Real Party: Aged Birthday Party

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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.

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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!

PNW Blogger Holiday Brunch and Tips for Throwing a Holiday Brunch

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PNW Blogger Brunch

Over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the planning and execution of meet-ups for bloggers in the Portland and Pacific Northwest area. I love getting to meet other bloggers, talk shop, and bring bloggers and businesses together. Well, and let’s not forget, I sure do love a party!

The PNW Blogger meet-ups, ran by Chelsey of The Paper Mama, happen every six months or so and are either held in the Portland or the Seattle area. Our most recent meet-up was in Portland at Union Pine. Myself and Heather of Aspen Summit (formerly the blog Just Lovely) helped plan the event and with the help of several awesome volunteers enjoyed a fabulous party with PNW bloggers.

As with all great parties… we had guest activities, great food, tasty beverages, fabulous guests, and super cool favors. Even if you aren’t an area blogger the ideas used in this meet-up are fabulous for any party you may want to throw. Click the above tabs to read my tips for throwing a holiday brunch and to see our easy, holiday brunch menu.

All the gorgeous photos in this post are curtsey of Motormouth Studios.

And, a HUGE thank you to all of the great businesses below that helped to make the PNW Blogger Holiday Brunch such a fun event:

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Holiday Brunch Tips

A Holiday Brunch is one of my favorite types of holiday parties. It can be done in the daytime, so it doesn’t fill up yet another December evening. Bacon is sometimes involved. Daylight makes photos look so much better than a dimly lit room. The list goes on… In helping to plan this party I fell upon a few tips that might help you in planning your next holiday brunch.

Tips for Hosting a Holiday Brunch

 

1. Have a good selection of food and beverages, but keep it simple.

It is easy to go overboard on food and beverage. Keep it simple and don’t stress yourself out over the food and beverage. Just go for good quality and a couple of different selections for guests to choose between. The most important thing about a brunch is having both sweet and savory, hot and cold. Oh, and you can’t forget the coffee! We had delicious Black Rock Coffee served as one of our beverage selections. We had several different items to choose from for brunch, including a bagel bar filled to the brim with Franz Bakery’s New York Gourmet Bagels. Check out the tab above to see our menu for this holiday brunch— it may give you some good ideas for your holiday party. Our bar, sponsored by The 7th Chamber (a video seeding company that works with blogs), simply had the fixings for bloody marys and mimosas. Perfect for a festive brunch! And, you can’t forget dessert… Pinhole Press sponsored the dessert bar with tons of tasty treats all decked out to coordinate with the event.

craft ideas for a holiday party

2. Have a couple of simple activities.

Super detailed and drawn out activities that EVERYONE has to participate in can be overwhelming. But, a few simple and fun activities can provide conversation starters and keep the party moving. At the PNW Blogger event we were fortunate enough to have Lia Griffith crafting along, teaching people the art of making a paper flower, and Fabric Depot teaching people to craft gift tags out of chalkboard fabric. (By the by… did you know there was such a thing as chalkcloth ??? So cool.) We also had a DIY photobooth area (sponsored by Yoked— a site that helps connect bloggers and businesses) set up with props so that attendees could snap some fun pictures of themselves.

Need ideas for crafting projects for your next holiday party? Check out Lia’s tutorial page on her blog for gorgeous (and easy) paper crafts and Fabric Depot’s blog for holiday fabric projects.

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3. Great Favors

I’m a big fan of party favors. I like favors that guests can use and that don’t blow the bank. With big blogging connective events like this… I love it when we can connect awesome companies with bloggers!

The swag bags were great. I can’t wait to do some crafty projects with the wall paper supplied by Graham & Brown, make candies and wrap them up in cute papers from The Land of Nod, and wear my new glasses from Sunglass Warehouse. You’ll be seeing projects and posts featuring some of the items I got in my swag bag throughout the next couple of months. I encourage you to check out the list of great sponsors on the first tab and visit their sites.

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holiday brunch menu

A good brunch should have both sweet and savory, hot and cold. We had very little set up time the morning of the brunch and limited cooking resources. So, we wanted to keep the menu as simple, but varied as possible. And, because we were also serving alcohol, we needed the menu to be fairly substantial as well.

