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December 19, 2014

I’m sitting here in my hometown of Hanford, CA – the town I swore over twelve years ago that I would never return to again.  (This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced life’s irony.) The familiar sound of the train is whistling by and I hear crows squawking outside.  The day is cold and damp; morning fog still lingers in a hauntingly magical wintery way.   All of these things are familiar and comforting yet so new and fresh.  The last three months have been just like this moment now.  Nostalgia dominates my emotions and its like I’m seeing my hometown for the first time – and damn is it charming!  The prideful former San Diegan in me hates to admit it, but I’m starting to fall in love with Hanford.  Being back in the place where I was born and grew up is weirdly exciting and a little terrifying all at once.

Let’s start with the terrifying, shall we?

The Terrifying

1. Small town living has some major cons.  The biggest is lack of restaurants.  I was so spoiled in San Diego with its variety of cuisine.  Sushi (my favorite), Indian, Italian, Mexican….I’m dying in the food department!  Like a piece of my heart is broken over it.  There is literally only a Chili’s, an Applebee’s, a few other local restaurants (one is called Fugazzi’s and is pretty good despite the horribly slow service) – and a million fast food restaurants.  No wonder obesity is so high here.  On the upside – I’m cooking more than I have in months.  And I love cooking.  I just also love sushi.

2. I need a friend.  Yeah, it’s kinda that pathetic.  I miss my friends in San Diego and I love my built-in bestie’s (aka my sisters), but now that I’ve lived in my new (old) town for a few months I’m longing for friends.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to make friends.  It kind of reminds me of dating.  You know, like when you see a person who looks like they might be someone you’d like (say, at your kids classroom Christmas party) and so in an attempt to get to know them and see what they’re about you Facebook them and then decide to send a friend request but once sent you immediately think that might seem weird or creepy so you decide to send a message explaining why you added them as a friend, citing the fact that you have so many mutual friends…then you realize that might be creepy too because you’ve sent them a message AND disclosed that you’ve checked how many mutual friends you actually have. You wonder if you appear as lame and pitiful as you feel.  (This happened.  Yesterday.  Fer real.) Imagine my relief when my could-be-future-friend responded to my message with grace and we agreed to meet after Christmas.

3. Family.  I haven’t lived within 300 miles of my family since I was 20 years old, so being in a 5 minute radius of my parents, sisters, and in-laws…it’s been an adjustment.

The Exciting

1. Organic food DOES exist in Hanford!  Praise GOD!  Savemart (our local grocery) is no Trader Joe’s and my youngest daughter asks where Coba (our former TJ’s mascot) is every time we grocery shop, but I’m just happy I have access to organics!

2.  Weather!  Can we just talk about this for a minute?!   I LOVE that there are seasons here.  This is something I didn’t love about San Diego….perfectly sunny weather nearly all the time.  I had to create seasons indoors since life was so void of anything but summer outdoors.  Don’t get me wrong, I love nice sunny days, but every now and then a girl needs a chilly overcast day to do nothing.  It’s like God himself is giving me permission to stay in my pj’s, drink tea, listen to classical music and read all day long.  I feel more loved by God in Hanford. ; )

3. Family.  I know that I already categorized family as “the terrifying” but living near family also falls into “the exciting” box as well.  This is the whole reason we moved back and it still feels oddly surreal to SEE my family on a daily basis.  I’m loving it.  My nephews know me and even my little niece seems to recognize me now.  It makes any gripes worth it.  And my kids are happier.  That trumps everything.

Shine On Friends,

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Post Categories: Home & Family, Personal
3 comments - Latest by:
  • Bryan Vickers Good to have you back! :)
  • Megan Smith I know exactly what you mean in the friends department! Since moving to Bakersfield, and not working, there is ...

A Season of Change

September 28, 2014

I am no stranger to change.

I left my parents home a month after my high school graduation at 18 years old and never looked back.  I was armed with unquestionable independence and naïve ambition that has (and still) leads me to both my greatest triumphs and my greatest failures.  I went to college, paid my bills like the responsible grown-up I was trying to be, got married at the crazy age of 20, moved to the east coast AND had my first daughter -all by the age of 23.  When I was 24 I was living back in CA in gorgeous San Diego and at 25 I had a crazy idea to start a wedding planning business.  This idea was born from my personal experience of not having a wedding planner (they were non-existent in Central CA at that time) and a deep desire to spare brides the stress I felt on my own wedding day paired with the typical personality traits that make wedding planners successful.  I opened my proverbial doors in 2007; I was 25 years old and hungry for a new opportunity.

