This week, on top of everything else, I had this obsession to put together and "Thanksgiving Tree." Pretty much a tree with leaves that say what we are thankful for. Since a few people asked, I thought I would share the final outcome....

Of course, I ended up with a "thankful wreath" as well... 

And when Zoë wrote that she's thankful for "family," my heart melted



I totally forgot about the "sign" I bought early in October at TJ MAXX. Love that I thought so far in advance.

Zoe Alyce's Wonderland Tea Party

Last year after 35 kindergartners and the brain cake, I SWORE I would start to pull back on the birthday parties. I get too obsessed! I spend too much! Jason threatens to leave me! And then there is the age old thought of "why bother since the kids would be happy with 3 friends and cake..."But I like this stuff. And while two hours before the party it may not seem like any fun, whatsoever, for anyone involved - I love to throw a good party.

This one was down sized. I only invited 10 of Zoe's little girl friends over for an afternoon tea party. I felt HORRIBLE excluding MY friends with boys, but inviting the world is what gets me in trouble, so I apologized to my moms-of-boys friends and just invited girls (and a couple of older brothers for Lucas' sake). I ordered the invites through one of my favorite invitation designers, TomKat Studio, and then (if you can believe this) kinda put the party out of my mind. Until last week. When I promptly freaked out.

I had planned on using real china all along. I threw my good friends a tea party baby shower a few years ago and was excited to be able to use it all again. I had it in my head that I wanted to get a tiered serving dish, so I stopped by Home Goods and was blown away when I found actual Alice in Wonderland serving plates, cups, trivets, and a 2 tiered serving dish. I called my mom and my friend Maria from inside the store actually squealing over my find. But then my mind started racing... what else could I do to really make the party special?



Since I know that at this point most kids have been on a 7-day sugar high, I was going to stay away from doing a dessert/candy table. But I couldn't help myself. Beautiful Cupcake Love cupcakes, gum balls and candy buttons make every party happier. And with the edition of a Princess Cake from Sweet Lady Jane in LA (my mom's idea), the table pretty much set itself. 

While I'm sure the kids liked the dessert table the best (note the tiny holes in the frosting from tiny fingers sneaking a tiny taste) my favorite things are the details. The tables, the mantle, paper lanterns... the items that give it a true Wonderland feel.

Being that this was the first party in the new house, it was hard figuring out what what to put where. Since temperatures were in the 90's this past week, I had planned on an outdoor event. When the wind starting gusting around noon and the temperature dropped 15 degrees, I quickly make the executive decision to move the party inside... confusing us even more. Where do I put the bar for the moms? How do I set-up the tables? Where ARE those tablecloths?!



Having had a {crazy} boy first, I'm used to "boy parties." Running around, things getting knocked over, no hope of an organized craft or plan. But little girls are different. They will sit there and delight in drinking tea (Candy Cane non-caffinated from Trader Joe's) or sparkling lemonade out of proper china. They all dressed up in party or princess dresses and sat and drank their tea and ate their cookies with perfect manners. Thanks to Christina for a gift certificate that she couldn't use, we had Martha from Pinky's Big Top do face painting and balloon animals... she was wonderful and the kids LOVED it. 


While, yes, one can argue that I do my elaborate parties more for me than for the kid, I don't really see it that way. While Zoe may not remember the "drink me" tags or the little heart shaped topiaries, she will always have a special memory of her Wonderland tea party. And to me, that's what birthday parties are all about; Creating a perfect memory.

Happy 3rd birthday to my little pickle princess!


Party Hangover

First let me say that everyone should throw themselves a birthday party every few years. I'm an Aries and ramming my birthday into other people's lives is something that I do very, very well. I love celebrating birthdays - mine, the kids, Jason's.. but the problem with organizing a going out night these days is getting groups on the same page. Some people like nice dinners and early nights, others like to meet at a bar. There always seems to be that point in the evening where you lose people in the transition and you feel bad because you are forcing others to pay money to do something that they may really not want to do. I wanted to celebrate, have a good time, have good music, good food and good drinks and a general good time with my friends. Plus it doesn't hurt that I totally like to throw parties. A Win-Win situation. 

A few months ago when I was working with It's a Luv Thing on the Leucadia Sends Luv event, I met Marsha. SUPER Sweet and well connected "jane of all trades" that lives just down the street from me. She's an amazing coordinator and bartender all in one. Being that I wanted to also ENJOY my own party, I hired her for the evening. She had the DJ connection, so there we were. Marsha made the party - literally. She made everyone there a martini or a lemon drop - she helped me set up and she helped me clean up. At one point I mentioned that I wish I had the Bliss Lights that they had at the Leucadia Sends Luv event, and she was on the phone arranging them for me in minutes. She rocked. Especially because I ended up a bit crunched for time and jumping in the shower at 6:45!

The night before the party I had my list of things that I needed to get done - Trader Joe's, BevMo, Cake Ball Prep, cleaning and organizing (I'm usually very meticulous, pulling out linens placing things where I know I want them set up) but thanks to a certain 2.5 year old's meltdown and margaritas that were a wensie-bit too strong at dinner, all I managed to do is plop some chocolate on the cake balls and crawl into bed. I also had a slow start on Saturday morning (damn, margaritas) so needless to say I was a little behind schedule. 

But as always, things came together beautifully, ifIdosaysomyself..

 While the cake balls were not the object of perfection like I was envisioning them to be, I saved them by putting them in black and white Zebra striped cupcake wrappers. And let me tell you, they were the HIT of the party. Yes, Pete Schweddy was quoted multiple times throughout the night, because "No one could resist my moist, delicious balls."

While really not photogenic, the Bliss Lights lit up the back like Pandora. And the vodka bar made everything, well, fuzzy and delightful!

A few things didn't go as planned.. the chandelier sticker is actually from Target - the Etsy one had more problems than I care to discuss - and I totally forgot about the pink and black paper poms, which I didn't even think about until I saw them sitting on my desk the next day. LaLaLa!