Tips To Enjoy Easier Event Planning
Event planner extraordinaire and HAVEN Conference owner, Kristin Stockdale, discusses the inspiration behind her DIY spirit and practical ways to stress LESS when event planning.
If you love hosting people in your home, then this episode is full of DIY ideas just for you!
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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- How Kristin got started in event planning
- The Bible study that changed her life
- Top tips for organizing a stress-free event
- How to make your home cozy on a budget
- DIY Ideas to stress less when hosting in your home
ABOUT KRISTIN STOCKDALE
Owner and CEO of Stockdale Designs, a hospitality-focused event firm specializing in celebrations, conferences, and seminars, Kristin’s team has been making group moments special for almost 2 decades. Co-founder and owner of the Haven Conference – a nationally renowned annual event for DIY influencers and bloggers – Kristin’s DIY spirit tirelessly seeks opportunities to inspire and transform.
CONNECT WITH KRISTIN
If you’re motivated to change, and if you want to change, you have to show up because no one else is going to show up for you. And as soon as you know that you actually have the power to just go to a Bible study or go take a class, or you can go to the library, you just have to show up in some way for you. Welcome to the M perfectly empowered podcast with leading DIY lifestyle blogger on. Where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation, one imperfect day at a time. Welcome to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I’m your host on a former today? It is my pleasure to introduce you to Kristin Stockdale. Kristin is the owner and CEO of Stockdale designs, which is a hospitality focused event firms specializing in celebrations conferences. And. Kristin’s team has been making group moments special for almost two decades. She is also the co-founder and owner of the Haven conference, which is a nationally renowned annual event for DIY influencers and bloggers. I have already benefited from Kristen’s tireless, DIY spirit. She is. And inspiration. She has helped many of us transform our homes through the Haven conference. Welcome the woman who has already taught me so much and who rocks, brightly colored dresses. Like no one else. Kristin stock. Hi, Krista and welcome to the podcast. Good morning. How are you? Good. This is so fun to have you here. I have to tell a little story about you very first. Remember meeting you at a small retreat in Waco, Texas. That was the first time that I met you. It was a small retreat for influencers bloggers. I learned so much, and it’s really when I first transitioned in my mind from seeing my blog as a hobby to a business. So that retreat definitely stands out to me. I remember meeting you and having two thoughts. One, I remember thinking this woman rocks a brightly colored dress. Like no one I’ve ever seen. So cute. You just always, your personality is bright. Your clothing is bright. I also along those lines, I remember being in like a group zoom meeting with you and you are helping us prepare for the Haven conference, which we’ll talk some more about. And you were the first person that I’ve ever heard say in this like virtual space dress on brand. Yes. And I remember thinking. That would have never, ever crossed my mind to dress on brand. And anyway, you are very consistent. Your personality is bright. Your brand is bright. Your clothing is bright. You rock it. Um, anyway, so today I have like fall clothes on, but yeah, but you’ve got bright flowers in the background and yellow wall. Yeah. Well, it’s so true, right? If you, your inside and outside the, to kind of reflect each other. So I tried my best to live that way. Yeah, well, you do, you do, and you rock it. The thing is some of us could dress on brand and look terrible doing it. Would you do not? So, anyway, that was one of the first things that I remember. So we’ll talk a little bit more about your business and how it got started, but something that I want to highlight. We talk about this a lot on this podcast is it is so easy for people to just see the curated outcome of years and years of struggle and challenges. And that’s not what really gets highlighted. We just see those brightly colored put together people. You speak in front of hundreds of people every year at the Haven conference, you are the co-founder of it. You own it. Now you organize other events and it would be so easy for somebody to see this incredibly successful woman behind a mic and miss. The story that got you there. And that’s the part that I just love hearing from other people and highlighting that. So we’re going to press rewind a little bit. And first of all, talk about, were you always the little girl who was running around and brightly colored dresses, wanting to create and design, or tell me a little bit about how your early years. Yeah. Yeah. So I was always a little girl who dreamed about being a New York city stiletto wearing sophisticated woman. Right. Obviously God has way different plans for me. So you just roll with it with the letter wearing sophisticated a woman though, but that’s kind of a new, because that’s always what I wanted to do it finally, just like what you were saying, it’s a road and it’s going to be really windy and curvy. I finally kind of have arrived where I can say, okay, this is what I want to broadcast. And this is what I want to share with the world. So it’s a lovely space to be in, but yes, it definitely was a road to get here. You loved the brightly colored dresses, even as a little girl, like you were wanting to be the stylist. Yes, yes. Fashion. So I remember we were latchkey kids. I have a sister and I, and we were total latchkey kids. And my mom would make sure that we had all the crafts and all the things to do because what would she say? Busy hands. Basically, we wouldn’t get in trouble if we were busy. And so I would draw with pastels. I wanted to be a fashion designer. Very, very little. I wanted to be a fashion designer. And so I would draw with pastels, you know, these sketches and all that good stuff. So, yes, I guess that from a little age, I’ve wanted to kind of stand out a little bit. And then you went to school. What did you go to school for originally? Architecture and that, so kind of that design led into interior design. To do an all homework, have you from high school, I would sit and just do dream plans