Have you ever binge-watched the Hallmark Christmas movies and wondered what it would feel like if anything like that ever happened to you? Well, it really did for one lucky gal in Virginia! Together, with a superhuman team of locally-owned businesses, we pulled off one of the most magical Galentine’s surprises, EVER!!!…right in the middle of a pandemic…oh, and also in the midst of a crazy, unpredictable snow storm!! We didn’t know what to really expect, but we took a chance and couldn’t believe what happened. Please know that we wish we could have invited ALL the gals who originally attended her event, but to stay covid-safe and follow all pandemic protocols, we kept it a very small, intimate group of just the vendors (we didn’t even invite her whole family) that focused just on her and the meaning behind what her Galentines stood for. LET’s experience this, together, shall we?
LET’s Rewind: How Galentines Came To Be
It all started about two years ago when I clicked with one of the soccer mamas on the sidelines of one of Knox’s first soccer games of the spring season. Our sons were on the same team and she took notice of the unnecessarily over-the-top snack bags I made the kids. I got a little carried away on the die cutter the night before. It happens.
Shortly after, my now dear friend, Alana Stoyas, threw the most beautiful Galentine’s to celebrate the power of female friendship. We had known each other a little less than a year by then and, if I am being honest, I was a little taken back (and SO delighted) to be invited to mingle with her long-time gal pals and family members. I walked into this fully decked out, candle-lit, friendship soiree knowing only two people that would be there. I walked out (hours later) with a group of new friends and a belly full of the most delicious sweets, eats, and cotton candy cocktails. I can now name at least five ladies off the top of my head I met that night and still keep in touch with.
Alana spent much of that day (which turned into evening) introducing like-minded women to others she knew would relate with each other. She understands the power of female friendship. She understands the beauty in connecting others. I have a huge admiration for that. Also, she is an incredible interior designer and her home decor is something dreams are made of! Check her out at Flight of Fancy, LLC!
A couple of months ago, I made the decision to try and save as many traditions I could from falling to the way side due to Covid-19. In December, I saved Tacogiving (CLICK HERE to read about it) for my good friends, Vi and Joe Hannett, who were ready to let it pass by for 2020 after four years of tradition. I get why they did it, because they wanted to keep all of their friends and family safe. All the more reason to surprise them with their very own Tacogiving outside in the middle of January with a bright pink food truck and 16 feet of table to keep our families socially distanced from one another. Tacogiving was saved!
LET’s Fast Forward: The Making of the Team
LET’s fast forward to February 2021. Alana had expressed multiple times on social media her sadness and feelings of disappointment in not being able to host her Galentines Event this year. It meant so much to her. The story of how the team came about is straight out of Ocean’s 11’s handbook. I reached out to one of my long-time friends, Gina Palmer, who also happens to be one of Alana’s neighbors, and I asked her if she thought I could pull this off. She encouraged me all along the way with late night text chats and guidance on how to keep it a surprise. I still wasn’t sure due to the weather and also not knowing what/where/how I was going to pull this off until…I e-met Kim Moehnke of Pure Love Macaron. I kept seeing her name pop up with the same fantastic photo of her in some of the facebook groups for years so I did what any (not) normal person would do and messaged her. I told her I thought we should be friends. She agreed and we got on the phone within hours and talked the night away…Side note, I believe I would have been
AWESOME at online dating if it was around before I met Chris! We have now become pretty great friends, but in that initial phone call, we discovered that she was the one who actually made the desserts at Alana’s original Galentines…It was a sign…and remember that infamous photo I told you about? It was taken by Traci Medlock of The Lock & Co., who was already on board to shoot for the event. I recently e-met Traci (it’s a thing), because she runs the NOVA Food Trucks Facebook group and, well, I always need food trucks. I asked her if we could stay connected. She told me, in the end, that she actually does not own a food truck herself, but she is a starving photographer who just loves food. She had me at “just loves food.” I get her. This all happened BEFORE I talked to Kim. Everything else fell into place like butter; smooth. Kim introduced me to the sweet Jennifer Colon, owner of Ta Da! Travel Bar who then connected us other amazing vendors (Greenhill Winery, Events by Khatera, and Blooming Arrow Events). The last piece of the puzzle included my good pals, Lauren and Katherine Good of Good Signs Loudoun, who are ALWAYS hustling to meet a ton of deadlines and make so many celebrations so much grander with their awesome yard signs, and they still made time to make a custom sign for us and set it up in the middle of the night (goals!).
