ASHLEY MARY INSPIRED PALINDROME BIRTHDAY PARTY
My sister turned 15 this year, but when she was 10 I got the brilliant idea to have a palindrome party for her 11th birthday. I was so excited about it that I designed the invitation for it:
I also started a word doc full of ideas for this glorious party. But then that monster (mon-sister if you will) decided she wanted a luau instead. You can find that luau party here. Anywho--I made a mental note that the next time someone I knew turned 11 or 22 or 33 or perhaps even 44 I would throw the most over the top palindrome party.
Flash forward 4.5 years and Jen from Prism in Annapolis approached me to create a styled birthday party shoot in her space and asked if I had any parties coming up near-term. I didn't really--not until March and this was October. But I did have one idea... and I WAS turning 33 in December. And thus a party was born. A... PARTYBOOBYTRAP.
I started with invitations. I used Greenvelope for these so I also included screenshots of how they looked when sent and formatted digitally. I'm a sucker for snail mail so I do often send paper invitations, but I've also been using Greenvelope a lot recently and I gotta say you can't beat it for easy/cost effective sending and tracking. Their customer service is great, too. I created all of these block letters to make my very own font.
The venue for this event was absolutely unbelievable. Prism is the venue I would create if I had the chance. In fact--it's exactly the sort of place I started dreaming of opening after I had such a hard time finding a venue for Rowan's 1st Birthday Gnome party, but it would have been at least another decade before I ever got around to it (if I'm being optimistic). And now I don't have to! It's spacious and modern with an industrial flare... and all white everywhere in the event spaces which makes for a nice clean slate upon which to build an event. Prism made the ultimate backdrop for this colorful affair. Annapolis is so #blessed to have this space.
I have two favorite living artists and one is Ashley Mary. I found her a while back on Instagram and have been silently admiring for a while. She has her own planner available through Anthropologie and exclusive work through West Elm. She has a stationery line through Design Loop and designed her own wine bottle through Minuty. She also designs her own pom earrings and Christmas ornaments and yes I've bought both (and I wore the earrings to this event!). It's just all so good. I'm obsessed. (My other favorite artist, btw, is SamYule Walker--I can't get enough of those tiny little people.) I did a lot of painting for this event, and all in that Ashley Mary style although my painting skills are laughable at best in comparison. AT BEST. The biggest painting projects were this KAYAK and this RACECAR, both generously donated to me for free from members of my Facebook mom group.
The event was photographed by Jen Casey of Jennifer Casey Photography, who is so beyond blessed with vision and is amazing at posing bodies and framing spaces. Like peep this photo below--perfect placement to get the maximum amount of space in this photo, even frames the dessert bar in the next room in that doorway. That's no accident, friends. That's an artist. All photos in this post are by Jennifer Casey Photography.
SIGNS & HAND-LETTERING
More-so than most other events I've done, the signage here was really key to the whole theme making sense. I designed signs for the space to match the invitations I made and then had them printed by Mpix on a frame-ready backing. I displayed them on little stands throughout the space, but at some point I plan to frame them all and make a gallery in my hallway of them. And yes, the palindrome signs extended into the bathrooms.
Sherlin from Larsen Lane Lettering really took things up a notch though with her hand lettered signs. She made two signs outlining every single palindrome found at the party and another tongue in cheek STATS STATS STATS sign like you would normally see at a party for a one year old, but for me at the ripe old age of 33.
To play on the palindrome STRESSED DESSERTS I wanted to have a bunch of desserts looking like they were stressed TF out.
Meagan from Zest came through in a big way. I sent her this mock-up for the cake and she totally nailed it, even though she later told me she didn't get the theme til she saw it all together and thought I was nuts. She even helped setup and meticulously hung those Stressed Desserts balloons for me! She also supplied delicious matching cupcakes! That's a lot of !!! so you can tell I was pumped. These things are so good--you need these in your mouth, trust me.
Donuts (STUN ODD DONUTS) were by Sandy Pony Donuts and were as delicious as they were colorful and cute!
FOOD & BEVERAGE
GO HANG A SALAMI, I'M A LASAGNA HOG served for the food inspiration here. I ordered some colorful salted meats off Amazon and received a few salami logs from a member of my mom group and Jen helped me string them up into a salami chandelier strung up above a full buffet of lasagna--served via RACECAR, obviously.
