Because I Said So: October 2014
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

1, 2, 3, 4 Tell Me That You Love Me More

I've probably mentioned this before, but I like countdowns and I like lists. Put them together and I truly cannot contain my excitement. It's not weird--just go with it. So, here's a few things I'd like to get off of my chest.

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Five: x2=10 more weeks, if my math is right, until Christmas--only the best time of the year duh. I'm ready for it to FINALLY get cold around here and to watch all of the Christmas movies.

Four: years. Laney, the dog child, will be four years old in about four months. I cannot believe my little nugget is going to be older than me (in dog years). They grow up so fast. 




Three: more days until apartment shopping. Crossing my fingers for the PERFECT apartment with lots of natural light. 

Two: teeth I just had pulled. Update: my mouth doesn't hurt much anymore. Make way: perfect teeth coming through. OH and still waiting on my money from the toothfairy--who can I talk to about this?

One: trip left for the year...Pittsburgh. Hoping it snows again this year!


Do you have a running list of things you're looking forward to? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Good Bridesmaids Go Bad




You do your best when picking your bridesmaids. Heck sometimes asking them to be your bridesmaid rivals the proposal itself! There are girls you are close to from childhood and all walks of life, future-sister in laws and of course blood relatives. But, a lot can happen between the time you ask them to be in the bridal party and the time you actually get married.

Mainly life. 

So, what happens when things go sour and a bridesmaid turns rogue? (not unlike the movie Bridesmaids)

Long story short? Work it out. In the kindest, most nicest way possible, of course. If you need to have a heart to heart, do it over coffee or food (everyone loves food). It could be that her issue with you is actually not about you at all (she's just taking it out on you)

The way I see it there are a few main things bridesmaids complain about (we are all guilty of a few):

They don't agree with your planning? Unless you ask for their opinion, they should keep it to themselves. 

They don't want to buy the dress? But think of all the ways you can wear it/use it again. Just kidding. It's one of the things they sign up for when AGREEING to be a bridesmaid. It's in the fine print which of course no one reads

They complain about everything?  Ugh, don't you just hate that. You don't need that negativity. Let them know and put an immediate stop to it.

By the way, it pays to be upfront with these issues. Fearing confrontation will only make it worse--and this is coming from someone who knows what it's like to hate confrontation!

Now of course, all of this is easier said than done and strictly a case by case basis. Is it proper etiquette to un-ask someone to be your bridesmaid? Probably not. 

The choice is yours.

I would of course, talk to the offending maid first. If that doesn't work, well....  

At the end of the day, it's your big, special day. Not their's. It's an honor (or at least it should be viewed that way) to stand next you on the most important day of your life.

Pro Tip: Ladies, if you're a bridesmaid, don't take the responsibility lightly and only agree if you are going to be in it for the long haul--because I said so.




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

55 Shades of Ellzey

Today, or what's left of it, is my dad's birthday! Happy birthday daddy-O..fifty-five years young.

Don't let him tell you differently, I get my sass from him.


Let it be known that my family goes above and beyond the "norm" when it comes to birthdays. Always have, likely always will. And I intend to keep this tradition when I have a family.

Today was/is no exception.

We put the plan in motion last week. Right about the time we started panicking because we still didn't have dad (aka the hardest man to buy things for) anything for his big birthday. I mean, he's AARP eligible now yall!

My mom stumbled on "Straight No Chaser" tickets. For those of you who don't know, they are they best, most amaze balls a Capella group ever. More on this later.

So, naturally we couldn't just give dad the tickets. That would be WAY too easy. Instead, we had to elaborately surprise him in the most complicated way ever. Naturally.

The plan consisted of:
Carol and mom leaving school early.
Driving to get Stephanie.
Me leaving work early to meet the at my apartment.
Driving to downtown NOLA to hopefully run into dad before he left for the day and headed back home.
Giant balloons.
Jumbo scratch off card

Us Ellzey's are not good with two things: time constraints and surprises.

The entire plan hinged on the fact that dad would not leave early or really leave from his office at all. And we had no way of knowing if he was planning on leaving early. See the glitch. This is why we don't do surprises. So it comes to no shock to anyone that my mom called me in a panic thinking that dad was leaving work and everything was ruined. Her panicking induced my panicking. Snowball effect.

Yet, we pulled it off. Dad was bewildered, to say the least, to see us all standing in the lobby of his building--ahead of schedule I might add. 


