• Carmen Graham

Go With Your Gut: Meet Cristy Lloveras

You know that phrase "Trust the journey"? Pretty sure it was written by Cristy Lloveras. The financier-turned-event planner, Miamian-turned-Hawaiian––yes you read that right––didn't expect life to take her a world away from her hometown nor did she anticipate leaving a stable career in finance to pursue her passion of events, but here we are.

Add to that COVID's effects on the events industry, and this woman who has every reason to panic is full of sage advice on how to take calculated leaps to actual tips on how to move across the country.

Read on for her story and if you start scoping out homes in Hawaii, we are here for it.

Name: Cristy Lloveras IG handles: @cristy.lloveras / @mclcoordination First, we want to know, what are the identities you lead with:  Wife, hostess, planner, outdoorswoman, daydreamer, sis  What’s your back story? College and beyond.  Miami born and raised. I went to college in New Orleans where I met my husband. I worked for an incredible wedding planner there and it really gave me a taste for the event industry. Post-grad I moved home to Miami and got married. I worked for three years in finance but eventually made events my full-time job when I launched my business, MCL Coordination. I spent the next few years working on amazing projects for some dream clients before my husband’s job moved us to Oahu, Hawaii. Did you ever envision yourself picking up and moving to Hawaii? Talk about living where people vacation!  Never! I am definitely a dreamer, but even in my fantasies, Hawaii was never on my radar. We were supposed to be out here for a two-month short term project when they offered him his current job. It came as an absolute surprise. Hawaii is wonderful. The natural beauty here is overwhelming. I constantly catch myself trying to soak in a view, or a breeze, or the way the light hits the ridges of the mountains. There is so much epic scenery everywhere in every direction.. overwhelming is the only word that seems right.

But I did grow up living in Miami, which is also in many ways a paradise and vacation destination! I compare Honolulu to Miami a lot. They’re both gorgeous locales with vibrant cities full of diverse culture. Sometimes I wonder if we enjoy Hawaii more because we came to it later in life? You never fully appreciate a place you’ve grown up in!

What were some early adjustments to living in Hawaii? It seems surface level, but the time change really wigged me out at first. When I start my day, everyone I check in with is basically mid-afternoon. You can see the distance on the map, but talking to your mom while you brush your teeth and she makes dinner, can make you feel especially far away. Hawaii definitely has its quirks! Roosters wake us up in the morning, groceries are wildly expensive, and Amazon Prime takes five days. But on the plus side, people are incredibly courteous drivers … and there really are rainbows everywhere.

You launched your own event planning company. How did that come about and what inspired you to go there? Working as an intern and assistant for other event planners really expanded my love for events and I urge anyone interested in the event world to value that time and absorb like a sponge. When I stepped away from event work, I was still getting my fix working with non-profits, helping friends and family with their celebrations, and hosting at home. During those years working in finance, I knew my passion was elsewhere, but it took me a moment to figure out how to make my move. When I launched my business I was three years into a great job in Private Wealth Management. I hesitate to tell people to just blindly follow their dreams because my decision to make the leap was informed by so much thought and analysis. I had the support of my amazing husband which was a huge vote of confidence for me and I had already lined up my first projects and created relationships with vendors that sustained me through those early months. I definitely followed my passion but I don’t think I can underemphasize how important it is to do the nitty-gritty work behind the leap! You’re working with people on some of the most intimate and emotional moments in their lives. How do you console them / support them / help pump them up? I have worked on all kinds of events, but weddings take up the bulk of my portfolio. Any wedding planner can tell you that in addition to planning a party, you are a full-time therapist. Leading up to events I urge my couples to use tools like visualization and meditation to make sure they have the right frame of mind for the roller coaster of emotion that is wedding day. In my bag of tricks I bring calming essential oils, a couple of herbal remedies for relaxation, and sugar and caffeine in case anyone needs a boost, but nothing is as powerful as a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, and some gentle advice. Also - a soundtrack - never underestimate the power of a good soundtrack.

A huge part of what we hear from readers (and ourselves) is the feeling of overwhelm. What’s your solution for those moments?  I am not lucky enough to have children yet, so I won’t try to coach any of my ultra-spread-thin mamas out there! But right now, even with a slow summer work schedule (thanks COVID), overwhelm and anxiety still creep in. Like everyone, I am trying to navigate this year as best I can. I am giving myself lots of grace and patience. Sometimes, the idea of “self care” feels so enormously insufficient during some of the dark days. But, I have never felt worse after a dip in the sea, a walk around the block, or a Melissa Wood Health flow, only better. - Also, lots and lots of salt baths.

Just remember that you don’t have to be doing it all right now. Comparison is your enemy. Doing what you can is enough.

What have you learned about yourself in launching your business? What about in your move?  I’ve learned a lot about my resiliency and flexibility in both. Both shifts required a ton of change. There were many nights where I stared at the ceiling in panic thinking, what happens next? Having the patience to let time unravel our story did not come naturally, but when I was finally able to let go of control, it led me in a direction better than what I could have made for myself. That has been a huge life lesson. What do you find the biggest challenge to be as an entrepreneur? Valuing myself! I hate to say this, but I have a history of undervaluing my work. This definitely applies to the way I price my services but it also rears its ugly head in a variety of other ways. Sometimes, I commit to too many things, filling my plate to the point of exhaustion. Sometimes, I agree to projects or jobs that take too much and don’t serve me in return. It can be so hard to say no but I have learned that valuing myself means valuing my work, my design, my ability, and my time! What’s the biggest reward? I can’t explain the amount of satisfaction I feel after an event day. There is a moment, when the cake has been cut, the candles are flickering, and the dancefloor is grooving where I can look around and soak in all the beauty. It is the ultimate joy for me. Realizing months of work and creativity into a physical space is a rush that keeps me coming back. As someone who moved across the country, just the thought was so daunting of cleaning the house, leaving things behind and making the move. What is a piece of advice you’d give someone who for whatever reason might be facing a life change like that?  Growing up, my mom always said to us: “How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time”. That lesson never felt more true than during the months before our move. The to-do list seemed endless, the questions were growing, and the firm answers were few. We spent three whole months in negotiation regarding my husband’s positions and during those weeks everything felt so uncertain. If you find yourself in a similar position, just know that time will bring answers and in the meantime, spreadsheets are your friend!!

Top 3 actual moving tips:

  • Create one or two boxes with the things you’ll want to open first - label them and put them at the front of your moving truck or storage cube

  • Hire a cleaning crew to get your new space immaculately sterilized before you bring in your furniture. You will never have the ability to clean like that again and you will be so exhausted mid move you won’t want to do it - delegate this and thank me later

  • Don’t let the boxes linger! Give yourself a (realistic) deadline on the calendar for when you will have all your boxes unpacked. You don’t have to have your house fully decorated, but that stack of boxes lingering in your backroom is only going to give you anxiety

Last question: What advice would you give to your 21 year old self? You don’t need to force it. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Enjoy the season you’re in. Soon it will be behind you. But then again, I could still give myself that advice today.


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