All of us here at Wetpaint Moms couldn’t be more excited to announce our newest partner, Jen Stagg of withHEART. We’ve been admirers of Jen’s blog for some time now — from fashion to entertaining to DIY, Jen does everything with style and, well, with heart.
We caught up with Jen to chat about blogging, balancing a career and being a mom to her (totally adorable!) 10-month-old, and how to make entertaining a snap. She also gave us a peek at her latest shindig: a super fun St. Patrick’s Day party! Yes, you can do it — Jen will show you how!
Wetpaint Moms: You're a working mom with a new baby and clearly VERY busy! What made you decide to start withHEART?
Jen Stagg: I truly love to write and have from a very young age. Sharing others' stories, fashion, cooking, home design, and fitness are all areas of my life I'm passionate about, and I had wanted to start a blog for years. I believe if you have an idea or goal, go after it with your all — live "with heart" — hence the blog name. The blog gives me a positive creative outlet, and hopefully it inspires other women as well.
When you're selecting content for your blog, what inspires you?
People, plain and simple. I think you can learn so much from others' life experiences, from their heartaches and happiness, and I believe those challenges and triumphs are to be celebrated and shared. I'm very sentimental and I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful, talented, loving women. If I need inspiration for a room design, a party, a kick in the pants for a workout, a good conversation with a trusted friend usually gives me plenty to draw from.
What tips can you share for busy moms who would like to entertain more for their friends?
Start early. Pinterest is incredibly useful for collecting ideas and color schemes you love. You may not know how it will all come together at first, but if you just start pooling things you love in one place, a theme will start to stick out. Once you have a few ideas, narrow down a theme. The contributors on withHEART are some phenomenal party planners who will scour the internet for months to find the perfect decor, imported drinks, patterns for handmade party favors, and recipes to try in advance. If you give yourself time and don't leave things to the last minute, you can concentrate on those details that can really give your guests that "wow" response.
What is your typical 'getting ready' routine when you're hosting a party?
Usually, I start laying things out a few days in advance. Nothing too crazy, but compile the decor in the rooms you want it, make sure all of the dishes you need are cleaned, organized, and ready to go. Press linens in advance and the night before, get as much in place as possible. If any food can be made in advance, try to squeeze it in. It will save you when those last minute emergencies pop up. Then day of can be left for the rest of the food prep, finishing touches, and your beauty routine. Don't want to look like you've been cooking all day, even if you have!
What are your favorite go-to, easy party snacks?
I think a color coordinated candy display is always a hit. For example, if it's a baby shower, find a variety of different candy in the color hues you're using and put it out in interesting jars, vases, dishes, etc. I also usually rely on a local bakery to handle a few items. Seek out some fun patisseries unique to your area and outsource some lemon bars or eclairs. We have a wonderful cupcake shop near us called "So Cupcake" that will custom design. Mini cupcakes with a coordinated theme — what could be cuter?
Any must-haves for party music?
It all depends on the party. For kids' parties, anything upbeat with a sound system works great. If it's an adult dinner party or holiday get-together, I think live music adds class. My sister is a phenomenal pianist and I've tapped into her talents more than once. She wrote a beautiful arrangement of a cherished childhood song and played it at my daughter's baby blessing. What a neat memory to share with her as she gets older. But, there is nothing wrong with a playlist you've preselected on an iPod. Just keep the volume low enough that your guests can still carry on a conversation.
When you're not hosting fabulous parties, what's your favorite way to spend a Saturday night?
I have to admit, I'm a homebody. My husband and I both work so much during the week that by the weekend, usually all we want to do is get into sweats, make dinner at home, and snuggle with our baby girl. Family time is the best time, in my opinion.
Your daughter Ruby is so adorable! What's your favorite part about being a mom?
Experiencing everything for the first time through her. Her eyes are so full of wonder and pure joy — everything is exciting and new. What can I say, I'm obsessed with her! Motherhood is truly a gift.
Ready to start party planning? Take a look at withHEART’s amazing St. Patrick’s Day party ideas!