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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!girls birthday party, pink party, pink party decor, happy birthday bannerAnd 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:

Backdrop 

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?

pink and white party, happy birthday, photo backdrop wall pink white, princess party

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!

Balloons

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?

princess party, diy balloons, balloon garland danny tableballoon It perfectly echoed the banner across the way and was a major conversation piece that night!balloons

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!

pink and white party, princess party, princess party for toddler

Her feather crown can be purchased wholesale here.

Desserts

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!

DSC_7592Pink 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.

princess party, dessert bar, pink candy bar

Happy Birthday sign is actually a cake topper that I bought wholesale here.

Crown favor boxes can be bought wholesale here

Pink purse favor boxes found 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!

baked by tal, pink party, pink party for toddler, princess cake

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.

how to plan a princess party, barbie princess cake, baked by tal

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.

princess food, what to serve at kids party, kids party food, pb&j

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!

how to plan a princess party, pink and gold princess party, princess party for kids

Tablescape

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! 

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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? how to set a kids party table, tablescape, design kids party, kids party stylistOf 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.

princess tea party, princess party, tea party for kids, tea party birthday, pink and gold party

Activities

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.

princess craft, princess party ideas, plan princess party

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)

styling station, pink princess party, plan princess party for toddlers

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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!

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White parties have a certain elegance and excitement surrounding them.  They signal summertime, celebrations and …P.Diddy.  And what’s cooler than P.Diddy?  I’ve waited years for P.Diddy’s white party invite but strangely, have yet to receive one so I decided it was time to host one!  I figured it would be a great chance to use all the white decor I already had lying around the house.  You know, the stuff my husband nags me about not using enough of i.e.cake plates, platters and other frivolous items that he doesn’t understand.  But other than trying to prove him wrong, I just wanted to bring people together and enjoy the last bit of summer.  Anyone who knows me I love finding a reason (any reason) to celebrate.  Extending and celebrating summer sounded like a good enough reason to celebrate as any!

I thought it would be cute to anniversary last year’s white themed play date in the park and invite moms and their kids.  Every mom appreciates a fun reason to dress-up and meet up elsewhere other than the usual park / playground.  This time though, the event would be more formalized, with a dinner spread and even florals and candles. (gettin’ fancy here!)

Here’s how to create a white party of your own:

1).  Ask guests to dress in all-white! The stricter you are with this requirement, The better the pictures and the better the ice-breaking.

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SAMSUNG CSCJuliet would remind you not to forget to accessorize!

white party2). Feature white furniture and/or table linens (white gift wrap, contact paper, plastic table covers, sheets, drapes and blankets all work too!)white party nyc IMG_7681 IMG_7683

3).  Serve white beverages (We had sake, white wine, sparkling cider, white grape juice, and water)

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water

The branded waters were repurposed sheets of party circles meant as cupcake toppers, designed by That Party Chick.

4).  Serve white foods and snacks.  I served sushi rolls, Japanese chicken and udon noodles, pork dumplings, cheese and crackers, white dip for veggies, and hummus with veggie chips, and popcorn). Kids’ white snacks included Mum Mums and Trader’s Joe’s cereal bars (both of which had white packaging and were served upright in clear vases).

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Other non-white foods like the edamame and seaweed salad were served on white platters that showcased the Rocksbox promo code ‘FabGabBlog’ which all my guests were entitled to for a free month jewelry subscription.

toddler food

5).  Have white desserts (For this party, I presented white frosted cupcakes, marshamellows, powdered sugar doughnut holes, white rock candy swizzle sticks, white yogurt covered raisins, animal crackers and white macaron puffs).

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The white rock candy swizzle sticks were a hit amongst the kids!  But who doesn’t love these??

