Hello (Kitty) Party!

Hello Kitty Birthday Party Ideas – With an 80’s Twist!


My girls have birthday’s seven days apart. Which means their birthday parties are very close together. This party was held ONE WEEK after the Frozen in Summer party and I was a little unsure that I was going to be able to pull it off. Somehow I managed! My oldest daughter loves Hello Kitty, but is somewhat over the girly-pink-cutesie stuff. Neon colors are so on-trend and once I told her about a paint splatter theme, a neon Hello Kitty party concept was born. She was thrilled! So here’s what I did to customize this party for my special girl.



We found an awesome Hello Kitty swimsuit (at a fabulous price!) at Marshalls in February. I guess it was meant to be!

The Cake


Inspired by 80’s themed parties and art parties, I went to work researching the options. The cake flavors were easy… the top layer was red velvet (her favorite) and the bottom was devil’s food. I surrounded the cake with white chocolate ganache icing and finished with black fondant. And then I said multiple prayers that the whole thing wouldn’t turn into a pile of mush in the humid July weather. Thankfully, it stayed put. I searched pinterest and found lots of great paint splatter cakes. I debated over which method to use for decoration: royal icing or candy melts. After some discussion from my local cake shop, I decided candy melts were the least time-consuming method. I could buy the colors I wanted, add some paramount crystals to thin each color out, and not have to tint 4-5 different bowls of icing. It does create more of a 3-d effect, but the end result turned out so well, I didn’t care.

I knew I would have to tie in hello kitty somewhere on the cake. So I made marshmallow fondant and used this veggie cutter to cut out kitty’s face. I used edible ink to hand color the bows, eyes, nose, and mouth. That was time-consuming for sure, but it really tied the theme together on the cake.

Let me tell you, paint splattering is no joke. There is a lot of prep work to keep your kitchen from looking like a Jackson Pollock painting and I was actually sore from flinging melted candy across this cake and ACTUAL paint across the backdrop. More on the backdrop in a minute.



The menu was a little tricky and I was coming up with ideas at the last minute. I knew it had to be colorful, vibrant foods, as well as goodies that she would love. Fruit kabobs were an easy idea.




But I needed something else. Then it hit me! Candy sushi. Hello Kitty is a Japanese creation, so candy sushi seemed like the perfect idea! The hardest part of creating the candy sushi was finding green fruit roll ups. I ended up ordering a box of 42 (OMG!) from amazon after discovering that my local grocery store did not have green fruit roll-ups or fruit-by-the-foot. Thank goodness for my prime account.




I put the veggie cutter to use again by cutting out Hello Kitty faces from sliced colby and provolone.


Paint splatter cake pops were the perfect pre-cake snack in blue velvet and red velvet flavors. To save time and effort, I decorated the paint splatter on the cake at the same time as the cake pops. Again…LOTS of flinging was involved!





Hello Kitty water bottles and HI-C rounded out the drink selection.






The signage was all inspired by the invitation. The fun part was the backdrop. My daughter and I had a great time flinging paint on two yards of black jersey fabric. In hindsight, I would’ve picked a less absorbent type of fabric and I would definitely have used fabric paint. I opted for acrylic to keep the costs low and the colors faded a bit when it dried. But overall, I’m really happy with how it turned out. I also used paper garland on the side curtains to add an extra pop of color.

Party Favors


To match the 80s style and keep the kids looking cool, each guest received sunglasses. These neon and black shades were a big hit!


The birthday girl enjoying some new Hello Kitty socks!


Happy party planning!


A Frozen-in-Summer Pool Party!

frozeninsummer Months ago, before she saw Frozen, my daughter wanted an Ariel party. Since her birthday is in June, I knew a pool party was the perfect venue. But her obsession with Frozen grew and a new party theme was born! Beyond Olaf’s charming tune about all things summer, I wanted it to be a burst of cool air during a summertime birthday pool party.

