Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Why We’re Taking a Break from Featured Parties + Stepping Up to the Plate All Over Again

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Reggie Jackson Inspiratonal Quote - Home Run Hitters

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved inspirational quotes, but there’s one quote in particular that I’ve been leaning on heavily lately. I first stumbled on it in a random quotes tin that I bought somewhere way back in the day – pre-kids, pre-social media, and even pre-HWTM. (Told you it was way back in the day!)

Anyways, the quotes that fill this little round tin are printed on rectangular pieces of sticker paper about the size of a fortune cookie slip – and on one of these tiny slips, in simple black type, are the following words:

“Home run hitters strike out a lot.”
– Reggie Jackson

These 7 simple words have been an enormous sense of comfort to me personally lately, and I stuck it to the foot of my computer monitor, where I definitely can’t miss it, just to be safe:

homerunhittersquote

Of course I had to beautify it up for you a bit more in the opening image. ;)

What a great reminder, though, that struggles and failures are a part of every journey in life – and that even the people that achieve incredible success – like the baseball greats that are remembered for their shining moments and not their strikeouts – do, in fact, experience them. (and in pretty decent volumes, considering the example!)

This reality of life is something we all probably know, somewhere deep down in the corners of our mind at least, but it’s really easy to forget. Like, REALLY easy – especially when you’re dealing with what feels like a pretty sizable struggle – or dare I say it – an actual failure – yourself. But we don’t have to let these swings-and-misses define us, OR be the last chapter of the story. We DO, however, have to stop and take a deep breath, adjust our stance, and rethink our plan.

And that’s exactly what’s happening with me right now.

*****

If I spilled every single thing that’s currently running through my mind onto the screen, this post would be 10 miles long. (Plus I kinda prefer to do that kind of sharing across the table from a friend with a good bottle of Pinot!) So while I can’t go into every detail, I will tell you that things are going to be changing in a big way here at HWTM, and the first noticeable change will be in our blog content, so I’d like to share a little insight as to why…

Long story short: I’m exhausted. The end.

Just kidding… kind of. ;)

In all seriousness, we’ve enjoyed many years of sharing incredible party inspiration with you guys, and to this day I can genuinely say that I still get excited by the amazing creativity that floods our inbox. You’d think I’d be desensitized to it by now, but that’s honestly not the case.

However, you can only do things a certain way for so long, and I don’t want to be someone that just continues to do things for the sake of doing them, or that doesn’t know when to let go of something that’s just. not. quite. right. anymore – no matter how well it may have worked at one moment in time… OR how badly you want it to work.

Personally, I can relate to both of those examples right now.

If you’re familiar with the way that HWTM started back in 2006, you might remember that the main goal of developing  the site and blog was to share highly creative party inspiration and ideas, since “it was really hard to find much visual inspiration online” (as I’m quoting myself back then). Flash forward to today, and I have to laugh at how very, very different the world is now. There’s an endless stream of visual inspiration flooding us at every turn… so much so that I often even feel overwhelmed by it myself. It’s amazing how drastically the needle has moved in just 8 years.

And while this abundance of inspiration is a great thing – and actually one of the main things we set out to help with back then, it also makes a large portion of what we do on the blog now – the part that simply focuses on sharing imagery – feel a little bit… unnecessary. And I don’t know about you, but unnecessary is pretty much the polar opposite of what I want my efforts to be.

In fact, one of the things that grows increasingly clearer to me as I watch my kids grow and see the days fly by faster and faster – is that I really want the way I spend my time to matter. And this includes the hours, days, weeks, and yes – years – of life that we pour into crafting blog content for others to consume.

rylie-at-the-beach

{My youngest daughter at the beach, a few days ago.}

*****

So what exactly does it meant to create content that counts?

1) For starters, I want to make sure we’re offering up something more than just a fleeting glimpse at pretty pictures… that the focus of the posts shifts from simply showcasing the end results to showing readers how those results were achieved.

2) I also want HWTM readers to feel like they’re learning something helpful when they visit – whether it’s the trick to getting a centerpiece just right, how to turn a simple napkin into an adorable creation, how to use paper to significantly transform your party… or even to simply enlighten someone on how much work truly goes into that cool project you’ve been eyeing, so you can make sure you have the requisite 80 hours to spare before you start shopping for supplies. There are also a TON of party-related things to learn that are easier than they seem as well, and that’s the route I usually prefer too – so don’t worry!

