At the store, we had a promotion for contemporary clothing and called the event Contemporary Carnival. Our carnival was about fun, food and fashion! There were many elements but let me start with one of my favorite – the food or in this case, the dessert bar! Having studied many dessert bar photos in the past year, I’ve picked up a lot of ideas and have taught myself the tricks of the trade along the way. Knowing that the background wall is just as important as the table itself, I made sure to consider what would take up half my photo opp. Here, you see the beginnings of my setup. (1) 6′ table covered in black linen topped off with a furry piece of extra fabric that I found in our visual storage room which i simply cut to length and stapled on with a cute pom pom trim. Having browsed through Etsy.com before, I knew I could find just the right trim to customize my candy bartable. Weeks before setup day, I found the perfect trim below. It coordinated perfectly with my graphic elements (which you’ll see in this post soon) and for just $7 for 7 yards, how could I resist this adorable piece from Cathie Filian? That yellow stuff is popcorn – can’t have a carnival without one. I had my intern assemble cones out of Saks Fifth Avenue gift wrap using some simple scotch tape and scissors. What a project that was. She was sitting in the hallway of the executive office, on the floor, trying out different templates until she got it just right to which she jumped up in celebration and soon after started taping away like a madwoman. Isn’t this cheap and easy? The presentation method added a little extra branding for us too! The acrylic holders with which we held the popcorn were found online and would also be perfect for ice cream cones, cake pops and more! Below is a picture of step two. Add in the other candy elements making sure to vary the height and create symmetry.
All the clear cube vases were found in the visual storage room and the black sparkly risers and bling rectangular trays were purchased at Michael’s (with coupon)! And can you believe that the black and white polka dot piece sitting on the table is actually a free find that I picked up on the streets of NY? hah I knew I could use that fabric covered canvas board someday! Dumpster diving rocks! lol JK…really! JK.
Thanks to another talented Etsy artist, Jodie from Party NV I had fabulous paper products to go along with my carnival theme. I shopped around etsy for quite some time and found the perfect design theme. She was super to work with and quickly followed up on all my customization and wording requests after all we did have to change it from Vincent’s 4th birthday to a chic fashionable event. Here is her original design template that I fell in love with.
I loved the vintage feel and thought that the crimson red and bright blue would be a more elegant color combination than the traditional primary colors that were usually associated with carnivals. The color scheme also played well with our black/white base, found in all our branding. So in addition to the candy bar labels that you saw above, I also had Jodie create fashion -related hang tags which we used on our goody bags and (sorry I don’t have a picture of the goody bags). But we also used them as labels for our candy grab bags which are pictured below.
The roasted peanuts and cotton candy (hard candies) were bought through candywarehouse.com, a site I frequent anytime I’m in need of fashionable candy. I love their search function which allows you to search for candy by color. And being as anal as I am in matching colors at my events, this search tool is quite handy and immediately lets me browse all the blue options for instance.
Here are some close-ups of the candy prep and the final photo of me with my candy creation!
Another creative cost-saver was the fact that I re-purposed our store’s blue hanger slips into candy bags. Thsi is what the pink version really looks like and this picture below shows you how we normally use them in the store.
All I did was cut them to size (as you can see they’re a little too long). Then I just tape them closed, hiding the tape with the “Enjoy” stickers! It pays to be creative! tip Never look at an object with just its original purpose. See the possibilities. How would it look cut? Upside down? What else can it hold? What else could it be used for? This sign holder shown below is actually a coat hanger taken apart for the event for instance. By taking off a couple stems, it became the simple pole that we needed to base our customized signs off of.
See behind me are custom Party NV signs alerting shoppers to our in-store raffles, gifts with purchase and contemporary carnival themed event. For event hours, I hired a cute staffer and dressed her in Saks clothing, themed of course, to the carnival look.
She helped to serve guests, treat them to some Pop Rocks Pop and keep the area nice and tidy. I should have had her watch out for freeloaders too because one lady came back and stuffed her purse with as much as she could before walking out!!
The Pop Rocks Pop was basically just red soda with a sprinkling of Pop Rocks, that nostalgic explosion-in-your-mouth candy that brings you back to your younger years. It was a concoction I dreamt up after browsing the online candy sites. I actually liked that the red and black Pop Rocks packaging matched my candy bar and was playing with different ways to incorporate them into the whole look. Why not sprinkle it onto drinks for a little snap crackle, pop?!
Stay tuned for my follow-up post on the contemporary carnival’s magic makeovers, clown shoe cupcakes, pin the purse on the fashionista and fashion fortune telling! There’s just so much to share! Please don’t forget to leave your comments here and let me know what you think!
As a follow-up to my earlier post where I blogged about my fashion freebie, a turquoise scarf that I planned to wear at a work event, here is the event photo. For Lafayette 148’s spring collection which featured turquoise and salmon colored outfits, I created a dessert table to match. It featured branded rice-krispy treats, coral colored rock candy sticks, turquoise wraped chocolate balls, a teal and coral cupcake tower, teal M&Ms and more. Check it out!
The rented damask linens are from Cloth Connection. They perfectly matched my step and repeat. (And my dress for that matter! Can you believe this dress is from my high school days?) hah I can’t believe I still fit into it. And I bet you can’t believe I still have it!
The black bling plates are from Michael’s and I find a hundred uses for them. Candy was from Candy Warehouse. Cupcakes and custom rice krispy treats are from a local Long Island bakery called My Cookie Jar.
Next up is an orange themed dessert bar that was inspired from St. John’s orange spring fashions. Again, the linens are from cloth connection, cupcakes from My Cookie Jar and this time, the candy was purchased at our mall’s candy shop. You should’ve seen the cashier’s face when I showed up at the register holding 12 bags of orange/peach candies.
And what’s a fashion event without a beautiful model?
The next and last post to this candy bar themed entry is a fun prom party candy bar, also created for work. Since it was a party geared mainly towards teens and since the event focused on various multi-colored fashions, I designed a candy bar in vibrant rainbow hues.
