Spreading Joy Through the Magic of Birthdays: The Birthday Project!

TBPPLogoFinal copyHey Y’all,

Today I want to shine the spotlight on my friend Paige Chenault and her amazing organization, The Birthday Party Project.

View More: http://engage14bachelorgulch.pass.us/engage14bachelorgulchPaige is another fabulous friend that I made at Engage! Luxury Wedding Summits, where we most recently had the opportunity to do some Dirty Dancing together (see photo above!). But since 2012, Paige and her team of volunteers have been spreading joy and celebrating the lives of homeless children through the magic of birthdays.

March_Birthday_2014-0036Here’s how it works: Each month, volunteers come together to throw a big, themed birthday bash for the kids staying in the homeless shelters.  The parties often have games, crafts and activities, music, and plenty of cupcakes.  Each birthday child receives a birthday badge, personalized birthday cake, and a $30 gift.

March_Birthday_2014-0075Started in Dallas, TX TBPP started with one agency partnership that celebrated with 60 kids monthly.  Today, The Birthday Party Project hosts 10 parties a month with over 550 kids across Dallas-Fort Worth. In the next few months, The Birthday Party Project is expanding to San Francisco and Detroit to host parties with an additional 100 kids!  The Birthday Party Project will continue to spread joy by bringing the program to other markets across the United States in early 2015.

5287_458307657577788_990533415_nAccording to Paige, the volunteers or as she likes the call them, “birthday enthusiasts”, are the heartbeat of the organization. If you don’t live in the Dallas or SF area and are unable to volunteer, you can always make a financial contribution. Please note, 100% of public donations goes directly to hosting parties for these great, deserving kids and their families.

Additionally, you can help support The Birthday Party Project by purchasing something on their wish list, which includes party supplies, themed activities, and special party favors. You can also sign up to “Share Your Birthday” using their online fundraising tool, which I think is a pretty great way to celebrate another blessed year of life.

To learn more about the organization and find out how you can help, visit their website: www.thebirthdaypartyproject.org and follow on Twitter and Instagram, here: @bdayenthusiast.

Getting Married? Create Your Dream Wedding Registry Using NewlyWish

My Friend Amanda Allen, NewlyWish Founder and CEO, and I at #Engage14

My Friend Amanda Allen, NewlyWish Founder and CEO, and I at #Engage14

Hey Y’all,

Since I’m always making such great friends at the Engage! events, I thought I’d start featuring some of them here to shine a light on their amazing companies and talents. To kick things off, I’d like to introduce y’all to my friend Amanda Allen (pictured with me above at Engage! 14), Founder and CEO of NewlyWish, a New York City-based online wedding registry service designed to help couples create gift registries that truly reflect their life and personal style.

Amanda_HeadshotNewlyWish sets itself apart from traditional registry providers through a curated collection of gifts from over 50 boutiques, brands and artisans, providing everything from chic home goods to eco-friendly products, and unique experiences, all wrapped up in their state-of-the-art registry technology.

NewlyWish Landing PageBeyond their over 12,000+ products, the NewlyWish site features:

One-click registering – Couples can register for the basics with one click using Kitchen, Bed, and Bath Starter Collections.

Group gifting options – Allows guests to contribute toward big-ticket items like commissioned art, furniture, and luxury linens.

Personalized registry homepage – Couples can customize their registry homepages with photos, messages to guests, and a unique registry URL.

Registry Gift Tracker – Keeps track of all items purchased, what’s been shipped, what’s in process and who to send ‘thank you’ notes.

Gift holding options – Moving? Spring cleaning? NewlyWish will hold all goodies until a specific date.

Cash & Honeymoon Funds – Gives guests the opportunity to contribute cash to the couple’s new life.

Exclusive Mix and Match Tabletop Collections – NewlyWish has taken the guess-work out of figuring out which dinnerware, glassware, and flatware patterns look perfect together, with exclusive collections put together by some of the wedding industry’s biggest names.

If you’re engaged (or looking for a fantastic gift for anyone!), you need to check out NewlyWish for all of your wedding registry needs! You won’t regret it. Happy shopping/gifting!

Highlights From My Trip to Aspen: The Little Nell, Ajax Tavern and Blazing Adventures!

photo 3Hey Y’all,

I recently had the privilege to spend a few incredible days in Aspen at The Little Nell, which I might add is an incredible resort that pays attention to detail in every sense of the word.

Settled at the base of the mountain, you really could not ask for a better location to stay in Aspen.  Not only is it easy to walk around Aspen because it is so quaint and charming of a town, but from The Little Nell you can hop right on the ski slopes if it is in fact ski season or take the gondola up to the top of the mountain for lunch and take in the stunning views.

We were fortunate enough on our first night there to have dinner at the top of the mountain while enjoying a few different bands from Elan Artists and a delicious meal from the The Nell‘s chef who created culinary magic.

On our second night, we ventured down the mountain to the Ajax Tavern for amazing food, an impromptu bocce ball tournament and lots of wine.  Beyond the fine dining, for anyone planning to get married in Aspen, or thinking of a mountain wedding, I highly suggest checking out the breathtaking views (click here for Little Nell wedding testimonials).

The view alone is worth millions and the Nell has a few special places for the ceremony, as well as the reception, all right there for the perfect wedding.

