How to throw a magical birthday party

10 easy steps for creating a magical birthday party. | Throwing the best birthday party. | How to plan a birthday party.

In this Pinterest-obsessed world we now live in, there’s more pressure than ever to throw over-the-top, outrageously expensive and elaborate celebrations of all kinds. Growing up, however, before the age of Pinterest I vividly remember my mother throwing the most magical parties. There was the Wizard of Oz theme party, complete with rainbow drinks with Twizzlers straws, a fashion show themed party where she set up a runway in my living room and had my sister be the announcer while my friends and I all modeled our party dresses and dress up clothes. She videotaped the whole ordeal and then handed out awards to each of us. The Halloween party was one of my favorites with pumpkin races: a game where the kids swept mini pumpkins down the driveway to the finish line using “witch’s brooms.” Yes, if there is one thing my Mom knew how to do, it was throw a magical party.

So what makes her parties so magical and how can you easily recreate magic of your own? It’s simple! Just follow these 10 easy steps:

  1.  Plan!
    It’s important to brainstorm more than a week beforehand. I’d suggest thinking about your party the month before. Nothing is more stressful that feeling pressured to come up with a spectacular birthday party in just 7 days.
  2.  Pick a theme.
    I use the term “theme” here loosely. While it could be something as specific as a favorite Disney character or favorite TV show, a theme could also be as broad as a color scheme. Whatever you choose, it’s important to stick within the limits of the theme. This can be hard with all those drool-worthy Pinterest ideas, but trying to bring too many ideas together can bring a chaotic feel to a birthday party instead of a magical vibe.
  3. Brainstorm 
    After you decide on your theme, it’s time to brainstorm again! This is where Pinterest comes in. Using the visual search engine, create a board for your future party. There you’ll be pinning all your favorite ideas, everything from invites & cakes to party decorations and games. Go crazy! It’s okay to pin something that could be tweaked to fit your specific theme. For example, if you save “pin the horn on the unicorn” for a tropical party knowing you’ll switch it to “pin the beak on the flamingo.”
  4. Narrow it down.
    After you’ve pinned to your hearts content, narrow it down. You can’t do it all, regardless of what the internet and bloggers try to get you to believe. You just can’t! So pick your favorites.
  5. Plan your time.
    Once you’ve narrowed down exactly what decor you need, what games or activities you’ll do and other specifics, it’s time to think about your timeline. I had some DIY’s in my party planning so I tried my best to manage my expectations about what exactly I could get done.
  6. Send out invites.
    Once you’ve got a solid plan, it’s time to send out those invites! I skipped the formal invitations and just created a Facebook event. Other options are using a service like Minted, Shutterfly, or Etsy for more customizable invites. Or, if you’re crafty and enjoy card-making like my sister, a DIY option might be for you. I’d say aim to give 2 weeks notice for your guests.
  7. Shop & create!
    Now it’s the fun part…. time to go shopping! Start purchasing supplies, favors, decor and anything else you might need off of your list.
  8. Create or order your cake.
    Don’t leave the cake till the last minute. Make sure you order your cake with enough time to spare. And it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan. If you plan on baking your cake bake it at least a day or two before. That way if something goes wrong there’s time to do it again, or pick up a premade cake from the grocery store. Because, if your luck is anything like mine, your oven will break the day you go to bake 24 cupcakes and 4 layers of cake…. uh, yeah, that really happened. Luckily, my Dad’s oven worked just fine.
  9. Set up the day before.
    Set up as much decor as you can the day/night before the party. Prepare any food items you can as well. You’ll feel much less stressed out knowing everything is ready for the big day.
  10. Make sure those cameras are charged.
    Charge those cameras the night before so you can be sure to capture the look of amazement on your child’s face as they take in the magic that is their birthday party!

How to throw a magical birthday party | throwing the ultimate birthday party in 10 easy steps | overthedeepend.com

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European Capsule Wardrobe

Life recently handed us an opportunity to head to Europe and we decided to seize the chance, since neither the hubby nor I had ever been to Europe before. We both felt strongly about bringing both girls, so that’s what did. In order to survive with as little luggage as possible, since we were navigating with a baby and a toddler, we packed as light as we possibly could bringing only the essentials.