about designing homes on the cliffs of California. So tell me about where you went to school. What did you go to school for originally? So originally I wanted to be an interior designer. Fashion design kind of just led into interior design with a lot of hobby time designing floor plans for homes that were like on the cliffs of California. And I found myself going through architectural digest and house beautiful and just ripping out pages that would look beautiful living rooms and kind of did like mood boarding basically. And then, so my dad said, if you want to be respected in interior design, you have to go to school for architecture. That way you can speak the language. You can read the blueprints, you can do all that jazz. So I ended up in Ohio. I was a salesman’s Bret too. So we moved all over the place. So when that time came, I was in Ohio. So we went to Ohio state and architecture program here I am. And it was great. It was such an amazing experience. I don’t know how much my dad was. Right. I don’t think I needed to go to architecture school, interior designer, but it was a blast. And man, you have to have thick skin. And so I do believe I learned a lot of life lessons. Yeah. And then, so from school you have shared before that life threw you some curve balls, which doesn’t that throw us awesome curve balls, but share a little bit about some of those curve balls that you were thrown early on that maybe weren’t necessarily in your plan. Okay. Yeah. So the biggest one was my oldest daughter, Olivia child. Yeah, just a child, but what an amazing blessing. But at the time I was, I was 20. And even though I was 20 and that might be a very normal age for a lot of women to have children. And my nuclear family with my parents and my friends and my peer group. It wasn’t normal. And I was definitely the first, um, I felt very much like a teenage mother. And so all of that was huge and it just changed my life path tremendously, definitely at the time. And I would say for the first couple months of Olivia’s life, The future was just very, very unknown and scary, but then just as you go, and as you have faith, things start to happen. And I started to actually, I transitioned schooling to, I moved down to Georgia. That’s where her daddy, I met him during a summer at home. And so I’ve moved down to Georgia and. That led me into a technical program because I did not want to stop being a student. You still in school, you got pregnant. Yes. Yes. So you’re still in school. What year were you in college? Junior. So I was in the program. Oh yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yes. I said and not expecting to get pregnant. That was not part of, right? No, not at all. Not at all. I was on my way to New York city as far as I was concerned. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a lot. And then moving down to Georgia, never living in the south and because we were poor, we were very young children, basically uneducated. We moved up to a small town named , which at the time, so this was 27 years ago, whatever. Yeah. I’m not counting somewhere around there. Right. It was not the quaint cute little, I take that back. It is still and was a cute quaint town, but now it’s kind of more hip it. Wasn’t then I guess. I was a total fish out of water, but I found myself studying horticultural design, which I did not realize how much I had a passion for gardening. And then that translates into like my mental health. Now I go outside and garden whenever I just need to think I need to respond to something that I’m not comfortable responding to. That kind of thing I found being outside and digging in the dirt is much. Hmm. Were you in a horticulture program or was it oh, you were in a horticultural program. So I transitioned from Ohio state to a local tech school. Gotcha. Yeah. That does something to your psyche too. So my whole, my whole mind was just like, you are the biggest loser, but now like, even then, I mean, I kind of transitioned out of that mind frame, right? Looking back at it now I’m so grateful. Yeah. Well, and there’s probably, I mean, correct me and feel free to make sure I’m not speaking words that aren’t yours, but I feel like there could be a sense of almost shame and a feeling of, you know, I think there’s so many of, especially if you have dreams and you’re the type of woman that is like a go getter and you have these ideas of. Your sense of worth will look like how it will play out. Like I will be successful at X, Y, Z, and it’s almost like you’re proving not just to yourself, but to other people. And then all of a sudden that gets you have to take like a pretty severe sharp turn the other direction. Talk to me a little bit about, cause I think there’s a lot of people listening, even if you’re not in your twenties. I think this can happen to us in our thirties and our forties and our sixties. I think at any age you can wrestle with that sense of almost feeling ashamed that you’re not fulfilling the dreams that you set out to fulfill or sense of. Like, am I enough? What’s my sense of worth. Talk to me a little bit about that mindset that you experienced and how you started to kind of conquer that challenge. Yeah. Oh, I’d love that question. Okay. So definitely I was full of shame and like I said, the expectations and disappointment from my parents were not hidden from me. We were such a tight family. So I had a lot of that shame riding on my shoulders. Plus my peer group. I was so embarrassed to even tell them. So moving down to Georgia, I just basically left. So then fast forward a couple of years, and my in-laws loved me by the girls, dad. We were married and. He really gave me the confidence to be creative, which was nice. So just leaning into that creative part of me really started mending my mind back and then fast forward, about five years after Madison. Maybe six, six or seven years, we plan to have a, another daughter. So two years after Olivia, we had Madison. And then when she went back to, she started public school, I went to start work for, I apprenticed underneath an interior designer and she. Another woman. So woman to woman is amazing the impact we have on each other. And she really, so, I mean for about six or seven years, I lived with a very real sense of shame. And then she just poured into me quite a bit and confidence. She gave me the confidence. I would draw up plans. I would create mood boards. She. Rarely didn’t like what I did. And if she didn’t like it, she