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Best of 2016

Is it me or did 2016 fly by? I'm excited and optimistic for 2017, and all the amazingness I know it will bring. But before I say hello to the new year, I want to share how awesome 2016 has been for Sensational Soirees. This by far, has been my best year in business...yay!!

Thanks to 2016 Best Nine, I was able to relive my top 9 moments on Instagram. Beyond the likes, the photos paint a picture of something important that happened this year. Ironically, the photos that received the most engagement were of me, and likewise this year I was intentional in stepping out from behind the logo, and showing more of who I am throughout the brand and online. The core of Sensational Soirees is me - my heart, passion, creativity and love for my clients and bringing their visions to life. So I'm super proud that I achieved my face of the brand goal this year.

The weddings and soirees we had the pleasure of planning this year were amazing! The greatest part of my job is connecting with my clients and seeing their joy on event day, so I'm grateful for this amazing event year for us! As I reflect on 2016 as a whole, I just have to share a few other key highlights with you that have made this year so special.

MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS

I am so grateful for the connections I made and relationships built this year. Growing up, I was somewhat of an introvert and extrovert - quiet around strangers and loud around friends. Well, in the event industry we thrive off of building great vendor and client relationships. Needless to say, I learned quickly how to network and give an elevator speech. But more than that, I have grown to really enjoy and value connecting with other creatives who get it - this entrepreneurship life of pursuing a dream. From friendors who always come through for me and my clients to planner friends who I can share with about both work and life, I am so thankful for my tribe who have meant so much to me this year!

As a mom, I choose not to attend all of the weeknight networking events, but somehow still made a ton of new business connections this year. One way that happened was through intentionally connecting with other creatives on social media and Facebook groups like the Savvy Community and Heart Centered Biz Bosses. These groups feel like home to me, and the ladies I've connected with and learned from are simply amazing. One of the most meaningful connections I made was with the Mor Community. As a creative mom in business, this community of fellow mompreneurs inspires and encourages me, and serving as the blog manager is so fulfilling in being able to support other mompreneurs.

EDUCATION

This year, I have received such a return on my investment in business education! From webinars, to podcasts, workshops, retreats and more, I really went IN on learning this year - and it has paid off. All this knowledge I've absorbed this year has already benefited me in terms of business growth and personal development.

One of the most valuable investments I made this year was hiring Shelby Tuck-Horton as my business coach. The time I spent learning from her allowed me to see what I was doing well, what I needed to stop, and the steps I needed to take to get to the next level. Shelby is a veteran in the industry with so much expertise and heart, and I'm grateful for the wisdom she deposited into me and her caring spirit.

I've shared previously on the blog about some of the conferences I attended this year such as Intrigued Experience, but the one I haven't recapped yet, which was beyond game changing was the Coterie Retreat. My experience truly deserves it's own blog post, so stay tuned for that in January.

Well, this year, I not only learned from others but I also ventured into being the giver of knowledge. I can't begin to share how fulfilling the launch of my one-on-one mentoring has been. It's only been offered for the past 2 months, and I've received such valuable feedback already. I'm excited for even more educational offerings I'll be rolling out in the new year. I have had so many personal experiences, wins, lessons and more that I was hoarding, and I'm grateful to be a resource to other boss ladies who are where I was.

4 YEARS!

Reaching the 4 years in business milestone has been so rewarding. In the beginning, I couldn't see the place where I am now, and I'm sure 4 years from now I'll be saying the same thing. I am grateful for every single client and couple who has entrusted me with their soirees and weddings. Connecting with my clients alone has meant so much to me - they are truly the best. Planning and designing fires me up like nothing else - it makes me so happy to use my creativity and God given talents in this way. It has been such a joy to pursue my passion professionally, I literally can't explain that joy completely in words. NONE of my success would be possible without my team and vendor friends, so I'm so thankful to you for hanging in there with me on this journey. If you haven't already, check out more of my thoughts on year 4 here.

NEW BRANDING

Still over the moon for the new direction of Sensational Soirees, and the amazing branding refresh Rekita Nicole gave us. It was so needed, and definitely a big win for this year! Don't you just love it?!

As you can see, 2016 and God has been very good to Sensational Soirees! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support - from reading the blog, following and engaging on social media, working with me, trusting me, believing in me, being a friendor or friend, and just simply sending positive vibes this way - thank you!

I'm signing off until 2017, and hope you have an absolutely sensational new year!

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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4 Year Anniversary + HUGE Announcement

Last week, I celebrated 4 years of Sensational Soirees!! Whooo hoo! Where has the time gone?!

