Happy Birthday to A Well Crafted Party

Happy Birthday to A Well Crafted Party

Today my TimeHop app reminded me that it is a very special day for this blog… it’s our birthday!

Six years ago today I finished my blog designed, purchased www.awellcraftedparty.com and set up everything to publish my very first blog post on April 27, 2010.

A Blog Six Years Later

Six years! Holy cow. In the last six years I’ve published 853 blog posts with 2,471 comments and approximately 400,000 page views. I started the blog before kids were even really in our minds. I started it to be solely a party blog featuring my parties and DIY party items. It has evolved to be such a wonderful avenue for me to connect with people. It now is a lifestyle blog—still with plenty of party emphasis to fulfill that personal need— about everything from DIY tutorials to motherhood.

I feel so grateful for this blog and what it has brought into my life. I’ve made some of my best friends through this blog. My sons have been announced and celebrated here. I’ve experienced some seriously amazing experiences— such as this dinner at Urban Farmer— restaurants, locations and brands. I was able to stay home with my first son for the first two years of his life because of A Well Crafted Party. I owe my current job to the work that I did on this blog. I’m pretty sappy about it all really.

In honor of the big birthday, I thought I’d share some of my favorite (and your favorite) blog posts over the years:

Most Pinned Post – Amaretto Sour

My recipe for a classic Amaretto Sour is the top pinned post of my blog and is currently the top visited post. All I can say is my readers have great tastes because the Amaretto Sour is both delicious and EASY to make!

 

Most Popular Download – Free Printable Blog Planner

Hands down the most popular download I have on my site (and I have a lot) is the free printable Blog Planner. I love writing about blogging and working with other bloggers so much that I run (with a lot of help from the leadership team) a local blogging resource and community called Portland Bloggers. This printable was an idea that happened because of this passion around four years ago and I keep refining it and adding to it year over year.

 

 

very first blog banner for A Well Crafted Party

My very first blog banner…

Blog Design

My blog has changed designs quite a few times over the years… I’m already itching to change things up again! After my last redesign I really went through my past designs and my new goals for the blog. It is one of my favorite posts and often one that people stumble upon when looking for blog design ideas.

 

Hey Girl Party

 

Favorite Parties

I really, really can’t pick a FAVORITE party because there are so many that I like. I’ve done a lot of styled shoots over the years— and I feel so fortunate to be able to do that— but, real parties are where my heart is because I want people to get to enjoy an experience.

  • The Hey Girl Party will always be a favorite because it was such a fun theme and because it was for a dear friend.
  • My son’s second birthday party was a town-themed party where we created an entire town out of cardboard. Friends pitched in and helped to make it AMAZING.
  • I’ve had the opportunity to work with great brands that I’d never in a million  years think I’d have the opportunity to do. This tapas party with Whole Foods was such fun to help create!

Series on Working in Motherhood

 

I get to share people’s stories and write about things that matter to me.

I am pretty sappy right now about my blog and what this little space means to me. Part of that is that I have a space where I get to share about things that matter to me and that I think might matter to my readers. One great example of that is getting to write about working mothers. It means so much to me and I know it means a lot to the women out there that come across these stories while struggling with their own journey in working in motherhood.

thank you

Thank you for being a part of this party! Like great wines, this is only getting better with age!

I so appreciate you taking the time to read and share this blog. You’re awesome.

Image credits: Header, Featured and Working Moms Images by www.mommabearmag.com | Balloons Image by www.momentsbymacey.com | All other images by me unless otherwise noted

Working Moms: Artist & Mother of Two

Working Moms: Artist & Mother of Two

This post is a part of a blog series of stories of working moms. I’m excited to share 13 stories from real working mothers. I also really would like to hear YOUR story and I’d love to hear it. Keep the conversation going in the comments & on social media using #wellcraftedworkingmoms. A huge thank you to the women who volunteered to share their stories, Mary Boyden of Mamma Bear Magazine for her photography and Madeline Roosevelt for hair and makeup!

 

I met Erika about three years ago at a couple Pacific Northwest Blogger events. She has such personality and is incredibly fun to be around. You also really want to get on her Christmas card list as she sends the best cards! Erika creates Art Every Day and shares it on her Instagram account with the hashtag project #makeart2016.

I really wanted to share Erika’s story because she is one of the many working moms out there that also are their own full-time childcare. Some working moms work their schedules out so that they are home throughout the day and work before their kids wake or after their partner is home for the day. It takes all kinds and I wanted to try to share as many examples as I could get!

