A Personal Note

Make life a party quote

I hardly ever get personal here, but have been wondering lately if that’s such a good decision. Read my ramblings and let me know what you think.

A Personal Note:

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a week now but haven’t had the time to sit down and think it through. I’m also not great at opening up until I’ve know someone a while so it’s a little uncomfortable. Seeing as how this blog is now 4 years old, I guess I know you by now(?)!

I’ve definitely changed the course of CAH. I started out as a party planner with a blog where I could pull together ideas from around the web, into one place….I ended up being a “party sharing” site for a while, rarely showing anything of my own…..and finally I made the decision about a year ago to make this blog what I always wanted it to be in the first place – my own original content based on real recipes I use, real projects I would do {not overly time consuming or crafty}, and real design inspiration in my own style. I know – it’s all about me, me, me! But I’m pretty sure there are LOTS of women {even a man or two} who also love to party/entertain in style without going insane.

This past year has been one of great transition, both professionally and emotionally. While I’ve continued to see growth in the blog, and I’ve worked on some fantastic projects and opportunities, I struggle EVERY. DAY. with the fact that the human connections that were so prominent in the earlier years of blogging don’t seem to be there any more.  It’s very disheartening.  I get frustrated when I see 50+ comments on some of my favorite nesting blogs, and I can barely rally up 1-2 comments, or shares on what I thought was a great idea, design, or recipe. As I was discussing this with another blogger friend, she opened my eyes to the fact that party/entertaining blogs are geared more for “searchers” who have a specific party or theme they want to execute. That’s a hard pill to swallow. After all, I want to INSPIRE you to celebrate EACH occasion or weekend, not just offer up a 1 time idea.

I’ve felt a little like a newbie blogger as I’ve made my transition, too. Most of my support group {party bloggers from the early days} have moved on and are not even blogging anymore. I have to somehow let a new set of bloggers and readers know that, “Hey, I’ve created some original ideas here that you might find interesting!”, and let’s just say I SUCK at self promotion.

I’m trying to move into 2013 with a sense of calm. I’m tired of chasing numbers and comparing my self to so-and-so who got a book deal, or so-and-so who’s got a gig with XYZ company, or so-and-so who’s doing this, that, and the other. I have my own projects which I love, and the truth is I’m probably matched up better with anyway.

This year I’m going to focus on creating great content for my partners, and continue with designs, projects, and recipes here.  I hope to continue working with brands which I think are relevant to our niche, and I’m ALWAYS open to new opportunities. I may even bring in some new twists that incorporate home decor or even fashion for entertaining {my other 2 loves}. I want to be your friend who encourages you to celebrate LIFE with style, not just birthdays….and hey, if a book deal comes along in the mean time!….*wink*

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  1. Thanks for being so honest! As a former party planner myself/now-food blogger/freelancer, I get disheartened when I don’t get lots of comments, etc, BUT, I also forget to stop and leave thanks on favorite blogs when I’m quickly “searching” for inspiration. Well, I am officially starting now! I love ‘Celebrations at Home’ and always look forward to your fresh, beautiful content! Keep it up!

    Nealey @ Dixie Caviar (HUGE FAN!)

  2. Late in commenting, but thank you for sharing! I wish you all good luck and happiness in business and, epecially, life!

  3. Chris, your posts are one of the few that I get on my personal email because I DONT WANT TO MISS ANY! And life gets us so busy that although they go in a “I have to read this one later” pile, for me it does get done because believe me…I do want that pile of emails or articles to be smaller. So today I’m working on my “I have to read this one later pile” and came across your article/feed for this one. I saved it because it was important to me. Because your blog inspires me, and because somehow I was a little bit (just a bit) dissapointed to hear that there might not be as many emails or posts from you but I’m happy to hear that you are defining your wants and your needs and what works for you. I can’t wait to continue reading your articles full of quality inspiration, as I appreciate your style! Happy 2013!!

  4. Hi Chris, I have followed you blog for years now, but also am an infrequent commenter. It is one of the top blogs on my reader, because I have followed for so long! I have deleted many over the years, but never yours, because I feel like you come from a real place. You have never put on airs, talked down to us, or try to sell us something. I appreciate that. I have seen others blow up on the internet, but at what cost? Your blog is one of the ones that I never mark all read without actually reading it. Your blog is also not the only party blog I follow, but definitely one of the best! You have a dedicated follower here and I hope you continue to remain true to yourself as you have all this time.