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6). White decor -Besides my white ruffle linen, I brought down pillar candles and 3 silk hydrangea vases from my living room along with some white baroque frames and set them along the white marble communal table that was already at the rooftop terrace.

kids white party

7).  Create a white photo backdrop – I set up a simple white banner backdrop with some cardstock and a strip of fuzzy white yarn found on clearance at Michael’s.  You could also hang white: balloons, Chinese lanterns, drape, crepe paper …the list goes on…

white dresses

These besties were hamming it up for us!

white party for kids

For fun, I had some photo props for guests to use if they liked.

photo booth props

Get toddlers grouped together for a photo by sitting them atop a bench that is just high enough for them to not want to try and jump off.  I learned this terrific tip from my professional photographer friend who took half these photos for us, Gotham Love!

how to throw a white party

8).  For kids’ entertainment, I had asked parents to bring a silent toy or two that their kids wouldn’t mind sharing.  And I had a bubble maker and white blown – up balloons for them to play catch on – site for the kids.  But music (if the venue would have allowed) and games would have been great additional add-ons.  For our party, the WHITE noise of the waterfall and children’s laughter in the background was our music.

For the parents, I thought that a confessional round where each guest reveals a white lie they recently told would be fun too – maybe next time!

 

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All in all, it was a memorable time and a fabulous chance to wear our whites one last time before summer officially ended!

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Juliet is still talking about all the fun she had!

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matching mommy and me outfits

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Last year, Juliet’s birthday party started out with the perfect birthday dress.  See here.  This year, her birthday party was inspired by Meri Meri paper products that I found during a random clearance sale.  Here is just a sampling:

IMG_0621 animal parade

meri meri napkins

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:

  • party animals
  • animal-themed wall decor
  • themed water bottles, Gogo Squeezes, and Applesauce
  • backdrop board and risers
  • banners
  • milk bottles
  • birthday hats

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.

IMG_3128 party animals

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.

IMG_6319 animal figurines

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.

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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.

2nd birthday party Juliet-9071

baby photos

little maestros

The musical entertainers performed in front of that photo wall singing songs with animal lyrics and leading an animal parade around the room.

birthday party

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!dessert bar

Juliet-8935Everything 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.

dessert bar

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!

dessert bar

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!)

DIY

The birthday hats, milk bottles and banners were all made with leftover paper and fabric.

Juliet-8937 Juliet-9126 Juliet-9195

milk bottles

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!

The pictures from this post are a mix of mine and those from www.Hammjackk.net

 

 

 

 

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When I saw the Oh Joy for Target Decor, I felt compelled to party plan right then and there.  I loved the unique color mix!  The colors are unisex enough to be versatile for all sorts of occasions and the splashes of gold give it an air of sophistication!

oh joy for target

I could see myself using this for my birthday party (see below), new year’s, and a future summer garden party.  SAMSUNG CSCThis new year’s period, it didn’t matter if I was getting over a cold.  I was determined to make this year’s new year’s eve occasion less lame than last year’s.  So I ambitiously planned my first-ever dinner party at our new apartment and was determined to cook most everything.  Looking forward to entertaining at home actually helped me to stay in great spirits despite dealing with my never-ending cold.  And it gave me something to look forward to.

I cut up the coordinating napkins to create the 2015 numbers on the backdrop wall below and attached some gold party blowers to the center lantern as well as adding a patterned border to my countertop just to bring the color forward even more (again with cut napkins).

new years eve dinner partyThe menu included Asian:

  • Salmon and rice
  • fried dumplings
  • Chicken noodle salad
  • sushi
  • edamame
  • Baked By Melissa chocolate covered mini-cupcakes
  • French Macarons by Financier
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate chip cookies (baked by me)
  • champagne, prosecco, and watermelon infused water with lime

Needless to say there was plenty of food leftover.  Or maybe I should take it as a hint and just cater in next time 🙂

happy new year

Our littlest of party-goers enjoyed staying out past their bedtime and modeling their new Oh Joy for Target hats.

baby new years

Baby Vienna couldn’t resist getting a closer look at Juliet’s shoes.  Here’s the whole outfit. I kind of obsessed with those sneakers too!

oh joy

It was so nice spending some quality (shared) family time together in the comfort of our home.  With two babies in tow, it really made the most sense.  And as Juliet says in this video, it made for a very happy new year!

Can you believe I hosted a toddler tea party the very next day?  Click here for some more cuteness!

 

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sunglasses

I have known my dear friend, Janell for about 6.5 years and she is one of those people that just brings a smile to your face.  I’ve celebrated meeting her ever since I met her while traveling in Dubai.  She is a bright ray of sunshine.  You know, one of those people that is always so positive with an amazing, contagious energy.  I loved her the minute I met her!