As I'm still celebrating a week and a half later, I can't help but to reflect on this journey. 4 years ago today, I decided to stop sitting on my dreams and instead chase them. I decided that even in a saturated market of event planners, there was still room for me and what I had to offer. I decided to believe that faith without works is dead, and wake up my faith. I decided to trust that if I just started, it would be worth my while. And it's been just that and so much more. I'm filled with so much happiness reflecting on the past 4 years, and so much gratitude for every single client, colleague, and supporter of Sensational Soirees! Thank you!

I'm so very proud of all I have achieved over the past 4 years, with the help of God and my team and circle of support. But beyond that I'm so thankful for all that I have learned. I don't have an overnight success story, and I'm not ashamed of that. I'm grateful for the beginning days of hardly no clients, barely making any profit, and working so very hard to build this brand from the ground up. Those humble beginnings have kept me grounded, focused on perfecting my craft and committed to hardwork. Today, I'm grateful I never gave up, and the hard work paid off! Now of course, I have soooooo much more I want to do and many more goals and dreams to achieve, but today I'm simply grateful for the past 4 years and the many more to come! 

NOW ON TO THE HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT... :-)

I've been working on something special for other boss ladies in business 3 years or less, and in case you've scrolled on the website today, then you probably saw our new web page spilling all the beans. Well, I'M OFFICIALLY ROLLING OUT BUSINESS EDUCATION! YAY!

I'll be honest, rolling out a new service can be a little scary, which is why it practically took me this whole year to finally take the plunge and do this. But when there's a purpose on you, you have to walk in. So I'm choosing to do this, to share, to support others, all in the spirit of community over competition. The amazing feedback I've already received so far is simply confirmation that now was in fact the time. As boss ladies, the thoughts of maybe next year or maybe when I have this or maybe when I achieve this can halt you from moving ahead into your next level. The key is to remember we all need each other, so not moving forward doesn't just affect you, but in turn whoever needed you and what you have to offer.

Therefore, I'm excited to answers your questions, share advice and serve the following: (1) New or aspiring wedding and event planners who have no idea how to start with their business, (2) Planners who've been in business 3 years or less, work a full-time job and seeking one-on-one advice and feedback, and (3) Fellow mompreneurs who desire to successfully run their business, while raising their families. Does that sound like you? Then let's chat! As of today, I'm NOW accepting bookings for 1 hour and 1.5 hour one-on-one mentoring sessions via phone or Skype. Additionally, for those in the DMV area, I'm also offering in-person 2.5 hour lunch and learns, so that we can connect, you can learn, all while enjoying a delicious bite to eat. Head over to the new education page to sign up for more information, as space is extremely limited.

In case you missed my Facebook Live last Monday, in celebration of the anniversary and education roll out, check it out here, plus one more special announcement :-)

So those complimentary one-on-one sessions I announced on FB Live filled up so quickly. But since I didn't announce it on the blog, I've decided to offer a couple more for a limited time! If you're interested, tell me why in the comments section for an opportunity to get a final slot.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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The Sketchbook Series Workshop in Baltimore

I love love LOVE learning new ways to better my business, help me express creatively, and sharpen my skills. Well I recently attended an amazing workshop that was an event planner and designer's dream. When I learned about the Sketchbook Series workshops last year thanks to Instagram, I was so bummed I didn't hear about it until after their workshop in the Virginia area. Needless to say, I stayed on the hunt for 2016 dates, and registered for this year's Baltimore workshop...it did not disappoint!

Photo Credit:   Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

So what exactly is the Sketchbook Series you say? It's a hands-on workshop for creative professionals developed and taught by Mary Phan to help planners, bakers, florists, designers and more bring their ideas to life through sketching. The workshop exceeded my expectations and has already proven to be so valuable for my business, and here's why:

1. I can now sketch up my event dreams

When planning and designing a wedding or soiree, my mind is filled with so many creative ideas to not only execute my client's vision, but to also take it up a notch. While nature and scenery, inspirational websites, magazines, Pinterest and more are great for gathering visual inspiration, most of the creativity that comes from a designer is locked within our minds. Sometimes those creative designs can be challenging to communicate in words and other times our vision is so unique that there aren't images out there on the web or elsewhere to show what we're thinking. Now that I have the introductory skills to sketch up my event dreams, this will be so useful in illustrating my design ideas clearly and beautifully on paper.

Mary Phan, better known as verymaryinspired, was an amazing instructor. Her warm personality, expertise and willingness to share her knowledge made the workshop and learning so much better. Mary took us step by step in sharing what materials and supplies we need for sketching, how to set up our paper before sketching and how to execute various designs from cakes, to floral centerpieces, draping and tablescapes. Each attendee walked away with a starter sketching kit and so much knowledge and inspiration that left me all fired up about design!

