Booking season is upon us, huh? So many brides are planning so far in advance, I guess that is how to do it these days. 2014 is always quickly filling up, and oh wait, some 2015 brides on the books? Oh ya. These past few weeks of summer have been madness and it is only going to get more exciting when I gear up for way too many weddings in definitely not enough weeks. I'm couldn't be more excited. While things get in order, I thought I'd share a few recent snapshots from Instagram. I'll be posting more photos of this soon, but last week I was showering one of my besties. Her wedding is a few short weeks away!

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I've been doing site visit after site visit and this time I was taking through amazing redwood trees. Can't beat California. Just saying.

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I had a weekend off, so I decided to throw a little dinner party of my own. Complete with wrapped breads and some amazing Linnea Carta napkins.

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I topped off the weekend picking up brass candle sticks from my favorite florist Floral Theory. I could just sit and stare at her collection all day. Luckily we narrowed down the 30 we are bringing to Italy to dot the tablescape.

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I hope you all are enjoying this weather more than I am. I just can't wait for some boots, fires in the fireplace, and to get all wrapped up in a blanket. I'm definitely ready for fall....or rather Indian Summer followed by the 50 degree days we like to call Winter.

Survey Time :: Help Us + Win!

As some of you might know by now, Engaged & Inspired is getting a facelift. We aren't just making it over, we are rebuilding from the ground up to create the perfect place to find inspiration and vendors for your wedding day. And to make it the perfect place for you, we want to know a little bit about you! What makes you come back, how do you plan your wedding, and what do you want more of.

With a little bit of your help we could do big things! Afterall, the only reason Engaged & Inspired is here is to help you. And if I'm not doing that, it is time to change things up! (But hopefully I am!) Click here to fill out our survey!

And to make it even more worth your while, these fabulous prizes are up for grabs!

1 person will win a Le Petite Fest gold scalloped garland

1 person will win a Le Petite Fest pink triangle garland

5 people will win our Engaged & Inspired tote bag!

Go forth and fill out our survey!

{Alt Summit Recap} Some Snapshots

I guess I owe the world an Alt Summit recap, huh? If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that something was a little different. Photos hit my feed of cooler things that my computer and coffee (hate to break it to the world but the life of a blogger is basically computers + coffee). I wore cute outfits and I put on makeup every day for 5 whole days! I even wore heels most of the time. Oh ya, that  is definitely different.

Well, I was in Salt Lake City to attend a blogger conference, Alt Summit. I've been wanting to go every year but this is the first year that I for reals decided to go for it. After that decision came an unexpected surprise, I was asked to speak. Yep, speak. As in attempting to form sentences in front of a couple hundred people and hopefully impart some knowledge to these eager ears. Talk about feeling honored.

Prior to stepping on that plane I was both completely terrified and totally ready. I had been packed for a week, I printed out my schedule for the next few days, and I had a few meetings set up with sponsors. I was ready, let's do this. But, the other side of things.... Being a totally unsocial butterfly, I was dead scared. I don't do well in places where I am forced to talk to people. I know that sounds terrible, but it is the cold hard truth. I'm behind a computer all day for a reason BTW. How was I ever going to do this?

Just a few of the awesome business cards I collected.

First thing Thursday morning I went to a panel about collaborating with sponsors. Right off the bat Camille Styles absolutely killed it. 10 minutes in and I knew I made the right decision in coming to this conference. I knew it was going to be exactly what I needed.

Thursday's keynote speaker  Chris Anderson (editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine) was another major turning point for me. I felt my entire life change at that moment. No seriously. Life changed. As in, I. will. never. look. at. anything. the. same. I immediately delved into his book Makers, and again, Life. Changed. I love surrounding myself with big thinkers, and this guy definitely does that way too well.

Here is a shot of my Friday morning panel Social Media 101 : Following The Conversation Panel. Meg of, Kelly of Design Crush, myself, Erin of House of EarnestNatalie of Bing.

