September 23, 2014

After the last few parties I’ve hosted, I’ve realized after the party is over, I’m left with darling decor and props that don’t necessarily have a home or use after the event is over.  Party staples such as cake plates, crates, flatware, etc are re-used over and over, but things like vintage kitten figurines or custom pineapple prints are unfortunately a one time use. So when I began planning my sister’s baby shower I decided I’d be more intentional with her baby shower and choose a theme she could re-create in her nursery.

With that idea in mind, I asked Emily what her plan was for baby Emma’s nursery. She sent me a couple inspiration pics and said, “I’m thinking kind of minimalist”.

Minimalist? Please define.

If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m probably the furthest thing from minimalist, more like hoarder. So I did a little research. It was exactly what I guessed… minimal. Less is more. Simple, abstract, lots of black and white. I thought, I can work with this. Maybe this will be less work than most parties I throw?

Just a few days after we had talked about her “minimal” nursery, I spotted Oh Joy’s new party line at Target. There was a pack of paper plates with a black, white, pink, turquoise, and gold triangle shapes. It felt minimal. And modern. I tossed everything in this pattern in my red cart and felt like I had a good start.

Next on the agenda was invites. Erica of Harper Grey has created invites for my last few parties and let me tell you, she is a true talent! I joked that I liked invitations printed on paper thick enough to eat my dinner off of, and guess what, Emily’s baby shower invites were just that thick. I think I gasped when they came in the mail. And not only thick and perfectly coordinating, each invite had a beautiful gold foiled edge. Stop. A girl after my own heart.

The shower was given at my home, so I was able to rearrange some decor to make space for the party. As always, I swapped out photos on my gallery wall with sweet bible verses, sayings, baby’s name and initials created by Piece Love Paper. You guys, this is the greatest and most simple way to add decor to a party. And how darling will these be framed and hung in the baby nursery??

Another quick and easy way to turn your home into a party is with some fun sofa pillows! Ever since I found Fancy it Pretty on Etsy, I’ve been dreaming of all the fun party pillows she could make. She absolutely nailed it with these amazing pillow covers, they turned out absolutely adorable.


A fun surprise for Emily that doubled as party decor was this fun teepee set up. Be Little You and Me makes the cutest teepees in all sorts of fun, cool fabrics. My favorite is their natural canvas teepee because it’s so neutral. It’s adorable as is, but for the shower I jazzed it up a little with this amazing felt garland and added a very MINIMALIST baby quilt as the mat (that again, Emily can use in her nursery!). I had looked high and low for a black and white quilt with no luck. The closest I could find was grey so you can imagine how over the moon I was to find TYC Baby Boutique on Etsy filled with mod, black and white baby blankets and quilts!

And because everything is better with glitter, I picked up white feathers from Michaels, sprayed them with glue, sprinkled gold glitter on them, and attached them to the teepee poles. So fun!

Agnes, Edith and Margo got cozy in the teepee waiting for guests to arrive.

In keeping the mod/minimal theme plus the goal of recycled nursery decor, I thought it would be fun to use lit marquee lights behind the dessert table spelling out baby’s name. Who doesn’t like to see their name in lights?!

They were the perfect backdrop, simple and sweet, and will look incredible hung above Emma’s crib in her nursery. Lollipop Lights makes the cutest lit letters in just about any font and color, and come with a battery back attached to the back of each letter so there is no fussing with wires or cords.

While creating desserts for this shower, I found myself working with fondant, something I’m not the biggest fan of, but felt it fit the theme. I kept it simple and geometric by cutting out triangles and stamping them with baby’s name. It was super easy and Emily loved seeing Emma’s name on her cupcake! (Fondant stamps from Maison Du Bon Bon‘s instagram shop)

I didn’t want the sugar cookies for Emily’s table to be cutesy, so using typical baby cookie cutters (onesies, baby bibs, and rattles) I turned bibs into mod looking cats, gave the rattles edible gold hearts, and drew I’m so Fancy on the onesies. I added a few glitter arrows and triangles to fill in the table.

I thought it would be cute to shape my rice krispy treats into baby blocks and dip them into coordinating candy melts to match the theme. This was SO simple, and turned out super cute. Wilton had the perfect pre-colored candy melts, which made it even easier.

