Leading Ladies- Interview #3

Once again, I am excited to share with you another interview with a lady who is kicking some serious booty with her fantastic work! If you have missed my previous interviews, please check back here and here to read about two other ladies who do very different work but are dong it amazingly!

I would like to introduce you to Kami! She is the lovely lady on the right. I have known Kami since I was in high school and have had the pleasure of watching her co-create and grown her incredible business, Custom Events.  Here is what Kami has to say about starting this business she c0-owns and the wedding planning industry.

kami

My name is Kameron Payeur, I am a co-owner of the wedding and event planning business Custom Events. Owning and operating an event planning business, with my good friend Amie Jackson (pictured above on the left),  is an amazing adventure that certainly keeps me on my toes! It’s paperwork, late nights, design, marketing, and a surprising amount of lifting (which definitely helps when I need to point out the direction of the nearest beach). It’s a busy world but I am thrilled to be a part of it!

Q. How would you best describe what you do?

A. Event planning is combination of creativity, logistics, planning, and execution. When we work with our clients our goal is to understand their vision and objective and from there put everything into place to achieve it. We design rooms and tables, create and manage budgets and guest lists, and we are there on event day to ensure every detail previously discussed is running smoothly. If it’s not, we’re there to put out the fires.

Q. Describe the path that led you to your current work.

A. I’ve always had a desire to create but I wasn’t necessarily artistic in the common forms of drawing, writing, and music. I went to university with a blurry idea of what I wanted to do. I was in my second year of studying communication studies when I started to get a clearer vision of the career I wanted to have. I wanted to used what I had learned and blend my desire to create to plan events. It had the organization and planning aspects as well as the physical work I’d like to have in a career. My worst fear when choosing my path was that I would become bored. I never wanted to think of my career as a job that brings home a paycheck. Event planning offers the balance and excitement I was craving.

Q.On average, how much time would you say that you work each week?

A. This varies per week for me due to the fact that event planning, especially wedding planning, has on/off seasons. Currently, my business primarily focuses on wedding planning as this service is in high demand for us. When wedding season is in full swing and I’m working events, managing emails, paperwork and maintaining our marketing and public image, I easily work 40 + hours a week.

Q. What are some important skills that you have that make you well-suited to your work?

A. I am a problem solver and that is invaluable as an event planner. I work diligently to prepare for my events to make sure everything is perfect but that’s not how life works. Life throws curveballs that you have to be prepared for to the best of your ability. The best compliment is when the event is over and the client has no idea what I had to do to make sure it ran smoothly. That’s when I know I did my job right.

Q. What excites you most about your work? 

A. I touched upon this earlier but the most exciting part of my work is that it’s always different. Sometimes that’s what makes it so hard, there is no set system that works for every single client. The challenge is what makes it so interesting. I learn something new from every event and with each lesson I am able to grow the business and develop new ways to provide the best service possible.

I also absolutely love seeing my clients’ reaction when they see their event and vision become a reality. They often come to Custom Events feeling overwhelmed and unsure. It’s amazing to be able to help them with such an important moment their life.

Q. What goals are you working towards? 

I am so excited that Custom Events has grown enough that we were able to add two members to our team for the next season. Amie, my business partner,  and I have had so many late nights, conversations and, quite honestly, some tears in this process. Right now, our goal is to integrate our team members into the world of event planning and really focus on continuing to provide solid, exceptional service.

Q. In what ways does your work challenge you?

A. I have had some events that have challenged me both mentally and physically. I’ve had to develop thick skin because criticism is part of this career. The role of event planner, especially on something as special as someone’s wedding day, means you don’t get to make mistakes. When you put yourself in this position of control and leadership you need to take on the responsibility of your title. When my name tag says “Event Planner” it removes the human element and perfection is expected.That means accepting fault, even when it is not the result of your direct work, and holding accountability for the outcome of the event. You can do everything right on your end but if something goes wrong it’s ultimately on you. I’ve learned how to process the criticism, how to respond to it, and how to grow from it.

Physically my work is challenging because well have you ever carried 200 chairs up multiple flights of stairs? I think I might need to do some more cardio to prep for my future events. It’s all worth it though when that room is complete and my client is smiling!