would give creative criticism and not, it wasn’t bad. So I really am abundantly grateful to her. Along with that was a beautiful Bible study that I started taking with Beth Moore and she talks all about shame. And what’s the Bible study name? Do you remember it? Oh gosh, I knew you’d asked. I’ll have to get back to you on it. Yeah. Yeah. Let me know. I’ll make sure it’s in our show notes. Yes. Yes. I definitely will. It was beautiful. It’s a Beth Moore. I’ll let you know. But that was super helpful. So then, and that was probably only 10 years ago. I mean, it was relatively new in my life. Um, tell me really quick out of that Bible study, do you have any memory, like, were there things in particular about shame that were kind of breakthroughs for you? Like were there truths communicated that you can think of? Off the top of your head, that for somebody experiencing that now, what did you take away from that Bible study that you could offer somebody who’s maybe struggling now, basically that it is not up to society. We’re wearing a jacket of shame that society has put on us. God, on the other hand, if we’re going to be his light, we need to wear the crown that we are deserving of. And that like his love I’m going to cry. His love is football. You can just shed that jacket. That society is making you aware and put the crown on, you know, because you deserve it. And we all do. We, as women, as men, you know, everybody deserves to wear our crayons. Beautiful. I love that sense of what’s interesting too, is I think sometimes like we almost hold onto the jacket. It’s like, we don’t even know what it’s like to take it off. We’re almost afraid to live. Without that shame. And I love this idea that you often don’t feel worthy of the crown. And I give a hearty amen. To that sense of, I don’t necessarily feel like I deserve the crown and maybe you could argue I don’t, but because of what Jesus has done for me, I can wear that crown proudly and allow that to truly shed that sense of. Shame and replace it with grace and hope. Exactly. I love that illustration. And I feel like it’s our duty as women of Christ to wear that crown because when we’re wearing it, that’s when we’re sharing the light. If we’re being loaded down by this jacket, that’s what we’re sharing. Right. You know, and I don’t want to share dark and gloom and doom. I want to share the light. Yeah. And it’s a choice. I mean, it’s a choice it’s yeah. So it’s like everything you wake up in the morning and you can decide to get dressed for the day or wear your sweatpants all day long. Like you make the choice. And so you have to wake up and decide. Are you going to put on a jacket of shame and sadness and hopelessness, or do you put on the crown? Exactly. Exactly. And it’s not up to my next door neighbor to tell me what I get to wear. It’s up to me and that true. Being up to me is liberating. You know, and you find yourself, this is a little bit of a tangent, but once that really seeps in to be a truth, you no longer care that Jody is driving the Porsche. You don’t want it. You’re happy with. The Honda that’s in the driveway and it is amazing once you truly feel that how just abundantly abundant our lives are great. Yeah, something that I tell my followers, my clients, my fitness nutrition clients, hear me say it is this sense that you cannot be redefined. You can only be redeveloped because you were to find the moment that God knit you together in your mother’s womb, you were infused with infinite worth. From that very moment by a divine creator and defined instantly nothing you are, I can do, can add to or detract from that worth. Right. We can only be redeveloped. And it’s exactly what you’re saying and that sense that you and I can’t change our value. It’s already been given to us period. Our definition has been set, but it’s the choices that we make day to day that can redevelop that living out of that worth and your uniqueness, et cetera. And so I love what you’re saying there that speaks to the heart beat. Mine and this podcast and everything, I think that’s beautiful. Yes. Yes. Oh, so you did the Bible study. I loved that tangent. My days just made brighter because of that tangent. So you had this Bible study, which I absolutely loved the power of mentorship, the power of hearing truth from somebody else’s what I’m hearing here. And that was, you said only like 10 years ago. Right. So I always just stay in real quick. On the Christian track, I always had a connection. Jesus was kind of always, I felt him walking next to me. We did not go to church very often as a family, my dad would read the Bible. We would say our nightly prayers. That was kind of the household. It was a little bit loose, but so then I found myself after a couple more curve balls just in this state, like craving God. And so I started going to church on a regular basis, very intimidated to join Bible study because I had never really read the Bible. I thought that. Really good women went to Bible study and had a beautiful church home and they encouraged everybody. They shared, they shed that shame again, you don’t have to be a perfect woman to go to Bible study. You can be any old soul show up. And so I did, I took a chance and showed up. Then my life has never been the same sense. I love that statement right there. I want that quote pulled out this idea that you took a chance you should. And your life has never been the same. I love that concept right there. We could end it now. And we’re good. Right? I love that though. It’s that sense of you don’t know, take a chance. True. And I think that’s so true with anything in life. You have to, if you want, if you’re motivated to change and if you want to change, you have to show up, you have to show up for yourself because no one else is going to show up for you. And I think that’s what I always was kind of. Depending on somebody else to come into my life and change my world. And as soon as you know that you actually have the power to just go to a Bible study or go take a class or go to the library. I mean, there are so many free resources as well, so you don’t have to spend the $179 on a class to learn how to a water symposium or water garden. Right. Right. You can go to the library. And so it’s just, you just have to show up in some way. Yeah. Now, how did you translate that into then the business that you’re currently into because you clearly showed up? Yeah, so, okay. So just getting back to that moment that I was apprenticing and