Bash Conference: A Recap

My Bash Conference 2015 recapEarly in January I attended a brand new conference called Bash. It was held in Arizona at The Wigwam Resort (beautiful!) and it was two days of sessions, speakers, networking and fun. A fantastic party planner and blogger, that I met years ago at my very first Operation Shower, Michelle of Maddycakes Muse, decided to put on this conference for the party planner/blogger community to learn and grow and lift each other up. Yup, that was a total run on sentence. I’m sure it was no easy task to put on a conference of any size and THIS was awesome. She nailed it. I was super impressed with every aspect of it. I apologize for the iphone photos. Although I took my DSLR, it never left the hotel room. When you go to a conference full of party planners, you kind of just want to party. I wanted to do a Bash Conference recap in case any of you are wondering if you should attend next year. In short, the answer is yes.

Palm trees and blue skiesI want to be super honest. I wasn’t expecting to get a ton out of it. When I started this blog I was strictly party focused and my first real blog friends are all from that world. I wanted the chance to spend time with these gals and at the last-minute was able to attend (side note: Tickets were about $400. BUT there were several opportunities leading up to the conference to win a free ticket. Also, they did a black Friday sale which is where I was able to buy my ticket for $200! Oh! And they offered a VIP option, for an extra $50, which got you preferred seating at the sessions, one on one time with the keynotes and speakers, transportation to and from the hotel to the resort plus some extra special goodies at check in. It was a great feature that I haven’t seen at any other conference.) And it was held in Arizona. I love Arizona. Any who. When the conference was initially announced, it seemed like the sessions were geared towards to party planners. But then they announced another track of sessions and those were more business focused. I wasn’t sure how they would bridge the gap between the attendees who wanted to learn about party planning as a business and building a business from a party blog. I strongly believe, however, that any time you attend a conference you learn somethings, especially if you keep yourself open to it.

My Bash Conference RecapI arrived on Thursday afternoon and had a little time to relax before the first evening’s party. It’s always nice to ease in to a conference. The first night they held a welcome party that included gaming tables (which I sucked at) and craft stations (which after a few glasses of wine, I sucked at). The volunteers for the conference were SO welcoming and made everyone feel right at home. Although I had a bunch of friends with me, I would have had a great time even if I had gone on my own. [Read more…]

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Custom Tiny Prints Pillows

Custom monster pillow by Tiny Print with my son's art. I’ll be sharing my son’s 6th birthday party soon but for now I have to share this custom Tiny Prints pillow. They were super generous to send it to me. The theme of the party was “monsters” but instead of using ready-made party goods, we used his custom drawings since this is what he is really in to drawing at the moment. This custom pillow was great for decor during the party but also makes a rad keepsake for him.

Custom @tinyprints pillow with custom kid art. We made this one to match the theme for my son's birthday party. I mean, he drew a palm tree and a sun with sunglasses. I guess monsters need vacation too.

Custom @tinyprints pillow with kid's art. Perfect keepsake for kids! And after the party, it moved in to his bedroom. I wanted you to see it next a normal sized bed pillow for size. These are pretty big! They come in rectangle or square and you can use their ready-made templates for more decor friendly options. But I really love that you can upload your own artwork and get a custom-made item that you can cherish forever.

You can also follow this tutorial for making a pillow with your child’s own artwork!

Thank you, Tiny Prints, for sending me the pillow!

 

Drinking More Water with Essential Oils

Using doTerra essential oils in your water. After a holiday season (shoot – it’s been since summer) of absolute gluttony my body is screaming for me to be more healthy. A bought of the stomach flu was the perfect transition in to living a healthier lifestyle. It made me quit junk food cold turkey. And it made me not like coffee!!! I’m drinking it again, and like it finally, but I’m no longer drinking more than one cup a day and some days I don’t even finish that first one. I mean, I don’t recommend trying to go find someone with the stomach flu to infect you. But if you want to start off the new year being a little more health conscious, I suggest starting with water. Easy, right?

