Record Breaking

I’m so, so exhausted that I don’t think I can do much more than tell you that the fundraiser was a smashing success. It blew all previous fundraising goals out of the water and broke the million dollar mark. As in two commas needed! I really didn’t think we’d hit that this year though for the last 3 years I’ve been told we should strive for it. Here’s some perspective: I started managing this event five years ago and our goal was to get 800 people in the room and break $500,000. Wednesday we had over 1,100 people in the room and raised $1,073,129.

(I’m still having trouble saying the number out loud. WOW!)

Was it really only a week ago that I was having a complete and utter meltdown in my cubicle, thoroughly convinced that the program was not going to come together and be compelling to guests? I pride myself on a tightly executed (everyone in and out in an hour) program that packs a big punch with our message mainly through youth speakers who have used our services. I went out on a limb this year and had a singer/guitarist, a spoken word poet, and a rapper (all our youth) perform. I wondered if the audience would be able to relate or feel moved because art is subjective. They got standing ovations and guests sought them after the program to congratulate them. That’s my favorite part of the entire event, really- seeing the youth I’ve worked with take the stage and shine. To hear the praise and watch them bask in it. They deserve that recognition and so much more.

Of course, there were some major hiccups but none of them were on our part and luckily most guests had no idea they were even happening. We premiered our new logo and a brand new one minute commercial about our organization that I’m super proud of. I don’t normally attach my place of work with my on line presence but I’m making an exception this time because I really hope you’ll watch it and see who I work for and why. (Watch for a boy standing at an opening door holding a suitcase. That’s my nephew! And me opening the door but you can only see my hand.)

I’m incredibly lucky to work for an organization where I get to do what I love (event planning) and support changing the trajectory of the lives of foster youth alongside fantastic co-workers. I’m so grateful my life led me here.

It really was rad.

(Editors Note: This story starts out badly but ends happily.)

I woke up hearing the all-too-familiar sounds of a cat about to barf.

My eyes shot open and there was Dot about to throw up between us on the bed. I quickly shooed her off and she ran under the bed. I fell back to sleep. What felt like minutes later, Mr. Darcy was up and shuffling around.

“What’s up?”

“I smell shit,” he mumbled. And low and behold, Dot had pooed by his side of the bed and lovingly covered it up with a curtain (how dainty of her). He managed to clean it up while half-asleep.

Then when I got up I moved the covers only to discover a poo-shaped something fly off the bed.

“What the hell?!”

“What??”

“Jesus, what IS that? IS THAT POO?”

I turned on the light and got closer to it. It was a hairball-shaped like a turd. Oh and LOOK AT THAT! Someone had vomited on our bed.

DOOOOOOOOTTTTTIIEEE!

We stripped the bed and Mr. Darcy went back to sleep. I fed the cats and went off to dance class. Later, Mr. Darcy put the puke-covered cover and the down comforter in the wash. We were running around trying to pack the house up plus pack for our weekend away while the wash was in the dryer. When Mr. Darcy went to collect the laundry he discovered that it wasn’t dry. Not only that, the comforter had ripped during one of the cycles so feathers were EVERYWHERE when he took it out of the dryer.

I’m not kidding when I say it looked like many birds had been murdered in that laundry room. The cement floor was covered in them as well as all of his clothing. Frustrated, he tried cleaning it up and right when he was about to lose his cool entirely, I took over. I made him go upstairs and take a shower because we were already running behind to catch our ferry. I quickly realized a broom was no match for the feathers and grabbed the vacuum. We managed to get everything done without any blow ups or breakdowns and were on our way, 40 minutes later than we had originally planned to leave. Maybe we could still make the ferry at 3:35?

We arrived in Anacortes at 3:00pm and were told they were full for cars but could take walk ons. DAMN IT! I needed my car since I was the day of coordinator for the wedding we were attending and was going to be schlupping  stuff around. We looked at each other dejectedly and decided we’d be first in line for the 6:35 ferry. We killed an hour at a brewery with sub-par food and then ran down our iPhone batteries waiting in the ferry line. Finally, after a 30 minute delay, we boarded the ferry and were off to Orcas Island for the wedding of good friends.