3) Last but not least, I want to carve out more time to actually design beautiful things for your parties, and to somehow invite others into that part of our world. After all, design is where it all started, and is still my first love (career-wise, of course!).

*****

This shift in content focus is definitely not going to happen overnight, but it IS going to happen – slowly but surely – over the next couple months. I decided to share all of this with you today though, in order to give a heads up to our longtime readers and party submitters, and also to offer a little explanation of the thinking behind the changes.

We will still honor the party features that we’ve already committed to and feature them over the next several weeks. However, we actually turned off the submissions form this morning (aaaack!), and updated that page with a brand new message today.

These content changes are also going to mean a redesign to a more streamlined format (something I’ve been craving for YEARS!) and an obvious change in the sheer volume of posts. But another thing I’m growing to appreciate more and more these days is quality over quantity, and I hope you’ll find – in your future experience here at least – that this sentiment rings true for you as well.

Sonny and I have put our heart and soul into this company, and will continue to do so moving forward. Please remember that there’s always so much more to the story than what you may see from the other side of the screen. Some of the comments that I catch online where HWTM is mentioned make me think that a lot of people forget this. Our business has weathered some pretty extensive storms – they just aren’t exactly the kind of things I give social media shout outs to, you know? But despite all of the trying times, I still find myself wanting to step up to the plate – just in a new way.

And while I know without a doubt there will be more strikeouts along the way, I can’t help but believe there are more home runs on the horizon too. You can bet that we’ll be swinging for them. :)

*****

P.S. If you like this Reggie Jackson quote, you can click here to download a high resolution printable version of my design from the opening image of this post. I hope it comforts and inspires you too!

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POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

27 responses to “Why We’re Taking a Break from Featured Parties + Stepping Up to the Plate All Over Again”

  1. Elena Galli says:

    Wow Jenni, your words are incredibly true and I wish you good luck for all your projects and life! Elena

  2. mindycone says:

    Can’t wait to see your next homerun! I’ll be cheering from the stands for sure! xoxo

  3. Tori says:

    Jen, I want to say congrats because to get here (the point where you see a clear path and are comfortable enough with it to share with the world) … I know it took time, strength, (and perhaps even some tears!). I for one, can’t wait to see your new content shift. It’s going to be fab. And from the point of view from one of your very first readers I can already tell it’s going to be a great homecoming. Back to YOU teaching us a thing or two ;). Cannot. Wait. xoxoxoxo

  4. Ebony says:

    Jenn! I love this! I have always loved loved loved your creations which is what brought me to HWTM all those years ago. I love how you continue to allow your business to evolve into something more fitting for the time. You are absolutely right…. it is CRAZY insane how much has changed in 8 years and I’m looking forward to the future of HWTM. I personally want to say thank you so much for featuring my parties time after time and giving me a platform to showcase my work. Having a party selected to be on HWTM is such an amazing feeling and since of accomplishment…. and quite frankly validation in some weird way… so please know how you have blessed so many of us in ways that you can never imagine. I thank you for that… Now, I’m all ready to learn some new tricks from you chica!
    xoxoxo Ebony

  5. So proud of you! I totally get it. As a mom, business owner, blogger and more, we feel the pressure to make everyone happy and keep up the crazy pace we set for ourselves. Our kids, house and more sometimes (ok…lots of times) takes a back seat. Take a break…regroup and do it the way you want to do it. I so respect you and HWTM and thrilled every time you have featured something I have created. You will be better than ever when you are ready and will still have the incredible following you have created. Hugs, Jasmine

  6. Bravo! I’m sure this wasn’t an easy decision, regardless of how many times you’ve tried telling yourself it was the right one. I have loved following you and your features all these years – always inspiring, and especially loved watching you go into different directions and soar with each change. I do know whatever changes you have in store, they’ll be fabulous and just know I’ll still be cheering from the sidelines as I have every time you’ve gotten up to bat. <3

  7. Excited to see what direction @HWTM_Jenn goes in…I will be there for every step b/c she still inspires me! http://t.co/lTlXiC2cs7

  8. Cortney says:

    Yes! TEEEEEACH ME! Pretty parties show up by the bum-load in my Pinterest feed. I get frustrated that someone says, “Oh and I just made this (insanely awesome) centerpiece…” and then they never explain HOW. We lesser beings are made to guess and imitate, only to produce something less than awesome.

