Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Making Things Happen Intensive - A Very Personal Recap

Two weeks ago, I had no idea that the 3 hour drive that I was about to make to Chapel Hill, North Carolina would change my life so drastically.

Two weeks ago, I was a tired, stretched-far-too thin mom, wife, and business woman, doing my best to take care of everyone and everything around me, while not taking care of myself…at all.

To those around me, I was an outgoing, friendly, successful gal who had it all going for her.
Little did they know how deceiving that perception was. 

That once confident, determined, go-getter girl was broken.  Defeated.  Full of self-doubt.

Somewhere along the road of raising four kiddos, giving my all to my family, and building a business from the ground up, I lost myself.

I was lost.  I was unhealthy.  My state of mind was in an ugly place.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am a VERY fortunate girl, in more ways than I could ever possibly count.

But that fire inside me was gone. 

That drive and fierce determination that I once had wasn’t burning in my gut anymore.

It was time for a change.

I came across some info for the Making Things Happen Intensive earlier this year. 

I read about it.  I researched the women that spearhead it.  I found myself getting drawn to so many of the stories of past attendees. 

I felt a spark, and I knew this was it.  

It was time to make something happen. 

So, off I set on that 3 hour car ride, scared to death that I wouldn’t measure up to these other women (and men), thinking for sure that I had made a mistake, and wondering if I should just turn the car around and head back home.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I kept that car rolling southbound.

What happened in the days that followed have honestly changed my life.

The exercises that we did forced me to take a very long, hard look at myself, how I live my life, and how I run my business.

I’ll tell ya, being brutally honest with yourself is HARD.

And incredibly emotional.  And man, I was rocked to my core.

The entire experience was terribly personal, so I’ll keep those details private for myself and the incredible individuals that I was fortunate enough to share this experience with.

There are some things, however, that I brought away from this experience that I feel I have to share with you.

I’d shout them from the rooftops if I could!

I’m sharing because I feel the need to be honest you, because I feel by writing it down I will hold myself accountable, and because, if you are feeling lost like I was, maybe my words can off you a glimmer of hope.

So here they are, the life-altering realizations that I am embracing after the Making Things Happen Intensive:

  1.  You can’t be everything to everyone.
  2.   Follow your own path, not the path someone else thinks you should be on.
  3. You don’t have to be perfect.
  4. Learn to say no, even when it’s hard.
  5. Stop investing all your time and energy into everyone else, and begin investing in yourself.
  6.  Don’t define yourself by someone else’s standards.  Comparison is devastating!
  7. Believe in your passion.
  8. Negativity manifests itself.
  9. No one has it all together.
  10. You are enough. 

Re-read each of those items, one at a time, and let them sink in.

They are SO powerful!

Since coming home, I have made some major changes in my life and set some big goals for myself.

Some changes you will notice in my business, others are more personal.

The biggest changes that you will see are these:

  1. Less time on social media, and more time focusing on what really matters.
  2. Designated work hours, to allow myself quality time with my family, time for me, and time for a more balanced life.

          My new office hours are as follows:  Monday – Thursday, 9:00am EST –  3:00pm EST
                                                                 Closed weekends and holidays.
      3.  A big shift in my business approach.  Changes are already underway, and you can expect to start                  seeing changes in early 2014!

And while I’m spilling my heart, I have one  more thing to say.

Thank you.

Thank you to each of you who visit my website, visit my blog, browse and purchase from my shop, and connect with me through e-mails and social media.

Thank you for supporting what I do, for allowing me to inspire you, and for making me feel as though I’m making a difference.

You all mean more to me than I could ever express.

Huge thanks to Lara Casey, Emily Ley, Gina Zeidler, Rhiannon Bosse, Nancy Ray, and Amber Housley for being real, and for encouraging me to dig deep.

Countless thanks to the attendees of the Making Things Happen Intensive for sharing your souls, for your honesty, for your support, and for teaching me that I am not alone.

I energized, I am ready, and my heart overflows.


THANK YOU!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

40% off EVERYTHING at TinyPrints.com!

For one day only, everything at TinyPrints.com is 40% off!

Need invitations?  They're 40% off.

Want to make a photo book or want prints of your latest party?  Take 40% off your order.

Ready to do some early Christmas shopping or get a jump start on your Christmas cards?  Well go right ahead, because everything's 40% off!!!

Better head over to the site fast, though, because this offer ends Wednesday, September 25th at midnight PST!


I've just secured some goodies for myself...including a few personalized things to send in my kiddo's next college care package.  I'm so excited!

Hope you find some goodies, too.  :)

Happy Shopping!
xoxo,
Jen  


Friday, July 26, 2013

Back to School Sale!


Just when it's really starting to feel like summer,
it's time to think about going back to school.

Crazy, isn't it?  It feels like summer just got here!

To make the most of what little bit of summer we have left, 
and to kick off the school year on a positive note,
for the kiddos.

I've posted all kinds of Back to School Party ideas on the website...activities, food, favors, you name it.

