Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Real Wedding: Yellow and Black Damask Table by Lifelong Studios

Image Credit: Lifelong Studios

This next dessert table is proof that inspiration can come from just about anywhere. And in this bride and groom’s case, it was all about the incredible black and yellow palette with modern, whimsical detailing. For me, I was also inspired by one of my dearest role models, Amy Atlas. A few years ago, Amy's black and yellow damask-prink dessert table was one of the first times I stopped dead in my tracks and told myself, "wow, that is amazing!" Amy is the queen of desserts, and if you haven't already, her Sweet Designs blog is a must-read.

In terms of overall design, Ally and Ryan were not afraid to "go there" and the result was a gorgeous, graphic inspired affair. Photographed to perfection by Life Long Studios and styled by Staci Mandikas and team over at Unique Event Design, you will love this wedding.

For a link of the complete gallery on Lifelong Studio's blog here.

Behind the Scenes Notes:
1. Ugh! Why couldn't I have filled the milk shots before the shots were taken?
2. Towards the end of the wedding, wedding planner Staci Mandikas grabbed our black, Ikea frame, we pushed the dessert table out of the way and had an impromptu photoshoot with Ally and Ryan. So. Much. Fun.

Dessert Table Styling: Chic Sweets
Tissue Poms: Pom Tree
Linens: Connie Duglin
Event Design and Planning: Unique Event Design
Photography: Lifelong Studios
Venue: Lange Farm

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Branding and Growth

Newly-designed logo by Karrie Pyke Designs

Hey Everyone! Wow, cannot believe it's a long weekend and we have no wedding--sooo looking forward to a much needed breather. So although I have a lot of blog goodness stored up in my head, one of the things I wanted to talk was branding. Now that I've been delving into this process/journey head on, I'd thought I would share some helpful tips that I've uncovered along the way. **Note to self: not an expert here! ;)

1. Be Yourself: Chic Sweets has come such a long way from when we started. I look at myself back then and can only smile--I thought I had it figured out. Who we were, what Chic Sweets was about, the image I wanted out there. I would spend hours scouring the internet ohhing and ahhing over where I could be. However, one of the biggest pieces I was missing in all of this, was myself. Being myself through my work, blog, social media intercation, color palette and anything that I put out there. When I started, I found myself working off the inspirations of other's and realized at one point...wow...this is not me. I hardly caught myself doing it. Who am I? I love classic looks, no fuss, clean lines. I'm all on board for simple color palettes with a splash of a bold color.  I'm a perfectionist for the details and aim to always bring myself out through my work. I'm also a wife and mother, love doing both, always challenged by finding a common balance in all of it. So in taking the time to redefine my brand, I was somewhat challenged in bringing everything together. Until (light bulb moment) I thought wouldn't it be great to bring both aspects of my life together and that is what culminates into my brand?

Finding "The One": So if you've decided you want to take your brand to another level, next step will be to work with someone that can take your feedback/inspirational boards that will bring everything all together. This, of course, can be free or costly. Check out Proof Branding; Making Brands Happen; Studio Snyder; or my own designer (shameless plug) Karrie at Karrie Pyke Designs, for a professionally designed logo, blog or site.  I spent a lot of time going through portfolios from various designers, getting references, until I found one that I felt was the best match from an artistic and of course, financial standpoint. I'm all about the baby steps so instead of doing everything all at once with Karrie, we first worked on our Logo and took things from there. This was great because I didn't feel the anxiety of being contractually held to a designer if things didn't quite get off to the right start.

***Let me add this as a final thought: Don't rush the process! As you can see I'm still using a Blogger template and my site was designed by my amazing brother just to help me get the ball rolling. Both have definitely filled my need up to this point. Starting a business is not easy and three years ago I wouldn't have been able to define Chic Sweets the way it has evolved now. It wasn't intentional at the time, but now I'm more than happy I took my sweet time before jumping into all of this.

The Design Process: This is where you need to really look into yourself and where you want to be. I literally took a half day, went to a quiet place, grabbed a large cup of coffee and just put various inspirational boards together. Whether it be just various fonts, pictures, colors. The more I felt like I could share with Karrie, the better she could see where I was coming from. When we finally put my final brand together, it came from a constant inspiration board that I was continually updating and changing. Cool colors, clean, modern, designer, mom of 3, family, etc.  And so my amazingly, patient designer took those concepts and turned them into something I felt comfortable (happy) with. Yeah, I know, not easy. Be prepared, this is not going to happen overnight. Your designer will need time and you'll also take some time out of your schedule to review the changes, mock ups, drafts, etc.

