A Year In Review: 2014


Back in my former days as a lifestyle blogger, my annual Year In Review posts were some of my favorite content I pulled together. Who wouldn't want to look at a list of all of their amazing adventures, new discoveries & bucket list accomplishments all crammed into one place?

Well...old habits die hard.

Ahh 2014, quite the transformative year for Lucky & In Love. It was the year I booked more weddings than ever, added more than 10 trips (personal & professional) to my list of lifetime explorations, and pulled a fast one on my friends, family and certainly myself by making the decision to transition FULL TIME to Lucky & In Love, away from my blooming career in Fashion PR.  I'm still thanking whoever that brave, optimistic, crazy person was for pulling the trigger!

Without further adieu, I give you, 12-months of total greatness!

In January I rang in the new year with the wedding of Chelsea & Scott, who were married on a gorgeous Saturday in Old Town Scottsdale. I toured new potential venues, and spent plenty of time planning for the year. We rounded out the month with a quick trip to Santa Monica to breathe in that fine ocean air.

February brought loads of love as I began working with a fabulous new couple, found excuses to bake all kinds of Valentine's treats, and brunched with some seriously awesome creative ladies who all call phoenix home. I spent entirely too many mornings emailing, document updating and grinding to get wedding work done before heading off to my day job (a struggle I will ALWAYS be glad that happened), and in true hard work/payoff fashion, I was offered a chance to write for Arizona Foothills Magazine!

In March I completed my first article with AFM, where I interviewed the wonderful Teresa of Camelback Flowershop. We became fast friends, and after an introduction to fellow creative maven Misha West, we dreamed up and brought to life the workshop platform Pith + Marrow. We kicked off with our first floral design workshop in only three weeks! In the midst of building this second brand, I had the opportunity to help the incredibly talented stylist Kylie Swanson & photographer Brett Heidebrecht for a desert photoshoot they traveled from Oklahoma to complete. An incoming storm while on top of a giant mountain with couture clothing? Near heart attack. At the end of the month, I snuck off to Vegas with Chris for March Madness and enjoyed a little R&R as the rest of the group stayed glued to the big oversized screens. Madness I tell you.

Contrary to popular belief, April brought hardly any showers, and Jamie & David were married in their backyard. The transformation from grassy area & pool to ceremony space, covered pool with seating for 130 & dance floor was SO INCREDIBLE. It took a solid week, but the outcome was absolutely worth the blood, sweat & tears. Their gorgeous wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty in October! We (pith + marrow) hosted a killer floral design workshop at Chestnut, I ate really good enchiladas, and battled a three-week cold as working two full time jobs began to take its toll. Toward the end of the month, I hopped on a plane to Denver, to shower my best friend with kitchen goods and wife-necessities. I raced back to help a WILDLY talented friend with her first workshop, where Chris & I got dolled up and pretended to be models (fairly un-convincingly:)).

May. OH May. We (pith + marrow) kicked off the month with a floral crown photoshoot for an upcoming class, and I celebrated a new collection release with my favorite gals at La Tavola (yes, we celebrated a new batch of tablecloths...it's a wedding industry thing). The June/July issue of Arizona Weddings Magazine hit newsstands, featuring two articles by yours truly! Chris and I took off for a weekend in Palm Springs, where a few days of relaxation were exactly what I needed before a very hard week. Upon our return, I completed my last couture fashion show with Neiman Marcus, and officially said goodbye. On May 17, I woke up a self-employed, solo entrepreneur/dream maker. ENTER CRIPPLING FEAR & SELF DOUBT. But hey, we survive. 

In June we took a trip on a hot air balloon, went antiquing in Prescott, then packed our bags for my first ever trip to the windy city. OH CHICAGO, if only you didn't experience a snowpocolyspe once I year, I'd pack it all up and move immediately. The coffee! The Bean! The baseball! I may become the youngest snowbird on record and start spending half my time in that awesome city. We returned to Phoenix, where I had about a minute to dry my tears before heading off to Carlsbad for Michelle & Scott's beachside wedding at a private estate (I know, I know. No one feels bad for me). A week later, I found myself back in a plane, en route to Estes Park, Colorado for Devin & Darren's mountain nuptials. The next week, Karie of Ace & Whim and I started working on a new kind of workshop, for fine art photographers with a budding desire to learn how to shoot with film. I signed on as planner & creative director, and the Phoenix Workshop was born!