Our Holiday Brunch Menu

Bagel Bar— Franz Bakery donated an amazing selection of bagels and gluten free bread for the PNW bloggers to enjoy. The company recently came out with a new selection of gourmet bagels that the perfect start to a bagel bar. We served Franz Pizza, Tillamook Cheddar, Pumpkin Spice, and French Toast bagels along with wheat gluten free bread.

Our Bagel Fixins:

  • cream cheese
  • jam
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • smoked salmon
  • a variety of cured meats and sliced ham
  • honey

Yogurt, Honey, & Granola

Boiled Eggs

Snack Bars from Kind Snacks & Rawdacious Desserts

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Our dessert bar had donuts (also a Franz Bakery product), cookies, lemonades, and waters. Everything looked so good using the Pinhole Press stickers and cards!

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And, my favorite part…. the bar! For beverages we had bloody marys, mimosas, orange juice, virgin marys, and Black Rock Coffee Bar coffee.

See, a simple menu can still be fun and satisfy at the same time.

(PS. That gorgeous creature holding the bloody mary is the blogger behind The Boho Mama. Photo by Motormouth Studios)

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Holiday Recipe: Baked Eggnog Custard with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Baked Eggnog Custard Holiday Recipe // A Well Crafted Party

There is nothing quite like a great holiday dessert.

This dessert recipe is perfect for a holiday dinner for two— or you can make a larger batch and serve it at a holiday bash! I love how the baked custard creaminess of this dish makes me want to sit in front of a fire and cuddle up close to someone special. The eggnog, cinnamon, and molasses cookie crumble makes it taste like the holidays. I created this eggnog custard from a seriously delicious eggnog I found at Whole Foods Market called Traderspoint Creamery Grassfed Eggnog.

Eggnog custards are by no means an original idea. A simple google search will yield several delicious recipes. My recipe breaks down the process down to the simplest, easiest recipe that still yielded a delicious result. I upped the difficultly and the taste just a little with the custard toppings. But, if you are looking for a quick, easy dessert to wow your loved ones then this eggnog custard is a great base!

Ingredients for the baked eggnog custard

 

Baked Eggnog Custard with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and a Ginger Molasses Cookie Crumble

Serves 2 — Approximately 1 hour (though, most of that is oven and cooling time)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Traderspoint Creamery Grassfed Nog
  • Dash of Salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (1 for the custard and 2 for the whipped cream)
  • 2 4oz ceramic oven-safe dishes
  • 1 ginger mollasses cookie crumbled
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • One baking dish with at least 1 inch sides

eggnog custard

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, 1 tablespoon of sugar, a dash of salt, and eggnog. Pour the mixture in to the two ceramic dishes.
  3. Put the two ceramic dishes in the deep baking dish. Fill the baking dish with water so that the water comes up halfway along the sides of the ceramic dishes.
  4. Bake the dishes for approximately 40 minutes. The tops of the custards will puff and brown.
  5. While baking the dishes, make your cinnamon whipped cream. Using a handheld or table top mixer, whip the heavy cream until it begins to have stiff peaks. Add in the remaining sugar (2 tablespoons), cinnamon, and vanilla, and mix. Be careful to not over beat your whipped cream or it will begin to clump.
  6. After the custards are out of the oven, let cool, top with whipped cream and the cookie crumble.

Only top the custards with toppings right before serving. Serve at room temperature for a thinner custard. Or, chill in fridge for a few hours for a thicker custard. Both are delicious!

Check out these other great eggnog custard recipes that I’ve tried and liked:

  • Baked Eggnog Custards by The Kitchn — larger yield than my recipe and has alcohol in it! YUM.
  • Real Simple’s Eggnog Custard doesn’t have eggnog in it, but the flavor is amazing and rich.

