IMAGE CREDIT: SHAY COCHRANE PHOTOGRAPHY
Hey everyone! It feels surreal to even be typing this but our online shop is finally opened! The response from industry colleagues, friends and family has been amazing and I would be lying if I didn’t say I feel butterflies to finally share the entire collection! The concept behind this shop has been in my heart for sometime–a collection of gifts that tells a story and is very much personalized for YOU. Each one of our boxes speaks to the core of our business–clean, simple and has a unique color story that I really love!
When you visit our shop, you’ll see we have our gift boxes separated into two collections, our Everyday Collection and our Wedding Collection. Aside from both collections we also have our client partnership program for those professionals that are looking to gift a special client or business prospect with their very own branded gift box. You will LOVE this program!
Before I get to carried away, I really want to thank someone that helped to take the million thoughts and brilliant ideas in my head and produce images that I’m so proud to have in my shop. Shay Cochrane–you are beyond amazing and I’m so GRATEFUL to have you as a friend.
And second to my husband…the words “thank you” seem so inadequate for everything in my heart….but thank you, thank you, thank you for all your love.
Now to celebrate our NEW SHOP, we are doing a giveaway!!! I’m giving away one of my favorite boxes from the Everyday Collection (our Sunshine Box) and some wonderful gifts from some really amazing, small businesses!
2. Oh Happy Day Art Print from the Lara Casey Shop. Lara Casey has been such a great cheerleader for myself and for so many others. Her prints, paintings and everyday products are a must as a business owner! Love you Lara!
5. Essie Nailpolish (set of 2)
6. Lovely gold and white striped Target Notebook. I have an obsession with notebooks and so I figured, why not?
Help us spread the word about the Chic Sweets’ shop on social media and link back to my site or this blog post! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with what your favorite Chic Sweets’ gift box from our shop! Yup, easy peasy!
You have until Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. EST to enter in this fabulous giveaway! *US residents only and winner will be determined via drawing on random.org
UPDATE: WE ARE EXTENDING OUR GIVEAWAY UNTIL 12:00 a.m EST (TODAY, WEDNESDAY) SO YOU HAVE A FEW MORE HOURS TO GET YOUR ENTRIES IN!!!
If you would like additional entries…
- Tweet about the giveaway mentioning the @ChicSweets and #CHICSWEETSSHOP
- Facebook about the giveaway linking to our Facebook page (you must like the page first, so you can tag it properly!)
- Share the photo (above) on Instagram and tag @Chicsweets21 and #CHICSWEETSSHOP
Don’t forget to please leave a separate comment for each entry! Okay, Ready…Set…and GO!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for all of you!!!! AHHHHH! I’m so excited about this!
Also enjoy 10% off all of our gift boxes from now until next Wednesday–just use CHICSWEETS10 discount code upon checkout.
* UPDATE: Our winner of this contest, chosen at random, is KATY HAMILTON!! YAY! Katy, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get your goodies off to you!
Thank you to everyone for entering!
Hello friends! Hope all of you are having a great summer. I’m a little sad it seems to go quicker than I’d like. Today I decided to be super ambitious and a did a video blog for today’s post (yes, I know…wow). Please note, I did this in one take, messy hair and five minute make-up so please cut me a little slack on this one. If you would like to see all our Daytime segments and our Shark Tank audition video, please click here.
And here are a few shots I could not help but share (I’m notoriously impatient, as the boss man likes to remind me). More details will be coming in the next few weeks as we announce a shop date and a giveaway, all wrapped up in one.
PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: SHAY COCHRANE PHOTOGRAPHY
Our Sunshine and Welcome Baby Girl Box which is part of our “Everyday Collection”
And a glimpse in our “Wedding Collection.” I LOVE this collection!
Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope everyone is having a great day! Happy to share the Mother’s Day segment that aired on Daytime. This is a link to our You Tube channel that also has all of our Daytime segments. I could critique myself to no end but then I stopped and saw Baby P look at the television and yell out “Mama!” “Mama!” Thank you, Baby P, for always reminding me to NEVER to take life too seriously!
