Brunch Potluck — Portland Bloggers’ Meet-Up

Brunch Potluck — Portland Bloggers’ Meet-Up

The Portland Bloggers, a local bloggers meet-up group and resource, hosted a Valentine’s Day brunch potluck this past month. We were happy to have decoration supplied by Minted.Com and tasty mimosas with Santa Margherita Wines. All thoughts and opinions are my own. To see my sponsored posting guidelines please visit my policies page. Thank you to Jennifer Landers for helping us find a swanky venue and Suzannah Stanley for these fab photos! 

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

 

What kind of potluck should I host? …. BRUNCH!

 

When you live in Portland you tend to come around to the amazing-ness that is B-R-U-N-C-H. You see, it may have to do something with the rain and the grey skies or perhaps it is the laid back nature of this town… but, getting up early in the morning and heading out to breakfast really is just not our thing. Yes, it happens. Yes, there are people that seem to make it out of the house before 10 AM. Those are the people who get to walk right in and sit down for a tasty meal with no wait.

The rest of us, well, we do brunch and we do it hard. We have some of the most amazing restaurants out there creating brunch menus just for us. Heck, even the amazing Gregory Gourdet of  Departure (you may know him from Top Chef) is getting into some brunch mischief with a pop-up brunch feature this Easter. Personally, I love brunch. There is something about the perfect mix of sweet and savory breakfast food paried with a breakfast cocktail all while fully rested. My love of brunch is one of the many reasons why we decided our recent Portland Bloggers meet-up was going to be a brunch potluck. One of the other reasons is that brunch is perfect for a potluck.

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

 

Brunch Potluck Food

 

There was such a great variety of foods and treats. I love brunch foods for potlucks because they can be savory or sweet. Great brunch potluck foods include mini bagels with cream cheese, quiches, muffins, waffle bites, deviled eggs… the list goes on and on! And for this particular brunch, because we hosted the party near Valentine’s Day, there were a lot of sweet treats on top of the great brunch foods.

 

Brunch Potluck Beverages

 

One of my favorite parts of any party is the beverage choices. Because we were having a brunch, we felt mimosas were a must! Santa Margherita wines sent us some of their Prosecco to try out. The crisp Santa Margherita Prosecco was stationed in a ice bucket ready to pair with either orange juice, peach puree, or strawberry puree. My favorite pairing was with the peach puree because the lightly tart taste of the Prosecco brought out the bright and juicy flavors of the peach. We also had plenty of sparkling water to pair with the juices to round out our beverage selection.

 

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

 

Beautiful and EASY Party Decor

 

We decorated the meeting space using Minted’s Party Suites. Seriously, such an easy and beautiful solution to party decor. You simply pick your suite, customize and purchase and then a neat little party package comes to your door complete with custom items, paper straws, plates, and napkins! We chose the Valentine’s Ombre Love Party Decor in the Perfect Party package. The mini note cards made for perfect labels for the food for the potluck. The banner is such great quality of paper that I’ll be keeping it to use over and over again at upcoming Portland Blogger meet-ups.

 

Simple and beautiful party decor compliments of Minted

Simple and beautiful party decor compliments of Minted

Simple and beautiful party decor compliments of Minted

 

What makes potlucks so great?

 

I go on and on about potlucks like they are the butter to my bread… but, heres the thing, hosting parties can be quite expensive. Going out to eat and be expensive. Heck, even a drink or two at a bar can break the bank at times. Hosting events potluck style gives everyone the opportunity to gather together to enjoy a meal while not sticking one person with the check. I love the laid back feel of potlucks. I enjoy getting to try the items that other people bring. To be perfectly honest, in the end, I love not paying for everything. Cheers to whoever invented the very first potluck—those cavemen and women who all came to the table with something to share. Cheers also to the awesome guests that came to this potluck. They brought their A-game in the food and networking departments!

 

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Blogging Goals – Make & Achieve Your Goals!

Blogging Goals – Make & Achieve Your Goals!

The freshness of the new year is starting to wear off now that I seem to be able to remember to put 2016 on all my paperwork. While I am still feeling good about my resolutions and blogging goals for the new year, I’m not feeling the fire to accomplish my goals quite as intensely as I was around the 1st.

I often see bloggers (including myself) starting strong in the new year and then petering out as the year gets going. It is natural after all, but I am trying my best to not let that happen again this year by setting achievable focused goals.