The last time we visited dad's office--she looks the same.


The idea of a scratch off was great and I was able to get the formula JUST RIGHT, but he ended up picking a different restaurant. Diva. 

Straight No Chaser was probably the most fun I've had on a Tuesday night ever. And I went to a lot of T-shirt Tuesdays in college.
A little bit of comedy, a little bit of old school songs, a little bit of today's hits, and a whole lot of a cappella. We sang along the whole time, got to sit closer that what our tickets said AND got our ticket signed by all of the guys in the group. 

I will likely be raving about this for months. #sorrynotsorry


Do yourself a favor and look them up on YouTube, iTunes, whatever. Just do it. You will be pleasantly surprised!


Dad loved it. And that's all that matters. Hope you had a great day dad--because I said so!



Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Weekends

After the seemingly longest Monday ever, I'm finally able to sit down and reminisce on this weekend. It  was the best in all ways, but especially in the  R&R department.



I got to see my family after two weeks and actually spend the whole weekend with them, instead of an hour here and an hour there. So that's always a plus. 

Any time I can come home to someone else cooking (or buying the take out), cleaning, and paying the electric, it's pretty much paradise. (Thanks mom and dad)

A quick recap full of reasons WHY this weekend was the best ever. 

Friday:

  • Off work early 
  • Beautiful weather 
  • Picking up Carol from a football game and hearing her say how she's "just not like all of these typical teenagers doing typical teenager-y things"--you go Carol stay this way forever :) 
  • Chinese food 

Saturday:

  • Weather below 60 degrees in the morning (even if it ended up being 85 by mid afternoon)


Sadly, this sweater didn't last long with the bipolar Louisiana weather! P.S. I'm getting better at the #fashionblogger  #ootd posts!

  • Frisky pups who also like cold weather
  • Fall Festival at my old high school. We volunteered for different booths during the day and Carol performed with her dance team.
  • Norma's Pizza Shack--which will be one of those places (we've only been twice) that provides hysterical family memories for years to come. (Picture below taken BEFORE Carol spilled her Stromboli on my purse)
  • Watching Hocus Pocus all the way through for the first time this season and realizing the boy's name is THackery and not ZACHARY. Mind blown.
  • Tuning into the Ole Miss/LSU. I don't really have a favorite but I do love a good upset--and like to be knowledgable at work and around the boyfriend.


Norma's Pizza Shack

Sunday:
  • Brunch with my favorite engaged couple: Rebecca and Chad 
  • Phi Mu family day with my sister 
  • Early birthday celebration for dad at Carettas
  • Riding around looking at beautiful houses
  • My family and Josh's family hanging out 





Whenever I have a bad day or a just plain exhausting day (like today), I like to take a moment to pause reflect on all of the blessings in my life.








Wednesday, October 22, 2014

5 Reasons to hire a Wedding Planner (or at least have a friend that is one)

Ok. I get it. Some of yall think you know everything about weddings thanks to Pinterest, are the queen of doing things yourself, or don't think you have enough money.  All valid points.

The fact of the matter is, I have five reasons why you should hire a wedding planner (or at least have a friend in the industry--who will work for free, like me!)





1. You cannot and should not coordinate your own wedding day. This is the day that all of your hard work will pay off and you should be able to enjoy it. Not be frantically searching for your toss bouquet that you left Aunt Marg in charge of. Or worry about if the groomsmen are making a scene, or squash the drama with the bridesmaids. That's what your wedding planner/day of coordinator is for. Let them stress. You, sit back and drink mimosas.

2. Another someone to bounce ideas off of. Want to have a horse drawn carriage? Your wedding planner will be able to recommend the best. Don't have a clear vision because your Pinterest boards are ALL over the place? Hello. Wedding planner. Don't know HOW to pull off the wedding of your dreams with the BUDGET from your nightmares? That's what your planner is for!

3. Along those lines, wedding planners work in the industry. That means they can recommend anyone because they've either worked with the person personally or know them from networking events and have seen their events. And, if your favorite florist is ten grand over your budget--they'll be able to help you find one in your budget without sacrificing your vision. 

4. Have everything planned, but the bouquets? Wedding planners are great with details and can even work with you on just one subject. Think of it as a "spot treatment."

5. Don't have time to make phone calls and get quotes? Really, who does. That's where your wedding planner comes in. Literally so stress free. At least for you!

