September 19, 2012

Baby Blog Crawl Conga Line Stop #2

Welcome to the Blog Baby Crawl stop number two.
I have been asked to welcome you with something to say
that is baby related before I send you on your way.
I haven't a clue of what to do or how to do it
and seriously hope now that I didn’t blow it.
So I came up with a rhyme which is not my forte
and spent a lot of time thinking of what I could say.
So this is for my pregnant friend
who is going to be a mommy
and me saying thank you
for including me in the baby reveal party.
So here it goes without further adieu
my attempt at humor to entertain you.
Someone is having a baby,
and I don't know who.
If you are looking for clues,
I’m sorry I can’t help you.
Only the Pug knows and she is not tellin'.
I have tried to assume and can only imagine
but all I come up with is totally random.
Soon it will be revealed who is beginning to show
but until then I really don’t know.
I have a few guesses
but until i know for sure
I will wait to congratulate her 
with love and well wishes.
If you want to learn more
then click through to see
because the next stop of the day
is a visit to Lynlee.

July 11, 2012

Event Planning Coaching & Expert Advice

I have received a lot of emails regarding my one on one event coaching services and for a limited time have decided to bring back the service with a few changes. You can now purchase the Informational Packet by itself.  With over 16 years of professional event planning experience and millions of dollars in sales Carolyn Horten’s event planning advice is priceless. 

Last year I had the honor of coaching a lot of wonderful, creative and talented women who were great at their craft but struggling with the profit end of party planning.  Don't wait until you learn the lessons the hard way, it could take years and cost you $1,000's of dollars in loss.  Invest in yourself and speak to a professional who has already learned the lessons and is available to answer your questions as they relate to your business.  These aren't standard phone calls where I discuss the same things with everyone, this is one on one coaching to answer your direct questions as they relate to you and your business.

If you are an event planner, coordinator or thinking of going into the business then you owe it to yourself to start off on the right foot by getting insight into the business and how you can create a career you love and still make money.

The coaching you will receive is one on one time from an expert in the luxury of your office. No travelling costs involved! Get exactly what you need NOW answers to your questions and advice on how to move forward and grow your profits. Event planning is a wonderful fun and creative business BUT if you aren’t making money or protecting your assets, IT WILL NOT be wonderful and fun for long. 

Pricing for Profit: Have you ever felt like you left money on the table? Have you ever finished an event and realized that if you broke your profit down to the amount of hours you worked you would be better off at McDonalds working?  I will explain to you how and where to increase your profits.

Warning Signs: Have you ever had a feeling once you started with a client? But weren’t sure how to backtrack or walk away from the job? I will explain to you the warning signs and how to protect yourself.

Business Paperwork: Have you ever wished you could take a look at contracts or paperwork of other planners to be sure you were protecting yourself and weren’t missing something?  You can receive a packet of documents that I have customized throughout my 16 years in business that you can use for your business.

Take some time out of your busy schedule and invest in your business.  Take this opportunity to talk to someone with over 16 years of event planning advice and someone who has been there and done that. 

Find out if event planning is really for you and if it is learn some tips, tricks and skills so that you are better prepared for the inevitable of event planning; something going wrong.   Because it will and you will be prepared to fix it.

With over 16 years of professional event planning experience and millions of dollars in sales Carolyn Horten’s event planning advice is priceless.   

v  $195 for a 1 ½ hour telephone call with Carolyn Horten that includes the Informational Packet a $50 value.
v  Additional hours available at $65 per hour as needed after your initial telephone consultation.
v  The Informational Packet $50  SPECIAL TIME ONLY can be purchased by itself. This Informational Packet contains a copy my contract, venue questionnaire, event questionnaire, credit card authorization form, independent contractor agreement and a consultation information packet.
Please email Carolyn at to schedule your appointment. These coaching calls will only be available for a limited time so book now. Anything discussed during these coaching calls will be considered confidential.

I look forward to hearing from you and really look forward to you having that lightbulb moment that will move you forward to a profitable event planning career.  Don't delay as I am only scheduling this opportunity for a limited time.