Orcas Hotel on Orcas Island, the wedding reception venue and our lodging for the weekend

We arrived, quite tardy, to a boisterous crowd of wedding guests and a bride who was not at all put out that I was four hours behind my scheduled arrival time. Even though she is a friend of mine, they hired me and I do not like to be anything but professional in those situations. After grabbing a drink, we retired to our bedroom to get some much-needed shut-eye in preparation for the wedding the next day.

It was raining when I woke up but the owner of Orcas Hotel predicted that it would clear up around 11am. True to his word, it did. Sunny skies and beautiful vistas surrounded us.

The view from Orcas Hotel.

I spent the day running around arranging flowers, tables, displays, etc. while Mr. Darcy leisurely lounged in our room, alternating between reading, napping, and playing on his iPhone. To his credit, he was my on call assistant or would come downstairs with money when I summoned him to buy me lunch. It was good for him to have a little getaway since today is his first day at his new job. It was a much-needed transition for him.

I like to think this will be their album cover and that their music sounds like Wilco meets Twisted Sister meets Weird Al.

The wedding ceremony was in this tiny, quaint little chapel in the middle of preserved wetlands. The light was magnificent in there and I can only imagine the professional photos will be breathtaking.

The bride and groom walked out to the theme song from “Revenge of the Nerds” which is so them and so awesome. They worked tirelessly on every little detail of the wedding and it showed. They even had activity books that they designed for the guests to play with while they waited for the ceremony to start complete with a crossword puzzle, guest name word search, and mad libs!

Once back at the hotel, I was ready to imbibe just a smidge since it’d been a long day and my day of coordinator duties were tapering off.  (I would not have done this if these people had not been my friends.)

Let’s get this party started! (As in, let’s eat & drink all the things I have avoided for 6 weeks and pray I don’t get sick.)

The happy couple at their sweetheart table enjoying comfort foods like crab sandwiches, hush puppies, and fried chicken.

They even had a photo booth which was a huge hit with the guests. We snuck away during the reception to take ours since it had been over-run with people.

Mr. Darcy wrote the sign. And it’s true, we DO hope they have as much fun at our wedding as we did at theirs. Because we had a blast!

It really did get us excited about our wedding which is only four months and seventeen days away (eek!). I especially loved their ceremony. It was so touching, sweet, funny, and full of love. They had someone from each side of their bridal party speak about them which was just so heartfelt and lovely. And their vows to each other had the audience in tears (I was!). I’ve enjoyed the wedding planning process so far but the thing I am most looking forward to is writing the ceremony with Mr. Darcy.

There were three cakes baked lovingly by the bride and dancing after dinner. Mr. Darcy boogied with me to a couple songs (he doesn’t like to dance). There was even an amazing sunset complete with a rainbow! I do not think they special ordered that but it couldn’t have been more appropriate.

We got home yesterday to two angry cats and a mountain of boxes to fill. We’re trying to pack as much as we can while still being able to live here until Friday. Meanwhile, the cats are anxious and alternating between being very close and snuggly and running away from us. I suppose that isn’t different than when we’re not moving, come to think of it. These next few days are going to be CRAZY for us but if everything goes according to plan, come Friday we will be in our new house. We’re just waiting for the call to sign the docs and get the keys. Keep those fingers crossed for us and send us good packing mojo.

I’m grateful we got to take a mini-break to celebrate the wedding of our friends. It really gave me perspective. The chance to focus on someone else’s happiness went a long way in infusing me with energy.

So BRING IT, week. I’m ready for you. Don’t let the bags under my eyes deceive you!

**The bride has collected an amazing collection of vintage crockery which she is renting out via her new business, Rad Crockery. If you’re a local and need to rent cool plates and such, check her out!

I Need A Moment

So.

Yesterday? Was my biggest fundraiser of the year.

We’re talking:  over 1,100 guests, 113 tables, 11 speakers in one hour, and a fundraising goal of $875,000.

YOU GUYS! I BLEW MY OWN MIND!

We raised $926,122 (and counting).

I can hardly believe it. This event has never raised this much. I’ve never managed an event that raised this much.

I throw everything I have into this event. I work one-on-one with each speaker helping them craft their story and coaching them on public speaking. I meet them at coffee shops and their houses, wherever and whenever they can meet, because they are the reason people give generously. They are the reason we do what we do at the non-profit we work for. Each of them tells me they want to give back because we’ve helped them so much. There is nothing more rewarding.

