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pinch me | Circle of Moms Top 25 Party Plannin' Moms

Tuesday, March 29

I received an exciting email yesterday...
Someone nominated me as one of the contestants for the Top 25 Party Plannin' Moms hosted by Circle of Moms.
I'm beside myself.


Apparently this is all based on votes...
so I'd be THRiLLED if you would vote for me.
You can vote once a day...
EVERY day...
through April 11th.
(I added a little button in my sidebar to make it easy for daily voting!)

And I don't mind if you tell your friends to vote for me too...
In fact...
I encourage you to tell your friends...*wink*

Little ole me nominated and listed among so many other talented sites/blogs.
I'm so flattered.

life | in search of...

Monday, March 28

I have found myself searching lately...
for a number of wildly different things...

the perfect macaron, for instance.

more time for crafting things like this...
(photo source:

the perfect packaging for these...

more time for "taking time" to smell the roses around the house.
(I included a dice to show you how GI-normous these blooms are)

more baking, crafting and quality time with this peanut butter-faced little girl...

not to mention less t.v. time for Ella and a pre-school for her too...

and finally...
the answers to the heart-string tugging questions these girls posed to me lastnight at the dinner table...*sigh*

What things are you in search of lately?
What's tugging at your heart strings?
I'm looking forward to finding the answers to some of these things very soon.
I'm also content knowing that a lot of what I'm searching for has everything to do with balance...(that ever-elusive thing I'm constantly in search of).
It's all about prioritizing, right?

Happy Monday everyone!
We've got a full week to "make things happen"!!
Let's go...

Clara and Ema's heart-string tugging questions?
• "Why do you have to work so much? Can't you close your shoppe on Saturdays?"
• "When can we go off for an entire day...just us girls...and do something FUN together. (without your camera).
• "We just want to have fun and be crazy together...what happened to the FUN Jessica from your description of your high school days?" 

I sincerely appreciate the fact that my girls are taking time to express themselves.
I also appreciate that they genuinely crave more quality time together.

I can tell you I immediately got really defensive to their questions...
feeling unappreciated for all that I do.
feeling like they just don't get it. (and I don't expect them to at their age).
feeling like they don't accept me for who I am as an indivdual with the whole "without your camera" comment - my feelings were hurt.
and then obviously feeling like a failure. *sigh*

And then later the sense of "panic" set in.
I don't want any regrets.
I don't want to "wish" I'd spent more time with them.
I don't want to "wish" we had a closer relationship...etc., etc.

And now the "reassessment" stage.
Analyzing what I need to do different.
Realizing it's an exceptionally busy time right now with the upcoming Pastry Pedestal launch...and being okay with that.
Knowing prior to the conversation, I'd already cut back to only doing four custom designs per month until the end of summer - hoping this will alleviate some of my work load.
Considering the solutions to make things better - for everyone.

Anyone out there have a book with all of the answers?
Send me the link on quick! I need it. *wink*

philanthropy | Children of Japan fundraiser

Friday, March 25

It's become especially apparent to me during times of struggle and disaster...
just how compassionate and giving people really are. 
There's a beautiful symphony of "world harmony" that suddenly resonates around the planet with people working together to heal, mend, reach out, and ultimately express love to one another. 
We all hear it...
and feel it...
and participate in it.

The outpouring of support for the recent devastation in Japan has been amazing.
It's times like these I find myself so grateful for the inherent kindness of humanity...
and grateful to proudly claim to be part of it. 

The other thing I am continually amazed by are the generous people I've been able to meet...
through the network of blogging. 
Last week I posted about the relief efforts through for Japan with Love - 
organized by two fabulous bloggers: Utterly Engaged and Ever Ours.
They set out to raise $5,500 and far exceeded their wildest dreams because of the network of bloggers who participated and used social media to spread the word.

