Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Right Brained Girl Learning to Make a Profit...

Shall we begin?

If you own a business, especially a party planning one- this post is going to make you feel like you're running it amazingly well. You're welcome for the that in advance.

You see... if I'm totally upfront and honest here- up until this month (September 2013), Miss Party Mom has been a huge hobby of mine. Yes, you read that right: hobby. Here I have all of these Facebook fans and all of my parties on the "big blogs"... What could you possibly mean a hobby, Kenna? I meeean- if I ever made any money doing any of this... I really have no clue about it. I've basically been doing it because I love it... and I'm good at it... and I needed a creative outlet... just like a hobby.

Why wouldn't I want to serve ice cream to a bunch of 10 year olds at an Ice Cream Party for $20.00 profit... Was it $20.00? Maybe it was $15.00...
Ahhhh... the ever popular  "Stylized Shoot". A great way to really piss the husband off- a party, "for NO ONE!" Try explaining that one.

Now don't get me wrong- I've had some crazy aspirations to take Miss Party Mom to the business level... but with no real "know how" on how to actually do this I've been pretty content with the way it's been going- the fun press and all (um, NBC called me?)... I was just kind of sitting back hoping for a break through of epic proportions, really...

I mean, you didn't really expect me to actually know how to make a profit too DID you?? What am I supposed to be like- well rounded or something? No, if you label me anything- label me: right brained. The maximum amount of right brained-ness ever given to one person: that is me. Still holds hands in to the L shape to turn left from time-to-time? Check! Gets lost in her own neighborhood? Check! Prefers digital clocks? Check!!!

And let me get one thing straight. Miss Party Mom wasn't started out of some life long goal to be a party planner. The truth is, it just sort of fell in my lap after planning parties for my kids. I only say that with such ease because there's no way to sound like a bragger when you don't have the profit to back you up (maybe I do, maybe I don't- who really knows?) And truthfully, booking parties did come naturally... People said they loved my work and wanted to hire me- and hello- why wouldn't I give the people what they want and for a great price? I love great prices! In the first year Miss Party Mom booked 6 "paid parties" which really quickly turned my hobby in to a: "job-hobby" (coined it!) which I've spoken candidly about in this post on "Affording a Party Planner". So without ever really writing down anything on how I would actually run my new said "job-hobby" I launched: Miss Party Mom. I focused my energies on possible "party themes", "set up ideas", a cute logo and a bitchin' website... Anything having to do with the owning/operating of a real business, I figured that would just kind of work itself out. Crazy how that doesn't really happen! I definitely never took the time to actually write up a business plan or install Excel... oh, come on... You really thought I'd done those things? That's funny. And you're crazy.

A lot of people (my husband being one) have been saying since I launched my job-hobby and declared my desire to be a party planner that I need to, "Buy some business books and read some business blogs!"... and um- well, I just haven't. Partly because I'm crazy stubborn like that and partly because I had no interest in actually creating a REAL business. A real business seems stressful and hello- I just want to party! Being a party planner is supposed to mean being one with the creative process- not learning a bunch of boring business stuff... If that were the case, don't you think I'd have been a business major?! And let's be honest... I don't really read- shocker! Ok- I'm not like, illiterate- I'm actually a rather good reader... but reading, well... it's just not my thang. I used to try and conquer like 2 books a year (self help books that is) but since having kids I can't even say I've really even read one in 4 years. I love reading blogs and flipping through magazines... but books? That takes some serious concentration... and I'd rather be getting burnt by the hot glue gun attaching a bunny to a jar and inhaling hot pink spray paint for the love of the PARTY. Duh!

So it was to my utter surprise and delight when I saw someone in my party planner forum recommend a business book written by an actual party planner (who's HUGE and I hadn't heard of- go figure). Just the title alone, "But Are You Making Any Money?" by Marley Majcher made me jump on Amazon as quickly as I possibly could. "Um, no Marley... I'm not!", is all that went through my head as I clicked "Buy Now". (Click on picture to purchase- AFTER finishing my blog of course!) I cracked it open the minute it arrived and I didn't put it down for pretty much 2 days. My son kept asking, "Why are you reading mom?" The poor little guy was down right confused.