And, for a limited time,


You'll find personalized party invitations, cupcake toppers, tent labels,
a super cute party banner, and adorable little pencil box labels that the kiddos can use for school.

Simply use code BTS13 at checkout.

You might want to hurry, offer ends August 9th.

Have fun, and soak up the summer before it's gone!  :)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DIY Wedding

A few months ago, I had the honor of styling the wedding of a sweet friend.


Now, I know this is a party blog and we don't usually talk weddings around here, but for this, I'm making an exception...

1.  Because this wedding was positively gorgeous, and
2.  Because it was loaded with DIY projects that you can use for just about any celebration!

In this post I'll share a peek of the projects that we created, then I'll follow it up with some DIY posts so you can recreate the projects for your own celebrations.

The wedding was held at Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Virginia, and it couldn't have been more beautiful.

All of the azaleas were bursting with color, and the plants were fresh and green.

We didn't need to worry much about ceremony decor, since Mother Nature did such a good job with that, but we did make custom wedding fans and bubble labels.




The wedding cocktail hour and wedding reception that followed were completely DIY.

Here's what we made:

A 20" x 30" Custom Wedding Sign 
to welcome guests as they arrive.
(Item available in my shop via custom request.  


DIY Seating Arrangement Chart:
Made from a $35 fence panel and some ornate picture frames.



DIY Pomander Table Markers


Custom Wedding Menus and Story Cards
Both custom menus and story cards are available in my shop. 



DIY Wishing Tree:
In lieu of a guest book, guests wrote wishes for the bride and groom on handmade tags and hung them on the wishing tree with skeleton key hooks.



DIY Shadow Box


DIY Centerpieces


DIY Signature Cocktails
(Sign available here).


DIY Gift/Card Box


DIY Wedding Cupcake Tags
(Available in my shop here).



DIY 20" x 30" Wedding Posters



DIY Photo Booth


Whew, that was a lot of work, but so worth it!

We were really pleased with the way that it all came together!

Which DIY project do you like best?

Which projects would you like to see tutorials for?

Leave your responses in the comments below.

Excited to hear what you think!





Friday, July 12, 2013

Custom T-Shirt Giveaway!

www.bluecotton.com

My hubby has been telling me for the longest time that I should sell t-shirts on my website.  

Who would want a Passion-for-Parties t-shirt, I'd ask him?  
Ummmmm, no one, that's who.

And then a message from BlueCotton.com arrived in my inbox, 
asking me to try out their custom t-shirt process and write a review for them.

Initially, I had the same reaction that I give my hubby.  
Thanks, but I don't think so.
Then, I thought again.

As most of you know, I have a custom stationery shop where I create personalized party goodies.

I began to think it would be really cool to use one of my own designs on a t-shirt.

I could be a walking advertisement for my own brand, I thought!

And so I jumped on the bandwagon with BlueCotton.com and got busy on my custom t-shirt.

The process was simple...choose a shirt, upload a pic.  
That's all there was to it!  Seriously, soooo easy!

Here's what I chose:




"It's not a party until the confetti flies."
Isn't that super cute?

And it's even got my logo on the back!



That's pretty stinking cool, if I do say so myself.

I'm suddenly liking this Passion-for-Parties t-shirt idea. 

Heck, now I'm thinking I need to use BlueCotton.com to make custom hats, totes, and mugs, too!  

I could even make koozies!  (After all, what party is complete without koozies)?!!

Hmmmm, maybe my hubby might not be too crazy after all.  

Now, remember that giveaway I mentioned?

Here's where it gets fun!

BlueCotton.com would like to give you you're very own custom t-shirt, too!

They're offering up a $35 gift card to one lucky winner.

Cool, right?!!

You're going to have so much fun with this!

Enter for your chance to win below, 
and while you're waiting for the winner to be announced, 
hop on over to BlueCotton.com and start thinking about what you'll make!

Good luck and have fun!  :)

***This giveaway has ended.***
Congratulations to entry #21, Naomi S.!  :)




Thursday, June 27, 2013

4th of July Porch Party, Part 2

Wow, y'all!

There was such a positive response to the 4th of July Porch Party that I posted yesterday, that I thought I'd share some more fun details with you today.  

By the way, if you happened to miss yesterday's post (gasp!), you can check it out here
and remember to enter to win $50 from Shindigz.com while you're there!  :)


A 4th of July Porch Party is the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day without a lot of fuss, and in a really casual, comfortable way.

Simply throw some pillows on your porch rockers,
drape some tablecloths on your porch tables (or just set up a card table and add a nice covering),
and throw together a few patriotic snacks.

That's all there is to it!

In addition to the ice cream/milkshake station that I showed you yesterday,
here are a few other goodies that I threw together.



Take the recommended shortcuts below and this whole celebration will be SO easy!

Mini Strawberry Pies


These little pies are absolutely gorgeous, and couldn't be easier to throw together!

Shortcut Secret:
Simply cut up your strawberries, mix them with some store-bought strawberry pie glaze,
and spoon them into mini pre-made pie shells.

