Taking a hold of my Life

We're making some changes. 

When we started our business we were completely full-time. We were networking and planning and going on site visits with clients and enjoying every second of it, but some things happened in life and we had to get a second (day time) job. And it hurt...a LOT. So for almost two years we have worked our tails off trying to survive and keep our business going and our lives intact. There was absolutely no peace. It has been really hard and our clients truly helped keep us happy and made us keep going and we are truly grateful for that! 

After our trips this summer (and a lot of praying!), we began to think very differently. Our time in France and at Trouvaille gave us the time to slow down and think about what we were doing. It allowed us to truly evaluate life. Going 120mph is not living life. Going from a day job where you work 60+ hours a week and trying to keep your own dream alive and trying to keep relationships going is not living. It's surviving. I don't want to just survive. I want to live. 

So we are going back to full-time and we are focusing on the things we love. We are spending more time with our families and our friends and with our clients and on things that truly make us happy. We are returning to forgotten loves like running & photography. 

Don't think you, our readers and our followers haven't had a part in this. You definitely have had a part in this! Many of you have liked or "loved" our photos that we take on Instagram or blog on here. Your appreciation for any of our photos has encouraged us to do more of it! 

We love photography!! It's a love affair we started a long time ago but allowed life to distract us. It took Jen Huang Photography & Kurt Boomer Photography to get us back into it...to actually pick up our cameras and remember that love.

So it's with great excitement (and a TON of nervousness) we are now booking events in both areas of our life that we love - planning and photography! 

Lifestyle photography is about you and your life. It's about capturing your family in their natural elements, doing things they would normally do. It may be a bit scripted, but it's ultimately you. For example, it may be your family throughout Thanksgiving day or a couple taking a walk through a garden. Or it can be your children dancing in the street while you're on vacation. 

If you're interested, let us know! We'd love to capture you or your family or someone you love as you truly see them smile. 

Erin St Pierre England is the owner of It's Your Time Events and offers services in both lifestyle photography and wedding planning & design. If you are interested in either area, please do not hesitate to contact us at erin@itsyourtimeevents.com.  

We'd love learn more about you!

Getting to know your vendors: Elle Designs

I've always had a bit of a thing for paper. I think it comes from mom being an English teacher and how much I love the smell of books and completely losing myself in the words written on their pages. There is just something so real about paper and words and the many different forms they can come in. If you choose to send real mail these days, it truly says something about you and the paper you send it on, says something too. You might want to spend some time thinking about your stationery suite before saying "it doesn't matter" or "it just gets thrown away." It says something :)

Stationer and graphic designer Cairrell (pronounced Care - re - el) has such pretty and personal designs you do not want to "just throw them away." She's the owner and very awesome designer for Elle Designs. Cairrell creates everything from programs and invitations to your kiddos birthday invitations. She's truly awesome at what she does.

I met Cairrell through a former client and immediately loved her work. After the wedding we got together on a photoshoot and now I'm sharing with y'all how awesome she is :) I asked Cairrell to send me some samples and tell me a bit about them and this is the lovely result! There are save-the-dates, invitations, RSVPs, and more! Keep reading to see all of this loveliness!!!

The first piece of mail you're likely to send out regarding your big day is the Save the Dates. You can have so much fun with these! Cairrell described several of her designs for us:

I love using magnets for Save the Dates. Guest are more likely to keep your picture on their refrigerator forever smile emoticon This particular bride couldn't decide which engagement picture she liked best so I used more than one. Save the Date Magnets are a great way to show off your beautiful engagement photos.

Save the Date Post Card is a great inexpensive option. I love that I was able to come up with a design that please but the bride and groom on this piece. The Bride loved the modern, simplistic typography style but the Groom wanted to incorporate more New Orleans flare with the lamp post. They were both so excited with they saw how both of their styles came together.

Floral Save the Date Card - This style is a great option for couples who do not wish to use a photograph on their save the date. I love the soft floral colors and the use of the calendar. This is a very visual way to remind your guest to save the date!

Belly bands, Blush and Gold!!! You cannot go wrong with it!! 