Today' I'd like to introduce you to a blogging friend of mine named Lisa.
She's a fabulous writer and we've been reading each other's blogs for some time now.
She reached out to me regarding a fundraiser she and her husband are doing with proceeds going towards "Save the Children". 

Lisa's husband, Ben Boswell, MD has written a new parenting book called "Too Much Love, Too Much Discipline".
Lisa and Ben have decided to donate 50% of the proceeds to Save the Children from all book sales from March 24th through April 4th.  

With this fundraiser...
you'll receive a book geared towards helping your own children...
all while helping to send support to the children of Japan.

Here are the specific details as told by Lisa herself on her blog:


Help Your Own Child, Help the Children of Japan

From March 24th through April 4th Ben Boswell, MD will be donating 50% of the proceeds from his new parenting e-book, Too Much Love, Too Much Discipline, to Save the Children in order to help the children displaced by the recent earthquake in Japan. 


In a March 13, 2011 press release, Save the Children stated the following:
“We are concerned for as many as 100,000 children who may have been displaced because of last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. Many of them will have lost their homes and been forced to take refuge in unfamiliar places like evacuation centers that might cause them to be afraid and anxious,” said Stephen McDonald, who is leading Save the Children’s relief efforts in Japan.
“There is also a risk that some of them will have become separated from their parents and family members because of the disaster. It is important we provide support to parents and children who are struggling to cope in the aftermath of the disaster,” said McDonald.
"Save the Children has a team in Sendai, one of the worst-affected areas, establishing an operations base to help the most vulnerable children and their families.”

Help your own child and the children of Japan at the same time by purchasing a copy of

Too Much Love, Too Much Discipline: The Perfect Mix for Changing Your Defiant Child’s Behavior and Restoring Peace and Harmony to Your Life and Family

Available in the Amazon Kindle Store (click here to purchase)
(And don't worry...even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still read this on a Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Just download the appropriate app on the Amazon product page - right below the checkout box)


I've purchased my copy already!
If you are moved to contribute...
I know Lisa and Ben will be so appreciative - as will Save the Children.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!
And thank you for always being SO supportive!!

I've got some fabulous things to share with you next week...
I've been photographing things like crazy around here.
So many goodies - so little time to share them all! *wink*

And I'm still on the hunt for the perfect macaron.
I can't seem to find anything local - chime in if you have a great resource!!

We're having my stepdad and mom over for dinner tonight.
We thought it'd be nice to get he and my mom out of the house for a little bit since his recent hospital stay and then being stuck at home for the most part.
Clara and Ema have been involved in helping to pick the menu.
It's definitely NOT an easy task coming up with something for someone with such major diet restrictions.
I'm hoping everything turns out good.

Speaking of Clara and Ema...
it's their very last day of Spring Break and they are spending this morning cleaning for my mom and helping take care of their grandpa. I dropped them off at 8a.m. and will pick them up at noon. (it was Clara's idea - although I don't think she thought Grandma A. would take her up on her offer so quickly...*wink*). 

real parties | Sweet Shoppe 1st Birthday Party - Fancy Frills Style Studio

Wednesday, March 23

Party Girl: Cassie
Celebration Type: 1st Birthday Party
Theme: Sweet Shoppe
Color Palette: Pink and White
Inspiration: How Does She?

Is there anything sweeter than a first birthday party?
When Cassie of Fancy Frills Style Studio saw the twins birthday party hosted by Shelley from How Does She?...
she was completely inspired to host her very own Sweet Shoppe 1st Birthday party for her daughter Avalynn.

She did a beautiful job at recreating the party details originally posted by Shelley...
and then added her own spin on things by incorporating a unique element: A Steamer Bar!!

With a pink and white color palette and a lovely dessert table...
Cassie hosted the sweetest party for her sweetest little Avalynn.



Keep reading for more beautiful party details and to check out the super fun "Steamer Bar" she created...

promise ME | #10 - Janet Hill Studio

Monday, March 21

So much so,  I decided to include collecting her art into my "promise Me" journey.