I published the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner earlier this month and have just now started working out exactly how I want to put MY personal blog planner together using the sheets. In putting my book together I’ve decided to take some of the sheets that I use often and explain how I use them here on the blog.

Tips for Creating and Keeping your 2016 Blogging Goals

How to make achievable blogging goals:

 

Do I want 100,000 page views this month? Yes, of course. Is it really feasible when I’m currently averaging around 20,000 in a month? No, probably not. I am pretty sure the biggest downfall of New Year’s Resolutions is that often we set unachievable dreams as our goals for a year. Then, when things don’t really start to pan out as quickly as they need to so that we hit that dream, well, we give up. Do I want to be debt free? YES, that is the dream. Is it possible this year? Not unless I won the lottery, and well, that didn’t happen. Is it possible that I pay off a few credit cards so that I am well on my way to living the dream? Absolutely. When taking the time to sit down and write out my goals I do the following steps to help make sure that they are achievable:

  1. Write down the dream: Where do I want my goals to eventually lead? I want those 100,000 page views in a month. I want to be debt free. I want to lose 50 pounds. Whatever your dream is, write it down and get that out of the way.
  2. Go through the steps (goals) that need to happen in order to achieve that dream: I then think about the steps that need to happen in order for me to achieve that dream. For my page views it may be writing regular content and becoming more consistent with my postings. Steps may include guest posting or being featured on blogs that I admire. Whatever those steps are, I write them down in detail and in order in which they need to happen. Those steps then become my goals.
  3. Prioritize the steps. In writing out the steps I try to write them down in the order that they need to happen in order for me to reach my goal. However, sometimes, a lot of items could help me reach my goal and there is no discernible order so I need to prioritize those steps. In prioritizing the steps I think about which items are easiest to achieve and which will garner the best outcome. 
  4. Plan my course of action: Finally, I make my plans. What do I need to do in order to have consistent blog posts that will eventually help me reach the dream of 100,000 page views? I need to have a content calendar that I can follow and post on planned days. I then need to schedule out those posts on my calendar and get working on writing. Setting small, manageable goals such as a workable content calendar with weekly deadlines will go a long way in helping me achieve the steps that lead to me realizing my dream.

 

Creating and Keeping Blogging Goals - A Well Crafted Party

Ways to KEEP your blogging goals:

 

What is the use of setting blogging goals and spending time assessing and planning out your dreams if you aren’t going to work at achieving them? Sure, blogging can be a lot like dieting and while you know what is good for you it is easy sometimes to let things go at times. Heck, life can simply get in the way (see my entire last year with the pregnancy and birth of my second child). A few ways I help myself KEEP my goals throughout the year:

  1. Make small, manageable goals: As I said above, I like to take my dreams and really break them down into small steps that lead me to where I want to eventually end up. These smaller steps help make big dreams seem doable. When I achieve each of those smaller steps I have reason to celebrate and faith that I will eventually hit that goal. If I were to simply say, “I will hit 100,000 page views in a month this year” then each month that I don’t hit that goal would knock me further down in my faith in reaching that goal. However, if I say that I am going to consistently post two days a week for three months and then hit that goal I will see progress and feel more confident that I will eventually get to those 100,000 page views.
  2. Set deadlines: Maybe it is because I was trained as a journalist, but deadlines motivate me like nothing else. I set deadlines to reach certain goals in my calendar with reminders that email me at certain intervals before the deadline so that I don’t forget. I will also put up checklists on the wall (washi tape is an awesome way to post goal sheets for a reminder until a goal is hit!)

Blogging Resolutions

One of my favorite pages from the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner is the Blogging Resolutions page. It has area for 5 big goals or “dreams” that you have for your blog, space to break those dreams into steps, and a place to mark a deadline for the goal. There is also a short description of how to make a S.M.A.R.T goal. Sign up for my newsletter to access your free printable blog planner including the blogging resolutions page as well as access to all of the subscriber only printables and posts.

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What are your blogging goals for 2016? Comment below! 

Free Printable Blog Planner 2016 Edition

Free Printable Blog Planner 2016 Edition

Have you made your goals for 2016 yet? I know that some of you had because before the New Year came around I had several requests for the 2016 free printable blog planner— bloggers ready to get started making their 2016 goals happen! So, I finished up the updates and sent them out to A Well Crafted Newsletter subscribers on January 1. So, I guess I got my very first goal of the year checked off the list. Woohoo!

