real honeymoons:: 2 travel anywhere

All my couples know there is one singular company I will always recommend to everyone, no matter the budget, tastes, or style of the couple:  2 Travel Anywhere's honeymoon planning service! I absolutely adore Carlie Finch of 2 Travel Anywhere -- she has planned two Caribbean vacations for my husband and me, as well as countless trips for friends, family, and occasionally the odd stranger I encounter who happens to be talking about wanting to plan an upcoming vacation! Carlie is thorough, knowledgable, detail-oriented and timely in working with her clients. She always delivers amazing trips with seamlessly-planned itineraries. Drew and I would not DREAM of going anywhere out of the country without consulting Carlie, which is why I hands-down recommend her to everyone interested in traveling!

Carlie is particularly talented in honeymoon travel - she has relationships with so many incredible resorts all across the world and is familiar with each location's unique honeymoon travel perks. This has allowed so many of my past brides and grooms to take advantage of added amenities they might not have otherwise known about! 

Are you active duty military? Carlie can also help you find discounts, such as at Sandals & Beaches resorts, which offer 10% off for military!

Here are some Real KDE Couples who have used Carlie's honeymoon travel services:

Erin & Alfred {June 2014} | The Grande St. Lucia

st lucia honeymoon
st lucia honeymoon 2 travel anywhere
Private bed hut on beach? Check. Vanilla latte? Check. Book? Check. Perfect Friday morning!
— Erin Chambers Stewart

Jennifer & Stephen {May 2014} | Excellence Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

stephen & jenn honeymoon2.jpg

Laura & Michael {January 2014} | Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica

We felt like absolute royalty! The level of service was unbelievably amazing and the food was phenomenal. The staff is attentive and kind. You don’t have to leave the resort to have a good time. Best of all, there is something for every type of couple. We are the keep-to-ourselves, quiet type, and we were able to relax and chill out without feeling imposed upon or pushed into activities. At the same time, I saw many more active couples taking part in all the entertainment and activities that were offered and having a ball. I feel like the resort is able to meet the needs of any couple with any personality. I don’t think there is a person on earth that wouldn’t enjoy everything they have to offer there! This resort actually was not my first choice, but was the one that Carlie strongly recommended for us. I am really glad that I trusted her judgement and took her advice!
— Laura Hart Wauford

Hayley & Braxton {October 2013} | Sandals Jamaica

Jamaica was AMAZING. So warm, staff was so friendly, and the drinks flowed! It was a fabulous trip!!!
— Hayley Cook Wilson

Don't these make you swoon just thinking about the crystal waters and sandy beaches? GET ME TO THE BEACH, STAT! 

ups and downs

Deary me! This year is two weeks in (almost) and I feel like work has already been a roller coaster of craziness catching up. I'm JUST now getting to the bottom of my email inbox, and simultaneously working on improving my planning processes so I can serve my current clients better.

January and February tend to be focused on booking new business, since it's mid-engagement season and brides start their wedding planning in the winter when work might be slower or at least some time has presented itself after all the holiday madness is over. As much as I tried to be strategic with planning for business operations in December, taking close to two weeks primarily off from work to see family and be a normal human made that impossible to "complete." So now I'm entertaining prospective clients, catching up on wedding plans for 2015 weddings, working on my behind-the-scenes processes to do a better job for EVERYONE, and it's a little overwhelming.

But isn't that normal? January and February tend to be my most anxiety-ridden months, year after year. I am working hard to BREATHE and set myself up for success (not overscheduling my weeks, trying to observe my office hours, finding nice ways to destress that don't involve a bottle of Prosecco, drinking less espresso). I want to be the BEST PLANNER EVER for my brides. And to attract the BEST-FIT BRIDES in these initial consultation months. That requires amped-up streamlined processes, organization out the wazoo, and a lot of hard work. No coasting allowed.