Using the same damask linen, bling plates, and step and repeat, I added some branding, fashion (with the cute Kate Spade bow heels), and bright pops of color all over. The colorful, multi-colored candy sticks, chocolates and candies all came from candywarehouse.com and served to attract passerbys who couldn’t resist the lure. Here, one of my models poses after the fashion show.
Aren’t the models cute?? They were awesome and we were all thrilled that they agreed to volunteer their time to benefit the charity partner LICADD.
For more on dessert bars and for my tips and how-tos, click here!
I naively thought that I could dreamily plan out my daughter’s birthday parties for at least the first 5 years of her life. Anyone who knows me knows I love planning parties and knows that I find any random excuse to celebrate. Kids’ White party to celebrate the end of summer, anyone?? So here I am with carefully thought-through party ideas for her 1st through 5th birthday parties..not kidding check out my Pinterest page…and then my precocious, soon-to-be 4 year old daughter throws a wrench in my plans and independently comes up with her own ideas. Princess Party!And boy was she specific!
“princess theme with pink”
“I want it to be a tea party”
“I want to sit in a queen’s chair!”
“I want a princess cake like Olivia’s (referencing a Barbie cake)”
“lots of CANDY!”
only 4 guests” (tells me exactly who to invite and that this year it has to be a small party)
“I want to set the table!”
OK OK! I get it. You want to be a princess! So back to the drawing board I went and through our collaborative research/discussion and approval phase, we came up with a non-Disney-specific, princess tea party with pink, white and metallic colors running throughout. Here’s how I transformed our NY apartment into a picture-perfect party palace and here are tips on how you can design yours on a budget too:
We have a large white, blank wall currently devoid of art, or frames which not only gives our living room, a clean minimalistic feel but also allows me to easily transform the space each holiday or for any celebration. I turned this wall into a beautiful photo backdrop with my 1 splurge piece, this beautifully printed banner from Iconica Design. The large scale immediately brightened up the room and carried the colors throughout the space. What do you think?
Since I’m all about the photo opp, I imagined getting a group shot with the girls all jumping on my couch with balloons in the air, waving them around like they just didn’t care… and I loved when my vision came to life!
Balloon garlands and installations if professionally done are super pricey. But you can go the DIY route if you have a lot of patience and can spare some time (and by “some” I mean double the time you think it takes). To stay within budget, I blew all these balloons up myself (bought wholesale), taped them to my mirror with packing tape, prayed they would stay on but still had to repeat this process 10x cuz so many popped or wouldn’t stay up, then added mirrored Christmas garland, and finally inserted silk flowers in between for a unique, girly look. It was well worth the effort in the end, I think, don’t you?
It perfectly echoed the banner across the way and was a major conversation piece that night!
I also did a balloon makeover on an enormous balloon that I brought home one day from the Live Clean blogger brunch. By adding my own coordinating pom pom string, tulle and paper garland, it became a one-of-a-kind photo prop!
Her feather crown can be purchased wholesale here.
She mentioned she wanted sweets. So I made and formed rice krispy stars, added frosting, gold glitter and a gold straw to create magic wands!
Pink rock candy sticks, jellybeans, and mini cupcakes also contributed to the sugar high. And pink, gold and silver Hershey kisses hid in crown favor boxes while candy awaited our guests in the form of pretty pink purses.
Happy Birthday sign is actually a cake topper that I bought wholesale here.
The most royal of desserts however, was the princess cake! Straight out of our dreams, was this glorious Barbie cake, dress, hat and present designed to match our party decor, from Baked by Tal. AMAZING!
Besides giving the sweets the royal treatment, I picked out the prettiest princess-y paper goods that I could find while perfectly matching her color theme. By printing, cutting and assembling on my own, I was able to cut costs as well. The banner, cupcake toppers, invite, thank you card and other event signs and notes can be found here.
Tea party menu included: crown shaped PB&J princess sandwiches, 2 kinds of salad, pasta, chicken and rice, asparagus, fruit and of course, tea which I added pink edible rosebuds to. Here’s a shot of the sandwiches that I cut using crown-shaped cookie cutters.
Gold glitter wall
If you want a picture -perfect party, you MUST think about pretty backdrops! These princesses were expert posers and I knew I had to have a special spot for them to pick a prop and pose. Here, I re-used my fold-up backdrop holder and created a shimmery backdrop with a friend’s borrowed gold linen, some pom pom, xmas trim and some leftover plastic tablecloth previously used at a past party. Everything was simply taped on with packing tape on the back and cost me nothing ‘cuz I just used what I had. It’s amazing what you can find for your party at the local dollar store! The shredded pink tablecloth turned garland here was a dollar each and I hand-cut it. The gold circle confetti was also from the dollar store and I filled my wholesale balloons at the dollar store with helium!
For a sophisticated kids’ tablescape I mixed in paper plates with real plates, bought coordinating teacups on sale on ebay, and found the perfect pink, white and gold paper goods at wholesale prices!
I really wanted a luxe linen but couldn’t afford the rental prices from my favorite linen supplier, Wildflower Linen so I made my own by buying wholesale, 1 yard of glittery mesh fabric from NY’s garment district and adding my own white ruffle trim. I then sprinkled some diamond confetti pieces (found at Target) all over the table as shown here – majorly upgraded look from the usual child’s plastic table cover, right? Of course, Juliet got to have her throne. I found that Exceptional Party Rentals had some of the best throne selections with delivery to/from NYC.
For this princess tea party, our (hired) princess (and Juliet’s babysitter) gave individualized mini-makeovers giving each guest a turn on the throne. The girls also got to design their own glass slipper, a craft involving stickers and these wholesale favor shoes.
And they enjoyed the shimmer and shine styling station and a “game of thrones” that I made up and had our resident princess lead. (think musical chairs but with princess music, thrones, and princesses wearing tiaras)
In the end, everyone had such a blast that they overstayed by 2 more hours! Nobody wanted the party to end, including me. See my Instagram and Twitter for more details and videos!
