Real Party: Aged Birthday Party

Real Party: Aged Birthday Party

aged birthday party washington wine

This year I turned the big 3-0. I thought it would be much more significant or earth shattering than it ended up being. I mean… my mom was 29 until she turned 39. So, I expected to really feel sad about the end of my 20s.

I didn’t really care so much this year… as a matter of fact, I was actually sort of happy about turning 3o. I feel like I’m in a good spot in my life and I’m pretty happy with where I am in life. So, this year’s party I really wanted to celebrate the fact that I am happy in my age and that I think maybe I’ve even improved with age. What a better way to celebrate the great things about aging than celebrate with other things that get better with age… like wine, cured meats, pickled items, aged cheeses, and wonderful friends.

washington wine meat cheese party

photo 4 photo 3 washington wine meat cheese party photo 2 (1) wine tasting party

I celebrated with a ladies night “Aged” birthday party. Maryhill wines, a Pacific Northwest winery, provided me with bottles of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon to taste and serve with a selection of aged meats and cheeses. And, of course, chocolate! It was fun catching up with everyone and enjoying how different wines paired so nicely with different meats and cheeses. I especially loved the pairing of the Maryhill Zinfandel with chocolate laced cheddar. (Yes, that is really a thing and yes it is delicious.)

I’m pretty easy to please. But, this was probably one of my favorite party menus so far. The food was easy to put together with quality, store-bought items and a few pretty platters and bowls. The wine selection was limited (three different red wines and one white wine option) but, tasty and paired wonderfully with the food items. I actually set the entire thing up with the help of a couple of friends after I left work.

The decor for the evening was simple. I like the look of chalkboards for this time of event… something about the classic look of a piece of black slate with white chalked writing. I labeled the food items with a white gel pen on black cardstock and then wrote a quote on a big chalkboard in my kitchen. This party can definitely be brought up another level with a more coordinated and styled look. But, it was also perfect as a laid back event.

These photos were all from my iPhone the evening of the party. Next week I’ll be sharing some more photos, some menu & decor ideas for a slightly fancier “Aged” party, and some “Aged” party printables. I have birthday printables as well as printables I’ve created for a fun “Aged” New Year’s Eve event. But, for now, let me leave you with this question:

How do you feel you’ve improved with age?

Comment below! Leave your twitter handle and I’ll tweet out your comment as well!

Holiday Mingle Pt. 2: Tips for Bloggers from PR Pros

Holiday Mingle Pt. 2: Tips for Bloggers from PR Pros

Bloggers working with companies

One of the craziest things about this whole blogging thing is getting to a point that your email inbox is filled to the gills with companies wanting to work with you for one thing or another. Blogs are great formats for sharing products and opinions about products/ businesses– and, boy are companies realizing it!

Each blogger must come to a decision about his or her blog and whether they want to work with PR companies and what guidelines they plan to utilize. It is a wild-wild-west out here. There are really no set-in-stone rules yet. Many people who blog are not people with years of experience working with publications. Though, the content they are churning out is worth something and the time that they spend on creating that content should be worth something too. But, deciding the worth is the hard part.

It is also quite difficult balancing the line of being simply a promotional fountain that spews out whatever a company will pay for to being an open, honest review with absolutely no obligation to a company. We aren’t quite journalists, yet we aren’t a particular company’s marketing team either. Unless companies, advertisers, or readers pay a blogger then a blogger is making NO money for work that takes hours and hours to complete. A blogger MUST find a comfortable position for where they stand on these issues for their blog.

These are not only issues that I’ve come across in my blog, but they are issues that every blogger I know has had to deal with at one point or another. Which is why I was thrilled to get the PR perspective at a recent Portland Bloggers meet-up sponsored by Little Green Pickle, the 2013 Holiday Mingle.