Last year we had Patti LaBelle and while she drew some people to the luncheon, those people came because they wanted to see/meet a celebrity, not because they wanted to help foster kids (my opinion based on the fact they didn’t return this year and they didn’t give  very generously at the event). This year I had a local guy, former baseball player and foster care alumni, speak who charmed the crowd. I mean we were going over on time and no one was leaving the room, they were so engaged. There was also a foster mom of 15 years who has raised 20 kids, a brave and adorable 10 year old who got up on stage and sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera (and got a standing ovation), a set of charming, funny twin brothers who are both star athletes, a shy and resilient young man who came to America 3 years ago from The Congo speaking no English and is now about to graduate from high school and go to college, and an amazing young woman with a heartbreaking and inspiring story of triumph over adversity. Most of these kids were the first in their families to be accepted to college, many were the first to graduate high school. Each of these people got into my heart. When I called them up to tell them how much they helped us raise, there was lots of whooping and hollering and pride.

When I stop and think about what we accomplished, I cry. This work is so amazing and so important and I’m so damn proud to be a part of it and be making a difference with what I do. The praise is rolling in. People were stopping me in the ballroom to hug me and tell me congratulations. Others are emailing their praise to me and my bosses. I’m so terrible at receiving compliments but I’m going to try to take it all in. And I’ll probably cry some more.

My guest speaker, the former baseball player, talked about his grandma who was a tremendous influence on him. As a kid, they used to have huge Thanksgiving feasts with enough food to feed an army. After everyone was stuffed, she’d pack it all up and fill up her Lincoln Continental and drive them all with the leftovers down where all the homeless congregated and pass out food from the back of her car. He asked her, “Why do you care, Grandma?” And she told him, “Honey, someone’s got to.”

Yeah, that’s it right there, isn’t it?

Remembering to Be

I need to say this aloud:

I am engaged.

I am house hunting with my fiancé.

I am five weeks away from my biggest fundraiser of the year at work.

****

HOLY SHIT!

****

The reality of my current situation struck me hard on Saturday as we pulled up to view our first potential wedding venue. Mr. Darcy and I were talking about our stress levels and I totally abandoned him when he needed my support and comfort.

My first fail as a fiancé.

I just realized in that moment that I can’t do all this and not lose my mind. People think since I am an event planner this will all be a breeze. Or they assume since I am usually so organized and together that I will thrive under all the pressure. Or since I’m type A I have already planned our wedding (I have a Pinterest board and an invitation list- that’s about it). The reality is that I can’t do all this at once. If I try, I fear it will break me and completely remove me from feeling any joy- and there should be an abundance of joyful feeling during this happy time. And there is! But not when I am panicking about getting everything accomplished and doing it right.

So I told Mr. Darcy I have to put something on the back burner lest I lose my shit and be a terrible fiancé. I’ve asked if we can hold off on looking for a house in earnest until after my fundraiser on March 20th. I just can’t successfully look at potential houses, stress about getting all our financial stuff to our broker, lose half a weekend to looking at houses or venues and not go crazy. I need down time on the weekend to recharge for the insanely busy week ahead. I need time to doing fun stuff with friends and family. I want time to just enjoy being fiancés. I can feel the joy slipping from my fingers and my shoulders rising up to my ears from pent-up stress. I have had a hard time sleeping past 5am since we got engaged, waking up with ideas for the wedding running through my head interspersed with house hunting thoughts and worries about the upcoming fundraising luncheon (will my youth speakers PLEASE CALL ME BACK ALREADY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!).

Excuse me. I slipped right there.

My mantra right now is : Be In The Joy. I take deep breaths, I say this to myself, and I look at my darling love who has asked me to spend the rest of his life with him. I try to grasp the enormity of that- the absolute amazement that this man that makes me laugh, feel safe, and feel utterly accepted and cherished wants me. Me! All that other stuff pales in the realization of that.

BE IN THE JOY, damn it.

 

Shifting

Yesterday I didn’t do anything except go get a sandwich.

I mean it! I laid upon the couch watching movies and playing games on my iPhone while Mr. Darcy toiled away on a Very Important Artist Project.

It felt weird. I felt restless which at times lead to a feeling of aggressiveness. I know, I know, I am a freak who can’t enjoy a day of nothing to do. I proclaim it and embrace it- I AM FREAK, HEAR ME ROAR.

Clearly, I need a new hobby.