The Wardrobe

The first order of business was finding an Elsa swimsuit. I had NO IDEA that they are nearly impossible to find. I lucked out and found one on ebay…phew!_DSC1059_DSC0946

The Cake

The cake was all she talked about pre-party. It HAD to have every character! It HAD to have Elsa’s ice castle! I really do like making my own cakes, even if it’s a bit stressful. So I did my best to fulfill her wish. The two-tier cake was devil’s food and vanilla, covered in a July-friendly layer of white chocolate ganache. I decorated the cake with homemade marshmallow fondant and used this cookie press to create the snowflakes. To give it some extra sparkle, I added “disco” dust and edible pearls! _DSC0944 Rock candy and melted blue jolly ranchers created the perfect icy touch! I loved the cake without the figurines, but it’s her birthday, so she got what she wanted. _DSC0881 _DSC0882_DSC1098

The Menu

Naturally, I scoured catchmyparty.com and pinterest for ideas. I really can’t claim originality for most of these party elements, with the exception of my signage and the party favors. Since I’ve seen the movie MANY times and listened to the song lyrics over and over, I had some great ideas for pulling together the party food. “Sven Snacks” (carrots and ranch), “Melted Olafs” (yogurt, pretzel sticks, candy noses, and icing eyes), and “Elsa’s Frozen Hearts” (white chocolate covered strawberries) are on just about every Frozen-themed party table. Check out how I worked them in below. To my surprise, “Sven Snacks” were a big hit!   _DSC0885 _DSC0883 _DSC0884  _DSC0886 _DSC0887 _DSC0903_DSC1064 Cake pops are a must at all of my events. It’s a perfect portion for little kids and they are a great pre-cake treat. I dubbed mine “Frozen Fractal” cake pops because of the sugary coating. Each one was blue velvet cake to mimic Elsa’s dress. _DSC0889_DSC0890_DSC1086_DSC0902 I like to give kids and parents something substantial to eat, so I supplied delicious croissant sandwiches. The best part was incorporating the line from the song “Love is an Open Door”…we finish each others’ sandwiches! _DSC0899   _DSC0900   White cheddar popcorn is one of my kids’ favorite snacks, so I added a bowl to the table and dubbed it “Slain Snowmonster Popcorn” after the giant snow beast that Prince Hans slays. I imagine what a snow monster would look like when it hits the bottom of an icy cavern. My best guess? White cheddar popcorn. _DSC0962 Kristoff’s business is selling ice, so it only seemed fitting to give him is own “Ice Block Cafe”! _DSC0894 _DSC0895 _DSC0896

Party Favors

Party favors for this age group are relatively easy, but I wanted to give the kids something unique that wouldn’t end up in the garbage can (or have parents cursing me) 10 minutes after the party ended. Since my daughter has made sensory bottles in school, I thought that creating a “Swirling Storm” to take home would be a great way to transition kids from party time to home. I don’t know about the kids, but these kept my interest for longer than they should’ve. I found the craft instructions here. 30 second crafts did theirs with an Olaf inside…super cute idea! _DSC0891 _DSC0893 _DSC0892       _DSC0942 _DSC0943 _DSC0997   _DSC1126 _DSC1142 _DSC1182 _DSC1250 Happy party planning!

Photo credit to Flash Photography of Dayton.

Don’t Get Pinched! Last-Minute Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day sneaks up on me every year! I always have grand ideas of printables, parties, and food….until life gets in the way.  It’s too late to order all those awesome items from etsy and every pinterest idea you’ve saved takes DAYS to complete. You can stay home and hideout from the welts and flashes of pain, or you can decide that no Irish rouge is going to keep you away from your favorite local bar! Here are some quick ideas that will keep you pinch-free this St. Paddy’s Day.

