Rock for a Reason: Outdoor Rock Concert to Benefit 4-Year old with cancer – 9/10/2014

Rock for a Reason // A Well Crafted Party

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and today’s blog is in hopes of helping shed a little more light on the desperate need for more funding and research on pediatric cancer. Cancer remains the most common cause of death by disease for children and adolescents in America. Growing up my best friends family dealt with the impact of pediatric cancer on their world when her sister was diagnosed. A local girl and her family are experiencing the hardships that pediatric cancer brings with it and the community of Milwaukie, Oregon are banding together to help! 

Portland-Area Businesses Coming Together for a Cause

The local Milwaukie community is pulling together to host an outdoor family friendly benefit, silent auction and rock concert for a local girl living with a very rare brain tumor. Leah Merklin, a 4-year old girl has one of the rarest forms of pediatric brain cancer, primarily affecting young children, the brain tumor called DIPG is both inoperable and incurable.

On Wednesday, September 10th, local Milwaukie business owners, Portland DJ Ron Rouse, Chris Carpenter & The Collective, a local band, and Good Roots Community Church are joining arms to host an outdoor community fundraiser for Leah.

Banding together, local vendors are stepping up to offer locally sourced, delicious food at the event: Pronto Pizzeria & Kitchen will be selling grilled pizzas and farmer’s market fresh salads. Schoolyard Farms, a local nonprofit educational farm, will be offering build you own kid salads. Pepper & Salt will be selling butternut squash infused mac + cheese and lettuce turkey wraps. Painted Lady Coffee House will be selling hot coffee, Italian sodas, and homemade delicacies and Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery will be whipping up batches of their custom made ice cream.

Wine:30 Bar and Duffy’s Irish Pub are setting up a beer and wine garden – 100% of the proceeds from all Pabst and Breakside Brewing purchases will go directly to the Merklin Family.

There will be stenciled face art by Sweet Cheeks Airbrushing; handmade necklaces and headbands offering proceeds back to the Merklin family; and a bouncy house, henna tattoos and a stilt walker for the kids!

Ron Rouse, who works for Portland Fire & Rescue and is also a popular local DJ named DJ Rontourage, will be donating his time at the event. Local band Chris Carpenter & The Collective will be playing live music from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Event goers will be invited to pick out a favorite song from the band’s play list and the band will play songs for donation.

Finally, there will be a silent auction featuring locally procured items, with 100% of the proceeds going back to the family.

Connect

Connect with the Rock for a Reason Facebook event or connect with the Support for Leah Rose Merklin and Family Facebook Page!

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Portland Walk September 7th!

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I often find myself content to sit in my own little world of problems, responsibilities, and issues without thinking ahead to what the future might bring or what issues may be plaguing the world that could possibly use my help, my voice. It isn’t that I don’t care. I do, often more than it shows. Rather, sometimes… my own stuff is all I can handle! Lately, however, I’ve been really pushing myself to extend my reach ad lend my voice to issues where I am able.

One of those issues that has really been laid on my heart (cheesy, but true) has been Alzheimer’s Disease. About a year ago I accepted a full-time position as a Social Media and Marketing specialist for a Senior Living company. It has been an eye-opening, humbling and incredible year. I’ve had Alzheimer’s touch my life personally by affecting the people that I love. It took me seeing how MANY people that this disease really affects to make me realize my voice (and money) was needed. What I can do as a single person is not enough though, I need your help!

Facts about Alzheimer’s:

” Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.” — Alz.Org Website

A few facts that really hit home with me about this disease from the Alzheimer’s Association website:

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
  • More than 5 Million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s is the ONLY cause of death among the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are WOMEN. 
  • More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women. 

When advocating for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s I am thinking about the residents in the buildings of the senior communities I work with, my grandparents and my parents. But, I am also being a little bit selfish. I want to know that someday if I receive the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, that maybe there might be an answer out there to help slow the progression or to cure the disease. I advocate for my son so that the burden of my care is not put solely on his shoulders.

About the Walk to End Alzheimer’s:

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a series of walks across the United States that help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s. I will be participating in the Portland Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, September 7, 2014. My goal is to raise $200 for the cause and as much awareness as possible. I’m about 60% to reaching my goal and am working hard at it! I encourage anyone who can to find a local walk and participate. If you are unable to walk, a donation would be very much appreciated.

Donate to the Cause:

If you’d like to  make a tax-deductible donation to help the Alzheimer’s Association advance research into methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer’s please consider donating today. You are welcome to donate via the Alz.Org website or click this link to help me reach my donation goal!  For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

Information and Facts about Alzheimer’s disease via the Alzheimer’s Association website: www.alz.org  For help or more information feel free to call the 24/7 Helpline at 1.800.272.3900.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. This is just a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I wanted to share to help build awareness for this important cause.

