Word of the Day

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Today I learned a new word over at A Cup of Jo:

Sonder – The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

How good are you at that? I’m the worst. When it pours, I tend to forget that I’m not the only one getting rained on.

The writer in me immediately wanted to know more about this word, so imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find it in the dictionary. It turns out that sonder isn’t a “real” word. Maybe if it were, we’d all be better at it? A girl can dream.

One google search led to another and I learned that the word sonder was actually coined by an artist named John Koenig and exists only in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows — his project that names emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for. There are some real gems in this dictionary. Some of my favorites being:

AltschmerzWeariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had.

LiberosisThe desire to care less about things.

Mimeomia – The frustration of knowing how easily you fit into a stereotype, even if you never intended to, even if it’s unfair, even if everyone else feels the same way. [Read more…]

Love is Love is Love

View More: http://lauragordon.pass.us/hornwedding
Laura Gordon Photography

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.”

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage. I’m sharing my thoughts after the jump! [Read more…]

Sentimental Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day has had me stressing hard. I’ve been trolling gift guides for weeks now, but everything seemed so cliché, utilitarian, and uninspired. My Dad is especially sentimental, so the recommended beer kits and grilling tools just aren’t going to cut it! After lots of searching and thinking, I was finally able to round up some options that I know will make his day. Here are my recommendations for heartfelt, thoughtful father’s day gifts. Shopping links are listed at the bottom of this post!

father's day gift ideas

 

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Do you have any Father’s Day gift ideas I haven’t mentioned? Please leave a comment below!

A Tip for Finding Your Passion

how to find your passion
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Living a fulfilling life is hard enough when you know what your passion is. It’s even harder when you don’t have a clue! There are so many of us out there that are unhappy with our current career paths but don’t know what we’d rather be doing. All we know is that this isn’t “it”. What do you do in this situation? I’ve heard a ton of advice on this topic. Some say you should just start trying everything under the sun and see what you like. Some say you should reach out to the people in your life and ask them what they think your passion is, or at least what they think your good at. All good advice, but recently I heard a tip that I just can’t keep to myself.

I’m a big fan of the She Makes Magic podcast. Seriously, you should subscribe! My mind expands every time I listen. Their last podcast featured a woman named Hannah Purss, who said something that resonated with me so, so much. [Read more…]

VISION BOARD 101

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Confession time: we’re halfway through the year and I haven’t put a dent in the goals I set for myself back in January. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even remember that I had set many of these goals! They’re scribbled haphazardly on the back page of my day planner — obviously the problem. Does anyone relate? I’ll be damned if December rolls around and I haven’t made it through this list, so it’s time to bring out my goal achieving secret weapon — the vision board. Vision boards are so effective in setting your intentions, mapping out your goals and priorities, keeping you focused, and propelling you forward. I swear by this thing, so today I’m sharing tips for creating your own!

WHAT IS A VISION BOARD?

I’ll start by saying that a vision board is not to be confused with an inspiration board. It’s much more than that! It’s an aspiration board. To put it simply, a vision board is a visual representation of your hopes and dreams–which from this point on we’ll refer to as your goals. It can be for the short or long term, and can encompass all the different areas of your life: family, career, health, fitness, relationships, finance, travel, etc.

COOL. HOW DO I START?
Don’t go buying that bulletin board and start ripping pages out of magazines just yet. First, you need to press pause, clear your head, and set your intentions. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to feel? What are all the changes and places you’d like to see? Dont rush through this exercise! It’s the most important part! Take a few days if needed and I guarantee you’ll feel focused, full of purpose, and ready to start creating your board.

THE FUN PART

Once you’ve figured out what your vision is, it’s time to create your board! I rounded up some examples from around the web to show you what (in my experience) makes a great vision board.

[Read more…]

5 Inspiring Women on Instagram

In honor of #followfriday, I’m sharing five of my favorite inspiring instagram accounts. In a sea of perfectly filtered selfies and pretty styled photos, these women will stand out and make your day! It would be a shame for me to keep them all to myself. You’re welcome!

Lara-Casey

LARA CASEY / @LARACASEY

Allow me to introduce you to my spirit guide, Lara Casey — the amazing force behind the Making Things Happen movement and also the editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings. Pictures of her adorable daughter, Grace, would probably be enough to keep me hooked, but Lara’s instagram feed is food for your soul. Her posts are heartfelt, personal, thought provoking, and encourage you to live your life with purpose. I’ll put the disclaimer here that this isn’t the kind of feed that you scroll through quickly. Sure, her pictures are just as pretty as they come, but the nuggets of wisdom live in her captions.

Jen-Gotch

JEN GOTCH / @JENGOTCH

This #girlboss is the queen of quirk and creative director of Ban.do. You guys. She’s too real (if there is such a thing). Possibly the most pretty and personable account on instagram, you’ll love her style, sense of humor, and complete inability to take life too seriously. Bonus: expect lots of cameos from designlovefest. These two are BFFs!

