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Rained Out Party and #UnscriptedBeauty

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for AVEENO. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As a blogger and a parent, I can admit that I’ve spent far too much time posing my kids for the best possible picture…which portrays them (and me!) in the best possible light.  Isn’t that silly?  I catch myself doing it often and I have to stop myself.  I don’t want to look back on my photo albums (or online albums) in ten years and see picture after picture of a perfect family that I don’t recognize.  No, I don’t want to intentionally take pictures of our dirty laundry but a little toy clutter in the background won’t hurt anything.  It’s real life and real life is beautiful.

Amazed

This is a picture of my daughter as she watched her first storm come closer and closer.  It’s not a great picture but to me it’s perfect.

Real life, sincere moments, authentic relationships are beautiful.  Unscripted beauty.  I love to be able to capture those in photos.  Moments where my husband and daughter take a walk together holding hands.  Moments where my son tightly hugs his teddy bear with his eyes closed.  Moments where I catch my daughter giving her brother a kiss.  Those are the moments I want to cherish and hold with me forever.

My family on Father's Day

This is a picture of our Father’s Day dinner.  It sure isn’t perfect but I think it captured the moment well.  My daughter didn’t want to smile and my husband kept telling my son to look at the camera by pointing to it.  My son followed his Dad’s lead and pointed to the camera.  It wasn’t like most of the polished photos I saw on Facebook yesterday but I think it captured my husband’s kindness and patience with his children…a quality that I absolutely adore in him.

AVEENO agrees that natural, candid beauty is best and they’re creating an #UnscriptedBeauty Movement which encourages parents to embrace the natural beauty around them. …even when life doesn’t go as planned.  

On Saturday, my daughter’s outdoor Candy Land birthday party had a brief rain shower towards the end of it.  Everyone raced inside carrying as much as they could.  While in the panic I couldn’t help but pause to notice the kids laughing and squealing.  They were happy.  Genuinely giddy with joy.  It was beautiful.  I wish I had a picture of that chaotic moment but I was busy trying to tell my husband to grab my camera to get it out of the rain.

Life isn’t perfect and it rarely goes as planned but I think that’s a good thing.  Beautiful even.

Contest!

AVEENO is encouraging people to capture authentic Unscripted Beauty in their lives throughout the month of June.  One winner will be selected in July to receive a photo-shoot from acclaimed photographer, Danielle Guenther, as well as AVEENO products!

  • – To enter, simply upload a photo of your favorite Unscripted Beauty moment to Instagram and include #UnscriptedBeauty, #AVEENO, and #Contest
  • – The winner will receive a photo shoot with acclaimed photographer, Danielle Guenther!
  • – Visit the AVEENO Facebook page to see other moments of #UnscriptedBeauty

Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

Some of the items featured below were given to me in exchange for featuring them in this post.

Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

It’s that time of year again…time for me to share about my little girl’s birthday party.  This year she had a Minnie Mouse party because she loves that giggling mouse.  She has a Minnie Mouse phone, purse, microphone, book, and on and on.  This theme fit her perfectly with it’s feminine flair and pink hues.  I hope you’ll enjoy this overview of her party.  I’m sorry there are so many pictures but I just got carried away!

Minnie Mouse Party

This was our food table that held sweet treats, drinks, and hamburgers and the fixings.

Minnie Mouse Cupcake Stand

This Minnie Mouse cupcake stand was custom made for this party. {See Bella Livelli} I chose an old fashioned Minnie Mouse image and requested it in the colors you see above.  I was able to choose the number of tiers, the ribbons used, the design of each tier.  I love that each tier is washable and can be used time and time again.

Minnie Mouse Cupcakes

Here is an up close shot at the cupcakes.  Shhh!  Don’t tell anyone but I bought all of these cupcakes at Walmart and later embellished them at home.  It was a busy month and this saved me a lot of time and my sanity.

Minnie Mouse Bow Cupcakes

I made bows out of fondant the night before the party {with this mold from Kreative Koala} and threw them on the sprinkled cupcakes right before the party.

Minnie Mouse Ears Cupcake

These bows and ears came pre-made from 1StopParty and I quickly put them on the pink cupcakes myself.

Minnie Mouse Cupcake Picks

The Minnie Mouse cupcake picks came ready to use {from this CYN Paperie} and I think added a lovely touch to the chocolate cupcakes.

Minnie Mouse Cookies

The cake pops were bought in the freezer section of Walmart and were surprisingly tasty!  I kind of feel bad for totally cheating on these Minnie Mouse cookies but it was so easy.  I bought cookies from Walmart and used a cookie cutter {See UniqueCookieCutters} to cut out the Minnie head.  They were finished in ten minutes tops!  {Don’t worry, we ate the scraps later too.}

Chocolate Cake

Because my life was so crazy at the time of the party, my good friend, Jennifer, asked if she could help out with anything.  I was tempted to say no but she makes this a-maz-ing fruit dip so I asked her to bring some.  I’m so glad she did, it was delicious.  {Remind me to get that recipe for you sometime!}

Minnie Mouse Banner

I got this lovely Minnie Mouse banner from Sutton and Co.  I always enjoy handmade items and I personally think these Minnie decorations are a lot less tacky {is that the right word?} than a lot of the mass produced Minnie party decorations.

