Monthly Archives: January 2016

BASH Conference Recap

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Last week I had the pleasure of hanging out in Phoenix, Arizona while attending the BASH conference. BASH brings together event planners, bloggers, and entrepreneurs from all around the globe. I met some amazing women from Israel, Haiti, Bahamas, different parts of Canada (surprisingly there were only three of us), and of course all over the U.S.

I’ve been an event planner for a few years now, but no matter what stage you are in your
career, there is always room for professional development and inspiration. Kathy Romero, CEO and head of Global Planning for Preston Bailey, was invited to the conference as a keynote speaker. Kathy has had a very long and successful career in the event planning industry, and we were lucky she was able to come out and share her experience and expertise. She helps create mind-blowing events for celebrities and millionaires, but what impressed me the most was the fact that she was there for the entire three days of the conference. Keynote speakers often attend these sorts of events and stay only for the portion that includes their speech. That’s perfectly understandable as we all understand how demanding this industry can be and we simply appreciate them making the effort to come out at all. But Kathy was there from start to finish, and she attended a lot of the same sessions I did. She contributed to some of those sessions during the Q&A portion, but mostly she was there just taking it all in like the rest of us.

image4I first heard about BASH last summer, but what helped me make the final decision to go was finding out that Heather Crabtree was going to be leading one of the sessions. Heather is a business strategist who helps entrepreneurs grow their business. I started following her on Instagram a few months ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It was from her website that I found out she would be at BASH, and that settled it for me. She co-hosted a session with Tori Tait, called “How to Grow an Engaged Community that Moves the Bar for Your Biz”. Tori is a marketing and entertaining expert, and I’m happy this conference introduced me to her work. One piece of advice that stuck with me from this session is that your goals should be in line with your “why”. Every move you make in your business or career should be done to take you one step closer to your end goal. These can include goals you have for social media, for furthering your education, monetary goals, etc.

Another session I went to that I learned a lot from, was “Food Styling & Photography Tipsjoanna to Take You to the Top,” lead by Joanna Meyer. Now I’m in no way a professional photographer. Well not yet anyway. Maybe one day. However, I think it’s important to photograph every aspect of your event. These photos are your resume, your portfolio, your brand; everything! I usually hire photographers for the events I do, but sometimes I want to snap a few photos myself. If there’s one thing people like about events, its food! Now I don’t make the food of course (how much would it suck if I had to plan the event, design the event, AND make all the damn food?), but I usually have a hand in what food is selected, who prepares it, and how it’s served and displayed. Here are three food photography tips I learned from Joanna:

  1. Use toothpicks to help prop up your food
  2. Spray dry looking food with oil to give it a nice sheen
  3. Tweezers can be used to rearrange small singular items look noodles, nuts, etc…

Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting you serve your guests food that have unnecessary toothpicks in it, or that has been sprayed with tons of oil. Sometimes what I do, mostly for dessert tables, is lay everything out a couple of hours before the event, take pictures of it, and then I have everything put back when its time. Word of advice, make sure you show said pictures to your catering staff so they know exactly where to put the items.

image1So for the most part, every conference has a headlining guest speaker. A person everyone is excited to meet and learn from. Someone attendees likely look up to. For BASH, that speaker was globally-celebrated event designer and author, Preston Bailey! He has created immaculate events for a number of different celebrities, from Sean Parker, to the Trump family! He’s widely known for his insane floral designs and his out-of-this-world décor elements. And by out-of-this-world, I’m talking about a Brooklyn, New York-style event he did for a young woman’s going away party. He replicated the Brooklyn Bridge…like a large scale Brooklyn Bridge…one that guests had to drive through as they approached the venue. I mean, how insane is that? His creativity and his dedicated to creating “wow” factors to all of his events is simply outstanding. His latest book, “Preston Bailey: Designing with Flowers,” is something I need in my life! My birthday’s March 10th, so you know…if you want to get me a gift, I would welcome this book with open arms.

Like I said, I learned a ton of great info and left the conference feeling inspired. But just as important, I met a lot of really awesome people. When you go to a conference, no matter what the topic is, networking and forming new relationships should be one of your main goals. There are always opportunities to learn from those around you, and it’s really nice to build friendships with people who understand what you do.  Plus, later down the line you might find yourself doing a collaboration with your business besties. The opportunities are endless.