Q. What inspires you to keep going on the hard days?

A. My family. There is no doubt that everyone has had days when nothing can make them smile but for me having the incredible support system I have keeps me going. I am constantly growing and learning but I definitely get caught up in the compare yourself to others game and I feel as though I don’t offer enough to my clients. There was one day in particular when I was very down on my abilities and I just didn’t have a productive day. I was venting to my husband and he just looked at me and said, “I don’t think you realize how good you are. “ My husband telling me he is proud of my work just instantly took me out of my funk and I was back in the office creating, improving, and building my business.

My business partner, Amie, is amazing to work with. We use each other for support, honest opinions, and just to improve every event. We are friends and business partners, which means I can let her know what’s going on in my life and how I’m struggling and she can completely relate. From there we pull each other up and move forward.

Q. What aspect of your work takes the most time?

We receive a lot of inquiries all through the year. With each inquiry we provide service information and custom quotes tailored to their needs as a client. In order to get these details we have a lot of communication and time put into each inquiry. As any service provider would tell you unanswered quotes are just part of the job.

In terms of booked events it remains the paperwork. From contracts and timelines to design boards and details I spend a lot of time on the computer preparing for each event. Event day is only so long (typically 12-14 hours a day for a wedding) but the prep to ensure it’s perfect is the result of many hours.

Thanks so much for offering us such incredible insight into your unique career, Kami. I learned a lot about this industry that I had no idea was such a big part of your daily job.  I am very inspired by your expertise as well as your positivity.  Check out Kami on Instagram (@customevents). You can also check out their website here. 

 

February Looking Back…

I guess I would not be exaggerating if I said that February was such a short month..after all, it is at least 2 days shorter than the others.  February was a month that I am very proud to have behind me, not because it was bad but because it was awesome!

 

Here is a recap of my February goals in case you would like a refresher.

IMG_7569.jpg

How I did with my monthly goals: 

The goals I set for myself in February were:

  1. Read The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
  2. Do Whole 30 all month
  3. Purge and Toss and Donate.

Another successful month- I was able to achieve ALL of my February goals!

Not only did I read The Nightingale (spoiler- it was AMAZING! totally lived up to all the hype I was hearing!) I read a second book, Cold Tangerines, and started a third.

Not only did I complete Whole 30, but I think it is safe to say that it was a game changer.  Read more about why here, if you missed the post I wrote last week all about my experience.

Not only did I purge, toss and donate, I rearranged out kitchen cupboards and feel like they are much more functional for us.  Our kitchen cupboards are an area of the house that always have me wanting to pull my hair out…the tupperware drawer that is always overflowing but never with complimentary pieces, the abundance of things I can’t seem to use on a regular basis, the million sippy cups..I could go on but I digress..But i tackled this in February and I am probably more excited about it that I should be.  I was also able to take advantage of timing and donate all of our used kids’ items to our local Christian school’s thrift sale.  win-win!

Other Things That Were Great: 

maple.syrup. season.  My family has a sugar shack and collects and boils sap into maple syrup.  Family weekends at the sugar shack are something we look forward to from fall until early summer but once production starts for the spring season it is full-tilt and we love every minute of it.  The weather has been up and down so the season hasn’t really been too crazy yet.  I love making memories at our sugar shack.

My little guy is crawling! and clapping! and saying dada! I was starting to think he was going to be gracious to me and not grow to quickly, being our last baby and all, but then last week and the week before BAM! all the milestones at once! Still no teeth though..

Whole 30 success means that I also lost 14 lbs! I could not be more excited about this and the change is clear in how my clothes fit and my energy levels and my sleep quality. Yay!

Looking Ahead to March:

How is it March already?! Did we just celebrate the new year last week? No? ok..