In the meantime, in all my leisure hours/not thinking about work, my brain is checked out and 100% living in Charleston. I'm serious - when I'm pumping gas or making dinner or driving on the weekends, my brain is out of reality and just hanging out on King Street or looking out over Shem Creek or walking the streets downtown. It's kind of nice, mentally feeling the cold sand on my bare feet (which in reality are wearing thick socks since it's EFFING COLD HERE) and taking walks on the beach. Sometimes in-my-head-Kelly is pushing a stroller (that I don't have) holding my daughter (who is still in utero) around the Pineapple fountain and the pier with its wooden swings and occasionally enjoying pistachio gelato from the Belgian gelato store. Sometimes I'm driving across the bridge to Mt. Pleasant, or getting a cocktail at SOL, or even just browsing the aisles at the gorgeous brick Target on the way to Isle of Palms. Pretty much any memory I have of Charleston I'm recalling and fantasizing about. Even when Drew and I were out on a date on Saturday night, I was thinking about where we'd be if we lived in Charleston and were on a date night there.

Maybe it's my coping mechanism for surviving the cold. And surviving tax season when Drew's not around much. Is it healthy? Meh. Is it good? Meh. Who can say? All I know is that I miss that favorite place, and can't wait to get back there. I'm content to travel there until we can legitimately move. I'm content living here, in this beautiful house, near our wonderful family and friends. But these winter months of solitude and stress... I'm holding fast to my happy memories.

Perhaps it's time to work on an inspiration board for my future Charleston styled shoot? We'll see.

inspiring me lately:

For now, here is a list of goals I have for winter 2015:

BUSINESS

  • Update a couple of aspects of my physical office. (Something to refresh and re-inspire! It's been one year of working there, come January 16th!)
  • Rewrite & design my current planning package offerings.
  • Finish my 2015 Action Plan to start the year off strong.
  • Revisit my process-writing program and streamline my operating systems for 2015. This is especially crucial for maternity leave prep!
  • Update ALL client files to new system.
  • Set up tracking system for hours. More organization!
  • Finish "Make it Happen!" Lara Casey book.
  • Finish reading Southern Weddings V7.
  • Research innovative ideas and opportunities for event design. Polish my skill sets!
  • Plan a Charleston styled shoot with Amy Cherry.
  • Work on my photo-editing skills. Be more professional with my graphic design.
  • Build the KDE team further. I have some gaps to fill!

PERSONAL

  • Pare down my belongings further. I have too much stuff!
  • Start to organize Lilly's nursery.
  • Organize my dress & shoe closet.
  • Commit to reading a devotional daily. I'm starting with "New Day, New You" by Joyce Meyer. Write in prayer journal daily, too.
  • Work on polishing weekly/daily schedule. How can I make more time with the hours I'm given?
  • Clean out my car. It's a disaster from the move/holidays.
  • Organize my closet so that only the clothes that fit me (and my preggo body) are visible and accessible.
  • Read more books.
  • Make the bed & clean the kitchen daily.
  • Vacuum weekly, before Drew comes home on Friday nights.
  • Prep the back deck for entertaining come March.

nourish

I am a big advocate of goal-setting, list-making, and planning for the future (duh). I believe strongly in the power of prayer and thought. I strive to think positively, set lofty goals, and fail often. (If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.) The past two years of my life and this business (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, KDE!) have revolved around focus words. I don't necessarily think these up on my own - sometimes they will be suggested by someone, or randomly stumbled-upon... mostly, I think God plants them. And they can certainly change. I can be wrong about what I think the word of the year should be. They can evolve over time. With clarity. They don't necessarily come when I think they should, and sometimes they're even an afterthought -- a descriptive word of what happened, rather than a foresight into what should happen.

I like action words. When I'm setting an intention for yoga or any other pursuit (big or small), I tend to gravitate towards the one-word kind (even though an intention can be a "word or phrase, something or someone, whatever you need to dedicate your practice to" -- words from my own yoga teaching script!). One word seems to be the most clear. I like a word that has multiple meanings, or at least can accommodate a variety of situations. I like a word that ends up being so encompassing it's not limited to just a business focus, or a life focus, or a marriage focus, or whatever.