I'll leave you with possibly the most important thing I learned from Alt Summit:

Here is the first thing to know about Alt Summit. It isn’t a conference. It is a culture. A culture of creatives, of thinkers, of makers. What is known in the conference circuit as "networking" Alt attendees know as collaboration. It isn’t about meeting people, it is about cultivating relationships.

This industry is filled with feelings of competition and comparison. Here you have the chance to strip everything down and realize at the core of it all, we are all in this together. We are creative people who add beauty to this world  and together we are trying to build a new industry. We couldn't do it alone, and sometimes we just need to remind ourselves and each other of that. 

(I was hired by iBlog Magazine to blog about my experience at Alt Summit. This is an excerpt of the article I wrote. It'll be published soon, so stay tuned)


Making It

3 years ago this month I was getting ready to launch Engaged & Inspired. I had been engaged for a month and I was over the moon about starting this venture of mine. At that time my concept of "made it" was to be running this blog full time, doing what I love.

Fast forward 3 years. I'm in a place where I do this full time, yet I feel so far from "making it". Hence this little gem of a quote resounding so much with me I feel the urge to write an entire post about it. Truth be told, so many parts of Engaged & Inspired aren't what I want them to be. They were great at one time but as I continue to move forward and grow as a person and a brand, the only word I feel properly describes my felling is "stodgy". Which, yes, is the worst feeling to have about something you worked so hard to create. No one gets that as much as I.

I feel there will always be different levels of "making it" and that is what makes companies so great. There is always a new challenge, a new level and if your work is great, you will always look back on the earlier stuff cringing. And that is growth.

I haven't had very much time in this new year to reflect & set goals just yet. (Thanks to The Lab & speaking at Alt believe me, I'm not complaining!) Despite all the work and long hours I have been putting in this month, this quote and the future of Engaged & Inspired have taken up every free second I can possibly muster.

Since I am not one of those people that dwells in the woes of life, or writes posts to collect sympathy, I won't leave on such a note. The new site design is coming soon, and with that comes some major changes, additions, and of course work to be done. The fact that this place isn't exactly what I want it to be pushes me even harder and drives me even more every single day because it will become (very soon in fact) the most perfect place for me and the most perfect place to cultivate and grow this brand of mine.

Despite it all I have seen tremendous growth in the past year and I send out my sincerest thank you to each and every one of you.  Thanks for finding something to love and finding something to come back for.

I'm extremely excited for the future, the possibilities and for the opportunity to call myself a full-time blogger. Not many people have the luxury to do so, and even more people can't even begin to understand everything that a title like that means. I will say it with pride and never again think that such a title isn't good enough. It is.

Weekend Recap

What a week it has been. August was an insane rush with 10 weddings in 4 weeks. Not that I need to say it, but talk about exhausting! So I was happy to float into September with only 6 weddings. This feels like a breeze :) This weekend's wedding consisted of designing and crafting favors for a Holman Ranch wedding planned perfectly by the fabulous Soiree By Simone. Suffice it to say, these scone + jam favors were among my favorite favor ideas of the year. Can't wait to see the photography magic Delbarr Moradi did with this wedding. It was gorgeous!

In between all the crafting (after a while your hands and eyes need a break) I decided to start cleaning out my office as well as the garage. Before I knew it, my room look like a tornado hit it while I cleaned out every drawer, every shelf and organized it all. Sort of a weird thing to do while it is crunch time for a wedding, but hey, I got it all done and my office looks incred, win-win!

Sunday morning consisted of wrapping mini baguettes with twine for each place setting at the wedding. I decided to leave for Carmel a bit early and hit up Bernardus Lodge on the way for a cup of coffee and a little time to answer emails with some amazing views.

I'm so lucky to get to spend so much time at my wedding venue, Holman Ranch along with the fabulous Simone as the planner of this wedding. Just check out this fabulous shot of the table place settings!