Enter the capsule wardrobe.

As you may, or may not, know- I am a huge fan of capsule wardrobes! A vacation is a perfect introduction to a capsule to see if it is something that would work for your lifestyle. It’s an easy way to try it out without committing to “all or nothing.” When packing for vacation, especially for different destinations within that vacation, it’s all about the layers! I checked the weather forecast before hand to know what kind of weather we would be planning around. We had mid 70’s to low 80’s all week and sunshine.

Here’s a look at what I brought for our 9 day Europe vacation:

When planning any capsule wardrobe it’s all about versatile neutrals. You want to aim for pieces that look great alone but also layered together. Since I packed a muted, neutral palette I made sure my shirts had interesting details in form of fabric choice and fit. Both my white and aqua tee-shirt had pretty eyelet panels. A 3/4 sleeve striped shirt added some interest along with a bold polka dot print with my wrap dress. I stuck to skinny jeans and ponte-de-roma leggings for easy packing and comfortable travel days. Since I’m breastfeeding I opted to bring a trio of neutral cami’s instead of bras. This also helped extend the life of  my shirts since any sweat would be absorbed into the cami instead of the shirt itself. A sheer white blouse, a chambray button up, and a dark grey cardigan rounded out my tops. I opted not to take a jacket, but if I had I would have chosen my army green military style jacket.  For shoes I went with my grey Chucks, and a fun pop of maroon for my flats.

I kept my accessories simple, as it’s one less thing to pack and keep track of. I brought sunglasses, a watch, and a camera bag back-pack, that also doubled as my diaper bag. All in all, I was very pleased with my vacation wardrobe. The only thing I would have changed would have been to switch out one of the tee-shirts for a tank top and I would have also pack a skirt.

Stay tuned for a look into the capsule wardrobes I packed for both kids, and what baby gear we decided to bring with us!

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Summer 2017 Bucket List

Summer is full force in Florida, with our heavy humidity and daily thunderstorms. One particular afternoon Emerson asked me, “What are we doing today, guys?” (sidenote, she cracks me up) I realized it might be fun to have a summer bucket list handy for some fun ideas of what we should do over the course of the summer. Some things are big and take more planning, like a trip to Rosemary Beach, but other are fast and simple – see playing outside. I also decided I need to record more videos! Especially now that Emerson is really starting to talk. What’s on your summer agenda?

Summer bucket list with toddler,

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Life with Vera Charlotte: 4 Months

Monthly photos of newborn, baby collage of monthly photos

At 4 months you:

|| roll back to belly and belly to back ||

|| started sucking your thumb ||

|| really hate it when anyone besides Momma holds you ||

 || are a terrible napper and only nap about 30-40 minutes max ||

|| are starting to transition to sleeping in a crib ||

|| will sometimes take a bottle, but it takes a lot of coercing ||

|| love to smile, especially when you wake up in the morning ||

|| love playing on your play-mat, especially with the purple horse toy ||

 || love watching your big sister — especially if she’s dancing or shaking a toy for you ||

You had your first real laugh this month as well. We were outside, Emmie and Daddy on the trampoline, and I was holding you while making Oliver do his tricks. When we got to “turn around,” you busted out your first real belly laugh. I, of course, made Oliver repeat “turn around” about 6 times just to hear your magical baby laugh. And on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, anytime you’re really unhappy you will let everyone know because, girlfriend, your cry is loud! Thank goodness you’re generally a happy baby. Emmie usually covers her ears and says, “Mom, Vera is too loud!” when you cry in the car.

Overall, you’re the perfect addition to our family and I can’t wait to watch you grow.

