How to be the best maid of honor EVER!

It happened, your sister/best friend or best friend/sister is FINALLY getting married to the man of her dreams. Not only are you beyond excited for her to spend the rest of her life with her prince charming she asked YOU to be her maid of honor. Now that you have officially been asked to be the bride’s go-to lady,  you need to get to work!

I have been the maid of honor of two weddings, a bridesmaid in one wedding and a personal attendant in another. Plus I have attended at least 22 weddings in the last three years. I have seen maid of honors succeed and I have seen them fail miserably. Let’s not let that happen to you.  Here are 7 tips to help you be crowned the best maid of honor EVER by the Queen bride and King Groom.

 

#1 –Always offer to help

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You were asked to be the bride’s right-hand lady and because of that always offer to help. Offer to go Hobby Lobby with her and pick out the perfect chalkboard. Offer to go shopping with her to find her wedding dress, bachelorette party dress, bridal shower dress, rehearsal dinner dress, and her shoes too. Let her know about DJ’s that you or your friends used in the past and get their contact information if she is struggling. If she has craft project bring over a pizza and a bottle of wine for before and after you are done crafting.

 

#2-Keep the Bride tribe informed

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You will be seeing the bride the most (out of the bridesmaids) and talking about every single wedding detail. When information needs to be shared with the wedding party and the bride is stressed start a group message. Then tell the bride that you will relay the message. Remember you are here to help and make her wedding planning as stress-free as possible.

Also, when the other bridesmaids offer to help LET THEM HELP YOU. If they want to bring food to the bachelorette party or bridal shower, let them! If they have some extra money and would like to pitch in, let them! If they want to decorate the hall for the bridal shower, let them! They want the bride to have the perfect wedding too, so LET THE HELP.

 

#3 – Know your responsibilities

 

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Are you planning the bachelorette party solo or do the bridesmaids need to be involved in all of the plans? Are you planning the bridal shower or would the mother of the bride like some help? Where do you need to be and when?

Ask the questions and never assume you are or aren’t doing something. You don’t want to step on someone else’s toes but you don’t want to drop the ball either.

***IMPORTANT***   Remember that you will probably be spending the most money compared to the other bridesmaids. This is just the nature of the job, but I know you don’t mind. You would do anything for the bride, that’s why she asked you to be the maid of honor. 

#4-Make an emergency kit (s)

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I have made three different emergency kits for each wedding day. One kit is for the day of the wedding that I carried around with me while getting ready before the wedding, one the bus, and while taking pictures. The other two emergency kits are put into a basket and placed in the men and women’s bathroom.

If you want to really go above and beyond, get the emergency kit supplies early enough that you can bring it to the bachelorette party and bridal shower. (Pictured above) This way you are truly prepared at all wedding-related activities.

I went to the dollar store to buy most of the supplies and didn’t spend more than $35 on each kit. This small detail was appreciated not only by the bride and groom but also the bridal party and wedding guests.

Here is the list of items to purchase for the emergency kit or kits. If you decide to make one for the men’s restroom don’t worry about the buying everything on the list. Only things that men might actually need.

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Source: http://ohbestdayever.com/2017/07/13/10-useful-wedding-planning-infographics-to-give-ideas-tips/

If you want to add another small touch, print off signs and put them in front of the bathroom emergency kit baskets. This way everyone attending the wedding knows that the baskets are for them to use.

Other bathroom emergency kit sign ideas can be found at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/280771357995934959/?lp=true

I can’t tell you how much the bride, groom, wedding party, and partygoers appreciated these kits.

#5- Keep the bride out of the drama

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There is always bridal party drama. Keep it all on the down low until after the wedding.  The bride is stressed enough as it is and doesn’t need to know about Kim ordering her dress a size smaller than what she really is because she is hoping to lose weight.  Tell your bride after she had the best day of her life. This way she can find these small details funny instead of stressing her out even more.