Enjoy everyone and have a wonderful Happy Mother’s Day. And don’t forget to visit our previous post with a freebie printable!
Hello everyone! Wow! Am I the only one that ever sits back and wonder how quickly this year is slipping by?? I seriously still remember 2012 New Year’s! Okay, so today I decided to give a little glimpse into our world and then next week, I’d love to give everyone a longer update on my 2013 goal progress. Always inspired by the Making Things Happen movement and sharing a bit of where I am these days.
But for today, a look back at the tables we’ve done. I’ll be sure to share follow up details shots when I receive, but for now, I figured why not?
Have a lovely weekend everyone!
ANGRY BIRD BOYS BIRTHDAY PARTY: Event Planner (and mommy) Monica Varner, owner of Elan Events Studio
Bridal Show: Perfect Wedding Guide. Tampa. We do a handful of bridal shows a year, and these are by far one of our favorites!
Gender Reveal Cake Pops for my girl Zoe at Botanica. LOVE Zoe and her party was darling….
March Madness anyone??? 300 of these babies for Tech Data Corporation. Wow. Let’s just say I needed a break from seeing orange for a bit.
Happy Birthday Graham! A birthday table for one of my favorite people in the universe, Shay Cochrane (her husband’s 30th). LOVE Shay. Period.
And cannot wait to share an adorable baby shower for event planner, Julie Perez from Chic Designs and Fabulous Events. Photography by Mariana of Kismis Ink Photography. We received so many great images from this one which I LOVE. Thanks Mariana!
And finally, for no reason at all. Baby P.
I mean really, does there ever have to be a reason to see this boy in a boy tie, given by his Auntie Amanda. I think not!
Happy February everyone!!! I’m SO happy to share a segment we did for the Daytime Show (WFLA), a lifestyle morning show, syndicated in the Southeast. The Daytime family has been always supportive of me, Chic Sweets and our growth. My first segment with host, Cyndi Edwards (one of the most amazing people I know) was a few years ago, when I first started and I still find it hard to believe they gave me a chance and the platform to share our work.
Enjoy everyone and a much longer post coming….SOON! Happy day!
Happy Day everyone! Interrupting my series on recapping 2012, with some goodness brought to you by one of my dearest friends, Shay Cochrane from Shay Cochrane Photography. I haven’t spoken a lot about this, but this year we are looking to branch out with the launch of our Chic Sweets shop. This has been long in my heart, but I wanted to take my time and really get a few pieces in place before sharing too many details. I’ve never been one to rush the process and so I can tell you it finally feels good to be ready for this next step. Where does Shay come in all of this? Well, she is giving me a hand with stunning images for my shop, close up of my products, personalized favors and why not include a dessert table in all of that?
I know Emerald green, is the “Pantone Color of the Year” and all, but I’m convinced it was all a big mistake. Mint!!! It should have been mint!!!!
Thanks again, Shay. LOVE YOU to the moon and back! Also to all my photographer friends: Shay is doing a business and branding workshop that is a “must” for everyone. Space is very limited so definitely sign up today. Hint…there may be a cake pop in it for you.
Also, huge, big, thanks to our photoshoot venue for the day–the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa. I love the Museum, mostly because it’s so unique, different, great open, modern space with so much natural light that comes through. We could not have done this without their help.
Have a wonderful day everyone! More news to come on the shop soon….
Hello everyone! Still working on my Goal Setting series from my last post and now taking a look at what didn’t work in 2012. Again, if you haven’t visited my friend Lara Casey and her amazing exercises, you are missing out. Truly, it’s so very helpful.
Sticking to a schedule: This was a bit of a challenge for me, but I had trouble sticking to a consistent schedule all year long, and when something came up (child sickness, last minute event) I felt like it would derail me and then I would have trouble getting back on track.