I have set 3 goals for myself for the month of March:

  1. Read 3 books. I have already finished one that I started at the end of last month.  Ambitiously, I started reading 2 books at once last night and this morning so hopefully I can get them both finished! (Follow me on Goodreads to see what I am reading)
  2. Start 100 day project. One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to complete a 100 day project.  See more about 100 day projects here or by searching #100dayproject on Instagram to see some really great visual projects. I have more to share about this in a future post, but my 100 day project will be writing-inspired and should start around March 26!
  3. Try to walk at least twice a week. This goal might have been a bit ambitious, looking back, because while the spring weather is on the way..there are still some very cold days, some very windy days, and some very busy days.  I still want to try to get out walking as often as I can, but today for example, is super windy and yesterday was super cold…

What goals did you accomplish in February? Was it one for the books or just more meh..?

What are you looking forward to in March? I would love to hear your hopes and goals in the comments!

 

FabFitFun Editor’s Box Review

Have you received any box subscription? I had seen FabFitFun box advertisements for almost a year now and even had them on my Christmas list as a possible gift idea.  I had read reviews and seen promo codes and always thought it was something I wanted to try.  If you don’t know what they’re all about check out there website here.

Another neat thing about the seasonal boxes is that you are able to shop ‘add ons” to add to your box.  These are companies that partner with FabFitFun and offer their products to members at a discounted price.

 

img_4352

Recently I saw that there was a promo going on for more discounts on a subscription in addition to the promo of $10 off that I have seen all over the internet.  I knew that with more savings it was the time to make my move.  Since I was signing up before the Spring Box was due to be sent out I was gong to be receiving an Editor’s Box first, which is a collection of past box favourites.

img_4353
This past Monday I was super excited to receive my box in the mail.  I am generally really happy with what I received.  It contained 9 items valued at $257.98.  All the items were full size, not samples, and I am quite pleased with the colours of things I received, as I have a hard time pulling the trigger when looking at lipsticks.  Here is a peek at what I received!

img_4360.jpg

img_4359

Blanket Scarf from Modcloth: I like that this scarf is neutral and Modcloth can be expensive to buy in Canada.  I already have a ton of blanket scarfs due to last the blanket scarf debacle of 2015 (i got 6!!) but I have someone in mind who would appreciate it and has a birthday coming up.

To-Go Coffee Cup from The Created Co.: This is my favourite item in the box and I was holding my breath in hope that I would get it in my box. I love coffee, I love handwritten goodies and I love graphic print anything so this is just perfect!

Colouring book and Pencils from Pencils for Promise: Love the pictures in this colouring book- a mix of intricate and larger area images.  The coloured pencils don’t work that well but I can look past that because a) I got a pack of 100 for Christmas (thanks to my awesome Mother-in-Law) and b) the company is a charity that donates money to educate children in developing countries.

IMG_4358.JPG

ORG Skincare Mineral Peel: I have not had a chance to use this yet as I am in a really good skincare routine groove but I will probably try it soon.

Manna Kadar Liplocked Priming Gloss Stain: I.Love.This. It is the perfect colour for me and it goes on so nice and doesn’t scream LOOKATMYLIPSTICK but still helps me look put together.  And the retail price is $24! I would never have paid that for a lipstick…

Zoya Nail polish in Rue: Another homerun! I would have bough this shade for myself and I have used Zoya in the past so it is a nice addition to my (ever-growing) nail polish collection! Check two pictures down for a glimpse of the colour.

img_4355

Necklace from Jook and Nona: Another item that I am in love with! I saw that this was available as a Spring Add-On and considered adding it and was so surprised to see it came in the box! It is dainty and gold- two things that I love!

img_4357

Marrakesg Argan and Hemp Hair Oil: I was happy to receive this as I had been contemplating adding a leave-in conditioning treatment to my routine and was pretty much paralyzed by the vast amount of choices out there.  I was glad to have someone else make the choice for me, really.  I used this after my most recent hair wash and was pretty pleased. My hair is noticeably softer and not greasy.  The smell is pretty good too!

Anderson Lilley Beach Butter Body Cream: Another hit! I love the smell of this and I think I am quite picky when it comes to smell. I also like that this is super hydrating and not greasy- because I think I am quite picky with how a cream feels too. I have super cracked and dry hands and feet right now from our rollercoaster water and since using this for the past three nights I have actually noticed a big difference in my hands.  Another product that is beyond the price that I would have paid for it blindly.  I see it is sold out on the website right now for Spring Add-ons and I completely understand why! I think I will try to nab it in the summer though! 