Blush and Gold has really been a HUGE hit in the South this season and Cairrell loves this combo!! That pink is oh so soft but then you add in the gold and it is truly the perfect touch of glam to set it off! Adding to the soft and flowy style, Cairrell hand painted with watercolor the flowers on the invitation. She's clearly setting the tone with this set!

Then to glam up the invite, she added the gold glitter as the envelope liner. I love the way it really "glams" up this invitation set. Finishing off the design she added the Belly Band which might be her favorite piece. She says she "loves how it adds that extra dimension to a couples wedding invitation. The belly band really "dresses up" a traditional invitation." 

Another invitation set Cairrell sent started very traditional, but as the client and Cairrell worked through the process, there was also glam and glitz! In fact, in the end, the bride cried. It was a reflection of her and what they wanted their guests to experience on her and her fiance's special day! 

Who doesn't love silver, and who doesn't love a great belt??!!! Cairrell used silver for the envelope, belly band and for the ink. Then, without wanting to overtake the silver, she added the small touch of pewter glitter on the belly band to finish off suite.

It was by far one of the biggest compliments Cairrell received when the bride told her "she didn't even cry when she said yes to the dress."

One of my absolute favorite things about this set is the TEXTURE!!! 
It's something your guests can truly FEEL!

Inner/Outer Envelope Invitation - This piece is more simple and traditional than the others but Cairrell loves the elegance of the gray and ivory. And the Cream Puff sock! It's absolutely amazing in both color and texture! The inner and outer envelope is a very formal and traditional touch and I often recommend the use of the inner envelope for clients who have a very specific guest list. The inner envelope allows you to specially acknowledge the guest who are invited to your wedding day.

Large Invitation with Metallic Sand Backing - Cairrell loves that this invitation follows the format of a traditional wedding invitation but the font style for the Bride and Groom's name make it much more customized for the couples style. It's a very free and fun script feels which both Cairrell and I both love!
HINT: When Buying Postage
  1. Don't buy your postage just yet. Wait till you have all of your pieces to the stationery suite and you are able to put together a full package. That way you are sure to buy and then buy the postage. And don't forget the postage for the return postcard or envelope. 
  2. Buy pretty postage. You don't want your gorgeous first impression messed up by an ugly stamp on the outside. And if possible, either have the addresses printed professionally or use a calligrapher. It really is just that much prettier :) 

We love working with great vendors and Ms. Cairrell of Elle Designs is definitely a great vendor!!! To find out more about how you can get your custom stationery contact Elle Designs at cairrell@yahoo.com or call Cairrell at 985.519.1538. 

Keep an eye out this week as we follow up this blog with information on addressing envelopes and your stationery timeline. For help planning or designing your special day, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Destination Wedding Venue: Château de Bouthonvilliers

I had the immense pleasure of visiting Château de Bouthonvilliers when I was on the Artist Holiday. To say I fell in love with Château de Bouthonvilliers would be an understatement. Every evening the château is cloaked in the golden light from the setting sun, so warm and inviting. It is beautiful! If Eduard and family had asked me to stay and work for them, I would have done it, I would have stayed in a heartbeat. What, you need an event coordinator? I'm there! What's that you say? You need some help with social media and marketing and an event coordinator? I'm so your person!! It would have been straight out of Under the Tuscan Sun. I would have stayed and everyone on the trip probably would have thought I was a crazy person.

The Château is about an hour's drive from Paris located in the very charming region of Dunois region, or more precisely in the Perche Göet.

Charming, quaint, delightful, pleasing, enchanting, fascinating...there aren't enough words to dutifully describe this region and the tiny cities in it! Brou, Dangeau, Chartres, etc...they are tiny towns that match each of those descriptions but with so much more...they are filled with culture and history and the nicest people!!!

The château is located in Dangeau. With its charming 18th century symmetrical architecture and lush English-style gardens, the Château has been named a Historical Monument. You can walk through the grounds and see the history....LITERALLY.

The house itself is over 7 metres long and composed of both 16th and 18th century architecture. And in front of the house is a magnificent Blue Cedar that is over 250 years old!

Also located on the grounds is a small round chapel. And looking through my photos it is clear I was slightly obsessed with this little chapel. Originally built in the 16th century as a "dovecot" or a large birdhouse, it was later turned into the family chapel (the 19th century). Birds were a symbol of a person's status and therefore when it was time to turn the dovecot into the chapel, the family rid the building of all its significance. You can see where the holes were filled in and on the top of the building where instead of a cross, there is a dove.


