What are your favorite holiday traditions? My little family have begun traditions over the past few years that I hope will last our lifetime and possibly end up as traditions my kids keep with their kids someday. One of my favorite holiday traditions that we try to do every year is visiting Oregon Zoo’s Zoo Lights. This year the whole family attended and I got to share my joy of holiday lights and zoo animals with two very excited little guys! Read on to see my tips for an enjoyable #ZooLightsPDX experience, cute photos of kiddos, and a chance to win a package of 4 tickets to this year’s Zoo Lights!
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If you were following my Instastories or Snapchat last week you might have seen my very, very excited posts about Zoo Lights. I just can’t help it. I LOVE the feeling that this season brings and the twinkly lights just push it over the moon for me. Don’t even get me started on how I feel about Santa and snow this season. Heart eyes all day long.
Plan your trip— Zoo Lights this year has some pretty great hours and fun extra opportunities. Plan your trip to make the most of your budget and experience. ZooLights is open 5 PM to 8 PM on Value Nights and 5PM to 9PM all other nights. ZooLights is open 7 days a week until January 1st with the exception of December 24th and 25th. Zoo Members get discounts on food purchases, gift store purchases, the carousel, and train.
Tip: Take public transportation! While we had no problems with parking on a Thursday night and found that the parking fee was reasonable… I do recommend taking public transportation. Public transportation can drop you right off at the zoo and will give you a discount for your tickets. If the parking lot is full there is a parking shuttle from the overflow parking area, but it can mean some waiting in the cold. Might as well do a park and ride and make your trip less of a hassle.
Dress appropriately— It is Oregon in winter. It often rains and up where the zoo is located is often cooler than other areas of Portland. Dress for cold weather. We have gone to zoo lights for nearly 5 years now and I think this was the first year that we REALLY dressed for it. We had many layers on, a blanket for the kiddo in his stroller, and outerwear that was rain resistant. Thankfully we barely got a drizzle while there, but I was glad that we were prepared.
Get tickets for the Zoo Train— Maybe it is just because I have two little boys who love trains… but, this was my favorite part of the whole trip. The trains are decorated and drive through the zoo where you get to see the lights all while in a comfortable little cart. I had been waiting for huge lines at the train, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they gave us tickets for certain times which meant that when we went to the train we had a less than 5 minute wait!
Get your family photo in the tunnel of lights! There are so many great photo opportunities at Zoo Lights, but this is my favorite. I am so glad that it is a staple in the zoo light decorations and comes back year after year.
Must be 18+ years of age or older, and a US resident to enter to win. Winner will be notified via email, so please leave a valid email address within your comment on with Rafflecopter. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning email to claim their prize. If they do not respond a new winner will be chosen. Upon confirmation, tickets will be placed in will call at the zoo under the winner’s name. Tickets are valid for one-time use from completion of contest through the last night of ZooLights (January 1, 2017). Visit the Zoo Website for more information about ZooLights. Value of four tickets is $59.80. No cash value. Non-transferrable.
I seriously cannot stop sharing images from this amazing night. Our tenth anniversary party was absolutely an excuse for us to celebrate our marriage with the people that we’d gained over the last ten years—the people who are our support group now (and always). It was also an excuse to eat ridiculously good food and drink some delicious beverages. Andina Restaurant in Portland, Oregon provided the perfect venue and menu for our little shindig.
(Please note that this post is not sponsored in any way.)
(Amazing photos by Mary Boyden of Mary Boyden Photography)
There were several different choices and price points to create the party menu that we wanted. We chose to do a four course meal along with Tres Salsas Con Pan (breads with salsas/dipping sauces). My favorite part was being able to let my guests actually peruse the menu and select items that they wanted. I have done every style of dinner party there is from family style to buffet to plated… but, getting to have choices really made me feel like I was able to treat my guests. For our menu guests were able to choose from three selections of each of the courses. We chose those three selections prior to the day, but the guests got to choose their own items in the moment. I created the pictured menus because I wanted the menus to match the rest of the paper goods. The restaurant will make menus for you based on your selections if you aren’t as particular as I am. ::wink::
My husband and I got married right after I graduated college in 2006. We didn’t have much of a budget or really any clue what we would really want in a wedding or large party. It was pre-Pinterest after all. We had a beautiful low-budget wedding with our friends and family that sparked my interest in throwing events. This party was ten years in the making and I am so excited to share the photos by Mary Boyden of our 10th Anniversary Party Decor!
Over the course of the years we grew our family and became close with new friends who didn’t know us back when we got married. We knew that when our ten year anniversary came along that we’d like to take a moment to not only celebrate us, but to celebrate our friends and family a bit. We wanted to say thank you to those who had helped us make it the past few years as we have experienced the ins and outs of life. We believe in love and romance. But, we also believe in working on a relationship and the importance of a great support system. This 10th anniversary party was really our way of getting to say thank you.
The look of the party has changed in my head over time, and didn’t really get solidified until I chose our venue, but I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way that it turned out. It was everything I had dreamed it would be and so much more. I still sit and dream about this day at times!
We picked Andina for our party venue for a variety of reasons, one of which was that we LOVE the food and the other being that the Tupai room is a gorgeous space that fit our party perfectly. Once we chose Andina, with their clean modern venue space and bright dishes, I knew that we wanted to have a bold, clean and whimsical design.
I LOVE paper goods. Designing digital goods for events has been a huge passion of mine. It honestly was the most exciting part of the event for me as well as the most difficult. Once I finally nailed down the invitation designs that got me excited everything else fell into place seamlessly. I designed all the paper items and printed and trimmed them through a local print shop. I then put together the details by hand. It helps that this was a party for 35 rather than 300!
My second favorite detail were the flowers. I knew I wanted to order some bright, slightly whimsical arrangements, but hadn’t landed on a style until I found these fun geometric terrariums at Target. I then found the perfect mix of blooms through FiftyFlowers.com and built my arrangements using floral foam to help keep them sturdy. The larger arrangements featured blooms inside and outside of the terrarium. (Post coming soon!)
At our wedding I had created newspaper programs about the two of us since I had gone to school for journalism. For this party I created small magazines featuring our story, photos, order of events and our vows. We featured the newspaper on one of the tables so that guests could look through the past a bit. (Post coming soon!)
We wanted the party to be fun for our guests so we chose a “party animal” theme to help guide guests to their tables. We spray painted toy animals and gave the centerpiece animals a bit of a party upgrade with hats and bows. Each table had a different animal and the escort cards had the corresponding animal on them to let guests know where to go as they entered. We also had a fun photo backdrop created by using black and white 4X6 photos. Guests used an Instax camera to take pictures of themselves in front of the wall of photos from the past ten years. (Post coming soon!)
Our favors were bright yellow tote bags that read, “By the way, I’m wearing the smile that you gave me.” They had a tag that read, “Enjoy a midnight snack. Salty and sweet, just like your friendship, an absolute treat!” We included a LaCroix flavored water along with a bag of chips and homemade sugar cookies. (Post coming soon!)
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have a photo booth. I also knew that I wanted to commemorate the many memories and people in our lives somehow. I decided to pull the two together and create a photo-wall photo booth. It is perhaps my favorite backdrop I’ve done yet. I can’t wait to share more… post coming soon!
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