 

Because I was technically between seasons with my sign-up, I should be receiving the Spring box in the next couple weeks.  That is partly why I signed up when I did, plus the additional discount.

 

#Iamwhole30!

I am so proud of myself!

I don’t get the opportunities to say this often so I just really wanted to start off with that. I went 30 days without eating added or natural sugars (besides fruit), alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes- hello- no cheese, peanut butter, wine or chocolate!! And I drank so.much.black.coffee…

 

img_4229

Before starting the Whole 30 challenge I was so skeptical. Skeptical that it wouldn’t have any difference on my life and skeptical that I could even do it.  Both of those fears were blown out of the water after the first two weeks.  I had no idea the effect that food could have on my body- how I felt and my energy levels, until I got into a pretty steady groove with Whole 30.  Two weeks in I had so much energy by the time my kids went to bed I was floored! I also noticed that my Rheumatoid Arthritis pain and stiffness got better and better until at the two week point I woke up and thought ‘I actually feel no pain at all’.. two more weeks later and that is still the truth! (Now I don’t want to go making false promises to anyone, I am not an expert, but this is my experience and I am so grateful for some light at the end of this long tunnel!)

Perhaps 10 days in of eating Whole 30 dinners, my husband (who is a farmer and pro-eatingwhateverhewants) said to me, “I didn’t think this diet was going to have any effect on me, but I feel amazing!” That right there friends should be enough encouragement for anyone to start Whole 30!

img_4136

It isn’t to say that I didn’t have challenges- I sure did want to eat chocolate after supper and have wine on Friday nights. But I knew that it was worth trying and in the end I am glad that my willpower allowed me to complete this! In the 30 days, I was faced with:

4 family dinners

1 potluck

2 weekend activities that included drinking

1 birthday (with the most delicious- looking cake)

1 skate on the canal that included Beaver Tails

All of these would have been perfect circumstances for me to just say ‘forget it’ and eat the pasta my mother-in-law made, or have a glass of wine, or justify that our only family trip skating deserves me a Beaver Tail…and all the work in the preceding days would have been down the drain.

img_3998

I persevered and now I can say that I am Whole 30!  Look for future posts where I share some of my favourite recipes- many of which will be in our meal planning rotation for dinners to come!

Have you tried Whole 30 before? What did you find difficult or easy about it?

 

 

What I did this week instead of blogging- a memoir

Hello Friends! It is Friday and here in Ontario it feels like Spring! Well, to be honest, today feels like Winter but yesterday was 12 degrees and tomorrow is supposed to be 16 degrees and the snow is melting away and the birds are singing.. heck, I even had the windows open yesterday!

img_4231

This week has been a great one for me personally, but as far as blogging goes, this is the first time I have looked at WordPress all week! But I think I am ok with it. I blog because I like writing and I like having an outlet for anything creative I want to do – which is quite little, but hey! at least it’s here.

So this week instead of blogging I actually was able to get quite a bit done, including:

-Coursework for my Masters- I am quite ahead now and there is just 3 weeks left this semester!

-Spending lots of time at my family’s Sugar Shack. It is maple syrup time and everyone is working hard to stay on top of it!

-Cleaning my house and purging unwanted items. This felt glorious as I am someone who tends to feel suffocated by clutter and ‘stuff’.  This was also a February goal so I am glad I got it done!

-Grocery Shopping and errands.

-Walking (outside!!)

I did have some time this morning to sit down and plan out my March posts and I am really looking forward to getting those posts written!

What did you spend your week doing?

How Whole 30 is Affecting our Budget.

heartberries.jpg

One of my February goals was to do Whole 30.  Currently, I am on day 18 and actually (very surprisingly) loving it! I am starting to see some changes in my energy, skin, joint pain and how my pants fit. All great things!

I was hesitant when I started because I was worried that by eliminating grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, alcohol, etc. from my diet, I would have to spend lots of money on specialty ingredients (like almond flour and health-food section items) and that I would have to make two sets of meals- one that is compliant for me and another for the rest of my family that they will actually eat.