Friendships: This is a huge BIGGIE for me. Friendships. I’m not one of those that has a million friends. Nope. I have a small circle of friends that I cherish but this year, I could not connect. Missed phone calls, voicemails, lunches and happy hours that never happened, the list goes on. The worse part? I needed my friends. I needed to hear their voices, their problems, their updates and get out of my world.
Networking Events: I’ll admit it. I’m lazy about attending Networking events for Chic Sweets. Sometimes it’s a mixture of the “oh, I’m tired” thing, but deep inside I think there is a part of me that is still deathly shy….like, it’s my first day of school type of shyness and the thought of walking in a room, with business cards on hand makes me want to run in a different direction and come up with every excuse I can. But I seriously need to get over it. Seriously.
My Phone: Raise your hand if you go on Facebook and Twitter too much. Crap. Like when did that happen? How am I holding Preston with one arm and glancing at my Facebook feed in the other??? What the heck is wrong me? I have to admit when I’m in “mommy world” I feel like it’s an outlet for me, but I still could cut down how attached I am to the thing. Sheesh.
Client Experience: Thank You notes, timely follow ups with potential clients via email, personal connections. I’m always looking to see how I can improve my client connections. Every day this year I told myself that I would set a “power day” aside to put postage on thank you envelopes, work on personalizing my paperwork a bit more, but it never happened.
Blogging: Writing is something I used to love but from two blog post a month, cut down to one, cut down to none is not working. Also before I used to just type whatever came to mind and not worry too much about making my voice sound “perfect.” Now I find myself rereading my posts, changing sentences that I don’t think readers would understand. I’m not perfect so why does it matter so much?
Finances: On the business end, SO need to work on this. I want to spend my day playing with pretty paper and making gorgeous layouts for my clients, but the reality is that as a business owner I need to have a handle on every aspect of my business. Steve has always handled the finance end of Chic Sweets, but I’m pretty he wants me more involved and more in tune with this area. And Steve–if you happen to read this, please stop laughing.
Finances (family): Honesty coming. Four boys, financially, is not easy. Lunch money, tuition, clothes, but I’m convinced instead of worrying about it (which is what I do 24-7) we need to think of better ways to manage finances on a monthly basis. And I feel like this sounds like such a cliché….New Year Resolutions—work on finances thing, but I’m convinced if we made some real lifestyle changes, that it wouldn’t be so hard.
Taking care of ME: Last time I went to the doctor for plain ole’ physical? Exercise? Diet? Dentist? Goodness, it was bad this year. And I know I should cut myself some slack…you have a houseful of boys…maybe it’s just not in the cards for you. But, whatever. I’ve got to make some changes. Same with Steve—I’m oh, so sure he wouldn’t mind some time for himself, to do whatever he wants. Yup, got to figure all of that out.
So that is where I’m at, my real list is a bit longer but this is just a snippet.
Next up-the hard work. Goals, action steps, all the good stuff. Yippee! Next week, I’ll likely interrupt these series of blog posts for a really wonderful (and colorful) shoot I did with my friend Shay Cochrane not too long ago BUT again, go to Lara Casey’s blog for all the goal setting, what fires-you-up goodness!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Hello everyone! Happy 2013!!! As a family, we have been stuck in the never-ending cycle of colds but we are finally coming out of the woods and I’m starting to feel like I can breathe again here. One of my dearest friends, Lara Casey has posted her AMAZING goal setting exercises for 2013, so I, my friends have been working, working, working on this, getting myself ready for 2013. If you have time, PLEASE check it out. I have done this for a few years already, and it really does put you in a different mindset.
On that note, the first part of my exercise: What DID work in 2012. There is a whole lot more but I thought I would share a snippet of what worked for me (professionally and personally) this year.
Transitioning to my family, full time: At first I had written “Transitioning to Chic Sweets”, but in reality, looking back, I think the decision always came down to my family. For years, I had worked 50+ hours a week, and in 2008 accepted a position that had a hour (sometimes more) commute. The work was rewarding, pay, benefits all of that really wonderful stuff, but everything around me was suffering. My family, my marriage, me. It’s like you give a small piece of yourself to everything but nothing really ever gets the full 100 percent. So in the beginning of 2012, I took a big jump and resigned from my position, staying home full time with Baby Preston.