There’s this slump I hit after a big event where I feel a bit lost, like I don’t know what to do with myself. There isn’t anything to obsess on or toil over for 11+ hours a day. There isn’t a looming deadline. It’s over and done with, successfully at that, and yet I can’t just ride the good feeling.

More and more I’ve become acutely aware of my ability to numb out. It’s becoming glaringly obvious in counseling sessions when I am asked “what are you feeling right now?” and my eyes bug out and I can’t name one singular feeling. I’m just… frozen, disconnected, numb. It’s so strange because I am a very feeling-oriented person. I can talk and talk about feelings- mostly other people’s or about mine in a distant way- but in that moment when I’m asked point blank? Nothing comes. It worries me. I don’t want to be this way and yet, training myself to connect to my true feelings in the moment scares me to no end. It’s been my coping mechanism for the greater part of my life. When you have gone to a place where you’ve felt too much, too deeply, you sometimes choose to not feel that much or that deeply ever again. The trouble with that method is that in avoiding feeling pain, you also avoid feeling goodness too.

My half-brother wrote back to me and in his note he shared that his experience of our father was that he was a quiet man and that their relationship felt one-sided (his side). He said he tried to reach out to Dad but there wasn’t much connection and that after a while, he stopped trying. All this time I thought maybe he had some insight into who our Dad was- being much older than I, having grown up in a different family, even being a boy- but it sounds to me like I might have had more of the “good Dad” than he did. Which makes me feel lucky and sad all at once.

It’s time to make my peace with the man I knew and called Dad. Saturday marked 18 years he’s been gone. Soon, I will have been alive longer without him than with him. Something about that fact shakes me to my core. Time is fleeting and while all this pondering and puzzling has its purpose, there is much more than sorrow to carry from that childhood place.

Something is shifting inside of me. And I am listening.

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” -Virginia Woolf

 

Aftermath

You know when you work really, really hard on something and a lot is riding on it and it goes off without a hitch but you can’t feel the awesomeness because you are exhausted to the bone? That’s pretty much where I am at right now.

The fundraiser was a huge, massive, awesome success. At least that’s what everyone is telling me. And if wrangling over 1,100 guests and raising more than $833,000 (way over goal) doesn’t tell me it was a success, I don’t know what will. Even my boss, who we know isn’t the greatest at giving positive feedback (she’s been working on it), has been calling me the unsung hero and the heart of the event. My co-chairs gave me a gift and keep calling me a rock star. Mr. Darcy even came, donated more than we had agreed upon because he was so moved, and when he found me after proclaimed how proud he is of me. I was like, SEE?! This is why I have been out of my mind and working crazy hours.

There were the minor hiccups- People showed up claiming they were registered when they were, in fact, not. Some people tried to squeeze 11 guests at a table that fit 10 guests tightly. One of the power point slides did not have all the correct names of donors. And yes, someone kind of missed their cue but maybe only I noticed (and those in the front row who saw me scrambling towards them and gesturing semi-wildly to hurry the F up). And yes, our diva was very diva but also very real and funny when she ventured off her script- a script that was faxed to her about 30 minutes prior to her speaking which was pretty obvious as she held the paper up close to her face wearing her sparkly rhinestone reading glasses while standing at the podium. She did not get the name of the organization wrong. But when she sang? She blew the roof off that place. Let it be know that Ms. LaBelle has serious pipes.

Oh yeah. Patti LaBelle was our celebrity guest. And she  hugged me. And her piano player kissed my cheek.  SO THERE. Her whole crew was full of lovely people and while it was insanely difficult to get information out of them prior to their arrival, they at least arrived on time and delivered.

So now I am trying to do all the stuff that is required of an event planner post-event- like thanking everyone and entering all the gifts and making reports and debriefing with people. We got one email that had used an exclamation point at the end of every single sentence. And the email was 4 paragraphs long! It sang the praises of the event from start to finish and basically said that other non-profits should take a cue from us on how to run a successful, inspiring event.

Well I’ll be.

And now my life can resume some semblance of normalcy. I can go back to my regular work outs, cooking dinner and eating it before 9pm, seeing my boyfriend for more than 30 minutes before falling asleep, reading blogs and actually writing on my own. But first, a celebratory lunch with my coworkers and then a massage. Because, goddamn, I earned it.