Now onto finalizing everything for a Big Sur wedding next weekend!

Our Anniversary Weekend

A year has past already? CRAZY! (If you haven't seen our wedding, check it out here and here.) April 8, 2011 we were in Carmel Valley at Holman Ranch getting married! So it seemed fitting that for our 1 year anniversary we headed back to Carmel for a weekend retreat. Our first stop was the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel Highlands. It was the place we went on our wedding night and one of the nicest places I have ever stayed. The views are incredible, like truly incredible! The entire wall is top to bottom windows with an incredible ocean view.

We made our way to the wine and cheese service and brought our goodies upstairs to our room for this spectacular view. :) And this is only the start!

We took a trip to Big Sur to Bixby Bridge. Ian decided to follow a not so formal trail down the side of the mountain....which I thought was a little scary! But there were some gorgeous views. It would have been the most amazing place for a proposal :)

When we got back to our amazing room this "Happy Anniversary" gift was waiting for us. So cute huh?

The next morning we woke up to some more amazing views, mimosas on the porch and breakfast in bed! Yum yum :) From the moment we arrived until the moment we left we had fireplaces going, so nice waking up to a fire, I'm going to miss that.

Ian had a few surprises in store  which turned out to be amazing. Whenever I watch The Bachelor I always ask Ian why he doesn't take me on dates in helicopters to amazing islands. :) So this trip seemed appropriate to him. It was amazing and totally fun.

Next up, we went to Bernardus Lodge! I am a major fan of hotel hopping during trips and getting all sorts of different experiences in the same go. We went from amazing oceanfront views to a quiet gorgeous valley setting, it was fabulous.

When we arrived we were greeted with a glass of wine and we were ready to go. We started with a fun game of bocce ball followed by a surprise trip to the spa. Again with the surprises from my husband, I swear, he went all out during this trip! After spending a few hours in the spa enjoying all the amazing amenities, we got a couples massage. Super duper relaxing, I swear.

We spent the day hanging at the hotel, enjoying the amazing weather and the gorgeous views, eating at their awesome restaurant and of course hanging in the hotel by the fireplace.

I absolutely loved everything about Bernardus. I am definitely making it my new favorite hotel in the Carmel area and I will be back. I told another bride this yesterday, and I will tell all of you, if you are getting married at Holman Ranch and need a place for guests to stay (when your Holman rooms are filled) this is the place to go! They will take care of you all and I swear you will have so much fun making it part of your wedding festivities. I wished I did.... Anywho, I'm definitely going back to Bernardus, in fact, I am ready to plan my next trip there like now!

Horrible picture but look at that dress :) I love my new tangerine dress.

And now for my surprises! April 8 was our wedding date as I say a million times. April 8 this year fell on a Sunday which was perfect for the treat I had in store for my husband.

I absolutely love Holman Ranch. I just love it. So I thought a picnic at Holman would be the perfect treat for Ian and I to end off our anniversary weekend. Being in the same spot that we were married at a year ago was an amazing experience for the both of us. I never tire of the views of Holman :)

We were greeted with a fabulous welcome bag from Holman including a sweet card! And the amazing Paradise Catering catered a lunch for us including several of the dishes that were on our menu for our wedding. Just look how amazing this menu is! Paradise Catering is such a fabulous company and they truly make amazing food. I was so happy I had the chance to taste their amazing food (I LOVE their vegan rainbow roll!) again.

I set up a fabulous little picnic on the lawn for the two of us to enjoy. I also had a photographer, Tatum Brooke (thanks so much to Kim for coming down and shooting some fab photos of us!), come take some photos of this sweet spot and some photos of us. It was great to get some more photos with the Holman Ranch backdrop since we didn't have the chance to take engagement photos before the wedding. I can't wait to share more of those soon!

And finally, as if all this wasn't enough, he surprised me with something good in a small box. Seriously, how sweet is he?!

