Sunday, April 28, 2013

1 Year Miss Party Mom Anniversary + 2,000 Fan Giveaway!

Welcome to the 1 Year Miss Party Mom Anniversary + 2,000 Fan Giveaway!
It feels like, well, just a YEAR ago I ventured off to my first paid party as Miss Party Mom (a 6th birthday Pony Party!) It's been an exciting year in which I've learned SO much in the process, from actually pressing my party linens (more about that here) to how to somewhat manage a blog!

I am teaming up with 12 (13 including myself) awesome vendors you are going to LOVE to bring you some really fun *party planning* themed prizes to CELEBRATE... because duh- I'm a party planner, and that's what we do best: CELEBRATE!

This Giveaway will run from Monday, April 29th 12:01am- Friday, May 3rd 12:01pm

There will be 13 winners, one for each vendor and you will be contacted by May 5th if you have won! (Read terms & conditions for more info)

US & Canadian residents only.


1. DimplePrints 

$30.00 shop credit!  (valid on existing designs, not valid on custom new designs. 1 year expiration)

2. Bottle Pop Party 

Get Prepped Party Package, Value - $199.00!

Shannon of Bottle Pop Party Co. is offering up an affordable way to get a plan in place. No more staring at your Pinterest boards and wondering how the heck you're going to get every single adorable detail done! If you're throwing a party and need some direction to really bring a theme to life, this is for you. Bottle Pop Party Co. is a party planning and event styling firm located outside of Philadelphia. We create crazy detailed dessert tables, decorations that don't quit and events that exceed your expectations. You want an awesome party that will wow, we can make it happen...and make it cute! (Get Prepped Party Package Details)

3. Green Elephant Prints

$35.00 shop credit!

Green Elephant Prints is an ode to my oldest son's favorite color and animal! We sell printable paper products — invitations and party decor, as well as stationery (invitations, save the dates, thank you notes, wedding programs) that are professionally printed and shipped to you! Custom orders can always be placed if you don’t see the item or party theme you’re looking for!

4. Swish Designs/Swish Printables

$30.00 shop credit!  (Not transferable. Expired one year from the end of the giveaway.)

Donna started Swish Designs after becoming a stay at home mom to her now 6 year old son and 3 year old daughter. She is a self-professed party junkie:  she loves hosting them, styling them, and going to them!  If you're looking for a party theme and need a little extra hand-holding to ensure that everything turns out perfectly!
5. Party On! Design

Free CUSTOM invitation design (printable) + $25.00 gift certificate to anything on the website!

Party On! Designs is best known for their assembled parties that ship custom to the client’s home. We take your theme and budget and work with you to create a one of a kind party experience. We sell items such as invitations, banners, cupcake toppers as well as an incredible supply of mason jars, 36” balloons, straws, gable boxes, candy cups, cupcake wrappers and tons more. We now offer printable parties, so that if you prefer to craft it yourself, you can!

$30.00 shop credit!

From complete event design to party printables Dot and Dash will dot all the I's and dash all the T's for your party!
7. Peckled

$25.00 Shop Credit! (no restrictions)

Peckled creates unique handmades for home & party. Pinwheels, poms, banners, tableware - let your next event be memorable, inspired and custom made just for you!

8. Isabella's Boutique

The Birdie Shabby Headband! (Named after my daughter!) Value: $18.00

My crafty roots inspired me to create beautiful hair accessories. I started making hair accessories for my very first niece, friends, and many church events. Now, I have my baby girl and she is my inspiration to continue expanding my small business. At Isabella's Boutique we take pride in preserving the fun of wearing something fun and elegant. It brings great joy seeing someone wear something I have made for them. I believe in quality, affordability, and take great pleasure in supporting stay at home moms.

9. Miss Party Mom

15 Custom Party Character Loot bags! (any theme)

Miss Party Mom Event Planning fell in to my lap after my son's 3rd Yo Gabba Gabba party in January of 2012. After the party I got a call asking about my "pricing"- I came up with something and ran with it! I've been stocking the Party Cave ever since and we now offer 15 full blown themes as well as ANY custom theme. In the process of throwing parties I blog about my life and all the chaos that comes with being a "party planning mom"!

10. World Wide Party by Elena

$30.00 Shop Credit!

My name is Elena and I'm an Italian expat mom who travels the world with my two kids Tommy and Giulia for my husband's job. We now live in San Francisco and plan to stay her for a while! I've always worked as a graphic designer in the fashion business. Creating party printables and decor has now become my true passion. I hope you'll find something special for you in my etsy shop! 

One custom confetti filled balloon with a full length tissue tassel garland. Value: $30.00 + free shipping!