Meet Erika, a working mom

Erika is married and has two kids, Nora (age 3) and Everett (age 1). She worked throughout her pregnancies and was fairly busy during her last pregnancy. Erika is a full-time artist.

 

Working Moms series: Erika about being a full time artist — A Well Crafted Party

Six years ago Erika left her corporate job in finance to go after her love of painting.

“It was grueling and extremely stressful. I was working sometimes 60 hour work weeks. I kept thinking to myself, if I was able to invest this much time working at a job that I didn’t love, then I should be able to make the time to go for a passion project” said Erika of her decision to leave the traditional workforce.

Erika started things out slowly having coffee with a friend who also wanted to leave the traditional nine to five life. They kept meeting up and talking about goals, eventually, one winter Erika made a goal to make and sell ten paintings by the end of summer. She was hooked and started applying for art shows.

She explains, “This is my dream job and it’s a lot of hard work but it’s extremely worth it and very rewarding.. similar to having kids!  An artist has many hats, it isn’t just about making the art, its also a lot of marketing and selling the work.  You have to love it, in order to be an artist and do whatever it takes. Being brave or at least being braver everyday is key.”

 

A typical work day in the life of an artist that is a mother to two

Erika wakes up everyday at five in the morning—even weekends! She wakes up and checks emails and work on her Make Art Everyday project. If she is busy she will give herself thirty minutes to an hour to complete. She then catches up on emails and checking her planner for projects that she is currently working on. After that she begins working on commission or client work.

Erika’s children typically wake up around 7:30 in the morning. She spends her time with her children and then sometimes gets in an hour of work around nap time. She spends the day with her kiddos and her husband after work but around 8 in the evening she will head back to her home studio which she shares with her husband and work a few more hours. She typically goes to bed around 10 to 10:30 so that she can be rested and up again at five!

 

"I hope to share that drive and work ethic with my kids. That handwork is very valuable and anything is possible if you put your heart into your work." Erika  a full time artist and mom featured on A Well Crafted Party

When my kids are adults and look back at their childhood, I want them to know…

 

“My mother was a working mother. She worked extremely hard and was able to raise 3 children. Have a hot dinner on the table every night and kept a clean house. She taught me a crazy work ethic. She showed me hard work really does pay off and that you need to jump into the water with both feet. She taught me how to go for it.  Even though she doesn’t really understand my art career, since it’s very non traditional,” said Erika.

She continued, ” I hope to share that drive and work ethic with my kids. That handwork is very valuable and anything is possible if you put your heart into your work.”

 

Maternity Leave, Childcare & Mom Guilt… oh MY!

 

I absolutely had to ask a few questions about some of the topics that often come up for the working mom such as maternity leave, childcare, and the challenges & joys of working. I love the answers so much that I felt it was best to just put it in their own words. Read on to learn about the ups, downs, ins and outs of Erin’s working mom experience!

 

Continue Reading…

Working Moms: Office Manager & Mother of One

Working Moms: Office Manager & Mother of One

This post is a part of a blog series of stories of working moms. I’m excited to share 13 stories from real working mothers. I also really would like to hear YOUR story and I’d love to hear it. Keep the conversation going in the comments & on social media using #wellcraftedworkingmoms. A huge thank you to the women who volunteered to share their stories, Mary Boyden of Mamma Bear Magazine for her photography and Madeline Roosevelt for hair and makeup!

 

I met Jenny Owens several years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We typically saw each other about once or twice a year at party or two… until this past year when our mutual friend found out that both of his friends named Jenni were pregnant and due within a couple of weeks of each other. I quickly messaged Jenny and very much valued her friendship though Facebook messenger over the course of our respective pregnancy and infancy weeks. Her little man is adorable and sure looks cute with my little guy. Jenny is funny, smart, kind and—possibly my favorite thing about her— knows how to use a sarcasm well. I’m excited to introduce you to Jenny O!

Meet Jenny, a working mom

Jenny and her husband Nathan have been friends for over twenty years and have been married for seven of those years. She gave birth to their son approximately five months ago and it was not an easy road to get to where they are today.

“It took five years of trying, two miscarriages, and deciding we were done trying; and then I conceived unexpectedly.  At the time we joked that it was either going to be ‘three strikes you’re out’ or ‘third time’s the charm’!” said Jenny. The third time ended up being a charmer for sure.

Jenny has worked for a a branch of Edward Jones, a brokerage firm, for the past eight hers. At the time of her pregnancy she was working full-time as an office manager— Senior Branch Office Manager. She worked right up until labor—literally!