My grandma loved her matching turquoise #emmacat onesie cookie! (how cute is she at 80!?)

Because the shower was at 2pm,  I didn’t serve a full meal but had light salads so everyone would have room for dessert.  I saved time by ordering Emily’s favorite salads and breadsticks from a local restaurant and displayed them in vintage pink bowls and cake plates.

I saw a print recently that said “nothing haunts us like the things we didn’t buy”.

Word. A few years ago I fell in love with this bar cart from Target. I realllly wanted it but told myself I didn’t need it. Look at me being so on budget!! Since then, I’ve wished time and again that I had bought it because soon after I denied myself the amazing gold bar cart, Target discontinued it. But guess what…They recently brought it back!! Imagine how excited my kids were when I told them they could push it all the way through Target and to the check out line. Yep, Merry Early Christmas to me. It’s the BEST!! I was so excited to use it at Emily’s shower. Say goodbye to leaky beverage dispensers with silver hardware. Make your life easy with a few fun pitchers of lemonade, sparkling water, or in my case, Fresca with lime, and set out some fun cups for your guest to drink out of. Voila, fashion meets function.

My friend Sarah from Paper White Designs makes the cutest fringe garlands and paper twirls (you might remember from my Favorite Things or Party Like a Pineapple parties). She created the most stunning geometric hanging shapes in the colors of our shower. They can be displayed lengthwise with vertical dangling shapes, but I liked how they made the perfect hanging accent on our beverage bar. Later, I thought Emily could get crafty with them and turn them into a fun mobile above Emma’s crib.

Let’s be honest, most baby shower games are cheesy and no one really likes to play them.  I scoured Pinterest for a new, fun idea but came up with nothing but guessing the price of baby products and melted candy bar diaper games, bleh. No games.  But who doesn’t like to get crafty?? Instead of games, I set a table for everyone to decorate baby blocks for baby Emma’s nursery.  I found unfinished wood blocks on Amazon, picked up some fun scrapbook paper, and dusted off my old Creative Memories paper cutter.  They were super simple and turned out adorable!

I was so excited to surprise and spoil my sister with a special shower she would love, filled with sentimental things she could use again to decorate her nursery. Her last surprise of the shower was a gorgeous Joovy Qool stroller in a chic white color. I was so thrilled to see it in person, I literally put it together the second it arrived on my porch. It’s the cutest stroller, almost makes me want another baby..
Almost.

Wait.  Everyone in our house sleeps through the night.  I’ll just take Emma for a stroll.

Paper White Designs surprised us with these darling confetti pops she made custom to match the shower. They were perfect to shower our mama-to-be in confetti…outside. Let me tell ya, these confetti pops were a hit with the kids. Confetti was EVERY. WHERE. My goats are going to be eating confetti out of my grass for months.

I’m not sure if I fully achieved the “minimalist” concept, at 4am the night before the shower, the work wasn’t feeling super minimal, but let’s be honest, I really don’t know how to do minimal.  I’m kind of a go big or go home personality.  I absolutely loved how everything turned out and was so happy for the opportunity to  spoil Emily and baby Emma.

Aunt Jenny can’t wait to meet you Emma Cat!!

 

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 29, 2014

I think one of my talents is being able to come up with any excuse to throw a party. Last week I co-hosted a super fun girls night with my friend Desiree Hartsock.  We invited a few of our girlfriends over for a relaxing night of cookie decorating and cheese eating! I mean, who wouldn’t love that?? We gave the night a Summer Sips and Sweets theme with a yellow and mint green color palate.

For the “sips” we invited OneHope Wine to be a part of our night, with proceeds donated to United Way of King County, and for the “sweets” I gave our guests a DIY cookie baking and decorating lesson in my signature sugar cookies!

First things first, invites.  We sent out these gorgeous invites Minted created for us.  As always, Minted continually impresses me with their amazing stationary.

Guests were greeted at my door with the most darling aprons from Jessie Steele. They make my absolute favorite aprons. Always the cutest fabrics and best fitting. Who cares what you’re wearing underneath, pop one of their aprons over a plain white tee and you’ll look great!!

My friend Sarah from Paper White Designs made these adorable paper garlands to look like lemons and this vintage paper ruffled garland. She posted the garland on Instagram a few months back and I had to have it. I knew I’d find a party to use it!