Juliet is already talking about her next birthday party plans… she says it will be a Frozen themed party with 5 friends when she turns 5!
To help create special moments for my family, I enjoy celebrating each holiday and marking the passage of time with mini celebrations. I host themed play dates for Juliet, play dress up, produce photo shoots in holiday colors, bake themed desserts with my little one and have fun re-decorating the dining area with her. Here’s my 2016 year in review showing how just one small area of a NYC apartment came to life each season.
For all the details from this adorable, “Wild For You” themed Valentine’s PJs and Pancakes play date, click here!
The girls played with their furry stuffed animals, sprinkled toppings on heart-shaped pancakes and brunched like little ladies while wearing their matching animal PJs. It was so much fun that I hosted another Wild For You play date during Valentine’s with a slightly different setup. For this posh play date we decorated heart-shaped Valentine cookies and wore heart printed sweatsuits. Click through for all the details and tips on how to create your own!
For her birthday at the end of February, I turned our dining area into a Mickey Minnie black and white themed space since our Disney kid was clubhouse crazy!
Click here for all the budget-friendly details! The next month, I hosted a princess themed play date featuring a Beauty and the Beast screening, ballroom dancing, and mommy and me manicures. With free printables, I transformed the buffet area to a blue and pink sparkle and sweet station. Click here for more!
I’ve never been one to celebrate the fourth of July with such enthusiasm until recently. Decorating my home in red white and blue has become a tradition ever since having a little one. I want to celebrate every holiday with her in a fun, stylish and meaningful way. Besides being festive, holiday decor is a talking point from which teachable moments can spring forth. My little one learned about the American flag, identified stars and stripes, and practiced color memory with these visual aids as a baby. Nowadays she likes and insists on getting involved with the decorating!
During my birthday month (Sept.) I used some remaining party decor to make the place feel festive. Hubby agreed to cook me his first dinner ever as part of my present. What better entertainment on my birthday than to watch him try and figure his way around the kitchen I thought? Juliet and I set the table with all our Oh Joy for Target items leftover from last year while daddy fumbled through the Hello Fresh kit with all the dinner ingredients. Below was the end result!
I opted out of hosting a Halloween bash this year and instead hosted some close friends over for a crafty trick or treat pre-party. Here’s our dining area transformed once again with a damask shower curtain and homemade banners on the wall.
And for a simple and comparatively minimalistic Thanksgiving scene, I cleared out the dramatic Halloween decor and re-purposed items around the house for a totally different look. Using fall favorites such as white pumpkins and apples, I created an elegant scene with pure white with silver accents.
Then I held a posh play date sponsored by 7 or 8 brands under the theme, “sprinkle some fun” which you can see here and got to re-use the backdrop from Juliet’s bunny birthday party as well as the princess party.
These are some of my favorite looks using whatever I had around the house, gift wrap, shower curatains, re-purposed party decor. I hope this inspires you to change it up every once in a while and give your home a fun festive look for your favorite holidays in 2017!
There’s something about ending a summer with a white party that I just love. I’ve been hosting these Kids’ White parties for 3 years now and they just get bigger and better each year. This year, with Mialandyn’s cool kids’ teepees in mind, I titled the party, Summer Glamp and found the perfect venue for our glamping theme. 180 Maiden Lane has this beautiful atrium space with an indoor lawn, palm trees, and tree stump stools. It was the perfect place to go glamp! It was like being surrounded by the beautiful outdoors while being shielded from any unwanted outdoor elements -no mosquitos, wind and hair frizz!
The venue had me so inspired, I became a poet when I didn’t even know it! Here was the invite, written by me and designed by Little Web Writing Hood who is helping me re-design this blog as we speak!
Guests who arrived first, won door prizes and were greeted by our glamping guitarist who sang and filled the room with her beautiful voice. Campfire chats and singalongs, anyone?
Decor consisted of these white teepees which I decorated with crystals and hid fun finds for the kids inside. Kids found fashion-forward books with titles like ‘Shoe La La” (one of Juliet’s favorites) and balloons.
This inspired tons of fun pretend play! Alas, playing with fire is so much fun… Thanks to my decor sponsor, Mialandyn Events, the balloons and rentable teepees from her store came customized with these pretty white flowers!
Can you say Instagram-able?? Check out more event photos on Instagram with our event hashtag #fab_glamp or see the full link of photos here!
Special thanks to our event photographers, Suzanne from Gotham Love, Iping, and Tricia from Toddlewood! Here are some more Props In A Box photo opp areas from the event! What minifashionista can resist dressing up??
Props in a box is such a cool product for your next party or play date combining technology, imaginative play along with its colorful props and backdrops. Its Movie Maker app equipped with Story Starters allows you to customize your creation with special effects and your own credits. One click of a button can save the memories and allows sharing on social media! Perfect for our social media savvy moms, right?
As moms mingled and browsed the sponsor tables, they were sure to bump into the friendly Mialandyn Events who was on-site providing tips on how to create a similar luxe look for your next party. Her table attracted hungry snack-ers who could find waterfall water, camp critter cookies, trail mix, and smores flavored cookies.
There was laughter and joy everywhere. My face actually hurt from smiling and adoring all these minifashionistas all day!
Super thankful that Project Playdate was on hand to assist with entertaining our little guests with stylin’ storytimes, supersized selfie art, and crafty camp love letters. They had the sweetest, most creative staff! Book them for your next event, or babysitting needs!
As if that wasn’t enough activity, Angela’s Sugar Fix also led a hands-on cookie customization where you got to design your own dress or tie!
Sugar Fix provides these cookie decorating parties and come to you with customized kids’ cookie decorating sets, dessert bar, treats and more! These littles were infatuated with their desserts. Check out that smores-flavored cake pop in Juliet’s hands! You know I love extending the theme wherever possible..