So many people made our first anniversary a truly special one! I am so glad we got married at such a gorgeous spot that has allowed us to come back and share our anniversary there as well. We ate plenty of amazing meals, and did so many fun things. Getting back to real life was quite difficult after such an amazing weekend!

Happy Anniversary to us! :)

New Years Resolutions + Non-Resolutions

Last year I wrote about my non-resolutions in a blog post. I haven't visited that post all year until today. And though they were my own words, it was truly inspiring. I forgot about my accomplishments, my feelings and how how things were just a short year ago. So much has changed since then, and I have to say, I was a lot smarter then. 2010 and more specifically December of 2010 was the best time in my entire life. I had finally made it and I was truly truly happy. I have a writing job I LOVED to pieces, I was making a 6 figure income and I had goals, dreams and purposes. Literally what more could I ask for?

The besties

Times and interests changed and though I didn't notice it as it was happening, boy do I see it now. I somehow got caught up in day-to-day and continually putting myself down. I saw very clearly what I wasn't accomplishing and paid no attention to what I was. I sort of became my own worst enemy in having so much doubt in myself. I began feeling like I completely lost what I have spent the last few years building up, not to mention the momentum I had before. I wasn't planning on writing my resolutions/non-resolutions, but after reading last year's post, I find it extremely important to continue this. Sometimes you forget that you can be your own mentor.

My flower girl and favorite little girl

I stated I was much smarter then, but I was much more inspired as well. Some not so wonderful things happened this year and I guess I still haven't gotten out of the funk. It is time to change that, and I know it.

Wedding fabulousness

Last years resolutions:

1. Make The Inspired List the most amazing vendor guide that helps thousands of brides on their big day. {Work In Progress} We now have tens of thousands of people viewing Inspired Guide every month. We re-designed and re-launched the site and it is a much better resource at this point. I don't think anything is ever really done, so this one is definitely still a work in progress as I would love to see Inspired Guide and Engaged & Inspired break all new records this coming year.

2. Continue to be a writer and don’t ever give that up for a 9-5. {Accomplished} This I have stuck to. I would never go back to a regular old job, although days don't pass where I don't wish I could go back to the unispiring and easy world of a regular old job. I don't want a 9-5, but I want a start-up, a passion project and something that I can dive into and flex my creative muscles.

3. Marry the man that I have been in love with since I was about 13 years old. {Accomplished} You all have heard that we got married, right? :)

4. Travel the world like never before. {Accomplished} I added Chicago to my list of sight seeing as well as Australia and New Zealand. I think that is pretty good for a year's time. But boy do I have big plans for the coming year.

5. Make a little time for Vegas :) {Accomplished} I have a guilt pleasure for Vegas. I really do. This year the besties and I had the time of our lives and celebrated our bachlorette, Melissa. And meeting/hanging with Kid Cudi for the afternoon wasn't a bad surprise to the trip either.

6. Expand and grow with Engaged & Inspired and continue to inspire and be inspired by all that the wedding world has to offier. {Work In Progress} I'm getting there,  and I have big plans for this coming year, but like I said, there is never a time when I will feel "done" with the progress of E&I.

7. Continue saving like a crazy person and continue to have zero debt to anyone. {Negative} Well, not really negative, but I didn't stick to this one like I should. I'll totally admit that I went a little off the wire here, which is a combination of opening a new shop and losing a job. I don't have any debt, but my savings has seen the brunt of my decisions.

8. Comment more on blogs. I always mean to and I want to show my love so this year I’m making time for that. {Negative} What is my problem with this? Google Reader needs to create a comment button to make it much easier!

9. Buy my Lexus. (This one I can’t wait for!) {Accomplished} I switched to Audi and bought one. It was definitely a reward to myself for all my hard work :)

10. End the year with little Reaghan in my belly. {Negative} This little girl hasn't arrived just yet, and who knows when she actually will. So I leave this one unchecked off for now, until the day comes when we are both ready.

