Good Food, Great People, and the love of Paper

June 13, 2012

Last night I attended the opening of The Tasting Room, the new offices/venue space for and hosted by Mary Crafts-Homer of Culinary Crafts, Mara Marian-Harwood of Events by LMG, and Pepper Nix of Pepper Nix Photography.  They are three of the best at what they do.  Great friends and people, fabulous professionals, both in the wedding industry and otherwise in Salt Lake, and OHHHH SOOO GOOD FOOD!  Oh My.  The food was delicious.  The mixologist created this cocktail served, The Cradle of Life.  Unbelievable PHENOMENALITY!  It was so good.  I had three of them, and would have had three more were it not time to go!!!

In addition to seeing and meeting new wedding professionals, as well as other professionals, in Salt Lake, the highlight of the night for me was seeing Pepper Nix.  I hadn’t seen her in a while.  She is a fun lady to be around and great to talk to.  I was excited to see her because I wanted to show her my new business card.  It was she who impressed upon me to improve my business card.  “This is a good card, but not good enough for the clients you’ll be meeting,” she told me some time ago.  My previous business card was pretty good, and many other people liked it.  Pepper was the only one who had an admonition (if not a dissenting voice) regarding my business card.  Considering that she is one of the best photographers in the world (that IS a true statement; It’s certainly my sentiment), I took her seriously.  So I set out to make it better.

It was a foregone conclusion that my new card would have three things: 1) my own calligraphy, 2) letterpress 3) and it would be printed on my favorite calligraphy paper: Crane’s.  Creating the calligraphy was the simple part.  It was time to head to my favorite stationery store, Tabula Rasa.  When I told the store manager, Sean, that I was ready to upgrade my business card, he retorted, “Well it’s about time!” Sara, a sales associate there, helped me through the process.  We looked at some other brands, and some were pretty good, but I was pretty set on Crane’s.  Its Lettra paper, 220 weight, the color, and a secondary font was chosen.  All that was left was to wait for the magic to happen.

And then voilá!  They came.  I was ebulliently enchanted by the feeling, quality, and overall beauty of the card!  Just astonished!  It is a card I am very happy with and very proud of.  I was especially enamored by a note sent with the cards signed by a lady named Diane, who inspected the cards to make sure they all met Crane’s standards (I still have this note).

So back to the party yesterday.  “I have been dying to see you to give you this.”  I handed Pepper one of my new cards.  Upon seeing it, for a moment she remained speechless.  She had a few superlatives: stunning, beautiful! “This is what your business card should look like!”  And THAT was what I hoped to hear.  The lone ‘dissenter’s’ approval.  YES!

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My 1000 Envelopes Journey – Day 17

June 11, 2012

Only those whose go to far know exactly how far they can go.”  T. S. Eliot

Well, it wasn’t exactly 1000 envelopes.  The total number of envelopes: 1044.  Total number envelopes addressed: 869 Envelope errors: 175 Actual days to complete: 14.  Seeing and hearing how charmed my client was with the envelopes and how happy that I completed the  envelopes on time: Priceless.

The Bride is with her family now, enjoying the festive occasions, intimately engaged in the moments leading up to her special day with her Groom.  Before she left for her destination wedding, I met with her to give her the last set of envelopes (about 30).  She expressed again how beautiful and stunning the envelopes were and how relieved she felt that I finished them on time.   I told her “The only focus I had while doing the envelopes was hearing how happy you would be when I finished.”   “I am so glad you did.” She smiled.  She said she expect that a lot of her friend on the announcement list will want to utilize my services.  I hope they do.

We had a small chat for a little while.  She told me the story of how she met her future husband.  I won’t gives the details.  Suffice it to say, it is a common story and a very warming one as well.  “Let me give you a hug before you leave,” she said.  I was touched by the warm embrace.

A few days have passed.  THIS is how I am still feeling: 869 envelopes in 14 days! WOW!  As I think about this more and more, I have to pat myself on the back.  I wondered how though, with the ever-going commitment of parenthood, bathroom breaks, eating, cleaning up, errands, and all those pesky tasks that gather everyday.  But I DID IT! WOW!!!! What I feel really good about is:

  1. I took a full Sunday off. Not one envelope on that day.
  2. I kept starting later than I desired (11 am, noon on most days; those pesky tasks…..) and only finished later than 9 pm on two nights.
  3. Only on one day did my hand/arm get really tired!
  4. The calligraphy remained top-notch quality!
  5. My very client had a guest list of 426 people.  In five days I did 401 envelopes! This is really great, for when I start getting a lot of orders I now know what I can do in an allotted amount of time.  I expect to get faster.
And through it all is was a lot of fun!  I don’t know how many times I wrote ‘President‘ and ‘The Honorable‘ so and so.  The announcement list was a ‘Who’s Who’ of Utah and a few other very high profile people.  Wow!!!!
And now….Drums Please!  Photos I said I would have photos,  Here are a few that awed my client the Bride.
Thank You!”  to all of you who joined in, participated in, and motivated me during the journey.  Cindy, the quote you sent me came at a most needed time.  Lissahn, thank you for sharing your story with me.  I didn’t know that we had similar stories.  Roni, I loved that you loved reading and borrowing the quotes.  Loyce and Melissa, thank you for keeping me honest, telling me to get back to work.  To my lady, Debbie.  Thank you for your Teacher’s eye, proofreading the envelopes and catching all the errors, big and small.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, everybody.  I sincerely appreciate you all.
Lastly, I leave you with this.  I began this year (and this journey) with a theme: Make Magic Happen! defines magic as this:
magic [maj-ik] n. – the art of producing the desired affect or result through the use of incantations or various other techniques to assure human control over super natural agencies or the forces of nature.   My incantation?  BELIEVE!  “Believe in your dreams, imaginations, and visualizations.  Above all, Believe in yourself.” ~Ashantai Yungai~
As  Loyce told me via twitter: “You are so awesome!  I knew those Magic Hands would perform a magic feat to get it done!  I am sooooo PROUD of you! You’ve raised the bar for all of us!    :-) I have enjoyed your journey and there are much bigger things in store.  WOOHOO!  Let’s celebrate!”
Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says ‘I’m possible.’”  ~Audrey Hepburn~
Settle for more.  “There is more in us than we know.  Perhaps if we are made to see it we would be unwilling to settle for less.”  ~Kurt Hahn~
“Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.”  ~Thomas Huxley~
And my favorite quote maker of all time!  Helen Keller
No pessimists ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.
So get out there and do your thing!  Make magic happen!  NOTHING is impossible!  And above all,  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!   “Fire up and engage those rockets thrusters; we’re going to the moon.  All cylinders people! Let’s go!

