Friday, May 31, 2013

Vintage Beach Baby Shower: Hermosa Beach, Ca

I knew this was not going to be an easy shower to throw, #1 because I haven't thrown an "easy" party... well, like ever and #2 because the 3 hour travel involved down to LA was sure to throw me over the edge...

Loading the car up (we're talking a CRV- not even a mini van) with party decor + 2 kids + Hannah + all of our luggage for a few days... it was pretty much a bigger version of Tetris and in case you forgot, I am not exactly known for my packing skills. It almost did me in just getting us and our party gear all in one car- but I kept things in perspective knowing I was going to be back in my hometown throwing one of my oldest and closest friends a shower for her first girl... as well as seeing my bestie who I hadn't seen in almost a year. I kept telling myself all of the work would be worth it- and it totally was. So what if 2 weeks later I'm still putting away remnants from the shower and cleaning out decorative sand from my car. It was still worth it and the pictures, taken by Shutter Styles Photography (located in the LA area) are a great reminder of how adorable an event it was and how amazing my friend Beth looks pregnant... I mean, really- she's 36 weeks in these pics!

I teamed up with Amber from Party On! Designs to make this shower happen. She sent me lots of fun party stuff from decor (check out those awesome sand-covered strawberry baskets!!) to cupcake liners, paper straws, wooden utensils that I "ocean-ombred" as well linen bags that I printed her custom graphic on to. If you're wondering where I got something paper goods related- it's probably from her shop: She also provided the adorable graphics with little to no direction- as in: "I'd like a vintage girl beach baby graphic" and voila! Magically it appeared. She even entertained my mini beach bag favors with custom labels for the sunscreen, pack of gum and hand sanitizer. I highly recommend Amber for great party supplies and graphics, tell her Miss Party Mom sent you!

Hannah who owns Hannah's Cookies and Treats (located in Orcutt, Ca) made the cake, the adorable bathing suit cookies, cake pops and cupcakes. I couldn't have pulled this shower off without her, so seriously- thank God she came with me.

One thing I learned about travelling for a party is this: be prepared to spend some last minute Stupid Money. In party planning, Stupid Money is money spent on things you already own plenty of. For instance... 6" round cake pan, gel food coloring, icing tips, double stick tape, Goo-Gone and a PVC piping piece I well... just didn't figure was important to my set up?? Who the heck forgets key pieces to a backdrop set up? Oh me, awesome. So thankful we were in LA within 5 miles of everything! There was a Home Depot, Target... Michael's, and Joann Fabrics all right by my in-laws home where we were staying. Nothing like a little running around the night before and morning of a shower. Not stressful at all!

The shower was held at a gorgeous home on the strand in Hermosa Beach that is owned by a friend of Beth's parents... I mean, there really isn't a better location to throw a shower, that's for sure. Beth even opened her gifts on the sand... I mean, why not?! The weather was perfect and our "who can build the best crib out of sand" game was a total hit!

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.

                                                                     xo Party or Die xo



Couldn't resist a pic of the one and only Birdie Jane...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Used to Be Original Before Pinterest, I Promise.

Here's the thing about Pinterest. I love to hate it. I mean, of course I love it- who doesn't love a bunch of great, fun, inspiring ideas all loaded on to one easy to navigate website? I'd be a moron to be a party planner who boycotts Pinterest.

When I first got on Pinterest a couple of years ago I had the mentality of, "Well, I don't want people to see my ideas... I mean, everyone will steal them..." and then I quickly came to my senses and realized, "Oh ya, these are not MY IDEAS!" They are ideas I'm attracted to that someone else actually came up with and photographed and probably blogged about... I stake no claim to them other than the fact that I've pinned them. So why do I get so excited if someone repins "my" pin? 9.9999 times out of 10, it is not my idea... yet somehow I've convinced myself it is kind of mine, because I pinned it. Ya, mine and a million other peoples'... oh and the actual person whose idea it really was- but other than them, it's totally mine. Gosh this website has made me crazy I think.

Confession: I have arranged the frames in my house on only the corners of my walls- which is an idea I found on Pinterest... which as I just mentioned means a lot of other people have also done this, which means- I am really not THAT unique. Which is crazy because I am totally unique. Or at least I used to be... OK, I actually have proof on this one. I was voted Most Unique in High School, class of '98, Hawthorne High. So there... at least at one point before Pinterest I can say I had an original idea or two- at least my High School class thought I did. Then again I was one of 5 white kids (I mean Caucasian...) at my school... so I guess that probably made me unique... hmmm... I wonder what they were exactly referring to when they said Unique... I should have had this clarified...

