guest list: creative black tie weddings

so excited for a friend’s upcoming wedding, which they’ve decided to make a creative  black tie affair - my first thought was “congrats!” and my second thought was “what do i wear?!” and after a minor freak out, I realized that this. is. AMAZING...the possibilities are endless!

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

first rule of creative black tie: you can bend the rules.  you’ll want to remember the basics of black tie attire but keeping in mind that you can pepper in your own flair -- you know I love flair!  conservative necklines and hemlines can be traded in for more interesting looks like a chic, flowy jumpsuit - and a lady can even give her man a run for his money by outdoing him in her own form-flattering tux.  

 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

and speaking of the fellas... guys, you can loosen your collar a tad bit for this soirée.  you can certainly wear a bow tie but make it stand out - take a hint from your date and choose a pop of color from their corresponding ensemble.  and feel free to play around with in-season suit colors, vests, fun jacket linings, silk socks and pocket squares. 

 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

if you want to be the belle of the ball, there are so many dress options but please remember: you cannot outshine the bride - unspoken wedding rules still apply here (this ain't the Oscars, hunny!)  just remember you can do so much with a solid color - look for interesting fabrics, hues, patterns and cuts that stand out on their own or paired with statement earrings or a clutch.  

 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

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photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

photo via Pinterest 

so what have I decided on wearing?  that's still tbd - duh, it's me...I'll be picking out outfits until the day before.  but because I'm a tad extra, one thing that I keep coming back to are these flowy formal maxi dresses that are popping back up this year.  i'm in love with this number worn by Olivia Palermo, which I'd pair with a simple strappy black heel and an on-trend circular clutch.  

photos via Pinterest

photos via Pinterest

lastly, don’t feel like you have to spend a million dollars just for one day.  check out options like Rent the Runway and Black Tux and don’t be afraid to explore stores like  Nordstrom Rack or Off Fifth - if you’re looking for something classic, you might find something from last season that is timeless, chic and a good damn deal!  for more inspo, check out my Pinterest board here.  

no matter what you end up in, just remember to have a good time!  

galentine's day goodies!

I feel like this pic is so poetic ...but no, it's really just about me drinking wine at 9am  [pink spray roses were a grocery store find, $4, Valentine's plastic wine glass, $1 from Target]

I feel like this pic is so poetic ...but no, it's really just about me drinking wine at 9am

[pink spray roses were a grocery store find, $4, Valentine's plastic wine glass, $1 from Target]

friday?!  snow day?!  that's all I needed to hear at 7am before I planned my own little solo party.  I've been so busy the last couple of weekends that I wasn't sure when I'd have time to sit down and write out some Galentine's Day greetings --Valentine's Day is a whole other story and I haven't even thought about my birthday invites -- but hey, 1/3 is a start, right?! 

I had already picked up a couple of goodies from Broadway Paper earlier in the week, so after a quick trip to Target (I can't believe I used 'quick trip' and Target together), my winter storm shut-in was in full effect!  I turned on Whitney Houston's Greatest Hits, slipped back into sweatpants and fuzzy socks, pinned my hair up and at 9am, I baked myself some chocolate chip cookies and cracked open one of my Christmas gifts: Vin Chocaolat Noir wine from Cooper's Hawk - gifted by one of Eddie's sister...clearly she knows my heart!  #adulting

so if you're on-the-go like me but want to put together a little gathering with your girlfrands this weekend, here's some starter ideas that won't cost you more than $40 and a 30-minute Target trip (if I can get out of there in 30 minutes, you certainly can too!)

 

#snowday #soloparty #notashamed

#snowday #soloparty #notashamed

this diamond banner was the first thing I saw when I walked into the store...and how perfect is this for a Galentine's Day get together or ...you may just see this make a reappearance in a few weeks for my birthday! [Target, $3,] 

this diamond banner was the first thing I saw when I walked into the store...and how perfect is this for a Galentine's Day get together or ...you may just see this make a reappearance in a few weeks for my birthday! [Target, $3,] 

a dozen adorable cards with sunny envelopes for all my best homegirls - duh, no brainer!   heads up - I found these on a featured endcap near the Girls' section at Target when I was heading to cards and stationary.   These are Junk Food brand (yes, the folks that make the comfy t-shirts!) [Target, $8]

a dozen adorable cards with sunny envelopes for all my best homegirls - duh, no brainer! 

heads up - I found these on a featured endcap near the Girls' section at Target when I was heading to cards and stationary.  These are Junk Food brand (yes, the folks that make the comfy t-shirts!) [Target, $8]