And let me tell you- it is a GOOD thing I stumbled upon this book recommendation when I did. Unbeknownst to myself a week after finishing the book I was about to have my phone start ringing and for once it wasn't for play dates... but actually for parties, parties by yours truly by clients I am not even friends with. It was a busy week of quotes, contracts and meetings... For the first time I started to think to myself, "Well look at you... You're like turning in to a real business and stuff!"

Based on the book I started seriously tracking my time spent. I've never really wanted to do this time tracking stuff out of the fear that I'd calculate how much time I'd spent on a party from start to finish and realize I'd made $2.00 an hour (if I was lucky) Because the book was written in party planner language and easy for me to understand... I actually quite liked the idea of actually making money as well as figuring out where all of it was going. I immediately started tracking my time/expenses with a little divided up binder and you know what? It felt good to actually be in the know.

I rented out my first rental package and after everything was done: taking phone calls/ emails to arrange it, organizing it, cleaning it up, packing it up, writing up a contract and taking an inventory of about 100 items... I can confidently say I made $50.00 an hour on the time that went in to renting this package out. Eventually my goal is to make more money hourly, but the fact that I KNOW how much I made, that is a huge feat for me- and one I will celebrate... with Mint Chip Ice Cream, right now. Ok, I'm back. Before I'd have just said, "I rented it out- pure profit- happy dance!" because I've always been kind of a rounder upper like that... But now I am paying myself hourly based on my time on the project and if I feel the need to increase my rental package rate so I can make more hourly... well- then I can. No more blind guesses as to what and IF I'm making any profit.

Packed it up, shipped it out! Here's to new ways to make some money!
The same day I shipped out said rental package, I got a call to rent a bunch of props I own. I added a new tab to my binder, a new "code" to my project and there it was: time tracking galore by little ol' me. I had finally come to the place in my head where I said, "My time IS worth money!"

The next day, same week- I got a call on a Mermaid Party. I met with my client (and kept track of my time at our meeting.) Before heading over to the Dollar Tree to see how much mermaid stuff I could potentially hoard, I went home and collected every item that I could use for a Mermaid theme (which was shockingly a TON), drafted up a contract by estimating my time spent (based on my new knowledge of "Coding Your Way To Cash" that includes 4 ways we spend cash on a party- read the book) and sent over a contract to be signed where I felt comfortable with the numbers and the profit. Usually I get so excited about a party theme my first thought is to purchase items which is then quickly followed by pouring time in to things like: good ol' bedazzling. Suddenly I was thinking about jewels in a new light, "How much am I spending on those?!"  and instead of jumping in to the Mermaid Party with both feet and putting my entire life on hold so I can plan a stranger's party- I have now estimated the time I should spend on said party- based on how much I'm charging so that I'm making the hourly rate I'd like to make... SO that I am running a business and not a hobby. This will be my first go at going through the steps I've learned with an actual party, so I'm not saying I'm a boss yet- but who knows... I'm optimistic.

And it seems like magically, the more I've started treating Miss Party Mom like a business... the more calls I've been getting... call it luck, call it exposure coming to fruition- I have no clue really- you don't expect me to know THAT too, do you? But this month (since the day I got back from Cabo) has given me more shots at making a profit than ever before.

As it this wasn't all exciting enough... I got an email last week... and there's a story with this email... It's a little off topic but this story goes to show you some life lessons about random friendships, networking and why pen pals are supes important...Plus, it ties in another reason I'm so busy this month.

If you know "my story" you know that I worked at Mattel Toys as a Barbie Doll Designer for over 5 years. The reason I got that gig was because they found me mentioned in a small article in Seventeen Magazine about a 'zine I'd created. {'Zine: blogging before blogging... So essentially I was the first blogger, like ever- thankyouverymuch} Anyhow- I took the popularity from the my 'zines publicity and made it in to a monthly "publication" (b/w copies) and in doing so had over 100 subscribers at one point. I was a regular ol' 17 year old magazine editor. One of my subscribers was a cute and zesty 14 year old New Yorker named Jamie Stone. She wrote to me with her check for a years subscription ($12). She introduced herself in a letter and from there on out we became... wait for it: pen pals... Just the thought of those two little words conjures up excitement, stickers, magazine collages... and of course, hand-cramps. Because hello, this was 1997 and I am from the hood and we didn't even know what the internet was... so of course we wrote letters back and forth, about once a month- for years. Jamie was 3 years younger and when you're in High School, 3 years might as well be 30 years... but she was sweet, encouraging and would always write to me about her aspirations to be in the fashion industry, something we both had in common.

