Gatherings Podcast

Jessica and Chrystina from Gatherings Podcast

Photo by Julia Dent Photography

Hi everyone! It’s about time that I officially announce to y’all that I just started a really cool new project with my friend Jessica from Sweet Love & Ginger.


It’s called Gatherings Podcast. Jessica and I talk about – and interview people about – hosting parties and entertaining in everyday life. We like to keep it simple. We like to focus the conversation on the people and the logistics, and leave the sometimes over-the-top Pinterest decorations to the pros.

If you’d like to listen, but don’t know how to find a podcast. Leave a comment and I’ll help you figure it out. We have three episodes right now. You can listen to them all on our website.

What are we trying to accomplish?

We’re trying to make parties more approachable for people who haven’t hosted them and provide a space for people who love hosting parties to talk about it, all of its nuances, and things we’ve learned along the way.

Who is this podcast for?

Admittedly, Jessica and I still need to sit down and really have this discussion, but I can give you a good start. If you (a) like parties and are looking for inspiration to host more, (b) like parties and are looking for somebody to talk about all of the logistics and details with, (c) want to start hosting parties, but don’t know where to begin.

What can you expect from the episodes?

In each episode we will pick a topic to either talk among ourselves about or to interview somebody about. The topic will need to do with hosting events and parties. We will be answering questions that have to do with logistics, dealing with awkward situations, and tips and tricks learned along the way. At the end of each episode all parties involved will answer a series of 4 questions:

  • What are you planning right now?
  • What’s going on in your kitchen?
  • How are you staying in touch this week?
  • What are you into right now?

Right now, we will be releasing episodes monthly. Each episode is about 50 minutes. If anything changes, I’ll let you know. And we would love some feedback in the meantime, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Here’s the rundown of our first three episodes:

  1. Episode 01: Our Party Hosting Styles – Jessica and I talk about our who we are and how we met, our party hosting styles, and why we started this podcast.
  2. Episode 02: Our Ideal Dinner Parties – Jessica and I talk about our ideal dinner party setups, rules that we live by (please note: we don’t have many), and how to keep the conversation going.
  3. Episode 03: Networking Events with Lauren Caselli – Jessica and I chat with Lauren Caselli from Lauren Caselli Events about life stories, event planning, benefits of facilitation, and all the things.
Gatherings Podcast - Episode 01 - Party Hosting Styles
Gatherings Podcast - Episode 02 - Our Ideal Dinner Parties
Gatherings Podcast - Episode 03 - Hosting Networking Events

What makes this podcast unique?

I looked for a podcast about real life party planning for a long time. I came close to finding it with Awesome Etiquette, the podcast put out each week by the Emily Post Institute, but they talk more situationally rather than logistically. (Still HIGHLY recommend that podcast.) Victoria from A Subtle Revelry had a podcast about parties (called The Party Podcast) for a little bit, but it didn’t last more than a few episodes. If anybody knows of any others, let me know, but for now, we’re one of the few party planning podcasts out there.

This is all about party hosting from the point of view of two late 20-something female engineers. That means we’re living on a budget, we worry about logistics before decorating, and we’re at that point in our lives where things are starting to change – people are getting married and having kids – and it changes the way that you stay in touch with people in your lives. That said, even between just the two of us, we bring some variety. What do I mean?

  • I live in the city. Jessica lives in the country (suburbs?).
  • I live in 850 square feet with minimal outdoor space. Jessica lives in a much larger house with a large back yard.
  • I am a type A planner, Jessica is far more spontaneous.
  • I love talking about relationships and how to stay in touch with people. Jessica loves talking about sustainability, permaculture, gardening, and hunting.
  • I have a boyfriend. Jessica has a husband, chickens, and a baby on the way.

So needless to say, there are definitely times that we will bring different perspectives to the conversation.

We would love for you to check out the podcast and follow along. We would love for you to leave us a review on iTunes. We would love for you to recommend some of your favorite party planners to be interviewed. Let us know what you’re thinking.

Top 6 Posts of 2016

Hi, friends! Happy New Year’s! No matter which part of the world you’re in I hope you were able to take some time to relax with friends and family, think about the previous year, and think about what your goals are going to be for the upcoming year. I’m still finishing up my 2017 goals, I think I need a little more time to think about them (as well as time to go through the Fizzle Show’s 5 steps to goal setting, which I just discovered this week).

