The benefits of social media and an online presence.

Posts tagged ‘Scheduling’

Thanksgiving Dinner 101

For those of you who don’t live your lives knee-deep in event planning craziness, I always try to include a blog post or two about the planning involved in everyday life.  And if you’ve looked at your calendar lately, you know what that next event is.

Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Photo Credit.

Happy Thanksgiving! Photo Credit.

But we’re switching it up this holiday. Instead of telling you how to plan your perfect Thanksgiving dinner, I’m just going to remind you of the basics that everyone overlooks.  So here they are!

Start Early: Though it seems like the easiest piece of advice, many Thanksgiving chefs never begin early enough. Even if you factor in your cooking time, be sure to factor in prep time too. Many dishes require up to an hour of preparation and some desserts can require hours of cooling time. Don’t forget to plan for this!

Stagger Your Dishes: If you’ve ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner before, you’ve inevitably tried to put the biscuits in the oven and realized that the turkey and casserole and two pies all need to fit as well. Solution? Create a cooking schedule based on what will be served when and how long it will need to be in the oven. This will help you get everything cooked on time and no one will notice your lack of oven space.

Stick to Your Recipes: If you’re going to go rogue, do it on a day when your entire extended family won’t be tasting the fruits of your labor. And don’t mix your recipes! Depending on the cook, the temperature, cooking time, and ingredients are all different. Don’t combine recipes if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Make Time For a Shower: Don’t get so caught up in your kitchen efforts that you forget to prep yourself too. Family that you haven’t seen for weeks or months will be spending the day with you and certainly taking dozens of pictures, all of which you will be tagged in on Facebook. So, prep yourself. Schedule in time for a shower and have someone to watch whatever is still on the stove. You’ll thank me later.

Enjoy a delicious meal. And Happy Thanksgiving!

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Planning a Road Trip

So, you’re not an event planner. No big deal!

We all need to know how to plan. And I can show you how to properly plan for everyday life. Like a road trip!

My best friend Buddy and I recently took a day trip to Washington D.C. (before the shutdown, go us!) And despite only lasting a day, that trip was one of our most thought out yet. So I’m here to share with you the basic steps of any road trip.

Meeting Pandas at the National Zoo

Meeting Pandas at the National Zoo

 

Planning Ahead: Do some research first! Decide where you would like to go and then find out how much gas you’ll need to get there. Save up enough money for gas, food, and souvenirs if you wish to buy them. If you are planning to visit specific places, make sure you know the hours and days they are open as well as their entrances fees. In our case, we planned to visit the National Zoo plus the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial. They close at 6 on Sundays and admittance is free.

Scheduling: Make sure the day works for everyone hoping to go and that you all ask off for work. Buddy is always off on Sundays and I was lucky enough to have off so we chose a Sunday. I also brought my laptop and textbooks with the hope of getting homework done in the car. (It didn’t happen but a girl can dream.)

Make a List:  Write down all the places you plan to visit and then rearrange them based on where they are located so that you are making the best use of your time. Create a really basic itinerary of how long you would like to spend at each place so that you don’t run out of time.  Buddy and I took the metro and headed to the Zoo first since it was on the way to the National Mall. Once we got off at our stop we circled around the Smithsonian Museums. We chose which animals we would like to see and which museums we most wanted to visit beforehand to save us time.

Social Media Use: Check in on Foursquare everywhere you go. It’ll be a fun way to share with your social networks where you are and users will share tips about cool things in your area. Take pictures to upload later but don’t miss out on the experience! The trick to this one is knowing your online friends. If your road trip will take several days, be sure you’re okay with all of your Facebook or Twitter friends knowing that you will not be home. Have a house-sitter or a friend pick up your mail and maybe leave a light or two on at your house just in case.

I told you. You don’t have to be an event planner to plan. So get your pens and notepads out and begin that road trip!

You Got Mad Skills

Whether you’re the event coordinator or the volunteer, you have all the necessary skills to create a successful event. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before! And I’m here to prove it.

You got skills.

That’s right. Mad skills in everything you’d ever need to plan an event.

1.) Telephone Skills: Remember the last time you scheduled a doctor’s appointment? You got skills. I’m sure you called and politely told them exactly what you were calling for and agreed upon a time that would suit both of your schedules. Then, you recorded that time somewhere on a calendar, said thank you and politely said goodbye.

Those are event planning skills! Not only has life trained you to have a brief and productive conversation but it has also taught you manners and how to schedule your events.

2.) Scheduling Skills: At some point in your life you have had a day planner. Guess what? You got skills. Aside from just doctor’s appointments, you’ve probably recorded other important dates like weddings, deadlines, and even just coffee dates.

You already have the micromanaging skills needed to properly plan any event that could come your way!

3.) Customer Service Skills: Have you ever had a retail job? A food service job? Have you ever purchased anything ever in the span of your life? You got skills. You know how to successfully greet someone at your event and thank them for attending when they leave. You know how to ask questions and successfully answer the questions of others.

In short, you know how to interact with people, and that’s the key to event planning.

The moral of the story is that life prepares you for planning your event and you can easily tap into the skills you already have to make your event a success.

Government Shutdown: An Event Planning Problem?

Since when does the government affect an event planner? Surprisingly, since now!

As hopefully most of us are aware, the United States’ government has shutdown. Political views and funding aside, everyone is curious how they are going to be affected. Opinions tend to be either of the extremes. There are the people who believe the world is ending; you know them. The guy who thinks his food will stop being tested and he’ll get E-Coli and die? That’s him. But then there are also those who are dismissive of the issue, believing no one to be affected. The girl who thinks everyone is being dramatic until she goes to do some research for homework on a .gov site. That’s her.

The truth is everyone is going to see the effects of the shutdown and event planners are no exception.

In the tweet above you’ll find a Storify I’ve put together compiling the Twitter reactions to the closing of most National Parks as well as the National Mall. If you are a wedding planner or event coordinator with events scheduled at these locations, begin thinking ahead. Here are some common sense tips from yours truly.

1.) Check your budget: If the bride is upset and considering canceling, remind her of the non-refundable deposits already placed with the caterers, the venue, the photographer, and florist. Then consider the travel costs for relatives, the already mailed invitations, and the cost of therapy after having to cancel and re-plan an entire wedding. If you can’t afford to cancel, move on to solutions.

2.) Find a back-up location: Immediately. Coordinators all over will be doing the same. If you planned to have your event at a national park, is there a charming landscape nearby perhaps owned by a family? Make sure the new venue is somewhat close so attendees can be redirected easily. Be willing to cover costs or get with your purse string operator and find a way to cover them.

3.) Will the purpose and goal still be accomplished?: If at the end of the day the bride and groom were successfully married and his and her friends and family were there to see it, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. No one will say you did a bad job if the ultimate goal is accomplished and the clients are happy. If you have to relocate a promotional event for a client but are still able to spread awareness for their cause, congratulations!

Best of luck!

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