  5. Chris,
    I 100% hear you! I struggled last year with my blog and it was specifically because it was only party based and although I love that, it wasn’t really a true reflection of me and my interests. I’ve started to evolve mine as well and yes, I hope that it’s helpful to the blog itself but mostly i want to continue enjoy blogging in general πŸ™‚ Best wishes and I look forward to continue following you!

    This Nest is Best

  6. You go girlfriend! And as one of your “old” friends…. I will vouch to all of your new readers that you are DA BOMB! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you this year!

  7. Thank you for all the beauiful things you share Chris! I first fell in love with your site shortly before starting my own, and you were one of the ladies who really encouraged me by sharing my work, or offering a kind comment. It meant the world to me! I love your site even more with the more personal ideas and touches. I love seeing original content and certainly appreciate the work that goes into creating, photographing and sharing your own work. Thank you for all you’ve added to the blogging community! Here’s hoping 2013 is your best year yet!

  8. Hi Chris! Happy New Year. As I’ve always said, your blog is what inspired me to start blogging a few years ago.. I didnt even know party blogs existed until I found yours! I love that your blog has turned into mostly your original content, I find it so great to see all this original content on your blog. I think it takes way more work and imagination to come up with your own content. To put it plainly, I’d love to have your blogging career, I think it’s fantastic and you continue to be one of my favorite reads.
    Cheers to 2013!!

    1. Jackie, thank you! You are so sweet, and doing so well your self. I’ve been very fortunate to have turned my passion into a career – and so grateful too.

  9. Love your blog! And I like the changes. Lots of us out here in blog land have blogs for the reasons you started. I think my sil is the only one who ever comments on my blog! But I do it for me and for journaling reasons and because it’s fun to create in a different genre. Kudos to you! I will keep following you, even if I can’t offer you a book deal!

    1. Haha, Tami! I am so grateful for all my readers, and am happy to see some of them coming out of hiding to comment! This comment section will definitely be a place I can come and visit whenever I need a mental boost. I had no idea it would turn out that way, but thank you!

  10. Wow Chris…what a great post and a great response!!! You have always inspired me from the very beginning! I also struggle with how personal to get however there are people like you that I fell like we are “friends” and would have so much fun together πŸ™‚
    Never doubt all of the inspiration that you provide to so many!!!!

    1. I agree, Shelley. I wish all my online friends could be my neighbors – we would certainly have fun together! You’ve been at this for a long time too, lady – glad you’re still ‘with me’ πŸ™‚

  11. Kudos Chris – I’ve followed you for a year or so now, just because I like what you do and have loved your tips for other party planners. I’m not even a party planner!

    I think your personal post was fabulous. So often we can lose focus of why we started doing something and it was just for the love of that work. Then we start to try to monetize it and it becomes something less pure.

    Best to you in your new angle on your adventure – You are awesome, you deserve happiness in what you love.

  12. I LOVE reading your blog every day! Your blog is full of great and useful ideas! And I love to see your amazing work! You are so talented! Don’t let the numbers get in the way. πŸ™‚ Happy New Year and congratulations on your latest achievement!

  13. I feel bad because I check your site every day, but have never commented. ( There are probably hundreds more like me!) I am a mother of two, full-time teacher, and working on my master’s degree, so looking at your site gives me an outlet from my tedious life and allows me to dream about entertaining I’d like to do in the future. I am always inspired by your posts and look forward to coming home after a long day to see what you have shared. So, thank you for what you do, and I will try and do a better job of commenting!!

    1. Aww, thank you Beth. Don’t feel bad – you all have made my month with all your sweet comments of support. I’m happy to know that you all are out there {silently} reading πŸ˜‰

  14. Hi Chris,
    This is going to be my first comment but I hope you understand that I’m from Spain, and that it’s diffivult for me to write in english.
    Don’t get upsept!. Your blos is fabulous and I have followed you nearly from your beginning, I have founf a lot of inspirations for my dinner tables and for my blog in here (I’m a not an eventplanner or so, just a normal person who likes table decor).
    Carry on with your dream, even if you don’t hear from me, I’ll be there, waiting for your posts.
    Thank you for sharing so many things all this time and good luck!.