I could not have been more wrong about this and I am so excited to admit it! What is great about Whole 30 is that once you get used to grocery shopping and meal planning, there is actually a lot of things you can eat that are ‘normal’ ingredients.. it just takes a little playing around and label reading to understand what you can do within the parameters of the program.
Some staples in my shopping and meals have been eggs, avocados, salmon, fresh veggies, butcher shop meats and balsamic vinegar.  I am someone who doesn’t mind eating the same thing for a few days so I have embraced repeat recipes to use up all my ingredients.  We have had very little food waste, very tasty dinners and my husband has even remarked how easy it has been to accommodate this lifestyle change.

I have noticed that since I am sticking to the plan of Whole 30, I am not eating any ‘treats’ or takeout food while I am in town.  Since I live in a rural area it takes a bit of effort to get into my car and grab something to eat so that wasn’t really a concern before, but I was certainly working Quesada and Starbucks into my errands and treating myself with sweets in my grocery cart. I have found that our grocery bill (while still a lot higher than I would like, is reflecting the veto-ing of these treats).  I have also noticed that a lot of my personal spending money goes into Starbucks lattes and lunches out while running errands. When I am not spending money on food…I am actually spending personal money on very little else! I am excited to see the exact numbers but know that my bank account will actually be in a better place at the end of February.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the results of this Whole 30. I was skeptical at first for a bunch of reasons.  This added bonus of saving money is a fantastic incentive to keep going!

Have you done a Whole 30 before? I would love to hear any tips you have for me!

Non-Elaborate Valentine’s Day Plans for the Whole

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is one of those ‘holidays’ that people find pretty contentious.  Some people complain it is too ‘commercial’, that it was invented by greeting card companies, etc.  In my opinion,  I think it is important, especially these days, to show people you care by going a little bit out of your way to spread kindness.

My husband and I have never been ones to go all out and celebrate in a big way, but we have always taken the time to do something a little big special for one another.  In the past we have done dinners out or cooked something special together at home, seen movies and went out on other special dates.

This year with two kids and my doing Whole 30, there will be no special ‘treats’ and no going out, however, I am still going to cook a nice dinner and give my husband and kids a little something special.

Something my husband and I have learned to embrace since having two kids is what I like to call ‘DIY date nights”.  After the kids go to bed we will have our own dinner, or even just watch a movie or a couple episodes of whatever show we are watching while enjoying a Mug cake.  (Find the best ever recipe here)

Some other ideas for enjoying Valentine’s Day and not breaking the bank or raising expectations for next year..

Enjoy an outdoor/seasonal activity together. We have lots of snow here and it is very cold.  Yesterday as a family we went skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.  It was a perfect opportunity to embrace the weather and enjoy doing something a little bit different together.  You could try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.  Maybe try a picnic outside if you live somewhere warm or an outdoor movie projected at home.

Bake a special Dessert. Kids in the kitchen can sometimes be a crazy nightmare.  I like baking with my daughter and she LOVES helping but it can get a little overwhelming. I try to stick to simple, non-labour-intensive recipes (like premade cookie dough or mixes) so that the hard/messy steps are already taken care of and the results are kind of easy to anticipate.

Family Movie Night with Special Snacks. There are a lot of kid’s movies out there that have a lot of value added for parents.  Pop in a family-favourite or a new movie and snuggle up together.  Adding some smarties or other little chocolatey treat to popcorn is a delicious and fun way to tie in the Valentine’s Day theme.

Read Valentine’s Books Before Bed. Tonight before bed, I plan to read some books from our Valentine’s- themed Book Basket. Some of our favourites have been Where is Baby’s Valentine?, Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George, The Giving Tree and Babylit’s Romeo and Juliet. 

-Take time to do small acts of kindness for one another. This is so simple and should not be limited to Valentine’s Day.  If you husband always takes out the garbage and you notice it is time again for it to be taken out, do it for him, or have your children help you and explain how it is kind to do this for daddy.  If your children are artistic or enjoy coats or colouring, have them make a Valentine’s card or picture for one another and explain how making things for other people is kind.

 

What are your Valentine’s Plans? Do you go all out or prefer a more simple approach?