The viral corner wall frames Pinterest photo... on walls nationwide...
Told ya...
I remember back in the day when if you wanted to create ideas for things- you did this crazy archaic thing where you got out a notepad, wrote down the subject in the middle of the page, followed by a big oval around it and then lines stemming from it and.... wait for it.... BRAINSTORMED! When my kids are older they probably won't even know what this word means! Well not if I have anything to do with it!

Aside from now always feeling like my ideas are "inspired by" instead of original... Pinterest has also put this weird pressure on me to craft as in, CRAFFFFT the heck out of things I normally wouldn't even bother with. And the crazy thing is- I love to craft! And I'm not just saying that either! I used to (and sometimes still) feel like the only thing I am really and truly good at in life is creating things like crafts. Now if I am not crafting up my next wall hanging I am failing in the crafting department...

Why would I want to do this?! As if I don't have enough melted crayons on things in my home and all over my patio... now I'm creating this mess on my wall?

And it's not just crafting pressure either... Pinterest has made me doubt myself in a number of other ways too! Let me name a few...

The 101 Lists.
If you think I want to read through 101 of anything, you've lost it. "101 Ways To Play With Your Kids This Summer", I have an idea- get off Pinterest and go play with them! "101 Things To Do With Your Husband This Year". Let me tell you- nothing about this number excites me, I mean- even if I got through 50 of them, I'd still have less than half finished, a terrible success rate! If you're looking to pique my interest, try a "10 Ways" list- I might actually- I don't know, get through 1 of them? Oh and to whoever wrote the husband list: trust me, you do not want me and my husband crashing your yoga class, that right there is a recipe for disaster.

Sure, why not add "Write A Book" to my Summer schedule?!

The Recipes. 
If you've been reading for any amount of time you know I suck at cooking and have no desire to learn how. Fresh and Easy is a staple in my home and I can honestly say I have never looked to Pinterest for a recipe. One less reason to be on there, thank God. I'm not opposed to pinning recipes but I'm looking for something more in the range of "What Cereals Combos Make A Meal" or how about a, "How to Make a Meal in 30 Seconds" pin... I mean... this stuff about "30 Minute Meals" being so ideal... what am I made of- time?!

Might I also remind you of this fun new trend on Pinterest... thinking you can cook/bake any pin you see because there's a recipe attached... only the humble admit they can't... and I want to be BFF's with all of them...

Nothing like a good Pinterest Fail to put a smile on my face...

The Teacher Gifts. 
As of last year I didn't even know teacher gifts existed outside of Christmas. I mean, my son is only 4 so this whole school thing is still pretty new to us. My Mom is a HUGE gift giver and only got my teachers a Christmas gift... and yes, of course it always had an apple on it. (Ornament apples, apple pencil holders, apple pins... you name it: it had an apple.)

This year my son's friend's mom started off the school year by giving the teachers in the boy's class "Beginning of the Year" gifts she was inspired to make via Pinterest. What in the world?! Thanks Pinterest for making me look like a less than thoughtful mom who doesn't care about welcoming my son's teacher back. I mean, they hadn't even shaken the sand out of a shoe yet and we're doing gifts?! 

I went big at Christmas, because that's to me when all of your gratitude and gift giving should be done... PLUS I didn't give one thing with an apple- which I'm sure they were beyond pleased with. Then Teachers Appreciation Week rolls around and thank God for free printables because I was able to throw some "I Donut What I'd do Without You" donuts their way... and now, I swear to you this- I am seeing on Pinterest "End of the Year Teacher AND Friend Gifts." Now, teacher gifts I can kind of understand (doesn't mean I have the time/money to make/buy any)... but I can wrap my head around it- it's like a, "thank you for wiping all of the snot off of my child's face and singing all those songs I don't want to" sentiment.... But now, the friend gift? Seriously? What am I thanking them for? Dumping sand on my kid's head? Giving my kid an innumerable amount of colds? Telling my kid you don't want to play with them today and making them cry about it later? No way, Pinterest... you will not win me over on this one! You're lucky if I have this "friend" over even ONCE during the Summer and no I won't be doing even one of the 101 Summer Activities with them either!

End of Year friend gift by Happy Home Fairy... which is just the perfect name for making gifts like this.

Valentine's Day.
I got sucked in this year, I will not lie. I used it as a way to promote Miss Party Mom and attached a business card to every Heart Shaped Cake Pop Valentine.. because every 4 year old loves a good business card on their Valentine, right? And if you're thinking I hand made those heart shape cakes, you're nuts. They were Little Debbie's no-bake cakes and I saw the idea on Crissy's Crafts and no-bake just calls to me. I will admit, they took a ton of time to assemble. In my day, Valentine's were less than $2 a box and took 30 minutes to fill out. Now if you're not spending $1 (at least!) a pop and spending copious amounts of time assembling your child's Valentine... you're a total Pinterest-Mom failure. You might as well just shut down your account.