New to life with essential oils #doTerraWe all need more water each day. And while we need the calcium from milk, we really don’t need any other types of drinks if we are trying to be eating more cleanly. Well, wine. You HAVE to have wine. So I’ve been drinking a bunch of water but it can get a little boring. I’ve started adding a drop of my fave citrus based essential oils to my glass to take things up a notch. Oh yeah, and I totally fell down the essential oil rabbit hole. (So I’m totally in love with them and was spending so much with my dealer – I call her that because it is a little bit like buying crack – that she had me sign up to be a wellness advocate so I can now sell them. I promise this blog won’t turn in to a hard sell of essential oils, but I will share them from time to time. My mind is vibrating with all kinds of ideas of how to use them in the kitchen! {not all are ok for ingesting – read labels, yo!}) You guys! I’ve been using a blend for my allergies that has changed my life. Maybe it is a placebo but WHATEVER! They help my symptoms and headaches but nothing else it all smells amazing!

Adding Wild Orange Essential Oil to your water #doterraJust a drop of this Wild Orange oil adds huge flavor to my water. And since the oil is derived from orange peels, it tastes like real orange. I’m not going to lie, it made my lips burn a little. But really it just felt like one of those lip plumper lipsticks. Wild Orange oil has “immune-enhancing benefits and is energizing and revitalizing to the mind and body.” At least that is what my book says because I literally just started using oils a few weeks ago and am still learning what each thing does. My kids like to have it in the diffuser too which is awesome for when you are having people over. It smells like you just cleaned your house! Water with essential oils is my new jam. And wine. I won’t quit you wine!

Looking for non-essential oil ways to drink more water? Try these recipes:

Muddled Tangerine and Basil Infused Water

Muddled Ginger Strawberry Sparkling Water

Muddled Raspberry Lemon Water

Muddled Ginger Lime Water

Visit my doTerra page if you want to see more about essential oils. OMG you guys, for real, the BREATHE blend is perfect for those days when my allergy medicine just isn’t cutting it. If you have a fave oil, let me know in the comments so I can keep learning. And I thought my husband was going to freak out but he started to feel sick and asked me to put some OnGuard on to his feet! Miracles do happen. Or if you have questions, email me! cupcakesandcutlery@gmail dot com.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

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Head Shots in Palm Springs

New head shots by Tammy of Dez and Tam Photography.Before Christmas I got to take a super quick trip to shoot some new head shots in Palm Springs with my friend, Tammy, of Dez and Tam Photography! Not only is Tammy a crazy amazing photographer, she is an all around awesome gal. She, Lauren and I decided that the desert would provide the perfect backdrop for the photos. You know we love our time in the desert! We also shot a quick cocktail recipe and DIY post out there and I can’t wait to share those! They came out amazing!

New head shots from Tammy of Dez and Tam Photography! I was dreading having these photos taken. I HATE being in front of the camera. I am so grateful that Tammy is such a good friend and photographer. She was so easy to work with and was really able to pull me out of myself. I ended up with a bunch of great shots that I’ll be able to use in all different ways. Somehow she managed to capture me not looking like a lunatic, in between looking like a lunatic.

My fave furry coat.She really got me to be me and do things that felt natural (if standing in the middle of the desert in a furry coat can feel natural)…

New head shots shot by Tammy of Dez and Tam Photography shot in Palm Springs.If you need head shots done, you have to contact Dez and Tam! And totally go to the desert. The light there is SO good!

Desert head shots shot by Tammy of Dez and Tam PhotographyWhich one do you think should be my “head shot” head shot? Thank you SO much to Tammy!!!!!!! I’ll be sharing more work from this trip soon!

All images by Dez and Tam Photography

And go check out this great cocktail post that Tammy shot for Lauren while we were there. So pretty!

 

Winter Break

First time in the snow!Why, oh why is winter break over?! I took a legit blog break this year and didn’t even think about “work” related stuff the entire time the kids were off of school. It was GLORIOUS! And I’m going to be honest, I’m having a rough time getting started again. I’ve been thinking about things to post but I can’t seem to motivate myself to actually doing anything more than that. And I’m okay with that. We had a fantastic break and I really enjoyed the down time with the kids. It wasn’t super glamorous.  The pictures aren’t styled and pretty. But that is winning, I think. 2015 is the year we live life for real. And it may end up on the computer. But we aren’t going to do stuff just to post it. I know I am not the only one that falls in to that trap. My thinking has shifted which means this blog will probably be changing too. But that sounds like too much work so instead I’ll just let you know posts will be sort of spotty this month. And now I’ll share what we did on winter break.

