Archive of ‘Thoughts’ category

Thoughts :: A trip and a life-changer

A few weeks back I had a “first” (and a pretty exciting one I might add). I visited New York for the first time! I was invited to be a judge in the Sterling Wine Ultimate Host Challenge and was flown in (with 2 other guest judges) to New York for the finale event — which I was pretty excited about!

Here’s a quick photo recap of the highlights. I only had a day and half to explore, but thanks to a friend for a “must see” list, my feet covered a lot of ground!

Sterling Ultimate Host 2012

The event itself was great! Here I am above (left) with judges Kristen of Dine and Dish (center) and Aryka of The Fab Femme. Kristen was a great pal to explore the city with! She led me to the best pizza in town and was a fabulous walking companion :). On the right is the main host and judge, Padma from Top Chef.

The first morning I was there, I woke up and decided to go explore in search of coffee and breakfast. I came across this Christmas tree in the middle of Madison Square Park. I sat there and just took it in.

Then I found breakfast. What? These can be breakfast in my book. I had to bring some home too, so good!

Next I discovered the best prop-shop I have ever seen; Fishs Eddys. If I lived in NYC I would be broke. This store has all of the vintage and unique kitchen finds a girl could dream about.

I was able to quickly spend a small fortune and have the goods shipped back home. I just wish I would have grabbed some of these vintage linens (ah, well next time!).

 

After much more exploring and a great dinner, we had to see “The Tree.” It was stunning!

 

The next morning I was on my own and I walked my little heart out. I headed to this young designer’s market to see if I could find any unique treasures or gifts (there was plenty of both).

Perhaps one of my favorite spots was Eataly. I only managed to grab only this one photo because I was immersed and taking it all in. I cannot wait to go back.

I couldn’t leave the city without stopping at Shake Shack. As I sat devouring  enjoying my burger and shake I watched this woman filming an exercise video in the park. On a workout bike. Go figure!

 

On my route back to my hotel I grabbed a few souvenirs for my girls and a cupcake from this adorable sweets truck.

And then it was time to head home. After a whirlwind day and a half I looked out my car window to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty. I felt so in the moment and grateful for the experiences I had just enjoyed.

Eager to get home to my family and share my awesome trip with them, I landed on the west coast only to get life shattering news (I’m okay). The kind that grabs a hold of your gut and threatens to never let go. I almost did not share these photos as I felt the trip was “tainted.” However, I realized that would do nothing to change things. I am thankful I was able to enjoy the trip and look forward to the future when I feel that same joy and gratefulness.

I hope you enjoyed these photos and I hope to share more travel pictures soon. xoxo

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A look behind scenes (wedding + coffee, lots of coffee)

I’ve been quiet lately, but certainly not bored. My plate has been more than full … sort of like a buffet exploded on my lap, actually. I apologize for the lack of posts — though you seem to have kept occupied reading about summer cocktails, circus parties (an oldie but goodie) and how to make tissue paper pom poms — so that’s good :).

Here’s a few snapshots on what’s been keeping my busy and a little sneak peek at one very gorgeous wedding.

FLOWERS. They occupied my life for 3 straight days. Non-stop. My air conditioner that was set at 50 degrees can testify (dreading that bill!). I played wedding florist (first time for everything, huh?) and it was no small feat. With 150 guests and a large venue… we had a TON of flowers. Just picture, 11 bouquets as a starting point. Boy, I’m glad that’s over!

DIY galore. Painting, staining, building, crafting, gluing …. pretty much up until it was time to get hair and makeup done. Oh, did I mention I was the Matron of Honor? Wedding planner, florist, Matron of Honor, and Sister-in-Law to the beautiful bride … yep, told you I was busy :).

FUEL. This is how I survived. Between all of those roles above, I was still playing the usual: mom, wife, cook and also  keeping together my full time day job.

It was WAY worth it though. This stunning couple are the best Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law one over-worked gal can ask for. They deserved a perfect day!

I had so many wonderful vendors help me pull this day off… I can’t wait to show you all the pictures!

And that pic of the rings? It almost killed me. Yep, heart attack. I kept it on the inside though because a frantic sister/Matron of Honor/wedding planner is the LAST thing a happy bride needs to see on her wedding day. Can you guess what happened after this photo was taken? Go ahead, guess.

More, regular posts coming next week (I promise). Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’m going to relax and get rid of my wedding hangover this weekend and then … I’ll be baaaaaack!

the last two photos courtesy of Tracy Dodson Photography

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Thoughts :: 2 words to live by

 

words to live by

I hope you are all having a wonderful week. I decided to drop in a quick blog post today, a reminder if you will — to be thoughtful.

The name of this site, Thoughtfully Simple, isn’t just something I thought was catchy or unique — it’s character trait that I feel is important. Whether I’m telling my girls to “be thoughtful” of others or if I putting together a gift for a loved one that I want to be thoughtful yet simple … personable yet understated — I always have “be thoughtful” in the back of my mind.