Fast forward to 2001. I had just started working for Mattel and one of my first "Trend Trips" was to NYC. Obviously, after 4 years of writing, I asked Jamie if we could meet up so she obviously took the train in to the city, ditching high school to make it happen.... like any good pen pal would! It was our first time meeting and she showed me around we hit it off, just as we assumed we would.

I asked her for permission to use this photo due to the whole denim on denim issue... She's all about embracing the awkward years! If you look at her style now, of course she can laugh at some bad denim choices made in the early 2000's- can't we all?!
In May of 2002 Jamie was a freshman in college and had planned a trip to see LA for the first time. Coincidentally, I was throwing one of my first big parties during her trip, a "Farewell Felicity" party- complete with screen printed tees, a candle light vigil, an "Ode to Felicity Poem" and lots and lots of pics of Keri Russel... I was just slightly obsessed with the show... just slightly. I showed her around town (she LOVED Los Angeles) and she came to the party which was held at my cute little apartment in Hermosa Beach... I remember her clearly telling me she wanted to be a fashion writer or a magazine editor.

Dorm room door circa 1999... just SLIGHTLY obsessed.
And then... Jamie and I lost touch. I have no idea why or how... I was busy building my Barbie career and she was busy being a college student... But life got in the way and we totally lost touch.

Until a month ago! I was just doing my normal Insta-trolling... and saw a cute pic posted by an acquaintance of mine who's a fashion blogger (@bjonestyle). She posted a picture of herself at a shopping event in Los Angeles surrounded by a bunch of other cute fashion/beauty bloggers. I studied the pic wondering how all of them got so stylish... And then I zoned in on one girl... I stared at her for a few seconds and then yelled, "It's Jamie Stone!!". I quickly searched for her tag and sure enough, @itsjamiestone was staring right back at me. I went to her Instagram, found the first pic I could and commented, "It's Kenna O'Leary!!"... she responded 5 minutes later and it's been one big catch-up sesh ever since. I learned she's running a beauty blogging empire over at Queen of The Quarter Life Crisis and that we still have plenty in common... even if I am in full time Mom-mode most of my days.

Fast forward again. Jamie gets asked to help coordinate the launch of a new social media shopping website called WISHCLOUDS. And who does she call on? Miss Party Mom! Because life long pen pal networking tends to pay off I guess!

Now I don't want to say too much else about what I'm doing for WISHCLOUDS just because I don't want to jinx this gig... but let's just say, this could be my epic proportions break through... that's all for now!

Hoping to share more with you on this party happening in two weeks (is anyone stressed?) BUT until then... I'm going to be a little busier than usual. As much as I love my blog- time tracking has also taught me that blogging is a huge time sucker... a low paying time sucker. I will never desert my blog, but you must be patient with me as I try and build what I started off to do: plan parties while being a mom.

xo Party or Die xo

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vacationing in Cabo with Tropical Storm Juliette

I've been throwing around the idea for a week now of trying to put in to words how our vacation was in Cabo San Lucas. However every time I've gone to talk about in person to anyone I find myself kind of like, I don't know... choking up a bit. Which is not really what people expect from you when they ask you how awesome your vacation was. They want, "It was amazing!!" so when you start to do the "swallow" thing like you might just cry, they definitely look at you like, "You should be smiling- not crying, no?" And trust me, I know. I definitely was not expecting to give people a "choked up" response to my amazing vacation- I am not even a "choke up" kind of girl. I wanted to wait to blog about it all until I was OK enough to not choke up every time I thought about it. Because writing about it is going through it all over again... Not to be dramatic, but one part of the trip was dramatic.

Let's start at the beginning of the vacation... the not-so-dramatic part...

This week I've been joking with friends that one of the titles I've thrown around for this post is, "You Can Take The Girl Out The Ghetto, But You Can't Take The Ghetto Out The Girl!" The reason for this is these two little words I've never really contemplated: all-inclusive. Let's be honest, resorts in general are not really something I ever saw myself vacationing at. And not that I haven't vacationed in my adult years- I totally have. I've traveled Europe by Eurorail- staying in youth hostels along the way... I've done a ton of tent and RV camping and I've also even stayed in some crazy nice hotels in my Mattel days. But never an all-inclusive resort.