All the fun activities were fun bonding moments for both moms and their stylish mini-mes.
Around the corner, you could learn to design your own flower crown (in white of course to match the theme) with Its By U which offers fresh flower delivery kits and DIY tutorials to save you up to 80%off your floral bill!
After getting all dolled up, guests were encouraged to meet with casting and production agency NYDK Talent as well as Toddlewood who were on-site meeting and greeting with our insta-famous mini-models in the making. Toddlewood is currently casting to re-create an Obama family photo so reach out to her if you know lookalikes! NYDK is constantly helping to cast for top clients including: Gap, Huggies, Old Navy, and more so if you didn’t get the chance at our event to get your picture taken with her, make sure you submit headshots ASAP!
Kidpik, the fashionable kids’ clothing subscription service for girls sized 4-14 was raffling off a fashion set as well as giving away trendy iron on patches in the goody bags and offering free face-painting. The waitlist for this was endless and the creativity unmatched!
The Glamping guitarist provided by Pine Street Music Studio which offers kids’ music lessons (think piano, guitar, violin or mommy and me classes) really added to the atmosphere and I can’t thank Lea enough for being such an amicable partner. Special thanks also goes out to our goody bag sponsors Colleen Rothschild Skincare,Jamberry Nails, and Chaise Fitness! Until Monday, September 12th, you can all get 20%off any regular priced Colleen Rothschild Skincare product with code ‘GAB20.”
I had so much fun dreaming up, producing and playing at this Summer Glamp and hope you did too! Please leave a comment if you were there (or if you weren’t too haha) and save the date for September 18th for our annual back to school book swap.
If you’re in the NY area, we hope you’ll join us for some more fab family fun!
Lame. That’s how this NYE party girl turned parent would describe my first new year’s eve with my child. Don’t fret if yours wasn’t spectactular this year. Realize there’s too much unnecessary pressure on having an amazing night and also know that celebrating in style with kids can happen -maybe just next year.
Having just experienced my 3rd NYE as a parent, I’ve since learned how to best celebrate with kids and ensure that it never sucks again. If you’re an overwhelmed new parent wondering how to elevate your new years with kids into a stylish soiree that is both memorable and fun, read on for my top 10 tips:
DRESS UP and GET GIRLY. Remember how during your single days, half the fun of new year’s eve was about getting to wear the new outfit, and getting dolled up? Continue the tradition! As you can see, for us that meant matching outfits and fun glittery mini-hats. Maybe for you that might mean sparkle and shine or a dress divine! (Clearly I’ve been reading too much Dr. Seuss lately). Even if you’re doing a simple stay-at-home evening, consider dedicating some time during the day to do something extra to feel a little more glam – ’tis the season! These days for instance, I never have time for a manicure but on NYE, I made sure to carve out time during the day for a mini-mani. Even 2.5 year olds really get into this! Just doing this gave me reason enough to want to celebrate! For me, this involved some pre-planning. I made sure to get all household chores out of the way with a thorough cleaning the day before so that I could free up time and not spend the day cleaning the toilets like I did my first NYE with baby.
RECORD THE OCCASION! Kids grow fast and you’ll want to remember how small they were come next new year’s eve. If you’re a momarazzi like me you won’t need the reminder to take photo and video. But remember to also think DIY Photobooth! Free NYE themed props are downloadable here, or just buy a couple cheap hats at Party City like we did. If you really want to be festive though create a fun photo backdrop (even leftover wrapping paper or Christmas tinsel will do!) and try video pocketbooth’s app. Or if you don’t want to go through the extra trouble, just grab your camera phone and find a simple background to snap some pics for your social media like we did and concentrate your efforts on the other items on this list. (A busy parent can only handle so much, I KNOW!)
DECK THE HALLS. Every occasion deserves a little festive decor. Last year, I created 2015 out of paper napkins and made an entire dessert bar backdrop and display to match.
If you’re not hosting others though you might just want to opt for a simple banner like this one from last year where I videotaped my toddler wishing everyone a ‘happy new year” and then proudly sent it off to her grandparents. And aunts. And uncles. And anyone who would listen to my toddler speak so well haha.
Or perhaps you’ll want to concentrate on festive table presentations like I did this year.
MAKE A MOCKTAIL. Be your kids’ first bartender while teaching them all-important NYE traditions such as clinking glasses and saying ‘cheers!” Sparkling cider or water are easy options but you can get as creative as you like. This year we opted for the sparkling cranberry cider and a rose’ sparkling wine to match our red party theme and I added rasberries to our fancy champagne glasses. Juliet loved joining in on the fun! And so will your kids!
SPRINKLE! Incorporate confetti into your New Years Eve lesson and use it as an excuse to slather everything in sprinkles! Think fruits, ice cream, frosted desserts and even milk cups!This year, Juliet enjoyed decorating cookies with sprinkles and tomorrow morning she is continuing the funfetti tradition with toast spread with nutella and sprinkles of her choice! My little baker LOVES getting her hands on these things so I make sure to have a whole variety of sprinkles for all our baking needs!
ENJOY A SPECIAL MEAL. Notice I didn’t say make a special meal. Parents have a lot on their to do list and some of us might not have cooking as our specialty. Don’t let that stop you from having one special occasion meal though! If you love Chinese food, spend the day in Chinatown sampling the best of from various places. Order in your entire family members’ favorite foods if you have too. Overpriced NYE dinners are out of the question for most families like us in NYC. (I mean c’mon, Olive Garden here charges $499 pp on NYE!) So last year, I cooked a feast and invited another family with a toddler over for a chic little get together. You could also consider a mini tea party like the one I hosted for toddlers on new years day here. Whatever you do, make sure to have one out of the ordinary meal to mark the special occasion.
DANCE! Blast the music, dance like no one’s watching, copy the dancers you see on TV, copy each other. Twerk. Play a game of freeze dance. This is a fun, free activity that will lead to guaranteed laughter and really get the party started. (sorry no personal pictures to share here).