Karena-Katrina

KARENA DAWN & KATRINA SCOTT / @KARENAKATRINA

These best friends will motivate you to be happy and healthy. As the brains (and bodies) behind fitness brand, Tone it Up, their message boils down to this: work out because you love your body, not because you hate it! Will I ever have ripped bodies like them? Nope! But I’d rather have their fun-loving attitudes and positive approach to food and fitness.

Chrissy-Teigen

CHRISSY TEIGEN / @CHRISSYTEIGEN

If I could choose anyone in the world to hang out with, it would be Mrs. Legend — uncensored, always cooking, super mischievous, so real. if it sounds like I have a girl crush, it’s because I do. Besides the fact that she’s John Legend’s muse and the poster child for #relationshipgoals, she’s a reminder that celebrities are real people too.

Shay-Mitchell

SHAY MITCHELL / @SHAYM

This Pretty Little Liar slash social media maven gives me major wanderlust. Look up hashtag #shaycation to see her past adventures and follow her now so you’ll be along for the ride next time. When she’s not traveling, count on her for your daily dose of good vibes and gorgeous selfies. You’ll almost forget she’s a celebrity. Almost.

How To Beat Creative Block

How to beat creative block

Have you ever experienced a creative block? The no way through, around, or over type? I’ve had countless experiences where my left brain shuts down or simply gets stuck. You’re staring at a blank page and everything you’ve come up with feels stale. It may only be a metaphorical lightbulb that switches off, but it puts you in a frustrated, dark place. How can you get your mojo back when your idea bank is, well, bankrupt? Spoon feeding yourself ice cream and watching reality tv doesn’t work (been there, done that), but here are 10 things that will!

WORD ASSOCIATIONS

I’ve been told over and over again to free write when I’m feeling stuck. Well, I found something that works even better — word associations! This trick works every time I’m designing an event, planning a photo shoot, or coming up with content ideas. I picked it up from designlovefest years ago and Bri explains it best:

let’s say i wanted to think about ideas associated with “summer.” then i would start a blank page in my notebook or on my laptop and i would write down every word that reminded me of that season…watermelon, beach, sunburn, sprinklers, popsicles, heart sunglasses, denim shorts. then you break it down even further…each of those words has even more ideas, feelings or memories associated with them. what do heart sunglasses remind me of? lolita. what memory does sunburn spark for me? getting my hair braided on a cruise as a kid and getting sunburned so bad in between each braid. and now all of a sudden i am thinking about braids…and then hair tutorials.

COLLABORATE

For those of us who mostly work alone, sometimes two heads really are better than one. Whether I’m simply bouncing ideas off like-minded creative friends, or teaming up for a big project, I always strike gold with the collaborative process. Brainstorm, share ideas, ask for feedback, and get a new perspective!

HOARD YOUR IDEAS

Take advantage of the creative bursts that come to you when you’re not brainstorming — the musings, half-formed thoughts, and strokes of genius that hit you while driving, drinking coffee, mid-conversation, showering, exercising! Don’t let these treasures slip away — hoard them! I use the notes app on my iphone to write things down and whenever I’m experiencing a block I simply rummage through these undeveloped ideas, pick one, and flesh it out. It’s an insurance policy for creative blocks. Personally, I find it easier to organize and rediscover my ideas on my phone than if I were to use an old-fashioned pen and pad.

INTROSPECT

Before you downward spiral past the point of no return, hit pause and think about why you’re hitting a wall. Are you tired? Afraid of failure? Maybe you’re just not passionate about this project? I hate to break it to you, but your block’s not going anywhere until you deal with the underlying issues.

PRESS PLAY

I Netflix binge just as much as the next person. The next time your creative block pops up, try watching a foreign or period film — something that transports you to a different place and time. Grab some popcorn, enjoy the show, and keep a pen and paper close in case you need to jot down notes!

FINISH AN INCOMPLETE PROJECT

If you’re anything like me, you have a folder full of unfinished projects. Revisit one of those old attempts and try to finish! The beginning stages of a new project are often the most daunting (i.e. the blank page), so picking up where you left off on another project can help you find your flow.

EXERCISE

There’s so much value in getting out of your chair and doing something else. Go for a run, take a dance class, practice yoga — get your mind off the task at hand and do something both active and empowering. Exercise allows your mind to tap into your subconscious where the creative gems are hiding.

CHECK THE CALENDAR

When I’m feeling stuck, sometimes the solution is as simple as looking at the calendar to see if there are any upcoming holidays, seasons, or special events that I can generate ideas around. This practice is big in the editorial industry, but can be beneficial for everyone — especially since it helps you create ideas that are relevant. I can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on for Father’s Day and Fourth of July!

“GOOD ARTISTS COPY, GREAT ARTISTS STEAL”

Picasso’s words, not mine — but here’s how I apply it to my work. It’s great when you’re a magical fountain of originality, but when that tap runs dry I don’t think there’s any shame in looking at what others are creating, and using it as a starting point. Of course, there’s a fine line between copying someone else’s work and using it as inspiration. The main lesson here is not to imitate and regurgitate, but to build on those ideas that you really wish you had thought of first 😉

TURN TO TUMBLR

When you really don’t know what you’re looking for, Tumblr is a much better resource for inspiration than Pinterest. I’m always able to gain more abstract inspiration from Tumblr — moods, color palettes, typography — that I’m able to translate into something fresh.