2013 was building. I thought for a long time it was just my business word, but in hindsight it was everything. Building our marriage (wrapping up our first year of it), this business, our life as it is. Building long-term goals. Building a yoga practice. Building a teaching career. Building a strong foundation that could survive four months of Drew traveling for work every single week. Building a presence in church, building a stronger faith. Building relationships that would develop slowly and sweetly over time.

2014 was establish. Once again, my initial focus with it was just Kelly Dellinger Events. It started out as "legitimize." I attended an industry conference, acquired an office, started working on more intensive weddings. But rather than "legitimize," which seems more like a justification than a true focus, I was establishing. Establishing the KDE brand. Establishing my ideal clients, my planning approach, my design style. Establishing our family, our roots, a long-term path we're seeking.

2015 was hard to figure out at first. (Is any year not?) I know certain things are on the radar for 2015:  namely, a baby. A baby that will change absolutely everything. I thought about "transition" or "survive." Drew hated "survive" as a focus, since it sounded too negative. (I argue that it's a perfectly good intention and one I have OFTENTIMES during my hot yoga practice -- sometimes you just need to survive a season, or survive 90 minutes of sweating and challenging yourself. But maybe it's not as optimistic and makes time go fast wanting to "get things over with.") One of my plans for 2015 and my business is to grow my value as a wedding planner & designer (attending conferences, adding value to packages, differentiating myself), so I thought about "value" or "increasing worth" but those didn't fit either. My sister suggested something along the lines of "birth" or "create," since that's literally what I will be doing this year. But my business isn't being rebirthed or created. I certainly feel I have and will continue to have a lot of creativity to burst forth into the word (there is something creativity-spawning about creating human life, I must say). But there will also be recovery this year. Downtime. "Growth" is inevitable, as it accompanies change, but some things will stop growing at times (ummm, don't know about you but I'm not planning on getting physically larger post-baby-birthing. Just sayin'). And couldn't every year be "growth" anyways? We grow every day in wisdom and knowledge and insight and experience. 

As Drew and I were talking over dinner last night about all of this, I prayed and thought about what I want to cultivate in 2015. I want to take care of the things I hold dear. I want to breastfeed once Lilly is born. I want to be careful and mindful of the time I spend - working, in leisure, travel, with family. I want to be good to my body - taking care of myself with adequate sleep and nutrition and exercise, growing this baby to fruition, birthing her with care, recovering from the trauma, learning to be a mother, allowing my body to heal and grow strong once this season is over. I want to take care of my CHILD. I want to take care of my marriage - prioritizing my husband even when it's not an evolutionarily-wired desire, even when I feel resistance from the lack of sleep and difficulty of a huge life transition. I want to take care of my faith - growing in it, learning more, soothing my spirit. I want to take care of relationships, past and present and future. "Take care" doesn't even really cut it, but "nourish" does. My word is nourish. It sounds luxurious, like a spa day. It brings to mind sleeping in on a Saturday morning in luxe pajamas and intertwining legs and feet with Drew's. It brings to mind visions of the ocean, of healing salty air, of swaying palm trees (and coconut drinks). Of pampering. Of lavish abundance of care. The official definition is "to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition." I want to nourish all of the important areas of my life -- body, soul, spirit, faith, mind, spouse, child, family, business, clients, relationships, finances, home. Abundantly bless these areas. Be abundantly blessed. I want to provide the things necessary for the important things to grow, be healthy, and in good condition.

I love the English language. I love that there are words to fit the years.

Do you have a word for 2015? Happy new year, y'all. And happy two year anniversary of KDE -- here's to many, many more!

  500 likes, y'all! Happy birthday to us!

