Thursday, January 29, 2015

{Recap} #BASHConf15 - My Top 15 Moments Behind the Hashtag

I mentioned a while back that I was asked to handle the social media for BASH so for the past 5-6 months I've been living my life online practically as #BASHConf15 - hence the title for this post!  There are absolutely no words.....NO WORDS for how amazing BASH was - well, there are, and I am going to give you a run-down list of how stellar this event was for me!

BASH, Maddycake Muse, Michelle Burt
(Michelle Burt of Maddycakes Muse and BASH Founder & Creator!)

I don't even know where to begin...I just don't....there is so much to say!  So, I'll just break down this post into my best moments from BASH (these are in no particular order) along with some pics I took with my shoddy camera phone!

Riding in a fancy limo VIP style with one of my fave party peeps and a woman I consider a mentor, friend and awesome roommate, Tonya Coleman of Soiree Event Design.  We met up at the airport with the always fabulous, Amy Belle Isle with Operation Shower and of Stem Parties who I love to bits and pieces - not only on account that she loves her some Tom Brady, but that she also makes homemade almond flour banana muffins that hit the spot when you've been on a plane for 8 hours :) YUM!

(Me & Tonya)

FINALLY Meeting my party peep homies face to face +Kylie Jenkins and +Kenna O'Brien  - I love these girls to death!!!! 

(This is me with +Tonya Coleman and +Kylie Jenkins )
(Me and +Kenna O'Brien  as Gwen and Olivia Pope)

The' OH S**T, I'm screwed' moment I had when I realized that my design for the tabletop competition just did NOT come together.  I'm telling you, it started out with the most gorgeous design concept and just completely fell apart.....and that was way before I left for Arizona.  All I can say about that is, choose your vendors wisely, have a plan B and don't try and make a masterpiece tablescape that will be judged by a National Magazine editor and two top bloggers, while working on little to no sleep.  I was totally delirious by the time I started putting this table together and it just didn't come together as I'd hoped.  I do love my party girls though, huge shout out to Andrea at Paper + Pop for her die cut glitter chair backers, Sunny Duran of Sunny by Design for helping me out with the printables.  Also, big hugs to Laura Aguirre (Laura's Little Party), Brenda Byers (Great Stitch), Laura Peterson (Pink Cake Plate) Brooke Heflin (Burlap and Bordeaux), The Petite Party Studio team - Rebecca & Shannon and Montrilla Jones (Lavender Pudding- and winner of the competition) who all at some point took pity on what must have looked like me staring into space at any given time from sleep deprivation and tried to help me with my table....God bless them!

Going to Phoenix, AZ was on my bucket list and I got to go (yay!) -- and check!

(The grounds at the Wigwam Resort are so pretty - and they have Orange trees everywhere.....yes, with oranges actually growing on them!  Did I mention this was my first trip off of the East Coast?)

That time I came out of the bathroom stall and went to shake Carolyn Horten's hand.....and then realized I shouldn't.....boy did we have a good laugh about that. #classickeisha

Seriously there was a moment where I was restocking the jelly beans at the sweets table during the Amy Atlas dinner and I look up and Loralee Lewis was standing there and I'm all like, Heeeey Miss Loralee Lewis and she knew who I WAS!  SHUT UP!!!!  Gave me a big hug - her spirit and energy is awesome.

The class with Anders Ruff was awesome and I can't begin to tell you how much fun the both of them are. 

Being surrounded by the party bloggers I have followed since the beginning.....there was one moment where I looked around the ballroom and started crying like a blubbering baby (it actually happened more times than anyone probably knew).  There were these larger than life photos of the party rock stars framed by track lighting and I just got all choked up seeing their faces.  It dawned on me that I was surrounded by photos of all the party bloggers who I greatly admired and inspired me to start blogging and working on my party business as a full fledged career!

I got to meet many of my party girlfriends who I just adore.  We've all been buddies online and have connected with each other on a local level or perhaps at other conferences, but this was the first time we were altogether as strictly PARTY GIRLS! 

