Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How I Planned a Corporate Event in 8 hours in a Different City for 150+ People

Now that the holidays are starting to slow down and we are approaching the new year, I thought I would reminisce about one of the crazy work things that happened this past year. Being a concierge company in Houston you get all kinds of unique, fun requests that come through. I have a client that I worked for on an as needed basis because they have someone full time to help them, but shit hit the fan when their full time assistant left and didn't finish an important task, which was planning a party. They called me needing me to plan a corporate party for 150+ people in Atlanta, walking distance from the hotel, including entrainment and food with a $3,000 budget. Oh and it was the very next day on a Friday night.

My first thought was holy shit. That thought lasted 10 seconds and then I immediately got on the internet and phone. Thankfully on the day they called me I had a light load with other clients and could just get right to planning. This happened to be in July, which was my craziest, most stressful month of business. I was insanely busy and constantly putting out fires for clients. I am by no means complaining, just explaining how crazy busy it was.

First I started working with the hotel to see what was available. We went back and forth for a few hours. Since this was a big conference they were at, space and availability was limited everywhere in downtown Atlanta. I found out the food alone would be way past our budget. So I started calling various venues around Atlanta. My client decided he wanted to have a DJ. So I immediately started to call to see who was available the next day for a Friday night gig. Right when I was about to sign the contract my client decided they no longer wanted a DJ, but that DJ was amazing and put me into contact with a girl who was an event planner (I think) and who then put me in contact with various venues. After 5 million calls back and forth to various people and seeing if they could work with our budget. I FINALLY found someone that would work with us at like 6pm the night before the event. The event was at a popular game place, we ordered food for all the guests to enjoy, there was music there, it was a semi private room and everyone had fun!

When everything is all said and done, it's a great feeling to just be able to know you accomplished something great for your clients that they enjoyed. It was literally an insane day. My client probably didn't realize the complete spectrum of insanity I was going through, but that is nothing for them to worry about and that is part of owning a concierge company. You go through great lengths for your clients. This is just a little bit of how behind the scenes things can go crazy when you least expect it.

These are just a few things concierges go through. This is what I do, and beyond, for clients. I love my clients and am SO thankful for them and love the relationships I can build with them.

Lesson: you never know who will help you and be full of connections when you least expect it. For that DJ Simon Rimmer in Atlanta I am extremely grateful for you, even though you probably will never see this. If anyone is ever in Atlanta and needs a DJ use him.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my clients, colleagues, family and friends.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah to all my clients, colleagues and friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

10 Things That Currently Make Me Happy

Here are 10 things that are currently making me happy. What are somethings that are currently making YOU happy.
  • Getting 99% of my holiday shopping done before going on vacation. 
  • Brene Brown books and quotes.
  • Our amazingly sweet neighbors.
  • Nice, positive people. There is a lot of negativity and the nice, positive people make the world so much better. 
  • Public transportation.
  • Shipley's Donuts because really who doesn't love a warm, glazed donut from there. 
  • Spending time with family. 
  • Going to NYC during December to see all the holiday and Christmas decor. It it was magical!
  • Volunteering the past several months. 
  • Making Christmas cookies with my cousins at my grandparents house. 
(photo from the Macy's window in NYC in December 2016)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Made in the USA: Recycle Bin

I buy recycling items for personal assistant and concierge clients pretty regularly. Even though Houston is a large city, you would be surprised that recycling isn't offered in many parts of the city. This bin in particular was bought for a client whose building does recycle (YAY!!), but they needed a bin inside of their apartment to easily transfer their recyclables. It's not too big, not too small and it is made in the USA! How do you handle your recycling items?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

10 Last Minute Things to Do to Get Organized for the Holidays

Christmas is less than 2 weeks away and you are scrambling to get things done. Here are some small tips to keep you on track and less stressed.
  1. Amazon Prime. Amazon is great for so many things gifts, household items, etc. 
  2. Make a master to do list of thing that needs to get done. Delegate tasks to different individuals in your household. You can't always do everything by yourself, so ask for help.
  3. Create a timeline of what needs to be done and when. This will help you get a grasp on what exactly needs to be done and then you can figure out what things you can get done a what days. This helps you eliminate things that aren't necessary and prioritize properly.
  4. Don't overbuy. When you are stressed and don't know what to do, people often times tend to overbuy. Try hard not to do this by looking at your master list. This will save you many and stress of buying too much. 
  5. Make some food ahead of time and freeze. There many things you can pre chop and freeze, make ahead of time, etc. Pie crusts and cookie dough are common things to make ahead of time and freeze.
  6. Hire professional help. If you have so much to do and not enough time it may be worth your while to hire a professional like Eco Modern Concierge ;). Hiring professionals can often times save you lots of time and money. Houston has lots of options for concierges and professional organizers. 
  7. Set up a gift wrapping station. This way all of your supplies are all in one place and aren't scattered throughout your house. 
  8. Treat Yourself. I know you are probably thinking oh gosh I have to get SO much done, but really take a break and go get a pedicure or go to a park or do something where you can relax. This will help you focus on what you need to do with more clarity.
  9. Focus on the true meaning of the season. It's not always about gifts and being perfect.
  10. Take a Deep Breath. If you don't get everything done that is ok. So what? What is the worse that can happen.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Made in the USA + Eco: Reynolds Heat & Eat Containers