 

Bacon Wrapped Scallops and a Whole Foods Market Gift Card Giveaway

[tabs] [tab title=”Whole Foods Market Giveaway “] bacon wrapped scallops with fig butter

Over the past month I’ve had several conversations with friends (and foodies) about Thanksgiving and the upcoming meal prep and plans. While some friends couldn’t wait to get to making their traditional items, others were commenting on the fact that they’d love to experiment with new items. Me? I fall into the “loves to experiment” category.

The past few several years we have spent Thanksgiving with friends because we live so far away from family. I love that am able to experiment often with new dishes to bring to our Friendsgiving dinner table. Areas that I find the easiest to experiment with for holiday dishes, even with all kinds of tradition-loving folks around, are the appetizers and desserts!

Which is why when Whole Foods Market approached me with the idea of creating a new holiday dish with ingredients from their store, I immediately went for creating an appetizer and a dessert selection. I created bacon wrapped scallops and elevated them with a fig butter spread. I also made a fun dessert I will share soon!

Bacon Wrapped Scallops with a Fig Spread

Click the tab above for the Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Fig Spread Recipe. Read on below for your chance to win a $25 Whole Foods Gift card so you can recreate this dish or something else entirely!

Enter to win a $25 Gift Card to Whole Foods Market!

This is a flash giveaway and will be over at the end of the day on the 25! That way you might be able to use your gift card for your holiday food shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bacon Wrapped Scallops Ingredients

Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Fig Spread

Ingredients:

  • 12 Whole Catch Sea Scallops (Thawed)
  • 12 slices Wellshire Bacon
  • AFA Organic Fig Spread
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • Bamboo Skewers (optional)
  • Aluminum Foil

Directions:

1. Cut a length of foil off so that it will cover the bottom of a cookie sheet (a sheet that has at least a 1/2 inch edge) crumple up a bit, and then spread onto the cookie sheet. This will be a place for your bacon to rest on and drain as it cooks in the oven. Lay out slices of Wellshire bacon on the foil. Place bacon in cool oven, set at 350 degrees F, and cook for approximately 30 minutes. You’ll want to check your bacon to make sure it is done, but still pliable. Avoid crunchy bacon as it won’t wrap well around the scallop.

2. While bacon is cooking, spread some of the Fig spread on a platter or dinner plate. Spread using the back of a spoon.

3. While bacon is cooking, and after your platter is prepped, toss your scallops in a bowl with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

4. Take Bacon out of oven when done and let cool some.

5. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Put tablespoon of butter in pan. The pan needs to be hot to sear the scallops just right. Place about 6 scallops in the hot pan. DO NOT MOVE. Just let the scallops sizzle for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the scallops using a pair of tongs. Then, let that side sizzle for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. The scallop will come opaque in color and firm. Move out of pan and onto a plate. Sear the remaining scallops.

6. Take bacon pieces and wrap around the scallops. Place on the platter with fig spread. Or, alternatively, place a few on a bamboo skewer and serve on skewer.

Garnish with chopped green onions if desired.

When eating the scallops make sure  you get some of the fig spread in each bite. It is divine! Serve as an appetizer or with a green salad as a light lunch or dinner.

bacon wrapped scallop dinner

 

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Winter Beauty: My Winter Beauty Routines

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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.

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?

 

Holiday Mingle Pt One: Food in Portland

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I was beyond thrilled when one of the Portland Blogger organizers, Bee from The Spicy Bee, worked with local PR company Little Green Pickle to bring together an amazing opportunity for local bloggers. The Holiday Mingle was slotted as an opportunity for local bloggers to get a chance to meet and connect with some amazing restaurants and food vendors from the area– right in time for their holiday projects!  It was also an opportunity to listen to a panel of PR professionals talk about working with bloggers. Only in Portland can you get competitors working together to create an amazing event that hopefully, in the end, is beneficial to everyone involved.

I’m breaking this post up into two posts because there is just so much to cover… so, now I give you the amazing food and some fabulous companies! I’ll be back soon with tips for bloggers from real PR pros!

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The restaurant owners and vendors that came out for the Holiday Mingle brought their A-game. I highly encourage you to read on if you are in Portland looking for great places to eat, are planning on traveling to Portland, or are looking for an item or two for your foodie friends and family for the holidays.