 

Big Time

Wednesday is my biggest fundraiser of the year. In numbers it looks like this:

10th anniversary of the luncheon

1,177 guests

1 Grammy-award winning diva

5 of said diva’s glam squad

3 event co-chairs

3 youth speakers

3 honorees

1 CEO

1 hour program

$750,000 fundraising goal

I know I am in event crunch mode because I am event planning in my sleep. I get about 4 solid hours then am tossing and turning going over the massive guest spreadsheet. 1,177 guests makes for a big ass Excel sheet.

With event planning there are always unknowns. My job as the event manager is to have a plan for scenarios A through Z. My biggest unknown is our celebrity guest speaker. I’m imagining horrible outcomes with her – she doesn’t show, she shows late, she goes over time, she goes off topic, she says the wrong name of the non-profit. I have never actually spoken with this celebrity and only hope that her publicist passed on our talking points. Despite the outrageous (to me!) sum of money we are paying her, I have had an extremely difficult time getting answers to simple questions like- where are you staying?, when does your plane land?, who is the day of contact?, what will she be saying? I do not understand why there is resistance but then again, I am not a diva’s publicist/pr person/agent. I’m pretty sure that’s a job I would never, ever want. I am really bad at kissing ass.

My co-worker, one that I have worked with for over 4 years and who has been at every luncheon said to me the other day- “I just wanted to tell you that I’m proud of how calm you are this year.” She meant that as a compliment and I took it as such. Because despite all the details that make me harried, I feel like I am on top of the game plan. Despite suffering through raging PMS (not convenient, body of mine!), I’ve not lost my cool. I’ve said “no” probably too quickly at times but sometimes someone has to be in charge. And that someone just so happens to be me.

I won’t be around much for the next few days as all my focus and attention will be on executing a seamless, profitable event. And then I will likely collapse in a heap of exhaustion and, hopefully, accomplishment.

Balance & Focus

Confession: I haven’t been meditating.

I am maxing myself out. I had to go back to 40 hours at work because I am a month out from  our biggest fundraiser of the year and there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish all I need to get done. Yesterday I worked 10 hours. That is fairly typical. I come home late, exhausted in my soul, missing that thing people commonly refer to as “free time”.  I didn’t get to my Monday night yoga class because I was writing speeches in a dark, lonely office. I don’t have time to cook. I don’t have time to even IM or check Twitter with any frequency during the day as every single second counts. I am sitting here blogging when I should be getting ready. I have to leave in an hour to meet a youth speaker to help her practice her speech and the only mutually agreeable time that worked with both our schedules was 8am on Tuesdays.

I am a morning person and yet, even that, feels too early.

I’m still cramming in as much exercise as I can- yoga 3x a week, Nia or Zumba 2x a week. It doesn’t feel like enough. I took a Nia and a Zumba class back to back on Saturday. I basically was useless the rest of the day- it kicked my ass so hard. But I smiled the entire 2 hours. I want to work out every day but I am finding it hard to get enough sleep and find classes that work in my schedule. The should’s have started- I should wake up earlier than 6am to work out at home. I should tear myself away from work to walk around the block a few times. I should. I should. I should.

I should tell my shoulding mind to shut the fuck up lest I punch it.

I’m doing the best I can with minimal time. Working out 5x a week is not failure. I’m just tired- waking up at 2am most nights thinking about my event and the 4+ page to do list. I both love and loathe event planning. All thoughts of starting my side business are currently on hold because I have no brain power to make it happen right now. Adding one more thing to my “Things To Accomplish” list will definitely make me crazier.

The point being, there is one thing that would likely help me cope with all this madness. Meditating. Taking 20 minutes somewhere in my day to sit still, quiet my mind and just be. It’s 20 minutes! Why am I so resistant? It’s as if I can’t stop moving in fear of collapsing. And yet, I’ll likely not be able to keep going if I don’t nurture that core part of me that helps me re-enter the world again and again, whole-heartedly.

Newity

I tried a new exercise class last weekend and dare I say, I am hooked. It’s called Nia and it’s like martial arts meets dance with some yoga thrown in. It’s an awesome workout! I was red in the face, dehydrated and sweaty at the end of the hour. And the hour flew by.

I will say that my 12 years as a resident of The Cruz (AKA Hippyville) prepared me somewhat for the new age-y bent to the class. There was a lot of talk of our auras and chis (at one point we were instructed to “fluff” our chi) and a focus on BEING in our bodies along with the approval to make noises if we so desired. Grunts and yells and moans. Possibly someone unable to see into the studio might have wondered if there was an orgy going on at one point.

