Two years later…we find ourselves reminiscing about our biggest-ever Take Time to Toast event. Thanks to Coronavirus for the free time and the need to dig into all our happy memories! Anyone else feelin’ this? Now more than ever we wanted to take the time to share about how special this event was and highlight the 11 incredible speakers who graced our stage that day. Their messages were powerful then and still hold true today. Read on to learn more about each bad-ass woman who was in attendance and find some resources that will help support you during this time.
DGE is the planning and design power behind all Take Time to Toast events! You can learn more about these Napa Valley Event Planners, here! This Sonoma Women’s Networking Event brought us together on a beautiful ranch to hear awesome guest speakers (from influencers to business owners to members of the US Coast Guard!), drink wine, and grow our businesses. You can follow along with both Take Time to Toast and Danielle Gibson Events on Instagram!
Our Take Time to Toast #BetterTogether event was a full-day conference that created an environment of collaboration among the women in attendance. Our attendees were made up of social and corporate event planners, influencers, wedding planners, florists, caterers, photographers, and other entrepreneurs!
The theme of this event was built on a Danielle Gibson Events foundational belief in collaboration over competition. Our goal was to bring together as many inspiring, creative, and just plain badass entrepreneurs as possible, and encourage them to lean on each other.
A carefully curated range of speakers spoke to attendees in engaging ways (read: live-podcasting, interactive meditation, Q+A sessions, and so much more!) on topics specific to being the best entrepreneurs possible.
Emily is a certified healer and guide in the Modern Mystery School, where she shares healing modalities, meditation classes, training, energetic tools and more! We love that she touched on ways to ditch burnout and create balance in our daily lives. Not only that, she provided attendees with the tools to be their most present selves in everything they do or pursue. Walking away with solid action items is a sure-sign of a great presenter!
This one was a real tear-jerker. For starters, Amy Paulson is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Gratitude Alliance, a program that focuses on trauma healing training and counseling for the most vulnerable communities around the world. Amy, once an orphan herself, is passionate about helping children heal from the loss of their mothers through transformative exercises. She had our audience mesmerized by her message of resilience and importance of gratitude.
Coupled with Amy, was Noel Russell, who has done countless projects with the homeless youth population in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together, Amy and Noel led a conversation based on gratitude and the ways in which practicing gratitude can better all of our lives. Noel spends her free time traveling with her husband and two adorable dogs in a van they call Francis Ford Campola (we’re obsessed).
Her Instagram feed, @Noel_russ, is filled with mountains, dreamy sunsets and plenty of #vanlife reality shots. We love the work/life balance she has achieved (and is constantly working on). In Noel’s words, “Every minute of free time I have is spent in the wilderness, but it’s always bookended by 50+ hour work weeks, and lots of long days and late nights.”
Led in conversation by the outstanding Jodee Debes (a San Francisco based wedding photographer and entrepreneur in her own right).
During this live podcast taping, Jodee Debes of the Behind Your Dream Job podcast and professional photographer, interviewed Emily Merrell of Six Degrees Society. The Behind Your Dream Job podcast was Jodee’s look into the lives of some of her best friends and colleagues who have what most would consider a “dream job”. The subject of this podcast episode with Emily Merrell was Emily’s Dream Job as a connector! Emily is a San Francisco local, founder and CEO of Six Degrees Society, a monthly networking group that empowers millennials to get connected and be their best selves through networking events! Emily spreads a little sunshine wherever she goes, and the Take Time to Toast Better Together event was no exception! Prior to the conference, Emily matched up attendees by similar interests and sent out the matches via email so that you had someone you were specifically looking to get connected with throughout the day. If you’ve ever attended a networking event alone, you know just how comforting this sense of purpose can feel. You can still get involved with Six Degrees Society today and attend an event in San Francisco, New York or Los Angeles.
Talk about a powerhouse panel of women speakers! We were beyond inspired by the energy and advice that these ladies had to offer attendees. As individuals, they are each amazing examples of women we can strive to emulate. Together, they are the epitome of what women can do!
