//, Theme Parties/5 Year BLOGiversary Celebration + The Post That Almost Didn’t Happen

5 Year BLOGiversary Celebration + The Post That Almost Didn’t Happen

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HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

So… I should start off by saying that this post really should’ve been up back in June – on June 26, 2011 to be exact – but the fact that it’s up at all is kind of a mini miracle at this point (full story below). And, as it turns out, the more-than-2-months-late post date is actually kind of perfect…

…because now that it’s finally up & done, I’ve come to realize that this post – which so innocently started out as what was supposed to be a mini “virtual celebration” of the 5-year anniversary of this blog, has instead unwittingly become the perfect metaphor for my last 5 years of blogging: filled with shiny moments, not-so-shiny moments, full blown fall-on-your-face crashes, and multiple restarts… to use computer terminology. And despite the obstacles this project presented, I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized that…and might even venture to say there’s something I kind of love about it (hello there, silver lining).

Here’s the full story, plus a super inspiring video just because I think you’ll really love it too…

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary


As I mentioned before, this little photo shoot/project was originally supposed to be in celebration of the 5 year anniversary of this blog, which officially occurred on June 26th (hooray!). I’ve never really done anything to celebrate “blog birthdays” or “blog-iversaries” before, but 5 is such a nice round number that I thought it deserved some sort of little virtual “hurrah” this time, and what better place to host a virtual celebration than on the blog itself – where the people that keep me blogging every day also happen to be – right? Yes… my thoughts exactly. =)

So…using the “celebration” aspect & colors of the blog as my inspiration, I set out to design a “computer geek meets girlie glam” type of theme, which should only sound like a ridiculous theme to those that don’t read, follow, or author girlie lifestyle blogs themselves… or “woman-oriented” lifestyle blogs for a more sophisticated sounding description.

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

I made 2 signs to serve as the focal point of the table, but it was too hard to stagger them diagonally with 1) no wall to lean against outside and 2) the wind factor described below, so I settled for shooting them one at a time.

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

I also wanted this post/project to serve as an inspirational how-to for or for my fellow bloggers looking to celebrate their own blog-iversaries – OR for anyone that’s looking for computer related party inspiration in general (think robot parties, gaming parties, etc). So the plan was to do a mini shoot at home mocking up some of the party ideas, as well as offer free downloads of party printables for others to use in their own celebrations. (Happy Blog-iversary to YOU!) So…

I started by designing the printable patterns and party elements – decorative signs, napkin rings, cupcake toppers, labels, etc. At first I wasn’t sure if this theme was going to translate well to printables, but I was actually pretty happy with how they turned out! (Cue a SHINY moment!) I’d wanted them to look computer-ish (I really need some better adjectives to work with here) but also girlie and FUN, so a combo of bright colors, computer generated looking fonts, mod patterns, and sketched word and thought bubbles seemed to do the trick. Here are a few of them:

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

(In case you’re wondering I just used a really small circle cutter to punch centers from regular cookies to make them look like CD-Roms. Easy!)

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

So now that the paper elements were done, printed, & cut, it should be easy to whip out a mini photo shoot and get this thing posted right? Wrong. This is where things started their downward spiral…(cue some not-so-shiny moments). I’ll fast forward through all the little “difficulties” that come with just trying to craft, paint, glitter, and glue with a toddler either attached to your leg or to your hip. Instead, let’s just breeze right through to “project: set this thing up”…

And speaking of breeze, that would’ve been nice because the proper term here would be “angry wind“. I’m a stickler for good photography and things photograph SO MUCH BETTER in the natural outdoor light, so i was bound and determined to shoot this in our backyard.

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

Things were nice and calm when I started, but unfortunately the wind was unusually present in our backyard all throughout that particular week and was also just as adamant about knocking every single thing over as I was about setting it up…. again, and again, and again…and yet again. Everything would be calm for a bit and I’d think we were home free – grab the camera! – then right at that moment a huge gust would come out of nowhere and send paper elements flying, blow the mac-n-cheese “bytes” into the pool, topple the signs …it was not a pretty picture (pun intended) and it looked absolutely nothing like this:

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

The first day ended up being impossible and I finally gave up by sundown, especially after tiring not just of the wind, but also of listening to my husband/photographer ask why on earth I thought this was going to work at all. (Because I needed it to, that’s why?!).