One Stylish Party offers designs and inspiration for entertaining in style. You can expect to find fabulous real parties, crafty DIYs and the latest tips and trends for stylish entertaining. One Stylish Party sells a range of specialty party decorations, innovative favors and stylish little details that will make your celebration effortless, and anything but ordinary!

12. Hues Studio

24 cupcake toppers from Hues Studio (your choice!) Value: $22.00

13. Itsy Belle's

$35.00 Shop Credit!

Itsy Belle's pretty + preppy party Paperie makes life's little celebrations into one of a kind events. We are a design studio specializing in party paper & home decor. From birthdays to weddings, we have designs for the event planners & stylists on a budget: Invitations, signs, banners, toppers, tags, thank you notes & more!

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Week of The Mom Fail and Things I Swore I'd Never Do as a Mother...

AWWWW.... (Not "AAHH!" But instead "Awwwwww....") (And not as in, "Awwww, cute baby!" but instead, "Awwwwe.... time to relaaaax.... the day is coming to an end...")

Now that we have that cleared up, PICTURE ME: I have my feet up on a newish ottoman, that I searched for high and low for 2 months so that I could do this very thing with my feet. I have my laptop on my lap, fulfilling its intended purpose of being crazy portable. "The Office" is on... "Parks and Rec" is on after this... my husband is putting my children to bed and they have been bathed tonight, amen. The house isn't a total trainwreck and- wait for it- I COOKED DINNER.

My new baby: padded for comfort. Storage for days. It's a one stop shop for convenience.
I am inspired to blog because of two things tonight, one is that last crazy statement that involved me & cooking, and the other is a mom I saw earlier this week at my son's preschool. I'd call her an overachiever.

If you read my blog recently I talked about lacking blog inspiration, but suddenly I am overflowing with it.

Let's start off the inspiring subjects with the thing I mentioned first: cooking. Which brings us to a portion of the blog I would like to call:

"The Week of The Mom Fail..."

Mom Fail: Noun.  
Something, to do with being a mom, that could (and should) have been done differently, as in better. 

MF #1. I am totally jumping ahead to tonight, so we'll backtrack from here. You see, in my attempt to actually cook something tonight, I started a small, somewhat intense fire in the kitchen. The kind where your exchange student walks out and says, "SMOKY!!?" Yes, Mo. Smoky. Thank you, I didn't notice. 

I pretty much despise cooking. And things like starting fires are a big reason. I decided to make my son's night by making my only real specialty: The Taco Bar. Let's just say one thing here. Paper towels keeping the tortillas warm.... Near a stove... Bad combo. I almost panicked at the sight of the fire. But I came through with a risky move we will not mention. Let's just say, fire out: hand still on. Come on, Kenna. Tacos. It's not rocket science.

MF #2. I'm trying to watch my "Freakin'!" and "I'll kill you!" statements lately. Cormac has already started saying them. And, although I never intend to actually kill Shawn when he does things like prompt our dog (I don't like dogs) to, "Give Momma KISSSES!" I tend to yell crazy stuff like, "I'm gonna kill you- stop telling him that!!" when Shawn does things like that. Well, Birdie has caught on and today she said, "Top it, I kill you!" ALL day. To dolls. To me. To strangers. To the car window. And the crazy part is- she's convincing. Never a good phrase for a 21-month-old to learn. Or a 32-year-old. I blame Shawn.

Oh Mohawk... if only Momma wasn't heartless...

MF #3. Yesterday my friend and I decided to take our kids to the pizza parlor. We get there and I
immediately started looking for a highchair. It's a must for Birdie to maintain any sort of normal lunch outing. I know that she is almost 2, but anytime I can strap her in to anything I do. The parlor had no highchairs. I mean, this is 2013 people, a highchair isn't exactly a new invention...? 

We grab a booth and I try to keep her under control until the food gets there. Food arrives. She eats for 3 minutes and then wants OUT of the booth to, you know, mingle a bit with the other restaurant goers... and run around like a mad woman. I say "sit on your bottom!" repeatedly for another 5 minutes so I can finish my salad without chasing her around. I finally give up and a man sitting directly behind us affirms me, "She's fine... she's just walking around!" It puts me at ease and I enter a good convo with my girlfriend. 

A few minutes later the same dude interrupts my conversation with a mildly panicked, "Your daughter is outside by the fountain- she must have ran out the door!" I book it outside and Birdie is thisclose to being INSIDE the fountain. I mean, she can swim, at least I had that going for me. I knew we put all that money in to Daddy & Me lessons for something. Thank you dude who told me to turn off my helicopter propellers... I had them on for a reason thank you! 