July 2, 2012

Event Planner Coaching with Carolyn

Event Planner Coaching with Carolyn Horten of
CHS Creative Productions and Carolyn Horten Events

I am so excited to offer this opportunity to you and I truly hope you take advantage of this limited time offer for a chance to pick my brain about event planning and how you can grow your own business~ Sincerely, Carolyn Horten
Have you ever wished you could speak to an experienced event planner about real questions as they relate to your business and its growth?  Are you an event planner? Have you created your business and are now getting clients? Are you wondering about things such as contracts, insurance, making money and protecting yourself?  Are you having trouble with a difficult client or finding it hard to justify your fees and costs?  Have you been looking at your profits after an event and realizing you have been almost working for free? If you answered yes to any of these questions then this Event Planner Coaching service is for you!
Whether you are thinking of becoming an event planner or have created a business and are just starting out, this is the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons that will lead to business growth and increased profits. Take advantage of this opportunity to receive vital information and facts before you invest in pretty cake pedestals.

You will have the opportunity to ask questions about the following topics in a customized way that is relevant to your personal needs and concerns.  No cookie cutter or vague answers will come from this coaching. 

From this coaching session you will get answers to the following:

v  Pricing & How to Increase your Profits

v  Getting Paid

v  Consultation Information - what to know before you meet with the client

v  Contracts- how to spell out what you will and won’t be doing

v  Insurance & Protecting yourself- what insurance coverage you need for your business and how to handle and get additional insured coverage for yourself and your client

v  Tips for Staffing & Setting Up- how to hire and use staff effectively and the formula for the amount of time you really need to set up and be ready on time

v  When to say “No”- sometimes a client’s expectations are not in line with reality and it is time for you to say No or step away from the job


Marketing - Sales ideas - Pitching - Photo tips

Carolyn Horten’s 16 years of professional event planning experience, with 9 years of personal event planning experience, for a total of 25 years of experience, planning and executing all types of events. You will learn about what works, what doesn’t, what to be careful of, how to price for profit, when to say no, how to protect yourself from liabilities, and what to say yes to. This one-on-one time will allow you to get answers to your specific questions from an experienced event planner. 

Better than a book, these consultations will address your current questions and concerns. You will not get bland stereotypical answers to your questions; you will get real life honest answers that are relevant to your current questions, which are effective and productive to your needs.
Your investment and time spent speaking with Carolyn Horten can and will increase your profits when you put the information you gain into action.  No matter what state you live in or what level of service you offer, the opportunity to ask important questions regarding your business is priceless.


v  $195 for a 1 ½ hour telephone call with Carolyn Horten

v  BONUS OFFER for the first 10 people that sign up, a FREE Informational Packet {a $50 value}

v  Additional hours available at $65 per hour as needed after your initial telephone consultation.

v  The Informational Packet can only be purchased in addition to your telephone call for an additional $50. This Informational Packet contains a copy my contract, venue questionnaire, event questionnaire, credit card authorization form, independent contractor agreement and a consultation information packet.

Please email us at to schedule your appointment. These coaching calls will only be available for a limited time so book now. Anything discussed during these coaching calls will be considered confidential.

May 20, 2012

 Hello if you have found this site and are looking for party planning or decor services I am sorry but we are no longer providing those services for parties and events. We are still in the Christmas Decorating business and can be found at


April 30, 2012

Hello & Goodbye Party World

{This was supposed to be a New Years post but I have held onto it, not because I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in; but its hard letting your baby go.  I have hemmed and hawed on what I should do and after much reflection and sleepless nights and reading motivational sites I know that its time to JUST DO IT!! It is time for me to let go and move forward.}