 

#6- Always have the bride’s favorite things

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If she loves s’more pop tarts and Sprite always have a box of s’mores pop tarts and a cooler full of Sprite. These small gestures will mean the world to the bride and she will feel so grateful and lucky to have you as her maid of honor.

 

 

#7- HAVE FUN

This day will not only be one of the best days of the bride and groom’s life but also a day that you and the bride will always reference. So soak in every moment, be as helpful as possible and enjoy the day. Plus, when you are having fun other people will feed off your energy.

 

I hope these tips will help you be crowned the best maid of honor of all the land.

Good luck and enjoy the wedding!

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Growth in Experience

Wake Surfing

Experiencing New Things

I have always been a thrill seeker trying to find those new things that I have attempted to do before. My favorite times are those experiences that aren’t planned. When life throws opportunities to do something new for the first time I normally jump at them. Over the years I have found that it’s important for me to be a well-rounded individual that can use these experiences to help shape oneself into the best person they can be. As I have collected these new experiences it becomes harder and harder to find something new in the area to do. Recently I have found that I have been very proactive in getting other people to try new things. That first time in trying something can never be duplicated even if it’s a bad experience. The life we are given needs to be used to its fullest and that means we need to get out there and try these new things when we can.

This summer I found something as simple as wake surfing to be one of the most enjoyable things to share with friends and people I don’t know. We have a group of individuals that surf every week and through the group we get a collective colleague of people together that either have never experienced surfing or just want to go for a boat ride and watch. Now surfing is very harmless sport that requires almost no skill, per say, to accomplish. We have had individuals as old as 60 years down 12 years old trying to surf. The experience as a whole has brought a smile to almost everyone’s face and knowing that we can bring joy to someone doing something so simple is worth it. That ability to makes someone else’s day through such a small act is the meaning that we really need to focus on. Everyone should look to do those small things for someone else instead of for ourselves because it creates a bigger self-awareness of those around us.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unthinking/201102/do-we-love-new-things

In summary I find that there are a couple steps in which one person should go about seeking out some new adventure. First trying something for the first time requires courage. This means that even though you may be doing something that is uncomfortable push through that barrier. Secondly trying something new means the possibility that you might actually enjoy this new experience. Crazy to think about right, enjoying something that might scare you? The ability to try new things will also keep you active and not bored. The final step in trying something new is growth. The ability to try something new gives new meaning and feelings to way you feel about things. An experience can change and even shape the way we go about or daily lives. Let’s just take an extreme example….When someone has a near death experience they may forever be changed physically and mentally by this, not because of physical harm done but the emotional experience attached to it. The growth I feel is the most important part of an experience; make yourself the most well rounded person you can so you can be the best person you want to be. Experiences only help you understand more about life and more about the limits of oneself.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/trying-new-things

 

Growth in Experience

Colorado Hiking – 5 Essentials for a 5 star experience

Whether a hiking fanatic, Colorado resident, or both, you’re going to love this. Among many amazing things to do in Colorado, hiking beats most. There’s nothing like going out into the wild wilderness and letting go from society. Hiking allows you to clear your mind and completely embrace the true beauty of nature. Time and time again, locals say “flatlanders” or out of state tourists, come to Colorado and think hiking will be a breeze. Although hiking is unbelievably amazing beyond belief, it can be your worst nightmare without the proper preparation. Beneath are some key tips on how to prepare for a flabbergasting Colorado hike.

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Know the area/Carry a compass

-Colorado is a huge place, and without prior knowledge of the location you plan to hike, or some sort of directional tools, you could find yourself in a fluster of a situation in a hurry. While trying to enjoy yourself in the Big Colorado, the last thing you want to be is lost. If you have no prior knowledge of the area you aspire to hike, research it before going. Especially in today’s age, many of us rely on our smartphones. When it comes to hiking, especially in Colorado, phones can be useless. With wide valleys and mountain ranges, Colorado connection tends to be poor. Relying on a device for knowledge and direction won’t always work, so prior knowledge of the area and a compass can be major factors towards a positive experience.