So when she expressed possibly needing a venue for her baby shower, I volunteered our apartment and my event planning services.  And though I didn’t know exactly how I’d convert my post-renovation apartment with construction materials still there into a party space I thought it would be good to have a deadline in mind for us to work towards cleaning it all out.

Turns out orange and fuschia were the colors Janell was imagining for her nursery so we agreed on making that the color theme of her baby shower.  The colors are so fitting given her personality is just as vivacious and fun.  Next, we threw in her favorite pattern, chevron, (also likely to be used in the new nursery) and boom, that kick started all my brainstorming which you can see on my pinterest board here.

With the budget in mind, I found these great FREE, downloadable party printables with the orange-fuschia-chevron theme.

chevron partyAnd I continued the theme at the all-important food station (which typically becomes the center of any party) by purchasing a similar orange and white chevron blanket at Century 21 for less than $15.  Thumbtacking it to our wall, created an eye-catching backdrop.

orange chevron party

The banner was created by printing large blank papers from that downloadable link, cutting flags out freehand and handwriting the message with a sharpie in as consistent of a font as possible.  (I’d advise printing out onto card stock to prevent wrinkles).  Lastly, I covered my kitchen cabinet pull handles with some fuschia fabric I bought on sale a while ago for another purpose.

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I created the diaper cake centerpiece out of newborn and sz 1 diapers, some ribbon, fuschia napkins, some florals and a baby headband.   I’m always looking for an excuse to use my glue gun so I was happy to have an excuse to pull it out again!

diaper cake

The orange tray that you see here was found at a dollar-type store for just over $3 and the orange runner on my countertop was made with paper bought on clearance at Michaels.orange chevron cupcake

 

The cupcakes were homemade by the other 2 co-hosts, sprinkled with fuschia sprinkles and finally topped with a chevron onesie that I bought from Etsy designer, Scrapbits

cupcake topper

In addition to these cute cupcake desserts, the brunch menu consisted of:

  • mini quiches (3 varieties)
  • Croissants (3 varieties)
  • Yogurt parfaits
  • cranberry brie bites
  • fruit skewers
  • trail mix
  • mimosas, OJ and coffee
  • sparkling water  (orange or rasberry flavored to match the color theme)

quiche  IMG_8309 fruit kabob orange party

trail mix

Cupcake liners in your party’s theme colors are a great way to present and distribute items that require a handful. And baby items in coordinating colors sat next to some of the food displays for an additional dose of cuteness.

Every baby shower needs some sort of an activity for the guests.  But since the mom-to-be in this case didn’t want traditional shower games, I offered to create a fun photo booth setup instead.  The guests at her wedding all seemed to be into the photo booth in the past so I knew it would be a hit plus what better way to commemorate the event than with pictures?  It didn’t hurt that her guests were so photogenic…

new york fashionista PicMonkey Collageeorange baby shower

diy photo booth

photo booth

To make this DIY photo booth, all I did was set up a remote control SLR to a tripod and hung orange curtains with some leftover crystal beads from an old curtain I once had.

diy photo boothphoto booth propsProps included:

  • bibs
  • rattles
  • bottles
  • paper pacifiers from Etsy designer ScrapStarz
  • felt bowties, mustaches, lips and hats

Presents were opened and stories were shared underneath a banner that read, We (heart) Vienna – the baby’s name.

baby showerAnd simple white onesies hung in the living room windows.

baby shower

Guests left with orange M&M favors in these cute bottles from Etsy seller Lovingly Mine, 

We added the signs with the free, downloadable prints that I found.  They just required some printing, cutting and ribboning.

baby shower favor My thank you goes out to Janell for letting me co-host her very special baby shower.  I hope that it was memorable and everything you dreamed it to be.  You are going to make a wonderful mom and I’m so excited to be able to share in this new chapter of your life!

  • See my Instagram account @fabgabblog for the party video highlights!
  • Click here for other fab fetes that I’ve organized.