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2017 Summer Capsule Wardrobe for the Stay at Home Mom

This summer is all about light, fun and airy colors. As always, with any capsule wardrobe, you should always have a base of complementary neutrals. Next, layer in patterns, textures and pops of color(s). Here I chose to have a light lavender accent, with a base of grey’s, blue’s and white.
With a summer capsule wardrobe it’s important to also include versatile layering pieces. I made sure to include a light sweater, a jean jacket and a light, airy black shawl. You should also have pieces that are easily dressed up for any special occasions you might need to attend. In this capsule a floral maxi dress takes the role of special occasion dress if needed, but it can also be dressed down by throwing on the jean jacket, or layering one of the blouses, or button-up, on top. Besides a staple pair of stiletto pumps for special occasions and date night’s, a Mom’s capsule wardrobe should have practical footwear. Any heels should be chunky or wedged for maximum stability & agility. <Because it’s pretty important that you’re able to run after your crazed 3 year old who suddenly decides she should run away in the Target parking lot. #realmomlife>
2017 Summer Capsule Wardrobe for the Stay at home Mom
This sample capsule wardrobe includes:
1 jacket ::: 1 cardigan/shawl ::: 1 blazer
2 long sleeved blouse ::: 1 light sweater
4 sleeveless blouses ::: 3 short sleeve t-shirts ::: 1 off the shoulder shirt
6 dresses ::: 3 pairs of denim ::: 3 pairs of shorts
1 pair of wedges :::  1 pair of sandals ::: 1 pair of sneakers ::: 1 pair of booties ::: 1 pair of heels ::: 1 pair of flats
1 large tote ::: 1 medium back pack ::: 1 small cross-body bag
sunglasses ::: black choker ::: simple gold necklace ::: 2 earrings ::: 1 bangle ::: 1 watch
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Life with Vera Charlotte

It’s been two whole months since we welcomed our sweet Vera Charlotte into the world. I’m trying to savor every single moment because I know she’s our last baby. Each night-time waking, each nursing snuggle, each little smile and even those heart-breaking pouts and sobs. She’s a sweet chub of a baby, so different than her older sister. I remember Emerson feeling so fragile in my arms whereas Vera feels so hefty – so solid.

We’ve all fallen into what feels like a good routine. I know the routine will constantly be changing, just as quickly as little Vera. But for now I feel like I’m slowly getting my groove back.

Emmie has been overall wonderful in the transition of being an only child to suddenly having to share her parents with another little human, who really doesn’t do much but sleep & cry. Emerson has already fallen comfortably into the role of big sister. She is constantly informing me when Vera starts to fuss that I need to either “pick her up,” or “give her breastmilk.” And my sweet, tenderhearted Emmie will tear up and join in the crying if Vera is left fussing or crying for too long. Car rides are the worst, when I can’t actively soothe Vera, no matter how loudly Emmie demands it.

Slowly and surely I’ll get back into writing more for the blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Silent Night: CPAM diagnosis for baby #2

It’s been particularly quiet over here and while I’d love to say that we’ve been wrapped up in the holiday hustle and bustle, we’ve actually been wrapped up in something a bit more somber.

A few weeks ago on a regularly scheduled ultrasound our second baby was diagnosed with CPAM, congenital pulmonary airway malformation. A rare diagnosis of 1 in 30,000 but a diagnosis with a good outlook. Instead of normal lung tissue our daughter has a malformation in the lower left lobe of her lung. This tissue won’t function as normal lung tissue and it most likely will need to be surgically removed. Once it’s surgically removed, the life outlook is fabulous with no real restrictions or complications down the line. For this, I am so incredibly grateful. Terrified, nonetheless, but grateful beyond words.

We were scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound to see what the mass would do over the next two weeks. Sometimes they disappear altogether, sometimes they don’t. Her’s didn’t change. Her latest ultrasound revealed that the mass was still there and we are in the process of being referred to a pediatric surgeon.

Whenever you receive a diagnosis, or told there might be a problem, you automatically go through a process of “would-have,” “could-have,” and “what if’s.” There is no rhyme or reason to why a child develops CPAM and they stress that it’s nothing we could have prevented. This does nothing for a mother’s guilt. For my guilt. Immediately thoughts of all my maintenance medications I take for Cystic Fibrosis crept into my mind. Was it one of those that caused this malformation? Was it the daily Dr. Pepper I have been treating myself to? Was it the lack of spinach I was eating? Or was it truly just luck of the draw. I don’t seem to be particularly lucky when it comes to genetic abnormalities.