 (L-R me with Toni Barret Roberts of Design Dazzle, Valerie Gimre of Charming Touch Parties, Tiffany Fox of Fizzy Party and Jilliam Tobher Leslie of Catch my Party)
 (L-R Brenda Byers of Great Stitch, Lynlee North Beckett of Lynlee's Petite Cakes, +Kimberly Sneed of A Night Owl Blog -- I love her blog - I stalk it!, +Laura Aguirre and +Mindy Cone )
(L-R Me with.....+Jennifer Carver+Jennifer Kirlin and Krista O'Byrne , Kenna, +Chris Nease and Jennifer and Carrie Calloway)

#10 - Collectively probably the best moment was meeting  +Kim Stoegbauer the woman who inspired me to create printables out of my party designs and was just so darn sweet and kind.  Meeting Hostess with the Mostess  +Jennifer Sbranti ......and then meeting the QUEEN of dessert styling, Amy Atlas! Can't get any better than that!  All of these ladies are so smart, so kind, so humble and just TOP DRAWER!

(Me with Kim !  BTW, I need to talk about that dress I wore in another post.  I felt like a PRINCESS and it fit me like a glove!  I got SO many compliments and yes, I'm tooting my own horn because I felt like a muther-effin SUPER STAR!)

(Chillin with Hostess with the Mostess - Jen Sbranti!)

(So humble, so kind, so encouraging, such a sweet, sweet spirit - loved meeting, Amy Atlas)

One of my other favorite moments was meeting Eddie Ross and his partner Jaithan Kochar.  Eddie is a fellow Nutmegger (person from Connecticut).  He was our keynote speaker the last night of BASH and shared how he developed his personal design style - which I TOTALLY got.  Eddie's style is drawn from visiting the gorgeous homes in Greenwich, CT as a youngin' and shopping the flea markets and thrift shops of the area - just like I did with my Miss Kitty.  Let me let me tell you people....those flea market shops in CT have some faaaaaaancy items! 

(Me with Jaithan!)

(Me and Eddie Ross - he's so witty and super nice)
Each night of BASH was a party (helloooo????  we're party gals!)  All of the events were tons of fun.  I got to dance with the Anders Ruff duo (can you tell what celebrities/characters were?), dancing and singing karaoke with my #roommatenotroomate (long story) Tali Burress of A Party Studio - fun all day long! I made so many new friends (shout out to my Cali girls!  Whoop-Whoop!)

(Martha, Olivia and Holly---aka me and Anders Ruff)

 (Look how cute these ladies are Tali as Amy Whinehouse, Toni as Lucille Ball, Kim as Brit-Brit and Kenna as Gwen - LOVE!!!)

Then there was the tabletop competition!  Congrats to Montrilla Jones of Lavender Pudding - I keep telling her she SLAAAAYED her tabletop!  I mean, girlfriend had a velvet rope, bling galore, little tiny naked cakes and a friggin tiny TV with an Oscars award in it!!!! 

Here are some of the tables from the other participants:

Then there is the swag......let's discuss the swag.....

When we got to our hotel room to unpack, Tonya, asked me if I had a bag for the stuff that I'll get to take home, aka swag.  I had a pretty decent sized tote bag...or so I thought.  She warned me that I'd need something larger....she was right.  I couldn't even fit most of what I got in freebies and swag from the other attendees.  Sadly, some things were left behind or gifted to the nice skycap at the airport in Phoenix.

 (this is not even close to all that I hauled home with me)

Oh and let me not forget the business cards - some were so cute and packaged all pretty and what not!  Here are a few of my faves!

Getting to be a part of BASH period was just the best moment.  I fulfilled a goal for this year.  I got to literally meet and work alongside all the women in this business who I admire and ones who have supported and encouraged me along my way.  I was able to learn so much about social media and large scale event planning.  I was able to ask questions and get answers from people who I believe are game changers in this business and got tons of positive feedback from them as well.  I was able to sit in on classes and learn from the most successful people in our industry and took away tons of information.  I got a chance to travel away from my family - who I missed dearly the whole time- but it was something that I now know that I needed for myself and it wasn't so bad.  I also got to make new friends!   Shout out to TEAM BASH!

(The ladies of the BASH team - we WERKED that conference - can't see me cause I'm taking the photo :) )

Huge amount of thanks to Michelle, for allowing me to be a part of this amazing conference.  I totally got her vision and what she wanted BASH to be.  I am amazed by what she was able to create in such a short amount of time.  I just admire her drive and passion to help inspire and encourage other women and am excited for what she has planned for BASH going forward!  Congrats, Michelle to a successful inaugural event!

Get more information on BASH and get connected.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

{A Look Back} Your Top 10 Fave Posts of 2014

After a looooooong's winter nap (literally - cause I slept and napped my way into 2015), I am back to recap share some of YOUR favorite posts from last year! I went through all my stats and pulled up the TOP 10 PARTY IDEAS AND DIY'S from 2014. Here's a look back at last year's best!