I really enjoyed setting the table for the cookie decorating. I pulled out my jadite and milk glass plates, and vintage yellow hobnail glass. I couldn’t have found a more perfect coordinating fabric at JoAnn Fabrics and turned it into a makeshift table runner, then filled the center of table with the yellow glass and simple white cake plates. Cut wood rounds made an interesting “charger” and added some nice texture to the table.

Had to include some “sample” cookies for the girls to enjoy while they decorated their cookies.

To keep everyone’s glasses straight, and instead of using cheesy wine charms (SO hard to find anything cute), I found washi tape in yellows and greens from cutetape.com and made simple flags on each glass stem. SUPER SIMPLE and it turned out adorable!

What’s a party without FROST? My favorite local doughnut and sweets shop made us coordinating yellow and green (buttermint and pistachio) macarons for our special occasion!

Instead of doing a big dinner, we decided on a cheese and crackers appetizer bar. This table was so fun to create. Typically I’m setting dessert tables filled with cakes and cookies, so this was a nice change! I loved how it turned out.

See those awesome dried fruits? If you aren’t familiar, you HAVE to check out Simple & Crisp. I met Jane (owner of Simple & Crisp) at an Anthropologie event earlier this year. She introduced herself and sent me a few samples of her fruit crisps to play around with. I’m obsessed! They are not only so gorgeous to look at but pair with SO much. They have a giant list on their website with all kinds of ideas. They were such a perfect fit for our cheese and crackers bar.

One of the best comments of the night was hearing Desiree say “I love this! This is my first apron!!” as she put her apron on. So funny to me because as a baker, I go through aprons like crazy. Go Des!! Hopefully this cookie night will inspire future baking.

After everyone had something to eat, we put our aprons on and started our cookie class. It was really fun to have girlfriends over to do it since none of them had ever taken my actual cookie course. The girls gathered in my kitchen as I demonstrated how to make my sugar cookie dough, roll it out, and bake the perfect cookies.

The girls followed along in my new book Eat More Dessert. (My sugar cookie and icing recipes are featured prominently throughout the book) I’m not kidding when I say this recipe is NO FAIL and people go crazy for these cookies!

After the cookies were baked, I demonstrated how to make icing and how to fill decorating bags. Using my favorite Wilton products, each gal was shown how to cut a disposable decorating bag, insert a coupler, attach a decorating tip, and fill with icing. If you’ve never done this before, it can be a little challenging. After cutting a few bags back a little too much, each girl successfully filled their bag with icing fitted with a decorating tip! It seems daunting but once you do it, it’s SO MUCH faster than decorating cookies with a knife!!

After everyone had filled icing bags, I gave the girls a quick lesson in decorating their cookies. We baked summer themed cookies, lemons, assorted flowers, and the cutest ice cream cones and sundaes! You can find all the same cutters we used at Wilton.com.

The girls were doubtful they could do it but them totally surprised themselves. They all did so great!!

As the girls decorated their cookies, I brought out their gift bags. What’s a party without a fun swag bag?? I was so excited about these bags, I literally went through every gift inside explaining what it was and where we found them!

We were absolutely spoiled by Lily and Jade with the most beautiful bags. Lily and Jade is most known for their designer baby bags but these bags are also THE most incredible bags for any woman, with a baby or not! There are so many pockets and cubbies, it’s nearly impossible to lose your keys or lipgloss in the bottom of your handbag. See that blue insert I’m holding? It comes out! So pack it full with all your day essentials and pull it out for an adorable handbag! This bag is a life changer.

The girls loved decorating their cookies and were beside themselves when I brought out a Wilton decorating kit for each gal to take home! The best mixing bowls, icing colors, decorating tips, my have-to-have cookie spatula and more!

Want to see what was tucked inside each Lily and Jade bag? Frost Macarons and Simple & Crisp dried fruits for the girls’ late night snacks!

Bip and Bop personalized bar necklaces for each gal. LOVE THESE!

Nickel and Suede leather earrings. Adorbs!

Horse Feathers Gifts beaded mint bracelets. The perfect bracelet for a simple jewelry day, or amazing to stack with others!

She Does Justice headwraps. SO fun for a day at the beach or when you don’t feel like washing your hair!