Other food was also Palindrome-centric. Guests enjoyed a fruit salad of NO LEMON, NO MELON, a bowl of XANAX (M&Ms), an assortment of potato products and dips in reference to OH, A DIET? AH, I HATE IDAHO, as well as general MMM in the form of veggies and crab dip.
Drinks consisted of POP, PCP (water and Gatorade in tiny bottles--fun fact, I had no idea what PCP looked like! I had do some online research which I'm sure is making me look fairly suspicious to big brother), and GODDAMN MAD DOG (another fun fact--I thought Flying Dog was called Mad Dog for some reason... as it is not, my husband bought bottles of Mad Elf and Flying Dog and we did some impromptu sharpie editing of the labels). All were served via KAYAK.
I also made a mixed drink: TULSA NIGHTLIFE: FILTH, GIN, A SLUT which I made up on the fly by combining Sprite, gin, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, and backberries. There was also extra gin and berries on hand for guests to create their own PUTIN, I GOT TO GIN IT UPs.
I even managed to get my hands on a custom-made STRAW WARTS straw from KrazyStraws!
For fun, we played the Oreo game where you stick the cookie on your forehead and have to get it into your mouth without using your hands. This wasn't Palindrome related--I just thought it would be fun to watch people attempt this. I planned to play a game called NURSES RUN involving stethoscopes and mild nudity, but my stethoscopes fell through lol.
We also had a PULL-UP competition. I mis-judged the doorways at the venue and it turned out that the bathroom was the only doorway in which I could hang the pull-up bar. Sooo, whatever! We played from the bathroom. It's not weird, you're weird! The winner won a remote control RACECAR.
DJ TACOCAT kept the tunes coming--a nice medley of my favorite twerk jams. The playlist was a palindrome itself in that halfway through it played all of the same songs in reverse order.
The REWARD DRAWER was full of grownup candy favors including miniature chocolate cordials.
Another palindrome decorating the space was a table full of rats: WAS IT A RAT I SAW? These were just standard Halloween rats that I painted a bit to match.
Light-up EWEs lined the main tables of the event. These were light-up nativity lambs that I found on Ebay.
For everything I was able to find for free or cheap--I could NOT find a tuba to save my life. And I really wanted one. So I made one from cardboard! WET TUBA, PUT UP A BUTT. EW.
1. PULL-UP: pull-up bar contest
2. YO! BANANA BOY!: in bathroom
3. REWARD DRAWER: party favors
4. XANAX: candy
5. PCP: water/gatorade
6. WAS IT A RAT I SAW?: rats
7. NO LEMONS, NO MELON: fruit salad without lemons or melon
8. HERE SO LONG? NO LOSER, EH?: sign at exit
9. EGAD! NO BONDAGE! random wall sign
10. TULSA NIGHTLIFE: FILTH, GIN, A SLUT: gin mixed drink
11. GO HANG A SALAMI! I'M A LASAGNA HOG!: food--lasagna with salami hanging above
12. POP: sodas
13. GODDAMN MAD DOG: Mad Elf & Flying Dog beer
14. WOW: on mirror
15. MMM: by food
16. POOP: over toilet
17. KAYAK: holds drinks
18. EWE: table decor
19. R U FADED AF? U R! by drinks
20. TACO CAT: dj
21. PEE DEEP I SAY, AS I PEE DEEP.: bathroom
22. WET TUBA PUT UP A BUTT. EW.—painted tuba
23. TOO HOT TO HOOT: on mirror
24. OH, A DIET? AH. I HATE IDAHO: food—chips & dip
25. NO POOP? TED, I BAN A BIDET; POOP ON! toilet
26. PUTIN, I GOT TO GIN IT UP: bar
27. STUN ODD DONUTS: donuts
28. STRESSED DESSERTS: dessert table
30. STATS! STATS! STATS!: birthday sign
31. RACECAR: game prize & racecar bed for food
32. 33: cake topper
33. DR AWKARD: person in costume who went around and acted like an awkward doctor.
Planning & Styling: Tangled Events, Styling, & Design
Venue: Prism Annapolis
Photography: Jennifer Casey Photography
Cake & Cupcakes: Zest
Donuts: Sandy Pony Donuts
Hand-Lettering: Larsen Lane Lettering
Dress: This Eloquii dress layered under vintage Donna Karan skirt
Earrings: Ashley Mary
Custom Straw: KrazyStraws