introsPECtives


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Life category.

It’s always been a tradition

We are fast approaching the time of year when we begin to participate in family traditions, maybe even traditions at work but have you ever stopped to think about the importance of those traditions? Traditions are a powerful memory tying the past to this moment and the future moments to come. A lot of traditions are based on spiritual beliefs but they don’t have to be.

A tradition is something you do repeatedly, passing from one generation to the next. From one person to the next. It’s something that you can count on, look forward to, and often people can get upset when something or someone breaks the tradition. Traditions are the threads that tie our lives together, a weave that is the expression of who we are. Everyone participates in traditions. Its a unifying force in the human culture.

What makes the experience of traditions unique is that we all have our own twists on traditions. For example, for a lot of people it isn’t the start of the holiday season until Starbuck’s releases their Pumpkin Spice lattes. For some people it isn’t Thanksgiving without a turkey and a ham on the table. Or maybe it just isn’t Christmas if you don’t drive around looking at all the Christmas lights with a steaming cup of hot chocolate in your hand. The tradition itself isn’t the important thing. Its the feeling of connection that matters.

At PEC we love traditions. We love all those little things that bring people together to celebrate and love life. If you have some great traditions, we would love to know about them. Please comment with your favorite holiday traditions….who knows, maybe you inspire someone to add a new tradition to their own holiday repertoire.

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The Hostess with the Mostess

Summer season is often the busiest time of year for people to host parties and get-togethers. The weather is beautiful and people want to spend time with friends and family. It’s a time to celebrate and create great memories that will last a lifetime. So, what happens if you do not feel comfortable hosting a party but you want to have a gathering?

Well, we have a few tips for you on how to be the “Hostess with the Mostess”. There are a few simple things to think about when planning a party that will make things go smoother and easier for you.

Step One: Give yourself plenty of time to organize the event. We often underestimate the amount of work it takes to throw a “simple” party together. Not giving yourself enough time puts stress on you right from the start that is not needed. Give yourself more time that you think you need. Seriously!

Step Two: We like to think we are Superman/woman but the truth is we can only do so much and a big mistake in party planning that people make is not asking for help. We often have a bigger support network than we think we do and people really don’t mind being asked to assist when asked. Especially when they get to participate in the fun afterwards.

Step Three: Food can make or break a party. You can do everything else right but if the food is bad or mediocre its all your guests will talk about so keep your food choices simple. Parties are not the time to try out new recipes. Stick with favorites that are tried and true and easy to make. Better yet, find recipes that you can make ahead so you have less to do the day of the event.

Step Four: Set the tone for your party before your guests arrive. Turn on music that creates the environment that you want. Light those scented candles that invoke smells you want to linger in guests mind. Post a little sign by the door if you want guests to take off their shoes. Open the patio door if you want guests to head out to your backyard. All these little things will set the tone and you will relax knowing that the feel for your party is set and ready to roll.

Step Five: Once the party starts – relax. People do not expect you to be perfect and in fact, relax more if they feel like you are just like everyone else. Watch the flow of the party and the guests. Keep conversation going, make sure people’s glasses are full and that they have eaten enough.

Step Six: Relax and enjoy your own party. The whole point of having people over is to enjoy their company. To have good conversations and make memories. You don’t want to be so busy “hosting” that you don’t even enjoy your own get-together.

Step Seven: Say Thank You! It only takes a minute in our day of technology to drop a quick thank you for attending. Choose your most convenient way of contacting people but be sure to say thank you. Especially to the friends that helped you out or stayed late to help you clean up.

With a little bit of pre-planning and learning how to keep it simple you can have a great party. You may even decide that you are quite good at hosting parties. Before you know it, you might be “THE” hostess of all your friends.

 


Christmas in July

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I know…..you are wondering why on earth we would be thinking about Christmas in July but the truth is, now is the perfect time to start planning for the holidays. I know you are probably thinking this is taking advertising for holidays prior to when the previous holiday is over to a whole new extreme but really it is an attempt to avoid the crazy chaotic rush that happens once October hits.

You know, we’ve all been there, Halloween is fast approaching and it heralds a down hill race to Christmas and New Years. Before you know it the end of the year is here and everyone is wondering how it happened. So we like to be a little more prepared than the average person. Okay, maybe a lot more prepared.

The main reason we like to get started on planning your holiday parties now, is the more time you give yourself the easier time you will have to schedule the date and find the perfect location.  Believe me, you don’t want to be making do with what options are left by the time you get around looking.

Next, you want to give your employees, family, or friends, as much notice as possible so they can plan their holiday season early. The more notice you give the better chance you will get a large turnout. This is especially true when both spouses work outside the home. We’ve all had to try and juggle multiple parties because of last minute notifications.

Third, vendors get booked early so your choice of entertainment get less and less as we get closer to the holiday season. You don’t want your boss to be super excited about having a dueling piano show only to find out that they have been booked for all the prime December dates months ago. It sucks. It really does.