  15. I want to thank you for this website and I want to apologize because I have never left a comment. Your site is a wealth of information for ideas and party planning. You have made me aware that I need to comment on blogs that I frequent, I need to do this so the blog owner knows I value their time and commitment of sharing!

    Again, thank you for all you do! I wish you the best in your new endevour and I hope you still keep this blog!!


    Donna Patton

    1. Donna, I’m just so happy to know you’re out there reading and finding our site useful. Thanks for letting me know and for your sweet encouraging words!

  16. Well, I stopped blogging every single day over a year ago. For some of the exact same reasons you’re struggling with now. I got into blogging because so many people were loving my ideas and said they’d make a great blog. And because I hated hearing people say entertaining was so intimidating and they couldn’t possibly create amazing parties on their own. I wanted to show people it was EASY to create memorable SIMPLE occasions. But now, the field is flooded. (And with a lot of people who regurgitate others ideas or have no talent, I might add.) And whether people want to admit it or not, our blog niche is cut throat and right now, it’s over the top batshit crazy. Everyone is dying for a book deal. Why? Stats show paper books are in a slump. Digital books are where it’s at. And why is the book deal the end all be all? Why is that the ultimate validation of a creative?

    I spent a lot of time at blog conferences. Examining the blog world and creative niche blogging. Creative blogging is quite different than most. It’s a risk you take putting your creative efforts out there for people to replicate and critique. It’s way more risky than mommy blogging or coupon or tech blogging.

    As I kept blogging, I kept feeling like I was giving away my ideas for free. I kept seeing my ideas on other sites with no credit given and it was infuriating. And I kept watching other bloggers basically pimping themselves out to work with brands. Or people kissing celebrities asses to the point where it was embarrassing to watch. Or people who weren’t even doing their own work even. They were just the front person.

    Our niche is notorious for jealousy. What deals others are getting. But I had to realize that blogging wasn’t my full time gig. I’m a salaried full time event planner who also does many freelance events on the side of that even. And my ideas belong to THAT profession first. Plus, i have a child. Some of the bloggers who are getting deals have no children. They have the time to work their asses off at levels that others of us with families don’t. OR… they are too young to realize that brands are using them. Brands usually don’t pay what your time is worth. It is what it is.

    You have to step back and wonder what sets you apart NOW in this saturated niche? What drew you to blogging in the first place and have your goals changed? When I first got into blogging years ago, I was proud to basically be a pioneer in this field. I was proud to be in the space. Now, I’m almost embarrassed.

    My blog gets more traffic now (thanks to pinterest) than it did when I was providing new content every day. My blog gets more pitches now than when I was networking with brands (thanks to my cision ranking). So I let it ride…

    But ultimately, the medium is changing. Blogging is dying whether people want to admit it or not. Like Dianne said, it’s a photo sharing world now. I think the blogging world has to figure out how they are fit into the new medium and prepare to move with it.

    1. Michelle, you make a lot of good points. I guess the book thing is just a measuring tool, as well as a marketing boost. If a publisher wants you to do a book then there’s a certain amount of validation in what you do; likewise, if you have the title “author” behind your name you are automatically seen as an expert even if you don’t have experience.

      For me, blogging, styling. “instructing” professionally about home entertaining has been a blessing….something I didn’t even know was an option until a couple of years ago. I’ve found my passion in life and want to evolve with it.
      Fingers crossed!