2011 was an interesting year for me. I saw a downside in the party planning part of my business and I have seen my Christmas decorating side of the business double.   Yes it’s true I have done many parties for celebrities, high profile clients, sports figures, etc… and yes its true I sign confidentiality agreements with them.  Yes it’s true my client base are those with disposable incomes and not budget minded moms (though everyone has a budget large or small).  Yes it’s true I have become expert at pulling off parties on short notice; because disposable income clients roll that way.  Yes I have a lot of stories I could tell and some I can’t.  I have been very fortunate with what I do and the client’s I work for.  I have been in the party planning business for 16 years and I have earned my expertise in the industry one bad experience at a time and I know how to never let it happen again.  One thing I can truly say that I have enjoyed in 2011 with regard to parties is the other party women I have “met”, shared stories with and offered a little bit of my knowledge to help them with their dreams.  I don’t need to tell you but I am by no means a social media maven. I don’t blog regularly, facebook regularly or show and tell what I am working on.  When I am working on an event I am too busy to photograph it along the way and after an event I am too tired to be bothered with pictures if I can share them at all.  I wish I was better at it but I’m not and that’s just the way it is and I’m leaving it at that.  A true highlight for me since I am not a social media maven or didn’t post much was the fact that I was recognized by my peers this year several times and that truly meant so much to me.  I was invited by the Children’s Party Network aka CPN to be a VIP guest at a California get together, I made the Purple Pugs 2011 List of Fabulous; Party lovers crush other party lovers list,  and I also made Piggy Bank parties top 10 list for 2011.  I was asked to be a judge in the Designers Challenge for Sparkling Event Designs and later as a challenger.  The recognition from these ladies blew me away, it’s nice to know that even though you aren’t constantly self-promoting or cross promoting that people still notice you.  To be recognized by peers is more confirming than a phone call from a “celebrity” client. So a great big THANK YOU to those who have offered their friendship and support, it means a lot to me. I have also been humbled time and time again by the kind words of other planners and those that have reached out to me for business advice.

I have struggled with the different aspects of my business and what I can let go of that will lead me in the direction of my long term goals.  I have worked on so many different thoughts and feelings on how I wanted to approach the New Year.  As a business owner the year end is a true reflection of the year. What worked, what didn’t, etc… For me the year end is a chance to reflect on all of those things and I have come to the conclusion………

If you can’t go back……..It’s time to go forward!

I am not willing to go back in time.  Scroll back 18 years ago and I would have been the ultimate blogger, had blogging been around and had I known about it.  I was the quintessential stay at home Mom. I created things from nothing, found things on the side of the road or at yard sales and gave them new life, I cooked from scratch and on a budget, I painted, decorated and threw play date parties for my children and killer birthday parties. It was not uncommon to find me with a paintbrush or hammer in my hand taking on a project or creating party decorations because then selections were limited and if you wanted unique you created it yourself.

I started party planning as a business before it was cool and everyone was doing it.  I used my creativity and ingenuity to build a business and a name for myself.  Through the years the children have grown up, I no longer re-purpose things but buy new, I don’t re-decorate my house on a whim, but I still love a bargain.

I have created a business that has allowed me the freedom to work from home, be with my children and do something I enjoy……….up until a few years ago.  I have persevered through the tough economy, tweaked and changed things as best I could; but the truth is when you are running a legitimate event planning business there is overhead that must be priced into the events.  I no longer have the luxury of working for small budgets or cutting my price because someone wants something they can’t afford or thinks because the economy is bad I will give them a deal.

I have thought and looked at different ways to re-invent myself in the saturated event planning/stylist market and social media thrust and see my only option to travel back in time to when I was creating crafts and photograph it and sell it as wonderful or new.  The truth of the matter is just about everything I see every day in the party planning world is not new and I have been there or done that before and I don’t have the energy or the time to go down that road again albeit with a camera.

My life has changed and my business that was created as a creative outlet for me and something to do since my husband worked 70+ hours a week has changed.  I started years ago doing a little thing called Christmas decorating for my clients and who knew where it would have taken me.  Today Christmas decorating is a huge part of my business,  in fact due to the economy it is the only constant part of my business. 

I have always been good at a lot of things and able to figure things out quickly and make it work; something you need to be able to do as an event planner.  But at this point in my life and my career I am looking to have more consistency and be able to grow a business that I can bring others into to be in charge.  People always say how fun you work for yourself, well Yes and No.   When you own your own business there is no part of it that you don’t touch or are a part of. 

I rush through Christmas decorating and then move my focus back to event planning; this has caused a serious yo-yo effect in my life.  I can no longer do this, I could but I don’t want to; it does me no good to work on “party ideas” for a maybe or a what if or for a few more followers in the social media outlet; when at the end of the day that has never been my event planning client base.  I want to focus on what has become the core of my business which is Christmas decorating and what I enjoy and look forward to.