Upon arriving at Dreams Los Cabos we were whisked off to an internet lounge on our floor where we could go for snacks/drinks any time of the day. I'm not talking Cheez-Its here people. I'm talking home made guacamole, mini sandwiches, shrimp cocktail in little shot glasses, bite size cheese cakes... I could have lived in that lounge. Even though I knew in my head everything was included (aka free), going in to this mini snack-laden paradise made me second guess it. You mean I could just reach out and take a raspberry tart? Just like that? I was hesitant at first, very hesitant. Would I get a bill under our door for it later? Because I cannot afford to just be eating raspberry tarts all day, that is for sure.

We went down to the pool and immediately a pool side staff member came up to me and said, "To drink, Senora?"  I wanted to yell at him,  "I just got here and you already want my money, do ya!?" but again- I had to keep telling myself, "Gratis Kenna, gratis!" Still- I couldn't get my head around it. Free smoothies? Free poolside fries? It seemed way too good to be actually true! Now my husband on the other hand... he was eating 6 mini sandwiches and smoothies in every flavor within the first hour- he was making up for all of my hesitation.

The first night we were there I felt almost emotional about being at a place like Dreams. Like look-at-our-view, emotional. Good Lord, I'm getting soft in my mid-thirties. You see, I am literally from a family that NEVER- and I mean never took a family vacation. We were next to broke, always- and even though Shawn and I have vowed to do family vacations however we can (road trip to Texas is a perfect example) we could never afford to do anything of this scale on our own. Have I mentioned we're living on a youth pastor's salary? Oh, I have. So let's get this out of the way really quick: this was a gift from my mother-in-law to her kids/grandkids. An awesome gift we will always be grateful for.

The next two days were nothing short of perfect. We lounged pool side, were waited on hand and foot... took full advantage of the water slide and ate whenever we wanted. We took Cormac to the bungee jump trampoline and he and Shawn even rode horses on the beach with Shawn's brother's family- you know, because they could...

Wednesday morning was even more awesome than the 2 previous days. All 9 of us took a shuttle down to the marina and booked a boat tour of the Sea of Cortez: Land's End. We saw The Arch, Scooby Doo Rock, went snorkeling at Pelican Beach and walked over to Lover's Beach to see inside the caves...

I was really feeling like the vacation couldn't get much better. And then it did. Back at the marina, we stumbled upon a Mexican woman who wanted to braid the kids hair. Um.... yes! We had Cormac's entire head done and part of Birdie's. I was so stoked- I love stuff like that. I mean, "When in Rome!" right? We all ate together at Tacos Claros- a place our boat captain highly recommended. On our way to lunch it was starting to sprinkle a bit, something we were expecting at some point in our stay. As one that doesn't exactly love rain- it didn't bother me at all... I actually quite liked it because it was so hot. After lunch we all went over to the open market to do some shopping, something I was so excited for. If you know me, you know my vacations revolve around shopping- particularly open market style shopping. The boys grew weary quickly, so my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and myself stayed behind. This was really fun for us girls to have a day out alone bonding over [as one vendor said], "things we don't need!" I haggled my way in to some authentic Mexican garb for Birdie, Shawn and myself... and some huaraches for Cormac. By late afternoon it was starting to rain harder... but still nothing that would cause any of us to think we were heading in to a serious storm.

There's a reason she only got 3 braids.... Does the face tip you off?

We got home before dinner time and decided to get everyone ready for a night out at the Sushi restaurant at the resort. We headed out around 7pm, still some rain and now some new found winds- but nothing that would stop anyone from eating free sushi! 


As we got settled in and began to order the rain was really starting to come down. As we started eating the storm was becoming increasingly louder with thunder and some crazy winds. To me, it was exciting in a weird way... After my kids were finished eating, my husband and his mom went to take them to see a scheduled dance performance- we'd figured that it must have just been moved inside to the ballroom or something. Upon leaving the restaurant they got the full brunt of Juliette, while carrying our kids and running as fast as they could. The roof of the snack shack had huge pieces blowing off of it- one nearly grazing my mother-in-laws head. They were told in the lobby the show had been cancelled and that no one should be walking around outside. The were placing yellow tape all around to let people know the resort was closed down for the night. 