Photo Credit:   Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

2. Tons of eye candy

Naturally as a planner, I love when the design of an event is on point. When I walked in the room at the Sketchbook Series workshop, I immediately whipped out my iPhone to take pics of all the gorgeousness! Stunning cakes, florals, draping and more created such a visual appealing and inspiring space to sketch. In the event industry, one of the major focuses of events is on design, which is why it was so necessary for the workshop to be in a space full of eye candy. In fact, we used the cake and florals as inspiration for our sketches on the first day of the workshop. I felt such a sense of accomplishment being able to sketch the beauty in the room.

Photo Credit:   Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

3. Sketching adds value and fun to the design experience

Mary not only provided hands-on sketching instruction, but she also spoke about the value of sketching and how it adds to the design experience. Being able to provide your clients with something tangible that speaks to their event and design is such a unique and valuable service. Sketches are useful to provide to florists and other vendors who will be involved with the design process, so that everyone can be in sync regarding vision. This skill is totally game-changing for my business, and I'm so excited to continue practicing and eventually becoming a sketch master (speaking it into existence)! In addition to the value, sketching proved to be a lot of fun! I so enjoyed the entire process of playing around with sketch techniques, adding color and bringing ideas to life on paper.

Photo Credit:   Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

4. The Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

Do I really need to say more? Learning in a luxe venue was a win win for me. Not only did I get to see all of the beauty and ballrooms, where I dream of planning future events, but I also got to experience the Four Seasons cuisine. A venue that has lots of ambiance along with amazing food is definitely one that is included in my venue directory. Both breakfast and lunch were delicious, which left me quite curious about how much more amazing I'm sure their dinner is. I definitely look forward to attending or planning a future event at the Four Seasons Baltimore.

Photo Credit:   Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

The awesome team and sponsors responsible for this amazing workshop included:

Instructor: Mary Phan  @verymaryinspired

Design + Planning: Stephanie Bradshaw  @sbcreative_

VenueFour Seasons Baltimore  @fsbaltimore

Florals Day 1Crimson & Clover  @crimsoncloverfloral

Florals Day 2:  Flowers & Fancies  @flowersandfancies

Photography: Living Radiant  @livingradiant.photo

Event Production: Revolution Events  @reveventpro

Cake: La Cakerie  @lacakerie

Dessert Bar: Truly Scrumptious Candy & Dessert Bar  @truly_scrumptious_candy_bars

Linens: Table Toppers  @tabletoppersmd

Calligrapher: Lovely Ink Callipgraphy  @lovelyinkcalligraphy

National Sponsors: Aisle Planner  @aisleplanner and Imagination International @copicmarker

Photo Credit:   Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

Amazing, right?! Share what you think about this workshop and the value of sketching in the comments section. If you're a fellow event pro, what workshops have you attended and loved this year?

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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Feature Friday + Giveaway Winner

Happy Friday folks! I hope you've had a sensational week. After blogging every day last week in celebration of blog week (yay!) + a sensational wedding last Friday, I took the time this week to refuel and also refocus on some exciting projects. But I'm happy to be back today on the blog with some great news!

Image Credit: SC Stockshop

Image Credit: SC Stockshop

I'm happy to announce the winner of our Blog Week Giveaway...Courtney Inghram! Congrats again to Courtney, who won the fabulous prizes of: (1) $50 Target gift card, (1) $50 Sensational Soirees shop e-gift card, (1) $25 Starbucks gift card, and (1) $25 Visa gift card. Awesome, right?! THANK YOU again to everyone for supporting  blog week and Sensational Soirees!

In other exciting news, I'm pleased to share that I had an article featured on the Rising Tide Society (RTS) blog last week! I love being apart of the RTS community, and I'm a huge advocate for the #communityovercompetition movement. To do my part in supporting the mission, I shared some insights on a popular topic among creative entrepreneurs, which RTS shared on their blog. That topic was ways to successfully work your business while you still work a full-time job. This post somewhat served as a follow up to the last post I wrote for them, Running a business while raising a family. So for all you boss ladies who have a 9 to 5 too, check out my 3 tips to help you balance both more successfully.

Another feature that was published last month was an interview I did with Inspire into Action in March. The mission of this company is to inspire others to take action on their dreams. During this interview, I shared how I got started with Sensational Soirees and provided tips for aspiring and current entrepreneurs. Check it out below:

I'm so excited and thankful for these features, and excited for even more features coming down the pipeline. Let me know 1 thing you took from the RTS post or Inspire Into Action interview...jot it down in the comments section.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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