Photo by Scott Andrew Photography in Napa

New Years Resolutions:

1. Spend more time doing what I love, and not getting sucked into things because I feel like I have to.

2. Find a passion, that thing that I want to do and go for it! Stop being a drifter and focus on what I want and what will get me there.

3. Finish decorating my home and start saving to buy our next home.

4. Get my savings back on track and continue to stow away 50% of all earnings. You will thank yourself later.

5. Do things that make you happy so you can truly say you are.

6. Learn how to enjoy things and be happy again.

7. Learn photoshop and how to design stuff on my own so I don't have to be at the mercy of my extremely busy husband.

8. Get inspired again.

9. Make Engaged & Inspired what you truly want it to be.

10. Add date nights back in with the husband, and get off the computer and phone. (More on how I am doing this later. It's actually pretty cool)

11. Become a better listener, friend and person. Be there for people and don't be afraid to be a little vulnerable.

12. Get work discipline in again, but doing things that mean something.

13. Realize my worth again and be confident in that. Don't doubt or put myself down. I can do whatever I want to do.

14 Make an effort and try harder in everything you do.

The fabulous Yasmin of Floral Theory handing me my bouquet

As for my non-resolutions. There are not as many as last year, as I don't feel like I have done my best. Lots of room for improvement, but in an effort to recognize my strengths and not doubt myself, I will put something down here.

1. You held up through the good and the bad this year and kept somewhat of a focus. Times were tough, but you got through them. Continue to be resilient this year and make things happen.

2. You starting getting more on track with your passion and realizing where your skills lie. Continue to follow that passion and sort through what is and is not good for you. You actually went for it, and you are in a better place now because of it.

3. This year you made decisions that have helped further your career and your life. Continue casting aside things that are unimportant for those that truly are.

4. You got married! Not only did you pull off one hell of a wedding, you started a journey that is unlike any other.

5. You made your own life go right because you were in charge 100%. Way to stay grounded and true to you.

6. You have created something for yourself and though it isn't where the ideal scene is, you are far better off than if you had never started.

7. You did 100 days straight of Yoga. Not a bad way to start the year. Continue that this year.

Steph and I finally hanging out in New Zealand

And there you have it. As of now, 2012 and I haven't gotten off to the best start. But all that means is I have a foundation from which to build and the only place I can go is up. In times where things get trying, I actually learn a bit more about myself, who I want to be, and what I want to do. The only way out of things is the way through, and though these first few days of the year have been the worst, some amazing things have actually come from them that never would have happened without actually going through it. And for that, I am grateful.

Here is to you, 2012!

Blogging on COLOURlovers!

Some of you may know, but I am writing over at COLOURlovers every now and again (there will be MUCH more after the holidays wrap up) and I thought it was time to share it with you all! I totally love writing these posts over there and I hope you all enjoy reading as much I enjoy writing them. The most recent post is about holiday wedding details, next up I will be blogging about winter weddings, so stay tuned for that one as well! If you would be so kind as to leave me a comment there about what you think, I would really appreciate! And hopefully you have a chance to check out the site a bit, it is actually a great site for you lovely brides out there. You can create your own color palettes which you can use for your wedding plans!

Living Room Ideas + Inspiration

Wedding break? I don't really feel like there is such a thing because the entire time I was planning my wedding I was gathering inspiration from every corner I could. So today, while I figure out the layout of my house, I'm hoping these textures, colors and designs offer some awesome inspiration for making your wedding a little more unique. I love those smaller details that really make the space complete. Which is why I am spending my day looking for end tables (instead of working as I probably should be doing at the moment.) Of course this search continued on until before I knew it, I was re-designing my entire living room. But I gotta say, it NEEDS it! Out with the shabby chic, in with the awesomeness.

Fave end tables?

Though I love the bright ones, I might stick to either the mirrored or white ones because of the new design I have in mind for the rest of my living room.

Actually maybe the bold yellow would actually look good with such a statement couch? I don't know. Thoughts would be awesome!