Checkout the websites and social media links below of some of the amazing women I had the pleasure of meeting.

Tasia Bland – Her Lovely Events

Jonae Charisse Events

Savannah Ashley Corcoran – Etsy Shop

 Nike & Fisola – Events

Victoria – Royal Event Services  

I’d love to give you every tidbit I learned from every session, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Below is a list of all the sessions I attended, and who they were lead by. Check out their website, follow them on Instagram or Twitter, and I guarantee they’ll lead you to valuable information.

Food Styling & Photography TipsJoanna Meyer, Culinary Creative

Panel of Event Planner SuperstarsMichelle Burt, Event Planner & Blogger: William P. Miller, Home Entertainment & Lifestyle Expert: Amy Belle Isle, Operation Shower

What Brands are looking For – Jana Perry, Jelly Belly & Beth Shivak, Jo-Anne fabric and craft stores

How to Grow and Engaged Community that Moves the Bar for Your BizHeather Crabtree, Business Strategist, & Tori Tait, The Grommet

Grow Your Niche into a Worlwide Brand – Julie Goldman, Founder & CEO of The Original Runner Company

The Art of SwagWilliam P. Miller, Home Entertainment & Lifestyle Expert

An Inside Look at Pinterest – Amy Locurto, Living Locurto

Lights, Camera, Action! 5 Easy Tips you Can Use to Get on TelevisionTisha Holman, Event Planner & Designer

I have to say a HUGE thank you to Michelle Burt, the creator of BASH. Her drive and her passion for this industry is inspiring, and her contagious energy is what made this conference fun and unique. It’s her love of event planning that brings these great women (and some men too) together every year, and I look forward to seeing this conference grow!

michelle

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Exploration

I’ve finally decided that Exploration will be my theme this year! I know we’re already 12 days into 2016, but better late than never, right?

Two years ago I started declaring a theme of the year for myself. Last year was The Upgrade, and the year before that was Getting Shit Done. I find giving myself a motivational theme gets me pumped for the year ahead, and helps me narrow down what I’d like to achieve in the next 12 months. I like picking a theme that can be associated with both my personal and professional life, and I think focusing my efforts on exploration will help me move forward this year with both.

Travel

Now who doesn’t want to travel to new places? Last year I went to British Columbia for the first time, and let me tell you, B.C. is a very beautiful province. The mountains, the ocean, and the trees…it’s all breathing taking. I went to Victoria for Social Media Camp, and was lucky enough to have two of my friends meet me there and extend the trip to Vancouver. Side note: the businessmen in the downtown Vancouver area are very dapper. You should go and see them. Like now.

This year I want to travel to a few new places around the globe, and guess what? I already have two trips booked, both starting this month! Tomorrow I’m off to Phoenix, Arizona for Bash Conference. Bash is a 3-day conference where folks in the entertainment industry can come together, form relationships with people in similar fields, and learn from other industry experts. I shall be attending as an event-planning guru, of course. Check back next week for a recap of the conference. Two weeks after I get back, off I go again…to Cancun! I’ve always wanted to go on an all-inclusive trip to Mexico, and I’m excited I finally get to go. For a whole week my friends and I will be sipping on margaritas, splashing around on the beach, and dancing the night away.

Self-exploration

Exploring different parts of the world is awesome, but I think it’s also important to make time self-exploration, whatever that means to you. I’d like to explore different activities that make me feel calm, centered, and well rested. Whether that can be achieved through a specific type of yoga (I do Jillian Michael’s yoga shred and trust me, that’s not relaxing), mediation, or painting, who knows. I’m hoping within a few months I can find something that works. This is going to be an extremely busy year for me and I don’t want to burn myself out before I’ve done at least the majority of what I’d like to accomplish.

