Life is Beautiful. I love serving the world by capturing beautiful family memories, encouraging others to believe in life’s greatest possibilities, and inspiring others to realize their full potential. Everyone has a story... make it a beautiful one.
I am so excited this week to to have my awesome friend Amanda owner of Sugar Pine Paper Company in Reno, Nevada, as a guest contributor on the blog! Amanda and I met about a year ago through social media. She has helped contribute to several parties I have had through out the last year with cake toppers and super cute garland banners!
She asked me about doing one year photos with her little Coen and asked her if she would contribute some tips about how she planned Coen’s first birthday party! Today we are celebrating this little dudes birthday with making pancakes and eating cake too!! These are some of the tips and tricks from Amanda:
• Pick your theme a few months in advance. The earlier you pick a theme, the more time you will have to figure out exactly what look you’re going for. I chose Coen’s Party Animal theme about 3 months before his first birthday. I then spent about two weeks browsing Pinterest, Instagram (searching various hashtags), and party blogs for inspiration.
I originally thought I wanted Coen’s party to be monochrome with pops of color only on his party favors and balloons, but after browsing through various inspiration photos, I decided to go with loud, bright colors everywhere!
- Create an inspiration board. This will help keep track of all your ideas. Pinterest is great for this, but I also really like creating a shared photo album on my iPhone. This way I can easily add photos of things as I buy them, or things that I see in stores and may not buy right away, but want to remember.
- Ask for help. Once you have picked your theme and created an inspiration board, I suggest asking a few friends / family members to keep an eye out for deals on cute decorations. For example, as soon as had some inspiration photos put together, I invited my mom and best friend to my private Pinterest board (I set this board to private because I like to keep some element of surprise with parties I’m hosting), as well as the shared iPhone album I created. My best friend lives on the opposite side of town as me, and my mom lives 30 minutes away, so even though we all shop at the same stores, we often shop at different locations. Target, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Michaels, Hobby Lobby – all of these stores often have awesome clearance items, but each store tends to have a different selection. Having eyes in all of our local store locations helped me find deals that I wouldn’t have seen on my own.
- Keep your receipts! Most stores will take back items for 90 days after purchase with tags and a receipt, even clearance items. I always buy things as I find them, and as the party gets closer I weed through everything and decide what I am going to keep and what I am going to return. For Coen’s ‘Party Animal’ party, I knew that I wanted a couple of plush animal heads to hang with a Happy Birthday banner or letterboard in between them. I originally bought two on Targets website for $19.99 each because that was the best deal I could find; however, I ended up returning them when I found similar items at Hobby Lobby on clearance for only $4.99 each!! I also found plates I liked at Target, but ended up finding ones I LOVED at Walmart.
- DIY – DIY – DIY !! This will save you so much money! Have you looked at how much it costs to have someone make you a balloon garland?? I have… and it is not cheap! But you can order everything you need on Amazon for less than $15. All you need is balloon tape, balloons and a hand pump! It is a bit time consuming, but worth the nearly $100 saved (if you’re reaction to that number was WHAT!?, you are not alone). I also knew that I wanted to have my décor second as party favors, so I bought cute jungle animal figurines at Target and added my own DIY party hats to them. I bought scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby that matched the colors of the party (less than $1) and found a party hat template on Pinterest. It took me about 30 minutes to cut all the hats out, add mini pom-poms and hot glue the hats to the animals. Easy-peasy, incredibly cheap, and super cute décor / favors.
- Keep the food simple. Trust me, the last thing you want to be stressing out the day of a party is the food. We chose to order pizza, make a salad, have fresh fruit cups, and have a variety of prepackaged snacks for the kids (applesauce pouches, string cheese, etc.). One, this saved us a ton of money. Two, we had barely any dishes to do after the party. Three, everyone LOVED the pizza!
- Gift registry. Hear me out on this one… I know creating a registry can often make guests feel required to bring a gift, but to help avoid this, I left the registry off of the invites. However, when someone would RSVP and ask what he wanted/needed, it was nice to be able to send them the registry link. Thinking of items off the top of your head, or keeping track of what you have told who, can be tricky. Creating a registry allows your guests a simple and easy way to get something they know your child will like.
- Saying thanks. I’ll admit it, I am the WORST about sending out thank you cards. I always buy the cards and two months later realize I never wrote them. I have found that if I buy the cards AND address them ahead of time, I’m more likely to get the card sent out within a few days of the event!
- Set up. If possible, don’t wait until the day of the party to set up. I always like to set up the night before. This takes the day of stress of hosting a party from a 10 to a 2, and gives you a little bit of time to grab any last minute things you need (serving spoons, ice, a rectangular tablecloth because you accidentally grabbed an oval one…).
- HAVE FUN!! Make sure to enjoy the day, and spend time with the person you are celebrating!