Daphnie Yang (on Instagram as @Daphnie Yang) is a personal trainer and creator of HIIT It!, the ultimate high intensity interval training workout in New York City. Her contributions to this discussion helped us learn how to be the boss of our body, business, and life.
“Happiness takes vision; vision takes the first step,” says Deana Mamlieva. We were thrilled to have her share her story of pursuing her dreams. Deana grew up in the USSR before following her heart to the USA years later where she is now a professional speaker and helps women activate their personal power and claim their dreams.
Elise Armitage is a self-proclaimed social media addict and founder of her fashion and travel blog WTFab! She’s an OG influencer and she dropped some serious knowledge! She has been lucky enough to work with major brands like lululemon, Airbnb, and Nordstrom. She shared some tips on taking a blog to the next level, but more importantly she shared how all of us can achieve success in our businesses starting at the ground up.
Lauren Denham, who constantly inspires us with her amazing Instagram posts, joined us to share her story of overcoming depression from loss, divorce, and other hard life lessons. She says, “My point is that mentors are ALL around us if we pay attention. And even if they aren’t our mentors personally, we can still use their knowledge and wisdom to take inspired action in our lives.” Her encouragement was a true asset to this event.
Last, but certainly not least, we had a Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter PIKE: Victoria Gurtler. At the time of speaking on our panel, she served as the highest ranking officer aboard a $4.4 million warship with missions that have included counter-narcotics, port security, and search and rescue. We are stunned by all that she has accomplished, including her role as the Vice Chair of the USCG Women’s Leadership Initiative.
Together, these 5 leading-ladies talked our attendees through the ups and downs of life and entrepreneurship and what it’s like to be a woman in today’s world. The underlying message was that we are all #bettertogether and that it’s important to lean on each other for support.
What has Jackie Sorkin not accomplished?! This boss woman is known as the Hollywood Candy Queen and for good reason: she is the co-creator of Candytopia and owner of Hollywood Candy Girls. This serial entrepreneur is a girl after our own hearts, and we felt so fortunate that she could visit with us to share what it’s like to make your dreams a reality. She said it best during her fireside keynote with Danielle Gibson, the owner of Danielle Gibson Events, when she reminded us, “All I offer is me. I just bring myself and myself is good enough! Yourself is good enough! You offer unique gifts to this world that no one else can, remember that.”
No Take Time to Toast event would be complete without an engaging activity to get creative juices flowing. Our “Toaster’s Faire” allowed attendees to visit a variety of carefully selected booths from vendors that offer insane amounts of value. We made herbs and salts alongside the crew from Clubhouse Caravan. Moon Cycle Nutrition educated us on women’s wellness and nutrition. Honeybook shared their business management tools. Return to Sacred offered mini clarity sessions. Sephora provided quick makeup touch ups. Delfino Madden LLP gave attendees the opportunity to ask a lawyer their most pressing questions. All of these booths were available to attendees all day.
As corporate event planners, we’ve experienced a range of food and beverage options at all-day conferences. We’ve found that too often, the options are unhealthy and food-coma inducing. When deciding what food and beverages we wanted at Take Time to Toast Better Together, we opted for options that would be healthy sources of energy—for both your body and mind. This included small breakfast bites from Smoke Catering, Crisp Kitchen juice shots that left attendees feeling refueled and ready to digest more conference content, healthy lunches with sandwiches and salads from Nappalachia, and an Instagram worthy happy hour spread of small bites by Natalie and the incredible La Saison team. Baked goodies from Teeny Cake fulfilled everyone’s sweet tooth (I mean, salted mini chocolate chip cookies?!). Last, but not least, an array of candies from Hollywood Candy Girls gave attendees the final push they need for the afternoon sessions.
We ended the day with a literal “toast” featuring MTGA Rose Wine poured by fellow Napa Valley event planner + friend, Brittany Anderson of L’avventura. The wine is produced by her husband, Mike! We love a power couple. It was incredibly important to us to end with everyone in one room, sharing a moment of connection. It was an impactful day, from the unexpected rain and the vendors + friends who helped us quickly reorganize inside, to the speakers, to the moments of community building, we truly experienced the meaning of #BetterTogether.