 

Do you try any of these techniques to overcome your creative blocks? How do they work for you and what are some other tips you may have that weren’t mentioned?

Wedding Wednesday (01)

Welcome to my Wedding Wednesday series! It would be too easy to bombard you with wedding related content every day of the week, so in an effort to keep things interesting around here I’ll be sticking to Wednesdays for these posts.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite details from a stylish wedding I planned and designed last year. I lucked out big time with this bride and groom! Besides the fact that they are gorgeous and belong on the cover of a magazine, they also had impeccable taste, great attitudes, and put a lot of trust in me to make their day something special (spoiler: it was). You can see the full wedding over on Green Wedding Shoes, but here I’ll be breaking down the design and talking about my favorite elements. All photos are by Merari (my fave!).

THE VENUE
You guys. It doesn’t get better than Deering Estate in South Florida. Vintage appeal? Check. Waterfront ceremony site? Check. Outdoor dining? Check. Black-and-white-checkered-dance-floor-with-gorgeous-hanging-chandeliers? Check! This is Old Florida at it’s very best.


Deering Estate WeddingDeering Estate Wedding

THE COLOR PALETTE
Right off the bat, the bride gravitated to very on-trend blush tones, but we both agreed that we didn’t want another soft, pastel “pinterest” wedding. Both Colleen and Chris are lawyers, so of course we edged things up with black. The combination was so moody and unexpected that they needed a tiny bit of convincing that it would all make sense together. I’m thrilled that they trusted me! Their big day took place during the glittering holiday season, so gold was necessary.

Black blush gold wedding

THE CEREMONY
Remember that waterfront ceremony site I told you about? Well it didn’t disappoint. We ditched the traditional white wedding chairs and opted for black instead. The showstopper of the ceremony, however–other than the bride and groom–was this wood arbor by Unearthed Vintage that Helen and the Ever After Floral Design team decked out in carefully draped black fabric, eucalyptus greens, and gold lanterns. Perfection! The whole thing came together like a symphony.

Deering Estate Wedding Ceremony

THE SEATING CHART
Every wedding I plan has some sort of passion project. For Colleen and Chris, it was all of their paper goods and signage that I designed in-house. The biggest project being this 8×8 seating chart that we constructed with the help of Unearthed Vintage. If you haven’t caught on yet, great vendors are so key in creating an awesome wedding. The vignette had a lot of elements — custom signage, vintage frames, handmade ribbon backdrop. It was ridiculously windy that day. I don’t think the ribbons hung still for even a second but that gave it an ethereal quality that I knew the bride would love.

Vintage Wedding Seating Chart Idea

BLACK TABLE RUNNERS
Fact: Farm tables are my favorite, but I knew they needed something special to keep the overall design cohesive. Cue these black table runners that were made from the same fabric used to drape the ceremony arbor. Small detail, big impact. The gold centerpieces popped like never before and it was truly the detail that tied everything together in a perfect, neat bow.

Deering Estate Wedding Reception

THE LIGHTING
Nothing creates a romantic, al-fresco vibe like bistro lights (also by Unearthed Vintage). Need I say more? This is a must-have for all of my weddings!

Deering Estate Wedding Reception Bistro Lighting

THE PHOTO BOOTH
Besides the fact that photo booths are just FUN, I have two words for you: Gold. Sequins. How am I supposed to resist? Can you believe this quality from Capture POD?

Miami Photo Booth Gold Sequin

 

That’s just a glimpse into Colleen and Chris’ wedding day! Be sure to come back next Wednesday if you enjoyed it!

MONDAY MOTIVATION

Motivation Desktop Free Download

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Mine was fantastic (walks around Wynwood, beach bumming, Pitch Perfect 2) — which makes it really hard to get back to the grind tomorrow. I made myself this desktop screensaver to give me that extra push I know I’m going to need in the morning. You can download it too if you think you could use a boost. Just click here!

Happiness Hack

The-Happy-List-Life-Hack-Small

As someone who’s prone to anxiety, anger, stress, and all-around discontent, I’m always looking for ways to work through my neuroses. I’m a big TED Talk fan, especially the Life Hacks series on Netflix. It inspired my own hack that’s been so effective during the crazy wedding season. It started a few weeks ago when I was on my way to a wedding down in the keys — sleep deprived and honestly on the edge of a full on meltdown. Tears everywhere, negative self-talk (I can’t do this!), the works.

Anyway, if you’ve ever been to the Florida Keys, you know there’s bougainvillea EVERYWHERE. Bougainvillea happens to be my favorite flower — the sight alone puts a smile on my face, and that’s what happened (if only for a few moments).  That was the first time I opened a new note in my phone and started a list: Things That Make Me Happy. It started with bougainvillea and grows almost every week. I add things as they occur to me, and when I’m feeling down or overwhelmed I pull it out for ideas on how to lift my spirits. It’s been a great way for me to reflect, journal (kind of), and be proactive with my own happiness.

Do you have any happiness hacks? I’d love to hear from you!