Needless to say, I’ve been tired. Physically tired. Emotionally tired. Our days have been jammed with daily appointments: for me, for baby & for Emmie (she started twice a week speech therapy). And our nights are laden with quiet anxieties while we toss and turn pretending to sleep. The house and dog have fallen into the category of borderline neglect and an already hardworking husband has been picking up my slack without saying a word or heaving a sigh. Yes, these past few weeks have been hard on everybody.

All we can do at the moment is try our best to go about our daily lives. We’ll be surrounded by close friends and family for the holiday season and there’s nothing more healing than laughter and love.

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A Holiday Maternity Look & Pink Blush Giveaway!

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Just the other day something incredible happened. I received an email. Now, this email was like no other email I’ve ever received. This email was from a company, specifically Pink Blush, asking if I was interested in collaborating with them as a blogger. Say what? Cue the happy dance. No, really, I did an actually happy dance – my husband can testify to this fact, I’m pretty sure he wishes he recorded it as it was a really sweet dance.

Well, not only was this company one I had heard of before, but it was one I actually did a lot of fake online shopping to. Fake online shopping includes picking out items, putting them in your online shopping cart and then when you’ve racked up a huge sum from all the amazing things you’d love to buy, you close the tab and go to bed. Needless to say, I was very familiar with their cute maternity clothes and immediately jumped at the opportunity to work with Pink Blush.

With the holidays coming up this was the perfect opportunity to find something comfortable, trendy and versatile enough to dress up for the holiday festivities but also wear on a day to day basis – because let’s face it, when you hit the 3rd trimester almost everything stops fitting.

It was so hard to choose, but when I saw this dress, I knew it was the one. It was perfect to dress up for the holidays but just as easily dressed down for a more casual look. Not to mention this dress doesn’t make me want to change into sweatpants 10 minutes after I put it on. It is so incredibly comfortable and the fit is spot on. I have plenty of room for my growing belly in this dress, thanks to the stretchy fabric, which is a relief because I swear I’m getting bigger every single day in this last trimester.

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I’ve also rounded up some other amazing options for the holidays on the Pink Blush website which could be yours because Pink Blush has so graciously offered a $75 gift card to their store for one of my readers! Make sure you head over to my instagram to find out how to enter. Not pregnant? No problem! Pink Blush isn’t just maternity clothing, they also offer women’s, plus size, cute baby items, and even things like accessories and shoes! Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go enter this giveaway!

shop-pink-blush-maternity-holiday-looks

I received my amazing plaid dress for free in return for my honest opinion. This has been your friendly disclosure statement.

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Dear Emerson

Dear Emerson,

You’re funny, daring, silly, caring, and oh, so darn cute!

You even get me to giggle when you exclaim, “Oh, Emmie toot!”

I love the way you try to negotiate

to increase the pee to jellybean rate.

Or how you count, “Won, two, REE!”

It always gets a smile from me –

But heaven forbid you ever utter “four.”

since it’s your favorite number to ignore.

emmie-poem

You can bust a move to any song

and when you’re laughing you can do no wrong-

except for hitting, that behavior is new

Daddy and I aren’t sure what to do.

You never want to apologize

even though tears stream from your eyes.

You’ll tell us, after, hitting made you feel sad

but never what it was that made you so mad.

We’re really hoping it’s just a phase

and that you’ll soon be back to performing your ballets.

emmie-poem-2

Some days you’re helpful: loading dishes or folding socks –

while other days you’d prefer to play outside and collect rocks.

You love playing keep-a-way with Oliver’s doggy bones

and always demand the “cow game” when you see Daddy’s phone.

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You love the library and each week when we go,

it’s so much fun for me to see how you’ve grown.

When we started you just sat there- so quiet,

and now you’ll sing & dance. Yup,  it’s a riot!

emmie-poem-3

A little quirk that I find so funny,

anytime you find a penny you say, “Here Mom, MONEY!”

Another oddity that you’ve begun

is requesting random songs to be sung;

a “turkey song,” a “silly belly song,” and “Daddy comes home” are just a few.

Oh Emmie, I do hope you know just how much I love you.

emmie-poem-5

 

Being your mother is such a treat,

but watching you get older is bittersweet.