MAKE NOISE. Kids are natural noisemakers and this is the one day we can encourage them to get wild, bring out their instruments and blow party horns. You could even have a scavenger hunt with the family to see who can make the neatest noisemaker out of ordinary objects found throughout the house or craft your own. Post birthday party, I once made a rattle shaker with leftover candy stuffed into a water bottle for instance. Juliet got a kick out of that one.
GET CRAFTY. Even if you’re no Martha Stewart, anyone can handle adding 4 numbers onto a pair of glasses you already own. Here are full instructions on how to make the more elaborate ones below. (2016 glasses)
YEAR-END REVIEW. Wonder in awe at how the year flew by as you create a photo album or decorate a scrapbook together as a family. As a family, choose your favorite photos from the year and print and frame them. Or if you don’t have time for any of that, simply go through some of your photos and videos with your kids and spend some quality time taking a stroll down memory lane. I love bringing back memories with Juliet who loves watching herself on video. Her reactions and recollections are priceless.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. Staying thankful is always in style. End the year on a positive note by being aware of all the good things in your life. There are tons of ideas here on family projects that promote gratitude.
So there it is! Are you feeling inspired to do it all again next year? How are you resolving to make your next new year’s eve special and stylish for you and your kids? Let me know if there are other things you would add to this list! I want to hear from you.
Now that I’m a mom, Halloween is an extra special time to enjoy with my toddler. She loves dress up, and so do I so our week is filled with fun festivities and non-stop costume changes. See my 8 easy, no-sew, make-at-home, costume ideas in my previous post for some shots of what she has worn through the years. Or here for our matching flapper costumes for the Gymboree 1920’s Gatsby themed party.
Last year’s Fab KidsHalloween party was so much fun, I just had to host it again and luckily, Gymboree Tribecawas on board to be our venue sponsor. And they gave away terrific raffles for the event! By tagging #gymBOOree on social media posts and by following @gymboreenewyork and @fab_kids, guests would be entered to win free tickets for Gymboree’s next event. Plus those submitting emails would automatically be entered to win a free month of classes and open play valued at $260!
The kids had a BLAST climbing, sliding and soaring through the air.
It really brought out the superhero in everyone!
These pictures make me laugh out loud remembering all the giggles and funny party moments!
Since everything is padded, and kid-safe, the parents can sit back and enjoy the show!
Though it’s so hard to resist playing right alongside the costumed kids.
Sometimes you just have to jump right in!
We don’t blame you!
If the kids needed a break from all the action, they could getaway into one of Gymboree’s side rooms and make some creepy crafts. Here are the BOO-tiful ghosts that were stickered, an easy task for toddler hands to create on their own. (Hey, ghosts need to accessorize too!)
Or you could pamper yourself with some free face-painting and a mommy and me mani thanks to Fun Faces by Brenda!
Next door to all this action was our video room where guests got to do their thang in front of the camera (dance, act silly, and act out their costumed character) in front of event sponsor, Jessa Flynn Productions.
Jessa masterfully, records, edits and then magically produces a perfect 15 second snapshot to upload to your Instagram! How perfect for an @fab_kids party and all our Instagram followers, right? Go check out her site. She has the most moving music video captures of newborns, families and special occasions! We were so lucky to have her.
And if all this worked up an appetite, a dessert bar and food station awaited you! What’s a Halloween party without some tricks and treats?
Designing dessert bars is one of my favorite creative outlets. I love picking a theme and the process of taking stock of what I already own, figuring out what I need to purchase on a tight budget, and then creating something out of nothing. Call me crazy but it’s one of the most fun challenges ever. I went with a black white and orange theme because Gymboree had orange walls already, and because I already owned a lot of black and white (see my black and white themed blogger bashand last year’s Haute Halloweenparty).
I found these free black and white Boo printables here.
And I re-used my $1 banners found at Target before my black and white blogger bash.
Not sure you can see in the photo above but the pail of wine says, “in case you came for the BOOs.”
I think it’s important to offer some healthier snack options for kids at parties so I made sure to add in baked goldfish crackers (front, right), caramel flavored rice crackers (front left), and mandarin orange snack packs in real fruit juice. See my earlier post for more healthy Halloween party snack ideas.
The Jack O Lantern faces were drawn on with a black sharpie pre-event and other orange colored snacks were added in. I’m a stickler for sticking to theme colors!! Check out my other dessert bars here.
The pumpkins are topped off with Halloween hats from H&M and the pumpkins are leftovers from last year’s Haute Halloween.
The second station featured baby oranges made to look like pumpkins (just me getting crafty with a Sharpie again!)
The banana ghosts with chocolate chip faces were a Pinterest fail for me. They would NOT stand up!
These ghosts on a stick however, were a win for me and a last minute idea. I was trying to figure out how to re-use these striped Target $1 vases that I used for my black and white blogger bash and there really are few treats long enough to be visible while sitting in something so long. But I had the straws and this ended up being a popular treat amongst all the kids! I just added the Boo printable with tape to coordinate with the theme.
These custom rice krispy treats and Boo cookies were made by Angela’s Sugar Fix. She took my idea and ran with it! If you’re a baker yourself and are up for a challenge, the Instagram printable for this dessert was found here. Angela is just the sweetest, the easiest to work with, and full of creative ideas and beautiful presentation options. I’d highly recommend her for your next NY party!
The Halloween decor consisted of items I already had in my house. The pillars, I’ve used over and over at all my parties (and each time I top with coordinating papers) and the skull lanterns were a freebie from another mom. I just placed them on top of a goblet and upside down bowl that I already owned. The paper products were found on sale at TJMaxx. I’m a Maxxinista after all!
The banners are items I’ve used at past parties. The white one which I made from scratch can be found at our toddler white party.
And that polka dot linen is actually my daughter’s crib blanket!