 

First aid kit

-When hiking, we can all agree that it’s important to avoid injury. In order to so, a first aid kit is a great start. The wilderness is a wild place, and without having a band aid or disinfectant wipe, things can go south quick. Mistakes happen and people hurt themselves everyday, especially hiking. Having a first aid kit handy allows you to be prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best.

 

BRING WATER

-Staying hydrated is always of value, but during an aggressive hike, water is truly key. Dry air is more than prevalent in Colorado, and with the high altitudes, becoming dehydrated is not only possible, but likely as well. Symptoms of dehydration include tiredness, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, and more. Drinking water before, during, and after your exploration is important if you want to avoid cramping. With peaks of warmth in the summer, especially during July, temperatures reach extremely energy bearing heights. Hydration is key, so always remember your liquids.

 

Correct footwear is crucial

-With how rugged the terrain gets in Colorado, it’s more than important to have comfortable hiking shoes. Trails and different areas can range include all types of terrain such as slippery slopes, steep cliffs, tree roots, loose gravel, and many more. This does not necessarily mean you need to get a new set of hikers. This simply means show up in something comfortable and durable, you won’t regret it. Nothing ruins a hike more than getting halfway through and realizing your feet hurt and that the rest of the trip is going to be uncomfortable. As mentioned before, the terrain in Colorado can get ugly, so shoes that cover your ankles and toes are highly recommended. Shoes that are durable and have a complete sole are perfect for foot support and quickness. Nobody wants to roll an ankle, and your shoes may not always be able to prevent that. Point being, always be cautious, and watch your step!

 

Soak up the surroundings

-Although making sure you are completely prepared is vital to your hike, enjoying the actual experience is the real value. When hiking, it’s always a great idea to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Once you’re done preparing for the worst, while still hoping for the best, take a second to look around. Drop your bags and the walking stick, embrace your surroundings with a mighty deep breath, exhaling your worries into the wind. You only live once, and who knows, this may be the last and most beautiful thing you ever experience. Never hesitate to get out there and hike it out like its your last.

 

 

Links :

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/dehydration_in_adults/page3_em.htm
http://thecohiker.com/hiking-tips/

 

Colorado Hiking – 5 Essentials for a 5 star experience

How to Build up Personality in an Interview

The number one thing to remember in a interview is practice, practice, practice. Think of what you will be talking about in the interview. Either sides of the interview don’t be nervous, be calm, cool and collected. Ask good question that relate to something that you are curious about for the position, pay, benefits, hours of work. Review the job posting, research the industry and company. Clarify your points of view towards the company. Prepare for common interview questions and concerns. Score a success in the first five minutes. Be assertive and take responsibility for the interview. With these tips and tricks I will be defining them a little bit more in the next couple paragraphs.

Practice makes perfect. Having the right mindset and having a clear head to talk in the right tone of voice to the interviewer. Once you practice and you succeed you will feel confident in yourself that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Also rehearing another form of practicing would help get that job that you’ve been searching for. You will do great when you become prepared for your interview. Practice, practice, practice is the key to success.

Think and speak clearly. Having a clear head makes all the difference when it comes to scoring that job that you’ve been wanting. Also, having positive vibes will make all the difference as well. That will show the interviewer that you are interested and looking forward to potentially work with them or for them in the near future. If they ask for what your strengths and weaknesses are, just be honest, employers love honesty that shows them on who the type of person you are.

Congrats. You have reached interview day. Don’t forget your resumé now. Printing out 2 copies, one for you and one for the interviewer will give them a visual on what you have done for employment in the past couple years. Here is a tip: do not put down employers that you only worked for 1 month or less, that might put a thought in the interviewers mind that you potentially can’t stick with a job for too long. Put down on your resumé something that looks appealing and pops out to the interviewers eye. Something like your hobby and that could be good use for the potential job. It will make it worth while for the extra things on your resumé to look appealing to the employer.