*insert  heart-eye emoji*

*insert

heart-eye emoji*

how cute is this Washi tape?!  [ Broadway Paper , $8]

how cute is this Washi tape?!  [Broadway Paper, $8]

Ok, I don't care if I'm 32 or 72, I'm always going to buy Meri Meri! [Blushing Hearts plates, 8-pack, $5.50, purchased at Broadway Paper -  buy directly from Meri Meri here! ] 

Ok, I don't care if I'm 32 or 72, I'm always going to buy Meri Meri! [Blushing Hearts plates, 8-pack, $5.50, purchased at Broadway Paper - buy directly from Meri Meri here!

january jump-start!

yea, it's gloomy and cold outside, but stay positive!  get yourself some new lil' things that will brighten your day and keep you chugging along! (if you live in warm, sunny weather - i have no no advice for you because i'm jealous!) j/k! ...kinda. 

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It's no secret that I'm a planner junkie and  if you know me, then you know that I can spend hours in Paper Source like a kid in a candy store.  So it's no surprise that when new planners hit the shelves, it's like Christmas for me all over again.  With so much coming up these next few months, I felt like it was not only important for me to feel motivated, stay double --nah make that TRIPLE-- organized but to also maintain some sort of calmness with all my planning and projects.  Oh, and to have fun...because that is ALWAYS my goal!  With that said, Eddie and I made a resolution to finally create a new dedicated workspace for the both of us -- an inconspicuous little spot in our apartment where I can focus on work and he can do art projects without us hunching over the kitchen island.  So I'm happy to share what we've done to blend that in to our home when we're all finished but for now, I wanted to shout out all the lil things that have been lighting my fire recently.  However, the major contributor to me waking up and getting things done is my copper Starbucks travel mug -- which I didn't feature here but just know that it's been the real MVP.  Anywhooo, let's check out what my faves are!

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By now, you should know a couple of things about me: 1) I'm a true child of the 90s.  2)  I leave the house like I'm prepared for battle and 3) I've got back issues.  This clear backpack from Urban Outfitters checked off all the boxes -- it's a throwback to my 3rd grade clear purple backpack, it's roomy enough to fit all of the crap I carry on the daily AND I can strap it on my back like a camel so I don't have to throw one shoulder out of whack with my oversized duffel again.  

So let's get to the inside:

I did not get this personalized but for my last couple of planners, I've added my own personal "S" stickers - you can get a pack of 4 from Michael's for about $2.  

I did not get this personalized but for my last couple of planners, I've added my own personal "S" stickers - you can get a pack of 4 from Michael's for about $2.  

If you're a #planneraddict, you understand how important it is to find a planner that fits your needs.  I've tried so many different brands and sizes over the last few years and have come to realize that my planner soulmate is a Bando agenda.  I'm one of those women that finally just gave in and said "fuck it, I don't care if I look 15 carrying this around every day!"  ...which is what I believe Bando's founder, Jen Gotch, wanted us to all say anyway.  They're just fun, ok?!?! But seriously, the covers and monthly art work are instant mood boosters.  On top of that, there's a fun "to-do" each week AND adorable stickers -- enough to keep me falling in love week after week, month after month.  This is my 3rd Bando agenda - this year I chose the iridescent cover (exclusive to Paper Source) and I love it already.  The only concern I have is making sure the cover doesn't get dented or scratched.  Is there anyone out there from the #omgbandoagenda community that can tell me how they've protected their cover?  

how can you not love something that comes chock full of compliments and well wishes?! 

how can you not love something that comes chock full of compliments and well wishes?! 

As I mentioned, I've got a lot going on this year and I want that to be a good thing -- not a rip my hair out type of thing.  So one thing I realized is that I need to make sure that I'm keeping track of my goals for Canvas and staying on top of everything that business related.  A few months back, my bff Nicole, gifted me with The Path Planner.  I instantly fell in love because it was wrapped in silver packaging and the cover was covered in gold -- shiny things make my heart pitter patter. 

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I had seen this online but didn't really know how to use it and felt a little overwhelmed with the concept of actualizing my business goals.  A couple of days before Christmas, I finally laid out the planner and poured through the site to learn to navigate my way through this planner and make it work for me.  I have to say that what once intimidated me is now such a thrill because it makes my dreams attainable.  You can utilize this planner by taking giant goals and breaking them down by year, quarter, month and week.  I love that there's a space to keep track of your accomplishments and growing points -- and they've even added in some gorgeous coloring pages in the back for those times when you just need to chill for a minute.  I can't wait to really get going with The Path Planner and I will most certainly make a note to share my personal experience down the road.  (Thanks, Nalls! XOXO) 

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Ok, whew...we made it past the planners without me having to write a whole other blog -- because I certainly could write about planners for days!  So I'll try to keep the rest of this short...I said TRY.  