You'll remember that I planned a fun Sonic the Hedgehog Party for my sweet boy.  It's not always my favorite thing to plan parties with licensed characters.  However, when your child wants what they want for their big day, you gotta give 'em what they want (in reason,of course).

2. Retro Cupcake Party
Another top event for this year - my daughter's birthday party was so much fun.  The Mini Diva wanted a cupcake decorating party!  We went a little retro bakeshop and I got to work with some of my favorite party peeps!

3. How to Make a Ball of Yarn

I not only make pompoms out of yarn.....I make balls of yarn too!!!

4. Red, White & Blue Patriotic HeadbandA popular DIY was this adorable patriotic headband.  I think this is still in my daughter's accessory bin!

5. Mother's Day Free Printable

I was invited to speak for career day at my daughter's school and had fun explaining to the kids how I style parties and product shoots for my blog.  They got to do a little hands on activity and see their post go live!

6. 13 Days of Handmade Halloween
Another year of the 13 Days of Handmade Halloween series was a success!  So many fun crafts and projects with my most beloved and talented party peeps!

7. Fall Tablescape Challenge
This was probably one of my most favorite things that happened this year.  It was a fun little challenge amongst a group of my party peers using some random items for a lovely fall tablescape!

8. School Bus Printables
I love partnering with other talented bloggers.  When Jennifer Needham of Double the Fun Parties asked me to create printables for, I was more than happy to oblige.  What I loved most about this project is that it was designed for the bus drivers....and when you read why Jennifer wanted these specifically for the drivers, it'll just melt your heart.

9. Easy Paper Flowers
These pretty paper flowers were used in my English Garden party and were a fun craft that I loved creating.  I thought the really added a special touch to my altered paper bags!

10. Jelly Bean Bark

So, these were made for an Easter theme that really didn't get off the ground last year.  However, I did share the cute jelly bean printables that went with and if Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be able to share it this EASTER!!!!  (crossing fingers)

I have so many exciting things planned for 2015 and can't WAIT to get this year started off on the right track.  I'm planning on a bigger and better blog with lots of new and fun ideas and parties to share.  Right now I'm in full-on BASH mode, so, you'll be getting a peek into my 'normal' life as I prepare to get ready for my first professional blog conference!  I've got outfits to pack, roomie gifts to make, a tabletop competition to prepare for and the BEST part is I FINALLY get to meet some of my blogging besties face to face!!!! Yay!

Be sure to keep up to date with all my BASH shenanigans on my Instagram!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

{Product Review} Aromatherapy with the ZzzQuil Scented Sleep Aid

When I first opened the pack, the fragrance was pretty strong. The main scents are lavender, chamomile and cedarwood.  I thought it smelled more medicinal at first but then after a few minutes of plugging it in, the fragrance was definitely more pleasurable. Included in the box is a sleep enhancer (wall plug in) and scented Zzz pads.  You simply put one or two pads into the sleep enhancer, choose your setting and put that into your outlet.  It doesn't take long for the fragrance to permeate the room and then it lasted through the rest of the night and into the next day.  I used both pads the first night.  There is an adjustable slider that you can use to control the amount of fragrance, but I couldn't tell if it made a difference or not.

The second night, I just used one pad and thought maybe I wouldn't sleep as well....but I slept pretty much the same way. The fragrance the second night was not as strong and more pleasant.

I've been one busy woman these past few weeks, with BASH coming up and the hustle and bustle of the holidays and just life in general, I am physically exhausted.  As tired as I am, I always seem to have trouble falling asleep and then have a restful sleep throughout the night.  So, when I received a complimentary ZzzQuil™ Scented Sleep Aid through Influenster to test out and review, I was anxious to give this product a go!  Now, I've tried other aromatherapy plug ins before and didn't feel like they really were effective, so, I wasn't sure what to expect this time - but I was hopeful.

I've always been a night owl and just generally have trouble drifting off to sleep. I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to use something that didn't put me to sleep medically to help me out. I must say, this actually worked. I plugged it in and slept straight through the night, couldn't believe it. My kids even woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and when I normally would be jolted out of my sleep, I didn't even hear them....(thank God, my husband did).

My only problem with the plug is is you have to touch the pad with your fingers and the fragrance is really strong and it stays on your hands. I had to wash my hands a few times to get rid of the smell as best I could.  Other than that, I love it and recommend it to anyone who needs to relax or have a restful night's sleep.

If you would like to share your experience give opinions of products and experiences via social media you can link up with Influenster here - this will take you straight to my referral page where you can apply!

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