“Tell me about yourself” question might come up in the interview. Don’t get nervous, you are well prepared and you got this. Have your answers ready and you will do great. Having enthusiasm and body language will show them that you have great potential in working for them and they would be more than happy to have you on their team. Another tip for interviews, if you don’t get the job, that’s okay. That’s not saying you are never going to get a job, they just chose someone with a little more experience for the right position in the job. Look for a good company or business that you have interest for and it will click when you have found the right one. It will all pay off in the end, pun intended.

How to Build up Personality in an Interview

Business Investing Doc. Check-List, and My Goals.

What are the point of goals? To show people or prove to yourself that you’re able to obtain them? To give yourself a path to follow so you don’t feel lost in life or your career? Pretty much everyone has some form of goal, but everyone also has their own reason, this is mine.

Growing up as a kid, you don’t often think about goals. But something I knew I wanted to do, was become was a business owner. To me, owning a business and being your own boss was the ultimate achievement. You could go to work when you want, leave when you want, nobody can tell you what to do and you have that sense of pride in ownership. As I’ve gotten older, this desire has increased. So I’ve made it a goal of mine to start saving, and start looking for current or new business/business ideas to invest in or create.

Recently, I’ve been working on building my portfolio and resume through working as an independent Marketing Consultant. I’ve talked with a couple of business owners and discussed with them about providing my consulting services to help their business and build my resume. One of the two whom I was talking with really liked the idea, and wanted to work with me. We had a couple meetings and I was at the point of building a marketing plan for his business. I struggled with how to create a plan that he would utilize, and tasks that he’d actually complete.

While thinking about a marketing plan, I thought “Why not invest so that way I can handle all the marketing aspects of the business?”. To me, it was the best way that this would work for both him and I. I get an opportunity to invest in a new business that has a great product, that has potential with a lot of work and he gets a partner to handle the Marketing. I had a meeting with the owner, discussed this with him and he was excited about the idea. I told him I needed a week or two to come up with a list of documentation that I’ll need before I can make an offer.

So this is where the goal of becoming a successful business owner seemed to be within the cross-hairs of my end goal. So throughout this time I started learning more about business investing, what information I need, and how to make a smart calculated investment. I know it takes a lot of information and money to invest into a business properly, aside from the investment itself and the risk of investing. I contacted a couple people, my sister a corporate tax accountant, and friend who owns and runs a successful business. In the end of all the learning I’ve done about this topic, this was the check-list of documentation that I created.cash

  1. Balance Sheet
  2. Income Statement
  3. Cash Flow Statement
  4. Bank Statements & Reconciliations
  5. Short and Long Term Leases
  6. Proof of Compliance with all Regulatory Bodies
  7. All insurance coverage agreements
  8. Any and all legal expenses
  9. Payment Processing/Coverage Agreement
  10. All Personal or Business loans or Contracts/Agreements where the business or any business assets are used as collateral.
  11. All contracts and agreements made with the business (Website Dev, Accountant, etc.)

With this documentation, I would be able to make a fair and reasonable offer. But the interesting part about this, is how enthusiastic and seriously he took my investing into his business, until he received this list. After he received this list, he said it would take about a week maybe two for him to get everything so that I may review it. Well, two, three weeks plus have passed, and no responses to texts or calls. And that’s more than OK.

Though I spent a lot of time on this opportunity and it didn’t work out, in the end I learned a ton about business investing, and this was an awesome learning experience, that even now I feel good about have doing. No, I didn’t walk out of this opportunity as a business owner, and no I didn’t accomplish my goal, yet… But I still see this as an accomplishment in what I’ve learned that can help me in future opportunities. This goes to show, don’t let your “failures” or lack of success turn you away from your goals, let them be the learning experiences that help you achieve them!

The two following links are websites that helped me choose some of the items on my checklist. To learn more about these, follow the links below!

http://www.investopedia.com/university/small-business/financing-your-business.asp

https://www.sba.gov/blogs/3-essential-financial-statements-your-small-business

Business Investing Doc. Check-List, and My Goals.