Right behind my planners in importance is a good notebook.  I use a notebook for to-do lists, notes, and creative journaling.  When I have an idea or theme for an event, the first thing I do is grab my notebook and I also carry this bad boy along with me when I meet up with clients or vendors.  So I wanted something that had lasting power - not like the last one that was basically cardboard and started disintegrating in my bag. I've been using a notebook by Fringe that has a protected cover and strong coiling on the side.  I picked mine up for about $4 at HomeGoods in the stationary aisle.  Because I take down a ton of notes, I love that there's a space for the date at the top of the page so it feels like more of a reference.

 

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Next up...yes, I can still fit more in that big ole backpack!  Next up is my new companion: "Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy: A Journal" a ROBIE book.  I kept seeing little daily gratitude journals but this one spoke to me from the Broadway Paper shelves because it's school bus yellow and I love how bite-size it is so I can actually keep it with me.  There's inspiring phrases and quotes with a question each day that makes you reflect on small and big pieces of your day with the purpose of daily positivity.  It's so hard to keep up with a diary anymore - by the end of the day, even with prompts, I'm usually too mentally exhausted to pump out a whole page like I used to when I was in high school.   But I can certainly handle writing little nuggets of joy each night.  

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We've finally made it to the accessories.  But let me fill you in here...my accessory game is CRAZY and this post does it no justice.  I actually have a storage bin next to my nightstand that houses all of my pens, pencils, sticky notes and about 3,842 stickers.  I didn't even skim the surface of my favorite pens that I use for journaling - but again, that could have made this into a book!  So here are the things that I've been carrying around with me lately:

 

I'm not sure what H&M calls this purse but I call it my  "unicorn bag. "  On a recent trip to Broadway Paper, I picked up an 8-pack of these  snazzy pencils  and this multi-color  clicky gel pen  ...because I'm 33 going on 13.  I grabbed these  cute fruit stickers by Meri Meri  from Paper Source - I actually have a ton of Meri Meri stuff but love the stickers because they're so fun and bright.  Last thing here are my diamond paper clips.  I've actually had these for about a year now and they've been super loyal.  I keep one in each planner to mark the day and I also keep them close by to serve as quick bookmarks.  I can't remember exactly where I snagged these little bffs but here's a  similar pack .

I'm not sure what H&M calls this purse but I call it my "unicorn bag."  On a recent trip to Broadway Paper, I picked up an 8-pack of these snazzy pencils and this multi-color clicky gel pen ...because I'm 33 going on 13.  I grabbed these cute fruit stickers by Meri Meri from Paper Source - I actually have a ton of Meri Meri stuff but love the stickers because they're so fun and bright.  Last thing here are my diamond paper clips.  I've actually had these for about a year now and they've been super loyal.  I keep one in each planner to mark the day and I also keep them close by to serve as quick bookmarks.  I can't remember exactly where I snagged these little bffs but here's a similar pack.

Just in case you thought I was joking about my sticker books - LOL!  The pack on the left are  from Bando  - and I'm excited to grab the new pack that's being released soon.  The other two are sticker packs from Me and My Big Ideas and their line  The Happy Planner.   Although I wasn't a huge fan of the actual Happy Planenr, I LOVE these sticker packs because they give me more room in my planner to stay organized and they have tons of different specialized packs, including the Health & Fitness booklet that I recently grabbed (maybe this will FINALLY be the thing that helps me stay consistent with my workouts...maybe).  

Just in case you thought I was joking about my sticker books - LOL!  The pack on the left are from Bando - and I'm excited to grab the new pack that's being released soon.  The other two are sticker packs from Me and My Big Ideas and their line The Happy Planner.  Although I wasn't a huge fan of the actual Happy Planenr, I LOVE these sticker packs because they give me more room in my planner to stay organized and they have tons of different specialized packs, including the Health & Fitness booklet that I recently grabbed (maybe this will FINALLY be the thing that helps me stay consistent with my workouts...maybe).  

And lastly, the one thing that I haven't been able to put down since I bought it:  Together Journal

This beautifully crafted magazine is...GORGEOUS!   There's enough inspiration between these pages to keep me going until next year...seriously look at these pics:  

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I mean, come on!  *insert heart eyes emoji*  (I picked up my copy from Barnes & Noble)

I mean, come on!  *insert heart eyes emoji*  (I picked up my copy from Barnes & Noble)

There you have it!  That's what I've been toting around in this backpack ..as if you didn't know already -- because it's clear so duh! 

I'd love to hear what's been keeping you motivated so feel free to post a comment.  

XOXO, 

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happy 2018!

