Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sugar Plum Fairy Birthday Party {New York City}

When my plans for a laid-back breakfast brunch at a local restaurant fell through, I had to get to work putting together something at our apartment for our daughter's 5th birthday party, as there was no way that I was going to pay $100/child for a simple brunch and decorating a cupcake, thank you very much.  

Ella got to work creating her list of birthday requests for her "sugar plum fairy birthday party," including a diagram of the cake and favors, as well as a full menu and guest list that she pain-painstakingly wrote out on her own, letter-by-letter.

picture via Instagram

Party planning is a hobby that she and I share, and this time we both got everything we wanted.  Almost.  I didn't find the time to create the doily backdrop I wanted to make, but that was the only thing that fell through the cracks, which was pretty miraculous for me. I was even somehow able to pull off the 3 tier layer cake she requested, and I even followed her exact stipulations that the layers be "light pink, dark pink, purple, rainbow swirl, and pink and purple swirl." My daughter cracks me up. And I think it's hilarious that I even attempt to grant her wishes, but it's sure fun trying to make her wishes come true.  I'm positive that these party requests will not last much longer, and I'm going to enjoy these little homespun parties for as long as I can.

And honestly, next time I think I could plan a party with only punch balls and rock candy swizzle sticks.  The kids went crazy for both!  Ella's guests arrived and were fitted for their crowns, and then after everyone arrived we put on the Waltz of the Sugarplum Fairy and the girls danced away.  It really was a very simple party, but there was enough magic to make it something special.

Favorite elements included:
  • Golden lace crowns for the queen sugar plum fairy and all her friends (using gold lace and fabric stiffener, following THIS tutorial). The sugar plum fairy in the Nutcracker doesn't have wings, just a crown and a wand, so that's what she wanted for her friends.
  • Birthday girl seat with canopy (three years running!)
  • 40 punch-ball balloons strung in rows from the ceiling and then spread all over the house
  • Homemade buttermilk pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and orange julius
  • Homemade layer cake with the best white cake recipe ever that is perfect for layer cakes, even if you are a beginner (This is my go-to cake since I found it three years ago when I made my first birthday cake for Ella.  It's AMAZING. And I don't even like cake!)
  • Vintage cake topper Ella thrifted while we were in Utah in November. She bought it with her own money and it ended up being the perfect touch for her cake.
  • Mini tulip bouquets
  • Glitter tattoos  
  • Birthday girl picture gallery that was at a child's eye level and went all the way down the hall.
  • Rainbow sweets and flocked candy garlands.  We especially loved the Dylan's Candy Bar rainbow lollies sold at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that Ella found. 
  • And the unicorn statue that really had no place at a Sugar Plum Fairy party, but ended up at the center of it all.  It was a vintage find on Etsy that I knew she'd just love. And she did.



Ella wanted a number five on her cake, so I used a store-bought 5 and then applied some edible glitter over a thin layer of modge podge. Worked great!

This was the mini cake I made for her actual birthday, but we didn't end up eating it because she was "too full" after Shake Shack.  So we froze it and her friends ate this one. It had four mini pink and purple layers.

and here are a few pics from Instagram of the baking process as well as the inside of the finished product.  It made for one colorful, huge, slice of cake when we sliced through it!

And Ella picked out all the items for the goody bags, including the Paris gift tags, the bubbles, the fairy wands, and the unicorn lollipops. Each child took home a golden lacecrown as well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

S+F in Central Park {New York City Engagement Portraits}

As if photographing this gorgeous, photogenic, easy-going couple wasn't fun enough, they were some of the kindest clients I've ever met.  Oh, and they had British accents, which really was the cherry on top (given my obsession with all things British). They are actually living here in NYC temporarily for work and will return to England soon.  What a perfect way to celebrate an engagement and capture a little bit of their life here in NYC before returning home!

We started in Central Park on the west side, and ended up on Park Avenue on the East Side, which provided some pretty spectacular backdrops for us to shoot with.  Don't you wish you were this photogenic? I sure do. I'm going to have a hard time not crashing their wedding to take portraits.  Lucky for them, an ocean is between us. Enjoy!