9-ish chicks + 1 dude = 1 inspired party pig

As each year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on what happened over the past 12 months. Funny thing is…I come to the same conclusion each year. Every set of 365 days brings new adventures both good and not-so-good! Nothing too wise or prophetic. Life is full of twists and turns but we always make it through and come out as better people.

Along life’s path there are people who walk along side of us who encourage, support and inspire us. Today’s post is dedicated to 10-ish people who have inspired this lil’ piggy in 2011. Most are my office mates in this virtual party workspace. They are people I admire, who support me and, most importantly, I am blessed to call my friends.

{drumroll}

Introducing…

When it came to narrowing down my list this year, I failed miserably. There were, of course, a few standouts but I was so fortunate to meet so many amazing party peeps this year—both virtually and in person! I was tempted to just list everyone’s name but I had to face the fact that it would be 2013 before I finished the list and by then I’d have more names to add!

There were so many fabulous ladies vying for the number 10 spot that I decided to create a new category

The Sweet Squad consists of party chicks who have been incredibly generous to me this past year. Donna from Glamorous Sweet Events mailed me a lil’ gift to thank me for sharing a giveaway she was hosting. She truly is glamorously sweet! Catherine of Serendipity Soiree was so excited that I won her Coach purse giveaway that she posted on my Facebook page before I had a chance to see who the winner was. Catherine also was so generous to include a link to our website and a sweet compliment during her {Year in Review}!

Lynlee of Lynlee’s Petite Cakes, Norene of Party Pinching, Lydia of The Party Wagon, Melissa of Best Friends for Frosting and Eleanor of Pink Peppermint Paper, Inc. are the squad leaders of our cheering section on Facebook. They continuously leave sweet comments and share this lil’ piggy’s pun-tastic posts!

Jenn of Hostess with the Mostess and Kara of Kara’s Party Ideas inspire so many each day. I am honored that they each have personally taken time out of their busy schedules to encourage my penny pinching efforts! Their sweet words of support have meant the world to me.

I am thrilled to have watched these three ladies take a leap of faith this year. Maria of Love & Sugar Kisses, Mayra of In Flight Celebrations and Christina of Cookies are my Canvas each turned their hobby into their dream jobs and I am so incredibly proud of them!

I had the privilege of meeting Terri of Terri’s Party Treasures and Aimee of Project: Aimee at the SITS Bloggy Boot Camp in Chicago. I loved these girls from the moment we sat down at dinner and love them even more after they courageously walked away from their businesses. Terri wanted her family to come first and didn’t want to miss watching her girls grow up. Aimee found that the career path she was headed down didn’t fulfil her in the way she expected. Her priority now is finding out who she is while trying her hand at every opportunity that comes her way. Walking away from blossoming careers must have been one of the hardest decisions to make and I am inspired by their courage!

Do you see how tough it was to narrow down the inspiring party peeps this year? Without further ado, I present our Top 10-ish…

This threesome is a collection a limitless talent and a rare breed among printables designers…they are 100% originals. No clipart. No stock illustrations. Just a pen and a sketchpad. Stephanie of Spaceships and Laser Beams, Michele of Intrigue Design Studio and Kori of Paper & Pigtails are my three amigos. Stephanie has gathered a group of talented hand illustrators to create a new breed of boy-only partyware. Michele has taken the blogosphere by storm with her unique business card and blog designs. Kori is headed for stardom with features in print and around the web including Celebrate magazine and HGTV.com. We have a kinship that few can understand.

Ladies, thank you for inspiring me with your endless creativity. I am awestruck by your talent!

Cineca of Dreamin’ N Details and Brittany of GreyGrey Designs were two of the first party chicks I met on CPN (Children’s Party Network). They have always been two of our biggest fans and this past year have become our best clients! These two ladies have inspired more designs than any other client in 11 years and the Mad Hatter Collection we custom designed for Cineca is our best selling product of all time! These two gems not only inspire us with their party themes but they also give us artist freedom to create.

Thank you, Cineca and Brittany, for trusting us with your vision. You will never know how much that means to us! 