Lara Casey notepads, journals, and darling inspirational cards. Who doesn’t love a fresh journal and notepad? I’m the queen of lists so I love these!!

And lastly these gorgeous personalized Druzy necklaces by Wrenn Jewelry! Wrenn Jewelry offers just about every color stone you can imagine. These necklaces are so great and make the perfect gift. I love finding new goodies to give as gifts. So much more special and thoughtful than grabbing a gift card.

And guess what?? Desiree and I want one of you to have all of these same goodies we spoiled our guests with! That’s right! Enter below to WIN all the swag from our Summer Sips and Sweets party below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photography by KCB Photograhy

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

June 17, 2014

Friends! Join me Thursday, June 26th at 7pm at the University Bookstore in Mill Creek. I’ll be signing copies of my new book EAT MORE DESSERT, AND I’ll bring treats!

For more info: click HERE

See you there!

May 28, 2014

**UPDATE on EAT MORE DESSERT book signing: Sadly, FROST and Eat More Dessert fans will have to wait a little longer to enjoy the dessert lounge and have their books signed. Contractor delays means the opening date has been pushed back. Stay tuned as we reschedule this event!!

FROM FROST:
It is with our deepest regrets that FROST must cancel the Grand Re-Opening Celebration scheduled for tomorrow, May 30th at 5PM. Unfortunately, several of our contractors experienced delays and our store is not fully operational. This decision was a last resort and we apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused. While we are unsure of our exact opening date, we hope to see every one of you at our National Doughnut Day Celebration next Friday, June 6th!

****************************************************************************************************************

Friends! I am excited to invite you to my first Eat More Dessert book signing this Friday hosted by Frost!!

I’ll be there to celebrate the grand opening of Frost’s new Dessert Lounge. Their doughnuts have been crazy popular since they day they opened their first location, so they’ve taken Frost a step further and built a gorgeous new storefront! I’ve seen a sneak peek of the new building and it’s GORGEOUS.

My friend Molly Mesnick from The Bachelor and the 106.1 KISS FM crew will also be there to celebrate this monumental event! AND, Sparkling wine will be provided by Treveri Cellars. You can’t miss it!

Come join us and enjoy familiar favorites like Frost’s french cruller doughnuts that I’m crazy for, OR try their new treats like french macarons, cupcakes and frozen custard. YUM.

Where:
Frost Doughnuts
15217 Main Street Suite 106
Mill Creek, WA 98012

When:
May 30th, 2014
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

*Frost will have copies of my new book Eat More Dessert for purchase, or if you already have a copy, bring it along and I’ll sign it for you!

See you there!!

May 2, 2014

Back in March, as the release date of my new book EAT MORE DESSERT neared, I began planning a large launch party downtown Seattle. We would hold it at a big party venue, invite everyone we knew, and promote, promote, promote. But as the planning began, I realized this huge party wasn’t my style. While I’d love to celebrate with each and every Seattleite that is a fan of my work, it felt funny asking people to come celebrate in my success. I know, I know, people like to celebrate others, but it still felt weird.

A few years ago I had seen a really cute idea on Pinterest called a “Favorite Things” party. The photos from this particular party weren’t amazing, yet the idea was darling. You gather up your most favorite girlfriends and invite them over to exchange their “favorite things”. I’ve remembered this party ever since I saw it, but haven’t had the time, or excuse to throw one. Well, now I did. The launch of the book would be the perfect reason to throw a Favorite Things party!!

I’d invite 25 of my girlfriends over to see our new farmhouse (most hadn’t been here since we’ve moved last fall), exchange our favorite things, and of course, celebrate the launch of Eat More Dessert. I was loving this idea already. The huge launch party in Seattle may have been fun, but I could make it so much more special celebrating with just my close friends on a much smaller scale. So with that, the big launch party was nixed and the Favorite Things party planning began.

First things first, invitations. My mantra has always been, the invitation sets the stage for a party. Minted created the most gorgeous stationary with chic gold foiled invites and matching address labels. I wanted each girl to squeal as they opened their mailbox and saw the gorgeous invitation waiting for them. I squealed just opening the shipping box of invitations! The back of the invites had all the info for the party. With the favorite things theme, you can really set any price limit or quantity you want. I thought more items would be fun, so we limited the price to $5, with each girl picking 3 of their favorite things, and bringing 4 of them.