It really is no different when it comes to my career (as a community manager) or my time spent here designing events and blogging. There is something that rings so true with the phrase “be thoughtful.” Are you a writer who wants to engage your community? Are you a marketer who wants to sell goods? Are you a mother who wants to do the best by your children? A designer, a teacher, a (you fill in the blank)?  All of the above … or something else entirely depending on the day? Regardless, I challenge you to pause and think about how consciously being thoughtful can alter your course of thoughts and actions.

Some of the ways I personally try to “be thoughtful” daily:

-Smile. Really, make sure you smile. Especially towards your children. You might think “of course I do this daily” but really make an effort. Recently my 5 year old told me “Mommy, you always look like you’re thinking … you should smile more.” Do it.

-Blog commenting. I must have never got the memo that people don’t do this anymore. I never stopped. Some of you reading this now might realize that I come and comment on your blog often. I do it because I want to, because you took the time to write something, and I’d be honored to read it and connect over your content.

-Thanking your community. Whether they are your personal network of family and friends, your blog readers, your Facebook fans or Twitter followers — thank them. The most thoughtful thing you can do is to show your community you are listening and that you value and appreciate them.

Which reminds me, I changed out our Facebook cover photo to include your wonderful smiling faces. Fun right?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of being thoughtful. Have anything to add?

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Sweet Designs by Amy Atlas, THE book to have!

If you love sweets, baking, crafting, party styling — or any combination of these things you MUST check out Sweet Designs by Amy Atlas. After pouring her heart into this book for over two years Amy’s labor of love is finally available for pre-order! I am honored to help Amy spread the word, I’ve been a huge fan for years, in fact Amy was one of the first “party people” I began to follow. (She was even kind enough to jump on board for a fun cupcake contest I did years ago!)

Sweet Designs by Amy Atlas

Amy has been humble enough to share the behind the scenes of this book in the making over on her blog (which has been so fun to read!). Here’s the darling cover – aren’t the colors fun?

Be sure to pre-order your copy today (and while your at it, pick one up for a gift for a friend, sister, or for a Mother’s Day gift!). They are sure to sell out!

P.S. I just may have picked up an extra copy to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Stay tuned!

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It’s a Sunshine Safari with Operation Shower

How’s your week going friends? Fantastical I hope (yes, that’s a real word — we’ll at least it should be). I’ve been a little quiet this week so I wanted to check in with you all and say “hello” and share what I’ve been working on.

Operation Shower Sunshine Safari

I’m super excited to be helping with an amazing baby shower next week for a group of very deserving military moms. I’ll be one of a handful of party stylist  working on next week’s Operation Shower. If you’re not familiar with Operation Shower, here’s an interview I did with chief party planner Amy a while back (it’s worth the read!). This baby shower will be presented by Operation Shower and Birdies For The Brave and will be sponsored in part by Pottery Barn Kids, Carousel Designs and Carl’s Jr. It’s been a blast working with PBK during the design process. Check out our group Pinterest board where we’ve been gathering some virtual inspiration:

operation shower

With darling printables from paper & cake and great finds from Pottery Barn Kids, I’m in total brainstorming mode. The creative juices are flowing — here’s a sneak peek at what I’m up to (it’s sort of a creative mess in my office today!).

operation shower

See that cute little guy in the middle? Yep, he’s coming with me (and bringing some pals too). I can’t wait to show you more soon.

Now, I better get back to work, only a few more days until I head to San Diego. I just realized that next week I’ll be knocking TWO items off my Party Planner Bucket List (#3 and #5) which is a bonus! I can’t wait to reunite with many of my party planning friends and meet up with many for the first time in the flesh :).

Updates to come on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest — I can’t wait to share all of the great deigns and more of this soon-to-be amazing event!

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts :: Humbly ringing in 2012

Believe it or not, 2011 has come to an end. I hope this past year was a great one for you and I’m wishing that 2012 is full of beautiful surprises and lots of laughter.

I wanted to take a moment to thank you … all of you reading this. Thank you for reading Thoughtfully Simple, supporting the blog, the posts, and the goal of simple entertaining. From the virtual support on Twitter and Facbeook — to those real life mentions, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope to bring you a lot more in 2012.

For now, I’m eager to wrap up the work day and join my family in some simple celebrating. Here’s a glimpse of my New Year’s spirit:

Photo credits + more New Year’s eye candy here.

Simple festive & touches, great food, family fun (puzzles and board games!), good conversations and ringing in the new year (with bubbly of course) … this is on my to-do list for the weekend.

How about you? How will you be celebrating?

P.S. Anyone else upset that the Rose Parade in on the 2nd this year? No, just me?

Well, have a great & safe weekend!

Cheers friends,

Tori

 

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