Party Peep Number 8 is a lady after my own penny pinchin’ heart! Ebony of Sparkling Events & Designs masterminded the Designer’s Challenge: $100 Budget. Pure genius. I was so honored to be asked to take part in the first challenge along side of so many of my party heroes. When you see so many outrageously expensive celebrations on party blogs, it is easy to get discouraged. Why would anyone want to see a party on a budget? Ebony single-handedly dispelled the notion that you have to spend a lot to throw a great party. Ten designers did it with style and swag…and a lil’ beanstalk, too!

Thank you, Ebony, for inspiring me to share my passion for budget-friendly parties!

Chris of Celebrations at Home and Jillian of Catch My Party are two names that are familiar to most party lovin’ people. These two ladies have each created a place where we love to hang out. A place where we can sit, drink a cup of tea and be inspired by the celebrations they feature. I am so impressed by the attainable parties they each present along with DIY tutorials…but I am most inspired by the communities they have created. Places where the “I don’t think my party’s good enough to be featured” parties are featured and applauded. Communities that are generous, kind and supportive.

Chris and Jillian, thank you for inspiring me to create that kind of community here on Oink! A community where everyone is welcome and treated like party royalty!

The next powerhouse on the list is Carolyn of Carolyn Horten Events and Christmas Specialists. Carolyn and I found that we had a lot in common during Tuesday night chats over on CPN. We’ve both been in the party business a long time and our husbands rely on us to pay the mortgage each month! {Being the Head Elf and the Head Pig has its perks, too!} During this past year, Carolyn and I both came to the same crossroads. Where were our businesses heading? After a bit of soul searching and research, Carolyn’s compass pointed towards the North Pole. J and I had the pleasure of working with her on illustrations for her Christmas Specialists’ website. I am so inspired by her tenacity to focus on what she does well and not get sidetracked by distractions that cross her path!

My dear friend, thank you for your encouragement, support and wisdom. I am so excited that you found your path!

When J and I decided to make the trip to Memphis, Tennessee in November for the CPN Memphis Girls Night Out, I knew I would have the opportunity to meet and network with a bunch of amazing party girls and hear Courtney of Pizzazzerie share her insights as the special guest. I had no idea that by the end of the weekend I would call Miss Courtney…my friend. I’ll let you in on a lil’ secret—she’s a real person. Hilarious. Genuine. Chatty. Adventurous. Generous. Compassionate. An all-American sweetheart. Fearful that 0-5 comments means no one is reading her blog. Floored that people think she’s a Party Rockstar.

Prior to meeting Courtney in November, she had opened a lot of doors for Piggy Bank Parties this year. Two of our Valentine’s collaborations were featured in February, our “Pucker Up for Your Sweetie!” tablescape was the Runner-Up in Pizzazzerie’s Summer Stripes Table Contest in July and our A Hoot of a Halloween Party was featured in October. Since meeting, Courtney has been so generous to us knowing that she was not obligated by our friendship to feature anything we sent her way. With all the exciting things happening to her both personally and professionally, it must be incredibly difficult to keep her head on straight. I am so inspired and proud that Courtney has two feet firmly planted on the ground.

Thank you, Courtney, for your generosity, for encouraging this social media misfit and for trusting me with your fears. I love ya, Kiddo!

I had never met anyone who was “pig-struck” until I met Jill of Peas & Thanks You’s. I fell in love with Jill’s invitations long before I met her through CPN. She is a paper artist. Jill’s detail work is one-of-a-kind perfection. She has a way of layering paper and cardstock that makes this lil’ piggy squeal with excitement. Jill also has a way a making me squeal with laughter. It’s called her wicked sense of humor!

One of the biggest blessings I received this year was the opportunity to meet Jill in person down in Memphis. The days leading up to our first meeting, I would receive posts on my Facebook page or notes in my inbox saying how excited she was to meet me. When we finally did meet, she stared at me across the room with her mouth hanging open. Pig-struck. I was flattered and humbled that the paper artist I had crushed on forever was crushin’ on me!

Two weeks after our first meeting, I was sitting in Jill’s home office (in Georgia) mezmorized by the enchanted works of paper art surrounding me. Most people would have seen a bunch of banners hanging on a wall…but floating between tulle and ribbon…they were magical! It happened, I was “snail-stuck.” Seeing Jill’s work and hearing her talk about her love for paper reignited a passion that I thought I had lost…my passion for handcrafting paper products.