the interior design office. So that then led me to open up my own shop about three. Into that had my own shop for a couple years, divorced from the girl’s daddy came along and I could not like, I’m sure that if you’ve ever owned a brick and mortar, it is stressful and it’s like highs and slows. There’s so much responsibility financially. I couldn’t do, I couldn’t be the PTA mom. Run a shop being full-time interior designer. I just couldn’t do it all. So the shop unfortunately failed. That’s another roadblock, as I felt like I had. Yeah. And my sweet mom at that moment, she was like, if you never fail, you have nothing to make a comeback from. And I love that. She said that to me because my mom was always somebody that I needed to impress the quote that you just said from your mom. If you never fail, you have nothing to make a comeback from. Yes. That should be like a line in every movie. Sports movie I’ve ever seen. Yeah. And coming from my mom, which I always wanted to impress her was huge. And my road to mending that sense of failure. So then, okay. So with that shop, I’ve retained my interior design clients, and then they started hiring me for their weddings or their 50th anniversaries. And then I had one gal who hired me for her corporate Christmas. Hmm. And that was where the ball was. It. I, um, put like seven DIY ornaments and Christmas trees together in my garage around the clock, getting them ready to go. I designed a whole Christmas circus tent. I designed like seven different Woodland elf trails for the kids to find Santa. I had. The best time amazing party. Oh my gosh. It was, I had a huge budget business party. It was awesome. And that changed that I knew, I knew I was where I was at. So it was like a long curvy road. It’s like fashion design, interior design architecture to event design and planning. And I love the logistics. I love the design, everything about. I love it. It can not get enough of it. Yeah. I love that. Here you are. I love that we are going to take a quick break and when we come back, we’re going to play this or that with Kristin. And we’re also going to hear her expert advice on event planning and how you can make your moments more special. And we’re going to highlight some of Kristin’s amazing. I’m going to tell you one way that you can make events more special that I have watched Kristen do, having been at the Haven conference. So all that, when we come back from this. Save time. Get practical inspiration delivered to your inbox every month with exclusive access to the premier digital women’s health and home magazine for just 1499 a month, you will get delicious and nutritious recipes, essential cleaning and organization hacks must have product recommendations, helpful fashion ideas, practical DIY tutorials, creative fun for kids. Home decor, inspiration, stress free entertaining tips. Evidence-based health and wellness advice, productivity challenges with prizes, exclusive access to upcoming and perfectly empowered podcasts, guests, and exclusive access to bonus printables and templates on podcast. Show notes, giveaways, and so much more with this exclusive membership, the imperfectly empowered. Journal for claim your hurt and home with a digital health and home magazine, full of practical strategies, you can actually use, want to try and issue for free visit www.hammersonhugs.com and click on them. Perfectly empowered journal tab to sign up for a free issue of the imperfectly empowered journal. Today, we are back here with Kristin Stockdale, Kristen, we’re going to play this or that you’ll get two choices. You don’t have to think about it that. They’re not super life altering questions. M and M’s or Skittles. Well, maybe they are, this is a big deal. M and M’s or Skittles, Skittles all the way. Candy or baked goods. Oh, totally depends on the candy, but not chocolate candy. Okay. Which is harder planning a charity event or planning a conference. I would say a charity of that. That’s a lot of pressure. Yeah. What’s been your favorite charity. I have done a gala that was like Derby inspired. Oh, that was a lot of fun. All the women in their big hats. And I love that. Yes. I love that channeling. My fair lady. Yes. Okay. Paper planner or digital calendar, digital calendar, online, shopping or shopping in a store online. Amen. Would you rather wear bright pink or bright red? Oh pink. I love red though. Both of them on great embeds. Hard. I knew it wouldn’t be for you flats or heels, heels, modern or vintage. Oh, vintage. But I like it juxtaposed with modern, but vintage. Yeah. I’m more comfy and cozy in a vintage, but yeah, New York or Paris. Ooh, New York pedicure or manicure. Pedicure. Yeah. Amen. I had somebody the other day tell me they get pedicures, but without the muscles. Correct. I’m like me give them to me. I feel like I should get some sort of voucher that says this person did not get their foot massage and I want to, right. So you get the extra 10 minutes. You need a little coupons. Who are these strange people? Oh my goodness. Well, I love event planning. I joke to my husband that I want to get married again, just simply so I can plan another wedding. I mean, I’m happy to get married to him again. I don’t need it. Right. Yeah. Let’s just be really clear festivities. I just want to plan another wedding, but so we have two girls. So thankfully that is hopefully, hopefully in my future. Yes. Yeah, exactly. So for some practical advice here, can you share hosting is really stressful for a lot of women. I love it. And I don’t think I ever appreciated how stress a lot of women really feel about having. People into their home, maybe not immediate family, but like hosting a party for friends to come. I just truly did not appreciate how much stress that really inspires. And a lot of women let alone a bigger event. Can you share with us some of your top tips? Kind of event planning 1 0 1 and how to make it less stressful and more enjoyable. That is a loaded question. But can you think of anything that comes to your mind to help women listening? Who that might be like? Oh my gosh, hosting sounds terrible. Lately. If you have any kind of additional space in your home set up folding table and. Whenever you’re comfortable. I generally start like, so for Christmas we do like five different events that are hosted here, because like you said, some people don’t like it. I love it. So I have a table out in my garage that set up and I have like spaces. So if I’m at the store and