Since it was a FAVORITE things party, I decided everything about the party should be my favorite. I called on my favorite florist Chelsea from Flora D’Amore to create beautiful arrangements for the event. As always, she nailed it. She put together THE most gorgeous succulents, hydrangeas, roses and peonies in these fantastic gold glittered jars I found on etsy. When I picked them up the morning of the party, the gal working said “Is it your wedding day?” I said, “No, but it feels like it!!” I’m praying these flowers never die. They’re that pretty.

For food, Cristianos made my favorite baked macaroni and cheese, and cranberry mimosa salads, miniature lasagnas, and spinach salads. MMMmm. For three solid weeks I scoured ebay to gather enough vintage milk glass ramekins and gold flatware so the food looked chic rather than a buffet style food bar.  I wanted a special touch to everything, even the food. Who doesn’t feel special eating from gold silverware?

Since this was starting to feel a bit like I was planning a wedding, I decided I MUST have something fantastic to wear.  Channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw, I found this skirt on etsy and had to have it.  There really was no better excuse to twirl around in a tulle skirt than to celebrate writing a book.  Fisher, Olive, and Crosby went nuts for it too.  That, or the fringe balloon garland.

My front porch greeted guests with a darling sign that read “You’re my Favorite” and as soon as they stepped into my entryway, a mint bar cart holding all my vintage hobnail glassware awaited them. We found the most adorable numbered glitter tassel wine tags, and perfectly coordinating paper straws wrapped with Minted’s paper flags that matched our invite. I wanted peeps to feel instantly special the moment they stepped foot into the party!

I had been searching etsy for all things gold and glittered and came across this darling shop that made handwritten prints with cute sayings. They were perfect to use in my entryway on my frame wall! I just replaced my family pictures with the prints! She even agreed to make a few of the sayings I requested. I think these are staying up for awhile!!

I replaced all my vintage postcards in my postcard holder with “ticket packages”. The packages contained party tickets, favorite cards, and glitter clothespins. Guests were directed to fill out their card with their name, and favorite thing they brought. The clothespins helped us attach the cards to the item, or assist the card to stand on it’s own. My dining room table had been transformed into our “favorite things” table. I filled it with an abundance of cake plates, wood crates, and boxes so each guest had a special place to set up their goodies.

 

I lucked out on the weather, it ended up being a gorgeous sunny day in Seattle. I couldn’t have been more excited to pull out my outdoor furniture and make an separate space for my guests to cozy up around my outdoor fireplace later in the evening with blankets, brownies, and sparkly gold cake pops.

And what’s a book launch party for a book called EAT MORE DESSERT without a fantastic dessert table?? I found these amazing fringe garlands on Etsy that made the perfect backdrop for the table. My friends at Wilton sent me a big box of fun product to try out for the table. It felt like Christmas when the box arrived. What a fun surprise!! They sent the most darling edible bows, edible gold glitter, and new spring cookie cutter set as well as their newly launched pre-filled icing packets. In addition to my signature desserts, I filled the table in with few of my favorites, Frost donuts, Snohomish Pie Company mini pies, and scattered Fran’s chocolates around the party.  Lampshade Bash made the cutest custom cake topper for the party, an exact replica of the title of my book!!

Once the guests had all arrived, and everyone had placed their favorite things on the table, I thanked everyone for coming and explained how the process would go. Each gal was given 11 tickets. I didn’t want the party to feel like a tupperware party where we’d draw a number from a hat and that person could pick from the table. I also didn’t want to go around and ask each girl what they brought and why, hence the favorite things cards they filled out by my front door. So the way I planned to run the party was to let guests redeem their tickets hourly. That way the party was still casual, there wasn’t 25 girls racing to the table to elbow each other out of the way for certain things. The first hour the girls got to pick 3 items from the table.  I found this adorable pink fringe and glitter banner on etsy and hung it with the Favorite Things agenda.

It’s amazing the treasures you can find on etsy.  I found the most darling tote bags with glitter hearts and polka dots. We HAD to have these at the party. They were the perfect bag for the girls to collect their “favorites” in. So, so cute.

