Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hi friends! Today I'm co-hosting a linkup with my dear blog friend, Kiki @ In Its Time. I've known Kiki for over two years now(!!!) and although we've never met IRL, her powerful words of encouragement, faith, and authenticity have impacted my life in multiple ways. If you haven't read her blog before, I highly suggest you set aside a couple of hours and get lost (here). 

The Circle is a monthly link-up for bloggers to get to know each other better while writing on fun, light-hearted prompts. It was created by Kiki two years ago with the intention of creating a space for bloggers of all sizes and from all places of the world to come together and build a better blog community. Since then, she's co-hosted with many other bloggers such as Meg @ Rivers and Roads, Bailey @ Brave Love, and Elizabeth @ Oaks + Oats, just to name a few.

Considering that Memorial Weekend is right around the corner and people are ready to bust out their grills, flip flops, and swimwear, this month's theme is MOODBOARD15 — create a moodboard with 15 spring inspired pieces. You can interpret that in multiple ways: What are you most looking forward to about spring? What has inspired you this spring season? What is in your spring wardrobe? What about spring home decor? For my moodboard, I added items on my wishlist and things I've seen trending spring 2015 including both clothes and home decor. Take a look! :)

Join the fun and share with us your spring moodboard! If you haven't made one before, they are easier than you might think. Try these free sites PicMonkey or Polyvore to get started. :) When you're ready... Grab a button, add your link below, and share your post with the hashtag #thecirclelinkup. Yay! I can't wait to see all of your boards! 


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

If you're like me, you had an exact vision of what you wanted your venue to look like before beginning research. Don't you guys remember my first post on getting wedding inspiration? For me, I wanted a really bright open space with maximal windows (or even better, outdoors), gold chivari chars, and I wanted to stay far away from a traditional ballroom. I had lists of themes, inspirational images, and photo opps. I was going to rock wedding planning's butt. Little did I know, once I actually started to figure out logistics, there were a lot of shock moments like: This venue costs HOW much? You have to pay more for chivari? This venue isn't available til 2050? Maybe an all-inclusive traditional ballroom isn't so bad afterall...

To avoid you the shock and any pre-mature work, here are some tips that may help you realistically find the perfect wedding venue for you:

Before the venue reels you in with its complementary bridal gift or the top-notch view of the city, stay as objective as you can and do your homework. Do not bring your emotional giddyness into this. Wedding venues are expensive and will probably be where the bulk of your budget goes (venue rental, food, alcohol, decor, etc.) so be wise. Start with these basic questions to make sure this venue is feasible:
- Can we afford this? 
- Is it available for my date? 
- What is the max capacity? Can it fit my needs?
- What are the restrictions? (i.e. timing, decoration, weather, etc.)
- What is included? 

When E and I first started planning, we both agreed to do a backyard wedding. Because how cute and fun and charming and talk about CHEAP would a backyard wedding be? Wrong. We quickly learned that there were a lot of extra hoops to jump through, fines to pay, and things to consider for the so-called cute/fun/charming/cheap backyard wedding. For example: we would need to rent a kitchen and generator for the caterer, fans, lights, and portal pottys for the guests, confirm appropriate landscaping and parking, on top of renting literally everything (tent, tables, chairs, silverware, etc.) The list went on. Don't get me wrong, some brides can rock the details and not break a sweat. For E and I, it wasn't practical considering we were planning long-distance and couldn't sort out those minor details nor did we want to worry about Grandma complaining about the heat, kids covered in mosquito bites, and girls heels all sunken into the grass. 

Now that story may not be relevant for you and you might be the bride who can rock a backyard wedding, but there will most likely come a point in time when you need to choose practical over something else. And that's okay, practical does not have to mean "no fun or cute ideas allowed." You can still have the wedding of your dreams as long as you choose to make the best of the situation (and you won't have the debt or rain or chaos to follow you after.)

Let's not forget that you have a fiance who also gets to have an opinion that may not be aligned with yours. Just because he thinks that ivory is the same thing as white (eye roll, men) or doesn't know what a centerpiece is, he is still allowed to provide input. Don't look at me, you're the one marrying him. Jokes aside, the last rule is to be nice. :) Consult with your fiance and bring him into the process! The extra set of eyes can help poke holes into places that are in your blind spot. Two is always better than one. Don't let a disagreement frustrate you, in fact that's a good opportunity to justify why you like your venue versus his. If you don't have a strong argument, maybe he's right...

Pro/con lists are everything, especially when you are stuck between two really great options. Writing down the pros/cons for each venue can ultimately help you choose the best one - which is the best feeling ever and you can finally move on to the fun stuff! Here is a free printable you and your fiance can use when it comes time to make the final decision. 

Feel free to pin, print, and share as many times as you want!



Saturday, April 25, 2015

I discovered Elle & Co recently and have been poring over archives and archives of her blog posts each night before bed (#nerd). Her posts are so inspiring and motivating — and all so beautifully designed. Elle's business model and personal vision has changed the way I think about blogging, and I want to start taking her nuggets of wisdom into action! Hence the re-brand. My goal is to slowly move Coffee & Honeycomb from a hub of scattered personal posts to one that is more purposeful, resourceful, and inspiring! Here are some practical and simple tips I'm going to start implementing around here and ones you can leverage today, too.

When you write to a large, faceless crowd, it's easy for the quality of your content to become dull, scattered, and pointless. It's important to define exactly who your reader is — or who you want your reader to be. How old is he/she? What are his/her dreams? Why is he/she coming to your blog? Taking the time to wrestle through these questions will give you more clarity as you write each post moving forward and may even give you more ideas of what to blog about.

