I really wanted to consistently blog (really I did, I wrote down ideas, took pics)… but it seems like from April until now life just got in the way and that means:

  • Realizing Baby has colic and learning how to manage
  • Taking a 3-day conference to better my business (preparing for it and then amping up biz afterwards)
  • Developing a new event in Newark – Small Business Week
  • Transitioning Baby into solids (that we are making)
  • Going right into another event I do in Hoboken & Jersey City – Hudson Restaurant Week (starts next week)
  • and now trying to spend time with my niece and nephew visiting from Mexico

It actually doesn’t seem like much as I type it, however learning to adjust to motherhood and maintaining my 14-year old business has been quite a challenge, but more sharing to come (hopefully sooner than later)

weddingsavingtips

I was reminded of wedding cost-savings last week, when I was interviewed for a wedding article. The pricing of wedding stuff in our area (NY Metro area) is insane and priced way above anything I researched online. We wanted a unique wedding while trying to save money on this one-day occasion – we hated spending that much on ONE day! We actually wanted a beach wedding with just family, but our family put the kabash on that so we did our best to cut down costs where we could.

Here’s this list of things we did to save money, but still have a full-fledged venue wedding with all the trimmings.

Reduce our guest list.

Harder than you realize, but we stuck to our rules: We had to have met everyone in the room at least once and We didn’t allow +1 unless they were living together or engaged. Some people might have been upset, but this was OUR budget and wedding. Since your food/venue is per person – this cuts the largest savings.

Venue Savings.

We wanted a unique venue not a place that churns out weekend weddings. We initially wanted a place so we could choose our caterer, but after the venue tasting when the chef nailed Indian and Thai food we were sold. Other things we decided on that helped with pricing.

  • Day of the Week. We got married on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend (within three months). Sundays are cheaper and it makes sense on a holiday weekend.

Save on paper.

Paper is expensive – that is Save the Dates, Invites, Programs, Place cards, Menus – but they also tie together the elements of your wedding. We went the DIY route and thought ahead to save.

  • Buy paper in bulk. We made a list of everything we needed paper for and what we would need (hard stock vs. regular). Here’s where we bought the basic papers from and the envelopments.
  • Print at home if you can. We printed everything at home, not all at once but a quantity a day to not overload the printer.
  • Save on stamps. We decided to do a size of invite so we didn’t have to pay extra for postages and it wasn’t heavy. We also made the RSVP a postcard to reduce postage of that as well.
  • Email. If you want to save even more – go the digital route and email your invitations. We emailed our save the dates.

Flowers & Décor

Flowers are expensive, however since we live close to NYC we were able to take advantage of the flower market area. Yes they are open to the public. They close early so get there before noon. They are located around 28th Street and 6th Ave. I believe their delivery days are usually Thursday and Saturday (or it was for the flowers we wanted).

  • Centerpieces. We didn’t love non-flowered centerpieces, so we tested and tried flower centerpieces that we can make in advance and came up with submerged orchids. We bought tall glass vases from a warehouse for party goods.
  • Candles. Our venue had long windows and we saved money by ordering our own candles and for the windowsills. We ordered them from here [need to find the link].
  • Church Flowers. We didn’t do fresh flowers on the pews, we created faux flower balls. We actually used them for the cocktail hour for centerpieces. We then sold them post-wedding  – SCORE! I bought the tissue paper to make them here.
  • Shop Smartly. I searched the internet for good buys.
    • Used items – I found this site where you can buy others’ wedding things (not bad since items are used for a few hours).
    • Ebay – I bought my veil and the flower girl dress on Ebay
    • Ikea – we bought some great frames for table numbers. I’ve seen so many items from Ikea used for weddings.
  • Shop Ahead (we didn’t with 3 months). You can buy color specific décor (candles, lights, chocolates) at post-holiday sales. Red/Pink after Valentines, Green after St. Patty’s, Pastels after Easter, Red/Blue after July 4th, Orange/Black after Halloween, Assorted colors after Christmas.

Hiring Help/Services.

I hate asking for help, although I’m pretty sure if I asked friends they would not hesitate. Hubby and I did a lot ourselves that we could do in advance, however we did hire help for some things.

  • Day of Coordinator. the day of the wedding we did hire someone, but surely not $1000+ for the day-of coordinator. I hired someone from craigslist to help with making sure details were taken care of. (I had hired him for an event I had 6 months earlier and trusted him, but still not sure if this big guy could handle wedding details – but he rocked it). His tasks: take décor from church and bring to venue for cocktail hour, set-up posters, fill water in centerpiece vases, light candles and help where needed.
  • Hair & Make-up. I really had no idea how much hair and make-up costs and when I did I almost didn’t get it done professionally then I realized it was my “day.” So I posted on craiglist. I hired hair three days before and make-up two days before. Obviously there were no trials and I trusted that whatever they did would be good. It actually turned out GREAT for me – but I’m not picky.
  • Videographer. We found ours for free. He was new to the business and trying to build his portfolio. We found him on the Marketplace area of facebook.
  • Photographer. We asked for digital images only. We would make our own photo albums if we wanted. Those big bulky albums weren’t for us.

Other Savings

  • Favors. We made our own – box of truffles, but skipping them altogether is just fine. We don’t like do-dads, they collect space and then end up in the garbage, so we wanted something edible or nothing (family put kabash on this too).
  • Short-time Line. A short-time line isn’t for everyone. It worked for us. We had fewer choices for vendors and could easily make decisions. We also had less time to start doing or adding more things to the wedding.
  • Rent Bridesmaids Dresses. I didn’t do this, however we went to a wedding and I thought this was awesome. If I had bridesmaids I would have done this. They rented from here.
  • When Done, Sell Everything! We sold stuff on Weddingbee and Craigslist.