 

 

 

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100 days old

Koreans mark the 100th day, 1st birthday and the 60th as momentous occasions similar to how we Americans might celebrate a sweet 16 or bar mitzvah.  Above are some shots from when Juliet was just 100 days old.  Both of us are in our hanboks (Korean traditional dresses).  And it seems like just yesterday when we took these shots and she could barely sit on her own.  Yet here we are months afterwards, celebrating her first year.  Click here and here for the details on her birthday party’s decor and all the DIY details.  This Fab Fete post will focus more on the traditional Korean ceremony, the doljabi.

Both hanboks that you see featured on little Juliet were rented from Little Seouls Party for $45 (half the price of buying one and then never wearing it again).   They are the only English online store that rents Hanboks -believe me I searched around!  And thankfully, they were great to work with, answering all my questions and guaranteeing my shipment by the requested date.

korean first birthday

“It’s my birthday and I can cry if I want.”  Teething sucks.

Luis Enrique Rivera Cuyar Luis Enrique Rivera Cuyar Every Korean first birthday features dol towers like these.  Traditional ones are made with black and cream colored beans but that didn’t match my decor so I took the liberty of making mine with pink and green candy (along with paper towel rolls, and a glue gun).  Gettin’ crafty here!  Before you know it, I’ll be scrapbooking and weaving baskets!  Also, I chose not to follow the usual tradition of placing these at the head table, or in my case, the dessert table and instead sat them next to the children’s art easel area so that section would tie into the rest of the party decor.

korean first birthday

That’s the easel and drawing station in the background there with the grandparents and Juliet in the foreground.  For more on the fun fact signs that you see besides the art station, see my earlier post.

first birthday party

Onto the main Korean cultural ceremony, the doljabi.  This is where the child is presented several items, all of which represent something for his/her future. Whatever the child picks up first is supposed to predict the future.  Traditional  items include rice which symbolizes an abundant life, yarn or string which symbolizes a long life, a book or pencil which symbolizes academic success, cash which represents wealth, and some sort of doctor and lawyer professional items.  I chose to modernize my doljabi by adding in career symbols that matched our careers (something in fashion and something in finance).  And for a fun touch, I played ‘gangnam style’ music in the background and had Psy as one of the items to choose from.  All other party background music had ‘baby’ in the lyrics.  ‘Rice Rice Baby’, a mock of ‘Ice Ice Baby’ was a perfect fit for this occasion.

korean dohl

doljabi

Guests fill in the raffle card with their name and place it by the item they think she’ll choose.  Juliet crawled over and with eyes glued to Psy, then freaked out when she heard everyone cheering for her and started melting down under pressure.  But on the 2nd try, she chose the crystal calculator symbolizing a career in finance (like daddy)!

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korean first birthday

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The cash was her 2nd choice.

Here are my roundup tips on how to make a first birthday affordable.  I did this all on a strict budget and you can too!

  1. Cut staffing.  Look around you and find talented friends and family to help you wherever you can.  For us, instead of hiring an event planner, I did my own doljabi research, found all the necesary items and prepared all the party decor myself.  Others may want to make their own food, have relatives bake, or have a talented friend take the photos/video.
  2. Skip the florals.  They’re a luxury at a first birthday party and totally unnecessary.
  3. Shop sales ahead of time.  You know the birth date  so plan ahead.  I covered that pool table in the middle of the room with a pink remnant cloth that I bought at an after-Christmas sale.  Anything from platters to birthday dresses can be found deeply discounted around holiday shopping periods.
  4. Re-purpose stuff around the house.  I took my husband’s extra tv stand box, covered it in patterned paper and used it as a riser for my dessert table.  A bed sheet and curtain set became my dessert bar backdrop.
  5. Shop the dollar store.  You can find everything from kid’s favors, to simple snacks and munchies, to art activity sets there.  I bought all my tissue paper (which I turned into fringe), plastic tablecloths,yarn and money for the doljabi and other small items there.
  6. Check out wholesalers online.  My balloons and candy were bought through an online wholesaler for example.