One of my favorite pieces of advice I learned in college was that when you are trying to communicate a message, whatever the medium may be, is to ask yourself three critical questions. What does my audience currently know? What does my audience need to know? How can I bridge that gap? Asking myself those three questions has always helped when writing papers, delivering presentations, and I'm realizing now it's just as important when writing a blog post. Make sure that every piece of your post answers and addresses these questions. It will take more thought and time at first, but it will make the message effective, engaging, and relatable.

What are the main topics you talk about? How would you group or categorize your blog posts? Is there any sort of similarity or consistency among them? Ask yourself these questions and start just listing out everything that comes to mind. Now look for any pattern or consistency within your list and use that as a starting point for your categories. To take it one step further, identify categories that you are most passionate about, most knowledgable on, and most importantly, add some sort of value to your reader.

FREQUENCY: Once you have your categories identified, consider the hierarchy of importance. How frequently do you write about each category per week/month? Does that reflect how important they are? The two should correlate.
TIMING: Make yourself an editorial calendar and select the exact days you will write about each category.
POSTS: Brainstorm up to 10 possible blog posts for each category so you have a pool of posts to choose from.

You've read my tips and are now hopefully itching to start brainstorming and re-branding your own blog. I created a free printable that you can use to help as you begin that process. There is space for defining your mission, reader, and categories just like we discussed! Click the button below to download the free printable and use it as a guide. Scribble all over it and may it get your creative juices flowing. Feel free to pin, share, and print as many times as you want!



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wedding planning is fun, wonderful, and exciting, but also stressful all at the same time. I'm learning that truth firsthand. There's tough decisions to make, realistic expectations to set, and peoples' feelings you need to consider at all times. It sometimes feels like one never ending juggling act - once you cross one thing off the list, four unexpected things come up! But I firmly believe all of wedding planning will be worth it as long as we as brides 1) don't sweat the small stuff 2) hold on to what matters most. So each Wednesday, I will share a wedding tip that can hopefully benefit other brides out with their planning! 



There are so many beautiful wedding resources and inspirations out there. This is helpful when you're first envisioning your wedding or need a quick DIY trick, but it's important to recognize that these resources can easily become destructive and a waste of time if you look at them too frequently or for too long. The more options you see, the more unsatisfied you may become when you compare it to your own wedding. At the end of the day, your wedding will not have it all and it will not be perfect no matter how hard you try, so use those great resources out there as simply inspiration and not a burden or pressure to replicate it. 

This was a comment E made to me recently that I really appreciated. It's true that a photo is important, but does a perfect photo really matter if the people in it are hurt, neglected, or unhappy? No one will remember that the tablecloths didn't match the cocktail napkins or that the blooms were not of the season, but they will remember how you made them feel. Your guests (especially the groom and bridal party) will appreciate a present and pleasant bride over a bridezilla. Enjoy the process and don't let the minor details weigh you down. 

Um, because you and your fiancĂ© are so in love and are committing to spend the rest of your lives together! Duh! :) But really, don't ever lose sight of that! Hold onto that feeling — look at your engagement photos, go on a date with no wedding talk allowed, or reminisce on older memories. Remember that more than you are a bride-to-be and he is a groom-to-be, you two are spouses-to-be. :) Pray for a healthy marriage more than you worry about a pretty wedding day. 

For me when I hold onto too many details in my head, it stresses me out and everything seems much bigger than it really is. It helps to breathe and just talk things through with a friend. As you talk it out, each thing will break down and seem much more digestible. 


Now after you've talked it out with a friend or two, stop talking about it and stop thinking about it. Do an activity that is nothing wedding-related or spend time with family. Stepping away from the situation will help clear your head so that when you return, you will have fresh perspective and capacity to tackle whatever is in front of you. 

Hope these tips helped!  Next week we'll talk about choosing a vendor to work with. What other tips do you have to de-stress while wedding planning?



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A couple of weekends ago a friend and I went 'boutique hopping' in Downtown Minneapolis. We perused eleven different stores; each with their own style and culture. Our favorite one was Wilson and Willys, a new shop in MN carrying homegoods, jewelry, and both mens' and womens' apparel. All of their items carry a unique backstory and are hand fully crafted in the neighborhood. I didn't buy anything because most items were out of my price range but I did walk out with a pretty leather keychain holder. ;) Below are other pieces I'm eyeing. 



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

This week has been one of those weeks when planning a wedding is nothing but fun and leaves me grinning ear to ear. So much progress has happened in such a short amount of time, I still can't believe we've already been engaged for four months. I just want to cherish every part of this process because a girl only gets married once, and looking at these photos is one way to do that. Here is part two of our engagement session - let's pause time and take a look, shall we? 

All photos are taken by the wonderful and talented Jaimee Morse. 
For part one of the e-session, click here. xoxo

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Weather in Minneapolis has been unpredictable lately — high 70's one day, low 30's the next — making it a little difficult to do any closet shuffling or spring shopping. I'm refraining from buying anything "too springy' because who knows if we will receive another snowfall in the coming weeks! What's the happy medium? Layers, layers, layers. I'm talking cardigans on tees and tanks and maxi skirts. It's the perfect way to stay warm without the winter coats or sweaters. Layering is also a fun way to mix up your wardrobe without spending the money. My mix is pretty basic, but make your closet go further — patterns and florals, neons and neutrals, silk and cotton. Oh, the possibilities are endless. 

This is what I've been living in lately...

  april edit 1      april edit 4

Note that some of these items are comparable to what is in my closet. Most of my items are from previous seasons and are no longer sold in stores.


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