The next day seemed a little better wind-wise so I got everything set up again, and just when it was all “perfect”, Mother Nature strikes again! Broken glasses, mac-n-cheese on the cement this time, ripped signs, cupcake frosting all over the place… at least the dogs were happy to help clean up this time. Since our fence isn’t exactly sound proof, I’m sure the neighbors were quite aware of how frustrated I was too…oops! :0

Anyways, just as I was about to give up again on day #2 and throw the rest of the props in the pool myself, DH thankfully decided to be more of a cheerleader this time, and we somehow figured it out – more at the turtle’s pace than the hare’s – but we crossed the finish line nonetheless. Sometimes this meant me holding things in place and literally diving out of the shot the minute the wind died down so he could snap a picture – and sometimes it meant fixing the same thing a zillion times until we actually got a picture of it right side up instead of sideways – but one way or another we actually got it done. Here are some more right-side-up pictures:

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

(Like these cute little food stands? They’re called Pastry Pedestals and you can find them right here!)

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

And now onto the full-blown crash/spinning-rainbow-wheel-of-death moment of this project (to use a term my fellow mac users can appreciate)…you know those party printables I designed & ended up being so happy with, which I also planned to offer as free downloads to blog readers? Well… I lost them. Or maybe more accurately – my computer ate them. And of course this is BEFORE I was able to share them. *tear* Cue ironic picture below…

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

I’m talking every inch of the printables too – not just the downloadable PDF versions, but the original layered photoshop files – which accounts for HOURS of design work – ugh!!! I’m honestly still not quite sure how it happened, but I must’ve somehow either overwritten or permanently deleted that folder along with a couple other recent design projects – bringing the casualties up to at least 20 hours of design work. I’ve seriously never, ever done that before in 12 years of graphic design. Seriously… what was the deal with this project?

After digesting this latest blow and mourning those lost hours/projects for a little while though, I saw this video and decided to get up, dust myself off, and finish this thing once and for all. I’d still like to recreate these printables at some point (ideally in multiple colorways), but for now I’ll have to settle for at least posting the party inspiration and lessons learned. You could still recreate most of these ideas with your favorite papers too – and of course the food ideas, covered CD Roms, stacked paper mache box “cake”, yarn pom signs, etc could be used for all sorts of themes…

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

So although this project was a pain in the you-know-what, the important lesson here is that it eventually got done. And while it’s actually a very light hearted metaphor in the scheme of things – when compared to some of the really big issues and lessons we’ve faced/survived these last 5 years at least (maybe there’s another post on that later) – I still can’t help but enjoy a sense of satisfaction in looking at this finished post now, even if it isn’t exactly what I’d originally planned for it to be.

If you’re a blogger, entrepreneur, or really any warm-blooded human being, I’m sure you’ve experienced this sort of lesson one way or another yourself, which is why I leave you again with the video mentioned above. I might not be able to offer you free printables today, so this is my substitute gift… if you’re ever feeling especially down or like you’ve fallen flat on your face with work or any sort of issue in life, take a couple minutes to watch this video. Chances are good it will help reignite your fire, whatever it may be…

Oh – and P.S….

HWTM 5 Year Blogiversary

Jenn =)

By |2016-12-25T10:28:42+00:00September 1st, 2011|Styled by Jenn, Theme Parties|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. Monay September 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Jen where did you get the pedstals that the Mac and cheese and Cupcakes are on!!!! and i am so happy that you were able to get the post up. Congrats on 5 fun fulled years

    • jenn s. September 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks Monay! Those are called “Pastry Pedestals” and you can find them right here: :)

  2. Mrs Rosie Posie September 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    CONGRATS on 5 glorious and super creative years! You have brought so much joy to so many lives and parties – even in South Africa!

    Thanks for the awesome posts, please keep them coming!