My dear Jill, my paper heart is always yours. Thank you for inspiring me to feel the texture of quality paper, to hear the sound of a perfect crease and to create a work of art with my own two hands hoofs.

Where do I begin when it comes to Kristy, The Purple Pug. Maybe I should use her own words. Ridic talent. Real not Fake. Sweet + sparkles. Dazzles. Love + adore. Fabulous + Fave. I HAM happy to call her my friend. {I also had to include her on the list after receiving this post on Facebook…”Dear The Paper Plate Whisperer. I had better make that list two years in a row. Love, The Glitter Whisperer.”}

Kristy has been one of my nearest and dearest since I entered the party blogosphere. She has brought me to tears with hilarious one-liners, lifted my wounded spirit with her kind words and blown me away with her support of countless party chicks. She is totally and completely glitterific! My favorite times with Kristy though are when no one else is around. Those quiet emails that connect our worlds. I am inspired by her honesty. Her tell it like it is attitude. Her relentless mission to fill the world with support, love and kindness. Her unwavering uniqueness.

Thank you, Kristy, for celebrating my quirks, for dusting me off after I’ve fallen and for comin’ up with almost as many pork puns as this lil’ piggy! Forever and always…your lil’ Pork Chop. {PiGs ♥ PuGs}

Eight women. Eight life preservers. On July 29th, I cried out for help and these ladies all threw me 8 life preservers. They rescued me. Aimee of Project: Aimee, Maria of Love & Sugar Kisses, Jenny of Crossing the Bugger-Dixon Line, Mariah of Giggles Galore, Cineca of Dreamin’ N Details, Tara of Shindig Diva, Mayra of In Flight Celebrations and Dorothy of Life is Sweet in Michigan are MY Crew. This lil’ piggy was drowning in a sea of tears from being overloaded with responsibilities and feeling like I was letting everyone down. These amazingly talented women were a much needed breath of fresh air!

Each one has their own special and unique gift but when they get together…watch out! I’ve already seen some of their collaborations and they are going to knock your socks off in 2012! I adore Aimee’s elegant tailgate parties. I’m head over hoofs for Maria’s fondant creations. I swoon over Jenny’s tutorials. I love Mariah’s vintage party stylin’. I giggle at Cineca’s countless drink recipes. I’m giddy for Tara’s party posts. I’m enchanted by Mayra’s tablescapes. I drool over Dorothy’s recipes. I am inspired by their enthusiasm and grateful for their friendship.

You are MY girls and I am so proud of all that you have accomplished this year. One of my greatest joys has been watching you grow, seize opportunities and take leaps of faith. Thank you for answering my cry for help and for all of your unyielding support and love!

I know. Surprise. Surprise. J of Piggy Bank Parties grabbed the primo numeral uno spot two years in a row. Nepotism. It’s true. I can’t afford for him to go on strike, turn into a temperamental artist or be a disgruntled employee. {Psst! He also feeds me when I don’t have time to take a break…so I kinda like him!}

J is the one person who inspires me each and every day. Over the last year, I have seen him toss away countless sketches that I thought were incredible and while I’m rummaging around in the recycling bin…he draws another one even more incredible than the first! J’s illustrations take my breath away. He recently completed artwork for a client based on an ocean theme and when I look at the partyware I am transported into this enchanted underwater oasis. {I’ll share in a few weeks after the client’s party!}

Not only is J an amazing illustrator but he is our webmaster and worked long hours to give Oink! a much needed facelift over the summer. He added all the bells and whistles I asked for and tweaked it until he knew I was truly happy! {He knows me too well!} He is my right hand man, the man behind the curtain and the most supportive husband a piggy could ask for. Through all the ups and downs he always ends up putting a smile on my face and believes in me more than I believe in myself. Piggy Bank Parties is truly a team effort.

J, thank you for believing in my our dreams, for taking a leap of faith with me every day, for your willingness to do the thankless jobs, for reading all my blog posts, for listening to my crazy party themes and then making them come to life…but mostly, thank you for loving me in spite of myself. You are my hero. Forever…and a day!