I didn't totally think through the fact that they were probably eaten with the cards used as napkins by the time they actually got home for their parent to see- a good attempt at advertising anyway?

The Family Photo.
It used to be the case that going to Sears, JC Penney or another photo studio was an OK way to take a family picture. Nowadays, with Pinterest around... if you're not like climbing some giant rock formation in the middle of nowhere with your entire family, (I'm talking all 4 generations) staggered at different heights on different rocks... you're obviously not a Pinterester. Back in the day the artsy shots were reserved for the beach... then it moved on to the backyard wooden fence. Then came the brick wall. Then we moved on from walls to things like railroad tracks, the middle of the street (who's genius idea were these?! Danger anyone?) as well as other funky "town landmarks". Last year was the load-your-grandma's-vintage-couch-in-to-a-truck-and-drop-it-off-in-a-field-to-take-family-photos-on-it year. Now the couch is gone but the flower fields are in- an oak tree if possible. Low branches to sit on? Even better. Everything is moving towards "natural" and "real light." Studio shots are SO yesterday. In other words if you're not planking the Grand Canyon (together) in your artsy family pic... consider yourself dead. To Pinterest anyway.

The Birthday Parties.
Of course, I am totally guilty of this one. If you type in Miss Party Mom on Pinterest I am totally a contributor to the crazy party phenomenon. But hear me when I say, my parties are still on a budget people! I am the wife of a youth pastor ok, we're not throwing wedding budget parties over here! Some of these parties I see for 1-year-olds are insane! I mean, even I can say a 1-year-old doesn't actually NEED an elephant at their Circus Party! Buy a freakin' stuffed animal if you're looking for some elephant presence!

Ok, I may have been exagerating about the elephant... but this? THIIIIS?? This is straight crazy and no one can achieve this or should even try.

The Exercizing.
While I am pretty OK with my self image- I do not want pictures of tight abs and butts bogging up my Pinterest home page all day. Utilize the Secret Boards and add your crazy workout inspiration photos there, people! You don't want all of your friends walking around with your same abs anyway- do you?! Title the board "Just Do It" for all I care... just don't make me feel like I have to Do It! No one needs to see all that naked tight skin on a regular ol' day of waking up to making non-pinterest-worthy pancakes! None of that inspires me, all it makes me think about is how incredibly thankful I am my husband has put on 15 lbs since we married, alleviating me of ever feeling the need to pin "ab and butt lift workouts." The minute I start feeling the need to go on Pinterest for work outs is the minute I start feeling the need to learn how to cook... to put more weight on him, which will in turn take the burden off of me to be toned once again... Genius! At that point I'll be living on Pinterest, with never an original thought to be had again.

NO I don't want to see this, I'd actually rather go melt crayons than think about doing any of this. And that's sayin' something.

And while I've just listed all of the reasons Pinterest has made me feel like a less than worthy crafter and Momma... I think I'll go spend an hour on it... because you know, I've got a party to plan... and why wrack my brain when I can just scroll down a page...

Oh and follow me duh... I have lots of great ideas... which in fact are not mine! How inspiring I am!?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sometimes In Life, You Just Need To Roller Skate...

Usually my titles are so enticing... and this, what is THIS about?! You're thinking I've turned zen. I haven't... I can assure you I will never, ever be zen. Or mellow. I'm a party planner for goodness sake, we tend to be a little on the high strung side?!

I'll get to the blog title in a minute (of course I'm going to have to catch you up to speed on how I actually put on roller skates and skated around a roller rink today... in the middle of party season...) But the beginning of this post actually starts with this post I stumbled across by Jaclyn at Peckled. And even though she gives her husband a nickname (oh, I've got nicknames!) I really fell in love with her writing, and her actually- I can just tell she's one of those crazy sweet people (and crazy talented which doesn't hurt either).

In summary, her post talked about how the view from their kitchen window has green hills for days and days (see picture in her post) and it took a plumber coming over to fix their kitchen sink for her to realize just how amazing her view was. He stood there and stared at it and commented how he'd always longed for a view like that... Nothing like a stranger to point out your blessings to you....

So I read that story and it's been with me for days. Funny how writing can do that.

I too have a home I take for granted. It's a house that though I love- I am always complaining about. I hate the closets (or lack of closets?), both bathrooms need updating... the carpet needs replacing... and the list never ends.