I’ve been impressed with many of these restaurants in the past:

  • The Original Dinerant was the site of last year’s birthday party (where I had amazing food and excellent service) so getting to try some more of their dessert menu and some seriously amazing deviled eggs was certainly a highlight of my evening.
  • The Bent Brick wow’d me back in May with a fabulous Happy Hour selection. They brought their tasty smoked salmon chips (and other tasty menu items) to the Mingle. The only thing missing was their Peat & Peet whiskey drink that I fell in love with on my last visit.
  • Besaws is one of my absolute favorite places to go to brunch. The hubs and I usually bring visiting friends or family there over when they are traveling over the weekend. But, did you know they also do dinner!?
  • Another place I bring visitors to is Departure Restaurant and Lounge— not only does it have an amazing deck with a view of the city, but seriously tasty drinks and foods. Chef Gregory Gourdet showed up at the Mingle to pretty much everyone’s delight.
  • Olympic Provisions is a local salumeria. Their meats make for the best charcuterie platters! I’ve totally dined on and purchased Olympic Provisions goodies before… but, was completely unaware that they also have restaurants in the area. I can’t wait to try them out. (Also, they sell their meats… and, if you didn’t know, my birthday is just around the corner!)
  • Water Avenue Coffee and I go way, way back. 😉 I fell in love with their rich, smooth coffee at a past Portland Bloggers’ meet-up. Since then I’ve visited their shop to also enjoy a great latte, tasty treats, and their laid back atmosphere. Whenever a blogger wants to meet at Water Avenue Coffee for a meeting the answer is always YES.

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The Original Deviled Eggs

And, the new-to-me vendors really gave a great first impression:

  • Tails & Trotters specializes in Northwest Hazelnut Finished Pork. O.M.G. (I don’t use that phrase often.) I couldn’t believe that you could actually TASTE the hazelnuts on the pork that we tried. It was amazing and it will end up in one of my holiday dishes this year. I can’t wait to start recipe testing! Oh, and if you are in NE Portland then you should stop by and grab a ham sandwich at their sandwich counter!
  • Double Dragon‘s appetizers at the event were the first that I had the opportunity to try. They brought a selection of bites that had the most amazing flavors and spices. I’m pretty sure I had a foie gras pate on bread and a mushroom pate.  AMAZING. And, I often frequent the SE area of Portland… I’ll be there to try some of their Banh Mi as soon as possible.
  • Fishpeople Seafood sent everyone home with packs of their Seafood Entree Pouches that have whole food products and no gross ingredients. I can’t wait to try these for dinner or even a quick to make lunch in the office. The ingredient list on the back of the package is the thing that really made me excited. I understand every word on the package and would cook with the ingredients in my own home.

A lot of my readers are from the PNW area and I hope that this list helps bring to light some of the awesome companies we have available. But, even if you aren’t from Portland, some of the products above can be shipped! I would be thrilled to find many of these items under the tree or at the holiday dinner table this season!

A big thank you to Macey Snelson & Chloe from Little Green Pickle for photos!
And to these amazing vendors and professionals that donated their time, expertise, and product:

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doubledragon1maxwellpr olympicprovisions

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wateravenue broussard communicationsdepaturefishpeoplebesaws

Snapshots: Portland Fashion Week Day 1

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Last night was the first evening for Portland Fashion Week. I had the most surreal (and amazing) day in my role as a PFW Style Collective Member. Today I’ll be attending two shows–as a matter of fact, I am writing this post while sitting in the gorgeous lounge section at this shows!

I’ve been MIA on the blog lately, which tears me apart since one of my goals (and something I recommend) is to stay more consistent with my blogging. I honestly can say that I’ve been working on some amazing projects and have been working on a ton of content. I just haven’t gotten it up! But, in this busy time in life I am all about forgiving myself and starting anew. I’ll get back to regular posting ASAP.