Behind Your Dream Job @dreamjobpod
Clubhouse Caravan @clubhousecaravan
Crisp Kitchen & Juice @crispkitchenandjuice
Danielle Gibson Events, Planning and Design @daniellegibsonevents
Deborba Events @deborbaevents
Elysium Productions @elysiumweddings
Encore Event Rentals @encoreeventsrentals
Giggle and Riot Photo Booths @giggleandriot
Gratitude Alliance @gratitudealliance
Ink Me This @inkmethis
Jessamyn Harris Photography @jessamynharris
Jodee Debes Photo @jodeedebesphoto
K2 Ranch (Our beautiful venue!)
La Saison Catering @lasaison_napa
La Tavola Linens @latavolalinen
Love in the Mix DJ’s @loveinthemix
Meghankaite Co. Stickers @meghankaiteco
Milou & Olin Photography @milouandolinphotography
MTGA Wine @mtgawines
Nappalachia Catering @nappalachia
Olea Hotel @oleahotel
Packed Party @packedparty
Return to Sacred Meditation @returntosacred
Sense of Security @sosc_hope
Six Degrees Society @six_degrees_society
Smoke Catering @smokeopenfire
Standard Party Rental @standardpartyrentals
Studio Noel Signage @studio.noel
Subconscious Coffee @subconscious.coffeecart
Teeny Cake Bakery @teenycakebakery
The Posh Privy Mobile Restrooms @theposhprivy
The Whiskey Chaser Mobile Bar @thewhiskeychaserbar
Theoni Rentals @theonicollection
Arvo Floral Studio @arvofloralstudio
Vanity Portrait Studio @thevanityportraitstudio
Zim Balloons @zimballoons
Fall 2019 we took time to hit pause, before the holiday season swept us up, to celebrate and cultivate our growing community in the form of a Friendsgiving event. Hosted at San Francisco’s Cerf Club, TTTT Friendsgiving included a sit-down Thanksgiving-style dinner, plenty of wine, and an evening of facilitated conversation to help us all build connections. Our goal was to provide a safe space for attendees to feel heard and supported in the pursuit of their goals and passions.
We couldn’t have pulled off this event, the first SOLD OUT Take Time to Toast event ever, without getting clear on our “why.” Take Time to Toast strives to be a source of support for its attendees and to facilitate connections within the community. To better align with these values, attendees were encouraged to think about their own “why” and the unique skills and traits they add to the Take Time to Toast community. Everyone brings something special to the table – a unique perspective, a different career path, opportunities to network even further, and so much love and support. We may have provided the food and drinks, but this group of attendees brought so much more—a willingness to connect, to share their voice, and ask for the help of others.
An entrepreneurial journey is not a clear-cut path to success, every journey is difficult and unique in the obstacles and victories it presents. However, we were thrilled to have guest speaker Alexandra Register, creator and founder of KLSD Design Co., join us for Friendsgiving! Alex spoke on the important role community has played in her success. It is because of her cultivation of a true support system that she now runs a thriving local boutique in a space she was told would never work!
In a season full of gratitude, the attitude of gratitude in this growing community was truly palpable. Let us continue to support each and every one of you with encouragement, food for thought, and future events: stayed connected with Take Time to Toast on Instagram and by signing up for our newsletter. Meanwhile, we hope you always find yourself seated at tables of people who challenge you, support you, and are a positive force in your endeavors.
BBJ Linens @bbjlinen
Cerf Club @cerfclub
Chile Pies Baking Co. @chilepiesbakingco
Danielle Gibson Events @daniellegibsonevents
KLSD Design Co. @klsd_co
Kuga Designs @kugadesignsflorals
Milou & Olin Photography @milouandolinphotography
Minute Media Productions @trevor_schlitt
MTGA Wines @mtgawines
Stag Dining @stagdining
Tournesol Wines @tournesolwine
Vine Country Signs @vinecountrysigns
In a world filled with noise, we held a Take Time to Toast Wellness event at The Assembly, in San Francisco to provide a quiet, healthy space. We wanted to give attendees a chance to hit pause on the chaos of modern life, so we stripped away all the noise, just for half a day, and sat with the silence of our internal voices.