  17. Aloha Chris! I have never commented before on your site but maybe I should have? I felt I needed to this time to express how you are very much appreciated. Although you are not getting the comments you deserve, please know that it doesn’t mean your God-given talents are not admired from both near and far! I am SURPRISED that you don’t already have a book deal in the works as I’ve found myself referring to your site for entertaining ideas over most other sites time and time again. Stay proud, Chris because you truly are talented and inspiring for us all ‘dreamers’ who haven’t even gotten around to creating a blog! πŸ™‚ God bless…

  18. Oh Chris, ditto, ditto, ditto!! : )I’ve had similar thoughts mulling in my head for the past couple of MONTHS!! : ) Things have changed in blog world for sure. There is less community and commenting in general on blogs, and like you I miss the ‘old days’ when things would go viral and you’d get tonnes of love for each project.
    I like you, have decided to shut out the ‘competition’ and be me.
    Sending you much love and encouragent. xo And if you get that book deal let me know…I’ll manage your book tour!! : ) xo

  19. I just recently discovered your blog from Pinterest and now follow by email……I’m not much of a blog commenter….But love your ideas

    1. Thank you Debbie. I’m so glad you dropped a comment, just to let me know your there πŸ™‚

  20. I’m a bit speechless after reading your ‘personal note’ Chris. You made so many great points, got my emotions going and left me thinking too. In my coocoo mind, I call you my friend even though we haven’t meet in person yet only digitally (counting down the day till Dallas woowoo) and I want you to know that I think your blog is one of the best. Your original contest, character and honesty shine through every post. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to your site for inspiration and advise. Sadly, statistics is the only way we can measure success on an online business and it’s unfortunate you aren’t getting back what you’re putting in. I’ve had the exact same doubts and made similar changes on my company, website, blog… who knows what it really is. Still trying to figure it out. Don’t wait for a “book deal”… you have talent, you have skills, you have a following, and you have content…. Self-publish – be your biggest fan, it’s okay! That’s what I’m doing πŸ™‚ Also, don’t be afraid to let your personality come out on the blog once in a while, people like people not logos (I think I heard this in my marketing class in college, I must have been awake that day LOL) Anyways, what I’m trying to say is keep doing what you’re doing cause it’s working and we love it. XOXO. -Ale

  21. I bet this post is going to beat all statistics and facts noted by you during these years of blogging πŸ˜‰
    I’m feeling guilty because I’m one of those people who stop by – everytime I receive an email I come to see what you’re doing and talking about – but not always say something because, wrongly I now see, didn’t think you cared that much about people commenting.
    Don’t ask me why I thought that but though I’m one of those “followers” who people moan “here she comes again” πŸ˜€ I always say something, ask thousands, congratulate, I chose most of the times not to because I thought “gee, Teresa, get a grip… Chris has better things than reading your silly words”. So my Guilt. Won’t do again πŸ™‚
    Happy New Year, Chris and Thank you for so much Inspired Posts and Ideas. Keep us posted about that book πŸ˜‰ Really would like to have a phisical evidence of all this Inspiration.

  22. See what happens when you get all PERSONAL! 38 comments!!!! LOL! You know I love you and enjoy your blog so much! Original content is where it’s at! Toot your own horn…stand in your own lane…copycats are everywhere and corp. partnerships and book deals are great when they are genuine. You deserve all the success that you have attained thus far and the EXTRA that is bound to come your way. Keep on keepin’ on sista! LOVE YOU!!! Tonya

  23. I’ve never commented before but I just want you to know that I read every. single. one. of your posts and am always FLOORED by them. Floored. You are an exceptional party planner, designer, communicator, photographer, etc – and I have greatly benefited from your blog and your creativity!!! In fact, I would easily say you’re the one I turn to first if I need inspiration, and your blog is the one I like best for party planning, decoration, style, and design. You’ve changed how I approach decorating and entertaining. So thank you for what you do and I LOVE you and your blog!!!! (I also like that you’e starting to get more personal–I think that’s fabulous!) πŸ˜‰ ~Sarah

    1. Also–every post I’ve read by you has been magazine and book quality. That book needs to happen ASAP. I would buy it for myself and all my friends. Not kidding.

  24. I just wanted to pop in to say, “Thank you!” I’m not a bigger commenter in any setting (totally an introvert), so know that there are probably a lot of readers just like me. I also read your posts in Google Reader, so you probably don’t see any traffic count stats for us RSS readers. We are here and we love what you do, but we are also quiet.

    On another note, I’m glad you have switched to showing what you do and your own ideas. I followed another party blogger for a bit, but dropped her blog from my reading list when she started only posting ideas from other blogs.

    So, thank you, thank you, thank you!! (Now, I’m going to slink back into anonymity.)