Amber and Amanda
- Motherhood doesn’t have to be perfect. Set aside the idea that you need to be a perfect mom like Insta tells you to be. Realize there are messes and dirty bathrooms (you understand if you have boys) at all times.
- Set aside time to connect with the kids unplugged. Play a game of Uno or Guess Who? Do some sensory activities. Snuggle on the couch. Go to the park. These are a few of our favorites.
- Individual time with each child. I’ve been doing date night once a month with my oldest (6 years old) and he loves the one on one attention. It makes him feel loved and that he matters. He’s one that needs to have attention to feel loved. He’s my mom guilt extraordinaire because I don’t give him attention all day long. I tell him it’s okay to be bored or to play with your brother. Having one on one time every so often is a wonderful thing to have to let your child know you do love them.
- Set aside time for yourself too! This is so important! Having time to yourself is essential to being a mom wether it is waking up early to have that time to focus and reflect on you, going for a walk or run, going to Target without the kids, having an exercise routine, or taking a bath before bed. It is true if you take time out for you it will pour out into all areas of your life!
- Have grace with yourself. Motherhood is the hardest but most beautiful blessing.
1. Gratitude: being grateful for the life we have. In reality the people we are comparing ourselves to we may want something they have like talent but actually not really want the struggles they are going through. Being grateful for them showing you what your grateful for in your own life.
2. Focus on your strengths: focus on your own strengths and all the things you are capable of. Your strengths were given to YOU. Use them to serve others.
3. Be okay with being imperfect.
4. Have an abundant mindset! Know there is plenty to go around. Abundance is not limited to just certain people. You are worth of all life’s greatest blessings!
5. Have grace with yourself. Know that you matter and that your story and purpose matter.
Remember comparison if the thief of joy. It Leads you down a lonely and dreary path. Look at all that you are capable and give yourself a high five today for all that you have accomplished and how far you have come!
- Take responsibility of yourself and own it. Blaming others for where you are at isn’t going to get you anywhere. Just simple own those things and take responsibility to move you forward. This includes your thoughts too! Stay positive.
- Know that your changing along the way. Even though it may seem you are going no where, I promise you are so you keep going and moving forward. There are changes happening.
- Understand that failure is all apart of achieving your dreams because failure makes you stronger and realize what you can do better. Failure is your friend!
There many times in my life that I look in the mirror and see the person looking back at me and endlessly nick pick everything about that person.I was ashamed of the body I had. I was embarrassed. I hated how clothes fit me. I was always so overwhelmed but didn’t know what to do. I had a problem with accepting myself for I was because I never felt cute or pretty. I felt subconscious in everything I wore. I didn’t know how to truly love myself or my body. I felt that the reason I never got further in life was because I wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough get there. I blamed my looks for a lot of things in life. But now I realize it was not the way I looked at all but the fact I wasn’t truly loving myself.
My journey of self love has taught me so much. To love myself for who I truly am. That health and fitness is a tool to become stronger and to love myself for the way I push myself with each workout. Having love for myself has taught me to gain real authentic confidence in myself and loving the women looking back at me everyday. The journey hasn’t been easy and there have been many moments of weakness. But the way I feel about who I am now is worth the tears and moments that felt like defeat.
Loving your body is a hard thing to do especially in a society that sets so many unrealistic expectations on you. Yes I believe in the power of moving your body each day because for one I’m predisposed to diabetes, I lived with family that had weight issues and saw the effects it can have on a person, and I love the way I feel.
If you struggle with looking the mirror each day loving the person looking back at you, there is hope in finding that true love for your self. Today, I am sharing with you some ways that have helped me overcome these struggles of loving my body in my life. Know that you are not alone in the journey of loving yourself.
These are some of the ways that have helped me to love who I am today:
- Stop blaming. Stop blaming your body and others around you. You are in control of your thoughts and actions. If you want change then make up your mind now to change and take action.
- Don’t live on a comment from elementary school. Oh my gosh. I remember when I was literally called fat in school by a boy. I let that one comment stew for years and let it affect how I thought about myself of how fat I was for years. Just stop letting Bobby’s comment from 6th grade bother you at the age of 34.
- Every body is different. This is hard one to digest but it’s true. Every body is different. My body is different than the mom sitting next to me. If you want to loose weight, then love your body that you have now. Show it compassion. Don’t compare it to Suzy.
- Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how incredible you are because you really are.
- Stop thinking you’ll be happy when…. I loose 15 ibs … hold that thought for a hot minute because it’s not going to take over night. It’s going to take time but it will happen. Be happy and celebrate your success along the way.
- Do things that make you feel exceptional. Working out, personal growth books, self care, working in my faith all give me all the goods to make me feel alive and in love with myself.
- Stop comparing yourself to others and love the the body God blesses you with!
Remember you are truly a beautiful person and compliment that person looking back at you everyday. Go through each day with a smile on your face knowing that you are loving yourself for who who are.
If you are interested in knowing more about the tools that I have used that made my healthy mom life style easier, contact me for more information.