Near this area, Julia Tzu, world-renowned dermatologist from Wall Street Dermatology was on-site to answer everyone’s beauty questions and to give away a raffled free consult and distribute to everyone, a goody bag.
Between all the event sponsors and Fab Kids, we filled out the goody bag pretty well! Here’s what was inside for those of you who missed the party (shame on you!)
If you’d like to join us next time, message me with your email and like Fab Kids on FB!
And if these pictures aren’t enough for you or if you’re curious about our Fab kids events and themed play dates, check out our new Fab Kids photo share site!
Thanks to everyone who came out and BOO-gied down with us! Seeing old friends and making new ones is the best way to celebrate any occasion in our book!
We’ve jokingly called Juliet a party animal ever since she was born because she has been a night owl going to bed anywhere between 10pm (nowadays) to as late as midnight during her first year of life. So it was only fitting (and such a cute unisex party theme) to make “party animal” her 2nd birthday theme. Get inspired as this post shows you how to incorporate the party animal theme into everything from the fashions to the decor to the entertainment to the food!
Let’s start with the fashion. Juliet wore a bear necklace and (sometimes) wore / carried her lion backpack (perfect since her birthday invite introduced her as “Leo the lion”. I wore my party animal necklaces from Mustard Dandelion’s cute Etsy shop with my leopard Banana Republic heels.
The birthday invite (from Paperless Post) encouraged guests to come dressed in their wildest fashions.
Juliet’s fashionable friends did NOT disappoint!
We were happy to see lots of animal print, fur, animal faces, and bunny ears! My friends are always up for a fun fashion challenge and luckily, they’re as crazy committed to themed parties as I am. I find that it just adds another level of excitement, enthusiasm and involvement into a party. How cute are they all?!!
The decor which you can see consisted of a consisted yellow, orange and baby blue theme. And animals were incorporated wherever possible. Here’s the gift table that sat conveniently right next to the entrance’s coat check-in.
Those 3 teddy bears are actually bears from my own childhood. I just added the ribbon and party hats to align them more with the theme. I used them at Juliet’s 1st birthday party too and love that they represent daddy, mommy and Juliet.
Underneath the table, we stored all of Juliet’s presents. And on top of the table, we featured the favor bags which included: stickered go go squeezes, organic gummy bunnies, stickered Ziploc full of animal crackers and goldfish, a rubber duck, a book about animals and animal stickers. Additionally, each child went home with one of the giant, yellow balloons featured at the kids table.
The framed sign and favor bag stickers were custom created with my direction by That Party Chick, the silk flowers were bought on sale at Michaels, the riser was a diaper box that I covered in fabric and ribbon and the white topper is a shower curtain that I only use for special events. If you follow my blog, you’ve seen it re-purposed in 3 other events. And the yellow tulle fabric is just taped directly onto the table’s perimeter.
Every kids’ birthday should feature some photos. I incorporated photos of Juliet holding different stuffed animals and/or costumed as an animal herself and created a consistent look and feel by printing them all the same size, posting them to card stock and adding a label to each one to continue the animal theme across the mirrored wall. The food station was split into the sweets and snacks tables. The sweets table included:
a macaron tower from The Macaron Cafe
frosted animal cookies from Elinis
organic animal cookies
organic bunny gummy pouches
animal shaped suckers with “happy birthday Juliet!” stickered on the back
yellow gummy bears
stickered applesauces (which OK should be on the snack side but there was more room here)
The snack side of the table featured:
snake sub (with olive eyes and red Twizzler tongue)
stuffed animals, animal books and puzzles and animals that you could ride on
And the animal decor included animal masks for the kids, plastic animal centerpieces (which you can read more about in my earlier post), and animal chair covers which were a big hit.
It was a lively party that kids and adults all enjoyed. Juliet was so happy to celebrate with all her little friends. It was the first year she really understood what it meant to have a birthday. I’ll always remember her cute voice saying, “I’m TWO! Happy birthday!!”
Last year, Juliet’s birthday party started out with the perfect birthday dress. See here. This year, her birthday party was inspired by Meri Meripaper products that I found during a random clearance sale. Here is just a sampling:
I adored the color combination, unisex animal theme and the amazing deal …. so much so that I didn’t care that her next birthday wasn’t for another 6 months. Yes I realize that that officially makes me THAT crazy party planning mom. But what do you expect? I loved planning parties as part of my Public Relations and Marketing profession pre-baby. So I’m bound to plan events with the same passion for my daughter. Besides she is way cuter than my previous clients (Samsung, Saks Fifth Avenue, Toys R Us etc). Plus it’s always so much more meaningful when it’s all about family and your daughter’s BFFs.
Too bad the budget isn’t the same. Oh well, that’s why I have Pinterest boards full of DIY ideas. In addition to the Meri Meri paper products that I bought, I complimented them with customized handmade items. This post will concentrate on some of the DIY party projects that I had fun glue gunning, spraying, and sticking:
animal-themed wall decor
themed water bottles, Gogo Squeezes, and Applesauce
backdrop board and risers
The party animals were done 3 months ahead of time and involved buying (wholesale from Amazon) the plastic animal figurines and then gluing random items on them to make them fit into the party animal theme.
The presents on the larger animals’ backs were made from old jewelry boxes and Nerd candy boxes! I just wrapped them in coordinating papers that I bought on sale from Michaels and added washi tape or pom pom trim. Hats were made from anything from paper to pom pom balls to buttons and ribbon. I just used whatever broken jewelry, leftover craft supplies and ribbon I had.
And I painted the nails of some of the animals which made my husband label them the “gayest animals he has ever seen.” True as that may be, they were pretty fabulous.
I’m selling these party animals as a package to anyone who can pick up from NYC. Message me if interested! They made for great centerpieces at our party but can also serve as fun displays in your kids rooms.
To make our venue more in line with our theme, I decorated the walls with animal themed photos of Juliet and also decorated the pillars – one with a pin the tail on the elephant game and one with art that Juliet created.
