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

March 24, 2014

The Bachelor’s Jason and Molly Mesnick celebrated their daughter Riley’s 1st Birthday last weekend with a mint green, black and white themed soiree! It’s hard to believe sweet Riley is already a year old. It seems like yesterday I was baking up a storm for Molly’s baby shower!

To coordinate Molly’s color scheme into the dessert table, I created an ICE CREAM SHOP themed table for little Riley, complete with a black and white striped fabric awning with a giant 3-scoop ice cream cone cake! I baked cupcakes topped with “scoops” of buttercream, ice cream cone cake pops, sugar cookies shaped as ice cream sundaes, brownies as ice cream sandwiches and waffle cup hot fudge sundaes with melted chocolate! Minted created an adorable personalized banner for the table and cupcake flags that were perfect for the wooden spoons in the hot fudge sundaes. Cookies and cupcakes sat atop my favorite jadite colored cake plates and vintage wooden drawers and boxes held ice cream cone cake pops and rice krispy treat ice cream bars. It turned out super cute!

Sweet Riley was a perfectly mannered lady when Molly presented her with a pink velvet smash cake made up of mint green buttercream ruffles. She politely tasted a lick of buttercream, but moved on to turkey, her favorite snack and word.

The party was a blast. Molly’s friends and family couldn’t be sweeter. Bride-to-be Desiree Hartsock and fiance Chris Siegfield came to wish Riley a Happy Birthday and pose in the cute photo-booth area Molly created. It was great to meet them in person and wish them congrats on their engagement. So excited for their upcoming wedding!

If you’d like to create an Ice Cream Shop dessert table of your own, guess what? All the recipes and table instructions for the Ice Cream Shop table are featured in my new book EAT MORE DESSERT out April 8th! Pre-order your copy now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble today!

Gorgeous photography by Kelly Bowie of KCB Photography

January 6, 2014

Hudson’s birthday party didn’t turn out quite like I had planned this year, but with everything else that went on in 2013, it wasn’t a huge surprise. We renovated a 1937 farmhouse for what felt like forever. It was supposed to be finished in June, but turns out, it wasn’t completed until Mid-September. Hudson’s birthday is August 12th, so let’s just say his party was about a month late. With all the home completion to-do’s, no birthday party was happpening mid-August.

When we finally were settled in our new home, I planned a fantastic outdoor Super Hero birthday party. I rented two huge bouncy houses, planned an awesome super hero obstacle course, rented children’s chairs and tables, all to be set outside on our newly renovated 5 acres of property, with plenty of room for the kids to run around and “fly” with their superhero capes.

Then in true Jenny party fashion, the weather report showed rain. Not just sprinkles…Downpour. So much for the outdoor party. With just hours notice, our local gym granted me a favor and let me throw the party in their gymnasium. Not quite the ambiance I had planned, but sometimes you can’t have it all.

Even though the walls were padded in blue, and I couldn’t cover the basketball floor, not a single kid could have cared. Dressed in their capes and masks, devouring cupcakes and bouncing off the walls, I’m pretty sure every kid would agree it was pretty super!


cape favors: kiwicrate
superhero masks: miriamsolano
fondant cupcake toppers: Lynlee’s Petite Cakes
photography: KCB Photography
stationary: Minted

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!!

August 20, 2013

We had so much fun dreaming up desserts for Tiffani Thiessen’s daughter Harper’s 3rd birthday. Harper chose a pirate princess theme to celebrate her big day. The party was held at The Coop in LA, a cool, modern playplace for kids, on one of the hottest days in June, reaching 108 degrees. It was warm.

For Harper’s desserts, we kept them girly but with pirate details. The only thing Tiffani specifically requested was NO SKULLS, which I completely agreed, so we kept it playful and left the crossbones out. We made chocolate peanut butter cracker cookie gold dubloons, pirate ship shaped sugar cookies, princess wand cake pops, and my favorite, the pirate map sugar cookies. We did a 2-tier pink ruffle cake and topped it off with an adorable, personalized and hand made peg doll made by Jenny of Craft that Party. Our favorite stationary designer, Minted, custom created amazing pirate princess party decor which we used to greet guests, label our food and drinks, and decorate around the venue.

Thank you Tiffani, Brady, and Harper for including me in your special day. Harper, you are one sweet and adorable little girl!

See pics from Harper’s 2nd birthday dessert table: HERE!

June 19, 2013

Time sure flies because little Simone Masterson-Horn is now 3 years old! It seems like we just threw her 2nd birthday party and now she is already a big 3 year old. I’ll be decorating her wedding cake before we know it.

For her 3rd birthday, Bill and Scout chose a Doc Simone party theme based around Disney’s hit show Doc McStuffins. I’m normally not a huge fan of licensed character parties, but I knew we could pull this one off without too much of the cheesy character look. Doc and her gang are actually pretty adorable characters.

Guests were greeted through the front gate adorned with a glittery pink & purple ribbon welcome wreath by She’s Kinda Crafty. First stop was the patient check-in area where little guests picked up their own “Doc’s big book of boo-boo’s” journal, custom created for us by Minted and placed on amazing custom “Simone” melamine trays by Oh Goodie Designs.

Kids crafted patient ID bracelets, tended to the stuffed patients in the “Operating Room”, and filled candy prescriptions in Doc’s Pharmacy. We found tiny prescription bottles in Kara’s Party Ideas Shop and miniature Doc McStuffins doctor bags from Piggy Bank Parties. We filled vintage medical glass canisters with pink and purple rock candy and rolled cotton candy “cotton balls”, in addition to all the other pink and purple candy filled apothecary jars.

Guests nibbled on food from our hospital “cafeteria”, complete with character named foods (Stuffy’s Stuffin, Hallie’s Taters, Chilly’s Chicken Bites), all made into miniature servings thanks to the adorable mini food containers from Kara’s Party Ideas Shop. At our drink bar, we served lemonade, and mason jar margaritas with darling daisy lids from KPI and party straws from Minted. Guests dined on our outdoor picnic tables decorated with pink flowers and custom party horns, and super cute Doc centerpiece flags.

So many fun details were included into this party but of course I’m partial to the dessert table. To keep the table looking chic and not too character cluttered, we had Jenny from Craft that Party create Doc McStuffin characters from wooden peg dolls which were placed on top of the 2-tiered Doc-inspired birthday cake (purple & white striped top tier, pink ruffle bottom tier, resembling Doc’s daily ensemble). Band-Aid, nurse hat, and prescription bottle sugar cookies filled the gorgeous purple and pink wood cake plates, among custom Doc Simone logo cookies. Sugared purple cake pops stuck out of a vintage medical supply box and while chocolate dipped pretzel “thermometers” were nestled into vintage pharmacy beakers. For the backdrop of our table, we leaned a gigantic clipboard holding Doc’s signature symptom checklist (found at Pottery Barn Kids), strung Minted’s adorable custom banners, and dangled a few pink and purple paper lanterns overhead. Without an overwhelming amount of characters, the table screamed Doc McStuffins!

With all the candy from the pharmacy and sweets on the dessert table, we thought we’d offer our guests some fruit, so we did an “Apple a Day” table filled with purple and pink chocolate dipped caramel apples. Of course not many were guests had room left to indulge in our apples, so they made awesome take home treats!

A big thanks to all the vendors involved in this adorable party and a huge thanks to Bill and Scout for including me again in such a special event. I just adore your family and love being a part of Simone’s life!

Read more about Simone’s big birthday bash on people.com!

Photography: Francis Iacuzzi, Jenny Keller

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