As per usual, my top 6 posts for the year were: Ideas for Bridal Shower Question Game, How To Throw a 1920’s Party – Part 2, How To Throw a 1920’s Party – Part 1, Chocolate Fondue Dipper Ideas, It’s Official, I Need Help With Karaoke Songs, and 16 Party Ideas Inspired by Gilmore Girls. Of course, none of these posts were written in 2016. Today I want to share with you the Top 6 posts of 2016.

How To Make Your Family Tree

I had the chance to interview Diane Haddad from Family Tree Magazine to ask some questions about what to do when you’re starting your own family tree, what to do when you get stuck, and to find out any tips or tricks she’s learned along the way. Check it out here.

How to Make Your Family Tree via Chrystina Noel

A Wardrobe Overhaul

I’ve never considered myself a very stylish person. That’s why this year I had Sarah from smoorelovin’ and Sarah from Shades of Sarah go through my wardrobe and help me figure out what I should get rid of and what I should keep. Check it out here.

My Wardrobe Overhaul via Chrystina Noel

My Diva Cup Review

This was a post I debated writing because it felt a little too personal. That said, I clear went ahead and wrote it anyway. If you were ever considering using The Diva Cup here is my complete review of the product, all details included. Check it out here.

My Diva Cup Review via Chrystina Noel

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Nida

Every time I write a post about Nida it shoots to the top of the list. She’s really awesome, has a lot of friends and family, and hosts some really excellent parties. If you’re looking for some tips and tricks to make your next party great, I absolutely recommend checking this post out. Check it out here.

Tips to be a Great Party Hostess featuring Nida via Chrystina Noel

Closing Down Shoppe

This year I decided it was time to close down the greeting card shoppe. I realized it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be and I think it’s time to find my next adventure. While I haven’t figured out what that’s going to be yet, I still think I made the right decision. Check it out here.

Closing Down Shoppe via Chrystina Noel

The Best Chai in Philadelphia

I had a lot of fun writing this post. And I really want it to be a living post that I add to every few months. I love chai so I went on a mission around Philadelphia to try +20 of them and then plot them on a chart using spiced-ness, spiciness, and sweetness as the three variables. If you like chai and find yourself in Philadephia, this post is for you. Check it out here.

Find Your Favorite Chai Latte in Philadelphia via Chrystina Noel

Thank you so much for another great year of Chrystina Noel. I’ve loved getting to know all of my readers a little bit better and I’ve loved sharing the things I’ve learned about party hosting, greeting cards, and staying in touch with you on this journey. Here’s to an excellent 2017 full of lots of parties, snail mail, and friends you love.

Happy 4th Birthday!

Guess what?! It’s my blog’s birthday! My little blog turns 4 today! I’m so excited! I started this blog in September of 2011 as a space for me to release some creative energy outside of work, and it stuck. I can’t imagine what life would be like if I didn’t have this little corner of the internet to get some of these thoughts out of my head. (My friends already tell me I overthink things.)

To the people that have been around for the whole adventure, thank you so much for being a part of it. To the people who have just recently found me, hello! Feel free to check out my About Page. I hope you decide to stick around, we have a lot of fun in this little space (or at least I do).

In honor of four years I’m recapping my top 6 posts from the past year and my 6 favorite posts from the last year. To celebrate I’m hosting a few giveaways this week of gift cards to my favorite places in Philadelphia, so absolutely stick around this week for a chance to win.

Top 6 Chrystina Noel Blog Posts

(written this past year)

Chocolate Fondue Dipper Ideas

6 Gift Ideas for Bakers

16 Gilmore-Inspired Parties

How You Know It’s Over

How You Know
Wine & Cheese Party Games

Wine Party
Resting Bitch Face

Resting Bitch

In case you were wondering how this happened, Chocolate Fondue dippers hit it pretty big on Pinterest. 6 Gift Ideas for Bakers gets a decent number of hits off of Joy the Baker’s cookbook page (her page shows pingbacks). As for the rest of them, I’m not sure where the traffic is coming from, but I guess I should probably look into it, huh?

