Holidays in Portland: Zoo Lights + A Giveaway!

Holidays in Portland: Zoo Lights + A Giveaway!

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!

This post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. To learn more about my posting policies regarding sponsored posts please visit my policies page. As always, thank you for reading more about the companies that help support this blog. 

Holiday Events in PDX - Oregon Zoo's Zoo Lights at A Well Crafted Party

Holiday Events in PDX - Oregon Zoo's Zoo Lights at A Well Crafted Party

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.

Tips for Making the Most out of Your Zoo Lights Experience

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.

Take advantage of Zoo Value Nights: Monday through Thursday November 28th through December 15th tickets are $9.95 (adults), $7.95 (seniors), and $4.95 (youth) with $1.50 off with proof of Trimet fare.


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.


Holiday Events in PDX - Oregon Zoo's Zoo Lights at A Well Crafted Party

Holiday Events in PDX - Oregon Zoo's Zoo Lights at A Well Crafted Party

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.

Holiday Events in PDX - Oregon Zoo's Zoo Lights at A Well Crafted Party


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!

Holiday Events in PDX - Oregon Zoo's Zoo Lights at A Well Crafted Party


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.

Win 4 Tickets to Oregon Zoo’s Zoo Lights 2016

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winter Beauty: My Winter Beauty Routines

Winter Beauty: My Winter Beauty Routines


Winter is one of my favorite seasons. I love warm drinks and sparkly lights. I love the holiday parties. I love the fashion of Winter—layers, scarves, boots, coats, and tights make me happy.

But, in the cold of my bathroom on winter mornings and evenings I have absolutely no desire to do my normal beauty routine. I don’t want to take the time to shave, just to step out of my warm shower to chilly air that bristles the hair on my legs all over again. Washing my face at night seems tedious. The call of my cozy bed and layers of blankets seems so much more appealing than taking the time to rub lotion all over me.

Of course, during the winter I need the extra beauty routines the most, heaters and layers of clothing dry my skin up terribly. By mid-winter I am an itchy mess if I don’t take the time to moisturize. Icy wind chaps my lips in an instant. My face breaks out more than ever due to a combination of holiday eating and dry skin.

Lately I’ve been trying to simplify my beauty routine so it isn’t such a pain to do during the winter.

Morning Winter Beauty Routine with Smooth Naturals

Smooth Naturals The Scrub Sugar and Smooth Lips

My Morning Winter Beauty Routine

  1. Brush my teeth —Yep, putting it here. Basic hygiene and beauty routine basic numero uno.
  2. Shower — Sometimes, in the dead of winter when I sleep in, I take the toothbrush into the shower and do my teeth brushing routine as I soak. Some think that is gross. I think it is a smart use of valuable sleeping time.
  3. Wash my hair—I’m a weirdo that washes my hair daily. I’ve tried not doing it… but, my hair/body combo is just way too oily. I feel gross and my hair looks a little like a grease spill.
  4. Exfoliate in the shower BEFORE shaving— I don’t do this daily, more like once a week. And, I recently discovered Smooth Naturals Body Scrub and am loving it. The sugar grains are large and chunky so I can feel them over my skin and can easily rinse them off. Sometimes, with smaller grains of sugar, I feel like I don’t know when to stop exfoliating and my skin ends up raw. This particular scrub smells like brown sugar and I love it.
  5. Shave— I am a once-a-day shaver in the Summer months. During the winter I stick with once-a-day for my underarms and go to every-other-day for my legs.
  6. Moisturize—This is my least favorite part of the morning. The air is cold. I want to get dressed and go… but, if I don’t put on some lotion then I feel itchy during the day.
  7. Makeup— My makeup routine is another post entirely. Lets just say that I’ve gotten my routine down to the simplest form it can go without going bare faced every day. When I was younger (pre-kiddo) I always wore eyeliner, eyeshadow, base, blush, mascara, powder, and lipstick or gloss. Now-a-days it is more like a thin base layer to even out skin, a touch of creme blush, mascara, and a swipe of my Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer.

All of that looks like A LOT. But, really, it all takes about 15 minutes max. If I choose to blow dry my hair (some days I let it air dry) then I add another 8 or so minutes to the routine.

My Day Time Beauty Routine

I don’t have time to do a lot of beauty maintenance during the day. But, there are a few items I carry in my purse in case of touch-ups and such.

  1. Lip Balm— Smooth Naturals sent me their Smooth Lips Balm and I have been keeping it in my purse for daily moisturizing. The balm is good, exactly what you want in a balm. The thing I love about it though is the fact that the large tube (much larger than a normal tube of balm) is never lost in my purse. I can easily reach in and pull it out in a hurry. And, if you’ve seen my purse, you know that is a feat.
  2. Lip Color— I switch up my lip color all the time. Currently my purse is holding three different Burts Bee’s lip colors (a gloss and two Lip Shimmers) as well as my favorite lipstick.
  3. Floss
  4. Face Wipes— Sometimes the heater is on too much and I sweat, or my makeup feels grimy, or I eat something and want to wash my hands on the fly. I’ve been addicted to my Puffs Fresh Faces since I received them over the Summer. I’ve bought extras for my purse, desk at work, and gym bag.
Burts Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser

Burts Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser

My Evening Winter Beauty Routine

  1. Brush my teeth— Yep, again. 😉
  2. Wash my face— When I was a pimply faced teen I washed my face daily with all kinds of harsh cleansers. Then, in adulthood, I found that actually just rinsing my face in the evening did wonders for my skin so I threw out facial cleansers all together. However, as I age, I’ve found that my skin is breaking out more often and that a good facial cleanser is needed again. I tried the medicated cleansers and ended up with incredibly dry, flaky skin. Now I use Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser and have liked the results thus far. (I’ve been using it for about three months now.) The soap doesn’t feel sticky (though, it is a little gooey) and doesn’t leave a residue. I recommend it to my friends looking for less harsh alternatives to the normal, everyday face wash. Though, I also warn them, it doesn’t foam up at all. It took me a little getting used to!
  3. SLEEP — Or, at least I try.

Other than the items listed below I try my best to exercise, eat a nutritious diet, drink water, and take vitamins. I’m not the best at keeping up good habits unfortunately. But, I always go back to them.

What is your Winter beauty routine?


Recipe: Honey Orange Ginger Old Fashioned

Recipe: Honey Orange Ginger Old Fashioned
Okay, now… there may be a few people who claim this isn’t an Old Fashioned. It might have changed just a little too much to be considered related to the yummy traditional cocktail. But, I formulated this recipe with the idea of an Old Fashioned in mind.
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