Side note: I may be a tad bit biased because it is my dream and goal to be a wedding planner--if you need one for free advice/low price let me know! #shamelessselfpromo


Monday, October 20, 2014

How to: Gallery Wall




This weekend I made my second gallery wall.  I had random prints and canvases lying around that I never got to putting up. And since I was doing a mass clean up and recently learned that my lease is up at the end of this year rather than in February like I thought, I figured why not. Plus, they are just fun to make. I love laying everything out ahead of time and trial and error-ing it until it works!




Left to Right/Top to Bottom: A picture of Stephanie and I when she ran "HOME" on bid day. We are both Phi Mu's now #LIOB | "Think Pink" because my favorite color is pink (obviously) | An abstract picture of a girl that Stephanie sketched for me. Heart canvas that my mom made for me for Valentines day. "A" splatter painted monogram made by yours truly | "LOVE" from TwoThirdsHazel |  Quote canvas made for me by my big sis in Phi Mu | Canvas by AllThingsPrettyBlog 







The one I made this weekend was for my room (above). I did some rearranging and had a spare wall that was too bare. The one below is in the living room! 








My pawpaw made a bunch of these cubes before he died so they will always have sentimental value to me


My top tips:
- Make sure to incorporate things that have special meaning to you. Think of it as one big conversation starter!
- Key concept to constructing a gallery wall is to have things of different sizes, colors, and even shapes. 
- Lay everything out on the floor before you go nailing things into the wall. 
- Have fun with it!


Speaking of unique and personal pieces, in my living room I have on display a book I wrote AND illustrated in 1st grade: "Max the Koala Bear". Slightly embarrassing (people love reading it and getting a good laugh), but genius.

Happy decorating--because I said so!


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Bride ALWAYS goes on the Left

So, this may or may not be turning into a wedding blog and I don't hate it. I want to be a wedding planner (when I grow up) so it's fitting. Plus, I'm at that age where EVERYONE I know is getting married. 

Today's lesson stems from a "real life" situation that happened at work not too long ago. 

Lesson #1: The bride always goes on the left. 
A rather simple rule. 

This particular couple had booked a rehearsal with us to go over the order of events and mainly to let the children in the bridal party learn how to walk down the aisle. You'd be surprised at how many people need help doing this seemingly simple task. Nerves are what usually makes it so difficult. 
Anyways, their pastor came with them to rehearse and during the first run through, everything was fine. The second go around is where things got a little hairy.

Somehow the line up got switched. As in, the bride was now on the groom's right side and the whole thing was just switched up. This is wrong by the way. 

Come to find out, it was per the pastor's request. Being the budding wedding planner that I am, I decided to intervene. After arguing with the pastor for about 10 mins (I'm going to hell), the stubborn couple and pastor decided to keep things THE WRONG WAY! I couldn't have been more furious and quite frankly over the whole thing. 

Luckily, they ended up switching everything back the day of. Because of this, I have a great story to tell and I will never forget this very simple rule: the bride always always always (even in Jewish ceremonies) goes on the left. Not the preacher's left (as he mirrors everyone else), but the groom's left. (and not just because I said so, because it's like the normal, traditional way to do things!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Laney goes to the Mall




You know those days that seem like they are never ending? Yea, that was my day yesterday. It could have something to do with the fact that I drank my Red Bull too early, but for whatever reason, I hit that afternoon slump hard.

Until I got a call from Josh, that is. Isn't it great how one small thing can change your day for the better?

This one thing happened to be that JCP was doing puppy/dog portraits--ONE DAY ONLY! Omg pictures of Laney, say no more! Pray for me when I have kids y'all. 

So naturally, I start trying to coordinate our outfits. Josh was already at work, so it was really my outfit I needed to figure out if it would work or not. (Also, Laney has this problem where she blends into dark backgrounds--she almost fully black except for some white around her beard!)

After I got off work, it was off to scoop up the bug, and motor on over to the Westbank. 

Laney's first trip to the mall was so exciting! She rode the elevator up to the portrait studio and the escalator back down, snooped around the purses and candles, and greeted everyone she met with a bark. She even got to visit Josh's office. I'll have to admit that it felt really weird and kind of rebellious to walk into a store with a dog on a leash like you own the place--we got a bunch of stares.






