. Visit a theme park I’ve never been to.
  3. See Garth Brooks in concert.
  4. Go to a hookah lounge. Go to a hookah lounge? Let’s take it up a notch and create one at a wedding! While I still want to go to an actual establishment, designing a lounge for a recent wedding was equally as gratifying.
  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.
  15. Go have an eye exam. 20/20 baby!
  16. Attend an aerial class.
  17. Send my grandmother flowers unexpectedly. I recently decided to suprise my grandparents with a visit and took my Nana flowers. That time spent with them exploring their garden and checking on my Paw Paw’s bees was invaluable.
  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. November 13. November 13. November 13. I just keep repeating that date beacuse I cannot wait for a weekend of no-thinking, genuine fun and stupid shenanigans.
  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. I spent this past weekend in Gatlinburg with my family and we celebrated Halloween on the Great Smoky Mountain Train. It was definitely an experience I will always cherish and remember. Especially my future step-father’s dance moves.
  29. Create a family recipe book.
  30. Dance in the rain.Priscilla Erwin - Raleigh Wedding Planner
    P.S. – With all the changes happening, I have an extreme itch to change my hairstyle. I’ve done the color thing and I know I’m better a blonde. I’m done with the bangs. I’m wildly attracted to the “Lob” trend right now and I need you fine folks to talk some sense into me because I have appointment on Friday and the temptation is real.  And yes Mom, I already know your opinion. To cut or not to cut?
xoxo, Priscilla