The more time you give yourself to plan, the easier it is to make decisions. You can sample food from different caterers before signing a contract, play around with different themes, colors and décor until you have it exactly as you want it.

Thinking about Christmas may not be the way you want to spend your warm, sunny July but later in the year you will thank us for prompting you along.


That Creative Spark

Creativity is the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Anyone who has been involved with the creative process knows that getting stuck or hitting a wall is part of the process. Everyone struggles sometimes to renew their creative spark. Being in a business where we need to stay creative makes that a bit of a bigger challenge so we have to have ways to re-energize that creative spark. Here are the just some of the ways that we do that:

  • connect with someone you think is creative and let their creativity generate some new ideas for you.
  • change up your routine.
  • doodle
  • play a game
  • free write
  • listen to new music
  • keep an idea journal with you at all times
  • play with toys
  • color
  • listen to a TED talk
  • take a class
  • get cooking in the kitchen
  • explore the outdoors
  • research on Pinterest
  • create a vision board
  • talk with children
  • walk through an art gallery
  • watch movies

Creativity is all about being open to the impressions of life as they flow and swirl around us. Its about letting that energy flow out of you and create something unique to you. Enjoy the process and don’t give up when you feel like you’ve hit a snag in the creative process. It’s easy to spark again.


Major Multitasker?

According to the dictionary, multitasking is the ability to do more than one thing at a time. For a long time people focused on developing the ability to multi-task as a vital skill in the workplace. The better you were at multitasking the more productive you were. After all you were getting more done right?

Well, its been over a decade and now they are saying that multitasking is bad for your brain health. Some research says that multitasking actually reduces your brain’s productivity by 40%! That’s huge. The research says that our brain actually has a problem switching from one task to another rapidly and some research goes so far as to say we actually lose time when we are multitasking.

So what happened to the concept that doing more than one thing at a time produced more results because you are getting more done? I think the question here is, what is the quality of the work? Personally, I find that when I focus on one project at a time I get better results with the finished product but I still say there is something to be said about multitasking. (Of course, as Project Managers we multitask all the time so its hard to give it up) However, I think there is a time and place for both.

It is important to eliminate distractions and focus on the job at hand when you can but there are just times when you can’t and the ability to do more than one thing at a time is necessary. My suggestion is to practice the art of focused, intentional tasks whenever you can. You will most likely be happier with the end result of your task and you will most likely be less mentally tired at the end of the day too.


Less Stress, More Stress, De-Stress

There aren’t many people who don’t have some form of stress in their lives. Unfortunately stress has become a common part of the LIFE experience. People expect to experience stress and sometimes they subconsciously make choices that create more stress in their lives. Its a horrible pattern that people have a hard time breaking. Its one of the reasons that stress management has become such a huge priority in people’s lives.

Work is one of the biggest stressors. There is a lot of pressure on people to perform at their best and they do more, causing more stress to do better, achieve more and the cycle continues. Since this is the start of the year, it is a great idea to figure out some ways to have less stress in your life. Think of it as a New Year’s Resolution!

Here are some tips to get your started:

  • Focus on your breathing – keeping it calm and even
  • Visualize a calm relaxing place
  • Meditate
  • Smile! (Yes it really does help)
  • Compose a mantra or an affirmation
  • Exercise
  • Go Decaffeinated
  • Use essential oils
  • Just say NO (Yes you can do this!)
  • Try acupressure
  • High Carbohydrate snacks give you a release of endorphins
  • Boost your vitamin intake
  • Get a massage
  • Day dream
  • Listen to music
  • Goof off

 


Fall Fundraising

Fall is when there is a lot of fundraising taking place. Its a time to gather in stores and prepare for the upcoming winter. Its a time when many focus on taking care of those in need. Those that are most likely to suffer the most from the long winter. This also happens to be one of the busiest times of year for our company. Well, at least, now to New Years but even in that our thoughts turn to how we can support our communities through fundraising. As an event company, our skill set is of course, planning events.

So many people think that they must hire us to gain our expertise or our skills but in truth, we are a fabulous resource for associations and businesses that want to fundraise or do events to support non-profits. We are connected to hundreds of resources, vendors and venues. We are willing to advise and even donate hours to non-profits we support but sometimes all a person needs is an idea of how to fundraise so we have a few starting ideas for you:
• Super Event – find lots of event hosts to hold a small fundraising event on behalf of your charity on the same night, and all around the same theme.
• Theme Nights – Pick a theme that works with your charity’s goals and build your event around that.
• Social Media Events – host an event through social media and request donations through PayPal links.
• Combined Events – find another non-profit or organization that matches yours and host a combined event to raise funds for you both.
• Eat for a Cause – work together with local restaurants to donate 10% of their profits on a designated night for your cause in exchange for encouraging supporters to eat there.

