How To Plan A Birthday Party {Adult style}…

We {insert: society} can get engrossed with planning children’s birthday parties.  So much so that we tend to forget all about our birthday {or friends, spouse, parents, etc}.  Well, I think we all secretly love our birthdays.  It is no secret that I absolutely LOVE my birthday. 🙂

I hope this post inspires you to plan your own birthday shindig or just as fabulous of one for your friends or spouse.  😉

HOW TO PLAN A BIRTHDAY PARTY {ADULT STYLE}

  • Mail invitations.  Yes – MAIL THEM! 🙂  I love receiving cute invitations in the mail!  We are a little too techie these days.  Lets take it back old school style with snail mail!
  • Add a childhood photo of the guest of honor to the invitation.  This might take some secret digging if you are planning for someone other than yourself.  
  • Ask guests to RSVP (duh)….with a song that reminds them of the person you will be toasting.  
    • Example: If said party was for me, all my friends would reply with “______”.  Go ahead ladies, leave it in the replies.  Lets see if Im right! 😉
    • The songs will become the party playlist. 
  • Have a cake made or catered for the event.  Not a sheet cake people! Go to a local bakery and find out what their specialty is.  
  • Serve a signature cocktail.  My personal faves: sangria and/or champagne.  Find out if there is a special drink that your guest of honor prefers.  Make that! 
    • Set up a cocktail area.  No Solo cups!  This is adult style, not cheap.  😉 
  • Add some flowers and balloons.  Keep it simple with a color scheme.  Blue, Yellow, Cream.    Pink, Black, White.   Turquoise, Coral, Cream.  You get what Im sayin…
  • Say cheese.  Photo booths are SO much fun!  Either (A) hire a local photographer or (B) set up a booth on your own.  I prefer the photographer route. 🙂
    • If you do it yourself… Gather a few playful props, tri-pod, camera, and lightweight bedspread or sheet to use as a backdrop.  
    • Two photographers that I :
  • Serve some delicious food.  I like “shower style” food.  It looks pretty and (if done right) is very yummy!
  • Gifts:  Im a fan of leaving the gifts at the store, and gift a “fun time”.  Memories are worth far more than any sweater or gift card. 🙂 
  • Have a good time! 🙂  
Drop a line with your fave party ideas!
Until next time…
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Family Portraits Made Easy…

I am so thrilled to bring you a guest post today by a great photographer and friend, Matthew Martin of MRM Photography.  Read on for some great tips on how to take great family portaits!

Hey! I am Matthew Martin from MRM Photography and Jennifer asked me to guest blog for her today so that I could give you guys some awesome photography tips!  I wanted to make this a pretty quick and dirty article to help you all get better family portraits on those occasions when a professional photographer isn’t around.  Sometimes things just happen and you want a group photo to remember it, and honestly, nobody can afford to hire a professional for every single get together.  These tips will hopefully help you during those times you have to do it on your own!

The first thing you have to decide is if it will be outside or inside.  This is often determined by the weather, but should also be determined by the time!  Many people don’t think about this as thoroughly as they should.  Many people will just assume that if it is daytime, then that’s a good time to be outside and nighttime is a good time for indoor photographs.  That’s generally correct, but there is one caveat, you really don’t want to be shooting outside around lunch time.  This will give you the harshest light and will create shadows that you don’t want, cause people to be squinting, or create problems for your camera to focus or eliminate lens flares.  The ideal time for outdoor photographs is early morning or late afternoon.  You want the times just after sunrise, or just before sunset.  This sunlight is often referred to as the golden hours (because the light has a warm golden glow) and will produce the softest and warmest light.  Not only does this help out with shadows and squinting, but it makes your skin look softer!  This same principle can be applied during the middle of the day if it is an overcast day.  The clouds will act as a natural diffuser and give you a nice soft light to work with.  In addition to utilizing the correct time, you always want the sun to be behind your subject, and this is mainly to reduce any squinting.

If you decide to shoot indoors, one major thing to think about is opening up your windows to let in some natural light, if it’s during the day.  You want to be aware of any shadows going across people’s faces and you want to make sure there are no shadows being cast onto a wall behind them.  One trick to eliminating shadows on the wall behind your family is to move them in front of the wall by a few feet.  Many people will push their families up against the wall to create more space, but this will often lead to unpleasant shadows on the wall.

One final tip, be creative and have fun!  The last thing you want is an image where everyone is stiff as a board and looks uncomfortable.  Try taking a goofy picture first and then squeeze in a more classic portrait last.  This will have everyone relaxed and laughing / smiling.  These make for the best photographs. {Love this tip!}

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to hear more of what I ramble on about, head on over to my blog at http://blog.mrmphoto.com, or check me out on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mrmphoto.

What a Week…

It has been an interesting week for me!  I often compare running a business to riding a rollercoaster.  It is no different — exciting, scary, ups and downs, twists and turns.  It can make you feel like your stomach is in your throat, all the while, you are so excited to take the ride.  Anyone else feel like that?  I hope so!

Coming back from 2 full days off was rough.  I rarely take full days off, you know the kind where you dont check email, Facebook, blog posts to see what action might be taking place.  Here is a recap:

  • Signed the contract to redesign my logo {aka everything about my brand} and to create my website.  {HUGE step and accomplishment for me — I have been putting this off for over a year} … *gulp* it is a pricey investment
  • Spent several hours — actually days — writing articles on organizing.  As of now, my articles are featured monthly in Lake Norman Woman magazine and Sophie Womans magazine. Im working to gain more exposure with other magazines {regionally}.  Fingers crossed!
  • Found out I will have a guest spot on Money Saving Moms website in February.  {national exposure — yippee!}
  • Met with an exceptional interior designer, Vickie Hafer, of Carolina Interior Works.  Im looking forward to working with her in the future.
  • Scheduled a photo shoot for tomorrow — Im in need of better pictures.  {Thank you MRM Photography — cannot wait to see what we come up with}
  • Working on creative video ideas for my fans and friends!  {FAVOR: Please email me any organizing challenges that you have}  I would like to showcase them in an article and video.  I can use First Name, Last Initial to keep things relatively private.

Whew!  It doesn’t seem like a lot when I look back on the week — but then again it has only been 3 days!

Tell me about your week!  T.G.I.F 🙂