Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Papier Crépon!

I'm pretty sure it's understood that I'm not throwing lavish parties every weekend, but that's not to say I wish I were! Something about the excitement & stress of it all--simply divine & I'd be happy if all I did for the rest of my life was construct 1000 different ways to decorate/design a party. Pretty sure I picked up that gene from my mom! Ha. 

Speaking of the lovely lady, we were just discussing the other day about how overrated crepe paper streamers are (we were looking at old party pics & realized how many rolls she's used in 25+ years of soiree-throwing). Lucky for her, I had compiled an entire file folder on my desktop chock-full of alternatives to such decor! Don't ask me why--the only answer you'll get is "Because you never know when you might need a new idea!" She raised me right. 

This is only Part 1 because there's too much goodness for one post! And my fingers are tired from typing. Tough life!

Heather Mattos, the mastermind behind the blog Cookie Mondays, used cupcake liners as an alternative to streamers for her daughter's  Cookies & Milk Birthday Party.

Flag pennants are a big hit at my house! There's usually one at every birthday. This amazing candy buffet is the work of Amy Atlas & that explains everything.

How fun is this display? When I first saw this, I thought the backdrop was made of fringed streamers, but upon closer inspection I discovered they were clothespins!

Genius right!? There are tons more fun decorations from this Malibu Wedding over at StyleMePretty & trust me, you'll want to take a look!

Love LOVE ribbon garland as a backdrop. Super easy & do-able for any party since you choose your own color scheme! Made one last year for a bridal shower for my cousin & it's been used numerous times since! There's a great how-to here. You could also use strips of fabric like she did too!

Okay, I just love these. And they're just crepe paper streamers sewn together to give a ruffle effect! I think this turns ordinary streamers into girly ones! Super easy DIY from Dana Willard of Dana Made It too!

Instantly so much cuter right? You're welcome for all the tutorials by the way.

How about this fun zig-zag, accordion garland from my FAVORITE & the absolute BEST party decor / DIY blog I have ever laid my eyes on, Oh Happy Day. Seriously, I check it every day & fall deeper & deeper in love every single day.

These next 4 beauties are more of Jordan's (Oh Happy Day) creations! Divine!

This paper dot garland is my new obsession. You can count on it at the next party I throw! 

 P.S. She and her fam (hubby + 2 kids) just moved to Paris for a year. Convinced to check her blog yet? Thought so!

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week! There's plenty more where these came from!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The First 10 Years

Well folks, my 21st year of life is quickly approaching & I’m feeling pretty good about it. I do honestly feel like it hasn’t even been a year since I turned 20, but nonetheless, I do welcome this next year of my life with open arms.
In celebration, I thought I’d let you take a walk down memory lane: say hello to my first 10 years in birthday form! If the following parties & their commentary do not say enough about my fam & I, then I have failed greatly but am not too concerned. ENJOY!

1st Year: Rabbit Party

Yes, you've counted correctly: 3 cakes. And the one I'm eating in the picture above? Not even real icing. Cool whip! My parents were 'those people'. And my mom has designed, baked & decorated every cake I've ever had! Only had one store-bought cake my entire life--she is amazing.

2nd Year: Teddy Bear Picnic

Nothing too exciting here except for the fact that in looking through pics, I'm sporting two different outfits on the same day--no surprise here but there was, indeed, only one party.

3rd Year: Crayola Party

How amazing does my mom look here? So fab. Oh, & does that cake shape look familiar? You'll find a darker teddy bear in a similar stance in the cake the year before! We call that resourcefulness.

This picture is my most favorite picture of all the pictures in the world. It is an extremely accurate portrayal of how I have spent most of my life with my mother--my facial expression & that OPI Red fingernail pointed right at me. In case you can't tell by her body language (HAND), she's saying "Francesca...". And that seemed to be enough!

4th Year: Jasmine & Aladdin

Ice Capades anyone? This was the year Disney on Ice performed Aladdin at the Fairgrounds & of course my parents took me for my birthday! A fabulous party ensued.

I had the full Jasmine costume--complete with wig! But I cried the morning of my party because I didn't want to wear it, even though I begged my mom to buy it in the first place. She's held that $22.95 over my head ever since!

You can't tell from this angle but my dad attached fishing line to Aladdin's cape & attached it to a vase on the buffet table behind the cake to make it look like they were really flying on the magic carpet (duh). He might have enjoyed that more than I did.