Yoga Instructor Natalie Somers led our attendees through an all-levels flow class. Yoga is intended to improve the strength and flexibility of your muscles, especially those that aren’t used often. Having Natalie gets our bodies in line with our mind was so helpful to kick off the day! You will only be more successful in your pursuits if you dedicate time to increasing your strength and flexibility (physically AND mentally!).
During the personal purpose workshop, each attendee had an opportunity to pause and reflect on where they were at that moment and where they wanted to get to. Purpose brings clarity to your goal setting by aligning those goals with your passions and values. Knowing our personal purpose helps steer our actions. We encourage you to set aside some time to think about what personal purpose means to you and how purpose has shaped your life and goals. Start to get clear on what excites you and what your passions are to help identify your purpose and align your life around it.
Part of self care is your community: who you surround yourself with can bring you energy or drain your energy. We, as humans, are not meant to do this life thing alone. Embrace your community and encourage one another so that you all thrive and grow. Be on the lookout for our next Take Time to Toast event so that you too can invest in growing your community.
Venue: The Assembly @theassemblysf
Photographer: Milou & Olin Photography @milouandolinphotography
Wine: Ferdinand Wines @ferdinandwines
Wine: Novaolo Wine @novaolo
Sparkling Water: La Croix @lacroixwater
Catering: Mortar & Pestle Cooking @mortarpestlecooking
Florals: Rito Ito Florals @rito_ito
Purpose Coach: Kristin Krajecki @novaolo
Yoga Instructor: Natalie Somers @natalie_somers
CBD Products: Winged CBD @wingedcbd
Skin Care: Lark Skin Co. @larkskinco
In case you’re new to our blog, or you just haven’t yet heard of our #girlgang empowerment events, Take Time to Toast, let us give you a refresher. Here at DGE, we firmly believe in taking the time to say thank you to our fellow female entrepreneurs, vendors, partners, and friends (don’t get us wrong, we love the guys too! But this event’s all about the #girlpower).
We believe in the power of bringing women together to network, create, and share. Our Take Time to Toast events allow some of the busiest women we know to take a pause and recognize each other for the incredibly hard work that they do.
Our latest Take Time to Toast is our fourth so far, and the second one we’ve held this year. Clearly we love these events so much that we’ll throw one just about as often as we can, but this one was particularly special. This Take Time to Toast took place before a 3-day annual event and our same crew has been working on it together for three years running! This group of women and this 3-day event were what inspired us to start Take Time to Toast a little over one year ago. We felt it was only right to recognize this exceptional group of ladies with their own private Take Time to Toast dinner at the lovely Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga.
Our intimate table was set for nine and tucked away in a particularly beautiful corner of the venue, surrounded by lush greenery and an ambiance that the Napa Valley is famous for creating. As many of you in the industry know, the summer time is always busy for event planners (especially wedding planners), so taking time off to have dinner together is no small feat. We decided to upgrade our pre-event team dinner to a Take Time to Toast celebration, and well, we can’t say we were disappointed in the slightest. After we sat down, we shared updates on how the events season was going for each of us and expressed statements of gratitude to clear our heads before a long event week. It was the perfect way to kick things off and get our #girlboss game faces on. After a toast with our favorite Fearless Rosé, we were ready to come together as the DGE team and get down to business. See below for a complete list of event sponsors of this summery event!
Interested in attending a public Take Time to Toast event? Make sure you’re signed up for the Take Time to Toast newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when dates are released, tickets are on sale, and speakers are announced!
Fringe garlands – Ellenor Shop @ellenorshop
Toast place cards and stir sticks – Studio Noel @Studio.Noel
Florals – Revel Floral @revelfloral
Take Time to Toast events are devoted to empowering women entrepreneurs and saying, “thank you.” Thank you for sharing your unique talents with this crazy industry, thank you for working tirelessly with us to create something beautiful, and, mostly, thank you for working your tush off without expecting a thank you in return.
