Event planner Calder Clark knows a little something about hats. As in, how to wear a lot of them and still look like a million bucks. In addition to planning extraordinary events and weddings for her Charleston, S.C.-based studio, Blue Moon Events, she also’s a mom, wife, small-business owner, blogger, idea generator, interior stylist and fitness lover. The Tennessee native donned yet another hat this month and took a break from planning upcoming soirees to be NB Wellness’ very first guest editor. She sat down to have a chat with us before getting to work.
At what point did you realize that event planning could become a full-time career?
I left the “bubble” of my university life for the corridors of D.C., and within a few weeks’ time at my first job, I just knew. People were BUSY – hustling, bustling, getting it done – and I wanted in.
What do you love most about your job?
The daily shake-up. It is an absolute mash-up of projects, and there is no true job description. New challenges, fresh faces, incredible obstacles; it keeps me on my toes.
Describe your average day.
5:50 AM alarm, plus two snoozes.
Gym until 7:30, race home, wake up my wee little man and dress him, bring ice cold Diet Coke to hubby.
At work by 9 AM. Power through the overnight emails, then powwow with my assistant about how that particular day will look and which client files we’ll tackle.
Lunchtime “saddle-up” means we move to the conference room and work side-by-side to tackle something creatively and exhaustively.
3 PM involves either a brief walk around the ‘hood or a sweet treat from the bakeshop across the street (oops).
Insert 30-40 phone calls, 100+ emails, one real meeting and two unsolicited drop-ins into this day.
5 PM finds me speeding toward Sullivan’s Island to pick up my son, land at home for dinner as a family.
Rinse and repeat.
How have you come to integrate exercise into your busy life?
Know thyself, and I know myself. If I save it for the end of the day, it simply won’t happen. I am not an “early bird” because I love it, but I know I have to get ‘er done in the early AM. I always tell myself that (insert fave celeb here) Fergie/Gwen/Lady Gaga are up working out already on the West Coast when I hit the gym on the East Coast, so if I have big dreams and big goals, it’s going to take the same kind of dedication and odd hours to achieve them. I also feel like my smallest goal has to be to break a sweat every day. That’s it.
How do you handle the unexpected?
The good unexpected: I usually fist-bump my assistant, Caitlin, then run and call my husband, then do a lap around the office (barefoot) in hysterics over some great success. The bad unexpected: I breathe deeply for a minute or so. I email myself a long diatribe, then delete it. If I’m still worried, I call my husband and ask if he has a moment to hear my “fret du jour,” then we both make sure I let it go so I can move on and be productive.
When your life is in balance, how can you tell?
I sleep better, my dreams are peaceful, the stiff-neck syndrome disappears and I’m able to be a better listener and a more connected friend/wife/mom.
When you’re just too busy and something has to give, what’s the first thing to go/get short shrift?
Beauty. I go “curly,” ditch makeup, throw on jeans and haul off to work to buckle down. Sometimes, it’s free time… I set up “late-night date night” with my assistant, and we order in and work until midnight, so my family time gets short shrift.
Do you make daily to-do lists, keep one big persistent list or stay organized some other way?
My life is a list of lists (of lists). I use Outlook tasks, Outlook calendar and a good old-fashioned notepad by my bedside. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing my tasks and reminders reduced to 2-3 for a day (sick!). I’m about to start using Evernote and hope it can consolidate all of the crazy to-dos. Part of being successful (I’ve come to realize) is knowing that you can’t strike your entire list everyday, simply because people don’t respond to your needs as quickly/often as you’d like.
As someone whose job requires taste, what’s your most low-brow indulgence?
French fries dipped in a Frosty.
Go-to healthy snack?
String cheese plus handful of almonds plus apple, or maybe a Fiber One bar.
Baked goods, grade-school style. I’m not above a brownie-from-a-box. Forget chocolate mousse and stuffy wedding cakes; give me a homemade chocolate chip cookie any day.
What’s in your everyday purse or handbag?
Hint mints, hand sanitizer, letterpress business cards, Baekgaard pink leather measuring tape, blue ballpoint pens, Abas alligator wallet, polarized Ray-Bans.
What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you?
Ditch the golden handcuffs for greener pastures. No one ever told me to take a business class in college, or that I could be great on my own in my early 20s. Now I tell interns and younger designers to get their feet wet somewhere great but to keep their eyes on being their own boss(es) one day.