Sunday Snapshots: Going Unplugged & Camping in Oregon

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This weekend we took a very necessary break from electronics and the rest of the world by heading out to camp near the Clackamas River near Estacada, Oregon. I had a bit of anxiety when I realized my cellphone had no reception. But, after a bit, it was a relief to just sit back and rest. We enjoyed amazing food on the fire, simple (yet delicious) cocktails, and sleeping with the stars overhead. Breathtaking and refreshing.

Today we came back to reality where I was greeted with 100 emails and several messages. I probably should have told someone we were going away for a bit… Whoops.

I also attended a friend’s memorial this afternoon. It reminded me that taking moments to unplug and enjoy the simpler things in life is very much important. Not saying that you can’t be connected and still connect– but, sometimes, it helps to put the phones/computers/video games down.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Sunday Snapshots: Independence Weekend, New Do, & Traveling Oregon

Sunday Snapshots Dosha Salon // A Well Crafted Party

Having family visit for this fun three day weekend has just been amazing. And, even though most of us have been working hard trying to get over an icky Summer cold… we have been having a great holiday weekend. Of course, any weekend that starts with 3 hours of my enjoying alone time being pampered at the salon is going to be a good weekend.

After really wanting to go blond for a while Dosha salon sent me an email sharing a fantastic 50% off special for July 4th. Seriously, if you like Dosha then you want to get on their email club list. I’m always getting great deals through it! (Not sponsored- just like a good deal!)

Platinum Blonde // A Well Crafted Party Platinum Blonde // A Well Crafted Party

4th of July Toddler Style // A Well Crafted Party

Anyways, Friday morning was spent getting pampered at the salon while the family got everything ready for a potluck holiday lunch with friends. After playing at the park and eating lots of great food we had fun with a few sparklers at home and hit the hay. Kiddo still isn’t a fan of the loud bang of fireworks, so some major cuddling was happening as well.

Travel Oregon- Netarts, OR // A Well Crafted Party Travel Oregon- Netarts, OR // A Well Crafted Party Travel Oregon- Netarts, OR // A Well Crafted Party

Saturday was spent traveling Oregon. We started by touring the Tillamook Cheese Factory and heading out to the beach for an easy afternoon. We went out to Netarts, Oregon where we found a small little beach to sit and enjoy the ocean for a while. I don’t know if there is anything as restorative to me than the ocean. The sky in Oregon was brilliant yesterday and made for some great photographs. When I went to post one on Instagram my feed was filled with local friends posting photos of the sky as well!

Travel Oregon- Netarts Bay The Schooner Restaurant // A Well Crafted Party

sundaysnapshots-Saturday03 Travel Oregon- Netarts Bay The Schooner Restaurant // A Well Crafted Party Travel Oregon- Netarts Bay The Schooner Restaurant // A Well Crafted Party

We stopped by The Schooner in Netarts for dinner and sat at a HUGE outdoor table for a meal. The food was decent, but the presentation was awesome. A lot of thought had been put into the presentation of the meals making for a not quite practical, but fun dinner.

Today we are heading out to a 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration. I’m sure my Instagram feed will be filled with cute little party details. Follow along if you wanna see!

How was your weekend?

Perspective: Sometimes you need to feel a little small to think big.

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Photo by Portland Family Photographer Macy of Motormouth Studios

I think it is pretty easy for a person to forget that they aren’t the center of the universe. Watching my toddler grow up I’ve been reminded over and over again that some things feel like they are going to crash your entire world. Sometimes it feels like your problems are the most important. Sometimes a tantrum is just the thing to do.

I keep using the terms “they” and “your” here because it is hard to admit to being the one that sometimes gets lost in my own little world, to placing myself at the center of the universe. Bitching, complaining, getting angry, or even just feeling sorry for myself is often a little too easy.

Living in a very connected world, I easily forget how BIG the world really is… While I can easily engage with people from all over the globe—read personal stories of people I’ll likely never meet, connect via Twitter, or even Skype with family living abroad—there is an entire plane full of people lost somewhere out there in this gigantic planet we have. It baffles me. It even scares me at times. In this case it saddens me greatly. But, mostly, it makes me feel small.


(A tweet I read & shared that hit home.)

Feeling small isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Sometimes it can be a good thing. Have you ever been outdoors, surrounded by a sky full of stars and suddenly felt tiny? Have you stood in awe looking up at the trees in a forest reaching as high as you can see? I’ve often searched out that feeling… that moment of realizing that the world is larger than me and my life. I tend to use it as a reminder to center myself, breathe, and remember that my problems aren’t quite as large as they feel. Sometimes I celebrate the moments that I have the opportunity to feel small.

