I made it! It was not without struggle or stress and strain, but I survived last week. (Sigh of relief.) In other good news, I have 255 followers, which means that I've officially met my June 1st goal of 250 followers! Hooray :)
This past week was just. plain. busy. I worked four 15 hour days in a row, had a walk through for a wedding I'm assisting on, and started puppy training classes with Rhino. I did a better job this past week at being present and trying not to take on the emotional weight for my entire week in a single moment, but, as always, these things happen and there were moments of slight despairing.
I don't have many other updates for this week since my main accomplishment was simple survival, but some things to look forward to this week: I'm assisting on my first wedding this Saturday, and I only have two BHLDN shifts this week, which means more time for blogs, etc.
Hopefully more to update you all on next week.
Some quick updates:
1) 225 Followers! Woooohoooo. So close to hitting that 250 Followers goal a bit early :) Most of those followers (ok....all but 3) came from Pinterest, as work schedules, puppy and ailments got in the way of blog postings and twitterings this week. So, this week I'm going to be picking up the pace on my blog and twitter account.
2) I got the wedding coordination job, and I'm SO thrilled --- this couple is seriously awesome and I love their vision. It'll be a lot of fun to help them bring it to life.
3) I have three interviews I'm working on setting up for blog features, so my goal is to have the questions for those set and ready this week.
A separate issue:
I'm carrying around roughly 10 pounds of excess/post-wedding weight that I'd like to free myself from (since I continue to whine about it and do nothing), and, since I'm feeling inspired by Sheri more and more, I want to give myself some concrete accountability on that. So....I'll be posting mini-updates about that as I try to reintroduce naturally-occurring foods and exercise in a sustainable fashion into by life. Sheri --- any healthy meals-for-two you want to share?
So. I have some BIG news this week that is relatively unrelated to my goal this week: I'm a mom! Meet Rhino Van Arsdale (aka my little rhinoceros). My husband brought him home to me on Friday, and I am just the most in love with this little guy. Actually, he's not that little --- he's about 40 pounds of pure muscle.
ANYWAY. Having the responsibility for the care of this guy thrown into my life has taught me some things about my SpireSpire goal of growing my business --- it's actually not that different from caring for a growing puppy.
Rhino needs attention. Since he's new to our family, we've been trying to take an active interest in him as much as possible --- playing with him, snuggling with him, rubbing his belly, taking him for walks, etc. Likewise, in these early weeks and months, my business needs my attention on a consistent basis --- I should be brainstorming blog topics and event venues to contact throughout the day. I should be reading articles written by seasoned wedding planners when I have a few free minutes. Starting a business takes the investment of my time on a consistent basis. So, I'm going to try to set aside 20-30 minutes per day at a minimum to my business, and I'm going to try to log that this week so I can report on it next Monday.
Rhino also needs discipline. As I said before, Rhino is BIG. And, he's a puppy, and most of the time at the mercy of his desires to smell and play with and jump on things. Since the day might be coming soon where he is stronger than me and I need to be able to control him, John and I are going to be starting obedience classes with him soon so that he'll learn to sit, stay, lay down, fetch, etc. when we tell him to. Now, being his ever-so-smitten mommy, I want to just snuggle him and give him treats all of the time instead of doing the more difficult and uncomfortable task of training him. Likewise, my business, especially in the early stages, is going to require a certain amount of discomfort from me --- I'll need to put myself/my business out there when I meet new people, I need to do a better job of cold-contacting other wedding professionals, AND I need to be open and honest in forums like SpireSpire about the true --- and not ideal --- status of my goal.
This week I HAVE stepped up in regards to contacting people. I have two more interviews/blog features in the works, and I'm considering making interviews and blog features a twice monthly event (instead of a monthly one) so that I force myself to seek more professionals out.
In regards to followers, I'm up to 178, having accumulated 21 more! Hooray. I'm going to try to break the 200 barrier this week with some active Pinterest, Twitter and Blog Activity. If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to follow me on any and all of these social networking sites: Facebook
So, for next week --- I'm going to be logging my daily "investment" time, working on gaining a few new contacts, and hopefully getting an interview/blog feature up and running.
Thanks for the support, all. Some photos from this past week's bloggings
Let's start with the truth. I don't have a lot to report on this week, mostly because I didn't do a whole lot this week. Another truth: there is a pattern in my life that goes a little like this: 1) ambitious idea plants itself in my brain 2) I get excited about said idea 3) I develop a sprint-like plan to conquer said idea 4) the largeness of the idea clashes with my everyday capacity to handle large obstacles/tasks 5) I stray from the plan to achieve the idea 6) frustrated with myself, I abandon the plan and the idea 7) I kick myself for quitting 8) repeat.