Then there's our backyard. I've complained about that for 2 years since we purchased our house and now when I look at it, it's almost perfect. It's huge, with lush green grass, an amazing play structure that was given to us for free, a chicken coop full of chickens that produce grade A eggs I am constantly burning, and a new patio area my husband just laid with his own two hands. But does anyone hear me talking about how much I love our updated backyard? Of course not. I'm busy. Too busy to even notice really.

And it's ironic, oh it always is... because I wasn't fulfilled when I was at a stand-still creatively the first year of my son's life, so I decided to start throwing parties to give me an outlet. Big parties. And then I decided to launch Miss Party Mom. And not that MPM has anything on other event planners in terms of a crazy schedule- but for me, with my small kids, and my waitressing job- I am currently overwhelmed with my Summer party schedule. I am averaging 2 parties a month and because I live for teeny tiny details, I spend time on things no party planner should. Things that keep me up way too late and things no one but me notices. I'm working these crazy late nights which makes me short with my kids and begging for their mercy so I can get something done during the day (and let me tell you, begging a 2 year old for mercy is weird....). I know that if I dropped it all (which I've considered) and just went back to obsessively cleaning my house and making sure my kids looked perfect at all times, I'd again, drown.

And so, it seems... I'm unfulfilled if I'm not being creative, and too busy for life when I am being creative... hmmm. I've never been good at balance... the word actually makes me laugh an uncomfortable laughter.

I am totally aware of the fact that I'm missing almost daily that we own a great house that a few of my friends would love to own and a fantastic backyard that is perfect for throwing my crazy parties. I take things for granted I never thought I would because I am busy... too busy to even take note. Biblically speaking, I am literally a Martha, I have always been a Martha... and although I would love for that to mean Stewart, I cannot even cook good eggs... so that's out.

I am so busy that I say no to a lot of get togethers with friends, Dowton Abbey Girls Nights, lounging by the pool on a hot day, coffee dates, etc... all because I am just trying to get that next detail done for my next party. The beach seems silly to me, and I live on the coast of Cali where the beaches are glorious. But to me, the beach seems unproductive... and sandy. And sand is messy and I have enough messes to clean up in my life.

I got off of work today at my waitressing job and met my husband and kids at the West Coast Kustoms car show we've been putting our 59' Chevy wagon in for 7 years together. A car show that is now- most perfectly, held in our little town at the fairgrounds.

And unlike any other year, they had a skating rink set up for all car show attendees. Do you think I wanted to skate? You REALLY don't know me if you think I wanted to skate. I wanted to get a big fat pretzel with cheese and a ton of salt on it and walk around that car show mindlessly, maybe picking up a souvenir tee or two and instagramming all of the hot pink cars. But that rink called my son's name and all I could think was, "Why on earth is there a roller skating rink set up at a car show?" and, "Why the heck aren't the pretzels here like last year?!"

I pulled it together and did the thing any good mom would have done and we got those skates on our feet and we went for it. I got him out there and he could barely even stand. It was a task to get him off of his butt and on to the skates even. We struggled for a good 35 minutes and the whole time Cormac persevered and, although frustrated, he wanted to keep going and going, fall after fall.

Our close friends got there and entertained Cormac for a few minutes so I could, gasp! go skating without him, and actually- skate. Me... skate? The music was blaring, "Baby Got Back" was on (my jam), the disco lights were shining and in a way, kind of calling my name. It was the first time in a while I've done something totally unplanned that isn't just the means to an end... so that I can go work on another party.

I'm not saying I was spinning around in circles in the center of the rink with my head back having a crazy, "I'M TOO BUSY FOR FUUUUN!" moment... I'm just saying, it felt good to get out there and think for a few minutes about all the things I have in my life and the fact that my son just fell on his butt for 35 minutes and never cried and just wanted to hear me tell him how good he was, even though, we both knew- he was terrible... I daily take these things for granted because I am busy. Probably TOO busy.

And although I love planning parties it shouldn't be my entire life... because I have a life, a rather great one actually.

So thanks for the reminder, Jaclyn.

                                                                   xo Party or Die xo
And they're pretty terrible cell phone pics, because if you don't plan on making great memories, I guess you don't plan on bringing your great camera...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Stay at Home Mom She Was Never Meant To Be

Yesterday the kids were insane. Like a new, more intense insane. Like pull all the cushions off the couch, dump out every lego in the bin, take every pot and pan outside and run up the street 7 houses to a neighbors house I do not know insane. On top of the insane was a layer of whininess. I can almost handle insane, but whiny will send me straight over the edge.