“I didn’t think it was real labor, so I made it a point to work until market close (1 PM PST) before I had my husband pick me up so I could soak in a bath for pain-management. Five hours later I had my son in my arms!” she explained. (Check out her birth story here!)

 

Meet Jenny O, a working mom! Read her story at A Well Crafted Party.

 

Why work?

Jenny elaborated on why she works which I hadn’t asked any of the women in the interviews, but now I wish I had! Some women have to work to make ends meet. Some women need to work to feel fulfilled. Some women feel that they need to work, but don’t feel they are in the right job. It takes all kinds, right? Jenny works for a number of reasons including feeling that it is just in her personality. But, beyond that, she has a very personal reason as to why she works.

“I work for a number of reasons, but first and foremost because I am the personality type that needs to work.  My husband always says that he’d retire yesterday, if he could, whereas I’m pretty sure I’ll have at least part-time work for the rest of my life,” Jenny explained.

She continued,  “Also, my dad died when I was barely a teenager, so I’ve seen that a person’s Happily Ever After can take a thoroughly unexpected nosedive, and it’s always been important to me to be able to take care of myself by myself, Just In Case.  Having my own income is a large piece of that, and even more essential now that, should the worst happen, I’d also have a small child to care for.”

Jenny has chosen to work her particular job because she is good at it and that is satisfying. She genuinely loves helping people with their finances.

“And honestly?  I love money.  Rather, I love what money allows us to do- travel is very important to us as a family, and the extra money from my income (since we try to ‘live’ on my husband’s alone) makes it easier to go to some of the far-flung places on our list” she said.

 

Stories on working in motherhood  - A Well Crafted Party

A typical work day in the life of an office manager that is a mother to one

While she doesn’t feel quite like there is a typical for her and her family yet Jenny shared a bit of what her day may look like on a work day. She gets up just shy of 6:30 in the morning to do the wake-up routine of feeding and dressing her son. She goes downstairs and does her morning yoga routine with her son watching from his swing. She’ll then make breakfast for herself and sit on the floor as her son is working on his tummy time while she eats. He goes with her as she gets dressed for the day, but around 7:45 AM she leaves for work and her husband then takes over primary care and getting their son to care for the day.

Jenny gets to work around eight in the morning where she has half an hour of quiet time to make herself tea and review emails before the office opens for business.

She notes, “I treasure that quiet time way more than I used to!”

Throughout the day she takes two pumping breaks and one short break for a walk. She says she is fortunate to have a large break room to herself that she is able to secure for privacy while pumping. Her walk in the afternoon helps her clear her head and stay focused on her work. In addition to the breaks she sets her alarm to go off every thirty minutes to remind herself to get up and stretch.

 

Going back to work after maternity leave and more stories from working moms - A Well Crafted Party

She leaves work around 4:30 and heads home to greet her family and then immediately goes upstairs and changes into her “civilian clothes.”

Jenny explained,” That’s a tip my mom passed on to me, as a way to really mark the boundary between “Working Woman” and “Mommy”, and I find it very effective from a mental standpoint.  Not to mention a laundry standpoint!  I don’t care if my son blurps all over my civvies, but it’s such a pain when he manages to get my office wear, because sometimes those stains just won’t budge.”

Her husband and she trade off food-prep duties, but lately it has been him taking point on that because she is in charge of the bedtime routine. The bedtime routine stats around 6:30 in the evening and he is typically asleep by 7:00 PM. After he is asleep Jenny will head downstairs to write or possibly watch a little tv with her husband. She starts getting herself ready for bed around 8:00 PM and tries to be asleep no later than ten in the evening.

 

When my kids are adults and look back at their childhood, I want them to know…

 

“I really, really hope my son will understand that I work not because I didn’t like being around him- I actually like it quite a bit, certainly way more than I thought I would- but because it’s what’s right for me.  The classic, ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ bit” said Jenny.

She hopes that her example will show him that he can live a life that he wants—even if it’s hard— as long as he is willing to work for it.

She continued, “And I hope he internalizes the lesson that you should not make anyone but yourself the center of your Universe: it’s an unfair amount of pressure to expect someone else to give your life meaning and worth.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t devote any (or even a lot!) of your time and energy to someone you love, just that you shouldn’t let them take more than is healthy for you to give.”

Maternity Leave, Childcare & Mom Guilt… oh MY!

 

I absolutely had to ask a few questions about some of the topics that often come up for the working mom such as maternity leave, childcare, and the challenges & joys of working. I love the answers so much that I felt it was best to just put it in their own words. Read on to learn about the ups, downs, ins and outs of Erin’s working mom experience!

 

Continue Reading…

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