Surprise 60th Birthday Party Plan

Over the holiday's I also squeezed in a little surprise party for my mom's 60th birthday. It was also an engagement party for my cousin Tim and soon to be cousin-in-law Jamie. Here is my party plan and a few photos. You can check out my Riva Events facebook link too for more photos.

My mom has worked in the Mobile, Alabama school system for years. She was a teacher and now she is a media specialist. She is selfless and very giving, so I wanted the party to really honor that. Because she does not like too much attention thrown her way my aunt and cousin's devised the perfect cover plan -another party, an engagement- so she could also HELP me plan the bash.

The two things I think are most important in planning an event are knowing your audience, providing fabulous music and quality food. That's where I spend most of my budget. The rest goes to decor.

The time was set for a 3pm party so folks could just drop by and be home by dark. (Its also a money saver so you don't have to provide a full meal) I wanted it to be somewhat casual since folks would be coming from other holiday parties. We chose a great seafood spot on the bay called Blue Gill. The buffet menu was crafted from their favorite foods crab claws, boiled shrimp, catfish bites and grilled chicken.

I hired an old friend, Lonn Spencer, who owns a FANTASTIC DJ business Azalea City DJs. Seriously, if you are planning an event on the Gulf Coast his team is the best.

The cake was so DELICIOUS from Butter Cream Dreams. I always buy a cake to feed half the number of guests I have coming. Most folks don't eat huge pieces of cake. We had about 80 people attend this party and the sheet cake fed 40 and we still had leftovers.

We had about 12 young children, ages 15 months-6 -years-old so i created a kids station. I bought a roll of white butcher paper to create a paper table cloth kids could draw on. i went to the dollar store and purchased crayons, stickers, activity books and markers. the kids loved it!

The decor was simple. The restaurant had a very rustic outdoor deck that we turned into a nice red and white cafe. I rented 15 gingham clothes from Port City Rentals, what a great resource to have in Mobile. I bought 40 balloons from Party City. I used galvanized buckets as my centerpieces filled with napkins, flatware and condiments for the food. I made composition books as an homage to my mom's years as a teacher and from oriental trading we had a few engagement items.

The most loved element of this party was a slide show that ran continuously throughout the party filled with photos of Jane, Tim and Jamie from all eras in their life. It was a fun way to ring in 2009. If you'd like more tips please leave a comment and I'll be happy to send you the budget and other ideas!

Happy New Year!

A celebration of the history of cocktails

Last night I had the pleasure of a NYC night out on the town with my friend and mixologist Elayne Duke to celebrate the 75th year of the repeal of Prohibition, also our 21st amendment of the Constitution.

We began at Devin Tavern on Greenwich street. I had the honor of meeting Jill DeGroff, an amazing artist and wife of the legendary cocktail creator Dale DeGroff. Above are some images from her Cocktaillian Calendar. I was lucky to have my friend Simon Ford and new acquaintance, Brian Van Flanderan, autograph the libatious creation too. You can catch them on the new reality show "On the Rocks". And, if you have never been to Tales of the Cocktail, a week long festival, July 8-12th, in New Orleans, celebrating the history and culture of cocktails- don't miss it!

Handmade gifts can be the BEST!

Thank you to the students of the Fashion Institue of Technology! I was a guest speaker at Professor Karen Middleton's fashion club this week. It was such a pleasure to meet students with passion and excitement for their upcoming event in April. I really love this handmade card. And, I hope it can inspire you to do more homemade gifts this year, I know I will! Thank you.