The musical entertainers performed in front of that photo wall singing songs with animal lyrics and leading an animal parade around the room.
As I always am with snack stations and dessert bars, I want all my food displays to match. Choosing items within the color theme are a must for me and when things don’t exactly match, I sticker them!
Everything from the GoGo Squeezes, to the toddler-friendly mango applesauces, water bottles and favor bags were stickered in my so-called free time (without a nanny) and made to coordinate with the theme. Michelle, from That Party Chick who I worked with on Juliet’s 1st birthday party was kind enough to partner up with me again on this project. Check out her shop! She is super creative and lightning fast with her graphics. I’ll have more pictures of the dessert bar in my next post but here’s a sneak peak.
The backdrop is something I’ve been wanting to craft ever since I saw some online how-tos during my research and Pinterest round-up. It took some time but was a cheaper alternative than having a customized graphic designed and printed large-scale. Basically, I taped together foam board pieces, added fabric with spray adhesive, then taped on a banner. And now I can store and re-use the foam core board for other future events!
The riser in the middle is simply tissue boxes covered in blue giraffe print fabric, something you can easily find and DIY at home. See how I used it prior to this event during my Disney sponsored princess party here. I also covered a diaper box with plastic tablecloth and pom pom trim to create a last minute riser for one of the kids tables shown here (last minute RSVPs!)
The birthday hats, milk bottles and banners were all made with leftover paper and fabric.
I’m excited to show you how the whole party animal theme came to life through the themed outfits, food, entertainment and the rest of the decor! Stay tuned for a continued blog post coming soon!
I was selected as a host by Mom Select for Disney Side Celebrations and received a kit with decorations, party favors and other supplies to inspire me to plan an at home celebration. I was asked to plan and execute party details on my own . No monetary compensation was provided and the views and opinions are my own.
This is all I could think when faced with the challenge of planning a princess party on minimal budget within 2 weeks for 8-10 2 year olds at my apartment. I don’t have a nanny so all I could do was devote 30minutes each day to researching, planning, purchasing and setting up as soon as my #disneyside 20lb box of decor, and party favors arrived care of Disney and Mom Select Media. (See earlier post about being a chosen blogger to host an at home celebration). Somehow my prince charming of a husband put up with me and all the pink and purple that took over our house 2 weeks leading up to the celebration. I swear you’d have thought Sophia The First’s castle had exploded in our living room… For that somewhat pressured (and I say pressured because I’m a perfectionist) period, my head spun as I designed the kids dining area, brainstormed ways to create varied elevation at the snack station, and played with various activity ideas for the kids.
Because I like to stay strictly within a party theme, I opted to exclude using the Mickey decor and baking items received in my package. I’ll save those for another festive moment in my 2 year old’s life. And there were several items I chose to break apart and give away in the goody bags like the big box of Disney Princess chapsticks/glosses and box of Disney Princess stickers. Here is what I ended up giving away as party favors. Additionally, each guest is still waiting to receive the Princess in Training tee shirts gifted from my one of my event sponsors too since they did not arrive in time.
And here was the final bag. I topped off each white bag (bought at the dollar store where a 70 year old man hit on me) with one of the Sophia the First tiaras because I knew my guests were all arriving with their own sparkly head pieces.
In addition to preparing goody bags for each guest, a very special, overstuffed bag was created as a prize package for the best dressed mommy and me duo to encourage guests to dress up and show off their princess style. Here were the contents (some from Disney, some from me and my other sponsors).
Though honestly, my fashionista mommy friends always seem to be up for a kitschy theme (gotta love that) and are girly enough to enjoy dressing-up so it didn’t take much persuasion power on my end. I was so thrilled that they took the dressing up as seriously as I did because it really added to the party and made for fun conversation starters. What a way to kick-off NY Fashion Week, huh?
As you can imagine, their outfits made it extremely easy for my doorman to recognize who my guests were-see invite here. Who else would dress this way in NYC on a normal day??
Just my fab friends… Aren’t they SO cute?? Winner was selected by popular vote and it was a tough call because all the duos were dazzling in their own way. But in the end this is who took home the prize! Totally deserving.
A Sophia the First coloring sheet (from my Disney package) that featured the Royal Academy and said “welcome” greeted guests at the front door as did a coat check. Upon entering, guests heard music from Pandora’s “everyday princess” soundtrack in the background as they passed the hall of mirrors into the kids royal dining area.
Drinks were served and the princesses in training played politely, sharing the princess toys as we waited for all the guests to arrive. Sophia the First’s movie played silently on the TV.
I didn’t have Disney princess toys to go along with the theme so had a friend share some of her Disney princess dolls and other collectible toys at the party.
And I created an accessory station in my bedroom using some old costume jewelry and Juliet’s necklaces and tiaras. That was a big hit! I presented the jewels along a chaise that was the perfect height for them to gaze into a mirror and try on sparkly jewelry.
It was like shopping without the pressure to buy! What girl doesn’t enjoy THAT?
I also brought out Juliet’s purses because you know, princesses all have a weakness for purses!
My sweet daughter was so good about sharing all her fashions, accessories and toys. Mommy was proud.
In addition, primping was encouraged. My vanity featured a princess mani station. Who can resist a chubby toddler hand made even cuter with bows??
And one of the bathroom mirrors had a princess message written on it, “mirror mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?”
Once everyone had arrived, we tried (I emphasize TRIED) to take a group shot of all our princesses in training but that proved to be a bit of a challenge with squirmy 2 year olds…
So we had fun hamming it up for other shots..
After pictures (it’s always important to get the shots in before the kids start eating and ruining their outfits lol), the girls dined and sat on big girl thrones (kids chairs that I covered in white tees and tutus). Surprisingly, the 2 year olds had no major mishaps. They ate their tiara sandwiches, savory snacks and crown cupcakes in peace. These princesses were on their BEST behavior!