Shawn was gone 20 minutes and when he got back in to the restaurant, (where we'd just ordered another round of sushi!) he was adamant about the fact the storm had gotten much worse and that the staff was recommending everyone go to their room for the night and bring in their patio furniture. Shortly after the windows in the restaurant started blowing open and the power went out. Shawn and his brother wedged an umbrella through the handles of one window to stop it from opening- handy men at their best. At this point our nephews (6 and 9) were starting to get freaked out and Shawn was really wanting to leave to go check on our kids and his mom. The rest of us were hesitant if leaving at this point was the right thing to do. Should we be running in these winds and this rain? We're talking 82 MPH gusts (not that we knew that at the time but we knew it was dang windy). We all went to the door of the restaurant. Shawn told us to stay and he would go, and he bolted head down, into the storm. I thought the rest of us were staying... and praying. Then Eric, Angela and my nephews decided to run too and I figured if we're going down we're all going down together... so I ran with them. They had kids so I got ahead of them and lifted up the yellow tape to the lobby- all 4 of them ran underneath. I ran after them... and then it happened. I fell. I fell on marble on my butt and the minute I hit, I knew I wasn't going to be hopping back up. When I looked up I saw Angela, who was carrying my younger nephew had also fallen, but they were getting back up. She was screaming for Eric, "Kenna's fallen, get her!" This moment was like a nightmare... at Dreams Los Cabos. I was screaming in pain (and fear I assume?) and my brother-in-law and a staff employee picked me up and carried my up 6 flights of stairs to Shawn who was so confused because he thought we were staying behind. My butt was on fire with pain, and my wrist was killing me too because I tried to brace my fall with it. Shawn's foot was bleeding as he'd stepped in glass running and my sister-in-law was bruised up as well. 

There was no electricity in any of the rooms and I laid on a bed in the dark with my family asking me how I was and all I could do was just cry, uncontrollably cry. For the next 30 minutes I experienced some crazy shock... I have had a panic attack before- and this was different in someway I can't even really explain. I was so emotional... and I knew I wasn't even that injured, but I couldn't help it- I just kept crying. The thought of being separated from the kids... and so many other things, really got to me. The manager of the entire resort came to check on me and he said he was sending a doctor, courtesy of Dreams. The doctor came and her written diagnosis stated, "confused and hurt bottom". Amen to that sister.

Shawn put all 4 of us in our bed together to calm me down but who are we kidding, I barely slept that night. The next morning I went on a walk by myself, snapping pics on my phone of the damage and chatting it up with anyone who wanted to talk about the night before.

The workers at the resort blew my mind. Hardest working staff I've ever seen. They were out in the middle of the storm making sure no one was out and about, risking their own safety for the safety of their guests. They were so compassionate and caring and would literally give you the shirt off of their back if you needed it. My brother-in-law was talking about our experience with a worker in the lounge the next day and she started crying and told him that yes, she was so scared but had to hold it together, it was her job to. Just amazing people.

Me standing in the exact spot I fell the next day!
I felt like the first time I went to eat (in the make shift ballroom-turned-dining room) every guest was looking at me like, "There's the girl who fell in the lobby and wouldn't stop crying!" But I had to get over it quickly because there was no way I wasn't eating. That day was calm at the resort as some of it was still closed for clean up. After the pool was reopened I spent a good chunk of time in the jacuzzi healing my "hurt bottom"- doctors orders! I even met a girl in the pool who told me about, "a girl who had fallen pretty hard while running in the storm!" Wow, what a klutz!

Even though that day was kind of a blur (ok, a major blur) the rest of the vacation was back to amazing. Everyone went ATVing and had a blast (I stayed behind with Birdie and my hurt butt). On Friday I took the bus to San Jose (30 minutes from Dreams). Looking back maybe I should have brushed up a bit on my Spannnnnish.... Let's just say I was on the bus a wee bit longer than I needed to be... well, an hour to be exact. We'll chalk it up to a learning experience! I got what I went for, lots of fun souvenirs and even some Christmas gifts... So regret it? I don't think so. Regret not paying attention in Spanish class? Totally.

Coming home on Saturday was bittersweet. Cormac wore his new Mexico soccer uniform and Birdie wore her new hand-embroidered birdie dress.We had a great time in Cabo but I thought I was ready to be home... and then I got home, and nope- turns out I totally wasn't. I could do the whole free-meals-on-the-beach-thing pretty much forever. And the maid service wasn't too shabby either.