On to some snapshots of my day yesterday. I first headed over to our local Lucky Brand store to get style tips from two Lucky Brand stylists. I couldn’t believe that I tried on the first pair of jeans to get an absolute amazing fit! I’ll share more about this experience with outfit details soon!
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After visiting Lucky, I hit PFW all dolled up in my new pair of complimentary plus size Georgia Weekender Jeans! I also wore an old, but favorite sparkly shirt from Old Navy and a favorite pair of booties… Also a few years old. I felt stylish (and comfortable) and didn’t feel out of place at all at Fashion Week. I’m hoping I am this happy with all of my FW looks! Also, super excited to spend time with other Portland area bloggers such as the lovely Sam Rosen (pictured below)
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Thanks so much for reading and keeping up with this fun and crazy blog. I absolutely owe these amazing experience to you, my readers, and I feel so lucky that my work is paying off in such an unimaginably awesome way.

Disclaimer: I received free VIP tickets to Portland Fashion Week after being selected as a PFW style collective member. I did not receive additional payment. I also received complimentary goods from Lucky Brand. I did not receive additional payment. The choice to post was my own and all opinions, as always, are my honest opinions and only reflect my thoughts. Thank you!

Curvy Girl Style: Fall Black & White with a Lolly Watch Pop

Disclaimer: I received a lolly watch with purposes of review. No further compensation was made. All opinions are my own and my choice to post was my own. Please see my policies for more information about how I approach sponsored posts. I’m not getting all the fun though… check below for a 20% discount that you can  use if you want a lolly watch too!

Curvy Girl Style Black and White

I don’t think black and white ever really goes out of style. But, seeing black and white designs becoming more available and getting the Fashion spotlight from Fashion bloggers, magazines, and the runway have made me super excited. I love black and white! This outfit has pretty much made its way into my weekly wardrobe I like it so much.

One way to make your black and white stand out is to accessorize with one or two brightly colored accessories. Don’t go overboard, but instead featured an item you really love. I paired my outfit with the bright yellow of the  Pineapple sentanite lolly watch.

Black and White patterned shoes to complement Fall's graphic black and white styles Black and white accented with bright accessories bright accessories to accent a black and white outfit

Excuse the silly poses in these photos. I was using my self-timer and running back and forth like an idiot hoping that the camera would focus. I seriously don’t know how so many people get great photos all by themselves! Maybe it is a practice makes perfect kind of situation?

Outfit details: I’m a walking Old Navy ad in this outfit. Shirt, pants, shoes, and necklace are all Old Navy from different seasons. The watch is a lolly watch. The red leather bracelet I received in a PNW Blogger goodie bag a long time ago and wear ALL THE TIME. The bracelet is from Flourish Leather.

Pineapple Lolly Watch // 20% Discount for Lolly Watches on A Well Crafted Party #sponsored

More About lolly™  Watches:

The thing that really drew me to lolly watch was that I a) sorely needed a watch and b) loved the bright colors and c) was happy to see that the watches were eco-friendly. I don’t always dress in an eco-friendly fashion… but, when I find items that are created with the environment in mind (recycled materials) then it definitely puts them a step up in my “wanna buy” list.

From the lolly watch website:

Made entirely from harvested sustainable softwood trees, the 5ATM water-resistant fashion watches do not contain any harmful elements and are hypoallergenic, giving you an entirely reaction free, comfortable experience.

Cool right? Wanna hear something even cooler?

The watches SMELL. Like, good. I didn’t read far enough into this part of the watch or didn’t remember when I received my super cool box with the watch inside. I wore the watch all day and kept smelling something sweet throughout the day. I finally thought, “maybe it’s my watch.” And, look at that, the watch smelled like pineapple. Sort of. I didn’t get pineapple so much as just a good-and-sweet-smell. I did think it was kind of genius though! The scent is very subtle as well so I didn’t have to worry about people sneezing around me. Each of the watches are said to have the smell of their watch name (ie Grape= grape scented purple watch).

Get 20% Off for a lolly™  Watch of Your Very Own:

lolly™  Watch is offering A Well Crafted Party readers a 20% discount on their lolly™ juice watches with the code: craftedparty20 . If you get one let me know… I’d love to see it on you and hear what you think of the watch! Oh, to make the whole thing even sweeter? Lolly watch plants a tree with each watch sold!