Today, the chapel is consecrated and can hold about 50 people for religious ceremonies. Many choirs come to sing as the acoustics in the chapel are wonderful (or so I hear from Eduard).

Beneath the chapel is a wine cellar!
Ask Eduard or Alexia to take you down!
It really is neat!

Inside the home there are 9 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, several living areas, a full kitchen which are all overflowing with pieces of the past that are covered in a light layer of dust which tells the story of how old it truly is. 

From start to finish history surrounds you. You can walk the grounds and see the old buildings or you can walk through the castle and see the antique and timeless pieces of history that fill this grand home!

Across the way and down the drive is where the family lives and where there is even an apartment the family rents. This area (below) is almost like a courtyard and is made up of the old stables (yes, the family has made them into living areas). The little oval shaped objects mounted in the brick are all awards from when the family participated in horse competitions.

Toward the entrance of the grounds is an old building which appears to be nothing at all, but in reality, it leads to the garden which has the vegetables and fruits the family plans to use in farm-to-table events! Alban (I believe the middle child) found currants for us and I ate one! They were growing in the garden. Fresh food! Love it!

The Château is available for renting! With all modern day amenities like a pool, fishing pond, TV, and internet, the Château is oh so welcoming and set up for you to relax all week! The Château can house up to 15 people and you are truly the master of the castle while you stay. 
In addition, Eduard and family have opened up the chateau for events of many levels. I will definitely make my way back to the Château and the charming de Verdun family!

Learning from the best: the Artist Holiday

http://jenhuangphoto.com/artistholidayparis.pdfThis summer when I saw a posting on Instagram by Magnolia Rouge, I thought to myself, "why not? If it happens, it's meant to be. Maybe God has a plan."

I honestly cannot believe I did it. I cannot believe I entered for a chance to win $500 toward a seat at the Artist Holiday. I still cannot believe I received an email from Kurt Boomer saying they were offering it to me and I cannot believe I went. 
Yes, I literally jumped and squealed like a little girl when I received that email. Honestly, who wouldn't? It's an email from Kurt Boomer! 
I was crazy excited, and I felt in my bones it was a sign that it was meant to be....I was supposed to go to France and I was supposed to meet these phenomenal people and I was supposed to get back in touch with who I am. 

I honestly cannot describe it. I'm not sure even Hemmingway or Shakespear could put into words my thoughts and feelings about this summer and the emotions and thoughts and plans that have gone through my head (and there really isn't enough space to blog it either). It has truly been amazing!

July 20 - I arrived in Paris, the city of love. Leaving during the summer meant I knew I had to stay focused so I set some goals:
  1. rekindle a love affair with my cameras;
  2. get to my lodging on time; 
  3. soak in all that these wonderful industry experts had to offer; 
  4. reset my budget; and
  5. I don't remember the 5th...clearly I didn't accomplish it. 

I decided I was going to take the trains from Paris central to Brou (pronounced Broo, not Brow like cow). Surely I could do it. I'm a grown woman. It's not as easy as it sounds though. But I made it to Chartres and then Brou and I was a happy girl. I already hit one of my goals :) Doesn't sound like much I know, but it was for me. I was taking the train and I was by myself and I don't know a lick of French. In fact, more Spanish came out of my mouth than French the entire week. But I made it. 

We stayed in Fraze at a little farmhouse. Brou was in between the farmhouse and the chateau where we'd be doing all the learning - Chateau  de Bouthonvilliers in Dangeau.
The Chateau is truly spectacular! Every inch of the grounds is stunningly beautiful from 250 year old trees and wild flowers to the rolling fields in the back which you can see as you gain entry through the front door. And every inch of the interior is covered with the Verdun family history. 

Hobbies and Friends

I got married almost a year and a half ago (NYE 2011). While my husband and I are truly best friends (and I wouldn't be where I'm at without him), we both know it's important to do the things we love. He loves sports, I love my job and my hobbies (especially photography). Today I was very lucky to spend doing my hobby while also with my very dear friend Michelle. I so hope I did her and her beautiful baby justice!