For more of our adventures, follow us on Instagram and Snapchat under user name @bubbyandbean!
On December 28th, Essley turned one, which was both beautiful and a little sad. When people tell you they "grow up fast" and all that, they're not kidding you guys. It's very weird how quickly my tiny baby transformed into a little girl. I decided many months ago that since the first birthday is a big one, I was going to throw her a party complete with a fancy dress, lots of pink/white/gold balloons and decor, a homemade pink smash cake, and a big group of friends and family. We set the party date for December 27th, and I got to work gathering pieces of inspiration, making lists, and getting DIY supplies. My mom, my sister, and Robbie's mom all helped too. We stuck to a budget and ended up having so much fun designing, decorating, and making.
Like most toddlers, Essley is drawn to sparkle. So I chose to pair metallic gold with pink (and add some touches of white as well) for the colors, and to add hints of glitter throughout the decor and food. We had a guest list of about 40, and since we have a small place, decided to hold the festivities in my mom's and stepdad's basement. The space is nice and big with lots of room for kids to run around and play, but needed some brightening up. So we got a bunch of gold, pink, and white balloons (including a gold mylar number 1, which was one of my favorite decorations), a variety of different hanging paper balls, pom poms, and honeycombs, striped pink and gold napkins, pink flowers, pink and white paper straws, gold cups, etc. I also made a long tissue paper tassel garland to hang, and a small one to put on her high chair. For favors, I bought pink and white polkadot and kraft paper bags and filled them with items that I thought would work for the wide variety of kids' ages in attendance (crazy straws, party blowers, stickers, lollipops, etc.), and we lined them up on the table in the entryway by the front door. We really loved the way the space looked. It was fun and pretty and provided a great atmosphere for the event. When we walked Essley downstairs and showed her the room, her eyes got huge and she started clapping. It made me tear up a little, I'm not going to lie.
Although this was essentially a kids party, the majority of the guest list was adults, so we needed a variety of types of food. My stepdad's best friend is an incredible chef (he did the food for our rehearsal dinner) with a specialty in seafood, so he offered to make crab cakes, shrimp, and salmon finger food dishes for the grown-ups. In addition to that, we served vegetarian flat breads, hummus cups, chips and salsa, cheeses, and lots of sweets including my sister's homemade peanut brittle and pink and white jelly beans to match the decor. For the kids, I filled big bowls with goldfish crackers, packages of string cheese, animal crackers, and fruit. We also had a big bowl of juice boxes on ice and sparkling pink grape juice served in gold sugar rimmed champagne flutes. There was beer, wine, mimosas, and water for the adults as well.
My sister Morgan is an incredible baker, so I asked her basically as soon as Essley left the womb if she would make her first birthday cake. We decided to go with cupcakes for the guests since they're easier to eat (and serve), made with yellow cake in shiny gold liners and topped with pink and white frosting and edible gold stars. Morgan and I stayed up late the night before the party drinking wine, laughing over stupid jokes, and making the cupcakes and frosting (which was the most decadent cooked buttercream you could ever imagine). The morning of the 27th, she decorated the cupcakes and put together Essley's smash cake, which she designed to look like a gift, complete with ribbon. It was gorgeous, and although hesitantly dainty in her initial approach, Essley ended up diving in and doing what one year olds do to birthday cakes. It was pretty adorable.
Essley herself was decked out in pink and gold sparkle as well. Originally, I had big plans to make her a special dress for the party, but like many of my other over-the-top ideas, it never panned out. Then in the fall, I pinned a toddler party dress on Pinterest that was so similar to the dress I'd envisioned making for her, but the source wasn't accurate. I did see some other really lovely dresses along the way, but the reality was that she was only going to wear it one time, and I refused to pay a ton for something so disposable, special or otherwise. A couple of weeks before the party I realized I had an unused gift card to Nordstrom, and while browsing their website, came upon a stunning gold and pink little girl's dress. The colors were perfect - subtle champagne gold sequins and a soft blush tulle skirt. There was one left (in size 12 months!), and it was on sale. It was meant to be, guys. It fit her perfectly and looked so pretty with her gold Freshly Picked moccs and little gold crown headband. So fun.
The food and decorations and fancy party dress were wonderful, but the best part of the party, of course, was the people who came to celebrate our little bean. It meant so much to us to watch all of the kids play together and to see them so sweetly wish Essley a happy birthday. Being able to gather so many of our loved ones (including Robbie's parents, who were there from Arizona) in one space for an event that, to us, was incredibly special, was the perfect way to begin our little girl's second year.
Happiest birthday to you Essley Morgan, my heart. Waking up to you every morning this past year made each day fun and full of pure joy. I can't wait to see what year number two brings. I love you more than you'll ever know. (For more of our adventures, follow us on Instagram and Snapchat under user name bubbyandbean!)
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