I first bought these containers at Arlan's Market in Galveston either at the end of last year or beginning of this year. I could never find them in other stores and they were overpriced online where I did find them. Recently I found them at Target and I was so happy. I think these containers are great for so many reasons:
  1. They are made in the USA.
  2. They main part of the container is not plastic and is made from plant fibers.
  3. They are recyclable.
  4. They are perfect when friends and family come over and you want to give them a to go box.
  5. They come in 2 different sizes. 

These are perfect for the holiday time and are inexpensive.

Most the containers we use at home to store leftovers in are glass, but these are perfect for guests.

What are some of your favorite to go containers to use?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Concierge Must Have Item: Stationery

As a concierge and just me in general, I write a lot of letters. I know I have mentioned this on here several times throughout the years.  For work I will send thank you notes or just notes in general to clients, vendors, etc. I consider this a must have because people notice when you send a note to follow up, a thank you note, etc. and it is usually appreciated. It let's them know you are thinking of them and you took time out of your day to write them a note.

I have all kinds of stationery. Some of my favorites just for blank cards is Tiffany & Co. and it is not as expensive as you would think. I love the quality of the paper they use. I just call the NYC store to order over the phone. For other cards it is no secret that I love Rifle Paper Co. I also pick up random cards that are on sale, that I see at Trader Joes, that people give me, etc.

Do you have a favorite brand of stationery you use?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Current Organizing Product Trends

Once I do organizing projects I try to use what my client already has, so we don't have to buy unnecessary organizing supplies. More and more lately I am getting asked to use trendy organizing supplies like in these 3 photos I took from The Container Store. You can find these products here and here.

Here are some of my top ones I have been using:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Made in the USA: Christmas Memories Book

I first saw this Christmas Memories Book in a local Houston store and loved it. I love that you can document your memories and keep it simple. The format is easy and meant to last for years and years to come. It is made in the USA! As a concierge and personal assistant, I am constantly looking for unique gifts to give clients and to buy on behalf of clients. This one is perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Utilizing a Personal Concierge During the Holidays

This time of year is super busy for so many people and you can get overwhelmed really quickly. I have many clients here in Houston who use me for various daily tasks and the holidays are no exception. Hiring a personal concierge is easy there are several in Houston and all over. Here are some things that they can help you with.
  • Gift Research. I often times get hired to research various gifts, but have an extensive list of go to gifts that I like to give or that I know are a hit. Here in Houston there are various stores I know that I can find the perfect gifts.
  • Shop. This is one of the biggest things I get utilized for during the holidays. There are so many gifts that get bought and given 
  • Help Decorate. Sometimes you just can't do it all and need help. 
  • Donation Drop Off. There is a ton of giving back during the holidays and I often drop off donations for others.
  • Organize. Since I am a professional organizer, I often help with general organization in businesses and around the home. This really helps clients destress and not worry as much during the holidays. 
  • Gift Wrapping. The key is to find stores like Kuhl-Linscomb that gift wrap for free, but if not then use a personal concierge. I often do this for clients and have so much fun.
  • Shipping. I ship a TON during the holidays. The key is to ship early when lines are not as long. Many of personal concierges charge by the hour, so shipping early can save you time and money. 
  • Write, Address, Stamp and Mail Holiday Cards. This gets outsourced a lot because usually when people send out holiday cards they send out a lot. 
  • Corporate Gift Buying. Lots of companies give gifts to employees, clients and colleagues and this is something they use concierges to assist them with. 
  • Party Prep. This is a big one because so many people host holiday parties. 
  • Book Travel. A ton of people travel during the holidays and a concierge can help with flights, hotel reservations, car rental, booking activities, etc. 
  • Grocery Shop. So many groceries to be bought during the holidays. 
  • Guest Prep. If you have guests coming into town a personal concierge can help with prepping for their arrival from getting rooms organized to arranging pick up for them to buying gifts. 
  • Basic Errands. I help clients with all kinds of basic errands they just don't have time to do. 

Virtual Concierge Help
I have had others hire me to help them with holiday tasks virtually as well. Here are some holiday things that I often get asked to help with virtually.

  • Buy and Ship Gifts. If there are items that can be purchased and shipped online, then that is what I help with.
  • Order and Mail Holiday Cards. This often times can be done anywhere.
  • Arrange for Professional Services. I often help arrange for services like house cleaning, organizing, catering, etc. to come in and help during the holidays. 
  • Book Travel. Just like above this is something that a concierge can help with.
  • Send Alcohol and Flowers. I arrange for bottles of wine and liquor to be delivered for clients. As well as, flowers and plants.