I blame Birdie's whininess on the ol' toddler teething. She is not a clingy child and this week she's been a koala bear. I don't do koala bear well. Her temper is crazy short to where she's developed this loud crazy scream at her brother if he does even the littlest thing to make her mad. This scream is giving me some insight into her tween years and I'm already scared, like totally and utterly frightened of her.... at not even 2 years old.

Cormac is pushing the limits with me daily. He's entering a new "sassy" stage and all I want to do is reassure him, "Son... I WILL out-sass you, you are speaking to the QUEEN of SASS, ok?" He's also just started getting in to daily costumes- which I love the idea of... or at least I thought I would? With these costumes he brings out these alter egos that I can't seem to keep up with. Yesterday he was The Batman Pirate and his voice was in character a good chunk of the day. He was so deep in his imagination I was scared I'd lost him to the one and only original Batman Pirate. I didn't even know how to interact with Batman Pirate, that's how deep he'd gone. I kept reminding him that Batman was a good guy, "But not when he's a pirate, MOM!" Oh, ok...

In the midst of these two driving me nuts I decided to have an old friend over, you know- to try and catch up. Because that's always a wonderful idea when your kids wake up feeling like feisty super villains and are dead set on destroying any plans you had of accomplishing anything for the day.

So my friend and I struggled for 2 hours to talk about adult things while I had Cormac literally draping off of my face, interrupting every minute with a new story about the picture he drew... and Birdie begging/crying for me to hold her. I usually always have a favorite child for the day, but in that moment I had no favorite.

Anyway it got me thinking out loud about Motherhood and the difference between the roles of a Mother and a Father. As I'm sitting with my friend I start telling her exactly how I feel about the 2 roles and I don't even think I knew exactly how I felt... it just started spilling out of my mouth like most of my thoughts do. A stream of consciousness I had not tapped into yet. Scary.

In a nut shell I will tell you what I told her... (and more)

At a pretty young age I figured out I wanted to be a designer of some sort, whether it be in fashion design, toy design, party design... I knew I wanted to be involved in design in some sort of fashion. And I pursued that. And then we had Cormac and my thoughts shifted to, "Now I want to stay at home and raise my kids". I mean, why wouldn't I want to do that? I never really even questioned this- it was just the obvious answer... Until that is- I started doing it. I figured I'd eventually learn to enjoy preparing 3 meals a day and finger painting and singing songs. I figured I'd fall in love with being a mom to the fullest capacity of being a mom.

And one of my closest friends is doing all of these things so contently. And I'm so happy for her because I know she is fulfilling her dream of raising her kids and even homeschooling them for preschool (which sounds about as fun to me as getting a root canal). I read these facebook statuses from woman I know, "feeling so blessed to be able to stay home with the kids" and all I can think is that I'm wired differently and I do not think I have ever had a day where I have said that or thought that... let alone typed it.

I'd love to be successful at something I'm good at which is so far off from preparing 3 meals a day it's not even funny. I want to come home at 5 p.m. and be praised like Shawn is the minute he walks in the door. I'd love to have someone even attempting to make me a crappy dinner when I get home from a day of doing something I enjoy. I'd love for my kids to jump on me because they're that happy to see me. I want to raise my voice at my children and have them respect me the way they do when Shawn raises his voice... they hear me all day, a raised voice is par for the course.

All of this just got me thinking that man I would make a great Dad. The perks seem so rewarding. I mean, I'm a good mom... I don't suck or anything. But goodness I could totally be a Dad. Not to take anything away from Shawn, who is like the ultimate Dad...

Yesterday was a rough day with The Teething Toddler and her brother Batman Pirate and I'm definitely not supposed to be admitting to any of this... But I did. Oh well.

                                                                xo Party or Die xo

Sunday, May 19, 2013

$1,000 Photographer's Dream Shopping Spree Giveaway!

How awesome is this! A $1,000 to put towards a DSLR camera, camera bags, accessories... maybe some LIGHTING equipment?! Whether you're taking pics of the kidlets or a true professional, this is the giveaway to enter! Not in to either of those? Well then take the option of cashing out the $1000 USD via PayPal and do whatever you want with it! Ummm... sounds about perfect?