5th Year: I'm a Barbie Girl...

One of my most favorite birthdays! While we were out to dinner before the party, my dog got into everyone's favor bags & ate all the candy. Oops! But, everyone still went home with a Barbie. Literally.

Also the year I got my first bicycle!

Excuse the almost-bare mid-drift & the fact that I'm wearing no pants. Excitement doesn't require clothes!

6th Year: Garden Party

Does anyone remember the Secret Garden Teahouse? This amazing place where you could dress up in any one of their incredible costumes, watch an amazing puppet show, & eat lunch all at the same time.

My BFF Hannah as a princess & me as a bride (go-figure). 15 years later, she's married & graduates soon! Love this sweet pic!

Little pre-party photo shoot with my American Girl doll at Woodward Park? (the ? indicates the confusion I'm having trying to understand this concept.)

I had 2 parties that year. The second one was at our house & I had a temperature of 103° F the entire time & was royally miserable (the picture above accurately portrays how I remember feeling!). My mom made an entire tea set as my birthday cake as well as individual cakes decorated as purple hydrangeas. She's as magnificent as she sounds & the reason I love parties. My parents have celebrated my brother & I well.

7th Year: Easter Birthday

My actual birthday was on Easter this year! Also the year I was baptized. Easter, baptism, & birthday all in one day--and my dad got to baptize me! Lots of amazing memories from this year. It stands out as one of my favs!

8th Year: Pajama Jam

Gahhhh I LOVED this year. The first of my TWO (in a row too!) American Girl Birthday Parties. They had these incredible party kits that you could order--maybe they still do--and they sent you everything from party favors to decorations to cups, plates, napkins, invites, party games, food suggestions & cake designs! They were amazing & the day the kits arrived in the mail, I opened every single box, reorganized every supply & did so every day until the party date arrived. I am not kidding.

It was supposed to be a slumber party, but our living situation at the time was hanging in the balance & I didn't really do slumber parties well. Too much responsibility on me to make sure everyone has a good time. I still have never had a slumber party b-day & I think I'm okay with it.

What's that you see? A purple daisy picture frame and...what?...what's that? my left hand?...YES. Stephen Curtis Chapman's For the Sake of the Call Album. The album was released 8 years earlier but that was irrelevant. The 90s were so good to me.

9th Year: 50s Sock Hop

My second & final American Girl birthday party complete with homemade poodle skirt! 

My parents went above & WAY beyond that year--they borrowed a friend's Classic Mustang Convertible & surprised us by taking us all for a ride around the neighborhood. We make no small plans in our house! 

Unfortunately, neither my mom nor I could locate any pictures of my 10th birthday. None whatsoever! So I apologize for the fact that I left you hanging with 9 years instead of an even 10, but I'm fairly convinced that my extemporaneous & possibly slightly irritating commentary made up for it & you're glad this post is over! 

Thanks for holding out this long!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I've got my eye on you...

1. Bridget Sandal in leopard, ShoeMint. I stumbled upon ShoeMint after I followed a link from one of my favorite fashion blogs. It's a nifty little website that allows you to take a quick personal style questionnaire, and then, based on your choices, they recommend a dozen or more pairs of shoes that best match your style! Shoes are $79.99, shipping is free & returns are a cinch. Love the concept of ShoeMint but prefer jewelry or clothes to shoes? First of all, you're crazy; secondly, have no fear! Affordable jewels are at your fingertips & so are some new duds

2. Metro watch in coral, Kate Spade. It speaks for itself.

3. Erika Sunglasses in violet or havana, Ray-Ban. Want them, need them, have to have them.

4. Emily Post's Etiquette, Barnes & Noble. I know, I'm an old soul. My mother is proud.

5. Have you heard of Birchbox? I'm convinced it's the best thing since sliced bread. But really. It's $10/month & each month they send you a handful of deluxe (and by deluxe I mean huge) premium samples of everything from hair & skin care to fragrances, beauty tools & that's right, C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. What's not to love? I'm currently on a waiting list, but by golly, this is one thing I'll be patient enough to wait for. Jealous? You should be. But not for long because you can sign up here.

6. Animal-print calf-hair pumps, Mulberry. At a STEEP $625, I'm currently searching for a version that does not cost as much my left leg. Found some good alternatives here and here.