MF # 4. I've been trying to work on Birdie's behavior this week, really "tune into her feelings." She didn't seem like herself on Tuesday so I decided, "Hey... we haven't graced the Dr.'s office with our presence in a while... why not cash in on one of those free 'well baby' exams my insurance gives us... I'm sure we're behind by at least two..." (When your husband is a youth pastor and you are a waitress/party planner -oh dear, it's looks even worse when it's typed- you tend to look for all of the free perks healthcare has to offer.) 

So I called the office, and for once in their entire existence they actually had an appointment for us that day. I picked up Cormac for preschool (where I saw my second inspiration for the post) and the 3 of us headed to the pediatrician. I am, at this point, going to make a long story short(er). 

After some tests I learned that my baby Bird is at 50% hearing loss! Holy Moly Mom Fail! Are you kidding me, Doc? He explained to me that although her ear infection from a while back has been cleared up- she is having a hard time "draining" the ears. 

I'm not new to ear issues. I still have them as an adult (hence why I hate water) and my son got tubes inserted a year ago. Anyway, here I've been telling the world how naughty she is and it turns out, as the good Dr. said, "She probably can't hear you- make sure she's looking at you when you engage her." Um, ya. GOOD point... "Things that could have been brought to my attention, YESTERDAY!" (anyone?) Needless to say we're seeing an ear specialist next week.

She was born feisty but I DO think hearing me would work in her favor.
MF #5. Same day. Never a good sign. On the way home from the doctor, Cormac mentions to me, "I did a great smile for picture day today mom!" BRAKE CHECK. "What are you talking about?" I ask, "You already had picture day, remember?" He insists to me they had another picture day and all I can think is, "Crazy talk, maybe it was a little Mother's Day secret photo and he's getting confused..." I get home and run the idea by Shawn. He says, "Oh ya- I knew you must have forgotten by the outfit he wore- they had another picture day for END of school year pictures." 

Really, Preschool? I mean, when I was a kid we were lucky is the photographers remembered to show up one time a year! Why would I need TWO photos from the same year?! And YES, although I thinks it's crazy ridiculous, I absolutely still want the opportunity to dress him in his crazy cutest outfit ever. A-duh, SHAWN. And yes- what would give you the hint that I forgot didn't know, the fact that I sent him in shorts and a stained polo?! (Thank God he had a sweater in his bag and rumor has it- it made it on his body for picture-- these teachers are officially getting a Teach Appreciation Day gift from me). Had I known, I don't know... I might have run down with a brush, some taming spray (have you seeen my son's hair?) pressed pants, plaid shirt, possibly a blue blazer  and yes- a bow tie... always a bow tie. Thank goodness I didn't go cheap on the FIRST pictures from the SAME YEAR he practically JUST took.

                              We do bow ties like they're going out of style...                            
Now let's move onto the next inspiration for this blog post. As I mentioned, I saw Overachiever Mom. What kind of overachieving was she into that inspired me so? She unstrapped her mini toddler and took the child in WITH her to pick up her son from preschool. It got me thinking about all of the things I swore I'd never do when I was a mom (before I was actually a mom), and I remember some of them vividly... So here it is:

The Things I Swore I'd Never Do As A Mother...

I WILL NEVER... Leave my child in the car. I mean, why would you? It's crazy illegal and not only that, really socially unacceptable (like I might be losing friends right now). But seriously people. Preschool? The Post Office? A quick RX pick up? You take them EVERYWHERE? I thought preschool was like, the only acceptable place to leave a child in the car! I mean- I can SEE the car at all times while picking up the other child! My kids don't even complain anymore when I run into a place. My son will compliment me and say, "Wow mom, that was QUICK!" I think he may even time me. It's totally working.

I WILL NEVER... Give my baby a pacifier. Ya. That lasted like, a day. Did it even last a day? I can't remember but I do know all of those early days pics have a pacifier shoved in to the mouth of both children. I'd have strapped it on if I could. Never do a pacifier... good one, Kenna...
Hmmmm... if only I could crawl...
I WILL NEVER... Buy my kid a toy in order to get them to comply with the rest of the shopping trip. Gosh I love these $1 isles... what a deal for obedience! I even say things like, "Now that one there is expensive... so IF I let you get it... do you promise to sit on your bottom while I shop, the ENTIRE time?" When he starts reading prices I'll have to come up with something new. I was using $1 Target popcorn and now he's out of the popcorn stage. And I can't do fruit snacks anymore after our dentist bill, so $1 isle it is...

I WILL NEVER... Say things like, "You're driving me NUTS!" It happens, you know? They drive you nuts, it slips out. Did I KNOW my kids would make me go bonkers? No, I didn't. What did I know, I didn't have kids!