There are quite a few bloggers and vendors who are sponsoring this amazing giveaway including these folks... show them some love! Spaceships and Laser Beams, Yumtastics, Go Against the Grain, Life Revolves Around Them, Mimi's Dollhouse, Not Just A Mommy, Angelina´s Dream Parties, Twinkled Spice Boutique, Hello My Sweet, Party Snobs, Inkberry Cards + Design, UR invited, Petite Bebe, Party Printables, Unlimited Party Themes, Party On! Designs, Vanessa Hankins Photography, My Garden Party, Dorothy Kurzydlowski Photography, Sugar Sugar Cakes, DimplePrints, Creative Juice Cafe, Miss Party Mom, PaperCandee, Creative Designs by Toni, Paige Simple Studio, Calamity Kate's Kitchen, Simply Creative Printables,The Way The Cookie Crumbles, Michelle's Party Plan-It, Paper and Style Co., And Everything Nice, Samantha Walker Designs, Simply Sweet Parties, Events by Kate, Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams, One Inspired Party, Kima's Konfections,This Nest is Best, Triple M Good Parties and Myour Stories Designs. And that's not even everyone!
More than 60 people are contributing to this contest. To see the complete list, take a look at the Rafflecopter form. As small businesses and blogs, we would never be able to offer such a cool prize, so it's a lot of fun to be able to combine forces and giveaway something so special.

Prize Details: The winner can select up to $1000 in camera equipment or supplies (including all sales taxes and shipping) to be delivered to the single destination of their choosing. The winner has the option of receiving $1000 USD in PayPal funds in lieu of receiving their prize.
The winner will be selected randomly via Rafflecopter. The odds of winning are dependent on the number of people entering. Should the winning entrant(s) not respond within 48 hours of being emailed, another winner(s) will be selected. Please ensure spaceshipsandlaserbeams [at] gmail [dot] com is on your safe email list. We would hate to have to redraw another winner!

Rules: This contest is open worldwide from May 17, 2013 at 12:01am EST to June 6, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. All entrants must be the age of the majority in their own country. Should unforeseen circumstances occur, this contest could be cancelled at any time. Void where prohibited by law.

Enter Using Our Rafflecopter Form
Good Luck!

Disclosure: This blog did not receive any money to participate or promote this contest. This giveaway is in not way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, PayPal or any camera-related company. As one of many participants, we are not responsible for logistics or prize delivery. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie at Spaceships and Laser Beams by emailing spaceshipsandlaserbeams [at] gmail [dot] com.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Ex-Fashionista On the Verge of Mom Jeans...

I know, you're looking at my new snazzy profile pic and thinking, "What's THIS post about? She seems stylish?!" That was a good fashion day- for sure. My best in a year quite possibly. I mean, it was a photo shoot people, if you can't be stylish for a planned picture session, you're even worse off than I am, which is not good. I got the dress off the Target clearance rack (my go-to now for fashion), and I had the genius idea to wear the hair wrap due to some uncontrollable curl issues. When I told Hannah my idea for the wrap even she looked at me like I was nuts. Of course she then helped me style it- but no one, not even one of my besties, is expecting anything trendy from me these days. How sad. Because I used to be so stylish.

"Used to," of course, always refers to pre-kids... doesn't it? When I speak in terms of travel, fashion, seeing movies, going to concerts, etc., it's always, "I used to love dressing up and going out to concerts!" but what I really mean is, "Before I had kids I always went to Melrose and shopped in my platforms!"

The truth is, I'm lucky if I get out of my robe most days. No, I'm serious. Hannah walks in to my house every other day and inevitably yells, "It's Robe Time!" And every time I want to tell her to stop dropping by during "robe time" hours, I realize, "Dang, it's 1 p.m. already?" If it wasn't for preschool drop off 2 days a week I don't know if I'd ever get into regular clothes. I always wonder what my son's teachers think of me; I'm dying to explain myself to them, "I'm sorry, I was up late blogging last night, I know this is unacceptable," pointing to my jeans and hoody and unmake-upped face.

To make matters worse, of course it never fails that I'm always taking Cormac into school as that one mom is ALWAYS exiting. You know, that mom in the pencil skirt, heels and the awfully fun blouse? Ya her, we're on the same drop off schedule. WHY? Can't I time this differently somehow? I do NOT need to see this woman 2 days a week! I mean how many hot pencil skirts can one woman own? All I want to say to her is, "I majored in Fashion Design you know, I COULD be fashionable if I wanted to be." But something tells me I'd start crying mid-sentence and she'd start hugging me and I'd never forgive myself for creating the most awkward moment in the history of preschool drop offs, so I just smile... at the ground of course...

And I don't know when this all happened. This lack of fashion sense. If it's been gradual over the last 4 years since Cormac was born, or if since Birdie was born I've just totally given up. I definitely  never saw this lack of concern over my wardrobe coming. You see, since graduating from the burgundy lips, aqua netted bangs, mini braids, Raiders sweatshirt and Dickie pants look in 9th grade (oh don't you worry, of course I have a pic) I transitioned into a high school trend-setter fueled by trips to NYC when I was 15 (my mom is a flight attendant). I mean, I was really bringing it in high school. Aren't I supposed to be getting more fashionable since then, not less?