Finally, since every event has its mishaps, here’s my list of what went wrong:

  1. Someone accidentally tipped over an entire platter of kim bop, (the Korean sushi that I had at the snack bar). Luckily I was clueless to this fact until post-party when I disassembled the snack table only to find a mountain of uneaten kimbop on the floor, underneath the tablecloth.  What a waste! I’m just glad I didn’t see it happen .  Ignorance is bliss.
  2. The cake colors were off and it came out not like I wanted (topsy turvy is what I asked for) but I think this only bothered me.
  3. People had issues finding parking and therefore showed up late.  So even though I had purposely planned it for the only day of the week where NYC had free street parking, and reminded guests with an email asking them to allot extra time to find parking, some guests had a hard time and I felt bad about this.
  4. With all that was going on setting up 4 different areas, I forgot to lay out the champagne and water bottles til half the party was over!
  5. The 100 balloons which I had planned to be blown up and scattered all over the floor so kids could kick their way through a balloon lounge never got blown up.  This is thanks to me hiring my hubby as my event assistant.  Event planning newbies always under-estimate the time it takes to finish event planning tasks.
  6. Cake is not as irresistible as I had thought.  I ordered 1 slice for each person and could have fed my entire apartment complex because of it.  We had way too much cake.  For my (strange) guests, I learned I need only order for only 1/3 to 1/5 the amount of people who RSVP.  I was left hawking cake to the doormen, guests and anyone who looked hungry.

Here’s a shot of Juliet post-party enjoying her 2nd cake smash.  We added parts of her presents (the princesses) to the cake and used them as cake toppers.

cake smash

Happy Birthday Juliet!

Read on to see all the details of the rest of her party!

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The first year birthday for a first child in the family marks a significant milestone not just for the child transitioning from infant to toddler stage but quite notably for the parents.  It’s a time for reflection on how fast the baby grew, how quickly the year passed, and how your whole life has changed.  Parenthood changes you.  It changes your lifestyle, your priorities, and who you know yourself to be.  And it challenges you to become more selfless than you have ever been before.  It has been a whirlwind year for us with the new baby, new home and the constant moves for baby and me trying to avoid the renovation hazards.  And we’ve come a long way, baby!

nyc baby

I knew I wanted to celebrate the first year birthday in a big way.  We opted out of having a baby shower so this was a a celebration long overdue.  Also, it is in Korean tradition that the first year is celebrated in a big fashion, akin to how we Americans might celebrate a sweet 16 or bar mitzvah.  Plus, I’m a party planner at heart and by trade so planning this party was a creative outlet that I much looked forward to and enjoyed during the process.

It all started with the dress.  Being obsessed with fashion, I wanted to find the cutest birthday dress for Juliet and actually started looking for it around month 5 or 6.  After scouring the web and browsing literally hundreds of options online, I came across this adorable set from Mudpie. I loved the fun mix of polka dots and stripes and fell in love with the matching hat.  Adorable, isn’t it??

one year old birthday dress

And since I felt a birthday girl’s dress shouldn’t clash her party decor, the dress determined the party color theme and decor.  If step 1 was finding the dress.  Step 2 was finding an invite and party paper set to match.  Between you and me, this search for birthday invites and countless, shameful hours of Pinterest “research” ignited the long-lost thrill of party planning that I feared was over now that I had left my event marketing/PR job post maternity leave.  I giggled recalling how my event planning girlfriend and I once lamented the end of our weddings as we both experienced withdrawal because I felt I was now getting to re-live that sort of planning fun all over again.  And indeed, we have not seen some of these invited guests since 2011 when I got married.  So the first birthday was all that more exciting knowing I’d reunite with some family and friends after yet another life-changing milestone.

Onto the party paper.  That Party Chick on Etsy sold the below invite and I knew it had so much potential to match the birthday dress and become the starting point for the entire event’s look and feel.  birthday party invite

The colors were right, and it gave the graphic stripes and polka dot details on her dress an added complimentary floral pattern.  Michelle Wise from That Party Chick was awesome at creating the requested matching custom: thank you cards, chocolate wrappers, signage, water bottle and favor stickers etc.  I’d highly recommend her as she was quick to respond, and up for all challenges.  Here is a sampling of items I had customized and designed with her help.