And, she's a natural in front of the camera! Luckily I remembered to grab a few treats to bribe her during the photoshoot--otherwise, I'm not sure how much of a "natural" she would've been. 

We ordered a few prints and even got some free thanks to Josh's employee discount :) I can't wait until October 27th when they come in! For now, here's a sneak peek: #modelstatus





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tips for Attending your First Bridal Show

You're recently engaged! 
Congrats! 
Now you have to plan the wedding of the year, but have no clue how to start. Don't worry, tons of brides feel the same way.

Bridal Shows are a great way to test the waters, in a sense. Think giant trade show, but all for you, the bride!

I wrote a little bit about them here and here, but never really included tips for the brides-to-be. I usually attend shows as a vendor, but I've also attended one as a faithful maid of honor (in case you needed my credentials :))




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1. Bring people that you trust. Don't bring that girl (and we all know "her") who disagrees with everything you say for fun. Bring those who know what your vision is and who will back you up.

2. Along those lines, don't bring all 10 of your bridesmaids. Two or three (think your mom and sisters or maid of honor) should be fine.  Plus Pro Tip: it's really hard to keep up with more than that in a crowd--and believe me, it's crowded!

3. If this is your first show, and you have nothing picked out, talk to as many people as you can. Get as much information as you can.

4. From a vendor's point of view, don't stop at a booth JUST for the free food. At least have some sort of conversation. 

5. An especially helpful thing to do (that I saw being done A LOT at a few shows this past year): you'll be asked to write down all of your personal information or at least communicate it at least a dozen times. It gets annoying to say your email, address, phone number etc. over and over AND it leaves room for the sales person to get your info wrong (been there. done that). SO...have stickers with all of that info already typed out. It makes it so much easier on the vendor to put that sticker with our notes rather than try to decipher OUR OWN or YOUR handwriting.

6. Keep an open mind, but stick to your budget. Sure that photo booth may the coolest thing since sliced bread, but it's also $4000 over your budget. Trust me, there are sooo many pretty things, you'll want it all. Refer to #1. There's a reason why you have those people keep you on track.

7. If you already have a caterer/venue/dress, etc. (and especially if you already put a deposit down) DO NOT continue to shop for those things. Recipe for a nightmare. Plus a waste of everyone's time.

8. Go with a list of questions and do your research. If you are shopping for a venue, research real weddings that they've done! Chances are, they remember the details. (I always dread those people that come by, say hi, grab a piece of food, and leave.) Talk to us!

9. You should only need to go to about 2 or 3 of these shows. I suggest going to a show in your "wedding city" so you can get to know local vendors. If you find everything at the first show you go to, going to more is redundant.

10. Last, but not least... HAVE FUN! The people who put the shows on really aim to make it a fun experience! Register for giveaways, drink the (sometimes free) booze and get to know your local wedding professionals! 



Let the wedding festivities begin--because I said so!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Maine Event


Bet you thought you wouldn't see me around here again. That's what happens when life gets in the way and it's easier to just log onto Instagram to post pictures. Anyways, it feels good and almost cathartic to be able to write down my most recent adventures. Enjoy this brain/picture dump of the most funnest wedding ever!

Traveling to Maine for my cousin's wedding was stressful and rewarding and lots of fun. My favorite guy cousin was getting married, finally, this was the family event of the year! 

I'd already been remotely helping Elise, the bride, plan everything from the overall timeline to tiny details here and there for a few weeks, but I'd yet to see the actual space--hello it's in Maine. I'd also been stressing over what to wear. (it ended up being for nothing because believe it or not, the weather in Maine was the exact same in NOLA--oh well)

And, let's face it, going anywhere with my entire family on a time restraint (aka catching a flight) has its ups and downs. I swear I should've had a Xanax with my Chardonnay on the plane. #drunkonaplane
The crew--Ellen selfie style!



We made it to Maine without any MAJOR bumps in the road (though there were actually bumps on the plane ride--hence needing the Xanax--I don't do drugs I promise).

The funny thing about where we were staying in Maine was that there were literally NO major hotel chains to stay in. None. So we were forced to stay in this absolutely GORGEOUS bed and breakfast--Admiral Peary Inn. The leaves actually change colors up north, like it's amazing. On to the wedding festivities.


Admiral Peary Inn -- Freiburg, Maine

My cousin Jonathan and his fiancĂ©, now wife! Elise found the most perfect place to get married, a teen camp. Yep, that's right..who would've thought that it would be an appropriate place to get married (not me), but wait until you see the pictures + it fit their personality perfectly. 