Want more curvy girl fashion and general fashion tips?

Stay tuned this month as I share lots of fashion related stories in honor of Portland Fashion Week!  I’m a member of the Portland Fashion Week Style Collective and am excited to share my experience and the fun. Portland Fashion Week begins Sept. 12. Tickets are still on sale and they start at just $20!

Trades of Hope Scarf Giveaway

My friend Megan from The Boho Mama is here today sharing an awesome company that she is working with that does great work AND is giving away a beautiful Aqua Scarf today to one lucky reader. Read on and see how you can help Trades of Hope to help women around the world.


Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope is a Fair-Trade, women-owned business that works with artisans and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war torn countries and others have AIDS. These women have never had the chances we’ve had, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them. We help by marketing their products so they can put food on their table, a roof over their head, get medical care and an education for their children.

The Nepali Aqua Scarf is made in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world with an unemployment rate of 42%. Many women are lured into the sex trade to survive, they are sold, stolen or forced into brothels. The women making these scarves are given a way to support themselves and their families, earning a fair wage, and living with hope and dignity.
I joined Trades of Hope because the mission resonated deeply with me – I have a passion for maternal and infant health, and coupled with my small business making and giving ring slings to mothers in need, through Trades of Hope I can also help more women on a larger scale. It’s something fun, doesn’t come with a lot of pressure, and the products are gorgeous and make beautiful and thoughtful gifts.
aquascarfbig AquaScarfModel

Enter to win the Nepali Aqua Scarf from Trades of Hope below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


giveaway week on A Well Crafted Party

This post is part of A Well Crafted Party’s Giveaway Week… we are cleaning out the editorial calendar and sharing the love with free printables, party good giveaways, and more! Don’t miss out on any of the giveaway posts by following along via BlogLovin, Twitter, or Facebook!

PNW Blogger Photo & Craft Event PLUS an Asymmetrical Haircut

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PNW Bloggers' Meet-Up

I feel so fortunate to be in a community rich with collaboration, networking, and support. For those bloggers who read my blog… I can’t even begin to say how important it is to find other bloggers to connect with off-line! It helps to ground me, inspire me, and put things into perspective for me over and over again. For those of you out there reading who aren’t bloggers… It is still important to find a great community to be involved in! Whether you enjoy crafting, reading, beer-making, biking, or something entirely different you can find a group of people that enjoy doing those same things. I google like crazy when I am looking for a community group. Other places to look are on Facebook and Meetup.com 

Pacific Northwest Blogger Craft

At the last Pacific Northwest Blogger meet-up I got to combine two of my joys together… blogging and crafting! I was able to meet a great group of bloggers who also enjoy the crafting. I also got my photo taken by the lovely local photog Cara Denison. I had JUST cut my hair off and was excited to get pics of my new ‘do!

We crafted a tote bag from Brit + Co, a macrame project from The Paper Mama, and (though we didn’t have time) a small party set from me! Click the “PNW Bloggers You Should Know” tab above to see a list of great PNW blogs that were in attendance!

Onto my hair cut…

asymmetrical short hair

asymmetrical short hair

Okay, so I’ve been wanting to do the Asymmetrical haircut for forever now. But, I just didn’t get the guts until recently. I finally took the plunge and got a cut where one side was longer than the other! I didn’t do as drastic as I could have… but, it was certainly a change. I mostly love the cut. It is a lot of fun and I’ve been getting a ton of compliments.

What I don’t like… photos of me with the cut! What!? I think it plays into the whole “beauty is symmetrical” idea and I just cringe at every photo I see of myself with this cut. So weird. I look in the mirror and LOVE it. See a photo and go, “meh.” I don’t know what to look at I think. I currently need a hair cut again and will still be going with the asymmetrical cut for a tad longer. I am going to keep my longer side as long as it is now and cut the shorter side short again. It will be just a tad more dramatic than before and I’m stoked. Hopefully I’ll also figure out a way to pose that shows off the haircut for its true cuteness. Next month I’ll share some of my favorite styling tips and tricks for asymmetrical short hair.