I can go ahead and buy the olives and the dried cranberries. All the dry goods or canned goods that don’t need to be refrigerated. I put them in their slot like Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, new year’s dah, dah, dah, dah. So I keep everything organized and I’m not going to the grocery store seven times for four events. I’m going once with a whole dry goods lists for all my events, so that I love, I try to do everything as far as wrapping. Again, in my family, we do Christmas before Christmas because it was way too much pressure when you have divorced and divorce. Again, it’s just way too much pressure on my children. So I was like, you know what? It doesn’t have to be on Christmas day. It can be the weekend before. I think if you release yourself from that’s kind of a bigger overall, but if you release yourself from the pressure of it has to be on Christmas, otherwise it’s not Christmas. Then. That’s huge. So we do the weekend before and I have all of my little tiny gifts that we do for Christmas Eve wrapped way in advance. I, again, set them on that table, you know? And so being organized is huge. Pre-planning in the details. I think people maybe you’ve heard this before. Cause I think it’s a little cliche, but. Really remember how you felt when you’re at their home. So remember that in the details, you don’t have to stress over name tags, unless it’s very important that such and such doesn’t sit right next to such and such. Cause I thought I was just going to sit down. Right? So don’t stress over those types of details. Stress over. Like, you’re welcome. Maybe your welcome drink, because that’s going to welcome everybody into your home and make them feel like they were special because you immediately greeted them with something unique. I love that. So, yeah. So let me reiterate for people listening. So you set up, I think a garage is a great space to talk about like pull your cars out of your garage, make space. Even if you have a tiny one car garage space there, and then you set up folding tables to help organize. Maybe it’s just one event. Somebody could use it for one event or maybe it’s several like the holidays or even the spring or the summer. Like if you’re having graduation parties and birthday parties and you know, so for those of you listening and watching, like think through the time of year where hosting is the most stressful for you and apply this. So you put out folding tables and then you basically put everything that is like a dragon. Yes on that for that event, everything cocktail trends, if it’s a paper plate or a plastic plate or China. Yeah. All one spot that way. I only think about it once. I’m not thinking about it five times and I think that’s the biggest trick. Try to do whatever helps you not continuously think about the same thing. Yeah. I think about it once. Yep. Use your Excel sheet, menu planning. What have you, and yeah, go to town. But I think just doing whatever tools in your toolbox to think about the event one time and knock it off. That’s all. I will also throw out one of the things that I have a lot of posts on my blog about hosting and. Entertaining. And one of the things that I also recommend to people is maximize the use of a deep freezer. A lot of people don’t realize how many things can be frozen ahead of time. And I’ll give an example. I host a Christmas fondue every year and I buy my cheese from Costco, like two weeks in advance and I freeze. Nobody knows any differently. I make the chocolate fondue. I usually make a week ahead of time. That’s also, I can’t do that with the cheese, but the chocolate can be made ahead of time and frozen and reheated. Nobody ever knows. Now everybody will know. Now everybody, I use that too. And again, keep that space organized. So I already have, we don’t do the typical ham and Turkey. We do. And salmon because I’m a pescatarian and my family. So I already have a huge piece of salmon and I already have the goose they’re in the freezer and they’re together with, I’m going to do the goose with the peaches and cherries. So I bought frozen peaches and frozen cherries they’re together. Everything is right there. So I don’t have to think about how am I going to cook that goose again? Am I doing potatoes, carrots and black? What am I doing? Is there I don’t have to think about yet. And so. Yeah, I think that’s huge that deep freezer. Oh my gosh. Yeah, that’s amazing. And I’ll take it a step further with her expanding on her ideas. Something else that you could do is those clear plastic storage bins, the like freezer or the fridge drawers that are those plastic clear. That’s something else that you could do. Like Kristen saying she organizes her ingredients in the freezer. You can do the same thing in your fridge. Again, if you’re really stressed out, like get one of those plastic drawers, put it in your fridge and then have all the ingredients that you need for whatever dinner in that one drawer and stack them up, label it dinner. It’s that idea of bundling. Yes. Yeah. For like a jewel tone salad. So you’d have pecans your Mandarin oranges, your cranberries, blueberries, poppy seed dressing, spinach, boop. Altogether. Love it. Pull out your Jordan, make it. That’s such a great tip. And then I also want to highlight what you just said. People remember how they feel when you come into your home. And I actually just did an article for American farmhouse style. I met them at the Haven conference and was really honored to be featured. And one of the things that we talked about is the idea that home decor is less what you see and it’s more how you feel. It’s that sense of when you walk into a home, it’s not just about what you are seeing. How you’re feeling. So it’s a multi-sensory experience. And at the end of the day, you could have the ugliest couch in the world, but somebody could leave your home feeling like that was the coziest most welcoming home I’ve ever been to. And that’s the point of home, exact core. So when you are saying. Remember to keep in mind. It’s how a guest feels. Not necessarily what they see. It doesn’t have to be a perfect home. Can you offer some tips to help with that multisensory experience? That might be really simple ways that a woman could make her home feel just a little bit more cozy, a little bit more welcoming without breaking the budget. You don’t have to hire an interior designer. No, no, you don’t come to mind. Okay. So one is. Skip the small little detail that you think is