Of course I have all of these excuses for not being as fashionable as I used to be. I'm working 2 jobs (3 if you throw in the fact I'm a F/T mom!), I have 2 small kids, I go to bed late and get up early. I have like, a LOT on my mind ok? And the big one, "We don't have a real expendable budget you know!"

But then I know other women with all of these excuses and some how they're still bringing it. I have this acquaintance and she runs a huge fashion blog. Like, she daily chronicles her fashion choices. The thought of me doing this makes me laugh out loud... Monday: pj pants and built-in bra tank until 2 p.m. when I change into jeans (same tank) until 6 p.m. when I goes back to pj bottoms... Ya, no.

This acquaintance of mine recently had a baby and I was secretly hoping she would get crazy kinds of unfashionable in the process leading up to motherhood. But to my shock and awe, she got cuter. Damn! She took "dressing the bump" seriously, like high fashion serious. Then the baby came and she's even looked fashionable losing the baby weight. Really? So here I am daily looking at her "what she wore" pictures and all I'm thinking is, "Does her baby not spit up? Does she mind if there's drool on a suede vest?" 

 And there it is, right there... what it all comes down to: Fashion vs. Function. For me, function won out... and quickly, like the minute I had kids. Great, so it's been 4 years- this is worse than I thought.

I remember it well, going on a mission to find "cute tees" to nurse Cormac in. I bought a bunch for easy access. Up until that point I had never been a jeans and tee girl. I had never really had curves either so I was kind of embracing my new jeans and tee look. I had always been a vintage dress and funky cowboy boots kind of girl. I mean, when you're family ain't rich, a vintage style is the way to go. I scored prom dresses for 90 cents- vintage was in my blood! I also had first choice of everything at the vintage clothing store I co-owned with my bestie, Kelsey.

Pre-kids I had built up a pretty stellar wardrobe: lots of gold, lace, funky belts and tons of fancy shoes. Of course I figured post nursing I'd go right back to that eclectic little style I loved so much. But I nursed for almost a year... and I must have forgotten about all of those cute clothes after all that time had passed... because 4 years later I'm still wearing a lot of those nursing tees... something I should definitely not be admitting publicly...

Then there was last Christmas, the Christmas my brother decided to buy me an outfit from Club Monaco: a high waisted mini skirt and a black sheer blouse to go with it. He was trying to tell me something. I guess I should have been flattered that he thought I could pull off something of that caliber... but when I opened it, I didn't exactly even know what to say. I mean, where was I supposed to wear this? Our church's New Year's Party? Noooo... Playdate? Noooooo. Birdie was like 6 months old so I wasn't quite feeling mini skirt ready....? I couldn't come up with a place to look that fashionable, so I took it back with his permission and traded it in for- you guessed it- a cardigan! (It was cashmere, ok?)

My brother has had a harder time than anyone coming to terms with the fact I've sold all of my most stylish clothing on ebay, (Betsey Johnson has a high resale value!) He doesn't care to understand why a little something like children would get in the way of high fashion- AS IF! I mean I'd like to think his amazing style is partially because of me- his once-stylish older sister. Can't he just be happy for me and my built in bra tank? At least I'm wearing a bra, sheesh.

As of starting Miss Party Mom, my fashion has plummeted to an all time low. Which is ironic you know, that I'm styling these adorable parties for people and yet most of my days are spent in a pair of 2006 PINK sweats, a short robe and UGG slippers. You know it's bad when, if I happen to put on lip gloss, a cardi and slip-on Vans... I'm blowing minds. Shawn's like, "Where'd you GO today??!" And my friend Amber, forget it, if I wear even the lightest coat of mascara she's telling me repeatedly, "You look so pretty today!" It's a hint for sure. I hear that loud and clear girlfriend. Because really someone should only be hearing a compliment like that if they put on a dress, or are wearing something radically new. NOT mascara.

And then there's this sweet waitress at work. Whenever I walk in to the restaurant to start a shift she says, "You're so stylish today!" and I want to grab her cute little face and say, "Stop saying that! I'm not! I used to be but now I just fake it on Saturdays so I can make good tips! Can't you see this is a cover?!" but again, that would be awkward and I'm really trying to stay away from awkward these days... particularly because I've had a few incredibly awkward moments lately... especially at the restaurant.