This cycle in my life has repeated itself in struggles for health and fitness, large theater projects I've wanted to direct, new hobbies I wanted to learn, money I've endeavored to save, and much, much more. And, while I do experience success in some of my endeavors, this pattern (and the fear of it) are ever-present, causing me to either a) never begin work on something I think of tackling or b) abandoning the work prematurely.
As my day to post on SpireSpire was looming, I began to feel the all-too-familiar pangs of guilt over my lack of effort this week, and I began to fear that, like I have in the past, I would simply abandon ship and add wedding coordination to my regrettable pile of attempted-and-abandoned projects.
But then, a ray of hope came to me in the form of a friend posting a familiar quote on Facebook, from one of my favorite books, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (for those of you who are not familiar with it, Screwtape is a demon writing letters of advice to a rookie demon on how to cause humans to stumble): "
Active habits are strengthened by repetition. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel. Your affectionate uncle
There is hope because a) I still have my capacity to feel and dream about this work and b) the more I continue to act upon this dream, the more I will have the courage to continue to realize it. I want to break the cycle of dreaming and feeling without acting, and thus preserve my ability to feel and dream.
Sigh. So, next week, look for some solid, solid updates in the form of new contacts, meetings and lessons learned on the job.
However, despite my feelings of inactivity, this week was not a total loss. I am now up to a total of 157 followers, up 15 from last week. Also, I modeled some wedding gowns at work for a fit seminar (super, super fun), and got in touch with another wedding coordinator referred to me by a friend (shout-out to Anna Greeno!). And last, but CERTAINLY not least....I challenged myself to design a wedding based on the Hunger Games on my blog
. A little sneaky peek is below....
Until next time, and like my Facebook
What a week this has been!
First, I completed my very first interview blog feature with a wedding professional! Now, perhaps it was cheating, but my first interview was with our wedding photographer, Evan Hunt. As it was my first venture into the world of interviewing, I figured it would be good to gather my courage with someone I am already acquainted with.
Things that are true about interviewing: 1) coming up with interview questions is difficult, and figuring out what order they should be in is even harder and 2) it's SUCH a blast getting to read the responses to the questions. Evan was great, and he provided some great insight into the world of wedding photography as well as advice for engaged couples. He also provided some of his most recent photos. Check out the interview here
. Next month, I'll be looking to interview someone I don't yet know, and I plan to make a few appointments to meet with wedding specialists this week. Looks for an update on that next Monday.
Second, I began working at BHLDN
- Chicago this week, and I must say, I am SO excited to be working in a) such a GORGEOUS environment b) such a unique company and c) in the company of such lovely, kind people. Seriously, the store and the products (from gowns, dresses, lingerie, shoes, jewelry to headpieces and decorations) are incredible, and I would greatly encourage you to visit (contact me if you'd like to visit when I'm working and I'll let you know my schedule). Here are a few items that are currently available in stores and online
On March 1, 2013 I will be a full-time self-employed wedding coordinator. Today, March 12, 2012, I work a full-time day-job at a venture capital company...and I've never been paid for my work on a wedding. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time in which to do it. So, this post is dedicated to laying out my plan of attack:
1. Obtain a national event-planning certification
In May I will be obtaining a national wedding planning certificate through a weekend intensive course with the Bridal Society. While a certificate is not necessary to plan weddings, I believe that some sort of formal education and the opportunity to learn from professionals and meet other aspiring coordinators will be extremely beneficial for me while I'm in the midst of this journey.
2. Build a significant online presence/identity
In order to spread the word about my business and to share my style and taste with potential customers, I've created a website
account. I intend to regularly update all of these pages with photos of lovely events, designers I love and money-saving tricks with the hope of gaining a large online following, which will, in turn, generate business. In fact, a sub-goal of mine is to have 1,000 followers between those sites in one year, and to have 250 of those by June 1st (and 500 by September 1st). Currently, I have 82 Pinterest followers, 29 Facebook followers and 8 Twitter followers, for a total of 119. So, this is where YOU come in! Follow me and refer friends and family who you think would be interested in my work :)
3. Create and develop a portfolio
As a wedding coordinator, I intend to have a professional portfolio that showcases my work for prospective clients. In order to have a portfolio, I need to have worked on several weddings. So, in order to get work on some weddings, I'm currently working for free and plan to take on clients at no-charge until September 1, 2012. Do you have a friend or family member getting married? Send them my way! I need to get working :)
4. Network with other event professionals in the area
a. Working at BHLDN, Chicago. I am SO excited to share with you all that this Sunday I will be beginning a part-time job at the BHLDN store in Chicago. For those of you who are unfamiliar with BHLDN, it is the wedding brand associated with the family of stores that includes Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Free People and Terrain. As the store a) is one of only two in existence and b) sells wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, shoes and accessories, lingerie AND decorations and favors, it'll be an incredible learning experience. I plan to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to interact with potential clients and other wedding artists.
b. Once each month, I plan to set up a meeting with a Chicago wedding professional to exchange business information, get my name out there, and to interview him/her for a blog feature. I plan to meet fellow coordinators, photographers, designers, florists, dance instructors, DJS and bands, and venue managers, etc.