really, really important. It’s not because you being happy when you open that door or when people come into your home, you being happy is you can have nothing, but you being happy. It’s what is needs to happen. So set yourself up there for success. That’s one, not breaking them, I think cozy. So this time of the year cozy blankets, add a lot of warmth, just aesthetically. Let’s see. Let’s see. Totally caught me off guard here. I know. Do I, this is what I always do. I throw these questions. So it’s like very spontaneous and I love it. I love it. So not breaking the bank. I think lighting, we all have lights. So at Costco, they now have used to be. I don’t remember the brand, but it used to be in a very expensive brand that you could do a smart bulbs and they would kind of dim and all different colors and what have you. But now they are getting less and less expensive and you can do smart bulbs. If you have an Alexa. And she can make like an Amber glow. Oh, I didn’t know that. I think you might be able to buy just Amber light bulbs. Like if you didn’t want to do the whole like thing and light bulbs are fairly inexpensive, I think warrants, however you need to add it, but lighting is big and that’s just your light bulbs. Yeah. Let’s see. So lighting blankets, I think blankets over the corners of your chair. Maybe an extra pop of color in a pillow, you can get pillows, very inexpensively the covers online, and then you can just use the same pillow and just do your covers. Interchange them definitely more comfortable too on sofas. That’s just a very simple and it can’t have too many throw pillows. Exactly. And it keeps people from feeling like they can set in a little bit straight and get more comfortable. I also want to make a DIY notes for that ambient lighting. I wrote a post to kind of breaking down lading and what Kristen is touching on is that sense of what really adds that kind of higher end sense of cozy. The low lighting is exactly what you’re talking about. It’s less about all of the like bright lights and fancy fixtures, but it’s more the ability to create a low light and an ambient light in your home. You can also replace most switches, very inexpensively to add a dimmer. A lot of people don’t realize that, but just consider switching out one of your light switches, whether it be the like chandelier above your table, or maybe one of the lights in your kitchen or in your living room, and you can actually do. So most switches you’re able to do that. And you can ask an electrician is not that expensive to do or DIY at Google it. Yeah, you can totally Google it. It’s we’ve done that with almost every single in our house, just because lighting is huge to me. Yeah. I agree. I think that’s a great tip. Another thing that comes to mind is music is like one of the easiest ways. Yes. That’s like an event planning 1 0 1 and it’s almost like you don’t even think about it. It’s almost just like an assumed. Of course there’s going to be music, but a lot of people don’t think about it in their house. Like that’s what makes the local commercials so awkward. There’s no music. Exactly. And then, um, you don’t even think about how much a low background noise inspired. Organic conversation. That’s so true. Yeah. Otherwise you’re sitting there in this awkward, very silent conversation and then you feel pressure and the pressure is what kills it, you know? Yeah. That’s so true. I’ve actually never thought about that. That is true. It kind of takes some of the pressure off. Exactly. Yeah. It’s no longer awkwardly silent or like all of a sudden a great song comes on and you’re like, oh my gosh, isn’t this done? And then that’s true on the conversation. So it is, yeah. I love that. Yeah. Candles. Another easy way. I love candles. Yeah. Those remote candles are getting extremely affordable now, too light flickering. Yes. They look pretty real. If you, I should never do this again. I don’t know what this was. I knew, I knew pretend I didn’t do. That’s a very weird, yeah, that was once those light flickering. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I was actually at a little, this was several years ago. My husband and I took a Christmas-y bed and breakfast stay in downtown Baltimore. When I walked in, I instantly felt this sense of like, this is the coziest room I’ve ever been in. And I realized all he did was he simply layered tons and tons of those candles of all different like pillar Heights in between Christmas decor. Yeah. Like they were everywhere. It was the simplest thing. And you could do that on a side buffet, like just put like red and green or whatever season it is. Those little lights are perfect and there’s no flavor. Right. Yeah. Right. Those are a great idea. Exactly. There’s no worry about somebody reaching over on a buffet to get their food, to burn themselves. And what have you. So yeah, I think it adds an amazing amount. Yeah. What about with. Do you have any like tips for people with kids or the things that you think about? Like if you’re hosting a bunch of people and there’s kids included, does that change? How you a little, a little bit? No, not real. So we always have children around like always, and so I lean a little bit more towards like that warm, masculine. Like, that’s kind of my style. So I always lean towards that, but for the adults. So for the children, I stuck up at the dollar store. I get those light up. It’s a great idea. Yes. And anytime anything is on clearance, like after Easter, after Christmas, after Halloween, I am the first one in line to get those quarter toy. Whatever, because that way I have a basket of all this new stuff that can be totally thrown away because it costs me a quarter after they leave or they can take whatever. Yeah. But yeah. So bubbles are huge in this house. Well, not inside we outside on the porch, I have a little bubble machine and it doesn’t matter how many times the same child has been over here. They want that bubble machine on. So that’s good. I always have a room upstairs that is stocked with hot wheels and tracks. They can keep themselves busy. Everybody that comes over knows that they can immediately come upstairs. And that way it keeps the adults, like they’re not underfoot that adults can chit chat for a child’s planned party, like for a birthday party or Easter egg hunt, um, where the children are like the main focus. Yeah. You just always kind of want to keep it going. I know that sounds stressful, but again, with a little bit of