So, again, this is my journey as it evolves and grows and I wanted to share with all of you a bit of where I was coming from. Super excited to see my redesigned blog and site launch and nothing feels better than keeping the momentum going. Hey, I'm making things happen here :)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Blue and Orange Gator Inspired Dessert Table


Morning Y'all! We want to start you off on the right foot for this Monday, so we are bringing you some seriously amazing photos from our dear friends over at Limelight Photography.

Now if you follow our work, you know how much we heart our friends over at Limelight. They have been our biggest supporters over the past few years and I just can't say enough about them. Of course, what we seriously love about this table is that our lovely couple, Robin and Byron wanted to go outside the box and create a Gator inspired dessert table. Now, being a proud Gator Alumni myself (raising arms, whoop, whoop), I was super excited, however, I knew this was going to be tricky especially when the entire room has an different color palette. Luckily, I think we were able to strike a balance between the shades of desserts, lining on all of our vessals and a lovely touch with the paper garland.

Go Gators!

Table Credits
Wedding Planner: Staci Mandikas from Unique Event Design
Photography: Limelight
Gator Head Decal: Beepart
Linen: Connie Duglin
Desserts, Candy and Backdrop: Chic Sweets
Paper Banner: Kate Grenier

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Heart is Full

This weekend Chic Sweets had one of our busiest weekends yet. Happy clients, beautiful dessert tables, but I didn't want to make this blog so much about our work as it was about our team. So today I want to say, THANK YOU, my heart is full. There is something very special to be said about the people in your life who believed in you even before you believed in yourself and what I thought was a shot-in-the-moon idea to start a business.The people who've always supported you and your crazy visions while others stood by shaking thier heads and anticipating you'd fail or couldn't handle seeing you actually succeeding on your own merit.

So as I sit here hitting keystrokes, feeling a huge knot building up in my throat, there is something to be said about these unbelievable people and I believe that something to be said is simple: Thanks for believing in me when I wanted to give up and for laughing, crying, and having panic attacks with me along the way. Your unwavering faith in my work, leaves me without words....other than just massive amounts of love for all of you.

My heart is full.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Zlotnitsky Bat Mitzvah

Wow, two blog posts in one day-I'm on a roll here! Had the awesome, super-fun chance to work on a Bat Mitzvah for a very special client of mine. I can't lie--it's always great when the person you are working with gives you free-reign to design a dessert table. Maria, just really understood where we were coming from and allowed the design to just FLOW.

The colors were a combination that is close to my heart (orange and fuchsia) which I just adore, mostly because they happend to be my own wedding colors. ;)


Life Interrupted

So when I started this post, I thought it would be about where I was in my life, Lara Casey's Making Things Happen workshop and how my path has taken a lot of twists and turns as a business owner, wife and mother. I even made a video--can you believe that? It was hard but I felt only I could explain best in my own words. Then a few days before I planned on posting this video, my grandmother (the center of my universe) suffered a major stroke. And while I felt my world closing in, finding it hard to breathe, let alone get through the day...I was dealing with morning sickness.

Yes, that is right, along with the deepest lows, there can be incredible highs which can totally catch you by surprise. Yup, your's truly is pregnant and in my second trimester. We were excited and nervous but in the end, we cannot wait to bring another "Clamp" into our home. So with a lot of things happening (understatement), I think it would have been easy for me to turn the off button, close the door, and hide under the covers. A few months ago, that would have been the case, but one of the biggest lessons I learned from Lara Casey's Making Things Happen, is that me, and only me has the power to make. things. happen. And in the end, I took a deep breath and realized that I can do this. That despite the circumstances and hard lessons, I'm going to get through this and come out of it a better person.

So while I'm still struggling to understand my grandmother's current health situation and doing everything we can to make her better, I'm reminded every moment of the day that I'm going to be a mommy to another little one, sooner that I can imagine. I guess I can say that today my thoughts are simply to take what life has to give you, whether it be wonderful, great, awful, terrible and find that strength deep inside of you to keep on moving forward. Making the choice to open your eyes, get out of bed and live your life everyday with just love and faith, which is what I seem to be holding onto, everyday. Sorry, if that was a little to preech-y.

And as if this blog post could not get any longer, I thought I would go ahead and share the v-blog I had originally intended on posting before my world got flipped around a bit.

Please note, that a large pot of coffee, comfortable chair and a blanket required.