I turned twenty-nine last month and since I figured this was the last year of my "youth" I better do it up well! It's almost an unnecessary challenge each year to one up myself from last year's birthday party. It is a bit of a sickness but I figure either way, Ashley wins one way or another. I think 29 year old Ashley kicked 28 year old Ashley's behind this year. Because people, I went nuts this year! 30 watch out!
Okay, so enough with the silly talk. I did not have a planned theme for this year (unlike my 27th backyard country birthday party). Instead I was inspired by color. Over the past few months I started noticing party decor I liked online and then started piecing things together in my head. The backbone of the party was when I found a ton of beautiful multi-colored napkins at TJ-Maxx one day. I decided they would be my color palette for the rest of the party. The rest sort of came together.
My big, wow-worthy decor, and ultimately time consumer, was the tissue paper decor. I purchased two packs of multi-colored tissue paper from the Dollar Tree and made backdrops for a photo booth, dessert table, and party banner on our strings of lights. It may have taken me a week to make it all, but I am pretty proud it only cost me $2!!!
I made tissue paper flowers, tassels, and paper flowers for the backdrops. I used scrapbook paper I had on hand, making for super inexpensive party decor. I will be bringing tutorials for them all soon.
I realize this is nothing new, but for the first time I used single flowers in little ice cream cups and candle votives. I love how squatty and cute the roses look!
We have been cleaning up our backyard this summer, getting rid of old junk, and trying to simplify. This is the first time that I am showing you wide views of the backside of our house. I usually crop out the pile of junk from the photos. Not any more. I am so proud. And no longer ashamed.
Is anyone else amazed at how simple some paper straws and flowers can dress up a table?! I love the small details that add a lot without much work. Yes, paper straws degrade in your mouth. But they sure do make amazing blog worthy photos. So they are here to stay.
The desserts were a collection of cupcakes and ice cream. I tried a few new cupcake recipes and everyone raved they were delicious but I thought they were mediocre. They only one I was impressed with was the brownie stuffed cupcakes. Basically you make a pan of brownies. Roll up pieces into little balls and drop into store bought cake mix cupcakes. Easy and very tasty. Okay, now that I think about, the frosting made it amazing too. Forgive me. Here is the link to the recipe.
Me and my sweetie. He mows the lawn and goes to work so we can afford to feed thirty people for my birthday. He lets me be crazy and do the rest by myself.
And just as the party got started, it was time to turn on our outdoor lights and enjoy the evening!
We went simple with dinner...a taco and nacho bar. I made all the meat and beans ahead of time so they could warm up in the slow cooker the day of. So tasty and everyone loves to dish up their own stuff so it is definitely a go to easy meal when the decor is sucking my brains out.
After we ate, we had our photo booth all set up. Here is a little teaser, but I will talk photo booth shop in a later post.
Since it was a little breezy, birthday candles required a human wind shield. How cute are my blonde friends!
And as it got dark, the lights got more amazing. This is what dreams are made of.
Though I loved my small little girlfriend birthday tea and family party from last year, I must say that this year was pretty special. To be able to look back and look at my own personal state at this pivotal time of year, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmingly blessed that so many people joined me this year to celebrate my birthday. This past year has been quiet when it comes to relationships and so to feel like I am investing in really good, thriving relationships these past few months says a lot about where I am and the state of my heart.
I think so often as we get older, we do not take the time to celebrate ourselves as much. I know that my friends and family love and care about me. But to provide a place for them to all show up and bless me brings so much joy. I mentioned this to one of my girlfriends and she reminded me that I did all the work, provided food, and cared about the details. To her, she feels blessed to just show up. I think it is a win win. It is fun to host pretty parties for other people. But planning my own celebration is some weird introverted, self-focused, amazing blessing.
All the work...all the wondering and getting hurt feelings when people do not RSVP...at the end of the night...it is all worth it. So yes, I want to impress you with my pretty decorations but really I want to remind you that you are worth celebrating and it is perfectly okay to celebrate yourself. You and your loved ones will feel blessed by it.
And by all means, don't feel like you have to one up yourself every year like I do. Unless you like that sick sort of thing. In that case, we are probably kindred spirits.