Posts Tagged ‘blog’

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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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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Thoughts :: Having a party-plan B

I read a lot about having a “plan B” for your wedding day in terms of having an out door wedding. It’s true — you need to have an “indoor” backup area in mind if there’s a chance that the weather might not cooperate with your outdoor plans. But what about having a plan B for your outdoor birthday party, BBQ, or other event? No one really talks about that. Of course, most things you can schedule around the weather (like BBQs, reunions and other celebrations) but what about birthday parties?

I know a thing or two about trying to plan an outdoor birthday party during rainy season (not that we really have a “season” here in southern, CA). Both of my daughters have birthdays in December (the 22nd & 23rd to be exact — yes, really). And given that the weather could be freezing and raining one day and 80 degrees and sunny the next,  it’s really hard to plan.

We prefer outdoor parties — and luckily last year our cowgirl party fell during a warm spell (getting the horse inside would have been difficult). But sometimes it does actually rain here and we are forced to move indoors (like for our zebra party) which was just a week later. If you are planning a party an worried about the weather here are some tips that have helped me:

  • Make a decision that morning. Even if you really want to have the party outdoors, at some point you’ll need to call it. Give yourself enough time to rearrange things and get set up indoors. You don’t want to be running around stressed out at the last minute.
  • Make sure your decorations can be used outside AND inside in case you need to relocate.
  • Make sure your party games and activities can be played inside if needed. Think about having to put down newspaper or push furniture out of the way. Pinata? Might need a back up plan if you’re moved inside.
  • Can you move your seating indoors to accommodate all of your guests? This is good thing to consider before inviting the entire class!

Have you had to alter your outdoor party plans? Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them — we have 2 winter parties coming up after all!

image via wehearit.com

 

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Can you tell me why?

why do you blog

We all read a lot of blogs. Personally, I read a wide variety of blogs. Many for professional knowledge and research and many simply for leisure. My daily reads vary, but whether I am reading a marketing blog, design blog, or entertaining blog, I want to feel that connection with the author. I always hit the “about” page when I first discover a new potential favorite and I’ve noticed something that is (surprisingly) often missing — it’s the why.

Think about it, the most successful blogs and authoritive authors tell you why they are writing. They don’t just list their experience or qualifications (we can check LinkedIn for that!) but rather share their passion and intention with the reader. This is the personal and compelling part of your story that can hook a reader and build up your subscribers.

What do you think? Is the why important to you? Do you know why you do what you do? If so, do you share it with others?

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Time for something new

afterparty (af-ter-par-tay) n

a relaxed social event in which people sit and talk after they have been at a larger event.

“after the party, there is always an afterparty.”

I have been writing here on Thoughtfully Simple since September of 2008 (more about how it all began). And I have to start by saying thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting, and emailing. Thank you for your support , inspiration and connections – you all make it possible to keep this site running, so thank you! Over the years, I have realized that although my main intention was to post ideas that will inspire you to get your “hostess on,” the most exciting (and rewarding) part comes after I hit publish. It’s your comments, thoughts and the ability to share and engage with all of you that has become the most rewarding for me. I have decided to carve out a little space here on Thoughtfully Simple where we can do that – like an afterparty. An afterparty isn’t just for rockstars and celebs after a major event. I see it simply as the time after you have greeted, mingled, perhaps even played hostess; when the main event has passed and you find it time to grab your drink, plop down in a comfy spot, kick off your heels and have a nice chat with those close to you.

The most frequent emails I get are from you {my lovely readers} wanting to know more about me – or rather, what I think, what I would suggest for XY and Z or my thoughts on the lifestyle/entertaining industry as a whole. I realized that there is really no place on Thoughtfully Simple for such topics and discussions, so I am hoping the Afterparty will provide that space. I’d like to open up discussions here, and hear more of what you have to say. From what you are working on, inspiration you’ve found, thoughts on blogging, party planning — anything goes!

I’d love to hear what you think! What topics would you like to see discussed here on the blog? Do you have any suggestions or questions you’d like me to get this (after)party started with? I’m all ears!

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