{You may be wondering what the three drawings mean. J doesn’t have his own logo yet so I used his Facebook photos—self portrait, disgruntled former Santa and the Snowman Bandit. Don’t ask why. He’s an artist. ‘Nough said.}

I hope you’re inspired to get to know these Inspiring Party Peeps. Stop by their websites, blogs, shops and Facebook pages and let them know this lil’ piggy sent ya. Thank YOU for following my posts both here and on Facebook as well as my tweets. Without you, none of this would be possible…or make sense! J, Hank and I along with the Piggy Bank Parties Crew wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Party-filled New Year!

 

 

About Hank

I'm Hank, the Piggy Bank Parties' mascot, and all around fun pig. My favorite movie is "Babe," my favorite song is "This Little Piggy Went to Market" and my favorite book is "Charlotte's Web".

36 thoughts on “9-ish chicks + 1 dude = 1 inspired party pig

    1. So SweeT, Chris! You’ve inspired me since day one and we’ll be forever grateful to you for being our first party feature ever! {hogs and kisses}

  1. What an amazing list of party awesomeness! I am so glad I sent that email hours before the “casting call”, I LOVE being a part of the Crew! I truly appreciate all that you have done to support Giggles Galore and can’t wait for the day that I finally meet you in person!

  2. What a great list! Got a little teary-eyed when I when I read about your sweet words about J. You make a wonderful team. So appreciative of all of the comments that you leave on my blog and FB page. Wishing you all the best in 2012!

    1. Such a sweet comment, Christine! Piggy Bank Parties truly wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for J!

      I knew I would forget people on the Sweet Squad and you are one of them! Thank YOU for always commenting, liking and sharing our lil’ creations! You’re a DOLL!

  3. So grateful to have ‘met’ you this year my parallel friend. It’s an honor to be on your list, truly. I was scrolling down, just reading through and admiring all the peeps and lost my breath for a sec when I saw my logo there. Thank you so much for all of YOUR support and understanding and all around fun-ness. I look forward to another great year getting to know you even better!

  4. Awww… what an incredibly inspiring list!!! Thank you so very much for the sweet shout out! With all this “fabulousness”, how could I not be on the sweet cheering squad?! You have always been a tremendous support and I truly cannot thank you enough. Looking forward to a marvelous year! ♥

    1. You are so very welcome, Lynlee! It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you this year and I can’t wait to collaborate with you in 2012! oxoxoxo

  5. So honored to be on this list and to be a part of your crew! Sometimes I can’t believe where my love of sugar is taking me, but know that your enthusiastic & endless support is a HUGE part of why I took the “leap of faith” and started a new business. I can’t thank you enough for letting me be a part of your pig pen ;) I hope to one day thank you in person!!!!

    XOXO
    Maria

  6. Wow, once again you leave me speechless. What an incredibly thoughtful post. I am forever grateful for your friendship, your inspiration, ridiculous talents, and support. I am so honored and proud to be part of the crew!

    1. Thank you, Miss Jenny! Your generous response to joining the Crew before there was a Crew inspired the Crew! We will be forever grateful to you for helping us create a community that we’ve dreamed of! oxox

  7. Wow, Do! What a thrill to be mentioned in your list! I cannot thank you enough- and I am so grateful for the support you have given me this year with my new venture! I love what you do, and I love all of the fun puns! Your enthusiasm is contagious!! xoxo Lydia

  8. Do (and J!) I didn’t think I could possibly love you any more than I do… You have proved me wrong!! Could you be ANY sweeter??? You are so thoughtful of all the loves on your list (and everyone you meet) and I am truly honored to call you my friend. You share your passion with us every single day, rain or shine, and I thank you because some days I really need those rays of Do-shine more than you know : ) Thank you for your incredible words. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! xoxo until we meet again!! Jill

    1. I LoVe Do-shine! You will never know how many times your sharp one-liners have caught me off guard, rolled me on the floor and wiped away the tears! Adore everything about you…especially those two lil’ Hank-lovers! oxoxox

  9. So honored to be included in your list. Thank you for all your well wishes for my new business and all your support to myself and my blog. Truly blessed to be not only a party chick but part of something that brings us all close. Little did I know I was helping out in a rescue, I was crossing my fingers that I’d be chosen to be part of something extraordinary!

    Thanks a million Do and J!

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