August 8, 2014

Last weekend my sweet husband Dan threw me a birthday party, which naturally, I completely hijacked.

I can’t help it. It’s what I do.
I plan parties.

He had announced in early June that he wanted to throw a party for me. My response, “GREAT! I want a Pineapple Party!”

What? Pineapples?

Pineapples are fun, summery, and it seemed like a theme that hadn’t been done. At the time, I couldn’t find a single party invitation (besides a Williams-Sonoma looking housewarming stationary line) and no inspiration whatsoever on Pinterest. Fast forward a couple months and pineapples are EVERYWHERE. I repeat, EVERYWHERE. I see them on bathing suits, beach towels, t-shirts, home decor, jewelry, nails..you name it. There are pineapples. But at the time, nothing.

I always start with the invitation to begin party planning, I mean, ahem, Dan started with the invitation. Since there was nothing besides the pineapple housewarming line, we asked Harper Gray Designs if they could design a Party Like a Pineapple invite with black and white stripes, gold, mint green, and of course yellow. They nailed it.

Since the announcement of the Pineapple Party, I began searching high and low for wood pineapple bowls, you know, the kind you get in Hawaii? Thanks to midnight shopping at Ebay and Etsy, I gathered an impressive collection. They were all different sizes, shapes, and different shades of wood finish, so I pulled them all together with a few coats of gold spray paint.

If you’ve ever used gold metallic spray paint, you are familiar with it’s magic. No other spray paint quite coats the way gold metallic does. It goes on flawless, leaving even the worst spray painter with a project they can be proud of. I went a little crazy with the gold spray paint. I sprayed the bowls, tons of real pineapples, sacrificed a few of my outdoor furniture pieces, and may have gotten a little carried away and turned my bunny hutch into a gold palace. My 8 year old said “MOM. There are NINE cans of gold spray paint in the trash.” (My bunny hutch looks amazing btw)

I found the most fantastic shiny gold pineapple pillows from this darling shop Fancy it Pretty. She was a treat to work with, and even custom designed this Party Like a Pineapple pillow! They are going to spend the rest of the summer on my sofa. So fun!

For food, we tried a new caterer in our area, Katyas. Katyas created a delicious spread of pineapple themed apps (ham & pineapple skewers, pineapple caprese salad, pineapple mango salsa, etc). All the food was displayed on black and white, yellow, and you guessed it, gold spray painted cake plates.

I found these fun pineapple cups at Oriental Trading Company and just added black and white stripe straws to coordinate our theme. And for the men who didn’t want to drink out of plastic pineapples, my friend JoAnne of Oh Goodie Designs custom designed chic Party Like a Pineapple cups drink stirs and coasters! Obsessed!

I should have purchased stock in Dole because the amount of pineapples we purchased was kind of crazy. BUT, hollowing out all those pineapples ended up being a gift that kept on giving because we turned them into vases! The florals were stunning by Bash and Bloom, who arranged the flowers in red solo cups and then just shoved them down into the pineapple. Her combination of ferns, white blooms and succulents gave them the perfect mid-century modern look.

{Side note: if you want to try this at home, I’d advise hollowing out your pineapples no more than 24 hours ahead or you will have extra guests at your party AKA fruit flies.}

The power of social media is pretty fascinating. I was connected to this sweet gal from instagram who runs an etsy shop called Piece Love Paper. A mutual friend of ours had posted a photo of one of her pineapple prints and I knew it would be perfect for my entryway…well 15 of them would. We messaged back and forth and she ended up creating all sorts of fun things to fill my gallery wall! I guess you could say this is my new thing for parties. Swap out all my photos with something party related. I did it at my Book Launch Party and it ended up staying that way for at least two months. Why not greet your guests with a themed gallery wall!

My friend Kim from TomKat Studio sent me the cutest gold glitter pineapple garland that I used all over the party. I filled in two frames with the glitter pineapples as well as a cute banner on the food table.