Minnie Mouse Gift Bags

Check out these cute party favor bags from the Etsy shop, Barn Nest.  Are they not adorable?!  I was able to choose everything about these bags from the color bag, color bow, types and color of ribbons.  I decided everything but I didn’t have to spend time working on them.  Can you tell how much I love shopping at Etsy?

Minnie Mouse Party Favors

These party favors were perfect for even the smallest partiers – pink crayons!  {See Lil Nicks}

Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse Ears

These cute Minnie and Mickey Mouse ears were purchased on clearance from a local party store.  I don’t know how I lucked into running across these but I was ecstatic about this find!!

Minnie Mouse Party Straws

I also stumbled upon these fun straws at the party store.  They were fun for the kids to use and later take home with them.

Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

Here is another look at our table filled with yumminess.  You can see the chocolate cake for the guests to eat, pink marshmallows which the kids loved, raspberry M&Ms {yum!}, and on top of the cupcake stand you’ll see a tiny cake with two candles for the birthday girl.

Minnie Mouse Cake Topper

Here’s a closer look at the Minnie Mouse topper and my daughter’s turtle cake {bought from Walmart – Shh!}.

Minnie Mouse Birthday Girl

The birthday girl loved her cake and while she didn’t get too messy she enjoyed it.

Minnie Mouse Party Candy Table

Our sweets included a variety of pink shades and candy for both adults and kids.

Minnie Mouse Party Plate

These DIY Minnie Mouse plates were so easy to make that I even did this myself!  I already had a Cricut so I went and bought a Mickey/Minnie Mouse cartridge for it.  Once I had my Minnie heads cut I simply glued them to the back of clear plates.  Very simple!

DIY Minnie Mouse Plate

I used the same size Minnie head for simplicity and here’s what they look like on the smaller dessert plates.  If you want to get really creative you could even add a bow on there too!

Minnie Mouse Streamers

Here is a look at our decorated back porch where the men spent their time talking as they grilled.  The Minnie Mouse streamers which you see here {and you can see from other pictures that they were used inside} came from the Etsy shop called Welcome to My Store.  The pink hanging lanterns and such were bought at a local party store.

Thank you for letting me share this birthday party with you!  I also want to thank all those who were involved in helping me set everything up,  tear everything down, and those who came to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.  I appreciate you all!

For those that I don’t know personally who found my site while searching for Minnie Mouse party ideas I hope that I’ve inspired you a little.  Feel free to Pin any idea you see so you can remember them later!  If you want to blog about any part of this party feel free to do so, all I ask is that you link back to this post.

{Also see last year’s Pink Lemonade Birthday Party}

Thank you again for reading and have a beautiful day!

Party Bag Dilemmas

In years gone by kids attending parties received a small treat like a bar of chocolate as a thank you for coming but these days it is standard practice to hand out party bags containing several items to all of the children. This does often mean that the kids have something to keep them occupied which is always a blessing but it is yet another thing for the parents to sort out when they are organizing the party and can add a considerable cost to the event. There can be a little one-upmanship with these gifts as well as parents vie to present the best party bags at their events. So if you are organizing a kids party what should you put in your bags to keep the kids happy and your bank account under control?

Extravagance

There has long been a tradition of handling out gestures of appreciation to guests at parties. Take weddings for instance. You rarely attend a wedding which does not have some form of favor on the table even if it just a small bag or box containing sweets. The practice has also been extended to include major celebrity events like awards ceremonies where the gifts have simply become promotional vehicles for large companies. The star guests receive goody bags of treats of really quite ridiculous value in order to raise big headlines for the providers. Take the Oscars as an example. The 2012 ceremony saw all Oscar nominees gifted $60,000 worth of goods including an elephant safari in Botswana and a cocktail party by Disaronno!

This year’s Brit Awards saw celebrity guests walking off with perfume, sunglasses, jeweler  luxury handbags and a hotel stay worth £1800. All this and these guests are the very people who don’t need the gifts and may not even want them. One of the Brit Award giveaways was a Karaoke Kit!

Real World

Back in the real world us ordinary folk inhabit, party bags are a nice touch and a great way of showing your appreciation to those who have taken the time to attend your event but are never going to contain incredibly expensive luxury goods. With kids parties potentially having dozens of young guests it can be difficult to make up party bags which the kids will really like but which do not cost the earth.  Most parents want to show a little individuality and do not want to simply resort to sweets for their bags but there is no need to fret too much about making a big impact. In order to save time and a lot of thought it is a good idea to seek out ready-made solutions. It is now possible to buy party bags complete with a range of appealing goodies without breaking the bank. Sites such as Gifts for Tweens offer an excellent range of really original bags and goodies which look great but are reasonably priced.  There are bags for junior explorers and little fashion freaks and some great fillers like lovely Santoro journals and cards for magic tricks. Much better than a few sweets and no effort required!

Meaning

Ultimately it is the thought that counts and there is no need to fret over your party or party bags. Kids will appreciate any gift and no one is going to expect an elephant safari or a karaoke kit for that matter! Choose an attractive ready-made option or take a look at the sites who sell these bags to see what other interesting elements you could include in yours and job done! You can now spend your valuable time (and money) on other aspects of the party.

Sally Stacey, the author of this post, is a blogger and party enthusiast who currently writes on behalf of Gifts For Tweens.