So. That is my general plan of attack. [Looking back over it, it feels big and a little scary.]
In the name of accountability, I'd like to share the two major ways in which I see myself struggling with my plan:
- I'm going to be a busy, busy lady. I already work a full-time job, so between working an additional job at BHLDN, managing my social media sites and working with clients, I worry that my introverted self will be at risk of a burn-out. However, I am confident that a mix of healthy lifestyle choices, positive reinforcement from friends and the Spire Choir, keeping myself on-task and on-schedule and lots of walks outside will help keep my life in balance.
- Speaking of introversion....Networking with strangers is not exactly something I am super comfortable doing. In short, I can see meeting-setting and interviews being the part of my plan that I avoid, as it requires an explicit amount of extroversion of me.
So. There it is. My game plan.
(P.S. Some blog
images from this past week are below!)
I could go on and on about the reasons why I love weddings --- the love stories, families getting bigger, past and present friends gathering to celebrate loving commitments, pretty gowns, lovely flowers, endless opportunities to be creative....you get the picture. I just really love weddings.
However, beyond my love for weddings, there is another reason I feel compelled to be a part of the wedding industry. While I was planning my wedding, my mother mentioned to me how many more choices I had available to me than when she was planning her wedding in 1984. And she's right --- brides today have a wealth of information to deal with between the internet with its blogs, online shops and more, magazines and wedding expos. While this variety certainly caters to great fun and creativity, with that array of possibility has come a more sinister side of the wedding world: the pressure to impress.
One of my least favorite shows on television at the moment is a show called "Four Weddings," where four complete strangers, all brides, attend each other's weddings and rank them for style, food, experience, etc, essentially turning their weddings into competition entries. It literally breaks my heart to see women get so lost in the need to impress total strangers with their wedding that they lose touch with the only things that matters --- making a commitment to a person you love in front of people who love you. Although this particular show takes this idea to the extreme, I think that this competitive/people-pleasing aspect of wedding planning can be ever-present, as brides feel the need to create blog-feature and photo-op ready festivities that will impress their guests (and distant facebook friends and acquaintances).
Now, I love the pretty weddings, and I COMPLETELY validate a bride's desire to have an attractive-looking event (been there---it was important to me, too). But, I want to be a part of bringing about a change in the wedding industry, where creativity is used as an expression of who a couple is, rather than a statement of how they want to appear to others. I want to help couples connect to their own love stories and plan weddings that look and feel like them. In fact, I would count any event a success where a couple's friend walks away saying, "that wedding felt like Joe and Susie."
For that reason, I named my business "Canvas by Corinne Van Arsdale," which, for me, sums up the idea of wanting to make a couple's wedding look and feel like them. Here's the description of my business from mywebsite
"Canvas is a wedding coordination business that regards your wedding as artwork. Every masterpiece begins with a root element --- often canvas --- upon which color, texture and style are combined to create the artist's point of view. In the masterpiece of your wedding, you and your future spouse are the canvas and the artists, which is why Canvas wedding coordination strives to make your wedding look and feel like you."
Bottom Line: I want to help brides make their wedding-planning process easier and more livable and breathable by helping them get and stay connected to their point of view, which will then be reflected in their wedding day. Because, at the end of the day, my most vivid memory of my wedding day was not the flowers or the place cards or my shoes --- it was the feeling of squeezing my husband's hand during the vow portion of our ceremony.
So....that's my soap-box and that's why I love weddings and want to be a part of them. I'll be posting next week about some of my sub-goals and anticipated strengths, weaknesses and strategies. But for now, you can learn more about me by following me on Facebook
or on my website
(below are some of my favorite images from the blog). Also, I'd love to hear from you, so send any comments, questions and blog submissions my way :)
Cheers, and thanks for reading. ONWARD!
[Note from Shay: To see all of Corinne's images, head over to her stream
to get the full effect. I'd highly recommend...this woman has awesome taste. Go see the pretty!]