The World of Creating Content

In this world of digital cyberspace where the boundaries of what is and isn’t possible are constantly being pushed and questioned…there exists a space. Lot’s of space. Space that beckons, and calls out to those with more creative thoughts inside their brains than they know what to do with. I have been quoted as saying the following: “The internet is a dreamers revolution. One that holds unprecedented potential for many who wouldn’t get a chance otherwise.”  I find it to become more and more true as times goes on.  Finally the stage has been set for us users. After many, many years of paid programming television, movies and books that might only grab our attention due to their critical acclaim, and the Internet still being fairly young in comparison, we now have something. You see the Internet has evolved into something more than just a search engine that is used to hold large arrays of information. It has given us an opportunity. The prospect of creating content! Ordinary people like you and me can now create content to be displayed and mass viewed by a large audience! Now I know it sounds like I am a little late to the party with this article, but please hold any pending judgements you have until the end. For me personally, there are two main reasons I consider the user created age of the internet to be so awesome:

  1. We get to create the content. Duh. Dry humor aside I can’t underestimate how cool it is as a user to be able to decide and deem what I find important and am passionate about and be able to share that stuff over the web. Not only is that form of control nice, but it is able to put you in touch with like minded people from all niche’ corners of the internet. The internet brings like minded people together, and creating content on any one of the SM platforms is a quick and easy way to find yourself in the company of people who like the same stuff you do. I believe the appropriate term that people use to define this type of gathering is ‘community’.
  2.  The second reason this is awesome is because of the unyielding opportunity it provides. Both from a personal satisfaction standpoint (which we have already touched upon) and from a business standpoint. “But Kerage, isn’t the internet still a bit unstable as a business entity with platforms like YouTube? And I thought the point was to have fun and do what you love anyway?” Right you are dear reader, but just hear me out on this one. When I throw around words like ‘opportunity’ I mean that in the sense that the business side of things may not be clearly defined when you first start out. Let us use YouTube as an example. Many of the channels that I subscribe to started off with humble ambitions, or no ambitions at all. They just wanted to share what they were doing creatively with other people. That creativity and passion allowed their humor and charisma to shine through their work and gained them more followers. The followers helped share and spread the word of their content. Before they knew it, some of them had huge followings of fans, others gained business brand deals, and some even merged with larger companies to move on to more ambitious projects. The point of this is that you never know who might be looking at your content, and how they might react to it. That’s what I mean when I say unyielding opportunity.

All you need is a little know how and some elbow grease. I would encourage any of the creatively inclined to give this user content creation stuff a shot. Be it through YouTube, Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram, personal blog or website. For anyone struggling with this, I have a few references below that you may want to check out. One from a blogger named Brian Clark who has an excellent list of “22 Ways to Create Content When You don’t have a Clue.” And even further below that I will have a an article showcasing some examples on how user generated content is re-shaping the landscape of content marketing. Until next time ladies and gents. This is Kerage, signing off.

22 Ways To Come up With Content When You Don’t Have Clue

How User Generated Content is Changing Content Marketing

The World of Creating Content

A Call to the Digital Generation: Print your Photos

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One of my favorite childhood memories is my mom taking me to Walmart to get our film developed. We would go to the photo department and drop off our film canisters, and then shop around the store for an hour until our images were ready to be picked up. It was like magic when we traded our last name for envelopes full of stacks of photos. We never waited until we got home to open them, and I can’t explain the thrill of flipping through the pictures right there as I leaned over the shopping cart. I am thankful for so many things my parents did for me and my brothers growing up, but the amount of photos they took and printed has to be up there with what I am most thankful for. My mom treated our camera like a sixth member of our family that we never went anywhere without, and she made sure to catch every moment. My dad always got incredible shots.

Now, we have around 30 shoeboxes filled with those photos, and more floating around in albums and frames. I can’t count the number of times I have carried all of the boxes into my bedroom where I’ve surrounded myself with piles of photos on the floor for hours on end, admiring the memories. And every time I have done this, in every different bedroom over the years and at every stage of life, looking at those photos is what makes me feel at home, even when everything around me changes.