These phenomenal women business owners teamed up and trusted me to help surprise Alana, a complete stranger. One other special lady I need to thank, Catherine Guerra Bartolomucci, one of the friends I originally met at Galentines 2020. Because we wanted this to be a surprise, we could not set up at Alana’s house, but wanted to be close. I reached out to Catherine and asked if she would be willing to be the driveway host for what we were planning to do and she said, “I’m in. LET’s do it!” before I could even finish all the details!…In the end, it really became a special journey for all of us and I cannot thank them enough.
LET’s Hit Play!
We had already rescheduled one time due to incoming snow. Anyone who has EVER had to reschedule an event with this many vendors involved will completely understand the miracle that occurred when everyone could make the 2nd date! And, just like that, as our rescheduled surprise date approached, the forecast predicted an even heavier snowstorm heading our way at the EXACT.SAME.TIME. our event was scheduled. At this point, I really did not know what to do. We brainstormed as a team and came up with some alternative ideas…but eventually, the majority agreed they wanted to take the risk of still moving forward with the same date and time we had scheduled…faith, hope, and a whole lot of magic took over.Come along with me and experience every step leading up to the big moment where we surprised Alana and helped save Galentines 2021!
LET’s Stop! (and say thank you!)
I hope one day, Nev or Kamie from Catfish will discover LET’s by Jenny and believe so much in what I do, they offer to film these projects (oh, it is going to happen), but until then, you will sadly receive a lot of my story telling through iphone selfie mode and, unfortunately, miss a lot of behind-the-scenes footage of the grit and prep these businesses put into making magic like this happen. Just because you do not see it, please know that there is SO much that goes into something like this. They did not ask me for anything in return. Please join me in thanking them below in the comments section. Other ways to support them is to click their name and companies and follow them on their social media. The ultimate way to show some love is to use these vendors for any future needs or recommend them to your friends and family.
📸: Traci Medlock of THE LOCK & CO. (Photography)
💡: Jenny Goff Phillips of LET’s BY JENNY (Creative Director)
🧁: Kim Moehnke of PURE LOVE MACARON (Infamous Macarons)
🥂 : Jennifer Colon of TA DA! TRAVEL BAR (Owner of the Piaggio Ape)
💗: Lauren and Katherine Good of GOOD SIGNS LOUDOUN (Galentines Sign)
🏰: Catherine Guerra Bartolomucci of BEACON HILL(House Host and Amazing Neighbor Friend!)
🍾: Greenhill Winery and Vineyard of EXPERIENCE GREENHILL (The Bubbly)
🍷 : Daveyva Garcia of BLOOMING ARROW EVENTS (Vintage Glassware)
🤩: Khatera Panjshiri of EVENTS BY KHATERA (Mobile Bar Decor, furniture, and styling)
🧣: Jaclyn Hiller of NOVEL BOUTIQUE (styled LET’s by Jenny)
Below are a ton of pictures from our amazing, unforgettable day, spoiling Alana and saving another tradition from Covid-19. Great job, Team Galentines. You are special humans in my book and I wish the most success in your life.
I do hope this post inspires you to find the energy and motivation to not give up on all of your traditions. As long as you stay covid-safe and plan ahead, it can be done. It may not look or feel the exact same way, but it’s all about the journey and keeping your tradition alive. Please note, our team took Covid-19 precautions. Those that you see pictured close together either work together regularly or are neighbors/friends within their covid-safe circle. Get creative, stay safe, and remember to always host your own happy.