I WILL NEVER... Let my kids be unkempt in public. This one actually makes me laugh out loud, that's how far off from it I am. My mom was always very particular about our faces and clothing being clean. I tried to tap into that. I've come to the conclusion: it's impossible for my children to look clean on a daily basis. Birdie has marker or food on her face at any given time, and Cormac eats his boogers (proudly, I might add). Unless it is a holiday worth dressing up for (i.e., I am starving them to keep their outfits perfect for that picture) I can guarantee they will be slightly ragged, (if not totally ragged)... like gypsy children. Now I count myself proud to call them mine if they've managed to keep both shoes on.

No caption needed.
I WILL NEVER... Let my child tantrum in public. Um... did you know what it was like to try and stop a tantruming child in public Kenna? No, you didn't. Not only is it embarrassing, it only makes things 10x worse. I had this idea that if my child did "that" in public I would look at them sternly and yell, "STOP IT! NOW!" and they would tremble in fear and say, "Sorry momma, I'll be good now" through their remorseful tears. Ya... the best I've come up with is: leave. store. immediately.

I have a slew of other ones that I will not be typing, let's be honest I am not totally insane and yes, I would like to maintain some level of dignity. I also have a few that I have held onto... that I'm sure... one of these years I'll also cave into... but for now I will proudly and ignorantly declare: "I WOULD NEVER LET MY CHILD...."

                                                                  xo Party or Die xo

Friday, April 26, 2013

"The Love Boat" Bon Voyage Party!

If you are a party planner that's trying to make it the business, your goal is to get your parties out there- for the WORLD to see. I have had one party in the last few months that has been featured so many places now that even I am sick of it (OK, you made me say it- PETER PAN!). Totally my fault. I have caught myself yelling at the computer, "Get OVER the Peter Pan Party! I hate Miss Party Mom!" a few times, only to quickly realize... "Oh crap... that is MY party... I AM Miss Party Mom". Yikes.

Anyway, today I am blogging about a party I did last Summer (June, 2012) that am NOT sick of. Every time I look at this party I want to sail away on a cloud of happiness. It was THAT good.

I was contacted by my husband's cousin, Daisy, and her husband Scott, who happen to live just 40 minutes up the coast from us in San Luis Obispo (we have no other family on the Central Coast so it's great to have someone near us). They were looking to throw a  "Love Boat" Bon Voyage Party for the pastor of their church who was moving to a new congregation down South. Pastor Jane's all time favorite TV show was "The Love Boat" and they were ready to party Love Boat style! I truly knew nothing about the show- (other than it had some awesome 80's dress up opportunities) so I hopped on Amazon and ordered a box set of DVD's and got to work. With Hannah at my side (queen of random trivia) we put together a fantastic event that even WE had a great time partying at (maybe too much fun?!)

This was my 4th paid party and it's been the biggest budget I've worked with by far. I was new to the business and learned A TON about throwing a big party (130 people): arranging a caterer, DJ, cake decorator, rental company and coordinating and paying a 10-person staff to help with set up and manning the event. Oh and that little thing called budgeting. It was nothing short of a wedding, without the bride and groom!

We wanted to incorporate two themes in to the party since their were two ideas we were trying to hit on: "The Love Boat" and "Bon Voyage Jane!"

With the Love Boat theme we wanted to touch on a lot of the shows elements like the Princess Cruise Ship where the show took place. I wanted to give the guests the feeling of actually being on a Princess Cruise the minute they entered the backyard. In order to do this, we researched cruise ships and came up with the following "must-haves" for the night: cruise itinerary, cruise destinations, Love Boat character costumes, dinner & dessert buffet, pools, casino, "deck" photo op, shuffleboard, lido deck, open bar, great music, babysitters for the kids and of course a "uniformed" staff to make the theme complete!

For the "Bon Voyage" aspect I focused on a scrapbook station (one for the adults and one for the kids) as well as a letter-writing area where church members could let Jane know how special she'd been to them. The photo station was set up to take two sets of the same "photo booth" style photos so that guests could keep one for themselves and put one in the scrapbook!

Although this party was featured on Kara's Party Ideas a few months after the party- I didn't really understand what a "party description" was back then (ROOOOKIE!) so it really lacked any detail on the party. As we're approaching Summer I feel like anything nautical is the PERFECT theme for a baby shower (I'll be also doing one this Summer), bridal shower ("Love Boat"- come on!), 1st Birthday Party, etc.

I hope you enjoy!

                                                                 xo Party or Die xo



Vendor Credits-

Event Styling: Kenna @ Miss Party Mom Event Planning
Photography: Christina @ Moments Captured Photography
Desserts: Hannah @ Hannah's Cookies and Treats
Love Boat Ship Cake: Kelli Cakes
Printables and Graphics by Jodi @ joliodesign
Love Boat Printable Graphic: Party Scribbles
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