With event planning you never know when the call will come and how much notice you will have.  I have become an expert at pulling off parties with less than 2 weeks’ notice; it’s hard, a lot of work and you can never do all the creative things you would like because there isn’t enough time.  With Christmas decorating you know when it will be quiet and you know when it will be busy; you know when you can plan trips or quiet time or house re-decorating it gives me the luxury to be “Martha” to my family and still run a growing business. 

Through the juggling of the two sides of the businesses my family has been shortchanged; there is always chaos and I am over it.  I am no longer the stay at home Mom with time to fill while the children are in school or when my husband works late.  My life has changed and with the downgrade in the economy my business is the sole support of my family and with that responsibility my outlook and views have changed.  My Christmas business this past season has doubled and I see the larger potential for the Christmas decorating side of the business and it is something that I want to focus solely on in the New Year.  This is where my dreams and growth will come true.  Christmas decorating is where I can grow a business that doesn’t solely depend on me.

I have met a lot of great women this past year and a half; a lot who remind me of me when I was younger and I wish them all the best. 

I am not saying that event planning hasn’t been good to me as it has and I have enjoyed it thoroughly, it’s just that I am opening a new chapter in my life and am looking forward to a fresh start. I no longer want to be a “jack of all trades” I want to be an “expert” in one thing. Having said that I remember once a wise old vendor asked me what I “did” and I told him “everything” and his response was you will always be busy, he was right.  I just can no longer focus back on forth on creativity, it’s exhausting and no longer rewarding and I have earned my stripes to be an expert in one thing.  I am going to clear out my studio of the “event planning” props and find closure and a renewed sense of creativity to my Christmas decorating options. 

For 16 years event planning has been my baby but it is now time to let it go.  For those of you starting out in event planning don’t consider my grief’s a red flag for you.  Event Planning has been good to me and the fact that I have been in business for as long as I have is homage to that. The “burnout rate” in event planning is 2-3 years and having done it professionally for 16 years I would say it is a good sign to you that what you are doing can have longevity for you should you choose.

In the meantime I would love it if you would follow Christmas Specialists on facebook since I will be pulling the plug on my other social sites ( I know I could leave them up but just knowing they are sitting there bothers me, I guess I’m weird like that. When its time for me to let go I have to let go completely.)  I just know that my dreams no longer include fabric ceilings or fabulous parties they are made up of Christmas centerpieces and Christmas trees and this girl has made up her mind to focus on that and not focus on HOW TO DO IT ALL.

Thank you for listening to me and following me and being a friend.  This will be the last post for me, except for maybe a few facebook reminders that I have moved completely to Christmas Specialists. 


February 20, 2012

Tax Time

Thank you to everyone for your kind words in response to my last post.  So I have noticed people randomly posting pics of them doing their taxes, with pictures of course. When I see the pictures it makes me chuckle; all the pictures I have seen seem to be of two maybe three manila folders and a small stalk of receipts. Now I could be wrong maybe they just wanted to make the photos look nice, I don't know.  What I do know is their stacks look nothing like mine.  So I thought since I'm going to be keeping it real, I dragged myself out to take a picture of my receipt organizing system. Maybe it will help some other planners out there, who like me seem to acquire a LOT of receipts and aren't quite sure how to store them. 

We all know that receipt ink can disappear in a few days in the bottom of our purses; so my system is that I make a copy of the receipt and staple the original to it, enter it in quickbooks and put it in a folder. Each folder is divided up by month, makes it easier if I have to go look for something or do a price comp.  I rarely have to look through the "actual receipts" since my Quickbooks system allows me to be really accurate in the breakdown of purchases and what account they belong in. Now I know there are bookkeeping systems out there that you can scan your receipts into and don't need to save the papers; but my accountant doesn't recommend it for me.

You see I buy all different kinds of things that are for work, and my categories are so weird that my accountant  recommends I keep everything. So this is how I do it.  Of course these folders are only the receipts they are not the bank statement folders, employee tax documents, sales tax folders, insurance folders etc... you get the idea.  I love you all but really didn't feel like digging all that out :)

I hope this tip helps at least one person, it sure saves me.