While searching for all things pineapple online, I found pineapple beverage dispensers at Anthropologie. As luck would have it, they were no longer available. Figures. I did a little more hunting around and discovered them at a site I had never heard of before, Stein Mart, AND for a fraction of the price. Win!

For a fun backdrop to my drink station, I ordered yellow paper twirls from Paper White Designs. Her twirls are incredible. I hung them the night before the party and stood back in awe. Bright, yellow, vibrant and ready to party. The next morning I realized that was a REALLY bad idea. They had wilted overnight. Sad. Instead of taking them down, I filled them in with the darling garlands she had made for my Summer Sips & Sweets party . Crisis averted.

The centerpiece of the party, as always, was the dessert table. I absolutely loved how it turned out. Last summer I dragged my husband to a random home to pick up an old dresser I had found online. It was old, stinky, and Dan was not grasping my vision. Flash forward a year and a coat of yellow paint and this piece made the perfect dessert table!

We had a bit of a dilemma when it came to the backdrop. I had ordered Party Like a Pineapple lit marque lights to hang behind the table. They were absolutely stunning. Except..they didn’t arrive until Saturday. Not helpful when your party is Friday night. So with an hour to spare before guests arrived, I pulled down the frames and backdrop from my daughter Ally’s kitten party, grabbed my can of yellow spray paint, and went to work. Thank goodness I had extra glitter pineapples and prints from Piece Love Paper and TomKat Studio! My sister had come to help set up so between the two of us, we literally framed a party napkin, cut a striped table runner, framed the back of the invite, and stapled a few left over palm leaves from the photobooth backdrop. Improvise may as well be my middle name.

I may have planned, ordered, and organized the majority of the party but had to draw the line at baking my own birthday cake. That’s just weird. Lucky for me, I recently met an incredibly talented local baker, Megan Gordon AKA Lady YUM. Megan seems to be able to bake just about anything but her specialty is her french macarons. She recently opened a storefront, Washington’s first macaron shop. It’s darling, and her macarons are TO DIE FOR. Personally, I’m crazy for her salted caramel macs. I could eat ten. And, I have.

To be honest, I’d never ordered a cake before (besides maybe a grocery store cake) so it was kinda weird to be sending inspiration photos and nit picky details. I’m sure Megan rolled her eyes at my emails but at the end of the day, her cake was stunning and EXACTLY what I had described. And she took it a step further and baked a chocolate cake with a salted caramel buttercream filling. Stop. It was everything I dreamed of. I ate it exclusively for three days straight.

I couldn’t help but bake a few desserts for the table so I made everyone’s favorite peanut butter cracker cookies shaped and decorated as pineapples, pineapple shaped sugar cookies, cupcakes with chocolate glittered pineapple toppers, and my favorite, mini lemon meringue pies made in these miniature jars. SO easy to make, I just drew pineapple stems with melted green candy onto waxed paper and topped the pies with the stems. Poof, pineapple pies!

What’s a party without a great party photo opp? I recently came across this website Drops and Props that had the most perfectly matching black and white striped backdrop. To jazz it up a bit, I ordered a bunch of palm leaves and honeycomb balls from Oriental Trading Company and bought out my local Dollar Tree’s stock in honeycomb pineapples. My sister and I hung, stapled, taped, and crafted until the backdrop was complete. It was a pain, but it turned out SO FUN!

After we cut the amazing cake and stuffed ourselves with dessert, we brought out even more treats for our guests to enjoy, my favorite cruller doughnuts from Frost, take home ice cream favors (super cute containers, twine and spoons from TomKat!), and roasted s’mores around our outdoor fire pit. Pretty sure everyone left with a stomach ache.

It was such a fun party. At the end of the day, I definitely didn’t feel like I had thrown myself a party because I had actually worked my tail off for two days straight around the clock with no sleep. It was much more like a party we threw for our friends to come and enjoy. But then again, who doesn’t want to celebrate turning 28…again.