pre-planning, so for an egg hunt or, well, I guess Christmas Eve is coming, right? So for Christmas Eve, we’re going to do a hot cocoa bar that I know that they’re just going to have a blast with. They’ll make it messy. I don’t care. And I think that you have. Let some things go when children are plastic, nothing’s going to be glass. So we’ll do a hot cocoa bar and go outside and sit by the bonfire, sit under a blanket. They’ll tell my son I’ll I engage with them and I’ll ask them, let’s go around and tell our favorite stories of Christmas, that kind of thing. Then we move on to dinner. Now for dinner, I’m going to have garlic, mashed potatoes and gravy for the children. I’m not going to add so much. Garlic I’ll have this special. Recipe on the side for them. And my expectation is for them to engage in conversation, but they’re going to be antsy. Yeah. I think setting yourself up with children, just for expectations to be realistic. I like that balance. I think what you’re communicating is this sense of balance where you can still think ahead, preplan have some ideas in mind or else you do feel stressed and it’s like anything. Kids are gonna pick up on that as well. And I think that’s an easy way to make. I mean, I think about even my parents, when my parents have my kids overnight, they often have ideas of things they’re going to do with them. Exactly know, and it’s not impersonal, like don’t miss hear us. It’s not that you’re like creating this very structured at 10 o’clock. We do this 12 o’clock we do this. It’s more like you just have kind of these tools in your tool belt that when they’re getting wild and antsy, it’s like, you know what, why don’t we have Play-Doh time? Exactly. Like I have some ideas. Key. That is so perfect. And you already are for seeing that that’s going to happen because it is. So if you already have it, like in those plastic shoe boxes ready in your laundry room or wherever in your garage to pull out immediately. So that way you’re not being pulled away from hostess mode, you’re actually doing your best hosting. Moves. I love that. I love that idea. So those little like plastic shoe boxes with the Play-Doh or all the coloring stuff or bubbles, or all the, your dollar store, you can like hit up the dollar store and then organize them. These are the bubbles. These are the coloring. These are the toys that I’m going to check. As soon as these kids leave and stem project. I don’t know how long, soon it’s been around, but if you Google a couple of those, those are fantastic. And they keep those babies busy, you know, and intrigued. So I think that’s key to keeping them intrigued is key. Yeah. And avoiding the screen situation. Cause then it’s always like, we’ll just turn on a movie, but you know, at the end of the day, it’s like, well, and I had nothing at home. Right. I have nothing against tablets, have nothing against any of that, but Hey, I only get them for a little tiny. My children are grown and my first little grand baby. Oh my gosh. Congratulations. It’s exciting months old. Oh, my word. Congratulations. Oh yeah. So I only get these little Rugrats for a couple hours. Yeah. Like once every other week or so, so right. Yeah. Like, I want to have things for them to do, and I want coming to Kiki’s house to be special. Yeah. I think so many of those are really, really great tips. We’ll make sure that these are on the show notes too, as well. So that’s awesome for hosting within your home. I wanted to really highlight that because most people are not going to plan massive events for hundreds of people. Right. And it’s realistic that they’re going to be within the home. However, There are some of us who plan events for hundreds of people. So you, I talked a little bit about the Haven conference. The bottom line is you co-founded it with several other women years ago, and you now own it. Your company, Stockdale designs owns the Haven conference. And for those people listening or watching who don’t understand it is specifically geared for DIY decor, influencers and bloggers. It is very niched down and it is amazing. I mean, it is one of really the premier. DOI decor conferences in the country. I would argue people come from all over to this. And I had my first experience virtually. I have this up here, um, from COVID and it just was, and was it very impressive? What you guys pulled together virtually and then last year was my first in-person. Event, and it is incredible. I mean, the amount of, you know, you have businesses that come in home Depot, Rio, B, I mean, there’s so many that you’re collaborating with and bringing in, not to mention speakers. And then you have mentors. What has been the greatest challenge that you can think of in making a conference like this? Happen. Can you think of a time that you were like, oh my gosh, I don’t know if this is going to happen. Um, I would say, yeah. Third or fourth year marketing is my big obstacle. And so it was like third or fourth year tickets weren’t so we were spoiled. We sold out within like a month, every year before this and tickets weren’t selling sponsors, weren’t coming out of the woodwork and. So those two things, which are the biggest financial, you know, the income to make the event happen are always going to be the most stressful hurdles. But as far as planning, it, I’ve not had an issue. Cause like I said, I mean, I work around the clock happy as a clam planning. So it’s really on the attendee and sponsor the finances to be able to put it together. Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah, no, I answered your question, but no, absolutely. No, it really did. I think marketing is always the hardest thing I feel like for everybody marketing is just always, it’s hard to say, Hey, look, I know. I’m terrible at marketing, marketing and sales. I’m a nurse practitioner, my trade. I don’t know if you know that, but I’ve got two masters. Like, you know, the medical world is really where all the letters behind my name come from. So business was like this totally new world for me. And I’ve realized that I am a terrible sales woman. I’m really bad. Like if somebody doesn’t want to buy it, I’m like, okay, get me to. Can I ask you to buy it? I remember meeting you too, by the way, the first time that retreat and just thinking you were absolutely adorable and you had it all going on, you knew you were focused, you knew what you wanted and needed and yeah, I just cherish meeting you for the first time. But at that same conference, I