The second full day we were there was for major set up and planning/organizing and the rehearsal dinner. That meant we had to get a place where annoying, grubby teens gather every summer to shove food down their throats into a spick and span place to say nuptials and party the night away in less than 24 hours. Anyone slightly freaking out yet? 

I was, but luckily for me, that fuels my creativity and take charge attitude--besides I'm the resident wedding planner of the family, it's what I do.

Ok so,

Ellzey's--in charge of stringing the lights... How many Ellzey's does it take? (Five plus a Baumgartner)
The Men-- in charge of the heavy lifting (and helping Ellzey girls figure out the best way to hang lights)
Bomar/Baumgartner's-- floral design

AND BREAK!





That's a lot of flowers!
After struggling with stringing the lights for LITERALLY I KID YOU NOT the ENTIRE DAY, they were all hung and they all worked. 

Hint: "Bridal Lights" are the same as Christmas tree lights except they are white. Don't be fooled, be a savvy consumer. So they also work the same way as Christmas lights, as in sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. And if you plug more than three strands into each other a time...NIGHTMARE. Luckily my dad is a whiz at all things tinkering and was able to replace fuses as fast as we could blow them. Now you can see why it almost took the whole day/night.



They looked pretty spectacular in the end AND stayed up and lit the entire time!

We were rewarded after all of our hard work of stringing lights and various other wedding preparation with tacos for dinner! More specifically, it was a taco bar. Died and gone to heaven here people. Perfect ending to a hectic, busy day.

The day of the wedding could NOT have been any more perfect! Sunshine, warm, AH-MAZING!

From the Lodge--reception space looking down at the Beach--ceremony space
Note: See how steep that hill is? Yep, I definitely tripped up the hill a few times during the day--Carol is my only witness, hopefully. It takes skill to trip up. 


Ceremony Space! 
This wedding had a lot of firsts for me. It was really the first wedding I coordinated all on my own AND it was in Maine. People in Maine do weddings way differently than in New Orleans. Also, usually at work I have other people with lots more experience in the industry to help guide me, but this was all me calling the shots. 

This is my "I got this" face + two sisters

I conducted the rehearsal all by myself and people looked to me as the expert to answer questions. 
I was introduced as the wedding coordinator-- OMG BRB DYING
I coordinated when the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and bride walked down the aisle, cued the ceremony music, told the food truck where to park and set up (while the ceremony was going on + yes, there was a food truck--HOW COOL?!)
I made bunches of flower arrangements, don't forget about those lights, set up the decorations, etc.
I guess you could say if I wasn't before, I'm totally a wedding planner/coordinator/extraordonaire now!


Dysfunctional--gotta love em!




Hello food truck!



The personal details throughout the reception space were probably my favorite. The plaque was a gift from us Ellzey's that we were able to display at the reception. They had a friend do all of the chalkboards seen in all of the pictures--she did a fab job too, totally Pinterest worthy. Plus, it was all family that decorated and set up. Very special for them!




Best Men and Best Women!

 Someone found this sign "Elise for Congress" on the side of the road while on the way to the wedding. Boom, instant sign in book. Since they didn't have one before, it was literally the most perfect thing. The T-shirt: JP's Pub was just another personal touch. (Side note: ALL of Jonathan's friends call him JP, which is so weird for me and the rest of the fam. He will always be Jonathan to us!)





Their cake was Vegan Chocolate and "she" was Harry Potter and "he" was a Ninja Turtle--all made out of legos of course. 



The crazy couple during their first dance!

The reception was hands down THE most fun I've had since my last college date party (without my main man, Josh of course). The stressful part was over and it was time to party! My Mimi learned the YMCA and had her first taste of red wine on this trip, my parents were dancing (like I've never seen them dance), we were all drinking like fish, it was an all around great time.

And this is basically my most favorite picture of me and Jonathan-- I mean JP
Dad busting some kind of "old school" dance move.

The best part of helping plan this wedding was that it was for my most favorite cousin AND I got to enjoy it and take part in it instead of just being a bystander. I will never ever forget this experience and will be expecting BOTH of y'all (Jonathan and Elise--since you'll likely read this) at my wedding, eventually!



Getting married and need help planning? Call me. Because I said so!