Shamrock Freezer Paper Bleach T-Shirt

The easiest way to avoid the pinch-fest is to wear green. Clever t-shirts are fun, but sometimes expensive. And since you’ve waited until the 11th hour, they probably won’t have your size. That’s why I love the simplicity of this DIY shamrock shirt.  All you need are a few items such as a plain green tee, bleach, and freezer paper. If you’re wondering what the heck freezer paper is, they sell it at grocery stores. Good stuff for crafty folks because you can iron it on to your t-shirt and remove it after bleaching.

Feeling naughty? Purchase a green pair of pants and strategically place the shamrock where it will get you the most attention. You can also do dual shamrocks on the t-shirt for an equally offensive and degrading effect.

DIY Green Beer

This might seem obvious to some, but you can find out how to make your own green beer here. And no one will pinch you if you’re holding a pitcher of beer.Obviously a lager or other lighter beer will show the color the best. Need an NA version for the kids? Try Cream Soda, Sprite, 7-Up, or ginger ale.

Thin Mint Sandwiches

You’ve been avoiding eye contact with that adorable Girl Scout at the grocery store for weeks. But now you MUST find her and pay her for a box of delicious thin mints because you’re going to make some thin mint sandwiches and impress all your friends. Download the Girl Scout app to find cookies in your area. Or if they are sold out, you can use Keebler Grasshopper cookies…but if you have to walk by a GS cookie booth with a box of Grasshoppers, prepare for a cookie curse of epic proportions.

If you do have some extra time, this recipe, which includes homemade Irish ice cream, looks AMAZING (I mean, look at that photo???)! But since we’re all short on time, you can buy mint chocolate chip or vanilla ice cream to reach the same effect. You could even use marshmallow fluff. Simply take two cookies, dab about a tablespoon of fluff onto the flat side, and make a sandwich. Add some sprinkles along the edge of the sandwich for some extra style points.

Again, if you’re holding a plate full of thin mints, no one will pinch you.

Green Hair Chalk

This idea might get you in trouble at work, but if they complain, just remind them that you could’ve shown up drunk (don’t show up drunk)! Makeup.com gives easy steps on how to create this dip-dyed green hair look and you won’t be forced to wear an uncomfortable wig or hideous hat all evening at the bar.  For all of you hair chalk newbies, this is not the same stuff you used as a kid to write on the sidewalk. It’s made especially for hair and is sold at most major retailers.

And if you want to be super-cool-mom-of-the-year, let your kid go to school with a green faux hawk.  Remember, green = no pinching.

T-Shirt Scarf

Whether you tried the first idea and HATED the result, or your ex-boyfriend left his awful green shirt at your place, you can do this little craft with only 10 minutes and a pair of scissors. Follow the full tutorial and stay unpinchable on St. Paddy’s Day.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Even though this isn’t a quick and easy recipe, it’s been one that I’m dying to try. It’s the perfect excuse to run to the liquor store (you’ll need Guinness, Jameson, and Bailey’s Irish Creme). It’s also a very appreciated gesture for those responsible adults that have to work on St. Patrick’s Day. If you can’t get to the bar to partake in green beer, why not enjoy one of these babies?  Despite it’s offensive name, this recipe is sure to please. And everyone will be too amazed with your culinary skills to dream of pinching you.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

4 Ways Pinterest Could Ruin Your Party – and How to Prevent It

Pinterest is everyone’s favorite tool for party inspiration these days, including mine. But it seems that lots of people, more specifically brides, are deciding that they don’t need a wedding planner; they can DIY everything with the help of pinterest! Oh…they.are.so.wrong.

First Coast Wedding and Events has compiled a great list of reasons why it’s a bad idea to leave your wedding in your pinterest boards’ hands. But beyond their wedding list, here’s some additional “Party Pooper” pitfalls to avoid:

Party Pooper #1: Pinterest Can Blow Your Budget
How to Fix it: Visit Chuck-E-Cheese

Every time I ask a prospective client what their party budget is, it’s usually followed by a blank stare. Parties are expensive. Pinterest-level parties can be outrageous. So for junior’s big day, start with the party package you might pick at Chuck-E-Cheese. That will give you a point of reference. Then when you start gathering up your pins and begin endless browsing sessions on etsy, you’ll at least have a budget in mind. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll be saving big bucks doing it yourself; DIY materials are pricey and sometimes the learning curve is steep!