    1. Meagan, thank you for coming out of hiding for a moment πŸ™‚ I sincerely appreciate the support.

  25. As a blogger, I can completely relate to what you said. As a reader of your site, let me tell you: I LOVE this site. You inspire me every day!

  26. Chris – Your original content is what keeps me coming back! I love that your events or tables are smaller scale and made at home. It’s so easy to get carried away for the love of the party (I’m so guilty) and you remind me to keep it real. Best of luck with all your goals in 2013!

  27. Just found your blog and am a now a follower. You had me at “celebrate life with style”! I agree with many of those above – never compare yourself to others. Celebrate all that YOU bring to the blogworld. Hell, to the world in general πŸ™‚

    1. Teri, we women are so tough on ourselves, and your words are important ones to remember. I’m glad you’ve found us and hope to bring lots more STYLE your way!

  28. Good morning!

    I’m not a party planner, event organizer, or a lone party searcher and certainly understand your feelings. Just wanted you to know that I have followed about 25 party/nesting/coastal blogs for about a year and turn to these (you) quality blogs (daily) for all of my family celebration ideas. Because of you (and the other entertaining experts), I have managed to pull off events for my loved ones that seemed impossible, and I cannot thank you enough for that. I also understand your feeling of frustration by the lack of relationships and some of the drama involved in running a business. I experienced similar feelings as a small business owner about ten years ago. You will continue to do what you think is best for yourself. Just always know that there are women out here that appreciate your efforts and are able to more easily demonstrate feelings of love because of what YOU do.

  29. I must admit, I also thought you were going to drop the baby bomb….. this might actually be better though because I NEVER post comments but felt compelled to do so today. I must say, I live for your postings. I receive your post via email at 7:30am as I am on my way to work and I truth be told it makes my hectic NYC morning commute bearable. I start my day with whatever goodness you share and my creative juices begin to flow. I will say I have found reasons to celebrate the little things and those around me feel special because I’ve taken the time to beautify their world.

    You are appreciated!

    1. Shirvonne, that means a LOT, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you commenting – even if you never do again *wink* I’m happy to know you’re out there!

  30. I love hearing other successful bloggers in this party space share their genuine selves. I admire your candid honesty and agree that building relationships is key. I can’t wait to meet you in March at Blissdom!

  31. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve had that same feeling for a while now. I should have just let write what I was feeling/thinking. Blogging is a tough business and you have to really decide what level you’re willing to take it to before it’s not about you anymore and it’s about everyone else. Don’t get discouraged…just do what’s right for you. Happy New Year!

    1. So true, Abbey. Blogging has always been a way to “connect” with people, but change happens and we have to keep up or get left behind. I want to “keep up” but always feel connected to my audience too. I’m so moved by the supportive comments over these few days.

  32. As an event planner by profession I filled my google reader with dozens of party planning blogs. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom and don’t have the company budget to blow on all the fluff, I found your site and it is my absolute favorite! You post things that are actually atainable and fun for real people. I’ve now become annoyed with some of the most popular sites out there because they post so much that is professionally styled or just for a photo shoot. I need real world ideas and inspiration and I find that here. Please don’t change too much we are just getting to know each other and I kinda have a crush on you (the site). πŸ™‚

    1. Thank You, Tia, for validating my point of view! I’m so glad you “get” me. πŸ˜‰
      And don’t worry, I won’t go changing.

  33. Hahahaha! I thought the same thing that Bobbi Jo said πŸ™‚ Thanks for saying what I’ve always thought…it’s hard not to compare yourself to others, because lady, I see your spot and think “That’s what I want to be when I grow up!” (Those almost 15,000 FB followers you have ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at!)

    A few years ago, there wasn’t a lot of party inspiration so we had to share and people loved to leave comments…all we had was blog comments. Now, everyone and their mama has a party blog and 13,000 different outlets to share stuff on. If I actually get a real blog comment, I’m thrilled! I’m so over the numbers game too…I don’t have them, but some pretty cool companies have found me for collabos and my idols follow me, so I keep telling myself quality over quantity…quality over quantity…quality over quantity. But yes, I’ll take a book deal any day!

    1. BwaaaaHaaaaa! That ship has sailed, Bobbi Jo! πŸ™‚

      I appreciate your honesty above, and thank you for your sweet words.