Over the past seven years my business has grown and morphed in ways I couldn’t imagine when I began.  Now I find myself in a new season of change that is both terrifying and beautiful and exciting and unknown.

Last week my family and I moved back to our hometown of Hanford, CA.  This is where it all began for me.  Where I grew up with my younger sisters; where I met my husband our freshman year in high school.  The town is small and quaint (population 54,000) and the closest beach is two hours away.  The air quality is horrible and Trader Joes is a 45-minute commute.  Cows and corn and cotton surround the town.  The pace of life is slow but honest.  The people are friendly and being anonymous doesn’t really exist.  But there is a simple beauty here; a comforting predictability and a familiar way of life.

Most of this used to annoy me about this small hometown of mine, which is why I left as quickly as I could, in search of adventures and experiences.  However, a few years ago I felt a tugging at my heart; home was calling.  I ignored it and reasoned that San Diego was amazing (and it is!).  Great community, great churches, organic food everywhere, the beaches, the restaurants, the clean air, the entertainment, the beauty.  Still, home beaconed.

Maybe it was because all our family is there.  Perhaps its because my nephews don’t quite recognize me or have a cute nickname for me like they do my sister.  Or maybe it was the fact that every holiday I longed to be with my parents and sisters and spending Christmas alone in San Diego just didn’t feel the same.  Then there were my own kids, who were sad every time we left Hanford after a fun visit.  Whatever the reason, we prayed hard for God to open doors in that little town of ours.  And He did.

Our San Diego home sold in one day and we’re in the process of buying a gorgeous home in Hanford.  The transition has been smooth and exciting and I still can’t believe I live in Central CA once again after 12 years of swearing I’d never move back.  Crazy how quickly things can change.

I’ve been asked if I’ll continue to plan weddings from Hanford, which is not really as ideal for a luxury wedding planning business as Southern CA… the answer is absolutely, if I cross paths with the right couple and opportunity.  As always, I’m also willing to travel wherever couples are planning their wedding.  And I still have my team in San Diego who can take local weddings.  But I am excited to focus most my energy on education as I continue to travel, speak, coach, and work with The Wedding & Event Institute.  I have a deep passion to help other planners excel and working with new planners over the past 20 months has been such a rewarding experience for me.

So there it is.  The latest.  I thought I’d share since so many of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook have asked.  Thank you for your support and encouragement.  I’m really excited about this new season.

Xo,
Alison

 

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Post Categories: News, Personal
4 comments - Latest by:
  • Bryan Vickers Good to have you back! :)
  • Megan Smith I know exactly what you mean in the friends department! Since moving to Bakersfield, and not working, there is ...

Autumn Wedding Inspiration

September 18, 2014

Is it really already the middle of September?! Where has the year gone? Summer is over and it’s already fall (even though it sure doesn’t feel like it here in sunny San Diego!).  We may not experience the typical fall season here, but I would like to pretend that it isn’t 90 degrees outside and instead dream of some sweet, crisp autumn wedding inspiration… Let’s embrace the rich hues of the changing leaves and the crisp dew in the air shall we?

Wedding Party

When I think of fall, I instantly think of fresh picked apples and all the goodness that comes with them. This wedding inspiration revolves around everything these fresh picked beauties have to offer from their stunning hues of pinks and reds to the sweet smell of fresh baked caramel apple pie and hot mulled cider.

Trouvais

Ruffled

Three Pixie Lane

100 Layer Cake

Surround your guests with the beauty of the season by holding your evening ceremony outdoors. But be sure to give your guests the complete experience and keep them warm with some snuggly lap blankets as they are seated.

Weddingomania

Style Me Pretty

Keep your autumn wedding elegant with gold embellished place settings and continue the apple hues into the reception area with gorgeous centerpieces like these.

 Once Wed

Style Me Pretty

Boulder Locavore

Wedding Chicks

Babble


Project Wedding

Colin Cowie Weddings

 I hope that you are enjoying the new season! I know I am!

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Post Categories: Wedding Planning
No comment - Latest by:
  • Bryan Vickers Good to have you back! :)
  • Megan Smith I know exactly what you mean in the friends department! Since moving to Bakersfield, and not working, there is ...

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Welcome

Welcome to my blog! This is my little piece of internet real estate to share with you who I am and what I do.

If you are a prospective client, enjoy my latest work and get to know me via my personal posts. If you are an aspiring wedding planner I hope you find my experiences and insight helpful. If you are a fellow blog lover who just happened to find yourself here, enjoy!

Feel free to connect with me via email, Facebook, or Instagram. Thank you for sharing your comments and thoughts - I love hearing from you!

xo,
Alison