 


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PNW Blogs You Should Know

There are SO many awesome PNW blogs out there… this list doesn’t even come close to covering them all. But, these awesome people were in attendance at the last meet-up and have awesome blogs. Check them out and maybe you’ll find a few new blogs to follow! (Above photos by Cara Denison) (Also, I feel like a bonehead because I completely couldn’t remember a few of the bloggers blog URLs and didn’t put them here on the list. If you were there and didn’t get on the list I AM SO SORRY.. please let me know!)

PNW Blogs You Should Know:

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Ad Space Giveaway

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So, I totally put a ring on it with Passionfruit Ads. (If you haven’t yet… the free month is up in September and the offer for getting a year for just $50 is up as well!) To celebrate my new commitment I thought I’d do a little giveaway and discount code for advertising on my site. I really want to use my site to help promote the companies and people I believe in, in addition to sharing a bit of my crazy world. So, if you would like YOUR site or business to be something that I share with readers and the world read on, read on.

The ad spaces sold for my site appear on all pages of the site and move up along the sidebar and rotate area on the sidebar depending on the page and purchased ad. That way you have the most opportunity to get seen on my site. But, in addition to an ad on my site, I include a mention within a blog post and social media mentions (more or less depending on ad space purchased.) This way you get noticed by more than just the people who are visiting the site on their personal computers. Prices for my ad spaces begin at just $15.

Wanna win a FREE ad space on A Well Crafted Party? Fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

Prize: A Well Crafted Sponsor Ad Space worth $50—My most comprehensive package yet! Blogs/Shops purchasing this spot will receive the following: 1 Blog Post featuring a review of a product (if sent)/ Guest Post Opportunity/ or intro to their site , 1 300X300 Ad space that resides on ALL pages of the website for 30 days, a short feature in my “Sponsor Spotlight” each month, & 5 pins or tweets throughout the month! These sponsors also have the opportunity to provide a giveaway item for any giveaway worth $50 or more. (This could include ad space or product.)

Rules: This giveaway is open to anyone with a blog or business worldwide as long as the blog/business does not violate the following rules: 1. Is a SPAM site 2. Is not family friendly (promotes sex, the sale of alcohol without a splash page, or inappropriate language or content). Family members of A Well Crafted Party’s owner are not allowed to win. Giveaway winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter and notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway begins today, August 29 and runs through Sept. 6 at 12:00 am PST.

I’m also offering a 20% off coupon code for the remainder of the giveaway time. If you purchase an ad space and WIN the prize above you will get a full refund of your purchased ad space. Use the code GIVEAWAYWEEK for your 20% discount!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


giveaway week on A Well Crafted Party

This post is part of A Well Crafted Party’s Giveaway Week… we are cleaning out the editorial calendar and sharing the love with free printables, party good giveaways, and more! Don’t miss out on any of the giveaway posts by following along via BlogLovin, Twitter, or Facebook!

Free Potluck Printables

Pork Siracha Tapas

photo via The Spicy Bee

Printable forks used as confetti — photo by Instagrammer KellyJones (Check out her etsy store Meme & Saysay)

Printable forks used as confetti — photo by Instagrammer KellyJones28 (Check out her etsy store Meme & Saysay)

At the recent Tapas Competition that I helped to host I created a set of printables to coordinate with the Tiny Prints Potluck invitation set that was provided for the event. I wanted to share these printables along with a few others I created. The below sets include: recipe cards that can be used for sharing recipes at a potluck or just in the home; potluck cards to display in front of donated dishes at a potluck; and printable forks. We cut out the forks and used them as a fun confetti throughout the party. They’d also be great for use in floral arrangements or as decorative items. I created a fall set and a holiday set so that you can be prepared for any upcoming potluck parties! If you use the sets I’d LOVE to see photos of the events!

Free Potluck Printables from A Well Crafted Party

Free Potluck Printables:

Potlucks are such fun ways of sharing hosting responsibilities and getting to taste dishes from many of your friends and family. One way to make potlucks look more like a coordinated party is to use sets of printables to connect everything together. In this day and age when people are being careful about what they are putting into their bodies or are aware of their allergies, it is also important to label items at potlucks.

