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Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Stuff Swap with Good Cheese

Transition is hard. Each time I go through one, I am somehow still surprised by the challenges that come with a new place. I find this baffling because I often tell people about my upbringing as an Air Force brat with a sense of pride.

I am proud to have moved around as a kid and often point to those experiences as growing pains that allowed me to succeed in college or even make it on my own as a single girl in a new city fresh out of grad school.

But I have to admit, I still struggle with change.

The past year and a half brought change in both my professional and personal life. The biggest change being motherhood. I've struggled with friendships and making "mom friends."

Around New Years I was feeling sorry for myself and complaining to my husband once again. He lovingly challenged me and asked "what have you done to get to know them?" referring to a group of women I would classify as acquaintances.

Although his question was what I needed to hear, I did not receive it so graciously.

I wish it would have stopped me in my tracks, but instead I thought about it for about a week. It wasn't pretty, but I realized I was expecting people to come to me and ask me all the questions I had assumed they had. I made it all about me. Yuck.

I had not considered what ways I needed to put myself out there and open myself up to let them know I was looking to forage new friendships.

I decided I should host this group of people in our home. As uncomfortable as it might be, I needed to open the door to my unfinished, not-even-mid-renovation house and feed these women I hoped to build a friendship with some wine and cheese.

To make it more interesting than "come hang out with me," I decided we needed something to do. I had heard of clothing swap parties before and loved the idea of an accessory swap (it is more inclusive of all shapes and sizes), so I went for it.

I created the event/invite on Facebook and was encouraged by people responding that they were coming, asking me what they could bring when they saw me in person and commenting/asking questions via Facebook.

People were talking about it!

As the night of the event drew closer,  I decided to keep the food simple with a cheese spread from Trader Joe's, wine, crackers, and other nibble-type things. After all, I had finished the Whole30 earlier that week and all I wanted was bread and cheese!

For the swap part, I tried to keep it simple and had everyone lay out their items in our dining room. We used the dining table and mantle to display the scarves, hats, purses, necklaces, bracelets and more. Once everything was laid out, we drew numbers and took turns selecting one item at a time. Everyone walked away with 5-6 new to them items and the remaining items are being donated to a local family shelter.

By the end of the night, we decided a kitchen gadget swap was next!


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