remember telling someone, cause someone’s like, well, I’m overwhelmed here. So I can’t, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to go to the Haven conference. And I was like, well, don’t, if you’re overwhelmed, I don’t suggest you go. I was like, what are you doing? Exactly Koreans coming onto this podcast to y’all just wait until you meet Carianne. Oh yeah. She love her. She’s an excellent sales woman. Unlike most. He is at her joy that she gives out is yeah. From men. Yes. Yeah. So I hear you there. I mean, I just, yeah, sales are not my expertise. I’m like, you don’t want to buy them. That’s fine with me. Like, I’m not going to convince you. So I completely understand that challenge to just go to a conference to learn technique. That’s you all go with you? Oh my gosh. You and me both. One of the things that is so inspiring. What I love about your story is that you are, you’ve really fulfilled the dream that you had. I mean, you know, years ago, when you wanted to become a designer and have this lasting impact, I love to see the paths that come together ultimately to lead you in the direction that you’ve been. And I just think about the. Thousands and thousands of men and women who have been impacted by the Haven conference. I can’t speak to the other ones that I know that you host as well. But one of the things that I want to say to you that you are so good at is there’s one thing to plan an event. It’s another thing to host an event and at the live one last year, every time that I saw you, you came up and this was me. Hundreds of people there and you always asked, how are you doing? Do you need anything? And you know, that sticks out to me because there’s, again, a difference between planning an event and hosting event. And it is the rare people who are able to do both. And to me, that was a hostess question. And truly if I had needed anything, you would have made it happen for me, or you would have found out what needed to happen in order to make that a reality. And I think that. Humble service oriented approach to event planning and what you’re doing. I just think it has created this lasting impact among thousands of men and women that you may never verbally be told, but I am telling you, I can already see. And I’ve only been to one live Haven conference, the type of difference that a space like that is making. And I really think it starts with that service oriented. Approach that you have in loving people. So I just thank you. On behalf of the thousands of men and women who have been at the Haven conference, I’m sure they would all give a Hardy. Amen. Right now, if they could that I really think you’re humble. Service oriented spirit is. Truly made that a success even more than your, your planning expertise, which has also significant. It’s amazing to hear. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. And I don’t, yeah, I appreciate that. Cause I don’t even look at it that way. I didn’t even know. Yeah. Yeah. It’s easy to be on center stage in an event like that, which you could easily do. And you’re so adorable because Kristin gets up and you can tell she’d rather be anywhere than onstage in front of hundreds of people, you know? I would rather, I would rather be getting you a Coca-Cola, but the thing is, I really think that is what has created that very homey feel to this conference where it is very, it’s just service-based you have started that from the top down, you’re there to serve. And I think that that trickles down to all of us that are there, that we were there to, to serve, to teach and to learn. And that starts with. Exactly right. I think leading an audience comes with a huge responsibility, no matter the size of your audience. And, you know, again, going back to being the light, I want to be a role model for four people, and I want to give. I just believe in my little corner of the world that will lead to some sort of a utopia. Absolutely. Yeah. And you have created that. I mean, people love the Haven conference for any of you listening and watching. Um, the Haven conference is great for you. If you are somebody who is kind of an aspiring decorator designer, you love creating things with your hands. You’re a DIY, or even if you have no. No social media, no, nothing. This is still an inspiring conference because you will learn so much on the flip side. If you’re an incredibly experienced blogger influencer, this is also for you. It really is for people of all. Of all stages. So WW dot Haven, conference.com specifically to check out that conference. And where else can people find you Kristin? Um, on Instagram at Haven conference. And, um, me personally, I don’t keep up with my page as well as I should, but at stuff they’ll design on Instagram. And then the other conference that we do is work bench. And that is at work bench con and work bench con is basically very similar format to Haven. It just has more so the way I kind of in a nutshell is Haven is for the, um, person that’s going to paint the furniture or up cycle where work bench is, you’re making the furniture. So that’s kind of the difference in a nutshell and more of logging and YouTube. Then his working work bench con yeah. Yeah. Okay. And we will have all these on the show notes on the email@example.com from today’s episode, that’s WW dot Haven conference.com and www.work bench con. Dot com and we’ll have more of Kristen’s information there too. Kristen, it has been an honor to have you on here. It really has. You’ve had a significant impact on my life already just by all of your hard work and your, your tireless DIY spirit. And I pray God’s blessing over your home and your heart and just continued success for you. Well, I cannot tell you, I am the honored one, being your guests here, being asked. It’s so wonderful feeling. So I really appreciate it. And yes, your spirit and what you’re doing is impacting so many. So. Thank you for all that. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. If you are watching on YouTube, be sure to click the subscribe button below. So you don’t miss a show and leave a comment with your thoughts from today’s episode. If you are listening via your preferred podcasting platform, would you help keep us on the air by rating our show and leaving an honest review of your thoughts from today in case you haven’t heard it lately, your story matters and you are loved. This is your host on a former, and I will see you here next time on the, in perfectly empowered podcast.