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TL; DR - to go straight to the gallery, just click here!

It's been a looooong and tough year for me and I know that I've had friends and colleagues that have said the same about 2017 -- it was just "one of those years", I guess!  Exactly one year ago, we packed up a U-Haul truck and made the journey up north from the South Loop of Chicago to the East Side of Milwaukee right before Eddie started his new role.  Sure, it's only 1.5 hours distance, but when all you've known for the past 10+ years is Chicago and you have zero connections in your new city, it feels like light years away.  It was freezing cold outside and I was recovering from having the flu on Christmas (awful) but we unpacked everything, rested and Eddie suggested we ring in the new year in our new city ...and I'm so glad we did!  We had a great time celebrating --even though we were beyond exhausted -- at The Iron Horse Hotel, one of the places we stayed before we committed to moving here.  

I'll spare you all of the details but I feel like I've been on a roller coaster ever since.  Trying to navigate through a new city, new friends and a new career path that I wasn't sure about, I've definitely been a ball of emotions.  A few months back, I was in the thick of it and had never felt myself so....not me!  That's when I knew it was time to break out of my rut and start working on my own creative personal projects with the things that I loved -- events and weddings! 

As I started reaching out to connect with industry people in the area and vendors, my positivity increased and I decided to finally get what I started in Chicago back up and going.  No more reasons to make excuses of "being in a new city," "not knowing the market," and everything else that I had said to distract myself over the past 9 months.  So as I got this up and going, I was determined to kick it off right...and what better way than a New Year's celebration here in Milwaukee!

I have to say that over the past year, two things that have remained strong and steady are 1) my relationship with Eddie and 2) the great, supportive friends that we have individually and together.  Those are exactly the people that I wanted to usher in 2018 with, as well as share the kickoff to my new venture... and so save-the-date texts went out, followed by some invites that Eddie quickly whipped up. 

 

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We wanted to do a get-together for the day to celebrate the new year even though we knew everyone had to drive back to Chicago to work the next day so we pulled a nooner, which has quickly become one of my favorite type of adult parties.  Start at noon, full + happy by 4pm and in your pjs by 7 ...it's definitely win/win!  I had been working on my branding for Canvas over the past few weeks and wanted to keep it informal but a little modern so I could create this blog.  So, yes, this was rushed but the love I put into hosting my friends was still there. Once I settled on black and white, I immediately had the idea of grabbing a chalkboard runner to have our friends write their 2018 resolutions on the table. 

I grabbed assorted flower bunches and a eucalyptus bundle from Whole Foods to create this floral piece.  

I grabbed assorted flower bunches and a eucalyptus bundle from Whole Foods to create this floral piece.  

"Good fortune fruit"

"Good fortune fruit"

This was a great tie-in and really good inspiration since it all matches my primary color palette for Canvas: white, black and copper with hints of green.  So of course my next thought was to pick up some copper Moscow Mule mugs, which I've been wanting to add to our bar for far too long anyway.  I actually lucked out at Target when I came across  quite a few in the clearance section from the Project 62 line [ you can find similar from World Market here] and also this brushed copper bowl, which I turned into a vase for the floral centerpiece.   I was also able to get my hands on these black + white appetizer plates from Joanna & Chip's Hearth & Hand line.  Since champagne should always be the star of the show on New Year's, I also gave those bottles a shot of copper spray paint and added some modern type letters to a ribbon, which matched the table settings.  

Don't think those mugs went unused!  I swapped out the usual Tito's and grabbed some Smirnoff Vanilla vodka, some Trader Joe's ginger beer, limes, blackberries and mint.  I muddled the blackberries, mixed it all in, added a squeeze of lime and garnished with mint and blackberries...and voila!  Blackberry Vanilla Mules - so delicious! 

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Hanging out with our friend crew is always such a good time, whether we're out or keeping it casual at home.  So, of course, after the champagne was popped and everyone was stuffed -- the 90s playlist was turned on and there was a room full of Mariah Carey wannabes singing into empty bottles and spoons!  I couldn't imagine a better way to bring in a new year than with these crazy folks that I love so much.  To check out the rest of the day, visit the gallery here.  *Side note - I know I'm forgetting tons of little details here (like the champagne gummy bears you'll see on the table) but this was not only more of a personal event but also a learning experience, that involved some quick turnaround so moving forward, my posts will definitely be more detailed.  

As 2018 enters, I feel like the old Sharris again and am beyond ready for what's next.  I'm thankful for the great people in my life that kept me motivated and look forward to seeing what awesome things they will all do this year as well.  Looking forward to this fun journey and wishing everyone peace and blessings in 2018 and beyond! 

XO,

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