Speaking of sex- there was one chick in the class who clearly was or had been a dancer by the way she moved and over-emphasized every move. I kept getting distracted by her hip gyrations. I mean they were. . . wild. I bet that woman is a bobcat in bed.

All that hippy, sexy stuff aside, I really enjoyed the dance and martial art elements. It took me back to when I taught self-defense. I actually went to two classes over the long weekend and have another this morning. I think it’s a great way infuse some cardio into my exercise routine. Yoga is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, and I don’t plan on quitting it (ever) but I want/need to get in better shape and already after my new schedule of yoga in studio 3x a week and Nia 2x a week I feel stronger in my body.

It’s kinda fierce, you guys.

I guess Nia is my new water aerobics. Remember when I was all “water aerobics this” and “water aerobics that”? I still do like water aerobics but I haven’t felt inspired to drag my ass to the pool. Besides, I’m obviously occupied with trying to do holy shitasana pose and doing kicks. And, you know, fluffing my chi.

****

I woke up one morning and apparently overnight all my white & gray hairs grew in. WTF? I know a lot of people don’t notice it but I do. It’s all I can see when I look in the mirror. Those pesky grays coupled with the bulk of my wavy mane sitting like a spare tire around the back of my head (hello! not pretty!) compelled me to move my hair appointment up by 3 weeks.

Desperation, thy name is Sizzle.

I did not, however, chop it all off back to super short. I just realized I needed something more hip and manageable as it grows out. Please review Exhibit A and B (sorry for poor quality of shots, they are from my iPhone).

Exhibit A: Scraggly, gray-haired before shot.

Exhibit B: Sleek brunette almost-bob.

Next up, I must attend to the massive bags under my eyes. Not enough sleep? Too much salt or alcohol? POOR LIGHTING! That is it.

P.S. I am still growing my hair out.

****

My blogging will be sporadic for the next 2 months (as will my commenting on your blogs) because I am neck-deep in planning an upcoming major fundraiser in March. I’m rather jazzed because not only have we landed a big name celeb to join the event as a speaker (sorry, cannot disclose) but we have only 9 tables out of 120 left to reach capacity for the room. IT IS NOT EVEN FEBRUARY! To say I am excited and proud would be an understatement. It is a rather awesome feeling to be good at your job.

Shine on, y’all.

The Poll Has Spoken

It was a dead heat between The Marry Godmother and Ready, Set, Wed. I’d check the poll and from hour to hour they would switch places. Each entry got a significant number of votes cast for it- thank you for voting! My readership has spoken and by a narrow margin of 3 points (!) The Marry Godmother has won.

This clever name was suggest by Em of 35 Jupiter Drive. You win a special prize from me!

But since it was SUCH a close race, I’m going to award the top two names with prizes. A valiant effort by Ready, Set, Wed means Jen of Papers & Packages also gets a little something special. Congrats, Jen!

I loved every suggestion and trust me when I tell you, I’ve been agonizing over this decision. I’ve heard pros and cons for each name. I’ve thought about the look and feel that would go along with each name, how I want to present myself to my potential clients, the longevity of the name. Is this what parents go through naming their kid? I am, essentially, birthing a business. Where’s my epidural?

I’m leaning towards: Emerald City Engagements* because it can encompass both weddings and other types of events which, as many of you pointed out (so smartly!), I might want that kind of flexibility if I broaden my scope later on down the line. PLUS I think I can actually incorporate both The Marry Godmother and Ready, Set, Wed within the context of Emerald City Engagements. For the wedding portion of my business I could refer to myself as The Marry Godmother. I can also use the term “ready, set, wed” within the description of what I offer. I’m still thinking it all out of course but I’m excited to move forward with more concrete planning- like building a website, getting graphics, business cards and starting my outreach to potential clients.

I have already changed my work schedule at my job, cutting my hours back from 40 to 35 to allow me to focus more on this venture (plus go to more yoga because I am addicted). I can’t thank you all enough for supporting my crazy little ideas. You guys are the best cheerleaders a girl could ever dream of. Thank you!

More on this as things solidify.

*Oh and Egan? Since you suggested Emerald City Engagements you get a prize too. Way to go, you.