Photo credit (amazing as always) by KCB Photography

July 16, 2014

Every June I look forward to helping party plan with my friends Bill and Scout AKA The Guncles. It’s been a joy creating their daughter Simone’s dessert table every year. Simone is just about the sweetest, smartest and funniest 4 year old you’ll ever meet. I would take her home in my suitcase if I could. She is the BEST.

This year Simone’s party had a puppy theme. Scout scoured ebay and etsy for vintage puppy figurines while I dreamed up puppy themed desserts. Kim from TomKat Studio made the most adorable puppy images that I was able to turn into sugar cookies and JoAnne from Oh Goodie Designs created darling puppy party hats for each child.

Since you only turn four once, we decided to get crazy and make Simone four cakes. To top Simone’s largest cake, we had a topper custom designed from Communicake It. I’m in LOVE with their toppers!! They are made from wood, and make amazing party keepsakes. For cookies, I found about 8 different size puppy and bone shaped cookie cutters and went nuts decorating puppies in buttercream! The large bone cookie cutters were perfect for cutting rice krispy treats and the minis were just the right size for baking teeny tiny bone cookies to top my pudding cups. (I found the adorable glass jars at TomKat Studio) In addition to the cakes and cookies, I made everyone’s favorite dipped pb cracker cookies (recipe in my new book EAT MORE DESSERT) and drew paw prints on each with melted chocolate from GYGI. I swear by their melting chocolates!! My cake pops come out smooth every time and their assortment of colors are awesome. (I also found the adorable pink, green and yellow candies the cake pops are standing in, on their site.)

Scout set a darling food table with his collection of vintage tableware and sprayed dog bones with spray paint to create puppy bone banners. They turned out so cute. He also sprayed huge letters found at a craft store and displayed them on the food and drink station. Sarah from Paper White Designs made the most incredible twirls that were hung behind the drink station and photo booth area.

We put two children’s tables together and covered the table with vintage puppy fabrics. Each child had a darling place setting with tableware we also found on Tom Kat Studio. We made a fun centerpiece using the multitude of vintage puppies Scout found on ebay. (I think there were over 50..) To pull all the puppies together, I made party hats for each dog using cupcake liners and pom poms. See a quick tutorial here

It was such a great party. After four years of birthday parties with this family, I truly look forward to seeing their friends and family and catching up. Simone is beyond blessed, surrounded with people who absolutely adore her. And because Scout and I have a serious case of the party bug, Simone’s 5th Birthday is already in the talks..

Photography by KCB Photography

October 1, 2013

Have you ever been to a Disco Fiesta? NO? Me either….until this summer.

My good friends Scout Masterson and Bill Horn (of Marque Communications & aka Tori Spelling’s “Guncles”) asked if I’d come down and help throw Lisa Rinna’s 50th birthday party. I love any excuse to plan a party so Scout lured me down by texting ideas and asking my advice on everything from table linens to party decor. He’s a smart one. He knew I couldn’t party plan by phone and then not actually be there to execute. So two nights before the party, I booked an insanely overpriced airline ticket and jumped aboard the Disco Fiesta party train.

Scout was right when he said it was a once in a lifetime party. It was. I can remember thinking how are we going to pull this off? I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Disco-Fiesta? That doesn’t even make sense. But somehow we managed. With disco ball cake pops, sombrero sugar cookies, and the brightest buttercream icing I’ve ever made, it actually turned out pretty cute!

Jo Anne of Oh Goodie Designs custom created an adorable disco ball logo with Lisa’s name that transferred onto party hats, party favors and even sugar cookies. Minted sent fun signage, banners, and other party decor that we used around Lisa’s gorgeous property guiding guests to different areas/stations.

The best part about this party was that it was at least 108 degrees while we were setting up. I was worried my desserts would melt into a buttercream river meanwhile thinking I may have a stroke in the heat. Coming from Seattle, it felt like 150 degrees. HOT! We may have lost one bright yellow cake to the heat, but in the end, the dessert table was so full, it wouldn’t have fit anyway.

Thanks again Scout for talking me into coming. I loved being a part of your 50th birthday Lisa!!