Chic Sweets rebrand: 2011 was all about working on a rebrand, and in 2012, was when I finally got to see my “virtual baby” born. It felt like such a breath of fresh air, and most of all, it felt like me. Simple, and chic. For years, I had collected so many gorgeous images of my work and now I had a platform to showcase all of it. We also updated all our collateral which was a biggie for me—I LOVE our business cards and collateral materials and they make me smile. Yes, I’m weird like that. We also increased our pricing in 2012, something I was somewhat nervous about but I knew it was time to really add my value to the work we provide. And you know what I found once we did the rebrand? That we were attracting the clients that valued our work, and what we could do for them. We were in synch with our clients and they, with us. There is still so much I could go on about this, but all I can say is that there is lot of work and areas that I still need work!
Confidence in my work: This year, I really felt my confidence in my work grow. Gone were the days I would sneak a peek at what my competitors were doing or looking at any newcomers with any apprehension and fear. Designing is what sets my heart on fire and once I accepted that the only thing I can control is my work and what I present to my clients, I let the rest go. And you know what? My work got better and I felt more at ease when working my clients.
Baby Preston: Just that. Everything with Baby P worked. I can’t lie. It’s can be beyond tough with the other boys, but I take deep breaths, and always remind myself how incredibly blessed we are. And we so are.
One Day a Month Commitment: In 2012, I decided that I would give Spencer and Carson (Kindergarten and Preschool) some time each month at their school where I volunteer. Sometimes it’s reading books or helping out the teacher. This has been a blessing in disguise for me. It can be something that may not always be the most convenient, but when I’m there, I’m happy and convinced that my boys appreciate seeing their mama helping out.
Steve: Yesterday I looked at my wedding photos and sometimes that is hard to believe that is “us.” We are so different than that carefree couple smiling back at me. No worries, no stresses, just a simple love. I was pregnant with Spencer soon after. Our relationship has changed so much since those days and I’m going to make an attempt to put that into words. My relationship with Steve is one that I completely cherish. He is and will always be the first person I listen to (and trust me, I can be insanely stubborn). He challenges me when I could do better and lifts me up when I need it. Even better, sometimes he gives me a hug and doesn’t say anything. Are there fights? Arguments? Times when “he’s not my favorite person?” Yes, yes, and yes. But we always come back to each other, deeper in love and deeper connected. Steve, if you ever read my blog (and I know sometimes you do)—I love you.
Relationship with God: I don’t read the Bible. There I said it. I don’t even remember the last time I opened one. Well…maybe at church…but I quickly closed it. But I can honestly say that not a day has gone by that I don’t think about God, talk to Him, pray to him. Even when I was little, I always remembered having conversations with God, usually in my head but that always made me feel good. It always felt right. Years later, I had children and that relationship has changed even more. Now, I look to God in smaller moments (like in my car on my way to get the kids or when I’m about to pass out on my bed), but He is always there, always in heart and it may not be the right way…I may not have Bible verses memorized or go to church as much as I would like, but I’m a firm believer that you have to do what works for you, inside, in your heart. In 2012, we talked about God a lot, to my husband, to my children. My parents never forced it on us, but it just always felt like a habit, like putting on a jacket, so I never gave it a second thought. God was part of my life and I’m constantly thinking about ways to inject that same feeling to my children, even if they are still really young.
Pediatric Cancer: Four years ago I stumbled upon a blog by Holly McKrae about her daughter Kate, undergoing chemotherapy for a very rare (but aggressive) brain tumor. She is in remission now, but her story and faith in God, always stuck with me and I told myself that I would help and not remain on the sidelines. In 2012, I told Steve that we were not going to donate to several charities with different causes, although all very important I wanted to center my focus helping families fighting these horrible (and the word “horrible” doesn’t seem strong enough) cancers. So besides donating financially (when we could), we had our children make cards during the Holidays, and we also participated in two great events—Fashion Funds for a Cure and Calendar for a Cause—both events left us profoundly affected and just wanting to do more.