These events create an environment where women can toast each other and learn from one another’s experiences. Take Time to Toast is quickly growing into an established (and beloved) tradition around the DGE office and will soon be expanding to include the SF Bay Area event industry, creatives, and beyond.
This year’s Take Time to Toast was an intimate dinner gathering with both old and new friends. The evening included dinner and drinks, inspiring conversation, Instagram-worthy photo ops, and a few Galentine’s Day-themed surprises.
The party focused on vendors and clients coming together to share their best ideas in collaboration. This particular Take Time to Toast event recognized vendors, entrepreneurs, and other event industry professionals by inviting them to have a seat at the table with us, and with each other. We also partnered with numerous sponsors to create magic moments at the event and their contributions were showcased in numerous ways. A couple of our favorites were a bathtub filled to the brim with rosé and Oreos dipped in pink-marbled chocolate. YEAH. WE KNOW. It was as good as it sounds.
Bringing clients, event friends, and influencers into the same room gave us all the opportunity to network and let our creative juices flow. We always feel more inspired after talking with our #girlgang, but the inspiration didn’t stop at casual conversation. We also had two inspiring guest speakers: Temi Adamolekun from Radiant Work Spaces, the keynote speaker for the evening, and Chelsea Hoff from Fearless Wines.
You could feel the love and appreciation as glasses clinked, stories were shared, and smiles filled the room.
This Take Time to Toast event took place at Stable Cafe: a converted carriage house located in the lively Mission District in San Francisco. After a warm welcome to the party under a giant balloon garland installation, each guest received a hand calligraphed magnetic name tag by Blushtype, a glass of Fearless rosé, and a custom cocktail or non-alcoholic refresher from Serpentine SF to kick off the night.
Attendees had the opportunity to share some love with their Galentines at the Collaboration Station hosted by Candy Club. Take Time to Toast was the day before Valentine’s Day, so there was an interactive activity with candy and valentines to create and drop in other attendee’s bags. These bags were gorgeously perched on a crate wall and personalized with handwritten names in calligraphy by Blushtype. Cocktail hour was full of new introductions, networking, catching up with familiar friends, and sending little love notes to our Galentines and #girlboss crushes.
Cocktail hour was followed by a seated dinner featuring a three-course meal prepared by Foxtail Catering. Decadent plates of poached egg, seared diver scallops, and olive oil cake with heirloom citrus were enjoyed by the guests. This was not a quiet group, but things sure quieted down when these plates hit the table, which as they say, is usually a sign of excellent food.
The dining room design was a Galentine’s Day dream. All rentals were provided by Archive and fit the theme of the night perfectly. The room was full of soft pink hues and the lighting was warm and cool all at the same time. There was a beautiful floral installation created and designed by Erin DeYoung, owner of Scarlett and Grace, that hung from the ceiling. Coupe glasses, copper flatware, pink stones as place cards, and tea light candles were carefully placed among the tables. As a guest, one couldn’t help but stare and take photos of the surrounding decor.
During dinner, Chelsea Hoff, owner and winemaker of Fearless Wines, spoke about her journey as a young female entrepreneur in the wine making business. Chelsea also spoke about the rosé she sponsored that we all enjoyed during cocktail hour, and she told her story on how she got to where she is today.
Temi Adamolekun was the keynote speaker for the evening and is the owner of Radiant Workspaces, a co-working space and social club for women. It’s a place for women to connect, collaborate, and create. As if this weren’t already a slam dunk for what Take Time to Toast is all about, Temi has another business called Pembroke PR. At Take Time to Toast, Temi spoke about her business experience as a woman, collaboration, and what it means to her to be an entrepreneur. Her standout quote was for all of us to stop pretending that “work-life balance” exists and just be OK with doing our best.
Coming fall of 2018, TTTT will be hosting its first public event. Tickets will be available later this year and sold on a first come-first served basis. To be the first to know about upcoming TTTT events, be sure to join the Take Time to Toast newsletter.