  34. Your blog is my absolute favorite! I read it every day and I even pin most of your ideas to Pinterest. I’m a stay at home mom with two little bitty ones and even though we may not be having lots of parties and entertaining yet, as my kids grow I know we’ll be using your inspiration to have wonderful, memory making get togethers for years to come.

    I will admit I’m simple though. I prefer to read your ideas right off your blog. If a blogger says follow me over here or read what I wrote on this site, usually I don’t follow. I rather read it on the original blog. I don’t have time for link ups, although I’m sure you’re sharing great information in other places.

    Simply put, I think your blog is awesome!

  35. I love the things you share and that they are attainable, and am definitely regularly inspired by you. I definitely think you should keep being who you are and sharing what you do., and keep your blog unique as is. And I love that you have opened up to us a bit, and would be very happy to see more of that going forward. Basically, keep up the great work! And as someone with a fairly new blog myself, I really get what you mean. And everything about how to promote yourself is written by people who sound, well, kind of creepy.

    And thank you for being so honest.

    1. “creepy” – that really did make me LOL!
      I so appreciate your support and encouragement, Sasha. Thank you.

    1. I appreciate that, Carli. Thank you! It’s been such a pleasure reading everyone’s comments….It will sustain me on those “down” days πŸ™‚

  36. Chris, you are amazing! And though we did connect in the early years, I’m still here AND applaud your determination to work the blogging industry by your own standards and what sets your heart on fire. Keep it up!!!

    1. Natalie, that means lot. Thank you!
      I’ve seen your work making it’s way around the web, and I’m so glad you are living your own dream! Congratulations to you too!

  37. I am constantly hosting people in my home for no special reason other than we want real life relationships … I love what you share on your blog. I do not usually comment though, so I will try to at least post a thank you on the blogs I end up being inspired by πŸ™‚ Happy New Year Chris!

    1. Thank you Jennifer. You’re so right – social media can’t replace face to face contact. I applaud you for making it happen!
      Happy New Year!

  38. I love dear friend and agree whole heatedly with your ramblings. It is hard to see how to transition our businesses and keep up with all that is going on. The best thing to do is not compare but enjoy each other’s successes. I adore you and can not wait to see you in March!

  39. Wonderful post! I agree with you completely. This “party world” is changing and when I get a comment I find myself getting crazy excited becuase they are hard to come by. Chatting with my online friends keeps me motivated and reminds me that I’m totally not alone with these feelings.

    Congrats on all of your success and I can’t wait to see what 2013 will hold!

    1. Thanks Melissa. It’s so great to have our online friends to keep us focused and motivated. My “Real Life” friends don’t understand what it is I do, really, …. they just like to be included in the parties. lol

  40. Chris!
    We love you and you are a total rock star with so much talent! You have always been a huge sense of inspiration to me. I don’t know if I told you when we met that you were my BFF in my head! πŸ˜‰ I love it when you get personal because you are absolutely spot on. The party world has become inundated with repetitious, people copying people, everyone wants a book deal with no talent (just saying) and you as Abigail said, put others to shame! Rock on… I’ll be cheering for you from the sidelines!


    1. Ebony, I think you just brought a tear to my eye!
      Thanks for your support. You are a fantastic lady and yes, BFF’s!

  41. I love it when you get personal πŸ™‚ and you’ve hit the nail on the head with everything you talked about. the party blogging world has definitely changed and not all for the better, right? We started doing this because we have a love of entertaining, and I try to remember that everyday. And you DO have a ton of original content that is SO impressive!! Puts those others to shame πŸ˜‰ love you Chris!!

  42. Happy New Year Chris! I have always enjoyed looking for inspiration from your blog- your events or others. It’s important to find what brings you joy in your work and find your own voice. Good luck in your new direction and I will be looking forward to them!

    1. We are a 140 character and picture internet now. If its not quickly perused on instagram, pinterest or twitter its lost in the mix. Blogging used to be about sharing and relationship building. Now blogs are more and more not about any content at all.

      1. So true, Dianne. It’s a struggle to stay relevant in a fast paced world & cluttered internet. I’m always trying to improve, evolve, and up my game.

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