I loved reminiscing about our wedding, might have to reminisce some more on our DIY projects.

babyboom

Since 8th Grade I always knew I wanted to go into marketing and advertising. When asked what inspired me – I would say the movie, “Baby Boom.” I’ll be giving away my age for knowing this 1987 movie with Diane Keaton. She plays a dynamo advertising agency executive (which I thought would be my future career), who ends up having a daughter, parenting starts to interfere with her career so she moves somewhere far from the city and ends up starting her own business (in reality became my career). Sadly, despite how “inspiring” it was – I don’t remember details like how did she have the baby as a single mom (adopted, accidental, sperm donor), where did she move or what type of business (maybe baby food?).

Regardless, I haven’t thought about that movie in ages. Today, though, as I quickly dressed my daughter (well put a snuggie over her pjs – shhh), dropped her into her sling, and rushed onto the street for a meeting. It popped into my head. WOW – I was going to a meeting with my daughter and wow – did that inspiring 80s movie really have an impact on me.

I was nervous she would act up, but she listened and looked around and enjoyed the lunch meeting. I hope to integrate her (and any future children) into our businesses and have them experience entrepreneurship and financial management as early as they can. Maybe she won’t need a movie for inspiration but will see the life that was built around them as inspiration enough.

This past Easter Sunday I wanted to fast forward my 3-month old’s future. I wanted her to be able to walk, to look for things, to do crafts with me! All day, I was bombarded with pictures on Facebook of families dyeing eggs and was even sent a video of my ecstatic niece doing her first Easter Egg Hunt. I can’t wait! I want to do that stuff now!

Maybe a little selfishly, but I can’t wait to do the things I never did. As a child of immigrant parents, my sister and I missed out on typical American holiday traditions. We did celebrate Easter, but it quite simply included church in a pastel colored dress, an Easter basket and a ham lunch/dinner.

Then I realized there’s a bunch of stuff I have yet to experience and can’t wait to do with my child. Here’s my list:

  • Dye Easter Eggs
  • Do an Easter Egg Hunt
  • Go on a Hay Ride
  • Go Apple/fruit picking (probably with a hay ride)
  • Carve a pumpkin

Of course, we can’t wait to start our own family traditions as well. Not sure what they are yet, but will look forward to creating them and sharing them.

3 Month Mama: Truths

March 23, 2013 — 4 Comments

Three months of motherhood – the light at the end of the tunnel that was teasing me for days and weeks. I made it. I’ve been through a gazillion feelings from overjoyed to overwhelmed to mad (yes mad). As I experienced every new and trying episode of motherhood I was mad at my mom friends who never shared their nitty gritty details with me! So here are mine for whomever comes after me.

You Forget To Eat

Now I’ve never been the type of person to skip a meal – that always seemed odd when I heard people say that they “forgot” to eat! My hunger growls would deafen someone and I’d probably black out within two hours of a missed meal… BUT during the first weeks there were days when it’d be 2pm before I found my way to the kitchen or ordered Mr. C to bring me something. Hours passed quickly and my focus was on this little screaming bundle (of joy? not) wanting attention and more milk and yes I forgot to eat. Honestly, I wouldn’t even notice until I looked at the clock. It’s probably the reason I lost all my weight within 4 weeks.

Showering is a Luxury

Once again, really, there isn’t time for a shower? A mom friend asked during the first month, “So did you shower today?” How did she know? Did she smell me through the phone? I guess she knew – the luxury of a shower is just that… a luxury. If given the option between reading emails, eating a girl scout cookie, just sitting on the couch OR jumping into the shower – I somehow chose everything other than the shower and I was fine with that. I had a good schedule and it seems about average when I ask around – every other day!

Why Mom Friends Never Schooled You

I didn’t understand why I was baby-clueless. I had friends and a sister that had children, but yet I don’t recall any horror stories. I remember big swollen bellies and then cooing babies and smiling faces. Why had these so-called friends not let me in on the reality of their world? The answer was they hide it from the single chicks. The bruised nipples, the exhaustion, the incessant googling, the wailing baby, the diaper rashes, the reflux – these are things not told to the childless friends. Why I demanded? “Because you wouldn’t get it.” I thought of that reply and the reality is – it would have flown over my head and I probably would have politely smiled and nodded. So to all my mom friends “thanks” from my former childless self – however this new mom would have appreciated some clues. And to my single friends, don’t worry I’m trying to keep it down to 1 out of every 8 issues because I know you don’t care. ha!

Poop Shmoop

I was never one of those girls that babysat or changed diapers – shoot I barely held a baby. I changed my first diaper 3 years ago at the age of 34! My niece was 6 months old and my memory of it was like that of a crime scene. Poop was everywhere – in every nook and cranny and it smelled – I gagged and now I had to clean it with this wriggling, kicking baby. Well all of that goes away when it’s your baby. I’ve been pooped on, spat on, vomited on, and pissed on. I wipe it away and move on. Next.

Joining a Cult

I am exclusively breastfeeding my daughter and have found that I have unknowingly been inducted into a secret cult. I have never pushed my decisions on anyone and have learned not to do that for breastfeeding as well. I chose breastfeeding because it’s free, it’s great for the baby and I’ve bonded with her in an amazing way. However, many women are strong proponents of breastfeeding and have thus created a sisterhood. I did not expect that this ancient ritual would make me a part of a sorority. If a woman finds out you are breastfeeding or sees you feeding in public – a smile spreads, stories are exchanged and like that we are now sisters of the leaky boob.

I’m relieved that I’ve survived the first three months and look forward to what’s to come but still think there’s way more trials and tribulations ahead – but thankfully mom-friends have let me in on the realities of mommyhood. Wish me luck!

What did you learn in first three months?