Mudpie birthday dress

IMG_5343[1]

 water bottle

As a new mom without full-time help, you can imagine I was strapped for time and had to make sacrifices in order to finish all the DIY projects that I had on my party planning list.  And there was a lot to be done if I wanted this party to look as professionally detailed as I wanted (but on a budget).  Here is a sampling of my DIY todos and keep in mind I had to also set aside time to research best prices for supplies, buy them, print/cut them before creating any of the below:

  • Wrap 100 water bottles
  • Wrap 100 mini chocolates
  • Cut and create toothpick flags for sandwiches
  • Make (2) tulle table skirts
  • Make matching party hats for the little guests
  • Cut and place papers on platters for customized look
  • Make paper garlands for backdrop banner
  • Make tissue paper fringe for table borders, party hats and balloons
  • Create matching risers and presents

party hats

party planning

So out went any hopes of shedding the remaining pounds before this party.  Work out?  WHEN?!  I was going to be lucky if I could sneak in a shower during my sparse free time.  Also on hold was the preschool research that I had started.  6weeks before the party date, I had a one-woman crafting sweatshop to run!  Thank you to the couple people who volunteered time to help me in my crafting craze!  I couldn’t have finished the party hats or toothpicks without you!  And thanks to my husband who let me take over the countertop pictured below to store and assemble!  And thanks for letting me do my thing, even though you did wonder out loud how all this “junk” was going to turn into decor.  Oh ye of little faith!

party diy

Possibly the most time consuming project of all though was the party’s guestbook.  Since the day she was born, I had already recorded her rapid growth using the same Ugly Doll in each photo every week and only changing Juliet’s elaborately styled outfits.  It wasn’t until after I had reviewed others’ Korean first birthday parties that I noted how people displayed (monthly) growth photos at a welcome table.  They were usually in the form of framed photos or hung as a garland.  As an event planner who has pretty much seen it all, I like to find creative ways of doing traditional things.  So I added a twist to the usual and used my weekly growth photos which I already planned to turn into a book for Juliet and got double use out of it by turning it into a party guestbook.  That way, guests could view the weekly fashion photo shoots I styled , enjoy the silly captions I made and record their presence for her with a personal party message.  Shutterfly actually has a great template for guestbooks where you can add in pages that allow people to write their messages, predictions and sign-in.

guestbook

party guestbook

It became a fun, interactive element to the party and gave guests something to talk about and do (there were 52 weeks of photos to browse after all!)

weekly growth

Other interactive elements that I incorporated into the party included:

  • coloring stations for the kids (easels and markers for the older ones, birthday templates and crayons for the younger ones)
  • enter to win -raffle associated with the Korean doljabi ceremony (more on that in my follow-up post)
  • roaming photographer took family photos and candids (photos will be emailed to all guests post party)

I believe in the importance of thinking of your guests’ experience.  Here are some general party tips when planning your own party:

  • Ensure the atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable (enough seats for elderly, space to move between aisles/chairs, extra coat racks and hangers, specific directional information and reminders pre-party)
  • Consider the kids (have child-friendly drinks and snacks available, age-appropriate toys and activities)
  • Delight and surprise.  Don’t give away all the details of what to expect and incorporate fun, creative elements whenever possible.  For instance, I posted humorous developmental update signs throughout the party for guests to discover along the way (see below).  And I played gangnam style when hosting the Korean traditional doljabi ceremony (also added Psy as one of the items Juliet could pick up and choose).

welcome

baby convertible

easel

one year old

1st birthday party

first birthday party

one year old birthday

For more party pics, follow me on Instagram @FabGabBlog and click here for part 2 of this fab fete post!  Part 2 includes:

  • Dessert bar
  • Snack / beverage bar
  • Korean Doljabi ceremony
  • What went wrong (but nobody noticed)

Let me know what you think!

 

 

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Given Valentine’s day always falls during NY Fashion Week, I’m always more consumed with my first love (fashion) with little time to plan for or even celebrate V-day.  This makes for a distracting excuse when you’re single but when you’re with a significant other, it just makes you look heartless.   Luckily my husband understands how the holiday conflicts with my fashion week workload and gives me a romantic pass.  Either that or he’s just happy he doesn’t have to celebrate the most commercialized holiday next to Christmas.  Why overspend on a dinner for two when the next day, you can score an even better reservation at half the price?