Party Pooper  #2: Focusing on the Smallest Details in a Pinterest Photo Because You Don’t Think You Can Do the Rest
How to Fix it: Scrutinize Photos and Find the Biggest Item

I learned years ago, when I fell in love with the Pottery Barn Catalog, that purchasing that one item out of the catalog would not transform my room into the FEELING that I got when I looked at the photo spread. After my purchase, I didn’t feel like I was in a beach cottage; I felt like I was in a crappy apartment with a raffia-wrapped picture frame. The point? Don’t focus on the smallest details because you think it’s the only thing you’re capable of creating. Really look at that party photo on your pinterest board and determine the largest item..whether that’s the outdoor setting, architecture, or vaulted ceilings. Then imagine that party table transferred to your living room. Does it still give you the same warm fuzzy feeling? If not, you may need to adjust your venue to match your pinterest-expectations. Or realize how much work it will really take to recreate that photo!

Party Pooper #3: The “Event Professional Does It ALL” vs. “DIY Until You’re Exhausted and Give Up” Debate
How to Fix it: Find a Professional that Will be Flexible

If you hire a professional that’s willing to work with you, they can take your pinterest boards a step further and help you organize the ideas. Maybe give you a dose of reality that will help you enjoy your next event with less stress and more money left in your pocket. The bottom line is that most of us can’t afford to hand over every detail to a professional planner, but we can’t DIY everything either.  Find a party planner that will allow you to coordinate a few of the details, while they handle things like time management and oversee the big picture. You’ll still look very pinterest savvy, and your event will be well-coordinated.

Party Pooper #4: After the Event, You’ve Got Nothing to Show for All Your Hard DIY Planning
How to Fix it: Hire a Photographer (or ask a friend to do it)

The food is gone, the games have been played. The only thing you have left is the photos. But you forgot to take any! If budget allows, hire a professional to come at least a half hour before your party begins to take pictures of all your hard work. If you’ve spent hours researching how to make the perfect cowboy cake, a GREAT photo will help you remember what you’re capable of when you set your mind to something. If a pro isn’t an option, call the local art school and find a student. Chances are their photos will still be better than yours. Can’t find a student? Assign the job to a friend who’s good with a camera.

Happy Party Planning!

Fun and Games – iCarly Style

What is about tween girls that love the show iCarly? I admit, I find myself watching it too and laughing at Spencer’s quirky art projects and Sam’s irreverent attitude to authority. Plus, the idea of a kid-powered web show is pretty appealing.

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Sam’s sound affects, bedazzled by the birthday girl.


The party spread, with a backdrop made out of paper plates. Check out the tutorial section to learn how I did it!

When my 7-year-old daughter requested an iCarly party last June, it seemed easy enough. Spaghetti tacos (I used regular tacos…I wasn’t feeling that brave), mini Fat Cakes, and Groovy Smoothies made for an easy-to-plan menu. But when it came to activities, I was a little bit stumped. There are tons of ideas on the web, especially if you’re an AV wiz who can set up your own web show. The prep work and technical aspects were daunting and unfortunately, I’d waited until the last minute to plan the activities.

In February, I had a 20-minute photo session at Flash Photography of Dayton, a small photo studio where you receive all of your photos from your session on a flash drive (genius!). They had recently expanded their services and were offering their studio as a party venue. Once I’d decided to have the party at Flash, the theme and activities came together pretty easily.

Activity #1: A Photo Shoot

The information on the invitation instructed all “cast members” to show off for the paparazzi. As girls arrived at the party, they received their cast member credentials on a sparkly lanyard. These also doubled as party favors and every girl wore theirs the entire time.

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Sparkly lanyards held cast member VIP passes.