I am sure that countless innovations have come from that feeling of being small, of stepping back and thinking about how to solve problems, bridge the gap, and find the planes that go missing. As I feel small in this moment I am trying to gain perspective on what really matters, take the time to put effort into those things I value, and make my world a little bit bigger in the process.

My thoughts are with the families, friends, and those who are searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. I hope that the world can get a little smaller, connect, and bring news of what happened to the flight. I also hope that this makes others feel a little small, that innovation may happen, and that people may step outside themselves for even just a few moments.

What has made you feel small lately and how did you respond?

 

 

Family Photos

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Family Photos by Motormouth Studios

When I was a child I loathed taking family photos. Everyone had to get dressed up in nearly identical clothing and head to a stuffy studio where we posed awkwardly and pasted smiles on our faces. Even if we had a great photographer, the experience was never too amazing. I’m glad we have those photos. But, I’m even more glad that today’s “family photos” have an entirely different feel to them.

This year, as a gift to our parents and siblings, we hired Macey from Motormouth Studios for our family photos. It was freezing outside, but we had a clear and beautiful day to work with as we took our family photos in SE Portland. I gave everyone a loose color scheme to work with and asked them to join us for an hour of taking photos. SO much better than family photos when I was a kiddo.

I couldn’t be more thrilled with these photos. Each day when I wake up and drink my coffee before I head off to work I look around at the photos on the walls of my living room and smile big.

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Photo by Motormouth Studios

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Photo by Motormouth Studios

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Photo by Motormouth Studio

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Photo by Motormouth Studios

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Photo by Motormouth Studios

 What were your family photos like growing up? Awesome? Lame? Tell me all about it… and, if you have a photo, share a link!

Heartbroken for Oklahoma

I was born, raised, and attended college in Oklahoma. You’d think that over twenty years living in a state prone to natural disasters would prepare me for the devastation I am seeing from the images coming out of Oklahoma. Years of learning how to duck and cover… to roll into a ball, covering your neck and head with your arms, in a room with no windows or furniture that can fall. Years of SEEING the devastation first hand. Years of actual loss. None of that prepared me for the images coming from my friends and family this past week.

Continue Reading…

Thoughts and Random Tid-bits

I’m in a weird head space at the moment. There has been so much happening lately that I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed. My blog work is the first thing to go on the back burner when life/work gets crazy. I have several great posts (at least I think so) in the works. But, today is another day that they will sit on the shelf. Here are some thoughts and random tid-bits about life lately:

  • I’m still in a sort of shock over the Boston Marathon bombings. My thoughts about the whole thing are not even close to coherent. My heart goes out to the people that were there and to their families. The anniversary for the Oklahoma City bombings is coming up in a couple of days, so that too is on my mind. This open letter to Boston from Oklahoma says a lot of what I wish I could say.
  • I’m sick. Again. Having a kid is like owning my own personal cesspool. My kiddo caught a cold last weekend and promptly handed it over to me. Kiddo is sick. I’m sick. So much fun.
  • I’m really, really excited about going to the PNW blogger meet-up! It will be my first evening away from my son though, so I am a little nervous as well. Lindsay, Megan, Sarah and myself will be road-tripping up to Seattle for the event.
  • I’m visiting West Elm this evening for a preview of their new line. I’m super excited. I went last year and posted about it. I’m not sort of obsessed with their products. Can’t wait to see what they’ve thought up for this year’s summer line!
Anyways, I just wanted to say thanks for reading and to let you know I’m still here.
I’ll be back to share more very soon!

 

Looking back is exhausting—2012 in Review

With the new year I’ve been looking back on 2012 through my three blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and journals. In my present state of mind… 2012 kind of sucked. It was stressful. It was tiring. It was scary. We had to depend on so many people. We let people down. It was a hard, hard year. However, looking back I have also seen that it was one of the most eventful years I’ve had. There were a lot of great highlights. A ton of new friends. Some big opportunities and crazy risks. It feels like 2012 was the work before the reward… you know?

On my party blog, A Well Crafted Party, I reviewed my 12 favorite party posts of the year. On the Portland Bloggers blog I reviewed the meet-ups over the year. Such growth! So many new and awesome people have entered my life this year. Quite a few reasons for celebration this year as well!

I thought I’d share an infographic here to review the 2012 year on this blog. It has been a BIG year!

Oh! And, some of the super cute icons from above and the tips I used in creating this infographic are from Nicole’s Classes. The background image is from Mels Stampz.

I hope you all got a chance to look over your past year and are looking forward to the next!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Merry Christmas!

We hope all of you had the very merriest of holidays today!
May the rest of this year be filled with great memories and moments of reflection!
—Always, Jenni and Brian
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