Each year on the 4th of July, I find myself road tripping to cooler weather/paradise, aka Coronado Island, where my best friend Bianca & her husband kindly open their doors for a weekend of fireworks and celebrating America. I toured a venue for a Fall 2015 wedding, and stuck my toes in the sand on several sunset walks. We got home in time for a few days of work, before heading out again to Nashville! What a dream I never knew I had until I found out I'd be heading there. Brooke & Jason were married at one of the most beautiful venues I've ever seen, we ate dinner at Pinewood Social and drank way too much Crema Coffee. Hipster street cred for the win. Back in Phoenix, I sat on a panel of social media, marketing & branding gurus for a Bloguettes event to help local small business owners. Such fun! I filled my hours with my new opportunity as a freelance writer for Modern Luxury Scottsdale Magazine (testing coffee? Twist my arm), venue touring for a Fall 2015 wedding, and I worked with Ace & Whim to style not one, but TWO lookbook photoshoots for Smitha Menon Bridal. As the month wound to a close, I coordinated & styled a Fall entertaining inspiration shoot for Emma Magazine, we (pith + marrow) announced our Fall workshop lineup, AND MY LIFE PEAKED. Chris surprised me with plane tickets home to Seattle, and almost front row seats to see the Beyonce & Jay-Z On the Run Show. Me and Queen B made eye contact. I will never be the same.

I decided to spend the first full week of August working from Seattle (all hail the cloud!), returning to Phoenix to attend very important events, like the fall fashion kickoff at Neiman Marcus. Priorities. I attended a baby shower for Ms. Camelback Flowershop, and we celebrated as pith + marrow landed itself its first print article in Modern Luxury. It was hot out. Let's be real, I stayed inside a lot.

September brought a very exciting opportunity - the chance to freelance as an event producer for my pals at Neiman Marcus! Muahaha, they will never be rid of me! The second week of the month brought my first workshop with Ace & Whim, where I coordinated & styled a shoot in the desert for 10 photographers...which was attacked by a haboob (or desert dust storm for you non-residents.) I wish I was kidding. There's no denying the photo results were incredible - and we were featured on Magnolia Rouge! I was asked to be a preferred vendor by the uber inspirational wedding blog Once Wed, we (pith + marrow) had our first fall workshop, then I was off to the forest with the talented Kym Ventola and Stephanie Neiheisel to help Sam & Kieran get married under the stars, where all of their guests stayed in cabins & moonrise kingdom tents and partied for three days at a boy scout summer camp (read: I have the coolest clients ever). I came home from the wedding on my birthday, where two little furry creatures were waiting. My birthday present, Marcus & Todd, baby chinchillas and total heartbreakers. Honestly...I still can't even.

In October I got to play with pretty fall floral at a pith + marrow workshop, we celebrated the grand opening of the new and improved drool worthy Camelback Flowershop, and I got a call to be on the the local CBS affiliate's evening broadcast for a story about Arizona's decision to allow same-sex marriage. I'm basically waiting for a call to be on E! now. (Still waiting....). After my 15 seconds of fame, I packed up my car and took a trip to San Diego to visit with a 2015 bride while she was in town. We dress shopped, cake tasted, and brainstormed all kinds of design ideas for her indian themed affair. Since I was already in the state, I jumped on a plane to San Francisco to visit another 2015 Lucky & In Love bride and groom for our first in-person meeting! Right before our meet up, Chris took me up to a gorgeous overlook point with a picnic and a secret agenda. (!!!)

Planning, planning and more planning was the official theme of November. Ace & Whim and I completed our second workshop, this time at The Hermosa Inn, with no crazy weather interruptions! I was caught in my element here and here and oh so filled with inspiration at the end of it. Later, we were fortunate to be featured on Weddings Defined! All in all, I became completely overwhelmed (as most November's cause) with the incredible opportunities I've been given in the last year. We celebrated Thanksgiving with family, dropped surprise deliveries in the mail for clients and at doorsteps for neighbors, and attempted to spread a little joy to everyone we met.