 

500 likes, y'all! Happy birthday to us!

thanksgiving

Somehow it's already November 21st and the Friday before Thanksgiving! Even in the slower weeks (PRAISE YOU, JESUS, FOR SLOW WEEKS!) time seems to be allusive. We're gearing up for a week OFF from work (hello, vacation!), off from email, off from blogging, off from meetings and phone calls and thinking about weddings. All of this will start with a packed Saturday of meetings, of course... but so so worth it.

Here's what's on tap:  Saturday work-week wrap up. Sunday hosting our third annual Dellinger family Thanksgiving. Monday travel to Savannah for a week of family and lots of delicious cooking. (We're totally going to hit up Ken's Seafood Shack for some bulk Savannah shrimp, too. Can. Not. Wait.)

little bit of holiday inspiration for our thanksgiving table!

little bit of holiday inspiration for our thanksgiving table!

As always, there's a laundry list of things to do in the couple of days before we host our families over at our new house and leave for vacay. Here's a peek into my Thanksgiving prep schedule:

  • Steam new curtains & iron the linens/napkins
  • Prep a sweet potato pie, freeze the extra filling (to be toted with us Monday on our merry way)
  • Grocery shop for Sunday's meal
  • Sweep, vacuum, Swiffer the hardwoods to a pretty sheen
  • Bring in extra table/seating for surplus guests
  • Final touches of Thanksgiving-mas decorations (why, yes, we did already put up our tree -- we are waiting, however, to hang up lights and garland outside. and the dining room is strictly Thanksgiving-themed!)
  • Clean downstairs bathroom
  • Sweep the porch, sidewalk, and back deck
  • Water the plants
  • Iron the cat's neck ribbons and tie into double-knotted bows (why, yes, I am that crazy cat lady)
  • Drew: Organize kitchen
  • Drew: Mow lawn
  • Charge phones and camera battery
  • Pack for Savannah trip (a mixture of warm and cool-weather attire, rain gear, lots of lounge clothes, fur-lined slippers, tennis shoes for walking the JF Gregory Park trail, yoga clothes & travel mat, hot rollers for holiday bounce, and cozy socks, among other things)

october life updates

For whatever reason, I skipped over my August & September life updates. (Life is crazy, y'all.) I promise they were all over the place, I was definitely lamenting the end of summer and how fast time flies (as per usual), and they were great but I'm glad it's now and not then anymore. 25 has proven to be one of my favorite years thus far. Lots of learning hard lessons (yes, already - just two to three months in), but finding lots of joy and surprise and dealing as best as possible with transition. Isn't change hard for everyone? Even those of us who love it. Who crave it. Drew and I were having Coronas on an outdoor patio overlooking the Atlantic and the ridiculously gorgeous dolphin-filled Shem Creek area the afternoon before my birthday, discussing how we felt like life was about to take some crazy turn. Like God had been preparing us for whatever was coming next - the process of ascending a roller coaster's incline... steady, slow, anticipatory, even terrifying, but definitely exciting. And then, sure enough, fall hit us like a ton of bricks.

I had never really ridden a roller coaster before our vacation in August, but now that I can say I've been to Six Flags and gone on several of them (including the massive one called Goliath - the biggest in the park in ATL), I definitely see the parallels in real life. Even my reactions. The first one we rode (the Batman), I was so nervous I could throw up, waiting in line. And then throughout the whole thing I clenched my eyes shut and prayed that it would be over as soon as possible (thirty more seconds, thirty more seconds and it's over...), practicing my Pranayama breathing as my body got tossed about and slammed against the sides of my seat. I was just about sure I'd pass out once it finally stopped - felt pale as a ghost and all kinds of lightheaded. But then Drew really wanted to ride the Superman, so I decided to be a good sport and deal with it. And it turned out to be really fun, I kept my eyes open, and trusted that if God's plan was for me to die on a dumb rollercoaster in Georgia (and it probably wasn't), then so be it.

My much-improved roller coaster attitude after riding Goliath!

My much-improved roller coaster attitude after riding Goliath!