  9. Sunny says:

    I totally understand. I’ve been saying this for years with my own children and business. You and HWTM have been such an inspiration to so many. I’m just glad you keep stepping up to the plate. I know whatever direction you go it’s going to be amazing.

  10. Tanya Martinez says:

    I love this, Jenn! Go you!!! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for HWTM. You are and always will be an inspiration. ~Hugs

  11. Sandra Garth says:

    I am looking forward to the next phase of your/our journey!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Best wishes for ALL of your new phases in life, in party world, and just life in general!! :) I know that this change will be absolutely amazing and I am so excited to see it evolve and become what you envision it to be!! Cheers to all of your successes past, present, and future!!

  13. Jenn – you have always been such an inspiration to me, in so many ways, and I am so excited for your next steps! Your words ring true to so many of us and you continue to be a pioneer in this field. I, among many, am incredibly grateful for your support and all you have done to motivate and help throughout the years. I look forward to following along as you explore unchartered territories in the party & entertaining business! And I hope you enjoy every last minute with that beautiful family of yours! ❤️

  14. Jocelyn Heyward says:

    Can't wait to see what's next! Thanks for sharing. Pretty pictures are one thing but heart things matter most !

  15. This was a very smart business and family decision Jenn. Congratulations on having the passion, strength and vision to make a change for the best. You already know I’m a fan and a friend so I’ll continue to cheer you on and support you. XOXO, Alejandra.

  16. jessie says:

    Sending you a virtual hug, Jenn! Can’t wait to see what’s next for HWTM…another pioneering endeavor, no doubt!

  17. Heather says:

    So many of the changes you say you’re making are the exact same thing that I’ve been thinking about this blog recently. I want more “how to” not just pretty pictures. I want to see people actually enjoying these parties and I want to know how long it really took to set up. Frankly, I don’t have much interest in the overly adorable first birthday parties for obviously wealthy families. Show me real parties, with real people and real budgets. I want to know how to make a great party, not just feel envious of the people who can afford staffs to do all of this for them. I look forward to the changes you plan to make and wish you all the best.

  18. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration over the years! I know that I’ve been frustrated by the recent uptick in featured parties that are staged photo shoots for blogs, party planners, etc. to be featured on your site. They look like they spent $150 per guest for their staged event, and those aren’t real parties! I love throwing parties that are practical, budget friendly and keep all guests entertained. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

  19. girl you will ALWAYS be an inspiration to me. I think you are one of the BEST designers out there & I don’t throw that compliment around lightly! ;) I am so grateful to have been featured on your site and for all of the visual ‘eye candy’ you have given us along the way. I think you are a legend here in this party world of ours and I really look forward to meeting you at BASH. You are good people and I will be right there cheering you on at your next step up to bat. ;)

  20. maureen says:

    Jenn, I love your openness and honestly. I’m so happy for you guys and the next chapter. I feel like there needs to be a “change” within the whole party world, too! It feels so saturated and I think you guys are totally brave and on the right path of making the next home run! Know that we will visit your page daily, as always! XOXOX Love ya!
    Maureen

  21. Oh Jen!! I think you describe what soooo many long time bloggers are feeling. I can totally relate and I think it’s so brave of you to put it “out there”. I look forward to your new phase and would love to be a part of it in any way.

  22. Lisa Anderson says:

    Sounds great! Follow your heart and the home runs will follow! Lisa

  23. […] off, I want to say a HUGE thank you for your kind words & support after our announcement last night. Making a big change is never easy, but it has been much easier knowing I have all of you behind me […]

  24. So happy for you guys. I know you'll have a huge support system behind you through these changes!!! xoxox

  25. Just wanted to say that I was a fan way back when there were more DIYs and I'm still a fan today. This really is one of the best (if not THE best) entertaining & party sites out there. Can't wait to see what the new changes will bring!

  26. Bird says:

    You’re a giver, and it shows even from your last sentence where you share the quote for download :)

    Many businesses and bloggers like me have benefited from your generosity, time and ideas to build our own dreams, and for that I’ll be truly grateful to HWTM!

    Wish you all the best in your path, whatever it may take you. And look forward to your next home runs! We’ll be in the crowds cheering along for sure! ;)

  27. Kerry says:

    Looking forward to your new format! Especially interested in “the how”.