In fifth grade, my mom and I picked out an Olympus digital camera for my dad’s birthday present, which is kind of a joke in my family because it only really belonged to him for the first five minutes after he unwrapped it. I was obsessed with the camera and took it everywhere with me. My mom’s film Kodak broke on a school field trip to a corn maze that she chaperoned for me in second grade, and our film Nikon stopped getting as much love. Now that things were digital in my family, Walmart’s one hour photo developing trips became a thing of the past. Since we could upload all of our photos to the computer, the hard drive became our shoe box. We only printed when we needed to.

Fast forward to present day. We are the generation of the iPhone, the goPRO, and digital cameras altogether. Advances in technology are amazing…but I’m scared. I’m scared of losing the shoebox generation. I want my kids to grow up laying on their bedroom floors laughing, crying and reminiscing on old photos like I did. And I don’t want my own memories to exist strictly in the digital realm post fifth grade. People are certainly taking more photos now than ever before, but those photos are living in hard drives and clouds. They are disappearing from walls, photo albums, and shoeboxes! I ask myself, am I overthinking this? Does it even matter?

Something happened in fall of 2016 that reminded me how important a physical photograph is. As we all know, polaroid cameras are making a comeback courtesy of FujiFilm in pastel colors, some even equipped with selfie mirrors. I was waiting in line at Hands On Art Studio in Door County with my mom, and a group of little kids came running into the front desk area. One of the girls had a yellow polaroid camera in her hand and I watched as she responded to the curious expression of her friend by saying, “It’s called a polaroid! It’s this cool new thing where you take a picture and it comes out of the top! There’s not even a screen!” The kids were beaming with excitement over this “new” invention, and couldn’t wait to take a photo and then hold it in their hands. I can’t explain how much it warmed my heart to watch that moment. That these kids were experiencing the excitement and suspense of setting up a photo you couldn’t delete, and then getting whatever was given after the shutter closed. Pictures matter. Yes, physical photographs matter. The magic I felt as a kid buried in those shoeboxes wasn’t a feeling unique to myself. Photos are magic for everyone.

Capturing memories for people is one is one of my life’s greatest purposes, and so will be encouraging you to PRINT YOUR PHOTOS! I believe the ways of the past and the present can coexist. I would be lying if I said I didn’t take 50 pictures on my phone every day, most that I don’t do anything with. My recommendation is this: don’t rely on your cell phone to be the only device that captures your memories. Don’t keep your images in the atmosphere. Buy a small mirrorless camera you can keep in your bag wherever you go. Make the time to get quality, printable, frame worthy photos taken of yourself, your family and your loved ones. Invest in a professional! They will provide you with quality photos that your great, great grandchildren will be thankful you had taken.

So what are your options for printing? There are many great online labs that you can upload your digital files to, giving you a plethora of options for prints and products to get as creative as you want with turning your files into tangible products. Nations Photo Lab is a user friendly website that offers everything from albums to prints to mugs to coffee table books, and more. If you are a photographer and are searching for a lab to work with for creating your client products, White House Custom Color will work closely with you to perfect your color calibration, and provide you with top notch products and samples so you can grow your business. And when it comes time to store your prints, Hanging Branch offers custom engraved photography packaging on beautiful handmade wooden boxes.

In this day and age, all it takes is forgetting to back up your phone one day and then dropping it into a toilet the next to lose it all.

I’ve never seen 30 shoeboxes get flushed down the toilet, have you? Ha, ha.

But really.

When you peak into the bedroom of your kids giggling at a photo, arguing about who the naked baby in the bath tub is, or you show your grandmother with dementia images from her past that light up her eyes like you haven’t seen in years, or when you are feeling lonely, nostalgic, or lost in this life, and you notice the shoebox under your bed at just the right moment, you will understand why.

With love,

Audrey

A Call to the Digital Generation: Print your Photos