I recently read a list of 200 things about myself that I had written several years back as an exercise in self-discovery. In that list I found many things that made me giggle – I will say I know myself well. Some things stuck out to me more than others. I’ll explain why in a minute.
I love to stop and appreciate life’s little moments.
I love people and togetherness.
I love decorating.
I love cooking.
I love sweets.
I am a planner.
I like to make lists.
I am a big kid. I don’t really know my age without thinking about it.
I love Christmas and wish that all holidays were like Christmas was when I was a kid.
The person I admire most is my Grandma, F. Ellen Bowling.
Why is this important? Well, let me introduce myself. I’m Tara. Mama, wife, friend, daughter, grand-daughter, military spouse, entrepreneur, and animal-lover. That’s how I identify myself. Most people who know me would explain me to you as “funny”, “talkative”, or “organized”. Those are the descriptions I get the most. I’ve been a retail manager, advertising sales rep, human resources coordinator (yes, at one time in life that was my chosen profession; I even have a BBA degree to prove it), candle peddler, talk radio host, blogger, author, speaker, network advisor, social media strategist, and community leader. I’ve been called “hair on fire” girl, “cupcake lady”, Miss Tara the room mom, crazy neighbor, volunteer, and friend – and probably a few other things but it’s best I don’t know (wink).
This doesn’t matter to you. You’re probably reading this thinking to yourself, “what does this chic know about party and event planning?” Maybe you’re wondering, “is she worth the money?” I completely understand, I would be too. You choosing me for your important moment is a big decision and much trust. You should know with whom you’re working.
After ten years of running my own network of 90,000+ followers, writing thousands of blog posts and a book, and speaking at/developing many events, I finally sat still long enough to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. The problem is, I’m not sure I ever really want to grow up – not in the sense that I would compromise or trade my creativity and passion. I have thought about what makes me happy and what I am extraordinarily good at doing. In a series of unlikely events, much soul searching, and some valuable words of affirmation; I arrived at Shindigs.
Shindigs is named after what my Grandma and Grandpa used to call the get-togethers in their back alley. Every summer, without fail, out would come the neighbors, fireworks, potato salads and watermelons. Grandma and Grandpa had tons of “Shindigs” but the summer alley parties were the ones of which I always got to be a part. That woman could entertain like nobody else. She taught me how to bake dozens of cookies. She gave me tips and recipes that would “maximize time with your guests” and “help the flow of traffic through the buffet”. I can hear her now chatting away as I watched her put her parties together. She was a master entertainer before we even recognized party planning as a career. The person I admire most is my Grandma, F. Ellen Bowling.
The magic she created for our family at Christmas was just that, magic. There is still joy that comes from deep in my soul when I think about the things that she did. I fondly remember them as “growing up” at Grandma’s house. I was a kid, full of wonder and she (Grandpa too) created and crafted that through play and attention. I love Christmas and wish that all holidays were like Christmas was when I was a kid.
I say I don’t want to grow up because growing up means getting away from the magic that is a tea party or a Christmas cookie bake fest. I am a big kid. I don’t really know my age without thinking about it.
I discovered, when looking through this list and evaluating my life’s experience, that I’ve been doing exactly what I’m good at, exactly what I love to do, all of this time. It’s just been masked and wasn’t as recognizable as “event/party planner or entertainer”. I love decorating. I love cooking. I love sweets. I am a planner. I like to make lists.
Through my time as a military spouse, I have successfully created a very large network of Army families and empowered them. I’ve done so on both a personal and professional level. Personally I’ve done so through avid volunteering, instructing training events, and hosting parties. Professionally, it was reaching out through speaking engagements, custom events, and social media. Everything I have done was to the end result of some form of get-together, party, or event. I just don’t think I realized it was until hindsight was 20/20.
When my husband was assigned to a civilian neighborhood outside DFW, I was transported from my military roots into a world I wasn’t familiar. I dug in. I am finding joy in planning community events (for the sake of meeting new people) and school related projects. It was during one of these community events that I realized I was truly living out my passion. Once we made a decision that we would be retiring from the military and staying in this area, I knew I wanted to blossom in the dream I had of owning my own event and party planning storefront. Though Shindigs isn’t a storefront reality quite yet, I have faith that we will be soon enough.
I’ve planned many children’s parties that were the talk of the neighborhood and successful corporate events with hundreds of guests. Absolutely nothing feels like stepping back and taking a look at all of your hard work and realizing how much enjoyment or success people are having in the moment you have created. Those memories are priceless. I love to stop and appreciate life’s little moments. I love people and togetherness.
It is my hope to do that for your family, your friends, or your business. That is what I want to do when I grow up. So what are you waiting for? Let’s grow!
Learn more about Tara at www.TaraCrooks.com