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.

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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. 

 

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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.

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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!

 

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!

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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?

January: Looking Back

How is it the last day of January already!? This month just whizzed by!  All in all I am really happy to report that January proved to be a great month, filled with family, relaxing, getting back into regular routines, hustling and planning.  All of my favourite things, really.

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How I did with my monthly goals:

The 3 goals I set for myself this January were…

  1. Read 3 books.
  2. Get the new semester off to a good start
  3. Go tech-free for a weekend

I am proud to say that I was able to read 3 books.  I read Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue and Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson.

I did get the semester off to a great start! I have mapped out my due dates, how much time each assignment will take and scheduled time with my husband when I might need to work outside of my usual times (Tuesdays, Thursdays and nap times).

I did not go tech-free for a weekend.  I actually meant to do it this weekend and completely forgot until mid-way through Saturday.  Talk about a hard goal.  I will try again another month!

Other things that were great: 

Right after the new year my family went on a nice trip to Mont Tremblant for a few days. It was pretty hectic most of the time, but my husband and I are committed to traveling with our kids and doing things so they get used to traveling and we can make family memories.

I had a nice coffee date with my cousin and his wife and adorable baby. I always love getting together with these friends and his wife and I have so much in common.  They are photographers and while baby was napping she took some photos for my blog (thanks Amy!)

As a family we have been able to go public skating a few times. My daughter asked for skates for Christmas so since then we have been teaching her how to skate and spending Friday nights at the rink!

Looking ahead to February:

February is the month of love right? Valentines day is on the horizon and I look forward to everything pink and red and hearts! My husband and I don’t normally do much but the sentiment of the occasion is nice.

For the month of February, I have set 3 more goals for the month:

  1. Purge and toss or donate.  I love doing this. I feel so overwhelmed when my living space is cluttered and not tidy.  I love purging and clearing out our space.  I have made a list of what rooms and areas of the house need particular attention and I can’t wait to clean them all out!
  2. Do Whole 30..all month! I started doing the Whole 30 yesterday and really hope that my willpower and determination will let me get to the finish line without any slip-ups!
  3. Finish reading The Nightingale. My husband got me this book for Christmas and it is the only Christmas present I have not yet read..and the length is a bit daunting.  Instead of setting a number of books I want to finish this month, I want to get through this one.  It is amazing so far and I have heard nothing but rave-reviews!

What was the best part of your January?  What are your goals looking ahead to next month? za5_1667

Planner Review

Do you consider yourself a Type-A, organized person like I consider myself?  I have been known to have lots of to-do lists, goals, plans and calendars on the go.  It is something my husband teases me about incessantly- but you know what.. I get shi!t done!  One thing that makes a huge difference in my ability to track goals, to-dos, plans, etc. is my planner.  I have tried different planners over the years and this year I am breaking away from the one I used for the past 4 years and am trying the Happy Planner. I was able to score one for half price at Michael’s way back in August and was holding onto in until January 1st.

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I am actually really loving this planner for so many reasons.  I really like having a vertical layout that is subdivided into sections so I can plan important events, to dos and my coursework all using one planner.  This planner has pretty wide columns which I love so I don’t have to write super small.

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I also really like that it has a special binding and hole-punch system that allows you to actually remove and replace pages..no joke! Watch a video exploring the planner here!  I also really like how pretty it is.  There were many designs to choose from and I chose this floral design.  Each month has laminated tabs and a divider that has a quote or design on it.  The pages are really thick card stock. I use sharpie pens so it is important that the pages are thick enough that the ink doesn’t run through.

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The beginning of each month also has a double page monthly calendar as well as a page of ‘Currently’s and goals, important dates, etc. for that month. I like being able to reference my goals and check them off as I accomplish them.  I also use this page to keep track of what I have read that month.

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So far I find this planner to be really great.  I love the size, it seems really durable.  It is really pretty and fits all of my current planner needs

What planner do you use?  Do you use multiple planners for different areas of your life?  Do you use a different system all together?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

*Disclaimer: this post is not in any way funded by My Happy Planner. All of the thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

How To ‘Do it all’, When it’s all Important.

When there are so many things demanding you time, and all of them incredible important to you, how do you make it all happen?  As a working mom of 2 and a part-time Master’s student with many interests and a pretty decent social life, I find myself wondering how to make the 24 hours in each day stretch much further than they ever possibly could.