February 19, 2012

Confused but Dedicated

Hi My name is Carolyn and I am a confusion addict who likes to make things more difficult for herself!! I admit I have a problem. Sometimes I think I'm making things easier for myself but actually make things more difficult for myself and those around me. I'm sure I'm not the only one with the problem but when your head is spining with all the ideas it can sure seem like it.  I diversified the business and added more things to control when I wasn't controlling even one social network well, and then I go and make more work for myself UGH!!!  So this will be my only blog, I'm going to talk about everything here, parties, crazy happenings, frustrations, celebrations and anything else that comes to mind.  Mind you I'm not going to use it to re-post others work just to gain a few fans, if I re-post work it will be because I respect the work and the source. 

I'm a small business owner in a crappy tough economy, I have suffered setbacks, increases in taxes, insurance costs, suffered the loss of my husbands income (4 yrs. ago and the silver lining is I got the best business partner I could ask for), became the sole provider for my family,  been subjected to a influx of new event planners cutting the market value of what I do as a planner, a public who seems to think that event planning should be priced for "everyone".

Through the past few months I have toyed with the idea of leaving the party planning world and only doing Christmas decorating.  Good friends have told me not to, that this will pass and others who understand my struggles have just been supportive of me.  I have decided I WON'T stop party planning, because I AM FABULOUS at it!!  So I will bide my time until there is more balance in the party planning world.  Please note I said "party planning" not "event styling".  I am an event stylist but I am so much more than that.  I am the one who is not only interested in the look and feel of the event but in the overall running of the event. I make it my teams priority to handle each guest and their needs as if they were the client.  I make it my priority that my client thoroughly enjoys their entire event.  When I'm on site I watch everything, know everything and handle everything. I know how to set up quickly and effeciently, I know that there are no do-overs in party planning, I know what it takes to create a full well rounded event, I know how much food is needed, I know how much drinks are needed, I know how many lbs. of ice are needed, I should I have been doing it for 16+ years.

So if you are looking for a great "Event Planner" than I'm your girl and if you are following me because I twisted your arm or you have respect for me even though I don't post much then I'm your girl.

Thank you for being here and I'm just going to move forward.

January 15, 2012

New Names, Websites & Plans

Last year I decided to make some changes to my business and business name(s).  I diversified/divided/conquered whatever you want to call it.......... I created divisions of CHS Creative Productions;  Christmas Specialists and Carolyn Horten Events.  After 16 years of business as CHS Creative Productions I felt that it was time to divide and conquer as well as the fact that I got tired of explaining everything we do. For those of you thinking of going into business for yourselves be careful how you choose your name.......... or you will do a lot of explaining.

I took the "holiday decorating" part of my business and created Christmas Specialists. For years I was "politically correct" calling Christmas decorating holiday decorating.  Well the holiday decorating led to questions like if we were close to Easter oh you do Easter Decorating? Ah, NO!  So I decided enough is enough I am a Christmas decorator, I have a Christmas decorating business and I have a warehouse full of Christmas stuff  THEREFORE I AM A CHRISTMAS DECORATOR!!  Nothing else, nothing less just CHRISTMAS. And so Christmas Specialists was created. You can view our website here and blog here and facebook here.

I then decided that while I have enjoyed all the different aspects of event planning, decorating, etc.. over the years I no longer want to be the person behind the business name but recognized as the professional I am.  The person who has spent 16 years in the business professionally with 25 years of experience total planning all types of events for all types of clients.  I have done weddings, corporate, non-profit, professional athletes, actors, celebrities, high profile clients and more. I have earned my stripes the hard way one experience at a time.   I am the name behind the business and I decided that I wanted to be the name in front of the business and so Carolyn Horten Events was born.  We have a new website that I am proud to say I did myself you can see here and a new blog here oh and a new facebook page here.

What about CHS Creative Productions?? I don't know yet I have a few ideas that I am working on so please stay tuned.

January 10, 2012

Designers Challenge Entry

I had the honor of being invited to participate in the Designers Challenge at Sparkling Events & Designs. The theme was Love and the budget was a mere little old $100 buckaroos. Yup you heard that right $100 bucks for a party of 4. I'll just say it took me back many years ago when I had parties for my children "just because" and had no budget.

For all the details on the party and how I spent my $100 budget click here and for a get to know me interview click here. To see other challengers entries click hereBe sure to follow my new blog here since I will be giving away some of  the props and extras I used.