So I'm excited to say...
The two absolutely gorgeous and stunning Janet Hill Studio art prints I ordered are here...

"Hot Chocolate" and "Italian Bakery"


I even love how Janet included a little thank you card and a smaller print inside a cellophane sleeve...
attached to the outside of the envelope.

The prints are even MORE gorgeous in real life!
The paper and print quality exceed my expectations...
And the color saturation is stunning!!!
I cannot WAiT to have these framed and hanging in my studio.

Now I've only got one more to order to be able to cross this off my "promise Me" list!!

Speaking of the "promise ME" adventure...
I've got the cutest little gift to send to those of you who declared your participation on the "promise ME" page.
I'll be contacting you for mailing addresses so I can get them out to you!

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!!

I'm cheating today.
I actually created this post last week and have decided to share it today because my mind is too preoccupied with thoughts of my stepdad to be able to write a different post.

He's been in the hospital since Friday - a heart attack.
He's having a heart cath this morning.
I'm praying stints will be the answer he needs.
His heart is enlarged and only functioning at 10% right now.
Many prayers for him are needed.

holiday | lucky stars - st. patty's day 2011

Thursday, March 17


No pinching over here!
We're on green overload with everything from
• lucky stars (from Origami Delights)
• green mashed potatoes (conveniently requested by Ema for her birthday dinner last night).
• festive brownie bites
• St. Patty's Day party tabs (get your FREE download here).

I think we are all set for celebrating GREEN today!!

In all seriousness though...
With it being St. Patrick's Day..

I'm thanking my lucky stars for so many different things in my world. 

Be sure to click on "READ MORE" to keep reading about what I'm so lucky for...

sweet treat | st. patty's day printables

Wednesday, March 16

Looking for a fast, simple, last minute idea for St. Patty's Day!
These "party tabs" are the perfect answer.


Use these to spruce up your St. Patty's Day foods and treats by attaching them to a toothpick & inserting!
Think toast, pancakes, fruit, sandwiches, ice cream, cupcakes, doughnuts, muffins...etc)!

Simply print onto full sheet label paper or regular paper, trim and secure!

philanthropy | for japan with love

Tuesday, March 15


Along with many others...
I will be participating in the "Bloggers Day of Silence" on Friday in support of the disaster relief efforts being organized for the people in Japan.
This has been organized by two wonderful ladies, Lydia of Ever Ours and Lucy of Utterly Engaged.

My blogging friend Chris from Postcards and Pretties summed up everything in her blog post earlier today.
Instead of repeating the information, I encourage you to GO TO HER BLOG for more details on how you can help.

Hugs to you all...
And my sincerest thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan.

Ella's Classic Red Ball Birthday

Monday, March 14

For those of you who may have missed the big news...
since I didn't officially post it here on my blog yet...
I'm excited to share with you that I am now a blog contributor for one of my very favorite entertaining/party sites on the web: 
*pinch me please*!!

I'm honored to be working alongside two other fabulous blog contributors:
Courtney from Pizzazzerie and Jessica from Modern Moments Designs.

I was so thrilled to finally be able to share the details from Ella's Classic Red Ball Birthday as my first official post for HWTM.

I was also able to share some photos of the party product I've been working on having patented.

Exciting stuff!!!
So that means the day has finally arrived here on the blog...
the day to finally be able to share all of the details from Ella's party I hosted back in November...
and the day for the "big reveal".

So here we go...

With my daughter Ella turning two, there were several different themes I could've chosen based on her interests.

I finally decided on the one recurring theme that continually excited her and happened to be the most simple: "play Balls".

With the knowledge the theme wasn't "unique" in the sense that there have been "Ball-themed" parties done before...
I was up for the challenge to make it my "own" and customize it for my own tastes.

I decided on a "Classic Red Ball" party focusing strictly on a red and white color palette.

I wanted it to be fun and feminine and I kept the invitation design clean and simple.