The girls got to choose 3 items from the Favorite Things table in the first hour, and 4 items the second and third hour. It was hard to choose, everyone brought super cute stuff! (Our price limit was $5, so people got really creative! I was impressed.)

My super star photographer and incredibly fun friend Kelly of KCB Photography not only attended the party, but captured the entire party on camera (she’s also the talent behind all the gorgeous photos in the book). Check out this backdrop she brought. Are you kidding me?! There is nothing I love more than gold and glitter.  And these glittered photo booth props?? Stop.  They’re amazing.

After all my guests had redeemed their 11th ticket, I told them to grab a drink, a plate of dessert, and find a spot on my sofa so I could bring their 12th ticket surprise out. I had told everyone they couldn’t go into the room upstairs that said “no peeking” because their surprise was in there. They all had no idea what was in store, except of course my photographer Kelly, my sister Emily, and my dear friend Wendy who helped me put this entire party together! Emily and Wendy were my Vanna Whites.

For an entire 45 minutes, I experienced what it must feel like to be Oprah. Emily and Wendy went up and down the stairs with boxes, baskets, and crates of amazing party swag. All my favorite things. As Wendy would begin down the stairs, I’d announce my next “favorite” thing and why I loved it. The girls screamed, they yelled, and a few may have even cried. It was SO MUCH FUN spoiling and surprising each and every one of my friends.  From jewelry, to baking products, candles and beauty products, you name it, they got it.

 

For the grand finale “favorite thing” I told the group that Jesus is really my ultimate favorite, and gave everyone my FAVORITE Jesus Saves Bro baseball tees. This company makes the most darling tees with fantastic sayings! My photographer texted me a few days after the party and said “This is definitely my new favorite shirt. I’ve been in Target for 10 minutes and four people have already come up to me!!”

The party was truly was a night to remember.  Surrounded by all my best girlfriends, favorite colors, foods, drinks, desserts, and gifts.  I feel so blessed to have such an awesome support group of friends, some that I’ve known since grade school, or those that I’ve met later in my adult life.  I can’t wait to throw another Favorite Things party!!  My brain is already thinking different themes and reasons to do this again…Favorite Beauty products, Summer/Fall Favorites, a Christmas theme… my husband is going to leave me!

Each and every one of my Favorite Things was handpicked just for this party, and I want to share them with you!!  Yep, I’m giving away a Jenny Cookies bag filled with all the amazing goodies I gifted at my book launch party!

Take a closer look!!

Clockwise from top: 1.  Happy Little Lovelies darling beaded necklace   2.  Sparkle Pop charm necklaces 3.  Beaded Tailored & Polished layering bracelet 4.  Monogrammed jewelry dishes from Susan Steele Meyer

1.  Fran’s Salted Caramels 2. ReServed by Victoria Gold polka dot mugs 3.  Cafe Ladro coffee 4.  Frost gift card

1.  Riled Violets hair ties  2.  Sidney Ann gold tassel key fobs  3.  Illume ‘Go be Lovely’ coconut milk mango soap and perfume  4.  London and Granger fabric pouches (made custom to coordinate our party)

1.  Flawless Beauty Bar Mint & Gold Laqa & Co nail polish and Rain lip gloss 2.  You Smell hand wipes

1.  Custom succy boxes from The Red Lily shop 2.  Skoah Fitskin $85 facial  3. MORE Fran’s Salted Caramels w/Eat More Dessert custom tag  4.  Get Happy Design glitter votives

1.  Glitter & Fabric clothespins  2.  Aggie’s Orange Blossom and Lemon Drop candles  3.  Cute Tape cupcake liners, washi tape, & baker’s twine  4.  Jesus Saves Bro baseball tee

1.  Lexi’s Shop pink mason jar lids and striped straws  2.  Wilton garden cookie cutter set, sprinkles, and floral cupcake liners  3.  Vantjag mint earrings 4.  Gold glittered mason jar (for use with striped straw and lid)

1.  Sparkle & Shine Peony lip gloss   2.  Pink Glitter popcorn  from Oh Goodie Design 3.  Nomad Charge Key for iphone 5  4.  Signed copy of Eat More Dessert!!

Enter to win a Jenny Cookies Favorite Things swag bag, over $500 value!!

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