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My 1000 Envelopes Journey-Days 14 & 15

June 8, 2012

Day 14 – The end of the unnel came! and the light was really bright!  I had completed the journey! WOW!  A myriad of feelings coursed threw my veins: elation, exhaustion, (as the adrenaline rush subsided), gratitude, humility, disbelief yet magical, and a hot of other emotions.  I actually met my decline of finishing before salsa class.  So off to salsa I went, feeling like a magician!  ^_^

Day 15 – I arranged to meet with my client to give her the last of the envelopes! yay!!! It was exciting!  As always she commented how “stunning” the envelopes were and that this was “the best part of her wedding.  Except for the ‘I Do.’ part“,  I was humbled yet elated by this.

She gave me a few more addresses to do.  “Can you have these by tomorrow?”  “Sure,” I replied.  I headed home to complete the last set and prepare the invoice.

The next (Thursday, June 7) we met, earlier than normal (like 7:30 am early).  “I was checking off the envelopes and I noticed that there is a page missing.  Did your list have this page?” She showed it to me and I gasped a bit (outside, I was as cool the other side of the pillow; inside, a nuclear explosion was going on).  “I am really sorry.” I apologized in sincerity and earnest.  She accepted and asked that I have these done by later that evening. “Certainly,” I said.   She gave a me a few more addresses, along with the sheet I missed.  As it turned out, the sheet I missed was the groom’s family!  A big no-no!  I collected my insides (my nuclear bomb subsided) and went home to do this.

Nothing like a little turmoil to make life interesting.  Aside from the page mishap, my sons (ages 17 and 15), fresh out of school wasted no time in adding to the turmoil.  Let’s just say they were being typical teenagers.  I collected myself from this a well and got to work.  Four hours later (I started at 12:30) I was done with the the page!  I met with the client an returned the page envelopes.  She was very grateful.  So was I.  We agreed that I would the remaining envelopes to her some time tomorrow (which is now today).  It was about 25 -30.  had dinner, finished the remaining envelopes.  Crisis averted (again), I went to bed relaxed. And a big Smile ^-^ on my face

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My 1000 Envelopes Journey- Days 12 & 13

June 4, 2012

Day 12 – Nothing new… I cranked  through a bunch of envelopes.  While doing this I got a tweet from one of my “tweeps” (twitter peeps! lol).  It read: @dicalligraphy: as you continue your journey: “Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.  Thomas Huxley”  The timing was BETTER perfect!!!!  Every so often we need a boost and THAT was JUST the boost I needed!  “Fire up and engage those rockets thrusters…..!”

Day 13 – In the midst of the journey I met with another client, whom I had a to return a few envelopes to and do one more for.  She had her son (age 6) with her for the exchange.  “Aren’t these Fancy?”, she asked him.  “No,” he said.  “What about this?” I showed him a more elaborate word – dragon.  “That’s fancy,” he said.  “The ‘g’ looks like a ‘q’ though.” Leave it to youthful exuberance to see something different.  Beautiful!

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  I have completed 580 envelopes thus far.  I am at the beginning of ‘R’ last names.  The total number of envelopes is closer to 925.  My goal to be done by 5 pm tomorrow.  Salsa class is at 7 pm.  I intend to be there.  “All cylinders Ashantai. Let’s Go!”


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My 1000 Envelopes Journey- Day 11

June 2, 2012

Yesterday I dropped off the place cards and name tags to the client so that she may be able to mail them to her wedding planner in Hawaii.  “….Stunning and perfect!….”, to paraphrase her.

I was inspired by Lissahn’s comment yesterday.  In doing this I wasn’t aware that I was inspiring others, some with similar journeys, some with different ones.  Some of you are taking this Magic Carpet Ride with me.  Others are on a different Carpet Ride, no less Magical than mine.  Enjoy it wherever you are, whatever you’re doing with whomever you are with.  And ALWAYS, have fun.

I got approval from my client to show a few pictures.  For now I will save them.  I believe you will enjoy them.  :-) Please be patient…..

Inspired from yesterday, I leave you with these inspirational videos.  The first is the Apple commercial that reinvented the company; “Here’s to the crazy ones….” It reminds of a quote from the Greek philosopher Epitectus: If you want to improve be content to be thought foolish and stupid.  The second is a collage of comments from one of my favorite people in the whole world: Will Smith.  Take a look and listen and find your own brand of craziness.  Or create it!

“Here’s to the crazy ones.  Because the people who think they are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do.”  ~Steve Jobs~

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity” ~Will Smith~

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