Event Planner Extraordinaire

Remember a minute or two ago when I referred to myself as an event-planning guru? Well that’s true. I’ve been a corporate event planner for a few years now, and I’ve planned enough successful events to classify myself as an expert. When you’re in your 20s, the word “expert” is hard to say when you’re talking about you in relation to your profession. I mean, who am I to call myself an expert when I’m only 27, right? If you take anything away from this blog post today, take away this: you are an expert to someone. There’s someone out there who doesn’t do what you do or know what you know, and who could benefit from your knowledge and experience. So you’ve only been a blogger for a year. Yes, there are tons of other bloggers out there who’ve been up and running for seven years, but they don’t have your voice. They don’t have your mind. They don’t have your history. They are not you and even though you might blog about the same topic, they ain’t got yo style, gurl. Or boy. Anyway, even though I’m an expert in my field, there’s always more I can learn, and there’s always something different I can try. A new year means a new slew of events, and I’m looking forward to elevating each and every one.

#SCBlaunch

This is the thing that’s going to keep me on my toes this year. I still won’t give you all the deets, but this isn’t a short-term project. At least I hope it won’t be. I’m expecting this to have a very long shelf life but in order for that to happen, I need to make sure I have my shit together this year. Yes I will make mistakes, but I will also learn from those mistakes. I will then continue to make a few more mistakes, but I will continue to learn from those mistakes as well. But then I’ll continue…haha just kidding. You get the picture by now. Even though I know it’s normal not to get everything right the first time around, I’d like to work as hard as I can to minimize the amount setbacks I could have.

Explore. That’s the plan for the year.

What are your plans? Anything we can explore together?

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#SCBlaunch + Other Great Projects

Vintage typewriter

Happy New Year! How many days into the year can I stop saying that, anyway?

By now you’ve probably seen me use the hashtag #SCBlaunch on Twitter, Instagram, and yes…even Facebook. More on how I feel about using hashtags on Facebook, later!

On Wednesday February 17th, I’m launching something new and exciting. You may have already guessed what it is, but if you haven’t, not to worry. I’ll be posting more hints along the way so you have plenty of time to figure it out. What I can tell you now is that this upcoming project is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. Over the last year or so I’ve been struggling with whether or not to take this leap. Am I ready? Do I need more experience? Do I have the time? I asked a lot of friends and family (okay maybe not my whole family, just mama Jennings) what they thought I should do, and although I really did appreciate their advice, this really was a decision I needed to make on my own. I haven’t even launched yet and I can already feel that I’m heading in the right direction, and I couldn’t be more excited.

At the beginning of each year, everyone talks about all the great changes and new ideas that will be filling their New Year. And you know what, 2016 is no exception. I know keeping you guys waiting over five weeks to figure out exactly what my big reveal is seems like a long time. I get it. So how about a little compromise? In the meantime, I’ll introduce you to three great women who are and will be adding awesomeness to the year that is 2016.

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Dunja (left) & Laina (right)

Laina Hughes! Laina is a great friend of mine. She’s funny, smart, adorable, and loves cats. In college she published a great book called Wolseley stories; a compilation of stories about her favourite Winnipeg neighbourhood. Last month her and her friend Dunja launched their first issue of Dear Journal, a bi-annual publication that celebrates the culture and lived experiences of past, present, and future women. Yes, I stole that description from the back of the book. I’m extremely proud of what she’s accomplished so far, and I can’t wait to see this publication grow. To learn more about Dear Journal, follow them on Instagram -> @dearjrnl, or email them at dearjrnl@gmail.com to find out how you can get your very own copy!

BrittanyIn 2014, Brittany May launched an online series called Fierce Females. This series features a number of inspiring women who share details about their lives, and their views on feminism and what it means to them. What started as a school project is quickly turning into something amazing. So many great women have been featured so far, and I’m honoured Brittany has selected me as the first Fierce Female of the year. I’m really looking forward to seeing who the rest of her 2016 Fierce Females will be.

Jaclyn (Jackie) Leskiw is another good friend of mine. She’s the perfect mixture of shy and hilarious, but overall she’s just a really talented individual. She’s a photographer fresh on the scene, and an incredible one at that. She has such a unique and captivating style to her photos; every image whether it’s a silhouette or a skyscraper is simply breathtaking. Jackie’s currently finishing up photography school, and will soon be launching her own business. It’s scary to quite your day job and jump into something entirely new, but I haven’t a doubt in my mind that word of her craft is going to spread like wildfire. Here’s hoping I can get myself in front of her lens in the upcoming months. Below is a series of beautiful portraits she shot recently. To see more of her photography, visit her online gallery.

 

If you have an upcoming project in the works, or a planning a change in career paths, comment below and let’s chat!

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