Carmen: I don’t believe I’ve ever talked about Carmen on my blog, but she has been in my children’s life since they were all 8 weeks old. She is my caregiver, mommy number two and one of the best people I know. She is part of “Team Clamp” and without her, none of this works.
My Mom, Dad, Brother, (sister in law) Natasha: This may seem odd to many, but I talk to my mom every morning, my dad in the evenings, my brother every other day, and his wife, my sister-in-law at least once a week. Crazy, right? But they are my support system, my venting system and don’t get me wrong, we have moments of frustration with each other, but we never lose sight of what’s important.
Work Boundaries: In 2012, I decided to streamline my schedule and only work around a three day schedule, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These are the days, I work, work, work. On Mondays and Fridays, I focus on Preston, but if I can, I will prep for clients or do small projects.Sometimes this fluctuates, but really, it’s been helpful most of all for me, and I get a lot more done when I know my time is limited for work productivity.
Dance Parties: In 2012, we started having random dance parties. Just turned off the lights, blare the music and we all start dancing. This should be mandatory in every household. Period.
Happy December everyone!!! How are all of you doing?? Love December, cookies, Advent Calender, Christmas songs and just taking a deep breath before the new year begins.
Today, though, I’m feel incredibly grateful that Chic Sweets’ yummy cake pops were featured in the latest Southern Weddings 5th Anniversary issue. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I stared at the picture numerous times, bought copies and even made my mom and dad run to the nearest Barnes n Noble to get a copy…or two.
The community that Southern Weddings has created through their website, social media, and magazine is amazing. I kid you not, you feel the love pour out of each page–I mean it’s so hard to explain but the best I can say is that I have every issue and it’s one of those magazines that remain on your coffee table because they are just too darn special.
I’m also grateful that my relationship with these ladies has grown and we are not only lucky to be a Blue Ribbon Vendor but also that we can send them our red velvet cake pops every month with their trademark Southern Weddings touch.
Love you ladies!
PS–Happy Holidays everyone!!!
Helly Everyone! Hope all of you are having a great week. I’m looking forward to this post since I checked out June’s Goals and realized that amazingly, I’m doing well for tackling some big goals I was hoping to get through. Wahoooo!
So here we go….July:
Business: Giving myself a gold star for reorganzing my workspace. Spring wedding season was craziness so it felt good to purge, organize, file, update calendars, etc. Honestly, there is so much truth that a clean, clutter-free workspace really does make a difference. Other items I still have to tackle include updating my web gallery with this year’s weddings which is completely overdue.
Another biggie for this month is evaluating our client experience from the moment we make our initial contact to how we continue to connect with them through their process with us. As I work through this, I’m looking forward to sharing some pictures and a little glimpse into how this looks for us.
Wife: I’ve lost hope on the whole vacation realities and yes, it may sound sad but with Baby P, the boys, work, life…you know…I’m pretty much okay with that. Unless we are working, we aim make the most out of every weekend and I’m perfectly okay with our weekend “stay-cations”. Maybe in the next coming months–we’ll see…it’s still a goal (sort of).
Family: We are in the midst of summertime with the boys–camps and a mix of mama’s “special field trips.” Exhausting. Um, yes. But every amazing moment makes up for any “I’m too tired” moment times infinity. Does that make sense? Our Sunday church-going days are still a challenge. Personally my faith is always changing, growing but can’t rally the family in time for Sunday mornings. Ugh! Work in progress…work in progress…
Me: I’m happy to have made some leeway since last month. Thrilled to be running again and hopefully back on track. Running has been a passion of mine for years but since this last pregnancy I’ve been completely disconnected from all of it so it feels darn good to get out. I’m starting to feel like me again and it’s been awhile since that has happened.
So there it is. Soooo long June–I have no idea where you went!