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Showing offer her credentials.

Once the cast enjoyed some delicacies from craft services, they descended onto a box of wacky photo props and moved right over to the white backdrop to strut their stuff.

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Guests enjoying treats from “craft services”.

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Photo prop fun!

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Balloons are a great way to get kids moving in front of the camera.

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On the catwalk…

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What a crew!


Activity #2: Pin the Mustache on Spencer

Just because I do most of my party elements from scratch doesn’t mean I’m above a little help from Party City. They had a kit with the poster of Spencer, 10 pre-cut adhesive mustaches, and a blindfold that made this old favorite a fun, modern activity. Giggling ensued.

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Spencer, pre-mustache.

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Spencer, after the game.

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Activity #3: Mrs. Benson’s Fashion Show

Fans of the show know that Freddie’s mom, Mrs. Benson, is notoriously over-protective of her son. She’s gone to all sorts of lengths to keep him unharmed and pure as the driven snow. Armed with two large rolls of bubble wrap, some clear packing tape, and a pair of scissors, the girls played fashion designer and created dresses for a fashion show. At first they needed a little help, but eventually, they were doing it on their own and helping each other out.

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Mermaid dresses, crazy hats, and funky accessories were all part of their ensembles. Many of the girls wanted to wear their creations home!

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Just as they readied for the catwalk, potential disaster struck and the power went out. But these girls were undeterred!

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Rocking the fur fox on her noggin’.

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By far, the most popular activity was Mrs. Benson’s Fashion Show. The girls got to be creative, use imagination, and feel just like they were in an iCarly skit! I loved it because it was so inexpensive! For six girls, two rolls of bubble wrap was the perfect amount and the total cost of $12 can’t be beat.

If you have the option to use a professional photographer at your child’s birthday party, I highly recommend it. They capture the best moments of the party and you don’t have to stress if Aunt Myrtle caught everything on her old-school, disposable 35mm camera. Don’t worry if your child freaked out at your last family photo session; even shy girls come to life like little Lindsay Lohans when they have some fun props and a camera in from of them.

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Cake time.

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One happy iCarly fan!

Happy party planning!

Gatsby Party + New Year’s Eve Inspiration + Free Printables

New Year’s Eve is often cast aside with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. With only a week between Christmas and NYE, there’s not a lot of time to plan the kind of party we all thought we’d be throwing or attending when we were kids (remember when you’d see your parents get all dolled up for a fabulous NYE party???).
Gatsby parties are still on-trend, and the theme works for a variety of events. It can seem overwhelming to create a “Jazz Age” event on a post-Christmas budget, but I’ve compiled some easy and inexpensive ways you can make NYE worthy of the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby.
My printable theme (coming soon to my etsy shop) is based primarily on the textures and colors inspired, by the roaring 20s, as well as the jewel tones found peacock feathers. What I really love about this combination is that you can pair it with basic black or metallics, which are available any time of year.
One of my favorite Gatsby-inspired parties, featured on catchmyparty.com, is for an adult birthday celebration. But this party would also work beautifully for a NYE event. Bonus if you can get your guests to dress up!
Ready to achieve your own Gatsby-inspired party? Here are a few extras that can get you started.
Grab a bag of peacock feathers and use them for your centerpieces. You can find them here for only $4.99/5. Party city also has some fantastic art nouveau NYE party favors that will get everyone in the party mood.
Give your table backdrop some extra pizazz with a metallic fringe backdrop from Oriental Trading. Starting at $6.50, you can add big impact with not much money. To avoid a “game show” appearance, use some fabric or paper as tiebacks to make it look more like a glitzy stage curtain.


The recent remake of “The Great Gatsby” provides plenty of sparkle inspiration!

Need party favors? Check out these pearl necklaces that double as table decor.

Keep it classy and make clean up a breeze with these disposable champagne glasses, or splurge on the real thing with some vintage etched champagne glasses.