I enjoy being busy and having ways to fill my time.  I don’t like the glorification of busy that has come to be synonymous with ‘important’ and I do know when I need to fill my time with relaxing.  I have always been this way and over time I have found ways to make doing all of the things a lot easier to manage.

1.Don’t try to multitask. This might seem a little counter intuitive but I find that when I try to do many things at once I end up taking much longer to do any one thing and I don’t do much of anything in a way that is well-done, attentive or fulfilling.  I have found it works for me to focus on a maximum of one active and one passive thing at a time, for example doing the dishes and listening to a podcast.  I run into trouble when I try to do more, for example cooking dinner, washing dishes and listening to a podcast.  Doing too much at once leaves me frustrated, forgetful and flighty.

2. Ask for help. This can be a hard thing to do and again, feel opposite to what you are trying to do.  I have found that when I ask someone to help me, either by watching my kids while I work for a few hours or asking my husband to cook supper while I fold laundry or play with my kids, I am able to do what means the most to me.  I have never been interested in being one who micromanages down to how the dishes are placed in the dishwasher. I am happy to let someone help me out so I can do something else. When my husband cooks supper and I get to play with the kids, I am doing something important to me and I don’t mind not being the perfect wifey who doesn’t have supper on the table.

3. Be fiercely interested in what you spend your time on. If you are going to spend time doing things, do things that you enjoy doing.  This may seem easy but think about all of the things you agree to do that you either don’t want to do or are indifferent to.  Next time someone asks you help with an event, ask yourself if you really want to be involved in it or if you are just agreeing because you are stuck in a pattern of saying yes or feel obligated? I am trying to get better at this.  Over Christmas I felt like I was in autopilot mode rushing between gatherings.  I asked myself after it was all over which of these events I actually looked forward to and which I attended out of obligation.  The answer was a bit depressing. Next year I am resolving to be more thoughtful when scheduling our holiday plans.  It isn’t worth being completely exhausted because you spent an entire week going to places out of guilt or obligation.

4. Get really good at time management. For some people, organization and time management come really easy. And for others it doesn’t.  The trick is to find a few tricks and tools to help you keep track of everything going on.  For our family I have this calendar hanging on our fridge.  We write anything on it that affects one or more members of our family (and anything my husband has going on so I know when he will be home late from work, away, working the weekend, etc.) Personally I use a hardcover notebook to write a grocery list and errands that can all be done in one outing.  Hardcover notebooks allow for a good writing surface whether you are pushing a shopping cart or sitting in your car.  I love this one and recently bought something similar from Winners.  I also use the Happy Planner to write my weekly and daily to-dos as well as appointments that involve me and important dates.  I also use it to track the books I finish, my yearly and monthly goals. In the past I have used this planner and in the future would love to try this one. 

5.Set a timer. One trick that I sometimes use when I am trying to avoid procrastination is setting a timer and just getting it done.  I set the timer for a manageable amount of time- say 2o minutes or 45 minutes, close all the windows on my browser or set down my phone and just get to work.  This is helpful when working with a deadline but also works well to keep me from getting overwhelmed by a big task.  This works well for my course readings, a cleaning spree, blog post writing.. it can pretty much be adapted for anything!

6. Put your phone down.now! This is something that I still struggle with.  The perfect version of myself doesn’t use social media very often.  The real me..well I am almost to embarrassed to admit that I have a real problem.  It is so tempting to be scrolling when I could be reading or playing with my kids.  It is so easy to check Instagram and say I am getting inspiration for my upcoming task.  It is much better to just throw it aside and actually do what is going to fill me up.  So I need to work on this but I know it is a tried and true method- spending that oh-so-precious time doing the things and not avoiding them or missing them because of my phone.

What are some things I might have missed? How do you make time to tackle your never-ending to do list or to fit all the important things in a 24 hour day?  I am always looking for ways to be better at this so please feel free to leave me your tips in the comments!

6 months in books- part 2.

If you have been following along, last year I decided to write down what books I read each month.  This gives me a chance to see what months allow me to read more, how long it takes me to read a book and in the end, determine how many books I actually read in a year.  Before this, I just read. I didn’t really keep track of any thing, which makes it hard to set realistic reading goals. I did a post back in June, reviewing the books I had read from January to June.  You can find that post here if you want to see what I read and what I thought!