Star-Spangled Brownies


Shortcut Secret:
Bake your favorite brownie mix (or even use pre-made brownies from the grocery store), 
drizzle them with some canned white frosting, and top with red, white, and blue sprinkles.

Summer-Fresh Fruit


Shortcut Secret:
Take advantage of the fresh fruit of summer, no work required!
Cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are perfect choices.
Serving them in festive partyware like these little party cups adds a festive flair.

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salsa


Ok, so this is the one treat I served that requires a little bit of work.
Mix fresh blueberries, chopped strawberries, and chopped apples, then toss them with a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of your favorite fruit preserves.
That part's easy.
The work came in when I decided that I wanted cinnamon-sugar star-shaped chips to go along with it.
Not hard, but a little time consuming.
Use a star cookie cutter to cut flour tortillas into star shapes.
Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes.

Shortcut Secret:
Buy pre-made cinnamon-sugar pita chips, or still make your own, but just cut the flour tortillas
into triangles and omit the cookie cutter step.

A quick note about this salsa:  
I made this the night before the party.  The "white" apples turned pink,
and the strawberries didn't look very pretty anymore.
When I make this again, I'll make it just a few hours before I plan on serving it.

Here's what it looks like shortly after it's made:


And just because I like them,
here are a few random shots from our Porch Party.

Sprinkles are for more than just decorating desserts, and I was dying to get some neat shots 
of our sweet model's Converse sneaks!




Notice my work buddy in the background...




Hope you've been inspired to create some 4th of July fun of your own!

And once again, don't forget to enter our Shindigz.com giveaway going on here.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4th of July Porch Party and a Giveaway!

When Shindigz.com contacted me and asked me to try out some of their products, 
I knew right away what I wanted to use them for...

A 4th of JULY PORCH PARTY!


After all, what's more American than an ice cream sundae on a summer day...enjoyed on your front porch?!!

With a few festive items from Shindigz, I was able to throw together a fun, casual get-together
that anyone can easily pull off.

Using their sundae glasses, star confetti, and some American flags
I set up a DIY milkshake station.

To keep things super simple, I made the milkshake mixture ahead of time, and kept it in the freezer until we were ready to serve it.  Easy peasy!

You could also freeze the glasses ahead of time to get them nice and frosty...perfect for a hot summer day!




Keeping with the red, white, and blue theme, cherries, blueberries, and sprinkles were just the toppings we needed for our milkshakes.

Super cute gingham napkins were used as a table runner, of sorts, 
and anchored our sundae glasses on the table.

The star confetti was really fun to play with!
I added it to the straws to give them some patriotic pizzazz, 
and I also used them to decorate the toppings crate.

Of course, I scattered some on the table for good measure, too.  :)


Using some chevron wrapping paper as a backdrop and the foil starburst decorations from Shindigz,
I transformed a section of the porch into a patriotic photo booth.

Such fun and a super easy way to add a festive feel to the party, and the photos make great keepsakes!


And what 4th of July is complete without sparklers
Shindigz sells them in packs of 8 and they're so affordable!

If you have a cake or cupcakes at your celebration, these would make excellent cake toppers, 
otherwise, they're lots of fun to play with!



Now, how about that giveaway?!!!

Not only was Shindigz generous enough to give me some of their goodies to try,
they want to give some to YOU, too!

Shindigz is offering a $50 gift code to one lucky reader, 
and it could be YOU!

The gift code can be used toward anything on their website, so shopping will be so much fun!

To enter, simply leave a comment in the Rafflecopter box below 
telling us your favorite way to celebrate summer.

Good luck!  :)

***This giveaway has ended***

Congratulations to Heather S.!
Instructions to claim your prize are waiting for you in your inbox!  :)




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Our Graduation Party Recap

Your child's high school graduation.

It's something you have 13 years to prepare for, yet somehow when the time arrives, you feel anything but prepared.

Just the mere thought of your soon-to-be graduated baby can rocket you to tears, and you find yourself wondering how this day arrived so fast!

You've spent their entire lives up to this point smothering them with love and being there for them every step of the way, and now, somehow, some way, you need to learn to let go.

Whew!  It's more than a mama's heart can take, I tell ya!

In the end, though, we survive, and for a while, start to breathe again.  (Until the day we ship them off to college)!

Here's a pic of me with my grad:


His cousin also graduated this year, so we decided to host a joint celebration.

They graduated from different schools, so we dedicated a table to each of them which boasted their own school colors, then tied them together with a joint photo wall.



Throughout the party, there were always people crowded around the photo wall, reliving memories and talking about the journeys our grads had as they reached this point in their lives.

It was a really special, personalized touch!

This idea would also be great for milestone birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings.

I created little customized favor tags that we attached to pillow boxes filled with mints.

These created a nice, inexpensive keepsake for guests to take home with them to commemorate the occasion.



I also made each of our grads their own special cake.
I was too busy to get nice, staged pictures, but you get the idea.



Each cake was topped with a custom cake topper that I designed...



...and had a surprise inside...


...their school colors!

The party was such fun, and a great way to celebrate these amazing kids and their accomplishments!

We couldn't be more proud!  :)






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