Need more ideas and inspiration? Check out my Gatsby pinterest board for more fantastic party ideas!

To get you started, I’ve included a free printable of my Gatsby-inspired 2″ party circles and blank place cards. Just right-click and download the file to your desktop.
Happy party planning!


Influence and Inflatables: How Kids Parties Have Evolved

The recent explosion in kid’s parties had me thinking: why have they gotten so big? Why are parents willing to spend so much time and/or money? Is it parental competition for “best mommy” accolades, or something more ingrained? As I thought about what our parents did for us, and their parents did for them, I couldn’t help but wonder how birthday parties graduated from cake and balloons to bouncy houses and pony rides. How did things get so inflated (pun intended)?
In fact, all of our familial celebrations have become grandiose. The Christian Science Monitor reports that “TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com’s annual Real Weddings Study revealed that the average amount spent on a wedding in 2012 was $28,427, with couples dropping more cash than they have in the past four years on all aspects of the event.” The average bridesmaid spends up to $1000 for the “honor” of being in the wedding party. Parents of graduating teens are doing major home improvements to prepare for high school graduation parties and impress throngs of friends and family they haven’t seen in decades. With all of these shifts in the culture of entertaining, it’s not hard to see why children’s parties have morphed into more larger-scale events.

Influence comes from everywhere and they are rapidly changing our expectations about what a party should look like. Reality TV has showcased how the rich and famous throw parties, making the latest, must-have trend feel like a must-do. Pinterest and Etsy have played a huge role in the resurgence of crafting and entertaining as legitimate art forms on the heels of Martha Stewart’s billion-dollar empire. The internet has become a clearinghouse of tutorials, photographs, recipes, and ideas that would’ve been unattainable only 15 years ago thanks to partnerships between blog authors and photographers.


Tori Spelling has made a second career with her party planning books and TV appearances.

These trends are really nothing new. Dinner parties were the showcase for American middle class success during the 1950s and 1960s. These adults-only gatherings allowed couples to socialize, discuss current events, and enjoy a few cocktails during a three course dinner. But the other purpose of the dinner party was a way to show your circle of friends just how fabulous entertaining in YOUR home could be. Women would spend hours ensuring that the fine crystal was spotless and the silver was polished. Her china pattern was the mark of her taste and style. The type of food she prepared reflected her sophistication and skill in the kitchen. Inspiration was found in publications such as Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens. Along with the dinner party, events like ladies’ garden club luncheons and afternoon teas demonstrated one’s ability to entertain within the social expectations of the day. A beautifully planned luncheon could propel you into social goddess status. The upper echelon joined organizations like Junior League, coordinating charity galas and benefit dinners.


A 1950’s Better Homes and Gardens Book Cover
Photo courtesy of vintagecookbooktrials.wordpress.com

All of that time, energy, and planning for the dinner party has been transferred to today’s children’s parties. According to Wikipedia, 42% of U.S. households have two or more income earners and they’d rather spend the time/money/energy on something for their children. With both parents working outside the home, dinner parties have given way to neighborhood block parties, birthday gatherings, and other family-friendly events. What hasn’t diminished is the desire to showcase personal style and the ability to entertain. Some are more comfortable buying ready-made party decorations, while others are DIY mavens. Some love the ease of a Build-a-Bear party, while others love preparing for the idyllic teddy bear picnic at a local park. Parents are spending anywhere from $10 to $35 per guest for on-site party packages, while others are spending much more for private venue and professionally planned parties. Parents socialize while the kids enjoy the activities and it becomes more of a “friends and family” gathering.

I love party planning and I firmly believe that how you entertain is your “brand”; it shows people that you value your guests’ time and company. I find it difficult to justify planning a party exclusively for adults and would prefer to throw a family-friendly gathering. A child’s birthday is usually the perfect excuse. What do you think? Is this leading to an entire generation of entitled kids? Do you feel like children’s parties have become a pressure-cooker of unrealistic expectation? Does the creative benefit justify the cost?