The dessert table is always my favorite part of any event.
It allows me to tie in the theme of the party through table decor and my favorite part of ANY gathering: 
the desserts.
I incorporated the red classic balls onto the table, used a white back drop flanked by red polka dot fabric and added splashes of red and white polka dots where I could.

Dessert table items included:

mini red velvet cupcakes topped with a red gumball...


displayed on clear acrylic personalized Pastry Pedestals™
(that's my new little creation I'm having patented)


mini cupcakes displayed on cake plates

giant jawbreakers set on the table (as decor only)

red cake balls from Michele at Crazy for Design

designer oreos from Sweeties by Kim

custom coordinating lollipops provided by Vintage Confections

custom designed sugar cookies lovingly baked by the Cookie Jar

dried cranberries and sunflower seeds (Ella's favorite snack)

cranberry jello
served in mini plastic shot glasses

peppermint marshmallows from Vintage Confections

red chocolate covered sunflower seeds

peppermint sticks

licorice sticks

The drink station included
Shirley Temple Sodas for the older crowd

and Fruit Punch flavored Juicy Juice for Ella and her peers

Although it's not pictured, there was also a mini meatBALL sub station in order to offer something savory to guests.
(a huge thanks to my Mom for making the meatballs).

Age-appropriate activities included:

"Ball" print-out coloring pages with RED crayons

RED playdough

Paddle Ball with RED balloons and homemade paddles 
(over-sized popsicle sticks attached to paper plates)

Bean bag toss game with RED polka dot bean bags

the custom wood cut out was designed by a neighbor and the bean bags were sewn by my mother.

RED badminton rackets for the older children

Assorted RED Playground Balls in the back yard
(these doubled as favors too)

Other favorite party details:
Mini spoons - perfect size for the birthday girl and other small guests
(Polka dot box provided by Party Starters)

Red balloon-filled ceiling over the dessert table

RED polka dot drinking straws

ROUND RED hat boxes used on the dessert table.
I filled paper pastry cups with white table sugar to display the jawbreakers.

Guests were sent home with

custom lollipops


along with RED balloons from the party decor, 
their choice of any RED playground BALL and any of their favorite leftover sweets.

Here's the birthday girl enjoying her day...decked out in a headband from


Wearing a tutu from Tiny Belles Boutique.

One of my fave pics of the day...
It may have been her 2nd birthday
but this was her FIRST cake pop. *wink*

The coordinating thank you cards sent out after the party were the perfect way to tie everything together...

And of course wallet size photos of the birthday girl from the actual birthday party 
were included in the thank you cards

I had a BALL  putting this together for Ella.
It really turned out to be the perfect theme for her and we had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends.

A HUGE thank you to the vendors/businesses who contributed their time and talents to help make everything extra special...

Invitation, Party Printables, Thank You Cards • Pen N' Paperflowers
Pastry Pedestals (Pen N' Paperflowers) available for purchase in April 2011
Red & White Polka Dot Boxes • Party Starters
Red & White Cake "BALL" Pops • Crazy for Design 
Custom Sugar Cookies • The Cookie Jar 
Chocolate Covered Designer Oreos • Sweeties by Kim 
Mini Tasting Spoons • D&G Occasions 
Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes • Cupcake Delights
Custom Lollipops • Vintage Confections 
Peppermint Marshmallows • Vintage Confections 
Red & White Polka Dot Straws • the Sugar Diva 
Oversized Jaw Breakers • Cracker Barrel 
Round Red Hat Boxes • Ikea
Polka Dot Fabric used in Backdrop • Ikea 
White Panel Back Drop • Lowes  
Flower Headband • Tadpole & Lily
Red Tutu • Tiny Belles Boutique

Happy Monday everyone!
I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

It's about time I posted this party...right!?
And I'll have more details posted on the Pastry Pedestals for you soon!!
Still working on finalizing packaging!

My heart goes out to those effected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
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