While you test your limits and boundaries for sure,

the love you exude is just so pure.

emmie-poem-4

You’re special to me in ways you’ll never know

And every single day my love for you grows.

Yes, my love for you knows no bounds-

Emma Claire, you make my world go round.

Love, Mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lancôme Définicil Mascara & Drama Liqui-Pencil Review

Every now and again I get sent some awesome things through influensterto try out in exchange for a review. This is one of those times. Although I received these products for free, these are my own unfiltered opinions.

An in-depth beauty review of Lancôme's popular Définicils Mascara and two of their top selling shades from their Drama Liqui-Pencil line.

I love makeup. As a teen I would often hole up in my room on school-nights and give myself grand makeovers. Bold and daring lip colors, wild eye-shadow combinations, and trying my hand at the latest makeup tricks from the trendiest magazines. It helped that I had an older sister who paved the way into luxury brands for me. I would often get in trouble for sneaking into my sister’s room to raid her ever-growing luxury product collection in hopes that I could save myself some money but still wear the good stuff.  As I got older and my preferences got more defined, I felt comfortable splurging on high quality makeup products, always with the help and guidance from my sister, the lovely Sephora staff, and of course Youtube’s top beauty guru’s.

Now, as I’m gearing up to leave my 20’s and enter my 30’s I feel very confident and comfortable with my makeup skills and product selection. As a SAHM, or Stay At Home Mom, it’s important to me that I still wear makeup because it makes me feel put-together, confident, and normalizes my life in bouts of sickness. I know I can still look decent even if my Cystic Fibrosis makes me feel like an 80-year old chain-smoker. Because of this, I still love trying new brands and new products I wouldn’t normally purchase myself. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge outside of our comfort zone to discover a groove we didn’t know we had!

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When I was chosen to review some Lancôme products I jumped at the opportunity. A luxury brand that I haven’t ever really dabbled in. I have used one of their mascaras in the past, but that was about it. So when I was greeted with a bright purple eye-liner, I was ecstatic. Just what I needed to leave the comfort of my daily neutrals and vamp up my everyday Mom look.

My go-to for eyeliners that last all day, have intense color, and glide on your face like butter is Urban Decay’s 24/7 line. I’ve tried quite a few other liners but these still win out every time. Imagine my surprise when I use Lancôme’s Drama Liqui-Pencil for the first time and I had to double check to make sure I didn’t accidentally pick up my UD 24/7 liner. The texture was creamy, easy to manipulate and the color payout was fabulous. It was easy to smudge on my lower line and most importantly it stayed put all day long. I even had my daughter poke me in the eye several times for the sake of the experiment. Okay, so that was purely coincidental, but Emmie really did jab my eye lids a few times since she was pretty enthralled with my new purple eyes.  While the purple colored pencil was beyond my expectations, the deep noir color dissappointed me. I had high hopes for a comparable Urban Decay Zero type black, but it lacked the intensity I hoped for. The pencil was also not quite as easy to use when lining my waterline and needed a few passes. Overall, if I’m looking for a colored eye-liner to add to my collection I will definitely be considering Lancôme’s Drama Liqui-Pencils.

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Mascara is another item that I am ultra picky about. I have decently long lashes, but they’re pretty thin. I like my mascara’s to be volumizing, dark, and non-clumping. I aim for a very natural look. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s clumpy, flaky lashes. I am also pretty picky about my brushes. I find that the little spiky brushes lend themselves well to my goal of natural-looking lashes. Lancôme’s Définicils Mascara claims to be a lengthening and defining mascara for a natural, yet striking look. It definitely lengthened my lashes but one coat was not enough to cover my need for volume. I swiped on 2-3 coats. There was minimal clumping and hardly any fallout over the course of the day. My biggest gripe was the brush. I found it awkward to use and hard to manipulate my lashes to get an even coat. My final verdict is a pass. I love that it stayed on all day, but it just doesn’t suit my specific needs for fuller lashes. If I needed luxuriously long lashes I would be singing a different tune!

 

*this is a referral link: if you sign up via this link and I get points. Points for what? I don’t really know, honestly, but I figured if they have a referral link, why not use it? And this has been your honest disclosure statement *

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