Also, the rooms at the Nell are incredibly comfortable and spacious, I slept like a log. I don’t think that there is much more you can ask for in a room when traveling.

photo 2In addition to awesome accommodations, our days were packed full of fun, and there are plenty of things to do while in Aspen. I have to admit that the highlight of the trip would have to be the white water rafting trip we took with Blazing Paddles.

The two hours floating down the rapids were a complete blast and I would be open to doing that everyday if possible.  Unfortunately, we barely get rain in Los Angeles, so I am not sure a daily rafting trip would even be possible.

photo 4Our last day in Aspen we went fly fishing, something I had never done before, but I caught seven fish, so I must have some sort of beginners luck. As you can see from the pictures we were prepared for the elements, but at the stocked ponds where we went fishing, the waders were not necessary other than for an awesome photo op. The only time we got in the water was for the picture.  Also, all seven of the fish I caught were released back into the ponds.

Image of Sundeck Wedding at The Little Nell via http://www.thelittlenell.com/Information/Photo-Gallery

Image of Sundeck Wedding at The Little Nell via http://www.thelittlenell.com/Information/Photo-Gallery

Winter or summer, Aspen is stunning and has something for everyone to do.  I can’t understand why anyone would not want to go there all the time.  I am addicted and will be back!







Winter Wreaths For Your Door and Mantle

Hey Ya’ll,

If you don’t have time to load up your home’s exterior with twinkling lights or can’t be bothered with a shedding tree adorned with beautiful bulbs, there’s one easy way to instantly add holiday cheer to your abode: a winter wreath!

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.09.09 PMWhat do you think of these lovely blue themed wreaths? How about these wreaths with beautiful bursts of red?

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.11.22 PMA classic green wreath is always a good choice, too…

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 1.16.01 PMIf you’re crafty, try stringing leftover bulbs together using some wire or hot-gluing bulbs to a bare wreath (click HERE for a tutorial for the wreath below from http://sharyncarlson.typepad.com):


Image and tutorial via http://sharyncarlson.typepad.com

Another fun idea is spray painting some holly to create a metallic, sparkly wreath:

31ab6a3b0eb9ce353230fae0717167d1Wreaths are a great way give a seasonal nod to a holiday and the best part is that they can be hung over a mantle, on a wall or on a door. Do you have a winter wreath you use every year or do you prefer to switch it up? Let me know in the comment section below.

The Knot Has 100 Tips From Top Wedding Pros (Like Me!) In This Month’s Issue

TKM13WIN_Cover copy.inddHey Ya’ll,

If you’re planning a wedding, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this month’s issue of The Knot magazine.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 2.49.27 PMInside, you’ll find The Knot’s Wed 100 series featuring advice from some of the world’s top wedding experts including yours truly…

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 3.08.59 PM… and some of my friends.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 3.10.54 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 3.06.45 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 3.11.57 PM

These are just a handful of the 100 different wedding pros sharing their best tips inside the special issue on news stands now. I just got to Engage! 13 Montelucia in Scottsdale, Arizona where I’ll be speaking this week alongside some of the friends I mentioned above. I’ll be sure to post some pics and highlights from the event later this week, stay tuned.

Ukraine Protests

Hey Ya’ll,

Last month, I was honored to be invited to Kiev, Ukraine to speak at the first annual Wedding Business Summit where I met some of the most gracious, creative and excited wedding professionals who were like sponges looking to learn as much as possible about the wedding industry in the United States.

131130110027-ukraine-protest-012-horizontal-galleryAs I follow the news of what is happening in Kiev and around the Ukraine, my support goes out to all of the people there who are gathering during this time of political opposition. I hope that any violence that surrounds these protests can be approached in a peaceful manner, allowing these amazing people the ability to pursue their destiny.

After personally witnessing the enthusiasm and drive among the people of Keiv, especially those who are working hard to further develop creative industries there, I wish them much freedom and success in the near future.

Black Friday Deals Worth Braving the Crowds For

Image via gamesided.com

Image via gamesided.com

Hey Ya’ll,

I’m not one to shop on “Black Friday” but if you are there are plenty of good deals to score this year. In fact, some of them are already LIVE and can be purchased online! Click HERE for a list of coupon codes that have already hit the web for “Black Friday” 2013.

Earns Wal-Mart StoresClick HERE for The Huffington Post‘s list of the top “Black Friday” deals at Walmart. What’s the best deal they’ve got? Walmart is offering to give YOU $26 dollars for an iPhone 5C ($49 on contract + $75 gift card).

Image via cnet.com

Image via cnet.com

And for all of the tech-lovers on your shopping list (or for yourself!), be sure to check out Cnet‘s list of the best tech deals available this “Black Friday” at stores like Target, Best Buy, Staples and Amazon. Click HERE for their reviews of each product/deal.

tg-lead-targetFor those of you who love Target as much as I do, Tom’s Guide has an excellent list of the best tech deals to score at Target, HERE. According to Tom’s Guide, “Target opens at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and doesn’t close until 11 p.m. on Black Friday. That’s 27 straight hours of continuous shopping. On top of its many sales, Target is also offering a 20 percent off coupon valid Dec. 1-7 for those who spend more than $75 on Black Friday. Plus, if you have Target’s “REDcard” credit card, you can take an extra 5 percent off the sale price.”

Lastly, Lifehacker has a great list of the items you should buy on “Black Friday” vs. “Cyber Monday”. Click HERE to check it out.

Please share any great deals you’ve seen advertised in the comment section below. Good luck and have a SAFE shopping day everybody!