So, with no further ado… the 2016 Free Printable Blog Planner is ready for download! Read on to see what is included and to sign up for your free printable. If you are already a subscriber, search your email for the Free Printable Blog Planner.

Build Your Ideal Blogging Planner

First, this is a “build your own” style of planner. The reason I chose this style of planner is because one does not fit all in the blogging world. Some bloggers blog multiple times a month, others blog once a week. Some bloggers are hobby bloggers and don’t need pages of financial planning while others use their blogs as a business and welcome a little financial organization. The pages included in this planner all coordinate with one another. Pick and choose which pages will make the perfect planner for you. If you are just looking for one quick download then I also have a planner built into a PDF that is a fairly complete and general planner. You just need to download and print!

Free Printable Blog Planner from A Well Crafted Party

There are over 41 different planning worksheets to help you build your ideal planner, including:

Blog Brainstorming Worksheets:

  • Blog Resolutions
  • Focus Your Blog Worksheet
  • Post Brainstorming Worksheet
  • Year of Ideas Worksheet

Organization Tools:

  • Affiliate Program Tracker
  • Finance Tracker
  • Pitch Minder
  • Project Budget Worksheet
  • Sponsor Tracker
  • Collaboration Tracker
  • Stylesheet Worksheet
  • Password Tracker
  • Analytics Tracker
  • Social Media Platform Tracker NEW!
  • Monthly Income Report NEW!
  • Post Maintenance Worksheet NEW!
  • Weekly Blog Maintenance Worksheet NEW!
  • Monthly Blog Maintenance Worksheet NEW!
  • Year in Review Worksheet NEW!

Calendar Planners:

(Note: I keep all my planners without dates listed on them so that they can be used at anytime. I always hated it when I had some bad months and didn’t use a dated planner and then had to simply throw it out when I hit a new year!)

  • Month at a Glance Planner  (List)
  • Monthly Blog Post Planner (Calendar View)
  • Weekly Blog Planner (7 Days)
  • Three Posts Weekly Planner (3 Days)
  • Three Posts Daily Planner (For those over-achievers out there or large blogs out there)
  • Single Post Planner
  • Social Media Planner NEW!

Covers:

(Last year’s version of covers had some typos! YUK. I’ve revised the covers.)

  • 2016 Blog Planner Cover
  • Plan the Work, Work the Plan
  • Money, Money, Money
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016

Free Printable Blog Planner 2016 Edition

What’s new?

Each year I go through and modify pages from the previous years and adding new pages as I see fit. I fixed some mistakes on the 2015 edition and made a couple of the sheets more user-friendly. In addition, I added in several new worksheets, including:

  • Monthly Income Report — I find monthly income reports SO inspiring. This past few months I’ve been tracking my own monthly income and find these worksheets incredibly helpful.
  • Post Maintenance Worksheet— Earlier this year my newsletter subscribers received a file with my Blog Maintenance Worksheets. I edited the version to coordinate with the blog planner and have included it in this year’s planning downloads. These worksheets are perfect for using over and over again by slipping into a binder sleeve and using a dry erase pen.
  • Weekly Blog Maintenance Worksheet— Earlier this year my newsletter subscribers received a file with my Blog Maintenance Worksheets. I edited the version to coordinate with the blog planner and have included it in this year’s planning downloads. These worksheets are perfect for using over and over again by slipping into a binder sleeve and using a dry erase pen.
  • Monthly Blog Maintenance Worksheet— Earlier this year my newsletter subscribers received a file with my Blog Maintenance Worksheets. I edited the version to coordinate with the blog planner and have included it in this year’s planning downloads. These worksheets are perfect for using over and over again by slipping into a binder sleeve and using a dry erase pen.
  • Year in Review Worksheet— This new worksheet is a great way to reflect over the past  year and will help you in planning out your next year. I’d print one to fill out for 2015 and one to put at the end of your binder for next year!
  • Social Media Tracker— Keep all your social media information in one convenient place with this Social Media Tracker.
  • Social Media Planner— This is another one that I released earlier in the year, but not with the 2015 planner. Track your social media goals and make a loose plan for your social media postings.

Want to access your free printable blog planner downloads? Subscribe to the Well Crafted Newsletter below:

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