Here you can see that I didn’t just lay the free Sophia the First plastic table cover down. I first covered the table legs with a couple, never-used shower curtains that I keep for decorative event purposes like this (see the 1st birthday party that I threw), then I steamed, yes STEAMED the plastic tablecloth that Disney gave me because I’m anal like that, then I laid a ruffly, runner on top for my centerpiece desserts. The layered additions gave the Sophia the First plastic cover a more elegant touch and elevated the look all together.
The mini-cupcakes were the perfect size for toddler hands (and appetites) and were simply bought at Whole Foods (along with the heart cookeis). I was estatic to find the perfect pre-made shade of pink frosting and knew that all I had to do was add my fondant pre-made tiaras that I bought at Michaels for a customized, more couture look.
My baby is an animal when it comes to devouring her cupcakes. She was so good at obeying my orders to not touch the cupcakes until all her guests arrived that when it came time to eat, I let her have the requested 2 but then she just HAD to have the last one too….
You don’t have to spend a lot on a kids party. Just use what you have and get crafty with dollar store finds. The overhead garland above the dining table is actually just made up of 3 plastic tablecloths that I bought at the dollar store and then hand cut fringe on for instance.
And the white lace hearts were leftover craft items I already had and I strung them on ribbons leftover from my wedding.
The Princess in Training sign is just foam core board that I cut and wrote on and the two Sophia the First framed photos that sit beside it are pictures I found in a free poster album book that I picked up at Little Swappiesfor free. I just made sure to find and cut pictures within the same pale pink and purple color theme.
Because I was simultaneously planning my daughter’s 2nd birthday (which was planned to be held 1 month after this party), I really really wanted to stick to a tight budget here. So I got creative.
I used pages out of that free Sophia the First poster book and created a backdrop by simply taping pages with coordinating colors on the wall. I bought the posterboard that hangs in the middle on sale at Michaels for $5 then covered it in fabric and velcro taped the Princess tasks for certification list so it became the centerpiece of our Princess in Training snack station.
I chose to stick the stand alone decorative items that Disney gave me (the 2 small pieces below the foam core board) as wall decor instead of as table decor and placed their snack bowls right beside them on a riser that I created from scratch.
The center riser is just a diaper box covered in dollar store plastic tablecloth, tissue paper that I cut for my daughter’s first birthday, saved and re-used and extra pom pom trim -also leftover. And the long narrow, riser in front is a bunch of Kleenex boxes glue-gunned together and wrapped. You’d never know, right? Both worked so well I think I’ll re-use them next month at my daughter’s 2nd birthday -just have to re-cover them in a different fabric for her color theme.
The “pretty in pink rice crackers” and “flower petals” are from my sponsor Happy Family, an organic food line, and the “princess pretzels”, well they are a toddler crowd pleaser.
Savory snacks for the adults included truffled mac ‘n cheese bites, figs, nuts, veggie reduced fat chips, Stacy’s pita chips, purple/pink corn chips (yes I like my food to match the color theme!) and fruit, not shown here.
My friend couldn’t get over the cuteness of the miniature appetizer plates and forks.
Mozerella cheese sticks for kids and kids at heart!I bought the purple glitter paper all on sale and used them to accent these cute cake risers (cut into a circle and saran wrapped here). They were also used as a sparkly counter runner just to bring a little more color into the mix. So the money I did spend was mainly on snacks and foods. I got creative with decor and re-used things I had around the house and I think it turned out all right for being on a tight budget, don’t you?
The snacks which you can’t see up close also included:
healthy yogurt granola bars cut into halves and presented in cupcake liners
kids mini-sized yogurts perfectly coordinating in purple
prince charming cookies (with a prince emblazoned on each cookie)
Here is the before picture of my Drink jars.
Frustratingly, this project cost me the most time. Ever get inspired by Pinterest and then totally regret trying out that crazy idea? Well, after I had downed a couple cases of this Starbucks mocha frappuccino stuff there really was no turning back. Even if it did take me over a half an hour to scrub each of the bottle’s stickers off and even if I did lose layers of skin during the process, I was dead set on finishing my Pinterest project!
While the little princesses were occupied and happily eating in their own royal dining area, I thought it would be fun for the grownups to get to know one another a little better with a little princess activity for ourselves. So I dreamt up a little game of Princess truth or dare-only without the dares. Here are some sample questions, (each mom pulled a question randomly and had to answer honestly).
This game and all the questions were made up by me so don’t laugh:
Princesses sometimes have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding their prince. How many did you kiss (multiple choice with different number ranges were given)
Princesses own more than just one glass slipper. How many shoes do you own?
Hi Beauty, Have you dated a beast Why and tell us about it.
If you had a magical princess power what would it be and why?
Kids are not the only ones who can play games at princess parties!
The party went overtime, a sure sign that the guests were having a good time and I was thrilled to see all the smiling faces and laughter. In the end the clock struck past people’s dinner times and princesses had to rush off in their stroller carriages after receiving their official princess certificate which annointed them as an official princess. I printed these from a free online printable. See my Pinterest board for more ideas and links to other free princess printables!
Here’s a couple shots of post-party Cinderella clean-up, dresses, tiaras and all.
TIPS on making a kid’s party look more sophisticated:
Don’t rely on just the kiddie paper products. Mix in elegant serverware, cake platters and risers.
Layer in real linens with the plastic tablecloths and napkins.
Feature unique hanging decor like garlands, tassel balls, coordinating ribbons, fringe..Balloons are popular with the kids but also expected.
Stick to your color theme and coordinate down to the very last detail.
Feature fresh florals – ooh fancy!
And that’s IT! Read on to the next post where I show you how I transformed this decor into a Valentine’s backdrop and for a chance to win a supersized goody bag from this party!
Onto NY Fashion Week and then to furiously finish planning my daughter’s 2nd birthday!
Special thanks goes out to Disney and their associated sponsors, All, Wisk, Beyond Meat