@daniellegibsonevents – event planning + design
@stablecafe – venue
@foxtailcatering – catering
@serpentinesf – bar service
@megsmithphotography – photography
@fearlesswines – rosé
@chandonusa – sparkling wine
@theonicollection – glassware
@accentsinserts – shoe inserts
@blushtype – invitations, signage, name tags
@scarlettandgrace – florals
@balloonspecialtiesbayarea – balloons
@archiverentals – rentals
@radiantworkspaces – guest speaker
@studio.noel – acrylic signs + custom stir sticks
@loveinthemix – DJ Amy Robbins
@teenycakebakery – pink marble Oreos
@candyofthemonth – candy
@happinessplanner – pens
After watching Oprah’s monumental speech at the Grammy’s, the Women’s March yesterday and preparing for our next Take Time to Toast event in a few short weeks, Danielle Gibson Events’ has been feeling all sorts of inspired lately! All of this seemed very fitting heading into our annual Vision Board Party, where we hosted Grace Gulley, author and founder of an online community meant to encourage and empower women to pursue their goals.
During the event, Grace shared her journey of finding and pursing her passion to coach women in doing just that – finding their happy. We’re not talking about the happy that society tells us we need to obtain or that we tell ourselves we need to be living. Instead, Grace invites you to focus on finding that place where you truly feel yourself. Whether it’s a side hustle you’ve been considering for some time or that next BIG move to take your business to the next level, she pushes you to step outside of your comfort zone to take those BIG dreams into action.
To kick off the afternoon, Grace led the group through a visualization exercise. She asked us to sit with our thoughts for a few moments and jot down some of our goals for the future. Did you know that simply putting a goal into words or onto paper makes you ten times more likely to achieve it? Yeah, manifestation is some powerful stuff!
As the group began to feverishly jot down their thoughts (because let’s be honest, this group was full of hustlers!), Grace then asked us to write down a few words of affirmation to assure ourselves we would achieve our goals. Telling yourself “I can,” “I will” or “I am” can be more powerful that you would ever imagine, as we all have a tendency to get in our heads from time to time and let that little voice of doubt creep in.
Once Grace got our brains moving on our vision for the next year we began the vision boarding! Oh, and we dug into some of the most delicious treats from Elaine Bell Catering and Whetstone Wines! These tiny sandwiches packed a serious flavor punch and we definitely ate more macaroons than we care to admit, but hey, it’s all in the name of creativity, am I right?!
Another special guest in attendance was Sheryl of Blushtype calligraphy. See all of these super cute, super inspiring signs below? Yeah, those beauties were handmade by her! Sheryl spent the afternoon preparing custom calligraphy signs for the group to pin to their board.
After an hour or so of open conversations, our vision boards were (mostly) complete and we were ready to share! We love this group shot of everyone with their goals literally in the palms of their hands. It’s moments like this that remind us that we have the power to make our dreams come to life, we simply have to get out of our own way and get it done!
This event was truly magical and it simply would not have been possible without these incredible sponsors. Be sure to check them out on social!
@daniellegibsonevents – event planning and design
@kvenues – venue in Napa, California
@gracegulley – guest speaker
@the_happy_planner – planners
@blushtype – calligraphy
@erinheartscourt – photography
@elainebellcatering – catering
@encoreeventsrentals – rentals
@scarlettandgrace – florals
@latavolalinen – linens + pillows
@whetstonewinecellars – wine
If you’re interested in participating in this same exercise, take 2-3 minutes to sit with your thoughts for each of the items below. Jot down anything that comes to mind. Keep in mind, there is no wrong answer. Your list can be big or small, and it can continue to grow as time goes on. You do you, girl!
1) What are your goals for the next year?
2) Share a few words of affirmation about achieving those goals. For instance, if one of your goals is to run a marathon, you could say something like, “I will run a marathon within the next 6 months.” The key part of an affirmation is using the phrases “I can/will/am going to…(fill in the blank).”
3) Name one thing you can do tomorrow to work towards these goals.