All in all (and I'm going to try and not be too cliche here), the trip taught me to step away from the blog for a bit, step away from the party world as a whole. It's not all THAT important. When I'm in it, I think it's crazy important. And then you fall on your butt in a storm and you realize, gosh I love my family and I want to spend time with them making memories whenever I can.

I've had that perspective since I've been back... which is why I haven't been blogging much. I'm in no way walking away from it- but I am just trying to keep my priorities straight, hope you can understand.

xo Vacay or Die xo

PS- Thanks to my extended family for all of the great pics since we forgot our camera at home... Who does that?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Miss Party Mom's: Five For Friday {9.6.13}


Ok, so here it is, I'm laying it all out there. I'm not sure this whole Five For Friday thing is going to work out. It's not you... Ok, well it might be you. Thing is: it's time consuming. I'm not seeing anywhere near the numbers as my other posts and yes it's true- I actually have a life besides blogging. And a wrist to protect from Carpal Tunnel. Bottom line: I want to write about things people are interested in and if it's not my 5 choices of the week- well then I'll wipe away a tear and move on (I'm really good about only squeezing one tear out, ask my friends).

So this week is kind of my litmus text, I was gone last week and I figure- if anyone would have missed this- they'd really be tuning in this week... So here's to hoping. Not to coax anyone in to sharing this (I mean if you insist) or beg anyone who can't be bothered in to reading it... but I'm giving this FFF thing one more shot cuz I'm crazy impulsive like that- I got married in 19 days, remember?

SO if you like these weekly Friday roundups, I'll say it again- pin it? Pinning is the future of life. Forget FB, that's so 2012.

xo Party or Die xo

1) Party Planning

In honor of my Circus/Carnival Party being featured on Hostess With The Mostess yesterday and a lot of people asking me about Mr. Ferris Wheel I thought I'd do a little blog mention on him.

I knew I wanted a Ferris wheel cupcake holder for this dessert table and I found this one pretty affordably priced on Amazon (it ranges from $25-$32- I got mine for $25 out the door- you just have to be patient with the price fluctuations). It's a great size which is what I love about it and if need be- I could spray paint it easily.

2) Home Decor

While browsing Etsy for my son's BFF's birthday gift I came across this craze amaze shop called Collage-O-Rama. I mean this stuff is stellar. I love collages. I love upcycled. I love animals dressed up as humans. And randomness... Which means: I love this shop. I bought 3 [8.5 x 11] prints at $6.99 a pop... (and because it's buy 3 get 1 free I actually got 4, BOO-YA!) and have now nailed down a birthday gift and 2 Christmas gifts... and a barrel of laughs from the gift recipients. Does it get much better than that? No, it doesn't. 

3) Kids

Since I'm going all punk-rock-don't-care-is-anyone-even-reading-this-anyway? I don't have a kids item for you to potentially purchase this week... I just have this Pinterest inspiration board done by another blogger: Tiffany from The Would-Be Writers Guild. It seriously lifts my spirits daily and I can't thank this woman enough for her amazing portrayal of "Quinoa: My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter". If you haven't seen this yet- you're missing out on some serious laughs- and if you have seen it (I know I already linked it once on my facebook) her more recent ones are some of the most hilar yet so catch up already! I mean, the addition of Bushwick has really made my week. He's got the spirit of my own son.
"It was when Quinoa demanded a miniature deer at her Pre-K portrait session that I truly began to understand her gift. #MIWDTD"

4) Myself

We've all been to a Stella and Dot party by now, haven't we? Am I the only one who gets awkward at these types of parties and is checking my phone's bank app on the way in the door to make sure I can even purchase the cheapest item ? Oh, I am. Great.

A little background. My good friend sells stuff for Stella & Dot BUT that isn't the reason I am posting this. Serio. I will STILL only promote on here what I actually love, ask her: no one can buy me!! Ok, $100 bucks can totally buy me but she surely isn't paying me for this plug. (Maybe in coffee or champagne she is.)

I mean, look at this little gem- The Gilded Arrow Bracelet (it even has a great name)... Don't you just love it? I have the ring already, courtesy of said friend for my birthday... but the bracelet is calling me... And at less than $40 I'm not saying it's their cheapest item... but it's pretty close. There, I've done your homework for you if you're attending a S&D party this weekend, you're welcome.
5.) Husband

Oh I know what you're thinking... "Isn't your husband a youth pastor or something?" Ya, it's true... Which is why I probably won't be able to buy this Twerkin' Hard tank from for his upcoming birthday... but gosh given different circumstances!