 

And now.. for the complete list of books I read in the second part of the year (July-December). I was able to read 9 books, which I am really happy with considering I had a baby in mid-June and then was preoccupied with some health issues in the last summer to late fall.

 

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July: 

The Nest- Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeny: There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and I couldn’t wait to dive into it and see if it could live up to it all.  As a whole, I really liked this book.. though the characters were train wrecks and the ending was not-so-typical. It looked at a lot of complex family and personal issues all while tying into how their lives would all be so much better once they inherit the family nest egg that was promised to them early on in their adult lives.  My book club also read this book in October and enjoyed it.

August:

The Red Tent- Anita Diamant : I saw this book on many ‘must-read book’ lists while perusing Pinterest and was the book my book club chose to read for August.  I did not like it.  Though I knew a lot about the lives of the biblical characters the story explored, I found it long, dry and the writing wasn’t very good.  Some have said that this is awesome feminist writing but I just couldn’t get into it. I pushed through and read it to the end in maybe 2 weeks but it was not an enjoyable time.  When my book club met to talk about it only 2 of us made it through and the consensus was that it wasn’t a great book.

September: 

A Light Between Oceans- M.L. Steadman: I had no idea that this was going to be turned into a movie let alone that it was already playing in theatres while I was reading this book..that’s what happens when you have kids I guess.  I really enjoyed this book though it was a bit of a roller coaster as far as morals goes.  I felt torn the entire time between what I thought should happen and what would be the best outcome.  The story was well told and didn’t follow the cookie-cutter outline many others do.

Big Magic- Elizabeth Gilbert: I was so looking forward to reading this book.  It was a very easy read and did offer some inspiration as far as creativity and living an intentional life was concerned.  I didn’t feel like I got a ton out of it though.  I liked the essays and it was easy to pick up and read for a short time but I just didn’t feel like it lived up to the phenomenon attached to it. Definitely worth a read if you need some inspiration or tips on creative projects.

October: 

The Paris Secret- Karen Swan: I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the art world.  This is more the type of book I was used to reading previous to this year- a romance with a typical storyline.  This story made me think back to my time spent in France while giving readers a peek at the lives of the rich, transeuropean socialites.  You aren’t going to be very challenged by the content or style, but I enjoyed the story!

November: 

Rich and Pretty- Rumaan Alam: This was another book that I had seen on many ‘best of’ lists and was looking forward to reading.  I did not overly enjoy this book.. it is a book that is essentially about not much of anything, told in a really bizarre narration style, written by a man about the lives of two girls.. It seems like it is trying to be very literary but falls incredible short as the story is not at all compelling..there are times when it just feels icky.  The story is supposed to follow two best friends and how their friendship changes over time from when they are girls in middle school to married, with kids, careers, etc.. but it just wasn’t good.  At all.

December:

Dark Matter- Blake Crouch: After the disappointment that was November’s read… Dark Matter was incredible! I am still thinking about it a month later! It is a book about quantum physics and parallel universes and is labelled science fiction- all things I usually avoid as much as I can, but this story was just so good! The characters are very well developed, the plot is just so riveting and I loved the ending.  There were times in the story when I was worried, confused, happy, everything.. and this book just held my attention from first to last page!

Before the Fall- Noah Hawley: Another book that I read upon the recommendation of Pinterest lists.  Another book I loved in the month of December.  This story revolves around a private jet crashing into the ocean with many important (and scandalized) passengers aboard.  It looks at the lives of each passenger leading up to the crash and follow the aftermath through the eyes of the two survivors and the investigation to find out the causes.  Try to figure out the cause before the author reveals it to you- it probably won’t be what you think

Born for this- Chris Guillebeau: I had read Guillebeau’s previous book, The Happiness of Pursuit and loved it so I was really looking forward to reading about how to find the work I was born to do.  Guillebeau does a lot of research for his books and includes the experience of many people out in the world.  This was a pretty good read, though I don’t think I found any tidbits of info that I didn’t already know.  It was a good book to end the year and left me feeling motivated for the year to come!

What have you read and loved lately? I am really looking forward to diving into a tall pile of books in the coming year and would appreciate any suggestions!  I read a lot of books this year that I normally would not have and am really glad that I did. I feel like I am more open than ever to read something outside of my typical reading radar.