Instructions: Print items on cardstock in full color and cut out.

All of my free printables are for personal use only. Please email me if you’d like to use them for your business. Need a particular color scheme? I’ll change the color scheme and send you all three printables for $5! Email me at jenni[at]awellcraftedparty[dot]com.

Loving all these free printables and want to fuel more free printable designs?

Cups of coffee are appreciated!

 

Sizes




giveaway week on A Well Crafted Party

This post is part of A Well Crafted Party’s Giveaway Week… we are cleaning out the editorial calendar and sharing the love with free printables, party good giveaways, and more! Don’t miss out on any of the giveaway posts by following along via BlogLovin, Twitter, or Facebook!

Style Shoot: Ocean Party + Madhouse Collection Giveaway

Disclaimer: I received free product to use in the pictured party and to give away to readers. No further compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

ocean-popup-party01

Ocean Pop-Up Party

When MADHOUSE collection contacted me about their party goods I was over the moon because I had actually not only been eyeing their products, but had been planning on doing a pop-up party at the Oregon coast. When things like this happen it sort of just feels serendipitous, right? Unfortunately, life got in the way and the pop-up party kept getting postponed and people kept canceling due to the craziness of the Summer. Last weekend I just couldn’t wait any longer so the hubs and I loaded up the car and drove out to the beach for a fun pop-up party for two. We got some looks on the beach when we were setting up this lovely little table and eating our lunch in style. But, it was one of the nicest dates I’ve had in quite some time and one of the best beach visit’s we’ve ever had. Even better? No sand in our lunch from eating on the ground!

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About MADHOUSE Collection from Michael Aram Designs:

Michael Aram is a sculpture and designer that specializes in beautiful home and dining goods. His work can be seen in stores such a Macy’s and Nordstrom. MADHOUSE is a project created to reflect the way that people are entertaining today. The collection makes an effort to allow people to entertain in an elegant style no matter the occasion. The collection includes dinnerware, service ware, and drinkware of both disposable and reusable items in gorgeous designs.

MADHOUSE Collection Ocean Paper Products Giveaway:

I’m really excited to be able to give away some of the gorgeous items that I used in the above photos. MADHOUSE provided a set for me and a set for YOU. Enter in the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win the following from A Well Crafted Party and MADHOUSE Collection. Giveaway open to US Residents of 18 years of age or older with a US mailing address. Entering the giveaway means that you have read and complied with the giveaway’s rules and regulations. The contest goes from today until the end of the day on Sept. 1 (Sept. 2nd at 12:00 am PST).

MADhouse collection giveaway on A Well Crafted Party

Two Sets of Translucent Twig Cutlery / 1 Set of 8 Ocean Fine Paper Dinner plates / 1 Set of 8 Ocean Fine Paper Luncheon Plates / 1 Set of Ocean Paper Luncheon Napkins / 1 Set of Ocean Paper Beverage Napkins / 1 Set of Ocean Paper Guest Towels 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


giveaway week on A Well Crafted Party

This post is part of A Well Crafted Party’s Giveaway Week… we are cleaning out the editorial calendar and sharing the love with free printables, party good giveaways, and more! Don’t miss out on any of the giveaway posts by following along via BlogLovin, Twitter, or Facebook!

Giveaway Week

giveawayweek-post

I let things get backed up in my blog logs for quite a while and ended up with a whole bunch of freebies and a fun giveaway that still needed to be written about and shared.

So, in honor of cleaning out the editorial calendar I worked and worked this weekend to make this week extra fun. I’m dubbing it, “Giveaway Week!” (Super creative, right?) I’ve got 6 posts coming up this next week with goodies for you! There will be an awesome discount, a couple of giveaways, and three sets of free printables.

I might be a little crazy releasing all this fun in one week- but, I have so much content coming up next month that I have to get these items out NOW!

Check back today at 1PM PST to see a little party I threw last week and the opportunity to win some gorgeous party goods.

If you don’t want to miss any of the freebies then follow along via BlogLovin, Facebook, or Twitter!

 

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