If you got to the bottom of this post without reading any of the top of it... SCROOOLLL back on up. The future of FFF depends on it! Dramatic!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kenna's "Favorite Things" 33rd Birthday Party

Well hello! It's been a while- I missed you! For now, I will only tell you that our vacation to Cabo San Lucas was amazing. I plan to blog about it thoroughly later this week or next, as soon as I can fully wrap my head around everything that went on- the good and the bad (Tropical Storm Juliette!) Coming home has been a sobering reality for sure... I worked my waitress job Monday (Labor Day)- one of the busiest restaurant days of the year... and then I came home from that only to remember that a couple days before we left for Cabo, our dishwasher AND dryer both broke. So one day I was being incredibly pampered (gotta love the all-inclusive resorts!) and the next I was doing all the pampering! Let's just say it's been a rude wake-up call!

To put myself in a better mood I am sharing with you the pics from my birthday party this past July! It was just featured in the first issue of Carousel Magazine and now I'm going to be showing off all of the photos from the fantastic night we had... celebrating- ME!

As usual Christina of Moments Captured Photography nailed the photography and came through with some stunning photos of the night, there is nothing like professional photos to help you appreciate all of your hard work.

I gave my intern Kristin a crazy amount of new responsibility- she even got to have fun and design some of the mannequins! Another friend Devyn co-glittered the big canvas crown by hand along with Hannah. We had many late nights and a lot of fun together prepping for this party.


I decided to throw myself a party this year because that is exactly what I wanted for my birthday. I hadn't done anything since my 30th and I felt I was overdue for a celebration! I spend so much time on my kids/clients parties- I figured it was about time I have a little (as in big- duh!) party for myself...

I came up with the idea for a Favorite Things Party because as I started gathering ideas for decor I noticed it was indeed- all of my favorite things! Fashion mannequins, crowns, lots of black and white stripes, hints of gold and all shades of pink... I thought a Favorite Things theme would be a perfect fit- as in I'd show off all of mine! 

Amber from Party On! Designs helped me create a package that was PERFECT! I was really happy with how it pulled the entire look together with crowns, pink and black and white- all of the inspiration I sent her for the party.

I invited about 25 girlfriends to come and celebrate the night with me. I asked them to dress in either pink, gold, black & white OR black and white stripes and every guest came through and looked amazing! We had a blast as we posed for photos with our awesome props by Dweedle Dee Designs, sipped (pink!) champagne in custom made wine glasses by Vinyl Eloquence, dined on amazing desserts by Hannah's Cookies and Treats (including her own "Pink Confetti Popcorn" recipe) and danced the night away to all my favorite jams!

I asked a few amazing vendors to collaborate on my party with me and I received some WOW-factor items that helped me take the party to the next level... I was definitely working with the Dream Team who got my vision 100%. 

It was a birthday to remember and I'm so happy I did it. Enjoy the photos.

xo Party or Die xo

Vendor Credits:

Photography: Moments Captured Photography

Party Printables/Graphics, Gold Popcorn Boxes, Black & White Striped Donut Bags, &  Paper Straws: Party On! Designs 

Desserts: Hannah's Cookies and Treats

Custom made "Happy 33rd Birthday" banner, "Kenna" banner (on black trunk), "33" in pink frame and "K" napkin weight: Table Top Treats

My Fascinator, Pom Pom Wand (photo prop) and Pom Pom Garland (on black trunk): Cupcake Wishes and Birthday Dreams 

Cotton Candy Favors with "K" Graphics: Soiree Event Design

Custom "Kenna's 33" Wine Glasses: Vinyl Eloquence 

Photo Booth Props (sequin glasses, lips, Popsicles) : Dweedle Dee Designs

Glittery Gold Crown Cupcake/Popcorn Toppers: Hues Studio 

Black and White Striped Lantern: Z Gallerie

Striped Plates/ Beverage Napkins: Oriental Trading Company

Jumbo Gold Gumballs: Oriental Trading Company

Striped Favor Boxes: Michael's Crafts

Bistro String Lights: Target (garden section)

Black/White Ruffled Curtain Panels: Target

Pink Glitter Crown Favors: Target (kid's party isle)

Rug: Ikea




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