I have been decompressing post-fashion-week work craze by mindlessly collecting inspirational images through my pinterest account at the end of the day and thought I’d share with you some Valentine’s inspired images for you lovelies here.  One of these days, perhaps I’ll actually get to host something special for Valentine’s.  ‘Til then, I can only dream..in fuschia and gold.

 

Here’s to champagne and romantic Valentine’s days!

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After much thought, we have decided to opt out of having a baby shower.  Not sure of where we’ll be stationed given our pending renovations and knowing things may be crazed during this unstable period, we decided to opt instead for a big party once the baby is born.  Perhaps we’ll combine the baby celebration with a housewarming at our place or celebrate the 100th day (a huge Korean cultural celebration).

So here I am revealing my pent up baby shower ideas for a fab fete.  Feel free to use them for your own purposes!  Here are some ideas for a Sugar and Spice themed baby girl shower.

Encourage guests to design their own onesie for the lucky baby girl and treasure the handmade precious gifts long after the baby shower ends!  To stay within color theme, offer patterns and colors that match the baby shower’s decor.  This way, when the finished onesies are shown off and pinned around the room, it doesn’t detract from the party palette.  The activity is best when there are a variety of fabrics, stencils, puffy paint and other materials to choose from.  Make sure non-artistic guests feel confident with the task by offering suggested sayings like “got milk?” that they can simply write in their own handwriting.  Stencils, stripes and polka dots are also easy for any average Joe to add on.  Ask each guest to initial the butt before taking a photo with their creation so you can forever remember who created what post-party!

Of course the star attraction for a sugar and spice themed party must be the dessert bar.  See below for inspiration and here for tips!

 

 

Think about featuring baby-sized everything! If it’s a brunch, spicy breads, baby bagels and mini cinnamon rolls for instance.  If it’s a pure dessert table, offer cake pops, macarons, min-cupcakes and small spicy snickerdoodles.

 

 

 

 

 

Beverages should be in-line with the party colors.  Think sugar rimmed pink champagne for the adults and pink lemonade served in baby bottles for the kids.  Or for another sweet twist on an adult drink, how about blow-pop martinis?

 

 

For a post-party sugar and spice themed favor, how about:

  • sugar exfoliating scrub
  • spicy or sweet smelling soaps
  • pink nail polish named after sweets?

all packaged to match the party colors of course?

 

 

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I love Pinterest.  It’s a great way for me to collect inspiration for all sorts of things from fashion wants to gift ideas to home decor inspiration and party planning pieces.  Before I knew the sex of my baby, I couldn’t help but start dreaming of the baby shower.  I’m an event planner by trade so how could I not help but get ahead of myself a little here?

Here were some ideas of my collected ideas for a baby boy shower, themed “My Little Man” starting with a party printable set from TomKat Studios.

If you ever need to throw a party, I suggest you check out TomKatStudios for inspiration and printable help.  The stylist is so talented and has an amazing selection of themes and designs.  Here are some of the images from a party that actually used the above.  Makes you want to throw a little boy’s party, doesn’t it?

This breakfast buffet is great because everything is baby-bite sized.  You have the unique doughnut tower, baby cinnamon buns, and mini yogurt parfaits for instance, a nice twist to your typical dessert bar buffet table.

They expertly executed all my dessert bar tips which you can review here.  It’s got balance, a background that pops and enough layers to keep your eye interested.  Click here to buy the matching party supplies also from TomKat Studios

Don’t forget the gift box table.  Why not add this cute mustache and tie banner from Etsy shop owner, DreamPartyPaperie.

How fun would it be to have a photo opp area with matching props?

If you love this color scheme, continue it in the nursery!  What a great tie in from the baby shower to your baby’s new home.  For more on this nursery, click here

Add this cute, growth chart to continue the theme!

Or this bedding set found here!

Or here!

 

Click

  • here for more fab fete inspiration
  • here for more orange themed event inspiration
  • here for more photo booth ideas!

And don’t forget to leave a comment below to let me know what you think!  Then enter to win this fab freebie goody bag giveaway!

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