And of course….we can’t forget ways to spread good cheer throughout the upcoming holidays and our favorite is Paying It Forward. Do something nice for others, not because anything is expected of you but because it feels good to give. If you need some ideas for how to Pay It Forward:
• Help someone with the groceries
• Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line
• Donate items to halfway houses or abused women’s shelters
• Spend some time writing positive reviews for businesses
• Donate blood
• Volunteer at a hospital, homeless shelter, nursing home, etc.
• Drop extra change into parking meters
• Donate food to the hungry
• Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
• Donate time at an animal shelter
• Buy a coffee card and give it to a police officer

Everyone has the ability to reach out and help another – if we think we ourselves need assistance. Find the way which is yours and embrace it. You will be happier for it.


Beat the Heat

We are in the middle of a heat wave, here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I know most people believe we are the rainiest place on earth but in reality we have beautiful weather here. Yes, there is rain, lots of it at times and there can be a perpetual overcast that gives off a kind of dreary feeling but for those who call this region home, we know to get out and make full use of the beautiful days when we have them.
The thing is, not everyone is prepared for these hot days and nights. You can generally tell because there will be a run on fans and air conditioners. However, there are other ways to beat the heat in the hotness of summer. Here are a few tricks we’ve unearthed to help keep you cool:
• Hang a damp sheet in front of an open window. The incoming breezes will be cooled by the evaporating water. (Unfortunately – this may have to be repeated often depending on how fast the sheet dries in the sun)
• Purchase curtains that have sun blocking white backs. Believe me – they work!
• Place a bowl of ice in front of a sweeping fan. As the ice melts the fan will blow the cooler air into the room.
• Keep windows and doors shut, even though it is tempting to create a breeze, its deceiving, the open windows and doors only let the hot air in to make the inside warmer.
• Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator and mist yourself when you need to cool down.
• Turn electronics off during the heat. On they are an extra source of heat you don’t need.
• Wear thin, light weight, light colored, loose clothing
• If you like it spicy – now is the time to eat up! Hot spices used in ethnic foods make you sweat which in turns cools the body down.
• Drink lots of WATER, and fruit smoothies. Avoid drinks like alcohol and caffeine because they actually dehydrate you and that is a big no-no in the heat.
• Keep your meals light too – avoid those fatty, heavy rich foods because it is harder for your body to digest in the heat.
• Avoid using your stove- no one needs the extra heat generated from a cooking stove or stove top. It’s all about grilling this time of year.
• Take advantage of air conditioned businesses. Go see a movie in the evening or enjoy a meal at a restaurant.
• Find a swimming hole or at the very least take advantage of the local community swimming pools.
• Place or tie an icepack behind your head.
• Run cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds on each hand. This will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour.
• Soak your feet in a bucket of cold water.
• Stock your freezer with flavored ice treats.
Regardless of what you options you take to stay cool we hope you find a way to enjoy the sunshine without being miserable due to the heat.


In the Spirit of Spring Break

Anyone who has kids or is a young adult themselves knows that from late March to mid April is spring break season. For parents of young kids, that means it’s grandparent week! For everyone else it usually means vacation time or party time. If your teenager or young adult is at home for the entire week, maybe suggest that they go try something new. Groupon is always full of great deals on restaurants (ever tried Ethiopian food?) fitness classes (boxing, piyo, booty bootcamp, all fun) and discounts on places like the zoo or aquarium. If you don’t have any kids but still want a taste of that carefree spring break spirit, why not throw a spring break party? Invite your friends over, make some pina coladas and put on some Margaritaville. Or take a look at these fun spring break themed parties!
http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/easy-decorating/luau-party
http://www.fun-theme-party-ideas.com/mexican-theme-party-ideas.html
http://www.toppartyideas.com/mardi-gras-party/
No matter your age, or your family size, we hope you manage to find at least a few moments of the Spring Break fun this month, happy partying!


Gluten Free, and Vegan, and Allergic to Soy, Oh My!

Lately, dietary restrictions have appeared to be on the rise and even more prevalent. We all know at least one person that has more food allergies than they can count on one hand and another who is always trying a new diet. Now thankfully for party goers and event planners alike, many caterers and restaurants are trying out new menus full of alternative options for our friends with allergies and our friends who are choosing to live meat free or paleo. Now many people that live on a “normal” diet are under the impression that maintaining one of these alternative life styles is difficult or that the food is not delicious. Many different food services are proving them wrong. In Bellingham alone many restaurants are changing their menus in order to appeal to more people and have crafted amazing dishes that everyone would love, not just people with special dietary needs.
Surprisingly enough, it’s amazingly easy to alter dishes to make them fit specific needs as most vegetarian food can be turned vegan by leaving out dairy and most restaurant now offer gluten free buns and bread. This means that at large events, the guests in the crowd with special diets aren’t restricted to a bit of lettuce they found that was being used as decoration on an appetizer tray. That minor bit of tweaking may make a world of difference to someone’s stomach.
The new trends in food are also a huge benefit to chefs everywhere, as they try and acclimatize to the new tastes of customers. Trying to provide alternative menus forces chefs to be more creative and innovative and many live for the challenge. A happy chef makes for many happy customers and that is good news for everyone involved! With this in mind, for your next large party or gathering or business meeting, consider having it catered by someone that can give everyone something suited for them. Happy eating!