Friday, June 27, 2014

Road tripping

I just got back from a four-day road trip down to Southern and Central Oregon with Tim. Even though it's only a few hours away, I hadn't been to Crater Lake or Bend since I was a a kid. Our trip wasn't as glamorous as my trip to Cabo or Napa Valley, but it was AWESOME.

Our first stop was Crater Lake in Southern Oregon. In case you've never heard of it, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. and the 9th deepest lake in the world. Because the water is so deep (and clean) it's the most jaw-dropping deep blue you could imagine. While we were gaping at the view, Tim and I met a lovely couple who was visiting from New Mexico. They snapped this picture for us.

Tim and I did a hike from the rim of the crater down to the water. It looks like an innocent, 2-mile hike, but the steep drop in elevation makes for a beast of a walk back up. (In case you were worried, I'm wearing SPF 50 in this picture.)

After Crater Lake, we drove up to Bend, which is a growing town in Central Oregon. About 15 miles south of Bend, we found these incredible lava caves. Apparently, tubes of lava from nearby volcanoes carved out tunnels in the rock. Now, you can rent a lantern and hike about a mile deep into the lava caves. Needless to say, it was pretty freakin' cool. I'm also quite proud of myself for overcoming my claustrophobia and not totally freaking out about being 30-minutes deep into a cave full of bats and goodness knows what else.

In the decade since I've visited Bend, several trendy microbreweries have also sprouted up. We visited a few of them, including 10 Barrel and Crux Fermentation Project. Rumor has it they're opening a 10 Barrel taproom in my neighborhood soon. I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of their flagship beer--the Apocalypse IPA--but the food was great and I can never say no to a taster tray.

As you can see, it was a pretty action-packed weekend. Not to sound like too much of a cheeseball, but I feel pretty lucky to live within driving distance of mountains and lakes and rivers and waterfalls and so many other beautiful natural resources. If you've never visited the Pacific Northwest, I highly suggest you book a trip.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The 5 stages of event planning

Whether its a giant fundraising gala, a business conference, or a wedding in your parent's backyard, event planning can be incredibly stressful. Last month, I was involved in planning three big events, and let me tell you: I'm exhausted.

If you've done any event planning yourself, you know it isn't all about the big day. There are months and months of preparation that go into planning that one three-hour meeting or that one two-day trip. I've discovered that I experience several stages of emotion during the months leading up to and following a big event. In fact, they share some similarities with the five stages of grief described by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross. (I'm kidding! Kind of...)

1. Denial

Commonly characterized by: "My event is still nine months away. I don't need to start planning for it yet." Or, it's still two months before the big event and you still haven't sent in the required site permits. You'd rather drain your phone's battery on Pinterest than figure out which vendor to work with. Sometimes, the list of to-do's is so long that you don't know where to start. But it's OK. You've still got time.

2. Anger

Your event planning committee is driving you nuts. Your volunteers are driving you nuts. Your boss is driving you nuts. Your boyfriend is driving you nuts. The person who messed up the floral arrangements is driving you nuts. Basically, everyone including your dog is driving you nuts!!!

3. Bargaining

You find yourself asking everyone and their second cousin for a favor. "If you buy a ticket to my event I'll buy you a drink!" "If you sign up to volunteer I'll be forever in your debt!" "If you print 100 color copies I'll take you out for coffee!" "If you help me make these centerpieces I'll sell you my soul for half price!"

4. Depression

A few days after the event, it hits you like a brick: Now that your event is over, there is no meaning in life. What is the point of breathing if you don't need to micromanage a team of 12 volunteers anymore? You're totally burnt out from working a 16-hour shift on Saturday. Oh, and you'd rather not have to think about all those thank you notes you still need to write.

5. Acceptance

Now that it's been a month or two since your event, the whole event planning process doesn't seem so bad. Looking back at the photos, you give yourself a little pat on the back. Maybe you won't mind doing the whole thing over again next year...

Fellow event planners: Can you relate?