In December I experienced snow in the desert at my first WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association) event. We (the ladies of pith + marrow) realized our paths were traveling in different directions, so I said goodbye to the amazing brand I had an opportunity to build, handing the reigns over to Misha & Teresa. I know they'll do amazing things! On the 20th, we welcomed family to Arizona, hung stockings with care, and I finally shut my office doors for the remainder of the year, to focus on a very personal project. Eek!

2014, you were a year to remember. I can only imagine what is in store for 2015.

My resolution?

The same as last year. Plan awesome weddings, and be more like Beyonce.



Pith + Marrow: Beginning Floral Design

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Floral design has always been such an intriguing concept to me. From far away, assembling a bouquet or table centerpiece looks rather easy. You have a bunch of beautiful flowers, you chop the stems at an angle so they can drink water, and you plop them in a vase - easy peasy folks.


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Wrong. So very wrong. 


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The more and more I play with flowers with Misha & Teresa (the other 2/3 of pith + marrow), the more I respect wedding florists and floral designers of all kinds. This is no joke. Between narrowing down the hundreds, probably thousands, of different blooms out there to select a collaborative color palette full of texture, variety and good smells, to filling out the arrangement with the proper ratio of flower to filler, and doing so one handed as you twist, pull, fluff and assemble to perfect grouping to cut and stick in a beautifully selected vessel. (Don't even get me started on what to put it in - glass, silver, hand thrown ceramic pots, mugs, vintage metal boxes, tea crates - TOO MANY decisions!!)


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That being said, I kind of like this floral design thing. What a beautifully tangible item based off of your inspiration, that you create with your own two hands. No two arrangements will ever be alike, no matter how hard you try. They are perfectly imperfect. I'll spare you the life revelations metaphorical joy going on on the other side of this screen right now - but I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

In other news, we start our three part more advanced floral design workshops this week at Camelback Flowershop! I'm so excited to meet our new season of students, and to dig in and play. Let's see what we come up with this time!


Hiring Help: You Need It


Planning a wedding can be a daunting task. For most brides to be, this is the largest, most complicated party they have ever had to tackle, not to mention, likely their first time at it. 

Taking the stress out of planning - step number 1: Meet a wedding planner for coffee. They do this for a living.

Taking the stress out of planning - step number 1: Meet a wedding planner for coffee. They do this for a living.

There are guests to invite from your childhood, your young adult life, your present couple circle, family friends, co-workers, and the dreaded parent's list of must adds. There are decor decisions to make and foods to taste, vendor meetings to schedule, contracts to sign, timelines to draft and last but not least, outfits to pick and vows to be written.

Given the popular engagement timeframe is about a year, these tasks seem absolutely doable when carefully plotted along the 12 month timeframe. Depending on your level of excitement, interest in the wedding world, and need for control, there are different types of help you can bring on to help execute your perfect wedding day...but one fact remains the same. 

You will ABSOLUTELY need help. 

Whether it's a true wedding planner, the venue's catering sales manager or event coordinator, or your highly capable mother, there is just no way around it. When it comes down to the day of the wedding, there is no way the bride can be decorating the reception site, fluffing linens, placing floral, checking in vendors, directing the furniture rental placement, making sure the officiant has arrived, the photographer is in the right place and the guests know which direction to head to get to the ceremony, WHILE getting dressed, taking pre-ceremony photos, hanging with the bridal party, and the most important task of the day - calming nerves and actually enjoying the fact that they are about to get married to their best friend, soulmate, life partner and lover. 

Prior to that day, it takes a very organized, calm and dedicated person to plan all of the nitty gritty details of a successful wedding. It can be done, however, if you know you're the type of person that does not fair well in a highly detailed, deadline oriented, organized environment - the sooner you bring in help the better. Accept the fact that you need it, budget for it, then make it happen.

Prepare to sigh a HUGE sigh of relief! 

Tomorrow I'll walk through the three most common types of wedding "helpers" - The Full Service Wedding Planner, The Month-Of Coordinator, and The Day-Of Coordinator. I'll cover the benefits of each, and the general tasks each are brought on to accomplish. 

It is important to remember that yes, a wedding can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Like anything in life, you should begin with an understanding of your strengths, and weaknesses - or "opportunities" for others to swoop in and help out. Teamwork makes the dream work, friends.