The kids got to experience snow for the first time!  Saddleback, a local church, invited us to come and check out the snow they brought in for after all their holiday services. They had SO much fun! And I felt like a big jerk since they are old and hadn’t been to the snow yet. We were pretty ill-equipped in the clothing department. Especially the gloves. They were silly little fabric things from Target that got really wet. And cold. Which in turn made their hands really wet and cold. I was sure my youngest had frostbite when we left. He didn’t, thank goodness. Then we got all bundled up and saw the new Annie. We loved it! Did you see it?

Almost got stitches...Then my little one decided it would be a good idea to try to slide down the hallway on a Pillow Pet. Needless to say that didn’t end well and we ended up at Urgent Care to see if he needed stitches. Thank goodness it was under his chin. They said it would scar but we didn’t have to do stitches if we didn’t want to. So we didn’t and as I sent him back to school this morning, it is all but healed! That could have ended up much worse and I’m so grateful for how it all turned out.

Allergy Testing.My oldest son got some allergy testing done to see where we are at with his food allergies. While the skin tests are pretty rough, I really felt like it was a good idea to let us know what’s going on with his nut allergies. He had never been tested for tree nuts before, only peanuts. He is still showing a pretty hearty peanut allergy but it has led us to look into tree nuts a little further. He tested negative for an allergy to cashews but walnuts came back super positive (that is totally my medical assessment…). We did a blood test to get a better look at the other nuts and have an appointment in a few weeks to find out those results. We also found out he wasn’t allergic to shellfish. He got to try shrimp on Christmas (thank you Grandma Marilyn for surprising him with it!) and he didn’t like it, but I have no doubts that he’ll really love coconut shrimp. We also found out that he is allergic to horses which is so random to me. He got the all clear to eat all the milk and eggs he wants which is awesome! So at least he has grown out of some of his allergies. I know it must absolutely suck to not be able to eat all the things like the other kids and he is really so good about it! He’s such an awesome kid!

Opening Christmas presents. Christmas Eve was spent with my husband’s side of the family eating his grandmother’s special Slovak meal. It was a big year for me. I blew out the candle from Jesus’ birthday cake. I don’t even know if anyone noticed, but usually one of the kids gets to it and they were at the kid’s table so I took it upon myself to blow it out. I’ve enjoyed their holiday tradition for probably 14 years now and I think that was my first time blowing it out. It’s the little things…And presents. Let’s not forget the presents.

Matching family pajamas.We woke up the next morning and guess what, we opened more presents! Every year we wear our matching family pajamas. Never mind the pocketknife my husband is wielding. Most of us were holding our favorite gifts and that was his. Mine was not the Nerf gun I am holding, but I felt like it would be odd to hold picture frames. My husband had the boys draw pictures of presidents for me and they turned out awesome! Then my parents came over for breakfast and we opened more presents.

Quality sister time.My sister came down for Christmas this year and it was so amazing to have her. We got to spend time hanging out drinking mimosas, chatting, watching the boys, and it was so needed for both of us. I didn’t want her to go home. I’m super excited to get to visit her in April!

6th birthday! OMG. How cute is this kid?! My baby turned six a few days after Christmas. So…more presents. This kid is silly and funny and so special. And I love being his mom. I can’t wait to see the grown up version of this kid. I mean, I can. I don’t want him to grow up fast. But this guy is interesting. I wonder what he’ll become. It’s exciting. And see, you can’t even tell he split his chin open a week earlier. I also learned that if the fate of the world rested on my cake decorating skills we would all die. I am just TERRIBLE at it!

Wine Tasting in Temecula.Then I got to head back to Temecula for some wine tasting. This was a mother/daughter trip with some very close friend’s of the family and it was an amazing time! We visited Lorimar again (because I just can’t get enough) and wrapped up with Almond Champagne at Wilson Creek. It was a quick getaway, but super fun.

Snow in Temecula! And we woke up on New Year’s Eve morning in Temecula to snow!!!!! It was sheer luck that we were there when it snowed as it is not something that happens often. My car was covered and I was a little worried about driving on the roads. We stopped and had breakfast before heading home to let the roads melt a little. I managed to get all the way back to my house in Orange County with snow still on my car. The boys were able to have a snow ball fight in front of our house! We wrapped up 2014 by taking the boys to Dave and Busters for some afternoon gaming and then came home to enjoy some family time, trying to make it until midnight. The boys were fine. I almost didn’t make it.  And then I welcomed in the new year with the stomach flu. Not cool. I’m still not back to normal. So I’m probably going to go sit on the couch and watch Food Network now. I’m sure there are good things to come from this blog. At some point. :)

Happy New Year!