Favorite 6 Chrystina Noel Blog Posts

(written this past year)

 The Vomit Contingency Plan

My Lent Reflection

 My Wisdom Teeth Story

 Photography Lessons Learned

 Resting Bitch Face

Resting Bitch
 My Reverse Capsule Wardrobe

Joseph and Capsule Wardrobe 051 - Copy

What have I learned from this? My favorite posts to write are always the ones where I get to tell a story and/or analyze a situation. I guess it’s the engineer in me. I’m absolutely okay with that.

Were any of these your favorite as well? I’d love to hear from you, and about what you’d like to see next. And don’t forget to come back later this week to win some really cool Philadelphia gift cards.

Happy 4th Birthday, little blog!

Changes to Chrystina Noel

2015-06-04 Notes by Chrystina

Hi friends,

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I wanted to let y’all know about some changes that are going to my little corner of the internet.

People have been telling me for a long time that I have a lot going on in terms of topics on my blog (which, if you’ve met me in real life you know is a fair representation of what my day-to-day looks like). I kept trying to make it work having it all in the same space – greeting cards, photography, hosting parties, random life stories, & a small business – probably mainly because I’m stubborn. Of course I can make this work.

I finally realized within the past two months that while I can make it work, it’s not helping me to make it work. There are many of you who come here for the stories and the ramblings that go on in my brain. I know this because personal posts like the vomit contingency plan, my wisdom teeth story, on being religious, my lent reflection, pooping in the woods, and advice to graduates always do really well the day I post them. They’re not searchable, ever-green, pin-able content, but it’s what my recurring readers (hii!!) read the fastest when I post. And those are probably my favorite posts to write as well.

The people coming to my blog to read those posts probably aren’t coming to my blog to learn about how to make greeting cards. And the people who are coming to my space specifically to look for greeting cards – wait, honestly, there probably aren’t too many of you because other than that little blue envelope in the header of my page there’s not all that much that tells you that I like to make greeting cards. (And if there are, hello, I’m absolutely thrilled you’re here.)

So after a lot of thought (and a lot of stubbornness) I’ve decided to separate out cards portion of Chrystina Noel to an alternate site, a site where you can tell that I make handmade greeting cards, Notes by Chrystina ( This will be a space that teaches you how to better stay in touch with the people you love, give you tips to make your own greeting cards, and will display cards I’ve made. It will also be where I release my How to Stay in Touch e-book within the next few weeks. In honor this fresh start, I have made an Instagram account dedicated strictly to greeting cards (@NotesbyChrystina). I’m working on moving the custom card order form over there as well, but currently SquareSpace doesn’t support Typeforms. #bloggerproblems

^  I’ll pause for a second while you click those two links…  ^

I’m on a mission to find my rat people. The people who love stationery and greeting cards and snail mail. And I think it’s going to be a good split. It means that I can keep my personal Instagram account personal & my business Instagram account crafty. (I cannot be held accountable if you see pictures of a greeting card for you before it gets to you though…) Of course, the two blogs will still be linked, but this will provide a little bit more work-life balance in my day-to-day.

Let’s talk logistics. The goal is to post on Chrystina Noel three times a week, and to spend some time building up my content at Notes by Chrystina for a while before starting to post once a week. This will give me a chance to create better (and more personal) content for Chrystina Noel, as well as put all of my “how to stay in touch” resources in the same place (yay, efficiency!).

So, if you’re somebody who loves hearing the stories, stick around, you’re in the right place. And if you’re somebody who loves the crafting, I’ll see you over on Notes by Chrystina. And if you’re somebody who loves both, well golly gee, I’m flattered and hopefully I’ll see you in both of my little corners of the internet. To stay in touch with what’s happening on Notes by Chrystina, make sure you’re signed up for the Chrystina Noel newsletter.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how party hosting & photography fits into any of this? It’s going to stay on Chrystina Noel. Why? Because it’s a personal blog now, so I can blog about whatever I’d like. (How’s that for logic?)

Thoughts, questions, comments, concerns? Let me know below. I’m excited to see what this adventure of mine has in store!

PS. Don’t buy domains when you’re super tired, you may end up putting the http www IN the actual domain. #mylife

PPS. Seriously. Go check out the site, I’m really excited about it: Notes by Chrystina.