Tips for Bloggers for Working with Companies and PR Representatives:

These tips come from the awesome Public Relations professionals that donated their time and expertise, and got in a room with their competition, to talk about blogging. If you are a blogger (not just those in Portland) and want to get involved working with some really great PR pros then check out their websites and contact them via email. They love that, by the way! The PR Panel consisted of  Carrie Welch of Little Green Pickle, Meaghan Burns of Broussard Communications , Lisa Hill of Lisa Hill PR, Heather Jones of Heather Jones Consulting, and Vicky Hastings of Maxwell PR . (Click on over to their websites and connect with them via email or Twitter TODAY!)

Tip One: Be Ready to Work with Companies

  • Have your blog up to snuff! Doesn’t everyone have that list of to-do items they want to get done for their blog? I know I do… the PR pros said not to wait any longer. Get your site where you’d like it right away.
  • Have an updated media kit ready to go! A simple one page explanation of your site, your site’s demographics, your numbers, and your guidelines will suffice.

Tip Two: Get Your Numbers Up

Many bloggers hate to talk about this side of the blogging world. Numbers matter. That doesn’t mean that small blogs have no shot. But, it does give incentive to work on getting your numbers up.

  • Most PR pros look for at least 10,000 Page Views Monthly– ideally, Unique Page Views
  • Most PR pros aim for at least 1,000 followers/fans for each social media platform

The panel said that it definitely isn’t ALWAYS about the numbers. Having a dedicated following in a niche field is also a great way to get in with working with good companies.

Tip Three: Act Professional

Think of your blog as your store front. You want to keep it looking nice, have the shelves stocked full (content!), and you want to provide great customer service. Interact with companies in a professional manner by answering those emails, sending updates on posts, and presenting your expectations and guidelines from the beginning.

Now, I’m the first to say that this isn’t easy… bloggers are often working more than on just their blog, life can get busy, and email inboxes can get a little bit insane. The thing to take from this though, is that being upfront, honest, and professional will help you in working with companies.

Want More?

For more tips from the PR Panel at the Holiday Mingle check out the post over on the Portland Bloggers blog. To read more about the Holiday Mingle and the awesome companies that were in attendance click on over to my first Holiday Mingle Re-Cap. To check out the websites of the people that helped make the Holiday Mingle happen…. click one of the logos below!

doubledragon1maxwellpr olympicprovisions

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tailsandtrotters thebentbrick theoriginal

wateravenue broussard communicationsdepaturefishpeoplebesaws

A Fairytale Halloween

A Fairytale Halloween

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Happy Halloween!

For the past six years my husband and I have hosted a Halloween party at our home. We (or, should I say… I) love this holiday. I love the theatrical nature of it. I love the multitude of themes. I just love it.

We’ve done several different themes over the years. So, this year, when we were looking over our budget and schedules we were sad to have to tell everyone that we were not going to have a party. But, just like that, I found a full-time job after two years of searching and working from home part-time. Then, suddenly, the party was back on the table!

Without a ton of planning, we pulled off a fun Fairytale themed Halloween party over this past weekend. Our friends helped out a ton by bringing over food or beverages. We decorated the tables with items we had on had, found inexpensively at the grocery store, or made.

I was a terrible blogger (as I have been over this past month) and didn’t take any photos of the party before the party actually happened! Thankfully, I have two wonderful friends in Bee (The Spicy Bee) and Suzannah (Adventures in Dressmaking) who brought along their cameras and snapped some shots.

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Cinderella’s Pumpkin Cupcakes made by Bee. Recipe is up on her blog today!

This post is going to take a bit to load because it is going to basically be a photo dump of the event. I’m sure I’ll come back to this party next year sharing all the little details. But, for today, I wanted to leave you with some fun Halloween pictures to help put you in the holiday spirit!

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party
Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Fairytale Halloween // A Well Crafted Party

Jason and Suzannah— Iron Man and Black Widow (Iron Man is totally a Modern Day Fairytale, right?)


Our little family as The Little Mermaid– 15 years later.


Bee and her hubby as Little Red and her Lumberjack

I hope you all have a lovely and safe Halloween. Tonight the little guy is going trick or treating for the very first time!

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