  3. Liz September 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    You are amazing! I’m so proud of all that you have accomplished! Congrats on 5 years and many many more!

  4. j September 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Love your display!!!! Absolutely stunning!!!! I just recently found your blog and love what you do for parties:) Keep up the amazing and talented work!! Look forward to seeing more!!

  5. Mommyof2Girlz/StephD September 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Congrats on your 5 yr blogiversary! I love your party decor and am thinking that I might need to step up mine now…lol

  6. Maureen Anders of Anders Ruff September 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Jenn- you are SO creative! I love all of the graphics (OF COURSE) and the colors as well as the play on words… So fun!

    CONGRATS! Look at all that you have accomplished in just 5 years! WOW! You are our idol!
    XOXOXO Lots of LOVE and congrats!

  7. the emily September 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Congratulations on your blogiversary! It all looks gorgeous and was worth your effort. I love coming to read HWTM every day and seeing your (and others) amazing ideas and parties. Thanks for sharing it all with us!

  8. Talia @ Luxe. Event Design, LLC September 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    This is so wonderful! Congratulations you ladies are so wonderful. Thanks for inspiring us each and every day!

  9. Sarah September 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Congrats!! congrats!!! You are amazing! You have accomplished, as one woman, what would normally take a team of 100. Looking forward to what you bring us in the next 5 years!!

  10. Mindy September 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    oh Jenn! :( Thanks for sharing. I (and I’m sure a ton of people) can totally relate…when you are you just SO determined to make something work (even if the hubby insists it won’t!) despite all the hiccups and you curse yourself for it, but then realize in the end, it was totally worth it :)

  11. Jennifer ~ BellaGrey Designs September 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Jenn ~

    Everything came out SUPER cute & you did a great job despite Mother Nature trying to play havic on your anniversary!! Congratulations on 5 SUPER FABULOUS years!! I LOVE your blog & all the inspiration that comes from it!!

    Have a Super Great Day!!

  12. Aprille September 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Congratulations on your blogiversary! And may I say – Many Many More! A daily visit to HWTM makes me smile and makes any bad day turn into a party!
    Thank you for all of your effort!

  13. Alicia September 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Jen, I know exactly how you felt when the “elements” are not cooperating with an outdoor table shoot; that can be super frustrating! I’m glad you toughed it out; the shoot looks super fab! Happy 5th Blogiversary!!!

  14. Jennifer @ Licious Food September 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Congrats on your 5 year anniversary & I wish you many more! I love your site it inspires me daily!

  15. Sarah / Dreamers Joy Events & Design September 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Congrats AND Happy 5th Blogiversary! What a creative dessert table! Love your blog, fun ideas and they way you inspire others! Thank you for HTWM! :)

  16. Jasmine Clouser Couture Cakery September 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Congrats Jenn!! You are a true inspiration!

  17. HiLLjO September 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Jen I have been reading for over a year now and I just love your content and everything.

    I can’t tell you about why this project was so difficult and I’m sorry for the wind and the computer NOM-NOMMING your printables, but look at what you did! It’s still amazing, it still is here and so are YOU. That is what the celebration you feel is. And we all feel it, too! ;o)

    Love you and your blog. Keep on keeping on.

  18. Nadia Franco September 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Hi! I truly admire you. Your work totally inspired me, and although I’m still starting my business, and there’s been a lot of spinning-rainbow-wheel-of-death moments, seeing at your work and success makes me get up {or sit down at my work table} and imagine and create things I’ve never tried before. Your work gave me inspiration and hope to start what I do {stil trying!}. Congratulations on your 5 years of awesome creations!
    Hugs from Tijuana, México!

  19. Diane @ Longaberger Lifestyle September 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Your perseverance paid off!!! One day you’ll look back from a tough day or challenge and you’ll remember that though the wind pushed and blew…it did not take you down. What a delightfully creative and colorful visual celebration!!! Congratulations on 5 fabulous years and best wishes for an amazing 5, 10 or 15 more!!!

  20. Danielle @ Belleza e Luce September 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Despite Mother Nature being uncooperative, the display turned out beautifully. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging success and here’s to many more! Cheers!

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