THE most awkward encounter at the restaurant I've ever had in over 3 years of being there happened about a month ago. I mean, seriously, you can't imagine- but I'm going to try and make sure you do. You'll need some background before we get to it. Last Easter, 2012 I decided to cut my hair insanely short and bleach it blond. After a month I got an even crazier idea and I shaved one side of it, well- close to shaved we'll say. A lot of "cool" people were doing it and I really wanted to try it, so I did. I've always had really curly hair and this was the only time I didn't because it was an inch long and too fried to curl. I wanted to take advantage of that fact. So in the same day, I shaved a side and dyed it hot pink. It instantly took me up a style level. A major plus for sure. Even if it did wash out in 3 weeks, those 3 weeks I was like a fashion goddess in my small town. Or so I thought....

Back at the restaurant... Here I am just filling up a regular customer's coffee (a man in his 40's), when he says, "I'm really happy to see your hair is growing in Kenna." I assume he's not a guy big on short hair so I say, "Oh, are you not a fan of short hair on women?" His next response is something I just am not braced for. "No, not at all- I thought it looked good on you! I'm just glad the treatments are working out- it really shows." Treatments? I mean, I had done a scalp treatment for  dandruff issues... but how would he know that? "What treatments?" I ask, in total sincerity.

He's uncomfortable. He now seems like he would rather just drink his coffee alone, as he's kind of pivoting his body away from me. I'm dying to know what treatments he thought I was taking so I insist. He sputters something like, "Oh, I'm so sorry Kenna, I thought you were losing hair due to chemo and radiation treatments." Hmmm... interesting... not exactly the look I was going for. "Nope, no cancer here!" I say, trying to keep things light- I can tell this poor man is mortified. "I'm just crazy and thought short hair might be fun!" I then explain to him that I am originally from LA and that the shaved side is a very popular haircut there. He isn't convinced. And then he proceeds to tell me that he assumed I had breast cancer because of the pink on the shaved side- he thought I was trying to "make a statement." Oh I was trying to make a statement alright! Just not about breast cancer.

So there it is. I'm not as fashionable as I once was. Even when I try to be. It was so much easier when it was my job to be put together and on top of the latest style trends. In my former job at Mattel, I was paid to care about how I looked! And how crazy is it that I only had myself to care about- how easy! Now I'm more concerned that my kids look cute, my house looks fun and hip and my husband isn't wearing that purple sweatshirt with the grease stains on it. If I manage to get on some colored jeans, or dare I say jeans with a print- I'm walking my hallway at home like it's a cat walk. It's safe to say I've grown all too comfortable with my with my leopard meets stripes meets floral meets polka dots look. You see mixed prints are effortless. Reach in the closet with eyes closed... pull some clothing out and you're done. That's just about what I have time for these days. Perfect.

I guess I just reserve all of my style for my parties... which works out really well for my clients.

                                                                   xo Party or Die xo
I TOLD you I'd show it... In case you don't know where I'm from (what hood I represent) you should google it: Hawthorne, Ca. That will give you an idea where all of THIS style came from... (if you're too lazy for Google- Hawthorne borders Inglewood, if you don't know where Inglewood is- you're living under a rock and I don't know how you have internet)
That's me in the wig and wings. I went to NYC as a Sophomore and came back in wings. Funny how that happens.
I found my group shortly after... and I was definitely in "that" crowd of kids in high school... you know the ones.

Case and point. Kings of Leon tickets, The Wiltern & vintage dress: check! Pre-kids: check!

Our little clothing store... chock full of vintage racks to borrow from or just plain take. What an easy way to be stylish.

Pregnant with Cormac. Clueless about the fact that my post mom wedding wardrobe would be much less stylish and involve one dress I wear to almost everything.
Easter 2012. The day after I went platinum in an effort to up my cool factor again... can you tell I'd just dyed it?! Noooo.... really??
Oh pink side, you were a fun thought. Your town didn't understand you, not your fault. {This was my first attempt at taking pics to brand Miss Party Mom. I had these sent off to be illustrated and that image is at the top of my blog... I had to try and have style if I was being immortalized in a drawing!}
Our home which I still care about keeping up... it's ever changing to meet the needs of the family, and I try and keep it {budget} cool. This is a year ago and we have a new rug the kids can actually sip a juice on, an ottoman and a vintage trunk for DVD storage... I guess I'd rather spend money on the house than myself!
This is my brother with Thom Browne at New York's Fashion Week in February ('13)... I can't imagine why he'd judge me...?

{Me and my bestie Kelsey}. Shortly after the pink hair faded I went the darkest I've ever been in an effort to be chic. I still manage to pull something stylish out for my parties. I have to pretend I've still got it once and a while!

Something like my daily attire... they may not be mom jeans... but they're pretty close to mom shorts.

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