There's not much control you can personally have when you're physically riding on a roller coaster. You have to rely on the engineers that created the machine, the sturdiness of the vessels holding you in, the people operating the ride and how well they strap you in, and that's pretty much it. When you're being flown across acres of theme park, dangling from a padded chair, you can't do anything to save yourself. You can close your eyes, you can hold your breath, you can grip as tightly as humanly possible onto the handles, and pray, but considering the POWER of the machines you're dealing with, you're really out of your own control. Why people thrive on that kind of thing? I still don't get it. But maybe it's a little freeing. I even threw my hands up and laughed out loud for my husband's sake - he wanted me to enjoy roller coasters so much. He'd dreamt about that experience and wanted to share something he loved so much with me. So I gave it a go. And it was fine. I obviously didn't die. I walked out in one piece, richer with life experience. And then I got to enjoy the rest of our vacation in my favorite coastal spots, relaxing in MY own particular way.

All this is to say, this fall has been a lot like riding a roller coaster. Scary, exciting, eventful, new, adventurous, and a lot out of my control. Sometimes I react well to the changes, throwing up my hands and getting over myself, giving in to the experience at hand. And sometimes I react horribly. Stressed, anxious, feeling powerless and helpless, quick to anger or blame or a host of other negative emotions. I am continuing to learn how to be a good wife, good business owner, good adult, productive citizen of the world I live in. And it is a PROCESS. But that makes me feel like I'm on track. We knew something was coming that fateful afternoon, toasting to a new year of life, up for the challenges ahead. And indeed, so much has come. Is coming. Will come.

The fab KDE team at our biggest wedding of the year, this September!

The fab KDE team at our biggest wedding of the year, this September!

I am begrudgingly still throwing up my hands, giving up control to the Lord. Even when things aren't how I expect. (When are they ever???) Even when I want to just grip as tightly as possible to my handlebars and wish away the difficulty of the present moment. We are living in Tennessee for a while longer. There are changes coming to my business structure and the KDE team. Life is increasingly DIFFERENT. All growth. All transition. All for a better good in the future. All in God's plan, and not Kelly's. And praise Him for that - He's much better of a planner than I am.

But maybe the question is - ummm, how long is this roller coaster going to last? At least I knew on Batman that it was only a 45-second ride. I'm going to usurp my inner control freak and deal with the fact that I don't know. And just trust. And breathe. October. Ohhhh, October.

One of my favorite moments this past month: going to the fall festival with family, as per tradition. Poppy (our niece) was cracking us up with her bluegrass music dancing!

One of my favorite moments this past month: going to the fall festival with family, as per tradition. Poppy (our niece) was cracking us up with her bluegrass music dancing!

So, anyhoo -- since October has finally reached its decline, let's talk about vision for November.

November, my favorite month. Perhaps a period of at least pumping the brakes on this crazy roller coaster of a fall. My final fall wedding. My final voyage of the year (YAY for a travel-filled year! It makes my heart so happy). A full week of family and feasting and decompressing as we breathe in salty ocean air. (I can smell it now!) I'm seeking more life-giving consumption and practices. More church. More breathing deeply. Courage to let go. Beginnings and continuing of planning for the future, as the future is rapidly upon us. Less survival mode, more thriving. More organized schedule. More physical activity. More celebrating the little things. More bubble baths in my new garden tub. More walks around the neighborhood. More making this house our home. Hanging things on the walls. Decorating for Christmas early. More intentional relationships. More self-care. More patience, more Bible. More Jesus.

featured:: coastal bride "sailboat elopement inspiration"

We couldn't be more tickled to be featured on Coastal Bride today for our sailboat editorial shoot with Ian Riley last August! This was one of my most favorite shoots to plan and design of all time -- not to mention, sailing and styling pretty things in the sunshine is definitely my favorite way to spend the workday!

You may recognize a face or two, as well. Our own Associate Planner, Katie, starred as our Bride (along with her real-life boyfriend James as the groom)!

See more at Coastal Bride!