September 27, 2012

I had the pleasure of creating desserts for one of my best friend’s daughter’s 1st birthday party. The party theme was “Bright as the sun, our sweet little Finley is turning one”. The party was absolutely darling, so many cute colors, patterns, details, and of course all love in the world for Miss Finley.

Happy 1st Birthday sweet girl!

September 18, 2012

In July I had the pleasure of creating Tiffani Thiessen’s daughter Harper’s 2nd birthday dessert table. Tiffani may have played the scandalous role of Val on 90210 and every boy’s dream as Kelli Kapowski on Saved By the Bell, but in real life she is just as sweet as can be.

Tiffani told me one of Harper’s first words was “bird” so they chose a bird theme for her 2nd birthday. I instantly fell in love with the theme, the colors, and the incredible invitation her sister in law Jill of Jill Smith Design created for Harper. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the invitation sets the stage for the party. Jill absolutely nailed it with her beautiful invite of birds, birdcages and amazing colorful fonts printed on wood. The minute I saw the invitation I was thrilled to create a coordinating dessert table.

For Harper’s table, I decided to make 5 different textured buttercream cakes in the colors from her invite. Guests enjoyed the variety of cake in addition to cake pops, cupcakes and sugar cookies baked in the custom made bird cutters similar to the bird on the invitation. Desserts were set atop wood tree rounds and stump pedestals, along with colorful glass cake plates. We put the table in front of Tiffani’s gorgeous glass doors and hung scattered birdcages above the table.

The party was amazing. Not only was Tiffani an absolute dream client to work for with her prompt replies and easy going personality, but her family and friends were incredible as well. The love of family was so prominent I could have moved to California just to make new friends with them.

Thank you Tiffani for including me in sweet Harper’s 2nd birthday. Can’t wait for her 3rd birthday!

September 17, 2012

My sweet little Hudson turned 4 a few weeks ago, which I can still hardly believe. FOUR? My baby is FOUR? That not only makes me feel old, but also a little sad that he’s growing up so fast.

We celebrated Hudson’s fourth birthday by throwing him a Peter Pan party. He was thrilled with his invitations we sent out in bottles, and could hardly wait to wear his Peter Pan costume. He was a little disappointed though when he discovered the costume didn’t make him fly. Trust me, he tried jumping off the bed. (Thank goodness it was just the bed.)

The first few years of our children’s birthday parties, my husband would frown, roll his eyes, and think I was out of control. We don’t fight very often, but it was a given that we’d land ourselves in a fight the night before one of our children’s birthday parties. I’d be stressing over all the last minute things I needed to get done, and he’d be annoyed wishing his wife would just come to bed like a normal person. Miraculously though, after six years of over the top parties he’s had a change of heart and has really gotten into it. So this year I just about died when he suggested he dress up as Captain Hook. WHAT?? So the Kellers became Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Wendy Darling, and Princess Tigerlily for Hudson’s big day.

His party took place on the beach at Kayak Point State Park. We woke up to rainclouds and sprinkles but by the time we got out to the beach the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. It was a birthday miracle. (If you know me, it rains about 75% of the time I’m planning an outdoor party.)

The kids had a blast at the beach. They had a Peter Pan picnic on a pirate ship table, dug for buried treasure, sword fought mean Captain Hook, had their faces painted, and of course ate more sugar than their parents would have agreed to.

After the party was over, everything was cleaned up and we were finally driving away, Ally said from the backseat of the car “Mommy, that was the best party you ever did!” Hudson chimed in and said “I want to have my party there next year too!”

Those sweet little comments make every ounce of work worth it. Sitting in their car seats, Ally wearing green fairy wings and a face covered in pixie paint, and Hudson with crazy messy hair, a body covered in sand and black lips from too many pirate cake pops, both beyond exhausted from all the fun. That’s my definition of a party success.

August 29, 2012

We loved these beachy nautical desserts we did for a little boy’s birthday party. Such cute colors and fun theme! Happy 3rd Birthday Bennett!

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