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LET'S TALK TUESDAY | No. 8 :: Party Inspiration + Ideas

Tuesday, March 8

Very excited to be meeting up with a friend today for lunch...
but equally excited to be spending a few minutes this morning with YOU for our weekly "Let's Talk Tuesday".

By the way - you all are blowing me away with your fun questions! I hope you are getting as much out of our "LTT" meet-ups as I am!!

Q: I've been following your blog for what seems like forever and your party ideas are always so clever. They always seem to be "on trend" while always being a little different from the masses. I'm curious about your process for coming up with ideas. I like to plan parties for my kids and I will help on occasion with a baby shower when family or friends ask. It's coming up with the party theme that always has me a little stumped in the beginning. Of course Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration. Is that the same for you? Or do you have a specific approach for figuring it all out? Thanks Jessica. Loving your LTT posts and thankful to have you take time to answer my question. Nancy B.

A: This question really made me think. First of all, this may or may not work for some of you, but I stay away from Pinterest when I'm formulating my ideas for a party because I don't want to be influenced by what's already out there. I really try to create unique party ideas and if the concept isn't new, I at least try to make it my own. That being said, once my theme has been picked and I've got a basic concept and direction, THEN I'll head on over to Pinterest for inspiration.

Funny piece of trivia:  Pinterest didn't even exist when I first started party planning for my kiddos and it wasn't around when I started my blog seven years ago either. *laughing*

Anyway, I'd first have to say that my brain operates from a "theme" perspective - if that even makes sense. I have always felt the most "creative" when I first have a firm foundation or theme to jumpstart from. This applies to organizing a women's luncheon or dinner, decorating my children's rooms, designing a church cookbook, creating a Valentine's Day classroom exchange idea, and of and styling a party. Give me a solid theme and that's when my creative ideas kick into high gear! 

Arriving at said theme can come from a number of things:
1. favorite things of the person being celebrated.
2. Pantone's color of the year and seasonal palettes.
3. Cute new party accessories I'd like to use/try.
4. the season in which the party is being held.
5. specific requests from the person being honored.

Let me give you a few specific examples of how the process unfolded for a few of the parties I've hosted over the years...I think this will be the most helpful way to explain my process.

When I hosted the "Lemonade and Sunshine" themed double birthday for Clara and Emalyn SIX YEARS AGO, they were both celebrating milestone birthdays. Clara was crossing over into "teen hood" as she was turning thirteen and Ema was turning double digits for the first time with her tenth birthday.

Clara was smack dab in the middle of adolescence and she was getting really good at giving me attitude about anything and everything and she did NOT want a party. On the other hand, Emalyn was kind of caught in the middle.  She was being heavily influenced listening to her older sister gripe about a birthday party and yet I know she was quietly excited at the thought of getting to celebrate with her older sister...whom she idolized.  (and still does to this day, by the way). *wink*

So, needless to say, I had a little bit of "sweet and sour" going on in our house at the time.  The "Lemonade" portion of the party theme was born out of wanting to represent Clara and her mix of emotions as a brand new teenager, and "Sunshine" was the epitome of everything Ema was as she approached her tenth birthday...a girl with a sweet spirit, big heart and wonderful sense of humor. *grin* Combine the two and you've got a great mix and a darling party theme. Besides that, the theme also allowed me to create something that felt a little more "fancy and grown up" for Clara while still having a whimsical feel for Ema.

When I started planning Ella's 2nd birthday, I just went down the list of the things she was excited about at the time. At the top of that list was her infatuation with inflatable balls. Each time we'd be at a store, she immediately gravitated towards those big ball cages that held all of the play balls. She absolutely LOVED them. 

I went with the classic red ball instead of a beach ball theme because Ella has a Fall birthday. Inflatable balls...let alone beach balls...were not easy to come by. Besides that, I liked the simplicity of the color scheme and it made for an adorable invitation and even more adorable dessert table selections! *wink*

SIX YEARS AGO,  (man time flies), I was approached by a friend who was hosting a baby shower for one of her best friends. She'd already decided she wanted to do a "She's About to Pop" theme and although it was a new-to-me theme at the time, I quickly realized as I began researching, the concept wasn't really all that new. I really like to try to make my party themes original. So, my challenge became to find a way to make this party stand out and be something that hadn't been done before. 

That's when I came up with the idea of making "bubbles" the focus instead of the popular balloons, popcorn and bubble gum concepts I kept seeing everywhere. On top of that, the mom-to-be was very modern and on-trend so I immediately referenced the hot Pantone colors of the season at the time and built the party elements and details around those.

So there you go...just a few examples of the method to my madness with regards to party planning.
I hope you've been inspired and PLEASE...keep sending in your questions!! I love answering them.

By the can find more details about each party mentioned today under the "My Work" tab at the top of the blog. (along with other party ideas and themes). 

1. Super excited about this new book arriving tomorrow!
2. Newest song added to my playlist - and what Ella is considering using for her talent show music. 
3. Latest crushes on Instagram: Jessica Wasserman and Brittany York
4. My doctor recommended I look into a neti pot after my third visit to her last week. So, while looking at them at my local Health Basket, I left with THIS instead, on the recommendation of one of the employees there. I've been using it on myself as well as Ella since she caught a cold last week too. Anyone else use either? 
5. A friend of mine was telling me about how her sister has tried StitchFix and loves it! Anyone else use an online personal stylist? I'm seriously considering joining. There are a couple of other similar services: Keaton Row, Tog + Porter, Stylit, The Refinery and I'm certain there are more out there.  Here's a helpful article comparing StitchFix, Keaton Row and Tog + Porter - just in case you are interested. 

And if you've tried ANY of them - I'd love to know what you think.

xoxo my friends!!

To this day, the Lemonade and Sunshine party that Clara absolutely wanted nothing to do with ended up being one of my most popular parties - and was even featured in a magazine publication all the way in Italy. 

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